Right now, it’s all about hope

This past moon cycle has felt really difficult for me at various points. There are days when I feel like everything is flowing beautifully, I am part of the flow, my life is charmed. And then there are days when all that I can think about is my frustration at the waiting games that my husband and I are currently stuck in. The remedy? For me, keeping my focus on hope. That yes, things feel stuck, but we live on an ever circling planet in an ever shifting multi-verse – so despite my feelings, I never really am stuck. 

I have been leaning heavily on music and my instruments lately, particularly at those moments when frustration is the first thing to come up. One of my greatest joys is making music with my dear friend Amber Jackson of Jewels Sound Alchemy.

Combining our instruments and musical aesthetics results in magic for both of us, and just last month we made a collective dream of ours come true by recording the first New Moon Meditation (Essence of Grace – for the Scorpio New Moon – find it here!) So, naturally, the New Moon in Sagittarius came around this month and we had our sights set on continuing this *not quite a* trend. 

Here it is – our second little baby, up on Soundcloud and ready for you to take 30 minutes of quiet space. Let yourself Tune in to Hope – this is the season and time to focus in on it, and I am delighted to bring this to you. Click on the image above or go here to find this month’s meditation, Tuning In to Hope.

And, if you’re around Missoula this holiday season, make some time to go into music with Amber and I on December 28 – our second Gong Songs. Part Gong & Himalayan Bowl Sound Immersion, part song and music circle… last month was our first ever Gong Songs and we loved it. Bring yourself, an instrument that you love if you’d like to, and a $15-20 donation, though none will be turned away. This is about showing up as ourselves and harmonizing our way through life together. As always, you’ll find a list of classes & events I have going on here, and on my FB page.

Dreams Take Form

This week was a big one for me! I was featured in an article in Missoula Valley Living (check it out here.) And, that same day, my dear friend/collaborator Amber Jackson and I took the first step towards a dream we have been calling in for some time now. Our first recording together is up! Enjoy this 31 minute meditation, the Essence of Grace, with the soundscape provided by my 32″ Shamash gong (by Shawn Aceto.) May it flow you through this New Moon and into the new year.

Clarity Part 2: Joy and adherence to truth

These words, the statement that “my joy is based on my adherence to truth,” is from the final track on East Forest’s album The Education of the Individual Soul.  Since I began listening to this album, these nine words have rolled around in my head. What does it mean? Adhering, or not adhering to truth… what is that in real world terms? I think of myself as an honest person, but is this lyric really about the dichotomy of honesty and dishonesty? What is the real truth?

The more I sit with it, particularly in this season of my life where pieces are falling into place, the more I realize that for me, adherence to truth is 100% an inside job of self-acceptance and empowerment. My truth, my Sat Nam, is based entirely on me taking responsibility for myself and owning my personal power, not holding on to anything that is not mine to hold.

If you are following this series, you may remember that in the summer of 2016 I upended my life (for a catch up or refresher, click here) and ended up eventually relocating to my hometown of Missoula, Montana. During that summer, when I felt like a shadow of myself, knowing that I needed to reclaim my truth, I took myself  totally out of my known world before returning home.

For just over 40 days, I was a sevadar (volunteer) at Chateau Anand, an amazing place near Poitiers, France. Going all the way to France to reclaim myself may have seemed extreme to people who cared about me, but I followed my inner knowing to that pink castle, certain that I would fast track my self-reclaiming process. How did I know that would happen? Daily practice!

Aquarian Sadhana is a 2.5 hour morning practice of prayer, yoga, and meditation from the Kundalini Yoga tradition that occurred every morning at Chateau Anand. I went into my time there knowing that I would be there for 40 mornings, and promised myself that I would do Aquarian Sadhana every day. So every day I was up by 4 or 4.30 and participated in group Sadhana before beginning my work for the day. That was the most transformative 40 day practice I have ever done, and I’ve done many since I began practicing Kundalini. How could it not be? 150 minutes of prayer, yoga and chanting in the early morning hours every single day for 40 days is a recipe for clearing up one’s internal world (in my experience, anyway.)

My days at the Chateau were always a combination of sadhana, work and time by the river.  I would wander down to the river to pray, read, journal, meditate, and just let myself be at least once per day, by myself or with friends. More often than not tears would come. Feeling as frayed as I had been for years, having virtually nonexistent resources to keep me steady besides my daily practice, I would sit on the metal footbridge and stare at the water. On  one side of the bridge, it was calm (as pictured below) – and on the other it was a crashing waterfall, chaotic and in perpetual motion. My perspective dictated what I saw, which was exactly the reminder I needed.

Clarity was the gift that the river and my time at Chateau Anand gave me. I walked away firm in my resolution that I would listen to and trust my internal wisdom in any decision making, fully committed to maintaining my daily practice, and feeling like me – a pretty tired, needing TLC, worn out version of me, but more like me than I had felt in years. There are no words to describe the enormity of that return home to myself. As I became more my true self, my joy increased – “my joy is based on my adherence to truth.” (East Forest)

Don’t get me wrong, this was not a magic pill to solve every challenge I was coping with at the time. This is an ongoing practice – my time at Chateau Anand was amazing and exactly what I needed that summer of 2016, but like all watershed events it did pass by. So to keep myself clear, and keep only my monkeys in my own personal circus, I continue to practice every day. Starting the day on my sheepskin, moving and breathing and chanting, brings me back to my true self. That, to me, is what clarity is all about.

Note: if you are in the Missoula area and want to increase the clarity in your life, check out this class that is beginning at Red Willow in August.  And if you want a laugh, regardless of where you are, watch this 2 minute video we made about it!

 

 

Weeding the garden of my life

Wow, what a summer. It has felt, more often than not, that every time I looked to the outside world there was chaos and trauma in every direction. Honestly, I did not know what to do with it all! The feeling of overwhelm was in charge of my life for a few weeks. I let go of my morning meditation practice, stopped playing my musical instruments, wasn’t singing, barely got in a little hiking… in short, all of the tools that connect me to myself were thrown aside. After all, what was the point of taking care of myself when life felt like a hurricane? I was struggling. Emotions were ruling my mental state. I felt overreactive to news about absolutely everything in the world that I cared about (which, of course, is infintely more than I have any ability to directly impact or control,) and I was so depleted that I told myself I was stuck in this space. But was I?

In the summer, my beloved  mother spends hours at a time weeding her gardens. She carefully removes bindweed and quackgrass, creating room for vegetables and fruits to have optimum nutrients, light, and air. I would spend hours weeding with her as a child. She taught me that gardens grow best when the weeds are kept under control – if you want to have fresh strawberries, you have to make sure they have space and water. In my internal garden, I had generally been keeping up on my weeding , but when overwhelm took over, there was no room left. All the light and air was gone, and I was in a rough spot. Luckily, I have a great support system, and one of my mentors  spoke up and reminded me that I need to do my work. Chop wood, carry water, pull out those pesky weeds.

So last week, I took my garden back! I began to wake early every day, to have quiet time for yoga & meditation so I could connect to my higher self before heading out for my day. I got myself outside more days than not. I sang my heart out every day, played the piano, worked on some original compositions, and almost immediately I was back to myself. Coming home to myself, tending to my own internal garden every single day – that work is the most important thing I can do in a day. When I’m centered, connected to my higher self and in touch with my guides, work and life flow with ease.

If you can relate to this experience, consider joining me for Growth Essentials: Sound & Meditation. Beginning on Monday, July 9, we will spend 90 minutes a week focusing in on clearing out those weeds in our gardens! Using yogic tools and sound to support us, we will create space in our lives so that we can flourish in this season of growth. Tend to your garden, you magnificent human being. The best thing we can do in these times is care for ourselves so that our actions can have the maximum impact. It all starts at home.

All the re’s – Mercury Retrograde is here!

Mercury retrograde often gets a bad rap; the time when electronics don’t work, the time to not begin big plans, the time to avoid travel…. the list goes on. One of my favorite lessons from 2017, however, came from one of the astrologers I follow. Their approach to these 3 week cycles of mercury retrograde changed my personal story around it: for them, it’s a time of re’s. Renewing, rejuvenating, reviewing… a space in time when we are fully supported in looking at what has occurred and re-evaluating. Through this lens, it’s a very helpful period of time. I have been doing A LOT of reviewing, re-evaluating, renewing my commitment to self-care (thanks Mercury, for making me slow down and realize how out of whack I was!)

When I feel off balance, the first place I go to reorganize my being is to my vibrational tools: my piano, my gongs, my Himalayan Singing Bowls. Chanting mantras, singing with my harmonium, diving into a specific meditation… all these tools help me to re-center, re-organize, and re-fill my personal well of energy. What techniques or tools are supporting you right now?

If you’re looking for some extra supports, check out the classes & events that are coming up – Full and New Moon Sound Baths, Gong Journeys, Sound & Meditation classes, and more. I’d love to see you soon!