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Spiritual Surf: Hindus, Atheism, Mormons, and the Aryan India

Ancient Aryans’ “Amor fati” is the grandparent for Hinduism’s “karma”, Mormonism’s emotive dark-side, and evolving blogs on ever-trendy atheism.

 FriskoDude has this great picture of a Muslim man selling icons of Hindu gods. A toast to the Indian Muslims blog for pointing it out.

Jason Pitzl-Waters, a practicing vegan,  describes a Hindu leading the prayer of the Nevada Senate:…while it may seem innocuous to some, there is something inherently radical about a public prayer that welcomes such a broad variety of belief and worship.

A self-proclaimed evolutionist writes about worldwide atheism trends, synopsizing work by Phil Zuckerman. Sweden, Vietnam and Denmark have the greatest number of atheists, the blogger writes.

Sailing to Byzantium writes about his personal journey out of Mormonism. The author started questioning his faith after working with his brother through a crisis, he writes.

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Spiritual Surf: Growing – personally, physically and spiritually

Spiritual Surf: Growing – personally, physically and spiritually

How do we grow? Let me count the ways…

Morten Lund writes about his daughter’s growth epiphany (see picture). I’ve had the same realization several times myself. I’ve outgrown several philosophies, ideas and even lovers. This is one of the hardest things about growth, you have to give things up and leave them behind. Whether it’s a favorite pair of pants that no longer fits, or your best friend, who seems to be stuck at a level you’ve left. But you can’t blame your pants or resent your old friend. Growth is part of your personal journey and if you’re not growing, it’s time refocus.

DaVette writes about growth in relationships:

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Living with Depression

This week, Newsweek hit up a depression sufferer for her description of how to live with the mental anguish of the condition. The passage that really stands out in Leah Iannone’s story:

Most people would be shocked to learn I have suffered and still suffer from depression. I am friendly, kind, and generally happy, sort of a black-and-white thinker with a cheery disposition.

That is part of the disease.

You learn to act happy for the benefit of others because you feel guilty. My family and friends were always extremely supportive even when they didn’t understand. I couldn’t look at my parents because their faces showed their devastation, and although I wanted desperately to be with them, my pain was constant and often unbearable. I wished I could get better for my family, but it felt out of my control. My 20s were not what they should have been, and I missed a lot. I was a late bloomer in many of ways.

A behavioral take-away: the best way to deal with a depressed person in your family or in your life is to simply show up with patience and acceptance, without taking things personally.

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Rediscovering Williamsburg

Rediscovering Williamsburg

PhyllistheAuthor — In the 22 years we have lived in Williamsburg, we have driven the three miles from our house to the historic area probably on average once a day. When I taught at William and Mary and when our son was in the Colonial Williamsburg fife and drum corps, we traveled the route so often that we joked that our car automatically went that way.

Yesterday as part of our training for our pilgrimage in Spain, we walked to the historic area along the route we had so often driven. My husband spotted prehistoric scallop shells in a deep ravine. Traveling the route by car, we had never seen them.

The sea once covered Williamsburg, and the shells are about five million years old, give or take a few million years. We were especially delighted to collect a few shells since the scallop shell is the symbol of pilgrims who travel the Camino to Santiago de Compostela. Pilgrims today, as they have for 12 centuries, wear a scallop shell.

Every year we enjoy seeing the azaleas that festoon the homes in Williamsburg. This year we didn’t zip by them as we usually do. Rather we were able to experience their lushness as we walked.

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In Training for the Camino

In Training for the Camino

PhyllistheAuthor — In order to be able to walk for 250 miles on our pilgrimage beginning May 23, we have been walking various trails in our area. Today we visited the Powhatan Watershed Natural Area about three miles from our house. One of the surprise benefits of our training has been that we have rediscovered our local area. Another benefit is that the additional walking we have been doing has made us feel great. It’s a great prescription for anyone looking to clense their mind or get into better shape. “Praying with your feet,” it’s called.


Our son, Alex, visiting from California, joined his mom and dad on today’s hike. Shown here is a natural arch that resulted from a tree damaged during an ice storm. I remember several ice storms during my time in the area. We certainly lost our share of trees to them. It’s amazing that this one has managed to survive.


Alex photographed this butterfly so we could identify it. I have searched through our Audubon guide to butterflies and I haven’t found it. Does anyone know what it is? It has brown wings that are ringed with a black rim and white spots.


I snapped a picture of a wild iris. Can you spot it? It is near the center of the picture. Seeing the iris growing wild made me think of the silent beauties of the world that grow, and too often go, un-noticed. Sometimes you have to just have faith that somebody will come along one day and appreciate the beauty you’ve been quietly cultivating. On seeing the iris, my husband commented on how as a boy he would go fishing and bring back wild irises

for his mother.



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Eleven Miles Yesterday

I jogged three miles yesterday and walked eight. I am in training for our trip to Spain where we will walk from Leon to Sanatiago de Compostela. This was the farthest I’ve trekked in one day.

Training at this time of year is special. The trees are in bud, daffodils are blooming, and every day spring seems to leap a little forward.

I have ordered a backpack and hiking boots called Waffle Stompers. What a wonderful name! Our plane tickets are on their way to our house. So our plans are moving forward with each step we take.

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Follow the Yellow Arrow!

Follow the Yellow Arrow!

Yes, this is me with a yellow arrow stuck to my back. Pilgrims on route to Santiago de Compostela, the most famous of the medieval pilgrimages follow yellow arrows along the pilgram route, called the Camino.

The reason I am wearing one is that my husband and I are planning on a pilgrimage to Spain and the shrine of the apostle St. James. We plan to walk 221 miles from Leon to Santiago with all our gear in backpacks.

This last weekend an organization called American Pilgrims on the Camino met in Williamsburg. I learned a lot about what to expect on this great adventure.

As part of the program, the group went to Jamestown for a five mile walk. Since I knew the area, I ended up showing them the way, wearing a yellow arrow.

If you would like to learn more about this pilgrimage, take a look at either or both of these sites:

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