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ORIGIN. The Art + Conscious Lifestyle Magazine.

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COLUMNISTS Faith Hunter Ana Forrest Eric Handler Laurie Gerber Tara Stiles Elena Brower Sianna Sherman Janet Stone Bill Ulfelder Cristin Klein Cameron Gilley Amy Ippoliti Taro Smith Baron Baptiste Diane Issacs Matthew R. Gomez Deepak Chopra Andrew Bowen Brenda Strong Brendan Brazier Bryan Kest Amir Magal Shiva Rea Shaman Durek Suzanne Sterling Sridhar Silberfein Susanna Harwood Rubin Joan Hyman Tamal Dodge Beryl Bender Birch Andrea Marcum Judith Hanson Lasater Michelle Berman Marchildon Jeremiah C McElwee Hagar Harpak Gina Caputo Shakti Sunfire Sarah Tomson Beyer Katie Brauer Jody Greene Melanie Fawer Kancho Cameron Shayne Laura King Rameen Peyrow Giselle Mari Jim Marston Ben Renschen Breena Kerr

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U & T H E R E L AT I O N S H I P ~ T H E P O S S I B I L I T I E S I n t r o d u c i n g a b r a n d n e w Yo g a & A r t e x p e r i e n c e Yo u & T h e M a t

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ROBERT STURMAN The official artist of the 47th annual Grammy Awards, the 2010 FIFA World Cup artist representing America, and an official artist in 2007 for the United States Olympics, Robert Sturman is a dedicated yoga practitioner himself, whose work has increasingly focused on capturing the timeless grace and embodied mindfulness of asana. His portraits, whether set in the lively streets of Manhattan, the expansiveness of Malibu’s beaches and canyons, the timeless elegance of Walden’s New England, or the bleakness of San Quentin Prison, remind us that there is beauty everywhere. In Sturman’s own words, “Yoga is the closest thing I’ve seen that really shows humanity aspiring to live to its full potential and touch something bigger than ourselves. It is done in a very pure, longing type of way, embodying not only the joy of existence, but also an element of embracing and accepting the suffering. When someone is immersed deep within the asana and reaching out with their hands, in the midst of nature or wherever we are, there is something extremely human about it. I think that’s what moves people more than anything. That’s what moves me.” To learn more about Sturman, visit:

www. RobertSturmanStudio. com

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For the

BY: Faith Hunter

LOVE of God Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me. I held that passage close to my heart when I first realized my brothers (Mark and Michael) were diagnosed HIV-positive as a result of blood products they infused for their hemophilia. It was 1982, and all I wanted was for the nightmare to be over. During that time, an HIV diagnosis was a death sentence, but worse was the discrimination, bigotry, and the lack of compassion the average American had for an HIV-positive person. My greatest fear was that people would find out, and we would be in danger. Raised in a Southern Baptist home in rural Louisiana, I had to be a good Christian girl and have faith. Months went by as I internalized my fear, and like most children, I lashed out. I directed my fear and hate upon my mother, my father, but the worst of all, I hated God. I constantly asked myself, how in hell could God allow this to happen. My brothers were kind, we went to church, but most of all God takes care of the believers. So where was God’s mercy and love for our family? This fear and anger followed me into my 20s, and I didn’t start to let go and fall back in love with God until my older brother’s death was looming. That is when I first cried on my yoga mat. The moment love and devotion reopened my heart, and like Hanuman, I felt the light of God shine in me. I can’t remember the exact day, but I do know there was a shift in my yoga practice and I could finally feel life again. I had faith to walk bravely through the shadow of my brother’s death and fear no evil. For God was with me, God was in me, and God was me. From that moment, my yoga practice was and will always be a spiritual experience. I can honestly say, “Yoga delivered me back to GOD!”

Born to share the practice, Faith Hunter is an inspiring and divine instructor that incorporates her Louisiana upbringing, yoga philosophy, modern mystical sounds, and the purity of breath to awaken and ignite the spirit of flow in the body and soul. She is a social advocate, writer, yoga podcaster, and leads yoga teacher training programs throughout the year. She is the owner and founder of Embrace, a yoga loft located in Adams Morgan, a multi-cultural nest of Washington, DC.


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The Urban Conservationist

The Future Looks Bright Origin Columnist: Bill Ulfelder, Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy, New York

“By 2050, the median age of the world’s population is projected to be 37 years old and 68 percent of us will live in cities. In the United States, people of color are projected to represent 54 percent of the population by 2050.”

The other day I saw a glimpse of the planet’s future. It didn’t look like the present, but it was bright. The Nature Conservancy is looking for ways to broaden our base of support for conservation and environmental sustainability for all life on earth. The Conservancy has a million dedicated members who are primarily white, college-educated Baby Boomers. They have historically been the backbone of the organization, making us the largest, global conservation organization and the eighthlargest charity in the United States over the past 60 years. Our members are deeply passionate about and fervently committed to conservation. We could not function without them. As the world sees a rapid change in national and global demographics, we need that passion and commitment to blossom and grow a new generation of conservationists like never before. We must seek to create a larger conservation consciousness that resonates in the 21st-century as New York, the United States and the world become increasingly young, urban, and more diverse. By 2050, the median age of the world’s population is projected to be 37 years old and 68 percent of us will live in cities. In the United States, people of color are projected to represent 54 percent of the population by 2050. The Conservancy runs the risk of becoming quaint and irrelevant in the next 40 years if we don’t connect with younger audiences and people from more diverse backgrounds. Building those connections is

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what excites me most about our work in the coming years. One of our most valuable efforts to date is the Leaders for Environmental Action for the Future (LEAF), an 18-year-old program that recruits urban, high school juniors from environmental high schools to work on Conservancy preserves across the nation. The experience is often the students’ first paid job, and a powerful combination of Fresh Air Fund, Outward Bound and Civilian Conservation Corps. On July 9, 2012, students from eight urban areas in the United States will take off to live and work for four weeks on nature preserves in 22 states. Not too long ago we held a meeting of New York Conservancy staff and trustees. Victor Medina, a LEAF alum, spoke to the gathering. He told the group how he was so inspired by his summer in nature that he spent the next years of his life climbing as many high peaks as he could find, including Pico Duarte in his native Dominican Republic. He spoke about his LEAF experience, his passion for conservation and how his LEAF summer internship helped him become the leader he is today. After he closed his remarks, Victor headed to his seat. As he walked past, someone shouted, “Bill, you’d better look out—here comes the next New York Director of The Nature Conservancy!” Got that right.

7 Reasons Why Competition is Good for Yoga Teachers by: Amy Ippoliti and Taro Smith, Ph.D. Have you ever thought that filling your yoga classes would be so much easier with no competition from other teachers? Do you ever get riled up about other teachers? Admit it, you know you’ve gone there. Let’s take a good look at “turfiness”(which ultimately makes you feel unworthy) versus good old-fashioned healthy competition. When a teacher is “turfy,” she’s focused on herself, not her students. While it is important to look out for yourself, it is also important to do so tactfully, in ways in which everyone wins. Here’s the thing: students don’t want to see their yoga teachers getting petty. Let’s reclaim the word “competition.” The way we see it, a little competition is not only a good thing, it’s a GREAT thing for yoga teachers and students alike. Here are 7 reasons why: #1: It helps grow the yoga market and demand With more yoga choices available in a given area, market awareness increases. Having a variety of offerings shows potential students that yoga is a healthy option worth their consideration. Would a town be considered a “foodie haven” if it only had one restaurant? #2: It’s natural Animals do it; children do it; it’s the way the world works. Yogis try so hard not to be competitive. Instead, why not acknowledge that we have inherited this healthy drive over millions of years? Accept it and then embrace the opportunity competition gives us. #3: It helps all ships rise on the same tide Rather than feeling threatened by your peers, collaborate! Co-teach a workshop, brag about each other on Facebook, and attend each other’s classes. #4: Being OK with competition makes you look like a hero Turfi-ness often slips out in the form of possessiveness (of students or timing of events) with an unappealing sprinkle of entitlement on top. This kind of behavior only makes you look bad. Do the opposite, and everyone will rally for you. #5: Provides an alternative for students who are not a good fit for your classes Students are free to experience multiple styles and this helps them index their yoga preferences. For example, one yoga teacher might not want to teach the twenty-something über-bendy yogis, but can better serve the fifty-plus crowd. If her colleague prefers the twenty-somethings, then it is a win-win for both teachers. #6: It forces you to be creative Rather than trying to be the best at the same routine, be creative, innovative and experimental with your offering, and then be the best at your own special version of your yoga. #7: Ultimately, it helps you get better. Throughout history, the fiercest competitors have spurred each other on to greatness. With no competition, you can become complacent and at best be mediocre. Someone has got to raise the bar! Of course not all competition is good—too much competition can clutter the marketplace and confuse clients. That said, instead of immediately getting contracted, see what happens when you welcome competition in the yoga world. You down?


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Amy founded “90 minutes to Change the WorldTM” to help yoga teachers get more out of their careers. A New York City transplant, she has appeared on the covers of Yoga Journal and Fit Yoga Magazine and is a faculty member at the Omega Institute and Kripalu. Taro, a long time entrepreneur in the health and movement industry, is the main business expert for 90Yoga.com, an advanced multimedia business of yoga programs that has served over 1000 yoga teachers and studio owners worldwide.


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creating the space within

Origin Columnist: Susanna Harwood Rubin

I finished teaching my Friday morning class and went around the corner to get a coffee. There were a couple of people leaning with their takeout cups against the glass window, earpieces in, busily talking in the direction of the traffic that moved up Lafayette Street. Inside, a woman in workout clothes read the Times while texting, and I thought about leafing through a section as well, but realized that I would be better off getting a few texts sent and emails written. Or would I? I clicked off my phone, placed it on the table, rationalizing that I really should be keeping an eye on the time, and then finally, hesitatingly committed. I slipped it back into my bag, relaxed into my seat, sipped my coffee, and just...stared into space.

I remembered a time when sitting and looking was a regular activity for me. It was definitely pre-smartphone era. It was early on in my years in New York, and most memorably from my time before that living in Paris, when there was nothing I loved more than walking the streets until I was lost and then sitting to people-watch at a café. I loved soaking in the world in this way. So how did I get to a point, as a yoga teacher, that I felt challenged by the idea of simply sitting? Isn’t that part of what I’m supposed to be teaching other people to do? I meditate every day and advocate it passionately, yet outside of the parameters of “now I’m sitting to meditate” I have to remind myself of the value of just sitting and staring into space, sitting and taking in the world. Too often I forget this. I am a goddess of multitasking and then I wonder why I feel depleted. I have so many ideas that excite me, so many things that I want to do and people who I want to see. I feel blessed in this constant sense of plenitude. But as yogis, artists, and writers we have to nourish ourselves. We put out a lot of energy and we need to refuel. We need stimulation, but we also need silence, quiet, and receptivity. The only way that we can create is to remember to receive. And to receive we need to become very quiet within ourselves. We have to create the space for something to move into. Space enables possibility and possibility enables creative thought. It has taken me years to relearn that, by pausing to receive the world around me, I replenish the reservoir of my creativity. I create enough inner space so that I can more meaningfully actualize my projects. I commit to pausing daily to take in the richness of the world and to truly taste its sweetness by offering it a space to dwell inside of me. As a visual artist and yoga teacher, Susanna’s classes offer an experience of creativity, intensity and grace. She is based at NYC’s Virayoga, and is a founding member of Yoga Coalition. Susanna’s artwork is represented in collections such as the UCLA Hammer Museum and the Addison Gallery of American Art. For years, she lectured and wrote for MoMA, and now writes for Elephant Journal. She has been profiled by FIT YOGA magazine, YogaCityNYC, Yoga Radio, and ClaudiaChan.com. Photo: by robert sturman

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by Suzanne Sterling and the OTM team

Off the Mat:

Combatting sex trafficking through The Global Seva Challenge

Each day, there are at least 3 million women and children enslaved for sex. That’s more than three times the entire population of San Francisco. Most of these victims are between 12 and 14 years old, and many are sold into slavery by their families out of desperation or misinformation. Sex trafficking is an estimated $32 billion industry, outdone in size only by the illegal trade of arms and drugs. And it flies mostly under the radar in many countries, due to a complicated web of socioeconomic issues. It is a devastatingly-prevalent but mostly-hidden epidemic that can be challenging to face head-on.

Sex trafficking is a global issue that is inextricably and intimately tied to limited economic opportunities, as well as social and cultural factors. Lack of awareness, government corruption, and poor enforcement of international anti-trafficking laws also contribute heavily to the growth of this industry.

At Off The Mat, Into the World®, we recognize the importance of working deeply with our own personal shadow before engaging with collective shadow issues. In our intensive trainings, we prioritize working with this hidden side of ourselves so that we, our leaders, and the participants we train throughout the year can step into action and serve cleanly and effectively.

Imagine that you are a young girl given over or sold by your own family because they have been told that you will be given a home and a job and a better life in another country. Then imagine that instead you are enslaved, tortured, and made to perform sexual acts day after day without escape or rest. This is the fate of many millions of women and children today. What can be done to educate the world community about sex trafficking? Is it possible to create ways for victims to heal from this type of insidious trauma? How might we support not only their healing but their eventual empowerment into lives of dignity and connection?

Because of this clear connection to shadow work and the enormity of this issue we face as a society (there are more human slaves today than at any other time in history), we’ve chosen to focus our 2012 yearly humanitarian and leadership project—the Global Seva Challenge—on sex trafficking in India. We couldn’t feel more called to action.

The solution must ultimately include an understanding of and education on the root causes of sex trafficking, stronger enforcement of laws, and opportunities for survivors to recover and reintegrate back into society in a healthy way. Our approach will focus on awareness and education as well as empowerment and rehabilitation of survivors.

Since we began Global Seva four years ago, we’ve challenged yogis around the world to raise significant ($20,000!) and vital funds for a different country each year. It’s no small task, and the grassroots fundraising efforts that our participants roll out are inspiring, entrepreneurial, and impressive. The funds they raise are distributed to local and established nonprofits working on various issues in these countries. We have an extensive vetting process to determine which issues in the area demand our support and resources most at the time. And each challenger who meets his/her goal accompanies Seane Corn and myself to the country for hands-on experience with our partners in the field. It’s a life-changing experience for all of us. Last year, we raised $375,000 to support job creation and financial stability for women and children in Haiti.

All of the organizations and projects that we’ll be supporting are digging in tirelessly to generate solutions on how to house, rehabilitate, and empower victims. We’re thrilled to learn from these groups, support them in their efforts, and help them take steps toward eradicating this shadow that we’re all facing.


The Global Seva Challenge is an opportunity to discover true leadership potential, build community, and actively participate in creating longterm and sustainable solutions to eradicate sex trafficking. We hope that you will join us in this journey of growth, courage, and service. Let’s continue to be a collective voice for change and empowerment worldwide!

Photo: Seane Corn, Hala Khouri and Susan Sterling, by Amir Magal

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Origin Columnist: Ana Forrest

Stalking Your Fear, Part Two Most of us run from it. Ana Forrest shares ways to hunt for, and resolve, our fears

breaths deep down into my pelvis. I sat with the fear and asked myself, “Why does this scare me so much?” As I went into the fear, what came up first was my absolute terror, re-immersing me in the year-long threat of losing my beloved Kelley to cancer. I stayed with the feeling, and walked even deeper into the fear. By this point I was physically shaking. So I walked even deeper in.

“Make the decision to stalk your fear. When you become the hunter rather than the prey, you create so many exciting new opportunities for growth and happiness. You learn to let go of the old fears and stories that kept you chained. “

In my last column, I gave you five steps to take to work with fear. Now I would like to share with you some examples of how I have stalked and worked with my own fear. The first happened just a short time ago. I was on the phone with my soul sister, Kelley Starkweather Rush, and she said to me, “You know, a year ago to this day, I began chemotherapy after the double mastectomy.” Kelley’s breast cancer and chemotherapy treatments were a very serious dance with fear both for Kelley and for those of us who love her. This cancer dance made her into an even stronger and more beautiful individual who today is holding steady cancer-free. When she said those words, they penetrated right into my heart so intensely it left me gasping in terror. The tendency with fear is to get paralyzed, or run, or attack. Instead, I thought, “Well, isn’t this interesting,” and took some really deep

Then the fear parted, like a fog curtain that I walked right through. I tapped into how very profoundly I love Kelley and how frightening it was to have nearly lost her to cancer. I had a choice: I could step back into the fear and use my love to make the fear even worse; or, I could stand in my love for Kelley, steeping in the feeling. I chose to stand in my love even though I was surrounded by fear and the preciousness of having this Forrest Yoga teacher and soul sister so deeply and intimately in my life. I have such admiration for Kelley having graduated into an amazing and graceful “Cancer Dancer.” Marinating in this rich stew of feeling, I chose to stand in my love, even though I was surrounded by fear. It is a very different thing to be surrounded by fear and making a brave choice, as opposed to being infected and controlled by fear. The second example of a time I stalked fear happened longer ago. I spent many years feeling fearful, wild, crazy, out of control—and I didn’t really understand why. I just had this sense that I hadn’t reached the black heart of things. Then one day I was in Dolphin pose, butt up in the air, when I was jolted not just by a memory of hands grabbing my hip and thigh and being brutally raped, but the actual painful feelings. Suddenly all these horrific memory fragments rushed to the surface—all those times I’d woken with intense pain and bruising around my genitals and butt, feeling drugged out and woozy. This wasn’t the first time I suspected that I had been sexually abused as a little girl, but it was the moment that I made the decision to turn from prey to predator. photos by: MICHAEL SEXTON

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I started gasping for air, shaking uncontrollably, and going numb. But I thought, “Hell no! I’m gonna chase this abuser out of my body!” I went rampaging through my pelvis and colon, looking for every little vestige of fear—hip joints, blood vessels. I could smell the fear, taste it, feel the acidic burn of it. When I came to each painful spot inside my body, I would breathe and fill it with my essence, will it back to life. It took me years and years of therapy to come to terms with the physical and sexual abuse to which I’d been subjected, and I won’t minimize the hard emotional, physical, psychological, and spiritual work involved. I called on many resources, including therapy, bodywork, Forrest Yoga, and ceremony. But it was the decision that day on the mat to transform from prey to predator that gave me the courage to take that journey. When I finally stalked the origins of my abuse, I understood why I’d always felt so wild and crazy. Once you stalk the fear back to its source, you can begin to reconcile it. You’ll inevitably find your fear ramping up as you hunt—keep going, you’re on the right track! I know some of you are still in shock from the dolphin story. It was shocking to me too. Here are some ways you can get out of shock. There are some great yoga actions you can do right now. Active Feet. When we get fearful, we get caught up in our chest, neck and jaw. Keeping your feet active makes the energy travel down to some of the biggest bones and muscles and makes you rooted, grounded. It also keeps you more aware, because you’re breaking a habitual posture. Do it right now. Spread through the ball of the foot and the heel, pressing down into the earth. Now lift your toes and spread them out, until your whole foot is awake. Deep breathing. When we’re afraid, we hold our breath, literally making ourselves gasp for air. This keeps you from being clear-headed and centered. Deep breathing changes your physiological response to fear, making you better able to think clearly and take the right action. My first breathing teacher was a tiger, and they breathe deeply into their ribs. Breathing like a tiger is a great way to move from prey to predator. Do this: put your hands on either side of your rib cage. Exhale everything out, feeling how the ribs move towards each other. Slowly, consciously, inhale very deeply through your nose. Feel how your ribs press against your hands as you expand your ribs sideways. On the exhale, pull the belly in. Do this for ten breaths right now. Every time you feel fear starting to percolate through you, take ten deep breaths with your hands on your ribs and change your chemistry immediately.

An even faster way to re-center in fear, once you learn how to breathe expanding your ribs, is to breathe down into your genitals. Place one hand on your genitals, and one hand on your anus and tailbone. If this scares you, hunt your fear right now with this technique. Inhale, ballooning the breath into the pelvic floor, creating a light pressure as the abdominals push down slightly. Feel your genitals, perineum and anus move into your hands. On the exhale, contract your genitals, perineum and anus muscles three times. The numbness generated by fear disperses quickly. Can you feel that? (FYI, learning to do this makes sexual response and pleasure quite wonderful!) Relax Your Neck. This is essential for changing your response to fear. A perpetually tight neck and jaw sends fear, stress and anxiety signals throughout the body. Stand or sit up straight, get your feet active, take a deep breath. Exhale. Move your right ear toward your right shoulder, keeping your shoulder down. Relax your eye muscles and brain. Feel the stretch on the left side of your neck. Breathe into your neck, relaxing a little more with each breath. With each exhale, release your shoulder blades down into your ribs. Do this for three to five breaths. Cradle the right side of your head with your right palm. Inhale. Use your hand to lift your head upright to center. Now do the other side.

“Deep breathing changes your physiological response to fear, making you better able to think clearly and take the right action.”

Make the decision to stalk your fear. When you become the hunter rather than the prey, you create so many exciting new opportunities for growth and happiness. You learn to let go of the old fears and stories that kept you chained. You live free and able to make better decisions for yourself and to love your life more—how incredible is that? In my next article, we’ll look at some common situations that cause fear and how to deal with the exhaustion that comes with adrenal overload.


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10 Things your Dog Would Tell You

Puppy Love & Loss: A Lesson on Healing by: Eric Handler Does it seem cliché that I truly believe a dog can be a man’s best friend? Is it ridiculous that a 40-year-old former entertainment executive would weep over a Chihuahua? It’s not. At least, I don’t think so. I believe five pounds of fur and love taught me more about life than my bookshelf of self-help books. The first time I saw Stella, I was convinced we’d met before. She locked eyes with me at Chihuahua Rescue and I knew the search was over. Her sweet little face, the gentle wag of her tail, those bright brown eyes that calmly locked onto mine, as if to say, “Finally, you made it! I’ve been here waiting for you.” My wife Julie and I had found the perfect addition to our family and a playmate for our dog Rocco. Rocco and Stella were our “kids” before we had kids. Restaurants, parties, parks—it didn’t matter where we went or what we did. Rocco and Stella were coming with us; we were family and family sticks together. When we’d return home, Stella would lay on my chest and gaze up at me with a look of utter contentment and adoration. I learned a thing or two about love looking down at that pure heart on four legs.

Over the next eight years, Julie and I added two non-furry kids to our family, our daughters Jemma and Jolie. Though we knew some Chihuahuas could be testy with children, Stella and Rocco loved and protected the girls like their own. When one of the babies would cry, Stella would howl like a wolf until we reached the crib. She’d stay near us as we rocked the crying little one to sleep, not resting until she was certain all was well. Unfortunately, despite her mighty heart, Stella fell ill last year. We did everything we could to ease her decline, but when the day came to say goodbye to our first “little girl,” our hearts were breaking. Julie and I held her in our arms for as long as we could, whispering tearful farewells before we called the vet into the room to put her to down. We would have done anything for Stella, except allow her to suffer. Stella left our family that day the same way she had entered it—gently, calmly and safely in our arms. We miss her every day About six months later, I spotted a post on Facebook entitled, “10 Things Your Dog Would Tell You.” I was barely halfway through #1 when the tears started to roll down my cheeks:


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1. My life is likely to last ten to fifteen years. Any separation from you will be painful: remember that before you get me. 2. Give me time to understand what you want of me. 3. Place your trust in me—it is crucial to my well-being. 4. Do not be angry with me for long, and do not lock me up as punishment. 5. You have your work, your entertainment, and your friends. I only have you. 6. Talk to me sometimes. Even if I don’t understand your words, I understand your voice. 7. Be aware that however you treat me, I will never forget. 8. Remember before you hit me that I have sharp teeth that could easily hurt you, but I choose not to bite you because I love you. 9. Before you scold me for being uncooperative, obstinate, or lazy, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I might not be getting the right food, or I have been out too long, or my heart is getting too old and weak. 10. Take care of me when I get old. You too will grow old. Accompany me on difficult journeys. Never say: “I cannot bear to watch” or “Let it happen in my absence.” Everything is easier for me if you are there—even my death.

I decided to post the list on my site PositivelyPositive.com as a tribute to Stella, and the response absolutely blew me away

Green Light Districts / Santa Monica

With over 16,000 “likes” on Facebook and over 100 blog comments, I was quickly reminded that loss and heartache are among the most universal experiences in the world. Grief doesn’t have to separate us from life, joy or one another. These are the moments that should serve as a catalyst to bring us together, and remind us to focus on what really matters. As I read through the sea of wonderful comments and stories, I came face to face with three truths. 1. Sharing the experience of loss can be soul-wrenchingly, beautifully cathartic 2. The sadness of loss cannot keep us from loving 3. I had finally found my place of healing Even in our most painful, darkest moments, light is just around the corner. Sometimes positivity comes easily, other times it must be knowingly pursued. But it’s always there, waiting to be discovered by those who need it most. The passing of Stella left an empty space in our hearts, but the life she lived and the love she gave to our family is forever. I would do it all over again. And again. And again—if I could. If you’re currently in pursuit of healing, or maybe unaware you’re in need of healing, I’ll leave you with a few words of wisdom from Stella herself. Each and every time she’d sit on my chest and rest her eyes with me, I could hear what she needed me to know: “You’re not alone. Everything’s easier if we do it together. Don’t forget what’s most important. Smile. Laugh. And and most of all—never stop playing.” Rest in peace Stella. We miss you. Eric Handler is the co-founder and publisher of the online go-to destination for inspiration, PositivelyPositive.com. They have over 1.2 million fans on Facebook.

A progressive wave which started in Santa Monica, California, is having ripple effects across the country, and soon across the world. This “healthy neighborhoods” initiative shines a spotlight on select neighborhoods which feature a high concentration of parks, attractions and businesses that add to the overall quality of life. The Santa Monica Green Light District features five beautiful parks, one and a half miles of oceanfront bike path, a community garden, farmers market, outdoor fitness beach, yoga studio, vegan restaurants, organic coffee shops, progressive retailers, a Leed-certified hotel and more. By mapping the neighborhood, creating an integrated social media campaign, and raising awareness for locals and visitors about what to appreciate about the neighborhood, business leaders, property owners and local politicians can celebrate a district that is family-friendly, safe, and fun. Green means go, so check out the map next time you visit Santa Monica, New Orleans, or Brooklyn. If you have a district in your city that might fit the criteria for GLD designation, and you are a motivated community organizer or want to be one, email info@greenlightdistricts.com to find out how to be apart of this growing movement. Or start dropping the term Green Light District so that our society can proudly offer more green light districts than red light districts worldwide some day soon!

Photos by Myra Vides

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Balancing Act:

often unknowingly pick up along the way. But you might be asking, “What if the now is crappy? How can living in the moment help with that?” When your life is not in balance and you’re struggling to achieve stability, practicing observation without judgment gets really interesting, and very useful. How? Because you can learn to distance yourself from the roller coaster ride of your emotions and circumstances but still enjoy the ride of life.

Being Here, Now. ORIGIN COLUMNIST: TARA STILES Named “Yoga Rebel” by the New York Times, Tara Stiles has inspired a wide audience around the world with her healthy and relatable approaches to yoga, meditation, exercise, awareness, nutrition and every day well being. Tara is the founder and owner of Strala Yoga, widely known for its unpretentious, inclusive, and straightforward approach to yoga and meditation. She is also the personal yoga instructor to Deepak Chopra.

When you are balancing perfectly in a tree pose, everything is easy; your breath is deep and relaxed, and your muscles are working for you just as you’d like. It’s pure and simple. Efficient. When you are having a great day, the same things occur. Your breathing is relaxed, your body is working harmoniously with your mind; everything just feels easier because you are in a state of balance. Why is balance important? From a life lesson standpoint, it’s about learning to enjoy yourself without getting the ego involved. Say you’re doing a headstand. The moment you think to yourself, “Wow, I’m doing this pose!” is usually the moment you’ll topple out of it. You take yourself out of the moment and knock yourself off balance when you judge and think about what you are doing, rather than experiencing and enjoying what you are doing. That’s what yoga teaches: how to be fully present now, no matter the circumstance. We focus on breathing because each inhale creates more space in our bodies. We focus on movement, as each movement reminds us that every moment invites a new opportunity for change. Each exhale allows us to let go of the moment that has just passed. Our attention to each breath keeps us in the now. Learning to savor the moment keeps us from living in constant worry and fear and tension over things that haven’t happened yet and may never come to pass. Practicing yoga helps us to undo these bad mental habits and stress triggers that we

External means of escape like alcohol, drug use, and even overeating are a means of pushing uncertainty away and covering it up temporarily. And they may feel comforting for a moment, but I don’t need to tell you that eventually they will cause more trouble than they ever solve. There is a big lesson in experiencing uncertainty and calamity with a sober focus—the most chaotic moments are the ones from which we can learn the most. Let’s go back to tree pose. Your tree pose is going crazy and you’re falling; and your leg is burning; and it feels impossible to maintain any sort of stability practice observing what’s happening instead of getting wrapped up in the circumstance. If you can learn to be easy with your breath in these moments, your body and mind will follow. All the body’s systems and processes—your nerves, your emotions—take instruction from what is going on with your breath. When your breathing is easy and deep, your body works efficiently, and your mind settles. That doesn’t mean that your balance (in tree pose or anywhere else) will be perfect and your life will be seamless, but you’ll be better equipped to deal with the wobbles and earthquakes that get thrown into the mix. You can fall out of a tree pose with ease, or with frustration and a sense of defeat. Just like you can take a spill in your life and decide to dust yourself off—with a chuckle or an annoyed grunt—and get back up, or you can stay down, lie there, and give up. It’s entirely up to you. It’s your life, and your practice. And as I said before, what you practice on the mat is what you end up doing in your life. Any of the yoga poses could be substituted in this analogy. How you practice is much more meaningful than what yoga moves you can or cannot do. A successful tree pose probably won’t change your life. Learning how to keep your breath easy, long, and deep no matter what the circumstance? That absolutely will.

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Elena Brower, founder of Virayoga and Art of Attention, loves to be a mama, teach yoga, write, and coach. Her yoga workbook, Art of Attention, is almost complete. She’s producing a series of videos called On Meditation, and has created an irresistible essential oil blend called GIVE which benefits Women for Women International.

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Limbic resonance, defined in A General Theory of Love as a “miraculous intermediary” that creates critical connections between others and ourselves, has me fascinated. Limbic regulation is the process by which we’re emotionally, physically, neurologically shaped by those who surround us. From our earliest moments of life, we are getting our first tastes of our emotional landscape secondhand, by watching our caretakers respond to events, then using their response as a way to know our own. Think of how a kid falls, then looks to his parent for information on how he should react. Via this “harmonizing activity of nearby limbic brains,” we’re calmer within ourselves when we’re in calm company, more frenetic internally in the presence of someone rushing, and more loving in the company of folks who prioritize love. Along those lines, we’ve learned to create either protective shields or open invitations based on what we thought we needed to get by

when we were small. And as we continue our journeys of self-understanding now, as adults, in some respects we still have pretty sturdy walls standing between us and our healing. Even decades later, we hesitate to let those walls down, and enter into relationships just like the ones that shaped us early on, simply because they’re familiar, no matter how quietly or overtly destructive. May we all realize that we chose our coping mechanisms—and can choose so differently now. Red Hawk, one of my go-to authors, suggests that those walls are simply accumulated habitual moods that have historically served us. In his book, Self Observation, he says that these moods, when they’re successful, get us what we need, and become hardwired into our systems as effective default settings, “...so that, under moments of duress, the central nervous system will immediately default to these habitual moods.” He then notes the example of depression. “Depression is one such mood, for example. It is the favorite of many people. Why? Because it gets the attention of others who may then be induced to rescue me and take care of me = survival.” I recognize that this is a deeper conversation as to the question of chemical imbalance in cases of depression, but if Red Hawk is correct, any imbalance in chemistry actually evolved out of a habitual repetition of moods. We repeat moods, habits, until we learn to remap our brains. Myself, I’ve felt whispers of depression in my body, traceable to the child in me who got the most thorough attention when I was not at my best, home sick or suffering in some way. Having learned early what would get me attention, anytime I felt uncomfortable in my skin and unable to face my day growing up, I’d say I was sick and try to stay home, and that really felt comforting to me. Being seen for being sick (or now as an adult, sad) was one of my “walls” that still sometimes stops me from just being great.

Yoga helps us see these walls (moods) that prevent us from experiencing and exchanging healing resonance; on the mat we feel the blocks in our bodies, and there is where we begin to invite awareness. Breathing opens up those places both structurally and internally, but I wasn’t really learning how to shift my behavior in real time via my yoga practice. How did I learn how to break down those walls, in actual interactions? Coaching. Working with the Handel Group, we learn about how our minds work, see the contexts in which we’ve built those walls, and begin the process of dismantling them. This work helps us create new paradigms in which we welcome healing relationships instead of the ones in which we perpetuate destruction as wound meets wound. Is coaching as spiritual as yoga? Perhaps surprisingly, coaching is a highly spiritual undertaking. The work of seeing clearly, dissolving blame, and telling my truth keeps me reconnecting: to mySELF, my friends and my family in new ways all the time, which makes me proud, which opens me more to my connection to spirit, to Source, whatever you’d like to call it. I feel it. I wasn’t feeling it with yoga alone. How does coaching work, exactly? Specifically, the work begins with designing my life—crafting specific, profound dreams for all areas of my life, and determining why they’re not true yet. Within the reasons why they’re not true is where I learn exactly how my mind (walls and all) works to keep my dreams far away. I’m building trust in myself. Designing my life means that I’m actively remapping my own mind in the direction of courage and freedom, through actively practicing both yoga and integrity. This inspires me—both consciously and unconsciously— to surround myself with family, colleagues, and friends who resonate with my evolving design for myself. This magnetizes others who trust


themselves. We lift each other up. Are we becoming dangerously codependent or do we actually help each other? According to the authors of A General Theory of Love, “limbic regulation and a balanced level of dependence are actually curative.” Our relatedness to each other helps us evolve, grow, prosper, and believe in our missions, together. When I am in my heart and focused on healing, I find myself surrounded by people who point me even more surely in that direction. Even when I falter and allow anger into my body, I find my way back to my heart, apologize, and remap the moment. Learning how to listen with more love is my only practice now. So does my coach, or my man, or my kid’s ability to tell the truth impact mine? Yes. Does mine impact theirs? Yes. Is limbic regulation that obvious? Yes and no. It’s not as clear-cut as we might think. “Knowledge leaps the gap from one mind to the other, but the learner does not experience the transferred information as an explicit strategy. Instead, a spontaneous capacity germinates and becomes a natural part of the self, like knowing how to ride a bike or tie one’s shoes.” May I place an order for the spontaneous capacity to own my prevailing bullsh*t, anger and disdain, please? And can I “listen” by consciously leaping the gap from my mind to another? When I’m feeling afraid, can I actually tune into a fearless friend’s resonance so I can feel my own bravery “germinate and become a natural part” of myself? Can I do this across time, across space, across generations? YES. We all exchange so much; we trade fear as fast as great ideas, we share sensations of lack as readily as we share abundance. We can lend each other doubt as often as we offer encouragement. As Diane Ackerman says, “We are defined by how we place our attention.” Share yours well.

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d n a d l bo f o a s n i o i o t t es ra f a i l n c e a d ic l “A m b u p ul f .” r r e o f w d o p tan s u o y what In the midst of intense challenge it’s so easy to get stuck in what seems wrong and terrible. We end up drained, depleted and devoid of prana, the vital life force energy. This contributes to a circuitry of pain and suffering that can spread like a virus and fragment us from each other. We all go through tough times. Being human is no easy thing. We each have our own soul journey of fierce encounter and we are each born for greatness. There are skillful means to help us find our way.


Sianna Sherman is an internationally recognized Anusara yoga teacher, story-teller, writer, and poet who delights in the many paths of love as a divine feast for the soul. Her recent DVD, Pranam, features yoga and dance as embodied rituals of the four elements in partnership with Shakti Sunfire.

PHOTO: BY Faern at FaernWorks

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What is a manifesto? I never really asked myself this until May 1, Beltane, the mid-point celebration between spring equinox and summer solstice. Beltane is a Gaelic word meaning “bright fire.” It was on this morning that I woke up feeling huge currents of electricity in the air and started hearing the word internally over and over again: manifesto, manifesto, manifesto. I went to the redwoods to create a ceremony for my own community that has been experiencing tremendous upheaval and strife in the last three months. I have been asking myself how I might be of service during this time and I could not see a way true to my heart that seemed helpful. As I sat next to the trees and touched one with my hand, everything clicked into place. The words spontaneously burst out of me to my friend Abby: “It’s the Manifesto Movement of May!” We immediately initiated the movement with a twominute iPhone video, calling all people forth to the power of their voice through their manifesto. A manifesto is a bold and powerful public declaration of what you stand for. It’s a catalyst to step up to the platform of your innermost truth. It’s a call to action of how you want to sculpt your words and efforts for the betterment of humankind.

The Manifesto Movement was launched to provide a means of generating the collective power of our voices in alignment with creative source energy. The horizon of hope is vast. We want people all over the world to post their manifestos on our Facebook page, and we are compiling them on the Manifesto Movement website to create a tidal wave of love in the hearts of all. On the epic full moon night of May 6, we activated our first Manifesto Movement event where yogis gathered to practice, meditate, and write personal and collective manifestos. Everyone was infused with greater vitality. We could reach out and touch radiance. We invite all yoga studios and organizations to create their own events, and we posted eleven steps on the website to help you get started. Now the movement is very much alive with manifestos pouring in every hour. My valiant friend, Chris Calarco, is committed to posting and networking as many that come to us. It’s completely grassroots and we’re devoted to it. It’s our way of saying to each and every person: We believe in YOU! Please offer your voice, true to you and with kindness for all.


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So, let’s be honest: I love cupcakes. They’re delicious, they delight my mouth, and I believe that they are good for the soul.   Now, I don’t have the notion of quitting my job to become a cupcake maker for a living. I haven’t found a cupcake school that promises that I cannot only make the most awesome and profitable cupcakes but also outdo the other cupcakers around (and maybe even eventually create an empire that dominates the original person who taught me how to make cupcakes). So how come in an ancient spiritual practice we see so many bankers, lawyers, actors, salesmen and [insert your profession here] quitting their day jobs to make a living at the thing that changed their life? What is it about the life-changing powers of yoga and its limitless benefits that so often seems to make people hunger to make the big leap to teacherhood?    The answer most often heard is, “Because I want to offer this to other people to experience, since it affected me so deeply.” But here’s the thing: there are enough teachers to teach everyone in the world a couple times over, and there are few—very few—who are able to remain in deep studentship, or who continue to experience the endless layers of deconstruction and reawakening that so affected them in the first place. In fact, to come back to the cupcakes, most day-job quitters stop enjoying the nuances of the cupcake, the various textures and the awe of profound mystery in the experience of the tasty

Remaining a Student of the Sacred Nectar of Yoga When You Teach It treat because now they are trying to pay their rent and bills by baking the cupcakes they once savored. How do I know this? Once upon a time I lived in LA and had a demanding job in the film industry. As a place of refuge I practiced yoga. I needed yoga in order not to go crazy in my work environment, but then, as it does, it began to be more important than anything else I was doing. However, in all those years I didn’t imagine that I should teach the thing that I loved to do. Not once.   But that didn’t stop the yoga train from coming after me. Due to several changes in my life circumstances, I was pulled out of my regular (if you can call the film industry regular) way of making a living, and along the way was offered the chance to teach yoga. I had taken several trainings, not to become a teacher but to deepen my understanding of this potent practice, so I reluctantly said yes…to one class. Twelve years later, I could not imagine doing anything else and I am one of those who have managed to make a living as a yoga teacher. But I have also scrambled up the bumpy path to remain in simple studentship and not to have the sweet nectar of this practice become a burden, a have-to, a business transaction.   And I’m not alone here. Over the years I have watched waves of students, upon taking their sacred practice and teaching it, lose the delicate richness of their own devotion and

“I have also scrambled up the bumpy path to remain in simple studentship and not to have the sweet nectar of this practice become a burden, a have-to, a business transaction.”

find themselves running from one studio to another trying to meet imposed quotas and bills. I can’t count the number of times I’ve witnessed exhaustion and sadness as a former student takes up the role of teacher and then hungers for the days in which she or he could simply show up and be nourished.   None of this is to say that teaching is not a valid path. It is to say: let’s continue to thoroughly enjoy the cupcake. Savor its delicate unfolding in your life. Allow yourself to fully show up and let the benefits of that cupcake seep into all parts of your living, and then practice and practice a little more cupcake, and then some more, and then if it still pulls you into the mastery of baking—go for it. But stop from time to time to taste, really taste the cupcake again. Reignite your senses to its mystery and magic.

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Baron, why do you do what you do? You’ve created such an amazing life and impacted so many people. What is it that motivates you? Yeah, that is a really good question. I think two things. Firstly, I love people. I love relating to people and interacting with people in a positive way; in a way that empowers them, that makes a difference for them in their heart, their health, and well-being. That’s one and then the second part of it for me is what I’ve come to realize in my own experience: It’s really through other people that I also get to keep evolving as a human being, on every front. It reminds me of a story. Someone asked Gandhi, “Gandhiji, if you want to be with God so badly why don’t you go live in a Himalayan cave?” He replied, “If I thought God was up in a Himalayan cave, I would go there immediately.” Then he said, “But I believe my God and my truth gets found in other people and in the heart of humanity. My place is in working with people and with humanity, and the freedom of people.” So likewise, I see it’s really through relationships and working with people, and in an empowering kind of context, that I too get to grow and expand as a human being, and expand my practice of yoga. What has been one of your biggest struggles in this life? It probably boils down to balance; balance both in work and being in the world fully. You know, following my heart and what inspires me. Again, that’s working with people, being out there in the world with people, contributing, and relating to people. But then also having my kids—my three sons at home and having a relationship with my kids. So it’s been about balancing the two realms of work and being really a fully originmagazine.com | 38

present father for my kids. Finding time to also meditate somewhere in the balance has been my greatest struggle. I’ve come face to face with my own internal struggle when one of those things dominates too much. That’s where I find I get confronted with struggle. What has been the thing that you’ve had to overcome the most, coming forward and leading large groups of people? This is your calling. You’re impacting people on a global scale now. Was there something you had to face before you could step into this bigger position, this bigger role? Yeah. It’s been more an evolution of a certain way of being. Whether it’s in leadership, or as a teacher, or a place out there on the planet in evolution—it’s not something I prepared for first and then went out and did it. I often say I kind of grew up out in the classroom, wherever the classroom was for me. Life is a classroom and all my different teachers’ teaching environments all over the planet have been my classroom; I’ve been growing up there. But I think the biggest thing I’ve had to overcome is my concern for what people think about me, people’s judgements, people maybe not understanding what I’m up to or representing or teaching. So probably the biggest thing has been the fear of looking bad in the eyes of people; being judged or not accepted. I had to learn to give that up. It’s been a practice of letting that go and following what is true in my heart. “To thine own self be true.” And then just as the night follows the day, can it no way be false to another person. Some people will love it and respect it, relate to what I have to share, and others maybe not. Maybe it shows up as a form of judgement.

Keeping an open heart but a thick skin is tricky sometimes. Yeah, I love that. That’s well said.

“I see it’s really through relationships and working with people, and in an empowering kind of context, that I too get to grow and expand as a human being, and expand my practice of yoga.”

When do you feel the most vulnerable in your life? I think where I get the most vulnerable or where I feel the most vulnerable is in the relationship I have with my kids, and in being a dad. The sense of not knowing. Am I screwing it all up? How am I doing? There’s no manual for being a parent and there’s no one way to being a parent. I know that I’m doing my very very best, giving my full heart to supporting them, empowering my kids to have a great life and a foundation for life, but then I also know in certain ways that it feels like I’m failing. It can be a very vulnerable experience for me. I know this because I’m giving my very best, the best I can possibly do at something, and I’m not sure that I’m doing that good of a job. It leaves me with a kind of vulnerability that happens just with the unknown. Beautiful. Thank you for opening. How do you feel it’s changed you, being a father? One thing I see is that before I had kids, my life was organized or oriented around me. Just me, myself, and I. Even my yoga practice or being in my life in general was very me-centered. I think the big kind of rattling once I had kids was there was a level of self sacrifice or just opening my eyes to woah, I am responsible for someone else. So I think I went from being me-centered to being otherpeople-centered. That’s been one of the greatest lessons or gifts that I’ve gotten out of being a father. That shift out of being me-centered and my world opening up to being other-centered. Prior to kids, it was a blind spot or just not on my radar—not in my awareness. What do you feel is the biggest thing you’ve had to sacrifice with having children? It’s not so obvious, because I’ve wanted to be a parent. I’ve wanted to be a dad. I love being there, being present with my kids. I think I sacrificed a lot, but because it’s pretty primary for me to just want to be there with them, I don’t even know what I’m sacrificing. I know I’m sacrificing a lot of other things I could be doing or pursuing, but my eyes aren’t over there so much.

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Baron Baptiste was the featured teacher at Yoga Reaches Out, an event that raised over $400,000 for children’s charities such as Africa Yoga Project.

o That’s beautiful. I know that you co-founded the Africa Yoga Project. Do you think that having kids opened your heart for more compassion for these children? Yeah, definitely. They’re correlated. I think that in being a father and having my own kids and then working. When I first went to Africa in 2009, training with a group of young people there, something came to light for me—the young people there were so hungry for opportunity and for possibility in their lives. I realized that they do live in poverty and on a material level they have nothing, or near nothing. What is really at the core to what inspires me and how this related suddenly to all kids, including my own kids, is that what I saw was a deep hunger and yearning for possibility in their lives; something that gave them hope to live for into the future—a purpose to live—that more was possible in their life. Not necessarily more money or more material things, but just the possibility of having a life where they can experience connections with other people, and contributions with other people, starting with their own families and out into their communities. I see that with my

own kids. We live in the west in America; they can easily take so much for granted and we have just so much material stuff that we have access to. But I realize with my own kids there’s no difference from the kids in Africa who have no material means. In all of our hearts, and in the heart of all kids, you recognize things that they want and that we want—a sense of possibility in life. Like the sense of hope; something you’re growing into. It inspires you and finding that creative connection in yourself—being connected to the creative source in yourself—is very enlivening, uplifting, and life-giving. It changes a human being. So for a young person to have hope and a sense of possibility in their life, whether they’re in America, the west, or Africa, there’s something common there. I think it has fueled me, informed me and empowered me to recognize that as a parent with my own kids and working with the kids in Kenya with the Africa Yoga Project or anywhere. Hope and possibility—not having them is the greatest poverty. Thank you Baron. In this awesome crazy time of transformation when people are healing and expanding—is

PHOTOs: TOP LEFT & opposite page: BY Dina Rudnick; OTHERS BY Cleveland Groove.

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“What is really at the core to what inspires me and how this related suddenly to all kids, including my own kids, is that what I saw was a deep hunger and yearning for possibility in their lives; something that gave them hope to live for into the future—a purpose to live— that more was possible in their life.”

there anything that you’d like to say? You know, I’ll just say this: to me, a great gift that I’m repeatedly getting in my own life is the gift of affirmation, of just what great things are possible as a human being, and it’s in our connection with others. For anyone who is having a sense of not knowing what they want to do with their life, or they don’t have a sense of purpose in their life, or they’re really feeling stuck in their life, or discontent, to really just get outside of yourself and start connecting with others in positive ways and contributing with others, being in the action of it and in the conversation of it—that generates energy in us and brings us to a place of fulfillment. To me, that’s a gift that we all get for being for each other in positive ways. What would you say to the person right now that is on the floor and in so much emotional pain? Whatever it is. A divorce or some sort of loss. Are there any words that you would offer? Feel what you need to feel and do what you need to do. In feeling is great healing. Feeling the grief or the despair or the pain, feel what you need to feel, but also do what you need to do that is fulfilling a purpose for yourself that is bigger than yourself—bigger than your life, bigger than all of us. Some kind of purpose. Get into the doing of that. And so feel what you need to feel and do what you need to do that’s in alignment with what you’re up to in the bigger sense of your life. How do you process your own pain? How do you deal with it when it comes in?

I allow myself to feel it. Be with it. Be and let be. It’s in being that, in my experience, that I get access to a new pathway. So total acceptance, feeling, being, and then letting that energy transform into a new opening; a new vision, a new opportunity, a new pathway. I was taking a class and the instructor had this Baptiste shirt on and it said “Act as if.” I thought that was powerful. I wanted to know what that means to you. Yeah, pretty simple: act as if. Act as if you are whole, and complete and perfect. Because you already are. Just act as if you are whole and complete and perfect and nothing’s missing. Thank you so much. And what do you have coming up the rest of this year? Yeah. You know, really exciting trainings I do. Different levels of training. Level one is a foundational training and in Baptiste Yoga it’s a week of training that I do. Then upper-level training—a level two, and a level three. And then in Park City, Utah, I have in September a weekend for foundations and action. I love it. I don’t know if you’ve been to Park City, Utah, in summer or in September—it’s just so beautiful up there. So I do weekend training programs with groups. I just love that type of thing, ‘cause in a weekend or a week-long environment we really go deeper and really immerse ourselves in the practice, in an inquiry, in meditation, and really cause a personal revolution in our practice and in ourself.

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“I Do…” : The Girl Up Promise

by: Diane Isaacs

2nd grader soon to be married “I don’t go to a job, I go to a passion.” In jeans and a t-shirt with the iconic United Nations logo, Gina Reiss-Wilchins lights up the moody, post-modern hotel lounge with an engaging tomboy spunk. As Director of the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up Campaign, her contagious enthusiasm fearlessly takes on the world’s girl problems. “27,000 girls in developing nations will be married today without it being their choice. That’s what gets me out of bed every morning.” Back in 1998, Ted Turner committed $1billion to create the United Nations Foundation with a mandate to improve the lives of adolescent girls on a global level. One of its eleven campaigns, Girl Up is a “for girls, by girls” initiative that mobilizes US girls to raise awareness and funds for on-the-ground UN programs that support some of the hardest-toreach adolescent girls. Launched less than a year and a half ago, Girl Up is already generating quantifiable results, and Gina with her “rock star” team is just getting started. “We are building and flying a plane at the same time. From day one, it’s been like drinking out of a fire hose.” The Girl Up program empowers American teens to start clubs, fundraise, create petitions and build awareness, so they can support their sisters in this year’s targeted countries of Ethiopia, Malawi, Liberia and Guatemala. In year one, they directly impacted over 43,000 girls in these developing nations, and the number is expected to multiply. With already 235,000 members in the US, Reiss-Wilchins is targeting a million by 2015. Clearly, a movement is afoot.

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Propelled by social networking and grass-roots organizing, Girl Up is igniting a new brand of globally-conscious “girl power.” The girls in the U.S. learn the individual stories of their counterparts and advocate on their behalf. Each year, Girl Up alumni help choose fourteen teen advisors to be the voices of the campaign and lead the initiatives that matter most to adolescent girls—both here and there. With over 100 clubs, Gina marvels at how clubs seem to be springing up every time she blinks. “When we posted information about the prevalence of child marriage and the devastating impact it has on girls in developing nations, the membership increased 57% in just three months. It really fired them up!” The girls have created a initiative called “I Do” that advocates choice in marriage and affirms Girl Up’s commitment to girls in developing nations to stay in school, have access to healthcare and a safe space for girls to be, well, girls, so they can be positioned as leaders and feel valued within their communities. Girls across the U.S. are galvanizing around this campaign. Like a proud global mother, Gina clarifies, “They get that ‘she is me and I am her’,” so when child marriage undermines a girl’s potential in a single ceremony, they are outraged.

To add statistical fuel to the fire, 1 in 7 girls will be married before she is 15, and 82 million will tie the knot between 10 and 17, estimated to reach over 100 million by 2015. “These numbers

keep me up at night!” Incredulous, Gina asks, “How can this not be urgent? Why isn’t everyone ringing the bell like in India and other countries around the world that signals domestic violence? We need to hear those bells, not wedding bells.” Almost all young brides are forced to drop out of school—some as early as second grade—to tend to their household, often becoming slaves to their mothers-in-law. Most husbands continue to be promiscuous, bringing home diseases, including HIV. Plus, the leading cause of death for girls 15-19 is complications from pregnancy and they are 5 times more likely to die while having children than women in their 20s, as are their babies. Regarding safety, adolescent wives more often suffer physical and verbal abuse by their husbands and families. The bottom line in most cases is that child marriages perpetuate the broken pattern of poverty. The good news is that by funding adolescent girl programs, this vicious cycle can become a virtuous circle. An extra year of secondary school boosts future wages. Girls who stay in school for more than seven years delay marriage and have fewer children. Once employed, women tend to reinvest 90% of their wages back into their families, while men only 30-40%. “Investment in girls’ education may well be the highest-return investment in the developing world,” Larry Sanders wrote when he was chief economist at the World Bank. And yet, only 2 cents of every development dollar is dog-eared for adolescent girls, and approximately nine out of every ten programs are aimed at boys. There is a glaring gap of programs for girls 10-14, during that tender age when support and guidance is most needed. It’s a gap that has the tenacious attention of Reiss-Wilchins and the expanding Girl Up network. 2,300 adolescent girls at the UNHCR Jijiga Refuge camp for Somalis are supported by the Girl Up campaign to delay marriage and stay in school. With hopeful admiration, Gina shares, “They are bright, funny, articulate—sophisticated. They read to us and share their dreams for careers, family and love. It’s like dropping into any school in America. Girls—here and there—really want the same things. It’s attainable if the bare essentials are in place.” Girl Up’s mission is to have a significant impact for this generation on the ground. Stateside, the Girl Up clubs foster leadership and advocacy. The girls not only raise funds to keep adolescent girls’ programs active, they also write petitions to shape US government funded support. Many American girls join Girl Up to give help to girls in developing nations, only to find they receive much more in return. In developing countries, the girls form clubs for support and mentoring. When they receive letters from American girls, they feel valued and that they matter, something many have never felt before. Impressed by their commitment, Gina met a pact of girls in Ethiopia who go door-todoor telling parents how important

it is to keep their daughters in school. Reinforcing the Girl Up approach, real change is initiated “by girls, for girls.” Girl Up has many partners in this campaign to end child marriage, with the shared mandates of groups such as Girls not Brides (created by the Elders and Desmond Tutu), Girls, Inc., National Coalition of Girls’ Schools, 10x10, The Girl Scouts and corporations like Viacom, Clean & Clear and Levis. “We want to lift all boats, elevate the playing field— the goal is for all of us to succeed for these girls.” As Director of Girl Up, Gina’s professional skill sets seamlessly synergize with her personal values. With a degree in Women’s Studies and English Literature at UCLA, her avocation as a feminist accidentally became a profession. A natural fundraiser and organizer, Gina started organizations, built movements and shaped policies, starting on a local level, growing to state, national, and now, internationally. Always imagining she would end up in office one day, she is running a full court campaign for the most overlooked constituents. With activism in her veins even as a little girl, Gina shares the path with many of her mentors and teachers. Her hero, Virginia Wolf, credits Aphra Behn, the first woman playwright to break through the gender barrier of the British Restoration, for opening the door for women to speak their minds. Five years ago, Gina’s path was blessed with the arrival of her daughter, Dylan. Like mother, like daughter, Dylan is up to speed on adolescent activism and already has rallied at the White House with the First Lady. Every day, Dylan reminds Gina how every girl needs to be able to speak her mind and be heard. For millions of young brides, past, present and future, they simply have no voice. Child marriage is grand theft robbery. It steals childhoods from girls forever. It runs off with education. It absconds with adolescent health. It compromises girls’ safety. And it bankrupts society of its most valuable assets—human potential and productivity. The Girl Up “I Do” mantra stands for every girl’s rights to education, health and safety and puts choice back in marriage. With the refreshing spirit of the adolescent girls she hangs out with at Malawi water pumps and Ethiopian thatched school rooms, Gina declares with a fierce tenacity, “I Do…have a passion to raise up the hardest-toreach girls to reach their fullest potential. It just happens to also be my job.” A producer/filmmaker will begin shooting a documentary on the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up “I Do” initiative in Malawi this summer.


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3 Haiti child receives the gift of soap

Leading a Global Hygiene Revolution with Soap

If ever you feel down in the dumps, consider the people who live there. Clean the World, an Orlando, Florida-based nonprofit organization that recycles hotel soaps from more than 1,400 hospitality partners in North America, invited passionate hospitality industry professionals on two separate trips to Guatemala in March and April to distribute 25,000 freshly pressed soap bars to children and families in disadvantaged communities, some of whom live in the dumps—literally. Venturing into the landfills to find families in need of better hygiene was simple. The roughly 20,000 individuals who live on the edge of the Guatemala City Dumps struggle daily for survival, and the gift of a fresh bar of soap is a welcome and necessary hygiene product to stop the spread of disease. It is also a bit of fresh-smelling hope for a cleaner, healthier life. Demand for hygiene products is immense in this very poor region of Guatemala—one of nearly 50 countries served by Clean the World—where children often pick through the landfill trash to find food, clothing, and other basic items just to survive.

BY: Matthew R. Gomez

“While it is difficult to imagine the daily struggles faced by individuals living in such poverty, it is gratifying to see smiles on the faces of children when they receive soaps from Clean the World,” says Shawn Seipler, CEO and co-founder of Clean the World. “Our mission is to recycle soap and save lives, and these soap distribution trips bring life to the mission.” A second trip to Guatemala featured the distribution of an additional 12,000 soap bars, which were given to children and families on a trip featuring a Hollywood celebrity (Mariana Klaveno of HBO’s “True Blood”) and several executives and housekeeping directors from Clean the World’s corporate partner Starwood Hotels & Resorts. “The entire experience was filled with emotion for me,” says Jennifer Bauchner, North American director of rooms and sustainability at Starwood Hotels & Resorts. “This really puts things into perspective for me—a painful reminder of just how much we take for granted every day.” PHOTOs: COURTESY OF CLEAN THE WORLD AND WORLD VISION

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Photos from top to bottom: A circle of happy children at an orphanage in Haiti receive soaps from Clean the World. A young Guatemala boy smiles with his handful of recycled soaps from Clean the World. An Ethiopian girl washes her hand with soap recycled by Clean the World.

In just three years Clean the World has collected, recycled, and distributed more than 10 million bars of soap to children and families in the United States, Canada, and nearly 50 countries

Retail Partnership with Clearly Natural Clean the World and Clearly Natural have teamed up together to find an easy way for consumers to improve personal hygiene and help protect our planet. Now, by simply buying your favorite Clearly Natural soaps at retail stores, such as Whole Foods, you can join the global hygiene revolution to save lives with soap.

Pneumonia and diarrhea kill an estimated 3.5 million kids under 5 each year globally — more than HIV and malaria combined. Each day 9,000 children around the world die from diseases such as acute respiratory illness and diarrheal diseases that can be prevented by washing with bar soap. Almost 10 million children have died to diseases preventable with proper hygiene since 4/1/2009. Clean the World has helped divert more than 1.4 million lbs. of hotel waste from local landfills.

All Clearly Natural and Sonoma Soap Company brands will feature the Clean the World logo on the packaging. Proceeds from the sale of these products along with donations of soap will support Clean the World’s efforts to aid children and families in disadvantaged communities worldwide who struggle with access to proper hygiene products. “By introducing our Clean the World-branded soaps in a retail setting and encouraging sales to benefit our soap distribution efforts, we are raising the bar on social awareness and personal hygiene, and promoting positive ways to achieve a cleaner, healthier world,” says Seipler. If you’re interested in helping Clean the World, the organization offers volunteer opportunities at its Orlando, Florida, and Las Vegas, Nevada, recycling operations centers. Soap drives are encouraged and financial donations may be made to help stop the spread of preventable diseases through better access to soap and proper hand washing. Visit the Clean the World website for more information and to learn how you can help save lives with soap.

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Awaken to Happiness ORIGIN COLUMNIST: DEEPAK CHOPRA, Cofounder of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing

Deepak Chopra, M.D. is a bestselling author and the cofounder of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing in Carlsbad, California. The Chopra Center offers a variety of signature mind-body healing programs, meditation and yoga retreats, emotional release workshops, and teacher trainings.


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Many of us can recall a moment of intense and unexpected happiness, an experience of suddenly feeling utterly content and at peace in the world. The difficulties and fears that had loomed so large just seconds before evaporated as a more expansive, greater reality revealed itself.

out the way we’d like them to (i.e. getting what we want). We say, “I’m happy because— because I have family and friends, because I got a promotion, because I have money and security.” This kind of happiness is inherently fleeting because it depends on external reasons that can be taken away from us at any time.

Everyone who experiences a spontaneous peak experience tries to recapture the bliss, but most are disappointed. They search for fulfillment in the next job, a new relationship, more money, a coveted car, accolades, and accomplishments.

The second type of happiness, in contrast, is a state of being, not something we do or achieve. It isn’t dependent upon our mood or outer circumstances. Real happiness comes from having an unassailable connection to the deep state of unbounded awareness at our core. This state of being is our own inner joy that expresses the exuberance and wonder of being alive at this moment; it is our own selfluminous essence made conscious of itself.

India’s ancient Vedic tradition offers clear insight into why this search for paradise lost is so frustrating and futile. According to these wisdom teachings, there are two types of happiness. The first comes from things turning

How do we awaken to this true Self? By going


“Real happiness comes from having an unassailable connection to the deep state of unbounded awareness at our core. This state of being is our own inner joy that expresses the exuberance and wonder of being alive at this moment; it is our own self-luminous essence made conscious of itself.”

within and putting our attention on the silent presence in our heart—the silent witness that is detached from sensory experience and at the same time enjoys that experience in complete freedom. You can do this right now by asking yourself, “Who is the one that is reading this article?” Become aware of the silent witness that is observing the unfolding of all the external events of your life. This eternal presence is your true Self. The Path of Meditation Meditation is one of the most direct and powerful ways to awaken to who we really are and to experience happiness as a state of consciousness that already exists within us. When we meditate, we go beyond the swirl of thoughts, memories and emotions that tend to keep us stuck in our ego’s story of who we are. We enter an expanded state of awareness and discover our own inner fountain of joy, a source of happiness that isn’t dependent on anyone or anything. We may experience a realization of our true Self the first time we meditate, but most often the process of awakening is gradual. As we meditate regularly, we let go of the conditioned beliefs and accumulated physical and mental toxicity that cloud our perception of our essential, unbounded nature. Meditation refreshes our mind and helps us let go of old patterns. We spend less time dwelling on the past or worrying about the future; instead, we are focused on the present. And when our attention is on the present, our life is constantly renewed. The present moment is the only time that is eternal and the only time in which we can experience happiness.


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Hard Work and Hope: Autism by: Andrew Bowen

utism is a defined as a neurological disorder that affects a person’s ability to communicate and form relationships. Many affected by this disorder do not like to be touched, avoid eye contact and seem to be “trapped” in their own world. It is the fastest growing developmental disability in the US. My son has autism and this is the story of how my wife and I helped him find a way out. I have a band that I wear on my right wrist. A copper pendant rests in the center with the word “blessed” carved into it. I bought it on the set of a commercial I was shooting in early 2009. It was the first acting job I had booked in almost a year. That’s the life of an actor—feast or famine, and at this particular moment I was coming out of a painful “famine stage.” One of the things that helped me get through this difficult period was that I had begun to consciously and verbally give thanks for the things in my life that I did have: my legs worked, I was living without pain, I could hear my children laugh, see my beautiful wife. But more than anything, I was able to do something I thought I might never have the opportunity to do: talk with my son Reece. Reece Jude Bowen was born on a beautiful day in October, 1998. My wife brought him into this world by natural child birth—alert, healthy and beautiful. He was the best thing that had ever happened to either of us. Although he was meeting developmental milestones, as Reece grew, my wife and I began to suspect “something” was different with him. He wasn’t like the other babies we met. He was sensitive, serious, almost hyper aware of things and had an odd fascination with opening and closing doors. What was most alarming is that he didn’t speak— not a single word. Although we spoke to him all the time, took him to Gymboree and read to him every night, Reece was non-verbal. Our journey for answers was nothing short of frustrating. We heard of autism, but he didn’t show the

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ourselves on “all things” autism. There wasn’t a plethora of information, services or networks available like today, so we read whatever books and articles we could find. It wasn’t long until we became almost experts on autism. We found that educating yourself is a requirement when you have a child with autism. Even today, traditional doctors still don’t know a lot about autism or what is causing its explosive growth. Many more are still unwilling to recognize alternative treatments that have been proven to be successful and are vehemently resistant to acknowledging some alarming facts. So as a parent you must become the teacher—the warrior— and Renee and I became fierce advocates for Reece.

hallmark signs—he loved to cuddle and had great eye contact. Our pediatrician wasn’t even convinced it was autism. We had his hearing checked and his physical development was advanced (he walked at ten months). We knew he understood what was going on. His twin brother and sister arrived when he was two and it was obvious that Reece loved and enjoyed playing with them. But his speech, where was his speech? Although we had figured out a way to “sense” what he needed, we felt completely helpless when he became upset and we couldn’t figure out how to fix it. The older he got, the more obvious his behavior became. He started “parallel playing,” was extremely particular about his toys, had tantrums and intestinal problems and began to develop a slight stim.

“Part of the protocol we followed called for putting him on the GFCF (gluten free casein free) diet, and within two to three weeks, Reece started to speak.”

After much tenacity on our part we finally got Reece evaluated. He was officially diagnosed with autism at three and a half. Despite the relief we felt for finally having an answer, we were crushed. We had a child with special needs. Though heartbroken and scared, Renee and I did the only thing we could do—we got motivated and began to educate

Since the pharmaceutical answer was to fill Reece with harsh, untested drugs without any promise of helping him, we looked for other options. After extensive research, we found a Doctor of Osteopathy who practiced biomedical and natural interventions, added a homeopathy regimen and started the detoxing and healing process. I wish I could say this was a cheap route. It wasn’t. Unfortunately, despite the massive amount of data to support its success, insurance companies will still not recognize biomedical or natural remedies as an effective way to treat autism. Part of the protocol we followed called for putting him on the GFCF (gluten free casein free) diet, and within two to three weeks, Reece started to speak. After six months, he was having conversations and his intestinal problems had subsided. But that was just the beginning. With autism there is no single answer, so Reece went on to endure over thirty hours a week of in-home behavioral therapy, speech therapy, social skills groups, and occupational therapy—in addition to school—for the next three years. We literally had therapists in our house all the time. It wasn’t easy for him, but he stuck it out. There were many setbacks over the years but from supplements and thermal brain scans to methyl B12 shots, we did everything we could to keep him moving forward. It was a fight we were not going to walk away from. Above all, we made sure Reece knew we thought he was perfect just the way he was. As much as we pushed him, we embraced and celebrated him more, gave him time off and made sure he knew he was loved. Reece is now thirteen. He knows more about computers than most adults, is honest, gentle, has an infectious laugh, a goofball personality, is adored by his teachers, liked by his classmates and talks all the time (sometimes a little too much, but I think he’s still catching up on the five years he lost). He is fully included in general ed at a project-based charter school he attends with his brother and sister. Speaking of his siblings, perhaps the greatest gift is what he has given to them. They are more compassionate and understanding than any eleven-year-olds we know and they have also been Reece’s greatest resource for learning social skills. No, they are not


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always “good” lessons, but a gift nonetheless. And a side effect from all that therapy—Reece says things like: “I’m feeling really frustrated right now, I need a minute.” If only we could all be that articulate. We consider Reece to be a success story, but he still has a long road ahead of him. It’s hard for him to express his thoughts and emotions, and social nuances continue to be a land mine for him to navigate. Although we have had positive results with the methods we pursued, it’s unfortunately not the case for every child in the spectrum. There is no rule book with these kids; every child is different, so you have cast your net wide and try, try, try...until something works.

“The current rate of autism in the US is 1 in 88 children born. It is more common in children than cancer, diabetes, Down Syndrome, and AIDS combined.”

The question of why this epidemic is happening is still a mystery and highly controversial. The current rates of autism in the US is 1 in 88 children born. It is more common in children than cancer, diabetes, Down Syndrome, and AIDS combined. If that doesn’t scare you, it should. While the genetic research being done is important, it’s not enough. From vaccines to the staggering levels of mercury and other neurotoxins we are finding in our air, water and food supply—much broader research needs to be done. I personally believe this epidemic is proof that we are not immune to the damaging effects of the toxins we have filled our world with and are dealing with an environmentally triggered mutation of our genome. Cleaning up our environment might just be a lot more important than we ever thought. We need to be scared, we need to mobilize and we need to do a lot more. My daughter and I were discussing the possibility of a cure the other day and she said, “I know this sounds bad, but I kinda hope they don’t find one, Dad. ‘Cause I like Reece just the way he is.” I turned to her and smiled, “Me too.” Perhaps that is the greatest gift my son has given me. When you have children, you have so many hopes and expectations for them. “I hope he’ll be good at sports, I hope she’s a lawyer, voted most popular,” etc. When you have a child with special needs your hopes become much more simple: “I hope they’ll be happy. I hope they can hold a job someday. Make a friend...Maybe fall in love.” Can you imagine what our world would be like if we treated all our children like that?

Andrew Bowen is an actor/writer last seen on STARZ Magic City and will be seen later this year in the movie Rock Jocks. He and his wife Renee are parents to boys Reece and Seth, and daughter Avery. Renee runs a successful photography business in Los Angeles specializing in Senior Portraits. Organizations they support include: Autism Society of America, AutismOne, Generation Rescue and Autistic Self Advocacy Group. PHOTO: BY RENEE BOWEN PHOTOGRAPHY

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Resources: www.autismone.org www.tacanow.org/family-resources/latest-autism-statistics www.turningpointeautismfoundation.org www.theandrewbowen.com www.reneebowenphotography.com

The Duality of Love and Fear origin columnist: Brenda Strong

As yogis, we are constantly exploring the world of duality, while being acutely aware of the unity of all things. We explore within postures everything we deal with in life: the interplay between resistance and surrender; establishing stability and maintaining flexibility; learning to receive and release; being present to all the complexities of our lives, and returning to the fundamentals of our “beginner’s mind” again and again. This year has been particularly rich in that regard for me and nearly every single person I meet. We are all being called to be more present than ever, while dealing with a more challenging array of personal and professional challenges, opportunities and allaround growth. There is also a polarizing and dualistic experience occurring politically and economically in the world, and I believe we are near the peak of a cyclical and truly chaotic time. There is a push and a pull almost like an isometric stretch. Our literal flexibility and our physical, psychological and spiritual practices are more important now than ever to balance the boat. I truly have come to believe that there are only two states of being that generate our thoughts: LOVE or FEAR. It is a crucial time to be mindful of our thoughts. I PHOTO: BY diana mrazikova

have to admit, a lot of my thinking of late has been based in fear. Most of us are facing big changes in our lives. But, in our more evolved moments, I think we can all agree that fear-based worries are a waste of time and only create the experiences we are trying to avoid. Being inundated with constant “bad” news from the media doesn’t help. So I have recently decided that there is no place in my head or my heart for fear anymore. I am giving myself permission to love—ALL of it. After all, if we are co-creators of our reality, as so many philosophies have espoused, then we have a say in how it is, how it goes and our participation in it, right? So, I am going to invite you to do the same. Easier said than done, I know. It feels good to rail against what is wrong in the world, to fight the good fight, to beat the drum of making a difference. I am right there with you. However, I am not advocating doing nothing. I am advocating for you to energetically, actively and vigilantly monitor how you are BEING. You can still do all the same things. How you do them is what will shift.

Brenda Strong is an Emmynominated actress (Desperate Housewives), yoga teacher and founder of Strong Yoga® 4Women. She stars as Ann Ewing on TNT’s upcoming return to Dallas on June 13th.

The mind and heart is the field upon which war is waged within us. If we can stop that internal fear-based battle, then those outside of us will be affected as well. The only unifying thought is one of LOVE.

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BY: Brendan Brazier

How Mus to Bu ild cle Pla nt-B on a ase dD iet

Packing on Lean Muscle with Plant-Based Nutrition

Eat Plants, Work Hard, Build Muscle

Having been a competitive endurance athlete since the age of 15, I found that—once I overcame the initial pitfalls—a plant-based whole food diet offered several advantages. Among them: I didn’t get sick as often, I was able to train harder, and I stayed light while becoming stronger.

Immediately following a weight training workout, the muscles will be broken down and thus inflamed. And as we know, acid-forming food creates inflammation. Therefore the consumption of a traditional post-workout smoothie that contains protein isolates will exacerbate the level and rate of inflammation. With inflammation comes size. But, with inflammation also come a reduction in functionality. As the muscles become less functional, their ability to lift weight declines. That’s a problem. Lifting heavy weight is what builds muscles strong—and big. Of course if the body falls into a less functional state, it simply won’t have the ability to work as intensely. And without the capacity to train hard, muscles cannot continue to grow. In addition to inflamed muscles not having the capacity to lift as much weight, more time will also need to be allocated between training sessions to allow inflammation to dissipate. That’s bad. Since intensity and frequency are the two prime components to a successful muscle-building program, inflammation can well become the greatest single inhibitor of progress.

Clearly these are significant advantages when pursuing peak athletic performance. However, remaining light while having the ability to build muscular strength—and therefore functionality—was certainly one of the greatest attributes this novel way of eating bestowed upon me. As endurance athletes, we don’t aspire to build muscular size (bulk), but rather to simply develop what muscle we do have to be strong, and thereby function efficiently. Building strength while not packing on bulk will raise strength-to-weight ratio. That’s good. And as a direct result, endurance will take a leap forward. But what about strength athletes such as bodybuilders—can they benefit from a similar plant-based diet? Yes, in fact they can. While endurance athletes aim to develop efficient muscles without increasing their size, bodybuilders are quite the opposite. In competition—since bodybuilders are judged by appearance alone—they train accordingly. Bulk, symmetry, and definition are the three visual points a bodybuilder will be assessed on. Since the way in which their muscles actually perform—their functionality—is not factored into scoring, time and effort will not be spent honing that aspect. However, what builds efficient muscles in endurance athletes is the same thing that builds visually impressive muscles in bodybuilders: hard work. originmagazine.com | 52

Post-Workout Plant-based Nutrition: Helping You Help Yourself

Does More Protein Mean More Muscle?

In place of isolates and acid-forming animal foods, there are a host of plant-based options that will ensure that inflammation be kept to a minimum. Post-workout, excellent plant-based protein sources include: hemp, pea, and rice protein. And while protein is a crucial component for muscle repair and building, so too are essential fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6), vitamins, minerals, enzymes, probiotics, antioxidants and a host of other nutritional components that can be found in a variety of plant-based whole foods. This being the case, post-workout smoothies will deliver greater results if they contain these components, not merely protein. Additionally, chlorella—a form of freshwater algae—is an excellent addition to the post-workout smoothie. Due to its exceptionally high chlorophyll content, it’s among the most alkaline-forming foods available. Plus, its protein percentage is almost 70 percent, naturally.

workout, those serious about packing on lean muscles will down a high-protein shake. They know that to repair muscle tissue after breaking it down in the gym requires the rebuilding properties that protein is touted for. But what most don’t pay attention to is the protein source. In the minds of many, quantity is the priority; the more protein, the better. But does more really equate to better results? Let’s take a look.

So while plant-based nutrition won’t necessarily make you a better athlete, it will allow you to train harder, thereby making yourself a better athlete. And as all great athletes know, their success hinges on their ability to pursue it. With improved functionality and less rest required between workouts, success will be yours for the taking.

Immediately following an intense

The way to add extra protein to the diet, while not increasing fat or carbohydrate content, is to mechanically or chemically remove the fat and carbohydrate component. What remains is called protein isolate. The protein has been isolated from the other macronutrients of the food and as such, its ratio has increased. Some manufactured isolates register protein content in excess of 90 percent. But once isolated, it is no longer a whole food and therefore harder for the body to digest, assimilate, and utilize. Plus protein isolates are inherently acidforming. And with the onset of an acidic body, functionality declines. It is true that when a traditional acid-forming post-workout smoothie that contains protein isolate is swapped out for a plant-based whole food option, muscular size loss is likely. Understandably, this will lead to concern for those athletes whose goal it is to pack on muscle mass. But, what is actually transpiring is a good thing. What they are loosing in size is simply inflammation.

Brendan is a former professional Ironman triathlete, a two-time Canadian 50km Ultra Marathon Champion, the creator of an awardwinning line of whole food nutritional products called VEGA, and the bestselling author of Thrive. He is also the developer of the acclaimed ThriveFitness program and the formulator of the new award-winning, 7-product natural VEGASport system. His latest book, Thrive Foods: 200 Plant-Based Recipes for Peak Health, delves deep into the environmental aspects of food production, and offers practical solutions to help us each reduce our strain on the environment. PHOTOs: LEFT PAGE AND ABOVE BY ROB CAMPBELL, TOP BY MELISSA SCHWARTZ

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T Trusting Our Process BY: Bryan Kest

here are certain yoga laws and principles that are, shall we say, less tangible than others. For example, the law of karma. Science has proven what goes up must come down, but that’s about as far as it’s gone. To believe that for every action, word, and thought, there is an equal consequence takes something more intuitive, more personal; it’s more metaphysical. Karma actually is not what I want to discuss here though. What I want to communicate is another concept which I find easy to grasp, yet I don’t know if you will. This is the concept that every experience we have is necessary and perfect. In other words, everything is Perfect. Have you ever noticed the perfection of nature? The seasons and how one changes into the next, the falling leaves, composting soil, rains, new seedlings, sunshine, growth, blossoms, etc. Grass grows, deer eats grass, lion eats deer, deer population is stabilized so there is grass for other animals; sunrise and sunset, boy and girl, winter and summer. Unwittingly, every event and every microorganism—insect, fish, bird, animal, etc.—is playing a role that maintains a perfect balance to our ecosystem, which also includes our atmosphere. Have you ever considered that we, you and I, are also a part of that? Just as the

seasons change and the honey bees pollinate the planet and make honey, we are also doing exactly what we are supposed to be doing. We also are a part of nature, certainly not separate from nature. Exactly like everything around us, we are made of the same elements of this earth and are totally dependent on this earth for our sustenance. We are creatures on this planet that have the capacity of self-awareness, playing out our role just the same as all else. Just because we can think does not mean we are separate from everything. From inanimate object, to microorganism, to plant, to insect, to animal, to human, there is an evolving level of intelligence. Because we are not separate and we are a strand in the web of this existence, there is nothing about us—which includes who we are and what we do—that is not happening perfectly. Even if we are destroying this planet, we are playing our role perfectly. If we do destroy most life on this planet, science says it won’t be the first time. Natural events have completely destroyed this planet on numerous occasions in the past, and just like them we are a natural event destroying this planet. I am not saying we have to like it or we should not attempt to veer off this path that this consumption beast we call humankind is on.

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“Even if we are destroying this planet, we are playing our role perfectly. If we do destroy most life on this planet, science says it won’t be the first time.”

I’m just saying there is nothing that exists, that is not existing perfectly, which includes every thought we have, every word we speak, and every action we commit. Therefore, there is nothing wrong with me, with you, with them. There is no reason to not trust your process, no reason to get frustrated, no reason to criticize, or judge others, nothing wrong with getting old, or not being able to get pregnant, or being handicapped, or being short or tall or gay, or injured, or divorced or married to an idiot, or with Christianity or Judaism or Islam, or indigenous beliefs, or pollution, crime, war, Bush, etc. When this understanding grows, we realize where we’re at now is just as perfect as wherever we could possibly get to. As a matter of fact, wherever I get to is a direct result of where I’m at now which makes where I’m at now equally important. Everything is unfolding perfectly. As this perfection unfolds, I learn and grow and become all I’m becoming. See, one thing I have learned in my 46 years on this planet is that the greatest opportunity for growth and understanding comes through the challenges that we encounter. Without challenges, there would be no opportunity to evolve. The only reason that we humans and all creatures have made it thus far is because of the lessons learned consciously and unconsciously through the challenges we have been through. Without challenges we would literally wither and die (which also would be perfect). So, when we start understanding that all challenges are really opportunities to learn and grow and become all that we are becoming, which is all being guided by nature and her desire to maintain perfect balance, then what could be wrong? If there is nothing wrong, then the burden of humanity has been lifted from my shoulder and I’m free to be me—to play, to cry, to laugh, to work, to explore, to serve, to unfold and grow. There is nowhere pressing to get to because there is absolutely nothing wrong with where I am. There is nothing wrong with what he said or she said or they did, even though it does not feel good. No reason to get angry at anybody for slapping you literally or figuratively. It’s just nature unfolding

perfectly and obviously that slap is part of my process that is shaping me as I become all I’m becoming. I’m sure this understanding will be a big help to us in our yoga practice and also as a teacher. More than anything though, it will affect the way we look at everything in our life, which affects how we respond to things. Hopefully, we can see the positive spin this puts on all events and experiences. Everything becomes an opportunity to evolve and grow. Everything is natural and nature is the whole of everything of which I am a part of and so are you. Please don’t misunderstand what I am suggesting here. This is not a theory of passivity—it is one of acceptance and activity. Simply because everything is perfect does not imply there is nothing to be done. Actually, it is pretty much the opposite. There is everything

to be done. If all is happening perfectly then all that we are feeling is also perfect, which means if there is something happening that feels like it needs to be changed, then change it. If it feels right to recycle our waste or purchase solar panels for our house or rescue an animal or adopt a child or stop someone from hurting another or donate our time, money, or goods to charity, then do it. We are acting on our desire; there is nothing wrong. Just remember if it does not pan out, if our desires go unfulfilled, it’s perfect! If we want to try again, then try again. The point is we have free will to act and accomplish along with the peace of knowing whatever happens is what needs to happen in order for nature to fulfill its destiny, which we are part of. Isn’t there an old Christian prayer that goes something like “God, grant me the power to change what I can change and the ability to accept what I cannot?”

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originmagazine.com A Social Movement| 56 and Photo Series by ARTIST

Amir Magal in collaboration with

Jon Nash

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Tawny Bevaqua Explorer

What tribe do you want the world to know about?

My mark on the world is an invitation to join me in exploration through travel, volunteering, and knowing your neighbors.

Live Like You’re On Vacation is a prescription for wanderlust. We promote a lifestyle where you always have the opportunity to be on vacation. We encourage our readers to enjoy the excitement of daily life and help to find the vacation that awaits you everyday! www. LLYOV.0rg. I also spent 2 years working for an amazing anti-slavery organization called Free the Slaves, I bicycled through India with Odanadi.org survivors of human trafficking (my heroes), and I currently participate in a camp called Zeno Mountain Farms for people with and without disabilities. Super tribes!!!

Rachelle Tratt

Yoga Teacher & S o u l full Spirit

What’s your mark on the world?

What’s your mark in the world? Neshama (means) Soul. A blue opal hamsa from Israel. This ancient middle eastern symbol represents love, peace, joy and abundance. This necklace illuminates, connects and highlights one’s already shiny soul. This hamsa is a part of a greater vision to remind, educate and support wellness and future projects in Israel.

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What tribes are you a part of? I am lucky to be a part of many tribes! From my Israeli/ Jewish tribes, to my yoga tribes and communities. Specifically studio surya and The Exhale Center for Sacred Movement in Venice, California. I am also apart of Zeno mountain farms, a nonprofit camp for adults with and without special needs. And I am extremely grateful to be apart of an ever growing tribe of soul sisters and brothers, the creators, innovators and travelers of this world who speak the universal language of love, spirit, and the magic of living your truth.

Angel Leopold

Aerialist in Lucent Dossier Experience

What mark do you leave on the world?

What tribes are you a part of? I’m privileged to work & play for the avant-garde entertainment company known as Lucent Dossier Experience. Through Lucent I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with many artists including Fire Groove & Terry Beemans’ Mental Head Circus

Teacher & Writer

Robin York

I’m not quite sure. I would hope, if anything, people feel inspired. I live my life mostly through my art. As an aerialist, putting focus and energy into improving my art and craft helps me grow as an individual. Whether I’m teaching, rehearsing and/or performing, it is all filled with reflections and moments from life. People will always take what they want from those moments, but I hope when people view my art, they feel something, anything. Hopefully it inspires them to unlock a hidden dream, feeling or emotion & inspires them to make a choice. Grow and live.

What mark do you leave on the world? I teach literature to high school students. My goal is to sharpen my students’ minds but also for them to develop into more awake, compassionate beings. In turn, they teach me how to be more present and a better listener. My own writing focuses on surfing and traveling and the medicine path. Practicing forgiveness and being more humble.

What tribes are you a part of? I‘m grateful to have many tribes. My brother and my wonderful Venice tribe. Specifically, Amir Magal who keeps us all connected one mark at a time. My German tribe and my family in Italy and India. And, of course, my medicine tribe and my surf tribe in California and across the world. Check out: Heal the Bay, who work hard to protect our local coasts and the ocean (healththebay.org). The LuvAmp Project, for promoting the interconnectivity of the human heart (luvamp.org). And Amazon Watch, for protecting the rainforest and the rights of indigenous peoples (amazonwatch.org)

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Cristi Christensen

Yoga Teacher & Manager of Exhale Venice

What tribes are you a part of?

My mark is Heart FIRE! Teaching yoga to inspire, awaken, connect, and grow myself and others!

Yours. COME PLAY with me! I sit at the helm of Exhale Center for Sacred Movement. One of the most influential yoga communities in the world.

Hala Khouri Yoga Teacher & Somatic Therapist

What mark do you leave on the world?

What mark are you leaving on the world?

What tribes are you a part of?

My children are my biggest mark. I hope that they grow up to be men with integrity and soul. Right now they are feisty, stubborn little boys who are challenging me to be my most patient, compassionate and fierce self. I hope to have left a mark on all of the courageous people who I’ve supported in healing their traumas, and on all the yogis who have used their practice to shed layers of fear and pain so they can live lives that are creative, expressive and meaningful.

My family, Off the Mat, Into the WorldÂŽ, the global Yoga community, Venice, CA, Mothers, Sacred Activists...

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Amen Santos

Capoeira Mestre

What mark do you leave on the world?

What tribes are you a part of?

The marks I hope to leave on this world are tolerance and compassion. As a teacher, I strive to bring the best out of each individual that I can empower through capoeira. I believe capoeira can unite people from different religions, cultures, races, ethnicities and political backgrounds who wouldn’t necessarily find themselves interacting under usual circumstances.

My tribe is capoeira. Capoeira enables me to connect with my ancestors, using all its powerful history to build a better future for our children. Capoeira is a family, a community, a global tribe where through movement and music, we preserve our history, nurture the present and build our future.

Artist , Photographer & Tribal Adorner

Amir Magal


Photography and Tribal Markings by Amir Magal in Collaboration with Jon Nash www.amirimage.com

Tribal Marking is the Movement of Connection. Adornment. Unity.

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Music is a form of yoga and yoga attunes one’s whole being to the underlying pulse. Music and yoga uplift, deepen and shift consciousness. We have been gathering around music and breath and movement and the power of celebratory play under the open sky for a long time.


“At the root of all power and motion, there is music and rhythm, the play of patterned frequencies against the matrix of time. We know that every particle in the physical universe takes its characteristics from the pitch and pattern and overtones of its particular frequencies, its singing. Before we make music, music makes us.” - Joachim-Ernst Berendt

We are born into a world of rhythm. We go through an initiation, through the sound that began in the womb as our whole being developed around the “dum dum” of our mother’s heartbeat. Rhythm was the way we could feel the oscillation in the outside world. As our mother’s heartbeat increased or decreased we began to feel the alternating effects of tension, stress and calm. These inner rhythms reflect the outer rhythms of day and night—the activating rhythms that initiate creativity and action, and the quiet rhythms of sleep and relaxation. Our body is a rhythmic symphony and our heart rhythm is still like our mother’s heartbeat, the great conductor. All of the oscillations that we experience from our thought waves, to our emotions, stress, and states of flow, can all be mapped by their rhythmic signature. Science is now understanding what yoga and indigenous cultures have known for thousands of years: we live in a rhythmic universe and our whole being responds to its music. From shamanic cultures that have worked with the healing power of rhythm, music and movement, to the music therapy of ancient Greece or the Indian system of raga and rasa, rhythm and music have been understood and utilized for tens of thousands of years for healing.

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Music is medicine, whether it is for simple upliftment after a long work week or for life-altering, mystic states of communion. Recent studies have tracked how heart health can be enhanced through the power of music. Our hearts’ rhythm entrains with the rhythm of music, whether it is the stimulating charging rhythm of ecstatic kirtan or tribal trance DJ, or the meditative sublime flow of a bansuri flute or slow-roots dub. Music not only has a positive affect on our heartbeat, pulse rate, and blood pressure, but it also affects respiration, equalizes brainwaves, reduces muscle tension, regulates stress hormones, boosts immune function, stimulates neural pathways and increases our emotional bonding and openness to love. From a yogic perspective, the entrainment power of music is linked to our heart rhythm, which is the source of consciousness. When we relate to our consciousness as rhythmic vibration, symbolized in the two-sided drum that accompanies Siva’s cosmic dance, we can more easily experience states of meditative flow where our perception and attunement to ourselves, each other and life is at its highest.

Music is healing, and movement with music is a union from one of the oldest yogas on the planet. The world’s love of music began in the womb. Our innate response to rhythm is an inborn reflex documented by the National Academy of Science and every parent on the planet that has observed the rhythmic nature of their toddler. For a brief 2,000-year blip in western human history, dance was in an underground spiral—a period of repressing movement and of an ambiguity about embodying spirit. The world of music and rhythmic movement appear to be in an upward spiral as the worlds of science, art, and spirituality agree upon the tremendous gift of not only music and movement, but chanting, bonding and play to the human and collective spirit. Festival culture is a primary example of this positive collective momentum to experience the unifying power that yoga can bring to these worlds of expression. Yoga and music attune us to our core rhythms, which are in danger of being stressed and fragmented. Festivals are the gathering places where the diversity of human rhythms come together once again. Festivals such as Wanderlust, Tadasana, Yoga Rocks the Butte and Bhakti Fest, are providing spaces for collective regeneration through yoga and music, and are reinvigorating community and creativity at all levels—an invisible force linking us back to our ORIGINS.


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Sridhar Silberfein founder of Bhakti Fest Photos: bhakti fest sign, top left and above by mario covic. top right and far left by kristina clemens.

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Why did you start Bhakti Fest? What was in your heart? Sridhar Silberfein: Well, it actually started on the stage of Woodstock 1969, when I was hanging out with Michael Lang and Artie Kornfeld, who were the producers of Woodstock. I was a young buck and smoking a lot of pot at the time and hangin’ out with those guys. They said, “Sridhar, what do you think is missing from Woodstock?” and I said, “I don’t know. You got the greatest acts, or soon to be the greatest acts of musical industry ever coming out” and I said, “The spiritual aspect is missing.” Well, I was practicing yoga. I was a yoga teacher by that time and my teacher was Swami Satchidananda. I said we should bring a guru here to do the invocation, and they said, “Okay, go ahead. You produce that part of it.” I said, “Alright.” I went back to my teacher Satchidananda and I said, “Swami, let’s go up to Woodstock and do the invocation” and he said, “Fine.” So we arranged to fly him in a helicopter. You see this in the movie of Woodstock. We land, and I brought him up on the stage. And the first act that was supposed to go on at Woodstock, got up on the stage and saw the crowd and jumped off the stage and ran away into the bushes. Nobody ever knew who that was.

So they were looking for another act to start off the program and they grab Richie Havens, a very nervous guy. It was the first time he ever appeared in front of more than like ten people. And he was on the back of the stage strumming up and trying to tune up his guitar, and we saunter up all in white, a couple of us guys—young yogi buck kinda types. And Swami Satchidananda and his flowing gray hair and his big long gray beard and this very strong positive force. I said, “Oh, we don’t have anyone to introduce Swami Satchidananda.” So I see Richie Havens over there strumming his guitar and I went up to Richie Havens and I said, “Richie, I know you don’t know me, but do you mind introducing Swami Satchidananda?” And he looked at me like Get the f *ck out of here. He was like sweating and he was dying from nerves over there and he says, “Get out of here kid. What are you bothering me for?” It was hilarious. I finally got Chip Monck to make the announcement. Swami Satchidananda did a beautiful invocation to five-hundred-thousand people that came to Woodstock. He set the intention. And at that point I set the intention of having a spiritual musical kirtan festival, and forty years later we launched it in 2009—Bhakti Fest. Forty years? Good things take a long time. The first year we had around fifteen hundred people, held in September down here in Joshua Tree. We have a beautiful retreat center here, four hundred and twenty acres designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It’s been here eighty years. We actually built a village here. We put in a stage. We put in a second yoga hall. We put in a lot of infrastructure even though we don’t own the place. Built a pool this year. It’s a great location and we actually built a city. We put shade cloth all over the center stage area so people are protected by the shade. We laid rugs down for their comfort. We have the best vendors. The best food. It’s an all-vegetarian festival. If you’re just coming here to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, and eat meat, then you should stay “If you’re just coming here home because to drink alcohol, smoke this is not your cigarettes, and eat meat, festival. You then you should stay home wanna dive deeper into your because this is not your path, dive deeper into your festival. You wanna dive sadana, your spiritual path?

deeper into your path, dive deeper into your sadana, your spiritual path?”

All modalities of yoga are represented here. All modalities of chanting. You know, people say “Well, what is kirtan?” But if you go into a church, they’re doing kirtan. They’re doing chanting. If you go into a mosque, they’re doing kirtan, they’re doing chanting. If you go into a synagogue, they’re doing kirtan and chanting. It’s all the same. You take out your beads, your malas that we use from India to do mantra work and it’s the same thing as a rosary bead that they’re using in Greece and all these countries in Europe. They’re the same purpose. Still the mind. And that’s what yoga does. The practice of yoga stills the mind and at the same time creates this beautiful body form that remains peaceful and healthy and happy. People start with yoga. That’s why I said it’s a thirty-billion dollar industry now. Everybody’s doing yoga. In fact, if you ask everybody what they’re doing in life, they say, “I’m a massage therapist. I’m a yoga teacher.” Now the latest buzz is I’m a kirtan artist as well, so it’s funny how everybody jumps on the bandwagon. But the kirtan artist, they’ve been going for thirty, forty years. All the big name people, Krishna Das of course, Jai Uttal, David Stringer—these are very hardworking people. They travel the world three hundred and sixty days a year, singing their hearts out. I look at kirtan artists as two forms of kirtan, or two forms Photos: top left and center by mario covic.

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of chanters. One that chants for the ego, and one that chants to God. So if you’re sending us any submissions, make sure you’re chanting to God otherwise you’re not coming to Bhakti Fest. We still get five to ten submissions a week—every week. And I actually sit and listen to each and every one of them. That’s why we created the second stage. We have a main stage at Bhakti Fest, which starts at eight o’clock in the morning on Thursday morning and ends at midnight on Sunday night. The only place in the world that’s twenty-four-hour kirtan for four days long. Talk about scheduling. It’s a nightmare, but we schedule til two, three, four, five o’clock in the morning. Still fifty, a hundred people plus out there in the middle of the night. Then we also have a second stage where we introduce a lot of new kirtan, some up-and-coming stars from around the world. A very international eclectic place. And that starts around eight in the morning and goes til eight at night. “Who knows how much We had DJ Drez, and Joey Lugassy, and Kirtaniyas and longer we have to be Arjun Baba. And we were here. And while we’re dancing out there for like here, why not put out four hours. It was fantastic. And I was the highest efforts there. for the greater good

called Shakti Fest. Shakti is the female aspect of the divine mother. So it’s the Shakti Fest, which is three days designed to dive deeper into your feminine aspect. For me, most relationships between men and women, their failures are because men are afraid to dive into their feminine self. So women seem more able to dive into their masculine side and absorb their feminine, but men hold back. So every time a woman meets a guy there’s always gonna be a pull in a torn area there because they’re not able to dive deep into that aspect. At the heart of it, what does BhaktiFest mean to you? I don’t have to do Bhakti Fest, I really don’t. I’m pretty well off in my own way. I’ve been working hard for many many years. I can go live in Maui or India; I can go sit in my caves and just take it easy, but I want to be able to bring something to the community to raise up people and help them deepen their path, deepen their love, and compassion for one another. So it’s a service for me. It’s called seva. Who knows how much longer we have to be here. And while we’re here, why not put out the highest efforts for the greater good for mankind, and do what we can to serve everybody?

for mankind, and do what we can to serve everybody?”

That’s why you can’t get to me early in the morning. I’m not a viable candidate, ‘cause I’m just rolling in and rolling out. And I hardly even eat here. I just drink, eat very little, so I’m just in a zone. It takes one year for each festival that we do. And we’re doing three festivals this year. Two in southern California. One in May, which we’re at now. And this weekend was dedicated to the divine mother, so it’s

Photos: above by mario covic. right by kristina clemens

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ho are you kidding! When it comes to spirituality today, it’s become so novel with everything you see on TV and in advertising. The media is using your need to be a part of a community in order to manipulate you into thinking that you are having an awakening, a deep, inner change that can make your life exemplary in the eyes of your peers. Perhaps even inspire them to evolve and grow as a result of this clear change. The media has you caught up in life, running around wasting your energy on illusions, bringing you temporary satisfaction with no long lasting results. Really? A commercial has you believe that if you purchase a car it will connect you to your inner child and make you feel so good that it’s worth buying. Now, you can fit that into your list of what makes you spiritual. This is complete nonsense. The shift that is occurring right now is about getting you out of that bullsh*t which has become the quagmire of your distractions from yourself and has led you so far away from the true Source of your happiness. What does connect you to your inner child and makes you have an authentic real experience?


Going Raw by: shaman durek


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You see, to be truly aware in this day and age you are going to have to be a little more discerning with the mound of feathers and fairytales heading your way. If something is telling you that it will be a quick and easy fix if you do or buy this and try that, well, I have news for you: it’s not. Look, I’m not saying that taking the spiritual path should not be easy; however, what I am saying is that it does require consistent work and practice which includes devotion, mental focus, and emotional balance to see you through. The problem with today’s society is that people have become lazy, even withdrawn from hearing the hard truth. You’d rather be told lies just to feel better about yourselves and life. Who wants to live in a shroud of darkness just to act as if they are happy and free when you and I know you are caged? I don’t care how many yoga classes you take and how much raw foods you digest. That doesn’t make you any more spiritual or connected. It’s just another game your ego is playing with you. It knows you will play in return. In a boardroom somewhere, there is a media pioneer scheming the next way to take what is real and brings real growth to the planet and work it into what is fake, distracting you from what should be your “aha” moment. The resulting message just brings in dollars for xyz mega corp. If you really want to be a part of this spiritual movement, this golden age, this new era of spiritual awareness, then you better be able to deal with pain because the real truth hurts. Try and remember it’s not your spirit, but your ego at the root of this pain. Your authentic spirit is love. Get raw and real with yourself no matter what, and I know over time and with dedication that you will be that which you seek. Now that is really going RAW! Love you, precious souls of life.

PHOTO: by jeremy paskell

PHOTO: Heather gene photography


“I believe myself capable of great things.” towards connection in service of expansion, communication in service of shared experience, collaboration in service of celebrated individual expression. The time to recognize the power of community is here again. Not as some romanticized renaissance from times past, but as a necessarily new and innovative response to “life as it is offering itself to us.”

Power in Numbers The words, haphazardly scrawled, are tacked above my desk in resolute response to the little voice that says daily, but what if you’re not? And again, written larger, “I believe we are capable of great things,” posted in the communal dining space of my home, The Center Collective in San Francisco; a sprawling four-story converted rectory in the lower Haight. A place where twenty-three residents, eighteen bedrooms, seven bathrooms, two cats, and a multitude of imaginations hold one grand vision: to radically engage in community for personal, spiritual and social transformation. We are deep into the year of the dragon and all

ORIGIN Columnist: Shakti Sunfire

around the intensity of the collective pushes forward to a new age. The pieces and parts, the far-flung shades of life that make our hearts beat faster are starting to coalesce directly to the source. We are being called into realization with great urgency and extraordinary beauty, and oftentimes not without difficulty. As products of our highly competitive and specialized society, with all its ladders and ceilings, neat compartments, titles, and categories, to remain in an expanded state can feel like swimming upstream. But at The Center, and indeed, in many such communities of people—in the honest yoga of relationships—the impulse leans

This past week as I returned exhausted and spent from months of vigorous travel, I came home to camaraderie. I saw myself only as strong as all of us together, and the little voice that often says, close, but not close enough, entered into the fire of together-ness and became arrival. I believe myself capable of great things. Some days it feels as if I can’t do it alone. It is nice to know I don’t have to. Shakti Sunfire is an internationally celebrated empowerment educator through movement, mysticism, and mindfulness practices. A leader of the international hoopdance movement and a dedicated student, the firey Sagittarian has always pulled inspiration first from the Natural World and counts herself blessed to have the wise council of many teachers in her life.

NATURE’S NESTS Nature’s Nests are interactive sacred spaces intended to feel like home. They are earth temples designed and built with the intention of creating a heavenly dreamlike environment that reflects the divine beauty of Mother Earth and the sacred essence of all. Based on the numerological principles of master numbers and sacred geometry, the nests become other worlds in and of themselves, hopefully transporting the inhabitants into another world where they feel grounded, safe, and more connected to the earth. They are also meant to be spaces where people are encouraged to dream, pray, practice yoga and meditation, connect deeply with friends and lovers, perform ceremonies and rituals, or simply rest and relax. The artist, Nature Dreamweaver, has been building nests at festivals for over five years. Presently, there are five permanent nests in California, New York, Arkansas, Australia, and Costa Rica.

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Yoga Teacher Training A Journey Not a Destination Origin Columnist: Joan Hyman

Yoga teacher trainings make big money for studios and their teachers. Teaching yoga has become the Plan B of many yogis still in their honeymoon phase of practicing. Record numbers enroll in teacher trainings, graduating with hopes of leading retreats around the world or becoming the next hot yogi on the cover of Yoga Journal. Students desire certification so they can become apart of the five billion dollar a year yoga business. It wasn’t always this way. Ten years ago there wasn’t much money to be made teaching yoga, and aspiring teachers often had to travel to India to study with their gurus to become properly certified. Only after years of practice would they teach yoga as a way to give back. I had been practicing yoga for five years when I enrolled in the Yogaworks Teacher Training Program in Los Angeles with Ashtanga teacher, Maty Ezraty, and Senior Iyengar teacher, Lisa Walford. Both of these superb instructors were taught by gurus in India and walked the yogic path with a deep respect for the five-thousand-yearold practice of yoga. Both met with me first to determine if I was ready for the program. When the training was finished, Maty told us that we were at the beginning of the teacher’s path, not yet ready to teach, but with study and practice the teaching would come to us. Ten years later I am still in Los Angeles at Yogaworks. I have had the good fortune to teach in faraway places like the Philippines, Brazil, India and Canada, as well as all over the U.S. I taught and practiced for over ten years before I truly found PHOTO: FLUID FRAME PHOTOGRAPHY

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my voice as a teacher and learned what I had to give. “Yoga is one percent theory and 99% practice,” said Ashtanga master Pattabhi Jois. Imagine if your doctor or therapist had only 200 hours of training before working on your physical or mental health? These professionals require continued education and internship before treating patients. For a yogi, our continued practice is our further education. It’s where we gain our power as a teacher and discover who we are. How can we teach without the tools gained from the introspection that is necessary in a daily practice? It is through our practice that we find our voice as teachers and connect with our students’ needs. Teacher training can be a highly transformational experience. It is a path that helps deepen our understanding and appreciation of an ancient tradition. It makes us look inward, which can be difficult. It may also help us learn what we have to offer the world. The key is to be open to the outcome of the training experience, whatever that may be. Not every graduate may end up being a teacher, but a deeper love and knowledge of yoga can manifest itself in many wonderful ways, including the ability to live a more joyful and connected life. Perhaps then we may be ready to teach others and share our knowledge.

Joan Hyman is a distinguished Senior Yogaworks Teacher, who weaves her personal yogic journey into popular teacher trainings, workshops, and retreats around the world. Her teachings come from an organic intuitive place, as she draws upon joyful study of ayurveda (the science of life), chakras, and meditation. With over twenty years of experience, Joan is E-RYT 500 Hour Yoga Alliance Certified, and a dedicated ashtanga practitioner with over a decade of practice. She recently took a group of students to the yogi’s Motherland India and will be leading Yogaworks Teacher Trainings in Philadelphia, Geneva, and Los Angeles this year.


can sit in meditation for long periods of time without dwelling on a stiff back, tight shoulders or congestion in your thought patterns. This would make you free and clear to focus your attention on the deeper things in life and truly help you connect with a higher source. The spiritual transformation from what was going on in the inside of your heart would manifest to the way you lived your life on the outside. This would translate to the way you would react and interact with other living creatures. Traditionally yoga all starts from the inside. A seeker would feel the need to ask the ontological questions of who we are, what our purpose is, and why we exist. This would lead the seeker to find a teacher to guide them into yoga postures and breath work, which would lead them to sit and practice dhyana or meditation.

Yoga from the Inside Out, The Buddha’s Way BY: Tamal Dodge In the West, yoga is predominantly practiced for the external benefits of toned muscles, flexibility, and looking great. Traditional yoga is really made up of 10 percent asana and pranayama (yoga postures and breath work), and 90 percent meditation (self-reflection and spiritual activities). We find that 90 percent is usually left out and we just practice the exercise of Eastern calisthenics that we dub “yoga.” The word yoga means to yoke, or unite, with God and all the physicality was created to be a helpmate to that goal. You would do the yoga “workout” to open the body and clear the mind so you


The perfect example of yoga starting from the inside out is the Buddha. The Buddha’s father was a great king and when his queen became pregnant with the Buddha all the prophets and holy men prophesied that his son would not be the next king. They knew he would give up the throne and enter the forest to become the enlightened one. The king naturally thought this to be dissatisfying news so he asked why his son would do such a thing. The holy men told the king that his son would see suffering in this world and it would lead him to question his existence, his purpose and his reality. So the king decided that he was not going to let his son ever see suffering. While his wife was pregnant the king built a huge wall around his kingdom. He got rid of all the sick people, all the old people and anything he thought was negative that might give his son and inkling of suffering. So when the Buddha was born he lived in this kind of fairytale land where everything appeared to be perfect. Until one day, when the Buddha was a small boy, he was chasing after a butterfly in a pleasure garden and a frog jumped out of the creek and ate the butterfly. This stopped the Buddha in his tracks and shocked him. Then a snake came out of the grass and ate the frog, followed by a bird diving from the sky and taking the snake. The young Buddha sat in the pleasure garden dumbfounded and started to think, how can one creature take the life of another creature? How can there be pain and suffering in this pleasure garden? What’s outside of these walls? What is this world? Who am I? The Buddha’s journey is the classic example of what yoga really is all about and how it should be started and approached. In yoga it is said that it is imperative for the progression of the soul to meditate and reconnect, as it will heal the yogi on the deepest level. So, our practice is not just based solely on the externals of the physical body but something more visceral and fulfilling. Yoga is about the spiritual evolution of every individual, and practicing from the inside out, the Buddha’s way.

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the end result. Oh, I want to be strong like that, I want to have a fabulous practice, and he said, “Ok, you want to do this? Six months, 5:30 in the morning, twenty-four days a month, you miss a day, you’re out.” I said yes, and that was it, I fell in love. I began teaching at the New York Road Runner’s Club, and I don’t think I called what I was doing yoga. I called it stretching and strengthening for the athlete. One day the receptionist said to me, “Guess what Beryl, somebody came here today, they want to teach yoga, wouldn’t that be cool?” And I said, “What do you think we’ve been doing here for four years?” She said, “Oh, I thought it was just stretching.” I said, “That’s it, we’re calling it yoga.” By 2002 I’d taught over a hundred thousand people the primary and secondary series of Ashtanga yoga and was calling it Power Yoga.

Beryl Bender Birch Power Yoga, Abhyasa and Avoiding Flying Tomatoes Beryl Bender Birch is the first lady of Power Yoga. She’s the author of Power Yoga and Beyond Power Yoga, and the founder of the Hard and Soft Yoga Institute in East Hampton, New York. It was the soft element that struck me as we chatted on the phone together. Beryl embraces you with the warmth and wisdom of a lifelong friend—one with a remarkable life, and the stories to prove it.


You’re an internationally known teacher now, but what was it like in your early yoga days? I started teaching yoga in 1974 in Colorado. I was living in Winter Park, and I started teaching skiers. At that point I was teaching more of the Sivananda system and just pushing it up a little bit to make it a little more rajasic, a little more active, a little more physical. People would come, and feel great, and by the time I left Colorado in 1980 I’d taught pretty much everyone in town—the ski patrol, ski instructors, the bar owners. I moved back to NYC and met Norman Allen. I saw him do a demonstration of the Ashtanga sequence and I went, “Oh my God this is unbelievable. This is yoga? This is great!” You see the demonstration, and everybody wants

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Where did Power Yoga come from? Power Yoga came from a meditation. Bryan Kest and I have talked about it, and we’re pretty sure it popped into our minds collectively at exactly the same moment. We both started teaching and calling it Power Yoga in the late 80’s. I had the superior rights to the name because I’d used it in advertising and in print before he did. Warner Bros. put out his Power Yoga videos in ’95 and said they would prevent me from a trademark. Ultimately, the patent and trademark office said, “No, you use it descriptively even in your book; it’s not trademarkable.” So Power Yoga became anything anybody wanted it to be. Calling it Power Yoga got me thrown out of the Ashtanga church. Patthabi Jois didn’t like the fact that I published that I was a woman, or that I’d published my book (Power Yoga) and that I wasn’t a devotee. Tim (Miller) and Chuck Miller and Richard Freeman and I all met Patthabi Jois the same day at Feather Pipe Ranch in May of ’87. That summer I spent five months traveling the circuit going from town to town taking classes from him. I think over a couple of years I took about 250 or 300 classes with Patthabi Jois. I have a lot of gratitude towards him. I wouldn’t be talking to you now if it weren’t for him. There seems to be a sea of behemoth yoga studios and yoga rock stars, and then those of us who are the little local independents. What are your thoughts on this current landscape? I think it’s really important to create spiritual revolutionaries. My sangha, what I seem to attract, are people who have been practicing a long time; they’re teaching, they’re more serious about their spiritual journey. I’m not a rock star, I’m not Seane Corn or Shiva Rea or Rodney Yee or Baron (Baptiste) or John Friend,

“I’m not a rock star, I’m not Seane Corn or Shiva Rea or Rodney Yee or Baron (Baptiste) or John Friend, and thank God, because there’s just too much risk of getting hit by flying tomatoes if you stick out that much.” and thank God, because there’s just too much risk of getting hit by flying tomatoes if you stick out that much. I just feel like I’m in a different sort of place than that. But I think that work needs to be done, and I don’t think it’s less than or more than. Lots of media people ask me what do you think of yoga in the gyms, and what do you think about this article and what do you think about that, and how about it’s so commercial now. I say, look, whatever gets people turned on to it. What turned me on to the Ashtanga system 35 years ago was the physicality of it. It was athletic. It was a beautiful physical practice. I really think there’s an evolution to the practice and the individual no matter what brings you in, whether it’s wine and yoga or chocolate and yoga or surfing and yoga… We in the west have often been accused of only caring about asana (poses). How do you bring people to the more subtle aspects of yoga? Ever since I wrote Beyond Power Yoga, one of my campaigns has been to make sure people understand that yoga is not synonymous with asana. I try to teach people the meaning of practice, abhyasa. Practice means making an effort to keep your mind steady. Yoga is about learning to pay attention. That’s what drives transformation. You don’t have to try to transform or be all spiritual, you just have to do the practice. You become more conscious, more aware, you get a little more tuned in to what’s going on in the world, become more compassionate, more joyful. You have more loving kindness—it works! I always ask people why are you here for this weekend or this training? Why do you want to do this? This isn’t easy. This is a friggin’ discipline. You could be out partying with your friends. And it gets them thinking about why do I want to do this? Eventually they get around to, you know, I want to be happy, and my stuff isn’t making me happy the way I thought it was going to. I thought I was my name, I thought I was my job, my relationship. You slowly realize that all of those things change.

Has the fundamental aspect of what you’re teaching changed a lot over the years? Yes, oh yes, tremendously. What I focus on, what’s important, the way I guide people to pay attention. I was a little more fundamental in the beginning, we all were. When you’re a beginner you want to get it right. What does it say on the stone tablets that came down from Tibet, now is it this way, or this way? We’d sit around and argue about the most ridiculous little nuances of the practice. Then you realize, it’s not a rigid, fixed, unchanging thing. It is fluid, growing, evolving. Sutra study is so much fun. This two thousand year old text is so applicable to the evolution of consciousness. I’m a real heavy-duty student of consciousness since the early ‘70’s when I lived in California. I’m really fascinated by the parallels between quantum theory and the teachings of some of these ancient texts. So many of the things that quantum physicists are talking about today, like non-locality and the observer effect, are things the yogis have been saying for thousands of years. My next book is working on those parallels. The one I just finished is Yoga for Veterans. Using the yoga practice to deal with TBI (traumatic brain injury) and PTSD (post dramatic stress disorder) and the general anxiety of deployment. I’m sure you see it. People who come into the studio are in all different places and coming for all different reasons. But most come, when they get started, for physical reasons. They’re tight from running or skateboarding or cycling. I always feel what’s driving all of that is to get under the tightness and get down to the true self. Who am I really? Everybody wants to be happy. It isn’t stuff that’s going to make you happy. Really it’s about giving back. It’s about helping other people get happy.

I really do believe that the bottom line that creates transformation in the individual is the ability to focus your attention in an ever greater and more subtle way, and that follows the whole path of the limbs. I mean, we start with asana and it’s about focusing on alignment, and breath and bringing your toes together—pretty gross when we start. People get more and more refined, start to do pranayama, and start to turn inward. I am just so fascinated by the methodology. I always tell people, I can’t teach you yoga. Nobody can teach you yoga. I can’t teach you to teach yoga. All I can do is teach you a set of instructions and if you follow these instructions, hopefully it will lead you to the experience of yoga. And the experience of yoga is unspeakable. It’s the experience of samadhi. It’s the experience of connectedness, of oneness, boundlessness, merging with God consciousness, even if it’s just for an instant. Patanjali really looked at asana as practice for meditation. It’s what gets you started. I remember people saying to me, “Oh, you do that jock yoga, that athletic yoga. What about the more spiritual kind?” I would say, “Uh, this is the more spiritual kind.” They’d say, “You know, the more meditative kind.” I’d say, “This is the meditative kind. What else did you want to know?” It’s funny how people felt that because it was athletic, it couldn’t be spiritual. Separation of mind and body, that’s been around since the Greeks.

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Judith Hanson Lasater: Compassion and Drunken Electrons by: ANDREA MARCUM

Judith Hanson Lasater, one of yoga’s pioneering women, took her first yoga class at the local YMCA in 1971 and fell in love. Ten months later, her teacher moved away and she found herself at age 24, with no formal training, teaching 20 yoga classes a week. Since then she studied with Swami Vishnudevananda and B.K.S. Iyengar, became a certified physical therapist, earned a PhD in East-West Psychology, and raised a family. In 1975, she was one of the founding editors for an upstart yoga newsletter called Yoga Journal. If that’s not enough to make you feel under-accomplished, she’s also written eight books, including the best selling Living Your Yoga: Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life.

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I‘ve lost count of how many copies of Lasater’s Relax and Renew: Restful Yoga For Stressful Times I’ve gifted people. It’s the restorative yoga bible, and has traveled around the world with me as I’ve led retreats. But just because she wrote the bible doesn’t mean Judith is OK with the label “restorative”—in fact, you best not try to label her at all. Yoga and pregnancy, anatomy and kinesiology as well as using the yogic principle of satya (truth) as part of a path towards understanding that “what we say matters,” are just a few of the topics covered in her other books. Judith once said she felt we might be “using distraction to sell introspection.” I asked her if she thought that could be true today. “I think it’s possible for all of us to use our yoga to distract us from our yoga. Because we get so caught up in the form that we forget the soul.” “Why are we doing all these handstands, backbends and arm balances?” Judith said. “I don’t know why we’re doing them unless our lives are shaped and changed. What you want to get as a teacher is not an email or a Facebook post that says, ‘I learned so much about headstands in your class.’ What you want to get is, ‘I learned so much about myself and my life in your class’.” “I believe that yoga should lead us to a place where kindness and compassion are instantaneous. Compassion is fierce and strong, and it holds people accountable. But it doesn’t do it with anger or judgment. For example, to hold John Friend, who is a friend of mine, accountable for his actions is to love him fiercely. Compassion is the litmus test.” “I don’t think we find compassion. I think we become the space that compassion wants to live in. You can’t make yourself be compassionate, you can only keep stepping back and becoming a larger container in which compassion wants to live. The practice should open us up, and crack open our hearts again and again.”

Joy is big.

A larger container indeed. Not to be limited or labeled, Judith began reading me the poetry she’s been writing. I think this line from one of them says it all:

Joy lives in your own drunken electrons, billions of them, spinning and dancing without end in their own intimate Universe, longing for You.

“Living your yoga is not just doing it, but being it,” Judith said as we signed off.

Do not look for joy anywhere else.

“Keep your drunken electrons dancing! she exclaimed.” That I will—Thank you, Judith, for your incredible insight. For more of Judith’s poetry visit Judith’s website www.judithlastater.com. For a podcast of our conversation visit www.ustudioyoga.com.

It is living in you, and gives meaning to all Existence.


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Thank You. It’s the New F**k You. BY: Michelle Berman Marchildon After practicing yoga for nearly 15 years primarily to get a better butt, my plan is now to use it to make a difference in the world. No, I’m not going to do a fundraiser for Cambodian orphans, or take my clothes off for PETA (although I still look pretty good in low light). Instead, I thought I’d make “Thank You” the new “F**k You.” Becoming “enlightened” is truly that simple. I just saved you years of practice and thousands of dollars, not to mention some time in therapy. You are welcome.

The Universe has been so good to me. It’s given me a million ways to use my new mantra of “Thank you.” Here are some examples of my über-yoginess: I was practicing yoga and one of the other students commented that they couldn’t believe I could still “do it” at my age. Thank you! My mother-in-law recently said that she didn’t know I worked. Or taught yoga. Or wrote a book. She also noted that for the last 50 years I have been loading the dishwasher wrong. Thank you! Last year my father-in-law died, my dog died, my mother got cancer, we lost jobs and we were audited by the I.R.S. Dear Universe, Thank you! At a yoga workshop I was looking for a strap to use for Natarajasana, Dancer’s Pose. I asked one of the organizers where they were, and she replied, “Oh, you mean the strap you were supposed to bring from home?” She then grabbed her foot and did the full pose. Thank you, and you get the added, “my friend!”

Michelle Berman Marchildon is the Yogi Muse. She’s the author of Finding More on the Mat: How I Grew Better, Wiser and Stronger through Yoga. She is a 500 RYT and teaches Aligned Vinyasa, formerly known as Anusara, in Denver, Colorado. Even though she is über-fabulous, she is NOT an Ambassador for Lululemon, and has been promised she will never be one.


I recently spoke with an executive with a big yoga company about doing something with my book, and she noted that since I was not Rodney Yee, she didn’t see anything we could do “synergistically.” Thank you! The same goes for a particular yoga and athletic wear manufacturer of Luon™, which I pointed out does not honor older yogis, or heavier yogis, or yogis who have less than $98 for a pair of pants. And who has now promised that I will absolutely never be an Ambassador over their dead bodies. THANK YOU! And to the yoga studio owner who suggested that I teach “Gentle Yoga for Old People,” because that is what we like to do, right? Thank you, and you get a “my friend” too. And to everyone else who will do me sh*t in the upcoming year, I appreciate the chance to demonstrate my extreme über-yogi-enlightenedness by saying in advance, thank you. Really, I mean it. Now I think I need to get to my mat. Namaste, bitches.

PHOTO: Shannon Marie Casey

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The “Deal with Your Life” Diet Origin Columnist: Laurie Gerber I had long held in my mind an image of myself as a “natural woman,” standing in a sun-filled, white kitchen, arranging a fresh salad from my garden. My kids were playing outside and I looked so graceful, glowing from my recent yoga session. A few years back, I had a rude awakening. Despite that image, my reality was very different: I worked 70 hours a week, hunched over a desk under fluorescent lights, in an office with no windows. I ate a steady diet of bagels, eggplant Parmesan, candy bars, pasta and ice cream. It should not have surprised me when a friend told me I was putting on weight steadily, but it did. I was living from the neck up and I had not really considered my body. Here is what I had considered: 1) My tastebuds. The logic: it tastes good, I should get to eat it. 2) My health. I reasoned being a (mostly) vegetarian handled that. Hah, so purposely ignorant... 3) My politics. Nobody can tell me what to eat or how I should look. My “right” to eat whatever I wanted was a feminist issue to me. My friend’s warning broke through my thinking and woke me up. It was the juxtaposition between the dream image I was forced to remember and my current reality that caused me to shift. I realized I had no idea what was healthy, no idea how to eat and a terrible attitude. The odyssey I then took with my coach to change, worked on a lot of different levels. 1) I learned about health and how the body works; that was a revelation. I needed fruits and veggies and a lot less white stuff and sugar. I was an addict and needed to treat myself as one. My program was designed for me, but slowly weaned me from sugar and refined carbs. 2) I learned to like the taste of a variety of live foods. This took practice. 3) Most importantly, I learned to manage my mind. This meant handling the voices of the “brat” and the “chicken.” I had unhealthy food associated with fun and relaxation. I had to get over my “I just want/deserve it” attitude. Deeper down were the fears I think everyone avoiding taking care of their bodies needs to confront. Choosing to live without addictive foods meant feeling feelings and really having to hear my mind’s opinion on what was not working in my life. Without the distraction of addictive food behaviors, I had to deal with my yearnings for (and fear of) success in the public eye, my desire for more intimacy with my husband and my disappointment over how stubborn I’d been. This put me on the right mental-emotional cleanup path for my life. Guess who left that job, started speaking publicly and resumed having sex? Yep—I did. Being thin, feeling great and having pride are side effects of the most powerful accomplishment: managing the conversation in my head in order to focus on and tackle my real issues. Will you be brave enough to do the same?


Laurie Gerber is President of Handel Group® Life Coaching, an international coaching company, which specializes in teaching individuals to take focused and powerful action in every area of their lives. She has dedicated the last 15 years to coaching hundreds of individuals and leading large groups. Through an engaging, edgy and truthful conversation, which first confronts and then inspires, Laurie is able to help people strip away the psychological or emotional burdens that hold them back and allow them to lead extraordinary lives with an emphasis on Personal Integrity®. Laurie’s rigorous yet loving coaching style was recently showcased in MTV’s True Life Special. PHOTOS: BAGGAGE BY FRANK ROSE + KARA DUVAL PORTRAIT BY JORDAN MATTER

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I was certain of two things: 1. I needed a job. I had to pay most of my own expenses if I wanted to go away to school. 2. I was tired of being sick. I had grown up struggling with Irritable Bowel Syndrome and had been to many doctors and specialists all to no avail. Even my closest friends had no idea that I was chained to the washroom, planning my days around where the next bathroom would be. Little did I know that my need for employment and path to wellness would magically converge in the form of a nondescript “Help Wanted - Juice Bar” sign in the window of a small Harvard Square apothecary. Growing up, I had no concept of healthful eating, and because I was so thin and plagued by digestive issues, my family was just happy I was eating. Pizza, fast food, tons of sugary cola, meat, dairy—if it was full of fat and highly processed, I loved it. So when I first was hired at a small apothecary with an organic juice bar, I literally thought “as long as this place pays me, they can sell this witchcraft-voodoo stuff all day long.” I quickly realized that there were some pretty special people working there, and the customers were bright, healthy and seemingly wise. The shelves behind the juice bar were lined with books about nutritional supplements, herbs, homeopathy, green foods and a host of other “alternative therapies.” While I thought this was a bit odd, I also grew up as a surf & skate “punk,” so anything non-mainstream was indelibly appealing to me. And besides, I was sick. The cramping I had experienced since I was a young child was getting worse, food would not stay in my body anymore, and the last doctor I visited told me: “Well, the next step would be to remove a piece of your colon.”

From Sickness to Health: How a “Help Wanted” Sign Changed My Life BY: Jeremiah C. McElwee

Nearly twenty years ago, I left a small seaside resort town along the coast of South Jersey for Boston, MA. At the time, I was young and thought that I had the world figured out.

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In between chopping organic carrots and serving wheatgrass shots, I began researching my symptoms in the books at the store. It didn’t take long for me to find some common themes.

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Stick with a vegetarian diet. Protein and high fatty foods are challenging to digest and can aggravate IBS, Crohn’s and other digestive issues. Organic fruits & vegetables are the way to go. Probiotics are essential. Lactobacillus Acidophilus is the most common, but there are dozens of strains that are both beneficial for your digestion, and also act as your first line of defense against infection throughout the body. Green foods. Eat ‘em up, and often. Green juices, spirulina, chlorella, and barley grass powder are all great sources of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is nourishing to the body on many levels and helps with detoxification and absorption of iron. Fiber, fiber, and more fiber. Diet is the first step, but during my healing process I took gentle fibers like apple pectin and washed it down with plenty of water. It helped keep things moving, but at the right pace for my body. Practice some form of meditation. Diet and supplements are important, but regular meditation helps the mind relax and the body find balance. Without that time of rest, the body races to keep up with the pace of the mind and they do not communicate. Patience. With lifestyle & dietary changes, your body will not begin healing in days. It may take months or even years to undo damage or heal deep sources of disease. Find the right course and stick to it, and it will pay off. My experience has been that it is great advice not just for health, but in all areas of life.

The bottom line: I had to re-learn how to eat and care for my body and mind, which meant throwing out everything I thought I knew and trying a whole new approach. Within a year I had seen dramatic improvements. My IBS symptoms vanished, and I actually had energy from the food I ate. Fast forward eighteen years to the present, and I have a fulfilling career in the natural products industry. Not only did I heal my body, but my journey also yielded a lifelong passion for natural living, and for sharing this powerful path with others. My hope is that in the coming months I can share some of my favorite tips and tricks with you as you strive toward a healthful balance on your own path.

Jeremiah is currently the Executive Coordinator responsible for the Health & Beauty department at Whole Foods Market. When he is not peddling “lotions and potions,” he enjoys spending time with his three wonderful daughters and loving partner in the hill country outside of Austin, TX. He also enjoys surfing, trail running, all things organic, and has a not-so-secret passion for Philly sports.

PHOTOs: SIGN BY Brenda Gottsabend, PORTRAITS BY Pinkle Toes Photography

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When Nature Needs Nurture

by: Cristin Klein

The Nature Conservancy’s Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future (LEAF) Program is working to make a difference for our most precious resources—children and nature. The program’s goal is to empower the next generation of conservation leaders to protect the lands and waters upon which all life depends. After all, when you stop and think about it, the future health of our planet rests in the hands of today’s youth. Each summer students are divided into teams, then paired with professional mentors and immersed in protecting nature. They work alongside scientists and naturalists to restore habitat, plant trees, and save endangered species. For many of these students, LEAF represents their first extended time in nature, their first job, and their first time living away from home. The program has a tremendous impact on their lives— opening their eyes to career possibilities, building self-confidence, independence, work skills, conservation literacy and a love of the outdoors. Over 30% of these

young people go on to pursue career paths in environmental fields—compared to 6% of the national average. Thanks to a $3.1 million-dollar grant from the Toyota USA Foundation, the LEAF program has expanded to six new cities across the nation. 101 teenagers have left cell phones, iPods, and life as they know it to become environmental stewards and scientists in some truly iconic wild places, like Santa Cruz Island—a remote preserve 26 miles from mainland California. Often referred to as the “Galapagos of North America,” Santa Cruz Island is home to animals and plants found nowhere else on Earth, including the Island Fox, a devastatingly cute little creature which is highly threatened by extinction. Right now, our young leaders are learning how to track and monitor the 1,200 foxes (up from only 100 a few years ago) that are on an amazing road to recovery. Their work is ensuring that this amazing animal continues to be one of the most successful recoveries of an endangered species in the history of the Endangered Species Act.

TOP: LEAF interns conduct gopher tortoise monitoring—which includes locating, measuring and marking burrows—at TNC’s Charles Harrold Preserve in eastern Georgia. The threatened gopher tortoise is considered a keystone species because its burrows provide shelter for hundreds of other animal species. PHOTO: Karine Aigner / The Nature Conservancy BOTTOM: Santa Cruz Island Fox. Photo: Nancy Crowley/The Nature Conservancy


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Feeding America, Millions of Meals at a Time BY: Vicki Escarra, President and CEO, Feeding America A husband and wife recently came to a Texas food pantry. They were very, very hungry. They said that their last meal was a can of beans they had eaten two days earlier. The food pantry staff quickly put together a box of food for the family, and the wife shed tears of gratitude. Here’s the twist: this couple used to be regular and loyal volunteers at that same pantry. But now they were in need. Sadly, this is not the first time we have heard this story. Many of Feeding America’s food banks report that they now find themselves helping to feed people who were once volunteers and donors. There is a new face to hunger today. Many of the people who come to food pantries and soup kitchens are people who never thought they would need help—people who were once part of the middle class and are now unemployed or underemployed—people who are struggling to get by from day to day and week to week. The Texas couple exemplifies the plight of many people we serve. With limited income—and sometimes with no income at all—they have to make tough choices about how to spend every penny. There is often not enough money to cover all of their basic expenses. If they pay their rent and their utilities, there may not be enough money left over for health care needs or food; but if they

don’t pay their bills, they face eviction, or having their lights turned off. These are terrible choices to have to make. There is perhaps no crisis more hidden and more devastating than the issue of food insecurity in our nation. Inadequate nutrition can lead to terrible health consequences, both physical and emotional. Federal nutrition programs are the first line of defense for food insecure Americans, but do not meet all of the needs of everyone who needs help. Feeding America is a network of more than 200 food banks that provide food to more than 61,000 food pantries, soup kitchens and other agencies. On any given week, we will serve more than six million Americans. This year we will distribute more than 3.2 billion pounds of food to people in need. This is why I ask anyone lucky enough to have three square meals a day to lend a hand however they can. Volunteer at a local pantry, donate food or money ($1 allows Feeding America to provide eight meals to people in need), and encourage your elected officials to be aware of the prevalence of food insecurity in the communities they serve.

1 in 8 Americans receive food from Feeding America. 1 in 7 Americans is enrolled in the Food Stamp program. 1 in 6 Americans is food insecure. 1 in 5 American children lives in food insecure households.

Together we can feed our nation.

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Finding My Own Balance: Stopping the Insanity by: Laura King calendar, I discovered that for the next six weeks I did not have a single free weekend. That meant no time for family and no time to relax. I had let this become my typical schedule. My complete lack of balance had left me feeling tired and needing to feed my own soul. Looking at all the commitments ahead of me, I knew inside that something would have to go.

Like most people, I want to do everything. I take on new hobbies with gusto and if there’s a new project, you can be sure I’m leading the team. I’ve never been one to shy away from commitments. Because of this, my life has been a constant game of “let’s try to fit this in” as I try to juggle more than I should. I have a fantastic support system. My husband has always gone above and beyond to support my schedule and our daughter has never known anything different. So I’ve continued to take on new challenges. At any given time you could find me working a stressful forty-hour job, teaching ten hours of yoga, sitting on the board of two nonprofit organizations, teaching workshops each weekend, and planning an event for our ever-expanding yoga community. This is not balanced. Who does this to themselves? And at what point do I say, “I’m sorry. I just can’t take that on?” Apparently never! Balance looks different for each of us. What may seem balanced to one person would be completely crazy for someone else. And at different stages in our lives, we have the capacity to take on more opportunities. We also have the power within ourselves to say no. I finally found that power back in September. I thought my life was balanced. I thought I could do it all. And then I received a phone call that provided my moment of clarity. My mother had just been diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Thinking about the mortality of a loved one has a way of putting things into perspective. This was a time when I needed to be with my family. But, as I looked at my

Today I don’t teach ten hours a week. I’ve stepped it back. I’m no longer teaching at five in the morning. I actually sleep eight hours each night. I limit the number of nights each week that I teach so that I can have more time with my family. And, this year I’ve reduced my workshop schedule. In September, I started a new “day job” that gives me more flexibility and less stress. Although most people still think I have too much on my plate, today I finally feel as though I have time to be a mom, a wife, a sister and a friend. I had to find the power within myself to let go of all the things I thought I wanted to do, so that I could do the things I’m meant to do. Balance is a concept that for many of us is a constant struggle. We can easily get caught up in the desire to be everything to everyone. I can’t say what balance will look like for anyone else. At this stage in my life, I’ve decided that I want moments with my family more than I want to teach a room full of sweaty yogis. And by finding more balance in my life, I get to do both. To me, that’s a perfect world.


The Music by : Giselle Mari

Music has the power to alter our cellular structure, inspire our spirits and catapult us from the depths of our being into higher realms. When our soul is sung to, all the false layers of our being are stripped away and what is revealed is an indescribable freedom, bliss and maybe even a booty shake. As a yoga teacher, the music is my muse. She guides me and informs the practice on many levels. Creating the sonic architecture of the class inspires the sonic shapes that are the asanas. Together, they create a potent partnership offering us an entry point into letting go and moving deeper into hearing and feeling. There is always a song—you know the one—that just speaks to your body and in that moment makes the seemingly insurmountable asana attainable, joyful and steady. The class that precisely speaks to this experience is Jivamukti Yoga’s Hot, Hip and Holy, created by my teacher, David Life, many years ago. I

was assisting him that day not knowing what to expect. I witnessed 150 students completely shift into utter unadulterated joy as he conjoined the power of modern day poets from HipHop to Pop with the ancient text of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra. This has now become one of my favorite classes to teach at yoga conferences and festivals because it frees us from mental binds around yoga practice and it’s wickedly fun. Join me the next time we unify the vibrational expression of yoga and music into an experience that may make you laugh, cry, sing and/or dance spontaneously, all culminating into penetrating your soul with sonic light. Sri Brahmananda Saraswati said, “Yoga is the state where you are missing nothing,” and we all know a great song is a portal to that state. Giselle Mari is an Advanced Certified Jivamukti Yoga teacher whose yogic

path began in the early 90’s. She began her extensive study with her gurus Sharon Gannon and David Life who she’s joyfully assisted throughout the western U.S. and has had the honor to serve as a mentor on the Jivamukti Yoga Teacher Training faculty. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Giselle currently teaches dynamic and insightful classes and workshops around the globe and presents at yoga conferences and festivals.

www.funkyjiva.com PHOTO: by marla aufmuth

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THE INSPIRE SERIES. Catherine Allen, Houston, TX My husband’s silly sense of humor, my animals’ unconditional love, breakthroughs on and off the mat, yummy food shared with loved ones make my daily diet of inspiration! Cat, Forrest Yoga Mentor Guardian, is teaching at Windhorse and the 200-Hour Connecticut Forrest Yoga Foundation Teacher Training this summer.


Pedro Franco, San Francisco, CA “If the mind is the king of the senses, the breath is the queen of the mind.” I’ve modified the quote a little to reflect the divine feminine—which is a great inspiration to me. Pedro Franco is a Yogi, Therapist and Consultant. He teaches at Yoga Tree, Brahmananda Ashram, and Namaste.


Bee Bosnak, Portland, OR I find inspiration in the transformation and healing that takes place on my mat. My practice inspires me to become a better teacher, a better friend and a better wife. Bee is a Turkish born, British bred Vinyasa teacher. She can be found documenting her yogic path at:


Jaimie Epstein, Boulder, CO My beloved teachers Sharon Gannon and David Life continually inspire me with their courage, their compassion, their focus, and their ability to embody the truth—that we are all connected, that the thoughts, words and deeds of every single person have a direct impact on everyone and everything on the planet. I’m thrilled to say that I am an 800-hour Certified Jivamukti Yoga Teacher teaching at Om Time in Boulder.


Ryan Leier, Saskatoon, Canada Brook Cheatham, Allen, TX Inspired by? Honestly? Adversity. If someone says “it can’t be done” then I MUST do it! I am inspired to empower the average person to become GREAT, or at least know that they already are something really special and to hopefully show them how to live and love to life’s fullest. My mission is to share with the everyday mom, dad, brother and sister how they are THE vehicle to make change happen in our community and ultimately, our world. My classes are energetic, fun, and being the mom of three boys, a little on the crazy side.

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I am inspired by: The Sun, My Daughter, Fresh Water, Naked Truth, Lions, Indra Devi, Bob Marley, Iceland, Old Folks, The Wind, The Prairies, Birds, Sweat, and Grapefruit. Ryan is devoted to the ancient, vital, living tradition of yoga. He directs One Yoga Studios in Canada and is the founder of Vinyasa Yoga For Youth.

www.ryanleier.com www.oneyoga.ca

Kino MacGregor, Miami Beach, FL


The combination of spiritual awareness with inner and outer beauty is my inspiration for a lifestyle of consciousness. The co-founder of Miami Life Center, Kino travels the world sharing the message of yoga as a spiritual path. She is the creator of five Ashtanga Yoga DVDs, a line of yoga mats and a Practice Sheet, as well as the author of The Power of Ashtanga Yoga (to be published in 2013 by Shambhala).

www.kinoyoga.com www.miamilifecenter.com

Sean Tebor, Santa Fe, NM

The Breath of Life, and the passion for where it takes me. Personal relationship with the One, and experiencing the countless ways in which that surrounds and nourishes me. Sean’s passion is to support the awakening of the core through a dynamic, body-appropriate, everevolving journey into the dancing midline.


Denise Antonini, Laguna Beach, CA They arrive tense, hurried, nervous. They unfold, unclench and breathe. They’ll work, sweat, reach and fly as they trust you to lead them to their true selves. Beautiful, calm, perfect. I currently teach at Montage Laguna Beach. My husband and I are launching a new yoga studio and art gallery concept in the coming weeks called You and the Mat in Laguna Niguel, CA. We are featuring artists such as Robert Sturman, Steven Lustig, Richard Seagraves and Tiff Seale.

www.youandthemat.com www.montagelagunabeach.com

Mary Bruce, Phoenix, AZ Inspired by breath and movement, I see the pulse of spirit in a yoga pose, a laughing baby, in Nature in all her diversity, and I remember my own vital spark. Mary is an ERYT-500 Para Yoga Certified Teacher. Teaching since 1997, she offers Workshops, Teacher Training and Retreats globally.


Jessica Lesley, Los Angeles, CA I am inspired by simple things, music, family, meeting new people—each day we’re presented with multiple opportunities to be inspired. What we do with these opportunities guides us. Jessica is a Yoga/Yoga Tune Up® instructor teaching weekly classes at Paramount and Disney studios. She also teaches public classes at CrossFit City of Angels.


Kimi Marin, Portland, OR I am inspired by women who go against the grain and by people who live outside the lines. Nothing makes my heart zing like someone who’s followed their own path. Kimi is a yoga teacher, forever yoga student, avid Hindu mythology reader, Yogi Roots board member, coffee drinker, and writer.

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Chris Calarco, Portland, OR Music inspires me to do the inner work of yoga. I try to pour the melodies and grooves of my heart into my classes and teach only from experience. Chris lives in Portland and teaches at Yoga Union, North Portland Yoga and Stumptown Yoga. He studies with Sianna Sherman. Photo by Patrick Donahue/Super Duper Photographic

Angela May, Austin, TX

www.chriscalarcoyoga.com www.yogiroots.org

My husband, our children, and the sanctity of our home. People who follow their hearts, nonconformity, and seeing conscious consumerism create powerful changes. Farmers markets, Rumi, the first birdsong at sunrise, Anais Nin.

Mia Togo, Venice, CA I feel inspired when I’m fully engaged in life—being courageous, receptive, and aligned with my truth regardless of what’s true for anyone else. Mia Togo teaches at Yogaworks in Santa Monica, CA. Mia believes we all have a purpose and it is through our fears that our courage is revealed.  

Eco-crusader, proud mama, and poetess. When not running in the Hill Country or digging in the dirt, Angela serves as Vice President of Sales for Gaia Herbs.

www. miatogo. com

www.gaiaherbs. com

Zoë Kors, Los Angeles, CA

Bryan Mineo, Dallas, TX Water and music are synonymous for who I am. Effortless and flowing, the two compose my daily masterpiece. The variable swelling of each confirms that I’m alive, and capable of anything. Yoga Instructor. Personal Trainer. Swim Coach. Bryan, himself, is training to do marathon swims around the globe for various charities.


Women with balls. Who don’t play safe. Who choose action over fear. Hillary Clinton. Aung San Suu Kyi. Anandamayi Ma. The embodiment of feminine power. That, and some ass-kicking rock and roll.

Jules Mitchell, Hermosa Beach, CA Creating community, building teams, and living into abundance inspire me. We can’t do it all alone. Our reach expands when we unite and take action together. I lead anatomy programs for yoga teachers, run a strong private client business and direct the South Bay Yoga Conference.

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Certified life coach and founder of Radiant Sisters Project. Zoë draws on Eastern and Western principles to support the empowerment of women.


Sarah Richelle Starnes, Chicago, IL


For me, inspiration comes from every experience I have in this life...the sweet moments when Nature envelopes me in its marvelous beauty, when I feel awestruck by the powerful connections I can create with other humans and animals, but also when the shadow side of life shows its face. It might be in the darkest moments that I transform the most into the brightest light of Being! Sarah is a yogini, dancer, singer/musician, raptor handler, energy/bodyworker, and multifaceted artist in the Chicago area. She offers yoga classes, workshops, teacher trainings and sound healings. Visit her at Wanderlust Festival California!


Pete Guinosso, San Francisco, CA

Prajna Vieira, San Francisco, CA

Inspiration and Beauty are all around you and with in you. Take a moment each day to breathe in this truth. It will transform your world.

Love. It sounds corny, but it’s not! The most important things I’ve done in my life have been inspired by love. Love is everything—I am a servant of love.

Pete Guinosso loves to share all things yoga with people in the Bay Area and around the world. He loves to live and lives to love.

Prajna Vieira is a musical artist and yogi. She teaches at Bay Area studios and makes music with Kirtan greats and with her band Mukti.

www. petegyoga. com


Elise Lorimer, San Francisco, CA

Rich Logan, Chicago, IL “Meditation is the movement of love” - Krishnamurti. Music from the soul. Forgiveness. Stories from the heart. A shared meal made with love. Sunsets. A really mindful breath. Spiritualignment. My teacher Gabriel. Kirtan artist, Yoga instructor, Body worker, Armchair philosopher. Studied in India, Thailand, and US with Gabriel Halpern and Kim Schwartz.

www.mokshayoga.com www.natureyoga.com

Maria Carroll, Dallas, TX My inspiration stems from the potential of truth. The knowledge that we can connect with this truth, and be led to ultimate freedom. From this space, we are free to serve our community. Maria teaches Vinyasa Yoga at Uptown Yoga Dallas. She has been practicing yoga since 2002 and teaching since 2009.

Creativity of Life’s expressions—whole spectrum—inspire me. The more I travel, witnessing life, the more eyeswide-open and plugged-in I feel. Sharing those experiences with anyone I meet: that’s heaven.   Elise is a vinyasa instructor with a background in creative and visual arts. She encourages deeper awareness with a playful spirit.   Elise teaches at Yoga Tree SF: 

www.yogatreesf.com www.eliselorimer.com

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James Higgins, San Francisco, ca

Alysha Greig, Seattle, WA

What inspires me: God, Love, Truth, Beauty, Silence, Trees, Nature, The Ocean, Prayers, Spiritual Insight, My Soul, The Earth, Music, Dancing, Waves, Water, Fire, Stars, Good Food, Friends, Laughter, Travel, Reading, Writing, Painting.

Community. Love. Adversity. Traveling. Books. Earth. Oceans. Flowers. My Morning Showers. Yoga. Sunshine. Rain. Wind. Snow. Music. Glee. Science. Walking Barefoot. Looking Up. My Teachers. My Students. My Mother.

Dana celebrates life and creates community in every class. She is a spiritual forklift reminding us to lean into the Love!

James Higgins teaches unique and challenging Meditative Hatha Vinyasa classes which emphasize deep healing, spiritual insight, physical power, and emotional wellness.

I currently attend the University of Washington and teach Anusara inspired Vinyasa flow at Hot Yoga of Laurelhurst.




Heather Erdmann, Houston, TX

Stephanie Starnes, Chicago, IL

Jason Lobo, Dallas, TX

I am most inspired by how beautifully interwoven this world is; how nature speaks to me without a word; how I can feel my grandmother dancing on the wings of a butterfly, even after she has gone. This is a magical place we live in. Around every corner there is another opportunity to expand and dive deeper into the rhythm of our own hearts. Is there anything sweeter?

It inspires me to see people step more fully into the power and beauty of their own being: into bravery, dignity, and selfrespect—with their bodies, hearts/minds, and voices.

Dana Trixie Flynn Friends, dancing with my beloved, birds in the morning sky singing their prayers, Nina Simone, poets, poetry, loving and being loved.

Strength in all its forms inspires me. It’s an honor to be able to help others harness their strength, pull themselves out of difficult circumstances, face life head-on and conquer adversity. Heather Erdmann is the owner of and instructor at Pure Body Studio, a boutique yoga and Pilates studio located in Houston, Texas.


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Stephanie is a yogi, singer/musician, hair stylist/ makeup artist in the city of Chicago. Take her classes at Yogaview, Nature Yoga, Chicago School of Yoga, and Wanderlust Festival California!

Jason’s classes emphasize clear alignment and principled action. Students find his teaching humorous and challenging, and appreciate his balance of clarity, enthusiasm, and wisdom.


Wendy Colonna, Austin, TX Music, Happy Bodies, Wellness, Community, Sustainability, Alchemy, Miracles, Wonderment, Work, Sweat, Getting Dirty & Serving. Favorite Animal: Honeybee. Favorite Emotion: Gratitude. Wendy Colonna is a songwriter/performer by trade and a beekeeper in her dreams. She also enjoys teaching yoga and serving nonprofits who serve community.


Brittany Jade Trubridge, Dean’s Blue Hole, Bahamas I’m inspired by the idea that each and every moment is completely fresh—void of both the past and the future and forever holding the potential for a miracle. Brittany Trubridge (500RYT) is an Ayurvedic Counselor, freediver, Reiki Master specializing in natural healing therapies and the creator of B-Tru Yoga.


Stephanie Snyder, San Francisco, CA As my team and I prepare for my upcoming Fall Vinyasa Teacher Training, I am moved and inspired by the enthusiasm that so many committed students have to diving fully into the sacred and complex teachings of Yoga. Nothing better! Based in San Francisco, Stephanie Snyder teaches fluid, informed, and inspired Vinyasa Yoga. She has been a teacher trainer for the past decade and leads retreats, workshops and trainings around the globe.

www.stephaniesnyder.com www.yogaglo.com

THE INSPIRE SERIES. Tracee Stanley ERYT, Topanga, CA As a filmmaker and yogi, Tracee is inspired by the idea of creating transformational films that explore spiritual themes. Her next film Soul Thief explores forgiveness. With over 11 years of teaching experience, she was inspired to share yoga when she met her teacher, Yogarupa Rod Stryker.


Jill Bacharach, Little Falls, NJ

Rusty Wells, San Francisco, CA

Meeting my greatest self outside of my comfort zone. Crossing every threshold of fear. Never averting a gaze in a moment of silent need. RESILIENCE. PERSEVERANCE. HUMILITY. TRUTH without veils.

There’s an equal amount of God in everyone of us. No one has more or less. Isn’t that wonderful? Accepting this love we raise up ourselves, our families and our communities.

Jill is an E-RYT 200, MSW, with an M.A. in Writing. She teaches yoga at Serenity Yoga in New Jersey, and writes a blog:

Rusty is the founder of URBAN FLOW, a by-donation studio that provides the art and refuge of yoga to its beloved global community.

yogafaroffthemat.blogspot.com www.serenityyoga-nj.com


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Maria Filippone, Victoria, B.C.

Uma Diana Hulet, Portland, OR

All that inspires: Yoga, Pilates, Spa, Teachers, Students, Music, MJ, Dancing, Nature, Courage, Generosity, Kindness, Appreciation, Globetrotting, Vespa riding, Eco friendly architecture, Being in love, Making love, Family, Being a Mom, Following dreams.

Observe how each day is an opportunity to get closer to the world, to see the One in all things. While embracing both fierceness and kindness, always love what is. With reverence for her teacher Manorama, Uma instructs from the landscape of personal experience, at Yoga Union and Yoga Shala.

Maria Filippone (certified teacher in Pilates/ Yoga & Thai Massage) lives in beautiful Victoria, B.C., and offers private/group lessons and workshops.


mariafilipponeyoga. com

THE INSPIRE SERIES. Monica Blossom, Dallas, TX

Monica is deeply inspired by revolutionary love and sunsets. A steward of conscious community, a ritualist, an overall connector, eternal optimist and lover of life, Monica travels, teaches and produces bhakti yoga and ecstatic dance events that elevate the health, hope, happiness, humor and harmony of humanity.

ecstaticcommunity. com

Ricky Tran, Dallas, TX

It lights my fire to see people transform themselves through a consistent yoga practice. Ricky healed himself from addiction and self-destructive patterns through a consistent yoga practice. He founded the Breakfast Yoga Club in 2010 and Krama Yoga Center in 2011.


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Joanna Kutchey, Austin, TX Teaching inspires me! Teaching, being my calling, first took me to Chicago’s south side public school system. I have now transitioned into dedicating myself to the practice, study and teaching of yoga. I am forever grateful for the exciting opportunity to collaborate and work with Wanderlust Festival and thrilled to be Co-owner/ Director of the first homebased studio, Wanderlust LIVE. 


Rachael Sellars, Las Vegas, NV

My teaching begins with the simple truth that I love Yoga. My classes are playful, yet disciplined to honor the students’ practice in a skillful, organic and creative way. My hope is to motivate and educate my students to live to their fullest, most creative and authentic potential. I teach at Yoga Sanctuary and have my own Yoga and Massage business.


Liz Vartanian, Austin, TX

Jenny Parum, Dallas, TX

I believe our body, mind and soul are meant to be free! With intentional breath comes awareness. Mindful movement creates change. Positive change brings possibility. Clarity, wellness, freedom. This is my yoga!

Liz finds inspiration in the trees that surround her home, the laughter of her friends over coffee, love from her partner, and the way her two dogs face life and move!

Jenny’s experience of renewed body, mind and spirit compels her to share with others struggling with disease and dis-ease.

With a Massage Therapy background, Liz teaches small groups and private classes out of her home in the 78704!



THE INSPIRE SERIES. Grace Flowers, Venice, CA

Emma Saal, Washington, DC

Life inspires me. Love inspires me. Human connection inspires me. I see life as one serendipitous experiment. Our perceived successes and/or failures bring us closer to aligning with our soul and depend largely on our ability to experiment, have fun and find grace in the process while keeping a receptive, open mind on the outcome. Movement and breath connect us back to the essence of our core being, the one true home of our Soul. Come play and inspire on the mat with me at Santa Monica Power Yoga.

Passionate people. Dance. Movement. Being creative. Fresh air and nature. MUSIC. Children. Colors. My friends and family. Seeing people enjoy life. Being spontaneous. Emma’s intention is to create a cheerful and safe atmosphere, where she can share her love, passion and knowledge of yoga, martial arts and dance.



Desiree Rumbaugh, Cardiff, CA

I love people. I am inspired as I travel the world sharing what I continue to learn about life, love and yoga. I receive so much from my students.

Karina Ayn Mirsky, Kalamazoo, MI

The tender courage of those facing serious illness, the joy of those who have recently fallen in love, and people in power who are humble enough to teach others compassionately.

I offer my passion for yoga locally and internationally, which combines a sense of humor and a quest for authenticity.

Director, Sangha Yoga; ParaYoga Teacher; Faculty Teacher, Himalayan Institute in Honesdale, PA; cancer survivor; yoga teacher trainer; national seminar leader.



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Mia Park, Chicago, IL

Kelley Rush, Carnation, WA

Everything inspires me. The dharma of 100,000 ants making the best anthill under the sidewalk. Loud street noises. Back porch tomatoes. Students leaving class brighter than when they entered—all inspirational. My teacher is Yogarupa Rod Stryker. I’m a Level I Certified ParaYoga teacher. I study and teach tantra hatha yoga throughout Chicago.


Soul mining gratitude in life’s darkest places and living a purpose-filled, heart-centered life is Kelley’s Spirit Pledge. It has been her deep rooted connection to nature and her love for her community that has guided and inspired her through life’s toughest Dharma Jousts (challenges). She loves to look for sacred composting opportunities, turning sh*t into beauty-filled healing medicine, to make the world a better place. Kelley is the founder of Two Rivers Yoga & Massage, Forrest Yoga Guardian, and Cancer Dancer/SurThrivor,


Melody Tarver, Dallas, TX What moves me? A soul cleansing yoga flow, a sweaty snotty cry at a moondance, heartbreak, my momma, an elderly man sharing his endless stories, 5am meditations with my puppy, Johnny Cash, the moon and YOU.

Jasmine Tarkeshi, San Francisco, CA

I am a fine artist and designer, but my passion extends much further to include yoga, acro-yoga, aerial arts, ecstatic dance and incorporating dance into yoga.

I am humbly inspired and in awe of the mysterious, transformative power and wisdom within movement, music and LOVE, and how the sacred is revealed in daily life: hidden in this and every moment!

Aimee Jean Williams, Portland, OR Yoga is an opportunity to be the person I know I can be. This opportunity continually inspires me to strive to be my best, and to share and connect deeply with the world around me.

Jasmine is co-founder and director of Laughing Lotus Yoga Center: a cosmic playground devoted to celebrating spiritual life through Yoga.

Aimee began practicing yoga in 1990, and went on to found Modern Yoga & Yogatecture. She teaches yoga alignment and technique, Dynamic, Hatha, Hot 26 & Yin at YogaNW.


Tim Sullivan, Seattle, WA I’m inspired by plane tickets, typewriters, rice and beans, and the movements of my cat. If it weren’t for the community it can create, my yoga would never have started. Tim Sullivan is based in Seattle and teaches at 8 Limbs Yoga Center and häuteyoga Queen Anne.

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Deborah Burkman, San Francisco, CA


I’m inspired by how the physical practice of yoga not only strengthens the physical body but extends beyond the body, to build mental and emotional strength, stability and balance.

Cheryl Bell, Seattle, WA I am inspired by a challenge! I work with all levels and capacities. It is very gratifying when people embrace the whole of yoga and it lights up their lives beyond anything they could have imagined.

Deborah teaches at The Mindful Body, Twitter, and Yoga Journal Magazine and leads local and international retreats all over the world.


Cheryl Bell is a ParaYoga® Certified Level II™ teacher, RYT 500. Classes are held at Tulinda in Queen Anne, Seattle,WA.


Michele Lauren, New York, NY I am forever inspired by art and design. Not only is it pleasing to the eye, but the distinct story and history each one tells is truly amazing. Michele teaches Ashtanga and Power Vinyasa. Being partial to arm balances, her classes will always sweep you off your feet.

Mollie Galbraith, Austin, TX


I am inspired by those who trust in themselves and the goodness of others, those who stand up to injustice and corruption, who sacrifice selflessly, who show their vulnerability, who show their truth, those who are willing to do the work. You inspire me. Mollie teaches at YogaYoga studios in Austin, where her therapeutic hatha teachings and core strengthening vinyasa teachings blend with her love of kirtan and ayurveda.

Stacey Rosenberg, San Francisco, CA


I am inspired by people who are living their dreams, unafraid to express their beauty or show their weaknesses. I’m inspired by the majesty of redwood trees, the turbulence of the ocean, and symphonies of wildflowers.

Shannon Paige, Boulder, Co

Stacey loves life, teaches yoga, and delights in nature. She is committed to a journey of awakening the spirit.

I am inspired by the bravery that manifests empowered action from the recognition that we are who we are because of our past, not in spite of it.


A poetic yogic force, Shannon inspires embodied confidence as she interweaves purpose driven inspiration to unlock secret wisdom held within the heart.

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Chrispy Bhagat Singh

Sarah Pohl, Boulder, CO

Rachel Gasner, Boulder, CO

Continually inspired by life, trials, tribulations, jubilations and transformations. Involved in catalytic alchemy through the asana practice in order to change doing into being. Practice, shine, and give thanks and praise!

My practice reminds me to dance the fine line between persistence and patience. This delicate balance is crucial to knowing contentment in each day, and with each life experience.

Yoga to drive community is what inspires me. The Hanuman Festival is where I feel this vibration most. It is a celebration of sheer joy, high vibrations, and intense interconnectedness.

Sarah teaches Power Vinyasa and Hot Yoga in Boulder at Radiance Power Yoga and CorePower Yoga.

I teach Vinyasa and Sculpt, manage CorePower Yoga on the Hill, and direct Vendor Village at the Hanuman Festival!


www.HanumanFestival.com www.corepoweryoga.com

Chrispy is a yoga educator, tribe collaborator and conscious activist who shares his perspective on asana, yoga and life.












Nancy Kate Williams, Boulder, CO

Eric Shaw, San Francisco, ca

Sariane Leigh, Anacostia, Washington D.C.

Inspired by beauty all around, Nancy loves spending time outside on a sunny day, enjoying live music in the company of great friends and the priceless conversations with her grandmothers.

What inspires—is deep camaraderie, sweat, celebration and the philosophy of the tradition. The Bay Area was visited by Swami Vivekananda in 1900 and yoga’s been rushing forward in waves here ever since. Eric Shaw teaches the history, philosophy and practice of yoga worldwide and at his home studio of Yoga Tree.

I am inspired by the people who come to my weekly yoga class because yoga is the only way they can find their personal peace in Southeast DC.

Nancy Kate teaches Conscious Flow—a fun, fluid and sustainable vinyasa class rooted deep in alignment and intention at Om Time.

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Sariane Leigh, also known as Anacostia Yogi, brought yoga to her “hood” after witnessing the extreme health disparities in DC.



Jim Bennitt, Chicago, IL l

Talya Ring & Steve Emmerman, Chicago, IL


Kelly Green, Ft. Lauderdale, FL


Be Your Potential: helping people find their truth and live in a way that makes them proud. This inspires our spiritual practice and our teachings every day.

It is so inspiring to watch people from all walks of life, with different shapes, sizes, and limitations break down barriers and make the impossible possible. Miracles happen everyday. To bear witness to the infinite possibilities created through the practice is a privilege.

Jim Bennitt teaches ParaYoga and is co-owner of Tejas Yoga. You can also find him teaching workshops and attending conferences around the U.S.

In Turbodog Yoga, Talya & Steve skillfully combine yoga with the power of indigenous ceremony; an exciting and rewarding technique that leads to Turbo-transformation.

Kelly Green has been teaching yoga since 2004. Her first training was under Jimmy Barkan Levels 1, 2, and 3. She now assists in his teacher trainings, including those in Costa Rica, since 2007.




The glow from practitioners after practice is my inspiration. The radiance shining from within students as they leave is what makes me realize I’m living my dharma.






Desirae Pierce, Austin, TX


Commitment, Alignment, Grace, Love, Openness, Willingness, Flow, Mother Earth, Yoga, Peace, Acknowledgement, Good Friends, Organic, Fresh, Whole Foods, Lululemon, Kombucha, Beach, All things Green, Growth, Austin, Live Music Desirae Pierce owns and directs Breath and Body Yoga. She established the leading 200 & 500 teacher training school in Austin plus produces online classes and yoga videos. Graced with training from Baron Baptiste and Christina Sell, she brings a new dynamic to the practice where vinyasa flow meets alignment.


Melissa Smith, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


Community moves me. My children, family, friends, students, teachers. The love I have for them and the world is revealed in my service to community. Connected, however near or far. I am a mother, writer, 500 RYT, founder of Grace Yoga and Pilates, music lover, traveler, retreat leader, student.


Duncan Wong, Kyoto, Japan




Bright Eyes. Beating Hearts. Resistance. Acceptance. Vulnerability. Authenticity. Empowerment. Low Stance. Mind Clear. Body Supple. Pattabhi Jois’ last words to me: “When the heart controls the mind, the body becomes light.” Duncan Wong is the creator of the Yogic Arts synthesis system and originator of the Warrior Flow practice in the Far West.

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Ashley Clauer, Austin, Tx


The practice of yoga inspires every aspect of my life. I live confidently in the present moment, grateful for each breath. It inspires me to live with kindness in my soul and fearlessness in my heart. Ashley is co-owner and director of Wanderlust LIVE. She is forever grateful to the Wanderlust Festival team for making this dream a reality.   


Shelby Autrey, Austin, TX I am inspired by the inevitable joy and freedom that comes from creative sequencing rooted in alignment, and the pilgrimage through the practices of yoga to knowing myself more fully. I am a Vinyasa teacher and owner of BFree Yoga. My style of teaching is creative flow on a foundation of structural integration.


Tiffany Ann, Seattle, WA For me yoga is a bridge between physical science and spirituality. This truth inspired the creation of Yoga-Anywhere, an “off-themat” playful expression benefiting all aspects of beingness. Tiffany is a Certified Yoga Instructor who began her career in Aqua-fitness at age 15. She is the founder of Yoga-Anywhere and co-creator of Yoga:OTM&ITK. Namaste y’all.


Wendy Borger, Santa Fe, nm

The synergy of the sister sciences of hatha yoga and Ayurveda has become a source of ongoing inspiration for my work in the healing arts. Yoga, living foods and Ayurveda create a full spectrum of positive life style choices for students and guests at Spandarama Yoga and RASA Juice Bar / Ayurveda.


Chelsea Roff, Venice, CA The alchemists of the world: those who are able to transform extreme, debilitating heartbreaks into a beacons of light—torches to light the path for others. Managing Editor for Intent.com. Speaker. Survivor. Advocate. Writing about eating disorders, humanitarian issues, and the intersection of science and yoga.


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Aaron Lind, New Orleans, LA I am inspired by the community of loving and supportive AcroYogis that I get to interact with on a daily basis. New Orleans Acro is such an amazing blessing! Aaron Lind is a Certified Level II AcroYoga teacher, Anusara-Inspired teacher, and musician in his beloved home of New Orleans. 


Patrick Beach, Seattle, WA My Mom is a huge inspiration, she got me into Yoga and still has a great practice! It is amazing to me that you can enjoy Yoga at any age. I love handstands, live music, creating things, comic books, and having fun!


Marti Nikko Bradley, Los Angeles, ca Seeing someone breathe deep beneath the surface for the first time and the clearing that happens. Truths are revealed as the heart softens. A compassionate gift from the breath. Marti teaches Vinyasa that is balanced with strength, sweetness and breath. She believes in this transformative practice for all.


Mehtab & Guru Karam Benton, Austin, TX Yoga teachers who inspire their students to become teachers inspire us. The only purpose of the teacher outside of you is to remind you of the teacher inside of you. Mehtab and Guru Karam Benton are the founders of the Yoga Yoga Studios, and are Teacher Trainers in Hatha and Kundalini Yoga lineages


Sue Elkind, Lambertville, NJ & Philadelphia, PA Keeping great company. Quality time in Nature. Loving my family. Nourishing my body, mind and heart with yoga. Inspiring others to seek their potential. Empowering women in pregnancy and birth. Artist, mother, yoga teacher, author, conscious birth activist, co-owner of DIG YOGA in Lambertville, NJ, and Philadelphia, PA.


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Stephanie Adams, Hood River, OR Malia Scott, Austin, TX I see magic in life with its highs and its lows. I am inspired by conflict and chaos as much as I am by ease and comfort. I like to see people in their flow. I like to see people light up when they are passionate about something. I enjoy collaborating and co-creating, dancing, running, designing, writing, reflecting, connecting, journaling, painting, back-bending, armbalancing, standing on my hands and hula hooping. I am inspired by the clouds, the moon and the stars. Malia teaches vinyasa yoga that is deeply rooted in personal development. She incorporates the breath, the bandhas, dance, dynamic sequencing and hooping as well. Her roots are in Baptiste Yoga, PranaFlow, Anusara, Shamanism, Ayurveda and Astrology.


In Yoga, shared courage, wisdom, and vulnerability inspire the blossoming of the lotus heart, where we meet in awareness and grace. This is where we become Yoga. Om Mani Padme Hum. Stephanie Adams, ERYT 500, teaches at Flow Yoga Studio and offers 60 inspired and diverse classes every week. She has completed Jaya Yoga Teacher Training (RYT 200/500).

www.flowhoodriver.com Jeanne Heileman, Los Angeles, CA I love seeing my students drop into a place of peace and acceptance within themselves at the end of a class. They become quiet, powerful, and wise. I am in awe. Jeanne brings energetic subtleties to a challenging practice. A senior ParaYoga instructor, she teaches with YogaWorks and around the globe.

www. jeanneheileman. com

Rhia Robinson, Houston, TX Ordinary (extraordinary!) life itself provides daily inspiration. Meditation, travel, writing, heartbreak, the perfect summer nectarine. Rhia is currently working towards her ParaYoga certification with Rod Stryker. She completed teacher training with 8 Limbs Yoga in Seattle in 2002 and with Erich Schiffmann in 2005. She is co-owner of Yoga Collective, a studio in Garden Oaks.

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Randall & Kristin Brooks (The Bhakti House Band), Fort Worth, TX FULLY connecting with humanity through song and play. Sun on my face. Wind in my hair (or freshly-shaven head!) Sanskrit, mythology, ancient scriptures...but especially the laughter of my children. Randall & Kristin tour nationally sharing their hearts through their music and kirtan and teaching the heartopening practice of Nāda-Bhakti Yoga.


Listen to This

Ash Ruiz


The Mayapuris

Dave Stringer

This band of five performers got their start together as kids growing up in an ashram in Vrindavan, India. Whatever they sing or play comes from a deep and authentic place. The energy and power of their live performance is unbelievable. The Mayapuris radiate heart-fire, and absolute joy. And they would do the same if no one was looking.

“Dave can take the roof off this building with his voice!” That was my introduction to Dave Stringer. Shiva Rea had Dave sing for us while we absorbed ourselves in a yoga practice called Vira Rasa, the mood of the warrior. Dave raises the vibration like no one else. His voice is piercing and sonic and inspires listeners to respond with the same inner voice of change. Check out his new album Yatra.



Ex-Menudo star, Ash Ruiz, launches his solo career this summer with his debut album, Electric Innocence, and a somewhat controversial music video inspired by the Burning Man Festival. As a deeply spiritual person, Ash writes songs that harness the divine, sacred messages of humanity’s greatest wisdom teachers and weaves them into relevant, mainstreamaccessible and often witty lyrical melodies that both inspire and cleverly provoke listeners (as in his debut music video). Undisturbed by controversy, Ash simply says, “These songs are the fruit of a rich soil. I like to dive deep and dance in that place where lines of separation are but a myth.”



Peter Sterling

Aykanna’s new release, Mantra Mala, promises to move your feet and uplift your spirit! Recorded during their first pregnancy, Akah and Sukhdev have been deeply inspired to birth this new project. Enjoy a series of sweet mantras and meditations and, of course, a few groovy tracks for those dance meditations we love! Mantra Mala will transport you from the finite into the Infinite journey of the heart.   MANTRA: These mantras are scientific tools for our changing times. They are a point of focus to quiet the busy thoughts in our minds. Repetition of these mantras creates an oasis for us to discover who we really are. Through mantra, we can overcome fear of the unknown and thrive.


For a unique and inspiring listening experience, Peter Sterling’s Patterns of Reflection offers 60 minutes of pure sonic bliss! Electric harp, violin, woodwinds, soft keyboards and airy vocal textures are tastefully blended in this finely crafted and enchanting instrumental album, giving it the #1 spot on the international New Age radio chart for the month of March.

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Jack Harrison


Jack Harrison is a yoga teacher, singer and folklorist. He recently began to incorporate all three fields into his Yoga Music Workshops which include yoga, music and mythology. His music is inspired by Celtic themes and uniquely blends Indian Chant with the sounds of Irish folklore.


Lila consists of sisters Jess and Deena Robertson, who sing and create beautiful Kirtan music. Both instruct yoga at the New Leaf Yoga Foundation, a registered charity bringing yoga to at-risk and incarcerated youth. Jess also co-founded Moksha Yoga, a community of over 30 environmentally inspired hot yoga studios.


Marti Walker Marti Walker is an international recording artist, composer and Nada (sound) Yoga practitioner. Schooled in areas as eclectic as Indian mysticism, AfroCuban rhythms, jazz history and alternative healing therapies, she brings it all into her music and teaching. Marti can be heard backing up Grammy Awardwinning artists, or providing live “soundscapes” for yoga classes and transformational workshops.


Joey Lugassy I guess voice is my first love. My singer/songwriter music is pretty much an extension of my life. I’m influenced by so many areas of music, from rock, pop and soul to classical and sacred. My lyrics are at times a diary reflecting the ups and downs of this circus we call life and at other times a soapbox to express the world according to my highest moi. Chanting in Sanskrit has been so beautiful to me and brought me from a smoky club where I have to put plugs in my ears to a room where you can hear a pin drop. A miracle! Joey Lugassy’s singer/songwriter journey has taken him everywhere from London’s Prog Rock underground to recently walking the red carpet at the Emmy’s after receiving two nominations for best Steve Gold is leading the Alt-Spirit song. Joey’s take on music for yoga fuses Revival as a songwriter, performing his original songs, Sanskrit mantras artist, spiritual activist, and teacher. His and uniquely interpreted covers from music awakens us to the abundance of Bowie and Bon Iver to Peter Gabriel magnificence, feeding a deeply uplifting and Radiohead. Based in Los Angeles, consciousness. Steve says “Community Joey Lugassy performs and leads kirtans is the new currency, count me in!” Help internationally. Joey is currently in the grow this movement, join the revival. studio working on his forthcoming album co-produced by DJ Drez. stevegoldmusic.com

Steve Gold

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Garth Stevenson Wah! is a music legend in the yoga world, creating Easterntinged, hip music for yogis and meditators. What lies beneath her music is a lifelong dedication to spiritual practice. Concerts include Sanskrit chanting, storytelling and songs in English; the atmosphere is festive and jubilant. For centuries composers have found inspiration through their experiences in nature. Garth Stevenson continues this tradition, often with his 160-yearold double bass strapped to his back. Stevenson has played in Antarctica for whales, penguins and icebergs. He has also traveled to the mountains of Siberia to collaborate with Tuvan throat singers.




Masood Ali Khan Masood Ali Khan— musician, actor, model, photographer, meditation instructor, yoga practitioner. Masood brings his unique sound and performance to the yoga music movement by playing the hang drum and singing in yoga studios and festivals to spread healing vibes. He has released two albums on White Swan/ Yoga Organix to rave reviews. The Yoga Sessions and Hang with Angels feature some of the finest singers and musicians in the US Yoga music scene and are on countless playlists for lovers of yoga, world and healing music. 

C.C. White “A true connection and a pure feeling of love are what come from chanting Kirtan. Every person in that space comes together instantly in divine bliss and ecstatic joy. That kind of intense love and hope is the message I’m trying to share with the entire World.”  C.C. ‘s album, This IS Soul Kirtan!, is a new and exciting blend of Soul, Kirtan, Gospel and Blues, that will open your hearts, and lift your souls!  

masoodalikhan.com photo: david young-wolff

Ben Leinbach & Prajna Vieira Prajna and Ben, both darlings of the mantra music scene, came together to make the album Amrita, a sanskrit word which means “nectar.” Ben was most famous as a producer, but now if you visit Bhakti Fest, you will see Ben, a handsome guy in Levis and a cowboy hat, playing music with everyone. Also take a look at the beautiful, devotional Prajna, all dressed as a gopi, leading her own powerful kirtans and backing up seasoned kirtan singers like Jai Uttal.

www.prajnavieira.com www.oldbullmusic.com


Contemplating Truth

BY: Hagar Harpak

We seek for the Truth on the spiritual path as if it was a quest for some holy grail. We embark on a journey through mountains and rivers, spend lots of money on workshops and trainings with great teachers, and learn that it is nowhere but within our own being. We try to quiet our minds as if it was only telling us lies. We focus inwardly so much that we may treat the world as an illusion or a “distraction from what we truly are” and miss the importance of reflection that only comes from being in a relationship, and gives us a broader perspective of reality than just our own. We argue with our emotions and tell ourselves: “That’s not the real you.” We try so hard to figure out what the truth is. But are we being true to where we are? Are we present in the reality that we live in? Are we fully embracing the whole of what and who we are?

delusional. We want so much to stay positive and be blissful that we may try to live a life that seems spiritual but is not grounded in reality. “Shed the layers and get to the core of who you really are” a yoga teacher will tell us. And we start to look for a truth that only has one face. We start thinking that our multi-leveled experience of our lives and of who we are is not real. There is only One truth, and as a yogi you better find out what it is. So here is something to consider: Why would

If we try to reduce ourselves to just one truth, we may miss the point of being alive, of being embodied. To be true is to let all of what is moving through us flow. Honor the sadness as well as the joyful laughter, the loving feeling as well as the angry one. To be true is to be authentic no matter what voice we use—that of the parent, that of the friend, that of the lover, or that of the stranger.

“Your True nature is Bliss,” tradition will tell us. And we start to feel as though the darkness, the pain, and the negativity that are a part of our human experience are false. We start believing that Truth is Good, and that all that is negative isn’t true and must be transmuted, alchemized, and moved in a positive direction. We look for the good in everything, which is great, but we risk not seeing the whole picture and becoming

Truth is complex. Truth is multi-layered. Truth is fluid. And it will flow and move through us in a myriad of ways. So as we ride the waves of our breath and encounter the diversity of our own forms and shapes, the diversity of our experience, may we bow to each one and embrace them all. May we learn, as my teacher Douglas Brooks says, “to be more fluent at being ourselves.”



Brie Mathers l Author and speaker Brie Mathers founded Love the Skin You’re In™ to light the way through the smoke and mirrors of media and ignite young women’s appetite for life. Since healing her own eating disorder, she has presented to 40,000 teens across North America, inspiring them to awaken to their inherent radiance, cultivate a healthy body image, and give back to their communities.

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the “Real You” be anything other than the many ways that you experience yourself? Why are we looking for something other than the reality that we are living? We are a fabric of consciousness—woven together strands of experience, emotion, and thought. We are made of genetic code, imprints of our environment, influences of our community, opinions of our parents, all of our past actions and words, and all of the things that have ever happened to us. We are made of a wide range of color and texture, a diversity of expression, a mixture of parts that make the whole.

To Be or To Wannabe, That Is The Question


by: Gina Caputo

PHOTO: jenay martin

Feeling stuck, broken or bored with life? Millions of us sought wisdom of the written sort, buying up our weight in selfhelp books and getting turned on at the prospect of activating the seven habits, the four agreements, the ten things, the four steps, the seven laws, the five secrets, the seven principles, the four hours, the seven conversations…and to be fair, there is some seriously helpful sh*t in there. But since when is transformation that freakin’ tidy? We can’t experience comprehensive

transmutation of regressive patterns by approaching them from the intellect alone. Reading about techniques to stimulate change addresses but one aspect of our being. Talking about it with a therapist can illuminate the very patterns we seek to eradicate. But amidst all that discussion and intellectualizing change, it’s easy to forget that there’s an enormously powerful and essential tool of transformation living there right under your cranium. What if instead of approaching personal change from the chin up, we embraced it as a

whole-being endeavor? If it’s empowerment we seek and we’re reading all the best books about finding your power but moving meekly through the world, any change is likely to be diluted. If it’s a softening that would bring harmony into our relationships and we’re talking techniques but embodying a honey badger, any change is likely to be seriously fragmented. What if we began to perceive every posture, gesture and movement we make as having a particular energetic character? And as such, each having major potential to either underscore the patterning that’s hindering us or to holistically transform us? Try it on for size—in addition to all the effort going on in your dome, embody change, full on. Let every cell of your body begin to shift towards that which you seek. Gina Caputo is the Yogini On The Loose, traveling the world dropping yoga beats in her own inimitable way. Her passion is teaching the power of asanas as tools for transformation to get down to this business of extraordinary consciousness, right here, right now. She lives in Boulder, Colorado, with her husband Jeff and two dogs Kiddo & Chama.


Aubrey Hackman l Yoga is my life. When looking back at what I thought I was “going to be” or “do with my life,” I feel like I really lucked out. I thought teaching yoga was just something I was going to do in the interim before I quit living the life of the ski bum yogi in Telluride, Colorado, and went back to graduate school. Boy, was I wrong. Yoga took over and now it’s everything to me. I even created the first environmentally-focused yoga festival so I’d have a really good excuse to not go back to school. Recently, when speaking to my grandmother (who was dead-set on me having the first graduate degree in my family), she told me she was proud of me and I realized that I didn’t take a wrong a turn or digress. I simply found my passion, and there was no need to be anything or do anything else. Currently I am getting ready to host the 5th-Annual Telluride Yoga Festival and I am still living the yoga bum life, but in Ecinitas, CA, where I am teaching Jivamukti, Ashtanga Vinyasa and Restorative classes. My approach to yoga went from super mainstream power yoga to what now seems conventional and traditional, as I am completely focused on the lineages of Krishnamacharia. However, I guess that’s why they call it a “path” right?

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Do MORE with Your Practice Embrace ActivismŽ is your source for premium yoga products with a CAUSE! Practicing yoga is good for you, but it’s even better when you can use it to make a difference in the fight against breast cancer. 10% of your purchase is donated to a charity you choose. Use promo code ORIGIN for an extra 10% discount on your purchase. Offer valid through 10/31/12

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Meditation Sucks. P.S. It Also Works. BY: Jody Greene People occasionally tell me how much they love to meditate. I tend to think either they’re lying or they’re assholes. Or maybe lying assholes. Or, if that seems a little too harsh, maybe they’re just not human. See, I’ve been meditating daily, sometimes once a day and sometimes up to twelve hours a day, for a little over a decade. In addition to sitting every morning, I’ve endured around a dozen seven- and nine-day silent retreats and lived for ninety days as a Zen monastic. This meditation thing—it’s gone a little beyond the hobby stage. And I’m here to testify: I haven’t loved every minute of it. Well, actually, I haven’t loved any minute of it. Oops. Sorry. On a scale of euphoric-to-psychotic my experience of meditation has ranged from intermittently boring to living hell. For years my legs fell asleep and my knees screamed and my back ached. But that was just the training wheels, and when the bodily discomfort subsided, things kind of got worse. Other people may have “monkey mind” but I seem to have an entire troupe, colony, sub-civilization of inebriated primates screaming and swinging and exposing themselves in my head. My mind chatter isn’t just chatter—it’s a freakin’ monkey marching band.

Jody Greene is a self-proclaimed schoolmarm, a professor of 17thcentury English poetry and poststructuralist philosophy, a devotee of Hanuman and Dōgen, and a student of yoga and Zen. She teaches yoga to meditators and meditation to yoga teachers, which is only a little perverse. She can be found at jgreene@ucsc.edu.

And yet I keep going back, which is odd. What’s even odder is that I teach other people to meditate, people I like and care about and innocent people I’ve never met. I go out and give step-by-step instructions and preach the virtues of committing to a lifetime practice of something I pretty much hate. OK—I said it. There it is. I kind of hate meditating.

Yeah, so why on earth do I persist in practicing (let alone preaching) this meditation thing? The short answer is, because, dammit, it works. Meditation sucks … and it works. Yup, it really has transformed my living, my capacity for presence, my relationships, my reactivity, my despair and depression, my capacity for wonder and love and openness. All that sh*t they said it would do: done or doing. But here’s the part they forgot to mention: You can suck at meditation—you can even kind of hate meditation—and still reap the benefits. Take it from me.

Nicole Newman


After years of practicing flute, without an appreciation of the mind-body-instrument connection, I developed scoliosis. Through yoga, I realigned my spine and improved my sound and technique. I founded Yoga for the Arts out of a mission to help artists live happier, healthier, more artistically productive lives through the transformative art and science of yoga postures and breathing practices.

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The What I Be Project Origin Columnist: Ben Renschen PHOTOS: STEVE ROSENFIELD

When Steve Rosenfield spoke the first few words of our interview, I knew to expect the hard Bostonian accent. What I didn’t see coming was his admittance to the burgeoning weight he considerately bears by spearheading the What I Be Project. Having already garnered attention and participation from some popular musicians as well as a few recognizable faces, the word is out. Stories of depression, body image struggles, self-harm, insecurity, and unspeakable abuses are often shared in these intimate photo sessions. These stories plant roots deep inside Steve’s head and heart. The accounts are heavy, yet Steve remains shyly modest when the topic of his kindnesses are brought to surface. The format is simple. The title of a subject’s image always begins with “I am not my…” With that insecurity, story, or stereotype in mind, the subject bears an image or phrase on their skin to share their point of pain. Finally, Steve snaps the shutter and posts it online.

As he carefully puts it, the project serves as “a way to create security through insecurity. It’s a way to show vulnerability. A way for people to see you for who you really are without being defined by an insecurity.” And then, what I would consider the sum of this fantastic project fell from his lips: “We all want to tell our story. We’re just afraid to tell it.” But since September 2010, people have bravely and therapeutically been shedding tears and fears thanks to the inception of What I Be. This project is changing lives. Likely saving a few as well. If you click through the images on the project website or Steve’s Facebook fan page, you’ll discover hundreds of images and thousands of conversations. All of which have animated beautifully healing responses. You’ll find images that jar you. Sadden you. Inspire you. Shake you to your bones. Images that remind you of you, who you once were, and even sometimes, who you wish to be.


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“I am not my turban”


Steve shares, “It takes a lot of courage to participate. Sometimes it’s too scary for people. Sometimes not. But when it’s too scary and someone still wants a photograph...” Steve takes a second, his eyes relax to a still, and in a rare moment, he’s moved by his own efforts. He shifts the conversation with a deep breath and a polite, “Anyway.” The What I Be Project now has over 550 powerful images at its helm. That number is consistently growing as What I Be catches grip. He goes on to share, “We’re planning on publishing a book with our most powerful


r “I am not my gender”

“I am not my number”

images alongside statements. It takes a lot of work to put together a book.” He laughs, “Who knew?” The What I Be Project found its title inspiration from the track, “What I Be,” off Michael Franti & Spearhead’s album, Everyone Deserves Music. When Steve isn’t shooting for What I Be, he’s likely on tour capturing all the behindthe-scenes action for his friend and musician, Trevor Hall. If you are interested in bringing the What I Be Project to your campus, company, or home, you can get in touch with Steve directly through his website.

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The Art + Culture Magazine

Adrian Grenier:


Yoga + Art

Ed Norton: CrowdRise

Eva Longoria: The Harvest

Chuck D:

Hip Hip as a Living Word

Art + Human Trafficking

Hempsters: Woody Harrelson + Willie Nelson

Architecture for Humanity: Cameron Sinclair

Gilberto Gil: Brazil’s Future North Korea: The New Kingdom

ARTS: New York. Texas. Asia. Los Angeles FILM DESIGN

Big Oil=The Big Fix Urban Art: Brazil’s Street Code

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SXSW is Proud to Present

The 2nd Annual

OCTOBER 3-5, 2012

SXSW Eco is a three-day conference acknowledging the need for a concerted, cross sector approach to solving the recognized challenges facing the economy, the environment and civil society. In its second year, SXSW Eco will be held October 3-5, 2012 at the AT&T Conference Center in Austin, Texas and will feature sessions from experts in the public, private and academic sectors committed to finding solutions for a sustainable world. info@sxsweco.com

SXSW Eco Conference Register Now and Save 40%

Register to attend before the July 27th early-bird deadline and save 40% off the walk-up rate. sxsweco.com/attend

Enter Your Startup in Competition

Through July 13, enter your creative cleantech startup idea in the SXSW Eco Startup Showcase, a one-day venture capital tournament. Make connections, launch careers and change the world. sxsweco.com/startup

Become a Supporter

Join The Guardian and the Austin Chronicle and align your organization or business with SXSW Eco through unique support opportunities. sxsweco.com/marketing


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Met MuseuM Presents THE MET REFRAMED:

PAUL D. MILLER aka DJ SPOOKY IN RESIDENCE Making ‘Madame Freedom’ Wednesday, October 24, 2012 at 6pm Madame Freedom Friday, October 26, 2012 at 7pm The Nauru Elegies Friday, January 18, 2013 at 7pm DJ Spooky in the Oceanic Galleries Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 4pm

Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky © Giancarlo Minelli

Of Water and Ice Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 7pm Art and the Environment Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 2pm Civil War Friday, May 10, 2013 at 7pm iPad Mixing Piece Friday, June 21, 2013 at 9:30pm

The Met Reframed is made possible by Marianna Sackler.

metmuseum.org/tickets • 212.570.3949 originmagazine.com | 3

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TWO DISTINCT LOCATIONS Laguna Gloria 3809 West 35th Street Austin, TX 78703 The Jones Center 700 Congress Avenue Austin, TX 78701 amoa-arthouse.org

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North Korea: by: Paul D. Miller

“You don’t take a photograph— you make it.”


hen I think about the artwork of JR and the way he engages everyday people, the urban landscape, and the way people testify about their memories and local relationships, one of the first things that comes to mind is the simple term from the core of hip hop: represent.

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The New Hermit Kingdom

JR’s new photo project in Pyongyang

How does one think about the idea of “landscape” in terms of all the variables that define it? Social history? Temporality? The way we perceive the world around us is always dynamic. JR’s recent trip to North Korea provides a fresh look at a modern day society held in check by a political process of paradox, and perhaps shows us in the West how eerily a reality based on shared experiences can be shaped and molded. North Korea is one of the most controlled societies on Earth. JR’s work there shows a rare glimpse of humanity in the face of extreme political control systems. As Alexander Solzhenitsyn once wrote, “Not everything has a name. Some things lead us into a realm beyond words…By means

of art we are sometimes sent—dimly, briefly—revelations unattainable by reason.” In JR’s photo essay of Pyongyang’s everyday life, we can see echoes of a world at the edge of modern life. Like the infamous flower named in honor of Kim Jong Il “kimjongilia,” we see a rare yet highly artificial plant that somehow stays alive and claims a space in the ecosystem. Like JR’s work—ranging from portraits in Kenya, Cuba, Paris and many places in between—the photos offer fresh insight into the everyday world of the people he documents.

Bottom Photo by: Marc Azoulay,

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The Samburu:

Portraits of a Society in Transition

The Samburu are a fiercely pastoralist group of people who live in the northern territory of Kenya, and have existed outside of major Western influence until recent decades. Capturing their beautiful presence with a tintype technique, Lyle Owerko’s portraits celebrate the intrinsic historical integrity of Samburu culture and life.

Lyle Owerko is a photographer and filmmaker who closely follows both Western and non-Western cultural events with a careful balance of humanitarian sensitivity and photojournalistic precision. His work ranges from the September 11th, 2001, TIME Magazine cover image to projects for MTV and The Sundance Channel.


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Architecture for Humanity by: CAMERON SINCLAIR

We create the future we wish to see. Last year the human race hit a tipping point as the world turned into an urban-dominated society. The role of architecture for humanity is to design and build a more holistic approach to communities. Our teams, compiled of building professionals, live in the communities they serve, and beyond creating shelter, we take a broader approach to community building. We focus on building schools, health clinics and civic structures. In addition, we look to develop economic corridors that act as financial veins, allowing the creation and security of jobs. In the past decade our architects, designers and building professionals have worked in more than 46 countries on poverty alleviation, disaster mitigation and rebuilding after manmade and natural disasters.

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PHOTOS: Top left: Colorful painted rays decorate the exteriors of 34 houses in the hillside slum of Praca Cantao in the center of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Artists Jeron Koolhaas and Dre Urhahn (Haas&Hahn) enlisted locals to help create the artwork spanning 7000 square meters. by Haas&Hahn OPPOSITE BOTTOM LEFT: The interior of the small chapel. People visit mostly to pray. by PJoao Caeiro, Fulvio Capurso OPPOSITE RIGHT: Children play on swings made of rope and bamboo hanging from the extended roof of the transitional shelter, which was designed for that purpose. BY Pasi Aalto/TYIN Tegnestue. BOTTOM LEFT: The siding of the Soe Ker Tie Hias (Butterfly Houses) features a local technique of weaving bamboo. BY: Pasi Aalto/TYIN Tegnestue. BOTTOM RIGHT: Innovative, reused shipping containers create the structure. BY Lab.Pro.Fab.

We have regional offices in Sendai, Port au Prince, Bogota, Cape Town and San Francisco, and a network of over 70 city-based affiliate chapters. In total, over 5,600 professionals are actively working on projects for social impact. In the past year our main focus has been working on the rebuilding of affected areas on Haiti and Japan, following recent natural disasters. Instead of air-dropping in concepts, we stay working on the ground until projects are completed. As we develop our designs we opensource them by using creative commons licenses to allow us to distribute to other NGOs and community groups. For us, it is only innovation when it is shared.

Beyond urban environments, we are undertaking a number of projects that have looked to support and empower remote communities, from housing on tribal nations to women cooperatives in rural India. Additionally, every two years we host an international design competition to tackle an issue facing the built environment. This year we completed a competition to rethink decommissioning, closed and abandoned military sites around the world.

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PHOTOS: Top left and right: Gardener Ibrahim latifi and family reside in the bamboo shelter prototype in Ramsar, Iran. by Pouya Khazaeli Parsa. left center: The 10x10 houses in Freedom Park, Mitchell Plains, Cape Town, by Weiland Gleich/ Archigraphy.com left below: The Pillay family, residents of a 10x10 Housing initiative home, stand in front of their former home. by Yasser Booley/Design indaba

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PHOTOS: Top left: Monks stand atop Trau Kod Dam during construction. by Bouny Te top right: University of Louisiana Lafayette students guide the BeauSoleil Home onto a trailer for transport to Washington DC. by Philip Gould/ Beausoleil Louisiana Solar Home RIGHT: Noorzai Ibrahimi jumps a ramp. by Rhianon Bader/Skateistan. below: A side view of San isidro Chapel. Walls create visual barriers from the road. by: Joao Caeiro, Fulvio Capurso

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Interview With:

Adrian Grenier INTERVIEW: Maranda Pleasant

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At the heart of it, why do you do what you do? Because I’ve been given the opportunity to be alive in this day and age, and it’s rare. What makes you vulnerable? Emotion. Another fun one. How do you deal with pain? (laughs) Uh... I know, right? Yeah, that’s pretty intense. In, I guess, many ways, but with my eyes open. What is it in life that most excites you right now? Watching some of my projects actually come to life that I never thought would happen.

work well. You can’t expect people to do the right thing or else they will go to hell. We are already in hell! Let’s show people how desirable it is to step it up and climb towards heaven. What’s your favorite part of SHFT at the moment? Well, I think that we’ve grown to a point where now we’ve expanded to include a nonprofit, which is called SHFT Initiative. And our first initiative is called The Mobile Kitchen Classroom. It’s pretty awesome, because it means really basically that we’re not only surviving but we’re doing well enough financially that we can move into nonprofit.

“The problem with modern consumption and mass-produced products is they’re designed to just literally be shoved into our mouths and rushed. “

What is it that breaks your heart the most? It’d be missed opportunity, with regards to governmental leadership. Love your super short answers. What is SHFT? It’s amazing, by the way. I think it is shifting the planet and I am excited about it. Why did you feel like this needed to be born? We saw a lot of preachy condescending unattractive environmentalism. Sort of an extremist dogmatic annoying smelly hippie (laughs) trying to get us to make changes through duress and force, and we thought environmental passion should be more acceptable and could use an aesthetic makeover, and become something that’s aspirational, exciting, and positive—that tastes good. That way we wouldn’t have to become violent and bitter in order to make changes. So we could actually do it with a smile and a wink. What are some aspects/elements of SHFT that you’re most stoked about? I’m so proud of SHFT. It really is a beautiful and inspiring place to hang. If the future of society, its lifestyles, business options and industrial commitments, looked like SHFT, I would want to live there. I think we are in some ways telling the future. Except the future is here. more and more, SHFT is a reality. Why is it important? Ethical systems and practices need to look good. They have to be desirable, well-designed and

By the way, on mobilekitchenclassroom.org, at the very bottom of the page you can also sign up if you want to help us. Great! And speaking of food, you have a Churchkey beer? That did make me laugh today. What is that about? So we basically brought back the Churchkey can. It’s a flat top can. This is the way our forefathers and mothers used to drink beer. The only way to actually get into the beer is by using a tool. So it’s a quality craft pilsner in a unique can for a unique experience. The idea is to bring back the little bit of effort into how we consume, so we’re actually participating and we’re conscious about what we consume and how we consume it. The problem with modern consumption and mass-produced products is they’re designed to just literally be shoved into our mouths and rushed. We want people to take a moment to breathe and to experience again every moment, and relish and cherish every one. So it’s a symbol of craftsmanship and the effort that these craftsman put into making these quality products. That’s really what it is for us. Did you just sit around with your friend and say, “We’re gonna do this”?

Is it based in New York? Do you have plans to take that to other cities? We are planning on hopefully expanding beyond New York, but right now we are trying to do New York right, first and foremost. How can people support that right now? Right now we’re starting to fundraise. We’re in the very early stages, so check out our website, MobileKitchenClassroom.org. You can also like us on Facebook, and then when something happens we can let you know.

That’s pretty much it. I had a beer with a friend and we were reminiscing about the old flat top cans that didn’t exist anymore and how we wished that we could try it. And we shook hands right there and we vowed to do it, and we did. Love it. And what about the Wreck Room Recording studio you started? All this stuff going on and you have a recording studio in Brooklyn? Wreck Room TV is basically my studio in Brooklyn and a place for people to come and share songs, music, ideas. We basically provide a

Cool. So is that connected to food empowerment? You just seem very involved in food. I mean, food is just the greatest joy on the planet. (laughs) Okay. Is there anything else you want to say about shifting food in schools? Well, yeah. I think that is very important; it’s the building block of all life. I think you can find a lot of joy and inspiration through food. I think when you find depression and sadness and hopelessness, many times it’s connected to certain food and access to quality and nutrition.

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“the problem to me with environmentalism is the idea that we’re all gonna die and we need to save ourselves. I don’t think it’s necessarily the right way to go about it, because I think we need to really just improve our every moment and improve our quality of life.”

service to bands to record them, make a video, and put it up. I guess we curate the bands, so that everything we put up we’re proud of. And really it’s just an opportunity for a lot of unknown bands kicking around the city to be part of the collective.

Do you write? I do write. Where do you pull from when you write?

Which bands are you excited about?

My naive optimism. (laughs) I have a couple side projects. You can see on Wreck Room I play music with a mini project called Caldwell. There’s a couple of my songs on that. But to me, it’s like back in the day, when people would sit around the piano and play music, you know? That’s sort of what I do in lieu of watching too much television; I like to play with my friends.

The Skins. YES! Yeah, they’re a young band and they’re gonna kill it. I mean, they’re all under 18 so they got a huge career ahead of them.

Whether it’s humanitarian or eco, what is the biggest issue you think that’s facing us?

You’re also in a band? I like playing music, and we record in the studio. And we have an album out. What’s the name of your band? We just dropped an album two weeks ago. We’re called The Honey Brothers. And what instruments do you play? It looks like you play a lot.

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Yeah, I’m a self-taught musician, so I never really had the restrictions of any one instrument. I would always just sort of pick up instruments and make noise with ‘em. I can play a lot of things, but I haven’t mastered any one. I use music really as a form of raw expression; escape from the real world.

To try and invite people to relish in our fantastic human experiences. There’s never a better way of living than just improving our quality of life. And the problem to me with environmentalism is the idea that we’re all gonna die and we need to save ourselves. I don’t think it’s necessarily the right way to go about it, because I think we need to really just improve our every moment and improve our quality of life. And that will, sort of by default,

“ happiness doesn’t come from commercial success but from the quality of work that you give back to your immediate community. I am happy to have success in the entertainment biz, but the root of my happiness comes from my neighborhood, NYC. ”

save us. That lets me become more connected. Everything I do right now, whether it be the food stuff, or the SHFT stuff, or Wreck Room, or Churchkey, it’s all about making every moment a quality, meaningful moment.

Maintaining the fact that happiness doesn’t come from commercial success but from the quality of work that you give back to your immediate community. I am happy to have success in the entertainment biz, but the root of my happiness comes from my neighborhood, NYC.

Beautiful. Do you have any kind of yoga or meditation practice?

What relationships have shifted you the most? Why?

I should do more yoga than I actually end up doing, but I actually lift weights. (laughs) I enjoy pumping iron, but I do try and get the yoga, ‘cause it’s a nice balance to the weightlifting.

I would say my relationship with my manager Lev (Stephen Levinson). He’s always been a stable and supportive mentor. Kinda like a father figure. I look up to him, and he treats me less like a client and more like a son. He expects a lot, but lets me be free to find my own way. What’s been one of your biggest struggles? Making a feature-length documentary. I think it’s more difficult than making a feature-length narrative. The story can be so elusive and hard to pin down, and you have to fight to find it. And when you are dealing with real life, there is no way to control it. In narrative films, you set up reality, so you can limit the variables. You don’t have that luxury with docs. What art projects are you focusing on? I’ve been touring with my film teenage Paparazzo and going to colleges to talk about media literacy and empowerment. I travel with an art exhibit of eight curated pieces by a handfull of great artists like Shepard Fairey, Banksy, Simmons and Burke and Tim Kent to name a few. How do you carve out time for your personal art? I am not an artist except that when I envision a concept, I sometimes indulge it. I have a piece in the Teenage Paparazzo Exhibit.

I’m interested in knowing how you maintain your center in the middle of chaos. When I feel myself getting overwhelmed, I take a deep breath and eat a piece of chocolate.

What music are you listening to currently? Wreckroom.tv radio. So many great local bands. Everyone is about local food and local businesses, and now add local bands. I really like The Drums’ new album. Gonna ask them if they want to do a song in the Wreckroom.

What are the most important elements of your life right now?

photoS: by emily caldwell

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Tsunami Architecture The Indian Ocean Tsunami hit on Boxing Day, December 26, 2004, with waves up to thirty meters high, inundating coastal communities in Aceh, Thailand, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Tamil Nadu in India. Almost 250,000 people died immediately. Millions became homeless. It was one of the deadliest natural catastrophes in history. A flow of donations was triggered, mostly due to the high media visibility, (many tourists were affected on Thailand’s beaches), and the huge geographic perimeter of the affected regions. With donations of 13 billion US dollars in aid money and materials, it also became the best funded disaster recovery effort in history. While international attention has long since faded, shifting to more recent calamities, post-tsunami challenges continue to have an impact on affected communities. Six years later and just weeks before the Sendai earthquake and tsunami (which caused the nuclear disaster in Fukushima), the artists Christoph Draeger and Heidrun Holzfeind went on a three-month trip to the five countries most affected to shoot a documentary investigating the current state of architecture built in the aftermath of the tsunami. While documenting the long-term effects of the disaster through conversations with survivors, eyewitnesses, aid workers and rescue personnel, they looked at what has been achieved, what went wrong and what problems still remain. Their 60-minute film questions how the flood of aid money has transformed the affected regions, and how this process has rebuilt originmagazine.com | 18

BY: Christoph Draeger and Heidrun Holzfeind

local economies and reshaped communities. How does collective and individual memory work, years after such a media mega-event? How has housing built after the tsunami been able to respond to the individual needs of affected people? How were communities able to participate in the recovery process? How have these new dwellings been adapted over time by their inhabitants, and how did architectural interventions alter societal and communal structures? Quite often the artists found housing designs that were culturally insensitive, or simply substandard, due also to embezzlement of funds by local contractors. Kitchenettes inside the houses were unusable for people who traditionally cook on open fires; inside toilets were rejected as “gross.” Well-meant efforts have created a so-called “dependency syndrome” in which people keep demanding outside assistance instead of becoming actively involved in improving their situation. But in some cases locals were integrated in the reconstruction efforts and empowered to organize themselves to rebuild their livelihoods—an “owner-driven” as opposed to “donor-driven” approach. By and large this has yielded better results and less complaints. In these cases, affected communities were able to upgrade their living situation through the newly built housing, and the motto,“Build Back Better,” proclaimed by the international community became, although modestly, a reality.

woman, Ban Namkhem, Thailand 3 Thai This woman lives alone, after losing her husband and her

older son in the wave. She complained that her younger son, although he is a Tsunami victim as well, didn’t get a house, and has to live in a rental house now. Her house, although quite spacious, has no subdivisions to accommodate a second bedroom.

Tamil Nadu 3Pondicherry, The second biggest Tsunami resettlement in Tamil Nadu,

India, (1465 houses) was still not open in February 2011. The settlement should offer all commodities for shopping and education. However, the seashore is at least 7 km east, so many will face problems continuing to make a living as fishermen. As the village offers no shadow, the concrete houses are extremely hot, but they will not be washed away by the monsoon. We saw many houses like this in Tamil Nadu; most owners still think that they upgraded their living situation despite the drawbacks. Some even referred to the calamity as the “golden tsunami,” because they received so much aid.

Sri Lanka 3Colombo, These women at the Ratmalla housing project complained that it was too dangerous to let the children out in the evening, and that the toilets were often overflowing.

film set, near Khao Lak, Thailand 3Tsunami While investigating our project, somebody advised us to look

for a destroyed hotel on the coast, which should still look exactly as if the Tsunami happened yesterday. Sure enough, it turned out to be a carefully constructed disaster movie set for an upcoming film shoot by a Spanish production company called “Apache.”

www.heidrunholzfeind.com www.christophdraeger.com

photoS: LEFT PAGE, U.S. NAVY RIGHT PAGE. Christoph Draeger/Heidrun Holzfeind

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few—if any besides Orenstein—understand the messages, and even then the code is changing as the artist changes. It was the pichação movement that first prompted Cesar to paint on the street. “Pichação is a marginal movement, pichadores leave their signatures on a city that doesn’t see them. When I first started working in the street I identified with the energy of the writing.”

Rio’s Street Joana Code: Cesar

by: nathan walters

In his essay Society of Control, Gilles Deleuze writes, “What is important is no longer either a signature or a number, but a code: the code is a password.” The essay speaks of the suppression of individuality in society, foreseeing an era where the individual takes a secondary position to the role of processing agent. Has Deleuze’s vision been realized in the modern world? Arguably yes, though for some—those on the losing side of suppression—the power of the code remains vital. The idea of coded messages as subversion to an oppressive status quo is common in the political struggles of the twentieth century. It has been reshaped by the graffiti movement since the 1970’s and underlies the pichação movement in Brazil. For Rio street artist Joana Cesar the code means something much more. Joana is a secretly bold creator—an artist that both embraces and defies traditions of the street art genre in Rio, transforming the medium of the street into an elegant contradiction. Intimate, yet for all to see. Her story reads a bit like a Dan Brown novel. For many years she has been known for painting on the street in a secret personal code. The messages were intimate, scathing, erotic, powerfully cathartic, but safely shielded from exposure by a complete series of glyphs known only to Cesar. But codes always run the risk of being deciphered, and when Rio’s math wiz kid Paulo Orenstein identified the pattern of Cesar’s work he took it upon himself to break the code, unlocking some of the artist’s innermost thoughts. “If you want to cover something, it must be coverable,” explains Cesar, “I put those very personal messages on the street because no one understood them.” To this day very


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Pichações (the equivalent of “tags” in the US and Europe) are all but indecipherable to those outside the community. The paintings themselves communicate only one part of the message; a pichadore’s (pichação writers) signature is only as powerful as its position on a given structure and they take great risk (sometimes resulting in fatal falls) scaling buildings to affix their signature in perilous locations. Born out of the chasm between Brazil’s haves and have-nots, the pichação movement is revered not only for its motives (to lay claim to a city that is viewed by some as disregarding the plight of the impoverished) but also its aesthetics. In Rio and São Paulo pichações are ubiquitous, not only in derelict areas but also on some of the most important landmarks (in 2010 pichadores managed to write on one of the out-stretched arms of Rio’s iconic Christ the Redeemer statue). However, pichadores still work in a gray area. To some, it is simply vandalism (lacking the aesthetic refinement of modern street art), but for others, including Cesar, it upholds a powerful means of self-expression. Joana is one of the few women working in a male-dominated genre. Her first foray into street art was done with the power of pichação in mind. “As a female, outside the graffiti community, it was a risk, but I wanted to leave my signature.” Joana Cesar is an enigmatic innovator championing the use of public art as a means of both introspective self-expression and community empowerment. This empowerment furthers the advice of Deleuze in combating the suppression of modern society. “There is no need to fear or hope, but only to look for new weapons.” With spray cans in hand, those unwilling to be marginalized take to the streets.


Muralist on the Rise

“Is this still graffiti?” Lelo, a Carioca street artist direct from Copacabana, finds himself asking this question about his own work and those of his peers more often these days. It’s a difficult question, and one that continues to divide the art world as well as casual observers. 

Lelo is one of the most prominent muralists in Rio and is quickly gaining recognition around the world. His work is bold and thought provoking, unconventional and innovative in its blending of graffiti aesthetics with fable-like forms of birds, fish, and wolves.



MUDA Antoni Gaudí, the Catalan architect responsible for some of Barcelona’s most stunning landmarks, once said, “My master is the tree outside my window.” In the street art movement this idea is summed up eloquently by Coletivo MUDA, one of Rio’s most original group of artists, when they state: “The streets speak to us.” MUDA, a collaboration of Carioca designers and architects, is furthering the development of street art by reconstructing the history of Brazil. They are moving beyond the identifiable aesthetics of modern graffiti and into a yet-to-be-defined potential of what public art can be. Their medium, ceramic tiles.


Mc Grafiteiro Rio’s Freestyle Ambassador In Rio’s freestyle movement a new message is being delivered, one that sums up the honorable aspirations of many in Rio, “With Pride” (Com Orguhlo). The messenger is one of the city’s veteran graffiti artists/ MC/ activist, Airá Ocrespo (aka Mc Grafiteiro). “I am trying to raise awareness with my work,” a copacetic Grafiteiro explains. “Graffiti and music are two different media I use to communicate with people. I want to create a fusion of the two.” Espousing a life empowered “with pride” is an idea—both globally, and locally—worth encouraging. And in the words of the French playwright, Victor Hugo, “There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.”

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Amazon Watch A Call for Renewable Energy in Brazil By caroline bennett

Amazon Watch, a shrewd nonprofit based in San Francisco, is celebrating 15 years of working the frontlines to protect the rainforest and advance the rights of indigenous peoples in the Amazon Basin. The group partners with local indigenous and environmental organizations in campaigns for human rights, corporate accountability, and the preservation of the Amazon’s ecological systems. Amazon Watch envisions a world that honors and values cultural and biological diversity and the critical contribution of tropical rainforests to our planet’s life support system. Indigenous selfdetermination is paramount to such vision, and indigenous knowledge, cultures, and traditional practices contribute greatly to sustainable and equitable stewardship of the Earth. Amazon Watch strives for a world in which governments, corporations, and civil society respect the collective rights of indigenous peoples to free, prior, and informed consent over any activity affecting their territories and resources. The group partners with indigenous allies in efforts to protect life, land, and culture in accordance with their aspirations and needs. One of these paramount partnerships is with grassroots groups on the ground in Brazil who are leading the battle to stop the Belo Monte Dam in the heart of the Amazon. The risky $17 billion hydroelectric dam complex will divert nearly the entire flow of the Xingu River along a 62-mile stretch. Its reservoirs will flood more than 120,000 acres of rainforest and local settlements,

displace more than 40,000 people, and generate vast quantities of methane—a greenhouse gas at least 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. The controversial Belo Monte Dam has led to serious debate about Brazil’s energy matrix. There is mounting evidence that Brazil does not need the ecologically and financially costly dam, nor the other 60 large dams slated for the Brazilian Amazon over the next 20 years. Brazil could meet its power needs through less harmful energy alternatives and energy efficiency. The Brazilian government is moving ahead “at any cost” with plans to build Belo Monte, which would be the third largest dam in the world. In order to feed the monster project, up to 80 percent of the Xingu River will be diverted from its original course, causing a permanent drought on the river’s “Big Bend” and directly affecting the Paquiçamba and Arara territories of the Juruna and Arara indigenous peoples. Two huge canals will be excavated, unearthing more land than was removed to build the Panama Canal. Experts say the dam isn’t necessary to meet Brazil’s growing energy needs. To address the looming threat of large dams planned in the rainforest, Amazon Watch is embarking on an initiative to green Brazil’s power sector, together with a consortium of Brazilian and international NGOs and policy experts. Solving Brazil’s energy issue is key for safeguarding the Amazon, and we are in an imperative moment.

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Michele Cwiertny crowdfundraises on CrowdRise to support The Matt Cwiertny Memorial Foundation, in honor of her late brother-in-law.



CrowdRise BY: Robert Wolfe, Co-founder

A couple years ago you couldn’t go to a charity event without seeing a whole mess of mimes. Experts attributed the massive outbreak of mimes to people simply loving the art of the unspoken word. Inspired by greats like Morty the Mime in Spinal Tap and my friend Cheese in Ann Arbor, people mimed like mad. But, upon closer examination, it wasn’t that people were dressing up and painting their faces and not talking because they loved to mime. Instead, it’s that they didn’t want to talk to all sorts of random acquaintances at random charity dinners. “Hey, how are you? Good, how are you? Good, how are you? Good.” “Hey, your new nose looks amazing. Did Dr. Krulatz do it again?” We thought there may be an opportunity here. Instead of giving back with fancy dinners with expensive plates and so many tall people, let’s get real people who are passionate about their causes to create their own personal fundraisers and get their own friends, family and ex-lovers PHOTOS: COURTESY OF CROWDRISE

to donate to them and help ‘em fundraise. That, along with the notion that we could make real, world-changing impact if we can make fundraising cool and fun, was the catalyst to launching CrowdRise in June, 2010. At its core, CrowdRise is a fundraising platform that leverages the most modern tools and systems to turn supporters into incredibly effective fundraisers. The goal at CrowdRise is to make you slightly self-interested about your fundraising, proud of your charitable work and addicted to giving back. We think the net effect is one of the world’s best philanthropic communities and the first real brand about giving back. (Side note: if you’re writing a story about charity, definitely feel free to plagiarize this paragraph; there’s only a small chance you’ll get caught). One of our partners, actor and kick-ass philanthropist, Edward Norton, said, “If Facebook is the place that defines you by your friends and Twitter is the platform you use to say what you’re doing right now, then

CrowdRise is the site for you to show how you give back.” CrowdRise’s game mechanics, which are more typical of Farmville, Four Square, airlines, etc., are unique to the philanthropic space. Examples include our point program and incentives for donating, fundraising and being the best at CrowdRise. We don’t sell advertising and we’re not concerned with the number of users on the site—we care about activating and engaging fundraisers who will change the world. And, while we’ve only been around for a couple years, we can say with some degree of confidence that it’s working. Some of the most notable events in the world like the New York City Marathon, celebrities like Barbra Streisand and Will Ferrell and some amazing organizations like Stand Up 2 Cancer and The Nature Conservancy, are using CrowdRise for their grassroots fundraising. The power of the crowd is real, lots of small donations really do add up and your community can have a monumental impact on your causes and philanthropic life.

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ur modern day prophet, poet, visionary, and revolutionary brings it again. From the legacy of Adam Yauch, to music as nourishment, to the music industry pushing candy instead of soul food, Chuck D raps on Hip Hop as a Living Word, his advice to young people, and what men need to know about women. He tells us why Americans need to think of themselves as citizens of the world and how it’s time for a revolution in politics. Shaking up business as usual, he shares why selling sex to children has to stop. photo: by piero giunti

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“So losing Adam Yauch, he’s a great man for hip hop, I think his consciousness was somethin’ that evolved out of an area that previous few thought it would. He made it known that we could evolve and do some great things with this music.” So you’re in Melbourne now? Melbourne is actually the hub of Australian Hip Hop. And they’re very organized; it’s well structured there. They set a template that I think a lot of different areas around the world need to look at, because you know, they’re very inclusive of all the hip hop acts that come through there. They don’t really exclude a lot, but they do have a tier—a pecking order of, you know, you come through the bottom, you rise to the top. Australia’s biggest hip hop names. Also Melvin and people like Hilltop Hoods, these are groups that opened for us years ago and now we’re playin’ festivals, opening behind them. There are certain contingent answers to some of the contradictions in government and it’s there in Australia, with the treatment of indigenous people, the Koori; people who people called aboriginals. That community is also dealing in rap music and hip hop as well. So that’s where I’m at presently. I’m heading back to the States next week to get back to finishing up the Public Enemy albums and the Hip Hop Gods Tour that I’m lookin’ at in the fall—some test runs. And trying to make classic rap have more of a place inside today’s contemporary pop mainstream circles. Yeah, and this was your 80th tour. Is that correct? Yup. Your first tour was with the Beastie Boys. I don’t know how many years ago. Twenty, twenty-five years ago? Yeah, I mean, you know, it was our first time out and we open with the Beastie Boys. They were very influential in letting us know how we can be ourselves and they were very clear in what they were doing. And they respected us. As they grew from boys to men, so to speak, that respect just resonated across the board with us and them. So losing Adam Yauch, he’s a great man for hip hop because, I think his consciousness was somethin’ that evolved out of an area that previous few thought it would. He made it known that we could evolve and do some great things with this music. What was their influence? I read in one statement where you credit them for giving you the first start. Yeah. Well, that was our first tour and also I think

that they were influential along with Andre Brown, who is also Dr. Dre from Yo MTV Raps. Right. Jam Master Jay and people like that, sort of getting what we was doin. Of course, Rick Rubin. That was important. Yeah. We’ve got an interview next week with Rick Rubin. Yeah, well, yeah. He’s somethin’. He’s a great guy. You’re talkin’ ‘bout a guy who called me for about a year to ask me to do records. Thank you Rick, for gettin’ me into this mess. (laughs) That’s awesome. What was your relationship like with Adam? You know, it’s just like, we respected each other from afar. And when we had certain things that needed to be said about us, Adam stepped up and was first to say it. And vice versa. So it wasn’t like, you know, okay, alright Adam, we’re gonna go out and have this beer, you know. It wasn’t like that, it was like you know, I really look up to you and vice versa. So that was the beginning and pretty much the end of that. I also wanted to talk about what you’re doing with the Occupy LA movement. Why is it still important? Well, I think hip hop should be a living word. And what I mean by the living word is like yo, you gotta have the words that provide life. I worked with LA CAN, which is a Los Angeles Community Action Network. And I was involved in a project of my wife’s associates. You know, my wife is a professor at UCSB. Her associates put together an initiative and a program and some books talkin’ about the Skid Row area of Los Angeles, which is the largest concentration of homeless people in the country and the second in the world to São Paulo. Just talkin’ about this situation the more I kept hearin’ about “Watch The Throne.” Seeing that the situation of 85% of people on the streets are black folks. And you know, we’re supposed to be in a post-racial society, and everybody’s supposed to be affluent now. But I’m lookin’ at this and hearin’ the song in my head. So to make a long story short, when we came about workin’ with this we decided

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“[Corporations] have designer outsides with a hollow inside.” to do a festival with music coming out with a living word. Nothing has more words and performance than rap music. So I called along with my man General Jeff, who’s the unofficial mayor of Skid Row and he works with some organizations down there as well, and together we came up with the operation Skid Row Music Festival, which was a total give back. Some entertainment, some food, and just you know, bringin’ awareness to the situation. I don’t like the fact that that situation down there got very little coverage, that it should’ve gotten more coverage, and that magazines like Rolling Stones covered other things a lot more than this situation. Right. If an instance would’ve broke out, everyone would’ve covered it. And they’re just tryin’ to keep that whole area quiet. It’s crap. People try to keep it down. I just interviewed Questlove in this current issue. And he was talkin about— Questlove is one of the great philosophical minds of our time and I think he tries real hard. (laughs) What I mean by that is he tries real hard, and 95% of the time he’s surrounded by a circus, but he feels that the minute he calls it a circus he’s out of the circle. And sometimes you have to stand outside of the circle and just kind of bash at it like a—what do they call the thing? It begins with a P and you gotta keep bashin’ it til it breaks open. (laughs) Oh God, it’s a Spanish name for it. (laughing) It hangs on the tree in the back and you keep bashin’ at it til it breaks open— A piñata!

“Well if you empty, you can be filled up with anything... It could be water or it could be gasoline... That’s what these corporations rely on. They rely on that you come to them hollow, asking to be filled, or fulfilled... music should be some kind of nourishment.”

Yeah, exactly. Hip hop’s like a piñata. So I think Quest, he knows he’s surrounded by a circus, but he doesn’t want to go outside of the circle. My thing is, the older you get you gotta stand up for what you believe in, and keep bashin’ away. What do you think is the future of hip hop? Where do you think it’s goin? Well, you know, it works well when you have it very controlled by corporations, very manufactured, because people’s outside are more designed than their inside. They have designer outsides with a hollow inside. So you can have a hollow inside and believe anything that comes your way and fall victim, and follow it just like a hollowed robot or a carcass towards anything that seems to be waggin’ its tail. So it’s a reason why something that’s transparent works so well. What do you think needs to change? Well, I think a good thing that needs to change is that people should be at least fearless about expressin’ themselves. Maybe we need to look upon technologies and social networks as things that come out of us, not things that lead us. We can be on top of these things instead of them bein’ on top photo: by piero giunti

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“I think hip hop should be a living word... you gotta have the words that provide life.” of us as human beings. I don’t think that’s a bad thing to try to ask for. In our last conversation you talked about how people are like robots/ slaves controlled by machines/corporations. Yeah. Well, people are hollowed out; they’re gutted out. If you have no soul you can gut it out. You know, like a marionette, you’ll just follow what seems to actually give you whatever you ain’t got. You know, like you’d fill up a jug? Well if you empty, you can be filled up with anything. (laughs) It could be water or it could be gasoline. That’s what these corporations rely on. They rely on that you come to them hollow, asking to be filled, or fulfilled. And at least people used to be able to say, you know what? I wanna get filled up on some music. I wanna get filled up on some OJ, or some Jackson Brown, or some Joni Mitchell, Aretha Franklin, Carole King, Smokey Robinson—I wanna get filled up. I wanna just take that on and feel better, because music should be some kind of nourishment. When music turned into being like candy—what people don’t realize is, yes it’s candy, but candy has long-term effects if you’re just eatin’ it as your main meal. And that’s a problem, ‘cause if you got music that keeps comin’ at you, that keeps coming like a piranha (laughing), coming and rippin’ at your soul, it’s like yeah, I’m takin’ this in, but there’s not much of me left. Then you’ll be lookin’ for something outside of music to satisfy you, or take you away. We didn’t invent music, so it’s been here for a reason, and it has powers for a reason. So we should pay attention to it, because we might not know the clear answers but we should at least acknowledge that it is something there. To not be playin around with it. Holy. Music as nourishment. You’re a freaking poet. (laughs) Yeah, you can call it that. Yeah, you are. The problem is with me is I can’t say it twice in the same way. Thank God I’ve got a recorder. How do you feel like we need to change that? I can’t even listen to the radio with my daughter in the car, because there’s no— ‘Cause it attacks you. Well, there’s rarely poetry to the lyrics, no real meaning. And that’s all cool. It has its place. It’s just that it has its place and it’s just hard for it to move out of its place. A lot of the post-1977 dancefloor disco sounds had their place at one time, but you can’t bring them back unless you bring back a floor. (laughs) You bring back the same exact vibe that was there at that time—it’s a lot to bring to the future. You can bring a Dylan song and you can bring a Smokey Robinson song right into your heart. You don’t need the floor. You know? (laughs) Right. You don’t need that big ass— what do they call it? Not the crystal ball...


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“America is slipping away from the rest of the consciousness of the planet—slipping away... So much is coming out of government now it makes a person that sees it be like, are you f*cking kidding me? Are you kidding me?”

The disco ball! Disco ball, (laughing) you can’t squeeze that disco ball into your soul. (laughing) I’m not even gonna tell you that I actually have a solarpowered disco ball when I go camping that I put in my tent, but that’s completely off topic... Yeah, that’s in your tent but it ain’t in your soul. It’s an external thing. You can’t bring that Giorgio Moroder shit back. You gonna bring Giorgio Moroder’s Miko back, you know. (laughing) You can’t bring that shit back, but you can bring salsa, the sixties, and fifties, and seventies back and some of the 80s you can’t bring back. That’s why I really enjoy hip hop a lot, because I knew that we could actually borrow some of the sensibilities of those musics and those times and those artists, and blend ‘em to some straightforward rappin’ over some great music. Music used to cause revolutions and I’m not seeing much revolution anymore. I think that revolution means change. And if somebody feels like there’s nothing wrong, everything’s great even when it ain’t, why would they ask for a revolution? Just stick the tubes into me and just pump away. What is your advice to young people? Oh yeah. My advice to young people is ask older people questions and don’t be afraid. Try to do your best to look people in the eye and talk to them without a gadget being in between you all the time. Try to master technology instead of it mastering you. If you want to be an artist, truly try to write what you believe, and if you write when you don’t believe then you should try to become an actor. You know, you should start to be in plays and things like that. Write some scripts. If you’re an artist and you truly don’t believe what you’re spittin’ then you need to really seriously be an actor then. You know, it’s nothin’ quick overnight. If anything happens to you quick, you need to start questioning that. You know, you hear young people go, aw, I’m gonna blow up. You gonna blow up but with a controlled explosion. Don’t just blow up all over the place.

June and also The Evil Empire of Everything in September... Can you believe the amount of just confusion and crap that’s in politics as of this minute? I mean, Maranda this is just f*cking crazy out here. It’s like, I like President Obama as what I perceive of him, but you wanna talk about somebody who is just stuffing bullsh*t into his brain and back. Like, okay you do this, you do this. It’s just troubling. And then you know, it’s all down to two guys, Mitt Romney and Obama. (sighs) I can see why a young person would come in and just be totally clueless looking at this mess.

(laughing) Oh, you don’t wanna just blow up all over the place.

What’s the most disheartening part of it for you?

I mean, just when they take off they got a combustion that’s controlled that’ll let you fly. That’s the thing. If it ain’t right you got a problem. So a lot of times when people say, “I’m wanna blow up” I say, “Are you prepared to be bigger?” Bigger doesn’t mean better unless you really understand what bigger is. I’m not a firm believer of “mo’ money mo’ problems”—I think that’s stupid. I think it’s that problems are already there that can be exacerbated by more things you don’t understand.

Oh, America is slipping away from the rest of the consciousness of the planet—slipping away. Americans are not sharp. You can be sharp in your own area, I guess, but in this world you gotta be conscious of everybody else in the world too. You just can’t be drunken with constitution and hear, okay we’re gonna do this and then you hear well, we’re gonna go kill this guy ‘cause he’s a terrorist and you keep gettin’ it. The more we ask young people about education, information, and history, acknowledgement, and culture, they seem to reject, because there’s a reason to reject it—it all sounds like bullsh*t comin’ out of ‘em more than ever. So much is coming out of government now it makes a person that sees it be like, are you f *cking kidding me? (laughs) Are you kidding me?

Are you still writing? Of course. I just finished putting two albums together, coming out in June and September. Most of My Heroes Still Don’t Appear on No Stamps in

photo: by piero giunti

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“Well, I think a good thing that needs to change is that people should be at least fearless about expressin’ themselves. Maybe we need to look upon technologies and social networks as things that come out of us, not things that lead us.”



And I’m not a pessimist, I’m just sayin’—

Yo, but they feelin’ that—they feelin’ that. I mean, you can’t sell sex to an eleven-year-old kid.

A realist. Yeah. I’m a realist. I’m not a U.S. citizen. I mean, I’m an earth-izen. Borderline policies are crap to me. When you have people talk about okay, we’re gonna run for this but you know, I’m gonna raise a hundred-million dollars so I can have a great campaign! Are you kidding me? You need a hundredmillion dollars to run for some shit? Oh ya know, we’re gonna go out celebratin’ as athletes making a hundred-million dollars, and then we’re gonna put up this stadium. The f*cking schools are crumbling. Right. You could feed a small country. Yeah, there’s detailed things that in the past of course they’ll chase a young person away. It’s like, oh man, it sounds too heavy for me. But really, seriously, I had to go back and say when I was twenty-one, twenty-two, not everything was about f*cking bubblegum and sh*t. I was twentyyears-old and Reagan had just taken over the presidency and George Bush was the Vice President. I just had to be aware, you know, I have to be prepared for this. Right? ‘Cause these clowns, they’re not gonna do anything but damage in my parts. So I was prepared for that. And another message for young people is find like-minded people and try not to be individualized to the point where you try to fight it all and think about it all on your own. Try to find like-minded people. Don’t choose your friends based on the outside, choose your friends based on your similar views or something that you can learn from. That’s what I did when I was twenty. I said, I might not feel this way about something, but you know what, it’s not all about popcorn and bubblegum. Yeah, I wanna go to the clubs and actually have a good time too, but at the same time, when the party’s over, I have to go back to the real world and try to figure out who I am. Now, the difference was tryin’ to figure out who I was as a black man twenty-years-old in 1980, I could come back into the real world and know that that’s not gonna be delivered to me. (laughs) So I have to figure it out. Today, a young person that doesn’t know themselves will totally be sold some other situation. Let’s do your avatar. You know? And young people are going out, spending what little they have to try to buy themselves when they don’t have themselves, or they feel like they don’t have themselves. To me, that’s like a damn pimp tragedy. It’s as nasty as a fifty-year-old man sitting outside a middle school with vodka lollipops. (laughs) Oh (laughs) That’s quotable. It’s nasty! You’re fifty years old with vodka lollipops. Yeah, but you know they’ll like ‘em. You’ll get use to it. I’m like, aw man, there’s wrong with that. So that’s why I attack the airwaves the same way. It’s like programmin’ music directors in their forties and fifties co-signing the amount of one-sided exploitive gists-to-get-young-people’s-money type of signals coming through the radio station. And then they’ll tell you, well, this is what they want. Yeah, okay. So yeah, a twelve-year-old might want a vodka lollipop, doesn’t mean you give it to ‘em.

Yeah. But there’s people who feel that, Well, if I could profit off of sellin’ sex to an eleven-year-old kid that comes through some kind of virtual portal, then I’m not really doin’ it in actuality. I’m just kind of co-signing or fostering it, ‘cause it can’t be attached to me. I’m like, Yes it can, ‘cause people are livin’ through their avatar. You are a good man. You are a freaking good, good man. I am so grateful. What would your advice to men be about women? Oh. (laughs) Men about women. What would you say to men about how to treat women? Men don’t protect women anymore. I’m wondering where our men are. No. Never have so many men treated women like our foes. They call ‘em hoes, but they might as well call them foes, ‘cause you are totally against the existence of somebody who should live their life as an equal human being. If not, any man knows, it’s like we’re not equal. You know, women are usually a little better than us. (laughs) Like I said, I’m lovin’ me some Chuck D. And men have periods; they’re called wars.

“And young people are going out, spending what little they have to try to buy themselves when they don’t have themselves... It’s as nasty as a fifty-year-old man sitting outside a middle school with vodka lollipops.”

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An Interview with Joan Osborne

Why do you create? Because it makes me connected to something larger than myself. What is it that makes you feel fully alive? Being with my daughter, being out in nature, swimming, and singing. What is it that makes you feel deeply vulnerable as a woman? Oh, deeply vulnerable as a woman. To love someone not knowing whether they love me in return. What do you do with your pain? I try to bear it and not panic. I try to remember that it’s got an expiration date, even if I don’t know when that expiration date is. And I try to use it as fuel for my work. Do you feel that you have ever suffered for your art? Well, I have to say what I do is not easy and there are definitely moments where originmagazine.com | 30

I feel inadequate to the tasks I’ve set for myself. And that’s hard to feel—like you’re giving your life to something and you can’t really do it as well as you want to do it. So yeah, I make myself suffer with a lot of self doubt. And being an artist is not exactly the most universally respected, or secure thing to do with your life. It can be frightening and you can feel that you’re taking a lot of risks just with your own life, and your family’s security. But the rewards outweigh those things. Even if I’m doing a show and there’s five people in the audience and the sound system is terrible—I mean, it’s been a while but I’ve certainly done those kind of shows where it’s just every conceivable thing is against you—you still have music. It’s still something that’s real whether there’s five people in the audience or a hundred thousand people in the audience. And that’s always been there for me. I’ve always felt like what I’m doing is real and I think the things that I was doing before that, they all just felt like I was sort of making them up and wishing them into being, and music has always felt very real to me.


When it’s time to let go of something personally, is there a way you use your craft to let go? Well, yes. This is something I think that blues music, or folk music, and all those particular genres that have a perspective about life deal with— where the difficulties of life are seen as something that are very natural and nothing to be embarrassed about, and something that we all go through; something that’s part of our share of humanity. And it accepts those difficulties and pain as such. I think there’s a wonderful forgiveness that can come over you, if you have that perspective on it. You know, if you’re stuck in a situation that’s painful or there’s something that makes you angry, it can enable you to step back from your own experience of it and realize that this is just a part of what it is to be human. It can allow you to accept it a little bit more and make you feel like it’s less unfair. (laughs) I guess it’s a start. Let’s do what we need to do to allow it to make us compassionate but not to bury us. Well said. Has blues music transformed you? It did. Yeah, it rescued me. Yeah. In what way? Well, I think I had a tendency to get stuck inside my head and go to some very dark places in my mind, and get stuck there. I couldn’t see a way to get out. There’s something about this music that allowed me to get out of my own head. It’s not just something that you do intellectually when you do music. You do it with your body, and you do it with your emotions, and you do it with every part of yourself. It engages your mind as well, but engages all parts of yourself. And I think that it allowed me to find a path way into these parts of myself that I was disconnected from. It was a real eye-opening experience for me to start getting involved in music and to do this kind of music in particular. It talks about human emotions—the difficult and dark human emotions as well as the wonderful, fun and exciting ones, and just part of this continuum that we’re all experiencing together. It makes it something that’s not just about you sitting alone in your corner, it’s about how this is what we all go through and let’s go through it together. And I think that was a real revelation for me, at the time.

In that moment I was very focused on some original material that I was working on and I didn’t pick up on it right away, ‘cause I was like, I’m focused on this original stuff and I don’t wanna get distracted from it. I kind of put them off at first, but the idea really took root in my mind and I started thinking, well, if I did do this what songs would I do? And gee, how would it sound for me doing this music again after having the career that I’ve had so far? Would my voice sound different? I used to feel like when I was in my twenties and I was trying to sing blues and soul music, that my instrument wasn’t what I would’ve liked it to be. It didn’t have the richness of somebody like Mavis Staples, or like Etta James had that I was trying to get. And I wondered if I could, ‘cause at this point I might have more of that now. So my curiosity and just my feeling of maybe it was time to do this overrode my objections, and then I started to really get into it. I had a bunch of ideas and also went to other friends of mine who are big scholars of this music and know more about it than I do, and asked them for ideas. And I went back to my collection and started listening to CDs and albums and trying to get some material and it really became sort of a labor of love after I let go of my initial resistance.

And you have a new album, Bring It On Home. Did you just know that it was time and you thought, I’m ready to put this together?

Does it ever bother you that people remember you for that certain album? I grew up with you. Do you like that you influenced so many people, especially young women, or is it like okay, that was a few years ago?

Yeah. I got to that place with it eventually. This was actually a project that I was approached to do. I was doing a guest spot on a show in Lincoln Center with the Five Blind Boys of Alabama, and the guys from their record label were there in the audience that night. I had met them and known them a little bit in the past, and they approached me and said, “We’d love to hear you do this kind of music. Would you consider doing a record of blues and r&b for us?”

I’m totally and completely grateful for that. That record took me to a place that I never imagined I would get to, and I’m very, very grateful for that. And in particular, not just because there was a big hit single and all that, but because of the fact that the record really did mean a lot to people. And I’ve heard a lot of different people through the years come up to me about

On pain and letting go: “Let’s do what we need to do to allow it to make us compassionate but not to bury us.”


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particular songs on that record that have meant so much to them, or got them through difficult times in their life, or that they were in high school or in grade school and it helped to shape their vision of what they could be. And that’s incredibly gratifying as an artist to have that, so I would never say that I’m tired of hearing that. I do think that it’s a challenge for me or for anybody who has had certain iconic things happen to them in their career to re-engage people and say that there’s still more to discover. And also to have that confidence in yourself that you still have more to bring. I think that’s a little bit of a tight-rope thing that somebody in my position has to walk, but I do still keep working. I feel like I’m getting better as a writer and as a singer and that there is more to discover there, so hopefully other people feel that way too without having to disassociate with the earlier work. I don’t think that there’s any reason to do that. I think it’s wonderful that people have that experience with it, and I’m very grateful for that. I hear you’re involved in environmental issues? I just performed at a big event up in Albany, New York, to protest fracking and to raise money for a lot of the anti-fracking organizations. That’s just a whole nightmare. The issue is still on the table in New York state, which is where I make my home. I’ve become a real activist in that arena. To me, that’s what’s amazing about New York state. It’s really important for people to be aware that these things are endangered right now. The interests behind fracking are very powerful and they’ve managed to control the dialogue for a while, because they have forced people to sign disclosure agreements; people who have had negative experiences who are not able to speak out because they’ve signed disclosure agreements with the gas companies. Things like this. They’ve managed to strangle the opposing viewpoint, but it does seem like the people who are against fracking have started to gain some traction and the realities of what an environmental nightmare it is are starting to become known.

awareness about banning it in New York state and other places as well. I mean, Vermont has banned it, Ireland has banned it, a lot of European nations have banned it. People over there understand that this is something where you’re really giving up a lot of the longterm health of your environment for a very short-term benefit. So I’m hopeful that the anti-fracking movement is really getting a lot of traction. The last question is about your spirituality. There were so many songs that I’ve heard and there was such deep soul to it. And I just want to know how that has shaped you or how much that may be a part of your music. If you listen to soul music, or R&B music, or Blues music, a lot of that came from church music and spiritual music, and music has always been a really really powerful tool that people have used to get them closer to God—whatever they define God as. And for me that’s always been part of what drew me to it and keeps me coming back for more. I do feel a connection to the divine and to the infinite. Whether I’m performing and feeling like what we’re all doing together, the band, myself, and the audience, is having this group experience of having something a little bit holy, or I’m listening to Haley Jackson at home, and I’m legitimately taken to a beautiful place by that. To me that is something that is so important to do and stay connected to. That’s how I maintain my connection to it. It certainly led me to other kinds of music, other kinds of spiritual music. There’s so many different ways humans have used music to express the spiritual part of our nature and to connect us with the divine. So for me the pathway is through music. And then through music I’ve discovered other philosophies. Buddhism in particular is one that has always—whenever I’ve studied it and read about it, it’s just been so true to me. And I do try to take some practices of that into my daily life. Whether that’s meditating or trying to see the world from that perspective. This is all very ephemeral and the problem that you are struggling with that you think is so huge is really very tiny in the grand scheme of things. And you are connected to something very much larger than yourself. And that’s a beautiful thing. I try to stay in gratitude as much as I can. You know, we all get to the point where we’re frazzled, or tired, or frustrated, or whatever it is, but I try to take those moments and realize that I do have so much to be grateful for, and allow it to send me back to those feelings of gratitude and just live in gratitude as much as I can.

“...the problem that you are struggling with that you think is so huge is really very tiny in the grand scheme of things. And you are connected to something very much larger than yourself. And that’s a beautiful thing.”

I’m hoping. They’re really looking to make a quick buck, which is what energy companies do, but the legacy that they’re leaving behind, it’s horrible and toxic and hopefully we can keep that from happening in New York state. It’s still anybody’s guess whether it’s going to be allowed or whether it’s going to be banned, but I’m working myself towards trying to raise

www.joanosborne.com originmagazine.com | 32

The Payoff. 2010. Gelatin Silver Print. “While the power of physical beauty is undeniable, what’s inside is usually a crapshoot.”

JAY RUSOVICH Representation

www.deborahcoltongallery.com 713.869.5151


AN INTERVIEW WITH LP interview: maranda pleasant

As a musician, how has yoga affected you? You know, I feel like it all came from yoga. I feel like I went through a little down phase of what I was doing. Yoga brought me back to my own media, which is interesting, ‘cause it’s like it made my mind quiet. Then I felt like I found my voice. How long have you been practicing?


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Almost five years. When I started my first major label deal, it was a lot of chaos. My father passed away and I was like screaming in my head. Everything was going crazy and I went away. I did a class at some place in Mexico and I just felt so good that I had to incorporate that into my life, so I did. I’ve been really blessed with it. It’s good. How is it with your own consciousness and mindfulness? Does it play into your art and how you create? I just think that when you look within yourself a little bit and get calm, things come out. I’m not a very calm person normally, so it’s helped a lot. What is it that makes you most vulnerable as a woman, as an artist, as a human being? Well, I just feel like I don’t do music for superficial reasons. I’m not saying that people do, but it’s just something I have to do. It’s just something I do naturally. With

everything that goes on today, I feel like there’s so many other things involved, that I would rather not have to deal with. I just want it to be like, about the music, man! (laughs) That’s such a lame response, but I really do. All the stuff you have to do—I don’t mind doing it, ‘cause I’ve chosen this. But I wish that it was a little more authentic at times. I’m with you. Yeah. I want to be authentic and I want to do authentic music and I want to listen to authentic music. I think everybody wants that, but I think we get lost in all our stuff today. And people comment on YouTube and say terrible things about art that people ripped out of their hearts. That kind of stuff I can do without. Yeah, I imagine that’s pretty vulnerable. You release your art and people anonymously comment— Yeah, I don’t read it or anything. Even when I watch someone else’s video and then I look at a few comments and I’m like, Oh, God, why did you say that? (laughing) You have to manage so much. You have to have this open heart to do what you do and keep creating, but there’s a thick skin that has to go with it. For sure. You have to be a warrior. It’s like a warrior thing. I’m ready.

What is it that excites you the most? What is that thing in your heart that you want to get out of bed in the morning for? Is it creating? I enjoy what I do. I’ve done jobs before that I didn’t want to do and I just feel so lucky to be making a living with music, writing for other people, and now writing for myself more. It’s a huge blessing. I mean, yeah, I get out of bed and I’m like Wow! You know, I don’t have to do what I don’t want to do. I really enjoy making music and I’m doing it for a living and it’s amazing. And one of our last questions: how do you—and these are not light questions— Hey, it’s deep sh*t. Deep sh*t with LP and Origin. How do you transform your pain?

“Yoga brought me back to my own media... Then I felt like I found my voice.”

Gosh, I don’t really know. Just by keeping doing what I love and trying to find some kind of sense in it. And trying to communicate my feelings through song. I don’t really go, I’m writing about my pain now, but when I’m creating a song and I’m doing a melody and sometimes the melody speaks to a place in me, and I write the lyrics, I just go with that feeling. I don’t know how it happens. I don’t really know. I don’t wanna break it down too much, ‘cause it would just bore the crap out of everybody.


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Gilberto Gil Interview: Paul D. Miller/DJ Spooky

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We’re at the Goethe-Institute in Salvador de Bahía. I’m sitting here with an incredible hero of mine, Gilberto Gil. Do you prefer Gilberto or Gil? It doesn’t matter. I’ve been referred to as both. You’ve seen an evolution of culture over the last fifty years, from being in prison to being the minister of culture at the top of society. With people like Pelé and films like Marcel Camus’ Black Orpheus, we’ve seen a Brazil that has been hyper-accelerated. I know that you’re very interested in these semiotics of poetry and their relationship to composition. Brazil seems like a hyper-mix, a hypercollage. How does your music reflect some of those issues?

“We are sufficiently conscious of this dimension or quality of Brazil as a melting pot, as a culture and a nation that is being subjected to an amalgamating process. More than just a mixing process, it is an amalgamation where the fragments, the parts in collision, really interact profoundly.”


t’s not every day that you get a chance to catch up with one of your all-time favorite artists, but on one sunny and beautiful day in Bahia, I paid a visit to Gilberto Gil to catch up with him on his many projects coming up. I was in Brazil for the Digitalia Brasil Festival, and Gilberto Gil was one of the other participants. We met through Lawrence Lessig a while ago, and stayed in touch. One of my favorite Brazilian playwrights, Augusto Boal, wrote a great book way back in 1992 called Games for Actors and Non-Actors where he described his new idea about how people could respond to the changing dynamics of culture in Brazil with new voices, new roles, and new visions of what was possible in the rapidly changing landscape of posteverything. He liked to call it the “Theatre of the Oppressed,” from Paulo Freire’s coining; it was theatre in its most archaic application of the word. In this usage, all human beings are Actors (they act) and Spectators (they observe). I like to think that the span of change and transformation that has swept Brazil in the last several decades, and that has taken the country from dictatorship to modern economic superpower, has been mirrored by its highly influential Tropicália artists like Caetano Veloso, Torquato Neto, Os Mutantes, and Tom Ze, who combined African and Brazilian rhythms with rock and roll, and ended up creating a fusion of art, theater, poetry, and music that set the tone for so many other cultural advances around the world in progressive arts movements. What they once called “antropofagia,” or “eating all cultures,” we now just call “sampling.”

We are sufficiently conscious of this dimension or quality of Brazil as a melting pot, as a culture and a nation that is being subjected to an amalgamating process. More than just a mixing process, it is an amalgamation where the fragments, the parts in collision, really interact profoundly. They become another thing after the contact. They produce another substance, so to speak. The Brazilian substance for us is very notable, very receivable. My whole work with music has reflected this consciousness and has been absorbing this kind of spirit. Under the dictatorship, many musicians went to England. I’ve always felt that your exile in England was an influence because you got to use some English soul music from that time and the English were listening to Jamaican style because of the rock scene and the Jamaican and Nigerian immigration. So there was another kind of melting pot going on. What do you think of that time? In the sixties, seventies, what was some of the music you were listening to? That process had already started under the Tropicália movement. The Tropicália had in mind the opening of the barriers and frontiers so that we could freely and openly work with different ingredients. We had already been submitted to a very strong influence of American culture. The movies, the music, and the whole technological apparatus: everything had a lot to do with the Americanization of our lives. Tropicália dealt specifically with that. The American influences, the European, more classical influences, the diaspora that came from Cuba and Jamaica and other places: that was already the element at work for the Tropicália. Going to London and being exposed to a more specific Jamaican culture, Indian culture, Africans from Nigeria and Ghana, the niches of those cultures that were found in London and other places in England, this also had a kind of influence in giving me a broader scope or sense of what Tropicália had to deal with. A lot of your music was from a live, almost poetry scene. Brian Eno likes to say that the studio became an instrument. In the sixties, a lot of rock bands were doing tape collage and editing. Steve Reich was doing his minimal and classical music, and even Jimi Hendrix was doing Electric Ladyland. In some of your recordings from that time period, there was a lot of experimentation. Do you feel that recording changed your whole process? Not just those procedures, but even the timbre, the sound, the synthesizers and pedals, all the things we were able to use to process sound and music. MIDI gave the instruments the possibility of being digital, becoming digitalized. Beginning

photos: left: by joão Wainer, ABOVE: by jorge bispo

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photos L-R: by marcos hermes, by jorge bispo, by jorge bispo, by Beti Niemeyer

“We should also start taking care of the future, not just the heritage. What’s the horizon that is opening to us? What is in front of us? Where do we have to go towards?” in the sixties, but getting strong during the seventies and eighties, everybody was sort of Miles Davis and Chick Corea and the jazz guys on the West coast and East coast in America, and then in Switzerland and lots of groups in England and elsewhere, like here in Brazil. We were all under a heavy influence of technological gadgets and changes that we used as elements to produce and create music. But a lot of that took a different route in Brazil. I find that Brazil would re-purpose and transform some of the music of all these different cultures. A lot of the Japanese instruments, the expensive Yamaha keyboards, are in there. When I hear your music from then, it’s definitely experimenting with those keyboard sounds, with less guitar. A lot of people were listening to you. Miles Davis, Ryuichi Sakamoto, they would always talk about your work. I wonder how the evolution of the technology of recording and then of editing transformed your language. When I saw you yesterday, you were very much in a magical moment with the audience. There’s always the relationship of the singer, the poet, but I always think of you as a techno-futurist, someone who is very interested in technology. As paradoxical as it may seem, I’m a very enthusiastic defender and advertiser of those changes and advocating those technologies, but I’m not necessarily a profound user of them. If you listen to my work in different periods, you can note the influences. When some new thing came on, you can hear that this element is brought into the music of the originmagazine.com | 38

moment, in every period. The whole attitude and interest started already during the Tropicália thing. When you say Tropicália, people were doing installation, graphic design... ...movies... Do you have any favorites from that time that stay in your memory? Many. Hélio Oiticica, who died some time ago. Antonio Días, still alive and in Rio, with interesting passages in Milan and New York. Movie makers like Glauber Rocha or theatre directors like José Celso, Martinez Corrêa or Augusto Boal. In a sense, Augusto was pre-Tropicália. He was one of the theatre guys that had received many different actors coming from different places in Brazil. He was receiving them in Rio and São Paulo. His group was very active in those cities. But when the Tropicália started, he left Brazil. He was in Europe and North America for a long period. What he did before Tropicália had a lot to do already with the transformation of the languages, poetry, literature, movies and so on. You had such an incredible career span, from being minister of culture to being dissident. Was there any inspiration from a Russian point, like Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn or Václav Havel in the Eastern European freedom movements? The Cold War between the US

Brazil is considered a bootleg culture. A lot of stuff is about copying. I first met you through Lawrence Lessig in San Francisco. At the fifth anniversary of the Creative Commons project. You championed a lot of open source initiatives for Brazil. As far as I read, as a minister of culture, it was very important to get people to change their ideas about open source. When I was given the position as minister, I thought that I should take care of the classical ways of considering cultural goods, the heritage and the whole thing. But we should also start taking care of the future, not just the heritage. What’s the horizon that is opening to us? What is in front of us? Where do we have to go towards? And then the digital culture, the new forms of communication that were possible with electronic and new media and new forms of interaction. All of that was interesting to have inside the government as elements for designing public policy, and I took care of that. We interacted with other offices in the government that had to do with that: the science and technology ministry, the communication ministry, the cultural ministry, and the ministry of planning. It should be a whole government approach. We tried that and we had the support of President Lula at the time. During eight years, six years of which I was in office, and then João Luiz da Silva Ferreira, who was my secretary before and then took the position of minister, we were able to establish a new outlook or outline for this drawing or designing of public policies concerning cyberspace, internet, open access, and all that. What’s beautiful about it is that, I think, you inspired a lot of young people to get into digital literacy very early. In fact, Brazil, in the last ten years or so, has become a place for a lot of digital code. A lot of people are very literate with computers. They’ve grown up with those policies. I would say that they would be somehow attracted to those things through the natural flow of technology, the natural application of those technological elements in their lives, in our lives. But what distinguishes, in a sense, our work in the ministry was the fact that we vindicated also the role to really design public policies, to bring those issues into the government agenda. That was a contribution in increasing the element of attraction for the young generation concerning those things.

and Russia played out with the dictatorship here in Brazil, which was supported by the US. I always wondered if there was a hidden connection between some of the Non-Aligned Movement. A lot of Indian filmmakers didn’t want to go west or east, so they ended up making Bollywood. In Brazil, the Tropicália was independent from both. As far as I can recall, our forms of doing and acting and processing were not connected to foreign groups in terms of really being in contact and exchanging information. Through the natural information processing, through the news and magazines, the cultural things we were able to have in our hands, we knew what was going on in Italy with the Modern movements of cinema, the Nouvelle Vague in France, the new movements concerning visual arts in England and in the States, the politically related movements on the campuses, the Black Panthers, and all of that. Even though we were not intimately attached or related to them, in the overall picture, we were very much informed about their existence and what they were doing, their purposes and the similarities between what they were doing and what we were intending to do. In a sense, we were influenced a lot by them. To me, that transformed some of your early initiatives with Lawrence Lessig and the Creative Commons because of this idea of open source culture and political activism, the control mechanisms of how people think about copyright law and its enforcement.

That has never been done in other Western countries, except maybe with Václav Havel becoming president because he was an arrested dissident. In the US, it’s very interesting because we are at a crossroads with the Republicans. It’s very relevant now. Obama came to power with this element of raising many new hopes and expectations but he’s been fought back by the system, becoming almost paralyzed in a way. Why? He wants to stand for a peaceful, generous, encompassing approach that would bring all Americans, but not just Americans, the whole of international society, together to advance civilization towards what we all understand is necessary to advance. Because of that he’s being subjected to very serious rejections from the reactionary portion of the system, which, unfortunately, is the dominant portion. It’s weird because when I see what happened with Brazil, with the very dynamic policies you all were initiating, you had a lot of support and were able to push them through, whereas Obama is trying to push, but the Republicans, the whole society, is paralyzed. The United States is very important, too important in the civilizational process of the world. It’s difficult to move, to make a difference in establishments like the one the US represents. Did you and Obama ever meet? No, never. I had left Lula’s government already when he met Obama at the inauguration. I had something to do in Washington, a different originmagazine.com | 39

“Black culture is global, but people sometimes think it needs protection, or that it has a pure aspect. To protect it in which sense?” thing. I went with Lula, and I tried to be received by Obama, but I couldn’t. Those official things, you know. I still want very much to meet him and have a chat, tell him that he should try to have a ministry of culture in the US. The US is the only country in the developed world that has no minister of culture. But we have one for IT policy. Which we can understand as far as the past of the American way of dealing with culture is concerned. Sponsors, corporate endowments, and the heritage of the big fortunes would take care of financing cultural projects when American society was homogeneous. Now it’s too complex, it’s a mix. Different cultures in collision. I think it starts to be necessary to have a government institution to deal with cultural affairs. I wanted to ask you about art and architecture because I know you’re very interested in the arts. You mentioned Hélio Oiticica, Augusto Boal, I’m sure you’ve probably met Vik Muniz. What about Oscar Niemayer? While you were mentioning those names, I was thinking about Niemayer. Besides being modern in terms of drawing, of using the aesthetics for his architectural spirit, he was an activist. Very political, very active. He was a leftist. He was part of a great democratic and social-democratic resistance in Brazil. He is referential, not just in terms of architectural design, but even as a political activist, as a thinker and interpreter of different ideological elements coming from the old European left. From the intellectual and artistic universe in Europe and in America, he was responsible for helping to design some important buildings in the world, like the UN, Brasilia, in France, in Italy, in Spain, in Africa. He is one of our outstanding personalities in the field of architecture and design. Yesterday, you mentioned Candomblé and the idea of the nation, the idea of the mix. It was very interesting. We were talking about carnival and you were saying that maybe Candomblé is a kind of operating system for thinking about Brazil. What do you think about public policy’s relationship to helping new forms of art? In the US they always want to keep it separated. We have the National Endowment for the Arts, which is very conservative. What I heard yesterday was a lyrical sense of a possibility you have in Brazil and especially Bahía as a kind of black culture. First of all, not just the African heritage we have in Brazil—black culture is global, but people sometimes think it needs protection, or that it has a pure aspect. To protect it in which sense? Even that we have, in a way, welcomed those elements and embraced them and let them be part of our transforming cultural process. With black religions, for instance. Now they’re national. They’ve gone even international. They’ve gone to Uruguay, to Argentina, to other countries of South America: the deities, the music, the philosophy and everything. At the same time, some parts of the reactionary system have historically been against them and fought against this natural absorption by the society of African elements, trying to reject them, trying to impose a European kind of vision of what our


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culture should be. Protecting this African heritage is the first thing we should do, both by constant social mobilization in favor of those things and by governmental policies. This is something that has been going on in Brazil for at least thirty years now. Many governments in Bahía, in Pernambuco, in Rio, everywhere, have been mobilized to protect that ancient heritage we have, and then, of course, opened possibilities for them to mix, to mingle with new dynamics, new cultural forms, with the cyber culture, the modern culture, so that they can progress and continue to give a great contribution to our life and our culture. For me as an artist, I have been very respectful of the way you have been able to balance between history and an idea of the future. Sometimes, from outside, and from America especially, where the racial tension is so intense, you tend to understand Brazil as a kind of ideal situation, but it’s not. There are a lot of problems. Historically, we have been in struggle, in real struggle to protect and defend the natural leaning towards absorbing the African and the Indian heritage that our society has. In terms of film, I’m sure you have seen Cidade de Deus (City of God). From that film to Marcel Camus’ film Black Orpheus to a couple of other films, Quilombo, Pixote, these are all films that deal with class and race. What is your opinion for the near future, from globalist to localist, from local—Brazil—to global? I think that the global consciousness concerning all those elements that produce tension, fractions of societies, is changing in the sense that we all tend to understand a little more the needs for harmonizing the process and integrating races and cultures and producing multiculturalism and different melting-pot situations. That affects global things, tolerating the Arab, the African, the Eastern civilizations, getting rid of this hegemonic dominance by the West. That’s all comprehensive now in terms both of understanding and approaching the whole planet. That affects Brazil also, because Brazil originally has been a culture like that, mixing culture open-source. I see the future of Brazil as the future of the planet. We are definitely and finally engaged in the same destiny. My last question, for practical purposes: are you working on any new albums, productions, film, or music? I’m going to record a live project that I’ve been working on. It initially started with me and my son Bem and then we had Jaques Morelenbaum, a great cello player, joining, and then we had a percussionist, Gustavo di Dalva, from the black culture in Bahía, and a violinist from RussianFrench origin. We are also going to have a big symphonic orchestra, so we’re going to record that and that is going to be the next album. But then I’m already working on another project for next year that deals with Samba, a specific form of reading Samba, not a classical one.

MY RUN by: Tim VandeSteeg, Director/Producer After tragically losing his wife to breast cancer and struggling to raise three young children on his own, Terry Hitchcock seized on an idea. He wanted to accomplish the impossible: run 75 consecutive marathons in 75 consecutive days to bring attention to the incredibly difficult lives of single-parent families. My Run is more than a film about a guy running multiple marathons—it’s a film about the daily marathons we all run in life.

to make life better for other single parents and their kids. At the age of 57, out of shape, with heart, knee, and ankle problems, he decided to run from Minneapolis to Atlanta in 75 consecutive days to bring attention to and provide a voice for single-parent families. Despite the cold and heat, the rain and wind, the irate drivers trying to knock him off the road, the loss of all of his support team but one, Terry made it and touched thousands people with his message and courage along the way.

What inspired me to make this film was meeting Terry and listening to the story of his life: being a single parent, fighting through obstacles, the loss of loved ones, and his relentless pursuit and will to accomplish something monumental and meaningful. I was raised by a single parent and I understand firsthand what it’s like for a child to grow up in a singleparent household as well as how difficult it can be for the parent to cope with all of the life challenges of their situation.

As an independent filmmaker, I understand that challenges and obstacles go along with filmmaking. I approach filmmaking and my life with what I call the “Rocky Balboa Attitude.” As long as you keep fighting and you don’t quit, you NEVER fail. It doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked down, smacked around, beat up, as long as you don’t stay down you always have a chance, an opportunity to succeed. I believe that if you have passion, a work ethic, and persistence, then you will be triumphant.

Second, I absolutely dig “hero stories”—where people get beat down and fight their way back. In many senses, Terry is a real-life Forrest Gump, someone who had all the cards stacked against him and still managed to come out with a winning hand. Terry succeeded in the tremendous challenge of raising three kids on his own. That’s an incredible accomplishment, but it’s not a unique one, many other single parents are going through the same thing. What makes Terry’s story special is that after raising his kids, he took it upon himself


That’s why I made this film. I want people to see what’s truly possible when desire, physical endurance, and the will of the human spirit unite. Be Powerful, Be Unstoppable. My Run is the 10-time award-winning and inspirational documentary, narrated by Academy Award winner Billy Bob Thornton. The film is Directed and Produced by Tim VandeSteeg and produced by Mark Castaldo.

TOP LEFT: Terry Hitchcock beginning his marathon, running with signature track suit with his team RIGHT: MY RUN NARRATOR, BILLY BOB THORNTON

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First of all, why do you do what you do? What’s the thing in your life that you are the most excited about? What brings you the most joy right now? Oh, boy. Just start out of the box with a biggie. Oh God, it’s so hard to pick one! You know, it’s hard because there’s so much joy to be had.(laughs) You can name them if you want. Obviously the first has to be my daughter and husband. And then, being creative. And that happens in so many ways! I feel so fortunate to get paid to be an actor. I pinch myself. I get it from writing, I get it from baking, gardening...I sort of open myself to the creative flow, which is hard to do, by the way. It’s not like it’s a daily thing; I’m blocked in many ways as well. Part of my journey is sort of learning the ways that I’m unconsciously blocked and trying to open them up. I’m a complete “work in progress” in that area. (laughing) I love that—I’m a complete work in progress! (laughs) I would say anytime that I can get that creative flow going, it’s absolute utter joy.


Lauren Bowles Interview: Maranda Pleasant

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Okay, so I started out with the light question. Now we’re gonna go to the heavy hitting questions. Oh sh*t. (laughs) I love that THAT was the light one and I already took it so deep. I’m in trouble. What is it that makes you vulnerable? As a woman, what is it that makes you deeply vulnerable?

yourself up to true love. That love can be with your mate, with your child, with yourself, because we are ultimately such vulnerable little creatures in this world. And really anything can happen at any time and we are very addicted to comfort. (laughs) Life is just not always comfortable.

“Part of my journey is sort of learning the ways that I’m unconsciously blocked and trying to open them up. I’m a complete “work in progress” in that area.”

I would say what makes me vulnerable is when I allow my mind to spiral. You know? When I start not being in the present moment and I start skipping ahead and picturing my daughter driving on the freeway on a late saturday night. She’s three, so there’s no reason for me to do this. But when I start thinking about loving something that much and how little control I have of her well being it’s terrifying. Making peace with my body, which I really love the strength of. And it’s just about in the society we live in, making peace with the aesthetic of it. Yes.. Which I work on daily, ‘cause in my mind that’s the best thing I can do for my girl, is to love my body and the way I look. That’s what I sort of decided when she was young. And so it’s sort of about faking it until you can make it. That’s a big one. I’m so aware when we’re in my closet and I’m getting dressed about being very happy and not sort of mirroring to her dissatisfaction in that area.

(laughing) Nicely said! Which leads me to our next fun question: How do you deal with your pain? Hmm. Not a normal interview. Are you kidding? It’s my favorite thing ever. How do I deal with my pain? I’d say on a good day I open myself up to it and cry, and in a bad day I’m probably not aware of it and I go to those escapisms. I probably eat too many almonds. I probably over work out. I probably zone

out when I’m with my loved ones. Just probably not present. Tell me about your journey with yoga and meditation and how that has influenced you or your practice. Well, I hope it doesn’t sound too dramatic. It’s transforming, completely. Let’s see, it all began with yoga, definitely. I’d say when I was in my mid- to late-twenties I moved out here and there were yoga studios and I was always wanting to check it out. I’m sure more for the exercise element of it. And I used to dread going to class, but somehow something kept me going. It was about three or four years in that I started noticing that, I would always love AFTER class the way I felt, but it was really an effort to get myself onto the mat. Probably because unlike just plain exercise, which I do as well, it really makes you confront things with yourself, much more than just regular exercise does. I’m sure that’s what was so hard. But then afterwards, I would leave class and I’d felt like I had a massage and I just thought, God, nothing gives me this feeling. So after about three or four years, I actually started craving classes. You know, craving certain teachers and

“Ultimately everyone, no matter who you are, we all at our core want to just know that we matter.”

Yes, I’ve got to be more aware of that. That is so huge for girls. And I would say just trust—trusting love. You know, it can be so terrifying to open

PHOTOS: by deryl henderson

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experiences I would have in their classes. Shiva Rea is one of my favorite teachers. She writes for us! She’s wonderful. It was so amazing taking classes with her...And then I started studying with this woman Tanda who teaches in Hollywood. A friend of mine took a workshop with her. She was really my first instructor in terms of sitting meditation. And I still study with Tanda. Then I discovered through my midwife, of all people, this place. Have you heard of Insight LA? I don’t know much about it. Okay. It’s the most amazing resource. I took my natural child birthing class through them and they really sort of helped you learn how to breathe through contractions. And it’s such an analogy to life for me. What most women live in, is fear of the next contraction, or they’re reliving the pain of the one they just had. And nature really builds in these breaks, if you can be in the present and not feel the pain and not sort of anticipate the pain to come. And it really helped me deliver naturally. It’s just such an interesting approach to pain—of sort of being in it and sitting in it. Even in the most grieving of losses, or whatever sort of pain you’re sitting in, we can bear it. I realized when you said that it’s not always the pain, it’s the anticipation of pain that’s coming— Exactly! If you think about it, when I’m depressed, or whatever I’m sort of obsessing on, I’m adding my own, like the Buddhists would say, “it’s the second dart.” You know, there’s the original— there’s the stubbing of the toe. You stub your toe; that happens. Okay, so you experience the pain of that, but then you’re like, Dammit, I stubbed my toe. I always stub it! I hate this table! This is always this way—f*ck everything. Then you start spiraling and start creating a whole second level of suffering that you are bringing to the table; it has nothing to do with what’s in the present moment. Exactly.

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And so through Insight, after I delivered, I fell in love with this place. They offer so many classes. So every Thursday night I go and have my sitting group. It’s completely donation-based. Whether it’s yoga or meditation, how do you feel like your practice has shifted you as a woman? I think the biggest shift has been in realizing how much more we are creating our life than we realize. That was sort of the epiphany to me. I would say before I started my practice, it felt like everything happened to me, as opposed to saying, oh, I’m not only partaking in this, but I’m actually choosing this. You’re creating it. Once I had this awareness, it’s not like it whitewashes everything and you’re never sad again, it gives you such an approach to handle your emotions. Then you don’t run away with them and then it doesn’t become a snowball effect where your reaction then adds to your suffering. You know what I mean? Yeah. Maybe I need to practice some more. (laughs) When I meditate in the morning, it really changes my day and my relationship with my day. You’re on a hugely popular show, True Blood. What’s your favorite thing about the craft and what you do? There’s just something about getting up, putting it out there, and getting this exchange of energy. Whether your audience is a camera lens, or live theater, or whatever it is, just putting that out there and getting it back is just an honor. Very few people know what that’s like, to have millions of people see your art. That’s gotta be an amazing feeling to be witnessed in that way. Yeah. That’s a great word actually, ‘cause that’s really what it is like when you’re an actor and you’re working, and people are watching what you’re doing. You’re being seen. And ultimately everyone, no matter

who you are, we all at our core want to just know that we matter. At our core, we just want to know that we matter....I am so inspired by you, and thank you for being so real. Oh, well thank you for allowing it. You just never get asked questions like this, you have to know—trust me. This is just such a great forum. It really is.

Samantha Tannehill interview: lyle owerko

Samantha is an internationallyrecognized fashion model and globetrotting traveler with her sights set on making the world a better place. Through her efforts initiating a self-started NGO and gathering a vibrant group of professionals to aid in moving a vision forward, “Kids for Tomorrow” was born. Samantha was able to take a few minutes to share her journey with us.

Please explain a bit about your background and the journey that led you to where you are today? I am originally from Seguin, Texas, a small cow town outside of Austin. I was brought up by a policeman and a housewife turned local philanthropist. I knew I wanted to do something in this world, to make my mark and to feel that I have helped in some way. I didn’t want to just get the same job everyone else had, and go through the same routine (not that that was a bad plan). I felt like I needed to experience the world and make my life count for me. I was given an opportunity right out of high school to become a model, travel internationally, and live in exotic places for work. How could I pass that up? But through my experiences I was faced with the harsh realities of the world. I was lucky to have a strong support system at home and continued my journey, seeking fulfillment. After moving to New York and finding my home here I still felt a need for something bigger. When I took my first trip to Kenya, something changed inside of me. I met a group of people that were helping students and teachers in the slums and I felt an urge to be a part of that. I knew that there were tons of charities and nonprofits out there and I didn’t initially think I’d start a nonprofit; I just wanted to help. Explain your connection to education and also a little bit about the history behind Kids for Tomorrow. I grew up believing that school was a chore, though I did have moments when I enjoyed it. Like most kids in our country, school was a must, not something we wanted to necessarily do. When I met these students in Kenya I woke up and realized how much I have taken for granted in my life, and education was something I never really thought of as a luxury. As I’ve grown and seen and met new people, I realized just how important it is that we educate our youth. We need world leaders that believe in great things. Without literacy, our future looks bleak. Educated people have a chance to create a better future and I wanted to be a part of making that happen. What was your first experience like in Africa? My first trip to Kenya was in December 2005. I had expected the country to be riddled with wildlife, open plains, rural villages and indigenous cultures. When I landed in Nairobi, I was shocked to

find a large bustling city, and it was at that point that my world was about to change. I met some amazing people that really taught me a lot about life and those people really touched my life. I remember once walking through the slums and noticing a small group of students standing outside one of the temporary shacks. They were taking notes outside of a window. Apparently these students had been turned away from school because they were unable to pay their monthly fees and the teachers could not afford to keep them in class. I was shocked that these kids were still in uniform outside of class trying to get that lesson through the window. I decided on that trip back to New York that I would be doing something to help. What’s the best part about the schools you’ve worked with in Kenya? The best part about these schools is watching the students learn and grow as individuals. The help that Kids for Tomorrow is extending to them is allowing for a healthy and safe environment in which to learn. Seeing the children’s excitement about education and knowing that Kids for Tomorrow is doing a part in making that happen has been so rewarding. 2012—a potential year of great change. What change do you predict in your life? That’s a big question. I had a rough end to 2011. I suffered a major head injury in October and recovered during the rest of the year. I could not travel or work and was stuck at home, which, as a result, made me think more about my life. I decided I was taking everything for granted. I have been blessed to be able to bounce back so quickly and be back to work within a few months of this accident. 2012 has already been and will continue to be a great source of change for me. Certain things are much more important to me now and other things that I thought were important just don’t mean that much anymore. Kids for Tomorrow is growing. We are building a permanent structure for Sewa Junior Academy and we hope to see that completed this fall. We are also working on the curricula for local projects in the States and opportunities to create dialogs. Hopefully these efforts will foster mutual understanding through a peer exchange with students in the schools we are supporting in Kenya and the students in schools here in the States. Words to live by? “One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: That word is love.” — Sophocles

www.kidsfortomorrow.org PHOTO: by lyle owerko

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Next Summer, The Water Tank Project Will Set the New York City Skyline Awash in Art to Raise Awareness of the Global Water Crisis.

JUST ADD WATER BY: Kimberlie Birks It was water that almost killed her: “The worst

feeling I ever had—like stabs,” she recalls. It was 2007 and Mary Jordan found herself in the southern tip of Ethiopia where contaminated water had given her a severe case of giardia. “I was in the middle of nowhere. This girl, about twenty years old, took me very far—a day and a half trip—to the closest village that had a hospital,” Jordan recounts. The hospital was incredibly basic, but it saved Jordan’s life. “After I had recovered, the girl said to me ‘Our country needs help and so does yours. Just do anything.’” Back on her feet and back on the Ethiopian road, Jordan remarked that wherever she drove, she was followed—often for miles—by running boys. The boys waved urgently, called out, implored. It wasn’t food or money that they were after, it was containers: containers for water. It became clear to Jordan that this plight was not unique to Ethiopians, but shared by all people without modern plumbing. “I decided that I was going to go home and actually do

something,” Jordan recalls. “What? I didn’t know—but that something would at least be something more than nothing.”

Goldsworthy, Ed Ruscha, Jay-Z and Jeff Koons already on board, the initiative is sure to make waves.

Long after she had returned to New York City, Ethiopia kept lapping at the edges of Jordan’s mind. “One lovely day I looked up at the water tanks that so define the skyline of the city. I thought about the issue of containment, how water is about containment. Here was this beautiful icon on our rooftops, containing water everywhere we looked.”

“Art has this tremendous power to transcend and transform,” explains Jordan, who hopes that the project will not only heighten senses but also awareness and commitment to change. For Jordan, who has always been interested in art for action’s sake, the wrapping of the tanks is just the beginning. The conversation above the street is, after all, grounded in a commitment to meaningful change. Educational partnerships with local schools, a planned symposium on global water issues and numerous ways to tap in online—via the project’s website, blog, Facebook, Twitter or interactive app by design dynamo and Fuseproject founder, Yves Behar—will enable the project to engage a wider community in conversation about the power and possibilities of both art and advocacy. “The art serves as a visual dialog to inspire other dialogs,” Jordan affirms. “Ultimately I hope that its effect trickles into every corner of society, from personal routine to public policy.”

Motivated by her experiences as an awardwinning documentary filmmaker and active humanitarian, Jordan founded Word Above the Street, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting social justice and environmental awareness through art and technology. Its first initiative will use the universal language of art to draw attention to our most precious resource: water. For twelve weeks next summer, The Water Tank Project will transform New York City with a landmark public art exhibition that will raise our collective sight, our spirit, and hopefully, our dialog about the urgent need to protect and sustain the planet. The Water Tank Project is local in setting but global in aspiration. Using the water tank as canvas, the project aims to instigate a global think tank on new approaches to water sustainability. To achieve this, tanks across all five of the City’s boroughs will be wrapped with water-inspired artwork by everyone from local students to world-renowned contemporary artists. With participants the likes of Andy

Five years ago, it was contaminated water that ultimately provided Jordan with a chance encounter and an invitation that would change her life. The Water Tank Project is, in turn, her invitation: more than 100 chance encounters are waiting to reward the unsuspecting eye that ventures skyward, and invite them to do something—no matter how small. Just imagine what the ripple effects could be.

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Zokos.com By: Bradley Baer

Studies show that most of us are eating alone more and more often. In an era of online social networking, leisure in general is becoming increasingly solitary. Pair that up with a tough economy and the growing price of going out with friends, and you’ve got a pretty difficult world for creating and strengthening personal relationships. Enter Zokos.com—a site that brings us back together in real life over food. The founders believe we’re happier when we’re more intimate with our friends—and isn’t eating together one of the best ways to do that? They set out to discover why we don’t get together as much as we’d like. In a perfect world, everyone would love hosting get-togethers. But in reality, some people love throwing and some people love going. Zokos—a word they made up to encompass dinner parties, cocktail parties, tailgates, picnics, BBQs, garden parties, fundraisers, and every other type of social occasion—are about empowering hopeful hosts to throw better get-togethers, more often.        The site breaks down barriers to entertaining. “Friend-funding” (versus crowd-funding a la Kickstarter) allows guests to chip-in so the host doesn’t have to pay for everything. That opens the door to making get-togethers more special—lobster anyone? A “friends-of-friends” feature encourages RSVP-ed guests to invite friends of their own. The result is more collaborative parties that allow us to spend time with friends in real life and expand our networks in a natural, comfortable way.   Like other crowd-funding sites, the host sets a goal. Unlike other crowd-funding sites, the goal is a number of people, not a number of dollars. Rather than saying “I’m having a party. You should come,” it’s like saying “Let’s have a party! Who’s with me?” When enough people commit, the party is on. The chip-in encourages friends to RSVP seriously, so fewer people flake at the last minute. The host sets a maximum number of guests too, creating urgency so people don’t wait until the last possible moment to RSVP. Guests and hosts can even collaborate to plan the menu. The idea first originated when the founders took part in a veggie dinner club as graduate students at Yale. When the group grew to over 450 members, they quickly realized the benefits extended far beyond a home-cooked meal each week. Each dinner had 10-20 students from various graduate programs. While the gatherings were centered around food, the real benefit came from friendships formed within the community. Zokos took the idea to several other universities before creating a site that anyone can use.      The name “Zokos” references the centuries-old Basque gastronomical societies known as “txokos.” Members collectively chip-in to purchase a house where they take turns cooking for each other. These clubs still exist today and are central nodes for culinary exploration and cultural preservation.   

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ernie Taupin and Elton John have been making music history for more than forty years. Taupin has been the lyrical genius behind many of John’s major popular hits, including “Rocket Man,” “Tiny Dancer,” and “Candle in the Wind.” According to Elton John, “Without Bernie, basically, there wouldn’t have been an Elton John...I’m just a purveyor of Bernie’s feelings, Bernie’s thoughts.” But there is much more creative vitality beyond just songwriting for Taupin. Equally there is the other artist in him—the one with the brushes and paints who creates emotive canvases. Ranging from abstract blocks and oblongs of tantalizing hues to cryptic social commentary captured in multi-media form, his works are rich in color, depth, and varying complexity. Taupin doesn’t stop there. He also hosts a bi-weekly program on Sirius XM, The Loft channel 30, “American Roots Radio with Bernie Taupin.” Here, Taupin enthusiastically showcases his favorite music ranging from Blind Willie Johnson and Louis Jordon to Dean Martin, The Louvin Brothers and Lionel Hampton to Mahalia Jackson.

Why do you create? It’s either that or suffer a cranial explosion of nuclear proportions. What makes you vulnerable? My children, the homeless and the passing of a good dog. What do you do with your pain? Live with it temporarily, contemplate it, then either paint it, put it in a song or bury it in a small hole in the ground. How do you meet the world every day and bring more color to it? With difficulty on occasion, but generally with a positive attitude. Early risers catch the world waking and see its true colors. What has been your greatest struggle? Coming to terms with mistakes I’ve made in the past and curbing my distaste for campaign funding. How do you reset? Sex and dry martinis. Do you listen to music when you create? What kind/who? It’s a mood thing dictated by the nature of the canvas and the time of day. Aaron Copland mixes well with bright colors in the morning, and anything from George Jones to Lonnie Johnson and The Louvin Brothers can accompany me throughout the day. Late afternoons and evenings belong to Howlin’ Wolf and Coleman Hawkins.


Where are you living these days? I reside in my fertile imagination and the Santa Ynez Valley. What’s most in your heart at the moment? Currently a small nest of birds preparing to fly, but consistently it’s family—first, foremost and forever. What would you say to young people?

Read books, discover the blues and don’t Tweet. What projects are you creating now? Notes for the 50th edition of my “American Roots Radio” show, a large canvas with distinctly Texan overtones, two musicals and this odd questionnaire. Who has influenced you most in your life? My Mother set me on the right track, Marty Robbins made me want to write songs, and Jesus Christ did the rest. What artists have had the most influence on your work, if any? Initially Hans Hofmann perhaps, but the diversity of my work doesn’t afford me the luxury of a singular artist to plagiarize. What influence has your songwriting had on your work? None whatsoever. Who are your favorite artists? Helen Frankenthaler, Anselm Kiefer, Hans Hofmann, Paul Gauguin and the Looney Tunes Guys. Describe yourself in a few sentences. A simple vessel with complex overtones, opinionated on occasions but willing to listen. Comfortable with reclusiveness and devoted to privacy and family. Patriotic to a fault and allergic to cruelty, ignorance and bad music.


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Bernie Taupin will be at the “Beyond Words” art exhibit from August 2-25 at the russell collection in austin, tx. For more information visit www.russell-collection.com. originmagazine.com | 49


Left: Somebody’s Sister Daughter Mother “He saw the pain in my eyes. He could see my human. He helped me escape.” [Bulgarian woman trafficked to France.]

At The Intersection of Art and Human Rights: Using the power of art to expose modern slavery In 2005, on behalf of the U.S. State Department, I undertook a photographic assignment that changed my life. I was hired to photograph human trafficking on an itinerary that took me to Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand, India and Italy. Though I was well-traveled, I had never really heard about human trafficking—a euphemism for modern slavery—or that it ranks third in global criminal enterprise, just after arms and drug trafficking, at $32 billion a year. In Hong Kong, I saw Indian women being pimped out in front of a 7-Eleven. I saw beautiful young Russian girls fluttering like butterflies through a casino in Macau. I interviewed Burmese migrant workers who had been held for more than six months on Thai fishing boats. I photographed male tourists from wealthy Western and Asian countries, flooding the streets of Thai resorts such as Pattaya, with local girls and boys on their arms. I saw children as young as seven laboring 20-hour days at carpet and sari looms in Indian villages. I saw entire families toiling at Indian brick kilns or stone quarries to pay off debts that had

ballooned over generations. There were street children, some of them intentionally maimed, dodging traffic on Mumbai streets, begging or selling, with the proceeds going to a syndicate boss. I saw young girls who had just been rescued from hidden crawl spaces in a Mumbai brothel. I met a Nepalese father and a Nepalese mother— simple farmers—desperately searching for their 15-year old daughters among Mumbai’s 10,000 brothels. I heard the stories of Nigerian women in Turin, Italy, who had been promised good jobs only to discover, upon arriving in Italy, that there were no jobs and that they had to pay their “agent” 50,000 Euros to regain their freedom—or else. Slavery in the 21st Century? How is this possible? The more I saw, the more unbelievable it became. The subject gripped my heart. What I found particularly insidious and what makes this global tragedy so difficult to combat is that traffickers prey upon what makes us most human: the desire to improve our lot in life, and the need to trust in and connect with others. They ensnare their victims with promises of good PHOTOS: COURTESY OF KAY CHERNUSH

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jobs, education, social standing and the opportunity for a better life—even love. Once uprooted and in a foreign environment, the victims learn that there are no legitimate jobs waiting, that there is no bright future, and that, at a minimum, they must work off huge bogus debts before they can be free. The reality of their enslavement is driven home by physical and psychological coercion, rape, torture and other brutalities, confiscation of identity papers, threats of exposure to the authorities, and threats and violence against their families. My work speaks to the experiences and suffering of the hundreds of thousands of men, women and children caught up in this web, and asks the viewer to consider this plight from their perspective. Looking outward through the victims’ eyes, the images challenge us to imagine the daily horrors, tedium, desperation and ambiguity of their lives. Initially, I shot in a documentary style. But I soon became convinced that this approach did not really get at the truth of what underlies the experience of being trafficked. The challenges were both moral and aesthetic: how to make visually-compelling images that avoid exposing to public stigma or further danger the very people I want to help? How to avoid re-exploiting those who have already been so cruelly exploited? In response to these challenges, I actively involve trafficking survivors in a process that explores their experience and helps transform how they see themselves and how they are seen by the public. Since the resulting abstract imagery does not reveal the subject’s identity, accompanying “audio portraits” provide counterpoint to bring the actual sounds of each person’s ordeal, suffering and resolve into the artwork. The images, drawn from their particular stories, soon give way to universal themes of betrayal, deception, violence, fear, escape, survival, courage and hope— common reference points from which viewers can draw their own meaning and emotional connection. Their ambiguity and surface beauty serve as a magnet to draw the viewer into the horror of what is being depicted and, from there, to a reconsideration of their own attitudes toward violence, coercion and powerlessness.

Sex Tourist “They must have a hole where their hearts should be.” [Thai woman trafficked within Thailand, from rural north.]

The series is called Bought & Sold: Voices of Human Trafficking, and was widely exhibited over the last year and a half in open-air installations in cities throughout the Netherlands. Tracking-surveys revealed that more than 55,000 passersby in The Hague and in Amsterdam alone stopped to look at these large billboard-sized images and absorb the caption information. Last summer, to broaden the scope of the work and bring it to audiences around the world, I formed ArtWorks for Freedom, a unique non-profit organization dedicated to using the power of art to illuminate this dark societal issue that people might not otherwise want to consider. The “Bought & Sold” exhibit is a focal point and catalyst for other antitrafficking events to be created by international and local artists turning their own artistic “lenses” on the

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subject. These might include, for example, dance, drama, rock concerts, multimedia, films, guerilla street theater, poetry slam, workshops, essay competition for students, traditional arts such as shadow puppetry, and so on—wherever the creative mind leads. Our goal is to use the power of art to reframe how this global criminal enterprise and human tragedy is portrayed, to get people to think about it in new ways and to inspire personal involvement to end it. Another goal is to empower survivors and transform not only how they are seen by the public, but how they see themselves. Victims of trafficking are all around us, hidden in plain sight. So it’s important to know the signs and be informed. Take action. There needs to be involvement on every front. Check out www. artworksforfreedom.org and Google “human trafficking” for other links. We welcome everyone who wants to participate— as creative artists, sponsors, donors or volunteers. Can art change such a complex, tragic, widespread problem? At least we can make a beginning.

Voodoo Inverso “With this picture I reverse the voodoo onto my trafficker. I am not afraid anymore.” [Nigerian woman trafficked to Italy, then France.]

ArtWorks for Freedom’s first major international awareness campaign will take place in Singapore next July/ August under the patronage of the highly-respected Ambassador Tommy Koh. Plans are underway for a rotating outdoor exhibit of “Bought & Sold” as well as a Film Forum, an exhibit of art by trafficking survivors, and a monologue about a trafficked woman written and performed by AWFF contributing artist Dawn Saito. Preliminary talks are also under way for AWFF awareness campaigns in New York, Italy, Cambodia and Haiti. Stay tuned. Kay Chernush is an award-winning photographer with more than 30 years experience in commercial and fine art image-making. Her work on human trafficking has been widely published and exhibited at the United Nations, the World Bank and as large-scale outdoor installations in the Netherlands. In 2011, she founded ArtWorks for Freedom, a nonprofit organization that uses the power or art in the global fight against modern slavery and human trafficking.

Lowest on the Foodchain “People want their food to be cheap. Without a fair price will there ever be fair working conditions?” [Migrant laborers in Western Europe.]

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BY: Michael Trainer

Today I am living on $1.50 for all of my food and drink costs. Why? Because 1.4 billion people around the world don’t have the option, and because I want to support a friend who showed me how to be a better man, a more gracious leader, and a more inspired human being. His name is Wilfrid Macena. I met Wilfrid more than two years ago while volunteering in a field hospital run by Project Medishare in the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake. Wilfrid had his leg trapped under the rubble and endured an arduous 7-day journey to receive medical attention for his severed leg. He is a man who through tremendous pain and hardship had the courage and the boundless spirit to see opportunity in challenge. I was with Wilfrid the day he visited the prosthetics lab for a fitting to receive his prosthetic leg. While others adjusted to a foreign appendage, I witnessed Wilfrid joyfully break dancing and kicking a soccer ball within the first half hour of receiving the leg. His courage and will were so immediately apparent that he was offered a position at Project Medishare to train in creating prostheses for other amputee survivors. While this in itself is remarkable, what PHOTOS: BY Jonathan Olinger

is truly extraordinary is what Wilfrid did afterwards. Wilfrid founded and became the captain of a soccer team composed entirely of amputees. They practice and play competitively, and Wilfrid recently concluded a tour across the United States where he also spent time training returning US veteran amputees in playing soccer with crutches. Wilfrid now has his sights set on growing his team the Tarantulas (named as such because a tarantula will regenerate a lost leg), and he is also training for the Olympics as a runner. He told me nearly as soon as he could walk, he wanted to run. Wilfrid is a hero to me, a man who leads through his hopeful and determined worldview. Where others saw a victim, he saw a potential victory. When I asked Wilfrid if he would want to join me in Living Below the Line to support Project Medishare’s work, he said characteristically, “Of course, I would do anything to help Haiti.” So today, Wilfrid and I live below the line. I do it to support the man who inspired me to be a better version of myself, and I hope in the process we can help provide others with a new sense of possibility.

Live Below the Line is a campaign that’s changing the way people think about poverty—and making a huge difference—by challenging everyday people to live on the equivalent of the extreme poverty line for 5 days. The Global Poverty Project is an international educational and campaigning organization that activates citizens to be a part of the global movement to end extreme poverty. Michael Trainer is the Global Poverty Project’s U.S. Country Director.

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One Vision, Many Paths: Somaly Mam The Survivor-led Movement to End Sex Slavery BY: Amy Merrill

governmental organization AFESIP (Agir Pour les Femmes en Situation Précaire), founded in 1996, has become the largest shelter network in Southeast Asia. AFESIP’s holistic approach ensures that victims not only escape the brothels but have the emotional and economic strength to face the future with hope. Services include outreach and rescue, counseling and medical care, skills training and basic education, and reintegration support to help a woman find work or start her own business. This is no quick fix. In Somaly’s words, it takes five minutes to save a girl from the brothel, but five years, or longer, to recover her. Each center has created a nurturing, family-like environment to help its 70 residents overcome challenges like mistrust, medical complications, PTSD and illiteracy.

“She doesn’t know her real name, or her birthday: she was sold at age 12 and suffered nearly a decade of rape and abuse in the brothels of Phnom Penh... She is smart, charismatic, and beautiful. She rejects titles of “heroine” or “global leader” but deserves both.”

I work for a Cambodian woman and former sex slave named Somaly Mam. She doesn’t know her real name, or her birthday: she was sold at age 12 and suffered nearly a decade of rape and abuse in the brothels of Phnom Penh. But Somaly states in her memoir that her own story is not important—she is simply giving a voice to the voiceless, to help others to truly understand the depth of this atrocity. And she’s partly right: Somaly’s experience is not unique. There are an estimated 30 million slaves in the world today, with 2 million women and children sold into the sex trade each year, and 100,000 underage victims within US borders. What sets her story apart is her course of action after escaping from the brothel, beginning with the rescue of just one girl, and then a few more. To date, Somaly estimates that she has assisted over 4,000 women and children in Cambodia alone, and her non-

But Somaly has built more than a shelter network: she has amassed a following as the face of the anti-trafficking movement, fearlessly speaking out on behalf of victims and against traffickers, “johns” and corrupt officials. She is smart, charismatic, and beautiful. She rejects titles of “heroine” or “global leader” but deserves both. In 2007, 24-year-old Americans Nic Lumpp and Jared Greenberg flew to Cambodia to see the centers and offer to help in any way they could. With Somaly, they co-founded the Somaly Mam Foundation to raise funds and awareness for her work, tackle the macro issue by leveraging US resources and online networks, and develop a platform for a survivor voice in the anti-trafficking movement. We cannot solve sex slavery without empowering victims to be survivors, and empowering survivors to be a part of the solution. To that effect, SMF’s Voices For Change (VFC) leaders work alongside the shelter team in rescues, counseling and recovery, which has led to both higher retention rates in the shelters and in the PHOTO: ABOVE BY OLIVIA DUFOUR

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Amy Merrill is the Director of Marketing & Development at Somaly Mam Foundation. (Statistics are from Not For Sale, Polaris Project, US State Department’s TIP Report.)

number of women who initially decide to accept services. Leaders lend a survivor perspective and answer questions on a regional anti-trafficking radio show, conduct trainings for law enforcement agents and judges to better recognize and address trafficking cases, and last year led Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on a tour through one of AFESIP’s centers. Both Somaly’s life and the inaugural years of the VFC program have modeled the potential domino effect from every victim saved. A girl may be only one, but as a survivor she has potential to help many more, and with each life saved the impact spreads exponentially. VFC leader Sopeap was instrumental in the rescue of 30 women last year, her own experiences granting her the ability to navigate delicate situations and assuage the fears of the most traumatized and skeptical victims. Others are preparing for careers in law, PR, economics and business, and in doing so, preparing to become the next generation of activists and agents of change. But rescue and recovery is only part of eradication of slavery, and the State Department outlines three P’s—Prevention, Protection, and Prosecution—as the fundamental framework for diplomatic, economic, political, legal, and cultural contexts. In real terms, this means targeting the “johns” or clients, passing and enforcing victim-protection laws, and fostering partnerships across borders and economic strata. I would add a fourth fundamental: People. We must mobilize a critical mass of individuals worldwide to merge their compassion with real action. Here are a few ways to begin:


Connect. Like SMF on Facebook and follow @SomalyMam on Twitter, Tumblr, and YouTube. Repost/reblog/retweet. Visit www.somaly.org, join the mailing list, and learn about PROJECT FUTURES global, our network of passionate volunteers who are using what they know and who they know to raise awareness and funds for SMF in their communities.


Share. As William Wilberforce once said, “You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know.” Pass along articles, stories, posts, or Somaly’s memoir, Road of Lost Innocence, to friends and family.


Support. Just $10 could provide a week’s worth of food for a girl in the center, and a $50 monthly recurring donation supports these needs year-round. Alternatively, buy a $15 survivor-made Akun (“thank you”) bracelet and wear it as a conversation-starter.

We cannot reach our full potential as a global community until we share the responsibility of eradication, and achieve the vision of a world where women and children are safe from slavery.


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FILM -More than 400,000 children work in American fields to harvest the food we all eat -The average farmworker family makes less than $17,500 a year, well below the poverty level for a family of four. -Farmworkers can be paid hourly, daily, by the piece or receive a salary, but they are always legally exempt from receiving overtime and often from receiving even minimum wage. -Increasing the incomes of migrant farmworkers by 40% would add just $15 to what the average US household spends every year on fruits and vegetables, according to a researcher at University of California Davis. -EPA pesticide regulations are set using a 154-pound adult male as a model. They do not take children or pregnant women into consideration.

Who Picks Your Food? By Susan MacLaury Susan MacLaury, Founder of Shine Global and Executive Producer of The Harvest/La Cosecha is a licensed social worker and also holds a Ph.D. in health education. In addition to her Shine responsibilities, she is Associate Professor of Health Education at Kean University in Union, NJ.


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Every year in the United States as many as 400,000 children join their parents on the road… not to see Disneyworld, or visit a state park, or to be dropped off at summer camp. Theirs is a lengthy trip that may take them hundreds of miles from home and last for as many as six months. Many won’t return home until October… some not until November. These are the children who pick as much as ¼ of the produce Americans eat. Their existence and the dire circumstances under which they live and work are one of the United States better kept secrets. In 2007, Shine Global, a nonprofit film production company dedicated to ending child exploitation and abuse, was approached by Producer Rory O’Connor and Director U. Roberto Romano to make a feature documentary about this little known population. Shine committed to the project after learning that these children drop out of school at four times the national average, largely because they work as many as 30 hours a week while attending school.

Agriculture is the most dangerous occupation for minors, who are routinely exposed to unacceptable levels of pesticides and put at risk of injuries. They can work 14-16 hours a day seven days a week during nonschool weeks. Despite this, their families live in substandard housing with poor, if any sanitation and running water, and make on average only $17,500 a year. It seemed impossible that American child agricultural workers could be maltreated in these ways given the protections afforded children generally. However, Shine learned that the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), passed in 1938, draws clear distinctions between children working in agriculture and those working in other professions. Under the FLSA, children under the age of 12 may be employed outside of school hours with parental consent on “small farms” (usually those with fewer than 11 employees). 12- and 13-year-olds may work outside of school hours in any non-hazardous agricultural job with written parental consent or on a farm that also employs their parent(s)


or person standing in place of the parent(s). 14- and 15-year olds may work outside of school hours in any agricultural occupation except those declared hazardous by the Secretary of Labor. Efforts were made by US Labor Secretary Hilda Solis to increase protections for child farm workers but they were defeated in April 2012 after a long and contentious dialogue between different farm associations and child rights activists (http://www.dol.gov/ opa/media/press/whd/WHD20120826. htm). On the legislative front, US Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard has introduced the Children’s Act for Responsible Employment (CARE) to Congress six times over the past ten years, but it has never made it out of committee. If passed it would prohibit children below age 14 from working for hire in agriculture and limit the number of hours that 14-15 year olds could work during school weeks and vacations. It would also set 18 as the minimum age for hazardous jobs, raise the labor standards for pesticide exposure to the levels currently enforced by the EPA,

and penalize employers who violate these terms. Children working on family farms would be exempt. Shine wanted to give voice to these child workers but finding funding to do so was very difficult until Actor/ Activist, Eva Longoria, asked to join the filmmaking team as an Executive Producer. Her concern for child workers is undeniable as she observes: “The children who help feed the most well fed nation in the world often go to bed hungry. Every time you eat a salad, every time you eat a vegetable, you have to realize that this may have been picked by a child. “ Eva’s involvement brought attention to these children, their families, and the resources needed to fund the film. The Harvest/La Cosecha was shot during the 2009-2010 harvest seasons and released theatrically last Summer. Eva’s involvement has meant much to her: “Using my voice to increase awareness about the plight of farmworker children has been an incredible honor. This has been one of the most important issues I have had the opportunity to work on.”

Victor Huapilla is a hardworking 16 year-old living in Florida. His family migrated to the US when he was young, looking for a better life and is on the path to full citizenship. Given the Florida climate, there is fieldwork all year long and the constant availability of crops to harvest locally means that he works day in and day out, every day of the year. To help support his family, Victor has had to make harvesting, not school, his focus. He tells us “I won’t leave the fields unless my parents come with me.” But the expenses of legally bringing his two older sisters to America bankrupts the family and they can’t afford to migrate for work. Will they be able to keep the family together?

Zulema Lopez, a young 12-year-old, can only remember working in the fields. One of her earliest childhood memories is of her mother teaching her how to pick and clean strawberries. Having attended 8 schools in the last 8 years, she continually fails academically and is afraid she won’t make it into high school. When asked what her dreams are, she shakes her head and says she has none.

ABOVE: Executive Producer Eva Longoria at the Los Angeles premiere of THE HARVEST/LA COSECHA

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Interview with Josh and Rebecca Tickell Mikki Willis: Give us a little synopsis of what the film’s about. Josh Tickell: On the surface, the movie is about an oil spill—about the BP oil spill. Underneath the surface it’s about the system in our government for extracting energy and how that’s rigged, or fixed. Kind of like a game that’s fixed—no matter how you play the game, the outcome is always fixed. And what we mean by that is, there’s so much impetus for change, there’s so much desire to not have this oil economy continue, but it continues nonetheless. And people often assume that’s because technology is not good enough, or there’s no money being invested, or it’s just not ready yet. What we reveal in The Big Fix is that it’s none of that. It’s actually a system of government and corporate behavior that work in collusion and lock step with one another to deflect any momentum toward true alternative energies. And often when something is going on behind the scenes and people fight for change, the fight will go on and on and on until they understand the mechanism that they’re actually fighting against. You can’t disassemble a bomb unless you understand how it was built. And so really what the movie does is detail the inner workings of the fairly old and various collusions between fossil fuel energy companies and the US government. And our hope in showing that is that it’s the blueprint for change. If you understand how they do what they do and how they operate today, it begins to open a new conversation on—how do we change that? MW: Beautiful...A couple can be doing anything else in their life that is far less dangerous and probably far more lucrative, and more fun in many ways. But here you are and you’ve dedicated your life and you’ve sacrificed so much to really make the world a better place for all of us, and I was really impressed by what you guys were willing to endure to make this film. Does that dynamic of working together that close on such an intense project, does that ever weigh heavy on your relationship? Rebecca Tickell: I think it weighs heavy on us as people, but in terms of our relationship, we came together with this commitment. It was part of what had us fall in love; we saw in each other this love and passion for doing something that was bigger than ourselves. If anything, it’s made us stronger, and more in love, and feel so grateful for the fact that we are together in all of this. I think as individuals, we’ve watched each other go through different phases as we’ve filmed the movie. And you know, it’s not fluffy like Fuel was. This is dark stuff we are dealing with. We’re pulling back the curtain on a major aspect of all of our lives; this originmagazine.com | 58

Interview: Mikki Willis, elevate films

rigged theme that we’re all a part of. And that’s kind of scary. For me personally, it’s been six months of being extremely depressed, and that of course impacted Josh. It’s been a rollercoaster ride of two human beings experiencing something that’s very traumatic, but in terms of our relationship, we came out more in love and happier together than ever. MW: You mentioned “pulling back the veil” Rebecca, and that can be a dangerous thing; really to expose the faces of greed. Do you ever fear for your own safety? JT: I don’t think we do, and I think the reason is because in the movie we didn’t document anything that isn’t already documented. The majority of the information that we put in the film about the oil spill, came from the president’s commission on the oil spill. Turns out that very few people read the document. The rest of the movie is either science, or stuff that we filmed ourselves. We approached it just as anybody would approach putting together a true investigation on an issue. I don’t think we put out anything in the movie that’s controversial enough to endanger us.

RT: Let’s say we get a critical mass of people to watch The Big Fix, which of course we certainly want, and it reaches the quote-unquote tipping point. And let’s say the result of that is that tons of people end up pulling out of BP and it affects BP’s business. Then I might think different in terms of the answer to this question. It’s not to say there haven’t been moments in time when we didn’t feel fearful, because we have felt fearful. I think when money is involved it becomes like Lord of The Rings—we’re all willing to kill to get the gold ring. There’s a dark side to our culture, to our society that we are completely blind to. Where we live is inside of this cultural trance, because we’ve been indoctrinated that this is the way that life is supposed to look. We go, we fill up our cars with gasoline, and we don’t ever think twice about it. We don’t realize that in doing so, that we’re a part of the very thing that ultimately could lead to our destruction. When you finally connect those dots and you see how we’re all a part of this rigged game, then it makes you want to do something about it. I think that if people had this information, they wouldn’t fill up at BP, and it could pose a threat to their business model. MW: Yeah. Good point. Independent films are really one of the greatest resources these days to actually find unfiltered truth. JT: I think you’re right and I also think that truth is such a subjective thing. Right now, BP is running 24/7 on most of the major networks. They’ve upped the number of ads. As the attention around the movie goes up, so too does BP’s advertising. And so the truth for most people is that the Gulf is safe, that it’s clean, shrimp are good, it’s all back to normal, no problems, business as usual. That’s truth. The truth for us, from what we saw in the movie and for people who’ve seen the movie, it’s completely the opposite. The oil is still leaking. The fish are

toxic; they’re mutated; they’ve got oil in them. The shrimp population has collapsed. And the beaches are not safe, nor is the water, and people are getting sick. So both things are true and people will argue that both things are true. MW: Well, at least the perception is. JT: The bigger question, rather than what’s true and what’s false, is what do we want? Do we want a world in which the truth for anyone is that environmental devastation? As Polly Higgins calls it, “ecocide”: the act of actively destroying the environment, such that species and eventually human beings are compromised. Do we want that to be the truth for anyone? I think it’s universal. I think human beings universally would say, “We don’t want that world for anyone.” I don’t wish that on anyone and I don’t think anyone else does. MW: Are you aware of any major networks or television shows, independent shows, that are reporting such instances honestly? RT: It’s dangerous when this kind of information ends up in the mainstream media, because then suddenly these large corporations are forced to talk about things they would rather avoid discussing. If we’re just a bunch of hippie activist filmmakers out there doing a march to discuss something, it doesn’t really pose any problems for them. MW: Yeah, that’s right. What can we the audience do to help spread the message of The Big Fix? JT: I think that people can definitely get the DVD, they can show it to other people, and they can ‘play it forward.’ RT: You can go to TheBigFixMovie.com and it will show you different ways. JT: And on June 19th, it will be available all over the Internet. MW: Wonderful. And what’s next for you two? JT: The next movie we’re making is a 100% solutionpower movie. It’s about the green revolution. Not so much the green revolution, you know. Not like the eco Whole Foods movement revolution. This is about a revolution, which within the next 10 years will make energy essentially free. It will be so cheap, it will be free. Just like hard drive storage is today, or internet bandwidth is today, that’s where energy is going. And that will redefine human civilization as we know it. And that’s what this movie is about.

TheBigFixMovie.com PHOTOS: OPPOSITE: TOP LEFT: JOSH & REBECCA TICKELL; BOTTOM RIGHT: executive producer tim robbins with rebecca & josh tickell; this page: top: peter fonda & jason mraz marching in jackson square; bottom: deepwater horizon oil spill; photo courtesy of greenfire productions

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If you’ve felt indifferent to the industrial hemp movement so far, this lively documentary will jumpstart your thinking. After witnessing the arrest of Woody Harrelson for planting four feral hemp seeds in Kentucky and his subsequent trial and acquittal, you will likely be spittin’ mad. You might be nearly as mad as traveling hemp activist Craig Lee and a number of old-school Kentucky tobacco farmers who want to grow the multipurpose crop as a way to save their farms. You might become as disillusioned as Alex White Plume, leader of a Lakota “Tiospaye” (family clan), and the first family to plant industrial hemp on American soil since the 1950’s. He makes a startling case that his right to grow the crop is a sovereignty issue. Julia Butterfly Hill goes to extreme lengths to protest the pulping of old-growth forests by living for over two years at the top of a 1000-year-old redwood tree in Northern California. Gatewood Galbraith, the fiery orator of the U.S. Reform party, attempts to bring the public at large to its senses in his own inimitable style. A hyper-paced ride with a sizzling soundtrack, this motion picture puts hemp at the heart of just about every grassroots issue in America today. Featured players include Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Ralph Nader, and Woody Harrelson. More than a political study of cannabis, Hempsters is a rousing portrait of our country’s most spirited and sensible free-thinkers.

BY: Christoph Draeger and Heidrun Holzfeind

I Was Pro-Hemp Before Hemp Was Cool.

Hempsters-Plant the Seed

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Every state in the US now attempts to manage— or many would claim, ignore—an ever-growing Hemp Movement. From presidential candidates to Washington lawmakers, and even to the hallowed halls of the US Courts, hemp has become a burgeoning and persistently annoying subject for lawmakers. A recent survey sponsored by the White House asking US citizens which issue is most important to them, came back with “hemp restoration” at the top of the list. The restoration of hemp as an agricultural crop, economic engine and bio-industry has now become the new “in vogue” American issue. That wasn’t always the case, but thanks to those early pioneers in the US Hemp Movement, it’s now a fact that can no longer be marginalized. In 1997, Woody Harrelson brought national attention to hemp propagation when he defiantly planted four hemp seeds in a Kentucky field. He intentionally did so in the presence of law enforcement officials, and was promptly arrested. But he wasn’t without friends and supporters. Thanks to them, he was eventually exonerated after a seven-year legal battle and the keen legal skills of the popular former Kentucky governor, Louie Nunn. Woody brought the issue to the forefront of public dialog in a style never before seen, but he did something else that day too—he caught the attention of young aspiring producer Diana Oliver from Dallas, Texas. “I was working for a TV production company and had pitched the idea of producing an environmental piece. My bosses liked it and left it to me to choose a subject. I started looking for the perfect theme. I was sitting at my desk when an AP wire came across reporting that Woody Harrelson had been arrested in Kentucky. I had met Woody and actually worked with him on the movie, White Men Can’t Jump. I knew right then that hemp was what I’d been looking for. I had been introduced to hemp and it’s benefits a few years before by a friend, but looking back now, what I would learn about hemp is the real story. Hemp would change my life forever and become not only my passion, but my life’s work.” What started off as a small TV feature production, evolved into fifteen years of work, and spurred the creation of a top-rated documentary film company, Thunderbird Productions, and a full-scale documentary film, Hempsters—Plant the Seed. “My eyes were opened by the process of my own film—I spent the first two years heavily researching the issue, then the next ten traveling and filming with a camera crew. I was overwhelmed by the endless benefits hemp offered and the potential impact it could make on our health,


economy, industry, environment and overall sustainability. It has nearly 50,000 uses. I was amazed by how many people knew about hemp, young and old, but equally amazed as to who did not—people my own age were clueless. At first when I brought it up everyone would say, ‘That’s just another word for pot right?’ Wrong,” Diana recalls. Hemp and marijuana are two separate plants from the same family; the same way a pine and oak tree are two separate trees, but both are trees. While sixteen US states have created legislation in

one form or another legalizing medical marijuana, hemp remains illegal. Hemp possesses little or no measurable amounts of THC—the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. If hemp or marijuana are grown in any relative proximity to one another, hemp—being the dominant plant—overpowers marijuana and renders it neutral, or in other words, voids its ability to produce THC. The ideal way to eradicate marijuana would be to plant hemp. Every scientist, expert, law enforcement entity and lawmaker in the nation knows this fact, yet conveniently ignores it.

www.hempstersthemovie.com originmagazine.com | 61

LEFT: WILLIE NELSON CENTER: Illustration from the Vienna Dioscurides. Arabic words at left READ “garden hemp”. DatED before 512 RIGHT: MERLE HAGGARD

This begs the question: Why? Well that’s a complicated question, and the answer depends on whom you talk to. Many hemp advocates will declare that it was all a conspiracy lead by notable figure, William Randolph Hearst, who utilized his newspapers to vilify hemp; not due to any public concern, but rather to give the timber industry, in which he was heavily invested, a leg-up on market competition. Indeed his mass newspaper holdings were the main tool used by corporate and government lobbyists to pass the “Marihuana Tax Stamp Act” of 1937, which effectively made hemp illegal, right alongside its notorious cousin, marijuana. That was the beginning of fooling the public into believing marijuana and hemp were the same thing. Many historians claim that some other industry leaders definitively and intentionally merged the two plants as one by utilizing a complex propaganda campaign to garner public support for eradicating not only the plant but also the industry as a whole. Not everyone agrees it was a conspiracy. Some think hemp was the choice least favored by consumers compared to cotton and the newly developed creation of synthetics. Regardless of the reason, and the long list of conspiracy theories, hemp was the baby thrown out with the bath water. It took nearly fifteen years from concept to completion and final release of Hempsters—Plant the Seed. “I realized in the end that I had created more a chronology of the US Hemp Movement than just another documentary about hemp. Hempsters—Plant the Seed is about the beginning fight and everyone who stood on the front line.” Hempsters—Plant the Seed captured not only the biggest names in the originmagazine.com | 62

Hemp Movement, but also major figures in Hollywood, the music industry, environmentalism and politics, like Ralph Nader, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, and of course, Woody Harrelson. It’s also chock-full of people who aren’t so well-known, like Donna Cockrel, the Kentucky teacher fired for having Woody Harrelson come speak to her class about the benefits of hemp. Then there was Alex White Plume, the Lakota Native American who led his family in planting hemp on their 20-million-acre homeland on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Diana was there to capture it all. “The most amazing moment for me was to drive over a hill and look down into a valley to see more than 100 Lakota Native Americans standing on freshly plowed black hills earth—their motherland—waiting for me and my camera crew to arrive so we could film the planting. I planted an entire row of hemp myself that day. Later, I took a horseback ride with Alex to the top of a ridge. If God had a driveway, that is what it would look like and I knew right then and there I had become apart of history in the making.” Producer Diana Oliver is now embarking on her second hemp film, Hemp America—Seeds of Growth, a sequel to the first. This next installment will capture the Hemp Movement as it is today and all the players involved. “We’re already interviewing directors and raising money—we’re almost overwhelmed by all those who want to be involved. The Hemp Movement has become more organized, more powerful and we’ll be traveling throughout the nation to feature the new generation of leaders. Hempsters—Plant the Seed was about the history, the conspiracy and those great men and women who stood up first; Hemp America will focus on the polities, personalities and economics of the issue as it is today. We’ve come a long way baby.”

Interview With Steven C. Beer

entertainment attorney and artist empowerment advocate INTERVIEW: DJ SPOOKY/PAUL D. MILLER Paul Miller: In your twenty-plus years as an entertainment attorney, you have been recognized as a champion of independent artists and innovative films and music. Berkeley’s Journal of Entertainment and Sports recently published your entertainment business manifesto forecasting a new Renaissance time for artists and content creators. Why is this a breakthrough time for creative individuals? Steven C. Beer: There has never been a better time to be an artist, content creator, or working professional within the creative arena. For the first time ever, artists are no longer solely dependent on the support of established media companies to survive. The role of the major record label, movie studio, and major publishing house as the arbiter of taste and commercial gatekeeper is now vastly diminished. Artists today can tap into an array of alternative do-it-yourself options to create, distribute, and market their work to underserved and appreciative audiences.

“There has never been a better time to be an artist, content creator, or working professional within the creative arena. For the first time ever, artists are no longer solely dependent on the support of established media companies to survive.”

PM: What are some of the factors contributing to this new creative paradigm? SB: Digital technology is the greatest factor fueling change. It has reduced the costs to create and market content. Digital technology has also replaced middle man institutions as the bridge between artist and audience. Through social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, artists today can forge a direct relationship with an audience and motivate fans to support their work. Another major factor is the emergence of new business approaches, like crowd funding, which allow for artists to raise money through sponsorship networks comprising of friends, family, and fans. With websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, artists are using crowd funding to achieve their unique goals without the

necessity of divesting ownership or control to investors. PM: What’s at stake for fans? What can audiences and content appreciators look forward to in this new creative marketplace? SB: Audiences can expect to experience progressive and boldly original works. With traditional gatekeepers playing a less prominent role, content appreciators will have greater access to innovative materials pouring through the creative floodgates. In the Renaissance paradigm, the dialogue between the artist and his or her fans is immediate and without filters. This encourages new visions and breakthrough concepts. The content that is most likely to gain viral awareness will be genre-breaking and provocative. PM: What practical suggestions can you give aspiring artists as they approach the new Renaissance paradigm? SB: I would encourage artists to define “success” on their own terms. They need to avoid traditional achievement benchmarks that were created by established gatekeepers and stakeholders. Whether you win a Pulitzer Prize or a Grammy Award—these are essentially arbitrary and sometimes antiquated benchmarks of success. I would also encourage artists to forge meaningful partnerships with their fans through social media. A direct and robust relationship builds loyalty and includes fans in your activities. They will purchase content, support tours and exhibitions, and help finance the creation of new material. Steven C. Beer is of counsel to Franklin, Weinrib, Rudell and Vasallo. U.S. News - Best Lawyers Best Law Firms in “Entertainment Law - Motion Pictures & Television” 2012 Edition.

photo: by Robbie Michaels

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AMY BANKER Amy Banker has been exhibiting in New York City and worldwide since 1992. A Cornell University graduate, she studied environmental design, education, business and fine art. Her paintings, installations, videos, multimedia and photography are exhibited in museums, public and private collections including The Hermitage Museum, The Barcelona Modern Art, The Jewish Museum London, Chelsea Art Museum, MOMA, and The Whitney.



Alex Wilhite, M.F.A. Winter Street Studios, No. 9 www.alexwilhite.com

William H. Miller Winter Street Studios, No. 17B www.whimdesigns.com

C Ashton Winter Street Studios, No. B-1 www.cookiesfineart.com

Sandy Gardner Winter Street Studios, No. B-4 www.mountainearthstudio.com

R.Derr Winter Street Studios, No. C3b robert@rderr.com

Saul Balagura Winter Street Studios, No. A-3 www.theartfulbrain.com

Marthann Masterson Winter Street Studios, No.1 www.marthannmasterson.com

Janet Roe Winter Street Studios, No. A-5 www.jroephotography.com

Rose Hohenberger Winter Street Studios, No. C-5 www.rohostudio.com


Tera Yoshimura Spring Street Studios, No. 115 www.yourlocalartist.com

Anna Sundrud Trang Spring Street Studios, No.107 www.annasundrudtrang.com

Adrienne Wong Spring Street Studios, No. 228 www.realoil.com

Julie Willan Spring Street Studios, No. 134 www.juliewillan.com

Chris Wheeler and Nha Vuu Spring Street Studio, No. 106 www.PergamenaFineArt.com

Over 100 Artists in Two Buildings in Houston, Texas Open Studios on the 2nd Saturday of Each Month 2-5pm






Van McFarland Winter Street Studios, No. 18 www.vanmcfarland.com

Camille Pendleton Winter Street Studios, No. 11 www.camillependleton.com

Maureen Seeba Winter Street Studios, No. B-6 www.MaureenSeeba.com

Terry Leavitt-Chavez Gallery 3 at Winter Street Studios www.facebook.com/gallery3houston

Solomon Kane Winter Street Studios, No. 27 www.artavodah.com

Piyali Sen Dasgupta Winter Street Studios, No. 33 www.piyalisendasgupta.com

Kelley Devine Winter Street Studios, No. A-1 www.kelleydevine.com

Madilyn Stein Winter Street Studios, No. B-4 www.madsteinart.com

Patrick Palmer Winter Street Studios, No. B-9 www.patrickpalmerart.com

CHRIS SILKWOOD Modern mosaics by Chris Silkwood are a compliment to any art collection. Her work has been featured in film, television, museum exhibits and fine art galleries. Visit her studio/gallery at Winter Street Studios the 2nd Saturday of each month, 2-5 p.m. or by appointment. Commissions available. Winter Street Studios 2101 Winter Street 832.969.5345


Barbara Frey – Offering #8


Kara Duval






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Maranda Pleasant bigmodernart.com 713.922.8584


Gina Marie Dunn’s contemporary paintings consist of vibrant colors and subconscious scribbles infused with an organic, ethereal energy. As both an art and yoga teacher, Ms. Dunn draws inspiration from her students and the beauty of the journey: letting go, taking big risks and creating from a place of freedom.  Originally from Brooklyn, New York, she currently lives in Dallas. Her art is internationally shown and collected.

Jamie Wade

“I hope my clay work engages the viewer by playing with their assumptions, expectations, and imaginations. Often intrigued by artobjects that play with the senses, I also enjoy working in this realm.”


Augusto Brocca

studio 10 Austin, TX


Kathleen Wilson carolyn collins

Studio 10 1011 West Lynn Austin, Texas

dallas. Texas carolyncollinsphotography.com


dianne k webb


Studio 33 Winter Street Studios www.diannekwebb.com


An artist of all sorts, Jess Wade observes the world at large and presents it back to the viewers through a skeptical and humorous lens. Colorful and dark, the characters in his work represent us all in various lights.



Profile for THRIVE. ORIGIN + MANTRA Magazines


ORIGIN COnscious side first.


ORIGIN COnscious side first.


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