theothersideofhealing

family, friends and making every day sacred

Peaceful Flow Ceremony

I thought it would be fun to share a short ceremony for bringing a peaceful flow to your sacred space.  You don’t have to be an expert or have all of the tools that I am going to mention.  Instead of feathers, you can use your hands.  Instead of smoke(if you are sensitive) use wax melts.  The purpose is to bring your space into balance and assist with giving it a peaceful serene feeling.  If you don’t have a room where you meditate or do ceremony, the bedroom is a great place to start, a good night’s sleep in a thoroughly cleansed bedroom is dreamy!

We are going to raise and move energy to reach a goal.  If you perform any type of energy healing, practice martial arts or yoga or qi gong, magick or prayer, you are already raising energy, giving it a purpose and then releasing.  So you already have the basics for the ceremony.  If this is your first time performing anything like this, I am sure you will find it to be uplifting and you will have a feeling of harmony.  Ready?  Okay let’s get started.

If you are going to follow the ceremony using all the tools, you will need:  your feather, your abalone shell, the medicines(herbs) such as sweet grass, sage and lavender( these are perfect for this ceremony), wooden matches( a lighter is fine too but I prefer the matches) and some alone time so you won’t be disturbed.  Once you have gathered all the tools necessary, sit for a moment in the room you will be working with and connect with the energies, stay open and relaxed, note if you are drawn to a particular corner or piece of furniture, breath normally and let your body relax.

Next awaken your feather, run your thumb and middle finger along the heart line of the feather( the very center of it), gently caressing it, ask the spirit of the feather to join you from its resting place and honour the energies of the feather.  After invoking the spirit of the feather, place the feather over your heart to fully connect with its energies and bring your hearts together to beat in unison.

Start adding the medicines to your shell, first the sweet grass then the lavender and last the sage.  As you are adding each herb, thank the plants spirit for its medicine and assistance.  Always remain thankful and humble, these are powerful energies and deserve your respect.  Once all the medicines are in the shell, invoke the spirit of Mother Earth and Father Sky to watch over and protect you during the ceremony.  Ask that they assist the smoke in carrying and moving the energies to bring peace, serenity and healing.

Then light the pot, starting from the furthest point away from and moving forward.  Watch how the medicines light, as you practice this more, you will become aware of any symbols in the flames and the smoke.  Ask your spirit guides to protect and bless you throughout the ceremony.

Start with a corner in your room away from any doorway, gently wave the feather over the smoke, asking the smoke to transform any negative energies into harmonious healing energies.  Remain humble and reverent to the medicines and the spirits you have invoked.  Move in a clockwise motion around the room, pay attention to the corners and any areas that you felt drawn too while connecting to the room.  Ask Earth Mother to take your prayers of harmony, peace and serenity to the Great Spirit and transform your room into a loving sacred space.

When you reach the doorway, pay a lot of attention to it, ask only love and light to remain and banish any negative energies.  Before ending the ceremony, wave the feather over the smoke toward you, start at your head and surround yourself with the medicines, bathe in the sacred smoke.  Ask that the smoke cleanse your eyes, ears and mouth so that you can see more clearly, hear for your highest good and speak from your heart.

Take the pot outside and give the medicines back to Mother Earth, thank Mother and Father Sky for being with you, thank your spirit guides, your feather and your pot(shell) for assisting you and lastly thank the spirit of the medicines for cleansing and healing you.

Once you have finished be sure to have a drink of water and something small to eat to help ground yourself.  I sincerely hope you enjoy this simple yet elegant and powerful ceremony.

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The Benefits of Sacred Smudging

smudge pot

Sacred Smudging is a spiritual ceremony dedicated to cleansing your personal space, mind and body.  Numerous religions practice it and the tools used can vary from one tradition to the next.  I use an abalone shell with my feather wand.  To give my sacred space a good “cleaning” I use sweet grass, white sage and sacred tobacco.  Depending on the work I am doing, I will change up the herbs used and will also employ lavender, rose petals, yerba santa, frankincense, myrrh and copal, to name a few.

Before I cleanse a room(s), I cleanse myself by dry bathing in the smoke.  I use my feather wand to direct the smoke, using your hands is fine too.  You can also simply light a stick of incense and “wash” yourself then cleanse your room(s).

The ceremony itself can be as elaborate as you wish.  Once a month I go all out, I set up my altar, light candles, put on David Hickey, invoke the four directions and break out the shell and feather wand.  I cleanse myself and the entire house, making sure I get the corners, behind furniture etc., anywhere energy can sit and become stale.  Daily before my yoga practice, I light some incense and dry bathe myself and let the incense burn for about 10 minutes.

Some of the benefits of smudging yourself and your space are:

Clarity, Grounding, feeling one with the Universe, Promotes Release, Prepares for Forgiveness, Brings the Chakras into Balance, Facilitates connection with the Higher Self, Allows a feeling of being in the Present, Removes blockages, Joy, Peace, Rids your space of any negative energies, Promotes a general state of calm, Creates Sacred Space, Makes the space feel more Welcoming and Removes energy left behind by others.  This is not an exhaustive list they are many more benefits to you and your family.

The extra added bonus is that your sacred space will smell amazing!

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The Wisdom of the Shaman

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When I took my first wobbly steps toward the edge of my personal Merry Go ‘Round, I was scared, in fact I was terrified.  I felt naked, alone and confused.  I had finally put both my feet on solid ground and still something was missing.  I was still looking back to the past, I didn’t miss the events that had happened but I did miss the familiarity.  As unhealthy as my life was, it was all I knew.  Then I came across a quote from Gabrielle Roth and it made me truly rethink my life and gave me direction to filling the empty spots.  This is what I read:

” In many shamanic societies, if you came to a medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited or depressed, they would ask one of four questions:  When did you stop dancing?  When did you stop singing?  When did you stop being enchanted by stories?  When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence?”

The questions are so simplistic and straightforward yet they are profound.  Freedom is found when you move, speak, listen and contemplate.  Daily I practice movement through yoga, I verbalize my needs and wants, I actively listen to the world and people around me and I contemplate through the silence of meditation.

The moment you decide to change your life, surroundings, thought patterns etc., you have started the journey.  Healing involves all the senses and the four questions bring the senses together.  The answers for each person will be different, what moves you, what speaks to you, what you listen too and how to contemplate.  Not everyone will find movement through yoga, although it my go to for all my ills, there is yoga pose for almost everything!  Believe me when I say, you will find yours, research, read and educate yourself.  The answers are there.  The study of Shamanism itself is a fascinating discipline and a worthwhile area of study.

When I feel like I’m losing my way another quote that brings me back to living in the present is, ” Death is not the greatest loss in life.  The greatest loss is what dies inside of us while we live”, Norman Cousins.

* I found the image for this post by googling “free to use shamanic images”, there is no author listed for the image, if you recognize it, please feel free to email me so I can give credit. *

The Poor Me Show

free vintage printable - sad lady

Step right up and see the greatest show on earth!  It will razzle and dazzle you, it will leave you breathless!  Come on in and spend time watching the story unfold, get on that Merry Go ‘Round, get dizzy, let yourself be swept away!  Be astounded by the drama and trauma of the day, be sure to invite a friend, the more the merrier.  The merrier the more fantasy. The lights and noise will hypnotize you!  Welcome to the never ending “Poor Me” show!

The intro might sound silly however I was looking for a comedic and dramatic way to start the discussion.  Have you ever seen the “Poor Me” show?  I bet you have and like every other human being you’ve probably gotten caught up in it too.  The show starts with a dramatic, traumatic, sad, angering, festering event.  Then moves onto the rides, the Merry Go ‘Round of habit and talk and complaining and never ending suffering.  Unfortunately for some the ride never ends.

Don’t misunderstand, I am not making fun or invalidating anything that has gone wrong.  The road to any kind of recovery is long and treacherous.  It is a very brave thing to come back from any number of situations.  Especially the ones you had no control over but rather thrust into a spot because of bad timing or an unforeseen event.

However, when you find yourself or someone else, acknowledging a problem, talking about it, asking for guidance but with no resolution, then you or that someone else is getting ready to ride the Merry Go ‘Round of repeating patterns, getting lost, feeling depressed and wishing for a way out, but again with no resolution.

The problem with the ride is that you get dizzy and disoriented, then you can’t see the possibilities, the resolutions and the happiness that you deserve.  We become so wrapped up in the words, deeds or the drama of the situation that we forget, we ultimately have control of the outcome.  All we have to do is put one foot on the ground, steady ourselves and stop the poor me show and start moving toward the resolution.

Bringing resolution to any situation that has had a lot control over us is nothing short of terrifying.  It is very difficult to let go of old patterns, words, negative thought patterns and sometimes people.  These people can be very difficult to let go of.  The closer they are in relationship to you, such as a partner, parent, sister, brother or child, the harder it is to let go.

If you ask for advice and what is given is reasonable, why not act on it?  Ask yourself the question, “What is the worst thing that could happen if I…?”  The answer is, no matter the excuses, no matter the reasons, you would be happy.  The time always comes when you have to either “put up or shut up”, if you are not willing to change the situation won’t change either.  If you know you have exhausted every avenue and still nothing is better, then picture yourself the way you want to live or be or be seen and go for it.  You might get dirty, you may have some lonely nights, you may cry, you may laugh, you may get angry but once you have let go and stop grieving(remember that can start the poor me show again so don’t stay there for too long)you are going to ask yourself, “What took so bloody long?”

Have you talked a situation to death?  If you can honestly say yes, then maybe it is time to “put up or shut up”.  Albert Einstein said it best, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

No matter what the situation is, you do have a choice.  Be safe, if you need help, ask.  Depending on the situation, you can call the police, a shelter, a mental health hotline, a friend, a relative but be prepared to act.  Whether you see it or not, you are worthy, you are important, you do matter and you deserve all the happiness that you can possibly stand.

Who Takes Care of the Caretaker?

First, let me apologize for taking so long, it has been quite a week or so for me.  My computer is down and I forgot my log ins for my email and the blog, I downloaded the app for my tablet so I could keep writing and once I’m done this, I have to catch up on the emails.  The good news is I keep my passwords in my Home Management binder, the bad news was, I have been painting and redocorating and forgot where I put the binder, I laughed so hard at myself for that one.  I have to admit painting and choosing new furniture has been a blast. 

I’ve been thinking about a couple of my friends a lot lately, they are supporting family members through some rough times.  One is recovering from addiction, the other has escaped a violent marriage.  My friends are brave, noble and nurturing women, they have stepped into their roles and have taken a stand.  They have given freely of themselves, shown compassion and given love unconditionally.

The two people receiving this assistance deserve special mention too.  They realized they were in over their heads, reached out and took steps to change their lives.  That is the very definition of brave.  They can both walk a path of true healing, remembering who they were and realizing the potential of who they can be.  Don’t give up, give in or stop!  Look to the future and always keep yourselves safe.

Helping people we love is both rewarding and frustrating.  We want to give of ourselves but at times our own lives can feel as chaotic as those we are trying to help.  It’s great to be caretakers but we need to care for ourselves too.  It’s okay to take breaks, say no and have quiet time.  We want to help our loved ones grow and move forward but there has to be a balance otherwise the caretakers burn out and we inadvertently create an unhealthy situation. 

Whether you are the giver or the receiver, give yourself the gift of solitude when things become too much to bear.  Let yourself relax, go to a yoga class, meditate, walk.  Moving physically when you are emotionally drained is difficult however it is very healthy.  The healthier your body, the healthier your mind. 

If you have never meditated before try closing your eyes and daydreaming.  If you can sit quietly, allow yourself to create a beautiful picture in your mind and hold the vision, you are still meditating.  Let your mind wander to places you’ve been, a happy event or make up a fantasy.  Meditating and daydreaming work hand in hand to allow your imagination to explode.  I have solved so many of my problems through this practice because my mind is free to work through situations without my ego getting in the way.  There is nothing sweeter than that special “Aha” moment. 

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Synchronicity and the Same Old, Same Old

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Yup, that’s me, an angelic Scarlett O’Hara.  The more things change, the more they stay the same, so I’m pretending I have a fainting couch and assuming the position in the picture above.  *Sigh*, why do the same patterns constantly repeat?

Have you ever noticed, there are just certain personality types that are attracted to you?  Whether good or bad, do you ever feel like you have a stamp on your forehead that says, ” Please kick me”.  I certainly do, sometimes I think I was born to have every passive-aggressive person on planet earth try my patience, lol, that’s actually kind of funny.  So I’ve cleaned up my life, removed some old baggage and left myself open to all the new possibilities.

Am I happy? Yes.  Do I still come across passive-aggressive people?  You betcha, why? People are reminders of all the good and not so good parts of ourselves.  Am I passive-aggressive? No…..however I used to be.  So when I come across someone like that it is a constant reminder of WHY I cleaned up my life.  Not necessarily a reminder that I need to change more.

When you cross paths with the same old, same old, remember, it’s a mirror.  It’s reflective of where you were and how far you’ve come.  Let the reflection bounce off, smile and find that fainting couch because sometimes the world can be exhausting.  You can only control you, no one else and you shouldn’t try because that’s exhausting too.

This isn’t the original post I had planned for today(sorry Jo and Gunnvor!) but this is the issue that has been coming around for the last 10 days, Yup, 10 Freaking Days!!!!  No wonder I want a fainting couch and double locks on the doors.

When the world has exhausted you, lock the door, write in your journal and rest your head.  Simply let go.  Close your eyes, inhale deeply and exhale deliberately.  Trust me it feels fantastic.  I have another post for tomorrow that I hope will inspire you and I am working on a new free printable journal for you to download.  So far it looks Steampunkish, kind of Gothic Lolita and some fantasy(I’m thinking Dragons).  Once the pages are done, I will post a tutorial on how to put it together and hopefully inspire to write.

Talk to your Angels, they enjoy bending an ear, whispering encouraging words.  They are very good listeners, all you have to do is ask.

Tomorrow…….. Being the proverbial Mother and taking care of all the lost souls.  Until then…………

Meanwhile over at Wings of Whimsy…..

My new friend, Gunnvor Karita over at wingsofwhimsy.wordpress.com, asked me to guest post on her blog today……it turned out to be phenomenal experience.

Not only did I make a new friend but I got to share my passion for Victoriana.  This evening I’m working on a beautiful craft using the Love Circus I downloaded from Wings of Whimsy,  it is going to make a lovely centrepiece for my dining room table.

Whether you’re feeling crafty or looking for inspiration, Gunnvor has a breathtaking site filled with gorgeous projects and graphics.  The bonus is she is an absolute doll and I am grateful to have met her and collaborated on a post!

Life is Like a Jar of Peanut Butter

Ball-Jar-Vintage-Image-Graphics-Fairy

I was trying to come up with something witty or poetic for this post.  I kept asking myself, if I could compare my life to something what would it be.  The only thing that kept popping up was peanut butter.

So I thought I was hungry, grabbed a spoon and dug into my jar of creamy peanut butter.  You should understand, I love the stuff, I personally think it should be an official food group all on its own.  I sat there, spoon in hand, trying to come up with the perfect words and all I could think about was this spoon of peanut butter.  Then it dawned on me…..

On it’s own, peanut butter is both sweet and salty.  Life is like that.  If you spread it on toast, it melts and takes on a whole new meaning, I’ve felt that melting before.  Depending on what you mix it with, you’re either in heaven or in hell when the heartburn sets in.  I’ve tried jam, bananas, honey, lettuce, sliced cheese, even bacon(hence the reference to heartburn).  But no matter what I have concocted I never want the jar to come to an end.  There are still so many recipes to try.  It smells good and can be a lot of fun to eat.  But if you put too much in your mouth without a drink of milk to chase it, you’ll choke on it’s thickness, I’ve done that too.

I still haven’t found the poetic stanzas or the witty words but I’m still smiling because I have half a jar of ooey gooey goodness left so it’s not half empty but half full.  Always stay on the bright side, always make sure you laugh, eat all the peanut butter in all of its incarnations that you can, live each one to the fullest.  Unless your allergic, then you find an alternative, like apples…so good and so many concoctions.

As I finish typing this, I’m really smiling because I know there is nothing that will keep me from eating another spoonful, I have my milk ready and I’ll double up on the yoga in the morning to help offset the fat content I’ve decided to ingest!

Hmmmm I’m thinking cookies but that is an entirely other post.

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Friends, Family and Coming Home

armchair

This post is about the ultimate healing journal.  It is about reacquainting with old friends and family thought to be lost forever and making a few new friends along the way.

First the confession:  I was emotionally abused by a parent until the age of 40.  Unfortunately, there was a lot of damage done.  How can a grown woman be emotionally abused by a parent?  The answer is simple:  conditioning.  I was conditioned to believe I was never good enough, that I shouldn’t shine too brightly and that I was only valuable when I was handing over money or whatever the demands were.  The fallout from all this has been both devastating and elating.  Why the extreme?  Because I have my freedom, freedom to know I made the right choice by walking away, the freedom of knowing I am good enough and I deserve whatever it is I please.  Devastating because my parent is very good at manipulating and she has focused on 2 of my grown kids for awhile now.  She has managed to drive a very deep wedge between myself and one of them.  The other just wants to believe that if she doesn’t choose between us everything will be okay.

I don’t judge either one of them, I am living, breathing proof of how deeply this kind of abuse can affect your choices and who you surround yourself with.  It’s a very difficult choice to make, to decide that you would rather not have a parent in your life but I waited a really long time, set boundaries, set deadlines and nothing worked.  So the healthiest thing for me to do was to simply walk away and hope that one day my 2 children decide to do the same.

I have been reconnecting with family that removed my parent from their lives a long time ago.  I have talked to a couple of them for hours on the phone, crying, laughing, getting caught up but most of all:  I finally can say I have family that I can count on.  Not one of them want anything from me, they just want me.  That is very powerful and moving.  That knowledge has strengthened my relationships at home with my son and my partner.  It is amazing how freely people will give love, if you let them.  If you let down your guard and take a chance on the right people, instead of hoping for something from the wrong people.

I have also reconnected with a very old friend.  I met Joanne in grade 7, which made us both 12.  We stayed friends for a very long time, we grew together, had kids together, got married together but then time and changes got in the way.  So now we are communicating a lot and it is a profound friendship for me, she knows exactly what I’ve been through, she watched it happen to me.  My parent always viewed anyone, including my friends, as a threat to their power and control.  So I am very lucky that Joanne chose to see through all of that and focus on me as a person and not a part of a dysfunctional family.   Joanne has a very beautiful and she is a very pretty person, although she can’t see that but I do and that is what matters.  I can be her personal cheering section when she needs it.

I have 3 other friends that I could not do without, these ladies have had an enormous impact on my life.  They encouraged me to teach and to not give up.  Just like Joanne, they won’t let me falter and offer to hold me up when I need it because they know I would do the same for them.

I miss my girls more than I can verbalize.  Things feel the same but I am hoping that they will feel better again.  They both deserve happiness, joy and love.  They both deserve a family.  I look forward to things feeling different and whole.  I hope they remember all the nights we read together and how special that time was.  I hope that when they feel alone, they remember they can come home.

When I started going to yoga, I was in pain.  I guess that’s why a lot of people seek out spiritual meaning, it is because of the pain they feel inside.  Sometimes it’s physical, sometimes emotional.  And at times it is both.  Through meditation, reiki, yoga, writing and recently reconnecting, I don’t feel the same pain.  I don’t feel the same loss.  I have gained so much more than I ever imagined.

Now what is feel is hope, joy and peace.  I wish the same to all of you.

Resolve vs Resolution

Resolve vs Resolution.

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