Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Is Facebook for real? Or should I say if you knew me at twenty would you still be my friend?

I never believed an authentic connection could arise through social networking. I held fast to face to face, old school ways of relating as the only true connection. Since joining the magical matrix last year a burgeoning soul family has taken root. I have ridden these ethereal connections to Bimini, New Mexico, Arizona, DC, Virginia, Montana, Maryland and Florida to come face to face with friends from the internet.

Authentic, rich and soulful.

Through these serendipitous waves I find myself in the midst of a group of fabulous, midlife, women bloggers! An invitation to blog hop (an online tag game of sorts). The topic?

What advice would you give to your 20-year-old self?

I blow the dust off the grey matter of memory to turn back time. Who was I thirty years ago?

At twenty my biggest character flaw was my two pack a day smoking habit. Along with a heavy consumption of cigarettes I consumed heavy doses of alcohol (it’s in the genes). Occasionally there are blackouts. Intermittent all nighters are fueled by lines of cocaine (can I be arrested for this admission now?).

God I sound awful.

No boyfriends or solid relationships at twenty but I have been pregnant. Taking the no-nonsense wake up call of my best friend I have an abortion way before teenage pregnancies became romantic reality shows.

By twenty I had an Associate degree from a local community college. Without the diploma to look at (it’s been a long time) I am not exactly sure what my degree is in but my career idea was to go into people’s homes and fix their families. This is before I have any understanding of what projection is.

Most of the money I made at twenty came through bartending. The best gig was at JFK until the air controllers went on strike and I lost my job.

What advice do I give my self-deluded, self-destructive, self-absorbed 20-year-old?

For starters it would probably go something like this…

Clean up your act. Stop drinking. Stop smoking. Stop wasting your time with men who do not see your beauty and value your gifts. Snap out of it! 

At twenty I am someone who needs advice. Desperately. But the last thing I would have taken from anyone was advice. Yet whatever advice I would have offered I seemed to have stumbled upon along the way even without the words ringing from the elder voice I had yet to become.

For even in the midst of self-destructive behaviors, underlying longings of health and healing peeked through with forays into yoga classes, staring into candles, attempts to meditate, self-induced fasting regimes.

My healing journey began in earnest just a few years past twenty.

So the biggest advice I would give my twenty year old self is the same advice I would give myself now.


Trust that everything you need is within you. Trust your intuition, the whispers that speak through your heart and soul. Follow the drumbeat of your own two feet. Know you are loved. You are not incidental. You are here for a reason. You have a sacred purpose and the Universe would be less were you not a part of it.

I am where I am now based on advice I would have given my 20-year-old self. Advice never spoken yet somehow heard.

Divine guidance is always at work.


Karen Chrappa
Author of A Structure for Spirit

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Our ideas about a daily practice can often be an obstacle to practice. We may think that a daily practice must look like our yoga class. Or we must be able to assume a certain posture in order to meditate. We think conditions must be perfect before we start. We need a special space or certain equipment or the right clothes. Expanding beyond our ideas can liberate the impediments to practice.

If nothing else, practice is about change and adaptability. I practice yoga but rarely use a mat. My cushion has been with me for years but I am often meditating without it. What my practice looked like 10 years ago or 5 years ago is vastly different than what it is today. A sense of fluidity and flow is necessary in establishing a practice.

My daily practice has always included some form of work with my body. If I strip my physical practice to its heart what lies within is the practice of meditation. The physical form may vary but the awareness that I bring to that form cultivates practice.

We do not meditate to become good meditators. We meditate so we can show up in our life with the qualities we cultivate in practice. When we cultivate the mind of meditation, this presence and attention naturally spills over from our mat into our life. The parameters of our practice blur. Our practice is no longer strictly defined by the time we spend sitting on a cushion. One of the most important qualities we establish in a daily practice is that of showing up. This is no small feat.

I recently took part in a workshop at the Shambala Center in NYC; Running With the Mind of Meditation.

A group of like-minded souls gathered on a Sunday afternoon. For this brief moment in time we became a small sangha weaving our way through the chaotic streets of Manhattan, running with the mind of meditation. Running has been a practice of mine for 25 years. Most of my running is done alone. Running in community fed my heart, not just as some cardio workout, but through the spark of devotion in every heart I ran with that day.

It was that spark of dedication from each heart that showed up that fed my soul. Each one of us took time out of a Sunday afternoon and made the effort to meet in the heart of the city to run and meditate. We showed up. And that touched my heart.

And that is what a daily practice asks of us. To show up.

To show up when we don’t want to. To show up when we are tired. To show up when we are pissed off. To show up when showing up is the last thing we want to do.

But is this not the same thing that life asks of us? That we must ask of ourselves?

What inspires a daily practice?

Show up and find out.

AHO my friends! AHO!

Karen Chrappa
Author of A Structure for Spirit

If you would like to delve deeper into the art of practice show up for the Empowerment Camp at Feathered Pipe in Montana next summer where Michael Lennox and I are soulfully collaborating to Awaken the Inner Teacher.

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Artist Alice Popkorn

Artist Alice Popkorn

When the needs of the heart go unmet, the pain can be excruciating. In order to cope with feelings that overwhelm or threaten survival, elaborate strategies are constructed to compensate. A common tactic to insure survival is to abandon our own heart in an illusionary attempt to avoid the pain we feel. Maybe if I pretend I have no heart it won’t hurt so much. We lose a part of our vital life force energy. A loss of our Soul occurs.

If we fear that what we need we will not receive, our efforts are used to keep the feelings of our heart under control. We learn to manipulate the emotions of others in order to get what we want, inflict guilt or shame to coerce another to get the love and attention we seek. We learn to smile without any feeling for a false sense of approval. This begins an interplay of how our masculine energy of action and will meets our feminine energy of emotion and feeling.

This coping strategy is similar to a software program in that it downloads information into the hard drive of the physical body. In response to the vibrations of the program, the body will shape itself in a certain way. Anger, bitterness, despair, despondency vibrate at much lower frequencies and create a density in the body as compared to the higher vibrations of love, gratitude and compassion. If we are attempting to control our rage or sorrow, enormous tensions are required in muscles and tissues to restrain these energies and keep them from flowing. Constrictions may be noted in and around the heart, chest and jaw. Our movements may be become stiff or painful. The energy demands required to keep ineffective coping strategies running are tremendous and place excessive strain on our organs. All systems in our body are affected; digestion, respiratory, immune, musculoskeletal. These tensions and knots that initially serve to suppress pain in our body and numb what we are feeling ultmately become perpetrators to the pain they are looking to avoid.

We are often blind to the awareness that these programs are even running.

Artist Kevron

Artist Kevron

When we step into ceremony we are essentially updating our software progams. We are setting in motion, through our intention and work with the divine intelligence of Spirit, different programs that are ultimately downloaded into our physical body. Our body begins to restructure itself to organize around this new information. This is not always comfortable. We are birthing into the unknown. And like any birth it can come with pain. You may notice aches, pains or stiffness that arise out of nowhere, and just as randomly disappear. Disturbances of sleep and digestion can be common. Having a physical practice is so supportive, especially during this time of rebalancing. Any practice that uses intentional movement or integrates energy with movement of the physical body, such as yoga, tai chi, dance, martial arts, is so important with ceremony work because we are ultimately affecting changes in the physical body.

The healing tonic of a walk in Nature cannot be underestimated.

Emotional and mental agitations may increase as energy moves and shifts. Meditation is essential to help bring stillness to these waters. It allows us to ride these waves of turbulence as a witness rather than being swallowed whole and consumed by them. Diva Carla, Sacred Lodge Sister of We the Women, is generously sharing two healing meditations for women and men taking part in the New Moon Sacred Union Despacho. These rituals support your process of integration and are resources for sexual empowerment. For women she offers the recording of a Women’s Self-Love Ritual connecting a woman to her Sacred Feminine Power Source at the center of the Wheel of Life. For Men she offers the gift of the King’s Self-Love meditation, which connects a man to his inner masculine fire, the archetypes of Mars and Jupiter and the relationship to the Sacred Feminine. There is medicine for women to hear the men’s meditation and for men to also hear the women’s meditation. Give yourself the gift of these meditations as you integrate the powerful work of this ceremony.

Let us recognize not only the sacredness of ceremonial work but the divine interconnection this creates with all of our being, especially the divine temple in which we reside.

AHO my friends! AHO!

Karen Chrappa
Author of A Structure for Spirit

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How do you spend the last five minutes of your day? Are you rehashing arguments? Replaying worries for your future? Reviewing your regrets and what ifs? I encourage clients to use this time to empty their bodymind of stress that has accumulated from the day by exhaling tensions from their body. With intention, these stresses are sent right into the Earth where they are energetically composted. The weight of the body releases its effort and need to hold on.

After hearing Wayne Dyer’s keynote address at the Hay House conference this past weekend I now take this practice a step further.

During the last five minutes of your day he suggests aligning your subconscious with intentions to access your highest self. When we stew in anger, fear and worry before drifting off to sleep, our subconscious mind interprets this as our reality and will create experiences for us that match that reality upon waking. We can create a shift in our reality by reprogramming our subconscious mind during this potent portal to dreamtime.

During the last five minutes of your day tell yourself…







What experiences might be created to match this reality?

AHO my friends! AHO!

Karen Chrappa
Author of A Structure for Spirit

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Fresh Air
Morning Practice
Restorative Yoga
Bare Feet on Sand
Soul Community

A simple list.

I intend for this list to grow. Add something new everyday if I can.
I invite you to do the same. Start noticing, each and every day, what nourishes you.

What puts a smile in your heart?
What gets your juices flowing?
What brings you to center?
What stills your mind?
What calms your heart?
What connects you more deeply to your body?
What connects you more deeply to Spirit?
What brings your life a sense of purpose and meaning?

We will bring this list to our next New Moon Despacho.
We will feed, in ceremony, what nourishes us.
Let Spirit guide us to shape a life
that nourishes each and every one of us,
each and every day.

AHO my friends! AHO!

Karen Chrappa
Author of A Structure for Spirit

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I am buying a lot of lemons. With time and space stretched before me this weekend, I am retreating with the Master Cleanse. I was introduced to this particular cleanse about 10 years ago. With water, lemon, cayenne pepper and a bit of maple syrup (for vitamins, minerals and sweetness), it seems to do what it says it will do; cleanse. Why cleanse? Why now? After ceremony, our energy bodies reconfigure.

“From a shamanic perspective, your physical body is shaped and informed by the electromagnetic field that surrounds it. This subtle outer body is also known as the light body, the energy body, the luminous body or aura. Your light body informs through thought, feeling, beliefs, archetypal and ancestral patterns, wounds and trauma held within its field. Your life is being created through the filters of this information. The matter of your physical body is literally shaped through patterns of darkness and light emitted through your luminous energy body.” (excerpt from “A Structure for Spirit”)

When we release patterns such as the victim from our energetic body through ceremony, we are creating change in our light body. As we change the patterns at the level of the energetic body, we are sending new information into our physical body. Our physical body will replace every cell in its system in 7-8 months as it continually regenerates itself. To give my physical body the most optimum conditions for regeneration, I cleanse.

As I cleanse my physical body, I bring the intent of clearing any patterns of limitation, any shred of attachment to the victim or powerlessness within me. This intent cleans up my energy body along with it. Along with any physical benefits one may receive from a cleanse, for me, cleansing creates a shift. I am not here to recommend a particular cleanse, detox or fast. Whatever method you choose, power it up with your intent. Dedicate your efforts to a deep clearing of any energetic impressions that have laid physical impressions of lack. Create space for nourishment as we bring these offerings to our next New Moon Despacho. Let us discover more deeply what nourishes body, mind and soul.

Here is a brief outline of the Master Cleanse:

  • Combine juice of 1/2 lemon, 2 Tbsp genuine maple syrup, 1/10 tsp cayenne pepper with 10 oz of water
  • Drink 6-12 glasses throughout the day.
  • No other food taken during this time.
  • Make internal salt water bath by adding 2 tsps uniodized sea salt to 1 quart warm water. Drink entire amount first thing in the morning for elimination and a good colon washing.
  • Come off cleanse gently. Orange juice recommended to prepare digestive system to assimilate food followed by fruits and raw vegetables, in that order.
  • 10 day minimum recommended. I do it for 5. I know others who have done if for forty.
What are you ready to cleanse?

AHO my friends! AHO!

Karen Chrappa
Author of A Structure for Spirit

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