Living in Inspiration

I feel a bit like a neglectful mother – and this blog is my poor neglected child! I’ve missed you lavendilly!

I’ve been busy lavishing my attention over at Sacred Essence – a place that is currently the wellspring of inspiration for Melissa and I. We are taking our women’s circles to a new level and providing resources through our blog so that women who cannot attend our circles can share in the growth and expansion that happens as a result of all this inner work we are doing together. Another bonus is for women who were able to attend will also be able to continue feeding their inspirations until the next circle, so in the meantime they can have a play with the ideas and projects we began, and together we may return to the next circle ready to expand a little more!

You can find on our blog a copy of the story Sir Gawain and the Loathely Lady, along with an interpretation and a record of our experience with that story, also a beautiful prayer to Self that we adapted from one written by Marianne Williamson, and a little about our beautiful crowns we made.

Our return to circles this year happened last week and I’ve been buzzing ever since. I invite you to pop over to Sacred Essence to read about what we are doing together – and in a moment I will be putting up a post on how we made our beautiful crowns so that you can make one to! Just keep checking back … the post is written …. but the camera isn’t being cooperative and doesn’t want to take any photos for me 🙂

In a shameless attempt at self-promotion, we have the opportunity for you to follow our Sacred Essence blog via email – and we are also on Facebook, as I cannot seem to wean myself from this very convenient form of connection with other people – I might as well use it for some good purpose! We’d really love to share our experiences with you, and would love your feedback also. If you would like to attend our next circle it will be on MONDAY 9TH MAY at 7pm – straight after Mothers Day …. can you guess the theme for our next circle??? haha! That’s right! We will be celebrating motherhood!

In the meantime I have something exciting to share with you about recent experiences with children’s behaviour at home … and strangely (and totally co-incidentally) this came up in conversation during our last circle too! So my next post here will describe the activities of my own gallant knight, Sir Kaelan and his chivalrous deeds.

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Self-Indulgent Beltaine Fun!

Sacred Essence Women’s Circle is this coming Monday night, 8th November and we’ll be having a bit of girly fun this night …. I”m talking pampering with home-made organic face masks, massage, chocolate coated strawberries – and of course a story and meditation also. This time, if the night is clear I am planning a moonlight meditation walk! It is going to be lots of fun girls and bookings are essential so let me know if you are coming!!

Sacred Essence Women’s Circle

Monday 8th November

7pm

$20 or $45 for three sessions

Silkwood School Moonlight Prep Room

39 Shepherd Hill Lane, Mt Nathan

Bookings: please contact me at

jennifer@ceremonieswithspirit.com

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 Monday 9th August

A note from Melissa Joss …

I’m excited! This month I am spreading this wonderful, inspiring and treasured work with my beloved women to Brisbane’s northside. Since i’m heavily pregnant and fast approaching my due date in very early – I hope- Spring, I think it may be my last month of action for a while so I’m planning a couple of big, beautiful, sacred women’s circles.

This month we are celebrating what it means to be a woman, in all our glory!

In the spirit of self care and gentleness we will soothe our minds, calm our senses, relax our bodies and attune to ourcreativity and sacredness as women… together.

I would love so much for you to come and join me in uplifting, soulful music, a meditation journey, some gentle yoga and creative arts with clay for this beautiful evening of celebration of our divine womanliness!!

For your reading pleasure and a bit of a taste, here is our Blessing:

We are women of the earth

Unified here in sacred space

Wisdom calls us here together

To this circle, our field of grace

Here we embrace one another

And I lovingly nurture my Self

Uncovering our truths and our gifts

We give thanks for all of life’s wealth

Divine Mother send us your blessing

As we awaken our Feminine Spirit this night

May we be strong and free and courageous

And walk in the path of great light.

(Melissa Joss, 2009)

The first of these events is to be held

Monday evening 9th August

Moonlight Prep Room, Silkwood School, Mt Nathan

7pm til 9pm

Cost is $20. All materials provided.

Please bring a yoga mat if you have one, cushion and warm shawl/blanket.

Email me to reserve your place: melissa@myshatherapy.com

Sacred Essence Monday 12th

It is time for our monthly dose of sacred women’s work!!  Sacred Essence is on again – but more than likely without me 🙂 Maybe I’ll pop along as a participant for a change!! In the light of my last post I urge you to go along for some nurturing ‘ME’ time.

Melissa has sent out this message about our next circle :

Our next circle will be held this coming Monday 12th July, 7pm at our usual
venue – Moonlight Prep Room, Silkwood School, Mt Nathan.

With Jen awaiting the arrival of their third beautiful child in this very
same week, I will be flying solo this time round.

I thought it fitting therefore, that we take the opportunity to honour
ourselves for all the challenges we take on!… and spend a little time
working on our feelings of empowerment.

Join me in song, yoga, meditation
and creative arts on this evening of self nourishment!  It is promised to be
a night to commune with your fellow sisters, to relax, as well as uplift and rejuvenate your soul!

Please send me a reply email or text if you would like to come.

Cost is $20
per evening or three for $45.
BYO yoga mat, cushion and warm shawl/blanket.  All materials and
refreshments provided.

Feel free to pass this on to friends and family who may be interested.

Warmest wishes,
Melissa

melissa@myshatherapy.com

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

The Crone’s Eyes … and My Tummy …

Last night was our Sacred Essence Evening – and ah! I slept so well afterwards. Better than I have in ages. Melissa’s yoga and chakra balancing meditation was so soothing and healing for my body, the story was a fascinating modern fairytale and the needle felting (and the conversation that goes along with it) was a wonderful creative meditation too.

The story I told is called The Crone’s Eyes. You can find it within a book I highly recommend reading: The Forgotten Garden, by Kate Morton (published by Allen and Unwin, 2008). I have been trying to choose stories that sit with you for a while, revealing layers of meaning the longer you ponder them. I just love the way I can tell a story in the circle, and each woman gains something different from it – often a perspective I had not considered will arise.

When we read stories to ourselves, we create meaning by associating the events of the story, and the feelings of the protagonists, to our own experiences. I am not saying you will LOVE The Crone’s Eyes, as perhaps you may not be able to relate to it, but I am pretty certain that everyone can find a deeper meaning in this particular story. I planned to tell this story about a month ago, but it wasn’t until the day before our circle that I really understood why it came to me. This often happens to me a few days before I am due to publicly tell a story!

To me, this particular story highlighted how much there is in front of us that we do not see – and that we do not need to rely on our vision to see it!

My message came in loud and clear the other evening when an acute bout of abdominal pain (that was quickly and lovingly treated by my midwife) gave me an ultimatum: listen to your body or your body will protest!

Yes, I have been ignoring those little whispers of intuition for some time. It is mostly connected with food. When I reach for particular foods there is a ‘twinge’ or a hesitation deep within me, and sometimes I can even feel my lungs wince as I touch the food, or even when I think of it … and yet I will continue and happily munch away. Yum.

Well my digestive organs had the last word and now not only may I not eat the foods I KNOW I should avoid … there seems to be a whole lot more on the list now too! So here is my opportunity for some creative gluten-, dairy-, nightshade-, soy-free cooking! There are a few more miscellaneous foods on the list, and a couple of items I should even avoid touching at the moment.

Time to embrace brown rice and develop a taste for buckwheat 🙂

I had fun today giving myself little tests – reaching for, or even just thinking about, items of food and seeing how I react inside. Sure enough that my body told me what was what. My lungs screamed loudly as I reached for the cheese (I love cheese!) and a pain in my side reappeared when I thought about the delicious bread I had been making for my family for a while.

I’ve been on this eating regime before – not as severe as it is currently – and I remember feeling sooo good and almost entirely ridding myself of any traces of asthma. I’m looking forward to being in that place of health again, and looking forward to the challenge of being creative with my cooking.

We really do rely upon our eyes for evidence and fact, don’t we? But sometimes we can look and look in front of us, and the thing we are looking for just IS NOT THERE until someone else points it out to us … in the most obvious place. What has been dancing about before you that you simply cannot see with your eyes?

Blessingway Felting Party.

At the end of last year I helped Sarah celebrate the coming of her second baby, both in my role as a Celebrant, and as a felting teacher – together we organised a Mama Blessing felting party.

We began with the ceremony, an intimate circle of friends sitting in the shade, celebrating Sarah as the Mama of Honour. We journeyed through a visualisation into a sharing and the expressing of our deepest wishes for Sarah, and the blessings she has shared as a friend over the years she has known each of the guests. It was very moving, very beautiful.

After the ceremony we helped to decorate the felt that I had made for Sarah as a wall hanging to decorate the space she intended to birth in at home. Each one of her friends and family used the felting needles to add designs such as flowers, hearts and little pictures symbolic of their relationship to Sarah. These designs decorated the outer border of her wall hanging.

I couldn’t help myself … and at the end of the blessingway I was still adding things, touching up designs, making sure they were felted in well enough to last many years.

My favourite thing about the felting activity was watching the women move through barriers to their creativity. Needle felting is such a wonderful way to begin expressing yourself visually – all you need to do is pick up a needle and some fleece and start felting! You do not need to feel pressure to make anything brilliant because any design that you create blends in with all the others to make a truly community design … and if you really and truly do not like it – you can take it off and start again!! It was wonderful to see each person find their confidence in design … and there is always one that cannot put the needle down and becomes addicted to creating little patterns and pictures all over the place 🙂

If you are interested in organising a felting party for your special function, please visit Lavendilly Fibre Arts or contact me here at this blog.

This is also an example of the portrait felting workshop I am hosting in March!

SACRED ESSENCE WOMEN’S CIRCLE February

Next Monday Sacred Essence continues to offer nurturing and time for reflection.


We will wrap you in a cocoon of love as we show you how to apply (and experience) the art of healing compresses. These compresses work on your nervous and metabolic system as a healing wrap, a prevention of stress, and a soothing experience of relaxation.

We will also be contemplating LOVE in a Valentines meditation:

Love for self and love for others,

With a creative experience of needle felting to finish with.

Sacred Essence Women’s Circle

Monday 8th February

7pm start

Silkwood School Moonlight Prep Room

$20 per session or $45 for three sessions

Please bring with you:

– a single bed sheet

– yoga mat

– pillow

– image or object representing a loved one

RSVP Friday 5th February