Friday, November 27, 2009

Amazing Grace sung in Tsalagi, the Cherokee Language, by Walela

I have always loved this song. This version even has some nice bagpipes in the background toward the end of the recording - an interesting choice for Native American musicians. It is so beautiful it gave me "God" bumps!

Shakura Cathryn
"A man of peace is not a pacifist, a man of peace is simply a pool of silence. He pulsates a new kind of energy into the world, he sings a new song. He lives in a totally new way his very way of life is that of grace, that of prayer, that of compassion. Whomsoever he touches, he creates more love-energy. The man of peace is creative. He is not against war, because to be against anything is to be at war. He is not against war, he simply understands why war exists. And out of that understanding he becomes peaceful. Only when there are many people who are pools of peace, silence, understanding, will the war disappear.' ~OSHO, from: 'Zen: The Path of Paradox, vol II'

Change Your Thinking - A Nice Story

I enjoyed this story, which came to me by e-mail. I don't know the origin of it.

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room.

One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room's only window.

The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.

The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation..

Every afternoon, when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.

The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside.

The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.

As the man by the window described all this in exquisite details, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine this picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon, the man by the window described a parade passing by.

Although the other man could not hear the band - he could see it in his mind's eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.

Days, weeks and months passed.

One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.

Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window besides the bed.

It faced a blank wall.

The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window.

The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall. She said, 'Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.'


There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations. Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled. If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money can't buy.

'Today is a gift, that is why it is called The Present.'

Shakura Cathryn  
"Is it reality, or is it not reality? All things are reality. Even if only one is imagining it, it is a reality in that the thought has been offered and someone, who has the ability to translate that vibration, will perceive it. It must be fair to say that anything that can be perceived must be reality. Because, as creators, your reality depends upon what you are willing to imagine and allow." ~Abraham

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Blessings


Thanks & blessings be
to the Sun & the Earth
for this bread & this wine,
this fruit, this meat, this salt,
this food;
thanks be & blessing to them
who prepare it, who serve it;
thanks & blessings to them
who share it
(& also the absent & the dead).
Thanks & Blessing to them who bring it
(may they not want),
to them who plant & tend it,
harvest & gather it
(may they not want);
thanks & blessing to them who work
& blessing to them who cannot;
may they not want - for their hunger
sours the wine & robs
the taste from the salt.
Thanks be for the sustenance & strength
for our dance & work of justice, of peace.

~ Rafael Jesus Gonzalez ~

Dear Friends,
I am grateful for all of you,
and for the blessings of life.
Thank you for the parts you play
in the Dance of my life.

I hope you are all feeling blessed.
"The more you praise and celebrate your life,
the more there is in life to celebrate."
~Oprah Winfrey

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Infinity: The Ultimate Trip - Journey Beyond Death

Infinity: The Ultimate Trip – Journey Beyond Death
A Film by Jay Weidner
Featuring Gregg Braden, Dannion Brinkley, Renate Dollinger, Stanislav Grof, John Holland, Dzogchen Ponlop, Robert Thurman, Alberto Villoldo, Neale Donald Walsch and Brian Weiss.
Gregg Braden, Dannion Brinkley, Renate Dollinger. Stanislav Grof, John Holland, Dzogchen Ponlop, Robert Thurman, Alberto Villoldo, Neale Donald Walsch and Brian Weiss

Running Time: 90 min
24.95 Retail

Preview Screenings start
October 1st.

Available for Purchase
Thanksgiving 2009

What happens after we pass from this world? Is there a life after this one? Or do we just disappear forever? These are the questions asked in this powerful and poignant feature documentary, Infinity: The Ultimate Trip. Many may be surprised by the answers.

Featuring noted experts Gregg Braden, Dannion Brinkley, Renate Dollinger. Stanislav Grof, John Holland, Dzogchen Ponlop, Robert Thurman, Alberto Villoldo, Neale Donald Walsch and Brian Weiss, Infinity: The Ultimate Trip brings a message of hope and optimism concerning the most mysterious act in a human life; the end of this life and journey to the beyond.

Using vital and beautiful imagery, along with personal accounts of near-death experiences, reincarnation and more, Infinity brings forth the story of our own infinite nature, what to expect after death and the magic and beauty that awaits us on the other side. Here we learn of the energetic landscape of the world that we enter after we die, the angels, or beings of light, who assist us in the passing and the promise of a new life. Infinity: The Ultimate Trip is an honest and hopeful assessment of the greatest journey that any of us will ever take. It changes our view from that of dread and pessimism to one of hope, joy and light.

Shakura Cathryn  

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Deepak Chopra Picks The World's Seven Most Powerful Teachers

I like this!

An inspired teacher changes how you think. A powerful teacher changes how masses of people think. The most powerful teachers go even farther--they elevate our collective consciousness. But this ultimate power can't exist without the first step, inspiration. The seven people on this list fulfill both requirements.

Deepak Chopra is the author of over 50 books on health, success, relationships and spirituality. He is also an adjunct professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

No. 1: Gloria Steinem

Founding Editor, Ms.

She is symbolic of a revolution that required many other smart, brave, committed feminists. But in her own right she possesses all those qualities in large measure. Her abiding lesson is about equality.

No. 2: Al Gore

Former Vice President, United States of America

He spoke about an inconvenient truth when there was no glory or reward in it. He showed us it is our responsibility to think globally. His abiding lesson is about deserving nature's gifts.

No. 3: Muhammad Yunus

Founder, Grameen Bank

Yunus is the Bengali banker who won the Nobel Prize for conceiving of mircrocredits--tiny loans that change lives in the developing world. His abiding lesson is about opportunity for all.

No. 4 Nelson Mandela

Former President, South Africa

He survived political oppression in its harshest forms and emerged to reshape a racist society. Personally, he has lived every word of his teaching, whatever the cost. His abiding lesson is about forgiveness.

No. 5: Tenzin Gyatso

Fourteenth Dalai Lama, Tibet

He is world-famous as the face of Eastern spirituality. His life embodies every truth he speaks, but he also works tirelessly to advance knowledge of the brain in its higher functions. His abiding lesson is about compassion.

No. 6: Michio Kaku

Physicist, City College of New York

Kaku is more than an acclaimed physicist rooted in string theory. He pioneers the physics of the impossible, where the universe can produce anything we could imagine. His abiding lesson is that there are no boundaries.

No. 7 Dean Ornish

Founder, Preventive Medicine Research Institute

He made waves medically by alleviating heart disease through lifestyle choices instead of drugs and surgery. Now he's pushing the envelope by showing that lifestyle alters our genes. His abiding lesson is about taking control of your own life.

Shakura Cathryn
"It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things." ~Machiavelli

Friday, November 13, 2009

Obama Visits Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day

We can’t end war until we can see the truth of it. I am heartened to see that President Obama is actually willing to look at the death caused by war. I don’t think either of the Bush presidents allowed themselves to acknowledge how many people were actually dying in the Gulf War, and then in the Iraqi war. And they certainly kept the knowledge of the number of casualties from the American people.

"The best mind-altering drug is truth." ~Lily Tomlin
"The Truth will set you Free. But first, it will piss you off ~Gloria Steinem

My solemn meeting on Veterans Day with President Obama at my friend's resting place in Arlington

BY James Gordon Meek
Thursday, November 12th 2009, 4:00 AM

ARLINGTON, Va. - He didn't introduce himself. He didn't have to.

President Obama simply stuck out his hand and asked for my name as he stepped toward me amid a bone-chilling drizzle in the Gardens of Stone.

This was Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery. I wasn't there as a reporter, but to visit some friends and family buried there when Obama made an unscheduled stop - a rare presidential walk among what Lincoln called America's "honored dead" - after laying a Veterans Day wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

What I got was an unexpected look into the eyes of a man who intertwined his roles as commander in chief and consoler in chief on a solemn day filled with remembrance and respect for sacrifices made - and sacrifices yet to be made.

I'm sure the cynics will assume this was just another Obama photoop.

If they'd been standing in my boots looking him in the eye, they would have surely choked on their bile.

His presence in Section 60 convinced me that he now carries the heavy burden of command.

I had stopped at Arlington to see the resting place of Ken Taylor, Ed Lenard and Dave Sharrett. Ken and Ed survived their service, in World War II and Korea, and died as old men. Dave did not leave Iraq alive. He was 27.

Obama arrived just before noon at the serene Section 60, where many of the dead from Iraq and Afghanistan are buried together - and where many more heroes will undoubtedly be laid to rest before this President leaves office.

It's a section typically bustling with those visiting loved ones. Every time I go there, more and more graves have been dug into the earth.

The President and First Lady Michelle Obama emerged from their armored limousine hatless in the frigid downpour and took a slow stroll into the soggy rows of white marble headstones.

They stopped first at the grave of Medal of Honor recipient Ross McGinnis, an Army private who threw himself on a grenade in Iraq three years ago to save four buddies.

A sad-faced woman reached for Obama's hand and pointed him to a nearby plot.

The face of another woman - who had grimly sat in a folding chair for hours next to a headstone she'd arranged flowers around - suddenly broadened into a smile as she stood to embrace Obama and thank him for paying his respects.

She was so overcome with emotion that a soldier from the Army's Old Guard had to console her afterward.

The President patted backs of a dozen other Gold Star relatives and troops visiting buddies now in the ground.

He gave hugs. He shook wet, chilly hands. He wanted to know something about each fallen warrior.

He began to slowly trudge back toward the motorcade - and to another White House huddle with his war council, which is advising him whether to send up to 40,000 additional troops into harm's way in Afghanistan.

And then Obama noticed a tall, bearded figure. He probably didn't see the mud-caked combat boots I trudged around Afghanistan in a few years ago.

"What's your name?" a somber President asked as he extended his hand.

"James Meek, sir," I replied, struggling to pull off my wool glove and pull my hood back from my head. "I'm here visiting a friend, Pfc. David H. Sharrett II, who was killed in Iraq last year."

He asked how I knew Dave. I explained that his father, also named David, was my high school English teacher in nearby McLean, Va. My classmates and I knew Dave as a little boy playing at our feet.

"He became a star football player and was one of the toughest soldiers in the 101st Airborne Division," I told Obama.

I didn't tell the commander in chief that Dave was killed by friendly fire. Or that the Army bungled notifying Dave's parents of a probe that concluded his lieutenant tragically mistook him for a terrorist in the dark and shot him. Or that his family had to fight for accountability - which two battlefield commanders promised but stateside generals derailed.

That wouldn't have been appropriate, Dave's deeply grateful father later agreed.

"Well, we appreciate his service very much," Obama told me.

I then told him I'm a reporter for the Daily News - but was just there to visit friends.

"Well, James," he said, looking me in the eye, "just because you're a journalist doesn't mean you can't honor your friends here."

The First Lady smiled and squeezed my hand. I thanked her for coming to Section 60.

Her face opened up into a smile filled with warmth and comfort, a welcome antidote for the weather and sadness around her. She said there was no finer place to be on Veterans Day.

Ironically, I was ready to leave the cemetery an hour earlier, but it went into lockdown because of Obama's visit.

"Sorry for any inconvenience," a terribly polite Secret Service agent whispered in my ear.

As the Obamas ended their pilgrimage through Arlington's hallowed ground, inconvenience was hardly what I felt standing there as the rain pelted my coat, staring at blades of grass around a headstone etched with a name and a date I will never forget. 

Neither of these pictures are from Obama’s visit to Arlington…. but I chose the first because it gives a hint of the vastness of this cemetery and the number of graves. And the second picture – well, it’s just so expressive of the truth of human loss.

Remembering and honoring those who have given their lives in various wars… including one who was dear to me.

Shakura Cathryn
"Statistics are human beings with the tears wiped off." ~Paul Brodeur

Monday, November 9, 2009

Flow Chart to Determine What Religion You Should Follow

While I REALLY DO honor all religious paths, I also am 100% sure that God has a sense of humor – and I do too. I hope you enjoy this bit of humor as much as I did~!

(If you have trouble reading this, click on the picture to see it larger.)

Shakura Cathryn
"L.O.R.D. = Love Over Ridiculous Dogma" ~Aletha Byrd
"The detour into fear began when we remembered not to laugh." ~Anonymous

Friday, November 6, 2009

Flower Story

If you are on Facebook, and if you enjoy beautiful photos of flowers and nature scenes, check out FLOWER STORY. You can enter Flower Story in the Facebook search engine. You will find several listings – click on the one that has this icon:

There you will find photo albums containing some of the most exquisitely beautiful pictures I’ve ever seen. Given the name Flower Story, you understand that most of them are pictures of flowers, but there are a number of other wonders there as well. Here are some samples:

Feast your eyes!

Shakura Cathryn
"In music, in a flower, in a leaf, in an act of kindness ... I see what people call God in all these things." ~Pablo Casals
"Have you ever considered how much the blooming flowers, the singing birds, the laughter of children, the contentment of our neighbors and the silent joy of the earth and sky impact and contribute to our happiness and peace of mind? Focus on that and when you quiet your worries, you will hear the song of the new world." ~Author unknown to me.