Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentine's and The Authentic Self - From Chacala, Mexico!

Happy Valentine's Day!

I hope this finds you well, and remembering that your very nature is LOVE!

I am writing from my winter home in Chacala, Nayarit, Mexico, once again. We celebrated the conclusion of our five day Valentine's Retreat on Friday evening, at a thatched restaurant on the beach - where everyone opened and read the Valentine's card they had written to themselves during the week. It was pretty darn sweet. And of course, the seafood is always fresh and delicious, and the sunset was spectacular.

The patio and ramada roof on top of my house was almost finished in time for the retreat. It still needs tile and paint, so this was our maiden voyage for the new teaching space, and it worked out pretty well. The evening meetings were especially delicious, when the town quieted, the stars came out, and the soft tropical breeze wafted through the space and our group.

When we were sharing our intentions at the beginning of the week, a common theme that came up for everyone was, "I want to access and become my Authentic Self." Our focus for the week was on our true nature as Love - to know that we ARE love. We looked at many old agreements built on the lie that love is a commodity outside of ourselves we have to bargain for by getting it right for others.

And we changed those agreements! We are love, we came into this world as love, we were made by the love of the very Life that creates and animates this universe. Our experience was based on my work with...

I love Rumi's poems, and often use this one to set the focus of my teaching these days:

"Your task is not to seek for love,
but merely to seek and find
all the barriers within yourself
that you have built against it."

We are not learning to love, we are learning to stop denying that love is our nature, our gift, our Life itself.

So the search for the authentic self does not lead us outside, but inside. And not inside to find that missing self, but simply to find and love into softness the barriers we have created to deny love within.

I hope you are using this sweet day of Valentine's Love to open your heart to yourself, and to honor your true nature. You ARE love.

We discover our Authentic Self when we have faith in the love that created us and that we are. When we listen deeply inside to the unique inspirations that arise in us, and then have the courage and faith to take action on them, we will become who we came here to be. And I guarantee the authentic life you create will be a masterpiece of art.

Try it, you might like it.

Let me hear from you:

Be part of the Joydancer Family 
and sponsor a student to higher education

In Chacala students can only study through the 6th grade, and then must go out to another town to continue school. If the parents don't have enough money for books, the shuttle van, or uniforms, the kids stay home.

There is an organization here called "Cambiando Vidas/Changing Lives" that supports students with scholarships to go to school beyond Chacala. Our Joydancer Family is about 3/4's of the way to the $720 US that it takes to sponsor a student for one year - I want you to help us hit our goal before the second big fund-raising dinner this Friday night.

The Cambiando Vidas website is here.

We have established donation buttons in our Joydancer Store if you would like to join us to support a student. We need another $170 for a full scholarship. The future is in the hands of the young.

Will you help?  Donate here

Monday, February 8, 2010

Cambiando Vidas -- Changing Lives (in Chacala!)

Each year, parents and students in Chacala, Mexico put on a "Mexican Fiesta" to raise money for a scholarship program to send kids out to another town for continuing their education after sixth grade. With money provided by the scholarship fund, the students can finish high school and even go to a university. There are over 20 kids in the program right now that would be stuck in Chacala without a higher education if not for the program.

The other night, I attended the fiesta with over 125 people, and I've never seen so many gringos (and locals) in one place at one time in Chacala! Each of the guests paid about $17 US for dinner, (cooked and served by the parents and their kids) and many were pledging all or part of the $720 US it costs to support each student for a year.

The food was really good, and the folkloric dancing was quite good, too. Chili rellenos, enchiladas, tamales, rice, and jamaica to drink.

One of our "Toltec Angels" has already contributed about 2/3's of a scholarship, I will add to it, and I am looking for matching funds to get to the $720 mark so the Joydancer Family can offer a scholarship - or two or three. If you would like to donate to the family fund, simply go to the Joydancer Online Store, and you will see an opportunity to donate to the Chacala Changing Lives Scholarship Fund. It is such a sweet way to support this local community along with our world community, and insure the future of this village and Mexico.

Up until several years ago, Chacala was still a sleepy fishing village that came alive around Christmas/New Year, Easter and several Mexican holidays. Over the last few years, many volunteers have contributed their time, energy and cash to bring educational opportunities to the children of Chacala. In 1996, Dale Reinhardt, a Rotarian from North Carolina enlisted his club and Rotary International to build a library in the village.

Cambiando Vidas (Changing Lives) is the nonprofit organization working in Chacala to give children educational opportunities through a Scholarship Program and providing support for the Learning Center which includes the Book Library, Computer Lab with high-speed Internet access, After School Enrichment and Head Start programs, School Hot Lunch Program, and a Tool Lending Library.

This year Cambiando Vidas faces a difficult time financially. Due to the financial crisis in the USA and elsewhere, fund-raising efforts have been seriously affected. Donors are naturally concerned about their declining retirement funds, and some have dropped out of the program, leaving some students without sponsors. Each year the program has tried to expand its scholarship offerings but this year CV will not be able to take on any new students, as their first priority will be to find funds to support the students that are already in the program. Cutbacks in scholarship support may also be necessary in order to meet the budget.

Cambiando Vidas is challenged now as more students graduate from high school and go on to University. Each and every donation made is vital to their success. Because of the donors, the children are able to pursue their education as well as use and enjoy the Dale Reinhardt Learning Center every day. Together we are indeed changing lives, Cambiando Vidas. We hope you will visit us soon to witness the miracles created by your loving generosity.