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My Wheel of Fortune

The Tarot snuck its way into my life several decades ago. It teased my fascination, luring me from mainstream thought, until it enveloped me in a greater respect for the unseen. How could simple cards make any plausible predictions? Shouldn’t this type of divination be left for the gypsies and fortunetellers whose slight-of-hand professes great tales? I had my doubts, for I was settled firmly in structured belief, cemented by logic and a tangible proof-driven society.

However, those silly cards, they tempted my imagination, feeding my belief, expanding possibilities. It seemed every time I would pick up a card, it would perfectly fit a situation, express a feeling or detail an outcome. How could this be? How could those little, colorful cards possibly know anything about spiritual lessons or offer guidance in any way? I wondered; however, I had this strange knack of choosing just the right cards repeatedly. It did not matter what deck I used, the results were always the same. Improbable, I thought. Isn’t this just up to chance, I questioned, a total fluke that I would happen to pick one card over another? So began the great internal debate.

For the longest time, my doubt had this discussion with my imagination. Until one day, while I was quiet in meditation, I realized that there is so much more to my spiritual self. I was meditating on my totem animal guides, a shamanic practice I feel deeply connected to, and Crow, one of my lead totem animals, popped into my mind. On a whim, I randomly flipped over one of my Animal Spirits Knowledge Cards, and a magical picture of Crow surprisingly stared right back at me. It was as if my guides and the universe were collectively saying, “Shana, do you finally believe? How many more times does this need to be confirmed for you?” This spiritual ah-ha moment came at a pivotal time in my life. It was finally time for my imagination to declare victory over my doubt and end this tedious and unsettling trail. Case closed.

This was quite a significant realization for a logic-focused, mainstream woman like me, significant for several different reasons. One might say, “Great, you can now live the life of a seer and dabble in the mystical realms of reality.” However, did I really want to fly away from society on the back of a gypsy’s dream? I will be judged. I will be questioned. I toyed with the idea of professionally sharing my gift with others, but I quickly ushered these ideas into the shadows. My place in society was resolute, and I did not intend to make my claim to fame through any art of divination. Period.

It is curious how destiny calls. Over time, I began to soften and TRUST. I began to dissolve my instilled need to conform to the ideals of the left-brained, linear thinking majority. I began to recognize that it was only I that I ultimately feared- my own critical mind, judgment and disapproval. Did people really care if I could read a Tarot card spread? Would they truly write me off as a fringe mystic? If so, what impact would that honestly make in my life? And, for heaven’s sake, who are all these darn people anyway? Do I even know them?

Once I finally plucked my head out of that restrictive box I built for myself so long ago, I was actually able to see the value in my gift. I now honor it, and I honor myself as I use it. In the beginning of this personal acknowledgement, I gingerly offered Tarot readings to friends and family. This felt safe. Time after time, though, I would be surprised and impressed with the cards, for they were eerily precise. It was not long before I faced my TRUTH and offered this gift as a bona fide service to my global community.

I am grateful I have arrived at a place of admission, acceptance and self-respect, for it has allotted me a new platform to help others. Now, the question that blossoms from my heart is- how can I NOT share my abilities, ALL of them, with those in need? My desire to guide and support others now trumps any doubt or judgment I once had. My life path is paved as I serve others, and the Tarot is yet another modality I can now use to construct the life I was born to live.

The funny thing is… I finally discovered that people actually LOVE the Tarot. Who knew!

“Fate brings success, the unexpected arrival of good fortune.” ~Eden Gray

“The Wheel of Fortune can indicate a vision or realization that strikes with great force. If you’ve been struggling…this card can signal that you can find the answer if you stand back and view everything from a larger perspective.” ~Joan Bunning

“The Wheel of Fortune…symbolizes a new beginning and the completion of an earlier series. The second half of the quest has now begun. The Wheel is a mandala, a symbol of psychic wholeness and inner order….Cast [yourself] free from the bond of society, and [your] sacrifice is rewarded. The symbol of the Wheel brings with it peace of mind, the resolution of guilt, and an affirmation of the fundamental order existing at all levels of the universe.” ~Alfred Douglas

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The Death of My Life

Carve Your Own Path

Carve Your Own Path

Do you want to change your life? I mean really change your life? Do you long to tear it down to the last thread of its current existence and weave a new lifestyle, livelihood, a new identity? If your answer is yes, you are among the millions who are searching for something bigger, something more fulfilling. You yearn for a lifestyle change. You expect more from yourself; you are seeking a greater return on life.

Life is full of movement. Change is the ebb and flow, the breath, of our existence. We learn to move with the winds of desire, opportunity and inspiration. However, what if those winds whip us against a corner, whisking away opportunity, forcing us to take action, make rash changes or settle for less? The current economy has done just that to millions. Real estate and jobs have been lost, families struggle, the individual questions the system.  Many sulk in the corner after that whipping, immobilized by fear and constraint.

I have highlighted a grim picture of our current plight. Is it really this bad? To many, the answer is an emphatic yes. It is difficult to focus on anything more than restriction and lack when treading through the muck of these hardships. But, is it? Can a refocus on new positive changes be possible? I believe anything is possible.

What would happen if you used upheaval and failure to create the life you have always wanted? Could you imagine doing such a courageous feat in the face of defeat? It is time to move towards your true life path. This is something that needs attention whether you have suffered a loss or not.

The time is now.

I am addressing those who have been forced into unsavory life situations, because that is the most challenging position to move out of due to the debilitating wounds of a fall. However, anyone can restructure and redefine lifestyle. It does not take a tragedy to desire more out of life. The yearning for personal evolution and truth exists within us all.

Do you want more out of your life? Of course you do! It is time to CREATE the life you have always deep down felt you were meant to live.

Allow me to share my personal story of loss, growth, courage, fear and transformation.  I was raised with high financial morals. At age 14, my mother made it clear that if I wanted a car at age 16, I would have to buy it myself. I got my first job waiting tables at a small, local café and slowly earned, diligently depositing every cent of my income into my new savings account. Two years later, on my 16th birthday, I bought my first car with all my saved earnings. This was the beginning of my perfect life. Or, so I thought.

I lived the standard life. You know, the life that parents, peers, scholars and society pushes, the one that trucks you along from school to college, from job to career, from renting to home ownership in hopes of delivering the great American dream of material happiness and eternal gluttony. I reached the pinnacle of this dream in my early thirties. I made it. I had the college degree, the career, the home. I paid all my bills in full and on time. My credit was so shinny clean; I could see my own reflection in it. And, believe me, it reflected perfection. I was a success by society’s standards. However, never once did I ask what my standards were, nor did I wonder what it was I considered to be true perfection.

I was so devoted to the principles by which I thought I should live my life that I failed to look at what it was I truly wanted. I thought I wanted everything I had. I thought I loved consumerism. Ironically, I was the one being consumed. Something was wrong.

By the time I realized that my life was incongruent with my greater wellbeing, I was firmly set within it. My house, which had lost value due to the economic downturn, was a giant cement block attached to chains that coiled around and imbedded into my legs. My career paid the bills, yes, but lacked the luster it once did, painting my daily routine in the dullest of colors. I was fading behind obligation. My inner light flickered in desperate attempts to ignite some former passion and enthusiasm for a creative, fanciful, courageous and bountiful future that no longer seemed to exist.

I was so consumed by the life I thought I should live and the things I thought I should own and the person I thought I should be that I was not cognizant of any of this. I clung to society’s ideals. Oddly, I was still considered a success.

Then it happened.

I was a commissioned corporate employee, and as the economy slid down the muddy hills of defeat, my income dropped like a sack of rocks. It crushed everything in its path. I watched in horror as my house and flawless record shattered around me in tiny shards of imperfection reflecting back at me. I curled up in a ball of failure, embarrassment, lack, fear, disbelief and shock. The wounds caused by those jagged little mirrored shards, bled the life right out of me.

This was an absolute blessing in disguise.

The life that bled from my devastated body was no real life at all. As I slowly uncurled myself from that agonizing ball, something greater within me began to unravel. I awakened. A fire started to smolder, and I began to fan the flames of new possibilities. I questioned everything. My values, career, lifestyle and self-image were suddenly splayed across the butcher block to be trimmed or discarded. I knew there was something more within me, something I earnestly wanted to uncover and celebrate. I began to see a clear ray of my true essence where there were once only clouds of obligatory accomplishment shrouding my reality.

This is what I discovered.

I am a precious being with a compassionate heart full of love and wonderment. I am connected ever so delicately with all other life forms and natural elements. I am ONE with the earth, oceans and the skies. My spirit vibrates to the pulse of the universe. I am raw and awake. I am that wild animal with keen senses, untamed, alert and excited. I am the wind, the sun and the rain. I am the lightening that streaks across the darkened night, fierce and poignant. My body has its own intelligence, aligned to my soul’s path. I flow with the synchronicities of life. I am life. I inhale wisps of tranquility and exhale healing harmony. I am everything I have ever imagined. I am every dream that has bounced off my pillowcase. I am that wish upon a falling star from the milky heavens. I am adventure and exploration. Bliss twinkles from my eyes. Curiosity rolls over my lips. I am pure. My life energy is gentle yet powerful, capable and captivating. I radiate like polished crystals.  I am boundless, timeless, and priceless.

So, I quit my day job.

With this single choice, I stepped out of an insignificant life of limits, monotony, lack, fear, disharmony, worry, structure, and confinement, and I stepped into SIGNIFICANCE. As I tepidly stretched my foot over that threshold, I was tempted to maintain my familiar mediocrity by a lifetime of social conformity. It took every trembling ounce of courage and faith I had, but I did it. I took that step. I broke free. With my intuition ablaze and trust in my soul’s greater purpose, I changed my life.

I connected to my passion, my spirit and my higher ideals. I now have my own practice, and I work at what I love. I offer Reiki healings. I teach. I write. I create raw cuisine. I use my intuition in my spiritual readings. I coach others to connect with personal truth and to live significantly. My heart now beats to the tempo of my life work and my whims. Now that I flow with my life instead of force it, my work feels more fanciful and creative. It is my whim, for it is my muse; it is whimsical. As I allow myself to transform and grow, as a result, so does my effort. My passion and my labor have become synonymous. I invite change instead of confront it. I now sway to my own rhythms. I breathe in freedom. It is fresh, invigorating and inspiring. I can now see a fulfilling and abundant future.

I formerly believed that society wanted me to be that other thing, that unimaginative employee with the hefty mortgage and spotless accounting record. I thought perfection was owning that car, having the highest credit rating, making the safest choices, living within structure, and, ultimately, being an insipid enculturated debutante.

The irony is I followed my soul’s true path, and I now have more respect and more personal and spiritual abundance than I ever did before not because I am somehow now better, but because I am living a congruent, passionate, grateful, loving, positive, compassionate and free flowing life. I am living the life that used to occupy my heart in daydreams.

I faced my greatest fears. I took that step. Where there was once defeat, loss and a sense of failure now exists innate knowing, soulful endeavors, spiritual awareness and natural living.

I am exactly like YOU. We share the same inner brilliance. We are no different. We each have higher ideals and a heart opening, nurturing, healing, awakening purpose.

I know many of you reading this ache to embrace that greater calling. Whether it is leaving a dead-end job, selling a home, recreating a relationship, starting your own business or embarking on a dream you have always thought was just out of your reach, you, too, can live your highest Truth. It is more than possible. I now realize perfection is not defined by society. Perfection is simply and only divine. It is within us all. Can you feel it smoldering deep within you?

How will you create your divine life, the life of your unlimited imagination, the life you were BORN to live?

Leave Your Own Beautiful Trail

Leave Your Own Beautiful Trail

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Trust Your Body’s Enlightenment

Walking the Soul's Path

Walking the Soul’s Path

There is a strong correlation between the body and the spirit. We identify with our bodies as “I”. We identify with our minds even more deeply, for it drives us, often dictating our choices and directions. For those who are able to listen to the heart or follow gut instincts, messages from the body, personal journeys are more easily traveled. Our soul’s true purpose is stored in our bodies, for our bodies and our spirituality are so closely linked. The subconscious mind knows why we are here in this lifetime. It knows the lessons we need to learn and the focus of our current journey. Yes, we all have a reason for living here now. We all have deeply inlaid goals for this life that our physical bodies have set out to experience. Our bodies know these goals. Our bodies are programmed to function, aligned with our soul’s knowledge.

When we step off the path, we become sick, we injure ourselves or we are greeted with a challenge, a closed door or a conflict. We then store negative energy from these experiences within our bodies. We have not been taught how to release much of the pain we encounter. Bodywork in the form of massage, acupressure, rolfing and the like are all methods that can be used to release trapped emotional pain that have settled into our bodies.  However, what would happen if we never stepped off path and chose to stop using our bodies as storage units for negative energy? How would life feel if we could live and walk our true journey, our purpose, without diversion? If we learn to listen to our bodies, this could be possible.

We receive messages throughout each day that help guide us. Many of these notions are ignored. The powerful and logical thinking mind often overrides the subtle nuances of the body. Life is hectic. We are pulled into a hundred different directions. We have deadlines, responsibilities, personal promises to keep and chores to accomplish. How in the midst of all that can we follow our hearts and our physical instincts? What do we do when our intuition tell us to stay home, for example, when we have appointments set all day?  We cannot disappoint.  However, the greatest lesson we can learn is that the only one who ultimately gets disappointed is ourselves.

How would it feel to live life, moving from one project to the next, from event to event, but only if it felt right? How would it feel to have the power to choose your life and the direction it will take? Liberated? Relieved?  Like you can finally exhale? You actually have this power right now. If you do not know where to start, simply turn within yourself and listen closely to your body. This is an art, a skill. Tuning into your body and listening to its messages is like listening to a symphony for the first time. It is masterful, overwhelming, unfamiliar but filled with artful magic that invokes inspiration.

It is definitely possible to tune in to ourselves at any time. Meditation and yoga both help to quiet the mind, allowing us to connect with our bodies and our souls. A regular practice teaches us how to quiet the mind and keep it at rest. There is much literature on meditation. The benefits are well known.  It can instill great peace, purpose and solace. It trains the mind to settle down, to move away from the limelight of our lives. A well-trained mind can be powerful, for having the ability to silence it in the face of angst or suffering is an empowering ability.

However, let us take this discussion a bit further. There is more to the path of personal enlightenment then a yogic mind. We must actually use our physical bodies to guide our way through life.  Our minds can never do that for us no matter how long or often we engage in meditation. We have bodies; we must learn to use them in the way they were divinely meant to be used. We will never be able to rationalize or think our way through life even though we are taught from birth that we can. Those who do often reflect back on a life of regret, feeling unfulfilled like something profound was missed.  Well, it was.

How do we live our lives, choose directions and actions, that will introduce us to our divine life goals? We cannot ignore that we exist in physical form. We have bodies. We must learn to use the body, for it contains more knowledge and power than modern medicine or society has yet to grasp. The connection between our bodies and our spirits is definite. We must turn inward. That is the unequivocal truth.

Within each of us is a road map. Our bodies are spiritually designed to travel along this path. One of the most significant things we can do to find our divine purpose is to listen and to follow the body. Learn to live in the heart.  Follow gut instincts; be guided by intuition. Get out of your head and feel the journey with the energy that exists from the neck down. This is not to say logic is irrelevant. We have complicated reasoning abilities for specific situations. Our brain keeps us alive. It protects us and propels us. However, we need to move the thinking mind out of the driver’s seat. Yes, we will continue to think and logically problem-solve, but we need a shift. We need to do so from the body, the heart and from our intuition. This will guide us towards our soul’s greater destination, our true life purpose.

It is time to live on path.

Raw Chef Panel Q2: The Raw Journey

Q. How long have you been raw? What percentage raw were you in the beginning of your raw journey? If you were 100%, how long did that last? What percentage are you now? And, finally, if you do eat cooked foods, what cooked foods do you eat?

A. I have lived a raw food lifestyle since 2004. I have been interested in nutrition my entire life. I grew up loving to cook and spending time in the kitchen. Creating recipes and wooing guests with my cuisine has been my greatest passion in life. Working with food is like a working meditation. It is my solace, my love, an expression of my inner beauty, my artistic self, my true being. I love food, and more importantly, I love food that heals and nurtures the body not only on a physically level but on a deep soul level. Raw foods do that.

In 2004, I was visiting my sister, Tanith, in Portland, Oregon for a weekend, and while in her home, I found a cookbook. It was Rawsome by Brigitte Mars. I had never before heard of a raw food diet. When I picked up this book, I was immediately entranced by its content. It promised a new way of eating that offered amazing health and beauty benefits. Being that I am the type to devour any nutritional book or cookbook I can get my hands on, I spent the rest of that weekend in Portland gobbling up every word on every page. I was instantly hooked. When I returned home, I sought out every book I could find on the topic. I started with Juliano’s book, Raw: The Uncook Book: New Vegetarian Food for Life and dove right in. I was immediately discouraged by the complexity of the recipes. Transitioning from a cooked food diet, I craved heavy meals. The vibrant pictures and recipes in his book allured me, but I realized that if I wanted something as simple as a sandwich that it would take several days to make it. The grains had to be soaked and sprouted for a few days, mixed into a batter and dehydrated for two or so more days to make the bread alone. My growling stomach and my impatience sent me right to the grocer for raw nuts, seeds, nut butters and dried fruit. These items were filling and easy to attain. At the end of my first week raw, I could proudly protest that I was indeed 100% raw, but I felt toxic. I could withstand this way of eating for about two weeks before I would delve back into my tried and true cooked foods.

One weekend while visiting Mendocino, California, I stumbled across Living Light Culinary Art Institute in Fort Bragg. They were advertising the first annual Vibrant Living  Expo. I was amazed at this find. I bought tickets for the entire event and immersed myself fully into all the information and enthusiasm offered by the inspirational speakers and vendors. It was there that I saw Victoria Boutenko speak for the first time. Her philosophy on the importance of greens changed my life. I realized that I was missing green leafy vegetables in my diet. This was the golden key to my success. I went right home and invested in a VitaMix, a high powered blender equipped to purify the tough fibers of sturdy leaves like kale and collard greens. Adding green smoothies and large kale salads into my diet balanced me, allotting me energy and happiness on a level I had yet to experience with any cooked food diet. Once I discovered that raw foods were then vitalizing and sustainable for me, I enrolled in Living Light. I trained as a raw food chef. This was what I had been waiting for all my life. I was able to finally integrate my love of the culinary arts with nutrition. I fell in love with raw foods.

Before I could professionally endorse this radical diet, I wanted to know, first hand, what raw foods truly had to offer. There is an enormous amount of testimonial on the internet, claiming impeccable health, age defying and mood enhancing results. I had to follow this diet 100% and discover it for myself. I decided to commit and follow a strict raw food diet for three months. I kept a daily journal during the entire experience. I even had my blood work done before and after the three month period to scientifically see my physical results. I was curious.

Those three months were amazing. I discovered what all raw foodies had already known. I needed far less sleep. My sleep requirement went from 8-10 hours a night to only 4-6 hours. I had more energy than I ever had in my life. This was great, because it meant that those extra waking hours were productive. I wasn’t just sitting around, lounging in front of the television late into the night. I was getting things done and happily so. I was highly motivated. My mood increased considerably. I would often laugh for no reason or break into a happy dance while drinking my morning green juice. I felt clean, pure, wild and awake. My stress level decreased. I felt more connected to everything around me. I felt more whole and apart of the bigger picture. I believe this is why stress could no longer exist within my psyche. How could it? Usually, the things that stress one don’t even exist. They are fears and negative anticipations. They are small compared to what truly exists in this world, physically and spiritually. I could clearly see my place within the fabric of my earthly existence. I play a small yet significant role. I am interwoven with everything else, matter and energy. How could I feel stress over a man-conceived situation or materialism? I simply couldn’t any longer. I was blissful. I was also exceedingly healthy. I have never had a strong physical constitution, but that winter I didn’t get sick once. I shared space with clients and loved ones who suffered from common colds and flues, yet I never once fell ill. I felt super human. I loved the way I felt. I also loved the way I smelled. I lost my body odor and the need for deodorants. My body became sweet and pure. By month three, my third eye opened. I began to have physic notions. I could sense things would happen before they did. Small synchronicities would occur that would cause pause; I was amazed by my increased “knowing.” I was raw and awake.

I faced challenges. My social life got in the way of me staying 100% raw after the three month commitment came to a close. I found I had anxiety about dinners or lunches out with friends. In the beginning, I would isolate myself, becoming antisocial. However, after the three months ended, I succumbed to social invitation and began to incorporate cooked foods back into my diet. Sadly, once I did this, all those amazing benefits I mentioned above dissipated. I swung back and forth from being 100% raw to being a naughty cooked foodie. Being the perfectionist that I was caused me to struggle, for I turned myself into a gastronomic yoyo. In retrospect, I realize that had I just allowed myself to eat cooked foods once and a while, I would have handled transitioning into a raw diet far better than I did. I was unforgiving with myself; I was strict and inflexible. I was an all-or-nothing kinda girl, so I was either 100% on or I was very off.

Now my attitude around food is much healthier. I choose to eat 100% raw when I can, which is the majority of the time; I love the way it makes me feel on every level. If there are times I need to eat cooked foods, I do. I no longer beat myself up about it. I no longer feel shame, failure or anxiety around my food choices. Left to my own accord, I am a 100% raw foodie. When I am in a traditional social situation, when I am with family or if I am in a restaurant, I eat cooked foods. I savor my choices; however, I do pay the price for the experience after the fact. Cooked foods are simply not as clean as raw foods, so I often wake the next morning with puffy, watery eyes, dry skin and a runny nose, feeling dehydrated, sluggish with low energy. One could ask why I put myself through all that for a single cooked meal; however, just as I am with the nut-laden raw desserts I occasionally order, I am highly conscious of my food choices. Waking up once and a while feeling unwell is far healthier for me emotionally and spiritually then suffering from anxiety over my social life or from closing myself off from my family and friends in an effort to obsessively encapsulate myself in a rigid raw lifestyle. The latter is far more difficult for me to overcome.

When I do eat cooked foods, I keep it clean and, for the most part, vegan. I will, infrequently, have a little cheese, but, in all honesty, I am not interested in supporting the inhumane and irresponsible dairy industry. In addition, the dairy itself congests me dearly. I always feel terrible, experiencing cold-like symptoms after eating it. I will also eat fish occasionally, but the energy I feel from eating a once-living being causes ill-ease within me. I do ingest negative energy when I eat dead seafood. I am aware of this. I am reporting now that I eat a little fish, but I know this will change. My diet is an evolution. I see myself moving away from seafood completely at some point. It could be as soon as tomorrow or it could be months from now. It is unknown how my palate and my heart will change. My diet evolves in direct proportion to my spiritual work. The higher my consciousness, the lower on the food chain I wish to eat. I am sensitive to the energies of life. I eat no other meats of any kind. I simply respect animals and birds far too much to do this. The longer I am raw, the more sensitive I am to all living beings. The more I develop spiritually and the more Reiki I practice, the cleaner my diet becomes. This is an effortless and natural progression. My physical and spiritual self is intertwined; there is no denying this, no separating it. As I continue on my raw path, I spiral into higher levels of consciousness.

Clean, whole, vegan foods transform the body into a conduit for higher energy. Meat and dairy products not only numb the body from spirit, but they support a destructive and cruel industry. At this point in my life, I chose to eat for my health and my spiritual elevation. The only cooked foods that I truly enjoy are steamed vegetables, which I can handle with no ill-affects. I can eat root vegetables like yams and winter squash as well as steamed green vegetables like artichoke, broccoli and asparagus. I will also, occasionally, eat miso soup or a light pasta. I eat these foods sparingly, and I always eat mindfully. Raw foods are my absolute preference, for they naturally enlighten my body and my soul on more levels than I am even aware. They are brilliant. And, I am brilliant when I eat them.

I honor life; I honor Mother Earth, and I honor myself through my food choices. Eating raw vegan foods, I thrive.

Birthday Blessings

Birthday Blessings!

Birthday Blessings!

Life is beautiful, and I am in love with it. Today is my birthday. As I wake up and settle into this new day, I look back and realize, with deep gratitude, that I have been living every day like it’s my birthday. And why not?! You should do this as well, living life completely with a receptive heart, open and clear. Nurture yourself. Love yourself. Did you know that the simple words, thank you, will raise your vibration, for it is one of the purest prayers you could utter? Say, “thank you,” feeling the words reverberate within you. Thank you. I love you.

What are you grateful for? This is an inspiring question and the mantra of Café Gratitude. Last night, on the eve of my birthday, Laura and I went to the Café Gratitude in Healdsburg to listen to raw chef Melissa Mango speak for the Monday Night Live series. Melissa, I might add, is a wonderful spirit. She is absolutely vibrant.  Laura and I had a fantastic time, and I love the photo above of us- two friends mingled with deliciousness. Thank you.

I am grateful for the growing raw community in my area. It is such a blessing to walk into an establishment, as I did last night, and know so many sweet souls. We shared smiles, conversation and delicious foods. I sipped on an ‘I Am Succulent,’ a grapefruit apple celery mint juice, which was divine, sweet and refreshing. I dined on my favorite entree, ‘I Am Sensational,’ the pesto pizza with hemp seed basil pesto & olive tapenade- oh so good! And for dessert, the entire staff of Café Gratitude crowed around my table hopping around, dancing, and clapping while joyously singing, They Say it’s Your Birthday, by the Beatles. My cheeks blushed through big grins. The cake that was delivered, garnished with a single red lit candle, was amazing. It was a layered strawberry shortcake made of nut flour called ‘I Am Rapture.’ How appropriate; need I say more?! Thank you.

As memorable as this evening was, the true blessing was gifted to me much earlier in the day. Laura hosted a Reiki class, and I joined her for it. I love Reiki. The energy flow is soothing and enlightening. Though I have been healing and attuning others with Reiki for many moons now, I am still caught in the wonderment of it. There is so much that cannot be seen that exists. Reiki energy is powerful, no doubt. It heals the body and sharpens the ethereal body and intuition. Every time I work with this energy, I feel spiritually empowered. I received a healing attunement for my birthday. Though my birthday presents have yet to roll in, I am certain that the attunement will dwarf all other tangible gifts.  I felt intense energy all around me, hitting me in waves, rolling over and around me like a gentle warm ocean. I sank into a deep meditation, my ankle twitched, my third eye ignited. Thank you.

The third eye, often referred to as the inner eye, is the portal that leads to inner realms and spaces of higher consciousness. Lately, during my meditations, I feel intense pressure in my forehead at my third eye. Yesterday, my forehead was on fire, intensely pulsating with the Reiki. I felt an energy shift as “something” left me. Reiki attunements amplify healing energies, clearing blocks and aligning the Self to higher purpose. Since the healing works energetically, it deeply nurtures the body as well as the soul. This treatment enveloped me, and I glowed for hours afterwards, basking in my heightened lightness. I am curious to see how I unfold as the days drift by. I wonder what blocks left me during this session, what energetic resistances were whisked away by the Reiki healing. I am blessed. I see this. I truly know this. Thank you.

You, too, are deeply blessed. I want you to see and know this for yourself. Take the time to count your gifts, your blessings. What are you grateful for today? What treasures lie within your life that need to be picked up and polished, acknowledged and showcased? Smile for no reason. Enjoy the people around you with fresh eyes. Appreciate and earnestly love your Self. Give and receive without expectation. Open your heart. Live in abundance. Honor your truth and cherish your precious life.

Thank you. I love you.

Crow Spirit

Two Crows

Two Crows

Nature is my religion. My soul communes with the outdoors, gifting me great spiritual inspiration.  I love the northern California beaches. Oceanic power induces deep meditations, harmonizing my center with life, rhythmically soothing and empowering me.  I also love the soft hills of Sonoma County, my current residence, with its rich carpet of grape vines and dried summer grass. I cast my gaze, wanting to reach out and run my fingers through it, feeling the prolific sweet fibers of the wine country. But what I really love is a densely wooded forest, dark green canopies, cushy earth, thick quiet, the magic and mystery of the energies that entice me, invoking earnest delight and wonderment. What spirits reside there? I am not sure, but they croon to me silently, plucking my heart, tuning it like an instrument. I play for them. I dance like an innocent child.

In my youth, my father would bring my sister and I to the redwoods of Oakland hills where we lived.  We would hike and search for faeries, gnomes, trolls and anything else our imaginations could lure into our visions. “They love to hide in the moss that cloak the trees,” my father would whisper, instilling excitement in my coasting eyes. Everything was vibrant and green. We hiked in the rain often with little more than an umbrella, lunch and a candle in tow. We would huddle around the single flame while nibbling on afternoon treats. The lone lizard would scurry by. Raindrops plopped on wet leaves, mud, stones, muffled by their journey. I had never heard such quiet or experienced such complete beauty. These memories never fade. Rich in luster, they flourish within me. I scintillate in nostalgia.

The closest forest to me now is Armstrong Woods. A mere 23 mile drive, and I can be coddled by tremendous redwoods. Last weekend, Laura and I explored these woods. Immediately upon our arrival, as we entered the density of this small wooded park, I opened- eyes wide, heart juicy and full. I hadn’t walked among the trees, ferns, dirt and moss in a long while. My senses heightened, enlightened, lifting my spirit, reminding me of my innate Self.

We journeyed within, walking deep into the park on a narrow paved road. We were alone. The silence was overwhelming; it folded around me. In the distance, I spotted two crows, walking the same road as Laura and I. They were far enough away to maintain privacy but close enough for us to clearly watch their movements. We were enchanted by the ambling pair. These two crows walked side by side like two old friends, soul mates, lost in one another and the simple pleasure of leisure. They strolled down the center of this narrow street, waddling, swaying, occasionally turning their heads toward one another as if in idle conversation. They looked like little people to me, small feathered people, enjoying the afternoon. Never before had I felt this way about wildlife. I am not sure if I was anthropomorphizing this interaction or, if on a deeper more intrinsic level, I was sensing their Truth. We watched the crows walk in front of us along our same path. They seemed to mirror us without knowing it. We smiled. It didn’t take long for the crows to sense our existence. Once catching on to our company, they leapt off the ground, swinging wings, calling to the trees, gently lifting into the sky. They were gone, leaving magic in their wake.

What really happens among the redwoods when humans are not around? Does the forest awaken to play and delight? There is an undercurrent of power, an unseen presence, that uplifts this wooded grove. I have always known nature holds precious secrets from modern man/woman or, rather, modernity has dulled man/woman from translating secret into truth. Whatever the case, I am unfolding, unwrapping my own gifts to bestow. I coil around and melt into the natural world. This, I profoundly sense, and watching these two old friends, the crows, solidified this sacred recognition, my connection to my Self and the landscape of spirit.

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”

John Muir

*The artwork above, Two Crows, is by Mark Seabrook.

Gaia

Mendocino, California

Mendocino, California

I sit idle, watching as each wave licks the compressed sand, lapping it up like a savory treat.  Back and forth, small bursts of white froth move excitedly, digging deeper into the cavernous beach.  The ocean foams at the mouth, curling hungrily around each isolate rock.  These rocks, positioned haphazardly throughout the watery cove, lay hidden beneath mystery and fury.  It isn’t until the fervor of the ocean unleashes angry bursts around them are they exposed, vulnerable.  Like beached whales, they are stubborn and steady.  Occasionally, the lone bird coasts powerfully by, dancing its commanding dance, arduously pumping against the western winds, cutting the evening air like a thick, dull knife.  Seagulls have now returned to their hidden shelters, and the skies are clean, leaving only the clouds as a moving, cluttered canvas.  Various shades of grey glide by, determined, deliberate.  Charcoal, lavender, silver, peach, blues, each color faintly kisses the contours of the heavens.  And as the coastal wind whips by, the celestial art changes, moving about, morphs, evolves into nothing, something into everything.  One glance away and the scene is gone, replaced by a new canvas, new inspiration, a new mystery.  My eyes aren’t absorbent enough to consume each pixel of light and color, not focused enough to catch every angle, each contour and the rich depth that lies before them.  I gobble up each subtle moment; each luxurious second feeds into my mind, my body, my soul.  I can feel my molecular structure change.  Each cell, each atom slows, relaxes and meditates my body.  My muscles, my blood, my flesh, all bubble and simmer, fluid and flexible.  Am I any different than this great spectacle I feast my eyes on?  Am I the ocean in all its glorious fury, the air that whisks by, carrying with it the soft grey sky as one complete and complex unit?  Am I each seagull that clamored through the breezy current?  Or perhaps I am that blade of grass that chatters in clumps, encompassed by a field of sand.  There is no separating myself from the land, the life, the action.  I am beautiful.  I am life.  And I sit quietly, steadily, yet actively participating in this living, breathing masterpiece.

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