Category Archives: Take Action

When You’re Feeling Down, Look Up

tree-tops-free-image

Ever notice that, when times get tough, we tend to bow our heads & forge ahead, eyes lowered, chin tucked, jaw set? This posture compresses our upper chakras: Crown, 3rd Eye, Throat & Heart. Constricting these vital centers makes it more difficult to access the grace, inspiration & clarity needed to find solutions & a smooth pathway forward. Next time you're feeling stressed, relax your jaw, lift your head, look to the sky & welcome luminous possibilities!

Opening The Heart

Heart Pool Reflection

OPENING THE HEART
(Tracing the Yin Bridge)

Benefits: softens and opens the heart chakra, enhances receptivity to nourishing energies and spirit support, helps you attend to what has heart and meaning, allows you to express your heart more authentically, strengthens capacity for compassionate presence.

Do this as a regular spirit practice, when you wish to be open and present with spirit, when you are feeling cold or close hearted, when you wish to show up authentically in the world.

Instructions:

1. Bring your hands to your heart chakra and rest your fingertips gently on your sternum.

2. With your hands, trace the shape of a heart on the front of your body from the center of your heart chakra to your navel. As you begin to draw the heart, inhale slowly through your nose. When you reach the navel, release the breath slowly out through your mouth.

3. Repeat this process 3-4 times. The last time continue to move your hands down the inside of both your legs, breathing out as you sweep the energy down your legs to your feet.

adapted from a technique from Donna Eden

Balance Your Chakras with Color Breathing

Chakra are vital keys to our health and well-being, physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. Each of these energy centers resonates in a unique and specific frequency range. When a chakra is stressed, it can become unbalanced and compromised. Its frequencies become dampened or overly intensified. Chakra balancing helps to restore the chakra frequencies to their natural range.

You can help to balance your chakras through using the natural color of each chakra as a kind of "tuning fork" for its specific frequency. Here's a simple exercise which combines breathwork, color visualization and intention to support the health of your chakra.

chakrasfull
  1. Begin this exercise with an intention to offer healing and balancing to your energy system.
  2. Bring your awareness to your root chakra. (Placing your palms on or above the chakra can help your focus.)

  3. Breathe in and hold the air in your lungs for a few moments.

  4. Imagine that the air in your lungs is turning a rich, vibrant shade of red.

  5. As you exhale, imagine that you are breathing out your root chakra. Envision the red energy in your lungs is flowing down to your root chakra and through it out of your body.

  6. As this red energy flows to your root, imagine the chakra itself glowing brightly with this vibrant red light
  7. Send 3 red breaths to your root chakra

  8. Take a deep cleansing breath, in through your nose, and release red from your imagination as you release your breath out your mouth

  9. Repeat for each chakra with the corresponding color. Root: Red, Sacral (belly): Orange, Solar Plexus (diaphragm): Yellow, Heart: Green, Throat: Blue, 3rd Eye (brow): Indigo/Purple, Crown (top of head): Violet or White

article by Ananaia R O'Leary

Welcoming Flow

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FLOWING is a state of dynamic ease. When we are flowing energetically, subtle energy circulates freely through our meridians, chakras and energy bodies, reducing physical and emotional pain and dysfunction. Energetic flow also supports healthy function in the physical body, including the cardio-vascular, endocrine and nervous systems.

Energetic flow promotes balance, vitality and optimal function in body, mind and spirit. When we are flowing spiritually, life unfolds sweetly and smoothly, with few obstacles and little stress. Spiritual flow enables us to open to inspiration and possibilities, connect to nourishment and support, think creatively and move optimistically in the world.

There are many energy medicine techniques that help our energy to flow, but you may wish to begin by energizing your intention to welcome flow into your life.

hummingbird flight

 

  1. Each morning take a few moments to face East (the direction of the dawning sun & new possibilities)
  2. Take a few deep cleansing breaths in through your nose, out through the mouth
  3. State aloud: Today I welcome grace and ease.  (or similar words of your choosing)
  4. If you wish, open your heart to the support of Spirit. Hummingbird is a particularly good ally to call upon for this. Hummingbird medicine helps us trust and align with the sweetness of Life.

Intention is powerful.  Life flows more smoothly when we welcome grace and ease. Welcome flow!

Activating the Chakras in Your Feet

The chakras in the bottom of our feet help to connect us to the Earth's energy field. Shoes, concrete and the stresses of modern life can cause these energy centers to become congested and closed.  When this happens, the energetic exchange between us and the Mother is curtailed, making it hard for us to release unwanted energies and receive nourishment from Gaia. This simple technique can help.

Two Footprints in sand

Benefits: opens minor chakras in the soles of the foot, stimulates energy flow through these chakras and enhances energetic connection with the Earth.

Do this exercise when you are feeling ungrounded, have excessive energy or nervousness, are scattered, flighty or unfocused.

Instructions:

  1. This works best with your shoes off
  2. Sitting or standing, rest your feet on the floor or ground
  3. Curl your toes inward, like you are making fists with your feet. Hold tightly for several seconds
  4. Relax your toes for a couple of seconds
  5. Repeat at least 5-6x
  6. Rest your feet on the ground again
  7. Sense the enhanced energetic connection between your feet and the Earth

article by Ananaia O'Leary

 

Mind A-Whirl? Try These Tips

Artwork by Alex Grey
Artwork by Alex Grey

Is your mind a-whirl? Cluttered with plans & possibilities or fears & frustrations? When the mind is buzzing, it can be very difficult to hear the calm, still voice of intuition. We can scheme & strategize, but, in this mental mode, we have only intellect & past precedent to draw upon. This can severely limit possibilities & hamper problem solving.

Quieting the mind & connecting to our intuition helps us find a smooth path through challenges & optimize luminous forward momentum. Stilling mind & opening to inner wisdom is an evolving art, which takes time & dedication to develop. However, a few simple steps can get you started.

When your mind is racing or you are feeling confused, try one of these tips:

Shift Gears:  A wise person once said: When you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is: Stop digging.   If your mental wheels are spinning, stop pushing.  Step back. Take your mind off whatever you are attempting to achieve. If possible, walk away.   Change environment. Change focus.  Redirect your attention & your energy towards something completely unrelated to the task at hand.  Trivial or productive -- just make sure it has no relevance to the issue or initiative that has your gears spinning.  Put your quandary on the back burner & focus on something else.  You might be amazed what emerges. 

Face Fear:   Sometimes when you're struggling for resolution, you are trying like hell to keep your worst fear at bay. We often believe that, if we can just avoid bringing that fear into focus, somehow we can prevent it from manifesting. Ironically, the opposite is often true.  What we resist, gains power.  Those unacknowledged fears have a way of haunting us.  Next time you find  yourself in a dicey situation -- staving off fear of an undefined, but dreaded outcome, you might try this:

  • Turn & face the worst fear you can imagine.  
  • Allow yourself to look it squarely in the face -- to name it.
  • View it as a possibility, not a certainty. Breathe.  
  • Allow yourself to be present with the imagined ramifications of that fear.

It's amazing how often they reveal themselves to be hyperbolic -- over-blown, exaggerated stalkers that seek to terrorize your psyche.    Facing them can help to shrink their scale & bring them back into perspective.  When that happens, their grip is loosened & we can widen out to other possibilities. 

Seek Counsel:  We don't have to have all the answers. When we aren't certain, we can consult other sources: trusted friends, spirit allies, divination, respected teachers & counselors & our own intuition. Of course, it's important to be discerning. If you ask someone more rash or ignorant than yourself, this can either create chaos or bring crystal clarity (through contrast.) Sometimes hearing a bad idea can really bring our wisdom into focus. 

If you have not yet surrounded yourself with at least a handful of sage friends & allies, I suggest divination. Chose a divination tool such as tarot, oracle cards or runes and develop your relationship with them. When stymied or confused, you can pull a card for insight. Personally, I like to work with Brian Froud & Jessica MacBeth's Faeries' Oracle or the Norse runes.  The key to right use of counsel is checking out all suggestions with your inner sense of knowing.  If doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.

Practice Patience: If you aren't clear, wait. Better to defer a decision (whenever possible) than to make a rash choice & have to unravel the consequences.  Time often opens a window for your intuition to sneak in.

article by Ananaia O'Leary

Catalyzing Clarity

ice-sculptures

Clarity is such a blessing.  When we are clear, we can move forward with confidence.  When we are muddled, momentum slows and tension rises.  Often we try to push forward, despite confusion.  The results are seldom satisfactory.

Angeles Arrien, writer, cultural anthropologist and medicine woman, once wrote: When we are not clear, we wait. There is wisdom in these words. Baffled action is never advisable. Yet, if we are unclear, do we simply wait passively? At times, yes, quietly resting in ambiguity can be the best possible choice. In this liminal pause, wisdom can surface and insight emerges.

At other times, there is a bonafide need for action.  We feel it in our bones, like a pressure pushing us forward, but without clarity how do we proceed? By stepping back from the issue at hand and focusing on the impediment: lack of clarity.  If you are unclear, take action on that.

When caught in a spiral of persistent confusion, recognize what’s happening, stop pushing, pause, take a breath, redirect your energies. Don’t try to punch your way through. Catalyze clarity through ceremony.

If you’re conversant with creating your own ceremony, go for it!  Get creative.  If ceremony is new territory for you, keeping it sincere and simple is a good rule of thumb. Remember, the point of ceremony is to engage body, mind and heart in a communication with Spirit. Sometimes the best communication is eloquent in its simplicity.

Here are a few elementary suggestions for catalyzing clarity by … 

1)  Air:  Breath

  • Take a few quiet moments in a comfortable posture and align your intention for clarity
  • Breathe in and hold your breath gently in your lungs
  • Tune to the confusion within, allowing that energy to permeate the air in your lungs
  • Exhale, breathing out confusion
  • Pause with your lungs empty to align with your intent to welcome clarity
  • Inhale, breathing in clarity
  • Repeat slowly until you feel complete
  • Do this daily or several times a day to energize your intent to release and clear

2)  Fire:  Burning Bowl

  • Supplies: paper, markers, crayons or pencils & a safe place to burn paper
  • Be present with your confusion, without immersing in it
  • Make an abstract energy drawing of your confusion. Try to draw from your feelings rather than your thoughts.
  • When your drawing feels complete, be present with it briefly (just a few minutes)
  • Say “Yes!” to releasing this confusion
  • Set the paper on fire and drop it into a fire-safe bowl or fireplace
  • As you watch, invite the cleansing power of fire to burn through your confusion like the sun burning away fog.

3)  Water:  try this Salt Water Purification ceremony

4)  Earth:  Stone Ally

  • Choose a stone willing to help you release confusion and attain clarity
  • Tune to the confusion within, allow that energy to permeate the air in your lungs
  • Exhale, breathing out into the stone — the stone will hold this confusion for you
  • Carry the stone in your pocket
  • Throughout the day, as confusion arises, blow it into the stone
  • At the end of the day, place the stone lovingly on Mother Earth and ask her to help the dense energy of confusion breakdown and return to her to be recycled
  • Leave the stone on the Earth overnight to clear
  • In the morning, lift your stone from the Earth and feel its clarity
  • Hold the stone and let the energy of clarity flow through you
  • Continue to work with the stone until confusion dissipates and clarity emerges

Personally, I would not do all 4 of these processes for the same issue.  I’d choose the most resonant one for this situation and focus on it.

When working with ceremony, expect change, but don’t demand it.  Do these simple workings in a spirit of trust and empowerment, not desperation.   Spirit moves on its own timetable, so surrender attachment to outcome (as best you can) and pay attention to what is emerging.  Clarity may come in unexpected ways from unexpected sources.  Expect it!

Trusting Your Creations Begins with a Liminal Pause

I can trust myself as a perfect and luminous Creator. What an amazing discovery this has been!  The light of this awareness has been slowly dawning over the past few years, as I've come into the recognition that every experience is a perfect gift from my Higher Self, my Spirit.  And this is true for you too!

Every incident, occurrence, event, "accident", etc. carries with it an opportunity for healing, enhanced awareness, spiritual growth for yourself and others involved.  More Light, more Love, more Joy. When we are able to recognize the perfection of our own creations, we can identify and claim the gift(s) in any situation.  When we perceive from this level, we shift our narrative from stories of suffering to tales of transformation.  The trick is to find the gift within the experience.

In order to do this, we need to be able to detach from our suffering perspective and witness the dynamics involved from a higher level.  This requires mindfulness, the ability to connect with our intuition ... and, of course, practice. The first step is learning to insert a liminal pause.

What does this mean?

The liminal is a threshold state -- an undefined space betwixt and between, neither here nor there. It is the space between catalyst & responsecause & effect, an experience & our evaluation of it.

When we perceive a challenging situation, we tend to immediately label it as "negative", which triggers resistance and throws us into a fight/flight/freeze mode.  Our brain goes into a beta brainwave state. While this is an optimal state for running away from an imminent threat, it is not conducive to mindfulness or intuitive connection.

Intuition requires an alpha or theta brainwave state.  While we're in beta we cannot be in alpha or theta, which means if we want to perceive and receive the gift of our own creations, we need to learn to shift our consciousness.

In every challenging situation, I'm learning to insert a liminal pause. I stop, breathe and remind myself that I can trust my creations.  I'm cultivating the ability to suspend the temptation to tell myself stories of stress and impending catastrophe.  Of course, I can still be triggered into a fight or flight response, so I've also been learning energy medicine techniques to help me calm, center and reset my system when this happens.  As I relax, my brain shifts into a deeper brainwave state, making intuitive connection more accessible. 

As I work with these techniques, it's becoming a habit for me to incorporate them in the moment or as soon as I realize that I have been triggered.

One technique I find beneficial is Sedating the Triple Warmer.  Triple Warmer is one of the meridians or energy highways in the body.  This meridian tends to get over-stimulated by stress.  Sedating this meridian helps to soothe and calm stress in your body, mind and emotions.

SEDATING TRIPLE WARMER
adapted from Donna Eden’s Energy Medicine Kit

Benefits:  The triple warmer meridian is closely linked with the fight-or-flight response.  Sedating the triple warmer calms the meridian, helping to reduce fear and anxiety, release tension and overcome insomnia.  You sedate the triple warmer meridian by running your hand along the meridian in the reverse direction of it's natural flow. 

artwork from Energy Medicine by Donna Eden
artwork from Energy Medicine by Donna Eden

Do these exercises when you are feeling stressed, frightened or anxious, having trouble grounding and centering or are over-energized or excessively jazzed.

Simple Option: Smoothing Behind the Ears
You sedate the triple warmer meridian by running your hand along the meridian in the reverse direction of its natural flow: 

  1. Place the tips of your fingers on your temples. Take a deep breath in through the nose and exhale through your mouth.
  2. On another deep in-breath, slowly slide your fingers up and over your ears, maintaining some pressure.
  3. On the out-breath, take them around and behind your ears, down your neck and hang your fingers on your shoulders.
  4. When you are ready, push your fingers into your shoulders, drag them across the front of your shoulders, and let them go.

Complete Option: Tracing Triple Warmer Backwards

  1. Place your right hand flat on your left temple.
  2. As you inhale, sweep your hand firmly and steadily along the triple warmer meridian (pictured above) to the tip of the ring finger on your left hand, exhaling as you release the energy through your fingers.
  3. Repeat 2 or 3 times on your left side as needed.
  4. Repeat on the right side.

I use this and other energy medicine techniques and spirit practices to help me restore balance. For more techniques, I recommend Donna Eden's Energy Medicine book &/or kit.

When I am calm and centered, I ask myself:

How is this perfect? What gift am I offering myself in this situation?

I don't try to find the answer through reason or analysis; I align with ease and ambiguity, stretching out the liminal pause to allow my Higher Self to slip through the space between my egoic responses and illuminate the situation with the Truth of the Spirit. Sometimes clarity arrives quickly. More often, I need to take my mind off the situation, release attachment to outcome and allow insight to incubate. Movement, sleep, meditation and prayer can all help me to connect to my intuition.

When clarity comes and I glimpse the gift at the heart of the challenge, I often laugh aloud. Gifts come in many forms: an opportunity to heal a long standing wound, to forgive and restore a broken relationship, to recognize the beauty of my own being or that of another, to shed a limiting belief which has shaped my experience of the world, to hold another human being in love, compassion and trust in our mutual luminous creativity.

I open my heart and mind and say "Yes!" to my own perfect creation.  Once the gift is received, I ask Spirit for guidance to help me move forward, taking the necessary steps for resolution, releasing what is painful and aligning with joy.  I insert a liminal pause and await the inevitable inspiration.

article by Ananaia O'Leary

 

Quiet for the Quickening

Bringing Spring by Kinuko CraftToday is Imbolc, a holiday with ancient roots and modern relevance. Here in the Northern Hemisphere, it is the time of the quickening. The time when life stirs in the Earth and the next cycle of growth awakens. It is a perfect time to slow our activity, quiet our minds and dissolve our inner chatter to a sacred stillpoint.

In this keen quiet, our Spirit is moving, stirring the deep waters of life, engendering your next cycle of growth. If we are still, we can sense this subtle awakening. At this moment, you don’t need the details. Seek the life-pulse rising, like Spring sap in sycamores. Your Spirit is calling you to expand, evolve,excel. Sense the Truth-Yes! in your being. Tonight, when darkness falls, energize a candle with your Yes! and set it in a window. Let your light shine in the world. Spring is coming!

If you are having trouble stilling your mind, a purification ceremony can help.  Think of it as a Spring cleaning of the Spirit.  I’ve adapted this practice from a ceremony I learned from Starhawk’s Spiral Dance many years ago.  The first time I did this almost 25 years ago, I experienced a profound sense of sacred empowerment and healing – just what I needed at that time. May this ceremony bring you the blessings you need in this moment.

Salt-Water Purification Ceremony

  • Create a time and space for quiet without interruptions.
  • Take a few deep breaths to calm yourself.
  • Invite luminous Spirit support to be present with you.
  • Fill a cup with water.  Add three mounds of salt, and stir.
  • Sit with the cup in your lap.
  • Let any disruptive thoughts or feelings surface in your mind; be present with any dense energies in your body or energy field.
  • Sense these as a muddy stream, which flows out of you as you breathe and is dissolved by the salt water in the cup.
  • Allow yourself time to feel deeply cleansed.
  • Now hold up the cup.  Breathe deeply, and invite the green light of Nature to rise up through you from the Earth.
  • Let this luminous energy flow into the salt water, until you can visualize the water glowing with light.
  • Sip the water.  As you feel it on your tongue, know that you have taken in the power of cleansing, of healing.  You have been cleansed by the power of change.
  • If you are planning to light a candle (as discussed above), now would be a good time to energize and light it.
  • Thank Spirit for their presence and support.
  • Place your candle in the window
  • Empty the leftover water onto the Earth (being careful to choose a spot where the salt water will not damage growth.)
  • Enjoy the sacred stillness of Imbolc.

 

Calling Out Your Spirit

At the luminous core, we are medicine. Light and love emerges from within us, seeking expression.  Where it finds a clear path, it pours out uplifting the world with healing, harmony and wholeness.  Where it is blocked or impeded, the light of our being bends into shadow, expressing in ways which create challenge and suffering.

But whether our light is flowing straight or bent, 24/7 we are only doing one thing: attempting to bring our medicine.  

I mean this literally, and without exception, stating this from deep and direct observation of the subtle energies of humans -- no rose-colored lens involved.  Truth -- subtle, but observable.

When we come home to the Truth at the core of our being, we discover the healing and harmonizing power of Love.  When we witness this clear light of Truth, we energize and call it forth.  When we acknowledge and call out the light of our Spirit from the core, we help the wounded and blocked places in our being to remember their true nature, enhancing their ability to express the light within.

Rattle
  • Take a few moments to calm and center yourself.

  • Tune deeply to the column of energy that runs through your body from above your crown to beneath your feet: Heaven to Earth.  If you are new to sensing energies, use your imagination to help you connect with your luminous core.

  • Reflect on your intent to call out your Spirit.

  • Use a rattle to energize your intention.  Each time you shake the rattle you are calling to the light within you, inviting it to shine forth.  Energy follows intention, so trust the process.  No effort or energy manipulation is required on your part -- this is as simple as call and response.  Align with your intention and rattle to energize and convey your intent. (If you don't own a rattle, you can improvise with a chime, tapping two rocks together or shaking a bag of beans.)
  • Breathe and welcome the emergence of your inner light.

  • Rattle until you sense a lightening or uplifting shift in your state of being.

  • Take a few moments to experience and appreciate your own luminous nature.

  • Explore the benefits of incorporating this practice into your daily or regular routine

article by Ananaia O'Leary