Live Your Sacred Essence

Lavendilly is my work at home: where I live and play with my family and friends. At Lavendilly we celebrate all the goodness that makes our life interesting, colourful, spicy and beautiful. Food, play, creative projects, poetry and stories! The other side of my work is my work in community, and that is SACRED ESSENCE.

sacredessence-wordpress-logo

Sacred Essence has been going for about three years now. Melissa Joss and I have been working with women in our community, providing a place for women to be in the moment – a challenge in particular for mothers! We benefit from these circles as much as anyone else does, and it has become our heart’s work.

Our passion for Sacred Essence has never waned, but our time and energy did when Melissa and I both had babies in late 2010, so for a while our energies were often diverted into parenting and loving our little families. Our little girls are now both two years of age, and we are both feeling a resurgence of enthusiasm, passion and ambition for our work. We’ve been working hard over Summer (and when you’ve got all kids home on school holidays any kind of work is hard!) and we’ve made ourselves a new website, written a new mission statement and have all our projects for the year planned out. It feels great!

IMG_2780

We are kicking the year off with our Open Day Circle and our Hand-Felted Journal Cover Workshop. Look what I made! I love this journal cover! It fits an A4 book just perfectly, and I spent a few happy hours sitting in the sunshine embroidering it. It is going to be a free gift in our competition, which will be announced very soon. Also you can win a free booking to the Workshop so you can make your own.

Go and have a look at our Sacred Essence website! There’s lots in there … and keep watching here, or on our Sacred Essence facebook page for more information about how you can win the journal cover or the booking to make your own felted book cover. We’ll also be offering the instructions on-line so you can make one even if you don’t live on the Gold Coast.

IMG_0488

Advertisements

This Week Of Living Slowly

I’m really enjoying the idea of living slow – this last week I have had plenty to do but because I have had the 59th Street Bridge Song by Simon and Garfunkel running almost constantly through my head (and now it is on high rotation in my car because I found the cd that song is on!) I have been moving through my week with a different attitude, made a few decisions and tried a few different skills.

During our last Sacred Essence Circle we talked about the idea of our lives overtaking us – our actions overwhelming our emotions and draining our energy. This is exactly how I’ve been feeling … and it’s clear from the reactions I have had to my previous post that I am not the only one who has been feeling a little out of control.

I will try to talk a bit more about our discussion about the lemniscate over at our Sacred Essence blog – and how it relates to the way we recognize and create our own sense of balance and equanimity in our lives … but for now I will say that since this discussion at our Circle I have been able to better practice mindfulness in my daily living – and although my week did not ‘slow down’ at all in terms of what I needed to achieve, the way I moved through my week did. I feel tired in a satisfied way rather than an exhausted way.

Here is what I tried to do:

DRIVING – Can’t avoid it, have to accept it, might as well enjoy it. Unfortunately it is a necessary part of living where I live. So drive time is a time to relax. I am lucky that I can choose a route that avoids the busy roads and traffic lights. I can drive past farms, bushland, rivers and cows. I choose this route frequently. Drive time is a lovely time to share stories with my children (the little ones go with me everywhere!) and to share songs and our favourite music. If I don’t feel like telling a story, or if I need to concentrate on a busy road then I play one that I have recorded on my phone from the previous evening’s storytime (just sit with your phone on lap and record while you read!). I watch other drivers go past in a hurry and I look at their knotted eyebrows and grimacing faces and it reminds me to relax my face and smile. Enjoy the journey, don’t rush.

I’VE BEEN HERE BEFORE – You recognize it, don’t you, when you are in a situation that you don’t like? There is a little voice in the back of your consciousness that whispers to you – “don’t go there, make a different choice!” Most of our days we relive the same experiences over again – in our rhythms and routines and relationships. We often make the same choices over and over again even though they do not serve us. I’ve been listening to my little self-speaker this week and when she  helps me remember that the last time I was in this situation I made a choice that ended badly then I listened. It is so powerful to be able to stop, breathe, and think before you speak or act. Ok – well I’ll be honest and say there were a few times I didn’t listen. There were times I deliberately chose to ignore my sweet-talking self speaker (I’ll show you where to put your conscience!) and of course those situations ended horribly and I had to brood about it for a while, then go and apologise/forgive/rethink/redo … it just makes more work for me when I ignore it, and then I get stuck in a cycle of negative reactions. So after all, that lets say I was aware of this ‘recognition’ and mostly responded positively, and that is a great beginning 🙂

MOVE SLOWLY – actually walk slower. Talk slower. Take time to breathe and chew and look and listen. Just doing this seems to stretch time even though initially it may feel like you are wasting it. What’s the rush – does it really make a difference to be in a hurry? Moving slower allows you more time to consider what you need to do and make a plan for how things can unfold for you. Somehow it seems to work for me, when I remember to do it. Habits are hard to change, but new skills and new attitudes can help us change our habits.

Well that is a pretty good start – my week also ended in a MAJOR declutter. Oh. My. Goodness. What a difference it makes to EVERYTHING when you clear out the crap. Our home is a representation of our body, and we in our homes are a representation of our souls in our bodies. While attending many Anthroposophical conferences in past we would sometimes ask each other “How are you in your home?” Well .. I will tell you more about that it the next post. Let’s say I found Buddha again. I have found my heart-space, I can breathe and move and stretch and think clearly (because I can find what I am looking for!).

So I think this month I am going to dedicate to living slowly –  I’d love to hear about your experiences living slowly too.

 

Running to the Sun: A Meditation for Setting Goals

Our January Sacred Essence Circle held the space for visioning for the coming year. It was another beautiful circle, but I found that two hours wasn’t enough time for my plans to fully unfold in a way that I could grasp and use. It did, however provide the inspiration for more exploration – and that is what Sacred Essence is about. I had the luck to have been gifted a weekend at a farm-stay house at Springbrook (I will write more about this later!) and I stayed there alone for the first night. In the space that unfolded I revisited the meditation we moved through during our circle and then I wrote and wrote and wrote. I imagined myself at the end of this year and wrote in present tense about what I have achieved. I wrote about relationships, work, family, parenting, creativity, spirituality, health, relaxation. The things I wrote really surprised me, and I emerged from this period feeling very very excited indeed 🙂
Now I’m refining the vision I wrote, and putting it on the calendar. Then it is a matter of making small goals each month to ensure I’m moving forward.I see no point in having a vision if I don’t have a means of achieving it. Having said that, in the week that has followed this visioning process there have been a few wonderful opportunities I hadn’t even considered just appear out of the blue. Wonderful what happens when you make the space for it.
I’d love share how it all began – with the meditation from our Circle:
RUNNING TO THE SUN,
written by Jennifer McCormack and Melissa Joss, January 2012

You are a mother in a Navaho community and you are laying in your bed. It is early and no one else is stirring. The dawn light is heralded by the morning birds, at first in a soft whisper, and you lay under your covers thinking about the day ahead.

You’ve woken with a list of all your responsibilities for the day running through your head. It seems at times that your days are merely a portion of time offered to you for these responsibilities to be addressed, and that there must be more time on offer to do the other things you want. There is a list of those too, but there doesn’t always seem to be the opportunity to achieve them. These are things that don’t ‘need’ to be done for daily existence, but things that will fulfill you and excite you, things that will support your own wellbeing, and things that will benefit your family and community. 


In the past you’ve made promises to yourself about becoming a bigger voice in your community, about being a great example to your sisters, about enjoying more of your daily life and learning new ideas and skills. It seems though, each year you have made these promises the early excitement of the ideas fade, and the ability to commit feels harder as time goes by and in the end your days unfold just as they always have.

Not this time. Suddenly you cannot lay in bed dreaming of things to be any more. You rise and open the door to your family home, walking outside in your bare feet. Standing there in the middle of your community you seek the Great Mother with a ritual, greeting her and asking for her guidance.

Walking around silently you are aware of the earth beneath your feet. You sink down and dig your fingers into the earth. This is the soil in which you have used your hands to work, fertilize, and plant seeds for future harvests. The earth now whispers to you:”Why are you not planting the seeds of the promises you have made to yourself? Your ideas and desires could grow into something bigger that will nourish us all!”

You crouch by the stream for a drink and she whispers to you: “Why do you resist the flow of creativity? Be open to change and the obstacles that lie in your way will be easy to pass!”

Rising now, you stretch your body slowly and feel the strength in your limbs. Likewise the green forest branches around wave at you and their leaves speak: “You have strength in your roots and from strong foundations great things can grow. Trust in your ability to transform the light into beauty and nourishment.”

The morning birds who were so contentedly and quietly talking about the day ahead sense your determination and call in earnest to you: :”Run to your dreams, catch them and make them real in your hands!”

And so you run. Slowly at first, and then you feel the strength in your limbs, and the determination in your heart to reach your dreams powers you towards the sun, that is now beginning to rise. You run through the green forest, keeping the day’s quiet soft sun in your sights and moving easily around the obstacles in your path. You run until you leave the forest and are now on the grassy plains. You run until the morning sun grow strong and bright in the sky and you can feel the first rays of warmth.

And then you stop.


You stretch out your arms towards the sun and pull the rays into you. Strings of solar energy filling you with inspiration to get things started, wisdom to plan the way forward, strength to keep moving, resilience to step over obstacles … your body is glowing as you pull the rays of light and warmth into and around your body and you stand there, arms outstretched, absorbing all the solar energy the sun has to offer …

…gradually you feel filled. You have run towards the sun, and now filled with solar energy you must walk towards your dreams and each step takes you closer. The promises you have made to yourself for this year have formed clearly in your mind and as you turn to face the direction you came from you see the path before you unfold. You can see that each part of the way presents a different part of the journey towards achieving your dreams. Every step takes you closer. You can clearly see your path and, taking a breath, you take your first step.

Sacred Essence: Shining Some Light On the New Year

I am excited! Our first Sacred Essence Women’s Circle has crept up on us and it is THIS WEEK!

Our monthly women’s circle is going to be held on Thursday evening this year – every SECOND THURSDAY of the month. Mark those Thursdays in your calendar now, so that you can plan to come, particularly if you need to arrange some babysitting.

Every day is a great day to set new intentions and goals – however there are times of the year that just seem to call out for the broad vision – a clear description of where we want to be by the end of the year and how we are going to get there. Everyone needs to do this. I am not talking about resolutions. New Years resolutions have never worked out for me, because just saying “I am going to do this” makes you feel great at the time, and inspired for a few weeks, but unless you have a plan in place to help you achieve that, then how do you keep the momentum?

One of my favourite quotes is ‘will power, like the brain, is like a muscle – it is strengthened with exercise’. I am not sure where I heard that but it is a reminder that stating our dreams and visions is the first step, but unless you take a step every day you can’t walk towards that vision.

So this will be our focus for our first circle of the year, and we’ll be doing this creatively within a reflection of the energy, inspiration and passion that the SUN brings to us. After our program of yoga, meditation, story and reflection we’ll be playing with collage – creating our own beautiful sun mandalas as a visual representation of our intentions for this year. Do you have some burning desires that need your focus? Do you have a lack of passion that needs firing with energy? Do you (like me!) have too many wonderful ideas for this year that need some focus? Come and join us, come and play in the company of women and sacred ceremony. This one is for you!

Go to Sacred Essence for more details and to follow our sacred work with women.

SACRED ESSENCE JANUARY CIRCLE

Silkwood School Moonlight Prep Room

39 Shepherd Hill Lane, Mt Nathan, Gold Coast

7:00 – 9:00 pm,

$20 or $45 for three sessions