UNSUNG HEROES 2016

UNSUNG HEROES, 2016

 

 

During the week of May 21, 2016, The Midpen Media Center will honor the winners of the 1010h annual Local Heroes Awards.

 

Ginny Anderson is among this year’s winners. The Midpen Media Center kicks off the event with a reception and free, public screening of highlights of the interviews with the Heroes at the Media Center.  This will be followed by a week of programs about the winners, to be aired on the Midpen Media

Center’s cable channels and web site.

Reception information:

Where: The Media Center, 900 San Antonio Road, Palo Alto

When: Saturday, May 21, 7:00pm – 9:00 pm

RSVP: Louise at 650-494-8686 ext 36 or louise@midpenmedia.org

Seating is limited and refreshments will be served so we would appreciate an RSVP before Saturday, May 7.

Who are the real heroes of a community?  Are they only those who repeatedly appear in the headlines?  Or, perhaps, those who devote their lives bravely and selflessly–but silently–outside the limelight?  The Midpen Media Center has many such people who are quietly committing acts of heroism on a daily basis.  The Midpen Media Center is honoring five of these unsung heroes from its service area.  The winners will be showcased in a series of interviews that will air on the cable channels throughout the week of May 21 (further details to come).

Circling in 2013: Rounding a corner: A Circle of Change

Many Bay Area residents have come from elsewhere, looking forward to a transformation in their lives. We’ve come seeking California’s gold, in whatever form that takes – a new career, a new kind of community, a move away from old imprints. .

The community itself is rapidly changing under our very feet, but the unchanging constant underlying our lives is the Earth, the land we live on and which supports the way of life of every person here.

We live in a force field that’s fed by the land itself – by the very stones of the earth and the water flowing through the land. It’s a force field shaped by the climate and the beautiful patterns of weather, by the plants and animals who share the space. Impacted by migrations –by human, animal, plant successions, by the traffic of the streets and freeways – we are carried by all these influences. Not only are we affected by the people who live here now, but also others who lived here in the past, and marked it with their choices.

How, then, do we take the reins in our hands, receiving the opportunities and openings, and participate in shaping our destinies?

Moving mindfully becomes an important way to participate in shaping the future, externally and internally.

This year’s circle is a journey for people in the midst of change. You’re invited to circle San Francisco Bay, becoming mindful of the constants as well as the flow that permeates this desirable and desired place on the planet.

Come into relationship with the deep Spirit of Place, expanding your experience of self in relation to the elements that make the Bay Area unique.

This is a journey of spirit, a journey of the spirit of place, a journey of your spirit’s individual existence. Discover some ways of connecting profoundly with this moment, this place, with the body that is your home. Mindfulness becomes the starting point.

We’ll discover ourselves already present in a sacred circle, visiting places of power that surround San Francisco Bay. Opening all our senses, our capacity to reach outward into the space around us, into the visionary space that each of us carries, we will become more fully present.

These five sacred sites will be our points of entry as we travel via shamanic journeying, through poetry, and song, Age-old story-telling, tales of place, will feed our awareness of our mindful presence here. With shamanic practices, gentle walking, journaling, and personal sharing, become more fully present in this lovely place we think of as our home.

Saturday, Sept. 7 – Kirby Cove
Saturday, Sept 21 – Mt. Tamalpais
Saturday, Oct. 5 – Mt. Diablo
Sunday, Oct 20 – Mt. Hamilton
Saturday, Nov. 2 – San Bruno

Click HERE to read what others have said about Ginny’s excursions.

Cost: $50 per session; a sliding scale is available. With a commitment and pre-registration for the series, there is a 10% reduction.

To apply for participation, please email something about your current quest, and whether meditation or shamanic journeying play a part in it. What attracts you to this journey? contact Ginny by clicking HERE or phone 650-323-4494

Whether or not you’ve had a chance to participate in Circling San Francisco Bay, or in Daniel Foor’s work at these sacred sites, please read my award-winning book, “Circling San Francisco Bay: A Pilgrimage to Wild and Sacred Places“. Amazon.com provides book availability and reviews. Finalist in ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year competition, the book also received Editor’s Choice and Publisher’s Choice awards. Reading it will provide a foundation for working with these sites. If you have not had an experience of shamanic journeying, please let me know when you inquire about participation in this circle. An opportunity to do this preparation will be arranged.

Summer Solstice Event – Belonging to the Universe: Personal Experiences of Universal Light

Bathed in the light of summer, get ready to reach beyond the sunlight that surrounds us on the longest day of the year!

Cosmic triggers can come about through a wide variety of life experiences–

  • A deep need for change summer solstice
  • A profoundly challenging situation
  • A dream
  • Spontaneous AHA experiences
  • Meditation
  • Medicine journeys
  • Shamanic journeys
  • Trauma

We find ourselves connected to the universe, filled with joy, hope, and comfort. The moment passes – but it instantly becomes part of our reserve of peace, power, and strength.

Spend a day in a sunny mid-Peninsula garden, swimming, feasting, playing. We’ll share personal stories and transform them into power objects or mandalas.  Materials and symbols will be available to help bring those profound experiences into daily life. Celebrate them; make them tactile and visible, bringing their power and wisdom into daily life.

Visualizations will be shared to expand your capacity to reach toward the light in the universe, the light within the earth, the light within our own bodies. the light that’s constantly within reach.

Our exploration this day will accelerate our journey to become more effectively and fully present as we take our places in sustaining the web of life.

Enjoy this video while we wait for the solstice to arrive.

Please confirm with me directly if you plan to attend, and I’ll give you directions to the mid-Peninsula meeting site. $50 includes art materials and lunch.

Mid-Peninsula location given when you reserve a space by emailing ginny@eco-psychology.com

Click HERE to read what others have said about Ginny’s events.

Toward the Day of the Dead

The Wheel of the Year is turning toward the Day of the Dead, when we celebrate and honor those who have died.  During the approaching weeks, the veil between the worlds is thinning.  We began the cycle with story-telling and visioning – the descent of Freyja, Norse Goddess of Love led the way.

2012 is marked with a particular intensity, and several events offer you opportunities to explore issues related to death and dying.

On Friday, October 19, at 7:00 PM, a documentary – “How to Die in Oregon” – will begin that focus.  The issue of choice about dying is becoming a realistic question, as we balance medical advances and available resources.  The mid-peninsula location will be given when you call or email to let us know your interest in this free evening.  This film was brought to my attention by Carol Fitzgerald, whose therapeutic work with couples is particularly valued in this community, and will co-sponsor this event.

On Sunday, October 28, from noon to 4:30, join me in creating Day of the Dead altars, honoring the wonderful people who have deeply affected our lives.  We’ll share stories, explore the way they continue to live through us in our actions and thinking. We’ll feast in their honor, sharing their favorite foods and drinks.  Let’s fill the room with their energies, and bring them into the present.  Donation $40; no one turned away for lack of funds.

Mid-peninsula location given when you register.

November 3, 10:30-3:00 Breastplates of Protection

When we’re living fully, challenging encounters help us hone our strengths and intent.

Confronting death?

Dealing with loss?

Suffering injury, illness, or pain?

Transforming your identity?

Witnessing others’ suffering?

What’s come your way to give you the chance to turn straw into gold? What has your path taught you? What you’ve learned about yourself and the world around you deepens your experience of being fully alive in the world.

We learn the tools to move forward most effectively by confronting these challenges, finding the way to self-respect and personal power.

Once breastplates designated high priests as invested with capacities for wise judgment, clear vision, and divination.  With ancient stories, drum journeys, hands-on involvement with tangible symbols, explore the roots of your power.  In present time, we urgently need to confirm our ability to be aware of and acknowledge our own powers.

Palms will provide natural bases; beads, yarn, paint, Milagros, and an assortment of surprising materials will be available to incorporate into your personal vision of empowerment.

Ginny Anderson, eco-psychologist and teacher of shamanic practices, will be joined by Eric DuPraw, woodworking artisan, to help you create a Breastplate of Protection.

Cost: $50.  Includes materials and lunch.
Limited to 10 people.  Mid-Peninsula address given when you reserve a space by emailing ginny@eco-psychology.com

On Saturday, November 17, from 7:00 to 8:30 PM, Ethical Wills will be introduced by gerontologist Merrylen Sacks.  Her fascinating presentation will help provide a tangible connection from one generation to the next.

She’ll point the way toward exploring values, hopes, and whatever else you include in your bequests to those who follow.

Donation: $10; no one turned away for lack of funds.

Mid-Peninsula location given when you reserve a space by emailing ginny@eco-psychology.com

Your input at these events will help shape the ongoing pursuit of issues related to a new phase of life.

Imagine A Woman

Soon, via sacred mountains near San Francisco Bay, we’ll be exploring Freyja’s journey to the realm of the dwarves.  When I read this poem today, written by Patricia Riley, it seemed very much to represent the kind of thinking  that would  occupy Freyja’s mind space  as she dared  such a journey.  I wanted to share it with you, sending thanks also to Ocean, whose Deaf Pagan Crossroads is a frequent source of inspiration.

I am including an excerpt here – the full poem can be read on their site.

Imagine a Woman by Patricia Lynn Reilly

Imagine a woman who believes it is right and good she is a woman.

A woman who honors her experiences and tells her stories.

Who refuses to carry the sins of others within her body and life.

Imagine a woman who believes that she is good.

A woman who trusts and respects herself.

Who listens to her needs and desires,

and meets them with tenderness and grace.

Imagine a woman who has acknowledged the past’s influence on the present.

A woman who has walked through her past.

Who has healed into the present.

Imagine a woman who authors her own life.

A woman who exerts, initiates, and moves on her own behalf.

Who refuses to surrender except to her truest self and to her wisest voice.

Imagine a woman who names her own goddesses.

Read the rest of the poem on their website. and imagine your own possibilities.

Whole Heart Native Warmth Project

Midwinter is dreamtime for me, and much of that has been happening.  I could share that with you, but there’s another winter happening with a warm and fuzzy feeling that took place last week-end that I’d like to share with you.

When Maggie Sotelo heard about winter living conditions on the Pine Ridge Reservation, she was inspired to do something very directly, and through the Whole Heart Native Warmth Project; she committed to make 100 blankets between December and March – all handmade with love, care, and consideration for Native American Families.

Maggie’s in college, and works; I knew this was a huge undertaking, and asked if she’d come to a gathering and show some friends how to help make this happen.

Ten women came with curiosity and trepidation (who sews any more?), and were vastly relieved to discover a process that doesn’t involve a single stitch –layers of fabric, fringed and tied together!  We sat around large tables, talked politics and families, shared challenges of life and solutions to some, sang songs and told stories both personal and tribal.

Six blankets emerged that day from our 2 1/2 hours of fast finger-work – followed by at least that much time feasting and

laughing.  Here’s a peek at several of the unexpected blessings that came our way during the day we shared:

  • working with soft fabrics is a sensory pleasure
  • doing something creative for someone else warms the heart
  • finishing something that feels like a good act makes you feel
  • good about yourself
  • simple projects give you a feeling of satisfaction
  • singing lifts your spirits
  • laughing leaves you in a good mood
  • feasting tops it all off
  • creating community
  • I highly recommend it!

    A sampling of the blankets we made that day.

Afterward, a friend of mine who’d attended the event pursued the possibility that her own ancestors and Maggie’s might have known one another in a past generation and that we are all woven into a fabric of

shared existence. How remarkable that two strangers have connected thousands of miles from where their ancestors may have been in contact.  Here’s part of her message to Maggie -

Dear Maggie,

Anything that can help the Pine Ridge Reservation is certainly very important!!!  I enjoyed the day very much, and it was fun meeting you and your mom.

I googled Lucille Lahoma Rogers Letteer (two e’s in Letteer) which is my maiden name.and got a picture of her grave and which is the same as my grandfather’s brother Roy’s.  They were married on Oct. 19, 1920.  It says she was the daughter of William Charles Rogers, the last chief, and the grandaugher of Captain John Rogers, the last chief of the Old Settler Cherokees.

I then googled Lucille Sixkiller.  I don’t know if this is your ancestor.  Her last name was Barnes.  The amazing thing is that your Lucille and my Lucille, if she is yours, were born within a year of each other in Skiatook, Oklahome which may be on the reservation.  Maybe they knew each other and went to school together.  Perhaps your Lucille’s father was the chief of another branch of the tribe.  I don’t know that much about the Cherokees in Oklahoma but I feel for them and their exquisite suffering as they were pushed from one place to another

Am anxious to hear if this Lucille Sixkiller is your ancestor.

Thanks again for organizing this wonderful project.

Kathy

Here are photos of more of the blankets we put together that day.  Contact Maggie Sotelo on Facebook if you’d like to find out more, and maybe bring a group of friends together for a day of delight and creativity.

Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night is around the corner, ending the Christmas season with a bang. It’s a time when the Lord of Misrule turns the world upside down – as if you haven’t noticed that taking place! No year has quite been like this one – now this is the final night of such upheaval – and afterwards,… all things return to “normal”.

So put away the holiday decorations, and start the Wheel of the Year turning. Time to notice what the Lord of Misrule has been up to – remembering the flings, the exuberance, the indulgences we’ve seen or taken part in during this time of Misrule. Wild while it lasted, and now comes the morning after!!

Pop The Cork

Pop The Cork

Let’s look at what has been. On Twelfth Night (January 6) enjoy the best of it – open the champagne, remember the high times – enjoy dancing and laughter, stories and jokes. Let the lightning strike as you realize ways the Lord of Misrule has fooled us— separate out the threads of creativity, of peace, humor, compassion and joy that will become the fabric of what the new year will bring.

And if you’d like the plant people to guide you in this quest, meet me at Joseph Grant Park on Mt. Hamilton, on Monday, January 17. Check out the Mountain Meditation listing on the website, and email me to reserve a place in the event.

Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice is upon us, symbol of death and rebirth that inspires the shaping of new beginnings, new ways to turn the wheel of life. The longest night of the year will pass, and the return of light will begin.  As the darkest moments of this season depart, open your thoughts and intentions to living more and more fully in the light.

Holly Bush

Holly Bush

Gather one or more of the mystical plants of this special time of year, and decorate your home – holly and ivy, oak and mistletoe. (Virginia Beach has created recent blogs about these seasonal plants that will delight and engage you.)  Let their presence support the wonderful transformation toward the light celebrated throughout the world.

Pine Cone

Pine Cone

Find a pine cone; cupping it in your hands, blow into it the fears and sadness you feel for the wounded Earth; for the departure of ways of living that we’ve blindly drifted into; for a sense of helplessness in the face of disharmony among the peoples of the Earth; for personal concerns. Gather the threads of disillusion, of worry, of darkness, and wind them into the pine cone with your breath.  Build a bonfire. As the fire begins to flare, add the pine cone to the flames, setting your intent to release the helplessness and apprehension you’ve been carrying. Free your spirit for creative dreaming, for opening the way to notice the new sparks of light over the coming weeks. You’ll find them in peoples’ actions, attitudes, in plants beginning to emerge – a myriad of moments revealed in your willingness to be open to them.

Mistletoe

Mistletoe

And on January 17, join me at Mt. Hamilton, where we’ll enjoy the beauty of enormous mistletoe clusters nestled among bare oak branches.  We’ll talk story of the mistletoe’s special gifts to our awareness.  Between now and then, let the season’s dreamtime drift you through the long winter nights.

Tule Boat Ceremony at the Pacific Ocean

One year ago to the day, the Earth Medicine Alliance, whose purpose was to help bring people back to the Earth Honoring ways and connection them with all their relations, of the stone, water, plant and animal realms sat in ceremony. At one of the early meetings we journeyed, and the vision came of being on a mountain above the Bay Area looking at the lush greenery that had returned and seeing the sparkling connection of the web of life below. We were filled with hope, then as today, as we come together in ceremony and add another spark into the web of life with our ceremony to honor the Ocean.

Our purpose is to honor the Ocean, the body of water that connects us all, the womb of which all life was born and one of the places on Earth where one can find intense peace, joy and harmony within. We gather in a cleansing downpour of rain. The water is with us even before we meet at the ocean.

We gather to create a Tule boat in which we place our prayers and let the Ocean consume them to feed them back to the world. We are led by two beautiful people of mystery, Charlene Sul, who is the founder of the Confederation of Ohlone people, which empowers others to serve their communities thus creating better society and Ginny Anderson an eco-Psychologist and leader of ritual for personal and community transformation.

The Tule reeds were collected a week before by Ginny and Stacey, in a sacred manner, at Alviso by the south end of the Bay. In their search for the tules, Ginny and Stacey where held invisible from park rangers and duck hunters; flying over a fence without shape shifting into ducks, and thus attracting the unwanted attention of the high tech duck hunters that surrounded them. Miraculously, they survived and brought the Tules for our purpose of building a boat.

We begin to gather on the beach with Tules and offerings for the ceremony. We can not see Charlene who is supposed to have arrived. As we wait outside in the rain, we each tell our story about being drawn to the ocean. After we have shared, we do a thorough search of the beach to see if there are any other beings that wish to join in our prayers and offerings to the ocean. A feather, piece of wood, a flower and a breath of prayer of heath to our Mother Ocean are gathered for the boat. Several of the group begin to move down the beach- it seems that Charlene has been hiding in plain sight and steps back into this dimension and is ready to start the ceremony.

We prepare an altar of flat stones in a cleared circle on the beach. Charlene smudges us with sage and the rain stops. We lay out our offerings of flowers, fruits, herbs, seeds, incense and all other offerings to add our prayers to. The Tules are unwrapped and we go to work.

We each gather a bundle by taking the Tules and folding them in half. The bundles are then tied with raffia in four places. Next we braid the raffia in to a rope to tie the tule bundles together. Some of us get a lesson in braiding. The bundles are tied in the shape of our prayer vessel. If one were to make a boat in this manner for fishing then the boat would be allowed to dry completely before being sea worthy.

Once the boat is completed we add our prayers and offerings. It is a beautiful ceremony as we create with our prayers and intentions this offering to the Ocean. The boat is a beautiful expression our hearts’ desires for the Ocean.

Now there are eleven of us, two male and nine females. Charlene opens the ceremony with a song. The birds gather on the ocean as a flock of seagulls plays in the waves. We go around the group and everyone offers a prayer or a song or both. Half way through this the flock of seagulls flies overhead and one of their numbers bless our gift as only birds can with a bit of good luck as some might say.

Next we make a offering of tobacco and cornmeal and each one of us takes a pinch and offers our last prayers for the Ocean. The rest of the cornmeal and tobacco is offered for all forgotten prayers and the boat is ready to be carried to the sea.

The two men, Aerin and Bob, carry the boat to the sea following a straight line in the direction the boat faces and Charlene leads the procession smudging the air. Before going into the Ocean there is one last prayer song. While we sing there is the last offering of honey that is poured on our prayers to sweeten them for the Ocean. They head to the sea, trying to avoid getting knocked down or soaked by the waves, but fully commited to the offering of our prayers.

The boat makes it to the surf and the waves play with it as it moves down the shore line, getting stranded and being brought into the sea again. Charlene tells us that it will take its journey as it will, and not to worry that it is still on the beach. Each one of us offers more of our prayers to the Ocean with the additional items that did not make it to the boat. Our ceremony is completed and we are again joined by the rain.

We join together for a feast of corn, delicious home-made cookies, nuts, cheese and other goodies. Later we return for a picture and while we had our backs on our prayers they were consumed in the surf, a successful offering accepted by Mother Ocean.

Star Despacho in the Rolling California Hills near Holister

Recently, I joined two friends roaming n the California wilderness south of Holister. The dimpled hills were the California gold that it took me so long to enjoy when I moved here decades ago. Now, their toast-colored surfaces were sparsely dotted with oak and juniper, spaced far enough apart so that the rolling terrain was clear to the eye, looked deceptively soft and inviting.
That spacing allowed each oak to stand out, their distinct silhouettes ready to reveal the experiences of their lifetimes for anyone who might want to ask a tree its story. Twisting branches reflected their lifetimes of response to whatever has come their way, internally or externally, and each stood poised in the windless afternoon sunlight, willing to be known. .
The paved road gave way to a deeply rutted earth road, just one lane wide. Near the horizon, a coyote ran toward an unknown rendezvous, as we ourselves stopped to have our own encounter with a small grove of oaks. In the midst of the trees lay a boulder partly emerged from the earth, decorated with orange and gray lichen, silent invitation to be just as still, and feel the day, so full of life and so remote from ordinary activity.
Accepting the invitation, I touched the stone, and felt its presence seep into me, calming the restlessness that’s so much a part of life in Silicon Valley. This stone teacher was a provider of tranquility and presence. Resting my hand on its surface, I let its quiet being seep through my skin, and travel through my hand and arm, into my core, slowing my breathing, feeling the companionship, sharing the sun and blue sky.
A small breeze idled by, stirring the native grasses into dancing, bowing, straightening. Gentle, the day said; this is gentle. Dragonflies agreed, and floated from stem to stem, their bodies tiny flags extending from the stems of grass as the tiny creatures clung to them, seemingly immobile before they moved from one to another stem.
Nearby, another small stone formation hugged the ground, pointing in the direction of the horizon. I looked to see what it asked me to notice – saw simply the undulating hills, and on the horizon, an unidentified dip of a hill’s silhouette in the hazy distance – a mystery for another day’s exploration.
How to do peaceful? The day was teaching us, reminding us, of another way of being. High above, clouds moved across the blue sky, and we witnessed the bird shapes, the dragon shapes, the animal shapes – all characters in story after story, the dialogue unfolding as we watched and gave it language. Every part of the landscape extended the invitation to expand, to be just as present as the clouds, responding to the wind, gently melting into the warmth of the day.
Back in the car, we shared earliest childhood moments of awe – pre-language perceptions of light and shadow on a ball sent rolling across a floor; lying safely abed in a city apartment
watching the moving reflections of the passing car lights high on the wall,; sitting on a kitchen floor, feeling the enormity of a huge cooking stove, with fragrance wafting from its.high unseen surface.
Awe is everywhere, and slowing down to receive it is a nearly-forgotten gift.
At last, we reached our destination, and unbundled the precious pieces of the offering to be made. As we moved about, we pointed out to one another the changing cloud shapes – winged cloud-beings, a buttermilk sky flaming in response to the setting sun. From the tall grass, a small bunny emerged, sat in the clearing, and settled in to watch us curiously. She sat very still, reluctant to call attention to herself, but even more reluctant to move away from whatever we might be doing.
Anticipating the soon-to-be-revealed night sky, we laid out a beautiful fabric, and on top of it, a large white paper square. Laying down designs of sacred geometry, we used this ancient language to call the star beings. Patterns emerged – a square of sacred tobacco, a circle of cornmeal, a triangle of sage, and others. We named our intent with each of them, Each successive addition – of delicate flower petals from our gardens, of grasses, of delicate flowers from the site itself, nourishing presence of seeds and dried fruits, of herbs and foods, we called to the stars, called to the ancestors, called to the spirit that surrounded us. Kintus , each a small grouping of 3 well-matched bay leaves, were placed on the star despacho,. We folded the edges around it, tied it with a pure white ribbon, and gathered the filaments of one another into it, touching heads, hearts, bellies in a reciprocal exchange of the life force.
The moon came up, a bulging half-circle of white light, surrounded by an iridescent halo of light. Among the puffy clouds of the buttermilk sky came the stars, and we sat contented, watching the cloud movement and the revelation of the stars.
And morning and evening were the first day.