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Wednesday
May092012

Celebrating Big Bird's Mommy

Photo courtesy of Biography.comBy Ellen Bari

Last week, at the Museum of the Moving Image, Leslie Stahl (60 Minutes)  introduced Joan Ganz Cooney, the creator of Sesame Street,  by sharing some of the honors  she has received:  Presidential Medal of Freedom, 13 honorary degrees from America’s most elite schools, and of course, the unique distinction of being ‘Big Bird’s Mommy.’ Stahl quipped that although she and Joan are good friends, “you don’t really get to know about your best friends until you Google them.” Seeing these women together on stage, one could not help but think: what a lovely pairing of ground-breaking role models.  But these two share another distinction:  Sesame Street and 60 Minutes both debuted in 1968- 43 years ago! And both shows are still going strong.

Cooney described the 1960’s as a time of tremendous opportunity. “Change was in the air and you could do everything. Government and private business collaborated, and the world was ready to do something for kids.” (Head Start began 1965)

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Wednesday
Mar072012

Re-Discovering Our Life Purpose: Momasphere is Back After a Long Hiatus

Many of us go through life knowing, on a very deep, subconscious level, what our true life purpose is. Some resist listening to our inner muse in favor of security. Some of us spend most of our lives too busy to notice what our driving force in life is, or too overwhelmed by everyday responsibilities.  Often we feel that we don't have the luxury to follow our dreams and listen to our inner truth. On rare occasions we are lucky, and our passions are sparked with such intensity at just the right moment, that we are able to ride the tide of inspiration to fulfill a lifetime goal. In all of these cases, re-focusing energy internally is the key. Our internal state and needs are always changing, so focusing on outer purposes that are fixed can be tricky.  And for most of us, the true goal behind what we pursue is often to simply ‘be happy.’ Sometimes it takes an outside force to help us access our innate wisdom and find courage to take action. When we leave our comfort zones we can finally start stumbling towards ongoing fulfillment that is more aligned with our deep and constantly changing inner nature.

 
Melissa, of Momasphere, has re-discovered her passions by leaving city life behind and living on a farm.
Momasphere is thrilled to announce our first event after a long absence, a workshop aptly named Rediscover Your Life Purpose. It seems like that’s exactly what we’ve both been doing! We all know it’s really important to be able to take a step back sometimes to re-evaluate where we are, though as mothers, we don’t always give ourselves permission to do that. Balancing everything we want to do, with everything we have to do, is rarely simple, and often, even prioritizing is sometimes out of our control. But, finding our true calling is essential, if we want to be the best we can be…whether it’s at home, at work, on a farm, in a studio or on a court. It has been an incredibly productive and busy time for us, as Melissa went from being a Hip Slope Mama to a bonafide country mama, and Ellen became a successfully published children’s book author. We have both been around the ‘country,’ Melissa, Connecticut farm style, and Ellen literally from West to East on book tours.

Melissa completely changed pace, stopping not only to smell the roses, peaches, pears and apples that she picks daily around her farm when in season, but also re-experiencing the wonders of birth with baby cows, and barn yard kittens, and this spring, building a huge, experimental biodome to grow the family’s food year round. Melissa is also working on becoming a certified organic farmer and Non-GMO food advocate and speaker. She has also set up a painting studio in her house and is re-discovering her artist within.

  Ellen, of Momasphere, has followed her dreams to become a successful children's book author.


Meanwhile Ellen’s new picture book, Jumping Jenny, about a little girl who channels her passion for jumping to raise money for a school in Uganda, has captured the interest of psychologists dealing with children with special needs, health educators to encourage physical activity, communities involved  in social action projects, schools raising awareness for inclusion and bullying and kids who just plain love the book. The book was recently picked up by the PJ Library to the tune of 10,000 copies!

As Melissa is making progress on creating Momasphere, CT., and Ellen holds down the fort in Brooklyn, we look forward to offering enriching, engaging, enjoyable programs for moms in Brooklyn and Connecticut, beginning with this wonderful workshop with Career and Life Coach Anne Baker. As we continue to muddle through, we understand that rediscovering our life purpose can serve as a beacon of light in these challenging times. We are all works in progress, rediscovering our purpose as we go, integrating what we have learned in the past, with our aspirations for the future. Perhaps more than ever, we strongly believe that Whole Women Make Whole Moms.


Click here for more information and to sign up for the upcoming workshop, Rediscover Your Life Purpose, on Thursday, March 22, 7:00-9:30pm, at our old friend and great host, Park Slope Eye. In addition to small group work, break-out sessions, and actionable hand-outs, we will have time for networking and reconnecting over wine and snacks. Anne is also offering a complimentary coaching session to continue the momentum of the workshop or to help you take action on any other life or career issues.

Monday
May092011

Scribble Scrabble!

By Ellen Bari

I was not quite three when my mother was invited to sub for a kindergarten teacher who was out on maternity leave. She took me along for the six-month ride, as I guess she imagined it could only be positive for me to be amongst older kids, in a learning environment.  I have a few vague, happy memories from that time, but there is one experience that I might not remember as well, had it not become part of the family mythology. It seems that on more than one occasion, one of the ‘big boys’ attacked my artistic talents. He would come up to my easel, survey my artwork, and say: You Scribble Scrabble! Apparently, each time I was crushed. Had I known that years later Whitney Ferre, Creatively Fit founder, would use scribbles as a technique for reaching The Artist Within, the title of her book, the sting of this boy’s insult may have been minimized.

Recently, Whitney proved the power of her technique to an intimate group of not-just moms at the delightful Linger Cafe and Lounge in Brooklyn.  The event, Creatives and Cocktails,  co-presented with Momasphere and Melissa Anne Colors, gave us  a chance to see for ourselves how a scribble on a page can shut down the left brain, making room for the right brain and the silenced artist within. Though as children, we seem to have a natural ability to make art without judgement, with age, an unfortunate and often cruel, internal critic squelches our ability to put crayon to paper and just let it flow.

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Saturday
Apr232011

Earth Day Revisited

By Ellen Bari

The 40th anniversary of Earth Day, seems like a perfect opportunity for us moms to reflect upon the state of our planet and the small things we can do to help. We are (slowly) becoming aware of the problems: our food is often chemically treated and genetically modified, our water is frequently contaminated with toxic chemicals, our wasteful habits are filling landfills, gas prices are soaring, our resources are running out - the list goes on.

So what can we do?  Tons. There are so many easy ways families can contribute to going green, beginning with simple ways to conserve energy, like shutting down and unplugging electronics and setting our thermostats a few degrees lower in the winter/ higher in the summer.  

We can also be mindful of our water consumption by washing clothes in cold water;   filling reusable bottles with filtered tap water, taking shorter showers, installing low-flow shower heads and planting drought-tolerant native plants.

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Tuesday
Dec282010

Who Do We Think We Are?

By Ellen Bari

Fear. Loneliness. Isolation. These are some of the emotions shared at Momasphere’s recent screening and discussion of Who Does She Think She Is? Sounds like a real downer. Well actually, though the sentiments that were shared were not all particularly uplifting, acknowledging our challenges and sharing some possible solutions was liberating…and perhaps even exhilarating. The packed house of moms, and one dad, mostly artists, laughed together throughout the first half of the film, when introduced to the film’s main protagonists-5 artists who juggle worlds of artistic expression and motherhood, as delicately as a basketball player spins a ball atop an index finger. However, as the film progressed, the laughter ceased as we learn that three out of five women end up alone. We even watch one of the marriages fall apart during the course of the filming, a development that many of us did not see coming. Rahti Gorfein, of Make a Living Creatively, one of three creativity coaches on hand to facilitate a vibrant and directed conversation, pointed out that though this woman’s husband tells us early on that his daughters have to learn that the world is not predictable, he is not able to follow his own advice when it comes to his wife’s need to pursue her creative calling as a performer. In all cases the husbands felt that their partners had chosen their art above their responsibilities as mothers and wives. Many of us related to a familiar sentiment shared by Mayumi Oda, a Japanese artist/activist/mentor, who tells of an interchange with her husband, shortly before he left. Exasperated, he tells her, “I want a wife!” to which she replies, “I want a wife, too!”

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