Hello From Above Our Magnificent Planet Earth!

Laurel Clark

Laurel Clark

This is Space Shuttle Columbia astronaut Laurel Clark’s final words to her family that she sent via e-mail the day before she died in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster:

“Hello from above our magnificent planet Earth. The perspective is truly awe-inspiring. This is a terrific mission and we are very busy doing science round the clock. Just getting a moment to type e-mail is precious so this will be short, and distributed to many who I know and love.

I have seen some incredible sights: lightning spreading over the Pacific, the Aurora Australis lighting up the entire visible horizon with the cityglow of Australia below, the crescent moon setting over the limb of the Earth, the vast plains of Africa and the dunes on Cape Horn, rivers breaking through tall mountain passes, the scars of humanity, the continuous line of life extending from North America, through Central America and into South America, a crescent moon setting over the limb of our blue planet. Mount Fuji looks life a small bump from up here, but it does stand out as a very distinct landmark.

Magically, the very first day we flew over Lake Michigan and I saw Wind Point (Wisconsin) clearly. Haven’t been so lucky since. Every orbit we go over a slightly different part of the Earth. Of course, much of the time I’m working back in Spacehab and don’t see any of it. Whenever I do get to look out, it is glorious. Even the stars have a special brightness.

I have seen my ‘friend’ Orion several times. Taking photos of the earth is a real challenge, but a steep learning curve. I think I have finally gotten some beautiful shots the last 2 days. Keeping my fingers crossed that they’re in sharp focus.

My near vision has gotten a little worse up here so you may have seen pics/video of me wearing glasses. I feel blessed to be here representing our country and carrying out the research of scientists around the world. All of the experiments have accomplished most of their goals despite the inevitable hiccups that occur when such a complicated undertaking is undertaken. Some experiments have even done extra science. A few are finished and one is just getting started today.

The food is great and I am feeling very comfortable in this new, totally different environment. It still takes a while to eat as gravity doesn’t help pull food down your oesophagus. It is also a constant challenge to stay adequately hydrated. Since our body fluids are shifted toward our heads our sense of thirst is almost non-existent.

Thanks to many of you who have supported me and my adventures throughout the years. This was definitely one to beat all. I hope you could feel the positive energy that beamed to the whole planet as we glided over our shared planet.

Love to all, Laurel.”

Credit: Laurel Clark was a medical doctor and a Space Shuttle mission specialist.

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Open Door To Solitude

Most of us are so engrossed in our outer lives that we have lost connection with our inner core. This inner core is the ever-present silent witness. It is found when we sit in silent meditation or we reconnect with nature as Ed Zevely does every summer when he rides out alone into the high country in the Rocky Mountains.

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A Yogi On Death

Ramana Maharshi

Ramana Maharshi

We relate death with loss and seperation. But Yogi’s have a different take on death. Once you are further into your journey of yoga your view of love and attachment changes. Rather than love resulting in attachment, love becomes more open and flowing. The fear of loss and seperation is greatly reduced. Here is a story from the life of the sage Ramana Maharshi:

When the mail arrived, it brought a letter with news of the death of the first daughter-in-law of K. Lakshmana Sarma. This led Sri Ramana Maharshi to speak of ‘death’.

He said : “The dead are fortunate. It is only those who are left behind who feel miserable. It is our constant concern to bear the burden of this body and look after its needs. Day in, day out, this is our occupation — bathing, eating, massaging our legs, and so on — no end to it.

“When we die, it takes four persons to carry this body and yet we carry it about constantly without even stopping to think that we are doing so. We can easily lift a heavy stone under water, but as soon as we take it out we find how heavy it is, and in the same way, we don’t feel the weight of the body as long as a Chaitanya or Life-force permeates it.

“Deathlessness is our real nature, and we falsely ascribe it to the body, imagining that it will live for ever and losing sight of what is really immortal, simply because we identify ourselves with the body. It says in the Upanishads that the Jnani looks forward eagerly to the time when he can throw off the body, just as a labourer carrying a heavy load looks forward to reaching his destination and laying it down.”

Credit: This is from the book: “Day by Day with Bhagavan“, pp. 271–72, by A. Devaraja Mudaliar.

Related: The Story Of Ramana Maharshi: His Message.

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Be A Rainbow In Someone Else’s Cloud

Be A Rainbow In Someone Else's Cloud

I’ve learned…. That the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.

I’ve learned…. That when you’re in love, it shows.

I’ve learned…. That just one person saying to me, ‘You’ve made my day!’ makes my day.

I’ve learned…. That having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.

I’ve learned…. That being kind is more important than being right.

I’ve learned…. That you should never say no to a gift from a child.

I’ve learned…. That I can always pray for someone when I don’t have the strength to help him in some other way.

I’ve learned…. That no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.

I’ve learned…. That sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.

I’ve learned…. That simple walks with my father around the block on summer nights when I was a child did wonders for me as an adult.

I’ve learned…. That life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.

I’ve learned…. That we should be glad that we don’t get everything we ask for.

Credit: These have usually been misattributed to Andy Rooney. Most of them are written by various people and compiled in a book “Live and Learn and Pass It On” Compiled By H. Jackson Brown Jr. This is a partial compilation of the collection that is making the rounds on the internet. The remaining part of the compilation will be posted next week.

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Pure Love

Who are we if we are not love? This beautiful song by Mitten and Deva Premal speaks wonderfully to our journey into finding love. Let a thousand flowers bloom. Let pure love bloom!

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