Archive for December, 2011

This year perhaps you are making a resolution to go to the gym every day. Or maybe your resolution is to cut a certain food out of your diet or to quit smoking. These resolutions, even with the best of intent, are often short-lived and we feel frustration when we see ourselves “failing.” I urge you this new year to have compassion for yourself and to consider making resolutions that are on an even deeper soul level.

I am currently reading a fascinating book called Your Soul’s Plan by Robert Schwartz. In this book the author details conversations held with individuals and mediums about pre-birth planning, or the concept that your soul plans all of your life challenges before birth. In this book, the mediums interviewed often channel spirit guides who carry along information. One of my favorite sections shows the importance of recognizing our unity with all other beings: “Much of the darkness we experience on the physical plane is the result of our belief in separation. We believe that we are individuals, distinct and separate from one another and from Spirit. We believe, as the angel said, that we are our physical bodies.”

Whether or not the idea of pre-birth planning seems true to you or not, I think it’s important to start 2012 by remembering that we are all one. This means that when you begin to heal yourself, you are also healing the world. Your energy impacts not only you, your family members, your coworkers, but all beings. This is a difficult concept to really “get,” and I’m still trying to wrap my head around it, however, I do believe in my heart that this is true. During this new year, make an effort to remain conscious of how you choose to  impact the world, and remember that each thought, word, and action really does have strong repercussions, whether positive or negative.

Happy New Year’s Eve!


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Where are you going to be at midnight tomorrow? In making plans it is easy to feel pulled to go to an acquaintance’s party or to a restaurant with 50 of your closest friends. New Year’s Eve is one of those nights many people often build up in their heads as the perfect evening, complete with champagne and someone to kiss as the clock strikes 12. Two years ago I let go of this fantasy and decided that it was time I chose how to spend New Year’s Eve without letting others’ opinions influence me. (Of course, I also spent that night at my fiance’s hospital bed, but that’s a story for a different time). I am quite a homebody and I prefer not to go anywhere. Making this choice is an act of self-care and self-love because I am acknowledging my needs and recognizing that I deserve to have them met. This year, I’ll be cooking a nice meal, sharing a bottle of wine, and watching the ball drop in the comfort of my own home.

This is me dreamily contemplating my ideal New Year’s location last year at a restaurant. Close but no cigar…

Where would you be happiest spending your New Year’s Eve this year? If you are in the habit of sacrificing what you want for others, instead start off this year in both a mental and physical place thinking, there is no place else I’d rather be!

Wherever you choose to be, try this year to be mindful of releasing the old and receiving the new. Because I will be home, I am planning a ritual which I will hopefully instill in following years as well. I am making three lists: one for the challenges I faced in 2011, one for the accomplishments, and one as kind of a mini-bucket list for 2012. I hope that reviewing the year in this way will give me closure, allow me to celebrate, and also plan everything I want for the next year.

What rituals do you have on New Year’s Eve? 

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Martha Beck has been one of my favorite self-help authors for some time now and she recently came out with a new book, Finding Your Way in a Wild New World. She is an excellent writer and her ideas are extremely practical and insightful. In this book she details the connection between magic and technology, explaining how we can use ancient tools as well as modern ones to create not only the life we want, but to help heal the world.

Reading this book made me think of how we can learn to clear our own path to our “right life,” as Martha Beck says. Over the past week and a half I have been off from work, and I have tried to use this time to de-clutter my house, my brain, my emotions, etc. I have met with a lot of resistance. In some ways it seems easier to have a 90 mph paced life than to slow down and recognize my surroundings. I had become okay with moving so quickly, and essentially began to settle for less for myself. It feels as if, these last several days, I have had to take a machete to the tangles and knots of weeds and overgrowth crowding my spiritual path and tear them aside. This is a rather painful process, as it requires sifting through months of buried thoughts and feelings, but slowly I can feel myself opening up again and it seems that light is peering through the branches.

Maybe you lead a very conscious life, or perhaps you have been caught in this tangle for some time now. There is truly no better time than the present to extricate yourself from the grasp of these obstacles. Begin by choosing to slow down. Maybe this is a silent prayer, or enjoying the sight of a tree or hearing laughter. The weeds that grow on our spiritual path may start small but grow into a forest over time. However, it is never too late to pull them, examine them, and then toss them aside.

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Taking up a pencil and beginning to write has always been, for me, an extremely releasing and relaxing experience. As a child I could not stop writing. My parents gave me a journal when I was 8 and I have kept one ever since. I love the feeling of seeing page after blank page and knowing that my life is about to unfold in words.

Growing up my journal entries consisted mainly of detailed descriptions of all the boys I liked, the pain of being young, and the questions I had about life that no one could seem to answer. A few years ago I started to realize that journaling could not only be an emotional release, but also a spiritual experience. To make this happen a shift in intention must occur.

Do you go into writing with the intention of being honest with yourself, or is each entry one long rant? This is not just about the act of writing, but how you view yourself and the world. Your journal is a wonderful barometer of your personal outlook. Choosing to look at yourself honestly in writing is hard and painful, and you may splatter your pages with many tears. But it is absolutely crucial not to hide from yourself if you want to grow. I have learned this firsthand, and it is one of my own daily struggles. You could complain about how someone wronged you, but what could you have done to be better in that situation? You could explode about someone’s unkind words, but how can you choose to look at the situation with more love and less anger? Seeing these answers in writing, and not just letting them pass through your mind, is extremely powerful and promotes great change.

A daily journaling practice is a major part of my own spiritual practice. Often I do not keep up with it as much as I should, and during those hiatuses I see myself slipping away into a fog and feel that tug back to writing. If writing is not for you, perhaps you can choose another medium with which you can express yourself fully and honestly. Maybe you play or write music, paint, or garden. What is it you can do that will help you become more honest with yourself? Open up a journal, an instrument case, a set of paints, anything your imagination lands on, and watch yourself unfold!

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Cookies are crowding my counters and candy is bursting from cabinets. There are a lot of sweets (and apparently alliteration) around me today. My plan last week was to do a gentle detox during this week after Christmas. However, with so many tempting treats only feet away from me, this plan is not going very well. I have decided, therefore, to do a mini-detox for three days. Instead of cutting out sweets altogether, I will have a pretty flexible schedule that will go something like this:

Breakfast: Smoothie or Oatmeal with green tea

Snack: Fruit

Lunch: Light soup

Snack: Tea and fruit

Dinner-Light and vegetarian


(Is this still a detox? Hope so…)

In addition to the eating plan I will be meditating twice a day, going for a walk, and taking a hot bath before bed as well as writing in a journal.  During these last few days of 2011 I’d like to find some quiet and closure. In years past I’d rush through the new year, barely remembering that the date changed. This year I’d like to focus on both the end and the beginning of something new. Being able to clear my system both physically and mentally feels like a great way to end peacefully and start fresh.

If you like the idea of detoxing but want to start small, maybe begin by taking a walk outside for half an hour each day, writing in a journal, or sitting peacefully surrounded by candlelight. Clearing out invites more in. Watch your feelings surrounding the new year. Are you resistant? Do you want to just get 2011 over with? Let these emotions rise up and out of you so that you can approach 2012 with more clarity, energy, and mindfulness.

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One of my favorite Christmas gifts: Harney and Sons Guide to Tea by Michael Harney. I have only just begun to read this book, but it is very well written and informative. Harney compares tea tasting to wine tasting and gives suggestions on how to develop one’s palate. So far it seems to be a great, practical read for tea lovers!

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During Christmas we often see angels as statues, tree-toppers, and ornaments. Their kind faces and outspread wings are symbols of peace and protection that many people in our culture rely on and find comfort from. When I was very young my mother explained to me that I had a guardian angel that always protected me. I loved knowing this and, as a child, would often write letters to her and talk to her as an imaginary friend. After about the age of 9 I stopped doing this and only recently began thinking about this again. Do we have a guiding angel that stays with us all through life, watching over us each day? Until about six months ago I probably would have said that angels were a lovely metaphor, but as unrealistic as Santa Claus. However, I began having wonderful dreams with what I can only describe as an angelic presence. In the dreams I would open my eyes and see only beautiful light, not blinding but extremely bright and penetrating. I would hear a voice come over this light, soothing and quiet, telling me things about my life, and about the meaning of life. The main message I received was that love is the only authority. So, while I never saw wings I did feel such a beautiful, unearthly presence that my faith in angels was renewed.

Whatever your beliefs or your experiences, feeling that there is an invisible safety net underneath you makes it easier to take chances, and to know that whatever you do you are being looked after. It also allows us to know that we are never alone, and that love for each of us is infinite, something that is so easy to forget in life.

Do you believe in angels? Have you ever had similar experiences? 

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