Community Stories of Power Tools and Tips

“I’m not Your Daddy” – What Carlos Castaneda told me

It was a Sunday morning in the winter of 1996. The sunlight was shining through the tall windows of the main auditorium, warming the air. The white walls and green carpet seemed to glow as if they had been renovated over the weekend. The seminar participants around me were smiling with sparkling eyes, and I felt like I had more space to breathe.

I had flown from Los Angeles to Oakland with Carlos Castaneda and his students to lead a workshop on vitality and energy Redistribution. The workshop at Holy Names College began on Friday evening with a two-hour lecture in which Castaneda shared stories of what he learned from his teacher don Juan Matus, a leader of a lineage of shamans from ancient Mexico. Castaneda emphasized the practice of the movements not only to boost strength and stamina and to enhance alertness and a general sense of wellbeing, but also to awaken a sense of purpose in one’s life. He introduced the Warrior’s Way as a collection of believes and behaviors to support individuals to reach states of inner authority and freedom. 

“It is your birthright,” he said from the stage, looking directly to the eyes of participants on the front row.  He was walking elegantly across the stage, dressed in a dark brown suit and black shoes. The birthright he was referring to was the internal authority to choose freely—to discern what is good for life and choose what is worthwhile, to walk paths with heart.

Carlos Castaneda ran a company to promote his work: I was hired as an instructor just a few months before the seminar. I followed a rigorous physical training that included a complete change of diet (no sugar, not even an apple, no salt, no flour, no caffeine or stimulants and only home cooked meals), long hours of movement practice every day, and a complete change of attitude towards life. I worked during the day, and in the evenings, I attended the public school to learn English. 

It was not in my plans to join his company or to move to the United States. I came from Argentina on a two-week vacation to attend one of his workshops. I traveled with friends and never thought of staying. I didn’t have the money, the talent, or the courage to even think about it. I had negative thoughts towards myself: I grew up hearing “Shut up, you’re a woman and you don’t know anything.” One of my brothers repeated it to me daily and his voice echoed in my head through the years. I had internalized that voice as mine without questioning it.

Until the day, in my first workshop in Culver City high school cafeteria in Los Angeles, when I experienced something different, as if the noise that the internalized voice produced had suddenly stopped. It was like when you unplug the fridge and realize the noise it made, and you are suddenly embraced by silence. My tummy relaxed and I felt my weight on the ground, as if I had finally landed on Earth. Gravitational forces were welcoming me, I felt joy even in my bones. Despite not knowing English and listen to a translation of what was said from the stage, I felt that I could understand beyond words.

Everything seemed to welcome me: At the entrance, the organizers greeted me as if they knew me, the three women on the stage smiled at me when I walked by, a person gave me his mat to sit on and I hugged the large group of Latinos, with whom I shared lunch in the breaks. It was a feeling of being in sync with life. The energetic passes practiced in unison increasing the feeling of camaraderie, like when you go to a concerts and you can all sing the same song because you know the lyrics by heart. It was a sense of oneness and that anything is possible, that made me feel free, and that I belonged.

It was playing sports that brought me back to life after I fell ill with rheumatic fever at the age of 8. Skin and bones, paralyzed in bed and abused by relatives, it was joining a swimming class and feeling supported by the warm water that made me want to be alive. My muscles ached because my chest was having to expand, but my eyes could look up again. Playing on a volleyball team, I experienced working with others for the same goal and belonging, something I couldn’t feel at home. To experience this deep sense of connection with others, that I so longed for, helped me make the decision to stay in Los Angeles. I said yes to Castaneda’s job offer: I could study, work with women and serve a bigger purpose. I didn’t stay because I wanted to be close to Castaneda. I stayed because it was my chance to reclaim my connection to life.

Oakland was my second workshop as an instructor: there were three stages in the big room with around 300 participants, divided into three groups dispersed around each stage. On Sunday morning, I was standing on the stage next to the main door, following a sequence of movements for readiness and precision. 

Being on stage and being a part of this group of women warriors challenged all my family’s beliefs. I was breaking the pattern of my lineage where women were destined to be secretaries and to serve their husbands at home. The stress created by wanting to perform without mistakes and the mourning of what was breaking in me created an internal friction that drove me to an edge. I was facing my enemies. In the early Saturday session, a Spaniard with a strong accent and deep voice, holding my arm tightly and angrily, asked me “Why are you on stage now, if you were a participant a few months ago?”. He reminded me of my brother. A part of me wanted to disappear into the crowd and be a participant. After all, I didn’t look so good: I had gained weight with the new diet and I felt bloated. My inner voice kept insisting that I was useless, and with the same force, another voice was growing and expressing “let me be free.” I was fighting the dragon and, defeating the urge to shrink with each breath and movement.

Castaneda decided to change the question-and-answer session that would end the workshop, to another movement session and came to the stage where I was standing to explain the details. In jeans, with a cream-colored shirt and New Balance sneakers, he moved with ease and flexibility as if stress could never reach his body. His left hand was in his pocket, and his right hand demonstrated the movements. I can see him as clear today as if time had not passed.

Suddenly, a large mass of participants rushed towards our stage. Castaneda signaled everyone to go back and assured them that he would jump to the other two stages, but no one listened. Then he went to the second stage and explained the same details: to keep the thumbs near the index fingers with a flat palm of the hands, as one performs circles, and to keep the eyes at the horizon level. The great mass of participants followed him. With a tight smile, he made it clear to everyone that they didn’t have to follow him: the magic would be found in what they discovered when they practiced the movements. He even challenged them:

“Those of you who have already heard what I say, stay here and practice the movements: I am going to jump to the third stage, you do not need to follow me.” But most of the people followed him, as if blinded by an almost hysterical euphoria.

On the third stage, his smile faded, and his voice sounded metallic:

“Please, I don’t want followers, I’m not your daddy…,” he repeated several times, as if looking for a way out of his feelings rising and about to erupt. I don’t remember his exact words, but he said something like: 

“Go home and recap what you have learned. Get together with others and practice. This is how you can get closer to me, by becoming practitioners, and using your energy to change your lives.”

That same afternoon we flew back to Los Angeles. In the plane, Castaneda was sitting in front of me in tourist class in complete silence. The next day he called me to cancel our daily practice. He explained that he had fallen ill and needed to rest. The sinister image of the participants following him from stage to stage at the seminar haunted him. He said that people will not understand what he was trying to do. He hated personal attention and being put on a pedestal, and treated like a celebrity. Since he wrote the Teachings of don Juan, he had spent a lot of time in anonymity. At the end of the phone call he changed his mind, “Come over, let’s work in the garden and prunes the trees, that may help to clear the shadow.” Castaneda did not travel again and this workshop was one of his last public appearances.

Recapitulating that Sunday afternoon in Oakland from the position of who I am today after almost 30 years of travelling and teaching Castaneda’s work all over the world, I realize that I have been on the stage enough times to understand that the message is the priority, not the messenger. Now I can speak English fluently and I can recognize my true voice, so I can say to participants with conviction: “Close your eyes, call on your internal authority, do not lose your integrity, follow the authority of your heart, follow your own voice.”

Community Events Stories of Power Tools and Tips

I’m Not Alone

Nature knows well about the cycles of endings and rebirths.

I was born amid the concrete, in a busy city, and my experience of nature was limited to the plants in my grandfather’s patio. At home we had a dog, two canaries in a cage, and two water turtles my mother cared for, all orphans that brought some color to the pale gray atmosphere.

Occasionally I went to the park, where I worried about who would play with me since my brothers enjoyed entertaining themselves without my presence. I carried a shaky feeling in my belly all the times I was around them; I feared getting hit. During the family summers spent at the beach, I was on the outside, observing how others enjoyed the ocean. Looking back, I was disconnected somehow, as if life was not meant for me.

I moved from Buenos Aires to Los Angeles, and after 25 years of developing a career, I moved again to a place I didn’t even know existed. On the big Island of Hawaii, nature grows raw and wild, active volcanos destroy and build new land, double rainbows shine through the rain and ocean waves erase the shake, the fear, the anguish.

In my new house, I pull the relentless weeds that grow between the banana trees my neighbors gave me. Although they may have a purpose, weeds do harbor insects and diseases damaging my new garden. I want to pull out what hurts and keep what nurtures me.

Do the weeds know they will die? What do plants know?

I had another house before, a seven-acre dream for my family to rest, unite, and thrive. I worked for ten years to finish the building, a shelter for peace, for connecting deeply. I insisted on something that was not meant to be.

Have you ever insisted on something that was never meant to be?

I created a castle and placed a prince on it, a white house with many windows to view the green lush and early morning sunrises. I had a plan, but it was not God’s plan. If there is a God, I guess she would acknowledge my efforts in trying to know her.

Is there a destiny that we are meant to fulfill?

When things don’t work as planned, what do we do?

I adapted and placed the house for sale. I protested and complained. I didn’t want to give up bathing in the rain as plants do. Walking under the light of thousands of stars on new moons; meditating under the full moon shadow. Breathing fresh air as if for the first time, listening to thousands of myna and saffron finches chirping in the mornings. Sleeping in the deep darkness of silence.

Something told me to move on. I held tight to the house posts. The day it was sold, I cried like I have never done before. Yet I knew I needed to live in a city with a good internet connection for my online classes: close to my son’s school and basketball practice; closer to people. I needed to reclaim a space where I could own my journey, my growth, and my beauty. I closed a cycle, with grief also for the ending of my marriage. 

I’m allowing the growth a new me. It feels like for fifty years I have been living a life for others, for an idea of how to behave to be accepted; to please in order to receive love, and to allow being imprisoned in order to belong. I said yes when I wanted to say no, I cleaned after someone else’s mistakes, I held tight when I should have let go.

Today my inner tree grows new understandings. I feel bravery sprouting at my feet. I have grown big ears for listening, and big arms to hold it all, the ugly and the shiny. If I see a friend, my attention is devoted to listening to her; if I teach a class, I am authentic and honestly aligned with myself, without anxiety, and without the need to get things done in a certain way.

I am not the sum of my accomplishments, but the sum of my understandings.

I am re-surfacing from the underworld of patriarchal standards, breaking the chains of what it means to be a woman. Hawaii taught me how to change my car oil and filter, fill my propane tanks, trim my trees, and fix what is broken.  I drive with a machete in my trunk, and a swimsuit and towel by my side, ready to meet challenges and to have fun.

I recognize wildlife everywhere: I am fed by mangos and avocados, washed by raindrops, embraced by the wind, and rocked to bed with the sound of coqui frogs. Nature tells me that my life was meant for me.

I want to hold the hands of my beloved ones as I hold geckos and dead birds. I want to honor my relationships like the natural world honors me.

As I type, I am engulfed by life’s rhythmic tunes.  My dog lays by my feet, her snores tickling my skin. To the west, I hear distant cars passing by. To the east, laughing children run. They are dying and rebirthing, going through cycles like me. I am not alone.

Hamakua Coast
Community Events Stories of Power Tools and Tips

Experiencing Freedom in Mexico!

I am standing with my suitcases packed, gazing at the blue-turquoise ocean and wishing for this moment to last forever. In a few hours I will be flying back to Los Angeles, but I don’t want to go back. I want to be suspended in the intersubjectivity, created by our group here in the sacred Maya land, a place where time bends in the intertwined spaces of myth and history.

Our trip to Mexico was not a tour – it was a transformative adventure. I fell in love with each participant, each hero of this seven-day journey. Together, we took long walks, swam in pools and Cenotes, shared meals, practiced movements and sang old songs in our long drives. We slowed down thoughts and opened ourselves to listen to each other’s stories. We connected with an ancient culture that taught us about uncertainty and death. We listened to the power of the ancestors, to birds in the jungle, to the silence at the top of the pyramids. We were part of it.

The tears we shed in our goodbyes seemed to wash away all doubts about who we are. Today we face the clear sky, inhaling the sun energy inside. We are also the Maya, we are part of the dream of the plumed serpent, journeying through experiences, recognizing and remembering ourselves.

Orion still shines on top of my head, the pleiades just behind me.

On this journey I embraced my whole being, accepting my shortcoming as I accepted the curves at the edges of the pyramid, laughing at some irrational thoughts popping in my head about what might happen, and experiencing life as it is: raw, edgy, pure, wholeheartedly awesome.

My tears at the end were at realizing how well everything went, how blessed I was to be around vibrant beings shinning innocence and wisdom. I updated old interpretations about hardship and suffering. None is needed to live in this new time, 2020, a year to jump grooves.

Thank you to you all, friends and my real family, for these moments, forever sealed in my heart.


Community Tools and Tips

2020: We are Present to the Challenge!

Aloha Friends!

Miles, Axel and I spent the last week of 2019 at home, slowing down, wrapping up the year, paying bills and recycling clothing and belongings. We have been downsizing. Not only at the material level. Most importantly, downsizing emotional drama and unnecessary negativity. We cooked every meal, we slept lots. We cocooned in the warmth of our tribe and grounded ourselves in joyful calm awareness: to experience real life and to gather silence.

We don’t know about you, but for us, 2020 is bringing a tremendous sense of momentum for the evolution of our human future, our human resources and the planet’s physical viability to sustain us.

A question that swirls around our consciousness, for Miles and I today is, How are we showing up to the challenge of the upcoming time? What we are seeing in the horizon right now is not just this year, but the whole decade that begins, a time of definitions for our species and the Earth, of decisions that will shape the rest of the century and beyond.

For a moment like this, our teacher Carlos Castaneda imprinted in us the idea of readiness, that is, a particular state of being characterized by a full disposition to embrace what comes, a state of engagement, alertness, fluidity and lightness. It almost feels like all of our training with him was to prepare us to embody the principles of readiness for this precise juncture in time, today.

Here is an image that Miles dreamt, describing the energy of this moment:

“We are all standing on a plateau, side by side—Aerin, Axel and I, all our close friends, colleagues, BE teachers, and practitioners, holding hands, with all the lineage of seers supporting us from behind but with everyone looking steady ahead, in readiness. A vast landscape lies in front open ended, yet unwritten, and we take a step forward with our choice, towards our destiny.”

Choice is one of the very few true options we have been given, Castaneda used to tell us. In many cases, we cannot choose our lives experiences, but we can choose what to think about them and how to interpret them. We can choose our stance, the lenses by which we will interpret what is in front of us, the meaning that we give to things and the attitude in which we show up. The world as it is coming to us in this New Year and decade is filled with uncertainty and increasing speed. We are being pulled toward the negative news, and a fear mode. As warriors, we can be aware of all of it, and choose to hold our grounds.

What Miles and I propose is: Let’s make a bet for the human spirit, choose to give it all, our very best and then some. Sustain states of readiness and open heart, hold hand by hand and support one another, dream one another to experience ourselves truly.

Warm regards and hugs to you, and to the entire Being Energy community and beyond, to all beings who choose to be aware and present to the challenge of this upcoming time.

Ready and Aware with you,
Aerin and Miles

Community Tools and Tips

Forgive and Set Up Intentions while Welcoming the New Year

“Intent is what sends shamans through a wall, to space, to Infinity”~ Carlos Castaneda

Dear friend: A New Time has arrived. We are living in a new era of interconnection, worldwide, where information is shared instantly across the globe, where we must stand together to protect our planet, where we need new collective agreements of energy renewal and creative ways of getting along. We feel lucky to witness a new consciousness in a large number of people that are working for the betterment of all. A new Spiritual awakening is piercing through all beings, no longer in the hands of a few privileged teachers.

This new movement of daring is saying YES to nature, to women in power, to integration of cultures, to community, to shifting from fear and domination to Love. It is saying NO to the selfish in power that keeps trying to divide people. It is too late for the old ways of right and left extremes, for the pyramidal structures of power. Our time today is the time of shared, interdependent intent.

We are now aware that we are not our thoughts or feelings. We know now that we can question our thoughts and question what are we consuming. We can make choices for healthier eating and healthier being, something that was unavailable to the world at large before. We know that we feel better after practicing movements, after a yoga class, after gardening. We have in our hands a new description for ourselves, and the power to make decisions that can change our perception of ourselves completely.

So, ride on your power my friend, on your beauty and on vision. BE YOU and stop trying to be someone else. YOU is what the world needs now: vulnerable, honest and aware.

As you welcome the new light of the New Year, and follow the steps below, dance to the glory of your journey, with its ups and downs, and know without any doubts, that you have been loved, that you are loved right now, and that YOU ARE LOVE.

May your light radiate out to your friends, your families, your community, and to the whole world.

We appreciate you and we are with you,

Aerin, Axel and Miles Alexander-Reid

Community Events

Deepening Into the Heart

Last week, Miles and I taught a workshop about Lead Your Legacy at the wonderful Lead with Love Summit, at the stunning Aspen, in Rocky Mountains of Colorado. We were open-hearted welcomedand experienced deep connections of love with everyone, including participants, presenters, organizers, the trees and mountains surrounding us. The last time we taught a class in Aspen, was in 2005, at the Aspen Ideas Festival!.

This was a powerful opportunity to recapitulate who we were then, what we used to offer to others, and who we are now.

The very first difference I perceived was an ability to be more comfortable on my own skin, with my skills, my light and also, with my shortcomings. In large group events with celebrities I used to feel threatened and out of place, not knowing how and what to say and where to hide. What was present in me instead was calmness and connectedness, and my focus was on listening to others. I felt inspired by Gina Murdock, the founder and co-director of Lead with Love, who on and off stage, shows up as she is. (And felt inspired by other women and would write down about that on my future blog.)

More than 100 people signed up for our workshop! It was about awaking the Warrior state and connecting inwardly with the Healer and the Visionary within, all three shamanistic archetypes present in our collective consciousness.

Another difference I experienced was the immense joy and gratitude I felt from the very beginning.

Participants, all new to Being Energy®, were radiantly following the sequences of movements, engaged counting out loud, and renewing their body-mind-spirits. A large number asked us for a video to practice at home. You can see the sequence here below. Also, you can read the powerpoint presentation of the workshop clicking here.

The Summit was a blast of almost five days of workshops, panels, talks, body awareness classes, social events, activism and more. There were over 400 participants and more than 50 presenters in the areas of conscious business, body awareness and social peace, including John Mackey, the co-founder of Whole Foods, Lynne Twist, co-founder of the Pachamama Alliance, Dr. Rudy Tanzi, author, researcher, professor of neurology at Harvard, Rod Stryker founder of Parayoga, and Kevin Courtney, yoga and meditation teacher.

It was satisfying to hang out with true like-minded individuals and organizations who are actively engaged doing GOOD for the world and introduce Being Energy® and see how aligned it is with the wave of change and transformation taking place in the world.

In a personal level as a family, we took time to roll through to the Aspen Institute hills and mediate on top of rocks. Kids were freely playing around, practicing yoga with others kids, and soaking in the Loving!

Lastly, after six days of sunny warm weather, we woke up with a silent snow: a gift of spirit!. And, just for sheer inspiration and beauty, we want to share with you some images and the feel of those mountains and the inner silence that they bring to our soul.