Y3 – Day 59 – Loving-Kindness

Loving – Kindness is a meditation practice also called Metta Bhavana in the language of Pali. It is an important part of vipassana or insight meditation from the Buddhist tradition.

After settling into a comfortable seated position, breathe deeply and consciously for three to ten breaths.

Once you are quiet, bring a person you loved dearly from your childhood into your mind. It can be a parent, grandparent or aunt- what is important is it is someone who loved you very much. Imagine their face, remember a moment in time when there was no doubt how much they cared and loved you and embrace them warmly.

Tell them “May you be happy, May you be peaceful, May you be free of suffering.”

Then, imagine someone you feel neutral about (maybe a co-worker or acquaintance) and place them in your mind. Tell them the same thing.

Then, imagine someone you are having trouble or issues with, someone who irritates you or is combative. Place them in your mind and heart and tell them the same thing.

And lastly, place yourself in the center of a loving imaginary circle or look into a mirror and tell yourself, ” May I be happy, May I be peaceful, May I be free of suffering.”

This is a brief introduction to a time honored and positive, healing meditation that works.

You can even say it under your breath to remove anxiety, frustration, anger or disappointment.


Y3 – Day 56 – Reprieve

As I sit here writing, I realize it is a little respite from the everyday; a way to relieve any pain, make sense of things, daydream, an attempt to use words to explain abstract, invisible and palpable sentiment. This writing has taken up sometimes a little or much of my day but what matters is the discipline of sitting in front of a blank screen and having faith something will eventually flow out of me and be created. That much is certain.

Today and all this past week has been one of trial, process and negotiation. I have seen my emotions ride the proverbial roller coaster and my strength, tested. Priorities shifted for everyone in our family this week.

We come together. We say our goodbyes.

Y3 – Day 55 – The Course

I was able to listen today and hear some insightful beliefs and contemplate their depth of meaning. All it took was the last half hour of a discussion book study on The Course in Miracles to set me right and back on the path of remembering how to wisely use my thoughts. It also made me ponder and re-affirm the value of our lives, in whatever form that takes. It reinforced and validated my journey.

If my shoulders relax, my breath slows, deepens and elongates, I know I have chosen well and done the right thing, for the highest good of all. If I tense up or my stomach knots up, I have gone against my authentic self. That is why it is imperative that I listen to my body. I knew immediately, by my body’s response, I was in the best place and space for me today and I had made the correct decision to attend the discussion, even if a bit late.

We have choices today. I am grateful just for that. I also know that I do not want to be in fear, anger or worry. I recognize what that looks and feels like on me first. Then, I get to work through it. And then, I have an option. Do I want to dwell in that or do I want to be in the expansiveness of creation? When I choose the latter, a whole new world opens up and I get to accomplish my real purpose here and all because I had a change in my perspective, taking the focus off my ego self and adjusting the view to my highest Self.

In my Higher Self state, I do not think self absorbed thoughts, I do not say stupid, insipid, empty and trite things and I act appropriately.

I seek peace and I live with wonder and awe!

Y3 – Day 54 – 25 Years

Twenty five years on this planet! Today is my eldest’s birthday and knowing him now for a quarter century is beyond belief!


If anyone wants to get teary-eyed they can search this date for 2013 and 2014 (or rather Day 97 – I remember when or Y2 – Day 54 – Wisdom) and they can read previous tributes and anecdotes on our first born son’s birth.

Today, I want to send out greetings to a young man who has become his own person, still learning, growing and enjoying his life with optimism, joy and reason. M is kind, generous and sweet; his smile or rather smirk, the look of surprise in almost every photograph, his gentleness and patience with his sisters, his chivalry and loyalty to all, his depth, his eagerness, his enthusiasm and his self-awareness – is just the tip of the iceberg.

In honor of this boy turned into man who turned his curiosity of dinosaurs into a love of learning, his aptitude for Nintendo into a career into computer engineering and his sensitive nature into a loving partner, caring friend, dedicated, helpful and supportive brother and Best Son Ever – I say proudly and loudly – Happy Birthday, M, Happy Birthday, and may all your days be as precious as you are!

Love, Mom

Y3 – Day 53 – Diamond Roses?

IMG_3753 An exquisite bouquet of rich red sparkly “freedom” roses arrived just in time for St. Valentine’s Day. I have never seen anything like this before. Each precious rose is blinged out in the center with a diamond rhinestone. The petals resemble velvet, the scent is like a romantic memory and the arrangement and vase it was delivered in at my front door is nothing short of class.



Y3 – Day 51 – Oil on Canvas

IMG_3736This oil painting is by Charles Percy Austin (1883-1948) and it is called La Buena Ventura, c.1927. Displayed in the hallway of the original museum building that used to be an hacienda, it caught my eye because of the motif. It made me think of gypsies from the Andaluz area of Spain where my maternal grandfather hailed from. But this portrays a young woman in Southern California. Austin was an illustrator, art teacher, painter and art critic. His largest motif is the study of the San Juan Capistrano mission, Southern California landscapes and Spanish women.

Laid out on the floor by her feet are tarot cards she is studying to predict her own or someone else’s future. She’s holding the deck in one hand, leaning on her knee as she is slumped forward, chin resting on her other hand in a pensive mood, suggesting it is her own destiny she is contemplating. Attractive and brightly clothed, perhaps she is wondering what to do about a male suitor. I love that we are left to surmise on our own. The oil lamp on the upper left wall gives it almost an Arabian Nights feel of mystery. The saltillo tiles, her bangles, the jug of water or wine, the placing of the woman in a secluded corner and the guitar complete the look of exotic female in her hidden sanctuary.

Y3 – Day 50 – Bower’s Lecture 3

Harlem Renaissance and Social Realism was the topic of the day. From Barnard’s Zora Neale Hurston (author of Their Eyes Were Watching God et al), through the rise and era of Jazz to Portraits of Langston Hughes (poet), we traveled the early 1900’s (@ 1914- 1935) and were given glimpses through art how the migration of African Americans to northern cities impacted society, changed the urban landscape and influenced an entire culture.

As We listened and watched Kristin’s topic discussion, we felt we were the “Souls of the Black Folk” leaving the South, an agrarian life and moving into unprepared, congested neighborhoods, becoming what was coined, ” The New Negro”.

Winold Reiss, a key figure, mentor and teacher brings cubism and modernism to his paintings and series of bold illustrations of his interpretations of Harlem Jazz which became a mecca and an emblem of democracy, even for whites.

James Van Der Zee was a photographer and took incredible pictures like Couple in Raccoon Coats, 1932. Although three years into the depression, it depicts the prosperity of the Urban African American. He was also the official photographer of UNIA which was founded as a movement to encourage the African American to identify and even go back to their African roots. He was a master of backdrops and special effects (early photo shopping back in the dark room) so everyone wanted their portrait taken by him.

Augusta Savage was a sculptor who showed her piece Lift every Voice and Sing in the 1939 World’s Fair but due to it being of plaster, not bronze (cost prohibited) all we have left are photos of it.

In cities like Detroit and Chicago, the same explosions of creativity are being explored and documented. Archibald Motley, of mixed race and married to a German white immigrant, lives in a white neighborhood but paints in particular, African Americans with varying degrees of color and ancestry and always in a positive light. His self-portrait from 1933 is full of overt symbolism. He paints the urbanity and the spirituality like in Holy Rollers, 1929 and Black Belt, 1934. 

Other artists we visited were:

Aaron Douglas who specialized in murals (Harriet Tubman – Liberation, 1931)  and did many series of works that demonstrated the legacy of oral tradition and history on canvas.

Palmer Hayden, who although untrained, spent a lot of time in Paris and with his talent painted such still lives as Fetiche et Fleurs, 1926, European, classic design but incorporating African Art such as a mask and a tribal cloth. In Midsummer Night in Harlem, 1936, he celebrates the community and in The Janitor who Paints, 1939-40 , he tries to break down stereotypes using his artist’s brush.

By far the most well known and famous, as well as prosperous painter was the successful, Jacob Lawrence. His Migration of the Negro series is 60 panels (all captioned) of strong narrative description using only three or four bold colors and in the style of dynamic cubism. He tells stories of how good housing grew scarce, how already situated and long time resident African Americans despised the migrants, poverty and hunger rose as the population expanded too quickly to meet the infrastructure demands. Half the panels are displayed in Washington, DC (odd numbers) and half are in NY at the Met.(evens). The last panel was a mass of migrants at the railroad station, in front of the tracks and the title is merely, “They Kept Coming.”

I was left with a new sense and understanding of what it must have been like then and accompanied with the high number of immigration pieces from last week’s tenement discussion, it made me appreciate the sacrifices people make for the following generations.

Next week, no lecture.

Someone asked me why I have no pictures with my synopsis of these lectures. Well, the room is dark, the slides shown do not photograph well and I usually have to find a seat in the back as it is quite popular. And I never upload photos I do not own or have permission to post.

I would urge you to go online and find these works on your own as followup, it would enhance your enjoyment of them.