Tag Archives: Somatic Experiencing

Who I am and Why I’m here

It’s like writing a Mission Statement, a brief sentence, two at the most, to get to the essence and use it as my guiding star in case I wander too far.

That’s basically it:

Underlying it all is my fundamental principle to be kind, compassionate and useful.  I want to contribute goodness to life, to real people. As for content, it’s an alchemical process, metaphorically turning lead into gold.

I move around a lot of subjects.  Over on Facebook, and for the past half year, I’ve watched what I do, say, write, re-post, and share.  It has taught me what I consistently care about enough to do all that, with a huge amount of time invested, and especially to write.  I write a lot on FB, e.g., in depth responses in the comments and personal notes about why I am putting something in my timeline to circulate out.

At the core is health, on all levels, especially body, mind and spirit health. Body: e.g. articles about food, exercise, breathing, sleep, nutrients, stress reduction and Somatic Experiencing.  Mind: many of my intellectual pursuits that have to do with Quantum Physics, Resonance, history, society, mathematics, Sacred Geometry and Crop Formations.  Spirit: meditation in different forms, eg Mindfulness, Zen, and guided visualization. Soulfulness is an undercurrent, how to be fully in the body and soulful in one’s life.

As a photographer, I look at images, and share those special to me as well as my own, sometimes suggesting competitions for my photography friends to enter.  As an artist, I publish my own art to share, and join my artist friends in opening show receptions.  I have a very colorful timeline, and I would have a similar style here: colorful.

As a writer, I read poetry and engage in writing poems and non-fiction, two sources for posts.  In fact, in another blog, I publish the stories I write  for the Berkeley Times.  I link those into this blog a few times a month, stories about Berkeley, CA. I also write about journal-keeping and art book writing. I write about  books I am reading, too.

Because of my education in psychology and personal growth, I post about mental health and happiness as well, my own and what is in the news.

Although that seems like a lot, it’s who I am.  I swim around in all that stuff and it’s familiar territory.  It is thrilling to grow and become a better person, and by sharing what I do and like, perhaps that passion for healing, growth and joy will resonate with someone, a reader.

Thanks for reading,



The Singing Bowl

First published in the Berkeley Times on August 15, 2013

The Singing Bowl

I walked into Tenzing, a Tibetan store on Shattuck Avenue, to find a cotton pullover similar to my top in orange with green stitching.  A man behind the counter held a large Tibetan bowl. He smiled at me and gestured that I might want to come over to it. I said I would after I finished looking around.

As I passed by the counter, he offered the shiny, brass bowl toward me. When I nodded yes and stood still, he told me to extend my hands. He placed the bowl on top of them, and supported its heavy weight with his hands underneath mine.

Alejandro Piedra and the Tibetan Singing Bowl at Tenzing's in Berkeley, CA

He said,

“Close your eyes. Relax your shoulders.”

I was a bit reluctant, because I was hungry, had only a few minutes to find food and make it to my Photoshop class. I remembered how once a friend gong’ed me with his bowls, how the tones settled me, so I gave in, closed my eyes and dropped my shoulders.

The shopkeeper began rolling the mallet around the bowl’s outer edge. Immediately, I felt the vibrations of the bowl. They ran up my hands and arms into my shoulders, then up my spine and into my head, where I felt them shift my brain waves.

I tracked the sensations – now more subtle – continuing down my back, into my pelvis, down my legs, into my arches. I visualized the vibrations flowing through my feet, through the flooring, into Mother Earth, and then back up through my arches into the top of my head – creating a perfect circle.

The tones enchanted me. The rhythmic motion to create the sounds entranced me. I imagined making art with these qualities of motion and tone: swirling patterns of moving mandalas in beautiful colors, like spiraling galaxies. I glanced up, knowing my face was aglow. He was looking straight at me with twinkling, dark brown eyes and a smile.

“Close your eyes,” he said.

Again, my eyes closed, and my smile broadened. I felt an effervescence bubbling through me. Pulling myself out of my reverie, I said,

“I need to stop, because I have to go to class soon.”

He smiled at me. I took a deep breath, and slowly focused my eyes as the bowl gently became quiet and the tonal waves dissolved into the spacious store. I felt the stillness. Expressing gratitude for this magical moment he created, I asked him his name.

“Alejandro Piedra. Piedra means stone, from the earth,” he replied.

Ah! Grounded through exquisite sound and solid earth, I walked to class a taller being.

Alejandro Piedra with the Tibetan Singing Bowl at Tenzing Collections,  located at 2213 Shattuck Avenue in downtown Berkeley, CA


Column 2 first published in the Berkeley Times on August 15, 2013

c.  Arden Kamille Varnel

photo credit c.  Arden Kamille Varnel