Week 19: Prepare for Winter

Dear Friends,
(c) Snapped by Derek
Valley Forge, PA

I begin writing this newsletter sitting and looking out onto a beautiful Philadelphian street.

People walk down the narrow street with their parcels and bags in hand. There are flowers to be delivered, letters and mail waiting to be opened.
Voices echo off of stone and mortared walls. The sky is gloom today, the smell of hurricane on the air, but there behind the clouds, the sun still shines.
I have just received some flowers from the local florist, and the room is filled with the subtle scent of white & red tulips mixed with fern and baby’s breath.
Favourite flowers are favourite flowers. <<Smiles>>
The other day, I walked through fields of Valley Forge with flowers and plants in seed. The natural rhythm of the year turning inward, and making ready for the Spring time to regenerate. There I spoke to ravens, sleepy yellow jackets, and grazing deer. I discovered milk-pods bursting with white-silk seedlings, riders on horseback, and a very friendly tour-guide on an off day who was glad to share the bloody history of the land. After speaking to what he had to say, and petting his greyhound head, I walked to the massive stone archway built by Freemasons. I walked with an intention, and listened to what the land itself had to say about itself. Walking towards a birch tree around the circle, I meditated and heard the sound of great cold moans, felt the hot breath of horses passing me by, smelled sulfur fill the air, and tasted the bland foods that were provided for traveling soldiers. Gazing at Mount Joy and Misery, I pondered the great dualism of the Season of All Hallows and of war, of the thirst for “Freedom & Peace” and the insatiable appetite we seem to have for blood.  It seems funny, how things have evolved since the time of muskets and cannons, yet still much has remained the same. We all fight our own wars, proverbial or no. We all know, or have known someone who has been touched by the horrors of bloodshed and the kind lying on of hands by a care giver. It comes in equal measure, every time. And it seems it is always the case, even if we don’t see it right away.
“Our lives are not our own. We are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.” 
― David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas
If you haven’t had the chance to read or watch the new movie Cloud Atlas, originally written by David Mitchell, I strongly recommend it. It spans several lifetimes where we as people, regardless of race, religion, or creed affect and shape events that ultimately affect us all. Each of our acts ripples outward through the course of history and is truly touched by destiny. It actually has inspired the Tarot Spread for this week.
Now, granted it is a long one: almost 3 hours, but my dears, it will make you cry, it will make you laugh. It will shock you, it will keep you on the edge of your seat, and it will melt your heart.
So, I have been driving back and forth all month to this city of Philadelphia not simply out of curiosity, but for truer reasons of the heart most of all.
(c) Snapped by Derek
Philadelphia Art Museum
See, come Spring my dears, I may just end up moving to this centuries old city.
I am nervous though, and the decision does not come without some hesitation. I have done this before, move for love, and I have to say it was not for ill. I made tremendous friends, some of which I would consider second family. Who is to tell what the next few months will bring? But I remain optimistic, and my heart is filled with love and hope for the future.
I am finishing up the last of my friend Joanna’s Seasonal Practices ending with Hallowmas. I this season of saying good-bye and beginning a new year, holds a duality stronger than any other seasonal tide of the year. I believe more than ever through the new skills I have learned, and the ever burning creative spirit that runs in my veins that things will bode well. And of course, you will all have to come and visit at some point or another!
But that is the future, here in the present, a giant 1000-mile wide hurricane is bombarding our shores. It is late, this Monday night, and half of the Northeastern shoreline is flooded under several feet of water. Great Mama Ocean is swelling with the Full Moon, and several homes have been evacuated.
My blessings and heart go out to those who have been hurt and disheartened during this time. Here in Albany, the winds have been picking up and slowing down, and the clouds seem to be confused as to what they want to do. I just hope and ask you all to light a candle as I have had and send your good tidings out to those most of need.
Soon, the storm shall pass and the sun shall break through those clouds. 
But, winter storms are fast in their wake, and we all know how the snows can be fiercer than any sort of rain.
Warmest wishes my dears, and stay safe!
So, I will begin as always as asking you to ask yourself: how are you as you are entering this time for yourself? Have a heart-to-heart with yourself and reflect on your week past.
Were you able to incorporate last week’s challenge with your busy Life? If so, GREAT!
If not, that is okay too.
The whole point is to go at your own pace. You shouldn’t have to struggle to have fun, it should come naturally and on its own time.
Practices for the Winter quarter of Samhain (1 Nov~ 31 Jan) by Caitlin Matthews:
1.  Practice introspection, meditation, contemplation, drawing upon the peaceful sanctuary of this season.
2. Shift burdens by doing something about them (e.g. make your will) or by giving up unnecessary patterns.
3. Remember your Ancestors and celebrate their wisdom.
4. In this deep season of darkness and introspection, seek the sun at midnight, the rich treasures that lie in the lap of Winter.
5. Be aware of the Ancestral Teachers, the grandparents and elders of the spiritual traditions, whose footsteps have kept the pathways open.
6. Cut back old growth in the garden and burn or compost it. Dig over the soil in preparation for the Spring.
7. Walk and meditate outdoors for at least en minutes daily.
8. Identify the nature of the soil and rock-forms in your locality and how this affects the life-forms who live upon the land.
9. Be active, with like-minded others, in recording, preserving, living and learning about the ancient wisdom of indigenous peoples, especially those in your own land.
10. As you travel through the land of Winter, relate your spiritual journey to the wisdom of this season.
So, how will you incorporate the challenge for this week, hmmmmm? I would love to hear. Feel free to reply or comment on my facebook or website page, or if you want to be a bit more private shoot me an email, or simply right your musings down in your journal. The point is to reflect, and learn from yourself.

Affirmations for the Mind!

Here are this week’s mantras. Don’t forget, you can tweak them to your liking. In order to make them yours, you must believe them, and affirm them to yourself. So switch ’em up if the inspiration strikes!
Today’s Affirmation: “Protect them from the cold and wet of despair. May their inner fires sustain them.”
 “My life affects so much. Like a butterfly’s wings, my presence affects great leaps of destiny.”
“May my wits preserve me and may my heart guide me.”
“I am an old soul on a journey of great importance and influence.”
“As I sit and listen I make new goals for myself. Concrete, allowable goals. Goals which I will not shy away from, nor put aside. The time is now, the time is here.”
“Before I speak, I should stop and ask myself: is this truly what should be said at this time?”
And lastly: “In seeking the sun at midnight, I will look to the sky and make a blessing on each of the stars that will be caught once upon a time.”

So, how will you incorporate the challenge for this week, hmmmmm? I would love to hear. Feel free to reply or comment on my facebook or website page, or if you want to be a bit more private shoot me an email, or simply right your musings down in your journal. The point is to reflect, and learn from yourself.

With Love,

Derek

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Week 18: Descend into the Deep Darkness

(c) Snapped by Derek

This week, I challenge you to descend into the coming dark time of the year.

The year is split between the two main seasons: Summer vs. Winter. There are countless stories and fables of the coming Summer and Winter. Of warmth and cold, of life and death.

It is a constant battle within us as well. Medically, our bodies change with the seasons, the tides, the months and years. They are powerhouses for immense change and immense magick. They shield us from millions of microbial enemies every second of our lives, and keep us alive and kicking.

Over the past four weeks I shared Angeles Arrien’s* “Four Fold Path.” A basis that can guide us on our paths “to be open to outcome, not attached to outcome. To tell the truth without blame or judgment. To pay attention to what has heart and meaning, and to show up and truly be present.”

To be equal Warrior, Healer, Teacher and Visionary. This is not an easy task, but it is a fun one. To embrace all of our different sides and be the something we truly are underneath it it all: multi-faceted. We have many interests, sometimes ones that have absolutely NOTHING in common. But they make us real, they make us unique, and they make us human.

“Painting is an infinitely minute part of my personality.”-Salvador Dali

In walking with these multiple archetypes within us, it offers us balance. It offers us a chance to now walk into the depths of our proverbial caves and journey.

Now more than ever is the time of year to connect with our deeper selves. Armoured with the four archetypes we can descend, unafraid, into the things we would sometimes rather not see. But the dark doesn’t always have to be a big bad dark and scary. It’s natural to be afraid of the dark, and to be cautious in the cold. But the cold also can invigorate us to be even more creative and alive than we ever were in Summer!

“People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy.” – Anton Chekhov

The winter teaches us many things: to be happier with what we already have. To reflect on the past and look to the future. It teaches patience, it teaches kindness, and above all it teaches warmth of spirit.

Last year, more a Midwinter class I did, I had an art project that was to make a weathergram. Inspired and ready to get my hands dirty with glue and coloured pencils, and TONS of watercolours, I began to think and wonder what my weathergram would say? My teacher Joanna reminded me of one of my favourite sayings about weather and clothing:
“There is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing.” And that when I knew what I would write:

“Warmth of spirit can defrost even the bitterest cold.”

We all have our favourite seasons, mine happens to now be winter. Now don;t get me wrong, I LOVE autumn and summer, and I think Spring sort of takes a bit of a back seat sometimes, but Winter. Crisp, clean, winter-wonderland WINTER? When we are forced a bit closer to one another, when holidays give us that special little spark in our chests, and our bellies are full with all the food and drink and all the trimmings we could never quite finish in summer time? Yes, winter is my favourite time of year. It’s a reflective season, a journaling season, a time to slow down and focus more on yourself. On your lived ones. On our inner and outer selves. It is a season to deal with issues we might not normally talk or surmise about. And, yes, one of those issues is death and dying.

Do you remember what I wrote last week? About how the dark time of the year, this time of year, is when we prepare ourselves, our hearts, and our spirits for the changing times?

When everything is dying and falling fast asleep to prepare for winter, how will you approach the changing times? With curiosity, wonder, excitement? What do your ancestors whisper in your ear? Calling upon them for advise during troubling times, is only half of the equation. We can also use their guidance to actualize our life dreams. It is time of the All Hallows- Halloween, the perfect time of year to seek out those family Teachers of our past. The divide between the worlds are a bit blurred…and so many cultures have their own rituals for remembering fallen loved ones. Theirs is a source of untold humour, untold memory, untold wisdom. Trust in them, and they will guide you on your good, true and beautiful way.

Descending into this time of year allows us to finally sit back and ask ourselves some pretty damn-good questions. Questions that can be asked and answered with or without loved ones, but it makes the questioning even more meaningful when you have a heart-to-heart with those you care for and consider your friends and equals. And it is important to make preparations for yourself BEFORE you are aging or ill, that way people know what the hell to do with you when one day you are suddenly cold to touch and sleeping the deep sleep. These things aren’t always easy my friends. But certain tides of the year bring different lessons. They need not be so grave (no pun intended) and doom and gloomy. Death and darkness in Western culture has been molded into something that isn’t talked about, is feared and is averted with our eyes.

Here is something I will tell you that really shook me a few years back when my grandfather died in the winter. The earth was too cold for burial, so as an usher, we rolled him into a tomb whose insides looked like nothing more than a garage. There was no beauty there. Coffins just lay there side by side, some stacked in niches. Others were simply rolled aside to make room and I was appalled that my family didn’t have any other way to honour this man we were interring. I vowed I would never have that happen to me, or any other loved one.

Ask the hard questions now, and answer them. Make a game of it if need be. Descend into your deep beliefs, and listen to your ancestors. Do they offer any advise? How will you honour them, and how will you honour yourself when you are amongst them?

So, as always I will ask you to ask yourself: how are you as you are entering this time for yourself? Have a heart-to-heart with yourself and reflect on your week past.

Were you able to incorporate last week’s challenge with your busy Life? If so, GREAT!
If not, that is okay too.

The whole point is to go at your own pace. You shouldn’t have to struggle, it should come naturally and on its own time.

Things you can do this week to descend into the deepening dark times of the year:
1. Again, call upon your Ancestor Spirits for guidance, counsel, and heritage.
2. Take some time to reflect on death and dying. What are your families traditions? And do you hope to make some of your own?
3. Layer on the clothing, grab a scarf, and go for a walk. Let the cold air cleanse your mind. Do you hear anything on the winds?
4. What are your preparations for a will? A healthcare proxy?
5. Do you want a traditional burial or a more green burial? Search the internet, there are many different ideas out there from many different cultures.
6. Visit loved ones grave sites and bring an offering. Sit with them, reflect on the questions provided and any you may have yourself.
7. Set up an Ancestor shrine if you haven’t already done so. Framed pictures and flowers, favourite foods, and drinks. Honour them into your life, I’m sure they would appreciate it.
8. Dress up for Halloween! Go out there and have some fun too! Halloween has a dual purpose to honour the dead and to honour the living memory of them.
9. Create some art inspired by your ancestors. Write a story and share it with your friends & family on Halloween/ Hallowmas.
10. Host a dumb supper potluck! Eat and be merry and set out plates on a table for the beloved dead. Encourage your visitors to bring along any dish that their families re known for. Share in their memory and share in the food.

So, how will you incorporate the challenge for this week, hmmmmm? I would love to hear. Feel free to reply or comment on my facebook or website page, or if you want to be a bit more private shoot me an email, or simply right your musings down in your journal. The point is to reflect, and learn from yourself.

With Love,

Derek

A Litany for the Ancestors

(c) Snapped by Derek
Bethlehem Cemetery, Delmar NY

On the whispers of the wind,
we remember them;

In quiet tears of Hallowmas,
we remember them;
In holiday fires & falling snow of Midwinter,
we remember them;
In the light of candles on Candlemas,
we remember them;
In the storming aires & blooming flowers of Spring,
we remember them;
In the primal passions of Beltane,
we remember them;
In the relieving waters & dance of Midsummer,
we remember them;
In the rhythm of music on Lammas,
we remember them;
In the silent trees & crunching fallen leaves of Autumn,
we remember them;

When we are broken and in need of healing,
we remember them;
When we are lost and in need of guidance,
we remember them;
When we are happy and give thanks,
we remember them;
When we create and make art,
we remember them;
When we put to sleep our worries and dream again,
we remember them;
When we have love & joy we wish to share,
we remember them;

So as we live & love, they too shall live & love, for they are a part of us,
as we remember them

Adopted from “We Remember Them” The Gates of Prayer, a Reform Jewish prayerbook

Week 17: Embrace Your Inner Teacher

(c) Snapped by Derek
Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA

This week, I challenge you to embrace your inner Teacher!

Oftentimes, we forget that the moments we share can be truly beautiful life lessons.Sometimes, however, it can be hard to see the silver-lining in a truly dark situation. In those times, drawing from past lessons gives us not only wisdom, but the strength to preserver no matter the obstacle!Constant, life-long learning & practicing in trust is the way of the Teacher. Taking in knowledge of all kinds, from all walks of life, can inspire wellroundedness, whether it be from a our own teachers, our own students, or even ourselves.

This week I share Angeles Arrien’s* “Way of the Teacher.” A fundamental way that can guide us on our paths “to be open to outcome, not attached to outcome. The Teacher has wisdom, teaches trust, and understands the need for detachment.“There are many things in this world that could not exist without trust. Currency, health care, and the affairs of the heart especially.“Trust is the container out of which the qualities of wisdom grow: clarity, objectivity, discernment, and detachment. Wisdom is at work when we are open to all options.”- AngelesIt is the Teacher’s way to use trust as an instrument, but trust can be a difficult act to allow ourselves to do. For all sorts of different reasons, to trust, to be okay with not knowing; the very opposite of what we would consider a Teacher to be; is precisely the ground for planting the seeds of our own wisdom-weaving.

None of us like the unknown, myself included. As much as I love spontaneity, I like to compartmentalize and know and attempt to understand situations (the key here is ATTEMPT, lol.) Sometimes, not knowing though can be a blessing in disguise. Being open to serendipity, and giving in to trust, having faith in things and in people is the glue that keeps us all together, and keeps us sane. Without that glue, everything falls away, and doubt can be a very dangerous thing.

Some would say that having no expectations, mistrusting from the get-go is the only way to not be disappointed and hurt. And, yes, to an extent this is true. You won’t be disappointed, but you will also not be able to feel the good stuff either. Love and trust and faith and wisdom all come at a cost, but isn’t it all the more worth it to live and to love and to trust? And you don’t have to be blind either, by no means do I mean that, I simply say that life is all the more richer when you open yourself up and give a little. Just sayin’…

“The opposite of trusting in the unexpected us trying to control the uncontrollable- clearly an impossible task. Shamanic societies recognize that an individual who has difficulty with surprises or the unexpected has attachments, fixed perspectives, and a strong need for control. Attachments are specific, immovable expectations, desires that are projected onto people, places, and situations. When we are attached, we often become controlling and rigid. The trickster archetype in many traditions functions as a Teacher who shocks people into seeing their attachments and habitual patterns…and wakes them out of their routines. The trickster reminds us to become more resilient and objective. It teaches us about detachment.”-Angeles

We all need to shake things up a bit, otherwise we become as Angeles says: stale, uncreative, stuck. We do become rigid and fixed in our ways, and no one likes a stick in the mud.

Now, there is much a to-do about detachment vs. not caring. This I learned the hard way last year about codependency. Sometimes, the thing people really need the most is to simply let them go, and be let to take care of things themselves. Intervention aside, this is true medicine. Loving enough to let someone go when they do not want to be helped is one of the hardest things a person can do I think, especially if it is about a family member or other loved one. It is hard to walk away from a situation like that, but sometimes it truly is for the best, and you do not have to feel guilty either. Guilt is a not-so-nice cousin to the icky-sticky thing called doubt. Have no fear, and do what must be done.

Detachment is “the capacity to care deeply from an objective place.” In other words, detachment is non attachment, letting go, and maintaining a sense of humour. If we observe what causes us to lose our sense of humour, we can identify out point of attachment. Where we maintain our sense of humour is where we are detached and can remain flexible. Then, we are able to calmly observe our reactions to situations and not get pulled into an emotional position. Don’t confuse this with coldness and not caring- it’s quite the opposite. When we don’t get pulled in, and when we maintain our sense of humour, we demonstrate our own capacity to care deeply from an objective place. The key to detachment is to, whether we are okay with it or not, is to accept it simply as it is and then use our creative humour to work around the hurdles as they come. It is so much better than being resigned or fatalistic about it. Acceptance is an important part of detachment. The feeling of resignation is always a sign of the presence of attachment.” -Angeles 

Our rituals for loss of any kind and of letting go help people deal.  

We all go through it. Sometimes it’s a big transition, and others not so much. Life, death, marriage, the prospect of a new apartment or partner, the prospect of losing a friend or partner are all examples. Each has its own coping mechanism worked into it through our cultures. Doing something to honour these changes, in what ever ritual you may personally have, helps immensely to support the changing tide in your life. The way of the Teacher is to honour this changing time, look at it with kind objectivity, accept it for what it is, and shed a tear or two if need be, and “support the change you are experiencing and create a way “to fit things together again.” 

Our reactions to new experiences are lessons in how we will deal with the ultimate new experience: death and dying. 

During this dark time of the year, when everything is dying and falling fast asleep to prepare for winter, how will you approach the changing times? With curiosity, wonder, excitement? What do your ancestors whisper in your ear? Calling upon them for advise during troubling times, is only half of the equation. We can also use their guidance to actualize our life dreams. It is time of the All Hallows- Halloween, the perfect time of year to seek out those family Teachers of our past. The divide between the worlds are a bit blurred during this time of year, and so many cultures have their own rituals for remembering fallen loved ones. Theirs is a source of untold humour, untold memory, untold wisdom. Trust in them, and they will guide you on your good, true and beautiful way.

*Angeles Arrien, PhD, is an anthropologist, author, educator and corporate consultant who does work shoppes and lectures throughout the world. She bridges indigenous wisdom with our so called “modern” lifestyles. She focuses so on our family, work and personal lives as well as our relationship with nature, and teaches us how to bring forth this “Four-Fold Way.

So, I will begin as always as asking you to ask yourself: how are you as you are entering this time for yourself? Have a heart-to-heart with yourself and reflect on your week past.

Were you able to incorporate last week’s challenge with your busy Life? If so, GREAT!
If not, that is okay too.

The whole point is to go at your own pace. You shouldn’t have to struggle to have fun, it should come naturally and on its own time.

Things you can do this week to bring out your Inner Teacher:

  1. Call upon your Ancestor Spirits for guidance, counsel, and heritage. 
  2. Take some time this season to honour and remember your roots. 
  3. Create an El Dia de los Muertos altar. It doesn’t have to be fancy, go with your gut and have a bit of fun with it. 
  4. Spend a period of silence every day to all inner guidance to bloom in your own solitude.
  5. Who are some of the significant Teachers in your life? Do you have any inspirational figures? What are their qualities?
  6. Take some time to identify some of your Trickster figures in your life. What wake-up calls have you experienced?
  7. Spend some time throughout the week in sitting meditation: “where ideas and images are released as quickly as they are revealed.” -Angeles
  8. Go to the waters. Rivers, oceans, lakes. Ponds, fountains, or reflection pools. These are primary Nature examples of flexibility and resilience. 
  9. Embrace your own fluidity, embrace the wisdom of your own creative spirit. Have fun with free dance, Nia, or simply move to your own rhythm, there are no mistakes to be made.
  10. Try to steer away from states of righteous positionality, judgment, and control. We can all be critical from time to time, catching yourself in the act and apologizing is all you can do.
  11. Examine what attachments you have. We all have them. What are some of yours? Write about them in your journal, but remember be objective. Don’t self criticize. Accept them for what they are.
  12. Examine your own limiting patterns? Are there any you wish to release so that you can more fully express who you are? Halloween is Pagan New Year, are there any new resolutions you wish to try? 
  13. Examine your own rituals of loss. What do you do when you break up with someone? When someone dies? When you can’t have your own way? How do you deal, and how do you manage?
  14. On your birth date, each month, do something you have never done before. -Angeles. I love this one! Honour your own spirit!
  15. Ponder Harrison Owen’s “Four Immutable Laws of the Spirit” What do you think? 
So, how will you incorporate the challenge for this week, hmmmmm? I would love to hear. Feel free to reply or comment on my facebook or website page, or if you want to be a bit more private shoot me an email, or simply right your musings down in your journal. The point is to reflect, and learn from yourself.

Affirmations for the Mind!

Here are this week’s mantras. Don’t forget, you can tweak them to your liking. In order to make them yours, you must believe them, and affirm them to yourself. So switch ’em up if the inspiration strikes!

Today’s Affirmation: “Ancestors, hear my plee. Help me not to make a fool of me. Please bring honour to me.” -Mulan 

 “Today, humour will be my instrument for wisdom.”

“I will work on being open to outcome, I am unattached!

“May my wisdom shine in clarity & objectivity.”

“May the blessings of the Teacher be ever with me! I am well guided!”

“Do not confuse my detachment from not caring. I let go with Love.

And lastly: “I move to the flow of the great Grandmother Ocean. I embrace my Inner Teacher, and am made fluid, flexible, and tolerant.

*****

I wish you well on your Journeys this week!

Listen deep to your four-chambered heart. What whispering voice do you hear? Take a moment and gift yourself with your own insight. Your own intuition, your own creative force that lives inside of you. There is much to learn. For me, Life is all about the little gems we allow ourselves to Love.

With Love, Derek.

Week 16 Challenge: Embrace Your Visionary Self

(c) Snapped by Derek

This week, I challenge you to embrace your inner Visionary!

Sometimes, life isn’t always about what is up, front, and centre.Like the photograph above, sometimes Life is more about what lays in the background.Making the truth visible is the way of the Visionary. Reaching deep within our own source of truth, it can show us how to open up to our innate creativity.

This week I share Angeles Arrien’s* “Way of the Visionary.” A fundamental way that can guide us on our paths “to tell the truth without blame or judgement. When we express the inner Visionary, we know and communicate our creative purpose and life dream, act from our authentic self, are truthful, and honour the four ways of seeing.“We each have a creative purpose that binds us to this reality. To exist means to create change with every action or inaction we make. It is vital now more than ever to hold fast to our dreams and to find whatever it may be that we are passionate about doing. We may all have many careers, but underneath it all there is a meaning there that does not care about your title or how much money you make. The key is to find whatever it is that you love and do it!At a young age many of us, myself included, may have been forced to hide our true selves in order to survive. Growing up in a small-minded household without care for any sort of diversity was not a pleasant atmosphere to grow up in. My voice was squashed with brutality and patterns of neglect and abuse that led to self abandonment. Self abandonment led to self resentment, which is a very hard habit to break. However, my true self was still there, waiting, to be let out, to be nurtured and to be loved. It took me several years for me to allow myself to do just that, and I am truly thankful I found the courage to allow my Inner Self to shine.

“Every human being, regardless of cultural conditioning and family imprinting, experiences patterns of denial and patterns of indulgence at some time. We express denial in our lives when we avoid certain people or issues and when we see things only as we want them to be rather than to accept them as they are. Underneath every denial pattern is the underlying fear that we will not be able to handle conflict and a deep human need to maintain peace, balance, and harmony at all costs. In deep denial we will abandon ourselves to keep the peace rather than communicate our feelings directly.

We express indulgence when we dramatize or sensationalize our experience. Often we exaggerate a situation or an issue in order to seek attention. Underneath this pattern is a high need for approval and acceptance that is ruled either by the fear of not being seen or the fear of being seen. People who make scenes, throw tantrums, or blow things out of proportion actually have a strong need for acceptance. Because they are terrified of their own feelings of insecurity or vulnerability, they use exaggeration as a way to hide those feelings.”- Angeles 

It is the Visionary who can see the truth in themself (and in others) and look upon the circumstances with love rather than judgement. A true Visionary can hope to dissolve these paradoxes and polarities in these very human patterns of behavior. Unlimited creativity is always available when we are true to our selves and connect to our own authenticity.

To be truthful is the way of the Visionary. In order to connect and stay authentic, we must be honest with not only others, but with ourselves.

As people, we so oftentimes forget that we have voices, or on the other hand, forget that our words can be oftentimes hurtful. In The Truth Option by William Schutz, there are some very powerful words about communication and our relationships. “Communication of truth makes for interpersonal richness. To fully present ourselves to each other, and to have the most satisfying human relations, we must be both aware and honest.” Our timing and context of what we say speaks volumes of us as individuals. Remember, there is a right time and a right place for any issue to be brought to light. Integrity and appropriate word choice, tone, and body posture is the key to telling the truth without blame or judgement. 

The Visionaries within us crave to be expressed and respected. They yearn for our voice and creativity to be expressed in the world. We can do this by honouring the four ways of seeing: our intuition, our perceptions, our insights, and our vision. This is how we can honour our sacred selves. When we see or sense something, we must speak of it! We must voice ourselves and not be afraid of speaking our truths. We must not be afraid to be who we are, we must not betray ourselves. That is the most important thing.

Gertrude Stein said it beautifully:
“You have to know what you want to get. But when you know that, let it take you. And if it seems to take you off the track, don’t hold back, because perhaps that is instinctively where you want to be. And if you hold back and try to be always where you have been before, you will go dry.”

*Angeles Arrien, PhD, is an anthropologist, author, educator and corporate consultant who does work shoppes and lectures throughout the world. She bridges indigenous wisdom with our so-called “modern” lifestyles. She focuses so on our family, work and personal lives as well as our relationship with nature, and teaches us how to bring forth this “Four-Fold Way.

So, I will begin as always as asking you to ask yourself: how are you as you are entering this time for yourself? Have a heart-to-heart with yourself and reflect on your week past.

Were you able to incorporate last week’s challenge with your busy Life? If so, GREAT!
If not, that is okay too.

The whole point is to go at your own pace. You shouldn’t have to struggle to have fun, it should come naturally and on its own time.

Things you can do this week to bring out your Inner Visionary:

  1. Consider your favourite songs. They reveal great authenticity.
  2. Sing to yourself, and possibly create your own tune. Humming counts!
  3. Meditate a little bit every day. Even a walking meditation can work wonders for a creative mind. Let go, choose an issue to focus on, and see what guidance you get on your way. Inspiration is behind every corner.
  4. Renew yourself in Nature. Regenerate your energies and creative juices with some down to earth time.
  5. Keep a journal. Record your days, your nights, your sleepy time dreams and your day time ones. Doodle in it, paste photographs. Use it as a tool for raw creativity!
  6. Contemplate your Life Dream, what passionate work awaits? What things in your early childhood gave you immense pleasure and joy. Do you have any natural talents? I am sure you do, everyone has something.
  7. Allow yourself time throughout the year to get away and Retreat. Revision. Reflect. And Reclaim.
  8. Make a habit of speaking with “Spirit-tongue” or truth-telling.
  9. Pray. To who ever, or whatever. Doesn’t matter. Extending thanks and blessings always returns three-fold.
  10. Stop and slow down and listen. Every day sit and have a heart-to-heart with yourself. Listen to that voice that lives deep within your heart, what whispers do you hear?
  11. What people, places, things gift you with inspiration? Make a Vision board to not only keep you happy, but will inspire YOU.

So, how will you incorporate the challenge for this week, hmmmmm? I would love to hear. Feel free to reply or comment on my facebook or website page, or if you want to be a bit more private shoot me an email, or simply right your musings down in your journal. The point is to reflect, and learn from yourself.

Affirmations for the Mind, Body & Spirit!

Here are this week’s mantras. Don’t forget, you can tweak them to your liking. In order to make them yours, you must believe them, and affirm them to yourself. So switch ’em up if the inspiration strikes!

Today’s Affirmation: “I have Vision!

 “My tongue speaks with the Spirit within my breast.”

“I laugh with a passion that is mine. True, honest, and without blame.

“My intuition is strong. I see with clear sight the ability of my Self’s purpose!”

“May the blessings of the Visionary be within me this day. May I be inspired!”

“This is my purpose! I was meant for this!

And lastly: “I will not be afraid to speak the truth without blame or judgement. I embrace my Inner Visionary!

I wish you well on your Journeys this week!
Listen deep to your four-chambered heart. What whispering voice do you hear? Take a moment and gift yourself with your own insight. Your own intuition, your own creative force that lives inside of you. There is much to learn. For me, Life is all about the little gems we allow ourselves to Love.

With Love, Derek.

Leaves Upon My Tree of Life

(c) Snapped by Derek

Here is a poem I wrote last year that was published in the Adirondack Press. Blessed Harvestide everyone! How will you show thanks this season?

This autumn, of crisp breezes
Of wind blown kisses through the aire.
This autumn, of crisp breezes
I hope you know that I am thankful.
This is a time for appreciating
Of celebrating the unfolding of Life’s bounty.

Of equal day and night:
Where the dark
Is but a reason to gather a warm
Embrace in the cold.
And the light
Is but an open invitation for a
Cool kiss upon a weary brow.

Every year, I tend to celebrate
My most favourite holiday & holinight.
Not just for the apple harvest. Oh, the mouth watering venison, the berries…The pie..
But for also the harvest of the Soul,
Of cherishing the connections.
The facets of our lives,
The sometimes neglected trees in the grove..
Take the time to show gratitude, for
True thanks giving.

You all have given me breath.
You have given me hope.
Leaves upon my branches,
Each beautiful, changing as the season goes.
Each one a story, allowing me
To grow upwards and higher still to find
But more leaves sprouting.
-Yet still connected to the source.

That spark of Life, that bit of
Love and Joy and Embrace.
That which I am unconditionally drawn.
For who would I be if you were not there to allow me to photosynthesize?
You gave me breathe, you gave be Life.
You are my soul-parts. My lovers and my dreamers.
My family and so much more than my friends.
I am thankful for you, making a ring of bark on my years: My Tree of Life.

Be blessed.
May the aires always fill you with breath.
May the fires in your hearts continue to burn true.
May the waters quench your thirst for Life.
May the earth always offer you a haven.
May your Spirit soar!
In Peace, Light & Love.
Blessed Be.

(c) 23 SEP 2011