love

Where Does it Hurt?

Where Does it Hurt?

Ruby Sales, asked the question “Where does it hurt?”  This question is so simple and yet quite powerful.  I have been pondering this daily, especially as I listen to current events and watch attacks played out on social media.

The truth of the matter is that we are all hurting.  We have been trained to think of ourselves as individuals, so we often forget that we are all connected.  (We are actually more similar than different.)  What happens to the Earth, what happens to children on the other side of the world (or in our own country) affects us all.

Clearing the Clouds of the Inner Critic

Clearing the Clouds of the Inner Critic

Through my work with my clients, students, and quite frankly, my own journey, I have discovered the following in regards to the Itty Bitty Shitty Committee:

1. We can change the inner dialogue. 2. This committee does not need to rule our lives. 3. We can use the inner critic as a tool to help us grow and heal. 4. There isn’t any shame in having a Committee.

The Power of Love

"...the only certainty is Love.  The only firm and stable ground is Love.  The only place to be is Love.  The only springboard is Love.  Love–not emotional love–unconditional Love.  Absolute Love.  Divine Love.  Love is an earthquake to every probability that could exist.  Love shatters all probabilities, creating the certainty of Love." ~ Michael J. Roads

I recently experienced a moment of pure unconditional Love while I was at a restaurant with my nephew and family. We all absolutely Love and adore my nephew, which is quite obvious. While we were together, I was noticing how our Love for him was affecting those around us. People were watching us and smiling and their energy was raised. Long after we left the restaurant, I noticed that I was lighter and happier and my vibration was higher because I had experienced this unconditional Love for my nephew.

I started dreaming and imagining what our world would be like if every child was honored and greeted with this unconditional Love. What would it be like if we met everyone like this? What would it feel like to be greeted with unconditional Love?

This may seem like a tall task or a “pipe dream”. However, if we are Love (and I do believe this is the basis of our Being), then isn’t this the natural way to be met and to meet others?

As I focused on this vision, the violence and war that is part of our culture kept grabbing my attention like that small wound you keep accidentally hitting, making it more pronounced.

For awhile now, I have contemplated the true cost of war. I think about the lives lost (both military and civilian). I wonder how many of them were artists or scientists or philosophers or healers who had something special to offer this world, which was lost. I wonder about the relationships and connections lost. I think about the environmental cost of the mining of the materials used, of the making of ammunitions and other aspects of war, of the chemicals used, of the spent (and live) ammunitions left in places, of the planes and vehicles used, of the clearing of Land to create a “safer battlefield”, of the destruction of factories and buildings … I think about the loss of priceless pieces of art, artifacts, sacred buildings, Nature, and items of cultural and historical artifacts. I think about the energetic imprint that war leaves in the psyche and the Land, the effects of which can continue for centuries and the loss of mental and emotional health, which often effects generations. I wonder how all of this has affected our evolution. And I wonder how the fear and violence of war reverberates in our daily lives.

I think about the mass shootings, domestic abuse, rape and other forms of violence in our culture. I wonder does war beget violence in our culture or does violence in our culture beget war, which feels like the chicken or the egg debate. I think most likely both are true.

Earlier this year, I had the privilege of hearing Arun Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, speak. When Arun was a boy, his grandfather asked him to write down all of his actions throughout the day and consider their relationship with violence. He was to pay attention to acts of physical violence as well as passive violence, which included habits or ways of life that hurt people such as: name calling, bullying, discrimination, oppression, greed, waste, lying, unkind words, arrogance, etc. Particular interest was given to acts of passive violence, for actions and words that hurt a person build up until that person reacts with physical violence. According to Mahatma Gandhi, “Passive violence is the fuel that ignites physical violence in the world. If we want to put out the fire of physical violence, we have to cut the fuel supply.” (from The Gift of Anger by Arun Gandhi)

We may feel hopeless in stopping wars or mass shootings or sexual abuse. However, when we pay attention to our own actions and words, we can stop the fuel that feeds these acts by treating ourselves and others with Love and compassion. The added bonus is that when we act with Love and compassion, we are feeding our Hearts, raising our oxytocin level, and helping to calm our nervous system, which increases our level of peace.

Love is our greatest tool, our greatest gift. With Love, we literally transform the world. This is the lesson of so many wise ones including Jesus and Buddha and of course, Mahatma Gandhi. With every thought, with every word, with every action we have the opportunity to choose Love. This of course, does not mean that if we say something unkind, we are a “bad” person, we are simply human learning how to use this gift. The good news is that we will continue to have opportunities to choose Love.

If you struggle, remember the Plants are here to help. Rose in particular is a great ally for teaching us about Love and compassion and helping us to soften (and remain strong). You can visualize Rose blossoming in your Heart and as each petal unfolds, the Love increases and radiates out. Remember to also radiate this Love to yourself and to be Loving towards yourself including in your self-talk.

This may seem like a small act. As Arun Gandhi writes, “From the smallest act to the largest, what we do in our own lives becomes a mirror for what the greater world will look like.” (from The Gift of Anger, p.132)

I wish you much Love and many blessings as we move into the time of dreaming. May we be Love and see the Love in one another.

A Love Affair with Plants

Earlier this year, I had the great pleasure and privilege of spending time with the Plants of Vieques (Puerto Rico) and Ecuador. I knew that I was going to make Essences, work with the Plant Spirits and most likely receive healing. This all occurred AND unexpectedly, my Love affair with Plants grew even deeper, I was on my “honeymoon” with Plants. I say unexpectedly because I already had a very deep Love affair. As the Plants (and my children) teach me, there is no end to Love, our Love can always grow.

I returned from these trips revitalized and awakened and excited to share the Plant Beings with others.

So who are these Plant Beings?

When we take time to stop and think about it, we understand that our lives depend on the Plants. It is they, through their process of photosynthesis, who give us oxygen to breathe. We eat their flesh (including in the form of meat) to nourish our bodies and give us energy. Some of us consume certain Plants we call Herbs to help us heal or keep us healthy. We know that Plants are great at cleaning our environment of pollutants.

Is there more? Do Plants have something else to offer us?

I say “YES!”

Plants have always evolved before animals/humans. Even now, they continue to be our evolutionary guides. They have much to teach us. Here is the great thing, because we are connected, when humans increase their consciousness, we raise the vibration of Earth, which in turn, allows Plants to evolve and fulfill more of their purpose, which in turn helps humans to increase their consciousness. Do you see the cycle? The importance of co-creative partnership becomes even clearer.

One of the great gifts of Plants is that they help us achieve Heart Coherence and move into Heart Intelligence, which means that they help calm our nervous system, allowing us to move into a receptive state where we focus on solutions and can see a broader picture. This has enormous impacts on our well being (on all levels). I frequently suggest that my clients spend more time in Nature, sitting with Plants or breathing with Trees. It is amazing how even 1 minute doing this can completely shift how we feel. This is a great tool for anxiety and stress. I now know to recognize that when I start to worry, am agitated, or feel like the sky is falling, I have not been spending enough time in Nature. Fortunately, listening to the Plants sing with the Music of the Plants device has a similar effect, which is especially beneficial in Winter.

When we look outside at the Plants, the predominate color is green. Green is the color of our Heart chakra. Is this a coincidence? Well, I don’t believe in coincidences. I think this is Nature’s way of telling us we are Love(d) and surrounding us with Love.

All of these benefits are available with very little effort from us. When we want to take up our role as part of Nature, to become the true creators we are, we need to move into reciprocity. With reciprocity we shift from blind consumers to active participants. A reciprocal relationship requires gratitude for and recognition of the incredible Beings that Plants are. Thus we move towards a deep intimacy and can work with Plant Spirits (and other Nature Beings). Our Love affair begins as we embark on this journey with the Plant Spirits.

What is Plant Spirit Healing?

I am asked this question frequently. I struggle to explain because Plant Spirit Healing is broad and full of so many possibilities it is difficult to put in a sentence. The easy description is that we work with the Plant Spirits to bring healing to a person or situation. However, there is no limit to how you work with the Plant Spirits. For instance, yes, I work with them every day in sessions with my clients. Sometimes we are working with Mugwort to remove or balance energies. Other times, I’m working with Plant Spirits to add more energy. Or we might work with Tulsi for Soul work.

And then there are the ways I work with Plant Spirits outside of my office. Years ago, I had to get a root canal. I do not use novocain with epinephrine, which worried the endodontist. I called on Mugwort and asked for help managing the pain. Instead of being a painful experience, it was blissful! Even the endodontist and nurse noticed the difference. We all left feeling happy and peaceful. While getting a massage, I will typically call on a Plant Spirit to help with a knot that won’t release or a particularly tender area. When I am feeling uncertain or wanting guidance, I call on the Plant Spirits to help me. I, of course, ask the Plant Spirits to guide my gardening, helping me to decide where to plant certain Plants. I also will work with Plant Spirits to help bring healing to an ailing Plant.

Recently, I was in a business meeting where someone was asking me to do something I knew was impossible. (I rarely, almost never, use the word impossible.) I knew that what she was asking would require a miracle. I kept saying to her, “There has to be another way.” To which, she would reply, “No.” Finally, I internally said, “Agrimony, Artemisia I need your help! Please change this situation NOW!” In less than 30 seconds, she looked at the papers that she was holding and said, “Oh, this will work!”

The Plant Spirits are the cornerstone of my life. They are my colleagues, my guides, my teachers and mostly, they are my BeLoveds. I cannot imagine my life without them. I would be truly lost. I was lost. Here’s the thing, this wisdom, healing, and guidance is available to anyone. We are meant to be in close relationship with Plants. As I said, our very lives depend on them.

If you would like to increase your relationship with Plants, spend time with them. Observe them, look closely at their flowers or how the water goes down the bark of a Tree. Experience them: smell, taste, touch them. Breathe with Plants, recognizing that your breath is a gift to the Plant and the Plant’s breath is a gift to you. Draw them. Sing to them. Daydream with Plants. Journey with them.

If you want to gain insight or guidance from the Plants, yes, it is helpful if you know how to communicate with them. However, this is a birthright, that we all knew how to do when we came into this Beautiful World. I tell my classes that my job is to clear away the limiting beliefs and trainings that told you you couldn’t talk to Plants. My point is, you may find it helpful to work with someone who can guide you in Plant communication; however, it is not a requirement, somewhere (possibly deep down), you already have this skill.

Of course, if you want to really deepen your relationship or learn specific ways to work with Plant Spirits for your own healing or healing others, then please join us for Brigid’s Way’s HEARTransformation Apprenticeship: Healing Through the Wisdom of Nature. Have your own Love affair with the Plants!

As I said earlier, Plants evolve as our consciousness increases. They want us to evolve, to embrace our full selves and they are here to help us along the way.

They have a short and important message for us today, “We Love you!”

And so, my Love affair continues.

Change, Trust, Love

We are in the midst of major change as a new President of the United States takes office. Change is an interesting thing. We often say that we want it. We want a new job, a new car, or even a new partner. Sometimes we even dream of running away and leaving this life behind (and sometimes we do that). However, when the change is not something we are controlling, we tend to get frightened, we numb, we freeze, or we get angry. We do this even when we are getting what we wanted such as, we lose the job we’ve been wanting to leave. Here’s the thing, life is change. Change is the essence of life. When we breathe we are exchanging oxygen for carbon dioxide. We continuously bring in nutrients, change them, and excrete waste. If we stop these exchanges, we stress our bodies, until the point of death. Though, even death is change in action.

As Michael J. Roads writes, “One factor is very clear and constant; we live on a planet of perpetual change. As immortal, metaphysical Beings, we deliberately incarnate into mortal physical bodies for the very factor of conscious, spiritual growth. We cannot change and remain the same, obviously! The fact that we physically incarnate onto a planet of powerful Change, aware that all Nature is ever-changing, and yet remain so resistant to change in our personal lives is surely the greatest paradox of humanity.” (from Through the Eyes of Love: Book Three)

If change is constant, perpetual, and necessary than the challenge for us is how we meet change. When we resist change, we crystallize energy which blocks the flow in our bodies and our outer worlds. This blockage creates stagnation. What happens when there is a block? Think of a dam. The water builds up behind it, as the water builds up, the pressure builds up. If there is not a way for the pressure to be released (or the energy captured), the pressure will eventually get so great that it bursts through the dam creating enormous havoc. The same is true when we become resistant and crystallize. Change MUST occur. If we do not allow change, the energy builds up until chaos reigns. Sometimes we refer to this as the energetic 2x4 to the head.

Besides chaos, resisting change also prevents us from our soul growth. My mantra lately has been “Change and Trust. Change and Trust.” This is for good reason. When we are willing to change and be flexible even in small ways, we are trusting. Resisting change is acting in fear or not trusting. What I have come to learn (and continue to remind myself) is that the more I trust: the closer I am to my Soul path, the more the world opens to me, the more synchronicity and magic I experience.

As much as part of me wants to go back to bed and hide under the covers or stomp my feet on the ground and say, “NO! NO!! NO!!!!”, I know that this is my challenge, our challenge, to rise up, trust, and change. Does that mean that we shall change to be hateful people? No, that’s the unseen and pervasive part of my mantra, Love.

Our ultimate challenge in this life is to Love; to be Love; to meet every moment, every Being, every problem with Love; to choose Love. As Jonathan Goldman writes, “When you step across the boundary of consciousness as you leave your body, there is only one criterion for how you did in this lifetime, one lens of evaluation: How much love did you receive and pass on? Regardless of whatever words you used, whatever you did with your time and will on earth, whatever you manifested on the material level, all that matters is how you served the great plan to put love in the driver’s seat.” (from Gift of the Body)

So you see it is easy, meet change with grace and Trust and choose Love as our guiding force. I know I can hear the reactions, “Oh, yeah so easy!” It is. Love is easy. Growth is easy. It is our human conditioning that makes it difficult. We buy into the illusion that anything worthwhile must be difficult and so we make it so. (Trust me, I’m fully aware of this, I have consciously chosen the more difficult path time and time again in my life.) In Truth, we can just as easily choose to learn our lessons with ease.

Think of Water. Water follows the path of least resistance and does what Water needs to do, bringing Life and change wherever ki goes. We are Water. We too can follow that path. And when we forget, lose our way, or feel overwhelmed, the Plants and other guides are them to help us.

Just remember, when in doubt:

CHOOSE LOVE!

________

The image is a detail of a Healing Landscape created for the Inauguration, sending my prayers out for Love and Compassion to be our center as we create a better world.

Further Reflections on Standing Rock

In November, my son and I travelled to North Dakota to support the Water Protectors of Standing Rock. I was going there to support the Medic + Healers at the Oceti Sakowin camp and my son to help build. Before leaving, I was reluctantly interviewed and one of the questions was, “What expectations do you have?” My response was “None. Well, I expect we won’t want to leave.” I was right, we didn’t want to leave. And there is no way that I could’ve expected what I experienced. I wrote in another blog about my experience of Beauty and community. All of this is true and these experiences have continued to feed my Heart and add more fuel to my long-held vision of a more Loving world. I believe that it is these experiences that have enabled my deeper, unravelling experiences from Standing Rock. It has taken me some time to be able to share these and to be completely honest, I continue to be in the midst of working through them.

We are encouraged to attend at least 1 morning meeting at Oceti Sakowin. The day that I went, my Heart was filled by the prayers and being reminded of the 7 Lakota Values (Prayer, Respect, Compassion, Honesty, Generosity, Humility, Wisdom). We then moved to another building for the orientation portion. It was here that my world came tumbling down. During one of the announcements, we were reminded that our country was founded as a white supremacist patriarchal society. My first instinct, was “No way!” I grew up not far from Philadelphia and regularly visited the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. I know that our founding fathers were not perfect, but come on! A split second later, it happened. “Oh my gosh! It was! I live in a white supremacist, patriarchal country!”

Suddenly I started seeing things in a completely different manner. To add to this, I witnessed racism like I’ve never seen before. Here, in North Dakota, it was expected and considered normal. I don’t know how to put this in words. The energy from this was thick, grey, gross, and suffocating. Despite dealing with racism every day, the Lakota/Dakota/Nakota continued.

I grew up reading history books about the genocide of Native Americans. I remember being appalled to learn of the Trail of Tears or the Land grabs or the small pox blankets. I always thought that if I was alive then, I would do what I could to stop this.

So here I was, standing in a camp of Beauty surrounded by thousands of Native Americans from hundreds of Nations all whose very existence is a sign of resistance. For they and their Ancestors survived having their Land, children, religion, language, and food taken from them. They have survived biological and chemical warfare. And they continue to deal with significantly higher than average poverty, incarceration, violence, rape, drug and alcohol abuse along with a significantly lower availability of health care. A brief stroll through statistics is Heartbreaking. I discovered another lie, the genocide has not stopped. It has been ongoing since the first white settlers arrived, though the form changes. And these survivors greeted me with open arms saying, “Welcome Home!”

I came home from Standing Rock with a giant mix of emotions. (I think it was also significant that we left for Standing Rock on the day that Donald Trump became the President elect.) I was overwhelmed by the Beauty and community that I witnessed. While feeling like my world was unraveling and my frames of perception were ripped off. I was open and raw and lost. And I didn’t want to change this. I wanted to continue through it. For too long, I was living with false perceptions and understanding. Don’t get me wrong, I knew racism existed and witnessed it and tried to change it. But the fact that I could be 40 years old and be surprised that our country was founded on white supremacy, showed me just how big my white privilege was.

So I unraveled. On the physical level, this lead to an illness with fevers and loss of consciousness that left me bedridden for about a week. As I recovered physically, I continued to process. When I discovered that Donald Trump was elected, my response was to Love more, to be even more gentle and kind, to be even more dedicated to healing. Now, a new layer began. I started to feel the wounds we have been carrying for generations, including the wounds of the Holocaust. We carry so much from our past and until we heal these, we continue to be effected, all of us. I allowed these to move through me as I focused on transmuting them with Love.

As always, I called to the Plants and my other helping guides to help me be a vessel of transmutation and to help my body adjust to these new perspectives. I continue to ask for help and guidance from the Plants while I continue to unravel and find my Truth.

We live in this incredible time. I keep feeling like I have stepped into one of my history books. The truth is we are living herstory. We have the opportunity to heal the wounds of our past - remembering that both oppressors and oppressed were harmed - and we have the power to shift our paradigm to benefit the future.

One of my great lessons from Standing Rock is that together we are strong. I share my experiences in the hopes that together we can remove the facades and allow our healing. Together we can shift this white supremacist, patriarchal paradigm in which we live to one that is inclusive, celebrates diversity, and is based on Love.

Be the Calm

"Make your heart be a lake with a calm, still surface and great depths of kindness"

~Lao Tzu

These are interesting and difficult times.  Between the responses to the elections, the violence against the Water Protectors at Standing Rock, and many numerous personal traumas/dramas my friends, clients, and family are facing, life can be overwhelming.  And I have heard this from many.

Fortunately, I know that when life is difficult, there is a learning opportunity near.  For me this lesson is to be calm and centered.  When we allow ourselves to get caught up in the drama, we lose sight of the bigger picture.  Suddenly, it becomes easier for us to lose our footing and we end up feeding the chaos.  However, if we can meet the challenges with calm, we allow ourselves to discover solutions that otherwise we would have missed.

Of course, it's okay if we get swept up, we always have the option of regaining our center.  I was reminded of this lesson recently.  I came home from Standing Rock on the 19th with a little cold.  On November 20th, I watched in horror for hours with tears streaming down my face as law enforcement shot water at my brothers and sisters in below freezing temperatures and shot clouds of tear gas among other atrocities.  The next day, my cold became something else, until the point that I collapsed and was loosing consciousness.  As I was recovering, I heard one of the Protectors speaking and he reminded people to "Be like a Rock" for a rock that is grounded does not get washed away by the water, it moves the water.  He said to "Be like a Mountain", for a Mountain does not get blown about by the air.  Here was my medicine.

I know that when I am centered and calm, I can accomplish great things.  One of my gifts from St. John's Wort this summer was realizing how much can be done by simply aligning myself with the Plants and concentrating on my Heart.

This is a simple task and yet it is challenging to remain calm when chaos is all around.  The good news is that when you remain calm, you bring calm to the situation.  So how does one do this?  The first task is to find your center.  My suggestion is to spend time in Nature, particularly with a Tree, a large Rock, a Mountain.  Tap into their energies.  When I need to center, I connect with these.  I also ground.  I send my roots to the center of Earth and my branches to the center of the Universe.  I feel my connection to all.  I focus on my Heart, for when we are in our Heart, we are naturally calmer and operate with a wide perspective.  And of course, breathe!

I think that it is also important to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.  We have known for a long time that the paradigms are shifting.  The anger, hate, and attacks that are coming forward are the vestiges of the white-supremacist, patriarchal system which is scared to lose power.  The United States was founded on this form of power and this is the basis for our culture.  Therefore, as the paradigm is shifting, our own shadows, particularly those connected with the old paradigm are coming to light.  In the great scheme, this is good, really good; though it may feel awful.  When you are confronted with the Shadow, whether your own or another's, I encourage compassion.

This is a great time to concentrate on personal healing, particularly releasing the old patterns and limiting beliefs, healing the Heart wounds, and preparing the physical body to receive greater amounts of energy.

The way I see it, we are being asked to Be our Highest Selves, NOW!  All the lessons, all the healings are being put to the test.  Can we meet the challenge?  Can we hold up a mirror of compassion and Love to the Shadow?  Can we remain calm and centered?  Do we dare to Be what we came here to Be?  Can we receive everyone with kindness and gentleness?  Can we Be Love?

I say YES!!

I hope you do too.  If we slip or stumble, remember we live in the Universe of Perpetual Second Chances.  This is all a learning opportunity.

Much Love and many blessings!

Photo credit: Catherine Huang