I remember sitting in Grampi’s lap while he read from a well used copy of Bobby Burns in his soft Edinburra brogue.  Early on I memorized “O would the p’wer the giftie g’ve us to see ours’lves as others see us.”  From his poem “To A Louse On Seeing One on a Woman’s Hat in Church.”  I didn’t know what a louse was but it sounded creepy crawly.  As I squirmed during church and my knees ached from the hard wood kneeler, I inspected hats in front of me and thought of that poem.

The following is from aboutpoetry.com in honor of BURNS NIGHT, JANUARY 25th.

Robert Burns, “Rabbie Burns,” is Scotland’s most famous poet, a cultural icon whose name is to this day synonymous with Scottish life and the Scots language. Like William Blake, he was an important precursor to the Romantic movement in poetry, and his work was a crucial influence on the early British Romantics, William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. His life and his poems are celebrated annually even now, more than two centuries later, in ritual Burns Suppers every January.

Burns’ Childhood:

Burns was born on January 25, 1759, the eldest of seven children of William Burness, a tenant farmer in Alloway (Ayrshire), Scotland. His father was self-educated, and he taught his children at home — Rabbie’s formal education consisted solely of one summer term at a nearby parish school and several stays at an “adventure school” operated by his father’s friend John Murdoch. Most of Rabbie’s youth was spent laboring on his father’s farm(s), a hard life which took its toll on his health and contributed to his early death from heart disease.

Love and Poems:

Burns fell in love with a local lass at the age of 15, and this state of affairs prompted his first attempts at poetry and song. He was something of a ladies’ man, and wrote many poems inspired by the women he was romancing: Nelly, Peggy, Alison, his mother’s servant Elizabeth, Jean Armour, who bore him twins in 1786 and later became his wife, and Mary Campbell, with whom he carried on an affair that ended only with her sudden and unexpected death, also in 1786, after which he returned to live with Jean.

Burns’ Poetic Career:

1786 was a fateful year for Burns: besides the death of Mary and the birth of his first two children by Jean, it was also the publication date of his first collection of poems, assembled at his brother Gilbert’s suggestion: Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish dialect, published by a local printer in Kilmarnock. The book was an immediate success, and made Burns famous across Scotland. The next year he was invited to Edinburgh to prepare a revised edition, and during his stay in the capital city, he made connections both literary and romantic that shaped the rest of his life.

Scottish Songs:

In Edinburgh in 1787, Burns met James Johnson, an engraver and music seller who was devoted to preserving traditional Scots songs. Burns contributed many songs to Johnson’s collection, which was published in six volumes of 100 songs each, The Scots Musical Museum, between 1787 and 1803. Besides collecting old songs, Burns wrote new lyrics for a great number of traditional melodies, which is how he came to be known as the author of such familiar oldies as “Auld Lang Syne” and “My Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose.”

Life’s End:

After returning from Edinburgh to Ayrshire in 1788, Burns married Jean Armour and began again as a tenant farmer, but he also trained to work in customs and excise as an alternative, because he had never been very successful as a farmer. In 1789 he began to work as a taxman for the British government, and he gave up the farm and moved to Dumfriesshire in 1791. His health continued to deteriorate, he drank a great deal and was often depressed, and in 1796 his heart condition killed him at the young age of 37.

A magical number: 108

When I first began my Buddhist practice, I learned that 108 is the goal, the number of beads on a mala, the number of repetitions, the number of prostrations. But my western mind wanted to know why.

The answer was simple. It is likely that I would make at least 8 mistakes in chanting my hundred rounds. So, add eight.

Today I begin to learn the Yang Style Tai Chi 108 Form. I’m sure the numbers connect. I am equally certain I will make more than eight errors per one hundred as I learn this new movement. There is only now and I will practice.

Practice not perfection. The earth walk is not about perfection. It is about practice. What do I practice and why do I practice and do I do so with passion and joy? Yes.

Enjoy what calls you to practice. Count or don’t count. Be in the moment. Breathe and embrace the practice.

Woo whooo: 2012

The first day of a new year I think I should set a good example for myself.

Get up early.  10:30 AM.  Relatively early.

Take the dogs for a long walk.  We drive to the lake.  Sunshine and bright gray skies link.  I see  one friend after another on the trail.  Indeed, an auspicious excursion.

Cook healthy food.  Black eyed peas have been recommended as the good luck food for a new year.  I abhor the taste.  Just after midnight, I put on a pot of black beans.  Perfect in time for a mid afternoon lunch.

Tonight I make very spicy pad thai from scratch.

Clean something.  Or everything.  The list is long.  My good example is to clean anything.  Just pick a corner and go for it.  So, I clean one window, polish two window sills, put away potentially dangerous objects that the new cat might encounter and vacuum one room.

The good example is a list of the mundane.  Do laundry.  Sometime betwixt and between, I toss a load of laundry in the machine and change bathroom towels.

Do something spiritual.  I give Michael his tarot-for-the-year reading.  Begin with the root chakra crystal bowl, light candles, and then connect with my Higher Self who guides me through a completely different card layout and I see patterns in a new way.  It was a good reading for both of us.

I have not made a resolution for years.  For me, a resolution is a guarantee for failure.  Instead, I set intentions.  They’re different, they are rowboats that can change course and still be on track.  This row boat will rock and sway as the months unfold.  Thanks for joining me on the adventure.

Bright blessings to you in each moment.

Rae Ellen Lee

I just received this from my friend Rae Ellen:

Happy New Year everyone:
I’m happy to announce I’ve recently E-published my paranormal-historical-romance-adventure novel with a mystery and some mountain man recipes.  Set in and around a former Montana mining camp brothel, the story features, among other things: A madam. Her diary. A murder.

Indie author special: through January 2 THE BLUEBIRD HOUSE is only 99 cents on Kindle.

I’m new at this, but believe this link will take you to the book’s site: