Sunday, January 31, 2010

Haiti: Songs of Hope and Miracles

The thing that touches my heart about  big disasters, whether natural or human created, is the miracles that happen in conjunction with them, and the loving kindness and shared feelings that people experience. I love seeing people come together to help and bless and support.

Here are two things that I find beautiful... The first is a rescue of a woman who was trapped in the rubble for 6 days. When she was pulled out she was SINGING - "Don't be afraid of death."

And the second is a performance from the MTV Hope for Haiti Now benefit show. There are 19 videos of performances from that show which can be seen beginning here:
You can choose others from the list in the menu on the right side of the page. my favorite video from that show: Justin Timberlake, accompanied by Matt Morris on guitar and harmony vocals, and Charlie Sexton on guitar. I love the vocal harmonies and the beautiful slow sweetness of this performance.

Donate Now: 1-877-99-HAITI in US/Canada, or go to

Although - I also love Leonard Cohen's original version of it:

My heart is just so touched by the beauty of the human spirit, and the songs that emerge from the beauty, the sorrow and the love.

Shakura Cathryn
"Why do we sing? It's how we bless our lives. Our whole lives, the brokenness and the holiness, the joy and the sorrow, all of it, not just some of it, but all of it....Singing our lives is different from living them. It doesn't enhance the sacredness, but it acknowledges the sacredness. When we sing about grief, or longing, or hope, or joy, we become aware of the wonder and mysteriousness of our lives. Singing our lives is blessing our lives....There is power in the song." ~Sarah Campbell
“I think continually of those who were truly great.
Who, from the womb, remembered the soul's history
Through corridors of light where the hours are suns,
Endless and singing. Whose lovely ambition
Was that their lips, still touched with fire,
Should tell of the spirit clothed from head to foot in song.”
~Excerpt from the poem I Think Continually of Those, by Stephen Spender

Friday, January 22, 2010

Shoveling Snow With Buddha

A winter contemplation...

Photo by Amida Harvey -

Shoveling Snow With Buddha

In the usual iconography of the temple or the local Wok
you would never see him doing such a thing,
tossing the dry snow over a mountain
of his bare, round shoulder,
his hair tied in a knot,
a model of concentration.

Sitting is more his speed, if that is the word
for what he does, or does not do.

Even the season is wrong for him.
In all his manifestations, is it not warm or slightly humid?
Is this not implied by his serene expression,
that smile so wide it wraps itself around the waist of the universe?

But here we are, working our way down the driveway,
one shovelful at a time.
We toss the light powder into the clear air.
We feel the cold mist on our faces.
And with every heave we disappear
and become lost to each other
in these sudden clouds of our own making,
these fountain-bursts of snow.

This is so much better than a sermon in church,
I say out loud, but Buddha keeps on shoveling.
This is the true religion, the religion of snow,
and sunlight and winter geese barking in the sky,
I say, but he is too busy to hear me.

He has thrown himself into shoveling snow
as if it were the purpose of existence,
as if the sign of a perfect life were a clear driveway
you could back the car down easily
and drive off into the vanities of the world
with a broken heater fan and a song on the radio.

All morning long we work side by side,
me with my commentary
and he inside his generous pocket of silence,
until the hour is nearly noon
and the snow is piled high all around us;
then, I hear him speak.

After this, he asks,
can we go inside and play cards?

Certainly, I reply, and I will heat some milk
and bring cups of hot chocolate to the table
while you shuffle the deck.
and our boots stand dripping by the door.

Aaah, says the Buddha, lifting his eyes
and leaning for a moment on his shovel
before he drives the thin blade again
deep into the glittering white snow.

~ Billy Collins ~

Art from Facebook - Buddha Light
Shakura Cathryn

Monday, January 18, 2010

GoD And DoG

Thank you, Sky, for telling me about this wonderful song:

And the song reminds me of one of my favorite poems:


I could not lie anymore so I started to call my dog "God."
First he looked

then he started smiling, then he even

I kept at it: now he doesn’t even

I am wondering if this
might work on

from Love Poems from God
Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West
Translator: Daniel Ladinsky

Shakura Cathryn
"A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself." ~Josh Billings

Friday, January 15, 2010

Winter Feast for the Soul

In the aftermath of the unimaginable devastation caused by the earthquake in Haiti, I am inspired to join in the Winter Feast for the Soul by dedicating some time each day to prayer and meditation for all people who are suffering.

For more information, visit the Winter Feast for the Soul website:

Support Doctors Without Borders in Haiti
Shakura Cathryn
"I offer you peace. I offer you love. I offer you friendship. I see your beauty. I hear your need. I feel your feelings. My wisdom flows from the Highest Source. I salute that Source in you. Let us work together for unity and love." - Mahatma Gandhi - Prayer for Peace

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Encounter -- Czeslaw Milosz


We were riding through frozen fields in a wagon at dawn.
A red wing rose in the darkness.

And suddenly a hare ran across the road.
One of us pointed to it with his hand.

That was long ago. Today neither of them is alive,
Not the hare, nor the man who made the gesture.

O my love, where are they, where are they going?
The flash of a hand, streak of movement, rustle of pebbles.
I ask not out of sorrow, but in wonder.

~ Czeslaw Milosz ~

This arrived in my inbox today, on a day when I’m still contemplating the unexpected death of my friend, and I also got an e-mail reminding me of the disappearance of a local woman last March. That mystery still has not been solved. Life seems so “solid” in a way. We have these bodies which we can see, feel, touch. Sometimes they are heavy to carry around. We seem so PHYSICAL, so earthly in our “aliveness.” And yet, our physical existence can just cease to be, at any minute.

I know that’s not a bad thing, and that we truly are eternal and CONSCIOUS in a way that transcends and gloriously exceeds all our physical experiences…. and yet, it’s such a mystery.

Although I am still feeling grief and sorrow, I am also feeling awe and wonder.

Another thing about being in - and suddenly out - of the body came to me today... this article about Michaela Roser's near death experience:

And BTW, a hare suddenly ran across the road in front of me today.
Coincidence? I think not.

Shakura Cathryn  
"One day I will leave this world and Dream myself to Reality" ~Crazy Horse 1874