Street Heart


Unexpected mudra with flowers under a bridge along the canal, a non-verbal message that needs no explanation. Still I wanted to know more:

Mudra: A mudrā is a spiritual gesture and an energetic seal of authenticity employed in the iconography and spiritual practice of Indian religions. In yoga, mudras are used in conjunction with pranayama (yogic breathing exercises)… to stimulate different parts of the body involved with breathing and to affect the flow of prana in the body.

Is this the Apana Mudra? (“The Apana mudra has a grounding force to help you connect with the earth’s energies whenever you are feeling off balance or flighty.”)

More intriguing: “The Apana mudra is good for mental or physical digestion and for eliminating waste material from the body. This gesture may also be a form of aiding in mental and emotional digestion when applied to “evil” outside of the body.”

Interesting that the hand is emerging from a business suit, and how many of these hand positions are part of our everyday body language…

To be continued…xxxxxx Aliss

Sanity Savers 2: Breathe with a tree

Ancient cedar, Buttes Chaumont, Paris 19, January 2017DSC03210.JPG

What to do if you suffer from Existential Disorientation (see my interview with Gail Straub): Who am I? Is my country imploding? How will my children make a life for themselves in this climate of conflict? How will we take care of them and our parents with no health care system? How can I clear my mind of snarling faces and obnoxious soundbites?

Find a beautiful evergreen, large or small, and watch it breathe. See its branches lifted towards the sky and the sun, imagine the root system reaching for water and nourishment deep down into the earth.

If you’re trapped somewhere with no vegetation, read a poem by Mary Oliver or the 23rd Psalm. Neuroscientists have found that visualizing a peaceful green place resets the nervous system and the senses as much as actually being there.

I’m fortunate to have family from around the world, a never-ending source of challenges and enlightenment. One of my brothers-in-law is from the Ivory Coast with ancestors in Burina Faso. His family were Animists who converted to Christianity more than a hundred years ago. He’s organizing a healing mass for our family tree and asked me to participate. Although I’m not Catholic, I welcome this opportunity to send love and light through all the ramifications of my family tree, by copying five generations of names and dates on a form, lighting a novena candle that will burn for 9 days and nights, and attending a ceremony with my in-laws at the end of the month. When he explained the plan to me and my husband, and shared his family history, we understood that our three families, in Africa, Europe, and North America, have all been scarred and traumatized by War. His grandfather and my husband’s were both at Verdun, my father, his brothers, and my mother’s brother were in France, Italy, Japan, and Korea during major battles…my son’s Russian family went through the siege of Leningrad… all with consequences we’re still dealing with.

When I gave mitochondrial DNA to the National Geographic world genome project, I learned that everyone on the planet descends from the same woman who lived in what is now Botswana, fanning out from there around the globe, over millennia.  All of us are connected, even if we don’t believe it.

If you’re religious, I invite you to have a traditional healing ritual for your family. If not, make up your own version, starting with collecting information and stories.

We need to heal our world family.

Meanwhile, breathing with this majestic cedar.

xxxxx Aliss

Fontainebleau Solstice


Horizon, Tour Denecourt, Fontainebleau, December 2016

This may be too long for minds used to soundbites, but if you have the patience, it’s worth your time and concentration:

“Over there, on the horizon, the sun has just touched with light the outermost fringe of the eastern sky. Once again, beneath this moving sheet of fire, the living surface of the earth wakes and trembles, and once again begins its fearful travail…

…Grant me the remembrance and the mystic presence of all those whom the light is now awakening to the new day.

One by one, Lord, I see and I love all those whom you have given me to sustain and charm my life. One by one also I number all those who make up that other beloved family which has gradually surrounded me, its unity fashioned out of the most disparate elements, with affinities of the heart, of scientific research and of thought. And again one by one… I call before me the whole vast anonymous army of living humanity; those who surround me and support me though I do not know them; those who come, and those who go; above all, those who in office, laboratory and factory, through their vision of truth or despite their error, truly believe in the progress of earthly reality and who today will take up again their impassioned pursuit of the light.

This restless multitude, confused or orderly, the immensity of which terrifies us; this ocean of humanity whose slow, monotonous wave-flows trouble the hearts even of those whose faith is most firm: it is to this deep that I thus desire all the fibres of my being should respond. All the things in the world to which this day will bring increase; all those that will diminish; all those too that will die: all of them, Lord, I try to gather into my arms, so as to hold them out to you in offering…

Receive, O Lord, this all-embracing host which your whole creation, moved by your magnetism, offers you at this dawn of a new day.

This bread, our toil, is of itself, I know, but an immense fragmentation; this wine, our pain, is no more, I know, than a draught that dissolves. Yet in the very depths of this formless mass you have implanted — and this I am sure of, for I sense it — a desire, irresistible, hallowing, which makes us cry out, believer and unbeliever alike:

‘Lord, make us one.’ “

–Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Mass on the World

Thank you Marion Woodman for your beautiful reading in “Rolling Away the Stone”

xxxxx Aliss


I believe we can fly

dsc03091Lightening up for the holidays with shopping therapy, explored a new space opening in my off-the-beaten-track barrio. I’m torn between wanting to keep it all to myself or sharing it with the world… It’s Vill’Up in the 19th arrondissement, Metro Porte de la Villette or Correntin-Cariou. Brand new, with friendly faces offering samples of chocolates, frozen yoghurt, and mince pies, there are well-known chains (Marks and Spencer!!! Cultura, Sephora, Bensimon) and specialty shops I haven’t seen before, with unusual gifts, gourmet foods, spas, clothing for women, men, and children… plus restaurants, cinemas, and two new attractions: I Fly (pictured above, reserve in advance via their website!) and YOO MOOV (Virtual Reality Outer Space Experience? Will know more when it opens later this week)…

Laid out on three floors with a spectacular view over the park and Canal de l’Ourcq, it’s both welcoming and mind-expanding. Watching delighted kids and adults learning to fly with a coach in the glass air-tunnel tube, I remembered a story about the 60’s, during the Viet Nam War, when a large crowd of “Yippies” led by activists Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin vowed to exorcise and levitate the Pentagon with psychic energy as a non-violent gesture to end the war.

On October 21, 1967, 100,000 protesters formed a human chain with the intent of “chanting ancient Aramaic exorcism rites while standing in a circle around the building, (so) they could get it to rise into the air, turn orange and vibrate until all evil emissions had fled. The war would end forthwith.” For a hilarious account of the festivities, see:

Inspite of this, and contributions from Allen Ginsberg, the Fugs, Benjamin Spock, Peter, Paul, and Mary, and others, the massive structure did not lift 300 feet off the ground, or even 3 as was hoped, but the widely mediatized event, described by Norman Mailer in his Pulitzer Prize winning non fiction novel Armies of the Night, fed a ground swell that eventually brought peace and paved the way for non-violent movements of the 80’s and 90’s (WAM, ACT UP).

So I’m wondering…what can we do to levitate the heavy-handed, mean-spirited bullies of our time? Maybe start by learning to fly, bring that lightness into our beings and project it outward until they lift off?dsc03092Meanwhile, gorgeous handmade traditional crafts, jewelry, lighting, ceramics, furniture, linens, cards, Christmas decorations at Storie:dsc03093dsc03094Sensual women’s fashions and edgy jewelry at Nina Kendoza (waterfall and cascading plants in window at back of shop, go see):dsc03095International cuisine, coffee shops with news stand, open late…dsc03096Frozen yogurt to sample, served with a big smile, and Flying Tiger gift shop in background:dsc03097Gourmet chocolates, mustards, olive oils, vinegars, at Le Comptoir de Mathilde:dsc03098One of a kind gifts and decor items from new designers at Boutique Éphémère:dsc03099And endless fun:



xxxxxx Aliss

Veterans’ Day


Very moved by our family’s visit to this WWI memorial for thousands of US Marines KIA in 1918, helping protect Paris and end the war, 2289 graves, 33 stars of David, Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial, Belleau, France, one of many many many…….Thank you to all our veterans, and my dad in Arlington…  to be continued…. xxxxx Aliss

Horizon Therapy/Back to School (updated Sept 4)

Atlantic Coast near Deauville, August 31, 2016DSC02927


From the Online Etymological Dictionary site:

horizon (n.) Look up horizon at Dictionary.comlate 14c., orisoun, from Old French orizon (14c., Modern French horizon), earlier orizonte (13c.), from Latin horizontem (nominative horizon), from Greek horizon (kyklos) “bounding (circle),” from horizein “bound, limit, divide, separate,” from horos “boundary, landmark, marking stones.” The h- was restored in English 17c. in imitation of Latin. Old English used eaggemearc (“eye-mark”) for “limit of view, horizon.” The apparent horizon is distinguished from the celestial or astronomical horizon.


horizon ‎(plural horizons)

  1. The horizontal line that appears to separate the Earth from the sky.
    A tall building was visible on the horizon.
  2. The range or limit of one’s knowledgeexperience or interest.
    Some students take a gap year after finishing high school to broaden their horizons.
  3. (geology) A specific layer of soil or strata
  4. (archaeology, US) A cultural sub-period or level within a more encompassing time period.
(line separating Earth and sky): skysillskyline


So what is on the horizon as we start a new school year? The next level we want to reach? The limit we want to  transcend? Our intention for our next circle around the sun? Personal? Professional? Global?

As I sift through answers, I remember a song I heard kids singing at Wayfinder Experience bardic circle campfires:

There are many versions, lyrics adapted from a Chinese proverb and put to music by Sharon Durrant…

When there is light in the soul

There is beauty in the person

When there is beauty in the person

There is harmony in the home

When there is harmony in the home

There is honor in the nation

When there is honor in the nation

There is peace in the world


To the light in our souls   xxxxx Aliss