Category Archives: Meditation

Reiki Healing Sound Bath

Join us on Friday evening June 8, 2018 for a supremely soothing experience as we combine two of our favorite practices: Sound Meditation and Reiki Healing.  (Details here: Sound Bath June 8 flyer.)

The lovely Jennifer Mullin (pictured) and I have so enjoyed hearing about everyone’s experiences at our recent Sound Baths in the winter and spring, that we’ve added this early summer experience. We appreciate hearing all the ways this soothing meditative practice has calmed anxieties and stoked creativity. Building on this positive feedback, this time we are adding a sample of hands-on Reiki to heighten your healing frequency.

We will have yoga mats and blankets for you to get cozy, but feel free to bring your own and maybe a pillow so you can drift in the pure vibrations of these simple instruments for about an hour.

Enough is Enough

Although greed is considered one of the Seven Deadly Sins,  throughout Western culture, greed is considered good, is encouraged, and admired. How many commercials try to get you to want something you don’t need? Or consider the portion sizes in restaurants. Think of your collections, closets, attics, sheds, and storage units.

Aparigraha, one of the teachings from the ancient writings of Pantanjali in the Yoga Sutras, means non-attachment, or non-grasping, turning away from greed to be more self-sufficient. Non-attachment is not the same as detachment. We are letting go of the expectation that these external factors are not the source of our happiness. Letting go of our attachments to the narratives and labels we have created for ourselves. In letting go of these things, we create space for new ideas, new relationships, and new self-awareness.

You can combat the impulse to want more and more in a few simple ways. Consider a gratitude journal or donate from your stashes to charities. Avoid impulse buying – especially after wine, late at night;) You can practice the “I am enough” mantra that follows too.

Take a moment to settle in to your favorite mediation chair, making sure your are comfortable and relaxed from your toes to your face. Once your are ready, try the sinking breath, allowing your exhale to get a little longer than your inhale. Letting go of more air allows us to breathe in more deeply.

On your exhale, move each of your four fingers to contact your thumb, repeating the mantra below, either in your head, or aloud. You might try to repeat it several times.

I have enough
I do enough
I am enough
I live with plenty

Return to simple sitting and breathing, bringing the phrase “I am” to mind whenever you notice that your mind has wandered.

Mindful Eating

I was just dining on my front porch earlier, too lovely of a warm spring day to go inside. The crickets are back, whirring their evening songs.

I find it easier to be mindful of my food when I eat outside. Way easier to be mindful when I’m not watching TV too 😉 When I eat mindfully, I consider where my food has come from, how many people helped it arrive here in my bowl tonight, and also, is it tasty? Do I like the texture?

I had combined some leftovers with some fresh ingredients, all mixed together: brown rice and peas, onion and garlic sautéed in butter, a little diced pork tenderloin Mark cooked on the grill a couple days ago. I enjoy combining textures and flavors. The peas were fresh and sweet. The rice, firm with just enough salt. What isn’t improved by an onion sautéed in butter?

I envisioned rice fields, Guatemalan gardens, a pig and a cow, that I hoped were able to enjoy the pleasures of their kind. And the people who brought me my dinner: the brewers in Pennsylvania. pickers, warehouse managers, truck drivers, stockboys, that young tattooed cashier, and the workers in the desalination plant that made the salt I sprinkled over it all.

All these plants and animals collected energy from the sun for my benefit here tonight. All the workers labored for my dinner tonight, here on the front porch at sunset with the crickets.

So to make all their journey and energy worth it, what can I do? A bit of yoga, a little tidying up my home, a little writing.

Sound Meditation: The Divine Hum

Genesis 1:1-4
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.         

Through vibration, the universe came into existence – a Word, a Flash. That primordial wavelength lingers in the whirl of each atom. We are stardust, connected by this Divine Hum.

Our busy lives disconnect from that One Energy, lost in our screens, our traffic, our music digitized, amplified. Whether we realize it or not, we long for those moments, unplugged, where we can feel the ancient trace of the Divine.

One of my favorite peaceful practices, Sound Meditation pulls me back into sync with that universal frequency. I love the tangible vibrations of sounding bowls, quartz or brass. Those natural wavelengths, the music of the spheres.

When I can share this practice, whether sounding the quartz bowls to a group meditation,  keeping rhythm in a drum circle, or using tuning forks in a private Reiki session, I feel a profound awareness of our Oneness with the Universal Vibration.

When we reconnect with that Divine Hum, whether tuning in to the sounds of nature, acoustic music, or singing
bowls, we heal our brokenness and add to the Music of the Spheres.


Writing for change

As I have felt the rising call of political activism in my life, I’ve been contemplating how protest can also be a peaceful practice.  I’ve been to a few lately, feeling a duty to help represent the voices of some of my faraway friends who don’t live so close to the capital. Taking an action, and getting involved helps balance the unpleasant physical response I’ve been feeling. Bitching about it on facebook is not so restorative.

I can’t assume these leaders know how I feel. Voting alone isn’t enough. So I’ve taken to writing postcards to some elected officials.  I don’t imagine they will actually read my postcards and letters, but hopefully someone will and my voice will be added into their tallies for and against the issue at hand.

Sign-making forces you to hone in on your motivating force or the source of your ire. Succinct messages. Signs with too many words are hard to read. Big signs are hard to carry all day. My first sign said “I am Muslim.” On the back “One Human Family.” Brainstorming sign ideas with friends sharpens this focus, steering our words back to positive phrasing so that our raw anger doesn’t obscure our message.

Whether I’m making my signs, writing my postcards, or marching in a protest, I try to apply my principles of mindfulness – being present in the moment I am in: focusing on my message, the ink on my paper, the legibility of my lettering -taking a deliberate deep breath, feeling the strength of a shout, the cold air on my face, the ache of resistance in my shoulders and legs the next day.

And at the marches and our sign-making and letter-writing parties, I look at the faces of my compatriots. Their companionship encourages my resolve. I collaborate with others who support peaceful protest.

A Reminder…

W. H.Davies

IMGA1015What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

The Peace of Wild Things

The Peace of Wild Things
Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of the wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

IMG_7662This morning as I hear the gentle surf in Saint Maarten, I marvel at the events of my life that made this trip possible. I shared morning coffee with my mother-in-law before she headed out to mass. Church bells chime the call of the faithful, but for me, the surf is enough of a sermon today – the aqua-blue sea my holy water.

I will let the peaceful sounds and beautiful sights soothe away my worries about my children and the crossroads they are approaching. I will breathe deeply and push aside thoughts of the troubles of the world that have made me grateful I canceled my newspaper subscription. Any ruminations of past offenses I will bury with my feet in the sand.

Water is my religion’s symbol of divine renewal. Today, I am baptized in the peace of wild things.