Ask questions, invite clarity, create meaningful practices, and author your prayerful reality for the coming year.
Your downloadable guide for our session is linked below; honoured to serve you as you welcome yourself to 2020.
For several years, I’ve prioritized ensuring that my family and I drink the highest quality water possible. Tap water in the US will typically go through several stages of municipal filtration; the final stage in this process usually adds a disinfectant to deactivate or kill any remaining pathogenic microorganisms. Depending on where you live, the tap water that comes out of your kitchen is likely considered safe to drink, but likely contains many potential issues.
Personally, I prefer to filter once more before drinking, to further reduce any amounts of lead or heavy metals that may be present in the water. You might wish to contact your local council to see the latest water testing results for where you live.
When looking to uplevel your health, the most common suggestion is to make sure that you’re drinking enough water; filtering the water can remove any unpleasant odors and other deposits that might be harmful to our health. I find that when I like the taste of the water in my home, I’m much more likely to drink what my body needs.
After moving house this year, I tried the Travel Berkey Water Filter, which holds 1.5 gallons and sits right on the counter; I typically refill it 3-4 times a day. There are several different sizes so you can find the one to suit your household. We happen to prefer drinking water at room temperature, so it works well for us. And the Berkey doesn’t use a power source, so it’s perfect for travel and great even in the case of a power outage. The Travel Berkey comes with two filters, that will filter approximately 6000 gallons of water in total prior to needing to be changed. This means that it will likely be many years before I’ll need to purchase replacement filters!. The cost of it is well worth it for this reason. The Berkey filter doesn’t require professional installation – it took me approximately 30 minutes to set up myself. Loving this filter and inspired to share.
Recently I’ve had the honour of crafting a spoken word piece in collaboration with Above & Beyond. Feel free to listen to it wherever you hear your music; below you’ll find the Spotify link to listen. Put on your headphones and get out in Nature if you can; it’s also great for work time.
On the education and empowerment of adolescent girls as one of the keys to the future of the world.
With results such as improved economic growth, survival rates and health, reductions in population growth, educating and empowering girls and women is now at the forefront of my personal passions. Too often, well-intended charity creates dependence on outside sources. While we cannot solve problems at local levels, we CAN train girls and women in the communities where need is most profound, granting them the opportunity to solve the issues in their regions with integrity.
Girls on Fire Leaders is an organization dedicated to teaching girls to lead innovative social change in their own communities.
The core belief: solving our biggest problems requires educated girls, building communities of action, bonded to one another based on shared values – rather than based on race, ethnicity or tribe. Education is more empowering when gender equality, social emotional learning and the ability to solve complex social problems are emphasized. This is precisely what Girls on Fire Leaders has learned to do, with girls between the ages of six and sixteen years of age.
In East Africa, where corruption, conflict, rape, disease and abuse are rife, Girls on Fire Leaders is taking the initiative and changing lives, one girl at a time. Mentoring, elevating and inspiring the most vulnerable girls to solve such challenges and activating their community for support, this organization is helping these girls build resilience, empathy, leadership skills so they can navigate their transition into adulthood safely, with confidence and purpose.
The education of girls is about the early and focused nurturing of girls as precious resources, within communities of action that will drive the social change needed for human dignity and flourishing for all.
Who is A Girl On Fire?
We believe every girl can learn to be a leader. Our innate truth is love and service. In selecting girls to take part in the program, we ask three questions.
Girls on Fire Leaders are primarily located in Kenya, living in Kibera and Mathare slums in Nairobi. Seventy percent of the girls are orphaned and/or victims of sexual violence, living with the realities of violence, HIV, early pregnancy, substance abuse and extreme poverty. There are also girls from the major ethnic tribes in rural Kenya and Tanzania, whose major challenges for girls are FGM (female genital mutilation), early child marriage, poverty and no access to quality education.
Meet Makesh. Due to her training with Girls on Fire Leaders, Makesh now teaches hundreds of girls weekly using my journal, Practice You, with writing exercises and yoga practices. True leaders like Makesh are emerging through self-study and girl-led education. We are disrupting the status quo, and as you can see with Makesh, the ripple effect is real.
Founder Eileen Flannigan conducts leadership camps for girls in the slums of Kibera. In order for girls to become women who build solutions for social change, our Healing Hands project in collaboration with doTERRA Healing Hands Foundation raised over $35k in September 2019 to cover the costs of educating and providing the girls with adventures and learning opportunities both at home and abroad. This is just the beginning. Girls on Fire is the only program in Kenya teaching leadership and social justice programs to girls as young as six years old.
How are Girls on Fire Creating The Next Generation of Leaders?
Together with community partners since 2014, Girls on Fire has delivered seven camps in four ethnic regions of Kenya and Tanzania, serving over 1,000 girls and 2,000 community members trained to catalyze social change.
The model is one of collaboration and interconnectedness.
The solution is to build a movement of girls, co created, co-designed and co-led by girls, uniting their voices across tribal lines, and amplifying the push for a larger and lasting shift in social dynamics and policy.
Girls on Fire runs year-round programming that works with local partners delivery quality education, such as schools and requires participation from teachers, parents and the entire community, which they do through:
Girls on Fire Leaders began with 23 small girls, and has become a vibrant network of leaders with the following outcomes:
Higher performance in school
Improved grades overall
Improved leadership skills and actively peer-mentor
Indicators such as confidence, self-expression, teamwork
Advancing skills for community organizing
The organization has unlocked global opportunities for the girls, who have now been:
Keynote speakers at United Nations in Kenya
Ambassadors and speakers for major HIV/AIDS Health Conference
Guests of honor at The Obama Foundation Fellowship Awards
Attending summer camps in United States
Attending high school in the United States
Our network of graduates will:
Actively contribute to local female leadership through community teaching, mentoring and organizing
Serve as talent pipelines for global corporations
Effect change locally or globally
Finish higher education to become a positive participant in global society
Offer jobs or opportunities for vulnerable girls
Increase diversity and inclusion throughout different sectors
Educating a girl in urban slums means she will earn more and invest 90% of earnings in her family, be three times less likely to contract HIV, and have fewer, healthier children who are more likely to reach adulthood (Erulkar, A., & Matheka, J. K. (2007), Adolescence in the Kibera Slums of Nairobi, Kenya. Population Council – The World Bank).
What’s been accomplished thus far?
Vision For The Future
By 2030, we will nurture and empower 10,000 Girls On Fire Leaders and build a movement of global girl leaders with a thriving network of change-makers.
As we scale, we have the opportunity to significantly reduce poor health and well-being outcomes and gender-based violence, while simultaneously massively increasing social and economic mobility and community development from within the 1 million people living in Kibera Slum and the 1.5 million people living in the 3 other communities.
We will do this by investing in early-adolescent girls to be the social change leaders in their communities and collaborating with women leaders to ensure we don’t have to wait for a generational turnover to witness a more just and equitable world.
Is Your Heart On Fire?
Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you feel called to help.
Yoga in action is composed of austerity, self-study, and trustful surrender to Ishvara, the Divine, God. If my body and mind are the gateways to experiencing my inherent beauty, wealth and light, how could I have spent so long numbing and obstructing my vision? Even now, even for one moment of one day, how dare I question the blessing in front of me – even when it’s disguised as a terrifying collision of energies?
How dare I use my given gifts in the name of destruction, emotionally, physically, psychically? This is the practice, to keep up this questioning.
And then to connect to the Earth, to slow down, to know and amplify my gifts rather than live in doubt of them. To walk with those who choose to hold me to my highest standards and help me cultivate daily states of fulfillment, freedom, contentment. To walk with those who choose to stand next to me when external circumstances seem frightening. Their presence reminds me of what we’re all here to do.
Given the ability to act and to move, I can choose.
Either I cultivate confusion in each of my communications – both with self and anyone else – or I generate excellence. The forces ready to usher me through are clear. I practice, I observe myself, I surrender again. I practice, I observe myself, I surrender again.
I practice, I observe myself, I surrender again. Every day.
Practice. Each day a reconnection, of reminder, of re-vision. A flash of inner radiance, one deep breath that infuses my mind and body with remembrance. THIS is why I walked into that first yoga class, ballerina tail between my legs waiting to be yelled at for some mis-arranged limb, only to be met with love, with smiles, with encouragement. Acceptance. And since then, the practice has proven to be both mysterious and miraculous, bringing me to the feet of several of the finest teachers alive in this time, refocusing my sight so I can heed what’s aligned and unrecognizable sometimes. Practice has helped me stop loving what isn’t good for me and discerning that which is.
Self-observation has helped me differentiate between pleasure and indulgence. Study of scripture and study of self have helped me see when I veer away from simplicity and complicate things unnecessarily, like I did when I was a child and felt that nobody was actually seeing me. Like I still do when I’m extra tired or mired in some problem I cannot solve myself. This work has helped me be sated in solitude, needing nothing else. That’s when I’m able to recalibrate my tendencies, refine my responses, stay in the fluency or calm the moment – whatever helps me self-regulate.
I can change the world, but only through my own state.
Surrender. This is another matter. While it’s realistically the beginning of any practice or self-observation, surrender is the moment of allowing grace to breathe life into my interior wisdom spaces and soften everything.
Surrender animates the practice and the study, but it’s also the action that is done for me, with me, if i let it live in me. When I give it space to unfold, surrender emanates from the highest authority, and articulates with a most elegant subtlety. When I’m no longer motivated by emotional impulse, remembering the intelligence that lives at the source, I’ve surrendered into what must remain at the forefront – not an opinion, not a distortion, but a deepening trust in evolution. And a willingness to face it with poise, embracing the next renewal.
“This realization makes us wiser. It becomes easier for each of us to detach ourselves from painful thoughts and feelings without losing our sensitivity to conditions that are both real and significant on the material plane. (Surrender to God) enables us to operate on two levels simultaneously – spiritual and mundane. We are fully aware of the inner reality and respectful of the forces that dominate our worldly existence. We become citizens of both worlds and have the wisdom to obey and honor the laws of both. We are able to perform our actions skillfully, wisely, and lovingly, and our actions are no longer binding.”*
Practice, study, surrender. Listen to what moves you, but ultimately you’re here to teach yourself to respond consciously to the difficulties encountered when you’re mired in patterns, beliefs and assumptions. This dynamic process of releasing misunderstandings of all kinds is the gift of this human form, the blessing of this human mind.
This is the work of looking inward with abiding, expanding kindness.
*Panditji Rajmani Tigunait, Sadhana Pada, p.16
It’s too late. We both know it.
I’ve just made a joke about what a shitty parent I am,
my twelve year old boy appreciates the joke with me.
We remember to think of the kids who unknowingly
live at that nuclear waste dump site in California.
We are lucky, and he is apologizing.
A little while ago he really handed it to me,
inappropriately; he’s sorry for acting like a jerk.
Now that I’m older (and done being ashamed afterwards),
I whispered instead of shouted. So he heard his own irrationality
in the ringing quiet.
I’m no longer there to meet him
in the electrical charge of anger; I’m listening.
And as he apologizes,
I hold his feet.
I make it safe.
and when he asks
“Why are you being nice to me;
I should be holding your feet,”
I say, “Why should you
suffer your mistake
any more than you’re already making yourself suffer?”
May 2019, In Honour of All Who Mother