When things were made by hand . . .

Once upon a time, everything that people had was made either by hand or by Mother Nature.  When people did endeavor to make something, oh what an endeavor it was!  Say you wanted a tortilla for a nice taco dinner: the journey would begin with nurturing a plant, coaxing it to grow, harvesting its fruit at just the right moment, drying the corn, grinding the dried kernels into a flour, and only then could you begin to make the dough for your tortillas.  That sounds like a lot of work, right?  But you know what?  That single tortilla, born of such arduous labor, attention, and commitment will nourish you more than most anything else you can eat.  Why?  Because that tortilla is full of vital life energy.  Not just the energy of the plant, which was given freely and fully because you cared for the plant its whole life and it wants you to have this gift, but also a significant amount of energy was imbued into the masa dough through your own efforts.  And when these energies of you and the plant mix, there is a special abundant blossoming that happens, and alchemical blooming that grows and multiplies inside your body.

Without this intention and energy, the tortilla would be only half hearted in its nourishment of you.  And so this goes with almost everything that runs through our modern day “civilized” existence.  We somehow survive under conditions where we have little to no direct connection to any of the food or possessions in our lives.  Does the tomato that you raised from seed taste different than the one from the super market?  How does the energy of that fruit travel through your body and how does it nurture you?

Now think about what we use to feed ourselves.  Does your fork give you joy?  Do you know where it came from?  What material is it made of and where and how was that material harvested?  Does it excite your food?  When I first learned to glass-blow and made my own drinking glasses, I noticed that water tasted different.  Water tasted like my emotions.  Holding glass, that I had breathed life into and co-created with fire and earth and water, was amazing.  And still informs my experience today.

I am beginning to see, in deeper ways, that surrounding myself with food and objects that are imbued with vital life force is beneficial to the vital life force in me, and by extension all those around me.

I invite you to do the same, try an experiment, check-in with yourself the next time you hold a handmade mug full of tea and take a sip.  Can you feel the Life Force pulsing through this creation?  Does it change the way you feel about your tea, or this moment?  If the answer is yes, then take to action and paint a plate, grow a tomato plant, make your own pants, try out something that puts a little bit more energy into the system and see how it benefits you, your family, and your community.  Once this energy is running through your community, it will multiply and flourish.  Little ripples can add up to one big wave!


Less really is more!

arms uplifted

So this has been running through my internal world in the past few months leading up to the new year: “Simplicity ISFreedom”.  It has made me think of our current culture of consumption, one in which we believe that the more we own and the more options we have, the more Free we are.

Last year marked my first year as a “double mother”, wrangling the expansive and challenging reality of caring for two little ones and trying to do it well. During this time I developed a new relationship with Trader Joe’s, and as I walked the predictable aisles with the kids in tow, I contemplated why I felt so attracted to this store despite the fact that it doesn’t reflect my values in buying local organic foods or seeking out minimal packaging.  Suddenly I realized what it did offer – Less Options.  At Trader Joe’s if ketchup is on the list, you only have one size and brand to choose from.  Done.  This level of choice-making was all I could handle in the early days of my second postpartum phase, and I started to realize the freedom inherent in less choices.

This concept continued to grow and evolve as we made it through 2014, beginning to touch upon the subject of our home and how our environment affects and reflects our internal states of being.  We started to see the piles of laundry, in some state of being partially processed, the snow drifts of junk mail, and the never-clean kitchen as a form of subjugation.    Our home was eating us alive!!  And internally, there were pockets of emotion that remained unexpressed, thoughts that had no form or home.  And at the end of the day my partner and I were drained, unable to connect in healthy ways, unable to complete our daily tasks.

In the Fall of 2014 we began to blaze a blind and fearless path towards owning less.  We started culling through toys, clothes, papers and tupperware.  But our journey took a swerve onto the fast track when I stumbled upon this book: “The life-changing magic of tidying up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing” by Marie Kondo.  This book, which I serendipitously picked up for my partner as a holiday gift, has literally been changing our home, lives, and outlook.  The first two thirds of the book discusses the magic of letting go of everything that does not spark joy, starting with the least charged items (clothes) and ending with the most charged (sacred items / sentimental mementos).  The process, occurring over a committed and concentrated period of time, necessitates taking every object you are in relationship with out of hiding and touching it, talking to it, and feeling into whether you are still in a mutually beneficial relationship.  This may seem daunting and terrifying to some, as it did for me, but once I embarked on this journey, I found it to be both liberating and enlightening.

Letting go of the material anchors in my life has opened my eyes to the sheer vastness of fear, obligation, and subjugation that my well-meaning belongings were enacting upon my whole family.  Reducing the amount of stuff-stimulation has improved the quality and quantity of time my whole family has to play, connect, and imagine.

This process is still in its infancy, but already we have touched upon a bigger Truth:

Less is indeed More.

January Mama Nurture Circle ~ The Root Chakra

red root chakra round

January 16th, 2015    ~    6:30pm – 8:30pm

In this monthly Nurture Circle we will be exploring self-care through the lens of the bodily chakra system and the life themes held within. For our first circle of the year we will visit the Root Chakra at the very base of the chakra system. Through meditation, story sharing, sacred ceremony, Reiki, and creative expression we will explore the themes of grounding, home, and safety.

Join us for a night of ceremony, healing, food, and community!

Space is limited to 7 people due to the size of the space and the nature of the work, so reserving your spot is required. You can do so by sending an email directly to Riza at rizazee@gmail.com.You will then receive a paypal invoice to purchase a ticket for the event, after which time your rsvp will be official! We are asking for $45 for this offering and will always hold one spot open for a mama needing a reduced rate or alternative form of reciprocity.

*The intention of this event is to give mamas an opportunity to turn their loving hearts inward so we ask that you leave your darling little ones at home. Thank you!

Our Mind Is NOT Us

third eye chakra round

Our mind is not us,

it is a receptacle for receiving, sorting,and interpreting

the various streams of consciousness that travel through us.

The more we are able to sift through these various voices,

sorting through what is helpful and what is not,

the more space we are able to create internally with which to experience life.

Too often, various streams compete for power

and we are left feeling victimized by an overly aggressive mind.

We may not even be aware of this dynamic until we slow down enough to check in.

What am I thinking about right now?

What voice or stream is taking center stage?

Can I name that voice?

Oh yes, that is the voice of fear.

The voice of judgement.

The voice of anxiety.

What is that voice saying and who is really in charge here?

Let us focus on creating a clear and sacred space

within which the various streams

flowing through our consciousness

can find common ground,

allowing us

that freedom

and clarity

we need

to thrive.

Heart Song


We can not live a life of fear

we can not let our heart song be edited

for the benefit of another

or to create a false sense of safety


As we move into the area of the body

that helps us express what is inside of us

yearning to be seen

I am reminded of this

of these chains around our necks

some placed there by others

and some placed by our very own hands


We feel limited

in a world where really the options are


what we fear is our own Self



Barely still in form


Our Selves given over completely

to the sound of our song

our hearts gift

and our greatest contribution


What have I come here to give?

How do I help?

What holds me back from pursuing my dreams?


Loosen My Heart . . .


“I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
more accessible;
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance,
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom,
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.”
Dawna Markova, I Will Not Die an Unlived Life: Reclaiming Purpose and Passion

Change rooms in your mind for a day . . .


All the Hemispheres

by Hafiz

Leave the familiar for a while.

Let your senses and bodies stretch out


Like a welcomed season

Onto the meadow and shores and hills.


Open up to the Roof.

Make a new watermark on your excitement

And love.


Like a blooming night flower,

Bestow your vital fragrance of happiness

And giving

Upon our intimate assembly.


Change rooms in your mind for a day.


All the hemispheres in existence

Lie beside an equator

In your heart.


Greet Yourself

In your thousand other forms

As you mount the hidden tide and travel

Back home.


All the hemispheres in heaven

Are sitting around a fire



While stitching themselves together

Into the Great Circle inside of


Our Poetry In Motion

We would like to share the poems we read for inspiration during our glowing Mama Nurture Circle on the Core Chakra.  For those of us who are visual it can be helpful to see words on a page, and for those of us who are physical, words held in our palms can do wonders.  So feel free to print them out and add them to your journal, altar, sacred space, or bathroom wall!
Our Opening Poem:

A Meditation
by Mia Howell
The Japanese say that even the other side
has another side.  We need to keep turning
things over in our minds until we can see
them in circles of motion, in spirals, in
the complete roundness of their being, through
all the cycles of becoming, undoing, renewing.
We need to understand how we got to this point
and then we need to remember it is only a point.
We feel each beat as a beat but also as part
of the rhythm in the dance of greater things.
We need to turn ourselves around, in order to
see our journey in its full-spiraled progression,
to see how the layers peel away one by one
and yet each is a part of the other,
to see how the edges blur, to see how sometimes
there are no sides at all.

Our Closing Poem:



Cultivate the Fire in Your Belly
from Wild Feminine by Tami Lynn Kent
Sitting in a sweat lodge with five other women on the night of the new moon, it is dark.  My eyes are open, but I see nothing.  I forget about my eyes and notice instead the velvet earth, my wet skin, the breathing of women, pine smoke air.  Without my eyes I am more aware of my animal body, the fire in my belly.  Fire-warmed rocks heat the inside of this earthen womb.  I remember the fire in my mother’s womb, and the fire in my grandmothers’. I sit with five other women in the darkness.  Only, there is light: a fire in every woman’s body, the fire of her creation.:::

August Mama Nurture Circle ~ The Core Chakra

sun chakra round

Summer is in full swing, and with all the external activity that this season brings, it is extra nourishing to take the time to turn inward and check in with our own internal Suns, the Core Chakra. This energy center is the powerhouse of the body, storing and sharing energy throughout our entire system. When the Core is fully activated it can help us create healthy boundaries in our relationships, help us to move forward with dynamic life changes while feeling soft and expansive, and above all can help us to manifest our visions, calling forth the power required to do so. When this area is out of balance, we may feel increased anxiety, fatigue, depression, and a difficulty making decisions. I find that this area is often especially taxed in mothers who are constantly working to create boundaries, and using their vital life energies to keep their families healthy and cared for.

Join us for a night of deep nurturance as we focus on our Cores with story telling, meditation, Reiki energy healing, good food, and creative expression!

Friday August 15th, 2014 from 6pm – 9pm

Alma Education and Movement Space ::  Portland Oregon

RSVP required

Space is limited to 6 people due to the size of the space and the nature of the work, so reserving your spot is required. You can do so by sending an email to Riza at rizazee@gmail.com.  We are asking for a $30 contribution for this offering and will hold one spot open for a mama needing a reduced rate or alternative form of reciprocity.

*The intention of this event is to give mamas an opportunity to turn their loving hearts inward so we ask that you leave your darling little ones at home. Thank you!