Posted in General Interest, Illness/life-threatening illness, Jamie Dedes, poem, Poems/Poetry, Poets Against War Week

Our Sighs Ride the Ebb-tides of Eternity …


On May 28, our group for people with life-threatening illnesses celebrated the lives of those who have already passed on. I was unable to attend the memorial service due to bronchitis, but I celebrate them, two of my family, and this wonderful group here today.

Our group is composed of people from several different religious traditions and is hosted by our local Insight Meditation Center. The group was founded and is run by a Buddhist chaplain who has been very kind and is a stalwart friend to each of us.

I no longer attend meetings. By some surely unearned grace, I am now considered “chronic and stable” and I’ve grown to the point that the news of death no longer disturbs me. The major take-away for me from this experience is that the only difference between having a medically predicted expiration date and not knowing when our time will come is that with a diagnosis, we no longer fall into those moments of denial. That’s a huge gift. Huge! The result is that we become present in each moment. 

Today, is my loving celebration of: Ann, Deborah, Dick, Ernie, Hilda, Mary, Parvathy, Robert, Mary Kate, Steve, Victor and to family lost in recent years: my former husband, Kirby (the most decent man I’ve ever known), and my cousin, Christopher, with whom I grew-up and who was like a brother … 

Each moment and every person is precious and beautiful and the only thing that really matters is how much we have loved and been loved and that – as survivors – we continue to live in the service of our families and those in need. In the end it would seem that’s the best way to honor the family and friends whose memory we treasure .

IMG_20140525_103644407Eternity flowed deftly through the last eight years
enfolding in her stream eleven with whom we
contemplated Knowledge and Mortality
Looking back, we ponder amazed at love among friends,
……….it blossoms fragrant, as gentle
……….as a dewy rose among thorns and thistles
We thrash and crawl and climb
……….over the sea and fire that stalks us
Our hearts, cupped in one another’s hands
……….like castanets, beat in unison
Our measured moments grave lines in phantom fears,
……….they float like storm clouds above us
In words of jade, we speak elegies and encomiums
Our smiles mask our sorrows and yearning
Our laughter is love grown wild
We see each other in a thousand shapes and dreams
……….and in nameless names
Our sighs ride the ebb tides of Eternity
…..Another moment:
…..and even the sun will die
…..but our lotus song will echo on ….
……….We have lived! We have loved!

© 2014, poem and photograph (yellow roses traditionally symbolize friendship), Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved

Photo on 2014-03-31 at 17.16 #3unnamed-18JAMIE DEDES (The Poet by Day)~I am a medically retired (disabled) elder and the mother of married son who is very dear. I started blogging shortly after I retired as a way to maintain my sanity, to stay connected to the arts and the artful despite being mostly homebound. My Facebook pages are: Jamie Dedes (Arts and Humanities) and Simply Living, Living Simply.

With the help and support of talented bloggers and readers, I founded and host The Bardo Group because I feel that blogging offers a means to see one another – no matter our tribe – in our simple humanity, as brothers and sisters and not as “other.”

“Good work, like good talk or any other form of worthwhile human relationship, depends upon being able to assume an extended shared world.” Stefan Collini (b. 1947), English Literary Critic and Professor of English Literature at Cambridge

Posted in Culture/History, Disability, First Peoples, General Interest, Mental Health, Michael Watson, Shakti Ghosal

Trauma, Story, and Healing


He sat on the sofa, pulled deeply into himself, almost disappearing before my eyes, as he told me about his dad’s violence. I wondered whether he knew I was in the room with him. “I feel terribly fragmented; I don’t know who I am,” he explained. “I can’t remember ever being like everyone else; they seem so at home in themselves.”

One of my teachers, a Psychoanalytically oriented clinician, always said the real problem is the second trauma. Her view was the first trauma one encounters sets the stage for PTSD and related problems; the second trauma triggers the cascade. Repeated traumas in childhood physically alter the function of the developing brain, leaving one more vulnerable to new trauma. Even if only one trauma occurs in early childhood the person may remain susceptible to PTSD via a second trauma as an adult.

Continue reading “Trauma, Story, and Healing”

Posted in Christianity, General Interest, Spiritual Practice, Video

GET SERVICE, a message about compassion and understanding …

Courtesy of the Fellowship Bible Church of Little Rock, AR via friends Laurel D. and Brian B. Thank you!

Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of the forty-day Lenten season which honors Christ’s contemplative forty-days in the desert. Whether or not you are Christian or even religious, this is a good time of year to step back,  take a breath and prepare for your personal spring and renewal.

Posted in animals/animal welfare/interspecies connections, Corina L. Ravenscraft, Environment/Deep Ecology/Climate Change, Nature, Story Telling, Photo Story, Video

The Power of Collective Creativity

As creative individuals, it’s rewarding when we can use our skills to make something that “speaks” to others. Whether it’s the written word, the visual arts, music or performance arts, “The Arts” have always been a way to make powerful statements about politics, religion, war, the environment. It’s a way to make your own opinion known about these and other things that usually embody a very personal, individual set of beliefs or values. It has been said that any “successful” piece of art is one that evokes an emotional response (be it good or bad).

image borrowed from

image borrowed from

Throughout history, there are scads of examples of “The Arts” changing the world in some way. I’m not just talking about changing the “Art World”, though there are plenty of examples of that, too. But consider things like cave paintings. Once discovered, they completely changed the way that modern mankind viewed our cave-dwelling ancestors! Or how about Shakespeare and his influence of adding around 1700 words to the English language, or his play “Othello” which brought the idea of inter-racial love to the forefront of peoples’ minds?

image borrowed from

image borrowed from

The song “Imagine” by John Lennon became something of a “global” anthem for peace, because anyone, anywhere could relate to the desire of human beings for peace instead of war. The photograph of the young, naked Vietnamese girl running away from a napalm attack in the 1970′s shocked enough people to significantly swell the anti-Vietnam movement here in America.

image borrowed from

image borrowed from

I’m sure you can think of numerous examples, but the point is that Art has POWER.

Now take that creative energy and then multiply it, with many artists working for the same cause…and the possibilities are astounding! I’d like to share a video I recently watched from here regarding the POWER of a “Collective Creative Conscience”. It gave me hope and inspiration that we CAN (and DO) change the world in better ways than we ever thought possible! Enjoy! :)

Corina L. Ravenscraft

© 2013, essay and portrait (below), Corina Ravenscraft, All rights reserved

Corina-1CORINA L. RAVENSCRAFT (Dragon’s Dreams) ~ is an old friend of The Bardo Group and a new member of the Core Team. She is a poet and writer, artist and librarian who has been charming us through her blog since 2000, longer than any blogger in our little blogging community.  In the her engaging “about” on her blog HERE, Corina says, “I’m not a materialistic person, because I’ve learned that it’s not the “things” in life which really count, but the people you connect with, whose lives you touch or who touch yours. I don’t take anyone or anything for granted because I know from experience that it can all disappear in the blink of a cosmic eye.  People and animals are so much more important (and interesting!) to me than any kind of material possessions.”

Posted in Uncategorized

The Equinox and the Medicine Wheel

Early Autumn color, Vermont

Editorial note: My apologies to readers and to Michael for not scheduling this in sooner. An oversight on my part. J.D.

This is a reblog of a recent post to Dreaming The World.

This week marks the Autumn Equinox. The Equinoxes and other aspects of the calendar round are markers made by people; we need markers to make sense of our lives, to place ourselves in relationship to All That Is. Sometimes we forget the markers are of our creation, and we imagine they hold intrinsic meaning, rather than the meanings we assign them. This is a dangerous assumption as it tempts us to believe there is only one story, and it is true for all people, everywhere. Such thinking always causes great suffering.

Next week, in class, our friend, Alicia Daniel, is leading us in the creation and exploration of a Medicine Wheel. Alecia allows participants to explore, and assign values to, the directions.Given the freedom to make meaning opens the students to Mystery and Wonder. Not surprisingly, the values discovered by students often resemble the attributes assigned the directions by the Indigenous peoples who have lived here for thousands of years.

I usually teach the Medicine Wheel using attributes for the directions as I have been taught them by teachers from the Northeast, where we live. While there are small differences between tribal, even band, understandings of the directions, the general framework holds firm. As I understand it: The East is the place of birth and death, sunrise, spring, mentation, air, and all beings who fly. The South is home to fire, warm bloodeds, and the plants. It is the place of healing, noon time, and high summer. It is the direction of physicality, and in some traditions, sexuality. The West is home to water, dreaming, evening, and autumn. It is the place of responsibility and parenting, and of the Dream Time. The North is the home of the Ancestors and the rock people, the place of winter and night, the direction of clearly seeing the big picture, of vision. We journey sun-wise around the wheel, returning to the east to die and be reborn.

My Lakota kin likely say we are born and die in the West. That makes sense to them, where they live. The Medicine Wheel is a teaching about our locale and inner worlds, telling us much about local ecology, culture, and understanding of self. Wherever we are the Medicine Wheel speaks to us of our life journey, a road we share with the people and other beings who comprise the community in which we live.

In Western culture the wheel has a bad rap. Rather than a map for living a joyful, fulfilling life, it is often emblematic of being caged, or of soul killing work. In the East it may be something to be escaped. Yet, in Indigenous cultures around the world the wheel remains a powerful symbol for relationship, connection, and the good life.

This week we take a few minutes to acknowledge the Medicine Wheel that is our calendar year. We will express gratitude to Father Sun, and acknowledge Grandmother Water. Without them we would not have life. It is good to do this, and to have the opportunity to do so openly, for we remember the times, some quite recent, when we could not do so.

© 2013, essay and photographs (includes the one below), Michael Watson, All rights reserved

michael drumMICHAEL WATSON, M.A., Ph.D., LCMHC (Dreaming the World) ~ is a contributing editor to Into the Bardo, an essayist and a practitioner of the Shamanic arts, psychotherapist, educator and artist of Native American and European descent. He lives and works in Burlington, Vermont, where he teaches in undergraduate and graduate programs at Burlington College,. He was once Dean of Students there. Recently Michael has been teaching in India and Hong Kong. His experiences are documented on his blog. In childhood he had polio, an event that taught him much about challenge, struggle, isolation, and healing.

Posted in Art, General Interest, Naomi Baltuck, Photo Essay, Photography/Photographer


What is life?  The flash of a firefly in the night, the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime.  It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.  –Native American Blackfeet–

Every man has a different idea of beautiful…best to take the gesture, the shadow of the branch, and let the mind create the tree.–Wm. Faulkner

A man cannot jump over his own shadow–Yiddish proverb

Beware the dog–it’s shadow will not bite.  –Danish proverb–

Worry gives a small thing a big shadow.  –Swedish proverb–

If you stand straight, you need not fear a crooked shadow.–Chinese proverb–

Observe carefully, and you will find wisdom even in the shadows. –African proverb–

One can live within the shadow of an idea without grasping it.–Elizabeth Bowen–

The shadow is often more interesting than the object itself.–Ellen Thompson–

There are dark shadows on earth, but its lights are stronger in the contrast.–Charles Dickens–

Imagination is the real and eternal world, of which this vegetable universe is but a faint shadow.–Wm. Blake (1757-1827)

No hill is without gravestones, no valley without shadows. –South African proverb–

Like our shadows, our wishes lengthen as our sun declines.–Edward Young–

Count your nights by stars, not shadows; count your life with smiles, not tears.–Italian proverb–

All images c2013 Naomi Baltuck

All words and images copyright 2012 Naomi Baltuck

NaomiPHOTO1-300ppi51kAqFGEesL._SY300_NAOMI BALTUCK ~ is a Contributing Editor and Resident Storyteller here410xuqmD74L._SY300_ at Bardo. She is a world-traveler and an award-winning writer, photographer, and story-teller whose works of fiction and nonfiction are available through Amazon HERE. Naomi presents her wonderful photo-stories – always interesting and rich with meaning and humor – at Writing Between the Lines, Life from the Writer’s POV. She also conducts workshops such as Peace Porridge (multicultural stories to promote cooperation, goodwill, and peaceful coexistence), Whispers in the Graveyard (a spellbinding array of haunting and mysterious stories), Tandem Tales, Traveling Light Around the World, and others. For more on her programs visit Naomi

Posted in General Interest, Terri Stewart

Remembering What Came Before

As many know, today in the United States – July 4 – (I think it is already July 5 is some parts of the world) we celebrate our Independence Day, something that means a lot to us and may be greeted with mixed feelings if you live elsewhere in the world. Hence, I apprecate Terri’s handling of this occasion on her blog. I would also submit, that whatever good we reap in the world, whatever good this human race is able to accomplish, is done on the shoulders of those who came before us and laid the groundwork for equality and human rights. No matter our race or nationality, we all owe a debt to such diverse peacemakers as Martin Luther King, Thich Nhat Hanh, Nelson Mandla and Dennis Brutus and others on a list too long to share here. If you have someone whose work of peace and love is particularly meaningful to you, perhaps you will tell us who and why in the comment section. Thank you! Jamie Dedes

Posted in Contributing Writer, General Interest, Karen Fayeth

From Father to Son to Daughter

After my dad passed away several years ago, my mom gave me possession of the family collection of photo albums and scrap books, and I made the solemn promise I’d keep them safe.

It was an easy promise because I adore all the family artifacts. As a kid, I used to dive into the scrapbook pages and smile at photos of my hot young mom (she was stunning!) and my smart young dad (he was geeky!).

My mom was a great scrapbooker and I have mountains of artifacts to explore including photos, family letters and souvenirs.

The hand written letters are what I cherish the most. Reading words inked out in the strong hand of my great grandfather on his official stationary gives me a sense of connection to a man I never knew, yet his very DNA is alive within me. I can learn who he was by the choice of language and the surety of his pen stroke.

My grandfather on my father’s side was also a good letter writer. He had a keen sense for telling the mundane facts while inserting a good dose of wry humor. He was close to all eight of his children and since my father had moved a good distance from home, the two stayed close by writing letters.

Among the piles of correspondence I found a gem in an envelope from my grandfather to my father. It was typewritten using carbon paper, so perhaps my grandfather was making copies for all of his kids.

Because the photo (below) of an old letter may be difficult to read, here is what it says:

12 Things To Remember

* *

1. The value of time

2. The success of perseverance.

3. The pleasure of working.

4. The dignity of simplicity.

5. The worth of character.

6. The power of kindness.

7. The influence of example.

8. The obligation of duty.

9. The wisdom of economy.

10. The virtue of patience.

11. The improvement of talent.

12. The joy of originating.

The handwritten bit up in the corner says, “Read weekly, a good guide – Dad”

Such simple words that encapsulate such very strong values. This is endearing fatherly advice to a son and it is timeless. This was written in 1949, but is just as applicable 64 years later.

This advice was passed from father to son, and holding it in my hands it passes again, now from from father to daughter.

This guide has meaning to me and gives me much to ponder as I wade through another busy work week and think about who I am and who I came from.

And who I want to be.

To all fathers and grandfathers, I wish you a very joyful Father’s Day. May your own good words find their way through the generations.


© Karen Fayeth, copyright 2013, all rights reserved. The family photo of the author and her father and the image of the letter are covered under copyright. Please be respectful.

webheadshotKAREN FAYETH ~ is one of our regular contributing writers. She is our new tech manager, site co-administrator along with Jamie and Terri, and fiction and creative nonfiction editor. She blogs at Oh Fair New Mexico. Born with the writer’s eye and the heart of a story-teller, Karen Fayeth’s work is colored by the Mexican, Native American, and Western influences of her roots in rural New Mexico complemented by a growing urban aesthetic. Karen now lives in the San Francisco Bay area. When she’s not spinning a tale, she works as a senior executive for science and technology research organization.

Karen has won awards for her writing, photography, and art. Recent publication credits include a series of three features in New Mexico magazine and an essay with the online magazine Wild Violet. Her latest short story will be published in the May edition of Foliate Oak. Karen’s photography is garnering considerable attention, her photo titled “Bromance” (featuring Aubry Huff and Pat Burrell) was featured on MLB Network’s Intentional Talk hosted by Chris Rose and Kevin Millar.

Posted in Ann Emerson, General Interest


Ann shares a quote from Dr. John Gardner, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA 

Meaning is not something you stumble across, like the answer to a riddle or the prize in a treasure hunt. Meaning is something you build into your life. You build it out of your own past, out of your affections and loyalties, out of the experience of humankind as it is passed on to you, out of your own talent and understand, out of the things you believe in, out of the things and people you love, out of the values for which you are willing to sacrifice something. The ingredients are there. You are the only one who can put them together into that unique pattern that will be your life. Let it be a life that has dignity and meaning for you. If it does, then the particular balance of success and failure is of less account.”

Photo credit ~ Canelón Grande Reservoir, Canelones, Uruguay by Juan Carlos Gonzalez, Public Domain

Posted in Jamie Dedes, Poems/Poetry


What is staying alive? To possess

A great hall inside a cell.

What is it to be human? by Waldo Williams, Poetry  – April 2008




Jamie Dedes


finding strength and meaning as we go along,

though often caught in a swirl, dizzy spinning

of our mortality; our gender, time and place –

rash precipitation of preposterous events

and disgraceful cruelty, and the over-heated

flowing of crazy lives and loves, gritty and

grim, yet somehow grace-filled and dauntless –

like weeds pushing up pebbled concrete slabs,

bearing our path’s weight, reaching for the sun


Photo credit ~ Jess Norman, Public Domain