"I am a woman in process. I'm just trying like everybody else. I try to take every conflict, every experience,and learn from it.
Life is never dull." ~ Oprah

Monday, March 21, 2011

With My Own Two Hands (or feet)

I used to think that I had no power to create significant changes.  Years of feeling like no one was listening to what I had to say...when in reality, I was planting little seeds around.  I have seen a number of my ideas come to fruition and whether I received recognition, or not, is no longer important to me.  Change begins within.  It is how I approach situations.  It is how I react or don't react.  It is me keeping focus on my own personal actions and making choices that keep me in integrity.  
I want to make the world a better place!  I mean, we all live here...right?

Last year, I participated in the One Day Without Shoes event to support TOMS One-For-One mission.  It was good to experience what it was like to walk on hot pavement or rocky ground without 
any shoes on my feet. It certainly made me more empathetic and created quite a bit of gratitude for having shoes available to me anytime I wanted them.  This year, I'm doing it again.  The difference is I'll be working on April 5th this year, so I will certainly have a different experience.  Going into a public bathroom barefoot isn't something I ever dreamed of doing - but I feel like I can sacrifice for one day.  Even if I don't see the change, it will make a change in me, and that's worth it!

Find out more and participate in the world-wide event!   

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I went to visit MUM in Iowa

Last Friday morning I left Austin enroute to Des Moines, Iowa.  Well... my final destination was Fairfield, Iowa in order to visit the campus of MUM, otherwise known as Maharishi University of Management

How did I find this place you ask? 
About 18 to 24 months ago I was doing a little internet search for sustainable communities and/or EcoVillages.....this lead me to the University somehow.  At that point in time, I wasn’t ready to consider the idea of going back to school - so I dismissed it, even though I thought it was an astounding place to receive an education!  I left it to “the others” and even suggested it to a few people I knew. 

Last summer, MUM found it’s way into my world again.  I started to really look at this time, for myself.  As I discovered the sustainable vegetarian community/campus, and realized subjects were taught in one-month blocks...my fears of being a student again dissipated.   I decided to apply and left the rest to the Universe.

On December 23rd, 2010 I received a call that I had been accepted for the Fall 2011 semester - which led me to the current Visitor’s Weekend.  I’m here now to make sure that it’s everything it claims to be, get the Vibe of the place, and to get acquainted with staff & students....

FRIDAY:  Six of us who flew into Des Monies from LA, Anaheim, Florida, and Austin (myself) were picked up and driven 2.5 hours to the campus.  We were escorted to our rooms at the Visitor’s Dorm, then taken to the Student Center for dinner (an all organic vegetarian meal).  Some Vegan foods were even offered! 
After dinner, the 30 visitors introduced ourselves to each other and the staff, then shown a presentation of the Winter & Summer Base Camp trips that are included in the 1st year student curriculum.  These 3-4 day trips look like great fun and were created to get people out of the campus environment, out into Nature, and to help students bond with one another.  They are divided into two trips each season, one for males and one for females.  A way to try new things, like snow-skiing, and connect with my inner-child.  The trips are definitely something I look forward to! 
Another opportunity for students is what’s called “Rotating University.”  It’s where students can take one Block and travel on group trips all over the globe, putting what we learn into action.  In March, they are going to Peru!  I would love to go on that one....but other trips are on the horizon and I’m sure I’ll take the trips as often as I can  =)

 SATURDAY:  First things first!  An local organic vegetarian breakfast please...
After our bellies were filled, we took tours of the Sustainable Living department along with a peak into the new Sustainable (off the grid) Living Center that should open in the Fall, then heard presentations from the Business and Vedic Science departments. 

It was then time for lunch, where I sat with one of the Vedic Science professors and two students - originally from Barcelona, Spain (whoa!).  Everyone here has such great energy and smile frequently.  They are happy! This seems to scare a number of the visitors, as we aren’t used to, as a society, to be around a multitude of joyful people at one time.  It doesn’t scare me; I actually long to be surrounded by positive and healthy beings.
Later, it was three more brief presentations on Financial Aid, the TM technique, and Conscious-Based Education.  While listening, my worries and stress faded away, my shoulders relaxed and I felt that I am exactly where I should be.  This is where I belong for more adult education!  It's about being a whole, balanced, heart-open individual.  This is about learning tools that contribute to world peace.  This is about BEING...not Doing.  I absolutely love this place! After dinner, we were given the opportunity to attend the Grand Piano Gala Concert at the local Fairfield Arts Center.  It was a fantastic and enjoyable treat! 

SUNDAY:  After breakfast in the Visitor Dorm, we heard some presentations on "Student Life," "What students gain from MUM,"  and were involved in a student panel discussion for 90 minutes.  Mayor Malloy welcomed us to Fairfield during our lunch break, then we headed over to one of the Golden Domes for a tour.  There was a great sense of Peace inside - I could stay there forever!
During our free time, I was able to tour around the area with a couple other ladies.  We saw Vedic City, the EcoVillage, and a little bit of Fairfield.  One market in town is called Everybody's whole foods, although it's frequently confused with The Whole Foods - it's not quite the same  ;)

Global Peace Headquarters in Vedic City

house in Eco Village

Fairfield Court House

Later that evening, we had a Pizza party in the Visitor Dorm. There are many musicians and artists from all over the globe on campus and the Unity is a beautiful thing to experience.  They shared their music with us and we had a blast!!!

I had a wonderful weekend and look forward to getting there for the Fall semester....
On the way home, I kept feeling like I had left something behind - guess I did  ;)

See more pictures of my weekend here:
MUM Visitor Weekend 

Two other places I've considered are Noropa University in Boulder, CO and Evergreen College in Olympia, Washington...but neither of them hold my heart like MUM does!