Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas 2009!

QUESTIONS, I'll wait for answers on, pending in THE NEW YEAR? How long am I going to be single- for the rest of my life? Is it best for me to be alone? I hate dating. I love Brien. But I can convince myself that being an on again, off again girlfriend for almost five years is not good for me. I thought this time was going to be different. I was wrong. It must be for a reason. "Accept what comes to you, woven in the pattern of your destiny, for what could more aptly fit your needs." Marcus Aurelis, 1 AD I think I need to take time for me and my practice, and I'm looking forward and happy with my present of now.

WHAT DO I REALLY WANT FOR MYSELF? for my son and for our little family? for our future(s), since I know my son's future is separate from mine... ah, that needs details.

WHAT WILL I DO DIFFERENTLY THIS YEAR TO MAKE THINGS "HAPPEN"? Remembering that true "happiness" is to "let things happen" with acceptance and an open heart, so as to not be resistant or hardened to change, I will align my will, the fire of my desires, with my heart's passions and with a mindful intent. With silent listening and a clear conscious I will set intentions for what I would like to have spring forth in my life.

I will study and practice yoga and meditation every day and every night, which I love doing, so this shouldn't be such a challenge to make time for. Although sometimes I/we put off what we know to be truly good for us, because we are afraid of happiness. I will, with and without Shane, sit for daily meditations, and attend group meditations and yoga gatherings. This means also getting myself to Ananda and/or The Unitarian Church for group sadhana and services. (On the Sundays and weeknights that I am not teaching yoga).

I will immerse myself in Self study and the growth process, which I value immensely and recognize as being beneficial to all those I am in relationship with. I will be disciplined in my study of Anusara Yoga and the Self study that takes place when enrolled in a Teacher Training program. I have committed myself to this training and will set aside the necessary time and funds to make it happen through the spring. A $1500 commitment.

I will be of service to others as a yoga teacher and writer, while making money and providing for my self and my son. I will direct energy towards raising awareness and funds for causes my heart is inspired to help.

I will bring to fruition what I hold dear in my heart: writing books for causes with Shane, like our first effort: "Don't let the Rhinos get extinct like the Dinos", which we've already begun, and I can clearly vision as published and read. This is to be a fundraiser for Save the Rhinos foundation.

I will work smart at writing grants, a new worthwhile career in line with my dharma, for non-profit endeavors I believe in. Starting with one for the Alternative Food Coop, which I'd like to help make an educational resource center for whole foods cooking, "green" shopping and natural wellness.

I will make the amount of money I wish for in detail. An amount of money I need to live the lifestyle I want for my son and I; the amount I desire to fulfill humble, but life giving activities and a sanctuary Shane and I can call home. I will plan for our future, for the summer and for another school year in Matunuck renting.

I will work with and meet people whom will help me grow in areas I'd like to be educated on. Shane wants to be a vegetable and goat farmer, and have a little stand in front of his home garden... next summer. We will prepare for a garden and for a summer with some travel- back to CA and perhaps some dinosaur excavation sites.

I am not a farmer, or a carpenter, but someday I would like to build or live in a simple, "green" home, with light and love and tremendous nurturing qualities. I will do what I can to make this possible, one day at a time, one penny at a time, one grant at a time, one book at a time, and one relationship at a time. Honestly, I know I do not have the ability to do this on my own, but who knows if I go toward it I may get the help I need. I have a lot to learn in this respect and I really feel I need a loving partner to do this with, someone with patience, creativity and good money management. It sure would be nice if we were in love too. I was liking my mutual interest in this area with ... oh, but I may need to move on...

I want to write, plant, travel and teach, and always practice yoga. Yes, always practice yoga, for in practice we grow, and in teaching what we practice, we offer what we have in abundance to the world, and often that is an abundance of lessons yet to be learned.

Dream big, let go of what you no longer need. And be free from struggle, accepting and open to possibility!

Namaste~ and HaPpy NEw YEar!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Snowfall Reflections & Wishes for 2010

It's been so dark lately, but this weekend's snowfall has shined lots of light on the darkness, and is creating quite a lot of reflection. Everybody's dark sides are coming to light, and bouncing off each other. It's part of nature, but it can often be a painful time and hard to accept. During this winter season sparkling with Holydays, I pray that all beings everywhere withstand the darkness, and see their own light as divine goodness, shining on the serene, the beautiful and the sacred, and when dark corners are unveiled into light, may we be accepting without overreaction but with grace and equanimity. With this we can shine light on the possibility of growth and healing.

I need to remember this as I deal with the realities and unrealities that I am faced with, on this darkest night of the year. I thought he loved me. If he loves me I'll stick it out. I just don't know anymore. He says I never come to the middle, yet that's what I do and request all the time, to take a break when stressed, instead of being reactionary. To apologize when we've over reacted. I can not be his dream girl, the perfect woman- the one 'like mother, but without mother's faults.' We all have a dark and a bright side. It takes acceptance to understand that. I am not his mother. This snow is just glaringly mirror-like in all directions, and it's shining lots of light on dark corners. Everything he says about me, I swear he could be saying to his own reflection, and he probably thinks the same of my words. It's very confusing. What can simplify things is acceptance and opening to Grace, not over reactivitiy. So I must move on and look forward with an open heart.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

It Takes A Village - West coast, East coast - no difference, it takes hard work and dedicated villagers to make the changes needed in this world!

ORGANIC PRODUCE at The ALTERNATIVE FOOD COOP - in the heart of Wakefield, RI Colorful food and all kinds of friendly folks and characters make this community mainstay a happening place!

California, the west.... indeed a lot of health conscious movers and shakers are out there, but they are here in Rhode Island too. Have you heard about the SK Public School's Community Learning Program (CLP)? -

Have you experienced shopping, eating, learning or volunteering at Wakefied's Alternative Food Cooperative (AFC)?

AFC is one of the last small cooperatives in the US, with working volunteers and an all-organic, primarily local produce section. AFC now has one of southern Rhode Island's most loved and revered chef's heading the kitchen, with vegan, gluten free and all organic choices from Thai Tofu Stew to Gluten-free, Chocolate, Raspberry Muffins! Yum! - Yes, now at AFC is Chris Bassett of Pepper's and Wileys at Middlebridge fame? Great stuff with more to come, like more cooking classes and education from the AFC board members, staff, volunteers and customers!

It takes a village to create the change we want to see in the world! Start with your own life, then see how you can be a part of the bigger picture - be creative, volunteer, share your gifts, create income out of what you offer, educate and help us all grow, organically, into a more sustainable community and world we feel proud of!

I was inspired to write this after reading a link offered up from a fellow friend, yogini and facebooker. Here's the link: read and come back.

kalman.blogs.nytimes.comNovember 26, 2009, 8:32
Creating change out west, in the tofu eating, electric car driving mainstream, can be just as difficult as anywhere else, and only gets more possible when the community is there to support it. Communities in CA may be the pioneers of change and idealistic goals may get underfoot decades before the east coast even has enough wishful thinkers of the idea, but positive change can occur anywhere. It just takes gumption, perserverance, dedication and community networking and support!

Before Alice Waters's Edible Schoolyard, was Earth Save's (John Robbins' effort), "The Healthy School Lunch Project," that originated in Santa Cruz,CA. Both projects emphasize(d) educating students on where their food comes from, on how it is prepared, and how to relax and eat it. I worked as a volunteer in Santa Fe, NM's public schools in the mid 90's with a combo project of these two programs. We had local chefs volunteering in the classrooms, sharing simple, whole food preparation and easy recipes with the kids; the dishes made were incorporated into the hot lunch choices that week after some education and training of the food service workers. It was a lot of work! Before all that we had to deal with lessening the food service's robotic dependence on subsidized canned food- high in sodium, fat and preservatives, and selling whole food prep to them with time constraints was a challenge.

The lack of interest and will within all levels of the Santa Fe PS district's administration was also a challenge, as making any changes to the state and federal programs that fund their schools was a definite no, no -appropriations of funds and the subsidized over stocked processed foods that fill school kitchens is figured according to the number of low income students getting free lunch. Would kids eat healthier food?-- many pessimist said no. Having local businesses, respected physicians, Naturopaths, health food stores, coops, restauranteurs, teachers (especially health teachers) and parents supporting the change and convincing the school board, was a huge political plus. One day a week we managed to have local restauranteurs', shops', farmers' and artisians' produce, breads and cheeses purchased with "Healthy School Lunch Program" grant money, and the food was used in the classrooms and lunch program. Even if we didn't get the institutionalized food to change 100% the healthy choices were well received and kids LEARNED that fresh and whole foods are not only more delicious, but fun and healthy alternatives. Making positive changes in a stubborn environment, is a challenge where ever you are, but set an intention, do your best and work with other like minded citizens. Together, we can make differences that add up to change, slow but sure!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Indian summer hikes with tikes! Reflections on: ancient rocks, courageous saplings and changing seasons.

Do you think you can? ...
Take a walk? Climb a rock? Hug a tree? And yes, take a pee (off the trail)? When nature calls are you listening?? Do you respond with a drive to, and then hike in, your local nature preserves or wildlife refuges?

Apparently doctors are beginning to recommend a simple hike in nature as a bit of panacea for the ailing and depressed. See Shannon Baer's 'Backyard Mama' blogsite and the Washington Post article she links to, for a very interesting take on the healing power of nature.

Personally, I think we all know that 'a hike a weekend' would do wonders for our psyche. Hiking within our inner-self, and in our great big world, as well as with others proves that our interconnectedness is clear. The examples are everywhere: fallen leaves- greying hair; determined saplings - determined boys; toppling walls and useless boundaries (efforts gone a rye, yet still appreciated-the long dead farmers who set their pasteur boundaries, and the hundred years of moss and mold living off their walls). I appreciate every hollowed and rotted snag for the old trees are homes to insects, birds, squirrels and more. Indeed, we are all connected in the cycles of being.

We are all changing matter sharing this planet.

I love this video of our little friend Elliot climbing, inch by inch, up an old rock at The Francis Carter Preserve in Charlestown, RI. If you remember, there's nothing quite like reaching the top of a dinosaur size rock in a forest full of wild things, and as a parent, it's so sweet to hear the call, "Look at me, Mom!". A true parenting and childhood mile"stone".

If you didn't read my recent article, "Wildlife Biology- A career for nature- loving kids", as printed in the Nov. 11th Narragansett Times, or in the Nov. 18th Charlestown Press, then check out: Connecting children with the wonderful cycles of wildlife is both a service to yourself, and to them. You're fostering their love of the natural world, and hence cultivating their interests into potential careers in the biological and earth sciences, plus a good hike enriches your relationship.

Enjoy the natural world... get to know your wildlife refuges and nature preserves.
I know you can get out and feel better, reach milestones, and enjoy an any season hike!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Now it's November - thanks for the hour!!

Okay, I went the whole month of October, which was full of stories, without writing one single blog.
What's that about?? Too busy, and too tired, really? Really. Well, today I got that extra hour so I have no excuse. Besides writing, I pulled over and took a walk on the wild side today, along my hometown's fabulous bike path. What did you do with your extra hour?

I had a GREAT OCTOBER and feel very inspired to keep striving for happiness. Ever since I quit the job that just wasn't right for me (June 30), I've been riding a better wave. The sun has since moved through Leo, Virgo, Libra and is now in intense Scorpio, I think I've come full circle with firey Sagittarius right around the corner. I'm intensifying my new placement in this lifetime with a deeper devotion to whom and what I love, and with immense gratitude. It's so nice and healthy to be able to lead my life with complete integrity.

If you're feeling dis-eased, reacces where you work, who you work with, and who you work for, and if you're not working at all right now, start volunteering in a field you love, or with people you can relate to. Helping others will lead you to being helped; being of service relieves depression and isolation.

Letting go of what you no longer need, or releasing what is not working for you, is being true to yourself. Give the job you hate to someone who will love it and flourish. I've learned that being financially in a hole for a season or two is worth the chance to plant new seeds and bloom anew. Make room for what you WANT to do, and do it. Your needs will be fulfilled in time, and abundance may even follow. Stay in the dream with a great big picture. Create the life you want and get the support from the UNIVERSE by being true to your heart.

I am finally doing ONLY what I love, advocating, supporting and teaching what I believe in. Living a lifestyle of health and sustainability are key to my being well in spirit, as well as in body and mind. I'm teaching yoga and Pilates at two locations that both support motherhood - with onsite childcare- and I am working and volunteering at my community's Alternative Food Coop and at my son's school. It's great being back in the natural foods/products industry, and it's wonderful being back in schools. I taught elementary school for seven years, and in the natural health field for seven as well, so indeed I've come full circle.

My intention for November is to continue to strive to be happy, healthy and giving and to deepen my connection to others and to helping others heal. I am truly Thankful for where my arduous journey has taken me. Where has your journey since summer taken you, and are you grateful for the lessons you've learned and the fruit you're now harvesting?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Being Present: Back deck science needs an audience; be there or be square.

I can remember when my son was a newborn and my mind and heart were in a continual tug of war; "Do I continue to wriggle toes to silly songs, or do I attend to the house work, bills and all of life's looming responsibilities?" How do I do my best and remain guilt free if my attention is compromised by the distraction of ambiguous priorities?

The question as to how to be 100% present for our families, while maintaining balance, begs to hear the answer to first let go of expectations and just do your best. If I let go of what I 'think' will make me more centered (no dishes in the sink, or getting that office email out before dinner) and instead make time for reflection, meditation or "sharpening the saw", as Stephen Covey suggests, then the chaos and ambiguity of a world full of important tasks falls away, and what rises is a clearer focus on the big picture and "first things first".

A good intention to begin with is to be present, and to do our very best in everything we do; when we do so there is no room for self-guilt or disappointment. This is one of Deepak Chopra's 'Seven Spiritual Laws for Success' and one of the most common incentives I offer up to my son. That and being open to growth and acceptance to change.

I was so happy to record Shane on the back deck experimenting with water balloons. He'd been at it for almost a half hour, still playing in his pj's till well after noon on a sunny, sniffly nose Sunday. His cold kept him home from school the following day and we had to be flexible to get work done even when 100% was hard to give.

I had to take pause to reflect on 'the big picture', that striving for happiness, wellness and peace was of utmost importance to me and that my being present for my son, and in all that I do, will surely add up to a world of great worth and fond memories.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Humming Children - and the freedom to play, dream, and rest

Where friends meet friends,
we smile.

Where rain meets earth,
we splash.

Where music meets hearts,
we sing.

Where song meets soul,
we dance.

Where years meet story,
we see.

Where moonlight meets path,
we walk.

Where darkness meets light,
we dream.

We dream.

Rachel Isadora, from the children's book, Caribbean Dream

All over the world children hum as they walk to school, chew a snack, or color a rainbow sky. Their head thoughts are heart songs that sing their soul into the moment, sweeping their imaginations into play, or stilling their busy beats into a melodic daydream.

When you find a picture book with prose and images that capture the laze and daze of being carefree, don't you just want to stay awhile? Sharing someone else's story makes us all one and the same; we all want the peace to be sustaining.

Children's book author, Rachel Isadora, connects every child whether from South Africa, Haiti or America, to the universal rhythms of calm, and brings the differences we have, as to how we eat and sleep, work and play, into a place of understanding and relativity.

One of the most sustainable things you can do is check out library books. One of the most precious things you can spend your time doing is reading the books with your child. One of the most mind expanding and heart felt things you can do is read about families from around the world and how they sing, dance, laugh and play.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Grace under Pressure

How do we keep our cool when the temperature rises in our blood? Do we count to ten and breathe deep like our elementary school guidance counselors used to tell us, or do we take the stress in and spit it out with volcanic eruptions?

This weekend in New England, the barometric pressure is high, a storm is brewing and celestially and energetically we are all being affected. So keeping our cool is being put to the test. More on that after I reread and recap a recent astrological report that shook me up a bit with warnings.

In any case, and there are many out there, try this during an emotional thunder storem: shut your eyes, look inward at your third eye (the calm) and try to heed your intuition's silent advice which is to just be still. Let it rain, Let it rain, Let it rain, but remain the calm in the eye of the storm.

Let every mean and cruel, volatile word or action swirl around you and stay still, even when you are accused of avoiding the situation, stay calm and yes breath a whirl of fresh ocean air in and about the rocky coastline of your being, now bruised and a bit eroded, but still beautiful and full of Grace.

Accept the storm, know it will pass, and prepare to no longer accept the damage and violations to your spirit that your unsettled feelings have stirred. Be the beach at low tide and just let the seaweed and driftwood find a still place to settle on your shore, knowing that the calm is always the best place to be in a storm, even in the midst of it.

hOMe Shanti Shanti Shanti

Saturday, August 8, 2009

I lost a Dear Friend and the world lost a Soulful Teacher- Mike Occhi, Dec.17, 1963-July 30, 2009

DEATH is a dialogue between
The spirit and the dust.
“Dissolve,” says Death.
The Spirit, “Sir,I have another trust.”
Death doubts it, argues from the ground
The Spirit turns away,
Just laying off, for evidence.
An overcoat of clay

Emily Dickinson

Although Emily Dickinson died in the mid 1800's she left poetry and teachings that are her legacy, and hence continues to inspire and change people's worlds by her words. My dear friend Michael Occhi was an English teacher inspired by Emily's soulful prose. He too has passed and left admirers and students in his wake, raw with grief yet inspired by his example and teachings. Mike led a life lived with compassion and kindness for others. Mike's genuine regard for all living things was a conviction. It was surrounded by his heart, not by piousness, but by an unpretentious self assurance that his way (genuine compassion) was the only way for him to live.

Mike's soul picked him to lead such a life of giving and compassion. His Soul and God got lucky, for he fulfilled a great deal on his path and fulfilled so much of his life's purpose. Teaching High School English in Central Falls for fourteen years was a big part of his dharma, and many, many lives can attest to it's worthiness. Mike is now helping God with even greater work, but even within the circumstances of his tragic death Mike continues to teach. And for all of us that are so fortunate to have known him, we can learn from his Grace to walk to the beat of our own drum, and to fulfill our dharma.


A teacher is a person who can inspire someone else to be interested in a subject. Someone who is enthusiastic about something; to impart the knowledge of; to give intelligence concerning; to inculcate as true or important; to exhibit impressively; to direct, as an instructor; to manage, as a preceptor; to guide the studies of. Teaching is one of God’s highest callings for His children ... ask God it might be you !

Mike dwelled with peace in his heart, awareness in his mind and grace in his deeds.

Friday, July 17, 2009

JULY Yoga: Root Down to Rise Up

Tis' the season of growth; every garden is getting greener, every forest thicker, every child taller, and with this season's rainy days and most welcomed bright summer sun, there's inevitably a rash of spontaneous sprouting- stories filled with love and adventure, and rich memories that are the fruit of life.

With all the growth and ripening fruit we can sometimes forget that it is our roots that first connect us with our Source, and it is the integrity of our soil, a metaphor for our values, that helps create our dreams and the life we strive to fulfill.

How well we're nurtured, just as how well we nurture our own soil, is vitally important for the development of our integrity and garden of life. In "Rooting down" and then drawing up the earth's energy into our physical and energetic body, our heart and wisdom center receive the support of the earth and allow us to grow along with and into the flow of Universal intent. When we go against the Unviersal flow of energy toward happiness and bliss, we often are going against our own heart's wishes, but when we root down, and connect with our Source and our roots, we can rise up with integrity.

In our yoga practice, both on and off the mat, we must first consider our foundation; how we plant our feet or hands on the earth, and how we walk our talk. Our Dharmic path comes from a knowing that lies deep within and is nurtured by the soil of our upbringing. When we forget about our roots, or travel around in a mental and physical world that fails to plant roots, and set intentions, then there is a lack of directed creative force enriched by a foundation of values. When we have the confidence that our home is in our heart, and is endlessly supported by God's love, then we can fill it with purpose and values and within this nourishing environment plant seeds, then "root down and rise up" being the best we can be.

How will you know the
Difficulties of being human,
if you're always
Flying off to blue perfection?

Where will you plant your

We need Ground
To scrape and hoe,
not the sky of
unspecified desire.


Apex Asana: Vrksasana & Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Tree & Downward Facing Tree-handstand prep and practice)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Missing Shane - the bicoastal parenting predicament

First off if you want to see an adorably healthy little power yogi, check out my son going from downward dog to to a humingbird like fury of "star, pencil, star, pencil", aka jumping jacks. It's too cute. ---Oops, too big to upload here, visit my Facebook page: Rebecca J. Briggs. Second off, this is long. Sorry. I needed to journal this out.

Tonight is a Green Drinks South County pot luck - an event I get to go to minus my little guy. His green little being is in CA with his papa who lives off the grid in the redwood forested wine country of northern Sonoma along the Mendocino County border. Shane's dad is the real thing when it comes to living wild and sustainably-- Biodiesel old Mercedes, fruit trees in the yard, no refrigerator... a generator, the very hot "sun belt" sunshine, and a battery are the wood stove heated house's only power (tunes, tv & late night lights). I'm sure they've been chopping wood, bushwacking through the forest, and nailing down deck planks.

Papa's got a slew of projects any little boy would cherish being able to do with his father's loving eye and aide. Shane's even got his own bedroom to paint, and a keyboard to take piano lessons on. Shane started art classes this week at Gualala's Art Center and is loving it; it's so adorable hearing him share his culinary and arts n' craft projects with me. I call nightly, but I know Shane isn't big on talking if his heart hurts - sometimes he just doesn't want my distraction. He rather stay present, feeling the pangs of missing one of his parents when they are far away is not easy. I call him nightly and when he asks, "So What are you doing Mommy?" I just gasp with love and fondness, savoring the sound of his high pitched adorable little voice (sounds like my mom - voices are maternal you know).

I feel happy for both him and his father, for sharing time together is bliss and their God given right- Shane was with me through his entire kindergarten school year, 'cept for 10 days over the holidays. But what is a mother to do, when the father wants his son on the West Coast year round, while mom and son have been happily homesteading on the East Coast? Papa loves CA, lives almost rent free, and feels he has more work out there (as a Structural Integration Practitioner, aka Rolfer) and he does; although it's tough in this economy. He does not want to come East at all, and it was only last minute that he got himself east at Christmas time- the ole' money, time from work, bla bla bla, as if those are not issues for me as well. Our family and loved ones have shared our bicoastal travel expenses on more than one occassion, mind you.

The real issue here is, he doesn't like me or RI, and while I love Northern CA and have lived out west for more than 12 years of my adult life, and will take a risk with my personal time and money for a CA adventure whenever I can squeeze it out, he is more financially conservative to say the least. CA is outrageously gorgeous, and full of peace and nature loving friends new and old and yet to be made. And yes, I'm a sucker for not receiving any child support during the year from my son's father since we last moved from beneath the Pacific Sky back in Feb of 2007- it's sort of been an unsaid pack that he doesn't have to pay me atnything cuz he doesn't have any $ and it was my choice to move back to RI. (Note, with pleads I've gotten some financial reimbursement on some of Shane's after school care). Yes, Papa can be a difficult Pr-ck to communicate with, which of course he also says about me. We try to do our best with our dharmic & kharmic paths, and I most often give him the benefit of the doubt, because my intuition and heart know how much he cares for and loves his son... until I get another person's opinion, and until I think about how other moms in my position, facing what they may see and have to embrace, would respond or do in my situation. Most women would never get them selves in such predicaments.

It's a tough balancing act, but I do want to get along, for all of our sakes. Life is just too short to waste time fighting. I think, and I may be wrong, because I DO NOT have all the answers, nor do I want to have them, that Shane's father is angry at me for not being who'd he rather of had this amazingly wonderful child with, and i am indeed a symbol of responsiblity- a parent, an authority figure - I am not his parent, but I am one, his son's, and in so doing we are mirrors to each other and all parents. Moreover, our Mercury's are SQUARED - which is an energy of constantly conflicting communication.

Bottom line is I am a mother and I want my son to have a stable footing, and secure feelings regarding his families love and support for him. I want his roots with us to always be supported with nuturance and enriched with a fertile soil of experiences, education and role modeling that will supply him with the confidence to be who he is, a charming, creative, gentle but courageous spirit, loved and loving, silly and smart, sweet and special to us all. His happiness, safety and overall well being, along with love for himself and others are the underlying principles for Shane's upbringing and I do not want him to be a witness to verbal abuse. I must keep my balance around his father, which often means avoiding situations where he becomes an agressor or defender in a mindcreated war that there is no need for. I am learning more about Verbal Abuse and have a few of Patricia ?'s books ordered- I anxiously await there arrival. (Counselors so far have sucked.)

Moreover, I have lived in CA, and love the great beauty and openess, but feel the east coast is a more grounded environment to raise a child in, with outstanding schools and for me a large base of family and friends and a far lesser -in your face- drug culture, that I do not want to have an impressionable child having to deal with on a regular basis. I love both CA and RI and feel confident with my directed effort I can do what I love where ever I am - teach yoga and educate and advocate natural health and sustainability. Thankfully, Shane, God bless his soul, loves travel and adventure and both coasts. Shane does get very attached to people, places and things though, be it his LEO nature, and he has often stated that he wants to go to Matunuck School still, and I would like this as well, for as a former elementary school teacher in both the private and public sectors, out west and in RI, The Matunuck Elementary School, Principal Deb Zepp and the faculty, especially Matunuck's Speech specialist are far above outstanding!

I also have a loving relationship here in RI, though we've never lived together like a family would, we are finally ready to try it. I matter that in as part of my well being and that of my son's, for love and happiness and positive role modeling of loving, respectfully communicative adults is huge. I wish my dad was more respectful to my mom; he's getting better in old age... at least I think he is. I really think and feel I have a keeper relationship, with a responsible, loving man. I feel supported, balanced and loved, and I feel appreciated and respected, especially when I can work on issues of verbal abuse and mental health with this man. That's important, especially when my son has seen his fare share of dysfunctional adult relationships. Lord help us help ourselves.

So I pray daily for peace and freedom from struggles such as verbal abuse, and perhaps if I continue to direct my energy on the positive and envision the very best scenario for all of us all of our energies will flow towards a happy bicoastal situation where my work brings me to both coasts and all of our lives flourish with love and abundance within the two environments.

Friday, July 3, 2009

California Dreaming

well here I am in Sebastopol, CA. Shane is with his father for the summer. We had a nice few days together as a family, hiking around the Gulala River and around his Papa's Anapolis home, and if it wasn't for the male figure's inability to be a mature adult and calmly converse with me about common parenting responsibilities without feeling threatened I'd still be up in Mendonoma spending a nice fourth of July weekend with them. I tried to politely inquire about concerns that other parents would take up as priorities, apparently he felt I was hovering and being controlling. I just don't know what to do. My intuition tells me to just let him be a parent on his own, make his own mistakes, and hopefully he'll make sure that his son is not damaged or injured by his choices and behavior. Shane is "learning how a guy lives."

My main concern is that Shane continues to have a weak role model when it comes to an adult male communicating respectfully to women, especially to me, the mother of his child; the child he didn't want to have with me, but now loves incredibly. What am I to trust, when a father rolls his eyes when the mother explains the summer homework their child's speech teacher asks for follow through on, and then scuffs at an inquiry over whether he has a first aid kit handy (i mean after all, living off the grid in a mountain house thirty minutes from the nearest town where cutting wood, bushwacking through forest and cliff hiking are common practices, does make one wonder about where the aide is if something sudden and unexpectedly happens.) I wasn't judging him, I was inquiring about the well being of my son. But what really got me was how defensive said father got when I inquired about his plan for childcare when he was at work. You'd think I was asking about his habits! My heart still hurts.

I had to leave so that the father role and appropriate adult behavior could kick in, because unfortunately I apparently create an energy around him that makes him revert back to an antiauthority disrespectful, irrational adolesent. I'm sorry. I will need to keep clear of conversations that triger this distrust in me of him, and trust in his love for his son, that all will be well. I want to do my best to insure my son's well being, as all mother's do, and I do try my best to do so, without interferring with a father's parental duties???, but is the situation I see acceptable? I guess it needs to be. what am i saying?? help!! I'm trying to figure this out as I go along and it's hard.

My Santa Rosa based friend Darrah is in LA and I'm in Sonoma alone waiting to I guess, fly back East. I have three days to wait out, and have very little left financially to work with. I have a number of choices to make right now, and am waiting for some guidance. I'm heading to Healdsburg to camp and we'll see what happens next.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Inspired by the Aperion Institutes Sustainability Fest

A few weekends ago my son and I went to the Aperion Sustainable Living Festival in Coventry, RI. I worked back stage on both afternoons and enjoyed the music entirely, especially the Providence trio, The Low Anthem; you must download at least their song Charlie Darwin. The Low Anthem is both earthy and airy, deep but laid back, and all three muscians are very accomplished and uniquely creative, from clarinet to cell phone solos, they're a must see live mellow, mind blowing sensation.

What I got most out of the Festival though, is my intensified aspiration toward further pursuing a career in LOHAS, most especially sustainable building, along with ecology and natural health education. I want to advocate "Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability" by teaching yoga and natural living alternatives; traveling around sharing the needed information, closing the contracts on green actions, and aligning green entrepreneurs with individuals, schools and businesses needing their products and services.

I made some great contacts, Dave Eger from Boston, Katrina Lutz from People's Power and Light, and all the nice folks at Aperion, plus so many more, like the good folks at Asteris and Clean Energy Builders; all well educated and experienced in building, renovating and maintaining a sustainable planet. I need to direct my life's resume of inspiration and experience and try to be of service to this burgeoning path by helping direct it's flow toward action now. I want to be a part of moving the whole world forward towards social and environmental sustainability one act at a time. I want to be a part of this and can only listen to my truth and start the pursuit to fulfill my dharma wholeheartedly, and "let the beauty I love, be what I do" - I love this planet and the natural paths to make it last and be most at peace and in concert with nature.

Today my horoscope reads:
"Allow your optimistic attitude to envision successful outcomes. Even if you are experiencing doubts, give yourself permission to dream big. This will help you stretch beyond what you had believed was possible. Your energy and purpose could allow you to break through barriers today that you had previously been unable to move through. "

Good thing because my son's father and I are booking flights for Shane and I to fly out to California shortly after the last week of Shane's school year - via the help of his family (Thank you, Thank you!) I'm not sure if we are moving out on the 20th or 26th, but either way I need to get my things into storage or into the new house that I hope to rent as a year round. I'll need to rent it out while in CA and come up with $1,700 by July 1rst or 15th. I think I can, I think I can. Or am I, we, going to be staying... living with Brien?

I will spend a week out in CA getting Shane settled in and checking out the area and community in which his father lives and who hopefully meeting some of the people Shane will be spending time with. If SORI has their ducks in a row I'll stay more than a week; if not I'll be back and honestly either way is fine with me. Ideally, I would like to work for SO through mid July (selling into August and then fly out west again to Denver for the Wanderlust yoga and music conference if I can afford to. But trying to make ends meet is hard enough as it is, but I do need to have money saved for the my time in CA in August and for his birthday, and our return after August 17th. I'll have only two weeks before school starts again before I go full on teaching yoga and pushing my company, hOMnaturale: yoga, thai massage, natural home and family health.

Wish me luck... with energy and purpose I'll break on through!!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Taking the risk to bloom, pulling weeds first

Inspired by President Obama's commencement speech and drive. Inspired by Kevin's enthusiasm, Natale Design and Build's interest, and inspired by my enjoyment of the Green Drinks gathering last night at the Shady Lea mills... I put my notice in today at the magazine. I really don't like selling advertising and I'm not good at it, especially in a depressed economy when I see so many businesses struggling. Advertising will get people wanting, but if they don't need it, no ad is going get them spending money they don't have. And besides, It's been costing me more money to work then I bring in and my spirit gets killed every press week. It should be rewarding and its damaging to me instead.

Even with a positive attitude and when most of the time I'm enjoying my work - the drives, the people, the magazine, the creative expressionism, even the busy systematic work with all it's challenges (slow email, no printer, gas money and time consuming drives). What kills me the most is the pressure to be perfect in areas that I'm not very good in - that is killing me, emotionally, spiritually and financially.

I know I've given this work a great deal of my best, but I'm needed to release it (the job) and like Obama said, do what inspires me what interest me, what I"m good at, and do it full on. " Let the beauty I love, be what I do." rumi My son, his art, our art, my passion for sustainable living and natural health, yoga, nature, dancing and music, community outreach, being of service, evolving spirits, these things interest me and I am very drawn to them. "Let yourself be silently drawn to what you really love." rumi

I am excited and relieved even with all the scary aspects I face. ( I hate to even state them here... people will think I'm crazy!)
I must stay positive, and feel all the abundance energy around me as a support when doing what my soul guides me to do. I will be happy - I am a happy person and choose happiness over sadness. But I am sad to and mourning many things, ideas and relationships.

Most importantly is my child's well fare. Our secure, stable existence is of utmost importance and I am going to give that/him/us my 100% attention - we will survive and thrive happily, yes with some adventure, but never again with such insecurity.

Thank you God, government and my own talents, grace and courage.

Thanks for listenting. Wish me luck and success and the spirit to perservere and do my best.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

what do i really want

okay i'm just going to put it out there. i want to live yes, in the country- as my recent facebook challenge tested me on, but also in a sustainable lifestyle, so I'd like to walk to places I frequent or at least bike or drive less than what I am doing now living in beautiful Matunuck on the outreaches of the great little town of Wakefield, RI. I love being by the beach, by the ocean enough to hear the waves, feel the mist and smell the sea breeze and ocean roses.

I like seeing the red bird sweep cross my path on Green Hill Beach Road and I love the drive along Matunuck School House Rd, but I'm always late and in a rush - so the sweep of nature is more of a tug at my heart than the calming pulse of it when the earth is beneath my feet. So I want to be in nature more and to be a part of my community more as a servant volunteer that is happily giving and receiving, and I want my boy Shane along side me.

I want a job... job... what a weird word. where or what did that word derive from? any one know, please do tell.
I want work that is not as competitive and heart breaking and as much a test of my ills. Sure I know you get what you need, and the perks are tremendous pluses. I love the friendly exchanges I have with my clients and seeing the communities evolve with progress, or change with seasons, in repair and disrepair, vacant buildings and spruced up ones. like today in Hope Valley - what a joy of a day working with Jon at URE outfitters and Doug at the Hack and Livery and having a Dels and checking out James' new digs all cool cafed out there. I was very impressed and pleased, because I need all the internet cafes I can get - that have style and appeal.

Okay, I want a man that I can love and who loves me back, unconditionally, and he must have the desire to grow and expand with me and my little family. I love to travel and want to explore the world with my son, and continue to cross the country with him on trips and extended stays in California, the other state I just absolutely love (besides Rhode Island- less the accents and the egos, RI is a sweet little state with a big heart and so much to offer and enjoy from simple pleasures like a walk on a beach to grand pleasures like sunset over the Newport bridge and dinners at BRuna's Table, Valuna or CAV or a movie at the Cable Car or sailing out to sea (which I haven't done enough of).

I want a career where I can continue to teach yoga and support my life mission, to spread LOHAS and LOVE, while also fulfilling my responsibilities with financial stability and security for my son and I, as well as the enrichment of our minds, spirits and soul through adventures of the heart and seeking out our interests and fulfilling dreams.

I'd love to be able to build or renovate a green home, simple,small and sustainable with views and tubs and decks or porches, flowering weeds and rock walls, maybe staw bale with big fat walls and stain glass windows.

I want to meet a man who is into this too, and wants to work with me to fulfill this dream, and also the dream of having a yoga studio in the communities we live in (physical and virtual) that are also proud and humble examples of sustainable living and community service *like the homes we live in. I want to help more mothers get on their mats and receive the guidance and support for self empowerment and connection that they need, whether in my own home towns or in a impoverished country around the world.

I want to help Shane see his father in the greatest light possible and to be a good, gentleman himself with confidence and artistry and productivity that serves others and provides a good life for himself that would make us all proud and grateful. Amen.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Wise words I sought in response to my cry

I want you to pay ultimate respect to yourself. Understand your power as a potent prophet of your own life. Flush away the images running around your imagination that are not in harmony with your life goals. Create images that encourage you to be your best. Cultivate feelings and ideas and imaginations that are in alignment with your highest ideals and deepest desires.

Rob Brezney

Merury in retrograde, Rebecca in retrograde

Ugh. the ups and downs of life, the steps forward and the retro back.

thank God for my little boy. he is pure joy, my shining star, the love of my life. Oh, but I did think I'd have true love in this life time too. a partner one day. what ta f___k. men. what is meant for me? what is going on?

i feel like screaming help. like crying and retiring into the woods on a long, long walk to regain my sense of self, my true natural state of me. where am i leading my life? what do i want? how can I create the life I want. first i need to figure out what specifics I need to self actualize.

more exuberant yoga and dance. more sunshine and greenery. more fresh air and friends. margaritas with less sugar and more zing in an outdoor seating with a view setting.

more love with love coming right back or surprisingly first.
less hives. less fear. less anger. less frustration. less poverty.

more abundance. more optemism. more scrupulant observations of self. more Shane.
more creativity actualized on my end. more step by step prioritizing and productivity.

more practice at patience. more breath. more prayer. more meditation.
less struggle. more grace.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Inspired Ramblings after an afternoon with Douglas Brooks

"We are all connected - even if you can't see how, just being in the world changes the world. We are all connected and anything can happen." Douglas Brooks Northampton, Ma 4/25/09

It was a gorgeous, early spring afternoon at the lofty Yoga Sanctuary in beautiful, Shri filled Northampton, MA when and where I was fortunate to sit with the well known and respected Tantric philosopher, Douglas Brooks. In true form, Douglas beamed his light on a group of us eager students of Anusara yoga, as he spoke effortlessly clear about Shri, Kharma and Lela and about how the Universe and Consciousness are always changing and how being Open to Grace and to the promise that anything is possible, we align ourselves more willingly to the Universal Divine Consciousness that flows with out organization, but rather in chaos gracefully aligned in organized patterns of pure Grace. Satchitananda.

I have always believed, this is me, Rebecca, speaking now, that life as we know it - in our bodies, on this planet, at this time, is purely for our soul to travel and adventure through while fulfilling Dharma, and that the adventure is an ever changing, infinite Universal path. Douglas confirmed this notion.

"Reality is essentially dynamic - there is a dynamism of Consciousness and the Universe is always singing, always moving, the discourse never ends." Douglas Brooks

This soulful life adventure I speak of, and as Douglas calls 'dynamic', can be expressed as Shri (shree) in Sanskrit. Another one of my great Anusara yoga teachers, Deb Neubauer, describes Shri as the manifestation of all of the earthly and unearthly force that it takes to make a white lacy bloom spring from the green fist of a peony*. (*Read Mary Oliver's poem in my March blog post.)

is the active manifestation of our Dharma, our soul's mission in this lifetime, and as the sum of all life, Shri holds the energy of all souls.

Our mind's path to our soul is in itself our ever-changing, full of chatter, consciousness, and because we are all a part of and in access of Divine Consciousness when we open to Grace, we can find peace and contentment and hence manifest Shri more completely. Opening to Grace helps us to accept what happens to us, and when we can hold on to what we need and let go of what we don't need (to have or do) then we remain open to all possibilities and can progressively change and grow, create and release.

What else is there to measure our lives by if we are not listening to and acting with respect to the guidance of our soul? Ah, but wait, every thing else is not wasted time, as I recall Douglas illuminated on how life throws us unexpected surprises, both negative and positive (Lela) along with causable expectations (Kharma). It's just part of the infinite mystery.

Whether now or at the time of the dinosaurs or precambrian algae, all life has been in constant movement, continuously changing. Change is the only true constant, and there is Kharmic change and there is Lela - the unknown, without reasonable cause change - Lela's extremes being the very evil and the very blessed behaviors and occurrances that are unexplainable. And Kharma being that which we caused and could prevent or manifest willfully. Both manifest as part of Shri - the life we affirm while on this path. "What is revealed is also hidden"; "in order for everything to be equal everything must be different"; "as it was then, so it will be next time" , and in contrast,
"shit happens, God happens."
Douglas Brooks, not all in that order, and in great reverance to the Bhagavagita.

Of course the questions remain and are an infinite part of the narrative that Kharma and Lela create as a part of Shri. If not for the continuation of our soul's journey, then why live at all? And if we don't embrace our ever changing life from embryo to corpse then how are we to travel in the path of Divine Consciousness on this never ending journey?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Green fists of the peonies: Shri, life, manifesting


This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
to break my heart
as the sun rises,
as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers

and they open ---
pools of lace,
white and pink ---
and all day the black ants climb over them,

boring their deep and mysterious holes
into the curls,
craving the sweet sap,
taking it away

to their dark, underground cities ---
and all day
under the shifty wind,
as in a dance to the great wedding,

the flowers bend their bright bodies,
and tip their fragrance to the air,
and rise,
their red stems holding

all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly,
and there it is again ---
beauty the brave, the exemplary,

blazing open.
Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?

Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?

Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and softly,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,

with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
their eagerness
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
nothing, forever?

~Mary Oliver

Friday, March 6, 2009

Anugraha and Dreams

Dreams surely are difficult, confusing, and not everything in them is brought to pass for mankind. For fleeting dreams have two gates: one is fashioned of horn and one of ivory. Those which pass through the one of sawn ivory are deceptive, bringing tidings which come to nought, but those which issue from the one of polished horn bring true results when a mortal sees them.

This quote, and another lovely passage, was sent to me via email from my dear friend and fellow yoga teacher, Kelly Blaser (Santa Cruz, CA). Kelly shared her year's theme, Anugraha, which means 'Grace" in Sanskrit. Anugaha fits as a perfect title for my year as well.

As Kelly wrote:
Anugraha is the deepest kind of grace, that can well up in any situation, no matter how unlikely. Anugraha is the clear chartering of a course, and simultaneously is the grace that allows a course to be changed, even against fierce odds. In the midst of chaos, under pressure, at the mountaintop, up against the wall, grace. This is my dream. Under all circumstances and under all stresses, may we each find grace in our own hearts, and may grace also be bestowed upon us from the place beyond our knowing. May we remember that Anugraha, grace, comes from the convergence of Anu - which means holding tight to - and graha - letting go of... thus- the capacity to know what to hold close and what to release is the essence of grace, and each of us holds the choice in our own hands.

Recently the Anusara Teacher Training that I was planning on attending beginning in mid March was postponed until fall. Being extremely pumped up for the year long training to begin, I found myself very disappointed, and along with several other students, rather devasted. But alas, grace in the unfolding... Anugraha and Bhavana will prevail... I can follow through with a 30 hour teacher training out west, while also providing my son and his father an opportunity to spend precious time together. I got a great deal on both our airfare and the training, now my only problem will be missing work in my territory and finding an economical way to stay and be fed in San Francisco for a week. Anugraha help me stay the course!

If we all set a course with ample grace -Anugraha, we will be better able to accept the consequences that come along with the inevitable zigs, zags, dips and snags, peaks and soars that come our way. By being cognizant of our purpose and present in the process of practicing grace we will no longer be reaching for some distant success, but rather we will be living in graceful recognition of our dream's unfolding- Bhavana.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Chanting with Krishna Das and Friends

What a wonderful night last Friday, the 6th of February, was. Greeted by friends with abundant smiles, sincere hugs and mutual anticipation for the love that was about to flow even more abundantly all around us, I was one of the fortunate beings that gathered for Krishna Das' soulful repetitive prayers. A churchful of yogis and nonyogis alike we chanted our souls out in a gleeful and peaceful meditative choir of praise, love, hope and gratitude; a kirtan couldn't have been more timely for me and apparently for all of us.

Thank you Kyle for the lovely gift - your friendship rocks! Thank you Joanie for re-inspiring me with the mirror of a yogis beauty and joy when teaching wholeheartedly, and thank you Sarah for watching my son Shane and for being the most precious friend and most graceful teacher I have in my midst.

And oh how I look forward to sharing quality Anusara yoga time with Johanna and Niki!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Practice of Yoga & Opening to Grace

Patanjali's first Yoga Sutra defines yoga...

Atha yoga nusasanam ... With prayers for divine blessings, now begins the practice of yoga.
Yogah cittavritti nirodhah ... Yoga is the stilling of vibrations (vritti) in the consciousness.
Consciousness (citta), is the path taken by the mind (intellect and ego) to the soul.
The phrase "It's all yoga" was repeated to me several times this past week; when said, an air of grace was released into what could have been a tense moment. I thank all of my teachers for their patience and guidance.

There's nothing like grace to stop the mind, our intellect, and our ego from bringing up associations (samscaras) that may cause us to over react or become defensive in what we perceive to be a battle. As Patanjali suggests, through the practice of yoga -from the adherence and observances of the yamas and niyamas, to breath awareness and the proper alignment of our attitude and actions in asana- are minds can be freed from the "bad vibrations" (more samscaras) that plague us. We can develop the ability to sit in meditation- empty, yet full of grace- ready to take the path towards pure consciousness (samadhi).

May each of our paths be taken with grace...

In moments when bad vibes prevail, and when beginning asana, practice "Inner Body Bright" - the first Anusara yoga Universal Principle of Alignment:

Shine light on your path first and foremost by setting an intention to be open to grace. Recognize your divine goodness within, and shine that brightness from the inside out by actively puffing up your chest with breath and filling the back body behind your heart. Soften any tension in your heart by releasing the space between your shoulder blades; lengthen your side bodies from your waist to your inner arm pits, and plug the head of your arm bones back. Now let your heart's light shine.

We all have love and light in our hearts - just think of what you truly love in life - think of everything and everyone you love and feel your chest expand. When you walk, talk and practice yoga with your inner body bright you are opening yourself to bliss, the universal soul path. When you begin an asana bright you begin with intention and the path clears... the vritta begins to fall away and makes room for possibility.