Thanksgiving Practice

There are so many different ways that I meditate. As a reiki practitioner, I have a practice for giving myself reiki. I work with mantra, healing sounds, ringing bowls, guided meditation, vipassana meditation, walking meditation, laughter yoga, other yoga, and many other methods.

Considering I have so much to choose from, it keeps my practicing fresh and alive. I pick and choose what works for me. Often this means that I have diligence for a period of time using a particular method. In this area of my life, I don’t have a specific teacher, but many teachers. About 3 days ago I returned to my beloved horse stance that I first used in Kung Fu a decade or so ago from my Pai Lum Tao. This started to translate into me practice more Qi gong. My favorite go-to is “polishing the stone.” It’s also called “polishing the table,” but it’s the same. The previous practice I learned from another school. I’ve included the video below for your reference, but I hadn’t seen it before today. Same with the video above, which I think is a great introduction to moving like water. Today, on Thanksgiving, I created a movement that’s perfect for my needs and I named it “bamboo swaying in the wind.” I’ll be working with this new Qi Gong I taught myself for a little while, and so far it feels amazing!

There are so many ways to look at abundance and prosperity. In times of challenge and pain, grief from loss, and sadness it can be very difficult to see even the tiniest amount of hope. We must be humble and remember that circumstances are fleeting. They change, they are subject to the ebbs and flows and the vicissitudes of life. What I love about Qi Gong, is that it’s a gift you can give yourself, and you don’t need any supplies but your own breath and movement. It’s a way to cultivate Qi which is the what the entire universe is made up of——-talk about abundance!

Image by Qijin Xu from Unsplash


Ka Malana Photography

connected in the rudraksha forest

i meditated and traced back into my blood lines

the joys and sorrows of all who came before me

drawn full into my body.

navigating along a nano-sized boat along these channels

I explored my arteries, arterioles, and capillaries;

when I reached my heart, I leapt out of the boat

and dove deep into my left ventricle, swam for an hour.

now, I don’t exist as the meat and flesh of walking


life of bamboo

Ka Malana Photography
Ka Malana Photography
Ka Malana Photography

To withstand an earthquake,

arcing in the wind,

dancing mysterious music

percussive, clinking, bell-like, windy reed

to become so useful as wood, paper, or diaper

disposable fork or spoon, paper-towel.

Life as One of the four nobles, 1500 in species,

powerful, sheltering, in just 7 years,

assemble raft or scaffold any structure, move along

and usher water

grow, once cut re-grow,

improving your roots, absorbing nutrients,

even becoming a vase.

However hollow, always full of utility and movement,

so to become your life,

to become a proverb, and a philsophy

to live as mighty as a tree

When I was in China, students from the University of Beijing met with me and I was given a Chinese name. Unfortunately I do not remember the whole name, but one part of the name had the word, “bamboo.” I had forgotten about it until I found some photos to share that I took when I was at the Botanical Gardens a few years ago.

Cambodia part 6: beautiful people

It’s not easy to get my photography converted from a shiny print into a photograph with glare; and even though I saved the negatives, there are projects that I never got around to, like making new prints or digital images from the negatives, or scanning in photos, etc etc.

However I enjoyed these compositions of people in their natural element, and really feel these images express the beauty in the spirit, and the community liveliness I witnessed.


Each twist and turn

in the story of life

is but a flutter of light

glinting off a butterfly’s wings.

each moment is a whisper of

soft spoken messages fleshed with meaning

during our telling of it

who and what, where and which way when

is not as important as how we felt

when we quieted the inner din

and stared dark into the silence

feeling the holy fragility of the moments

that are too few to give us any true picture

of where we are going…

Cambodia part2: Angkor Wat

Ka at Angkor Wat
Ka Malana Photography

Like this.

This is the life—

The satisfaction of a statue,

expressing timeless surrender.

We can travel to a memory,

even tarnished, it will shine.

You can dream about what’s possible,

and re-imagine what already happened.

May we all live and grow old

and smile, contentedly.

Like this.

Outdoors in Cambodia: a meditation

In this blog post, I have a recorded a track for meditating outdoors. I’ve also included my photography from my visit to Cambodia in 2001. There’s two images of me from 19 years ago, taken by one of my teachers from University of Pennsylvania, Larry Silver.

Please take some time to sit outside and listen to this meditation, sitting or standing against a tree.
Ka Malana Photography


Chocolate Vitality Chia Seed Pudding

3 tablespoons of chia seeds

8 oz unsweetened almond milk

1 tbsp Organic maple syrup

Ghirardelli 1 tbsp

Organic cacao powder with Maca to taste

1 Tsp of vanilla

Cinnamon and nutmeg and a touch of cardamom to taste

I added in the apple 🍎 and pear 🍐 to top it off, but certainly mix it in!

When I took the picture, I didn’t even intend to share it. I just took the picture as a way for me to remember what I did. Basically, daily blogging is quite a stretch! So is preparing food when you are super busy. I would have probably mixed up the ingredients before taking the picture, but you all get the point!

Isn’t this a great time of the year, though? I love it… I’m looking forward to some more Autumn-engaging posts soon! Meanwhile, I think apples and pears are lovely for celebrating autumn! Be healthy =)

*note about the chia seed pudding: you have to stir it regularly so that the pudding gets to be the best consistency as it prepares to wait overnight in your fridge. First put in the maple syrup and mix it with the unsweetened almond milk (or milk of your choice) then after that’s all dissolved (because you don’t want the chia to clump to it), put in the chia seed and stir, wait about 15 min, and stir again. Then wait about another 20-30 min and stir again. Then it can sit again in the fridge for a few hours or overnight (for best consistency) as the chia seeds create a tapioca-like pudding texture.

Neruda Ode to Clothes & the environment

Ode to the Clothes

Every morning you wait,
clothes, over a chair,
to fill yourself with
my vanity, my love,
my hope, my body.
risen from sleep,
I relinquish the water,
enter your sleeves,
my legs look for
the hollows of your legs,
and so embraced
by your indefatigable faithfulness
I rise, to tread the grass,
enter poetry,
consider through the windows,
the things,
the men, the women,
the deeds and the fights
go on forming me,
go on making me face things
working my hands,
opening my eyes,
using my mouth,
and so,
I too go forming you,
extending your elbows,
snapping your threads,
and so your life expands
in the image of my life.
In the wind
you billow and snap
as if you were my soul,
at bad times
you cling
to my bones,
vacant, for the night,
darkness, sleep
populate with their phantoms
your wings and mine.
I wonder
if one day
a bullet
from the enemy
will leave you stained with my blood
and then
you will die with me
or one day
not quite
so dramatic
but simple,
you will fall ill,
with me,
grow old
with me, with my body
and joined
we will enter
the earth.
Because of this
each day
I greet you
with reverence and then
you embrace me and I forget you,
because we are one
and we will go on
facing the wind, in the night,
the streets or the fight,
a single body,
one day, one day, some day, still.

– Pablo Neruda

Poems that take the mundanity and animate it, supply magic to our every day. Pablo Neruda could do this; he had that particular talent. When I read about clothes as he writes about them in his poem above, I think about a time when clothing was made better, when items were sewn to last. Objects and tools used to have more value over the longer term. I long for those days, when we had such great care for our possessions, not in a purely material sense, but in such a way where there was longevity in the relationship–which to me, is a little bit different from attachment.

To me, this appreciation for these material items in our lives goes along with my background and appreciation for animism, how I consider that all of life is considered ‘alive.’ The official definition for animism is, “the belief in a supernatural power that organizes and animates the material universe.” To me, however, the power is more magical, and need not be supernatural. Again recently I was reminiscing of the story of the Velveteen Rabbit, the rabbit who was ‘made real’ by love.

To me, animism as a philosophy is more harmonious and congruent with nature. It is in sync with material durability, in communion with time. In our expendable economies today, we have a “use once and throw away” culture. While I enjoyed seeing all the Halloween decorations this year (more than usual), I couldn’t help but think of the world’s trash problem, and how desperately we need to change our ways in society and in our economies. As an anthropologist, I would say that cultural change is necessitated first. I get excited when we learn about new bacterias or enzymes that can break-down plastic and resolve the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, but we are still far from having the intellectual wealth and intelligence of our planet focused on solving these problems. Many people don’t know, for example, that it rains plastic.

My post is an appeal and a wish to “put the mental and emotional energy” for the planet on solving these problems. We need to have solutions for protecting our Earth, and we need to support our scientists. Yes, each person can make a difference by using re-usable items, and reducing their foot-print; however, I think we have to highlight using our voices, and sharing our hearts so that more people are inspired about what can be done.

Thank you for listening!

Happy Peppering!

A microstory & vintage music

Under the golden, full moon the mouse yawned. She gazed up at the moon from the terrace wall, her eyes aglow with the magic of its fullness. As the now-amber moon rose up, it was low on the horizon, and the mouse looked but a speck of dirt on a luminous disc by size in comparison.

            She gave a little cough and then tapped her tiny podium with her tiny wand. Another petite mouse came from the fire escape nearby, scurrying along quickly, nearly breaking a sweat, and he had on a bow-tie. The two mice sang for a while, mostly covers.

            Then, the tiny wand winked up and down, drawn by the mouse’s swift outstretched hand. Tracing a triangle into the dark air, there popped a cello with a player (and this one was a cat!). Then, she traced a rectangle right straight out in front of her, and there popped a snazzy piano!

The night lights twinkled and the moon grew dizzy. After all the hours gone by, there formed around the moon’s crown were grey clouds, stirred up from hours of the night, filled by her imaginings as she reflected down into the distance, listening to the melody from the marvelous mice during the night.

See the link down below for just some of the mice music.

This post was created for Nano Poblano, the world’s least-official November blog writing challenge. I’m participating in the blog challenge this year, trying to post every. single. day. for the month of November. The plan is to be random about what I blog about. This is the first time I am using the new editor on the computer, and I’m not sure how to change the font size yet for the link and block below. Feel free to click on it to learn more about Nano Poblano!

Nano Poblano is here.

Apricot yums & Cheerpeppers

Bites in the making!
Apricot yums

These are tasty and make a fun and nutrition- packed treat for everyone. My toddler loves them, and I make them differently just about every time. I cook food from my heart, so I basically measure only about 50% of the time. Here’s my creation:

Here’s what’s in them:

Almonds 1 cup

Dried apricots 1 overstuffed cup

Rolled oats 1 cup

Almond extract 1/4 tsp

Goji berries: handful

Dried mulberries: handful

Golden flax: small amount

Unsweetened coconut shreds added during rolling.

So the pictures above are from the batch I made today. They all have different levels of beauty. This might not be my most pristine group of yums, but I know they are yummy and so does everyone who tries them! If I were doing professional food photos, I would have probably been more selective and taken my time and used a filter.

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I signed up for posting daily. I don’t know why. I am already quite busy, and I probably won’t post every day, but it sure seemed like fun to try to make a post everyday about something random. Random is my style for this, I like to have some free flow and no pressure type of activities, so maybe you will see a lot more of Fiestaestrellas in November! WE shall see!

Sign ups are here:

I’ll have to get the banner and come back and paste it on this post, at some other time.

Tis the season for blogging, holidays, fun, and writing! 🧡

When Great Trees Fall

When Great Trees Fall

When Great Trees Fall
— Read on

When I read this poem, it made me think of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. May we remember with gratitude her tremendous strength and commitment to service. 💗🙏🏽💗

The gift of her life and her offerings brought so much awareness; her life was a real gift of love.

Blue plants

The filter is blue but not the object itself. There’s a philosophy there, in color

Once upon a blue time in the time of Blue Monday’s my heart was blue and not red.

This isn’t about oxygen or lack
thereof, it’s about the color of my passion.

Passion for cold, wet places, for darkness.

I still crave the darkness.

It’s too easy to thrive in light. Cool blue is calming and it’s sometimes the only color for me, and plants.