Friday, May 30, 2008

The Eye of the Beholder

Lately I have found myself feeling a little less than satisfied with my current size and shape. For many reasons, all known to me, I have put on a lil extra weight and it's just not sitting well with me. I hear myself criticizing my body and I actually have to laugh a little. How many times have my friends told me they were unhappy about there bodies and I told them to relax and that they were gorgeous? (And it was true every time.) I am not a huge fan of hypocrisy in general and even less so in myself. So I keep telling myself what I would tell any other person in the world, "Shut up and be happy, you are gorgeous!" Is it working? Kinda, but sometimes a little outside help doesn't hurt...

So this morning I was reading a post from Kristen on my favorite blog GlamSpirit about an article by Walter Kirn that had inspired her. I followed her link and was not disappointed. The article is about how Walter has come to view and define beauty in women over the years. His words are touching, honest and inspiring. It's so refreshing to read about a man finding beauty where we might find flaws. It also got me thinking and I decided that for the times when "beautiful!" is not the first thing I say to my reflection in the mirror perhaps "I love you!" will be my replacement. Maybe that's a better way to go anyway... hmmmmm, ya think? After all there is nothing sexier on the planet than a healthy self esteem.

I want to say thank you to Kristen and to Walter Kirn for their timely inspiration. Oh and, by the way, Kristen is gorgeous... not just words, folks.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Skype Me Baby!

Gotta love the video phone.
Oscar sure does!

For everyone who does not already know about Skype it is a super fantastic service that's available to anyone with access to a computer. Skype allows you to make video calls to other Skype members (anywhere in the world) for free, that's right gang, for FREE! Oh and membership is free too. A couple of weeks ago I was using a computer in an Internet cafe in Brazil and I was speaking face to face with my sister who was still half asleep in her bed in Upstate New York. It was fantastic. You can also use your Skype account to call people on the telephone for ridiculously low rates. People were making calls to their friends all over the world, for free, on the computers at this Internet cafe in Brazil. In fact all of the Internet cafes that I went to were Skype ready and even had headsets on all of the computers so people could speak with relative privacy. It really is an incredible service and I'd have to say an absolute must if you're planning to travel. If you don't have it then click on the Skype ad on the right side of this page and get it, you will not regret it! All you have to do is to download the program and away you go! Free Video Phone, People! Video phone is good and free is good, the combination... Fantastic!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A Prayer Meeting in the Heart of the World

Okay, a wee bit more about my trip to Brazil... My first morning waking up in Abadiania my eyes popped open at about 6 am, first time for everything right? Every morning after I spontaneously awoke between the hours of 4:30 am and 6:30 am, depending on the schedule of that day. I had no alarm clock and it didn't matter if I went to bed at 9 pm or 12 am. I didn't even feel tired... weeeell most of the time anyway, lol. So that, for me, was pretty amazing and cool. Oh and, by the way, I am still waking up early, although here I may or may not get up early... that's an Abadiania thing.

My Sunday morning in Abadiania started around 6:30 am. I woke up, meditated, did a little stretching and then went down to the pousada dining room for breakfast. (I stayed at Pousada Irmâo Sol, Irmâ Lua aka "Martin's" and it was wonderful. You can find it in the Casa Guide) So, anyway, at breakfast my friends Brian and Noreen told me that they were going to a prayer meeting at the Casa de Dom Inacio de Loyola. I asked if I could tag along and they said, "Of course!"

I had no idea what to expect. the Casa is kinda technically Catholic, Jesuit and Spiritist. (I was born Episcopalian, grew up going to an ashram that was primarily Hindu but open to all faiths and over time I have become... hmmmm. All I know is that there is nothing that exists that is not God, Consciousness or whatever you'd like to call IT.)

So, to start the meeting a lovely man stands up in front of our little group of about twenty people and tells us to share prayers, poetry, hymns, songs or do whatever comes into our heart but to just please refrain from trying to coach us. He went on to say that each person in the meeting was doing their own work, that we should respect this and to please simply use this time to share. I was excited to hear what would come next!

People shared poetry, prayers and hymns in English, French, Armenian, German, Portuguese and even Gaelic! The prayer book that we were given contained every type of prayer imaginable, including a Native American blessing. We enjoyed hearing and joining in on several Buddhist and Hindu chants and the grand finale of this incredible worship sharing experience was the entire group singing "Let It Be" by the Beatles at the request of a lovely English gentleman. I must confess that I had tears streaming down my face for the better part of the hour long meeting. In my head I was begging God to somehow let me live in this incredible place where all people are welcome and encouraged to come and worship together in whatever manner they pleased. For me this was just further confirmation that Abadiania is in fact Heaven on Earth!