Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Remembering Patty Duke, an unsung hero

Call me Anna

Imagine being your best.

Not settling for mere imitation

Rather, giving your absolute best to the world.

The world may be raught with imitators and competitors,

But you are different.

You have set yourself apart from the rest

You heard the call, you answered it,

You made the decision

You didn’t make the decision to walk away

You didn’t make the decision to run

You didn’t chose comfort

You embraced

You embraced the spirit of what you believe

Who you are

You took your past and you trashed it,

You recycled the parts that have built your character

And your integrity

You’ve shed the rest

In a big garbage heap of no regret

But rather hope

The phoenix has arisen from the ashes

He is alive and borne inside you

He is real

Despite your best last ditch efforts you tried to leave yourself behind

But the phoenix was within you-ready to fly…..

Soar above the rest

There is no owner’s manual for life, but there are guides like the bible to help us along the journey. When I was a teenager, I read two life changing books: Keeping Secrets, by, Suzanne Somers, and Call Me Anna, by, Patty Duke Astin.  We lost an unsung hero yesterday, mental health activist &, actress, Patty Duke. It wasn’t that long ago that I saw her at The Orpheum in San Francisco in the Broadway Musical Wicked. Some may remember her in The Miracle Worker, others, Valley of The Dolls, still others may remember her cute teenage spirit in the tv show, The Patty Duke Show. However you remember her, remember that she was brave and courageous and took a topic, Bipolar Disorder and gave it a face. Though I am sincerely grateful to not be afflicted with such a disease, I have had family members whom I love and have loved dearly who faced the same demons that Patty so candidly shared with the world.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Meet Author Meisha Macillas, author of The Messy Minds Poetry Book

Make a difference Mondays


In our new format, Serendipity Press will be introducing you to people and concepts that “Make a Difference”, each Monday. Today, meet Meisha Macillas, author of The Messy Minds Poetry Book.

Describe why you chose to write a book of poetry?

I wrote a poetry book to start out, I have always had a love of poetry and how it makes me feel. I wanted to make others feel how poetry makes me feel, strong and not alone.


What was the process like?

The process was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. I was a little scared that I  was never going to pick all the right poems for my book.

Is it what you expected?

Yes and no. I never thought I would get as much love from my home town as I have received.

Tell us about why you chose the title?

 I needed something that expressed the poems inside. With the poems there was no true theme besides  my life struggle, I felt like a messy minds poetry book just fit.


What is your purpose in your writing prose?

To express all the things that I was never strong enough to say out loud. To help others who can't say what they feel out loud, giving them a voice that they can relate to.

How is your writing process?

That’s funny because I have been asked this question before and I never know what to say. I write anywhere and everywhere. I have no real process. I just feel something and write it down.


Have your dreams been realized in your writing a book?

I have taken a step closer to my big dream. But this is just a stepping stone to a much bigger plan for myself.


What is next?

I am currently working on a short story book. I want to continue writing books and hopefully can do so the rest of my life. I am so thankful for all of the help I have received by chasing my dream. I am very excited to see what life holds for me. I just know I am not giving up on my dreams until they are realized.

Buy your copy today!

Watch Meisha on Central Valley Talk TV

Monday, March 7, 2016

Make a Difference Mondays, Meet Richard Parenti, Part II


“If your happiness depends upon someone else being reasonable, then you are in a lot of trouble.”-Richard Parenti, Monday, March 7, 2016.
“You have control only over one thing and that’s your thoughts… You can choose the thought that makes you feel good or you can choose the thought that keeps you in the honey trap of negative thinking.” Richard Parenti
“One of the most important things you can learn in Yoga is: learn how to behave, be successful, be functional and productive in the material world so you may set an example for others.” Richard Parenti
I am very fortunate to receive daily affirmation texts from Richard. These daily words are positive, uplifting and remind me how essential living a purposeful life really is. What I mean by living a purposeful life is that I can chose to live a conscious life as opposed to a self -centered fast food approach to life. I can chose to in digest in my spirit nourishing words of encouragement and wisdom that can bring about internal change which translates to external change. Let’s start a change reaction whereby we live purposeful, meaningful lives.
I met Richard Parenti in October of 2014. He was seated next to me at The Great Valley Bookfest in Manteca, California. We hit it off instantly. Richard is a mentor, a yoga instructor, a teacher, an author and I consider him a friend. In life, I believe we are here to teach one another life lessons. Richard has had a wealth of experience in his life and he is willing to share it. To me, that is what being a mentor  is all about. Richard is the author of: Emotional Sobriety: Feel Good Secrets for Everyone, Balboa Press, 2013, and was a contributing author in, Manifesting Magnificence: A Personal Growth Workbook, Serendipity Press/Serendipity Media Group, 2015.
Describe for us what made you decide to become a yoga teacher for patients with M.S.

In 2003, a young woman in a wheel chair came into the yoga studio that I just opened and asked if I would teach a yoga class to people with multiple sclerosis. I said I was not qualified and had no idea of what or how to teach such a class.

Her response caught me off guard. She said, “What if I bring 8 students to you for a trial class.”

Again I said no. Then she said, “I, not only will get the students, but I will train you as I have done yoga for several years, and I will collect the monies for you.”

She was stubborn. So thinking she would never find 8 students nor be able to get the money I said o.k.

We set a date to do a trial class. I never expected her to show up. But indeed she did with 8 people and handed me the money.

That’s how it began. And not only did she begin teaching me by giving me feedback, the rest of the class would often throw in their two cents. It was a new experience of letting go of control and opening up the door in me of being more compassionate and open up deeper to my own inner growth while teaching.

And now we have the longest ongoing MS Yoga class in Stanislaus and San Joaquin County. Also, for the MS Society of Northern California I train yoga teachers how to teach MS yoga. And I feel uplifted every time I teach this class, as the students are so appreciative of their progress and that I take the time to work with them. It is very fulfilling.

What are you working on now?

Now I am working on my giving my workshop, “Emotional Mastery” (Chitta Prasadanam) to yoga students learning to become teachers more often as well as mentoring individuals who are sincere in their quest to become God Realized, understanding that I too am on the path and I have many tools to offer others that have used and am still using.

And I am focused on spending more quality time with family and friends, and more time in the sun appreciating all that I have become, all my wonderful life experiences and all that I have been given.

How have the daily inspirational texts helped you and others?

They remind me to the deeper work I can still do on myself and from what others tell me it helps them understand certain aspects of spiritual growth or it also reminds them of what they already know and may or may not be applying in their lives.

 Can you please share some of your favorites?

            Live with joy

            I’m happy with dying and I’m happy with living. Both are appealing to me

            It’s alright

            So what

            Peace, love and family, all else is just noise

            I love we all get to choose what we want, whether we know it or not

You recently shared with your personal friends that you no longer fear dying, how did this come about?

It started six years ago when my mentor gave me an initiatory Sanskrit death mantra. Meaning, I was being trained to let go of the fear of dying and embrace a spiritual state of consciousness higher than the one I was at.

I have had enough experiences internally that showed me that I was not the body, but an Energy Being that was always in a state of Joy and Peace. So returning to the non-physical became attractive to me.

When I had this insight I realized I was complete within. I had no more mountains to climb. I had achieved all the goals I had ever set, save one, God Realization, which is an ongoing goal that can happened in any second or in many lifetimes.

Also, I had lived a magnificent life. I lived what most men dream about. I had no more attachments and somewhere along the line I let go of attachment to the body, my family and all things material. I was pretty amazed I had reached this level of consciousness, because not so many years ago I was the opposite.

This way of thinking and feeling was a most profound experience as I had just been diagnosed with cancer and given one year to live. And rather than be afraid I was happy with the idea of dying. It was appealing to me just as much as living was appealing. It was a new state of consciousness that was born in me at age 75.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Yoga Master, Mentor, Author, Friend, Richard Parenti

I met Richard Parenti in October of 2014. He was seated next to me at The Great Valley Bookfest in Manteca, California. We hit it off instantly. Richard is a mentor, a yoga instructor, a teacher, an author and I consider him a friend. When I needed a traveling companion for a book signing in Turlock in the summer of 2015, Richard put on his publicist hat and went along for the ride. In life, I believe we are here to teach one another life lessons. Richard has  a wealth of experience in his life and he is willing to share it. To me, that is what being a mentor all is about. Richard is the author of: Emotional Sobriety: Feel Good Secrets for Everyone, Balboa Press, 2013, and was a contributing author in, Manifesting Magnificence: A Personal Growth Workbook, Serendipity Press/Serendipity Media Group, 2015.


What made you decide that your life needed to change?

In 1974 my life was abruptly interrupted by my wife asking for a divorce, my car being repossessed, getting fired, being locked out of my home and all my credit cards canceled all in one big swoop. On top of that I realized I had enough of drinking and drugs and that my life was going downhill in a hurry, so I quit.

Describe for us, how was the process of writing for you.

I had a habit of writing down on napkins my thoughts. My best friend one day said as we were having dinner, “Why don’t you take all those napkins you have saved up and show them to a published writer.”

I did just that. I found an eighty-year old author who charged $5.00 an hour for his time. He had authored 13 books, had owned his own ad agency and was still writing, but now for the fun of it he loved helping new writers, and why he charged so little he said, “I’ve made all the money I need. The five dollars is to buy myself some wine that my wife keeps hiding from me.”

He reviewed my napkins and told me to write a two to three page story of my experiences in Europe when I was involved in the espionage business.

I told him I had no idea of how to use grammar. He retorted, “That’s unimportant. That’s what editors get paid for. I just want to feel your style.

After I completed my first assignment, he said, “You got passion. You can write, but you’re right you know nothing about grammar” We both got a good laugh. That was 1982. Since then I have written many articles that were published, initially in all the major restaurant magazines nationally when I was in the restaurant business and then several articles in a prestigious international Yoga magazine over the last 10 years.

 When did you know what your true calling would be?

In 1974 when I got divorced and fired I had an internal experience that revolutionized my life. I went from being an international spy, jet setting around the world to looking inward as to what I had experienced and within a very short time I began looking for answers to what had happened to me. This led me to the science of yoga. Not postures, but the inner science that would lead me to an authentic path to God Realization within and being mentored by Swami’s from India.

Then it was in 2004 when I was in India on a 40-day silent retreat in the Himalaya’s that I got my first inkling what my calling might be. Initially I thought it was only for me to learn how to master my emotions, but after my return the United States it was revealed to me that this inner work of yoga, mastering emotions would be my life’s work, not only for me but for other people as well. Up to this time I had fun teaching the yoga postures, mediation and in talking about many of the other aspects of yoga that I knew about.

It wasn’t until later that I began teaching “Emotional Mastery,” in a workshop after I had tested it on myself for over 9 years. First, I offered it to the public, who had little interest. Then, I was invited by a yoga center to teach it to people who were training to become yoga teachers. That was when this work found a home, as the interest was genuine and they were hungry. I realized they had never heard of this in their yoga training before and were eager to learn more about the inner science of yoga.
Richard Parenti can be reached at: 209-380-5955