Thursday, September 12, 2013

Bowls for Elephants Presentation Video from visit to Patara Elephant Farm Chiang Mai Thailand

This video is a wonderful little film of our trip to Patara Elephant Farm trip. For a period of a couple of weeks we spent time with the elephants as an experiment playing Tibetan Singing Bowls and Crystal Alchemy Bowls. The response was amazing. The elephants continue to have the therapy since May 2013 and the reports are "they are happier."  The video includes an interview with Pat, the owner of Patara Elephant Farm. He is charismatic, well spoken and you will feel his amazing dedication to the elephants he has rescued. Truly the project at Patara is a vision that is successful. The elephants are allowed to be as they should be, living life peacefully, their health recovery is paramount, and they are treated with kindness. The herd is flourishing, we can all be grateful to them for their dedication to increase the numbers of Asian Elephants. It is heartwarming and the ripple effect of this one vision makes us all proud of how it really should be done.  Thank you, Patara Elephant Farm.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Once to Thailand and first to Bali!

In just three weeks I will be going to spend time in Bali to do a Master Class in Crystal Bowl Sonic Therapy. I am very excited as I have searched a long time to find the right class that resonates with me to achieve this certification. I also have been approached to do a series of recordings of my Bowl Work so this training will only enhance the recordings we will do in October!  Recordings will be available soon so watch for that late this year.

After Bali I will spend a couple of days in Singapore, where I grew up. Then on to Chiang Mai to do some work again with the elephants at Patara Elephant Farm. I am eager to see for myself how the work has been helping those elephants I worked with in April and May of this year. It is going to be wonderful to spend a week in Chiang Mai and spend as much time as possible with them! My daughter Cara will be with me. She is also very excited to go, and she is gifted with the Singing Bowls, both Tibetan and Crystal Alchemy Bowls, so she will be a tremendous asset this trip! Elephants have long been her favorite animal. She has dreamt of going with me, so this adventure I will be very excited to experience the elephants with Cara. Such a treat for me.

And My good friend Donna will also attend the Master Class and we will be on this adventure together. It will be thrilling to experience her joy with all of this as well, and she is beyond excited to go to Patara Elephant Farm and contribute to the well being of the elephants. What fun this is going to be for all of us.

Pat, owner of Patara Elephant Farm reports that the mahouts and the team have been continuing the work with the Singing Bowls that we have brought to them. He says that the elephants are happier.  That makes my heart soar. It makes it all worthwhile.

Since I returned to Bozeman after the initial trip earlier this year, so many people are excited about the project. So many people from all around the neighborhood and friends we see passing through know about the Bowls for Elephants project and they have a great sense of pride and joy regarding this. They also are happy to contribute in their own way to help this dream stay alive and well. We are truly touched by the generosity of many if it is just a kind word to encourage us, or a donation to the jar we keep in the store. We have these fun little hand-thrown ceramic dishes my long time friend Ellen Cline Sweeney makes for us with an elephant hand- drawn in them. We sell them by the register, all proceeds go to our project, to date we have sold over 80 of them. They are making everyone smile.

We begin our weekly concert/meditation in the store this week. The concert will be able to seat 30 guests each week and we will do a concert in store featuring our Tibetan Singing Bowls and a variety of Alchemy Crystal Bowls and the concert will benefit Bowls for Elephants as we are asking for a $10 donation from our guests. This is a win-win. I LOVE playing, our guests will be delighted by the angelic tones of the bowls and the donations go to a great cause. The money will be used to purchase more bowls for the elephants. At the moment we are considering the next set of bowls to go to the Chiang Mai Elephant Hospital.

Excited yet? WE certainly are. Keep checking in. Much more to come. This little project makes people happy, since there is hope for the elephants we work with to have a happier life WE hope that the work we do allows them to let go of the stress they have experienced to make room to live the lives they so deserve. We want to be part of that story. We are part of that story and so are you by caring!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Playing with Ploy

I loved the interaction with Ploy. She was rescued from the circus and in this video here you will see that she is softer and starting to open up. She is so curious here. I loved that our mahouts were playing with me that day, and the way they surrounded Ploy. She was very responsive and obviously showed her level of comfort to all of us. Perhaps being more familiar with the mahouts helped her to feel more comfortable. I was a bit overwhelmed when she took her trunk and checked me out. I was trusting that all was fine and knowing that they also have something like 80,000 muscles in the trunk. Elephants are very strong, and way more powerful than we can imagine so I was feeling a bit intimidated by her. I will always treasure the memory of this day! I know that we were beginning to experience some wonderful shifts with Ploy. We truly witnessed a big heart chakra opening and her willingness to also trust us. Sound is a great medicine indeed

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

100% Thai

100% Thai

The most amazing connection with Patara Elephant Camp on April 26, 2013.  We met Ploy, she is around 14 years old, and a rescue from the circus.  She is shy, she does not interact with many of the other elephants, that is the life she knew before, her life was very lonely.  I started playing for Ploy and she was very receptive to to the bowls, she seemed to be enjoying the sounds right away, and you could see the reaction in her eyes. At first her pupils were quite small and as I played, you could see the physical change in them as she was soothed by the bowls and her pupils appeared larger. A sense of calm and relaxation as her eyes even rolled back in their sockets.  At first I was unsure what I sensed from the look in her eyes, unsure if it was fear, anger or confusion.  It was gratifying to see her physically relax, and embrace the therapy provided.

Ploy looked very different after 10 minutes of playing for her than when we first met her.  I felt a very special connection with her.  She ran her trunk over me, sniffing my shoes first.  Pat explained that they do that, sniff the shoes first, as it tells the story of who you are and where you have been. So fascinating!!  She kept wanting to be close to me, she was curious and obviously comfortable enough, and I felt that she was loving the attention and the soothing, calm sounds of the bowls.  For sure Ploy will benefit from continuing to release her anxiety, and begin to trust more with vibrational sound therapy.  I told her quietly over and over that she is a good girl, or "Di Di," in Thai words that she understands.  I encouraged her with a quiet voice to open her heart, that she now will begin to embrace the life she has. She listened attentively, she was visibly softer and  responding to love, and I know that she heard me.

Ploy and Mahout

Ploy Checking Us Out

Ploy Relaxed, and the Flame Trees In Bloom

The first bowl I chose for her was a Zen Tibetan Singing Bowl in a G note to inspire communication; Finding her voice is what I want to encourage.  Of course we played other bowls  Zen Tibetan Bowls in the notes of D, D# and A for her.  She appeared to be most responsive to the G note on this day. 

We then moved on to Pri, who is a twin, just 5 years old. Pri, whose name means Gemstone (I know, quite fabulous right?)  was born at Patara Elephant Farm. His twin brother Poo is the larger of the two, and since birth have had sibling rivalry.  Poo being stronger and larger, always got more milk, food, and bullied Pri.  They do have a special bond and Pat assured us that they love each other very much, and they have their own special language to communicate with each other.  We drove up the mountain to where Pri was that day, which is totally breathtaking scenery.  We observed him for a while. he was doing his "little dance" as Pat calls it.  What we saw, him swaying side to side, his trunk swinging, I thought that this had to take a lot of energy and it also must be a release for him because he is feeling depressed and frustrated; Pat explained it is a bit like mental illness. 

Set Up for Pri at Mahout Camp

Pri and an Emerald Bowl

We chose a Zen Tibetan Bowl in a D note for Sacral Chakra, and the Crystal Emerald Bowl in a C Note for Root Chakra.  Good call on the Root Chakra Nancy!  When you approach the elephants, they think you have treats for them and they get excited; Pat had explained to us earlier to never show any fear, you walk right up to them, keep eye contact, and always smile.  He explained the field of vision for us that clearly is directly in front of them, the sides not past the ear, basic peripheral vision. And so important, we say it twice - when you approach them, smile!  Do not display anything other than positive energy.  You can ask the elephant to raise it 's trunk with the Thai  word "Bon!"  Up goes the trunk, the mouth open, you feed them some food, and the six teeth look just like the teeth of a Wooly Mammoth.  Back to Pri!  He was so curious.  They fed him a big bunch of food to begin associating the sound of the bowls with feeding, which Pat felt is a positive reinforcement.  He seemed calm, perhaps the combination of food and soothing tones were just what he wanted at that time.  He was so cute and kept approaching to smell with his trunk; they want to put their trunks into the bowls, so funny.  He was relaxed and so this encounter felt successful. He left us to get hosed off, and so cute, holding the hose in his mouth, sprayed a good long drink for himself. And it was indeed happy hour. 

Nancy Teaching Some Moves
Earlier in the day we had taken time to show the mahouts (the elephant trainers) how to play the Zen Tibetan Bowls. Three different strikers to choose from, and they all play the bowls differently.  They paid attention and picked up the technique quickly.  One or two of the Mahouts have an amazing, natural sense with the bowls, playing gently, and with amazing focus already.  They are all excited to do it, as they witnessed some great progress with their elephants.  By the end of the day they were so excited just from seeing how happy Ploy was, and requested "let's do more!"  You will see in the photos that Pat did a nice job of explaining the bowls to them, as he is a natural, just so gentle and plays slowly and softly.  My Thai is still in the elementary stages, so I was happy to observe him teaching them. 
Pat Teaching the Mahouts

School Continues

The Mahout Camp on the Mountain

I feel very humbled and overwhelmed by the enormity of this amazing project (or experiment as Pat refers to it, which is so cute of him.)  I find myself having to release the emotions I feel frequently through deep sighs, tears or goosebumps that just keep coming, especially at the back of my neck at Zeal Point. I am overwhelmed and also very very calm.  I trust my intuition and the higher vibration of information coming to me for it has been abundant.  For those of you who truly know me, you will understand that of course I feel things very deeply.  The high vibration of this experience is allowing me to attune to the source, and be available to do the highest good and I am deeply honored to have this privilege. 
Meditation Spot


Friday, April 26, 2013

Around Patara Elephant Farm

Just hanging out at Patara Elephant Farm for the day is such an event. April is the hottest month in Thailand; insanely hot at around 100 degrees.  We are sharing a few pictures of the elephants to show their joy of living honorably as the great animals they are, not being asked to perform, just to be elephants.

The joy is obvious, the babies we encounter each time are so playful, the mothers so totally happy and content.  This can only happen when they are in good health.  For the life of an elephant to be able to reproduce naturally means they experience hormone changes naturally, which also means they are happier.  I have learned that artificial insemination in captivity can totally confuse them as they do not understand what is going on. And then the baby arrives after 19-25 months, and some new mothers do not do well in captivity as they have not learned from aunties and extended families who would model for them if they were living as they should in their natural environment.

So at Patara Elephant Farm in Chiang Mai Thailand we observe the lives of the elephants to be fulfilling. It does take them time to adjust to living peacefully.  There is a story about one elephant who was used for elephant riding and when she was acquired by the farm, she had an abscess on her back from the chairs that are often used.  If the elephant is not properly groomed before strapping on that chair, the skin can be irritated by dirt, a pebble, any debris between their skin and the chair. That elephant in particular spent 3 years in the elephant hospital to heal her sore. You can clearly see it today, a reminder of her pain in the past, an indent in her skin. Now today she lives happily, no more threat of sores.

They take such great care for elephants at Patara Elephant Farm. Focusing on returning them to good health through daily checks of ears, feet, and all the markings from sleeping; you can see the markings of dirt on different spots on the huge body and this tells the story of how they slept. An elephant sleeps only 45 minutes at a time, gets up and then shifts to the other side. The sleep cycle is only for 4-6 hours. Much has to do with the immense weight and how they have to keep shifting. Not easy to roll over 4 tons! Every day, the skin is taken care of; brushing along the grain pattern, which changes constantly. They use a bunch of leaves to "brush off" the dirt and parasites, they check the teeth, examine the dung. Yes, they are "poop inspectors".  Very important as it tells us about hydration, digestion, teeth and elephants are, in fact, a "poop factory," food in and out in about 1.5 to 2 hours.  Fun fact: elephants sweat in only one spot on the body, right above the toenails. So that is also part of the daily check list.  And I also learned that elephants got through 6 sets of teeth in a lifetime. Their life expectancy is like us, 85 years. Once that last set wears out they will go off into the forest and die. But not today's elephants, it is rare that they are able to live naturally like that. 

I spent much of yesterday observing, and then teaching the owners of Patara Elephant Farm about their new singing bowls. Giving sessions to them again has been a big help and we have managed to find great spaces to do this. They are quiet and thoughtful as they are thinking ahead for all the possibilities to help the elephants with these great tools. The idea of using it at end of life, during blood drawings (which I witnessed yesterday causes a lot of stress for the elephants),  if they need to have an I.V. inserted which does happen, or if they are sick, and other wonderful ideas are still forming on how to use the bowls.  They are the ones who know the elephants best, they care for them 365 days a year.

Tomorrow I will return to Patara and work with an elephant who they rescued from a circus. She is a loner as she does not know any other way of life.  She is very good friends with Do Do who is a male, and right now he is in Musk, which means he has a big hormone surge, you can see it flowing out between his eyes and ears, so he is isolated for the time being.  They describe the condition as being with a drunk, unpredictable and they can be very aggressive.  She loves him, and you can see she is frustrated without him around.  Last week she was quite responsive when I was playing the bowls for them so it will be very interesting tomorrow! 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Bowls for Elephants in Chiang Mai Thailand at Patara Elephant Farm.

First Day of the Bowls for Elephants project in Chiang Mai Thailand at Patara Elephant Farm was spectacular. Met with the owner Pat and chose to do a session with him so he could understand Vibrational Sound Therapy with the set of bowls we brought to him. Pat arranged for this session to take place at his local Thai Massage place so we could make use of the massage table and have a room to do the session. It was perfect.

The area is in the mountains about a 45 minute drive from Chiang Mai, and such a beautiful setting for the elephants. Following the session Pat was game to try a few bowls with the elephants from the driveway into Patara. Quite interesting watching the few elephants who were just hanging out and grazing in the late afternoon. The matriarch was very attentive as was one other elephant, the others we observed were very relaxed and Pat explained they take direction from the matriarch. Her ears were flapping and tail moving which he told us was a sign of being relaxed. She did keep her attention on us as the bowls were singing. Very aware of all around her. At one point one of the elephants came right up close and personal, obviously very curious about the "new" sound coming from the singing bowl. Elephants are huge, and right there all 4 tons of her and that curiosity was quite an experience. We were between her and a parked car. Pat told us she was his first elephant that he acquired 14 years ago.

Earlier in the day when Nancy and I arrived at Patara Elephant Camp Pat greeted us and took us to meet two of the new babies, Tara and Palin both 6 months of age and born at Patara.  That walk was magical meeting these two and their mothers. One of the moments that I will always remember was Palin using her trunk to examine my river shoes. The velcro strap she just pulled and opened the shoe like no big deal at all. Another great moment was watching Nancy walking on this huge tree root, like a balance beam and Palin just got up on it and followed along with amazing grace. That was so cute!

Pat had a group visit in the afternoon and gave a great talk about elephant conservation in Thailand.  Thai New Year just was a week ago and he had us all walk under the elephant to leave the "bad" behind and it was a new beginning, I felt a transition as I made it through!  And he gave us a little inspirational chat relating our lives to how elephants live.  I am grateful to have spent this time yesterday listening to him, I learned so much about elephants and how life has specifically impacted the Thai Elephant.

You can watch one of the day's highlights, Nancy Ruby doing her daily 21 Day Salute to the World her yoga video this day was with the elephants. Pure magic. Her students and fans tune in daily for her session.  You can also enjoy Nancy on


Monday, April 8, 2013

Bowls for Elephants: Our Upcoming Journey to Thailand

Just a week away till my departure for Chiang Mai, Thailand and the amazing "Bowls for Elephants" project we have been planning for a year now with Patara Elephant Farm. This journey includes my practice with Singing Bowls, Vibrational Sound Therapy, and the developed understanding of an elephant's sensitivity to sound and vibrations — a fascinating theory I have become beyond passionate to explore.

About Singing Bowls and Vibrational Sound Therapy
I offer a therapy at my store, Dari Rasa Trunk Show in Bozeman, Montana, called Vibrational Sound Therapy, which include reading a person's chakras (learn more about them here) with a pendulum as a baseline for what chakras need any attention. I then use Singing Bowls to create balance, include Tibetan Singing Bowls, Quartz Crystal Singing Bowls, Alchemy Bowls that are Gemstone and/or Precious Metals — and the 18 bowls in my studio each have their own unique personality. Each bowl has its own musical note; ranging from A to G, each note corresponds to a specific chakra. Historically created in Asia, concentrating in Nepal, China and Japan, these bowls are played using a padded mallet or other tool. Strike or rub the mallet on these bowls to create a friction that creates a vibrational harmony and continuous "singing" sound. The science of healing with Singing Bowls is fascinating, and the therapy is known to be 97% effective. 

How "Bowls for Elephants" Began
The project, "Bowls for Elephants" is an honor that I take very seriously. I was in Thailand in February of 2012 and a paying customer at the Patara Elephant Farm. At the farm, one pays a healthy fee to be what they call an "Elephant Owner for the Day." You work with the mahout — a Hindu word for a person who rides an elephant — and one particular elephant from the herd for the day. We learned about their care, including feed, foot care, parasites, examining dung, bathing in the river, and were given Thai words that the elephants respond to. Fascinating! The day also included talks on the current situation in Thailand regarding elephant conservation, which was illuminating. I could not help but fall in love with the majestic elephants. The day also included a trek riding elephants bareback, which I sadly could not participate in because I was still healing from surgeries and complications with my achilles tendon. I found myself embarrassed and crying because of many emotions surrounding not being able to go, which was, ultimately, my choice.

As my elephant, Mae Wan Dee, the mahout, myself and Ben, a manager at Patara, walked the path returning to the farm, the mahout stopped us — he and Ben were talking about something that was of importance. Ben told me to look at the majestic Mae Wan Dee, see her eyes, hear her stomach rumbling and hear what she was saying to me without words. I saw deep compassion in those soft eyes, and I felt such a deep love without any judgement, which allowed my own heart to feel compassion for myself.  The emotions I had felt of embarrassment and shame around not being able to go on the trek melted away. I accepted the love of this one amazing and kind elephant and saw things through a different lens.

Once back at the farm, we spent time with Mae Wan Dee, feeding her and just watching her while having amazing conversations with our guides. True to form, I had travelled with energy stones and crystals in my pocket which I shared with Ben. Ben was fascinated by the stones, and I ended up gifting him my favorite Phantom Crystal — a variety of quartz — that I had with me. I taught him that the Phantom Crystal in particular is about Universal Awareness, which was the perfect gift for him and his work. We discussed what we both do in our work, and I shared with him what I do with Vibrational Sound Therapy. That conversation was the invitation to return to try the therapy with the elephants.

Bowls for Elephants: An Idea Comes to Fruition 
So Ben and I have stayed in touch, planned for months, and I am ready to return to Chiang Mai to do this work. At Dari Rasa Trunk Show, we raised money for 3 months through the sale of Singing Bowls (items that were donated to sell for the project) and simple donations to our Bowls for Elephants fund. At our first fundraising event on November 15 (which was a stunning night, if I may say so — and the catered Thai food was a big hit), I spoke about our intention, and discounted all the singing bowls in the store for 3 hours.

We sold 20 bowls and many items in the store and created a lot of excitement around the project. People were incredibly generous. The purpose for raising the money was to purchase a set of bowls for Patara Elephant Farm and have the gift of the bowls come from Bozeman, Montana. Those bowls are now in Chiang Mai waiting for the work that is about to begin.

The day they shipped out was like sending a child off to college for me, I cried, I was so thrilled. Silver Sky Imports, the company who put together the set, did such a beautiful job of creating specific bowls for us, including a special trip to Colorado to find the best Lepidolite for a specific bowl that works to clear depression.

My sincere gratitude to Silver Sky Imports for their love of what they do and the intention to create the best set of bowls for this journey.