power of spirit

I believe that freedom is a right that belongs to all Beings on this planet (and beyond for that matter).  If you live in a geographical location where you are able to voice your opinions, come and go as you choose and for the most part, follow the path that speaks to you, it is indeed a blessing.

But even these gifts can be negated if the freedom we are choosing does not stem from within.  We often find ourselves in prisons of our own making, most often due to fear:

What will people think? What if I run out of money? What if I am too old/too young/too fat/too thin, etc?  You get the picture.

I liken it to being on a journey with a backpack.  Your pack is filled to brimming with all the tools and nicknacks necessary for your trip.  Sometimes you remove something and lighten it up. But mostly you either add to it or at least replace what has been left behind.  The weight, while exhausting, is appearing to ground you, though not in stability, more in ‘stuckness.’

My advice (which I don’t take lightly and am very much interested in adhering to myself) is TAKE OFF THE PACK.  Much of what we ‘carry’ in this bag are those emotions that are holding us back (the fear, the frustration, the grief) – emotions that have not been acknowledged or fully processed and therefore have made a home in the nooks and crannies of our baggage (and heart.)

So you may need to start small.  Take a few things out and don’t replace them. Breathe deeply into the space you have created.  Allow yourself to gently begin releasing what is stale, stagnant, and done. Eventually, you won’t need the pack at all.  Ahhh… the ‘incredible lightness of Being.”

Here is an acronym to inspire you on this journey of release:

F – Fully

R – Realize

E- the Ecstasy

E – of Emptiness

Fully Realize the Ecstasy of Emptiness.

And, not to introduce a paradox here, but this ’emptiness’ is of course, not really ’empty.’  When approached from a heart-centered, grateful place,  It is a ‘magical void’ that through it’s very nature invites a constant flow of synchronicity, serendipity and courage to live your life to the fullest.

One of the mantras that I frequently use and also share in my meditation and yoga classes is “MOKSHA”.   This translates into ’emotional freedom’   I will share here a short meditation where we will add in the word “AHAM” –  I AM:   Aham Moksha – I am emotionally free.

This state of liberation awaits you.

Aham Moksha

wintersunsetweb

I was daydreaming about Christmases past and my reverie took me way back to 5 years of age, living in a town called El Cerrito in California (outside of SF) in a small home along with my mom, dad and two older brothers.

Money was a little tight those days and we had a special Christmas tradition.  On Christmas Eve we would open a few smaller gifts, some whimsical, some not quite as ‘fun’ but seen as necessities (socks, underwear, etc.)  But it was all wonderful just the same because of the holiday magic.

AND THEN there was Christmas morning.  Santa would come in the night bearing the ‘big gift’ – something he knew each of us was praying to receive.  And quite miraculously, this present would find it’s way to the end of our beds where we would discover it upon awakening.

Well, this particular year when I was 5, I remember going to bed in a state of brilliant anticipation.  And when I woke early that next morning, I peeked out from the covers to find what Santa had delivered… and much to my disappointment, saw nothing there.  Simultaneously I heard both of my brothers exclaiming with glee over the surprises found at the end of their own beds.  Not wanting to cry, I got up and prepared myself to walk out into the living room where everyone had gathered around the tree, rather martyr-like in my decision to just pretend, “It doesn’t matter. I’ve been ceremoniously abandoned here, but I will survive.” (THAT kind of wounded but stoic entrance…)

When much to my complete astonishment (and embarrassment) I found all of my family staring at me, wide-eyed, as I laid eyes on a big, blue bicycle.  I had recently outgrown the tricycle and pleaded nonstop to have a bike like my brothers… and here it was.  Mom said, “Santa couldn’t fit this at the end of your bed, Sweetie. So he had to leave it next to the tree!”

Talk about a complete U-turn in emotions!!  Then the funny thing was, not being able to afford a brand new bike, this was a used one (albeit in very good condition)and about 2 sizes too big for me.:)  But that didn’t matter.  It didn’t take long for my body to catch up and this two-wheeler remained with me for many years and many miles.

Remembering all of this brought some tears and some laughs.  It reminded me of how fixated we can become on what we think we ‘need’. It teaches me that sometimes these gifts can come in packages that we don’t quite expect or that sometimes while they might not seem to fit, they are actually the perfect size.

On that note, I wish you the biggest gift of all.  May you feel the love that surrounds you and fills you in every moment of every day.  May you share this tenderness and compassion with others and so feel its exponential effects.  And may the peace that comes from this love be a balm to Mother Earth and all of her inhabitants as we move into 2016, hearts open, and ready for a world at peace.

Blessings and Namasté.

The Magic Carpet Ride Home

My dear Pim (Simba) went home today.(Oct.31st, 2015)

My dear Pim

My dear Pim

She was 20+ years old (around 100 in human years) and up until very recently was pretty much in tip-top shape. Folks marveled at her condition and with good reason. She was an amazing kitty (and still is.) Letting go of her cuts like a knife and I must shift my awareness into what it is that I teach: We are all One. We are pure Love and Energy. We are always connected through time and space. And it helps somewhat, but the ‘human’ part of me wants to run through the streets screaming “NO!” It was too soon. It’s always too soon…

And so as balm to my aching heart, I choose now to share a little bit of Pim’s story with you.

She came to live with me when she was 8 years old, an exoticallly beautiful silver- striped tabby. She entered a household that was already sanctuary to three other kitties and two doggies and yet made the transition to being ‘home’ in no time at all.

One of her very favorite pastimes right from the start was to join me in yoga and I truly mean JOIN. No matter the pose, she was right there with me, including downward dog where I would warn her that there was a possibility of being catapulted across the room when I stood up. No matter. When we entered Savasana (relaxation pose), she would be sprawled out, fully relaxed and ready to let the energy settle wherever it needed to go. This inspired one of my favorite nicknames for her: My Yogini Warrior Princess. So fitting. One morning after we had completed our practice, I went to roll up my mat but couldn’t because she was still in Savasana. When I asked her to shift over, this met with the following response (I kid you not): “You’re putting the magic carpet away?” And me… “HMMM??? Magic Carpet??” I had never referred to my mat in that manner and was quite impressed. Yes, it is that indeed. And from that point on, when we did yoga together, it was on the magic carpet.

Another of her other favorite pastimes was getting an acupressure and tuning fork treatment. There she would sit on the end of the massage table in my treatment room and literally scream for me to ‘get my butt in there’ and give her a session. (Click here to see a tuning fork therapy session that took place just a few weeks ago.) I’m convinced these treatments were very instrumental in her longevity.

Something else that might have kept her young (though I’m not sure she would agree with me) was her annoying younger brother, Bianco Nove, chasing her through the house and basically harassing her whenever possible. It kept the adrenals active anyway.

Then there were the sunny days spent in her kitty yard, soaking up the light and snoozing under our beautiful maple, Kokepelli Dancing. And too many other memories to mention here…

And so. Here I sit. Looking for her to share the last part of my smoothie (which she did almost every day.) But she is not here. Her Spirit is definitely here. And with that in mind, this is my prayer for my dearest Pim, Yogini Warrior Princess:

Divine Mother/Father God, angels, guides… Please accompany my dear Pimmy as she takes her magic carpet ride back home, allow her to arrive pain-free and joyful to a beautiful fanfare of loved ones. I love her forever.

Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.
Until we meet again…

3 a.m. … I’m awakened by my dear 20 year old kitty, Simba, who has chosen to ‘serenade’ me with her middle-of-the night feline opera.

When silence is restored, I remain sleepless, various thoughts entering and leaving the landscape of my mind. Then, unbidden, I find myself pondering the essence of the words ‘I love you.’ I consciously drop from my head to my heart into a state of ‘Being-ness’ as I contemplate these words. What do I really mean when I tell someone “I love you?” Am I sharing this from a fully cognizant state? Or perhaps sometimes from a place of neediness? From an expectation of the same feeling in return? What does it REALLY mean?

What I realized is that when we truly come from a pure heart as we share these precious words, we are wishing that Being freedom… Loving is neither ‘clingy nor presumptuous. Connection without attachment. It allows and encourages TOTAL FREEDOM to be who they are.

When we love someone from that place we are offering them the gift of peace. In Sanskrit there is a wonderful mantra that I share in my yoga classes: “Moksha”. This equates to a sense of emotional freedom, unencumbered by fear, by anger, by worry, by any feelings that fail to honor joy, openness and adventure on this earthly journey.

That is love. So now whenever I say the words, ‘I love you’ – which I say often – they will be coming from an intention of ‘May you be free… May YOU be free…”

So my friends reading this, I love you. I wish you peace. I wish you the ULTIMATE in life, which is Freedom on every level.

Namasté.

When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace. – Jimi Hendrix

This is a quote that I am sharing in my yoga classes as we enter the realm of Manipura, the Solar Plexus Chakra. This energy field represents and manifests courage, confidence and inner power.

Though to fully experience a sense of power, it must be understood that TRUE power comes from a place of inner peace, NOT force.  It comes from an understanding that each of us shoulders a burden that might not be readily apparent to the physical eye and therefore encourages patience and a sense of equanimity. It comes from a deep spirit of compassion and realization of our Oneness with ALL Beings.

It’s no coincidence that this article is being written as many the world over mourn the death of Cecil, the beloved lion who made his home in a national park in Zimbabwe. Cecil brutally lost his life to be mantled on a trophy hunter’s wall. The tears that come when I even ponder this cruelty must now be transmuted into knowing that Cecil gave his life to raise the consciousness of our world.

The number of posts around the globe, the millions who are not only saddened but horrified at this action reveals to me that the hearts of the majority of us sharing this beautiful planet are in alignment. BUT we must now come together and allow the energy to exponentially bring peace to a planet that is experiencing violence and despair at levels perhaps greater than ever before.

So what can we do? We can come into our own peaceful inner power. We can stand up for what is right. We can honor our brothers and sisters on the path – of EVERY species. Not through force, but through example.

The energy in our hearts is strong enough to move mountains. Believe in this. Believe in the quote that Jimi Hendrix shared so many years ago.

Here also is a mantra that says it all:

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu

Translated: May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all. (jivamuktiyoga.com)

Below you can listen to the fabulous Deva Premal & Miten share this beautiful mantra.
Namasté.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/usJl7oiZPnc” target=”_blank”>Deva & Miten

Compassion

Compassion

Pivotal Moments

Has anything ever happened along your life path where you can look back and recognize that a single event, conversation or random choice completely changed the course?

One such occurrence stands out for me really strongly. I was visiting Taos, New Mexico with my ex-husband. (Well, he was still my husband at that point haha. THAT’S a whole ‘nother blog.);) Anyway, we had been living in Nashville, Tennessee and while we both liked it there, we knew it was time for a change and Taos was one of the options we had in mind. When we arrived there, as beautiful as it was, we both knew inside that this was not the place we were to relocate.

The other option that we were considering was Port Townsend, Washington. So, sitting in a café in a courtyard in the middle of the village in Taos, we both agreed – that was indeed the place for us. Just then the waitress arrived with our beverages and as she placed them in front of us, she smiled and asked where we were visiting from. We looked at one another and told her, “Well, currently we live in Nashville, but we are moving to Port Townsend, Washington. SHE says, “OH! I love Port Townsend!” We looked at each other again, thinking, “Wow, what are the odds? Here we are in Taos and she is familiar with this small town in Washington?” Then she adds, “But have you also considered Bellingham?” At that point neither of us were familiar with Bellingham but the thought was implanted and we both agreed, perhaps before making a final decision we should check it out as well. And so we did. As well as Birch Bay. AND that is where we ended up relocating.

SO. If that particular waitress had not been working that day OR we had not stopped for a drink, our entire future could have been quite different. Not to mention life stories of everyone we have met and therefore influenced in some manner along the way.

Those kind of things just blow me away. The reason I am sharing this is because we are on Third Eye chakra this week in yoga class – our seat of perception and inner guidance. Often along this path of life it may feel that certain goals and aspirations are not panning out. But if we can remain open to the ‘Inner Guidance” that can come in many forms, (like a waitress in a café in Taos), we will know that we are exactly where we are meant to be every step of the way. Even if it appears foggy and ill-defined or we have what may feel like too many options from which to choose, when we drop down into our heart and KNOW that it’s all perfect, the stepping stones will indeed appear. Messages from God and the angels can manifest in many different forms so being open to the unexpected is a very good idea. And one day you will look back and think, ” Ahhh. Now I get it.”

Coming into this ‘state of mind and heart’ is not always easy so I want to share with you a little prayer/meditation both  audio and written form called, “What If…”

Click here for audio meditation.

What if just for today
… you released worry.
… you lived your life moment by moment.
… you allowed yourself to see things through the eyes of a child.
… you knew that all is indeed well.
… you let the miracle of your breath carry you gently forward.
… you trusted that angels are surrounding you with love and guidance.
… you opened to the magic that happens when you live from your heart.
… you believed that you are a blessed child of God, more loved than you could ever imagine.

What if… you repeated these statements EVERY day.

Namasté.

I have a proposition for you…

What if today (and maybe every day from here on out) you begin to look at things as if you are seeing them for the very first time? No preconceived notions, no judgment… Look with wonder and innocence, as if through the eyes of a child.

While this has occurred to me in the past, reading a blog from sound healer, Tom Kenyon, reignited the importance of this practice. One line that stood out for me was, “Be curious. Expect miracles.”

In these moments of being fully present in a childlike state of openness the miracles happen. So much of our life ‘planning’ (and fear- based action) is based on episodes from our past. In the act of releasing this baggage and surrendering in curiosity to the unfolding of our ‘future’, we invite in the serendipity.

So… if only just for today, look at the trees and really see them. Look at your family and pets and really see them. Look into your own eyes and really see YOU. All part of a Divine plan, all One, all LOVE.

Be curious. Expect miracles. (Thank you, Tom.)

Daisy/Ladybug Communing

Daisy/Ladybug Communing

A customer behind you in line at the grocery store rams their cart into your legs…
Your five year old asks you the SAME question for the hundredth time that day…
Your precious feline dumps a brand new plant off the counter, shattering in a gazillion pieces…

In normal circumstances, perhaps any of these would be met with an initial sigh followed by an ‘Oh well’ response. But when we are in adrenal overload, even the simple things can trigger a blow-out reaction.

The main goal of my writing today is to offer you a respite from the never-ending ‘to-do’ list, the build-up of tension and the ramifications of our busy lives. (So hopefully you aren’t too busy to read this. haha)

When we find our true rhythm, we come into balance. I love what Terri Guillemets has to say on this:

“‪When you dance to your own rhythm, life taps its toes to your beat.”‬
-Terri Guillemets

In a world where we are ‘on’ way more than ‘off’ and connected 24/7 to a stream of incoming information, most of us find ourselves in this state of adrenal overload, so prevalent that even this begins to sound cliché. But it’s a fact – and it leads to nervousness, irritability, insomnia and the catch-all header of ‘stress.’

The adrenals are housed just above the kidneys in our lower back region and belong to the solar plexus chakra. The emotions related to an out-of-balance solar plexus chakra are frustration, anger and inability to make decisions. When we are IN balance in this chakra, we come into our personal power, confidence and courage. We realize that this is an innate gift that springs from a connection with the truth of who we are: powerful Spiritual Beings dressed up in human clothing.

The deep realization of our inner power – and our connection to a Divine Source – helps to dispel the feelings of fear. This in turn allows the adrenals to relax and heave a sigh of relief. But how does one accomplish this?

I liken it to a dance. It takes a little time and effort to learn the steps and become conditioned to practice them daily. These steps include breathing with awareness, practicing yoga, qigong or a similar mindful form of movement, and meditation. Even a few minutes morning and evening of getting quiet within and connecting with that Source will begin to show up as an increased sense of calm. And – you can’t get it wrong. I believe many people put off meditating thinking they just don’t know how. (On that note, stay tuned – I am hoping to soon offer a weekly meditation/mindfulness gathering…)

There are also acupressure points one that will help either instill this sense of peace OR even more importantly, bring one back from the edge of panic. Two very helpful points are the following: (Make sure to breathe deeply into the point with the intention of inner peace.)

PC 6

PC 6

PC 6 (Pericardium 6) – located approximately three finger widths from the inner crease of the wrist, between the tendons. The pericardium, also known as ‘the guardian angel of the heart’ houses and protects this beautiful organ and points along this meridian help to treat disorders of the heart and spirit. Applying first gentle and then firm pressure (best with thumb) on PC 6 for between 2 and 3 minutes will begin to usher in a feeling of calm, unblock the flow of energy from the heart and from a physical perspective, help with nausea.

HT 7

HT 7

HT 7 (Heart 7) also know as the ‘Spirit Gate’ – located in the dip below wrist crease below the little finger on the palm side of the hand. This is another point that is wonderful for decreasing anxiety, helping with insomnia and bringing a sense of general well-being. As with PC 6, hold for 2 to 3 minutes.

I’d like to share a poem with you that I wrote many years ago, but still opens my heart to ‘dancing with life’.

DANCE, CHILD, DANCE

I looked up to God, ’cause I felt kinda low-
Needed some guidance on which way to go…
Thought it was all being left up to chance-
The answer I heard, was “Dance,Child, Dance.”

Your life is a dance, each day and each night,
Reach for the heavens, soar like a kite!
Let your energy flow with the wind,
And your path will find YOU, again and again.

I pondered the message, it seemed so near…
Just let go and the road would be clear?
Find that place between ‘trying and not’-
where dreams become real and the dance is taught.

So now I dance, sometimes fast, sometimes slow.
The sound of my heartbeat says which way to go-
Those elusive answers, once so out of reach
Are now dancing round me- It’s my turn to teach.

Your life is a dance, each day and each night,
Reach for the heavens, soar like a kite!
Let your energy flow with the wind,
And your path will find YOU, again and again.

Follow your heart.

– Maureen ©

And an affirmation to tie it all together:
Even in the face of adversity, I courageously embrace the dance of my life.

Namasté and peace to you…
Maureen

Dear Spirit,

Open wide the vistas of my soul!

Allow me to see beyond

my repetitiveness of thought

my narrowness of vision

to the vast expansiveness
that awaits me

when I release fear

and fully open
my heart.

– Maureen

power of spirit

Open wide the vistas of my soul.

It seems to me that there is a lot of fear bubbling under the surface both inside me and wherever I go. I feel it in my interactions with others, in public places, with the environment in general. Perhaps it’s a result of everyone moving at a ridiculous pace, racing God knows where, schedules overbooked, cell phones ringing, texts coming in and generally caught up in a whirlwind of busy-ness.

This leaves little time for the most important things in life like breathing with awareness, taking the time to appreciate the blossoming of the spring flowers, and for just doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. I know I have to remind myself that THAT is OKAY. It’s more than okay. It’s necessary.

And when we find ourselves in this tornado-type existence, the tension builds, the fear bubbles up and we miss out on LIFE.

So I would like to share a little flow with you that I am calling “The Power of Spirit Flow” – it takes only a few minutes. The purpose is to connect us with our solar plexus energy – the inner god/goddess energy – the peaceful warrior who KNOWS that life is meant to be lived one moment at a time, without fear of missing something, fear of what’s to come, fear of pausing.
May it serve you well.

P.S. Please forgive that you can’t see my feet in the video.:) oops.


When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you. – Lao Tzu

It is becoming more and more apparent to me that  the general population is experiencing a Spleen imbalance.  Do you agree?  Well, let me elaborate…

Among other tasks, the Spleen (Spleen/Pancreas) in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) is the organ system that processes and transports the energy of the food we eat to create Qi (energy) and blood, thereby nourishing the whole body. It purifies  and  manufactures the blood and keeps it  inside the vessels. (If you bruise easily or have bleeding gums, blood in stool, etc this would indicate an imbalance in the Spleen arena.) and in a healthy state, prevents organ prolapse.

When out of balance from an emotional perspective there is WORRY. (Anyone out there relate to worry??) One of the primary functions of the Spleen (along with it’s paired organ, the Stomach) is digestion – not just of food, but also the endless stream of thoughts and outside interactions and distractions that we ‘digest’ every day. An imbalance leads to a sense of not having enough… be that of love, food, money or any other commodity, hence, the tendency to look outside of oneself  to alleviate this sense of lack. Just ONE more cookie… ONE more drink…. ONE more pair of shoes…

And where this is also becoming blatantly apparent is in our desire to fulfill relationship connections – by looking to the outside world through digital technology. Endless texting, emailing, Facebooking (is that a word?) is shown to be actually ‘rewiring’ our brain and in so doing, diminishing our capacity to focus.

When we realize that this kind of ‘satisfaction’ will never be quelled by outside sources and that a true sense of peace and inner fulfillment can only come from within, this is a huge first step to recovering balance.

There are a few things that we can do to proactively initiate this process. Acupressure, sound (toning) and meditation are highly recommended for ushering in equilibrium. I will share some ideas that you may wish to include in your daily ‘repertoire’ of activities.

ACUPRESSURE:

This is such a simple, powerful practice that opens pools of energy located just under the surface of the skin, inviting a more elegant flow of Qi (energy) through the channels of our body.

Here is a point that can bring balance to the Spleen: SP 4 “Grandparent/Grandchild”
Located on the arch of the foot in the dip below the first metatarsal bone, about one thumb’s width from the ball of the foot.

This is a key point in alleviating worry as well as indigestion (another ‘symptom’ of worry) and foot cramps. Using the acronym “BPI” (breath, pressure, intention) press gently and then with increasing pressure as you breathe deeply with full awareness on the point. Hold for between 1 and 3 minutes. (This point can also be accessed by rubbing the ball of the opposite foot or your heel on the area – massaging back and forth.)

spleen4

SOUND:

We are vibratory Beings. The healing capabilities of sound are simple, non-invasive and powerful. As Jonathon Goldman, wonderful author, musician and sound healer states, “Frequency plus Intention equals Healing”.

The sound of ‘HU’ (sounds like ‘who’) is the Taoist Healing Sound for the Spleen. To practice this I suggest holding the hands gently under the ribs on the left side of the body (where the spleen is housed), breathing in and exhaling to the sound of ‘HU’ several times. Your intention can be around balance and the knowledge that we find our true feelings of fulfillment and peace of mind inside ourselves. Perhaps affirm, “Everything I need comes from within. I am safe.”

MEDITATION:

I cannot emphasize enough the benefits of slowing down and taking the time to go within. I believe many people who would LIKE to meditate don’t because they think they need to spend at least 30 minutes or more a day in lotus position, eyes closed and quarantined from the outside world.

While I do agree that being alone in a quiet place and having the ability to close your eyes is highly recommended, even a five minute ‘retreat’ to this inner world can do wonders for us, emotionally, physically and spiritually.

The other ‘excuse’ I hear most often, is “I don’t know how to meditate” Or “I can’t turn off my mind.” Well, the National Science Foundation reports that our brains produce up to 50,000 thoughts a day or more (the majority of these thoughts being the SAME ONES), so naturally it is a learned process to still the mind. Stilling the mind, however, doesn’t mean there will not be thoughts. It’s what we do with them. When a stray idea enters the realm of your meditation, rather than become frustrated, acknowledge it and come back to center.

One of the easiest meditations I have found is HAMSA (Sanskrit mantra that relates to the sound of the breath: ‘Ham” on the inhale – sounds like ‘hum’, and “Sa” on the exhale.) Allowing your belly to expand on the in breath to the sound of Ham… and contract on the out breath to the sound of Sa… feel the flow of the breath entering and leaving your body, smooth, deep and complete. Even just a couple of minutes of this can tell your adrenals that ‘all is well’ and make your spleen happy, too. (And by the way, leave your phone in the off position – at least for this short duration. It gets easier.)

So next time you are feeling ’emotional hunger pangs’ whether for actual food or some other type of gratification, bring awareness to the amazing organ of the Spleen that works tirelessly to instill balance and nurturing in our lives. You are worth the effort.

Wishing you health, contentment and an overall sense of Well-Being.
Namasté.
Maureen

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