Thursday, December 24, 2009

This is Christmas: not the tinsel, not the giving and receiving, not even the carols, but the humble heart that receives anew the wondrous gift, the Christ.
~Frank McKibben

photography by permission

Sunday, December 13, 2009

meditation village

Today I would like to introduce to you my friends at Meditation Village, YeShey Palmo and Simone Riml. Together they have created a place of meditation instruction, guidance, and support . . . a virtual meditation community. If you are new to meditation and would like guidance but don't have time to attend local gatherings, Meditation Village might be great for you. Ms. Palmo and Ms. Riml offer a gentle, loving program for you that starts at 11 minutes each day (11 minutes a day to bring more peace into your world). I include Meditation Village as part of my regular meditation practice. Let me know if you decide to become part of this program as well. I'd love to know how it works for you.

With much love,
Diana Christine

Friday, November 13, 2009

A white flower grows in the quiet
Let your tongue become that flower.
~ Rumi

photography by permission

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Let thy speech be better than silence, or be silent.
~ Dinoysius the Elder

photography by permission

Sunday, October 25, 2009

letting go retreat

it is a gift to all of us when we gather to meditate, to deepen our practices, to learn, to grow. thank you for being with me in my becoming more of who i am.
diana christine

Spirit First one-day retreat, October 24, 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009

i will do what i can

I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.
~ Helen Keller

Sunday, October 18, 2009

new Web site

I am so very pleased to announce the launching of our Spirit First Web site. While I will continue to add poetry and writings on our blog site, the Spirit First official Web site at SpiritFirst.Org will present news, links, articles, and information about the organization. I invite you to check out our new site and let me know what you think.

On behalf of the board of directors, the advisory board, and all of us at Spirit First, I would like to offer my deepest appreciation to Win Singleton of Summit Web Design for his gift of creating our site. Thank you. Yours is a beautiful gift.

meditation poetry contest

First Annual Spirit First Meditation Poetry Contest

Deadline: January 31, 2010
First Prize: $150
Second Prize: $75
Third Prize: $50

Complete guidelines:

Spirit First announces its first annual meditation poetry contest. Poetry submissions may be of any length and any style but must have a theme of meditation, mindfulness, stillness, or silence. Poems may reflect any discipline, or any faith, or none. Poems must be previously unpublished.

Poems should be submitted with a cover note listing the author's name, address, telephone number, and email address; names should not appear on the poems themselves. There is no cost to enter this contest. Please do not enter more than three submissions.

Submissions must be received no later than January 31, 2010. Poems that are sent by U.S. Postal Service will not be returned. The winner will be announced no later than March 31, 2010, on the Spirit First website. Winning poems will be published on the Spirit First website, the Spirit First blog, and in the Spirit First newsletter (authors retain full rights to their poems). Poems will possibly be used in an upcoming book publication (authors will retain full rights to their poems).

How to submit:

By email: send to

By U.S. Postal Service: send to the following address.

Spirit First Poetry Contest
PO Box 8076
Langley Park, MD 20787

We look forward to reading your poems!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A one-day retreat at River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation

I would like to invite you to a Spirit First day of retreat…a day of peace and meditation…a day of learning and practicing letting go of whatever keeps you from your true nature. Letting Go, and Living in Harmony with Your Own Self. From the moment you arrive you will be embraced with peace and meditation; the day begins with a Native American flutist playing as you come in and get seated. Morning sessions include Letting Go of Spiritual Clutter by Carol Thornton, and The Shamanic Way of Letting Go by French-Canadian Ayurvedic Doctor Sanjivani Marie-Amma. Mid-day we have a Mindfulness Luncheon (lunch is organic, whole, vegetarian cuisine). During the afternoon we have a keynote address from New Zealand mystic, yogi, and author Jonathan. We close our day with a music and dance program starting with a performance by singer, songwriter, and musician Felicia Rose, and follow with a Sacred Circle Dance led by Sufi Initiate Thomas Maxwell.

This retreat day is October 24, 2009, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Bethesda. Cost for the entire program is $45. If you or someone you know wants to attend but cannot afford the registration fee, please contact me for an available scholarship. To register, contact me at

Over the years we accumulate ideas, concepts, emotions, and beliefs, and included with them we sometimes take on guilt, fear, clutter, weight, depression, anger, debt, or stress. What would you like to let go of? Would you like to live more in harmony with your own self?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ashley Litecky, new advisory board member

Spirit First is pleased and honored to announce new advisory board member Ashley Litecky, M.S., RYT.

Ashley is a registered yoga teacher (ERYT®200 Interdisciplinary Yoga Studies and Kundalini Yoga) and she holds a Masters of Science in Herbal Medicine program from the Tai Sophia Institute.

She is a clinical herbalist/apothecary owner at Tulsi Holistic Living in Washington, D.C.; an owner at Deep Green Wellness in Silver Spring, Maryland; and a clinical herbalist & yoga instructor at Blue Heron Wellness, also in Silver Spring.

Ashley practices and teaches the importance of breath and presence, movement and nutrition to lead to a life of freedom and joy.

As a wholeness and wellness practitioner and as a business owner, Ashley brings many gifts to Spirit First. We give thanks for so beautiful a gift.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

everything is okay

Last month a beautiful friend of mine lost her job, her position being discontinued within her company. The loss of a job is deeply upsetting and all the more so with a mortgage to meet and a family to feed. She appeared to be pretty calm, yet I knew how distressing this loss was to her. I listened to her, I held her for a moment, and then I quietly and slowly said to her, "Everything is okay."

She seemed surprised, and then responded, "Everyone else is telling me 'everything will be okay...' but you are saying 'everything is okay.' " I couldn't tell if she was making a pragmatic observation or taking comfort in my words, but she was quite taken by the difference between "everything will be okay" and "everything is okay."

I said these words carefully, and lovingly, as I know some are unable to hear such a statement (and even become hurt or angry). Over the years, though, I have discovered that at all times I have a place inside of me that is always okay. No matter the circumstances, this center point is unchanged, is always present tense, and is always okay. It just is. And when we touch this point, everything going on outside us and around us seems to find a way to sort itself out (it's the stressing out that messes us up...).

Less than two weeks after our conversation, this beautiful friend wrote to tell me her company rehired her, had created a new position to keep her on staff (she didn't even know yet what her title would be). She said "I kept telling everyone you had said to me 'everything IS okay...' and now I will remember this all the time. You should write a book entitled Everything IS Okay. Thank you for the support and good energy you sent my way. You don't know how much I needed it and what a difference it made." She had taken my words and had reveled in them, breathing them and eating them and drinking them (I can't call them my words, for she made them her own).

For whatever you are suffering, I sorrow for your sorrow. But experiences are just that...experiences. And know this, that at the center of it all, the real you is okay.

If you want to practice this as a meditation, be sure to bring the words into the feeling part of your being (and not simply say the words). And you, too, will know that everything is okay.

photography by permission
cindy lee jones

Monday, September 07, 2009

enduring meditation

There is nowhere to go.
There is nothing to do.
There is nothing to become.

It's been several weeks now...months, even...since Jonathan presented our Yoga of the Heart spring weekend retreat, but the words of a meditation from him linger with me.

There is nowhere to go. I say the words slowly, one at a time. There is nothing to do. I breathe, taking each word deeply into my feeling. There is nothing to become.

My life is changed in this little meditation. I had spent most of my life doing one thing in a moment all the while having that same moment filled with all the many other things I thought I needed to do, all the many places I needed to be, and all the things I needed to become. I kept a bloated to-do list (if not on paper, then certainly in my head), and I always carried with me the feelings of all the many things I needed to become (more organized, more knowledgeable, more successful, wealthier, healthier, thinner, something more, something less, something else...).

There is nowhere to go.
There is nothing to do.
There is nothing to become.
From this meditation I have learned to stop, to be still, to be whole, to know there is nowhere to go, nothing to do, and nothing to become. I am whole. I am complete. I am now.
And when I hold this, everything else falls into place.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Much time has passed since my last writing. I want to apologize for my absence at the same time that I know no apology is required.

My summer was busy with business, with editing, with travels, with moving to a new home. I am settled, now, and happy to be back on this page. I have missed you.

I hope you are well, peaceful, and happy...

photography by permission

madalina diaconu

Sunday, March 15, 2009

God is a tranquil Being
and abides
in a tranquil eternity
So must thy spirit
become a tranquil
and clear little pool
wherein the serene light of God
can be mirrored.

~ Gerhard Tersteegen

photography by permission

Thursday, March 12, 2009

when was the last time you were still?

Nothing in all creation is so like God as stillness.
~ Meister Eckhart

photography by permission
madalina diaconu

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Modern civilization is so complex as to make the devotional life all but impossible. It wears us out by multiplying distractions and beats us down destroying our solitude, where otherwise we might drink and renew our strength, before going out to face the world again. "The thoughtful soul to solitude retires," said the poet of other and quieter times, but where is the solitude to which we can retire today? "Commune with your own heart upon your bed and be still," is a wise and healing counsel, but how can it be followed in this day of the newspaper, the telephone, the radio and television? These modern playthings, like pet tiger cubs, have grown so large and dangerous that they threaten to devour us all. What was intended to be a blessing has become a positive curse. No spot is now safe from the world's intrusion. The need for solitude and quietness was never greater than it is today. ~ A.W. Tozer, Of God and Men

photography by permission
madalina diaconu

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Saturday, February 14, 2009

march 28 concert and cd release party

Spirit First is pleased to announce it will host a concert and CD release party on March 28, 2009, featuring Felicia Rose.

“Inspirational” is the clearest way to describe the music of Felicia Rose. Since 1989, she has been captivating audiences worldwide with her unique blend of soulful ballads, alternative rock, and angelic mystique. Focused on Love and Inner Truth, Felicia’s music is divinely guided by a Higher Source. In the middle of a powerful vision quest, Felicia was struck by an enlightening message that forever changed her course in life. During a direct communication with a humpback whale, she was told to sing and that a voice would come. Having never sung nor played an instrument before, Felicia followed the directive. She could not have imagined the blessing of musical talent she came to know from following the direction of that voice.

Felicia Rose is an amazing talent destined for far greater recognition, and Spirit First is honored to sponsor this concert to mark the beginning of her CD tour, the release of her CD "Indigo."

Spirit First presents Felicia Rose on March 28 at the Takoma Park Chapel, a metaphysical chapel in Silver Spring, Maryland (a lovely chapel not far from my home that I am honored to attend). Food and fellowship will follow the performance of the evening. Please contact Diana Christine at today to reserve your seat. Donations are requested but not required. Please join us for an amazing evening of music and spiritual connection. This is an event for the entire family!

Please come...I look forward to seeing you there!

Friday, February 13, 2009

new logo for Spirit First

I am so very pleased to present our brand-new symbol, the new logo for Spirit First. Our design comes from a brilliant young writer and artist, 25-year-old Kat at Jumping Into Life. Thank you, Kat, for your beauty and your light, and thank you to my logo development team for your unfailing support. I am so very pleased with what you all have brought forth.

And now, here is the symbol for Spirit First:

Monday, February 09, 2009

Our first retreat

Spirit First is happy to announce it will presents its 2009 Spring Retreat at Wellspring Retreat Center in Germantown, Maryland, on May 8—May 10. (This will be Spirit First's very first retreat!)

May 8—May 10, 2009
Mystic, yoga leader, and
award-winning author of
Peace, Power, and Presence,
New Zealander Jonathan brings
to the Washington, D.C., area.

If you are new to Yoga or
you are an advanced practitioner,
this retreat is for you!

May 8, 6 p.m. through May 10, 3 p.m.
$250 includes full 2 1/2-day program, 2 nights of accommodations, and all meals (whole, healthful, vegetarian). For more information or to register, email Diana at or call 301-565-2438.

If you desire conscious participation in the awakening of your true nature—as a whole & healthy Being—this workshop will benefit you. Part discourses, part active meditations, and part yoga asana and kriyas (internal energy practice), this is an opportunity for you to feel intimately empowered and at home within the very depths of your Heart...within your body, mind, and emotions...within your life right now.

Find your Freedom—Find your Peace

Wellspring Retreat Center
11411 Neelsville Church Road
Germantown, MD 20876

Friday, February 06, 2009

In the beginning I had no idea what Spirit First would become. It started as simply a feeling, a feeling and a name, so I called it by its name: Spirit First. It wasn't until at least two years later on a Saturday morning in March that I imagined a vision of a meditation retreat center with quiet walking trails, fragrant gardens, outdoor labyrinths, and sanctuaries of every major discipline, and in that moment I knew it would carry the name Spirit First. Still, though, I did not know what I would be able to accomplish or what might unfold, and I did not know what Spirit First would become.

Last year when I commited to this vision and officially organized a new nonprofit, I still wasn't sure what Spirit First would become. Even if I thought I knew what she would become, I had no idea what all it would be that I needed to do. However, I always knew what the next step needed to be, and somehow knowing one next step was enough. Each step I took always led me to knowing the next step (it might be nice to know the end at the beginning, but some journeys just don't work that way!).

I still don't know for sure what Spirit First will become, but I love what she is becoming already . Much has been stirring, and during the next several days I will announce some of what is happening in the coming weeks.

In these busy days of planning, I find myself practicing the words of Francis of Assisi...

Start by doing what's necessary, then do what's possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible. ~ Francis of Assisi

photography by permission

madalina diaconu

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

If we have not quiet in our minds,
outward comfort will do no more for us
than a golden slipper on a gouty foot.

~ John Bunyan

photography by permission
madalina diaconu

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The following is a transcript of the inaugural poem, “Praise Song for the Day,” written and recited by Elizabeth Alexander, as provided by Graywolf Press.

Each day we go about our business,
walking past each other, catching each other’s
eyes or not, about to speak or speaking.

All about us is noise. All about us is
noise and bramble, thorn and din, each
one of our ancestors on our tongues.

Someone is stitching up a hem, darning
a hole in a uniform, patching a tire,
repairing the things in need of repair.

Someone is trying to make music somewhere,
with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum,
with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.
A woman and her son wait for the bus.
A farmer considers the changing sky.
A teacher says, Take out your pencils. Begin.

We encounter each other in words, words
spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed,
words to consider, reconsider.

We cross dirt roads and highways that mark
the will of some one and then others, who said
I need to see what’s on the other side.

I know there’s something better down the road.
We need to find a place where we are safe.
We walk into that which we cannot yet see.

Say it plain: that many have died for this day.
Sing the names of the dead who brought us here,
who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges,

picked the cotton and the lettuce, built
brick by brick the glittering edifices
they would then keep clean and work inside of.

Praise song for struggle, praise song for the day.
Praise song for every hand-lettered sign,
the figuring-it-out at kitchen tables.

Some live by love thy neighbor as thyself,
others by first do no harm or take no more
than you need. What if the mightiest word is love?

Love beyond marital, filial, national,
love that casts a widening pool of light,
love with no need to pre-empt grievance.

In today’s sharp sparkle, this winter air,
any thing can be made, any sentence begun.
On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp,

praise song for walking forward in that light.
~Elizabeth Alexander
inauguration photography
by permission of the artist
madalina diaconu

Saturday, January 17, 2009

do justly now...

Sometimes I sit in front of a blank page and am overcome by so much that I would say and all the words I have are not enough to touch what I feel. Sometimes in these times I put away the page and walk away.

Sometimes I see the grief of the world around me, and I am overcome by so much that I would like to do, but all that I can do feels far too little to have any effect.

In the past three weeks I have learned of two friends who lost their homes and two more friends who face this experience now. As I held the hand of one to comfort and strengthen her, I wept to feel so great sorrow that poured from her. I wanted to be able to do more. Feeling unable to do enough, though, is no reason to do nothing at all.

I find words from the Talmud give us direction during these times...

Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.
~ The Talmud

photography by permission
cindy lee jones