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Sacred Space

Prior to Covid, I taught a workshop on creating sacred space at local yoga studios. The Sacred Space Wellness Workshop was a delight to teach. Both the participants and myself typically left the workshop feeling a bit lighter and perhaps a bit wiser. As usually happens during these classes, topics suddenly change and we find ourselves in uncharted waters. The spontaneity of conversation is beautiful. It allows us to discover new ideas, new interests and hopefully we find a little peace. I miss the in-person workshops, as I feel they provided deeper connection and insight. However, I am grateful to still be able to share the content of the workshop through social media outlets.

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Those who have participated in the past and shared not only their time, but their sacred experiences as well, and I am ever grateful. When we open ourselves to other points of view, realizing everyone is on their own path, we there by allow ourselves more space to experience life as it is in the moment. Below you will find some of the information presented in the workshops. As always you are welcome to contact me with any questions or comments. I wish you peace and blissful awareness in every moment.


Cleansing Techniques

Be sure to always physically clean the area prior to performing an energy cleanse. You should be in the proper state of mind also. Some meditation, yoga, chanting or other activity which brings about a sense of flow, as to not infuse the area with any residual personal energy. Get creative if you’d like and perform a personal ritual cleansing prior to clearing your space. Take a bath with oils, mindfully drink a cup of tea, and immerse yourself in the moment. Remember your intuition. If you suddenly feel like praying or chanting, go with it. Our inner knowingness guides us far better than we believe. As you light what it is you will burn, have your intention clearly in your mind.

Bay Leaves ~ Used for thousands of years for beneficial respiratory affects. Reduces anxiety and increases sense of peace. Burn in ash tray, do not inhale smoke directly.

Sage ~ Probably the most well-known spiritual cleanser, sage smudging will cleanse your space and your aura. Sage has been used for thousands of year by Native Americans for a myriad of ritual purposes. The sage smoke is said to absorb detrimental energies, anger, and even illness. If using a sage wand, you may want to repeat a blessing at each door and/or window and heavy traffic areas. A blessing such as “May all who enter find peace within these walls, May my dwelling be a sanctuary of love, May all who exit leave with a peaceful heart and tranquil soul.”

Frankincense ~ According to the ancient Indian practice of Ayurveda, frankincense brings good health when burned every day. The Roman Catholic Church has been using frankincense for centuries to ward off evil. Frankincense has anti-inflammatory properties as well as aromatically relieving stress and depression. A bath with frankincense oil is said to relieve menstrual cramps.

Palo Santo ~ The Spanish name “palo santo” means Holy Wood. It has been used to treat headaches, depression, anxiety and cold symptoms. It is also used for energetic cleansing and the removal of evil spirits. It was considered sacred by the Incan’s and used as medicine.

Selenite ~ Clears and activates the third eye and crown chakras. Purifies the auric field while expanding awareness of higher realms. Selenite amplifies the vibrational energies of other crystals.

Peacock Feathers ~ Spiritual awakening and renewal. The eyes on the feathers symbolically represent the knowledge of the heavens, reminding us to seek inward for “the kingdom of heaven is within.”

Copper ~ Works well to facilitate spiritual energies between the root and heart chakras. Balances physical body and provides the connection between the physical and spiritual energies.

Meditation, Mantras, and Devotionals

To meditate is defined as to think or focus deeply for a period of time in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation. ~From google.

Relying strictly on definitive definitions for meditation can lead to stress while trying to meditate. This can lead to thoughts of “I’m not doing it right” or “I can’t clear my mind.” One should not have a goal while meditating. Just sit comfortably and focus on your breath. Feel the air flow in through your nose, down your throat and fill your lungs. Exhale slowly, deeply, being sure to expel all of the air from your lungs. If your mind drifts, it’s ok, just guide it back to your breath. Allow thoughts to float by like clouds on the sky. Inhale slowly, deeply feel your lungs expand. Pause. Exhale, slowly, deeply releasing your belly first then, rib cage, then chest. Once you become comfortable with following your breath, you may want to repeat a mantra aloud or silently. Mantras, like the breath are used as a focusing point, a tool to begin to know yourself better.

Devotionals are generally mediation, prayers, or mantras directed towards a specific religious practice, saint or god. For example, “Om Namo Ganeshaya” is a mantra for the Hindu God Ganesha. This mantra is used when beginning a new project or a new start in life to help remove obstacles and find success. Each of these are tools, simple ways of teaching yourself to slow your thoughts, be more mindful and peaceful.


Awakening the 5 Senses

When selecting items for your sacred space, keep in mind the 5 senses. We too often take our senses for granted. Practicing a sensory meditation is a good way to get back in touch with yourself and how you perceive the world. Below are suggestions for bringing awareness to the senses through sacred space.

Sight ~ objects that foster a sense of inner peace, colors.

Sound ~ Bells, Tibetan Singing Bowls, and music.

Touch ~ Mala or prayer beads, rosary, stones, coins.

Taste ~ during purification prior to beginning drink tea or mindfully eat a piece of fruit.

Smell ~ natural chemical free candle, incense, oil diffuser, or any of the above items.

We have been blessed with the gifts of sight, taste, touch, hearing, and smell, yet most of us do not take the time to experience these sensations. You will find that your practice will flow into your daily routine. Drinking coffee or driving to work can potentially become a sacred experiences.

When we have dedicated space for our spiritual practices, we tend to practice more. When we practice (yoga, meditation, Reiki etc.) more consistently, we begin to bring more stillness, more time for quiet contemplation into our lives, magic happens! We become less anxious, less concerned with outcomes; and a desire to life authentically arises and everything becomess a sacred experience.

Namaste.

If you would like to know more or set up a free consultation on creating sacred space, please contact me!

Monday Musings

Good Morning Monday! Usually my least favorite day of the week. I tend to be mopey and mal-adjusted on Monday mornings as I am longing for the laziness of the weekend. Not very mindful of me, this living in the past of yesterday or only looking ahead to Saturday. Five whole days of new beginnings mindlessly lived in a day dream of “has beens” and “what ifs.”

This morning, as I sat watching the sun rise, it dawned on me (haha Pun intended) that I need to take a cue from my verdant companions. I watch my succulents and herbs reach for the sun each day, never tiring, never complaining; only reaching, striving for the light. They bend effortlessly as they are kissed by golden rays, reviving and strengthening their delicate green limbs.

What am I doing to strengthen my limbs this early in the morning? I know what I should be doing: Sun Salutations and morning meditation. So what happened to my practice?

Like so many, I get distracted by the barrage of responsibilities we are all burdened with. Mindlessly going about the day dealing with a job we aren’t into, chores we don’t feel like doing; tons of email and social media to further distract while fueling ourselves with coffee upon coffee- no wonder I already feel like taking a nap! By 7am I have showered, washed dishes, put laundry away, taken care of the dog, gotten my son off to school, drank 2 cups of coffee while scrolling through social media and started work at my full time job as a Chemist.

Honestly, I am, like so many of us, looking at my mornings all wrong. Instead of viewing mornings as a chore, we need to view mornings as they really are: endless possibility!

It’s sounds cliche, but the mindset we start the morning with can dictate our day. Notice I used the word BURDEN before. This was intentional to further show how certain words carry a feeling. When we say we are BURDENED with something it implies a tiresome, weighed down feeling both mentally and physically. Are mornings actually burdensome? For some people, possibly; but for most of us, we would only rather sleep a bit longer, comfy in bed. This isn’t a burden. It is actually a blessing.

We need to look deeply at our dis-content. Getting frustrated with the morning is like getting mad at the weather; pointless! The morning (or the weather) is not out to get us. These things just are. This is where we have to learn to stop doing and start being.

We begin with our breath. When we feel frustration arise, we return to our breath: Breathing in we feel the air into our nasal passage and flow into our lungs. We feel our chest rise. Breathing out we feel our chest fall and the air flow out of our mouth. When we can focus on our breath, we can return to our center. We can feel the emotion, in this case frustration, flow through our body. We are able to recognize that we are not our emotions.

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The feeling of frustration is due to a chemical response in our thought patterns. If we associate morning tasks with frustration, then we will feel frustration arise when we have to perform our morning tasks. What happens if we replace the word task with ritual? This little shift in context can shift our entire perspective.

What if preparing your lunch before work in the morning is a ritual, a sacred process of conscious preparation of that which gives us sustenance? Instead of frustration, perhaps gratitude will arise as we are thankful to have food while so many go without.

When we take the time to be mindful of our daily tasks (rituals) and emotions, our perspective can shift. We allow for expansion and understanding as we begin to create space where we can rest in the moment peacefully, even when life seems chaotic. We stop doing and start BE-ing.

Namaste.

Reflections for a Sunday

Ideas and opinions change, views on life shift allowing for growth. New decisions and new choices allow new neural pathways to develop, creating room for more growth.


We flow moment to moment on waves of experience.

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We allow our identity to be determined by our views and opinions and sometimes, even more so, by the expectations of others. This ID-entity is an illusion.
This illusion causes the separation we feel from all of creation.


We must learn to release our attachment to the idea that we are separate from our experience. We, along with everything else in the Universe, flow from moment to moment. We are a process of the Universe.

The Universe favors certain patterns (systems) which optimize flow. We see examples of this every day as our roadways resemble the circulatory or nervous systems in animals, the branches of trees, rivers and their tributaries; or the similarity between atoms and solar systems. Within these systems or patterns the flow of energy is optimized.

Briefly, let us think about the systems of our bodies- blood flows thru veins, air flows thru our lungs, hormones flow, thoughts flow- EVERYTHING is flow. Now let us think about the Earth: Rivers flow, air flows, Rock and ice flow. Nothing is static, everything is a process of flow, movement, change within a system (patterns) of energy.

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Everything is energy. Life is an inter-play of energetic systems, a beautiful dance. We must allow awareness of our dance with the Universe to fully blossom in order to experience the infinite.

Namaste.

Create Every Day

We create our world every day. Our thoughts and self-talk create our perception of ourselves. Our words create the relationships we have with others. Our political, religious, and social views create our how we see the world around us.

Take the time to listen to what is going on in your head. We all can become caught up in speaking or lost in constant mind chatter that we miss subtle nuances of our daily existence.

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We have a choice in every moment. We can choose what we are creating, what we are putting out into the Universe.

What are you creating today? Ask yourself. Think about it. You might be surprised at what you discover.

The Universe provides us with opportunities in every moment to live our fullest most authentic expression of ourselves. We only need to be open to possibility.

When we are ready and able to relax and release our attachments we allow space for new experiences, new choices. These subtle shifts can have tremendous impact on our lives.

When we flow moments to moment, resting in mindful awareness, miracles happen. Our potentially manifests as Universal Love connecting us deeply; we lose our separateness, our ego. Only then, are we able to recognize that we are one; a single flow of energy existing beyond time and space.
Are you ready to touch the infinite?

Mindfulness

This is the essence of MINDFULNESS. We move though each moment authentically, with intention. Of course this does not happen over night. In our fast paced world, we are inundated with technology that demands our attention, yet our attention spans have dwindled, our patience eroded away by perceived instant gratification.

What does it mean to be MINDFUL? …and almost more importantly, WHY should we practice mindfulness?

We are going to delve into these two questions today and hopefully discover simple ways to practice mindfulness daily. First, I would like to share some background as to how and why I began to cultivate a mindfulness practice over 12 years ago.

Simply put, I was a mess. I had allowed health issues to cause extra stress and frequent stress reactions in multiple areas of my life. I was not THRIVING. Deep down I knew something needed to change but was not sure where or how to begin. Then I came across a book by Thich Nhat Hanh, The Miracle of Mindfulness and everything changed.

I think I read the book cover to cover in two days. Thich Nhat Hanh had provided me with a new perspective. Something that should have been plain to see. Everything we do should have our full attention. Everything.

In the book, a question was posed: “Why do you wash the dishes?” Most people, including myself 12 plus years ago, would answer “Well, to get them clean of course!” However that is not the reason Thich gives us. We “wash the dishes to wash the dishes.” Think about that for a minute.

When washing the dishes, or car, or whatever; our focus, our attention should be on the task at hand, not the outcome. When we place significance only on the outcome, we are not living intentionally in the moment. Instead we hitch our happiness to an unpredictable future event.


This is the essence of MINDFULNESS. We move though each moment authentically, with intention. Of course this does not happen over night. In our fast paced world, we are inundated with technology that demands our attention, yet our attention spans have dwindled, our patience eroded away by perceived instant gratification.

Thus we miss out on the experience. We wind up reminiscing about the past or worring about the future while our NOW passes us by. Which brings us to our WHY? Why should we be praticing mindfulness? Becuase the alternative is to live mindlessly in the past or future; to be awash in stress or worry. We have a choice in each moment to be present and aware. But it takes PRACTICE.

We have now arrived at the WHAT. What is mindfulness practice. Well, it could simply be washing the dishes or attentively listening to a piece of music. It is moving from moment to moment with attention, focus, and intention.


Practice daily. Begin slowly. Pick a activity you enjoy doing and notice if your mind drifts. If your attention wavers, gently refocus your attention back to your activity. Personally, I began with mindful walking. Learning to notice the feeling as each foot makes contact with the ground. Noticing the pattern of my breath while immersed in the sounds of nature. This is still one of my favorite activities- I love being barefoot in order to really experience that contact with the earth! When I can’t go barefoot, I wear Vibram Five Fingers —barefoot feel with sole protection!


How much time do we spend inattentively adrift? Which senses are being ignored when we stare into our phones for hours? What moments are we missing when we ruminate worriedly about the future? Mindfulness bring us back to ourselves, back to the moment.

Adirondack Mountains

Remember, each moment of our lives is a beautiful , once in a lifetime sensory experience.

Mindful Moments

Mindful Moments are little exercises we can do to incorporate mindfulness into our daily lives. I will share these little nuggets from time to time and eventually they will get their own page. If you are looking for information regarding a specific practice such as breath work, Reiki, meditation; please contact me and I will be happy to assist!

Reflection

Do you take time to reflect back on your day without judgment?
Right before I go to sleep, I allow my day to play back in my mind. I remain an unattached witness. This allows a deeper view into the nature of my actions and thoughts. Over time, patterns emerge and give way to thoughtful change. I am ever grateful for the lessons the Universe provides daily.
One step, one breath at a time.

Try this exercise before you go to sleep tonight.

Once settled, be sure to get comfortable, close your eyes and focus on your breath. Gently follow your breath in and out until you feel yourself melt into your bed. Then take a deep breath and return to your natural breathing.

Now think back to when you woke up. Allow your day to pass through your minds eye as if you are watching a movie. Only witness, no judgement. Once you have finished “viewing” your day, take another deep breath and as you exhale release any tension you have been holding on to. Exhale and let go.

Now that you have released the day, you are prepared for well rested, peaceful sleep.

Sweet Dreams.

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Moments

All of Life is a collection of moments. We move through our days aware of the passage of time, but view this time as slices; little pieces to be looked at individually as memories. This view of life is an illusion. Life, in all it’s mystery, is an ongoing process of flow, movement, change. There is nothing static about life – it is dynamic and eternal.

…and so is everything. Everything is a process. The Universe is a process. WE are part of that dynamic, every changing dance of energy.
But we forget. We get stuck in a perceived reality in which “I” becomes the center of that perceived reality.
There is no “I”.
Look for it, I dare you! It can be frightening when you suddenly realize you do not exist the way you thought you did.


When we take the time to settle and fall into stillness, the process of life touches the soul. We then immerse ourselves in the flow of universal energy merging with all. We experience a brief moment of ONENESS. A moment of pure bliss, indescribable.
Breathe. Flow. Merge.
Bliss.

namaste.

Beginnings

Where to start? How to begin? Questions we all have at some point or multiple points in our lives. They are exactly the questions I’ve been asking myself for the last hour. “How do I start this post? This litany of words that you may or may not find useful? How do I start? What do I write?”

I’m not new to blogs. I’ve used two other popular blog hosting sites, yet this is a challenge. Why? Yes, that is the correct question. Not how to begin, but why do we begin.

So why? Why start fresh. One word. Simplify.

It seems SIMPLIFY is the path I’ve been on for a while. A number of years ago, in addition to working a full time job, I was convinced I wanted to open my own business. I was encouraged by friends and family to sell my “artistic creations” that I would give as gifts. Jewelry, artwork, whatever; my creativity was unbounded as I was creating! Such joy the art of creation! I figured I’d test the waters of selling my art at craft fairs. Long story short, I loved the initial rush, but after a few years my creative flow felt stifled as I was taking too many custom orders. What I have loved became a chore. Simplify!

No more material goods. Better for me. Better for the planet. So better for you too, as a habitant of this glorious orb.

During this time, I was also a Reiki practitioner and Wellness Consultant at a local Yoga studio (in addition to my full time job). I taught wellness classes and assisted those searching for their path find their AUTHENTIC SELF over 21 days of guided soul work. In other words, I helped awesome people find their smile, their light, their truth! What’s better than making someone smile??

It brought me great joy to teach. I learned so much about myself in the process. It was an incredibly enriching experience. The catch? It was taking time away from my family, which is ALWAYS priority number one. SIMPLIFY.

My son became very involved in the drama program at his school and parents are the backbone of set work and construction. I was no longer teaching (in person), yet I had found and outlet for my creativity (set design) while helping family and community. Better for everyone.

Yet, through it all I maintained a website, social media presence, and virtual clients. …and here I am.

SIMPLIFY.

Why? Why exactly did I start a blog some ten years ago? Because I wanted to write. That simple.

But somewhere along the line, sharing of thoughts and art turned into first a dream, a goal; became a job, a chore; turned into teaching joy, demonstrating patience, building connections; became busy weekends and missing family experiences. Simplify.

Why? Simply for peace of mind. It took me a while to get here, to know what my values and priorities are right now, in this moment, this beginning.

I hope in this new beginning I am able to share ways of mindfully simplifying our lives in order to experience more joy, less stress and live AUTHENTICALLY.

Here is to new beginnings!

Peace & Light

Kristen