Monday, November 12, 2012

Life of a Poet - Bodhirose

Kids, we know Gayle Walters Rose as Bodhirose, of  Bodhirose's Blog. Gayle writes from true-life experiences. She says her first love is poetry, but she also enjoys writing memoir. Hop aboard our magic carpet and we'll zip down to Florida. Maybe we can fit in a beach walk along those glorious shores.

Poets United: Gayle, I find the name of your blog intriguing. Would you like to explain its meaning, or how it came to be?

Gayle: The word “bodhi” comes from my experience with Buddhism.  It is told that the Buddha reached his enlightenment while meditating under a Bodhi tree.  The word comes from ancient texts of both Sanskrit and Pali and means enlightenment, knowledge and awakening, and is also found in other Indian spiritual traditions in addition to Buddhism.  When I was thinking of a name for my blog, the word bodhi popped into my mind...I added my last name of Rose and Bodhirose’s Blog was incarnated!

The  Bodhi tree at Bodh Gaya, 
(google image)

Poets United: I have noted the theme of Buddhism running through your blog. Are you a practitioner? You have described yourself as “a student of many spiritual teachings”. Me too, with a big affinity for Buddhism. 

Gayle: I am a practitioner of the mindfulness, vipassana variety of Buddhism.  I love the simplicity of this practice and how complete control over my spiritual destiny is up to me and the actions that I choose.

My visit to a Buddhist temple - an amazing experience I wrote about here 

There were ancient Buddhist relics-
some from the actual Buddha. 

A teacher showed up in my life at the perfect moment... a time when I was foundering in my life and I grew very quickly to embrace this meditation technique.  This was followed by reading many books on Buddhism, all resonating within and supporting “truth” the way I see it.

This is Quan Yin, the Goddess of Compassion, on my altar. 
She is particularly attractive to me. I love what she stands for. 

Poets United: She is so beautiful! I love what she stands for, too. Where did you grow up, Gayle? 

Gayle: I was born and raised in Orlando, Florida with two older brothers and three younger sisters.  Life was chaotic and crazy but we ended up being very close and great friends.

Christmas Eve at my grandmother’s house every year is a favorite memory.  We would all gather with aunts, uncles, cousins, a great-grandfather and meet in the small town where my mother and father met and married, Apopka, Florida...about twenty minutes outside Orlando.

My grandmother, affectionately nicknamed Tizzy, had her large, dining room table laden with beautiful baked goods that she had spent days creating.  A multitude of cakes, cookies, fudge, rum balls, fruitcake, brownies, chocolates, candies, and a favorite punch that was served with sherbet floating in it.  It was a kid’s paradise.  And, it was fun to see my nine (all from one family!) cousins who were close to our ages.

Night rain in my garden

Tizzy’s Christmas tree was spectacular too, especially because she had “angel hair” on it.  With the lights shining through, it took on a magical-looking swirl.  My grandfather would take movies of us all, using those giant, blinding lights shining in our little faces as he recorded.  Now these movies are on DVDs and everyone has a copy.

Also, we children got to open a gift from our grandmother on that night...that would excite me to no end!

My beautiful daughters, Mahan, on the left, 
and her sister Saraswati on the right. 
They are sitting on the Spanish steps, in Rome, Italy.

Mahan, a bridesmaid at a wedding in Italy.
She looks so pretty!

The girls, in St Peter's Square

...and at the Coliseum

Poets United: This is all so fascinating. And your daughters are beautiful! What does your life look like today, kiddo? 

Gayle: After being married for over 25 years (and divorced now for over twelve) and living from Miami to Boston, I was settled just outside my hometown, in Winter Park, for quite a number of years. My cat, Sita,  is thirteen years old and just the sweetest...she and I have similar dispositions...quiet, a bit shy and retiring...but loves her peeps!

Poets United: Sita is a lovely being!

Gayle: One of my sisters lived nearby with her husband and one of their three sons and their grandson, Nicholas, who I have written about a couple of times...he’s a very special little boy.  

Nicholas - the best boy ever
(click link to read about him)

I have a brother in California, the other in New Mexico, one sister in Colorado and one in Kansas...we’re spread out across the country.  Our mother still lives in the same house where we were all raised; our father passed away in 2005.  We all stay in frequent contact through phone calls, Facebook, etc.

Poets United: It sounds wonderful. Lovely when family is large, busy and close-knit.

Gayle: Actually, my life just recently changed drastically.  When my oldest daughter became pregnant late last year, she asked if I would move to Sebastian and be nanny to the baby when she returns to work.  Well, yeah, of course I would!  

Saraswati and Mira

Proud Grandma

Mira Jaya Rose-Hutner was born on September 3, 2012.  I attended the birth, along with my other daughter who also lives there.  I’m very excited about the new life that is now mine.  Sebastian is about 90 minutes from Orlando on the east coast of Florida. I moved at the end of October, and have just settled in.

Poets United: Wow! That IS a big change. And an exciting one. How wonderful that you will be caring for this new little being. Grandmas are so important to children. 

Mira at the beach

Look at those wise eyes. Mira is an Old Soul! And her hands are amazing on a newborn. She is so beautiful. 

I see that you have come to writing poetry fairly recently, and have been blogging since 2010. What influence has blogging had on your writing?

Gayle: Well, basically, my writing and blogging started at the same time.  I hadn’t really explored much writing before 2010.  It certainly makes for a less lonesome experience when you have people commenting and encouraging you.

I had joined an online memoir writing group a few months before I decided to start a blog.  And by the persuasion of a good friend, I joined a large poetry writing group...Jingle’s Poetry, that set me on a path of discovering that I could write poetry and that I enjoyed it!  This experience has brought considerable change to my life and enhanced my writing skills tremendously.  I’ve learned different forms of poetry, some self-taught, some through instruction by others...and am still learning.  There seems to be an endless count of poetry forms!

It’s become a good outlet for not only self-expression but for working on internal personal challenges...a sort of therapy through writing and sharing.  A very powerful one too, I’ve found.  Also, being unemployed for several years, writing has become my full-time occupation.


Poets United: Your garden is so beautiful! Is there a connection between music and poetry for you?

Gayle: It seems to me they’re pretty much one and the same.  When I read lyrics to songs, I see poetry.

Poets United: I love memoir writing, too. Do you have a piece we can link to?

Gayle: I do.  I enjoy writing short stories and have written some memoir pieces as well.  It seems writing true-life stories is easier for me than writing fiction but that’s something I would like to explore.  Here’s a favorite memoir piece of mine that always gets a laugh:  

Poets United: Sleuthing around, I read you once lived in a commune – that is very interesting. Would you like to talk about it a little here?  (Peoples’ lives are so FASCINATING!!!!)

Gayle: Gosh, I hope I’m not going to get too long-winded here...I’ll try to keep it condensed.  My spiritual life has been a very interesting journey, beginning with the Christian influence of my parents.  

Rain lily

But as a teenager, that began to change when I read (along with my two, older brothers) the book “Autobiography of a Yogi” by Paramahansa Yogananda.  It was as if I had been awakened to something I had always known.  My perception of what this world meant to me changed drastically almost overnight.  Still today, it is THE most defining and profound time of my life.

This awakening led me to attend kundalini yoga classes.  My yoga teacher created an ashram/communal environment where he invited those who were interested to move in together to support each other in our spiritual practice.  I thought this was a splendid idea!  So began a daily practice of yoga and meditation, getting married to a fellow yogi, having two daughters and living that lifestyle for the next eight years or so.

My daughters are both black belts in Tae Kwon Do - 
I'm so proud of them!

I lived in the Orlando commune/ashram for a short time and then went to help my soon-to-be-husband down in Miami, where we started a yoga center down there, living communally with several others.  

From Miami, after our daughters were born, we joined a larger commune in Dorchester, MA, outside of Boston, and spent a few years there with about 60 others, before finally leaving the communal lifestyle to be a singular family and moving back to the Orlando area.  I went on to explore other spiritual teachings after that and have for many years now been a student of Buddhism.  It really resonates with me.

Poets United: With me, too. Any causes especially dear to your heart? 

Gayle: I’m a supporter of Amnesty International, a group that works to protect those who are prosecuted unfairly when either speaking out on atrocities in their countries, or who are wrongly accused and/or convicted of crimes they didn’t commit.  I feel very strongly about the humanitarian rights of people worldwide.

I also am a member of the International Campaign for Tibet.  This supports and works to protect the people of Tibet who are being persecuted by the Chinese government.

Through my membership with ITC, I won two tickets from a lottery to attend a private gathering with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.  This occasion was one of the highlights of my life.

Basket of shells on my coffee table

Poets United: I so understand. In 2009, I attended the Vancouver Peace Summit, and could barely believe I was in the same room with the Dalai Lama. What inspires you, Gayle?

Gayle: My heart, my emotions, my spirituality, nature...I’m fascinated by the smallest, most simple things in nature and love to examine these things closely.  Love can inspire me...but not in the sense of romantic love...more the love of knowing my true self and what “I” am capable of.

Poets United: Yes. I love that answer. What other interests and passions do you have?

Gayle: It probably goes without saying...but I love to read...and I love to garden and tend to plants.  I’ve always liked cooking a good meal and serving it to my family. 

I enjoy nurturing my cat, Sita...she’s very important to me...she’s not so much a pet, but a being that I’m entrusted to care for...we enjoy our companionship.  I’m passionate about my relationship with my daughters...they’re really great people and now I have a granddaughter to get to know and care for too!  I know I’m going to love that relationship!

Poets United: It will be most special. Has there been one person you would say has had a significant impact on your writing?

Gayle: I would have to say a friend I met online on a website called  It was created by Deepak Chopra’s daughter, Mallika.  This friend is an Indian woman living in Kolkata.  She was the catalyst for me having a blog, and encouraging me to write poetry and expand myself through writing.  There are a core of us that met on Intent that have stayed in touch and look to each other as dear friends...this friend is Trisha Basu.  She has several blogs and is a prolific writer, sharing beautiful, heartfelt poetry, short stories, novellas as well as her colorful, creative artwork.

Poets United: Wonderful! Do you have a favorite quote? 

Gayle: I will share Clear Light because, like nothing else, it always gives me a shiver of knowing when I read it:

 “Remember the clear light, the pure clear white light from which everything in the universe comes, to which everything in the universe returns; the original nature of your own mind.  The natural state of the universe unmanifest.  Let go into the clear light, trust it, merge with it.  It is your own true nature, it is home.” 
The Tibetan Book of the Dead

Poets United: So beautiful! Where in the world would you most love to visit?

Gayle: I would love to visit India.  In many ways, the culture of India’s spiritual roots really feels more like me than this Western culture.

Poets United: I so know what you mean. Any closing words for your blogging pals?

Gayle: Just appreciation for having met so many wonderfully supportive people through Poets United and many others throughout the blogging environment.  I’ve found a great resource for learning and growing and this, to me, is what it’s all about.  And many thanks to you, Sherry, for wanting to profile me.  I appreciate the energy that you expend to keep us entertained and acknowledged at Poets United.  I look forward to sharing with you and discovering more about those things  we have in common.

Poets United: It is truly my pleasure. I'm an interview junkie! Thank you for allowing us to visit.

Aren't peoples' stories wonderful, kids? And isn't it true that the people behind the pen are some of the most interesting folks around? Keep coming back to see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!


  1. Sherry, what a wonderful interview. I have been reading and enjoying Gayle's poetry for a long while now and have always enjoyed it. Gayle, I appreciate the causes that you support and your dedication to them...and hey, isn't grand parenting wonderfully rewarding?

  2. I'm just now getting here late at night on Monday. Sherry, I can't thank you enough for all your hard made me sound interesting!

    And thanks to you, Mary, for coming by...I so appreciate you visiting my blog. And, yes, grandparenting is the best.

  3. grins....what a wonderful person gayle is...and such a talented poet as well....and what a heart too...between your support for causes and your family as well....and i know from your writing as well you have had a rough life at times as well but you have not allowed that to stop you...smiles.

    1. Thanks so much for your generous words, Brian, it's been an interesting life for sure...and now even more so with little Mira in my world.

  4. You did it again Sherry. Fabulous interview.
    What an interesting life you live Gayle. I knew you leaned toward Buddhism (as do I) it is such a simple, gentle belief in everything.
    Your daughters are beautiful and your new granddaughter is such a blessing. Reading all of your answers, leaves s in no doubt at all that you know you are blessed. Your writing is always such a pleasure to read Gayle and, this has also been such a pleasure to read and to learn a little bit more about you.

    1. She did do it again...I'm so grateful to have met Sherry...just a wonderful human being...we do have some similar connections too.

      Thanks for the sweet compliments, Bren...I'm happy to have a nice connection with you too. Your writings are so heartfelt and sincere.

      I do know that I have been richly blessed and I'm glad you enjoyed reading my interview.

  5. Wow Gayle, I felt calm and enlightened reading your journey~ I found it fascinating how this all unfolded for you! You have a beautiful family and heart! enJOY your family~ Nice to learn more about you!
    Wonderful interview you two!

    1. Thanks, glad reading this had such an affect on you. Life is interesting how it shows many times how you least expect it. I'm enjoying every moment with that precious baby girl...she's so special.

  6. So nice to meet you Gayle! How lucky you are to be near your granddaughter and kids! Looking forward to reading more on your blog!

    1. Nice to meet you as well, Robyn...I'm so lucky; a total blessing. I'm having so much fun with her...and of course, my girls too.

  7. An interesting life! I think mine could fit into a paragraph. Your grandchild is just adorable and your daughter so lucky to have you! Thank you, for this interview.

    1. Thanks so much, Margaret...I'm lucky to have them too. I'm so enjoying that baby!

  8. I love my job! This interview was such a pleasure, and I look forward to hearing more about Mira as the months go on:)

    1. Thank you, appreciate you! You'll be hearing about her, don't you worry. :)

  9. This in-depth interview is an absolute treat, Sherry! I have read and enjoyed Gayle's work; and I deeply appreciate her generous spirit when she reads and comments on my writing. After reading this lovely bio, I better understand the source of her kind and supportive nature.

    1. How nice of you, Kim...I hope to be getting back into my blogging more regularly soon. I've just walked into a whole new life!

  10. What a lovely interview! I have often thought, if I wasn't Pagan I might be Buddhist. Many things in that philosophy appeal and its practitioners always seem to be gentle, peaceful, compassionate people — like our beautifully-named Bodhirose.

  11. What a nice thing to say, Rosemary. Thank you. Buddhism really resonates with me...I like the clarity of the practice. I'll be seeing you soon!


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