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The Amazing Azra

A Profile of Azra Simonetti

The Spirit of Lily by Azra

What can we say about the Amazing Azra? Well, her name is Azra Simonetti. She has a web site at www.azra.net. If you would like to experience an "Inspirational Spark," you better visit her web site. You'll become amazed yourself!

The name Azra is of Arabic origin, meaning "one who levitates," "possessing the highest feminine qualities." Azra, however, is not arabic, she is Italian. How did she get this name? That's one of her great stories.

She has a background in musical theater. She played the part of Peter Pan. She is also a professional speaker and has worked as a speaker's coach. She has also worked as a trainer of entrepreneurs. A renaissance woman.

The Spirit of Iris by Azra

Azra is a wonderful painter. The paintings that you see here are on her website at www.azra.net, which she painted while spending nine years in the wilderness of Vermont (she was born in Massachusetts). "The Spirit of the Rainforest" has been reproduced on the cover of over a half million environmental magazines, catalogues and brochures.

The Spirit of the Rainforest by Azra

As a radio talk show host in San Francisco, she created and produced a program to give artists, speakers and educators a forum to discuss personal and global creativity and evolution.

Her life long focus on personal development and meditation has lead her to become a Brain-Wave Trainer. Concentrating on how to produce and maintain a High-Performance Mind using powerful focusing techniques, developed by Anna Wise. Azra facilitates individuals and groups to optimize their gifts and talents.

As a story teller, a bard, Azra uses little memories from her life become stories, poems and songs. Here is one example from her book, Let Wisdom Sing: Stories of Profound Insight and the Songs They Inspired.

How Big?

Fancy panties; yellow silk with rows of lace ruffles across the seat. I had never owned fancy panties before. They matched the gorgeous yellow dress I chose to wear on my first day of school. Although I was small for a girl my age, the yellow dress fit perfectly and made me look quite grown up.

Grown up! Finally old enough to walk down the street with my brother and cousins and attend St. Ritaís Catholic Grammar School.

School was just as wonderful as Iíd imagined and I quickly made friends. At recess, one of my new friends admired my yellow dress.

"Oh, and thereís fancy lace on the panties!" I exclaimed.

I hiked up my dress so they could see my ruffled bottom.

"Hey, stupid!" a loud voice behind me yelled.

I looked around. Two older girls were making angry faces at us.

"Hey squirt," one of them said, stepping toward me. "Donít you know any better than to show your panties in the schoolyard? You dumb little jerk!"

With her fist, she shoved my shoulder, almost knocking me over. Although this bully was a foot taller than I, I shoved her back. Next thing I knew we were rolling in the dirt, punching, scratching and kicking.

Two nuns ran from opposite sides of the schoolyard. They each grabbed one of us. "Girls, girls, no fighting, no fighting!"

After being separated, we were both led to the office and brought before an awesome looking, broad-shouldered woman called Mother Superior. She stood six feet tall in her black habit and could make anyone feel small, especially little girls. I knew right off why they called her Mother "Superior."

This is not Mary-like behavior, she said angrily.

Although I didnít know what "Mary-like behavior was, I quickly figured out that Catholic girls were supposed to be like the Blessed Virgin Mary who probably had never tThen caught fighting in the schoolyard.

Fighting is sinful, Mother Superior said in a strict voice. She pointed to our soiled clothing and scratched arms and legs. I saw that the hem of my new dress was torn down. I didnít want to think what the ruffles on my panties must look like. But somehow, I didnít feel ashamed or sorry, as Mother Superior suggested. My ruined clothing made me mad! So I was confused when I heard the other girl sobbing. She was a huge third-grader, yet she was crying like a baby. Sheís probably realized how badly she behaved, I thought. Expecting an apology, I was surprised when Mother Superior dismissed the older girl. Then big, scary, Mother Superior turned toward me. She came out from behind her desk and tried to make me feel guilty and cry. I donít know why, I just wouldnít.

"Youíre a defiant little girl, arenít you?" She folded her arms across her chest, directly over my head.

I was five and a half years old and I had never heard the word "defiant" but I knew immediately what it meant. Mother Superior called my home. My mother came, I got small and cried.

Later that night, when my father got home from work he asked, "Hey Princess, how was your first day of school?"

I lowered my head. My mother told him what happened: fighting on the first day, the humiliation of being called by Mother Superior, the ruined dress. This behavior would require a suitable punishment! When she finally finished, my father looked at me with questioning eyes. He motioned for me to come sit on his knee. He asked why I had been fighting.

This was the very first time anyone had asked, "Why? What was the fight about?" Slowly, I told my father the story. He listened quietly without interrupting. When I finished, he asked me to bring the dress and panties.

He looked at them and said, "These are beautiful. Iím not surprised you wanted to show them off."

My father put his head down for a moment and was silent. He was a small person himself, only 5 feet 4 inches tall. He lifted his head and looked at my mother.

"Annie he said.

My motherís name was Anne, but when my father wanted her to really listen, heíd call her "Annie" in a particular tone of voice.

"Annie," he said, "donít you know that sometimes small people have to show others how big they really are?"

My mother said nothing. I felt my heart smiling again. My father with his kindness and wisdom had not only validated my right to be excited about something beautiful but also to stand up for myself in the face of bullies.

That would have been enough, but then my father told me a secret I have never forgotten. He told me about the true meaning of being big. For years, I thought the wisdom he imparted to me that day was only for small people who might be forced, because of their size, to feel insignificant. But as years have passed, Iíve come to realize that everyone feels small sometimes, everyone gets bullied or put down and occasionally feels inappropriate. My fatherís wisdom was truly for everyone. If you would like to know my fatherís secret listen to my song, "How Big." This is song number 9 on the CD that accompanies the book. We can't reproduce the song here, but if you have RealPlayer, you can hear Azra's music on her website www.azra.net

Thank you Azra for letting us share your work here!

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