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<Drums Rattle Djembe Doumbek>

Archive for September, 2016

Meditation on Inner Peace

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

Spend a few minutes enjoying inner peace. Notice what happens when you breathe in peace and beauty and breathe out worry. When you let go, you make space for more joy, more peace, more compassion, more wisdom, and more love to enter. Enjoy this five-minute meditation being with inner peace. This was filmed in the Catskills while at CampGLP – a summer camp for adults.


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From One Ember – Fire

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

nofire2016It’s a Thursday night in the Catskills. Almost 400 people have traveled from around the world for a summer camp for adults, known as Camp Good Life Project (Camp GLP). The evening gathering includes an all camp bonfire, full of s’mores and singing. While most of the campers are in a team-building activity, I am in my room sorting stuff, calling home, and getting my instruments ready. I bring my djembe from home in the hopes of playing at the sing-a-long.

I walk to the area where the campfire will be as it is right near my room. A small group of folks have gathered and are trying to keep the fire lit. It had rained earlier in the day and the ground is wet. Most of the flames are now just smoke. The camp staff who lit the fire have left along with all the supplies.

The small group scrambles to get the fire lit before the massive group of campers come to gather. I bend down and hold out my hands to hold space. Campfire and all, it is still a fire. It’s sacred. The bonfire is the big kickoff for the weekend. With hands open, I send my blessings to the fire. I look to my left and a woman is bent down blowing into the open space. She starts moving sticks and creating an opening for the fire to catch. Other folks are frantically looking for a lighter, matches, anything to help keep the small flame going. There is a sense of nervousness that the fire will go out. Some suggest we use lighter fluid. A few of us look up and ask that we wait to see if we can get it going by using nature, our intention, and the wood in front of us.

Smoke – more smoke. The fire is slowly going down and what seems to be a small ember is left. Again, the offer to get lighter fluid is suggested. I look now to see my new friend Pam circling around the fire and we both agree that we ought to wait and see if we can get it going ourselves. We realize we have some paper from the s’mores to use that to help get the fire going. I start a small low chant to bless the fire and I realize more people are circling around us.

Ember – one ember. Just as it seems the fire will be out altogether, there is one spark of light. Someone calls out in the dark that there is one ember still going. A few folks blow on the ember and we open the logs a little to give it more air. The ember takes and more glow begins to light up our campfire.

Fire – we have fire. The fire grows up and out and we begin to clap and hug and laugh. Most of the campers hadn’t realized the effort to get the fire going. All the fire starters gather closer to the flame knowing it was just smoke with one small ember.

Love – we are love. It took many hands. It took patience. It took our great will to not give into the easy solution (luckily, there was no lighter fluid nearby) and to just BE with the fire. It took time for everyone gathered to realize this was more than a camp fire – this was a sacred fire. And oh, how the fire danced for us.

The lessons of the fire are always right in front of us. Just when you think everything is at its most darkest, there is always an ember of light. The fire waits for us. Our breath holds great power. Lean on one another and bear witness. From nothing is everything. From one ember – fire.

Dedicated to Pamela Slim who shared in the sacred fire ceremony. Fuego.


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Am I Brave Enough to Be Me?

Saturday, September 3rd, 2016

I am sitting on a cabin step in upstate New York with a woman from Vermont who I met less than 48 hours ago. We are both participants in the Camp Good Life Project (Camp GLP). It’s my third year at this summer camp for creative souls, entrepreneurs, and change-makers. It’s a weekend of wisdom, deep learning, creating, playing (color wars + dance parties), meditation, yoga classes, and an outrageous talent show. More than that, it’s a weekend of deep connections, soulful humanness, and joyful play.

As we sit eating our veggie pizza, we laugh about our experiences from the weekend. We talk about how we have witnessed being vulnerable, feeling safe, being connected to our core values, playing our hearts out, and experiencing deep love without judgment. When asked what her biggest lesson of the weekend has been, she looks me in the eye and says she is leaving with the question, “Am I brave enough to be me?” I exhale. My eyes fill with tears. Her eyes fill with tears. We just sit together and listen to the question without rushing to any outcome or answer.

BeBraveThe question of being brave enough to be me has been part of my meditation since leaving camp. Am I brave enough to be me? For three days at camp, the answer was a resounding yes. I felt brave enough to hug friends and strangers, to (belly) laugh, to cry with people I met for the first time, to dance and sing, to drum publicly at a bonfire, to make my own mala (prayer beads), to nap under a tree, to take long quiet walks, to watch birds and share the joy of it with campers, to listen and bear witness to stories about longing or grief or dreams, and to share my deep passions and fears.

The world has too much fear spreading and camp is a reminder that something else works – bravery. The kind of bravery that asks people to be themselves, to show up fully, and to tune into their heart and live from that place.

It takes great bravery to:

What all of these (and the many more) moments of bravery exemplified is the ability to fully show up – as is – just the way we are. It was the experience of being able to laugh and cry in the exact same breath. We can be brave and doing it afraid in the exact same moment. And we can do it together. This is what it means to connect deeply, live soulfully, and play joyfully.

Am I brave enough to be me? I take another exhale. I share with my new friend, “I needed a detox from snarkiness and cynicism.” It’s easy to be a critic; the real work is showing up and doing it afraid. Brave enough to me means fully living my values of generosity, connection, vulnerability, creativity, and spirituality.

And you? What comes up when you hear the question: Am I brave enough to be me?

This is dedicated to Jonathan and Stephanie Fields, the Camp GLP team and volunteers, all the campers and everyone living bravely.

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