“… it is easier to overcome people’s judgments than to overcome our own self-judgment…”
Arianna Huffington

The Element

Bend your Mind


This is another excerpt from Carlos Castaneda’s book “Tales of Power“:

1: Perception

Order in our perception is the exclusive realm of the tonal; only there can our actions have a sequence; only there are they like stairways where one can count the steps. There is nothing of that sort in the nagual. Therefore, the view of the tonal is a tool, and as such it is not only the best tool but the only we’ve got.

2: Unspeakable

The Nagual is the unspeakable. All the possible feeling and beings and selves float in it like barges, peaceful, unaltered, forever … When the glue of life binds those feelings together a being is created, a being that loses the sense of its true nature and becomes blinded by the glare and clamor of the area where beings hover, the tonal… A being pops into the tonal once the force of life has bound all the needed feelings together … What a warrior does in journeying into the unknown is very much like dying, except that his feelings do not disintegrate but expand a bit without losing their togetherness. At death, however they sink deeply and move independently as if they had never been a unit.

3: Human

The sorcerer’s explanation says that each of us has a center from which the nagual can be witnessed, the will … it is up to the individual warrior himself to direct the arrangement and rearrangements of that cluster. The human form or human feeling is the original one, perhaps it is the sweetest form of them all to us; there are, however, an endless number of alternative forms which the cluster may adopt … I have called that cluster the bubble of perception. I have also said that it is sealed, closed tightly, and that it never opens until the moment of our death. Yet it could be made to open… when one plunges into the nagual.

4: Surrender

Your reason is willing to admit that the world is not as the description portrays it, that there is much more to it than what meets the eye. Your reason is almost willing and ready to admit that your perception went up and down that cliff, or that something in you or even all of you leaped to the bottom of the gorge and examined with the eyes of the tonal what was there… At that instant you not only saw, but you knew all about the double, the other… The secret of the double is in the bubble of perception, which in your case that night was at the top of the cliff and at the bottom of the gorge at the same time. The cluster of feelings can be made to assemble instantly anywhere. In other words, one can perceive the here and the there at once.

5: Physical

Your reason cannot fight the physical knowledge that you are a nameless cluster of feelings. Your reason at this point might even admit that there is another center of assemblage, the will, through which it is possible to judge or assess and use the extraordinary effects of the nagual. It has finally dawned on your reason that one can reflect the nagual through the will, although one can never explain it.

6: Disintegration

The conviction that there is a real you is a result of the fact that you have rallied everything you’ve got around your reason. At this point your reason admits that the nagual is the indescribable, not because the evidence has convinced it, but because it is safe to admit that. Your reason is on safe groud, all the elements of the tonal are on its side … To make reason feel safe is always the task of the teacher. I’ve tricked your reason into believing that the the tonal was accountable and predictable. Genaro and I have labored to give you the impression that only the nagual was beyond he scope of explanation; the proof that the tricking was successful is that at this moment it seems to you that in spite of everything you have gone through, there is still a core that you can claim as your own, your reason. That’s a mirage. Your precious reason is only a center of assemblage, a mirror that reflects something which is outside of it. Last night you witnessed not only the indescribable nagual but also the indescribable tonal.

7: Integration

Reason is merely reflecting an outside order, and that reason knows nothing about that order; it cannot explain it, in the same way it cannot explain the nagual. Reason can only witness the effects of the tonal, but never ever could it understand it, or unravel it. The very fact that we are thinking and talking points our an order that we follow without ever knowing how we do that, or what that order is … Sorcerer’s do the same thing with their will – they say that through the will they can witness the effects of the nagual. I can add now that through reason, no matter what we do with it, or how we do it, we are merely witnessing the effects of the tonal. In both cases there is no hope, ever, to understand or to explain what it is that we are witnessing.

Posted in Expanding, Featured, inside | You are welcome to add your comment



An(other) former government minister was sentenced today to 4 years imprisonment (he was initially sentenced to less then 2 years, but appealed and lost his appeal with an increased punishment. He was(is?) a member of a religious political party who was been swaying with (and been swayed by) Israeli politics for many years.

Disclosure: (a) I am not a religious person. (b) The above mentioned political party and its representatives at the time, played a major role in causing me (and many others) much suffering by imposing their religious beliefs. My partner in life is not Jewish and around the time we married (outside of Israel!) this religious political party rallied around a message that the three most critical problems in Israeli society are violence, drugs and marriage of Jews with non-Jews (that would be me).

What caught my attention was a remark by one of his political peers (another religious politician from the same political party) calling out to change the judicial system in Israel into a jury based system (similar to the American system). This remark, portrays to me an impossible situation of the entire state of Israel.

Religion & Politics

I am not a religious person, but I do consider myself spiritual and attribute myself a capacity for faith. My faith includes an embrace (which goes waaaaay beyond tolerance!) of others, including those with whom I have very little in common and who may even be enemies. This includes religious politicians, who I consider an enemy and a threat to myself. But as my faith would have it I choose to embrace. I want to believe that religion is rooted in spirituality and as such it represents a personal choice – every man potentially has a right to choose a religion. Religious people also vary in their interpretation and application of religious practice to a degree that suits their personal preference.Ultimately spirituality is a artful pursuit of personal growth.

Politics, on other hand, especially systems like democracy where “the people” are represented, are a system of a social choice. Though an elected official may bring personal choice (and charisma!) to office, that choice can only resonate as long as it is in harmony with a vast network of other choices that represent a total accumulated effect of government and “the people”. When he doesn’t resonate well he gets kicked off the choir and a replacement is brought in. Politics is an impossible playground for spirituality and spirituality will always lose to politics. Only a rare spiritual leader who is willing to sacrifice everything (!) may affect a political system – though it is likely that the affects will appear long after he is gone (from politics and probably from his earthly body).

Politicians who bring their spiritual (religious) beliefs and practices into politics are most probably making a (conscious or unconscious) sacrifice.  If they are also prominent religious leaders then they are sacrificing not only on their beliefs but also on their entire system of beliefs, and the hearts of the people who subscribe to that system. And so the Israeli religious politicians are playing the lead role in the destruction of the very beliefs they (apparently) set out to protect. Judaism itself is not threatened because it has more flavors then Ben & Jerry’s. My heart goes out to the people who will find their hearts & souls emptied by this misguided, even if well intending, individual.

What about the Jury?

This is such a wonderful point, I wonder if the politician that brought it up has any concept of what it actually means and what the implication of his suggestions would be. The torn fabric of Israeli society around religion goes deep, so deep that if you trace it long enough you may find that this dress we wear and call “Israel” is from it’s first days hanging by a barest of threads. Israel, in it’s current configuration, is a Jewish country.

This was a good enough definition when everyone was busy fighting for their lives. Sure there are a few million Arab citizens that don’t subscribe to that decision but we have managed to keep them checked. We haven’t had a good war in quite some time, so we’ve had a chance to evolve.

For example, My parents had time to raise me, and I grew up to marry a woman who is not Jewish, which puts me in direct conflict with the reigning national definition. Apparently I am not the only one to do this. It seems that many people prefer to consummate their life together without a Rabbi present. Homosexuals can’t get a Rabbi even if they wanted one. What about foreign workers and their children? and the list goes on and on…

What then is a “Jury of the people”? which “people” are you referring to? Am I people? Is my wife? Are gays people?Are the millions of national Arabs people? To answer this question we are going to have to role up our sleeves and dig into a deep swamp – because we are going to have to go back to the beginning and ask “What is this thing called Israel?”. I read recently that this question actually did come up when Israel was just taking it’s first steps. There was a temporary parliament in place and on it’s task list was to form a committee that would deal with this question. Already the USA was a role model for us because the answer was supposed to come in the form of a constitution. But the task was put-off, indefinitely, and to this day is rotting away in the national to-do list, and it takes just one rotten apple…

My Fellow Citizens

Indeed Israel is in a state of advanced rot:

  • We have absolutely no leadership. I can’t think of one member of parliament as a leader or even a potential leader.
  • Politicians have a life-span shorter then hi-tech workers. No effective legislation can be carried through because the system does not have enough longevity or motivation to cope with it. In these troubled times (I am not into listing troubles – but people are welcome to compliment my work in comments below!) members of parliament have time to debate canceling a law that requires bicycle riders to wear helmets! They may as well do something while they are in office right – after all they are getting paid!
  • The “jury” (pun intended) is still out on the helmets but we are running out of agriculture water. There is a long standing speculation that water (or lack of it) may be at the heart of a coming local war… while Israel has a long coast-line and is claimed to be a world leader in water processing technologies.
  • It seems that people shoulder very little responsibility for their choices. People don’t seem to care about what is right or good (at the risk of being wrong), but only about what is punishable (and this too is sliding away – see 3 points down).
  • Exploitation is rising. A Russian-immigrant-rooted-right-wing-extremist political party rose to power by promising to pass a controversial family-status legislation – and is has recently pulled out it’s support. It didn’t really matter because the suggested legislation was hollow and toothless. When an example of exploitation is set by leaders…
  • As a result respect, both personal and others is at an all time low (there really isn’t much to respect!)
  • We have a judicial system that is collapsing, and justice is not on it’s agenda. Members of parliament publicly display their contempt and lack of respect for the highest judicial authorities. The legislative and enforcing bodies openly attack the judicial system.
  • I could go on, but I don’t want to.

Again my choice to embrace comes up. If it smells like change, it looks like change, it tastes like change and it feels like change – maybe it is change? Maybe we need to copy one more thing from our American role models – a civil war? The more we try to avoid it the more viciously it will come at us. We can paint over the walls over and over again but the cracks will keep coming out until we reinforce the foundations. It may look nice, but eventually it will come crumbling down.

Finally My “Enemies”

I imagined a real warm-blooded “enemy of Israel” reading this and thinking what a great opportunity this is – they are fighting each other, maybe if I … just a little… If you happen to be of this disposition I’d like to give you a peace (some pun intended) of advice. Nothing will pull Israeli’s together more effectively then a clear and shared enemy. Unlike our role models in the USA who’s constitution (ahum!!) tempers democracy, Israel can shift and reorganize and be unexpected. Israeli’s have an ingrained burning fear of survival (or potential lack of it) and an amazing potential for improvising. Israeli’s will quickly release each others throats and take up arms to fight, so they can quickly get back to each others throats.

So it would seem that by being an enemy, you would also be a great friend. What to do?


A classical dictum in the history of states & war was that my enemy’s enemy is a friend. Maybe it’s time for a more mature, and at the risk of contradicting myself, more spiritual dictum? It is tempting to offer one, but, in the spirit of staying true to myself, a spiritual dictum is a private place – so I will keep mine to myself and leave you to form yours.

Who is enemy? Who is friend?

Posted in Expanding, Featured, inside, Israel | You are welcome to add your comment

Dear Child of Mine,


Please join us. It feels now like your presence has been with me from the first time I denied your existence – a very very long time. Most of these years I was afraid both for myself and for you. I wanted to figure out what’s going on in this thing called life. After all these years I can admit to you that I have failed – I haven’t figured it out, and I don’t think I ever will. But in the process unexpected things have happened which have made it possible for me to face you with open arms.

There were two things that I wanted before coming to you. I wanted to have money and I wanted to be happy, to be able to smile at you. While I have failed at money I have thrived in happiness. I am looking out at a beautiful view as we live closer to nature now. Your mother and I have created a huge space cushioned with embraces, care, appreciation and curiosity – a space I now recognize as your space. Our lives are filled with a sense of inspiration and purpose – and every morning we recognize and express our gratefulness for a clear sense of presence and direction when facing so much that is unknown to us.

I am curious about you. I believe you know our strengths and weaknesses, our passions and fears, our capacities and limitations –  and I am amazed that you have chosen to spend this life with us. I wonder what you bring with you and I am looking forward to changes that your presence bring into our journey. I have so much faith in you and so much hope when I think of you.

During my morning meditation you came to me again. As I embraced, you a single fear surfaced and brought tears to my eyes. Together with all the love and support you will find with us, I am afraid you may also face hunger. I can peacefully accept hunger for me as a consequence of the choices I have made, but I fear of making that choice for you. I truly fear this. As your presence nears us and will turn into a physical presence, so does my sense of complete surrender to my fears and questions. This sweet and beautiful and graceful path I am on, the very path that leads me to you, is also distancing me from many others, people that our livelihood depends on.

Please accept my apologies for any suffering you may experience once you occupy a physical body and join us. I will be there to embrace you, I will be there to listen, I will be there to learn, I will be there to guide, and I will be there to witness your suffering. I so wish I knew how to magically make that suffering go away. But I don’t.

Finally it seems that I am surrendering to you. I have great faith in you. I have great faith that your sweet and clear perception will guide you and perhaps even show me the way. When you do come, please know I am lost.

Your friend of many lifetimes

Posted in Expanding, inside | You are welcome to read 5 comments and to add yours

10% of a Guitar


A few days ago I was speaking to a friend who runs an intimate guitar fixing & teaching business. He is an artist in his work and puts much care and attention into it. Over the past few months he has also been learning to make guitars – he dedicates an evening every week to building a guitar under the guidance and supervision of an experienced  guitar maker.

My friend has also been struggling with questions on the nature of his guitar-fixing business and it’s place in his life. He strives to live a simple life and spend time at home with his family. He recently began a business-consulting/mentoring process to help him grow his business. This consultant asked him what was his objective in running a business in terms of profits. My friend answered a sum approximately equivalent to $2000.

When he told me about this – there was a sense of heaviness in his voice, presence and body. A number like that, in business terms, translates into questions: how many guitars need to be fixed? what do I need to do in terms of marketing to reach enough people to create enough guitar-traffic? The questions quickly go through so many topics which have nothing to do with his work – that the result is a dissipated energy, heaviness and a lack of motivation.

When we talked about this – I asked him why not focus on what he really loves doing – building guitars? It seems reasonable that a hand-crafted guitar can be sold for a profit of $2000 – so all he has to do is manufacture & sell one guitar a month to achieve his business objectives. In response to this his energy grew and expanded. The same objective, when stated in terms that are closer to his heart lit a spark motivation and passion.

Inspiration, motivation and passion need to be treated with care. Work can be about creating something, business can be about an exchange of values. When money becomes the objective it blocks out the core qualities of doing and leaves an empty and purposeless space.

When my friend creates a guitar and exchanges it – the exchange is an isolated, complete, beautiful and natural entity. When money is involved, it opens a door for other interests that are foreign to that exchange – a financial abstraction is born and has a life of its own. You can take 10% of $2000, but you can’t take 10% of a guitar. This life is independent of the original exchange or the intents of those involved. This in itself can be a thing of wonder because it enables others to partake in an exchange and enhance it’s total value, but it can also be abused and manipulated.

Posted in AltEco, Featured, outside | You are welcome to add your comment

A Teaching Model


This is an excerpt taken from Carlos Castaneda’s book “Tales of Power“:

Sorcerers say that we are born inside a bubble. It is a bubble into which we are placed at the moment of our birth. At first the bubble is open, but then it begins to close until it has sealed us in. That bubble is our perception. We live inside that bubble all of our lives. And what we witness on it’s round walls is our own reflection … The thing that is reflected is our view of the world. That view is first a description, which is given to us from the moment of our birth until our attention is caught by it and the description becomes a view.

The teachers’ task is to rearrange the view, to prepare the luminous being for the time when the benefactor opens the bubble from the outside … The bubble is opened in order to allow the luminous being a view of his totality. Naturally this business of calling it a bubble is only a way of talking, but in this case it is an accurate way.

The delicate maneuver of leading a luminous being into the totality of himself requires that the teacher work from inside the bubble and the benefactor from outside. The teachers reorders the view of the world. I have called that view the island of the tonal. I’ve said that everything that we are is on that island.  The sorcerer’s explanation says that the island of the tonal is made by our perception, which has been trained to focus on certain elements; each of those elements and all of them together form our view of the world. The job of the teacher … consists of reordering all the elements of the island on one half of the bubble… on the side of reason. My task has been to disarrange your ordinary view, not to destroy it but to force it to rally on the side of reason …  on the right half of the bubble.

The teacher always addresses himself to that side, and by presenting his apprentice on the one hand with the warrior’s way he forces him into reasonableness, and sobriety, and strength of character and body; and by presenting him on the other hand with unthinkable but real situations, which the apprentice cannot cope with, he forces him to realize that his reason, although it is a most wonderful affair, can only cover a small area. Once the warrior is confronted with his incapacity to reason everything out, he will go out of his way to bolster and defend his defeated reason, and to that effect he will rally everything he’s got around it. The teacher sees to that by hammering him mercilessly until all his view of the world is on one half of the bubble. The other half of the bubble, the one that has been cleared, can then be claimed by something sorcerers call will.

… The benefactor’s task is then to open the bubble on the side that has been cleaned. Once the seal is broken, the warrior is never the same. He has then command of his totality. Half of the bubble is the ultimate center of reason, the tonal. The other half is the ultimate center of will, the nagual. That is the order that should prevail ; any other arrangement is nonsensical and petty, because if goes against our nature; it robs is or our magical heritage and reduces us no nothing.”

Posted in Education, Expanding, Featured, inside, Yoga | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-06-21

  • to effectively help someone you need to see how doing so influences your own life #
  • does anyone else see the bitter-sweet irony of people chasing after "vanity URL's"? #
  • you cannot monetize life so please stop trying #
  • RT use a retweet 🙂 @SirKenRobinson: If I want to reply to someone and show the original message I'm replying to, how do I do that? #
  • RT he is Ronen @ronenk: Hi, I'm Ronen. #
  • it's time to go home: http://www.iamronen.com/?p=1090 #
  • a person that out to fix the world wants to love it, a person who sees nothing that needs fixing loves it #
  • RT @gotoAndSmoke: Best WEDDING INVITE EVER!!! http://www.hurl.ws/39v0 #
  • tweet -burst alert #
  • an end does not justify a means, but it does give it context! #
  • "…all of us are a bunch of nincompoops. We can never relinquish our crummy control voluntarily, thus we have to be tricked" #
  • "This very rock where we're sitting is a rock because we have been forced to give out attention to it" #
  • Ahimsa = non violence? http://www.iamronen.com/?p=1095 #
  • @lajik who are you and what do you have for me? in reply to lajik #
  • @lfano a great thing about twitter is that in the beginning you don't get it … hang around and c what happens 🙂 in reply to lfano #
  • Yoga and how change can happen: http://www.iamronen.com/?p=1102 #
  • Shakuhachi insight – Playing myself: http://www.iamronen.com/?p=1104 #
  • flexed my wordpress muscles and put together a new theme for http://www.iamronen.com #

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Playing myself


During my first year of Yoga practice I attended a weekly group class on Friday mornings. At one point I observed that my presence and quality of practice would be influenced by how my work week ended. If I was agitated on thursday night, my yoga practice would be agitated as well and I would be impatient. If I was relaxed then yoga practice would have flowing sensation – thing would seem to move and fall into place.

A few days ago I realized that my Shakuhachi playing had a nervous quality to it. Yesterday I listened to some recorded Shakuhachi music and this reinforced my observation. I felt that the music I was listening to was slow and patient, every note given time to become, many spaces between notes and a feeling of meditative flow. My playing over the past days is definitely of different qualities.

Playing Shakuhachi, alongside my recently resumed asana practice, is indeed revealing to me a quality of nervousness and agitation I have recognized and felt within me. I am greatful to have these tools available to me and I am know that recognition itself is a door opening to change and growth. I recognize an agitation within me, I recognize my hand in it and I look forward to experience it changing.

Posted in inside, Shakuhachi, Yoga, Yoga & I | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Yoga & Change


I would like to revisit a topic I have addressed in the past – about how change occurs through Yoga. Change has resurfaced in my consciousness over the past few weeks and this morning I read a passage from a book by Carlos Castaneda which caused a crystallization of my thoughts:

… the island of the tonal was complete and not a single element of it could be removed. Change, then, did not mean obliterating anything but rather altering the unassigned to those elements.

I would offer, as a temporary agreement, that Castaneda’s “tonal” is a concept of all that mind can know & comprehend.

Yoga offers an idea of Samskara. One could say that a Samskara is a whole impression created & left-behind by experience. This includes a sense of memory, feelings, thoughts, energies, etc. I see it as an endless rippling effect. Every experience continues, one way or another, to resonate within – eternally. This happens regardless of facilities of consciousness and memory. A Samskara exists if I am aware of it or not, if I remember it or not. It is also something which cannot be removed – experience cannot be undone. An experience may fade from memory, but a Samskara remains.

Yoga also offers an idea of Vasana. Vasana is a potential for behavior – I think of it as a starting point, triggering mechanism and anchor. Vasana are sown in fields of Samskara and are related to them. I carry many Samskara’s that relate to money and to the potential absence of it. These Samskara are home to a number of Vasana: one that triggers worry, another to which fear is anchored and another that starts a hunting-gathering pattern. Each Vasana is connected to a pattern of behavior and action. Worry is connected to impatience and anxiety. Fear is connected to self-pity and morbidity. Hunting is connected to an ambitious and achieving form of activity.

Consciousness is an intricate dance of these elements. Experience leads to Samskara. Samskara connect and relate to existing Vasana and & give birth to new ones. Vasana trigger action and behavior which then create new Samskara. This is an endless cycle is which consciousness evolves. It can be subtle and hidden and also gross and obvious.

With this model of consciousness Yoga suggests a sober & sensible mechanism of change. Since Samskara and Vasana are here to stay and there is no known surgical process for removing them, focus falls on a relationship between Vasana and action – and a bond that exists between them. To be even more specific, Yoga focuses on a nature of how this bond is created – and this is surprisingly simple – practice. We are constantly training our consciousness muscles – everything we do feeds this system of Samskara & Vasana. Every time I deal with my bank I am accumulating money-related Samskara, which trigger some rather unpleasant Vasana that lead to feelings of worry & guilt and ensuing behaviors which are unpleasant both to myself and others around me.

So, as boxers in a tight corner will do, Yoga embraces. It recognizes a potential of practice and training and utilizes that very facility – change begins by practicing and training new patterns of behavior. A Yoga teacher can call upon a very large set of tools which can be applied with endless subtle choices, elements & variants that are tailored to a practitioners needs. From my experience (as both a practitioner and a teacher) a practitioner will usually have access & grasp gross qualities of a practice and only in time grow aware of more subtle qualities (though she will be practicing both the gross and subtle) This can shed some light on benefits of practicing with guidance and supervision of a teacher.

When I practice Pranayama (a breathing practice) I sometimes encounter challenges. One example of a challenge is holding the breath after exhaling. I can hold my breath after inhaling using willpower for quite some time, but I cannot do this after exhaling. Holding in breath after exhaling is an experience of surrender. When my body (or maybe it’s my mind?) wants to draw in air instead of holding a bit longer – I experience difficulty, resistance and stubbornness. I want to assert control and forcibly hold my breath. I practice this over and over and make no progress until at some point I discover (or am introduced to) an alternative. How about surrender? What if I don’t hold my breath as long as I want to, but only as long as I can?

If I try this for a while my breathing practice changes. But not only my breathing practice changes – my consciousness changes. I am practicing and training subtle patterns – every time I encounter difficulty I am engaging embracing and surrender. If I practice this for effectively for a long enough time  – I can (a) establish new patterns of behavior and (b) associate these new patterns with existing Vasana.

So now when I encounter money-frustration Samskara which trigger related Vasana – there are new options of behavior and action available to me alongside older patterns. Money-frustration is still there and worry, fear & hunting triggers are still there but I have attached them to new patterns. Worry still comes, but I am less bound to dysfunctional patterns of behavior and able to emply new ones. I have options. I have created these options by practicing them as I have practiced older patterns that they have replaced.

For at least as long as I am breathing this cycle of consciouness continues and so can practices that support it.

“… a warrior could not avoid pain and grief but only the indulging in them”
(Carlos Castaneda from “Tales of Power”)

Posted in Expanding, Featured, inside, Yoga, Yoga Philosophy | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Ahimsa with a Twist


An exceptional recurring pattern I find in spiritual ideas is that they are slippery – they can’t be locked down and mindfully assigned a clear and simple explanation. Spiritual ideas die in mind and flourish in heart. I find that when I embrace a spiritual idea it can, if I let it, move within me and in time even move me. If I am patient, I may in time, gain a sense of clear perception, but not a fixed explanation that I can, for example, communicate with others.

Ahimsa is a great example. A literal translation of Ahimsa is non-violence. A popular expression of Ahimsa is ideological vegetarianism. Ideological vegetarians refrain from eating meat (and sometimes even dairy products) because of the violence involved in killing animals. In effect their choice saves very few animals and they know this, so they try to organize into movements so that many people adopt their ideology – so indeed some animals may be saved.

My diet is vegetarian but this was a consequence, never an objective. My eating ideology is to eat what’s good & right for me.  I also refrain from eating things, such as fried foods,  that “vegetarians can eat”.  My diet changed over a long period of time as I grew more aware of my body and it’s reactions to foods I ingest.  When my eating awareness expanded beyond my taste-buds – I made different choices, I refrained from certain foods, and sought other alternatives – a process that continues to this day, as  & my bodily needs change. This has nothing to do with Ahimsa. But I digress.

What if there is a deeper intent to the idea of Ahimsa?  one that appeals to heart  instead of mind? What if a key to Ahimsa is actually intent and not definition? What if Ahimsa is actually an intent of non-violence? That small change can make a big difference. It is no longer about your actions or their direct consequences (death is waiting for all living creatures!) – but about your intents and how they drive your actions. Are you eating meat because it is vital to your health, and if so are you (can you be?) grateful to sacrifices that have been made so that you can eat that meat? Or are you eating meat as an indulgence without any recognition and appreciation of those same sacrifices?  When you are negotiating a deal – are you expressing nonviolent intents to other people involved in the negotiation? When you are defending yourself in a violent war – are you expressing non-violent intenst as you shoot and aim to kill? To really integrate Ahimsa in your life can be a very consuming task – and it can change your life and radiate outwards from you to others.

A Twist

When I started writing this post I ended the first paragraph with this sentence, but I also cut it out:

I have also come to recognize that when I do find an explanation – I am usually in a state of misapprehension – or in other words – I am wrong!

A literal translation, such as Ahimsa as Non-Violence, is easily adopted by mind – because of its simplicity and fixed meaning (even though it is an impossibilty, like Ahimsa!). With every breath you take you are killing micro-biological creatures, With every step you take you are probably killing larger creatures – such as ants and insects. Recent news has been flooded by a headline about president Obama killing a fly on camera.

Jainism was a religion devoted to Ahimsa. I was once told that Jainism is symbolized by a man wrapped in vines that have grown over his body because he keeps still so as not to cause violence to any living creatures. When I began to write this post I had Jainism and mind and I went searching for this symbol. I found this:


What I also found and took my breath away was that this is not the symbol of Jainism – a religion devoted to non-violence. This is:


Posted in Expanding, Featured, inside, Yoga, Yoga Philosophy | You are welcome to read 3 comments and to add yours



For months I’ve been playing around with this post in my head – it is about a wish. Over the last two weeks this wish has taken a turn and matured into something I can embrace and share. I wish for a home for myself and for Andreea and a family that may grow from our shared journey.

A few months ago we moved to live in the north of Israel (Galil area) with two convictions: (1) we love this area and living here, it is rightfully considered a heaven in Israel; (2) this is our last stop in Israel. The next stop will be somewhere else in the world. Home is a wish embodied in the 2nd conviction. It has evolved from “leaving Israel” to “finding a home”.

  • Home is a welcoming embrace.
  • Home is where our energy can settle and expand.
  • Home is where our destiny can manifest.
  • Home is where we can live a productive and balanced life.
  • Home is where we can pursue our passions & our passions can pursue us.
  • Home is where our passions & actions resonate harmoniously with others.
  • Home is an intimate island in an ever-changing life.

I feel these qualities absent from our lives. In the past this has led to self-judgment and injury and a tiring list of what home is not – no more. It’s time for us to go home.

Posted in Coming Through, Expanding, Featured, inside, Wishes | You are welcome to read 18 comments and to add yours

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-06-14

  • 14:41 #
  • Yoga for a Murky Mind: http://www.iamronen.com/?p=1060 #
  • So, when the mind is still and contained – what shines through? http://www.iamronen.com/?p=1064 #
  • RT Yes,yes&yes http://twurl.nl/aywhh5 @SaraJChipps: just discovered Ray LaMontagne through @EvilBobby bone chilling, sexy, beautiful voice #
  • money turns art into decoration #
  • released an updated FEM application http://www.myfem.org – some corrections, some refactoring, much better engine under the hood 🙂 #
  • if my ego rises to the occasion, I am probably better off sitting the occasion out… #
  • thank You for everything #
  • @SaraJChipps @EvilBobby thank you so much for the Ray LaMontagne reminder… so wonderul … in reply to SaraJChipps #
  • people in Israel are to scared to actually work together and collaborate… it's a sad state! #
  • no, I don't think so… #
  • on contracts: http://www.iamronen.com/?p=1076 #
  • if u r absolutely sure you have figured something out, though you may be close, you most surely have not! #
  • @adambn yep… leave facebook 😉 in reply to adambn #
  • RT what the … ??? @ronenk: 11:08 #
  • exciting news… I will be receiving the second hand made classic guitar from a soon to be famous guitar maker 🙂 #
  • RT ecology is an unrelenting force to be reckoned with @davewiner: US cities may have to be bulldozed in order to survive. http://tr.im/omUs #
  • 18:18 exactimundo #
  • you&I are the same, both Buddha, our confusions separate us #
  • if you are to attached to what you want, you may miss what you already have #
  • too much knowledge in my mind can leave too little room for knowledge in my heart #

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See Giant Steps


A note transcription of John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps”. I never got notes… but this is so captivating… I really loved the visual echoes of the music’s rhythm. Enjoy 🙂

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“A key factor that contributes to difficulties in creative collaboration is a problem with contract. The contract is an energy bond that appears at beginnings. It represents an agreement between participants where each participant commits to playing a particular role in the fulfillment of the others’ destiny. Disagreement, misunderstanding, or desire to change these roles can affect the ability to collaborate. Resolving issues around the contract is an important consideration in any creative collaboration.

Most of the desire to change or clarify the contract comes from newcomers. Even in the early stage of their presence they have a desire to communicate and be reassured. The prospect of unknown change can be quite frightening. If they do not feel listened to or receive the reassurance they seek, they will often withhold themselves from the collaboration.

It is easy for newcomers to feel lost in the confusion and frustration that occurs when starting a new collaboration. With all the attention on the day-to-day necessities of work, it is easy for newcomers to feel neglected and need reassurance… In times of stress newcomers often need the comforting reassurance of the more experienced participants attention before they will take that first big step towards collaboration. It is important to remember that collaboration is a life-transforming event for everyone involved.”

OK, I confess, this is not really a quote. It is a game I wanted to play in applying inspiring ideas from one context to another. It is a transformation of words from Walter Makichen’s book Spirit Babies. As I read these words I smiled and realized that they carry, for me, a wide context. At first I realized that the words resonated closely with a form of communication I know from my work with Shahar in a performance space. Then I thought back to a post I read and commented on a few days ago by Fred Wilson – and decided to do this little experiment. Following is an authentic quote of from the book:

A key factor that contributes to difficulties in conceiving a child and to miscarriage is a problem with something I call the “conception contract”. The conception contract is an energy bond that appears at a moment of conception. It represents an agreement between a moth, father and the spirit of a child-to-be. Each participants commits to playing a particular role in the fulfillment of the others’ destiny. Disagreement, misunderstanding, or desire to change these roles can affect the ability to conceive and carry a child to term. This is why I believe that resolving issues around the conception contract is an important consideration in any approach to these problems.

Most of the desire to change or clarify the conception contract comes from the spirit baby. Even in the spirit stage of their existence, the unconceived have the desire to communicate and be reassured. The prospect of a new life and identity can be quite frightening. If they do not feel listened to or receive the reassurance they seek, they will often withhold themselves from the conception contract.

It is easy for spirit babies to feel lost in the confusion and frustration that occurs when a couple has difficulty conceiving. The doctors, the tests, timing intercourse for maximum fertility, and worrying if “something” is really wrong can leave even the most loving couple tense, distracted, and frustrated. With all the attention on the physical “mechanics” of conception, it is easy for spirit babies to feel neglected and need reassurance.

… In times of stress spirit babies often need the comforting reassurance of their mothers’ attention before they will take that first big step towards their new life. It is important to remember that conception is a life-transforming event not only for the parents but for the spirit baby as well.”

Posted in AltEco, Business, Coming Through, Expanding, Featured, inside, outside | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

What Shines Through?


The Murky Mind post left an open idea I wanted to address. When mind is still what is it that shines through? To answer this I will call upon two Sanskrit terms Cit (pronounced Chit) and Citta (pronounced Chitta). Citta can be interpreted as mind (though that does warrant an extended debate). Cit can’t be translated directly. It is the source of clarity that shines through when the mind is still and contained.

I am not keen on using religious terms, but I take comfort in the fact that the text I am calling on The Yoga Sutra is not a religious text and it dances with grace around the idea of god. God, in yoga and Vedic philosophy has many names & manifestations – one of which is Brahman. Brahman is an eternal unified existence – a greater force from which all consciousness originates. Then there is Atman – a name attributed to the manifestation of Brahman in each and every one of us. Atman & Brahman are one and the same – simply different names used and indicative of different contexts. Atman is that part of Brahman which is in me (and you) – but Brahman has no parts… so remember – context!

Cit is my personal experience of Atman that is within me. Cit is also referred to as the seer (as in that which sees). If you’ve ever practiced any kind of meditation – Cit is that which can observe that your mind is wondering off (since your mind has wondered off – it can’t be the one doing that for you!). If you’ve ever been a situation where you’ve seen “through” a person – realizing something about that person which is not directly stated (this usually happens when mind does not interrupt a subtle channel of perception and communication!) – that too is Cit. Cit can be seen as an intuitive facility.


Cit & Citta (mind) have a kind of love-hate relationship. Cit can be a perfect clarity – but it can’t relate to the world beyond it – it is an isolated existence.  To do that it needs Citta. Citta is connected to the world – it can take information in through the senses and act on the world by (for example) manipulating body. So Citta is a life-saver for Cit – but it comes with a price – a price of murkiness. Cit can now relate to the world around it – but sometimes, when Citta develops it’s own ambitions, Cit can find itself shoved aside from the drivers seat. This, according to Yoga,  is what we are. A convergence of a potentially integrated, eternal, clear & sweet perception with a murky mind that feeds on and manipulates.

If you recall – the definition of Yoga as put forth in the Yoga Sutra – chapter 1, sutras 2,3,4 is:

1-2: Yoga is the containment of the mind’s activities
1-3: In that moment the state of Seeing remains.
1-4: At other time the activities [of the mind] are presented.

An ad-hoc interpretaion: when the mind (Citta) is settled and not bouncing around feeding on and reacting to everything that reaches it, there is clear perception (Cit). At all other times (which for most of us – is most of the time!) – the mind (Citta)  is perceiving an echo of it’s own inner workings – it observes what it expects and wants to observe.

Posted in Getting Started, Yoga, Yoga Philosophy | You are welcome to read 6 comments and to add yours

Yoga for a Murky Mind


I carry with me a metaphor that very often provides me with inspiration and support. A glass of water is inherently clear, but if you introduce some dirt into it and give it a good stir – clarity will be reduced. Clarity is still a quality of the glass of water but something is now preventing it from shining through. To experience clarity again you need to let the dirt settle.


Applying Yoga is a similar process. People are born with a quality of clarity that cannot be taken out. Clarity can be dormant and hidden behind a murky mind but it is always there. Therefor in yoga we tried to teach the mind stillness. When the mind it still enough, clarity can once again shine through.

As a seeking individual this reminds me that mind has a nature and quality of it’s own and it get’s murky – this is not a problem, it should not be criticized nor solved. I have also found that a great place to start to quiet the mind is to surrender to it and embrace it for what it is. Clarity is with me all the time, though sometimes it is not available to me because of state-of-mind… and in the spirit of embracing… maybe there is a reason for that as well (when I am driving, I prefer a nice and murky mind taking in information, making decisions and responding).

As a yoga therapist this reminds me to appreciate and embrace an endless potential embodied in people I teach. It is not up to me nor in my hands to “make them better” in any way (physically, mentally, energetically or spiritually). I have at my disposal tools that when introduced properly and practiced with care can involve a stillness of mind. The rest is in the hands of a higher force.

CONFESSION: When I created the images above I waited to see what would happen to the murky water. The first time I did this I left the glass out for too long and half the water evaporated leaving a dirty glass surface. The second time I tried things remained afloat in the water and clung to the sides. I was a little disappointed because I really wanted to go demonstrate the idea of clarity shining through again. But it’s never that simple, and indeed yoga practices are about an active purification of body & mind and not just waiting around for it to happen. So there you have it : )

Posted in Getting Started, Models & Metaphors, Yoga, Yoga Philosophy | You are welcome to read 8 comments and to add yours

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-06-07


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Atha Yoga Indeed


Today, after quite a long time, nothing got in between me and a complete asana practice. The weather was fine, the house was quiet, my mind did not resist and my body welcomed.

I thought this would be a great opportunity for a “behind the scenes” yoga thingy. This is what I practiced – it is a basic but comprehensive asana practice.  IN = inhale, EX = exhale, R4=repeat 4 time, R4/_=repeat 4 times both sides. Click on the image to open the full-size practice plan.


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Lucky Number Slevin


I have a great time every time I watch this movie. Enjoy : )

Posted in Coming Through, Enjoy, inside, Movies | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

How FEM Happened – Faith & Fear


FEM is an online application designed to assist women who take an interest in what is often called Fertility Awareness Method. This is a journey of awareness which begins in the physical body and the changes it goes through during a woman’s menstrual cycle. It embodies, like other tools of awareness, a potential to open up new and unlimited paths of exploration.

Over the past two weeks Andreea & I have been testing FEM with a few users from Romania. This past weekend we completed the work and introduced an English version. This is by no means an end, it is merely a stop on the way but it feels like a good place to stop, appreciate, embrace and share. There are numerous energies that led us to this point – they all seem to start about a year after Andreea & I met.

Subject Matter

Andreea initially trained in Aromatherapy. She had amazing luck and got to study in intimate settings with two of the most prominent teachers in Israel. She worked in various circles as a masseuse for some time. Over time she focused on working with women. She then trained as a doula – a strange word I learned to admire – describing a servant role to a woman giving birth. She also trained in some specialized techniques for women and pregnancy. She has also studied and applied in her life the Fertility Awareness Method. This is all fueled and intertwined with her personal ambitions and journey of discovery.

During these years I completed my training as a Yoga therapist. We have over the years developed a common interest, shared perception (and some differences as well) and vocabulary in which we approach our own lives and the lives of people we encounter in therapeutic settings.

Going Online

About 2 years ago Andreea started a  blog in hebrew (Nashiyut) dedicated to femininity, fertility & pregnancy.  Though the blog has some unique content and accumulated a readership – it has not struck a cord with a resounding and motivating resonance. This led her to seek online connections in her birth country – Romania. There she found a resonance that pulled her in.

About 4 months ago we setup Feminitate – the online equivalent of her hebrew blog. This time she encountered a thirsty, supportive and responsive community. She responded in kind and most of her attention and work since then has been invested in Feminitate.

Not long after that (shortly after we moved to Elkosh) she tried to setup a simple tool that she could share online to bring the Fertility Awareness Method to women in Romania. She tried creating something in excel and a PDF document that could be printed out. When she consulted with me on it I (maybe a little brutally?) put down her efforts and my mind quickly starting thinking about an alternative.

Over the new few weeks we talked about what such an application should look like (Andreea had used some existing online tools and we wanted to do something different – and hopefully better). I then did some initial sketches of the basic UI concept and soon after got to work on developing the application.

The objective was to develop a tool in Romanian – a language I neither speak or read.  So from the start we approached FEM as a multilingual tool – initially so (a) I can develop in English and (b) we could easily translate to Romanian. We now have the capability to easily translate FEM into practically any left-to-right language. This has empowered us to reach more women and we definitely inted to put this to use.


The technology issue is for me an amazing perspective on, of all things, faith. Though I had a long IT/technology career I did very little development (because I never really liked – and still don’t!). I do have good foundations and experience in systems analysis, SQL databases, software architecture and user experience. I had absolutely no experience coding in a web-environment. So how did FEM happen?

WordPress – 3 years ago I encountered wordpress and made my first steps in online hosting (a place to install and run the blog) and basic HTML/CSS/PHP to get some degree of control over the look of the blog. As I built a few more blogs I gained more control and experience using these tools. WordPress has a special place in my heart.

SweetClarity – this project was born from my involvement in creative exploration over the past few years – my heart and soul are in it and is intended to affect the flow in inspiration on a global scale. If you don’t get it, it’s OK, most of the business people we encountered didn’t either. SweetClarity was founded in the summer of 2007. An initial demo system was implemented using an affordable content server and a little paid custom development. The project continued to evolve and we did not manage to secure any funds. So for ~6 months I searched for developers who would be willing to join the project without pay. When this didn’t work I relcutantly decided to brace myself and get to work.

Lynda – I came across Lynda when I reviewed a CV I received from a developer who was looking for paid work. I have always been an independent learner and Lynda was just what I needed. I took courses in HTML, PHP, CSS, Javascript, Flex/AS3 and more. I was learning as I go and going as I learned and in i6 months SweetClarity was reborn. It is made up of 4 systems: HTML editing environment, HTML adminitstrative tools, front-end Flash player and a web wrapper. It turned out to be quite a bit of code (and I still consider it a pilot system).

A few weeks before we moved to Elkosh I decided to set SweetClarity aside. I was transferring personal financial pressures onto SweetClarity and the people who were trying to help. I realized this was wrong and decided to let it breathe. I focused on packing a house and preparing to move. Then not long after we finished unpacking the last crates – FEM emerged and began to consume most of our time.

My technological learning curve is motivated by my passion and tempered by my (lack of) patience for technology. I studied enough to achieve my goals. I do appreciate and recognize good development – so I know that my technological work is mediocre, but I also know where it can approve. This is how I improve from one project to the next and within project iterations.

Project Management

Hahaha  – there was a systemic lack of it. One of the reasons I left my technology career was the hypocrisy of project management. Everyone talked about being on schedule and being in budget, nobody ever was and quality was always left out because of blind adherence to fashionable management ideas.

A new learning began with SweetClarity but really escalated during the development of FEM. When I was working on SweetClarity everything was open ended. FEM is more specific and condensed and also taking place under even more financial pressures – with a more impressionable limit.

I learned that all the pressures I was experiencing have very little to do with the work at hand – and should not affect it. I would often notice how a pressure to “finish” awakens in me and how that pressure creeps into my heart and my fingertips – and suddenly I am under pressure, not enjoying my work and messing things up.

I made it a point to take my time. I made it a point to do physical work in the land around the house or take walks. I rested when I felt like resting. I took days off when I either felt I needed them or reminded by Andreea that I needed to. I always answered “I don’t know” when people asked when we would be finished. I made it a point to take my time and not to push myself.

In under 2 months we thought up a product, planned, designed, developed, tested and deployed it – and we didn’t let any management ideas get in the way of enjoying life while doing it.


It was Andreea that took the first step in changing the “business” aspect of her life. She was the first to become an independent worker – not on anybody’s payroll, I passionately supported her – I didn’t want her to make unnecesssary compromises and sacrifices I felt I had made in pursuing a “steady” career. I always feared that this was an impossible and painful bureaucratic process. When she took the first step we both learned it wasn’t that painful. Her experience paved the way for my first steps of independence.

When I left my career I had grown tired of the experience I had come to know of “doing business”. I was amused that artistic exploration brought me full circle and made me face it again with SweetClarity.

I love that change is coming. I love that wide-spread ideas of business, thought up by really smart people are crumbling. I am beginning to develop a new sense of what business may be, but I don’t yet know what it is.

I love that we have been able to create something useful. I love that I have been able to put into it all of my skills – from Yoga to HTML. I love that is was born in the country-side. I love that Andreea & I can be together at home and work passionately on a project together. I love feeling and believing that all this work can also translate into a relationship with the world and an exchange of energy that will support us and provide us with the freedom to continue pursuing our lives.  This can tell you something about what I think business can be and will become.


The name FEM was born when I needed a temporary place holder. We didn’t talk about a name but I needed something to act as a design as placeholder. FEM is the first 3 letters of the word Feminitate and also a prefix of the same word in english (and I am guessing other languages). When I placed it on the screen, I called out to Andreea and told her the application is called “FEM” and so it came to be.

When I worked with Andreea on translating some texts from Romanian to english I noticed the close relationship between FEM and FAM (Fertility Awareness Method). This is a welcome side-effect 🙂


So much to say – I am not sure where to start, what to leave in and what to leave out. I will try to let this flow as it may.

All this has happened in a difficult and challenging period for Andreea, myself and our shared life. When we first met Andreea was a foreign national. Our growing relationship encountered an menacing obstacle – her visa expired. The only way for us to continue to pursue our relationship was for us to get married. But, in Israel this is not possible – there are only religious marriages. So we found ourselves in battling the state of Israel – both it’s unclear essence (a Jewish state?) and political bureaucracy. After a year of fighting the ministry of internal affairs – we lost. Andreea left to Romania (she left as an illegal alien and her passport was stamped by a smiling government official telling her she would never be able to return) to arrange her papers, we met in Cyprus to get officially married, she went back to Romania and I returned to Israel (leaving her stands out as a very difficult moment in my life). We both prayed that a recently instated civil process would allow me to have her brought back to Israel – luckily it did. She was back in a month. Since then we were required to visit the ministry of internal affairs once a year to validate the authenticity of our marriage. Last summer this process came to an end – and Andreea received her citizenship.

In the sumer of 2006 I left behind my career and the salary that came with it. I realized that I was not making any substantial financial progress and I was not enjoying myself. I decided to give my a self an enjoying life. Within a week I met Shahar and have been since immersed in magic – a substantial part of it is expressed through StillCreation. SweetClarity was also born in this process.

Since then both Andreea & I have been pursuing our passions.  Though we both had some income during this period we have been largely living off savings – which are running out (as all savings do). I know this has been difficult for Andreea – but don’t want to speak on her behalf. I can say that this has brought me face to face with two amazing forces: fear and faith. As I write these words both are dancing within me. Right now faith has the upper hand.


I have often, in teaching, talking and writing about Yoga, bring up a core idea that Yoga is a system dedicated to a study of mind and not as it usualy mistakenly associated with body. An inspiring idea that Yoga has to offer about pregnancy is that it occurs in the minds of two people before it manifests in the body of one.

I think that it is safe to say that the greatest dividing issue in our relationship continues to be a child.  When Andreea & I set out on our shared path I was fearful and against even talking about children. Today I am still afraid but also curious and open to the idea. On a good day you can even catch me admiting I want it. A few years ago two people on two separate occasions indicated to us they perceive an aura of our future child nearby. It made me angry but now I am happy and embrace it. When people ask me if we have children I say that we do in soul but not yet in body.

Pregnancy is indeed in in mind before in body. We have been pregnant for a long time. I have faith that the birth of FEM will soon create a space for it to occur in body as well.

Posted in AltEco, Business, Featured, Israel, outside, SweetClarity, Yoga | You are welcome to read 7 comments and to add yours

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-05-31

  • 13:33 #
  • this is what happens when lost souls and unprepared minds encounter sacred knowledge:http://twurl.nl/moo2g0 #
  • on Motivation & Mind: http://www.iamronen.com/?p=1030 #
  • 11:00 yeah! #
  • @erangalperin if you haven’t already then have a look at phpBB in reply to erangalperin #
  • 22:22 #
  • to set a mind free it must first be collected #
  • and when a mind is collected it stays put and something else is set free #
  • is there a way to interface with WordPress via PHP to create users that originate in a different system? #
  • @erangalperin that’s what I want to do, in the end I guess it’s a table update, but things like password/permissions??? in reply to erangalperin #
  • @erangalperin if I can capture password on creation (it’s my system)… how would I go about WP encryption? in reply to erangalperin #
  • @erangalperin thank you …. then I will give it a try and see what happens 🙂 in reply to erangalperin #
  • Make a life not a living. #
  • doing at least a little nothing is a great part of my day #
  • soon I hope to also have not-doing as part of my daily schedule #
  • RT “That sort of company is not one I would wake up every day and feel passionate about working in.” @photomatt: http://twurl.nl/zggd32 #
  • Quentin Terentino & Bill Clinton could collaborate on a definite porn hit “Lick Bill” #
  • Amazon should sell Kindle with a gift certificate values at the Kindle price, eligible for buying ebooks at amazon! #
  • I just tried talking on the inhale instead of on the exhale… it was funny at first, then it worked and continued to be funny #
  • Male & Female – Space & Place: http://www.iamronen.com/?p=1038 #
  • Wooohooo FEM is now available in English http://en.myfem.org – an online fertility awareness application for women #
  • @adambn thank you 🙂 in reply to adambn #
  • woke up 03am,paypal integration,food,flex debugging,eating,html tweaks,eating,laying stone path,ice-cream, now dinner and a movie 🙂 #

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