Category - Memoir

Music as Presence by Molly Knight Forde
The Evolution from Anger to Spiritual Activism
Activism Burnout and Back Again
Activist, Baby, I Was Born This Way
The Gurdjieff Movements
A Rebel’s Road To Meditation
“This Kind of Love” documentary, Burma and Aung Myo Min
Heart Stories: Interview with Rose Taylor Goldfield, Part 3

Music as Presence by Molly Knight Forde

Guest Post written by Concert Pianist Molly Knight Forde

I use playing the piano as one of my daily meditation practices because it requires total presence of body, feelings and mind. When everything is lined up, playing the piano becomes a profound event where deeper emotion moves me and I am part of something greater than myself.

The execution of the notes can take months to bring up to tempo and perfect. I must zero in on 4 or 5 difficult measures of music that don’t seem to be working at speed and analyse what the physical problem may be. This professional level of playing requires the utmost efficiency of movement and tremendous relaxation. Too much tension will affect the sound, the flow and the tempo.

I must have a zen like presence to deeply notice the physical status of my body right down to the tips of my fingers and how they make contact with the keys. Playing the piano requires this kind of physical focus.

If I can be present with each movement while engaging a listening feedback loop, I have a seemingly perfect system, but listening after the fact is too late.

I need to be so present that my creative force goes ahead of my fingers and tells them exactly how I want to produce a sound to create any effect. My refined technique becomes the perfect vehicle for spontaneity and direct expression from the heart.

I can only do this if I am in the present moment. Read More

The Evolution from Anger to Spiritual Activism


Photo Credit: Third Eye Arts

This post about my evolution to spiritual activism is the third in a three part series. You can read part one here and part two here:

In 1998 I discovered Yoga, Buddhism and Meditation. Over time, they became my self-care and then my spiritual practices.

Buddhism began to transform the way I saw the world, other people and myself. Compassion became a major intention in my life– along with concepts like interconnection and non-attachment. My relationship to activism began to shift.

My desire for change began to come from a place of love and compassion instead of anger and judgement.

I still ache to heal our world.

But I’ve discovered another way to to go about activism, what I call Pro-Activism, commonly called Spiritual Activism or Engaged Buddhism. Read More

Activism Burnout and Back Again

Scan_Pic0043In my first post I described how I was born and raised in Activism.

My early years as an activist, I was what some may call a pretty ‘hard core”. The stereotypical “angry activist”.

I had alot of anger as a result of my less than perfect childhood.

In those early days I hadn’t yet realized where this anger was rooted and I used my activism to channel my rage. Read More

Activist, Baby, I Was Born This Way


My Mom getting Political


I was raised by a single Mom, until age 14 when I left home.

She was a feminist, humanitarian, writer, independent thinker and activist– so I came by my activist nature honestly.

It was a common event in my home to have groups of her engaged friends sitting around the kitchen table, passionately discussing current affairs or injustices and hatching plans to raise awareness.

My mother had no trouble speaking her mind, rocking the boat, or standing up for herself or others who could not. So, naturally, she raised her daughters the same way.

My childhood is full of stories of me defending the underdog or being sent to the office for asking too many questions of my teachers.

As I grew older, the injustices of the world entered my radar and I took certain causes to heart. As an empath, I felt others’ pain very deeply and tried to use my scrappy nature to help.

My earliest protests were often solo. Read More

The Gurdjieff Movements

Guest Post by Molly Knight Forde

imageThe first time I was exposed to The Gurdjieff Movements I was transported to another time and place, perhaps even another dimension. The combination of gestures and music created a sense of deep reverence in me for all things spiritual.  I could hardly believe something so profound existed and that I was part of a lineage just by being in the room.  I could feel the transmission of something rather inexplicable.

The irony of this is that my first exposure was not as a participant in the class but as the pianist. I had an infant on my back, was new in town and had been hired by a friend to play for the class.  I did not know what I was in for and my friend was unaware that I had been an avid participant in a Zen Dojo, meditating daily for 9 years.

The second irony is that I had been living in Paris where Gurdjieff had lived for many years, choreographed some of his best movements, and where many “Work” groups had formed. Read More

A Rebel’s Road To Meditation



When you picture “Meditation”….
what sort of image pops into your head?

As a rebel and activist, I had never considered meditation. That was hippie shit.  Something people did in ashrams dressed in white.

I was a questioner, an activist, ass-kicker and a heavy metal lover.

“Meditation? who the hell had time for that? “ Read More

“This Kind of Love” documentary, Burma and Aung Myo Min

This Kind of Love is a documentary film currently being made in Burma

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 5.26.10 PMThe story revolves around Aung Myo Min, pictured below. Myo is a human rights defender, expert on child rights issues, effective civil society leader and openly gay man in the traditional culture of Burma where the term LGBT remains largely unknown. Read more about Myo and the film below, and stay tuned. We’ll be updating this post and adding others, including scenes from the film and an interview with filmmaker Jeanne Hallacy.

Read More

Heart Stories: Interview with Rose Taylor Goldfield, Part 3

This interview with Rose Taylor Goldfield is the last of a 3 part series.

(I interviewed Rose in her home, looking out a large window at the San Francisco cityscape on a sunny early-Springtime day. We talked about her Buddhist background, her teachers, this special type of Tibetan Buddhist exercise, the ideas grounding it and the “Wisdom Sun” community she co-directs with her husband Ari….)

Training the Wisdom Body Cover--originalThe first interview focused on the body. We shined light on Meditative Movement as taught by Rose Taylor-Goldfield in her brilliant book “Training the Wisdom Body: Buddhist Yogic Exercise.” (That’s Rose above in the cover photo. ) We looked at the practical side of the exercises and with the last 3 questions, got to know Rose a little better as a person.

In Part 2, we tapped into the energy in Buddhist Yoga as practiced by Rose. The meditative experience of the physical practices and the theory behind the “how to” instruction. What feelings and realities do we uncover while practicing the forms and how do we join with them authentically and in the moment?

In Part 3, below we enjoy the heart of practice as Rose tells us stories from her life, work and study with her teacher Khenpo Rinpoche and her husband Ari Goldfield.

The Interview, Part 3:

TINA: You say in the book that you were with your mother at the time you met your “Heart Teacher” as well as your “Heart Companion”….Can you tell us more about this?

ROSE: Yes. My mother is also a Buddhist practitioner and people ask me, “Who was Buddhist first, your mom or you?” She started meditating and studying Buddhism before I was born. We’ve been to many Buddhist programs and retreats together over the years and once we even lived in a tent together for 3 months on retreat in the Rocky Mountains.

In 2002, I was studying at Naropa University in Colorado and during the summer break I went to stay at my mother’s in Cornwall, England. The Shambhala center in London was hosting Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche and I was asked to be “head of the household,” to help host him.

I asked my mother, “Why don’t you come, too?” So, we both went and helped host Khenpo Rinpoche and Ari Goldfield (his translator and secretary who traveled everywhere with him) in this big beautiful house with a garden in London. It turned out to be a very special weekend for both of us. She’s my mother but also my spiritual friend and we’ve shared a lot together in the Buddhadharma. We’ve experienced a lot of depth and profundity in our relationship.

TINA: That’s so lovely. And, so then you met your “Heart Companion,” your husband Ari…… Read More

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