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.

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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.”

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Lessons From A Challenging Journey


Morning Fog off Rennie River - Photo by Leah Schroeder

Morning Fog off Rennie River – Photo by Leah Schroeder

During the Womyn’s Gathering I participated in recently, a group of us hiked to a sacred site called Tie Creek.  I wrote about this place last year.

It was a difficult trek.  It is approximately 10 km each way.  We left before lunch and I didn’t have time to pack much to eat.  I had some flax crackers, sunflower seeds and a bottle of water.

We gathered on the bridge over the waterfall and began our journey through a forested area. There were a lot of Mosquitos.  We had to walk fast to keep from being bitten.  It was a warm day, but long pants and sweaters were needed for protection from the bugs.

More than 3/4’s of the way to Tie Creek, we arrived at what is known as the Sounding Stone.  It is like a gateway to Tie Creek.  There are two large boulders that mark this entrance,  the first one is the Sounding Stone.  Here, an offering of tobacco is placed and a prayer made to set the intention for one’s visit to this sacred place.  It is said when you clap on the rock with your hand or another rock, if it doesn’t sound, you don’t have permission to proceed.  When it sounds, particularly when using a small rock, it almost sounds like the beat of a large drum.  This can also be considered an announcement of your presence, to let the spirits know you are on your way.

From this point, our journey became a bit more challenging.  I felt we needed to turn to the left, but others felt the obvious path to the right was the correct way to go.   Maybe there are a few ways to get to our destination.  We followed this path, and part way through waded through a boggy area, followed by a short open area & then came to the entrance of more forest.  This didn’t feel right.  We turned around and went all the way back to the Sounding Stone to search for another way.  We looked along the tree line to the left, but couldn’t see an opening for a path.  I knew there was a reason we were finding this so challenging.

We followed the first path again, continuing to search along the tree line for an opening.  The guide and I went ahead to see if we could find the right way, but ended up turning back.  It was quite warm out and everyone was getting tired.  We must have been walking back and forth from the Sounding Stone for about half an hour.  We went back to the Sounding Stone one more time.  This time I walked closer to the tree line.  There was a lot of dead trees fallen over.  I stood in front of one fallen tree and looked beyond it through the trees.  This time the path showed itself to me.  I could see through to the other side where there was rocky ground.  This is what I was looking for.

Several people had turned around and went back to the gathering site by this time. There were still 15 of us who continued on.  When we got to the fence that surrounds Tie Creek – a 10-12′ high chain link fence with barbed wire around the top and bottom (no one has a clear explanation as to why this sacred place needs this – something the government put up).  We didn’t have a key, so we found a spot where there was enough of an opening between the bottom of the fence and the ground.  A few of us held up the fence and one person held up the barbed wire, as people shimmied under the fence.

I walked to the top of the rock, and took off my wet socks and shoes, to connect directly to the powerful healing energy of this ancient rock.  I encouraged others to do the same.  I wandered around for a while, trying to find the same spot I meditated last year, a spot where there are offerings left for the little people of the forest – shiny objects, like beads, a little chair, a little metal bucket.  I left some sunflower seeds and a tobacco offering.

I sat down on the rock, to spend some time in meditation.  I could feel the presence of the little people.  They were watching me.  I could hear them rustling in the woods.  I may have even heard them singing and drumming.  After a short time, I began to sound my voice, toning whatever notes felt like emerging from within.  A couple of times, on my hands and knees, bent down to connect my third eye with the rock beneath me.  Some bees buzzing around me, let me know when my meditation time was complete.  I went back to the top of the rock to wait for the others.

When we were ready to leave, I got everyone to form a circle and we created an energy wave that we sent out to the gathering and to the rest of the world.

When we left this space, and got back to the Sounding Stone, we offered tobacco and said a prayer to thank Spirit before continuing on our way back to the gathering.  The forest seemed extra thick with mosquitoes as we moved quickly through this part of the journey.

When I arrived back at the gathering site and shared the story of our journey, I was reminded that likely the reason we had such a hard time finding the path by the Sounding Stone, is because those that got tired and turned around to go back, likely weren’t ready to journey to Tie Creek.  It wasn’t their time to be there. It was a good lesson for us to recognize this. We also learned the importance of trusting our intuition. Everything happened as it was meant to.

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, 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 the last 17 years 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.”

We Are One


June 13th Full Moon - Photo by Leah Schroeder

June 13th Full Moon – Photo by Leah Schroeder

I have just come away from one of the most powerful experiences of my life.  I want to invite those of you reading this post into this circle of love that was created during the four days of the Mother Earth Gathering Womyn of All Nations event held June 12-15th, 2014.  I feel a huge sense of responsibility in the words I choose to express the significance of this experience.

In planning the gathering over the past few months, a group of us involved in organizing held an intention of oneness, love, connection and healing for this event.  We created a powerful bubble to support this experience.  We knew that whoever showed up to be a part of the gathering was there because they were meant to be there.  They were either of the same energetic vibration as we were holding, or they were ready to shift.  We knew those that were not ready or not meant to be there would not be.  We knew this experience was bigger than us as organizers and bigger than the women and men that would participate.  We knew this would be more powerful and further reaching than we could imagine.

This gathering, with maybe 200+ people that were there over the course of a few days, celebrated the sacredness of women.  We acknowledged that we all carry the stories of our past and that the only way for us to heal that is to come together in oneness, to lift each other up, empower each other, to love and honour ourselves and each other.

People came from all over, some not knowing why they were coming but felt compelled to be there.  Women and men came from the east and west.  They travelled across the country with people they had never met before and formed beautiful relationships as they journeyed to and from this sacred place.  One couple from India, who were staying in Toronto, heard about our gathering and took a thirty hour bus ride to be there for a few days before their return to India.  A young man, travelling from Montreal to Winnipeg or Regina to work, had all his belongings stolen and was hitchhiking home.  A group of women heading to the gathering, picked him up and brought him along.  He was given a place to sleep in our compassion tent and food to eat.  It was an incredibly moving experience for him.  I am in awe of the journeys taken to arrive at this gathering.

The first evening, as some of us were sitting around a fire, we witnessed some lights in the skies, in the four directions, that were not stars, satellites, or airplanes.  It is an area known for such sitings, so somehow I expected them to show themselves.  They were also there to join us in their own way.  I am sure I also saw spirit lights from time to time and felt the presence of the “Little People”, as did many other people.

As we prepared for this gathering, we asked for donations for food to feed all those that gathered and money to pay for different expenses associated with holding such an event.  At times we had no idea how everything would come together.  We forged ahead in faith that everything would be taken care of.  In the end all our expenses were paid for.  We had an over flowing abundance of food.  It seemed to keep coming as more and more people showed up. Everyone worked together to create an amazing experience.  Firekeepers  would stay up all night to keep the sacred fire burning throughout the night even through the pouring rain.  We became a community.

Pipe ceremonies would begin each day representing each nation (or roses as we called them – the red rose, black rose, yellow rose & white rose).  Each brought the gifts of their tradition along with the gifts that connect us all.  I was given the honour of leading the white rose pipe ceremony, as I have been asked to become a pipe carrier.  I don’t  know what this calling means yet, but I accept it with honour and deep respect.

I felt the weight of the responsibility to complete the circle for this gathering on the fourth day as we brought our gathering to a close.  I shared from my heart, my story and my vision.  I believe that when we learn to love and honour ourselves and each other, heal ourselves and lift each other up, the earth that is our mother and our home will be healed.  I shared about sounding my voice at the waterfall by the site a few weeks early and encouraged others to find their voice as I am finding mine.  The other women participating in this particular ceremony brought some beautiful songs to share with the group to close our gathering.  As we stood in front of the group, arm in arm, we sang the following words.  The rest of the group joined in singing this song.  It was repeated over and over again.

Love, love, love, love
People we are made for love
Love each other as ourselves
For we are one

I hold all these amazing, beautiful people in my heart with the deepest love and respect.  We have created something very special that is radiating out beyond the sacred space we held for those four days.  Lives have and will continue to be changed, including my own.  I am forever grateful.

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, 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 the last 17 years 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.”

The Longest Night


A Winter Night - Photo by Leah Schroeder

A Winter Night – Photo by Leah Schroeder

Today, December 21st, 2013, is the beginning of the Winter Solstice, the longest night. Different cultures celebrate this time in different ways. Some light candles to invite back the light. Others acknowledge the darkness – the grief and sorrow that can accompany this time of year. It is also a time to acknowledge life transitions.

For me, this time has come with mixed emotions. I have spent a fair amount of time in solitude lately and feel that more deeply with many changes in how I celebrate with friends and family as relationships have changed and a few significant people are physically missing from the table.

This has been a year filled with a lot of change – my father passing away, and ending of a significant relationship, job changes, letting go of my financial services business. As we enter into this new season, I acknowledge the darkness, the sadness, the grief that still lingers. At the same time I am grateful for the release of things that no longer serve me and for the opportunity to create space for the new to enter in.

This morning, I participated in an Inka Winter Solstice ceremony (Capa Raymi). We spent 2 1/2 hours around a fire at -26 degrees Celsius, in a beautiful ceremony to welcome and honour the Sun. Each of us added our own personal offerings into a circle of items that were placed in the fire. We sang songs and danced around the fire. We honoured Creator and our connection to all things and acknowledged the importance of caring for all of Creation. It was a beautiful way to begin a new phase in my life.

I have entered into this new era; heart open, open to possibility, open to guidance of Spirit. I step into this new way of being with gratitude for the life lessons, experiences, and people that have helped to shape who I have become, assisting in my awakening as I continue forward on my journey.

I move forward in joy and excitement for the possibilities that lie ahead. I honour who I am in this moment, being present with every experience. In the midst of darkness, there is light and hope. It is a dance as the two play with each other.

As we move forward into this new season, let us acknowledge the dark places in our life, let go of what needs to be released, and welcome in the light.

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 and ThetaHealing® Practitioner, www.lifeforcehealingservices.ca and a Financial Representative. “I was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. For most of my 47 years this has been and currently is the place I call home. I have been working in Financial Services for the past 17 years educating people about their finances, helping them restructure and reduce debt, invest for the future and properly protect their families. 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 has led me to begin practising Reiki and ThetaHealing®. 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.”

The Mandala


The Mandala - Photo by Leah Schroeder

The Mandala – Photo by Leah Schroeder

I had the opportunity recently to participate in a Shamanic Creativity Workshop.  It was an incredibly beautiful experience.  During the course, I was guided to create a Mandala, and to write about the process as this creation evolved.  Each element of the Mandala and each segment of the insights written below followed periods of meditation, reflection or moments of inspiration.  The journey to create this piece and the insights gained during this creative process are more significant than its completion.

It felt important to me that the elements used in the creation of the Mandala were for the most part earthy elements.   The base, on which the Mandala is taking shape, is bees wax, poured into a pan.  I have used soil, flax seed, black beans, lentils, pearl barley, chamomile, lavender, wild rice, pepper corns, coarse salt, rosemary, split peas, and whatever else fits with the images forming in the Mandala.

And so the journey with the Mandala begins.

At the center, where this journey begins, lies some seed.  This is the place from which all growth happens.  This represents my soul – the essence of who I am at the core.  Everything broken down to the most basic form is energy, and so, this center also represents this source energy – the flow of life.

The roots are the challenges that life brings.   The spread and depth create the foundation and strength that shape who I am.  This image was inspired by the words of a kind friend, Kara Johnstad,“You are growing very deep roots… watch out… spring is right around the corner:) “Sadness gives depth. Happiness gives height. Sadness gives roots. Happiness gives branches. Happiness is like a tree going into the sky, and sadness is like the roots going down into the womb of the earth. Both are needed, and the higher a tree goes, the deeper it goes, simultaneously. The bigger the tree, the bigger will be its roots. In fact, it is always in proportion. That’s its balance.”

Lower part of Mandala - Photo by Leah Schroeder

Lower part of Mandala – Photo by Leah Schroeder

It is not surprising then, as this Mandala takes its shape, the lower half of this creation is mostly roots, and they go deep and wide.  The roots make their way down to the core of the earth, to connect with the flow of the earth’s energy.

The silver tap on the left releases a steady stream of water that flows across the Mandala, above the roots and around the centre.  This represents being “in flow” with life and spirit, surrendering, letting go.  It also speaks to my deep connection with water, the power of the current of the river that always finds a way to continue to flow, around or through any attempts to block it.  It provides the nourishment to the roots that feed any growth above the surface.  The sound and movement of the flow of water create peace and calm.  Water is cleansing and healing, and clears the way for new growth.

The dragonfly, an elemental spirit that I am deeply connected to, represents transformation, and looking below the surface to discover deeper meaning.  I surround myself with images of dragonflies in my home.  Seeing dragonflies in nature is always a confirmation of the direction I am moving, or a reminder of my connection to and the presence of the divine.  The path I have taken over the past few years has deepened the connection with dragonflies to the point that when some people see dragonflies or images of dragonflies, it reminds them of me.  When sharing these images with me, my connection to them and to Spirit is also strengthened.

The road, the winding path, flows upward to the top of the Mandala.  It expands the flow of energy upwards to connect with Creator, and with the universal flow of energy that will move around and flow back up through the roots.  The path is never ending.  Only part of the path in front of me is visible.  As I move forward, the next segment of the road ahead begins to reveal itself, but only as I am ready for it.

The orange area represents the sacral chakra.  This is about creativity.  It weaves its way through various images in the Mandala as Spirit and creativity flow through every aspect of my life.

Photo by Leah Schroeder

Photo by Leah Schroeder

The yellow rose with the two musical notes represents a blossoming or emergence and learning to sound my voice; that with my voice there are gifts to be shared with the world.   The colour yellow symbolizes the Solar Plexus.  It signifies feminine power.  This is about discovering and embracing my own sense of personal power.

The trees stand tall along the path.  They represent personal growth.  They are also about the growing connection I feel to the Earth.  The green leaves are about embracing life as I continue forward on my path.  They also are the colour of the heart chakra.  As I continue to open my heart and learn to live from my heart, my capacity to love expands.

The hands with light emitting from them represent healing hands connecting with and receiving energy from Creator, symbolized by the image of the sun, and flowing with energy to facilitate healing in others.  It also represents the power of human touch and our connection to each other.

Photo by Leah Schroeder

Photo by Leah Schroeder

To the right of the trees above the dragonfly, swimming down from the top of the mandala, is a dolphin, one of my power animals that bring both wisdom and a reminder to play and enjoy life.  The lavender colour, may represent any of or a combination of the throat, third eye, and crown chakras.  The throat chakra, a blue colour, represents communication and self-expression.  The third eye, indigo, signifies intuition.  The crown chakra, violet in colour, symbolizes spirituality and oneness with the divine.

To the left of the trees flies an eagle.  The spirit name I have been given is Yellow Eagle.  When I was given this name, I was told the Eagle represented love and kindness.   It was also a reminder to care for and honour myself, so that when I care for others I give from the overflow of energy and resources I have instead of depleting myself.  The Eagle is also a symbol of strength, courage, healing and grace.  It is about rising above the physical world to connect with Creator.

To complete the Mandala, the last segment added on the left side of the circle, below the eagle, lies a deer.  As I have shared before, when given my spirit name, I was told I am part of the Deer Clan.  During Shamanic work, the deer introduced itself to me as my primary power animal.  I have since had many connections with deer in various ways.  The deer is a symbol of gentleness, unconditional love and kindness.  The deer reminds me to walk gently through this life, touching others with love and compassion, and honouring my connection with all things.

Although this Mandala is complete, my story is not.  The flow of energy represented through the Mandala, continues to flow and expand.  It is infinite.  During the Shamanic Creativity workshop, which led to the creation of this Mandala, I was shown a circle with a dot in the center.  The circle represented the Universe.  The dot was us.  As we continue to go inward to connect with our inner light, and grow in love, that dot grows – we grow, and our fear of the world around us diminishes, until one day we have expanded to become one with the Universe.

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 and ThetaHealing® Practitioner, www.lifeforcehealingservices.ca and a Financial Representative. “I was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. For most of my 47 years this has been and currently is the place I call home. I have been working in Financial Services for the past 16 years educating people about their finances, helping them restructure and reduce debt, invest for the future and properly protect their families. 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 has led me to begin practising Reiki and ThetaHealing®. 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.”

Transmission Transition


There is so much transition going on right now. The Shift it is being called by some. What does that really mean? It feels to me like driving a 5 speed and I’ve wound out 4th gear as far as it will go. The transmission is whining and straining at being held back when it is poised to go much faster if I would just shift. I know I need to shift gears. I have been shifting gears spiritually for years. Lately I have shifted gears in my emotional body. In the moment of NOW the shift is moving into the physical. I feel its the last stop on a journey of full connection to my higher self, if there is any such thing as a last stop.

It seems like a kaleidoscope superimposed over a hurricane. Just as I get focused on one facet the whole view changes. I was never all that good with change. How is it that as humans we all seem to struggle with change when its the only thing apparent in our lives that is constant?

When changes are coming in the foreground it feels scary and ominous. Once the changes have happened, most often we look back with appreciation realizing that the changes needed to happen to bring us our latest blessing, but how to weather the storm in between? As I wrote that question I thought that following it should be some kind of answer about how to weather the storm but there isn’t. Not any more than there is an answer for the fisherman on his boat caught out in the perfect storm for how to navigate it. The storm teaches him with each swell, what needs to come next to survive and something about who he is in the process

Photo by Vicki Willoughby

What I’m learning in the moment through this journey is that no matter how much the engine whines I can’t shift until I feel it and when the feelings change I shift again. Since this journey has so many uphills, downhills, curves and turns, sometimes its a down shift for a minute until I come to the top of the next rise and can ease up and shift up again. The transmission feels like its in my stomach, churning and turning until the next up shift. This is definitely outside my comfort zone!

I have heard many saying that life begins outside your comfort zone so I guess at this point I’ll just welcome life? What choice do I have? For me, none. I’ve already met God in the valley of the shadows and when given a choice between reclaiming my life or staying there, I reclaimed my life so there is no further choice at this time. I will take a deep breath and let go when my every instinct says to hold on. In every moment I must refocus on breathing, letting go and repeating. When I feel hurt in my heart I will think of it breaking open to receive more joy and give more love. When I feel sea sick from the waves rocking the boat I will dive into the deepest swell and become the water. When I lose sight of those things I will dive into the Sisterhood and drink from the fountain of love and enlightenment that is there, ever thankful for this deep well to quench my thirst for connection and support on his highway, river, journey we call life! It redirects me toward my bliss in every comment! So with that I take the lyrics of the amazing Kara Johnstad to heart as I Let Go and Trust!

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

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I was born and raised a Central New Yorker but lived 18 yrs. in Va Bch, VA. I am the mother of two young men, who are 29 and 9 yrs. of age. I have been doing Reflexology since I was 11 yrs old, I have been a teaching Reiki Master for 12 yrs and have been Dr. Mom for my family using therapeutic grade essential oils as our medicine for 7 yrs. Having come from a functional family but living many years in a megalopolis combined with many years of being a catalyst for healing, gives me a varied point of view. Perspective is one of my favorite playgrounds! If you’d like a consultation for Reiki or aromatherapy or soul integration/inner child play please feel free to contact me at vaw4beacon *at* yahoo.com, Blessings for your highest and best, Vicki Willoughby.