Tag Archives: Earth

Day 28 ~ May Is For Metta 2015: Cultivating Peace On Earth

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My life blazed

with the desire

To serve as a thread

Joining Heaven and Earth

                                                                      ~ Haiku by Masahisa Goi

One of the things that may happen when we are cultivating loving-kindness and compassion is that we become more attuned with these energies and may be drawn into connection and community with like-minded others.  As each being becomes more of an embodiment of these positive qualities, they are not just bringing change to themselves but to those around them and the world itself.  Perhaps you have experienced this is in some way as you have been working with May Is For Metta or holding this intention it is a part of your ongoing personal practice.

One of the qualities we often work with in the Metta phrases is PEACE.  May I be peaceful.  May you be peaceful.  May all beings be peaceful.  In Metta, we see peace as an aspect of loving-kindness; when we feel held in love and compassion, most often we are at peace; and when we are at peace we become more able to connect with energy of loving-kindness.  These qualities go hand in hand.

Two years age during May Is For Metta, I participated in a Peace Pole Dedication Ceremony with one of the communities I am a part of, Heal My Voice.  Heal My Voice is an international organization whose mission is to “empower and support women and girls globally to heal, reclaim their voice and step into greater leadership in their lives and in the world.” At the time, I was participating in a book project called Harmonic Voices: True Stories By Women On The Path To Peace, which focused on a year-long journey exploring moving from chaos to calm and cultivating peace in our own lives so that we might extend that energy out into our relationships and the world.   And, athough I was familiar with the concept of Peace Poles, I didn’t know the origin of them until I attended this event. 

The Peace Pole Project was started in Japan by Masahisa Goi, who was greatly affected by the destruction caused by World War II and the atomic bombs which fell on the city of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  His desire to assist in the creation of world peace was answered when in 1955, the Peace Message, “May Peace Prevail On Earth”, came to him in a moment of great inspiration and deep prayer.

After Mr. Goi authored the Universal Peace Message in 1955, a great number of people gathered in support of his vision and activities to spread the Peace Message were promoted throughout Japan.  Soon after, Peace Poles inscribed with the Peace Message began to appear in various locations across Japan initiating the start of The Peace Pole Project.  The year 1986 was designated as the International Year of Peace and since then Peace Poles are one of the most recognized international peace symbols with more than 200,000 Peace Poles standing in almost every country throughout the world.

The synergy of completing a year-long  journey into peace with May Is For Metta that year seemed to culminate with this peace pole dedication.  Reflecting on these experiences has made me feel more deeply the idea that as we cultivate an energy or quality such as loving-kindness or peace, we are actually becoming an embodiment of it.  So for today’s practice, I felt to focus on peace specifically as our exploration.  When we focus on peace and being peaceful, we are allowing ourselves to become a “living” peace pole, one that is moving about and radiating the energy of peace wherever we go.  I hope you’ll join us in this exploration today.

You may wish to work with the full practice, choosing someone for each category or you may just wish to practice Metta on the spot today.  Take some time to feel into what feels best for you.  As always, our foundation comes from cultivating Metta for ourselves, so be sure to spend some time cultivating peace for yourself so that you may then extend that energy out to others and the world.

Daily Practice:

Find a quiet place and a comfortable position.  Imagine yourself in your circle of loving beings or enveloped in the feeling of loving-kindness.  Imagine a time when you felt held in that way.  Also, for today, tune into a place or a time when you felt a deep sense of peace.  Really allow yourself to feel that peace.  Breathe it into every atom and cell of your being on the in breath and as you breathe it out feel it surrounding and enveloping you.  You may wish to continue to work with all of your phrases or just work with “May I be peaceful” for today’s exploration; it’s up to you.

When you feel ready, move on to practicing for all of the categories or the ones you have chosen for today: Benefactor, Beloved, Neutral Being, Difficult Person and All Beings.  Remember to come back to your heart center for a few moments between each category and reconnect with the feeling of peace you generated for yourself before moving on.  For each category, offer “May you be peaceful“.  If you feel to work with other phrases, please do.

As always, if you become distracted or difficult feelings arise, use the Switchback, returning the practice to yourself until a sense of calm returns.  Use a peaceful time or place as your anchor for today.  When you feel ready, return the practice to where you left off.   To complete your practice, return yourself to your circle of loving beings or envision yourself enveloped in the energy of peace that you have been cultivating.  Really allow that feeling to sink in to you, let every atom and cell of your being be filled with peace.

In honor of the Peace Pole Project, let us also add this round of phrases, “May Peace Prevail On Earth“.  Knowing that as we do so we are supporting and embodying a vision which,

  • Symbolizes the oneness of humanity and our common wish for a world at peace
  • Reminds us to think, speak and act in the spirit of peace and harmony
  • Stands as a silent visual for peace to prevail on earth

May Peace Prevail On Earth

Finally, take a moment to honor yourself for creating the space to cultivate peace in your own life and in the world.  Can you feel how this is one of the most loving things we can do for ourselves and for our planet?

Daily Journal Reflection

Take some time to reflect and journal about any experiences, feelings or awareness that arose during your practice or throughout the day today.  How did it feel to focus on peace today?  Did it feel difficult to work with one quality?   Did you notice areas of your life where it is challenging to feel peaceful?   How did it feel to offer peace to others?  to the world?  What will you do to continue to cultivate peace in your own life, in your relationships and in the world?

Wishing you a most loving and peaceful day.

May Peace Prevail On Earth!

Namaste. 

Beth

Day 24 ~ May Is For Metta 2015: Loving-kindness In Every Direction

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To the Great Spirit – 
First in all things, Creator of all Life, 
Who was, and is, and will always be; 
Who, within the immensity of all creation, 
Is uniquely present here and now, in this moment. 

To the East – 
The quiet coming of the new dawn, 
The joyous breaking forth of Spring, 
The place of birth and rebirth and the beginning of life;

To the South – 
The high heat of noonday, 
The flowering warmth of Summer 
The place of fertility and the fullness of life;

To the West – 
The quiet peace of evening, 
The changing colors of Fall, 
The place of harvest and the gathering of life;

To the North – 
The clear darkness of night, 
The deep cold of Winter, 
The place of death and purification 
and the transformation of life;

To the Mother Earth – 
The ever constant Giver of Life, 
From whom all things draw sustenance; 
Who, in the greatness of her family, 
Offers blessing and freedom to each of her children;

To the Six Directions – 
Together making the oneness of God and Creation, 
We offer praise and thanksgiving, 
We ask these things: 
A heart open and made strong with love, 
A mind clear and made wise with understanding, 
A life lived with courage and compassion 
in the fulfillment of Divine Purpose.

– Sioux Prayer

 

Metta practice allows us to do what we can to be loving and happy no matter what is happening in our lives and in the world.  In each moment, we have a choice.  By focusing our attention on the heart and on loving-kindness, we are choosing to be open to ourselves and all that is arising.  It is not about the outside.  It is about our own experiences and the attitude that we cultivate towards those experiences.  Each moment that we choose loving-kindness allows us to be more receptive and to create a place of peace where we might have felt discomfort.  When we do Metta, rather than contracting our energy, we are expanding it.  We are supporting our own journey of awakening to the truth of who we are.  We are moving from a place of separateness to an experience of Oneness.  And, we are bringing that awareness to others and the world.

Take some time today to truly honor yourself for the time and energy you have dedicated to becoming more conscious and awake.   You have offered yourself the blessing of loving-kindness and compassion and there is really no greater gift that you can give to yourself, others and the world.

Today, we will continue with the full practice, working with all of the categories.  I have also included a new way to practice for All Beings that I learned from one of my teachers.  This practice works with sending loving-kindness out to all directions and for me feels similar to the way I honor the directions as part of my shamanic work.  In many indigenous cultures, praying or calling in the directions is a way to begin the day or create sacred space.  The Sioux prayer above is one example of this as is previous post here on HOA, Prayer For A New Day.  Combining our Metta practice with the directions can be a wonderful way to expand the energy of loving-kindness and compassion that we have been cultivating  and supports feeling a greater sense of connection to all creation.

If for any reason doing the full practice feels too much or is an obstacle to your practice, then just choose a few categories to work with.  At this point, how you practice each day is your choice.  You may have awareness of a certain category you need to practice for or you may wish to do the full practice daily for a period of time.  Just explore and let your practice unfold.  Begin your practice by setting an intention in a way that feels right for you.  Recognize that you are practicing, not only for yourself but that this cultivation of loving-kindness is beneficial for all beings and for the world.

Daily Practice:  

Do your foundational practices.  Find a quiet place and a comfortable position.  Imagine yourself in a circle of loving beings or enveloped in the feeling of loving-kindness, in a time when you felt held in that way.  As you do so, acknowledge that you are practicing, not only for yourself; the cultivation of loving-kindness is beneficial for all beings and for the world.  Begin your practice by offering the Metta phrases for yourself:

  • May I be happy.
  • May I be peaceful.
  • May I be free of suffering.
  • May I have ease of well-being.

When you feel ready, move on to practicing for all of the categories or the ones you have chosen for today.  Use the phrases that feel best to you.

  • May you be happy.
  • May you be peaceful.
  • May you be free from suffering.
  • May you have ease of well-being.

As you become distracted or difficult feelings arise, use the Switchback, returning the practice to yourself until a sense of calm returns.  When you feel ready, return the practice to where you left off or if you feel to move onto the next category.

There are a number of ways to radiate to all beings.  One of these is to work with the directions.  We radiate to all beings in 10 different directions, repeating the Metta phrases for each.  We can also adapt this to a specific category of all beings such as all creatures or all children.  Working with the directions is a way to connect spatially with all beings and the world.  It offers an opportunity to move beyond ourselves not just in thoughts but in space as well.  This aspect of practice can bring us into deeper connection with the world in which we live.  As you practice today, I encourage you to allow yourself to really feel the world which you are a part of as you explore incorporating the directions into your practice of All Beings.  You can use the phrases below or adapt them to the phrases you have chosen to work with; it’s up to you

1. May all beings in the eastern direction be happy, be peaceful, be free from suffering and have ease of well-being.

2. May all beings in the western direction be happy, be peaceful, be free from suffering and have ease of well-being.

3. May all beings in the northern direction be happy, be peaceful, be free from suffering and have ease of well-being.

4. May all beings in the southern direction be happy, be peaceful, be free from suffering and have ease of well-being.

5. May all beings in the northeastern direction be happy, be peaceful, be free from suffering and have ease of well-being.

6. May all beings in the southwestern direction be happy, be peaceful, be free from suffering and have ease of well-being.

7. May all beings in the northwestern direction be happy, be peaceful, be free from suffering and have ease of well-being.

8. May all beings in the southeastern direction be happy, be peaceful, be free from suffering and have ease of well-being.

9. May all beings below (in the downward direction) be happy, be peaceful, be free from suffering and have ease of well-being.

10. May all beings above (in the upward direction) be happy, be peaceful, be free from suffering and have ease of well-being.

To complete your practice, return yourself to your circle of loving beings or envision yourself enveloped in the energy of loving-kindness and compassion that you have been cultivating.  Breathe in that feeling of connection; embrace your connection with all of the directions and all beings.  Allow that feeling of connection to sink in to you, let every atom and cell of your being be filled with a sense of connection infused with loving-kindness and compassion.  Take a few moments to dedicate the merit of your practice.

Daily Journal Reflection:

Take some time to reflect and journal about any experiences, feelings or awareness that arose during your practice or throughout the day today.  How does it feel to have spent so much time focusing on loving-kindness and compassion?   How did it feel to work with the directions?  Did you notice anything about your connection to all beings? to the world?  How are you feeling about your practice overall?  Are you continuing to be gentle and loving with yourself?  If not, are you doing enough Metta for yourself?

I honor each of you for deepening into loving-kindness and compassion.

May you have a peaceful and happy day.

Day 11 ~ May Is For Metta 2014: Loving-kindness For Mother’s Day

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“All nature that we behold is the mother aspect of God, because in nature we find beauty, gentleness, and kindness. The flowers, birds, and the beauties of nature all speak of the Mother aspect of God-the creative motherly instinct of God. When we look at all the good things in nature, we feel a tenderness rise within us; we can see and feel God in nature.

The Divine Mother is so beautiful! But remember, in Her higher manifestation even that beauty is formless. She is in everything. Her divine, compassionate love is expressed in the raindrops. Her beauty is reflected in the colors of the rainbow. She offers fresh hope to mankind with the rose-tinted clouds at dawn.

Above all, be ever conscious of Her presence in your heart.” – Paramahansa Yogananda

May Is For Metta 2014

It has turned out to be a beautiful addition to our practice that Mother’s Day falls in the midst of our May Is For Metta practice.  We may tend to think of Mother’s Day as a personal holiday between us and our own Mother, however by expanding our focus we can use this day to shift our consciousness to the greater whole, to transform our relationships big and small, and to deepen in our experience of Mother energy not only in our own lives but in the world as well.  In honor of Mother’s Day today, we will celebrate the energy of the Divine Mother and Mother Earth as part of our practice.  

I encourage to explore the practice and to connect with your heart center to ask which mothers you feel to practice for today.  Perhaps it is your real mother or grandmother, perhaps a friend or teacher, or even a child.  And, don’t forget to include Mother Nature; she needs our love, too.  Let you heart be your guide and open to experience the heart of Metta as Buddha defined it.

We have been working to connect with and cultivate the energies of loving-kindness and compassion.   As most of us have experienced, it is a process to open ourselves to these qualities, to become receptive to love for ourselves.   Just as a mother so easily listens to her children, the feminine energy within us has the power to deepen our ability to listen, to be still and to go within.   On the simplest level, we can say that the heart is connected to the feminine energy within us and the mind to the masculine.   Our goal is to achieve wholeness, a marriage or union of these energies.  And yet, historically, especially in our culture, we have been more focused on systems of mind and logic rather than heart and intuition.   Through our practice today, we will honor the feminine energy within us, in others and in the world.

Daily Practice:

Do your foundational practices.  Take some extra time today to focus on deepening your receptivity to loving-kindness and compassion.  Honor the feminine energy with you and open to the wisdom of receptivity and the creation of sacred space within your heart.  This energy helps to open us to receive divine love into the core of our beings.  Offer yourself the time and space to really open your heart today, allowing stillness and love to blossom within you.  Use your whatever method you feel to generate the energy of loving-kindness.  When you feel deeply rooted in loving-kindness and the energy of heart, say a few rounds of phrases for yourself:

  • May I be happy.
  • May I be peaceful.
  • May I be free of suffering.
  • May I have ease of well-being.

When you feel complete in practicing for yourself, move onto the Benefactor.  Let us honor Mother Earth as our Benefactor/Mentor for today.  She nurtures and sustains us in each and every moment.  Call an image of Mother Earth into your mind.  Begin to offer loving-kindness to her by enveloping her in the heart qualities you have been cultivating.  Begin by saying to yourself, “Just as I wish to be happy and free from suffering, may you be happy and free from suffering.”  Offer the phrases for Mother Earth:

  • May you be happy.
  • May you be peaceful.
  • May you be free of suffering.
  • May you have ease of well-being.

Spend as long as you feel to practicing Metta for Mother Earth.  When you feel ready to move on, let her image go and return to your heart center.  Again, spend a few moments allowing yourself to open your heart to receive love and deepen your experience of the sacred space within your being.

For the category of Beloveds, choose one or two mothers whom you would like to send loving-kindness and compassion to today.  It can be your own mother or grandmother, someone who is like a mother to you or a just a mother you wish to honor on this day.  You may practice for as many mothers as you feel to.  Call an image to mind of your Beloved.  Begin by saying to yourself, “Just as I wish to be happy and free from suffering, may you be happy and free from suffering.”  Begin to offer her loving-kindness and repeat the phrases for your beloved:

  • May you be happy.
  • May you be peaceful.
  • May you be free of suffering.
  • May you have ease of well-being.

When you feel complete, continue on to another mother if you feel to or return to your heart center.  Practice as long as you feel to or have committed to for today.  Spend a few moments reflecting on your practice.  Notice how it felt to connect with the energy of the Divine Mother and the feminine energies within your self, others and in the world.  And, finally dedicate the merit of your practice in the following way or as you called to:

  • May all beings have happiness and it’s cause.
  • May all beings be free of suffering, joyous content and at ease.
  • May all beings be balanced in equanimity towards one and all.
  • May the merit of my practice be for my own benefit and for that of all sentient beings.

Daily Journal Reflections:

Take some time to reflect and journal about any experiences, feelings or awareness that arose during your practice or throughout the day today.   Did you spend some extra time in your heart today?   How did it feel to practice for Mother Earth?  Did you explore working with more than one Beloved?  How did that feel?  Are you getting more comfortable spending time in your heart center? being still?

Today is a wonderful today to take your practice out into the world.  Spend some time offering Metta to those you see as you go about your day, perhaps the loved one or friends who you visit with today.

Wishing you a happy Divine Mother’s Day.

A Winter Solstice Exploration And Meditation

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Osprey nest
full of snow,
the trees around it
bowing under white.
Again the cycle
gives us North –
will be bend
or break this time?
The beauty,
ache and clench of tired body, both familiar and
impenetrable –
small fire within
with which to meet
this power.
The mountains become
stronger in winter,
the snow their shaman’s
cloak, clouds and gale
their spirit allies.
This land
speaks to me, asks
what medicine
I have brought
this time.
Loren Cruden, from Compass of the Heart

Today, December 21st marks the time of Solstice.  For those of us in the northern hemisphere this is the Winter Solstice.  It occurs at 12:11 PM EST and 5:11 UTC Solstice marks the shortest day of the year with only 9 hours and 32 minutes of daylight to be experienced.  The Winter Solstice is celebrated in many cultures and traditions around the world as the Return Of The Sun.  Although we are just entering the depths of Winter, from this point onward, our days begin to get longer and light begins to expand in our world.

Through the autumn months up until this Solstice day, there has been a journey into the darkness happening around us and inside us as well.  Whether or not we have been conscious of this or not, many people experience an intensity this time of year, deep seated feelings can come to the surface, our energy can feel chaotic, and we often need lots more rest.  In essence, there is a very strong compression of energy that has been occurring which often feels like a heaviness but is actually an alchemical process of transformation.  As the light has been diminishing in our experience, we are challenged to face more of our “darkness” or our shadow self.

If we observe the natural world throughout the autumn months, there is a process of going in that occurs.  Plants that have been above ground during the spring and summer die off and remain alive underground.  Animals, such as the bear enter into a cycle of hibernation each year.  Living in a modern world allows us to overcome our place in the “natural” world in many ways.  We “create” artificial light which in many ways keeps us from connecting with our natural rhythm.

Winter is most often associated with North and Wisdom is an attribute of the North.  When we are willing to listen to our own natural rhythms such as the need to rest more, to be still, or to journey within, there is an incredible opportunity to connect with our own inner wisdom, too.  We do this through our attention and receptivity as we listen deeply to the stillness of self.  Just as the bear goes into hibernation each year, we too have the opportunity to go within and to seek counsel with our own true selves, to look into the depths of our own heart and soul.

So, why do we resist this journey into the darkness knowing it carries with it a deeper wisdom and a fuller knowing of ourselves?  For some there is a natural fear of the darkness or a fear of being still.  Also, as I shared above, during this time not only are we experiencing more darkness outside and inside, but there is a strong compression of energy and emotion.  Feelings are intensified; there is in a sense a natural cleansing process taking place in our being and we are often faced with the parts of ourselves that we wish not to see.  This journey into the darkness can be an uncomfortable one, but choosing to work with it in a more conscious way can “lighten” our experience of it.

Winter is asking, or rather, demanding that we go within to journey on the inner planes and uncover a deeper sense of who we are.  Winter Solstice is a powerful time to be present with ourselves and to explore where we are holding resistance.  Remember, this whole process of compression and contraction is occurring so that as the light begins to return to our life and the world, we can hold more of it in our being.

A few years ago at this time of year, I was called to do a shamanic journey to the Darkness.  As I was led through the underworld into the darkness, I felt a tremendous sense of comfort.  This is where my energy longs to be this time of year.   I asked what I could learn from the darkness.  This was the guidance I was given:

“The Darkness allows you to see what is real,

it guides you within,

the truth is to be found within,

your vision comes from within,

the light is always there,

even in what seems to be the blackest moment.”

So, this moment of Solstice is really a time to honor the darkness and to look within, especially if we haven’t done so as of yet this season.  Too often we seek answers to questions outside ourselves rather than explore our innate wisdom. We often seek advice from others, from books or even go to Google for our answers.  Winter is a time to begin to journey from the inside out, to look within our heart and soul for our answers, and to connect with the wisdom and guidance, which lies within us.

It is in embracing the darkness that we access our true essence and allow more of our light to shine in the world.  In many cultures, the Solstice celebration occurs over a period of days from December 21st to 23rd.  I hope you will take some time during this Solstice time to journey within, to honor the Darkness and then to welcome the return of the Light.

After I have taken some time to honor all of the wisdom that has come from my journey into the Darkness, I use this short meditation to release what needs to be released, to celebrate the return of the Light and to access the new wisdom coming into my life:

Find a quite place to practice.  Move into a comfortable position either sitting or lying down.  Take a few deep breaths, breathing in for a count of five and out for a count of five.  With each cycle of breath allow yourself to let go of any tension or discomfort in your body.  Let your breath flow into it’s own natural rhythm.  Notice any busyness or worries in your mind and send them out with the next few exhales.  If at any point your mind wanders or distractions arise, just return to the next breath, breathing in and breathing out.

Move your breath and awareness into your heart center in the center of your chest.  Just notice how it feels to be present in the heart, the center of love, compassion, gentleness or mercy for yourself and for others.  Does it feel open, spacious?  Do you feel resistance or constriction?  Just notice.  No judgment.  Spend a few moments just noticing how it feels to be in the center of your heart.

Now imagine that the center of your heart is a like a cave that you have drawn all of your energy into during this Winter “hibernation”.  Even if it’s uncomfortable, allow any feelings, patterns or beliefs, which may have been stirred up with the compression of energy to come into your conscious awareness.  Tune into what you feel ready to release.  Create some type of hole or opening in the cave that you can send these “discomforts” out through.  Take a few moments to use your breath and awareness to release them.  You may wish to do this one by one or all at the same time.  When you have a sense of clearing or relief, move on to the next part of the practice.

Now, imagine a lighting a small flame right there in the center of your cave and in the center of the your heart.  With each cycle of breath allow the flame to get a little bigger and a little brighter, and bigger and brighter.  Let it expand so that it fills you, your whole body and then even beyond your body.  Let it be so big that you are now dwelling inside this flame, you are this flame ~ know this bright light is your true essence.  Feel how bright you are.  Feel how clear and strong you are.

Ask your flame self “what wisdom do you have to share with me now?”, “what insight can help me with on my journey?”  and “what new energies are you bringing to my life?”  Take some time to be still and simply LISTEN!  Continue to open your heart with your breath and awareness.  Listen for the wisdom.  Slowly allow your flame to move back inward until it is once again in the center of your heart.  Feel that the wisdom, the guidance you received dwelling in the center of your heart.

Ask for a word or image to emerge from this flame deep within the center of your heart that will represent all of the wisdom you have just received.  Carry this word or image with you as a reminder, a Power Symbol to help you reconnect with your true essence in any moment.

Happy Solstice, Beautiful Beings!

Poem Of The Week: Ode To The West Wind by Percy Bysshe Shelley

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AutumnLeaf

Ever since I wrote my last post, Autumn Tips For Happy & Healthy Living, which included a quote by Percy Bysshe Shelley, this fascinating poet has been on my mind.  His words in “Ode To The West Wind” speak so beautifully to the energy of the season, the journey of life and our connection to nature and spirit.  It was interesting to learn that his writings and actions provided a strong influence on Henry David Thoreau, Mahatma Gandhi and the principles of non-violence.  He also was a proponent of vegetarianism as well as social justice for the lower classes.  He saw the need to fight for the rights of all living creatures that he saw being treated unjustly.

I hope you enjoy the poem.  Feel free to share you thoughts, feelings and reflections.  Happy Autumn!

Ode to the West Wind

by Percy Bysshe Shelley

I.
O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn’s being,
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,

Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,
Pestilence-stricken multitudes: O thou,
Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed

The winged seeds, where they lie cold and low,
Each like a corpse within its grave, until
Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow

Her clarion o’er the dreaming earth, and fill
(Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air)
With living hues and odours plain and hill:

Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere;
Destroyer and preserver; hear, oh, hear!

II.
Thou on whose stream, mid the steep sky’s commotion,
Loose clouds like earth’s decaying leaves are shed,
Shook from the tangled boughs of Heaven and Ocean,

Angels of rain and lightning: there are spread
On the blue surface of thine aery surge,
Like the bright hair uplifted from the head

Of some fierce Maenad, even from the dim verge
Of the horizon to the zenith’s height,
The locks of the approaching storm. Thou dirge

Of the dying year, to which this closing night
Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre,
Vaulted with all thy congregated might

Of vapours, from whose solid atmosphere
Black rain, and fire, and hail will burst: oh, hear!

 III.
Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams
The blue Mediterranean, where he lay,
Lulled by the coil of his crystalline streams,

Beside a pumice isle in Baiae’s bay,
And saw in sleep old palaces and towers
Quivering within the wave’s intenser day,

All overgrown with azure moss and flowers
So sweet, the sense faints picturing them! Thou
For whose path the Atlantic’s level powers

Cleave themselves into chasms, while far below
The sea-blooms and the oozy woods which wear
The sapless foliage of the ocean, know

Thy voice, and suddenly grow gray with fear,
And tremble and despoil themselves: oh, hear!

 IV.
If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear;
If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee;
A wave to pant beneath thy power, and share

The impulse of thy strength, only less free
Than thou, O uncontrollable! If even
I were as in my boyhood, and could be

The comrade of thy wanderings over Heaven,
And then, when to outstrip thy skiey speed
Scarce seemed a vision; I would ne’er have striven

As thus with thee in prayer in my sore need.
Oh, lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud!
I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!

A heavy weight of hours has chained and bowed
One too like thee: tameless, and swift, and proud.

V.
Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is:
What if my leaves are falling like its own!
The tumult of thy mighty harmonies

Will take from both a deep, autumnal tone,
Sweet though in sadness. Be thou, Spirit fierce,
My spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one!

Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
Like withered leaves to quicken a new birth!
And, by the incantation of this verse,

Scatter, as from an unextinguished hearth
Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!
Be through my lips to unawakened earth

The trumpet of a prophecy! O, Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

Autumn Tips For Happy And Healthy Living

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Happy Autumn

“There is a harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky,
which through the summer is not heard or seen,
as if it could not be, as if it had not been! ”
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley

Each season moves us through a period of transformation.  Autumn and spring tend to be the times of more intense change and it is a powerful time to harmonize with the energy of the season for happy living and healthy well-being. Traditionally, autumn is the harvest season.  It is the time for our bodies to harvest and gather energy for the colder months ahead. The yang/outer energy of summer gives into the growing yin/inner energy of the approaching winter.

The days are getting shorter and cooler and as we are transitioning we may find that we are more tired, emotions are surfacing such as loss and grief and we may even feel a sense of overwhelm.  Although it may not seem so on the surface, there is an intense shift happening as we are clearing the excess heat from summer and then, we quickly need to begin warming the body the against extremes we will experience in Winter.  The strong, drying winds of autumn and the falling temperatures help the leaves to fall to earth and also, begin to push our own energies in and down as well.

In Chinese Medicine, the organs most active in this season are those of the Metal element – Lung and Large Intestine, both of which have strong functions of absorption and elimination.  With the Lungs this has to do with respiration and with the Large Intestine, it has to do with digestion.  The emotions associated with this season are grief and loss and it is not uncommon to experience a lot of sadness bubbling up this time of year.  By moving into harmony with what is natural arising in our being and nurturing these parts of ourselves, we can support ourselves in creating greater joy and ease of well-being now and as we move into the stillness of Winter.

Here are some tips to help you harmonize with the season:

  1. Rest & Renewal – It is natural to feel a sense of tiredness or fatigue as the seasons are changing.  This shift affects us in many ways and living in a modern world with electricity and technology can make it easy to override our natural rhythms.  The feelings of the yin energy coming in can be a heavy feeling, like we are being pulled down and it can be one we want to resist in order to get things done.  Be sure to listen to your body, mind, emotion and spirit and follow the messages you receive in terms of getting adequate rest.  You may be feeling to go to bed earlier or sleep in later in the mornings.  You may feel like taking nap in the middle of the day.  Your body is telling you what it needs; all you need to do is listen.  Getting adequate rest now is a precursor to having strong immune function during coming the winter months.
  2. Letting Go Of Clutter: In & Out – Autumn is the season of letting go and releasing.  We see this in nature as the leaves turn and begin to fall back to earth.  We see this with the Lung & Large Intestines as well.  We can use the energy of the season to support us in letting go of things that are no longer serving us.  This may be the clutter in our office or home and it may be beliefs we are holding that no longer serve us.  You may find that things you’ve wanted to clear or de-clutter and felt stuck on move more easily as you attend to them this time of year.  Taking time to create clearer space, both inner and outer, supports you in preparing for the stillness of winter.  Think about what you are ready to let go of.  Where can you focus your energies to create more space in your life?  What are you ready to let go of today?
  3. Connecting With Nature – Whether we are conscious of it or not, we are a part of nature.  Taking time to be present and connect with the natural world can help us to connect more deeply with our own essence.  Spend some time in nature just being.  Perhaps a walk in the woods or even just around your neighborhood.  Take some time to notice the changes that are abounding this time of year – the leaves turning color and falling, the squirrels busily preparing for winter, and the roots vegetables peaking that can support us through Winter.
  4. Warming Your Body & Soul – As the weather begins to cool and the air becomes drier, we need to find ways to warm and soothe our body and our soul.  In Chinese Medicine, Autumn is a powerful time to strengthen our Lung & Large Intestine function.  Drinking hot beverages can help to keep your body hydrated and warm.  Teas such as Rooibos, Green Tea, Fenugreek, Chamomile and Licorice can be beneficial.  Also, warming herbs such as Ginger, Cinnamon, Cloves or Cardamom can help warm our whole system.  Honey can be helpful as it supports yin function making it the perfect sweetener for this time of year; it can be used in tea or just in warm water to soothe a sore throat.  Try this simple ginger tea is incredibly warming and supports digestion as well:  Wash ginger root. Slice thumb sized pieces of ginger and place in 2 cups of water. Cover and simmer for 10-20 minutes and drink while warm.  Add honey if you need a sweetener.  Also, taking hots baths can help to keep the body warm and release toxins that are ready to be let go.  Try infusing your bath with some herbs such as lavender, chamomile, calendula, comfrey, clary sage or create your own blend.  Make a hot water infusion with 10 ounces of dried herbs in cups of water, steep for 15 – 20 minutes, strain and add to your bath; or you may wish to put the herbs directly into in a cheesecloth bundle.
  5. Honoring Our Ancestors –  In many cultures around the world, Autumn is seen as a time when we turn our thoughts turn to those who have left us; we think about their legacy and what they have left behind.  Often this “remembrance” arises naturally as feelings of sadness, loss and grief come to the surface.  It said that the “veils” are thinner this time of year and that our ancestors often come home to visit their loved ones.  This is a powerful time to honor our ancestors through ceremony & ritual.  It can also be a good time to allow ourselves to release feelings of loss and grief that we have been carrying that is ready to be released.  Sometimes we need to come to greater completion with our ancestors or loved ones.  Take some time to think of your ancestors.  Is there someone who has passed that you need to work with to move to a place of greater peace in your life?  Perhaps there are feelings you need to share or work through that are unresolved.  Now it the perfect time to do this type of soul work.  Is there is a pattern or belief you have become aware of in your ancestral lineage?  What can you do to begin to transform that pattern?  Perhaps simply asking your ancestors for help is the place to begin!

I hope you will take some time in the coming weeks to harmonize with the energy of the season.  As always, feel free to stop by to share your experiences and reflections.

Happy Autumn!

Day 26 ~ May Is For Metta 2013: Cultivating Peace On Earth

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Quanyin

My life blazed

with the desire

To serve as a thread

Joining Heaven and Earth

                                                                      ~ Haiku by Masahisa Goi

One of the things that may happen when we are cultivating loving-kindness and compassion is that we become more attuned with these energies and are drawn into connection and community with like-minded others.  Really, this is our intention, for as each being becomes more of an embodiment of these positive qualities, they are not just bringing change to themselves but to those around them and the greater whole.  Perhaps you have experienced this is in some way as you have been working with May Is For Metta or maybe May Is For Metta is part of connecting with others cultivating loving-kindness and compassion as you have already been doing.

One of the qualities we often work with in the Metta phrases is peace.  May I be peaceful.  May you be peaceful.  May all beings be peaceful.  In Metta, we may see this as an aspect of loving-kindness; when we feel held in love and compassion, most often we are at peace and when we are at peace we are able to be in touch with energy of loving-kindness.  These qualities go hand in hand.

Yesterday, I participated in a Peace Pole Dedication Ceremony with one of the communities I am a part of, Heal My Voice.  Heal My Voice is an organization that empowers women and girls to heal and transform through reclaiming their voices; this is done through writing stories, leadership development, and community building.  One of our current projects, which I am a participant and adjunct facilitator of, is a circle called, Voices Of Peace. The Voices of Peace writing project is focused on the journey from chaos to inner peace, harmony and transformation with the intention of bringing greater peace to ourselves, others and our world.

Although I was familiar with the concept of Peace Poles, I didn’t know the origin of them until yesterday.  The Peace Pole Project was started in Japan by Masahisa Goi, who was greatly affected by the destruction caused by World War II and the atomic bombs which fell on the city of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  His desire to assist in the creation of world peace was answered when in 1955, the Peace Message, “May Peace Prevail On Earth”, came to him in a moment of great inspiration and deep prayer.

After Mr. Goi authored the Universal Peace Message in 1955, a great number of people gathered in support of his vision and activities to spread the Peace Message were promoted throughout Japan.  Soon after, Peace Poles inscribed with the Peace Message began to appear in various locations across Japan initiating the start of The Peace Pole Project.  The year 1986 was designated as the International Year of Peace and since then Peace Poles are one of the most recognized international peace symbols with more than 200,000 Peace Poles standing in almost every country throughout the world.

It was beautiful to stand in community yesterday to call for peace on earth and plant a Peace Pole on a children’s playground, which will stand as a message for years to come.  This made me think of how as we cultivate an energy or quality such as loving-kindness or peace, we are actually becoming an embodiment of it.   So for today’s practice, I felt to focus on peace specifically as our exploration.  When we focus on peace and being peaceful, we are allowing ourselves to become a “living” peace pole, one that is moving about and radiating the energy of peace wherever we go.  I hope you’ll join us in this exploration today.

You may wish to work with the full practice, choosing someone for each category or you may just wish to practice Metta on the spot today.  Take some time to feel into what feels best for you.  As always, our foundation comes from cultivating Metta for ourselves, so be sure to spend some time cultivating peace for yourself so that you may then extend that energy out to others and the world.

Daily Practice: Find a quiet place and a comfortable position.  Imagine yourself in your circle of loving beings or enveloped in the feeling of loving-kindness.  Imagine a time when you felt held in that way.  Also, for today, tune into a place or a time when you felt a deep sense of peace.  Really allow yourself to feel that peace.  Breathe it into every atom and cell of your being on the in breath and as you breathe it out feel it surrounding and enveloping you.  You may wish to continue to work with all of your phrases or just work with “May I be peaceful” for today’s exploration; it’s up to you.

When you feel ready, move on to practicing for all of the categories or the ones you have chosen for today: Benefactor, Beloved, Neutral Being, Difficult Person and All Beings.  Remember to come back to your heart center for a few moments between each category and reconnect with the feeling of peace you generated for yourself before moving on.  For each category, offer “May you be peaceful“.  If you feel to work with other phrases, please do.

As always, if you become distracted or difficult feelings arise, use the Switchback, returning the practice to yourself until a sense of calm returns.  Use a peaceful time or place as your anchor for today.  When you feel ready, return the practice to where you left off.   To complete your practice, return yourself to your circle of loving beings or envision yourself enveloped in the energy of peace that you have been cultivating.  Really allow that feeling to sink in to you, let every atom and cell of your being be filled with peace.

In honor of the Peace Pole Project, let us also add this round of phrases, “May Peace Prevail On Earth“.  Knowing that as we do so we are supporting and embodying a vision which,

  • Symbolizes the oneness of humanity and our common wish for a world at peace
  • Reminds us to think, speak and act in the spirit of peace and harmony
  • Stands as a silent visual for peace to prevail on earth

May Peace Prevail On Earth

Finally, take a moment to honor yourself for creating the space to cultivate peace in your own life and in the world.  Can you feel how this is one of the most loving things we can do for ourselves and for all beings?

Journal Notes: How did it feel to focus on peace today?  Did it feel difficult to work with one quality?   Did you notice areas of your life where it is challenging to feel peaceful?   How did it feel to offer peace to others?  to the world?  What will you do to continue to cultivate peace in your own life, in your relationships and in the world?

Wishing you a most loving and peaceful day.

May Peace Prevail On Earth!

Day 21 ~ May Is For Metta 2013: Walking Metta Meditation

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“In my room, the world is beyond my understanding; but when I walk I see that it consists of three or four hills and a cloud.” – Walllace Stevens

During our practice in 2010, one of our participants shared that she had incorporated her practice of Metta with walking meditation, which she usually did outside.  I have always found walking meditation to be very beneficial because it helps to develop a practice in a way that supports carrying it out into the world.  Living in New York City for a large part of my life, I found this practice very beneficial.  It was not possible to connect with the many people I saw everyday or even offer help to all of those I saw in need, but it was possible to offer loving-kindness and compassion.  I know this practice was something that helped me to have a much greater connection to the world around me as well as a deep sense of peace.

At the time of the Buddha, it was a traditional practice for the monks and nuns to practice the cultivation of loving-kindness meditation as they walked around.  As they went around town asking for food, they would radiate out loving-kindness and compassion to everyone they encountered on the streets.  Today, I encourage you to explore combining your Metta practice with walking meditation, either as a formal practice or just by going out for a walk.  In basic walking meditation, we hold our awareness on each step.  Stepping right, stepping left.  This is our anchor as the breath may be our anchor in other practices.  In working with Metta, be present with each step but continue to use the phrases as your anchor if your mind wanders or you become distracted.

This is a short video with Thich Nhat Hanh sharing about the practice of walking meditation and the importance of making peaceful, happy steps on the earth.  He quotes the Buddha as saying, “As you can make peaceful, happy steps on the earth, the earth can become the pureland.”  Take some time today to make peaceful, happy steps on the earth.

Daily Practice: Choose whether you want to do a sitting practice and then explore doing some Metta as you go for a walk.  Or, choose to incorporate your Metta practice with walking meditation.  You can choose to walk in a circle or perhaps find somewhere in nature where you can practice mindful walking.  Do your foundational practices.  Imagine yourself in the center of your circle of loving beings or just enveloped in the feeling of loving-kindness. Begin your practice by offering the Metta phrases for yourself.

  • May I be happy.
  • May I be peaceful.
  • May I be free of suffering.
  • May I have ease of well-being.

When you feel ready, move on to practicing for all of the categories or the ones you have chosen for today using the phrases that feel best to you. Try to take at least part of your practice out into the world, whether doing walking meditation, going for a walk or even while at the grocery store.  Explore extending Metta to people you see out in the world remembering that “just as you wish to be happy and peaceful, so does this being wish to have inner peace and joyfulness.”  Repeat the phrases:

  • May you be happy.
  • May you be peaceful.
  • May you be free of suffering.
  • May you have ease of well-being.

If you become distracted at any point or difficult feelings arise, use the Switchback, returning your practice to yourself until a sense of calm returns. Then, return your practice to where you left off.  When you are ready to complete your practice, return yourself to the circle of loving beings or envision yourself enveloped in the energy of loving-kindness and compassion that you have been cultivating.  Really allow that feeling to sink in to you, let every atom and cell of your being be filled with loving-kindness and compassion.

Journal Notes:  Did you explore combining Metta with walking meditation?  How did that feel?  How is your practice going?  Are you able to spend some time everyday in practice?  If yes, what are you noticing?  If not, what is stopping you?

May you all have a radiantly joyful day.

Happy Earth Day 2013!

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EarthHands

I so fondly remember attending my first Earth Day Celebration in 1978.  I was 12 and my middle school went to an Earth Day Celebration at a local community college.  It was the first time I felt an awareness of the environment and our impact on it.  It is amazing to see how much has changed and how much hasn’t changed since that time in terms of our relationship with Mother Earth.  One of the things that has helped me most is my foundation in shamanism, which really supports the interconnectedness of all beings through the web of life.  I believe this foundation and awareness is a necessary piece to transformation on a global level and it takes each person making this change for a broader transformation to occur.  We need to work on this both inwardly and outwardly, so I have included two sharings in the post.  One is a guided meditation I offered at a visit today on Positive About Change Blog Talk Radio and the other is a list of 10 Ways To Celebrate Earth Day.  Remember not just to celebrate today, but hopefully, everyday in some way!  Happy Earth Day!

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Click Here To Listen To Earth Day Meditation

10 Ways To Celebrate Earth Day

1) Join A Nature Conservancy’s Picnic For Earth or plan your own. The food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe…it all comes from nature. I just learned about this project and love the idea.  Join people around the world in a global picnic to celebrate our planet and the bounty it provides.  With population and food demand on the rise, The Nature Conservancy is working with others to find smarter and more efficient ways to use our lands and waters. Learn more at http://earthday.nature.org/.

2) Donate or Volunteer for an environmental organization that resonates with you.  There are so many organizations and issues related to the environment and supporting Mother Earth.  Find one that really speaks to you and support it through monetary or in-kind donations or by volunteering your time and energy.  Also, just sharing and raising awareness about an organization can be a great way to support it.

3)  Commit to making some type of change in your life and home that will support the environment and Mother Earth.  Consider things like using less water, reducing electrical usage, recycling more, composting, etc.  Even a few small changes can make a difference and by being more conscious we are creating change on many levels.

4) Plant trees, flowers or vegetables that are appropriate for your area.  Planting is a wonderful way to connect with and support Mother Earth.  It is key to plant species are indigenous to your area. You may like to join with a local tree-planting group or just do so with your family or friends.

5) Participate in or organize a household hazardous waste collection in your community.  Collect paint, used auto products like motor oil and batteries, solvents, etc. This will require city or county coordination and participation; they may have certain dates scheduled but you can help to organize or gather items that may be overlooked or improperly discarded.  Get in touch with your local government to see what you can do.

6) Spend time in nature on your own or with friends and family. Spending time in nature and just being with Mother Earth and all of her children – the trees, rocks, animals, etc. is a wonderful way to celebrate Earth Day.  You may like to go on your own or organize a hike with friends or family.

7) Hold an Earth Day Council Of All Beings.  By now you know I love the practice of council as a tool for transformation and celebration.  Coming together in council is a wonderful way to speak from our hearts and honor Mother Earth.  In a Council Of All Beings, participants choose something in nature that speaks to them and they make a mask to represent their creature, tree, rock, or other “being.”  Sharing is then done with everyone wearing their masks and representing their chosen “being.”   Sharing includescontributions your chosen being makes to life on Earth, and how it makes you feel for people to respond to you the way they do.  This is a wonderful way to give voice to all of Mother Earth’s children and to honor the web of life.

8) Attend an Earth Day Event or Festival.  There are many Earth Day events and festivals happening all during the month of April.  Attending is a great way to support local organizations, community and learn more about resources to support and connect with Mother Earth.

9) Help clean up and restore your environment and communities.  There is so much pollution and trash littering our communities and our world.  There are also many projects to help clean up “our mess”.  Find a project near where you live that works to clean up rivers, lakes, streams, beaches, trails, communities, and graffiti.  Also, there are many projects that help to restore our environment, such as reforesting.  Joining in this way is a great way to help renew and replenish Mother Earth.

10) Be creative.  Explore nature crafts at school or home. Get together with your family and friends and explore creating which is something Mother Earth does everyday.  Build a bird house or feeder to encourage local bird population, which plays an important role in our ecosystem. Or, just make some creative works of art from found objects that might get thrown away otherwise.

Please feel free to share your ideas and reflections.  Happy Earth Day Everyone!

P.S. Stay tuned for details for May Is For Metta 2013 coming later this week.

Harmonizing With The Season

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“O Wind, If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?” – Percy Bysshe Shelley

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As I was writing my e-newsletter today, I found myself sharing about the change of seasons and the importance of being in tune with the rhythms of nature.  I have found that this time of year can be particularly challenging energetically as we make the shift from late Winter to early Spring.  I thought I’d share that piece here and if you would like to explore my e-newsletter which usually includes an introductory post, a transformational or holistic health tip, and the latest news on upcoming events and special offers on individual sessions, you can take a peek by clicking here.  Also, I wanted to share one of my favorite books on seasonal health and wellness – Staying Healthy With The Season by Elson Haas.  Dr. Haas is a pioneer in the field of integrative medicine and his site offers wonderful resources on health and wellness.  I’d love to hear your thoughts about this time of year and staying in tune with the energy of nature and the seasons.
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One of the wonderful things about life is the beauty that unfolds with the change of seasons.  Everyone seems to have their favorite season or time of year.  As we watch the natural world, it is easy to see the changes that occur throughout the year.  As humans, we are affected by these changes, but often, we are less aware of the energetic shifts that occur in our own being.  

Learning to connect with seasonal shifts happening in nature is a part of traditional healing practices.  This can be seen in many indigenous cultures, Chinese medicine and Ayurveda.  Also, if we were to consider the origin of many of our holidays, most likely they would be linked to some seasonal celebration.   Living in a modern world with the ability to control our environment, our temperatures and limit our exposure to the elements can easily create a sense of disconnection from the seasonal flow of energy.

From this place of disconnection with nature and our own natural rhythms we may tend to experience discomfort and disease.  Learning to connect with and harmonize with the energy of the seasons can support us in feeling a greater sense of ease and well-being.  Making simple shifts in our seasonal routines through diet and self-care can make a big difference in our overall health.

I have found this time of year from late winter into early spring to be one that can be most challenging.  It is time of year when many people experience depression or a sense of lethargy.  Perhaps this is due to the darkness of winter but this is also a time of shifting energy.  We are moving from a more yin/inner energy to a more yang/outer energy and that shift is increasing at this time.  Although spring is not yet ready to show itself, there is a lot going on under the surface, both in nature and in our consciousness.

This can be a time people experience a sense of dis-ease which many manifest physically through sinus issues or colds or as a feeling of discontentment with life as it is.  Often, lots of emotions which may have been more dormant during the winter months as our body, mind and spirit was drawn inward are beginning to percolate under the surface.  It is not uncommon to feel a sense of unsettledness, edginess or impatience.

Just acknowledging that we are in a place of shifting energy is important as well as finding ways to create greater harmony for ourselves through this current transition.  Also, recognizing that there’s no hurry – Spring will come in its own time and we can choose a rhythm that supports us in finding greater balance and ease, too.

Here are some ways to align with the seasonal shift as we move through late Winter and into early Spring:

1. Be gentle with yourself as you make changes and explore aligning with the natural energy around you.  Be willing to go slow.  As Spring approaches, we start to feel ready to jump forward but right now, our energy is not ready to move too fast.  Be willing to honor what your body tells you in terms of rest and renewal.  There will be plenty of time to play in Spring & Summer.

2. Stimulate your energy by moving your body first thing in the morning.  Our bodies are still in a Winter mode and we want to wake up as Spring is almost here!  Start with a few minutes of stretching, tai chi or yoga – sun salutations are great.  Also, try a brisk walk or simply dance around you bedroom to get your energy moving.  This literally awakens the body’s energy channels.

3. Try getting to bed earlier so you can wake up refreshed and ready for your day.  Create an evening ritual to help you wind down such as a taking a hot bath, drinking a relaxing tea or doing an evening meditation to shift your energy toward sleep.  Remember that this is still late Winter and we do need more rest.

4. Start spending more time outdoors.  Even though the temperatures may still be cold, we are already experiencing noticeably longer days.  The sun is rising earlier and setting later.  The sun is also higher in the sky and beginning to warm up the atmosphere.  Take a moment to close your eyes and feel the sunshine on your face.  Take a midday walk directly in the sunshine between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.  Walk toward the south, directly into the sunshine for the greatest benefits.

5. Begin to add more greens to your diet.  This is important all year round, but especially as the seasons shift into early spring.  Nature provides us with spring shoots and leafy green vegetables.  The bitter taste of the greens is nature’s way of helping us to lighten up and cleanse our system after the cold winter and the denser foods we’ve been eating.  A great way to do this is to start your day with a green smoothie.  Use parsley, swiss chard, dandelion greens, spinach or kale, blended with some fruit and almond milk.  Add some soaked chia or flax seeds for healthy fat.  Enjoying a smoothie at room temperature is best as ice-cold temperatures can be depleting to your digestion.  As Spring sets in, it may be time to focus on a liver cleanse or detox, but for now just beginning to bring that green energy into your diet can give your energy a boost.

6. Take some time to journal.  Reflect on feelings that arising and how you experience shifts in energy.  Consider the coming of Spring and explore where you feel called to place your increased energy as the season arrives.  Spring is a time of growth and rebirth; it is a wonderful time to start new things.  Now is the perfect time to consider what new things you want to do come Spring.

I hope you’ll take some time this week to harmonize with nature’s energy and to explore creating greater balance and ease in your life.


 

Bach Flower Remedies For 2012 Transitions – Walnut

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There are many different ideas about what 2012 is all about.  Whether we look at the Mayan Calendar, various Native American interpretations or our own experiences of living on earth at this time, it is clear that we are in a time of great change and transformation.  How this change manifests is uncertain, however there is the sense of tremendous movement both inwardly and outwardly.  It is clear that we are experiencing many changes personally, socially and globally.

In a spiritual sense, there is a strong pull or perhaps even push toward moving into the energy of the heart and into greater alignment with our world.  There are many ways that we are out of harmony with life, with our Mother Earth and with our fellow beings. As my teacher Shaman Ross Bishop often says, “You are going home one way or another; I’d rather that you “choose” to go as it will be a lot easier.”  At this point in our world, it’s hard to know what “easier” would look like as we seem so far out of alignment in so many ways – environmentally, socially, economically, etc.  Still, we have the ability to choose to change.

I sometimes find myself feeling like “it’s just too late or things have gone too far” for the changes that need to happen to actually occur.  I know others may feel this way, too.  For me, I have a sense this is a very old pattern, maybe one that goes beyond this lifetime, but at the very least has been present in my current life experiences.  This is clearly a belief or pattern I need to let go of as it can keep me limited and from making greater choices toward change.  Often, it can be easy to focus on what is going on outside in the world and not be willing to look within.  I may not be able to change anything that is happening in the world today, but I can change how I respond to what is happening and how I choose to live and be in the world.

Many people living in our modern world have experienced a powerful sense disconnection from Mother Earth.  Although it may vary from culture to culture and location to location for many of us it requires choice to actually cultivate and sustain a connection with the earth at this time.  It takes work and effort to keep the big picture of our world in our consciousness.  Going out and spending time in nature is a powerful way to connect.  But, as we go about our daily lives, especially for those who may live in more suburban or urban areas, this can be challenging.  Thankfully, Mother Earth has given us many gifts that can help us in cultivating our connection to nature in any moment.  Some of these include herbal & plant medicine, stones & crystals, ceremony & ritual, energy practices and one of my favorite tools, flower essences.

There are many varieties of flower essences that are available at this time and benefits vary.  It is really a personal choice as to which types of remedies to work with.  Both personally and professionally, I have found the Bach Flower Remedies to be one of the most powerful tools available for supporting emotional and spiritual healing.  I can honestly say that in many ways, I am the person I am today, in part because of my use and relationship with the Bach Flower Remedies and Dr. Bach’s teachings.   They have helped me to move through many transitions and to create the changes I have felt called to make in my life, some of which I never imagined were possible.

The Bach Flower Remedies are highly beneficial for supporting change and transition.  The repertoire of 38 remedies, developed by the British physician and visionary Dr. Edward Bach, assists in transmuting emotions and personality traits which prevent us from moving into greater harmony with our soul purpose.  Dr. Bach, who was man of science, was also highly intuitive.  He was able to connect with nature to correlate the energy or vibration of certain flowers with various emotions or personally traits.  Over the years, he developed 38 remedies, which he felt was a complete system of healing.  Since it’s creation, it has been used by people all over the world to support healing and change in a variety of ways.

The remedies work similarly to homeopathic medicine; they are working on a vibrational or energetic level rather than medicinally, like an herb or drug.  In essence, each remedy is flooding our energy field with a vibration that helps to transmute something we are experiencing – this may be an emotion such as fear or a pattern such as perfectionism.  As our field is flooded with more positive or harmonious vibrations, we begin to transform energetically.  The remedies are created by two methods, either sun soaking and boiling the flowers to distill the essence of the flower.  This water is then combined with brandy into what is known as a mother tincture.

The essences that we find in our health food store are made from the mother tincture.  They carry the vibrational qualities of nature and in taking the remedies, we are able to connect more fully with nature wherever and whenever we choose to.  This is one of the many benefits of the Bach Flower Remedies or any flower essence.  At this time, it is highly beneficial to have such a tool, which we can carry with us in our purse or pocket.  It can support holding a stronger connection with Mother Earth wherever we may be.

By their very nature all of the remedies support transition, energetic alignment and ease of well-being.  In treating, each person often has 5 – 7 remedies that may be beneficial at a given time based on the emotions and experiences that are at the surface for them.  A custom blend is a common way of working with remedies, however taking a single remedy may be beneficial as well.

In my personal experience and work with clients over the last year, I have found several remedies to be beneficial for the transitions we are currently experiencing.  If I were to choose a remedy to be the remedy of 2012, I would choose Walnut.  Overall, it is considered the remedy of change and transition.   All of the remedies will support creating change and easing our transitions, however Walnut has some specific effects in these areas.  Dr. Bach shared the following words about the Walnut remedy:

“For those who have definite ideals and ambitions in life and are fulfilling them, but on rare occasion are temped to be led astray from their own ideas, aim, and work by the enthusiasm, convictions, or strong opinions of others.  This remedy gives constancy and protections from outside influences.”[i]

“Walnut is the remedy of advancing stages, teething, puberty, change of life.  For the big decisions made during life, such as change of religion, change of occupation, change of country.  The Remedy for those who have decided to take a great step forward in life, to break old conventions, to leave old limits and restrictions and start on a new way.  This often brings with it physical suffering because of slight regrets, heart-breakings, at the severance of old ties, old associations and old thoughts.  A great spell-breaker, both of things of the past commonly called heredity, and circumstances of the present.”[ii]

It is clear that Walnut provides a powerful support as we move through changes in life, from one stage to another, but is also has other properties that can really support staying centered and grounded as we move about in the world.  Just as the shell of the walnut is very hard and protects it’s softer center, the Walnut essence helps to strengthen and stabilize our energy field so that we are more able to hold our center and engage in the world with clarity, focus and intention.  In a sense, Walnut offers a shielding quality that helps us in holding center, maintaining our choices and flowing with changes that are occurring both inwardly and outwardly.  I am also struck by how much the center of the Walnut resembles the shape of the heart and have a sense of Walnut being a heart protector, not in a way that shuts down the heart but actually supports its opening more fully through the energetic alignment of soul purpose.

Walnut has many benefits, which I feel really support our ability to move through the transitions of 2012 and beyond.  Here are some of the ways in which it can help us to sustain our choices and intentions:

  • Provides a shielding quality that supports creating & maintaining our boundaries and borders
  • Helps protects us from outside influences
  • Eases emotional and energetic sensitivity
  • Helps to adapt to periods of change and transition
  • Helps to let go of or break old patterns, limiting beliefs and core issues which no longer serve
  • Aids in resolving dysfunction stemming from family of origin
  • Helps acclimate to new ways of being, such as new phases of life, work, family, etc.
  • Supports spiritual transformation and growth
  • Protects from influence of suppressive energies or parasitic infestations (including physical, mental, emotional & spiritual)
  • Supports finding and holding our center and connecting more fully to our soul purpose

Whether we actually choose to work with the Walnut essence or other remedies, we can learn from the energetic quality of Walnut.  At this time it is important to find ways to move through transitions more fluidly, to hold our center, to let go of patterns no longer serving us and to find ways to deepen our connect with our soul purpose.

I hope you will take some time to explore how you are moving in the world at this time.  Do you need to take time to connect with nature?  Do you need to spend more time going within?  Or, to find tools which support transformation and ease of well-being?  Do you have a clear sense of your soul purpose at this time?  What choices you are making or would you like to be making to engage in the world in a more intentional way?

I’d love to hear your thoughts and reflections.


[i] Bach, Edward. The Twelve Healers, p. 17.

[ii] Chancellor, Phillip.  The Bach Flower Essences, p. 201.

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Bach Flower Remedy Sessions are available in person in Annapolis, MD, by phone or by Skype.  Sessions include consultation and custom remedy blend.  For additional information or to schedule a session, visit www.bethterrence.com.

Lessons from Salmon: A New View On Struggle

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Some days
I flow with the river
Surging
Like a rainbow trout
Others days I thrash and flail
Like a salmon
Desperately trying to get back upstream
Not even knowing what I struggle for

I wrote this poem many years ago at a time when I had a very strong sense of struggle in my life.  The other night I had a dream that I was walking beside a large river.  As I looked into the river, I saw a salmon, then another and then suddenly the river was filled with salmon of all different sizes swimming upstream.  What I noticed was that the salmon were not struggling to get upstream, they were moving with ease, riding the currents below the surface.  It was beautiful to watch the way they were carried with grace and ease as they connected to the currents and just allowed themselves to be carried upstream.

When I awoke, I remembered my poem; it had been a bit of an anthem for me in my 20’s.  I often performed it when I did poetry readings; it seemed to represent the sense of struggle I felt about life.  Now, I notice that even then was able to acknowledge the times when I felt the flow of life although back then I was much more focused on struggle.  Over the years, my sense of flow has definitely increased and now I can see it relates as much to the salmon as to the rainbow trout.

I realize that I mistook the energy of the salmon as struggling when in reality the salmon only appears to be struggling as it moves upstream.  The salmon are not really fighting the currents but jumping to go deeper so that they can ride the reverse currents below the surface that carry them gracefully upstream.   What a beautiful metaphor for life.  At the surface, there is much that appears to be a struggle – there are a plethora of issues we deal with daily such as work, family, finances, health etc.  When we allow ourselves to delve deeper and to go below the surface, the energy and wisdom we need to flow through life is uncovered.  It was there all along but as we jump and dive deeper, we connect with those energies.

For some reason as I am writing this post the title of one of  Zen teacher Cheri Huber’s books comes to mind.  It’s called “When Your Are Taking a Fall – Dive”.   The salmon jumps upstream and is carried by the currents below the surface.  When we allow ourselves to go deeper,  to go within,  all of the support and energy that is an innate part of ourselves becomes accessible.  When we are willing to move with our resistance, there is spaciousness for great changes to occur.  We can learn from the Salmon who jumps out of water, it’s native element, essentially trusting that is will make the connection it needs to be carried upstream.  As we allow ourselves to move out of our comfort zones and be vulnerable, we are able to connect with those energies that can carry us and bring us into greater harmony with life.

I’d like to really honor the wisdom of the Salmon as a Power Animal or Totem.  It is often said that a Power Animal comes to you through a dream, journey or vision quest.  Power Animals can also be animals that we encounter in physical reality and have a strong connection with.   In a sense, they are  a reflection of our innermost essence; they represent our own talents and abilities and the qualities we need to thrive in the world.  When we connect with a Power Animal, we are gifted with a greater awareness as the Totem offers its power, medicine, protection and wisdom unique to its being; this can  help us to learn and grow. The term Totem is derived from the an Ojibwa word ototeman, meaning “one’s brother-sister kin.”  Through cultivating this sacred connection and spiritual support, we are able to become more in touch with our own self and the web of life.

There can be wisdom to learn from all animals whether or not they are our personal Power Animal.  In more traditional cultures, a relationship with animals is innate and reflects a sense of connection to the greater whole.  In many ways, we have lost this connection in modern societies.  Through exploring the energies and qualities of animals and the wisdom they bring, we are honoring our true nature and allowing more of our own essence to emerge.

The Salmon is a major totem for the Eskimo and other cultures along the North Pacific Rim.   For thousands of years, the rhythm of daily life has been ordered in accord with the Salmon population.  The Salmon are thought to inform the humans of their connection with the natural world and attune them to the natural rhythms of life.   Additionally, the Salmon is considered an animal totem in Celtic myth.  According to their mythology, there was a sacred well situated under the sea where the sacred Salmon acquired their wisdom and shared it with the Celtic people.

Some of the medicine or wisdom that Salmon brings includes the awareness that we have the strength within to:

  • Overcome obstacles that present themselves
  • Move steadily on our spiritual journey
  • Find meaning and purpose in our life
  • Swim upstream through emotional waters to gain insight
  • Roll with resistance and fear of change
  • Explore our bonds with the past and gain understanding from of our history
  • Connect with natural rhythms of life
  • Allow ourselves to be childlike, playful, spontaneous and inquisitive
  • Develop awareness of the currents and energies beneath the surface
  • Learn to go deeper to find those energies that support our movement
  • Persevere
  • Find fulfillment within ourselves and harmony with our world
  • Find satisfaction and self-expression through creativity
  • Connect with our source
  • Find strength from within
  • Know we are always home, wherever we may be

There are many books on Power Animals and resources online that can help to gain insight in animal totems.  One of my favorite books is Animal Speak by Ted Andrews.  It can also be beneficial to study, meditate or journey to a Power Animal or animals we feel drawn to and see what specific messages and wisdom they have to offer us.

I’d like to conclude with a new poem honoring Salmon and the deeper understanding I have of it today:

Jumping upstream
Diving deep
Finding currents
Being carried
We grow
We flow
We know
We are always home

Actualizing The Power of Intention

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“For the last four hundred years, an unstated assumption of science is that human intention cannot affect what we call “physical reality. Our experimental research of the past decade shows that, for today’s world and under the right conditions, this assumption is no longer correct. We humans are much more than we think we are…” – Dr. William A. Tiller

We have come to a place where science and spirituality meet in many ways. For those who have had a focus on energy, whether through Acupuncture or Eastern Medicine, Energy Healing such as Reiki or Pranic Healing, Yoga or other spiritual practices, it has long been accepted that matter follows energy. It is exciting that science is now on board with this concept. A major focus on the Heart of Awakening blog is to support a shift into a new paradigm. This begins with an inner shift in our thoughts, energy and focus – it begins with Intention.

At this point, there is greater acceptance and understanding of the role of intention in creating change. The work of Dr. Tiller is called Psychoenergetic Science. It involves an expansion of traditional science to include human consciousness and human intention as being capable of significantly affecting the properties of materials (non-living and living) and what we call our “physical reality.” Basically, our intentions affect our experience and our actual world. And, we have the ability to change our lives and our world.

Using intention in a positive way is a powerful tool for transformation. Intention is used in many aspects of our lives. We may have general intentions or wishes, which we are holding but they may not be in the forefront of our consciousness. Our conscious mind is actually only a small fraction of our mind, the vast part of it being unconscious. However, when we bring something into our conscious awareness and give it meaning, we are creating a relationship with our unconscious and support transformation on a deeper level.

As we bring our intentions into the forefront of our experience and work more actively with them, we begin to create changes in our consciousness, our energetic field and in the world. In a sense, we become a beacon carrying that energy both inwardly and outwardly into all of our experiences. We all have our own personal intentions that we can work with and we also have the opportunity to carry intentions that support ourselves, others and the world. Embodying qualities such as peace, happiness, respect and serenity can become a part our active intentions thus assisting in our own personal transformation and shifting our world into a new paradigm.

Finding a way to actively work with intention helps us to move more consciously in the world and to create alignment within ourselves. As with all practices, it is important to explore and find what resonates for you personally. This is part of moving into greater alignment with oneself. Some ways to work with Intention include:

1. Affirmations – Affirmations are a powerful tool for transformation. To affirm means to “make firm” that quality or message you are working with. Affirmations offer a way to change our inner dialogue, in a sense to short-circuit the unconscious messages or tapes that are always playing in our minds and to create new ones. This practice can transform our attitudes and our expectations. It can also show us the negative or unconscious messages that we are carrying within us. Affirmations can be done silently, spoken aloud, written down or even chanted. They can be posted in places you will see them, tucked in hidden places where you will find them unexpectedly or recorded so you can listen to them repeatedly.

2. Ceremony & Ritual – Participating in ceremony and ritual helps us to feel connected to ourselves, to others and to the world. It is a time when we enter into sacred space. Whether it is a ceremony that marks a major life event such as a marriage or death or the simple ritual of lighting a candle, there are two elements at play – intention and action. We can create our own ways of working with ceremony and ritual to take our intentions into a place of action. This helps us to embody our intentions more fully on all levels – body, mind, emotion and spirit. One of my favorite ways is through Fire Ceremony. I use this personally as well as with clients and groups both to set an intention to let go of experiences, feelings and energies, which are no longer serving; and, to invite in the energies or qualities (the intentions) that can support transformation and moving into a new way of being. The energy of fire is one of transformation. Taking action in this way helps to support a powerful shift as well as bringing us more fully into the present moment. Perhaps this is the greatest intention of all – to be fully present in this very moment.

3. Creating – Creating something to represent our intention helps to concretize it and brings it more fully into our own consciousness and into the world. This can also be a way to let one’s own creativity emerge, which in and of itself is a way to access our inner self. Creating can be through artwork such as a drawing, painting, or mandala making. It can be through the written word such as a poem, slogan or just writing your intention in your journal or somewhere that it is visible to you. Another option is to make a Vision Board in which you use pictures and words to help to invite in your intention and the vision you wish to create into your life. Being creative is an opportunity to explore your own essence and to create a connection between your conscious and unconscious self. Through you own self-expression, you are making your intentions visible.

4. Contemplative Practices – Contemplative practices such as meditation or prayer help us to move into the present moment, to quiet some of the busyness in our minds and to connect more deeply with our intentions. Moving from a place of stillness, clarity and focus supports being in alignment with our intentions and carrying them with us as we move in the world. When we take the time to pause, center and reconnect with our own self and spirit, our energy becomes clearer and we are able to align with our intentions in a more focused way. This creates a clearer, stronger energy field that helps us to truly embody our intentions.

5. Authenticity – Allowing ourselves to be authentic and to speak from the heart, openly and honestly, is part of actualizing the power of intention. When we share our intentions with others, we are sharing our deeper being. We are also moving into greater alignment as we merge our inner and outer self. Many of us are hesitant or afraid to share all of who we are and particularly those greater intentions for change in ourselves, others and the world. Imagine if every being were to speak from the heart and share their intentions openly. Really, these intentions are our good wishes for ourselves and all beings. It is often easier to speak about our negativity and judgments, which causes a contraction of energy, rather than expansion. Sharing our authentic selves and our positive intentions openly is a powerful way to transform ourselves and the world.

As we work with intention, we are bridging our conscious and unconscious self. In a sense, working with intention is helping to bring a new infrastructure to our being which allows us to be in greater alignment with those energies we are carrying into our consciousness and into the world. As we begin to move more consciously, new possibilities emerge. Cultivating intention is an action step in shifting to a new paradigm.

I hope you’ll join the Heart of Awakening in exploring and actualizing the power of intention to support transformation in your self, others and the world.

I’ve included a video of Dr. Tiller for inspiration…..

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Love Yourself, Live Your Life 4-Week Teleclass: Moving Beyond Self-Criticism, Shame & Doubt starts 7/9. This is an opportunity to live more from the heart, to become more gentle and loving with yourself, to develop a deeper sense of connection and to work through patterns and feelings that are no longer serving you. Explore more….

Prayer For A New Day

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Grandfather Sun
We wake to see your shining face
Honoring the spirit of the new day

Spirit of the East
We welcome you
The path of the rising sun
The way of Eagle
Bringing new beginnings, soaring vision and hope

Spirit of the South
We welcome you
The path of the noonday sun
The way of Coyote
Illuminating our hearts, minds and spirits
With clarity and purpose

Spirit of the West
We welcome you
The path of the setting sun
The way of Bear
Bringing strength, courage and trust
Taking us deeper into spirit with each breath we take

Spirit of the North
We welcome you
The place of sacredness within
The way of Owl
Helping us to find the light within the dark
Uncovering those places in ourselves which need transformation

O Great Spirit.  Creator of All Things
We welcome you
Gifting us all of the support of spirit in each moment
The path of Angels, Archangels, Ancestors, Mentors, Guides and Spirits
Help us to walk in the way of spirit today
Remembering our connection to the energies of creation

Mother Earth. Sustainer, Nurturer and Provider
We welcome you
Honoring all of your children
The Two-Leggeds, Four-Leggeds, Winged Ones, Elementals
Plant Beings, Stone People, Insects and Spider Beings
Hungry Ghosts and all who walk in the earthly realm
Great Mother Earth carry us into the day
So we may walk together in harmony and peace

Sacred Center
Connecting earth and heaven, heaven and earth
The place where all directions merge and where all beings meet
The way of Oneness, Love and Light
Help us to walk together in Oneness, Love and Light on this day and always.

Day 15 of May is for Metta 2012: Loving-kindness Practice for Neutral Beings

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Day 15

“Loving-kindness meditation accords with zen’s Bodhisattva vow, in confirming that our awakening is mutually grounded in the interdependence of all beings, rather than being a self-centered endeavor.  Loving-kindness is sometimes misconstrued as an attempt to conjure up good feelings, or to see ourselves as loving or kind.  However, its function is to invite the awakening of compassion and empathy, aspects of our being.”                      -Elizabeth Hamilton

Today, we will continue our practice of Metta for Neutral beings.   As the neutral person is not so “real’ to us, it is often harder to elicit feelings for this person.  For this reason, it can be helpful to work with the same neutral person for a few days.  Sometimes, people feel bored with this category, as there is not as much emotional charge as with a friend or enemy.  It may be harder to hold one’s attention on the neutral person.  Staying attentive can be a challenge in Metta as well as during meditation practice in general.  However, we are working to focus our awareness.  This practice offers a wonderful opportunity to stay present with our experience, bringing our attention and consciousness to a place where we may often be inattentive and unconscious.

Choose two or three Neutral beings to work with.  You may do this as part of a sitting practice and/or explore using Metta when you are out and about in the world.  When you are on the street, in the store, or at the gym, try choosing a Neutral person you see and silently say the phrases for this person.  This is an opportunity to offer loving-kindness and support to someone without needing to take outward action.  It is an inner offering and it is a way we can bring more loving-kindness and compassion into the world.

Daily Practice:  Do your foundational practices. Begin to cultivate loving-kindness for yourself by connecting with your heart or imagining yourself in your circle of loving beings.  Send Metta to yourself by using the phrases you have been working with:

  • May I be happy.
  • May I be peaceful.
  • May I be free of suffering.
  • May I have ease of well-being.

When you feel immersed in the energy of loving-kindness for yourself, bring the image of a Neutral person into your awareness.  Once you have called this person to mind, allow yourself to make a heart connection with this person.  Perhaps send some of the loving-kindness you have cultivated from your heart to their heart center.  Notice how it feels to offer loving-kindness to a Neutral being.  Say inwardly, “Just as I wish to be happy and free from suffering, may you be happy and free from suffering.”  Then begin repeating the phrases for this Neutral person:

  • May you be happy.
  • May you be peaceful.
  • May you be free of suffering.
  • May you have ease of well-being.

Just notice what arises as you practice.  If your mind wanders or thoughts arise, bring your awareness back to the neutral person and continue repeating the phrases.  As always, if difficult emotions or distractions dominate your attention, return to your heart center, repeating the phrases for yourself until you feel clearer and calmer.  When  you feel to, return your practice to the neutral person.  Continue on to one or two other Neutral beings.  Remember you can also take your practice with you as you go about your day.

Practice as long as you feel to or have committed to for today.  When you feel complete, return to your heart center.  Spend a few moments reflecting on your practice.  Notice how it felt to connect with Neutral beings that you have active relationship to offer loving-kindness.  Part of our practice is experiencing the relationship that we have with all beings; this is part of being human, being alive and living on Earth at this time.  We share a common experience whether we know each other or not.  Metta offers an opportunity to acknowledge and honor our interconnectedness with all beings on a deeper and more conscious level.

Journal Notes:  How has it been to practice Metta for Neutral beings?  Did you practice for someone as you went about your day?  Are you continuing to be gentle and loving with yourself?  Have you noticed any difference in your sense of connection to self, others and the world since you began your Metta practice?

May you have a joyful day.

Day 13 of May is for Metta 2012: Loving-kindness for Mother’s Day

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Day 13

“All nature that we behold is the mother aspect of God, because in nature we find beauty, gentleness, and kindness. The flowers, birds, and the beauties of nature all speak of the Mother aspect of God-the creative motherly instinct of God. When we look at all the good things in nature, we feel a tenderness rise within us; we can see and feel God in nature.

The Divine Mother is so beautiful! But remember, in Her higher manifestation even that beauty is formless. She is in everything. Her divine, compassionate love is expressed in the raindrops. Her beauty is reflected in the colors of the rainbow. She offers fresh hope to mankind with the rose-tinted clouds at dawn.

Above all, be ever conscious of Her presence in your heart.” – Paramahansa Yogananda

In honor of Mother’s Day today, we will celebrate the energy of the Divine Mother and feminine energy in our practice.  We have been working to connect with and cultivate the energies of loving-kindness and compassion.  As most of us have experienced, it is a process to open ourselves to these qualities, to become receptive to love for ourselves.  Just as a mother so easily listens to her children, the feminine energy within us has the power to deepen our ability to listen, be still and go within.   On the simplest level, we can say that the heart is connected to the feminine energy within us and the mind to the masculine.  Our goal is to achieve wholeness, a marriage or union of these energies.  And yet, historically, especially in our culture, we have been more focused on systems of mind and logic rather than heart and intuition.  Through our practice today, we will honor the Divine Mother within us, in others and in the world.

Daily Practice: Do your foundational practices.  Take some extra time today to focus on deepening your receptivity to loving-kindness and compassion.  When we speak of feminine energy, the wisdom of receptivity and creation of sacred space within our heart to receive divine love is at the core.  Offer yourself the time and space to really open your heart today and allow stillness and love to blossom within you.  When you feel connected to the energies of loving-kindness and the heart, say a few rounds of phrases for yourself:

  • May I be happy.
  • May I be peaceful.
  • May I be free of suffering.
  • May I have ease of well-being.

When you feel complete in practicing for yourself, move onto the Benefactor.  Let us honor Mother Earth as our Benefactor/Mentor for today.  She nurtures and sustains us in each and every moment.  Call an image of Mother Earth into your mind.  Begin to offer loving-kindness to her by enveloping her in the heart qualities you have been cultivating.  Offer the phrases for Mother Earth.

  • May you be happy.
  • May you be peaceful.
  • May you be free of suffering.
  • May you have ease of well-being.

Spend as long as you feel to practicing Metta for Mother Earth.  When you feel ready to move on, let her image go and return to your heart center.  Again, spend a few moments allowing yourself to open your heart to receive love and deepen your experience of the sacred space within your being.

For the category of Beloveds, choose one or two mothers whom you would like to send loving-kindness and compassion to today.  It can be your own mother or grandmother, someone who is like a mother to you or a just a mother you wish to honor on this day.  You may practice for as many mothers as you feel to.  Call an image to mind of your Beloved.  Begin to offer her loving-kindness and repeat the phrases for her:

  • May you be happy.
  • May you be peaceful.
  • May you be free of suffering.
  • May you have ease of well-being.

When you feel complete, continue on to another mother if you feel to or return to your heart center.  Practice as long as you feel to or have committed to for today.  Spend a few moments reflecting on your practice.  Notice how it felt to connect with the energy of the Divine Mother and the feminine energies within your self, others and in the world.

Take a few moments to dedicate the merit of your practice asking that it benefit your self, others and all beings without exception.

Journal Notes: Did you spend some extra time in your heart today?   How did it feel to practice for Mother Earth?  Did you explore working with more than one Beloved?  How did that feel?  Are you getting more comfortable spending time in your heart center? being still?

Today is a wonderful today to take your practice out into the world.  Spend some time offering Metta to those you see as you go about your day, perhaps a loved one or friends who you are with today.

Wishing you a happy Divine Mother’s Day.

Honoring Mother Earth

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“Teach your children what we have taught our children – that the Earth is our Mother.  Whatever befalls the Earth befalls the sons and daughters of the Earth.  If men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves.  This we know. The Earth does not belong to us, we belong to the Earth.  This we know.  All things are connected like the blood that unites one family.  All things are connected.  Whatever befalls the Earth befalls the sons and daughters of the Earth.  We did not weave the web of life;  We are merely a strand in it.  Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.”  – Chief Seattle

Earth Day is a time to remember that we are a part of Mother Earth and that all of life is interconnected.  Chief Seattle’s message speaks to that connection in the most beautiful and profound way.  There’s not much more to say, other than take some time today to honor the Earth, our mother and to consider the web of life that we are all a part of in a more conscious way.

Happy Earth Day!