Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Elephant Journal!

I was thrilled to hear the other day that a good twitter friend had written a little article on Elephant Journal about gift suggestions for the meditation lover.... including my mahogany obsidian mala!

You can a take a peek at the article here. I highly recommend browsing the site for some interesting articles on yoga, politics, conscious consumerism, organics and much more!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

This Must Be Bliss......Pecans and Whiskey

Perhaps I am committing some awful act of blasphemy but my home presently has the sweet aroma of pecan pie and I am inclined to feel this could be true bliss. Now I know the senses tend to be illusory on our quest for the ultimate truth.... but it just smells so very good! This must be where pecans go when they die.

As long as the fragrance does not bind me, does not cause "attachment", this can be a moment of true bliss....right? :)

Well, I just tried a new recipe a friend recommended for Pecan Whiskey Pie and by the smell of it, I think it will be outstanding. It is incredibly simple to make and if you need a little something extra on the table this holiday I highly recommend it.

All you will need are eggs, maple syrup, sugar, butter, and pecans ( and whiskey, bourbon or other alcohol, if desired.) I am going to direct you to a really lovely blog for the sweet details.  Click here for the recipe I used.

Wishing you all a beautiful holiday filled with peace, love, light and bliss!!!

The finished product!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Why wait?

Each month I attend a wonderful Raja Yoga satasang at The Integral Yoga Institute. (For those unfamiliar with the word satasang-  in sanskrit sat = true, sanga = company. A satsang is generally a gathering of people who get together to discuss truth, yogic teachings etc., and work to assimilate them into their daily lives.)

This last satsang was so much fun and I wanted to share our "homework" with you and a beautiful lesson.

It began with a well known story of Swami Kriyananda and a few of his devotees. They had saved and saved to buy a new van for their ashram. When they had finally saved enough money and bought the van, the very day they were driving back they had a minor collision and the new van got  terribly scratched.

All the devotees were extremely upset. Swami Kriyananda, however, was just sitting there with a big grin on his face. When the devotees asked him why he was smiling, he said "Will you cry about this forever?", to which they agreed they would not. His response, "So why wait!"

I think this lesson is so beautiful and I have been thinking on this all month. Our "homework", so to speak, was to see if we could let go of all those things that bother us just a little quicker. There will be trial and sadness but will we be affected by it forever? Will we hold onto these things? Why wait to let them go? Why wait for your happiness! Get it now!

So don't wait another second!

Friday, October 30, 2009

A beautiful trade...

I had the pleasure of my very first trade last week!

Laura of Compassion Malas  and I decided to trade malas from our shops. Her work has been featured on this blog already, but I can't say enough about it! I chose the the picture jasper pocket mala......

And she chose the Black Agate Mala......

The mala I received was beautiful and warm. I admit I have yet to meditate with it yet due to my schedule this week, but I plan to tonight! I will let you know how it goes. 

Peace to all! And a special hello to my new followers!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Why Saraswati?

Many have inquired about the name of my shop and I would love to share with you its origins.

Saraswati was a name given to me by my yoga teacher and dear friend. Saraswati is a very special name derived from the Hindu goddess of knowledge, music and the creative arts. In Hindu mythology, she is represented as the divine consort of Brahma , the creator of the universe and is said to assist her worshippers in the gaining of knowledge, wisdom and learning.

Images of Saraswati usually depict her wearing white, riding a swan or a peacock while playing the music of love and life on an instrument called the veena. Her four hands are a representation of the four aspects of the human personality in learning- mind, intellect, ego and alertness.

A beautiful and fitting name for any creative spirit. I endeavor to deserve it!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Heart Of Compassion..........

I am so excited to introduce you to one of my favorite shops, Heart of Compassion Malas. Laura does extraordinary work with malas of all kinds. I have be admiring them for sometime and thought she would make a wonderful blog feature. I am sure you will enjoy her work as much as I do!

About Heart of Compassion Malas, "compassionmalas" on Etsy:

"I live in Encinitas, California with my family, a calico cat named Gidget, and a border collie named Penny Lane. I have an art degree and was a painter before I started my Etsy shop. I've studied meditation for over 25 years and I'm just starting to get it a little bit.

I started selling malas (traditionally Buddhist or Hindu prayer beads) online over a year ago. I kept hearing how great Etsy was and finally gave it a try. I started making malas because malas I'd buy always broke after I used them for a while, so each year when I went to meditation retreat I'd have a broken mala in a bag and I'd hand it over to my favorite mala repair person. After years of this I learned how to string them the same way and started making and repairing my own. Then I decided I wanted to share them with others. I didn't learn mala-making and repair by apprenticing in a small village in the Himalayas, but after making hundreds for people, I hope and pray I've got the technique down. I love what I do. It's a way to combine three of my favorite things: art, serving people, and meditation/prayer. I work a lot with the ideas of crystal healing.

My favorite way to work is to fall in love with a material, like bodhiseed or lilac stone, and then figure out what marker beads, guru bead, and tassel would tie it all together. I consider a beautiful mala to be an offering. When you use them in practice it opens your heart because of how beautiful they are.

When you wear them you feel connected to the earth, sky, and higher power. This can be very centering and enriching.

I’m not sure if enough people know about malas. They are Buddhist and Hindu rosaries. But they shouldn’t just be for Buddhists. Many faiths have prayer beads, even Protestants are starting to use them. You can find "Anglican Rosaries" on Etsy, and I make some too.

They're very good companions for yoga practitioners. For mantra recitation, a mantra such as Om Mani Padme Hum is repeated for each bead. In Tibetan tradition the mala is held in the left hand and the bead is pulled towards the heart with the thumb. No mantra is said on the three-holed guru bead by the tassel. One tries to do this for the benefit of all beings, as well as for oneself. It can be a wonderful practice in meditation if you relax while you say mantras.

My background is in Tibetan Buddhism, but I respect and honor all spiritual traditions. We have more in common than we are different.

About Etsy:

I love being on Etsy because it really is a community and I meet buyers and sellers from all over the world. My shoppers are beautiful people. I enjoy watching Etsy grow and seeing all the effort the company is putting into developing it. Etsy makes it so easy. It's been incredible to have an online store and I'm truly grateful.

I also have a blog:

May you be well and happy,

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mini People In The Heart Of France.....

I want to introduce you to one of the most unique shops I have seen on Etsy recently, Les Minis de Dongedy. If you have yet to visit this shop, you are in for a treat!

Dongedy creates and photographs tiny scenes from everyday items with mini people. She painstakingly creates an enticing little world where mini men scale nutella bottles, couples ice skate over linzer tarts and little arrangements of sweets become bustling construction areas! I invite you to enter her surreal and beautiful world......

I asked her to write a little about herself:

"I'm Dongedy. I'm 37 years old, a woman with a husband and 2 cute daughters. I'm french and living in France, 50km away from Paris (close enough to benefit from its cultural lights, and far enough to live in an old house made of stone, near the forest).

I come from the marketing and communication world (I've been working for French Luxury brands for 10 years), and decided to work independantly when I became a mother. 

I am a photographer of tiny worlds and a story teller. I love to shoot mini people (Ho scale) and to create new micro-stories. Part of my job consists in having a new look to items all around me. On my desk, in my kitchen, in shops : I'm always wondering whether this USB key, this teapot or that fork could match minipeoples to create new photos.

I'm having fun doing this, and I hope you that have fun looking at these photos too..."

Friday, August 28, 2009

Meet Leo......He Meditates Too

OK. So I admit he doesn't really do very much......hours laying under the craft table, an occasional snarfle, inspecting newly arrived packages, alerting me to the mailman- but he is damn cute! I would like to introduce you to Leo. He sits quietly at my feet while I practice for gigs, when I create and even when I meditate. He finds a little place for himself (often after some intense digging, a pleasurable groan, then plop!) He joins me in the moment, whatever it may be. What wisdom we can learn from animals. For them, the present is merely that. The present.

They live simply and fully in the moment, every moment.

An outing in the Spring.

It is difficult- he sometimes steals my clothes.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Dancing for Jagannath....

I had the sublime pleasure of attending a performance of Rahul Acharya last night at the Integral Yoga Institute Princeton.

Rahul is an extremely gifted and renowned Odissi dancer from India. Although difficult to bring such an intricate performance to life through a description, I really wanted to share this experience with you and tell you a little about the extremely fascinating history of this dance.

Odissi dance is a sacred Indian classical dance from the eastern state of Odissa.
The origins are linked with the culture of Devadasis (or dancing girls) and can be traced back for more than 2,000 years. Following this tradition these dances were performed by Maharis, virgin women dedicating their lives to Lord Jagannath, and only danced for him within the Jagannath temple in Odissi. (Boys dressed as girls or "Gotipua" could perform these story-telling dances outside the temple for the public at festivals.) Unfortunately, during colonial period Odissi dance was banned, the Maharis labeled as prostitutes, and this sacred dance form nearly lost. Modern Odissi dances are now reconstructions.

There is so much to the rich history of this dance, I am sure I would need more than a blog, and more than my unreliable memory to do it justice! If you would like to dig deeper, I would recommend searching online on the numerous cultural Indian sites.

As to the performance last night, it was amazing. I am not even going attempt a description. Rahul is deeply devoted to the diety Jagannath and while he dances it is a kind of transcendental experience for both performer and audience. He truly lives his art in each pose, gesture, and facial expression. Here is a video I found on youtube of Rahul. One of many! My only complaint is that you cannot see the intricate mudras (hand gestures) and his facial expressions which are tied deeply into the poetic and story-telling aspect of the dance. For those who have the time to watch the full video, I recommend you do so ! He does this amazingly difficult pose at the end (around the 8 minute mark) which is stunning! You will know it when you see it!

I hope you enjoy his performance as much as I did.