Surrounded by Green

Surrounded by green

feeling the peace

in a space where I can

Be.

Inside and Outside

encompassed by Love.

And when the lonely place reminds me

of the other side of Life

the separation and retreat can be a place of

Reflection and Healing

and a space to Breathe.

Alone in my Space

Surrounded by Green.

Knowing I can step out

At any Time.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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Advent Week Two: The Plant Kingdom

Can you believe this magical place is in my backyard?

The first week of Advent (the Mineral Kingdom) is approaching, beginning this Sunday. I am preparing for a small community celebration with my playgroup… which involves learning how to sing one of the most complicated carols/hymns: Ave Maria. Yep! I’m going to give it a go, even if we fall in a heap laughing half way through! I’m also going to add another activity to my Week One Advent list – go and visit Mount Warning. What a great opportunity to appreciate the sheer force of power and strength of the Mineral Kingdom by visiting the site of an ancient volcano. Incredibly – I’ve never been there before.

This post is about the second week of Advent. I’m posting it early so you can begin to think about what you might do. Perhaps you’ll find some ideas here. If you’d like to plan some Advent activities or gain a deeper understanding of the experience I invite you to have a read of these posts of mine: Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere: Advent, Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere: The Four Kingdoms, Advent Week One: The Mineral Kingdom,

And these posts of Amber Greene’s: The Four Kingdoms of Advent, Felted Advent wreath , Mineral Kingdom –  and here’s Amber’s post on the Plant Kingdom too.

The Plant Kingdom

The second week of Advent celebrates the Plant Kingdom. When we celebrate the Plant Kingdom we celebrate the gift of life and longevity, of beauty and diversity. Plants contain the life force that tells them what they need to DO, and they cannot help but ACT and GROW. In doing so they share their life force through their beauty, their healing properties, their nutrients, their colour, and their interconnectedness with all other life forces.

Minerals can only move when they are acted upon by outer forces. Plants contain an inner force that begins from within the smallest seed and moves upwards and outwards until growth is complete or until environmental conditions make it impossible for the life force to work. The life force of a plant may be strong and determined, but it does need feeding in order to thrive. As does our own life force. What conditions make you thrive? How can you create better conditions for your life force to help you grow upwards and outwards until you feel complete?

Immersing ourselves in the plant world is pure joy! Wow! What a week we will have while celebrating the Plant Kingdom! The Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia is where I live, and it is rich with a variety of landscapes. I live in the hinterland, we also have the coastal area. In between there are some swampy places that haven’t been developed yet (not many!), and we have our rainforests and freshwater creeks too. I’m looking forward to some tramping about, not to mention just enjoying the grass our house is surrounded by, and our own little garden at home.

MEDITATING WITH THE PLANTS

Have you ever just SAT with a plant? I had this experience during spring last year at MoonTree’s Spring Seasonal Gathering. I sat with Grevillea for about 20 minutes. Observing her in wonder and admiration, feeling joy and a profound respect for her presence. I began to receive messages from her about her story and her purpose. I felt her life force as distinct from my own, and I felt her presence and purpose as important as my own. I was so excited about this experience … I then sat with Grass and Clover and had a very different experience. No plant is too humble for you to give your loving and unconditional attention to. I would like to share this experience with my children during the second week of Advent. Of course we’ll be doing it by sharing stories as we sit with the plants or work/walk in the garden together: What it would be like to be that plant? What would we like about where we live? Who do we share our space with? What do we like about ourselves? Developing an empathic relationship with our environment is an important part of environmental education, and therefore protection.

Could be interesting! I think my five-year old daughter will really love the storytelling. I think my eight-year old son would enjoy some technical plant drawing, and I think my two-year old daughter will enjoy picking tomatoes and eating them.

WEEK TWO ACTIVITY SUGGESTIONS

I think it is important for the activities to directly involve the plants themselves. There are HEAPS of craft ideas you could do around a plant theme, but I think we’ll appreciate more about plants if we touch them and live with them than if we represent them in felt or paper. But I’ll be doing those things too 🙂 Here’s some simple ideas you can think about doing with your family. We won’t be doing all them, just a few. I’m looking forward to doing some herbal brewing with the kids!

1. Bushwalking

2. Plant Meditation/Observation – in drawing or storytelling

3. Gardening

4. Making herbal teas and tinctures

5. Make a Christmas wreath and stars from vines and sticks.

6. Weaving with grass

7. Cooking delicious raw food! Including creating a new salad

8. Investigating local bush tucker

9. Finding plants that provide homes for native animals

10. Visit the local Aboriginal information centre to learn more about people’s relationship with plants.

11. Look at the patterns plants contain with them: spirals, mandalas, symmetry, combinations of colours …. oh joy … I see lots of drawing coming up!

WEEK TWO CAROLS

Oh this was an easier one. Lots of carols involve plants – although mostly northern hemisphere ones. Let’s write some Aussie ones! I did find a curious carol about Mary and the Cherry Tree … I thought it was a bit surreal when baby Jesus spoke to Joseph from within her belly, but I totally understood Joseph’s really human reaction when Mary broke the news about her pregnancy to him!

The Holly and The Ivy

Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly

O, Christmas Tree

The Cherry Tree

WEEK TWO STORY

You can read the story for the second week of Advent here: https://lavendilly.wordpress.com/2012/12/07/advent-week-two-the-plant-kingdom-story/

Get in the Flow with a Do-It-Yourself Meditation

To get you in the “flow” of creativity for this month’s theme over at Sacred Essence, and to begin creating so that you can enter our giveaway this month, I’ve shared with you the meditation we experienced at our last circle.

If you are like me, then you might find guided meditations easier to follow than relying on your busy mind to create the images and stories for you while you are relaxing. It is a great skill to learn, to discipline your mind while relaxing your body, but if you are just starting out then you might like to read this meditation out loud and record it on your mobile phone. Speak it slowly and clearly, allow spaces between sentences to let your mind create the images of the story as it unfolds. You can even play some relaxing music in the background while you are recording your voice, and voila, you have your own meditation track to play to yourself. Let go of any inhibitions you have about your recorded voice … the purpose of this exercise is not to analyse our imperfections (we ALWAYS sound different when recorded!) but to enter the spirit of the story, and let ourselves flow …

FLOW MEDITATION 

written by Jennifer McCormack, February 2012

Think for a moment about where you want to go. What is your destination? Your goal or your dream becomes a place where you can visit, a place that you are moving towards. Can you clearly see it? Do you want to go there? Do you believe you can get there?

Beside you flows a river, and tied up to a tree on the shore is a canoe, bobbing up and down and waiting for you to step into it. Walk up to the canoe, step inside and balance yourself. Reach over and untie the canoe from its mooring to set it free.

There is a paddle in the canoe. You pick it up and begin to stroke through the water. You are feeling excited about the journey ahead, of the experiences you will have along the way towards reaching your destination. You begin paddling happily, enjoying the sound of the water, looking around you, relaxing into the rhythm of paddling.

The going is hard though. After a while of paddling, it feels like such hard work. You are using a lot of strength to move the canoe through the water with your paddle and you are moving forward slowly. You can see your destination clearly and you know the route to take, but it is taking more time to get there than you thought it would. You are feeling a bit bored with the journey but you keep paddling forward.

More time passes as you paddle towards your destination, and still you do not feel any closer to the end of your journey. Boredom is now replaced by worry. What if you can’t get there? Why is it taking so long? You are concerned that you will be too tired to make the long journey ahead at the pace you are going now. Worry is replaced by anxiety and you grip your paddle hard. You put more strength into your paddling but it is tiring and you feel like you are starting to go in circles in the river.

There are no obstacles in your way, and the river is not so shallow that you cannot glide over the riverbed. You know you can get to where you are going, but you will be exhausted if you continue at this rate, and you are starting to lose interest in getting there at all. It seems like you are getting caught in every whirlpool and snagged on every branch. There is something preventing your progress, making it hard for you to move forward. Perhaps you are tangled in some weed? You look over the side of the canoe and you see some bags tied to the side of the canoe, dangling in the water. You lift one and it feels heavy, so you untie it and let it drop into the river.

The bag sinks down to the riverbed and settles there. You feel a little lighter in your canoe, and you are moving little faster. You begin to feel a little excitement about your journey. You check if there is anything else weighing you down and you see a few more bags so you reach over, untie them and let them drop to the riverbed. They disappear into the sand.

The canoe is moving steadily now, and the paddling takes little effort to move you forward. Now you look again toward your destination and see it shining in front of you. It feels like your canoe is now moving of its own accord and your boredom, worry and anxiety has gone, sunk to the bottom of the riverbed with the weights that were slowing your progress.

Now it seems as if you do not even need to use your paddle. The current of the river has picked you up and is flowing with you towards your destination. You flow around rocks in the river, and other obstacles that appear before you. You can sit back now, relaxed in your canoe, but you keep looking forwards to where you want to go, because it is as if your thoughts are guiding your canoe now that it is moving freely. You are in control. Your paddle is now the extension of your thoughts and you are using it to guide your canoe to keep you in track.

Now you have nothing to do except stay focused, relaxed and enjoy the journey, flowing with the energy of the water and the air to a new experience of your heart’s desire…

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.

A Mother’s Meditation

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I find meditation quite a challenge. Before children came into my life I never truly appreciated the moments of stillness that you can cultivate by sitting for a moment and just breathing.

Now I am an opportunistic meditator. I take it as it comes and delight in the free gifts of time that are handed to me. The wee hours of the morning (like right now – 3:30 am!) when my little one has woken me up (or when the rooster decides the day has started  – or both) and my brain kicks into gear. Sleep is usually all over for me at this point so why waste time tossing about in bed? I also  make wonderful use of the moments I spend in the car with two sleeping girls in the back while I am waiting to pick up my school boy. My craft, too, is an act of meditation. Rolling large pieces of felt is a repetitive task that lends itself well to letting your mind drift off into peaceful thoughts.

Anything tedious and repetitive is an opportunity to meditate! Stacking the dishwasher, hanging out the washing, mopping the floors … all wonderful opportunities to let your negative thoughts go and cultivate some light in the rhythm of your heart and your breath. And of course the plus side is that if you are meditating while doing housework your home benefits from all the love 🙂

I once had such a profoundly beautiful experience meditating with plants and I thank Ashra from MoonTree for this gift. Ashra was hosting a seasonal women’s festival day and I went along, for I was in such need of women’s company, and a whole day of spiritual nourishment. Ashra offered us her garden and we sat together and drank in the garden, growing living imaginings of the plants within us and listening to their stories. We sat together in front of a magnificent Grevillea plant and just appreciated it for the beautiful being it is.

It was that simple. We began admiring the plant, looking at it softly, breathing it in, asking if we could join it. Looking at it with love and openness before closing our eyes and continuing to see it in the same way within our hearts. We repeated this process, until before I knew it I was on that plant, a part of the spindly ends of the Grevillea leaf.

I was on the branch and just watching the plant and animal life do their things around me, and what I noticed most of all was the rhythms. Flowers budded, blossomed brilliantly, drooped and died. Leaves budded, unfurled and grew strong and green. Each plant with its own green, its own flower, doing it’s thing in its own time. Insects came, worked, shared, chatted and left. Birds fed from the flowers, called and sang and left. The plants around me grew, changed size, changed colour, flowered, fruited …like I was watching the world continue in time-lapse photography, but like a beautiful dance where each being knew what it had to do and did it because that was what it was supposed to to. Each living being did their thing, lived their rhythm, and did it dutifully and beautifully.

It was a gentle and gradual return to my physical presence. I became very aware of how stuck I felt at that point in time in my own physical existence. Of how I had been living my rhythm dutifully, but not beautifully. Going about my own daily life with resigned detachment at times, resentfulness at other times. Bitterness about how tired and hard-done-by I felt. Unappreciated.

I always talk about the importance of rhythm for children and parents, and most of the time I am pretty good at moving in a mindful and beautiful rhythm through our days and weeks – but the very nature of being human means we must experience contrast … and through this experience my RHYTHM had become a ROUTINE.  I was stuck in a cycle and the lack of beauty in the way I was moving through my life was hurting me. I was losing sleep, thinking bitter thoughts, suffering eczema, over reacting with the people I live with. The Grevillea had shared a moment of its life with me and reminded me that life goes on around me in a beautiful way, regardless of what I am experiencing now.

Through this meditation I experienced such a sense of peace and purpose. It happened at the same time I began the GAPS diet, at a time when I have really needed some focused healing. When Melissa, the ther half of Sacred Essence, collected some astoundingly beautiful Grevillea flowers for our circle the next night, I just had to share my experience with her. That evening Melissa led us through another meditative imagining with the plants and I was right back there. Melissa uses Australian Flower Essences in her therapeutic work – and phoned me the next day to let me know that Red Grevillea is a treatment plant for that feeling of being stuck – and also beneficial for eczema! I feel strongly that I connected with that healing during the meditation.

So it was a beautiful reminder to cultivate my daily life as a dutiful and beautiful dance, I am always looking out the window, or wandering outside, and although sometimes the opportunity to sit still eludes me in my busy days, I use those moments of otherwise ‘tedious’ work to reconnect with that experience, or to take a new plant into my heart and appreciate them for their story.

Three-fold Walking Meditation

This is the last post about Sacred Essence. Can you tell I found it an interesting night?!

We followed up the silk painting meditation and the story of Fundevogel with a walking meditation called “three-fold walking”. This is a meditation in movement in which we become aware of what is actually involved in the activity of lifting out feet in order to move forward. It took intense concentration, and I with my heavy sinuses and tiredness found it challenging to keep my balance as we walked so slowly in a circle around our candle. This is an excellent meditation to do by the light of the full moon, by the way!

Here is a description of the three-fold walking meditation:

1. The Decision to Move Forward.

Stand still and tall with your feet together. If possible do not look at them and instead just feel them. Feel them beneath you: trusty and strong, bearing and distributing your weight, meeting the earth beneath you and testing it for security. Our feet are so important to us and we very rarely give them much thought.

The first step begins with the decision to go somewhere. Some thought goes into this and the idea is followed through with lifting your knee – not your foot! Our knees are connected to our vision because they point us in the right direction. Our feet are aligned with our knees and if not for our knees and our vision we would not walk the path we need to! When the knee is lifted the heel is lifted too. The ball of your foot and your toes are still touching the ground.

2. The Commitment.

With your toes on the ground you are not yet committed to your decision to go. It requires trust that your decision to leave the place where you are grounded is the right one. What should happen when your foot leaves the earth? You will have one foot only on the earth, not a secure position of balance at all! Do you go forth and see what happens?

You do. Your knee lifts your toes and your foot moves through the air to land with your heel on the ground in front of your back foot. Your front foot now rolls from heel, to the ball of your foot, to your toes. Firmly on the ground now, but not firm enough. One foot in front of the other is not an aligned position for your body because you still have one foot left behind.

3. The Leap of Faith.

One foot is still placed where you were standing before. In order to actually move forward we need to make the decision to lift this foot and bring it forward. This means leaving our past behind us. If we remain in our past we become static, unchanging, immovable. Forward we must go!

Shifting your weight forward on your front knee, and lifting your back knee your back heel comes off the ground, followed by your toes and with the process begins again: the leap of faith. The only way forward is to trust to your inner guidance, knowing that where your foot lands will see you safe and moving in the direction you need to go. Your back foot swings past your front foot, which is now firmly planted and taking the weight of your whole body.

Moving forward in our lives, in any situation, begins with the intention to go somewhere. It begins with the (1) decision to do something, (2) the commitment to see it through, and (3) the trust that it is the right decision, without looking back, without regret.

Absolutely everything we decide happens in this way. One foot in front of another. If you have a tough decision to make, perhaps you could try a three-fold walking meditation and see what decision arrives from the experience. Often it does not matter what you decide to do, so long as you decide something and trust in your inner guidance to see it through.

Fundevogel

To continue describing the events of our Sacred Essence Women’s Circle the other evening, the silk painting meditation was followed by a storytelling session of the Grimm Brothers’ version of Fundevogel.

Fundevogel has always been one of my favourite stories, and the lines “Never leave me and I shall never leave you: Neither now nor ever” very nearly made it into my wedding vows. I believe that Fundevogel explores themes of trust and guidance.

To cut a beautiful traditional story short (I do recommend you read this one!), Fundevogel was a boy who was found in a bird nest and brought up by a kind family. The cook, however did not take a liking to him and he was mercilessly hunted by the cook and his helpers who wanted to put him in a pot and boil him. His adopted sister and closest friend Lena had an unshakable belief that all will be well and when she found out what the cook’s intentions were she informed Fundevogel what he needed to do to escape the peril. Together they transformed themselves into something beautiful that the cook’s helpers could not recognise: they searched everywhere but just could not see the beauty before them! Twice Fundevogel and Lena managed to escape before the cook came after them himself. Each time Lena calmly stated what they would do:

You be the rose-bush and I the rose upon it. The beautiful red rose growing in the middle of the woods clearly didn’t belong there but the mal-intenders did not recognise it and turned around.

You be the church and I the chandelier within it. An empty church with a chandelier in the middle of the wood – for goodness sake! It was not considered unusual, it was searched thoroughly and STILL the children were not recognised and were saved once more.

You be the pond and I the duck upon it. Finally the cook saw through this one but Lena didn’t blink an eye. She calmly solved that problem too (how? go find the story and read it!) and voila no more problem. Fundevogel and Lena were able to return to their house (their centre of being, their happiness, their comfort) and resume their direction in life.

My interpretation of the story is that we are Fundevogel. He represents us as we stumble through the woods in our responses to the problems we encounter: we need guidance if we are to address them. Lena is our inner guidance. She recognises when we are in trouble or are about to meet something that is going to disturb our lives and sets us in the right direction. She never once doubts that all will be well and she uses her imagination and speaks her intentions positively and clearly – and so it happens. When we imagine what we could do and project our positive intentions out into the world the negative cannot recognise us as victims and so it turns away. I am convinced that it CAN be as simple as that!

The meditation we followed this story with was a three-fold walking meditation. Coming in the next post 😉

Sacred Essence: Silk Painting Meditation

Last night during our Sacred Essence evening we worked with the theme of Intention. Melissa is having her babymoon, after the arrival of her little one two weeks ago and little Linden is very happy to stay at home with her daddy in the evenings and help her brother and sister go to bed so I was also well and truly flying solo last night.

We had three activities last night as part of our observance of the Intention theme. I want to write about each of them so that you may be able to share in the experience. It is too much for one blog … already I’ve written this post and have realised that I will need to break it into three parts. So the first part I will share with you was our silk painting meditation.

We began our evening with our artistic activity first last night. A change in the usual program, but necessary as the venue we use has had a change in the security system they use. The lights are automatically switched off at 8pm! So we did the work we needed light for first. The rest of the program we pretty much spend with our eyes closed either listening to a story or in meditation/reflection so lights were not needed and candle light was perfect 🙂

Our artistic exploration was silk painting last night. I sourced some beautiful hand-rolled habutai handkerchief silks, which we painted while wet. The purpose of the activity was not an exploration of colour or form. It was not an activity to purposefully create something beautiful, but to let go of all of those expectations and concentrate on the activity itself: to reflect upon how the activity feels so that we can bring awareness to our bodies and watch our bodies create something beautiful of their own accord. When we are aligned and peaceful in our energy and our thoughts then our bodies respond naturally in beautiful and harmonious movements. So I asked the participants to sit for a moment, making themselves comfortable and think of the following things as they worked:

How are we sitting in our chairs? Are our bodies comfortable? Is there any part of us that needs to be shifted, relaxed, straightened, in order to feel like we are sitting in a way that makes us feel alert and happy?

How do our bodies move as we begin painting? How does the brush feel in your hand? How softly can you hold it, and still control it? What does the brush do when you dip it into the water? How does the water respond?

When you choose your colour, how does the brush and colour meet and join? How then do they part as the colour is applied to the wet silk? How does the silk greet the colour as your brush moves over it? What happens when the salt is sprinkled over the colour?

It was challenging to let go of form and transform the experience into a meditation. I struggled with it myself as I was painting during the session. In fact I ended up crumpling the silk in my hands, not because I was unhappy with my efforts (which was not the purpose) but because I felt it would help me to let go of the form I had made. Applying salt to silk dye on wet silk changes everything you’ve done to it also: it draws the colour out of the silk, forming rivers of no colour, and concentrated spots of intense colour. Our silks were beautiful. I would have liked to spend more time on it, but I was conscious of being able to clear up before the lights went out!!

Such worldly interruptions to matters of spirit 🙂

April Sacred Essence

The cycle of the year has turned again

In autumn we prepare to turn within

It’s time to heed the call of Harvest Queen

And take stock of your crops and your blessings

Demeter, Mother of the Fertile Fields

Abundance of your food and wealth you yield

And in return we offer up to you

A count of our own blessings we made true

Many are the things we have achieved

From this success we save some special seeds

A plan for future projects and ideas

Grown from past joys and also from past fears

An honest look at all that we have learned

A celebration of the gifts we’ve earned

For well we know the surest way to wealth

It is the cultivation of one’s self

Poetry written by and copyright to Jennifer McCormack 2010

It is Sacred Essence Circle time again … this time we are Harvest Queens – be prepared to celebrate your Self and count your many many blessings in story, yoga, ritual, and craft.

This Circle we make an item that will make sure you never forget what a wonderful gift you are to the world!

You will need to bring with you a beautiful bead to give as a gift, and your yoga mat.

All women welcome:

Monday April 12

Silkwood Moonlight Prep Room

Shepherds Hill Lane, Mt Nathan, Gold Coast

7:00pm – 9:30pm

$20 per session or $45 for three sessions