Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Intentions for 2009, and one day sale!


Happy New Year's Eve!

I'm part of an amazing group of women called the Mom Entrepreneur Support Group Check it out, and tell them I sent you.

Yesterday someone on the group put a shout out for New Year's Resolutions. I got into the spirit of it and jotted some intentions down. I want to share them with you, and hope they might inspire you to do the same.

My Intentions for 2009:

to live into ease.
to meet pleasure gently, right where it is - not try to chase it, or coerce it into coming to me.
to make goals that stretch me, but don't tear or break anything.
to find the level that is right in any moment, even if it means bringing it down a notch or two.
to invest in love, because it always has a great roi.
to breathe in gratitude, walk in gratitude, sleep in gratitude, sit in gratitude, plan in gratitude, dream in gratitude, play in gratitude, work in gratitude, relate in gratitude, love in gratitude, live in gratitude.

I call these intentions because they aren't exactly goals. They don't have a start date and an end date, but are a commitment to practice of my personal values and ideals.

In this, I remind myself that every day is new, and that every moment is an opportunity to create positive change.

If you take up this "challenge" and write out your own intentions for 2009, I invite you to send them to me, and I will share them out, anonymously or with full credit, in my next newsletter.

As part of my personal gratitude practice, I do a gratitude shout out on Twitter daily. Others have joined me in practicing gratitude, and we have all found the collective witnessing to be powerful.

Thank you for witnessing my intentions. I'd love to witness yours in return. Together we will build new worlds.

May the coming year be filled with joy, presence, ease, and abundance for us all. Here's to a grateful 2009!

-LaSara
http://www.lasarafirefox.com ~ http://www.gratitudegames.com

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Teacher to Coach:
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The Ecstatic Presence Project * 705 N. State St. #205, Ukiah, CA, 95482 * 707-293-5153 * firefox@lasara.us * www.lasarafirefox.com

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Carnival of Mommy Bloggers - some holiday, some general, all great!


Here they are! The December Carnival of Mommy Bloggers entries. Enjoy, and link back if you love it! I have two categories of submission, since some were holiday themed, and some not. So, first category first.

Holiday Themed Entries:

1. For the first entry in the holiday category, at my new blog, Compassionate Living, I offer The Answer to the Season's Biggest Question: Yes, Santa IS Real! - a new look at an old issue. If you're dreading The Santa Conversation, read this!

2. Earthy Yoga Mom brings us Green Giving - Make it a Sustainable Holiday! I'm not playing faves just because she has Yoga Mom in her title. This gift guide brought to us by Lauren Bellon is GREAT. (And, it relates to an earlier post in my blog, as you'll see if you read the comments section at her post. Great minds think alike!)

3. WiredForNoise.com brings us a Toy Free Christmas! Excellent idea, I say.

4. At ProjectHappilyEverAfter.com, we have Yes, My Child, Santa is Flush, an honest post about white lies from Alisa Bowman.

5. Janine at TwoFerthePriceofOne brings us a sweet glimpse of how her twins are SO not the same in Twincident #145 - differences.

6. TheLifeofaMom.com brings us a how-to for you and your wee ones in Magick Reindeer Food.


And Second Category, General Theme:


7. How to Piss Off a Modern Mother is brought to us by Susanna, the blogger behind AModernMother.com. She's a great writer, and I thoroughly enjoy her blog every time I take a minute to go and look. So, go and look!

8. Crunchy Green Mom brings us Working at Love, an insightful post on what love is worth, and how much work it might be. She let's you answer the question, what is love worth?

9. Am I Stuck With This Body addresses the adjustment that the writer went through adapting to her post-birth body.

10. LittleMummy.com brings us The Future of Work for Mums, a breakdown of how mumpreneurism is the possible trend of the future.

Enjoy, read on, blog on, love on! And don't forget your yoga.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Light in the Darkness, Self-Care for the Holidays, and more.


In this issue: Article excerpt: Self-Care for the Holidays (and link to article in full) * Looking for a gift for your loved one? Check out this one! * Ecstatic Presence Empowerment: Light in the Darkness

Self-Care for the Holiday Season


The holidays are upon us.

No matter what your spiritual persuasion, you’re probably going to be finding time within this season of cold days and long nights to gather with family and friends, sit around the feast table, and celebrate some light in the darkness.

What a wonderful thing! But even so, the most joyful season still comes with holiday stress. And, between travel, shopping, parties, and family commitments, many of us don’t take very good care of ourselves in the midst of it all.

During the holidays, most of us eat more – and more poorly. We exercise less. We let our spiritual practices slip. I mean, who has time to meditate? There’s a sale on, and I still have gifts to buy! (Right?)

The result; physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion.

In addition to the basic stressors listed above, the holidays are the loneliest time of the year for many. Depression rates increase in the darker months, and many people experience physical and psychological ills when faced with the prospect of gathering with family. (Ever heard of the Christmas Migraine? It’s a real thing.)

For a change, why not make a pre-New Year’s resolution? Dedicate yourself to defeating the stress and depression many of us associate with this time of year, before it even happens.

Remember your own self-care, and the rest will come easily; pleasure, enjoyment, and a healthful indulgence in the more lovely aspects of the season.

Click here to read the rest of the article!

Give a Gift of Health and Happiness!

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Buying as a Gift? Gift note:


Ecstatic Presence Empowerment: Finding Light in the Darkness

The celebration of this season has roots in the timeless, hidden promise of light and warmth that lives within the dark. Even after the longest night of the year is over, winter still holds sway. But the light does begin its ascent to grandeur and glory in the eternal procession of seasons.

With eyes open to this bit of earth-based awareness, you’ll see representations of this ode to light reflected in whatever rituals are performed – be it the hanging of twinkling Christmas lights, the lighting of the Menorah, or the Mshumaa, or the burning of the Yule log.

Each one of these ceremonies bring us to the same moment of invocation of the return of the light, and gratitude for the flickering promise that lives in the kindling of the first spark.

Let this be a chance to invoke the light within as well. Whether you celebrate Solstice on December 20th - 21st, Hanukkah the 21st-29th, Christmas on the 25th, whether you are calling in the light of the Sun, or the light of Christ, conjure it inside of you.

Make time this season to commit to a new light within you! Light a candle and say a prayer. Light a host of candles with loved ones, and voice your dreams for the newly burgeoning light. Let each string of lights be a reminder to awaken to the potential of the coming year. Let each fire glowing in the hearth be a reminder of the power of a return to warmth and light.

Consider yourself empowered.


The Ecstatic Presence Project

705 N. State St. #205, Ukiah, CA, 95482 * 707-293-5153

firefox@lasarafirefox.com * www.lasarafirefox.com

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Carnival of Mommy Bloggers, Submissions/Entries Welcome NOW!

Are you a mommy blogger? I'm the current host of the Carnival of Mommy Bloggers, started by A Modern Mother back in November.
Link
From A Modern Mother:
"This is how it works: every two weeks a different mommy blogger “hosts” the carnival. The blogger community submits their best post from the past month -- this could be your most popular post, something that has done well on StumbleUpon or Digg, or one that has loads of comments.

The rules are one post per blogger and it must be something written in the past four weeks.

The host blogger then compiles the carnival entry post from their pick of the top 25 (can be first 25 submitted, or best 25, but it needs to be capped it or it will get unwieldy).

The Carnival post links to the full articles, and all of the submitters in return publicize with a post that “The Best of the Mommy Bloggers Carnival is up” with a short write-up and link to the Carnival."
My judging parameters are; 25 best "Holiday Miracle" or generally holiday themed blog posts. Holiday can be from whatever faith, for whatever holiday; Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Solstice, etc.

Have an older holiday post you think fits? Repost, and it will qualify.

December 16 will be hosted here at Yoga Mama Satsangha. Submissions are welcome now. Please email entries to firefox (at) lasarafirefox (dot) com.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Yoga Mama's Guide to Compassionate Consumerism, Buy Nothing Day, Gratitude Games, Roots of Tradition, and more.


Hi!

Happy Thanksgiving! Today's note has three articles for your reading pleasure, inspiration, and edification. One is my brand new Yoga Mama's Guide to Compassionate Consumerism, two is The Roots of Tradition; Reasons for the Season, and three is the offering of my gratitude games, so you and your loved ones can play them during your thanksgiving revels, should you choose to. (See the Ecstatic Presence Empowerment.)

But before all that, I'm going to offer you an alternative to Black Friday - the biggest shopping day of the year. It's Buy Nothing Day! Check it out here.

Now, generally I say YES!, let's spend money and keep the economy going. But this one day out of the year, what if we all committed to reducing our footprint by staying home, or brought consciousness to spending habits by joining in on an action sponsored by Adbusters?

Ultimately, whether you decide to participate in Black Friday or Buy Nothing Day, I hope you participate with consciousness - consciousness toward the planet, for your wallet, and of the fact that you are always voting - with your dollars, your patronage, your attention.

Read on, and have a gratitude filled Thanksgiving.

Peace, and thank you for being in my life.
-LaSara
http://www.lasarafirefox.com

Yoga Mama's Guide to Compassionate Consumerism
by LaSara Firefox, MPNLP, http://www.lasarafirefox.com

Here we are at that time of year where my anti-consumerist, smaller footprint, "live simply" self, and my "kids deserve the joy that materialism so easily delivers", acquisitive, affluenza-suffering self must war with one another.

And I, like every other conscious consumer, enter the battlefield of who to buy for, what to buy, and why? And, in some ways most importantly, HOW?

For your consideration, some guidelines I came up with for conscious and compassionate consumerism:

1. Remember that every dollar is a vote. When you spend, you are voting for the survival of one "contender" over another. You're contributing to the policies, and politics, of the corporation you buy from. Choose accordingly.

2. Locally owned companies need your support to stay afloat. So, keep chain store gift buying to a bare-minimum. If you're going to spend your "hard-earned" cash, spend it where it helps the most.

3. Gift with products and services you believe in. Organic cotton socks may be out of your price range ($50 for five pairs? Yikes!), but, see # 4.

4. Buy products and services produced and offered by people you know. You probably know a lot of really great folks, doing really great things. Artists and artisans, musicians, writers, massage therapists and body workers, hairstylists and aestheticians, fix-it guys and gals, coaches, carpenters, tarot readers, florists.

When you buy from friends, you gift twice. You support your friend in her or his commitment to "right livelihood", and you give a quality, personal gift to the recipient.

5. Attempt to fully and presently give the gift of yourself throughout the season. Relax into the experience of it, stay present in the joy of times shared with loved ones. Light candles to welcome the return of the Sun.

6. Become conscious of your judgments, and let them go.
This is a very personal suggestion that you may relate to; one of my biggest challenges to staying present in the season is my judgmentalism about consumerism, and the wastefulness that this season brings; light displays, wrapping paper, extra driving, extra buying, extra spending.

The voice of my judgement rings out in response to my own holiday habits - which at times veer into excess, over-extension, stress. It can be overwhelming to stay conscious in the midst of it. So, I try to relax my judgement, towards myself and others. Judgement is not compassion.

7. Meditate on the longing, the need, the hunger that is the shadow-side of this darkest time of year, and allow it to pass. Again, and again, and again. Feel it, and let it go. Recognize it in your own desires to care for, and to be cared for, and find acceptance and love for the hungry parts of you. Notice it in others, and generate compassionate understanding.

Those are my steps to compassionate consumerism. What are yours?

Just as with any face of compassion, compassionate consumerism is a practice. It's a practice I undertake for my own benefit, and the benefit of all sentient beings.

The Roots of Tradition; Reasons for the Season

by LaSara Firefox, MPNLP, http://www.lasarafirefox.com

In giving myself to the spirit of the season, releasing guilt and judgement, and becoming more responsible in the habits of indulgence and over-indulgence, I find it helps me to remember that the lights, the gifting and the gatherings are all rooted in time-worn traditions.

These ancient traditions were born of a deep and abiding need that descends in the darkest of hours and longest of nights; the need to remind ourselves of the promise of a return of the light. They predate marketing, consumerism, Santa Claus. They even existed before the birth of the sweet baby Jesus.

The more I remember that the gifting of this season is about getting through hard times - long, dark nights in cold, cold months, and about support, community and the spirit of generosity, the easier it is to see through the red haze of seasonal buying fury, and have the season make more sense.

The lights adorning houses are a glance backward at ceremonies of light in the darkness that were celebrated by indigenous cultures all over the world. When I become aware of this, and feel the lineage unbroken - the spirit circles back to ceremonies that make sense - I find a bit more wonder in the twinkling lights.

Carried in these ancient festivals of light is the seed of hope, the same seed carried in our hearts as we face our own darkest days and nights - the seed that allows us to be assured that light will, that light does, return.

Of this desire to find light in the darkness, gifting originated as a faith-offering - a triumphant song in the night promising that the spring would return. That crops would grow again, ewes would come into milk, and new livestock would be born.

We gift to keep the wolf from each other’s doors. We gift to remind ourselves that there are others who will take care of us if we fall upon hard times. We gift to remind ourselves, and each other, that God exists - in the form of a jolly, rotund giver, the Solar entity, baby Jesus – “light of the world”, Saturnus, or whomever else you may pray to at this time of year. That the sun will return.

We gift to remind ourselves that even in the darkest times, there is light still to be found.

Ecstatic Presence Empowerment: Gratitude Games!
by LaSara Firefox, http://www.lasarafirefox.com

This Empowerment was written for the Thanksgiving holiday last year. But, every day is a good day to practice gratitude. Gratitude helps heal the heart (yes, it's scientifically proven to help with healing rates after heart surgery or heart disease), it reduces stress, and it helps us to learn to notice the things in life that support ease and grace.

Here are some fun and easy ways to introduce gratitude practice to your family and friends. If you feel inspire to integrate gratitude practice into your life, consider hosting a Gratitude Gathering. You can use these games as a starting point.

1. Gratitude Practice:
The old standby. Everyone in your cluster takes a turn saying something they’re grateful for. One offering isn't enough? Go around again!

2. "Gratigories": Take turns choosing categories, and then everyone at your table offers one thing they are grateful for in the chosen "gratigory."

At our family Thanksgiving last year we played this, and it was great! Some fun - and surprisingly touching - gratigories we came up with; public utilities, things that happened to or for us when we were teens, family traditions that have been handed down, the influence of famous people.

Have fun with the gratigories! The more diverse, the better.

3. A Grateful A to Z: An alphabet of gratitude! Start with A, and make
your way to Z. Make sure everyone takes a turn. This is obviously a great gratitude game for the wee ones in your crew.

4. Compassionate Gratitude: The most challenging of my gratitude games perhaps, but what better way to strengthen your practice of compassion, than with gratitude?

The point of Compassionate Gratitude is to find things to be grateful about in areas that challenge your lovingness. Politics? Family? America? Media? Culture? Choose your topic, and find the gift in the challenge!

Consider yourself empowered!

About the author:
LaSara FireFox, MPNLP, is mom to two amazing daughters, a life coach, and an educator. She helps her clients and students to find balance in their lives, and alignment with their personal and family-held values.

Visit LaSara’s website at http://www.lasarafirefox.com for more information. At the site, you can listen to her “Yoga Mama Satsangha” podcast series, download free parenting-related items, and more.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Yoga Mama's Post-Election Post - Win Some, Lose Some...

Win Some:
I truly believe I have experienced what may be THE definative political event of my lifetime; the first black American president has been elected. By a landslide, in fact.

Not only that, he's the first president who is more Gen-X than Baby Boom. And, as advertised, as much as Obama is proof of change, he's harbinger of change. Don't quite buy it yet? Check out the new President-Elect's website: www.change.gov. Seriously! Change dot Gov. And it is a change - Obama and his team are ready to drag this country, perhaps kicking and screaming, into the new millennium. (Hey, we're only eight years late, right?)

Web 2.0 savvy was part of what delivered this heroic victory. And, Obama has been nothing but generous with the praise for a country that heard a message of hope, and went for. Motivated to achieve it.

I look forward to seeing what the country looks like in a year's time, four year's. We have an opportunity to take a lead from an honorable man, and embrace change. This is only the beginning. We are the change that elected this president, and we can be the change that rises this country from the ashes to fly strong again.

Lose Some:
In California, widely considered at least one of the most liberal states in the union, the citizens voted in Proposition 8, the nefariously worded "Protect Marriage Act." It's is a proposition that "protects traditional marriage" by disallowing anyone but one man and one woman the rights that marriage affords.

However, the fight goes on. As I write, people all over the state are demonstrating against Prop 8.

To paraphrase a facebook friend's update the day after the elections; I never thought I'd see the day when I was proud to be an American, and ashamed to be a Californian. Well, here it is. (can't recall who that was from, or I'd give you a link...)

And, an end comment on the election from Yoga Mama:

So, the struggle for rights - equal rights for everyone, regardless of color of skin, sexual orientation, sex or gender - continues unabated. But still, I have hope.

Hope possessed of a leader. Hope for, and trust in, the country that elected him. Hope that a day will come when the changes that are coming have come and gone, leaving a sweeter memory behind. To quote a great man;
"Today we begin in earnest the work of making sure that the world we leave our children is...better than the one we inhabit today."
-President-Elect Barack Hussein Obama
Peace, and hope.
-LaSara
http://www.lasarafirefox.com

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Barack the Vote!

In the news: This Blog Wins Placement as a Best in A Mommy's Carnival of Bloggers. VOTE for me. * It's VOTING DAY. Do you know where YOUR vote is? * An Empowerment for Presence: Change Your Mind, Change the World.

So, I'm participating in a Mommy Carnival of Bloggers. And, my post, Yoga Mama's Guide to Compassionate Citizenry, won placement in the first round. If you like that post, I would LOVE your vote as one of the "best of the best." Visit A Modern Mother to cast your vote.
Link
More importantly, but still about voting...it's the day we've all been counting down to for months! Some in the hope that the conversation will be winding in directions other than the elections (Don't count on it! Whoever wins, this Presidential election will be one for the history books, for sure. The conversation will not end tomorrow, or next week. We'll be in the throes of ti for a while yet.) Some in the hope that this day will cement a positive Change in direction for our country.

ELECTION DAY IS HERE! Did you vote yet? If not, go and vote. If so, can you volunteer to get others out to vote? You can probably do it from the HQ of your favorite candidate if you want to be part of the excitement. You can call your neighbors and friends and ask if they've voted. You can volunteer to call voters from home through MoveOn.org or Obama's site. You can give rides to the polls, watch babies, watch parents.

Point is; do what's needed. Barack the vote!

An Empowerment for Presence: Change Your Mind, Change the World
The world is what you make it. The Buddha is credited with this quote: " We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world." Consider how you are making your world - what thoughts are building what outcomes in your life?

If you can change how you think, you can change what you experience. There are any number of possible realities available in any given moment. Vantage, your position within and in relation to the rest of existence, counts for a lot.

What if you were to stand in a different position, look in a new direction? We are limited, grounded, by our perspective. On a physiological level, we can only see what's in our field of vision. And even then, we only truly see parts of the picture. Much of what we "see" is generated by what our mind thinks should fill in the blanks.

The same things happens with our minds. We see what we're looking at. So, change your perspective. Change your frame. Change your mind. And watch the world change with you.

Yours, in peace, hope, and CHANGE!
-LaSara
http://www.lasarafirefox.com

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wonder where Hallowe'en comes from?

excerpted from my young people's book, A Child's Wheel of the Year, yet to be published.

The Roots of This Celebration:

Samhain: Celtic
The word Samhain seems to have come from the word samhraidreadh, which in the Gaelic, the language of the Celts, means “summer’s end.” The Celts divided the year up into two parts; the Winter Half, or Dark Half, and the Summer Half, or Light Half. The Celts considered the day as starting with evening, instead of midnight or morning, and so it was with the year. As the Celts went into the darkening season, they went into their new year.

Samhain was a one of the four yearly Fire Festivals celebrated by the Druids of the Celtic lands. These festivals lasted three days, and were celebrated on the seasonal turning points, which were the points between equinoxes and solstices. At the Samhain fire festival, and at it’s cross-point, Beltane, once the community fire was built, all fires in family hearths were let to go out. These two times were the only times during the year that the hearth fire was extinguished. On the final morning of the festival, the head of each house would take embers from the community fire and restart the fire in their hearth.

In the Celtic tradition, the day before Samhain was considered the last day of the old year, and the day after Samhain was considered the first day of the new year. The day of Samhain was considered a time between times, a day between years, and a world between worlds. It was a very magickal day.

The Celts believed that Samhain was a time where the world of spirits (where the dead, the faeries and other supernatural beings dwelt) and the world of the living were closest. They believed that the spirits of the dead would come and walk among the living during this festival. Many Celts dressed in costumes of spirits and faeries to make the wandering spirits feel at home.

Often, too, it was the poor of the community who would wonder begging food in the guise of the spirits. And the homesteaders would not want to bring the disfavor of the spirits upon them by acting selfishly. So the hungry would be fed on Samhain, and the ancestors would bring blessings to those who had been generous.

Another aspect of this festival is the story of the Celtic God of Sun and Vegetation, Lugh. Having given-in to wounds received on Mabon (the autumnal equinox) in mid-September, Lugh was believed to die each year during this time. (And each year The Sun God would be reborn on winter solstice.) Lugh was killed by his shadow self and twin, Tanist; the Horned God, the Dark Lord, the Lord of Misrule.

Under the rule of Misrule, this was a time when the usual rules were not lived by. The Celts usually lived by strict rules, but during Samhain the rules were laid aside, and mischief was made, fortunes were told, and revels were had. Men dressed as women, women dressed as men, and bands of young people would wander for miles seeking food and drink from the farmsteads in return for the entertainment they offered. This is where one of the American traditions of Hallowe’en came from. Trick-or-treating was once called mumming, and was a time where groups of people, adults and children alike, would go from door to door in costume singing, jesting and posing as spirits. The people they visited would offer treats in exchange for the entertainment, and in order to create goodwill with the spirits.

Ancient people lived with a much closer relationship with death than many Americans do, and Samhain was a time of getting ready to face the possible losses that would be brought by winter. Herds of livestock were culled; the weak, sickly and old animals were slaughtered, so that there would be enough food for the healthy livestock to survive the winter. Samhain was considered the third, and last, harvest of the season. Called the Red Harvest, this harvest was of the meat. Some of the meat was salted and saved for winter, and some of the meat and all the bones were burned on the bone-fire (possibly the origin of the word bonfire) in offering to the spirits. The bone ash was used to nourish the fields where crops would be grown the next year.
Jack-o-lanterns were originally carved from turnips and other tubers, and were made as a warding to keep unfriendly spirits, mischievous faeries and hungry souls from stopping over. Bonfires were built on hilltops to light the way for the wandering dead, and to give them light and comfort in the darkness.

If any loved ones had died in the previous year, his or her family would put a lighted candle in the window to lead the spirit home. The living would leave doors and windows unlatched, and set a place at the supper table for their beloved dead. The family would eat in silence in honor of the dead, from whom death had taken voice.

The closeness of the different worlds during Samhain made it an especially easy time to catch a glimpse of the future, and many would play games of divination on Samhain eve. Apple bobbing descended from one of these games.

Los Dias de Muertos: Mexican Indian
This fiesta is a rich cultural and religious celebration originating in Mexico. Dia de los Muertos has roots in many indigenous Mexican Indian tribal traditions, including those of the Aztec, Mayan, Incan and Toltec. After the invasion of the Spanish, Los Dias de Muertos came to include Catholic aspects as well, with much of the art and reverence including imagery of Jesus as one of the beloved dead.

Los Dias de Muertos is many days of celebrations, starting on October 31st with Dia de los Angelitos (Day of the Little Angels), dedicated to those who died young, Dia de Los Santos (Day of the Saints) on November 1st, and Dia de los Difuntos (All Souls Day) on November 2nd. There are parades, and a day and night is traditionally spent in the cemetery. The gravesites are cleaned and richly decorated with marigolds (the scent of which is believed to call the spirits of the dead home), bread and candy. Much attention is given to making the gravesites beautiful and spending time together remembering dear ones who have passed on. People bring musical instruments, blankets and baskets of food, and spend all night in vigil and celebration at the gravesides of their beloved dead.

Creation of huge family altars to the dead is central to the celebration of Los Dias de Muertos. These altars hold pictures of those who have passed, marigolds, brightly colored paper decorations (papél picados, papier maché skeletons attending to all the tasks and joys of life, smiling skulls and coffins made of a sugary confection called alfeñique, personal belongings of those who have died, water, salt, and an incense censer with copal resin burning. Sugar skulls, sweet Pan de Muertos (Bread of the Dead) and favorite foods of those being honored adorn the altars and are given out as treats. No expense of time, energy or money is spared in preparing the family altar.

A lighted candle on the altar represents each family member who has died in the previous year during the festivities, with one extra candle so no spirit is left out. The beloved dead are expected to visit during the festival and to partake of the ofrendas (offerings) piled high upon the altar.

In many small towns, doors are left open to encourage visitors, both alive and in spirit form, to enter homes, view the family altars, and partake of the sacred foods and drinks.


American Traditions:
Here in the United States, we are lucky to have the influence of the Celtic (by way of family lineage in some cases, and literature in others) and the Mexican (especially in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas) ways of celebrating this wonderful festival that honors death as just another transformation in the flow of life.

Here, we celebrate Halloween by dressing in costume, transforming ourselves into our dearest dreams or our scariest nightmares. We get to go out into the world as someone other than we usually are.

“Misrule” is still huge part of Halloween. Young people do things like yell “Happy Easter!” and reply with “Merry Christmas!” as they pass one another. On the less fun side of things, some see Halloween as an opportunity to perform dastardly deeds (like egging houses, smashing pumpkins, T.P.ing cars) that would be better left to the spirits!

Trick-or-treating is a gentler side of this tradition. Though trick-or-treating doesn’t always hold the beauty of a visit from the beloved dead, or the fun of a band of mummers, at least it’s not hurting anyone. At best, it is an opportunity to be out on the streets with friends and family, a part of a community, sharing an experience with others that doesn’t involve sitting back and watching the new Hollywood blockbuster.

Every year, holidays in America become more and more commercial. This year Halloween themed toys, gimmicks and costumery were out on the shelves by the beginning of the school year. But, you can decide to transform Halloween into a heartfelt and personal experience of the beauty of life and death.

What part of the celebrations you have read about stand out for you? The beautiful altars for the dead? Maybe you can find a local Mexican American cultural center and visit during Los Dias de Muertos? Maybe you liked the origins of trick-or-treating? This Halloween you could make a play with your friends, and perform it at each house you visit on Halloween. Or, perhaps the idea of giving generously at this time of year sounds good. With the help of a teacher in your school, you could set up a canned food drive for those in your community who do not have what they need to be warm and happy.

Activity: Making Alfeñique
These sugar calaveras (skulls) will be a fun, beautiful and spooky gift to give to your friends, or to place on your own altare de Muertos.

Ingredients:

2 cups powdered (confectioners) sugar
1 egg white
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup cornstarch
food coloring


Equipment:
2 mixing bowls
Egg beater
Measuring spoons
Clear, clean, dry surface for working the alfeñique
Wooden mixing spoon
Small plastic zip-lock baggie
Small bowls or saucers for food coloring
1 very fine paintbrush for each person who wants to paint alfeñique

How to:
1. Sift sugar into one mixing bowl.
2. Separate egg yolk from white. Throw away yolk.
3. Whip egg white until it is stiff enough to make peaks, in the other mixing bowl.
4. Still using the egg beater, mix vanilla into the egg whites.
5. Bit by bit, mix the sugar into the egg white mixture with the wooden mixing spoon.
6. Once the sugar and the egg mixture are so dry they start to crumble, work the mixture with your fingers until you can form it into a small ball.
7. Dust the dry surface with cornstarch.
8. On this surface, knead the mixture until the ball of alfenique is smooth.
9. Put the smooth ball into the plastic bag, and chill.
10. Once chilled, work the alfeñique into skull shapes, or whatever shapes you like.
11. Let alfeñique dry.
12. Once dry, paint with food coloring.

Recipe: Magickal Mulled Cider and Spirit Cakes

This Magickal Mulled Cider uses one of the most popular Halloween treats –apples- as a base for spices, which are full of magick! Listed below are some powers that these spices are believed to have, but it is also important to know that these powers change, sometimes from person to person.

The most important thing to remember when working magick of any kind, is that your intention (what you want to make happen) is the most important tool you have for any spell-working. So, as you work with this recipe, see what you think each spice does. Hold the spices in your hand, one at a time, and let your body tell you what each one is good for.

You can also give something a meaning. Though this may be considered a superstition by many, but what you believe has a lot of power. You can create meaning, a new reality even, just by believing.

Here are some traditional powers the spices you will use today are believed to have: Cloves are considered helpful to those in mourning, and they bring prophecy and offer protection. Nutmeg brings dreams, vision and wealth. Cinnamon is good for strengthening magickal acts, bringing success, wealth and health, bringing the second sight – the sight of prophecy - and it warms the spirit and the body. Allspice is for strengthening a community. Ginger warms, energizes and purifies. Lemon is for purification, and orange for love and vision.

This Magickal Cider will bring visions, comfort, warmth, health, wealth, love and a strong sense of community to all you share it with. It is great for a Halloween party, a Samhain night ritual, or anytime you feel the need for this warm magick. What a great way to enter into this new season. Don’t you think?

Magickal Mulled Cider
Ingredients:
1/2 gallon apple cider
3 cinnamon sticks for the pot,
Cinnamon sticks, one each per mug (optional)
1 Tablespoon whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg –or- 1/8 teaspoon dry, powdered nutmeg
5 pieces whole allspice
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger –or- 1/4 teaspoon dry, powdered ginger
1 pinch ground cinnamon per mug
1 tablespoon dried orange peel –or- peel of one fresh orange
Pieces of fresh orange peel cut into stars and other shapes, one per mug (optional)
1 lemon, juiced and pulped

Equipment:
Large (6 Quart) saucepan
Small muslin spice bag –or- cheese cloth –or- a tea strainer
Spice grater
Small plate
Paring knife
Wooden mixing spoon
Ladle
Mugs all around

How-to:
1. Heat cider to a simmer in the sauce pan.
2. While cider heats, grate ginger and nutmeg onto plate.
3. If using fresh orange peel, cut peel into small pieces. (You can cut designs if you like. Stars, pumpkins, circles. Especially good for pieces to put into mugs.)
4. If you don’t like to have to strain the cider, put spices and peel into a spice bag, or tie in cheese cloth. (I prefer to leave the spices loose, and don’t mind straining. If you are the same, skip this step.)
5. Using wooden spoon, mix the cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg, orange peel, lemon juice and pulp into the cider.
6. Allow to simmer for at least an hour and a half.
7. Serve hot. Ladle into mugs, and place a fresh cinnamon stick (optional) and fresh piece of orange peel in each mug.

If the cider is too spicy, or not spicy enough for your tastes, next time add more or less of whatever you want.

Serves: Many revelers

Soul Cakes
These cakes have lost of stories. The one thing you can be sure of is that they will fill the tummies of hungry visitors, spirit and living alike. This recipe includes rosemary for remembrance, and salt for cleansing.
All parts of this recipe are magick in some way. These are a few parts that have stories: Oat is useful for increasing the wealth of your home, and in lifting a bad mood. Wheat is for fertility, and is a wonderful way to recognize the relationship between life and death at this time of year. At this time, the seeds plowed under in the fields wait for the springtime warmth to sprout, and grow again.

6 oz. butter, softened
6 oz. fine, granulated sugar
3 egg yolks
1 lb. flour – unbleached wheat, whole wheat, oat, or a mixture.
A pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of ground allspice –or- mixed spices -which do you think would taste good? What kind of magick do you want in these cakes?
1 teaspoon of fresh rosemary, chopped finely.
3 oz. currants
A little warm milk

How-to:
1. Set the oven to 350ºF.
2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until fluffy.
3. Beat in the egg yolks.
4. Sift together the flour, salt and spice.
5. Add currants.
6. Fold the currants and the flour, salt and spice into the egg mixture.
7. Add milk bit by bit, to form a soft dough.
8. Divide into pieces and form into flat cakes.
9. Place on a greased baking sheet.
10. Cut designs into the top of cakes.
11. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden.

(Photo credit: http://www.laprensa-sandiego.org/archieve/october22-04/041022.html)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day 2008, Poverty - An Empowerment for Presence

38 million people in the U.S. experience hunger. If you're one of the fortunate citizens who has enough to share, why not get grateful, and take action?

Many cultures have safety measures built in to protect the poor from starvation. In the U.S., our communities are loose-knit at best. Families who do not qualify for government programs often fall through the cracks.

Ways you can help to address hunger in your community:

1. Contribute food to a soup kitchen, food program, or shelter.
2. Volunteer your time, energy, or financial donations at a soup kitchen, food program, or shelter.
3. Informally sponsor a newly single-mom or dad who may be struggling to make ends meet. Bring food unasked for. Be someone's guardian angel, or faerie godmother.
4. Sponsor a homeless person in your community. Choose someone in need, and bring her or him clothes, blankets, food, toiletries. Gifts.
5. Make a meal, and bring it to a place where homeless folks hang out. Stick around, ask questions, offer an ear. You will end up nourishing the soul, and not just the body. (And, your soul as well.)

Together, we can lessen the strain of hunger. Offer hope, offer help.

Consider yourself empowered.

-LaSara
http://www.lasarafirefox.com

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Yoga Mama's Guide to Compassionate Citizenry, Ecstatic Presence Newsletter

In this newsletter: Note from LaSara: Yoga Mama's Guide to Compassionate Citizenry * Empowerment for Presence: There Is No Other * LaSara Recommends...*

As the election nears, there are questions on everyone's lips. Whether it's okay to talk about politics is one of this big ones. My opinion; it's not just alright, it's your responsibility to do so! This is a democracy, and as citizens, we are empowered to participate in the governance of our country.

Yoga Mama's Guide to Compassionate Citizenry:

1. Assume positive intent.

Just because politics tends to get dirty doesn't mean that I should add my own mud to the slinging. It can be a challenge to hold back, but doing so is good form. I want to hear your point of view, and I want you to hear mine. Let's keep it clean as we are able.

2. Generate Bodhicitta.

Bodhcitta means wisdom-consciousness, or awakened-consciousness. Engage in the political conversation from a place of wisdom and compassion. This allows you to recognize your own wounding, while allowing yourself not to react from the wounded place. It also allows you remember that everyone is doing what they think best for the world.

You don't have to agree with their methods (and you won't in many cases), but trust that everyone is doing their best. In addition to contributing to the process of your own potential awakening to the enlightened mind, it makes it easier to have a civilized conversation.

3. Don't take it personally.

While it is easy to get caught in the fervor of fear, hurt, power and probabilities, and while the outcome of election day is very important, remember that comments made about your candidate are not comments made about you. Political disagreements don't need to become personal ones.

As a business person, I know I am taking a risk by being public with my political views. But it is a risk I willingly take on, in order to be the best citizen, of this country and the world as a whole, that I can be. I respect your right and duty to do the same.

The place where politics and spirit meet is addressed in this issue's Empowerment for Presence; There Is No Other. Read on, and have an ecstatic day.

peace.

-LaSara

www.lasarafirefox.com

*****

Ready to give coaching a try? Contact me for a pre-coaching evaluation NOW! Drop a note to: firefox@lasarafirefox.com, or call 707-293-5153 to schedule.

*****

Empowerment for Presence: There Is No Other

by LaSara Firefox, www.lasarafirefox.com

I have a lot going on in my life right now, and all of it is the opportunity to achieve a more constant state (or station) of awakening to compassion. One of the largest of my personal challenges to living in my compassionate heart is Sarah Palin.

Why? To begin with, she's the iconic proof that we haven't "come a long way, baby!" at all. Palin represents the dumbing-down of America, but more painfully to me, she is the "answer" to senator Clinton's "ball-busting" demeanor. Palin is hailed by some as the perfect feminine candidate; MILF-esque, down-to-earth (folksy), and seemingly, dumb as a doornail. Ouch.

So here's the practice I am sitting with in accepting Palin as part of the undifferentiated all-that-is: three steps to cultivating compassion.

1. I recognize Palin, and my feelings for her, as my own shadow, my own wounded self seeking the light of acceptance, my own wounded femininity aspiring to recognition in a "patriarchal" world, my own fear and my own failing.

2. I awaken my "witness self", the one who easily sees my own broken parts, and loves me into wholeness, even when I feel unlovable, or unloving.

3. I allow my heart to open and grow, and visualize Palin held securely in my own heart, or enveloped in my heart-energy. I breath into this love, and allow myself to heal in, and through, it.

I undertake this practice for the benefit of all beings, pervading space and time.In the process, I heal my own heart. I address my own shadow, and in moving through the pain of it, I become more awakened to the process of integration.

In the healing of my own heart, and the growth and expansion of it, I come to have more faith in the possibility of healing. Anger is a poisoned blade that harms the one that holds it. I am only capable of healing myself. But, perhaps in healing myself, I heal the world.

Consider yourself empowered.

LaSara Recommends...

Book:

Meeting the Shadow: The Hidden Power of the Dark Side of Human Nature

Edited by Connie Zweig and Jeremiah Abrams, Tarcher, 1990

Meeting the Shadow addresses the dark areas of the psyche from many angles and perspectives, and through numerous lenses. It's helpful both as a cautionary measure, and as a doorway to cultivating understanding of the shadow and how it functions and manifests. Even-handed, honest, and engaging, essays from scholars, spiritual seekers and leaders, pundits, parents and more.

TV Show:

Grey's Anatomy is a really, really good show. My husband and I watch it together, and are equally moved by it. Grey's Anatomy deals with epic themes with a light hand. And, as a fan of moral ambivalence that's true to life, the show offers opportunities for viewers to arrive at our own conclusions about right and wrong.

As a comment on women in culture, the show makes up for my heart-ache regarding Palin. (See above!) Grey's posse is sexually empowered, though wounded - like most of us; hard-working, yet sometimes over-extended; invested in image, though often pissed-off when objectified. In other words, I know these women. They're me. And you. And my sisters. And my peers.

So glad to have another year of growing up with this crew.

The Ecstatic Presence Project * 705 N. State St. #205, Ukiah, CA, 95482 * 707-293-5153 * firefox@lasara.us * www.lasarafirefox.com

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Make Time for YOU! A Mama Mini-Vacation Primer.

My new Twitter friend Marlynn wrote a blog at From Maternity to Madness today asking for tips on solo vacation ideas. I answered her there, and in the process thought, ahhh, more mamas should be thinking about what to do for some quiet time.

Okay, maybe it was also inspired by the fact that today was my FIRST day alone in my home since my new hubby moved in. We both work from home, and while I leave the house without him sometimes, he really never has left it without me in the past eight months. (He's getting used to living in a new place, building a new circle of friends, and finding his feet. Home is the only place familiar to him here, and even that is a new sort of familiar.)

We basically spend 24/7 together. And it works. We love each other THAT much.

But I won't lie; he got a full-time, temporary hire, and I'll be alone in the house all day for a few weeks. And the absolute quiet of it is like heaven. Ah, the freedom of my own thoughts, my own space, my own sanctuary. My own breath.

When was the last time YOU had some quiet time? No kiddos, no partner, no friends, no TV on in the background. I tell you, quiet is a balm that soothes the savage soul.

Solo time is priceless, precious, renewing. Quiet time, reflection, rest, recuperation, regeneration. Find a way to make the time, and let it feed you.

So, here are the ideas I offered Marlynn, and a few more for good measure:

If you have half a day:

* Book a massage. * Go for a walk in a quiet place. * Take yourself out to tea with your favorite magazine. (Avoid conversation!) * Go to a local church, monastery, zen garden, or museum. * Visit the water; ocean, lake, pond, river, fountain.

If you have one night:
My favorite way to grab a "quicky" is to spend a night at a local spa. If you're flush enough, get a massage, or other relaxation treatments. If not, take a walk or, or do some sitting. In any case, take your favorite magazine or book.

My personal ideal:
* Hot water - natural hot springs are my favorite, but a jacuzzi will do.
* Private room - though camping can be great if I'm in the mood. NO TV is a plus. (I know I might watch it if it's there. But if it's not, I have enforced quiet time!)
* Booking a massage or other treatment, on-site.
* At least 24 hours. 48 if possible!

Bring:
* Reading materials; just for fun! Magazines. Fiction. Spiritual nonfiction. NOT work stuff!)
* Writing materials; for fun, and mining your personal depths. Again, not work stuff.)
* Art materials; my mom gave me this very cool African basket that fits a whole bunch or art supplies in it.

Budgeting your getaway into the calendar and the checkbook takes some commitment, but it's an investment that has a high rate of return! Your spouse, your family, your heart, your health and your body will thank you!

Enjoy!
-LaSara
www.lasarafirefox.com

P.S. Stay tuned for ideas for alone-time that won't cost a dime.

P.S. Please subscribe to my e-zine, for free! When you do, you'll be entered in my monthly drawings for stuff I make, or stuff I like. You can find out more about this month's drawing here: http://www.lasarafirefox.com. (Of course, you'll get my e-zine, too, which is really pretty rad. And if you don't like it, you can unsubscribe whenever you want.)

Friday, September 19, 2008

GIVE-AWAY: an easy, fun way to introduce gratitude practice to your loved ones.

Want to win your own Gratitude Games package?
"Bring the "thanks" back to your Thanksgiving festivities (and the rest of the holiday season) with Gratitude Games and Gratitude Gatherings! Meaningful fun for the whole family, designed by LaSara Firefox, MPNLP." (Read more here.)
The Gratitude Games package is three-in-one, and includes:
  • Gratitude Games
  • Gratitude Gatherings
  • Enagaged Gratitude
I'm having a drawing for three Gratitude Games packages on October 16, 2008! All you need to do to qualify is subscribe to my e-zine, Ecstatic Presence. Click here and fill out my subscription box to qualify now! On October 16, my kids will choose three names at random. Yours may be one of them. Join now.

Want to be SURE to get a package, and HOURS of creative fun with your loved ones? Buy NOW, and you'll get yours half-price. Offer good through October 15th. Price goes to full on October 16th.




Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Living Thanks-Giving! Gratitude Games for Families and Circles of Friends, with LaSara Firefox, MPNLP


Bring the "thanks" back to your Thanksgiving festivities (and the rest of the holiday season) with Gratitude Games! Meaningful fun for the whole family, designed by LaSara Firefox, MPNLP.

Every day is a good day to practice gratitude. Gratitude helps heal the heart (yes, it's scientifically proven to help with healing rates after heart surgery or heart disease), it reduces stress, and it helps us to learn to notice the things in life that support ease and grace.

This product offers some fun and easy ways to introduce gratitude practice to your family and friends, and integrate gratitude practice into your life.




Product will ship on or before October 15, so you have plenty of time to plan your "Gratitude Gathering" for Thanksgiving day. Pre-order now, and get:

  • The Living Thanks-Giving How-To Collection - Gratitude Games, Gifts of Gratitude; The Value of a Grateful Life, and How to Host Your Gratitude Gathering - at half price; only $24.99! (Our regular rate of $49 goes into effect on October 16.)
  • The first five orders will also get a complimentary half-hour phone-coaching session with LaSara Firefox, MPNLP.


This product is totally green: zero waste! You will receive audio files and pdfs. You can use the product entirely from your desktop, laptop, or palm-top. Or, print or burn as needed.



Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Coming to Practice * Gratitude Games

In this post: Coming to practice... * Ecstatic Presence Empowerment: Gratitude Games!

Coming to Practice

When it’s hardest to give myself to practice, it’s the most important to do so.

Big changes are afoot in my life, and I - knocked off center - come back to the zafu, sit in front of my quiet altar, draw a card for contemplation from my goddess deck, and receive Kuan Yin. Goddess of Compassion. She will lead my practice today.

I draw at random from my stack of meditation books. It’s Jon Kabbat-Zinn’s Wherever You Go, There You Are. I open to a page at random, and it’s an essay called “A What-Is-My-Way? Meditation”.

I find my way in the few minutes of quiet. The way of surrender. The power of prayer enfolds me, and I surrender to being held by something larger.

I feel my heart constrict, a baby in the birth canal, I am being pushed through this moment, into a larger awareness of self, of potential.

Death and birth are solitary walks. Every moment of it, truly alone…yet not alone. In facing my absolute sense of self, I break nearly into a knowing of the larger truth – that there is no alone.

Compassion sits just outside my reach, because I have placed it there. Presence is, or is not. Presence is releasing expectation, releasing attachment, releasing time.

There is no time in the eternal now, the forever unfolding is-ness of the moment.

I am present, in practice. I am breathing compassion, in practice.

So I come back to the meditation altar, back to the pillow, and sit.

peace.

-LaSara
www.lasarafirefox.com

Ecstatic Presence Empowerment: Gratitude Games!
by LaSara Firefox, www.lasarafirefox.com

I wrote this Empowerment for the Thanksgiving holiday. However, every day is a good day to practice gratitude. Gratitude helps heal the heart (yes, it's scientifically proven to help with healing rates after heart surgery or heart disease), it reduces stress, and it helps us to learn to notice the things in life that support ease and grace.

Here are some fun and easy ways to introduce gratitude practice to your family and friends. If you feel inspire to integrate gratitude practice into your life, consider hosting a Gratitude Gathering. You can use these games as a starting point.

1. Gratitude Practice: The old standby. Everyone in your cluster takes a turn saying something they’re grateful for. One offering isn't enough? Go around again!
2. "Gratigories": Take turns choosing categories, and then everyone at your table offers one thing they are grateful for in the chosen "gratigory."

At our family Thanksgiving last year we played this, and it was great! Some fun - and surprisingly touching - gratigories we came up with; public utilities, things that happened to or for us when we were teens, family traditions that have been handed down, the influence of famous people.

Have fun with the gratigories! The more diverse, the better.

3. A Grateful A to Z: An alphabet of gratitude! Start with A, and make
your way to Z. Make sure everyone takes a turn. This is obviously a great gratitude game for the wee ones in your crew.

4. Compassionate Gratitude: The most challenging o my gratitude games perhaps, but what better way to strengthen your practice of compassion, than with gratitude?

The point of Compassionate Gratitude is to find things to be grateful about in areas that challenge your lovingness. Politics? Family? America? Media? Culture? Choose your topic, and find the gift in the challenge!

Consider yourself empowered!

About the author:
LaSara FireFox, MPNLP, is mom to two amazing daughters, a life coach, and an educator. She helps her clients and students to find balance in their lives, and alignment with their personal and family-held values.

Visit LaSara’s website at www.lasarafirefox.com for more information. At the site, you can listen to her “Yoga Mama Satsangha” podcast series, download free parenting-related items, and more.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Practicing Gratitude.

Listen to today's episode of Yoga Mama Satsangha. I talk about gratitude practice, and how and why I introduced the concept and practice to my family. Interested in practicing gratitude? Visit my site for a free download of Gratitude Games.

peace.

-LaSara
www.lasarafirefox.com

Thursday, August 7, 2008

the value of daily practice on Yoga Mama Satsangha Podcast


Yoga Mama Satsangha with LaSara FireFox - Friday, August 8


Hosted by: LaSara FireFox
Title: Yoga Mama Satsangha with LaSara FireFox - the value of daily practice
Time: 08/08/2008 03:30 PM EDT
Episode Notes: Why your daily practice (yoga, exercise, meditation, prayer, or wahtever sits right with you) is essential to being a good mom.

Hosted by: LaSara FireFox
Phone Number: (724) 444-7444
Call ID: 21362

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Want to be featured on my podcast series - Yoga Mama Satsangha with LaSara Firefox?

Are you a mom who is changing the world for the better? Do you identify with the term Yoga Mama? If so, check out my podcast series, Yoga Mama Satsangha with LaSara Firefox, at Talkshoe.com.

(While you're there, take half an hour and listen to my delightful interview with Anna Getty, yoga mom and "mompreneur" extraordinaire, founder of Pregnancy Awareness Month, and the organic lifestyle company, PureStyle Living.)

Once you've seen what Yoga Mama Satsangha is about, come back here and tell me why you're a good candidate for an interview! (This is also a chance for you to put out a little shout out about what you're doing to change the world. Be sure to include the url to your website.)

I look forward to hearing about the change you are being!

peace.

-LaSara
www.lasarafirefox.com

Friday, July 25, 2008

Listen to the Yoga Mama Satsangha interview with Anna Getty!

My interview with Anna Getty today was AMAZING! Fun, sweet, and filled with useful information. You can listen to it by clicking on the widget below. I am sure you'll enjoy it as much as I did.

I've joined Technorati!

You can read my blog at Technorati, now. Check out my Technorati Profile!

Have lunch with me and Anna Getty, TODAY!

Hey love,
Come spend your lunch break with me and Anna Getty, TODAY - noon-thirty pacific time. CLICK HERE for details. We will be talking about passions, organic living, yoga, family and more...

Hope to "see" you there.

Peace,

-LaSara

www.lasarafirefox.com


Thursday, July 24, 2008

ANNA GETTY INTERVIEW, LIVE, TOMORROW!!!!


Don't forget to tune into Yoga Mama Satsangha for my interview with Anna Getty, tomorrow at 12:30 Pacific time! It's going to be fun, so I really hope to see you there. And, Anna will be giving away a few copies of her pre- and post-natal yoga dvds. So listen in, find out how to snag a copy, and you may end up the happy owner of a new yoga dvd...

Click HERE for details!

peace!

-LaSara
www.lasarafirefox.com

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Yoga Mama Satsangha -- LaSara Firefox interviews Anna Getty


LIVE! June 25, 12:30 PM Pacific. (Available for download anytime.)
hosted by Talkshoe! CLICK HERE for details.

Join us July 25th for a conversation with Anna Getty, certified yoga instructor, founder of PureStyle Living - a green lifestyle company, and heiress to the Getty family fortune. Anna and LaSara will talk about PureStyle Living, yoga, Anna's latest philanthropic venture - the development of a non-profit organization called Pregnancy Awareness Month, and find out exactly what inspires this amazing entrepreneurial yoga mom the most!

As always, we invite you to bring your questions to the Yoga Mama Satsangha! If you have a question for Anna, please post it here before the call, or enter it using the chat feature at Talkshoe once the call is underway.




Friday, July 11, 2008

Anna Getty, of PureStyle Living, to be featured on Yoga Mama Satsangha!


Anna Getty, certified yoga instructor, founder of PureStyle Living - a green lifestyle company, and heiress to the Getty family fortune will be my guest on my Yoga Mama Satsangha podcast (hosted by Talkshoe) in the near future.

We haven't chosen a date yet, but stay tuned for the details. (You can always subscribe to my RSS feed so you don't miss anything!) It is sure to be a great show. I'll post the details as they become available.

In today's show, we'll be speaking with Reiki Master and yoga instructor Terrie Wolfe-Lee about how to use Reiki with your kids. (Make it your lunch-break - gift yourself the half hour! Noon-thirty, Pacific time.)

peace.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Seven Steps to Healthy Communication With Your Kids


by LaSara FireFox, MPNLP, www.lasarafirefox.com

As conscious parents working to create a better world, we know that the work - and joy - of it begins at home. Here are seven steps that offer you a foundation for clear and healthy communication with your most precious focus; your children.

1. Honor your kid's questions with answers.

If your child is mature enough to formulate a question on a given topic, she is mature enough to get an honest answer from you. That answer should always be age appropriate, and within your comfort zone.

Sometimes an honest answer is "I don't know," or "That's not a question I'm ready to answer." If either of those are the case, follow up appropriately. If you don't know, you can always make it a research project for you and your kid to engage in together.

If you don't feel comfortable answering a question because it gets into territory you feel conflicted about, own your boundary around it (see step 4), and let your child know when you would be willing to revisit the topic - whether it's in a couple of days, or when your kid is in the fifth grade, or when you've sorted your stuff out. Always be responsible and proactive with the follow-up.

Bonus idea: Visit www.lasarafirefox.com and access my free downloads for directions on creating a "Question Box."

2. Own your feelings.

Don't make your discomfort your kid's "fault." If the question he has asked makes your hair stand on end and your face flush, know that your embarrassment, your discomfort, or your anger.

A danger inherent in parent-child communication is that your kid will take on your shame, your discomfort, or your unease. Or, in cases where a kid is a "mismatcher", they may act out in opposition to your stance. If you don't want your kids blindly falling into - or acting out in response to - your wounding, patterning, imprinting or behaviors, own your internal conflicts.

3. What isn't said speaks more loudly than what IS.

Ignore it and it'll go away? Not a chance. But sooner or later, your kid(s) will - especially if you're unable to answer the questions brought to you. Sex, drugs, money; they're all topics that may have been avoided in your family of origin. But do you want your kids getting answers from the same unreliable sources you did? (On the schoolyard, TV, your parents, the government?)

The conspicuous silences in your communication are an OUT LOUD statement - about what's inappropriate, shameful, unmentionable. If you want your kids getting different messages than what you were handed, make sure you're giving voice to your opinions.

Normalize the topics that make you want to freeze up. Talk with your friends, talk with your trusted advisors (your coach, your priest, your therapist, your doctor), talk with your parents, talk with your peers. Know that there's a whole world of information out there. If you feel conflicted about your own ideas, educate yourself about different views.

If money was a hidden topic in your family and you feel that hasn't served you in your quest for financial literacy, give your kids a head start by bringing them into alignment with your financial values.

If you want your kids to know that sex is a good thing to have clarity about, model it by having values-based conversations with your kids about how to define their own sexual values.

With your nonjudgmental guidance and conscientious modeling, this process can begin consciously before your kids are even bringing direct question to you for answers.

Bonus Idea: Download my Sexual Ethics questionnaire for a tool that will help you find a starting place for these discussions. (Visit www.lasarafirefox.com and access my free downloads.)

4. Own your boundaries.

We all need appropriate boundaries. Modeling boundaries is, in my opinion, one of the most resourceful gifts you can offer your kids. One of the best way to offer boundary awareness to your kids is to model healthy boundaries in your interactions with them.

This means that you have not only the right, but the responsibility to say "stop!" when your wee one is hurting you, to close the door when you need a minute to yourself, to go for a run on a daily basis - no matter how needy others might be feeling.

Your healthy boundary also makes a clear distinction, and allows you to own your limitations or discomfort. In the course of a conversation or other interaction with your kids, you are bound to occasionally come up against the edges of your comfort zone. In these moments, it creates clarity to own your boundary, and make it clear that any discomfort you feel is due to your own process, and not something that your young-one is doing wrong.

5. Respect your child's boundaries.

Healthy boundaries go both ways. Another element of boundary in parenting that is all-too-often overlooked is this one; if you want your kids to know that their boundaries are to be respected, you must respect your kid's "no."

This can be tricky, but it must be worked out.

For example, sharing is a great value to instill. However, I know how I'd feel if someone came into my office and said "You aren't using your cell phone right now. Let Joe use it." My response would be along the lines of "Well, I don't lend out my cell phone, but Joe is welcome to use the house phone."

Yet, often parents will enforce sharing to such a degree that it can erode a kid's sense of control. Negotiate with your young-one. Create agreed-upon rules about sharing, such as designating certain items as "special" ones that they will never be asked to share.

With touch-related boundaries, it may be the most important to respect our kid's voice. If little Aaron doesn't like being grabbed and kissed by Aunt Joan, or tickled by his cousins, help him to voice his boundary.

Helping to set a boundary with Aunt Joan may be an uncomfortable moment, but everyone is sure to learn something in it, and Aaron is going to know that he never has to be touched in a way that's not comfortable for him in order to make someone else feel better.

If we want our kids to have the power of knowing that boundaries are to be respected, we need to both model firm boundaries for ourselves and our kids, and respect our children when they place a boundary that is reasonable.

6. Respectful, loving touch fosters connection! Stay embodied.

Kids listen better when they feel safe. (We all do.) They also communicate better when they know you aren't mad at them. (We all do.) Creating consensual, appropriate, loving connection through physical touch can help both parties stay present in an interaction.

There are many different modes for communication. Different types and levels of physical engagement are appropriate to different settings.

If your child enjoys horsing around, sometimes breaking the tension with a little tickling, wrestling or clowning around is totally appropriate. Or, sometimes massaging your kid's neck while you chat might be just the right thing.

If your little one is feeling sad, ask if he wants a hug. If your child is feeling tender or vulnerable, it can be great to offer to just hold your kid while he cries. If that's too much, or not desired, you can offer your hand for holding.

Most importantly, pay attention to your child's physiological responses, and respond accordingly. If your kid prefers sitting side-to-side instead of face-to-face, talk while sitting on the couch.

One of my daughters loves to have sit-down meetings with her parents. She's the younger kid, and loves all the attention being on her for the time that we give it. My older daughter, on the other hand, prefers a casual chat while in the car, out on a walk, or her favorite - while shopping.

The point is, every kid is different, with different needs, comfort levels, and desires regarding touch, embodiment and process. Pay attention to what makes your kid more comfortable, and communication will get easier.

Another way to stay embodied is to remember to breathe. If things get stressful, consciously choose to relax your body. Breath into the moment, and you will be more likely to respond the moment that is occurring, rather than reacting to how your dad responded when you brought up the same issue, and you were in the seat that your son is in.

There are two benefits to this practice; the first is that you will be more relaxed, which is a positive thing in and of itself. The second is that your child's body will respond to your relaxation by matching it.

Whiling remaining conscious and respectful of boundary, connect with your kids on a physical level while you communicate with them. And, stay engaged with your own physiological center.

7. The model is the message.

"Do what I say, not what I do," doesn't work. Your kids believe you. They watch you. They look up to you. They learn from you. And, actions speak so much louder than words.

When my clients say demoralizing things about themselves, my standard response is "How would you feel if your kid did (or said, felt or thought) that? Because, she's going to." Your kids will, consciously or unconsciously, emulate your modeling.

In this way, self-care is taking care of your children. Your ability to take care of yourself is one of the best foundational messages you can offer your kids. If you don't want your kids to smoke, quit smoking. If you are having a hard time quitting, talk with your kids about it.

When you make a commitment to shifting a pattern of your own behavior, you can also enroll your kid's support. This is another opportunity to model resilient skills for your kids. Ask for the help and support you need. Explain why shifting the pattern is hard for you. Use it as an opportunity to educate your kids on good choice-making, using yourself as an example.

Transparency and integrity are areas that you may also choose to model. "I only smoke when I'm away from my kids," may seem like a good way to limit the damage, but how would you feel if your kid said "Well, I only smoke when I'm away from you."

When you tell your kids not to get in the car with anyone who's drinking, and then drive them home from a party after you've had a beer, you're sending a mixed message. It's confusing, and builds in not only the space for justification in the particular (well, Jo isn't drunk, so I guess it's okay to get a ride with her...), but also the room for justification in other areas.

Do you obfuscate? Do you outright lie to your kids? If so, you are ultimately undermining your own authority. How do you think your kids will feel when they find out that you did inhale? If you lie to your kids, or if your behaviors and your words don't match up, you are giving your kids a template for behaving in the same way. If you value transparency and honesty, model it.

Are you being a resourceful and integrated model for your kids? Here's a good guideline; ask yourself, 'If my kid were engaging in the behavior I'm engaging in, how would I feel about it?"

Bonus idea: Create a family charter of agreements. (Visit www.lasarafirefox.com and access my free downloads.)

Sustainable Family Values - How Values Grow.

You are always modeling your values. The tricky part is that we often have two sets of values - idealized values (the values we like to think we have) and applied values (the values we actually live by). If what you think you believe, and how you act in your day to day don't match up, you're out of alignment with your ideal values.

You can shift your values into alignment by changing your behaviors to match up with your beliefs. The steps I have offered in this article offer a great starting point for the work of coming into alignment.

The more consciously you engage with living your values, the more aligned your modeling will be with your ideal life. This is a true win/win situation; as you model the behavior that you would most want to see your children emulate, you begin living the best possible version of your life.

Bonus Idea: Define your family's shared values. (Visit www.lasarafirefox.com and access my free downloads.)

About the author: LaSara FireFox is a master practitioner and trainer of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, coach, and published author. She's also a mom of two, and founder of two internationally active companies. You can find out more about her at www.lasarafirefox.com.

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Thursday, July 3, 2008

TalkShoe broadcast and call TOMORROW!

Join in on my new talkshoe talk show! "See" you soon.

peace.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A hero for our times...

I read today that Obama does not support the ban on gay marriage. I'm SO voting for that guy.

Who are you voting for?

It turns out that women - single, married or otherwise - all seem to have the same three questions at the top of their lists of issues we'd like the presidential hopefuls to address; healthcare, the war in Iraq, and jobs and the economy.

What are your top three?

peace.