Chiang Mai Night Market – Sites and Sounds

This is my third video from our 3 week trip to Thailand last November. The night market occurs every week on Sunday night and attracts thousands of people over many blocks in Old-Town Chiang Mai. This night Market is famous. Lots of really talented street musicians, inexpensive Thai massage and amazing street food is available, not to mention so many bargains on the tables. My Lumix GH4 helped me get this 4K footage in November 2018.

The audio tracks were taken from the free Youtube Audio Library.

Chiang Mai Night Market – Sites and Sounds

A Day With The Elephants

I captured this footage in November 2018 while on a stay in Chiang Mai. It started out as a last minute decision to join a group tour and go to an Elephant Sanctuary. We didn’t even know why there were Elephant Sanctuaries. What an education it was. It was one of the most memorable experiences we have ever had.

Enjoy the happy eyes and smiles of the participants. I thank the employees of the Kanta Sanctuary for their care and attention to detail on our visit. They were wonderful.

If the video doesn’t work, just click on the Youtube Icon in the bottom-right corner. It will take you directly to the Youtube video.

Kanta Elephant Sanctuary – Chiang Mai – Thailand

A Readers Question about Prem Rawat

From a reader:

I am doing a lot of research on Prem Rawat himself to collect some information. I am surprised to see that a lot of information on Prem Rawat is not very flattering. Could you shed some light on this please? . . ./Thanks

Prem Rawat

Dear Reader,

I will shed what light I can from my personal experience.

One can never judge someone through another’s eyes. People sometimes say unflattering things about me and they have their personal reasons for viewing me so. I can only request that I be judged by my own actions and not the words of others. They have their own path to travel and I have mine. As my father once said: “you have to march to your own drummer”. What he meant was that you can’t take the low road based upon the views of others, but must take the high road based upon your own inner instincts.

Personally, I try to judge no one but accept others into my life based only upon how they treat me personally.

Many decades ago, I made a decision to take the path of the heart. I knew from a very young age that this was my path. I could feel it inside. It guided and protected me through my teen years and into my early twenties when I knew a decision would be made. It happened when I was 26 years old.

My decision was to accept and practice the Techniques of Knowledge that Prem Rawat showed me.

Knowing is the opposite of Believing. The whole world believes but no one really knows. All the religions are based upon one belief or another. Through this practice I was shown, I found my answers from within. The questions began to cease and the beliefs were no longer necessary. I could now see life through the lens of the heart.

He was known as Maharaji  and even then, people were criticizing him, as they do now. Now they have the internet as their tool. There will probably always be people who will criticize and slander.

This man showed me a way to experience a personal Peace in my life. For this, I have the greatest appreciation and gratitude.

I hope this helps.

What a most incredible and wonderful life we have been given.

*     *     *

My Marathon

Running Woods PathI had a sleeping dream and when I awoke, unusually, I remembered every little detail and emotion of it. To express the powerful feelings the dream evoked in me, it seemed appropriate to use the poetry form. This is the first time I’ve done this for many years. Hope you like it. . .

I ran a marathon.
Just me and my path.

Shifting, twisting, weaving,
woods and streams surround.
Up, over, down and ’round.
Earth rises to meet my sole.
Heart beating, breath heaving,
blood pulsing, protecting, energizing.

Feeling whole.

Power within, light, lighting.
Skin sweating, body heating,
muscles tingling, arms reaching.
Legs stretching, thighs pounding.
Step by step – elation, creation,
freedom fluidly flowing.

The rise of hill the crest and fall.
Running, falling, gravity pulling,
legs solidly meeting the call.
Dodging obstacles, pathway blocked,
fallen trees, no penetration, consternation.

Space, a space – a very small space.
Can’t fit – coming through – transformation.
Pure energy, flying freely flowing
seeing, through clean pure air,
between dark limbs with leaves in place.

Flying, flying, flying . . .

Transformed again to matter dense.
Destination coming, evaluating.
Anticipation, round the turn,
behind the fence, crowd, waiting, cheering.
Winners kiss, feeling, smiling.

Feeling proud – now awaken.
Dream is done, marathon won.
Gratitude – affirmation, appreciation.

Soul power, breath within,
beating heart, energy flowing.
Freedom reigns with love and light.
New day dawning – future’s bright.

King Of The World

I am the King of the World. The power of my every thought transforms the atoms of the earthly realms and molds my manifested existence. Creation is my specialty. The Universe serves my every wish. My dreams come true. Elevated, are those who feel my aura. The power of my heartfelt experience of Joy, Love and Fulfillment permeates the air I breathe. Darkness shrinks at a glimpse of my light. Danger flees from me. My adventure never ends and, moment to moment,  is ever changing. I fly in my dreams and float when awake. Wherever I am, there within, is my true home and my best friend – always bringing peace and love to my existence. I am never alone. I am the luckiest man alive – for I am the King of the World!

*     *     *

The Bloggers Lament

Most bloggers write to be appreciated. They don’t blog for fame. They don’t blog for money. They don’t blog to pass the time of day. They blog because they have an irresistible internal energy that is calling them to interact with other humans through the two-way street called written communication.

We live in a world with little appreciation. People spend a lot of their time complaining and criticizing. Bloggers do this too, but many bloggers are trying very diligently to add to the joys of the world – to uplift the reader to a higher consciousness or, at least, to better their day. For that they ask only for a little appreciation and gratitude.

If most bloggers are like me, they are somewhat addicted to the stats page. Where are my readers coming from? What articles do they like? Are they coming back for more? Do they like what I write? Do they appreciate me?

There’s the rub. The bloggers lament. Am I appreciated for what I write. 147 hits today, 213 yesterday. They looked at many of my blogs, but no “likes” and no “comments”. Ah, at last, one comment – this reader is inspired by my latest piece and praises my writing style. Now everything is right with the world. I am inspired to write more.

Dear reader: if you enter a website or blog and read content that someone has taken the trouble to write and make available to you, please honor them. If you like what they write then click the “like” button or leave a comment. If you disagree with what they write, tell them so they can get a different perspective. We are all learning.

I hereby declare this week as Blogger Appreciation Week. Please show your appreciation for your favorite blogger with a “Like”.

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My Rocket Ship

The color blue comes in many shades and hues. It is very much affected by red in the direction of purple and by yellow in the direction of green. Depending on my mood, I tend to favor one or the other but, in any case, blue is my favourite of all the colors. I usually favor the green-blue hues unless I am feeling very spiritual, in which case I favor the more purple direction of blue.

When I was very young, perhaps about 4 or 5 years old, my father bought an old inboard motor boat, put it in the garage of our little home and proceeded to rebuild it to make it seaworthy (or at least lake worthy). The details of this boat are not germane to this story, but the color he painted it is of extreme importance. He purchased a large 1 gallon pail of the most incredible color of deep blue shiny enamel marine paint for his boat. To this day I remember the maiden voyage of this little boat on the Fraser river near where we lived. I felt very proud to be out with my father in his completed boat project with the shiny blue paint. This was heaven.

The unused can of paint sat in the garage for many long months and all this time, I knew the rest of this paint was waiting specifically for me to use. I also knew, when the time came, I would know exactly what to do with it.

One day I found, in a kids magazine, the plans and directions on how to build your own personal rocket ship. I became fascinated with the idea of a rocket ship that could take me travelling  through space. The concept of time was not yet in my consciousness. For me, the rocket ship was a ticket to the stars and the other end of the galaxy. My rocket ship would get me there any time I pleased.

During the next few days I searched out the components for my project. If certain things weren’t available, I would make do with something close. A long cylinder cardboard tube for the main fuselage, heavy cardboard pieces cut from a box for the tale wings. I found a plastic cone for the nose somewhere. Here and there, a little bit of tape and glue was applied very carefully. Eventually I completed the project except for the paint. This was the most important part and, in many ways, the real motivation for the rocket project.

I remember very distinctly the day I opened the paint can, small brush in hand, and proceeded to cover my rocket ship with this most incredible color of shiny blue paint with the greenish tinge.

When the paint was dry, I knew exactly what to do with my completed rocket ship. It sat on my dresser for a very long time. Every night when I went to bed, there it was. Shiny. Ready for exploring the heavens. It just felt so good to have my own rocket ship.

Dear reader, I apologize for not giving you a picture of my blue rocket ship because, like so many things in life, somewhere in the mists of time, it has disappeared.

Be like a little child, if you will, and imagine what it looked like. Then you too, can travel to the stars.

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Talk About The Good Things

Ever notice how many people express negatively everywhere about everything. Complaints about this; complaints about that.  The issue is usually about past happenings. The list of subjects is endless AND no one wants to hear it – even if they are compassionate and empathetic. After the complainer leaves, there is a little voice within that says, gently and silently: “got to avoid that person . . .” Everywhere you look, people are unhappily expressing the woes of their life as if the whole world was responsible for their situation.

We create our own life. We create our own happiness. If we are unhappy we created that too. Many will disagree with this, but it is what I believe. Some people wonder why they have no friends. Even family will avoid you if you are constantly complaining.

It’s hard sometimes. Life, for most people, isn’t always easy. It actually takes a determination to be positive when we are with others, especially if we are having issues in our life. But, gratitude and appreciation is the key – for what we have been given – because we have been given so much.

We have so many concepts and expectations about how things SHOULD be and no appreciation for how they ARE. Give up talk about the past or the future. The past is gone, never to be hear again and the future, well, who knows – no-one.

The secret is to live in the NOW, in the present and enjoy what we have. You are alive – that’s what is important. Enjoy your life. Understand! You are alive. That is a miracle if there ever was one.

Talk about the good things.

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The Magic of Life

It is interesting how, when life presents us with its magic, we feel compelled to analyze and define it with logic and words such as: coincidence, fortune, destiny, divine providence, etc. etc.

The magic of life is all around us. It never stops; a pod of Killer whales on a ferry boat ride; a chance meeting with an old friend on the other side of the world. The fulfillment of a dream we had years ago and forgot about. The examples are endless.

Life IS magic – it was meant to be. The problem is that to experience this magic, our awareness must be connected to our heart. Unfortunately, for most of us, our awareness is connected to our mind and our daily issues. Thus we usually miss the magic because our magic receptors are not connected. When we ARE “connected” we call the magic “coincidence” or we say “a strange thing happened today”.

With this connection to the heart through the energy within our breath we experience gratitude and love in our very being. Then the magic begins. It pours on us like warm rain. Everywhere we turn there is a “coincidence”; seven rainbows in the sky, more stars than we every imagined; the moon takes on an iridescent glow we never saw before. Our friends become like angels when we look at them.

This is how life was meant to be before we lost our way. Let us embrace the miracle of life and feel love, appreciation and gratitude for this gift of human form and consciousness that allows us to feel and enjoy the miracle of our life. If we don’t know how to do this, we must search until we find the way.

*     *     *

Sammy the Barber

Two months had passed since my last haircut when I went to see Sammy, my barber. The little shop is just off the corner of Davie and Burrard street here in Vancouver. As I walked through the door, there he was, one barber chair in a line of eight.  All Greek guys who cut hair – a couple of old guys, a couple of young ones, wet behind the ears, and a couple of middle aged ones. Sammy is one of the middle aged ones. Behind the chairs, is a continuous mirror the whole length of the wall. Written, in large black ink, behind each chair is the name of the barber. Sammy’s name on the mirror says simply, “Sam” in fancy scrolled lettering. It used to say “Sammy”, but somewhere along the line, it got changed to “Sam”. The name on the mirror conveys a sense of permanence – as if it had always been there, forever.

I was sitting there waiting for him to finish with his customer thinking that I would be next. You know, I thought, I’ve been going to Sammy for years and every time I come here, there he is at the same chair, seeming to enjoy every minute of his work. He always seems to take such pride in what he does.

He charges $16 for what is usually a 15 or 20 minute haircut. (I don’t have a lot of hair left to cut on top).

Here’s how it goes: I sit down. He says: “the usual, make it look nice?” I say: “yep” and away he goes, knowing exactly what to do. I trust him. He never screws it up. When he’s finished, he shows me the back of my head in his big mirror and, like always, he says: “okay?” and like always, I say: “looks great Sam – thank you”.

Then, as always, after he slathers the heated shaving cream on the back of my neck around to the ears, he scrapes it away with the long straight razor. Every time he does this, I think of the gangster movie, long ago, where the italian barber is menacingly flourishing the straight razor around the exposed neck of the gangster. I don’t know why, but every time I see that razor, the flash of that movie comes into my head. Just a quick slice and it would be curtains for me.

We joke about how thin my hair is getting on top and he asks: Did I give you some of my stuff? “What stuff” I ask? Without explaining, he says: “just a minute. I’ll get it”. Off he goes into the back and comes out with a beautiful small black box with something inside. “This is for you” he says.

Everything is now done. Some alcohol to clean the shaving cream off, a quick wipe with a towel, a 15 second head massage, a  blow dry, a pat hear and their to make it neat and he wisks away the apron protecting me from the ton of hair he just cut off my head.

It’s always the same routine for payment. I know he charges $16.00. I always give him $20.00. (A t Christmas time it’s $25). He reaches into his change box under the counter, as always, and as he does this, I always say: “No No, Sam, that’s all right”. Everytime, for years now, he looks me in the eye with a look of sheer gratitude and puts his hand out, at shoulder level, to shake mine. No words – just a quick and sincere thank you handshake.

This time, as I get out of the chair, he hands me the little black box and says put this on you hair everyday – it’ll make it thicker. “Does it work? “Yea it does” and he explains how to use it.

“How much is it?” I ask, thinking I don’t really want to spend more money right now. “My gift” he says. “No charge” Well of course I was all over him with thanks, etc. etc.

He smiles, I smile and say: “thanks Sam – see you next time”. As I’m about to go out the door, I turn to wave at him. By this time his next customer is in the chair. He looks up just as I look at him. We both give a quick little wave and out the door I go.

As I walked into the sunlight and down the sidewalk on Burrard St., I thought; “Isn’t life grande. There are some truly wonderful people out there!”

*     *     *

The Greatest Gift

Breathing – is the most primordial and sacred act performed by a human being, indeed, all of humanity.

Within this breath lies the path to the heart, the source of life and infinite fulfillment. Intuitively, we know this. BUT to experience this fulfillment, appreciation and gratitude are required. This is the mystery only a few seem to understand. Without this appreciation and gratitude, the mind is at war and thus, the world is at war.

The earths people must learn to appreciate and experience the power of the greatest gift from the greatest giver – the breath.

A river of answers flows from within the infinite realm of the heart. All else holds endless questions. The path to the heart can be found by searching and asking the questions. When the path is found, questions will cease and answers will abound.

Within the river of answers lies true wisdom and endless joy.

Do you have answers or questions?

*     *     *

SSSS Technology – There is a solution!

The following Comment was left by me in answer to a blog entitled: “Silent Sound Spread Spectrum (SSSS) & the All-Digital TV Broadcast Signal: Connection?” January 31, 2009 by Gary Rea.

In this blog,  Gary expresses his concern about SSSS technology and the possible future use of it to influence and control the general public using subliminal programming via digital television broadcasts.

The text of the blog can be read at:

Following is my comment in answer to Garys blog :

There is a solution – one solution only. We need to get our consciousness out of our warring minds and into our hearts where our true existence lies. The worlds population is at war within. That is why they can be controlled. A warring mind can always be controlled, by outside forces, because it lives in total fear. Those who control, know this.

These events are a call for humanity to find out who they really are – to find the real power within themselves so they can become independent, free and fearless – what they were meant to be from ancient times. Those who fail to do so will have a very painful existence in this new paradigm.

We are all too interested in who won the Super-bowl or the Oscars. We watch the terrible pictures on the TV and internet and say to ourselves: “I’m glad this isn’t happening to me.” Ah yes – we are safe in our little corner of the world. No we’re not. It is happening to all of us. The Earth has become very small and is getting smaller by the day.

We do not have to live in fear. Search for your answers. They are available – people just aren’t looking . . .

. . ./John

Making a Difference

Once a man was walking along a beach. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day.

Off in the distance he could see a little girl going back and forth between the surf’s edge and the beach. Back and forth she went. As the man approached, he could see here throwing starfish into the ocean. He could also see that there were hundreds of starfish stranded on the sand as a result of the natural action of the tide. The man was struck by the the apparent futility of the task. There were far too many starfish. Many of them were sure to perish.

As he approached, the little girl continued the task of picking up starfish one by one and throwing them into the surf. As he came up to her he said, “You must be crazy. There are thousands of miles of beach covered with starfish. You can’t possibly make a difference.” She looked at the man and then stooped down to pick up one more starfish and threw it back into the ocean. She turned back to the man and said, “It sure made a difference for that one!”

“The Star Thrower” (or “Starfish Story”) is part of a sixteen page essay of the same name by Loren Eiseley (1907–1977). It was first published in 1969 in The Unexpected Universe.

I heard this story many years ago and thought I would re-publish it here on my blog for all those who have never heard of it. This is my version of the story. It has been told and re-told thousands of times in different ways, but always with the same message: the power of the individual to make a difference in this world.

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The Secret of the Peace-Master

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago in another age, when the earth was younger, there was a little village nestled in a valley between the high snow capped mountains and the deep blue sea. Surrounded by very tall thousand year old evergreen trees with thick brown bark, the village was protected from the fierce ocean winds and the winter gales.

For eons, the villagers lived in peace, harmony and simplicity. They ate the delicious, abundant food from the forest and the sea. A small stream meandered through the village and brought pure ice cold drinking and cooking water from the mountain glaciers. The people lived with the harsh seasons tempered by the warmth of the ocean water and the protection of the high mountains.

As time progressed, the expert fishermen began to realize they could enrich their life by working together to make the villagers pay higher prices for their fish. The forest hunters, who had developed high skills through their years of experience, began to charge more for their food so they could live a better life. The leaders of the village council began to oppress the other villagers with higher taxes to be used for the betterment of the village but they soon began to keep much of the collected taxes so they could live an easier life. Soon the entire village was filled with greed and bickering. The people no longer lived in peace and harmony. The simple life became a difficult and complicated one for most of the villagers. There were some in the village who longed for a return of the simple, harmonious, peaceful life they once knew. They prayed to the spirit of nature to help them.

One warm blue-skied summer day an ageless stranger came to the village. From where he came, no one knew. He had an ancient secret to tell. He met with the few peacemaking villagers and told them he had come long ago to create peace in the village but the villagers, over time, had forgotten.  He showed them a secret place of peace where they could go, within their own hearts – a place that had always existed, but no one had known the way.

The villagers were overjoyed now that they knew of this secret place inside. After a time, many of the villagers began to learn from the stranger and they began to use their new-found understanding to create a more peaceful and harmonious village. Slowly, for the following generation, as those who would not understand began to pass away, the village returned to the peace and harmony it once enjoyed.

When he had completed his work, the stranger left the village and where he went, no one knew.

Forever after they called him the Peace-Master.

*     *     *

Natures Silent Music

Some things in life just can’t be explained. Why do very simple events in our life, that usually occur during childhood, print an indelible mark in our memory cells and register with us so completely that, even as older adults, we remember the finite details as if they happened moments ago. I have theories about this but for the moment I want to relay the details of an event that happened to me during my teenage years. For many people, the early teen years were a time of awkwardness and difficulty but, for me, they were absolutely the happiest years of my life. Many stories could be told but I picked this one because it is particularly memorable for me. Hopefully, for the reader, this will be a catalyst to remind you of pleasant times in your youth.

Every year during the summer, my father packed up the family car and drove my mother, sisters and I to his favourite fishing lake. The lake was stunning. Nestled in a mountain valley a five hour drive from our home, the hot dry air would often reach temperatures in the mid 90sF. I was 14 on this particular trip and I always looked forward to these 2 week holidays because it seemed there were no rules for us kids. My memories were of total freedom to do as I pleased – and I did.

One particular afternoon, I was feeling quite bored and decided to go hiking in the woods surrounding the lake. The woods were on the side of the mountains and in places were quite steep with trails winding up and around the tall pine trees. This was hot country, almost desert. During the summer, as you take each step, the dry tinder grass crunches from the weight of your shoes as you walk. This particular day, the scorching sun was high overhead, the sky was a deep azure blue and the air was still, silent, hot and dry. It was as if I was in heaven.

I’ve always liked the desert country. As I wound through the sparsly spaced pine trees climbing higher and higher above the lake on the narrow twisty pathway, I could feel the energy of my breath coursing through my nostrils and lungs. The air felt so healing within my body. Higher and higher I climbed. Just up ahead was a small clearing in the trees and I decided to take a rest from my weary climb. There was a huge outcropped rock in the middle of the clearing – an excellent place to rest.

The granite rock was very comfortable. I could see much of the glistening lake through the trees. The contrast between the blazing sun, the sky and the lake was quite evident. The lake was very still and dark, dark blue, almost black. The heavily treed mountains above the lake were reflected as a mirror image below. In the extreme distance, far away on the opposite side of the lake,  I could see someone rowing a red boat with a fishing line erected on the side. I always remember the pine trees – the mottled tan and brown bark – the spiky cones. I saw a purple coated garter snake slither through the wheat colored tinderbox grass.

At that moment – utter silence. My awareness began to quicken and I was struck by the majesty of the place I was resting. It was totally silent. Absolutely no noise could be heard and it seemed for a moment that the whole world had been encircled by a new peaceful energy. I closed my eyes, became focused on the light of the sun dancing through my eyelids and within the silence of the moment a realization came over me that it, in fact, was not silent. The energy of the natural scene that enveloped me became very powerful. I could hear the sounds of nature within myself, I think. I didn’t know if it was within or without. Then I realized it was both – it was everywhere. I didn’t want this moment to stop, but it was stopped for me. As I sat within this meditative state I heard  a rustling in the grass. I opened my eyes and there about 10 feet from my rock was the most incredible animal. I had never seen one, but I knew from those huge long legs and elongated ears that, yes, that was him, a Jack Rabbit coming to visit me. He hopped eagerly towards me, sat in front of me – looked staringly into my eyes – turned his head to the left and was gone in a flash.

As I began the long trek down the mountain, back to our mountain cabin in the valley, I realized something very important had just happened. That day created feelings within me that would be recognized time and time again and created a benchmark to help me distinguish between what was important and what was not important in my life.

For those of you who kept reading to this point, this event probably requires no further explanation and I will provide none. Explanations of feelings are futile. How do you describe love. How do you describe compassion. How do you describe inner peace. You can’t. They can only be experienced.

May you live your life in the conscious knowledge that you have been given the greatest gift in the universe – the gift of human life. Appreciation is the second greatest gift. The ability to truly appreciate what has been given.

. . ./John

*     *     *

Life Energy 1

As we walked down Davie St. yesterday, Grace and I passed a tall rather handsome young Asian man walking in the opposite direction with an obvious air of poise and confidence. My experience in life tells me that confidence is often accompanied with arrogance which is a human characteristic that I absolutely abhor. In this case, there was no arrogance and not even a hint of haughtiness.

His eyes were focused on his destination and he was dressed quite nattily with stylish clothes. A very thick gray and white wool scarf was neatly wrapped around his neck as protection from the chilly winter breeze that was sweeping off the nearby ocean water. Who is this man? What is he about? Where is he going? Where has he been? What does he think? So many questions flooded into me. I turned to Grace and said: “nice energy”. she replied: “what do you mean”? I thought for a quick second and responded: “forget it – it’s not important”. I realized that, to explain the statement I made would take far more time than I was prepared to expend.

I’ve been thinking about this and I realized that, for as long as I can remember, I have categorized virtually all lifeforms in terms of the feeling of energy that emanates from them. “Lifeforms” is, basically, anything that exists; humans, animals, insects, rocks, trees. This is not a scientific analysis and I speak only from experience.

Once upon a time, a very long time ago, when I was a young boy, about 4 years old, I accompanied my mother on the long walk to the old trolley station for the weekly grocery shopping trip. The station was virtually surrounded by very tall stately trees with extended branches like arms that created a dome of leaves for protection. As the summer breeze generated a gentle leaf dance high in the sky to my little eyes, the sun flickered through the mottled green canopy creating a magical shower of sparkling light that was mesmerizing, almost hypnotic.  It was a scene like the kind you see in very old oil landscape paintings from the Masters of the Renaissance period.

The memory of that station has been indelibly imprinted in my  memory because of the feeling I had when I was near the trees. It was a protective energy – a feeling that those trees could, and would, protect me from all manner of harm. They were attractive to me. I gravitated to them.  This feeling, so many years later, I never forgot.

Rock has energy too. My attraction is to limestone and granite. Limestone is marble in the making – it is young, soft and in the process of becoming something greater, more beautiful, more solid.  In ancient Egypt, the Great Pyramid of Giza was originally completely encased in glistening white limestone. During that time, the limestone would reflect the sun, thus creating a light source that served as a guide for travelers throughout the region.

Photo by John Archer

Granite is – well – you know, mountains are made of it. The granite has always been there.  It’s got quartz in it. Quartz is an energy storage medium and years ago people used to make “Quartz Chrystal Radios”. The quartz would somehow capture the radio station signal from the atmosphere and you could listen to the radio with a little ear plug. I relate to granite. I like to be around it. It’s a feeling – I can’t explain it. Things are built with granite. When polished it is absolutely beautiful. It has an energy too, you know. It’s an energy you can feel.


The scientists say it can’t be created or destroyed.

Hmmm . . .

(Much, much more on this later . . . energy and creation . . .)

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My Favorite Snack – recipe.

A time comes in ones life when you must come clean with those who are close to you; those special ones in your family, friends and even people you don’t know well but really like. This is my time.

Many, many years ago I created a snack that was, for me, out of this world. It was a moment of eureka in my life. It is time for me share this with the world. Now this is a very simple recipe and some of you will find this humorously simple but for me it is very serious. I love this snack and the day, many years ago, when I had the inspiration to create it was truly a great day because I have been making it regularly for many years, mostly for myself. Here it is. You have my permission to share this recipe with anyone of your choosing:


  1. 1 piece of toasted whole grain bread. (Be sure toast is still hot ).
  2. 1 jar of crunchy peanut butter (the crunchy type is important).
  3. Some soft butter.
  4. 1 large dill pickle (some say kosher is best, but I don’t really care as long as it was made with garlic).
  5. 1 spreading knife.
  6. 1 sharp knife for cutting the pickle.


  • First cut the pickle in long thin slices approximately 2 millimeters thick; set aside.
  • Next, spread the butter, sparingly, on the hot toast (must be hot so the butter melts) and then liberally spread the crunchy peanut butter on the toast. I’m sure you all know this to be regular toast and peanut butter.
  • Now for the moment of Eureka – place the thin dill pickle slices evenly on top of the peanut butter until covered. One large pickle should do the trick.
  • Slice the toast diagonally and place on a plate.
  • Serve and enjoy.

Many of you may be thinking this is too simple but I would remind you – some of the most important and enjoyable things in life are simple. Things like eating, drinking, sex, love and, for those of you who know me well, you guessed it, breathing. Yes – breathing – so simple, yet so incredibly rewarding. Do we appreciate our breath as much as our peanut butter and dill pickle?

You may say – “Heck, I know about the pickle thing already”. Yes, maybe you do, but, I tell you, when I thought this up, I had never heard of it. You may ask: “why did you think it up?”. I will tell you why: Because the peanut butter was too sweet and I wanted to cut it with something bitter. Hence: the pickle idea. Often the inspiration for the greatest inventions can come from the simplest of problems. What an amazing combination this recipe is – it’s kind of like sweet and sour pork in a Chinese restaurant.

If you have already heard of this recipe, it is probably because someone close to me must have betrayed my confidence, because my secret recipe was long ago revealed, without my knowledge, to the world. I know this because I recently googled “peanut butter and pickle” and found, much to my surprise, that many people are already aware of and enjoying it. However, I am not angry about this. In fact, I am very pleased that so many people are already enjoying the benefits of my moment of Eureka.

Note – I know that some of my friends are Vegans (Feather) and you are quite welcome to substitute margarine or something else for the butter ( or leave it out entirely). It won’t be the same and definitely will not be true to the original recipe, but I’m sure it will be very tasty for you.

In case the recipe is not adequate, I am attaching a picture of the finished snack.

May you all enjoy this snack as much as I have over the years.

. . . /John

10 Reasons to Practice Yoga at Home – Alone

Yoga Lady Clip Art

Clip Art courtesy of:

10.  No driving.

9.  No Fancy Clothing.

8.  No appointments needed.

7.  No distractions from other yogis.

6.  Don’t have to put up with Gawkers.

5.  No fancy expensive equipment required.

4 .  You’re free – you can do it any time you want.

3.  It won’t cost you a lot of your hard earned money.

2.  Your yoga experience will be all yours and no one else’s.

1.  It’s Your Own Private Inner Journey. Definitely a Solo journey.

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The Inner Journey: Solo-Yoga for the Serious Searcher!

For Broken Hearts

The blogosphere is filled, to overflowing, with broken hearts. Everyday, new expressions of sadness, despair or depression blame relationships that ended in a broken heart. When expectations are greater than reality, disappointment is destined to follow. Read the following words from the movie, “Practical Magic”. These words are in the introduction to a YouTube video: “Crystal” by Stevie Nicks. This song is extremely compelling and mystical. I will let the reader be the judge. Have a listen.

From Practical Magic:

He will hear my call from a mile away.
He will whistle my favorite song.
He can ride a pony backwards.

What are you doing?

Summoning up a true love spell;
Called Amas Veritas.
He can flip pancakes in the air.
He’ll be marvelously kind.
His favorite shape will be a star.
And he’ll have one green eye and one blue.

I thought you never wanted to fall in love.

What’s the point?
The guy I dreamed of doesn’t exist
And if he doesn’t exist,
I’ll never die of a broken heart.

Crop Circles: The Answer

I was recently asked my opinion about crop circles. I hadn’t thought much about them for years so I googled “Who Created Crop Circles” and the number of results I received was three million, four-hundred and fifty thousand. (I wrote this out to emphasize the largeness of the number). This is obviously a topic that millions of people are concerned about.

The explanations of who created them runs the gambit: God, Alien visitors, Extra-terrestrials in spacecraft, UFOs, Pranksters with planks, A force seemingly at odds with Science, Weather vortices, Businesses for advertising campaigns, Paranormal energies, Artists, Particle beams, Students, Humans, Satellites, Flying saucers, Governments, Hoaxers, Angelic beings, Mathematical mice, A Maldekian, Microwave technology, A ball of light, Made by sound, Small currents of whirling winds called dust-devils and last of all, Chuck Norris (Chuck Norris?).

It is not, and never has been, a pre-occupation of mine to find answers about crop circles but, I must admit, I am absolutely fascinated with the designs. I will also admit that, in the past, I have even been momentarily tempted to seek answers. They are incredibly beautiful pieces of artwork and I greatly appreciate them and their creators – whoever they are. I think very much in geometric terms and I admire them in the same fashion that I admire a fine painting by one of the masters.

Before we discuss the crop circles, I ask you dear reader, what other important answers do you seek in your life? If you are puzzled by that question, let me offer a list of answers you could seek. This is a very lengthy list so I don’t expect you to read the whole thing. The list is in no particular order so you can just briefly gaze through it:

Who created the Earth; who built the Great Pyramid, the Sphinx and why; who created the crystal skulls, who or what is God, why are some people greedy and power hungry, why do worldwide musical tastes evolve, why do people kill other people, are there really ghosts, how can some people miraculously heal themselves, do angels really exist, did Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Krishna, etc. really exist, Is there a conspiracy to control the world, why can some people sing and others can’t, how could a Priest molest a child, why are rich dictators usually so merciless with their people, why don’t people help starving people in the world, why do people steal, why was I born beautiful, ugly skinny, fat, stupid, who am I, why was I born, why am I here, why wasn’t I born into a rich family, why do I have to die, what will happen after I die, where was I before I was born and did I even exist, etc., etc., etc. ? ? ? ? ?

I’m sure with a little imagination you can add greatly to this list.

I am humbled by the incredible endless beauty of the human existence I have been gifted. How does one describe the beauty of the earth; the deep blue domed sky on a warm summer day; the mass of twinkling stars in the milky-way on a cold, dark winter night; the turquoise blue ocean lagoon on Paradise Island filled with an array of rainbow colored fishes; thousand year old trees with massive trunks.

I am humbled, also by the very breath that I have been given and by the ability that I have been shown to directly experience the energy that exists within me and keeps my body alive moment to moment. It is with great pleasure that I allow my mother, who is a healthy 87 year old retired nurse, to take my blood pressure. She really enjoys doing this and I am always amazed and appreciative that, after all these years, my heart is still beating at just over 60 beats per minute with no direct involvement by myself.

In short, I am in awe of my own life. What an amazing thing is this existence we have been given.

Crop circles are one of the many things that occur on earth to help humans move ahead in the quest for meaning in their lives. Some of the other things that occur are earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes UFO sightings, UFO abductions, rainbows, porpoises, whales, angel sightings, aurora borealis, melting polar ice caps, people who channel angelic beings, clairvoyant people.

The earth and everything in it was a gift to you. Whales are a gift to you. Crop circles are a gift to you too. Enjoy looking at them for their beauty and magnificence. Appreciate them, but do not ask the question: who made them? Leave that for the scientists.

Human beings ask all the wrong questions. So many questions we ask – the list is infinite. We ask all the wrong questions and never ask the right questions.

Ask instead: Is there a place I can go where the questions cease and only answers abound. If I had no questions and only answers, what would that feel like? If such a place exists; how do I get there? Is there anyone who can help me?

Ask not about crop circles, but ask to experience the source that enables you to appreciate and enjoy them.

Ask not how the sunset came to be, but ask to experience the source of your own ability to experience its color and beauty.

Ask not how you came to exist, but ask to experience the very power that allows you to enjoy your own existence – to feel love, to feel joy and, ultimately, to be completely fulfilled.

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A Very Special Place

It’s 2.22am and the world out there is quiet and still. The odd car whizzes by on the street below my little one-bedroom apartment and I hear the wail of a siren and a woosh of the air as an ambulance driver speeds to rescue someone in distress. As I awaken from the stillness of my deep slumber, the realms of my conscious awareness begin to sharpen and I realize how very incredible my life has become. It truly is a joy to be alive.

Someone next to me is sleeping, deeply, silently and as I look out the window beside my bed I see the reflection of the dim city streetlights reflecting off the scattered wispy clouds in the cities dark night sky. The sun is on the other side of the earth, the light of dusk has long disappeared and the light of dawn is yet to come. I am wholly in the present – no thought of the past or future. At these special moments, when the feelings come powerfully, always my first inclination is to explore my inner world of sweet and joyful beauty. It is place inside where I practice the knowledge, many years ago, given to me by my honored teacher – a place inside where I can meditate upon my very self that I have come to know so intimately.

When I am sleeping, dreaming, the window next to my bed is always open, just a little, so my lungs can enjoy fresh air throughout the night. As I arise from the warmth of my bed, the coolness of the air becomes evident. I wrap a large blanket around my half naked body, to stay warm, and sit in my favorite spot, in the dark, knowing that soon I will enter my inner world where there is no limitation.

As my ever present thoughts drift slowly and surely into the distance of my awareness, in the silence, I begin to feel the primal energy and the rhythms of my inner self. My senses turn inwards and I feel the ever present beating of my own heart. The undulating waves of the ocean of breath, rising . . . falling, that is the very source of my life, fills me with a joy unattainable in my day to day world of activity. It is pure enjoyment and bliss. This is real peace. This is what the world needs. This, reliably, strengthens my will to live each day with clarity and consciousness . . . to express my inner experience with kindness and compassion in my interactions with others.

This particular night, however, after an hour or two – time has ceased to exist – my practice is interrupted by a powerful feeling that fills me. There is a story I must write – a story with many chapters about a little town in the dark woods where people live an idyllic life – a place where tall thousand year old trees, with thick bark, surround the town and the people live in harmony with their neighbors and the nature surrounding them.

I return to the warmth of my bed and slowly drift off, feeling good, knowing what I must do. . .

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Al Jazeera English

In my quest for up-to-date news on the goings-on in Libya, I became a little bit frustrated with Twitter, with an inner longing for some video. I long ago cancelled my cable TV subscription because I never watched anything but the news and the news was too biased for my liking.

I just discovered that Al Jazeera has an English station. It’s nice to get the story from the side of the world where things are happening. Sometimes it’s a bit slow because of buffering, but very interesting to watch and very up-to-date.

Here’s the Link:

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14 Minutes of Sweetness

My Friend Eduardo Del Signore posted a very sweet music link on Facebook today.Clarinet

This is a classical piece composed by his friend JohnTerryl Plumeri, Plumeri – Romance for Clarinet, for clarinet, strings and harp. The clarinetist is Robert Fitzer and the harpist Gayle Levant. Featured on WGBH Boston. This peace is pure beauty.

We often think of classical music being 100s of years old, Beethoven, Mozart, etc. This is a modern piece and very beautiful.

I’ve been through every musical interest possible. Classical, Country, Folk, Rock, Jazz – you name it. I got away from the classical stuff years ago, but I particularly enjoyed this not only because of it’s obvious sweetness, but also because when I was much younger, I played clarinet in a small jazz band and actually made a bit of money from it.

Here’s the link – hope you enjoy it: WGBH Boston

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Yoga Lady Clip Art

Thoughts On Yoga

A Comment from one of my readers:

I’ve hit a point where I’m having a hard time keeping up with #365yoga. I’m fairly new, just a few months to having a regular yoga practice. I like the idea of living a yogic lifestyle because I am not a laid back kind of person. I’m still trying to figure out what it means to practice yoga off the mat. I’ve been reading some books about yoga and can see that there’s more to yoga than postures and I appreciate exploring yoga in many ways. It is worth it because it does make me feel good. I’m glad to have found this journey.

My Response:

I have been practicing yoga for 40 years, alone in my own home – I’ve never been to a group yoga class. I really like the idea of solitary yoga practice. You ask: well then, how did you learn?  Answer: From Kareen Zebroff when she had the most wonderful Yoga TV show, a long time ago. Also, I would sometimes pick up a new pose from a Yoga magazine. The point is over the years, I have developed my own routine that works for me and makes me feel very good.

For me, Yoga is not social – it is a very personal thing just as is meditation. I have never had a goal to practice yoga everyday. I do practice my meditation everyday (at least try to), but the yoga – I know when I need it – sometimes everyday, sometimes I’ll go a week. My body tells me loud and clear. I get nervous, can’t sleep – whatever, but I always do yoga – just not everyday and that is fine with me. I love it. It makes my body and soul feel very, very good.

Yoga has a very practical side to it. If I am awake at 1:11 or 2:22AM unable to sleep, I will sit on the carpet and do 15-20 min of yoga. I stretch those joints as far as they will go. Short poses lasting 5, 8 or 13 slow breaths. (I’m into Fibonacci numbers). This always relaxes my whole nervous system. 9 times out of 10 when I return to bed, I will fall asleep, literally, within minutes. Also, in the beginning, certain postures were absolutely unattainable but I saw others do them, so I set goals. I remember, my first goal was to get my head on the floor while sitting with my legs apart. This isn’t a traditional asana, but I enjoy doing it. It took me three years of practice to accomplish this goal. But every time I got closer to my goal I felt so-o-o good about myself. That’s Yoga. It has immediate benefits, but it is a long term process physically. Of course, while you are doing Yoga, it is important to still the mind by concentrating on the breath. – slow breath. Hope this helps. I’ve been doing this for a long time and really enjoy it.

I would really appreciate comments from readers about their experiences with Yoga practice. Benefits and difficulties. . . Thanks.

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On Sadness

You’re feeling sad. Why do you need to know why?

It is a good thing to be sad and cry a little once in a while. It is your heart calling out for some tenderness and maybe love. Sadness and crying are not sicknesses. Enjoy it while it lasts for tomorrow you may be laughing and joking with no memory of the sadness. We are blessed with emotion so that we can feel. Feel for ourselves and feel for others. There are so many people, people who are hardened, who cannot feel sadness and are too proud to cry. Rejoice in your humanness and your heartfelt emotions. You are a lucky person to feel such emotion. Through sadness you may find humility and through humility you may find inner peace. Enjoy the life-giving breath every moment of every day. All the answers are within.

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King Leopard the Benevolent

One Hungry Mouse

I just received this by email from Judith and I can’t resist posting this on my blog.

This is a must read!

This extraordinary scene was captured by photography student Casey Gutteridge at the Santiago Rare Leopard Project in Hertfordshire. The 19-year-old, from Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, who was photographing the leopard for a course project, was astounded by the mouse’s behaviour.

He said: ‘I have no idea where the mouse came from – he just appeared in the enclosure after the keeper had dropped in the meat for the leopard. “He didn’t take any notice of the leopard, just went straight over to the meat and started feeding himself.”

But the leopard was pretty surprised – she bent down and sniffed the mouse and flinched a bit like she was scared.

‘In the meantime the mouse just carried on eating like nothing had happened . . . but even a gentle shove does not deter the little creature from getting his fill.

It was amazing, even the keeper who had thrown the meat into the enclosure was shocked. He said he’d never seen anything like it before.

Project owner Jackie James added: “It was so funny to see – Sheena batted the mouse a couple of times to try to get it away from her food.” But the determined little thing took no notice and just carried on.

Sheena was brought in to the Santiago Rare Leopard Project from a UK Zoo when she was just four months old. She is one of 14 big cats in the private collection started by Jackie’s late husband Peter in 1989.

The African Leopard can be found in the continent’s forests, grasslands, savannas and rainforests.