Greetingz Atlas fam:
It’s been about 3 months since the last feature on Sifu Christopher Lee Matsuo and his closed-door school of Internal Arts & Healing, Dragon Gate Sanctuary. (If you haven't read it, it is still accessible on our website. It's a must-read interview, loaded with gems that is sure to illuminate.) Since then, we’ve unpacked The Sipping Room HNL and have settled in very well; so well that our visitors are saying it looks like we’ve been here for ten years. We finalized our entire 2019 feature calendar in January earlier this year, highlighting 5 amazing features (one every month), had the pleasure of returning to the University of Hawaii at Manoa to share our story, music and Atlas Tea + Apothecary through another Inside the Ethnic Studies Studio x Pau Hana Sessions with Professor Rod Labrador, opened up for Shabazz Palaces at the Doris Duke Theater in February, completed some successful private catering events, launched an Astrology Tea Party with Soulgasm’s Lyanne Brooks, offered 8 successful tea time installations at the Honolulu Biennial, was a featured vendor at the first Pusong Filipinx market, led a Soundshop workshop with Navid Najafi aka Illnomadic (our January feature), in addition to packing, cleaning, and moving into our new space in June; all while working the steady gig and putting in some serious overtime and teaching music on Saturday mornings. I call it The Hawai'i Hustle and lately, we've been feeling pulled to really tune into the frequency of flow and prioritize. We were trying to meet our own deadline in June and two of our features felt called to postpone, and our Cannabis Column writer was hospitalized for ingesting plastic in her salad greens. All of these things inspired us to also just let go and tune in. Our Bay area sis Sammay Dizon came and stayed at The Sipping Room HNL for 11 days and we blessed the space with music, dance, poetry through an intimate tea time blessing with close friends in July. During Sammay’s stay, were even able to do an interview alongside Alendi, whom we also featured in our Culinary Journeys installation at the Honolulu Biennial.
Since we have been doing our best to promote self-care through Atlas, we thought it would be fitting to give ourselves a taste of our own medicine, without pressure and guilt; really owning our wellness. May into June felt much like a bullet train into July and August, so we did our best to utilize our time and energy to really be present, pay attention to what we needed to be doing, honor our bodies, try and prioritize sleep, spend some time with our community and find out how to best move forward. >> FFwd to the end of August, the Mauna Kea Movement is alive, the Amazon forest is on fire, the Arctic and so many other places on our planet are up in flames, the Maldives are sinking, our coral reefs are dying, Antarctica is melting, CO2 levels are rising, we reached a record heatwave in July, and we are seeing a whole slew of natural disasters intensifying, however…! indigenous people are rising up all over the globe, we’re getting more innovative, more conscious, more empowered, more mindful, causing some major shifts and inspiring many of us to wake up and stay woke. Enter Dragon Gate Sanctuary….
The planet has reached a tipping point and we are all being called to tune in and connect in order to understand which steps to take personally and collectively. It has become imperative that we align ourselves to our individual purpose in order to see clearly and take positive steps towards 2020. It has become increasingly important to activate with light-minded individuals, support one another and push through these times and encourage one another, as many people are around us are suffering, and a lot of us are feeling it. These past few months, I have been blessed and deeply honored to find myself learning in closed door Baguazhang training through some golden tearoom sessions with my friend and now Sifu Christopher Lee Matsuo, also known as Wu Lao Xie. Tearoom sessions with Lao Xie have included generous hours of energy and bodywork, learning about the Wu lineage and his deep roots, activating dormant gifts, releasing old paradigms, tuning the body, meeting the light-filled expressions of Garuda and the symbolism behind thunder and lighting. I am learning how to laugh more, practice gratitude every day, use my light like a warrior, and stretch time through Pu-erh tea sessions with Sifu Chris. My teacher appeared when I was cycling through many challenges by losing myself in work, busying my schedule to extremes to push through difficult times. [Yes, we is actually I, PaizLee; Atlas has been a soul-o endeavor and I am pleased to share morsels of my heart and everything that inspires me through this project Atlas Tea + Apothecary.]
I thought, if I really want Atlas to be a vehicle to inspire, educate, connect and illuminate, then I need to find a sustainable way to make this happen; then we can lead by example, and be more than just a tea brand, catering company, special event company, etc. but one that is always learning, growing, heart-led and fed, through the integration of all the things that come from love, interwoven with some brightly lit stars in the orbit who we need to take the time to celebrate and honor for their loyal hustle.
These days I have evolved my twice-daily chanting practice and alchemized it into action through a more intention focused practice that is both practical and organic to the daily flow. I am becoming a stronger, more well-rounded teacher for my students, stronger leader for my team, learning to better harness my dragon energy, use my voice and gifts to create positive change, and learning to exercise the true meaning of compassion, which is skillful, appropriate action; this means, knowing when to say yes, no, or wait. Also, one of the exercises Lao Xie shared with me is developing my capacity to hold my breath for an extended period (I am currently up to two minutes); a breathing exercise to prepare for the 3 secret forms I have been gifted. I feel like a ninja in training and the tools are getting sharper, thanks to my homie Chris and the gems in my life.
We will have many more opportunities to learn about one another, and definitely share more about Bagua, but for now, I would like to honor two very amazing movers. Each Atlas feature is carefully selected, and all of them are individuals who we feel are making positive contributions in our community, with an impact so significant that the vibration has the potential to be felt on a massive scale through their areas of focus. They are asked four questions and through the features, we can celebrate these dynamic individuals, learn more about who/what inspires them and what their current projects are, so we as a community can raise the regenerative, renewing exchanges, and thrive as a whole. This is how we believe we can light up our planet to multiply positive energy across the map and illuminate spaces to carry us through any challenge we face in a creative and impactful way.
Stay tuned for our September tea time feature on Movement Medicine with Sammay & Alendi on September 11 & get inspired to move. We have been...! Lyanne Brooks of Honolulu's Soulgasm fam now offers House Dance on Tuesday/Thursday & a Beginning House class on Thursdays 6PM. Peep them on Insta or FB.
Visit our website regularly for updates on upcoming projects. Thank you for your interest and support.
P.S. Read the September article; releasing on the eve of September 11 on Movement Medicine.