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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in mindfulness

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

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The 30 Days of May ecourse has come to an end and the month of May itself is drawing to a rainy and humid close for me here in the Midwest, but one of the lessons that lingers for me was identifying the call of the "May Queen" in my life this month.

I have been working on a lot of projects, many exciting and some stressful, and I was feeling tense, taut, stressed, unhappy, unsettled, depressed and discouraged. On one of these stressful days, The Judgmental Committee in my head not only decreed that I was a bad mother, but also a bad friend, wife, daughter, and overall person.  I was feeling pulled between the needs of my older children, my baby, my work, and my business and ended up feeling as if I was not doing a good job with anything. And, then in response to the prompts from 30 Days of May, the May Queen delivered her message: Discernment. Much of life about wise discernment. I have a tendency to become dualistic in my thinking, either I DO IT or I QUIT IT FOREVER. At the same time, I am very harsh with myself at my perceived inability to “flow” and surrender. 

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Changes Surrounding the Vernal Equinox

As we entered into March, a strange energy overtook me.  Perhaps it was that, while the rest of the country remained captive of the snow and ice, the West coast has had a warm, early spring.  Perhaps it was, as some astrologers suggest, the Pegasus energy surrounding the eclipse on Ostara. 

Whatever the muse we attribute with providing motivation, I have felt an invigorating sense of determined purpose.  After years of plodding through a collaborative project, my co-author and I are nearly finished with the revised manuscript.  After years of a loss of mobility from a degenerative knee issue, I finally started taking my health seriously and used my new insurance to get physical therapy. 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

I just heard the single clearest description I've ever heard of how a witch's mind works.

It came from Harvard socio-psychologist Ellen Langer.

She's written lots of books and articles (I haven't read them). She's given lots of interviews, I'm sure (I've only heard one). But when I heard her speak, I immediately thought: this woman thinks like a witch.

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Pauline
    Pauline says #
    This study has held my interest for years. I have Wiccan friends.cant wait to read more.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

One of the common topics brought up in conversation with me is how I go about bringing my spiritual practice into my life in more authentic and regular ways. People remark that sometimes they feel like perhaps they're not as Pagan as they could/should be when they just do stuff eight times a year, or when they need to cast a spell or send healing energy. Here's at least one thing you can do to bring that spiritual path under your feet every day instead of just eight times a year.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Spiritual Scavenger

I’ve always wanted to be consistent. Walk one path with loyal dedication. But it was not to be.

Born with a perverse need to be both sceptical and spiritual, I have a checkered religious history. I’ve been a Jehovah Witness, Anglican altar girl, and agnostic (a few times). Twenty years ago though, I found Paganism. Instead of dogma and moralizing, it offered me a celebration of life and a treasure trove of symbols and traditions to explore.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • James  Tomlinson
    James Tomlinson says #
    Wonderfully and brilliantly shared. Thank you Archer.
  • Kari
    Kari says #
    Brilliant as always, Archer. I look forward to more of your musings...
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Archer, Thanks for sharing this! It gives me a better understanding of why so many Pagans have embraced Buddhist teachings and Yo

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Loblolly by the-specious@flickrI'm always reminding clients and students to use their totems, not just visit them in trance and arrange them just-so on altars. I don't know if it's a Western habit or a general human one, but it seems a constant reminder is needed that we have resources, we have help. Isn't that the crux of animism? We're not alone. We don't have to do everything alone.
 
One of the key components of shamanism that makes it viable is the engaging of totems in holding space, not just acknowledging them every now and then, but actually allowing them to help us create, hold, and be the space. Any time, any place.
 
Case in point: After a long hiatus from working out due to chronic health conditions, I've recently begun running again. It's been a long time since I've run, actually. Over the last two years I've done all sorts of other workouts sporadically, though managing acute asthma took a toll on sticking with consistent activity. In that timeframe my body has been telling me to run, and I've avoided doing so, partly out of sheer fatigue, but also out of fear, trepidation that I'd trigger the awful episodes I've worked so hard to control.
 
Last week I threw caution to the wind and decided it was time, not just to engage in duration exercise, but to do what my body has been telling me it wants to do: run. I've started with short duration and gone a little longer each day, climate-controlled, nice and tidy. The other day it was cool outside, so I ran outdoors. Once I got past the initial aches and moans of an asphalt half mile, I found my rhythm, then minor annoyances abated. However, other chatter began. My lungs began to burn and that familiar choking sensation crept through my airways, wrapped my throat, and I began coughing. I started stressing.
 
I slowed my pace but stayed moving, soothing the worried voice in my head. As I did, I noticed birds singing, a soft breeze blowing in the treetops, dogs barking, rasping cicada tymbals. I smelled pine, freshly mown grass.  Surrounded by Nature, I decided to take my own medicine. I realized my inherent soul connection to the elements around me, and thanked them for supporting me on my run. I invited them to tell me what they need from me, and was told to engage them again, and again. I really felt like I wasn't running through the elements, but with them, actively.
 
These weren't new spirit visitors or Nature friends. I've worked with many of them before in fleeting engagements. I honor them each time I create sacred space in my home because they are the Nature Spirits of my land, its Elders. However, bringing them into my daily routine was a vastly more validating experience, interactive not just in my senses, but my cells.
 
And yes, my breathing eased. I finished the run with no problem.
 
No, they weren't my personal totems. I don't have likenesses of loblollies or cicadas on my altar. The thing is, they don't have to be. Even in off-the-hook shamanist and totemist circles, there still pervades the idea that we're locked into certain totems, forever and always, that we can't just honor drive-by connections, or ones that suit specific circumstances. Such limitation is what inhibits deep animistic connections. It's just too easy to move through the space around us and not notice all the support that's there. Yet it's equally easy to pause for a second and consider the spiritual surroundings, the waiting support.
 
I say it over and over, but the hardest part of mindfulness and forging an authentic spiritual path is to remember to pause.  When we remember the pause, we recall to choose how we move forward.

SoulIntentArts.com

I haven't run outdoors since, but I will. I have, however, driven through my neighborhood every day, seeing it, hearing it, experiencing it with different appreciation, a fuller sense of being.
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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

Phoenician Goddess c. 2500 BCEShe was standing in line at the deli counter when it happened. Out of nowhere, for no reason at all, she felt something take over her breathing.

Later, she might wonder whether she’d been looking at one too many Venus figurines for her online archeology course.

But now her mind, as it had for days, weeks, decades on end, was chattering non-stop, yammering thoughts (judgments, really) through circles within never-ending cycles of not-good-enough. Such had been her life, so-called, whatever you would call absenting yourself from actual contact with the world's flavors, textures, and other trinkets of sensation. Certainly her world — although some might call it sterile — was neat, tidy, clean.

She wasn't discontent with her circumstances. Any time she had peeked out of her circumscribed la-la-land, however arid — and, to her credit, she had attempted several sorties — she'd encountered bits of barbed wire in her milk, darts flying through the air, cutlery strewn across the sidewalk. In her, yes, limited experience, the world was not a friendly place. If her existence within her self-imposed isolation was a bit lonely, actually loveless, at least she was safe. Trips to the grocery store and library were adventures enough.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Lisa Sarasohn
    Lisa Sarasohn says #
    Lovely, Lizann! Thanks for your response.
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Lovely! Thank you for these holy words! From my "In Praise of Aging" series, my own belly reflection.... In Praise of Aging T
  • Lisa Sarasohn
    Lisa Sarasohn says #
    Synchronicity, such a pleasure, such a grace. The Divine's style of event planning? All of which is to say: Emily, thanks so muc
  • Emily Mills
    Emily Mills says #
    This is beautifully written, and I can close my eyes and meditate. I read Buddhist books sometimes and I was reading about the con

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