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Rachmaninoff – Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Opus 18

Exquisitely performed by Anna Fedorova, virtuoso concert pianist.

Sublime! Absolutely divine! The angelic nature of this piece brings me to tears.

Rachmaninoff’s “Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Opus 18” is so beautiful and beyond the ordinary, it is hard to believe that he wrote this piece in the lowest point of his life. As lovely as this piece sounds, he suffered terribly from depression after his “First Symphony” was rejected by the public in 1897. Distraught, he could not compose another piece of music for three years.

In order to regain his self-esteem, Rachmaninoff began to work with Russian neurologist Dr. Nicolai Dahl. Through hypnosis and positive suggestion therapy, Rachmaninoff recovered, wrote his exquisite concerto, and dedicated it to Dr. Dahl in gratitude. We should all be eternally grateful to Dr. Dahl and the great gift of music that he inspired!

The concerto premiered in Moscow on November 9, 1901 to rave reviews. The composer won a Glinka Award in 1904. Rachmaninoff’s career as a pianist and composer was assured for the rest of his life.

Like composer Franz Liszt, Sergei Rachmaninoff had big hands which allowed him to compose and perform complicated pieces. Only experienced and accomplished pianists can easily perform “Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Opus 18.”

Rachmaninoff, who was born in 1873, was heavily influenced in his music by the Russian Orthodox Church. The simulation of bells can often be heard in his work, including the beginning notes of “Piano Concerto No. 2.,” which almost sounds like a death knell.

After the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, Rachmaninoff was forced to flee to the United States as a political refugee. His music was considered “too bourgeois” for Bolshevik tastes. He is considered the last composer/pianist from the Russian Romanticism Movement.

He died in Beverly Hills, California in 1943 after a successful career in America, where his musical talent was highly valued.

Dawn Pisturino

September 16, 2021

Copyright 2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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Funny Memes and Cartoons

Take a break and have a good laugh! Laughing is healthy! Laughing is good medicine! Laughing is fun!

Dawn Pisturino

September 15, 2021

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Edvard Grieg – Piano Concerto in A Minor, Opus 16

Performed by Arthur Rubenstein, my favorite virtuoso pianist.

Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) was a Norwegian virtuoso pianist and composer. During his lifetime, German composers were the ideal model for musical composition. But Grieg, inspired by the vast natural beauty of his own country, wanted to compose music that was uniquely Norwegian. From my perspective, he achieved his dream in “Piano Concerto in A Minor, Opus 16.”

The music is uplifting and sweeping. It is easy to see the green mountains and sparkling fjords of Norway in your own mind. Grieg’s passion for nature comes rippling through the notes, causing your mind and heart to drift away into another world. Whatever tensions you might be feeling just float away. Beauty and serenity fill your soul. This composition is a sensual experience that you don’t want to leave.

Rachmaninoff claimed to be entranced by Grieg’s concerto and used it as inspiration for his own “Piano Concerto No. 1.”

May Grieg’s music and Rubenstein’s performance inspire you!

Dawn Pisturino, BSNH,RN

September 14, 2021

Copyright 2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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Buddhist Walking Meditation

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

When my husband ended up in intensive care in 2014 with heart, liver, and kidney failure after a reaction to medications, his outcome was uncertain. On the day of his discharge from the hospital, the internal medicine doctor pulled me aside and warned me that my husband could die at any moment of sudden cardiac arrest. I was so distraught, all I could do was pray to God to cure him or kill him. I did not want him to suffer a long, lingering illness.

At home, my husband remained very weak, using a walker to get around the house, and oxygen. He prayed a lot during that time, and one day, he decided to get up and start walking. He told me, “It’s either going to cure me or kill me.” He took a few steps outside and then a few more, until he grew stronger in the springtime sunshine and made a full circuit of the path we had created many years ago. He later told me that a monk in a brown robe was guiding him.

Today, my husband is fully recovered from his illness. He is a walking miracle. And I attribute his stubbornness, tenacious will to live, fervent prayer, and WALKING to his recovery. I don’t know who the monk in the brown robe was, but he gave my husband the inspiration to get up and walk – (Remember Jesus’s words: “Get up and walk!) – GOD BLESS HIM!

Buddhist Walking Meditation

Walking meditation began when the Buddha traveled on foot around Northern India disseminating his message.

Its purpose is to discipline the mind, improve concentration skills, and develop a deeper level of body awareness.

Walking meditation can be performed either indoors or outdoors, with or without shoes and socks. You can walk along a favorite path, around in a circle, or simply back and forth.

Stand quietly in a comfortable position with your eyes closed and your arms at your sides. Do a mental scan of the entire body. Working slowly from the top of the head to the bottom of the feet, make a mental note of any sensations, tension, pain, and fatigue. Feel the earth beneath your feet. Breathe deeply and relax.

Slowly shift your weight to your left foot, focusing your complete attention on the movement of the body and the sensations in your feet and legs. Then slowly shift your weight to the right foot, repeating the process.

Gradually shift your weight back to the center and ground yourself in the earth. Then carefully begin to lift the heel of your left foot, focusing all of your attention on the feel of that movement. Lift the left foot and take a small step forward, feeling the leg move through the air, and place it on the ground.

Be fully aware of the contact between your foot and the earth. Feel the pressure and weight. Feel the touch of your shoe against the sole of your foot or the feeling of the ground against your bare skin. Note the sensations. Do you feel itching, tickling, or pain? Does it feel pleasant or unpleasant? Do the muscles feel tense or relaxed? Does your leg feel heavy or light?

Repeat with the right foot, then come back to center and begin the exercise with your left foot all over again. Practice for at least 15 minutes.

When you are going about your daily activities, apply this exercise to whatever you are doing. For example, while washing the dishes after dinner, feel the warmth of the water, notice how your hands turn red, smell the dish soap, play with the bubbles, be aware of the circular motions involved in washing a plate or drying a glass. Feel the roughness of the dish cloth against your skin.

This is mindful living — being fully aware of the present moment and fully experiencing every second of your life.

Dawn Pisturino, BSNH, RN
April 21, 2007; August 19, 2021

(“Walking Meditation” originally posted on my Cosmic Health Blog)

Copyright 2007-2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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What are the Ten Niyamas (Observances) of Hinduism?

The Ten Niyamas (Observances) of Hinduism

Hri (remorse) – feeling shame and performing penance for misdeeds.

Santosha (contentment) – living a life that strives for joy, serenity, and peace of mind.

Dana (giving) – giving generously to others without expecting anything in return.

Astikya (faith) – maintaining a firm belief in God, the gods and goddesses, the spiritual teacher (guru), and living a life that follows the path to enlightenment. 

Ishvarapujana (worship) – practicing daily puja (prayer) and meditation.

Siddhanta Shravana (scriptures) – studying the holy books and the teachings of wise teachers and  holy men.

Mati (cognition) – under the guidance of a guru, gaining spiritual growth and wisdom.

Vrata (sacred vows) – live a life according to all religious vows, rules, and observances.

Japa (recitation) – chant holy mantras daily.

Tapas (austerity) – living a life without attachment to material things or the ego.

Hinduism strives to achieve a balance between avoiding unethical behavior and living a virtuous, spiritual life.  The goal is to live in the world without being touched (or tainted) by the world. This takes a lifetime of practice, discipline, devotion, and commitment.

Dawn Pisturino

August 9, 2021

Copyright 2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

Originally posted on my Cosmic Health Blog.

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Finding Comfort in the 23rd Psalm

Psalm 23 is one of the most beautiful and lyrical verses in the Bible. Scholars believe it was composed by King David more than 2,500 years ago. David was a shepherd who loved God and often sang songs to the Lord while tending his sheep. Psalm 23 is a love song to the Lord filled with gratitude, hope, and faith in the constancy of God’s love. It is a poetic meditation reflecting on the power of God’s protection in the face of adversity. Most of all, it is a vivid portrait of the natural world, our humble place in nature, and God’s role as Supreme Master of the Universe. Reading this psalm and contemplating its message brings an inner feeling of comfort, peace, and joy. 

Psalm 23 (King James Version)

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anoinest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Psalm 23 (The Jerusalem Bible)

Yahweh is my shepherd,

     I lack nothing.

In meadows of green grass he lets me lie.

To the waters of repose he leads me;

     there he revives my soul.

He guides me by paths of virtue

     for the sake of his name.

Though I pass through a gloomy valley,

     I fear no harm;

beside me your rod and your staff

     are there, to hearten me.

You prepare a table before me

     under the eyes of my enemies;

you anoint my head with oil,

     my cup brims over.

Ah, how goodness and kindness pursue me,

     every day of my life;

my home, the house of Yahweh,

     as long as I live!

Dawn Pisturino

July 8, 2021

Copyright 2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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The World is Too Much with Us

silence_title_image

 

The world is too much with us; late and soon,

Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:

Little we see in nature that is ours;

We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!

This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;

The winds that will be howling at all hours,

And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;

For this, for everything, we are out of tune;

It moves us not. –Great God! I’d rather be

A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;

So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,

Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;

Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;

Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.

~ William Wordsworth (1770-1850) ~

My Thoughts:

If this was true over 150 years ago, it’s even more true today.

The world is overwhelming us, beating us down, blasting wave after wave of propaganda and lies into our heads. Who knows the truth anymore? Who knows what’s right from wrong? Who even knows what’s real? The constant prattle of commentators/agitators, politicians, and celebrities is driving all of us mad. Where is the escape? When will it end?

Escape into the wilderness, they say, but a tumultuous crowd awaits us there. The noise! — oh, the noise! I long to escape it.

Quiet, peace, serenity, silence — a long-forgotten reality.

I will find it inside myself.

Dawn Pisturino

September 28, 2017

Copyright 2017 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

 

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Lessons from Lewis Carroll

Have you ever felt like Alice falling down the rabbit hole? It wasn’t until she hit rock bottom that she found the tools to cope with her environment.

Or what about the White Rabbit? His obsession with time makes him sound like a classic Type A personality.

We all know people who act as if they are running a marathon race against Time. The most familiar thing out of their mouths is, “I’m busy. I don’t have time. Not right now. Good grief, I have to be somewhere in five minutes!”

Like the Red Queen, they are always running in place and getting nowhere fast. And no matter how hard they try to catch up, they never will. And no matter how much we try to convince them to slow down, they never will—until they suffer a heart attack or some other misfortune.

Appearing and disappearing like the Cheshire cat, they smile smugly and proudly tell us how terribly important they are; but they may as well be saying, “We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”

“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.

“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”

Alice had many curious adventures in Wonderland, but even she had her limits. When she finally got tired of the Queen of Hearts screaming, “Off with their heads!” and all the other zany, madcap characters, she stood up and cried, “I can’t stand this any longer!”

And with one pull of the tablecloth, she was back home again with her beloved kitten Dinah.

The wacky world of Lewis Carroll can be seen as a reflection of our own crazy world. And, just like Alice, we sometimes have to pull ourselves in many directions to adapt to our environment. But when we can no longer tolerate living in this way, it’s time to stand up and shout, “Enough is enough!”

Dawn Pisturino

Published in The Kingman Daily Miner, September 11, 2007.

Copyright 2012 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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