Friday was the last day we could provide comments to the DEP for their sad form draft permit for the 50 45 story wind turbines overlooking our historic highly ranked lakes which are wildlife preserves..for eagles, bats, loons and enjoyed by humans who love the tranqulity and healing of nature-in the last monet the Sierra Club wrote them saying this is the wrong place ..will our DEP protect the Wind Companies or the people of Maine ands those who enjoy our part of Maine? this link tells it all
donations accepted as we continue our legal battle..



Infants Gravestones 1860's

One sunny day this summer our neighbor Fred, the head of the Cemetery Committee in Island Falls, drove in to our driveway with something in a small trailer pulled behind his ATV. He walked to our door, knocked and asked if I knew anything about the contents. I did not. But I could speculate. The dates and the names of the parents determined that these were infants that had been born to my great grandfather’s older brother. They died 12 days apart, brother and sister, in October, likely the victims of a flu or, worse yet, diphtheria, that they had somehow shared with each other. The stones had been found in the barn of an older neighbor whose estate was being auctioned off; mysterious the things we store in our closets, so to speak, the secrets we all carry that only are in the halls of our own mind. No, I did not know their story. But seeing these little tombstones my heart and mind recollected a time where life was more uncertain, where we were held more in the grips of the whims of nature, whether it be weather or disease. We have never truly escaped this grip, even with modern medicine and weathermen. Perhaps we experience it more now in a different way by the way we treat our environment and each other, I wonder. Little ones, rest in peace. (age 1- little LEVI GONE ON TO A BETTER LAND, obviously named for his grandfather, my great great grandfather and age 4-DANCING IN HEAVEN MARY ANNIE).

For years now I have spoken about ” writing a book” , have purchased books on writing and on publishing books, even had the courage to take a spiritual memoir class this Spring. With childlike trepidation I read the first two pages to the class, who responded with at least curiosity.  The teacher said he would read 10 pages if anyone wanted him to. I jumped on the opportunity, giving him the part about leaving my first marriage to escape in to my own (selfish?) search in Europe etc etc etc blah blah blah, which is pretty much what he thought of it- “nothing there”. Ouch, I (it) might not be as interesting as I thought! These day so many people in yoga have had these “journeys”( ie The Poser- Eat, Pray . Love, neither of which I can judge because I have not read them but they ARE best sellers) . Is mine really all that interesting?

My nephew wrote me a note when I was 40, thanking me for attending his wedding,  writing (and he writes spectacularly) that I looked like the main character from some Argentinian novel whose life resembles Angela’s Ashes; I was touched by his insightful observation. It sounds so dramatic but it is relatively true. I have had an adventurous and varied life, as someone said to me recently, deliberate. A story like mine seems it should have a different outcome. We could call first you don’t succeed (wow it took me ten tries to type that word, is it Freudian or WHAT?)..or we could call it, well, I cannot tell that story here.

Life nectar is now my personal blog, not my yoga teacher blog, not the Sewall House blog(that you can find now in our menu) so from time to time I will muse on life or little stories.

An agent in NYC that my friend Paul kindly referred me to (much more useful than a cold call) said my idea had merit – in the rejection e-mail an assistant took the time to write. I think that was actually encouraging, though I did not take it that way at the time.

My 96 year old father says he wants to complete his memoirs; I wonder if either of us will.

With the NY Times article last weekend and the response to it in Elephant magazine and the Details magazine on the eroticism of yoga in the hot yoga world, there are a lot of ways to do yoga these days! Why do you do it?? What does it do for you? In case you did not catch the articles- is yoga a lifestyle, a philosophy or just exercise??


Donna bends a bit...

Our most recent trip advisor review says ” All stressed out New Yorkers should have a place like this to retreat to, where people are not obsessed with wealth and status and common sense reigns supreme.” This week Edmund Morris was featured in Metro New York, having completed his third and final biography installment on Theodore Roosevelt. As only an eloquent writer can do so well, as Morris reflects on the issues of TR’s 1912 campaign he sees that TR had a profound mistrust of wealth as a false American value and that wealth these days is “so grotesquely celebrated and regarded as a badge of merit”. Though he only mentions my great grandfather a little in his first celebrated bio of TR, he grasped the relationship so well. I saw the King’s Speech last night and had the good fortune to be part of a Q and A with the screen-writer (having kept my SAG card for a reason) afterward. I could not help but feel very touched and relate to the lifelong friendship between two men of totally different social and financial backgrounds who forged a true friendship based on what counts most, authenticity. So in this interesting time, when our own political parties are so seemingly divided, and where people are doing yoga for various reasons as it has risen in popularity and also fosters the star system our country so admires, we do our best to continue and honor this tradition at Sewall House. Some who come here don’t really know much about the friendship that was forged by TR and my great grandfather but thanks to Andrew Vietze’s book last year, some more know now. And that TR not only forged a friendship in this house but was healed by the nurturing of nature here and a welcoming home and family, I hope we are doing my great grandparents proud.

94 years ago at Sewall House, here in Island Falls, Maine Sam Sewall was born. This morning at 2 am he breathed his last breath. For anyone who might chance upon this blog, and not many read it with all the information to sift through in this techno-info age, Sam Sewall was an incredibly special person. He was the last of the three older relatives I had bought this house from, all men like they just don’t seem to make anymore. Sam was the kindest, smartest, always eager to learn new things, continually curious about life- totally self sufficient as many Mainers, who know how it is do to with and have little, are. My sister used to say we need to find someone just like Sam, thirty years younger for her and forty years younger for me. My husband Kent also, like Sam, has many talents and hails from North Woods, though Kent’s woods were in Sweden. I am thankful Kent can help Sewall House carry on where the Sewall men have left off.

When I told Sam’s friend Brad yesterday that he was failing (and just about everyone in this little town who knew Sam could not help calling him friend) Brad said three things..”Sam was such a good  friend, so smart and capable he could have earned a lot more money than he did.(yet he chose to stay in the town he loved and make do with less, working at the hardware store and using his expertise to help others) Brad said he once asked Sam why he never got angry. Sam said it just didn’t pay. The third thing Brad told us was that Sam had told him that he could fight the things in his body that old age had brought upon him (and he did, in his garden and on the lake last summer, moving slower, in pain ,,as he said “old, lame and deaf”..but moving just the same) but there was one thing he could not fight..TIME. None of us can.

Sam was truly good natured and unlike many New Englanders, he was a huge hugger. I once told him that I heard  we needed 8 hugs a day for health and he loved getting and giving them.

There are just too many stories to tell about Sam Sewall. When he was a little boy getting a fish hook stuck in his lip, walking home with cousin Christine holding the other end of the pole, or an apple stuck in his mouth, seeing how big an apple fit in there. Photos of him as a toe-headed child were adorable, taken with his grandfather William Sewall down at the lake, where they fished and hunted. My almost 96 year old father said this when he heard Sam was failing ” the fish in the lake will be happy anyway” but the people, all of us, will miss him terribly. His high school photo, which I keep nearby to show people when he stopped by, showed an incredibly handsome young man, as he still was in old age to all of us.

Sam has had hardship in his life, plenty, but never once did I hear him complain or say a bad word about another person. The closest was once he told my husband ” they were not good people”. And not good people do exist if the truth be told. But Sam Sewall was certainly not one of them.

Dear dear Sam, our guests have had the privilege of knowing you- I had the privilege of buying the home you were born in and lived in as a child – from you and two other wonderful cousins of yours. You were so generous you probably would have given me the house if I had asked; You have shared your wisdom, your knowledge, yourself with so many..helped so many..and are loved by so many. I am sure tonight, as we enter 2011 without you, that many are shedding a tear. I know I am.

Yogi Bhajan said being grateful was being full of our greatness so I hope we can all realize what is great about each of us. Here are some photos to show you the joy and beauty of winter in Maine! GIFT CERTIFICATES another holiday idea if you cannot join us. ENJOY!

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Many of our guests have read, glimpsed or purchased the Andrew Vietze book “Becoming Teddy Roosevelt” this season. Andrew won an independent publishing award for his writing on  How a Maine Guide Inspired America’s 26th President”. We never know who will come into our lives when and how we might inspire each other, not based on education, wealth, accomplishments or prestige but by true friendship. Guest Susan Hopp returned after an August stay, vowing to do Mt Katahdin. I joined her yesterday. When we got near the summit and lost the sun, but found wind and immersion in the clouds, I would have gladly, like other hikers that day told us they chose to do before descent, skipped the bit of snow and ice that were near the summit. But Ms Hopp made me go to the top- not by urging or bossing or bullying, but by example and enthusiasm. She was here all the way from San Francisco and bound to do the whole mountain, the one the Natives had called Great One, Ktaadan (it was spelled something like that). We were awestruck by the breath-taking views and reminisced about TR climbing without proper shoes. The story goes he lost a shoe so climbed the mountain (with my great grandfather Bill Sewall) in mocassins. We could hardly imagine it. At one point on the way down, maneuvering the boulders on the “easiest” trail, I simply lay down and started cracking up, as I looked up at Susan who exclaimed ” this is insane!” which made me laugh even harder. The beginning, which had seemed so comparatively easy, became gruelingly long, even though we were well past the boulders. Eventually we found our way back to the car and Cheryl, who had made it the first two hours of the hike and spent the rest of the day greeting hikers and looking for wildlife. We imagined Thoreau up there, not going to the summit, because he called it barren and only a space for God to occupy. And barren the summit had been, we lost the trees and slipped into what felt like another planet before going back down to the treeline. All in all an amazing day and all I can say..Is thank you Susan Hoppp for making me go to the top!!


And thank all of our great guests for making this another memorable season. We are now open ALL YEAR ROUND but do need advance notice to arrange happily for your retreats from NOV to APRIL.

We love introducing yoga lifestyle to curious newcomers, making yoga accessible at any and all levels, with the feeling of family and acceptance, no matter your age, size, experience or health issues. One guest, Denise, suggested we have a week for ” fat” people. A great idea! And we would love to get Cheryl back here to offer spiritual warrior women’s self defense, a passion of hers. I must also say that the standing yoga practices I have pursued since 1999- Astanga, Iyengar, Vinyasa, Dharmayoga (after doing only Kundalini since 1985) made my legs feel great today after the climb- when I did it in 1999 I remember them hurting for days! 

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join if you can!

On a  sad note, Sachel, the beautiful wolf dog that was tied up across from us., has passed away at 5 years old. I think it may have been a broken heart. I loved him from afar and wish he could have been given a better life- he never barked, only sometimes a low sad cry when he was lonely..his owner is not a bad guy,. just sees animals differently than I. He got no exercise and was incredibly beautiful and sweet.  I will miss looking out at him and wishing I could have helped him more than sending a hello and healing energy. And I wish I had taken a photo. A blank space where he was is all I see.


September 2017
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