Category Archives: Self-Ritual

A Fire In Your Belly: A Mid-Winter Self-Ritual

Snow topped roofs… Quiet…subdued dark blue morning sky…

All is as it should be for February 1st.

Today and tomorrow mark special days on the old calendar called Imbolc or “in the belly”, symbolizing the mark of mid-winter. This morning, I rose early, and lit every candle I had left over that was started last year to cleanse out old fires. Each room has a cheerily flickering light as the sun is now rising.

Our ancestors would have fire as their main source of light, as they spent the long nights of winter in their small homes, huddled together to stay warm. On this morning, I am reminded of how fortunate we are to have space to move about in these cold months. I am not bothered by snow, I find it beautiful and calming.

This morning when I see those covered rooftops from my the window I practice in front of, it makes me feel uplifted to see such beauty. I turn a few oracle cards to begin my new month, what lies ahead I ask?

I begin my yoga practice with warming up with surya namaskara, and decide to focus on balance and hip release this morning. All it takes is 20 minutes for my body to feel its long night of rest melt away into softer muscles and a more relaxed mind.

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I did notice my mind was a bit too busy this morning. It has been with January as busy as it was for myself. I run the checklist through my mind of the month: opening a new space two and a half times larger than my old studio, training  new desk staff, teaching many classes, hosting a large scale grand opening, a soft opening, and moving the old studio into the new studio all in the course of a month. Of course, taking care of family life, groceries, desk work, and so forth, no wonder my mind is a bit wreckless right now.

I decide I need to sit and ground.

I do what I do each Imbolc, a meditation focused on the them of the day, what is “in the belly” for me? It gives me a little insight into what I need to focus in on from now until the Spring Equinox, our next old calendar pivotal date.

With flickering candles, and Pandora radio playing soft ragas, I sit with my breath to see where my mind will take me.

One of the symbols of Imbolc is one of those big cast iron pots you see on Halloween (except they are usually plastic) called a cauldron. They have 3 legs and our ancestors used to cook with them over the fire. I see mine as a pot belly shape to go with our “in the belly” theme. I take a look inside and see it is half full with warm water. I fall in, the water is warm, and I am swimming. It feels good to swim in the warm darkness. I realize though, I cannot just stay here because it feels good. This is typical of me, forge ahead!

I notice the water changes, gets choppy and rough… hmmmm now what do I do?

I take the water, and turn it into a water spout funnel and toss it in the air. It disperses above me into beautiful sparkles like soft fireworks.

Ahhhh, now I am calmer, sitting down now in the bottom of my pot, deciding what is in the belly for me.

You see this in the belly theme is symbolic of this time of year. Spring is happening in the belly of the earth. The first stirrings are happening, but we cannot see them.

The rest of what happens is for me only, but I understand a little better where I may want to invest my time this month. I made sure I reviewed and closed out last month already mentally. My checklist of how I did. What goals did I reach or am on track with. I looked at my journal entries to make sure I am on top of my mental plans.

One of them is to write to you at the end of each month, so we can close our months out together. People who continuously check into their goals will achieve them.

My word of the year is Grace. I chose it because I don’t have a true energetic understanding of the word, but I think it will help me to understand it in my life, career and spiritual practice. It is still foreign to me, but I will continue to check into it to keep myself focused on this theme for 2017.

Today if you can, close out your month, and try a meditation to see what is in the belly for you. Here are some self-ritual ideas for today and tomorrow.

Mid-Winter Self Rituals

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  • Finishing burning any old candles as a symbol of release of the first part of winter
  • Let your intention be surrounding this half of winter, from now until March 21st, and what is in store
  • Let your yoga  practice revolve around warming and belly nourishing practices like twists, surya namaskara, and deep forward bending
  • Enjoy being in the belly of your home, wherever that is, clean the space and enjoy being in it
  • Sit and visualize where your first stirrings of new intentions are at. I like my cauldron visualization, but you could also visualize a fire or hearth, a pot with soil in it, or even inside your own womb area.
  • Enjoy nourishing foods, like soups and stews made of root vegetables and easy to digest grains. Our bodies need simple foods that are easily broken down in our bellies.
  • Yoga postures in my practice today included: Classical Surya Namaskara, Pyramid Pose, Twisted Low Lunge, Tree Pose, Seated Wide Legged Forward Bend, Headstand and Plow Pose.

Enjoy closing out January and transition yourself into a beautiful February.

Finding Tranquility Everyday: Closing Out Your Journey

Do you remember why you began this journey with yourself?

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I know why I did. I wanted to feel happy everyday and more consciously aware of my life. It was important to me to set some goals and see them through. Being curious about myself again, and ground myself a little.

Thank you to those to read everyday and for your kind words, I have never done anything like this before, at times it felt vulnerable to have to share so much. It is nice to know you are not alone in what you feel.

As this cycle comes to a close, a new one will begin. I hope you will all continue on with the goals you set for yourselves that made you feel good. Release the things that do not. Love yourself everyday, you deserve that!

Suggestions for closing ritual

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The full moon is tomorrow. I suggest an outdoor closing if you can, or somewhere where you can catch a glimpse of the moon.

  • Have a moment or a day of silence at some point to honor your final period of reflection
  • Have a little sacred body time with a juice cleanse or just eating very clean all day.
  • Do a longer yoga practice in the morning or before bed.
  • Take a nice bath with candles, bath salts, the works, before you close out your 30 days.
  • Close with another body blessing. 
  • Chant a mantra you feel connected to like the Gayatri Mantra, Om Mani Padme Hum or anything that opens the heart for healing. Sway, move and rejoice in the freedom of your own voice.
  • Review your journal entry’s and what you noticed or learned. Make one more entry to close out what you need, and to see what you will continue to work on going forward.
  • Pick an oracle card for a divine message connected to what is in this moment important for you to notice.
  • Sit peacefully as long as you like, until you feel complete.

If you feel you are at a crossroads, continue on. Take the path that is right for you, or meditate on the choices you have. We all have choices on how we choose to live our lives. I know what it is like to be the outsider in how I choose to live and I hope you get the love and acceptance you need. Take your time getting there, as progress may feel slow at times, but true change at the core will take time. Know you are being guided, and that you are never alone.

With love and gratitude to all of you.

Gayatri Mantra

Aum
Bhuh Bhuvah Svah
Tat Savitur Varenyam
Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi
Dhiyo Yo nah Prachodayat

“We meditate on the brilliance of our Supreme Being who is our creator, inspirer and source of eternal Joy.  May this warm and loving Light inspire and guide our mind and open our hearts.”

 

 

Finding Tranquility Everyday Day 28: Having Tranquil Fun

What is tranquil fun you ask?

I can tell you what it is to me. A hot day, a cold drink, and hanging out with people you fancy. Today, I got to do that 3 times over!

After all my hard work on myself these last 28 days, I have to say moving into the close of this journey, having fun really never crossed my mind. How silly is that? I thought about my intentions, my yoga practice, my spiritual practice, meditation, cleaning and organizing, gardening, cooking, but fun never once crossed my mind.

Fulfillment did cross my mind and all the many questions that go into that, but fun did not. I guess one more magical ingredient to add to all this. Good ole’ kick in the pants laughter and smiles. It is some of the best medicine for the soul.

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When was the last time you had fun? Like a smile was glued to your face?

When was the last time to surrendered to a desire that would improve your life, not hinder it?

When did you take the option of releasing stress and to-do’s for something you really wanted to do?

Some of us are better at this than others. No matter what, it is OK, but don’t forget to make it a part of your bucket list like me. I really like having fun with my kids, and seeing them have fun, but as a parent, it is hard to relax into the fun when you have so much responsibility to take care of someone too.

So where is the tranquil fun?

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For me, less responsibility in that moment, and more relaxation. Just being able to enjoy the moment, but knowing everyone else is too in their own way. Sharing moments with people I love and trust. Knowing I can be myself in those moments. Understanding I am safe and secure, and all is well.

I would say tranquil fun is being at ease with myself, and enjoying the moment, not wanting to be anywhere else.

Give yourself permission now to schedule something you know will be fun and laid back in these last four days. Close this out on a high note, and focus on your successes and happiness. I wish you all the happiness in the world and more!

Finding Tranquility Everyday Days 26&27: Tranquil Magic

Magic…Mystical…Mysterious…

Some words are so delicious to say. This is right where I needed to be this month, enjoying some time that started with those words.

I took a day off from writing, but not from our sadhana. I needed the extra time to rest and prepare for one of the most magical days of the year for me. August is one of my favorite months. The harvest season is here, the grapes hanging heavy on their vines, the drone of the night insects. I love it all!

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I love how hot is has been. Not everyone is a fan, but to really feel my bare feet, to not feel cold at all, to be able to go outside whenever I want is a luxury to me. Exploring myself this last month has left me hungry for seeking more within me. I have been noticing my behavioral patterns, and also noticing where I can stand to take some power back.

Yesterday, I prepared for my special day with a close friend, by baking blackberry oat bread to honor the harvest time, studying what we were going to explore within us, lighting a ton of candles, sipping red wine (yes one glass, and guess who got major sinus drainage from it…yours truly), and doing a seated meditation to receive messages for seeking clarity in our lives.

Here were some powerful messages I received.

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  1. Red Wine makes me sneeze and my body was not happy to have it.
  2. I absolutely must continue to work my inner magic to find tranquility.
  3. I really need to do my yoga stretches everyday for my body to heal and maintain health.
  4. In my meditation, I saw a ship with a dragon head. I realized it was the same image I saw on an oracle card. When I looked up the meaning I saw voyage but also bringing it all home. What I have put out there is about to return to me from its celestial journey.
  5. I saw a waxing moon. That is the phase of growth and bringing intentions into the light.

Other things happened too, but those I will keep to myself, a girl needs a little mystery.

People have asked me how my cleanse/sadhana has been going. Here is what has gone well: no sugar, not one slip! No wine for the most part, not bad at all! Writing everyday for this journey! Way less gluten. Keeping my intentions close to my heart and at the foreground of my thought patterns. Being able to look in the mirror now with love for myself. Working really hard to clean up bad habits.

What I have not done that I had hoped to do: Get the daily exercise routine and a longer yoga routine down. I move a lot, I run around all day with the kids, at the studio, cleaning the house, shopping and so forth, but I cannot seem to find the right blend of movement practice for me yet. That is next, because it is important to me that I stay strong my whole life. I also have some heart chakra clean up to do.

We have 4 days left on this cycle we began on.

Take a moment to do a quick reflection on your accomplishments and what you want to continue to work on for yourself. I can’t wait to chip away at my vision board list! I hope to chip at something everyday!

Work on your closing practices too for Full Moon this week. You will want to close out your sadhana, so make sure you mark down your calendar for that this week, and your how to close out your sadhana post will come in the next day or so. There are so many creative ways to close this out, make it your own. Find the magic within you that wants to speak up and be heard and listen to it!