Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Weekly Tithe: Sacred Sleep, Yogic Renewal and Harnessing the Nepalese Sun

True to form, the faithfulness of my tithing (and let's be honest, my sheer awesomeness) led to an uptick of work over the last two weeks. What can I say? People like to have me around and sometimes I even get paid for it. Mo' money means mo' to give, so this week's tithe was split between three projects which spoke to my heart. Sleep, yoga and light- all personally important to and well loved by me. Please learn a bit about these awesome projects and consider giving what you can. Give good, do good, feel good!

Sacred sleep at St. Boniface. Photo by Brent Ward.
The Gubbio Project
In my early 20s I decided that it was important for me to live alone but the only place I could afford to do that was in San Francisco's infamous Tenderloin. The Tenderloin is a tiny neighborhood known for its abnormally, disproportionately high amount of bars and liquor stores, pimps and hos, dealers and addicts, and public urination. It is also the home for people who contend with sometimes lengthy periods of homelessness. While San Francisco is a relatively temperate place to be out in the elements and the threat of freezing to death is nonexistent, sleeping outside remains a dangerous undertaking. Whether because of potential threat of bodily harm or theft of their few personal possessions, those experiencing homelessness rarely get a peaceful night's rest. In response to this, 10 years ago St. Boniface Neighborhood Center and Church created the Gubbio Project, and began opening their doors during the day to provide the homeless with a place to get some restful, sacred sleep. In addition, they also offer "availability of clean, safe restrooms; toiletries; weekly free haircuts; blankets; socks; monthly HIV testing; weekly community meal for 35-50 guests; and a listening ear." If you are as moved and inspired by their work as I am, please consider volunteering or donating to the project.

Me Siento Nuevo
Peruvian yoga flow.
My amazing friend Addy has been working in Peru with the Peace Corps for 15 months as a Community Health Promoter. Addy began teaching yoga to a few women in the community in her free time as a way to connect on a more personal level, and the classes took off. The story goes that, after completing warrior pose, a little boy proclaimed  “me siento nuevo” – I feel new. Yoga lovers everywhere can personally attest to the transformative benefits of the practice, and this is being experienced in this little village in Peru by people who had never so much as heard of yoga before now. Addy's family began a campaign to raise money for the little yoga program selling awesome "Me siento nuevo" t-shirts, which I personally cannot wait to rock. If you would like to support these fledgling yogis, please buy a shirt and/or make a donation. If you're looking for some life inspiration, Addy keeps a wonderful blog about her experiences that you can read here.

Michelle with her happy students.
Solar in Nepal
I was first introduced to Michelle Welsch through her smart, insightful writing on Medium. After grad school, Michelle quit everything and headed out to Nepal where she volunteered teaching English and had her life path altered forever. Nepal experiences lengthy, daily power outages between October and July which make basic functioning feel more like Little House on the Nepalese Prairie and less like 2014. Michelle is raising money to build a solar system in the community where she volunteered that will help bring consistent, needed light and heat to a school and a local monastery. There are 13 days left in the campaign and it is within $2,000 of the $8,000 goal- a modest sum considering the positive impact that it will have for the community. If you are a champion of renewable energy, Nepal and/or adorable kiddos, throw some money at this awesome project. There are even perks for specific donation amounts and Michelle will send you periodic updates on the project progress.
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Stay tuned next week as I continue my quest to make more beauty in the world by supporting good, life giving work.

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