GISH PICKS!
Click here to visit the Texas Yoga Conference website
Viva el Amor! (February 12) Cirque du Soleil (February 11-14) ReelAbilities (February 14-18) Inprint Events (February 14 & 29) Texas Yoga Conference (February 19-21) Mountainfilm (February 19-20) Light the Darkness with Art (February 25-28) VIDEO PICK SPOTLIGHT: Smith's Opticians WORKSHOPS & MORE About SPIRIT PICKS About GISH CREATIVE
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WHAT'S YOUR PICK THIS MONTH?

Welcome to SPIRIT PICKS: A GUIDE TO INSPIRING ACTIVITIES IN HOUSTON! You are receiving this email either because you signed up for it or because it’s something I thought would be of interest to you. If you would like to unsubscribe, please do so using the link in the footer of this email. And if you’re in Facebooklandia, please sidle over there and LIKE our page and please share it too. Make sure you don’t miss a single post: click on the drop-down LIKE button and then check “See First.” Thanks!

Each month I cull through HUNDREDS of events in Houston and curate the best for you by highlighting six inspiring events (“PICKS”) and one “SPIRIT SPOTLIGHT” (an inspiring person or bricks-and-mortar place) as well as products, classes and workshops, and services. I focus on culture and art, meditation, spiritual events, healthy living, one-of-a kind moments, and organizations that enlighten and inspire Houstonians. I’m so amazed by this city and I want to share my delight with you!

SPIRIT PICKS will always be free to my readers so I’ll need advertising support to offset the cost of researching, writing, and designing it. If you are interested in advertising, please contact me. And so that we can spread the news of these great happenings in Houston, please share this information far and wide via email and social media with your friends and family members that might be interested -- or send them this link: www.spiritpicks.com.

Happy Month of Love! Here’s to enjoying life and loving those in it! And to lots of red valentines, and chocolate kisses, and sweet hand-holding!

If you know me personally or have watched my work, you know how much I love labyrinths. So I’m excited to let you know that I’ll be leading walks on the lovely new indoor labyrinth at the Hines Center for Spirituality and Prayer – please mark your calendar now and join me on Saturday, May 7 (World Labyrinth Day!); and Saturday, October 1 – from 1-3pm each time. We’ll have an inspiring reading, I’ll talk about labyrinths in general and the one at the Center in particular, and we’ll have time for reflecting through art. For all the scoop on my walks, please click here. And if you work downtown and have time to sneak away for a brainy brown bag lunch, join us at our “WORDS OF WISDOM: lively talks on inspiring topics” series – Brooke Summers-Perry, director of the Hines Center, will be our first speaker of the year on Friday, February 26, noon-1pm. The talks will take place once a month on select dates – click here to see the full schedule and to register.

There are so many things happening this month that it was hard for me to PICK just a few. It’s always like that in this full-of-culture city and I love it! So peruse all the PICKS and be sure to check out our WORKSHOPS & MORE listing – I found an energy healer from Canada and the Magdalene Community of Houston meetings. And it’s “Black History Month” so I want to point out a couple of celebrations – here’s a series going on at Christ Church Cathedral, featuring Houston Ballet dancer/educator Lauren Anderson and artist/labyrinth maker Reginald Adams. And the Houston Public Library has a full slate of events all month that features Ensemble Theatre and the African American Library at the Gregory School, among other organizations, people, and events.

This month’s VIDEO PICK is in honor of Valentine’s Day, hugging, and one of my favorite musicians, Michael Franti. Enjoy!

Click to view video
Click to view video

Have a great February, hug those you love, and happy PICK-ing!

Picks for the Month of February, 2016


Viva el Amor

MARIACHIS AND LOVE AT MECA.

MECA is presenting its fifteenth annual Valentine's serenade to the community with a musical night of memories on February 12 as they celebrate the 25th anniversary of the founding of its mariachi program. Program alumni from over the past two decades and more are returning to participate in the anniversary concert and to honor the memory of the late program founder, Alfonso Guerra. MECA played a pioneering role in bringing mariachi music education to students around the metropolitan area and became the home of their long-standing student ensemble, Mariachi MECA. Honoree Alfonso Guerra personally taught and mentored many of the hundreds of students who learned how to play mariachi music at MECA. Guerra performed as a mariachi and trio musician for decades with ranchera music stars José Alfredo Jiménez and Antonio Aguilar. He came to Houston around 1975 and in 1991 he was introduced to Alice Valdez who swiftly hired him to start what was a new program. In short time, the program's popularity grew and before the end of the decade, Mariachi MECA was an award-winning student group. Guerra retired in 2000 and passed away in 2009 in San Antonio, Texas. Alumnus Jaime Alanis will serve as Musical Director for the concert. This will be really special!

As a complement to the concert, MECA is hosting an exhibition from February 8-12 feature work by artists that explore the themes of mariachi, music, history, and reunion. There will be a silent auction starting at 7pm on February 12; funds raised will benefit the art programs provided to students at MECA.

Tickets are $15-$40 and are available here.


CIRQUE TAKES TO THE SKY.

The new Cirque du Soleil touring show, TORUK – The First Flight,” is traveling around the world and will land at the Toyota Center February 11-14. The show was inspired by James Cameron’s record-breaking movie “Avatar” and is a live experience that envisions a world beyond imagination set thousands of years before the events depicted in the film. The word Toruk, in the Na’vi language, refers to the great leonopteryx, the mighty red and orange predator that rules the Pandoran sky. Central in Na’vi lore and culture, this fascinating creature is crucial to the Na’vi clans’ sense of destiny and interconnectedness – and is about to be ridden for the very first time by a Na’vi. Sounds great to me!

Tickets start at $45.

TORUK – The First Flight


TWO FILM FESTIVALS WORTH CHECKING OUT.

February always brings two film festivals that I really enjoy and recommend – ReelAbilities and Mountainfilm. ReelAbilities: Houston Film and Arts Festival, is a free, city-wide festival that promotes inclusion and celebrates the lives, stories, and talents of people with disabilities. They will showcase 12 films from February 14-18 at the Edwards Greenway Grand Palace Stadium 24 and will offer free admission and parking with advanced registration for evening and matinee selections. The 2016 Festival promises a multi-faceted experience of art, music, speakers, and films that offer uplifting impressions for audiences about people living with disabilities.

And over at the Asia Society Texas Center, Telluride Mountainfilm Festival returns for the fourth consecutive year with films screening on February 19 and 20. It’s a “best of” the annual Telluride Mountainfilm Festival in Colorado, giving Houstonians a chance to experience one of the most inspiring documentary film festivals on the planet. If you love documentaries, this is the festival for you! You’ll see everything from 3-minute adrenaline rush shorts to thought-provoking feature-length films about our world. It’s an engaging experience start to finish and you’ll walk away wanting to take action. It’s being presented by ICEtalks, a local nonprofit committed to educating and inspiring people about issues that matter, cultures worth exploring, and environments worth preserving.


Tracy K. Smith

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE BOOKS.

Inprint is hosting two events this month. Their Inprint Book Club” meets the second Sunday afternoon of each month to discuss books by authors connected to the Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series. The meetings take place at Inprint House, 1520 W. Main at 4pm and are free and open to the public. The discussions are facilitated by Victoria Ludwin, an experienced and long-time Inprint Book Club facilitator. This month’s meeting is Sunday, February 14 and the club will discuss All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.

And on Monday, February 29, 7:30pm at Rice University’s Stude Hall, poet and educator Tracy K. Smith will present an Inprint Reading of her work as part of the Margarett Root Brown Reading Series. Ms. Smith has published three collections of poetry and won the Pulitzer Prize for her 2011 collection, Life on Mars. The event is only $5 and tickets are available here.


Texas Yoga Conference

IT’S TIME TO YOGA AND DANCE.

The annual Texas Yoga Conference is back and I can’t wait! Mark your calendar and plan to attend the events at India House from February 19-21 (with an intro on February 12). This year’s theme is “Unity in Diversity” and the schedule is diverse indeed (see it all here) with talks and explorations of Ayurveda living, hula hooping, meditation, yoga of all kinds, and much more. There will be a kickoff lecture on Friday, February 12 presented by TYC founder Jennifer Buergermeister with Dr. Alejandro Chaoul Ph.D., who will speak about some of the research and discoveries of yoga and health, followed by a brief remembrance of the Divine Feminine with Robert Boustany, and mingling and music with Arexpressions Anthony Rodriguez. Other music performances will be by Conscious Houston and Kirtan (Saturday, February 20, 7pm) and Bhakti House Band (Sunday, February 21, 1pm). And among it all, there will be vendors, yogis, food, and community!

India House is located at 8888 W. Bellfort and tickets are available here. Be sure to look for the SPIRIT PICKS table if you go!


To Light the Darkness: An Artistic Residency

FOUR DAY ARTIST RESIDENCY.

I am excited to let you know that my friend, San Francisco-based Kayleen Asbo, Ph.D., is returning to Houston February 25-28 for an amazing event -- To Light the Darkness: An Artistic Residency.” She was in Houston last July for the Magdalene Festival, so if you were there, you know what a wise person Kayleen is. This special program will feature four days of lectures, workshops, and concerts on topics ranging from Dante to Hildegard of Bingen and Carl Jung with violinist Julija Zibrat. Dr. Asbo is an acclaimed cultural historian, musician, writer, and teacher who passionately weaves together myth, psychology, history, and the arts with experiential learning. You can see the full schedule of events here and purchase tickets (deadline is February 21) here.

Here’s the rundown of what is happening – you won’t want to miss any of it!

  • ”Music to Light the Dark” at MATCH, February 25 at 7pm, $35

  • ”Dark Nights of the Soul: Jung, Dante, and the Red Book” at the Jung Center, February 26 at 7pm, $20

  • ”The Path of the Mystics, Part I: Hildegard of Bingen and Julian of Norwich” at The Hines Center, February 27 from 9am-1pm, $75

  • ”Through the Dark Woods: Dante in Art and Music” at University of St. Thomas’ Cullen Hall, February 27 at 7pm, $35

  • ”The Soul's Journey: The Divine Comedy as Map for Healing, Health and Wholeness” at Christ Church Cathedral, February 27 at 10am & 7pm, no charge

Spirit Spotlight


Smith's Opticians

SPIRIT SPOTLIGHT: SMITH’S OPTICIANS.

If you are into funky frames like I am, then you'll love the underground hit for eyeglasses, Smith's Opticians, located at 4313 Austin and Wheeler Streets on the edge of downtown Houston. Smith's is the only place that I go to get my unusual frames and their fashion doesn't even break the bank: they have over a thousand styles to choose from, ranging from $28 and up. Owner Phillip Brown is an eyewear designer himself and he regularly goes to markets and comes back with the best of the unique and funky. Their dedication to finding the perfect product for you is amazing – they spend quality time with each customer because they are so passionate about eyewear. Shopping there really becomes a party because all their customers are so fun! Oh, and by the way, if it’s “normal” frames you need, they have those too.

The shop is open Mondays-Fridays, 10:30am-6pm and Saturdays, 11am-4pm.

Workshops

  • Thursday, February 18, 5:30-7pm and 7:15-8:45pm
    (two sessions, one day only):
    Abdy Electriciteh “Connecting to the Source” sessions
    Edgar Cayce A.R.E. Center, 7800 Amelia Road

    Abdy is an energy healer who works with an ancient energy which dissipates our inabilities to relate to our self, our higher self, and the universe.

    In a session, each person goes through their lives from the beginning of their soul’s journey, connecting to the parts that have made an impact on them at the soul level. This allows a new alignment, to reconnect to Source at its depth. Source pours a surge of divine energy that reharmonizes one’s energy body, resulting in a quickening of the transformation of the physical body, emotional body, mental body and even our environment which was set up to support our old belief system.

    What happens in a session is only an initiation to be able to resonate at a higher vibration. Abdy’s work is to bring about and support the transformation of humanity and the Earth to a higher consciousness, which happens by raising the vibration of people and places and channeling an energy that allows each individual to connect to their own divinity. Through Abdy's presence, people have been able to access their gifts and inner wisdom. Some people have become healers, spiritual teachers, and life coaches and many have been released from physical and emotional illnesses.

  • Sunday, February 14, 4-5:30pm:
    Magdalene Community of Houston meeting
    Grace Episcopal Church, 4040 W. Bellfort

    Come celebrate Mary Magdalene and the Divine Feminine on second Sundays from 4-5:30pm at Grace Episcopal Church in southwest Houston. The group will explore the Gospels of Mary as well as the Divine Feminine from the standpoint of a variety of faith traditions and practices -- the meetings will be experiential in nature and will include music, readings, and other art forms. Men are welcome and encouraged to attend. Contact Bridgett Dickey for more information, bdickey@rice.edu.


The purpose of SPIRIT PICKS is to make you think and to ignite your life. It is a friendly portal of information for those who affiliate with an organized religion, for those who call themselves spiritual, for those who are “free-spirited,” and for those who are agnostics or atheists. This monthly list of events, places, workshops, and more will be varied enough so that everyone, no matter their beliefs, can find something of interest. If you see anything that you think would be good to include in SPIRIT PICKS, please email me.

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Sarah Gish
Sarah Gish
(Photo: Two Birds Photography)


Sarah Gish
GISH CREATIVE
1940-A Fountainview, PMB 116
Houston, Texas 77057
phone: 713.492.1173
artist.mama.connector.igniter.

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