When we wonder about how much we bring in ourselves and how much comes from Spirit.
Yesterday during a coaching session a new spirit guide came in. She was so real, I could see her, feel her, smell her, and hear her voice. It was as if she was right next to me. Spirit guides aren’t always this visceral for me. Sometimes there is just a knowing or I hear them, but every once in a while they come in fully-formed. Later in a meditation a young wounded version of myself came forward. She was taken by the new guide and held and washed and cared for; she was loved. Together, it all made perfect sense. I felt so lucky to have this wonderful new guide in my life, and so happy that she could help with this wounded child in me. The guide was the personification of a caring non-mother mother-figure - a devoted nanny of sorts.
About four hours later the doubts crept in. The guide stayed with me strong and “felt” for about an hour and then she was harder to sense. I thought it was because she was taking care of the child so I didn’t think much of it. I asked and she said “yes” from somewhere far away, down a corridor and in a closed room. With that distance between us I started to wonder why this shape and form? Why now? Nothing like this had ever come to me before. It isn’t something I would usually think of. You see she was a large black woman who was not my mother but she was emanating unconditional love and care for me. She was strong and loving and there for me. Everything felt safe and right with her. But why this throwback to an outdated and often unjust southern lifestyle archetype? I had never related to plantation life or even life in the south. On an emotional and an intellectual level this made no sense.
Then I started to connect the dots. I had been to a gospel brunch two mornings before, my first ever and it was incredible. I sat there surrounded by amazingly strong black women singing the praises of Jesus and I thought how wonderful it would feel to be in their family. How amazing life would be if I were born a strong black woman with strong black mother. (Yes, I know of the disadvantages I would face, the racism, the hate, the lack of opportunities and everything else that goes with being born black in America--but I was focused on the strength and the love of the Lord--one moment in time.)
So there was the link. I had imagined this new spirit guide because I had just been to the gospel brunch. So, how much of it is real and how much of it is my imagination bringing in something I want? I really loved this woman so I was not ready to give her up just yet. But I am not one to trick myself and I do not shy away from investigating the validity of anything—even my own beliefs. So it needed to be examined.
Later that night I was listening to a video lesson from Dakota Earth Cloud Walker (Gaia Wisdom School), one of my favorite teachers and people, and she touched on this exact dilemma. People often ask “how do I know if it is real or if I’m just making it up.” Dakota explained that our intuition and our imagination work together to provide us the guidance we need. I loved the simplicity of her words. You see our guides will show up in a form that we can relate to at that time, something we will understand. Really they don’t have form, but it is much easier to learn swimming from a dolphin than to learn it from a glowing ball of light. It is much easier to understand and feel unconditional love from a large, strong, but soft woman than from an energetic vibration of unconditional love. So I gave the Universe something to work with. When Spirit needed to show me unconditional love, there was something to work with--an opening had been created when in my heart I said I so enjoyed the gospel brunch and wished for that energy in my life. I didn’t make it up so much as I opened a door to another room filled with even more associations for Universe to work with.
And don’t for one second think it is coincidence that I was at that gospel brunch before I went into this coaching session and was asked to look at this aspect of the wounded child in me. It was all set up in divine order. I encourage you to trust your intuition, allow your imagination to expand, and embrace the growth and change that will naturally occur when you are living in Spirit. Sometimes a headache is just a headache, but often it is a sign of something deeper.
This new spirit guide is welcome in my life and I hope she stays around a very long time. The next time you wonder about how much you bring in yourself and how much comes from Spirit, know that EVERYTHING comes from Spirit. Every little thing, every big thing, every imagined thing, every lucky incident, every streak of bad luck, just everything. It is all from Universe, Spirit, God, Goddess, Source, whatever you are comfortable calling it; and it is all here to teach us something. So pay attention to the big and the small, the imagined and the ordinary. Pay attention.
It's morning in my home, everyone is still in bed and I am awake quietly enjoying my morning coffee. While the creative juices are flowing, I want to take a minute to talk about how important it is to take a break. To give yourself the day off or even just twenty minutes off. Sometimes all I can manage is 5 minutes – but either way, no matter how much time you can fit in or how little—take a break.
Your brain and your body can only handle so much information before it really starts to slow down. Think of it like a computer that is so full of stuff the processor just moves slower. It needs a good cleaning. It needs some junk files moved to the trash. When our computers get slow from being too full, we delete some information, move some files. When our minds get too full of information we berate ourselves for slowing down, and we push through. It just doesn’t make sense. So, I encourage you to pay attention to your day, to your body, to your brain—how well is your mind processing information throughout the day. Is your brain sharpest in the morning or late in the day? How does it feel around 2pm, 3pm or 4pm? What is your brain capable of at 8pm?
I noticed that I am very sharp in the morning—yes, I’m a morning person, you may not be. By late afternoon, around 2:30 or 3pm, I start to slow down. My thinking and decision making isn’t what it was at 7am. So that is my cue to take a break. Step outside and take a walk. Go sit under a tree and just be with nature. Maybe I do some breathing techniques (see below), smell some essential oils to calm me or wake me or just make me happy (see below).It’s a good time to put some music on and pop in the headphones, just jam out or jam and dance around. Usually 5-20 minutes is enough to revitalize me.
When I was a kid, my sister and I used to climb onto the sofa and hang our heads over the edge looking at the world upside down. It was crazy fun and a wildly creative break. We would dream out loud about what life would be like if it was upside down. How we would have to step over door frames to enter another room. How windows would be lower and closer to the floor—better for us! We could just step through them. Some really tall people would need to duck to avoid the tables and things stuck to the ceiling and that would always make us laugh. It’s a fun flip things around world and I still do it to get my creative juices flowing.
By-the-way, laughter is another excellent way to take a break. I mean really laugh, laugh out loud. So get up stretch your arms and legs, fill your glass of water, and listen to some ridiculously funny comedian on your headset. After a few really good laughs, you might just be ready to get back to work or whatever task you were doing and you might find that it is all fresh again.
By 5:30pm I’ve usually hit decision fatigue and just can’t get up the juice to make another decision, sometimes even just what to cook for dinner! When I’m feeling this way, it’s essential that I get up and move, even if it’s just taking a walk to the kitchen to get a glass of water or check what’s in the fridge to throw together for dinner. I need to move my body--loosen things up. Sometimes a quick sun salutation or other rejuvenating yoga pose and I am back at greater capacity. Here are some other ways I refresh when I am hitting the wall—seriously, this is important—take a break!
Today, I encourage you to take a break, and if you are able, take the whole day off. Give yourself a mental health day and just expect nothing. Do things that are spontaneous and will fill you up with laughter or relaxation or nature or any other thing you enjoy as self-care.
Breathe In, Breathe Out: Inhale Energy and Exhale Stress by Guiding and Controlling Your Breathingby James E. Loehr and Jeffrey A. Migdow
Insight Timer phone app for guided meditations
Breathe Ball app for breathing breaks throughout the day
Essential Oils--try them out for yourself, but some of my favorites are: Lavender essential oil for calm, Peppermint for waking up and revitalizing, Rosemary for restoring learning and memory capacity, Rose for joy and feeling loved, Ylang Ylang or Neroli for creativity, Sandalwood for grounding.
We spend decades trying to fit into the outside world. What we are really doing is contorting, guilting, and shaming ourselves to fit a shape of Us that is imposed by culture, society, family, economic status, education level, religion, geography, you name it.
Then, if we are lucky, we spend decades undoing that shape, shedding that skin, so that we can once again come into our soul knowing, our true Selves, our god-like, divine, goddess being.
I don't care how you break free of the cage of other people's expectations -- but do it.
DO IT NOW!
Do it in a big way or small ways...
Love, Love, Love!
Written one cold December evening in 2015, but still fitting today.
Tonight as I walked upstairs for the thousandth time and looked at the pictures on the upstairs landing, I stopped in my tracks. You see, I am contemplating a new path and I am afraid of where that will lead me, of who I will be at the end. I know it could lead me to an unfamiliar place and that it has the power to change me. The power to change the very ideas I hold about what and who I am. Powerful stuff and not something I take lightly.
So tonight as I reached the top landing, I glanced over the same family photos and I had a revelation. I am always changing. I am ever growing. And the person I was in each of these photos is far from the person I am now--yet I am not in a single photo.
They are pictures of my children, first my daughter, probably around 3 years old, when we lived in the city and I was younger. We had a completely different lifestyle, a different home, different friends, a different marriage relationship even. I was a different person. Then a photo of my son in a diaper and tee shirt out in the country at our small pond. Again, a different lifestyle, a different home, different friends, and now with 2 kids a different kind of marriage. Next there is a photo of our third and youngest child, our son was probably around 4 or 5 as he attempts to push a giant pumpkin out of the pumpkin patch. I realized this was yet another home, another lifestyle as we had a full on farm, and even then we had different friends, different schools and parents and kids to enter into community with.
I saw each of these photos not as I usually did. Not seeing and remembering each beautiful child, but seeing myself and remembering where I was and who I was when these moments were captured. Then there is the photo with the children and their cousins on the Fourth of July. And again, I have changed. We don't spend that holiday in this country anymore, hardly see the cousins who are now teenagers, and there are a number of new much younger cousins that we don't even have pictures of. At the time this photo was taken, I never imagined it being any different. This is what I wanted my kids to know forever. But forever is slippery.
There is a photo of our little ones on a ski mountain in Colorado with daddy. And I am still not the person I was when that was taken. Luckily, we are still in the same home, the lifestyle isn't that different, the friend groupings have stabilized and so has our marriage, but I have changed immeasurably.
So I ask myself, why fear change? Why do I dupe myself into thinking that life has been stable? Life has ONLY been change. Take a breath. See how far you have come, reflect on the distance not from ego but just from how far away it is from what was desired or imagined at the time. Embrace the different person you are now. A person that you wouldn't even have dreamt of in the first photo of your first child taken so many years ago.
There is a beauty and a grace in the gentle nature of your awaking. Continue it. Just that, continue it. Don't delude yourself into believing in fear of changing. You have always been changing and everyone of your loved ones has hung in there and gone along for the ride. They only know you as a changing evolving being. Don't fear losing them because you are awakening and come home with a new idea or practice or way of being. It is who you are now. So follow that new path, take that role, step into being more YOU. That is what this lifetime is for. That is your only purpose--to become more fully YOU.
You only think you are static dear one, in truth, you are far from it.
With love, respect, and deep awe,
I sat at the edge of the ocean tonight to watch the sunset. The surf was big, bigger than usual for this beach. The water was that beautiful green-blue of the Caribbean sea. There were two surfers calling out to each other joyfully as they rode the waves close to shore. I watched my husband walk down the beach looking for a place to enter the water, searching for an entry point that was more sand than rocks. I admit to being a little worried about him going in with such strong waves, but he loves to swim in the ocean and will attempt a daily dip--no matter what!
As I sat on the warm sand, breathing in the clean ocean air, I felt my heart come to a quiet space. I felt into the power of the elements—the earth that was supporting me, the water that was rolling onto the shore in huge waves, the fire of the sun as it was dipping closer and closer to the horizon, and the air blowing my loose hair about.
It was beauty and peace. It was nature and healing. It reminded me of the amazing healing power of slowing down and immersing in nature. I reflected on synchronicities and how earlier in the morning I was searching for images to publish with a quote from my colleague and teacher, Llyn Roberts. The quote reads: “There’s no better way to feel the power of the elements, and our own power, than by experiencing oneness with nature.” I ended up pairing it with the photo above.
The color of the waves tonight had more green at the crest, but for that, the waves were the same. I felt as though I was experiencing the two dimensional depiction of power I settled on that morning come to life in three dimensions before my eyes.
I could feel the power of the ocean. It’s force and flow and I felt that power in me. As I sat there quietly immersed in nature, I felt all the elements and all their power in my body, in my heart. And in that experience of oneness with nature I felt replenished, renewed and refreshed. The elements took away all the worries that were weighing on my heart and in their place left the gifts of peace and power. Connecting with the elements brought a deep sense of healing. And I knew, once again, that this is why I work with nature to heal all manner of dis-ease and dis-connect.
The sun had sunk below the watery horizon as my husband made his way back to me along the beach. He never made it into the ocean tonight. We will try again tomorrow.
Imagine yourself in a beautiful home, safe, and comfortable. Maybe you are sitting on a chair or a sofa. Maybe there is a blanket wrapped around you and a fire in front of you burning brightly. Feel the love that is in this home, the comfort that surrounds you. Maybe you feel loved ones behind you, maybe you are there alone, in peace, however this feels for you, just experience it.
Maybe this is a home from your childhood, maybe your grandmother’s home, or a favorite Uncle or Aunt. Maybe it’s not a physical home you have experienced in this life-time, but rather one of your heart. Maybe it’s the home you created for yourself, just know that here, in this place, you’re safe and you’re comfortable.
But now listen, you hear something softly. Something is calling you, maybe it’s a feeling maybe there’s just a tugging at your heart, but it’s clear. You are being called from outside. It’s magnetic and beautiful and you couldn’t resist this feeling if you wanted to. So you stand and you walk to a door, as you do so the feeling gets stronger; you feel warm and flushed.
You open the door and then you step out into this beautiful natural place. Whatever that means to you, however that feels, whether it’s a field or a mountaintop, or the sandy ocean’s edge. You see a path in front of you and you know you must take this path. The call is coming from there and you’re feeling it even stronger now that you left that beautiful comfort zone you created.
And as you step on this path and begin to follow the call, your heart is beating faster, your body is feeling flushed as you get closer to the sound, you start to recognize it and you feel heat flowing through your body. You know that this call is desire, it’s your hopes and your dreams pulling at you. Feel the warmth that begins in your heart spreading down into your second chakra, feel the heat flowing between your hips. Feel it in your second chakra, the place where the seeds of creation exist within you. Feel the heat rising from your second chakra, your seat of desire, flowing into your belly, into your third chakra, the place where you radiate your power in the world, the place from where you make clear decisions and express your will. Feel the warmth throughout your whole body, really know that your desires are calling you. Everything you dreamed of, all those hopes that were left unfinished or are yet to be known, are there waiting for you to act on.
As you come closer to where this calling originates from, you see in front of you a body of water—a reflective pool. The surface is calm, like glass. You walk up to it and you kneel down. As you look down into the water you can see to the very depths of the oceans and out to the far reaches of the universe. You can sense the part of you that is connected to divine source because it is from there that desire truly is birthed.
And as you stare into the depths, you begin to see clearly the hopes and dreams you’ve had over the years bubble up to the surface. There before you are all the things you desire. [It might be that one or the many that you have been contemplating this last month.] I invite you to focus on one, to sit quietly by this magic pool and allow one desire that you connect with strongly right now to surface.
Allow that desire to become clear, really see it, really feel it. Cup your hands and reach them into the water. Drink this desire into your body. Take it in fully, feel what it would be like if you were able to realize this desire. How would you be different? How would those you love b different? Perhaps, how would the world be a different place?
Really feel this as though it is real—because in this divine space everything is possible. Place your hands over your stomach. Imagine your Solar Plexus Chakra as a ball of yellow light glowing in your abdomen. With each breath, imagine yellow light entering your body and going straight to this area, making it glow even brighter. As your Solar Plexus begins to radiate, your confidence and personal power will become stronger. Feel yourself becoming more and more empowered. Now you can feel all the beauty and the rightness of you achieving this desire, Feel how beautiful life becomes when you go after what it is you desire. Really know how it will change you, your circumstances, and those around you.
Imagine yourself acting and speaking with confidence and self-assurance. Imagine the positive result that comes from taking this action. Hold this moment and focus on really feeling the emotions in your body.
And allow that to just sit with you. Feel the joy, and the completion, and satisfaction of whatever it is. Whether it’s more love, peace, a better job, maybe it’s fame or success, maybe its travel. Allow the feelings of that to fill your body, the joy that accompanies achieving this desire, allow it to sit with you. And when that feels full, just release it to the universe let it go back to the deepest mysteries of the ocean.
And as you release that, look back into the water, perhaps there is another desire or something else that is really burning for your attention. Maybe there is some other dream left unfinished that just wants you to notice it. And do the same with this second desire, let it crystallize before you, feel its fullness as you connect with what it would be like if this manifested in your life. Then drink it in and feel what it feels like to have that as part of you.
And when that feels complete, again, just release it, release the feelings of joy and completion just let them go back to Source where they can be manifested in a natural way. You don’t need to work hard at this. By aligning yourself with the feelings of reaching these desires they will manifest in your life. You are a changed person already.
Look down once again and see the surface of the water go back to being calm. All those bubbles of desire have receded. So you stand and you say thank you and you turn to step back on the path, heading back to the home that you created—that safe comfortable zone and yet somehow you know it won’t be the same. This home is still filled with love and it’s so comforting and beautiful, but it will no longer meet your needs. You have changed, you have acknowledged, owned, and felt what it feels like to dream your dreams into you. And so you will have to make room in this home for the new bigger you. The you that includes your dreams and hopes, and so another room is built, one that can accommodate your biggest aspirations.
I invite you to slowly settle back into the cushion beneath you and allow yourself to transition back here to this room, feeling the support of this circle of women around you.
Each month we meet in sacred circle to support and share from our hearts. This year we are focusing on transformation--setting intentions each month that are remembered and revisited at the next circle. Supporting and holding each other accountable. Bearing sacred witness to our transformation as individuals and as a circle. We are exploring by moving through the seven main chakras and five elements. We draw on Western astrology, moon energy, seasonal shifts, Vedic astrology, and Mayan energy of the day; as well as Buddhism, shamanism, and channeled guidance. Each circle we have a Reflection and a Goal.
We started a journey of transformation in January, beginning with the root chakra, the foundation. This is where we got grounded, centering into the New Year and our commitment to transformation. We asked ourselves, “What is it we most desire to transform? Are we open to big transformation and all that it may bring? Are we holding back or getting in our own way?” The Reflection for January was “Where do you stand in your life right now, what needs to transform?” The Goal was to get Clarity on what and how to begin our personal transformation.
In February we moved to the second chakra, the sacral chakra. The seat of passion, lust, desire, creativity, birthing, sensuality, birthing the new you, creating the dreams that will manifest in 2018 with passion and a fiery desire to transform. We discussed flow and feeling and desire. Asked ourselves, “What is missing? What do we desire?” The color of the second chakra is orange, it is the color of divine feminine energy. The divine feminine energy is our vitality, which brings flexibility and fluidity in our mind, heart, body, and spirit thus allowing us to feel pleasure, joy, love, healing energy and be present in our heart and body. The Reflection for February was, “What steps have happened naturally as a result of getting clear on transformation?” The Goal was to get passionate and committed to our transformation, to look deeply at what we truly desire.
And now it is March and we were unable to meet in physical circle, but I felt you all in the etheric realms and I held the space for us. We are moving up to the third chakra, the solar plexus, the center from which we express our will. The third chakra is the source of personal power, self-belief and worth. It is from here that we radiate our power in the world and take responsibility for our life. In the seasonal cycles here in the Northeast US we are approaching spring. Springtime is a time to put ourselves out there, express our will. Express who we really want to be at this time of new growth and beginnings. How will you express your true self to your family, friends, and colleagues? What small or big steps can you take or what do you wish to change to be more authentic? Our Reflection is, “Did adding a passion for change and transformation bring more concrete results? Were you able to keep the passion alive and take some steps to go after your desires?” The Goal is to set one, two, or three concrete ways that we desire to change to be more authentic, setting the direction and making real world decisions. The visualization that I will post in the next blog was intended to help us embody the changes and transformation of what we desire. To feel them in our solar plexus, our gut, to feel our confidence and personal power grow stronger. To feel in our bodies the rightness and beauty of achieving our desires.
I invite you to take a few minutes out of your full (so much nicer than the word “busy”) lives in the next week or so to do this meditation. You can ask someone to read it to you, you can record it on your phone and play it back for yourself, and maybe if I come in from walking the land, I will try to record it for you. Enjoy!
Full Moon Shamanic Journey
March 2, 2018
Here we are at this time of the full moon. I can feel it pulling me inward toward reflection. It’s light is shining into those shadow spaces that I usually like to keep hidden and dark. We all have these shadow spaces, mine often center around feelings of inadequacy, not being enough, and conversely, feeling so strong that I can tend toward isolation. I can do everything and anything on my own. I don’t need anyone.
But shadows, once the light has been let in, can compel us to be better. The shadow that leads me to prefer to do everything on my own, never asking for help, leads me to work closely with my community. In order to keep the light in this space, in order to avoid slipping back into the shadows, I lead community healing circles. I try to be available for anyone who wants to come in and talk or share or learn. I am a better person because I looked deeply into that shadow and was willing to bring light to it. I still struggle at times, but I put myself out there and it gets easier and more natural to work in community the more I do it.
This month at the full moon shamanic journey circle, I had planned to discuss the shadow sides of each of us personally and of Us as a collective. The recent tragedy in Florida is weighing heavily in the ethers. We see and feel the pain and suffering for all parties involved. Energetically, it is a very intense time. Many of us are struggling with the shadows. Family issues are coming forward, societal issues are coming forward, personal issues are coming forward. February can be an intense time for those in the Northeast. The winter months seem to have gone on too long and our natural seasonal introspection is at its peak in February. This feels like a good time to shine some light into whatever shadows we are dealing with.
The journey formulation I was planning on offering goes something like this:
I hope you will find a space in this snowstorm to spend 20-30 minutes following one of these journeys into the shadows. Your situation may be very personal, perhaps you had an argument with your partner and you want to understand it from a different perspective. Your situation may be very global, perhaps the lack of safe drinking water across the globe just hurts your heart. Your situation may be community based, perhaps you wonder if it is good or bad to allow affordable housing into your area. Whatever your shadow or your conflict is, please take this opportunity to shed some light into it from a higher perspective. Widen your vision, be the Eagle and fly high above the earth to get an expanded view of what is in the shadows.
Doing a shamanic journey is natural to all of us--we all have the ability to journey. Find a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed. You may want to play a shamanic drumming track or some soothing music (available from the internet and many phone apps), you may prefer to rattle or have silence. Really it’s whatever is needed to help you get to an altered state of consciousness, a prayer space. When you are in that space, invite your Spirit Guide or Teacher to come in, greet them as you normally do and state your intention clearly. After that just follow what unfolds. Some people like to state the intention three times, others just say it once. The intention is important, so know it well.
Remember to fully embody the journey. Feel the temperature, notice the surroundings, listen, taste, feel. You might ask yourself what do I hear, what do I see, is the sun out or is it dark? Look down at your feet, are you barefoot or wearing shoes of some kind? If you find yourself watching things from above, try to slow down and get embodied. The healing and the teachings will be much more profound when you embody the journey. It may feel like you are just imagining things at first. That’s ok. We all use our active imagination to launch a journey. It is in the journey space that this shifts to a state of higher consciousness. You notice this when things unfold in ways you never dreamed of, when you see things that would not occur to you, when the answers that you were struggling to find suddenly are so clear. The revelations that come from our journeys are where the magic is.