As a parent dealing with the demands of a newborn, it is easy (and normal) to feel drained. Here are 3 tips for raising, and sustaining, your energy from within. These are not intended to be “quick fixes,” although they do provide an immediate boost of spirit. They are to be chewed, savored, digested and integrated into your life according to your own unique system.
- Slow down— Your baby is a portal to the divine. Entering into his or her presence, your adult-oriented, busy-with-the-day sense of activity can melt away. Of course, this must be allowed; boldly giving yourself permission to do what may seem like nothing for hours at a time! But in fact you are filled with activity: breathing, sensing, gazing, connecting. You are fully engaged in the here-and-now. There is great inspiration, peace, and contentment in this restorative space. Racing ahead—either mentally or physically—is actually a significant drain of energy, well-intended as the effort may be. If you surrender, choose ease, and match the pace of your baby, you will discover an infinite grace.
- Rebuild— In giving birth to a baby, you have offered new life to yourself as well. This is a great opportunity to reinvent the “you” that you knew, pre-baby. How do you want to emerge into the world? What rhythms will you establish? What structure to build? What patterns will fall away, shedding off like old skin? Identifying that which now serves you and your baby can be an exciting process. Noticing that which no longer resonates (violent movies, processed foods, chemical-laden products, even the evening news) can be empowering. Surrounding yourself with people who uplift and encourage you can add tremendous value. Consciously create a more efficient, pleasurable, and nurturing lifestyle and enjoy the energy of fresh possibilities!
- Open up— Babies are intimately attuned to our energetic vibrations, and they invite us to become more aware of how we feel. When baby is crying, fussy, fidgety or otherwise asking for our attention, we often respond with a background thought of “What is wrong?” There is a subtle (or obvious) anxiety accompanying our resulting action, as we simultaneously judge the condition of the baby and/or our own ability to respond. Instead, work with consciously bringing “I love you” to the forefront of your mind, and a felt sense of this vibration to the texture of your response. Open deeply into your heart, where there is an intuitive understanding of your baby’s needs. Trust your actions to flow naturally. Release fear and judgment, paving the way for deep appreciation and loving compassion—the ultimate energizers! Embrace the magical mystery of this journey, and cherish every step—after all, you’re more than worth it.
I dream of a Soular Powered revolution; something Self-Sustainable.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr said, “An individual has not started living until s/he can rise above the narrow confines of individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”
An individual can’t rise above the narrow confines of individualistic concerns—I won’t break out of the “Me” box, so to speak—until I’ve developed the core strength to embrace all of who I am. Otherwise, that which I am not ready to accept in myself will prevent me from connecting with others. If I am numb to my own emotions, stuck in runaway trains of thought, held hostage by self-doubt, or too exhausted by the fumes of a toxic environment to challenge my own perception, how can I address what lies beyond my box? Only when I accept myself unconditionally am I free to access my innate energy and evolve into an actively contributing, Soular Power-producing component of humanity.
The awkward, resistant, and/or destructive habits of thought and behavior that exist within each human being lie at the foundation of the fossil-fueled system we seek to change. But when it comes to addressing these concerns, the American public has a habit of neglect. Maybe we settle with ourselves for less because we figure that one person cannot save the world. This, however, isn’t the point. Each individual is responsible for the world s/he creates….
Sustainable community requires individual Response-ability. This Response-ability (or Invironmental Awareness) allows an individual to be of collective service. If we hope to save humanity, we must start where we are: addicted, anxious, afraid, attached. We can’t move forward if we’re holding back.
- It is our Response-ability to look each other in the eye and really feel what we’re working with.
- It is our Response-ability to discern and acknowledge—and then, navigate accordingly.
- It is our Response-ability to express thoughts and feelings without judgment or apology, building the capacity to thrive (otherwise we deprive ourselves of our own experience).
- Dr. King also said, “A man can’t ride your back unless it’s bent.” It is our Response-ability to stand up for ourselves.
Taking Response-ability means empowering change.
I dream of our great awakening. And it’s happening NOW, one day at a time.
A certifiable Soular Power Station beeps onto my radar. Now, here I am in West Hills, Los Angeles, sitting across from a very robust-looking Buddhist monk, drinking a cup of freshly-made Chai tea.
It’s over 100 degrees outside, but inside this comfortable house-turned-temple, the atmosphere feels just right. The monk offers me a cookie before settling into a chair beside the sunny window. I take a cookie. Then I start asking questions.
Born in Sri Lanka in 1975, Shantha became a monk at the age of 12. He journeyed to the United States in 2009 with a vision: to create a retreat center. I look around, admiring the open meditation spaces, scenic paintings, and enormous statues that punctuate the property.
Shantha goes on to explain the major division in Buddhist philosophy.
Teravada is wisdom-based, and very structured. Devotees are careful to follow the sutras, a sort of manual for the art of living. Sutra literally means a thread or line that holds things together. Mahayana is compassion-based, and relatively subjective according to the present-moment perception of the devotee. Whatever feels most kind is the right thing to do.
But a person needs a blend of wisdom and compassion in order to be self-sustainable. When you get to the root of it, he says, the division disappears. This seems to be true of other concepts, too. The deeper your practice, the more you see it is all the same.
Shantha is forging his own happy trail, a philosophical merger grounded in his own understanding. For example, Yoga and Karate are not traditionally practiced by monks. As an acupuncturist, however, Shantha understands the importance of movement for the body. So he practices and teaches Yoga, Karate, Meditation, and Healing. He teaches whoever wants to learn. And he does it for free, because this is the way he learned it himself.
Sitting in a sunbeam, ageless and handsome, it’s natural to wonder how Shantha manages without certain, um, creature comforts. “People are always looking for satisfaction,” he explains with a smile. “But this longing creates a struggle. Through wisdom and meditation you see that the satisfaction in external things doesn’t begin to compare with the satisfaction dwelling within.”
Shantha’s teaching style encourages people to be more of who they are; to harness their own power, rather than following something outside of themselves. Indeed, Shantha is a Soular Power Technician if I ever met one! “It isn’t about all of this,” he says, gesturing to the statues of the Buddha and his robes. “These are just symbols and pointers. Sometimes they help people get started. But finding peace or making change—that is something people do with their own understanding.”
His job is simply to offer tools. To listen, to share, to guide, to hold space for the sacred process of transformation that can neither be faked nor forced. Shantha teaches in various temples and visits people in their habitations, while offering classes and events in his Shanthi Nikethanaya Buddhist Center.
The center originated as a four-bedroom home on a residential street. The garage has been converted to a Yoga and Karate studio, while the living room, furniture-free, holds an enormous altar. All of the common areas, both inside and outside, have been transformed into intentional gathering places. There is an impressive amount of creative engineering, custom building, and art at work here. While it functions as a temple, it feels like a home. This is compelling; it speaks to accessibility and everyday relevance. Indeed, Shantha’s messages tend to draw from the simple things of everyday life, because that is how it’s really lived.
Before I leave, Shantha tells me he is going to do a chanting and blessing for me. He directs me to the altar, where I light a candle and some incense, arranging myself on a cushion. Shantha speaks some words in English, setting the intention for blessings and protection as I walk out into the world. Then he begins to sing, a beautiful melodic chanting in a sacred language called Pali. Although I don’t understand the words, I feel a tingling wave of energy wash over my head and down into every cell of my being.
This monk holds a key to happiness, but he can’t give it away. Rather, he provides a living workshop, a tool shed, a place to go and whittle and hone the very skeletal structure of your body-mind. He’ll inspire, encourage, and nourish you while you forge a personal key to the door of your uniquely infinite potential for joyful freedom.
Meet the monk and see what’s happening at his peace pad! www.shanthinikethanaya.com
Take it easy.
There is nothing wrong.
Rooting and grounding into core strength, in present moment awareness, is always effective.
Activating the Love that I am, literally and figuratively.
The occupation most worthy of my attention is
FEELING, BREATHING, BEING.
It is a very pleasant priority.
It naturally accompanies a deep and inherent trust.
March 21st 2014- The first day of spring marks the release of Sister Speak’s new album, “Rise Up For Love.” With two Grammy Award-winning engineers on board—producer/mixer Alan Sanderson (Fiona Apple, Fleetwood Mac, Elton John) and mastering engineer Brian Lucey (Black Keys, Arctic Monkeys)—the entire project was funded by a Kickstarter campaign and album pre-sales!
With the people behind them, this rootsy alternative folk-rock band is ready for lift-off. Having toured nationally (over 100 shows a year), Sister Speak was nominated for ‘Best New Artist’ at the San Diego Music Awards. The CD release party at San Diego’s World Beat Center also features performances by Todo Mundo and Groove Session, both explosive acts in their own right.
“Rise Up For Love” represents a major milestone in a journey that has taken lead singer/songwriter Sherri-Anne though some harrowing internal territory. In fact, much of the album was written while Sherri-Anne lay recovering from a broken pelvis. She knew the music was part of her healing, and wrote with the hope that it would be healing for others, too.
“Life writes the songs. It’s when I let myself be vulnerable that I can share the deepest parts of me.” Sherri-Anne’s intentions seem to empower her with a glow of pure emotion, and the ability to share that light with others. One thing is certain; the album refuses to define itself to any particular genre or style. Sherri-Anne blazes her own creative trail. With powerful sensitivity and strength in raw, unfiltered expression, the music strikes a unique and grounding chord in the body.
Sharing the journey with Sherri-Anne is dear friend and dynamic drummer Lisa Viegas. As the core duo, they collaborate with a variety of other musicians. Two in particular, Tolan and Cubby, have fused themselves into the basic formation (this is further illustrated by the fact that members of this fabulous foursome serendipitously show up in the same clothes on a regular basis).
When award-winning songwriter, lead guitarist, and vocal harmonist Tolan Shaw joined the band in 2012, he had the same guitar as Sherri-Anne. And people say that when they sing together, their voices are like a warm blanket.
When bassist Jacob “Cubby” Miranda came aboard in the summer of 2013, he dropped right into the groove and took the rest of the group with him—gluing the sound together and allowing Lisa to really get wild on the drums.
“There’s a state of open, vulnerable connection and confident humility that I feel when we play together. The band is in a vortex. There is a conversation happening,” says Lisa.
Tolan and Cubby have no problem, as men, conversing in a band called Sister Speak. Together with Lisa and Sherri-Anne, the dialogue expands to include a diverse, quickly growing audience. They each work tirelessly to do all the big and small tasks an independent album launch requires, while continuing to develop as musical beings.
Taking to The World Beat Stage on the 21st, Sister Speak celebrates the richness along the way. They truly couldn’t have done it without their fans. “We believe in the music, but to see others believing in it too—enough to fund it with money or support it with trades, food, so many ways—it took all of us!” This, of course, affirms one of the band’s core values: that creative collaboration will save the world.
About the author: Gina Tang is a marketing writer at Brighter Copywriter. If you are doing something awesome, she can help.
AZALEA PARK’S ARTISTIC FIRE ROARS LOUDER STILL…
Azalea Park gets brighter every day! Along Manzanita Drive, between Violet and Tuberose, a new collaborative mural graces the alley wall bordering the property of Kerem Brulé. Her vibrant purple home has emerged as a hub for creative activism.
Officially named T.H.E. (Tiger House of Evolution), the house mission is to support human beings in progress. With a growing aquaponic garden, an enormous work table, and a parlor full of musical instruments, T.H.E. is an ideal living space for this friendly collection of entrepreneurial spirits.
T.H.E. Mural went up as part of a house-warming event celebrating the arrival of new artist in residence, Gina Tang. Gina is the director of The Soular Power System, a project dedicated to promoting community development via strategic content distribution. Recognizing the importance of “Invironmental Awareness” and “Self-Sustainability,” the project declares T.H.E. to be a “Soular Powered” household. For details, visit www.soularpowersystem.com.
Certainly, there was a general radiance to the whole affair: bright eyes, warm hugs, smart conversation; live music on the deck; bon-fire crackling; table laden with tasty offerings; people of all ages, shapes, colors, and backgrounds delighted to be alive and kicking together; old friends and new ones, soaking in the spirit of loving celebration. A true Soular Power Outlet!
While a diverse and talented collection of local musicians rocked the deck-turned-stage, renowned muralist Mario Torero worked alongside many others (including Energía Entertainment’s Dina Bedenko, Ras Pablo Aztlan, and Kerem’s young niece) to create a unique narrative of human imagination. As the name suggests, T.H.E. Mural will continue to evolve.
“Perhaps it’s a story about the layers we shed as we move into the world with an open heart,” says Gina. “The tiger represents the freedom to thrive. Freedom means real education, real food, real music, and real community!”
Neighbors: You are encouraged to explore T.H.E. Mural, and post your personal interpretations and comments to T.H.E. Facebook page (www.facebook.com/TigerHouseofEvolution).
See it in The Parkster http://www.azaleapark.org/newsletter/03MarParkster.pdf
A POEM, as it happened, by the people gathered at Nathaniel’s for dinner on 1-22-2014
The following poem was built one phrase at a time, one phrase per person.
The page was folded over as it progressed, so that no person saw the phrase preceeding their own.
The basic instruction: write a line of poetry, however you define it.
Balance is your personal responsibility.
Each breath more cleansing than the last
Feeling free, finding yourself, losing yourself
Standing witness, fragments of ego falling
Live, happy, life, love. It’s okay to be estranged but still love.
Bring your soul to the table and let’s dance.
I love you. Let’s kiss the earth, and jingle with the earth.
You only know what you see, you don’t understand what it takes to be me
So far away, that I can’t see
The place that you call home
And here I am, all by myself.
In other words, alone.
I knew we were meant to be together
We had a higher purpose to reach
But now was not our time
Wild roaming roading seas and bees burrowing into pollen enriched with abundance, a fun-dance!
He smells of Napthanol and old gold, salt and alcohol, and absence always sullen
and cold of the deepest salinity waves
Her arms, parenthesis,–found themselves holding a fleeting nostalgia for oranges and incense
And they all triumphed despite all odds; overcoming the greatest of challenges.