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Life’s Trump Card

September 28, 2011 By: Michael Nagel Category: Living with Intention, Mind Body Spirit, Teachings

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Imagine you’re playing a card game. A very unusual card game. Matter of fact, it’s a game you play every day. It’s called, “Life”. Every day, you’re dealt the cards of your life situation. Every day the same other player wins. Here’s today’s play.

The cards are dealt: today’s life situation.

The first player throws out a judgment. “It shouldn’t be like this!”

The next player tosses in an expectation. “I’m disappointed.”

The third player slams down an argument. 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

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In Her Hands Julia Weaver

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 »


Meditation – a life changer that’s free!

May 03, 2010 By: celedra Category: Mantra, Malas, Meditation, Mind Body Spirit

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I hate to think of who I would be without my spiritual practice. It’s actually really scary.

I remember probably 28 years ago working in a hospital, just having graduated from nursing school (a profession that I was not well equipped for). There was a wonderful, loving nurse that seemed as though she was pure love. No pretense, no trying, just open and present. Someday, I said to myself, I will be like that – open, loving and present. Read more »


Understanding the Practice of Yoga

May 02, 2010 By: Michael E. Crowley Category: Mind Body Spirit, Yoga

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This is my debut post on Touchstones of the Sacred, and I’m thrilled to be joining a vibrant community of people who are seeking, like myself, to find a space in life that is truly their own and where they can rest and refresh themselves in the midst of the ever-moving world.

I use yoga as my primary means of fitness, so I’ll be posting primarily about things that I learn or come to understand from my daily sessions that might be of benefit.

I’m focused on the word practice right now, as in the practice of yoga. It’s hard to write about practicing anything without sounding like I’m about to impose a great burden on myself. I’ve learned, though, that

practice is the key that opens the door to understanding. Read more »


Sacred Living and Daily Practice

April 24, 2010 By: Matsya Siosal Category: Living with Intention, Mantra, Malas, Meditation, Mind Body Spirit

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It happens to all of us sometimes – waking up on the wrong side of the bed, a transient case of the blues, or a sudden flare of impatience that grips you with a blinding insistence.

With the pace of life moving faster and faster, many of us find it overwhelming to try to give adequate attention to all aspects of our busy lives. Our days are filled with email, telephone calls, doctors appointments, tennis lessons, meetings with clients, paying bills, grocery shopping, parent-teacher conferences, board meetings, cocktail parties whew – amid all of that it’s no wonder our souls resort to such drastic measures to get our attention.  Read more »


Desktop Prayer Wheel

April 09, 2010 By: Matsya Siosal Category: Mantra, Malas, Meditation, Mind Body Spirit, Sacred Art

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About prayer wheels

Prayer wheels are traditionally used in Tibetan Buddhist practice to gather wisdom and good karma, to increase and dedicate compassion, and to transform negativity and enter a peaceful, meditative state. Regardless of your own spiritual tradition, prayer wheels are a beautiful addition to your environment as both sacred art, and an opportunity for daily practice.

Wound around an axel within the container of the wheels are long strips of thin paper that have been imprinted over and over with a mantra or prayer. The outside of the wheels are usually decorated with a carved or painted rendition of the mantra as well. The wheels are spun clockwise and with each revolution, the mantra written within accumulates power and is offered to the universe as prayer.

Om Mani Padme Hum is the mantra most commonly inscribed in and on prayer wheels. Tibetan Buddhist tradition tells us this mantra came from Chenrezig, a deity known as the embodiment of compassion. Chanting and/or spinning this mantra in a prayer wheel is said to invoke this archetypal power and harmonize human beings with the vibration of pure compassion, while calming, opening and evolving the mind.

From Tibet with love

While in Tibet, Celedra worked with local artisans to design these beautiful desktop prayer wheels. Each wheel is inlaid with turquoise and pearl and bears the mantra Om Mani Padme Hum in Tibetan script. Each desktop prayer wheel comes with an extra long strip of paper handmade at a Tibetan monastery. The paper is blank for you to write your own mantra or prayers to spin out to the universe!

5% of profits benefit the Nangchen Nuns of Tibet. To order, or for more information email info@celedra.com or call (866) 409-6252.


Exercise as Meditation

November 25, 2009 By: Matsya Siosal Category: Living with Intention, Mind Body Spirit

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Cathedral Park

Exercise is my most important daily touchstone. Without moving, stretching, challenging and invigorating my physical being on a regular basis I quickly sense my spirit stagnating, negative thoughts try to invade and I am disconnected from my true essence, from the sacred. Often I like to exercise alone, as it’s my time to recharge, daydream, or let go of something troubling. When immersed in physical activity I reach a meditative zone – where everything suddenly shifts into perspective, the chatter of thoughts, worries and apprehensions fade away. More than just a “runner’s high”, I find a sense of both cosmic and earthly unity as my muscles, heart, and lungs find their rhythm.

Today was a gorgeous late autumn day and I took full advantage by biking out to Cathedral Park to see a community garden plot I may be leasing. Not knowing where exactly the garden was, I set out for an adventure along Willamette Boulevard, which winds along a great ridge on the west bank of the Willamette River. The view was glorious – evergreen blanketed hills to the west, lovely historic homes to my right, and behind me snowy Mt. Hood, resplendent without the usual cloud cover.  As I pedaled I noticed the sky, filled with sunlight filtered down to me through gauzy clouds and a lacy curtain of brilliant red and yellow leaves still clinging haphazardly to gnarled branches. I  also noticed I’d been smiling ever since my ride began.

When I arrived at the majestic St. John’s Bridge I knew I was close to my destination. The garden plot was sure to be down the steep hill leading to the water and Cathedral Park.  I rode through the park, down toward the river, still not finding the garden. I now faced a steep hill to climb. Empowered and exhilarated from the ride out here and the beauty of my surroundings, I trusted my body to get me up the hill. And not only were my muscles focused solely on climbing the hill, my mind was laser-focused as well. Lingering frustration from a phone call this morning, doubts about making it up the hill, the never-ending To-Do list evaporated, and there to my right, down a quiet street was the garden.


Count Your Blessings: Cultivating a Practice of Gratitude

October 06, 2009 By: Matsya Siosal Category: Living with Intention, Mind Body Spirit

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celedralogoWith each sunrise comes an opportunity to start afresh; whether it is renewing our commitment to daily practice or another chance to leave behind an old habit. Adding a daily gratitude practice to your morning ritual is a wonderful way to acknowledge the blessings in your life.

Many recent studies suggest that people who are more grateful experience higher levels of well-being and are happier, less depressed, less stressed, and more satisfied with their lives and social relationships. Studies also indicate that people characterized as grateful are more in control of their environments, personal growth, purpose in life, and have greater self acceptance. Sounds like living with intention to me! Gratitude seems to be an overall tonic for body, mind and spirit and grateful people are known to sleep better, perhaps because they tend to have pleasant thoughts before sleeping, rather than ruminating on the days’ disappointments. Read more »


Finding your own path to the sacred in a busy life

September 30, 2009 By: Matsya Siosal Category: Living with Intention, Mind Body Spirit, Teachers, Video

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I love this conversation between Celedra and Tai Chi, Yiquan and Qigong master teacher Fong Ha. They discuss enlightenment, eternity and finding your own path to sacred connection in the midst of a busy life. Their discussion of the desire to change really resonated with me. I’m sure that desire for change, for something more, is what brings many readers to our blog. We’d love to hear your comments!


Fong Ha – Touching the Sacred in Everyday Life

September 23, 2009 By: Matsya Siosal Category: Mind Body Spirit, Teachers, Video

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