Monday, June 29, 2009

Guess Who's Coming to Breakfast

I received a shock this morning when I opened my front door to let the sun shine in to my workspace. I had company peering at me through two waving antennae resting near my door handle. The grasshopper who greeted me was quite calm during her/his entire photo session this morning. I suspect s/he thought camouflage brown attire would be unnoticeable to my human eyes. About thirty minutes have passed since we first spied each other and the grasshopper is still hanging out on my door. Good company I say.

Notes on "Rethinking Karma" by David Loy

Karma Chameleon

I agree with David Loy when he quotes Fromm and celebrates the dynamic nature of spirituality in his article on rethinking karma in Tricycle magazine.

“By emphasizing the inevitable limitations of any cultural innovator, Fromm implies the impermanence—the dynamic, developing nature—of all spiritual teachings.” [and academic and vocational and, and, and…]

This approach to education is humble and dynamic rather than condescending and dogmatic.

“In the Kalama Sutta, sometimes called 'the Buddhist charter of free inquiry,' the Buddha emphasized the importance of intelligent, probing doubt. He said that we should not believe in something until we have established its truth for ourselves.”

Spirituality should teach young children to think independently while at the same time encourage all members of the community to practice self-awareness of our interconnectedness to other living beings. Loy expresses it nicely when he writes,

“When your mind changes, the world changes. And when we respond differently to the world, the world responds differently to us. Insofar as we are actually not separate from the world, our ways of acting in it tend to involve feedback systems that incorporate other people. People not only notice what we do; they notice why we do it. I may fool people sometimes, yet over time, as the intentions behind my deeds become obvious, my character becomes revealed. The more I am motivated by greed, ill will, and delusion, the more I must manipulate the world to get what I want, and consequently the more alienated I feel and the more alienated others feel when they see they have been manipulated. This mutual distrust encourages both sides to manipulate more. On the other side, the more my actions are motivated by generosity, lovingkindness, and the wisdom of interdependence, the more I can relax and open up to the world. The more I feel part of the world and genuinely connected with others, the less I will be inclined to use others, and consequently the more inclined they will be to trust and open up to me. In such ways, transforming my own motivations not only transforms my own life; it also affects those around me, since what I am is not separate from what they are.”

Tricycle: Rethinking Karma

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Best of Days

On the best of days, all I need is a beer and the sunset. It's possible to reach up and finger paint the clouds, rearrange them in the sky, and mentally recline in a fluffy meditative space of peace.

(the sunset from our terrace at the Vista Serena Hostel in Manuel Antonio on Thursday, June 25, 2009)

-photo courtesy of Michelle Piano

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Pink is Pink and the Mango Tree

I was surprised at the pink pinkness of this flower. There were many rotting mango fruits near the tree, but my landscaping supervisor in Hawaii thinks the tree is a variety of Mountain Apple. I searched Google images of Mountain Apple flowers, and I agree with him, but I also sent the photo to a national park guide who works at Manuel Antonio in Costa Rica to ask his opinion as well.

The Terrain of Counter-Cultural Ideas

The American Way of Life?

I found an on-line journal today publishing writing that appeals to my innate habit of challenging what Scott Russell Sanders calls: "the reckless binge known as the 'American way of life...'" I enjoyed the interview with Sanders, who teaches English at Indiana University, in The excerpt below was inspiring because I am always looking for counter-cultural allies too.

"Among the general run of American writers, as in our society as a whole, there is relatively little regard for other species, little awareness of the dire condition of the planet, little concern with envisioning a more humane, peaceful, conserving, and spiritually rich alternative to our consumer culture. So anyone who sets out to challenge the reckless binge known as the 'American way of life' is apt to feel mighty lonely, unless he or she can find allies."

Interview with Scott Russell Sanders

Sunday, June 21, 2009


My neighbor found these insects in her apartment in Ciudad Colon, Costa Rica, so she microwaved and mounted them. I hope I don't have similar guests come to visit me at my place.

Pollen and Beauty on My Trail

(Before Alicia left for New York, she gave me a copy of this poem. Alica is 80 years old with a mind set of eternal youth.)

All day long, may I walk
Through the returning seasons, may I walk
Beautifully, will I possess again
Beautiful birds, beautiful, joyful birds
On the trail marked with pollen, may I walk
With grasshoppers about my feet, may I walk
With dew about my feet, may I walk.

With beauty before me, behind me, above me
all around me, may I walk.

In old age wandering on a trail of beauty
lively, may I walk
It is finished in beauty
It is finished in beauty

- Navaho Prayer

Friday, June 19, 2009

Drops From Her Umbrella

in adulthood
I can still count on her
my mother
taking my jacket from me
and shaking off the rain

do I want bells on my balloons
the store clerk asks me
and it's a cheerful day all around

on my way
to return library books
-at a red light
reading that sentence
one last time

Drops From Her Umbrella, Laura Maffei

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Flowers and Coffee

Flowers and Costa Rican coffee are two things I appreciated on first sight/taste.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Banana Flower Outside My Door

On June 17, I explored downtown San Jose on foot. The bus fare from Ciudad Colon to the city was 305 colones (.75 cents) and the bus dropped passengers off at the Coca Cola bus stop in town. The city offered more than I expected because the guidebooks I had read described San Jose as dirty, grimy and bleak. In other words, I had low expectations, so I enjoyed the day. This is a common occurrence in my life.

Nine hours of walking took my traveling companion, Michelle, and me through the city from the central market to the National Museum of Costa Rica. At the market, I saw shark corpses protruding from a large plastic container that looked like our garbage can at home in the United States. After witnessing this sad site, I must admit that I did try some of Michelle’s ceviche (a form of citrus-marinated seafood appetizer, which is popular in Latin American countries) even though I am a vegetarian most of the time. I had three small bites of the mixed fish dish with my coffee. This is my confession.

I bought a Spanish/English dictionary at a bookstore downtown. The people we have met in the country are so helpful that learning the language is a pleasant undertaking. Being a vegetarian is also inspiring me to learn food-related vocabulary so that I can discuss my eating possibilities with waiters and waitresses.

I realized tonight that it is completely dark in the central valley of Costa Rica by 6 p.m. and that Costa Rica is only 8 to 10 degrees north of the equator. This means that there isn’t much variation in the times of the sunrise and sunset throughout the year.

I made my first Skype call to the United States after I returned to my apartment, and Oprah is correct. She did an entire show celebrating the perks of Skype, and after using it, I must agree with her positive assessment of this online phone service. It is easy, inexpensive and connects people who are continents apart. Three cheers for Skype.

Pink Palace

My apartment is pink like the petals of a late spring rose or the underside of your tongue.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Create, Love, Commune, and Live

I arrived safely in San Jose, Costa Rica at the scheduled time of 9:01 p.m. and took a taxi to the Julia and David White Artists’ Colony. After I arrived, I met my neighbor, Alicia, from upstate New York. Alicia is a painter and a writer and was kind enough to invite me in for a cup of peach tea. I am so sleepy now, which means it’s time to shower and sleep. I hope to go grocery shopping tomorrow in the nearby town of Ciudad Colon. I can’t wait to meet everyone in the morning light.

Here's a link to the Julia and David White Web site.

Julia and David White

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Working on Being Myself

June 11, 2009 - Tricycle's Daily Dharma
Be Who You Want to Be

Happiness is possible when you are capable of doing the things and being the things you want to do and to be. When we walk for the sake of walking, when we sit for the sake of sitting, when we drink for the sake of drinking tea, we don’t do it for something or someone else. Awakening means to see that truth—that you want to know how to enjoy, how to live deeply, in a very simple way. You don’t want to waste your time anymore. Cherish the time that you are given.

–Thich Nhat Hanh, Answers from the Heart (Parallax Press)

Monday, June 01, 2009

ZEN & Business = Harmony

Patience requires that we fully and directly face our difficulties, that we embrace and learn from situations and from our feelings about them. Owning and transforming our pain and disappointment can be a tremendous challenge, as well as a tremendous gift.

–Marc Lesser, from Z.B.A.: Zen of Business Administration (New World Library)

[from the June 1, 2009 Daily Dharma]

About Me

My photo

What do I do? That’s a question with more depth than the deceiving three-word construction would lead us to believe.

I live on planet earth with other folks, and I’m involved in the field of education and learning. I’m a life-long learner with a passion for knowledge and the process of bending bits of ideas into new constructions of beauty.