“The cure for anything is salt water — sweat, tears, or the sea.” ~ Isak Dinesen

It’s been too long since I’ve been in touch on the blog…this past year has been intense…full of joy, full of sorrow.  So many transitions, births and deaths.  So, on this second day of spring, I wanted to send you blessings, gratitude, love. I do hope that you, like myself, are enjoying a sense of renewal, and planting new seeds for whatever it is your heart desires.

I also want to share with you an experience from a few days ago.  The ocean is a great healer, so able to receive and transform the deepest grief.  This past Friday was the one-year anniversary of my sister’s husband’s passing, so some of her family and I went out on her boat to the Coronado islands to release the remainder of his ashes, and the remainder of our parent’s ashes into the ocean.

The night before our little journey, I had made a despacho, an offering of flowers and sweets, to the spirit of the Pacific Ocean, the Mother of the Waters, loaded with prayers for our loved ones that have passed, and each of our family members still here.

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The sky was dark and gray as we boated out of the harbor, and began to clear as we approached the islands. Seals, a dolphin, and three gray whales were spotted as we made our way out. The sun came out in full upon our arrival at the little cove off the coast of Baja, and the water was the most stunning color of blue-green.

We began a spontaneous, from-the-heart memorial ceremony on the boat, and then released each of the three containers of ashes into the water, followed by the despacho. The way the ashes moved through the water, and the luminous colors that formed were stunning. We were mesmerized by their movement and the shapes they made as they travelled through the water.  We said our goodbyes and began to make our way back, a scenic tour of the little islands.

Then something truly thrilling happened. A young humpback whale appeared and breached. Then he breached again, and again, and again…over and over the whale breached, and slapped the water with his pectoral fins. For about 20 minutes the whale was in our vicinity, and jumped out of the water at least 20 times, for about 20 minutes. None of us had ever seen anything like it, a single whale breaching so many times in a row. I believe the whale was an expression of Spirit, of the water; and an embodiment of Lorton, my sister’s beloved husband, my niece and nephew’s wonderful dad.  He had a message of encouragement and love, letting us know that he, and all, is well, joyous and free. And he is right there, on the other side of the veil.

I wanted to share our journey in pictures…

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May the Mother of the Waters wash us clean,

with waves of her infinite compassion.

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Honoring Water

IMG_2376In July I went on the most amazing, awe-inspiring, spirit-filled adventure to Peru with fellow pilgrims on the shamanic path.  It is simply impossible to put the experience into words.  There were visits to ancient, sacred sites, trekking to 15,000 feet and camping out at the foot of Apu Ausangate, llamas and alpacas, ceremonies, healings, beautiful textiles, delicious meals, rites of passage, and the most loving, fun, dedicated, inspiring tribe of people I’ve ever experienced!

The indigenous people from the Sacred Valley and the Andes mountains are connected to the land in the deepest, most profound way.  So when we returned home, we were inspired to create a global movement to honor, bless, and heal the waters of the world, and return the cycles of water to harmony and balance.

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Honor the Waters was born.

From the brand new website, here is a short introduction ~

“Honor the Waters was conceived in July 2014 when twenty-four people from North and South America and Europe traveled together to the Peruvian Andes. Jose Luis Herrera, founder of the Andean Research Institute, led our group. We visited sacred sites, including Ausangate mountain, seeking answers as to how we (individually and collectively) could have a greater impact on shifting the direction our planet is headed.

On this trip, we fully awakened to the importance of our waters, not only for our survival but also for the peace, joy, and fulfillment of our world. We could clearly see our interrelationship with water and our role in protecting it. We were called to share our vision and to take action in caring for the planet’s waters – from the vastest oceans to the smallest human cells.”

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There will be a global event on September 21, the day of the fall equinox.  Wherever you are, in whatever way you choose, please join us in ceremony to honor our most precious resource!  There is lots of information on ceremony on the Honor the Waters website.

 

I will be hosting a local gathering at Abalone Cove, on the Palos Verdes Peninsula.  We will be making a traditional despacho, filled with leaves and flowers infused with our prayerful intent, just like the one pictured above that we made on a sacred lagoon in Peru.  If you live nearby, please join us September 21 at 2:30 PM, near the tide pools at Abalone Cove.  http://www.pvplc.org/_lands/abalone_cove.asp

If you are on Facebook, here is a link: https://www.facebook.com/events/555421011231164/

Meanwhile, each and every day we can all honor water by practicing conservation and offering our deepest gratitude for the elixir of life that freely flows from the faucets in our homes here in North America and Europe, never taking this miracle for granted!

From the tribe, cheers to the waters ~

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Nature Deficit Disorder

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Nature Deficit Disorder…it’s real, seriously real

…not like all those other “disorders” advertised on TV,  selling pricey pharmaceutical drugs that you should  “ask your doctor” to prescribe for you.  Many diseases and disorders are just plain conjured up by the pharmaceutical industry to sell a new drug designed to treat a vague disease entity.  This is especially true when it comes to mental health issues.  Feeling blue?  Can’t sleep?  No energy?  Trouble concentrating?  Hyperactive?  Short attention span?  Forgetful?  These all-to-common afflictions are the plague of our times…everyday stress symptoms that are being classified as major diseases, being treated by extremely expensive and often dangerous medications.  Some medications even begin to cause a worsening of the very symptoms they were meant to treat!  I see it in my practice all the time.

I just returned from a trip to the north shore of Kauai, filled up with a big dose of lush tropical energy medicine;  from the water, jungle, trees, rocks, flowers, birdsong, rain and the warm, fragrant tradewinds. After a few days there, the mental chatter got softer and lazier, and I could listen to the voice of nature and my own inner voice. Oh, the beauty and gratitude I experience there! I am practicing staying in that place as I get back into the routine and responsibilities of life at home. It requires dedication and strong intent, with timeouts and deep, cleansing breaths all day long.

B R E A T H E… and feel the beauty and gratitude for all the gifts of life, no matter where I may be, no matter what I’m doing. It is a practice of remembering my true nature.

Whenever we are disconnected with the natural world, we are disconnected with our own essence, our soul.  We are literally cut off from life, drained and depleted.  We feel lonely, frustrated and afraid.  Our immune systems no longer function well, we get sick, we have pain, we overindulge in unhealthy behaviors and life becomes very small, difficult and painful.

Instead of reaching inside the medicine cabinet, get out in nature.  Mother Nature/Mother Earth will never let you down.  She’s the mother that would never abandon you, always giving out unconditional nurturing and abundance, beauty, awe, inspiration and wonder.

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Re-engage with the natural world, re-connect with the Life Force, root deeply into the land.  See if you can tune in to the subtle, and not-so-subtle energies of all things.  You just may discover what the shaman knows, that everything is alive, even the rocks and stones hum….Talk to the plants and the trees.  Listen to the music of the birds and water flowing.  Go barefoot in the sand.  Walk down a forest path.  Behold a beautiful desert sunrise.  Climb a mountain.  Jump in the ocean.  Sit on a bench by the lake.

Nature hears you, holds you, heals you and, most importantly, she will help you remember who you really are.

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Open up, say aahhhh, and go take a hike!
With love and aloha,
Barbara

 

 

 

 

 

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“Why don’t we go for Heaven on Earth, just for the hell of it?” ~Swami Beyondananda

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I love that quote, so much that it is my intention for 2014.  I don’t do resolutions, they never work out well…they just seem to be made to be broken.  Instead, I set intentions, as I’ve learned that intention is everything, and I choose one word for the upcoming year.  The quote is out of a book I’m currently reading, Spontaneous Evolution, by Bruce Lipton, PhD and Steve Bhaerman (AKA Swami Beyondananda).  I had the great pleasure of meeting Dr. Lipton at a gathering of shamans this past fall. He gave a morning-long talk that I think had to be the best presentation I’ve ever heard.  He is one brilliant scientist/teacher with a great big heart!

Heart.  It’s my word for 2014.  I want a life lived from the heart, not the head; to walk a path of beauty, with Compassion as my travel buddy.

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 I wish you all a very happy New Year,
filled with heart and healing,
love and joy
and a path that has a heart.

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I wish for you the courage it takes to bloom.

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 “It’s time we put our energy into fruitfully re-growing the Garden
instead of fruitlessly scrapping over the scraps.”  ~Swami Beyondananda

What is your intention for the New Year?  What is your word?
I’d love to hear from you!  ~Barbara

 

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The Essential You

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I used to live in a prison of worry, the worry about what others might think of me, as so many of us do.  I was a people-pleaser extraordinaire.  I would do anything to get your approval, and if there was one person out there who was upset with me, or didn’t like me, it became my mission to win them over.   Brene Brown, author of The Gifts of Imperfection, tells it like it is when she says:

“Don’t try to win over the haters; you are not a jackass whisperer.”

Now there’s a real pearl!  In all my striving for approval, for perfection, and trying to fit myself into what others expected of me, I grew up to be just that–a jackass whisperer! As a matter of fact, I excelled at it. (Here’s a confession:  when I was in the 6th grade, a boy asked me to go steady with him.  I didn’t like him, not one bit, but true to form, I said yes…I didn’t want to hurt his feelings.  I needed to be known as nice, kind, agreeable, never mind how much it upset me to have to be considered his steady girlfriend!)

Thankfully, I’ve given up the art of jackass whispering, but it didn’t come easily.

A healthy, loving relationship with our Self is the foundation for all relationships, for everything.  I have found that many of us relate to ourselves and others in one of two dysfunctional ways:  sacrificing who we are by thinking only about pleasing/serving others, denying our own needs, values and longings, being the “good girl” or the hero, putting ourselves last; or we become vain, superficial, inconsiderate and self-obsessed.  They really are two sides of the same self-conscious, ego-driven coin, both a reflection of feeling less-than, unworthy or even a deep self loathing.  Both are fear-based strategies of hiding who we really are, trying to stay unique and separate, avoiding intimate loving connectedness.  Both are self-sabotaging deprivation chambers of loneliness, and they lead to seeking comfort in self-destructive ways.  We listen all day to our mind’s relentless empty chatter, judgement, harsh critique, and to the cacophony of the noise and voices of others.  We don’t know how, or we forget, to listen to the quiet, compassionate inner voice.  From this mindless, inauthentic place, while tuning out our own truth and wisdom, we feel an emptiness, a separation, a loneliness, which we translate into “I need/I want___________” (fill in the blank…food, money, sex, car, validation, agreement, a better body, new house, a partner, more stuff…and on and on).

“There are only two kinds of people in the world. Those who are alive and those who are afraid…..”
“If you carry someone else’s fears and live by someone else’s values, you may find that you have lived their lives.”
~Rachel Naomi Remen

Think of all the advice that’s out there telling us how to be successful, how to get what we want out of life, how to have healthy relationships with a partner, our kids, our friends, our work colleagues.  We become programmed by other’s values, convinced we need what they say we need.  We allow ourselves to be defined by the standards of others.  We give all our personal power away.  From this disempowered place, we may find ourselves in search of that perfect person, who will make us happy and feel whole.  Broken, we search for a true soul mate.

Well, I can tell you where to find your soul mate…the ONE that’s been with you all along…it is  YOU.

Meet your own Essence, embrace it, let it inform you, let it comfort and inspire and entertain you.  You will end up making loving, supportive and wise life decisions, and the Universe will conspire on your behalf.  (It actually does, anyway, with or without your permission!)

Listen to your gut, to your true heart’s desire.  Get to know the language and geography of the soul.  The soul’s realm is metaphor, myth, images and dreams.  It is creative, endless possibility.  Re-establish your connection with Spirit.  All solutions are spiritual solutions.  Surrender, and break free.

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When we focus only on the physical and mental aspects of ourselves, we are forgetting, literally abandoning, our Divine Mind, our heart, our spirit, our very Essence.  We have a body, it serves us, yet it is not who we are.  We have roles, titles and job descriptions, yet they are not who we are.  We have, but we are not, our thoughts or our stories. So…who am I, who are you?

It seems that has been The Question that has been a driving force in my life and I have found that the answer is revealed when I discover what I am NOT.  I’m not my body, I’m not my thoughts, I’m not my roles, I’m not who others think I am, I’m not my successes, I’m not my failures.

It’s a shedding process, and it gets messy, and sometimes some flesh gets torn off and it hurts…

Yet when we strip down to our Soul/Essence, we are in the truth of who we really are.  It is a place of power.  We find beauty and wonder and our whole, healed, authentic Self.  From that compassionate, inspired awareness, we find that we want to take care of the vessel, the body, which holds this Essence, here in this life, in the physical world.  This vessel, this body, becomes what it is meant to be, the temple of our Spirit.

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