“…how naïve we were, that the world did know and remained silent. And that is why I swore never to be silent whenever wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere…” ~ Elie Wiesel
I came across this quote today, and couldn’t help but think of the girls who are being violated right now, today. As I sit in my comfortable office doing my work. Feeling bad about my good fortune is of no help to anyone. But using those feelings to spur myself into action which generates funds to help those girls…that’s something I can do. I can create something of value that people are willing to purchase, or give away my services as a yoga teacher. I’m working on a couple of fundraising projects…I’m going to sell body lotion, decorative matchstick holders, and tshirts. I’m also going to teach donation only classes. A good friend is going to help me create an event. Is there something I can do for you that will generate funds for these girls?
To donate: select “Global Seva Challenge – India” and “Elyse Leeds Acanda”
Read Elie Wiesel’s full Nobel acceptance speech Delivered delivered in Oslo on December 10, 1986. It is beautiful.
I have committed to raise $20k to help save girls and women from sex trafficking. In conjunction with Off the Mat, Into the World, I will be working on this project all year, aiming to raise the funds by December 15. I am open to fundraising ideas large and small! If there is something I can do for you in exchange for a donation, please don’t hesitate to mention it!
I know it seems like an impossible undertaking…to eradicate sex trafficking. The more I learn about the problem, the more overwhelming it seems. It really helps me to focus on this instruction from the Talmud. Each of us should do what we can. Even if it seems like a drop in the bucket.
whoever saves one life…saves the world entire.
If I focus on saving only one girl, I feel powerful.
Learn more about the Global Seva Challenge India
This video will help you understand, as it did for me. She is a powerful advocate.
“Don’t tell me a hundred ways how you can not respond to this problem. Can you apply your mind for that one way that you can respond to the problem?”
I AM GOING TO RESPOND. Will you help me?
Donate here. On this page, select “Global Seva Challenge – India” from the Off The Mat® Program* pulldown, and then select “Elyse Leeds Acanda” on the second pulldown. Namaste.
Oh poor little blog, so neglected. I have the best intentions, but seriously, no time. Since March, life has been on fast-forward and I feel myself changing. At the OTM immersion in March, I realized two major things that have been holding me back and I feel freer and stronger since. Being a part of the OTM community has reminded me who I am and has given me the strength to reclaim that confident, audacious girl.
I just spent five days in Vermont at Wanderlust, staying in a house with OTM leaders…totally exceeded any expectations I had. I met soulmates who inspire me to really live my truth without apologizing. People who are happy and excited and unafraid to express their feelings. I had so many moments of joy and laughter. This is why blogging is so time consuming…it’s so hard to put into words the exhilaration and love!
Check out a few friends from Wanderlust and what they’re doing…
To Haiti with Love: buy a mala to donate to Haiti through OTM
Third Eye Threads: super cute yogi clothes
And my new theme song… Michael Franti’s Say Hey. I wish you could listen to it while doing a super sweaty Seane Corn vinyasa flow in a tent at Wanderlust and dancing and jumping like a wild woman on your mat…
I’ve just returned from DC where I was part of the Off the Mat, Into the World™ Intensive for the past five days. I have so much to share! I’m in a state of clarity like never before, and I’m going to stay there! OTM uses yoga as a “tool for relationship and community and to break down any division between us and them.” It was super powerful. Stay tuned…I’m going to do a bit of processing here on my blog to keep it fresh in my mind and also share the lessons with others.
My baby boy, at 18 months, is not at all interested in weaning. He loooooooves his boobies! My daughter wasn’t nearly as intense—by this age, she had completely rejected the right breast as not worth her time and effort—too much work for too little milk. She would practically roll her eyes at that poor low achiever. But the boy is determined not to miss a drop. He goes back and forth aggressively, from the left to the right, three or four times at each feeding if I allow him!
The only reason I’m even considering the idea of weaning is because of upcoming work travel. I nursed my daughter until she was two. But four day trips to the west coast + breast pump = unhappy mommy. My boy has recently begun to refuse my milk in a bottle or sippy cup, so all the frozen leche I have stocked up is probably destined for the trash. I was more than happy to pump it when I knew he would consume it later…I always said HELL NO to pumping and dumping!
Now I’m considering weaning him over the next 90 days so that I can travel to San Diego in peace, breast-wise. It’s just so hard to deny him, because I will also feel deprived of that sweet connection with the last baby I’ll ever nurse!
I can’t believe how quickly the time passes. It’s been a year since I last posted here, my baby is almost two, and we’re off to Cuba again in two weeks. My resolution for 2011 is the same reason I started this blog: my own personal quest for discipline and consistency! I’m going to post and practice daily in 2011. I’m going to let go of my attachment to perfection and just do something. A little bit goes a long way, I know this. Do your practice and all is coming.
Hello! I’m sorry for the long silence!! We took a family vacation for three weeks to visit my husband’s family in Cuba and I’m just now finding a few minutes to get back here. I am incredibly glad to be back in the US. Maybe another day I’ll tell you why—it’s a long story filled with murdered pigs, pebble-filled pillows, ants, and flies.
My stress level is so high these days, I literally feel like I’m going to crack. I’m worrying more than ever before, and it’s no good. It is hard to shake it off and stay positive. I got on my mat today and worked some of it out…yoga is my saving grace and the only thing that stills my racing mind. I’ve been laying awake after nursing the baby during the night, using alternate nostril pranayama to calm down enough to sleep a bit more…last night it took an hour.
I love my horoscope today (this is for all the Libras):
For days, just about everyone you know and love has been telling you that things will get better if you just hang tough and keep your chin up. Just this once, they are actually right. You can stop worrying now, and forget about the thousand little things that have been keeping you from getting a good night’s sleep for far too long. Just relax and the stars will work it out!
Incredibly on target, both for me and my twin brother! My favorite mantra is ABUNDANCIA. That word spins and turns on my screen saver, it’s engraved on my iPod, and it’s on my vision board. The challenge is to maintain the mindset—to see the abundance I already have and FEEL grateful and full of hope. I know in my heart this is the way to live. Right now so many things in my life are in flux, and that makes me uncomfortable. I used to be more comfortable being uncomfortable, but now it feels heavier…now I’m responsible for two little people and I don’t want them to suffer.
I’m going through a phase of change, uprooting the known, the comfortable routine, and it’s hard. How do you handle change? Even if you knew you were following your passion, did you find yourself weighed down with huge doubt and worries? How do you stay positive?
Before I had my daughter, the thought of breastfeeding really grossed me out. I’d only seen it once in person when I was in my twenties, visiting my first cousin who’d just had a baby. I thought it was sickening how her nipple stretched out super long and I was sure I would never be able to do it. Wrong!!!
Somehow once I saw my daughter’s beautiful face, my determination to breastfeed kicked in to high gear. We’d taken a private, Spanish Bradley Natural Childbirth Class, which in retrospect was a bit too judgy, since I ended up having an emergency C-section after THREE days of labor! But that’s another story. Anyway, with four days of recovery in the hospital and a wonderful, amazing, perfect nurse named Kimberly by my side every time, I learned how to latch the baby on correctly. What no one ever explains is that you have a good FIVE weeks before your breasts stop hurting (throbbing, aching, burning…not exaggerating). I’m lucky that my body produces A LOT of milk, but I can totally understand why some women give up when their milk supply is not plentiful. It’s really hard to get through the pain of the first month or so. Totally worth it in the long run, though. I nursed my daughter until her second birthday (when I got pregnant again), and I still get emotional thinking about giving it up. The bonding is so important and beautiful, beyond my ability to put into words.
So this week I had to travel for work (hence the neglected blog) and took the boy with me. He’s five months old, so it’s either drag him along or drag the dreaded pump. The pump would mean trying to keep the milk cold for the entire trip because I can not bear to dump it out. It also means stressing out about finding places to pump—have you ever tried to find a private place in an airport with a plug and a chair? Makes for some hilarious travel stories, let me tell you. Have you ever tried to power anything off an airplane lavatory outlet? Not helpful.
So thanks to my travel- and work-induced stress levels, probable slight dehydration, and lack of sleep, I learned a new word on this trip: BLEB. I mean, are you serious? A bleb is a blister that can develop on the nipple when you have blocked milk ducts. I’m dealing with one bleb and multiple blockages. Que asqo. How disgusting! Not to mention painful. I will spare you the visuals.
So for you ladies who haven’t had your babies yet, what do you think? TMI? Would you rather not know all this beforehand? For those of you who’ve been there, done that, feel free to add your two cents! And happy first night of Chanukah, everyone!
So, I’ve come to a conclusion about the concerns I expressed on Monday about blogging. I was speaking from a negative, fearful place with a pitiful thought process called defeatism, defined as “acceptance of defeat without struggle.” Otherwise known as “not putting yourself out there” and playing small! Here’s the best explanation I can point to:
Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate,
but that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant,
gorgeous, handsome, talented, and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of G-d.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We were born to manifest the glory of G-d within us.
It is not just in some; it is in everyone.
And, as we let our own light shine, we consciously give
other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.”
–Nelson Mandela, 1994 South African Presidential Inaugural Speech,
quoting spiritual leader Marianne Williamson of the Church of Today in Detroit.
I’ve been surrounded by defeatists my entire life. The-sky-is-falling Chicken Little types. And I have always swung aggressively in the opposite direction and stubbornly insisted that everything I do will work out perfectly. Making bold decisions and listening to my own instincts. Trusting the universe. I’ve been accused many times of being naïve, a foolish Polly-Anna. But you know what? I don’t listen to that crap! I married Mr. Right and he’s helped me become EVEN MORE positive. Our family motto is ABUNDANCIA. We are abundance!! We don’t just have everything we need in abundance…we ARE abundance. Does that sound crazy?
Sooooo…I slipped a bit and now I’ve self-corrected back to my typical mindset of positivity!!! It took me a few days, but I’m back. I’m blogging because it’s brave and hopeful and I have a light that wants to shine bright. And like my wise new friend EatMoveLove said, anyone who doesn’t want to read it can just avert their eyes!
Do you have defeatists in your life? How do you react to their verbal or non-verbal feedback which attempts to squash your ambition and plant seeds of doubt?
I lived on Miami’s beautiful South Beach for four years and thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated the heat, so the cold rainy gray winter days in Virginia are now even more miserable. Thank G-d I work from home so I don’t even have to leave the house on days like this. It was just one of those nose-to-the-grindstone work days where I had to refocus my energy every 30 minutes to stay on task.
The great news is that somehow (!?) I was able to translate that energy to my first time on the mat with my new Wayne recording…sooooo good. I just decided it was time and went, no begging and pleading required today. I made it through Janu Sirsana C before the baby cried to nurse again! My body feels so strange now, and I’ve been trying to figure out how to explain it. Have you ever seen one of those plastic toys of a person standing on a round base, where you push the button on the bottom and the person falls to pieces? I can’t even think of what that would be called to Google it. If you know what I mean, please tell me what it’s called! Anyway, that’s how my body feels…there is strength there, underneath, trying to make a comeback…but mostly I just feel like a bunch of parts that are not really together just yet. It all emanates from my lower back which is a mess, really tender and fragile. The baby will be five months old in another week and I am down to 111.8 pounds. I know my weight will come down, my bigger concern is getting stronger and maintaining. Anyway, the point is I did.the.practice today! It wasn’t amazing, but it was good.
I’ve been thinking about this whole blogging thing over the past couple of days…just how many blogs are out there, what it takes to get a following, if I really have anything to say that people would want to read…and how keeping a journal of your life, your thoughts, your daily activities just seems really narcissistic. It’s like everyone just wants to talk about themselves and have a one way conversation with the world, and I feel sort of embarrassed for wanting to do it also. I mean, is it brave (like I thought when I first started the blog just a few weeks ago!) or is it just like a reverse voyeurism that feeds the ego? I’m sure I’ll change my mind again tomorrow but I’d love to hear what you think.