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Global Meditation with Deepak Chopra – love in action

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

I was in Nevada when Deepak Chopra scheduled his live broadcast, guiding everyone in a global meditation for Japan. I had taught a yoga class at a studio that week and found out they were going to join the meditation as a group on Monday night. I believe in the tools of Ayurveda  as well as the power of the collective consciousness. And, in his wisdom, Deepak reminds us that “Love without action is meaningless – and action without love is irrelevant”. But how could I act in this??

After days of feeling unable to do anything except donate $ to the rescue operations, I knew I would be at the studio on Monday night, participating in this silent meditation, perhaps and most likely joined by tens of thousands of other people all over the world. There was not much talking, but I get choked up even now recalling the energy of love and purpose in the room.

It was something.

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The Yoga Revolution – OFF THE MAT AND INTO THE WORLD

Monday, March 21st, 2011

It began several years ago, with Green Yoga in San Francisco, when a timely shift in the Western yoga culture towards Seva — awareness of and commitment to, service and compassion to others and the world was born. Or reborn, if you think about it. With studio after studio opening up, and yogis competing and preening for the best-dressed and most bendable, more like-minded practitioners around the country and the world began to wake up and smell the incense.

Yoga in the West was losing its roots, its perspective and its integrity. But yoga provides nothing if not awareness and the practice of yoga, no matter how scarred and dented by a wayward culture, will eventually bring truth and a return to balance.

In partnership with the Engage Network, an organization founded by teacher, Seane Corn – is asking yogis from all walks of life to get “Off the Mat and into the World“. After my 14 years teaching and practicing, I can’t think of anything that rings more true. Yoga is not about the yoga itself – it is a practice for the real thing – Life. What happens on the mat is simply a training ground for your real goals, both inside and outside yourself.

I can’t reconcile the many recent chaos taking lives and livelihood, but I can keep moving through a practice of awareness, acceptance, compassion – AND ACTION. We can be peacefully determined warriors for a common good. Whether you are a teacher, a practitioner, or simply inspired and interested, let the mission begin.

WearPact Looks Underneath it All

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

Tahoe, NV, 2011
A girls gotta have ’em. Good underwear, that is, and before packing up for a trip to the still snow covered mountains of NV, I realized I was short a few ski tight friendly pairs. I first went to a local street-side store I knew of, but alas, it, like many small retail businesses, had closed its doors.

Heading back home where I knew I would end up shopping online for my somewhat ridiculous thong fix, I once again began to wonder about the way of the commerce and what it will mean for the future. Will we soon be limited to big box warehouse chains of discount stores and and mail order? I just heard that Borders Books is closing 200 stores across the country. Will the buildings stand vacant and the employees jobless? Can the internet provide more sustainable opportunities for our capitalistic ways?

In typical spoiled American fashion, my ruminations were short-circuited once I started web surfing. Yoga-minded me is not immune to the adrenaline rush of new stuff. Of course, the biggest rush did come from finding an eco-minded online store, WearPact, founded and run by some committed and creative people who have the goal of “creating projects that are deeply in tune with the needs for a sustainable future.”

From entrepreneurs > designer > an organic cotton factory, to a Planet Access Organization for social change, to a couple of talented filmmakers, Pact stretches the bottom line while it covers bottoms. (Don’t worry, that’s my line, not theirs.)

There is, however, a bottom line – “Change starts with your underwear and PACT is here to prove it.”

(That IS theirs:)))

Mad Men are Crazy. But Vincent Kartheiser Gets It.

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Although I don’t have a television connected to cable, I have an addiction to specialty network shows which I download and watch on my computer in addiction style – an episode a night for days at a time. One of my favorites is Mad Men, partly because it is giving me an education on the turbulent 1960s, when the industrial age and the age of Aquarius clashed and crashed as they came to terms with the psychological, economic culture shifts ‘blowing in the wind’.

It is also helping me understand just how we arrived at the types of wasteful consumerism that drives us today. The Mad Ad men of Madison Avenue knew exactly how to convince us of what we wanted, expected and deserved. And not much has changed in that regard. It works on anything, no matter how ridiculous – the latest “single serve” items hitting supermarket is one banana wrapped in plastic, and single use dental floss…wtf???

One of the most interesting characters is Pete Campbell, played with subtle mastery by Vincent Kartheiser, most likely the only green-minded LA celebrity who does not own a car. Mr. Kartheiser, who practices several other sustainable lifestyle habits (he’s vegetarian and has no kids, to name a few), is really really excited about trains. Watch the video. It also stars Rich Sommer. It’s brilliant. And sad. And inspiring.

What I Learned in Rehab

Monday, February 28th, 2011

No, I haven’t been in rehab, but a lot of people have and well, there’s a lot to learn from those who have been forced themselves into sobriety. I recently found a book of Rolling Stone Interviews from the 80’s at a used book store and well, rehab is not a hard to find topic then, or now.

I never knew much about Robin William’s life or addictions, but something he said made me think. Robin Williams cleaned up over 20 years ago. When he was asked if he now had peace of mind, he says no, he will never be the person to say he “is now one with himself”, adding that to get there, “you’d have to be fucking dead, okay?”

Hmmm, he could be right. Authenticity and integrity trump most of our talents, skills and good fortune when it comes to a good life story, but peace of mind is simply not a worldly truth — although I firmly believe that peaceful moments are hopefully available to us on a regular basis. The mind was not meant to be peaceful. It was meant to create. And anyone who has done so, artistically or otherwise, knows that’s not a regular part of the formula.

We have a lot of tools to momentarily detach from the suffering we endure on this planet, but as humans, we are inevitably drawn back into  navigating the drama and chaos of life. We do some yoga, eat well, exercise, make friends, care for our families, fall in and out of love, hopefully find meaningful work and purpose and then, do the best we can with the rest. And when I stop expecting my mind to be free of painful thoughts, somehow, those thoughts are somehow not quite so painful.

The Tao of Keef

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

I can see Keith Richards writing his memoir, Life, at his kitchen table in CT, with a big smile on his face. I didn’t expect to be pulled into someone’s thoughts and stories about a life so different than mine, but here I am, enjoying each more than slightly ridiculous scene and preamble. Why? Because he can actually write and he has a way of letting us know that he takes it all not so seriously and that, overall, he had more “Life” in his life than most of us put together.

Part of this has to be true since he claims that for years he slept only two nights out of each week. He doesn’t exalt his drug use, nor does he glorify his decision to clean up from the hard stuff. His life was one of the times and he used it proliferously.

What he does take seriously, then and now, is being real, friendships and family, although even this he presents in a pure, honest but ordinary way, something available to all of us. In a Rolling Stone interview back in the 80’s, he said, “The thing about this life is you have to know yourself and then be real about it.” Adding, “That’s why I’m alive.” (That and the admission that he comes from “sturdy stock”, lucky bastard.)

Keith is a good role model for beating addiction without abstinence (he still smokes, smokes, and enjoys alcohol) but you could call him a professional, meaning I wouldn’t try this at home.

For the Love of….”banding together”

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

Live From Daryl’s House. This web show rocks all warm and fuzzy but doesn’t fall the least bit short of professionalism and talent.  I was led there through my current favorite music business/analysis blog, the LefsetzLetter.com.

As the young and new names fill the reviews and news, older musicians aren’t sitting around whining about it. Daryl Hall, at 60-something, is touring with John Oates, making a solo album and producing this show, (and fits in a little historic house renovation on the side) and well, seems like one of the happiest, most relaxed guys on the planet. He is so obviously doing all of this for love of the music and everything it brings together and gives away.

But back to Daryl’s house, because this is where I want to be right now. It is an New York war-era renovation of two houses – now connected- and a non-ostentatious, inviting display of warmth and creative artistry. I really really want to live in this house or at least be one of the frequent visitors. It oozes a “come together” vibe, only without the drugs. And the music? Daryl is widely known as one of the best singers of his generation and is still well-received at shows as recently as Austin’s South by Southwest, 2008. He reaches far and wide into the music world on this webcast by inviting and playing with some of the best new and old performers including Jose Feliciano, Train, and Neon Trees. I’ve watched several episodes already and I can almost taste the chili on the stove and since when did wool sweaters become cool?

This whole deal is cool and makes me think of Beck’s, The Record Club sessions, and the rise of the “supergroup.” The Age of Aquarius is certainly upon us. It’s a time to band together, you might say.

Breaking Up is Hard to do.

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

The White Stripes announced their official break-up this month. Ouch. They will live on musically for a long while and be recognized and remembered for their unique ability to draw us into their world, where nothing else matters but the moment and the music. Still, I was often mesmerized by their live sound and Jack’s fury, unmatched in some ways in his follow-up bands, The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather, both consummate rock bands. If you’re not sure what I mean, watch this.

Jack and Meg have a history, of course, part of which is best left to mystery. This could explain just what was possible with two people on a musical stage – one coyly covert, and one full of obvious and desperate abandon in the process. Jack says his guitars are old and out of tune, but are “ferocious”.

Of course, Jack’s presence will only grow through his record label, his vinyl store, his bands and his other collaborations of muse and music. Meg’s path remains undercover, a different and just as important model to all who really pay attention.

Perhaps breaking up is really breaking out. Thank you White Stripes.



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