About Rita Chiaravalle

Rita Chiaravalle is a practitioner of meditation, seeker of truth and student of Paramahansa Yogananda. She lives on Martha's Vineyard with her husband Frank and Angel Dog Beau. Together, they own and operate TheLifeDivine.com and Sanctuary Martha's Vineyard.

Our Lady Of Guadalupe-Patroness of The Americas

December 12 is the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a title given to the Virgin Mary associated with the image housed in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City.   She is the Patroness of the Americas.

Our Lady Of Guadalupe

Our Lady Of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego in the winter of 1531 when he encountered a miraculous apparition while walking from his village to Mexico City on his way to morning mass.  According to legend, as Juan Diego neared the crest of Tepeyac Hill, he suddenly heard the most exquisite music. Surrounded by a brilliant light, he saw a young girl and recognized her as the Virgin Mary. The Lady spoke to him in his own language and sent him to the Bishop of Mexico to ask that a church be built at that site in her honor so that she could be close to her people.

The Bishop needing proof of this vision, asked Juan Diego for a sign from The Virgin Mary.  Even though December was late in the growing season for flowers to bloom, upon returning to the Hill, Mary told Juan Diego to gather flowers from the top of Tepeyac Hill where normally only cacti grows.  There he found Castillian roses growing, a favorite of the Bishop and not native to Mexico, which the Virgin arranged in his peasant tilma cloak.

When Juan Diego opened the cloak before the Bishop, the flowers fell to the floor and in their place was the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe exactly as she had appeared at the Hill which was miraculously imprinted on the fabric. It was December 12, 1531.

The Tilma is now displayed in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, one of the most visited Marian shrines.

The Tilma- Our Lady Of Guadalupe

The Tilma- Our Lady Of Guadalupe

Miracles and Signs-

The tilma (a cloak worn by native Mexicans) of Juan Diego that bears the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe has been the subject of much modern research and scientific investigation.

The tilma was made of cactus fibers which usually lasts no more than 20-30 years yet has miraculously survived and has been on display in the Basilica for almost 500 years.  Despite being exposed to all of the natural elements, the salty and humid environment around the Basilica, the constant contact of hands and kisses of thousands of pilgrims and the handling of the tilma including the times it was subjected to scientific examination, it remains in perfect condition.  All of those who have scientifically examined the image of Our Lady on the cloak confess that its properties are inexplicable and that the image can only be supernatural.

On December 22, 1981 an astronomer performed an astronomical study of the image and analyzed the stellar arrangement that appears on the mantle of Our Lady. They discovered that the star map on the mantle was consistent with what astronomers believe was the sky above Mexico City on the day the apparition occured in the winter-morning solstice of December 12, 1531 at 10:26 am.

Star Chart Our Lady Of Guadalupe

Star Chart Our Lady Of Guadalupe

Do you have the chills yet?

Scientists from the Nasa research center have conducted extensive tests on the fabric and image and have discovered no scientific explanation of how the image was imprinted on the fabric since the image is neither painted, dyed or woven.

In 1956 ophthalmologists magnified the iris and pupils of Our Lady’s eyes in the image and it was discovered that the eyes reflect the Bishop and the other witnesses of the miracle the moment Juan Diego unfurled his tilma before them in the room.

Do you believe in miracles?

Jai Ma.

Desiderata- A Poem for a Way of Life

In the shop, we are constantly asked about the poem, Desiderata.  Everyone including myself, seems to have the same shared experience of having had the poster version of this inspiring poem on their wall when they were younger.    We present it here because it is one of my personal favorites.  Through its gentle guidance, it is comforting and beautifully describes the rite of passage we all take and experience in life. 

In the spirit of Graduation and for all new beginnings-

Desiderata  by Max Ehrmann


Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit,
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.

Spiritual Gardener

I wanna take the preconceived
Out from underneath your feet
We could shake it off
Instead we’ll plant some seeds
We’ll watch them as they grow
And with each new beat
From your heart the roots grow deeper
The branches will they reach for love
                       -Jack Johnson

Happy Spring and Welcome to my first blog post for The Life Divine!

For me, beginnings are all about intention and Spring is the ideal time to begin-A season of renewal. So let’s put some love into motion!

I am a firm believer in the Law of Karma, of sowing and of reaping and understand that the mind is very much like a garden. The seeds that we plant mentally, physically and spiritually, in fertile soil, combined with the right conditions and timing will literally take root, for better or for worse. The key is to be conscious of what seeds we are planting in our mind garden- Thought, Word, Deed and Motivation Seeds.

Honest introspection and self analysis takes some courage but can be quite eye opening and the rewards are truly great. We quickly begin to realize that although there is much in this life that we can’t control, surprisingly there is also quite a lot that we can help to direct. And as a self professed control freak this is great news!

So let’s freshen up the mind soil so to speak, and do some weeding. Healthy soil will give life to fresh thought seeds and create space for new roots to grow. Begin by pulling out those overgrown weeds of old thought patterns and beliefs which limit us and no longer serve us in a positive way. Let’s replace them with new seeds infused with peace, compassion and understanding for ourselves and for others.

Let’s show the garden some love by nurturing and supporting those delicate new roots so that they can grow to be strong and develop into powerful tools of healing and healthy new habits.

And as Maharishi Mahesh Yogi says, “Water the root and enjoy the fruit .”

Love it!

And don’t be surprised by what grows because it is the result of what we ourselves have planted and cultivated, which reminds me of the proverb, a pear tree cannot bear an apple. Very true-

“Follow the wisdom provided by nature. Everything in moderation – sunlight, water, nutrients. Too much of a good thing will topple your structure. You can’t harvest what you don’t sow. So plant your desires, gently nurture them, and they will be rewarded with abundance.” – Vivian Elisabeth Glyck

What seeds are you planting?

What will your branches reach for?

Enjoy the Harvest!