Thursday, December 31, 2009

Kiss the Old Year Goodbye

Tonight’s lunar eclipse is an opportunity to release what stands in the way of our Wisdom. Saturn (ruler of Capricorn) likes to show us that everything we think we know is false. What deep-seated false-knowledge are you carrying around? What fear is so large it eclipses your view of wonder? What shame so insidious is obstructs pleasure? What guilt so ingrained it blinds you to your own glory?

Are you ready to shed your false perceptions, projections, reflections, rejections?


And in your nakedness, step forward into the milky-blue light of the full of the Moon so she might shine into you her magic, compassion and unconditional love! There, take your rightful place among the Awakened, the Seeking, the Blessed, the Christed, the Wise, the Hallowed, the Divine.

Tonight, let Wisdom eclipse what we think we are certain of. Tonight, let that which is no longer needed slip away with the tired old year. Tonight, let us enter once more into Innocence and Wonder . . . like the infant Sun/Year. Tonight, let us receive the kiss we long for with our whole lives—that of the Beloved/Divine. Tonight. Tonight. Tonight. Let it begin again.

Monday, December 7, 2009


What do you want? 

This seems like such a simple question until we begin to take it seriously.

We are faced with overwhelming numbers of occassions each day when we are confronted with choosing what we want.  What do you want for lunch?  Which route will you take home from work?  Which toothpaste?  Which television show? Which clothing to wear?  Many of us have a hard enough time making decisions about these superficial choices.  When confronted with the question, "What do you want" in reference to larger desire, we a stunned into silence.  Like deer in the headlights we hope if we just stay still enough the questioner will stop seeing us and move along.

What do you want?

This is a dangerous question.

If we begin answering it, we might well be confronted with the truth that we are spending time, money and Life Force on things we don't really want out of a sense of duty, obligation, guilt, reciprocity or fear.  If we begin looking at our lives through the lens of desire, we may find we are disappointed.  Our natural response is to throw up our hands and say, "Desire!  Peh!  Desire is for teenagers, artists, madmen and other irresponsible people.  I cannot afford to think about such frivolous things as desire!"

I cuaght you didn't I?

Hold on a minute there.  Take another look at the lives of those who take Desire seriously--who "follow their bliss" if you will.  Sojourner Truth,  Picasso, Thomas Edison, Barak Obama, Gloria Steinam, Oprah Winfrey.  These are powers of examples, these folk who could not afford to turn away from Desire.  For in claiming their Desire, they named the Gift they alone were fit to deliver to human race.

If you cannot afford to contemplate your Desire, ask yourself this:  Can the world afford for any of us, at the late date in the game, to refuse to bring forth the Gift of our Soul?

What are your deepest Desires

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Resistance and Risk

As we step into healing which is another word for transformation of that which is in a state of dis-ease within us, we don't have to take too many steps before we come face to face with our own resistance.  Healing, transformation, change, personal growth, magic--these all require of us a commitment to risking what we have considered "safe" and leaping into the unknown.

Stop for a moment.  Take a long, slow breath.  Come fully into the body.  Open in the places you hold tension.  Relax by following the slow breath in and out of the body.  When you are feeling centered and as though you can hear what your body is trying to tell you, say out loud, "I'm going to leap into the unknown."

What just happened within the Body and Wild self?  The Wild inside us doesn't really know that we aren't physically standing on the edge of a precipice.  The Wild and Body are intricately connected and when threatened, move immediately into a stance of defense/protection.  The breath catches in the throat, adrenal glands activate and flood the bloodstream with fight-or-flight chemicals, the heart skips a beat.  If we are already living in a state of heightened anxiety (which has become normalized in our culture), we may even notice our hands or feet going a little numb as our small blood vessels constrict in response to the adrenaline wash.  Our mouths go dry, our ears strain and our pupils dilate in response to perceived danger.

It's no wonder we are so resistant to change!  Even change our Genius understands as  positive and healthy for us can cause this Wild-Body reaction, effectively terrifying us into resisting actually doing anything which will bring about personal transformation.

This week, we're going to explore some ways to settle down the Wild-Body so we can move past resistance and risk change.  If we want anything at all to move forward, we have to move past fear.  Making the commitment to ourselves to step over the ledge of the known into the unknown takes huge courage!  Whether the known we are stepping away from is a job, lifestyle, relationship, way of thinking, addiction or a method of protecting ourselves, we need to be able to confront fear.  Whether the unknown we long for is a healthier body, a deeper relationship to Self or love for another, we must be able to step past resistance and risk everything we have known in service to our new vision.

It's Thanksgiving week in the States--a traditional time to focus on gratitude.  It's also a time when we are gathering with family, friends and community.  These gatherings, in my experience, provide ample opportunity for us to move past resistance and risk changing the ways we behave and the roles we have habitually played in our families and other relationships.  Are you ready?

Right now, your Wild-Body is most likely awash in a fear-chemicals.  Take some long slow breaths and as you exhale, release as much of that tension as you can.  Take as long as you need.  Drinking extra water will also help wash the adrenaline through your system quicker (as will reducing caffeine, sugar, nicotine and other stimulants).

Daily Commitments

12-4-09. Today and over the course of the weekend. Continue to observe and notice the new patterns you are setting in place. How is this work affecting you? How is it impacting those around you? How has it influenced your decisions and actions? Continue to breathe through fear so you can expand to contain the new patterns you are building.
Have a magical weekend.
12-3-09. Today, give yourself the space and time to integrate what is happening within you as a result of the word of the past 10 days or so. Notice how the changes you have set in motion as affecting both your internal and external life. Try not to be judgmental or fearful. Simply observe. Journal about it if you like.
12-2-09. For today's Daily Commitment you'll need to set aside about 20 minutes. You'll also need a glass containing about 4 ounces of water.
Settle your body and breathe. Let your breath be intentional, slow and deep. Allow it to carry away from you, on your exhalation, any tension, stress or anxiety you are carrying. Just let that go. You may want to make a sound on your exhalation.
And as you continue to breathe long, deep breaths, imagine that each inhalation carries into your body a sense of calm, centeredness and stability. Breathe that in. With your mind's eye/imagination, see that each breath makes you more calm and steady.
Next, take your glass of water and hold it in front of your belly. While doing so, call up for review the behavior you are going to change. In the part of you that thinks and solves problems, the Genius Self, name the behavior and commit to changing it.
Continuing with slow, steady breaths, now engage the Wild Self. Allow yourself to feel the emotions, anxiety and distress which occurs when you are acting in that pattern as well as those feelings which result from engaging in the behavior. Let the emotion rise in you. Let your body respond as well. Feel the places in your body which become tense, shrink in, get smaller or enraged and engorged. Let these sensations wash through you.
Now, imagine that you can gather up all of the tension, stress and discomfort and push it into the water. You can use your breath and/or you can imagine the energy moving down your arms and out through your hands and into the cup. The point here is to really engage the Wild One and your capacity to "pretend." Let all the tension anxiety and stress go. Put it all in the cup using any image that feels appropriate to you.
Take your time.
Next, take a few long, slow cleansing breaths. Come back to the present. Come back to now. You are no longer carrying the problem. It is in the cup. Imagine the water in the cup is infused with the toxic sludge of your no-longer needed habit. Now, we are going to transform that into something shining, glorious, transformative and healing.
Continuing to hold your cup, raise it your your forehead, to the place sometimes referred to as the Third Eye. With your intention, begin breathing in Life Force. Fill yourself with Life Force. As you do so, make a decision in your Genius Self to change the pattern, to change your future, to transform your life, to transform what is in the cup to something healthy which will set new patterns in you and which will cause beautiful rippling effects in your life and the lives of everyone you touch!
Really feel that. Feel the excitement of it! Imagine in as much detail as possible, your transformed self. Imagine how you will respond appropriately in situations that once made you uncomfortable, angry, or small. Feel how your posture changes. Imagine not only with your mind's eye, but with your whole body. Remember to breathe Life Force while you do this!
Next, gather up all the positive energy you have generated in your Wild-Body self. Call upon the part of you which is Divine to transform this old pattern. Call upon Spirit by whatever name(s) you prefer to help you with this transformation. Put all the energy into the cup. The energy of the Wild-Body and your imagination, the blessing of your own Divine Nature, the love and power of the Spirit(s) you are accustomed to working with.
Feel, if you can, helpful spirits of every kind rushing in to help with this act of Will and Surrender! Hear if you can the wings of angels as the come to participate in your elevation!
Now, the contents of the cup--once toxic and poisonous--are illuminated, glistening and shimmering with Life Force, with the power to heal you from the tiniest of your cells to the workings of your gorgeous mind! Drink the water. Drink it all down.
Know that this Elixer is changing you from your cellular level up. Continue to behave in the new ways you began to several days ago. This prayer with water will speed along the process of deep and abiding change.
Note: Praying with Water is from the Kahuna Tradition of Hawaii. If you feel too energeized after doing this, use the energy to get a task accomplished in your life. Wash the dishes, fold laundry, take the dog for a walk, go for a run. Don't leave the excess energy untended (you may be tempted as it can feel good) or it will quickly turn and may cause problems.

12-1-09. Happy December. I hope you are doing what's necessary to prepare to stay grounded and centered for the upcoming Holy-Daze.
Thanks for your understanding that I needed a few Holy-Days myself and am just getting back to last week's Daily Commitments this week. Hopefully you've been carrying on with the commitment to "pretend" at new behavior during these past days.
We have well-worn neurological pathways in the Body Self which cause us to fall back on old behaviors, even if they are ineffective or have been proven to cause strife in our lives. 'Pretending' is a sneaky way to trick the Body/Wild Self into building new pathways.
Today, go back and review your notes from last week. Sit quietly, watching the breath come in and out of the body while you think about what you are letting go. If grief, fear, shame or guilt come up, that's okay. Just breathe through them and let them go like a leaf being carried along by a gentle river.
As you breathe, reaffirm your resolve to change your pattern. Tomorrow, we will do the
crux of the work to make it so.

11-26-09. Happy Thanksgiving, US readers! Today, let's not do anything too taxing. Rather, as you move through your holiday festivities, see if you can mimic--even a little bit--with your words, gerstures, body language and eye contact, some of the details of new behavior you wrote about yesterday. Don't overdo. Don't make yourself uncomfortable., Play with this. Have fun with it! Engage the Wild within and enjoy.

11-25-09. You'll need up to fifteen minutes for this one, depending upon your ability to readily find your point of relaxation and centeredness. Have your journal and a pen.
Breathe deep and slow. Release your habituated tensions. Open yourself to insight. Feel your body and the breath coming in and out. When you are ready, open your journal.
Write or simply jot down notes regarding your desired change. Yesterday, we focused on the behavior or pattern and how it shows up on the body and in our actions. Today, focus your attention on how you would like to be instead.
We've all heard the old addage, "The universe abhors a vacuum." This may have been scientifically disproven, but holds true on a metaphysical level. One of the reasons it is so difficult to change negative behaviors is that we forget to replace them with positive ones!
As you write about how you would like to be, feel and behave differently, try to get as much detail as possible. It doesn't really matter that you don't yet know for certain how you will be. Engage your imagination! As you engage that playful, hopeful, innocent and Wild part of you, try to get a sense of how your body will feel. How will your posture change? Your tone of voice? The way you communicate? The way you feel about yourself inside? Flesh it out as much as possible.
Breathe into this image of your future self. Let the image expand and fill with the life force which enters you with each breath. Come back to your body. Find your center. Take a few more long, deep breaths and close the journal for today. This is enough. This is good work. Nice job!

11-24-09. For this week, choose one thing you would like to change within yourself. Key is that this needs to feel reasonably do-able for you this week and that it does not involve attempting to change anyone else. What small habit, behavior, way of reacting, act of procrastination would you like to transform? We begin small and practice for a while. Then, when we feel secure, we can move on to larger issues. For now, choose something you feel you can claim success with in a few days.
For today, set aside about ten minutes. Sit quietly and breathe. Quiet the mind and
emotions, relax and open the body. Then, with your journal open and your pen poised, write down the thing you want to change. Say it out loud. Now, notice what your body does. Take notes. Breathe on through.
Next, allow the issue you intend to work on to show itself to you through the Wild-Body Self. What I mean is for you to get an emotional and physical sense of this thing you want to change. What are you feeling when you are in the midst of the behavior? What is the Body experiencing in the midst of the habit? What happens to your tone of voice? What muscles tighten? How do you hold your gaze or meet the eyes of another when you are enmeshed in this issue? What happens to your posture? Do you stand tall and go on the offensive or do you become small and defenseless? What is the tone of the internal dialogue during the moment when you are engaged? What about when you look back on behaving in this manner? Are you proud? Ashamed? Guilty? Afraid? Envious? Enraged?
We are only gathering information here. We are simply taking notation on our observations of Self. Be as thorough as you can so when we are ready to move through our resistance and take that courageous leap of faith, we will be armed with the facts gathered today by our Genius self.
Set aside your findings. Breathe deeply until you feel cleansed. If you cannot acheive this through breath, try drinking water, taking a walk or getting a mundane task completed.
Well done!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Love, Honor and Respect

We give a lot of lip service to putting ourselves first. Although we are aware we need to know and respect ourselves before we can really be present in relationship to others or fully commit to any course of action, we still put ourselves last in order to conform to social niceties.  How is it that putting ourselves last still gains approval in some circles?  How is it that selflessness is so often equated with kindness and generosity?  How is it possible that dishonesty in the name of "being nice" still prevails?

Traditional wedding vows included a promise to "love, honor and obey"  but have, in many cases evolved to say, "respect" rather than "obey."   Hopefully, these are vows marriage partners think deeply about before stating them at the altar. 

What are the vows we make to ourselves?  Can we vow to love, honor and respect ourselves?  If so, what might those vows require of us--not in theory, but in real practice?  How might these vows impact our daily decisions, our relationships our other commitments?

One of my daily prayers includes the promise, "In my wholeness, I would love, honor and respect myself." 

"Wholeness," means that my Genius, Wild and Divine aspects are aligned and in agreement with one another. 

Can we love ourselves even in our apathy, insecurity, greed?  Can we honor our need for good food and rest?  Can we respect our decisions, which mean following through on them?  How do we foster this kind of self-awareness, honesty and integrity within ourselves?  Just as importantly, how can we generate and abide by such high ideals in our relationships with others until we embody them in our selves?

This week's Daily Commitments:
11-20-09. Today, and over the weekend, let's bring it all together. Aligning with Love, Honor and Respect within our Genius-Wild-Divine Wholeness.

Take some long, slow, cleansing breaths. Imagine the air coming into your body is opening you up. Feel your chest open. Feel your pelvic floor relax. And as you exhale, imagine the air leaving the body carries with it the tension in your jaw, neck, shoulders, fists, calves, spine. Take as long as you need. If your thoughts drift, gently bring yourself back. Allow for opening and relaxation.
Now, breathe into the belly, the center of the body. This is where your Wildness lives. Breathe into the Wild in you as you allow yourself to be bathed in Love. Feel Love welling up in your heart and overflowing into your belly. Feel Love pouring into you from the top and center of your head, which is called the crown. Feel each breath bring love into your body. Open to it. It cannot hurt you! It's love. It is unconditional and non-threatening.
Next, breath in Honor. Feel honor arise in you. It begins in the area of your throat and shoulders. Feel your posture change. Recall the honorable life you live. Remember the honorable acts you have committed. Let honor flood all the cells of your being. And breathe that into the Wild at the center of the body.
Your Wild Self may very well feel excited at this point. That's good! Just note the pleasure and move on to respect.
Feel Respect for yourself. Respect starts in the lower belly and pelvis. Feel it bubbling up into the belly and being caught by the Wild in you. Good. Recall the things you most respect about yourself. Remember that you are Loved and Honorable and deserve respect. Fill your Wild Self with Self Respect.
You are engaging your Genius, who is directing all this thinking. You are engaging your Wildness who is directing all this imagining and sensation and gathering all the Love, Honor and Respect you are sending her/him. Now, let us engage the Divine.
Continuing to breath--expanding beyond the edges of your skin, like a ballon. With each breath, fill the balloon with Love, Honor and Respect for your Self. If you are really excited, that's good. If you are weeping, that's good. Let whatever arises, arise withour judgement.
When you feel as though the balloon is filled with these emotions, and the life force which is a part of the air you are breathing, take four more breaths, and release the excess air in the balloon upwards, to just above your head, with the last exhalation.
Sit quietly for a few moments and notice any sensations you might feel. All your parts--Body, Genius, Wild and Divine--are aligned now with the powers of Love, Honor and Respect. Thus aligned and embodied, move through your day as usual, noting anything different about your actions, responses and relationships.
Have a gorgeous weekend.

11-19-09. Now, we come to respect for ourselves. Today, as you go from task to task, as you walk through your home, as you look in the mirror, ask yourself if you are respectful of yourself, your situation, your body-mind-soul.
True Self-respect is not and cannot be ego-driven or derived from the opinions of others. True Self-respect arises when we are certain we are making good decisions and engaging in right action.
As we progress through the day, there will be incidences where you realize you are behaving in ways that are disrespectful to the Body, the Genius, Wild or Divine aspects of yourself. Perhaps you promised yourself you'd exercise today or make that phone call and didn't. Perhaps you had fully intended to meditate or write in your journal but didn't prioritize your time.
What happens inside of us when we make ourselves promises and don't keep them? What happens when we repeatedly do that, as most of us have? What happens is the same thing that happens in our relationships with others who make promises and fail to keep them. We loose respect for them. We stop giving them our trust. When we fail to make good on our Self-promises, the same thing happens. And out negative self-talk drowns out any chance for self redemption.
Today, commit to keeping your promise to yourself about just one thing. Follow through. Start earning your self-respect back.

11-18-09. Invoke honor upon yourself. What does it mean to honor oneself? To be honorable? It's a good idea to get a sense of what you think and feel about the word "honor." You might look it up in a dictionary or write in your journal about it until you get a conceptual and emotional sense of the word.
Once you have defined "honor." set aside five to ten minutes to do this exercise.
Take a long, slow breath to deepen and center yourself. Relax the places in your body where you habitually hold tension--the jaw, forehead, neck, pelvic floor. And, using your breath, allow your fingers, chest and heart to soften and open. Each in-breath opens. Each exhalation deepens. Good.
Next, say out loud, "I honor myself." Feel that resonate within you. Your breath should be natural and relaxed as you name what you honor in yourself.
Honor your honesty and integrity, your passion and will. Honor your kindness and generosity. Honor your skills--list them. Honor your Genius self who is thoughtful, rational, logical and precise. Honor your Wild self who is intuitive, instinctual, emotional and signals us when we are in trouble or in love. Honor your Divine self who loves the whole self without condition. Let your Honor for self wash over you in waves.
Right now, you are honorable. If there are things you know you could be doing which would bring you more fully into a relationship of honor with yourself, what are they? Can you commit to pursuing those goals.
May you live honorably. May you behave honorably to yourself and others. May your actions be honorable.

11-17-09. Take a long, slow breath to deepen and center your attention. Let your jaw, shoulders and pelvic muscles relax. Allow your belly, chest and heart to open. Imagine your exhalation is ridding you of the armoring around your tender heart. Imagine your in-breath gently opening the heart while simultaneously carrying into you the courage to do this. You are being en-couraged and heartened.
If you can, allow yourself to feel love for/toward yourself. If you cannot really access that emotional state, that's okay. Pretend or imagine that you can. Make believe you are able, right now, to love yourself. If you feel silly or sad, or if reasons arise in your mind concerning why you are unlovable, just let them go. Release them with your out-breath. Be gentle.
Here, we are bathing in self love. Feel it wash over you and also through you. Feel (imagine or pretend) that everything which makes you you is being bathed in love. Imagine this in the way that makes sense to you, seeing your Genius Self--your mind being bathed in love. See your body, all its cells and organs being bathed in love. Your Wild Self with your memories, intuition, instinct and playful nature is loved. The Divine Self with your perfected wisdom is bathed in love.
Love all your parts. The beatiful truth is that we don't have to do, change or heal anything before loving ourselves. We can bathe in love right now. We do not have to earn it or prove we are worthy. We do not have to wait until we are further down our paths.
Allow love to wash over and through you. Immerse in it. Revel in it.
Breathe this feeling deep into you so you can carry it with you and access it always.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


What is it you want most?
No, not materials things. What is it you want most right now? Perhaps health, security, love or belonging? Maybe what you want is to use your time more wisely. Or, to create beauty, justice or peace. To raise your children up into beautiful adults or assure your parents don't suffer pain or degradation in their old age. Perhaps you are compelled to dance, make ritual, sing or build kayaks.What is it you want most? You can choose more than one thing. It's not selfish at all.
What actions are you taking toward getting what you want, becoming who you envision yourself to be, creating the world you want to live in? If you are taking concrete action toward attaining your desire, good for you! If you aren't, let me ask you the hard questions you know is coming: Why not? When are you going to begin?
We have long lists of reasons why we are not pursuing our Highest Will. We are too busy, too broke, too wounded, too overwhelmed. We are too: tired, broken, unsupported, uneducated, disconnected, depressed, anxious and addicted. Pursuing our Highest Will--our brightest, best, most sparkling and glorious vision of ourselves and our desires--is what we are here to do. We are here to radiate the fullness of our Soul Purpose.
We are not getting any closer to it by sitting on the couch watching television or spending weekends and money at the mall. We probably aren't going to find it at the bottom of your wine glass or prescription bottle. We won't find it in any of the things we use to fill ourselves up in the places that feel empty. Those places will only stop aching when we reach for what we really want and who we Really are.
Our Highest Will, our Soul Purpose, is something that gets us up off the couch before we are aware we've moved. Every single one of us has a whole basket full of reasons for being here, in this body, at this particular point in the evolution of the human race. There is something, and maybe many things that fire up your passion. What are they? These are the reasons we live! These are the reasons we keep trudging through the daily grind--so we can get to that things that matter.
When we begin to acknowledge those reasons and place them at the center of our lives, miracles, magic and synchronicity become commonplace And each step we take toward taking responsibility and working toward bringing our Highest Vision into being, is supported by all the whole of the Cosmos.

In fact, as we step into our Highest Will, our eyes light up, our step lightens up and even our skin starts to shine! Our dullness falls away as we awaken to our gifts. And we begin to commiserate with Angels.
Right now, They are asking if we are willing to choose Love over Fear. We have turned away from our Highest Will because we have been afraid. Afraid we'd go broke or crazy or be ostracized by our families and friends. We've been afraid we'd be laughed at, rejected or turned away. We've been afraid we aren't good enough, strong enough, perfect enough to bring forth what we know in our souls is a Perfect vision.

Now is the time to love that vision more than we fear it. For more devestating than our worst fears coming true is the refusal to nourish and bring into being our Highest Will. At the end of our days we will want to claim more than successfully avoiding embarassment or pain. At the end of our days, we want to look back with the knowledge that we really lived and that our lives made a difference.

Wanting to make a difference is a universal human desire. Whether the difference we make is in the life of one of many, the life of the rainforest or the fish in the sea . . . we ALL want to make a difference. This directive is encoded in our very blood alongside the Free Will to choose which difference and how it is made manifest.
Now, more than ever, we must to insist upon and persist in Love. Now we must begin to face our fears and choose love instead. Now, we are even being called to love our fears so we can release their death grip on our lives. We are being supported by all the creative and cosmic forces in the universe! What more can we possibly ask?

Now: What is it you want more than anything right now? Say it out loud! Tell the whole universe! And see if you don't feel your own wings starting to sprout right there under your shoulder blades. Get ready to soar with the angels.

Lets not stand at the ledge all alone looking down at the long, long fall. No! Let's stand together hand in hand, bright-eyed with daring and laughter. Let's count to three and leap into the Void. All of us, Fools for love.

And just when you think you are doomed to crash into the craggy cliffs below, your wings unfurl behind you and you find are lifted by the currents and are soaring! All around you, the sky is filled with other awakened Human Beings who woke up, took a leap of faith and sprouted wings! Behold! How beautiful we are!

Daily Commitments for the Week:
11-10-09. Today, see if you can answer the question, "What is it you really want, right now?"

The answer isn't a mystery. When you are hungry you are compelled to feed yourself. When you are tired, you must sleep. When you feel compassion, you must show that in one way or another. These are all natural and instinctual. So, too is the feeling that arises in the body, from the depths of our Wild Nature, in response to the question, "What is it you really want right now?

Set aside ten to thirty minutes today to write, meditate, talk or otherwise contemplate your answers. The one that excites you . . . that's The One.

11-11-09. Today, tell one person what it is you really want. Who is the person who will be excited for your excitement? Who will unconditionally listen and support the desire arising in you? If you can think of no one, feel free to post your answer in the comments section of this blog.
11-12-09. Today, set aside ten minutes to brainstorm. You've identified your desire. What steps can you takes to move toward that? Let your thoughts go crazy! No censoring or saying mean things to yourself for your ideas. Spend ten minutes just writing down or recording yourself brainstorming.

When you're finished, take a moment to feel the excitement you generated in yourself! Feels better than boredom, cynicism or fear doesn't it? Great!

Now take some long, full, deep breaths. Imagine that with each breath, this excitement is absorbed by your cells--nervous system, bones, blood, organs, skin--into all the places where extra life force can best be used to bring oyu health and vitality.

Set aside your notes from your brainstorming session. We'll come back to them tomorrow.
11-13-09. Today, set aside 10-15 minutes to review your notes from your Brainstorming session. What which of your ideas might be feasible ways to bring you closer to whta it is you want?

Out of that list, which can you commit to today? Make that commitment to yourself and to your Highest Will. Breathe into it. Give it Life with your breath.

Then, tell one person what you plan to do.

Take a step away from apathy and toward your True Purpose which is to be joyous.

11-14-09. This weekend give yourself some time to daydream about your desire. This is a more passive form of brainstorming. Let your mind chatter quiet by breathing in silence and stillness. Then, introduce your desire to your thoughts. Se where thoughts flow. You may want to have a journal on hand. You will want to jot down any notes.

If you find yourself confronted with habitual skepticisim or cycnicism--the thoughts that say, "Why are you wasting your time on this," or" You'll never be able to do that"--simply breathe through. Remind yourself that it is only Fear chittering in your ear. The Truth is that you are Genius-Wild-Divine and your Highest Will is undeniable. Breathe into Love for your Highest Will and Feear will dissipate.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Negative Space

Here we are, trying to create more authentic, spiritually rich and peaceful lives.  We are doing the best we can.  Some days are easier than others.  Some days it is really difficult to maintain a positive outlook or a serene inner landscape.  And it's really no suprise:  We are confronted with hundreds of anxiety producing messages and images over the course of a day from sources such as the news, television, radio and internet.  We all know (or perhaps are) people who are habitually cynical, anxious, negative, depressive, angry, worried, paranoid and destructive.  We might even tell ourselves, "It's just easier" to keep watching, engaging or initiating negativity than it is to disengage.  We might be so utterly habituated to our own Negative States we cannot imagine behaving any other way.  It might feel easier to continue to deny the truth than to take a step toward change.
But is it really easier?  Taking one step toward change is easy.  We only have to take one step at a time. We don't have to go the whole distance today.  What are the long term health effects of anxiety?  How does cynicism help deepen your relationships?  Is habitual anger or paranoia really easier to deal with than taking time to notice beauty or cultivate healthy relationships?

We are all easily distracted from our goals to do, feel and be better.  The state of being distracted is a Negative Space, as are the negative states I mention above.  If we are really going to get anywhere on our quest for wholeness, we are going to have to make some new choices about what kinds of input we agree to allow into our environment.

We can't change other people, but we can change how we respond to them and we can make certain changes to our environment in order to generate less Negative Space and therefore more opportunities to pursue the positive things and states we truly desire.

How much time do you spend in Negative Space?  Simply begin to note how often you actively, passively, silently or vocally spend time worrying, complaining, telling negative stories, gossiping, angry, repeating fear-inducing news or judging yourself or others?  How often do you engage in Negative Space by entertaining someone else's negativity?  How often do you seek out alternatives to the negavity on commercial television, radio or internet?  When we begin to recognize how much energy we are giving over to Negative Space, then we will have a place to begin clearing it so as to open the way for Positive Space.

11-6-09. This week we've observed ourselves and even taken some action to move away from Negative Spaces as they arise in our environment. But what about the negativity which arises, unbidden from within? What about the running commentary on our ineptitude, insecurity, fear, shame and guilt? That's not as easy to turn off as the television. It's not as simple as walking away form a conversation you don't want to participate in.

Or is it?

Today, tune in once in a while to the commentary in your mind. What kinds of things are you saying to yourself? Are you feeling accomplished or anxious after completing that task? Are you comparing yourself to others? If you heard someone talking to your best friend the way you talk to yourself in your own mind, what might you say to that person?

When you find yourself slipping into negative self-dialogue, stop. Take a breath. Really slow down. Come all the way in to your body by following your breath. In that stillness, say to yourself, "I am sorry. I didn't intend to be so hurtful."

You may want to talk to someone about this experience. It may feel overwhelming for you--this tenderness and forgiveness. You may want to write in your journal or comment in this one.

When you apologize to yourself for being so hard on yourself, a space opens up in you. Where there used to be self-derision, there is room for beauty. Plant a seed. Breathe into that.

Each time you find yourself slipping back into habitual negative self-talk, stop. Apologize. Breathe into that seed of self compassion. Watch. Something glorious will grow there. This I can promise.

11-5-09. Today, we are going to take all this observing one step further. Today, choose one or two Negative Spaces to disengage from socially. It might be a choise to take a long walk outdoors or read an uplifting book or engage with different co-workers on your lunch hour. It may mean gently turning a conversation toward the positive rather than getting hooked in to someone else's drama. It might mean confronting a gossip or complainer once and for all, saying something like, "I really think that person has a lot of positive qualities," or "I have a different way of seeing that than you do."

Where can you begin to make choices for positive change rather than slipping into habitually Negative Space?

If you get scared or if you feel overwhelmed and shakey after disengaging from a socially Negative Space you usually engage in, take some time to breath and release all the places in the body where you are holding the tension of that fear/overwhelm. For example--let your breath open your chest, fists, jaw and buttocks.

We are learning here. Change involves action. Wishful thinking alone will not change anything. But, thoughtful action directed toward creating more positive spaces . . . just this one subtle move creates ripples, waves and even tsunami's you might not have expected!

Be proud of how courageous you are!

11-4-09. Today, begin paying attention to the social traps you fall into that drop you into Negative Space. Perhaps someone is gossipping, complaining, whining or just generally negative. How does that affect you? Do you slip into their space--allowing them to affect your mood or emotional state? How much energy do you give over to them? How much time? Does an interaction with a negative person or people take you a minute to overcome or hours? How do you shake that energy off of you? Or, do you just hope it'll dissipate on its own?

Are you attracted to the intensity of Negative Space? That is, do you find yourself drawn to converations where people are generally expressing unhappiness and slipping right into that groove? Or does it repel you?

Today, simply notice. If you find yourself beginning to judge yourself, your emotions or motivations, simple take a few deep breaths. We are only observing. In observing the Self in all our parts, we gain the knowledge necessary to being working toward positive transformation.

11-3-09. Today, can you commit to spending one hour doing something positive which will increase your Life Force Energy? Some suggestions are: Read inspritational writing or poetry. Put on your headphones and really listen to music. Go for a walk in nature. Gaze outside at the just-past-full moon. Turn on some music and dance. Call a dear friend or sibling and catch up. Get down on the floor and play with your kids.

There are two catches to this Daily Commitment. First, the activity you choose must not already be on your To Do list for the day. Second, it must take the place of an acitivity you usually engage in which saps Life Force or carries you into Negative Space.

Some examples of activities you might want to replace: Watching television. Randomly surfing the internet. Drinking alcohol. Engaging in conversations which erect Negative Space (gossip, complaining, worrying).

Are you up for the challenge? One hour out of twenty-four where you spend the entire time allowing yourself to enjoy Positive Space and increase your Life Force.

Ready? Go!

11-2-09. Today begin noticing the time and energy you give over to Negative Space. We are not doing this so we can then be negative toward ourselves. We are taking inventory and naming how we make use of our most precious commodities: our own Life Force/energy and time.

Today, it is enough to simply take note. It's not necessary to try to do or change anything. You might only be able to follow through on this for an hour or two. That's okay. Do the best you can!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Wild Inside

In previous weeks we've discussed different parts of us that make the Whole of who we are.  We've named and given attention to the Body, the Genius and the Divine in us.  Sounds a lot like Body-Mind-Spirit doesn't it?  But there's one more part we cannot afford to leave out!  This part is responsible for memory, emotion, mood, intuition, dreams, premonition and instinct.  This part is even responsible for how well we communicate and whether or not we have great sex!

Let me introduce you to our Wild nature!  Yes.  There is a Wildness inside us.  It is not lost on me that I am writing about this only days after Maurice Sendak's book, "Where the Wild Things Are" was released as a movie.  I cannot wait to see it!  Personally, I think Max's Wild Things are his own Wildness.

There's Wildness inside us!  This Wild nature is like a very young child.  As such, it can be fragile, angry, stubborn, terrified and silly--all within a span of ten minutes.  The Wild enjoys color, sound, texture, rhythm, movement, scent, taste, lighting, song and ten thousands subtle stimuli.  Our Wild self associates certain tones of voice, peices of music and even the scent in a room with memory.  Have you ever smelled apple pie baking and been brought back to another time and place?  Or, heard a peice of music that transported you?  This is the Wild inside us.  S/he never forgets anything.

The Wild one makes associations between stimulus and circumstance.  So, that song you hear today on your iPod might invoke the memory of that perfect day when you were seventeen--making you really happy in the present moment.  The way a light slants through a room might bring on unexplained feelings of melancholy.  A tone of voice might cause you to relax while a gesture might pique your anger.  Wild Self makes connections between the stimulus you are experiencing now and circumstances in the past. S/he does this because it is her nature to do so and also because she is at the helm of the autonomic body systems including those which release chemicals like adrenaline, seratonin, dopamine and others.  These chemicals wash through our cells, effecting mood and emotion.   Is it any wonder we sometimes feel like we don't know what's come over us?

Our Wild Self makes connections.  She connects past to present.  He connects what is happening to us (outer stimulus) with what will happen within us (internal response).  The Wild one is also the connector between the Genius and Divine Selves, but that is a discussion for another time.  Our Wildness is our intuitive and instinctual nature.  Like an animal, s/he is alert to ten thousand levels of information in any given moment.  In reading the subtle levels of energy, light, tone, body language and more, she perceives the nuances in conversational exchange, filling in the details which give context and depth of meaning.

Our Wild nature has many other functions.  We'll discuss them over time.  For now, though, it's good to simply acknowledge this part of ourselves.  This Wildness in us, needs honor and love, just as our Body, Genius and Divine selves do. 

This week, we'll spend some time noticing when emotions and moods arise as well as how the Wild One might be responsible for triggering them.  We'll spend equal time noticing the negative and postive so we can begin to understand what keeps the Wild self contented.

10/30/09. The Wild in us is much like a young child. S/he has a lot of natural energy which can easily overwhelm us--showing up in the form of tantrums (as adults we just call this anger or even rage), nervous anxiety, worry, insomnia, overeating, avoidance patterns, hypochondria and even create dis-ease in the body.

The Wild in us needs to play. We need to engage in fun, stimulating activity for the simple pleasure of it! Can you commit to taking your Wild Self out on a date this weekend? A leisurely walk through nature when you really allow yourself to engage with the beauty of the natural world is always good for the Wild soul. Perhaps, you'd prefer a trip to the theater or the massage therapist?

If doing something fun for your Wild self will bring you into better balance and closer to peace, are you willing to do it? What can you commit to doing for yourself?

10/29/09. Today, can you commit to something a little more in depth? Paying attention, as you did yesterday, to the fluctuation of your moods and their possible causes, can you take this knowledge a step further?

When you become aware that your mood/emotional state has shifted and you can pinpoint what may have been the precursor, can you go back to that moment in your mind's eye?

As you review the moment, relax your body. Drop your attention into your breath. Breathing long and deep, with a relaxed body, simply review the moment. Don't engage with it emotionally. If your emotions start to engage, simply breathe through them. Remind the Wild inside you to relax. Like a child, help the Wild in you to settle down as you breathe. It may help to make a sound--a deep sigh or a more forceful sound on your outbreath--to push away the strong energy the Wild one wants to build up within you.

Do this once or twice today. Does it help? What else might help?

10/28/09. Today, see if you can pay closer attention to your mood. Does it stay steady all day or does is fluctuate? Is it upbeat, cranky, giddy? Can you discern an overall mood or are you so deeply focused on the task(s) at hand that you are shut off from your mood-state?

If your mood changes abruptly, see if you can pinpoint why. If the sudden change had to do with an event or interaction with someone, what about that circumstance pushed you out of (or into) balance?

The Wild inside is on the alert, ready to change chemistry at the slightest gesture. Becoming more alert to his/her motivations is a huge step toward bringing her/him under the loving embrace of the Genius and Divine in us.

10/27/09. Take a long, slow breath. Let your attention drop into the body. Relax all the places you habitually hold tension--your forehead and jaw, neck, shoulders and buttocks. Let you breath be natural and easy as you straighten your posture, open your chest and your pelvis. Excellent.

Take a few moments now (or later if you can't do it right now) to close your eyes and simply let your mind clear. Don't stress about clearing the slate of your mind. Just let your thoughts slow down while you focus on the black screen behind your eyelids.

Next, open your eyes and look around you. Notice one object in the room. What memories, feelings or thoughts arise as you gaze at them? You might find it helpful to jot these down.

Take a breath with your eyes closed. Let you exhalation carry the thoughts from the object away. Now, open your eyes and notice the lighting in the room. Where does it illuminate the space? Where do shadows fall? Is the light natural and coming in through a window or is it from overhead lighting or a lamp? How does the light in the room affect your level of comfort, you ability to see your work? How does it affect your mood? If you aren't sure, that's okay too. We are making a start at noticing such things.

If you'd like, you can do this exercise with your other senses. For example, notice scent and smell, color and texture, the sounds in your environment, etc.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hello God

There is a part of us which is Divine.  It's not like divinity or similar to divinity.  It is. We are.

Take a deep breath and come more fully into the body self.  Notice and adjust your posture as you take several long, full breaths.   Elongate your spine and open your chest. Release the habitual tension in your jaw, shoulders, buttocks and perineum.  Continue to breathe slowly and deeply in a relaxed manner as you read on.

It doesn't matter what religion you belong to or what tradition or path you follow. All traditions tell us we are a part of God. 

The Christ said, "The kingdom of heaven is within you."  If heaven is within us, then so too must God be. 

The Charge of the Goddess says, "If that which you seek you find not within yourself, you shall never find it without."

The first commandment of the Old Testament  references our Personal God when it states, "Thou shalt have no other God before me."

The Buddhists tell us to dissolve the (genius) self so we may experience Oneness.

It doesn't matter whether we call this part of ourselves God or guardian angel, spirit guide, totem animal, goddess, godsoul or another name.  We have been told that divinity lies outside of us.  But this is only half true.  The divine is everywhere and in all things and beings.  So, god is also, quite literally, inside of us.

Take a breath.

What might it mean if you are God?  Stop here and really allow yourself to imagine what that might look, feel and be like.  Breathe through any fears.  You are only imagining right now.

What might it mean that I am God as well?
What might it mean if your spouse or lover is God?  And your children, and your neighbors?  What might it mean if the homeless are god?  And those you don't agree with?  And those your country is at war with?
How might being God change the way you take care of yourself?
How might knowing others are also God impact the ways you interact with them?

The part of us that is God is the part we know as our soul.  It is connected to the other parts of us.  The Genius (who thinks and reasons, talks and solves problems) and the Wild (who intuits and remembers, imagines and experiences emotion as well as overseeing the autonomic systems of the body). We are Three-fold.  We are A Trinity.

All the spiritual, religious and magical traditions of the world teach about this Trinity.  It is through the personal god or the Divine within us that we are able to connect and communicate with the Divine outside of us.

With my hands clasped before me, I bow to you now and say "Namaste."  The God in me, greets and honors the God in you.
October 16, 2009. The God/dess within is our Highest Self. The God/dess within is the part of us that strives for beauty and truth, sweetness and justice, communion and love. The God/dess within is our most whole, healthy and authentic self. S/he is kindness, compassion, honor, integrity. She is laughter and love!

October 15, 2009. Think about the following question: What is the difference between saying/agreeing that "There is a little piece of God/dess is everyone," and saying/agreeing that, "If God/dess is inside me, then that means I am God/dess"? There are no right or wrong answers to the questions. It is simple a meditation.
October 14, 2009. Claiming our personal Divinity is both liberating and scary. As Divine beings we are answerable to ourselves. Accepting we are part god requires we accept a kind of freedom we may never have fully comprehended. With this freedom comes responsibilty.

Today, take some time to sit with the feelings of liberation and fear, freedom and resonsibility. Breathe through any negativity which arise in your thoughts (genius), emotions (wild) or your body. You might want to look up the words in the dictionary. Or, you might want to write about your reactions in a journal.

October 13, 2009. Take some time today to think about the post for the week. What are your reactions to the idea that we are each Divine? How does that ring true or false for you? Why?

Remember to breathe long and deep as you think and feel your way through the idea that the soul might actually be God.

You might want to journal about your thoughts and feelings. Or, you might want to re-read passages from your own spriritual or religious tradition while holding this new perception.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Cycles of Nature

Although we often forget or deny it, we are part of the natural world. All of nature moves in cycles and patterns. There are the great tides of the sea and the migration of birds, the mating patterns of the butterfly and the huge seasonal shifts as our planet orbits the sun. We too, live within the cyclical laws of nature. And, within us move cycles seen and unseen.

We are aware of the rhythm of our heart and the cycling of blood through the circulatory system. We have a circadian rhythm--our natural sleep-wake cycle. If we are female and of a certain age, we undergo a regular cycle of fertility called menstruation.  If we undertake to follow the cycle of breath, it can bring us into our center and ground our awareness in the body and the present moment. These are all physical patterns, but what of the more subtle patterns working through, within and upon us?

How does the light filtering through the window as the hours pass by affect our mood, our wakefulness, creativity or depression? How do sound vibrations entering the ear affect concentration, relaxation, agitation? How do the larger patterns of the season, climate, weather, and even the stars affect our cells? It is a lot to fathom at once!

 It is important to take time to notice these patterns and their effects upon us. Doing so can only help us better know ourselves. Knowing ourselves better can only help us take better care of ourselves. Taking better care of ourselves can only help us become more effective in the world.

Until we come to awareness, we don't even know what it is we don't know.  Once we are congnizant we have the power to choose and to transform.  How will we know if the waning light of autumn brings on sadness if we aren’t paying attention?   Once we know, we can take real action toward self care. Perhaps we don't need a prescription for antidepressants after all.  Perhaps that extra glass of wine isn't necessary to lift our spirits or help us relax.  Instead, we might try taking Vitamin D, sitting in front of full spectrum lighting, changing our diet and increasing our intake of beauty.

Oftentimes, my students and clients will complain about complacency, apathy or what they deem laziness when it comes to consistently doing the poistive things which make them feel better.  It is true that this resistance may have something to do with punishing ourselves or being afraid of the changes which might come if we consistently practice self-care. It is also true that this pattern of “slacking off” is part of a larger cycle.

In nature that which grows unchecked is considered a nuisance, plague or cancer. Why would we expect or want ourselves to enter states of unchecked growth?  If we don't take time to stop and review, we won't even know what is happening to us.  More often than not, the kind of transformation we are undergoing is quite subtle.  We cannot be the people we are longing to be—more authentic, creative, generous, evolved—until we allow ourselves to slow down and notice who we are right now.

Take a long slow breath. Find your center. Come fully into your body before you quickly read on. Take as long as you need to slow your breath and your mind so you can really take in what comes next.

Too often we sign on for one workshop, spiritual practice, exercise class, self care regime, or commitment after another in a mad rush to take better care of ourselves and develop our spiritual core. Inevitably we fool ourselves into believing that if we do more we’ll make greater, quicker strides forward on our quest. Unfortunately, this approach doesn’t work. Just as we know a quick stop at a fast food restaurant might fill our belly but leave us nutritionally depleted, so too can this all-at-once approach to our own personal transformation and spiritual development.

For a long time now, our culture has emphasized a puritanical work ethic and capitalist ideals which promises us more hard work will yield bigger and better results. Think about how these ideals permeates your professional, personal and spiritual life. Think about how these thought patterns have influenced our communities, economies, the environment and the government.

Faster is not necessarily sustainable. More is not necessarily desirable. Bigger is not necessarily better.

Our body/emotional selves know this. Take a breath into that body-wisdom.  Your breath will affirm and expand the idea, helping it take root and shape within you.

Begin to forgive yourself for pushing yourself so hard that the only thing left for the body/emotional self to do is quit exercising, eating right or meditating. When the body/emotional self wants to quit we are being given a clue about our internal cycles.

When we begin or deepen a new regime, we set a cycle in motion. We are, in a sense, giving birth to something new in us. When we are committed, we begin to see results pretty quickly. This excites us and we may find ourselves slipping into that capitalist ideology and push ourselves to do more, go faster, get bigger results. Meanwhile, a part of us is trying very hard just to catch up and adjust to the radical changes already in place.

The cycle thus far looks like this: Commit, Do, Get Results, Quit.

If we have been doing the work of personal transformation and spiritual development for a while, we might recognize this pattern well. We realize how hard it is to re-commit once we have quit. We become distrusting or even hostile toward ourselves for quitting. We call ourselves names like lazy, complacent, apathetic, underachieving or self-sabotaging.

I wonder if the trees in autumn are berating themselves for losing their leaves.

I wonder if when the Earth turns her face from the sun each evening, she screeches in anger toward herself, “Quitter!”

I wonder if the child lying down for a nap after a hard morning of entraining muscles, nerve-endings and brain cells belittles himself for not having accomplished enough.

We need periods of rest for integration. That means there will be times when we cannot take on another commitment, another practice, another asana. There are periods when we must stay the course with what we are already doing.  There are times when all we can do are the very fundamentals of our practices while our body/selves get accustomed to the great leaps and bounds of growth we have made.

All natural cycles include a period of rest.  There are forty pauses between breaths every minute.  There are pauses in music, between contractions at birth and even in the great turning of the seasonal wheel of the year. These periods are built in to ensure we have embodied the activity which came before and to strengthen us for the activity which comes next.

Slow and steady wins the race.

Daily Commitments for the Week:

October 5, 2009. Notice the cyclical pattern of your day in a deeper and more focused way than following your routine schedule. A good way to begin doing this is to check in with yourself four times: On awakening, at lunchtime, dinnertime and bedtime. At these times, stop and take a moment to breathe long and full. Notice your body and where it is, Then, continuing to take long, full breaths simply notice the following: Where is the sun and what is the quality of light? What is the quality and quantity and volume of sound in my environment right now? Am I hungry, angry, lonely, bored, tired, thirsty or agitated? Am I content, happy, engaged, alert, comfortable or calm?

You might want to jot down your responses to these questions. If you need to you can decide to take action to change something either in your internal or external envrionment. You may also choose to give thanks for what's right in that moment.

October 6, 2009. If you are already committed to self-care, personal transformation or spiritual development, think about what happens when you reach a plateau. Do you quit entirely and have to start over? Do you push yourself harder to get to the next level?

Ask yourself if its possible to discern what the basics of your practice entails. What are the fundamentals? When you reach the next plateau, rather than quitting or pushing past the gold which arises when we take time to rest, renew and review, can you give yourself a set amount of time to work the basics of your practice? Can you commit to refraining from self-derision and instead allow the spaciousness within which integration occurs to open within you?

October 7, 2009. Today, commit to setting aside thirty to sixty minutes to review the yearly cycles in your life. Breathe long, slow and deep. Center and align yourself in the way you know how. Draw a circle on a page and divide first into quarters--one for each season--and then into eighths so each season is comprised of two eighths. Beginning at the top of the wheel label the first section Early Spring, the next Late Spring and so on until you finish with Late Winter.

Next, place all the most important events of your life inside the section of the Year Wheel when it took place. Some examples are your birthday, anniversaries, gradutations, the birth of children, major accidents or illnesses, highpoints and disappointments. Note as well when you feel most motivated, flirtatious, creative, focused, exhausted, antisocial, etc. Get it all down inside the circle.

Here is a tool that will give you clues about the cyclical patterns of your life. Once we become aware what is happening to us, we can anticipate the pattern or choose to change it.

We are not powerless. With just a little knowledge and desire, we have the power to overcome our most deeply held patterns. We have everything we need to see with clear vison, heal with clear intent, and step forward with clear conscience.

October 8, 2009. Today's commitment will take about 10-15 minutes. Today, we'll draw another circle. This time don't draw the lines in until you are done completing the information. First, inventory all the things you do each day which you consider to be "work." For example, you paid job, the laundry, grocery shopping, etc. Next, inventory the things you do which you consider fun or important but not-work such as your spiritual practice, sex, making art, working out at the gym, getting a massage, watching television or dancing. Finally, list the things which you would call "rest." This category includes sleep, of course, but might also include listening to music, reading, watching television, hanging out, etc.

Some things I have listed in one category above, might go in another category on your list. That's okay.

When you are done, divide the circle in three. Is your circle balanced or off-balance? Someone wise told me there are three eight hour "servings" in each day. To be healthy, we need a full eight hour serving of each: Work, Play and Rest.

Just notice your circle and the sizes of the servings on your daily plate. Now that you have information, you have power.

October 9, 2009. Take another look at the circle from yesterday's commitment. Take long, slow, deep breaths, feel yourself inside your body and let your focus become deep and still. In looking at the cycle of your days and where things are out of balance, we don't necessarily want to start throwing things out. It may be more beneficial to begin moving toward balance by moving things around.

Can the commute to and from work which you list as "work" become "fun?" Perhaps making dinner could also move out of the list of chores and be approached as fun. Maybe you can move bedtime back an hour so you get rest rather than the entertainment or "fun" of television.

How can you reorganize and recategorize your daily round so it comes more closely into balance? A change of attitude before a change of plans and schedules will bring you immediate ease.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Begin Right Here

Are you ready for personal transformation? Is this the right time to develop your spiritual core? Can you make a commitment now to deal with that road-block you've been trying to avoid?   Is today the day you'll begin being honest with yourself? 

Is there ever a right time?  Now is as good a time as any.  And the sooner you begin, the sooner you will be on your way to living honestly and with integrity.  The sooner we begin, the sooner we can set down our fears.  The sooner we begin, the sooner we will know ourselves enough to heal.  And beyond healing lies the joy we so strongly intuit awaits us.

We begin where we are. We approach and do the work, trusting subtle and powerful energies within and around us to guide and guard our journey toward alignment.  Our Genius (thinking) selves long to make sense of it all by demanding answers to questions like who, where, what, when, why, how, how much, how often—and thereby prolong the time when we actually begin. We can get caught for years trying to answer this question only to come up with guesses and assumptions in the end.

The truth is that if we wait to know why, we may never begin (or restart, as the case may be) the journey in earnest. A Doctor doesn’t ask “why” is the bone broken or “why” is the artery ruptured. A doctor sets the bone, repairs the artery. When we step upon the path of self-awareness and healing we become the doctor for our own souls. No one else can heal our souls for us.  As much as we want the therapist, the priest, shaman or guru to do it for us, they cannot.  I myself am but a midwife.  I am trained to show the way, but cannot do the work of birthing you into being.  That labor is yours alone.

Set aside “why,” or keep it where you can explore it with your therapist.  Right now, let’s begin.

Right here, is a place that feels rather uncomfortable but at the same time familiar. Here, we are fraught with fear. Here we berate, degrade, punish, coddle, belittle, abuse, addict, negate, deny, subsume and silence our Selves.

Right here, we have to admit that we are perhaps meaner to ourselves than to anyone else.

 Right here we have to face the truth that we treat ourselves worse than we would allow anyone else to treat us.

Right here, we admit we wouldn't allow anyone to talk to our friends or family members the way we talk to ourselves inside our heads.

Right here, we recognize how desperately we need to forgive ourselves for being so mean to ourselves for being imperfect.

Right now we begin the work of forgiving ourselves for setting ourselves up to fail by erecting false gods of perfection. 

Right now might be the moment to admit we need help.  Or that we are leaving.  Or that we are depressed, anxious, distraught, lonely, alcoholic, addicted to prescription or street drugs. 

Right now we stand up and stare clear eyed into the face of our addiciton to food, television, money, stuff, relationships, sex, gambling, shopping, ego or power.

Right now, no matter how far along your path you are, it's time to get honest so you can begin. 

Take a breath.  Long.  Full.  Deep.  And let it out.  And see your resistance to the journey of self awareness and healing drop away from you with your breath.  See your fear gather in your belly like a stone.  See it  drop into the still water of that part of you which is already whole.  Give it over.  Surrender.

And take another breath.  The time is now.  There is no better time.  No more excuses.  No more denial.  No more lying to yourself that it's too scary. 

The life you are living right now is scary.  We live in a culture which requires we lie to ourselves and everyone else, saying things like, "I'm fine," and "I'm doing really well,"   and "Don't worry about me!" 

If we begin to tell the truth we might not ever stop.  And what a relief that would be.

Don't stop telling the truth.

Begin telling the truth.
It begins with a breath.

This post will be here all week.  The daily commitments will change.

Let's begin.

A Week of Daily Commitments:

October 4, 2009 Today, take a look back over the week. Did you commit to one small or massive change? Were you able to surrender? Did you ask for help? Stay the course? Begin the process of forgiveness? If so, allow yourself to feel pride for taking steps toward becoming more whole, more honest, more yourSelf. Breathe into that Pride so that it enlarges. Fill yourself with Pride with every breath.

If not, perhaps you chose something too big. Can you break it down to something more manageable? Can you find a place of grace and forgiveness toward yourself? Breathe into that. I'll tell you a secret: The wonderful thing about beginnings is there is always a new one. Just think, you can begin anew right now.

October 2, 2009. Just once today, when it'd be easy or habitual to gloss over or deny a truth, take a breath and tell it. The truth might be how you respond to the question, "How are you?" Or, it might be simply saying, "Thank you" when offered a compliment rather than minimizing your value.

October 1, 2009. Often, when we commit to a new endeavor, our interest or ability to follow through wanes after just a few days. Today, show yourself that you can trust yourself. Come back to the commitment you made at the start of this week. Feel the impulse for healing and wholeness in your body-mind-heart-spirit. Breathe into that impulse to give it life. Today, commit to yourself again

September 30, 2009. The universe will always leap to support you once you have committed to a path. Here, I am using the word universe instead of the word God, Goddess, Creative Force, Deity. It doesn’t matter what name you call it or how you envision the Something Bigger than you. We are not discussing religion here. In fact, bringing religion into the picture at this point could make you so mad you forget all about your commitment to yourself. What matters right now is our ability to call upon something larger and more powerful than ourselves so that we might align ourselves with it. That something might be the tree outside your window or the landscape all around you. It might be the night sky, the spirit of your grandmother, the god of your childhood or she who is the mother of all things.

There is also part of us which is larger than we know. One name for it is our Highest Self. Aligning that sacred part of ourselves with an energy or god we perceive as being much larger, will help us in our lives and in the commitment we are making this week to begin. Today, we can step forward by saying simply, “I am willing to align myself with my Highest Self. I trust my Highest Self knows how to align with even larger unseen forces who take an interest in my happiness.”

Breathe into the words. Allow yourself to feel the release of tension in your body as you speak them aloud or in silence. Say them again as often as you need.

September 29, 2009 If the truth of your situation is such that you cannot face it alone, make a commitment to reach out for help today. Call a friend, therapist, hotline or 12 step program. Make an appointment to see your doctor, lawyer or financial advisor. Set up a consultation with a personal trainer or a date with a close friend to discuss your options. We have been indoctrinated into thinking we have to go it alone. That’s a lie. Ask for the support you need. The Universe will always leap to support you once you have committed to a path.
September 28, 2009. Today, make a commitment to begin healing that which is in the way of your living your truth. It doesn't matter if you've been on your spiritual path a long time or if you don't even know what I mean when I use the word "path." What matters is that you begin healing sooner than later.

If you can, name the issue that stands in your way.

If you are afraid, simply notice the fear and forgive yourself. We are all often afraid.

Breathe through your fear: Inhale courage. Exhale fear. Inhale and give honor to yourself for naming the healing you need. Exhale shame for not being able to do it before now. Inhale pride at your ability to begin this journey. Exhale any guilt you feel about being "selfish" for desiring healing for yourself.

Know you are not alone.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Body Beloved

Move your attention to your breath. 

Now, breathe more fully, slowly and deeply.   Notice how just this small shift in focus toward the breath changes your body, your stress level, your perception of your surroundings. 

If such a simple shift in consciousness can change so much, imagine what a more sustained, in-depth focus might be capable of.  Don't just rush on to the next sentence here.  Continuing to breathe slowly and deeply, really allowing yourself to imagine what a more sustained, in-depth focus might be capable of.  Let your thoughts follow that river for a moment.   There are no right or wrong thoughts here. 

Coming back to your breath.  Did it get shallow or faster without your attention?  That's okay.  Bring your focus back to it.  Lengthen and deepen the breath.  Good.

Next, allow your focus to include both your breath and the position your body is in right now.  Notice how your seat is supporting your weight.  Where are your feet? Is your spinal column aligned and erect?   Is your chin pulled down toward your chest or thrust forward toward the screen?  Are your shoulders pulled up toward your ears or hunched around your chest?  Are the muscles at and around your perineum clenched tight?

Without causing yourself discomfort, take a moment to adjust your position so you are sitting up straighter with your head aligned at the top of your spinal column and your feet flat on the floor.  Let your shoulders drop and and your chest open.  Relax your jaw.  Unclench your buttocks and perineum.  Release the tension you have been unconsicously holding with several long breaths.  Each time you exhale, imagine the breath is taking away the tension in your body.

We have made a few very simple adjustments to the body and breath.  Notice how much has changed.  Aligning with our breath and posture help us relax and become more alert.

At best we are forgetful of our bodies.  At worst we abuse them physically and verbally. We are so accustomed to speaking negatively about and feeling negativity toward the body that we no longer pay attention to how mean our words are or how hurtful our attitudes.  If we think about the body at all, we think about what is wrong with it.  If we speak of the body, it is to complain about it.  Rarely do we notice, compliment or comment on its wonders. 

When was the last time you heard someone say, "My skin is amazing!"  How about,  "I have really strong bones," or "It's so cool that I am digesting food right now and I don't even have to think about it!" or "My stretchmarks are a beautiful reminder of my pregnancies."

Take a breath.  Think about your body.  Try not to focus on what needs strengthening, slimming, smoothing, plumping, thinning, plucking, coloring, grooming, shaping, sculpting, straightening, curling, waxing or otherwise cosmetically improving.  Try not to focus on what needs healing, cleansing, examining, testing, extracting, repairing, treating, medicating, labeling, diagnosing, numbing or otherwise medicalizing.

Are you still breathing?  Notice what happened to your breath just now as you read all those attacks on the body. When the body is threatened the heart rate increases, breath gets shallow and rapid, adrenal glands fire, muscles tense and blood vessels constrict. As a result, our thinking processes are affected. The body does not discern between physical, emotional or verbal threat.  Imagine what a constant barrage of judgement and complaint might be capable of if just reading that list caused you to unconsciously hold your breath. 
Consider your body without negative judgement if you can. Take some moments to honor this part of you that houses your Genius Self with little complaint.  Here is the skin that covers you from head to toe.  And here are the fine hairs that protect the skin and trap dust and germs trying to enter through the nostril.  Here are opposable thumbs and the fingernails which neither hurt or bleed when we cut them!  There, under the skin are hundreds of bones that keep us from pooling into a mess on the floor.  Surrounding the bones are muscles and ligaments which give us the strength to move our own weight and that of objects outside ourselves.  In the chest beats your heart without your conscious volition.  From it stretch arteries, veins and capillaries carrying blood, oxygen and nutrients to every part of your body--even the perfect curve of the ear.  Here, inside the ear, next to the beautiful spiralling cochlea is a tiny membrane which perceives sound which is carried it through the nervous system to the brain which interprets and decides how best to respond. 

Within our bodies there are literally hundreds of thousands of processes happening simultaneously at any given moment.  All of this happens without the Genius (conscious thought) having to direct it.  It is through the body that we experience the world.  Our eyes, ears, nose, nerve endings and taste buds are constantly gathering information, sensation, pleasure.  All of these systems are operating day and night, year after year, decade after decade.  What thanks does the body get for its efforts?

Give thanks to the body which is the Temple we are housed in.  It is the body that our spirit descends into in utero and the body which our spirit leaves upon death.  Imagine!  Such an elaborate and miraculous Temple constructed in honor of the magnificent spirit you are! 

When we recognize and treat the body-self as a Temple, we change our relationship to it.  By understanding the body as something sacred, we instinctively wish to keep it clean and well cared for. We intuitively want to stop poisoning, abusing it or neglecting it. Now, when we desire to change the temple, the impulse comes from care rather than disdain.  We are much more likely to make positive and lasting change based upon self care than we are to sustain any activity based upon fear, punishment or derision.
We receive so many negative messages about the body.  We cannot help but believe them after having heard them for a lifetime from everyone from parents to lovers to friend, foe, doctor, advertiser, therapist and minister.  Somewhere inside us, we knew better though.  The body knew.  The body has always known the truth.

The truth is that your body is not only a mangificent peice of machinery, it is also sacred and it is also you.  You are your body as surely as your brains and personality, your memories, emotion, hopes, dreams and spirit are housed inside of it.  May the Temple be blessed.

Take a long, slow breath.  Feel it enter the lungs and expand the diaphragm.  Give thanks to your body-self.  Really allow yourself to feel gratitude for your body.  As you breathe in, imagine your breath carrying your thanks into the lungs, the bloodstream, and throughout the body.  Imagine thanks and gratitude entering each cell, node, synapse and nerve ending.

Daily Commitments:  9-25-09. Make a commitment to catch yourself when you think, say or do something harmful toward your body. We aren't doing this to berate or punish ourselves for our thoughts so take care not to go that route. Rather, when you catch yourself just take a slow, deep breath and as you exhale release the impulse to pick on yourself. Continue to take long, extended breaths. As you do, adjust your posture and release the unconscious tension in your body. Finally, think of two compliments for your body. Really feel the truth of these two compliments. Breathe into them so their importance expands. Imagine that as you breathe, this positive message is being carried by your breath into all the cells of your body. If you really want a challenge, imagine your breath carrying the compliment directly to the parts of your body you are honoring. Take one more extended breath and say/think, "My body is the Temple and I am honored to live within it."


You may also/alternately want to make a commitment to do one nice thing for your body today. This shouldn't cost anything and should not involve food. Some suggestions are: lotion your feet while you thank them for carrying you around; soak in the tub and pay attention to your body stress melting away; go to bed early and give your mind a break; ask someone to give you a manicure; make love and give thanks for the pleasure.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Genius

There is a genius inside us.

Slow down for a moment.  Take a deep breath and exhale slowly.  Come into your body more fully.

Now, let's notice what our minds are busy with.  Notice that we are deciphering symbols which form a language which enables us to share information and ideas across time and space.  We might also be listening to music, thinking about dinner and noticing the temperature of the room. 

Over the course of one day your mind might use speech and written language, solve math equations, exchange money, maneuver heavy machinery, follow directions, read music, develop solutions, make complex decisions, reason deductively, sing songs from memory, follow through on plans made in the past, write a poem, prepare a meal, tie a knot, engage with laws of physics, make plans for the future, plot a garden, teach someone else something and interact socially with others of your species. This, of course is just the beginning of a very long list! 

It's no wonder we're tired at the end of the day.  Yet, even while we sleep, our minds are busy teasing out solutions to problems or literally dreaming up new and useful ideas.

For most of us, this continuous intake, sorting and output of information takes such little effort we aren't even aware we are thinking!  We are smarter than we believe.

When was the last time you recognized or gave yourself credit for your genius?  Sadly, we are accustomed to taking ourselves for granted.  We might habitually belittle ourselves with name calling or allow others to do the same.  We might believe stories we were told about ourselves in school or at home when we were children.  We may have never considered the magnitude of our own minds because no one told us we were geniuses!

Take another long breath while you consider your genius now.

No matter what may have happened in the past which led you to negate or undermine your Genius Self, know that the truth is you have a brilliant mind.

Daily Commitment:  9-24-09. Today, make a point to stop two or three times over the course of your day and take a long, slow breath. Notice all the ways your Genius Self is engaged. Honor this part of you who is working on solutions even while you sleep. Allow yourself to really feel wonder and honor as you contemplate the enormity of your own mind. Breathe into these feelings of wonder and honor so they expand. When you feel full, exhale with an "aaaaahhhhhh" sound and imagine all the universe smiling in acknowledgement of your brilliance.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Lengthening Shadows

Autumn is full upon us now.  We turn our backs on summer and orient ourselves toward the lengthening shadows of oncoming winter.  Here, we count the many blessings of our internal harvest.  There is much to give thanks for.  Take a moment now to notice those things and give thanks.  You can do this by feeling gratitude and expressing that either silently or out loud.  Really allow yourself to feel gratitude.  Breathe into it.  Notice how it expands with your breath.

And note as well what we are letting go of.  What is no longer sustainable?  Imagine it as an autumn leaf picked up by the wind and carried away from you.  Let it go.  Give thanks for this, too.  For the release as well as the space it leaves within you. 

These cycles are always at work within us.  Their outer manifestation as seasonal change helps remind us to go within and find what is reflected there. 

Something is always coming into being.  Something is always passing away.  Something always abides beneath the changes.  What is that something in you?

In identifying and naming the core which abides, we honor and strengthen it.  Align with the part of you which is already whole, healthy and smiling.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Welcome Joy

Soul Alignments is a blog space for Karina's musings on aligning our Soul's Purpose with the demands of real life.

A radical spiritual practitioner who has trained and initiated in a variety of esoteric and academic societies, I believe Joy is available to us all right now. We don't have to wait for an afterlife, enlightenment or achievement of perfection. We don't have to wait until we fall in love, finish our degree, lose fifteen pounds or quit smoking. We don't need to wait until the divorce is final, the kids are grown or for our next birthday to arrive. We don't even have to wait until the weekend gets here. Joy is right here, right now if you want it.

Take a breath and let those words sink in.

Joy is here, right now. What a relief!

Feels pretty good doesn't it?

Sound too simple to be true? Consider that we have been listening to messages our entire lives that tell us

*Work hard now so we can be happy later
*Postpone contentment until everything else is finished
*Put ourselves last
*Set aside passion in order to obtain and keep a "real" job
*Spiritual ecstasy is for priests, monks and saints
*It's selfish to want more
*A prescription will negate existential longing
*Happiness is over-rated

You get the picture. Far from being a Pollyanna, I write about how to live by radically holistic spiritual principles which not only bring about but celebrate in the present moment such experiences as joy, abundance, sex, beauty, passion, pride, love, peace, respect and honesty.

Look to the top of the right hand column on this page. Make the Daily Commitment to yourself. Do it. You'll not only feel better, you'll do better and be better.