“In the Hawaiian language, ALOHA stands for ‘hello’, ‘goodbye’, and ‘love’. The deeper meaning of ALOHA is ‘the joyful (oha) sharing (alo) of life energy (ha) in the present (alo).’ Aloha is an expression of love, peace, compassion, presence, and the essence of life. Additionally, aloha means affection, mercy, sympathy, kindness, sentiment, grace, and charity.” -- from Living Aloha Magazine, Mission Statement
Guess what I did in the jungle of Hawai'i?!?!?!
Oh, yeah, I got my aloha meditation ON! Alohaaaaaa, it was so exhilarating for me to be back on Maui, especially since I have lived there in the past and have a special connection to the place. I am very familiar with this Magical Isle of Maui, though I discovered some spots on the northeast shore that were intimately unknown to me and quite delightful. Being in the lush tropical landscape of Huelo, I gazed infinitely out into the trees as well as the striking coastline. Mindfulness seemed to come easy in such a place….noticing in the present moment what is occurring in all the senses, with compassion and non-judgment. I was elated! I could feel the spirit of the land, extremely powerful.
Maui is the heart chakra of our planet. There is amazing power on Maui – all of the Hawaiian islands combined are a super powerhouse and mecca for natural health and healing. I am also aware that the Hawaiian lands and people have experienced much trauma, some of which has not healed and instead continues as a cycle through generations. A component of Dragonfly Healing Center’s retreats in Hawaii will be service to the land and people. It is a beautiful honor to breathe in her air, walk upon her sands, swim in her waters, taste the bounty of the yummy foods, and be with her people. Just to see Hawaii is to catch a glimpse of heaven!
Soul-lution for Relationships!
In the photo below, I am in the Sacred Garden with founder, Eve Eschner Hogan, who is also the author of the newly released book, The EROS Equation: A “Soul-lution” for Relationships. Eve has authored the books Intellectual Foreplayand How to Love Your Marriage.
Congratulations Eve!!! Dragonfly Healing Center is excited to be in supportive collaborative community with Eve for hosting retreats in Maui. Yay!!!
“The EROS Equation is a simple formula that will transform your life.” –Jack Canfield, Co-Creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series
Six Essential Life and Love Skills from the EROS Equation:
Mystic Island Festival Rainbow!!!
Another huge blessing was connecting with Heather Salmon and her partner Donny Regalmuto of the Black Swan Temple. Their vibrational sound healing was pure radiance!
HAPPINESS at Ho'okipa!!!
January was a Self-Care Celebration for the ladies! We talked about organic skin care, ate delicious foods, did mini-facials, shared our intentions for the year, and laughed a whole lot. Some of us continued on to a full scrumptious dinner and then kissed the night to sleep with wine and more laughs and genuine connecting.
Many of the ladies reserved their spot at the Moving Into the Light Women’s Retreat from October 17th – 19th in Pescadero, California. 12 spots have already been claimed. We are so excited for our growing community of supportive and fun ladies!!!
There are only 5 spots left in the retreat!!!! Save your spot HERE!!!
Super fun class in Maui in February – Stressed in Paradise??? Discover How to be Mo’ Happy! With an integration of mindfulness meditation, qi gong, gratitude practice, and loving kindness meditation, the evening was insightful and entertaining.
Saturday, March 15th – Holistic Health and Wellness Event – FREE
Serving the communities of East Palo Alto and East Menlo Park
Fabulous Sponsors of this event are the East Palo Alto Library, the San Mateo County READS Department, Project Happiness, and Awakening360
There will be speakers on mental, physical, spiritual and emotional health and well-being as well as a health fair with free mini-sessions of treatment with massage therapists, acupuncturist, counselors, yoga therapist, aromatherapy pratitioners, nutritionist, and more. Light healthy refreshments will be provided, translation from English to Spanish, a play and learn area for kids, community information, and great raffles!!!
The grand prize is a full scholarship for a woman from the East Palo Alto or East Menlo Park community to attend the Moving Into the Light Women’s Retreat in Pescadero in October.
Here is what last year’s winner had to say:
“Going to the Moving Into the Light Women's Retreat was the best thing that could have happened to me this year. I've been on a spiritual journey for some time now and it was great to be there with the women to hear their stories and connect. I learned how to meditate better and worked on some more yoga poses as well. The retreat gave me the confidence boost I needed to get through the rest of the year. I felt like a new person after I left and I can't wait to go back! Extra BIG thanks to Melissa and everyone who participated!”
The woman must be present at the Health and Wellness event on the 15th to win!
See more info about the Health and Wellness event HERE!!!
Allow us to walk with you on your path of health and wellness....
Stay tuned for the Moving Into the Light Women’s Meetup in April. Last time we pampered ourselves with Juice Beauty Organics skincare, and this time we will journey into essential oils and aromatherapy. You will surely want to indulge!!!
doTERRA Essential Oils ~ There's a wellness party going on!!!
Being of Service
Dragonfly Healing Center supported the Wisdom 2.0 Conference in San Francisco by volunteering for the weekend event plus the Intensives on Monday, February, 17th. The conference was full of energy and connection! Wisdom 2.0 addresses the great challenge of our age: to not only live connected to one another through technology, but to do so in ways that are beneficial to our own well-being, effective in our work, and useful to the world. Through their series of conferences, meet-ups, and workshops, Wisdom 2.0 strives to bring this conversation to the world in an accessible, innovative, and inclusive way.
In turn, Wisdom 2.0 is of service to Dragonfly Healing Center by donating yoga mats from the conference to be used at non-profits and community service events in East Palo Alto. They also donated around 200 mini health food bars to be served at the Holistic Health and Wellness event on the 15th. Fantastic!!!!
Melissa, Director of Training, and Birute, Bay Area Liaison, of Wisdompreneurs at the epic After Party at the Starship in San Francisco. Organized by the fabulous Alison Raby, Co-
Founder and Chief Alchemist, and James Hanusa, Advisory Board Chair!!! Wisdompreneurs are definitely aiming for the stars while we integrate wisdom and entrepreneurship!!!
Feeling tired at the end of a very active February! I was still super excited to see Jon Kabat-Zinn, Professor of Medicine Emeritus and founding director of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. We shared delightful conversation the week before at the Wisdom 2.0 Conference. What a spectacular birthday gift for me!!!!
Joining us at this gathering for Bay Area mindfulness teachers is a friend and colleague, Rochelle McLaughlin who will be implementing a school-wide mindfulness program at San Jose State University. Go Rochelle!!!
The mindful life can be quite exciting!!!
Thank you for your attention :-)
Best and Brightest,
Dragonfly Healing Center
Mindfulness is Power
Recent research has shown that only 10% of our happiness is due to our external circumstances. A full 90% is based on our inner environment. 50% of our happiness level comes from our genes and 40% comes from intentional activities like self-reflection, mindfulness, and gratitude.
Forgiveness is Physical
Practicing forgiveness doesn’t only benefit the person we forgive, recent research shows that it has tangible physical and emotional benefits for ourselves as well.
Generosity Increases Happiness
For our happiness, how we spend our money is as important, if not more important, than the amount of money that we make. Giving to others releases endorphins, activating the parts of our brains that are associated trust, pleasure, and social connection. Being altruistic and spending money on others leads to higher levels of happiness.
Gratitude Promotes Well-Being
Positive psychology has concluded that counting our blessings has a measurably positive effect on our well-being. It is as simple as writing down three things you are grateful for every day for three weeks
Positivity Pays Off
If we can become more positive in the present, we can get our brains to work more successfully and tap into the happiness advantage. Science has shown that we are significantly more productive when positive. When we feel positive our intelligence, creativity, and energy levels rise. How? Dopamine, which floods the brain when we are positive, not only makes us happier, but also activates all of the learning centers of our brains. In order to have success and happiness in our lives, we must stop thinking that happiness is dependent on success, and realize the success is aided by happiness.
Happiness is Contagious
Happiness is collective. Our happiness depends on the happiness of those we are connected to. Relatedly, science shows that through practicing happiness, we make those we come into contact with happier. This extends to the 3rd degree of contact (a friend of a friend of a friend). Finding happiness is not a selfish pursuit, it is actually doing a favor to those around us.
For the full report see the Project Happiness website:
BY: RAMONA PAETZOLD
Writing your New Year's Resolutions? This is the time of year when we all jot down those ideas that we think will make us "better" in the coming year. And they're well-intended, too--lose weight, exercise more, be nicer to people, get more sleep, be easier on ourselves. The truth is that all we really need is one New Year's Resolution: BE MORE MINDFUL. It is this resolution that will actually enable us to do many other desirable things as well.
One way of building mindfulness into 2013 is to engage in a short period of mindfulness meditation each day. So, set aside approximately 5 minutes to meditate (set a timer). It can be done anywhere--sitting on the floor, lounging in a chair, or lying in bed. Take a few deep breaths to make yourself more receptive to relaxation, close your eyes, and then begin your period of mindfulness. The meditation need consist of nothing more than keeping your attention on your breath. Pay attention as your breath enters your nostrils and again as it leaves. Notice how the breath feels. There will be plenty of distractions. You'll notice your own thoughts and feelings, and bodily sensations, running through your mind. You'll hear external noises or become aware of movement around you. All of that is fine. Each time that you become distracted, be aware of the distraction, and simply return your attention to your breath. It may help to count your breaths until you get used to maintaining the focus.
Meditation is not the only way to become more mindful, however. Another is simply to slow down and relax. Avoid busyness. Give up multitasking. Realize that the way to appreciate the present is to do one thing at a time and appreciate what it feels like to do it. Don't think about what remains to be done; don't let yourself get caught up in what your future is going to be like; simply do one thing and enjoy the fact that you are doing it. Take in all the sensory pleasure you can from it, whether it's digging in the garden, washing a dish, writing a "to do" list, sending an email message to a friend, or writing a business memo. Fully engage with whatever you are doing.
Slowing down also allows you to think about what really matters to you in life. Say "yes" to those things that are life-enhancing for you; say "no" to everything else. In that way your life will be built on good, enjoyable experiences. Slowing down also allows you to be grateful for what you have. Take time every day to appreciate what's good about your life.
Mindfulness also allows for recognition that there are many more positive experiences in life than negative ones. It's just our evolutionary background that causes us to focus more on the negative--the old "fight or flight" mentality that kept our ancestors alive. We can tone down the fear and anxiety reactions that might tend to arise naturally by forcing ourselves to focus on what is positive. For example, associate with people who are more positive and optimistic. Don't dwell excessively on negative news--read for more pleasurable aspects of what is going on in the world around us. Listen to uplifting music. Be generous and kind to others; donate blood, yield the right-of-way to someone on the highway, or give money to charity. Walk around with a smile on your face. Not only does the smile make you feel more positive, it influences positive reactions in those around you.
These are just a few of the ways in which mindfulness can make 2013 a much better year. "Being mindful" is really the only resolution you need. It can lead you to all the other positive goals you hope to reach.
I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to have participated in the Buds to Blossoms program in Cambodia. There I and my fellow volunteers lived at a rural AIDS orphanage for two weeks providing gentle massage to over two hundred thirty children with HIV to foster their health, well-being and development. A number of the children at the AIDS orphanage were abused, raped and enslaved before arriving there. The children's immune systems are severely compromised, and some have infections which cause painful, disfiguring sores to erupt on their skin. Only a narrow range of treatments for HIV are available in Cambodia, and the children are in danger of developing full-blown AIDS at any time. Newly-orphaned children come into the care of the orphanage on a regular basis and are sometimes emaciated and in the last stage of AIDS. Our volunteer group promoted the children's health and their chances of surviving HIV infection by providing them with the proven immune system-strengthening effect of gentle massage. The massages we gave also helped relieve the children's pain and anxiety and helped meet their emotional needs for nurturing contact with caring adults.
The experience in the orphanage itself was challenging and rewarding. Despite battling a bout of severe food poisoning, I still managed to be able to connect with these shining bright children. They were all so full of energy all the time and I almost forgot that they had any medical conditions. I was blown away by the joy and love they offered so freely. When we weren't massaging the children, we often played with them on the playground. A couple nights we even had dance parties. Those kids had some moves! I went through many emotional peaks and valleys as I learned about the children's histories. I couldn't reconcile the joy each child exuded despite the abuse that most of them went through. It broke my heart. I truly connected with each heart and was truly devastated to leave. Saying goodbye was rough. Through themI have experienced the depths of the resiliency and love of the human spirit.
However as I visited Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, I saw the worst of humanity in the depths of violence, poverty, and child exploitation. I could not walk a few steps without being visited by a bruised, beaten, and emaciated child begging for money or even worse a girl of no more that 12-14 years old being solicited by middle-age men. My skin would crawl and my stomach was in knots every single time I saw such lack of value for these precious souls.
I am so thankful for the life I am blessed with. With the little resources that I have, I will make a difference...I can and I will. Watch me! Better yet, join me.
The Heart Connection journey started with a sweat lodge and another chapter begins with a sweat lodge at the end of June. My wonderful soul sisters sent me off in April and Esalen Institute was my first stop on my journey to learn more about creating a retreat center and intentional community. It was a magical time and I can't wait to incorporate all that I experienced into Dragonfly Healing Center. After my second sweat lodge at Esalen, I visted our leader at his home. I was completely floored and honored when he invited me to join the Esselen tribe. I'm looking forward to becoming a part of this family. I truly see Esalen Institute as a source of inspiration for us here at Dragonfly Healing Center.
The next stop on my journey is Cambodia. I will be as a participant in the Buds to Blossoms Pediatric Massage Volunteer Program which will take me to Cambodia. There I and my fellow volunteers will live at a rural AIDS orphanage for two weeks providing gentle massage to over two hundred children with HIV to foster their health, well-being and development. A number of the children we will care for at the AIDS orphanage were abused, raped and enslaved before arriving there. The children's immune systems are severely compromised, and some have infections which cause painful, disfiguring sores to erupt on their skin. Only a narrow range of treatments for HIV are available in Cambodia, and the children are in danger of developing full-blown AIDS at any time. Newly-orphaned children come into the care of the orphanage on a regular basis and are sometimes emaciated and in the last stage of AIDS. Our volunteer group will promote the children's health and their chances of surviving HIV infection by providing them with the proven immune system-strengthening effect of gentle massage. The massages we give will also help relieve the children's pain and anxiety and meet their emotional needs for nurturing contact with caring adults.
Sitting with Sharon at IMS
“Faith is not a singular state that we either have or don’t have, but it is something that we do. Faith is the willingness to take the next step, to see the unknown as an adventure, to launch a journey. For faith to be alive and to deepen we need to use our power to inquire, to wonder, to explore or experience to see what is true for ourselves. This requires us to approach life with an inquisitive, eager, self-confident capacity to probe and question. It requires us to examine where we place our faith, and why, to see if it makes us more aware and loving people. To develop a verified faith we need to open to the messiness, the discordance, the ambivalence, and above all, the vital life force of questioning. If we don’t, our faith can wither. If we don’t, our faith will always remain in the hands of someone else, as something we borrow or abjure, but not as something we can claim as our own.”
--Faith by Sharon Salzberg
Dragonfly Healing Center supported the Association of Black Psychologists Student Circle Regional Conference held at San Francisco State University. The national association is the leader and international resource for addressing the psychological needs of African people throughout the world. In good company, SF State boasts being the only provider of a master’s level program in Ethnic Studies in the entire nation. Melissa Green facilitated meditation and appreciated the honor of interacting with all present during the empowering conference.
Dragonfly Healing Center donated a free gift certificate to participate in our upcoming May workshop. Welcome to further inspiration!
Esalen Institute is graced with the presence of Lucy Keoni as a work scholar in their world-renowned retreat center. Esalen is a leading center for exploring and realizing human potential through experience, education, and research. Esalen works towards the realization of a more humane and all-embracing world, seeking answers to questions unlikely to be explored by traditional universities or religions. Lucy’s purpose in participating as a work scholar is to study and benchmark the inner workings of Esalen which is serving as an incubator for the birth of the larger purpose of Dragonfly Healing Center. Esalen is a major catalyst in the transformation of humankind, to help people integrate body, heart, mind, spirit, and community in a nurturing relationship with the environment. Our vision at Dragonfly Healing Center is to offer a sanctuary for people to get away and rejuvenate with serene grounds and trails of our future space, our daily workshops, evening workshops, daylong and weekend retreats as well as our longer retreats. Our café will host communal meals with cleansing organic gourmet gluten-free, vegetarian meals and juices. We envision a thriving, supportive spiritual community of guest and resident healers aligned with our mission. We will have an East meets West integrative health center. We will have an educational institute for professional and leadership training as well as classes to nurture our youth. We are committed to sustainable living through permaculture. We are committed to creating a shift in the global consciousness through the healing of individuals and through social change projects worldwide.
Dragonfly Healing Center is well on its way to realizing this vision. If you are interested in supporting us or being part of this vision, please email email@example.com.
Our send off for Lucy was truly magical! On April 14th, a close group of sister-goddesses joined hearts in a sweat lodge ceremony to offer up our prayers, give gratitude, and hold space for Lucy's journey to Esalen and the Heart Connection Project. Here is a special note from Lucy:
We arose out of the flames, leaving behind the ashes of the past that no longer serve us, emerging more radiant than ever.
I am incredibly grateful to Mother Earth, lodge leader- Verlinda, singers, firekeepers, and my soul sisters ( those who were present in body and those who came in spirit...for those who could not be there lifted you up in prayer). Thank you Universe for the opportunity to take part in the Inipi sweat lodge of the Lakota Sioux people today.
Aho Mitakuye Oyasin....All my relations. I honor you in this circle of life with me today. I am grateful for this opportunity to acknowledge you in this prayer....
To the Creator, for the ultimate gift of life, I thank you.
To the mineral nation that has built and maintained my bones and all foundations of life experience, I thank you.
To the plant nation that sustains my organs and body and gives me healing herbs for sickness, I thank you.
To the animal nation that feeds me from your own flesh and offers your loyal companionship in this walk of life, I thank you.
To the human nation that shares my path as a soul upon the sacred wheel of Earthly life, I thank you.
To the Spirit nation that guides me invisibly through the ups and downs of life and for carrying the torch of light through the Ages, I thank you.
To the Four Winds of Change and Growth, I thank you.
You are all my relations, my relatives, without whom I would not live. We are in the circle of life together, co-existing, co-dependent, co-creating our destiny. One, not more important than the other. One nation evolving from the other and yet each dependent upon the one above and the one below. All of us a part of the Great Mystery.
Thank you for this Life.
We'll be sharing stories and photos on our Facebook page and blog, so stay tuned!