Editor’s Note (last update April 30, 2013): This blog was started as the result of insights into the spiritual and practical aspects of life that arose as the founding contributors dealt with their very different life-threatening health issues.
Many fine writers and thinkers of conscience and compassion have joined Ann, Rob and me here at Into the Bardo. We are grateful to them and to those who read here and share their enthusiasm and encouragement in the form of “follows” and comments.
As I write this introduction, we are well into our third year. We look forward to another spirit-filled year with you. As creatives new to this site join us, we will add their bios here.
If you wish to submit a piece, please read our home page so that you understand what our intention is. We are unable to offer financial consideration, but your byline, copyright, and links to your blogs and books will all be respected. Email your submission to email@example.com and please put “Into the Bardo” in the subject line. Thank you! Jamie Dedes
Wendy Alger ~ is studying Buddhist chaplaincy and is a fine arts photographer with vision challenges. She has visual impairment due to retinitis pigmentosa. She explains that new camera technologies make it easier. “I use a digital camera and I can review my pictures on the camera instead of in a dark room. I have a digital dark room, which consists of a laptop and Photoshop and Lightroom. This allows me to transform and print my images at home. I also use visual memory … I remember feeling to get through a photo session.”
Umamahswari Anandane ~ lives in India and is a poet, writer, blogger, and a self-described “simple woman.” She is an accomplished engineer with multi-lingual skills who discovered in herself a passion for writing poems and fiction. Ennai kandu peedi paarkalaam, her first novel, is in Tamil (a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by the Tamil peoples of the Indian subcontinent and the official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore). Link to her poetry at Inside My Poem Book, a blog. Uma also blogs at Perpetual Mind where, among other things, she explores Tamil arts and Vedic math. Hers is a mind that never stops.
Naomi Baltuck ~ is a Contributing Editor and Resident Storyteller here at Bardo. She is a world-traveler and an award-winning writer, photographer, and story-teller whose works of fiction and nonfiction are available through Amazon HERE. Naomi presents her wonderful photo-stories – always interesting and rich with meaning and humor – at Writing Between the Lines, Life from the Writer’s POV. She is delivers workshops such as Peace Porridge (multicultural stories to promote cooperation, goodwill, and peaceful co-existance), Whispers in the Graveyard (a spellbinding array of haunting and mysterious stories), Tandem Tales, Traveling Light Around the World, and others. For more on her programs visit Naomi Baltuck.com
Toni Bernhard ~ fell ill on a trip to Paris in 2001 with what doctors initially diagnosed as an acute viral infection. She has not recovered. In 1982, she’d received a J.D. from the School of Law at the University of California at Davis and immediately joined the faculty. She remained with the school until chronic illness forced her to retire. During her twenty-two years on the UC law faculty, she served for six years as Dean of Students.
In 1992, she began to study and practice Buddhism. Before becoming ill, she attended many meditation retreats and led a meditation group in Davis with her husband.
Colin Blundell ~ (colinblundell) warns us that if we’re into sound-bites, we’re going to be disappointed. His writing is generous, informative, and covers the range: poetry, fiction, and philosophical tomes. When he isn’t writing he is busy making music and hand-made paperback books, painting water colours, and going on long-distance motorbike treks. He’s left off being a wage-slave in 1991. He is now an independently teaching Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), Accelerated Learning, Steven Covey’s Seven Habits, Change Management, Problem-solving and Time Management, and the art and practice of the Enneagram.
CaringBridge ~ provides free websites that connect people experiencing a significant health challenge to family and friends, making each health journey easier. CaringBridge.org is powered by generous donors.
Victoria Ceretto-Slotto ~ A former nurse, Victoria is a novelist, poet, artist, and a docent at Nevada Museum of Art. Her novel Winter Is Past was recently published. A second novel is in progress.
Victoria finds inspiration in the mysteries of life, death, art and spirituality. She lives and writes in Reno, Nevada and Palm Desert, California where she lives with her photographer husband and two canine kids. Victoria shares some of her poetry on liv2write2day’s blog, where she also provides writing prompts and offers coaching with Wordsmith Wednesday.
Cookies for Kids’ Cancer ~ a 501(c)3 non-profit, was founded by parents inspired by their son Liam’s battle with cancer. They were shocked to learn that the main reason over 25% of kids diagnosed with cancer do not survive is because of a lack of effective therapies. The reason for the lack of therapies was very simple: lack of funding. They pledged to support the development of new and better treatments by giving people a simple way to get involved. Link to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer HERE.
Jamie Dedes ~ is a poet and the founder and editor of Into the Bardo. She is a former freelance feature writer and columnist whose topic specialties were employment, vocational training, and business. She finds the blessing of medical retirement to be more time to indulge in writing poetry, creative nonfiction, and fiction.
Jamie’s primary playground is The Poet by Day, the journey in poem where at any time you can read five of her most recent poems along with a growing collection of Sunday posts on poetry, poets, and writers. She finds inspiration everywhere and in everyone. Her work is informed by the values of the multi-cultural environment and classical Eastern and Roman Christianity in which she was raised as well as by a more recent introduction to Buddhism. Jamie has an abiding faith in the value of a life of the mind and spirit to heal and the inestimable value of art as meditative practice.
Amy Nora Doyle ~ has been blogging since 2010, always write-on-target with the topics she chooses to address and her not insignificant gift of story. She is appreciated as much for her savvy comments on blogs as she is for her indefatigable efforts applied consistently to the subject and spirit of the sacred. Amy is also an intuitive. Amy’s work in the ground of the sacred derives from “a life-changing trip to an incredible country, South Africa, the longing in my soul to release concepts about the magnificence of ordinary life has blown the typical writing blocks, corks and stoppers.” The inspired and inspiring Amy lives with her cat in a house on an island in Canada. Be sure to stop and visit her on your trips around the blogosphere. She can be found at souldipper.
Ann Emerson (1954-2013) ~ was a poet and writer who lived in a fairytale house by a creek in a redwood forest in Northern California. Her fine work has been picked up by two literary magazines. She has studied with several well-known American poets including her primary teacher, Ellen Bass.
Ann’s writing is informed by her Buddhism and is delicate and evocative. She was known for adopting and caring for blind cats at the “lazy-eye ranch,” where she once had six of them. Into the Bardo is dedicated to her memory. Currently her work is on “private” setting until we know the disposition of her copyright.
Renee Espriu ~ is a creative prose writer and poet. She began delighting us with her work at Renee Just Turtle Flight in March 2011. The work she shares with us there includes short stories. Renee is a daughter, mother, grandmother, and seeker of spiritual peace and soul-filled freedom. She’s studied at the graduate level and has attended seminary. She describes her belief system as eclectic, encompassing many faiths. She believes “Nature is the basis of everything that is and everything that is is also a part of Nature.”
Naomi Estment ~ Naomi is a freelance writer and photographer and, with her husband Dave, is the co-owner of Outdoor Video & Photographic and the Johannesburg-based OV&P Studio. Qualified in portraiture, fashion & glamour photography and master lighting, she’s passionate about the latter, particularly as it pertains to nurturing talent. She is a magazine journalist and has one completed novel (see My Books). Naomi also blogs at Naomi’s Notes where she charms readers with her stories and photographs of South Africa and safari. Occasionally she treats us to one of her very polished poems. Naomi and Dave share their home with a Norwegian Forest Cat (Jina) and a beautiful German Shepherd (Quest).
Karen Fayeth ~ is one of our regular contributing writers. She blogs at Oh Fair New Mexico. Born with the writer’s eye and the heart of a story-teller, Karen Fayeth’s work is colored by the Mexican, Native American, and Western influences of her roots in rural New Mexico complemented by a growing urban aesthetic. Karen now lives in the San Francisco Bay area. When she’s not spinning a tale, she works as a senior executive for science and technology research organization.
Karen has won awards for her writing, photography, and art. Recent publication credits include a series of three features in New Mexico magazine and an essay with the online magazine Wild Violet. Her latest short story will be published in the May edition of Foliate Oak. Karen’s photography is garnering considerable attention, but her proudest moment was having her “Bromance” (Aubry Huff and Pat Burrell) photo featured on Intentional Talk hosted by Chris Rose and Kevin Millar on MLB TV. She’s a Giant’s fan.
Sydney Fong (Add Grain on Earth) started blogging in July of 2012 and focuses on photo essays with accompanying music and short narrative interludes. He is the sweet voice of Buddha-like gentleness and a self-described “visionary.” He earns his living as an architectural illustrator. Of his blog he says, “My blog entails categories of my interest, joy, upheaval of life and its destiny. Every post has its own characteristic. It conveys a story of its own, and the life of its owner.” I am pleased to welcome Sydney as a contributing writer to Into the Bardo.
Shakti Ghosal ~ is a consulting editor to Into the Bardo. He has been blogging (ESGEE musgings)since September 30, 2011. He was born at New Delhi, India. Shakti is an Engineer and Management Post Graduate from IIM, Bangalore. Apart from Management theory, Shakti remains fascinated with diverse areas ranging from World History, Economic trends to Human Psychology & Development.
A senior Management professional, Shakti has been professionally involved over twenty-five years at both International and India centric levels spanning diverse business areas and verticals. With a strong bias towards action and results, Shakti remains passionate about team empowerment and process improvement.
Shakti currently resides in the beautiful city of Muscat in Oman with wife Sanchita, a doctorate and an Educationist. They are blessed with two lovely daughters, Riya and Piya.
Priscilla Galasso ~ started her blog at scillagrace.com to mark the beginning of her fiftieth year. Born to summer and given a name that means ‘ancient’, her travel through seasons of time and landscape has inspired her to create visual and verbal souvenirs of her journey.
“My courage is in the affirmation of my part in co-creation”, she wrote in her first published poem, composed on her thirtieth birthday and submitted alongside her seven-year-old daughter’s poem to Cricket magazine. Her spiritual evolution began in an Episcopal environment and changed in pivotal moments: as a teenager, her 20-year old sister died next to her in a car crash and, decades later, Priscilla’s husband and the father of her four children died of coronary artery disease and diabetes in his sleep at the age of forty-seven. Awakening to mindfulness and reconsidering established thought patterns continues to be an important part of her life work.
Currently living in Wisconsin, she considers herself a lifelong learner and educator. She gives private voice lessons, is employed by two different museums and runs a business (Scholar & Poet Books, via eBay and ABE Books) with her partner, Steve.
Natasha Head debut poetry collection (from Winter Goose Publishing) was Nothing Left to Lose, a Pushcart Prize nominee for 2012. A year later – almost to the day – her newest offering, Pulse. was released. Natasha blogs at The Tashtoo Parlour and participates in a leadership role on d’Verse ~ Poets Pub. She is the founder and coordinator of New World Creative Union.
Joseph Hesch ~ (A Thing for Words) is a writer and poet from Albany, New York. Joe’s poems and stories are inspired by his almost 400-year-old hometown, but most spring from his many travels between his right ear and his left ear. A former journalist, Joe has written for a living more than thirty years, but only recently convinced himself to rediscover the writer he once thought he was. Five years ago, he began to write short fiction. Two years later, in a serendipitous response to a blinding case of writer’s block, he wrote his first poem…ever. He hasn’t looked back.
Since then his work has been published in journals and anthologies coast to coast and worldwide. He posts poems and stories-in-progress on his blog, A Thing for Words. An original staff member at dVerse Poets Pub website, Joe was named one of Writers Digest Editor Robert Lee Brewer’s “2011 Best Tweeps for Writers to Follow.”
Charles Martin – a fine poet of social conscience has been blogging since January 17, 2010 and no doubt writing poetry all his life. We delight to feature him on Into the Bardo and we know you are as pleased with his work as we are. Charles is a photographer and poet living in SoCal. He enjoys world travel and is concerned about humanitarian issues. He is trained as a Speech and a Language Pathologist. (M.S. & Ph.D.) We highly recommend regular visits to his blog, Reading Between the Minds.
Marilynn Mair ~ of Celebrating a Year is known as the “angel of the tremolo” and “the first lady of mandolin”. Marilynn is Professor of Music at Roger Williams University, Bristol, Rhode Island, U.S.A. Her most recent CDs are Meu Bandolim and Enigmatica. Her most recent book is Brazilian Choro - A Method for Mandolin. For more of Marilynn’s story, link HERE.
Patti Maxwell (a.k.a. PattiKen) is a writer/blogger and was a corporate trainer and technical writer for many years. She kept her creative (and sometimes whimsical) side under wraps feeling that the business world sometimes frowns on creativity. Retirement offers the opportunity to use her creative brain and is a lot like kicking off those heels at last and wiggling her toes. Blogging has given her a platform to showcase her writing and has brought many new friends into her life in the process. Patti is very grateful for both. Patti’s delights us with her short-stories, poems, and her slice of real-life vignettes.
Patti blogs at:
Marlene McNew ~ is a former company controller. She began exhibiting symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease (P.D.) nine years ago. Her blog (Strange Gift) is a vehicle for sharing her interests and her experiences with P.D. Marlene is a diehard (avid) skier. A believer in the power of one’s spirit to overcome adversity, she challenged her physical endurance, successfully completing a triathlon in 2012. She’s planning to participate in a second triathlon in 2013. Marlene expresses her beautiful spirit through poems, video poems, and paintings. Her YouTube channel is SkiDisiple.
Dan Roberson ~ lives in Kansas City, Missouri. He says, ” I celebrate life. I retired from teaching and now I’m looking for new parades to lead or to follow. I’m alone, still hoping to be a published author, and trying to stay on my chosen path. I have no anchor to hold me down. I’m ready to rid myself of possessions that impede progress. I want my imagination to soar. I’m open to learning about new worlds, new countries and languages, and different ways to look at things I thought I knew. Every day is a bonus day. I look forward to the challenges each day brings. I’m finding out that technology is fast and getting faster and there is much information that I need to learn.” You’ll find Dan at My Blog.
Gayle Walters Rose ~ lives in Winter Park, Florida and has been blogging since August of 2010. She is an adventurous writer, experimenting with various forms of poetry and with fiction and creative nonfiction. Gayle comes from a large family. She is the mother of grown daughters. Much of her writing is about nature or things of the spirit. Early in life she lived in an ashram and often shares that experience and its lessons.
Gayle’s favorite quote is “Never think there is anything impossible for the soul. It is the greatest heresy to think so. If there is sin, this is the only sin; to say that you are weak or others are weak.” (Swami Vivekananda) You’ll find Gayle blogging at Bodhirose’s Blog, where she is much appreciated by the online poetry community for her fine work and because she is just such a genuine and generous spirit.
Robert D. Rossel, Ph.D. ~ is Senior Consulting Editor to Into the Bardo, life coach and grief counselor living and practicing in Los Altos Hills California. He is a Buddhist and a long-time practitioner of self-relations psychotherapy and Ericksonian hypnotherapy. With an abiding interest in music, art, yoga, nature, shamanism, and mind-body practices, Rob has sought for many years to find ways to apply meditation and mindfulness in his spiritual practice and his life. Rob is a husband, father, and grandfather. He plays violin and viola and is a regular contributor to and collaborator on Into the Bardo.
Donna Swanson was born during the Great Depression in 1938 to an Indiana farm family. Youngest of eight children and a twin, she has lived her entire life in Warren County, Indiana. A high school graduate, she chose to marry and raise a family rather than attend college; although she took classes in art, Koine’ Greek and psychology after marriage. She has written nine books: Mind Song, published by The Upper Room in Nashville, TN; Rachel’s Daughters, The Windfallow Chronicles (a double trilogy), self-published; Splinters of Light, yet to be published, and the present autobiography. A poem, Minnie Remembers, has become a standard tool in the study of gerontology, made into a documentary film by United Methodist Communications, and given the Golden Eagle Film Award. It has been reprinted in most denominational publications and over twenty-five books. Mrs. Swanson is a Bible scholar and taught adult Bible classes for over forty years. She began prayer and share groups for women in two area Churches and hosted a teenage “rap” group in her home for four years. She counts among her mentors college professors, authors and ministers. Donna blogs at Mindsinger.
Myra Schneider ~ is a poet, a poetry and writing tutor, and the author of Writing My Way Through Cancer and, with John Killick, Writing Your Self. Her poetry collections, Circling the Core and Multiply the Moon, were published by Enitharmon Press. She has eight published collections.
Myra’s long poems have been featured in Long Poem Magazine and Domestic Cherry. She co-edited with Dilys Wood, Parents, an anthology of poems by 114 women about their own parents. She started out writing fiction for children and teens. We first discovered Myra through her much-loved poem about an experience with cancer, The Red Dress, which she generously shared with readers here in our Perspectives on Cancer series in 2011.
Currently Myra lives in North London, but she grew up in Scotland and in other parts of England. She lives with her husband and they have one son. She tutors through Poetry School, London.
Cindy Taylor ~ Cindy is a freelance writer, a poet, editor and proofreader. She has an abiding passion for food and wine and an endearing zeal for life, which she shares with us on her award-winning food blog, The Only Cin. Cindy lives in Johannesburg, South Africa with her husband, daughter, and a fine cast of animal friends. Judging from photographs, she has a world-class kitchen and an abundance of red shoes.
B.T. ~ a Bulgarian, B.T. writes poetry and short stories in English, which she taught herself. She says she “discovered the power of breathing the words of poetry recently, still trying to define my style and improve the language and the emotions offered to the readers.” Blogging since September of 2010, she’s quickly gained a loyal and sustained following. Her work has been picked up by several online literary arts magazines. Blaga lives in Athens, Greece. She was born in Bulgaria and studied engineering at college. Her great loves are poetry, travel, and languages. In addition to her native tongue, Blaga is fluent in Spanish, Greek, and English. Visit B.T. at Between the Shadows and the Soul.
Michael Watson ~ has been blogging (Dreaming the World) since September of 2009. He is a shamanic practitioner, psychotherapist, educator, and artist of First Nations* (Mixed Eastern Woodlands, Cherokee, and Lakota Sioux) and European (British Isles) descent. He lives and works in Burlington, Vermont.
Michael’s teachers and his teachers teachers were shamans. His work is influenced by both the traditions of the First Nations* and contemporary Western traditions. It reflects a strong sense of “connection to the forces and processes of Nature.” The greater objective of his work is to “support others in developing intimate, transformative relationships with both Self, and the natural world.”
Judith Westerfield has been in private practice in Laguna Niguel, California since 1986. As a senior faculty member for The Academy for Guided Imagery since 1989, she’s taught hundreds of healthcare professionals how to use Interactive Guided Imagery℠ for health & wellness. She also teaches Therapeutic Creative Expression workshops – painting, creative journaling, mask painting, and self-hypnosis. In 2006 & 2007 Judith was honored by the National Fibromyalgia Association as one of thirty-five people in the United States to be a “Leader Against Pain.” Judith blogs at CreativitytotheMAX.
Monty Wheeler is the author of The Many Shades of Dark, his debut collection of formal verse that comes to the shelves via Winter Goose Publishing in March of 2013, considers himself naught but a little old feller living out his days in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. With his work in meter and rhyme, he strives to keep the art of formal verse alive. His days, when not at the job that pays the bills, are spent in writing, fishing, hunting, and his newly-acquired want of gardening. You can find him on Twitter as bumfuzzled2004 and on Facebook as Monty Wheeler.
Dilys Wood ~ Dilys is poet, editor and founder of Second Light Network of Women Poets. She has edited four anthologies of women’s poetry, mainly with Myra Schneider and has published two collections of poetry, Women Come to a Death and Antarctica. She is a great advocate for women poets, especially those who come to the art and craft of it late in life.