Posts Tagged ‘Melissa McNair’

As anyone who does healing work knows…you step on to this path because it is you yourself that needs healing. For me I didn’t just step on to a healing path, I hit the ground running.

I started smoking at 11 years old. Fifteen years later as I entered school for Physical Therapy my habit was up to two packs a day. Although I made many attempts to stop it was stepping into a healing profession that helped me finally call it quits. How could I help others heal their body if I could not help myself? So I started running. A few years later I finished the NYC marathon in 3 1/2 hours. I awoke to the healing wisdom of the body.

My personal healing has intimately intertwined with my work in the world. I shifted beyond the borders of traditional Physical Therapy as my work became strongly influenced by my personal evolution in Thai massage, yoga, meditation, breathwork, shamanism. My work had traversed far from my roots leaving me with an identity crisis of sorts. Most people came to see me through the western medical system. There was some understanding of what to expect when going to see a physical therapist. What I often heard was this is not what I thought physical therapy was going to be like at all. I struggled to define my work through the confines of physical therapy that gave me a license I could rely on to bring me income. A simple equation of risk versus security.

A pivotal question posed by a mentor pushed me further into the unknown. How do you intend to bring your wisdom into the world? Spirit nudged even stronger. I began offering ceremonies online breaking free from the spiritual closet where most of my work remained hidden. The ceremonies caught the attention of Melissa McNair, co-director of Feathered Pipe. The message left on my voicemail one day was nothing short of a divine calling. Would I be interested in weaving ritual and ceremony during the Empowerment Camp at Feathered Pipe? Spirit opened a public portal to step into the role of a medicine woman. All I had to do was walk through.

A sacred assemblage of souls gathered in June. In the deep beauty of Montana our most courageous hearts stretched wide weaving the dark of the New Moon with the light of the Summer Solstice. Held in the incubating elements of Pachamama; water, earth, fire, air, it became very clear we were in a deep process of birthing. As we breathed the holy breath, journeyed to the womb in a consecrated cave, we prayed, we laughed, we screamed, we cried, we sang, we danced, we healed, we birthed.

Through the magic of Feathered Pipe we emerged anew.

Photographer Alison Postighone

Photographer Alison Postighone

A personal pachakuti, or cycle of time, had come to an end. An initiation that began some 25 years earlier. The completion of one cycle meant the start of another. A medicine woman birthed into the world. A birth of the soul pouring forth from the heart. A heart that has lived long enough to have itself torn apart. A heart whose essence holds the power to endure.

I came to see how I had shaped my work to be less than in a western model of medicine that had no space for Spirit. What I was shaping was the voice of the Sacred Feminine, diminished by culture, conditioned through belief systems, science, religion, ancestors and wounds in an attempt to thwart her power. The earliest voice of my feminine was manipulated by a masculine determined to keep dominion over a home ruled by alcohol. The light of my truth could not hold a gaze to the blind eye of booze.

This external power play of masculine domination over a suppressed feminine internalized itself twisting my voice in self-doubt. Is what I see real? What I feel true? My body armored itself against her sovereign flow of feeling. The dark, tangled mess of emotions were deemed worthless, abandoned to deep recesses of heart and soul. Mind, steel sharp control and all that was rational served as the hallmark to success.

The voice of my internal masculine thwarted my power, belittled my feelings and abolished my needs. My worth was measured in doing. What certificate or letter I could place next to my name marked my accomplishments as if my very own existence required some stamp of approval from an authority outside of myself.

The ruling tyranny of a masculine dominated inner world has seen its end, within me and around me. It is the sacred feminine that is resurrecting now. There is no diploma to mark this passage. No letters to place after my name. Spirit is the teacher. Life is the initiation. Suffering is the school.

The external voices of oppression still exist. The ones that believe the notion of a medicine woman means I have completely lost my mind. It is not up to me to change those voices but rather to find the courage within so the voice that diminishes has no power over me. The voice that belittles what it cannot understand is no longer relevant in my life.

It is time for both the masculine and feminine to rise, to dance within in ways never before seen thereby shifting the way we move in the world.

AHO my friends! AHO!

Karen Chrappa
Author of A Structure for Spirit

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Artist Alice Popkorn

Artist Alice Popkorn

The human heart holds the wisdom of the ages. There is no affliction, no suffering, no ailment that the heart does not already know. Our wounded heart believes it must hide in darkness. We fear further rejection, a pain our heart fears it could not bear.

Yet we are also a divine heart, possessed with a wisdom that has already seen and already knows that which is hiding. The divine wisdom of the heart has the capacity to hold everything.

To integrate our personal heart with that of the collective asks us to embrace everything our heart is holding on to. Our task is to generate the capacity for our heart to hold it all.

So even when our heart meets a disappointment we say yes. When our heart meets a betrayal we say yes. When hope is lost and we are blinded by tears our heart resounds in yes.

It is this yes to our personal heart that opens it and stretches it beyond our wounds. We expand in order to merge with the divine heart. The heart of unconditional love.

The heart of unity.

The generous heart.

The compassionate heart.

These qualities land first in our own heart as a pathway beyond the illusion that we are separate.

Separate from our heart.

Separate from our soul.

Separate from the world in which we live.

To suppress or oppose the pain of our heart only serves to intensify what we are feeling. To deny that which is a part of us creates an internal conflict and perpetuates the pain of separation.

Yes nurtures the seeds of our divine heart.

Yes offers a way through.

The work of our heart requires courage. It asks us to take a leap of faith. We must trust in order to stretch our heart open even wider.

Let our hearts open wide to meet the collective call of the Divine. Let our hearts rise into all that is. All that we are.

Hear the yes in your heart.

The time is now.

To say yes.


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Never in my life had I experienced the Earth under my feet as I did that day. Descending from 16,000 feet after ceremony in the Andes I began running. Not so much by choice but rather because I had no other choice. The life force of Pachamama, the Earth herself, rose on up coursing its way through my body. The power of a stallion surged through me unleashing my body into an insurpressable stride. In that moment I understood how the four leggesds run across the Earth effortless, wild and free.

They are not distracted by mindless chatter as they charge across her belly. They are not competitively striding to reach their destination. They are in deep communion in the most intimate of connections with the divine life force pulsing beneath them. They are fed by her, sustained by her. They open without restraint to her. Again and again and again. In a dance of glory across her belly.

By the time I reached bottom all I could do was bow to the ground in a cascade of tears. To taste but a drop of her divine nectar is spontaneously humbling. To receive a kiss of her sacred elixir touches grace. The power of Pachamama is undeniable and yet this power source below our feet is often absent from our awareness. Through centuries of conditioning we have come to believe we have dominion over Earth. We walk across her belly with a sense of ownership rather than servitude.

Perhaps the most blatant power play of this in our world rages between the corporate oil infrastructure and her resources. This hold on power is nearly unshakeable. Why on Earth would an oil company willingly give up this position of power? So much invested. So much at stake. So much has been gained. And so much to lose.

It may be easy to point fingers at the imbalance of power in the world around us but can we see the interplay of these forces within ourself? Where have we lost our power? Where do we give it away? What beleifs about power have created the infrastructure of our life? Where has our idea of power brought harm or suffering to another? When have we abused our power? When have we been abused? What do we gain through our power? And what have we got to lose?

The power play in the world around us takes center stage in our own heart. There are no easy answers to what is power but this much I know. Whatever we once thought is no longer true. Answers may not come easy but the questions are necessary to build new bridges to power within our own hearts. For a bridge to the power of our own heart creates bridges to true power in the world around us.

A balance of power is a dance on the Earth rather than dominion over her. A balance of power is a union of our heartbeat with that of the Earth. It is a balance of maintaining relationship with the world around us without losing the sovereignty of our own heart.

courtesy of Feathered Pipe

courtesy of Feathered Pipe

An empowered heart does not rely on the heart of another to meet its needs for love, security or approval but rather integrates the heart of another to uplift and empower. An empowered heart knows its force magnifies in union with other hearts in a force greater than alone. True power sources from a heart that is generous, a heart that cooperates, a heart that at its very essence longs to share.

It takes practice to fortify our heart in this way. To avoid falling prey to the old belief structures deeply embedded in our systems. It takes courage to build a new infrastructure from the true power of our heart. How do we drop our protective armor and expose our most tender heart when everything we have been conditioned to informs us to protect, defend, attack and justify in the face of threat?

This is the vision of Melissa McNair, co-director of the Feathered Pipe Foundation. This is the work of the open hearted warrior. There are ways to access this power. There are tools to keep our tender heart open. To dance in a new way with power that serves rather than suppresses. That uplifts rather than diminishes.

This is the conversation to empower your heart.

This is a call to your most tender heart.

This is the work I invite you to join.

This June at Feathered Pipe.

AHO my friends! AHO!

Karen Chrappa
Author of A Structure for Spirit

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A few weeks ago I received a message. Melissa McNair, Co-Executive Director for the Feathered Pipe Foundation had called. She wondered if I would be interested in being part of a week long retreat led by Christian de la Huerta and Joe Weston on living from an open heart at Feathered Pipe. Feathered Pipe is a well respected retreat center located in a pristine mountain setting in Montana. She wanted me to weave ceremony, hold space and offer healing bodywork sessions during the Empowerment Camp.

I have been holding an intention of bringing my work into the world more deeply. An intention creates a reorganization of our energetic alignment with the infinite matrix of the Universe. We are setting in motion our desires. I like to call this a “conversation with Spirit”. In response, an arrangement of circumstances and opportunities begin to line up as part of that conversation. We engage that conversation with gratitude, prayer, action and ceremony.

The magic is that what shows up when I surrender my intent to Spirit is way more than what I could have achieved through will and manipulation, another method of creating what we want. If I decide I want to bring my work to the world I could contact retreat centers, send out resumes or whatever one does if they are looking to be on a teaching circuit. It is possible that something would have come up that way, albeit with a whole lot of effort.

However a process of creating through a conversation with Spirit allows things to come to us. That is not to say that effort or action is not required. We must act on the opportunities that come our way. But opportunities that arise from Spirit have a flow and synchronicity. Spirit opens a doorway. It is up to us to walk through. Spirit never demands a decision. We are always given a choice.

Another indication that an intention is manifesting through Spirit is AWE. I had never met Melissa and our first conversation lasted an hour. Independent rhythms of heart cells will begin to beat in unison when placed near each other. This is what our conversation felt like, two hearts beating in unison. People that show up in your life begin to resonate with your heart. Your conversations are deep and meaningful pretty much from the start because of this vibrational sync. I hung up the phone in the most amazing space of gratitude and AWE at the gift that Spirit had bestowed upon me.

And I love the intention of this retreat. Many retreats are prolonged workshops chock full of information. Those are wonderful and enriching for many reasons. But what the heart longs for, what the heart truly needs to be heard is SPACE. So the mornings of the retreat are structured with life tools to engage and empower our hearts through meditation, theory, practice and interactive exercises. Yoga followed by a facilitated breathwork session will take place in the late afternoon. And beyond that there is…space. Our hurried lifestyles and heavy responsibilities often leave no time to give space to our heart. To wander aimlessly, to rest if needed, to be in communion with Nature, to be alone or with others as our heart feels called. Slowing down is essential to listen to the needs of our heart. And that is what this retreat offers. This is what sings to my Soul.

We are at a unique place in our human history—a time when, in the midst of dramatic global upheaval and change, many are being compelled from within and urged by the “news on the street” to define what they hold true, standing without retreat. These times require nothing less than a spiritual revolution: a shift in relationship to power and an unwavering commitment to maintaining an open heart regardless of the  circumstances.  Now, more than ever, we need to acquire the skill to look within and listen attentively for guidance, fortifying ourselves to face the challenges we presently face within our own lives, society and world.  (Feathered Pipe Foundation)

When Spirit aligns with our intentions a path opens. Connections are made that feel right. Something lands in our body that says YES. We start the conversation, bring love to what we do and leave the rest to Spirit. This is how intention works in real life.

AHO my friends! AHO!
Find out more about Waking the Open-Hearted Warrior.

Karen Chrappa
Author of A Structure for Spirit

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