Saturday, January 31, 2009
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
~ Marianne Williamson
These wise words are resonating stronger than ever these days, as things are shifting to much within me, within the mass consciousness. We are being called forth into a new way of Being. We are being asked to shine brighter than we ever have, to let go of all of our old habits and patterns that no longer serve us. The time is NOW to give it our all, and create the change that we wish to see in our world.
I watched an incredible video of a man, John Francis, who did just this. He has been committed to environmentalism since the 70's. He spent 17 years in silence so that he could listen more deeply, and made a commitment to himself that he would no longer drive or ride in motorized vehicles. So he spent years walking all over the United States, being the advocate for the environment that he wanted to see in his world. Just like Ghandi said: "Be the change you wish to see in the world."
It also brings to mind a song that I really love, by a powerhouse of a woman from Colorado named Lynx. The song is called "Half Full" and here are the lyrics:
"Miracles are the impossible coming through and everything is possible
This is for the possibility that guides us
and for the possibilities still waiting to sing and spread their wings inside us
cuz tonight, Saturn is on his knees proposing with all of his ten thousand rings
that whatever song we've been singing, we sing even more
The world needs us right now more than it ever has before
Pull all your strings, play every chord
If you're writing letters to the prisoners, start tearing down the bars
If you're handing out flashlights in the dark, start handing out stars
Never go a second hushing the percussion of your heart
Play like you know the clouds have left too many people cold and broken
and you're they're last chance for sun
Play like there's no time for hoping brighter days will come
Play like the apocalypse is only four, three, two...
You have a drum in your chest that could save us
You have a song like a breath that could raise us
like the sunrise into a dark sky that cries to be blue
Play like you know we won't survive if you don't, but we will if you do
Play like Saturn is on his knees proposing with all of his ten thousand rings
that we give every single breath
Y'all, this is for saying yes
This is for saying yes"
Tonight, as I write this, I am fulfilling a commitment that I made to myself on January 1st. I told myself that I would post on my blog every day for the month of January. Today is the 31st and I didn't miss a single day, which feels really good. When I have integrity with my word, I create a world of integrity.
It's a new era - can you feel it? Everything is shifting so quickly now...consciousness-awaking, foundation-breaking, soul-shaking, breathtaking transformations are taking place everywhere we look, within and out.
The time is now.
The time is NOW.
The TIME is NOW!
Friday, January 30, 2009
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Bleary eyed uncertainty
In a space of unknowing
Relaxing into infinite possibility
As the wind outside is blowing
Listening, my mind's adrift
Here and there it wanders
Curious about what comes next
Feeling fuzzy, it ponders
A new level of trust is tested
As I lay here wondering what and why
Feeling the void, and opening to it
Allowing a part of me to die
It's clear that something new is emerging
And so I must wait for the dust to settle
Old patterns and habits no longer serve me
And I give up living life as a battle
Decisions make me, and abundance flows
Effortless grace all around me
Watching how easily a flower grows
Just like that, I allow life to live me
No longer a struggle, I finally let go
The reigns are not mine, never were
I give them back and I watch life flow
As I melt into soft, sweet surrender
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
And so I have a deep appreciation for what Jay Shafer of Tumbleweed is doing. He says, "My decision to inhabit just 89 square feet arose from some concerns I had about the impact a larger house would have on the environment, and because I do not want to maintain a lot of unused or unusable space."
Here is a tour of his house:
He teaches workshops all over the country, to empower people to build these houses themselves.
Here is a photo of a Tumbleweed house that he built here in Iowa, in Iowa City:
The man who lives in this 10 ft by 7 ft dwelling,
He says he is more active and has also begun to eat more healthfully and that scaling back has given him a new sense of freedom.And there is now a Small House Movement with the Small House Society serving as its voice. This movement is the "result of concerns about what we are doing to the environment, and what the environment is doing to us (wild fires, flooding, hurricanes), as well as a shifting economy. Some people just desire to live simply so that others can simply live."
Wow, there are just so many aspects of sustainability, and I am inspired to see how many different and wonderful things people are doing to leave a smaller footprint on the Earth.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
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Monday, January 26, 2009
"If you're not amazed by how naive you were yesterday,
you're standing still.
If you're not terrified of the next step,
your eyes are closed.
If you're standing still and your eyes are closed,
you're only dreaming you're awake.
A caged bird in a boundless sky."
Never before has this quote by Jed McKenna rang truer for me. These past few days, weeks, months, years...I feel like I am accelerating faster and faster and faster. Like someone hit fast forward on the DVD player and the button is stuck now, so there is no way to slow it down again. But it's okay because it's intensely exciting, exhilarating, evolutionary...
The lessons I am learning are right in my face, everywhere I look, and the themes and patterns are impossible to miss. Surrender, empowerment, femininity, self-nurturing, balance...and my close women friends echo the same words, lessons, and themes.
It's time now to go through the issues, not around them.
It's time now to feel the emotions fully, and stop trying to avoid them.
It's time now to get into our bodies and do the work on this planet that we came here to do.
It's time now to dismantle the old patterns and burn them in the fire.
It's time now to let go, to relax, and to trust that we are fully supported. We always have been, and always will be.
It's time to make outrageous requests of the Universe, to commit to ourselves 110%, to have complete integrity with ourselves and others, and to be daring and bold.
Now the real fun begins...ready or not, it's time to go further and further and further!!!
Sunday, January 25, 2009
This was a recent "game" going around on Facebook.
If you'd love to share your 25 things, please post them as a comment to this post!!!
Here are my 25 things:
1. There are currently 2275 people in my Microsoft Outlook contacts.
2. I cry often.
3. I feel deeply, and I am learning to appreciate this exquisite gift.
4. I love the beautiful peace lily that I have in my dorm room.
5. I love Facebook.
6. Singing brings me more joy than just about anything else I can think of.
7. I am constantly amazed by both the similarities and eccentricities of people.
8. Traveling is a state of mind for me, and has taught me most of what I know.
9. I prefer to spend most of my time with other women.
10. I experience every day is an epic adventure.
11. Every day, I trust myself a little more fully, and that is one of the most exciting things I can think of.
12. I love writing my blog. http://erinpillman.blogspo
13. I am learning to listen to my heart more and my head less.
14. My heart is tender and sensitive, and I cannot remember a moment in my life when it did not ache.
15. I have had to edit #1 about five times since I started writing this because the number keeps getting bigger.
16. Raw chocolate, avocados, berries, and coconuts, are some of my favorite foods.
17. Practicing Yoga with my teacher Dharma Mittra while eating a 99% raw vegan diet in 2006 in New York City transformed my being more quickly and profoundly than anything else I have done.
18. I yearn for so many things – complete union with the divine, fulfilling livelihood, a sense of purpose, a close circle of women friends, singing in front of large audiences, feeling fully supported and empowered, a deeper connection with Nature, growing my own food, living in a place where I feel that I truly belong, living more simply…
19. I’m constantly alarmed by all the plastic I see everywhere.
20. I wonder if our species will die out because we are acting like such idiots.
21. I don’t know where I want to live, or if I want to be in school next semester (which starts in a week), but I’m only mildly concerned.
22. I am in the process of recording a children’s album with Lynwood King, the dean of my university.
23. I am a certified yoga instructor, but I have not taught yoga in a couple of years.
24. I want to start singing and sharing my own music – be the star of my own show – touch people’s hearts – inspire and uplift audiences – bare my soul on stage.
25. I am really glad that I am me.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Today I rested all day long. I can't remember the last time I allowed myself the luxury of just laying in bed all day, getting up only to eat and meditate.
I usually feel very introspective around the New Moon, and today I was blessed to be able to really soak in that energy, to sit for hours, just feeling the many textures and sensations and emotions of my Being.
This New Moon is especially potent - I just read about it on Lisa Dale Miller's website, AstroWidsom.com. She writes quite a long description - here is a taste of it:
"This is the New Moon for radical change. Aquarius is often thought of as visionary: an energy that looks beyond the norm, questions accepted truths, boldly claims originality, flies in the face of reason, and flatly refuses to blindly follow the dictates of others. And oh, if you are like me, (always ready to dive into Aquarian energy) you will be very happy on this New Moon with the awesome grouping of Jupiter/Sun/Moon/North Node/Chiron/Neptune in utopian Aquarius. Pluto/Mars/Mercury in Capricorn will temper the Aquarian vision-thing with a big dose of Saturnian reality. The good news is that in order to manifest real change, vision and realism are needed in equal measure."
Tomorrow is also the Annular Solar Eclipse which supercharges the already supercharged New Moon.
I also read Karen Bishop's website regularly, and her latest update coincides so perfectly with this theme of newness and change. She writes:
"Things are arriving for us magically now, but we may not be noticing. Having experienced so much of the denser and darker energies in recent times as so much needed to transmute, we may easily miss this new and magical…..and very subtle….energy of the new reality. It is coming in like a gentle breeze, lovingly embracing us, supporting us, providing special miracles, and letting us know that we can now become accustomed to a new reality that we have always envisioned.
We are each being placed in pockets of great protection now. Any old or unpleasant energies are being removed from our presence. Going to this “other side” or higher dimensional reality involved a few minor adjustments this time, as the major adjustments have already been completed."
Indeed, life continues to unfold, and there are continual signs of hope and change and newness, which are so refreshing to see. Barack Obama was inaugurated just a week before this powerful New Moon in Aquarius, and there is a feeling of renewed hope for our future.
So, this New Moon, feel free to make outrageous requests of the Universe. What do you want to leave behind? What do you want to bring into your life? Think big, now is the time to ask for exactly what you want, for your wildest dreams to manifest into being.
Friday, January 23, 2009
"Agriculture... is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals and happiness." --Thomas Jefferson, 1787
"Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens. They are the most vigorous, the most independent, the most virtuous, and they are tied to their country and wedded to its liberty and interests by the most lasting bonds." --Thomas Jefferson, 1785
I am so tickled and enlivened by the ideas presented by this organization called Eat the View. When Americans see the President of the United States eating food grown right in his lawn, this will be a huge inspiration for people to grow their own food, one of the most empowering things people can do!
Here is what it says on the Eat the View website:
"Eat the View!" is a campaign to urge the Obamas to replant a large organic Victory Garden on the First Lawn with the produce going to the White House kitchen and to local food pantries.
"Eat the View" is coordinated by Kitchen Gardeners International, a Maine-based 501c3 nonprofit network of 10,000 gardeners from 100 countries who are inspiring and teaching more people to grow some of their own food.
Since its launch in February 2008, Eat the View! has been featured in over 450 newspapers including the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.
Our videos The Garden of Eatin' and "This Lawn is Your Lawn" video have been viewed thousands of times on the internet. The latter was chosen as one of the winners of the "Climate Matters" video contest and shown on national TV to an estimated audience of 50 million households.
"Eat the View!" has also won the Grand Prize in the OnDayOne.org contest where citizens are helping to set a positive, global agenda for President Obama.
Please direct all inquiries to Roger Doiron, (207) 883-5341
The future is going to be more fresh, juicy and delicious than a lot of us realize. That's because edible landscapes are going to be more integrated into our yards, neighborhoods, towns, and cities in the future than they have in the recent past. So, rejoice: good, clean food is on the way!
To make this happen, though, we need more people asking for and digging these landscapes. Please join our campaign. Here are a few things you can do to help:
1) Identify a landscape near you that you think should be "edible-ized". Chances are that you won't have to look far. Start with your own yard, neighborhood, or child's schoolyard. Then, why not ask your elected officials at the state and local level to lead by example. The Governors of Maine, North Carolina and New York are already eating from gardens planted at their official residences.
2) Sign our "White House Food Garden Petition" which we will deliver to the Obamas along with a diverse collection of heirloom seed packets.
3) Contact President Obama directly here. Tell him you'd like him to replant an organic garden on the White House lawn. There's an opportunity to attach a photo to your request. You can grab one here.
4) Buy a virtual parcel of the First Lawn and donate it back to the American people for the digging of a food garden.
5) Join this campaign and website. Use this site to share your stories of edible landscapes you're creating, planning, or already eating.
6) Join our Facebook Cause
Thursday, January 22, 2009
I definitely just want to be around women right now. I am craving femininity so much, and our culture just doesn't produce much of it. There is so much masculine energy - do, achieve, think, push, initiate, act. There is so much conditioning. It's thick, and I can feel it covering my femininity, which is begging to be revealed, to be expressed, to be nurtured.
I want to be around women who share, open, relate, and resonate.
Women who listen, feel, embrace, and accept.
Women who are wise, sensitive, intuitive, receptive, and loving.
Women who are in their bodies and in their hearts.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
(This is my yoga teacher, Sri Dharma Mittra)
How can I be gentle with myself AND step outside of my comfort zone?
How can I feminine AND empowered?
How can I surrender AND act boldly?
How can I be easy with myself AND go to my edge?
How can I love what is AND desire to grow & evolve.
How can I be in the present moment AND plan for the future?
How can I be passionate AND unattached?
How can I be in my power AND vulnerable?
How can I be kind & sweet AND straightforward & honest?
How can I open my heart AND have boundaries?
How can I know if my intuition is telling me not to do something, and so I shouldn't, or if my fear is coming up, so I should push through it to grow?
How can I balance all of this?
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
(This is me in Central Park in New York City.)
Today I did a rebirthing session and oh wow, was it intense. I haven't looked at my shadow stuff so deeply in a looong time and I didn't realize how much was still there.
I cried a lot, screamed, kicked, and released a lot of trauma from my birth experience.
I was feeling so much frustration because what I want more than anything is to be breathed. I am so sick of struggling with this damn illusion of being in control. It shows up so clearly in the breath - a perfect reflection, manifestation - so amazing.
And although I didn't experience what it feels like to be breathed, I did experience the deep pain that results from not letting go, and not surrendering. I felt it deeply, in every single one of my cells, and that in itself was profoundly healing.
Afterwards, Sue, the woman who facilitated my rebirthing, told me that I didn't go to my edge with my breathing. She said that I just hid out in my comfort zone. When she said this, I thought, "I'm a coward." I thought that I didn't perform well enough, that I didn't measure up to her other rebirthing clients.
I felt so naked, like she could see everything about my soul, and I felt ashamed of my wounds, my shadows, my weaknesses.
Right away, there was a tendency to think that I shouldn't be like this, that something is wrong with me, that I am not as empowered and amazing and highly evolved as Sue is.
But I am how I am, right here & now in this moment. And I may as well embrace it, be kind to myself, and love who I am, just the way I am.
Surrender is the key that unlocks it all. Laying down in the arms of God, trusting that I am always cared for, nurtured, nourished, and protected in this eternal present moment, this incredible, unending now.
Please God, fill me with your grace, so that I may let go and know true surrender. For it is only by surrendering that I shall know true selflessness, true service, and true Love.
Help me to see that all of the answers are within me.
Help me to trust myself fully, completely.
Help me to be strong, courageous, and empowered.
Grant me the courage & wisdom that I need to feel my emotions deeply.
Grant me the serenity to see clearly & to act lovingly.
Show me what You want me to do & say in each moment,
so that my words & actions may always serve the highest Good.
Thank You, I Love You.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Today I solemnly reflect upon the current state of the world.
Tomorrow is the beginning of a new chapter, as we inaugurate a new president of the United States of America.
This country has potential, definitely. And I am cautiously hopeful that Barack Obama will implement many beautiful, positive changes in our current political system.
Dear God, may Barack Obama be filled with Your Love and Your Grace. May he stand strong in his power and his integrity, unwavering despite the many people who will tempt him to stray from his principles. Please guide him and show him creative solutions to mend and rebalance our corrupt system and chaotic world. And please give him the strength and courage to do all that You will have him do.
Thy will be done.
Thank You, I Love You.
Thank You, I Love You.
Thank You, I Love You.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
My friend and yoga teacher Sue Berkey recently created one of the most stunning public art installments I have ever seen.
Art has this incredible power to take us out of our "normal" day to day routine, and into a new and wondrous land, within and without. Art expands our awareness, inspiring us by reminding us of life's infinite possibilities. And Sue's Star Bales are fantastic vehicles for such a magical journey.
The night that I first saw Sue's installment was after the first yoga class I took from her. It was a gift from my dear friend Naoki. After class, she told us that she had created some art, and that it was in a farm field just outside of town. So we drove out there, under the full moon, and when we saw it we looked at one another in amazement. It was such a surreal experience, to see a gigantic star-shaped hay bale sitting in the farm field.
I parked the car and we both jumped out began to run full speed toward the first Star Bale, and then saw a second. And as if this were not thrilling enough, we then saw the third!!! We both began to howl at the moon, prancing around the field and rejoicing like wild fools.
I returned to see them the following day, and have posted a few photos with the Star Bales in the daylight above.
If you are in Iowa, I highly recommend checking them out if you haven't already. The directions are below.
Shortly after the Star Bales were placed in their home in the field, Mo Ellis wrote a great article in the Iowa Source, which I will post here:
Making Hay While the Stars Shine
by Mo Ellis
Who knew something as utilitarian and labor intensive as baling hay could be sculpted into fine art? Nothing prepared me for Sue Berkey’s Star Bales when I found them installed in a field just north of Fairfield on 185th Street. Nature lights this gentle rolling farm road with cool, delicate shades of pink and gold at sunrise and finishes her display with dramatic gold, reds, and violets at sunset.
Sue Berkey’s Star Bales will populate this field throughout the seasons. I see them as an updated version of Monet’s haystacks—and imagine them illuminated violet by a winter sunset with their star points softened with a layer of new snow. Right now, the warmer fall sunsets are coloring these sculptures a tawny gold. I may not be the only photographer in Southeast Iowa considering how to capture their unique profiles at different times of day as the subtleties of the light and seasons play over them.
Sue describes her inspiration for the Star Bale project “as an idea I had in my head for years that just never went away. So when I finished renovating the house”—a hands-on project for Sue—“I knew it was time to make the Star Bales.”
Sue grew up in Philadelphia, where her parents cultured creativity and surrounded her with art in her home, as mine did, too. Both of our mothers were painters. And oddly enough both of our fathers were what she fondly described as Renaissance men—mechanically adept in their fields; not only able to do anything, but also to do it well! Sue is quite a Renaissance woman herself.
After undergraduate work and a term at the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program, Sue finished her MFA at Kent State University in Ohio, in sculpture. She was a full-time artist for the next nine years. With art as her priority, she worked as a waitress and taught art and wood shop at a private school. As a self-described “wild creature,” Sue found it hard to adapt to confinement or schedules. The loss of free time “just about killed me,” she said. In showing her sculptures and films internationally, Sue gathered awards for “research and investigation in new forms of cinematography” in Venezuela, and won prizes at the Ann Arbor, Michigan, Film Festival, and the Athens, Ohio, Film Festival. She spent time as an artist-in-residence at Scattergood Friends School in West Branch, Iowa, installed a one-person outdoor sculpture show at the Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis, and received a major commission in the city of San Francisco to produce an installation sculpture. Sue credits the Star Bales project as “a significant reconnection with my artist self. This is the first major piece I’ve done in many years,” she says, adding that “making serious art will never again be on the back burner in my life. I’m back!”
Currently, aside from her career in art, Sue is also a well-known yoga instructor, Rebirther, house remodeler, and mother to her son Luke, who is now 20 and emerging as a filmmaking talent in his own right.
When I first heard about the Star Bales project, I envisioned it in my own mind, but I wasn’t prepared for the scale in which she chose to work. I imagined stars that were perhaps the same diameter as the ends of the big round bales I had grown fond of seeing in Iowan rural fields, but I was amazed when I got up close and realized her Star Bales are the same in every dimension as the round bales a hay baler spits out.
For the urban refugees who’ve moved to our pastoral flyover state from either coast, here is a primer on the work and equipment required in baling hay, to help you appreciate the effort that Sue undertook. The most frequently used type of baler is a round baler that produces cylindrically shaped bales. The hay is simply rolled up inside the baler using a combination of rollers and belts. When the bale reaches a determined size, twine or mesh wrap binds it together. The back of the baler opens and the bale drops out. Bales range from four to six feet in diameter and up to five feet wide. Round bales can weigh a ton or more, which means they require special moving equipment.
Sue’s Star Bale construction was entirely hand constructed. First, she found Ted Tedrow, a farmer who specializes in straw bales. An amazing “can-do” guy with a great attitude, Ted liked Sue’s project. He delivered a round straw bale of timothy grass, reed canary grass, and bird’s-foot trefoil to Sue’s backyard in Fairfield. Then she began to experiment with techniques for the construction of a Star Bale. “I would lie in bed at night running through engineering possibilities in my head, which was fun for me,” Sue says. “And after a few bloopers, the final plan came into focus.”
Each Star Bale has 12 parts—a front and back star panel, and 10 star-point facet panels (two for each point). So if you do the math, for each of the 3 Star Bales she installed, Sue made 30 star-point facet panels and 6 big star panels. Each part is cut out of CDX plywood (made with glue that can withstand wet conditions without de-laminating) and covered with 2 to 3 inches of pressed straw, tightly tied with twine, and securely wrapped with plastic “net wrapping,” which is the same wrap you see on round bales. Then all the parts were screwed onto a wooden 2-by-4 internal frame. And yes, like round bales, these are heavy.
It took four men to just barely pick one up after Sue had built them on specially made pallets, and using a skid loader, they transported them to the field. The entire production cycle took two months altogether, with Sue learning “that slow and steady will get me where I want to go.” n
Directions: Finding the Star Bales is easy: take Highway 1 north from Fairfield and turn left on 185th Street. You’ll find the field 0.2 miles along that road as you head west. Approaching from the north on Highway 1, turn right on 185th Street, the first road after Airport Road.
Sue really wants to give a shout out to Brian Stains, Jeff Town, Tim Tedrow, Joe Stanski, Peter DeRuider, Kim Strubell, Jim Busscher, Michaela Terrien, Ian Fry, Louise and Jonathan Lynch, and Luke Stenger. And mostly importantly to her backyard neighbors for enduring the sound of an electric stapler for weeks on end, with a special thanks going to the Global Country of World Peace, which owns the field the Star Bales sit on.
Mo Ellis is an artist and writer in Fairfield, Iowa.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Today, more than any other day of my life, I am standing firmly in my power. I accept full responsibility for my power, and am committed to using it for the highest good. I do not give it away to anyone. I do not give it away to anything - not food, not self-defeating behaviors, not ego, not to ANYthing. I am true to mySELF.
Last night I was crying and crying. I was at a fabulous Arthur Lee Land show and I couldn't stop crying because I want to be on a stage, singing my songs. Yes, I was crying and crying, and I knew why. I have been giving my power away to other people, putting myself in support positions when it is my time to have my creations supported by others. It is my time to shine.
Of course we are all interconnected and support each other all the time, but it's time for me to really value what is unique and special about me, and share it with the world. It's time for me to create sustainable streams of income for myself, rather than doing all these odd jobs for so many people.
So last night, and again today I did a ritual of empowerment. Last night it was on the phone with my friend Mark. I told him that we were both going to step into our power on the count of three. We drew invisible lines on the floor, and committed to stepping across that line, into our power, and never going back. I counted down and we both jumped over the line, and were dancing and drumming and screaming and rejoicing.
Then today, I was at a Waking Down sitting and when it was my turn to speak I told them about my commitment to standing firmly in my power. And I took everyone there through a similar ritual. Feel free to do this ritual, wherever you are.
We all spread out so that we would all be able to take giant leaps into our power. We drew our imaginary lines on the ground.
I said, "Close your eyes. Breathe deeply into your heart, into the depths of your being...Feel who you are...Appreciate how unique you are...Know that only you can do the work that you came to Earth to do...Feel how strong you are, how courageous, how powerful..."
I paused and let it sink in, and then continued, "Repeat after me."
"I am powerful."
"I am empowered."
"I accept full responsibility for my power."
"I am cross this line into my power, and I am NEVER going back!!!"
And we screamed and danced and shrieked and yelped wildy!!! Hooray!!! We are empowered, and it feels SO GOOD!!!
Friday, January 16, 2009
Happiness does not exist in the future. Happiness does not exist in the past.
Happiness is only possible right here, right now, in the eternal present moment, the only moment that exists, the only moment that ever can or will exist.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Lyrics by Thomas Dolby...
BLUE IS A RIVER
Like the heather on the hillside as they drove us from the Highlands
Like the iceflow from the Arctic where we landed in Newfoundland
There... ’s a colour to my sorrow, there’s a name for all this sadness
Like the ocean in between us, I am blue
Blue is a river, blue remembered
Blue water running clear
Blue like a planet to a spaceman
Blue river of my tears
So I came here to the city
Where the dream burns like a furnace
And I dazzled in these dark streets like a diamond in a coal face
Then the cold wind from the islands
Blew a storm cloud across the new moon
Like the gunsmoke above the houses in my home.
Blue is a river, blue remembered
Blue water running clear
Blue like a planet to a spaceman
Blue river of my tears
Blue river of my tears
© Thomas Dolby 2002
Here is what he wrote about the song on his blog:
There’s a new video clip up on the TED site of a song I performed there a few years ago with the wonderful Cape Breton fiddler Natalie MacMaster. Someone on my Forum spotted it (topic = “Thomas at TED; new stuff!”) and posted the URL, http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/117
….but they said I was singing a traditional song. Not correct! It was actually an original song I wrote specially for the occasion. It’s got a nice story behind it:
I was very taken with Natalie when I saw her performing solo in 2002. Between her lovely jigs and reels she told how her great uncle (I believe) had brought the traditional music with him when he arrived in Nova Scotia from Scotland, and how it had been passed down at barn dances and in the warmth of neighbours’ kitchens! Natalie grew up with a fiddle and bow in her hands, and it’s as if she was born to play it. But as well as the uptempo, knees-up stuff, there was a more plaintive, lamentful side to her playing that took me by surprise. There’s no more powerful music on the planet than that made by people made to leave their homelands.
Next time I was at the public library I did some research. I was interested to learn more about how Natalie’s ancestors came to be on those boats to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland in the first place. I found an edition of Encylopedia Brittanica, dated about 1905, and obviously written by Oxford scholars in their ivy-covered towers. I found a section under ‘Scotland’ entitled ‘The Highland Clearances.’ It went something like this: “During the potato famines of the late Eighteenth to mid-Nineteenth centuries, fearing for the livelihoods of their tentants, many English landowners offered free passage to the New World aboard specially commissioned ships.”
How very compassionate of them! This is what we teach our children. The reality was completely different. In truth the English landlords, with their inherited Scottish land yielding little produce or rent, saw more value in converting their estates to profitable sheep farms or—worse yet—to grouse hunting and trout fishing getaways for the pleasure of their rich Victorian friends from the South. So the landlords forced their tenants to vacate the Highlands and abandon their homes, with little or no compensation. Villages were burned along with the surrounding trees, to prevent rebuilding. Some were forced to move to barren coastal crofts where their only choice was to gather kelp on the beach. In the most extreme cases, for example on the Hebridean island of Barra in 1851, tenants were forced at gunpoint on to freighters bound for settlements in Australia, Canada, or Nova Scotia, where they were dumped and left to fend for themselves. And the Christian Church supported the landlords, because it had failed to convert the islanders from their heathen behaviour and said the Clearances were just retribution for their sins, drunkenness and evil ways.
Anyway. The anger I felt reading Brittanica led me to compose a song. I have no idea where my own Robertson ancestors stood in all this, but I decided to write it from the point of view of a Highlander. as soon as I had a rough version I sent it to Natalie, and asked if she would return to TED the following Ferbruary to perform it with me. To my great delight she agreed. You can check out the video here.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
(I took this photo of myself on the Caribbean island, "Little Corn," in Nicaragua.)
Last night I made a commitment to myself and my friend Mark that I am going to spend 20 minutes each day visualizing what I want.
Tonight was the first night of my new practice. I was in the meditation hall, and after I finished my TM practice, I began to visualize what I really want.
First, I saw myself standing at the edge of a steep cliff. I turned my back to the abyss, outstretched my arms, looked up to the heavens, and allowed myself to fall backwards, surrendering everything to God. "Please fill me with Your grace, so that I may do Your work." As I began to fall back, I suddenly began to flap my wings...I was flying! I didn't find out that I had wings until I took the risk and let go, giving up my illusion of control.
Then I visualized the lifestyle that I want. I imagined myself at my house on the beach somewhere in the Caribbean, practicing yoga on the beach with friends, picking young coconuts and drinking the coconut water, writing, reading, laughing, and feeling light as a feather. I was thin and lean and strong and grounded and felt so healthy and comfortable in my body.
I imagined myself driving through the green hills in southern Italy in a little red convertible with my friend Jenna, laughing with awe at our good fortune. We ate fresh, dark red, juicy tomatoes, basil, and fresh mozzarella.
I saw myself recording music with so many of my friends, like Jenna and Ferenz and Deborah and Sarah and Micah and Amine. I had recorded countless albums in my visions, each one exquisitely beautiful and full of love and light.
I saw myself traveling all over the world, meeting friends in places like Paris, London, and San Francisco for tea at beautiful little coffee shops.
All of my friends and I had more money than we could ever know what to do with, and we were free to create, travel, eat well, and do all the things that bring us so much joy.
I had bought the apartment that I used to live in in the East Village in New York City. I tossed my keys onto the counter after a yoga class at Dharma Mittra's yoga studio, feeling happy, relaxed, and vibrantly alive and healthy.
Then I saw myself sitting in the airport, waiting for a flight, holding my husband's hand. We were deeply in love and blissfully happy to be together.
I was driving in the four-door black Mercedes sedan that I have always wanted, and then I was riding in it and my husband was driving. I squeezed his hand, took an enormous, effortlessly deep breath into my wonderfully open heart, and felt it swell with love for him, for myself, and for everything and everyone.
At the end of my vision, I noticed that my feet were in the dirt in a beautiful garden. I had a freshly picked, juicy red tomato in my hand and I took a bite. I looked up and saw that my mom was there with me. We plopped down and sat in the dirt, both laughing gleefully.
My eyes filled with tears of gratitude for the love and gratitude that I felt in my heart. I felt connected to everything and everyone, everywhere.
I opened my eyes and realized that I was still in the meditation hall at MUM, and the 20 minutes was over. As I was leaving the meditation hall, the woman working asked me, "Did you have a nice meditation?" Never before has anyone asked me that. I smiled like I knew a secret that she didn't and replied cheerfully and firmly, "Yes."
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
I took this series of photos in November as I was leaving Sheboygan (my hometown). I had just spent 2 weeks there with my family for the passing of my Grandmother and her funeral.
I spend A LOT of time walking on the shores of Lake Michigan when I am in Sheboygan, so I decided to take one last walk on the beach before leaving town.
As I walked down the gravel path to the beach, I saw her incredible beauty. I was struck by her iridescent waters, so many shades of blue and green, her openness, her femininity, her receptivity, her soft, fluid waves, her vastness, and her expansiveness, and I began to sob. Soul-shaking sobs racked my body. And these sobs were expressing something much more than just sadness.
They were expressing some grief for my past, my childhood, and the passing of my grandmother.
They were also expressing EXTREME gratitude and awe at the incredible divine tapestry of existence, the goodness of God, the perfection of creation, and the abundant blessings of my life.
I was overwhelmed by how blessed I am to have such an incredible family. I cried for the tragedies and suffering that we have experienced, and for the love and strong ties that continue to hold us together, despite our vast differences and the rifts in our relationships, past and present.
I cried for everyone in the world who suffers, everyone in the world who prays, sings, loves, laughs, dances, and cries just like I do.
I was feeling very deeply at peace even though the emotions were so strong.
I was feeling grateful for my strong emotions, which has definitely not always been the case. I used to resent them, and now I see them for the blessings, gifts, and teachers that they are.
I am so glad that I took this photo to remember how I was feeling in that moment, and I am so glad to share the experiences with others.
I posted a series of these photos on Facebook awhile back with the caption "Sadness is beautiful too." Today they sparked a very interesting conversation.
It started with a post from a woman named Michelle who I met once at a business networking event in Wisconsin a couple of years ago. She wrote, "Why were you so sad. I do not think sadness is so beautiful rather something this life will definitely have us endure."
I found this really interesting, and responded, "Mmmm...I find sadness to be so sweet...deep within it there is so much beauty. All of the emotions are gifts and teachers, and to embrace them all equally and feel them all deeply is to live fully."
Michelle responded, "Ahhh...I can see your point to some extent as the Bible says--
2 Corinthians 7:10
Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
But then which are we?
and I see it more from the other side of the glass
A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.
Obviously, I-- a believer.
Other comments ensued, such as...
Krisha: "What a perfect picture. I can taste your tears just by looking at it."
Malinda: "This is such a beautiful picture. I agree--sadness can be so rich in emotional beauty, and it's nature as such really shines through in this photo. ♥ (Hope you are either feeling better or truly enjoying the sadness!)"
Then Michelle responded again, "The sadness doesn't shine...the only thing that is beautiful is you. You look like you lost weight and have no make up. Most woman you can't see anymore because they are covered. And as you can hear from a previous post..."tasting the tears".....well you have reached the spirit. I pray for most in your circle that it is beauty as for most it is a very real emotion that is coming through this photo, that will make a heart ache.
A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit"
At this point in the dialogue, I posted the full explanation of the photo, which I shared at the beginning of this blog post, and Michelle responded again:
"Ah....thank you for sharing. That is beauty! Sharing our lives with one another and trusting the most intimate details to a stranger. May God shine on you today through the rain....giving you rainbows! Thanks Again!"
My friend Carlos chimed in, "Everyone who loves cries. It means you are sensitive and in touch with your inner world. So don't worry what anybody says. One can even cry out of joy rather than suffering. Thank you Erin, for being in touch with your inner self enough to be sensitive like that!"
Another friend, Zack, added "Stubbing your toe hurts, heart break hurts, a car crash hurts, a friend dying, you get the idea things like this usually seem to suck. But I'm thinking that if you change your mind about how you view it and enjoy it for what it is, then its not bad at all. I don't know its just a thought Ive been thinking about lately."
To this, I responded, "Zack, yes, perception is everything, and sadness, pain, etc don't have to be "bad." In fact, good and bad are basically irrelevant when we just accept "what is." We can fall in love with reality, and then we can embrace anything that comes our way. I love Byron Katie's work for this."
And finally, my dear friend Deborah wrote, "Not that we need any more posts here, but Erin...you are truly a souls sister. I have taken similar photos of myself..so it brings back memories. I love how this moved people to write and express. Emotions are energy and energy is supposed to move..not be stuck. I love to just feel whatever is it...to go into it, and let it move...on the other side there is joy."
What an unexpected and interesting conversation!
We are conditioned in this culture not to feel our emotions. To the contrary, we are taught to avoid them, escape them, and dull them by distracting ourselves with TV, video games, food, alcohol, drugs, sex, or whatever else. So it is no surprise that people are not aware of the power and healing nature of feeling deeply.
I am experiencing the power of this more and more each day, appreciating my emotions for the wise teachers and precious gifts that they are. I am appreciating my sensitivity more and more because even though it can be painful, my life is richer for all of the intense emotions that I experience.
Ahhhhh, so much gratitude...
Monday, January 12, 2009
(I took this photo at La Tortuga Feliz in Costa Rica.)
I have been so overwhelmed today, crying so much, and accepting the tears, even feeling grateful for them, more than ever before.
I am extremely grateful for all of the wonderful, supportive people in my life who support me by listening to me through my sobbing tears. They are not afraid of my emotions, even though they are powerful and can sometimes come from a shadowy place.
There is so much creativity running through me right now, opportunities blossoming everywhere I look, and boundless goodness in my life right now, and I am completely overwhelmed. I am grateful, too.
Yet I feel so alone and unsupported. I want a constant, loyal, trustworthy business partner to be by my side though all of these projects and emotions and opportunities, to help me navigate through it all.
My friends and partners always leave just when it seems like things are starting to blossom. For instance, I am finally part of an amazing band called Challah, and after 3 gigs we are in 3 different countries, and don't know when we will all be in the same city again. I could make a list of a hundred situations like this that I have experienced.
I want to know why this happens. I want to know why I feel like I have to do it all alone. I want to know what the lesson in this is for me, and how I can move forward most productively, fulfillingly, and effectively with my projects and career, given the independent nature of my life.
I am afraid that I am not supported. I want to trust that I always am, even though it doesn't look the way I imagine that it "should." I want to trust that the people who come into my life stay for the perfect amount of time, that we do the work together that we are meant to, and then we move on.
For years I have been following my bliss networking, and now opportunities are popping up all over the place for me to finally be compensated for the time and diligence that I have taken to gather people's contact information and meticulously organize it.
And yesterday I finished recording the backup lyrics for the track on my friend Gabriel Renfrow's album, "I Heart You: I'm Just Sayin!" We are performing together at Cafe Paradiso on Wednesday night this week. I am going to promote the show, and also his album once it is released, which is going to happen this week.
The children's album I am working on recording with Lynwood King is going to be PHENOMENAL - exquisitely beautiful songs that I love and want children to hear and learn from. I have been yearning to sing songs this beautiful, so full of light, for so long now, and now it's happening! I want to properly market the album so that children all over the world can hear the beautiful messages of these songs.
And there are so many other beautiful projects as well, begging for my time and attention. I have been dreaming about having these kinds of opportunities, and now that it's all here, it's all happening, I don't know what to focus on. It's completely overwhelming.
I am wondering how I will be able to do it all. I'm afraid that I won't be able to control the outcome of all of this well enough and I am afraid that I will fail.
I want to let go and trust that it is all unfolding perfectly. I want to trust that I will act with wisdom and grace in each moment, completely in my center and my power, breathing deeply.
These shadows of fear and doubt are in my face, begging to have light shone on them. I know that I have the courage to persevere, to look honestly at what is happening, to take complete responsibility for my life, and to move forward powerfully and with great awareness.
I know that I can, and I know that I will.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
"The Work" of Byron Katie is one of the most powerful healing/awakening/truth-seeking tools I have found so far on my journey. It is so simple and so profound.
There are quite a few videos of Katie doing "The Work" with people posted on YouTube and also on her website, www.thework.com.
And she has written some absolutely incredible books. They completely rocked my world in such a beautiful way. She writes from such a place of love, eloquently describing her experience of completely and fully "loving what is."
My two favorites books of hers are "A Thousand Names for Joy" and "Loving What Is."
Maybe you'll watch a couple of the videos for a taste of what "The Work" is all about, and maybe you'll read one of her books. It might help you question some of those convictions and beliefs you have been walking around holding like they were so precious, when in fact they have been causing you enormous amounts of stress. It might help you to finally know the Truth.
I think you might really love "The Work."
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Above is an image of The Seed of Life, which is a symbol of sacred geometry.
It is formed from seven circles being placed with sixfold symmetry, forming a pattern of circles and lenses, which acts as a basic component of the Flower of Life's design.
According to some religious beliefs, the Seed of Life is a symbol depicting the seven days of Creation in which God created life.
I was going through my Facebook friend requests the other day, and I had one from someone named Adam, who I had never met. So I browsed through his profile and clicked on a link, which led me to the incredible, stunning trailer for his new film, Our Seed of Life. I had goosebumps all over as I was watching it.
The site describes the film like this:
"This is a breathtaking, multicultural feature documentary, showcasing ancient mysteries, whose hidden secrets reveal the interconnected wisdom found in all of life, whether perceived through the innocent eyes of the young or through the messenger traditions of old. This film is an epic adventure that will expand your minds and hearts forever!"And they have a very beautiful:
"Our mission is to co-create conscious heart expanding films that remind us of our unity and unlimited creative potential, as we re-kindle our understanding and rmemberance of our connection to all life everywhere."
I really look forward to seeing this film when it is released, and maybe you will too!
Friday, January 9, 2009
Micah Salaberrios "wearing" Deborah's hair
Mark Adamic "wearing" Deborah's hair
Sarah Salaberrios "putting on" Deborah's hair, with Amine's help
Sarah Salaberrios "wearing" Deborah's hair
Erin Pillman "wearing" Amine Kouider's hair
Amine Kouider "wearing" Deborah's hair
Deborah "wearing" Amine Kouider's hair
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Sarah Salberrios, Erin Pillman, Micah Salaberrios & Amine Kouider
Last night was our third gig performing as the band Challah, and it was SO much fun! We had a great turnout, thanks to all of the amazing people of Fairfield who came out for the show.
It might be awhile before we perform again as Challah, because Sarah and Micah are heading to Costa Rica next week. They each have a one way ticket down there, so it may be awhile before we are reunited.
Thank you so much to everyone who came last night - it was so wonderful to see so many of your beautiful faces smiling in the audience. Thank you for your presence, your vibrant Spirits, and your fabulous dancing. I am so grateful.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
I love networking more than almost anything else that I can think of. I also love sustainability - people creating solutions to the environmental crisis we are currently facing on our beloved Planet Earth.
So I am very excited about a great networking organization that I recently discovered. It is is called Green Drinks. There isn't a group in Fairfield yet, but there are groups in over 460 cities worldwide! It's so inspiring to imagine these beautiful, vibrant people meeting up regularly to discuss sustainability!
Every month people who work in the environmental field meet up at informal sessions known as Green Drinks.
We have a lively mixture of people from NGOs, academia, government and business. Come along and you'll be made welcome. Just say, "are you green?" and we will look after you and introduce you to whoever is there. It's a great way of catching up with people you know and also for making new contacts. Everyone invites someone else along, so there’s always a different crowd, making Green Drinks an organic, self-organising network.
These events are very simple and unstructured, but many people have found employment, made friends, developed new ideas, done deals and had moments of serendipity. It's a force for the good and we'd like to help it spread to other cities. Contact your local node to get the latest info about coming along.
If there is no Green Drinks near you, you might want to set up a Green Drinks in your City.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Here I am, starting a new chapter...again. I have been feeling really amazing...until tonight. Being back in Fairfield is always interesting. I am happy to be back here, glad to see friends and such, and also overwhelmed by it all.
Back in the huge, bright, loud dining hall. Back in the cosmic washing machine, going between floating in the soapy waters and being tossed and turned in the spin cycle.
I am feeling really, really irritated right now. And I am also recognizing that the irritation is not me. Never was, never could be. But I am experiencing it, watching it, and soon I will go to sleep and I will wake up refreshed in the morning.
I am not my emotions.
Monday, January 5, 2009
Here is how to make an orange blend that is way yummier, way fresher, and way healthier than orange juice from the grocery store:
1. Peel an orange (preferably organic), pull it apart into a few large chunks, and place it in the blender.
2. Add about 1 -2 cups of water, depending on what consistency you want.
3. Optional: Add a small amount of raw honey or stevia to sweeten.
*Note: This can also be done with apples (add cinnamon), grapefruits, tangerines, strawberries, kiwis, mangoes, etc. The possibilities and combinations are endless.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Yesterday, while I was walking on the beach along Lake Michigan, I talked to my sister Jenna on the phone.
She asked how I was doing and I said to her, "I feel good," giggling almost mischievously, like I was getting away with something I wasn't supposed to. She exclaimed, "Me too!" with the same girlish giggling. We laughed long and hard, because it still tickles us that we go through the same experiences at the same time like we do.
Jenna is not my biological sister, but rather my friend who I call my sister because the word "friend" just isn't adequate to describe the depth of our connection. She is a gorgeous, fair-skinned, curly red-haired, vibrant, joy-filled, passionate, fabulous woman who constantly amazes and inspires me. She is an actress and singer, a dancer and a bhakti yogini. She is deeply spiritual and wise beyond her 22 years, and she walks a parallel path to mine in the most synchronistic, cosmic, serendipitous way the Universe could have possibly dreamed up. We go through so many of the same things at the same time, with our families, our relationships with food, our internal processes, and many much more mundane things that serve to remind us, in no uncertain terms, that we are soul sisters.
So...why do I feel good?
Because of people like Jenna.
Because I have such amazing, loving, supportive friends and family.
Because I feel grateful to be alive.
Because I am amazed by God's incredible Grace, which carries me through life.
Because I feel grateful for the incredible abundance that I am blessed with.
Because every day I am a little more centered and grounded in my Self, a little wiser, and a little more aware than I was the day before.
In the past, when I have said "I feel good," it has usually been because I was eating a 100% raw vegan diet and had lost a lot of weight, or was feeling really high/excited/manic about some huge idea that I had or about project that I was working on. And while these are a fine reasons to feel good, there is something so much more deeply satisfying about the kind of "good" I am feeling now because it is solid. It doesn't go up and down like a rollercoaster, depending on how I feel. It isn't subject to moods and emotions. The kind of "good" I am feeling now is because of the solid foundation that I have been building for myself, slowly, patiently, brick by brick, from the ground up.
I add a brick every time I consult my Self when making choices, rather than consulting someone who I consider wiser, smarter, more enlightened, etc. When I sit with my Self, and ask my Self what I really need, what is the most beneficial for my Path and my Highest Good, I find out the truth. And I add a brick. I am my own guru. I am my only guru.
I add a brick every time I act with integrity. I add a brick every time I act in alignment with my principles, every time I arrive somewhere on time, every time I do what I said I was going to do.
I add a brick every time I honor what I really need, even when I am tempted to do something that appears more fun on the surface level. There are so many fun events going on in Fairfield - parties, live music, Artwalks, raw food potlucks, etc. And every time I choose to stay in and take care of myself when that is what I am needing more than I am needing to go out and be social, I add a brick.
I add a brick every time I nourish and nurture myself. I do this when I go for a walk, do my hatha yoga practice, write in my journal, choose to feel my emotions rather than avoid them, take myself to the sauna, receive a massage, or eat or drink something nourishing.
I add a brick every time I close my eyes to meditate. I have been practicing Transcendental Meditation for four months now, 20 minutes, twice a day. And in those four months I have only missed two meditations because I value this time that I spend with my Self. Every time I prioritize the time to sit and connect with my deepest Self, I add a brick.
I am feeling good now even though I am not not as thin as I once was, and even though I am not flying high on emotions. I intend to start eating more raw food in the near future because I know it is better for my health, and I know that my emotions will go up and down and up and down, but I also know that this is not the foundation. Even when I gain weight, or feel sad or angry or uninspired, this deep connection with Self remains.
And with this solid foundation I will always have something to stand on.