What I want to offer the world is a beautiful welcoming space for all these amazing people whom I love...to support them, to encourage them, to hang out, to have fun and to do this great social change work we are all here to do.
The most important experiences over my career have been bringing into form new and deeper ways of being, working and relating to each other. I like to challenge the boundaries of how we operate in favor of deeper, uplifting and more community-oriented models.
I am moved to tackle so many issues - climate change, child marriage, unwittingly destructive economic practices - that I’ve chosen my focus to be a WAY of working together rather than a particular domain. I’ve spent my career between developing new models & working with food. It seems a strange combination but I find food is very grounding and a practical contrast to work that can involve lots of emails, phone calls and less face to face time.
My long-range goal is to focus on models that help shift our economy and social life towards positive, regenerative practices - with a particular focus on building bridges across cultures and a deep listening practice. I hope to shift the Ph balance of the cultural ocean we swim in towards a shared humanity and shared stewardship of each other and the planet. I’ve been deeply influenced by my travels and work in many cultures, a strength’s perspective, the Ulab process, compassionate listening practices and my own spiritual practice.
In 2011, I sat down with 2 dear global activist friends and discussed how I could bring my desire to gather all of the amazing men and women international activists I know together into a space where we could hang out, rejuvenate, explore, inspire and connect. I was tired of going to one fundraiser after another celebrating each particular cause, and longed for a wider container for our collective efforts. As someone who has lived in Southeast Asia, Africa and Europe, I also missed the growth and joy of connecting with other cultures, and knew I was overwhelmed by the thought of opening a 24/7 cafe.
I said I would host a few gatherings as long as they promised they would attend, and they said Yes! It was called Tapestries of Solidarity, and involved 50 people over three gatherings/circles in dialogue about our international solidarity work and our own journeys. A key theme that arose was moving from transactional to transformational relationships, and the foundation of those transformational relationships is friendship.
After the three gatherings, we formed an ongoing (mostly) women's global activist circle called Globalicious, and this circle has been a well of sustenance over the years, even though we span the East, North and South Bays. Our time together has varied over the years, as obligations and commitments grow, but I think we each know we value our personal well-being as much as our social change work, and how we weave those together to uplift ourselves and our allies. The circle uses listening practices, and our combined group facilitation skills to have a dialogue and explore questions personally and professionally. At the same time, with Transition Palo Alto, we hosted Global Spirit Hikes which combined the cadence of hiking with exploration of issues facing the world. One hike included friends from Libya and Syria who shared their stories as we walked together.
I still struggled with the form this cafe would take until I went to my Dad's village in Greece, Amelides, and was transformed by 2 Yia Yia's (grandmas) whose power and brightness brought me home. I knew I wanted to bring the spirit of the Amelides back to the Bay Area and root the cafe in the tradition of a Greek mountain village in honor of women. But then.... [see below]
A little over 2 years I had a magical daughter named Evvie. I was in the middle of finding space for the cafe when I got pregnant, and found that I could only invest in one significant creative effort at a time. So I keep the cafe spirit alive through our multicultural encounters and through small experiments, and slowly find my personal energy is growing to realize the vision of this little space.