Thursday, September 30, 2010




D    Diversion


There's more HERE

Saturday, September 25, 2010

To Perla Batalla

I count among my circle of Sebastopol friends more than a half dozen poets: Gwynn, Jim, Karl, Sandy, Raphael, Nancy, Larry, Richard and more. We get together from time to time to share what we've written.

Here's one Richard wrote after attending a music festival.

to perla batalla, formerly backup singer to leonard cohen

perla speaks of the church of leonard
kindhearted praise for the master 
then sings the cohen poems in a voice
as clear as the rim of a flower touched by dew
as clear as a call of love in the forest
as clear as the fallen tree giving back 
its essence to the family 
passionate beyond the gates of forgiveness

perla sings honestly 
the heart
perla sings with a heart so big
that the flowers the trees the people 
know with certainty
it is the church of perla
it is the church of us

—Richard Nichols

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Living in Community

Happiness is... living in community.

Of course many things can make us happy. Simply looking up can help. Or smiling. Or singing. Or dancing. Or painting. Or visiting a friend or relative. Or helping a neighbor.

Today, though, I want to mention living in community, for it seems to me we Americans are hungry for social connections that expand our circle of acquaintances and friendships.

We yearn for community, don't we?

I can attest to how good living in community feels. I’ve had two weekends full.

 Last weekend I spent Saturday at the Wine Country Ukulele Festival with my uke friends from Sebastopol.

The very next day I bicycled down to our Community Center where my friend, Jim Corbett, was leading a celebration of Peace. I spent all of Sunday afternoon there. I sang in the Love Choir. We sang for the first hour or so. Then we had some speeches by local politicians from the Mayor of Sebastopol to our Representative in Congress.

The Lovies perform for Jim Corbett's Peace Gathering

I joined a huge drum circle playing for more than an hour a rhythmical “Bo Diddley” beat on my new ukulele, migrating by mid afternoon to a poetry circle, and ending the day listening to Ma Muse perform in the main hall.

This weekend I spent the Saturday at the Renaissance Fair supporting our local schools. What a success!

Sarah and Andrea Hagen, one of the many organizers of the Faire

Two of the throngs of entertainers who graced us with their talents.

 Sarah's first plunge. Note the boy at right pushing the plunger with his hands; he had
earlier hit a bullseye with his thrown softball, but not energetically enough to trip the mechanism.

The Faire drew an estimated 2500 people. Sarah, as Mayor of Sebastopol spent a half hour into and out of the Dunk Tank. She got plunged in many times.

Later on this afternoon we’ve got a party to go to.

So much fun! I hope you live in a community that gathers together frequently and celebrates together.

Wine Country Ukulele Festival
Love Choir
Bo Diddley
Ma Muse
Renaissance Faire

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Look Up

Bonnie over at Original Art Studio posted a piece about how looking up can make you feel better.

If you've been feeling in need of a lift zip on over: Things Are Looking Up.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

September 11: The Day Non Violence Was Born

I spent September 11 at the Third Annual Wine Country Ukulele Festival in St. Helena, California, carpooling the 30 mile trip with a pal from Sebtown Ukesters.

If there's a musical instrument that makes people smile, it's gotta be the uke, a four-string guitar with a happy disposition and an ego proportional to its size.

I wish I were the person my uke thinks I am.

  Music Guy Mike meets Mr. Kindergarten

Everyone at the festival seemed to have a good time. There were uke players from as far away as Italy! My pal and I met Ralph Shaw, a uke celeb from Canada, Music Guy Mike from Hawaii..

When we returned to Sebastopol we were surprised to see the American flags along Main Street that the Boy Scouts put up on holidays. I had been having so much fun, I had forgotten what day it was. Depressing memories of nine years ago began to crowd my mind.

I'd like to offer Mindful Heart readers happy information about September 11.

It was on this day in 1906 that Gandhi first applied his ideas about non violent struggle at a meeting of Indian Nationals in Johannesburg, South Africa. If you've seen the movie, Gandhi, you may remember the early scene in a large meeting hall in South Africa. Angry Indians talk about killing their white oppressors. Gandhi calms everyone by declaring that while he is willing to die in the cause of human rights, he is not willing to kill.

So it was that on September 11, 1906 Gandhi discovered the power of non violent resistance. He discovered a powerful force for good. He spent the rest of his life developing and using this idea.

May we rediscover its power and apply it to our world today and for the rest of our lives!

Today, this guy would play the ukulele!

Here's the Wiki paragraph about this day:

In 1906, the Transvaal government promulgated a new Act compelling registration of the colony's Indian population. At a mass protest meeting held in Johannesburg on 11 September that year, Gandhi adopted his still evolving methodology of satyagraha (devotion to the truth), or non-violent protest, for the first time, calling on his fellow Indians to defy the new law and suffer the punishments for doing so, rather than resist through violent means. The community adopted this plan, leading to a seven-year struggle in which thousands of Indians were jailed (including Gandhi), flogged, or even shot, for striking, refusing to register, burning their registration cards or engaging in other forms of non-violent resistance. While the government was successful in repressing the Indian protesters, the public outcry stemming from the harsh methods employed by the South African government in the face of peaceful Indian protesters finally forced South African General Jan Christiaan Smuts to negotiate a compromise with Gandhi. Gandhi's ideas took shape and the concept of satyagraha matured during this struggle.

At Wikipedia you can find more about Gandhi.

And more about the Uke festival: Wine Country Ukulele Festival.

And as for that day nine years ago, I offer for your consideration this poem written by my poet friend, Jim Wilson: Untitled

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Great Way

“The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When loves and hate are both absent everything becomes clear and undisguised.

Make the smallest distinction however and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart. 

If you wish to see the truth then hold no opinions for or against anything. To set up what you like against what you dislike is the disease of the mind.”

—Seng-tsan,  Verses on the Faith Mind  
translated by Richard B. Clark

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Fifth Tuesday Meeting

The Society of Friends met a Richard's lovely house on the Laguna for a delightful sharing of poetry. It was great. Richard's poetry (he writes his own) was really great. Richard, of course, is pretty modest about his poetic talents. But Marc, who used to teach poetry at the college level and has written a textbook on reading it that is still in print, loved Richard's work. So did I.

Marc shared this poem from Hafiz. I asked him to read it three times and curbed my urge to ask for more.

In the end I decided to ask him to email it to me so I could share it here.

(by Hafiz, translated by Daniel Ladinsky)
Admit something:
Everyone you see, you say to them, “Love me.”
Of course you do not do this out loud, otherwise
someone would call the cops.
Still though, think about this, this great pull in us to connect.
Why not become the one who lives with a
full moon in each eye that is
always saying,
with that sweet moon language,
what every other eye in
this world is
dying to


Hafiz has given all the advice anyone ever really needs. In one poem.

Marc's book is here.
Richard's poetry is here.