What the world needs now

‘What the World Needs Now’ work in progress may be seen at ‘Letters from the Earth’ by NewGround Theatre Dance Company. Click pic for info.

Full Moon Wesak celebrates the birth of the Buddha. It is a great time to confront the past so you can release it and start anew.

Sunday is Mother’s Day. Happy Mother’s Day to all, whether or not you have biological children. We are all creators of our own realities, therefore, all Mothers!

There are a few young people in my orbit these days. This is good for a number of reasons. They ask the best questions. They challenge me with queries about beliefs I have held for so long I stopped questioning them. The other day a young person said to me. “I’m constantly hearing teachers saying to ‘love yourself.’ But they never say how. How can I love myself more?”

Well, how do you love a child? You give a child words of love, positive reinforcement and affection. Now give that to yourself. OK, I‘ll be the first to admit I would feel silly going around hugging myself all the time. But there are other ways I love myself. Here are 3 ways to get you going on your self love journey.

But first of all, why is Self-Love so important? Self love makes life easier!

  1. Self-love = self-worth = self-confidence which directly affects your success in life, whether you gauge success as joy or accomplishment.
  2. As an adult, why would you expect anyone to love you more than you love yourself? You teach people how to treat you based on how you treat yourself.
  3. You attract who you are more than you attract what you think. Words can bend the truth. Vibration does not. Feeling great about yourself and treating yourself with love rolls out the red carpet in front of you. Try it.

Here are three ways to love yourself more.

Photo on 5-10-17 at 2.29 PM #4

‘I Love Myself So Much’ sing along with Elisheva!

  1. Words of Love. I often say to myself, “I love you.” I think of my sweet innocent inner child and just love up on her. “I love you. You’re awesome. You’re wonderful. There’s no one else like you. You’re loving. You’re kind. You know how to be a good friend. You always have a smile and a kind word for people. You make people laugh.”
  2. Positive Affirmations. I know just what to do if my inner critic is starting to get louder than my inner cheerleader. How do you treat a child? You praise that child. Raise her up. Positive reinforcement is how you get the best out of a child. Give that to yourself. Try this for a week. Pat yourself on the back for the smallest feats. “You woke up this morning. Good for you! You took a shower. Good job! You smiled at the neighbor. Nice thing to do! You fed yourself a good breakfast. Way to take care of yourself! You spoke up in that corporate meeting even though it was difficult. Look at you being courageous!”
  3. Self care. These are acts of kindness towards yourself. A coaching client recently told me, “Self care is not a luxury.” She found she was more focused, felt better emotionally, physically and mentally when she took time for her self care. It can take 10 minutes a day. Self care can be in the form of bubble baths, massages, manicures and pedicures, a day at your favorite garden. Self care can be meditating, taking time out to get centered and focused (Be Tao Now) or can even be in the form of writing in a journal for 10 minutes a day. Ease Your Way Into Happiness! 90 Day Joyful Journey Journal.


Here is a weeklong challenge for you. Go on a love rampage. Declare your love for yourself. Give yourself words of affirmation. Be your own biggest cheerleader. Watch your self esteem skyrocket and success come chasing after you!

Bonus: Sing love songs to yourself. No one has to know you’re singing for yourself but you! Here are a few suggestions from various decades with the appropriate You Tube links, lyrics included.

Our Love is Here to Stay – Nat King Cole 1954 https://youtu.be/Q3RjUrUk50o

Can’t Help Falling in Love – Elvis Presley 1961 https://youtu.be/vGJTaP6anOU

Love and Happiness – Al Green 1972 https://youtu.be/9HAuxeQeku8Have I

Greatest love of all Whitney Houston 1985 https://youtu.be/vGJTaP6anOU

Have I Told You Lately That I Love You? – Van Morrison 1989 https://youtu.be/iMW5c1GPoPs

Allison Krauss – When You Say Nothing at all 1995 https://youtu.be/yPw_H2Rm2lM

Come Away with Me Norah Jones 2001 https://youtu.be/BqqPgA-yuuc

Ho Hey – Lumineers 2012 https://youtu.be/lL9nytKWg8U

That’s What’s Up – Lennon & Maisy   2014 https://youtu.be/0-Mr2pmuad4

The Case for Joy

Some people respond with, “I like feeling all emotions” upon hearing they’re speaking with a Joyful Living from the Heart coach.
They’re equally surprised to hear they’re not alone.
3 Brains (15)

Emotions are good. They show you where your thinking is. They help us take action and change things we no longer want to live with. Emotions are passing. Spirit is everlasting. And what is Spirit but pure potentiated joy? That’s the Truth of who you are. No matter what emotion you may feel, without hurry, without judgment, allow it to pass through and you’ll find joy on the other side.

Many act as if joy is a luxury. Maybe you believe joy is felt after all the hard work of surviving another day is done and there’s nothing else you can do. But is it? Do we have to wait until all the work is done? Do we have to wait for joy? I’ve lived in neighborhoods where people lived two or three families in one house. One would say they were barely surviving. But they were among the happiest people I’ve ever seen. Their joy was not dependent on external circumstances.

Here is the scientific case for joy. 40% of your DNA responds to your environment, meaning exercise and the body of your thoughts. Your brain sends signals to your DNA, which in turn tells your body what to create. Happy thoughts contribute to a healthy body. Its that simple.

Do you have the audacity to choose joy? Do you feel deserving of joy? Do you feel worthy of living a mostly joyful life? Do you feel you have to earn it to live joyfuly consistently? Choose joy. Expect it. Live it. Be happy. I’m here to help with the process of your joy unfolding. And I’ve got tools. Lots and lots of tools. Be well. Be happy. Be tao now.

Do You Know What Makes People Happy?

There is an ongoing Harvard study of happiness that’s lasted 75 years. It began with a large  L4Wlb9tyKiTrlHdSwhdf_Tp6tM0vKTP43DjgTy2uh1Mgroup of men, and after many years, the study expanded to include women. When young people are asked what they believe would make them happy, some responses are fame, fortune, prestige. Are you surprised? I may have answered that way before much life experience. The Harvard study tells us, after years of studying the subject of happiness, the main ingredient is good relationships.

“We’ve learned…that social connections are really good for us, and that loneliness kills. It turns out that people who are more socially connected to family, to friends, to community, are happier, they’re physically healthier, and they live longer than people who are less well connected,” says Robert Waldinger of the Harvard study on happiness.

Maybe that’s not a surprise to you, but to see it substantiated in a Harvard study…well, a new day has arrived!

Then of course, the question becomes, how can I have better relationships? The relationship with yourself is a good place to start. When you know yourself, love yourself unconditionally, then you’re bound to see that goodwill reflected back to you in relationships. What do you have without self love? Its the basis and motivation for living, growing, improving one’s life. How could you expect others to love and accept you if you don’t love and accept yourself?

More can be found on this Ted talk by Robert Waldinger, available in video and also transcript.

11:11 New Moon, New BeginningsIMG_2334

It’s here! All astrologers are on fire talking about 11:11, portals and new paradigms. The old has gone and we have solidly stepped into the new. The possibilities are endless, but must be grounded in reality to take form.

How do you know which of the possibilities to pursue and which to let go? Follow your heart. What makes it sing? Where do you feel it in your body? If it energizes you, go for it! Thought and feeling together create matter. So if you have feeling in that area, if the momentum is there for you, that’s half of the equation. Let that be your sign to move forward on it!

Of course nothing ever manifests without taking action. Even IMG_2335your greatest money for nothing dream of winning the lottery involves buying a ticket. So today, on this new moon, set your intention and take a step towards what makes your heart sing!

The question I asked using Be Tao Now today was, “What is the best hexagram to help with the energy of the moment?” Of course it was Taking Action! I listened to the drumming pattern while lying in bed. That woke me up!

Later, I opened up Be Tao Now on my iPad. Opening the app requires spinning the wheel. I asked no question and received Focused Intention. Makes sense to me. New Moon is a great time to focus on intentions and one should ideally have focused intention before taking action! I could have simply decided those two hexagrams are what were needed. Knowing the astrology of the times, I could have chosen to listen to the drumming patterns for Taking Action and Focused Intention.

But sometimes what come up isn’t what I thought would come up. If obstacles exist which need to be addressed first, that might be revealed in the random selection spin of the wheel. More pressing personal issues trump what’s going on in the collective.

My point is that one of the functions of Be Tao Now is that it acts as a Guidance tool. Sure, I can choose the hexagrams and listen to the drumming patterns with which to align, but I try not to assume I have all the answers. Even in the usage of the app exists a balance of being and doing, being receptive to answers and actively choosing the energy you are stepping into.

So enjoy the New Moon, set some intentions, listen to your inner Guidance system, dream wildly but definitely take some action! Take one step and the Universe gives you another, and pretty soon you’ve reached your goal. Joy is in the journey, and the journey is easier when you’ve chosen a goal that makes your heart sing!

The randomly spinning wheel, all 64 hexagrams and their accompanying patterns are found on the app, Be Tao Now ~ I Ching Drumming for Triumphant Living! It is currently for Apple products, only but, soon to be available for Android. http://betaonow.com.

New Moon Blessings,


#54. Impulsiveness. Thunder over Lake. #54. Impulsiveness

What to do when impulsiveness strikes? Its a shock of energy that makes you want to do something! You may wonder, “Where did this come from?”

Today I had an image in meditation that made me ask that very question. I was declaring my abundance and suddenly I saw a Hasidic cowboy. If you don’t know, a Hasid is a very orthodox Jew who dresses in black and if old enough, has facial hair and peyot (the locks hanging down from the temples). The man in my dreams had light skin and luscious dark brown curly hair that peaked out under his black cowboy hat, a trimmed moustache and beard, cute, curly peyot that made me want to tug them, glasses that made him look smart and fun at the same time, cowboy clothes including jeans and black boots with spurs and an insidious grin.

See? I’m a strange combination of east meets west. In this case, its Eastern European meets western cowboy.

The cowboy’s hootin’ and hollerin’ brought me out of meditation as fast as a prodded bull comes out of a pen at the rodeo. I’ve had this goofy, light-hearted energy all day. Funny ideas have come in my head, some sane, some not so sane. How to channel all this energy? I feel like a calf breaking free from the herd.

What is the herd? The herd is the collection of thoughts that keep me perceiving myself as I did yesterday.

We all need days like this so we can break free. I feel a new perception coming on. I’m using this energy as a way to spring forward, even though its autumn. I don’t want to fall behind.

Gentle Persistence or Perseverance?IMG_1904

#57. Gentle Persistence. Wind over Wind. Love yourself through this time of new energy coming in…Success comes from persistently keeping with the energy of that which you want to see manifest in your life.  Excerpt from the iOS app, Be Tao Now ~ I Ching Drumming for Triumphant Living!

Two years. That’s how long it’s been since that fateful meditation that changed my life. I wasn’t really looking for new direction. It came looking for me. “Create an I Ching drumming app,” are the exact words I heard in meditation. What? At that time I didn’t even own an app. Only a few people had heard of I Ching drumming. Many westerners had never heard of the ancient system of divination (over 5,000 years old) from the Tao te Ching based on eight elements in nature.

After my initial shock, I tried to remain open. This is how I’ve always lived my life. Open to change. Listening for signs. I follow that inner voice that sees beyond the physical, knows beyond the logical.

Still, my practical side had questions. What was the app’s purpose? Would it help people better their lives? Was the creation of this app an attainable goal? Would using this app help people be happier, attain their goals? Would it uplift? Inspire? Would it bring freedom to me? To others?

For years people who have known me marvel at how I live from my intuition, and wanted to know how they could do the same. One dramatic example of following that inner voice of wisdom happened when I lived in the Middle East. I had some business to attend to and could either get there by bus on Tuesday or Wednesday. Something about Wednesday didn’t feel right. I found out why. The same bus on Wednesday I would have taken on Tuesday had a bomb on it. I missed a near death experience because I listened to my guidance and took action on it.

I’m not saying that following intuition makes your life perfect, but that’s another subject matter. It took me a long time to realize how impactful this app might be for those seeking their own guidance. The wheel of eight elements is set to spin randomly, so the app responds to the energy of the person using it. No belief required. Time after time I’ve seen a jaw drop after a person asks a question and spins the wheel. “How does it do that?” is a question I hear often.

Within a month of the first meditation telling me to create an I Ching drumming app, my initial team was revealed to me. Someone came into my life with a little experience creating apps. Another friend did beautiful, inspiring graphics. A trip to India yielded guided meditations recorded on a sacred mountain. Getting the right programmer was a different story. At one point the plot twists and turns made the journey seem more like a mystery than an adventure. I will say one thing. The entire process has called for gentle persistence.

In the traditional interpretation of the I Ching, #57 hexagram is called Perseverance. Don’t get me wrong. I have great respect for tradition. However, perseverance feels so heavy, which is why I changed the title. In the days of old, people persevered and were proud of it. Some fought for our civil rights, the right to vote, the right to free speech. Some endured hard working and living conditions simply to survive. I realize life isn’t always easy, but I want to live in a world where life is gentle and less pushing is required to make life work.

I want to align with my goals and get there after a joyful journey, not reach them panting and screaming. Rhythmic alignment makes me feel like I’m doing something about reaching my goals by simply listening to the drumming. As a friend said, “I get the energy of the hexagram almost through osmosis, it changes me.”

Gentle persistence has been coming up on my wheel consistently for the past month. I’m in the home stretch now. The app has long been created, but improvements and issues with Apple app store have delayed the process of the free app version reaching the public. I know the outcome is inevitable. I’m persistent in staying with the energy of having the app finished and in the hands of people regularly benefitting from it. This isn’t such a stretch of the imagination as some people already use it regularly with great results.

I can see my app helping people by empowering them to live from their own guidance. I know people more easily align with peace and joy, following their hearts and reaching their goals with the help of Be Tao Now. I feel gratitude watching happy people living mindful lives. I feel fulfilled knowing that this app enriches lives and the people using it pay that forward and open heartedly give back to their communities to make a better world.

Last month I was in Mt. Shasta with friends. We couldn’t hike because the smoke from the fires ravaging the parched hillsides was so thick. Fire burns off the old and makes room for new growth. The smoke followed me to Ashland, Oregon, then back to the San Francisco Bay area. I thought for sure there would be clean air in New Mexico, but the smoke followed me here too.

Tonight there is rain in Ghost Ranch, where people have lived, survived and thrived for well over 12,000 years. The storm whips up the wind across the dry, red clay earth. At first, it seems like it is simply throwing dust around, but I know the wind brings with it new energy. The smoke from the fires has followed me north, west, east and south. I have followed my passion (fire) and now the smoke lingers. But not for long. Wind brings in new energy reminding me to gently persist in keeping with the vision I want to see manifest. And just today one more obstacle has been removed. Thank you Wind.  IMG_1713

IMG_1488#22. Beauty. Mountain over Fire. Fire burning brightly attracts wondrous connections. Combine fire with inner strength and you have a beauty that surpasses time…find beauty in yourself and the world will look beautiful to you.  

Sometimes I forget that the beauty I’m seeing is the beauty I’m looking with. I must be feeling gorgeous today because the scenery around me is scrumptious as I’m sitting on the patio of a French bistro waiting for an omelet with goat cheese and herbs Provence. Across the courtyard two middle aged men who have already had lattes and chocolate croissants are content to share their inspiration in a lazy, summer jazz piece on clarinet and saxophone.

This California beach town is humming with conversation. Children laugh and squeal as they run around the fountain in bright colored clothes, reminding me of my favorite childhood story of tigers turning to butter. My ten year old mellow puppy dog takes another sip of water, looks at me, then resumes her own people and dog watching.  A palm tree waves as a mother picks up her daughter, her pink dress waving back as she’s twirled around. A white butterfly flits across the courtyard bringing attention to the leashless black lab scrounging for food. Friends are catching up through encouraging smiles, talk of God, barbecues, parents and work.

There is an abundance of beauty around me. I feel like that butterfly looking down and catching glimpses of love and joy. The loveliness of the mountain is in my heart that burns passionately for life and all living things. The truth within me knows that seeing through the eyes of love and gratitude is both the beauty I see with and the beauty I look upon.

Hexagram description, by Elisheva Herrera, can be found in the app, Be Tao Now – I Ching Drumming for Triumphant Living!                                     http://betaonow.com

Sacred Heart Songs for a Sacred Journey

Hearing is the first sense to come in while we’re in the womb. Hearing is also the last sense to go. There’s nothing like singing to someone on his deathbed to remind you of how awesome life is and how small problems really are.

A friend who was working in hospice said to me, “I want to make this man’s passing holy. I can’t seem to find how to do it.” The man was Jewish. I suggested, “I can come over and sing Hebrew chants.”

My friend is a brilliant, former software engineer who now gets paid much less to tutor children and do hospice work. Although his bank account is less well fed these days, his heart and soul are abundantly overflowing and his life is meaningful.

We were on King’s Mountain sitting on a deck facing a yard full of redwood trees discussing a man’s passing. Hard to imagine that less than ten miles away an industrial freeway hummed with fast paced traffic bringing people home from their Silicon Valley jobs. But in the forest, no one is king and no one gets out alive.

I found my Self at the dying man’s bedside a few days later. His eyes were closed and his breathing wasn’t that labored, yet. My friend informed me that Richard hadn’t communicated or even opened his eyes for 24 hours or more. I leaned over and put my hand on his head while I spoke softly to him, “At the end of life, all the stories of life fall away, and all that’s left is Love. So let the stories fall away, Richard. Just watch them fall away.” He seemed to nod slightly.

3mThx8FPBoPOvSg573BM96U_doIXlOW53xT8FD8H5UQ - Version 2“Shema Yisrael, Adonoi Eloheynu, Adonoi Echad.” The first line of the most important prayer in Judaism was sung through me with no warning. Richard twitched in response. “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.” This is the prayer that for devout Jews, is the first thing on their lips at the start of the morning, the last thing on their lips before sleep and the last thing on their lips before death. Richard heard and felt the message of Unity behind this prayer. This time, maybe he heard it as the call home.

The next song was what I had planned to sing first. “Shalom Aleichem” calls in the angels of peace, the angels of song. “Peace to you, angels of God,” begins the comforting melodic chant with Middle Eastern intervals. It ends with, “May you leave in peace,” which suddenly had even greater meaning given the circumstances.

I’ve sung to dying people before. Each time I sing to a person in hospice I feel like I’m doing profound sacred work. It feels like a blessing, a mitzvah, a good deed. My mantra before doing this work is, “The Divine expresses in, through, as and all around me.” Saying this with deep intention gets my little self out of the way so that the very highest and best can happen. It gets me out of judgment of my voice, critical thinking, keeps me centered in the heart, and is my personal ritual before being in service in a way that has been cultivated for years.

Each Hebrew song or chant came back to me, although it had been years since I sang so many all at once. The words and melodies were easily remembered and the placement of the tones was exquisite. I witnessed as the sounds came through me in the most beautiful way imaginable. The heights soared, the mid tones sailed and the low tones resonated with a deep sense of knowing. The minor scales came easily, notes bending like reeds swaying in the wind. This was described by a friend who was a classical musician as, “You sing in quarter tones.”

When I got to the 23rd Psalm, I stopped and said, “You know, there’s a line in this psalm that has another interpretation than the usual translation in English.”

My friend was anxious to hear it. “Do tell. Being raised by a Protestant minister, I heard this psalm often and had huge problems with it,” he shared passionately.

“Thou preparest a table for me in front of mine enemes,” I began.

“That’s exactly the part I have trouble with!” my friend interrupted.

I continued, “Another interpretation is, ‘thou preparest a table before me in front of my sorrows.’ Maybe its interpreted the way it has been because our sorrows are our enemies.” This seemed to satisfy my friend. “Just feel it this time. Don’t think of the words,” I suggested. My friend nodded, closed his eyes and sat quietly while I began, “Mizmor le David. Adonoi ro-eeh, Adonoi ro-ehh, lo ech-sad, lo ech-sad.” which translates to “Psalm of David. The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want.”

With each song the Presence was felt. Richard showed signs of recognition during the melodies that are most popular in North American synagogues. His eyelids would flutter, or his right hand would tremor, or he would grunt, or make some noise. His appreciation was felt, which only deepened my gratitude; gratitude for being called to service; gratitude for being able to serve in such a meaningful, unique way; gratitude for the beauty, love and depth beyond the physical realm coming through my voice.

Sometimes I would hum and the humming would meld into familiar intervals, and then the words would come. “Kadesh, kadesh yameinu, kadesh yameinu, ke-kedem – Make us holy (sanctify us) as is in the days of old.” Richard grunted and sighed deeply. “Maher Ahoov, chi ba mo-ed, ve choneni kimei olam – Hurry Beloved, for the time is near, and have mercy on me for all time.”

Many tunes later, when the time felt right, I placed my hand over Richard’s heart and said, “Richard, remember to let go of the stories of life and let Love prevail.” Richard grunted and fluttered his eyelids to let us know he understood and to thank us for the time we had together.

“Have a good journey home, Richard,” I said. Before I turned to leave, once again the melody came through unexpectedly and we ended where the session began, “Shema Yisrael, Adonoi Eloheynu, Adonoi Echad – Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.” I prayed it was the last thing Richard heard.

Although I was the one singing, it felt like Richard gave me a gift. Love sings me and it is a great joy. In the end, I get out of the way and all that’s left is Love.


How to Charm a Bull

(originally published in HaLapid, the Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies)



First of all, you must be able to sing in Spanish. Then, you must be able to sing as if all you had ever known was Love. Then the bull will hear you. Then the bull will respect you, will come running to you.

The Rio Grande Valley was home to my parents, home to their ancestors. My parents were born here. The six-acre parcel I was on was purchased in recent times by my aunt and uncle, Tia Pila and Tio Fino. Pila is my mother’s oldest sister. She and Fino, along with my mother and father, left the world of farming to move to Illinois to work in factories and raise families. My aunt and uncle raised their large family down the block from us. When my mother died, my aunt, uncle and father moved back to the place where they had grown up.

This land holds history for my family. Ancestors who lived in the Valley probably since it was New Spain owned land here. The dirt I was standing on may have been home to me if it hadn’t been stolen away.  Native Americans believe land can never be owned. It belongs to Mother Earth.

I wonder what life would have been like growing up here. Would I have traveled so much? Would I have gotten an education? Or would I be a singer in a mariachi band singing “cu-cu-ru-cu-cu cantaba” instead of “this little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine” in New Thought churches?

Maybe if I had felt this attached to the land growing up, I wouldn’t have been so restless. The Midwest gifted me with mulberries, apples, sour rhubarb, wild grapes and corn fields in the summer. And oh how I loved rolling in the autumn leaves. And the spring. Somehow I was always becoming one with the mud in the springtime. That’s a different story. But the winters were so harsh. There were too many layers between the ground and me.

I looked like Snow White in the winter with my black hair and light skin. In fact, that was my first nickname when I moved to Israel. It was in the holy land that I realized I preferred being sun kissed to my original pale color.

The July heat was oppressive, even for the south of Texas so close to the border. Tia, Tio and I were outside in the shade, catching the breeze and enjoying time together. We had nowhere to go, nothing to do. It was one of those rare moments when you really get to savor time together. How many times can we say that happens in our harried, hectic modern lives?

It was a beautiful sunny day, with few clouds in the sky. There was no one around for miles. All the other houses were too far in the distance to be seen. It occurred to me that this could have been any century. There was no humming of modern appliances, no planes overhead, not even one car on the rural road at that moment and from our vantage point, not even a road in sight. We could have been living in another period. It was one of those instances where time seems to stand still. My heart was overflowing with gratitude for the moment, for the quiet time with my favorite aunt and uncle and for the beautiful voice with which I was gifted. All I could do was sing.

I began to sing a gorgeous 15th century Spanish song I knew. Los Pelegrinitos is a song about two pilgrims who are cousins who wish to marry, but have to travel to the pope to ask permission to do so. It is told in story form from a mother to her daughter. It is a dear song to me because it illustrates the complexities of the period, which happen to be an integral part of my family’s heritage.

At that time, in the 1400’s, the Jews were kicked out of Spain or forced to convert. Many Spanish Jews kept their practices in secret. Often they married within the family to keep the faith. In Judaism, it is allowed for first cousins to marry. So I have always conjectured this story to be about Jewish cousins trying to marry.

The contents of the song are not that important. What was more significant was the intention behind the singing. In that moment, I was singing from an open heart with pure love for my family, my surroundings, for the moment and for the gratitude of my God given instrument.

As I sang, “Sombrerito de hule lleva el mozuelo,” I heard my aunt and uncle conversing among themselves in Spanish, “What are they doing coming now? They never come now.” I continued “y la pelegrinita, Mamita, de terciopelo, nina bonita, de terciopelo, nina.” I opened my eyes to see some brown specks coming towards us. Tia and Tio were speaking in surprised tones, but I was too busy feeling the song and the love to hear all they were saying. I kept my eyes on the brown specks as they quickly came our way.

“Al pasar por el Puente de la Victoria…tropezo la madrina, Mamita,” I began to realize the brown specks were cows, all except for one. “Callo la novia, nina bonita, callo la novia, nina.”

The cows were led by a bull. George was a full grown, huge picture of potent power. He was a beautiful chocolate brown with hints of Indian red. He was so massive all his parts dragged on the ground, his cojones, his polla, all of it. It was a wonder he could move so quickly. I continued singing while being in awe of this gorgeous symbol of earthiness and masculinity. “Le ha preguntado el Papa que se han pecado…”

Tia and Tio were still wondering what George was up to. George came as closely as he could to me. “El le dice que un beso mamita.” At this point I was very grateful for the thin barbed wire fence between us, which, I hadn’t noticed before. “Que le habia dado, nina bonita, que la habia dado, nina.”

George came all the way up to the fence, not more than 15 feet directly in front of me. “Las campanas de Roma ya repicaron…” He tilted his head and lifted his left ear up as high as it could go, then his face melted. I swear I could hear him sigh. “Porque los pelegrinos, Mamita, ya se casaron, nina bonita.”

I’ve seen very few bulls in my life and never before and never since have I seen one this size, but I have never heard of a bull swooning. That is what George did. He swooned just as I finished singing the last verse, “Ya se casaron, nina.”

My aunt and uncle were chuckling to realize that George had run all this way with the cows behind him so he could hear my voice and be near me.

I have experienced many instances of charming animals since, but my first time was with George and he will always hold a special place in my heart. I felt extremely honored that such a powerful magnificent creature would pay me such a compliment as George did that day.

The symbol of the bull represents power, being grounded, fertility, the virile masculine that gets things done. It is a wonderful reminder of who I am. On days when I start to feel or say, “I can’t,” I remember George’s response to me. Then I remember my true power. I have the ability to charm bulls. There is nothing I cannot do.


Los Pelegrinitos (The Young Pilgrims)

Following is an English translation of Elisheva’s song to the bull as arranged by the poet Federico Garcia Lorca


To Rome they’re walking two pilgrims

for the Pope to wed them mamma

’cause they’re cousins pretty baby, ’cause they’re cousins baby


A little felt hat, he’s wearing the lad

and the pilgrim girl mamma,

a velvet one pretty baby, a velvet one baby


When they were crossing the bridge of Victoria

the bridesmaid stumbled mamma

the bride fell down pretty baby, the bride fell down baby


They arrived in the Palace,walked upstairs

and in the Pope’s hall mamma

they were brought down pretty baby, they were brought down baby


The Pope asked them, what are their names

he says it’s Pedro mamma

and she says it’s Ana pretty baby, and she says it’s Ana baby


The Pope asked them, what is their age

she says it’s fifteen mamma

and he seventeen baby


The Pope asks them where do they come from

she says from Cabra mamma

and he from Antequera pretty baby, and he from Antequera baby


The Pope asks them whether they have sinned

he says just one kiss mamma

that he had given her pretty baby, that he had given her baby


And the pilgrim girl who is shy

her face has turned mamma

into a rose pretty baby, into a rose baby


And the Pope responded from his quarters:

I wish I was pilgrim mamma

to do the same! pretty baby, to do the same! baby


The bells of Rome are pealing now

because the pilgrims mamma

are married now pretty baby, are married now baby

Do You Need Permission to Dance?P609013011-300x224

The town I live in has a Farmer’s Market on Thursday nights. You know the kind. The street gets cordoned off and people walk around drinking wine or eating popcorn with their kids. Local farmers sell greens that still smell like the earth. You can get free range rotisserie chicken, homemade breads and pies, or even original artwork.

Unfortunately for me, dogs are not allowed. I took my dog after checking the town website to see if there was any mention of the banning of dogs. None whatsoever. Once I reached the event with dog in tow, there were signs glaring at me everywhere that read, “No Dogs Allowed at Farmer’s Market!”

Luckily I had my trusty roommate with me and together we negotiated the pooch unfriendly place. It wasn’t that big a deal. I stood by the sidelines as he approached a vendor to take a look at the tamales. People came by to pet Captain, my fluffy furry friend who was newly groomed. After a family of dog lovers moved on, I noticed her.

She wore shorts and a tee shirt. She was probably between eight and twelve years old and there she was, about fifty feet away, standing behind a booth, probably helping her parents support their favorite non-profit. This young lady stood staring at me while people passed by and a live band played Beatles songs in the nearby park. In fact, the foursome wore straight haired wigs, straight slacks and grey sweaters reminiscent of the ones the original Fab Four wore on the Ed Sullivan show. Fifty years later these classics were pulling in people of all ages.

But, why was this girl staring at me? I returned her intense gaze and observed a little twitch here and a twitch there in time to the rhythm. “Well she was just seventeen, and you know what I mean…” I knew that look. This little girl wanted to dance. But why wasn’t she letting herself move? My mind wanted to make up a story about why someone so young would be so inhibited. This was not a moment to think. Precious time was wasting while this young one stoodH-1EfW-BfBDQ2pYFL8De8TefG3N9USSlpQtQjDjAtzY unexpressed. I had to start dancing immediately and show her how to let go.

Most people say, “Dance as if no one is watching.”  Why would I care if someone was watching? I always say, “Dance as if someone is watching and they’ve forgotten how to dance and you need to show them how it’s done!” I know it doesn’t roll off the tongue like the original quote, but it makes a lot more sense to me.

You better believe I shook it good for my young friend. I kept her gaze as I jerked back and forth and sang too! Her eyes instantly grew big with delight as she squealed and started jumping up and down before settling into the rhythm. Then I noticed the little sister next to her. Once she saw Big Sister getting down, Little Sister started in on the fun too! By the time I left, they were oblivious to me and continued dancing to the next song, and the next song…

I’m happy to lend my fire to get things started. Call me a catalyst. Call me Chief Joy Officer. I’ll give you permission to sing or dance or just let go and be yourself. Do you need permission?