Archive

Inspiration

891 words // 12 min. read

FullSizeRender.jpg

Back in the day – and by that I mean like, 5,000 years ago – humans placed great emphasis on their shrines. Having a shrine or altar meant that one could access God in the daily human experience. It was understood as a central part of one’s daily life, as the foundation of one’s prayer or spiritual practice. In Feng Shui, altars are considered the place where God force comes in to your home. So if you have no altar? God hesitates to come in!

On the individual level, this common custom meant they had altars (or “courtyards”) at the heart of every home, often with sacred items representing their ancestors, deities, and perhaps energy of different forces like love or money or health. On the collective level, this manifested as temples at the heart of every city, often with a sacred “inner sanctum” at the core (a shrine within a shrine if you will).

I mean think about it. What if, instead of TVs being what our “living” rooms are centered around, what if every home in America had an altar to their spirituality at the center?

My blood boils when I think of how cities are built now, with everything so jarring and grimy and soulless. Very little is sacred in big cities, with the only nature being in parks which are (typically) not well maintained. This extreme lack of intention in our environment sets us up for confusion, scatteredness, and self-fractioning as we pass through these spaces with energetic difficulty.

A classic book on the topic I have yet to read all of but which has profoundly affected me nonetheless is one called A Pattern Language. It’s written by an architect with a divine understanding of the subtler implications of buildings, and the arrangement of buildings, in terms of how it affects our human experience. This is a field called “environmental psychology” which is FASCINATING. But my point in bringing up this book is that in one chapter he talks about the effects of a city with a courtyard in the middle, in stark contrast to a city with a dump in the middle. You can imagine the dynamic differences in energy these scenarios generate for the whole.

On a more practical level, I think of my altar as an anchor of my spiritual and psychic energy. Every day, I wake up and sit down and make an offering there, which connects me to my source. It is a centralization of my spiritual force – my willpower, creativity, passion, and divinity accumulate there into a reverberating orb of energy that envelops my whole house in a glorious state of nurturing and upliftment. This makes it easier for me to maintain higher vibrations.

With a well-loved and well-tended altar, your home can become a temple.

And besides the obvious benefits of accumulating high-vibrational energy in one place, it also encourages a habit of prayer or meditation practice, as it is designed for engagement and relishment as one gazes over their most sacred objects.

As simple as it is, I believe this is a huge way to shift consciousness quickly, for not only individuals but whole societies! And it’s really simple to start one. Most people have everything already lying around.

✧・° ✧. ・°: * ✧・° .* ✧・°: *✧ ・°.*✧. ・°: * ✧・° .* ✧・°: *✧ ・°.*✧. ・°: * ✧・° .* ✧・°: *✧ ・°.*✧. ・°: * ✧

TRY IT! 
First, designate the place and form it will take – this can be with a piece of furniture such as a small shelf or table, or it can be more simple such as a cloth on the floor. Next, find or purchase some sort of pillow/rug/blanket to place before the altar. This will be what invites you to the practice so make it enticing – fluffy & cushioned – go PLUSH on this! Luxuriate!

Then the fun part – you get to go all over your house collecting the most sacred things you can find. Crystals or stones, musical instruments, photos, representations of deities, objects representing something sacred for you, anything goes. Ideally you cleanse and “bless” everything you choose with concentrated attention (and sage or holy water). Typically you want to include at least one candle, an incense or oil burner, a bell or chime if you have one, and some kind of plate and bowl (one to hold sage bundles etc, and the bowl for giving offerings).

Activities you can participate in at your altar: lighting incense, anointing yourself with oils, charging your crystals with Love, chanting, singing, and/or playing music, lighting candles, giving offerings to deities (wine, fruit, coins, etc), expressing gratitude, setting intentions (or using EFT aka “tapping” with affirmations)… often you’ll end up just plain meditating no matter where you start out.

✧・° ✧. ・°: * ✧・° .* ✧・°: *✧ ・°.*✧. ・°: * ✧・° .* ✧・°: *✧ ・°.*✧. ・°: * ✧・° .* ✧・°: *✧ ・°.*✧. ・°: * ✧・° 

The creativity is up to you. There is no right or wrong! (Unless you spell it “alter.” That is WRONG.) I like to have several altars around my house, all working out or “holding” different things. Most of the time I am working with a deity or two in particular (see the picture above for my current!). Of course, I always emphasize the central altar though, as the “hearth” of your home and centerpoint to your practice, and ultimately, the place where God force is invited in.

I hope you take this as seriously as I do and MAKE ONE! And then you can make one for your parents and your friends and your gatherings….

Life will never be the same. And why should it, anyway?  😉

FullSizeRender (41)

299 words // 3 min. read

Cooking eggs one morning, and I think to myself simply, “I believe in everybody’s ability to grow.”

(New fave affirmation like WHOA!) 

It came out of nowhere, and swiftly, like a dart into my mind from God— deep and clear, like the ringing of an ancient gong. Immediately upon thinking it I felt a warmth and a blooming and a blending with All that is, right there in the middle of my kitchen cooking eggs, my whole body enlivened with the joy at thinking this thought. In my mind’s eye, the vibration of acceptance melts away any resistance I have ever had, to anyone, at any time in my history, and in its place is simply left acceptance, and gratitude, and trust that there was a reason.

I love moments like these.

(Now, when this kind of thing happens to me it is usually spontaneous, and I know by now that it’s best to “surf the wave” as it were, to amplify and engage myself into the emotional experience.)

So naturally and without thinking, I lovingly apply this salve to all of those I feel need it – to those whom I perceive to be the most “stuck” in my family, to those who have hurt me, to those who are haunted by every wrong thing they have ever done against others, to those who sleep on the street at night, to those who weave the wicked web of the world, to those who don’t know what world they’re in (when really they’re in the mental ward), to anyone I have ever known whom I have judged or criticized or belittled because of their ways—

Liberated and alchemized by the simple power of this beautiful, supreme thought:

I believe in everybody’s ability to grow.

 

Can you believe in this too? 🙂

FullSizeRender (41)

629 words // 10 min. read

glitterbomb

Ok, so I really like sidewalk chalk, right? As in, I regularly drive around with a basket full of chalk in my trunk, in case the urge hits me to leave a “mark.” I do it under mischievous circumstances usually. Maybe I’m resonating with a good quote at the time, or I think of a really good question to ask strangers to ask of themselves, or there’s a nice message that I would like to hear from the Universe if I were walking along…

In any event, every time I do it, there’s this amazing arc of emotion to it. First the anticipatory mischief and joy at scheming for the highest good of all, then the thrill of actually executing the act, then the satisfaction of knowing I uplifted at least one person. The after effects of joy and satisfaction can last for days.

I also get a kick out of the fact that the most mundane of things – like the sidewalk or a stone or a wall – can be made Divine in this way. Because while I do it, my entranced attention expands like a mushroom into the space, fluttering up into the area around me, implanting a Divine and eternal resonance for all who happen to come upon it in their day.

The mystique of the all-powerful glitterbomb. For all who are aware enough to notice it, the Love from this act is theirs to drink in. There is no logic in it, only feeling – the feeling of Love for all of creation. You imprint a vibration that resonates in the memory of the space there, uplifting it with the vibration of Love, and all who pass through can feel the Divinity there whether they notice it or not.

I love how simple it is. You are reminded of the Divine Spark running through EVERYTHING by something as seemingly mundane as a chalk message on the sidewalk.

Talk about the magic in the every day….

* * *

I first heard the term “glitterbomb” at a party in the Houston art/warehouse scene probably around 2014. I remember I was speaking with a girl passionate about activism, and she was telling me about the concept of “glitterbombing,” which was when certain activists would take a handful of glitter and throw it at their opponents. But that was too extreme for some, and it kinda got spun into this new “milder” thing, where they would leave positive messages to others in very inconspicuous ways. It was understood to be a sort of “wink” to those who were aware – this beautiful idea of leaving playful, uplifting signs to encourage people who are paying enough attention to take note.

One of the things I remember her describing was her friend who was a waitress that would write loving things on sugar packets, and watch for who noticed them or not.

What an amazing concept, right!? I love doing this with chalk, but what if we ALL did that, ALL the time? What if you were constantly bombarded with positive messages sent to you by other humans like you? What if there was a whole movement of people planting positive signs EVERYWHERE, and we just lived in this amazing culture of expressed human love?

* * *

Other examples I can think of are going to bookstores or libraries and leaving kind notes in books, putting messages in people’s windshield wipers, taking dry erase markers to public bathroom mirrors, leaving posts on Craigslist “Missed Connections,” bombing people’s social media with praise, writing things in the dirt at the trailhead….

You can also think of your own! Let’s combat the dark tentacles of modern advertising with JOY sent human heart to human heart. I know I would looooove to see more things like this happening in the world, wouldn’t you? ^_^

FullSizeRender (41)

570 Words // 10 min. read

 

sage

So people shower what, like a few times a week? Typically you shower because maybe you’re starting to feel like you smell, or you feel a grimy film all over your skin, or maybe you did a lot of “work” and want to refresh your whole world. Hop in the shower and wash off, easy!

Well you can wash your body easy, but how do you cleanse your mind? How do you clear away the emotional remnants of an argument? How do you make sure your aura and/or personal space isn’t jam-packed with hate or anger residue?

Do you even think about these things as needing to be “cleaned” (in an energetic sense)?

The spiritual body becomes “dirty” just like your physical body does, and accordingly with the “body” of your space. Arguments, obsessiveness, anger and spitefulness, outbursts of any kind including menial, daily frustrations – all of this leaves a residue in your environment and can accumulate in your body, auric field, and personal space. If left unaddressed, over time it can become a sticky/slimy/dark/smoggy/surreal film-like curtain over your reality, making you feel like you’re “not yourself” – and not only that, if you are unaware enough, it can keep you in a negative feedback loop reliving the issue over and over again.

It shows up differently for everyone, as your energy shows up differently than everyone’s. But the basic thing you need to know about it is that energy, just like dirt and grime, can accumulate and then over time come to stagnate. Therefore to optimize our health we must “move” the energy regularly to keep it flowing. This can mean both in the physical sense of the word, meaning a rearrange or shift of the physical objects in the space, and an energetic sense of the word, meaning a shift of the space vibrationally, via sound, smudging (with sage or otherwise), or even just a mental direction of light to clear things up.

Anything that does not get “shaken up” with a degree of regularity – including under your couch, behind your bed, and by the kitchen trash cans, for instance – can start to grow pockets of negativity, like a cancer of sorts. Additionally if you have certain places in your home that you spend a lot of time in (desk, armchair, meditation or altar space, etc) then those should be cleansed more often. Rearranging furniture and/or cleaning behind it can bring huge energetic shifts. Also try moving lights around in rooms for big changes.

For the basics of energetic clearing, use a smudge stick and direct smoke into nooks and crannies to get things moving, or use a chime, bell, or your own voice to make noise that sweetly expands into the darkness. If you don’t have these things, you can always just use your imagination and breath to direct light from God – in through your crown chakra, down to your heart chakra, and out into a spot anywhere in or around your space.

For body or aura cleansing, you can use the same techniques, just using your imagination to direct the smoke/sound/breath/light into anywhere in/on your body.

I hope this post inspires you to think about creating a daily, weekly, or monthly habit where you “sit with” the energy of your body (and space) to see if you can improve the vibration in any way. Most people ignore this altogether but there are huge benefits if you don’t!

FullSizeRender (41)

 

595 words // 10 min. read

memory palace

When in college at UT Austin, I researched extensively on the cultural shift from oral culture to written culture at the point when writing was (re)invented around the time of Socrates. I was and am still deeply intrigued by this particular time as it has many sociological implications. However, when researching, I came across a concept that really stuck with me – and despite being 6 years already since undergrad – that concept is still one of my most treasured discoveries.

“Memory Palaces” are a place you make in your mind via a mnemonic technique called the “method of loci” – that is, you create and visit an actual mansion in your mind.

Can you imagine??

The term “memory palace” originates from ancient Greece and Roman philosophers, where, before writing, they had to develop their capacities of memory substantially to be able to remember and recall information without referencing it in any way. Thus they developed the memory palace – actual interior spaces inside their mind where they would develop various rooms (even with furniture and décor) to store and “file away” various bits of information. That way, when they needed to recall something, they would go into that very room next to that very object and easily remember the information.

Along my path I have found more places where this fascinating idea shows up. While looking into Christian mysticism a bit, an interesting path came about when I stumbled across St. Teresa of Ávila – a Spanish Catholic nun and mystic from the 16th century – who wrote about this technique in her grand work, “The Interior Castle.” In this work she describes a vision wherein she visited a mansion in her mind with seven chambers, understood to be an analogy of the soul’s journey, that one must work to attain access to each successive chamber through dedicated prayer and spiritual development.

Another place I came across it was when studying about the Akashic Records. Now, the Akashic Records is a topic ALL in itself, and I could write for days on the experience I have had with this. But for now, I will say that the Akashic Records can be thought of as a giant repository of all of your soul’s recorded experiences, available for reference to you if you so chose. Meaning that, through every lifetime you have, every single experience (down to every hiccup!) gets recorded into a giant library of your soul. This is a very basic definition, but essentially, if you chose to, you could visit a giant library in your mind and review anything that has happened to you, and why.

In any event, I don’t recommend seriously playing around with this if you aren’t well-versed in astral traveling, depth psychology, or if you aren’t extremely humble, respectful of “God”, and soul-centric. There are a great many things that can go wrong with your mental health if you take this on hubristically (as with all magical explorations).

But I think that most people who walk around on this planet don’t even know the capacity that their mind gives them just by being alive, and this topic is one of thousands of possibilities which prove we have only been told about a very limited range of experiences compared to our potential.

So next time you are trying to remember something important, maybe you could try to imagine a single, simple room with a desk or armchair in it, and put the information in a letter or book on the table for you to retrieve when you need it.

You can build your internal mansion from there!

FullSizeRender (41)

393 words // 5 min. read

Screen Shot 2013-08-28 at 10.34.28 PM

For my first post I am covering a regrettable aspect of modern American society: the lost practice of apprenticeship. According to Wikipedia, it was a practice developed in the late Middle Ages, and afforded the apprentice free food, lodging, and training by a master in exchange for work. Also according to Wikipedia, “the number of apprenticeships has declined greatly in the United States in the modern era.” And that’s because it’s been replaced with the concept of “internships” – free labor in exchange for…. experience in bitch work.

Personally I have always sought out the advice and guidance of those much older than me. I figure that they have learned lessons through mistakes that I can bypass, if I am receptive to those lessons. I have been blessed by the wisdom and training of mentors, especially professionally. There are mindsets I have adopted from their gentle guidance which afford me expansion beyond what would have been possible to my mind otherwise.

Not so in the modern-day internship. You don’t sit by the photographer and learn techniques on Photoshop. You don’t get to watch the fashion designer at work and he or she doesn’t explain their choices to you. You don’t even get to sit in on meetings while the executives negotiate a business deal. Instead, you are in the copy room, fetching lattes, replying to emails. Miserable and undervalued, and unpaid for your efforts. You are the workhorse pulling the plow for other peoples’ crops.

Well I think that’s a piss-poor way to show the young that they have value! Know that you are capable of so much more. You could start working to become a photographer if that’s your thing, or you could start a sewing group or just start making your own clothing until you can take orders for money, or you could ask every businessperson you know for help with your negotiation skills. The keys are that you recognize your own potential and that you work toward your goal.

And many times older people are very happy to have a young person who is eager for shaping. Ask for help and you will receive it. Ask for feedback and you may wince when you receive it, but you will grow through it. And you will expand, expand, expand. The wisdom of the ages must be passed down– do your part and ask for it!

FullSizeRender (41)