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Intentions for 2011 January 14, 2011

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Winter Solstice falling on a Full Lunar Eclipse created fertile soil to sow the seeds of intention for the coming year. I sat quietly at my alter with hands pressed together at heart center setting clear intentions beneath the energy of the full moon. The New Year has always been a time of change and a celebration of new beginnings so I asked for my eyes and ears to  open so I could see what I needed to see and hear what I needed to hear. I asked for my heart to open and to release that which no longer served, removing any obstacles in the way of my soul’s highest potential.

I set these intentions with conviction waking at 1am, 2am, and again at 3am to stand beneath the dark shadowy sky.  I couldn’t see the eclipse through the cloudy night, but that didn’t stop me from looking up towards the moon and breathing in the energy of the magical night. I exhaled gratitude, as I knew my intentions were manifesting and it was now up to me to take action and be the change I wished to see.

I floated high the week between the Full Moon and the New Year, as I could feel a remarkable shift in energy.  I welcomed the coming of the New Year, as I knew all my hopes and dreams were being brought to light, but as the clock struck midnight, the preceding happiness retreated to darkness and my heart fell heavy with grief.

I woke up the next day to find the nation whirling in happiness. Everyone’s FB status showed signs of promise, as everyone was hopeful and full of joy. Why wasn’t I blissed out or basking in the magical energy of 2011. Why was I torn with grief and despair and feeling cranky and irritable? Did the universe leave me out? Was I somehow skipped over and left to wallow in the energy of the past?

My body was toxic from self neglect and over indulgence from the holidays so I needed to find a way to reconnect.  I took a hiatus from alcohol, curbed the morning run to Starbucks, and fed my body with clean raw food.  I turned off the television and retreated from all the distractions that kept my mind from being present and I got quiet, as one can only hear the iner workings of the soul in the quiet sanctuary of self. A still mind always hears the inner voice of reason and mindfullness brings clarity so I practiced yoga, meditated, and asked for guidance.

Manifestations do not always come neatly packaged so we may need to temporarily turn our lives upside down to realize our dreams, but it’s only to get us to see what we need to see and to hear what we need to hear. Spiritual work is often unpleasant at its root but clearing your way through the brush reaps consciousness, which is ultimate freedom. You are not alone if you are sitting in transition waiting for the waning of the old and waxing of the new, but it’s up to you to take action and be the change you wish to see.

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Sweat Lodge Ceremony July 1, 2009

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I attended my 3rd sweat lodge purification ceremony on the Saturday before Summer Solstice.  I felt the turn of the season was a good time to do it, as sweats are a traditional Native American ceremony designed to purify the mind, body, and spirit. They help bring you to a place of balance within yourself and are a great way to find communion with Mother Nature.

One of the purposes of attending a sweat is for spiritual and emotional healing and growth so typically a person will fast for 24 hours preceding the sweat as a means to prepare the body for purification. While you physically prepare the body, you also prepare the mental and spiritual bodies by praying and setting intentions, as lodges are a healthy way to release baggage and a safe haven to seek guidance from spirit.

Rituals and traditions vary so each ceremony is a little different depending upon who leads it. The first two experiences were with the same guy so I was a bit disappointed when I found out he wasn’t running the 3rd, but trusted everything was in divine order and knew either way I would get whatever I needed. Out of curiosity, I asked him why he wasn’t leading and he told me his energy was wrapped up in something else and he didn’t want to perform the ritual unless he was fully present and committed to the journey of everyone involved so he entrusted the ceremony to a respected friend.

Another thing I didn’t expect were children to participate and although it was beautiful to expose little beings to something so spiritually enriching, their energy was very distracting because they couldn’t take the heat or smoke. They were in and out quite a bit and I could hear them moving about every time they stepped out for some fresh air. There were also quite a few people who were new so the heat was a little much for them. In honor of the children and those who were sweating for the first time, the lodge leader decided to leave the flap open for the last two rounds.

The reason the lodge was kept dark was because it represented the womb. The darkness was a symbol of human ignorance before the great awakening of spirit. It created a safe place for people to voice their prayers as the dark put aside all physical, spiritual and cultural differences. Since it wasn’t dark inside, I didn’t feel completely safe to recite my prayers and I found myself silently judging the distractions from the children and for the differences in how the ceremony was being run. I didn’t like the thoughts that were sub-consciously surfacing or how insensitive I was being towards the people I was supposed to love. What happened to the “one” mentality and who was I to judge and where was my compassion?

I sat with this for a couple days and finally realized spirit was just answering my prayers. Sweat lodges are known for bringing issues to light and one of my intentions for that evening was to release myself from the steady stream of unyielding judgments that ran through my sub-conscious.  All the irritations I was feeling had deep meaning, as they made me realize what I still needed to work on.  The spiritual journey isn’t always as we expect so it’s important to be open because you never know when someone or something is going to cross your path for the purposes of awakening your consciousness.

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