Happy New Year!

We have headed down the road once again, continuing our quest to see this beautiful country we call home.  We are snuggled into a comfortable site in the panhandle of Florida at Blackwater River State Park.  Although this is known as the Sunshine State, it seems the sun will be quite elusive for the next several days.  No worries, as we are toasty within our little home on wheels, and feel blessed to be able to live this RV lifestyle.

Soon the final chapter of 2013 will be written, a year for us that included both great joy and challenges.  Although we may not have had a “typical” year, we experienced much that provided valuable introspection and memories to last a lifetime.

In 2014 I look forward to reconnecting with the blogging community.  Too often this year I felt the need to step away from blogging to deal with more pressing life issues. I look forward once again to having my life enriched with your stunning photography, suggestions for books to provide me hours of reading pleasure, travel destinations to dream upon, inspiring words that nurture my soul, technology to enhance our lives and great food suggestions.

Although we will soon close out 2013, we pick up a brand-new book entitled 2014, a book never opened, filled only with blank pages.  What will you imprint on these pages in the upcoming year?  Whatever your plans, I hope you live your dream each and every day and share your passion with the world.  The Buddha said “the secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate problems, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”  

My wish for everyone is for abundant good health, both mind and body.  I am not one to make resolutions that I may ultimately break, but this upcoming year I plan to see more sunrises and sunsets, standing in the delicious silence of early morning and basking in the warmth of a glowing setting sun.

Happy New Year everyone!  May you experience hope, great joy, and much lightness and love in the upcoming year.

Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park ~ Sedona, AZ

Buddha of Infinite Light
Buddha of Infinite Light

Although we had lived in Sedona for many years, we had never visited the Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park.  Thanks to a friend, a recent trip to Red Rock Country from the Valley of the Sun brought us to this sacred ground, situated at the base of Thunder Mountain.

Amitabha Stupa with Chimney Rock in background
Amitabha Stupa with Chimney Rock in background

Stupas have graced the Earth for over 2,600 years and are said to be the physical embodiment of the Buddha’s enlightened mind.  One of the oldest forms of sacred architecture on the planet, their blessings are immeasurable and their presence in the West very rare.  For millennia stupas have been built to deepen the spiritual life and promote healing, peace, and prosperity, and are a place for meditation and spiritual renewal.

Construction on the 36-foot tall Amitabha Stupa began in July, 2003, with a final 3-day consecration ceremony taking place on August 1, 2004.  On this final day, marked with offerings, song, and dance, prayers began in the early dawn at 5:00 AM.  At this hour the Stupa was bathed in moonlight, but when the rising sun shone on the face of the Amitabha Buddha, the Stupa was born.  Since then the Amitabha Stupa has been radiating blessings of compassion day and night.

The external beauty of the Stupa covers many offerings within its walls.  A sok-shing, tapered 4-sided, 21-foot long cedar column runs along the central channel and is the life force of the Stupa.  It is carved at the top like a stupa and has a thunderbolt at the bottom.  A large copper cauldron has been placed in the center  as a symbol to protect the environment and replenish the five classical elements (earth, water, fire, air, and space) and is said to restore the Earth’s vital energies. Along with this are holy relics, rolled mantras, semi-precious stones and crystals, and other deity statues.

When you arrive at a stupa, Buddhist tradition teaches that there is great benefit in walking clockwise around the stupa at least three times, while making personal prayers for those suffering and for world concerns.  A small offering can be made after this journey to dedicate the merit of these prayers for the greater good.

After the three of us had made the journey around the Stupa, we quietly absorbed the serenity of our surroundings.  Soon a lone coyote’s cry pierced the silence.  Native Americans feel the coyote teaches us that only when all illusions have fallen away will we connect with the source ~ beautiful symbolism experienced on this sacred ground.

Prayer flag mantra
Prayer flag mantra

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Happy New Year ~ 2013!

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.  ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Happy New Year!
Happy New Year!

Today we close our 2012 “life book” and, from what I’ve seen, many of yours  have been filled with wonderful sights, memories to last a lifetime.  One of the pleasures of blogging is to be able to go back and reflect on where we have been, like movie clips of our lives.  My life has been enriched by bloggers worldwide who have offered up a wealth of suggestions:  books to scour, travel destinations to dream upon, spectacular photography, music that got me dancing around our rig, technology to enhance our lives, DIY project instructions, sound financial advice, and abounding inspiration.  I can’t thank you enough for your generosity.

Tomorrow we pick up a brand-new book, never opened, filled with blank pages.     What will you imprint on these pages in the upcoming year?  Whatever your plans, I hope you live your dream each and every day and share your passion with the world.  The Buddha said “the secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate problems, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”  My wish for everyone is for abundant good health, both mind and body.  I am not one to make resolutions that I may ultimately break, but this upcoming year I plan to see more sunrises, as I have discovered that standing in the delicious silence of early morning, wrapping myself in this wondrous sight, I feel very much in touch with a higher power.

Happy New Year everyone!  May you experience hope, great joy, and much lightness and love in the upcoming year.

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