. Everyday Medicine Woman
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The Tribal Beat, September 2011

Greetings Sacred Tribe

These days the world is demanding that everyone is a first responder. How we respond is up to us. No one is exempt from change. The saying, "you can't push the river" is one I heard so often as a metaphor for letting go of trying to fix others or put them on our time tables. In the 70's this was part of a movement to "go with the flow". Now in 2011, "go with the flow" has a different meaning. It's hard not to surrender to change when it happens so frequently and in such unexpected ways.

Over the past month alone we have had over three earthquakes, a massive hurricane, wild fires, increased financial insecurities and a government that is stuck in a school yard game of power and control. All of these major events are having profound consequences on the well-being of our world and is trickling into each one of our lives.

For the past couple of years, I often get asked the question, "what do you think is really going to happen in 2012?" I don't hear that much anymore as I think people are coming to understand that THIS is what 2012 looks like; what we are facing in our every day life. The microcosm is reflecting the macrocosm as never before. This implies that the individual can have a greater impact on the big collective circumstance by becoming living demonstrations of the world vision we hold in our prayers and dreams. More on that in a minute.

This last Mercury retrograde cycle brought up all of the hidden or lingering issues that got stirred up during the last series of eclipses, especially the one on July 1, 2011. Literally the day after that powerful shift, just about everyone I ran into was sharing disruptive and unexpected events that changed their lives, in some cases for the better and for others it left them in a state of trauma. Most of us cosmic travelers have come to respect that every 119 days, Mercury backs up and takes us through "opportunities" offering information that will ultimately improve our lives. With that said, this clever messenger can cause a variety of disruptive occurrences that are usually of a confusing and humbling nature. During this recent 21 day cycle that just ended on August 26th, just about everyone had a moment of seeing (and maybe even experiencing) what was in the hidden corners that we try to hide, ignore or rationalize to make our lives easier. Yet as we have entered an era of more true authentic consciousness, action, thought or belief that does not serve our higher self is being illuminated or brought out into the center of the room to be acknowledged. Ammachi has a stunning teaching I heard years ago: "when someone is truly asleep, it is easy to wake them up but if they are pretending to be sleeping, there is really nothing we can do to wake them. It must come from within". From my perspective, that sums up with period of time we are in as individuals and as a planetary whole.

One of the ways disasters teach is by their ability to awaken and touch a bigger number of people at one time. This East Coast Hurricane Irene, like the tragedy of Katrina or 9/11 brought the collective awareness to focus on one area of the country for a pop quiz on how awake we really are. While I would like to think of myself as a compassionate and connected person, there is nothing like putting a face on a life-altering crisis to bring the learning to a new level of empathy, humility and awe. I have become more sensitive in general to tracking these astounding natural demonstrations of raw power from our years of traveling in this active season to our beloved Tulum. My obsession with tracking this potentially devastating event was deeply personal, as my daughter lives in the Green Mountains of Vermont. Had she not had a destiny with the state of Vermont, I probably would have never visited or come to understand the unique and timely teachings this tiny region has been gifting me and I hope, some of you as well.

Over the years, my appreciation for Vermont grew not only because of it's amazing beauty but also because of way people tend to live in right relationship with the land and each other. Their way of living with emotional intelligence reminds me of the Andean Quechuan concept of "ayni", which loosely translated means "today for you, tomorrow for me". My daughter shifted from student to resident when she got a job in the administration of the new Governor Shumlin, who she so intensely and passionately worked to get elected. This administration's kind, clear-headed leadership shifted into high gear while the slow moving destroyer was literally storming through the East.

Thankfully, my daughter and her intentional community were blessed with little personal damage yet her job to serve as a bridge between the citizens and their safety is bringing the truth of this catastrophe into my awareness in a way I never expected. The stories are of the tragic and heartbreaking realities of a state in ruins: homes and businesses washed in the brooks that have transformed into rivers swallowing up historic covered bridges like a lunchtime meal. As she is driving the social media and volunteer efforts, I have been following not only the stories of the losses but also the tales that demonstrate the tremendous strength, civility and spirit of ayni. Instead of robberies in vulnerable areas, we are hearing about shop owners emptying their shelves so that everyone can have the supplies they need. Communities are holding dinners pulled together from the little each person has (reminiscent of the children's story of "Stone Soup"). When one can be witnessed and supported during times of grief and trauma, the healing is inevitable and re-growth has already begun.

All through the month of September we have aspects beckoning us to "be the change". On September 12th, there is a beautiful Full Moon in Pisces asking us to make a total commitment to believing in the higher vision of possibility, to have faith and to demonstrate idealism by actualizing order in each area of our lives with sensitivity to one another. At the Fall Equinox on September 23rd, we have a moment to re-balance on the day of equal light and dark with an enhanced focus on the 'we" consciousness that Libra asks us to consider.

One of the great mystics and sacred activists of our time, Andrew Harvey, describes in his brilliant book "The Hope", the first of ten things you can do right now to align yourself with the power and hope of Sacred Activism:

"Write down one thing that has made you feel grateful to be alive today. Get a small notebook and make the commitment to continue writing everyday all that lights you up with joy. At the end of the month, sit down and read the list out loud, slowly, to yourself. You will discover that it reminds you how blessed you are just by being alive in a world full of ordinary wonders. You will discover too, that it awakens in you a passion for life and a hunger to protect and preserve it."

As a small act of gratitude, I am offering a special Fall Equinox meditation circle on September 22nd from 6-7:30 at Allyu Spa. There will be a donation bowl on behalf of the Vermont Disaster Relief Fund. My dear com padre Tamara Wills, owner of the glorious city sanctuary Allyu and I welcome everyone to come together as an urban community to give and receive our love and light to the collective and for ourselves. Please join us!

If you would like to donate funds directly to Vermont, please call 1-800-vermont. All donations are greatly appreciated and go directly to the communities in need.


September 10, 12:30 - 4:00 pm

Join us as we explore fears that lead to the restriction of intimacy and explore the creation of healthy boundaries and deep union.

Location: Yoga Now, 742 N. LaSalle St., Chicago, IL

Reservations and Information: 773.509.4947 or click here to email.

Our past months together have allowed us to journey into the center of the self and examine the heart, discovering old wounds and repairing them. Having solidified that process, we now move forward to claim the direction of our future personal experience, living in a place of love and faith. During our September practice, we will surrender parts of the ego that tie us to pride and control, using trust and self acceptance as keys to understanding our imperfections and those of others. This will open us to the possibility of fulfillment and true intimacy.

Join us as we continue the next step of our year-long journey to find the courage and strength to love and be loved.

"The beauty of this work is it exposes me. The image I have of being squeaky clean is unveiled so I can confront, correct, amend, adjust and live more authentically."
— Bridget, 49



Wednesday, September 14th, Noon - 1:00 pm

Location: Allyu Spa, 600 W. Chicago Ave, Riverwalk, Chicago, IL (entrance on Larrabee at Riverwalk Entrance)

No previous meditation experience is required. And, as always, men are welcome to attend meditation classes.

Tuesday, September 6 & 20, October 4, Noon - 1:00 pm

Location: The Raby Institute, 500 N. Michigan Ave, Suite 450, Chicago, IL

Walk-ins welcome, but reservations recommended.
For reservations and information on costs: 312-276-1212 or email info@rabyinstitute.com.

These free classes, held on the first and third Tuesday of every month are designed to support all levels of a personal meditation process. Everyone is welcome.

Thursday, September 22, 6-7:30pm

EVENING MEDITATION - Benefit for the Vermont Disaster Relief Fund

Location: Allyu Spa, 600 W. Chicago Ave, Riverwalk, Chicago, IL (Larrabee at Riverwalk Entrance)

Donations are welcome and will benefit the Vermont Disaster Relief Fund. Please join us!


Chakra Intensive WorkshopLIGHT UP YOUR LIFE:

Please join us for a workshop led by Susan A. Lipshutz, LCSW at the Raby Institute for Integrative Medicine on Saturday, September 17th, 2011 from 9:15 am to 12:30 pm.

This highly experiential workshop will offer extensive information and tools on how to identify and develop a deeper awareness of these subtle layers and centers that can improve the quality of our lives and well being. Any area of personal concern can be supported by the illumination of how our spiritual and natural life force is wired throughout our physical, mental and emotional life experience. Beginners welcome!

Please join us as we:

  • Identify the specific characteristics within the seven major chakra centers in the body and how they coordinate with each other.
  • Learn a simple, yet profound variety of meditation, imagery and self care strategies to awaken, re-balance and invigorate our life force.
  • The total cost of the workshop is $108.00 and you will have the option of purchasing Jonathan Goldman's Chakra Chants for 10% off in Alma during or after class. Register now to save your spot!

To register for the workshop, please call the Raby Institute at: 312-276-1212.

For any questions, call the number above or email: info@rabyinstitute.com.


I give thanks everyday for the gift of knowing each of you. May we move in harmony, each a cell within the collective planetary body of the whole toward a time of unity and whole-hearted kinship,


Vermont Fall Colors

See previous issues of our newsletter >>

Susan Lipshutz

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In This Issue

Thirteen Moons

Lunchtime Meditation

Chakra Intensive Workshop



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