Eagle and Condor

Congress is ready to give a foreign mining company 2,400 acres of forest in Arizona that is cherished ancestral homeland to the Apache natives, land where for centuries the Apache have gathered medicinal plants and acorns, land used for sacred ceremony and prayer.

Chairman of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, Terry Rambler, said the first thing he thought about “was not really today, but 50 years from now, probably after my time, if this land exchange bill goes through, the effects that my children and children’s children will be dealing with.”

I found this out yesterday in a tweet linked to this article, and it has taken hold of me and shaken me to my core.  My heart is breaking.  Preserving indigenous culture, while something I believe in, is not something I’ve ever written about, nor thought too much about.  But this belongs here on the blog, this absolutely has everything to do with where we are in our societal evolution.

“Of all people, Apaches and Indians should understand, because we’ve gone through this so many times in our history,” says Rambler, serving as a real reminder that we continue our business as usual, instead of choosing another course.

What we have been doing over and over and over again is using our heads to rationalize.  In this case, we claim “economic development and jobs.”  Logic is great and all (and has served us well in our evolutionary history) but at this point we have to realize that it can prove both sides of any argument.  Now we can shift; we can incorporate our hearts, use the intelligence of our hearts to so very simply –





When we, as a species, finally get that understanding is not contained within the cognitive capacities of our brains, we will make a huge evolutionary leap!  And as Lynn Twist, co-founder of the Pachamama Alliance has said, our partnership and relationship with indigenous people could be one of the most important keys in this transformation. 

This bridge of mind and heart, or the balancing of right/left brain, feminine/masculine is playing out everywhere on the world stage, and this scenario soon to hit the Senate floor is an opportunity to create the change we want to see!  It’s an opportunity to help fulfill the prophecy of the Eagle and Condor-

It is up to us to make it happen.

We can use our technology to spread the word, sign and share this petition, email, call and/or tweet our Senators.  Urging them to do the right thing, moving us closer to a world where Eagle and Condor fly in one sky, wing to wing.

Update 12/15/14: The NDAA bill was passed on a vote 89-11.  I have no words yet, just deep sadness.  Please continue to share and spread the word, using hashtag #ApacheLandGrab 

Our voices matter; please use them!

Read final thoughts on The Apache Land Grab and moving into 2015

Connecting for Social Change

I used to be a real lover of rules.  But my life offered me experiences to grow out of being a rule follower, and I think that’s because the world is changing, and I’m growing with it.

Success used to depend on this model of following and applying rules.  This is no longer the case.  Technology gives us access to resources, information and connectivity.  Things are changing at a breakneck pace, and I’m failing if I only know how to follow the rules.  I want to grow my abilities to innovate, relate and connect.

Indeed, if it is our wish to evolve our world toward a more positive future for our children and all life on Earth, it is necessary for us to connect on a global scale and link innovations.

The internet can be our most efficient tool- it can boost connectivity at exponential levels.  It all depends on how we use it.  We use it to its max power when we participate and engage- joining campaigns, starting new projects, raising awareness, sharing our voice and creating social change.  The key is to use it in ways that emulate nature, in ways that bring us back to our humanness, rather than distracting us from it, as often happens when we become obsessed with our screens and their seductions.

In nature, when two things come together, a third, radically new thing is born.  The internet can imitate this by bringing individual genius together (we all have an innate genius), thus birthing a new creation.  By use of new media, we can discover what it is we can do together, as something completely new– as one social body.

This is why digital empowerment for all is essential.  World Pulse is an example of an online hub that uses the


photo courtesy of World Pulse

power of technology for social good.  Previously isolated women from around the globe are finding their voice and making connections.  Harnessing this feminine intelligence is what founder, Jensine Larsen, believes is the fastest way to bring about global sustainability.  And I agree.  The more we unite as a global community and connect our big-picture and creative genius, the more we will see new systems and relationships being built that will truly change the world.

All of this, AND…

As we are able to extend our reach further than ever before, we must look inward, perhaps like never before.  We are called to balance this outward connectivity with an inward connectivity.  Always aligning what we are doing in our communities with our hearts, with an interior sense of meaning.


*Portions of this article first appeared in a journal submission to World Pulse’s 

Women Weave the Web Campaign*  


Presence & A Space To Be

My mom, Sharon Elliott, and I were at locally-owned, play-focused destination Bay & Bee on November 18 to present our book, A Child’s Way.  Here’s a wrap up of our exploration.

One of the first things I noticed when I walked into the Bay & Bee playspace was a toddler with a wooden train boxcar in each hand.  She was talking quietly to herself and touching the magnets of the boxcars together.  She put them on the track and rolled them.  She was completely engaged in her play, with her back to her mother, and did not notice me noticing her.  Her mom was curled in a comfy popasan chair, watching.  10433123_764756786924275_6721091720033226532_n

There it was- a perfect image to match the conversation around our book, A Child’s Way, which is about slowing down and considering:  What have our children come to teach us?

This particular mom was not directing her daughter’s play, nor was she asking questions, like “what color is the train?”  She was giving her daughter the opportunity for self-initiative, while her presence was still “with” the child.  She was also giving herself a nice little rest, while her daughter was doing exactly what she needed to be doing for her own development.

When we are really present with our children, when we engage eye-to-eye and have those touchstone moments of heart connection throughout the day, we create a rhythm of being together, and being independent.  In other words, once they’ve had our complete attention, they will be ready to do the things they need to be doing on their own because they take our felt presence with them.  What they end up doing are things that are vital to their growth as human beings.  For example, the infant lying on her back, and later turning over, lifting herself up and crawling is experiencing crucial developmental movements that are related to later academic learning.Lanae's pics of Elle Sept. 07 070

This rhythm of both presence and independence is a daily practice that helps us: understand our own needs with those of our children, and create the relationships we want with our children- who challenge us and teach us what matters.

While we have been efficient, effective and accomplished in other areas of our life, children remind us that not everything can be condensed down to lists, techniques and how to’s.  The truth is we are not happy unless our heart is involved.

So check in with your heart throughout the day.  Ask yourself what the moment is for:

Is it for efficiency, or for noticing what my child is noticing? Is it for teaching my child something, or for him to teach me? Is it for getting the job done effectively or remaining true to myself and what I love?

Every moment is designed for you.  No book, no person, no technique has your answers.  What if you and your child were giving each other the joys and challenges that are exactly what each of you need?

It was absolutely wonderful to be at Bay & Bee, where the gift of a space to be is provided for both parent and child.  Thank you to Monica and Zuzia!  

Bay & Bee is now a retailer of A Child’s Way. 

Between the old and new

The old is over.

I’ve been clearing out and creating more space. Everywhere. In my backyard and in my bedroom. In the armoire and in the toy boxes. In my work and how I spend my hours.

Simplicity is so underrated.

I’ve been watching as the essential and beautiful reveal themselves. Now that there is room. Simple joys: naps in patches of sunlight, breezes through windows, and soaking up Autumn’s golden light.


But now…

The problem is the stillpoints in creative life. Oh yes, there it is. With all this new time and space, all these new ideas, I SHOULD be doing something! Like posting blogs and writing articles.

The old might be over, but the new has not arrived.

And my impatient self does not like it. Not one bit.

Finally! Getting here and admitting this, embracing this, MOVES me. I get to experience having the strength
not to force anything in the stillpoints, the moments of uncomfortableness.

The new has to be allowed to happen, in its own time. I knew that. But living it, oh YES. Now the new can live through my life and show me the genius in its unpredictability.

I get to be the creative rebel I am.

On Becoming a Mother

I’ve said it often and written about it many times-

In childbirth, I learned that I was capable of more than my mind could wrap itself around.

I had a lived experience of the new story of our time.

What we know in our hearts- that the world is good and beautiful and true- is possible despite our mind’s inability to grasp it or figure out how to get there.





In the book, On Becoming a Mother, I share a small slice of my story, which begins, “All my life I was Carrie Lee, the sweet and quiet good girl, follower of rules, planner and lover of logic…”


The book is a compilation of wisdom on becoming a mother, shared by women from around the world.  It’s available at the end of this month, in time for International Women’s Day.  Proceeds support the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood!




My transition into 2014 spirals back to activism and to considering what creative action in the world looks like.


I’ve written about creative activism before, about letting our hearts lead and changing the world from a new kind of thinking.  Today my understanding is deepening, which happens often–I think I know something and then months or years later I’m revisiting it and I’m engaged at a whole new level.  It’s a different experience when knowledge in my head moves to a knowing in my body.

This year, as I’m feeling the push/pull of do something/do nothing, go/stay, get out there/ stay in here, I notice I’m more comfortable within the opposites…I’m living more and more in the overlap, bringing something of my “nothing-ness,” my slow inner contemplation, into my daily work, and vice versa.  Bringing these two into one requires courage and patience.  These virtues ask me to do two radically different things at the same time:

Do something.  Do nothing.

How do I do that?  Wait- I’ve written about this before too!  Now I’m here in January 2014 and I’m feeling what I already knew:  I don’t need to “make things happen.”  I open to what wants to happen through me (and that’s how I make things happen, that’s how in doing nothing, I’m doing something).

Global leaders and civil society- all of us- can be conduits for creative action in the world when we balance our actions with a certain receptivity.  We’re out there accelerating change without losing an interior sense of what we are doing, of what’s in here.  The same goes for technology- we use it powerfully when we balance it’s rapid advancement with a continuous renewal of our inner resources.  We use it as a conduit for our creative action.

What does it look like?  Relaxed and trusting.  Effort being met with grace.

We witness our own genius being birthed.  And the world becomes a better place.

**photo by mrhayata on Flickr

Showing up

We think we have to have perfected technique…we think we have to be an expert before we put ourselves out there.

But that’s not it…

It’s about our hearts.  Can we show up present, with an open heart, ready to embark on a learning journey?

More than anything

it’s about a willingness to participate,

to enter into a new, trusting relationship with the process.


In the article,  Empathy Inside Out you can read more about how this applies in education, and how the teachers at Seaside Community Charter School helped me really get it.

picture by Mohamed Fayed photography


IMG_1529“May the light of dawn anoint your eyes that you may behold what a miracle a day is.”

-John O’Donohue

Why do I try to make things happen according to my own timeline?  Doesn’t life have a trusted rhythm?  Doesn’t life set the pattern of evolution?



And we give birth

People from all over the world gather today for the largest global meeting of the decade focusing on the health and well-being of girls of women.  The Women Deliver Conference, kicks off in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and I sit at my computer in my backyard and wonder, like everyone else: what can we do to improve the condition for the girls and women of the world?

It’s only when I move out of my head and open to the spaciousness within, that true understanding arises.  I know that there is a space within every girl and boy, every woman and man and every community out of which their own answers and understanding emerge.  As I read that The Lancet published the latest research showing that grassroots women’s groups could halve maternal death rate, I see it happening!  People, we are so powerful. Trust it.   Today I deliver this poem, what came to me when asked to write about maternal health solutions:

Naked, vulnerable

strong, capable

all at once

I’m a living paradox

the pain, the joy

in my body, out of my body

I’m mind-blowingly capable!

Connected to the whole of Life!

A doorway to the earth

For her, my daughter

And she is born, fleshy and slippery

tenderly, reverently

Childbirth blows my mind

I am more than what I think

I am a threshold for all that is creative

I am the both/and

the physical, the spiritual, the light, the dark

My mind has nothing to figure out


Great Creative Force

Love, Life, Light

continue to flow through me

As if I’m pregnant

I only have to allow you

your course

Not to implore:

Keepers of humanity’s unfolding

why are we dying?

in this sacred act?

We are the world’s collective mirror

Reflecting the death of the feminine






with each soul

made whole

what we see transforms

And we give birth

All we must do is


squatting, hands and knees,

breathing, moaning, finding our rhythm


What is inside will emerge in the world



Balance doing with being

You know how to surrender

From this place of your true nature

will your gifts

spring forth

and join with others

Think not in solutions

but in evolutions



It’s not about fixing or fighting

It’s about conceiving and birthing

You only have to know what is yours to give

and give it with love

Held in that embrace




Ok so it’s been awhile.  I’ve been busy writing about public education and working hard with a team of people to open the doors of Seaside Community Charter School in August.

I fear for my blogger status!  I have to admit that neglecting my blog is partially due to my undertaking of other projects, yes…AND perhaps, maybe, kind-of also because of not knowing where exactly to take this blog.  I’ve felt stuck because I wasn’t sure if the next blog should be about education, global maternal health or childhood or childbirth.  What is this blog about?

No matter the topic, I write about the “work behind the work,” or the inner change that transforms into outward change.  Whether it’s an article about education or maternal health or any social change endeavor, I’m saying the same things.  Whether you were directed here through #startempathy, #globalmom, #socent #maternalhealth, #SGSGlobal, The BOLD Method, or whether you are a pregnant mom or a teacher, it applies.  I’m all about supporting emerging thought.

Ready to unleash a cascade of blogs today, that breathe the change that fuels my work in the world.  So you’ll see 3 new blogs with this one first.