Everyday Art

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"To grow up, we build an ego that sets boundaries between the self inside and the world outside. And society initiates us into a world ruled by laws, structure, obedience, and duty, gradually replacing the ecstatic mind of childhood with the rigid and conventional mind of adulthood. As this ego takes on a life and personality of its own, it controls and directs our attention, limiting our vision to matters of fear, hope, and survival, and cutting us off from the freedom and joy we knew as children. Its constant chatter, judgments, and interpretations filter out much that is essential to our wholeness, separating us from ourselves and the world of others in which we live.

After a while, every spontaneous impulse, every natural urge to express a feeling or an emotion, must struggle through a labyrinth of socially conditioned responses. We become "educated," but in the process we lose our true self, our "original face." We fix our awareness in the "everyday world" and lose touch with a deeper dimension of life.

As the daily assault of modern life wears us down, more and more of us long for healing, for new ways to connect with our Spirit, to feel joy in our lives."

- Margot Anand

Digital Mentorship

Hello Beautiful Community, 

I wanted to share about how founding the East Bay Meditation Center opened my heart. We have entered into a very challenging period in our time. At the forefront is the issue of diversity and inclusivity. Who is in and who is out. This is playing itself out on the world stage. Millions of people potentially being banned, mass deportations, hate crimes and new laws being drafting that are discriminatory in nature. In a way nothing has changed yet everything has changed.
Internally there is also a shift happening. We are being provided with an opportunity to investigate our own deeply held beliefs. Opening to diversity isn’t just a noble idea; it’s actually a genuine path that leads to both wisdom and deep compassion.
Dr. King once said:
Our goal is to create a beloved community and
this will require a qualitative change in our souls
as well as a quantitative change in our lives.
He couldn’t have been more right. On an absolute level, who we are doesn't matter. However on the level of the heart race, gender and sexual orientation matters because discrimination takes its toll. When I awoke to this deep pain in my heart early on in my spiritual path, the need to create something new, different and inclusive grew stronger everyday. Until recently, very few spiritually based organizations even considered words like inclusivity or multiculturalism in building their centers. No one ever talked about racism or inclusion. It has been a facet of the diamond left unpolished.  
Creating an open, inclusive community has been a healing process for me and not always easy. What I’ve discovered is that diversity is radical because it accelerates our learning process. The journey is not about being comfortable it’s about seeing the truth in any moment. In diverse communities, we grow more, because we have to consider the needs, opinions and feelings of others. We all have internal hierarchies. Diversity challenges these set preferences and opinions. It becomes the mirror that exposes all of our biases. As spiritual practitioners, we WANT to see our delusions so we can overcome them. We want to become mindful.  At the end of the day our practice is dedicated to transforming greed, hatred and delusion.
We envisioned the East Bay Meditation Center as a place for communities of color, LGBTQ those with disabilities and all people who are marginalized. In order to do this we had to do things differently. I personally had to adjust and grow; I couldn't stay the same. I thought, I was an open person, and then people came with chemical sensitivities asking, "What about us?" Then Spanish-speaking people came and asked, "What about us?"  Teenagers came and I started to think, "I’m not sure we can fit everybody in." Then a group of transgender men came and asked, "What about us, Spring? We need a place, too."
I started to feel the barriers to my love. Every new group needed us to change something so that they could have a home at our center, and I got to see my own clinging. All these diverse groups were coming with different needs, and they wanted our center to be as accessible as possible. I would feel this resistance within myself. It was painful, and challenging at times. Yet I slowly felt my heart expanding every time I said, “yes” we can include you too.
The heart of the dharma is always about opening, accepting and including more and more parts of ourselves.  There’s something profound about widening your circle. Einstein said, "Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty." The only way to do that is to truly engage. Every time I open the door, I grow.

 I have many upcoming opportunities all over the world to practice together. I hope to see you soon!

With all my heart,


Right Here

The madness of perception, the illusions in reality, the pain and hurt twisted up in our desire to love each other, complicates the relationship arena for us humans. We have a hard time disassociating what we believe to be true about ourselves and the world, most of which we learned very early on, and with the necessity to protect ourselves from what was happening around us.

Every time someone leaves, communication disappears altogether, or is concealed, this old, well acquainted feeling arises. The feeling of being left all alone, without a clue as to why, reappears. I immediately become tiny Heather. Tiny Heather thinks that what her Dad did or didn't do will be what happens with everyone else she meets. Tiny Heather thinks it was her fault he left, something she did or should of done and has not yet realized that this was not about her, though it involved her.

These flashes from the past still rule our present until we decide to investigate. To take a closer look at why we behave in the ways we do toward our family members, our friends, our intimate relationships. Every single relationship you have with anything else will bring up your story, your baggage, your wounds. This is why the gossip, shit talking and insecurity epidemic has launched out of control. We have no idea who we are talking to and what they are saying to us.

Launching Sister Roots was a promise to myself, to hold what always deserved to be held, to commit to unwavering honesty and to do so in the name of community.

These days everything seems to be falling apart just as quickly as new things come together and I can feel tremendous shifts in my heart.

Not everyone is my dad.

Not everything I believe to be true because of his absence is true.

Not the way I thought it always was.

Time to take a better look.