Totes for OSO

OSO StrongSometimes, it is easy to feel that because we don’t have big means, we cannot make an important difference.

In the overwhelming need of the OSO community, we have been tempted to feel this way. Can we really make a difference, can we really make life a tiny bit easier for someone?

And we have decided that YES, we could.

So, here is what we have come up with:

Linda McGuire has created and gifted a beautiful design, which Peggy Woods has offered to print at no cost on these super strong 100% cotton jumbo totes (15″h x 20″w x 5″d – we can carry a small child in there, I am pretty sure). And then to top off all of this goodness, San Mar is taking $75.00 off the cost of the non-printed totes AND  giving us free freight!


The price for each tote is $12 and we will send 100% of the profits to North County Family Services, in Darrington. We talked with them this morning and they assured us that all the money would go into an account, from which community people are distributing the funds to families  and helping pay for funerals, and anything else they may need.

Another option, once you get your tote, it to fill it with pet supplies like food, leashes, collars etc … and bring it to them. When asked what was the most needed, the answer we got was: cash, gas cards and pet supplies.

Please pass the word, if you feel moved to do so

YES. I will pick up in Anacortes
Order here

YES. Please ship it to me
($4.50 shipping)
Order here

“Each of us as human beings has a responsibility to reach out to help our brothers and sisters affected by disasters. One day it may be us or our loved ones needing someone to reach out and help.” Michael W. Hawkins, American Red Cross




Nia and the Awareness of Hip Joints

Debbie Rosas, Nia Co-Creator, says:

No other joint provides as much comfort, conditioning and energy flow as the hip joints. If you’re in my Nia class, you will hear me frequently say, “Keep your balls alive.” People laugh when they hear me say this; however, as the largest ball and socket joint in the body, the hips are responsible for balancing our energy from below and above. The hip joints are the conduits for mobility and stability. With every step you take, the balls of your hip joints beg to move. When they move, they rock and roll the energy, sending it from left to right and around your spine from the tail to the crown. Keep the balls of your hip joints healthy and you will breathe more deeply, have more resilience in your legs and more strength in your abdominal muscles and back. Not to mention, you’ll look and feel better!

It took me ten years to let go of the tension in my hip joints. There were several things standing in the way of my having free and mobile hips. First, there was the attitude, “good girls don’t move their tails.” Second, there was the belief system, “If I walk down the street with a loose pelvis, I’ll look a loose woman, and I might even get attacked.” Yet once I understood the science of The Body’s Way, I gave myself permission to move my pelvis – which is the way of the body. I am happy to say I no longer carry those stories and attitudes. With knowledge and practice, I have freed my body and my mind to allow a full range of motion in my hip joints. Of all body parts that provide immediate pleasure, my hip joints are the ones I can always rely on. Whether I’m sitting, standing, or walking in heels or flats, sensing my hip joints and “keeping my balls alive” keeps me happy and healthy. It gives an extra “pizzaz” when I walk down the street in a pair of pumps!


  • Practice Heel Lead and make a connection between the ball of the foot and the ball of the hip joint. Sense energy transferring from the feet to the hips.
  • Play with transverse motion. As you step forward with your right foot, allow the left arm to swing easily across and in front of your torso, and vice versa with your other leg and opposite arm.
  • As you sit down, sense the rolling of the hip joints lowering your body into the chair.
  • Resting on all fours (hands and knees) circle your pelvis and undulate your spine to stimulate mobility in your hip joints.
  • Practice the Figure Four hip opening stretch. Do this by resting on your back and crossing your right ankle over your left thigh. Interlace your hands between and around your legs, drawing your left leg in towards your chest. Breathe deeply as you open your hips. Switch sides and repeat.
  • Exhale the sounds “Oooh” and “Ahh” as you practice the Nia Pelvic Circles.

Nia and Crankiness

“If you feel more than a little cranky AND have been skipping your Nia class, there may be a relation of cause and effect, here.”

I am sharing with you my morning shower bit of wisdom – addressed to ME.

Kids are back in school and I have been looking at “how do I make this work?” I want all of us home early for dinner together and really, if I skip a Nia class here and there, it wont be that big a deal. So I have. I have skipped a couple. And this morning, I am cranky as hell. Which is not great given my “Happy Director” title. Sure, there are some hormone fluctuations going on and sure I can be cranky once in a while. But when I found myself moving my arms Nia style in the shower, I knew what was part of my angst.

The movement for sure. But also the smiles, the togetherness, the view from up there, all of us and all of it.

So tonight, I’m going. I’m going to make this work another way. Because being home early and cranky isn’t helping anyone.

If this resonates with you in any way – please join me. And maybe we can do some kind of dinner co-op rotation thing ?


I’m On My Way…

When I opened the door to the Ballroom today, she was glowing. Fifty steps didn’t seem to have phased her and she looked very ready for her first life coaching session.

As she sat on the couch, she told me that as she was driving down from Bellingham, she had been smiling a lot, and thinking to herself :”I’m on my way to the Center for Happiness!!”

The recollection made her smile even bigger and I thought … hmmm…. we need us some bumper stickers!

Now, THEY’re on their way!


On “Success”

How do you decide if something has been “successful?”

This morning, the “morning after” an event a couple of courageous friends and I organized, I am sitting with the question. Hearing about the need of a local family, we decided that together, we could make things a little easier for them.

We decided to pool our resources together (creativity, energy, connections) and generate enough cash to buy enough gas cards to lighten their current load.

And we went for it (I heard the words “balls to the wall” being mentioned a couple of times by observing eyes, in the last couple of weeks.). Yup, we went for it. We were on the radio, in the paper, on posters … We gathered a really varied and rich array of donations for our silent auction. A group of musicians joined us and offered their heart-guided sounds for several hours. The room was beyond beautiful, looking as though it belonged in a 5 star hotel. We had a great movie to sing along to. Scrumptious hand crafted food and drinks. Flowers. And beautiful people.

We worked fast and we worked well and we worked “hard” in a joyous way.

We made it happen.

Our goal, as defined during our first meeting was to generate enough gas cards so that these folks could go back and forth from their home in Anacortes to Seattle’s Children’s Hospital once a week for a year – and not worry about the fuel cost. We guessed that to be around $2000.

And last night, after everyone was gone and the Ballroom was quiet, we estimated that between the direct donations, the movie tickets and the silent auction … we most likely have reached our goal. Within two weeks and with a lot of energy and lots of generosity from some “YES people,” we have done it.

So why do I feel “funny” this morning? Well, first, there is that “morning after” feeling. No doubt about that. After focusing so intensely on this event, it feels strange to be on the other side of it.

But there is more.

There is a bit of … something. There is a bit of something that comes from the fact that really, very few people showed up. Let me re-phrase this. A LOT OF PEOPLE SHOWED UP. As I write this (writing is always my no-fail therapy), I realize that a lot of people showed up.

In many different and beautiful ways. But not in the way that my mind had thought they would. I had imagined a room full of people. Really, a room full of strangers who would have shown up lured by our savvy promotion and would have mingled and donated and made a lot of cocktail party noises. I had imagined a loud affair. I had imagined something different than what was. And often, that’s exactly where the snag lives: in the space where things are different that what we had imagined.

What really did take place? Well, very few “strangers” showed up, last night. Instead, it was more of our lovely growing little community. The silent auction brought in a good amount of cash and when Marilyn added it up in her head, about half way through, and shared that number with me, I was shocked. How could it be? Hardly anyone had been here! Wrong. Plenty had been here. WE had been here. Something about that felt weird and last night, I was too tired to extract the gifts from that. I was still living in that “snag” place. I had stories in my head of “Well, if we bid on our own auction, does it count?”

This morning, I feel very differently. This morning, I am seeing how while this did not happen the way my mind (ego ?) had envisioned it, it was beautiful. There we were, in that room that has become our home away from home, our place of creation – together. And together we doubled the money that had been sent to us over the last two weeks by many many people – many of them whom we have never met.

It seems to me that again, we are dealing with a matter of Essence vs Form. The Essences we declared when starting on this little adventure were Peace of Mind and Joy. I am going to say that these two Essences have been met. Clearly. Peace of Mind and Joy for us as we created this thing out of thin air (ok, so we may have gotten a little bit overwhelmed a couple of times), Joy for the people who chose to play with us and contribute, and now Peace of Mind for a family who is about to get handed a stack of shiny gas cards. In the amount we had hoped for.

The Form was not exactly what we had envisioned and yet, now that I sit with it, I am thinking that it may actually be way sweeter than what my little mind had crafted. And the sweetness comes from another Essence which is so huge for me: COMMUNITY. Community with intimacy. Community that grows slowly and deeply from doing things together. Playing, creating, grieving sometimes too. And giving. Giving of our smiles, our time, our music, our art, our hearts, our gifts, our presence.

This morning, this “morning after” I look back and think that yes, this was very successful.

4th of July Happiness Float

What a joy-fest!

Carol had found us a big old flat bed truck (and a great driver) and we decided to be in the 4ht of July parade. A few balloons, a couple of colorful swags (we will be raffling one of them off on Saturday for our “Fuel for Carter” event) and all it took was to invite some great people to hop on and blow bubbles.

To the tunes of “I Love This Town” and “It’s a Small World” we sang and laughed and had a great time.

Again, I love being reminded of how little it takes to create and sprinkle joy!

(see more pictures on our Facebook page)

Last Night’s Drumming Circle

Last night’s New Moon Drumming Circle was quite an event. Not that I have anything to compare to as I am a Drumming Circle Newbie. But still, I am pretty sure this was rather special.

There were many, many of us and while some people came for the first time, I could feel the beginning of a bond between “the regulars.” There was an ease and a warmth and what I would call a very powerful blend of depth and joy.

Elke led us into drumming, rattling, singing, dancing and something else which was not quite tangible but very acute.

What a gift to be part of this growing group of people. Thank you, Elke. Oh, and THANK YOU for your mountain of still warm, gluten free cookies. I had about eight more than is reasonable.

And as is often the case, the impromptu “after party” was a real treat. Aaron on our old piano (which somehow became almost in tune as if by magic), Chrystal and Wendy on the drums, several of us dancing … while the sun took its sweet time setting…. pure bliss.

Welcome, New Moon.

Anacortes Center for Happiness, S.P.C – I am liking the sound of it already.

That’s it. We’re doing it.

The Anacortes Center for Happiness is becoming one of Washington State’s new “Social Purpose Corporations.”

The State’s website tells us that:

As of June 7, 2012, a new type of profit corporation will exist in Washington.  For the past two years, the State Bar Association has been working on this law that would allow a corporation’s shareholders and directors to put a social purpose (such as saving the environment or saving the whales) above the purpose of making a profit.  They discussed the need for the law, the different points of the law, and the differences from the “Benefit Corporation” law that seven states have already enacted. The Secretary of State’s Office participated in these discussions and was happy to support HB 2239.

So yep. Here we go.

Question from the Secretary of State form for the SPC:
The business purpose or purposes of this corporation is/are_______________

To provide joy, growth, connection and kindness for its patrons and anyone associated with it –  as well as for the local, state, national and world community.

Sounds right, no? (this is a really important part because it becomes part of the “DNA” of the corporation and we need to report yearly on “how we’re doing” based on that.)

I find it amazingly cool  – and inspiring –  that there is room for these words on a State Application.

Whew! All right … now to send in the $180. Lick the stamp and voila!

Comfy Couch and Dr Alethea’s Expertise

Being in the same room with an “expert” (which I think of as someone who is so passionate about a particular subject that they have devoted a large amount of their time and energy learning about it and really exploring it) can be a huge gift especially when that expert is ready to share his or her knowledge with us.

Now imagine curling up on a couch or in comfy armchairs with a group of women (or men), shoes off and maybe sipping tea. The room is beautiful and you feel safe and at ease, ready to talk and listen to each other.

And right there, is your expert. Possibly curled up on a chair also and ready to let you in on all the great stuff she knows. For a fraction of what it would cost for you to book a visit in her office, and with the added benefits of taking advantage of every one else’s questions and experience.

Now, add a bit of really good chocolate and you have last night’s talk with Dr Alethea Fleming, ND.

It was just great.

The topic was menopause and peri menopause and we all learned so much (not to mention going home with all kinds of cool stuff).

Everyone left feeling so much more equipped and … heard – which goes a long way.

So, we’re going to do it again. And again.

Alethea and I are working on an upcoming series, starting in the Fall. If there is a particular subject you would like to see her explore, please email us and let us know.