Monday, January 20, 2014

What To Do In a Drought

A friend posted a photo of a man walking on the lake bed of Folsom Lake. The dam was in the distance. The water did not even reach the dam. Wow. It was a stark image of this drought. This has been the driest winter I remember in my lifetime. While I do enjoy sunny days lately, they all have a shadow of the incredible need for water we have here in California. The farmers are hurting. The ski towns are hurting. Whether we feel the effects yet personally or not, this is sure to impact everyone at some point. 

When things happen in this life (be it hardship or time for celebration) I do something that drives some people crazy: I wonder what the spiritual meaning is. What is there to learn? I step out of myself for a minute and just look at the situation placing relatively low emotional stake in it all. 

When I saw this photo I began to contemplate the spiritual significance or lesson. And the first thing that came to my mind was how people can be in spiritual droughts. Perhaps circumstances in their life transpired year after year with little to no acknowledgement to a higher power. And this higher power does not have to be a religious thing for those of you who don’t identify with any deities or spiritual figures. The higher power can be as simple as connection (such as with the other people in our lives). Or it can be as necessary as gratitude (for what you have). When each moment just rolls into the next and we don’t take a pause to be present, we drain our spiritual reserves. Eventually it just dries up and we walk heartlessly through our lives. And as painful as an actual water drought is, it is not as painful as how a spiritual drought silently takes over one's life. The good news is that even when your spiritual reservoir runs dry it is still possible for it to fill back up again. I saw evidence for this last week as demonstrated in this short little story.

Resilience Training
I was at a course last week for my job. The majority of the students in the course were male and military members. Two qualities that from my experience do not generally yield particularly spiritually active individuals. All of the instructors were also male military members. The course was even on a military installation. The course itself was wonderful and the instructors were engaging and positive figures. The course was about resilience, overcoming challenges and seeking the positive in life. Through out the duration of the week we often were expected to share personal experiences for the purpose of the lesson and exercises. some of these personal experiences were challenges, other were what we called “good stuff”. I was struck by how it seemed that some people struggled with finding the “good stuff” in their lives. Even when they talked about their “good stuff” it felt like they were stretching their own definition of what is good. I believe it felt this way because of how they spoke and carried themselves while sharing. Anyhow, as the course went on these same people seemed to open up. They had more excitement when sharing and discussing either “good stuff” or conflict resolution. Their eyes began to light up in a way I had not seen earlier in the week. I believe this shift happened in part because they had been surrounded by these lessons, positive people, and enthusiastic instructors all week. Whatever was missing in their eyes and voices earlier in the week had begun to come back. Their reserves were filling back up again. 

How to Keep Your Reservoir Full
Whether your lake is in a drought or it is overflowing, here are some helpful tools to make sure that you stay in continuous supply of spiritual awareness: 
  • Take a moment (regularly) to simply recognize your surroundings: the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and feelings. 
  • Breathe
  • Process the lessons from your challenges - reflect
  • Show gratitude for what you have been given: be it food, sunshine, a gift from a friend...
  • Set intentions to help make the next moment fulfilling. Intend to have a positive attitude, to do something you enjoy, to complete a task.

We go through experiences in life to learn something. Things don’t just happen. And as most of us know by now, life is not always fair. Pain and suffering exist. But so does joy and abundance. As we go about our lives and pray for a downpour be it a spiritual one or a literal downpour of snow and rain consider this: The inner creates the outer. What we have going on within us is bound to show up outside of us. Our outer lives are intricately intertwined and even reflections of our inner makings. Not limited to our own individual inner makings, but the inner makings of every soul being. 

I am not claiming that if people would just start to be more spiritually aware then we would not have this drought. But I am suggesting that it is worth looking for a lesson. If not to provide yourself with some peace of mind and soulful understanding, then perhaps it will take your mind off of the crisis for just a few moments. 

Photo by of Folsom Lake. Taken by Kellie Tennant.

p.s. Since we are on the subject let’s also pull together in this time and make an honest effort to conserve water in our own usage.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Coconut, Collards and a moment with Divine Mother

As I rinse and peel the vegetables for my new self-imagined soup recipe, I think about how the illusion of separation ravages our world and so much pain would dissolve if only we could embrace our unity and connection to All That Is. Much of what I teach is that of Unity and closing the separation, or rather exposing the illusion of separation. As I stand there at the kitchen sink, a host of methods to embody this unity in a Group Gathering light up my consciousness. A cool breeze pours through the kitchen window blowing my face in the most loving way. As I toss the vegetables into the pot I think how that was a nice endorsement from Divine Mother and my heart is joyful. In the other room "Awake My Soul" by Mumford and Sons plays. I smile.

The blessing of divine guidance and connection is all around. The practice is being open, sensitive and quiet enough to gather these messages. And the reward is the joy and peace it brings.

Mark your calendars for the upcoming Group Gatherings: 
May 16th at 7pm and May 19th at 12pm  
This month's theme: "Exposing the Illusion of Separation: Restoring the Harmony Within" 
Full details and event flyer coming soon... 

Now for fun, here is the recipe. I consider this my Healing and Nurturing Soup:

Coconut Collards Soup
(Vegan and Gluten Free)

I put everything in the pot in this order:

Medium heat
1 box Vegetable Broth
4 cloves garlic chopped (tiny)
1 yellow onion chopped
1 1/2 inch ginger cut like coins
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
salt to taste
4 carrots peeled
3 celery stocks
1 zucchini
1 bunch of collard greens
(chop or cut up the veggies any way you please)
Change heat to medium/low for 10 or 15 minutes

Lower heat to low of simmer
Half can of coconut milk
Bragg's Amino Acids to taste
Leave for 1 hour then turn off heat.

I serve it with Jasmine Rice

I am not a chef (by any means), but I am pretty pleased and proud of this culinary adventure. It got me through laryngitis, minor sinus infection and allergies. Perfect for when you want to eat something nurturing and easy for your body to process. I have recreated it a couple times. The vegetables can be exchanged for whatever veggie you like best. This is just what I used today.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Embody Truth Messages: Breaking the Same Old Pattern

photo by Jhonathan Florez
There are times in this life where we see a direction we want to go. This desire feels good and pure. The kind of good and pure that tells you it is the True, authentic desire of your Soul and Higher Self. You can visualize and even enact some steps in this direction, but repeatedly you are drawn back to your same old pattern, that same old direction. Even so, you keep this vision and knowledge of where you want to go. In fact, you can't really help but keep the vision because the desire is so innate that it is more you than even your current understanding is you.

By keeping this vision and praying for your embodiment of it, you keep it close to manifestation. And if you are lucky, the elements in your life and the Universe will conspire to push you again and again in the desired direction. Even when you choose to fall into the old pattern and when you are convinced that you are doing good by your True Self and Soul, you are lucky if this path is interrupted. Perhaps your ability to perform the same old task is taken from you: you injure your leg, you lose your voice, you damage your instruments or tools. Temporarily you are paralyzed from any action, be it the same old pattern or the True desired path. Do not despair. This is just to drive home, embed within you, the lesson that you not only want, but you need to take this new path. And the sooner you take the leap of faith, change the direction of your sails and do as you truly wish, the better for you and the better for All That Is.