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Archive for December, 2013

One of the most auspicious gurus to cross the threshold to a new year with is a Spirit ally.

A Spirit ally reinforms our walk on Earth by guiding us from dimensions that are higher, wider and deeper than the limited lens that often informs our world view.

image[7]On a recent journey I met a white tiger, one whose wisdom I have been calling on ever since.

There is no special invocation needed to call forth a Spirit guide. They are always with us. Calling to them is more to orient us to their presence.

Information from a Spirit ally can come through in images, as words or as a felt sense or knowing in the body.

I often call upon the wisdom of a Spirit ally during my yoga practice as I meet a block or tension in my body, however any moment is perfect.

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This morning as I practice I become witness to a self-created inner drama.

I am alone in the home of my former husband where I am visiting with my daughters. My sister-in-law returns after a morning errand. In my solitary practice I am now aware of the presence of another. I begin to question whether I should invite her to join me.

An inner conflict arises as to whether or not I am being selfish, anti-social, anti-yogic for wanting to be immersed in the nourishment of my practice without tending to the needs of another. Suddenly I am loathing myself for being so self-absorbed.

Early in life I learned that a want, need or desire was self-centered. That correlated to bad; something I did not want to be. Needs were viewed through a narcissistic window where I began to see myself as a selfish little girl I did not want to be.

Seeds of judgment laid deep roots. My desire to be solitary in practice this morning triggered the self-absorbed narcissist I loathe.

I call on White Tiger.

immediately my breath is fuller as if creating more space for what is present. I feel more deeply in my body. Judgment is the mother’s milk that keeps the mean and selfish one running on a perpetual loop of self loathing.

In the presence of White Tiger my internal judgment softens paving the way for compassion.

Each one of us has had to develop conditioned responses that are less than noble to ensure the love and attention we so desperately need to survive. We have all had the perception of our true nature perverted by erroneous beliefs imposed upon us. By their very nature these responses are habitual and unconscious keeping us blind to our own ignorance.

What is there to judge in this way of being human?

Judgment shuts the door on any possibility of change.

White Tiger shows me to let go through this felt sense in my body. Not only of the judgment I hold against the selfish one in me, but to let go of judgment for all beings who have suffered simply for being human.

Wisdom of White Tiger

WISDOM OF WHITE TIGER

Guidance from a Spirit ally may also appear as messages that can become powerful personal mantras.

I AM WHOLE.
I AM SOVEREIGN.
AN ENTIRE KINGDOM DWELLS WITHIN.

These are just a few ways a Spirit ally can work on our behalf to empower and awaken us to the truth of our own nature.

The Shamanic Journey from A Structure for Spirit is now available on soundcloud.com so you may meet your own auspicous guru to guide your way in the year ahead.

What you will need:

  • 30 minutes of time and space free from distraction.
  • Pillows and blanket as needed for comfort.
  • Bandana or blindfold if you like to deepen your sense of darkness.
  • Journal to record your journey.
  • A palm sized stone. (In the book I suggest using a stone to anchor in the energy and honor your Spirit ally on an altar)

Click on the following link to begin your journey:
SHAMANIC JOURNEY

May all love surround you my friends.

And a happy and auspicious New Year!

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“Trauma leaves an almost indelible signature that a healer can perceive in the luminous field. Healers believe that this marks a person’s experience of health or disease for their entire life, like a cross that each of us has to shoulder. A shaman can help people to lighten their load, perhaps even help them understand the lessons they needed to learn from the original trauma they experienced, but it is up to each person to choose whether they carry their cross lightly, discard it altogether, or become burdened and overwhelmed beneath the weight.” 
Alberto Villoldo

modern-art-prints

Artist George Grie

I have worked with an aging population most of my life and one thing is certain. There are no definitive rules on aging. Time will certainly take its toll on the body but we accelerate this process by bearing the weight of our wounds with every step we take.

How can the burden of trauma affect the way we age?

Dementia, the general term for a decline in mental function, is believed to come with aging. Could dementia be a breakdown of mind that comes from a cross too heavy to bear?

I wonder as I walk into a full-blown episode of a mind lost to reality.

A 76 year-old woman I see for general deconditioning and mild balance problems also has a diagnosis of dementia. I have never noticed evidence of this on our visits other than some innocent lapses in memory. As is often the case, people with dementia can present a strong front of having it all together.

On this particular day her husband answers the door as I arrive. “She had a rough night”, he tells me. I find her groggy in bed somewhere between sleep and waking.

Once oriented to my presence she lets me know this is not her home, a place she has lived in for the past twenty years. “Nothing here is mine”, she says claiming her husband has sold their house against her wishes and all of her things are gone. Were this to be true, imagine the fright.

Not only is she not in her home but she is certain her husband is ready to leave her. With my full attention, she finally feels she has someone who will listen. She wants me to know her husband cannot be trusted. “He acts very nice so no one knows that he lies all the time.”  Her husband, helpless and exhausted, seems as lost as she is.

She tells me her heart is broken. Her husband is with another woman. She has given everything to her marriage and now that she no longer has her looks he wants to leave. “I know I’m not a Barbie doll anymore“, she tells me, “but I don’t deserve to be treated like this.”

Although none of what she is saying is related to her present situation this betrayal existed in a former marriage. Her belief that it is happening now means she is feeling everything just as if it were true. “Everything I am telling you is real”, she said. I know it is. I feel it. Although her mind may be deluding her at the moment the wound of her broken heart is clear.

In a more frightening situation a few miles away, a woman I see has recently had back surgery. Her husband, suffering with dementia and PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), had tried to kill her. In the final episode before entering the VA, he smothered her with a pillow as WWII raged on in his psyche. Believing he was at war, his wife was the enemy. She fought for her life and ruptured her disc.

What they have in common are the haunting wounds of their past. A cross that crippled the mind under its weight.

We are all wounded. We have all suffered trauma. And these wounds are clouding our perception of reality all the time. The only difference between those with dementia and those of us fortunate to have our mental health, is we have not lost the thread to reality just yet.

Imagine if your trauma weighed fifty pounds. What if you could strap that on your back and carry it around all day? You would feel its effect. This is where the accelerated breakdown comes in.

What might happen if we lighten our load? What if we drop the weight all together? How might we age then?

I cannot help but wonder what might have happened had my clients been able to find help to lighten their cross along the way. The burdens they carried for far too long were too much for their souls to bear. The mind broke beneath the weight.

I do not know how to restore the mind once its fragile thread to reality has been lost. Meditation can slow the progression but I offer this not as a remedy for dementia but rather as a call for us to take responsibility for our healing. Not simply for ourselves but for our loved ones and the collective humanity we share. Prevention may be our best medicine.

We cannot see what lies ahead as we grow older each day but we can learn to leave behind what no longer serves us. May each step we take bring greater ease to body, mind and soul. May grace be our guide home.

This article first appeared on MindBodyGreen as Why Getting Older Doesn’t Have to Be Painful.

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sol·stice [sol-stis, sohl-]

1. either of the two times a year when the sun is at its greatest distance from the celestial equator. On or about December 22nd it reaches its southernmost point.

sooth·say·ing [sooth-sey-ing]  

1.the practice or art of foretelling events.

Solstice Soothsaying

Now say that ten times fast!

agnihotra-fire-ceremony

I did not want you to miss this prophetic ritual which accounts for the captivating alliteration!

I hope it worked for here is a festive Scottish ritual to bring a flair to any holiday or new year celebration:

  • Fill a large shallow dish with raisins and pour a few tablespoons of brandy over them.
  • Put out the lights then set ight to the brandy.
  • While it is still going snatch one of the raisins from the flames.
  • As you put the raisin in your mouth, make a wish. It will be granted in the next twelve months!

(It is less dangerous than it seems but care should always be taken.)

May all your wishes come true!

Adapted from The Winter Solstice: The Sacred Tradtions of Christmas by John Matthews

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025376-nelson-mandelaIf you are living Life,
it will break your heart.

Break it with beauty.
With loss.
With tragedy.
With mystery.

If you are living Life,
yes your heart will break.

Once we accept this inevitable heartache,
give it some space
and breathing room,
we can transcend its weight.

When we no longer
feel we need to hide,
numb or fight against
this inevitable ache of the heart,
we see this is what makes us human.

A small price to pay for the glory
to walk on the beauty of this Earth.

Let your heart ache with Life.
For it is this ache that connects us
to the heartbeat of humanity.

~AHO~
Sat Nam
Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti

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