Tag Archives: mindfulness

March 5 2014 update for the Junk Drawer

I have five blogs and I only write in this one when I have something to say about backpacking, or the Dixieland band (today is Ash Wednesday and Mardi Gras is over. time to clean up the beads, vomit and hurricanes from Bourbon Street..)

I will say, I have transferred my psychic blogging energy to The Sacrament of the Goddess blog. It accompanies my second book of that title.

Here is one little photo, of the book’s back cover, that may entice you to check it out….

they say the back cover has to contain a tease to entice the casual browser to open it and find the wonders therein....

they say the back cover has to contain a tease to entice the casual browser to open it and find the wonders therein….


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simplify and minimalize your life?

Today, my friend Tom Jamrog wrote in his blog that he has tackled his hoarding problem head-on.

The Minimalist Movement

He hauled stuff to the dump; he gave things to Goodwill. But most of all , he mentally let go of the need to have “stuff.” He gave the link to a very interesting blog on Minimalism,  which provides a sort of philosophy of why minimalism is something we need to consider in twentyfirst-century America. The Minimalists give you a 21-day plan to free yourself… based on the idea that it takes three weeks of daily practice before something becomes a “habit.” They advocate such things as selling your car, eliminating extra bills, etc.

Zen Habits

There is also a terrific blog named Zenhabits.   The writer(s) of this blog offer a perspective on how to live an intentional life, one in which the activities are focused on a goal or purpose, not on blind acceptance of consumer culture, and which promotes the idea of simplicity in life. It is a way to achieve internal peace and harmony.

Re-entry shock

I have been trending in this direction for awhile, ever since my first trip to Nepal in 2007. While there I saw a paradox of people who had nothing ( as in, no possessions) but who were still largely leading happy lives ( okay, well, my book is about the dismal state of health care in that country – not quite “happy”   for those who had health problems). When I returned had a full-blown case of re-entry shock. This led me to reconsider the materialistic approach of the average American.

Backpacking as an expression of Zen

When not in Nepal, I have completed two summer long backpacking trips. This is also an exercise in zen – deciding to let go of as much material possessions and mental clutter as you possibly can.  Seeing how well you do.

Advice to nurses

On my other blog, I spend a lot of time giving career advice to nurses who are entering a very complex and daunting work environment. I think most nurses go into the profession with the excellent zen-like goal of compassion and lovingkindness, but can lose sight of this along the way. I think nurses need to find a balance between the pace of work life and the need for inner peace exemplified by these blogs.

This does not mean that nurses have to accept every thing that comes their way – it does mean that nurses save their energy to fight the battles worth fighting for to make better patient care.

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July 29th confession about Wood Peewees and folk dance tunes.

A reader asked what you think about all day when hiking.

everything. and nothing. I will expand on this at some point. To hike awakens mindfulness, an awareness of basic body reaction to the environment explored by Buddhists.

for me, I will reveal a sort of automatic process that took place this time around.

there is a bird known as the Eastern Wood Peewee. click on the link and you can hear the sound it makes, captured on YouTube. this time of year, most birds are silent during the day because mating season is over. you will hear the dawn chorus at 0615, for about thirty minutes, then it dies down.

Spring is the best time to listen to the symphony of birds. they sing songs of love. The dawn chorus. something I have always loved.


as many of you know, I love music and have a lot of tunes on MP3. I don’t listen while hiking though, because it depletes the battery.

One song on my playlist is ” An Dro Retournee” which is a folk song from Brittany, the French province. I like the tune. Part of the YouTube commentary on it reads as follows:

The An Dro is an ancient fertility dance from, some say the Bronze Age’ and it was danced around the fields at festivals, sometimes all night, hence it had to keep the pace even, so the people will be led into a trance, rather than to exhaustion. In this version the footwork is more in and out rather than side and on the spot, and the dance is driven by the large spiral swing of the arms. I tell you from experience, it is very energising!

And there is on particular recording of it used by many International Folk Dance groups in USA, that includes some synthesized sounds. I think the synthed parts were intended to evoke the sound of a Brittany bagpipe, but to me it sounds like a bird call or perhaps a whale recording.

and here is the mystery: sometimes as I was hiking along I would find myself singing this song.  After ten minutes or so , I would make a conscious effort to think of something else, and ask myself why this was in my head?

the answer is, whenever I passed through a spot where there was a Wood Peewee, I would recognize the sound, subconsciously at times. Next thing I knew I was singing this tune. If I were one of Pavlov’s dogs, I would have been salivating.

it’s one of those aspects of free association.  there are many examples of tunes designed to mimic bird calls – including a famous passage from Beethoven’s Pastorale symphony which uses the woodwind quintet.  Wooden bird whistles are a staple of percussion in Brasilian samba music as well.


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