The Seed of Truth

 

A Seed Planted

It has been one year since I sold most of what I own and drove away from Tulsa Oklahoma.  I had been called there to help my mother die.  Four years later, my time was done in Oklahoma and I asked a question. “Now…what makes me happy”.  Then I turned the corner into my sixties.  For the first time in nearly forty years I had no children at home, no husband, no clients to care for.  I just had me.  And my two cats Hazel and Snow.

The question of what makes me happy was new.  It was asked in a new spirit with the emphasis on ME.  What makes ME happy.  I had spent decades organizing my answers around the ‘whole’ of my life.  My happiness was always intertwined with my daughters, or the man I loved, my mother and family and the concern I had for my clients who entrusted me with their stories and their care.

There had been little time to truly know what my own seed of happiness was.  So, I set out for one year to discover the answer.  Not by making a list of what made me happy, but to have an experience of “being happy”.  What became quickly obvious was that I was surprised by happiness.  I never went out looking for it or trying to create happy moments.  Happiness found me.  And in unexpected ways.

And what also became a life lesson was discovering that the way happiness found me was because I slowed down every aspect of my life and made room for happiness to come in.  The art of allowing my life to flow and simply following the current has been the gift of this past year.  Our society is focused on doing, on making, on busily trying to get our life to look like our vision.  This presupposes that we are the only one to make or break our own possible happiness.  That boot-strap mentality locks us out of the experience of being part of the mystery, of the divine, of a destiny that has a design and pattern to discover.  It creates isolation.

Allowing life to move us has at the center this divine mystery of a perfect design. But allowing is a relational word.  Allowing does not mean I do nothing.  Allowing means I hold the vision, embody the energy and move my feet and then the dance begins and my partner is Spirit, God, the Universe, and Love.

I did do one important thing before I put the carrier on top of my Nissan and drove away toward the East Coast:  I set an intention.  A strong intention.  I sat up late into the night and wrote my vision for my life.  I soaked it in, knowing that somehow I had captured on paper a glimpse of a life I would love and then I tucked the writing into my Tarot Bag.  The vision was filled with joyful ideas of being closer and working with my daughters in a business, of being surrounded by music, living in nature, writing for film and seeing myself succeed with my writing.  I wrote of being in a common community with like-minded people, increasing my health and prosperity and being with children in my work.  Then I drove to Asheville, North Carolina.

Now, one year later I am astonished.  When I arrived in North Carolina to spend a short time with my daughter I ran into a problem renewing my driver’s license.  This problem still persists and even baffles congressman Perlmutter in Denver.  No one seems to know how to solve my lack of ‘drivability’.  The loss of easy mobility left me stranded in North Carolina longer than expected.  So, I went to a workshop on manifestation and then two days later met Richard Gannaway from AOMusic through a Craigslist ad of all things.  Four hours later my life rearranged.

Richard handed me two of his Grammy nominated albums.  Driving home I slipped them into the CD player in my car and headed down the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was raining. My first big surprise was about to occur.  I started weeping, pulled off the road and nearly one hour later had finished listening to’ And Love Rages On’, with the windows fogged and motor still idling.

The weeping was a direct message from my soul to me.  Weeping with joy validates the moment I am in as sacred, as important, as inspired.  In that moment something redirected in me and pointed me back to Richard and AOMusic.  My mind said “this is crazy”, “this wasn’t on the agenda!”, “WHAT are you DOING?”.  I kept driving. Now one year later I am a partner with Richard and AO and proceeding with a vision for a film series that is inspiring great interest.  I am immeasurably happy.

That one surprise by the side of the road…of joy…love…creativity…happiness has led to me back to digging out that piece of paper I put into my Tarot Bag just a year ago.  I re-read my hopes and dreams.  I smile when I realize that almost everything I envisioned is in my life right now:  I work with children who sing, I am surrounded by music, my daughter Jessie and I work together on a project she helped to shoot in Nepal, I write for film, have gone to film school, live part time in two amazing natural environments, Asheville and the Pacific North West.   I have a community of inspired, creative, loving co-workers and friends.  I have a new kind of partner of the heart with Richard Gannaway.  I have been prosperous and happy and healthier. All because I opened to the possibilities, allowed for my life to move with serendipity, coincidence and intuition.

The art of navigating life this way has been the largest learning in my lifetime.  And now as our holiday season begins I have a new question.  Not about what makes me happy, or what’s next.  But a question about where is home?  Having been nomadic for over a year now it is time to find ….home.  And finding home is never possible until each of us feels entirely at home in the self.  This year of SELF discovery has brought me to a new way of thinking about home.  Home is the space that is a sacred anchor for our soul to live out our purpose for being here.  Finding home is my next adventure. Or better yet!  I will let home find me.

 

 

Diary of a Dream: Day Two in Chitwan, Nepal.

     

So I dream all night about elephants and mountain tops eager to get up and see if there are emails in my inbox from the Team in Nepal.  Their late night musings, concerns or questions come in about 6am at my house and I am off and running.

And, as I promised, I am going to profile another member of the team who wrote a piece this morning that says it all.  I need not say another word except:

Rob Lenfesty is from Asheville, North Carolina and is the person standing in for Richard Gannaway and teaching the children music.  This is his first time working with AO and I am certain it will not be the last time.

 

Rob is part of an intentional community in Asheville, a yoga teacher, slackline teacher (get to know about this if you do not already know), a composer, musician and magic with children.  Here is what he shares with you from the heart of Nepal”

 

“Since arriving here we have set some cultural experiential goals. One for me has been to ride an elephant; and in the spirit of fun and creativity do some yoga asana on its back.  We had spoken of this often; and when an elephant came down the hill next to where Josh and I sat eating breakfast I commented;

I wish they didn’t all have those boxes on their backs (referring to

the wooden platform adorning all elephants we have thus far seen)

because it will make it difficult to do any yoga on one.

Half joking and yet, right in that moment, the elephant got to its knees and the owner dropped down and began removing the box off of its back.  I decided to get a closer look and walked down there. “Elephant shower?,” the mahout (elephant keeper) asked me, gesturing to the elephant’s back and the river.

With a broad smile on my face I crawled up and there I was, riding bareback on an elephant mere seconds after musing about it.  We went into the water and the elephant began sucking water into its trunk and drenching me on its back.  The day was already hot and the water was refreshing.  Another blessing barely in disguise; by standing in a couple of feet of water the elephant afforded me the opportunity to safely try fun things like headstands on his back.  Elephant Yoga!

A few times I splashed down into the water but was able to get back up and try again.  Afterwards I was able to just connect to the beautiful and intelligent creature before he left the river.  One goal manifested, and beautifully!

I feel that the “child-like” compulsion to play and try new things is the key to refreshing and invigorating the human spirit.  Such play awakens the divine inside of us; we glow with the pure joy of living and the happiness that is derived from new experiences and magical opportunities realized.  It was with this playful and activated spirit that we piled up in the truck and drove to the school to meet the kids who are to be the heart of this journey.

We arrive at the school to find a group of well-behaved enthusiastic children sitting behind their tall wooden desks, eager to learn.  It did not take but a few moments for us to break the ice with some perfectly goofy vocal exercises and games to establish a playful vibe for this experience.

It was now in this moment that the true alchemy of this group of AOMusic ambassadors really became apparent.  While I prepared the materials to teach the kids the song we were going to record them singing, as well as confer with the principle and school officials to discuss logistics, Josh continued to engage the kids with fun games and exercises that served the multifaceted purposes of play, exercising musical awareness and exercising singing voices.  We wrote the song on the whiteboard and practiced each syllable and then the song.  The kids picked it up immediately.

I was astounded by how quickly they got it.  After a few more games we brought them outside and got a recording of them singing as a group underneath a mango tree in the schools courtyard.  I then proceeded to begin my individual recordings while Josh continued to pull engaging games out of thin air to keep the kids delighted and inspired.

When we finally stopped for lunch I decided to bring out my slackline to see how the kids enjoyed it.  Slackline is a piece of flat one inch wide webbing that you place between two trees and then practice balancing on.  I teach with the Yogaslackers, a group who are dedicated to bringing this wonderful practice to the world in an easy to learn format that celebrates the diversity of opportunities this simple tool provides.  In a class what we establish are the basic poses of an ever-growing list of yoga asana that we have applied to the slackline and the flows that move between them.

I set up the line and the kids all gathered ‘round.  I showed them the basic knee balance that we first teach and then each kid who wanted to (and some teachers too!) gave it a shot.  As each approached the line everyone would cheer their name and clap enthusiastically for even small victories from each person.  I did a quick demo of what is possible and then fluidly returned to recording the children individually.   Josh found even more games and musical adventures to take the kids on in the mean time.

The film and photo crew of Jessie, Karan and Baldev continued to find creative ways to shoot the recordings and orchestrate shots throughout the session.  The fact they have been doing so since we arrived in Kathmandu; capturing each inspired moment along the way with ease.  Thus we made sure the light was perfect and recorded the kids as they sung; eyes beaming at the fancy cameras, boom stand and recording equipment surrounding them.  Even for those of us familiar with all of this equipment it was surreal.

I can only imagine the wonder of it all for these kids out in the Nepalese countryside.  In all we were hoping to keep the kids captivated for an hour, at most an hour and a half.  After all, today was a special day of holiday and we knew they would want to get out and enjoy it.  Except we were underestimating ourselves as well as the kids.  For four hours we not only kept the kids captivated and entertained, but they were hungry for more.  They wanted us to stay and continue to play and record.  To reiterate with enthusiasm; Josh Massad stepped up in a beautiful way.  He had the kids singing tabla rhythms and had brought an arsenal of fun instruments for them to play.  Entertained, entrained and educated all at the same time.  And wanting more to boot.

Because of how musically engaged and fun-loving the experience was for the kids, by the time they reached me for their individual session they were fully loose, activated and vocally warmed up for the experience.  When we finally left the children were beaming.  I beamed at my crew.  I could not have been blessed with a more alchemically perfect combination of people to create this magical experience with.

Rob Lenfestey,        Celebrate Life.

Tomorrow is another day, and I will finally introduce you to a young man from Mumbai who is filming in Panasonic HD for our larger documentary:  Karan Sharma.  And does he have a wonderful story.

 

 

Eddie! Or is it Eddy?

I wish I could say that I had fallen in love with some guy named Eddie.  The only Eddie I know is Eddie Haskell from Leave it to Beaver, and all I really remember about him is his annoying high pitched and grating voice.  A real whiner.  No, here I am referring to the eddy, those spots in a river that, on a long paddle, you look for to catch your breath. At least that is what I remember about canoeing.  My hope was for a calm eddy around the corner so I could get out of the current and take a breather.  Well, this memory of the benevolence of the eddy is being challenged and I am currently having quite a different experience.

For nearly 9 months I have dedicated my life to learning to live in the flow.  To live from a much more aware and intentional place in myself. To give my mind a vacation.  It has been both challenging and magical.  My most valuable compass has become practicing the art of navigating life from the heart, the intuition and that “gut feeling”.  Yet in this practice my heart is always accompanied by my mind trying to get control of the process and of the unknowing. My mind believes it can figure anything out and that it will make me feel better in the face of uncertainty.

So, the river of life I live in right now is moving at a speed that my little boat is having some difficulty navigating.  My mind just wanted to “eddie out” and consider my options.

My home base for the better part of a year has been a room in my daughters apartment in Asheville North Carolina, where a few of my things and my cats live when I am not here.  She and I have busted the illusion that mothers and daughters cannot co-habitate as adults and it has been a great time.  But, the lease is up here and Jessie is leaving for the Virgin Islands on her adventure and I am packing my few things, my cats and heading….hmmm….well that’s not clear.

I have many options but no one of them turns that inner light of knowing on or makes me feel inspired and certain.  Every choice that comes up on the radar sounds great:  More time with Film School in Seattle, going to the coastal town of Point Roberts and writing, Findhorn in Scotland, setting down some roots here in Asheville, creating community with new friends.  All these ideas of what is next for me seem great from my mind’s point of view, but my heart is quiet. I have lost my compass.

So, I did the most familiar thing I could do in the face of packing boxes and moving out in  five days from now.  Yep 5 days.  I decided to let my mind take over and make a solution.  Big mistake.  My lack of patience to wait for the answer kicked in my most primitive response.  Just figure it out.  You can do it Maya.  Just get that pad of paper and get those pro’s and con’s down and it will be clear what you should do next.  Big, very big mistake.  It was at this moment I began to eddy out of the river of my inspired life and discovered that an eddy if far more complicated than I had remembered.

An eddy is a place in a river where the water is “moving in a different direction or different speed” than the main current. Eddies are made by rocks in the river, outcroppings along the side, behind logs, bridge pilings, and also on the inside of bends or along the side of the river.  An “eddy line” is the part of the river that separates an eddy from the main current. Eddy lines can range from gentle changes of current, to violent, whirl-pool-causing obstacles. The speed, volume, and motion of the current will decide what type of eddy line is formed.

The eddy that was created, the moment my mind jumped into the front seat of my life was nothing short of a violent whirlpool of thinking.  I began to chew on every detail of why this and not that.  My pros and cons list graduated to a full sized dry erase board in my living room where I could move around all the factors in my life like on a chess board.  This process of “figuring it all out” became exhausting and took me just deeper down the rabbit hole of indecision.  All the while I am being churned around in the washing machine of my own thoughts, the river is just moving past me in it’s predictable and constant flow and always going somewhere.  In the end, I made myself sleepless, anxious and stuck.  I had forgotten my compass.

Right when I hit my breaking point I stumbled on a post on Facebook.  There was a black and white cartoon of a man in the darkness without a flashlight.  All you could see were his blinking eyes.  That was me!  The quote went something like this: “They say when one door closes, another door opens.  But these hallways are a bitch!”.  I was in the dark corridor between leaving something and beginning something and I did not like it.

So, with a week before I had to fill a car full of cats and belongings, find storage for my few other things and go to AAA to get a new set of maps and trip books, I came to a grinding halt in my process of efforting to discern the right thing to do.  I just stopped thinking. I gave up trying. What a relief.  My little boat broke loose of all the debris and obstacles that the mind had created and just silently drifted back into the rushing current of uncertainty.  I was allowing myself to simply not know.  Chop wood, carry water was for me “pack one box at a time” and not know where it was going.  Sleep returned and anxiety stopped. I allowed the vast knowing universe back into my process.

And I now spend time every day reminding myself of the joy of the journey, even if I do not know the destination.  And that is the key.  Letting go of the destination.

When most of us take trips we have a map or a tour guide.  Without the map we do what?  We drive down the road and if we get lost we ask directions (or at least I do).  But like most I had become dependent on knowing where I am going and getting the map out when I felt lost.  The map shows you what is ahead, when to turn, the distance and the constructions zones to avoid, all in the service of me getting from point A to point B.  I have a point A but no point B.  I wanted a map and my mind was going to make one. But in reality that is delusional.  How can anyone get a map from point A to nowhere?  This process of needing to know and have a destination stripped me of the very things I have been learning:  That I do not always know what is next and if I allow that unknowing to just “be” then, without exception, something breaks into my life that is new and magical.  My heart and my intuition know that but my mind had forgotten.

I had forced myself out of the flow of my own knowing and put myself purposefully into a place that was “moving in a different direction or different speed” than the main current.  Why?  Because I was afraid to not know.  I was afraid to make the “wrong” decision.  I was simply uncomfortable in limbo and unwilling to live with the discomfort. Fears were my “eddie line” separated me from the main current of life.

So, you might be waiting to hear what I have finally discovered that I will do come May 29th.  Me too!  I still have no idea.  I rededicated myself to the path that this entire year is about for me and I am waiting for the direction to emerge.  I am waiting and floating on the river with my heart as the rudder.  And until that feeling of joy and inspiration floods my very being, I am packing one box at a time, I am getting my oil changed, I am putting out requests, I am meditating on the very vision of why I am on this road in the first place:  To discover what makes me happy.  So stay tuned for the next chapter.

Open the Heart with Music

If you have not heard me say that the Music of AO has changed my life I want to say it now.  I have never encountered a medium that is both heart opening and changing the lives of children in need at the same time.  I am from the 60′s.  The Vietnam war was my backdrop for life.  The Beatles came and changed all us and the way we saw the world.  U2  opened our eyes to injustice and issues of freedom, Madonna bust the sexual revolution wide open.  Music changes people.  Music can also save lives and create hope and love where there has been none.  I want to do that any chance I get!

 
I am putting my time, energy and money behind a dream that is AO Music. As many of you know, I am a partner with this amazing group and serve on their board.  We are about to comply with being a 501c3 non-profit company and we just raised nearly $30,000 to make this next album possible and to travel to record the  children of Nepal, Germany, Haiti and here in Asheville with the Cherokee Nation Children.  But we need your help.
AO music can change our very cellular health and because the music is dedicated to putting shoes on the feet of children who have none, taking children out of crisis areas and giving them food and shelter and educating the world to our responsibility for One Another, it is a unique paradigm.
AO has been considered for the Grammys two years in a row.  Our next Album to be released in Feb. of next year is near completion and needs your help to birth what will certainly help brand the music, win a grammy and then make the social interventions possible.  This year AO won album of the year for “And Love Rages On”.
I am personally asking for your help in two ways.  One:  Please visit our Kickstarter page where you will hear music, see the children, get to know our musicians at:
Here, you will see what $10 donation will do and in return you can receive a CD and if you are inclined to donate more you can be at our record launching dinner in LA as well as have your name on the new album.  AO will thank you in a myriad of ways so please just browse and see what we are offering you in return for making this dream a reality, for helping children around the world and for changing our planet through music.
But, for me the most important thing you can do is send this to at least 10 people with a lead in sentence from you saying “you support me as someone who you trust and know”.  I depend on word of mouth.  I have built every therapy practice I have had over the past 30 years through referrals and know the power of a reference.  Please take just 10 minutes of your time to send this to 10 people.  I would be so grateful for your support in this way.
And, for any of you that I am sending this email to, if you contribute even $10 dollars to our Kickstarter page then I will personally send you a just released copy of the book I co-authored with Deepak Chopra, Roadmap to Success which you will find on my website,www.mayalunachristobel.com.  I believe in this vision that much!  Just a push of a button can have you participate in helping make our world a better place. And I am not a fundraiser.  I am impassioned about something dear to my heart and sharing this amazing opportunity with you.  It takes a village!
So, thank you so much for your time, energy and support.
Blessings, Maya Christobel
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Angels on the Highway

No journey is truly as rich as it can be without the experiences we have with total strangers along the way.  Those “chance meetings”, paths crossing in surprising ways and angels disguised as the homeless man, the bartender, convenience store cashier or the lost dog needing your help, that makes you change course.  These strangers are part of my navigational system as I attempt to live in the flow and they have everything to do with how my river moves.  Every meeting carefully placed on my path by that which is so much bigger than anyone can fathom.  All we need to do is pay attention.

My journey thus far has been a remarkable confluence of meetings that has already changed the course of my plans and my designs of what this year is about.  So, as I can, I want to introduce you to some of the wonderful people who are becoming the “sign posts” along my way , pointing out the possibilities and already etching themselves into my heart.

My new outpost in Asheville fills the senses with the pungent smell of spice and jasmine, is littered with dimly lit nooks with small tables, harem cushions and blazing colors of orange silk and saffron.  Locals are in the shadows, all hiding low whispers of conversations over a pot of tea from the tea bible filled with a hundred teas from all over the globe. I spent hours  in joyful sharing at the Dobra Tea House here in Asheville with a remarkable artist and musician who is inspiring a deeper experience  of my own joyful expression.  Here is one of Richard Gannaway’s many videos from his album entitled “…And Love Rages On“.  Visit his website http://www.richardgannaway.com/rg/blog/wordpress/…be moved, be lite on fire.  As one of the lyrics says “I am another you, and you are another me”.  Oh so true.

And then there is Mary Long, who I do think is very aware of her angelic presence on this planet.  She is motivating me to create an internet presence that is long overdue and is part of a wonderful community here in Asheville that revolves around the Sacred Fire.   http://www.ivaluva.com/

Design from the heart. Designing differently in the world. Building relationship. Reaching out. Listening. It’s all about what you bring. It’s all about community. Honoring your gifts. Offering them to the world. {and a little bit of business therapy, too} Communicating in a new way. Connecting. With heart. Believe it.