Into The Stillness


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Photo by Leah Schroeder

I dive deep into this quiet place, the void, the nothingness and infinite possibilities all at the same time.

I sit in this stillness, allowing myself to grieve lives lost, relationships that have fallen away as I have opened up to allow my light to shine.

In this space in time I shed old energy.  I observe my reactions and emotions to events around me.

I sit in stillness, listening for the insights to guide me beyond this present moment.

In this moment, I recognize I have temporarily moved into the shadows.  It feels like a rubber band being pulled back, so that once released will fly forward with tremendous force and momentum.

I sit in stillness, being, breathing, feeling the peace in this space in time.

I am the bud of a flower.  I am growing, shifting, and changing, ready for the perfect moment to explode open with brilliant colour, light and beauty.

I sit in stillness, discovering this spiritual being within this physical body, this being that is so much bigger and brighter than the physical container that holds it.

I am love, contained for the moment within this vessel, allowing space to refill so there is more to give to others as I begin to overflow again.

I sit in stillness, appreciating this gift.  At first I resisted this experience, trying to figure out the why of it all.  I have shifted into acceptance and peace.

I have surrendered to the flow of life.

I sit in stillness, embracing the beauty of this moment with love and gratitude.

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE?

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Leah Schroeder is a Reiki Master, Integrated Energy Therapy® Master-Instructor, and ThetaHealing® Practitioner, www.lifeforcehealingservices.ca .  “I was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. For most of my life this has been and currently is the place I call home. I spent 17 years working in Financial Services.  A strong sense that there is something more I am supposed to do in the world, a fascination with energy and a series of intuitive nudges have led me to begin practising Reiki ,  ThetaHealing®, and IET®. I have a desire to learn, practice, and teach other healing modalities, empowering others to help shift the consciousness of humanity.  I am grateful for the opportunity to share my thoughts and stories with you.”

Let Your Light Shine


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Photo by Leah Schroeder

The longest night has passed and more light is coming in as we move towards the Full Moon which falls on Christmas Day this year. This has been a powerful year and the energy continues to build as we move towards its end.

Every Full Moon and New Moon this year have been powerful times of releasing old energy and those things which no longer serve us. This has been happening within each of us whether we are conscious of it or not. It has been happening on a larger global scale as well.

Reflecting on some recent past events, here in Canada we had a significant federal election a few months ago. There was a last “fight” to hold on by the strong masculine power base and a hugely profound energetic shift on Election Day as that old energy was released to make way for the divine feminine; an energy of connection and collaboration. This energetic shift was felt not only here in Canada, but rippled around the world. The light continues to flow in as actions are being taken to build relationships, particularly with indigenous people to create space for healing and to move forward in a new way.

Even more recently, we can reflect on the events that happened in Paris. Although there are still those that want to stir up fear and hate and the illusion of separateness, there was an outpouring of love and compassion. There was also recognition that this was not the only event that happened at that time and the love spread to other areas of the world where people lost their lives.

Some have stirred up fear of welcoming and embracing Syrian refugees, and felt we shouldn’t welcome them into our countries. Once again more have responded with love and compassion to look beyond ourselves and open our doors and our hearts to these people who so desperately need a safe place to live. As the first refugees arrived they were greeted with joy and open arms, welcoming them to their new home.

With some of these global events, there has been a backlash against Muslim people. They have feared for their safety, even here in North America. Again, people have come together in various ways to show love and compassion. Examples of this are stories of people offering to walk Muslim women and children to school to protect them from bullying, communities visiting local mosques to show solidarity, and I am sure there are many other examples.

I feel that more and more we are moving towards recognizing our connection to each other. We may have different beliefs, cultural practising, skin colour, but at our core we are all spiritual beings, connected to and a part of one source that goes by whatever name one chooses to call it. As we have different organs and systems that make up our physical body, we all have our place within the body of humanity. Humanity has its place along with the plant and animal life of the planet along with the living systems of the land and water, to make up the body of the Earth. The Earth, along with the other planets and the Sun make up the body of the solar system. The solar system is part of the body of the Galaxy, and the Galaxy along with other galaxies is part of the Universe. In turn, all aspects of ourselves and our place in the Universe are reflections of, or expressions of, God, Creator, Universal Consciousness, or Source Energy – whatever name you choose to identify with. So we all matter and are all connected.

As we look within and release the old energy, it is time for us to allow our inner light to shine and step fully into our divine calling. The Full Moon on Christmas with families coming together will likely be an intense and possibly challenging time for many. I believe there will also be a greater flow of light coming in to assist all of us with our shift in consciousness. It is the Christ Consciousness of love and peace.

Look within to the dark places and the shadows within yourself. Shine light on those places and surround them with love. See your entire being fill with love and peace. Allow love and peace to be what flows out from you to those around you, and create space to share your light with others. That light will ripple out and spread as you share it. It is time to shine.

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE?
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Leah Schroeder is a Reiki Master, ThetaHealing® and Integrated Energy Therapy® Practitioner, http://www.lifeforcehealingservices.ca . “I was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. For most of my 49 years this has been and currently is the place I call home. I spent 17 years working in Financial Services. A strong sense that there is something more I am supposed to do in the world, a fascination with energy and a series of intuitive nudges have led me to begin practising Reiki , ThetaHealing®, and IET®. I have a desire to learn and practise other healing modalities, as well as serve children and empower young women around the world. I am grateful for the opportunity to share my thoughts and stories with you.”

Love, Joy and Peace


Photo by Leah Schroeder

Photo by Leah Schroeder

In the news, and through social media, I see so many people talking about fighting. We go to war with people of differing beliefs or who have what we want. We fight for our rights, for land, for water. We fight against the things we don’t want to see in our world. We fight against oil pipelines, big corporations, and the government. We fight against GMO’s, for or against vaccinations, use of pesticides, global warming. We battle cancer, we fight for a cure. We battle with our weight, our appearance and self-image, depression. We fight to hold onto what we think we don’t want to lose.

As we are fighting all these things in the world around us, we carry that energy within. We hold onto anger and resentment towards others. It is like razor sharp shards of glass being ripped through our bodies as we hold that negative energy. And we wonder why we get sick. We wonder why we are developing allergies and food intolerances and cancer. We wonder why, when we continue to fight, it seems that there are more of these things we are fighting.

I have had many people come into my life to teach me to love myself and to open my heart. I don’t know if I really understood this until I got involved in planning the Mother Earth Gathering Womyn of All Nations, this spring. At the forefront of all of our planning discussions, was the understanding of our connection to each other, to the earth, water, and to Spirit. We understood that it was important for us to hold an intention of love in order for healing to happen on all levels. We talked about learning to love and honour ourselves and each other. The love energy that was created in this single event was powerful beyond measure. I am in awe of this every time I think of it.

A short time ago one of my cousins passed away very suddenly. When I think of her, I picture a woman who radiated love. Her family is one of the closest families I know of. Her relationship with her husband and children was filled with love and joy. She loved God. She shared her love, compassion and kindness with everyone she came in contact with. Is there a greater legacy to leave behind than a life filled with so much love?

I recently participated in a Global Peace Meditation. There will be several more this year, as people around the globe come together to meditate. The message prior to the meditation talked about finding peace within, in order for peace to happen outside ourselves. Being at peace and connecting with others holding the same energy vibration around the world was so powerful. As with peace, as we learn to love ourselves, that love will be reflected outward and shift the energy far beyond our understanding.

I have been doing my best to continue to hold the vibration of love created at the Gathering in June. I chose to spend my summer in a place that supports this energy vibration. I look around me and see the beauty of the Earth. I find joy in simple things like walking barefoot in the grass. I feel so much love for the deer I see almost every day. I stop and greet them as I walk by during the day. I find so much joy in these regular encounters. I put my hands on the Earth yesterday to send love to the turtle eggs buried in the yard. I was surprised at the warmth radiating from the soil over the eggs. It was beautiful!

I hold love and gratitude for the friendships I have developed in the past year or so. There are so many amazing, beautiful people that have lifted me up and share this beautiful energy.

When we shift to hold love, joy, and peace, within every fibre of our being that is when the world will change. That is when the Earth and the Water will heal and return to being in balance. That is when we will heal. Some say, we need to do this or that before we can get there. I believe, all that is necessary is to focus on love and joy and peace. First within, and then let that flow out. That is all. There is nothing more powerful.

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE?
Please do! Just be sure to include this complete blurb with it:

Leah Schroeder is a Reiki Master, ThetaHealing® and Integrated Energy Therapy® Practitioner, http://www.lifeforcehealingservices.ca . “I was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. For most of my 48 years this has been and currently is the place I call home. I spent 17 years working in Financial Services. A strong sense that there is something more I am supposed to do in the world, a fascination with energy and a series of intuitive nudges have led me to begin practising Reiki , ThetaHealing®, and now IET®. I have a desire to learn and practise other healing modalities, as well as serve children and empower young women around the world. I am grateful for the opportunity to share my thoughts and stories with you.”

Learning to Love the Empty Space


Photo by Ellen Anne Burns

“This feeling of lack creates dis-ease in us all. Some fill the hole inside with things, some with alcohol or drugs, some sex, others status and big bank accounts, on and on….. This is the root of all suffering. Instead of trying to fill the hole inside, we must learn to love this empty space. This is the path to peaceful existence.” Pamela Carr

There are many times in life when we feel a sense of lack. A sense of longing. A sense of something missing. Or maybe it’s a sense of boredom, or loneliness, discontent, lack of excitement….there are many ways we can experience want in our lives. If we don’t have enough money, enough friends, a successful enough career, we can feel this sense of absence…And this can happen on a daily basis.

Sometimes I find it really easy to rest with this space, sometimes I desperately desire it: solitude and contemplation…As an adult with two children and a very busy lifestyle, I often remember with longing those teenage summers I spent as a young woman, I did not have as many friends as I would have liked and my social life was lacking, I seemed to spend hours in the garden reading, or staring out my window at night, dreaming of an imagined future full of excitement and romance…I used to get butterflies imagining what my future lover might be like, or where we might go, what I might do with my life. But this was a bittersweet time. As an adult I can look back on it, and wish I had enjoyed the languor of those long, hot summers. Of course at the time I was probably feeling quite sorry for myself, I wanted the future to start already! Now! Now! Now!

As I grew older and started to realise a lot of those longings, the feelings of want were filled with a lover, or an adventure and from a much too early age, alcohol – such was and unfortunately still is, to a large extent, the culture in Northern Ireland. It has taken me such a long time to understand that these feelings, these desires and wants and needs can never really truly be filled…. I spent a long time trying to fill them with lovers or with glasses of wine, with friends, nights on the town or with my career, my pregnancies, my children.

More recently I have found a great peace in spiritual awakening, meditation, and increasing self-love has provided a deep sense of peace that not even my lover, and certainly not a glass of wine, could fulfil on a permanent basis.

Yet an even more recent realisation relates to the wonderful words quoted above. There really is no magic remedy to fill this place of longing, this ‘empty space’. We will always want more, better…the magic key is in learning to love the feelings of emptiness themselves sometimes. It can be oh so beautifully filled by your new pregnancy, your new born baby, or a wonderful partner to gently travel through life with, and a mellow glass of wine of an evening can be delicious – and this is all to be delighted in and to be supremely grateful for. But at the root of it all is yourself, your own heart and soul, your own darkness and your own moods and nature, influences and circumstances.

From now on, when I feel that emptiness, that longing, that want – I am going to love it and accept it with all my heart and not look for anything or anyone to fill it. I will just let it be there.

Love ellen xx

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE?

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Dr. Ellen Anne Burns is an actress, writer, mother, teacher, and student, not necessarily in that order. She was brought up in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where she has just completed her PhD in Applied Drama. She believes in a holistic spiritual practice, involving meditation, self love and discovery, learning and practicing forgiveness, gratitude and love every day. Ellen wishes to support and guide others on their own journey of self and love, especially with a view to romantic relationships. She is a mentor on Gabrielle Bernstein’s-HerFuture.com and is thrilled to be one of the founding members of The Daily Sisterhood Blog. If you wish to contact Ellen please message her here, and she will respond as soon as she can.

Choosing Peace, Presence and Acceptance


copy of original work by Jennifer Bothast

What does it mean to live with gratitude? What does it mean to be present? Does it mean I don’t still complain about perceived problems or global injustice? Does it mean I just flit and float, happy all the time? Does it mean I don’t worry about losing my job and not having health insurance?

It is a nice concept to think I might graciously accept every circumstance, to never be emotionally hijacked or become anxious or impatient, but that isn’t my truth.

I used to go to various websites and read stories of enlightened teachers and think yes, someday I will reach that height and I won’t be wallowing in this place anymore. I used to think peace was a destination and that someday I would finally arrive. Like ascending out of Dante’s Inferno, I would climb my way out through treacherous locked doorways, and then, finally then, I would be happy.

Well at this point of my journey I will share with you some truths I have come to know and feel. Peace isn’t the destination. It is the grateful acceptance of where you are now. Just understanding the lessons learned from previous experiences doesn’t guarantee you won’t repeat the same mistakes at least to some degree. Knowing there is a better way to handle or accept any given situation doesn’t necessarily mean you will make the right choice every time. It does mean, however, that you might more easily recognize your misstep after the fact.

I am just a human being. I still make mistakes..daily. I still get frustrated. I still can become anxious or fearful or overwhelmed. But I do find that I am grateful for the lessons inherent in each situation, even if it is only after I have gotten to the other side of the problem. I’m not just grateful for the solution, I’m grateful for the problem because without it, I might have missed the lesson. It does mean too, that I don’t as easily identify so completely with the problem that I am unable to see the bigger picture. Even at my lowest point, I am rarely drowning in it. I have become much better aware of the perspective in it all. Maybe that, in itself, is part of some transcendence.

I work primarily with sick and frail older adults in a long term care facility. Sometimes I can walk down the hall and I swear I can feel their perceived pain, how lost in their own private hells they have become. I can almost see them in a cyclone of misery, spinning in a perceived isolated pattern. I reach out, but sometimes people are so comfortable with their pain that any assistance offered is a threat to their identity and it is rejected summarily.   And so I have to keep walking, help when and who I can and then keep moving. I can live by example, I can lend a hand to help someone else climb out, but I won’t go into that hell with them, I won’t completely surround myself with the darkness.

Maybe that is what is meant by the song lyric in Amazing Grace.. “I was blind but now I see.”  Another way to say it might be, “I have been lost in darkness but now I can recognize and accept the light.” I have known that place and I won’t crawl back in there. Perhaps I am only strong enough at this point so as to expect to meet at the halfway point. I expect the person I am trying to help actually wants to be helped; otherwise we both just end up frustrated. The physical pain might be masked with a pill, but the emotional pain is a much heavier weight and being locked in the mind is a prison the victim has to want to be freed from.

I saw something the other day on the internet explaining the amazing electrical and magnetic power of the heart. It described the heart as having thousands of times the power of the mind. The mind can be a great tool, but left unchecked, it is the most vicious prison guard.

I find it easier to be grateful to explore with feelings rather than analyzing options. You have to not just think outside the box, but unlock yourself from the box entirely and take a deep breath on the other side. Being quiet in nature is an absolutely amazing key to do this. I have taken many a patient outside in their wheelchairs to just listen to the birds, to see all the green life, to smell the sunshine and feel the warmth of it on their face. There is so much healing power in realizing our connectedness with that!

Being grateful and being present isn’t hard at all to do, even if it is only accomplished in spurts. The opportunity to choose light is around us each moment every day, regardless of the circumstance. It’s all perceived illusion anyway. You choose whether you want to be imprisoned or not. I absolutely believe we make that choice. And if a person can simply choose to be happy, to be grateful, to be present, in any and every moment, regardless of physical circumstance, why would they choose otherwise?

Remember we are all connected, just a single drop in a wellspring. If each of us can choose to love instead of being ruled by fear, imagine what an amazing illusion this existence would be! I can’t go around like some sort of mythic superhero trying to change the world. I can’t reach in and exhaust myself trying to pull every soul out of each imprisoned mind. But I can, to the best of my current ability, be the change I want to see by consciously choosing love over fear with each encounter.

I may not yet be a steady lit candle in the darkness, but I am like the lightning bug on a warm, summer evening, pulsing light seen and unseen. I’m working on it.  I’m not lost. I am just doing my best to breathe in the fragrance of the magnolia tree and float along without being too attached to the problem or the outcome. I have learned to trust, to reach out with my heart, to others as well as to myself. And I am ever so grateful for the opportunity.

There is no great secret, no special formula to follow, strict diet to eat or religious dogma to follow. That stuff might help, but it isn’t the end all be all. Don’t get caught up in reaching some mythical destination. Be patient and forgiving of yourself as well as others. Just be here right now. Take a deep breath in stillness and be here.

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I am a 42 year old mother of 3, living in Florida with my partner and youngest child. Like the mythological phoenix, I have been reborn out of the ashes of my former way of life and have, for the last several years, set out on an exploration of self expression through visual art and creative writing. I am immensely grateful to feel a part of every living thing in existence and the emergence of a growing evolution of consciousness within and throughout. I am interested in all aspects of energy healing and spiritual transformation and have just recently become a student of Reiki. I understand there is always a choice and I try to choose love over fear at every turn. I am grateful for all of the other women in this group and for their ever present support and guidance. Jennifer Bothast

There is nothing wrong!


There was a moment in the park today, while I was playing with my son. I had a big flash of insight. I thought, right now, in this moment, there is nothing wrong. There is nowhere else I should be, there is nothing else I would rather be doing, I am not longing for anything, missing anyone, worrying about anything, anticipating or remembering. All there is is now. Right now. And this is absolute sublime perfection.

I really got what it means to living in the present moment  – and it is the only place to be

Photo taken by Ellen Anne Burns

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE?

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Dr. Ellen Anne Burns is an actress, writer, mother, teacher, and student, not necessarily in that order. She was brought up in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where she has just completed her PhD in Applied Drama. She believes in a holistic spiritual practice, involving meditation, self love and discovery, learning and practicing forgiveness, gratitude and love every day. Ellen wishes to support and guide others on their own journey of self and love, especially with a view to romantic relationships. She is a mentor on Gabrielle Bernstein’s-HerFuture.com and is thrilled to be one of the founding members of The Daily Sisterhood Blog. If you wish to contact Ellen please message her here, and she will respond as soon as she can.

Serenity


Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Over the past week or so, one of the hardest lessons I have had to learn is to trust those around me.
Like many, I have developed a pattern of taking everything that I deem as essential onto my own shoulders. Whenever tasks absolutely HAVE to be accomplished, I do them myself. Increasingly I have gotten better at working in a team, but because I like to be in charge of my own destiny, the balance of entrusting another person with my own well being is not one that comes naturally to me anymore.
In the past two weeks, control over my destiny has been placed substantially out of my own reach. I don’t have full vision of what I am going through. There is very little that I can do to change things.
The habit of taking full responsibility and full ownership for one’s own future is a very powerful one, but what the Universe is clearly teaching me right now is that there’s a time and a place for it. Rather, you can take responsibility without actually isolating yourself – by reaching out to those you know can help you, and then actually allowing them to do so.

I refer again to the Serenity Prayer.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

…accept the things I cannot change…
What can’t I change? What has happened is as a direct result of my work as a trade union representative. I could have changed being a union representative, and therefore not been victimised, but I don’t regret that choice. My work with my union has probably been the most rewarding work of my life. So I accept that I made that choice.
Do I, by extension, have to accept that trade union representatives just get victimised? Well, I can’t accept that.
A running theme in my inner struggles seems to be that I have two different understandings of what I can and cannot change. There’s the things I’ve been told I can and cannot change. On the surface, I believe them. However, from inside my core there is a groundswell saying I can change, or help to change, a lot of what I’ve been told I can’t change. Which is probably why I often feel I am running in the face of the Serenity Prayer, setting out to change the things I cannot change.
The truth is deeper – the Serenity Prayer is just one aspect of truth. It’s like most pieces of wisdom in that respect. This doesn’t make them any less wise.

So the thing I can’t change, then, is that going through struggles like this will be an inevitable aspect of continuing to work on changing the things I can change. Maybe that’s where serenity comes in. Knowing that I’m going to have to rely on and trust the people around me, my allies, without whom I couldn’t even begin to attempt to make all the changes I want to see in the world.
What I do know is that if I come out of this with a deeper ability to trust my friends and allies, then this was already a struggle worth experiencing. Maybe that’s what they mean when they say that what doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger. We have to allow our struggles permission to strengthen us.

FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Be the coffee beans and change the water… http://www.learningplaceonline.com/living/inspiration/cup-coffee.htm