Julie Rico, the Rico Art Gallery, adding our special touch to the sanctuary at the Pacific Palisades Community Methodist Church

Julie Rico Web Site

Designed to make visible a powerful shift that is already taking place today, "Celebrating the Mystery" was created as a demonstration to show how easy it is to bring our visions for a better world into the present - when we move beyond our perceptions of lack, "us and them" and cynicism, affirm our relationship with one another, and pool our resources and contribute our gifts freely.

"Celebrating the Mystery" honored the mystery and majesty of women and the miracle of life we all share.  It was the culmination of a vision Frankie Lee had several years before in which she saw that women would bring the family of the earth together when they were truly honored.  Held in the Pacific Palisades California Community Methodist Church, the event was a wonderful multi-cultural blending that beautifully represents the convergence that must take place for the peoples of the world to live in peace and harmony together.

Kate Lutz welcoming people with Native American smudge stick, seated TAOLiving founder Frankie Lee's greatest supporter, her mother Ginnie Atwell

Tibetan Bowl by Scoobie Sorkin and Toning by Vajra Ma

A really wonderful element that has distinguished The Art of LIVING's International Women's Day events is the wealth of supportive "men who love women" who consistently participate such as Scoobie Sorkin who not only performed on Tibetan bowls but helped out with a lot of the behind-the-scenes grunt work that is so integral to any successful production. "Having raised three daughters, I became a feminist many years ago and anything that can make things more equal I support. I particularly enjoyed the song sung by the mother and daughter and the Maiden-Mother-Crone representing the three stages of womanhood.  They made me think of my daughters and their prospects."

What seems so natural to us in the 21st century, speaks volumes to the dramatic shifts that have taken place in women's lives in the years since 1932 when Tai Chi Chuan was first allowed to be practiced in a secular context by women.  Among the first generation of American women to practice Tai Chi since it came to the United States after the Cultural Revolution in 1974, Leslie Levy relates the story, "I feel very fortunate.  Never before had women been able to dedicate a lifetime of internal cultivation to the practice, unless they were nuns and tied into monasteries and convents, or the rare wife who was brought along by her husband.   Women's role was as supporter and nurturer, but now with all the redundant people, a few of us can lead inner lives without being harassed or taunted about it.  The purpose of the practice is the unification of the subtle body and physical body so our dream bodies have legs and we can live in multiple realms of existence simultaneously, actively and lucidly participating in the Dream."

Coming into Balance - Tai Chi demonstration by Leslie Levy with Peter Ludwig on Cello

Peter Ludwig Web Site

Gazing into their future perhaps? - our dainty flower girls gather around one of the exquisite crystal gemstone mirrors created by GiGi Ridgeway to reflect the inner and outer beauty of the beholder, and imbue the atmosphere with the mystical quality we intended for "Celebrating the Mystery."

GiGi Ridgeway Web Site

Backstage with Dancers and Flower Girls

"This is a celebration of women's energy - which may not be as directed as men's energy, but is more inclusive of a lot of different energies that it collaborates with to make things happen. This day is an illustration of that - of a lot of people coming together with their own concepts, their own energies, all the women allowing it to be the best it can be as they nurture and grow it. I see this event as a real articulation of women's creative spirits and how women are having a great impact on how this world is being transformed - through creativity and people who are attuned with the nuances of love and beauty."
- Julie Rico

Photos by Ginny Winn