PAST GROUPS, WORKSHOPS, and COMMUNITY PERFORMANCES
It’s no secret that we’re in WTF times. From whatever side you reside, it’s not uncommon to have existential cries-
Mental health is on the decline.
What has happened to our world? to our lives?
Through the heart’s language of rhyme, Alana takes us on a ride through the up and down journey of finding the light and coming alive.
In the face of despair and desperation, this book is makes the case for celebration:
With a creative perspective and a commitment to care, whatever comes our way, love is there:
in the blue skies and sudden farts, through the fragrant flowers and broken hearts, with the buttheads and the bees weather changes and rising seas-
this is an invitation to make peace by seeing ourselves in everything.
Join us in this evolutionary awakening where everyone is part of the play that guides our growth, every day.
Whoa. These days can be intense, huh? It can be hard to know where to start or where to go with such enormous overwhelm: First, there's this big pressure to save the world from extinction, then there's all the arguments... It sure feels like high-stakes times. No wonder mental health concerns are on the rise.
This practice of peace helps us to unfreeze and take joy in the little things that we can each do each day: it's start with the love we cultivate.
This world is made of US. When we change, the world changes too. Peace is up to me and you.
With the Living Mirror Practice you'll anchor the tools to:
Gracefully embrace change Meaningfully engage your growth Empower your voice Cultivate healthy relationships Develop a deep connection with the world around you Contribute to a planet of Peace
It's an improv, so don't worry about memorizing the lines. You don't have to come in at a certain time. What matters is the aim: to have love for everything that comes our way.
Sounds simple, but it can get tricky. The practice is to see ourselves in everything, with mercy. It all becomes poetry that's guiding our way as we grow our hearts every single day.
Let's make peace a play.
I've got holes in my boots and I know it's not ideal that I got braces at 37. I can see that my lenses are little crooked.
Peace isn't about being perfect. Join me in an ongoing discovery of grace, joy and beauty within the loving metaphors of learning to live sustainably.
Sometimes sweet, sometimes sad, and sometimes salty, in these weekly songs and stories I grow peace with what Life gives me.
Each of us is born into a body that carries with it some kind of story before even the first breath: our gender, our culture, our beliefs, and all the other circumstances that create the lives we live.
Asleep, we react to those circumstances as if they make us who we are.
But nothing is farther from the truth: we are the love that comes from the stars.
So how do we wake up when love these days can feel so very far?
We radically accept things -just as they are: just as the actor loves their character (even as it's just an act), just as we all love the story (even when it's missin' facts):
Waking Up Is Loving The Play- Just where we're at.
Wake Up to Love With Me
Did you know that people poop in heaven? The only difference is that they sing about it.
These days can feel daunting. Our world is going through immense changes and not one of us is immune from it. It can feel scary, lonely, and hopeless sometimes. But, in this virtual fireside, friends and creativity are the ingredients for the alchemy that turns our stinky bits into rich fertilizer. Indeed: art is a magic that makes heaven on Earth (even when it's all goin' to poo). Together in cosmic camaraderie, we fall in love with the character that we're playing and With songs, stories, poems, and pictures, we birth a new reality and make a play of our becoming. Together, we got this.
Join the Living Mirror Creative Community for:
Hopeful reminders that there's magic in every part of the cycle.
A safe space to air out your dirty underwear and make rich soil of our poopy parts.
Friends who also feel the holy shit of this epic moment and recognize our environmental, biological and social disasters as invitations to evolve.
Creative challenges to grow by the grace of getting real, and making a change -from the inside out.
Tips, Insights, and Inspirations on living a life centered in truth, love, and faith.
Super-encouraging opportunities to realize and share your unique super-hero powers.
I'm not very creative. Can I still be part of the community: YES! Everyone is creative and it's our joy to empower your genius.
I'm super shy. Do I have to share? Well, technically no, but then you'd be missing the point. Contrary to social media standards, friends are not actually made by peeping in on peeps who we think are cool. Relationships are built by the courage to be vulnerable with each other -and that means stepping out of our comfort zone. But don't worry: we're not here to impress or judge. We're here root each other on as we each go beyond what we thought was possible. Together, we make miracles.
Here’s your first mirror mission. The purpose of this practice it is to:e is to:
Practice getting real about your growth edge.
Practice the creative power of observation
Practice harnessing the wisdom of nature
Practice integrating the wisdom of the Living Mirror through creative reflection.
Here’s the prompt. Ready, Set Go!
Take 5 minutes (set a timer) to free-write about your growth edge. Where are you experiencing confusion or challenge in your life? What is confusing or challenging about it?
Based on your question, formulate a question that starts with "How". For example: "How can I have more patience with my parents?" or "How can I deepen trust in myself?" or "How does this situation benefit me?”
Now: Forget all about your free-write and question. Take a walk somewhere in nature. Give yourself 30 minuets to do the entire practice.
Allow your attention to be captured by something in nature. It can be as small as a blade of grass or as wide as an entire ecosystem (ie: the stream). Remember to trust your natural focus.
Take no more than 10 minutes draw/paint it. You can be as literal or abstract in your rendering.
Note on timing: limit yourself to 10 minutes as a signal to your creative self that the point here is not to produce a picture-perfect masterpiece but to deepen your relationship to it and to strengthen your power of observation. Set a timer.
Note for folks who are nervous about drawing: I suggest either drawing with the hand you usually DON'T write with OR intentionally trying to make it look like a kindergartner made it. For folks who are really excited about growing their visual art skills, a great nature-drawing resource is The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing)
Take another 10 minutes (set a timer) to observe and take notes. Pay attention to:
What's its shape?
What's its color?
What's its texture?
Does it have movement? If so, what's it's movement like?
What's its smell?
the quality of light
the ecosystem it's in
Bonus questions (you may wanna do some research for these): what do you know its role in the ecosystem? What is its gift to life? How does it reproduce? How does it sustain? What threatens it? Hows does it protect itself?
What is it doing?
What does it remind you of?
How does it make you feel?
Use your drawing and observation notes to write a poem about your nature mirror. In the process, allow yourself to wonder:
How is this a reflection of me?
How does this reflection inform my original question?
***Remember: there are NO rules to poetry: you don’t have to rhyme. It doesn’t have to make sense. What matters is that your nature metaphor is a mirror for you that somehow (magically) informs your original question.
You did it! Now leave a comment on this post when your practice is complete.
Life likes to dish out surprises, and you never know when you're gonna get a sour chocolate. In this weekly practice group, we support each other in applying the power of our creativity to discovering the gift in all of it. Inspired by a weekly Living Mirror prompt, every week we make songs, stories, poems and pictures of the questions:
"What if everything is a reflection?" & "How is this just what I wanted?"
By committing to these questions, we find that not only are we always given what we need, but all of life becomes poetry, guiding us through the silver-lining. Everything starts to talk: the birds, the trees, the sky (and even the ones who drive us crazy) offer essential pieces to our growth.
You don't have to consider yourself creative. In fact, that's kinda the point: to awaken the innate creativity within us (independent of form, talent, or technique). The act of seeing ourselves in everything (and finding the silver-lining) is all the art that we could ever need. You don't need to know how to play an instrument, or sing, or draw or write (but I do share tips). What you need is the courage to meet your growth-edge with creativity, express yourself honestly, and listen lovingly.
It's a safe space to get real. Facilitated by yours truly, this small group is rooted in a shared agreement to see ourselves in each other. This means that if judgement arises, we recognize our projection and address our feelings from the inside out, giving thanks for the chance to meet our blindspots. With this level of radical personal responsibility, we all have the freedom to share ourselves authentically.
You don't need tons of time to practice: 30 minutes a week is literally enough if that's all you got. We're not making flawless masterpieces -we're taking poetic polaroids of our moment (to honor it) and sharing the magic.
You don't need to believe the world is a mirror. Take it as a creative exploration and see for yourself how life transforms in the practice. _______________________________________________ The Nuts and Bolts:
What is the Living Mirror? The Living Mirror is the reflection that lives in all things: nature, people, places, objects, and situations. Very much like a dream, what we see in the Living Mirror is made of our own subconscious projections. Like an ink-blot that holds very little objective meaning on its own, and that only comes alive through the story that we tell about it, the Living Mirror is infinitely changeable; as our story changes, it changes.
What is the Living Mirror Practice? The Living Mirror Practice is a method of creative reflection that helps us become aware of the story that we are telling about ourselves and our reality. Through creatively engaging the Living Mirror, we bring love to ourselves (and all that reflects us) -just as we are. This love naturally impacts the story that we tell about the Living Mirror, thereby shifting our reality -not because we try to change it, but because love is inherently transformative.
Creative Conflict Transformation The Living Mirror Practice has a very practical purpose: to help resolve conflict. Generally speaking, most of the pain that we experience when we're triggered is rooted not in the current circumstance but in wounds that we carry from our past. In order to see our current moment clearly, we've gotta heal the parts that cloud our vision. The Living Mirror Practice is a powerful tool in this process. It's simple, actually:
Before engaging the details of our dramas, we practice creative reflection. We identify ourselves in our worthy opponents to send compassion to our shared humanity . With songs, stories, poems and pictures, we diffuse the charge of conflict so that we can show up to disagreements with an open heart.
The good news is that our practice isn't dependent on whether or not the ones we're rumbling with join us. Of course, it's ideal that all parties involved take time to look within themselves before feeding the flames of conflict. But, that's not always the case. It doesn't matter. Even if you do the practice on your own, your commitment to see yourself with love will help shape a peaceful resolution with grace.
Still- it's not a practice to do alone. Whether or not your worthy opponent is able to receive your creative reflection, there's something so essential about having a loving witness. That's why we practice together.
We are in times of great transformation. (Eeeekk!!%$#!!)
Everything is in a rapid state of change: our environment, our health, our politics, our relationships; we are evolving.
Let's come together (cuz, dang: the process can be challenging).
Indeed: in order to surpass our limitations, we must meet them. This can be terrifying. Excruciating. As our sense of self changes in the world, so does our navigation system. But a changing compass can be disorienting, making everything seem like it’s broken and lost and there's no hope anymore and what's wrong with us and what's wrong with you and what the heck are we doing and where the heck are we going and WTF?!?!
Any woman who has given birth, however, knows that these contractions are part of the process. Like the fall knows that spring will come again, and the night knows that the sun will always rise, our evolution is inevitable -and we’re right on time.
Our greatest ally: to find the silver-lining in everything. To be in a constant state of wondering: “How is this exactly what I need?”
It's not easy. That's why we practice together. When we're in the pits of rock-bottom, we need each other to hold the light as we realign. It's actually impossible to do it on our own (which is good news for those of us who are worn-out by our wicked independent streaks).
With the Living Mirror Practice, we build a foundation that's rooted in a shared quest to uplift love -no matter what. By seeing ourselves in everything, all of life becomes poetry, guiding us through the maze of an endless becoming. As we discover the art of living, we collaborate with life in an improvisational dance that turns our stumbles into grace.
Light prevails when we sing praises to the lemons. Hallelujah is the anthem to our ending and beginning. and together, we make magic of our growing.
Won't you join us in the play?
The Living Mirror Practice: Building Bridges of Love
Imagine if we were able to maintain loyalty to each each other's humanity, and compassion for each other's hurting, EVERY TIME we argued. Imagine if when we disagreed, rather than trying to get the other side to do what we think, we approached the conflict as an opportunity to realize another perspective in the way we tell the story.
What if we trusted that the ones we argue with are holding the keys that we had lost to our blind spot? What if our opponents were our teachers? What if our wholeness depends on each other?
These are the questions we work with in Living Mirror Peacemaking. Before we try to convince others of our point of view, we make Peace in ourselves by deeply listening, seeking our reflection, and making art of the integration.
We Make Peace by Weaving within the Pieces of our Conflicts.
Before we engage our disagreements, we share our creative tapestries of reflection. With art, song, story, crafts, and poetry, we are able to offer each other the gift of our shared humanity, and the commitment to do our part of the Peacemaking.
Whether or not the one you're in conflict with is willing to engage in this practice, you always have the power to do your part. If the one you reflect with won't even communicate with you, you can share your reflection with your beloveds for their benefit. When we grow from conflict, Peace ripples in every direction. It's always worth the practice.
Thank you for bringing your Piece of Peace, now: when it's most needed.
Here's the steps of Living Mirror Peacekeeping:
Identify conflict by recognizing stress in the body, anger, frustration, anxiety, depression, or other challenging emotions/sensations.
Investigate the source of conflict by asking: What am I afraid of? Why am I afraid?
Send yourself lots of compassion by making loving art for yourself: a love letter, a song, a poem, a painting, a necklace -whatever best expresses how much love and compassion you have for the part of you that's afraid.
Find out what the one you're in conflict with is afraid of.
Locate within yourself the place where you too are, or have also been, afraid in this way. Send that person lots of compassion by making loving art for both of ya'll: a love letter, a song, a poem, a painting, a necklace -whatever best expresses how much love and compassion you have for the part of youse that's afraid.
To the best of your ability, share your creative reflections.
Do this PRIOR to any negotiations.
For situations when you're thrown into conflict without a chance to reflect more deeply before responding:
Notice when you're triggered by paying regular attention to your breath, your heart-rate, and tension in your body.
Take a deep breath.
Ask for as much time as you can to pause and breathe.
Speak your feelings and fears.
Ask the other about their feelings and fears.
Send love and compassion to you both.
Do this PRIOR to getting swept up in pre-mature negotiation.
No doubt: breaking old habits is easier said than done, especially for those of us who grew-up in industrial and technological realities. From the time we were born we have been slaves to our own consumerism, comfort, and competition. What is considered a normal life is entirely destructive.
Thankfully, natural disasters are making sure that we no longer turn our heads. The Earth will not allow us to continue the way that we have. As with any addict, the consequences of the addiction only worsen until the addiction is realized. However, at this time, it's the most oppressed who are paying the price for our backwards lifestyle. We must stop. What will it take for us to change? When our homes have been destroyed, our communication systems disabled, our energy sources exhausted, our infrastructure demolished, then will we realize?
I don't mean to get all End-of-the-World on ya, but hey: every generation has their almost-apocalypse, and here's ours. The time of massive Earth changes is here. Whether or not it has been caused by humans or natural cycles, at this point, is irrelevant. There is no stopping it, and it will only come more intensely and more frequently. In my dreams I have seen the thunder in the hot pine summer. And as I sat up to watch the lightening ignite Grass Valley from my August slumber, I realized the marker of time: we have arrived.
Whether or not you too have received visions of a dying and rebirthing world, doesn't matter. There is no denying the weather. Fires didn't use to happen like this in California. We never had summer thunderstorms here. It never got to 108 degrees. The temperature is rising. Everything is impacted.
Thankfully -we are not here to survive. Death has always been around the corner -and most certainly we will all die. Suffering has always been a part of life. It's been avoiding our suffering that's caused our strife. In search of perpetually good weather, we have brought the storms like we have never. Now, there is nothing left but the glory of surrender. So, while there's still life in us, let us forgive. Let us erase our debts and come together.
As our modern world is dismantled by nature, it will no longer matter who's fault it was, or which side you're on: What will matter is our love for each other. With love, we can work together -and together we can make make it through anything.
For this, I am devoted to the Living Mirror. I am committed to realizing myself in the other: the plants, the animals, the stones, my sister, my brother; my mother, my father, my daughter, my son, my teacher, my enemy: I commit to know us all as one, and care accordingly.
Here's the super good news: the love and the kind of lifestyle that the Earth is moving us towards is hella fun and fulling. The anxiety, depression, and great majority of modern aliments are rooted in our disconnection from each other and our environment. Living in close-knit communities that grow our own food, build our own homes, and make our own entertainment is a joyful life. Those who have lived with indigenous people know this well. Sure, there's still pain. Discomfort. Death. But that's always been the case, and always will be on Earth. The difference is this: with the changes the Earth is bringing to us, we'll have each other in a whole new way. And that love makes all the difference.
This is why I'm surrendering to the changes of our time with so much gratitude. Sure, on some levels its dooms-days, but actually, this is what I always wanted. I never really wanted fame or fortune. What I wanted was love, connection, and fulfillment -and I thought that would come through material things. Clearly I was wrong. What a gift to be corrected, that I may come into the dream of what I've yearned for: to be here, in the beauty of this planet, with those I love.
I'm not here to save the world, but to love the moment as it comes.
Here is where miracles are born from.
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