The Ambrosia of Truth

Happy New Year,

I have been making my E Pluribus Flag series for 15 years now. This year I plan to celebrate diverse culture more than ever and I have a simple way to do this. I hope you too will join in. I plan to watch out everyday for special gifts of culture that enrich all of our lives. Yesterday you might have seen my first Instagram post. I used a pair of Nordic patterned socks to patch the elbows of my favorite cashmere sweater. Enjoying and putting to use colorful patterns and craftwork inspired by one culture is one thing but today I want to go to the utterly opposite end of the spectrum and share something deeper.

On New Year’s Day I listened to an inspiring New Year’s talk by Gurumayi Chidvilasananda. I came away cherishing the term Satya Rasa – the ambrosia of truth. Today the idea of truth is very confused. It is too often manipulated, politicized, misunderstood and abused. I for one feel battered after this last year but yesterday I dipped into a sweet, calm, delicious pool of truth and enjoyed profound, ancient gifts of wisdom from across the world.

The company of truth is unmistakable when the heart is open and when the mind is awakened, it is ambrosia. It is, also, as I heard yesterday “available to everyone.” I am reminded that my passion for exploring all the aspects of culture began during a fire ceremony at the Siddha Yoga Ashram upstate New York many years ago. Whether dealing with a damaged sweater or a battered heart we all have so much to offer each other. The fabric of our civilization is strong because of the profound and the practical gifts we share. I will be watching for them and sharing on Instagram, I hope you will join in and share inspirations about your culture too. Check in at – murielanyc

A broken heart

These are the dark times or perhaps the challenging times of the famous Chinese proverb that says, “May you live in interesting times”. The challenge is to permit the heart to break, to be with those who suffer fully without drowning ourselves. I have been angsting over my next blog; this one, because what can one say about heaven being here when such terrible quakes happen as in Haiti and so many suffer and die? The last thing I intend for this blog is for it to be pollyannish; that is of use to no one. 

So where is heaven in all the disaster that we have just witnessed and  in that suffering that continues to unfold in further desperation? I think the first step toward finding it and recogizing heaven is here is to know that we are more than just our physical form, we are greater than that. Our isness is eternal; that primordial witness of our lives, loves, wars, disasters and deaths is omiscient and omnipresent. That core us is beyond the blink of an eye that is this life. That part of us knows this is heaven, that part of us orchestrates this heaven so that we may experience the sublime and the excruciating feelings of this life. Challenging times afford each of us the opportunity to know ourselves better. These events also allow us to know ourselves better as one humanity, as the organism of community that we are fast becoming in this rapidly globalizing village. I think of a woman I saw on TV two days ago who was trapped for 6 days in rubble. When a team of US firefighters finally pulled her out she broke into song. My heart sings with her as much as my heart breaks for the children sitting in the streets next to their injured or deceased parent. I pour my prayers and blessings on those who are suffering in Haiti and to those who are helping, thank you to them all for their part in this massive global heart opening event.

It is important to look at this event and see what is going on cosmically and globally. Our world is our reflection of our self. Our immediate personal world reflects our personal, individual suppositions about reality. Our world at large reflects the greater agreements we assume as a community of humans. We carry and sustain immense constructs of what we think our world should be. For example the banking system is a construct, it’s “reality” is only apparent because we all agree to function by it’s authority. National borders are a construct, as are governments, educational systems and of course religions. All these ‘structures’ have formed over thousands of years built on infrastructures of assumptions that were formed and agreed upon thousands of years ago. Assumptions like “God is a jealous god”, “my race is the smartest”, “women should stay in the home”, “my neighbor is my enemy”, “survival of the fittest” all impact with tremendous power the way we interact and live together. I think few would agree that these structures are perfect and true. Many people are left out in the cold, impoverished and unable to create a sustainable lifestyle and this is because of these constructs. I was infuriated to learn that when Haiti revolted after learning about the French revolution and won their freedom they were then subject to reparations for loss of French revenues garnered by the slave industry. It took Haiti 150 years to pay off this massive debt, I wonder why the slaves were unable to make a case for reparations for their slave labor and ill-treatment and instead garner 150 years of reparation payments from France. These are the kinds of constructs that are crumbling right now. We are entering a new time where subjugation of our fellows, theft of each others energy and lifeforce will not be permitted. How can we be in heaven when the comfort of one depends on the suffering of another? We are intimately intertwined as one humanity and each individual’s well being is mutually beneficial, even the ants have figured this out.

I remember vividly while watching on TV the twin towers of the World Trade Center collapse that I felt like everything I thought was real inside me was crumbling and disintegrating. I felt a palpable shattering of the subtle construction of my understanding of my world. In the days after 9/11 in New York City New Yorkers were so soft and sweet. People’s hearts were open. Strangers were chatting with each other. Residents set drinks outside and made cookies for passers by. An opera singer broke into a splendid song one morning in the subway and the entire subway car felt sacred. It didn’t take long though for hearts to harden and for the US to stampede into war. Five years later we witnessed the suffering of New Orleans, then the South Asian Tsunami, then the hurricane in Haiti and ten years later here we are again witnessing terrible suffering.

It is said that if a change in direction is needed God will tickle your nose with a feather, if you are really alert you will immediately pay attention and shift course. If that doesn’t work God will slap your hand with a newspaper, hopefully for most of us that will get our attention and we will make a correction, if that doesn’t work he’ll use a 2 by 4 across your temple, it will probably hurt like hell but who’s going to ignore that. In your dazed recovery ideally you will change your misbehaviour. But if, however, even the 2 by 4 fails to make the point then comes the mac truck barreling down toward you with full force. Even though we are blessed with free will while playing in this realm it is critical that we follow the path of grace chosen by our own souls. Does it sound like I might be blaming someone for the earthquake? I hope not, I am not. I am convinced though that a quantum shift in our relationships to each other and to our world will produce a dramatically different experience of our world for each of us.

Here is an opportunity to allow the heart to break, or at the very least to soften and open. This is perhaps our most important duty right now, holding of anger, fear, jealousy, judgment and other negative energies ripples out into our world in terribly destructive ways. It takes great skill and effort to hold a state that welcomes heaven but heaven will not be perceived unless that disciplined state is nurtured.

I would like to recommend a well-reknowned prescient teacher Tom Kenyon, who offers beautiful and useful information to support us through these difficult times. A most recent article entitled, “Haiti and the Chaotic Node” presents information on how to maintain a good state as we go through these trying times.

We are in this together.

The best thing about heaven is that we get to play together. We get to learn from each other, we create, share, celebrate and move into a deeper understanding of our true nature together.

In the Buddhist tradition it is recommended that you meditate on a flower or a flame. Any object of the natural world will reveal the wonder of reality. Buddhist’s know that  it is critical to understand our true nature because not one single being will be freed to full enlightenment while another remains bound. We are inextricably bonded in our heaven.

We have all heard that saying, “When the student is ready the teacher will appear”. The big question is, will we recognize that teacher? I’ve heard a great story about the man who was coming home to his village and the villagers were dashing madly toward him. “What’s up?” He asked. “There’s a mad elephant loose. RUN, or he will kill you.” Now the man was just coming home from a very profound spiritual retreat and he thought, “no, I’m safe, God will protect me by letting me know if there is danger to me here”. So he continued walking. Another and another villager waved him off and one even tried to pull our man into joining the fleeing crowd but he was steadfast in his determination to trust that God would warn him. As the elephant rampaged toward him, knocked him down, and trampled him the man cried out, “God, why didn’t you warn me?” God said to him, “I did warn you, at least five of your fellow villagers told you to run, why didn’t you run?”

This is what I call spiritual infrastructure. Think about that village; once it was the woods, then some one beat a path, another built a bridge, a third established a police department. Soon there’s electricity, buses, supermarkets, schools and all number of conveniences that make life more civilized. We could do none of this by ourselves.

It may not be visible but the spiritual infrastructure that is comparable to bridges and roads, tunnels and mass transit exists; all we need to do is take advantage of it. Great world teachers of many millenia have mapped the inner roadways, bypasses, fields, forests and goldmines. The infrastructure is sound and as real as those things that make our daily life so convenient. After all, everything visible on the outside is representative of that which exists on the inner planes.

It seems that knowledge of the infinite, intimate understanding of our oneness is coming out of hiding. It is coming into our days, informing friendships, art, music and film. Even television is getting into the act with sneak peaks at great wisdom, but more on that in another post. Really I want to mention music right now. Music is one of the manifestations on this plane of reality that can most likely to impart the wisdom of our true nature, to connect us to the divine that we are. Chanting, tribal beats, low hums like the digeredoo or the esraj all create windows into higher planes of consciousness for us. I personally feel that is because we are first made of sound then of light then of matter. It says so in the Bible, and in other texts but I say so because I have felt it; this is the power of meditation or of chanting.  So today I want to introduce you to a fabulous new piece of music that is profound in it’s mystic beauty. Check out Haale’s new song and her first music video, an ode to life, the moon, fire, warmth…

(filmed by Casey Meade)

Wake up world, we are not in Kansas anymore.

Yes, we are in Heaven and let me tell you why I know this. I have started this HEAVEN IS HERE blog today to watch for the signs of heaven and point them out to you.

Before I tell you some signs though, I would like to point out why I feel compelled to write this blog. These are crazy tumultuous times and you may be thinking all you see is destruction and terror, if you watch the news that will be all you see. However, if you watch carefully and if you read between the lines you will see miraculous things happening.

This is the time known as the “end of days”, the “shift of the ages”, the “ascension” whatever. But not to worry it is a fabulous time, it is a time for glory. There are many who talk about this time from various points of view and I love to read the esoteric wisdom of those visionary light workers but I have yet to discover anyone who is highlighting the evidence as it unfolds as we and our entire planet ascend. This is what I intend to do here.

We are currently in the middle of a transition of ages from Pisces to Aquarius. The shift is well documented astronomically as our earth moves through the sky on its long trajectory around our galaxy and its even longer trajectory around our universe. These trips take, for the galactic 26,000 years and for the universal over 300,000 years; a blink of an eye in the mind of God. But here we are separated out into the reality of duality enjoying the feasts of consciousness, where time can seem to stand still.

How does this Earth as space ship trip affect us? Well, we are about to move into a sea of powerful energies that will affect our sun, our earth and us in beautiful ways. You could say that our consciousness is about to be ramped up or rebooted. The evidence is all around us. Today I want to use the concept of connectedness to highlight evidence of this shift.

Last night I saw the film AVATAR, I love it. There is a great deal about the film that is mystical and spiritual but perhaps the most brilliantly envisioned was the idea of connections between the humanoids and the lives of all other beings in their mythical world Pandora. In this film the concept of connections through all beings and the planet itself did not merely manifest as interdepent but excelled to the level of mutual flourishing and celebration of life through connection. This basic concept was exquisitely displayed throughout the film with energies of interaction shown as flashes of light. A memorable line from the heroine of the story is, “Our energy is only borrowed.”

Now wouldn’t it be a lot easier for us all if we saw those interactions between us as a mystical light, something to take our breath away, something to delight us or to awe us in its mystical transition from me to you and from you to another. I hope that this blog will embody that light and impart the delicious borrowed energy from me to you while creating appreciation and love of life as it goes. This is the power of connection; it is the flavor and force of life. The film AVATAR is a sign of the ascension process it is a mainstream film with a highly esoteric message of oneness, of interdependence. It also contains the message like MATRIX did that we are not of this place but interlopers for a while. However, unlike MATRIX, AVATAR goes on to suggest that we must interact with our world with respect and with celebration.

At this time of year as we look back over the past year I usually get really depressed, all the bad news comes up in a flurry. But here instead I want establish a tradition of sharing inspiring events that show we are in heaven that we are moving into alignment with the vision of connection portrayed by the blue aboriginals of Pandora. Did you hear that in June Apes were afforded legal rights in Spain? That is one tiny step toward greater respect in our interactions with animals. Did you hear that just before Christmas Prince William spent a night sleeping under a bridge in London with a homeless man?  That is a grand gesture of humility and respect on behalf of the ruling class. Let us hope and pray that such a seed of consciousness will grow and flourish.

Heaven is ours for the taking. We are blessed to be here for the show of many millennia, we chose to be here, we contribute to this immense and miraculous event – the ascension of the earth and all on it and also of all the rest of the universe. This is our great adventure in Heaven.

Work in Progress

It’s been a long time since I wrote the last blog. So there’s a lot to share. I am delighted the work is out there again for people to go and see it at LaGuardia ‘s Atrium Lobby Showcase Gallery East. There are three gorgeous glass cases in the lobby of the building and I have 8 flags in each of two cases and 4 in the center, including the new Mexican, Mali and Zaire American E Pluribus flags.The show will be up until January 30.

Meanwhile the project is always in progress. Right now my Mum has almost completed embroidering the English American flag it is amazing with rows of Tudor roses and heraldic crowns. We are both happy to see this flag come together because we are English and until this design came together we were feeling a bit left out.

There are so many different cultural facets to this country that we could be making these flags forever. Currently in progress are the Uzbekistan, the Madagascar, the Dutch, the Canadian two Italian and the French American flags. The way it works is that I ponder the recognizable imagery, or gifts of the various cultural demographics until I can come up with a really strong visual that applies comfortably to the US Flag design. The materials are very diverse and fun and allow me to explore all kinds of creative traditions from various points of view. For example, I just found a lovely Suzani cloth in Rome that I will use for the Uzbekistan flag’s star field. For the stripes I have some fabulous hand woven silk ikat that I bought online.

When I was in Amsterdam earlier this year I bought 100 wooden red tulips and a bunch of miniature clogs for the Dutch flag. I am still trying to figure out how to cobble it together. And believe me ‘cobble’ is a very good word for this here. The Madagascar flag is a very fun project. I am crocheting out of raffia a dimensional flag in the style of a great basket bag that I bought at Blue Bag at 266 Elizabeth Street in NYC. I’m always sending people there because everyone comments on the bag.

All of my friends are saving wine corks for me because, for the French flag I plan to stitch together about 1200 corks so that the red or white tips of the corks will express the stripes of the flag. The star field will be made from champagne corks with wire stars fashioned out of the champagne cork cages. They are looking really cool. Last year I collected dried and stored two boxes of bright red maple leaves for the Canadian American flag. I can’t believe I still haven’t had time to put that one together, I have all the parts. The field will be birch bark that I found in my local woods. The stripes out of the red maple leaves and the stars will be pine cones. My image of Canada is of rich and glorious wild forests. I have Venetian papers for one Italian flag and a design ready for construction of a marble tiled Italian flag.

So you can see there is plenty to do. Often I do get sidetracked like with the Mali flag which came together very quickly. I found the fabric after stumbling into a favorite shop on Greenwich Avenue and then I went to my local weekly flea market hoping that the African bead vendor would have some Mali wedding beads. How lucky I am, he was there for only the second time this year and he had only two Mali wedding bead necklaces so I bought them. One went into the flag, the other I’ve been wearing.

Well, I said there was a lot to share. I hope you can get to see the flags in person. If not please enjoy them at the online gallery of