Mindfulness: A Beautiful Life | Touchstones Of The Sacred | Touchstones of the Sacred - Part 2

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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.


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.


Daily Practice: Yoga and Patience

June 06, 2010 By: Michael E. Crowley Category: Mind Body Spirit, Yoga

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Yogi and the Hare

I am not a patient person.  This is an admission that would surprise people who know that I practice yoga, one of the most patient forms of exercise.  I am impatient, though, and I show it in some very strange ways.

This is my morning routine, repeated with some variations depending on the day:

I wake up. This happens, on average, two to three hours before my wife does.  When it happens, my mind wakes up pretty quickly.  It’s keen and ready to work on the list that it’s been prepping all night.  My body, however, is not thrilled to get a to-do list when what it truly wants is breakfast, and takes an hour of coaxing to get out of bed.

I go to the bathroom and flex in front of my mirror. This is partly because I am vain, but also because I am impatient.  I did a total of 10 to 11 repetitions of the Plank-to-Four-Limbed-Staff sequence yesterday, including five of them in a row. Where are my rippling biceps? In case they decide to show up without telling me I flex several more times during the day, just to be sure.  This reassures me and amuses my wife, so it’s a win-win for all concerned.

I weigh myself. I do this about three or four times because our scale is old and imprecise and I have to take a wide sample of possible weights before settling on the most likely total.  Also, I am nearsighted and the markings are small. When combined with my height, this makes accurate first readings unlikely, even when wearing glasses.  Am I much lighter yet?

I eat breakfast. While breakfast digests, I search the internet for likely jobs, write in my journal and wait one hour before:

I practice yoga.

Living mindfully requires me to practice patience in a number of areas.  My rippling biceps will appear, but it will take time to allow the muscle tissue to rest and rebuild itself between workouts.  I will get lighter, but I will have to keep eating properly and riding my bike up hills to make that happen.  For now, there are the needs of the moment.  Breathe, be grateful, and be mindful.

Or, to quote Lama Surya Das, from his book Letting Go of the Person You Used to Be, “Hasten slowly, and you will soon arrive.”


So a Yogi Walks Into a Bar…

June 01, 2010 By: Michael E. Crowley Category: Mind Body Spirit, Yoga

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My wife had a great idea this week.  “Why don’t we start doing yoga together?” she asked me.  She had seen what yoga had done for me lately, and was impressed enough to want to do it herself. I thought it was a great plan, and we started as early as was reasonable on Monday morning.  Then it happened.

“I’m stuck”, my wife said to me.

She had been moving smoothly if a bit stiffly into Plank pose from Full Forward Bend, and had successfully gotten one leg to go back into place.  Her other leg, however, had decided for reasons of its own that it would remain in place supporting my wife’s torso, leaving her hovering above the kitchen floor in what now looked like a runner’s lunge.  “I’m stuck”, she repeated.

This is great, I thought.  My calming manner and innate teaching ability have frozen my wife roughly parallel to the floor.  I began notice things about the floor, like its current state of cleanliness.  I wondered if I would end up sleeping outdoors if she came unstuck in a bad temper.  Then the laughter began to kick in, starting somewhere around my wife’s toes.

It continued working through both of us in huge belly laughs as we realized that:

  1. the mind/body balance is more like a balancing act than a static state;
  2. it is extremely funny to end up stuck in an awkward, halfway sort of asana whose proper name is probably best translated as “take it a bit easier, please”;
  3. the only thing we could do was wait for her other leg to go back when it felt ready.

When it finally did, my wife finished up her Sun Salutation with me and got on with her day.

The laughter my wife and I shared is my favorite kind.  It wasn’t bitter, or cynical, or despairing, or mean.  This kind of laughter is my best friend because it reminds me that no matter how high-minded my aspirations and intentions may be, I am still capable of getting myself (and occasionally others) stuck.  It also helps me relax enough to see the ways of getting unstuck as well. It’s the most enjoyable of the many invitations to mindfulness I get every day.


Meeting the Wise Elder

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

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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

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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

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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

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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 »




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