meditation

The Probability of Luck

In a childhood memory, I am searching for a four leaf clover. I must be young because my recall paints the landscape as vast and lush with green turf rolling on for miles. In reality, I lived in a middle class neighborhood with ½ acre lots and houses lined up in close proximity. However, my recollection has me moving from one abundant clover patch to another, carefully examining each sprout to see if it contains the magical fourth leaf. This goes on for hours until my mother calls me in for dinner and I surrender in frustration. Empty handed.

The probability of finding a four leaf clover is 1 in 10,000. No wonder I was defeated after a series of determined attempts. I remember keeping at the hunt for weeks (or maybe days) until I finally gave up looking, chalking it up to one more bit of magic unattainable in the real world I was growing into. 

I haven’t thought about four leaf clovers in any serious way since, until a few weeks ago when I was at a picnic and a man walked by with a handful of the green plant. I asked what he was doing and he explained that he was picking four leaf clovers. He had landed a few and it quickly brought me back to my youth. I was instantly curious and interested in discovering the secret to his success. He told me he found them often and that the key was to look for an irregular edge among the mound. I made a mental note, determined to give it a try the next time I had the chance. 

This past weekend the opportunity presented itself. While docking my kayak after a trek across the lake, I noticed some clover on the shore and as if programmed, my mind quickly quieted and focused on the patch. I could hear the man’s advice and began looking for the irregular shape. Within seconds, it popped out. My heart began beating faster and it took a paused moment before I was able to reach out and pick it, confirming what I had hoped. It did indeed have four leaves and I had finally found it, after all these years. 

I began to think about luck and how there may possibly be ways we can increase its probability in our lives. If we follow a few simple guidelines, can we attract more good fortune?

I thought about Pam Grout and her book, E2, which outlines several experiments to prove that “reality is malleable, consciousness trumps matter, and you shape your life with your mind.” In one of the experiments, she has the participant envision something (like the four leaf clover) that they want to attract and then shows them how to open up to clues or bread crumbs which lead to the desired object (or rather allow them to see it when it arrives). I had the opportunity to perform this experiment first hand during a workshop I attended with Pam a few summers ago and by God, it worked. At the close of the weekend, we had all received the item we were seeking, in one form or another.

I have also begun looking at other practices I am studying and their effectiveness in increasing the probability of luck. I am realizing that one of the most important steps is to first gain a clearer picture of what we want from a soul level. I find that through journaling, daily tarot contemplation, dream interpretation and meditation, our true desires can be more easily accessed. 

Once we have a better idea of what we are looking for (this will continually evolve so it doesn’t have to be certain),  we can start to implement methods to help us find it. I love the process of following the moon phases because it is continuous and methodical and allows us to reflect, create, experiment, revise, let go, forgive, re-write and move through the stages again and again, each time arriving closer to our goal and understanding ourselves a little better. We can also implement positive thinking, visualization and ritual to help bring our ideas and dreams from the ephemeral into the physical realm. 

I believe another key to attracting and manifesting our desires is committing to the work. Finding a charmed clover does not usually happen on the first try. Many of the methods mentioned take time and persistence to master. 

As I rolled the stem of the four leaf clover between my fingers in a circular motion, I began to realize that the good fortune I was seeking had been there all along, that it actually did exist in abundance around me. It became clear that the man at the picnic had uncovered something deeper than a simple technique for finding the charmed clover. He had discovered that an infinite amount of luck is available to each of us, as long as we are willing to open our minds and look for the exceptional or irregular among the common.

To begin manifesting your best life, visit my website here https://www.mysoulpurposeproject.com/.

Meditating in a Bath of Sound

Websites: Mysoulpurposeproject.com. Inbalancetherapeutics.net

Photo from The Den @ https://denmeditation.com/events/crystal-sound-bowl-healing/

I try to practice meditating everyday. I know all about its positive effects on my mind, body and spirit. Done correctly, it helps to clear my head of ruminating and unhealthy words and visions leaving space for the seeds of inspiration, creative ideas, inner knowledge, and positive manifestations. 

I want to affect more of these qualities in my life, but I have found it easier said than done.

For years I have attempted to follow the traditional methods of meditation; sit in an upright position, clear my mind of thoughts, follow my breath, relax, and open up to nothingness. It has been consistently difficult to reach inner stillness as my mind and ego are pretty powerful. By the time I sit down to practice, which is usually later in the day, the incessant inner dialogue has taken full control of the direction and momentum of my thinking.

Recently, however, I have discovered sound healing or more specifically, sound bathing. 

When I first heard the term, I was immediately enticed. I love musical tones (I am a musician) and sinking into a warm comforting bath has always resulted in a relaxed, therapeutic, and sensual experience. 

I knew I had to give it a try, and now I’m hooked.

According to a blog on alomoves.com, sound healing dates back thousands of years and “guides listeners into a deep state of relaxation using the sounds and vibrations from instruments,” such as crystal or brass singing bowls, tingsha cymbals, chimes, gongs, and tuning forks to name a few. 

“These specially tuned frequencies of sound help to bring you into a very deep state of rest and self-healing,” says LA-based sound healer Susy Markoe Schieffelin. “Each bowl is tuned to a different chakra, or energy center. When these bowls resonate with your chakras, they cleanse, they clear, they open you up, and they move energy through your body and bring you into a state of vibrational harmony. This is a time when you can return to a place of centeredness so you can let go of blockages and experience healing.”

https://blog.alomoves.com/mindfulness/the-healing-benefits-of-sound-baths

All of these outcomes can be achieved through a variety of meditation methods. However, with sound bathing, I find myself able to focus on something specific and physically feel the energy vibrate within my body. I can concentrate on what I need “to do” rather than what “not to do.” This style compliments my personality and feels more like a spa experience than a skill I need to develop.

I started tuning into the sound healing sessions online at alomoves.com a few months ago and found it easy to choose from a variety of session lengths (ranging from under 10 minutes to an hour or more), instructors (personality plays a role in the overall experience),  and formats (some are guided with words while others offer just sound). Several come in a series focusing on a specific theme and carried out over several weeks.  

Youtube offers a variety of free options as well. I like this 7-day series because it’s short, covers all seven chakras or body energy centers (one a day) and ends with a journal prompt.

This video provides an hour session without talk:

Ever since I discovered sound bathing, I’ve been more consistent in my meditation practice. I look forward to it each time as it welcomes me into a deep state of relaxation almost immediately. I come away refreshed and recharged, mentally, physically, and spiritually.

Although I’ve only been at this for a few months, I am considering purchasing a set of crystal bowls and learning to use them in my healing practice as well as part of my musical composing. My creative and healing potential is beginning to open up, and I feel like I am on the right track. All I have to do is consistently jump into an intoxicating bath of warm and healing sounds, and I’ll be on my way.

The Power of Positive Thinking: Applied

Popham Beach, Maine

Just the other day, my mother recommended I read The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. The book was written over 70 years ago and my mom had read it then, but she recently heard it mentioned in the news and it had piqued her curiosity. 

For as far back as I can remember, my mother and I have been drawn to the teachings put forth by Esther Hicks (The Law of Attraction), Rhonda Byrne (The Secret), Pam Grout (E2), and Louise Hay (You Can Heal Your Life) to name a few. We have always had a strong inner belief that our thoughts influence everything around us including our health, financial state, relationships, emotional well being, and the dreams we are able to manifest. 

What we think becomes reality. It’s as simple as that. 

The idea has been gaining traction in recent years and we are seeing more books, blogs, webinars, and seminars on the topic. The power of using our thoughts to create our reality is a concept not that far reaching today.  However, back in the 1950s when Peale wrote his book, the ideas were novel.

Since I am a practicing student of the laws of attraction, meditation, positive affirmations, and manifesting magic and miracles, I decided to give the book a try, and although I am only on chapter 3, I have already gleaned a new realization.

The concepts presented cover familiar territory, clearing out negative thoughts, practicing daily silence, visualization, and filling our minds with positive words and pictures. 

What is new to me, however, is the practice of bridging these two concepts, the emptying and then the filling. For some reason, I have never before put that together. 

I have tried many of the techniques for “emptying the mind”  to which Peale refers. I have visualized my worries and fears being thrown overboard and have practiced the art of meditation or what Peale calls a “daily practice of silence.” 

On the flip side, I have filled my mind with daily gratitude and positive affirmations, have written down what I would like to manifest, and created vision boards; but it isn’t until now, that I realized the power of putting these two methods together.

Once it is empty, says Peale, “ immediately start filling your mind with creative and healthy thoughts.” These thoughts can be words of gratitude, visions of peace or that which you want to manifest.

“Then when the old fears, hates, and worries that have haunted you for so long try to edge back in, they will in effect find a sign on the door of your mind reading Occupied.” 

The Power of Positive thinking has been in the news recently highlighting its influence on the life and career of President Trump. An article in NPR (July 25, 2020) points out “It has been argued that Trump stands as the single most successful practitioner to date of Peale’s philosophy,” and by following Peale’s suggestions, Trump has been able to defy reality and gain increasing amounts of power.

article link: https://www.npr.org/2020/07/25/894967031/2020-crises-confront-trump-with-an-outage-in-the-power-of-positive-thinking

My mother wanted to find out if anyone could wield successful results by following Peale’s ideas, regardless of the quality of the intention. After the events of this past week, she’s thinking not.

Check out https://www.mysoulpurposeproject.com// Life Coaching Program

Diving Into the Shadows

Shadow

I have had the pleasure and privilege of spending the last several days in Maine on my favorite lake enjoying the sun and nature. Last night, it began to rain so my daughter and I decided to watch a movie. After scanning the selections and reviews on her computer, she suggested we watch “The Florida Project,” a 2017 slice of life drama which, according to IMDb TV, follows a “precocious six-year-old Moonee as she courts mischief and adventure with her ragtag playmates and bonds with her rebellious but caring mother, all while living in the shadows of Walt Disney World.” 

Childhood. Adventure. Disney World. Sounds endearing, right? 

Not exactly.

I did not like the film at first. I kept waiting for the plot to unfold or an inspirational moment, but neither surfaced. Instead, I felt a mounting anxiety combined with sadness and despair as the reality of life in a poverty stricken hotel-turned-residence community exposed all the things that make me uncomfortable: poverty, lying, foul language, cheating, stealing, hustling, betrayal, fighting, child abuse, pedophilia, drug use, prostitution. 

The movie was shown through the eyes of a child who had friends, freedom, food, community and a caring mother, all of which made it more palatable. However, the stark contrast of the lives profiled to those of the privileged thousands visiting nearby Disney World, made me stop and think.

The movie did an outstanding job of portraying the reality of the situation, but I wasn’t happy with the way it left me feeling. Something was tugging at me to look deeper. 

It wasn’t until morning that I realized the importance of what I was experiencing. It became clear that the issues in the movie that made me uncomfortable were the ones I needed to examine more closely. Maybe it was time to look at what it means to lead a privileged life. Had I been turning a blind eye to the realities of those less fortunate?

With all of the recent unrest and attention pointing towards inequality and racism, my viewing of this movie was particularly timely. It became evident that the cinematic story I witnessed was one I had chosen to overlook, just as many instances of injustice get somehow justified through the selective stories we tell ourselves and the parts of our psyche we choose to keep hidden. 

I have recently been working on my own personal growth and have also started “The Life Purpose Project,” a series of one on one sessions to help people reach their life’s purpose through discussion, dream interpretation, tarot, and flower essence therapy. 

I am a believer in the power of positive thinking and healing through love. However, I have been finding that in order to truly heal and make significant progress forward, we need to look at something called our “shadow self”. 

According to an article in highexistence.com, “the shadow is a concept first coined by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung that describes those aspects of our personality that we choose to reject and repress. For one reason or another, we all have parts of ourselves that we don’t like–so we push those parts down into our unconscious psyches. It is this collection of repressed aspects of our identity that Jung referred to as our shadow.”

Full Article:  https://highexistence.com/carl-jung-shadow-guide-unconscious/

Some examples of repressed shadow tendencies include  “aggressive impulses, taboo mental images, shameful experiences, immoral urges, fears, irrational wishes, unacceptable sexual desires.” 

Our shadow self develops as a result of societal expectations that tell as we are a “bad” person if we have certain thoughts and behaviors. We want to fit in and be accepted, so we deny and hide these impulses and pretend they do not exist as parts of ourselves. On top of that, if left unchecked, these qualities feed into a larger collective societal shadow which can multiply and become more systemic, resulting in a world that tolerates prejudice, racism, abuse, and inequity.

Jung believes that these innate qualities are present in all of us and the only way to effectively deal with them is to recognize, accept, and find ways to constructively manage their presence within our lives. 

I have been using dream interpretation and the Tarot to help uncover the shadow within myself and my Life Purpose Project participants. Both methods point out areas of the subconscious that ultimately want to be seen and accepted before allowing us to move forward on our spiritual path. Meditation and identifying psychological triggers can also help shed some light.

One thing “The Florida Project” made clear was that when we look at these shadow qualities, whether within ourselves or society as a whole, the feeling can be extremely uncomfortable. It can bring us to places and uncover a world that is unnerving and painful. 

The idea is not to run and deny, but to look directly into the areas of darkness. When we do this, “fear becomes an opportunity for courage. Pain is a catalyst for strength and resilience. Aggression is transmuted into warrior-like passion. This wisdom informs our actions, our decisions, and our interactions with others..” (highexistence.com).

If we seek to accept the shadows as part of who we are, if we allow them to come forward without condemnation, we may be able to heal not only ourselves but the world as a whole, and people like those featured in the “The Florida Project” may have a fighting chance.

What the World Needs Now is Self Love

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As a woman, mother, wife, and healer, my tendency is to take care of those around me. I have always felt a responsibility for the happiness of my children, husband, friends, family members and clients (really, anyone significant in my life). Whenever things get difficult emotionally, I fall into action and begin the process of consoling, re-arranging, compromising, supporting, comforting, rescuing. I do whatever I can to assuage the anger, sadness and hurt, even when it means sacrificing my own needs. 

I have been under the assumption that by keeping everyone around me in a state of joy, I would secure my own well being. It’s taken me over 50 years. I’ve been through a divorce and experienced my children leave the nest, but I’m finally seeing that this is not at all the case.

I have realized that I had been shouldering the emotional baggage of my family for years and had grown tired and resentful. What’s more, the pain and discomfort always came back. In attempting to solve the problem, I was actually preventing my loved ones from learning and growing, and I was sabotaging my personal journey along the way. In trying to make everyone else happy, I was missing the point. 

Recently, I have been thinking about the concept of self love. What would it mean to treat myself as if I were worthy and loveable? What would it feel like to console and comfort my inner being with soothing words when I was upset? What if I spent time and energy rearranging my schedule so that I could do something that meant a lot to me? 

According to an article in Psychology Today by Deborah Khoshaba, (March 2012), “when we act in ways that expand self-love, we begin to better accept our weaknesses as well as our strengths, have less need to explain away our short-comings, have compassion for ourselves as human beings struggling to find personal meaning, are more centered in our life purpose and values, and expect living fulfillment through our own efforts.”

The steps Khoshaba prescribes are; be mindful, act on what you need, stay away from automatic patterns that get you into trouble, keep you stuck in the past, and lessen self love, practice good self-care, set boundaries, protect yourself by bringing the right people into your life, and live intentionally. 

Full article: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/get-hardy/201203/seven-step-prescription-self-love

The Law of Attraction.com also recommends that we practice the art of self love by having fun by yourself, travelling once a year on your own, forgiving your mistakes, starting a journal, taking a break, making a list of accomplishments, creating a vision board, pursuing new interests, challenging yourself, giving yourself credit where credit is due, and working on self trust.   Full article: https://www.thelawofattraction.com/love-yourself/

Learning to self love is a process. It takes time and consistent effort to nurture our own growth. It takes regular practice to change the negative internal dialogue, to let go of perfectionism, and to find the beauty in all that we are. It takes effort to change old habits and beliefs.

I have begun to pay attention to my own destructive patterns and negative self talk. I have realized that I am harder on myself than anyone else in my life.  I have noticed that when I am angry with something I’ve done and my self esteem is low, I take it out on others. I become angry quicker. I make hurtful comments. 

I am a better person when I am loving myself.

Sometimes I wonder what the world would be like if everyone practiced the art of loving themselves more.  Would there be as much hatred, anger, defensiveness, hostility, and aggression? Perhaps if we each loved ourselves more fully, there’d be less room for injustice, violence, abuse, and inequity. 

I wonder. 

If the hate that feeds on human weakness is replaced with love, it will have nowhere left to go. Once it loses our attention, its power will diminish, and the next time it comes knocking, we won’t even notice. We’ll all be too busy enjoying our own company.

Using Color to Meditate and Heal

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I am almost one week into my daily meditation experiment and it is going well. At some point during the day (usually the morning), I set my timer, settle into a seated position with feet flat on the floor, and then drop into the moment as best I can. I usually begin by taking three deep breaths.

It is amazing how once we shift our focus to our breath, we come into the moment almost immediately. The trick is to stay there for the duration. 

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, there are many ways to approach meditation. We can use music, color, mantras, visualization, object focus, crystals, and essential oils to keep our focus and clear our heads. The idea is to train our minds to stay on one thing like a phrase, a scent, a sound, or a visual and keep the river of thoughts at bay. The better we get at quieting the mind, the easier it becomes to reduce stress, increase concentration, and open up to more truths and creative ideas.

Each time I have settled into my practice over the last week, my mind has migrated to the use of color. I remember a meditation practice I was implementing years ago in which I would visualize white light energy coming from above. I would pull the white light into my body through the top of my head, down through my face, neck, chest, down my arms and through my fingers, then through the stomach, abdomen, pelvis and out through the legs and toes. I would allow the light to spill out of my body and form a protective layer around myself.  

I would then ground my feet into the earth and pull up energy from as far down as I could imagine. Once the heaven and earth energy were flowing simultaneously, I would begin to bring in the colors.  Red first, then orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. The colors would come from deep within the earth, up through my feet and into all parts of my body. I would allow each color to take its time, stopping wherever there seemed to be a need. I would then allow the energy to settle in the appropriate location where it would rest, spinning in a healthy spiral. 

I have been using this technique in my daily meditation as it is very effective in allowing me to clear and balance my energy while keeping my mind away from incessant thinking. 

According to Jan Purser in her book, Meditation, Easy Techniques to Help You Relax and Focus,” each color has specific qualities which can affect our emotions and in turn help to balance our physical and mental health. For example, red is the color of power and action. It is a warming color and represents vitality, sexuality, and high energy. Red spurs us into action by increasing our motivation and aggression.” Blue, by contrast is “calming and encourages feelings of peace. It is the color of serenity and protection and promotes restful sleep.” Yellow brings happy joyful thoughts and magenta is “excellent for helping you step away from obsessive behavior.”

While meditating, we can allow colors that come to mind to swirl through the body in a way that is guided by our inner intuition. The idea is that these colors will bring the necessary qualities for balance and healing. 

Once we become more familiar with color energy, we can introduce them as we see fit. For example, if we are hoping to gain more insight and intuition, we can bring violet into the session. 

Another beautiful way to use color for meditation and healing is through art. In recent years, I have noticed coloring books for adults, which claim to reduce stress and promote mindfulness. More recently, I have thought of painting.  As I struggle through some of the mental and emotional challenges of the recent pandemic, I have been sensing the need to bring more color into my life.

Today, I ordered some acrylic painting supplies and checked out a few YouTube tutorials and I have to say, I’m excited. In addition to my daily meditation, I feel that mixing colors and putting them on a canvas will not necessarily result in a masterpiece, but it may just help me stay balanced, happy and healthy. 

Photo from Nambu Botanicals. Link to article with color and sound meditations: https://nambuherbs.com/blogs/news/heal-your-chakras-to-change-your-karma-color-sound-meditations

 

Meditation for Beginners

Meditation Blog Pic

As the pandemic continues, a lot of talk has turned to mental health. How are we faring at home, void of social contact, stripped of our normal routines, off balance and isolated? How is our anxiety level as we contemplate our financial future, our careers, the safety of our re-entry into the world? Although we are resting, spending quality time with our families, eating well and spending less, many of us are struggling to stay positive and keep our minds on a healthy trajectory. The length and uncertainty of the situation is wearing and there are days that it is hard to hold up the positive.

I have been doing well for the most part. However, there are times when the anxiety creeps in and there are nights that I do not sleep soundly. There is also the added pressure I am putting on myself to be productive, to use this time wisely and find ways of bettering myself. I have been working towards strengthening my ability to put positive thinking to work, to attract what I really want from my life. My belief in the “law of attraction”  is unwavering. However, it is only as good as the vision itself and I have also been seeking ways to get more in touch with my life’s purpose.

All of this searching has led me to consider the benefits of meditation.

According to a report published by the Mayo Clinic on April 22, 2020, meditation has numerous benefits, ranging from the reduction of anxiety, depression, insomnia, and chronic pain to the increase of imagination, creativity, patience and self-awareness. 

Full article: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/meditation/in-depth/meditation/art-20045858)

I have known about these claims for years and have wanted to integrate meditation practices into my life. However, creating a consistent routine has not happened and it is only through the current crisis that I have realized now is as good a time as any to give it a try.

Through my research I am finding that there are many forms of meditation and it can be easy, simple, and fun. It can be done anywhere for any length of time and can be tailored to your individual taste and lifestyle. For example, some may find a form of meditation while participating in a challenging physical activity, learning a difficult piece of music, walking in nature, or staring into the flame of a favorite candle. Once we become more practiced, we can bring meditation into the daily workings of our life and use it to achieve more mindfulness and peace.

In her book, Meditation: Easy Techniques to Help You Relax and Focus, Jan Purser outlines different types of meditation such as breath-watching, visualization, mantra, music, walking, and object focus. She gives the reader different options for posture and breathing and exercises to get your practice started. She describes how some may want to use music as a way to still the mind while others may be attracted to the use of color, crystals, or essential oils. 

Whatever method you chose, the results are sure to prove valuable. Like most things, if you set the intention and then show up, you’ll experience the desired outcome. It can be that simple.

I plan to practice meditation for at least one month starting today. I’m excited to try the various suggestions presented by Purser as well as to create a few of my own. I also plan to keep track of any changes I notice through journaling (which is a daily practice I already have underway) to note how my anxiety levels, sleep, and connection to my inner self may be affected. I encourage you to do the same. After all, if even a few of the benefits shown in the studies prove true, it may be just the panacea we’ve needed all along.