Meeting the Wise Elder | Touchstones of the Sacred | Touchstones of the Sacred

Archive for May 2010

Meeting the Wise Elder

May 31, 2010 By: Sherry Ruth Anderson Category: Aging With Grace and Glory, Awakening Feminine, Feminine Wisdom, Sherry Anderson, Teachings


Here is a version of a story I first heard from Rabbi Jonathan Omer-man many years ago.  I have changed a number of the details but never forgotten the essence of the story because it felt like a knife going into my heart.  It has come back to me now as I contemplate what it means to be a Wise Elder.
Once, in a tiny village in Eastern Europe, there lived a woman named Rose. She spent her days as a baker of breads with fragrances that wafted invitingly from her open window. Every morning, Rose and her husband Abe would wake in the earliest hours to prepare the yeast and knead and bake sourdough rye breads and grainy black breads and dark molassesy pumpernickels and, on Fridays, sweet egg challahs that were the talk of the village.

Each day when she awoke, Rose would lean over, kiss her husband, and swinging her feet to the floor, hum a little tune for the pure enjoyment of waking and being a baker of breads.  And so it was day after day until the year she turned 50. Read more »

High Vibration Colors

May 27, 2010 By: Laura Bruno Category: Living with Intention, Mind Body Spirit


Believe it or not, all colors (even red, black, brown and grey) can carry high vibrations.  It just depends on your perspective.

Although many people think of black as a “negative” color, it actually contains ALL colors.  No doubt, black presents intense energy, but consider embracing the color instead of denigrating it.  Oftentimes when we perceive black as bad, it’s because we are too close or too attached to outcomes.  Step back and ask to recognize the beauty before you.  When approached from an awareness of Oneness, black becomes an opportunity–the darkly cocooned metamorphosis, that sacred void, the profound mystery of All That Is.

Grey reminds us that nothing is merely black or white.  We fear grey, perhaps more than any other color, because it challenges us to move beyond a world of “obvious” duality.  Grey brings us to the twilight hour, where shapes shift and forms reveal their underlying fluidity.  As fog or dark skies roll in, they carry moisture, the watery force that first made life livable on Planet Earth.  Grey brings the promise of those magical moments when we see sunlight streaming through the clouds–a reminder of anticipation followed by fresh downpours of sunlight, rain and blessings. Read more »

Mindfulness & Gratitude: A Lovely Pairing

May 26, 2010 By: celedra Category: Living with Intention, Mind Body Spirit, Teachings


This morning I heard a serenade of bird songs as I strolled through a garden with my grandson.  I imagined that they were speaking some universal language that this preconditioned mind of mine had long lost the capacity to understand.  But I knew, if I could understand, their message would break open my heart with a celebration of beauty and joy.

I made the intention to listen – all day. And all day the birds sang to me (and of course to anyone else who happened to be listening).  It’s the ‘happening to be listening’ part that obviously makes such a difference!  We could say, ‘happening to be listening, feeling, seeing etc’.  It is mind boggling that so much is here for us all the time, things that would make us weep with joy, laugh with delight, cry with sorrow, burst open with awe – but never notice.  Probably too busy texting, or on the phone (yes, I’m speaking for myself). Read more »

The Sacred Art of Anointing

May 25, 2010 By: Allison Stillman Category: Mind Body Spirit, Sacred Art


The ancient art of anointing is a sacred ceremony of using oil as a rite, especially for consecration. When we consecrate someone or something, we are devoting our selves with deep solemnity or dedication to the sacred. The definition of the word sacred means to entitle one to veneration by association with Divinity!

Anointing has been practiced for thousands of years as a method for invoking the Divine into our lives, our hearts and our minds. When we anoint ourselves with essential oils as in a sacred ceremony, we are invoking the presence and consecration of the Divine to be a part of our body, mind and spirit. Read more »

Sacred Poetry

May 25, 2010 By: admin Category: Poetry, Sacred Art


A Morning Wish

Go sweet into the morning
join hands with your Spirit
Breathe deep and feel yourself grow
restless to begin
your first walk in the new day

The Eastern Sun at your back
the path before you invites
birdsong and a gentle morning breeze
come to tease the sixth of your senses
You were made to live this day
and smile on the face of God

- WordWulf

Yoga and Everyday People

May 23, 2010 By: Michael E. Crowley Category: Mind Body Spirit, Yoga


When I left off last week I was scuttling around the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport hoping for a last-second reprieve from having to fly to Chicago.  My wife was holding my hand a bit tighter than usual as we waited in the terminal to soothe my nerves.  More and more frequently prior to boarding, my wife and I would break into a well-rehearsed question-and-answer routine:  “People do this every day?” I would ask.  She would respond in the affirmative:  “People do this every day.

Repeating that phrase helped me see that, on entering the aircraft, I would become part of a community of millions of people who would all, barring the rare accident, get where they were going and would return home again on a daily basis.  Some nights before the trip I imagined an ongoing stream of airplanes sailing over my head, filled with people already doing what I was planning to do.

Yoga provided me with many benefits on this last trip besides the strength to carry heavy luggage up and down subway stairs or the calm to manage a phone interview with a potential employer on my last day in Chicago. In addition to the quote by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn from Healing and the Mind that I posted last week, I found an explanation of yoga in the same interview that I hadn’t heard before. Read more »

Daily Practice: Rethinking Safety and Security

May 21, 2010 By: Matsya Siosal Category: Living with Intention, Mantra, Malas, Meditation, Mind Body Spirit, Teachings


This morning I found myself thinking about a day I spent with my 4-year-old niece. We walked to a park near my house and she ran from tree to tree bestowing hugs and proclaiming her love quietly to the rough bark. She was determined to master the play structure and I helped her climb. Whenever she reached a point that felt too high, too unsteady, I felt her small body tense up, the vibration from her tightening grip moved through her slender limbs to my own body and I could feel her confidence falling like dominoes.

During those shaky moments I held her firmly and said that I had her safe, I wouldn’t let her fall. Sometimes this reassurance was enough for her to rebalance, find a foothold and climb higher still. Sometimes though she found she really had gone too high and she would fall back grateful and laughing into my arms.

Can’t we all relate to joy of a pair of strong arms to fall safely into?

In Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living Pema Chödrön shares with us why she practices Buddhism:

We can discover the process of letting go and relaxing during our lifetime. In fact, that’s the way to live: stop struggling against the fact that things are slipping through our fingers. Stop struggling against the fact that nothing’s solid to begin with and things don’t last. Knowing that can give us a lot of space and a lot of room if we can relax with it instead of screaming and struggling against it.”

As my mind chewed on this revolutionary approach to life I began to see glimpses of what it would feel like to let go like this. It was both liberating and deeply comforting. I think one of the biggest ways that we resist letting go is by chasing perfection or in another way never reaching to climb higher because we fear failure. Read more »

Poetry Contest

May 19, 2010 By: admin Category: Poetry


Calling all poets!

It is our highest intention to serve those who seek a path of meaning by creating the national resource for sacred living.

Because the beauty and meaning of sacred art, music and poetry supports and inspires intentional living, it is our desire to support sacred artists by sharing their work.

In this spirit Touchstones of the Sacred is pleased to announce our first ever poetry contest! We seek all styles and forms of poetry especially contemplative, introspective,  ecstatic poetry and Haiku but there are no limits!

On July 1st one poem will be selected and the winning poet will receive a desktop prayer wheel that was handcrafted in Tibet.

Send up to 5 poems to by June 30th.

Poems will be published to our site and we invite you to join the fun and share your comments.

Sacred Poetry

May 18, 2010 By: admin Category: Poetry, Sacred Art


Ancient Tears

Ancient tears are now birthing
Soft white stars
In this long-endarkened womb,
Bringing to an end
Years of frantic searching
for the Beloved One.
Searching through disconnected phallus
and baby-makers
They too trying to demand their way
Into Paradise.

Exiled from our Homeland,
Fueled by the longing of the Wanderer,
The Great Betrayal enthrones a wrathful Armageddon
Hidden deep in the Heart’s knot
of protective refusal
Generation after generation.

Finally as the century turns
The wanderer reaches the shoreline at the far corner of the desert.
She plunges into this thirst-quenching ocean,
A never-ending deep and dark Silence.
Nothing seems to survive here.

My friend, what dies here is the lies of the Betrayer
And the fortress of her lies.
Through this death the Abyss opens even wider
Opens into the midnight sky.
Oh, luminous blue-black night
Where these ancient tears can finally be met
And take their rightful place
Sweet noble star lights of grace.

~ Ahria Wolf

Lovin’ my new herb garden

May 17, 2010 By: celedra Category: Mind Body Spirit


What could be better then living right off the earth!

Except for bananas, I can grow all the fruits and veggies I need to live on.  Oh, and avocados.  I love avocados and eat them without reserve.  Why wouldn’t they do to my insides what they would do to my skin?  Make everything luscious and moist and soft.

I wonder if Whole Foods will go bankrupt without my daily attendance?  Probably not.  I love to carry my wicker basket with the big handle out to my garden with a pair of garden scissors and gather a meal.  I am unrelentingly always in awe!  How did my life get this bountiful? There is a split that is beginning to soften between gathering veggies in my garden and having an intimate relationship with my computer for hours at a time.  It’s nice.

This herb garden used to be a elevated spiral, except the spiral kept falling down.  So, this is what I created instead.  I love it.  It feels ancient to me.  Here are a few exquisite reasons to eat herbs. Read more »

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