Page 1

MAGAZINE

SUMMER TWENTY NINETEEN

Life Artistry. Deep Connection.


Welcome

H

ello and welcome. Thank you for being here. We are thrilled to have you join us. To feel, see and sense in every way what you hold in your hands. So before you begin, take a deep breath in and out, settle into your body. Give yourself permission to be here, to be fully present in this moment - now.

What do you hold in your hands? C Within Magazine is an offering and an invitation to explore and dream; to see within. To see your inner world through the outer beauty, ideas and reflection found within these pages. To see your Soul, its depth, its strength, its worthiness, its creativity, its beauty and grace. C Within is an invitation to be who you are. To be your fullest expression.

C Within is a place to connect with people who are being their fullest expression. Those who are opening up new ways to share with the world and to connect with those who are drawn to them and what they have to offer.

C Within is a place for contemplation and conversation for growth and deeper understanding of who we are; what we want; how we create; why we do what we do; and how it affects those close to us and across the globe.

C Within is a place to center within, to express and receive gifts of wisdom and beauty.

C Within is an offering; an attempt to give back to the world a measure of what we take from it daily. In Gratitude,

Kristine

Kristine Wilkerson


Photo Credit: Martien Bakens BELIGHT.PHOTOGRAPHY


CREATORS & CONTRIBUTORS publisher / EDITOR-in-chief: Kristine Wilkerson

EDITOR-At-Large: Mark Wilkerson

CONTRIBUTING Editors: Gianna Carotenuto Emily Johansen Kathleen Matson Shannon Perry

Design & Art Direction: Kristine Wilkerson

MARKETING & DISTRIBUTION: Elizabeth Brown Connie Kenny Nicole Blood

Front Cover Image: momentum Michele Benzamin-Miki

photographers: Gillian C. Hunter Martien Bakens

Photo Editors: Kristine Wilkerson Gillian C. Hunter

Printer: SunrisePress www.sunrisepress.net

contact us: C Within Magazine P O Box 567 Huntsville, UT 84317 cwithin.com

kw@cwithin.com

back Cover Image: flow Michele Benzamin-Miki


CONTENT 36. 26.

18.

08.

104.

Amal Wilemon — REACHING POTENTIAL BY HELPING OTHERS REACH THEIRS

42.

Michele Benzamin-Miki & Catriona Reed — THE WORLD WE LONG FOR

Angelo — 48. Jill EMBRACING THE

Kathleen Matson — MAMA OF DISTINCTION

UNEXPECTED

Nichols, MD 54. Markyia (Dr. Kyia ) —

Janne Robinson — A WOMAN OF DISTINCTION

EMPOWERED WELLNESS

58 Harini Harini — SACRED SPACES WITHIN & WITHOUT

98.

UBUNTU MAKER MUMS

.

Poetry — I AM A WOMAN OF DISTINCTION YOU WILL FEEL ME WHEN I WALK INTO THE ROOM

60.

HiRa Hosen — HEART AWAKENER

70.

Pritzker Pucker & 90. Gigi Deanna Byck —

FRIENDS OF DISTINCTION

82.

76.

Gillian C. Hunter — SOULTOGRAPHY

Teressena Bakens — WE ARE ALL WOMEN OF DISTINCTION

Maribel Rojas (Mahadevi) — MASTERING THE ART & SCIENCE OF AYURVEDA

Arlene Samen — WARRIOR & PROTECTOR


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

within this edition

Women of Distinction / Women of Presence BY: kristine wilkerson

A

t the heart of this edition is the poem “I Am A Woman of Distinction” by Janne Robinson. I stumbled upon this brilliant piece almost two years ago. It became my mantra. It shifted my life and the fullness of how I show up in this world. I shared it with others and saw its great impact. I wanted to share it with everyone. And so revel in pages 58-59 the center of the magazine.

Photo Credit: GILLIAN HUNTER PHOTOGRAPHY

C Within Magazine is a celebration of life; of all things art and artistry. It is a tool showing by example, article by article, and artist by artist, “the way”. The way of the brush, the way of the writer, the way of the singer, dancer, poet, sculptor, healer … the way of the fearless dreamer. C Within at its core is an invitation to explore the elements of our lives, the heartbeat of our genius, and the subtle ways in which we can tap into them. It is a call to each of us to become our fullest expression, free of judgment and fear. To dance and sing and paint and vision and in these acts of creation live a life of authenticity, liberation, artistry and ultimate joy. Read on. Play on. Live life to all of its juicy, luscious edges. CW

Within this edition we connected with 15 remarkable women in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s. Women of Distinction … Women of Presence. We found unique perspectives, talents, gifts and forms of expression. Each one sharing life experiences through which she gained insight into her authentic self and the deepening of self-love. For some, including myself in the creation of this edition, diving into how we define a “Woman of Distinction” and how we see ourselves as “Women of Distinction,” brought forward questions of Am I enough? Have I done enough? Am I worthy? By bringing these unspoken fears into the light, the truth came forward: We are all enough. We are all worthy. We are all “Women of Distinction”. And it is through allowing ourselves to show up in our full, authentic presence we shine. There are so many threads of magic in this edition. I hope you can feel the alchemy. I am grateful for the opportunity to meet and gain greater awareness and perspective through the windows into the lives of these 15 amazing women. Their willingness to share and to be seen is a gift; an invitation for each of us to see our true worthiness, and to know there is space for us in this world however we may come. I love the synchronicities of life. It was through several such synchronistic connections I was introduced to Janne. From there what unfolded you hold in your hands. It is my deep desire that you feel the beauty, the richness, the support, the sharing, the love, the energy of collaboration with openhearted women. Take your time. No need to rush. Come back to it again and again. Breathe it in and enjoy.

Kristine

6


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

A GATHERING OF WOMEN OF PRESENCE

e h t g n i e e f r o F e c n e e ess c n e s e r p October 11-13, 2019 Compass Rose Lodge Huntsville, UT 84317 More details: cwithin.com/events 7


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Janne Robinson — A Woman of Distinction BY: beth siegel

J

anne /pronounced Ya-na/ Robinson uses her art to lend voice to those who have yet to find their truth, acceptance and strength in their own. Bold, courageous, fiery, she creates and holds “unassailable space” in the rise of modern feminism through her raw prose, beat poetry, and film. At times, Janne’s particular flavor of fire has teeth that do not come with a warning sign and may “unapologetically” bite. Yet through her

unique lexicon of duality, she breathes strength and softness, playfulness and acceptance, tenderness and boldness into the voice of the divine feminine. She says: My dharma is to share slabs of my heart, to be really vulnerable, really open and to be this messenger and permission for the human experience. I’m a woman, so a lot of it is about being a woman, but it can be for anyone. Janne’s warm, gentle smile and relaxed confidence are well matched to her surroundings, as she sits comfortably in Surf Church, her cozy, cabiny home. Her wild, lioness-like blonde hair, and ever-changing oceanblue eyes elicit a feeling that she is calm like placid water, yet there’s a palpable undercurrent of fire within her. During our time together, I take her in, sitting in this home that distinctly reflects her journey and where she is now; she is self-aware, joyfully intentional with an undeniable wild streak. Janne is a poet, author, speaker, coach, director, CEO of her media and apparel brand: “This is for the Women”, activist, surfer, and a “Woman of Distinction.” She immediately drew me in with her presence and her invitation to accept ourselves and accept each other for who we really are, not who we pretend to be. Raised in Canada surrounded by feminine energy, Janne attributes much of her gumption to her mom: She’s a force of nature to be reckoned with. I think about the impact that I’ve had in my life and it’s a toe in the footprint of my mother. An airplane mechanic for many years—old boys club warrior with shamanic roots. My mother’s

Photo Credit : GILLIAN HUNTER PHOTOGRAPHY

8


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Photo Credit: LUNA MÃœNN PHOTOGRAPHY

9


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

words of wisdom Writing from the core of her being directly connected to spirit her truth flows

10


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Photos Credit: LUNA MÃœNN PHOTOGRAPHY

11


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

anthem to empower women to see their light. For me that poem is about women owning their light.

existence and presence, when she was teaching or not teaching me, has influenced me greatly.

BETH: : I think that’s a beautiful, beautiful message. Can you give me a couple moments of your life when you believe you really stepped into your light as a woman of distinction?

Even now, in my mom’s presence I ground so deeply into who I am because of the richness of our connection. My mom is gay, so I had two amazing moms growing up and have taken so much of who I am from them.

JANNE: The first thing that comes to mind is the first time I was asked to do any kind of public speaking. I had done some speaking at workshops and retreats, but this felt more official. It had a stage and a green room— it was being photographed and filmed. The day before, I was reviewing my talk with Mark Groves, a friend of mine who was throwing the event. I started to fumble and get really nervous. The event was called “Masters of the Universe” The whole thing was, to be master of the universe—you master who you are. You master your authenticity, that makes you a leader, and that makes you shine.

Janne proudly asserts that these women, including a mentor who came into her life six years ago, provided, “a straight fucking vein to spirit, straight vein to source, straight vein to what is sacred.” In turn, Janne gives recognition of their truths within her written words. BETH: Your poem, “I Am a Woman of Distinction, You Will Feel Me When I Walk Into the Room ” is a profound piece. Tell me a little more about it. JANNE: I wrote it in Barbados, about four years ago. I previously had written “This Is For the Women Who Don’t Give a Fuck,” which was a really powerful anthem. It had teeth, and it took bites. There’s lots of shock value. I think that my feminism at first was done in a really strong, masculine way of trying to create space in that umph way. At the time I wrote this (“I Am A Woman of Distinction”) I was thinking there’s so much importance in feminism with softness and with grace. I wanted to write a piece that would flow like poetry and still be an

So I was just sharing my story and got really nervous about it and almost didn’t want to do it. I got up on that stage and I thought, “I’m just talking about myself. I literally cannot do this wrong. If I don’t say something or I do say something, it’s me.” I remember saying that “I share slabs of my heart with this world for a living,” and the whole audience clapped and my body completely relaxed and let go, and I was able to just be there. Then I was funny, and I was cracking 12


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Photo Credit: GILLIAN HUNTER PHOTOGRAPHY

jokes, and I stepped off that stage and broke a context of who I thought I was and where I could go.

BETH: Share with me what has influenced you and what inspires you?

I’m still continuously learning. I recently was asked to speak to a couple thousand people and the same thing happened because we have our context of what we’ve experienced, what we think that we’re capable of, and then we continue to break it. So the first moment that showed up for me was that of really owning and stepping into that space.

JANNE: My early twenties were pretty heavy. I got pregnant right when I landed my dream internship and was in the process of moving to British Colombia to start again. I left my old home in the prairies and experienced starting over in a town where I didn’t know anyone. I went through being a starving artist—which lost its romanticism very quickly. I discovered the difference between aloneness and loneliness. I lost someone to suicide—which is a lesson none of us ever want to sign up for in this life. I struggled through understanding my worth as an artist and becoming and embracing who I am as a woman and artist—(laughs) I still am nearing thirty.

It’s so fucking important that women take up space right now. Even if we’re shaking, sometimes taking up space doesn’t look like being confident. Other moments of stepping into my light? A big piece that I’m actually currently in—so I still feel like I’m a caterpillar in—is this shift in owning fully that I am a woman with a big heart—who grew up communicating and feeling fluidly, like water, like breathing. This part of me was continuously put in a box and told it was too much or too intense for most of my life. Small hearts who never felt safe to feel or speak often don’t understand hearts that contain mountains. I listened to the people who didn’t understand my heart and expression for a long time, and had shame around my capacity to express, and love, and feel, and go deep, and softening, and surrendering. I’m shedding that—I now understand this is my great strength. That making people uncomfortable with my voice is the greatest gift I can give them.

I think that the importance of balance, play, joy and what enlivens me is something big that I give myself to right now and for the last three years. Surfing is my direct connection and telephone line to my spirit, my playfulness and my curiosity. What I love about surfing, when you think about a wave—it comes pulsing from the center of the Earth towards you. And when you’re in a wave, you’re inside the core of it, connected to Earth and energy and dancing. It’s about dance—truly, I feel like surfing is like dancing on waves with the ocean. For me, the wildlife is a huge part of it. When I first moved here, I would walk with my cup of coffee and 13


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Sur fi n g i s m y d i r e c t c onne c ti on a nd t e l e pho ne l ine t o m y spi r i t, my p layf u lne s s a n d my cur io s it y.

feeding Her soul Connection with water ... connection with spirit

14


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

sun sand water waves pure magic Janne lives in Cardiff By The Sea

Photos Credit: GILLIAN HUNTER PHOTOGRAPHY

15


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

my surf board for about 15 minutes underneath these huge towering red and yellow and black and white limestone cliffs and watch the water dripping down. It’s sunrise, so the sky is pink and the water is gold and turquoise and crystal clear. There’s orange Garibaldi fishes. I would paddle out and pelicans would glide over silently like God. The other day there was a humpback whale five feet away from me that breached, covered in barnacles, and a pod of 30 dolphins that came and swam around me. The dolphins, they’re always playing around you, but there was a moment years ago in the morning first-light energy where this dolphin jumped up completely out of the water behind me. I looked over my shoulder, gleaning that gold light, and I just saw its whole body up in the air, and then it fell into the water. I was just, “Oh my God.” I don’t actually write that much about surfing, but surfing is how I allow myself to be in a state of clarity and receptivity and wellness. To be able to go into this world and experience myself and everyone else. I wish and want the whole world to have whatever their surfing is. To be able to have that balance and that reminder of joy. But I gain inspiration from all human experiences. A lot of my, not poetry, but other pieces that I share are around connections. BETH: Well, obviously water is a huge part of your life. And you’re a Cancer, so your home is a huge part of your life. What are some practices or rituals that you do to keep yourself aligned or grounded? JANNE: The first thing I do every morning is connect with my body and my spirit—right away and then I give myself to this world. I like to have a really beautiful song that’s my alarm, so that when I wake up I’m feeling excited about moving into the day. Working rituals are really important. I wake up and surf and create time to cook a nourishing meal or go eat good food somewhere. And just have some space for myself. If I feel like writing, if I feel like connecting with a friend and having a coffee, I like to have that morning time. And then my afternoons and evenings are when I flow into being in service to this world. The ritual of being in the water every day. The ocean, although it’s grounding, is actually the yang, There’s adrenaline and sometimes, like right now, there’s fiveto seven-foot waves. So for me, grounding practices. Yoga is super huge. Stretching. Dance.

BETH: So, you really do “drink the ocean for breakfast and kiss the red dirt for dessert?” JANNE: Ha ha, I do. BETH: Explain to me your duality between the “fuck” and the “softness” sides of you. JANNE: I definitely feel 80 percent softness and sweet, and there’s a lot of gentleness and empathy and compassion to my spirit. But yeah, the fire. I get really passionate, super passionate and kind of ragey about the things that I see need to be changed or addressed in this world. I’m very expressive; communication has always been really important for me. I’m not really sure when I first incorporated swearing into my art but I think that swearing is a great tool. It can be used to shock people and make people pay attention. It snaps us awake in some ways, and there’s a reason I used it for my book title, This Is For the Women Who Don’t Give a Fuck. It’s bold, it’s big, and we need women to take up space right now. I think it gets people’s attention. There’s depth to it, and I think it can hook in attention and then allow a space for something to be heard that’s really powerful.

16


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

heart. And then the second that I publish a book or hit send, I let go, because the other 50 percent is the entire world receiving and experiencing that art and making it about them or reflecting or having that conversation. And that 50 percent isn’t about me. The beautiful piece is acknowledging that.

I hear parents saying, “don’t say a bad word.” I don’t know, part of me goes, “are swear words really that bad?” There’s a lot worse things happening in this world. I’ve said that a couple of times: “You don’t want your daughter seeing the word ‘fuck’ on my book or my shirt or my mug, but isn’t it more important to empower women to take up space and use their voices with the state of the world and everything that’s going on?” It’s important that we empower, educate and create space for women to walk tall.

The other part that has evolved for me is I’ve learned the why of my work isn’t to be a writer. You know, the why of my work is around personal truth and empowering people to be authentic. So for a while when I was writing, and I was getting all these offers to speak or host retreats or coach people, I had so much resistance because I was like “I’m straying from my dharma.” But I now know it’s not the writing; it’s the empowerment. Writing, coaching, speaking, I’ve realized they all are aligned within me.

BETH: I think it also gives people permission to have a different perception. They become more accepting of themselves because it doesn’t create the story that everything is always perfect. JANNE: Right. BETH: I love that you write both the shock and the soft. Tell me about the evolution of your writing.

I want to empower people to live their truth and be authentic. Our own authenticity is a key to healing disease. I think that when we’re out of alignment, it manifests as stress and disease in our bodies. We are happier humans when we are working, living, loving, walking, and existing in the truth of who we are.

JANNE: I think that part of my vulnerability is also being straight from the hip as a woman and as a writer. My writing voice has largely evolved there. I’m not always going to say it right, and sometimes I’m writing something, and I don’t even know where I’m going. I don’t edit things. I truly have maybe edited a couple of things in my whole life. How things show up, I believe, is how they should go out into this world, as-is. I think that everything that I write is just a truth that is inside of me.

My walk and impact that I want to make is continuing to be in my truth and create from my truth. And if that gives one person permission to be in that space, which it already has, I’m good. Sometimes when I write pieces like “I Am A Woman Of Distinction,” it’s about the woman I already am, and sometimes about the woman I want to become. I think it’s important to be read, and to be felt in the bodies of women as both. It’s about owning our light.

I did actually at one point try and neutralize my writing. About five years ago, I wrote this piece for Elephant Journal and I was trying to appeal to everybody. The editor I was working with said, “Good art isn’t neutral – it’s not. Good art, it makes a statement and then allows the world to have a conversation with that statement.” I took that to heart.

It’s about presence and authenticity. It’s an invitation to walk tall; to dance; to shimmy and shake; to love through our lives. It’s a call to know that we are worthy. Oh, so deliciously worthy. CW

I believe as an artist and a writer, my job is 50 percent I sit down as if I’m sitting on the moon alone and no one is ever going to read my words, and I write what is inside of my

jannerobinson.com

Photos Credit: LUNA MÜNN PHOTOGRAPHY

17


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

18


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

19


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Kathleen Matson —

Mama of Distinction

BY: kathleen matson

T

he day I found out I was going to be a mother was the day I decided to be a stay-at-home mom. I am lucky to have had the choice. I am even luckier to have birthed two healthy and beautiful children within two years of each other. And while I left a career that I found fulfilling and that brimmed with carefree opportunity, it was never even a choice to transition into stay-at-home motherhood. In the blink of an eye, I traded PowerPoints for power naps and Starbucks latte runs for thrice-reheated drip, and a fancy job title for a much simpler, “Mama.”

While my decision was easy, it was and is not without contention. In our hyper-connected world, “doing it all” is seen as a virtue. Being “too busy” is a badge of honor. If you’re not continuously striving and toiling for the next big goal or dream you’re doing something wrong. Be a “goal-getter”, “mother-hustler”, lean in! Do more, achieve more, compete more. We are sold this idea that if we’re not in constant motion, we may just be going nowhere. What happened to living a simple and ordinary life, and that being enough?

I d o n’ t wa nt t o be s o busy s t r ivin g to hav e it a l l t hat i f o r g e t i hav e ju st th at E NO UG H Since I held those perfect babies in my arms I learned that I whole-heartedly reject the notion of “having it all”. Right now, just having them is enough for me. Enough is appreciating and finding the beauty in the right now, even if I can barely see past the mountain of laundry in front of me or if my counters never seem to be clean. Enough is making snacks and re-reading bedtime stories and weathering tantrums. Enough is these babies. Enough is just being their mom. I don’t want to be so busy striving to have it all that I forget that I have just that — enough. Because I truly have it all. Everything I need; everything I ever wanted. That is not to say it is easy or that stay-at-home motherhood is idyllic and idealized feminine perfection. It

Photo Credit: Denise Rankin

20


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Photo Credit: BLUE TREE PHOTOGRAPHY

21


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Because even through the frustrations and the monotony and the mundane and the praying, there is so much magic. Holy, heart-stretching and wrenching magic. Twinkling eyes and rosy cheeks and dancing-in-thekitchen kind of magic. First steps, words, and naps-on the-couch-together kind of magic. And in the quiet of the evenings after even particularly rough days, I am never not consumed by gratitude to be able to do it another day. Even though my body and my mind and my everything are tired, my heart is as full as my hands.

is grinding, thankless, isolating and repetitive work. It is walking away from your children, closing the door to the nearest room behind you, and pulling yourself together because oh my God I just need them to not need me for five minutes. It is doing the necessary work to care for yourself so you stay mentally well - and I don’t mean the bubble-bath kind of self-care, I mean the on-your-kneespraying kind of self-care. And while it is true that being just a mom is enough, that wouldn’t be the case if it were my entire identity. I take great care to carve out time for myself and the things I love that don’t involve my children. But my main point is this: even though my days are very much busy, chaotic even, they are uncomplicated. They are simple. And they are so very beautiful.

My firstborn taught me that indeed the days are long, but our second showed me just how short the years are. Because the truth is, I’ll never have this day with my children again. All I can do is pray that I can etch the

hearts at home Kathleen, Delaney, Max & Tyler

22


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

yoga time

Max William age 1, Kathleen, and Delaney Jane age 3

memories of my son’s tiny toes and my daughter’s gleeful voice into my memory forever. “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” wrote beloved and world-renowned American poet Mary Oliver. In my younger days I embraced the wild of my life - now it is time to lean in to the precious. Because if I know anything, it’s that everything can change in the blink of an eye and I am here to revel in every second of their innocence that I can. The hustle will be there when I’m ready to jump back into it. But this one-year-old little boy in my lap will not. Photos Credit: BLUE TREE PHOTOGRAPHY

23


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

eve ry t h i n g c a n c h a ng e i n th e b li nk o f a n e y e . i’ m he r e t o r e v e l i n e ve ry s e c on d of th e ir inno ce nce

Photos Credit: BLUE TREE PHOTOGRAPHY

24


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

And so on the brink of every new day, I make the choice to continue to live my life defined by simplicity and gratitude. Gratitude for this roof over our heads, for my wonderful husband who works so hard to give us these slow beautiful days together. Gratitude for the abundance that I have been blessed with in this body and on this earth. For I have designed this life that at the end of the day, no matter how hard - makes me fulfilled and joyful. And in the end, I believe that this is what all moms deserve, no matter what path their motherhood journey may take. CW

LIMITLESS IMAGINATION

25


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

For the World We Long For —

Michele Benzamin-Miki & Caitrìona Reed BY: Caitrìona reED

W

About twenty-five years ago we started looking for land. We were living in Venice, California. I was teaching meditation classes, and Michele was teaching Aikido and Iaido. Michele was a painter; I was a poet. We were both performance-artist. We both had the sensibility of artists. Together we were holding retreats a few times a year in the high desert near Joshua Tree at Ruth Denison’s center, Dhamma Dena.

e were looking for a retreat center where the land would do some of the teaching for us, a piece of land that we could grow into, where the ancestors would be present, and where their presence would be part of our work. I had read Gary Snyder’s words in my teens and they had sat with me as guiding message. All my life I had been searching for Manzanita Village, or somewhere like it.

Initially we had been teaching a classical style of Vipassana meditation. In the late 1980’s we had started practicing intensively with Vietnamese Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, and also working with scholar and activist Joanna Macy. So by the time we moved to Manzanita Village our work was a synthesis of Deepecology, Vipassana, and Zen, with a strong focus on socially engaged spiritual practice. We now live at three thousand feet, in the mountains of north-east San Diego county, surrounded on three sides by tens of thousands of acres of wild land, situated a mile off the main road, forty miles from the nearest freeway, yet within a couple of hours of both San Diego and Los Angeles, drawing our water, filtered through a thousand feet of granite, from our own well. When we found Manzanita Village, even though the buildings were in a terrible state of disrepair, we knew that this was the place. Many years later, a friend and student of Diné (Navajo) ancestry, who came here for a retreat asked us, “How did you know?” “How did we know what?” “How did you know that this is a perfect place to do the work you guys do?” “We felt it.”

26


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

fi nd you r p l ac e on th e p l a ne t, l e a r n t he na me s o f t he a nima l s. a nd p l a nts, le a rn a b ou t w he r e t he wat e r co me s f r o m a nd whe r e t he ga r b ag e goe s, l e a rn a b o ut t he cl o ud s a nd we at he r . d ig in, a nd ta k e r e s p o ns ibil it y f r o m t he r e . ~ ga ry s ny d e r

27


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

The lAND HOLDING Manzanita Village and Five Changes

Over the years many people have confirmed that we made a good choice. They felt it too. In those years we gradually incorporated other elements of our work into the work we do here; family constellations; Neurolinguistic programing and hypnosis; and something we call Psychomagic, which is a blend of all that we have learned on this journey towards embracing the human in ourselves and all those who come here. Sometimes we host and co-lead retreats with others; Lama Surya Das, Joanna Macy, Starhawk, and more recently a community of Colombian curanderos who have adopted Manzanita Village as their home in the north. Sometimes when we teach meditation and other spiritual practices, we tell people to ‘try it out’ for ten years, to see how it goes before deciding if they want to pursue the work seriously. We ask them to take their time. In a similar way, we have been living here for more than twenty-one years, taking our time, learning to become

28

native to this place, letting our work evolve, informed by the land, by the animals and plants, and by our own sense of the presence of the ancestors. We came here as we were, but with the intention to remain always open to what this land might teach us. Much of what drives contemporary society is the accumulation of generations of monumental trauma, the residue of both individual and collective suffering, often buried deep within behaviors and patterns of thinking that we accept as normal. The violence and injustice of generations seeps through our collective psyche. Our work has now become more deliberately focused on healing those traumas, on becoming human, a native of planet earth. Today, as I write these words, according to a United Nations report issued a few hours ago, up to a million plants and animals species face extinction. Not that that’s any surprise to those of us who have been following the growing destruction of life on this planet for the past


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

several decades. However, the question remains, aside from the present likelihood of the collapse of all complex life systems, how do we hold our own grief for the destruction of life on such a scale? Without grieving, we add to the buried trauma, our own and others’. Through opening to the grief, we begin to become present to what is alive, in ourselves and others. How to face grief of such a scale is completely beyond our comprehension. But we begin by bearing witness, by seeing and feeling the destruction committed in our name, and by recognizing that ‘spiritual’ practice is not about immunizing ourselves against such grief. Numbing and distraction is a part of the epidemic societal problem that makes the perpetuation of such destruction possible. So our work challenges all that has numbed us, as well as the assumptions of the dominant culture; the assumptions of fundamentalist materialism; and the violence inherent in the systems that have come to dominate the increasingly adversarial mores of the world we live in.

How could such a small place make any difference? We see Manzanita Village as a sanctuary that we have deliberately set apart from the world, while we remain informed and engaged in the most effective ways we know. We believe that it is a sanctuary among many such small places, and that we are part of a movement, one among tens of thousands of such sanctuaries whose very existence contributes in some small way to the greater momentum and power. We know something is working. Last week I sat down with someone from the local utility company who had dropped by. “What do you do here? It feels really strange. I don’t remember when I last felt this calm and relaxed.” So maybe we’re doing something right. CW

fivechanges.com

29


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

CaitrĂŹona reed As a woman of transgendered experience this land has supported not only my own transition but the transition of others who come here facing, not gender transition, but all the challenges that come on the journey towards living and embodying a life of authenticity and truth-telling.

Take any path, and follow it till every path becomes your own, till all things are yours, all living belovèd till all paths take you along the path which is yourself from The Colonies CaitrÏona Reed

fivechanges.com

30


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Michele benzamin-miki The form of Aikido and Iaido, martial arts that Michele has studied and taught for nearly forty years, are rooted not in notions of ‘self-defense’ but in active non-violence. It’s an art that focuses not on winning a fight, but on breaking the pattern of violence. It is deeply connected with her work as an artist. The sword and the brush have become one in her hands. She works from her studio at Manzanita Village. “This land has taught me to be fully present with my work in the process of its creation. The spaciousness, silence, and energy here have taught me to trust the depths of my creative imagination.” Michele is one the world’s highest ranking women in the martial arts of Aikido and Iaido Sword, and teaches both in the US and Japan. She has facilitated non-violence and diversity trainings, meditation, mindfulness, and creativity; for organizations, schools, within the prison system, and on reservations; for three decades. As someone of mixed Japanese and European heritage, she passionately believes that we can come into our beauty and power by thinking outside all the boxes that we have been squeezed into; and that authentic self-expression means crossing all the imaginary borders, to integrate every aspect of your life.

michelebenzaminmiki.com

Photos Credit: Caitrìona Reed

tara 31


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Ascend Michele’s work has been shown in galleries internationally. She has pursued a parallel career as an artist alongside her work as a martial artist, teacher, healer and facilitator.

32


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

elation

33


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Psyche 34


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

still life

perception 35


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Amal Wilemon - Reaching Potential By Helping Others Reach Theirs

BY: KATHY SPAN

A

Kenya. Amal’s and Zane’s families all get along, even the extended family who live on opposite sides of the planet and are from completely different backgrounds. This is a blended family that makes Modern Family seem antiquated. Why? Because Amal is a force that will not be denied, and together with her beloved, they are unstoppable.

mal Safdar Wilemon is a modern, beautiful, firebrand of a woman. Born of first-generation Pakistani immigrants who met for the first time on their arranged wedding night and are still very much in love today. To say that Amal was from a “traditional” Muslim family would be an understatement. Amal is also a Texan, born and raised in Arlington, educated at the University of Texas, and now living in Austin. Oh, and she is married to an Episcopal Priest who, with Amal’s collaboration, operates the amazing nonprofit Ubuntu Life, serving women and children in

I r eal i zed th e p o w er o f p eop l e; t h e p o w er o f w o m en h av i ng eac h o th er ’s b ac k . Before meeting her husband Zane, Amal lived in New York City. After college, she’d worked her way into the New York fashion scene and soon was producing big-time runway shows. She describes this as, “Very high-intensity, very high-fashion, very fun-20’s life.” But it began to feel like something was missing: I woke up and I was 31 and realized I so much wanted more. I loved what I did and I was really good at it. But I just felt empty. I wanted a purpose; I wanted a sense of community. I wanted a slower-paced life. So I came back to Austin wanting that sense of community, knowing that eventually I wanted to meet someone and settle down. I wasn’t making any of those things priority in New York; it was just work work work, go go go.

36


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Photos Credit : Dagny Piasecki, SHDW STUDIOS

37


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

been remarkable being an example that we are all God’s children. We are all One.

So I took several deep breaths and came back to Austin with that in mind. With a new focus on what I really wanted. Listening and following her inner guide, Amal moved back to Austin in 2011. She met her now-husband and partner Zane shortly thereafter. She describes their romance as a blend of attraction and faith: Our love for God, our spirituality, was important. On one of our first dates, we went so far deep down into our appreciation of God and faith and family; those values are very much in sync. Our two religions are very compatible. Each day I learn so much from him through his faith, and I think Zane told me that before me, he knew very little about the Muslim faith. His parents and grandmother were concerned when they found out we were dating. His grandmother said, ‘Well, I’ve heard you are dating this Muslim girl, and I’m just going to pray for you. And pray that this relationship doesn’t work out.’ She is 98 years old, and she has now been to my parents’ house celebrating Ramadan. It has

38

Once back in Austin, Amal started producing large events and then was hired to launch a members-only social club. She was in a slower-paced city but the fast life was taking over again: Around this time Zane and I became pretty serious. We knew this was the real thing. We wanted to get married and create this life together, but there I was working in this fast-pace nightlife scene, and Zane was struggling to take Ubuntu Life to the next level, which included frequent long trips to Africa. We talked it through. I have this incredible ability to get people excited about what I am excited about. I have always used so much of my network and talent for other people as opposed to using them for myself, or those I love. We started talking about what if I came to work for him and started putting some of my energies into Ubuntu Life. It was scary. Scary to leave a field where I had done so well. And these women and children were his family. He had been doing this for 18 years, and this was


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

his life. But I felt I needed to take the leap. It was calling me. I felt like this was God opening the door and showing me something. Asking me to step in. So I did. Once again, Amal listened and aligned her actions to her inner guidance. Amal’s faith was borne out. Working together to grow the reach of Ubuntu Life has been fantastic for everyone. She feels so honored to be a part of Ubuntu. She remembers when she first went to Kenya and was embraced by the Maker Mums and the entire Ubuntu community: That trip broke me wide open; it changed everything for me. When you go and you meet these incredible women and the kids, it just hits you and you are overwhelmed with emotion. Their spirit is so joyful and they are so honored that you care to the extent you do and so grateful for the jobs that you’ve created alongside them. The love that they had for Zane. The love that I could see they had for me. I realized the power of people; the power of women having each other’s back.

Photos Credit: Erin Outdoors

39


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Now two years into her marriage and full on into her role as head of business development, Amal is both proud and excited by what she has accomplished: Zane and I are a perfect team. I like to say I am the starter and he is the closer. I love getting people excited about Ubuntu. I enjoy showing them a way to be a part of our tribe, our community, having them donate money and time; we’re building corporate partnerships that will allow Ubuntu to become that rarest of nonprofits: self-sustaining. Partnerships like with Goodio, the Finnish-based chocolate company who harmoniously combined Ubuntu’s East African coffee and organic, non-GMO cacao from farms in Peru, Ecuador and the Congo, are wins for everybody. They take our story and we create the branding, and it’s on the shelves and sold in Whole Foods Market globally. We get a percentage from each chocolate bar that is sold. So it’s a win for them and a win for Ubuntu. Another partnership is with Allegro Coffee Company; together we have developed Café Ubuntu Coffee that is sold through Whole Foods Market. Partnerships, community and collaboration are all critical components of our work. The Maker Mums’ story shows how this work ripples out. It is so amazing empowering women to help themselves. The organization is on fire right now. So many of these women are starting side businesses – hair salons, farming, taxi services – and buying their own land, building their own homes. There is so much more that can be done. I am excited about living in Kenya more. Amal considers herself blessed to have found something and someone that fuels her intense passion for connection: “I’m now in my rhythm, my peace, my Zen.” CW

UBUNTU.LIFE

Photo Credit: Dagny Piasecki, SHDW STUDIOS

40


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Photo Credit : Dagny Piasecki, SHDW STUDIOS

Amal & Zane with Maasai Maker Mum Nancy & her grandchildren

AmaL with Ruth, a student at the Ubuntu Kids Center

Photo Credit: Celeste Hope

41


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Maker Mums of Ubuntu First There Were Nine BY: mark wilkerson

U

buntu is life for hundreds of special-needs children and their families. Ubuntu Life provides free, life-changing therapy to children with conditions like cerebral palsy, epilepsy, severe autism, and others. Ubuntu Life operates a special-needs center and quarterly medical camps that provide therapy and medical care to thousands of children in the Maai Mahiu area of Kenya. They have helped countless children learn to walk, to read, and to communicate effectively for the first time. Really cool, right? But there is more to the story. Much more.

It all started in a remote, impoverished village in Kenya with nine Maker Mums and a 15-foot by 15-foot rented room filled with manual Singer sewing machines. And it was the Mums’ idea. These remarkable women, all mothers of special-needs children who, thanks to two extraordinary men, had finally gotten their children basic medical care, approached them with a humble “thank you,” and a proposition: “We need your help. Not charity; your help to help us work. We want to earn our own way. And we want to give back to the Ubuntu project that has empowered our children.”

“MUM” is the word.

Jeremiah Kuria and Zane Wilemon heard them and acted. “Our first products were simple and easy to master: shopping bags, coffee sleeves, bandanas, and coasters. We purchased 11 acres of land on the outskirts of Maai Mahiu, rehabilitated it with native trees, plants and landscaping, and built the Maker Mums Sewing Studio.” The Mums earn above-market, living wages, and get much-needed health insurance. This is something for which all in the Ubuntu community take great pride. Less than 19% of Kenyans have health insurance. And around half of the Mums now own their own land and house, in a country where less than 10% own either. The Mums exemplify effective, sustainable change. They are breaking the cycle of poverty, one Mum at a time. Today the Maker Mums number in the hundreds. They are producing more sophisticated products that generate more revenue and even higher wages.

maker mums SEwing studio Maai Mahiu, Kenya

Not only do the Maker Mums sustain themselves, but their efforts have helped make Ubuntu Life one of the few charitable organizations in the world to approach self-sustainability.

Photo Credit: Erin Outdoors

42


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Photo Credit : Dagny Piasecki, SHDW STUDIOS

maker mum Miriam working on Ubuntu Life’s Fall Collection

43


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Maasai maker mums

44


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Photo Credit: Erin Outdoors

45


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

U B U N TU MI SSION Ub un t u i s a n on p r of i t b u s i n e s s t hat us e s t he po we r o f g l o b a l c omme rc e to c re ate “inch wid e , mil e d e e p” so c i a l i mpac t f or c h i l d re n a nd mo t he r s in K e nya .

Maker Mum Alice

Ubuntu Life Fall/Winter Backpack

Photo Credit: Dagny Piasecki, SHDW STUDIOS

Meaning of “Ubuntu” : Ubuntu is an African philosophy that means “I am, because we are.” It describes the interconnectedness among all things. We all depend on every other being on this planet in ways large and small, and we feel those connections now more strongly than ever. To reach our full potential, both individually and as a society, we must help others reach theirs: I am because we are. Jerimia Curia, Co-Founder Ubuntu

46

(Ubuntu Life) RED Afridrilles


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Continued donations are critical in these efforts. But thanks to the Nine, now forever known as the “Original Maker Mums”, pride has grown and now ripples through the Ubuntu Life Community and the surrounding villages. MUM really is the word. CW

Ubuntu.life

Photo Credit: Erin Outdoors

Summer Bracelet Collection

Photo Credit: Ubuntu Life

CONNECT WITH UBUNTU LIFE. FEEL THE IMPACT. CONTRIBUTE. Photo Credit: Erin Outdoors

BE A PART OF THE IMPACT. UBUNTU LIFE 47


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Embracing the Unexpected— Jill Angelo and genneve BY: Jill angelo

C

downtime to re-energize. And, not surprisingly, I felt depleted, uninspired, and disillusioned.

hange was calling, but not in the way you might think. Three-and-a-half years ago I decided to take a sabbatical from Microsoft. I had been in the technology industry for twenty years, and my sabbatical award was sitting there like a trophy in a closet.

So, I did in fact claim my trophy. I did take my sabbatical. Not because I finally saw the light, but because I was “failing.” I received the worst manager scores of my career. The work group I was part of was going through a reorganization, and I was offered a “new role.” It was a demotion, plain and simple, no matter how my new manager tried to spin it.

Like any hardworking corporate overachiever, I was striving for the sake of striving. I was showing how committed I was by foregoing the luxury of taking

The fact was I wasn’t knocking it out of the park. I wasn’t overachieving. I was working on a lot of things I did not care about. On a dark, rainy, emotional commute home, a dear friend had the courage to speak truth to me. She said, “Take your sabbatical, Jill. Don’t take the job they’re offering. Take some time and figure life out.” So that’s what I did. I quite literally hit the work “pause” button. My husband and I packed up the car and drove south to the dry desert mountains of Utah. We breathed in the fresh smell of living. We took time to take care of our hearts, minds, and bodies with three months of rest, nature, and mindfulness. I was really present for the first time in a long time. And it felt great. But, old patterns being what they are, I fell into the temptation of searching for my next corporate role. Fortunately, the unexpected happened. I got a call from a former manager. She recalled my passion for women’s health and said I needed to meet a woman with a brilliant business idea about serving a largely under served population: women in menopause. 48


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Photos Credit: GILLIAN HUNTER PHOTOGRAPHY

49


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Now that, I thought hanging up the phone, was unexpected. Unexpected, yet oh-so-intriguing.

what contributes to both heart disease and depression? Declining hormonal levels in a woman’s body. Clearly, I thought, this is something that needs attention.

Like most women and men on this planet, I had never thought much about menopause. I decided to do my homework on the topic and discovered there are 850 million women in menopause worldwide. Less than seven percent receive the treatment they need. Twenty percent of the U.S. workforce are women of menopausal age, yet they receive no benefits or support to help them manage the brain fog, insomnia, hot flashes and mood swings. A woman’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease is more than twice that of a man – not because she lives longer, but because of the estrogen decline that occurs during menopause.

Finding solutions, now that’s my brilliance. I was in. All in. Passionately engaged. In September 2016, I launched genneve with a line of feminine care products, educational content and a mission to help women in midlife take control of their health. We know that the US faces a large and growing shortage of ob/gyns, particularly ones with menopause expertise, so we’re improving women’s access to doctors via our online clinic. For the last two-and-a-half years we’ve grown an audience of tens of thousands of women suffering in silence under a stigma that’s persisted for generations. Our mothers. Our grandmothers. But not us. No more.

Looking beyond the traditional menopause symptoms, I learned that cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women in the US, yet only one-third of participants in clinical trials are female. Twice as many women as men suffer from depression. It’s the leading cause of disability in women. And

genneve serves perimenopausal women in their 40s, starting to experience changing moods and heavy menstrual cycles. Women who’ve been thrust into early menopause in their 30s because of hysterectomy or cancer. Working women who feel they’ve lost their professional edge due to insomnia and brain fog.

Photos Credit: GILLIAN HUNTER PHOTOGRAPHY

Jill Angelo and the fabulous genneve team, Dr Rebecca Dunsmoor-Su and Shannon Perry. 50


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Veterans experiencing recurring PTSD brought on by hormonal transition. Transgender men born with the internal organs of a woman and now experiencing menopause. Mothers worrying about how they treat their kids and partners because of bouts of rage and mood changes. Women without libido because sex hurts. Recently a close friend asked, “Aren’t you afraid everyone thinks you’re going through some crazy menopause?” I brushed it off with, “If it’s good for genneve, and those we serve, I don’t care what people think about my menopause state.” But I did. I do. I’m scared of what people will think about me and my own journey through something with such great stigma. And I’m scared of being the face of a brand that has the potential to serve millions of women but requires grit, exposure, and patience to tackle something no one has wanted to touch for generations. Sure I’m scared, but I am willing to face my fears because the genneve project is so much bigger than me. Millions of women’s health and wellbeing is at stake. Since taking that unexpected sabbatical three-anda-half years ago, I’ve experienced great success … and failure. But I now know the failures as much as the successes motivate me to do great things. I have learned to slow down from time to time and listen; to be present for the unexpected. Of course I have goals, specific plans, and implementation, but I also am open and allow experiences that may look different than what I expected. I recognize that what at first may seem to be off-plan or even to be a failure may just be a gift. In this instance it was a redirection to my truer path. When I look back, I realize that in my earlier corporate role, fear was an unconscious force keeping me from realizing my full potential. Fear and failure were to be avoided. Now, it doesn’t mean that I don’t feel the fear – actually the stakes are so much higher – it’s that I have learned to wrangle and harness the fear for guidance and regard it as an opening to opportunities I may not yet have seen. One thing’s for certain, I’ve learned to make space for the unexpected. Because it’s often through the unplanned parts of life that one is challenged to do the right thing. That’s where real fulfillment exists. CW

facing fear

51


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

For women’s health and well-being in the second half of life. genneve.com

52


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

NEW EARTH For HiRa, NewEarth simply means we consciously choose to no longer indulge in low frequency belief systems, thought patterns, feelings & behaviours. The New Earth is cocreated by each and everyone of us, moment by moment.

AWA K E N Y O U R

BEING-NESS

HiRa offers 1-on-1 private online Ascension Sessions, online RIDE YOUR LOTUS© classes with Ascension Activations, Sacred Site Tours & Workshops, healings, Sacred Initiations, Unity grid & Stargate activations, Heart activations, Light Language Channeling, DNA & Source light code activations.

There is no karma in the New Earth and no akashic records. It’s simply all about Being Present in the Now moment. Ever since our planet Earth completed her Ascension process, we are Here to co-create a Free Reality. We’re invited to step into our Personal Power and step out of the light/dark paradigm. A unity consciousness without hero’s, victims, saviours, aggressors, fear and/ or anger. A co-created Reality of Ease, flow, support, Love, Joy, Light, fresh kindness and wild compassion.

SE RV I C E S NEW EARTH SUPPORT

For over a decade, HiRa Hosèn is an ordained Buddhist zen nun, now an international meditation facilitator. HiRa initially came to planet Earth to catalyse the great shift of global awakening. Now, she feels mass Ascension is well ‘en route’, so she can focus on her deepest passion: TO BE. By Being, HiRa channels Divine Source into Earth and our Human Collective. HIRA HOSÈN info@tantraoftheheart.com Tantra of the Heart.com Ride Your Lotus.com

53

Since 2012, HiRa gives worldwide ‘ wakening the Illuminated Heart’ (ATIH) A workshops as a certified teacher of the mystery School of Remembering©, founded by Drunvalo Melchizedek, USA. HiRa was formed by Drunvalo, all the while following up her training till his last advanced ‘Cosmic Grace’ workshop in Sedona, 2015.


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Empowered Wellness -

Markyia Nichols, MD (Dr. Kyia) BY: Markyia nichols, md (aka dr. kyia)

F

In addition, I was frustrated that patients were coming in needing medication to treat the side effects of their earlier medication. But the rubber really hit the road when I became the patient.

emale empowerment has always been important to me. My role models started early with my Mom and Grandmother. My family revolves around my extraordinary Grandmother. She is 93, still walks the track, and always leaves everyone behind. She remains the matriarch of our family. And then there was my mother, who raised me for several formative years as a single mother. She was fierce, hardworking and yet loving. So I have always had strong examples of powerful women, women in charge of creating their lives, women involved in their communities and in their spirituality.

Five years into my practice, the work schedule was far more reasonable than in residency, but I was still brutally fatigued. The extra weight was piling on, and my menstrual cycle became irregular. I knew I was sick. I checked my labs. Not surprisingly, they were within “normal” limits. I realized I didn’t want to start on the medications that I was prescribing for my patients every day. This felt totally out of integrity to me. I was disappointed in myself. I was disappointed by medicine. I wanted to just quit. In fact, I almost retired.

My mom was in the nursing field, so I always had medicine in my life. During my freshman year of college, I had the opportunity to volunteer at a woman’s clinic. That sealed the deal. I knew my path not only was going to be serving women, but serving women as a healer and a teacher. Becoming an OB/GYN seemed foretold. But during my residency at Johns Hopkins, I realized that something was missing in traditional Western medicine.

For some reason – I believe I was guided – I went to a conference on Functional Medicine, and just like that, the light went on. The presenter was an OB/GYN himself, but there he was telling us we had it all wrong. Every word made perfect sense to me, scientifically and spiritually. So I enrolled in the Academy for Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine, the top Functional Medicine Training at the time. It is functional medicine at its best, and I was my first patient. I learned how to look at labs within normal limits and tease down what was optimal for that individual person. I learned to be present and really listen and to blend that listening with science. I learned that with the right tools, Western and Eastern, one can see where the body’s pathways stop functioning.

The more time I spent in the hospital, the more I realized that we were treating only the surface – the leaves and not the roots. We were told, “This is the disease, and this is the pharmaceutical we give the person to treat it.” We were managing a disease, not helping a person. I remember being so frustrated. My intuition is very strong and has gotten stronger over the years. Someone can talk to me, and I can sense what is going on inside. I remember a patient talking to me, and I knew she had a thyroid issue. I heard what she was saying, and I knew she had an issue, but it wasn’t showing up on the labs. In traditional medicine there was nothing I could do.

For example, take a patient with thyroid dysfunction. You can look at what they are eating, the nutrients they may be missing, even the thoughts that are coming in, and how they are affecting the pathways. You can easily test this and possibly find something really simple such

54


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

55


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Photo Credit: Colleen Brown

wellness you really have to have an effect on the body, the mind, and the spirit.

as they might be missing zinc because they are not eating certain foods. You can then plug that gap.

We begin with a physical detox. Then we move on to the mental detox. Then we move even deeper into the spiritual. When we get to the point where the patient connects with inner guidance, we are complete. Once you are in tune with your inner guidance, you can’t go wrong. Things just flow.

Open the pathway, and the function comes back. I am a prime example. I had reluctantly started myself on thyroid medications, but as I learned how to work with the functional medicine principles, I was able to get off thyroid medication and return to full health. This is what I help others do.

Don’t get me wrong. If I get in an accident, I want all that traditional medicine can do to take care of those emergency needs. But when it comes to prevention and long-term health, you must look outside the box.

It can be complex. But it’s not difficult. Remove what is creating the dysfunction. Fill in the gaps. Change the underlying energy. And our bodies heal. The beauty of functional medicine is realizing that if we aren’t born with an issue, then we can get back to our state of wellness. The only thing that’s happened from the time when we were healthy is life and lifestyle.

Functional medicine is one of the solutions to the health care system the way it is. Part of what has been morphing is my desire to educate not only patients but doctors. Think of it this way: If you educate the mother, it rapidly ripples out to help the entire family.

It matters what we are putting in our bodies. Bad food, drinks, environmental toxins, and negative thoughts cause the body’s dis-ease.

Educating doctors can potentially create a big ripple. For now, it’s interesting, I attract empowered women who are ready for change and are willing to do whatever is necessary to heal. I love it!

Our adrenals are really important as well, so stress is a huge factor. When you remove the stressors, you take the body out of fight-or-flight mode. The body then goes into healing mode because the body naturally knows how to heal. The concepts are simple and scientific, but putting them into practice is not. We all need a little help. That is where I come in.

I believe for women, the key to good health and to a meaningful life is being present. Get connected. Get plugged in. Speak your truth. Of course we may first have to discover our truth. I think it all comes back to going within. And there are a lot of ways to do that. There is no set formula, but you must find a way to get to that point where you feel centered and feel that life is really “juicy.”

Five years into my Functional Medicine practice, I was seeing maybe ten people a day for hour-long visits oneon-one. The results were fantastic, and I wanted to reach a lot more people.

Get into your centeredness first, and everybody within your sphere of influence benefits. It’s like a beam of light.

Modern technology gave me a pathway, and two years ago I launched online with the first step to wellness, the detox that was required for over 99 percent of my patients as the initial healing step.

My number one recommendation for getting back to optimal wellness is a meditation practice. You can start with just 5 minutes a day.

This is an exciting time in medicine because people searching for health can find it. My online program is called the Total Body Reset. I call it that because for full

Look, I know you can’t just say, “go, sit still and clear your mind.” But it does not have to be difficult. One of the tools I recommend to help with meditation is 56


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

called “Brainwave Entrainment” because there is real science behind it, and it works for almost everyone. The program uses different frequencies of sound to balance your brain hemispheres. You literally pop in the ear buds and think about whatever you want. It actually meditates YOU. You can find it online at Brainev.com. They give out a free sample which is 15 minutes long. This is a good start. My number two recommendation is gratitude. At least once a day, write out things you are grateful for. And say them out loud. And go a little deeper. Say, “I am grateful for this because xyz.” Get to the point where it’s not just words, but you feel the grateful. Be present and feel. When you ask me about worthiness, I truly believe worthiness is a given. It is non-negotiable. We are ALL already worthy because we are here. There’s no question. Period. Having said that, I admit I still actively work on feeling worthy. For each leap forward, there is always a bit of fear, or the feeling of unworthiness comes in. That fear is always a great sign for me that I am stepping into something even greater, stepping up my game, so to speak. Breaking through and working to embody even higher feelings of confidence, worth and empowerment just help me to be a better teacher and healer for the women I serve.

Photo Credit: Colleen Brown

Markyia Nichols, MD, aka Dr. Kyia, is a board-certified OB/GYN committed to integrating the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual components of health. She completed her medical training at the University of Maryland and completed OB/GYN specialized training at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Kyia is a member of the Academy For Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine and has done extensive study in functional and integrative medicine. She is also certified in a variety of energy healing modalities including Reiki, Thetahealing, Matrix Energetics, Magnified Healing, Reconnective Healing, and Divine Openings. drkyia.com

Everything I am teaching my patients, I am actively doing myself. I need to make conscious choices daily in order to maintain my balance. Spirit seems to knock on my door pretty heavily if I’m not following my inner guidance. If I’ve been on vacation or I’ve been very busy and haven’t tapped in daily with my practice, things just feel off. I have learned to recognize that “off” feeling for what it is. I just have to get back to my practice and my guidance. My body takes care of the rest. I truly think that is phenomenal. The energy on our planet is changing into more of a collaborative feminine essence. This time is a perfect opportunity for women to grow and blossom. We don’t know what great things are waiting unless we are courageous enough to face our fears. If we do, we can’t get it wrong. Really, we can’t. We also need more play. Being childlike and playful opens up opportunities for Spirit to come through. It’s another special thing about women and reiterates my message to women: We have it all; the natural intuition to connect from inside, the strength, the softness, the ability to play, and the wisdom to lead. Clear the toxins and the clutter. Allow your body to heal and allow your inner guidance to lead you, and truly you can’t go wrong. CW 57


SUMMER 2018

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

I Am A Woman of Distinction I am a woman of distinction. Recklessly beautiful and untamed–my heart is splayed wide open for I not only trust the process, but I trust the force in which each one of my feet hits the ground and my ability to maneuver through the joys and grief I face each day. I walk tall, taller than an old cypress tree because I am at home in my skin — my self worth lives in each nook and cranny of my spine. It is not attached to exterior what have you’s like money, a piece of paper, a house, a car, this world approval, a ring or success. My success is in presence. I am present in the humans I stumble upon like heart beats at first light and in the night. I salsa dance bare bummed with bronze skin and white cheeks — let the music sway and bend and dip my spirit with the grace of a dozen fire flies drunk on the Moon’s wine. I am dripping in salt, browned from the sunshine, and barefoot in my beauty. I am not afraid to tell you I am beautiful because I have done the work to be at home in my soul’s skin. I do not shrink to accommodate the insecurities of those around me, but stand tall to remind them gently, why crouch? My body may be a meat bag, a vessel for the magnificence I hold inside but I cherish each scar on my chin, each freckle, each voluptuous sun bleached curl, each inch of my breasts. I walk with my head held high when I walk into a room because I know there is space for me in this world — however I may come. I show this world my tears and my laughter, unashamed. I know better than to try and fix or heal the suffering of this world. I know that by healing my suffering, I heal this world.

58


SUMMER 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

I am a woman of distinction and I am not afraid to love you before you are ready. I am not afraid to move faster or slower than the expectations we lay on vulnerability and opening. I open at my will. I open at the first drop of a breeze, at a smile from the man sitting with a green top hat that I pass in a taxi cab. I open fearlessly and sweetly and ferociously with all the might I can for what good is living if we are not loving? I am here to love and love I will. I am a woman of distinction, and I am not a victim of circumstance — I feel when things are out of alignment and I move from them with as much grace as I enter. I show up for this world. I set boundaries with ease that honour me. I understand that no is self love and everything after no is unworthiness. I am worthy, darling — oh so deliciously worthy. I am authentic as all hell and can taste bullshit from a mile away. I spit out societal Koolaide laughing and write my own bible. I ground — ground through movement, through dance, through the sea. I drink the ocean for breakfast and kiss the red dirt for dessert. I do not keep my freedom in a cage that requires six whiskies to be let loose. I dance and shimmy and shake and love through my life.

I am a woman of distinction — you will feel me when I walk into the room.

BY: Janne robinson First printed 05/2016 thought catalog.com

59


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

We Are All Women of Distinction — Teressena Bakens BY: teressena bakens

I

am a creatrix. I draw, I paint, I exhibit professionally. But what I am creating is not the product...it is not the painting or the weaving itself, although they are an outcome. What I’m really creating is beauty, creating myself, my life, the world around me.

fabric, creating an energetic weave that contains the vibration of the intention. I create harmony, peace, balance, serenity.

I am a weaver. On a 3-D level, I create blankets, rugs, shawls, altar cloths. There is a continuity that weavers throughout time and all civilizations had of weaving the dreams of the people into being. In the cosmovision it is the Celestial Grandmothers who weave our dreams and destinies among the stars. As a Grandmother, I weave with such intention, weaving dreams in the

TRUE wi sdom comes from A deep i nner kno w i ng. I t i s prompted by our i ntui ti on, gui ded by o u r so u l and remembered i n our bones.

I am a medicine woman. I have had the opportunity to be with and learn from Native American, Mayan and Peruvian shaman and medicine people. As a wisdom keeper I create ceremony. Sometimes we create ceremonies to mark rites of passage, initiations, transitions. But this is not the only way. Life is ceremony, honoring the sacred moments of your life every day. It is a way of being. In ceremony, we weave together the energies of the Earth and the Sky into our own Heart, to dream a new world into being. A Woman of Distinction is uniquely herself, aware of her own energy signature. She expresses her gifts in her own unique way. No one can do what she does....Only she can. And yet a Woman of Distinction knows that she is part of something much larger than herself. She understands that she is simultaneously significant and insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Two hundred years from now, no one may remember who she was. Her deeds may go unremembered.

seaside gallery, PISMO BEACH CA

Photo Credit: Martien Bakens, BELIGHT.PHOTOGRAPHY

60


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

61


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

C R EAT IV IT Y is the inward jou rney of t h e s o u l a n d t h e o u t wa rd expr essio n of the sacred. It allows us t o me rge o u r h u ma n a n d div ine selv e s, adding ou r light and colo r t o t h e u n i ve rs a l d re a m; w eav ing threads of beau ty in th e c o s mi c w e b o f l i f e .

weaving threads of beauty

62


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Photos Credit: Martien Bakens, BELIGHT.PHOTOGRAPHY

63


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

However, what she has contributed in her peacefulness, her love, her compassion will have made a tremendous difference in the collective evolution of human consciousness going forward. A Woman of Distinction understands the difference between an ego-driven life and a path of the sacred. This is her service, her joy and honor to fulfill. When we move from an ego-centric perception to a grander vision, we realize we are so much more than the roles we play. We begin to see things multi-dimensionally. We realize there is a soul and energetic component to all we do and all we are. Take me for example: I have four children and am now a Grandmother of six. On a familial level, I am a Grandmother. On an ancestral level, I join the matriarchal lineage of the women in my family history. On a planetary level, I am part of the lineage of Grandmothers throughout time. On a cosmic level I am one with the Celestial Grandmothers, the guardians of all children, guardian of the children, of all the children’s children’s children. On an etheric level, I am the archetype of the Grandmother. That aspect of the sacred feminine that resides outside of time and space in the Infinite. Layers upon layers, interconnected, interwoven, multi-dimensional waves of Grandmother that ripple out from me every time I read my granddaughter a story, or play at the park with my grandson. We are so much more than we realize. Many years ago I was searching for my “purpose”. I remember asking in meditation “What are my gifts?” The answer came clearly as if someone spoke it aloud in the room. “You create.” At the time I thought it referred to art, drawing, painting, weaving. What I’ve come to understand is that we are all creating every single moment. Whether we are aware of it or not is another story. A Woman of Distinction creates with conscious intent. She is aware of the power that resides in her, the power to create not only her dreams, but the universal dream unfolding in the grand shift of the ages. She adds life and beauty to the world and is an inspiration for others to do the same. How do I do this? How does anyone do this? By tapping into the essence of the universal creational forces that exist all around us and IN us. We can connect with the five elements. Fire is our passion, our creativity, our kundalini energy that ignites the spark of the divine within and arises to full flame. Air, the wind the gift and breath of life that fuels the fire. Water, the life blood from which

EXPRESSION OF GRATITUDE - MAYAN temple, palenque Photo Credit: Martien Bakens, BELIGHT.PHOTOGRAPHY

64


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Photo Credit: JAYDYNBLAIR PHOTOGRAPHY

calling in the elements with the sacred conch shell we birth our dreams. Earth, the rich fertile soil that brings things into form, that we feel in our bones. Ether, pure energy, consciousness that infuses all with light and love. These are the creative forces of nature that course through us. And remember, the Earth is also a celestial body, part of a galactic procession through the expanses of the Cosmos, that pulse with the potential to create new stars and galaxies. THIS is what I attune to when I create.

for healing and wholeness on a personal and planetary level? Perhaps more than what you contribute on a physical level....what is the energy signature vibrating in the field around you? There is a trendy expression about “stepping in more fully”. I feel this is a misperception. Stepping in implies you can step out. When you embrace, embody who you are, it is your true essence. It is a way of Being and that is where you reside; how you source yourself; how you see yourself; how you walk in the world.

People often use the expression to be “in your strength and your power.” I suggest be in the strength and the power. I create from connecting with the energy of all creation; the abundant, fruitful beauty and bounty of the Earth and infinite expanses of the cosmos. I create from attuning to that which organizes all of creation, the spiritual laws of the universe that create harmony in the music of the spheres. Infinite love and light, attuning to the in-and-out breath that pulses through the movement of the cosmos—from that I create.

It is important to be grounded. As a young child, I grew up on a farm in Wisconsin. I always felt connected to the Earth. Nature is such an incredible teacher, healer and source of inspiration that we are not separate from, but a part of. From the mountains and seas, to the stars and planets. There is a deep inner knowing of the sacred that cannot be explained, yet is felt in every fiber of my being. This is where I am grounded. In the Sacred. In Great Mystery, that is Me.

A Woman of Distinction knows that everything we do and everything we are affects not only individual lives but eons of time and consciousness. She recognizes she has the power not only to ignite change in her own life, but has the ability to influence the trajectory going forward. She is an Ancestor of Tomorrow and leaves a legacy that is not personal, but collective.

There are many ways I am of service. But whether I am teaching a class, leading a ceremony, facilitating a retreat, doing a reading or healing session, creating a weaving or painting, or writing a book....these are only the venues. It is the radiant light and energy from the Heart of the Earth and the Heart of the Sky, that resides in my Heart of Hearts that is the gift that is shared. This is what radiates from me. This is what people connect with. The essence of peace, love and harmony....that is the gift that is given. CW

So for all of us, it begs the questions....What do you choose to create, contribute, conspire for humanity and Mother Earth? What are the gifts you have to share? The wisdom that asks to be spoken? The beauty that seeks expression? What service are you called to offer 65


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

INSPIRATION Day dreams float in formless fantasy Carried on clouds of carefree imaginings. Whispers in the wind ripples in waves Stirring and quickening in the ocean of consciousness. Ebb and Flow the warp and weft of tides Weaving dreams in the fabric of my mind. Horizon’s hand extends the invitation Infinite possibilities await manifestation. The formless takes form as sea and sky kiss in the vast unfolding of creation.

LIFE IN BALANCE Structure from chaos the void calls us to create balance within life..

66


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

RETURN OF THE ANCESTORS Welcome Ancestors

Welcome Ancestors

forgotten artists of stones

wisdom keepers of the ages

whose strokes of crimson and ochre

whose voices whisper

live and dance still at the fire of my heart

in the desert wind

whose visions petroglyphs

whose songs surround me in the landscape of waking dreams.

are

painted

in

peculiar

on canyon canvases stretched over time.

Welcome Ancestors

Welcome Ancestors

grandmothers and grandfathers

those who have come before

whose stories are told

whose legacy lingers in libraries of stone

in cavernous volumes of limestone pages

whose spirits emerge

whose walls of wordless wisdom

in new expressions

speak a primal language of tribal truth.

of those who are yet to come. art and poetry by teressena bakens Photos Credit: Martien Bakens, BELIGHT.PHOTOGRAPHY

67


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

sacred reading

Reflections of the Sacred Feminine — The Fifth Tarot BY: teressena bakens

Tarot cards are a tool for awakening your inner wisdom. The images invite us to reflect and delve deeper

into the mysteries the symbols have to offer. They evoke an intuitive response that reminds us of what we already know on a subconscious or higher conscious level so we might bring it into our awareness. The cards create an opportunity to expand beyond what we think we know and embrace the true essence of who we are. I offer these three images to you as archetypes of the sacred feminine.

The first card is the Empress, the epitome of the Great Mother. She is the one who births, nourishes and sustains life. She is the creative force of Mother Nature, growth, abundance, fruitfulness. The Empress embodies both the gentle love of the mother and the sensuous aspect of the goddess. She is receptive, intuitive, compassionate and open-hearted. In the center is the Strength card. We see a woman, centered, grounded, in harmony with all the elements: fire, water, air, earth, ether. Immense light and power radiate from her womb, representing her inner strength from which she births her dreams. This power center is in perfect alignment with her heart, her crown and higher wisdom. The umbilical cord extends into a lemniscate created by two serpents. The serpentine energy represents the transformation that occurs each time we draw upon our inner strength to rebirth, shedding our old skin and recreating ourself and our world anew. The third card is Justice. She is the archetype of social equilibrium, equality and the spiritual laws of the universe. Divine order and universal truth weigh in the balance. Justice is the champion of freedom for all. She serves humanity with fairness, impartiality and mercy and always lives her truth. As you see, three cards can provide a wealth of information. To explore this further for yourself, find a deck that speaks to you. Create a sacred space for yourself. Hold the deck of cards at your heart with focused awareness on your intention. Then draw three cards and place them face down. As you turn each card over, be aware of your first response to the card. Allow yourself to feel and intuit what the card is about rather than trying to think about what it might mean. Give yourself the space to sit with it and wonder, so that you can come to your own insight of what is relevant for you. It may come in an instant flash or it may reveal itself to you days from now. Enjoy the magic of the moment! Used with permission from The Fifth Tarot, written by Martien and Teressena Bakens; Illustrated by Teressena Bakens, thefifthtarot.com

68


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Teressena is an international speaker and teacher of teachers, author, creatrix and visionary. She shares wisdom and esoteric knowledge through sacred journeys, experiential retreats, classes, ceremony, sessions, art and books. To learn more about her and her offerings visit her websites: teressena.com beacons of love.com thefifthtarot.com

Photo Credit: JAYDYNBLAIR PHOTOGRAPHY

69


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Capturing embodied images of Women of Distinction since 2009

70


WINTER + SPRING 2018

summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

lauriezdivine.com

71


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Mahadevi —Mastering the Art and Science of Life -Ayurveda BY: kristine wilkerson

A·yur·ve·da

[äyər’vādə] NOUN

A five thousand year old system of healing with origins in the Vedic culture of ancient India. The Sanskrit word Ayurveda is derived from the root words ayuh, meaning “life” or “longevity,” and veda, meaning “science” or “sacred knowledge.” Ayurveda therefore translates as, “the sacred knowledge of life.”

M

aribel Rojas, whose spiritual name is, Mahadevi, is a petite flashing-eyed sharptongued beam of light. We met five years ago at an ashram on Paradise Island Bahamas, She is an Ayurvedic Consultant working with individual clients as well as teaching Ayurvedic wisdom during her yearly four-month stay at the ashram. She is a passionate participant in 5:30 am and 8 pm meditations,

satsang, the beautiful singing and chanting, and then a Yoga class or two offered each day. For the rest of her year she travels the world as a guide and interpreter. Originally from Mexico, a resident of Canada, currently living in Spain, she speaks four languages and has seen and shared the wonders of dozens of countries. But it is Yoga and Ayurveda practice that keep her earthbound in the best sense of the word. Knowing her commitment to this “sacred knowledge of life” and her example through living it daily, I asked if she would participate in this Women of Distinction edition of CWithin by sharing answers to a few questions. These are the questions and this is her story. Q: Please explain what Ayurveda is all about? A: When we understand the principles of Ayurveda, we understand the forces that govern our body and how to create an optimal environment for balance to take place. At that moment we begin to move from oblivion to awareness. When we start reconnecting our body, mind and consciousness, the language embedded in our being opens to be decodified. My day to day life is an honoring of this language.

mahadevi teaching at Sivananda ashram, bahamas 72


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Photos Credit: Javier Martinez

73


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Ayurveda teaches us that we mirror the rhythms of nature and that our physiology is very much supported by some sense of regularity. Daily routine is a powerful medicine because it offers the grounding and stability that often is absent in our Western lives. Adopting a daily routine is also an act of self-love and in the long-run a way to build self-esteem.

I offer Ayurvedic consultations online, one on one, and in person. I help others decipher the elements present in them and their qualities and the nature of their imbalances. This reveals a clear picture of who they are physically, emotionally and mentally and with this information I create a plan to restore balance. I am constantly focusing on creating harmony within and without for others, reminding myself of the laws of nature and the purest of qualities to call them for myself and others. I am learning in this way to be fully present to be able to understand how the different energies are influencing the present moment, I need to understand this MAHAT, the great principle, the intelligence governing creation, to help others to walk the journey back to themselves, to their own essence, and in this way fulfill my dharma as an Ayurvedic Practitioner.

My day, each and every day even if I am on the road, starts with a five part ceremony. The cleaning practices of Ayurveda; scraping the tongue, cleaning the teeth, and a warm glass of water to help remove toxins from the system. Then Abhyanga, or self-massage, with sesame oil and essential oils. This promotes balance in the energy bodies and overall longevity, calms the nervous system, softens skin and tones muscle.

Q: Why do you do what you do? A: I love the path of service. I found this love in my twenties when I was invited to a meditation center. There was a meditation and then chanting. I experienced a peace I had not known before. I have continued visiting this center for many years. Every time there I have a feeling of being, of celebrating life, beauty and peace all at once. In my time there were experiences that connected heart and mind in a single awareness and I felt awake. I learned that service to others was a way of connecting to a deepest joy and then I wanted to go to different places in the world searching opportunities to serve. I traveled and became a tour guide because the opportunity presented itself to me. During these week-long tours I would serve as an interpreter, as an informer but what I enjoyed most is sharing the experience of beauty and the sense of wonder. Wonder is the essence of life. To be unable to feel wonder is to be as dead as a stone. We only enjoy the vitality of consciousness to the degree that we are sensitive to the beauty of the things around us. In 2009 I took the Sivananda teacher training course, I became a yoga teacher but the deeper gift of that course was finding Ayurveda. Dr. Marc Halpern, Director of the California College of Ayurveda and a classmate, gave an introductory lecture on Ayurveda. It was a revelation, to know that people’s behavior could be understood, predicted and healed through learning the interplay of the elements of nature. I understood then that Ayurveda is the way to add compassion to the lens through which I see the world. I knew I was going to dedicate my life to this path. It took just that one talk for me to know.

Th e a n c i e n t s k n e w ev ery m ov em ent o f th e c o sm o s to be filled wi th un i v e rs al A bh ya nga . T h e l eav es a nd b a r ks o f th e tr ees ar e con t i n ua l ly m a s s ag ed by th e w i nd ; th e r o c ks a nd p ebbles ar e ru bbed by t h e s t re am s a nd r i v er s; th e a ni m a l s a r e b r u shed by the wi n d an d t h e fore s t. A l l th i ng s a r e f o r ev er to ned by Abhyan ga. ~ M aya T iwar i

Then I meditate. Meditation is the main practice of Raja Yoga, the Yoga of the mind that helps us perceive the true nature of reality. And last, I take my shower. Q: Many spiritual teachers speak of “presence�. How does the Ayurvedic lifestyle help you to be fully present? A: Being present is indeed the key to unlocking true spirituality. And Ayurveda is the key to unlocking presence. For example my body is very much governed by the forces of the ether, air and fire, all of which are light and dry. Ayurveda helps me first to identify that these qualities are my state of being. Then it helps me create balance by applying the opposite qualities of what I naturally have. Ayurvedic Nutrition provides the knowledge of how to bring in the opposite qualities needed to balance the system. Ayurveda is a complete blending of art and science. My food is a way not just to nourish my body, but to nourish it with the moist and heavy qualities that lack in my light and dry system. This balance brings presence and allows a deeper connection between my body, mind and spirit. This connection brings me joy.

74


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

mahadevi guiding tours worldwide - Myanmar and also known as Burma Q: What are you most passionate about.

Photos Credit: Javier Martinez

of Ayurveda program by consulting with people at the Sivananda Yoga retreat in the Bahamas where I offered a series of workshops. In November I will participate at the Immersion Gurukula Program in Pune India with Dr. Vasant Lad.

A: Life, nature, love, beauty. I feel passionate about Ayurveda because it is a tool for self-discovery in the deepest sense. According to Ayurveda the main cause of disease is to forget our own true nature as spirit. We then identify ourselves as being only this body and mind and our life choices are determined by the rule of the senses. But Ayurveda --the knowledge of life -reveals to us the forces governing body, mind and spirit, this is the precious knowledge that empowers us to take control of our health. When we practice Ayurveda we are choosing awareness. We help the forces that govern our body mind and spirit to be in balance. We allow. We allow harmony in all aspects of ourselves. This is the simple beauty of Ayurveda.

After these years studying Ayurveda, traveling with groups around the world, and serving in different Ashrams I will work in conjunction with Arawak Viajes in Madrid Spain to offer Wellness Vacation Programs in nature resorts around the world weaving into health tourism private instructions on Ayurvedic Nutrition, Yoga and the Ayurvedic lifestyle. I will offer holistic treatments with hands-on training on Ayurvedic Nutrition and really fun cooking. I also continue offering workshops on Ayurvedic Nutrition and Ayurvedic Psychology at the Ashram in the Bahamas. And finally I am creating online courses on Ayurvedic cooking and Ayurvedic Psychology.

Q: What are your goals now? A: My aim now is to spread the knowledge of Ayurveda and Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy. I would fulfill the purpose of my life, my dharma, by helping others to walk the same path as me. The journey of self-discovery through Ayurveda, celebrating the knowledge and beauty of the true essence of who we truly are. This year I finished my Internship of the California College

Q: How would you define yourself as a woman of distinction? A: I am learning as I teach. And as I learned years ago when I first started Yoga, the best teacher is the open minded student. CW

75


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Arlene Samen -

Warrior and Protector

BY: deanna byck, Sc.D., MPH, Chair of one heart worldwide

A

rlene Samen is a force of nature. Her healing career began in 1977 as a Nurse Practitioner in high-risk obstetrics. Today, she is the Founder and President of One Heart Worldwide, a 501(c)(3) registered non-profit organization that strives to eradicate preventable pregnancy and childbirth-related deaths in the most remote areas of the world.

of medical foot soldiers to “fight a cause that is greater than each of us.” And fight she has. The result has been a dramatic shift in the maternal and infant mortality rates in remote regions of the world with little or no access to health care. Under Arlene’s leadership, One Heart Worldwide has built and deployed fully equipped birthing centers, trained providers in maternal care, and empowered women in villages to create sustainable change from within their communities, saving thousands of lives in the process.

Arlene has lived through violent political uprisings, major earthquakes, floods, being held at gunpoint, government interference, and people who tried to take her organization away from her. Yet, her cause is so deeply engraved on her heart, she continues to lead her team

“Whe n yo u g e t a pe r s o na l r equest f r o m t he Da l a i l a ma , what a r e you goin g t o s ay ? ‘ no, I’ m busy ?’ O r a r e you j ust g o ing t o d o it ?” Before One Heart Worldwide, the statistics in the south Asian country of Nepal were startling: every hour, two Nepali newborns took their final breaths; every eight hours, a Nepali woman died of preventable complications of pregnancy or childbirth. For every three women per 100,000 live births who die during childbirth in the Netherlands, 250 would die in Nepal. Under Arlene’s leadership, One Heart has reduced maternal mortality to almost ZERO – better than the United States! If you had asked Arlene back in 1977 if she would ever consider running a non-profit in some of the most remote

Photo Credit: Surya Bhatta

76


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Photo Credit: Jerry Fidler

Arlene Samen: Founder and President of One Heart Worldwide 77


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

regions in the world, she probably would have laughed. But through her work volunteering with Interplast, an organization that provided life-changing surgeries to remote areas, she gained an audience with none other than the Dalai Lama himself.

The dalai lama and Arlene Samen

She asked him, “I just want to know, what can I do to help?” He responded by requesting her help in Tibet to prevent women and children dying from childbirth. His own mother had birthed 16 children, half of whom died. Initially, Arlene didn’t seriously consider the idea due to logistics - she thought it might be too idealistic. Truthfully, she didn’t even know where to begin. But when he contacted her again, he simply said, “On the path of service, all doors will open.” “One Heart Tibet” was born from that conversation. As Arlene explains, “When you get a personal request from the Dalai Lama, what are you going to say? ‘No, I’m busy’? Or are you just going to do it? So off I went.”

Photo Credit: Betty Wong

It took her a long time to understand how important it is to ask for help. “It truly takes a community because without my board, staff, Craig, my friends, and my family, there is no way I could have embarked on this journey,” she says. It takes a village.

With $5,000 in funding from Morris Travel, Arlene began to raise money. From there it seemed to take on a life of its own. Since its inception, One Heart has created self-sustaining projects in Tibet and the Copper Canyon area of Mexico. Finally, in 2010, the organization landed in Nepal where the project has grown exponentially.

I asked Arlene to share a pearl of wisdom, a mantra, or anything else she would say to women to inspire them to be the best they can be. She told me that anything is possible. She also told me there were many times in her life and career when she just wanted to give up. “I think the best pearl of wisdom I have given myself over the years is that it is okay to give up in the moment. Then get some rest and ask yourself, ‘are you really wanting to give up?’ Some days when I wake up, I look at the picture of His Holiness next to my bed and I say to him, ‘Hey, I’m giving up today, I will see what tomorrow brings.’ And a few minutes later I will always see things from a different perspective, and of course I keep going.”

Arlene lives her life to her fullest potential by exercising, eating healthy, and surrounding herself with people who help her stick to her core values of being ethical, honest, loving, kind and compassionate. She is in a loving and healthy relationship with Craig, a man who fully supports her in pursuing her dreams despite the travel and time those dreams demand. With this balance, she is even more able to get up and face the challenges of working in a developing country.

When I tell Arlene she is an inspiration, she says, “I want to inspire every person I come in contact with because every person on this earth is looking to find happiness and looking for what to do to succeed and be a useful human being on the planet. I try to think about that with every single person I encounter. Maybe I can inspire them. Because for all of us, when we aren’t ‘suffering,’ we do better for ourselves and the planet.” When I think of Arlene, the word “gratitude” comes to mind. It’s what she lives by. She is always grateful for her experiences, good or challenging. She is grateful that she gets to do the work, and she is also grateful for the suffering she experienced because letting go of that suffering has led to happiness. CW oneheartworldwide.org

Photo Credit: Surya Bhatta

78


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

79


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Soultography — Gillian C. Hunter BY: darby doyle

C

reating images with spirit, depth and soulful resonance is the goal of this nationally acclaimed photographer.

Since picking up her first “real” camera at the age of 15, creating images that reveal a person’s authenticity and character has been a fundamental source of inspiration for Gillian. In initial meetings with clients, “People often tell me that they don’t think they’re photogenic.” She counters with enthusiasm: “I believe they simply need a photographer who can see their inner and outer light and help them shine bright. That’s what I do! What they see [in the photograph] is how other people experience them. That’s the essence of the person.”

“I really strive to connect with people,” says Gillian Hunter of the elemental nature of her craft. “It’s an honor and joy to create images that reflect the beauty within each person.” The intimacy of portrait photography creates a unique bond between the image creator and the subject, resulting in photographs that reflect a deep connection with and understanding of her subjects.

Gillian also excels at matching people with meaningful settings. “I get in their world,” says Gillian. Her artistic process involves selecting dynamic photo shoot locations reflecting the passions of her subjects. “I create photographs that reveal who people are and share their stories through imagery.” As a result, Gillian’s portfolio includes everything from extended family romps in snowy mountains to introspective and elegant branding photography. “Before I ever select the best possible location for a client’s photo shoot,” says Gillian of her intensive early interviews with subjects, “I need to really connect with who they are.” To achieve this connection, she meets clients where they are and at their level of comfort. Gillian believes that her own personal journey of delving deep into her relationship with nature and passion for spiritual connection is the basis for creating deep and meaningful connections with her subjects. “We laugh, have fun,” says Gillian of a typical session. “I make people very relaxed and comfortable.” This trust and compatibility translates to clients who enjoy the photo shoot experience without over thinking their appearance in the moment. Says Gillian of these 80


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

fundamental and authentic connections: “Then, we can create magic!”

in.” From the stark deserts of southern Arizona to the highest peaks of the Wasatch Mountains and from coast to coast, Gillian’s best days are spent combining her love for the outdoors with her artistic process. “I found myself in the mountains,” says Gillian of her life-long creative journey. “Being connected to nature fills my heart with joy.” CW

In the course of creating these magical moments, Gillian has traveled extensively and thrives on tackling new projects, destinations and client-driven challenges. “I’m all about the adventure,” says Gillian with a huge grin. “Whatever I can do to get THE photo, I’ll do it. I’m all

gillianhunterphotography.com

81


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Wedding Joy in WY

82


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Letting the Peace In, Branding Portrait

83


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Rock Climbers in Love, Engagement Portrait 84


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Portrait of Amanda Moxley & her daughter

Sweet Zuri 85


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

86


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Peaceful Moment in Sedona 87


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

88


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

89


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Friends of Distinction —

Gigi Pritzker Pucker & Deanna Byck BY: deanna byck & gigi prizker pucker

D

any better than others’, but because as women we all have equally valuable stories to tell.

eanna: I love that our lives have been intertwined over the last 35 years. We share so much: opportunities, experiences, education, our focus on family AND career. And over it all we share a passion for storytelling and the bigger world around us. Becoming friends in Nepal so many years ago and the experiences we each had there shaped our lives.

Gigi: I’ll try if you will. Deanna: What is it that shaped you into the woman you are today? Gigi: I am the youngest in a predominantly male, competitive, loving and close family that values intellectual pursuit, curiosity and excellence. It’s complicated growing up in that environment. Every single bit of me is a result of it. I have three older brothers who have all had a massive impact on my life. My brother closest to me in age gave me eclectic musical knowledge and helped define my interest in the arts. My middle brother was just pure unadulterated love, friendship, humor and caring. My oldest brother was my mentor in many respects. He pushed me to be curious and to travel; he’s the reason I went to Nepal - which totally changed my life.

We each took our own path. You are the head of one of Hollywood’s most innovative story-driven media companies – producing film, television, theater, live events, VR and AR. You have skyrocketed, gaining recognition and awards along the way. By the way congratulations on the 14 Tony Award nominations, and the eight Tony Awards including Best Musical for your new Broadway play, “Hadestown”!

Deanna: Mine too!

“ L i f e s h r i n ks or ex pa n d s in proport ion to o n e’s courage .” -

Gigi: Yeah, I know! Professionally, I had a professor at Stanford who saw something in me and steered me towards film school - which was not where I was headed in any vision of my world.

An a ïs N in

Deanna: So what was your trajectory?

My path includes storytelling, filmmaking, and academics. Along the way, I went back and forth to Nepal to help save the lives of mothers and babies; and I now chair One Heart Worldwide, the charity focused on the same goal but with global reach. My own health challenges have led me to become a role model, speaking to patients who suffer from the same rare disease that I have. I strive to empower them to live big and free despite debilitating physical limitations.

Gigi: During film school, I went to Bhutan with my brother and his wife, and I had the opportunity to make my first documentary film. It was made in Bhutan, and that kicked off a cycle that included documentary film, a move to New York where I worked as a film grunt, a job on a bad TV show, and meeting the woman who would be my business partner for the next 20 years. We built a great company. We then went separate ways. I bought a theater in LA and started doing theater and … fast forward to the media company I lead today, Madison Wells Media.

And yet both of us struggle to acknowledge that we are successful and accomplished individuals who inspire others. As we have this conversation, I want to be mindful that we need to tell our stories. Not because ours are

Deanna: So basically, you created your dream company and became ridiculously successful in the process. ... 90


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

EDITOR: In a friendship that spans 35 years, two women of distinction, Deanna Byck and Gigi Pritzker Pucker, talk about Big Things: about how both experienced Nepal as a place and as a catalyst; about big dreams and big accomplishments; about the courage it takes to acknowledge who they are. and the big impact they make just by their presence. Gigi Pritzker Pucker is the CEO and co-founder of one of Hollywood’s most innovative media companies, Madison Wells Media. MWM has been nominated for multiple golden globes, emmy’s and academy awards including best picture for hell or high water. Deanna Byck, Sc.D, MPH has created, written, and produced stories for The Health Quarterly, Frontline, The TimeLife Medical Series and ABC’s Good Morning America; and is an Executive Producer of the pbs film, Defying the Nazis . Deanna is the Chairwoman of One Heart Worldwide; saving the lives of women and children worldwide.

NEPAL 91


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

gigi

Photo Credit: JOE MAHER

92


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

deanna

Photo Credit: GILLIAN HUNTER PHOTOGRAPHY

93


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

vicariously through you. So, I’d love to hear more about what brought you to that? Deanna: Okay, one day I called my friend Gigi and we were talking about grad school and I said, “I hate the fucking GREs” (Graduate Record Examination). Do you remember that? Gigi: (Laughing) I totally do. Deanna: My first experience in Nepal (I was 20) was supposed to be a solo anthropologic study. I thought I was going to be Margaret Mead. ... Gigi: Ha ha! Me too! Deanna: I created a study looking at socio-cultural factors that influenced the length and frequency of breast feeding and birth-spacing. I was “out in the field” in what was supposed to be my own pristine village untouched by the hands of Western influence. But when I arrived, there was a film crew that would be there for the same two and a half months as me. After my “distraught” and “pissed as hell” subsided, we actually all became friends. They even took me with them on their shoots. An anthropologist led the team and I thought, “anthropology and film? Medical Anthropology and Film!!!” It made total sense. I realized I wanted to be a filmmaker and tell stories about culture and health. And that’s when I called you. And you said, “I just finished my year at film school, and you don’t need to do GREs.”

Photo Credit : GILLIAN HUNTER PHOTOGRAPHY

Gigi: Ha ha, yes. I suppose I have. And what about you? What shaped you into the person you are today? Deanna: Like you, I came from a loving, supportive and complicated family that believes in intellectual curiosity and the value of education. My father always encouraged me and my brothers to travel and experience different cultures to understand who we are in relation to the world. It was my father who encouraged me to go to Nepal, although I think he was shocked when I didn’t come home for almost two years the first time! Like you, Nepal rocked my world. I think we both became part of something that was greater than ourselves. Those were the formative years, the years that shaped my thought process and put perspective into my life. Gigi: I’ve always been so impressed and inspired with the direction you took, public health and pursuing your interests in an academic way. I admit I’ve lived a little bit

94

Gigi: That’s amazing. I never knew that was the backstory to that story! You’re impressive. Deanna: Ha ha! Thank you. So besides film school, I did a master’s program in Medical Anthropology and studied Public Health and International Women’s Health at UCLA. After I got married, we moved to Boston. I decided to apply for this doctoral program at Harvard in health policy and the media’s role in shaping policy. And I did have to take my GRE’s at that point. Gigi: OMG, you did?! Deanna: I did. And quite shockingly, I did well enough to get in. The day before I was accepted to Harvard, I was offered my dream job producing health-related stories on a TV show at WGBH. I went to tell the executive producer I was turning down the job, and she told me I could do both. So I did. That started the whole notion of television and health policy - making information accessible to wider audiences so they can better understand health and medical issues. Like you, things presented themselves to me, and I was able to follow up on them. I


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

that are most important in my world. They have taught me that it’s OK to be who I am and acknowledge what I have created in my professional life and, just as importantly, in my home life.

am not sure if it was luck or making the right decisions, or both. OK, back to you. How do you view distinction and how would you define yourself as a woman of distinction?

What about you?

Gigi: Ohh, is this seat getting hot? Actually that is such a good question, and it’s so hard. It would be interesting to ask women in their 20s, their 30s, 40s, 50s because I think it changes over time. I think distinction is making a mark on the world that matters. It can be that you put your heart and soul into raising your kids, or it can be that you work for a charitable organization…. There are so many ways to be distinct and to have distinction. But I don’t think it is what society thinks it is, which is … celebrity. It is not that. I do know that behind distinction is a lot of hard work and sweat and intention that has gone on, to make an impact.

Deanna: It still takes me a very long time to give myself permission to say, “Hey I accomplished that, I did that. And I’m making an impact.” In the mission of trying to heal myself on so many different levels, one of my mantras is, “It’s OK, I am worthy!” I have begun to acknowledge, “Yes, I have stories to tell, and my stories are just as important and valid as everyone else’s in the world. My story has value.” But for me, it’s a tough road. How would you tell your daughters to give themselves permission not just to take the credit they’re due but to feel good about what they’ve created or what they are going to create?

Deanna: I agree. Now this is going to be tough, but I want you to go out on a limb here. How would you describe yourself as a “woman of distinction”? Gigi: This does make me incredibly uncomfortable – to have to think in those terms. What comes to mind is I was at the Harvard Business School this past weekend speaking about entertainment and my observations about the industry to the media club. A lovely young woman came up afterwards and said, “It’s really inspirational to see you talk about what you’ve done, and you really know a lot.” And I thought – like you’ve said to me before – “strip aside all of the uncomfortable.” I’ve lived a long time at this point and stayed focused on this one thing, and I actually do know a lot about it. Women haven’t had the type of platforms to show that they have this body of knowledge and grasp of experience. I think we are so used to seeing men talk about and expound on whatever their experiences are, but we are different. It hit me in that moment, that it’s kind of a cool thing. That made me feel really good. Deanna: And YOU created the platform. I think that distinguishes you from many people. When did you give yourself permission to be who you are? Gigi: (Chuckling) Oh, maybe last week? In truth I am still working on it. Here’s the Yin and Yang; it’s that angel on my shoulder saying, “That’s amazing, look what you did!” Or the devil on my other shoulder, “No we just got lucky.” It’s a weird dichotomy. I do know how to surround myself with the right people to help me be the best I can be. That includes my friends, deeply, truly – especially my female friends. As I’ve gotten older, it’s my female friends who really are the strength and support

95


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Gigi: I’ve tried to position things as, “You should be proud of this achievement. Look what you did.” Not just, “I’m really proud of you,” but “Aren’t you proud of yourself?” Or “How do you feel about what you have accomplished? Look what you were able to do.” I think that when girls are little is when we really have to think about that language and it’s hard. … You know, “That’s such a cute dress. You look so good today.” That’s not bad. But counter-balance that with, “Look at what you just did! Are you proud of yourself? Do you feel good about that? You should.” And to convey that it’s not seeking other people’s approval. It’s getting it from inside. Deanna: Wow. Yes that is super important. Gigi: So with all my best motherly advice in mind, I’m going to turn the tables on you. You have excelled at everything. From academia, to filmmaking, to creating an exceptional family with Dann and your two boys, to chairing a worldwide, life-saving, charitable organization, you have done it all in a world demanding all. And, you have faced some major challenges over the last decade – tell me how you have been able to deal with that on top of everything else you do? Deanna: You’re right. Things changed for me when I was diagnosed about 10 years ago with a rare disease that causes bone pain and certain physical limitations. It requires that I have bi-weekly infusions. But remarkably, it changed my life in a positive way. I ended up becoming a “patient ambassador,” giving talks around the country to empower patients and their families who are going through the same thing. It’s a club I never thought I would want to be a member of, but I am. And I can help others. We have become a “genetic family.” Honestly, there are so many things I love to do in my life that I tend not to let this disease stop me. I fight through

f eet, wh at d o i n e e d the m f or if i h ave w i ng s to f ly ~ frida kahlo

it all the time so that I can live big and free. That is my mission and my message. I love the Frida Kahlo quote, “Feet, what do I need them for if I have wings to fly?” So, what inspires you? Gigi: Well, you. I am inspired by people who work really hard to excel at what they do. It doesn’t really matter what it is. Deanna: Nature? Gigi: That’s the “go to” for me, the mountains. Deanna: Me too. Gigi: And even the little things, you know, just people being human. Deanna: I love that about you. Gigi: And I about you. You have to be authentic and walk the walk that you talk – that is more important than anything. That is why I believe it was important to be focused on what I loved about my career even while raising my kids. It was important to me that my children realize they have to stick to something. They have to put things into the world that are good and useful; not just take things. You can tell a kid to be focused till you’re blue in the face, but if they see you do it, that’s what they take away. Deanna: What makes you happy every day? Gigi: My friends, you, this – my family, a good song, a very good cup of coffee. Deanna: I love it. What other piece of advice or wisdom would you share? Gigi: I don’t do wisdom. Deanna: Ha! Gigi: I have this quote by Anaïs Nin hanging in my office that reminds me that we all face things differently, but we all have to figure out how to do the best we can given our circumstances. I think about it every day: “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” Deanna: See Gigi – you actually do “do wisdom”! CW

madisonwellsmedia.com oneheartworldwide.org

96


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Photo Credit: GILLIAN HUNTER PHOTOGRAPHY

97


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Heart Awakener —

HiRa Hosèn BY: kristine Wilkerson

H

iRa Hosèn laughs as we begin our conversation. She had just completed a call with Jirka Rysavy, Founder, Chairman and CEO of GAIA the global conscious media and community company. He had asked her the same question I started with:

seven those gifts were all closed. I felt deserted until I was about 25. I was pretty lost. Then slowly, slowly I began remembering who I am, where I am from, what my mission is in life. KRISTINE: What is your mission?

KRISTINE: Who are you?

HIRA: I am here to help bring in ascension; the awakening to our true nature; the remembering of our true nature.

HIRA: There is no answer to this question other than I am infinite potential. I am infinite awareness. We all have a personality, but our true essence is infinite space.

KRISTINE: What do you mean by ascension?

KRISTINE: Where did you grow up?

HIRA: Expansion of awareness. When our vibrational signature is at a higher frequency, we feel joy and happiness.

HIRA: I grew up in a very small village in Holland on a farm. In that time, already when I was very young, about the age of your granddaughter (three and a half), I saw things. I saw golden light around people; especially around children. I had those gifts, but at six or

KRISTINE: I know you became a Zen Buddhist Nun in the Japanese Soto Zen lineage brought to the West by Zen Master Deshimaru. What guided you to that path? HIRA: Yes, I took the ordination of Bodhisattva 15 years ago then became a nun 12 years ago. Many experiences led me there. About 20 years ago I felt called to travel in India for half a year meeting the most amazing people. I call this my Karmic travel period. When I returned to Amsterdam, one of my best friends said “let’s check out this Zen Dojo where they teach you how to meditate”. And, I really wanted to learn how to meditate. I had meditated in my own way as a young child and I wanted to know more. It was a very profound question inside of me. So we went. It was at this dojo that I met my teacher, the Soto Zen community and my husband, Zemonk Kosho. He was

Photo Credit: Shakinah Abir

98


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

EDITOR note : Hira Hosèn is a zen Buddhist nun, living, practicing and sharing spirituality through daily meditation, Hira /pronounced high ra/ means ‘diamond’ and ‘thunderbolt’ in Sanskrit, the name was given during a ritual performed in India in 1998. Hira received an MSc in Engineering and Industrial Management at the University of Technology Eindhoven, in Holland 2004. currently living in egypt with her beloved husband zenmonk kosho and her daughter mahatma HIRA guides worldwide sacred journeys She speaks English, French & Dutch.

99


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

still missing that place. It was like heaven for her. It was very beautiful in the mountains of France. There were deer, eagles, animals, nature, rivers. The transition was very hard, a very difficult period. Going back into society, after ten years in the temple, needing to make a living, pay rent and taxes, it was huge. It’s been two and half years since we left, I feel now we have made it through. We are doing well. And, even though we don’t live in the temple I am still a nun completely. I no longer practice in the dojo. I’m no longer wearing the clothes. But I do my practice every day. I do mudras and meditation. It is different in that I am not sitting in full lotus for eight hours not moving a hair like before. It has become the practice of the moment, the practice of presence. I cannot describe how much my experiences living in the Zen temple with the practices, discipline and sitting in meditation for long periods of time gave me. If I did not do my practices every day it would not be possible to be where I am now.

hira at the zen temple in the mountains of france raising vibration with crystal singing bowl already a Zen Monk at that time; since he was 18. Now he is a Zen Master. So, my life then became that way of life; study, meditation, peace. These along with love became my life. For ten years, my husband and I lived together in a beautiful ancient Zen temple in France. The first week after I was ordained a Zen Nun in 2007, I became pregnant. Basically it was the first thing I did as a nun. It is so me. When we conceived, I saw a huge ball of light around my husband and my husband saw me with wings. It was truly amazing. When she was in my belly about three months. I was reading a book by Dr. Joshua David Stone about ascension. Reading about the Mahatma. Suddenly my whole body felt on fire. It was my daughter telling me that was her name. Mahatma is now almost 11. We left our beautiful temple in 2016. KRISTINE: After 10 years, why? HIRA: When you live in a community, especially one with strict hierarchy, it can be difficult to find your way in a loving way. For me it became too much. My husband was very happy. I was not. I’ll write a book one day, Burn Out of a Zen Nun In a Zen Temple (Laughter) I know it’s hilarious. But, basically I was giving away too much of my personal power and energy. KRISTINE: Your time there was complete? HIRA: Yes, my time was complete but for my husband it was very difficult, and for my daughter, too. She is

mani ratna mudra of Oneness

100


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

KRISTINE: I know, during the time you were in the temple, you also became a teacher with Drunvalo Melchezdek’s School of Remembering, how did that unfold?

the universe, feeling from inside that you are a part of it. Then following that guidance, being bold, being brave, being courageous, following that flow. I received my certification in 2011, and spent time practicing it. I knew the information from my heart. I knew I could embody this teaching. I started teaching it in 2012.

HIRA: It’s interesting because I went to my first workshop with Drunvalo in 2010 but the path actually started way back in 2000. I went to Egypt in 2000. I had a very strong calling to be with the pyramids. It was so strong I thought I was a bit crazy. So I said to the Universe “I’m not going to buy flight tickets, if I’m supposed to be there, you are going to bring me.” That was my deal. Around Christmas, a week before the new millennium, a girl came into the coffee shop where I worked. She sat down and I literally saw her face turn into the Sphinx. I knew this was my call. I went to her and I told her the story of feeling called to Egypt. She said “Oh My Gosh, my boss has this huge company in Egypt and he just had an accident so he can’t go.” She said, “I’m sure he can arrange a flight for you. And he has a house where the windows open and you look at the pyramids.” It all worked out. I went. On January 1, 2000, a girlfriend and I climbed and spent the night on top of the Great Pyramid. It was a transformational experience. (That’s a whole other story.) When we came down there was this young man walking by and he said to me “hold on’. He put his hand on my shoulder, and says, “Never forget the word ‘merkaba’.” I had never heard the word before. I even Googled it, there was nothing. Then I went journeying through the Sinai with the Bedouin. Whole story short, I went back to Amsterdam and one of my best friends says, “read this book”. It was Drunvalo Melchizedek’s book the Ancient Secret of the Flower of Life. I opened it on the word ‘merkaba’. Once I started reading I had such a relief flood my body. You can’t image it. I felt understood. I thought, “I am not crazy”. I felt that all the experiences in my life made sense. I felt like I belonged. I realized the gate I was trying to create in the pyramid was already there. I thought I had to build it, but it was already built.

KRISTINE: What is the core of that teaching? HIRA: The core is living in your heart, in the two sacred spaces in the heart; and learning to activate your light body, the merkaba. Yes, the word the young man told me to never forget back at the Great Pyramid. KRISTINE: Now, do you balance your work and home? HIRA: When I became a teacher in the “School of Remembering”, it was clear to choose that career. Beautiful teachings. Beautiful work. All the workshops were full every month; each, in another country. I was gone every two weeks for six years. When Mahatma was eight she told me she didn’t feel I was there for her. That was not the feeling I wanted for my daughter. I took a half-year off and shifted my life. For one, I started teaching the workshops only once a year.

It took me awhile to go to one of Drunvalo’s workshops because of life circumstances; I had my baby; we didn’t have the finances. When we finally had a little extra money my husband said, “For your birthday I’m sending you to the Drunvalo workshop in America, in Sedona.” I started crying and he said. “You love this information. It was important to you even before we met. So it is my gift to you.” At this workshop Drunvalo invited me to become a teacher in his new school. The invitation went straight into my heart. I knew I was to become a teacher of this “School of Remembering”. It was complete guidance. You know, “complete guidance” … knowing from

Giza Pyramids IN Cairo

101

Photos Credit: Shakinah Abir


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Once I am aware of a thought about a situation I am in, and at the same time, aware of the situation itself, I pull it into source, for the truth. The awareness of the presence is what creates the magic. My daily practice is from the Bön lineage transmitted by a Tibetan teacher called Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche. Like many other Buddhists traditions, they use three doors to awakening. The first door is the stillness of the body. The second door is the silence of the speech. And, the third door opens into the spaciousness of the mind, the infinite spirit in the heart. The place of stillness, silence and spaciousness I hold as much as possible. It is from this place that I seek to experience as much as possible. When you become aware of the body being in that stillness, the body being the source, like an instrument of source, then the body gets charged and becomes presence. Same with communication, if you want your communication to be present in the moment, not changed or manipulated, then the best way is to be aware of the silence and to communicate from that awareness of silence. When you are aware of silence everything changes. What you are going to say in the next seconds changes. Presence can be different. It can be presence of the body, presence of the speech or communication, presence of the mind. How do you perceive the things? For example, do you perceive your body as bones and structure or are you aware your body is pure space? That awareness of space, silence, stillness is changing your presence in those three different fields.

Since then my work has evolved in many ways. Now I don’t really say I teach because that infers people follow me. I guide or lead in a way that creates awareness and opportunities for people in their own power to awaken through sacred travel, experiences, workshops, I’ve created in person and online programs, as well as videos providing information on meditation, ascension, and light activations. KRISTINE: Do you work with men and women? HIRA: Yes, but mainly with women. The divine feminine is being awakened. Now it’s time for the women to rise up. Time to stand in our power, but not in an aggressive way. Some women, as this female energy starts to awaken, begin to get aggressive. This is not female energy at all. It’s a masculinized female. Female energy is much more about softness, much more about smoothness. That is why I am here, to bring in the ascension in a smooth way. Doesn’t matter if it comes in two generations. I’d be happy. It doesn’t need to be tomorrow or today.

So then you can ask what creates the presence of a woman. And you can look at the archetypal energy. For women I would say it is wisdom. Wisdom does not need to be a very serious thing. It can be very playful and beautiful. It’s actually the opposite of seriousness. It’s a woman who behaves with childlike openness. To me that’s connection to wisdom.

KRISTINE: Thank you for being a part of this “Women of Distinction” edition of CWithin.

I believe our success is in PRESENCE. And, I thank you for weaving me in. CW

HIRA: Yes you are a part of this awakening. I love how you are weaving it together. When you invited me to participate what drew me was not so much the “Woman of Distinction” it was when you said: “My success is in presence.” For me that is what is important.

tantraoftheheart.com

KRISTINE: Why important? What does presence mean to you? HIRA: I sat in my meditation about this. It starts with presence itself. It’s not only a presence of being in a body having a certain type of life experience. My focus is mostly a presence of awareness. Presence comes from awareness. 102


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

“Ascension’ essentially is about being aware. Raising our vibrational signature. An expansion of awareness. It means living our life through the compassion, forgiveness and wisdom of our Heart. It’s about a merge in consciousness, becoming a collective of ‘beingness’, a return to our divine presence & essence within.”

Giza Pyramids in Cairo -after private meditation time in the Great Pyramid.

103

Photos Credit: Shakinah Abir


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Sacred Space, Within & Without — Harini Harini BY: kristine wilkerson

H

arini - yes an unusual name. It means the Golden One. Given to her by Gurumayi. When she changed it on her legal documents it became Harini Harini as a last name was required, she told me. In my mind it just underscores the golden light, golden essence that she is. A Healer, Mentor, Teacher, Jin Shin Jyutsu Practitioner, Spiritual Awakener, Mother, Grandmother, Great Grandmother.

Wisdom Keeper. She calls the bullshit when she sees it. Sometimes without saying a word. No pretending or colluding with the story masking the inner truth. She looks you straight in the eye, smiles knowingly, nods her head and gives you sacred space within which to spill your guts. To speak what you’ve never spoken before, perhaps, not even to yourself. Freeing, that’s for sure, and the laughter that follows is the best. Loving laughter. Forgiving laughter. Empowering laughter. Golden light laughter. All with no judgment, just real presence holding space with compassion. KRISTINE: Harini, when I met you, I remember thinking you were this little angel. I was so drawn to you. I felt your presence when you walked into the room. Why do you think that is? HARINI: We are pure light. We emanate life, our light. KRISTINE: How do we emanate life? HARINI: We are light and that life light emanates. The more we clean and clear all our energetic pathways, our cells, and our consciousness, we empty our vessel to allow that light to shine brighter and brighter and brighter. We are born ... even before that, we are the spark. The sperm and ovum connect and then the spark begins to dense down into the material world, and become this being, but we are that light. Then we are moving back towards it through all the work we do.

everything is energy

All the clearing, inner and outer washing we do through our tears, our sweat, our joy, our grief, through movement, and in the way we engage in our life experiences. Then we come to recognize what is already

104


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Photos Credit: GILLIAN HUNTER PHOTOGRAPHY

105


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

harini finds balance through art reading writing gardening

106


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Mindfulness in creating sacred space cultivates presence. Have one spot‌ build energy in that spot. No matter what you are doing, writing, meditating, bringing in the light. That space creates energy and it stays there and it brings you into that state of presence right away when you come into that space.

sacred spaces

107

Photos Credit: GILLIAN HUNTER PHOTOGRAPHY


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

HARINI: Yes, I have explored the world and have been drawn to many wisdom teachers who have been my guides on this journey. Many of their images sit on my alter: Mary Burmeister, Ammachi, The Dalai Lama, Gurumayi Chidvilasananda, Adano Ley, Osho, Andrew Cohen and Eckhart Tolle are a few. My work has been infused and influenced by all of these connections and experiences. My path has been eclectic, but my goal of awakening and living in the truth has been my singular focus.

there. All of these windows open in our consciousness and start to shine the light out the windows. The light is already there. Everyone has it. It is how we came to be, that spark of connection. So as these doors and windows open and that light shines forth, it radiates. KRISTINE: As you say that, I’m reminded of many conversations we have had. It is at the core of the work you do. HARINI: Yes, I think of myself as a wild and wise force for change both inside and out. I am the catalyst that ignites the inner light of others.

KRISTINE: So that truth, what you distill down as truth for you, flows through you in your teachings?

KRISTINE: How did you know that was your work?

HARINI: Right, but honestly, it is all about the LOVE:

HARINI: Well it’s a long story, my life has been a journey, woven of many experiences… from my early childhood, until the present day. Who I have become is a compilation of the sum of my life to this point. This is the same for all of us. I had a strong inner voice that although muffled at times, was persistent in pulling me forward to my higher calling. There was always a strong core of light inside of me that guided my journey and created my “work”. I have cultivated my inner state of presence in order to be of service to others. Being awake and present is really the key to my work. This is the foundation of how I empower others to connect to their own inner light and strength.

L=Listen O=Observe V=Value E=Empower Just connecting through the love that resides within every person creates a vibration that supports the upliftment of them. KRISTINE: It sounds so simple when you say it. But if people are love what keeps them from being fully in the state of love, compassion, non-judgment all the time? HARINI: I believe it has to do with the fact that we become imprinted by so many external influences and voices such our parents, society, teachers, family, etc., that we cannot hear our own truth. Of course, we don’t

KRISTINE: You have traveled the world, studied, and worked with many wisdom teachers. Are there particular teachers, or teachings, that stand out?

108


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

realize this and the truth of others slowly becomes ours. That’s what I’m talking about when I refer to clearing and cleaning our energetic pathways; cleansing the imprints or stories that are not truly our own. As a light worker, my mission is not to give permission or tell anyone who they truly are, but instead through love and acceptance, I guide them into the awareness of this. I ignite their inner light, I am the spark that begins their inner revolution so they can become all of who they are meant to be. They must give themselves permission. KRISTINE: So have you given yourself permission? HARINI: Permission is an ongoing thing. It is something that I think comes through wisdom and learning to love yourself. It all sounds so simple and trite, but it’s true. Some people come to it sooner than others, but it’s all a part of our own individual journey. We have different destinies. I believe as we are about to incarnate as a soul, we choose our path of evolution. Based on this initial choice, our life’s journey brings in the experiences we need to achieve our soul’s purpose. I have aggregated a deep and wide range of alchemical options that I utilize in the work I do. About five years ago, I created my signature way of working with individuals called, One on One Spa for the Soul. This is an intimate, intensive, organic deep-dive that creates a massive leap forward on all levels. The threads of healing tapestry I create include Human Design, Jin Shin Jyutsu, Crystal Sound Healing Bowls and my Chakra/

109

Light Table. [Description of each on the last page of the article.] A lot of my beliefs or ideas about healing have changed over time. At this point it’s very simple; when people come into my presence, they feel love. It’s just there. That is what heals. It’s not just the work or my actions, it’s my essence. The paradox of this is both action and being must coexist in order to create change, it is not one or the other. Now, at my age - I’ll be 77 in December - I am attaining, for the first time really, a level of simplicity, clarity, purity. You know earlier I had a lot of judgment so my ability to see was influenced by ego. Discernment and my ability to see has evolved. Sometimes we get into this place and we want to say only nice things and see only nice things. Seeing clearly is so important. Calling out the bullshit and not pretending it’s all just rainbows and unicorns allows the truth to be seen. Surrendering. Forgiveness. Being present. Embracing it and welcoming the truth. If we knew we were love, we could show up however we want. KRISTINE: What does it mean to you to be a “Woman of Distinction,” a “Woman of Presence”? HARINI: A “Woman of Distinction” to me is authenticity. It is the embodiment of the higher principles of the Universe and then resonating that essence of presence of the authentic self. KRISTINE: Knowing we are enough, how do women create, connect, be?


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Wh e n we tr a n s mi t A u the n ti c p r e s e nce we a l l o w othe rs to b e w h o the y a r e .

trailmates, soulmates Harini and her partner lori white 110


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

sacred spaces and altars

Photos Credit: GILLIAN HUNTER PHOTOGRAPHY

111


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

HARINI: When we are that, knowing we are enough, there is something in the freedom of coming in contact with others, and when we transmit authentic presence we allow others to be who they are. KRISTINE: How do you keep yourself aligned with full presence? HARINI: I have learned that there are a few essential ingredients to keep myself in aligned presence. I have found a way to be completely true to me, my essence and my heart. I start each day with a combination of all of these: God time, body time, connection time and beauty time. KRISTINE: Tell me more about each. HARINI: God time: I sit in silence and allow my inner eye to open to different people that need prayer and healing. I focus my energy on each person. I also have a writing practice I call my morning pages. I have been doing this for over 40 years and have quite a compilation of writings.

Body Time: I ask my body what its needs are for the day. Depending on the internal answer I receive, I do yoga, breathing exercises, sitting in stillness or gentle stretching and movement. I always do a series of self-help Jin Shin Jyutsu energy flows to start the day off in a centered way. Connection Time: Our puppies come for their morning love and Lori and I often have deep, spiritual conversations and just start each day with a wonderful visit. Another important part of my morning is to go into nature and enjoy my roses and other plants and flowers. Beauty Time: Ask anyone and they will concur: I am a glamourpuss. So this part of my morning has equal importance to everything else I do to prepare for my day. I don’t start my “official” day until 11:00 am. My goal is to stay in total immersion in Spirit. When I do this, life flows and I am healthier, clearer, stronger, more centered. Truly an embodiment of sacred space, within and without. KRISTINE: Sounds like mastery to me! CW

harini and the tree she healed through intention 112


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

Photos Credit: GILLIAN HUNTER PHOTOGRAPHY

harini and the love puppies

**Crystal Vibrational/Sound Healing: Hearing the sound of the crystal bowls awakens an ancient remembering, touching the essence of the soul. Sound is auditory color. Each of the energy centers (Chakras) is associated with a specific tone of the musical scale. ** Chakra Bath combines the power of Color and Crystal Healing Therapy. This energy stream produces beneficial stimulation on many physical and energetic levels of being. As the color is transmitted through the crystals into the corresponding Chakra, the Chakra is cleansed, energized and brought into balance. When the Chakras are out of balance, all the other aspects of us are also out of balance ** Jin Shin Jyutsu is a complex yet simple healing art; the purpose of which is to release the tensions that cause various physical and emotional symptoms. The body contains energy pathways that feed life into all cells. When one or more of these paths become blocked it leads to pain or discomfort. This profound system enlists the body’s wisdom to balance the emotional, physical and spiritual bodies **Human Design System offers a clear view into our deepest motivations and biggest challenges, and gives you a “life user manual’ to successfully navigate all of it. It provides access to our individual blue print ,enabling you to tap into your internal compass, guiding you to understand what your true Life Purpose is. It also sheds massive light on dynamics of all of our relationships.

theinnerconnection.org

ESSENCE Essence isn’t alive……..it is aliveness Essence isn’t aware……….it is awareness Essence isn’t loving ………..it is love Essence isn’t being true……..it is truth 113


summer 2019

C WITHIN MAGAZINE

114


115


SUMMER MAGAZINE

TWENTY NINETEEN