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Archive for the ‘Meditation’ Category

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
www.karenchrappa.com

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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My Dear Friends…

Do you hear the deep yearning of your Soul, the whispers of your heart to live and express truth? There is a truth birthing within each one of us. What our heart yearns for is the space to listen. Modern lifestyles do not always afford us the space to hear and empower our heart. Intention alone is not enough. The heart calls us to take action. And the most profound action we can take on behalf of our heart is retreat. To take time and give space to the calling of our heart. I know the fierce dedication it takes to listen to our heart and remain open no matter what.
Feathered Pipe

Feathered Pipe

When I was graciously invited by my dear friend and Soul Sister Melissa McNair, co-Executive of the Feathered Pipe Foundation, to co-facilitate the Empowerment Camp at the Feathered Pipe Ranch I was ecstatic. Intentionally carving out time from our lives to cultivate and strengthen the open heart is an extraordinary opportunity. We often find our world does not support and actually inhibits this way of life. We miss the context, understanding and skills to maintain such a radical commitment.

The retreat at Feathered Pipe offers these skills and more. The Empowerment Camp is facilitated by Christian de la Huerta whose profound knowledge of Spirit and the transformational power of breath and meditation will enable you to view and experience your life, being, and relation to other in undistorted and empowered form. Along with friend and colleague, Joe Weston, author of “Mastering Respectful Confrontations”, we learn to help build the capacity to be in the midst of confrontation and hold our own in a heartfelt way. With multiple breathwork sessions, embodiment practices, powerful teachings, rich conversations and rituals, this retreat is a life-changing, empowering and freeing experience.

I am honored to offer my medicine gifts to remind us of our relationship with the Earth and our obligation to honor its gifts through various rituals and Earth based medicine practices. I will be offering healing sessions weaving bodywork and prayer. Timed to coincide with the new moon and the Summer Solstice, ceremony and ritual will be woven in to mark your passage and full embodiment, including a journey to the shaman’s cave in the oldest once-inhabited cave system in North America.

We will be weaving our work together, coming from our respective vantage points, all with the shared intent to create the optimal environment for your Empowerment Camp experience.

The setting is exquisite and the timing is perfect. The Ranch is located in a gorgeous and secluded mountain retreat setting outside Helena, MT. The Summer Solstice is upon us that week. The days are long and the sun sets around 9:30 pm. We plan to make the most of tapping into the power of this auspicious time.

I am looking forward to this with all my heart and know it will be a profoundly transformational – and fun – experience in an amazing setting.

I would love to have you join us.

Please feel free to call me at (516) 286-0125 to explore this further. Melissa is also available to help you with your questions and can be reached at (406) 442-8196.

Take a moment to discover the richness of a retreat at Feathered Pipe in the magic of this poetic article by one who makes an annual pilgrimage there.

With love and munay…

Karen
The Magic of Montana...Home to Feathered Pipe

The Magic of Montana...Home to Feathered Pipe

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As much as I love meditating and spend time each day doing it I could never make it through an entire weekend of sitting were it not for a community of like minded Souls dedicated to the very same thing.

Although there was no “theme” for the weekend sesshin that just ended a clear message rang through. It feels worth sharing since this message seems to come through time and again from various, unrelated sources.

Although the retreat this weekend was silent words are spoken during teisho, teachings by the Roshi, and daisan, individual meetings with the teacher. Messages are also received as a felt sense or knowing that comes from the stillness of mind that settles through a group that sits together for an extended time.

From a story of building a zendo in Staten Island after 9/11 to the travels of dust from Africa to North America the theme that emerged through our time of retreat was interdependence. We may still hold fast to the stoic belief I can do it myself but the truth is we accomplish very little on our own. Each of is a unique indivdiual with an authentic expression of who we are and we are empowered in community.

Empty Zendo at Breakfast Time

Empty Zendo at Breakfast Time

During sesshin each individual sits on their own cushion doing their own work. Yet what each individual accomplishes in a sangha or community is far greater than what could be done on their own. It is very difficult, and as for myself impossible to sit for the duration of a weekend if I was attempting to do that on my own. This power of community that shows up in meditation influences all areas of life.

The time of the Lone Ranger is over. Any attachments we have to being an island unto ourself are done. What matters now in the evolution of consciousness is interdependence.

Nature has always known this. Roshi went to great lengths to illustrate this point of interdependence while talking about dust. Dust? Who talks about dust? For most dust is nothing but a nuisance or the catalyst for an allergic reaction. The Scientific Journal studied the significance of dust from a forsaken desert in Africa. When wind currents are just the right speed that dust travels to deposit minerals to fertilize farmland in North America. It is also responsible for the formation of clouds that bring rain. Dust in Africa feeds agriculture on another continent thousands of miles away. Nature knows this deep and intimate interdependence.

Now it is our turn. What we do matters. If we want to dream a different world into being we can not do it alone. I extend an invitation to the upcoming Full Moon Healing Ceremony to join a powerful community of Shamans, Reiki Masters, Medicine Women, Energy Healers, Priestesses, Sister Tribes and Prayer Warriors who will be collectively supporting and empowering your own healing through Ancient Shamanic Ceremony, Prayer Bundles and Distant Healing.

Stay tuned my friends as I share in my next blogpost how the power of community has impacted my dreams.

AHO my friends! AHO!

Karen Chrappa
Author of A Structure for Spirit
www.karenchrappa.com

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We are stardust, we are golden,
We are billion year old carbon,
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.
Joni Mitchell

Our Sun is deeply woven with the creation and sustenance of our Earth Mother, shining through eons as witness to the rise and fall of life on our Planet. Inherent in this relationship is the ability to adapt, change and evolve. What happens when we look to cultivate a relationship with our nearest Star?

It is cold here in New York but the sun is shining. I run through trails in a nearby woods. The rhythm of breath and body over Earth empties mind. As I finish I find a place to sit. On a rock. Against a tree. Today atop an old tree stump, the sweetest meditation spot. It is here I create a Shamanic Salute to the Sun.

As I turn my face to the Sun I offer a prayer…

Beloved Sun..
Inform my luminous body.
Inform my cellular body.
Inform my DNA
so I may receive what is needed
to evolve in this time of great change.
Penetrate any darkness
so I may awaken
into the Lightness of my Being.

I allow the boundaries of my physical form to dissolve as the warmth of the Sun penetrates every pore. I set my mind to the side to enter a state of complete receptivity. Every space of who I am absorbs this Radiance as a dry sponge soaking water. I breathe in the Light of our Sun with each inhalation. Looking to the mirror of our nearest Star, my Light is reflected in this glory.

Although this practice is most profound when done in Nature it can be done indoors with intent and imagination. Imagine for a moment setting your body and mind to the side. Let your awareness settle into your heart. Imagine the Sun being reflected here, right in front of your heart. Breathe the Light of the Sun into your heart. Imagine a pulsing radiance between your heart and our nearest Star. Allow yourself to bask in this radiance as long as it lasts. In the beginning we may have nothing more than a fleeting glimpse of our Light. With practice, our awareness grows. Our Light is sustained for longer. With time, practice and attention, the awareness of our Light deepens.

Our Light is felt in deep surrender as we let go and allow our Light to simply be. It can be  a challenge to access our Light since most of us grew up having to hide or diminish our Light in order to be loved. Shamans teach us it is who we become, not what we do that changes the world. As we come to know ourselves, more and more, as the Being of Light that we are, we lose the sense of separation and step into an awareness of unity and oneness. This is how we make a difference, by radiating the Light we were meant to be.

Even after all this time 
The Sun never says to the Earth, 
“You owe Me.” 

Look what happens 
with a love like that, 
It lights the Whole Sky.
Hafiz

AHO my friends! AHO!

Karen Chrappa
Author of A Structure for Spirit
www.karenchrappa.com 

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“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”  William Arthur Ward

We are well versed in the merits of gratitude. It alters our outlook turning obstacles into opportunities and loss into lessons. Gratitude creates a spiritual viewpoint that allows us to ride the waves of human experience with equanimity, softening the hard edges with grace. Gratitude attracts like a magnet more of what we hold in appreciation into our life.

As with any practice, the virtues are only bestowed once we embody the teachings. In order for gratitude to bless the life we are living we must first weave them into our soul. How do we ensure gratitude does not exist merely as a concept or good idea? How can we ground gratitude into our bodies so the goodness of gratitude informs our actions?

One place to begin a practice of gratitude is to bring appreciation to the body in which you dwell. Do you know anyone who would work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, without a break or vacation and never once receive a thank you for their tireless efforts? Think of all the jobs your body performs every day. Your heart has not stopped pumping since your time in the womb. Your lungs continually regulate the flow of oxygen essential to your survival. Like an ever-running steam engine, your digestive system converts what you eat into fuel, providing energy to function. The jobs required to sustain your life every day are endless. Treating your body with appreciation helps heal and restore right relationship between you and your body. Holding your body sacred helps bring the sense of sacred to everything in your life.

In the spirit of giving thanks, I offer Attitude of Gratitude, a guided meditation, to help us embody the blessings of gratitude, not merely as a concept, but as a living and breathing teaching within us. This practice awakens a sacred awareness of your body temple. It offers an opportunity to give thanks for all the service your body so willingly provides. Lie comfortably on the floor, or as close to the Earth as you can. If you are distracted by any discomfort in your body, try placing a pillow under your knees or beneath your head for support.

Take a moment to reflect on your experience during this practice. What stood out or seemed significant to you? What, if anything, changed or shifted in your awareness? Ask your body what it needs to feel nourished and supported? It may require more rest, more water or more greens. Maybe it needs more movement or fresh air. Listen to the wisdom within and wait for a response. What is one thing you can do today to demonstrate this appreciation for your body and honor its needs? What is one thing you can do today to embody the goodness of gratitude?

AHO my friends! AHO!

Karen Chrappa
Author of A Structure for Spirit
www.karenchrappa.com

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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…

I AM LOVE.

I AM FEARLESS.

I AM BLISS.

I AM HEALTHY.

I AM WHOLE.

I AM GOD-CONSCIOUSNESS.

What experiences might be created to match this reality?

AHO my friends! AHO!

Karen Chrappa
Author of A Structure for Spirit
www.karenchrappa.com

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The times we live in have been prophesied by ancient maps of many different traditions. They all point to a time of the birthing of a new consciousness. And that time is now. Our evolution is driven by creation which is accelerating at unprecedented speed. The same creative force that drives the evolution of the Universe, drives the evolution of our very own Soul.

Evolution. A time of birth. A time of death. A time of change. 

Conditions that tend to make us all a bit fearful. Our human nature prefers a more predictable path. We like things we can count on. We like to feel safe and in control. In the midst of these transiting times, cultivating stillness is essential.

In stillness, we become a receptive vessel. We source from an infinite consciousness into which we are all linked. This information lands in our body as a knowing, a felt sense. There is no need to justify, defend or make sense of this information, we just know. It is our truth. The more we listen to the voice of this truth, the more we allow our life to be guided by the infinite intelligence of Spirit.

What if we were to trust that what we need would come to us in stillness?  This is in direct opposition to mind that needs to figure out, have a plan and do something.

Last month a practice for cultivating stillness came through from the Stone People that bears repeating here. We have much to learn from the element of stone as teachers of stillness.

Find three stones. Cleanse them in a sea salt bath overnight. Once the stones are clear they will be used to nourish and sustain our bodies on all levels. For the practice, lie on your back. Place one stone on your belly. Place one stone over your heart (the center of your chest) and one stone on your third eye, the center of your forehead. Let your breath start to deepen and slow down. Feel your body resting more deeply on the Earth. Let your self be still to receive the steadfast stillness of the stones. Let this absorb into your body as you lie quietly. This medicine is recevied in stillness. Stay quiet until you feel a sense of stillness in your body. This will deepen with practice. 

We are birthing new levels of Soul consciousness now. With this birth, comes death. Let us learn to recognize what it is that is ready to die. What limited beliefs, worn out identities or ways of seeing ourselves and the world can we let go of so we can make way for what is to come? And that my friends we do not know. We stand at the precipice and trust. Let stillness hold this space.

AHO my friends! AHO!

Karen Chrappa
Author of A Structure for Spirit 
www.karenchrappa.com

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