Whatever we think about, and thank about, we bring about!

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dance a Tremendous Dance, that's Oshun Spirit

When you need to start thinking tremendous thoughts, start dreaming tremendous dreams - and then get out there and live life the way it was intended to be lived - dance that life into being in a super duper tremendous way, with flowing joy!

That's Oshun. That's the Spirit!

We all yearn to live tremendous lives; the lives we have dreamed about, lives where our fondest wishes come true. It's only natural to want the best life has to offer. Yet, if asked to choose a word that best describes the lives we are presently living, odds are pretty good that 'tremendous' would not top the list. In fact, it probably wouldn't make the list at all.

Truth be told, most of our days fall well short of tremendous. And that's something that needs to change.

We are born to live terrific, ecstatic, sensational, absolutely extraordinary lives. That's right; our Creator wants our lives to be nothing short of amazing. We are each born to live remarkably incredible lives where we consistently reach the unreachable, touch the untouchable and do the undoable each and every day. We are each artists, dancers, lovers, creators!

I know it's tough to keep your spirits up when things start dragging you down. And it's hard to dance when you are constantly bombarded with problems and difficulties. But dancing is a must if you truly want to live a tremendous life.

Well, here's the good news. It's all right here, ready when you are. That's right; everything you have ever wanted, anything you'll ever need is right here. The Goddess is ready to take you anywhere you desire, ready to make your life all that it could be and more. Flowing joy!

So what are you waiting for?

“I am the honey-sweet voice of the waters.
I am the flowing of a woman's skirts as she dances her life.”

May you be blessed!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The gift of being present

It has been said time and time again that some of the best things in life are free. I couldn't agree more. After all, how much does a kind word, a warm embrace, a pleasant smile, or a simple "thank you" cost to give? Not a penny, although they are indeed priceless gifts.

And, acts of kindness and gratitude are endless gifts that keep on giving...

I know that in my own life, I make an effort to communicate appreciation, happiness, kindness, and gratitude whenever I can. I try to function within the awareness that it is my responsibilty to convey an acknowledgement of the gift that every interaction – with everyone I am privileged to meet – presents to me each and every day. I try to be truly present, open, and enthusiastic. As this has become my habit, I have discovered some amazing revelations taking place in my life. Each day is even better than the day before, as my life takes on a heightened sense of direction, meaning, purpose, and unwavering support.

I love spending time around people who maintain an ever present upbeat approach to life. Earth Angels who believe in themselves and others. Those who trust that the Universe is unfolding as it should. These wide eyed optimists, who routinely greet me with a cheerful hello and a lingering touch, brighten my day and the day of everyone they meet. When you ask them how they're doing, they'll quickly tell you "just fabulous, awesome!"

You believe them because you simply have no choice.

They say it with such enthusiasm and excitement, their zest and zeal for living drawing you in like a powerful magnet, that you suddenly start feeling better yourself. Then, before you know it, you've been swept up into their euphoric state of being. Just being in the same room with people who love life this much is a special privilege indeed. And a healing. And a catalyst.

These luminous individuals, who bring happiness to the world around them, are truly precious gifts from God.

Marcel Proust said, "Let's be grateful for those who give us happiness; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls bloom."

Simply stated, by making us feel better about ourselves, our lives and those around us, they make our world a better place. They give the gift of presence!

So, it's Tuesday again, the perfect day to decide right now to become that shining beacon of hope, happiness and all good things for those around you! By regularly showing others how much they mean to you and that their efforts are truly appreciated, you can start making the world a better place one person at a time. I think that deepest desire in human nature is the craving to be appreciated. When you let someone know that you appreciate them, you offer that individual the best gift you could ever give.

"Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well."
– Voltaire

You'll begin enjoying more happiness, fulfillment and tranquility than you ever dreamed was possible as the life you've always imagined comes to life right before your eyes. As you continue to give more and more of yourself to others, more and more good fortune will find its way into your life. Guaranteed. It's just the way it is.

What goes around most certainly comes around as well. The Universe is unfolding as it should.

May you be blessed!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Taking tea with the demons

On sunny summer days, when I am intoxicated by warmth, light, the sounds of singing birds, and the fragrance of abundance blooming all around me I am far less likely to be mindful of the profound lesson- gifts life has to offer me, right out there in the light. I've always learned my karma-balancing, soul-growing lessons in the dark, in the storms, and in the silence, in the wanting.

I'm working on duality, polarity, and stupidity.

So sometimes, when I am with Wisdom, I recall myself while I am walking in the sunshine. Seeing my shadow on the street is a cue for me to pay attention to those parts of myself I don't like but that tag along after me anyway.

There I am in the light, and there I am – my shadow self, equally in the light.

When I see that interplay in the light, I bless the darkness, past and present, physically and emotionally, and I am reminded of the healing power of the power of shadow. Whenever I come across people who are always demonizing their enemies, I vow to take responsibility for my actions and accept my shadow self. I bless the demons. I invite them to tea.

Blessed is the eternal light who grants us so many epiphanies in the darkness. But to learn in the light is to bathe in grace. So yes, I invite the demons to tea. It can be pure drama!

Zen teachers often use the image of "taking tea with the demons." Fear — to name merely one demon — grows huge as we flee from it, but, when we turn and face it, it shrinks.

So, to practice this thought I take tea, a blossom steeped in the sun, often with one of my most pernicious and troublesome demons. My guest usually brings Patience, for she hides from me when I yell for her company – especially I need her presence most immediately. If I invite her to tea with Impatience, gently, she usually accepts my invitation. Together we watch the tea blossom open, wait for the tea to cool, meditate together. I am learning not to raise my voice when I speak to her. I ask her to stay for a second cup.

My mantra breathing in: I love . . .
Breathing out: my shadow self

My Impatience, my demon, my light...

This exercise, “Toward Away,” was created by Colette Aboulker-Muscat of Jerusalem, Israel. It enables you to work with ambivalent feelings, one area where shadow tends to manifest.

Breathe out three times. Imagine something that attracts you so much that you would like to move toward it. See it clearly and be aware of how you feel and how your body feels, particularly your face. Now let your feelings flow into your slow movements toward the thing that attracts you. Now move slowly away from this thing and let your movements express how you are still drawn back to it, even as you are moving away.

Breathe out three times. Imagine that very close to you is something specific that repels you strongly, something that you want to move away from. See it clearly and recognize all your feelings toward this thing, especially in your face. Let your feelings express how you are flying away from this thing. Now move again toward this thing that repels you and discover what it is that repels you. Then discover something which you can appreciate, something that actually attracts you toward it. Now move slowly away, being aware of how you are moving and feeling.

When you are finished, breathe out and open your eyes.

Hello Impatience, have some tea. I love you.

May you be blessed!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Resting in the riddle of not knowing...

Often times, new clients want to follow up immediately after a healing to discuss and analyze every energy surge, intuition, and insight they have experienced during their session. While I appreciate the excitement around the discovery of a new perception, I will most usually recommend that the discussion is delayed for 48 hours or so.

Discussion, since it is an intellectual activity, often has the effect of diluting the power of spiritual healing. Sometimes, by talking about things we define and limit what is actually non-linear and limitless! I believe that it is necessary to be in the mystery for a while... and to respect that which has unfolded in the realm of Spirit and give the process a chance to manifest miracles in the physical without our mental and emotional preconceptions altering the natural courses.

Sometimes, when a client asks, "what was that?" I say I do not know.
"I do not know."

I don't want to know everything! The practice of BEing in the mystery actually enhances our understanding of the complexity of reality if we allow ourselves that sacred space of not knowing. It is tricky business to admit we do not know where we are, or what we are, and even who we are in any given moment. Our modern lives usually demand immediate answers to every question and our tendency is to create logical systems with an efficient procedure to every handle and process every problem and concern. Many people steer clear of anything that is in the realm of the mysterious because it lies outside the false safety net of reason and logic.

I say, "Rest in the riddle of not knowing. Learn to be comfortable with your discomfort."

I think that to be spiritually centered is to have a holy respect for the great mysteries of life — the yearning in our souls to experience love in its many forms, the strange beauty of the natural world, the complexity of our inner selves, the unfathomable creativity of Source. The wisdom traditions challenge us to live within the grace of unknowing. To have experiences and not feel the need to lable and compartmentalize them into meaning.

Today, I will cherish the baffling, curious, hidden, and inscrutable dimensions of my existence and the world around me. I will live with paradoxes. I will give up the idea that I will finally "get it." I will be suspicious of the "ologies" that try to explain everything — from astrology to psychology to theology.

And I will not be afraid to admit, "I don't know."

May you be blessed!

photo credit: Northern Lights www.yukonretreat.com

Monday, July 13, 2009

Thank you for your rude behavior

I encounter at least a few everyday. The forum troll, the family member full of toxic resentment, the driver who must cut me off to take the parking space, the neighbor who has nothing good to say about anything. The know-it-all, the back-stabber, the poor-me-victim.

It is true that difficult people drain our energy, put us on edge, and arouse in us uncomfortable feelings of frustration, impatience, anger, and sometimes – sadly– even the desire for revenge.

I was taught that the best way to deal with annoying people is to ignore them. When my children were small, I told them that when we meet such people, we should just walk away.

But from a spiritual perspective I have seen another possibility. Tolerance. Compassion. Self-awareness.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the best way, the highest, most compassionate way to respond to difficult people. First, I don't ignore them. I don't walk away from them. Instead, I allow myself to be touched by their neediness; and patiently listen to their questions and complaints. Saint Susan? No, a human being present with that negative energy without judging it, recognizing the gift in the difficult encounter.

I can show compassion because I recognize the suffering, fear, confusion, and pain that is behind the annoying behavior. I can accept the presence of difficult people in my life and have compassion for them, recognizing that these individuals can be my spiritual teachers, showing me what I might be reluctant to learn on my own.

I ask myself, "What is it with this person? What exactly is he or she doing that upsets me? And why is this such a big deal for me?" I try to objective about this, and not judge either the person or myself for my reaction. I simply observe the dynamics of the interaction.

Then, I try to make a shift in perspective. I try to see how this person may be forcing me to push past something I resist admitting about myself. What qualities does this person possess that I would like to eliminate in my own being? This is the tricky part!

I think that the most powerful option for dealing with a difficult person is our own personal growth. Inner change inevitably leads to outer change. I have learned to take a deep breath, shift my expression into a smile, and say this little prayer when I find myself face-to-face with a difficult person:

"Well, OK, here comes another one! If there are any helpers around me now, I ask you to guide me, stay with me here. This person has been sent to me for a reason. Help me to know what it is, and help me to practice tolerance and compassion."

And you know, it works! The negativity is diffused and I am usually gifted with an ahah! moment I might have missed if I had hurried away from the encounter in silence and judgement. Our world is full of suffering, fear, confusion, and pain. Annoying behavior is the symptom, not the cause. The difficult person is a mirror for what we can change in our world and in ourselves. Inner change will lead to outer change. With a breath, a smile, and a moment of compassion.

May you be blessed!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Christmas in July Sale at Oshun Spirit on Bonanzle

Who doesn't LOVE a great Summer Clearance Sale?

Today, Sunday July 12 Oshun Spirit is having a SAVE 20% storewide sale that includes all products and services! Just enter coupon code SAVE20 at checkout and the discount will be taken automatically! (Orders over $100 will receive an automatic 30% slashing!) This sale is only at the Bonanzle storefront, www.oshunspirit.com and ends at midnight EST.

But, that's just today! All month I'm running BUY ONE GET ONE FREE specials, and yup, today those items are 20% off, too! So be sure to check out these sweet deals while supply lasts.

And, each purchase of $10 or more earns you an entry into our Christmas in July Contest! Today, we're giving away a Crystal Orchid Spa Set, but there's more... read on!

Everytime you spend $10 at Oshun Spirit during the month of July, you'll receive one entry. You can enter as many times as you like! Win weekly Spa Set prizes, and even if you win on 7/12, 7/19 or 7/26 you will be still entered in the remaining weekly contests and the Grand Prize drawing on August 1!
  • Today 7/12, SAVE 20% storewide by entering coupon code SAVE20 at checkout
  • Drawing for Crystal Orchid Spa Set is at 9pmEST, today 7/12
  • Oshun Spirit Christmas in July Contest Rules Information
  • Win the Grand Prize $50 Oshun Spirit Gift Certificate or 3 weekly Spa Sets.
  • For every $10 purchase you make in the month of July, you'll receive one entry.
  • Purchases must be made at the Oshun Spirit Bonanzle storefront. www.oshunspirit.com
  • Enter as many times as you like. Purchases are NOT limited to Christmas In July Sale items!
  • Winner's name for Crystal Orchid Soap and Salt Spa Set will be drawn on July 12, 2009
  • Winner's name for Lapis Lavender Soap and Salt Spa Set will be drawn on July 19, 2009
  • Winner's name for ZEN Soap and Salt Spa Set will be drawn on July 26, 2009
  • Winner's name for Grand Prize $50 Oshun Spirit Gift Certificate will be drawn on August 1, 2009
  • Gift Certificate has no cash value, and expires August 1, 2010.

If Lady Luck is on your side you could win all four times!

Spa sets includ two 2.5 oz. bars of our luxurious handcrafted soap and one 6 oz. packet of bath salts. Free shipping, of course! Use your Oshun Spirit gift certificate yourself, or give it as a gift. It's good for products and/or sevices listed in the Oshun Spirit Bonanzle storefront.

Good luck, and ho! ho! ho! Merrrrry Christmas in July!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Gratitude for the beep, blink and tweet

Every Sunday morning I spend 60 minutes in a walking meditation and then I sit down and blog. I blog on other days, too, but as a matter of spiritual practice, Sunday morning is reserved as the sacred space in which I have gifted myself with permission and freedom to turn my attention to attention.

On Sunday morning, whether I walk on my treadmill, in the woods, or along the bike path, I do so in silence, without my ipod, without my neighbor's kids, without my best old dog, but alone with my intention of attention.

Attention is also known as mindfulness, awareness, concentration, recollection. Not only of who you are, but why you and everything else are here.

During my Sunday morning meditations I recall recent and long forgotten moments of grace. I find opportunities for gratitude. I contemplate evidence of my meaningful connections with others, and signs of the presence of Spirit in my everyday comings and goings. I do so by looking for the bigger picture encompassing my experiences.

Yes, I am a watcher of the big picture. I watch for patterns in the world and in my own behavior. I string together meanings like pearls by attaching analogies, metaphors, symbols, and stories to things and events. I discover that messages and messengers will come to me when I regard them in this way. I learn to understand things by paying attention, and walking.

Thich Nhat Hanh teaches walking meditation as a practice of attention.

"Try to practice this in your daily life. Even when you go to the bus stop, make it into a walking meditation. Even if your surroundings are full of noise and agitation, you can still walk in rhythm with your breathing. Even in the commotion of a big city, you can walk with peace, happiness, and an inner smile. This is what it means to live fully in every moment of every day of your life. This is something which is possible. All of us who live here at Plum Village have signed an agreement with the flight of stairs we most often use. We agree to always practice walking meditation on these stairs, whether going up or down. Even on these stairs, we find a rhythm with our walk and our breath. We never take them absent-mindedly. When we realize we have climbed several steps in forgetfulness, we go back down and climb them over again. Over twenty years ago, I signed such an agreement with my stairs, and it has brought me great joy."

I find that even within a few hours without awareness, I can end up living in a daze of stimulation without any grasp of its significance. I operate on automatic pilot, and because nothing really registers in my consciousness, I can feel really drained of energy. And sometimes, not paying attention has just the opposite effect: everything registers, and I find I don't know what to do with it all!

At my computer, with its tweet alerts, email notifications, incoming faxes, and ecommerce and social networking technologies working overtime like a staff of ten – sometimes I am so bombarded with stimuli that I can't focus on anything. I feel scattered, stressed, and mesmorized by seemingly random fragments of interactions. I think of the effect as an unproductive cocoon of protective trance.

But, the universe is a friendly place, and everything in it has meaning, even this daze of stimulation. Nothing happens by chance. To everything there is a purpose, and the purpose of getting caught up in this comedy we know as the world wide web of beeps, blinks and tweets is to urge us back into silence, awareness, and significance.

It's a paradox. If we assign urgency to every little beep, we risk the health of our bodies, mind and sprits. But, if we think nothing deserves to be taken seriously, then it is easy to regard what happens to us as insignificant, pointless. After all, what really matters if the universe is characterized by random occurrences or endless urgency ? On a personal level, this translates to the feeling that there is no direction to our lives. And, who has the energy to deal with that?

For both lack of direction, energy and stress, attention is a good corrective prescription.

I begin by doing one thing at a time. I keep my mind focused on whatever I happen to be doing at the moment. I notice details. If what I am doing doesn't seem important, I realize it's time to work with the practice of meaning. I simply close my eyes, breathe, and visualize the winding set of stone stairs that lead from my garden thru the woods to the driveway. Even on these etheric stairs, I find a rhythm with my walk and my breath. If I realize I have climbed several steps in forgetfulness, I go back down and climb them over again, watchful and open for analogies, metaphors, symbols, and stories to emerge. With every step I increase my ability to discern the possibilities available to me. Of what is important, and of what I can let go.

On these steps I find opportunities for gratitude. I find connections with others, and signs of the presence of Spirit in all of our comings and goings, chance meetings, 140 character greetings. Eventually, the regular practice of attention yields understanding, not only of who I am but why you and everything else are here. Gratitude for the beep, blink and tweet.

May you be blessed!