It is only on the ruins of the Tower of Confusion that the Temple of Truth can be erected.
– Count Cagliostro

Tony Bonnici was quite the wheeler-dealer. And when I say wheels, I’m talking about six-digit Ferraris that he’d trick out at his exotic car auto spa. And there was his corporate/residential glass-tinting business. And his Judo Dojo. Oh and don’t forget his life-coaching on the side where he taught other people to be as successful as he was.

This guy had it all: 4 businesses, a home in California, and he’d moved his gorgeous wife and two beautiful little boys to a house in Hawaii. And he wanted more.

He was miserable… without even knowing it. His meditation practice learned in childhood from his Zen buddhist parents had fallen off along the busy path. And somewhere along his wheeling-dealing way, his personal integrity had started slipping, with more concern about how everything looked on the outside than what was happening inside and with people he cared about. Of course he couldn’t talk about any of that. Men don’t show vulnerability – and certainly not successful men. He couldn’t even FEEL any of that – just drown it in drugs, alcohol.

Then the Recession hit. His high-end businesses instantly reflected his clients’ fear and began spinning into oblivion. Tony could always talk a good game, but these days, the faster he talked, the quicker his jittery clients fled. He clamped on a smile like the metal grate on the front of the fancy cars he dealt in.

‘You got this, Tony. Try harder! This can’t be happening to me! Suck it up, Tony. WORK!’ We can just imagine those panicky, gut-wrenching, jaw-clenching feelings he was going through as his business empire began collapsing like an elaborate sand-castle on the edge of an incoming tide. And he kept up a brave veneer of everything-is-fine. That’s what real men do, right?

In desperation, he started spending one, then two, sometimes three weeks at a time away from home and family in Hawaii in an effort to save his businesses in California. The boys cried, missing their daddy, and his wife slipped into depression, only managing to get out of bed to care for the crying kids. He ran harder, faster, yet he could feel the sand slipping beneath his feet.

A few years earlier, his wife Amber had attended a Nia White Belt training in a circle of other women, and emerged with a fresh perspective on life. She was more “woke”, as we say these days. Tony was still trapped in his grind. In fact, he was so wrapped up in ‘taking care of business’, he almost missed the birth of their second son, Bodhi.

In October of 2008, Tony’s mom told him about the ManKind Project (MKP), a non-profit organization for empowering men. He had no idea what it was, but he took a flying leap into the unknown and landed the next weekend at one of the MKP’s New Warrior Training Adventures.

That weekend turned out to be the game-changer.

Surrounded by other men, men who faced their own life challenges, men who were scared and brave at the same time, men who had stories to share and men who wanted to hear his story – Tony listened to himself tell his own truth, and he felt it in his body. It got gritty. He felt his own anguish in his gut. His shoulders shook  as he felt what he had been putting his wife through. The little boy inside himself shivered, feeling as lonely and abandoned as his own small sons. He was cut to the quick. Tony got to truly ask himself, “Is this the life I want to lead?”

The more the diamond is cut, the brighter it sparkles. – Thomas Guthrie

Tony came home from that ManKind Project and got honest with Amber. He held fire-sales and shut down his businesses within the next 3 months, shedding the California house in the process. That’s the time when I met Tony, after Amber and I attended our Nia Black Belt training together.  Things were tough for them financially, no question.  They eventually lost even their Hawaii house.

Yet he began building a business and life around what was important to him: love, connection, honesty. He began sitting for Zazen meditation in the wee hours of the morning again. He chooses to spend lots of time with his sons, the whole family and special date nights with Amber.

Seeing Tony’s tremendous insight born of life experience, we hired him to coach our son through a rough patch in his career. And Tony became my business/life coach a few years ago when I lost my way a bit with Still & Moving Center.  Our weekly FaceTime sessions bring me greater clarity and a more keenly-tuned sense of direction. Now more than a decade after the crash, his flourishing coaching business now spans several continents.

He has been ‘paying it forward’ ever since his first, about-face New Warrior Training Adventure, volunteering for ManKind Project, quickly entering their leadership track, and leading New Warrior weekends around the world. He has a tribe of men who are there for him, and he sits in circles of support with them.

I watched both our son and both my brothers benefit immensely from the New Warrior weekends they each attended. They all came out less confused, taking responsibility for all aspects of their lives, more clear about what is important to them and what to do about whatever’s not working for them. They’re all more loving and more lovable.

I’ve been egging Tony on for at least the last 7 years to get a New Warrior weekend happening on Oahu. We even hosted an MKP circle at Still & Moving Center back in 2013. However, such things need time to prepare the soil and germinate organically.

That time has finally arrived! The ManKind Project is putting on a New Warrior Training Adventure next month…. September 13-14-15. Woohoo!  And Tony will be the “Leader on Point” for that weekend.

So men, if any of this story resonates with you, and women, if you know any men who might benefit from a powerful experience in the presence of other men, take note! It might get you back your life, the way you really want to live.

Dancing in Joy and resting in stillness with you,

Renée Tillotson

And you, dear reader?
Just hit reply – I always love hearing from you.

Mind over emotions! Thanks to Eunice I’ve been able to re-label my stress response to solo musical performances. I maintained a huge blockage for decades about letting anyone hear me attempt to make music. Back when I was in 5th Grade, I had been forced into a horrific piano recital and never touched a keyboard again.

About 40 years later, Eunice invited me into her vocal studio, encouraged me, trained me, and gently nudged me back on stage. In my first recital, I went into uncontrollable, full-body quaking, but I proudly FINISHED my song! Ta Da! More Eunice encouragement: Recital 2, still quaking, I forgot the words and faked Italian to arrive at the end of my aria. Eunice’s patience with me continued. Fast forward to my most recent recital, I’ve made quite a bit of musical progress, and I hardly shook at all. Thank you Eunice!

I first met Eunice when she attended my Nia class, and I can tell you, she is a powerhouse. You will seldom meet an individual with the will power she possesses. She has dedicated herself to staying fit well into her senior years, at an advanced age she declines to disclose! She lives alone, doing much of her own gardening on the steep slope her house is built on. It’s not unusual for me to find her up on a ladder fixing or pruning something when I arrive for my weekly lesson.

Some of her mind over matter, can-do attitude just can’t help but rub off on us, her students!

Eunice’s studio boasts students far more advanced and vocally talented than myself, some of whom have been with her for decades! Eunice M. DeMello is not your average vocal coach. Based in Honolulu, she possesses over half a century of professional experience as a singer, songwriter, dancer and choreographer. She has served with the University of Hawaii Theatre Group, directed The Players of St. Clement, taught at the Jazz Festival, produced and written plays and lectured on music at universities.

She helped to establish Hawaii’s first state museum representing local artists – The Hawaii State Art Museum. For her demonstrated commitment to Honolulu, July 12, 1998 was proclaimed Eunice DeMello Day by Former Governor Benjamin Cayetano.

Far from retired, Eunice still lends her expertise as a vocal coach, training a wide range of students from professionals to amateurs, singers, lawyers and doctors. Using her unique physically-oriented vocal techniques, she credits her success as a performer and instructor to the love and support of her parents, as well as the guidance of her professor, Hermanus Baer.

Eunice holds a master’s degree in music from Northwestern University and a degree in music education from the University of Hawaii. She served as the chairwoman for the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, and as an onsite reporter for the National Endowment for the Arts.

My hat’s off to Eunice!

 

Faced with situations such as giving a public talk or going into a job interview or starting a race, we commonly exhibit responses like an elevated heart rate, greater alertness, perspiration, etc. We may think we’re in the know: stress is supposed to be bad for us, right? 

Not necessarily. Recent research shows us that when we think stress is damaging to us, cortisol hormones and the like constrict our blood vessels, increasing our chances of heart disease. 

On the contrary, when we think of such physiological responses as simply preparing us to respond to the situation at hand, those same body changes cause no harm at all. Our blood vessels stay open and flow continues. We can be actually toning our nervous system and increasing our resiliency.

So when we notice ourselves getting nervous, we can short circuit an anxiety tendency. We remind ourselves that our body is just doing the normal things it should do to be prepared, breathing to bring in more oxygen to think clearly, at the top of our game.

 

Watch this Ted Talk to learn more.

Retired International Detective and Determined Student

Melanie Sue has set her sights on taking 100 classes during our two-month long Passport to Health Adventure! She wants to raise awareness and funds to Help the Girls. Since she joined Still & Moving Center in 2018, she has been one of our most dedicated students. Who is this determined woman with a mysterious past? Here’s her story:

The most interesting thing about me is my career in the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. The NCIS investigates any crime connected with the Navy, wherever it is in the world. I had always wanted to be a detective, during a time when I had three strikes against my being hired: I was female, Asian and short. And I still managed to get hired by the NCIS!

By the time I retired at the mandatory age of 57, I had 23 years of service under my belt, and I was one of only a handful of women with over 2 decades of experience in the NCIS. Things have changed a lot since I got hired years ago. They don’t realize it, but I paved the way for younger women to come. I helped “break the glass ceiling”. That’s what I am most proud of.

I liked this job because I could be anyone and do anything. I could interview an abused child in the morning then go to court in the afternoon to present evidence about a rapist, and buy drugs undercover at night. I met all kinds of people, lived in both Italy and Japan for years and have traveled to almost 40 countries.

I was more exposed to the negative side of human nature, and I needed to get together with my own family or friends to remind myself of what normal families were like. Now that I’ve become a ballroom dancer since retirement, I’m meeting loving husbands and wives who have been married and dancing together for 50 years! It amazes and tickles me.

The worst part of my job was being on call 24/7 – that’s why I don’t own a cell phone, TV or computer these days. I had virtually no personal life back then. I couldn’t buy a ticket to a concert because I would probably be called in for duty. I was always moving, so it was tough to make friends. I hardly ever celebrated Thanksgiving or Christmas with my family. The Navy did give us leave, but when emergency hit, we were called in anyway.

You could say I had to put public service above my personal life. And we had to be very ethical ourselves, had to be the role models in our positions. We couldn’t accept gifts – nothing more than a fruit basket – we had to be beyond suspicion ourselves.

I found dancing to be a great way to counter-balance my pretty heavy career life. I’ve been doing yoga since 1970. And I always danced for the joy of doing it, not to perform.

Wherever I traveled in the world, I would at least watch the dancing, such as very authentic neighborhood flamenco I saw in Spain. In Kenya on a safari I watched Masai warrior dancers challenge each other on how high they could jump!

In Japan, I belonged to a group of bon dancers who learned a very traditional style. We performed and got little gifts, such as an apple or peach. Once at the end of a performance I got all the bon dancers doing line dancing – so much fun! Oh – did you know that bon dance is a line dance?!?

I did a lot of line dancing all over the world for fun and exercise, and not just to country music. We danced to samba, waltz, cha-cha, all kinds. Sometimes line dance videos are in French; most routines come from Asian countries! It’s very international! I learned from trainers in many countries. I was able to learn by watching, regardless of what language they were teaching the dance in.

I love learning something new all the time and from all different cultures. That’s what I enjoy about Still & Moving Center. I’m attracted by the nice people, the novel, interesting practices you’re always introducing, the new teachers presenting things in a different way. I had always wanted to try Aerial and was attracted by the Aerial Yoga program at your 7th birthday celebration. Now I do a little of everything here!

Ikaika reminded us today in yoga class, “Say Yes to everything – just try it!” That’s usually my New Year’s Resolution: Try something new!

Pearl Haven…. A sanctuary for pearls? Here pearls = girls, each one unique, beautiful, a treasure. Why would these unique, beautiful, treasured girls need a haven?

Truth is, these girls have not been treasured, honored or respected. The girls for whom this haven is being built have known abandonment, coercion, appropriation, exploitation, shame, in fact: slavery. They come from every economic bracket, every ethnicity. And it’s happening just below the surface of our “everything is fine” tropical paradise.

The emergence of Pearl Haven is underway. Neela and I got to tour the construction site last week… and to imagine the possibilities for a better life for teenage girls on this island who have been forced into sex trafficking.

I want to tell you about the woman behind the campaign to build Pearl Haven for the girls, and I want you to watch the video of her TedTalk at the bottom of this letter. Her video brought me to tears… and it inspired me to feel that YES, we can do something about this problem. This woman – Jessica Munoz – astonishes me.

She’s not some good fairy who came floating down to wave her magic wand and make it all better. She’s a heroine because she’s a real life person, just like us. She told me she feels like quitting several times a week, and she regularly asks, “Really, God? THIS is what I’m supposed to be doing?” And she persists anyway. Right through all the heart-breaking times, the not-enough-sleep times, the so-frustrated-she-could-scream times.

Jessica Munoz is LIT UP, and I write this story to inspire us to fight for what is right and good in this world – with even a tiny fraction of the fire she’s fueled by. Jessica thinks she just has a “justice gene in her DNA” that makes it so that she can’t NOT do what she does: helping to create a place of healing for young girls who have been rescued from sex trafficking and now need to re-enter society and their families.

A nurse practitioner for the last 15 years, Jessica became alerted to the plight of these young girls a decade ago in the emergency room. “These girls came in with obvious signs that something was terribly wrong, and we were not asking the right questions or screening for this type of trauma.”  Reporting was minimal and guidelines were ill-defined. “I felt a strong drive to do something.”

Jessica gathered a group of concerned and passionate friends and founded the non-profit organization Ho’ola Na Pua, from ho’o “to make”, from ola “health, life”, from nā pua “the flowers / the children”. The organization’s name means “new life for our children”.  Often times girls as young as 9 years old are being forced to turn “tricks” up to 10-12-15 + times a night.

The Ho’ola Na Pua team of volunteers identified many services needed for providing a full continuum of care for trafficked children in Hawaii. Several key elements were not yet in place. One of the key missing services was a residential treatment program for teenage girls who have been sexually exploited.

For the last nine years, Jessica has been donating 60 hours a week to this endeavor, while holding a full-time job as an ER nurse practitioner. In her determination to bring the Pearl Haven project into reality, she’s just recently reduced her nursing hours to part time, but continues to work pro-bono for Ho’ola Na Pua.

Ho’ola Na Pua secured a long term lease on a 12-acre site in rural Oahu where they will be able to provide comprehensive treatment and wrap around services. Up to 32 girls, ages 11-18, will eventually be able to reside and heal there, with state-of-the-art therapeutic practices, learning gardening and cooking skills, partaking in equine therapy, and continuing their schooling. Re-imagining their story.

The girls will be welcomed by Buddy, a dog the squatters abandoned when they left the premises. They will understand why he remains a bit skittish from all the abuse he suffered before. Yet he is also very loving, still willing to give and receive affection. The staff has named him Buddy and consider him the Protector of Pearl Haven!

Pearl Haven itself stands as a metaphor for the work it seeks to accomplish with these girls. The place started out on a gorgeous site with lovely buildings. Ignored by its creators, the place fell into the hands of squatters who defaced and defiled the structures, while weeds overtook the grounds. When Neela and I looked at it we saw a) the strong bones of a beautiful structure, b) all the ill-treatment it received for years, and c) an incredibly promising future of growth into even greater beauty and grace.

Outrage drives Jessica. Like her own heroes for justice – Abraham Lincoln, Harriet Tubman and Corrie Ten Boom – Jessica has found ways to harness her rage. Knowing that we are a country built on the concept of freedom, she refuses to stand by while her younger ‘sisters’ are enslaved: she and her team are creating safe space for them. And knowing how many resources are available in this nation, she’s asking for our help in restoring health and dignity to these victimized children.

Jessica’s biggest piece of preventative advice to parents is:  “Be in tune with your kids. Get off the phone. TALK with your daughters and sons. Kids at the biggest risk are the ones not in connection with their families – traffickers try to fill in all the holes.”

And stand up for any child who is being abused by their father, brother, uncle, grandfather, mother. Don’t look away, especially if this has happened to you. Protect them, get help. Stop the pattern.

She also reminds us that trauma has happened to many of us. Recognize that trauma impacts everyone in unique ways. If you find yourself violated or exploited, it’s important to say something to someone – holding it in will not help or protect you.

When I asked Jessica why there was such high demand for these girls, she told me pornography is the biggest driving force: “Visualization becomes actualization,” and that today’s pornography is turning more and more violent with younger and younger subjects. And it’s not just “weird, scary-looking guys” who engage in it. It’s our everyday next door neighbors, clerks, lawyers, doctors – all sorts of ordinary-seeming people buy sex. How other human beings can treat girls or boys in this demeaning way completely baffles Jessica.

Yet all of us can do something to help. First we can raise our own awareness of the problem. Next we can look for seeds of it in ourselves, our families, our friends, our neighbors, our community. As Jonny, who’s supervising the Pearl Haven construction site, asks other men, “Where are your eyes looking, brother?”

Pearl Haven is more than just a dream, and not yet a reality. It’s $4.5 million into its reconstruction process, needing another $4.5 million and thousands more volunteer hours to complete this ginormous renovation effort. Let’s do our part!

Dancing in Joy and resting in stillness with you,

Renée Tillotson

And you, dear reader?
Just hit reply – I always love hearing from you.

One of the ways you can recognize the authenticity of Neela’s commitment to community service is her reluctance to say much about it. It’s not something our Operations Manager does for show or for recognition. Maybe she shares the “justice gene” Jessica Munoz talks about. Neela – with all the volunteers she has organized – has directly served hundreds of people, spanning several continents over decades.

Neela currently volunteers one afternoon a week at the Women’s Shelter on Ka’a’ahi Street in Honolulu, part of the Institute of Human Services (IHS). She is one of the few women working there who has not been through the shelter herself. Curious, her co-workers wonder what on earth she’s doing there. She tells them that she just doesn’t feel like part of the community unless she’s giving back to it. “The ladies I work with are heroes – endlessly patient and generous,” demures Neela.

Neela, Gloria Moe and Lali Lai Hipp, colleagues at IHS Women’s Shelter

Women sometimes arrive at the shelter with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. After giving them an orientation to the program, Neela takes them to the shelter’s “store” where they “shop” free of charge for clothing, toiletries, accessories, etc. from the collection of donated items.  

When Neela’s partner Colin learned that women were picking up second-hand underwear, he bought packages of brand new women’s underwear and sent them into the shelter. We give all of Still & Moving Center’s unclaimed lost & found items to Neela to take to the shelter. (Careful if you leave your stuff behind after class!)

Neela was the Artistic Director for Cirque du Soleil for many years before coming to Still & Moving Center. Volunteering through their community service arm, Cirque du Monde, was the favorite part of her position. No matter where they were in the world, Neela would find ways to reach out to the needy parts of the local population.

She remembers a time when she took Cirque’s “Saltimbanco” show to Manilla in the Philippines, and a nearby village was virtually flattened by floodwaters. The residents lost nearly everything they owned. Neela and the circus folks basically emptied their suitcases and wallets to donate to this village in need. Then she and her troupe of clowns, trainers, and acrobats delighted the village children with a joy-filled afternoon, painting their faces circus-style!

Another time in Estonia, Neela’s team invited 100 orphans to the circus tent for Christmas dinner and individual gifts from her team members, then the kids got to watch the show! The activity helped not only the orphans, but the circus team itself. One acrobat from Russia asked Neela, “But surely they are not ALL orphans, are they? They MUST have parents somewhere, don’t they?” That Christmas of magic was an eye-opening and heart-warming event for participants on both sides.

“Social circus” through Cirque du Monde serves to train at risk youth in circus skills that increase their sense of accomplishment and self-worth. Once you’ve successfully dangled upside down or survived being tossed through the air, ordinary life on the streets just seems a little less scary and a little more manageable. 

During her years with the company, Neela organized dozens of events from South Africa to Cambodia in which Cirque du Soleil performers and trainers taught young people elements of their art. Community service runs deep in her veins.

January and her husband Rodrigo founded Lilikoi Wear, a sustainable activewear, because they are passionate about helping women look and feel great. It is their hope that when women wear their beautiful and comfortable clothing, they will physically exude confidence and strength. All of their clothing items are made with sun-protective and 100% biodegradable fabrics that have joyful unique prints and are as comfortable as a second-skin. Their Brazilian fabrics have tropical appeal and fit in very well in Hawaii – their patterns are colorful, fun and playful, offering something different than many other activewear brands.

January and Rodrigo are excited to be part of Still & Moving Center’s fundraiser to build Pearl Haven, a safehaven for sex-trafficked girls, because it aligns with Lilikoi Wear’s aim to be socially and environmentally responsible. Lilikoi Wear will donate $2 to Ho’ola Na Pua for every item sold at Still & Moving Center, between July 4th and Labor Day. Lilikoi Wear believes we all should help to protect women and children who are being mistreated, and to raise awareness about sex trafficking. 

Lilikoi Wear’s products are unique and one-of-a-kind.  They are made of Amni Soul Eco polyamide nylon fabric, which will fully biodegrade within 3 years under landfill conditions. Lilikoi Wear designs all of their clothing for water use, including dresses! All of their material is UV50+ which blocks 100% of UV rays. This fabric is also sweat-wicking, quick-drying, anti-microbial and odor-resistant.

Lilikoi Wear got its start by selling already-made activewear items at pop-up events at the local gyms in Kona on a foldout table. When, for the third time in a row they sold out all of their inventory, the couple decided they wanted to take the next step and design their own merchandise. They created their own brand – Lilikoi Wear – designing clothing, sourcing sustainable fabric of the highest quality, and having the pieces custom made in Brazil. They got their start with just capris and leggings, then added shorts, bra tops, tank tops, rashguards and skorts. 

Two years ago they moved to Oahu to further grow their company. They recently added a Lilikoi Luxe line to their collection, which showcases dresses, palazzo pants, and long skirts, all still made with their high-quality, sustainable and colorful fabrics. They sell at many events, including marathon and triathlon expos, resort pop-ups, and in several boutique and sporting goods stores throughout the islands. Lilikoi Wear’s current goal is to build strong brand recognition throughout the islands, to be followed by expansion to California and Florida. 

After 10 years of working for other people, January decided she wanted to work for herself. Entrepreneurial blood runs through her veins, as many of her family members are also business owners. Rodrigo comes from an entrepreneurial family, as well, and has had experience running several different businesses in Brazil. Together, their skills and experiences compliment each other, creating a successful business, where each of them can contribute their unique talents. January says, “Running a business with your spouse can be challenging, yet I have learned so much from Rodrigo and his previous experience, and I have picked up a lot of new skills.” It’s certainly not a boring relationship! 

January and Rodrigo love running their own business. They get to spend time together on a day-to-day basis and travel together to Brazil to source their fabrics. January thrives in the creative process of designing her own clothing line. She loves seeing something she dreamt up herself come to life on the women wearing it. Her closet is comprised of mostly Lilikoi Wear items. The cuts, fabrics, and prints are exactly what she wants to be wearing every day. She loves when she spots someone in public wearing their prints!

Lilikoi wear is available at the Boutique-E at Still & Moving Center. 

 

 

“Koholā Ola is the Whale that Gives Life,
the Whale that is the Mother of our oceans,
and we must love her now and listen to her whale song.”  
Sooriya

Ke Koholā No Ma Maluhia Honua – The Whale for World Peace Program


On Saturday, June 2, Sooriya Kumar launched the Whale for World Peace project with an all-faith blessing ceremony, completed with pounding the first strikes on gigantic cooper whale sculptures. Sooriya Kumar has spent the last 3 decades on Oahu, and now at his organic Mouna Farm, seeking to improve life for the people and environment on the Waianae Coast and to facilitate cooperation and respect amongst people of all faiths. As a copper artist of world renown, his Whale for World Peace project marks a grand finale of an illustrious career.

This ambitious non-profit endeavor will organize adults and children to make their indelible mark on our beautiful islands by hammering out a life-sized mother (45 feet long) and calf (25 feet long) humpback whale in copper. Sooriya envisions thousands of hands helping to pound the copper whales into existence. The pieces will be finished by the end of the year and mounted on the front of the soon-to-be-built Nanakuli Community Center.

The whale symbolizes reaching across all oceans to bring us all together as one global ohana (family). This experience of collaboration will support us in envisioning a new global reality of love and support. The project exemplifies Hawaii’s aloha spirit and humanity’s cooperative nature, as well as our care for the land and sea.

“All people have heart. Children and kupuna (elders) of all ages, all spiritual beliefs, all walks of life, and all ethnic backgrounds must come together to bring world peace, unity and healing through art. All are needed. All are welcome to build and share in the spreading of this Whale’s message.” – Sooriya Kumar of Mouna Farm

As Sooriya says, your children and your children’s children for a hundred years will see your contribution to the world.

If you are an interested individual or if you are involved in a school, youth group, community group, religious organization, etc. you can make arrangements to come help pound the copper. You can also help financially.  To find out how to help and how to make a contribution, please go to:

koholaolapeaceproject.org

koholaolapeaceproject@gmail.com

donorbox.org/kohola-ola-whale-4-peace-project

 

By Marta Czajkowska

Observe your furry friend. Dogs are WAY smarter than human beings on what’s most important in life. They specialize in the subject of love.

Dogs have truly mastered both giving and receiving love. They show their affection fearlessly, vigorously and often. They know right down to the tip of their tails that without cultivating physical contact, the bond is weakened. This is why they insist on getting petted and spontaneously dispense generous licks.

Dogs easily deal with rejection, which human beings seem to have all kinds of trouble getting over. Ask a girl on a date and get a “no”… hard for a guy to handle. If a dog were to tackle the task, he would ask and if the answer was no, he would ask again, unabashedly, the very next day:  “And… how about now???”

Dogs have found for themselves an evolutionary niche. Noticing that their human companions have a tendency toward worry and gloom, our canine pets have taken it upon themselves to cheer us up. They know the basic rules: love has no limits, love is warm, love is kind, love needs to be shown often and intensely.

Without even attending a modern day leadership conference, dogs simply know that modeling is the best teaching method. So they inexhaustibly model love, affection, understanding, forgiveness and good humor in hopes that we, their humans buddies, will finally set our egos aside and get on with what’s important in life.

 

Stringing together a Life of Beauty

Natasha’s unique bead jewelry makes its debut into the Still & Moving Center boutique this week!

As a little girl, Natasha delighted in the tangled strings of beads her grandmother gave her to unsnarl. She loved sorting and categorizing beads, then moved on to stringing wooden ones as a teenager. She now has about a quarter century of bead design under her belt – or shall we say, around her neck?!?

Beads FASCINATE her. She tells me anthropologists have found beads tracing back over 100,000 years of human history. We human beings use them to adorn ourselves for beauty or to express status. We have used them in patterns to convey information on belts as well as in jewelry. We consider them so valuable, we’ve sometimes used them as currency, such as Native American wampum.

Natasha’s passion for beads may exceed anyone’s you’ve ever met. She sees them as powerful pieces of self-expression, with the ability to express herself freely being the driving force in her life. Every one of her pieces is unique. She excels at creating custom bead jewelry that conveys something important about the person wearing it.

She finds and incorporates rare, discontinued beads in her work, especially crystal and glass beads from high-end manufacturers in Europe. Semi-precious stones make it into most of Natasha’s pieces, and she has studied the energetic signature of the stones, based on the vibratory frequency of its structural composition.

Natasha reads her clients and often surprises them with pieces that exactly suit them, or works with them to find exactly which bead combination best expresses them in the moment. She holds a degree in Image Consulting and has worked in that field as a whole, and she brings that experience to her custom bead design. She can also do simple jewelry repairs, re-stringing, beading, and clasp repair.

For more of Natasha’s creations, see That Girl’s Bead on Facebook: thatgirlsbeads.

 


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