ophe's promise

something akin to a sketch pad

moon phases
Location: Hawaii, United States

one of my favorite quotes: Be Humble for you are made of earth; Be Noble for you are made of stars.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005


People get the face they deserve, it's been said. I used to say I wanted to have either a stunningly beautiful face, or a strikingly homely one; at least it would create an impression and a reaction; I could then read people's souls, mirrored in their reaction to my face.....


One early morning, before dawn, alone in the house and sound asleep, I was awakened by knocking on the door. I got up and checked - nooone there - it must have been a dream and I went back to sleep quickly. Some time later, still before dawn, I awoke again to the knocking on my door. Again I rose and checked all the doors - noone to be seen. Back to bed and back to my sleep. When I heard the knocking on the door the third time, I didn't bother getting up. - just some strange night noises, I thought and attempted to sleep again. Just as I began to drop into sleep again, a vision appeared to my closed eyes - a parade of faces swam into my vision, appearing one at a time - a kind of parade of humanity: infant, toothless elder, a woman in her prime, a man in his pride - their faces wore a wide variety of emotions, too - grief, joy, curiosity, fear and many more - it was a wondrous sort of dream/revery and I fell back to sleep feeling blissful. Perhaps I was rerunning a mental tape of something I'd once seen in a film - I don't know - I do know that I felt as if I'd experienced a divine visitation and that all my visitors were very beautiful.


Buddha Inside the Light

The core of every core, the kernel of every kernel,
an almond! held in itself, deepening in sweetness:
all of this, everything, right up to the stars,
is the meat around your stone. Accept my bow.

Oh, yes, you feel it, how the weights on you are gone!
Your husk has reached into what has no end,
and that is where the great saps are brewing now.
On the outside a warmth is helping,

for, high, high above, your own suns are growing
immense and they glow as they wheel around.
Yet something has already started to live
in you that will live longer than the suns.

Rainer Maria Rilke (translated by Robert Bly)

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Will took this pic with his cell-phone - I like it because it's so non-descript, cannot identify the person - (this is what happens in the absence of light) - who is in that face, I wonder? - something odd going on with the mouth and jaw, too - wonder what causes that effect in the face as she ages? - anyway - I have as much detachment from the face in this photo as I do when I view pictures of my 22-year-old self - vanity, vanity, all is vanity!

There are no answers - there are only choices....(Solaris - the film)

foggy Ruth Posted by Hello

Monday, March 14, 2005

A Little Conversation with God

This morning, I woke very early before dawn; looking at the clock and thinking that it was really much too early to be starting my day, I stayed in bed and thought of a question I might ask God. I don't often expect direct answers to my questions, but on at least one occasion I did receive what seemed an answer. I was in an especially pitiful and despairing mood and I asked God "Oh, God, shall I just die?" (not truly planning to kill myself, but I know of many who simply give up the fight, stop eating and caring, and who die in pretty short order - it's still a kind of suicide, just in different form) The anwer I felt in my heart was "Leave that to me, Dear". Did that answer come from God or was it simply the imaginings of a delusional mind? I don't know and I don't think it even matters - the answer was a very good one in that it put a stop to my self-pitying attitude and renewed my hope and my commitment to life - it might as well have come from God for the healing it provided.

.....and so, this morning, I again had a question for God. This morning's question was "How can I help you?"

and the answer was "Oh, thank you, Ruth. I don't get asked this often. I'll have to think it over and get back to you."

What? God has to think it over? He knows all and should be able to give me a direct answer immediately, right? Sigh.........I'll keep you posted should I get a more definitive reply.....

Sunday, March 13, 2005

"My religion is simple; my religion is kindness." - attributed to the Dalai Lama

"I'm not always right, but I'm always corrected." - John Lindsey

"I'm not as good as I should be, I'm not as good as I want to be, but I'm better than I used to be." - Morty Breier

Friday, March 11, 2005

How can I embrace my religion, while at the same time acknowledging the truth in others?

There is a discussion going on at Mushtaq's blog (tracelesswarrior.blogspot.com)about religious tolerance. I'd like to share the words of a Hawaiian kupuna (elder) who lived on Moloka'i during the time when missionaries began spreading the word of Christ amongst the Hawaiian people. Her name is Kaili'ohe Kame'ekua:

"All people climb the same mountain. The mountain, however, has many pathways - each with a different view. A person knows and understands only what he sees from his own pathway, and as he moves, his view will change. Only when he reaches the top of the mountain will he see and understand all the views of mankind. But who among us has reached the top of the mountain? Tomorrow, we too will see a different view. We have not finished growing.......

.....I was able to teach a few of my great-grandchildren before I gave up teaching. I saw some of my children's families follow the Catholic religion, while some were pillars of the Kalua'aha Protestant Church. Some became Mormon, and some stood beside me in believing there was truth in all of them and in the light. We all went to church. To me it mattered not where. God is Love and He can be found anywhere.............

........Ku, God, Jehovah, Allah, Inner Light, Love - one eternal truth. What does so great a power care what we call Him? Little minds put tags on things and people; Love accepts and encompasses all matter and all beings. Humans have been given the right to make choices - to be good or evil - to be gods or stones.

We are all born with that perfect power to do and be all things. We have the right to do with it whatever we wish. If we keep our bowl free from rocks, we can go forward and backward in time, walk with the angels, climb the the heights and live in paradise.

It is everyone's own decision where and what he is.

We are all one, each a part of the eternal whole. There is no line that divides one from another or those in body from those in spirit. When men say they believe only this or that they put blinders on themselves. Blinders hide the beauty and majesty of what we are a part of - Children of the Most High! Inheritors of the Universe!"

("Tales from the Night Rainbow" by Koko Willis and Pali Jae Lee)

The above words ring true to me.

To Phil (http://www.philledgerwood.com/), I would say that differences are not trivial (there may be a mountain separating those on different paths) but an individual's understanding of the teachings of a particular religion may very well be imperfect; my faith sustains me on the path and I believe I will eventually be led to a better understanding.

I allow for my own misinterpretations, my own fallibility, and, in order not to hurt others with a mistaken judgement, I try to allow that there may be equal or even greater truth in other points of view.

When I look to the natural world, I see that different species require different conditions for their growth and sustenance. Is it possible that humans, too, are different in their needs for spiritual growth and sustenance? A plant naturally leans towards the sunlight, and I suspect that the human heart knows best the source of its light, too.

Okay.....end of sermon (smile)

apologies to any I might have offended.....

Thursday, March 10, 2005

The Interview Game

Here is how the blogging “Interview Game” is played:
1) Leave me a comment saying “interview me.” The first five commenters will be the participants.
2) I will respond by asking you five questions.
3) You will update your blog/site with the answers to the questions.
4) You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5) When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions. (Write your own questions or borrow some.)

I received my questions from Phil Ledgerwood, a gentleman I am only beginning to become acquainted with via his blog, which you can find at:
Phil's questions for me are:

1) People have said things like “Life is a bowl of cherries,” or “Life is like a box of chocolates.” What do you think is a good simile or metaphor for life and why?

Perhaps life is a like a liquid mirror; (at times it may even seem a carnival fun-house mirror, distorting and surreal.) When we gaze into the mirror it may appear that life is simply happening to us as though we are mere witnesses (like picking a random chocolate from the box - we get what we get); I've come to believe that our own vision and attitudes greatly shape our experience of life, we actually impress that "image" and participate in the creation (or distortion?) of our experience. (We create the prism that the mirror is viewed through?) Life so very often reflects back exactly what we expect, or what our personality traits and inherited characteristics have "pre-ordained" as our "fate". What is behind the mirror, what is the true reality? I believe that there IS a reality behind the illusions of our experience of life and that one of my tasks as a human being is to get past the "mirror" and see clearly. I suspect that God (or Allah) may be known there.

2) What single decision has had the greatest impact on your life and its direction?

My decision (or was it fate?) to marry has likely had the greatest impact on my life. We spent 21 years together, we raised four children. The growing-up years of my children provided me with my most fulfilling "task" thus far - my best career "choice". The long-term development of a relationship takes unexpected directions, but in retrospect, I can see the seeds that were sown from the very beginning. My initial tendency towards passivity and submission allowed a situation to grow into an uncomfortable imbalance; it took many years and real effort to regain my sense of personal will and responsibility. The struggle for freedom, and for truth and integrity, at times sustained only by a vague sense of self-worth, initiated a long and deep spiritual quest. I think when I’m truly old and gray, I may see that marriage relationship as the largest challenge I faced in life, and hence, the largest benefit……time will tell.

This is at first glance, an easy question, and then I contemplate how we can ever fully know the consequences of our choices; in fact, we likely don't understand what influences our decisions in the first place ......I begin to think we are mostly programmed and predictable.

3) What advice would you give to American society in general?

As a mother of four young-adult children, I sometimes reflect back and wonder if I might have done things any differently, if given the chance to start again. In retrospect, I would NOT be more critical or demanding, NOT stricter in creating and enforcing rules; rather, I would try to INCREASE my expressions of love, appreciation and acceptance of the unique capabilities and characteristics of my children. My advice to American society is the same; how much sweeter our lives together would be if we could embody more of the attributes of a good mother with one another, as well as to our fellow "earthlings". We are, I believe, in actual fact, one family. We share this little island called Earth and should begin to treat our home and each other as family rather than as competing interests. I often view the current political dialogues as an exasperated parent might (okay, you children stop arguing and work it out! We’ve more important things to attend to than your bickering, for goodness sake!) In other words, we might show tolerance, understanding and compassion to one another. We nurture and support one another, encourage individual responsibility, lead by example, and choose gentle persuasion over force and strength whenever possible. In conflicts, we seek to understand first, and then seek a solution that considers the needs of all. We realize that our actions bear consequence for the entire family, and that the health of the family in large part determines our own health..... we share more and care more .... and.....oh yes, please "love your mother" ....(smile)

4) What things does living in Hawaii give to you that we mainlanders are missing out on?

I can't speak about life for everyone on the mainland; I can only speak about the advantages the Big Island of Hawaii offers me, in comparison to my former life on the Mid-Atlantic East Coast. I'm sure that life can be wonderful just about anywhere, depending upon one's attitude and adaptation to the environment. For my life, though, Hawaii has been a miracle. On one fairly small island (about the size of the state of Connecticut) we have something like 10 different climate zones. We have the ocean, we have mountains, we have forests and deserts. We have live volcanos! We have clear skies (discounting the vog sometimes created by the volcano) in order to view the stars each night. An incredible diversity of plant and animal life, all to be found within a short driving distances. For me, the weather is perfect; cool evenings and warm days. I spend a good part of each day outdoors. Closeness to nature was something that was missing in my former life; I try to take full advantage of the natural environment here. Something happens to us when we pay attention to the natural world. We become more natural ourselves, more human, perhaps. The senses become refined and intuition grows. One begins to feel closer to creation (God) and to understand our part in it, even.

Culturally, the Big Island is very diverse, too. Hawaiians and other Polynesians (such as Samoans, Marshallese, Tongans), Filipinos, Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Thais, Europeans, Australians, Native Americans, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Black Americans, Indians, Iranians - they are all here in differing numbers. I'm not sure there is a majority race or ethnic group; the attitude is generally inclusive, welcoming and tolerant. If there is any racism here, it is more likely perhaps directed at "haoles" or whites (literally meaning "without breath'); though I've certainly not suffered any racism other than a kind of "stink-eye" stare on rare occasion. I believe that if there is a dislike for haoles, it is more a dislike for a certain arrogant attitude rather than a race. Our population is small (somewhere between 150,000 and 200,000) so it is very easy to remove oneself to a secluded beach or park if one is seeking solitude.

The traditional Hawaiian culture and its influence is felt here still. I'm sure that everyone knows the word, "Aloha", but wonder if all know that it means both Hello and Goodbye, and also that it means Love. Imagine a society where people greet one another with the word Love on a regular basis.....that society is found here. Western and modern influences are here, as well, we do have all the modern conveniences but they seem to have less importance (at least to me). A full spectrum of livelihoods can be found here as well; we have geologists, oceanographers, astronomers, philosophers, lawyers, doctors, teachers, merchants and bankers, psychologists, policemen, fishermen, farmers, entertainers and athletes. I don't want to forget to mention a diverse choice in religious traditions, too. (Again, the attitude seems to be one of inclusion and tolerance - all are welcome and noone appears to claim the only keys to the kingdom)

At times, it seems to me that the whole world exists on this little island in microcosm; there is so much diversity.

For me, the move to Hawaii was like beginning life anew. It presented a rare opportunity for a woman in her mid-life. Virtually all the plants, birds, fish and animals were new to me, a new language, a new community. A place for discovery and in short, a wonderful learning adventure. I even find a new appreciation for the place of my origin. I see with new eyes the beauty of the East Coast lands and ocean.

All this being said, I do think that mainlanders are not truly missing out, if hearts and eyes are open to the beauty surrounding them. My heaven probably exists everywhere. Anyone can find wonder in their environs, anyone can appreciate and enjoy a diverse society.....it is probably all in the attitude and vision with which one views his/her world.

5) What are some lyrics to a song that is particularly meaningful for you and why?

FROM THE MOVIE, “BABE” - (Farmer Hoggett sings this to Babe)





I chose this because it is a pure and simple song of love. (I also loved the film, “Babe”; watched it numerous times. Farmer Hoggett reminds me of my grandfather; little did I know how much my life would be influenced by that film)

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Pu'u Umi (The place of Umi)

Umi was an alii of the Hawaiian Islands sixteenth century; I've not been able to discover much about him except that he exacted a cruel revenge on a former surfing competitor (had him sacrificed) and that a heiau, named for him (A'hua Umi), in the center of the Big Island was one of the first astronomical observatories of his people. The Wau Akua (Place of the Gods) is in the upper elevations of these islands. The traditional belief was that when approaches a sacred place, one must have the proper reverence, and must come equipped with a reason and purpose. I had mine in mind for Sunday's hike.

Sunday's hike was up the Kohala Mountains and into a forest preserve called Pu'u Umi, at about 5,200 foot elevation. A beautiful mystical place with little to no sign of humans - it could and would have been a marvelous hike except for the sense of danger that enveloped me throughout our scramble. (In fact, I found myself praying for courage and strength.) The path is not well marked and in most places is a bed of moss covering fallen branches and tree trunks. Where there is no moss there was gooey mud. The earth literally swallows your feet as you mush along, causing one to wonder if the next footfall will be into a sunken lava tube. More than once my foot was sucked down to ankle-level. Often times we'd have to swing around, clinging to a branch, in order to avoid a particularly mucky spot. We climbed through the forest for about an hour or so, following sporadic blue or orange tags; otherwise we might have become totally lost. Finally, we came upon an opening in the forest that revealed a sudden drop of a thousand feet or more. No idea where we were; perhaps overlooking the back of one of the valleys between Pololu and Waipio. Suddenly, we were blasted with a frigid and wet wind, that disappeared as soon as we ducked back into the forest cover. The men wanted to continue on; I felt it was an unfortunate omen and that we should return. Our footprints were already erased by the moss and mud on our return trip down the hill and we took a couple of wrong turns. Nevertheless, the going was quicker on our descent. After stopping for coffee in our favorite cafe' in Hawi, we headed for the ocean to bathe our feet and warm ourselves in the late afternoon sun. By the time we arrived home, I had a killer headache, a pounding heartbeat and headed directly to bed. Thoughts of my impending death......(yeah, I know, ridiculous, but headaches are a rarity for me and this one was sudden and extreme) So.....I think.....I'm about to die......this isn't particularly scary but I'm disappointed.....I haven't done what I'm supposed to have done.....in fact, I don't even know WHAT I'M SUPPOSED TO BE DOING WITH MY LIFE! sigh.....I'm your's, God, do as you will .... Of course, I woke up (still alive) and feeling 100% better, and maybe even a bit wiser.....One prays for courage and strength and receives a test in answer. (the tests continue this week, perhaps more on that later)


I've a great desire to find a way up to A'hua Umi, the ancient ruins of Umi's temple, but suspect that I'll need even more strength and courage for that excursion. It's located on a private land trust, between the three great volcanos of this island. I contacted a representative from the trust to seek permission to cross the lands. He tells me that he never grants permission to individuals but will grant permission to non-profit organizations and that he would like me to come in and meet him. He'd like me to form a group! I talked it over with my son, suggesting I could form a group called "Tutu Ruthie's slow hikes". His version was more along the lines of "Tutu Ruthie's boring hikes" (smile) (tutu is a term of endearment for a grandmother; I'm not one yet, but looking forward to my tutu years ahead)

Pu'u Umi forest preserve Posted by Hello

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