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Archive for September, 2011

I’m Not Waitin’ on Roosevelt Any More

by our roving shamanic reporter, ClareShale Mountain Star

This week has been all about noticing that the things that have held me back and taken a long time to be released in the past are now just non-issues. It (finally) feels like simply having the intention and a connection to the earth beneath my feet is enough to create any state of mind I choose.

Interestingly, the art I’ve been surrounding myself with over these last few days has been all about the transformational period of human history that occurred during the 1930’s. In particular, the turning point that occurred in the hearts of Americans — when they realized that their lives were impossibly difficult and it was time to stand up and do something about it. This time was a time for organizing, striking, and demanding fair wages and safe working conditions.

Astra and I attended a showing at Victory Gardens of “Voices of the People’s History” a cinematic production inspired by the work of Howard Zinn: A People’s History of the United States, one of the best selling history books of all time. This show spans 500 years of American History. The general story is about how regular, “ordinary” people stood up throughout those years and demanded what they wanted from those “in charge.”  It’s a story about the persistence and vision of the masses. This of course includes an in-depth look at the depression era social climate. The film presented a very moving reading by Danny Glover of the Langston Hughes poem “Ballad of Roosevelt”, followed by the song “Dear Mr. President” by the artist Pink. A brilliant juxtaposition.

Two days later we were back at the same theater watching “Waiting for Lefty;” a play by Clifford Odets which weaves together multiple stories from situations taking place during the depression.  It’s a layered piece that peels off, one by one, veils of societal restraint; going from frustration to desperation, to despondence to anger and finally circling into inspired commitment to action.  Our client Jeremy Glickstein gave a fantastic performance; I don’t want to give away anything about his role though, as it was such a great surprise! 🙂

At one point our favorite female character implores the group to “Tear down the slaughterhouses of our old lives!” I can so relate to the need to do that in my own life at times; and it totally relates to my personal theme for the week of completely letting go of whats not working. I know I’m going to remember that quote for a while. After the show we had the opportunity to chat with actor Warren Levon (“Agate”), who gave the final rousing monologue – an incredibly moving performance that brought tears to my eyes. Here’s a pic of Warren, Astra and Jeremy:

The aspect of this era that stands out for me as a shining gem is that moment when we realize: “Something must change and I need to be the one to change it.” It’s when our hearts can no longer bear the burdens and the heavy cloaks of others that have been heaped on us, and we realize that those burdens and cloaks were never ours in the first place. It’s when we give those ideas about life back to their original owners (parents, teachers, employers, etc) and allow ourselves to say:  “Now I create my life as my own!”

Here is a link to that Langston Hughes poem read by Danny Glover http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HADGKw_wa5E&feature=results_video&playnext=1&list=PL2FC920682755327E

Excerpt from:

Ballad of Roosevelt

Cold winds blow
And didn’t have no
Place to go
Pa said, I’m tired
O’waitin’ on Roosevelt,
Roosevelt, Roosevelt.
Damn tired o‘ waitin’ on Roosevelt


Learning From the Pros – A Night at Victory Gardens Theater

by ClareShale Mountain Star – Abundant Heart’s Roving Shamanic Reporter

Oh wow – this past Monday night was the best! Astra and I have been so excited to check out Victory Gardens Theater, where our awesome client Jeremy Glickstein will be performing in “Waiting For Lefty” by Clifford Odets. (The show runs through October 2 so be sure to get your tickets!) We had the opportunity on Monday to attend the welcome reception and rocking presentation of Victory Gardens’ new Artistic Director, Chay Yew. The theater was lovely, the crowd was gracious and the refreshments were of course divine – however the best part was hearing Chay’s vision forward for what he would like the Victory Gardens Theater to be for Chicago: A meeting hall for the diverse communities of our city to come together and begin a dialogue. His hope is that through championing new works, diversity and young writers, bridges can be built using the transformational nature of theater. He is taking such a beautiful stand for healing in our city. Here’s Chay, third from the left, with other directors and artists talking about plans for the future:Another highlight for us was hearing poet Kevin Coval read from his new book,L-Vis Lives. It was so great to hear him share about growing up in the suburbs of Chicago during the 80’s and 90’s. I guess it’s because all those memories of early hip-hop and trendy breakfast cereal seem for me to be hidden inside my own heart – but there he was, weaving my memories into a stunning piece of poetry. Check out his website:http://kevincoval.com/kc/.

One last thing to share about our evening….We had a great chat with a Chicago actor who shared with us the title of a book (which you may be familiar with if you’ve studied acting): The Actor and The Target by Declan Donnellan. I definitely want to pick it up soon – but in the meantime there was one point that stood out during our conversation. Donnellan explains that there is no actor with greater talent or lesser talent – there are only performers who are less blocked or more blocked. He writes in the introduction: “The talent is always pumping away, like the circulation of the blood. We just have to dissolve the clot.” (p.6) That piece of advice is something I try to remember and apply in my life as a mother and shaman – I have everything I need in each and every moment, all there is for me to do is remove what is no longer helpful – what is not me, and I see the Truth: That the Universe is full of beauty and abundance and I am an integral part of that.

All in all it was a wonderful evening of sharing, learning and connecting. We are so glad we attended the event, and really look forward to some excellent theater this year from Victory Gardens!

ClareShale Mountain Star  – Empowerment Shaman


Date Night in Rogers Park – Shamans Go Out To Play

by ClareShale Mountain Star, our roving shamanic reporter
What a great Saturday evening Astra and I had – escorted by our dear men to the famous Heartland Cafe in Rogers Park. We enjoyed some great vegetarian fare and even a ukulele serenade! (Which was perfect, because just the other night we were discussing what a groundbreaking performer Tiny Tim was for his time period – check out this Youtube link to his spot on the Ed Sullivan show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YI83Hb6GKU…Talk about shattering cultural norms!) Sidetrack…ok….After our lovely dinner we were lucky enough to head to Duke’s – a local bar and music venue.  We were both so struck by the intimate performance space. It was literally like having the band play in your living room; complete with comfy chairs, unique art pieces and the added bonus of a full bar in the next room! 🙂 http://www.dukesrogerspark.com/DUKES_BAR/HOME.htmlThe band we saw was the Alltunators. Their website describes the group as: “an acoustic trio playing a mix of old-time blues, Americana, bluegrass, swing and original tunes. They combine powerful vocals and harmonies with a range of instrumentation including guitar, fiddle, mandolin, octave mandolin and upright bass.” http://www.alltunators.com/fr_home.cfm

I was so moved by the energy created through the musicians’ mastery of their instruments. My three favorite parts were Larry Shneider’s spirit as he rocked the upright bass, Andy Miller’s ‘magic with the mandolin’ and of course the brilliant female presence of Jessica Slater, whose vocals filled the room with power. My favorite song from the set, Diving Duck Blues, sent me into another dimension! 🙂

Thanks Universe, for such a swell evening.

A Life of Your Own Design

The Artist is you. There is not another person on the planet who decides what your life will be, so you might as well design it to align perfectly with your desires!

Are you happy with your job, work, or career? Is it fulfilling? More importantly – is it the career of your dreams?

How do you feel when you walk in to your home? Are you instantly relaxed, knowing that all you need is at your fingertips? Are the colors of your decor pleasing to your eye? Are there clean lines which calm the heart and clear the mind? Do your chosen art and furniture pieces nourish your soul with their beauty, comfort and energy?

If you answered no to any of the above question, now is the perfect time to take stock of what needs to be transformed.

Exercise: Jot down the answers to the following questions in a beautiful journal or favorite notebook:

1) What brings me joy?

2) What hobbies and past-times have I thoroughly enjoyed since I was a child – and are still with me now?

3) Do I have any regular habits that do not thoroughly nourish me, heart and soul? If so, what new habits can I begin to replace them with, that make my heart smile and my spirit sing?

4) Am I feeding my body with my favorite foods that energize me and cause my whole self to tingle with life?

5) If I were living the life of my wildest dreams, of my own creation and perfect design, what would that look like? Feel like? Taste like? Where am I? How do I fill my days? How do I fill my nights?

Take stock of your answers, and see if you feel any different after fully experiencing what you have created by placing pen to paper.

Did you know that the act of simply writing something down is a powerful manifesting tool? So, how do you want to design your life?

Go ahead, write it down – we dare you!

With so much love and excitement for your creations,

Astra Spider & ClareShale Mountain Star: 


Abundant Heart: Breakthrough Transformation

for Creative Professionals


Astra: astra@abundantheartliving.com

ClareShale: 773-230-2144

Blog – www.abundantheart.wordpress.com

Twitter – www.twitter.com/abundantheart

Facebook – www.facebook.com/abundantheart

LinkedIn – http://www.linkedin.com/pub/astra-spider-clareshale-mountain-star/35/a05/598


“Hey Mister D.J. put a record on

I wanna dance with my baby

And when the music starts

I never wanna stop

It’s gonna drive me crazy….

Music makes the people come together….”

~Madonna, Music

Music is a Universal invitation to come together. At a recent art fair here in Evanston, Illinois, ClareShale and Astra were enjoying a free concert of international-inspired music, sitting a bit apart from the bandstand and the audience, relaxing in the grass.

Suddenly Astra looked over at an elderly man who was standing near the audience and noticed he was trance-dancing! The music had captivated him so much, he had been guided to perform channeled shamanic dance – and it lasted through three songs altogether! He was deep within.

Wow, Astra thought, that is not something you see every day – at least not in public! It IS something which Astra does regularly in her own performances at a spiritual arts center in Chicago, but at this outdoor concert by the beach, Astra realized that her own thinking has been narrow regarding the realm of music.

What a realization: We can be Free, if we only allow ourselves to Be! And music helps make it so! Music really does break the chains that bind us, supporting us in realizing that the chains exist only in our minds, and only because we have been choosing to be bound.

We leave you with this: NEW SONG by Howard Jones from 1983 – these amazing lyrics still stand the test of time!!


I’ve been waiting for so long

To come here now and sing this song

Don’t be fooled by what you see

Don’t be fooled by what you hear

This is a song to all of my friends

They take the challenge to their hearts

Challenging preconceived ideas

Saying goodbye to long standing fears

Don’t crack up, Bend your brain, See both sides,

Throw off your mental chains

I don’t wanna be hip and cool

I don’t wanna play by the rules

Not under the thumb of the cynical few

Or laden down by the doom crew

Don’t crack up, Bend your brain, See both sides,

Throw off your mental chains

Don’t crack up, Bend your brain, See both sides,

Throw off your mental chains

I’ve been waiting for so long

To come here now and sing this song

Don’t be fooled by what you see

Don’t be fooled by what you hear

This is a song to all of my friends

They take the challenge to their hearts

Challenging preconceived ideas

Saying goodbye to long standing fears

Don’t crack up, Bend your brain, See both sides,

Throw off your mental chains 

NEW SONG video – SO Awesome!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FagjnIgUk6Q


Astra Spider and ClareShale Mountain Star

Abundant Heart: Breakthrough Transformation for Creative Professionals





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