Open Windows



Oakland, California
July 8, 2019
Warm and sunny


On the morning of July 4, I was standing on a corner in Piedmont, watching the yearly ritual of the Fourth of July parade go by. The beautifully restored, old cars were just turning onto the main street, when a small, antique Volkswagon turned along with them. Sticking out of the back window was the long, thin neck of a plush giraffe. His neck was slightly twisted around so that his eyes could look out at the long parade ahead of him.

He was taking in a giraffe’s eye view of the parade.

What is a giraffe’s eye view? The giraffe is very, very tall. From that height, things which look big to us, look small to him. At the zoo, when he is watching the visitors watching him, he is like one of us watching the dogs play at the dog park. We don’t try to get in and play like the dogs, we just observe them. So, the giraffe looks, with no judgement, at the curious creatures below him.

We do not have to be 15 feet tall to have a giraffe’s eye view.

We only have to feel that we are a giraffe, looking down at the events unfolding before our eyes. From that height our point of view changes. We can see that people are playing “I dare you” with their guns and tanks, moving their armies here and there, imprisoning some people and forgiving others. We are observers of the games, not participants.

At the dog park we do not play with the animals, and from our giraffe’s viewpoint, we do not join the games. What we do is look for ways to protect the innocent. “May no one suffer” is our mantra.

May this 246th year since the signing of the Declaration of Independence bring us wisdom, courage, and compassion.

Looking Up,







Too Many Habits?

Open Windows:
Living with Energy, Meaning and Purpose
Oakland, California

Cool and Sunny, November 29, 2017

The way we live opens windows and calls in a secret voice to anything still missing.”

Too Many Habits?

“I have too many habits!” said my friend as we drove to a practice group meeting for people learning to wake up in daily life (  “I’m on automatic pilot all the time. I’ll suddenly wake up and realize I am doing everything by habit while my mind is somewhere else.”

This is called “sleepwalking” because we are actually dreaming while our habits carry us through the day.

It is not the habits which are the problem. Without habits we would waste our time trying to decide what to do next. It is the sleepwalking which is the problem.

Somewhere in the brain there is an on/off switch which controls our attention. When it is turned off, we are sleepwalking. When it is turned on, we are present with heart and soul. Our ordinary work often seems less interesting than our dream. That is why we prefer the dream. But when we realize that being Present is being alive, we want to be in the present moment.

How do we turn that switch on? The Sufi poet, Hafiz, used to call loudly to himself. “Hafiz, where are you?” To which he replied, “I am HERE!” With the HERE! He pulled himself into the present moment. He turned his on/off switch to ON.

Sometimes the switch opens spontaneously, but we can turn it on intentionally by calling our name and asking ourselves, “Where are you?” It will immediately become obvious that we are not HERE, and, like Hafiz, we can bring our whole being into the Present.


Looking UP,


Recommended reading: “Biology of Belief.” by Bruce Lipton

















Leaning Toward The Light



Yesterday at noon, as I was walking to Trader Joe’s to buy groceries, I noticed that the oxalis was blooming in the apartment buildings’ front gardens. Their bright yellow faces were standing straight up on their tender, green stalks. Later in the afternoon, when I was again walking down the street, I noticed that they had twisted their stalks around so that they were looking toward the west, where the sun was getting ready to set.

They appeared to be leaning toward the light of the sun.  It is well known that plants turn themselves to face the sun. Don’t animals and birds also seek the sun, migrating to sunnier climates in the winter, or just going to sleep when there isn’t enough light to keep them awake?

Life seeks Light.

We humans also have a natural affinity for Light. Are we not crowding beaches on sunny days and thronging parks to enjoy the warmth and light of the sun?

We are Life seeking Light.

We don’t have to look far to find it. Even if we feel besieged by darkness, we are blessed with an inner light, which is always available to us if we want to turn it on.  Our light- switch can turn our inner darkness to light in an instant. It only requires our Will to flip the switch and change our thoughts to things and people we love to connect with the healing energy of Light.

Leaning toward the Light with Love,



Humming Giraffes

“Someone discovered the giraffe hums
at a harmonic rate of 92 Hertz,
voice thrumming the tower of spine
and trachea once thought to be silent….”
”Ode to This Small Joy”- Maria Calabretta Cancio-Bello

After reviewing almost 1000 hours of sound recordings in three European zoos, Angela Stöger at the University of Vienna, Austria…   picked up a weird humming coming from the giraffe enclosures in all three zoos at night. (New Scientist, Sept. 17, 2015). To hear the giraffes,  click I understand that horses also hum when they are gathered together and sleepy. Who knows what other species do the same? Perhaps the rhinoceros  hums, too, only no one gets close enough to hear.

What is good enough for a giraffe is good enough for me, so I decided to experiment with humming. My mentor said, “When you are feeling depressed, hum a tune,” and he told me how humming had helped him when he was a new arrival to this country and alone in New York City.

I am feeling disheartened these days since we are in danger of losing our country, so I am trying humming, and I find that it really works to lift the spirit. What’s more, you don’t have to keep a tune or remember any words. Nothing comes between you and your own sound energy.

I notice that humming sends energy directly to the brain, so perhaps it also helps to enlighten our mental functioning. I haven’t been doing it long enough to notice any difference, but I do feel happy when I hum. Perhaps if we all hum together, we will change the dynamics of the energy scene in our family, city, state, country, world!

Happy Humming,


Listening for Silence

This morning I set out to try a new coffee shop five blocks away from my apartment at the intersection of a freeway entrance and a main thoroughfare. The coffee was good. The constant din of speeding cars and accelerating engines was not!

To feel Silence, we have to subtract what is not silence from our awareness. Sometimes we can listen past the noise to the deeper Silence beneath it. Sometimes we have to remove ourselves from the environment to feel in our bones the eternal Silence. I listened for Silence at the coffee shop, but I couldn’t hear it.

We have all heard that Silence is Golden, but I like to say that Silence is Gold itself. From the Bhagavad Gita, we learn that “That” is indestructible: “Fire cannot burn it, water cannot wet it, weapons cannot destroy it, wind cannot dry it” (Bhagavad Gita, 2/23). Similarly, Gold is always Gold, even when enmeshed in rock, even when sunken in the ocean for hundreds of years, even when battered by explosions, each piece remains Gold.

Silence is always Silence, although it may be hidden beneath an ocean of noise. In listening for Silence, we become peaceful. We become clear. We become whole.

In March I ended my post by saying that becoming peaceful is our contribution to the sanity of the world.  What I meant was that our sanity increases as our communion with Silence grows. And, since we are all part of one humanity, our Silence affects others.  Let us listen for our own inner Silence so that, in time, we and our whole culture may become sane, peaceful, and loving.

Looking up,


The Barn

“The Barn”, high in the Oakland, CA hills is a home for horses like no other. It is perched between two vistas, Oakland and San Francisco Bay to the west and the coastal mountains and Mt. Diablo State Park to the east. It is spring in California, and after the rains, the hills are vibrantly green, camellias and magnolias are in full bloom, and the scent of growing things is in the air.

Yesterday, I went to the Barn with my son and granddaughter and walked along the road encircling one of the stables. Hoofprints were filled with water from the recent rain, but the most notable impression I had was the Silence. Horses and people moved slowly, quietly, the voices hushed, greetings friendly but muted, as if the Silence in the air had removed everyone to another realm. I felt removed myself, high above the city noise.
Slowly, my shoulders loosened and a blessed relaxation filtered through my body down to the toes. I found I was naturally taking deep breaths and a feeling of peace spread from my heart throughout my body.

Such is the effect of a simple walk in nature.

We may not all have access to such places of natural beauty, but somewhere, not too far away, is a place where nature can talk to you and give you Earth’s healing energy. You may have to drive a distance to find it, but the healing you will experience in the environment of Silence, is worth the trip.
So, don’t let anything hold you back. Go! Your effort to be with Nature is your contribution to the sanity of the world.

Looking Up,

PS: I invite you to visit the Facebook page of my mentor, Rahul “Star” Patel,

A Giraffe’s Eye View

Two weeks ago I went to the Oakland Zoo with my son and granddaughter. Oakland has done its best to make the animals feel at home. After taking the train through the prairies where buffalo were roaming and past the miniature jungle where the lonely tiger stalked, we stopped at the giraffes’ enclosure. The three giraffes were standing quietly in regal dignity, looking at us looking at them.

From their great height they looked down at the crowd, children running about, cameras blinking, adults trying to contain the children, people babbling in nonsensical fashion, a jungle of sound and motion. The giraffes were calm, quiet, self-contained, their large brown eyes soft and liquid as they gazed at us humans. Was that a look of compassion I saw in their eyes? In their hearts were they feeling sorry for us with our incessant motion and noise? Were they wishing that we could find the peace and calm they experienced?

With their heads in the trees and their feet on the ground, giraffes are a perfect conduit for the energies of earth and sky to meet and work their magic in the heart. We do not have their physical advantage, but we do have the capacity, when we open all the doors and windows of awareness wide, to receive energies of earth and sky beyond our physical bodies and to weave those energies into gifts of love and compassion.

We are living in a time which demands that we take a lesson from the giraffes and learn to look at everyone and everything with compassion and love, lest we become fragmented and create a jungle within ourselves. Giraffe consciousness used to be the province of the few, but now we all need to REMEMBER THE GIRAFFES!

Looking Upwards,

DNA or Destiny?

2019 is a year in which Jupiter in Sagittarius will be bringing us opportunities to grow, expand, and evolve (see Yol Swan’s blog, Main Astrology & Numerology for 2019).

Is our evolution due to our DNA, our gifts to us from our ancestors, or is it directed by some other force? Is our Destiny going to be limited to the development of the abilities and shadows we carry with us from the past or is there something else involved?

My daughter, L., is an accomplished blue grass musician. She has mastered the bass, plays the guitar, and sings from her heart. Recently, she purchased a beautiful mandolin, intending to accompany herself and others with mandolin sweetness. (You have to listen to the mandolin to get what I mean.)



But then something happened. Her 89 year old father’s wife died. He was left with no one to care for him, and, since he had a memory problem, he desperately needed care. L. offered to find a suitable place for him in Santa Cruz, California, where she lives with her husband. With the help of her brothers, she transported him to Santa Cruz, and began the process of finding a home equipped to care for him and getting medical care and proper diagnosis.

Now L’s life is radically changed. Instead of practicing and playing music in her free time, she is responsible for her father’s medical care and handling emergencies which come up frequently at the care facility where he is living. She visits him after work several times a week.

At Christmas when I visited her, the mandolin was hanging on the wall, untouched.

L. was evolving according to the gifts of her DNA, but Destiny intervened. If this happens to us, we can either complain and feel sorry for ourselves, or we can surrender. The Master of Destiny may have other things in mind for us to do, other paths of evolution to follow.

2019 is a year of evolution. Let us be open to whatever windows open for us, even windows we had not included in our New Year’s resolutions!

Looking up,


Recommended reading: Spontaneous Evolution – Bruce Lipton and Steve Bhaerman (Swami Beyondananda)

I invite you to visit the Facebook page of my mentor, Rahul Patel, Author, for a wisdom quote.


Who wields the Gavel?

“Judge not lest ye be judged”. What does this mean? Who is the judge?

Yesterday I was walking along Lakeshore Avenue in Oakland, my neighborhood shopping area, when I met Robert, a man in his seventies, limping along with a huge, built-up shoe for his club foot and weighted to one side by a heavy bag of groceries. A group of three teenaged boys came running past him, almost knocking him down in their careless exuberance.

Immediately I judged them as uncaring, thoughtless, selfish individuals. “Can’t you see he is handicapped? Why don’t you watch where you are going?” was my instant reaction. Robert did not fall down, but I was angrily judging those boys.

Who was doing the judging? Certainly not the one I like to think of myself as being, who is understanding and compassionate. No, it was that other Me, the bristly one, the one who expects others to mirror the image she has of herself, the one who is always quick to criticize, the one ready to hurl a lightening bolt.

Unfortunately, the Me with the lightening bolt is just as ready to aim it at herself as at someone else. Ready with self-criticism, ready with blame, ready with judgment. This is the “lest ye be judged” part of the quote.

As we judge others, we judge ourselves. When we are children, we are hurt by judgments from our parents and others, and in the same way, as adults we hurt our souls when we blame and criticize ourselves. We hurt our Soul, which is the understanding and compassionate One, always seeking to restore love to our hearts. That wound in the heart may lead us down the road to illness and depression.

Don’t ask who is the judge. The judge is not Beyond, the judge is ourselves. If we can silence that judge, we will be at peace –  and we silence that judge with Love.

Keep looking up and loving!


I invite you to visit the Facebook page of my mentor, Rahul Patel, author, healer, teacher, where I post a quote weekly under “Posts”.



Living with the Wow!

To my dear Readers: I apologize for this long hiatus between issues of Open Windows. This period of rest and recovery is coming to an end, and I am feeling the spur to get back to writing.

A few weeks ago, I was driving with my son, Jerry, across Marin County, on the opposite side of the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco.

Jerry had the car radio turned on to NPR, and a woman was talking about health care. The moment we were passing by Kaiser-Permanente hospital, the voice on the radio said, “Kaiser-Permanente Medical Center. WOW! How did that happen? “Did you hear that?” I said to Jerry. Yes, he had heard it, seen it, too.
How was it that a voice speaking on the radio from San Francisco, spoke the words at exactly the same time we were passing the building in Marin County? My mind stopped its usual churning, face-to-face with what it couldn’t know, looking at a wall of nothing.
Since then, I have become aware of many Wow! coincidences, more aptly called “synchronicities”, that is, related events occurring simultaneously, with no direction or planning on my part.
I finally put these unexplainable events down to the activity of the Lone Arranger, my friend Ron’s ( term for the Presence pervading the universe, which is always trying to bring us to the borders of Mystery.
It is in looking at what has no explanation that our mind stops and we briefly see the Space that surrounds us with a sense of wonder. Let us cultivate that sense of wonder and live with the “Wow!” of life.

Looking up,