Posts Tagged With: meditation

VISIT TO A VILLAGE PRIMARY SCHOOL.

When we arrived at the school, the children were sitting on the rooftop doing morning meditation. Ahmmm, with palms up, thumb and forefinger clasped, eyes closed. After which they gave a pledge to the flag and sang a song.

This little boy and girl did a song with gestures, then repeated it in English. The school is supported by the parent company of OAT, Grand Circle. Part of our travel money, funds projects in the countries in which we travel.

There was a question and answer session.

Carol used her puppet to talk to the kids. A big hit. As they transferred from the roof to classrooms, the little ones would say good-bye to the puppet as though it was real. The older kids know but are just as delighted.

The classrooms are small and crowded with two or three kids to a desk.

The shy one.

Kathy charmed them and let them see their pictures in her phone.

We don’t know what this gesture means, but kids everywhere in India use it. And they constantly move. If we aim a camera at our kids, they know to stop moving and even pose.

They are proud of their work and love school. The parents are poor here, but they must pay a little. The parents understand education can be a way out of poverty for them.

Of course, Theo was a hit with the kids. They’d keep asking him to come to their room, over and over. He found out that some boys were older than he is.

They challenged him to juggle a bottle, and of course, he could.

Behind Theo you see kids on the floor with no desks. Just a rug on the cement floor.

 

The kids carry a backpack with personal belongings but nowhere to store them. These girls are sisters.

Their play area is pitifully small. About a 24 ‘ x 24’ foot slab in front of the school stairs. And, as you leave the school, this is what you see. A slum.

This man is a heavy supporter of the school. He works there and lives in this poor village. He owns land.  Ranvir chose vegetables from government food bags. (He paid) Ranvir is taking us to visit this man’s home and family and get a cooking lesson. Since I had mentioned I’d like to ride one of the little motors we see all over India,  Ranvir asked if I could ride back to the house with him. I hopped on, we took off. The rest of the group walked.

When we arrived, she didn’t look too pleased for him to show up with me. I saw what turned out to be a daughter-in-law nursing a baby. A teen age boy standing on a stone inside the house in his underwear, then putting on his outer clothes. I didn’t want to offend by taking pictures so I asked for water to wash the veggies. The husband set me up with buckets on a beautiful slab of marble outside. He brought pans to rinse and a pan for the leaves and discarded pea pods. And a pan for the cut vegetables. Our cooking lesson tomorrow, maybe. Tomorrow is the St. Patricks Day Parade in Murphys.

 

 

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GOLD CANYON, FLORENCE, ST. ANTHONY’S MONASTERY

After your lives have taken separate paths, we often get disconnected from cousins and old friends. One of the best things about being a road warrior is reconnecting with family and friends who live more stationary lives; people you see infrequently, or friendships reduced to a Christmas card per year. Saturday afternoon, my cousin Vicky and her husband Rod met us at Gold Canyon for a family get-together. I believe I’ve only met Vicky three times, twice when she was a young child and once at a family reunion in 2003. That is what often happens to us.

Vicky and her husband Rod, myself and Karen enjoyed dinner at Karen’s house in Gold Canyon. The years just peeled away, looking at pictures and talking about our common ancestors. Do you know how my mom and dad met? I knew cousin Myron played drums but I didn’t know your father played in a band? Who is that beautiful woman who looks like aunt Delores? The ties become warmer, closer, meaningful, memorable.
Gold Canyon is a small sprawling residential area next to the Superstition Mountains. Gorgeous country, great hiking trails into the desert, giant saguaro cactus and blossoming chollo.

My friend Sandee Voges lives in Tuscon and we were able to drive about equal distance and met at a small town called Florence on Sunday morning. From all descriptions, its a “nothing” stop on the road with a McDonalds restaurant and a state prison. The blooming chollo, barrels and saguaro were nothing short of spectacular in the countryside.  And yes, Florence is a small place with few visable amenities. But, we discovered Mt. Athos, a greek restaurant, a wonderful greek restaurant as it turned out. The waitress took our picture, above.  The help patiently allowed us to yap and yap for a couple of hours without hovering and inching us out the door by subtle over-service.

Sandee briefly walked her dog and got acquainted with Costas, parked nearby. He comes to the St. Anthony’s Monastery in Florence to cleanse himself of the city. Monastery? He described this beautiful place with five churches, gorgeous grounds, orchards and an olive plantation. His love for the Greek Orthodox religion showed in his smile and words. He told us about the donkeys that are descendants of the bibilical donkeys that carried the Christ Child.  They have a cross on their backs.
We had to go.

It was started in 1995 with St. Anthony’s Monastery, named for a third century ascetic of Egypt, the father of monasticism.

St. Nicholas Chapel is considered the most beautiful, but it is hard to decide. Each chapel is named for saints popular with Greeks. George the Great, Nicholas the Wonder-worker, Panteleimon the Healer, Elijah the prophet, John the Baptist, Seraphin of Savov, Demetrios of Thesalonica.

The grounds are elaborate, cooling and allow privacy and contemplation.

The wood, stained glass, marble floors and tiles and grounds made you to know this is one of the most beautiful monasteries in the United States.

The Chapel of St. George, Romanian in style. The monastery is serviced by 40 resident monks.

This is the Russian Chapel dedicated to St. Seraphim. Visitors can stay on the premises.

This is the Russian Cross. The bottom slanted bar is the footrest. It is slanted because the thief crucified with Jesus on the right was saved and went to heaven. Thus the right side is slanted toward heaven. The thief on the left went to hell and the left side of the bar is slanted downward. (My picture was taken from the back side of the cross.)

Saint Elijah’s Chapel.

If you are in Phoenix, Tuscon, or anywhere near this wonderful place, you must visit. I took many pictures. If you want to see the album click here:
http://picasaweb.google.com/1579penn/1911StAnthonySFlorence#
If you’d like to view the website to learn more about this amazing place, click on the link below:
http://www.stanthonysmonastery.org/

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UNVEILING THE DRAGON

The dragon is not always a symbol of fierceness. The Lakota people consider the dragon a symbol of retreat; to journey inward to your own center of peace and quiet. Sharon Armstrong is a psychologist who does art work with her patients. Her strength is in mask making. For years she has taught people to make their own faces in a mask.  It helps people clarify who they are and where they are going. Working on it provides them a kinship with themselves and others. But, for the Burning Man, held the Monday before Labor Day each year in the desert, Sharon built a 23 foot tall dragon. Sharon returned home and erected it in her mother’s garden at the Center for Creativity and Community in San Andreas.

The dragon’s name is Uncegila and is surrounded by a labyrinth. The unveiling was held Sunday and people came to walk the labyrinth and visit the Center, the Gallery, housed in a 100 year old restored barn, and the Garden.

Sharon, on the left, with Madalaine Krska, showed everyone around the Center which came about in an unusual way. Her mother, Floy, heard Sharon on a television interview comment that she wished she could found a Center for Creativity and Community. Floy decided right then and there that she could make that come true. Floy took her rental at 23 West St. Charles Place in San Andreas, and is helping her daughter  transform the building into a non-profit Community Center. There is space for art work, teaching ceramics, photography, creative writing, video, painting, drawing, mask making and music.  Their vision is to provide a gathering place for people of all ages to explore and express their unique creativity regardless of their ability to pay.

The Center is just getting started, but classes have already underway. Nanette Klass teaches drawing.

Ruth Nicols teaches harp and Tai Chi.

Floy’s vegetable and flower garden was planted by area children.

Sharon teaches mask making; and her husband, George, teaches landscape painting.

But you don’t have to be an artist to enjoy the center. My brother Bill, above, joined me and walked the labyrinth around the dragon. Eventually, the gazebo with a fountain and picnic area will be open to the public. The lovely Victorian House can hold an audience of 30 people for performance events. Two sound proof rooms allow people quiet space for writing or music lessons.

Or, like me, you can lie in the hammock and relax and contemplate the dragon from afar. The website is:  http://www.center4creativity

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