Life and Legacy by @merryb923


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A few years ago, Disney released the animated film, Coco, and I was so enamored by the tradition depicted, Día de los Muertos. I started to do some research, and I realized that this holiday is a hybrid of multiple religious & cultural beliefs, it’s purpose is to celebrate and remember the lives of loved ones who have passed. These holidays occur towards the end of autumn, once the trees are bare and the harvest is over. I fell in love with Dia de los Muertos! What a beautiful way to honor those who came before us, and to feel genuinely close to them.

One of the staples of this holiday is the ofrenda – an altar containing photos of our deceased family and friends, along with offerings of their favorite foods and drinks, surrounded by marigold petals and candles. Each photo on the ofrenda is an invitation to our ancestors and friends to join us for the day, to celebrate- to dance, eat and drink, to meet younger generations, while we share our memories, and tell stories to be passed down- legacies.

As shown in Coco, Dia de los Muertos is not solemn, there is no despair; it is to celebrate lives lived and to show gratitude for the gifts shared. It shows that there is more to life than just living- it’s an opportunity to make an impact that will outlive us. To leave the world around us even just a bit better than we found it- to grow and to inspire and to provide memories that others smile to recall.

While we remember the legacies left, and ponder our own legacy in the making- what have we learned about life? Whose legacies have changed our lives? And what would we like to leave others with?

I look forward to meeting you all at #spiritchat this week, to remember those who have impacted our lives and to share how we plan to leave a legacy of our own. 



Author bio: I’m always super awkward with bios and have no business or brand to promote (yet!), but if anyone wants to follow me I’m @merryb923 pretty much everywhere you look!

Kumud’s note: Meredith has been part of the #SpiritChat community for a very long time, and has hosted the chat a few times. I am grateful and excited that she has agreed to host #spiritchat on twitter on Sunday, Oct 30 at 9amET / 1pmGMT / 630pm India. Do join in and share on Life and Legacy. Thank you, Meredith! Namaste.

Autumn’s flowers – remembrances of life and legacy…

Sources of Light


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It was one of those mid-October weeks in Northeast Ohio where autumn decided to dip its toes, and then both its feet into winter for four days or so. Cold, overcast, heavy rain mixed with sleet and a bit of snow, and all the heaviness that such weather tends to bring with it. This state lasted from Monday to late Thursday, and but by Friday morning, you would be forgiven if you landed here from a different city and remarked on the beautiful fall we were experiencing!

The advent of light, particularly when it brings warmth with it after an unseasonal cold snap, does wonders for the body and the mind. Even the trees shedding their leaves seem to breathe a sigh of relief, for they get to slow down in the light to process the inner and outer changes that are happening within them.

Light creates opportunities for transition and transformation within us. Perhaps that is the root cause of our heart, mind and body’s attraction to it? The external sources of light like the sun, moon, stars, auroras, comets and their like create a sense of hope and permanence within us, don’t they? Are we not inspired and awed by the light in the images of distant galaxies revealed by the James Webb and Hubble telescopes? In search of light sources near and far, humans have looked upwards and beyond for millennia. That is the beauty and attraction of light, not just for humans, but for every living being, for light is said to be the sustainer of all life.

Those of us who have practices that prompt us to regularly look within ourselves, are also familiar with our visits with the light within us. Direct experiences of the light within us often create as tremendous joy, sense of peace, and awareness of the Source. As our practice of looking within evolves, we may shift focus to the Source — beyond the light itself. It is when we realize that the inner light is actually an invitation to focus on the source, we open up opportunities to arrive at stillness, the bliss beyond joy, and yes, even deeper space than the galaxies that the telescopes have yet to discover.

The beauty of our inner experiences with the source(s) of light is that they are not subject to the weather or external variations of Nature or scientific instruments. With practice, we can create our own inner conditions of experiencing the nature of the light within, and the nature of the infinite that lies beyond it. Every sunrise, every new season can be a reminder that the invitation to explore the light within us is ever-present.

What will it take for us to accept the invitation? What are some sources of light, external and internal, for you? What is created within you, by you, in the presence of light? ? The answers for each of us are different. May the source be our guide, and may we be explorers of light.


P.S. Join us in our weekly twitter gathering and conversation in #SpiritChat, Sunday Oct 23 at 9amET / 1pmGMT / 630pm India. We will talk about light, its sources, its effects on us, and maybe even light a candle to start the ‘Diwali Festival of Lights’ 🪔 ~ AjmaniK

The Festival of Lights (Diwali) returns this week…

Spheres of Belonging


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The warm weather over the middle of last week, sandwiched between the cold days that preceded and succeeded it, has jolted the leaves on the trees into transformation. What started as a meandering change from the greens of summer has dramatically accelerated into a color palette of yellows, reds, oranges, some maroons and a multiple hues, tints and contrasts.

In a very short time period, autumn has changed the sphere of the leaves’ existence. Last week, they still belonged partially to summer. This week, they have their feet firmly planted in autumn. Some of them, whose transformation is complete, have found detachment from their sphere of existence among the branches and descended to the ground. Their existence in the sphere where they reached towards the sun, moon, stars and summer skies is complete. After what seemed like infinite grace in their flight between spheres, they now belong to the earth, where they mingle with those from far and near trees. They go from one sphere of belonging to another, creating new richness through variety, to eventually become the soil for new seeds that spring will bring unto them.

It isn’t as if I am watching this dance of autumn leaves for the first time. So what is it about their change in color and subsequent falling to earth that evokes so much child-like glee, awe and sense of wonder within me? Is the awe because the leaves and trees can effortlessly ‘give up one sphere of existence’ and fully embrace another sphere of belonging in the same instant? Is the child-like glee because the witnessing of the change reminds me that when the time comes, I too will be able to let go as easily and accept a different sphere of belonging? Is the sense of wonder because any given leaf represents hundreds of billions of leaves, and in being aware of one leaf’s journey I can experience the journey of all of them?

All of it comes together when I relate it to the spheres of our own belonging. The largest sphere is the one that connects us to the outer world and all of its influences, and encloses our individual sphere. Depending on our level of awareness, some may sense that we belong to the world and each other, while others are convinced that the world belongs to them. Within our individual sphere, we have a sense of belong to our experiences, our emotions, our feelings, our actions, and much more. It is said that there are multiple levels of existence within our individual sphere, which create different experiences of awareness for us. The deeper we descend into our inner levels, the more we transition from belonging to the physical body to the subtle body sphere, and finally the causal sphere of belonging.

With all the possible spheres of belonging available to us in our lives, how do we remain in that sphere where we can have the deepest connection to existence, awareness, and bliss? What can the leaves of autumn teach us about acceptance, letting go, and trust in transformation to a different, more blissful sphere of belonging?

Autumn, in the midst of all her messengers, often asks some questions. I convey some of them to you, along with her seminal message that you belong to the bliss-sphere. Don’t you feel it?


P.S. Join us for our weekly twitter chat and gathering with the #SpiritChat community, Sunday Oct 16 at 9am ET / 1pm GMT / 630pm India. We will share some autumn colors and warmth, ask and answer some questions, and take another step towards belonging to each other. Namaste – AjmaniK

By undergoing a change of colors, leaves transition to a different sphere of belonging…

Seeds of Harmony


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Autumn is the season of planting and seeding grass in lawns. The cooler weather is an invitation to repair the damage done to the lawn by the heat of summer. You remove the old and dead grass, rake the soil below, add some new dirt, mix in new grass seeds, cover the seeded patches with hay or the like to provide warmth, water adequately.

And then you wait. If and when there is harmony of all the elements — warmth and light from the sun, sustenance and receptivity from the earth, moisture and coolness from the water, expression of life force from the seed, balance of stillness and movement in the air — the seeds eventually sprout when it’s there time.

In some re-seeded patches, it seems like nothing is going to ever germinate. You start to ask questions like — did I use enough of seed? Did I use the right mix of dirt and fertilizer? Did that unusually cold snap in the days right after I planted kill the seed? Should have I watered more? Did I water too much? On and on the questioning and self-doubting goes as the days go by without you seeing any sign of new life in the seeded patches.

Five or six or seven days after seeding, you start wondering how you ever successfully grew grass in every autumn before the current one? The lack of visible external growth makes you forget the belief and hope and faith and grace that you have experienced so many times before. It’s almost as if you forget how this story has ended in every single season in the past.

And then it happens. You wake up on the sixth or seventh or nth day and some seedlings have burst through in the small circular patch that sits in the shadow of where the hydrangea had bloomed into the summer. New grass! The tiniest of new green growth amid the wide expanse of existing green instantly erases all of your questions and doubts that had sprouted while you were waiting for nature’s harmony to do what it does best in your heart — germinate new faith to remind you of your existing faith.

As you watch the heavy dew evaporate off of the new grass-lets in the same way that it evaporates off of the tall grass blades next to them, your faith is somehow re-seeded. One new direct experience, the result of a perfect harmony of nature and nurture, reminds you of all the past experiences of grace in your life.

The simple beauty of every single blade of autumn’s new grass is perhaps a reminder of the harmony between the seeds, the water, the soil, the wind, the sun, and the source that integrates them all into life itself.

What’s your take on harmony? What kind of seeds can we plant in our heart to harness the powers that lies within us? When extended the invitation to do so, what seeds are we actually planting? How may we best harmonize our efforts towards spiritual growth with those of our earthly affairs?


P.S. Join us for our weekly twitter chat, Sunday Oct 9 at 9am ET / 1pmGMT/ 630pm India with the #SpiritChat community. We will share on harmony and its value in our lives. Namaste – AjmaniK

Autumn (or Fall) brings with it, ‘seeds’ of Harmony…

Connecting with Calmness


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It takes calmness to produce stillness in a way that makes the mist rise in a surreal way on the lake on an unusually cold, final day of September, as the leaves seem to fast forward into their journey of color change.

It takes calmness to decide whether one’s leap is going to be long enough to fjord the puddle at the bottom of the hill, so that one may not have to walk with wet socks for a large portion of the walk.

It takes calmness to notice that the mist is rising faster off of the lake with every few passing minutes as the sun rises among the trees, scattering gold among the leaves as it stretches towards the blue firmament holding flocks of migrating geese.

It takes calmness to confirm that the two objects you saw at a distance, submerged in the mist on the lake surface, and thought to be a pair of ducks, are indeed so — scattering them to the other shore as they sense you approaching them.

And as you stand there at the end of the walk, with the sun now finally fully risen above the tree line, as it shines in all its glory and warms your face, tears up your eyes with its loving intensity, it dawns on you that it is difficult to separate its streaming rays scattering the ether from the mist that is rising off of the lake. The mist that is coming out of your mouth with every breath is part of the same calmness.

You turn around in place to perambulate about the axis of peace that runs vertically through you, and notice your shadow becoming shorter with every complete circle. You are now chanting the invocations that describe the qualities of beauty, peace, protection, serenity and much more that celebrate the energy of the divine feminine – Shakti. She manifests her great power only when necessary, but when she does manifest it, the worlds are realigned towards the merger of existence with a new consciousness of calmness and bliss within.

So what is it that truly calms you, connects you with peace, brings awareness of the divine to your heart? After the storms of life perturb your energy state, how do you revert to the energy of calmness? What does the energy state of calmness help you create?

It is said that calmness is our ‘natural state of being’, and that it manifests through a sense of greater equilibrium within. If so, calmness sounds and feels like a wonderful state for the heart to reside in, doesn’t it?

May we find a home there. Peace.


Join us for our weekly gathering and conversation on twitter with the #SpiritChat community, Sunday Oct 2 at 9amET / 1pmGMT. We will connect and share our calmness with each other. Namaste – @AjmaniK

Bridges have a special ability to connect us with calmness, don’t they?

Our Inner Conditions


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Partly cloudy days can provide beautiful lighting for outdoor walks. When the partly cloudy day happens to be the first day of autumn with a distinct chill in the morning air, one has the distinct feeling that there is a different calling for the weekly forest walk that day.

And so it was that I accepted the inner invitation to visit with the local bird reservation this Friday – a visit that I hadn’t made since the spring! All the familiar locations looked a bit different. A new water fountain in the pond, near the entrance where my favorite bridge is located, brought a welcoming freshness to the water and a delightful hum that warmed the ears. New signs in several trails educating visitors about the mission and the support needed for the good health of the reservation. And much more.

The trail itself had very few leaves on the ground yet, so the sun rising slowly through the forest created beautiful light and colors on the leaves still on the trees. Nature’s morning and evening light patterns can help create a beautiful inner condition of stillness and peace.

A visit with a favorite book or movie or podcast, an actual conversation with a good friend, a greeting card in the mail, a wave from a neighbor walking by as you sit on the porch — one or all of these ‘things’ can instantly brighten our inner condition.

Some of us may also have daily, intentional, spiritual practices which, over time, help us build resilience into our inner condition. Why build resilience? Such a condition can serve us well in moments where a random text message, a tweet, a news item, a harsh word or any such intervention by the outside world can instantly disrupt our condition. The higher the degree of resilience of our inner condition, the more quickly and easily we can find ourselves back in our state of equanimity after our mind’s surface has been insta-stormed by the world.

By asking and observing ‘what is it that disproportionately disrupts my inner condition?’, we can get heart-smart about the actions we take to decrease the frequency such disruptions of our condition. As we adjust our practices to decrease our sensitivity to the disruptors, we can improve our inner condition, and then do more of those practices which works for us. A positive feedback loop can thus be established within, and over time, the heart-mind-body system becomes less and less ‘allergic’ to our ‘irritants’.

If we want to establish, maintain and enhance a condition that is active but not reactive, a daily walk of self-observation of our condition is essential.

Yes, it takes ‘extra’ work, but what if it is perhaps the best work we will do on a daily basis? Start with a small daily commitment and bring a joyous attitude to the walk. Journal what happens daily. Watch the changes in your condition over ninety days.

Consider. If you start a new walk today, you may have a brand new ‘gift of inner condition’ for yourself by the end of the year.


P.S. Join us for our weekly chat with the #SpiritChat community on twitter, Sunday Sep 25 at 9amET / 1pmGMT. We will take stock of our inner conditions as we gather over tea and quotes! How to start that new walk? Ask me if you need suggestions. Namaste – @AjmaniK

Sunflowers in various stages and conditions as autumn arrives…

On Life and Perceptions


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It was perhaps the first time ever that I did my Friday morning walk on the school trail without my phone. I forgot it at home when I went for drop off, considered going back to retrieve it, and then thought… perhaps this will be an interesting experiment!

On a typical walk in the trails, I walk, pause, observe, take photos, walk some more, pause, and so on. It often ends up that it can take me almost forty five minutes to an hour to walk a mile or so. However, today’s walk was different, not just for the pace, but for the nature of the pauses and what I felt during those pauses.

Walking phoneless felt less like I was gathering, and more like I was simply observing. The lower angle of the Sun in the same hour as compared to last week. The hearing of leaves rustling and the raised white tail of deer bounding away as they sighted me. The almost complete coverage of the pond surface with green algae and slivers of rising sun reflecting in the blue patches. The wooden sign that said that the pond is a ‘scientific observation facility’ and hence ‘no swimming, fishing, skating’ and such. And so much more different views and perceptions on a trail that I have walked at least a few dozen times over the last year.

The experience made me ask. Why does perception matter anyway? How does it change over time? How we change it when necessary? What is its origin, and what is its connection to our spiritual journey?

It is perhaps no coincidence that I have pulled my weather-worn “Upanishads” book off of the shelf this week, and have stumbled upon a chapter describing the ‘five layers of existence’ within us. Perception is one of the layers — it is the fourth layer, sitting between the third layer, which is the mind, and the highest layer, which is bliss.

One may infer that in order for us to travel from the mind towards the highest layer of bliss, one has to walk through through the layer of perception. How do we best accomplish this? Are we aware of the quality of our perception in our daily life? One way to evaluate our quality of perception can be to observe our reactions to what is fed to our mind, voluntarily and involuntarily. Another way is to examine our fears, particularly those we had in the past, and what were the outcomes of those fears in our life?

We can further ask – to what extent did the perceptions of the possible outcomes of our (worst) fears keep us from experiencing bliss? What have we learnt from those self-limiting perceptions of self? What have we learnt from past perceptions and then adjusted our awareness, in order to get closer to and remain in bliss more consistently?

Some say that ‘perception is reality’. I would tweak that and say that ‘perception is the doorway to reality’. What is reality? According to the Upanishad, reality is the awareness that we are ‘well made’, perfect beings in the eyes of the divine. Our destiny on the path is bliss, except that we tend to get ‘stuck’ in the perceptions fueled by our mind, which is fueled by our senses, and so on.

Towards the end of the walk — a walk that was uncluttered by my desire to take a bunch of photos and share the best of them with all of you — I realized that there was a unique clarity born from this new experience for me. By removing the tasks of fiddling with the phone-camera’s filters of framing, perspective, lighting, focusing and such, a different kind of perception of the trail was revealed.

The ‘full-frame’ of nature, as designed, as intended to be perceived by us by the grand designer, was unfolded. I believe I had a sighting, for perhaps the first time during a walk, the doorway to bliss. Perhaps the door has always been there and I have been busy fiddling with trinkets? Perhaps next time, I will walk through the doorway of bliss, and even stay for a while.

Now where’s that phone? I need to write down my perceptions of today’s walk before I forget. I guess it will have to wait till at least my return home. Maybe I’ll just take the blog-post photo in the backyard and share that with all of you.


P.S. Join us for our weekly gathering and twitter chat with the #SpiritChat community, Sunday Sep 18 at 9amET / 1pmGMT. We will discuss the perceptions of our weekly walks, and I welcome you all to join in. Namaste. – AjmaniK

Ref. ‘Five layers of being,’ Taittiriya Upanishad, Chapter 2

The last(?) of summer’s roses blooms in the backyard…

Choosing to Remember


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In Indian culture, the two week period following the full moon in September is a period of ‘remembering our ancestors’. This year, the two week period begins on September 11. In the USA, that date has a remembrance connection of its own since 2001 (‘Never Forget’). For many of us, we may choose not to remember, or remember selectively, particularly when remembering is connected to pain, trauma, and the lowering of our inner vibration at large.

This raises the question – what is worth remembering? How do we best remember, in what way, so that it elevates us and the energy of those around us? Is it enough to simply remember, or can we do more with the wisdom bridge constructed for us by our ancestors? Some reflections came to me on these choices during my Friday walk. Do allow me to share.

Give ‘remembrance of the divine’ a chance to shine in you, on you, to light up your being from within and without, to let you become happier, to arrive at the awareness that the meeting can happen. Yes, You, your I, may have to disappear in the process, and then only the memory of the perfection of That shall remain — and the meeting may not happen anyway. And yet, you would have remembered, and that imprint shall remain for eternity.

Why would we rather forget? Sometimes it feels like we are walking the same paths, the same trails, over and over again… and we may tend to wonder why we keep doing so? What is the purpose? Remember that these doubts on the path are of the logical mind, the domain of reasoning overtaking our heart. What is worth remembering is the choice to walk, to practice, and not the the result itself.

If we more often than not, if not always, feel better about our state, feel lighter, feel less connected to the ego and more connected to the divine after our walk, is that not enough to keep walking? Of course, if said path makes us feel heavier, more connected to anger and despair, then we may want to consider a different walk or habit, is it not? Better to forget that path of heaviness, yes?

At the end of the walk came the message of urgency. The opportunities and invitations to remember the purity of your soul, the purity of the souls of our ancestors, will be few and far between. We think that we will have time to walk towards the divine ‘later’. We tell ourselves we are not ‘ready’ yet. Is that really our truth? What is going to happen ‘later’? If we don’t change our awareness and make a conscious choice, how will we remember to create time from our ‘honey gathering’ in life, create space from all our entanglements with the world, to walk our destiny?

The message from the walk was that remembering takes work. The amount of work of course depends on our current state and where we want to be. That’s where free will and choice come in. Like grandma used to say, ‘We have no one else to point a finger at, for when we do so, let us remember that four fingers point back at us’. Is today going to be the day we stop pointing fingers, even at ourselves, and choose to wake up to our potential for peace, harmony and an attitude of cooperation with others who are on their own path?

I invite you to accept the invitation. Arise, Awake, and Remember the intrinsic purity of the soul. It’s an empowering choice, isn’t it?

These chrysanthemums came full bloom in the front yard in early September… they chose to remember that it was their time…


P.S. Thank you for reading. I invite you to share your responses in the comments and/or join us for our weekly gathering on twitter with the #SpiritChat community, Sunday Sep 11 at 9amET / 1pmGMT/ 630pm India. Namaste. ~ AjmaniK

Paths of Openness


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Rarely, if ever have I not felt better after walking in Nature’s embrace. I have often wondered during my walks – how does this happen every single time? Is it the stillness and the silence and the vastness and the constantly changing variety of the path? Or is it something more, something that logic and intellect are unable to adequately explain?

Perhaps what fills the heart and soul when we get out of our own heads and walk the open path, beyond the limitations of our knowledge and even our knowing, is beyond mere reason and words to explain?

And yet, having experienced the heart-affirming outcome of every single past walk in vast openness, there are days when I hesitate to walk… why is this? The world and its seeming urgencies and pressures of time and space create mental barriers.

How do I overcome the barriers to openness? I remember the light, the flow, the radiance, the glow, the energy transfer that creates temporal transformation that lightens the heart and points me upwards. The gravitational pull of the final destination, the path to it, winds through openness, does it not?

The open path often finds us walking alone. This doesn’t mean that we need to stop living in the world, isolate ourselves from feelings and emotions. Being open can help increase our awareness of the feelings and emotions that are creating excess and imbalance within us. Our ‘practices’ are ‘working’ when they open us, orient us towards equilibrium, and harmony with the world. Over time, openness can teach us how to conserve energy, so that we can do our best work while moving in the direction of our heart’s destiny.

The alternative to openness is closedness, driven by fear. What does the path to closedness create? Perhaps more fear? The first law of thermodynamics states that ‘an isolated system cannot change its internal energy, and hence do no work’. The corollary is that the work done by us depends on how we un-isolate ourselves, connect with energy sources around us, and allow for change in the level of our internal energy.

Maybe that’s the answer to the original question. Why does Nature, and by extension, some people, raise our internal energy and vibration when we associate with them? Is it because we allow for them to do so, by being open to them? If yes, then the choice becomes – what kind of path and what kind of energy association will we open ourselves to, to get closer to our destination?

Sunflowers on the open path by the river… some thrive, and some…


P.S. Join us for our weekly twitter gathering and open conversation, Sunday Sep 4 at 9amET / 1pmGMT / 630pm India in #SpiritChat. Namaste ~ AjmaniK

On Living Transitions


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It begins with a silent, almost imperceptible drizzle… maybe a leaf or two from every other tree 🌲 or so, as their soundlessness matched the sun filtering through the leaves on its ascent upwards in the morning hours, creating infinite patterns of yellow and gold with the multitudes of shapes and sizes still very much present on the branches…

The overcast nature of the morning creates even more variations as the transitioning clouds modulate the light intensity that comes through the forest… you look up from your pause near the vintage house and notice the tallness that you have been waking amidst…

The mosquitoes trailing you have finally left you alone… have you ever noticed how a single mosquito will bite you multiple times even before you realize the bumps on your neck, your jaw and your ear? Someone had once asked me – what purpose do mosquitoes even serve? I said then that I’d get back to them. Today, I realized that they perhaps exist to teach us persistence? And yet I digress…

Let me get back to transitions. They are everywhere, they appear in all forms, and we would be dead in no time without them. And yet we often resist them, because we either aren’t ready for the unexpected ones or we take the routine ones for granted…

We may resist transitions because we may associate them with turbulent experiences in our lives. While that may be our past, it doesn’t have to be our present. For one, we can choose a different past, in the sense that we can ask – what did we learn from that previous transition, inspire of the turbulence that it brought our way?

In Vedic practice, the times of nature’s daily transitions, turbulence and all, are considered to be optimal times to pause, rest, reflect and prepare for the next phase of the day. You may recognize them as sunrise and sunset, dawn and dusk, and such. The rate of energy transfer between the layers of existence is said to be highest during these times…

And just as I finish my walk, jotting down my thoughts for this post, a gust of breeze brings down a multitude or so leaves. I look up and the Sun is still at play with its backlighting of the trees. Now that I am fully awake, I am aware that I better not stand still too long or else the mosquitoes will find me, the lone human in a quarter mile radius around the lake which is partly covered with thick algae. It’s a living lake – the algae will be taken care of by the next big rainstorm…

Living Transitions. How do we best do that? Perhaps we can be more aware of them, accept them, find joy in them and live our best life amid them. Need some hints?

Look within the moment. What’s transitioning? What’s remaining still? What’s lightening you? What’s enlivening you?

Until next time. Be well.


Join us for our weekly gathering and twitter chat, Sunday Aug 28 at 9amET / 1pmGMT in #SpiritChat ~ we welcome all of you to share with us. Namaste – AjmaniK

One hydrangea cluster continues living its best life… amid the transition to autumn