VIDEO: See My Performance of ‘Oranges and Blues, I and II’

As a first generation Iranian, I saw my single mother overcome great financial and cultural obstacles to provide her family with the American Dream. Following in her footsteps, I retired early from a successful 25-year career in real estate, before embarking on a second career as a Spirit Rock Meditation Center Dharma Leader and the author of The Money Anxiety Cure, A Path to Financial Wellbeing.

I am also passionate about my role at the Marin County Jail, where as a spirituality teacher, I offer various tools to incarcerated men and women to support their inner and outer freedom. By teaching mindfulness and reflective practices, as well as theater and expressive arts, inmates are introduced to an introspective and creative way to discover and share their deeper stories. By studying the practices offered in my book, they also learn financial accountability and prosperity practices to take make positive changes, both in and out of jail.

Oranges and Blues, I and II  Solo Performance Series, Recorded at the Marsh Theater in San Francisco. See Part I and Part II by clicking here or on the photos.

During my eight years working with inmates, I’ve heard thousands of stories from men and women like the characters in my solo performance series, Oranges and Blues. People such as Leroy, Grandpa Mike, Henry and Raja, who’ve slipped through the cracks of society because of economic challenges, addiction, greed and the seduction of easy money. Most of these conditions, of course, stem from deep-seeded issues like family dysfunction, PTSD, ADD and trauma that result in inmates (and many non-incarcerated people) to act out.

Recently performed at the San Francisco Marsh Theater, Oranges and Blues, I and II, are solo performances based on fictional excerpts from several of my incarcerated students as they share with me the perspective they have of their lives. In the performance, I also share my own journey as a “Get Rich Quick” realtor in my late 20s, and how I also struggled from fears, habits and conditions that ran my life; conditions similar to the struggles and temptations faced by my characters. The characters are not just those who are incarcerated, but also illustrate the greedy rich who never do time and who are oblivious to their narcissistic destruction on society and the environment.

My intention for sharing the stories in Oranges and Blues, I and II is to raise awareness and humanize our individual and collective struggle about the challenges we face as a society around greed and marginalization. My goal is to hold space for us to have deeper empathy for the pain and suffering that many members of our society (which can even include us) who have slipped and fallen through the cracks and end up in jail, or any kind of prison of our own making – including those who have sold their soul for the lure – or illusion – of ‘success.’

Please enjoy the videos and share them with your friends. I would love to hear about what the characters bring up in you – a memory of someone you know or even a part of yourself whom you’d rather not recognize.

Oranges and Blues, III will be performed at the San Francisco Marsh Theatre in August of this year. The new play centers on family baggage as Leroy checks in to the Zen Center with a suitcase full of surprises.

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