better than chocolate-America the Beautiful & J.T.

For a middle aged woman like me, it doesn’t get much better than James Taylor singing American the Beautiful at the second inauguration of Barack Obama.  It’s up there with chocolate and chardonnay, an afternoon on the Seine and under the covers with my lover.

The simple pleasures. Acoustic. Mellow. Sweet.

Oh, beautiful, for spacious skies

As he delivers that breathless line on the podium in Washington D.C., I feel the expanse of possibility

For amber waves of grain

And the comfort of the familiar

For purple mountain majesty

And the pride of this country, passing leadership peaceably

Above the fruited plain

And the blessings that abound

America! America!

The name of the Beloved

God shed his grace on thee

This “noble experiment”

And crown thy good with brotherhood

In a place where tolerance thrives

From sea to shining sea.

James finished his tender rendition of America the Beautiful there, but in an interview with Charlie Rose just before the inauguration, he referenced the significance of another verse:

America! America!
God mend thine ev’ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law.

I feel a deep sense of satisfaction inside when a musician whose music has been ministering to me all my life lends his voice on behalf of that which is good and true and enduring.

“I really love this president,” James says. “I love what it says about America, that we were able to elect this man.”

Happy Valentines USA!

(Don’t forget: the State of the Union address, tomorrow night: 2/12/13 Lincoln’s birthday.)

Kelly Salasin, Februrary 2013

11 Songs for V-Day, 1 Billion Rising

I refuse to watch as more than a billion women experience violence on the planet. I’m joining V-Day on 02.14.13 in a global strike to demand an end to the violence.


(Note: 1 song each day, for a total of 11, culminating on V-Day.)

#1  Wild Horse, Eliza Gilkyson

#2  Come Ye, Nina Simone

#3 Love Your Vagina Song

#4 This is to Mother You, Sinead O’Connor with Mary J. Blige & Martha B.

#5  I Ain’t Movin, Des’ree

#6  Wings, Little Mix

#7  Unwritten, Natasha Bedingfield

#8  The Lord is my Shepherd, Bobby McFerrin

#9 TESTIMONY, Ferron (Women’s Work)

#10  Behind the Wall, Tracy Chapman

#11 Wide Awake, Tuck & Patti

BONUS TRACK: Second Wind, C.J. Luckey, featuring Lisa Salasin Noffsinger

~Playlist created by YogaDance Instructor Kelly Salasin, Southern Vermont; on Facebook at: Yoga & YogaDance with Kelly Salasin

563306_519540608086802_704021276_nMore about One Billion Rising:





A global strike
An invitation to dance
A call to men and women to refuse to participate in the status quo until rape and rape culture ends
An act of solidarity, demonstrating to women the commonality of their struggles and their power in numbers
A refusal to accept violence against women and girls as a given
A new time and a new way of being

A Blessing for Summer Solstice

from Loren Cruden, author of The Spirit of Place

"Cosmic Sun" Doesburg (

Powers of the South, the Summer, I come to you in prayer

In the midday light without shadow,

I thank you for lessons for growth, passion and relationship.

I pray to be with the sacred fire of the South

in a transformative way.

I ask for courage in this place of action and change;

I ask that my will be guided by right intention

and that my medicine be good

under the bright sun.

Let my idealism come not from self righteousness

or anger,

not from arrogance.

Powers of the South

I pray for the soul’s awakening to love

and for the vigor of youth to be within in my sacred dance.

May I express through every aspect of manifestation

the joy and grace of life’s vitality.

May I fully live!

(To join a 2010 Solstice Morning Dance in Southern, VT, click here.)

The New Year Peace Prayer

by Rev. Laurie Sue Brockway

Let us enter this New Year with Peace in Our Hearts, on Our Lips, in Our Prayers…

We call to spirits of the North. We honor mother earth and her abundance. May we stand steady on her ground. May this dear planet and all her children grow stronger every day.

We call to the spirits of the East. We honor wind and ask that new opportunities for peace fill the air and that the white Dove of peace flies freely in all nations.

We call to the spirits of the South
. We honor fire and ask that we be infused with warmth, enthusiasm and passion for the mission of creating peace on earth.

We call to the spirits of the West.
We honor water and ask that it cleanse the hearts and souls of all women and men, and sooth our angers and wounds so that we may never again thirst for war.

We call to the spirits of above, of below and within, we ask to be united with God, Goddess and Great Spirit of All That Is. With all the forces of the universe, we pray for harmony in our world.

Let Peace live in your life, and in your world.
Let Peace live in your day-to-day, and in places far away.
Let Peace abound, all around.
May Peace be in your heart. Aho!

© 2006, Reverend Laurie Sue Brockway
Adapted by the author of A Goddess Is A Girl’s Best Friend.

A Blessing for Autumn (by Loren Cruden)

“Threshold” photo: Kelly Salasin, Marlboro, VT

“Great Mystery,

powers of Autumn,

of Water,

I send a voice in prayer.

I am asking for entrance through the gates of inner knowledge.

I am seeking to cross the realms.

Spirits of the waters,

help me be fluid in consciousness,

to move easily in this work.

I turn toward the setting sun,

in the place between day and night,

asking guidance for intuition.

I pray for the right doors to open,

for the ability to look within

and make good medicine

from what I find there.

I pray that I can grow within this work

and be of service to others.

Powers of twilight,

I walk in your mystery

and open to your gifts.”

from The Spirit of Place– a Workbook for Sacred Alignment (Ceremonies and visiualizations for cultivating your relationship with the Earth) , by Loren Cruden,1995, Destiny Books, Rochester, Vermont

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