Frequently (and Infrequently) Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)
Are you a non-profit?
Currently, we are registered as LLC, that is for-profit, with an intent of changing over to non-profit status as soon as time and other resources permit, as well as a group of like-minded folks gathers and agrees to serve as Board of Directors for this non-profit... When the intention for this organization began to materialize and we began to look at ways to create a formal entity in order to be taken seriously, the amount of work and documentation to start a non-profit seemed quite discouraging, and we opted out for an easier option of an LLC.
Who needs Joy anyway!?
What are your fees?
We offer services on a sliding scale. Please, reach out with a specific request you have, and we can communicate about the fee.
What does your logo mean?
The outline of the wheel with arrows was initially adopted from the Mapuche ethnic group of Chile, the drawing of its drum called El Cultrun, which involves the whole cosmo-vision of that culture. Later, we discovered it to be a symbol of the back weaving of a drum, which we sometimes use.
The green circle in the top left symbolizes the Great Void, from which Free Will emerges (the orange circle with a dot of Free Will - in bottom left corner), thus creating Matter in the Universe. This is also known as Wuji Pole in some traditions.
The symbol of Tao in bottom right, familiar to many, reflects further duality - the balance of Masculine and Feminine, of Yang and Yin, of Future and Past. The dots of different color in each section remind that the condition is never absolute - there is always some Chaos present in Order and some Order present in Chaos.
Finally, (in top right) a smiling consciousness emerges...
Who programmed your website and "Tools"?
Aliona did. That is why they are not perfect. And that is why Aliona/Smiling Spaces can assure privacy for you when you visit our website or use any of the Tools.
What's the point of the "Tools"?
We are designing these web-based simple (and not so simple!) applications, first of all, to use ourselves.
When Aliona began integrating NVC into her life - she needed a simple tool to assist her in connecting her Feelings with her Needs, and she struggled to find such a tool, that would be simple and secure at the same time - so she created NVC tools for Feelings and Needs.
Calendar got created when she transitioned to protonmail as her main mail provider, and it did not have a calendar that she could use. She had a strong resistance to using any of the commercial calendars because of privacy concerns and because none of them had the functionality that she desired. So, she created a calendar for herself, later to be used under Smiling Spaces' Tools.
If one sees reality as a reflection of their thoughts, dreams, desires, yes, even their meditations, they begin to realize they have the power to change their reality.
Be prepared when you do change your reality, as it will make others uncomfortable. When others become uncomfortable, they tend to attack, usually using character attacks and or whispering campaigns.
(from Jonah newsletter)
* * *A magic question that best predicts if you’ll be alive and happy at age 80, according to Martin Seligman:
“Is there someone in your life whom you would feel comfortable phoning at four in the morning to tell your troubles to?”
(from Barking Up The Wrong Tree)
* * *Picture yourself on a boat with others amid a massive storm, and you start to change your reality to your heart reality. It rocks the boat. All the others on the boat shouting stop it. You are rocking the boat. You are putting us all in danger, you could kill somebody, sit down, and be a good boy or girl. But you continue to rock the boat with your heart reality as others become angrier, the character attacks begin, the anger increases, perhaps even to the point of throwing you off the boat.
We are all in the same storm, but not the same boat. What boat did you choose to ride out the storm? Do you have the ability to change boats? Do you want to change boats?
(from Jonah newsletter)
* * *We are all creators of our reality, but many do not understand what reality is or how we created it. I will use an analogy of baking a cake. Let's look at the old-fashioned triple-layer dark chocolate cake called devil's food. Interesting name. Now you are going to create a reality called a chocolate cake. You put all the devil's food ingredients into a bowl and mix very well, pour it into a baking pan, and put it into the oven to bake. If you followed all the directions, it would come out just like the picture on the box of Pillsbury Devil's Food Cake Mix. If you were to have 100 people in a large kitchen making the same cake, you would expect the same results. All the cakes would look beautiful, and they all would all taste the same. Now, what if you had 10 of those people in the kitchen that changed the recipe, say they did not put Sugar, Enriched Bleached Wheat Flour, GMO Soybean Oil, Propylene Glycol Mono, Xanthan Gum, Maltodextrin, and of course Artificial Flavors in their cake. Let's say they made their cake only using natural ingredients. Now, you have all 100 cakes sitting on a very long table, but ten are natural. The cakes are now going to be judged by a panel of judges who are perceived as smart and follow all the rules and are praised by Old Age society and are addicted to sugar. Watch them bite into a piece of that natural cake with no sugar. What would be their reaction? They would probably spit it out. You would be called a loser, a mediocre cook, told to get out of the kitchen.
What ingredients do we put into our reality? When you have a person creating their reality, they are often judged for not having a lot of sugar; mass-consciousness beliefs are frequently sweet to the taste, but deadly to the brain.
How many stand up and create their special recipe and are judged by the old consciousness?
(from Jonah newsletter, modified/appended)
* * *Dieting is a form of self-love: I wish good health for myself, or I wish to be regarded as beautiful and fit - so I will take steps towards that. Perhaps most of us don't think in those words, but underlying our dieting these are frequently the intentions...
That self-love then needs to translate into our food selection: whether dieting or eating "normally", to support yourself - I strongly encourage you to eat only foods that you consider good quality for you. Does that mean - in your case - organic? Or is conventional just as good in your mind? Does it mean non-pasteurized dairy? Pasture-raised? GMO? Anything goes? McDonalds? Wendy's? Local? Sugar-free? Gluten-free?
What are the best foods you wish you were eating for yourself - not the highest in price, but the healthiest for you, according to you?
Same goes for snacking - have around you for snack only those healthy things that you really don't mind snacking on. For example, if you 'recognize' that ice-cream is bad for you but sometimes it's ok - then you probably should not have ice-cream in your fridge at this time, as that would be a mis-treatment of self, stepping away from self-love.
Wishing you well :)
Tools to Ease Tensions in Dense Spaces
As we have spoken with some of you, there appear to be more opportunities, in our current social situations, to run into tensions with our closed ones, and at the same time - more space and time to resolve these tensions in a healthy way. I've been asked to share some tips for how to best process these situations.
A few people supported the idea to do so over FPF because some users may not know how to go to research these things or go to my website regularly, so here is me doing that - and being open to hearing others feel about it here, all feedback is always welcome.
Firstly, as a good friend reminded, let’s realize that we already have enough information about the virus, about what to do and what to avoid. Stop watching so much news and stop the spread of fear.
Secondly, there are 2 easy tools that can be learnt and applied quickly: Self-Awareness and Compassionate Communication (aka NVC). They go together - once you are more aware of how you feel, you can more easily step back and not get triggered, but support another in whatever they are dealing with.
Self-Awareness refers to noticing that we are triggered before we lash out at another, noticing that we are hungry before we get hAngry, noticing how another's depression brings us down, etc - you get the picture. A good summary is - you fell into some unhelpful thinking mode, and you would like to prevent it in the future.
One easy way to start practicing it with a person near you (I will call them "friend" going forward) is to activate it when you are ready for it, so get to learn what it's like and recognize it. This takes 5-10 minutes and can be done as frequently as you want. Here is what you do.
- Identify a phrase that you know triggers you. Maybe your friend can suggest one from their experience of you. For me, for example, I get annoyed when someone tells me "Just relax!" - maybe you can borrow this one from me to start with, if you struggle to find one. Over time, I invite you to, after a conflict, think back what triggered you and create a phrase that you can use for this practice. For now, let's just say you use "Just relax" and its various iterations: "Relax!"; "Take it easy!"; "Go chill!"; "There is no need to get so wound up about it!" (this one is a bit too long, so use it only if it works for you); "Chillax!"; etc.
- Ask your friend - when you are on good terms - to start saying it to you. They should say it, and stop for a few seconds. Then say again, same or different variation, then stop again for a quick pause. This may start out with lots of laughter and giggles, but stay with it and get more serious.
- Here is the secret and key ingredient: (now that you are somewhat triggered) feel it, and then begin breathing slower and deeper with every breath. Notice how this relaxes you - biology at its best! Keep at it until you feel you are "good" again.
Then you may choose to re-start this exercise, or postpone till next time.
Easy-peasy, and not even 10 minutes long! I put it on an alarm to do this with my housemate every day at 5.50pm - before dinner so that during dinner we can strengthen the bond, and if something arises over dinner - I'm already practiced for today. With us working from home now, we can do this at 10am.
What do you think? Set your alarm now to do it tomorrow!
Your job is to "take it on" - and to start recognizing what changes within you with every phrase. Is your breathing getting faster? Heart beating more? Hands shaping fists? Do you want to run away? Do you want to cry?... It may take your friend saying it once, or 5 times or 20 - the pause is for you to evaluate whether you can take more or not. When you are "feeling" it - raise your hand so your friend stops.
Compassionate Communication builds on a belief that we care about each other and are willing to take steps to contribute to each other's well-being, if that is also in alingment with our needs and values. If you want to learn in more detail or practice more, I can share more resources individually. Here, I want to give easy-to-use key ingredients.
- There are universal needs and values that each of us have: they range among basic ones (like food, shelter, rest, etc), social ones (like laughter, respect, feeling heard, support, etc) and self-expression ones (like adventure, freedom, purpose, etc).
- We experience feelings that correspond to our needs: if our need is met, we feel "delicious" feelings (like excited, friendly, involved, etc); when our needs are not met, we feel feelings that we'd like to change (like frustrated, restless, afraid, withdrawn, etc).
Currently, for example, many of us "feel" uncomfortable, restless, afraid because our "need" for security and stability is not met. Makes sense?
- Realize that many of our needs can be met now/in the moment when feeling arises - our loved ones around us probably could meet some of our needs if they only knew (were reminded of) what would contribute to our life right now - not from years of our nagging, yelling, secretly getting frustrated, but right now:
"Honey, I am feeling upset - I could really use a hug right now. Would you hug me, please?" (Feeling: upset, Need: hug/touch)
"Son, I am feeling angry right now - I value structure and would like us to sit down for dinner all at the same time. I value the connection we have during dinner time. Would you be willing to come downstairs and join us at the dinner table?" (Feeling: angry, Need: structure, connection)
"Honey, with this virus thing, I saw our neighbors passing by and I feel anxious about going walking right now because of the whole social distancing thing. It would make me feel more relaxed and enjoy the walk more if we went in an hour. What do you think? (Feeling: anxious (afraid?), Need: peace, Strategy: delay walk)
"Darling, I am feeling so depressed about the virus that it physically tires me and I am so stressed to make dinner. Would you be willing to make something for both of us tonight, or, perhaps, we can do a take-out - I'd be open to that." (Feeling: depressed, stressed, tired, Need: food, Strategy: you cook, we take-out)
I hope these ideas are helpful. I intend to share more in the coming weeks.
I am open to feedback about what else you may find of use. We had an idea to have a call where we can ask questions about more difficult situations. Also, we can split on the phone into smaller groups and practice the situations that arise for us in real life - since these days we have so many, being at home most of the time!
Let me know.
Wishing you well,