Joyful Living, in Seven Simple Steps

By Steven Libowitz   |   January 25, 2018

There are a lot of self-help books out there in the world, but Beth Amine‘s just-published Joyous Every Day Living is a lovely little gem. The 116-page book is a simple yet meaningful work that is organized in a straightforward but powerful manner, and represents the first published writing from Amine, a 40-years-plus Santa Barbara-based painter, belly dancer, developer, and teacher of the Joyous Movement program. The book grew out of that latter work, a process for healing through movement that Amine developed largely for seniors, especially those in assisted living centers.

“Over the last few years, I’ve been deep into how America is aging,” she explained. “I see a lot of suffering and unnecessary conditions. It doesn’t have to be that way – if people just had a different approach and few different habits.”

Amine based the book on her own experiences and those of her large network of friends and colleagues. “This formula came out of my observations and my own processes. I see what works for me and others, and a lot of what doesn’t work. It just seems if you do a lot of these things, life will be a whole lot better.”

The point, Amine said, is that people don’t have to decline as rapidly as Americans seem to do. “I want to inspire people to take another approach to enjoying the rest of their lives. Why not party instead of suffer the inevitable decline?”

 Joyous Every Day Living – subtitled “How to Choose a Life of Perpetual Rejuvenation and Party till Checkout Time” – is divided into seven chapters with one-word titles that represent the steps to increased vitality: Move, Nourish, Release, Give, Create, Join, and Relax. Each one begins with a short inspirational quote and an original painting by Amine to visually and symbolically represent the essence of the chapter. Amine’s own thoughts on the subject are followed by personal experiences – both her own and those of a wide variety of people from the area, including dancers, a feng shui expert, spiritual leaders, a nutritionist and a variety of healers. Scientific references back up the claims before a short suggesting practices for cultivating that method of aliveness concludes the section.

“I just observe,” Amine said, explaining how she put the book together. “The (methods represent) everything I saw and felt and have come to learn over the years. (For the others), I just thought, who among my friends is fascinating and can talk about a particular subject? It was easy!”

It’s no accident that the first chapter is about physical action. “I put movement number one even before diet because I see the results out there every day, what happens when people move. The body is meant to move in inspired ways. Anything you can possibly do to move and dance – it’s what most cultivates aliveness.

What you eat is important, too, Amine understands, noting keeping away from sugar and other inflammatory foods is paramount. “The rest just unfolded from there. Keeping thoughts positive is gigantic, because what you think is what you get.”

Being of service is also vitally important, which Amine gleaned from her recent work in memory care facilities. “I actually feel myself lifted up. My molecules fill up with radiance. There’s something about getting out of your own boundaries and exchanging love that enlivens you on every level.” Creating is about keeping things fresh, forming a new perspective frequently. It doesn’t matter the format or success level, she said. “There are no mistakes when you understand that you’re in process. Everything is just the next step. And we’re constantly creating fresh neural pathways, which is vitally important to maintaining mental acuity.”

Amine said that joining with others is also paramount to a life of perpetual rejuvenation. “When I’m in community, I can feel that collective, primitive tribal spirit. It’s a natural instinct. I feel more alive.” The final step, and what brings it full-circle, is relaxation. “We are not taught to be quiet, or meditative, or even appreciate empty space,” Amine said. “But that’s the bookmark to all the other things. It gives them perspective.”

Without a doubt, Amine is her own best witness. When she’s not working, Amine can often be found dancing all around town, in clubs and on stages, or at her frequent house parties at her west side home. She turns 71 in a couple of months, but based on her youthful appearance and ebullient energy, you’d have to cut her open and count the rings in order to erase any doubt.

“I’m walking my talk,” she said. “And I feel unbelievable. So, I’m the proof that it works.”

(Beth Amine hosts a book-release party for Joyous Every Day Living on Wednesday, January 31 at the Red Piano, where she’ll be signing and selling and likely saying a few words from 7 to 10 pm. “It’s a community celebratory party where we can all hug and dance and interact, and experience some joy after all the things we’ve gone through.)

Franklin’s Key Ingredients

When Emily Esfahani Smith, author of The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life that Matters, did a pre-UCSB lecture gathering at Santa Barbara Central Library in late November, the editor at the Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and manager of the Ben Franklin Circles project brought a small taste of the Circles, an ongoing process aiming to build meaning in local communities. Based on the Junto, a weekly mutual-improvement club formed by Franklin in 1727, the circles meet regularly, using Franklin’s classic “13 Virtues” to spark discussion about members’ goals and aspirations – who they want to be and what they want to contribute to the world. The ongoing circles are revisiting and redefining the virtues as tools to enrich our own lives and our communities.

At the November gathering a few days before the Thomas Fire ignited, after some introductory remarks by Smith, a few dozen of us congregated in dyads to talk over the suggested virtue of “frugality” before reconvening as a group to hear what others came up in their conversations. Even in that small sample, a clear sense of community formed, as we realized our shared values and mutual curiosity and compassion.

Now, Franklin’s nearly 300-year-old creation is coming to Santa Barbara to stay. The Central Library’s new Ben Franklin Circle has slated monthly meetings for the last Monday of every month, beginning January 29, at 6:30 pm. The first meeting will be a level-setting and organizing meeting to prepare for the discussions in the next months, when the 13 virtues will be the topics, including Temperance, Silence, Order, Resolution, Frugality, Industry, Sincerity, Justice, Moderation, Cleanliness, Chastity, Tranquility, and Humility. All you need to bring is an open mind, patience, a willingness to listen and share. Free. Visit for details, or check out for more on the national organization..

Ringing the Bell

Rob Bell, the New York Times bestselling author of Love Wins, What We Talk About When We Talk About God, The Zimzum of Love, How To Be Here, and What is the Bible?, creates and hosts a podcast called RobCast, which is among the most popular spirituality podcasts in the country. Bell, who has been profiled in The New Yorker, has toured with Oprah Winfrey, and was named in 2011 by Time Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World, conducts a regular show at Largo, the comedy and music club in Los Angeles. Bell is taking the show on the road for a Saturday, January 27, date at the Lobero Theatre, where he’ll be accompanied by Peter Rollins, the provocative writer, lecturer, storyteller, and public speaker who forged an international reputation for overturning traditional notions of religion and forming “churches” that preach the “Good News” that we can’t be satisfied, that life is difficult, and that we don’t know the secret. The 8 pm lecture is preceded by an hour-long Q&A session that begins at 6:45 pm. Tickets, which cost $75, or $25 for the lecture only, are available at or call 963-0761.

Breathwork Bounce Bath

This alliterative almagam of activities at Airobic Fitness (AF) in La Cumbre Plaza combines breathwork, a sound bath, guided meditation, and bouncing for a full body, mind, and soul workout. The evening begins AF’s Elyse leading 20 to 30 minutes of bouncing on individual trampolines to reconnect with our bodies, increase blood flow and stimulate the immune system. Then it’s back to the trampolines to lay back as Ashley Luna guides a theta meditation to ease the mind into a relaxed state, followed by a guided breathwork process to clear other hidden emotional energies. Finally, Scott Rubenstein employs crystal bowls, Tibetan bowls, a gong, and various other instruments to pour vibrational healing over the room and complete the healing journey. The 6 to 8 pm event on Saturday, January 27, costs $25. Wear clothing that can accommodate jumping and bring your own pillow, blanket, and water bottle. Call 637-9516 or visit

The Audacity of Divinity

The reverend Linda Martella-Whitsett, senior minister at Unity Church of San Antonio and the author of the books How to Pray Without Talking to God: Moment by Moment, Choice by Choice and Divine Audacity: Dare to be the Light of the World, is coming to Unity of Santa Barbara this weekend for a workshop, services, and prayer training. Saturday’s “Divine Embodiment – Intensive”, a two-hour gathering at 10 am, begins with the premise that all power you could ever need already lies within you. In a teaching based upon Martella-Whitsett’s book, participants will learn powerful physical, mental, and spiritual activations for amazing spiritual capacities.

Reverend Linda will also participate in both of Sunday’s services, followed by the “Empowering Affirmative Prayer” training from 1:30 to 3:30 pm. Guests are invited to ramp up your prayer consciousness with her approach to affirmative prayer that moves beyond the basics to offer deepening understanding of Unity’s core message of Oneness in prayer, in language, and in practice. Knowing your spiritual capacities allows you to respond powerfully to life’s circumstances and intentions without formulas or formality. “Just real Divine You learning more about how to BE the answer to your prayers.” Each seminar carries a suggested donation of $20. Call 966-2239 or visit

Soup up Your Type

Richard Groves‘s deep dive into the spiritual aspects of the Enneagram, slated for last weekend, fell victim to the Montecito mudslide that devastated La Casa de Maria retreat center. But you can get a mini-taste via “The Power of Knowing Your Personality” with Crystal Stokes, MA, at Yoga Soup on Saturday afternoon, January 27. Stokes, who in her practice applies a Stanford-developed system that helps her clients discover strengths, weaknesses, motivations, and blind spots that directly impact the daily decisions they make at their work, with their partners, friends, and family, offers a brief but powerful intro to the process that helps participants know their personality traits and tendencies, which empowers you to “grow out of your box.” The 2:30 pm workshop costs $10. Take a pre-assessment online at Details at

New Dates for Delayed Events

Tahara Ezrahti Winter Introductory Clairvoyant Healing Course, postponed from mid-January, gets underway on Tuesday, January 30, at Crystal Chiropractic in Goleta. Geared toward intuitives, clairvoyant hopefuls, those sensitive to the energy of others, and healing professionals, the course is intended to launch participants on a path to reading energy clairvoyantly. First class is free. Details at 961-3947 or, or email…. Yasa Yoga’s community appreciation night, postponed from early January due to the fire and mudslide, is now slated to take place on Wednesday, January 31, at its 22 W. Mission St. location. Info at…. Dale Halaway‘s Karmic Destiny, the first seminar in the transformational coach’s new Santa Barbara series, has been rescheduled to February 2-4 at the Healing Hub. Halaway was interviewed in this column earlier in January. For details, call 453-7281 or visit


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