Word of the Month for January 2019: INSPIRATION

The Saints in Training Word of the Month for January 2019 is INSPIRATION. The Saboteur of inspiration is VANITY. We are often inspired to do good works, especially by those who have set a high bar by their own example. How can inspiration help us to help ourselves and others? How does vanity get in the way? That is the subject of the first Word of the Month for 2019.

Word of the Month, April 2018: COMPASSION

The Virtue is Compassion and the Saboteur is Punitive.

Compassion teaches us that pain is pain, regardless of the circumstances.

Generally speaking, when we are children, our parents teach us to be kind and polite. We are taught how to speak respectfully, how to treat animals with kindness and how to treat the elderly with compassion. We learn to share with our siblings and friends, and we learn how to share household duties, like doing the dishes and picking up after ourselves.

When we become adults and live away from home, we exercise our adult rights to speak disrespectfully to one another, to forget to be patient with the elderly, and to refuse to share household duties or even to share our money. We have the right to be cynical, impolite and even down right disrespectful. We can choose not to be kind or patient with one another. 

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Word of the Month Video April 2018: COMPASSION

The Word of the Month for April 2018 is: Compassion. The saboteur of Compassion is: Punitive. Compassion enables healing in us and in others when we practice expressing it. Offering compassion is part of giving and forgiving. Behaving in a punitive way merely seeks to punish or exact some cost. Looking at the news, it’s easy to see both words in action. Why is it important to practice compassion? Watch the Sit Video for April 2018 to find out. Namaste.


Another Pilgrimage: Returning to India

I recently returned from another pilgrimage to my beloved ashram in India. I have been traveling to India to make this pilgrimage for the past twenty five years. I haven’t gone every year and I spend anywhere from two weeks to six weeks each time I go there. The trip is a wee bit more difficult because I am a wee bit older, but it is still very manageable and I am very grateful.

red powder in India

I love traveling to India because it allows me to be unplugged. I do not take my I Pad or my laptop or a phone, however, this year I did take a phone to take photos with. I always have my writing pad and pens and I write quite a bit while I am there, but not this time. This time I wrote very little, instead I found myself sleeping, yes sleeping. I am a naturally good sleeper, (thank God) but on this trip, I was sleeping deeply for nine hours straight, plus an hour or two during the day. I even had to challenge myself not to sleep more.

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More on Transcendence, The Word of the Month for January 2016.

Virtue Transcendence

Saboteur Bound

Transcendence is a mystical experience that creates waves of bliss. 

Kodaikanal, southern India photo: Jacqueline Valdez. Nikon FE 50mm/f1.8
Kodaikanal, southern India photo: Jacqueline Valdez. Nikon FE 50mm/f1.8

To transcend something is to go beyond that which you have become accustomed to. We have grown used to thinking that we’re inadequate or overlooked. We’ve become complacent with thinking I’ve tried and failed, it hurts too much to put myself through trying again. I want to change but I don’t know how to change.

Transcendence doesn’t tell us how to change or even what to change into. No, transcendence is the first step to change because it’s about imagining that perhaps you just haven’t seen all the possibilities. Transcending bad self talk begins with imagining how it feels to speak kindly to the self. Are you reading this thinking, yeah, yeah, yeah? I’ve heard all that **** before. It doesn’t work.

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Another Journey to the Abode of Peace

Ashram Gate
Ashram Gate

I have travelled to India to visit the Ashram Prashanthi Nilayam in the village of Puttaparthi thirteen times over the past twenty- two years. This is the Ashram of Sathya Sai Baba. Each Ashram in India is unique. Some are very austere, while others accommodate the Western way of life perfectly. The one I travel to is very well known and quite large. It truly has a life of its own. I have travelled with my friend Becky the last six times. We have always been very compatible traveling companions. Our natures are similar. We travel to the Ashram because we both want the experience of deep connection with the Divine. Pilgrimages are unnecessary to experience deep devotional love. We have a taste for it, that’s all. India isn’t for everyone, Ashrams aren’t for everyone. This is my experience.

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