Featured Artist: K Robins | Touchstones of the Sacred | Touchstones of the Sacred

Archive for June 2010

Featured Artist: K Robins

June 30, 2010 By: admin Category: Conscious Parenting, Sacred Art


Expression through art and craft has been sacred artist K Robin’s lifelong companion. She began her work with symbols spontaneously about 25 years ago:

From the life changes and chaos I was experiencing at the time, a door opened. I began carving my emotions, in the form of primal images, into soft forgiving wax.

I find comfort, strength and insight in this work, and continue to study the tradition of symbolic art for healing. I go to the work bench much like someone else may go to the mat, their meditation spot, prayer or music room.

The spiritual and healing element of K’s designs is co-created in K’s sources of inspiration, from her own life and the

study of multi-cultural spiritual disciplines to the talent, courage, and wisdom of people she knows, loves and admires. Each pendant is carved in wax, cast in sterling silver and comes with a black satin cord and its own lyrical poem.  To see more of K’s luminous designs visit her page in our Sacred Art Gallery

5 Steps to Break Down Negative Thinking

June 28, 2010 By: Janna Chin Category: Living with Intention, Mind Body Spirit


Stop Beating Yourself Up!

Do you pay attention to everything your mind tells you? Our minds can take us on a wild goose ride with all the “What if’s” and “I should have’s.” The mind is the main cause of the “Worrier” in us and is the culprit for our automatic tendency to “beat ourselves up” at the first sign of problems.

Psychologists believe we have between 60,000-70,000 thoughts a day and approximately 80% of those thoughts are negative or self-damaging. Negative thoughts have been developing in our subconscious for years, often stemming from incidences in our lives when we were “put down” or criticized.

In fact, until you actively try to identify these negative thoughts, you’re probably not even aware they’re there. Negative thinking starts from childhood. It’s hard to realize how negative self-talk can be detrimental to your self-esteem, self-concept, and confidence when it’s so automatic.

For instance, if something happens that doesn’t turn out the way you expected, the automatic negative thoughts could be, “I’m so stupid. I should have known better.”

Habitually thinking negatively or “beating yourself up” results in the real belief that you’re “not good enough,” stupid, or can’t do anything right. With negative thinking, you’ve probably settled for less and compromised your integrity more times than you prefer to remember. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to feel confident and successful when you’re constantly “beating yourself down.” Read more »

Mala Winner

June 25, 2010 By: Matsya Siosal Category: Mantra, Malas, Meditation, Tibet


Since we launched our 10,000 Names Project in March people from near and far have added their name to the scroll in support of the Nangchen Nuns of Tibet. We are so deeply grateful for the shower of love and support!

For every 10,000 names we will donate $1,000 to the Nuns whose lives are dedicated to prayer for the blessing of all beings. As a token of our love we will also present the Nuns with a scroll of the names.

For every 50 names added, 10-year-old Samantha, who loves the Nuns, will randomly choose a new name from the list and that person will receive a handmade empowerment mala of their choice.

Our first winner is Lindy! She happened to be one of the first people to add her name to the scroll. On March 26th she left us this beautiful comment:

om tara!
Sacred hearts of this blessed dream of being
Thank you for the illuminated jewels of your essence
of simplicity and gentle nature
I see me in you
as we are one

Each day we are moved to tears of joy and gratitude because we connect with individuals like Lindy, and you dear reader whoever you are.  Thank you!

About the Nangchen Nuns

For centuries these Tibetan Buddhist nuns have dedicated their lives to the practice of constant prayer, sending their love and compassion out all beings. Right now they are praying for each and everyone of us to be liberated from suffering! These devoted women live without electricity, heat, running water or adequate medicine and our dedication to them is supported by our non-profit, Tara Malas and by this community of sacred living. Visit our Tibet page for more about the nuns and our non-profit work in Tibet.

If you haven’t yet, simply post your name in a comment on our 10,0000 Names page to add your name to the scroll and be automatically entered to win an empowerment mala. By adding your name to the scroll you affirm that you share our vision of intentional living and participate fully and courageously in the sacred journey we all share.


Amplify Your Intentions with High Vibration Sounds

June 24, 2010 By: Laura Bruno Category: Mind Body Spirit


Summer construction, noisy neighbors, fax machines, laughing children, or the refrigerator’s hum: wherever we find ourselves, we are usually surrounded by some sort of sound. As an Intuitive Life Coach, I find that most people underestimate the degree to which life’s “soundtrack” affects our lives. People make vision boards for the Law of Attraction, using words as affirmations but rarely tuning into the primal power of sound itself.

This is a major untapped resource! Background awareness drops directly into the subconscious, thereby reprogramming us from the inside out. Whether you consider yourself a visual, auditory or kinesthetic learner, you can use the power of sound to amplify desired improvements in your life. In some ways, sacred sound can “do the work for you” by raising your vibration even as you focus on other things. Effortless action? Sounds good to me! Read more »

Sacred Poetry

June 23, 2010 By: admin Category: Poetry


Build a House for Grief

Build a house for Grief,
Tin roofed, for the company of rain.
Windows open wide, for breathing.
By a creek, at the end of the road.
Yours alone.
Take your time.

Build a house for Grief,
With a window seat, for watching.
Pillow it with faded quilts of old soft silk.
Hook up a clawfoot tub.
Stack thick towels nearby.
Find lavender studded soap.
Carry rocks from the creek bed, for the hearth.
Stack the chimney slowly, mortaring with memories.
Take your time.
When you find a heart rock, place it tenderly by the photo on the scarred kitchen table.

Build a house for Grief.
Take your time.
Make soup.
Bake bread.
Sweep the kitchen.
Keep one closet empty, lined with cedar.
Yours alone.
No one will hear you.

Dig a garden for Grief.
Watch sweet peas twine over sills and rise to the rafters.
Tuck bulbs into soil, for later.
Spit plum pits from the porch.
After the blossoms fall,
When the trees are tall enough, stretch a clothesline.
Wash a load of sheets.
Give them to the sky to dance themselves dry.

Grief will come home.
Kicking off her shoes at the door.
Letting herself in.
She has her own key.
Welcome her, with soup.
Stay up too late, talking.
Draw her a bath in a pool of moonlight.
Let her spend the night.
She will stay
As long
. . .as you need.

- PattyMara Gourley


Featured Artist: Manny Neuzil

June 22, 2010 By: admin Category: Sacred Art


Sacred artist Manny Neuzil creates earthy, elegant and deeply meaningful jewelry with stone cairns, Tibetan mala beads and natural turquoise wheels.

Of her work Manny says:

I am repeatedly drawn to stones and other elements that inspire me to create jewelry that is a bit unrefined, beautifully irregular and suggestive of the spiritual.

Some of the elements I am most drawn to are organic and unrefined stones, ancient pieces, Tibetan mala beads, and ethnic additions. I prefer to use creative elements that are not too many steps removed from the earth…imperfectly perfect.

Her materials have stories to tell as well as cultural and spiritual significance.

Cairns have been used for centuries as path markers and landmarks. My cairns are inspired by such stacks and the power of suggestion and guidance from within and without that is ever available to us.

The Mala beads that I use are salvaged from the remains of old Tibetan Prayer Malas. I love

wondering where they’ve been, whose hands have smoothed and softened them, moving over them in prayer and meditation, counting off mantras.

The turquoise is natural and irregularly cut and is quite complex, full of so many other types of stone that I can’t begin to explain it’s effect. Each wheel bead is completely unique and unlike the next. Each one is a small, rich and complete masterpiece that both surprises and delights me.

For more about her process and materials, and to view additional pieces visit Manny’s page in our Sacred Art Gallery.

Daily Practice: Tapas – the Heat of Mindfulness

June 20, 2010 By: Michael E. Crowley Category: Mind Body Spirit, Yoga


The image of my late great-grandfather was in my mind as I practiced yoga this week.  Wilbur McKenna, or “Mac” as his co-workers called him, was a railroader who drove steam, diesel, and electric locomotives for the Milwaukee Road through southern Montana and the surrounding states.

His constant companion, whether hauling passengers through mountain passes at three a.m. or freight through the grasslands at mid-day, was his fireman, the man who kept the boilers stoked and operating at enough pressure to keep the trains moving.  That’s as clear and as basic an illustration of the precept of tapas as I can think of: Maintaining the energy needed to keep moving forward. Read more »

Sacred Poetry

June 19, 2010 By: admin Category: Poetry, Sacred Art



It doesn’t have to be much.
It hardly has to be spoken,
a word –

an ordinary,
somewhat rounded,
imperfect pebble
pulled from broken fragments of shell and drift,
once polished,
placed inside the center of your palm
and held out to the sky,
will let the sunlight sparkle through it.

What little it takes.

- Sarah Rehfeldt


Back to Nature with Wild Greens

June 18, 2010 By: Matsya Siosal Category: Living with Intention, Mind Body Spirit


There’s something about a traditional monoculture lawn that seems really dead to me. I love the vibrance and delight to be found in landscaping that works with nature instead of against it. You never know what is going to pop up!

My husband and I let much our yard go wild and are rewarded with myriad herbs, salad greens, flowers and unique grasses of varying types. In the areas of our yard that have regular grass the wild herbs, flowers and native grasses have quickly asserted themselves and the result is a lovely emerald collage of varying textures and hues.

Despite its reputation as a troublesome weed, Dandelion has always been one of my favorite plants. I am cheered by its sunny blossoms and tenacious spirit and I respect its multiple medicinal properties. I love that “weeding” my vegetable, berry and flower beds means I can harvest a basket of dandelion greens for a salad, to blend into a smoothie or even lightly braise with garlic. Read more »

Summer Solstice Weekend Art Events

June 17, 2010 By: admin Category: Sacred Art


If you will be in northwestern Oregon this weekend join sacred artist and Touchstones contributor Mara Berendt Friedman at the Rose Spring Center for the Healing Arts in Hillsboro for Passion!!!Flower Sacred Art Playshop on Saturday June 19th.

Bring family and friends for a shared potluck dinner, guided meditation and drumming. A collection of Mara’s paintings and drawings celebrating the Beauty of Woman can also be seen on display at Rose Spring Center from Saturday June 19th through August 31st. For more details visit http://touchstonesofthesacred.com/artists/mara-berendt-friedman.

* * *

This year marks Cerro Pedernal Heritage Association’s 3rd annual Arts Tour.

If you are in New Mexico head over this weekend to support the work of local traditional and contemporary New Mexico artists including Touchstones contributor Jan West. Directions and more details about the event are available at http://www.pedernalheritage.org/

Jan took the photograph at right while sitting before dawn in Ghost House where Georgia O’Keeffe lived during her first year in New Mexico.  O’Keefe continued to live in near by Abiquiu, New Mexico and in her second house on the Ghost Ranch property, until she had to move to Santa Fe near the end of her life.

A fun story Jan tells about this photograph: I befriended a dear and spectacular story teller named Tio Manzanarez.  Tio was Georgia O’keeffe’s personal assistant for about 13 years starting at age 13.  I sent him this image as a greeting card last summer and without blinking an eye, he said, “Ansel Adams used to play the piano for Miss O’keeffe in that room.”

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