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Taste the Soup


My friend, Mary Lee Chapman, encouraged me to go to the Temple of the Universe, listed as "a yoga and meditation center where people of any religion or set of beliefs can come together to experience inner peace." It was founded in 1975 by Mickey Singer. I met people there who became forever friends, like the famous Walter Busby whom I met in January, 1978. I credit Walter with teaching me what it means to "be here now." I once wrote an article explaining how he accomplished it using a bowl of cucumber soup as an example. If you would like to read it, it's at Click on "Taste the Soup."

I loved the Temple. Soon I was driving back and forth from Gainesville to the Temple three times a week. I decided I'd prefer to have a house near the Temple in the quiet little town of Hague. I guess I was in the flow because a man, a surveyor by trade, popped right into my life. His life-long dream was to build a house from scratch, all by himself. He called it his "mountain to climb." I had spent all my money to buy the half-acre lot in the woods and didn't have money to build a house. Ray said he'd use his money and I could pay him back when it was done and I could get a mortgage. So that's how I got my first house of my very own. Ray built me a beautiful two-story house of wood. When it was done, he moved away and fulfilled another dream of his, to buy a big sailboat and take off by himself for wherever the wind took him. A few years later, he died. Thanks for everything, Ray, wherever you are.

The Temple of the Universe's website is at While you're there, you may want to read an excerpt from Mickey's book, The Untethered Soul:the journey beyond yourself.

Om Namah Shivaya

In 1978, devotees of Baba Muktananda Paramahansa had an ashram in town, the Gainesville Siddha Yoga Meditation Center at 1000 SW 9th Street, managed by Udaya "Biff" Pherigo. They invited me to join them for chanting on March 7th. It was a celebration of Mahashivaratri, the Great Night of Lord Shiva, a holy day in the Hindu religion. We chanted the mantra Om Namah Shivaya very slowly for 12 straight hours. It opened me up to a personal experience that is one of the defining moments of my life, though not one I share often. Some devotees had met Baba when he made his first trip to the United States in 1970. Gordon and I would meet him in Miami in 1981. He died in India in October, 1982.


Around that time, I left my job as Office Manager of Shands Hospital Blood Bank to be part of a team of eight whose mission was to organize a community blood bank. It felt like right livelihood to me. Civitan Regional Blood Center (now LifeSouth Community Blood Center) is a hugh success story. From the original eight of us serving our local hospitals with blood and blood products, it has grown to be the blood supplier for hospitals in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. It was the most challenging job I ever had and the only one I ever got fired from. That's another story about how astrologer David Cochrane taught me how to withdraw my energy from the blood bank that I was so attached to, so I could move on to the next step of my spiritual growth. It worked and only took a couple of weeks. Thanks, David!

During the time the LIST was published in Gainesville, it was easy to find the people who offered products and services that were still considered outside the mainstream. After the 1980 issue, I can't find any new age/holistic newspapers in my collection until 1982. I know that during the missing years, Gainesville was an overflowing melting pot for spiritual exploration. Was I too immersed in my happy new life with Gordon to notice anything else?

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