It is up to us men to get back to the nature of our true nature. The map for this journey is also contained within our DNA and all we require is the will . . . the will in our hearts. In order for us to hear, see and feel the heart’s will in each moment we must reduce the noise of our past-future thoughts and emotions.
— Guru Singh
Guru Singh

by Guru Singh 2015

There are 15,000 words in the Oxford English dictionary that are derived from the ancient Sanskrit language. MAN is one of these words. MAN means ‘mind’ and it also means ‘now’ ... ‘now’ — the complete consolidation of past and future into the present moment. When we are now, we have complete and total presence. 

WOM-MAN or woman is another such word from Sanskrit. It means ‘now and the future of now’. The womb — where the preface of the word comes from — is where the future is birthed.

When a man is clear, the present moment is clear, and there is an overriding sensation that the future will unfold as it properly will. This 'will' is contained in the heart which is where the will-power comes from. You often hear the expression with success: “His heart was into it.” The heart always lives in the present moment and therefore a man — the true nature of a man — is to be present with a tremendous heart. This takes tremendous courage. Heart in Latin is ‘cor’ and time is ‘age’ ... courage means to live in the present moment of the heart.

Guru Singh

This is the man that every person longs for. This longing, contained mostly in women, is actually a sacred guide to life flourishing on Earth. It is a bio-emotional system as old as life itself contained within the DNA. It makes it possible for life to continue — to survive — to flourish and thrive. When a man is present and in his heart the woman can unfold the future (womb) with great joy, creativity and confidence.

For tens of thousands of years, due to evolutionary pressures, this has all been in chaos. Men worry and fight in an attempt to control the past and future while completely vacating the present moment. In this lack of clarity the entire system — baselessly pursuing false measures of imaginary values — breaks down and disintegrates. In this disintegration the core of life — the family — teeters on the brink.

Guru Singh

Guru Singh

It is up to us men to get back to the nature of our true nature. The map for this journey is also contained within our DNA and all we require is the will . . . the will in our hearts. In order for us to hear, see and feel the heart’s will in each moment we must reduce the noise of our past-future thoughts and emotions. Deep breathing, long walks, wife/lovers, children, pets, friends, yoga, meditation, music, art and fun are all waiting to take us to this moment of right now—right here . . . the one contained in our HEART. If we’ve been waiting for the right moment, now has never been better. Right now . . . right here . . . right in our heart . . .

About Guru Singh

Guru Singh is a celebrated third-generation yogi, master spiritual teacher, author, and musician. Guru Singh teaches conscious living through the tools of Humanology, Kundalini yoga, meditation, and sacred sound. He was born in Seattle in 1945 into a yogic spiritual household to a artist father and musician mother. His teachings grew from an esoteric curiosity inspired by his family’s deep connection to the masters of India and the blessings of being ready when teachers appeared. Read more and connect on GuruSingh.com.

Song for Summer

Allow for slow, lazy mornings filled with casual breakfasts, like melons eaten with a spoon, bowls full of berries, and family-made pancakes. Let your evenings be easy. Stay late at the pool, and make something simple for dinner. Let movies be more okay more often. Pile your whole family in the living room and watch two movies in a row, and feed everyone popcorn for dinner.
— Sadie Rose Casey
Watermelons by Scott Webb

Summer is a season of rich afternoons and lazy mornings. It brings watermelons, peaches, cherries, nectarines, and other edible treats that are more precious than gold in their fleeting nature, their short season, their supreme deliciousness. Summer brings with it endless nostalgia of our own childhoods spent poolside, riverside, lakeside, beachside—memories of melting popsicles, road trips with mom and dad, bicycling with friends into the slow sunset. 

Summer brings excitement to the hearts of our children. There is the inimitable countdown to the last day of school, and the vastness of summer vacation as it looms before their tiny eyes. And for us, too, it brings big opportunity: the chance to help shape their own nostalgia; memories filled with summer fruit, icy treats, adventure, and wide open days.

This is a wonderful time to slow down, if you can. Summer always moves fast and sometimes, especially as we get older, it’s gone in the blink of an eye. Set an intention to abandon some things, like certain errands or self-imposed deadlines that are mostly, actually unimportant. Take a break from lessons and classes for the children, and free up your schedule in other ways, as much as you can. Say "no" to invitations. Sleep in. Turn off the alarms and the telephones. Allow for slow, lazy mornings filled with casual breakfasts—like melons eaten with a spoon, bowls full of berries, and family-made pancakes. Let your evenings be easy. Stay late at the pool or the creek and make something simple for dinner. Let them eat only bread, cheese, and tomatoes, and call it a meal. Let movies be more okay more often. Pile your whole family in the living room and watch two movies in a row, and feed everyone popcorn for dinner. Let the children run around in their pajamas longer; avoid the car as much and as often as you can. Tune up your bicycles. Remind the children they can walk places, if they're old enough. 

When I was a kid, my mom took us to the library with a canvas bag that seemed, at the time, enormous. I couldn’t believe she could carry it. There, each summer, my brother and I signed up for the summer reading program and then we filled the bag to the brim with books. All summer I read in every corner of the house, as well as on the porch, in the hammock, and at the pool. Even then, it felt so luxurious to know that I could read as much as I wanted, whenever I wanted, for as long as I wanted. (When I grew up, my mother passed the giant canvas bag on to me. Though it was certainly big, it was only average, and a flitting moment of sadness took over as I realized it was not unthinkably large after all).

As part of the relaxing protocol, consider chilling out a bit on the electronics rules. Don’t worry about it as much—give yourself a break on stressing about it. Your kids will be okay in the end. They will still grow up well, and smart, and loving. Maybe adjust the rules so they’re more accommodating, and remind yourself that a well-loved child will grow up wonderfully, even if he or she disappears down the e-rabbit hole (much to our dismay) at times. When I was younger, in the 1980s, my best friend and her sister were allowed to watch TV and movies whenever they wanted. It was like a dreamland at their house. They were also allowed to eat Kraft macaroni and cheese and Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing (at my house we had neither of these foods, nor did we have a television. The torture!). Both of those girls grew up to be some of the most creative women I know, making livings as an opera singer and a ceramics artist. Even in the face of virtual reality, your core values will still prevail, I promise you. 

Above all, remember that summer is a time of unmatched magic and simplicity. You don’t have to schedule trips and vacations and camps. You have permission to stay home and use the time to do absolutely nothing. Your children’s memories will be formed not by the summer activities you plan, but the way in which you create a life you love during these precious months. Popsicles are currency, dusk seems endless, and there is much space for joy. Let it in. 

About Sadie Rose Casey

Sadie Rose is a mother and writer in Northern California. Through her work she strives to connect women with each other and to create beauty from elements that surround her. Visit her website or follow her on Instagram

Cultivating Presence: fatherhood through step-fatherhood

If someone had asked me ten years ago what my mental picture of a single mother was, my answer would have been drastically different from what I experienced when I first met my wife.
— Brian Wolfe
Brian and Robyn Wolfe. Photo credit Danielle Cohen.

Brian and Robyn Wolfe. Photo credit Danielle Cohen.

by Brian Wolfe

If someone had asked me ten years ago what my mental picture of a single mother was, my answer would have been drastically different from what I experienced when I first met my wife.  I grew up thinking that someday I would get a job, meet the right person, have a house, two kids, some pets … and granted, that did all happen … just not quite the way I imagined it. And, I am truly blessed. When I met my wife, I fell in love with a woman who had the quiet confidence of someone who’s been through the storm and come out the other side with a deep understanding of who she is. She knew how much she could handle on her own, and had somehow managed to miraculously stay open to the possibility that life could change again in a big way. 

It’s quite an experience to commit yourself to the woman of your dreams ... and her two young children. Aside from the huge learning curve involved in going from being single to a being a husband, I was simultaneously learning how to be a father to someone else’s children. It has truly been a beautiful experience for me. I got to instantly become the person that I thought I would have to wait years to become.

Wolfe children

Five years in, the learning continues on a minute-by-minute basis. My wife has been incredibly patient with me as she’s watched me settle into being a step-dad. Stepping on Legos in the middle of the night, taking vacations with young children, reading bed time stories, packing school lunches … I struggle at times and I simultaneously love every second of it. Once in a while I need a reminder that all parents struggle from time to time. As I continue on this incredible journey, here are a few things I’m working on and a few things that I’m finding nourishing in my life.

I revel in cooking meals with and for my family. I didn’t grow up in a “foodie” household. My parents did the very best they could to feed us. They were hard working people who came from a generation with different ideas about healthy eating. We ate around the TV most nights. I’ve always enjoyed cooking but having a family (specifically this family with a wife who turned our front yard into an edible garden, an 11 year old growing boy who eats twice as much as I do, and an 9 year old girl who loves to bake and cook) has inspired me to truly delve into the art of feeding a family. The great part of cooking for me is the multitasking involved. I find wandering the isles of the market therapeutic.  It’s a great way for me to let go of the day’s work and direct my focus to my family. Our local food co-op is full of delicious food and I have been known to spend hours and way too much money in there! The whole process allows me to fulfill a primitive desire to feed my family, make sure we are eating healthy food with fresh ingredients, and create my perfect cooking atmosphere: jazz music, a cocktail to sip, a house full of appetizing aromas, and a big mess in the kitchen (I’m learning to enjoy cleaning too).

Brian Wolfe

Sports & exercise is another big part of nourishment for me.  I’ve gone through different phases with working out in my life: running, lifting weights, playing sports, not working out at all, focusing more on diet, focusing less on diet, caring how I look, telling myself I don’t care how I look—we’ve all been there.  At the moment, I’m trying to focus on the fact that working out doesn’t have to be work. As a Waldorf Games/PE teacher, I want my students to enjoy moving and to crave a healthy, active lifestyle. I think too many of the adults I know (including myself) had the stereotypical “old school” PE teacher growing up who tortured them with calisthenics and running. My goal as a teacher and a parent is to help children learn how fun it is to move and not to see fitness as a punishment or a chore (even though I resist getting on that treadmill at the gym, I know how good I’ll feel when I’m done). The other day I had to write a tricky work related email. I was riding an exercise bike at the gym and thinking about this email. I decided to write it then and there. I’m not suggesting that it’s a good idea to write emails while on exercise equipment but it was amazing how quickly I was able to think and write … and 30 minutes flew by while I typed with my thumbs.  Most of the time, I’m plugged into my music at the gym and taking a break from the stress of the day. I find it incredible how I always feel better leaving the gym than arriving. I can be much more present to my obligations as a father, husband, teacher, etc. 

Possibly the most nourishing part of my life in the past three years has been my attempt to take the things I love the most (art, music, and sports) and try to bring them into my family life in a creative way. I’m grateful to spend my days teaching art, guitar, and coaching Games/PE and basketball. I feel like for all of us, these three things are elements in our lives where, at a certain point, we decide if we are artists, performers, or athletes—or not.  So many of us decide too early that we will only be spectators. That we are only talented enough to be spectators. It usually depends on our upbringing and the teachers we had when we were young. My hope is that the young people I work with will come to see that these things have more to do with passion and willingness to practice than with innate abilities that we are either born with or not.  Robyn and I intentionally created space in the studio for our children. They work in this space in tandem with us. They see us practicing our craft, daily in most cases. They are growing up understanding that the things we love take work. There is a large table for them full of crayons, markers, paint and colored pencils, a chalkboard on the wall, an easel, and musical instruments. This room has become one of the centers of nourishment in our home.

A final source of nourishment for me is music. It gives me something to look forward to. Whether it’s listening to my iPod at the gym, going to band practice, giving a guitar lesson, or performing at a gallery opening, I look forward to all of the different ways that music shows up in my life. I think it’s important to have small and uncomplicated things to look forward to; built-in access to the simple pleasures. My biggest challenge at this point is learning when to plug in and when to unplug. I love listening to music and podcasts and my iPhone makes those two things readily available to me at all times. I find it relaxing to put the headphones on and tune in or tune out, depending on how you look at it. When my wife and children are present, my goal is to be present to them without distractions. I’m still working on being fully present with my loved ones when they are near. It’s important to me though. I chose to spend my life with them and they chose to invite me into theirs. They deserve my full attention.

Brian Wolfe

About Brian

Brian Wolfe has spent his entire adult life playing music, teaching, drawing & coaching Waldorf kids.  So basically, creating a generation of grounded families with beautiful memories. He grew up in a musical-theater family, where he spent his own childhood painting backdrops for plays & musicals, as well as playing guitar in the house-band. Nowadays, when he's not teaching art & coaching his students, Brian loves performing a wide range of musical styles (blues, jazz, rock, pop, etc). He has played in various blues and rock bands over the past 15 years and 8 years ago began performing as a solo, instrumental acoustic act at various events. Brian and his family currently live in Northern California.

web: www.waldorfish.com

Insta: @brianwolfe

FB: www.facebook.com/waldorfish

Sustainable Ritual, Sustainable Support

By Carrie-Anne Moss

We build our lives every day, one brick at a time.

But do we ever ask ourselves: is the foundation I’m building on strong? Is it sustainable? Will it hold me? Are we building our lives on sand, on crumbly earth, or are we building our lives on healthy soil—soil that has nutrients and minerals that will help our life take root and thrive so that when things get tough—when we are thrown a curve ball—we have built-in support and we can withstand the storm.

The root system means that we have a life that works; that we have support around us, we have people we can lean on, and we have tools that we can lean on.

I think a lot about this when I think about the rituals I have built into my life that help to support me. At certain times, the rituals are like a celebrations, and at other times they’re monotonous. Every Friday, pizza. Every Sunday, crepes. Certain rituals at different holidays, birthday celebrations...my new moon altars, the full moon release. Sometimes these rituals are executed with deep love and devotion, and other times I am just going through the motions. And you know what? Just going through the motions is enough sometimes. These are the times when these rituals truly hold us up. When we don’t feel like it, when we’re weary and tired. When someone is sick, when we’re sick. In these times, we can lean on these rituals and move through them without even thinking. And in that way, they hold us together, they tie us to the structure of our life. They guide us when we have nothing left.

Photo by Leonie Wise

I remember a birthday celebration for one of my children. I have a ritual of decorating the house in a very simple way for birthdays—and although it’s simple, it’s fun and festive and it has become a tradition, as well as a symbol of love for the person whose birthday it is.  I started this when my children were young, and like any ritual that we start when our kids are young, it feels important to follow through so as not to disappoint the children. One particular August, I didn’t have it in me to decorate my house. We had recently moved and I was overwhelmed with boxes and settling in, and on top of it, many of us had summer colds we were dealing with. I was weary to the bone.

One night I was walking into the house after dinner with my family. In the pit of my stomach, I felt a nagging reminder that I hadn’t decorated yet. That I had been to tired to get it together. The feeling felt tense and uncomfortable. But we walked into the house, and as soon as I crossed the threshold, I saw the decorations. The sweet “Happy Birthday!” draped over the bay window. The candles on the table. Cece, my  friend and long-time support team leader had done it for me. Cece helps me take care of my home and family and honestly she helps me take care of myself. And in this small gesture, she took my breath away, and I will never forget it.  With tears in my eyes I looked at her and said, “Oh my God, thank you.”  And she said, “Yeah, I just thought, what would Carrie-Anne want? I’ve seen you do this year after year after year, and I just did it the way I knew that you had done it.” Cece’s love and support helps me maintain my system and my rituals so that I can help maintain the structure for my family, and for my life. Our helpers come in many forms, it’s not always just our family, or the people closest to us. Who do you tell your secrets to? Who knows what you love, or what you need? Who reminds you of who you truly are, when things feel lost or forgotten?

Support, ritual, gratitude, connection, building a life. Building a life one brick at a time on steady foundation. On a foundation that is thoughtful, that stands for family, and health, and vitality, because rituals built on sand or flakiness, they won’t sustain us. They ultimately don’t end up feeling that great either. We must listen to ourselves. We must allow our truth to settle in. Those morning crepes every Sunday give my children an exhale—they know what to expect—and we all know that when you’re little, that means a lot. And I’m here to say that as a grown woman, it actually means a lot to me, too. Pizza night on Friday nights gives me this feeling: I know what I’m cooking. I’m cooking something easy.  We are celebrating the end of the week. The kids will eat it. And I don’t have to decide anything, it’s already been decided. This feeling, I realize, is comfort, safety, and relaxation. True signs of a strong foundation.

As we’re building our lives, and we look at certain things that we may be doing that aren’t really working, we can let them go. We can grieve the passing of particular phases, but in the grief we let go. Let us not cling to what doesn’t work, and to what doesn’t sustain us. In response, we move forward in building sustainable action. Roots that feed and support. Roots that tangle in divine infrastructure. Sustainable ritual, sustainable support. Let your rituals hold you up, even when they feel routine or mundane. It is in fact these times exactly that your rituals are doing what they do best: gluing it all together with grace.


Build a Bridge, Not a Wall

As mothers, it’s so easy to want our children to reflect how well we are doing, or how healthy we are, or what a great job we are doing as parents. Our kids successes, how present they are, how they can look someone in the eye, shake a hand, seem compassionate or empathetic looks good on us, makes us feel good, makes us feel like we are doing a good job.

People saying wow your kids are amazing gives us validation that we are on the right path, or doing it right. I remember when my boys were little and sitting at a table and a woman remarked that my children were so well-behaved, and she noted that it was so rare to see children that well-behaved. I remember my back going up, prickling a bit. They were quiet and that worked for her, but quiet is not always good. Let us not equate quiet with good.

I remember running into a friend of mine when my first son was born and I was strolling through our neighborhood with my baby in a sling; she had her son with her who was 3 at the time. He was autistic and she looked at me and said, “People will tell you how great it is that your child is quiet. They’ll validate you about how good your child is.” She said, “I heard that all the time with my baby, and it ended up being a sign that things weren’t right.”  With tears in her eyes she said “Never equate being quiet with being good.”

I heard her. I took it in. Transmission from one mother to another.

Another story: I flew in an airplane once where a little girl was having a really hard time. She and her family had been traveling from Australia, and this last 5-hour flight was just too much for this toddler. As she thrashed about and everybody shook their heads and judged her, and as the mother (who was holding a very young baby was trying to get that baby down and the other one who wanted her mom was out of her mind), I felt so much compassion for her. We have all been there. Recognize that the other person is you. I wanted to get up and say to all the people on the plane that were shaking their heads, covering their ears, throwing dirty looks back at this family: Recognize the other person is you.

The older generation doesn’t understand why our kids are so loud, they think that they don’t have any manners. “They aren’t how we were,”  they think, or, “We wouldn’t let them get away with that.” I want to say to them: it’s different! It’s a different time, please stop judging. Look through the eyes of compassion or you will misunderstand the times. (Another sutra of the aquarian age). And then, on the airplane, as I was judging these people for judging the crying child, I had to do the same: I had to have compassion for them. And this cycle continually goes back and forth.  

I asked the parents if I could read a book to their child. My daughter and I were reading that incredible Dr. Seuss story about the goldfish that gets overfed. And when the little girl saw the picture in the book, she calmed down—it was a miracle. I felt so grateful to be able facilitate that for the parents. She sat on my lap, and in another miraculous moment, my own child (who was also only 3 at the time) made room for her. And then she fell asleep on me for the whole flight. I said to the dad, “If you’re comfortable with it, go to sleep. I’ll watch her, and if she needs you, i’ll wake you.” He said, “Are you sure?” and I said, “It’s a gift for me. Honestly, it’s a gift for me.”

On the return flight from that trip, my daughter was the one thrashing about, crying loudly, and I saw the judgement. I didn’t want to look at my child that way, I didn’t want to feel uncomfortable … I didn’t want that. I thought we were through this. But I softened. I softened and decided it didn’t matter what anybody thought of my child. It didn’t matter what anyone thought about my parenting. And we made it through.

Is it a bridge toward my child or is it a wall that I’m building? These are the words I say to myself day in and day out with my 7-year-old, my 11-year-old, my teenager. Am I creating a wall or am I building a bridge? Sometimes I’m building a wall because, hey,  I’m not perfect. Sometimes I get stuck in the story, or sometimes I get stuck in wishing it were another way. But thankfully I have the tools to soften; and then I remember. Sometimes i’m a day late, or an hour late, or a week late … but ultimately I find it. And with one soft piece at a time, I build that bridge.