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Free Equinox Guided Meditation – Turning Point (mp3)

September 14, 2019

Equinox is a balance point – between day and night, sun and moon, past and future.

I haven’t posted an energy work meditation in awhile, and I have a favorite sequence for equinox that I’d like to share. This work helps you make the transition from past patterns and goals to new ones, on an energetic level.

If you roll a ball uphill, it will slow and then pause for a second before rolling back down. This pause is the perfect metaphor for the energy of the equinoxes – they are pauses at the balance point between light and dark, day and night, sun and moon, before a change in direction occurs. As such equinoxes are the perfect time to mark a transition in your life in a conscious way. You can use this balance point energy to affirm a turning of the page, a shift in emphasis, a new set of goals, and the release of old patterns.

The following guided meditation is designed to guide you through this process on an energetic level. You will need to do some preparation to engage with it, and then you could do it just once on the equinox itself (perhaps combining it with other rituals you like to mark the occasion with) or everyday for a few days before and a few days after to affirm the shift you are bringing into being.

The meditation has two parts, each consisting of three sub-parts. The first part is focused on looking back with gratitude at where you’ve been, and pulling forward lessons and wisdom you can use in the future. The second part is focused on turning forward, establishing your highest energetic vibration/foundation, affirming the direction you want to go, and what energies you would like more of in your life.

Here is an overview of the meditation, and what you will need to prepare (I suggest writing these down on a prep sheet beforehand):

Backwards/Past Section:

  • Express gratitude for three things representative of the phase of your life you are shifting from. These might be events, people, gifts, or lessons (although you will focus on lessons explicitly in the step after next.) Although you could choose more or less than three, three is a good number for these kinds of exercises, so I have used it throughout. Write down your three items on your prep sheet.
  • Affirm the release and/or say good bye to three items from this phase of your life that you do not want to be a part of the next phase. These might be relationships, an old job or home, or limiting emotional or conditioned patterns. Again, more than three is fine, but it’s hard to affirm a shift in a clear way if too many aspects are involved, so three is generally a good number. Write these on your prep sheet.
  • Acknowledge and ‘own’ three lessons, or three types of insight or wisdom gained, in the period you are moving on from. Write these down on your prep sheet. Within the meditation, you will not only verbalize but feel these as energies integrating into your body. In fact feeling each step in your body is what distinguishes this meditation and makes it energy work. So as much as possible, feel the energies of what you are visualizing or contemplating.

At this point we’ll pause for an affirmation that represents the turning point you are consciously marking.

Forwards/Future Section:

  • Chakra empowerment and affirmations. No prep necessary for this section, I will guide you through focusing on each chakra with a visual and affirmation, in order to fully clear and activate your energy body.
  • Name and cultivate the feeling of three qualities you want your future to be filled with. These might be emotions like joy, contentment, or calm, or it might be more situational states such as successful, confident or financially secure. Either way, imagine what each of these is like as an energy, in particular what color of energy you would represent each as. You will use these to bring a felt sense of each state into your mind and body.
  • Identify three goals you have for yourself in the next phase of your life. Then identify a visual you can use that represents you already having achieved each goal. You will utilize these within the final part of the meditation, in which you will first establish energy lines between your third eye, heart and navel chakra to each goal, and then integrate your goals, and the feeling they have already occurred, into your body.

Close out and complete the transition.

I’ve put this together as an audio for you, although you could certainly do this sequence on your own without an audio. Keep in mind this is a home-made audio, so there is some minor ambient static and background noice – in general, playing it on lower volume will help screen that out. I hope you enjoy it and I wish you all a joyful, abundant and transformative equinox!

Equinox Turning Point Meditation (21 minutes):

Books to Close out Your Summer

August 30, 2019

Summer is winding down, and we are heading into the shedding, introspective, and germinating energy of Fall and Winter. I haven’t done a book post in awhile, and have read many interesting books this summer. Here’s a few you may be interested in reading as part of this transition – including my own, which you can now pre-order, finally due out in December!! As always, I have included a mixture of self-published and wider release books.

 

Chakra Empowerment for Women: Self-Guided Techniques for Healing Trauma, Owning Your Power & Finding Overall Wellness, by Lisa Erickson (me!) (this link is to Amazon, you can also pre-order at Barnes and Noble and Llewellyn.) I’m very excited for this book to come out December 8th. It presents 12 chakra empowerments to help you activate particular energies within a specific moment in your day, or for use as part of a longer term personal transformation effort. The activation process for each includes visualization, affirmation, memory, and energetic transmission, and the book includes color inserts to help you with the visuals (I’m grateful to my publisher Llewellyn for agreeing to these inserts, as they are rare these days.) It is of course focused on women’s energy anatomy and specific issues women often face to owning their power. I have included sections in each chapter on how these chakra empowerments can be utilized as part of a sexual trauma healing process. This book is inspired by and adapted from the work I have done with many of you in private sessions and workshops, and I’m very grateful for your sharings with me. However, this is the first time I have presented these empowerments in this sequential, structured way that you can reference at any time. A book website including a chakra diagnostic quiz will be available later this Fall, and I will be doing a 12 week video seminar tied to the book starting in January – more info forthcoming on that too. And if you’re a podcaster or blogger looking for interviewees, please reach out, I’d love to discuss the book with you as part of my online book tour.

 

 

Wild Mercy: Living the Fierce and Tender Wisdom of the Women Mystics, by Mirabai Starr. I have been a fan of Mirabai Starr’s writing on Saint Teresa of Avila and Saint John of the Cross, but had never read her more personal work. This is part memoir and part spiritual call to action, for women in particular. She shares her challenges and heartbreak (including the tragic death of her daughter at 14), as well as the stories of many women mystics and how they have inspired her. Fierce and tender women’s wisdom for sure.

 

SHOUT, by Laurie Halse Anderson. Laurie Halsie Anderson is the author of Speak, a moving first person novel of a high school girl’s sexual trauma and healing process. It became a bestseller as well as a finalist for the National Book Award and Ms. Anderson has visited high schools around the country speaking to students about sexual assault, consent, and related issues. Shout is her own story, and really an account of how Speak came to be. Equally moving and wise, it grapples with many issues related to sexual abuse, assault, and healing. Sexual trauma survivors should proceed with caution as she does describe her assault.

 

Politics of Love: A Handbook of a New American Revolution, by Marianne Williamson. Ms. Willimason is of course running for President and has several politically minded books out, in addition to her bestselling spiritual books. Whether you agree with her policy proposals or not, this book is worth a read as it highlights how our political discourse has changed over the years, how this rhetoric reflects our spiritual state of being, and lays out a vision for how democracy could reflect the foundational spiritual value of love. It just might redefine some things for you.

 

Five Wisdom Energies: A Buddhist Way of Understanding Personalities, Emotions and Relationships, by Irini Rockwell. This is another presentation of the 5 ‘Buddha families’ or ‘dakini families’ from Tibetan Buddhism, and how this model can be utilized to work with ourselves for personal and spiritual transformation. While I still prefer Lama Tsultrim’s Wisdom Rising: Journey into the Empowered Feminine, this book offers a more psychological and sociological perspective that may be a good follow-up read for you if you liked Lama Tsultrim’s book and/or have been working with the dakini energies.

 


Yoga Wisdom: Warrior Tales Inspiring You On and Off Your Mat
, Stephanie Spence. This is part memoir and part mini-interviews with dozens of yoga teachers from many different traditions. Ms. Spence shares her story of finding herself through yoga after a difficult divorce, and embarks upon a yoga road trip as part of her healing journey (also the foundation for her popular blog). Each teacher shares tidbits of how they relate to their practice and how it is the foundation for their own life. Some are more physically based, and some are more emotional/psychological. This is a dip-in-and-out book, and if you’re a yoga practitioner, it may offer your some new insights.

 

Radiantly Free: Recreating Life and Health from the Radiance of You, Rev Dr. Rachel Wetzteon. I was recently interviewed by Rachel, and so enjoyed our conversation (you’ll find that interview on her podcast page here.) Her background in personal training and a doctorate in physiology give her a unique perspective on spirituality and the importance of the mind-body link. She has combined this with energy healing training and offers her own personal take in this little gem.

 

Warrior Won, by Meryl Davids Landau. This is spiritual ‘chick lit’ – I mentioned Ms. Landau’s prior book Downward Dog, Upward Fog in a prior post. As you can probably tell from these titles, the protagonist of both books, Lorna, is a dedicated yoga practitioner. She is also representative of many ‘spiritual but not religious’ individuals today, who build their spiritual path from many different sources, including law of attraction teachings, Buddhist teachings, energy healing traditions and more. in this latest novel, Lorna faces a major life challenge, entering her into a ‘dark night’ of sorts, and has to draw upon her various sources for new strength and inspiration.

 

The Gifted School, by Bruce Holsinger. Not a spiritual or energy healing book! But a novel that’s really about modern parenting (at least American parenting), the pressure to have ‘exceptional’ kids, and the lengths we will go to to make that happen – whether in sports, academics, music, or anything else (I’ve even seen this drive in spiritual parents, who are certain their child is a reincarnation of some great teacher or other.) It’s part biological and part psychological. So if you are just looking for a good read with a few parenting moments in which you may recognize yourself (or others you know), this might be a good fit for you.

 

Wishing you a wonderful transition from summer to fall (or the opposite if you’re down under!) and will return soon with more energy resources. Much light to you-

10 Tips for Surviving (and Thriving) As An Empath

July 31, 2019

Felt like a good time to reblog this post! I also recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by Rev Dr Rachel Wetztseon, check out the sidebar to link through to that podcast…and while you are there be sure to check out her book Radiantly Free.

Mommy Mystic

ProtectedEmpath ‘Protected Empath’ by Elena Ray, http://elenaray.com

We are living through a very intense time right now, and in the coming months I’ll be focusing here on the energies of this particular phase of history, and how we all can deal with them. Today I want to start with the basics of caring for yourself as an empath. We are all empathic, because to be human means to be connected energetically to everything around you, whether you are aware of this or not. Just as our physical senses are constantly picking up sounds, sights, tastes, smells, and sensations, so our subtle body senses are constantly experiencing the energies present in our environment, emanating from the world mood at large, and from the people around us.

However, there is a spectrum of empathic sensitivity, and if you are reading this blog, which is almost entirely about energy, then you are probably…

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Breaking through the Gatekeepers

July 20, 2019

This post might also be titled ‘Take Pride In Being New Age’, as it was prompted by a LA Times article that I found not a little patronizing (How Millenials Replaced Religion with Astrology and Crystals) as well as the dismissive coverage of Marianne Williamson’s performance in the first presidential debate. This time in history is so much about breaking down barriers and getting rid of the gatekeepers who have guarded the gates to power. This is true on a lot of fronts, but the ones most relevant to this blog are of course spirituality and healing. As the number of people who define themselves as ‘spiritual but not religious’ climbs, more attention is being paid to how these individuals are piecing together their own spiritual paths drawing from multiple sources. But the media coverage of this – even within the ‘progressive’ media – is often derisive, eschewing such individuals as flaky, superficial, ‘woo woo’ or all of the above in the catchall term ‘New Age’. 

As my own work is usually itself put in this category, I can’t help but ask how New Age got such as a bad rap. Even healing practitioners and spiritual teachers whose work falls in this category are often reluctant to label themselves as such. It’s really worth asking why, because who, really, ISN’T hoping for the dawn of a New Age at this point?!? Many of us share a sense that we are in environmental, social, and spiritual crises, and a turning point must occur for the earth to even be viable for future generations. If that’s not the definition of needing a New Age, then what is? Often criticism of New Age modalities – which depending on who you ask includes everything from yoga, meditation, and acupuncture to crystals, reiki, and astrology – is just another form of gatekeeping.

The thing about gatekeeping is that it doesn’t just function externally, it creates internal barriers that you can’t easily see. When it comes to spirituality and healing these barriers prevent you from connecting directly to the full spiritual and healing power within yourself. You internalize the idea that spirit must be mediated through a socially-sanctioned institution or individual; that you do not know enough to connect directly with spirit or healing energies; that an authority figure is needed to discern anything related to your spiritual path or health needs; that your gender, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation disqualifies you; that your own insight or intuition on these matters is irrelevant.

Most of us do need spiritual, personal growth, and healing guidance, help, and support at least sometimes, as well as practices and tools. But spiritual teachers, guides, mentors, healers, intuitives and energy workers should function more as midwives than gatekeepers. For that matter so should religious organizations and lineages – their purpose is to help us birth ourselves into our own direct spiritual connection. They should provide the energy, structure, container and guidance that empowers us to awaken and aid our own healing. And many of them do function this way. But all too often (as we’ve seen in headline after headline), these institutions and/or individuals within them have instead become the exact opposite – power structures that disempower through fear and manipulation, creating internal barriers for individuals that are very hard to release.

The original New Age movement began partly in response to, and as a rebellion against, this kind of disempowerment, and that’s why I think it is in fact growing stronger these days, especially amongst millennials. Nevertheless there are some valid criticisms of the current New Age environment, and I think it’s worth looking at them to sort through which are ‘gatekeeping’ misrepresentations and which are helpful. Here’s the most common criticisms I often see of New Age practices and individuals. They are characterized as:

  • Flaky and Ungrounded – this is based on a stereotype of spaced out individuals who can’t function in their daily lives. As a business owner, author, and mother of three busy teens I really take offense at this one – people who know me personally may call me many things, but not this, and the same is true for all the healers, spiritual guides and intuitives I personally know or choose to work with. Of course disassociation can be a real issue in spiritual circles, and as someone who works with many sexual trauma survivors I certainly see that spirituality and energy healing in particularly can become a part of this problem. But this can happen with any kind of spiritual affiliation – any path or modality can be used as a way of disconnecting from reality and dysfunctional emotional patterns OR can be used to work through these obstructive patterns and connect more deeply to presence in the world.
  • Disputed by Science – this criticism is especially leveled at energy or intuitive based modalities, but there is a big difference between something being disproven by mainstream science, and it being unprovable or as of yet unmeasurable. Much of what is currently accepted science would have been considered outrageous 200 years ago. Many studies related to neuroplasticity are showing the powerful connection between mind and body. Studies on meditation and mindfulness have repeatedly shown their benefits (most of these practices are not necessarily classified as New Age, depending on who you talk to, but some are – and the results of these studies simply show how much we are still learning about the brain and consciousness.)

I think what is valid criticism on this front is that some teachers or healers make grandiose claims that deter individuals from seeking more conventional medical or mental health help. Most people will benefit from utilizing spiritual, energetic and alternative modalities in combination with more mainstream methods. The challenge then is finding a therapist or doctor who is open to the combination, and will not be dismissive. 

  • Commercialization/Scams – there are certainly individuals in the new age space manipulating others through hope and fear to make themselves money – just as there are in mainstream medicine and organized religions. But I haven’t see any proof that this is happening any more in this space than others. Just as in business, government – or for that matter any organization at any level – there will always be individuals functioning from a place of integrity and concern for the common good, and those functioning solely from self-interest and greed. In other words, this is not a New Age – or even new – problem.
  • Superficial – the complaint here is that New Ageism leads to a ‘sampler plate’ style of spirituality, personal growth, or healing, with individuals jumping around from practice to practice or tool to tool, and never going deep enough to truly grow or awaken. This is a valid issue – but it’s also a personal choice. It is usually true that to go deep one will need to find a path, and a valid teacher or guide, and stick with it through challenges and resistance. But that’s not what everyone wants or needs. And to insist it is, and that this must be within an established or conventional tradition, is often just a form of dysfunctional gatekeeping – invalidating personal choice, insight and intuition when it comes to an individual’s life’s path.

Part of the ‘superficial’ labelling too is the complaint that teachers and healers are adapting traditional practices too much for modern practitioners, and that this is diluting their true purpose and strength. This may certainly be happening, but I’m not sure it’s as big of a problem as some would claim. Teachings have always adapted as they move from culture to culture, and whole new lineages and traditions have evolved from such melding. Why should it be any different now? A more valid question for me is what works? What brings people more insight, peace, health, and happiness? I think the marketplace tends to sort this out on its own – if a teaching/teacher, healing modality/healer doesn’t benefit or resonate, it tends to be a flash in the pan. Are there posers out there? Sure, but I think it’s the exception, not the rule.

And so we come to the bigger question – who gets to judge what has value? And that really is where we get to what the New Age is really supposed to stand for:

  • The dismantling of religious and spiritual gatekeeping – and the related false beliefs about who can, or cannot, connect with spirit or healing energies.
  • A validation of personal experience – your intuition, your spiritual experience, your insight has value and comes from a spiritual source within yourself that is powerful and true.
  • An openmindedness about what is and isn’t possible and about what we do and do not know, along with a recognition that as valuable as science is, it is itself evolving.
  • A belief in the power of mind to co-create, and the heart to connect and guide. Closely related to this is…
  • Hope for the future – this is almost out of style, but something we are desperately in need of. 

So whatever you are working with in your life right now, contemplate the gatekeepers – external and internal – that might be holding you back. What judgements have you internalized? How are these limiting your own inward connection to natural wisdom and intuition? Your capacity to access healing energies? Your sense of what is possible? Are you caught in a trap of thinking the next workshop, the next teacher, the next practice or healing session will be the one that finally frees you – caught in a cycle of continuously seeking spiritual authority outside yourself? There are a lot of different ways gatekeeping can manifest.

For women, breaking through these barriers is particularly important, as disconnecting us from our own inner insight has been one of the functions of patriarchy. The conditioning and social structures that have enforced this create actual energetic blocks in our subtle body. As you work to release this conditioning, these blocks will begin to dissipate, and release more energy into your subtle body. Then you can truly grow into the wise woman you are. 

Feel free to share your own stories of breaking through gatekeepers. Wishing you much freedom, wisdom, and power.

Astral Accessing vs. Meditation (or how to stay present in your body!)

May 22, 2019

It’s not too late to sign up for the next round of my Energy Work for Sexual Trauma 4-week teleseminar. It begins tomorrow (Wednesday), and you can listen live to the sessions or by recording after the fact. Here are the details (and please don’t hesitate to send me any questions.)

I’ve been wanting to write about astral accessing vs. meditation, as I feel from my own client work that there is an increase in the number of people who are tending to ‘go astral’ in their meditations, rather than staying grounded and present in their minds and bodies. I use the phrase ‘go astral’ rather than ‘astral travel’ because I specifically mean a partial leaving of the body energetically through connecting to another plane. This experience doesn’t feel as if you have actually travelled to another place or plane of reality.

This kind of astral accessing may feel simply like floating or going away, and you may not even be aware you have done it until you ‘come back.’ It’s not usually accompanied by any vision or real sense of where you’ve been. It often feels good, relaxing, at the very least offering a temporary relief from stress and anxiety, and so it would seem to not be harmful. And it’s not harmful really, depending on the energies you access, but what it does mean is that you are not accessing the greater benefits of truly meditating, including energetic benefits. So I think it’s particularly helpful to draw a distinction between astral accessing and meditation, because so many people are turning to meditation for anxiety management.

While it’s possible that my view that the tendency to astral access is increasing is skewed by the population I work with, my intuitive sense is that it’s wider spread, and a product of the growing feeling of crises that hangs over many of us, whether that sense of crises is environmental, political, cultural, personal or all of the above. Many studies have shown an increase in anxiety levels world-wide, but most particularly in the U.S. and West, with lots of opinions on why this is so, and blame falling on everything from the news, social media, to environmental toxins (this article unpacks a lot of the theories.) Increasingly we turn to meditation for relief – we are told it is the ultimate in stress management. Unfortunately, if we simply use it as a means of escape, it may actually undermine our ability to manage our stress.

The primary benefit of meditation in terms of stress management comes from the practice of pulling our mind back from distracting thoughts and emotions over and over – this is like exercise increasing our self-awareness. Whether we engage in ‘object-based’ meditation, where we anchor our meditation through focus on an internal or external object – our breath, a chakra, a mantra, a visualization – or ‘objectless’ meditation, where we seek to rest in our awareness without a focal point, within the experience of meditating, this act of pulling our mind back is common to all forms. And from a neuroscientific perspective, it is the most transforming – it strengthens the observing part of our mind, and weakens the hold of the reactive part of our brain. Over time our physical brain is transformed.

What this means is that in a stressful moment when we are triggered and begin to react, there is a better chance that the observing part of our brain will step in and say ‘wait, I don’t have to react this way, I can take a breath and look at this situation differently, I can calm myself down.’ This moment of catching ourselves as an emotional pattern triggered by anxiety or stress is about to kick in is the most important – a choice point. And we increase our ability to do this through regular meditation – every time we pull our mind back from thinking about what we are going to have for breakfast, or what that annoying person said to us yesterday, we are strengthening our brain’s ability to pull itself back by default when we are not in meditation. Meditation – of virtually any type – is truly practice for life.

However, if instead of pulling our mind back we retreat inwardly to a place we like to go – maybe one we found as a child to help us through hard times, maybe a place we discover through meditation – and simply stay there, we don’t necessarily develop this aspect of our brain. It’s very possible that our meditation itself may feel restful while we are in it – maybe even more restful to us than pulling our mind back over and over to a focal object or our own awareness – but it is not helping us when we are not in meditation. The restfulness may not translate into a greater resilience, self-awareness, and non-reactivity in daily life. In fact it may even make us more sensitive to the challenges of daily life, because some part of us just wants to get back to our ‘safe’ place.

In some ways this kind of pattern is a form of disassociation, although in most cases it doesn’t rise to the level of formal disassociation as it is defined in modern psychology. But the tendency is the same – we develop the ability to go to a safe place inside ourselves, or in another plane of energy, to escape the stresses and pressure and sense of crises or lack of safety we are constantly feeling in our lives. And it feels good! It is good in that it helps us survive something that feels difficult. If it’s a pattern we developed in childhood it may have even been crucial to getting us through a difficult home life or childhood.

But in a larger sense as an adult it no longer serves us, because the more we practice it, the more disengaged we become from our current mind and body. We lose out on the opportunity to rewire our brain, and speaking from an energy body perspective, we also potentially lose out on opening and awakening our chakra energies in a way that can empower and self-heal us. Whether you explicitly focus on your chakras in meditation or not, the kundalini energy awakens through any form of meditation and will move its way through your chakras. If you do chakra and/or kundalini-based meditation, this is of course the explicit goal, and your object of focus.

Either way, the deepest levels of chakra opening, in which the inner layers of energy and awareness associated with each unfold, requires full embodiment. The energy floods your body – this is why waves of bliss are often associated with these openings. And ‘samadhi’ occurs when this opening and movement has built to a certain level (as well as your ability to focus, and your mind and body’s ability to let go and stabilize in lighter planes of awareness.) This can be confusing to people because when we read about samadhi it may sound like ‘going away’, but it is really a very different occurrence – and can’t be sought, it will happen naturally when the conditions are present.

While bliss can itself become a kind of trap if we become attached to it, it is a positive byproduct of embodied meditation. As our energy body awakens in this way, it allows us to access new levels of self-healing and clearing. With time this makes us more resilient in the face of difficult energies or situations  in our world, not less. We become more resilient because rather than absorbing the energies from outside ourselves, or reacting to them, we instead draw upon our inner energy as our source-point. Our  state of awareness, our mood, our physical body, our vibration, all become sourced from within, rather than dependent upon our external circumstances.

I think this is a very important point to understand, because especially in energy-based meditation forms, there can be a tendency to think that sitting in a private astral space that feels energetically good is what meditation is. And sometimes this could be very helpful and useful – sometimes when we need to heal or process something, this might be the perfect thing for us. The same is true for astral travel and visioning – many traditions formally teach this as a form of seeing and great insight and spiritual power can be derived from this kind of astral travel. It is just that if we think of only this as what mediation is that we are missing out on some of the deeper benefits of embodied meditation.

Then too, I don’t mean to sound like meditation should be a daily slog, a ‘work’ session of just pulling our mind back to some object of focus over and over. Often it may be that. But as we settle into deeper moments of focus, other kinds of experiences may spontaneously arise, and these may be very valuable to us. We don’t need to shut them all down. It is only if they have become habitual that perhaps it is worth asking if a limiting meditation pattern has developed.

Some questions to ask yourself are: Do I relate to my meditation as a form of escape? Do I seek a certain feeling or ‘place’ over and over? Do I feel connected to my body, and do I feel as if the energy and awareness I experience is reflected in my body? Do I feel a sense of clarity and sharpness? Am I experiencing a greater sense of self-awareness and resilience in my daily life? (And corresponding to this, compassion and presence?)

If you feel you may have developed patterns around astral accessing, then there a few things you can try:

  • Try keeping your eyes just slightly open as you meditate with your gaze cast downwards, not focused on anything in particular, but visually present and aware. Many traditions teach this kind of open-eyed meditation.
  • Check in with your body periodically throughout your meditation – do you feel connected to it? If not, spend some time focusing on the sensations of the different parts of your body halfway through your meditation. If you do chakra meditation, focus on the kinesthetic/felt sense of the chakras rather than a visual.
  • Experiment with a different object of focus – sometimes changing things up for a period of time will help you to break old patterns and stay grounded in your body.
  • Cultivate a clarity and sharpness to your awareness, as opposed to relating to meditation as a ‘floaty’ experience. Relaxation and clarity are not opposites, they are complements.
  • Notice your reactions as you experiment with these changes – is a part of you annoyed or irritated you can’t go to your favorite place? Work gently with yourself around this attachment.

May you experience presence, joy, energy and union as you navigate your way through your meditation journey.

Making Time for Retreat

April 10, 2019

Felt pulled to repost this post on retreat. You can retreat for half a day, a weekend, a week or more. Taking this kind of break can be such a great gift to give yourself. Wishing you this time and space to unfold.

Mommy Mystic

Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.   – Herman Hesse

Painting by Francis Wenceslas Holler of St. Francis of Assisi in his cave retreat. Painting by Francis Wenceslas Holler of St. Francis of Assisi in his cave retreat.

Solstice is coming up, a time of spiritual retreat across many traditions. As I head out on my own retreat, I thought it was a great time to share some thoughts on how to prepare and engage in a spiritual retreat of your own. A retreat can be anywhere from a day to months in length (in some traditions years), and can be done in your own home or away. Of course there are organized spiritual retreats at centers around the world, or you can combine retreat with pilgrimage, drawing upon the energies of a natural or religious destination as part of your journey.

Even if you stay home, a retreat is…

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Working with Color and the Chakras

March 19, 2019

abstract rainbow colorful pattern background

Mere color can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways. – Oscar Wilde

I wanted to post something fun and light-filled this month (it’s important not to become so weighed down by the pain of the world that this becomes impossible), and so decided to focus on colors – literally light in all its radiant glory. Colors are a big part of working with the chakras in both energy healing and spiritual traditions, and they are a modality anyone can embrace.

If you google colors and the chakras you will of course get the rainbow spectrum mapping that has become pretty much synonymous with the chakras in the West:

Root/1stchakra – red

Sacral/2ndchakra – orange

Navel/Solar Plexus/3rdchakra – yellow

Heart/4thchakra -green

Throat/5thchakra – blue

Third Eye/6thchakra – indigo (or sometimes purple)

Crown/7thchakra – violet (or sometimes white)

This sequence is called ROYGBIV- the actual spectrum of light as it appears progressively in a rainbow. As common as this color/chakra mapping currently is, it is not based on traditional chakra teachings. It evolved in the West in the last century, as Eastern chakra teachings migrated here and mixed with first Theosophy and then both the Human Potential and New Age movements. You will not find this chakra/color mapping in any classic Hindu or Buddhist text. Instead, within them you often find that different colors are visualized in the same chakra depending on the purpose of an exercise or meditation, rather than one chakra being associated with only one color (there are also variations in the number of chakras in each mapping, although all the in-body chakra mappings are a subset of this one.)

Rainbow chakra mapping

The fact that this rainbow mapping isn’t thousands of years old does not invalidate it however, and as I mentioned in my Chakra Levels posts I find this model very helpful when working with the chakras progressively and for empowering certain kinds of physical healing. The progressive nature of this mapping captures the shift in density and frequency that the chakras represent – the root chakra being the slowest vibrating and ‘densest’, therefore connected to our physical body and material world, while the crown is the fastest vibrating and lightest, tied to spirit. Working with these color gradations is often initially helpful for sensing the chakras physically, and is also great when working with the upward and downward pathways – upward for spiritual flow and downward for manifesting flow.

However, the more traditional way of working, in which different colors are visualized or received into a chakra depending on the deity or mandala one is working with, is also very powerful. In these cases, if you’re focused on a white light deity for example, you might be visualizing white light coming into your heart chakra, or if you are focused on an orange yantra, you might visualize orange light coming into your navel. Blue, white, and red feature prominently in a lot of Tibetan Buddhist chakra meditations, not always in the same locations, and gold and white are used a lot in Hindu deity meditations, in almost any chakra, but particularly the third eye and crown. There are truly infinite combinations.

Colors function on multiple levels – on one hand, they are vibrational, and do seem to have similar vibrational effects on pretty much everyone, regardless of age or culture (for example colors in the blue family are universally the most soothing.) But colors also have a cultural component – red tests quite differently depending on someone’s culture, as it is associated with good fortune and brides in the East, but in the West is considered a more martial and aggressive color. White is associated with weddings here, while in China it’s linked to funerals. These kinds of associations impact how we react to these colors.

What this means is that you should experiment. If you’re familiar with the chakra ROYGBIV mapping you can use the color of one chakra within another chakra to ‘infuse’ the energies of the first chakra into the second – for example, you could visualize red in the 3rd chakra to ground your will power, or green in the throat to bring heart to your communications. You can play with receiving a color into your entire body, not just one chakra, when you really need that energy to be dominant – yellow into your whole body before a sporting competition for example. You can also experiment with flow, and other colors that don’t appear in this mapping. Colors are the play of light, and by experimenting with them you empower your own fluidity in the dimensions of light that make up our world and beings.

Here are some of my favorite ways to use color and the chakras:

  • Visualize a dot of white light in each chakra that gradually grows larger – one at a time or simultaneously. This is for purifying, clearing, and empowering connection to Source/enlightenment (a way of connecting with the innermost layer of the chakras in the 3 level mapping I like to use.)
  • Draw red light up from earth into your root chakra, and then from there up through each chakra and through your crown up into the sky. This is a way of bringing the root energy through your entire system for energizing and clearing blocks to personal growth.
  • Bring gold light down from the sky into your crown, and then down through all of your chakras and into the earth. This brings awakening and clarifying energy all the way down into your body.
  • Visualize the rainbow spectrum (ROYGBIV) of light from root to crown one chakra at a time to reconnect to spiritual joy and expression.
  • Visualize the rainbow spectrum of light from crown to root one chakra at a time then working on manifesting a goal – moving from spirit/idea to matter.
  • Imagine your entire body receiving one color of light – literally from every direction into every cell. Practicing receiving in this way is soooo important – I find that women in particular have a difficult time just visualizing themselves receiving energy and light unconditionally in this way. See light flooding in from above, below, and all around you into your very cells. Decide the color of light according to what you most need. If you’re familiar with the common contemporary chakra associations you could pick one of those colors:

Red (root) – grounding, stability, support

Orange (sacral) – passion, creativity, sensuality, fluidity

Yellow (navel) – determination, organization, will

Green (heart) – love, compassion, connection

Blue (throat) – clarity, self-expression, honesty

Indigo (third eye) – insight, stillness, boundarylessness

Purple (crown) –  purpose, faith, spiritual connection

Others I like, based on other traditions:

Lavender – soothing, like a balm

Light green – gentle healing

Pink – nurturing, loving

Gold – enlightening

Play! bring colored light into your very cells and see how you respond. And see if you can really feel into the depths of these colors – we are so used to screens nowadays, and the limited perception of color they provide. There are an infinite number of colors – some colors humans cannot normally perceive, but it seems some animals can. See if you can stretch your perception to receive them.

Wishing you much color and joy in your life as Spring blooms.

 

 

 

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