Posts Tagged ‘ritual’

What’s The Big Deal About Gratitude?

December 11, 2010

There’s a lot of talk about gratitude these days, from Oprah to books on the subject, to whole courses on the topic.  I have wondered if I could define the role gratitude plays in happiness, and until now I was confused about how to explain it.

A long time ago,  I did a course where a piece of our homework for one month was to write a thousand gratitudes.  I wrote and I wrote, and then I found myself stymied, thinking that I had run out of them after a few hundred.  It occurred to me that there were things so small that I took for granted, like eyelashes or pebbles, and for a few pages my list became hyper-focused on the tiniest stuff of life.

An amazing thing happened as I continued with the process…you’ve probably guessed it…I began to see my life through new eyes.  Every thing from the fact that I could breathe to the glass in my windows, from someone saying good morning to having a clean sheet of paper to write on…it all began to take on a new and incredible magic.  What was once neglected was suddenly my reason for rejoicing, and my joy grew.  My appreciation of life grew, and the appreciation was seemingly contagious.  People smiled at me more, gifts came my way, and money began to flow into my life more easefully.

It wasn’t all rosy, though.  There were still the things in life that irritated me, the people that annoyed or upset me, and the physical maladies that can sometimes plague us all.  But through my practice of gratitude, these upsetting parts of life became more tolerable, more manageable, and passed more quickly.

It is truly a practice, this thing called gratitude.  It’s not our normal training as humans to look for the good, to find a reason to be ecstatic, or to see a challenge or tragedy as cause for celebration.  It’s a discipline for someone seeking mastery or enlightenment.

Mastery and enlightenment require a diligence in the face of contraction from aliveness.  Breathing, which is the energy of the life force animating the flesh suits we acquire at birth, is excellent training for this practice of enlightenment.  We breathe in…expand into life and love…and we exhale…contracting into the letting go of life, or dying…expanding and contracting.  Our very existence trains us to be masters of many things including non-attachment.  Gratitude for life would mean gratitude for ALL of it…not just the so called “good things” we can weed out of the mundane we tend to focus on, but even what we may deem “bad” or “undesirable”.

My gratitudes began to take a turn somewhere in the middle towards the end of a thousand.  I found that I wasn’t just grateful for the people who made me smile and feel warm and fuzzy, but I was downright on my knees grateful for those who pissed me off, who irritated my expectations, and who reflected the parts of myself I’d rather not look at.  I was grateful for pain…which had previously been something I avoided at all costs…because pain let me know I was alive, and pain was such a fantastic backdrop for pleasure.  I was grateful for the all of life, not just the tiny gratitudes that had poured from  my pen in a desperate attempt to complete the assignment.  My journey of a thousand gratitudes did not stop that year…or ever.  I carry that particular gratitude exercise, given to me by a true master of enlightenment, to this day with a profound gratitude to her and to the lessons of living life with my heart wide open.

Plant Spirit Medicine ~ What is it?

November 28, 2009

As a shaman and an herbalist, my relationship with plants goes deeper than planting and harvesting.  Experiencing the spirit of a plant is a profoundly magical moment with mindblowing residual.

I remember the first time I had an experience like this where I didn’t follow the precautionary measures precisely.  I did the necessary sacred ritual involved in sitting with the spirit of a plant, but I wasn’t careful.  I did it quickly, not paying much attention to details.  What did it really matter, I thought to myself?  This is too airy fairy anyway.  My practical self wasn’t taking it seriously, and I was caught unaware of the shenanigans that these energies could unleash when not honored respectfully.

My ritual went awry.  Elvish, faery realms were provoked, and I was working to connect with seeing the aura of the plant…and instead was in for a strange surprise.  Out from behind me leapt a devilish little being who had other things in mind.  It was messy and confusing.  I stopped the whole thing prematurely and went to my teacher perplexed.

She asked me a few questions about how I created the sacred space…and much to my surprise, she targeted exactly what I had done carelessly.  Yes, this kind of thing did happen when one wasn’t careful.  I had learned some important points in my career as a plant spirit worker.

From there I learned to be careful, respectful, and to take my work more seriously.  I learned to communicate with the plants, to always leave the grandfather growing, to inquire to see which plants wanted to work with me to heal someone, and to be in a subtle yet powerful partnership with the energies that most people never even know exist.

Far more goes into creating my products than meets the eye.  With aromatherapy, I tune psychically into the essential oils and work both kinesthetically as well as energetically.  I work with spirit guides to determine my choices about what will be the best oil for a person if there are more than one logical oil to choose.  If I am creating an herbal salve, the first step before even harvesting the plants is to drum in the spirits and sit in sacred space communicating with the plants.  Only then do I begin to harvest, following my instructions and taking care to only choose the plants that are volunteering to go with me.

Then the extraction process ensues,  followed by mixing and blending carrier oils and such, and then come the organic essential oils for my targeted product.

What has made the biggest impact on me in terms of this work has been the amazing healing benefits of these products on people who have already tried natural products that are similar.  There really is something about the energies that go into something, as well as the partnership with spirits of all living things.

http://www.goddessoceana.com


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