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Archive for May, 2008

sharonb has started a new forum for textile enthusiasts on Ning. It’s called Stitchin Fingers and has already attracted over 240 members in just a few days. Looks like it will make for some fruitful sharing, so I look forward to having time to peruse!

But first, I’m heading to Nottingham, England for teachings by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I’ll have a table in the “Big Top,” a tent set up a few minutes’ walk from the arena where the teachings will take place. Green Tara — featured in the Creating Buddhas documentary — will be there with me. If you’re in the area, please come by to say hi.

Packing

I’m flying to England on Ryan Air and am having quite a time trying to stay under their 15kg (33 pound) baggage limit — with postcards and posters to sell!

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Dear Kristin Blancke has sent me another amazing link, one which she received from a mutual friend of ours who has also lived many years at the foot of the Himalayas.

Please watch this amazing video.

Jill Bolte Taylor, a brain anatomist, had the extraordinary fortune to study her own stroke AS IT WAS HAPPENING. She recounts the experience with enormous passion, fascination, and insight — both scientific insight and human/spiritual insight. An extraordinary tale of direct experience, her story reveals the vastly different ways the two hemispheres of our brains experience, process, interpret, and relate to the world, and also invites us to reflect on which hemisphere we choose to favor. Very moving!

I was also pleased to discover the TED.com site on which the video is featured. It’s full of fascinating speakers speaking on many relevant topics. I think I’ll be spending considerable time exploring it.

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Franco, Viaggi in AsiaKristin, Viaggi in AsiaMy dear friends, Kristin Blancke and Franco Pizzi (who organize tours of India, Nepal, Tibet, and Bhutan for Italian, French, and Belgian travelers through their company Viaggi in Asia), have a new blog (in Italian). They’re off to a good start with two fascinating posts:

Brains Can Change

The first speaks of the intriguing field of neuroplasticity. It turns out that brain development does not end with childhood! (This assertion is actually an essential underpinning for Buddhist practice — that through our efforts we can change our own minds. Exciting new research demonstrates that those mind changes actually show up in our brains.) Scientists at the University of Wisconsin have used sophisticated brain scanning equipment (fMRI and EEG) to examine the effects on brain activity of meditation practice and the cultivation of emotional states, such as compassion. Here’s a link to a one-hour Dan Rather report on brain plasticity covering the University of Wisconsin research and others, and including an interview with the Dalai Lama. Two books have been written by participants in the experiment. The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret & Science of Happiness by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche is excellent and life-affirming — a joy to read! I have not yet read Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill by Matthieu Ricard but I’m looking forward to doing so soon.

Dolls 4 Tibet

Dolls 4 Tibet

With their second post, Franco and Kristin introduce us to Mona, a German textile artist living in Dharamsala. Motivated by her search for healthy and interesting toys for her own daughter, Mona applied her creative talents to designing endearing cloth dolls. Each doll is dressed in the traditional costume of a Tibetan region and is identified with a name and a story. They’re made of natural fibers and are produced by a small team of Tibetan women working under Mona’s direction. Take a look at the photos and videos here. (If you follow the links to YouTube, click on “watch in high-quality” for smooth viewing. The videos are in English after the first introduction.)

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It’s been entirely too long since I posted. Two long holiday weekends in Italy. Lots of quilting experiments, using

Face in progress

Finishing and shipping a couple of small Dzogchen pieces.

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