Thursday, December 29, 2011

What’s in Spiritual Fashion for 2012?


Forget about dooms-day prophecies that will leave you in rags. Spiritual development is a fashion statement that is on the rise and that bodes well for all of us. This is the year for alignment and expansion in the spiritual fashion world. The planets are aligning with the center of the Milky Way and by extension—the center of the known universe, on December 22, 2012. In preparation, align with your true self and your heart, and your expression in the universe will be more expansive than it has ever been before.

Fling open those closet doors and get ready to envision your spiritual wardrobe in a whole new light. Repurpose those fabulous pieces you already have and get ready to add some exciting new colors and textures. Then step out into the world with flair as you share the unique expression that you are. And while you are out there, enjoy everyone else’s unique expression. There is no need for jealousy. If you see a great idea, you might want to add it to your own closet for even more creative combinations, but most importantly enjoy the richness of everyone’s unique spirit.

Just as I suggested last year, greed will weigh you down. It is the deadliest of fashion sins, and pulls you out of alignment with truth and expansion. So be prosperous AND generous. Throw out any of those old bags that encourage you to hoard your energy. Energy is meant to flow. The truth is that the universe is in an expansive state, so expand into the knowledge that there is plenty for everyone. Any constraint in the state of plenty is currently created by humans as a result of fear and is a temporary experience. The best way to avoid greed is to toss out those bags. Replace them with ones that allow you to easily give and receive.

Think generously and receptively. Is there some wonderful garment or accessory that you could be passing along to someone else? Is there an item you could gratefully receive that would add the perfect touch to your own creative combinations? Or maybe something new is required to bring the perfect accent to an old favorite of yours. Is your wardrobe so far out of date that you just need to start over? Surrender to the call of your own fashion success by giving away to others the beautiful items you no longer need and receiving the wonderful new pieces you do need.

Align With Your Inner Truth
. Do you have something in your closet you have completely forgotten about or given up on? There is likely some item hidden far away in your closet you once loved that really expresses who you truly are, but for some reason you found it too challenging to wear in the past. Well, this is the year to pull it out. Trying to make other people’s well-loved beliefs work for you when they just don’t fit isn’t going to work as well as dressing yourself with the concepts that convey your truth and deepest wisdom. With the economy struggling, you need to be innovative. Adorn yourself in the truth of your own fabulous creations.

Expand Your Possibilities. This is the year to go for it. Think bigger than you have ever thought before. See the possibilities of color, texture, and styles in your life. As I’ve said, the universe is expanding and so are you. So why not throw open your closet door to play in the possibilities. Take everything out of your closet and start mixing and matching them in new ways. You’ll discover a whole new wardrobe built on little-used garments you already own. Add a new belief here, a dose of understanding there, and revive one of those dreams that has been stuffed out of reach on the closet shelf—and do it all just for the fun of creating some new fashion statement that is uniquely yours.

Put Yourself in a Position to Receive
. The planets are aligning with a black hole—absolute darkness—also known as the womb of creation. This is the center of receptivity. So be fully willing to receive. Since many will be looking for new, creative combinations, people are going to be letting go of items that no longer work for them that just might work for you. Now I’m not suggesting you accept clothing and accessories that are not in alignment with you. I’m talking about ideas and insights that add the perfect spark to your own creative endeavors. Whether you are considering new timely investments, steady income sources, healing modalities, a delightful relationship, or powerful spiritual insights, open up your closet and your arms. Put yourself in the best position to receive exactly what you need to flesh out your most exciting wardrobe.

These fashion choices were in-style last year and they are still vogue this year:

Say Yes or Say No. Be decisive about what new creations you are going to add to your wardrobe. You are probably going to get some urges about how cool it would be if you could create a such-and-so. Here’s the deal. Time is moving fast and windows of opportunity are getting smaller. So if the desire is real, create with zeal. If the desire isn’t profound or you just can’t seem to pull all the right garments and accessories to together, let the idea go entirely. Send the idea back to the universe so that someone else can see what they can do with it. There are limitless ideas available, so keep your creative juices flowing and see what clever innovation comes to you next. Invite your posse to join you in designing a new look that you and many others will enjoy.

The Sacred Feminine is Chic. We’re not just talking about fashion for women here. The Sacred Feminine is uni-sex. Listening, understanding, and being compassionate or tolerant of others’ needs and choices are qualities we all need to have available to us. If you find yourself needing a little more quiet time, add it to your daily ensemble, because something in your intuition is trying to get your attention. This could be just the breakthrough you need to expand your spiritual wardrobe. When your intuition speaks, follow it without reservation. Your boldness will be rewarded by a universe of support responding to your willingness to get out there with your own special statement.

The Style of Choice Is Kindness
. A person glows in kindness. It radiates from the soul outward. Be sure to let go of any beliefs that you are more radiant than anyone else, and really look around you. Everyone is beautiful in some way, and when you are looking through eyes of kindness, you’ll see the beauty—your own and theirs—without any need to compete with anyone else’s radiant presence.

These are the spiritual fashion tips for 2012. Remember, don’t get caught up in dooms-day prophecies. You certainly want to let go of fashion treasures you no longer use or baggage that is weighing you down. Whenever you let go of anything you no longer need there is an opening for something better. Invite into your life an incredible year by aligning to your deepest truth and opening to your most expansive nature. This is the time to bring your own fabulous spiritual fashion statement into full view.

Monday, December 19, 2011

In This Season of Light…


During this beautiful season of light, may we honor the light within ourselves and each other.

This article, written in 2009, seems as appropriate now as it did then to honor the light within us that the holidays awaken.

Have you experienced a time in your life when your absolute dedication to a higher path was required in order to transcend the oppression of fear? Have you experienced perhaps a dark night of the soul, when all seemed lost, but you found the spark of a sacred fire burning within you and fed it with whatever hope and love you could gather together at the time?

I love the historical story of the menorah I have heard told during Hanukkah. Imagine having faced oppression with great conviction, even risking your life to reclaim your temple in honor of your faith. Then as you go to light the menorah (symbolizing the Light of God) you discover you only have enough sacred oil for one day of burning, rather than eight, but you light the menorah anyway. To your surprise the meager amount of oil lasts eight days.

After facing the fears that oppress you, have you ever gone to feed your inner sacred fire, thinking, I don’t have enough to give, only to discover that what you had to give was somehow enough?

During this season, the darkest season of our year, and the traditional time for the holidays of Hanukkah, Solstice, Christmas, and Kwanzaa, many of us will be celebrating with symbols of light.

We will light candles, menorahs, bonfires, and kinaras across the globe, and some of us will put lights around our homes and businesses. In that light, we will celebrate dedication, family, love, unity, birth, miracles, hope and new life.

Isn’t it interesting how precious the light becomes to us when we are experiencing the very depths of darkness. Even the tiniest light may be a reflection of our greatest intentions—our own light the reflection of our manifestation—bursting forth from the darkness of our own becoming.

Any flame must be fed. So as we enter this season when so many spiritual traditions honor or use the flame to remind and inspire, perhaps we can ask ourselves: “With what will I feed my flame? Will I feed it with my fears, anger and pain? Or will I feed it with love, truth and trust?”

Will you be willing to find new ways to honor the light within yourself and within others? How will you choose to honor that light starting right now?

As you do, know that there is at least one person in the world, deeply grateful that you have brought forward your light to share with us all.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Archetypes of the Sacred Feminine


We are probably most familiar with the archetypes of the Sacred Feminine described as personalities or goddesses. I’d like to suggest that there is another way to experience the archetypal energy of the Sacred Feminine. This is a perspective that may actually make more sense to some of you, especially our beloved men.

In my observations consulting with clients, participating and facilitating retreats and ceremonies, and in meditation practice, I have discovered that humans experience similar emotions. It seems that when someone is feeling a particular emotion and expressing it, we are able to identify with this very human occurrence.

If you take an emotion such as frustration into the Creation Meditation (http://www.newdreamfoundation.com/forums/index.php?topic=75.0), and if you stay present in compassion long enough, you will eventually feel the universal connection that we have to feeling frustrated.

One of the skills I teach in our Secrets of the Sacred Feminine Revealed (http://www.newdreamfoundation.com/sacred-feminine-secrets.htm) video series is how to hold raw emotion when someone is projecting their feelings onto you. There is a way to do this without ever entering their spiritual space, or sending them energy for the purpose of trying to make their life better or getting them to change so that you feel more comfortable.

Holding energy for a general positive affect, without ever entering someone else’s energy field, can be done because we are all connected through the energy of emotion. Therefore, if I address and allow healing for the intensity of my feelings and wounds behind my own emotions I affect the fabric of the web of life. We are archetypically connected through our emotions.

Consider how much emotions motivate our lives and our choices. When I was a business consultant, I noticed how often logically derived decisions were actually motivated by someone’s passionate desire for a specific outcome or driven by their passionate dislike for a particular methodology or approach.

We might tell the world we are basing our decisions on facts alone, and we may actually use well-established data to help inform our choices, but behind the facts, you will usually find an emotion motivating the general direction of the choice.

When we allow ourselves to sit in compassionate witnessing of our emotions, we are honoring an aspect of the Sacred Feminine within us. How often in your life have you tried to ignore your emotions in your decision-making processes, because you have found emotions to be unreliable and too intense?

Yet, if we were to be extremely honest with ourselves, we might discover our emotions are quietly driving our choices, in the background. Passive aggressive behavior is a case-in-point.

If I’m upset with my partner, but cannot safely communicate that feeling, nor know what to do about it, I might suppress that feeling in my dialogues with that person. However, unaddressed, my feeling of being upset simmers underneath the surface, until I do something to undermine the other person, ridicule or shame them about something. Passive aggressive behavior is a form of retaliation that arises when we are not meeting our true feelings in compassion.

Take that same feeling of being upset and hold it in compassion in a thoughtful, meditative setting until that feeling has been adequately understood, and you will find you know longer are driven by that feeling—subconsciously or consciously.

When the feeling is no longer driving your choices, your energy is free to hold space for your own needs, as well as someone else’s. Your creativity and intuition emerge to find new approaches that allow your needs and those of another person to be met simultaneously, without ever attempting to change someone else or suppressing your deepest desires or feelings.

Feelings are, in effect, faces of the Sacred Feminine. Each face or archetype exists for a reason and deserves to be recognized. When honored, those feelings become doorways of awakening to our true selves, where we are able to hold in love all feelings and all potential for the expression of life.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Why We Need Connection to Mother Earth


Each year that I facilitate our annual SpiritQuest Ceremonies, a group of us commit to living with Mother Earth rather than on her and that simple shift in perception is the difference between being human and trying to figure out what it means to be human.

In an age when we live in climate controlled houses, cars, offices and stores; in an age where we buy our food from grocery stores and spend some portion of our days on computers, it is easy to lose touch with our natural and symbiotic relationship with the earth.

But lose that relationship and you can lose your health, not to mention your peace of mind and spiritual awareness. In my book, The Root of All Healing, I describe what can actually happen when your cycles and rhythms fall out of sync with Mother Earth. Believe it or not, there is a documented and researched illness that comes with being disconnected from our Mother and her natural cycles, also known as circadian rhythms.

Here is a selection from my book that explains what can happen:

Symptoms of being out of sync with our natural cycles, also known as circadian rhythms, include stress, physical tension, emotional frustration, depression…and all of these can contribute to on-going illness. The effects of being out of balance with natural circadian cycles is explained in a white paper by Apollo Health Incorporated: ‘In reality circadian rhythms control the timing, quantity, and quality of the hormones and neurotransmitters the body produces and eventually secretes. Hormones and neurotransmitters are the elements that determine how we feel, our sleep patterns, our appetite, our sex drive, and other sleep and mood-related issues. When functioning properly, our circadian rhythms create circadian balance. When out of balance, quantity, quality and timing of hormone and neurotransmitter secretions suffer and our bodies suffer from a circadian rhythm disorder (CRD).’

Now consider that it is winter-time and for many of us the current seasonal weather provides lots of motivation to stay inside, safely tucked away from Mother Earth. As we distance ourselves from her, we increase the probability that we will experience the difficult physiological and emotional symptoms of being disconnected.

There are also mental and emotional benefits to connecting with Mother Earth. Have you ever been completely distraught, confused, frustrated or depressed and opted to take a long, long walk? Perhaps you found yourself walking through a park, a forest or along a beach. Isn’t it amazing how quickly you calm down and you develop some new perspective about your life?

Mother Earth is a natural healer, when we allow ourselves to spend time with her, even in the winter—perhaps, especially in the winter. A walk in snow or in the rain can do wonders for your mind and heart. Within minutes, worries dissolve and huge issues become small. Try taking a walk with someone when you are in a disagreement and watch how quickly you find resolution together. The minute we sink into the Mother’s rhythms, our own rhythms find their center, which is true inner peace.

That same inner peace creates an opening within us for experiencing our own mystical nature and the mystical nature of Mother Earth. As you find greater peace, you’ll notice that your dreams change, wild animals come up to you, you recognize the Mystery of the Divine in all of life, and your spiritual insights and abilities become more evident and helpful. The spirit-world opens up to you. The more you enter into relationship with the Mother the more the Mystery reveals itself to you.

I’m not talking about theoretical understanding. I’m referring to spiritual experience—mystical experiences. I used to think I was just lucky to have so many mystical experiences and finally I realized that I started having those beautiful, awakening experiences when I started developing a relationship with the Mother Earth. When I began seeing her and experiencing her as a significant part of my life—through her water, stones, animals, sky, clouds—all of her, the veil dropped. Her mysteries and the mysteries of creation throughout the universe were now available to me.

That’s when you realize what it truly means to be human, because you know you are not separate from life. You know in your bones that you are a wonderful part within the magnificence of creation. I invite you during this holiday season, to do it. Create the time to get outside and spend time with your Mother. She is one of the greatest healers and mystics you will ever meet.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Complacency’s Call


Have you ever thought to yourself that because you have things figured out well enough in your life, you can just coast for a bit? I know I have.

And while the “I have things figured out” voice is urging you on, a little voice in the back of your mind is warning you not to be too smug. Some part of you knows that if you assume your apprenticeship in life is over or on hold, your life could end up being like stagnant water. Complacency can be a place to hide when some part of you wants to experience greater flow and greater fulfillment, but another part of you knows that in order to experience free, unobstructed flow, you would need to do some deeply honest introspection.

I recently had a fascinating conversation with two of our initiated elders from the Sacred Path of the Feminine on this topic. Their insights were thought provoking. When I asked them what they thought we run away from when we become trapped in complacency they both said that we enter into this frozen state of thinking that we don’t need to learn and evolve when we don’t want to look at what we have been attracting, what is not working, and what is not satisfying in our lives.

If my own life is representative, their assessment of the reason we become complacent is spot on. I once spent a significant part of my life telling myself I knew enough. I didn’t learn new ways of developing because I couldn’t believe that my unhappiness and dissatisfaction were the result of my own beliefs, habits and choices. Those patterns of thoughts, feelings and behaviors had become normal for me and I had grown somewhat comfortable with my almost functional world.

I was doing okay, but I certainly wasn’t happy, and I definitely wasn’t living a life of joy. I was getting by and calling that good enough.

It would have been extremely difficult to admit that my world was a reflection of my pain, and that my decisions were influenced more by my pain than by my inner peace. What I didn’t know was that the sexual abuse I had experienced as a child was the greatest pain influencing my life. Since I couldn’t remember the event, it was part of my unknown—an unknown I didn’t want to remember. My life wasn’t working as well as I wanted it to, but I didn’t want to see the root of my suffering or the basis of my unrest and dissatisfaction with my world.

I wanted to feel fully accepted, but I didn’t know how to accept my pain as a legitimate part of me needing to be loved. What I didn’t understand was that if I wanted to be able to fully accept myself, I was going to have to sacrifice and let go of my fear of the unknown. I was going to have to find a way to love the wound I couldn’t remember.

What I didn’t understand then was that by entering into the unknown with my own compassionate heart and experiencing the love that was there, I would become free from my fear of the unknown. In that freedom I would find all of the self-acceptance and understanding that I could ever want. I would even be able to hold the part of me that attracted sexual abuse as an experience in this lifetime—the self-abuser inside of me. I didn’t know that I could love that pain until it existed no more, and I was completely free from its influence in my enthusiasm for life.

The unknown is another way to describe the Sacred Feminine—a vast, limitless womb of potential. What we don’t realize when we are in our complacency is that the remedy is the very body of the unknown that we fear.

The potential of the human being is quite fearsome. We have the potential to be abusive monsters or caring saints. When our potential is initiated in love, we are born as amazing, loving beings. When we disconnect from the love, our abusive tendencies manifest.

In the Sacred Feminine we have the capacity to love it all. So when our abusive tendencies or our experiences of being abused are held in the Sacred Feminine, we return to love and are reborn in the womb of that love.

In complacency we are often avoiding a wound within ourselves that we don’t want to remember. Compassion in the Sacred Feminine is what our soul longs for because in that compassion the source of our wound will be loved and understood, and we will be reborn in that love. The action that emerges from our rebirth will be right action in the full expression of our loving passion for life.

(See our video series, Secrets of the Sacred Feminine Revealed for ways to safely enter the unknown and hold the abuser and victim that lives inside of everyone: http://www.newdreamfoundation.com/sacred-feminine-secrets.htm)

Complacency is call from the unknown. It is a call to compassion—deep abiding compassion. Complacency is a call to return to the loving, universal womb of the Sacred Feminine. After being in its still and quiet caress, your life force will emerge in flow with your deepest longings.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What Kind of Woman Wins a Nobel Peace Prize – Part III


Tawakkul Karman

Tawakkul Karman, a 32-year-old mother of three children, has been called by some the “mother of the revolution” in Yemen, demanding the end of President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s dictatorial regime. She has been actively participating in sit-ins, protesting the President’s dictatorship over Yemen. At one point, she was seized and held in prison, only to have thousands of people demand her release. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/oct/07/tawakkul-karman-profile

In an interview with free-lance journalist Eva Sohlman Karman, the people of Yemen put down their weapons when they heard the announcement that Karman had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2011. They took to the streets with flowers in their hands. Karman believes that this award represents an understanding that Muslims are not terrorists, and that the people of Yemen want freedom and peace. (You can listen to this interview at: http://www.nobelprize.org/mediaplayer/index.php?id=1670)

In this same interview, she shares her belief that the first thing that must be done to ensure women in Yemen and in Arabic countries assume their responsibilities in building the world is to put an end to dictatorship regimes. Then they can begin the process of education that will allow women to become leaders.

She describes how women are accepted as fighters for revolutions, until dictators are put into power. Once they are in control, they speak against women and further their subjugation.

For those of us that live in relatively free nations, can we even begin to imagine what it must be like to grow up in a reality where you are seen as a terrorist because of your religion? Can we imagine what it is like to grow up in a place where political dictators use women as fighters when it serves them, and then speak against women once they attain power? Can we imagine how much conviction women in countries controlled by dictators must be holding in their hearts to become a voice for peace?

When I look at what I am here to do on this earth and I look at the obstacles and challenges I face, they pale in comparison to what Tawakkul Karman has had to overcome to become the “mother of the revolution.” She is absolutely committed to bringing dictators to justice and establishing peace in her country.

So let me ask, what can we do, to support Tawakkul Karman’s efforts for peace and freedom? Do we just sit back and watch? Or is there something we can actually do?

I believe there is something we can do. We can hold her intentions for peace and freedom in our hearts and bless those intentions with the same fervor and dedication with which she carries these hopes in her heart.

Every parent or caring person can know what it feels like to want peace and freedom for our children. I wonder how much Kaman is motivated by her own children, because every child deserves to grow up in peace, don’t you think?

Let us consider holding peace and freedom in our hearts, and then going as deeply into those feelings as we can—allowing our hearts to expand in their capacity to hold this hope for all who long for it.

If you are not familiar with the practice of holding, you might appreciate becoming familiar with the first step of the Creation Meditation we teach here at New Dream. http://www.newdreamfoundation.com/forums/index.php?topic=75.0 Holding is the essential gift of the Sacred Feminine. I can think of no better time or reason to hold for peace and freedom than right now, when so many people in so many countries are standing for their right to live without the oppression of dictators.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Creating What You Desire Through Gratitude


Do you remember the last time you were deeply grateful for something? Do you remember how you felt? Do you remember how alive, excited and perhaps somewhat humbled you felt?

This incredible feeling is not only what you feel when you receive, but it is the feeling that can create your fulfillment. What does this mean? When you stop seeking and allow yourself to gratefully notice how your longings are already being met, you experience the power of this creative force that we call gratitude. What you thought to be unknown reveals itself to you and you become witness to the true Mystery of Divine creation.

Think about something you longed for as a child. Say for example, you always wanted a pet but your mother was allergic to cat and dog hair, so that wish was not fulfilled as a child. However, when you became an adult living on your own, you decided to get a pet, and now you have several.

You probably helped to create the reality of having pets by completely enjoying those moments that you spent with a neighbor’s dog or a friend’s cat, prior to having your own. Your delight in them—that feeling of being alive, excited and a little humbled—helped you stay present to your desire. The feeling kept you motivated and helped you bring your desire into fulfillment.

Not all desires are met right away. Sometimes you take interesting twists and turns in your process of fulfillment. Sometimes you are getting yourself ready for what you truly want. Often, you find that you need to keep yourself motivated. Feeling gratitude for something before you have fully received it keeps your motivation high. It also brings the satisfied feeling of fulfillment right down into your cells where your body vibrates the truth of that satisfaction. (Here is a prayer that might help you in accessing the depth of your gratitude: http://www.newdreamfoundation.com/forums/index.php?topic=1580.0)

Your vibrational energy of satisfaction is attracting what you want as though it is already a part of your life. That means that when you shift from desire to gratitude, you are already creating what you want. If you pause long enough to be grateful, you can usually see evidence that what you want to receive is in progress.

When my husband and I were manifesting a home for us, he had a strong sense about what he wanted, and every day he gave thanks for our new home as if we already had it. Each time we went out to look at houses with the realtor, he saw evidence of his manifestation. As we looked at houses together, we became clearer about what our perfect house would be like, we communicated our desire better, our realtor began to get a visual picture of what appealed to us, and indeed we got closer and closer to the right house for us, until we finally found it.

I understood as we were moving into our new home that his gratitude played a significant role in establishing the motivation and vibratory field that landed us our home, because he didn’t think of our home as existing in our future. He saw our home as existing right now. We just had to align with it so that it could become evident to us. His gratitude created that alignment.

Today might be the perfect day to stop for a moment and reflect on what you experience and enjoy that causes you to feel grateful. Notice that what you once wanted you enjoy now. Right now you are experiencing the reward of that desire.

Then you might want to consider something new that you desire and give thanks that it already exists. Really feel those words of thanks because that lovely mixture of ingredients—aliveness, excitement and humbleness, that we call gratitude—is creating what you are manifesting right now.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What Kind of Woman Wins a Nobel Peace Prize? Part II

Leymah Gbowee

BBC calls Laymah Gbowee Liberia’s Peace Warrior. The Nobel prize committee said they chose her because she:

…mobilized and organized women across ethnic and religious dividing lines to bring an end to the long war in Liberia, and to ensure women's participation in elections. She has since worked to enhance the influence of women in West Africa during and after war.

Gbowee has known the violence that 14 years of civil war can create, and she has responded with action. She became a trauma counselor and worked with women and girls that had been raped by militamen. She and the women were desperate for the war and abuses to end.

According to a BBC report, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-15215312, Gbowee and the women she organized in Liberia were deeply committed, as they picketed, fasted and prayed for peace:

Amid the shells and bullets, they prayed and protested for days on end, demanding that the conflict between former President Charles Taylor and rebel forces stop.

The protestors even followed President Taylor to Ghana’s capital when he flew there for peace talks, continuing to pursue him until they were successful. They indeed met their goal. Mr. Taylor is no longer the president.

Although Mr. Taylor is on trial at The Hague for war crimes, Gbowee makes it very clear in an interview with Stephen Colbert that he is not on trial for war crimes against Liberia. http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/233532/july-14-2009/leymah-gbowee.

In this same interview, she talks about how the women went on a sex strike in order to influence their men to stand up for peace. They denied sex to those that were fighting and those that were not fighting. The women wanted even non-fighting men to speak to their friends and relatives that were choosing to fight, and participate in putting an end to the conflict.

According to the BBC report mentioned above, Ms. Amanor, Gbowee’s assistant shed some light on Gbowee’s reason for announcing the sex strike:

Ms. Gbowee also suggested that Liberian women might go on a sex strike to increase pressure on the various (male) faction leaders.

Their message to the men was that they can't go and kill mothers and daughters and then come home [to expect sex], said Ms Amanor.

This topic came up at our recent Path of the Sacred Feminine Women’s Retreat. While sex is certainly a powerful way to inspire positive and peaceful behaviors in men, this concept triggers a spiritual question for me regarding our choices and sex. Clearly, she sees this choice as providing necessary motivation, and she has written a book about it entitled, Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War.

Is it wise for a woman to accept a man into her body, when he is engaged in behaviors of anger, intolerance, violence and the manipulation of others? Yes, he might be in love with you, but when you are engaged in sexual intercourse, the boundaries aren’t that distinct. You are receiving a man into you. A woman has a responsibility for her body. It is her temple. Spiritually, it is a woman’s right and personal duty to herself to consider carefully what energy she is willing to receive.

By not receiving into our bodies men that are living lives filled with anger, violence, greed or manipulation, or are negligent in protecting women from violence, we are in fact making a statement about what is acceptable. We make a significant statement about our values personally and globally when we choose to receive, in our lovemaking, men that live in peace, compassion, generosity and humanitarian love.

This is one of the great powers of the Sacred Feminine. We are the vessels. Our wombs are the crucibles in which life is forged. So, isn’t it appropriate that we be the guardians of our bodies, and the new lives that may emerge from sexual union? Isn’t it appropriate that we, when our men do not, set the standard for the type of energy we want to experience within our temples?

What Gbowee and thousands of women teach us is that claiming our power has nothing to do with being angry, yelling or attempting to force our desires upon another. However, feminine power is clear, persistent, sacred, and holds to a standard of peaceful engagement.

If you would like to listen to Leymah Gbowee’s brief, yet inspiring message for the world in her own word’s, the Nobel Media provides a 2 minute interview with her that allows you to hear her clarity of purpose and her personal power: http://www.nobelprize.org/mediaplayer/index.php?id=1639

Thursday, November 03, 2011

May You Be Reborn as the Being of Your Choosing

Have you ever felt as though you are a person of someone else’s making? Perhaps you feel that God and your parents created you—fashioning you in their desires. Or maybe you feel as though you are partially created from your partner and children’s expectations of you. Our cultures and societies certainly have their expectations that you might find yourself responding to, and you might also find your life becoming a reaction to past challenges and abuses. So who are you, exactly? Are you the person of your own choosing or has that become lost in a myriad of external expectations and internal reaction?

At our recent women’s retreat, I was delighted when the Grandmothers on the other side of the veil reminded me that in the practice they have given us, new moon begins a cycle of renewal—a time when a person can recreate themselves in the fashion of their own choosing. At each new moon, 13 times per year, we can ride the energy of the moon cycles to become reborn as individuals responding to our own inner callings.

Consider the person you would become if you spent some time in quiet contemplation on the day of new moon. Perhaps you would consider what you most want to release or most desire to become. Imagine giving yourself permission, for at least a little while, during the waxing of the moon to plant the seeds within yourself that would further your own self awareness.

You might choose to consider one or all of the Four Prescriptions of this path—surrender, acceptance, desire and commitment—by engaging your creativity, and allowing yourself to see just where you are with these four momentums in life. You might choose to dance out each prescription, write, dramatize, sing, sculpt, sew or paint about them, or quietly meditate on each, or one, of these primary momentums.

You would likely discover what long-held beliefs you wish to surrender, what aspect of your nature yearns to be accepted, what deep desire longs to be acknowledged, or where commitment would serve you in your ultimate fulfillment. What would your life be like if you allowed yourself to honor your inner longings? How might you become the person you long to become?

The Grandmothers reminded me that new moon begins the cycle of self-recreation, culminating at the three days of full moon when the energy supports us in being fully reborn unto ourselves—right into the cells of our body and our conscious awareness. Then we rest and allow our new self-awareness to integrate during the waning of the moon until the cycle begins again.

This cycle that starts with the first day of new moon is so significant that the crescent moon is the symbol of this entire practice. Imagine how your life would be different if you allowed yourself to ride the energetic cycles of the moon by creating a ritual for yourself on the first day of the new moon. Now imagine doing that 13 times throughout the year. And finally, imagine what it would be like to live reborn as the being of your choosing.




Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Reflections on the Sacred Feminine Art of Holding

Gift of the Path of the Sacred Feminine Women’s Retreat

If I could sum up the experience of the Sacred Feminine in two words, these are the words I would choose, Compassionate Holding. In our world today, achievement reigns, and while achievement can provide us with a great sense of fulfillment, it is half of our birthright when it comes to fulfillment. Achievement is a Sacred Masculine or yang expression of the Divine. Compassionate Holding is the domain of the Sacred Feminine or yin aspect of the Divine. It is the least known and least understood of our true Divine Nature.

Because we do not deeply know this nature within ourselves and honor it with the same fervor and passion with which we revere achievement, we literally make ourselves physically ill, emotionally challenged, and spiritually limited. If we wish to know the freedom of true Oneness, for many of us, the Sacred Feminine aspect brings us into the wholeness of the One.

Compassionate Holding is what we experienced for two days during our Path of the Sacred Feminine retreat. As always, the women were bold and sincere as they sank into the dark, still and receptive essence of the Sacred Feminine. It is there that we explored the truth of who we are and our true potential as women in the world. Each woman discovered her own flight as she was consciously present to the chrysalis of her own making.

The chrysalis for women, as it is with the butterfly, is the womb or crucible that each of us creates in which to discover ourselves. Just like the butterfly, in order to be reborn we enter the darkness and become liquid (fluid and supple) as we prepare to give birth to our own emergence. In the liquid state, we see reflections of ourselves we would not otherwise be able to see. In those reflections we remember our true nature.

From that awareness, desire bursts from our hearts and we become the divine expression of the Sacred Masculine, bringing our deepest longings into manifestation in a physical world. But in order to manifest, the chrysalis must be broken. For some of us, that means beating ourselves against the very limits we have created, until finally we break free and are able to fly.

It is easy to see the chrysalis as something someone else has made to limit us, but what we discover in the silence of our being is that we are the ones that create our own limits. Limits are important. Without them we would not be able to enjoy the unique experiences of being human. And there are times when we wish to remember our limitlessness so that we can enjoy more of what our precious lives on earth have to offer.

Each woman is a gift to the world longing to share the depth of herself with creation. Each woman has the opportunity to be reborn as often as she wishes, so that her choices are consistently based in love, honor, integrity and respect—powerful reflections of her deepest truths.

The gift of this retreat is the beautiful women that burst through each their own chrysalis and share themselves, with their unique talents, to a world that needs their treasures.

To experience some of what we learn at the retreat, you might want to become familiar with our monthly video lessons: Secrets of the Sacred Feminine Revealed.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

What Kind of Woman Wins a Nobel Peace Prize? – Part I

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

With three women receiving a Nobel Peace Prize, I just had to find out more about what they have done to warrant such an honor. (Somehow the number three is absolutely perfect, because it is a number that honors the Sacred Feminine, as a woman’s womb has a somewhat triangular shape.) So who are these women?

Let’s find out about Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, shall we?

Here’s a little something about her from the government of Liberia:

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is the 24th President of Liberia and the first elected female Head of State in Africa. Throughout her career she has demonstrated passionate commitment to hard work, integrity and good governance, advocating for the rights of women and the importance of education to provide a better future for her country and its people.

Ms. Johnson Sirleaf has a notable career, far better explained than I can here, in the biography available at: http://www.emansion.gov.lr/content.php?sub=President%27s%20Biography&related=The%20President

What struck me is her commitment to her country and the end of corruption in her homeland, even after needing to leave her country twice due to political unrest, including a 1980 coup d’etat. Creating change in the middle of civil and even moral unrest is no small matter.

And she has created change in no small way. She has taken her country from a national budget of $80 million to $350 million. Johnson Sirleaf has acquired $5 million in international contributions, which she has used to build school, clinics and markets, as well as provide scholarships so that her people’s skills and abilities will continue to grow.

She has attracted international investment for the creation of jobs and she has been at the forefront of women’s issues regarding peace and leadership, serving on multiple advisory boards and committees throughout the world. To top it all off, as we women are prone to include in our life-resumes, she is a proud mother of four children and eleven grandchildren.

Now, are you reading this thinking, Wow, she is someone really special! I could never do that?

Of course you couldn’t. This is her life. This is what she came here to do.

As my friend Reverend Ariann likes to say, We each pack our spiritual bags with what we need to live this life on earth. We accumulate more once we get here, but we choose carefully what skills and talents we will bring with us to get started.

You packed your own bag with spiritual, physical, and mental gifts that are meant to be used in the fulfillment of your purpose, whether you are here to serve millions or a handful of very special people.

Some of us seem to know our purpose as soon as leave high school. Perhaps that was the case with Johnson Sirleaf, since she began her career and has consistently remained in the financial/political/service arenas for forty years.

Some of us discover our purpose over time, as it presents itself over and over again, until we finally realize it is not a purpose one might conceive without life experience. That was the case with me. I had no idea that dedication to the Sacred Feminine and restoring balance in our spiritual percept about the Divine Masculine and Feminine was going to be my reason for existing here on earth during this lifetime.

Others awaken to it in a flash of realization, practically in the moment it is happening. As a Native elder once showed me, some of us come here to fulfill one moment in time, and we may not recognize it until it occurs.

Still others of us have a sense about their sacred work, but truly discover their purpose through mystical exploration, such as in meditation, ceremonies and quests, where we finally become still enough and surrender completely so that awareness to come through.

When someone discovers their purpose and chooses to fulfill it, we can be inspired by their choice to surrender and commit to their greatest ability to serve. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is a woman to celebrate. We can all draw inspiration from her amazing dedication to a better and peaceful world.

If you would like to congratulate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the other beautiful Nobel Laureates, you can do so at: http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/2011/

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Three Gifts to the World

Women Receive Nobel Peace Prize for 2011

Some powerful women, three gifts to the world, have been acknowledged for their efforts to secure peace, as well as women’s safety and rights. They join their nine female predecessors as what have been called, Heroines of Peace. Perhaps, we can all take hope from these courageous women. A very wise man once told me that men are inspired by women. He suggested that women set the bar (standard) for what is and what is not acceptable in the world. I can’t help but wonder if these three women raised the bar in their homelands. Here is the announcement made by the Nobel Committee:

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2011 is to be divided in three equal parts between Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work. We cannot achieve democracy and lasting peace in the world unless women obtain the same opportunities as men to influence developments at all levels of society.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is Africa’s first democratically elected female president. Since her inauguration in 2006, she has contributed to securing peace in Liberia, to promoting economic and social development, and to strengthening the position of women. Leymah Gbowee mobilized and organized women across ethnic and religious dividing lines to bring an end to the long war in Liberia, and to ensure women’s participation in elections. She has since worked to enhance the influence of women in West Africa during and after war. In the most trying circumstances, both before and during the “Arab spring”, Tawakkul Karman has played a leading part in the struggle for women’s rights and for democracy and peace in Yemen.

It is the Norwegian Nobel Committee’s hope that the prize to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman will help to bring an end to the suppression of women that still occurs in many countries, and to realise the great potential for democracy and peace that women can represent.

Notice that last line: to realise the great potential for democracy and peace that women can represent. The committee is describing women’s potential. If we don’t think that the state of unrest, war and abuse in our world today is acceptable, then it is up to us to decide what we are going to do about it. Thinking about it or wishing for life to be different is simply not enough. It is up to us to decide what our lives represent and take appropriate action

In spiritual practice, I have found it to be quite healthy to pause from time to time to consider what my life represents. I was once asked by a friend and teacher, What are you willing to live for? That question shook me, but I was shaken even more when he asked the follow up question, What are you willing to die for?

Those may seem like hard, or even harsh, questions. But if you want to know the value of your life, you need to know what you value at the core of your being. Then you need to know what you are willing to do to bring that value into reality.

The nature of the Sacred Feminine is to know yourself and remember your purpose for existing. The nature of the Sacred Masculine is to put that realization into service to others. In balance, our lives have full meaning, as the reason that we are hear on earth is recognized and acted upon.

I invite you to consider these two questions. Create a quiet, undisturbed time to light a candle, and quietly reflect. You might want to journal or draw insights that come to you. You might want to invite your dreams to help you understand the deepest truth that you value. You might even want to commit to questing for greater insight. If you create the space to remember, you will know why you came.

Such a realization motivates us into action because it is so fundamental to who we are that we are compelled to endeavor for that purpose with vitality and commitment. When you read about women like these Nobel price winners, it would be easy to think that they must be special and that is the reason they make such a difference. It would be easy to think they are never afraid or don’t have family responsibilities. It would be far too easy to think they must have skills that you don’t have, and that is why they are able to make such a difference.

I suggest to you, whether you are a woman or a man, that they very likely act with conviction because they know who they are. At some level they know why they are here. And they choose each and every day to put their sense of purpose into action.

For me, this is the real inspiration the lives of these beautiful women offer—to know that each of us can be a gift, the realization of our own potential and make a positive difference here on earth.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

How Might Your Life Have Been Different, If…?

For the woman you are and the women you love...

How might your life have been different if there had been a place for you? A place for you to go…a place of women, to help you learn the ways of women…a place where you felt nurtured, a place where you felt loved, as if an ancient flow was sustaining you and steadying you as you sought to become yourself. —Judith Duerk, A Circle of Stones

I remember reading these words by Judith Duerk many years ago, and crying. I remember longing to know my true self. I wanted to know what it would be like to be fully seen, heard and recognized. I wondered if there was a place within me that could redeem myself from the burden I had carried for so many years.

I was exhausted. I had been achieving myself to death, until my body finally said stop. My emotions were raw and I was just managing to get by from day to day, as I slowly unpeeled the layers to discover who I really was.

Then I met Judith and sat in women's circle with her. In her loving presence and with a circle of open-hearted women, I truly discovered the Sacred Feminine for the first time. And I fell in love with how I felt when I let my over-exercised masculine need for achievement take a rest and created space to be still, to listen, to recognize the depths of me.

I was amazed by how much pain I realized I had been carrying. I was even more amazed at how much beauty was underneath the pain longing to express itself.

It was several years before I had my profound experience in Egypt, where I remembered in every cell of my body, the slow, compassionate, holding essence of the Sacred Feminine.

It was several more years before I received the Native ceremonial bowl and ancient ceremonies and meditations of the Path of the Sacred Feminine that I am privileged to share today.

What I now understand is that, as a woman, I needed and craved, to discover myself as a woman, in a woman’s way. I simply wasn’t able to discover my true nature immersed in masculine practices.

In a world where the masculine energies of action, expression and achievement are highly valued, we as women can find ourselves overwhelmed and exhausted, as we attempt to demonstrate our own value in the world. We work, clean our homes and yards, buy groceries, take care of our families and rarely, it seems, find enough time to be still enough to experience the great gifts that live within our own Sacred Feminine nature.

How can our intuition possibly be heard, when we are so busy? How can we set down the burdens of regret, shame, pain, numbness, confusion, anger and sorrow, if there isn’t time to be compassionately present to ourselves? How can we be reborn in the wonder of our desires, if we do not from time to time, enter into the sacred womb from which we came?

It is difficult isn’t it? It can feel as though we are constantly living within the constraints of our perceived limits, rather than in the full delight of who we truly are.

The Grandmothers of this ancient practice remind us, we experience our freedom as women when we shed our limited bodies to become our limitless selves. “So,” some of us wondered, “how do you shed the limits?”

Our question was answered. We were taught how ancient women held space for each other so that the limits they felt actually dissolved and they emerged in the beauty of their unique expressions as women. They showed us how each woman learned to make a meaningful difference in the world through her relationships with other women in her circle.

Many of us did not grow up with women that knew how to hold us and love us into the emergence of our own womanhood. We struggled, as did our mothers and grandmothers. The old feminine ways of holding a woman into her womanhood had been forgotten.

But they are being remembered. The ancient practices are here for us to learn now. And you can discover the woman within you that longs to be born anew. How would your life be different if there was a place for you to discover yourself in the ways of women?

Discover how New Dream Foundation’s Women’s Retreat is a space for you to discover yourself at: http://www.newdreamfoundation.com/womens-retreat.htm

Thursday, September 29, 2011

What Is Honor?

Last week explored the concept of integrity and a lovely little bird sang in my ear that it would be good to explore the concept of honor next. So, what is honor?

If you look up the words honor and integrity in a thesaurus, they are synonyms of each other, and they are used interchangeably because they speak to similar qualities. But I perceive that there are some subtle differences.

Here is the difference I see between integrity and honor, and I look forward to reading your comments with your views.

Integrity is doing what you say you will do with honesty and heart, and in alignment with your true purpose for being here on earth. Honor is doing what you say you will do, even when difficult conditions arise, without needing to degrade or disrespect another in the process, and reverently addressing the consequences of the choices you make.

Here are some thoughts from others about honor that might have meaning for you. (As before, references to men apply equally well for women and references about men can also apply for women.)

I've got a woman's ability to stick to a job and get on with it when everyone else walks off and leaves it. —Margaret Thatcher

Our own heart, and not other men's opinion, forms our true honor. —Samuel Taylor Coleridge

No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave. —Calvin Coolidge

Honor isn't about making the right choices. It's about dealing with the consequences. —Midori Koto

Rather fail with honor than succeed by fraud. —Sophocles

He has honor if he holds himself to an ideal of conduct though it is inconvenient, unprofitable or dangerous to do so. —Walter Lippmann

Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself.
—Lois Bjold

It wasn't the reward that mattered or the recognition you might harvest. It was your depth of commitment, your quality of service, the product of your devotion -- these were the things that counted in a life. When you gave purely, the honor came in the giving, and that was honor enough. —Scott O-Grady

I have written before that one of the challenges we create for ourselves in our new age thinking is that something is right for us to do if it is easy. Somehow, we have made right and easy equal to each other. We have decided that if a choice proves to be easy, we are on the right path and if it is difficult we must be on the wrong path.

It has been my blessing to interview many individuals over the years as they reflect on their journeys in healing, career, relationship, creating prosperity, and spiritual awakening. Not one individual that has achieved something of value in their lives ever told me their journey was easy.

In fact, they have often confided to me that there were many moments when the journey was extremely challenging. Yet, they persevered because they knew they were following their guidance, and they trusted their intuitive insights.

They did not expect everything to be graceful, but rather they chose to move through their challenges with as much grace as they possibly could.

They did not expect life to be easy all the time, but rather, chose to see the gifts of opportunity in the obstacles that presented themselves.

They did not expect everyone else to bend to their will, but rather, bent like the willow to their own inner conscience.

They acted as best they could in accordance with their calling, doing their best to inflict no harm, while staying true to their mission in the most challenging of circumstances. And when another was harmed, they took responsibility for their choice and the consequences of their actions.

They choose what they know in their hearts to be right; not necessarily what it easy.

Can one make an honorable choice, in alignment with their purpose, true to their purpose, that is easy? Certainly that can happen and does. These same individuals would tell me how much they enjoyed their lives, and how much, even the challenges, have given them exuberance for life.

Where we trip ourselves us is when we make ease a condition of what is right. For those of us that have struggled and suffered, we perceive that struggle and suffering indicates something is wrong.

We may find it difficult to believe that what is right for us could also have its challenges. And yet, how do we transform the pain and stuckness of this planet if we are unwilling to move through those energies ourselves. There is a huge difference between suffering and struggle, and the willingness to diligently persevere on a course of action we know to be true and right for ourselves.

Have you ever believed in something so deeply that nothing could shake you (at least not for very long)? Have you ever been so passionate about something that you looked for solutions the minute a problem arose? Have you ever loved someone or something so much that you immersed yourself in your loving expression?

When life asks us to grab yet one more rung as we climb our ladder of life, we find out how much we want to achieve all that we are capable. We reach, and in reaching we discover what we deem to be honorable within ourselves.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What Is Integrity?

One of our New Dream volunteers shared with me that she has been considering this question lately, and she thought it would make a good topic of exploration at New Dream. I agreed.

She said she began her examination of integrity from the perspective of upholding certain moral beliefs, but ultimately found this to be too narrow a definition. She then found herself leaning more toward the perspective of living in alignment with what you believe.

In contemplating the concept of integrity, she is in good company. Consider some of the following thoughts about integrity. Most of these quotes are courtesy of: http://blog.gaiam.com/quotes/topics/integrity. Perhaps one of them speaks to your heart and mind. (Of course, where men are referenced, the concepts apply equally well for women.)

The voice within is what I'm married to. All marriage is a metaphor for that marriage. My lover is the place inside me where an honest yes and no come from. That's my true partner. It's always there. And to tell you yes when my integrity says no is to divorce that partner.
—Byron Katie

To know what is right and not do it is the worst cowardice. —Confucius

Don't compromise yourself. You are all you've got. —Janis Joplin

Better to keep yourself clean and bright. You are the window through which you must see the world. —George Bernard Shaw

Then, without realizing it, you try to improve yourself at the start of each new day; of course, you achieve quite a lot in the course of time. Anyone can do this, it costs nothing and is certainly very helpful. Whoever doesn't know it must learn and find by experience that a quiet conscience makes one strong. —Anne Frank

The measure of a man's real character is what he would do if he knew he never would be found out. —Thomas Babington Macaulay

Integrity -- Take the harder right over the easier wrong. —Kelly Perdew

The only correct actions are those that demand no explanation and no apology.
—Red Auerbach

Forcing yourself to think happy lies doesn't heal your dreams. Getting to the truth does. —Martha Beck

With integrity you have nothing to fear, since you have nothing to hide. With integrity you will do the right thing, so you will have no guilt. With fear and guilt removed you are free to be and do your best. —Zig Ziglar

There comes a time in your life when you have to let go of the life you planned and live the life you were meant to live. —Unknown

As you can see integrity has many faces. We value integrity when someone tells the truth, even if that truth is uncomfortable. We know integrity when someone hears their calling and follows it in dedicated faith and trust. We experience integrity when someone’s actions are in alignment with their beliefs, even if their actions are choices we would not have made. We honor integrity when someone fulfills their contract for this lifetime, especially if the challenges were great and the cost was high.

Living in integrity is not always easy. In fact, it can be downright challenging. But as Alexander the Great reminds us: Upon the conduct of each depends the fate of all. We might think those little slips, when we lack integrity, don’t matter in the larger picture, but they do. We know when we are acting outside of our integrity and that choice typically results in regret and guilt.

Regret and guilt can lead to all kinds of disruptive behaviors, as we try to cover up what we are really feeling. We pretend things are okay, but act aggressively or passive aggressively toward others as our inner frustrations look for ways to express. We become physically ill as the regrets and guilt eat at our emotional core. We make excuses for choices we regret, so that we won’t have to face the inner pain. Ultimately, living out of integrity costs us our happiness, and affects the lives of those whose lives we touch.

While living in integrity can be challenging, it is not necessarily more challenging than living outside of our integrity. For example, working a job you don’t like takes a toll on you. That job is probably not fully in alignment with your purpose and calling. That said, you might feel you need to do this job for now in order to create and maintain income in this challenged economy.

Are you honoring the integrity of your spiritual contract by creating a plan, or following your intuitive guidance, to move you into a career that is in greater alignment with your purpose? Are you making sure you are doing something to fulfill your soul’s contract to make a real difference in this world?

The soul needs alignment—alignment with your truth, purpose, beliefs and feelings. That is why it is so important to keep yourself clean and bright as George Bernard Shaw suggests.

When you are feeling particularly challenged in regard to your integrity, you might find it helpful to consider a role model. Who models integrity for you? Is there someone famous or someone close to you that you perceive lives in his or her integrity with great love and impeccability?

Do you have someone in your life that lovingly holds you accountable for your words and actions? If you don’t, consider if there is someone in your life that you trust enough that you would allow them to hold you accountable in a kind, yet honest manner.

Allowing yourself to recognize and incorporate the wisdom of role models that touches your heart, and allowing yourself held accountable for your intentions are two ways in which an individual enhances their lives as a person of deep integrity. When you are ready to incorporate these two elements in the development of your personal integrity, spiritual practice expands from desire into fulfillment. And so our volunteer, like many of you perhaps, is probably ready for greater fulfillment, as she chooses to explore the meaning of integrity in her life.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The More We Can Hold In Love; The More Free We Become


For many, many years, I limited the freeing experience of love because I was more committed to holding on to my sorrow and anger. I had been abused and I figured my anger was justified, so I held on to it, fed it and used it as a weapon whenever people disappointed me with even a hairline fracture of abusiveness in their demeanor or voice.

I fought for my right to be hurt and angry, and as I result I was miserable. I blamed others for my discontent, without it ever occurring to me that I was the cause of my own misery. When I finally did figure out that my experience of life was my responsibility, I turned the blame inward, justifying a deep-seated belief that I was completely unworthy to enjoy the life I wanted.

It took a long time for me to finally stop blaming others, myself, God or the world for how unhappy I felt most of the time. To allow an event to occur without blaming anyone was one of my earliest goals in honest self-responsibility.

This became particularly challenging when someone (myself or another) was actually responsible for an uncomfortable or difficult event. I didn’t understand you could hold someone else or yourself accountable without blaming. This is something I cover in greater detail in my book, The Root of All Healing: 7 Steps to Healing Anything. http://search.barnesandnoble.com/The-Root-Of-All-Healing/Misa-Hopkins/e/9781440139239/?itm=1&USRI=the+root+of+all+healing

Blaming includes a good dose of judgment, and it is the condemning judgment of another that causes us to break faith with our own hearts. But the heart has the capacity to hold ourselves and others in tremendous compassion, while also holding ourselves and others accountable for our actions. The key is to drop the condemnation.

We have the capacity to hold a great deal more in compassion than we often realize we can. This has become a consistent discovery at our annual Women’s Retreat, where we spend a weekend immersing ourselves in our capacity to discover deeper compassion for ourselves and others. http://www.newdreamfoundation.com/womens-retreat.htm

The more we can hold in love; the more free we become.

What do I mean by freedom? Imagine how much more happy you would feel every day if you were not blaming yourself and others. Imagine how good life would be if you could be compassionate with the people around you without surrendering boundaries that are healthy for you. What would it be like if you could express your opinions and desires without expectation that others feel the same way or make the same choices as you?

We create all kinds of limits to the full experience of love in our attempt to control others so that we will feel more comfortable or in the judgments we place. Intimacy can’t grow in an environment of condemnation. Nor can it grow in an environment where we do not feel seen, heard or recognized as who we truly are. Neither you nor the people you love can experience true intimacy in a reality where someone is constantly making you wrong.

Intimacy emerges in safety. In order to create that safety, compassion is required. The greater your capacity to hold yourself and others in compassion, the greater your capacity to experience the freedom that love gives us.

The freedom is wonderful, when you can make choices for yourself that expand your opportunities for intimacy. You feel free when you can love another without expectations about what they should or shouldn’t do—when you aren’t expecting a specific person to meet your needs. You experience tremendous freedom when you love yourself simply as you are, without any expectation to change.

In acceptance, you experience the depth and expansiveness of your love. You also gain clarity about what choices you need to make in order to continue experiencing that free and expansive state of love.

Your capacity to hold love is enormous. And most of us have only scratched the surface. If you think you love greatly, perhaps you would like to challenge yourself to hold even more. After all, in the Sacred Feminine way, the capacity to hold in love is limitless. That is why, the more you can hold in love, the more free you become.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

End of the Mayan Calendar—Planetary Stewardship to the Feminine


The Emergence of the Sacred Feminine

According to Dr. Carl Calleman’s research, October 28, 2011 (not 2012) is the day the Mayan Calendar comes to its completion. http://www.calleman.com/content/articles/ninth_wave.htm. Others say it ends on the Solstice, December 22, 2012. Others refuse to give it a date. Others have decided to just wait and see.

This is what we do know. Nicaraguan, Mayan Grandmother, Flordemayo, of the International Council of 13 Grandmothers, tells us the final glyph from the Mayan story of creation shows planetary stewardship being delivered into the hands of the feminine.

So, regardless of the date, here’s the question you might really want to consider. Are you ready for that responsibility? Whether you are a woman or a man, are you ready to discover what the Sacred Feminine really is and how it helps you and all of humanity bring an end to human struggle?

Does this sound a bit dramatic? Well, it is. Whatever exact date the calendar ends, this is what our Mayan ancestors saw for the future and that future is happening right now. It is one of the reasons we are living here on earth during this time period—to awaken the Sacred Feminine within ourselves so that we can create balance between the Divine energies of the Masculine and Feminine.

If either of these energies—Sacred Masculine or Sacred Feminine—exists in an extreme, without balance, we experience chaos. Too much masculine, particularly if it gets caught up in fear, and you get symptoms like:

—achieving yourself to death
—aggressiveness and war
—a lot of talking and doing, but not enough listening
—and beliefs such as, “I am right and you are wrong.” or, “What I want is more important.”

Too much feminine, especially if it is caught up in fear, and you get challenges such as:

—nothing getting accomplished
—codependent, passive aggressive behaviors
—too much considering, and not enough action
—and beliefs such as, “I’m not worthy.” Or “I’m not ready.”

When I was a communications consultant I could usually tell whether the business I was consulting for leaned toward too much feminine or masculine energy. When the company was dealing with stressful issues that brought up fears, it was fairly easy to tell whether the company suffered from inertia or over-achievement.

Of course, both sets of unique challenges exist in humanity. In terms of planetary leadership; however, we’ve been leaning heavily toward the masculine, and now is the time to restore balance.

When existing in love, the feminine is the energy of stillness and contemplation. It is unconditional compassion and has the capacity to hold all potential for life in love. The masculine, when coming from love is bliss and ecstasy. It is the passionate and generous expression of life longing to know itself. Put those together and live from that balance, and you have a truly harmonious existence.

Since all life was born from the absolute dark, stillness of the cosmic womb, if we embrace within ourselves that still, quiet and compassionate capacity to hold all that we are and have created, the Sacred Masculine naturally emerges from that loving space, born anew in its expression. Action born from loving silence is blissful existence.

This is the gift of the Creation Meditation. It emulates the creation of life, which began in the primordial womb. Life was and is born from the stillness. And life is born anew when held in love.

This concept of holding in love needs to be learned, because there are ways to hold that can create more problems and ways to hold that allow us to be born anew. That’s why we created our annual Women’s Retreat—so that there would be a time and place for women to learn and perfect our ability to hold in the way of the Sacred Feminine.

Isn’t it fascinating that we intuitively chose October 28, 2011 as the day to begin our Women’s Retreat? http://www.newdreamfoundation.com/womens-retreat.htm Whether it is or is not the last day of the Mayan Long-Count Calendar, it is an auspicious time to honor the wisdom of the ancients and prepare ourselves for the stewardship of the feminine. The whole world is waiting for us!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Falling in Love with the Enlightened and Unenlightened Parts of Yourself


It is relatively easy, isn’t it, to love and appreciate the enlightened aspects of you? To love your ability to help people, your kind heart and generosity, your talents, and the wisdom you have acquired.

But what about your unenlightened parts? It seems to be more challenging to love the parts of yourself that are jealous, selfish, controlling, condescending, timid or addicted.

If you have had a journey at all like mine, you’ve probably spent some time trying to ignore those less than enlightened aspects of yourself. You may have attempted to overcome them, ignore them, or erase them from your consciousness and behaviors. The challenge is that they don’t just go away because we want them to, do they?

Yet, these less than desirable qualities exist for reasons. They are part of the whole of who you are, and they are a part of you because of the experiences you have had. They can’t just get up and walk away, and they can’t be ignored, fixed or trumped by more enlightened thoughts.

About the time, you think you have trumped an unenlightened aspect of yourself with a more awakened thought, those feelings of regret, resentment, righteousness, or anger come sneaking in, and there you are experiencing the pulls of your more unenlightened ways of behaving.

The unenlightened parts of yourself exist because they are aspects of you needing to be loved. Your deepest wounds and desires are screaming for your undivided attention. They don’t want to be fixed any more than you do. They don’t want to be ignored any more than you. And like you, they certainly don’t want to be treated as though they will feel better if they just act like everything is okay.

They are the wounded and desiring parts of you that want to be heard, recognized, understood and loved as you are in the moment. Unenlightened parts of ourselves become enlightened when they are met with love and grace. They become enlightened when they are understood as they are, from the very core of our being.

So what are we really saying here? The unenlightened aspects of you become enlightened when you are willing to love those aspects of yourself with the same regard with which you love the more enlightened aspects of yourself. They call you to love yourself, completely, without limits or judgment.

You might be asking yourself how you get to that kind of loving regard for yourself, when you just don’t feel it. (I remember how frustrated I was when I was first learning how to be self-compassionate.) You might find it helpful to read this article that I wrote for those of us that can feel stuck or numb about loving ourselves, When You Are Not Feeling Compassionate, What Do You Do? http://www.newdreamfoundation.com/forums/index.php?topic=274.0

Some of you may be reading this thinking, “I even have trouble loving the more enlightened aspects of myself. What do I do?” I think you will find the same article above to be helpful. It is a respectful way to lead your heart and mind to greater self-love and self-healing.

Imagine for a moment, how your life might open up, if you found even a little bit more love for you—the parts of you that are awakening and the parts of you that are still sleeping.

Think about a young child that you enjoy. Isn’t it wonderful to watch them run, play and thoroughly enjoy life? Isn’t it equally wonderful to watch them sleep, unaware of what is really happening around them?

That’s how it is in a spiritual journey. You are the observer of your life—the one who most sees and understands the uniqueness of you. You have an amazing opportunity to fall deeply in love with the parts of you that are awake and the parts of you that are asleep.

I use the term “falling in love” with clear intention. It is one thing to learn how to like yourself, and that might be perfect for where you are in your life right now. It is yet another step in spiritual awareness to love yourself, and yet another to fall in love with yourself.

This is not selfish or self-absorbed. Because you are the eyes, ears, heart and arms of the Divine here on earth, this is about seeing yourself as the Divine sees you. It is the grand gift you came here to earth to give yourself.

During the month of October, I will have the privilege of sitting in circle with women that have decided to explore the essence of the Sacred Feminine with me and with each other. The ability to hold oneself in love—all of oneself—the enlightened and the unenlightened aspects—is the very nature of the Sacred Feminine.

In this unconditional, accepting love, we discover who we really are. Another way we say this is that we shed our limited bodies to become our limitless selves, for in love, we are limitless.

You are invited to join us, and you can learn more about the Path of the Sacred Feminine Women’s Retreat here: http://www.newdreamfoundation.com/womens-retreat.htm

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Are You Holding or Holding On?


The essence of the Sacred Feminine is very much womb-like, holding life in its suchness. This is wonderful to experience, whether you are the one being held or doing the holding. However, when we become frightened or confused we can become obsessed with holding-on rather than holding, and that’s when life becomes difficult.

Take a moment to remember a time when you cupped your hand and scooped up some water. In order to actually hold it in your hand, you must keep your hand formed in a cup shape and become as still as possible. You can observe the water and appreciate it, but the minute you attempt to squeeze it, the water will run out.

That is exactly what happens when we attempt to hold on to any aspect of our lives—whether it is a belief, dream, person, career, money, possession, or our health. If we don’t hold it lightly with great appreciation, stillness and care, it is likely to run out of our hands.

When we hold on to something with a vice-like grip, we are literally squeezing the life out of it. Whatever it is we are holding on to doesn’t stand a chance of being witnessed or seen for its own nature.

Consider relationship. Think of a time when you wanted someone to conform to your idea of who he or she should be. Did they become angry with you for trying to shape them into your image and likeness? Did they become alienated from you?

That’s what happens when we try to hold on to our image of what someone else should be. Most of us want to be seen and loved for who we are, even if we are acting out in some challenging ways. We might not expect people to live with our challenging behaviors, but we do hope we will be loved as we are in the moment.

Many of us try to make other people conform to what we want. We hold on to an idea or belief about how the world should be and how the people in our lives should behave. Rather than remove ourselves from incompatible relationships or learn to accept them as they are, we hold on tightly and attempt to change the other person.

This is like trying to squeeze the water in your hand. At some point, either you or they can’t maintain the pressure.

Something quite amazing happens when you choose to hold your feelings about the other person rather than hold on to our attempts to change them. If you give yourself permission to create a quiet moment and simply witness your feelings, in the same way you might observe water in your cupped hand, the fear, anger, resentment, regrets and frustrations you might have about someone else, simply dissolve. That’s right they dissolve.

All that remains is a deep, loving understanding of you and them. You are likely to find yourself gaining clarity about your challenge with that individual. You might find you have more tolerance, initiate a heart-to-heart conversation where you both share your concerns, take a retreat in order to give you both time to think about what you really want, or you might leave the situation.

Whatever you do, it will come from your truth, and you will be able to do it in love, rather than from an attempt to manipulate someone you love. Holding the feelings you have about someone else is a powerful way to resolve conflict with another.

It is not at all unusual to see a different response emerging from the other person, simply because you are no longer projecting your fears and frustrations on to them. You are able to see and hold them in their suchness, and they can feel the difference.

This is not a skill most of us were ever taught, so while we might understand it conceptually, it can be very difficult in practice. I’ve seen myself, and other women, seasoned in knowing how to hold, engage in energetic manipulation when the situation was pushing my buttons.

During our Path of the Sacred Feminine Women’s Retreat, we spend several days learning how to hold the feelings that create separation. LINK Individually and collectively, we remember that when we hold in love, we are the embodiment of the Sacred Feminine. We then take that awareness into our day-to-day lives, slowly letting go of the habit to hold on, and replacing it with the capacity to hold.