stress test

Where do you hold your stress?  Typical points are the head, neck and shoulders.  Backaches, neck pain, headaches.  Tension builds up to a point where it is physically painful and our bodies tell us “stop”.

Since I started meditating regularly, my aches and pains have decreased.  I still do carry more tension in me than I’d like.  Several times throughout the day it helps to simply pause and breathe.   Posture counts with this technique but ordinarily I actually mediate lying down.  If you’re going to pause and breathe, sit up straight and breathe normally for a few breaths.  Inhale, exhale.  When you’re comfortable, take a deep breath in slowly through your nose.  The goal is to fill your lungs entirely.  Visualize them filling up from the bottom up.  Fill your lungs up with air all the way to the top.  Then slowly exhale through your mouth.  Push all the air out from the top to the bottom.  And relax.  You may experience a sense of lightheadedness so do not move around too quickly.

A sure way to tell if you’re carrying too much stress (I use this as a test all the time).  You think you’re relaxed, right?  Not too stressed, right?  Have everything under control.  So relax.  Let your shoulders droop and tilt your head from side to side.  Can you do it – without stiffness or pain?  Here’s another:  As you relax, pay attention to the muscles in your face.  In particular, your jaws.  If you have to consciously remind yourself to relax your jaw muscles, you are carrying too much stress.

Pause.  And breathe.

the perfect moment

The gnawing in my gut is becoming an all too familiar feeling.  I don’t want to adapt to it.  It’s not normal.

During my break today (I work from home), I was able to get outside and enjoy the sunshine.  I cleared debris from the parsley and cilantro plots and sprinkled seeds.  Both plots are doing really well but there were some sparse areas I hope will fill in through the season.  My daughter was playing with the ducklings in the wading pool.  The cats were playing in the tall grass.  Birds chirping, bees buzzing.  A slightly cool day but in the sunshine it was just warm enough.  The moment is perfect.  So I took a deep breath and  put everything else in the background.  And I soaked it in.  Perfect.  A perfect moment.  I   savored it, trying to make it last for as long as possible.

Take a break when you need to.  Put it all on pause.  Enjoy that perfect moment for as long as it lasts.

If you go off into a far, far forest and get very quiet, you’ll come to understand that you’re connected with everything. ❧ Alan Watts

smudge

Today’s events leave my mind a whirl and my thoughts blurry.  A gnawing feeling in the pit of my stomach.  I do not like conflict.  I will not post politically here (did that, over it).  That is not why I do this.  Suffice to say, today I used a whole sage smudge bundle to get even the slightest results I was hoping for.  And even after a successful meditation, I’m still left feeling uneasy.  I’ll meditate again before going to bed later.  I’ll have to.

A very productive day, nonetheless, we had the ducklings outside in the wading pool.  They absolutely loved it.  And we had a wonderful time watching them play in the water.  I planted  5 flats and  6 pots of seeds (squash, chilies, beans, sunflowers, basil, cumin, cardamom).  The baby tomato plants are doing exceptionally well and thriving.  Some of our kale, dill and cabbage plants have gotten stronger.  I do love this time of year.  Thank you, Mother Nature for reminding me and showing me the hope in my heart that gets sometimes buried under the upheaval in the world.

I wish you peace.  Find it.  Hold on to it.  In lak’ech.

feed the senses

Florida Water.  Its scent is like nothing else.  And it helps me reach my place of stillness.

Have you ever walked into a home and someone was cooking – say baking bread or a pie and your memory instantly transports you a specific time or a place?  A particular scent can be a powerful with memory recall.  For me, Florida Water has no particular memory.  I am transported no where.  The scent is linked to nothing.  But it is pure.  It is basic.  It is simple.  From there, it helps me reach my place of stillness.  I do not use it regularly, but perhaps I should.  My first memory of it was during ritual and during that circle, I was able to scry and see more than I ever had.  Like a part of my mind had been opened… wide.  And while I can remember that vividly, each time I use it my experience though similar, is always new.

Here’s a little history:
Florida Water was first introduced in the United States in 1808. With a base ingredient of alcohol, Florida Water contains a blend of dissolved essential oils, including lemon oil, orange oil and lavender oil. Sold in general stores and pharmacies, it was instantly lauded for its many uses. Men and women alike benefited from the refreshing properties it possessed. Said to cure a headache, soothe a fever and scent a home, the benefits of Florida Water were hailed by all. Its strong magical properties have made it a staple in Hoodoo, Voodoo, Santeria and Wicca practices.

Want to make your own Florida Water?  Here’s a recipe:
16 oz. distilled water
2 oz. alcohol (vodka 100 proof)
6 drops rose oil
6 drops bergamot essential oil
6 drops lavender essential oil
2 drops clove essential oil
1/2 cup lemon/rind
1/2 cup lime/rind
4 cloves

optional:
Ylang-ylang
Neroli
Mint
Cinnamon
Jasmine
Sweet Orange
Vervain

Put the juices in a jar, chop up lemon and lime rind and add into the jar. Add the cloves and any herbs then finish by pouring over the alcohol. Put a lid on the jar or bottle and leave it in a dark place for three to four weeks. Strain the liquid into a clean bottle/jar.

the “pink” moon meditation

April’s full moon is known as the Pink Moon (also called the Wind Moon).  No the moon is not pink.  The name comes from the pink phlox ground flowers which bloom in early spring in the Northern Hemisphere.  In the Southern Hemisphere it is the first autumn moon.  But what is in a name anyway.

Along with meditation, today I scry (divination).  My spirituality and meditation often share the same space.  Some days it takes more effort to reach my place of calm and stillness.  I find it easier to reach this place on my days off work, which makes sense to me.  Today I find it equally difficult to scry.  Yet through the sage smoke I saw a clearing of sorts before it fogged up again and obscured my view.  During the brief clearing, a path emerged and my sense at that time was to continue on the path even if the path seems obstructed.

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