The answer is always LOVE (or sometimes, "42"!)

The answer is always LOVE (or sometimes, "42"!)
My philosophy is LOVEISM...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Kelly's got a new hat; the new Community Manager for Awakening the Bay, holistic network

Recently, I have been invited to serve Awakening the Bay as “Community Manager.”  I am super excited about this new role because I am a huge fan of Awakening the Bay because it is a community-based, holistic network which seeks to not only promote the talents, skills and knowledge of Bay Area holistic practitioners, multi-discipline therapists, artists, musicians, yogi’s, and the like, but also promote all the amazing local (and even international) events, workshops, classes, lectures, and so on, while at the same time, educating the public in general!  Happy Birthday!

And since Awakening the Bay is community-generated content, you are encouraged to promote your event/workshop/play/drum circle/puja/YOURSELF/whatever FREELY (and know we have a professional editor to “clean up” your piece, if you are not a natural writer!) 

In addition to providing listings of enlightened Bay Area events and such, you are encouraged to submit informative articles as well!  This is an excellent opportunity to educate others about Watsu; Tantra; why breath-work is so important; the value of raw food; the difference between Hatha and Iyengar yoga; etc., we especially need “How To” pieces—how to set up urban permaculture; how to build a yurt; healthy recipes; whatever as long as it is in alignment with holistic living, loving and work.  The perk to this, for you, is FREE exposure for yourself or business, as well as adding credibility to your good work.

And once you have been published on Awakening the Bay, you can post the link to your event or article on your Twitter, FaceBook page, blog, website, etc.  This is electronic “cross-pollination”!   And for those writer-wanna-be’s out there (I know there are many!), this is an excellent venue to showcase your work, meaning your articles on Awakening the Bay can bolster your writing resume. 

And know that Awakening the Bay is not limited to the Bay Area (eventually, we will have Awakening LaLa Land –aka, LA, Awakening the Big Apple, aka, NYC, etc.) but this is just the first model!  And since we have Travel and Tours section, you can promote your retreats/classes and workshops all over the world—in Bali, in Hawaii, in Costa Rica, etc. 

So if I tagged you in this note, know that I KNOW you are perfect for this site and you can write!  So I hope to see both your events/workshops/parties/etc. and hopefully, an article or two from you in the near future!

So, if you have not already, please check out the website and give us a “like” on our new FaceBook page.  I am confident this holistic network is a huge asset to our community, as well as a tool for positive change in the world!

Friday, May 20, 2011

The “Ideal Wednesday Exercise”—a profound self-discovery tool

by Kelly N Patterson (by the way, this piece was just picked up by Awakening the Bay, holistic network!)

The Ideal Wednesday Exercise works on several levels.  Firstly, it works as a visualization technique, which some people (from professional athletes and business leaders to hippies) believe is the first, critical step to actualization of any goal.  From a psychological perspective, this exercise SHOWS you what and who you value in your life-- what you want in your daily life, on a regular basis.  This exercise stimulates the imagination as well as serves as a blue-print and thus, direction in your relationships, family, friends, work, and spiritual life (whatever that means to you.)

You will need a pen and paper (or your computer) and what you need to do is IMAGINE (without any restrictions on time, money, current relationship status, work, current health issues, etc.) your Ideal Wednesday (middle of your work week, assuming your work week is a Monday to Friday thing.)  This is not a “weekend fantasy” trip on a sailboat, with Playboy models massing your feet and feeding you grapes, off the coast of Tahiti—this is your ideal ORDINARY Wednesday.

And you want to be as detailed as possible!  Start at the beginning of your day…how do you wake up?  Is it the sound of waves crashing on the shore? A child (even if you do not have one right now) poking you in the face? A dog licking your face?  Morning nookie from your partner? The sound of a howler monkey? 

What does your bed look like?  Were you sleeping in the nude, or in satin pajamas?  What is the first thing you do when you get up?  Wake up sex?  Yoga?   Bowel movement in your luxurious bath room (describe bathroom in great detail) or perhaps, you brush your teeth, with Dr. Bronner’s, in a creek outside your bamboo house?  What do you eat for breakfast?  Organic granola bought from your friends, or Lucky Charms?  Or is your partner making you eggs, bacon, toast, and all?

Who is sharing breakfast with you?  And even if you do not currently have a partner, you need to imagine your ideal partner—his/her qualities:  physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual.  For example, my partner always happens to look like Benecio del Toro (he just does it for me, no apologies) but physical attributes are not really important to me.  It my ideal partner’s personality, intelligence, lust for life, passion for his work, sense of humor, etc. that I highlight in my Ideal Wednesday.

Go through your whole Wednesday.  From reading the paper (which paper?) or listening to NPR on your way to work.  How do you get to work?  Public transport? In your Prius? By boat? By camel?  Stay at home?  Describe every room, in great detail—is there a library?  Entertainment center?  Pets? Gardens?  Pool? Bar?  Zen rock garden? Whatever you want!

Go through your whole day…from work, to after work-- taking the kids to soccer and karate, or going to a poetry reading at a local café to going to the gym-- whatever works for you, but describing everything along the way in as much detail as possible.  Then finally end your day, as you began, going back to bed.

Keep this exercise and look at it from time to time, because this exercise shows you what and who you value most in your life (on a daily basis) and can help you make decisions in life/work/relationships that will lead to the manifestation of this vision.  For every decision, you can ask yourself, “Does this bring me closer to my Ideal Wednesday?” 

And if you follow this line of questioning, saying “YES!” to decisions that bring you closer to your Ideal Wednesday, I know you will be surprised, possibly shocked, to look back one day-- maybe in a year, maybe in three-- and see just how much of your Ideal Wednesday you are actually living!

Just try it.  Not only is this a fun, insightful exercise for yourself, but you can ask your current (or future) partner to try it as well, and compare--to see if you share a similar vision.  It reveals more about yourself (and your partner) than a dozen coffee dates.

Friday, May 13, 2011

How do you teach modern sciences to people who have never even seen a light bulb?

Kaye and Miriam just did not know what to do with my hair!
By Kelly N Patterson

Dinner by candle light (or kerosene lanterns) is not romantic when you have no electricity!
This question was posed to me almost, and I say almost, two decades ago, when I originally arrived to Tanzania. Me: very young (as a matter of fact, my supervisors forbid me from telling anyone, especially my students and local leaders, my true age, for fear I would lose any credibility and all respect in a culture that honors its elders)—it was bad enough that I was a chalk-asian, American WOMAN. I realize now (chuckle to self) I was also very naïve, with a full bout of Save-The-World Syndrome (no worries, I am mostly cured now, with a few occasional relapses.)

"This is your laboratory, Miss Patterson"
The brilliant idea was to raise science and math testing scores/education levels throughout very, very rural Tanzania and bring it up to par with science and math levels in the urban areas like Dar es Salaam, Arusha, etc. However, where do you start to teach people who have never experienced (much less SEEN) electricity; have no indoor plumbing; and have no idea what a computer is?!
I used to bathe in the river until I discovered the cows were crossing upstream.

Commonly called “applied sciences”, I refer to it as teaching “science in metaphor”-- using well, mostly agricultural terms and natural processes; most of my classes took place in the middle of corn fields. So my first “job” was to train local Tanzanian science teachers how to teach applied sciences out “in the bush.” However, following a month of science-teacher training sessions, then, later, during the six-month monitoring and evaluation part of our program, my beloved teachers, now friends, started dying on me.
One of the 22 weddings I went to while living in Tanzania--being the only mzungu for 500km has its benefits!

Back then, early 1990’s, they were calling it “African Swine Fever” and it seemed to be sweeping through villages: not only killing my teachers, but killing doctors, nurses, local leaders, police, basically, the educated and wealthy, as well as the poor and uneducated. I mean, there are a million creative ways to die in Africa, but this was literally wiping out everybody: not just the poor, the rural, but also in the cities and among the educated, wealthy, and generally healthy populations.
Bamboo juice is some kind of narcotic which acts like an anesthesia; first time I tried it, I had to be carried home because I could not feel my legs!

I was one of the first nut-balls to say out loud, in public, “Hey, this looks like the same disease our gay boys are dying of in the States.” (Surprisingly, they let me live.) Yes, it did turn out to be an HIV and AIDS epidemic I was witnessing first hand, up close, and it took Africa a long time to accept that this was actually HIV (and not African Swine Fever, or some European master-plot to wipe out the races—even though I am sure there are still parties who believe this!) because at the time, HIV was considered the disease (and a “punishment”) of gay European/American males, drug users, and prostitutes. How wrong we all were….
In Zanzibar, when I complimented the women on their henna tattoos, they insisted giving me one--and this was well before the hippies and Madonna got the idea!

Recently, I digitalized some old photos of my year long stay in Tanzania—I wish I could have captured some of my unforgettable moments there: the mudslide hitting our bus; making an ass of myself in front of Jane Goodall; having Cape Buffalo charge and total our vehicle (well, actually, the vehicle belonged to the British government); my whole “Rwanda refugees” experience; my first experience with Witch Doctors (note: I am a believer!); malaria (not once, but twice!); my National Geographic visit to Zanzibar; and all the wonderful people I met and worked with, especially those that have passed away.

I know Tanzania, and the Mhehe people, in particular, influenced me, probably, second only to my parents. To this day, I regard Tanzanians as among the friendliest, most peaceful, most generous people in the world, and they have a wicked sense of humor—for example, just know that the word for “foreigner” (mzungu) actually means, “One who walks in circles.”

Bus break-down #678
The Tanzanians taught me how to live simply, joyfully with little; how to make a wedding party last 3 days; how mourning should really look (like angry/sad wailing for days); how to find humor in absolutely everything life throws at you; how to be patient (how to wait 7 hours for a bus gracefully); how to share anything and everything you have; how to take care of others (even if they are strangers); and to steal from a Swahili proverb: “Greet every stranger because one day you will be a stranger.”

Asante sana.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

What's up with Bien de Mujer? Checking in with Kelly's work in Costa Rica

Last Saturday, Bien de Mujer staff and 17 women from Granos Solidarios traveled all the way to Casa del Sol in Guanacaste (a 4-hour drive) to learn how to cook with solar panels. The women sang the whole drive there!

Casa del Sol is an eco-tourism project of Sol Verde—a cooperative formed with the support of Sol de Vida and the Central American Solar Energy Project—which represents 15 local community groups, presents the annual “Fiesta del Sol” event, and operates a small solar restaurant with “delicious home cooking.” Sol Verde is headquartered in the Casa del Sol, which houses a permanent demonstration facility for solar applications with emphasis on solar cookers.

Operating in the Santa Cruz and Nicoya counties of the Guanacaste region, Fundación Sol de Vida takes a holistic approach to expanding the use of renewable energy. The proj¬ect not only promotes the use of solar power for cooking, but also seeks to build women’s capacity for other development activities through the process of constructing and using solar cookers. Therefore, our group of women was warmly welcomed by the Casa del Sol head of staff, Fatima, and several other local volunteers.

In addition to learning about solar cooking, our group participated in guided tour of their resource center. They learned about different mod¬els of solar cookers, about solar water pumps, were shown solar heaters and solar dryers, as well as photovoltaic panels for lighting—all the different ways solar energy can be used to make their lives easier and cheaper! They were guided through organic gardens; given priceless healthy growing, eating and cooking tips, and eventually, prepared their own meal, using a solar panel!

Casa de Sol even donated one solar panel cooking structure to Granos Solidarios, to be used at our women and children’s center in La Caprio. It was a beautiful day, on many levels, and we are grateful to the everyone at Sol de Vida and Casa del Sol who made this an informative, fun and unforgettable experience!

For more information about this project please visit here! And for more photos of our day at Casa del Sol, visit our FaceBook page!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cup of Hope by Kelly N Patterson

I wrote a short film, “Cup of Hope”, with the intention of “mainstreaming” HIV.  I would like to share this 8-minute film with you, with hope, it may be used as a tool for public education and debate. 

Film title: “Cup of Hope”
Written by: Kelly N. Patterson

Originally a one-act play, “Cup of Hope”, I re-wrote as a short-film screenplay.  Rockland Productions produced and performed my one-act play, “Cup of Hope”, at several theatre festivals in Los Angeles of summer 2006.  We made a production of the film in Atlanta, in May of 2007, for less than $10K—thanks to the generosity of Inman Perk Café and Coffeehouse (Atlanta location), volunteer professional actors (some personal friends of mine!) and crew, and a private donation from the producer, Philip Cope. 

“Cup of Hope” is 8 minutes. 

Log-line:  White, “Gap” American, HIV+ woman decides to disclose her HIV status to a potential lover in a coffee shop.  Best case and worst case scenario’s with surprise ending!

Intention:  Back in the 80’s, the “usual AIDS suspects” were gay males, heroin junkies, sex workers, and hemophiliacs.  Today, when you say “AIDS”—people assume black, poor, uneducated, “third-worldly”, “Africa”…but the truth is that is EVERYWHERE, EVERYBODY.  I think the world needs to see white/Caucasian “Gap”/”Old Navy” educated people living with HIV/AIDS. This is my attempt to mainstream HIV.

The reality is that no HIV prevention campaign is going to work until the stigma and discrimination of HIV is eradicated.  Not until people can disclose their HIV safely, confidently, to loved ones, neighbors and employers, and get the concern, care and practical support they need, will people openly get tested, adhere to their treatments, and openly protect themselves and others from HIV transmission.  Again, I hope this film will be used as a tool for public education and debate.