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How to enter this story?   From the outside to the in?   Like the swirl of a snail’s shell spiraling from the larger to the smaller?  From the simply obvious to the impossibly personal…

My dear friend, my best friend, what does that evoke for anyone?  It is different for each.  With us it meant the ability to look dark eyes into blue eyes without changing direction or intent.  Singing together where every corpuscle of sound blended into one garment of friendship. You drawing dew from your piano as I stepped between the drops.  Stepping in time together…until I found myself in a wheelchair – and you said, “Nothing has changed.  Things will just happen slower now”.  And we drove to remedy the lack of movement.  Drove the country roads where the pebbles thrown behind the tires fell like gemstones and the wind carried all pain and pretense away.

Now you were hurting.  At 42 a shocking heart attack.  You were in a parking lot after giving a concert and dancing your heart out – literally.  By chance you were there with 2 nurses, but neither one imagined that at your age you would have a heart attack, so the CPR they gave you was late and your brain,  your beautiful mind had been damaged.  I crumpled a tissue in my hand.  You lay before me with tubes and bottles.  I had come as soon as I heard.  We had a few precious moments alone but you were not in this world.

We didn’t know if you would live.  I came every day, lumbering in my wheelchair.  Others came too.  You were deeply loved, almost revered, by many.  I sang to you, determined you would hear me.  My love laundered you, it misted you, it came to you like a diamond in  12 points.

As days went by, I grew tired but I was driven.  Sandwiches and diet drinks in the cafeteria.  Phoning the community to set up teams. Eventually, you were  put in a private room and were off the machines.  Now you were like a child.  You could not speak or eat.  You grabbed food like an infant.  It was the recapitulation of growing up.   At night from my wheelchair I couldn’t get into the lounge chair that was offered for family members so I stayed in my wheelchair and leaned over the bed, resting my head on my arms on the bar near your head.  I slept there, close to you in cocoon, alert for any need, still I slept in a haze of sweetness, a closeness to you I’d never known.  The silence, the lack of speech was part of it.  You knew me. You smiled.  Eventually you said a few words.

Like a miracle you healed a great deal.  Others helped as well.  I looked forward to my shifts.  One night, (you had improved a lot by now.  You could speak and you had motor ability in your hands), I’d asked around and there was a piano on a nearby ward.   I think you were still in a wheelchair.  We wheeled together quietly to the piano.

And you played.  When you touched the keys I was not sure if you ‘d be able.

But it was all there.  That part of your brain was fine.

You played differently than before.  Like angels sending a fine rain.   Like fire in the night.  It was sent to you direct and you did not hesitate.

I pulled back and sat a ways behind you.  And you played and played.

Tears puckered my heart.  How wounded we both were.  And how much more beautiful were the gifts then given.  Joy flooded me.  You would be o.k.  I knew now.  Other things might be lost, but the music —

You called me to you then.  And we sang together.  A few simple songs.  That we’d sung forever before the flood.  Almost as a reflex, we took up a songbook that was sitting there and sang “Amazing Grace”. Our little boat bobbed on.

Surging Buds

 
today I sit with You

  –an unusual profound still –

as the sweeping rain

   salaams You

and travels through –

   truing my energy body

   like tears.

 
collecting things of the past

selecting in Perfection what I no longer need

Your servant – the  Rain –

carries away all

    like soft dust.

 
I remain beside You

      — a tree without leaves now

 and in a timeless horizon,

 surging buds begin to emerge.

 
swapping an old life for a New

correcting the structures and crumbling walls

        of the past

allowing for the suppleness

and fortitude

of a tree in motion

       (oh Devotion!)

         the wind and rain

 blow through me  — like a song.

 

 

I lost contact for a long time due to technical difficulties which were gratefully cleared up for me by my Cousin Bill last night. It’s funny but blog-life stopped just a few months after Obama’s election – as if I’d hoped or believed we’d arrived. It was a definite moment in time, in history, to feel a part of….. and then of course, life goes on.

There was a joyousness at that moment that so much of the world shared. It felt like the humanity was singing a song of praise that we’d overcome bigotry at least to that extent, that we could elect a leader of our very powerful country who was African-American.

So much has happened in this year and a half. I was in Israel again and will share some pictures…my friend Jennifer who has a gift for fertility blessed my pond and suddenly the goldfish after 2 years started spawning. I have babies to give away… let me know! They are beautiful. So fast and colorful. I am working on a new CD with Anderw Marlin and it feels so fresh and new. Like those spawning goldfish, the recording has it’s own nascent energy. Andrew’s youth and his old-soul wisdom join in bringing my songs to life. The CD is not yet named, but to give you a peek in, one of the songs “No One Has Been Denied” [editorial note: This song went on to be titled “Merciful One” and is available on the album Love’s Dream!] goes like this:

(chorus)

and the dust of the air You breathe is glorified,

born to be a particle of that light

carried into your care, the way has been so wild

yet even I have the right to know You,

Even I have my turn by your side

Saints and sinners, all who implore You,

No one has been denied, oh Baba,

No one has been denied — beautiful One — no one has been denied.

And some recent photos — nice to be back, much love — until later — Gabriella

Arava view

Arava - Ein Gedi Cliff

the doves are always cooing here
little squeezes of sound
bringing tears to my eyes,
born of deep comfort.

their pulsing melody
circles round the houses
and the edges of green
which touch the sand
scooping up the village
in a soft palm of vibration.

as we walk through the gardens
and speak to one another,
little trills of purity
rub their beauty
into our skins
without our even noticing.

it is a wet and wooing sound
in a dry land,
a background
that nudges gently at you
like a mother who holds her babe –
squeezing her to herself.

each squeeze emanates the sweetness of infancy.
each squeeze regales her with
the exquisite pleasure
of her maternity.

by Gabriella Tal 2009 Kibbutz Ketura

A few more India Photos:

(from exhibit “Faces of India, 2006)

I apologize for the 5 month gap in my posts! It’s been so long since I’ve worked with the site that I’ve forgotten alot. But there’s an inspiration tonight. My friend Karin, an amazing artist and I talked tonight. I was blown away by her blog. She’s one of my very favorite artists. One of the most talented people I know. Here’s her blog address: http://aviewbeyondwords.blogspot.com/

Anyway, I went back to her e-mails to me a few years ago and she’d asked me to post some of my photos from my exhibit I did a few years back, “Faces of India”. Inspired by her ebullient expression, I am going to put these up here for her and any of you all to see finally. Thank you Karin.

I’ll try to get some more up another time. Not to comment on what may be obvious but it’s the sublime innocence of the Indian people that I love most of all. Goodnight dear ones.

Tonight late ride home — once again — first a possum with his ungainly form shuttling across the road, reminding me of Piglet. Then the flash of something – leaving only the fluff of his bunny rabbit tail in sight as a memento. I was thinking, “It’s Eden – all but for the deer” — and then there they were — a mother and her 3 fawns. As they danced away on their clumpy new feet, I sighed – for that was all there was left to say.

I’ve gotten good at multi-tasking and so, with presents, in the current economy. My family — all of them – from the 4-year old nephew to my father of 76 get Obama Inaugural T-shirts. Move-on.com and Channuka gifts all with the stroke of one pen (or computer key — ) as life would have it. I may give in and get something else for the 4 year old — I mean after all — what is life for if not for Channuka gifts for a 4-year old decidedly totally apolitical nephew.

Early in the A.M. after the Thanksgiving Day. I was with a friend from India who does not have this tradition who asked, “Why be thankful only on one day a year? Why think of family only one day a year?’ Many more whys I could ask along with him.

Why did this year’s Thanksgiving coincide with a terrorist attack on the great city of Mumbai? I asked my friend this question and he simply answered, “Kali Yuga.”

The Kali yuga is the period of time we are living in, according to the Vedic calendar. This calendar really isn’t a calendar; it’s a definition of time in denominations we don’t conceive of as Westerners. In the east, they think big – they think of the infinity of God-consciousness. So, with time. God has 3 aspects – the Creator, the Preserver and the Destroyer. All are part of God. Time is likewise divided into 3 phases which cycle, each phase lasting for thousands of years. the Creator phase of time is like the Springtide of Creation. All is fresh, pure and all potential exists within it. It is a time of peace and miracles, of wisdom and feeling very close to the Creator. The Preserving Time follows. Then in the Destroyer phase of time (Kali Yuga), we see destruction. It has to happen to bring about the next phase of Creation – of Spring. So we are not only in the Kali Yuga; we are close to the end of it. Meher Baba says it is the end of a Cycle of Cycles.

So this Indian man – quite an evolved yogi in his own right – who was born in Bombay – saw the havoc, the destruction, but he had a context to put it in. He was therefore at peace. Not that he didn’t care. But he understood it as part of the karma of this time, so he did not fight it or struggle. He accepted.

It helps perhaps to know that after the dark, comes the dawn. The new cycle is pending!

I spent a lot of the last 2 days cooking – learning Indian food, using Katie’s cookbook. Katie used to cook for Meher Baba so I cooked a dahl she wrote that he used to like. And a curry. And some vegetables. I have so much respect for Indian women! These recipes are so full of pastes and steps, I just dedicated my days and nights to it! Now it is done and I feel a sense of relief. Though it was joyful with the food and the fire and my friends and some songs and our talk about God.

This Indian friend also said that on these so-called holidays, Westerners are drinking and eating and indulging and completely blocking God out in the process. It’s true. Jesus would probably cry.

But me tonight — I am feeling the fullness of the vastness of the heart. Getting still and feeling the sorrow of my heart and the chamber within the sorrow which is indescribably beautiful. The furthest thing from empty. Yet without sound or form. Full of feeling but not emotions. Feeling itself. Pure feeling. The bed for all feeling.

Last night after the stupendous victory of Barack Obama, I was called to the hospital where a friend had a possible heart-attack. Another friend/musician Kevin Brock had died the day before, even as he was scheduled to come and play for my new music project at the studio. We wondered where he was -always so conscientous – we never imagined in a thousand years he would be dead in his ’30s. Aware of these mystical changing days, I drove home – now 4:00 a.m. My being was still and I drove very slowly. Never before have I seen so many deer out on the road, on the edges of the forest, little ones, big ones, groups of deer, husbands, wives, children… it was as if the entire natural world was out breathing the air of change which had swept the world. I was awestruck at the gentleness of these animal beings who carry such light and who reminded me of their brother Barack Obama – graceful, kind, peaceful and wise.

My friend was alright. I was so happy. She chose to stay. We all have to these days.

Lastly, I have to post this poem my dear friend Nelle sent to me today. It’s for today… perfect.

Joseph has come

Joseph has come,
the Handsome One of his age,
a victory banner floating over the Spring flowers.
Those of you whose work it is to wake the dead
back to life, get up!
This is your work-day!

The lion that hunts lions
comes charging into the meadow!
Yesterday and the day before is
gone.
The beautiful coin of Now
slaps down in your hand.

The streets and buildings of this city
are all saying,
The Prince is here.
Start the drumbeat.
Everything we’ve said
about the Friend is true.

The beauty of that peacefulness
makes the whole world restless.

Spread our Love-Robe out
to catch what’s sprinkling down
from the Ninth Stage.
You strange, exiled bird with clipped wing,
now You have four full-feathered wings!

You heart, closed up in a chest,
open, for the Friend is entering You.

You feet ,dance
It’s time to dance!

Don’t talk about the old man,
He’s young again.

And don’t mention the past
Do you understand? The Beloved,
the Friend, is here
You mumble, “But what excuse
shall I say to the King?”
The King is here Himself, making
excuses!

You say, “How shall I escape from his Hand?”
That Hand has come to help you!
You saw a fire, and Light came.
You saw blood, and Wine is being poured.
Don’t run from your own tremendous good fortune

Be silent,
and don’t add up what’s been given.
An Uncountable Grace
has come to You.

Jalaluddin Rumi

Hi Everybody! Well, in the dead of night, as usual, I’m up realizing how little I understand this technological era! Isn’t it funny how our lives are so connected to these machines and technology? A friend of mine was telling me that connections over the Internet and e-mail are a “pseudo” connection. People feel they’ve connected when they haven’t – not in truth. We connect to an image of each other And it’s a safe connection, made without commitment. One can turn it off or on at whim.

So I try to do lots of things AWAY from technology – and keep my human heart beating strong. Still, this last year, I’ve felt some sort of sommersaulting over myself into the next “dimension” if you will, into this next period of time. There’s a “must” about it. It’ like “grow or die”. Die spiritually, perhaps, not physically. I’ve loved the sense of letting go into the future and I stopped fighting it. I’ve been blessed to be with many people younger and wiser than myself who are another group entirely. They are so strong and clear. It has to do somewhat with where Neptune and Pluto sit in their charts. More on that when I figure it out enough to share it. Anyway I’m grateful for the lessons.

The biggest thing lately out of that, for me, has been MUSIC. Andrew Marlin has been a great source of inspiration to me, helping to “update” my music, if you will. Much more fire came into it.

I’ve also been studying cranio-sacral therapy a little more and it dovetails so much with the Polarity work I do. It’s just profound really.

And a new beginning of reading Meher Baba’s book “Godspeaks” with my reading group here in Chapel Hill, NC. This book guarantees to change your life and the way you see things. My friend Jeff is at Meher Baba’s tomb in India right now and I feel Baba constantly because of it. I’ve wanted to get to India again – I’ve traveled so often there – but my health has been a little more difficult than before. So perhaps in time. It’s in His hands.