Merle's Blog

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Archive for October, 2011

A Prayer for Peace

Posted by Merle Levin on October 29, 2011

Why do some people suddenly jump into consciousness? I’m thinking about this because of something that happened to me this morning.  I awoke thinking strongly of a man I met 15 years ago. I have not thought about him in as much. Read the rest of this entry »

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Brenda, My Darling

Posted by Merle Levin on October 28, 2011

I have just returned from teaching a writing workshop in Norway. It was there I discovered the newly published love letters of Norway’s much loved Fridtjof Nansen(1861-1930) – arctic explorer, author, Nobel prize winner and humanitarian – to American author and journalist, Brenda Ueland, 30 years his junior. The country was abuzz at the publication of these letters – so intimate and revealing of a new side of their aristocratic hero – the leading newspaper Aftenposten even published his full frontal nude photos sent to his beloved Brenda Ueland – an author I have long loved and admired myself. Her book “If you want to write” published in the ‘30’s, is my dog-eared bible.

Yesterday I returned to Cape Town from London. If you’re bound for Cape Town via Doha on a 24 hour journey – I highly recommend these letters to ease the pain of cramped seats, recycled air and inedible food.  None of it mattered! Through his letters I traveled on a journey of the soul – and realize more deeply how love transcends space and time, how it has the power to open new insights into this mystery of life. The poets know it, the great artists connect to this force – I feel as if I too, from 30,000 feet high,  had a window into this miracle.

What is this mystery of what happens when souls meet one another and recognize the power of connection? How to bottle this stuff?   This is where world peace begins. This is where wars end. This is where we know oneness, compassion, loving understanding. This is where we transcend space, time, race, color, creed.

Fridtjof and Brenda only knew each other briefly and obviously consummated that brief interaction with a hot and passionate love affair. The rest of their communion was via this power of their written words to one another.  There was no email, no phone connection.  Each hand-written letter took weeks to arrive at the other. They patiently and carefully opened themselves up, layer by layer with courage and honesty.   They agreed not to hide anything from one another, that there was nothing that could not be shared. And through their courage to face every part of themselves and share,  I feel that I have become a better person.

How sad I am that Brenda’s letters were destroyed. The world has lost a great gift by the burning of those letters, but the great wonder is,  that his to her have survived.  He ventured to the Arctic and faced huge dangers.  I think though, that this exploration of the soul, was his greatest achievement.

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The Power of Words

Posted by Merle Levin on October 26, 2011

I traveled back to London from Oslo late Monday night. By the time I had taken the train from Gatwick to Victoria, then the Underground for another hour, I felt exhausted. It had been a long day of travel on the heels of teaching a workshop all weekend. Then my eyes caught sight of a poem, written on the underground train billboard. I read it and reread it and when I had finished reading, my eyelids flickered, my pulse raged and I was no longer tired!
Here it is, so simple, so anonymous, so touching… Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by Merle Levin on October 6, 2011

VUpdate on my mom Celia’s health
I have decided to use this forum to keep updates on my mom’s health.  She has been discharged from hospital in Cape Town and has gone to stay with Yigal at my sister in Caledon.  She has 24 hour nursing care, is still struggling with the effects of pneumonia and emphysema and the difficulty to breathe .  At this time she is oxygen dependent. Her sense of humour is as ever, right on track.  Her determination to keep going is enormous.  She is surrounded by loving care.
I,together with her and the rest of the family made a decision to come to the UK to attend a Ridhwan retreat  Jeff and I had committed to attend a year ago. It allows me to know even more fully, how connection is not time nor place dependent. I am as close to her in my heart as I would be sitting beside her bed, holding her small, cold hand.
It is a gift to know I hold a silver thread – Hebrew “chut hashani” between our heart’s and universal light of god’s healing power.

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Self publishing e-books

Posted by Merle Levin on October 3, 2011

I am trying to blog every few days.  Life gets hectic, insights get buried under jet lag.  One way out of this increasingly spinning life i seem to lead,  is to scan the daily papers internationally, for interesting stuff.  This, this morning from the International Herald Tribune on self publishing and e-books Read the rest of this entry »

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