Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Solar Plexus Chakra & Winter Solstice: Celebrate Your Inner Light!

This is the time of year where most cultures and religions - at least from the northern hemisphere - are celebrating Light on Earth.  This celebration takes on many forms, and most traditions include lighting candles and sharing wishes of joy and prosperity.  It is no coincidence; most religions have modelled their celebrations of light upon the very ancient traditions of observing the sun’s cycles.  You see, this is the time of the Winter Solstice, where the Sun appears to come closer to the Earth and the days start to get longer.  For the Ancients, this was a time to reflect upon and celebrate divine Mystery.

My kitchen island dressed up as an
Altar to the 4 Elements
To me, the Winter Solstice is the perfect time to meditate on my shadow aspects and also on the projects and energy I want to bring forth in the coming year.  I typically stay up the whole night of the Solstice painting, dancing, meditating and enjoying the company of like-minded friends.  At sunrise, we go outdoors near the beautiful St. Lawrence River and we ring bells to welcome the sun and the new solar year.  We finally go to bed at around 8AM.  The deeper significance of this night of vigil is that there is always hope, even in our darkest of times.  There are many nuggets of truth and wisdom to gain from meditating on our darker aspects.  These lessons help grow our Soul and reconnect us to the source of Light and Love.  These lessons help us understand what is truly important to our Soul, and help shed light on how we can make the world a better place by being more authentic and empowered.

This year's Winter Solstice
Meditative Painting
Looking at this time of celebration through the lens of the Solar Plexus Chakra, it is a perfect time to tend to our inner light, where we store our vital life force energy.  Take this quick quiz to check in on your Solar Plexus:

Simply answer YES or NO to each of the statements below.

  • I feel confident in most situations. 
  • I am able to laugh easily. 
  • I see projects and commitments through to completion. 
  • I feel I have a healthy digestive system. 
  • I speak up for myself. 
  • I have the courage to take risks when necessary. 
  • I establish appropriate boundaries for myself. 

How did you score?  If you answers “NO” more than four times, it may indicate that your solar plexus chakra is lacking in energy. If you score four or more YES answers, wonderful! You are balanced in the solar plexus centre.

I love a good Sun Meditation to help balance my energy and boost my confidence, joy and personal radiance.  Use this visualization to enhance your inner peace and sense of self-worth.  When possible, do this meditation while standing in sunlight, offering your forehead and solar plexus to the light and warmth of the sun.

Take a deep breath, and gently close your eyes.  Imagine yourself standing at the top of a mountain. With your inhale, imagine you are breathing in the golden light from the sun.  With your imagination, bring this golden breath to your stomach area, where it ignites the spark within your own fire centre. You are filled with this brilliant solar energy. Your power centre is radiating with vital life force.  Imagine that with each breath, you are bringing golden light to your entire body, especially to areas that feel cold or achy.  When your body is filled imagine that, with your exhale, you are sharing this golden light to your projects, to your relationships, to your finances…  Envelop them in golden light, and know that this light will energize them and will help them grow.  When you feel complete, gently open your eyes and give thanks to the Sun.  Take this calm and restorative power into your life and move forwards with confidence and courage. 

Surrounding you in Love & Light.

Friday, December 19, 2014

A simple ceremony for the Winter Solstice

The energy has been feeling sticky or heavy for many of us these past few weeks.  I am reminded of the general feeling surrounding the "Gateway" everyone was talking about for December 2012, and I am sensing that all the changes, transformations and "tests" we've been through these past two years were just the beginning of a large transformational process.  I feel that this Solstice is just as important, in terms of Gateway or opening.  All the changes, choices and projects we've been working on since 2012 will find a renewed energy in the coming months; the tests of the last few weeks were to verify our commitment and willingness to keep moving forward on this soulful journey.

But to find renewed energy, we have to be willing to release the old.  A sacred fire ceremony on the Solstice will help you take stock of your fears and rethink your goals and purpose.  Focusing on the flame of a candle or bonfire and bringing in the Sacred Flame will help you burn away stagnant energy to bring the energy of renewal, faith and passion.

In 2012, we opened the door...  Take stock now to verify if you've made it through the opening, or if you still have one foot out stuck in the way things used to be.  Are you still holding on to something from the past?  It will be very difficult for you to move forward with that weight keeping you stuck in the same place...  Take time to recommit and rededicate yourself to serving the Light this weekend - if that is what you choose.

Shine on, Lightworker!  The world needs you.

Sending you much Love, and wrapping you up in Light; sending blessings of joy, fulfillment and abundance for 2015 and beyond.

Monday, December 15, 2014

How’s your fire-power?

The Solar Plexus stores life-force energy, and family relationships teach us how to use it.

My grandfather's wake and funeral this past weekend was a beautiful time to reunite with family members. My grandfather comes from a family of 17 children - there are many relatives I don't know very well, and many cousins I see only occasionally. It really warmed my heart to rekindle family love as we shared memories and stories.

Being with family can be wholesome and nurturing. We grew up with this network of souls. We learned our identity and our place in society through family relationships and conversations. We received conditioning about who we are and how much we should be seen or heard, and along the way we made choices about accepting or rejecting this conditioning. Family is full of love, AND contrasts and life lessons. We form our personality through these relationships - and we also form our ego.

The Solar Plexus chakra is the seat of our willpower. In many spiritual traditions, the area of the Solar Plexus is where we store our vital life energy. Many cultures have referred to this as an inner sun or fire. When we assert ourselves lovingly, we glow from the inside out. It’s easy to recognize someone who is self-confident: their energy is peaceful, strong, and loving. They seem to radiate that “certain je-ne-sais-quoi”. When ego dominates this power centre, however, the fire-power of a person can be explosive with anger, arrogance and tyranny. Instead of being filled with quiet love, we feel fear, shame or unworthiness in the energy of this person. And still, when ego makes us believe that our personal definition resides in shame and unworthiness, one’s inner fire, will to live, and sense of passion just dies out. We can feel dried up and empty. A lack of vital life-force energy can bring on depression and anxiety.

“Energetically, physically, emotionally and mentally, we are all powerful, radiant beings. However, we may not always be living from a place where we accept and radiate our own power. Sometimes we may feel like it would be easier not to have to interact and bargain and state our worth to people at all. Sometimes we may give in and accept less than we’re worth. (…) When we bring balance to this chakra, we can begin to experience a true inner strength and authentic power while moving away from the unhealthy desire to gain power over others. This creates a more relaxed and spontaneous life, powerful but free. When we balance the solar plexus chakra, we accept who we truly are – and accept others for their true selves too.” Natalie Southgate, Founder of Chakradance (R)
It is through the experience of relationships - within the immediate family and the work- or social- family units that we learn valuable lessons in asserting our will centre. In your family and social gatherings this holiday season, be aware of how you feel in the presence of others. Do you need to assert yourself and overpower others? Do you need to “be right” no matter what? Do you allow others to belittle you? Are you blaming family members, the society or your upbringing for your lot in life? Would you rather stay in pj’s under the blankets instead of facing family and friends in social gatherings? How do you perceive others feel in your presence - are they fearful of you, do they share openly, are they smiling and peaceful?

Take regular time-outs just to breathe and reflect. Bring a hand to your stomach as you take a deep breath and become conscious of your own inner fire. Are you radiating your Light, shining with Love, or are you hiding and smouldering? Are you shining so bright that others are getting burned by your fire? It’s not about judging, just notice. And then if you don’t like what you feel choose to change something in your behaviour and attitude.

It all starts with you. You have the power to change how you feel in your family, how you interact with everyone, and how you allow others to treat you.

Establishing and respecting clear boundaries go a long way in creating loving and mutually satisfying relationships. Allow family to be your greatest teacher and instead of becoming angry over the same old wound, be grateful for a lesson in love and personal boundary. With healthy boundaries and the acceptance of who we truly are, it becomes so much easier to foster inner peace and to be a beacon of Light for others.

With this in mind, family gatherings can be rich, insightful and much less stressful.

Surrounding you in Love & Light.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Crystals and aromatherapy for holiday stress management? Yes, please!

Oh, blessed holiday season… as much as we love the cooking, the eating, the family gatherings… ’tis also a season for stress for many. Family gatherings can remind us of those who have passed away and are no longer with us to celebrate. We can get so caught-up in the to-do list that we forget to enjoy the time of merriment. And when we finally have some down-time, many become ill with colds and flu-like symptoms. Are you willing to do something different this year to enjoy the holidays instead?

  1. Include crystal “bling” in your outfit and home decor. Sparkle with garnet, emerald, carnelian and citrine. Garnet is grounding and will help reignite the child-like magic of Christmas. Emerald is balancing, healing and soothing. Carnelian brings joy and vitality, while citrine will help your aura sparkle. Wear any combination of these as jewelry, or add bigger pieces in your decor. Wouldn’t candle light and Christmas light look lovely viewed through a crystal? To me, they always act as a reminder to breathe and take a few minutes for meditative contemplation — and that is a great stress-buster!
  2. Mist your home with pine essential oil. Pine resonates with this time of year, and it has many healing virtues. It is said to clear the air of viruses, germs and stagnant energy (perfect when the house is full of guests!). It boosts morale and helps lower stress levels. It is also said to help boost metabolism - so use those pine-scented candles after a large meal to help it go down!
  3. 15-minute restorative meditation. Remember to take care of your body and your energy through the busy-ness of the season. Try this simple meditation:
  • Prepare a yoga mat or folded blanket for your relaxation. Put a cushion or two under your knees to elevate your legs (this will release pressure on your lower-back and boost your lymphatic system). Arrange one clear quartz point at your feet and one at your head, both pointing inward toward your body. Mist the room with Pine.
  • Lie down on your back. Place a citrine or yellow topaz on your stomach. Arrange your shoulders so your shoulder blades are flat on the mat and your chest feels open.
  • Intend that your energy becomes restored and balanced, and that your chakras become aligned.
  • Take deep breaths down to your belly. Allow the crystal on your stomach to be your “breathing buddy”, helping you relax further as you watch it rise and fall with your breath.
  • After approximately 15 minutes, gently stretch your body. Take a few moments to count your blessings. Smile. You should feel ready to undertake your next holiday task or get ready for your next gathering.

Surrounding you with Peace and Light.

Feeling down? 3 tips to boost up your energy

I am feeling so depleted in my life-force energy. For the past two weeks, I have felt a heavy shroud around me. I’ve been sitting at my computer, trying to find words for my weekly newsletter, and I totally flat-lined. Doing the smallest task seems to be sucking energy out of me, and I need to schedule more rest periods and longer nights’ sleep than usual. What’s up with that?

Well well… isn’t it interesting that we’ve entered the month dedicated to the Solar Plexus - the centre for our inner sun, our energy reserve, our ability to deal with stress. It seems that once again I must teach from a place of knowing and “been there, done that”… So, how do I move from this slow as molasses sticky energy to more clarity and vitality?

Here are my top 3 tips.

  1. Have a pyjama day. Honour your energy level. I find it very unbalanced that, in our society, we must always maintain a high level of energy to do more and more and more. We feel guilty if we do less, even just for one day. We feel like the world might come apart if we take a day off work or away from our children to restore our health and vitality. We feel ashamed of being vulnerable, or feeling weak. Hmmm… hello ego! These beliefs and that type of self-talk is ego and fear-based; and these are patterns governed by the shadow side of the Solar Plexus chakra. So ask yourself: is it really true that the world will crumble if you take care of yourself for one day? Is it really true that you must constantly prove yourself as being strong, unbeatable and unaffected by life’s events? Bring balance to your life and enjoy your pyjama day.
  2. Be mindful of the foods you are eating - especially during the holiday season, full of indulgences. Are your food choices truly nourishing? When I feel stressed, I reach out for pastries, cookies, cakes and other sweets. Stress is linked to insulin production, and the pancreas which secretes insulin is governed by the Solar Plexus. I know, however, that the short-term energy boost from sugar and insulin is not healthy for me and if I give in to my cravings I will ultimately feel more tired and sick. I might have one or two cookies, but then I choose to love my body by feeding it fresh fruit, vegetables and proteins that will sustain my energy on the long-term. I’ve had to journal my food intake for a few months to discover the foods that give me energy and those that make me feel depleted, and I’ve modified my eating habits based on that insight. I have empowered myself to make better choices.
  3. Massage acupressure points. It feels so good and it helps unblock that sluggish energy. The basic points to massage are just below the collar bone; just above the heart (thymus); and the outside of your legs following your pant-seams from the hips to the knees. View the video below to do an energy routine with me.

My vital energy is returning after a short cycle of introspection and inner work. There are many more things I need to deal with this week, but I feel stronger and calmer for having taken the time to lovingly listen to my body.

This week, remember to breathe down to your belly, and take at least 5 minutes a day to truly tune in to your body and become aware of its needs. Follow through with its recommendations for you; whether it is more sleep, better nourishment of a different type of physical exercise, listen to your gut feelings. Doing so will strengthen your relationship with your body - and with your Solar Plexus.

Surrounding you in Love & Light.