Category Archives: Amazing Grace

A New Day – Varanasi, India

After returning home from a month in Varanasi, India in 1989, this image was striking to me because of the essence of peace it carries. Anyone who has been to Varanasi (Benares) knows that walking on the steps of the Ganges at sunrise is far from peaceful, with throngs of tens of thousands of people engaged in a myriad of daily morning rituals. But the image conveys a truth – that deep inner peace is possibVaranasi Prayer © 1989 Susan Slotterle in the middle of chaos.

This beautiful old woman was standing in the water, scooping water into a brass pot, raising it above her head, and pouring the water back into the Ganges from which it came. So much reverence for the sources of life: the rising sun, the water, God.

People who know I worked for 7 straight months on a creative project to bring positive energy to Barack Obama’s campaign ask if I was elated when the results came in. Actually, I felt like this image. Still. Filled with gratitude for the opportunity for a new day, over and over issuing a prayer of “thank you.”

This image feels timely for this moment. No matter what chaotic cacophony is going on around us, we can (must!) find our inner center, the still point in the middle of the vortex of life forces swirling around us.

This images takes me to Rumi’s poem, Clear Bead:

The clear bead at the center
changes everything.
There are no edges
to my loving now…

(Visit the www.ChooseToUnite website to see the inspired music video, and the Choose To Unite Blog to read my Nov. 5  Hallelujah! Our New President! posting.)


Grace in the Desert

First Mystical Heart blog post. What could be more appropriate for a mystical heart than grace, in the desert? I’d love to know what image that title conjures up in your mind…

I was in Chaco Culture National Historic Park on my birthday in mid-October. It is always so hard to leave once there, out in the middle of nowhere with nothing to soak in but sun and vast skies, rocks, stars and the stunning architecture that still stands, created approximately 1000 years ago. I was just at the park boundry, ready to leave the Chaco magic behind, when I saw a lone man playing bagpipes near the entrance, his bicycle leaning against the fence. Nothing else around for miles.

Although I was under a time crunch to get to my next location before dark, I could not help going back to find out why a man was playing bagpipes in the middle of nowhere. He saw me turn the car around, drive back, park, get out and walk over. “I was wondering what you’re doing way out here?” I asked. “Well, I’m a volunteer at the park, and I ride out here so I can practice my bagpipes without disturbing my neighbors.” “I LOVE the bagpipes!” I exclaimed. “And, it’s my birthday today – how would you like to serenade me on your bagpipes with Happy Birthday?” He responded, “I actually don’t know how to play that on the pipes, but let me try something else.

He then proceeded to play, on the bagpipes, in the middle of nowhere, Amazing Grace – one of my favorite songs. It was my grandmother’s favorite song; holding her hand, I had sung it to her the night before she died.

What a gift! As I drove away, looking at the happy lone piper in the rearview mirror, seemingly placed there in that moment for no other reason but to send me on my way with an amazing gift of grace, I realized: the more open and receptive and curious I am, the more surreal and wild and delightful the gifts and surprises become.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound…