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Tonglen - An Ancient Practice for Modern Times

May 22, 2020

Is there a situation where the suffering is deep and complex, and you don’t know what to do (like now)? It seems an appropriate time to share this meditation, with Corona taxing our resilience and understanding of what’s happening in the world.  It’s an antidote to feeling helpless or afraid. In class many years ago, a student asked me during the (first) Iraq war “what can I do?” and this was my answer (it’s now part of every Foundation class I teach).
 
Tonglen is a powerful Buddhist practice that fosters change on many different levels – for ourselves, for others, and for the world. I have done it nightly for years. And as usual, I have an energetic take on the dynamics of the practice as well.
 
The human heart/chakra is a center of transformational energy. Sitting midway between the lower three chakras, which are related to the physical – and the upper three chakras, associated with energy and spirit – it...

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What's Art Got to Do with It?

May 13, 2020

The next installment of the Corona Care Kit - Play! Or at least not trying to “apply” ourselves, plenty of that going on – as I said in the first Corona Care newsletter, the key to sanity is having a regular schedule. Then what seems to happen, at first or after awhile is – the need for self-discipline. My schedule seems to get looser as time goes on and I find myself lost in thought more. So this week’s Corona Care is an alternative spacing out, but serves the same purpose!
 
There is a lot of chalk action in my neighborhood these days, which is fun and reminded me of my time in India. The matriarch of a household would draw a chalk “yantra”, a kind of Hindu mandala, in front of their homes every morning to invite in good fortune. They would also do more free-form versions, usually based on traditional designs and in color instead of white chalk. This is a picture I took when it was almost finished (she was too shy to let me include...

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I-Ching: Divination, Philosophy and Wisdom - all in one!

May 07, 2020

Working from home, schooling from home, trying to organize ALL our activities and time – from home – gets exhausting. So  here’s something you can do whenever the impulse strikes you – be inconsistent, undisciplined, irregular!
 
For this week's Corona Care Kit item, I want to suggest a BOOK that is a wealth of wisdom, a reference, a divination invitation, a philosophical perspective, and intuitive guidance. It’s next to my bedside, and has been for many years. (Often it’s my go-to every nite before I turn off the lights.)
 

What is it? THE I-CHING, or “Book of Changes” - and we’re going thru a few changes right now! I recommend the Wilhelm/Baynes translation (the introduction by C.G. Jung is fascinating). There are layers of additions and commentaries, but this version keeps them relatable - ten centuries later. A shorter modern version I use is by Brian Browne Walker.

 
As a divination tool, this book tells...

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Daily Practices for Physical Health - and More!

May 01, 2020

Ah, MOVEMENT - this week's Corona Care Kit topic. We feel confined right now, but don’t let your body suffer! Movement supports all aspects of our physical health – circulatory and respiratory, muscular and skeletal (use it or lose it!), endocrine and nervous (sleep! reverse the fight/flight response!) and especially immunity. The lymph fluid cleans up cellular debris from antibodies fighting invaders, and then moves it out of the system. The problem is, it doesn’t have a “pump” to move it like the heart does for the blood. You have to physically MOVE your body to move the lymph fluid.
 
Beyond the body, movement supports mental health, reduces stress, increases focus, memory and energy levels.
 
I’m sharing my daily movement practice. Depending on your Energy Signature you will have a different relationship with “exercise.” A Priest reluctantly engages (or not!) because it’s “good” for you. It is...

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Tree Hugging - and Beyond!

Apr 24, 2020

 And now, for Nature. There is always so much support being offered to us from the “natural world”. It’s ironic – but helpful! - that we are going through this big contraction at a time the Earth is expanding into springtime. Nature and its forces are eternal, moving through seasons and cycles that provide us with continuity and define our activity. We have become more disconnected with our inherent nature in the modern world. It’s interesting to see nature taking a deep breath as human activity decreases - something we should be doing as well amidst the uncertainty of the times. One hopes that we will take this opportunity to rethink our societal structures, what we value, and what we need in terms of material resources.   So while I am appreciating the grasses, flowers, and the greening of my world, I always look to trees as an anchor. In every season, I never tire of looking at the shapes and contours of the many elms as I walk my...

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Little Altars Everywhere!

Apr 17, 2020

This week’s Corona Care subject transcends categories – it could be in play/art, meditation, nature, or gratitude.  I’m going to frame altars as a way of bringing moments of gratitude into your days – but they can also evoke inspiration, contemplation, devotion and appreciation.
 
What is an altar? It’s a visual reminder that brings a connection to spirit into everyday life. A place for the mind to rest and appreciate a greater perspective of what is. Just like that alcove or landing with a little bench and pillows, maybe set next to a window - even if you never sit there, every time you pass by it creates a sense of relaxation!



 

In fact you may have an “altar” without labeling it as such. Whether it’s small or large, placed on a bedside table, fireplace mantle, windowsill or kitchen counter, it’s a collection of items that are meaningful to you. An altar is an invitation to pause; to celebrate a fond memory,...

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Let's Play - The McKay Method-opoly Game!

Apr 10, 2020

Here’s the next installment in the Corona Care Kit, in the ”Play” category. Have you been breaking out a few board games, puzzles, or playing cards? Have enough people for charades? Here’s a unique addition…


 A few years ago one of my students, Patty Lisieski, was inspired by a child in her life to do a “McKay Method” (Monopoly) game for her graduate project. It’s hilarious, and she was so creative with the format! So now we would like to share it with you, and hope you have as much fun with it as we have had!
 
Some of its unique features:
 
All the property groups are the color of – and represent – the seven different chakras (strangely enough, the original game colors are in the same order as the chakra colors.) Each property in the group is named after a quality of that chakra.
 
So in the first group (red, 1st chakra) the properties are called “Happy Home” and...

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The Need for Grounding and Meditation during a Pandemic

Apr 03, 2020

In one of my first “pandemic” posts, I talked about creating structure in your day - and different activities that you should consider including.
 
You can view that post here.
 
These are the different categories I wrote about –
 
Exercise/Movement ~ Learn ~ Meditation ~ Play ~ Gratitude ~ Nature
 
I am adding an item each week in one of the categories to keep you going! Last week it was Learn (the Energy Signatures book club), the week before it was Movement (Chakra Energetics).
 
This week is Meditation. There are many resources out there, so if you don’t meditate already check them out and pick your favorite flavor! If you don’t already, I have included my instruction to a simple Zen meditation.
 
Click here to watch now.
 
What I really want to share with you is the VERY FIRST THING I teach anyone!  This is something you should do before every meditation. It’s called the Hara Line, and I promise if you...

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Energy Signatures Book Club

Mar 27, 2020

In my next series of blog posts I will be expanding on each of the categories from my last newsletter - Gratitude, Exercise/Movement, Play, Nature, and Learning  – and offering specific support in those areas.
 
This week’s spotlight is on - LEARNING!
 
I want to announce that I will be doing a free online book club to explore “Energy Signatures”!  
 
Click here to download the book and get registered for the weekly meetings!

Now that you have spent a few weeks cooped up with family or roommates, or maybe on your own – a few of their quirks just might be bugging you. Maybe these are behaviors that you’ve noticed before but chalked it up to personality, ingrained habits, even childhood experiences. While these things do affect our behavior, the main reason we RESPOND in a certain way to life events is directly related to our Energy Signature. These patterns develop from birth to age five – one reason we...

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Energy Fields, Personal and Collective

Mar 20, 2020

Last time I wrote about the group energy field, and how a big contraction can affect us. Now I want to look at your home energy field – something we have more control over!
 
Hugge (hoo-ga) is derived from a Norwegian word for "well-being". It embodies feelings of comfort through enjoying the simple things in life. Relaxation, togetherness and appreciation are its hallmarks. With intention, and a look at what we build into the structure of our day, we can shift from a negative perspective of this time to make “shelter in place” a positive experience.

 

 
As we limit our outside interaction, we are experiencing a more engaged home life.  It can seem less busy and even boring – no running off to work or to socialize – but also more challenging and even chaotic. As we try to structure our time to be productive with work or school, try to keep up with the latest news, and cook and clean more, it can be overwhelming.
 
First the...

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