Category: News

I Need To Thrive, Not Just Survive

The self-confidence of the warrior is not the self-confidence of the average man. The average man seeks certainty in the eyes of the onlooker and calls that self-confidence. The warrior seeks impeccability in his own eyes and calls that humbleness. The average man is hooked to his fellow men, while the warrior is hooked only to infinity.”  – Carlos Castaneda

Kinship
I was talking to one of my patients this week, just holding a place of listening, as it often is such a powerful healing tool. He was sharing his recurrent, daily anxieties as of late. He earnestly wanted to get rid of them, and he couldn’t pinpoint any singular reason why he felt that way. “It’s been a whole year now, you know” he said, in reference to the pandemic.

I am really fond of this patient; he has been coming for treatment for a number of years, driving a long distance each time to do so. He represents many of us, the ones of us who are seeking to transform, to contribute, to grow our consciousness and that of the planet as a whole. He, like us, has all the right reasons to feel connected, supported, and safe, with his many friends, and so many like-minded people all over the world. Yet, he shared, he felt anxious, separated, “discombobulated”. He was having hard days, and couldn’t get his mind off negative feelings. At night, he could fall asleep, exhausted from the day, but then woke up a couple of hours later and his mind would not turn off for three hours.

Our World today
Mental illness and dis-ease is projected to skyrocket over the next 12 months, due to the conditions that we have lived in over the past year. (Continues below)

ON SATURDAY, MARCH 20, we BEGIN a NEW COURSE OF 5 LIVE ONLINE WEBINARS 
STOP ANXIETY. GAIN IMMUNITY
MARCH 20 though APRIL 17

LEARN KEY INFORMATION A MUST FOR TEACHERS
Join and GET A FULL REFUND after the first webinar if you don’t feel you are getting your money’s worth and then some!

We human beings, are hard wired to connect, from our biochemistry to our very soul, and in that connection we find meaning and place. We thrive when we believe that we belong, when the feeling of belonging is a given, a carpet underneath holding us. With that feeling, the unknown is bearable, even exciting. Without it, we loose our anchor. Isolation breeds anxiety.

Roots
Isolation comes first as a belief, that fosters a thought which then triggers emotions, like anxiety and insecurity. These feelings and images that we generate in our consciousness, then express through our brain, pump millions of chemical messengers in the form of neuropeptides, that target our innate immune system, where they bind to receptors which internalize them as commands. Anxiety and uncertainty are pervasive influencers in our immune resilience. Inner confidence, a warriors conception of confidence, is a tremendous booster to immunity. Immune strength and immune intelligence are direct corollaries of a balanced nervous system.

Gazing practice
My teacher, Carlos Castaneda, taught me that the eyes act like hooks for our perception. The eyes can “hook” onto things, grab things, and get entangled with them. We rely heavily in our visual sense to create the reality that we see. We will believe something when “we see it with our own eyes”. It can be a powerful simple practice to sit outdoors in an open space at the end of the day, just before dusk. and gaze at a patch of pure sky, even holding the hand or a book to cover anything that might be in the corner of the eye, like the contour of a building, or branches of a tree. When we remove any possible contrast from the field of vision, the eyes can’t hook onto anything and so, they can’t fix a belief onto them either. After a few minutes of doing this practice, the mind deeply relaxes in the infinite depth of a patch of pure sky. Inner silence is the perfect counter state to anxiety, fear and uncertainty.

We are direct participants in our Cure
The idea of a warrior, and of a warrior’s way, implies a certain stance that one can uphold. It is the opposite stand of a victim, in the sense that the cause of unhappiness comes from outside forces, and so does the solution or the cure for those problems. A warrior stance reclaims the power that a victim stance gives away. As a warrior, things can be absolutely challenging and their impact on us undeniable but we add to the solution and intervene within ourselves to affect change. We show up to support ourselves, and participate in our own recovery.
An example of this attitude is to touch ourselves in a therapeutic way. Our body itself is a fountain of possibilities for healing. We can come into our bodies, instead of just thinking about our body from our head, and change things. If we are restless, anxious or out of center, we can do something right there, on the spot, to direct our energy and our mind away from those feelings. Here is a tip: the area of soft skin on the inner wrist, is filled with nerve endings that when stimulated gently can elicit soothing and calming states. With the pads of the index and middle fingers, gently slide them up and down along the area, along the canal made by the two tendons that go to the fingers. Just a few moments of lovingly rubbing that inner distal forearm, just above the wrist, is like caressing our heart directly. We reconnect with ourselves, we shift how we are breathing, we remember we are here.

Be Peace
Seeing my patient, was as if I was seeing myself, all of us in the world at this time. We are looking for a reassurance that we will be ok. We are looking for inner peace. If we are in peace we are not at war. Our nervous system is in neutral mode, not in fight or flight, with a healthy PNS (parasympathetic nervous system) tone. Off-on switch buttons are amazing practical images to have in our visualization tool kit. We can self-regulate our autonomic nervous system. Our immune system has one intrinsic identity: to do surveillance of non self and to defend, if needed, to the point of all out war. But it needs to be at targeted intervals not continuously, till there is no more vitality left, and our immune strength and speed go down. With no command of the off switch, there is no game.

Right there, in front of my patient, as we wrapped up our conversation and he got ready for the physical exam, I remembered an amazing image of a moment 20 years before, while in safari in Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania. The gazelle I could see roaming around, unpreoccupied, grazed with a pack of lions resting nearby. Everyone was at ease, the air was at ease. Ten, suddenly, two female lions get up from the pack and walk out in hunting mode. Everything shifts. Ears point up, frozen, listening. The gazelles now are ready to flight. They run wildly. The lions chase, a young calf pulls away and is taken. The war ends and soon after, everything returns to normal. The lions eat, the gazelle graze nearby, the air is at ease. On off switch. That is the lesson to behold.

We are our own placebo
Our brains are like a console of switches, turned up and down in response to what our Consciousness is experiencing. This experience, it is not a given. It is not random and it is not outside of our purview. We are players, we are co-creators. We count, and will persevere, through our unbending intent, in finding the way to affect the change in us that we are seeking.
I glimpse of hope sparkled in my heart at the end of the treatment, when my patient came out of the room his eyes lit up again and a smile in his face. “I feel good Doc, I think it will all work out. I’m ready to fight back, for my own happiness.” Now, that is the mood of the warrior. And I salute that.

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Experiencing Freedom in Mexico!

I am standing with my suitcases packed, gazing at the blue-turquoise ocean and wishing for this moment to last forever. In a few hours I will be flying back to Los Angeles, but I don’t want to go back. I want to be suspended in the intersubjectivity, created by our group here in the sacred Maya land, a place where time bends in the intertwined spaces of myth and history.

Our trip to Mexico was not a tour – it was a transformative adventure that is strongly reclaiming its space in each cell of my body. I fell in love with each participant, each hero of this seven day journey, where we learned to transcend the illusions of certainty and listen to the power of the ancestors, the birds in the jungle, the best of the heart, longing for authenticity. The tears we shed in our goodbyes washed the last bit of clouds in our eyes. Today we face the clear sky, inhaling the sun energy inside, knowing who we are. We are the Maya, we are the nagual, we are the dream of the plumed serpent, journeying through experiences, recognizing and remembering ourselves.

Orion still shines on top of my head, the pleiades just behind me.

On this journey I embraced my whole being, accepting my shortcoming as I accepted the curves at the edges of the pyramid, laughing at some irrational thoughts popping in my head about what might happen, and experiencing life as it is: raw, edgy, pure, wholeheartedly awesome. My tears at the end were at realizing how well everything went, how blessed I was to be around vibrant beings shinning innocence and wisdom. I updated old interpretations about hardship and suffering. None is needed to live in this new time, 2020, a year to jump grooves.

Thank you to you all, friends and my real family, for these moments, forever sailed in the wheel of time.

Scroll down where you can find more picture from our trip to Mexico in this month of February 2020. Also, we are  planning another trip to Mexico on November 15-21 of 2020. You don’t want to miss it!

Hope to see you all very soon!

With much love and gratitude,
Aerin, Miles and all the staff of Being Energy.

Don’t waste your time and your power fearing Freedom.

Can you deviate from the path that your fellow men have lined up for you? And if you remain with them, your thoughts and your actions are fixed forever in their terms. That is slavery. The warrior, on the other hand, is free from all that. Freedom is expensive, but the price is not impossible to pay. So, fear your captors, your masters. Don’t waste your time and your power fearing Freedom.” – Carlos Castaneda

Over dinner my son mentioned the upcoming Valentine’s Day, and that he had received a rose from a girl at school. As my husband served us pasta and zucchini, my son asked me if he could send flowers to her. I nodded. I was curious to know if the boys in the class sent flowers to each other. When I asked him, he responded:

“Is that something I can do?”, my son asked eyes-wide open.

“Do you want to do it”? I asked.        

“Yes, sure.”

My husband intervened: “No way, that is not common. Flowers are usually for women.” 

I got the familiar crunch in my belly that I still get when gender related issues are being brought up. I said that men have the same rights to express their feelings and to share them instead of packing them up under a bicep curl or drinking them out on a six-pack of beer while screaming at the Superbowl.  The sentence rolled out of my tongue quick and sharp, as if it had been rehearsed in my head for years. I was about to continue on the unfairness of gender differences but I stood put. I caught myself overreacting. I had momentarily stopped being an adult and a young part of me was raging. I was back in my childhood. 

I grew up in a household with five men. Throughout the years, I witnessed them stuffing up the ‘nice feelings’ that made them real, such as vulnerability, kindness or caring. Instead, they were allowed to express only one of them: anger.  In particular, one of my brothers was verbally and physically abusive. His target? Women. Since I was 3 or 4 years-old , I would listen to his complaints and sarcastic comments: “Women cannot drive, women cannot run a company, women only clean and cook, that is the only thing they are good for, etc.” He seemed to enjoy my defensive outbursts when I was expressing a different view, but it only fueled his ranting. As I grew older, the ranting got physical. He would pull my hair, plug my nose, push me and threaten to punch me. It was hard to make him stop or find places to escape from him and hide. At the beginning, crying would make him eventually stop but as the years went by, to be effective I needed to become more dramatic, pulling my own hair out and hitting my face, for him to stop. During those moments he would tell me: “There you go, I always knew you were crazy.” 

Like most of us, much of my identity was built around these early childhood experiences. I got sick when I was nine and realized that illness could also be a wall, a protector, to keep my captor away from me. I remember laying down on my parents’ bed with high fever and experiencing the boundaries of the bed as safe fences. It was a cozy shelter, where I could play in my imagination and travel far. To keep myself safe, I didn’t eat much, so I would heal slower. It took me thirty years of reflection and inner work to realize how much of my personality had been built around the miss-interpretation that I can only be safe if I am sick, or if I somehow hurt myself by denying food and pleasure. 

Carlos Castaneda’s teachings were the turning point that set me on the journey to freedom. When I first met him I was in a self-created prison of amnesia, about who I was, consumed by my poor self-defense mechanisms and a lack of self-esteem. He asked me: “What have they done to you, Chola?”

I was almost offended by his question. “No one did anything to me. I am fine,” I defiantly answered. I remembered clearly his sweet smile back to me, filled with compassion. I didn’t trust him, he was a man, like my captor.  However, I felt he was talking to the real me under the layers, the part of me seeking to be free. 

I became one of his several direct students, and even though it was a clear student-teacher relationship, inside I experienced him as my grandfather.  My grandfathers on both sides of my family died when I was young and I never had a relationship with them. Castaneda urged me and supported me to study; no one in my family had done that before. He would call me and check in with me and help me with my homework, sometimes dictating my papers over the phone. He also urged me to observe how I held steadfastly to my self-image, to my low self-esteem and to my conditioning because of fear. I feared being labeled as the betrayer, one who abandoned her family. I trembled at the possibility of letting go of my identity of a doormat; it was all I had. But the pain of holding onto it was greater than the fear of change. 

Freedom is always, at your fingertips”, Castaneda told me, “do you dare to jump?”

His training under his tutelage was rigorous. We daily, for hours, practiced exercises similar to martial arts. I started eating full meals four times a day, no sugars, no salt, no caffeine or stimulants. I needed to cook my meals at home, except when we went out to eat with him. I changed my name and started speaking a new language, and for the first time in my life, I felt strong and confident and gained weight! I became an A student, something I thought  impossible to achieve before, and today, I hold two Master degrees. I fell in love with knowledge. And most importantly, I hooked onto what seers’ called the bird of freedom.

Today, I continue holding the same discipline of healthy eating, exercising and engaging my brain in deep thinking and I intend to do so until my last breath. I keep putting down my fences by questioning and dissolving limiting beliefs. I accepted that my value as a being has nothing to do with my gender, physical strength, money or weight, that not all men are like my brother, and that no one is out there trying to hurt me anymore. I have been taking responsibility for the fact that the only person that can really hurt me is myself.  I faced the scary path of commitment to long term relationships and to a deep love for two men: my husband and my son. 

Freedom today for me is the acceptance of who I am including my shortcomings, my raspy and sometimes loud voice. Freedom is no longer about breaking through boundaries outside of me. It is about breaking through the split inside of me, between my conditioning and my heart. Freedom is bridging and integrating the inner split and fighting to be authentic, a journey that continues to become.

To Seek Freedom is the Only Driving Force I know

 

One of the main premises of the Warrior that we learned from Carlos Castaneda more than twenty years ago was Freedom. He defined Freedom as the possibility to perceive not only the world taken for granted but also to experience everything else that is humanly possible to accomplish.

When Miles and I met Castaneda we wanted to be free, we didn’t really know what we wanted to be free from. The quest for Freedom to perceive and experience without limitations took us on a long journey of inner discoveries that we are still on today. We asked ourselves, what is freedom? How does it look like in daily life? The answers are complex, multifaceted and ever evolving.

Castaneda said:

“To seek freedom is the only driving force I know. Freedom to fly off into that infinity out there. Freedom to dissolve; to lift off; to be like the flame of a candle, which, in spite of being up against the light of a billion stars, remains intact, because it never pretended to be more than what it is: a mere candle.”

As an example, let’s reflect about freedom in the context of gender identity. Our gender identity is given to us at birth, according to our external anatomy. From day one onwards we are conditioned and molded according to the parameters assigned by our socialization to that gender identity: who we can be, how to behave, our thoughts, feelings, ability to express ourselves, how to dress, what jobs to have, how to love. Each one of us was and is affected by the social conditioning to a different degree perhaps, but the conditioning is pervasive.

From a very young age I was taught to help my mother with household chores that included making my brother’s beds while they played outside. I wanted to play soccer outside too, but it was not proper for a girl to get her shoes dirty and bruise her legs. At the family dinner I also wanted to express my thoughts as the boys did, but I was shushed away. I was conditioned to believe that men were more important and that when men talk, women listen to them attentively, and not the other way around.

It is that type conditioning that interferes with our freedom, though circumstances may be different for each individual.

For instance, a woman might be conditioned to work hard to reach a high profile career, while in fact having a deep hidden desire to be a mom and a housewife. In many cultures, women with no career path are given very little value. And in other cultures, women without a husband are given little value.

A man can embark on a quest of being a successful high-profile lawyer, while his true desire is to be an artist or a musician. He was conditioned to believe that art won’t bring success. At times our social conditioning is so strong that we don’t know to ask ourselves the questions that let us pursue our true interests and passions, while allowing us to strive for fulfilment of our true potential and live a life of content and joy.

Rarely we have the internal space to question, Who am I? What do I want? What am I here for? To ask without feeling the rush to please our environment’s demands or what it had imposed on us. Have you discovered your true self yet? Have you asked what it desires, what are it’s passions and dreams? Or, as Carlos Castaneda would ask: “Are you on a path that has heart?.” Are you working on freeing yourself from the entanglement of expectations of others and the ideas of what is proper and acceptable? 

 

Let’s acknowledge, in the context of our gender identity, that men and women’s biology is different. We have the SAME VALUE, and should have the SAME RIGHTS to be ourselves, the same opportunities to study, to have careers, to fulfill our dreams as individuals, beyond gender. To be treated with fairness and respect by our society. However, our brains work differently and often our desires and ways for fulfillment are different.

Choosing to follow what is really deep hidden inside of us, our heart desire is a process of discovery and courage. It is the journey of the hero, the warrior that wants to break through the domination of the conditioning and the rules implanted in our brains, to break through the dormant auto-pilot of habits and repetitions, and be alive, be authentic and loyal to our souls’ purpose.

Freedom is to choose to be your unique YOU, even if people around disapprove of your choices; it is about going for your dreams, in spite of the obstacles. It means to embrace who you truly are, not hide it, fake it or be embarrassed by it. Freedom has a price: you will need to take responsibility for the choices you make, keep focus and sustain your purpose without giving up.

Yes, it is hard at times in our lives to change course and pursue our true desires, but it’s a worthwhile task. We invite you to consider these three open questions:

  • Did you ever knowingly change the course of your life because you listened to your true self?
  • What obstacles did you encounter along the way?
  • Did this journey enrich your life?

Please share your story if you can. Thank you!

Why do we age? Let’s live a life worth living!

Dear Friends,

The question of whether it is possible to slow down aging is one that has interested us, humankind, our entire history. It is as relevant to us today as it has ever been. Recent scientific progress indicates that the aging process not only can be slowed down, but under certain circumstances it can be reversed. In plain terms, your physical body can get younger!

Here we would like to introduce you to the research of David Sinclair, a Harvard professor and one of the leading scientists in the field of aging, who made Time’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2014. In his research he acknowledges that our lifespan has definitely increased over the past century, thus we do live longer. But the integral question of his research is: Can we live better? In his book “Lifespan: Why we age and why we don’t have to” he states that “instead of fighting for youth, we fight for life. Or, more specifically, we fight against death….We have gained additional years, but not additional life – not life worth living anyway.

Our teacher Carlos Castaneda liked to show off a little bit his astounding youth, at times, even in his seventies. He would pull up one leg from his pants while he would remark: “These are not the legs of a seventy year old man!”, and then add: “To be young when you are in your thirties…no big deal. To be young when you are in your seventies…now that is sorcery!” Old-Age was, according to him, the fourth enemy of a man of knowledge that cannot be overcome, but it could be slowed down. His message, 25 years ago, was that the practice of energy passes, meditation and a healthy diet can slow down age and turn on the youth genes.

In his research Sinclair identifies a protein called sirtuin, which plays a major role in our body’s ability to interpret our genetic information and repair our damaged DNA cells. We also have molecules in our bodies, called NAD, that activate that protein. However with age, our body starts running low on NAD, which causes malfunction of sirtuins. This, according to Sinclair, is a single cause of aging.

Throughout our lives we get NAD from what we eat – milk, yeast and green vegetables. In his research Sinclair identifies a body’s survival circuit – practices through which we can tell sirtuins to boost the defense for our DNA cells. Those practices are regular physical exercise, exposure to cold and limiting our food intake. Though this research is still ongoing and many more experiments need to take place to further Sinclair’s findings, there is a large body of studies that supports his research. So, simply put, if you spend 15 min a day exercising, occasionally take a walk without a jacket and skip a meal sometimes, you are actively investing in staying younger.

We want to mention here that there are a few companies that manufacture NAD supplements that can be taken orally daily. It is hard to make any claims about whether those supplements do the work intended, but if any of you have tried them or intend to try them, please let us know your feedback. That should at least make an interesting discussion.

We do however recommend reading Sinclair’s book “Lifespan: Why we age and why we don’t have to”. It is full of fascinating discoveries and useful information.

Let’s live a life worth living!

2020: We are present to the challenge!

Aloha Friends!

Miles, Axel and I spent the last week of 2019 at home, slowing down, wrapping up the year, paying bills and recycling clothing and belongings. We have been downsizing. Not only at the material level. Most importantly, downsizing emotional drama and unnecessary negativity. We cooked every meal, we slept lots. We cocooned in the warmth of our tribe and grounded ourselves in joyful calm awareness: to experience real life and to gather Silence.

We don’t know about you, but for us, 2020 is bringing a tremendous sense of momentum for the evolution of our human future, our human resources and the planet’s physical viability to sustain us.

A question that swirls around our consciousness, for Miles and I today is, How are we showing up to the challenge of the upcoming time? What we are seeing in the horizon right now is not just this year, but the whole decade that begins, a time of definitions for our species and the Earth, of decisions that will shape the rest of the century and beyond.

For a moment like this, our teacher Carlos Castaneda imprinted in us the idea of readiness, that is, a particular state of being characterized by a full disposition to embrace what comes, a state of engagement, alertness, fluidity and lightness. It almost feels like all of our training with him was to prepare us to embody the principles of readiness for this precise juncture in time, today..

Here is an image that Miles dreamt, describing the energy of this moment:

“We are all standing on a plateau, side by side—Aerin, Axel and I, all our close friends, colleagues, BE teachers, and practitioners, holding hands, with all the lineage of seers supporting us from behind but with everyone looking steady ahead, in readiness. A vast landscape lies in front open ended, yet unwritten, and we take a step forward with our choice, towards our destiny.”

Choice is one of the very few true options we have been given, Castaneda used to tell us. In many cases, we cannot choose our lives experiences, but we can choose what to think about them and how to interpret them. We can choose our stance, the lenses by which we will interpret what is in front of us, the meaning that we give to things and the attitude in which we show up. The world as it is coming to us in this New Year and decade is filled with uncertainty and increasing speed. We are being pulled toward the negative news, and a fear mode. As warriors, we can be aware of all of it, and choose to hold our grounds.

What Miles and I propose is: Let’s make a bet for the human spirit, choose to give it all, our very best and then some. Sustain states of readiness and open heart, hold hand by hand and support one another, dream one another to experience ourselves truly.

Warm regards and hugs to you, and to the entire Being Energy community and beyond, to all beings who choose to be aware and present to the challenge of this upcoming time.

Ready and Aware with you,
Miles and Aerin

The Perfectly Imperfect Daughter

I always felt small around my mother. As a child I experienced her as the commander in chief of the family, in charge of all decisions and the source of everything I needed and wanted.

I remember being six years old, one afternoon polishing the wood floors of the living room of our apartment. I was focused on doing a great job for my mother’s approval. Every single corner of the floor was shinny. I polished under the sofa, dinning area and console table, where the large white vase, that belonged to great grandma was displayed. That was the only ‘valuable’ item in our household of six kids and a dog. The cord of the floor polisher got entangled around one of the legs of the console table without me noticing.  As a proudly walked away towards the hallway thinking I had done a great job, I accidentally pulled the cord, shaking the table. The vase fell on the ground and broke in dozens of pieces.

My mother didn’t get upset as I expected. Instead, she exhaled in resignation and without looking at me, left the room. A feeling of guilt built in me and stayed for decades to come.

I grew up aware of my mother’s long work hours at the house. We didn’t have dishwasher, laundry or dryer machines. We all live under a tight budget. She did the cleaning, shopping and cooking. She sew our clothing and she was a part-time tailor fixing clothing for neighbors, producing the extra pesos we needed to make it through the month.

My mother didn’t have time take me to school or sat down with me to do homework. She missed most of the teacher-parent conferences and my elementary and high school graduations. I was too young to understand and reconciliate the need for her attention and connection, with her demands of raising six kids.

As a teenager, I resented the fact that my mother was busy doing things for someone else and didn’t have time for me. I grew distant: she didn’t know about the sexual abuse I suffered, my frustration with social injustice, my dreams of traveling around the world, my boyfriends.

A few days before my first trip to Los Angeles, where I eventually moved to, we were sitting at the kitchen table: she wanted to talk to me about my trip. My mother had never left the country; she was concerned. I was already in my twenties and an intimate conversation with my mother felt awkward and strange. I didn’t know how to talk to her, so I placed my head on her lap, like small children do, for the mother to caress their hair.

My mother didn’t move. Physical contact was uncomfortable for her and she asked me to sit up straight. There I was again, feeling like the unwanted daughter that didn’t know how to please her mother. A string of similar situations came to my consciousness:

  • I didn’t keep my curly hair short like she asked me; instead I wore my hair long and blond, then, blue, then read and then black.
  • I didn’t want to get married and depend on a man.
  • I didn’t study to be a secretary, school teacher or nurse, the jobs destined to the women in my family. Instead, I studied drama and arts.
  • I joined street protests on human and women’s rights.
  • I didn’t confess my sins to the priests. I didn’t go to church; instead, I joined groups that questioned the existence of God.
  • I didn’t stay at home until the day before I got married like my sister and brothers did. Instead, I got a job and rented my own apartment.

And then, I moved to another country, and for several years we didn’t communicated.

My mother survived all disappointments, hurts and pains. She didn’t give up on our relationship, and neither did I. I healed my feelings of abandonment, my misperception of being unwanted, and grew up.

Years later, after our reunion and healing, we did talk, looking at each other’s eyes. We didn’t become best friends, but, nonetheless, we established a real and deep connection.

Eight years ago, while sitting at the end of her bed at the hospital, I was tenderly massaging her feet. She had been diagnosed with lung cancer and her body was weak. With remorse, I mentioned my mother about my feelings of guilt for breaking the vase. She laughed. I didn’t expect that. She said she hated it, and she was actually glad that it broke. I tried to make a point reminding her how disappointed she was with me all through my teen years. She smiled. She said she was going through her menopause, and her behavior towards me had nothing to do with me. I love you, she said. I love you, I said.

Today, I can understand and reconciliate our differences and love my mother more than ever before. I am grateful, she was the perfectly imperfect mother for me, and I was her perfectly imperfect daughter.

Overcoming Fear of Men

didn’t know fear still had a hold on me until I heard Amanda Nguyen talk. Years ago, I used to wake up in the middle of the night fearing being killed in the hands of a man. I would check under the bed and behinds curtains fearing a man hiding somewhere in the house. I watched behind my back when walking back home from work. I had extra locks on my door; I slept with a light on. Up until now, I didn’t realize the extent of how fear has affected me in the past and how can still have a hold on me today. Here is my unspoken story.

Amanda Nguyen was on the stage sitting next my husband. The moderator of the panel about Conscious Men at the “Lead with Love Summit” in Aspen, Colorado, introduced the talk by asking Amanda about her view on the role of men today after the #Me Too movement. Born in 1991 to Vietnamese refugees, Amanda is a Nobel Peace Prize nominee and helped draft the “Sexual Assault Survivor Bill of Rights” that passed unanimously in Congress in 2016.  

She spoke calmly and slowly, her long black hair shining, her face revealing young beautiful skin. I liked her immediately. I had missed her earlier presentation during the conference, where I was invited with my husband to teach a workshop about the mood of the Warrior, the Visionary and the Healer, three of shamanistic archetypes, and how these moods apply to our daily lives. On my first impression, Amanda embodied the leadership awareness, moods and skills I seek in myself and others.

“What would you do if men in your city where subject to curfew after 9:00 pm?

Amanda shared that she had posted that question on Twitter days earlier and the answers were overwhelming:

“I would sleep with my windows open”

“I would go for a jog around my neighborhood”

“I would take a walk on the beach at night”

“I would be able to walk from the bus stop to my home after work”

Unexpectedly, her question cracked something in me,

“I would wear whatever I want without worries”

“I would speak my mind”

“I would tell the truth”

Amanda’s question pierced my heart and stayed with me for several days after I got back home. I tried to distract myself with my work and my son’s school life, but during my writing class, one night, it all came back.

What would I do without the fear of men?

I was 5 years-old and I was at home with my family on a humid and hot Sunday afternoon. My parents, older brothers and sister were sitting at the table chatting and savoring Argentinian pastries and tea. The special occasion was our guest: my mother’s second cousin that I had never met before. I can’t recall his name, but I do remember he grabbed me by the waist and, without asking me, sat me on his lap while voicing something like “what a cute little girl.” My apprehension was immediate and I tried to push him away. I wondered if he ever brushed his teeth because he smelled of alcohol. Also without my consent, he placed his hand between my legs. I was wearing shorts; he kept his hand on my private areas. I nervously kept moving trying to get away until my mother made an apologetic comment to her cousin about “what an anxious and restless child I was”. I froze and held my breath. I remember trying to look in her eyes for help. Today, sometimes l feel tightness in my groin muscles because of this incident.

I was 12 years old, and on my way to my girlfriend’s birthday party. The subway station looked empty and quiet on the Sunday afternoon. My father explained to me the station where I needed to change trains, from line D to lane A, the older subway line with wooden seats and doors that didn’t close well. It was my first time riding in the subway by myself and I was alert and paying attention to my environment. I patiently waited for Line A train to arrive; there was no one at the station and I counted out loud every step I took, holding tight to the plastic bag with my friend’s present: a pink top that my mother chose appropriate for a young girl. The ride on line A was about 15 minutes, which I also imagine counting, since I didn’t wear a watch and cell phones didn’t exist. I was carrying a tiny purse that I had crocheted for my doll, with a couple of coins to make a call in case of an emergency, the address of my friend’s house and the subway ticket for my ride back home.

Once in the car, I sat next to the door, holding the rail. There was a couple facing the rear end of the train and a middle-aged man, facing towards the front. The train was really old and shook before coming to a stop, at each station. I kept my eyes fixed on the map above the opposite doors that showed the stations. I had a strange feeling and without wanting to look, out of the corner of my eye the middle aged man was exposing his penis and touching himself. He was looking in my direction and making gestures for me to look at him. I froze in fear and was about to cry when I noticed that the couple stood up and got ready to leave at the next station. Two years before, when I was 10 years old, one winter morning on my way to school a man walking in front of me wearing a long coat suddenly turned around and exposed himself and started walking towards me. I was able to run away from his laughter by crossing the street. But in the train there was nowhere to run. I stood up fearing for my life and ran behind the couple leaving the subway station.

Once in the light of the street, I found myself in an unknown neighborhood. I pulled out the address and looked for a trustworthy woman to ask directions. I have walked perhaps a few miles when I was able to find my friend’s house.

I was 14 years old, when getting back home from school, a man entered behind me by grabbing the main door of the apartment building. He got in the elevator with me. He talked in a creepy tone, and told me he was going to rape me.  He forcefully placed his hands onto my school coat, on my breasts. I pushed him away, and he pushed me back, causing me to hit my head, which shook the old elevator and made it stop. He got out somehow, one floor just below mine. Filled with adrenalin, fear and fury, I banged on the door for my mom to open. I screamed at her to please call the police and help me get ‘este degenerado’. She closed the door, and fearfully explained that she didn’t know what to do. We were living though military dictatorship that violated human rights. She repeated several times that there was nothing she could do. Neither of us spoke of the incident again.

I was 16 years old and I arrived at the Red Cross headquarters in Buenos Aires covering my face with my hands. I asked the front desk for ice. On the bus en route to the headquarters, a man punched me in the face, causing me to fall unconscious. It was Friday afternoon and I was meeting my friend at the Red Cross to register for a workshop on Wilderness Survival, suggested by our 11th grade English teacher. The bus was full and I was standing near the rear and squeezed between other passengers. As had happened before on crowed bus rides, I felt a man’s hands on my private areas. I was sixteen years old and being sexually assaulted was not new to me.

This time, unlike the other times, I actually yelled for help. I don’t know how or when, but the guy violently knocked me down. When I regained consciousness, I found myself sitting on the first row, next to a woman. I was shaking and crying and she was consoling me. The bus driver was apologetic and told me the man had run away and suggested that I go to the police. The bus stopped in front of the Red Cross building and I walked inside seeking support.

The staff at the Red Cross sent me to the director’s office at the end of a long hall, to wait for my friend. Other people were arriving and everyone felt uncomfortable seeing the condition I was in. In my commotion and shock, I was trying to hold it together, and wishing that my friend would arrive soon. Instead, the Red Cross director entered the room.

He was slightly overweight and smelled of alcohol. His hug felt inappropriate rather than consoling. My friend finally arrived and took me home. For 10 long days I carried a large bruise on my face that changed from dark blood, to dark blue to black. No one in school or anywhere I went asked me what had happened, even though their eyes expressed concern and apprehension. At this point, Argentina was transitioning from the military dictatorship to democracy, and everyone was guarded fearful. More than thirty thousand people had been tortured and killed, and as the truth began to surface in local newspapers, tension and stress increased in the environment.

At the Red Cross Wilderness survival camp in the outskirts of Buenos Aires, the director placed his sleeping bag next to mine. All three nights I was there I endured his hands running over my body as I was pretending to be sleeping. I hated it. I wanted to scream and knock the hell out of him.  What could I do? Who would help me? He was the director of the Red Cross, the authority, the protector. Who would believe me? My parents did not know what to do and took no action about the previous incidents. My brothers made fun of me when I tried to share about my incidents in the bus. “You are so dramatic”. “You should walk instead,” or “Well, if you dress with a mini skirt, you are looking for it.” I did not wear a mini skirt in any of the instances. I have not worn a mini skirt in 35 years.

I told my best friend two days after the camp was over. She was horrified and shocked at the beginning, but then she questioned me: “Why did you let him do that? Why didn’t you stop him?” I didn’t know what to say. I doubted myself. It was my fault. What was wrong with me? I may have had a mark, like the scarlet letter. Was I looking for it? Did I feel seen and wanted, something that I couldn’t feel at home? NO. In all those instances, I felt violated, I experienced shame. I didn’t have a choice. I didn’t know I could have a choice. I didn’t have a voice. I felt I was going to be killed if I spoke up, like the political authority had done with thousands of innocents during the dictatorship.

The unspoken became unspeakable

As a teenager I coped by increasingly hurting myself. I was in pain and suffering and I couldn’t find the way out. I scratched my legs and arms with my nails until they bled. I took drugs. I tried to kill myself. But it did not work. I was seeking an explanation, trying to understand my life experiences. I wanted to hear someone validating me, that I was not crazy; someone to tell me that sexual abuse was wrong. Something in me kept looking, removing heavy curtains and trying to let the light shine in. I got a job and paid for therapy. I went beyond my familiar cirlce and became friends with artists, musicians, and even with philosophers and intellectuals.

I started to face fear by reading spiritual texts about human nature, by engaging in the healing arts and taking classes, listening to other people’s stories. In one workshop, I met my teacher, Carlos Castaneda who supported and further inspired my healing process by offering me a new definition of the world, a new description of myself.

What would I do without the fear of speaking up?

Today I know I was a child and I was innocent, as all children are. I know my parents did the best they could with the awareness and tools available to them at the time and I hold no resentments. I know I am not the only woman who has endured fear and abuse. I know men suffered from abuse too. I have learned to say NO, to place boundaries, to care and love myself, and to build healthy intimate relationships. Today I have a family, I protect and honor my body, and teach others to do the same.

And, I’ m still working in accepting what I judged as unacceptable: life experiences of violence and abuse, of any kind. I am realizing that even tough to endure, experiences of pain offered me an opportunity to experience my resilience, my strength, my power. I am walking through my fears though much smaller, still there, and will continue until:

I can sleep with my windows open

Take walks under the stars at night without fear

Tell the truth of who I am without experiencing shame (I Just did it!)

Hurray 2019! Release, Forgive and Set Up Intentions while Welcoming the New Year

“Intent is what sends shamans through a wall, to space, to Infinity”~ Carlos Castaneda

Dear friend: A New Time has arrived. We are living in a new era of interconnection, worldwide, where information is shared instantly across the globe, where we must stand together to protect our planet, where we need new collective agreements of energy renewal and creative ways of getting along. We feel lucky to witness a new consciousness in a large number of people that are working for the betterment of all. A new Spiritual awakening is piercing through all beings, no longer in the hands of a few privileged teachers.

This new movement of daring is saying YES to nature, to women in power, to integration of cultures, to community, to shifting from fear and domination to Love. It is saying NO to the selfish in power that keeps trying to divide people. It is too late for the old ways of right and left extremes, for the pyramidal structures of power. Our time today is the time of shared, interdependent intent.

We are now aware that we are not our thoughts or feelings. We know now that we can question our thoughts and question what are we consuming. We can make choices for healthier eating and healthier being, something that was unavailable to the world at large before. We know that we feel better after practicing movements, after a yoga class, after gardening. We have in our hands a new description for ourselves, and the power to make decisions that can change our perception of ourselves completely.

So, ride on your power my friend, on your beauty and on vision. BE YOU and stop trying to be someone else. YOU is what the world needs now: vulnerable, honest and aware.

As you welcome the new light of the New Year, and follow the steps below, dance to the glory of your journey, with its ups and downs, and know without any doubts, that you have been loved, that you are loved right now, and that YOU ARE LOVE.

May your light radiate out to your friends, your families, your community, and to the whole world.

We appreciate you and we are with you,

Aerin, Axel and Miles Alexander-Reid

CARLOS CASTANEDA’S NEW YEAR’S RITUAL

Here is the ceremony that our teacher Carlos Castaneda taught us:

It starts during the last days of December, and finishes after the clock strikes midnight on January 1st. Castaneda would tell us that, at midnight, the light of Spirit or the Universe comes and “watches us”—a force descends upon us, forged by the combined intent of the planet over millennia, and this is a very powerful moment to be present and aware—to feel and become acquainted with.

We have been practicing this ritual without failure for the last 23 years and it has brought us, and countless practitioners around the world, a sense of direction, purpose and inspiration to unfold our goals and intentions for the New Year, as well as a sense of connection with the cycles of nature and the entire planet.

We hope that the benefits ripple out through your life, your relationships, your community and the world.

The steps are these:

  1. Clear out the old before the New Year. Renew from the inside out. From December 28 onwards, and even throughout the day of December 31, clear up space in your home. Remove clutter, donate clothing that you aren’t using anymore, clean out and organize cabinets and drawers, and vacuum your floors; water your plants—all with a feeling of openness and readiness. The aim is to clean your home, physically and also energetically, to clean your psyche from negative thoughts and feelings accumulated during the year so that you can be receptive for the New to come in.
  • Throw things away that are not needed any longer or that are not bringing you joy
  • Write down all negative thoughts in a piece of paper, writing in a flow and without reading back what you wrote. When you feel you have put all out, burn the piece of paper and wash you hands.
  • Practice affirmations out loud, of appreciations for your life, for you belongings, for your friends and family
  1. On December 31, before midnight, attend to your desk or personal space. Organize your books and papers, and clear space so that you can comfortably sit to write a list of Intentions, affirmations, dreams and projects you want to manifest or co-create in 2019. Sit in Silence and call onto the light of Spirit, to clear your mind and body and to connect deeply with yourself.
  1. Next, take a pen or pencil and piece of paper, and get ready to LISTEN TO YOUR HEART
  • Recapitulate the most salient experiences that happened in your life during the year, and appreciate what you learnt in 2018. What challenges did you experience? What was the outcome? What new friends did you make? What new things did you learn, for example, a new recipe, a new skill, a new language? And what would you like to learn in 2019? You may choose to divide your year in basic areas, such as family, work, health, relationships and personal development:
  • How was your health in 2018 and what would you like to intent for 2019?
  • What about your work? What experiences did you have? What new projects you have in mind for 2019?
  • And in your family and relationships? What new relationships have you established? What came to a close? What needs to be healed?
  • What about your legacy? Write a paragraph describing what you would like your legacy for 2019 to be.
  • And about the larger community of planet earth, what dreams for a better world would you like to intend?

Listen to your heart, and follow with your pen the wisdom of your heart.

  1. Around 11:30 p.m. (it’s almost midnight!)Sit in silence with your hands in your heart and appreciate your life. You can put your attention on items from your 2019 Intentions—those things that you want to experience in the next year. Sit with it as long as you like, making sure by the time the clock strikes midnight it finds you engaged in some practical aspect of your intentions (researching something, preparing some initial plans, etc) and that you feel connected with them, with your personal life path, and with the Universe.

At midnight, during the first minutes of the New Year, let the wave of your dreams bathe over you with a sentiment of peace, love and gratitude.

Deepening into the Heart

Last week, Miles and I taught a workshop about Lead Your Legacy at the wonderful Lead with Love Summit, at the stunning Aspen, in Rocky Mountains of Colorado. We were open-hearted welcomed and experienced deep connections of love with everyone, including participants, presenters, organizers, the trees and mountains surrounding us. The last time we taught a class in Aspen, was in 2005, at the Aspen Ideas Festival!.

This was a powerful opportunity to recapitulate who we were then, what we used to offer to others, and who we are now.

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The very first difference I perceived was an ability to be more comfortable on my own skin, with my skills, my light and also, with my shortcomings. In large group events with celebrities I used to feel threatened and out of place, not knowing how and what to say and where to hide. What was present in me instead was calmness and connectedness, and my focus was on listening to others. I felt inspired by Gina Murdock, the founder and co-director of Lead with Love, who on and off stage, shows up as she is. (And felt inspired by other women and would write down about that on my future blog.)

More than 100 people signed up for our workshop! It was about awaking the Warrior state and connecting inwardly with the Healer and the Visionary within, all three shamanistic archetypes present in our collective consciousness.

Another difference I experienced was the immense joy and gratitude Miles and I felt from the very beginning.

Participants, all new to Being Energy®, were radiantly following the sequences of movements, engaged counting out loud, and renewing their body-mind-spirits. A large number asked us for a video to practice at home. You can see the sequence here below.. Also, you can read the powerpoint presentation of the workshop clicking here.

The Summit was a blast of almost five days of workshops, panels, talks, body awareness classes, social events, activism and more. There were over 400 participants and more than 50 presenters in the areas of conscious business, body awareness and social peace, including John Mackey, the co-founder of Whole Foods, Lynne Twist, co-founder of the Pachamama Alliance, Dr. Rudy Tanzi, author, researcher, professor of neurology at Harvard, Rod Stryker founder of Parayoga, and Kevin Courtney, yoga and meditation teacher.

It was satisfying to hang out with true like-minded individuals and organizations who are actively engaged doing GOOD for the world and introduce Being Energy® and see how aligned it is with the wave of change and transformation taking place in the world.

In a personal level as a family, we took time to roll through to the Aspen Institute hills and mediate on top of rocks. Kids were freely playing around, practicing yoga with others kids, and soaking in the Loving!

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Lastly, after six days of sunny warm weather, we woke up with a silent snow: a gift of spirit!. And, just for sheer inspiration and beauty, we want to share with you some images and the feel of those mountains and the inner silence that they bring to our soul.