Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sunday Story

Here is a story of the week from Help one of my favorite daily email newsletters.  Enjoy and the next time you see a neglected pencil you'll think of this story.

BLP0020089 - Broken pencil

She was a janitor at a school in India.   Her husband died soon after her marriage, she didn't have any family in the area.  She struggled with the responsibility of raising her kids.  For the last twenty years, she's continued to sweep classrooms at local schools.

One day, though, she had a radical idea:  I want to give.  It was followed-up by a reasonable yet confusing thought:  But what can I possibly give?

When she narrated her desire to a friend, he told her a story.  "Gandhi used to write many letters.  One day, Kakasaheb Kalelkar, a famous Indian author, saw him writing with a tiny pencil and immediately offered Gandhi a bigger pencil from his pocket.  Gandhi politely said that he didn't need it.  The next day, he saw Gandhi scrambling to find his pencil and Kakasaheb again offered him a pencil saying, 'Your pencil was so small anyway.'  Gandhi gently replied, 'But a child had given me that pencil.'  And he carried on the search for that small pencil."

Sharing this story, he tells this sweeper woman: "You sweep schools everyday.  And so, you must see all kinds of small pencils that kids throw away.  Why don't you collect those and I'll give them to little kids who can't afford pencils and teach them how to write and draw."  She liked that idea.  In addition to pencils, she even collected erasers, sharpners, and a few miscellaneous oddities.  And every so often, when her bag gets full, she hands it off to her friend to give away to the needy.

That was her ritual.

When she found out that I was in town (I'm good friends with her kids), she insisted that I come over for a meal.  Due to my hectic set of committments, I wasn't able to go over for a meal but told her that I'd definitely join her for some snacks.  So I went for breakfast one day, with my friend who originally shared Gandhi's story with her.  She had cooked up a simple feast of love, which we thoroughly enjoyed!  We gave her a shawl, explaining that someone had gifted it to us the night before and we couldn't really use it.  And as we were leaving, she handed us a pink, almost ripped, and heavy plastic bag.

Confused, I opened up that plastic bag, and saw those small pencil, erasers and sharpeners.


It's hard to stay balanced, in the presence of something so valuable.  In the next hour, I had to address a couple hundred people, and shared the story of a sweeper woman.  As I opened up that pink plastic bag and held a fistful of these small pencils and erasers, it was hard for even the emcee to hold back the tears!  I left the bag out for people to keep a material token of this sweeper woman's lesson -- it matters not what you give, but the amount of love you put into that giving.  Everything, including the ripped plastic bag, was gone before I could take a second look.

The humble offering had a certain power that simply can't be bought.  I felt it, everyone felt it.

AYP1501039 - Fingers in a peace sign

Peace out until the next time!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Yawn it does the body good

Disclaimer: The source of the the following information is from Andrew Newburg who is director of Penn’s Center for Spirituality and the Mind. This essay is from the book: HOW GOD CHANGES YOUR BRAIN by Andrew Newberg, M.D. and Mark Robert Waldman. Copyright © 2009 by Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman. Published by arrangement with Ballantine books, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc.
How God Changes Your Brain: Breakthrough Findings from a Leading Neuroscientist
(image courtesy of, all others are courtesy of

In the interest of saving time to wait for my research, I thought that I'd share some pretty interesting information from The Daily Good

Romans 12:2 (KJV)
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the 
renewing of yourmind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Go ahead: Laugh if you want (though you’ll benefit your brain more if you smile), but in my professional opinion, yawning is one of the best-kept secrets in neuroscience. Even my colleagues who are researching meditation, relaxation, and stress reduction at other universities have overlooked this powerful neural-enhancing tool. However, yawning has been used for many decades in voice therapy as an effective means for reducing performance anxiety and hypertension in the throat. 

CCP0015994 - Lion Yawning

Several recent brain-scan studies have shown that yawning evokes a unique neural activity in the areas of the brain that are directly involved in generating social awareness and creating feelings of empathy. One of those areas is the precuneus, a tiny structure hidden within the folds of the parietal lobe. According to researchers at the Institute of Neurology in London, the precuneus appears to play a central role in consciousness, self-reflection, and memory retrieval. The precuneus is also stimulated by yogic breathing, which helps explain why different forms of meditation contribute to an increased sense of self-awareness. It is also one of the areas hardest hit by age-related diseases and attention deficit problems, so it’s possible that deliberate yawning may actually strengthen this important part of the brain. 

For these reasons I believe that yawning should be integrated into exercise and stress reduction programs, cognitive and memory enhancement training, psychotherapy, and contemplative spiritual practice. And, because the precuneus has recently been associated with the mirror-neuron system in the brain (which allows us to resonate to the feelings and behaviors of others), yawning may even help us to enhance social awareness, compassion, and effective communication with others.

Why am I so insistent? Because if I were to ask you to put this magazine down right now and yawn 10 times to experience this fabulous technique, you probably won’t do it. Even at seminars, after presenting the overwhelmingly positive evidence, when I ask people to yawn, half of the audience will hesitate. I have to coax them so they can feel the immediate relaxing effects. There’s an unexplained stigma in our society implying that it’s rude to yawn, and most of us were taught this when we were young.

BLP0008207 - Baby girl yawning
As a young medical student, I was once “caught” yawning and actually scolded by my professor. He said that it was inappropriate to appear tired in front of patients, even though I was actually standing in a hallway outside of the patient’s room. Indeed, yawning does increase when you’re tired, and it may be the brain’s way of gently telling you that a little rejuvenating sleep is needed. On the other hand, exposure to light will also make you yawn, suggesting that it is part of the process of waking up.

But yawning doesn’t just relax you—it quickly brings you into a heightened state of cognitive awareness. Students yawn in class, not because the teacher is boring (although that will make you yawn as well, as you try to stay focused on the monotonous speech), but because it rids the brain of sleepiness, thus helping you stay focused on important concepts and ideas. It regulates consciousness and our sense of self, and helps us become more introspective and self-aware. Of course, if you happen to find yourself trapped in a room with a dull, boring, monotonous teacher, yawning will help keep you awake.

View image details -  Young woman yawning
Yawning will relax you and bring you into a state of alertness faster than any other meditation technique I know of, and because it is neurologically contagious, it’s particularly easy to teach in a group setting. One of my former students used yawning to bring her argumentative board of directors back to order in less than 60 seconds. Why? Because it helps people synchronize their behavior with others.

Yawning, as a mechanism for alertness, begins within the first 20 weeks after conception. It helps regulate the circadian rhythms of newborns, and this adds to the evidence that yawning is involved in the regulation of wakefulness and sleep. Since circadian rhythms become asynchronous when a person’s normal sleep cycle is disturbed, yawning should help the late-night partygoer reset the brain’s internal clock. Yawning may also ward off the effects of jet lag and ease the discomfort caused by high altitudes.

DVP5004448 - Businessman yawning in meeting, close-up
So what is the underlying mechanism that makes yawning such an essential tool? Besides activating the precuneus, it regulates the temperature and metabolism of your brain. It takes a lot of neural energy to stay consciously alert, and as you work your way up the evolutionary ladder, brains become less energy efficient. Yawning probably evolved as a way to cool down the overly active mammalian brain, especially in the areas of the frontal lobe. Some have even argued that it is a primitive form of empathy. Most vertebrates yawn, but it is only contagious among humans, great apes, macaque monkeys, and chimpanzees. In fact, it’s so contagious for humans that even reading about it will cause a person to yawn.

Dogs yawn before attacking, Olympic athletes yawn before performing, and fish yawn before they change activities. Evidence even exists that yawning helps individuals on military assignment perform their tasks with greater accuracy and ease. Indeed, yawning may be one of the most important mechanisms for regulating the survival-related behaviors in mammals. So if you want to maintain an optimally healthy brain, it is essential that you yawn. It is true that excessive yawning can be a sign that an underlying neurological disorder (such as migraine, multiple sclerosis, stroke, or drug reaction) is occurring. However, I and other researchers suspect that yawning may be the brain’s attempt to eliminate symptoms by readjusting neural functioning.

Numerous neurochemicals are involved in the yawning experience, including dopamine, which activates oxytocin production in your hypothalamus and hippocampus, areas essential for memory recall, voluntary control, and temperature regulation. These neurotransmitters regulate pleasure, sensuality, and relationship bonding between individuals, so if you want to enhance your intimacy and stay together, then yawn together. Other neurochemicals and molecules involved with yawning include acetylcholine, nitric oxide, glutamate, GABA, serotonin, ACTH, MSH, sexual hormones, and opium derivate peptides. In fact, it’s hard to find another activity that positively influences so many functions of the brain.

My advice is simple. Yawn as many times a day as possible: when you wake up, when you’re confronting a difficult problem at work, when you prepare to go to sleep, and whenever you feel anger, anxiety, or stress. Yawn before giving an important talk, yawn before you take a test, and yawn while you meditate or pray because it will intensify your spiritual experience.

BLP0062979 - African businesswoman yawning
Conscious yawning takes a little practice and discipline to get over the unconscious social inhibitions, but people often come up with three other excuses not to yawn: “I don’t feel like it,” “I’m not tired,” and my favorite, “I can’t.” Of course you can. All you have to do to trigger a deep yawn is to fake it six or seven times. Try it right now, and you should discover by the fifth false yawn, a real one will begin to emerge. But don’t stop there, because by the tenth or twelfth yawn, you’ll feel the power of this seductive little trick. Your eyes may start watering and your nose may begin to run, but you’ll also feel utterly present, incredibly relaxed, and highly alert. Not bad for something that takes less than a minute to do. And if you find that you can’t stop yawning—I’ve seen some people yawn for thirty minutes—you’ll know that you’ve been depriving yourself of an important neurological treat. 

So the next time that you notice people yawning when you speak, don't assume they are bored.  Just realize this is the process of how they take information into their brain :-).  

AYP1501039 - Fingers in a peace sign
Peace out until the next time.

Friday, November 27, 2009

She Sikhs

I am fascinated with Hinduism and Sikhism [pronounced Seek-ism] because both faith practices are based on meditation as the tenants of their beliefs. Meditation is an important health practice as my health coach has always told me.

Per my last post Rekah told me about a Sikh temple closer to my home where I could continue my meditation education without having to travel an hour away to the most popular Vedic temple in Los Angeles.

Today I drove by the temple to pick up a schedule of meditation classes/worship services.  After I grabbed a few flyers, I was asked, by the nicest man, named Singh, to fill out a contact sheet so I could be placed in the database in order to keep informed of the events.  And then I was asked if I liked Chai tea and Indian food and was invited to stay for a meal.  True to form, not being able to resist delicious smelling food, I stayed.  I was hungry and didn't want to be rude.  The aroma was in the air throughout the temple.  Singh carried my plate to a table where three other men where already eating.  These men were very accommodating, asking me if I needed anything more.  My lentils were extremely spicy and tasty.  I needed more bread called Paratha to cut the potency of the chillies.  Ching was kind enough to bring more Paratha/bread.  The Chai was homemade on the premises and the chai flavor was overpowered with the flavor of cinnamon without being sweet.

Here is an easy recipe for Paratha/bread.

For my entire visit, I was treated wonderfully by 5 strangers who welcomed me and my many questions with open arms in that Aunt Bessy from the South kind of way.  'Child please sit on down and let me fix you something to eat!'

Other than Singh and Ching, the other men did not really speak English, so we broke bread with smiles and nods.  The other men were much older with white whiskers and facial wrinkles filled with the character of 40 years of journeys.  I restrained myself from hugging all of them, graciously bowed out of the dining area thanking them all for their hospitality, collected my shoes and continued my afternoon.

If I would have displayed too much affection I believe I would have been perceived as someone who is not used to kindness.  Plus their culture is to embrace everyone on the planet as God's children.  Sikhism advocates the pursuit of salvation through disciplined, personal meditation on the name and message of God.

Sikhism is also similar to Christianity in that there is a Holy Trinity:

  • Naam Japna: – A Sikh is to engage in a daily practice of meditation... by reciting and chanting of God’s Name.
  • Christian comparison - read the bible daily.  Study to show yourself approved.  Meditate on His word day and night.
  • Kirat Karni: - To live honestly and earn by ones physical and mental effort while accepting God's gifts and blessings. A Sikh has to live as a householder carrying out his or her duties and responsibilities to the full.
  • Christian comparison - abide by the ten commandments.
  • Vand Chakna: - The Sikhs are asked to share their wealth within the community and outside by giving Dasvand and practising charity (Daan). To “Share and consume together”.
  • Christian comparison - tithe your time and money to where you are being spiritually educated.  Your church home.  Help the needy.

The Sikh Gurus tell us that our mind and spirit are constantly being attacked by the Five Evils – Kam (Lust), Krodh (Rage), Lobh(Greed), Moh (Attachment) and Ahankar (Ego). A Sikh needs to constantly attack and overcome these five vices.  

The Mul Mantra: [pronounced mool]

  • there is one god
  • whose name is truth
  • god is the creator
  • and is without hate
  • god is timeless
  • god's spirit is throughout the universe
  • god is not born
  • nor will die to be born again
  • god is self-existent
  • by the grace of the gurus
  • god is made known to mankind.
The Sikh Gurus taught the Sikhs to develop and harness positive human qualities which lead the soul closer to God and away from evil. These are: Sat (Truth); Daya (Compassion); Santokh (Contentment); Nimrata (Humility); and Pyare (Love).

Because I could not have said it better myself, to quote Lance Steinhibel a freelance writer for Enoch Magazine,
"If Christians believe in love, then we have to love everyone, even those who believe in different gods. Because honestly, why would anyone want to hear about our God and beliefs, if we don’t even care enough to care about theirs?
Every response was some variation of, “other religions are wrong, so why should we have to coexist with them?” They were missing the point of it all, and it drove me crazy. They missed everything about loving one another as yourself, kindness, and understanding. I’m not saying every religion is right, but what I am saying is that if you ever want the opportunity to share with someone the love of Jesus, you must be first be open to hear what they believe in and what matters to them. Look at the life of Paul in the New Testament; he knew exactly what all the other religions were doing in that time, and what they believed. It’s not about who is right, and who is wrong. It’s about showing people love and respect for what they believe in and what they are passionate about. That doesn’t mean you have to agree with them, just respect them."

Coexist bumper sticker uses religious symbols to promote tolerance.
I don't have to agree with anyone else because I have chosen to believe what I believe for my own life.  But with the loving spirit of Christ, I must show love and respect.  Maybe even friendship.  How 'bout that?

Peace out until next time.
AYP1501039 - Fingers in a peace sign

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Open: An Autobiography
This book [that I have not read] has gotten so much press over the past few days due to the truth that it's author has chosen to include within it depicting his own experience.  But that's not what this post is about.  That's right this is not about Andre Agassi or his book at all, I have only chosen the book as one visual to get your attention. Now that I have it,THIS POST is about something pretty wonderful that I experienced today.

Several months ago I was told about a woman named Rekha who specializes in eyebrow threading here in the valley.
View details
I am a woman who is on a limited budget these days and grooms herself regularly. Today I finally called her to get my brows in shape [$5.00 rather than the commanded $23.00].  To make a long story short, I got to her house early this afternoon and as I pulled up her front door was wide OPEN.  I looked down at the address on my lap and looked at the address of the house about two times, yup it was the right house.  I parked walked to the front door and rang the bell [of course I didn't just walk into the house of a complete stranger, I have better manners] and Rekha motioned for me to enter and follow her to her salon. As she was threading way my stomach began to growl.  I apologized and after she finished she invited me to stay for lunch. Very sweet right? With my embarrassment squelched, flawless brows and empty stomach
View image details -  Extreme close up of woman's eye
I accepted her generous offer. It turns out Rekha cooks homemade Indian food everyday.  So over whole wheat pita, lentils, spicy eggplant and yogurt we chatted about the difference in cooking cultural foods [how easterners love super spicy food and we westerners prefer it milder.] meditation, and other girly stuff about which I won't bore you.  She then complimented my bindi

View image details -  Portrait of a womanView image details -  Woman in traditional Indian dress
and told me that she had tons for me to choose and take with me.  She gave me about 20 packs.  She then invited me to come back to her home with friends any time I wanted.  My response was, "Thank you but you don't know me why would you extend such hospitality?"  Her answer, "We are all God's children, no matter what race, sex, culture or spiritual beliefs.  So as you saw when you pulled up my door is always OPEN.  Please it will be my pleasure to have you back." And she continued, "You can also visit our Temple any time you'd like we welcome any and everyone.  There you can continue to learn about meditation plus there we always serve homemade food."  At first my thought was negative that this woman must think I can't feed myself but then I realized much like my experience at the Vedic Temple two weeks ago the eastern culture [like several others] is based around food and socialization.  So concluding my appointment I paid her, hugged her, thanked her for beautiful brows and a delicious meal and gave her my contact information as she scurried to her next appointment.

In conclusion it is always great to be OPEN to new experiences because you never know how God is going to bless you.

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another (Isaiah 2:5, Psalm 104:2; 1 Tim 6:16)

The friendship [Or The secret counsel] of the LORD is for those who fear him,and he makes known to them his covenant (Amos 3:7; Job 29:4)

Wealth brings many new friends,but a poor man is deserted by his friend. (Proverbs 14:20)

And I tell you, make friends for yourselves...(Luke 12:33; Matt 6:20; 19:21; 1 Tim 6:10, 17-19)

It was a great day because the way it unfolded was unexpected and because I made a new friend.

View image details -  Friends Inspecting GiftsView image details -  Twin Sisters Looking at Necklace in Boutique

You never know how God is going to build and expand his kingdom.

View image details -  Businesswomen on StaircaseView image details -  Architects looking over blueprints

Peace out until the next time...
AYP1501039 - Fingers in a peace sign
(All images are courtesy of

Monday, November 9, 2009

LIVING ENLIGHTENMENT - no harm in that

Why is it that we as Christians always invite people to church but we find in sacrilegious to go outside of our comfort zone and visit the edifice of someone else's religion/faith?  After all don't we take the spirit of Christ with us everywhere we go?  It is that spirit that is with us in the lions den, in the belly of a whale and in the fiery furnace.
ISP2123964 - A gospel singer holding a bible

I also find it rude when certain Christians don't see me in church for a while the very first question they ask is, "so where have you been?"  Swiftly followed by,  "Where are you worshiping now?"  Never giving me a chance to answer the first question properly.  I can tell their intent is to get me to answer the second question right away to satisfy their own assumptions.  My cynical nature is to shock them with sarcasm, "Well I've been on the beach sacrificing chickens."  I long to see their reaction.  What would a haughty Christian do when actually confronted with a person who "turned away" from God?  In denominational Christianity it's called backsliding.  My sense is they wouldn't have a clue how to negotiate that situation. But then God's spirit of wisdom comforts me enough to suppress my flesh and I spew a pocketed response because that will do two things, give them comfort and end a conversation I didn't want to engage in in the first place.  That response is, I've been healing and fellowshipping elsewhere.

ISP2123930 - A hindu man praying

That being said, I've been avoiding invitations by wonderful people, I've been meeting throughout my months of healing, because they have been from other cultures.  And we tend to reject that which we don't understand.  Well I was recently compelled to visit a vedic temple.  At a health expo I met a young east Indian woman who painted a lovely henna tatoo on my weak hand and asked me what happened to me. After giving her the abridged version she invited me to a healing meditation at her temple.  I could see in her eyes that she was most sincere and wanted to give me comfort in a way that she knew how.

CBP1023312 - Church Near the Sea

CLP0201584 - Torso of Indian woman wearing sari and jewelry

The gesture was sweet, I thought, besides I've wanted to learn the practice of relaxation techniques for a few months anyway. "No harm in that."  I thought.  I took her up on her offer and visited Life Bliss Meditation at the vedic temple.  I arrived early to receive a tour, collect information and wait for the class to begin.  The first thing they asked me to do was to remove my shoes, everyone leaves their shoes on the outside of the entryway door I was given the option to leave my shoes on the inside of the temple by the front door to give me more comfort that my shoes wouldn't mysteriously walk away.  "No harm in that."

SIP2004927 - Woman meditating

ISP2123952 - A hindu woman praying

So I respectfully complied with the rules.  After all everyone is on the honor system.  My thoughts fixed on the fact that a homeless person could walk by, see my shoes out of the dozens that were there, and steal them.  Tisk, tisk on me.  So I entered the temple, sat on the small benches in the rear, respectfully observed my surroundings, and waited for class to begin.  My surroundings overwhelmed me: the colors were vibrant and beautiful, the fragrances [of incense and food] were sharp and the acoustical chanting CD filled  the room throughout the temple. I observed people praying quietly & corporately without any though of who was watching.  It was copious to behold.  In that moment I thanked the lord for allowing me to have this experience. As I sat in gratitude the class began and throughout it I learned many things but what made the largest impression was I learned how to breathe chaotically.  Chaotic breathing is swift breath in and out of your nostrils changing the rhythm so frequently that there is no rhythm to it at all.  When there is no rhythm there is no thought. That way you cannot be attached to any thought because they don't exist. No harm in that.

ISP2123969 - A hindu man meditating

There was no "Gee I look ridiculous,"  "I want to look around to see what others are doing,"  "I wonder if my shoes are still there." Which is the point of meditation to relax and be void of thoughts.  To meditate is to just be.  When we communicate with God in prayer we should just be, regardless of what else is happening.  The meditation continued for about 45 minutes and I was so busy just being, I forgot about my shoes, looking silly and didn't care what anyone else was doing.  Within the allotted time, I was happy to be alive, to experience another cultures way of worship and that I could let my light shine.  After meditation they served dinner.

SBI0001562 - Abstract with cross

ISP2060781 - Family saying grace

While they were serving dinner I had a conversation about Christ and the similarities between Christs teachings and that of the energies of the God they acknowledge as separate deities.  I left having made a few new friend connections, I left with more information about their worship practices, I left them with more information about my worship beliefs.  I felt enlightened ...and my shoes were still there.  There is never harm in that!

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and a sound mind."
(2 Timothy 1:7, KJV)
"But Jonathan Saul's son delighted much in David: and Jonathan told David, saying,Saul my father seeketh to kill thee:now therefore, I pray thee, take heed to thyself until the morning, and abide in a secret place, and hide thyself:"
(1 Samuel 10:2, KJV)

"Father thank you for the beauty of variety.  Thank you for salvation and it's path.  There is one road that leads to you but many journeys to reach that road.  Our public places of worship can be considered a secret place in you.  You are a God of wisdom, inclusion, friendship and peace.  I'm thankful that there is peace in relationship with you.

AYP1501039 - Fingers in a peace sign
(All images are courtesy of
Peace out until the next time...

Body adornment

(All images are courtesy of
DVP4904698 - Woman with arm outstretched
Please join me in a visually informational history lesson weaved throughout my personal experience as a person who searches for the truth in all things.  In this blog I will aim to not render any judgement but to pose questions for two reasons 1) to gain information and 2) to provoke thought.   Hopefully you will be compelled to leave comments in order to engage in a dialog.  Again HERE all I am offering is the truth based on research that I've done.  I'll be discussing various cultures and by default those respective religious beliefs. Based on those practices I've discovered the most beautiful fashions and body adornment.  Some I've adopted into my lifestyle.

For the past several months I've been wearing bindis.  At first I only wore them on special occasions with formal attire.  Today I wear them everyday for reasons that I'll reveal upon request but enough about me.

The bindi is arguably the most visually fascinating of all forms of body decoration.

CHI0000957 - Businesswoman talking on cell phone

Today, bindi is more of a fashion statement than anything else, and the number of women sporting bindis is overwhelming even in the West.

PFP0006270 -

According to Wikipedia -
The area between the eyebrows (where the bindi is placed) is said to be the sixth chakraajna, the seat of "concealed wisdom". According to followers of Hinduism, this chakra is the exit point for kundalini energy. The bindi is said to retain energy and strengthen concentration. [4] It is also said to protect against demons or bad luck.
DVP4978559 - Woman smiling, portrait

In modern times, bindis are worn by women of many religious dispositions in South Asia and Southeast Asia, including Muslim and Christian women, and is not restricted to Hindus.
RBP9023861 - Hindu woman with hands together and bindi
Nowadays, bindis are worn throughout South Asia, specifically India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, by women and girls, and no longer signify age, marital status, religious background or ethnic affiliation.[2] The bindi has become a decorative item and is no longer restricted in colour or shape. Self-adhesive bindis (also known as sticker bindis) are available, usually made of felt or thin metal and adhesive on the other side.

These are simple to apply, disposable substitutes for older tilak bindis. Sticker bindis come in many colors, designs, materials, and sizes. Fancier sticker bindis are decorated with sequins, glass beads, or rhinestones.
CLP0201544 - Young woman hiding behind veil
Outside South Asia, bindis are sometimes worn by women of Indian origin. Some Western women who have converted to Hinduism, such as in the Hare Krishnas, also wear bindis. Sometimes they are worn as a style statement. International celebrities such as Julia Roberts,[3] Gwen StefaniShakiraMadonnaNina HagenNelly Furtado, and Shania Twain have been seen wearing bindis.
ISP2076160 - Portrait of a woman
In addition to the bindi, in India, a vermilion mark in the parting of the hair just above the forehead is worn by married women as a symbol of their married status. During North Indian marriage ceremonies, the groom applies sindoor on the parting in the bride's hair. Ancient Chinese women wore similar marks (for purely decorative purposes) since the second century, which became popular during the Tang Dynasty.
POP0001525 -

ZPP0004197 - Face of a Woman

Occasionally I'll treat myself to a henna tattoo. My favorite local henna tatoo artist is Hemali Patel of Blissful Henna.  Due to her busy schedule, Hemali's services are by appointment only.  Please check out her portfolio @ Blissful Henna.

AIP0019083 - woman's hands and feet painted with henna

Again, according to Wikipedia - Henna or Hina (Lawsonia inermissyn. L. alba) is a flowering plant, the sole species in the genus Lawsonia in the family Lythraceae. The word "henna" (حــنــا) comes from the Arabic name for the plant, pronounced /ħinnaːʔ/ or colloquially /ħinna/.[citation needed]. It is also an islamic name given to girls which means blessed.
It is native to tropical and subtropical regions of Africasouthern Asia, and northern Australasia in semi-arid zones. Henna is a tall shrub or small tree.  Henna body art is made by applying henna paste to the skin: the lawsone in the paste migrates into the outermost layer of the skin and makes a red-brown stain.  The different words for henna in ancient languages imply that henna had more than one point of discovery and origin, and different pathways of daily and ceremonial use.
Day 54: Henna Tattoo by Sarah Mae.
Henna has been used to adorn young women's bodies as part of social and holiday celebrations since the late Bronze Age in the easternMediterranean. The earliest text mentioning henna in the context of marriage and fertility celebrations comes from the Ugaritic legend ofBaal and Anath,[12] which has references to women marking themselves with henna in preparation to meet their husbands, and Anath adorning herself with henna to celebrate a victory over the enemies of Baal.  This early connection between young, fertile women and henna seems to be the origin of the Night of the Henna, which is now celebrated world-wide.
Creative Henna Tattoo of Beautiful Girls Women Face
The Night of the Henna was celebrated by most groups in the areas where henna grew naturally: Jews,[14] Muslims,[15] Hindus, Christians and Zoroastrians, among others, all celebrated marriages by adorning the bride, and often the groom, with henna.
Henna tattoo designs
But health risks do exist-
Though user accounts cite few, if any, negative effects of natural henna paste, pre-mixed henna body art pastes may have ingredients added to darken stain, or to alter stain color. The health risks involved in pre-mixed paste can be significant. The FDA considers these to be adulterants and therefore illegal for use on skin.  
Some pastes have been found to include: silver nitrate, carmine, pyrogallol, disperse orange dye, and chromium. These have been found to cause allergic reactions, chronic inflammatory reactions, or late-onset allergic reactions to hairdressing products and textile dyes.

ZFP0037415 - Woman Wearing Traditional Sari and Jewelry

The art of mehndi (or mehandi) has been a long-standing tradition stemming from many ancient cultures dating back as far as about 5,000 years, but is most known today for its history in India. Today, it is still used in religious and ritualistic ceremonies in India, but has also gained appreciation in other countries as a beautiful art to be appreciated at any time. So, what exactly is mehndi?
ISP2076158 - A henna tattoo on a womans palm
Mehndi is a temporary art done on the body with henna. Henna powder is derived from a plant (actually a bush), Lawsonia inermis,commonly found in the Middle East and other areas where the climate is hot and dry. The bush is harvested, dried, and then crushed to make henna powder. 

Henna itself is used for many things such as hair treatment, heat rash relief, and skin conditioner to name a few. The top leaves of the plant are best for mehndi, while the lower part of the plant is used for the other purposes. Henna paste is what is made to apply henna art designs.

ISP2076163 - A woman covering her eye with her hand
Henna powder itself is green in color, but the stain it leaves behind is usually an orange-red color.
Alright, I just ran out of steam, nothing more to say.  Now please enjoy the remainder of these photos...

COP0059033 -

Eventually we all must come to the realization that there is something greater than ourselves.

CUP0011020 - Woman in field of flowers

May your quest for truth be consistent,
BXP0035885 - Woman in meditative pose

your piety authentic,
BXP0035884 - Woman in meditative pose

and the peaceful, loving, hopeful, humbling spirit of Jesus, the son of God, be with you.

AYP1501039 - Fingers in a peace sign
Peace Out until next time...

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Be authentic