Tag Archives: amala foundation

shaking my fist at god

It’s been a tough time lately.

The Global Youth Peace Summit was amazing and also incredibly challenging on many levels. I can’t even quite explain it, to tell the truth. But in the two weeks since it ended, I’ve spent a lot of time alone (nothing new there) and I’ve been pretty depressed. I have been weaving all kinds of stories about what people think of me and what a fucked up person I am. And although I know that these are not true, that in fact these same people like and even love  me very much, and in fact I’m not fucked up at all, I’ve found it really hard to get out of the story.

In addition, I’ve hardly had any work lately, because my company just doesn’t have any work to give me, and since I’m paid a very good hourly wage but not salary, if I don’t have work, I don’t get paid. It also gives me WAY too much time alone. And when I’m alone, I get depressed. The one just sort of follows the other.

The time after the Summit is generally tough for everyone involved. The village that we create there is a powerful space of love, acceptance and healing for everyone, no matter what role they play or how they show up. It just happens. And leaving it is generally hard and can often be a letdown. It’s kind of like what happens for many people after Christmas. This year I had hoped that since I live in Austin now, it would not be as hard. In fact, I think it’s been the hardest post-summit experience yet.

I find that I’m embarrassed about what’s been going on for me and resistant to blogging about it. However, at the same time, I feel incredibly pulled to do so. In fact, I even started a new blog the other day, just so I could shout out without reservation how I feel and what I’m going through.

But, since I made a commitment a while ago on this blog to not hold back anymore, and to reveal the “deep, dark shit,” and also because something in me tells me that this is part of my service and what I have to offer the world, I’m going to write about it here. Basically, when things get bad, I hate myself. I honestly truly HATE myself. I think that I am a terrible person and that I really don’t deserve to be here. I think that other people don’t care about me. I think that I should not have come here to Austin, that the people at Amala Foundation don’t want me here, that they wish I would leave.

I think of past arguments with random people and past situations that were hard and I get stuck obsessing on those situations also.

I think about being single and that there is something innately ugly about me and that is why I’m single. I think about how hard it has been for me to do work in general, and how much I procrastinate, and how I don’t stay focused on creating photographs and writings, and it spirals into a truly ugly internal put-down session. It is just insane. Truly. Insane.

The thing is, I know this stuff isn’t true. I KNOW IT’S NOT. But I can’t believe that when I’m in it. I just get sucked down, like it’s a huge deep-ocean whirlpool from some 50s horror movie.

Let me say this, also, the good news: It’s shifting. I’m climbing out. I went to a volunteer appreciation thing at Amala last night. It was sweet. We did a sacred pipe ceremony (native american style) and then had a talking circle where we passed the talking stick. One of my friends and I went together and we both have been feeling very depressed and horrible and we both spoke up during talking circle. It was great to just say out loud in that community: “I am doing terribly, I hate myself, I think you all hate me, I don’t know who I am or why I’m here,” and then just pass the stick! It was awesome to do that, actually.

I truly didn’t want people to come up and get all huggy with me after, and people were very sensitive and kind in that way, but I felt a lot of love sent to me without direct contact. I did get a bit of very solid loving feedback from some people I feel very comfortable with, and then someone else who I respect and care about immensely, and was one of the people I had really convinced myself did not like me anymore, sat and talked with me for a while. He’s so real and so sweet and was very solidly rooted in knowing that everything that was happening is FOR me and not TO me, and that it’s all serving my evolution. As soon as he said that, I knew it was true. And I also realized that he indeed still cares about me and likes me, and that nothing at all was wrong.

Then I spent some more time today with someone else I care about a lot but who I have stories about that cause me pain. We had a sweet conversation as well, and we just kind of roundabout got into some of these stories I have made up. As we talked, I again realized that all my stories were missing big huge chunks of information and that when those were filled in, then the whole story shifted and my confusion was evident. Which felt fantastically freeing.

So, now, I feel like things are on a more even keel. I pulled a tarot card from the Osho Zen Tarot deck (online) and it was “Trust.”

“Trust life. If you trust, only then can you drop your knowledge, only then can you put your mind aside. And with trust, something immense opens up. Then this life is no longer ordinary life, it becomes full of God, overflowing.”

That resonated so fully and completely.

this is me today

Oh and the reason I named my post “shaking my fist at god” is because I’ve been fully doing that lately. If you know me, you know that the god of my understanding is simply the universe, all that is, the pattern and love that underlies, permeates, creates, sustains and destroys all that is. Generally, I cultivate trust that the life unfolding is the exact right life for me. But this past week in the deepest muck of this darkness, I have denied and resisted, shouted and sworn, “why have you forsaken me?” And it felt like an important part of whatever this process is. To just say, NO, God! WHY ME, God? Fuck you, God!

and now…the other side of the mountain…the downhill side. for a while. [like the old Donovan song: “first there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is”]



Ahhhh. I arrived in Austin yesterday. It is beyond surprising to be here. I can’t quite explain it. But, being as this is a blog, I will try. Best I can do is a shorthand version…

Leave santa cruz in a blur on the evening of June 1.

Spend weekend in oakland, seeing old friends, catching up.

Whirlwind 2-night trip to Willits (northern CA) for work.

Then back down to Moraga for 2-night visit to other old friends, one of whom just was diagnosed with a brain tumor, only to learn that she has to have immediate brain surgery and my 2 day visit turns into week long which is absolutely beautiful and blessed and she makes it thru surgery and is ok; tumor is benign; she’s recovering in rehab, and so I

hit the road on Thursday, June 14 and it’s a grueling and emotional journey across the desert (which I’ve crossed each summer by myself in both directions for the past two years already, swearing I will never do it alone again, yet here I find myself, alone again, drained and exhausted and not sure what I am doing or why I left or what I’m driving to…).

Arrive in Austin on Monday afternoon. Emily’s house in the country just outside of town, cicadas’ orchestral roar surrounding me, swelling and waning, the air conditioning in the house keeping my brain temperature from reaching dangerous highs, a good-bye potluck for Emily happens and I’m suddenly surrounded by 20-somethings.

This morning, Tuesday, Emily packs her bags, we make a list of when and what to feed Jed the dog and Bessie the cat. I wave to her as she pulls away from the tilting 1-bedroom farmhouse that will be my home for the next 5 weeks and collapse onto the couch.

I’m here. My heart is beating. I’m alive. I’m in Texas. I don’t know how anything is going to look.

Bring it.

massive change

In April I spent 10 days on the big island of Hawaii, in retreat with Vanessa Stone and 8 amazing friends. It was a truly heart- and mind-opening experience.

I am not going to write about the experience, not specifically and not here and now. But I will say that I left and returned home to Santa Cruz with some pretty clear realizations:

1. I want to and am ready to move to Austin, TX. To be near Vanessa Stone and her work with the Amala Foundation. To become more a part of that amazing organization and its humanitarian projects. And to simply reach out, broaden my horizons, welcome the world in.

2. I am not any longer interested in spending time worrying or analyzing. I am 100% committed to what is offered, to looking and seeing what is in front of me. To following the living map of my life, on a daily, hourly, breath-by-breath basis.

3. My foundation is my relationship to the core of my being, which I choose to call “God” or spirit, the absolute, pure love, the beloved. And that is where I will look for all guidance. Not outward. Not anymore.

So…I immediately was offered a place to stay in Austin for 6 weeks in June/July, for free, to housesit. My boss told me that he wants me to keep working for them (I already work remotely). I gave notice at my wonderful cottage by the creek. I’m finishing up this semester of school (mostly in the darkroom!), getting rid of all my stuff (again!) and hitting the road on June 11.

To say I am EXCITED would be a massive understatement.

video art

today I had my first class of the semester

Video Art

Wow, there’s some freaky shit out there. The instructor showed us some various “art” videos on youtube. I am looking forward to exploring more. I think I’ll invite some friends to be involved in my projects this semester. Maybe the piano player will compose some music for a project. And we can do a cool misty layered nature dance poetry barefoot nymphs in the forest thing. Or, maybe it’ll be just me and the creek, with the rushing water as the only soundtrack. Or…stay tuned!

I went to Fremont today to put together a report I’ve been working on, and leave it in a binder on the project manager’s chair. She wasn’t in the office. Which was good—I don’t want to see her. I find myself so annoyed that I’m doing this work. And simultaneously very grateful that I have it, that it’s good money and that it gives me the opportunity to continue this floating, drifting, following my heart thing I’ve been doing.

I don’t know where this is all leading. Some days, I get freaked out about that. But really what’s the point? It’s not like I really have a choice. Whenever I try to get a “real” job (which I have done many times in my life) I always end up miserable and sooner or later I quit. So, fuck it. I’m just gonna keep creating, keep trusting, and keep doing enough biologist kind of work to pay the bills.

On a deeper level I realize more and more that what I’m really doing—and all I want to do—is live in service to something greater than myself. Something that is me, and is also you and you and you. It is a great feeling when I get connected to my heart and remember so clearly what is important, what this life is about for me. Service.

The first post I wrote in this blog was about Service. It was almost 2 years ago–hard to believe–and I was going off to live at Mount Madonna Center for a 3-month program called Yoga, Service and Community. I had just quit my last full-time career kinda job, and I knew that I wanted my life to be about service. And it was at Mount Madonna that I met Vanessa Stone. Recognized and resonated with her message that our humanity is our spiritual path, that we can look to the living map of our own life to guide our soul’s journey. It was my call home.

I went to Austin that August for the Global Youth Peace Summit put on by the Amala Foundation and Vanessa, and it was afterwards, staying in a friend’s house in Austin, that I realized I wanted to write, to photograph, to create—and that the work I have to do is to communicate “spiritual ideas” through various creative outlets.

And so, here I am…still midwifing this new life into being. Remembering tonight that there is nothing required but gentleness and allowing. I am so grateful. For the full moon, the creek, the little cottage sanctuary I call my home today. And for you, reading this. Please read. Read what I write and let me know what you think. It will help me so much to hear from you. May you be blessed in every way.


Day Two

I said I’m going to blog every day. Here’s the next day of blogging. Here I go. See me going?

Actually, blogging yesterday was quite amazing and helpful. I felt pretty good after I got done and it kicked me in the butt to get out the house and keep moving. That helps a lot.

So, I went and got my dog, Jake, who lives with other people now, and took him to the beach. That was super fun for him because he ran and ran and for me because I took photos of him running and running and it was just lovely there.

Then I had dinner with my friend, Dresden who is a poet and a friend from Mount Madonna Center and from the Global Youth Peace Summit. A kindred spirit. An inspiring voice.

I feel blessed this morning. Reminded that if you don’t like the weather in San Francisco (or my own mind), wait a few minutes. Or walk a few blocks.

Some photos I took at a silent morning activity at the Global Youth Peace Summit last month:

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with love

just a quick post
to say I’m alive and well

Last week I volunteered at the Global Youth Peace Summit, outside Austin, TX, USA. It was a fantastically heart-opening experience and I’m feeling the after-affects. I’m sad to be on my way back to California, and I miss being at the Summit, a global village of support, healing, and love. It’s hard to explain what it’s like, but one of the other volunteers said it’s like “boot camp for your heart.” Mine has probably grown 10 times it’s size and capacity in just one week.

I was honored to be able to volunteer as a photographer and as the coordinator of the food love team’s schedule. (Food love = hard work in the kitchen.)

The youth come from refugee, immigrant, and insulated suburban communities in the Austin area, and some from other states, and a few from other countries. This year we had an Israeli girl and two Israeli-Palestinian girls from a peace organization in Israel. Heart-opening, healing, seeing and being seen, listening and being heard.

I made a video of some of the photos taken by me and three other photographers. You can see it here


I hope it captures even a bit of the magic and love of that experience. Also, the second song on the video was written by one of the youth and recorded by him and two others at the summit last week.

I myself am trying to fundraise $1000 or more to help the Amala Foundation create the Summit. My minimum is $325 and I’m still short of that. If you feel inspired to help out, please donate here: