Love the time-lapse fusion of music, stars, sunsets, seasons, oceans, landscapes and cloud fields….So much beautiful nature imagery- very chill indeed. Engage and Enjoy, XOXOXOX Sabrina
I wanted to share this beyond funny John Oliver piece on the supreme court because laughter is good for the soul. Not sure what is going on with WordPress today- none of my embeds work so I have to leave with with this link and I hope many belly laughs.
Truth is One:
I have often said that if Jesus, Krishna, Buddha, and other true
emissaries of God came together, they would not quarrel, but would
drink from the same one cup of God-communion.
Hello Lovely Readers,
A couple of weeks ago I began the first in a series of reviews of urban sanctuaries. This week I had planned a post on Lake Shrine, in Pacific Palisades- the amazing ten-acre site, with gardens and a natural spring-fed lake, that is home to a variety of flora and fauna, including swans, ducks, koi, and trees and flowers from around the world- when I discovered that the L.A. theatrical debut screening of AWAKE: The Life of Yogananda, produced by CounterPoint Films, which began on Friday, October 17 will join in a special celebration of the another groundbreaking film ‘What the Bleep’ tomorrow evening at the Sundance Sunset Cinema in West Hollywood. I know this will be a fascinating event and I so wish I was well enough to attend!!
The film has received many excellent reviews and a few prizes, including I am proud to say, Maui Film Festival’s,
Spirit in Cinema Award, and includes dozens of interviews with yogis, spiritual leaders, scientists, and entertainment legends – a diverse group of seekers who all have found life-changing inspiration from Paramahansaji’s teachings.” According to the New York Times, Awake “is compelling..and enough to make the modern soul look inwards.”
So if you happen to be in or near Weho (West Hollywood) tomorrow evening, Oct 21 you can join in an event that promises to be both uplifting, through provoking, and just plain fun.
Author Marianne Williamson (A Return to Love and more recently an aspiring member of Congress) called Yogananda “truly one of the great spiritual masters. He shone a light that continues to bless millions of us living on the earth today and THE MOVIE NETWORK called Awake an absolute treasure and should not only be watched, but experienced, and THE MOVIE NETWORK called Awake “an absolute treasure and should not only be watched, but experienced.“
The same could be said about Lake Shrine itself. The grounds include a Court of Religions honoring the five principal religions of the world, and the Mahatma Gandhi World Peace Memorial where a portion of Gandhi’s ashes is enshrined.
“The colorful history of the Lake Shrine began over half a century ago. In the early 1920s, the then-famous Inceville motion-picture studio filmed silent movies on this site in Santa Ynez Canyon. The land was later purchased by Los Angeles real-estate magnate Alphonzo Bell, Sr.; and in 1927, the surrounding hillsides were hydraulically graded to fill the canyon and make it level for future development. However, these earthmoving activities were halted prematurely, leaving a large basin in the part of the canyon that had not been leveled. This basin quickly filled with water from the many springs in the area, creating Lake Santa Ynez – the only natural spring-fed lake within the city limits of Los Angeles.
How the McElroys’ ten-acre park became the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine is a remarkable story. In the late 1940s Mr. and Mrs. McElroy sold the property to an oil-company president, who moved into the windmill and planned to build a multi-million dollar resort hotel complex around the lake. Before he could proceed, however, the new owner of the property had a strange experience.
One night the oil company executive awoke around three a.m. after a vivid dream in which he saw his new property as a “Church of All Religions.” He had dreamed that a large group of people was assembled by the lake, and ministers gave inspiring sermons from a podium. He fell asleep again, but again the curious vision awakened him. After this had happened three times, he got out of bed and looked up “Church of All Religions” in the telephone book. The only such listing was for the Self-Realization Fellowship Church of All Religions in Hollywoodd. Deeply moved by his unusual experience, he immediately began to write a letter describing his vision and offering to sell the property to Self-Realization Fellowship. His wife woke up, and learning what he was doing, exclaimed, “You’re going to sell our home at three o’clock in the morning?” Unperturbed, he finished the letter and mailed it to Paramahansa Yogananda, founder of Self-Realization Fellowship.
The Phone Call
Rather than waiting until the letter arrived, the man telephoned Self-Realization Fellowship headquarters later that morning.Coming to the phone, Paramahansa Yogananda said–before the man could introduce himself or explain his purpose—“You have some property for sale, don’t you? When can I see it?”
“But you haven’t received my letter,” the man replied.
“The letter will come tomorrow morning,” the Guru told him. “Can we meet tomorrow afternoon?”
Paramahansaji visited the lake and its grounds the next day, and immediately began making plans for the open-air shrine of all religions he wished to establish in L.A. Shortly thereafter, he was able to acquire the property, and the Lake Shrine was born. From “temporary headquarters” on the Mississippi houseboat, Yogananda personally directed monks of the Self-Realization Order during the many months of contruction and extensive landscaping needed to create the spiritual oasis he envisioned.During this period he spent many hours in deep prayer and divine communion at the lake, invoking God’s blessings on all who would visit there.”
Whether you are a believer or not,a visit to Lake Shrine offers our senses respite from the business, noise, technology, and pace of the modern world. It just isn’t possible to overstate the effects of natural beauty on our health. We need this beauty like we need water and a safe place to lay our heads at night. Much of the time we are too busy to notice yet it is there for the finding. It is up to us to appreciate its healing nourishing touch and to rest our weary minds in its spacious embrace. I know I’ll be spending more time there as my leg grows stronger. I hope to see you on the path….
The “function of the sacral chakra is to produce happiness, self-love, healthy relationships, ambition and creativity.” More of this please!
If you are wondering where in the world to have fresh, young, sweet, cool real coconut water right out of its shell maybe you should saunter over to Crave on Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks for a cooling coconut drink replete with straw and watch people eating cream cheese and lox Panini’s, nutella crepes and drinking Intelligentsia Coffee like we did the other day.
It’s kind of surreal in the best possible way to drink this cooling concoction of sweet medicinal deliciousness right out of its shaved white shell in the middle of a busy urban day 2675 miles from the closest Hawaiian Island; and the whole experience got me thinking about how our sense of taste relates to the second chakra.
Each of the six senses correspond to one of the Chakras and has an inner and outer expression. Cultivating a taste for taking care of our bodies as well as our soul and using food as medicine is a beautiful way to expand this important sense. When we get a taste for feeling good, we can build on that by regularly engaging in practices that support this, like mindful eating. For me, that means no more eating whilst reading or talking business, or letting my stomach get empty.
According to the science of Ayurveda, the liquid from the Baal or Tender coconut is 90 to 95 percent water is the purest and most healing. It is considered the best for its cooling properties. It is a proven pitta-pacifier which can help repair the gastrointestinal tract, and its sweet quality gives it a pranaropana-life-restoring-capacity. (prana is life force energy) Since I am in the process of healing a stomach ulcer and reducing the amount of heat/pitta in my body, my desire to taste this sweet, cooling deliciousness is spot on.
Whatever the reasons, (death, separation, fear, loss, anger, grief,) some really big life changing issues related to this energy center have called out for completion for the past few months. Anybody out there, besides me, with an ulcer, insecure attachment, and or boundary issues? Or maybe you are grappling with lack of passion, ‘writer’s block’, or maybe it shows up in your knees, hips, or lower back.
One of the tastier ways of nourishing this energy center is by eating yummy autumn favorites like pumpkin soup and garnet yams baked in the shells until they caramelize and are then mashed with ghee, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Other correspondences include the color orange, the symbol of the crescent moon, the element of water, essential oils of sandalwood, myrrh, bitter orange, and vanilla, the musical note D, and the mantra or seed sound ‘VAM’ which is pronounced ‘vum’. A mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of “creating transformation.” Click on the link a the bottom of this post to hear it and other seed sounds.
Some nice affirmations for this chakra might say something like:
- I am open to the world and flow easily with change.
- I am passionate and creative and express these qualities easily in my daily life.
- I deserve pleasure in my life and find small ways to nourish my self regularly
- I absorb information from my feelings and use this for growth
- I embrace and celebrate my sexuality.
- My sexuality is sacred and a means of connecting with divine energy.
- I move easily and effortlessly through life.
The ability to experience pleasure as well as nurturing ourself and others are all affected by this chakra! Engaging our senses in every day practices that balance and strengthen it help us create healthy boundaries, the ability to change,to be expressive, passionate, creative, and emotionally intelligent. I’ll have seconds of all the above thanks- what’s that extra helpings all around…Absolutely!
Hello Lovely Reader, Autumn already.. I can hardly believe that I’ve been in LA for nearly five months now after living for 9 year in the Hawaiian Islands. This isn’t my first foray into urban life. Before Maui came 11 years in Melbourne, Australia, where I helped to create The Judith Wright Prize for Poetry and launched The Ibis Foundation- Australia’s first non-profit celebrating, Art, Nature and the Human Spirit.
It was there, in what at first seemed to be an overwhelmingly noisy city, that “Engaging the Senses” first became a glimmer in my eye. It was conceived out of necessity and I’ve been practicing, refining and expanding its breadth ever since. Finding ways to mindfully engage with Beauty on a daily basis through the power and intelligence of my senses! Maybe it is because my mother repeatedly read me “The Country Mouse and the City Mouse”? Or because I spent the first five years of my life in the heart of NYC where We lived in the East Village and I attended City and Country in West Village with the children of other bohemian parents before we moved to a house in the Mountains above Estoril,Portugal where I got what I hadn’t even known my senses and soul longed for- a backyard with a real tree.
Not the scrawny, pale-grey spindles I was used to as a city kid, but a large hearty oak with heart-shaped emerald-green leaves and strong branches perfect for climbing and swinging on when I wasn’t riding horses or at the beach swimming topless and racing the sun to eat my chocolate shell covered vanilla ice-cream on a stick before it melted onto the sand.
So whilst I am a green tree luvin, big-sky-country girl at heart, I also enjoy and need the liveliness, art and culture that comes with living in a metropolis. Country Mouse, City Mouse-I am that I am. City living, like living itself, comes with special benefits and challenges. Especially for the senses which can easily get so overstimulated and distracted that we end up feeling ‘all over the place’ and out of touch. Noise is a big issue. So is light pollution. And if you’re not careful, it is easy to go from one artificial cooled or heated interior to another without so much as a breeze or a ray of sunshine touching your skin. (We need a minimum of 20 minutes of natural light a day for good health.)
Luckily the remedy is simple- engaging the senses in Beauty of the natural variety. Because as wonderful and nourishing as seeing Monet’s waterlilies, and garden paintings in a gallery or online are,there are times when only real living, breathing, water lilies will or weeping willows will do!
When I lived in Melbourne the Royal Botanical Garden in St Kilda was my salvation and I tried to go there every week at least once and walk around the lake with its exotic black swans and visit the cactus garden when I felt nostalgic or homesick for the southwest. Here in SoCal almost every neighborhood is bursting with charming front yards from the modest cottage garden to the grand estates visible behind mansion gates, and these offer the passerby’s senses some much needed light refreshment and nourishment. But sometimes a bigger “meal” is required. This is when it is time to seek out the parks and gardens created especially to offer solace and sanctuary to the city dweller’s singed senses.
Thank Goddess for Gardens. Big and small. Urban and suburban, public and private. Last week in need of some sensory soul food my friend and talented photographer, David Stodder (who took most of the gorgeous pix on this page), and I visited The Japanese Garden in Van Nuys. Ahhhh. What a pleasure this little known gem in the middle of the often hot and dry San Fernando Valley is! Created by the late, renowned landscape architect,and renaissance man, Dr Koichi Kawana, all of the Garden’s water is supplied and “recycled” by the adjoining Tillman waste water facility!
Until this century, gardens like these were built by the ruling elite to create in their surroundings a mood proper to worship and contemplation and were seldom opened to the public. Shugaku-in, was built for a retired emperor so that he might spend his remaining years in tranquility. The garden of the Silver Pavilion, also in Kyoto, was created for the Shogun Ashihaga Yashimasa so that he might escape the maddening conflicts and violence taking place in the capital nearby. So the next time you are feeling a bit battle worn, find your way to the nearest Garden, Japanese or not. Once you are there, turn off your phone and lay down the swords of your busy mind (just for a little while or for as long as you like you can always pick them up again on your way out), and give your Self over to the sights, sounds, and smells of Beauty as you practice ‘being the Beauty you love’ and need!. If you do, I know that you will find yourself better able to face the inevitable ‘battles’ of ordinary life again. Engagingly yours, xoxoxoxSabrina
You will also get a free copy of Lauren’s ebook “Capturing Gratitude in which she has interviewed 15 inspirational people and asked them to share their day to day experience of gratitude. Hopefully their heartfelt wisdom will inspire you to bring more gratitude into your own life. So grab yourself a camera, any camera, and start photographing the things that make you the most grateful. In her work as a clinical psychologist Dr Tober sees the HUGE benefits of the simple practice of gratitude all the time..The research show that gratitude increases happiness and results in a stronger immune system, better sleep, lower blood pressure and feeling more forgiving, outgoing, generous, compassionate, alert and alive!
Hello my lovely readers!
It has been too long. We are finally settled in our new bug free home and the tendonitis in my arm caused by my cane has flared down enough for me to write again! Not as much or as often as I’d like, but some is definitely better than none. Speaking of flares but of a different sort I am excited to share Lilian Moore’s poem which is a rhymed tercet:
If You Catch a Firefly
Expanding your Happiness and Engaging your Senses go Hand in Hand: Two top notch free meditations you can use right now!11 Aug
“The meaning of life is to give life meaning.”
I’ve been making a lot of lemonade out of lemons lately: my mother fell down the stairs while visiting me and somehow wasn’t seriously injured, my daughter’s father’s heart is failing and it is heart breaking, my best friend injured her back and we had to cancel our first trip together in eight years. My other best friend’s father is dying and so now suddenly is her best friend of 30 years. The house we rented and are paying far too much for has bed bugs and carpet beetles (hence the painful and infection bites on my thighs and bottom) which means before we move at the end of next week everything and I mean every carpet, item of clothing, towel and bed sheet we own has to be run through the dryer on high and or sealed in plastic and baked in the sun regardless of the fact that I haven’t recovered enough strength yet to take a proper walk through my new neighborhood, or do our grocery shopping, let alone the laundry or vacuuming.
Much of this is painful and expensive and yet, life is beautiful. Not in a pollyanna-ish everything happens for a reason kind of way. Rather it is in an everything just IS way that includes the realization that what I make of its IS-ness is what determines my experience of it IS-ness way. Whatever the reason for these things- be they the stars, the planets, angry gods or just the chaotic and at times seemingly random nature of life-what matters is not so much that I know why they are happening but rather that I figure out what I can learn because of them.
“When you say “yes to the isness” of life, when you accept this moment as it is, you can feel a sense of spaciousness with you that is deeply peaceful”- Eckhart Tolle
It is so tempting to play the role of the victim-we all do it to some degree at times. However the truth is Life happens for us not to us! Because no matter how hard and awful things are or seem to be, when we are able to surrender and say ‘yes’ to the ‘isness of life, when we accept the moment, the situation, just as it is, we begin to access a sense ‘of spaciousness within’ that is peace. This is when and only when things can begin to change.
I remember hearing Tara Brach talk about the how the poet Rumi saw clearly the relationship between our wounds and our awakening. He counseled, “Don’t turn away. Keep your gaze on the bandaged place. That’s where the light enters you.” As a writer and poet, I relate to the use of suffering to create, to transform, and to inspire.
Having said this, I want to assure you I am not very different from you…. I too grapple with issues of self worth, doubt and fear. When I am in this place my thoughts say things like- it is too hard, it is not fair, that I am not strong enough or good enough. Or that things have been too hard for too long, and that I am can’t take it or manage anymore. The more overwhelmed I feel the more likely I am to listen to these ‘voices’ which of course makes it even harder to engage my senses and to make choices that truly nourish my senses and my soul, instead of feed my ego.
Sometimes I can snap it fairly quickly. Other times it may take a few days (or even weeks) of avoidance and escapist behavior before I realize that I am feeling even more empty than when I started. When I get to this point I know I need to stop abandoning myself and befriend myself again. This means prioritizing time each day to be quiet and touch base with my true nature which is Love, joy and peace….
One of the easiest and most effective ways I have found to turn things is to reboot my meditation practice by spending as little as 10 minutes each day in guided meditation practice. To this end I wanted to share with you lovelies two of my favorite sources:
The first, which begins today, 8/11/14, is offered by Depak Chopra and Oprah. Part of an ongoing series, this free 21 day course called Expanding your Happiness is rooted in the ancient Yogic Wisdom tradition. It’s easy. It’s free and even if you miss the first day or two you can still ‘catch up’. Register now and invite those you love to be happy with you!
The other, which is ongoing, is offered by the amazing Tara Brach, a leading western teacher of Buddhist meditation, emotion healing and spiritual awakening who is also a clinical psychologist and author of Radical Acceptance and True Refuge @ Tarabrach.com, is a treasure chest of riches offering both long and short meditations as well as inspirational talks you can return to again and again.
One of the best places to start is with her “10 minute “Gateway to Presence” guided meditation. Listening to this extremely well crafted meditation works equally well morning, or evening. In the morning I often use it to set my focus and attention for the day ahead. And at the end of the day it is a great way to consciously relax and release the day’s stress from your body and mind before sleep.
I’d love to know about your experiences with either of these meditations so feel free to write me!!!
Engage and indulge your senses by wishing on the new moon this month. Staying in tune with the cycles of the moon help us to stay in touch with our connection to nature and our own internal rhythms. You can make this ritual as simple or sumptuous as you please. If the latter sounds engaging try writing your wishes on a piece of beautiful paper that you have scented with your favorite essential oil (I love lavender and ylang-ylang). Be sure to use a pen that feels good in your hand and add some color by using purple or green ink. Then go outside and spend a few minutes breathing in silence and gazing softly at the stars as you reflect on your wishes and drink in the beauty of the night sky.
Originally posted on Astrology with Jan Spiller:
NEW MOON REMINDER… Saturday, July 26, 6:42 pm EDST, is the New Moon Power Day in July. Don’t miss this opportunity to make wishes for goals you’d like to reach and experiences you’d like to have.
Because this New Moon is in the sign of LEO, it’s a powerful time for new beginnings in activating your romantic life and starting a new creative project. Things you may have wanted to happen in your life for a long time can begin easily manifesting through using the boost of this energetic and happy New Moon!
For success, your wishes must be handwritten on paper and ten wishes maximum are allowed on each power day. The most potent time is the first 8 hours AFTER the exact time of the New Moon; within the first 48 hours will still work. The potency continues to exist for another twelve hours, but is weaker…
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“Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won’t adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is to sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words “make” and “stay” become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free.” ― Tom Robbins, Still Life With Woodpecker
‘Oh what a night’ to quote the Jersey Boys-
Writer and raconteur Tom Robbins did not disappoint when he read from his not-an autobiography “Tibetan Peach Pie”, answered questions and gave advice last Thursday. The reading started just after six, and when we arrived a few minute early the bookstore was already brimming with Diesel staff and regulars milling and filling the chairs that flanked and filled the courtyard. From this vantage point we had a view not only of the author, but of the Santa Monica mountains turning golden-sandy-pink in the lazily setting june light.
I love Malibu. It lacks all of Brentwood’s pretension….The full house that gathered at the Country Mart Thursday night was a friendly, relaxed, mixture of older and younger, local and those who had traveled from other post codes, as well as the odd celebrity out of rehab sitting off to the side and under dark glasses. What we all had in common-a sense of awe and shared a passion for the uniquely beautiful sentences Robbins constructs from nothing more than his full tilt imagination.
The zen, literary, trickster now in his 83rd year is still very much his own man although he readily admitted to being tired. “I’ve been on tour since May 24th”, he explained as he stood tall, bantering playfully, candidly and sagely about everything from being visited by the FBI to his first experience with LSD. It was this experience that opened his eyes and his mind and launched him out of the south and into the larger world.
With an accent that he feared made “lil abner sound erudite”, he moved to New York City, and said wasn’t sure that he would have become the writer he is if he’d gone to San Fran and landed in the Haight in the height of the psychedelic scene instead. There though he met, and hung out with Alan Ginsberg and other ‘beats’, he found inspiration not in the Village scene but in front of the wild mind paint splattered canvases of Jackson Pollock and others of that era.
I think many in the packed house were also surprised but not shocked to learn he last took LSD about 8 years ago at the age of 75. He called it “a refresher course”, and added that he didn’t understand those who took the drug repeatedly or used it as a party drug. And said his experiences with the drug “were part of my spiritual path”. He also politely refused the offer put forth by a pixy-ish looking audience member who may or may not have been under the influence to “get [him] some “great shit”. Along with attention, this drew a few reproving glances and snickers from the audience. To me it only added to the counter-culture, mystical, sideshow, southern, storytelling, spell that Tom Robbins and his imagination (which he likened to a thermostat permanently set on high) cast a week ago at Diesel, my favorite independent bookstore in Malibu.
Tom’s advice for young writers: and in my opinion for all writers:
- Write every day. Even if it is just for 20 minutes in your journal.
- Waiting around for inspiration to strike is for amateurs.
- Don’t worry about getting published, worry about getting better.
Hello Again Lovely Reader!
It has been too long. I have missed reading your blogs and hearing from you. And I’ve missed writing!!
My healing journey has returned me to the City of Angels. Pacific Palisades to be precise.
All creative work was on hold due to the chaos of relocating! Structure seemed a distant memory and the primary focus was on setting up “camp” and receiving a series of sound wave treatments to stimulate the healing of white tissue and collagen and promote healing.
Yes Virginia, it is working! I am really, truly be able to begin to have a ‘normal life’ again. To go out into the world and feast my senses on all the beauty it has to offer.
After so many years on an island in the sun in the middle of nowhere to now be within a few miles of two independent bookstores, and independent enough to go there albeit for limited periods, is heaven on earth! So too are the views from the promontory where the house we are staying in is located.
A huge white eucalyptus frames one window. The santa monica mountains the next, and the Pacific ocean meets the blue skies to the West. Yesterday on the way to the doctor’s we spent an hour at LACMA taking in van Gogh, Mattise and Kandinsky’s vibrant canvases… soaking our senses in all the colorful goodness of the paintings, the beautiful architecture, and happy art lovers in their element.
Tonight I will drive the 6 miles to Malibu along the famed Pacific Coast Hiway to get to Diesel: a Bookstore where owner, Lynn, will be hosting a reading for the iconic novelist and counterculture hero, Tom Robbins- think Even Cowgirls Get the Blues and Jitterbug Perfume. I am almost too excited for words… so I will sign off for now and look forward to reporting back tomorrow and posting my personally signed copy of “Tibetian Peach Pie-A True Account of an Imaginative Life.
ps. To the wonderful person who gathered up their courage to comment on my blog, and tell me they wanted me to keep writing- Thank You! I can hardly express how much your words meant and mean to me. I am getting goose bumps just remembering….xoxo
I don’t usually post on Friday’s but one of my creative heroes award-winning filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg is sitting down with Oprah this Sunday and I wanted to make sure I shared the news early enough that you can plan to watch! He will discuss his experience working with time-lapse nature photography and the inherent spirituality revealed through nature, often not visible to the naked eye! Like me, Louie is “a firm believer that beauty is nature’s tool for survival.” This Sunday he will be talking about how the awe that is experienced when seeing nature can make one more present, mindful and help us connect to our inner voice.”
You can tune in online:
The 11 a.m. hour will be live-streaming WORLDWIDE and everyone can watch at 11 a.m. ET/PT on http://Oprah.com/supersoulsunday or Facebook.com/supersoulsunday.
Whilst most of Louie’s films are rooted in the beauty of the natural world, others like Gratitude reveal the beauty of the human experience. This wonderfully moving and inspirational short reminds us why “each day in our lives is a precious gift, and that experiencing the world through gratitude can open our hearts”. Check out the preview and if you like it and want to you can follow Louie LIVE on Twitter @LouieFilms and get a free HD download of the famous short film, Gratitude.
Preview. (Duration 6:09) – Digital Download
Aloha Lovely Readers! Here is little upcountry Maui magic to engage and enliven your senses and start your week off beautifully. <3<3 Sabrina
Hello Lovely Readers,
In between being a busy mother, daughter, and partner, I’ve been having fun making a series of Engaging the Senses Collages to illustrate the book. Each of our senses has an internal and an external quality. So our sense of sight isn’t just about seeing the Beauty that is all around us it is also about self inquiry, in-sight and seeing the Beauty within! I am looking forward to “seeing” you here again soon. In the meantime here is a some soul food for your senses! Love, *Sabrina*
Whew…life hasn’t been easy around here in the longest time- especially sleep wise! My senses are sensitive-always have been-so this means no ambient light from laptops, charging stations, etc. Darkness is as necessary to our health as light. So even though I am a sunshine girl by nature, I was very grateful for the last few rainy grey mornings that allowed for some desperately needed sleep ins.
I’d forgotten what enough sleep even felt like. Delicious, decadent, necessary. Getting enough sleep affects the way we see ourselves and engage with the world around us. Seeing the Beauty that is all around us and within us is much easier when we have had enough of it.According to Proust, the real voyage of discovery consists of not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.
I love that quote! it is a big part of the inspiration for Engaging The Senses- the chapter on Sight begins with it- as well as the exercise below which can be done lying down or sitting up at your desk. Done regularly it is easy way to help maintain good eye health. Best of all it is a simple, relaxing way to nourish your senses inside and out. Try it now, at the end of the day or anytime your eyes feel tired or strained.
Let’s get started…..
- To begin rub your hands together for a count of ten making sure both your palms and finger are touching while imagining the warmth you’re creating and feeling between your hands is healing and restorative.
- Close your eyes and breath in deeply through your nose open your hands and immediately place your palms one over each eye socket forming a seal of warmth. Your pinkies should overlap. Keep your arm, neck and shoulder muscles relaxed. Now tell your eye muscles that it ok to relax completely. Feel this happening- sides of eye, under the eye, over the eyebrow relaxing deeply…Letting your eyes roll slightly upward as if you were gently gazing through the point between your eyebrow will help the muscles relax even more.
- Focus your attention of the feeling of warmth and imagine again that the healing restorative energy you just generated is bathing your eyes in cool softness as you relax your throat and focus on your breathing which should be calm and relaxed as the balm of healing, restorative energy works its magic on your hard working eyes.
- Repeat the process again and this time after you have formed the seal of warmth and healing take a moment to give thanks to your eyes for all the hard and important work they do and for all the beauty they allow you to see. eg. clouds, stars, the faces of your beloveds, flowers, sunsets, etc.
- Repeat the process one more time and then slowly open your eyes keeping your gaze soft. Relax the muscles of your belly,take a deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth before going on to your next activity.
When you focus with soul eyes, you will see home in many, many places. -Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Confession: I’ve kept a ‘notebook’ or ‘journal’ all of my adult life. All different kinds from classic black hard back artists sketch style to marbled black and white composition books like the kind I had in kindergarten. Plain and collaged with my own personal vision boards. Knowing all this I imagine you won’t be surprised to learn I love to read about the lives of great writers and poets. One of my dreams is to take a writers walking tour of London and Paris.. Or NYC! So many amazing writers and poets live have have lived, worked, played fought, loved and created in these places. Safe to say that such dreams are within reach. That first miracle I needed happened when I was home on Maui recently to see the amazing Dr.Joel Friedman, ‘shaman’ and author of Dear Isaac. On my way out the door, I grabbed a few more of my favorite books off the shelf including poet Mary Oliver’s Thirst, and Billy Collins “Questions About Angels“.
A few days later I opened my WordPress reader to learn that “Billy Collins, a former United States poet laureate who manages to send books onto the best-seller list, can now claim another feather in his cap: the sale of his archive to the UT at Austin, where his papers will sit beside the collections of such greats as E. E. Cummings and T. S. Eliot. They include dozens of notebooks containing observations, notes, doodles, clippings and extensive drafts of poems, published and unpublished. There is also wide correspondence, audio and video recordings, and childhood writings and diaries. Mr. Collins, 72, said by email that he had decided to sell his papers when he “started making a mental pile” and realized just how much material there was, including more than a few jottings on cocktail napkins, envelopes and other scraps. “I remember one occasion when the lines of a poem occurred to me while I was walking around the city with no pen and nothing to write on,” he said. “So I ducked into a bank and started writing the poem, standing up, on the backs of deposit slips. I used the bank pen that was attached to a desk with a chain, all of which made for a rather short poem. I tried to look very serious as if I were making a monster deposit.” Speaking of poetry and angels, I wanted to update you on The Sound and the Fury and let you in on a little secret that the rest of the world won’t hear about until the official press release next week at the Berlin Film Festival. The need EU distribution deal is in place and the film is going to premier at Cannes on May 2014 with James playing Benji and Seth Rogan playing against type as the sheriff! Talk about a feast for the senses. I’ve been invited to attend and if I can pull it off I intend to savor every French moment, and to post a special “engaging the senses” Cannes edition. To paraphrase Holden Caulfield, one of the all time great literary characters, “What really knocks me out is a movie that, when you’re all done watching it, you wish the director that made it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.” This is how I am starting to feel about oscar nominated actor- director- writer of The Sound and the Fury, James Franco (Milk, 127 Hours, Homefront). It seems to me that James is redefining what it means to be an actor and a ‘hollywood star’ and in doing so has taken on the unlikely role of literary guardian angel. He’s already made two great American novels into films and played one of America’s great cultural figures, ‘Beat’ poet, Allen Ginsberg in “Howl”, and now he’s turned the iconic, outsider, writer and poet Charles ‘hank’ Bukowski’s “Ham on Rye” (one of Franco’s favorite books of all time) into a film staring Tim Blake Nelson (Lincoln, O Brother Where Art Thou?) and Alex Kingston (Like Crazy, ER) amongst others! Engagingly yours! Sabrina xXxoOo p.s. Billy’s new CD has been released. The live recording was part of a benefit for WNYC public radio and includes and improptu introduction by Bill Murray. You can purchase the CD here.Billy’s new book – The Trouble with Poetry is in bookstores.
“it’s not that ‘literary” fiction’, and their cousin ‘literary film’ can’t be an escape, a highly enjoyable one, it is that they offer so much more than that because the story doesn’t depend on a formula. They are organic and sometimes messy like life. These stories are soul food for the senses because they engage our sense of empathy and imagination. They speak on many levels and deal with the stuff of real life. They help us know ourselves and to understand others…!”
Hello again lovelies,
I hope your new year is off to an engaging start. I just finished reading a wonderful book that further imagined the life of legendary writer, Ernest Hemingway, so when I got the news that funding to bring another great American writer’s work to the screen had finally come together, I breathed a sigh of relief and excitement and wanted to share the news with all of you!
Movie making is a ‘team sport’ however hats off go to James Franco said producer, Ron Singer, of Thats Hollywood Pictures and tv for pulling off the almost impossible! These lovers of literature have come together to bring one of 20th century America’s most important novels “The Sound and the Fury” to the big screen. Nobel Prize winning writer William Faulkner’s epic tale of all the things listed in this post’s title and more.
James has talked fondly about reading Faulkner as a boy, and why he still likes and teaches his work. So it is a beautiful homage to the great writer and screenwriter – Faulkner, adapted the work of two master story tellers into successful film scripts – Hemingway’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and Raymond Chandler’s detective novel “The Big Sleep” -that James decided to adapt the novel and co-wrote the script with his friend, Matt Rager. While security on stills is tight, the candids below taken on set last week show James dressed down and getting into character as well as wearing his director’s hat.
Word is Franco intends to use the finished movie in the film classes he teaches at universities both in LA and NYC. This isn’t the first time James has put his time, money and talent towards adapting Faulkner’s fiction for film. “As I Lay Dying” premiered at Cannes this year and judging by reviews he pulled it off with “aplomb” so “The Sound and the Fury” is likely to be even better than its predecessor. The way the second time mother or father is often a better parent.
There are some that wonder if James, who likes to burn the candle at both ends, is over extended and whether this will affect the projects he is committed to? The guy is only human after all. Asked about this, and the difficulties around funding and distribution, Singer clearly said, “he wouldn’t want James to be any other way.” And with recent studies on the merits of literary fiction finding it, “good medicine” for an often apathetic society, I say, “way to go James for using your considerable influence to bring quality literature and film into the consciousness of the millennials and popular culture at large.”
A former student of Franco’s called him “one of the best, best, best film teachers I have had.” and said “He is so great..it’s easy to forget he is famous he is so humble and talks to you as a peer.” At his recent Comedy Central Roast, James was called a lot of things, but humble wasn’t one of them. That is probably because it takes a big healthy ego,imagination and determination, to translate Faulkner’s epic tale of obsession, suicide, virginity, alcoholism, deception and promiscuity, not necessarily in that order amongst the aristocratic, once prominent, Compson family in post civil war America.
The novel has been called un-filmable by some due to its stream of consciousness style and non-linear story line. So it is especially brave of Franco to fight not only to bring the story to the screen, but to insist on artist integrity in the filming. This remake, unlike the recent, Gatsby, isn’t full of music video inspired cuts and will not be shown in 3D. (I love and admire the creative team of Baz Lurhman and Catherine Martin -so no offense meant!) I wonder if “The Sound and the Fury will be ripe with the longer luscious camera pans and dreamy sequences, that worked so well in “As I Lay Dying”?
“Hollywood is a place where a man can get stabbed in the back while climbing a ladder” William Faulkner
Anyway, they don’t call it show BUSINESS for nothing. Funnily enough, the European market would rather have our fast action dreck than an art house adaptation of one of America’s classic novels Even if the movie is being made by the gorgeous, idiosyncratic actor/director, playwright, James Franco and includes hot Hollywood actor/director/producer, Seth Rogan. This did not make the producer’s job easy. No, no, not easy at all. Singer, a collector of literary first editions,and a long time friend, has had to act like a magician on this one. First and foremost to raise the money needed to make the movie. And secondly, to cut a distribution deal that will make this film available, and accessible, while remaining true to the artist’s visions and legacy. I can’t wait to attend the premier!