No Resolutions – Lots of Intention

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I never make New Year’s resolutions and in fact, never have. Growing up they were never part of my own experience as none of my family ever made them and the only time I was really aware of them being mentioned was by people discussing how quickly they had broken them, usually in connection to losing weight or giving up something they really enjoyed but felt others disapproved of. I guess I have never really seen the point of making a resolution that I knew there was a high chance I was going to break or to make one that was to do with others opinions or judgements not something that was actually important to me.

This doesn’t mean though that I don’t do anything. I actually do quite a lot around this time of year and this year it has felt necessary to do more than most years for some reason. The reason why doesn’t matter, what matters is that I listened to the messages, the awareness, the gut instinct that what I did and continue to do now, is important in some way.

So what have I been doing?

Those of you who read my blog will know that I have been doing  a lot of reflecting, looking back at what has been going on, looking at what needs to be left behind, changed in some way and what I want to hold on to. Part of the way I have been doing this, this year,  is that I have made a list of all that I do, the ways I go about my life, things I am happy with, things that I am not, things that I am not sure about and so on…..I’m sure you get the picture. I then made column of the pros and cons of each and then a final column for am I keeping them on not. This was a really interesting thing to do as it really helped me clarify my thinking and see what was happening. I have let it sit there for some days now and this again has given me space to reflect on my initial thoughts.

Today I was fortunate enough to be able to go to a women’s circle which gave us all a few hours of time for reflecting on the year gone and what we were stepping into, fire to release, to transform and water to help carry the flow of our intentions into the coming year. This was very much in line with what I had been feeling I needed to do and also in line with what astrologers have been saying about planetary alignments and the need to be clear about what we take forward into 2017. Also numerologicaly we are leaving a number 9 year which is the end of a cycle and entering a number 1 year which is new beginnings, so it really makes sense to have a good clear out before we go.

I had wanted to share a post about the planetary alignments but as so often happens couldn’t find what I was looking for but instead came across this……..

AT THE END OF THE YEAR

As this year draws to its end,
We give thanks for the gifts it brought
And how they become inlaid within
Where neither time nor tide can touch them.

Days when beloved faces shone brighter
With light from beyond themselves;
And from the granite of some secret sorrow
A stream of buried tears loosened.

We bless this year for all we learned,
For all we loved and lost
And for the quiet way it brought us
Nearer to our invisible destination.

John O’Donohue

Excerpt from, ‘At the End of the Year’
BENEDICTUS (Europe) / TO BLESS THE SPACE BETWEEN US (US)

May our reflections bring us clarity and insight, may we recognise the many blessing that the past year has given us even if the lessons sometimes have been hard, and may we carry forward our dreams for the coming year in the knowledge that we create our own reality and dream our world into being.

Happy New Year and a blessed, peaceful and abundant 2017 everyone xx

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Three Days of Stillness

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Although many people seem to believe that once Winter Solstice is passed the days immediately get longer again this is far from true. Instead the sun  maintains its Solstice position, resting on the horizon, for a total of three days providing us with three days of stillness before we turn towards the light once more.

In what can be ‘crazy season’ even if we don’t buy into the enforced celebration of commercialism that Christmas can bring, three days of stillness sounds like magic. Three days in which we can rest, go within, gain insight, release, give thanks to Mother Earth, the sun, the moon, tune into and recognise the turn of the wheel and make plans for the new year ahead. How many of us though allow ourselves this ‘time out of time’?

I do always manage to stop and mark Winter Solstice itself in some way but three days? Not if I am being completely honest.

This year though is different as I really have no choice. Many times, being less than patient with myself, working through anything rather than giving in, this would be a problem, but at the moment I am strangely Ok with it all, perhaps because my own need to be still coincides with the Earth’s need to stop so we are in some way energetically empathic with each other at the moment. I know from past experience that being still and going into the void often brings me the greatest insights and so instead of being concerned that the house isn’t tidy and that I don’t know what the next meal will be I am just allowing myself to consciously take three days of stillness, admittedly on top of the several days I have already had.

I had begun this part of the year with the idea that I would do some serious reflecting aware that there was a lot that I was pushing myself to do that was maybe not completely right. I had intended to be journalling every step of this process so that I had a record of my decisions, I had decided I would weigh up the pros and cons of everything and then that I would release what I needed to into the fire at the ceremony I had arranged for today. Spirit though seems to have other ideas for I have not picked up pen and paper once but have slumbered in that ‘in between’, state, journeying to non ordinary reality and have thus done all of this there supported by my guides and allies, throwing away things that my guides have then been showing me that I need to reconsider and realising that I was not seeing things clearly. Then being shown how much I still have that does needs to be gone through and sifted out, things that in ordinary reality I might not have even identified. Not one word of this has gone onto paper but it is burnt deeply within me now, so much so that this morning I found myself thinking about whether my shamanic practice  could possibly fit what someone was looking for, before quickly realising that I wasn’t going to do that any more, that the only thing that mattered was what I actually did and not what anyone else was doing, that I didn’t care anymore. Total freedom.

I still have two more days of stillness to come and I am going to make the most of them, excited in many ways to see what other insights and understanding come to me when I completely surrender.

So what else could we use these three days of stillness for should we choose to take the time out to use them?

There are many ways to spend this time including giving thanks for and making offerings to our Earth Mother but these are a few simple ideas of ways to take some time to be still.

  • Sit by a window and spend time gently observing nature
  • Curl up and listen to music, allowing ourselves to receive healing from the sounds
  • Watch the sunrise and sunset
  • Hold a simple fire ceremony, writing down what we wish to release and then surrendering it to the element of fire
  • Sit in the darkness and spend time in reflection
  • Light a candle and welcome the light back in, perhaps thinking of our plans for the coming year, sowing the seeds that the light can germinate over the next months
  • Journey or undertake a guided meditation to meet our guides and ask for support or guidance
  • Journey or undertake a guided meditation to ask to be shown our soul’s purpose for the coming year
  • Make a vision board of your intentions or hopes for the new year

This is a symbolic time, a time of new beginnings, of setting intentions, of the light returning to shine in and push back the dark and lead us forward, so taking time out gives us chance to go into this consciously not blindly in the rush of it all. I for one am determined this year to make the most of it all, working in harness with the energy of the earth instead of running against it.

 

Making Space for Something New

 

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One of the things I often talk to my students about is clearing space on an energetic level so that they create space for something new to come in. If you imagine (or maybe you don’t need much imagination here 🙂 ) your wardrobe so full that you can no longer fit anything in, this is what our lives can get like. The problem is that unlike in our bedrooms where there may be somewhere else to stash that newly acquired bargain, in our inner lives there is no way of doing this. If our inner lives are full there simply is room for anything new to come in.

So how do we go about clearing our inner lives?

Our outer life reflects our inner life so that is a great place to begin. The wardrobe, cupboards, drawers, bookshelves etc are all good places to start. Have a look through them, what is there that is no longer worn, looked at, valued, liked? Throw it out, find it a new home, donate it to a charity, pay it forward, move it on.

All of this stirs up, shifts energy and creates space for something new.

One other way is to go through our phones, look at our contacts and delete any that are no longer needed, no longer relevant. People take up space too.

I have just done this with my very old address book which was full of crossing out and new addresses added as people moved, business cards, sticky notes etc of numbers some of which I no longer recognised. My brand new address book is now only has addresses and phone numbers of people I actually know and want to stay in touch with. I am doing the same with the contact list on my computer of course.

And….thanks to Facebook deleting the Interest List option, and thanks to a helping hand as to how to access my liked pages, I have spent some time going through all these pages and unliking many of them. I was astounded to find how many pages there were there that I had never knowingly heard of, no longer used and can’t remember ever liking. So a big spring clean and I am clearer and lighter than I have been for a long time. Who’d have thought that having been so annoyed with Facebook the other day I’d have ended up feeling gratitude towards them.

We do expend a lot of energy holding on energetically to both things and people that we no longer need or which are no longer serving us. All they do is clog us up and take up space. On a Macro or global scale this year has been one of holding fear, uncertainty, anger, disbelief and more besides, on a micro scale much of this is also being held by us individually and therefore is taking up energy and space. It takes way more energy to hold on than it does to let go, which is why this Winter Solstice will find me, along with some close friends, making a community prayer bundle in the form of a despacho, (the image at the top of this blog is of a despacho all ready to be wrapped up as an offering) and along with gifts for the spirits, adding in all that we are asking to release on behalf of the world and ourselves.  In a fire ceremony we will then make the offering of the despacho and ask that the element of fire, along with the spirits, accept our offering. In this way we can help to release, clear and make space, hopefully for something that serves us all better.

Should opening your wardrobe/closet ever make you feel anxious?

 

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I am all for decluttering, clearing things out and recycling or rehoming them. When the urge is strong to throw stuff away, to clear out cupboards, drawers, that space under the bed, the loft and so on, its usually a sign that a shift is taking place and the letting go of possessions reflects what is happening energetically for us. Clearing out and letting go on all levels allows new things to come in once we create space for them, even if that is just a few new outfits in the sales 🙂 Decluttering and making space on all levels is healthy and something we all need to be doing as often as we can.

Today though the radio is on and I have just listened to Annemarie O’Connor, author of the ‘Happy Closet’ talking about how for most of us opening our closet fills us with anxiety, how we should think of our clothes as staff members and ask if they contribute to our bottom line or if they need to be, I think the term used was, ‘redeployed’.

At this point I must admit I stopped listening and went to clear out the cupboard in the kitchen that contains our tinned foods. This was nothing, I should make very clear, to do with my being inspired by the conversation on the radio but everything to do with my opening a tin of chick peas last night that hissed like a can of coke as I did so. Scary stuff that along with visions of cans with long passed expiry dates exploding meant the clear out was long overdue.

Maybe its something to do with the fact that now I no longer ‘go out’ to work I slob around in tracksuit bottoms and a fleece preferring comfort over power dressing. When I work with clients or students I also need to be comfortable which means newer, smarter, sports trousers and a newer, smarter fleece. Sometimes I go all out and wear a long, loose velvet skirt or leggings and tunic but always something that I can relax in as I work.

A couple of years ago I also decided to only buy things I loved. Just liking something or it being a bargain in the sales no longer cuts it. I have to put something on, it has to feel perfect and only then does it come home. Even before this though I can’t ever remember opening my wardrobe and feeling anxious.

I also feel that if opening a wardrobe/closet is making anyone feel anxious, unless its the thought of the monster living in there that comes out at night, or being transported to Narnia if one ventures in too far, then there is something deeper going on, something that needs bringing to light, acknowledging and addressing. Self esteem, self worth, self value, self confidence, spring immediately to mind here but there are many underlying problems it could be.

Neither clothes nor any other possessions should ever make you anxious.

Resolutions

I never make resolutions, goal or target set, at New Year or otherwise, so when I saw this post by Tiny Buddha on Facebook today and found myself drawn to a phrase in the image I decided that this year was different and I would make just one……..

BE AWSOME 

So if you are about to make yours it might be worth following this link before you do:

Tiny Buddha  

Happy New Year

Well its the last calendar day of the year and although it doesn’t bear any correlation to the wheel of the year nor this year to the seasons, it still feels appropriate to take a moment to mark the day.

There won’t be any big celebrations tonight, just a quiet meal in, something sparkly to drink and Jules Holland’s Hogmanay on the tele so we know when it’s actually midnight 🙂

Usually this is a good time for reflecting but these last few weeks, since Samhain really, there has been plenty of opportunity for that so this year I am using today for being grateful.

Having survived Storm Desmond and Storm Frank over the last weeks I am grateful I live near the top of a hill and so have a warm dry house. I am grateful that we still, unlike many, have power, thanks to a much improved service, when we first moved here this wouldn’t have been the case. I am also grateful that our nearest town having been badly flooded twice this month is picking itself up, drying itself out and is in the process of getting itself reopened, thanks to the resilience of those who work there, the civil defence, fire brigade etc and all who have been able to get in to help. It would be badly missed if it wasn’t there.

I am also grateful that I don’t suffer from depression or SAD and would like to spare a thought for all who do and for those who are missing at the moment, those who couldn’t see their way to stick around for whatever reason and for the families they have left behind, some them still unsure of what has happened to those who have gone missing. The hype around Christmas, the dark, overcast days haven’t helped anyone but at least most of this has passed, for now at least, and in between the showers we have glimpses of sky, some of it blue and even some watery sunshine. I hope this helps.

I am grateful that as the pages of the calendar turn and we move into 2016 I have as always, much to look forward to. I hope that whoever you are and wherever you are reading this, that you too can say the same.

Happy New Year everyone