Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Goodbye 2011 ... Goodbye to the Bodhi Tree

I love the relative emptiness of the days between Christmas and New Year's.
In the space of so much not happening, so much seems to be getting ready to.
You can almost feel all the forces coalescing for a new beginning.

~Marianne Williamson

I can't quite believe Christmas is over! I am back in L.A. unpacking and getting ready to re-pack for a little trip to San Diego. I am feeling so anxious about the new year. Not "bad" anxious but anxious for it to start! I feel like there is an inner momentum happening that I can't really explain!

I am having to say goodbye though, not only to 2011 but to a place I love and have come to count on. When I have been blue, or happy, or just looking for a new and different way of looking at things, I have gone there.

My favorite bookstore, The Bodhi Tree is closing. It opened in 1970. (It was made a bit famous by Shirley Maclaine in Out on a Limb.) Phil and Stan, who have run it for all these years are ready to retire. They are trying to sell the business but alas ... the neighborhood has gotten so expensive, that if the sale goes through (a few haven't) they will have to open it somewhere else.

Some places just have an amazing energy, especially bookstores. This one though? It has whole sections (not just a shelf or two) on Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam and the Sufis, Native American Shamanism, Astrology, creativity, Judeism, Kabbalah, Saints, healing, psychology, books on yoga and breathing, music, candles, sage, healthy eating cookbooks and more incense than you have ever seen in your life ...

A seeker went to ask a sage for guidance on the Sufi way.
The sage counseled,
If you have never trodden the path of love, go away and fall in love;
then come back and see us.

~Jami (Essential Sufism)

There has always been complimentary tea in the shop and many times I would go in, have a tea and find a quiet corner somewhere to explore some new thought or way of seeing the universe.
I wasn't the only one ...

Asking good questions is half of learning.

(essential Sufism)

It will close in just a few days, on the 31st of December. I went yesterday to say goodbye and there were more people than I have ever seen in there, buying 1/2 off books, CDs, essential oils and laminated images of the Buddha and anything else that was left on the shelves. The incense, candles and sage were gone, as were all of the wonderful jewelry and prayer flags.

Most of these photos were taken a couple of months ago before the big sale started.

A tiny slice of the incense selection they had ...

Clean but the mirror and the message shines forth.

~A Course in Miracles

Soul development should take precedence over all things.
~Edgar Cayce

Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment,
full effort is full victory.

~Mahatma Gandhi

Does this path have a heart?
If it does, the path is good;
if it doesn't, it is of no use.

~Carlos Castaneda

A small section of the Buddhism area ... books beginning to disappear ...

And you?
When will you begin your long journey into yourself?


Throughout the store, all around the ceiling, pictures and images of teachers, prophets, saints and gurus ...

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
If you want to be happy, practice compassion.

~14th Dalai Lama

The cat cleaning himself last night, on a nearly empty bookcase, in women's studies and feminism ...

Empty shelves in the middle that were filled with candles and candle holders ...

I want you to be concerned about your next door neighbor.
Do you know your next door neighbor?

~Mother Teresa

Some shelves were almost bare, signaling that it was actually going to happen. The store will indeed close. A mother and her adult son were taking photos of each other in the store. I wasn't the only one trying to freeze time.

I hope whether the business is bought or not, someone will create another sacred space here, of exploring and learning ... a place that inspires the spirit and propels us into a place within ourselves, to be the best version of ourselves. It's wonderful to have a place to go, that helps us to open that door, that welcomes us ... and says, We are all in this together and we will help you find a way.

I am feeling so grateful that such a place, found a place here, for so many years. Sometimes, though, we have to find that place inside ourselves. (but I will still miss it!)

The appearance of things change according to the emotions,
and thus we see magic and beauty in them,
while the magic and beauty are really in ourselves.

~Kahlil Gibran

Heaven on Earth is a choice you must make,
not a place you must find.

~Wayne Dyer

Hope you have had a beautiful holiday with your loved ones.
May you have a safe and joyful celebration of the year to come!
Blessings and light and so much love!

p.s. ... saw this this morning on my friend Anna's FB page and had to share!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Season's Greetings


For years I made my Christmas Cards by hand. Then I started buying them, but always on the hunt for the most magical card I could find. Then in 2000 I decided to do a photo card, as a sort of goodbye to my car that I loved. I know it sounds crazy but when you have a vintage car, you get that way about it. I was selling it, and it had to be in my Christmas picture!

I couldn't quite stand there seriously next to my 63 Falcon, so this was the result ...

The photo at the top of the post was from a photo shoot with an old photographer friend, Howard. If I had sent it out in the original format I would just be a big dork (which still may be the case!), so I added the snow flakes (stickers!) and glued on photos of my birds which are obviously not that huge, so it made it funny and festive and less "modely." My dad scanned it and that was the result. Very high tech with the glue!

In 04 my friend John was going to Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara and had an assignment. He was to shoot, as if it were for a magazine cover, for Santa Barbara magazine. He was using one of those huge old fashioned box cameras, on a tri-pod, with a big hood that goes over the photographers head, circa 1900. Now imagine we were in the water and the waves start coming ...


Fortunately, we saved the camera from going in for a swim!

I'm not sure what made me think of Frieda except that she is someone who had animals and I already had the shirt and jewelry ... and the birds! My birds were actually at the "photo shoot" in my parents' backyard. The monkeys were obviously added later and very necessary for the comedic effect I was going for.

With Beatrice and Shakti-Bird

In 2006 my Mom had gotten a beautiful Kimono and I thought, "I want my picture taken in that!" So, out came the fan and the 20 dollar black bobbed wig! After I cut myself out and glued myself on a page from my Japanese woodcut calendar, I thought it looked pretty festive!


When I saw this dress (below) in my Grandma's costume collection, I knew. Christmas!! The photo was taken in the kitchen/dining room of my apartment in my new 20 dollar platinum wig and green false eyelashes. The earrings were a last minute addition, in line with the whole "not taking myself to seriously" objective. My friend John also took this photo as well as the kimono photo.


I was too busy in 2008 during the holidays and for the first time in years ... no card! Then in 09 and 10 I just sent pictures of me looking healthy so people could rest easy after all my health craziness.

But this year? Back to fun ... and a wink to my love (and some would say obsession!) with Italy and Rome. Here it is! Roman Holiday 2.0!


"Buon Natale!

And may all you New Year Dreams come true!"

For a little more holiday cheer ...

This one has my favorite! Frank's super swinin' version of Santa Clause is Coming to Town ...

I posted this writing from Marianne last year
but I think it's something worth reminding ourselves of every year ...

Life is sweeter, as millions of people throughout the world
consider the possibility that a higher love exists.
For one day we lay aside our cynicism- if not completely, then enough.
We lay aside our faithlessness and our judgments and our blame.

We embrace the notion of a light at the center of things
that casts out darkness and cast out fear.
Millions of people think thoughts of love on Christmas.
That is why it is an important day.
That is why it gives us joy.
That is why it is such a blessing on the world.

~Marianne Williamson

Merry Christmas!
Buon Natale!
Feliz Navidad!
Joyeux Noel!
Feliz Natal
God Jul Og Godt Nytt Aar
Froehliche Weihnachten
Kala Christouyenna
Mele Kalikimaka
Nadolig Llawen
God Jul and (Och) Ett Gott Nytt Ar
Krismasi Njema
Pozdrevlyayu s prazdnikom Rozhdestva i s Novim Godom
Craciun Fericit
Merry Keshmish
Linksmu Kaledu
Nollaig Shona Dhuit
Shinnen omedeto. Kurisumasu Omedeto
Cristmas-e-shoma mobarak bashad
Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia
Hyvaa joulua
Noeliniz Ve Yeni Yiliniz Kutlu Olsun
Sawat Dee Wan Kritsamas
Bara Din Mubarak Ho
Srozhdestvom Kristovym
Nollaig Chridheil agus Bliadhna Mhath Ur
Vesele Bozicne. Screcno Novo Leto
Sretan Bozic or Vesele vianoce. A stastlivy Novy Rok
Selamat Hari Natal

O.K., I sort of lost track of where I was there, but you get the idea!
(and I hope they were correct!)

Blessings and light
Love, joy and peace
To all of you, my friends
And to those who live in your hearts!!

In gratitude,