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Posts tagged ‘Teaching’

Clearing the Air and Energy

Have you ever found yourself feeling overcome with emotion? Maybe you have walked into a room that feels like the air itself is pressing down on you? These can be indications of a room or space that needs a good clearing out.

Sometimes it is not enough to scrub the place clean. Many times the energies, spirits and/or emotions linger long after cleaning products’ applications have faded. This is when clearing the energy can help.

There are many ways to remove unwanted energy or energy that is stagnant or oppressive. One of my favorite and most effective ways to do this was taught to me by my Native American Elders. It involves the use of sacred plants and prayers or intentions. Often referred to as smudging; it purifies the space.

Let me share with you the art of smudging as it was taught to me. Gather your tools first. Collect together; white sage or ceremonial sage, matches, a shell or small fire-proof container and a feather or small feather fan. Put a few leaves of the dried sage into the shell or other container. Locate the direction of the East. You will begin your cleansing of the space and energy in the East.

Take your shell with the sage leaves, your matches and feather or fan to the area of the East in the space you are smudging. Light the sage pieces with your match. Let them catch fire a little then blow out the flames. I put the used match in the shell next to the sage leaves. Take your feather or fan and gently move the smoke up and down the walls of the space while praying or keeping an intention. This can as simple as saying or thinking, “Bless and cleanse this home.” You can substitute the name of the space you are in if it is not a home, such as an office, or you can simply say, “this space” instead.

Move in a clockwise direction as you move the smoke and repeat your prayer or intention. Complete a full circle. When you return to the East and where you started say, “Thank you.”

Extinguish any smoking leaves. I place the shell on my stove or other nonburnable surface until it cools. The shell can sometimes become hot on the bottom depending on the area I am smudging and how much sage I have used. Return you other tools to their storage area. Once the shell is completely cooled, I usually leave it at least an hour for safety, I put it away.

You can sprinkle the cooled ashes on the Earth or place them in a potted plant. Just make sure they are totally cooled by touching them with you fingers. Living in an arid and dry climate makes me especially cautious when handling fire and embers.

Now you are done smudging. I notice an immediate difference in the environment once I have completed this cleansing ceremony. Things feel lighter and more in harmony. You may experience a shift in the area right away or you might notice that you are less stressed, have more patience or it may dawn on you after a while that everything flows better.

If you are interested in using smudging as a tool begin with sage as noted above unless an Elder specifically tells you otherwise. Sage can accomplish cleaning the energy, lightening up the space and restoring harmony.

Sage sticks are also available. If you use a full stick I suggest carrying a shell under it as embers can fall while smudging. Doing so will help to keep this a safe process. Also when you extinguish a sage or smudge stick really grind it down into the shell to tamp out any smouldering embers.

It is important to be responsible and careful when using these tools and teachings.

Recently I’ve read some articles that indicate that smudging can remove germs from the air. These ancient practices hold more meaning and practical applications than generally understood. Be respectful in using this ritual.

Thank you to the Elders who have shared their teachings and ceremonies with me. Aho.

Little Teachers on Being Present

I’m learning to be fully present. It has happened quite by accident! Oh sure, I’ve had an idea of living in this way. I actually return to the notion over and over because my mind has run away from the present moment once again.

The reasons I check out from being fully in the moment vary. I might be replaying something from the past through my brain or I could be projecting the future. I may be in fear or hopeful. The possibilities my mind conjures are nearly infinite and to a degree moot. What is relevant is they are successfully employed in removing me from the present.

How then am I learning to be fully present, you may ask. It’s simple. My grandsons are teaching me.

They are ten months old and four months old. For them everything is about the present moment. There is no worry over past or future events. They set no goals to strive toward. While some people may conclude this is because they are focused on having their immediate needs for survival met; I suggest that it goes beyond these necessary and simplistic instincts. They both occupy each moment with the fullness of their being.

When I hold them, feed them and care for them, they gaze deeply and directly into my eyes. It’s as if they are engaged in knowing me to my very core and by doing so they are helping me to better know myself.

Nothing that they do is ever in half measures. Their smiles, laughter and tears are expressed with their whole being as is appropriate for what they are experiencing right that instant. The result is that their personalities are big. I think this is because they show up with their whole self and by doing so they are fully living the moment in a way that most adults have forgotten.

If you too are wanting to be fully present look to the babies and small children. They are wonderful mentors! As the biblical saying goes, “and a child shall lead them.” They are certainly guiding me in a beautiful way. To them and their teachings I offer my deepest gratitude! Aho.

Gifts of A Broken Heart

A few months ago I read two insights about broken hearts. Elizabeth Cunningham wrote, “Hearts are hard until they are broken.” The other quote was from Anita Krissan. It stated: “Let  your heart crumble into an infinite amount of tiny, precious seeds. Then plant love everywhere you go.”

Each of these statements touched a level of truth within me at the time. My thoughts have returned to them often. As I delved deeper into them I remembered my time with infants and small children. In my experience they do not have hard hearts. In fact, I would say that babies and small children are wide open. Their hearts are gentle and they exhibit feelings of love and happiness. This happens with ease when their needs are met and they are loved.

Based on this observance I’ve come to this understanding: hearts are not hard, but the walls we’ve built around them resemble stone. I believe we construct this fortress around our hearts in an attempt to keep us from being harmed as we may have been in the past. I understand why we do this; I’ve done it myself.

I think we have been misinformed in thinking walls will keep our hearts safe. What those structures actually do is enclose us and cut us off from the rest of the world. Being within the walls of a fortress isolates us. We become shut down from our own feelings too.

What if our hearts are intended to be gentle and wide open even when we’re not babies anymore? I think hearts are meant to be this way. It’s the way they were designed. What’s more, I am convinced that our hearts know that their natural state is one of wide open gentleness.

Consider this prospect for a moment. If the hearts do know then perhaps they are the ones breaking down the walls! Not someone outside of us taking love away or withholding it but instead our very own hearts taking drastic measures to liberate us to a new way of being.

It makes me wonder if our hearts long to be free, to be gentle, to be wide open? Can they be leading us to an experience of ever-expanding love, beauty and happiness? Are the crumbling bits of the fortress walls imbued with the knowledge that the heart holds? Have those remnants of the walls become the seeds that will germinate love like we’ve never seen in the world? I believe it is possible that these are the true gifts of a broken heart.

Message of Hearts

Something pretty amazing took place in my life several years ago. I can not recall the circumstances of my life and what was taking place at the time. The only thing I remember is the hearts.

I began to notice heart shapes in nature. Several times a week I would see a heart. They could be anywhere; in a cloud formation, in the separation of bubbles as I did the morning dishes, in the shape of leaves.

Once I was sent into the woods to sit quietly for an hour. When I looked up there was a leaf directly above my head. It had a heart-shaped hole in it where some tiny bug ate the leaf away. The shape was a perfect heart! I recall that I had difficulty not laughing out loud when I saw that one! I was supposed to be silent while there, so I laughed inside.

There was a time when I didn’t notice them at all, but I’m sure they were still there. After the flood of seeing them every week for several years I did not see them as frequently. I lost my awareness of them and the gift that they brought me for a while. During that time I was working on internal baggage. I did see them but it was much more rare.

The other day I went for a walk and noticed a heart-shaped leaf. Actually, it was a leaf that had been walked on and was broken, but the shape the pieces of the leaf took was a heart. I’ve been seeing them again for quite a while now. So long, in fact, that I can’t pinpoint the exact time that I began to notice them again. I see them everyday now, usually several different hearts in a day.

I’ve never questioned seeing them. I did not ever feel the need to ponder why they showed up for the first time or examine what is happening that I still see them today. There could be some deep message from them that I don’t yet understand, but it is a mote point to me. Here’s why: every single time I see them; whether it was the first time or is ongoing; regardless of if I share that experience with someone or not, I smile.

The hearts make me smile because it is like Mother Nature, the Universe, and the Divine, are sending me a message of love. A reminder that love is here right now. This is not even a conscious thought when I see them. I know, understand and receive the message of the hearts at a level of sacredness contained inside of me. My response is to smile. You may have guessed that the smile is from my heart. It is my answer to the hearts sent to me.

The Four Directions of the Medicine Wheel (And How They Affect Your Life)

Do you want to better understand the wilderness along with your interactions and connections with Nature? Check out: We Are Wildness. Their mission is “to help improve the health of the planet by inspiring people all over the world to reconnect with Nature.” I invite you to visit their site to learn more.

You will also find; The Four Directions of the Medicine Wheel (And How They Affect Your Life), a guest blog post, that I wrote for them there. Follow this link: http://wearewildness.com/four-directions-medicine-wheel-affect-life/ to read all about it!

Rain Dance of Celebration!

The rain has found its way here once again! For those of you not living in Northern California this may not register much of an impact. To the many folks who do live here or live in a similar climate where rain is scarce, any falling of water from the skies is cause for celebration!

In response to the rain, my daughter was doing “the happy dance” at her place of work regardless of who might be looking on at the time. She is not alone. Many of us are offering up gratitude and stepping out in the rain for even a small twirl around.

Feeling the rain touch your face, hearing the gentle sound it makes, seeing the rainfall drench everything and everyone in its path, speaks to a deep primal part of us that knows water means life. It brings renewal to the earth and to each one of us. The rain cleans things up and makes a clear path.

This is most appropriate for this day. In many traditions this day is a time to reflect on what has taken place during the past year. It is a time to let go of things that no longer need to remain in our lives. Perhaps we have grown in some way and need different things in our life to help us. Today is also an opportunity to look toward what we would like to create in our life. The cycle of a year is at play as we discern what we have harvested this season and what we want to harvest next Autumn. Important work can be done on this day.

My suggestion is to allow the rain to fall upon you. Let it wash those things that no longer fit away. Invite the rain to fill you with a sense of renewal and hope. Take some time to imagine the clear path it is laying out for you. Then think about what you want to encounter on the path. Be clear in your intentions for next year’s harvest.

If you get stuck or are unsure how to proceed you can call on the ancestors. The veil between Spirit and our physical world is thin at this time. Take time to honor the Elders in Spirit, those ancestors who are easily accessible now. Ask for their assistance if need be.

But first: dance in the rain! At least get your feet wet. I’m betting it will make a difference in how you feel and will give you the openness to proceed.

 

 

 

New Growth in Unexpected Places

Yesterday I stumbled upon something very unexpected. I was tending my balcony garden by cutting back and removing all of the dead plants. This something I do around this time of year in preparation for putting in colder weather vegetables and plants. Some areas I put to bed and they remain dormant until the Spring.

When I started working on the tomato plants I got a surprise! There was new, vivid green growth on the stems. I was startled because I’ve never seen this before! Even the stems that appeared brown and brittle showed green life inside of them when they were cut. Upon closer inspection some of the plants were blooming. As I made my way around the plants on the balcony I learned that it was only the tomatoes who were experiencing this second life. I also found one tiny new tomato plant growing in another planter.

This small and surprising discovery shook me enough to prompt a deeper reflection. If you know me or having been reading any of my writing, you are aware that Nature informs my way of being in the world. When there is something different or unusual in what I see and experience in Nature I pay attention. Typically there is some deeper message being offered to anyone who is observant. In this instance, I thought, “I’ve never seen this before in all the years of gardening.” I started helping with the garden in my childhood.

What was the new growth of the tomatoes telling me? I have to tell you, it took me awhile to get my mind around the fact that there was new growth happening in a place and time that was unprecedented. I guess it is true for most of us that when something takes us by surprise or shows up in an unexpected fashion we need time to readjust to the reality of what is now, even if it has never been this way before.

Once I got past that, I began to think about the resilience of life. It may appear that things are shriveled and brown but there could be life force deep within. My own life has been like this recently. Parts of me that were sleeping or dormant are finding their way to the surface once again.

There are many factors that contribute to us losing some aspects of our self. At times we may shut down some of the many characteristics within us. Grief can be one of those traumas that send us to a place of withdraw or dormancy.

Happily, the tomatoes have shown that emergence and new growth can take place when and where you least expect it. Increased bounty of these beauties will be a boon to me. I am still pondering how abundance and the bounty of a second harvest may reveal itself. I plan to take this insight deeper as I study and learn more of the attributes of tomato from a totem perspective. Meanwhile, I am delighted to have learned so much about new growth taking place in unexpected places!

Dreams Manifested: Short Story Published!

I am beyond excited today! Today is the first time I’ve had the chance to see one of my stories in print! There is no describing the elation I felt when I saw the book cover!

Some time ago I fell head over heels in love with writing fiction that has a message for the reader. This publication represents the dawning of that dream into reality! I know that many other incredible things will follow. Never give up on your dreams! Ever!!!

I am sharing it here so that you may enjoy it too. I had fun writing this short story. It makes me smile!!! I hope it lifts you as well and inspires you to continue to reach for your own dream.

Here is a brief description of the story: “In this whimsical short story a Sea Witch teaches the reader some lessons of the sea and of life. If you are ready to experience some Magic and transformation within your life this book may provide some tools.” It is available as an eBook through this link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OGSASKO

Enjoy!

A Gift of Fox Medicine

Each day I like to start my morning by being outside. Luckily, my balcony affords me a gorgeous view of the Briones, which are rolling hills in Northern California. I begin my day there because Nature brings me to balance and offers inspiration. I am normally gifted with something that helps to direct my day and life. I say that it does because this concept correlates to my own beliefs and Native American teachings that remind us that life is sending us messages, information and guidance. Our job is to learn how to receive and interpret what is being offered.

I’ve witnessed all manner of wildlife and things simply by sitting still and observing the view. Today’s gift on the hills was the sighting of a magnificent, red fox. I saw it only moments before it bounded away into the corpse of trees, confirming my suspicion that it held messages for me. This fox approached the forest with a sense of adventure and lighthearted play.

Fox carries many attributes according to Native American teachings. What I took from the visit from this specific creature was the reminder that magic, the feminine, intuition, charm and subtle playfulness are the order of the day.

As I watched it bound away, I thought, “Why walk, when you can bounce?” Incorporating an openness to explore while playing really could be the definition of fun, at least according to fox. That is not all that fox offers though because a true adventure entails discovering our courage while testing our mettle. Fox knows that beginning the adventure with optimism and playfulness opens the realm to wonders never imagined in our past.

I full expect that the medicine of the fox is telling me to approach life expecting that an adventure awaits me just over the hill. I would bet it is already on the way. That is ok because fox also instructs that I will find magic when I honor the feminine and follow my intuition. I wish you could see my grin as I say, “Bring it on!”

Lessons of Summer, The South

The adventure continues! I had the chance to write another guest blog post for We Are Wildness. Their mission is “to help improve the health of the planet by inspiring people all over the world to reconnect with Nature.” I find this a practical and inspirational approach.

I invite you to visit their site to learn more. My bet is that you will relish the time spent there! Take some time to explore their entire website, I did. The posting that I wrote, “Lessons of Summer, The South”, can be found through this link: http://wearewildness.com/lessons-summer-south/

Enjoy!