About promiserani

writer, mindfulness and music instructor, artist, environmental activist

Inner Transition – October 21st

Session 9: Engage Adyashanti

Sounds True – Waking up in the World

For Third Monday, on October 21, 2019 the plan is 6:30p potluck, 7p viewing of a session of “Sounds True –  Waking Up in the World”, 8:00p Discussion – in Sunnyvale.. We’ll continue this month with Session 9: Engage


Embracing Our Totality

“Waking up,” reflects Adyashanti, “is a fundamental alteration in the way we perceive ourselves—in who and what we take ourselves to be.” And this shift can make all the difference in how we bring our truest beliefs into action. Join Adyashanti to explore:

  • Moving from “goodness” to “wholeness”—why we need to question our abstract, utopian visions and stay focused on helping others in our actions
  • How vulnerability and undiluted clarity help us embrace our shadow dimensions, such as rage and despair
  • Bringing our higher “soul values”—including truth and love—to the real-world problems that surround us

To RSVP or ask any questions, please feel free to contact Victoria varmigo at earth link dot net.

6:30pm Monday, October 21. 6:30pm potluck, 7pm viewing, 8:15 discussion. Check email for details.

Inner Transition – September 16th

Session 8: Engage Joanna Macy

Sounds True – Waking up in the World

For Third Monday, on September 16, 2019 the plan is 6:30p potluck, 7p viewing of a session of “Sounds True –  Waking Up in the World”, 8:00p Discussion. Location TBD in Sunnyvale or Los Altos. We’ll continue this month with Session 8: Engage

Joanna Macy, PhD

We Belong: Hope, Choice, and Our Relationship with the Earth
In this interview, Sounds True founder Tami Simon speaks with leading eco-philosopher, activist, and Buddhist scholar Joanna Macy. They discuss the need for hope in times of chaos and dissolution, as well as how hope is something we do rather than just feel. They consider apathy as a refusal to face the inevitability of suffering and why the state of the environment can be especially heartbreaking. Finally, Tami and Joanna talk about our relationship with the earth as a natural birthright—one that is actually the source of all our energy and joy. Highlights include:

  • The earth as not just alive, but an extension of our bodies
  • “The Great Turning”—which way will we go?
  • Hope versus optimism, and choosing to participate in our own evolution

To RSVP or ask any questions, please feel free to contact Victoria varmigo at earth link dot net.

6:30pm Monday, September 16. 6:30pm potluck, 7pm viewing, 8:15 discussion. Check email for details.

Sharing at the Craft Faire



It had been five years since we last had a Crafts-only swap – and we were back at Opal’z Soap and Scents, but in a new location. A hot, sunny Saturday midday brought out bags and boxes of everyone’s craft discards, but also lots was taken home to be newly repurposed.

There was such a range of things – papers, potpourri items, soap-making, candle-making, fabrics, containers, bottles, stickers, kits for kids, paints and colors, small supplies, and a few things that would need some creativity to be repurposed!

We had a steady trickle of people come in, and TPA is also the owner of a new tent canopy for events.

Thanks to our dedicated few volunteers (notably Kenneth Meng and Barbara Weinstein), and our demoers Suzanne Fouche, who showed lace-making and kumihimo, Amanda Kovattana, who displayed and discussed various types of shoes she had made, and William Mutch who showed different types of bracelet weaving, plus the several kind people who dropped off some fruit from their gardens, we had a lively event filled with community and crafty kindness.

Thank you also to Annie of Opal’z, Zero Waste Palo Alto, and everyone who came to share and participate!

Eating your values


Our very own Peter Ruddock will be participating in a panel hosted by Kim Acker on Thursday, August 15th, 7pm entitled “Eating Your Values” at the Los Altos Library. A second panel will be held the following week as well on the Future of Food.



Inner Transition  – August 19th


Session 7: Engage Jack Kornfield

Sounds True – Waking up in the World

For Third Monday, on August 19, 2019 the plan is 6:30p potluck, 7p viewing of a session of “Sounds True –  Waking Up in the World”, 8:15p Discussion. Location TBD in Sunnyvale or Los Altos. We’ll continue this month with Session 7: Engage.

Jack Kornfield, PhD

Tending the Heart in Uncertain Times

We live in uncertain times. How can we keep our hearts open and wise without being lost in the confusion and fears presented to us daily? How can we serve our community and our world with loving awareness and act with the gracious spirit of the bodhisattva? Join Jack Kornfield, bestselling author and cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society, for an important and nourishing conversation. Jack will explore:

  • Practices for tending the heart and setting our inner compass
  • The power of our highest intention and the joy of the bodhisattva
  • Skills for peace amidst all that is happening

To RSVP or ask any questions, please feel free to contact Victoria varmigo at earthlink dot net

6:30pm Monday, August 19th. 6:30pm potluck, 7pm viewing, 8:15 discussion. Check email for details.

Craft Swap

Craft swap 2019 (1)

We return this month (and year!) with our first Craft swap in a long time. We will have this event at our old haunt Opal’z – but in a new, larger location.

Join us to trade arts and crafts supplies, beads, baubles, paper, yarn, sewing needs, instruction books,  and other crafty items in good condition. Bring supplies you won’t use, and take home something new to you. A light lunch will be available.

Would you like to demonstrate a craft? Contact us at bacraftswap at gmail dot com

Where: Opal’z Soap, 897 Independence Avenue, Mountain View building 3, suite C (behind Costco)

When: Saturday, August 10th, 12-2pm (note new time, day, and date!)

A few guidelines:

  • Due to the presence of needles and soap supplies, babies and toddlers should not be unattended indoors.
  • Take home anything left unclaimed at the end.
  • If you have a large amount of one type of item (an entire box or more), please remember to take them home if they are left at the end. Please contact us if you have more than this.
  • Opal’z is a soap-making business with fragrances – if you are sensitive to fragrance, you may wish to take precautions or contact us.

Free and open to all – RSVP not required, but please check in here.

Let’s have fun sharing and creating!


Inner Transition  – New Group Continuing this Month


Session 6: Engage Seane Corn

The Revolution from Within
Sounds True – Waking up in the World

Join Seane in this lively and inspired conversation on what it means to advocate for social change from the inside out, our role as conscious leaders, and how to engage our communities during these complicated times with awareness, compassion, and mindful action. Because stress and trauma live in the body, yoga practice is a perfect opportunity to confront and change some of the patterns that keep us stuck and suffering. When we change on an individual level, we are changing the collective level. If you’re interested in seeing the world become a more healed and integrated place, curious about your own personal contribution, or overwhelmed by the state of the world, this session will offer insights and practices that can provide guidance, lead toward purpose, and ultimately inspire you to be the change you wish to see.

  • How to bridge the gap between yoga, transformation, social justice, and action
  • Understanding the mind-body connection and the impact of trauma on our health, wellness, and reactivity to crisis and conflict
  • What it means to be a conscious leader and ally in the world today

To RSVP or ask any questions, please feel free to contact Victoria varmigo at earthlink dot net

6:30pm Monday, July 15th. 6:30pm potluck, 7pm viewing, 8:15 discussion. Check email for details. Facebook event link. 

Fourth Friday/Films of Vision and Hope: Living in Future’s Past

Friday July 26, 7:30-9:30pm 
Fireside Room, Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto, 505 E. Charleston, Palo Alto


In this beautifully photographed tour de force of original thinking, Academy Award winner Jeff Bridges shares the screen with scientists, profound thinkers and a dazzling array of Earth’s living creatures to reveal eye-opening concepts about ourselves and our past, providing fresh insights into our subconscious motivations and their unintended consequences.

Living in the Future’s Past shows how no one can predict how major changes might emerge from the spontaneous actions of the many.  How energy takes many forms as it moves through and animates everything.  How, as we come to understand our true connection to all there is, we will need to redefine our expectations, not as what we will lose, but what we might gain by preparing for something different.

Director Susan Kucera’s documentary “Living in The Future’s Past” brings together scientists, philosophers and politicians to share fresh insights on our subconscious motivations and their unintended consequences. See the trailer…


FREE, Donations appreciated. RSVP here.

Sponsored by Transition Palo Alto.

Transition Café – Conversation

Interrupting the usual format of these intros to say…the conversations over the past few sessions have been fantastic. Sometimes they are just mellow checkins, other times they are highly engaged with the subject, moving and flowing so quickly that I’m hard-pressed to keep with the notes. There are, of course, occasional frustrations, but by and large we have created a conversational culture which has endured for nearly seven years, now. Thanks for being part of it! With that in mind, we now return you to your regularly-scheduled Transition Café prompt…

Walking into a group of feeding Chickadees, Titmice and Bushtits is an experience. Their conversation is often interesting, and the first two can be pretty interactive with Humans, if they see that you are responding appropriately to them. That said, when they are feeding in a forest, they are often up high enough that they don’t get too disrupted when a Human walks through, so they stay more-or-less in Baseline behavior, allowing the Human observer/participant to soak up that mood. Much of their conversation and mood transmits through tone of voice and body language, same as Humans. As with Humans, the words spoken are much less important than voice tone and body language, which move into our nervous systems, allowing us to participate in their conversation. Imagine the feeling of dozens of little Birds excitedly talking about food, an excitement which cannot be contained by one, but has to be embodied by a flock, amplifying and spreading.

Do you get that on social media? Texting? Much has been made about the substitution of virtual non-community for in-person community and conversation. What do you think about this? Online activities, including social media, are certainly addictive, some think destructively so. This is, perhaps, useful for folks using them for surveillance of their users, gathering info on us to sell to high-bidding buyers. I’m sure your favorite social media site would never engage in such a thing, but what about the others? But do data-scooping surveillance websites make for good community or conversation?

A hidden agenda of the Transition Cafés at their outset, not so hidden now, was to get folks interacting with each other, face-to-face, without a digital intermediary. Since then, we have had a steady group of regulars, semi-regulars, visitors, kibitzers, which seems to suggest that this has been filling a need. We have covered a very wide range of topics, intentionally starting our conversations with topics which are conversation-enders, in polite company…

I made a comment, the other night, that when I’m at a party, I usually head to away from polite company, either to the kids’ table, or to the kitchen to do dishes. The first is easily explained, as conversations at the kids’ table tend to be bright, fun, and deeply insightful. They could also lead to a game of Chaos Tag, which is simply the greatest tag game ever conceived by a Human mind.

The kitchen/dishes option is perhaps a little harder, but could be summed up by saying that the conversation and camaraderie among the folks who choose to roll up their sleeves and do dishes so other folks don’t have to, or instead of engaging in the social posturing of the main party has a gravity pull all its own. This is especially true if you get to work with folks who have worked in a lot of kitchens, and a flow develops wherein everyone loses themselves in the work and the conversation becomes nonverbal (after an initial working out of who does what, and how).

One sees this among musicians who have played together for decades, as well, an effortless flow between Humans, instruments, music, audience…bringing us back to a flock of feeding Chickadees, Titmice, and Bushtits. Their enthusiasm overflows the boundaries of individuals, family, species, flock. Do even the Trees get in on the conversation? New/old knowledge suggests…yes.

Have you experienced truly memorable conversations? Verbal? Nonverbal? Confined to your species? Your genus? Family? Kingdom? When you and that Deer or Coyote make eye contact and something passes between you, what you are not sure, but something, certainly. Or when you “just know” that the Plant in the other room needs water?

Or, more mundane, walking with a friend, a Friend, lover, partner? How is that different with someone you’ve just met versus someone you’ve known for awhile? Decades? One of my oldest Human friends has been in my life for ~44 years, which seems like a long time, until I think of folks who have been married for 60, 70, 80 years. What must those conversations be like? Or between Trees and/or Fungi who have known each other for centuries? Millenia?

Join us for a conversation about

Conversation, this Friday, 21 June, at Red Rock. Sometimes we go to dinner afterwards, maybe we will this week, too.

The Guidelines are below. Read ’em, learn ’em, bring a copy if you think yer gonna forget ’em!

Venue Information is below the Guidelines, and check out the Random and Useful Other Stuff below the notes section. Feel free to forward this widely!

Transition Café Guidelines
-Whoever shows up are the right people
-Whenever it starts is the right time
-Speak when you are moved to speak
-The conversation gets to go where it wants to go
-Pauses in conversation are good, they allow information to sink in, thoughts to happen, and quieter people to have a chance to speak
-Silent listening is fine, you do not need to speak if you do not wish to
-The “Law of Mobility”: if you feel like you are neither learning nor contributing, you may use your mobility to find a place in which you are doing so
-Bring friends! If we overpopulate the venue, we’ll figure something else out
-If you are able, please buy stuff from the venues. We’re trying to support local businesses!
Anyone can host a Café! All you need is an hour or two, an independent café you like, this list of guidelines, and a starting subject. Bring something to read while you wait for folks to show up (see the first guideline).

Please note venue changes:

This week, we will be meeting on Friday, 21 June, from ~6:15-7:45pm, at Red Rock Coffee, in Mountain View.

Thanks to everyone who has been supporting the venues by buying stuff while we’re there!

See you at the Café,



Notes: Travel

What can we do, in terms of giving feedback?

Intentionality around travel – more necessary?
Train from SF to Chicago with little change of trains, or buses?
Conscience-easing methods of travel?
Socio-economic class and electric vehicles?
What would it take to pass laws about climate change?
“I bought a Prius, so I’ve done my bit”
Travel methods
-Time vs. Cost
Train is slower, more conversation, getting to know co-travelers
Carbon Credits
Peace Pilgrim – circumambulating the Earth?
Energy use: plane vs. train vs. automobile vs. bus?
Does the number of seats filled matter?

What do you do when you encounter the Wall of Grief? The Wall of Guilt?
Ethical Action-what does that look like?
If petroleum-based travel were ending in one year, how would you use that year?
Doom Tourism: this ecosystem/species/region is doomed, but I want to see it, so I will do so, knowing that in doing so, I hasten its demise. Which ecosystem/species/region would you, personally, do this to?
-This is a thing, by the way…
Travel, Staying Home (Staycation), Local Travel, Inner Travel

Please join us on tpa_cafe, or tpa_chat, you can join at Transition Palo Alto

Random and Useful Other Stuff:
Toby Hemenway’s (author of Gaia’s Garden and The Permaculture City) website: Articles – Toby Hemenway
Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land, by Gary Paul Nabhan
Thinking in Systems, a primer, by Donella H. Meadows
Masterminds and Wingmen, Rosalind Wiseman
Queen Bees and Wannabees, Rosalind Wiseman

Why Writers Fight Style Guides Over Animal Pronouns
I’ll post other links and readings in this space, as they occur to me.

Palo Alto Ordinance

drink colorful color tube

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The City of Palo Alto passed Phase I of the Foodware Waste Reduction Ordinance – part of the Zero Waste plan for the city – on Monday, June 10th unanimously. The plan is only Phase I – and starting in January 2020, bans plastic straws, utensils, stirrers, drink plugs, produce bags, and other small accessories in favor of reusable or compostable alternatives, and receipts given only on request. Plastic retail bags have already been banned in Palo Alto.

Disposable Foodware Reduction Plan 4.22.19 (1)

Here are articles that describe the ban: https://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/2019/06/11/with-bans-on-straws-produce-bags-city-seeks-to-curb-plastic-waste


The full Zero Waste plan can be read here: https://www.cityofpaloalto.org/civicax/filebank/documents/66620

Transition Palo Alto supported the adoption of this ban and switch to reusables. If you’d like to join efforts to do more, email rani pj20*cornell.edu (replace * with @).