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The Yes! of new brain cells

Posted by Merle Levin on November 11, 2011

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One of the sessions in our creative writing workshops is called: “create new habits”.  In essence, there is not much use in using precious life energy to undo the old bad habits we have accumulated. Rather use the energy to create new ones – but this time, ones that serve you, body mind and spirit.  To do this, we go for the things that give you a strong feeling of Yes!

OK I know the next question, I can feel it rumbling in. How do we know what serves us?  Chocolate gives a Yes! . Procrastinating gives a big fat Greek Yes!

OK so here’s the rub…the more honest you get with yourself, the more you feel the true Yes!and how it rings, how it strengthens and inspires.  Who cares if it’s chocolate or chips or an afternoon nap…there are at least a thousand other Yes!  moments in the day to work on.  And the research shows that every strong Yes! moment generates new brain cells.  How’s that for the new economy?  If you’re still reading, I’ll share a Yes! with you

I love to do the laundry.  This morning I got up at 6 and washed all my curtains.  I got a big fat Jewish Yes! out of it. Why? I ask myself, is this more exciting than exercising my hips to death?  I think it’s something about throwing in a load of soiled and getting back a load of clean.  It does my soul good.  It reinforces Dr. Hew Len’s theories about cleaning out the old memories. That load of old, soiled data that runs our lives; that puts a big fat American mortgage on our souls.  So the point of sharing this with you, on this beautiful full-moon, Cape Town morning, is that I am going to think “clean” today.  Every time an old tape starts tapping, I’m gonna throw it in the washer with a big fat South African Yes! Clean it out with a new idea, a new question, a new set of eyes.  Byron Katie gives freely and generously on her website of her wisdom.  I love this new economy that gives generously. My spiritual teacher Uranda said: Let love radiate without concern for results.  BK says, when you have a strong, recurring tape running –  ask yourself  “Is this true?  Is this really true?”  I would add: ask yourself, does this give me a Yes!  If not, do I need it in my life? Can I use this to create a new habit, a few new brain cells?  Am I adding to the woes of the world or am I part of a new economy that is not burdened by a big fat European debt.  Each time I hear the news, I’m gonna clean clean clean.  I don’t want that debt in my system.  I don’t want that message bogging me down.  I’m gonna throw it in the washer and turn myself to the multitude of Yes! to be focused on.  Not forever…just for today.  And maybe tomorrow…and well, for as long as I need new brain cells.





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Moses gave us 10; Gurdieff gave us 79

Posted by Merle Levin on November 9, 2011

Gurdjieff left these commandments to his daughter before he passed away.   George Ivanovich Gurdjieff was a 20th Century mystic who brought insight to psychology, philosophy, science and  ancient knowledge.  He also introduced the Enneagram to the West.  I scan these commandments to begin my day.  Gurdieff calls us to “self remembering”.  These commandments are a great beginning…and middle…and well, also the rest of it! Read the rest of this entry »

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This stuff works!

Posted by Merle Levin on November 3, 2011

I drove out early in the morning to my sister’s place – Caledon, 2 hours out of Cape Town, and stopped at the service centre on the highway near Somerset West. When I walked in, I was warmly, smilingly, laughingly greeted by the staff filling the petrol, and the waiters at the Wimpy where I decided to coffee. Everyone so warm and friendly. What a special day. “This stuff works!” I thought. Must be the meditation, the book by the Dalai Lama I am reading, my Kabbalah studies. Then the local police force arrived for their morning cuppa – about 12 hulking men with guns in their halters. They grinned at me, smiled a good morning as they passed me reading the Cape Times. “Gosh. This stuff really works! Everyone is so nice to me! Maybe I AM as special as I think I am!”

It wasn’t until I reached the bathroom sink to wash my hands that I realized the formula behind the friendliness pouring in my direction on this special day. It actually is able to be bottled! I had forgotten to take out the 4 rollers in my hair I had hurriedly stuck in before leaving my flat.

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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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Letting the light shine through

Posted by Merle Levin on September 27, 2011

“Letting the light shine through” was the headline in the front page of this morning’s  New York Times
“Shimmering on satin or seeping through chiffon” – is apparently the message from Milan’s 2012 season.  “All about light” it proclaims, that world on the other side of the catwalk.

I dont normally peruse the fashion section of the Times, but this  headline caught my attention as I waded through the wars and conflicts crouching behind the corruption charges and bank bongos in today’s headlines. That’s what you do at 3am when the fears begin to scratch at the insides of the eyelids. Read the rest of this entry »

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Statement of His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama

Posted by Merle Levin on September 25, 2011
Statement of His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, on the Issue of His Reincarnation

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