December 30, 2016

The Year of Shining from Within

Since 2009 each year in December I set an intention for the coming year. Throughout the 12 months I reflect on the intention and notice my evolution. This is a tradition that keeps me centered and focused throughout the year and it is a way of framing my choices and solutions to challenges.

2009 The Year of Amy
2010 The Year of Living My Dreams
2011 The Year of Balance
2012 The Year of Being Present
2013 The Year of Connection
2014 The Year of Clarity, Calm and Confidence 
2015 Year of Creative Expression
2016 Year of Integrating Parts
2017 is the Year of Shining from Within. The image I have is of a light shining out into the world from my heart and throat chakras. MindBodyGreen describes these two chakras:

 Heart Chakra — Our ability to love.
  • Location: Center of chest just above the heart.
  • Emotional issues: Love, joy and inner peace.
  • What affects our Heart Chakra: Love, joy, inner peace
  • Color: Green 
  • More on Heart Chakra healing
Throat Chakra — Our ability to communicate.
  • Location: Throat.
  • Emotional issues: Communication, self-expression of feelings and the truth.
  • What affects our Throat Chakra: Communication, self-expression of feelings, speaking the truth, holding secrets
  • Color: Blue
  •  More on Throat Chakra healing
My intention is to be intrinsically motivated with energy, light, and warmth emanating from within. Combining these two chakras I will speak truths with the purpose of honesty and respect for myself and others. This will require that I am vulnerable and sensitive while being strong and kind. In my yoga practice this translates into backbends and chest openers.

December 18, 2016

Find Peace, Calm and Community in 2017 at Monthly Yoga Urban Retreats

Join Amy for a monthly date night to nurture and balance your body-mind-breath connection. Escape from your urban surroundings as the lights are dimmed, candles lit and soft music and nature sounds fill the studio. Amy guides you through a practice of visioning, gentle stretching and breathing that softens into restorative asana (poses) to replenish your life force.

Bring a friend, as Amy’s intention is to create a supportive and nurturing community of practice.

4232 MacArthur Blvd.
Oakland, CA

12 Saturdays of your choice - mark your calendars for this yearlong, monthly treat on 1/21, 2/18, 3/25, 4/22, 5/13, 6/17, 7/22, 8/19, 9/16, 10/14, 11/18, 12/16

6:00 - 8:00pm Yoga Practice
8:00 - 9:00pm Optional Potluck
$20 per person/per session

Appropriate for all levels and capabilities.
This 2-hour class will be followed by an evening potluck in Anasa’s lounge. If you are able to stay after class and gather in community, please bring a dish or beverage to serve 4-6 people.

November 30, 2016

We Still Have A Voice!

Take in a deep inhale and slowly release the exhale, following your breath. Repeat.

My Leadership and Organization Behavior students are running a post-presidential election campaign with the message #WeStillHaveAVoice. They have inspired me to find my voice through the empowerment of creative leaders. As an educator, consultant and coach I provide emerging and established creative professionals with the tools to articulate and pursue their vision. Now more than ever these tools are essential to the continued freedom of expression.

Freedom of expression is a constitutional right. The arts are where I am committed to fostering creative expression and my energy will be invested in guiding individuals and groups to run healthy, sustainable organizations. A strong foundation gives support to working together with a united voice.

I am a person who strives for positive, solution-focused action. It is easy to complain but to make a difference you have to take action. We need to see each other, listen and connect. Hiding in and behind social media is no longer the solution for my action.

In 2017 my priorities are:
  • Empowering aspiring and established creative industry leaders to pursue their organizational vision
  • Partnering with like-minded educators, consultants and coaches to ignite creative conversations that inspire actions and solutions
  • Facilitating restorative yoga and urban retreats where we exhale tension and breath in life force
I have your back.

October 22, 2016

Yoga on the Beach

Visiting Coronado Island at sunset with my childhood friend Karen and she took these inspiring photos.

September 11, 2016

Restorative Yoga Practice Dedicated to #Hillary

Today I dedicate my teaching practice to Hillary Clinton - she needs our support.

August 27, 2016

Standing Together for Pride

The film Pride tells the true story of LGSM Lesbians and Gays standing together to support Welsh Miners in their 1984-85 strike. An inspiring film that promotes solidarity. It illustrates one of my core values - what you put out into the world is what you receive in return.

August 7, 2016

Whale Watching on Monterey Bay

Many humpbacks, Dolphins, sea lions, seals, otters and birds. A very belated birthday present to myself that had to be reschedule from March.

May 18, 2016

Nurture Your Creative Muse with Restorative Yoga and Writing Workshop

Combined Restorative Yoga and Creative Writing Workshops
The Tabard Theatre Company - Nurture Your Creative MuseSaturday, July 9, 2016
Two sessions: 9am-12pm and 1pm-4pm
Theatre on San Pedro Square, 29 N. San Pedro Street, downtown San Jose, CA

Appropriate for all levels and capabilities of movement; ages 16 and up.

For creative individuals who want to develop and deepen their artistic practice, Nurture Your Creative Muse workshops integrate restorative yoga and creative writing to access pathways to the imagination. These workshops are appropriate for all levels and capabilities of movement, ages 16 and up.

Whether you’re a journaler, journalist, novelist, lyricist, playwright, poet, actor, or storyteller of any kind, whether you’re seeking a new spark of inspiration or a breakthrough from writer’s block, this opportunity to explore your muse through restorative yoga may be a key to unlocking new ways of wordsmithing and/or deepening your connection to your craft.

Alternating between restorative yoga asanas (poses) and writing opportunities encouraged by prompts, you will deepen your physical and mental vitality, ignite your imagination, and develop an attentive awareness between mind, body, and spirit that will refocus your physical, intellectual, and inspirational energies.

What to bring: yoga mat, bath/beach towel, eye pillow/small hand towel, notebook, pen/pencil, your imagination and desire to embrace a new experience

Cathy Spielberger Cassetta, RYT, is the founder and artistic director of The Tabard Theatre Company at Theatre on San Pedro Square in San Jose, now entering its 16th season. Building on her many years in the Hollywood television industry, Cathy created, produced, and co-hosted the weekly So. Bay television program Theatre This Week in the mid-1990s. A theatre artist who has worked both on- and off-stage, she has taught dance as well as theatre and playwriting to every grade from junior kindergarten through college. A produced playwright, her most recent work was Tabard’s acclaimed world premiere production of Homeward Bound: An Orphan Train Journey.    Her journey with yoga began as a result of a personal quest to regain balance, health, and peace after a series of family losses and career stress. Yoga offered a physical workout her dancer’s body yearned with the introspective calm her soul embraced. With teaching yoga as a natural next step, she completed her 200-RYT in February 2015. Collaborating on a yoga/creative writing workshop is an organic extension of her creative expression and a sweet blend of her life paths.

Amy Kweskin, RYT, believes in building a community of mindful practice through gentle and restorative yoga. She brings this intention to her yoga classes where she creates a supportive environment for finding balance and ease. Her inspiration is her Grammie who taught yoga until she was 94 years old. In her grandmother’s tradition she incorporates yoga asana, pranayama and meditation to foster open-heartedness. Amy graduated from The Yoga Room Berkeley’s 500-hour Advanced Studies Program in June 2014. She earned a Diploma in Neurolinguistic Programming from the Coaching Academy in London and has a Masters degree in Arts Administration from Golden Gate University as well as Bachelors degrees in Cinema/Photography and English from Ithaca College. In addition to teaching yoga Amy is an arts management consultant, facilitator and coach. Additionally, she is a member of the faculty at The Art Institute of California, San Francisco where she teaches in the Fashion Marketing & Management and Advertising departments.

April 12, 2016

I Love to Facilitate!

In March I presented a session on Succession Planning: Starting the Conversation at the Theatre Bay Area annual conference hosted at Berkeley Rep Theatre. Lorenz Angelo Photography captured me facilitating the session in front of several idea capture sheets and illustrations. This image really does catch the essence of my style - collecting, culling, synthesizing, and sharing. 
The colorful words on the left were actually written by the participants who were invited to come up to the front and write down their stakeholder concerns related to arts leadership succession planning. Behind me is the GROWS coaching model: Goal, Reality, Options/Opportunities, Will/When and Success. The final set of illustrations are the Lifestages on the organizational and career Lifecycle that I first learned from Dr. Susan Kenny Stevens and have since evolved into images of seeds-seedlings-trees.

April 3, 2016

#PR and the #Game of #Telephone

This quarter I am teaching Public Relations and each time I present this course I think about a lesson Publicist David Perry taught my class when he was a guest speaker. Public Relations is like being at a party. If you are in a circle of people and start talking about your current venture that is marketing. However, when someone moves from that circle on to another group of people, and they start talking about you, this is called publicity. How that message is communicated, received and perceived is the game of telephone.

So, for the first day of class I am going to have the students play a game of telephone and we'll actually have several messages moving around the room at once. Since it is an election year, I will likely use statements made by the Presidential candidates. It will be interesting to hear if and how the messages change from start to finish. It reminds me of an old party line telephone where you could pick up your extension and overhear the conversations of neighbors. At what point does this become gossip?

My intention is for the students to get a real-time lessons in the importance of crafting and communicating a message, and how the public, in Public Relations, can influence the wording and meaning.

March 23, 2016

#Joinme @theatrebayarea 2016 Annual Conference to Start Planning with @C2Arts

ON Monday, March 28 I will be offering 1:2:1 Speed Coaching and session discussion on Succession Planning - Starting the Conversation.

Succession Planning - Starting the Conversation

Facilitated by  Amy Kweskin
When a founder, long-term administrator or board member is considering their next life or career step, or the topic is being discussed without them, succession planning is a complex topic. Can the organization continue? Can a successor be found? Is there a strong enough vision for the future? Can money be raised? How will audiences respond? What does it mean to let go? In this session we will take a compassionate approach to starting the succession planning conversation. 

Lunch Break 1:2:1 Speed Coaching
Featuring Yesenia Sanchez, John Alecca and Amy Kweskin
Register here for the Theatre Bay Area Conference

February 10, 2016

Use Your #Senses When #Networking

For the midterm in my Fundamentals of Business class I asked the students to create business cards and to take turns pitching themselves to their classmates in 2-3 minute presentations. Instead of standing in front of the room and passively presenting, they practiced walking and talking as they handed out their cards to their seated classmates. As a class we noticed that as soon as the presenters began to walk their walk, they were more authentically able to talk their talk - presenting themselves from the heart instead of just the head. This is why I am continuously incorporate kinaesthetic learning activities into my classroom - to alert the students to being present and aware.

As each of the 18 students pitched, I asked their classmates to write down something memorable on the presenter's business card: a Unique Selling Point (USP). This, I told them, is a good practice after networking, a way to remember the person after the interaction. It reinforces learning through a visual activity and they now have an "artifact" from the networking exercise.

I took the class one step further inviting them to take a 30-minute break and then, when they returned, to write their name on the board. Under each name other students began to write a memorable USP about each classmate. For 10 minutes there was a bustling cluster of students writing on the board as they continued their networking through visual and kinaesthetic activity.

To conclude the activity, one of the students was asked to read the names and the USPs - to reinforce auditory learning. Her clear and enthusiastic voice was a further reinforcement of the impression each student made on the class.

This turned into a powerful exercise of presenting yourself, being heard and then receiving positive feedback on how people perceive your USPs. How often in real life do we get this level of engagement and immediate positive feedback? Can we use our senses in these ways when networking?

February 5, 2016

Join me for Pre #SuperBowl #Restorative #Yoga at Ojas Yoga El Cerrito

PictureThis Sunday from 11am-12:30pm I will be teaching a Restorative Yoga Class at Ojas Yoga in El Cerrito. We will discover deep relaxation through reclining poses and gentle twists.

The class shows in their calendar as a sub for Viviana Lahrs. More information.

  • Suite 707, El Cerrito Plaza
  • Second Floor (Mezzanine)
  • Elevator/Stairs by Trader Joe's
  • 510-525-1369 phone

January 27, 2016

Watching @unfnshdspaces to Prep for October #Journey to #Cuba

Last year I discovered the documentary Unfinished Spaces and it peaked my interest in meeting Cuban artists and learning about creative ventures. This is the story of Cuba's ambitious National Art Schools, designed by three young architects in the wake of Castro's Revolution, then nearly forgotten, and ultimately rediscovered as a visionary architectural masterpiece.

Directed by award-winning filmmakers Alysa Nahmias and Benjamin Murray.

Join me in Cuba this October - @NandaJourneys has arranged meetings with creatives so that we can learn and share. Unfortunately, the trip has been cancelled.

January 25, 2016

Join me in #Havana #Cuba for 9 days - October 21-29, 2016

Unfortunately, the trip has been cancelled.

I am leading an #Arts #Management #Journey coordinated by @NandaJourneys. View the itinerary and travel info here.

January 24, 2016

Reading list from 2005-2024

When I first started this blog in 2005 I began a list of all the books I read from start to finish. Now that I am redesigning the blog into a more functional website this list just doesn't fit on the homepage. However, it is a record that I am keeping as post because looking back on these titles, reminds me of periods in my life. They are in reverse chronological order. Some have links to Amazon or other places to purchase the book. Note that the books at the top of the list are the most recent reads.
** I loved the book
* I really liked it

Sovereign by Emma Seppala
**Democracy Awakening by Heather Cox Richardson
**Wild by Cheryl Stayed
All the Beauty in the World: The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Me by Patrick Bringley
**SPARE by Prince Harry
**We Were Dreamers by Simu Liu
Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing: A Memoir by Matthew Perry
Born to Run by Christopher McDougall
*Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner
**The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
A Farwell to Arms by Arms by Ernest Hemingway
A Very Punchable Face: A Memoir by Colin Jost
**Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds by David Goggins
**The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement by Eliyahu M. Goldratt and Jeff Cox
The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson (Read during SIP)
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris
*Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
Victoria and Abdul: The True Story fo the Queen's Closest Confidant by Shrabani Basu
**Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed
*Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Bossy Pants by Tina Fey
**Loving What Is by Byron Katie
**Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life by Emily Nagoski, Ph.D.
**The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander
The Gratitude Diaries: how a year looking on the bright side can transform your life by Janice Kaplan
**A Million Little Pieces by James Frey
**The Wild Muir: Twenty-one of John Muir's Greatest Adventures
*Gratitude by Oliver Sacks
The Girl with the Pearl Earing by Tracy Chevalier
**Catfish and Mandala A Two-Wheeled Voyage Through the Landscape and Memory of Vietnam by Andrew x. Pham
*A Man Called Ove by Frederick Backman
!Yo! by Julia Alvarez
**Tattoos on the Heart by Father Gregory "G-Dog" Boyle
The Butler A Witness to History by Wil Haygood
**Panther Baby by Jamal Joseph
Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain
**The Power of Now a Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle
*The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan
The Happiness Track by Emma Seppala
**Waiter Rant by Steve Dublanica
Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto
*Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
*Fear of Flying by Erica Jong
My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok
*My Father the Pornographer by Chris Offutt
*Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia
Inferno by Dan Brown
The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
*The Pursuit of Happiness by Chris Gardner with Quincy Troupe
**How I Learned to Cook edited by Kimberly Witherspoon and Peter Meehan

*First Intelligence: Using the Science and Spirit of Intuition by Simone Wright

Hell's Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcyle Gangs by Hunter S. Thompson

Winner of the National Book Award A Novel of Fame, Honor, and Really Bad Weather by Jincy Willettby

Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain

*The Natty Professor by Tim Gunn

*How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Wy It Happens by Benedict Carey

**Mozart in the Jungle by Blaire Tindall

*Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers by Leonard Koren

The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love by Oscar Hijuelos

The Glimpses of the Moon by Edith Wharton

The End of Fashion by Teri Agins

*The Lady in Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt's Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer by Anne-Marie O'Connor

Siddhartha by Herman Hess

One Amazing thing by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Five Life Stages of Nonprofit Organizations: Where You Are, Where You’re Going, and What to Expect When You Get There by Judith Sharken Simon

*Oh The Glory of it All by Sean Wilsey

*Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

**Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Four to Score by Janet Evanovich

**Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

*Lord of the Flies by William Golding

*The Dance of Anger: A Woman's Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships by Harriet G. Lerner, Ph.D.

*Growing Up by Russell Baker

The Photograph by Penelope Lively

The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho

*The Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan

The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory

Art & Fear by David Bayles & Ted Orland

*The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

*The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama

*Curious Incident by Mark Haddon

*A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon

*Two Caravans by Marina Lewycka

The Autograph Man by Zatie Smith

City of the Beasts by Isabel Allende

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

*Then We Came to The End Joshua Ferris

*The Long Tail by Chris Anderson

Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour by Kate Fox

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday

Brick Lane by Monica Ali

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

*Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

Bambi vs. Godzilla by David Mamet

**Princess by Jean P. Sasson

*The Infinite Plan by Isabel Allende

*The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Liar by Stephen Fry

*The Hippopotamus by Stephen Fry

44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith

The Big Moo by Seth Godin

Michael Tolliver Lives by Armistead Maulpin
**The Freedom Writers Diary with Erin Gruwell

Yiddish with George and Laura by Ellis Weinder and Barbara Davillman

The World According to Bertie by Alexander McCall Smith

The New Leaders by Daniel Goleman

Deep Design by Libby Lumpkin

*Cirque de Soleil the Spar: Igniting th eCreative Fire That Lives Within Us All by John U. Bacon and Lyn Heward

Leading Change by John P. Kotter

*The 360 Degree Leaders by John C. Maxwell

*Introducing NLP by Joseph O'Connor and John Seymour

The Leadership Pipeline: How to build the leadership powered company by Ram Charan, Stephen Drotter and James Noel

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

*Creating Success: Develop Your NLP Skills by Andrew Bradbury

The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E Gerber

*Equus by Peter Shaffer

Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

Perfume by Patrick Suskind

**The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

The Hornet's Nest by Jimmy Carter

Notting Hell by Rachel Johnson

A Man Walks into a Room by Nicole Krauss

Of Love and Other Demons by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Toast by Higel Slater

The Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson

**Jazz by Toni Morrison

Neither Here no There by Bill Bryson

The Bedroom Secrets of Master Chefs by Irvine Welsh

A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby

*A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka

Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs

**All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren

Watership Down by Richard Adams

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahira

Elizabeth Costello by J. M. Coetzee

*Interpreter of Malades by Jhumpa Lahiri

**Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

The Log from the Sea of Cortez by John Steinbeck


Searching for Steinbeck's Sea of Cortez by Andromeda Romano-Lax

*Zoro by Isabel Allende

*Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx, Larry McMurty adn Diana Ossana
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

The Essential Drucker by Peter Drucker

*Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Before and After by Rosellen Brown

*A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

#Restorative #Yoga Teaching Dates @Anasa Yoga

Join me for 90-minutes of relaxation, renewal and restoration:

Sunday, January 24, 5-6:30pm
This is me in fully supported Viparita Karani on my 46th Birthday in 2015.
Sunday, February 21, 5-6:30pm
Sunday, March 20, 5-6:30pm
Sunday, April 24, 5-6:30pm
Sunday, May 22, 5-6:30pm
Sunday, June 19, 5-6:30pm

January 9, 2016

Red Rock Canyon

Brian and I are in Las Vegas and have not even once visited the strip. Viva Las Vegas.