Balinese Gong Meditation

Last week I attended a program at my library on Balinese Gong Meditation. Though I lived in Indonesia and went to Bali several times, I knew nothing about this.

The presenter briefly spoke about how sound healing was becoming better known for its effectiveness and how she’s been using gongs from Bali for a few years at various retreats and library programs. She explained that the gong’s sounds often “bring up” a lot of toxins and emotions.

The lights were dimmed and we were urged to get comfortable. I closed my eyes, but I don’t think that was necessary. The “gongist” began by striking the gong to get deep, long tones, which was rather pleasant to hear. After an interval, she’d make a series of quicker higher pitched sounds. These made me feel like someone was chasing me.  She alternated between these kinds of sounds. The quick sounds always made me a little nervous, while the deep, slow ones calmed me. Perhaps that was the point.

She played for about 40 minutes and some people fell asleep which was fine. The leader did say that 40 minutes of listening to gongs was like 4 hours of sleep as far as relaxation goes. Hmm.

In the end, I thought it was fun to explore this kind of meditation, but yoga or meditation by repeating a mantra was more my style. I tried to find a picture of the sort of gong she used, but no Balinese gong looked like hers. This is in line with my memory of what I’d seen in Bali. It was fun to try, but I’m glad I didn’t pay for the experience.

St. John Cantius

Today’s the last day of the Christmas when we heard the gospel about when Christ was baptized before he began his public life. I went to St. John Cantius for mass (in Latin no less) so I could see some Christmas decorations before they’re put in storage for another 11 months.


It’s another one of the 11 recommended Chicago churches to visit. I agree wholeheartedly. Visiting St. John Cantius is like taking a trip to Europe. The Baroque architecture is glorious. This mass had a professional level cantor and choir. The organ music was wonderful.

Participating in a Latin mass was like a trip back in time. They have missals with both Latin and English. The homily was meaningful and memorable. What more can you ask for?

On the Hunt for Joy: Get Outside


New Mexico

Driving and walking under the blue skies of New Mexico along the Turquoise Trail gives me great joy.

What’s this On the Hunt for Joy Challenge?

The inspiring Cee has started a new challenge, which she got the idea for from Ingrid Fetell Lee and her TED Talk.  I know I am always out looking for joyful things to photograph and thought it would make a great challenge.

On Ingrid Fetell Lee’s website, she has a listing of 50 Ways to Find More Joy Every Day.  I’m going to be using the 50 ways for a weekly topic.  Some of the topics will be expanded on as to how we can show them in photos for a challenge.

So Cee will provide prompts on joyful themes each week. All you need to do to join is:

  1. Visit Cee’s blog to find out this week’s prompt.
  2. Create a relevant post.
  3. Link toCee’s blog.


You Never Know

I think it was October when I applied for a job teaching English in Iraq.  It was for a new American University located on the road to the airport. Two friends also saw the ad and applied. I spoke to both and like me they were surprised by how professional the director  was and the program at the new American University of Baghdad. The weeks passed and none of us heard anything. Then the news started reporting about protests in Baghdad. One friend contacted the director who told him that they were postponing hiring till September. They’d get by with a small staff for this winter semester, the first for their new university.

This week’s news of the attack on the US Embassy and the death of Suleimani confirmed for me that it’s all for the best that I’m working for the census locally.

Since all Americans have been ordered out of Iraq, my guess is that university won’t be open this semester.