Poem of Reflection: The Feminine Face of God | Touchstones of the Sacred | Touchstones of the Sacred

Archive for August 2009

Poem of Reflection: The Feminine Face of God

August 27, 2009 By: Nora Nickerson Category: Poetry, Sacred Spirit Book Club

Timeless Woman

Last night in the silence
my questions were answered
alone, lying in a darkened meadow
under the indifference of the starry sky
It seems the universe refuses to be categorized
laughs when we try to measure Her
No ending or beginning
from big bang of nothingness
into atoms with electrons, planets with moons
Neutrinos from nowhere
passing through brain casing and soul
Energy, invisible and everywhere
in the beating of hummingbird’s heart
cracking of seed, exploding star
I wonder if ancient woman lying under night sky
knew her mysterious feeling
was the omniscient presence of timeless woman.


Revisiting the Feminine Face of God

August 27, 2009 By: Nora Nickerson Category: Sacred Spirit Book Club

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I first read The Feminine Face of God by Sherry Anderson and Patricia Hopkins in the mid 1990s and it deeply resonated with me then.  At the time I was working as a nurse practitioner with homeless teens and feeling a dearth of the sacred feminine in our society.  My work was really dark and in order to stay centered I felt I needed a connection with a feminine deity and so at that time Kuan Yin became my guide.

For me she embodied the quintessence of the sacred feminine that I had always felt at a cellular and cosmic level since I was a little girl.  She was kind, compassionate, receptive, tender, powerful and open-hearted all qualities that I wanted to find and  nurture within myself.

And now it is fifteen years later and I have gladly reread The Feminine Face of God.  What I love about this book is how Sherry Anderson and Patricia Hopkins encompass so many stories of a variety of forms and idealogies that can help women everywhere see the possibility of bringing their own idea of the essence of the sacred into their daily lives.  This wonderful little book invites us, gives us permission to delve deeper and deeper into ourselves, into the mystery for all of our answers.


Mindful Eating: Cruciferous Vegetables for Hormone Balance

August 27, 2009 By: Matsya Siosal Category: Living with Intention, Mind Body Spirit

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Balance. A characteristic we all yearn to have define our lives. Haven’t we all prayed for relief from the symptoms of imbalance in all its physical, mental, emotional and spiritual forms?

Women are especially vulnerable to imbalance because our estrogen-rich biochemistry is easily disrupted by the hallmarks of contemporary culture: stress and exposure chemicals that disrupt healthy estrogen metabolism. A commitment to living with intention and more specifically a commitment to mindful eating, means consciously constructing a diet that supports optimum health and considers any health concerns you may have or preventative measures you want to take. Just as there are foods that are known to promote happiness or a sense of well-being, there are foods we can incorporate into our diets that promote hormonal balance.

Balanced Hormone Metabolism and Estrogen Dominance

Estrogen dominance occurs when there is an unhealthy balance among estrogen metabolites. Metabolites are a byproduct of metabolism and themselves have important biological functions to perform. Metabolites are directly involved in growth, development and reproduction, though not all metabolites are benign. An estrogen metabolite known as 16-hydroxy is known to be carcinogenic, while estrogen metabolite 2-hydroxy has beneficial effects. Research shows that levels of the 16-hydroxy metabolite are high in cases of breast, ovarian, cervix, uterine and other hormone-sensitive cancers. Levels of this dangerous metabolite are also higher in women suffering with PMS and perimenopause. Environmental factors also contribute to hormonal imbalance.

Perimenopause

In the years leading to menopause, hormone metabolism changes often resulting in higher-than-normal estrogen levels and a deficiency in the favorable 2-hydroxy metabolite. Estrogen dominance from perimenopausal changes contributes to weight gain or difficulty shedding excess fat, higher risk for breast and reproductive cancers not to mention uncomfortable to downright agonizing symptoms like irritability, aggression, mood swings, water retention and depression.

PMS

Levels of estrogen and a hormone called pregnenolone sulfate are elevated in women suffering from PMS. Pregnenolone sulfate plays an important role in memory but causes anxiety if levels are too high.

Acquired Estrogen Imbalance

Hormones and antibiotics fed to animals that are then consumed in meat, dairy and eggs as well as chemicals in synthetic fertilizers and pesticides are known to increase the 16-hydroxy metabolite. Plastics also contain estrogen-like compounds that disrupt estrogen metabolism.

Cruciferous Vegetables to Promote Healthy Estrogen Metabolism

Cruciferous vegetables are rich in zinc, vitamins A, B, C, D and E and have been regarded for centuries as medicinal foods. Scientists have isolated a constituent in cruciferous vegetables called Indole-3-Carbinol (I3C) that is especially beneficial to estrogen metabolism. When I3C combines with stomach acid it creates 3,3-Diindolylmethane, or DIM. The metabolism of DIM overlaps with estrogen metabolism just so that it promotes healthy estrogen metabolism leading to a favorable ratio of 2-hydroxy to 16-hydroxy

Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, bok choi, kohlrabi, brussels sprouts and mustard, rutabaga and turnip greens. Eat several servings of these vegetables each day. Try to eat them raw (or lightly steamed) to ensure all of the nutrients are live and readily absorbed. A single serving of vegetables is generally equivalent to 1/3 cup steamed or 2/3 to 1 cup raw. To add cruciferous veggies to your diet try the following:

  • Snack on chopped raw broccoli and cauliflower plain or with simple, tasty nutrient rich dressings
  • Eat a large salad full of kale and other cruciferous veggies for lunch or dinner every day
  • Have 1 cup of cruciferous veggies with the meal that you don’t have your salad
  • For a crispy, salty treat sprinkle sliced kale leaves with sesame salt and roast in a 350 degree until the kale begins to wilt and crisp

The information in this post is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any disease. As always, consult a licensed health care practitioner to diagnose or treat any condition.

Sources: drlam.com/opinion/cancer_and_hormonal_balance.asp and naturodoc.com/library/hormones/diindolymethane.htm.


Journey to Tibet

August 26, 2009 By: celedra Category: Tibet

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The Birth of Tara Malas and our Non-Profit

Was it in January when I realized that reaching the ?old? age of 60 was just 6 months away? As the psychotherapist, I spent decades witnessing my clients, as well as friends and family, go through a sort of ?birth canal? as they prepare for certain important initiations in life. God, the thought of turning 60 and having my life stay the same as it currently was, was absolutely appalling! It wasn?t that any particular part was appalling; it was just the overall stuckness of it.

I prayed one of the big prayers. You know, the ones where you say, ?Dear God, Buddha, Tara, Mary, all the angels, Jesus, anyone else who might be listening, I completely and totally surrender my life to you. Please take me and show me my very highest purpose. I completely trust, I let go. I only know that this is not it. No matter what you want, I will do. I hold on to nothing.?

Then nothing happened ? for about a month. . . .

Tara and the Nangchen Nuns

My husband Porter makes malas, aka prayer beads. We decided to design a new line of wrist malas for women. We?d had this business (actually a hobby)  for years. It could have been a prototype for ?mom and pop operation? with a bit of daughter thrown in. He?d perfected his mala making to beautiful pieces of spiritual jewelry. Carlos Santana, Jack Kornfield and many other notable spiritual seekers purchase and use his malas. Daughter, Kristine, made us a homemade website that Porter occasionally upgraded.

Anyway, he did this design around the beginning of February and named them ?Tara Malas?, due to the fact that there are 21 beads and 21 praises to Tara. We had dinner with our friends Debra and Geo a few days later. Now here we were sitting in our favorite meeting place, the Lotus Restaurant, eating the same round of food that we have been eating together for 5 or 6 years. Somehow it is comforting to know that we will probably be going to this same restaurant, eating the same round of food for another 10 ? 15 years.

Tara Malas

I was wearing the new Tara mala, a beautiful jade with garnet and carnelian and a gold guru bead, as Debra went on the say that Lama Palden, our mutual dear friend, would be doing a Women?s Day long Retreat at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. The event was entailed ?Empowering the Awakening Feminine ? A Benefit for the Nangchen Nuns? and, of course the divine Tara was the focus of the Awakened Feminine.

Do you ever get one of those feelings inside when magnificent possibility meets with auspicious serendipity? I have a tendency to bubble over with enthusiasm, which I immediately tried on calm and ground. But I just ?knew? that somehow the ethers had parted and grace was looking me right in the face. I called my friend Lama Palden the next day and we set up a meeting at her house. I offered that we sell our Tara Malas at the event with the proceeds going to Nangchen Nuns (who I still knew nothing about!) Palden spoke to me then about these dedicated women, the plight of their survival, and the great work that Thoknyi Rinpoche was doing as their avid supporter. Almost simultaneously, we thought of the possibility of the nuns making Tara Malas as a cottage industry. Through the course of multitudes of tweaks and changes, pounds of trust and patience and a mountain of divine grace, here we are in Tibet.


Eat Positive: Foods That Promote Happiness

August 24, 2009 By: Matsya Siosal Category: Living with Intention, Mind Body Spirit

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We live in a culture where stress and depression are regular side effects of mainstream living. For treating these conditions or simply maintaining health, one thing experts can agree on is the power of a healthy, balanced diet.

When we live with intention we recognize that eating is one of the most important things we do each day. We cannot thrive and expect to be balanced, happy or even content if we do not appropriately nourish our bodies. Without high-quality, nutrient rich fuel on which to run, our physical selves cannot hold up to the drain and demand of contemporary lifestyles. Read more »


Stephen & Ondrea Levine – Deep Gratitude

August 22, 2009 By: celedra Category: Living with Intention, Mind Body Spirit, Teachings

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During my almost 15 years of hospice work, it was always Stephen and Ondrea Levine that provided meaning to a sometimes overwhelming sense of loss and suffering. His books, A Gradual Awakening and Who Dies, became like my bible, a constant well of words that filled my soul and helped me be present and accepting of whatever arose.

Their workshops broke our hearts open with compassion and filled us with infinite light and love. In closing, we would do a Sufi dance, moving from person to person, looking deeply into their eyes, sending and receiving love into our hearts.  The dance was a tribute to one of my favorite phrases of his “The mind creates the abyss, the heart crosses it.” Bless them both for their unique and devoted contribution. Read more »


Sacred Spirit Book Club Coming Soon

August 21, 2009 By: Matsya Siosal Category: Sacred Spirit Book Club

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The mission of Celedra: Touchstones of the Sacred is to create and nurture community while providing tools, resources and diverse paths to explore along your own sacred journey of intentional living. We hope to be a resource for women at any stage of their life and spiritual journey and believe that books are are a wonderful way to bridge the gaps in our common experience, especially by discussing them in a group.

Inspired by their teachings and stories, books support us in growth and change. Books can quench our spiritual and intellectual search for meaning and sustain us on our lifelong journeys. The best books also motivate us to action, igniting the internal spark that leads to transformation.

We have chosen The Feminine Face of God by Sherry Ruth Anderson and Patricia Hopkins to launch our book club for several reasons. Originally published in 1991, this book is a timeless resource for women as they begin to heed the inner call of the sacred; it also reflects the nascent stage that our blog community is in. The book chronicles the journey each of us take as individuals and the questioning and open discussion in the book also reflects the type of community we hope to nurture here.

Once we begin the first book cycle our core writers and guest bloggers will post their insights, personal reflections and questions to the community throughout each week. We invite you to post your own comments and personal reflections as well. If you would like to participate in our book club as a guest blogger contact us at matsya@celedra.com. The start date for The Feminine Face of God will be announced soon! In the meantime please feel free to contact us for more information.


Retreat

August 21, 2009 By: Matsya Siosal Category: Living with Intention, Mind Body Spirit

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So often in the accelerating pace of the dominant culture we find ourselves desperate for silence, stillness and solitude. This can be found by creating a sacred space in our home that we return to each day. Committing to the daily practice of meditation, mindful eating and exercise is another way of claiming sacred space in your life.

Sometimes though we really need to put some physical space between what we are carrying with us – the attitudes, emotions and patterns that impede an effortless and constant connection to the source of love, generosity, peace and compassion that is within us all. Read more »


Healing with Mantra and Malas

August 18, 2009 By: Matsya Siosal Category: Mantra, Malas, Meditation, Mind Body Spirit, Teachings

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Spiritual Practice

At the heart of Celedra’s conscious lifestyle company are handmade malas, made of semi-precious gemstones and sterling silver. Malas and mantra have been used for thousands of years for spiritual practice. Each mala comes with a unique mantra that is based on the inherent energetic/healing properties found in the gemstones of each mala.

Find the mala and the mantra that is just right for you at this time, then enjoy the many benefits of healing gemstones and transformative mantra.

We invite you to wear their mala and to recite its mantra up to 108 times each day for 21 days; during this time notice how this daily practice influences your life and share it with us via written or video testimonial. If you are interested in sharing your experience of this sacred, transformative practice as a guest blogger please contact matsya@celedra.com.


ME 2 Challenge: Meditation and Sacred Archetypes

August 13, 2009 By: Matsya Siosal Category: Mind Body Spirit

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Participating in the ME 2 Challenge I am taking at least 20 minutes each day to meditate. This almost always involves chanting a mantra while counting the repetitions on my wrist mala. Inspired by Celedra’s interview with Lama Palden I am looking into meditation on some of the world’s beloved goddesses.

As a writer I have always had a deep interest in archetypes as communicators of information from beyond our immediate understanding. I also appreciate how archetypes serve as embodiments of a timeless source and therefore provide spiritual nourishment and illumination. Read more »




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