Featured Artist: Liz Alpert | Touchstones of the Sacred | Touchstones of the Sacred - Part 2

Archive for June 2010

Featured Artist: Liz Alpert

June 16, 2010 By: admin Category: Sacred Art

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Liz Alpert believes that through the creation of beautiful healing jewelry she will inspire others on their path towards healing of mind, body and soul.

Since the age of six, Liz has been drawn to jewelry making.  Combining powerful energies emanating from the gemstones, along with her expert background in graphic design, results in unique creations of spiritual jewelry.

Every piece in her line is intended to bring joy, love, happiness and empowerment!

For the past several decades, Liz has been a practitioner and teacher of several healing modalities including Reiki, Reconnective Healing, and Quantum Entrainment.

Working from her Sedona, Arizona home Liz practices Distance Healing using these modalities often resulting in dramatic sessions that help to remove long standing blockages within individuals.

To see more of Liz’s breathtaking sacred jewelry visit her page in our Sacred Art Gallery.


Questions that Won’t go Away, p.1

June 15, 2010 By: Sherry Ruth Anderson Category: Aging With Grace and Glory, Sherry Anderson

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In the story I told last time, Meeting the Wise Elder, when a baker named Rose turned 50, she was awakened by a question that would not go away. In desperation, she journeyed to meet a Wise Elder but when Rose asked her question, the Elder smacked Rose hard and kicked her out of the house.  Rose was outraged. It was not until later that she understood that questions don’t always have answers and what is more, that she was trying to give away her precious question for somebody else’s answer.

The first time I heard this story, I was about 50 myself and the conclusion felt like a knife slicing into my heart.  Wasn’t I doing all the time what Rose had done?  Looking in books, listening to teachers from many traditions, and asking my friends questions that really were mine to answer?  The story stripped bare my efforts to find other people, in person or in books or on tape, who would answer the deepest questions of my soul.  I was chagrined to discover how determined I had been to leave myself in order to find my own truth.

Over the years I’ve come to love the story of Rose and the Wise Elder. The shock of it has helped me to grow up.  Or, more exactly, to find my way to trusting and following my own questions to their source in wisdom.

I wonder if we all need shocks like this to stop looking outside ourselves for wisdom. I don’t know.  Maybe for you growing up happened gracefully, the scales dropping away from your eyes as you turned steadily to confront your own questions.  My process for a long time seemed not the least bit graceful but punctuated by shocks and jolts and surprises. I couldn’t fathom what to do with my questions if I didn’t give them away.

I think that is true for many of us but for a long time we don’t notice that we are trying to give our questions away.  Until finally we do.  And there is something about turning 50, or maybe it’s 60, or even 65, that makes certain kinds of fundamental questions more disturbing, or perplexing, or just plain persistent, than they were when we were younger.  And then some of us become as desperate as Rose was to find out how to be with the questions that will not go away.

I see the questions now like race horses, snorting and stamping their hooves in the starting paddock.  We can’t keep them there forever, turning our backs on them as if they weren’t great beasts panting to take off.  We are going to need to climb on, throw open the gates, and lean down close for the ride of our lives.  We’ll need to breathe with them and feel into their rhythm and in the end, what we’ll need to do most is to love them, to love our big questions because, as the great inventor George Washington Carver said, whatever we love will open its secrets to us.


Vairagya: Reactionless Awareness and the Yoga-Sutra

June 13, 2010 By: Michael E. Crowley Category: Mind Body Spirit, Yoga

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I started reading The Yoga-Sutra of Patañjali as translated by Chip Hartranft this week on the advice of a friend.  I like to start from the ground up when I learn things and The Yoga-Sutra is the root of the tree as far as yoga goes, I’m told, so I’ve been keen to get my hands on a copy.

I haven’t been disappointed, even though I’ve only gotten through Mr. Hartranft’s Introduction and the first section, “Integration.”  I did have a moment at first when, after I took a good long look at what the book covered and its emphasis on consistent internal discipline and meditation and conscious effort, when I thought to myself, “I want to run with scissors instead.”  The end goals of an enlightened attitude and transformed consciousness just seemed impossibly abstract, and unconnected with anything that I had experienced up to that point in my life.

I ended up re-reading the first section several times before I began to see the real merit of it.

Vairagya: Reactionless Awareness

I posed a question in a post before my trip to Chicago last month: “What if having a hard time holding a certain pose, or sustaining my focus, was just an observable fact that could be recorded, understood, and then dealt with by continued, mindful effort over time, rather than being a reflection of my personal worth?”

It turns out I was unwittingly describing the precept of vairagya, defined in Mr. Hartranft’s translation as “the willingness to let a phenomenon arise without reacting to it.” Patanjali makes the point that our reactions to events rise out of learned responses to experiences, like my reaction to a life of meditation and discipline and mindfulness.  I learned, somewhere in childhood, that no one who does anything disciplined has any fun, has any friends, and never gets to play.

This is, of course, not true but then I’ve had some intervening decades in which to rethink the whole concept of reward vs. effort.  And, I’ve realized that I haven’t learned helpful lessons from some of my experiences, so there is validity to the idea that learning to let go of a preconditioned response “reveals the newness and originality of the unfolding moment”, to quote Patañjali.


Featured Sponsor: Restoring Power

June 12, 2010 By: admin Category: Living with Intention

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The light. The dark. All of you.

We all have a light side comprised of our beauty, our strengths. And there’s the stuff we hide–our humanity, if you will. We are practiced at hiding our dark side, living only half ourselves, and wondering why we feel slightly numb. This is a loss of power. It can eat away at us if we don’t recognize it.

Restoring Power brings the light and dark sides onto equal ground. So that we live in wholeness, we engage authentically and powerfully. …So that we bring to life ALL OF YOU.

Stagnation is hell, isn’t it?

Real power isn’t forced. How much of your life are you forcing? Pushing against it, hating the effort, numbing out. Are you getting as far as you’d like in the direction you are pushing?

from restoringpower.com

* * *

Touchstones sponsor Regina Perata is a coach, speaker and therapist who works with clients one-on-one by phone and in person. For those in the Portland, OR area check out her groups and retreats, including the juicy sounding Restoring Power Organic Retreat coming up at Hidden Lake July 10 and 11.


Mindfulness: A Beautiful Life

June 11, 2010 By: Matsya Siosal Category: Living with Intention, Mind Body Spirit

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It’s too easy to identify with “being busy” – don’t we all use this phrase at least daily?  When we say this what do we really mean?

We feel we have too much to do and our experience of life is overwhelmed by activities, thoughts, and limited perceptions about time. Often what we need is a spacious moment to step back from all the things we are busy with and come home to ourselves.

One way to create a beautiful spacious moment for yourself is to mindfully cultivate an eye for beauty. It is all around us and I find it’s one of the best ways to cut through the buzzing tunnel vision of “I’m too busy”. We all have varying tolerances for the usual demands of daily life. When we pay attention to the things that stress us out as well as the things that soothe and relax us we are one step closer to joy; we are making space for it in our lives.

Take a Beauty Break

The joy that I experience in nature is tremendously nourishing. After several hours at my computer my favorite break-time ritual is to stretch my body while a pot of tea steeps. I take a fragrant, steaming mug into my garden and walk slowly with wide open senses visiting all the plants and creatures that inhabit this patch of land with me. I delight in the wild tangle of nature that grows along the periphery of my slightly-less-wild flower and vegetable beds and return to my work with more focus and creativity.

Beauty is a breath of fresh air that sweeps open the door to possibility. Surrounding ourselves with sacred art or listening to sacred music is another way to cut through the narrow-eyed gaze of “busyness” and connect with the timeless flow of being.

How do you connect to beauty?

Whatever it is that inspires you, settles your heart, and captures your imagination is a good place to start.


Featured Artist: Leslie Rinchen-Wongmo

June 10, 2010 By: admin Category: Sacred Art

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Leslie Rinchen-Wongmo is an American textile artist working in a Tibetan tradition. In her fabric thangkas, the sacred Buddhist images of Tibetan thangka paintings are rendered in vivid mosaics of silk. Most thangkas are painted on canvas, then framed in brocade. But in Leslie’s thangkas, the images themselves are stitched patchworks of satin and brocade.

Leslie’s  travels took her to India where she volunteered in the Tibetan exile community. There, she discovered Tibetan appliqué and entered a four-year traditional apprenticeship to learn to create these sacred cloth images herself. Eighteen years later, Leslie is still one of the only westerners to have mastered this rare art. Leslie’s story is the focus of the 2008 documentary film, Creating Buddhas: the Making and Meaning of Fabric Thangkas, which tracks her creation of a Green Tara thangka. In everything she does, Leslie’s aim is to help people create beautiful, inspiring spaces for their lives and to use all of life’s opportunities to become free to live joyfully.

To see more of Leslie’s prints and original thangka quilts visit her page in our Sacred Art Gallery.

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Mindfulness and Death

June 09, 2010 By: celedra Category: Teachings

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This past Friday, my sweet Little Lhasa Apso rescue dog, only eight weeks old, left this world.  My granddaughter Samantha had named her Padu, which means “puffball” in Tibetan.  Of course, she had to have a Tibetan name, given that she was, indeed, of Tibetan origin.

We’d been looking for the right dog for over a year when Sami discovered this breed and fell in love with a Lhasa Apso that she met while vacationing with my daughter.  “It’s the perfect dog!  You love Tibet and all the people there and it will remind you of being there”.  All true, so ahead we forged looking for a rescue site that had a Lhasa Apso.   Sami sent off an e-mail to a large rescue site in California and the next day I got a response stating that, yes, there was a rescued Lhasa Apso mom that had just had puppies, one of them female.  It seemed so easy and right.  We had found our baby!

We couldn’t get her until the first week of July, and I just couldn’t wait that long to see her.  So last Wednesday off my friend Eileen and I went to make the eight hour drive to meet her.  Read more »


Chakra Mandala Virtual Workshop with Julia Weaver

June 09, 2010 By: admin Category: Sacred Art

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Illuminate and Embody our Vows through Sacred Mandala Art – a worldwide invitation for new and experienced mandala students.

You are invited to two 6-session intensives facilitated by Julia Weaver, MFT, BA. This will be an ecstatic, embodied experience not an ‘art class’ yet, be willing to amaze yourself with your own creative potential in a co-created experience of self-investigation and art.

We’ll share six sessions, meeting every other week via teleconference so each participant can work from home. Participants will receive handouts for each chakra which include questions to support your investigation and art, inspirational exercises and quotes, plus meditations and practices.

Each class will be an energizing, interactive process including movement, chants, meditations, Sufi practices and more. Sessions are scheduled for Mondays:  9-11am PST ( the first 2 meetings will be consecutive weeks then bi-weekly) beginning June 21 and concluding August 30. Sessions will be recorded so if you miss a call you can still fully participate! For more information contact Julia at mandalaweaver@aol.com.


Featured Artist: Mara Berendt Friedman

June 08, 2010 By: admin Category: Sacred Art

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Mara Berendt Friedman has been a working artist for over two decades. Her richly colored, layered and stylized paintings focus upon and honor the Essence of the Sacred Feminine. Mara says:

The inner life and search for awakening, with its ever spiraling struggles and triumphs, is the fuel that feeds my creative fire.  Over and again, I repeat the process of diving deep within the well of Soul, swimming in its fertile depths and rising up with image pearls that express not only my personal path, but also the universal journey of being a Woman.

How do we as women connect to the power and innate wisdom of our Mother Earth and know Her power as our own?

How do we connect with the Beauty of our soul and share our unique gifts of expression with the world as a sacred act of healing both for ourselves and each other?


I am continually guided by the tender truth of this quote by Rumi, “Let the Beauty you love be what you do.”

For additional information about the artist and to see more of her stunning work visit her page in our Sacred Art Gallery.


Sacred Poetry

June 07, 2010 By: admin Category: Poetry

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On Language

Poet,
Reach down deep inside yourself.
Discover what you need to write.
Unearth it.
Carve out only the essential
(nothing extraneous will do) –
only the rawest, most crucial words
that language has to offer.
Take
what seems to be yours to take.
Let it penetrate the pages.
If blood-stained mineral her content,
then you have tasted well.

- Sarah Rehfeldt




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