Flowing with the fresh and exciting energy that January has brought, I wanted to offer a meditation exercise to start 2016 off right. This guided visualization is designed to help you open to your unlimited creative potential and to gain greater clarity and insight on the deeper projects and visions you want to bring into the world in this upcoming year. By opening and expanding these natural and creative energies within you, you can be more open to attracting the opportunities and spaces which are waiting for you to make your dreams a reality. So find a comfy pillow, lay out your yoga mat and enjoy!
Many associate broomsticks with witchcraft, flying and other mystical activities. Whatever esoteric reasoning lies behind this connection, it is challenging to deny the effectiveness with which a good sweep of the broom can alter a space. Over the last several years I have come to realize how important it is for mental well being to keep a clean and organized living space. Physical locations where you spend a majority of your time (home, office, car, etc.) are a reflection of your internal state of mind but they also have the power to alter your emotions and mental clarity.
Have you ever noticed when you are feeling sick, tired, stressed or depressed that your bedroom or home becomes messy and disorganized? This is a mirror of what’s happening inside yourself and understanding this can empower you to change your emotional state of mind. One step towards transformation and healing is actively maintaining a clean and orderly home or work environment. It is remarkable how quickly stress or frustration can dissipate when you are working, eating or sleeping in a clean and structured space.
From moody and emotional teen to joyful, positive and energetic healer, it is quite amusing to see the transformation my bedroom cleanliness standards have undergone. As my mother and college roommates can attest to, growing up it was a rare occasion to find my bed made and clothes folded and put away. However, over the last several years as I’ve dived into mindfulness practices, I have trained myself to make my bed as soon as I wake up in the morning. This practice starts my day and creates a center of order and clearness that carries me to the next activity with peace and focus. I do my best to execute an intensive cleaning of my living space at least once a week. It is astonishing how much dust, cobwebs and piles of things accumulate under the bed, in the closet and in hidden drawers! By actively and regularly sweeping out the dust and ordering our belongings we can prevent buildup of dirt, mold and physical chaos that results from neglect and lack of care.
Hopefully one can begin to see the analogy I’m leading up to with tidying up your room and cleaning out your mind of emotional and mental frustration. Just as it is important to have a daily/weekly cleaning practice, it is equally important to have mindfulness practices in your life that help you move stuck energy and manage stress, anxiety, fear, anger and all the other natural emotions which arise in our daily lives. From sitting meditations, dance, art, sports, EFT, and many forms of therapy, there is a plethora of techniques out there that can help you keep your mind at peace and clean out the negative residue of unwanted stress or strain.
If you find yourself feeling stuck, blocked, sad or angry, I suggest taking a look around your room, pick up a broom and have at it! You will soon discover the magic sweeping, folding and stacking can create for a more calm and balanced way of living.
What is Gratitude?
Gratitude is the feeling of knowing that you have been given everything you could ever need or want in this life and being thankful. It is the feeling of knowing that you are whole, you are well, you are alive and breathing and that is enough. It is releasing and letting go of seeking anything beyond yourself and coming in to seeing what is right before your very eyes.
Gratitude is the key to lightening the burden of the soul so that it has space to become what it was meant to be. It creates fertile soil for the heart to open and expand. Gratitude allows for creativity and ingenuity to flow through us as opposed to holding on to any remnants of scarcity fears and projections.
Interestingly enough, many of the worlds richest people are the most miserable. Why is this? Perhaps the plethora of reminders become lost amidst the illusion of comfort and security, making one complacent in honoring the fleeting nature of existence. Perhaps those with less material goods are forced on a daily basis to find joy in what is given to them and needs become less, thus gratitude is more easily attainable.
So where do we find the middle? How can we merge this new world of abundance and prosperity with the lessons learned from living without?
As we move into a sociological and cultural shift of “Present Time” – the notion that all that exists and is of importance is happening right NOW – perhaps we can remind each other to live this daily meditation. Perhaps we can remind each other that physical representations of wealth are only symbols for the ability to be in equal exchange with the world around us and are simply tools for us to share and create as a whole. Perhaps we can remind each other of what gives true meaning to life; Love, unity, connection, harmony and creation. When we find ourselves feeling anxious, fearful, angry or sad regarding our current perceived state of wealth and joy, perhaps we can take a look at what we do have in that moment. For many of us, we will find that we always have everything we need in that instance. Those of us who are being challenged to let go of material attachments can perhaps start to evaluate what it is they truly need in life to be joyful and alive.
There is a wealth that is infinite and it lives within our hearts and minds. Our power to create, to sing, to connect and unite is what makes all the beauty in the world. Money, food, houses, cars, and school – these are all tools used in the process of creation. They aid us in moving from point A to point B. They help us to focus our energies to make things happen in this world. Yet many times we forget that they are simply a gateway for one person to connect to another, for one people to connect with themselves. They are part of a greater arch leading us from the world of individuation into the illumination of unification.
How many times a day do you say thank you for the gift of experiencing your life in this moment? How many times a day do you say thank you for your body’s ability to breathe? To see? To touch? To feel? Perhaps we can all take this number and multiply it times three. Together we can expand our practice of gratitude in a practical and action oriented way to transform the heart of our world. Let’s move from impoverished to nourished simply by saying thank you.
Many of you have seen me praise the healing powers of dance and especially 5 Rhythms®. This spiritual body practice continues to inspire me with its organic, raw, alchemical power. By tuning in to our body and the beat, we free ourselves from our minds and the stories that they generate. Once the mind is turned off and the ego takes a back seat, that is when the true Spirit of life has a chance to enter. Throughout history, many spiritual and medicinal disciplines have advocated for the strong healing power that dance brings. Along with clearing your thoughts, you also free stuck emotions and energy in the body that permits your “Qi”, or life force, to flow more freely.
Today the waters within me were given a chance to be shaken and stirred and parts of myself that had become stagnant began to flow again. This morning I attended my first Sweat Your Prayers® class with the talented Alessandro Moruzzi and Vehllia Tranne. These two teachers bring a deep understanding of their practice that forms a very powerful and supportive container for students to let go and embrace their elemental natures. Demonstrating through movement, music and poetic guidance, they take you on a journey of reconnection to the miracle of the body. Exploring each part – the feet, the hips, the shoulders, the neck, the hands – leads to a transcendence of perception. As I grounded in my feet, feeling the earth holding me, my movements became more fluid or more rapid, depending on where the music took me. Yet, I saw that the more I deepened my focus in my body and my breath, the more space I had to create through my physical expression. Their wisdom and artistry, combined with live drumming, created a sanctuary of healing and liberation.
To those who say they are not dancers or don’t know how or don’t like to dance, I urge you to find a 5 Rhythms® class in your area. Dance is not only part of our nature but it is a fundamental aspect of the rhythm of life. By placing yourself in the right container for such an experience, you can open to so much more than a body practice. This art form teaches you how to connect to yourself and the world around you in a new way. You can allow yourself to be reborn in this space and trust that the waves and rhythms of life will hold you in your process. For many who have difficulty practicing sitting meditations, this is also a space for you to explore connecting to your breath in a joyful, healthy and insightful way.
San Francisco’s City Waves is located at 386 Moraga Ave (at Arguello Blvd). Their classes are Tuesdays from 7:30pm – 9:30pm ($20) and Sundays 10:00am – 12:00pm ($15). I hope to see you all there; sweating, stomping and swaying in this beautiful journey of Self-discovery.