Copal + Dunes = Bliss

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Was it the new moon?  Already?  And a spring new moon!

Time to plant seeds of intention!

If it wasn’t for my dear friend and aromatherapist, Miriam, (Kindred Earth Botanicals) reminding me of our shared monthly new moon mermaid card spread ritual, I’d have missed it in the frenzy of all my doing and then subsequent crashing overwhelm in the form of a nasty cold.

I’m doing and busy and running and late…

Trying to do all the things.  And be all the things to all the people I hold dear.  Which sometimes seems like everyone…

If it wasn’t for this new moon reminder (thank you Miriam!) I would have neglected, again, to tincture my Copal Resin.  (I got a sizable chunk on a trip – read here – and was instructed in sacred Mayan alchemy to tincture on the new moon for 9 days.)

Back to all the things.  The dilemma.   All the things!  I want them all!  Do them all, be them all.  And how to impart the faerie message to humans the beauty that is life and that each person is a perfectly imperfect incarnation of beauty, power, and infinite love?

Admittedly, I get jealous of people with single-minded focus.  They make progress.  They get shit done.

Me?  I have so many passions and struggle to coax myself into just one or maybe two.  But I get itchy feet, and I love so much all the things…

Sometimes I am harsh with myself though.  You must decide, Doreen!  Sigh.  It happens.

So I thought this new moon I’d ask life, aka spirit, what to do with this dilemma of passion for many things.  After all, why must I hold the reins?

Life, what will you have of me?  That is what I will plant this new moon.  Send me little messages, drop me a trail of breadcrumbs through the forest, and I will follow you.

First bread crumb.  The mermaids (cards) told me to go to the water and feel. (Typical mermaids, water, sensuality, emotions, feelings, sex, love.)

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I took the already scent-blossoming Copal tincture , a thermos of tea, my journal, and my dog, and hiked up a dune to a favorite contemplation spot…

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Missy kept a look out.  She can be very protective when I go into meditation / ritual mode.

Second breadcrumb.  Scent-savor the copal.  Inhale.  Open the flood-gates.

Ethereal-sweet-resinous copal, I see you.   I feel you.  When I anoint myself and inhale slowly, I feel you in my heart and solar plexus chakra.  You melt into me a lover’s caress for my psyche.  The tingle-glowing within begins.  From my heart you spiral down warmly engulfing my radiant center.  A sweetness of crying for beauty of life.  Love-tears crystallize and drop but do not sting.  Bliss.  You bring a miraculous bliss, sacred Copal.  You bring me to my nature.  My nature is bliss.

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From this state, I persist with my query.  What does life want of me? What does it want me to do?  I’m ready to take notes…

I wait.  In my mind’s eye I see a flash of lightening.  Then, the surprising answer.

Nothing.

Life wants nothing of you, Doreen, except for you to do and be yourself.  Life wants you to live.  To live and feel your extraordinary self in this extraordinary experience of life no matter what you choose to do.  So, the activity you choose to do matters not.  Only feel into it.  Be present with the extraordinariness of you.

Yes, do all the things.  Do anything.  Do nothing.  Just feel.

Including having a nasty cold from overwhelm.  Feel the sweetness and bliss of THAT!

Society will try to tell us life is ordinary and mundane.  But it is not so.  Do not believe this.  Choose otherwise.

But we all know this, yes?  Inside, yes, we do.

I guess I just needed a little reminder.  Don’t we all from time to time?

Thank you, Sacred Copal.  Thank you, Mermaids.  Thank you, Missy.  Thank you, Me.

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Winter Forest Bath

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My favorite forest primeval, Warren Woods State Park, lies sleeping under a blanket of snow and the spell of winter. I am out in the woods, practicing winter Shinrin-yoku, or “forest bathing” – a nature inspired body-mind spiritual practice. By experiencing the winter forest in a liminal meditation state, through my senses, and without agenda, I’m connecting with nature and practicing meditation in motion.

The simple and dreamy practice of Shinrin-yoku comes from Japan and is encouraged by the Japanese government as a way to decrease stress, elevate mood, strengthen the immune system, and improve quality of life since 1982.

I walk slowly and use my senses. Or come back to my senses! For this experience I’m not trying to identify plants or birds. I’m not counting my steps or trying to work up a sweat. I’m just being, in the forest, in winter.

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With the absence of the leaves and plants, sounds are clearer, yet at the same time the snow mutes. Rasps and groans from the trees cut through the crisp air. The chatter of birds, woodpeckers rapping, an occasional soft thump of a heavy snow dropping from a tree limb. The curious sound of my feet in the snow makes me laugh out loud.

The landscape is awash in an endless array of subtly magnificent shades of cobalt, grey, browns, and white. A solitary snowflake sparkles like a faerie kiss on the snow – white, blue, or gold.

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I pause and feel the snowflakes land gently on my face; I follow a single snowflake on its path fluttering down. In the air lies a hint of the scent of fresh linen (washed in unscented soap, please). In the winter forest there is scent, but at the same time, no scent. The scent of snow is almost more of ‘scentsation.’ I open to the idea of feeling the scentless scent.

 

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Eventually a chill creeps in. I wish I had brought a thermos of tea. I could have stayed longer! Next time. For now I return to my car, my spirit cleansed and bright.

Maybe I’ll head over to a local beach community, now pleasantly sleepy with winter,  Union Pier.  I can warm up with a sandwich at Milda’s or a soup and vegan pastry at Black Current Bakehouse. Life really is good.

Interested in a talking a winter forest bath of your own? Here are some ideas to try:

  • Walk as slowly as you can while still keeping warm.
  • Fix your gaze on a single snowflake and notice how amazing it is!
  • Stop and listen. What do you hear?
  • Lean your back against a tree, feeling it sway (or not) and look up at the bare branches in contrast to the sky beyond.
  • Place your mittened hand on your heart. How do you feel?

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For more info about Shrinin-yoku go to http://www.Shinrin-yoku.org or check out the book The Little Handbook of Shinrin-yoku by M. Amos Clifford.

Warren Woods is located in Harbor Country Michigan.  A few miles from my sweet home in the magical village of Three Oaks.

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Holding Self Meditation

Dealing With Bad Faeries

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Bad Faerie art by Brian Froud

Although old as dirt, I’m still a novice.  A novice at this living thing.  Shadows and bad faeries linger and whisper nasty shit I know I should ignore.  I still wanna eat pie for breakfast, am sometimes tempted by the gluttony of vapid media, and give in to occasional self-pitying freak outs behind the wheel.  (Where’s that lavender?!?!?!?)

But I have learned a few tricks and I’ll get there.

First I have to say it.  Living is not about thing things being ok.   This is truth.  Conditions for many are horribly shitty.   Our bodies and minds are deluged with toxins and respond with dis-ease.  Even those of us living “privileged” lives are suffering.  Living on earth, at present, is not ok.  Bad faeries are afoot.

Why this is so and how it came to be, we do not know for sure.  There are many many fascinating and plausible theories, but really we don’t know how things got so off track.

But this disconnect is why I choose to bring beauty and harmony into the world the best I can.  Through perfume, yoga, art.

And why I meditate.

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Meditation Faery by Amy Brown

Life is about holding your own in this madness.  Only then can we observe clearly and thus bring action forward.   It is taught, we need to manage our “containers.”  By going inside self, holding self.  If we engage in spilling our containers, we give our powers away.

We need to connect with our bodies and feel our feelings.  We need to let feelings, negative or positive, burble – swell – and explode if they must.  We need to experience how they manifest in our actual physical bodies.  We need to go deep with this and own them.  Own it all.

This is life.  It is a roller coaster.  Allow yourself to experience it.

So much gratitude goes to my yoga & meditation teachers who encouraged me to just sit on the cushion, or stay in that yoga pose and feel my burning thigh for just two more breaths.  Just feel.  “Why are you in a hurry to leave?  There’s just another pose…”  And then taught me how to physically and psychically release and clean out.  To open myself to the TRUE NATURE of my HEART, and all of OUR HEARTS, LOVE.

From here we can create.  Art, beauty, harmony.

A Meditation

Take a few moments.  Longer is better.  But even 2-5 minutes is good.

Sit in a comfortable position.  Take a few deep breaths and then let your breath just be natural.  Resist controlling the breath for now.

Find a “space” of neutrality where your consciousness and mind can just observe self.  Like a little lookout tower in your psyche.

From here observe what’s happening in the body.  Don’t try to change it.  Just observe.  “Hip aches.  Shoulders tense.  Hungry.  Back feels good.”  Don’t judge these things or seek to blame or credit the sensations on something outside of self (your boss, the president elect, your lover).  Merely acknowledge them.

Go a little deeper and check out your emotions.  Again – no judging emotions, or blaming/crediting.  They are yours and yours alone.  Now just feel them.   Allow the feelings to well up.  Allow yourself to feel them.   If they are very intense take your time.  You are in charge here.  But stay in the game!  If you need to cry or breath deeply, totally cool.  In fact good.  Do it.  Maybe you will cry one second and laugh wildly the next.  It’s ok!!!!

Eventually  you’ll feel this has blossomed and the wave is receding.  More waves will probably come.  In fact, they will never stop coming.  This is because you are alive!  If the intense feelings stop, you are probably dead!  This is life!  So, hooray!  It’s ok to feel!

The whole point is that you learn how to manage and express them.  You own them.  You are in charge.

After the container is emptier it’s time to fill up with positivity.

In your mind’s eye create a picture of breath entering and leaving your body.  See it as a color or light.

Now you may choose to control the breath taking deep long breaths.  Upon inhale, breath in white or golden light or smoke.  See it entering your body; through the mouth down the throat, into the lungs.  See this light permeating your body’s cells, filling your body and aura.

Focus on complete exhalations.  With each exhale see gray or dull smoke leaving your body.  With exhale you are further releasing these spent emotions.  Release all of them good and bad.  They are over, gone.  Making space for the new.

Finally, hold your hand gently over your heart.  Your beautiful, true heart.  Know that inside your heart is true and good.

Surf the wave, ride the roller coaster, repeat…

Life.  F*G Messy.  I hope this helps…

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Good Faerie doll by Wendy Froud

Many Gratitudes to my yoga and meditation teachers and the community therein.  Among others – Turbodog Yoga, Tracy Von Kaenal, Shiva Rea, Invision School of Psychic Abilities, & Zen Buddhist Temple (Chicago).

Kauai Flower Meditation

I Asked In Meditation One Morning.

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What’s Next?

Well, how about love?  Self love.  Big love.  Unconditional love.  Love of  dark places of the psyche, and light places too.  Gracious, forgiving love.  Lover of love.  Yup, especially self-love.  Simply, right here, right now.  Loving the self so intensely it emanates from self  like the fragrance of blossoms, permeating the air with sweetness and subtly infusing beauty and more love.

As you may or may not know, I’m living a nomadic existence.  I find each place I visit  holds a theme, a special message for me.  My recent stay in Kauai was not an exception.  And the message was, and is,  love.  Right here and right now, love.

Kauai

Kauai is a treasure trove of botanic beauty.  The island is one of the wettest places on earth, receiving more than 400″ of rain per year.  The result is a florid, lush environment.  For this, Kauai is fondly known as the emerald island.

Ever present aroma of flowers, White Ginger and Plumeria mingled with wet-green and salt-ocean welcomes.  Visually stunning too, powerfully craggy and jagged, volcanic, mountainous shapes are smothered with verdant fecundity.

And something is uniquely inspiring about the quality of air and light in Kauai.  Perhaps the angle of the sun, or the moisture in the air, or the frequent rainbows.

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But for me the breezes perfumed with blossoms were the ultimate vehicle of transformation…

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 Now

I had the unbelievably fantastic fortune to be the guest of a talented landscaping designer. Flowers were everywhere.  It was  impossible to escape their intoxicating perfume.  Almost a delirium of scent.  But a delirium that does not take one away from self, but to self.  Spirit of blossoms spoke to me in scent, “Be here now, be love.”

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A Meditation

I’d like to share with you a meditation that spontaneously came to me while in Kauai.   Inspired by the overwhelming beauty and perfumed air.  I am now on the mainland and have since practiced it wearing essential oils.  Still good.

This morning I wore Rose Otto for love, Frankincense and Sandalwood for their meditative properties, and Neroli for sparkle.  You may use any scent that speaks to you.  However  I  do recommend natural floral fragrances.  In my opinion synthetic fragrances do not have equal energetic vibrancies.  (This lengthy topic is for another blog!)

Read through the meditation once, and set aside a little time to enjoy it on your own.  Just follow your memory and heart.

Before the meditation I recommend applying fragrance to the inner wrists, breast bone (heart chakra), between brows (third eye), and ear lobes (like the sufis).  If you don’t like to have it on your body, put some drips of the fragrance on a tissue or cotton ball.

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Sit in a comfortable position.   Make sure your back feels supported, and that you can line your vertebras up comfortably.  Lay down, if you won’t just snooze off.  Take some deep inhalations of your fragrance.

Now, let your breath just be however it wants to be.   Don’t try to control or shape it.   Screw the deep breathing or any other techniques you know.  Just observe breath entering and leaving the body.   Abstain from assessing or judgement.  Let it do what it naturally wants.  Observe your breath as you might observe something very dear to you.  With curiosity, compassion, love.  As you’d observe a child at play,  your lover, a kitten, a beautiful sunset.  If you find yourself pushing or becoming frustrated with yourself, (dammit!  I am not loving!) turn up the corners of your mouth into a slight smile, and send love to the part of yourself that is being harsh, judgmental, and generally a shit.  Just acknowledge it for what it is and love it anyway.

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Allow this gentle observance to continue and add a layer.  This is where you get to use imagination.

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In your mind’s eye, see a flower in your heart center.  Imagine its color(s) and the petals.  Now imagine this flower expanding and growing until it fills the entire inside of your body, so you are essentially one large blossom.  The center of the flower is your heart center.  Stay with this image for a time.

How does it feel?  Allow yourself to feel.  Explore this sensation.  It is real.  Can you perhaps feel the petals softening you?  What else do you notice?

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When you feel ready, add another layer.  See the fragrance of the flower emanating.  Allow the scent to become a visual for you.  What color is this aroma?  Can you see it swirling around inside of you?  Does it create patterns?  Does it move in waves or in a steady rhythm?

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Now let the flower and its fragrance begin to soften the boundary of your physical body from the inside, permitting your edges to soften and the essence and aroma of the flower to swirl out of your body to fill your aura.  If you are unsure of your aura, imagine your physical body is in a sort of bubble and fill this with scent.

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Feel into the energetic essence of this flower.  If this seems strange to you.  Don’t worry about it, just go with it.  Try not to judge and again, just feel.  Perhaps folding your hands gently over your heart chakra will help you to feel or deepen the sensation.

There is such sweetness there – in your heart.

Here you may even say to yourself, out loud or internally, “I love you (your name here).”  Go ahead, repeat this several times until it is comfortable & natural.

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Linger with this sensation as long as you please.  When you are satiated, feel the energy, aroma, and the very flower get smaller until it is enshrined  in your heart.  There you may carry it everywhere and call it forward anytime you need a touch up of self loving.

It’s nice to ground yourself with a little food and drink after a journey like this.

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Kauai Favs

Other than meditating, here are some of my favorite recommendations if you are in Kauai…

Secret Beach

It’s a bit of a hike, and not really that secret (just ask a local).  Not really a swimmers beach, but it’s so beautiful and a little more secluded.  Clothing is optional.

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Mermaids Cafe in Kapaa

Get the mermaid wrap with tuna just seared.  Just do it!  They seem to be hiring.

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Kauai Juice Company (Kapaa and Kilauea)

Best juice ever.  Smoothies too.  I’m drooling…  Thursdays are free shot days.

Hanalei Farmers Market (Hanalei, Saturdays 9:30-12:00)

Fresh produce and so much more.

Cocktails at Sunset at Happy Talk Lounge

Call ahead and find out when the live Hula dancer and music is happening.  Get  reservations.  Get up and dance – I did!  (The drinks were not as wonderful as my hostess’ creations, as pictured above, but the view and music is great.)  Hey – and I noticed that most Hawaiian songs seem to be love songs for the people, land, and customs of Hawaii!

Weimea Canyon

A mini Grand Canyon.  Here the land goes from arid dessert to pine forest to lush rainforest.  The hike at the very end of the road is amazing, but incredibly muddy and rather challenging.  Bring hiking boots!  There will be mud!

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Metamorphose Yoga  Kilauea

An charming and intimate yoga studio in a picturesque stone building.  Open windows.  Ocean in view.  I took Amy Lin’s advanced flow on Friday.  A delicious, sweaty 1 hour and 45 minutes of play and spirit and good challenge.  Yum.

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Hindu Monastary

This is so worth the visit.  The grounds are amazing as are tours.  Call ahead to the monastery and find out when the tours run for they are not all that frequent.  Nearby there is a Rudraksha Grove for picnicking and collecting  brilliant blue Rudraksha seeds, or dried Rudraksha beads for malas.

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Also, “drive to the end of the road.”

There are some cool caves, fresh coconut water stands, another hiking trail, and a beautiful beach.  Then you can buy a tee-shirt in Hanalei saying “I drove to the end of the road.”  That is, if you ever come back…

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Thanks for reading!  If you try the meditation, I’d love to hear about it.  Love to you…

This post dedicated with love to my dear friends/family, Deborah, David, and Lulu.  Mahalo forever.

 

Happy Summer Solstice Meditation

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Magnolia

Can you feel it?  The pulsation of energy and expansion.  Summer is a time of unfurling and ripening, an outward – yang season.   A genial time for delighting in the company of others and for self-expression.

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Lime Blossom
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victorian ladies gone fae!  This reminds me of a circus contortion blog – click here to read it!
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unicorn mug!

To connect with this genial and expansive energy, find some time to honor your connection with the sun and the start of summer.  Be quietly with yourself and wildly with others.  Or wildly with yourself and quietly with others!

Summer Solstice has become quite the holiday, as in days of yore, so most of us are aware it is the official kick-off of summer.  It’s also a day when the veil between the faerie and mortal world is thin and contact can be made.  Hence for me, reading the faerie cards is a must…

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I also like to leave gifts for the fae;  nuts, cheese, honey, whiskey…  They flutter about and absorb the essences.

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Meditation and Faerie journeys are wonderful to get into the faerie summer spirit.

Here’s a faerie journey/meditation…

To start, you may like to use scent and aromas.  Jasmine is a beautiful transportive scent.  I’ll be using my DuskBlossom Perfume.

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DuskBlossom Eau de Parfum can be found here.

And I’ve been playing with essential oil of Mugwort lately.  Honestly, it does not smell so yummy, but is reportedly great for accessing the faerie and astral worlds.  You may use these by applying to wrists and hands or temples.  If you are pregnant you should avoid Mugwort.

(MUGWORT SHOULD NOT BE USED BY PREGNANT WOMEN!)

Next, take a moment to center yourself and breathe deeply.  Close your eyes.  Feel yourself connected to the earth and simply feel your body from within.  Try not to judge, just let yourself be and observe.

In your mind’s eye, picture yourself in a sunny meadow filled with flowers.  The sun is high in the sky.  As you are enjoying the warmth of the sun you see at the edge of the meadow a white deer, stag, or unicorn.

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Slowly approach it and see if it is friendly towards you.  Perhaps it will let you gently stroke it’s neck.  Perhaps it will let you climb up on it’s back.

If it does not seem like a good choice to climb up.  Just enjoy your visit, thank the creature, and go back to your meadow and sit and feel the effects of the visit.

If you are able to do be on the back of the creature.  Let it take you for a ride.  Observe what you see and feel.

When the ride is complete, go back to your flowery meadow.

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Contemplate what was revealed to you.

Here’s where we use the sun.  Allow the bright brilliant light of the sun to illuminate anything you felt, saw, or thought.  You do not even need to understand intellectually.  Just let it be filled with sunlight.

Enjoy this sensation.

When you feel complete, stretch and yawn, allow yourself to awaken,refreshed and energized by the sun.

Finally, pet your dog, even though she has barked throughout your meditation and stepped all over your faerie card spread.

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Missy!

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Happy Summer!  Blessed Solstice!

Smelling the Coffee; Generosity of Spirit

 

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Portrait of an Angel in Coffee – can you see the wings?

Birthdays always make me a little uncomfortable.  I feel awkward with all the attention.  Wishing on the candles always feels … odd.   I try to be gracious and go with the flow.  But secretly I hope everyone will just forget.

This year my birthday arrived while I was in Guatemala traveling with a group of kind and intelligent persons with Mexi-Mayan Travel.  Including my mother, who insisted we make a surprise stop at a bakery for cake, while on the way to our destination in the Guatemala forest, Takalik.

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Takalik Maya Lodge is near the ruins of Takalik.  An old coffee plantation turned lodge.  Tucked on a steep hillside our group would have struggled to make the hike up the hill to the restaurant, so the staff generously brought coffee down to the porch for my birthday celebration.

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While waiting for the coffee I slipped off  the porch for some yoga and meditation.

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Birfday Yoga Studio
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Forest Meditation Here
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The Path View

Meditating on the energy of the land, I was surprised at its gentle and feminine energy.  The forest, while not quite jungle, was thick and dense.  Yet so generously soft…

Everyone was very patient while I kept running down the hill to finish my yoga poses and meditation.

Then the cake and coffee.

 

The heavenly earthly coffee, the cake also.   But the comradery was supreme.  Such good will!

It was here that I finally found the solution to my birthday awkwardness.  From the sweetness of the land and my comrades and the generosity of the Guatemalan people hauling coffee down the hill.

I blew out my candles and wished for myself to be generous of spirit.  Done.  Happy Birthday to me.

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Later I talked my loving, wise mom into reading my coffee grounds.  Thick coffee sludge in my cup.  She hunched over the cup and saw everything that she knew I wanted…

Pics of the Lodge

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The Plantation Chapel

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And One Little Bean Trying To Grow!

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To travel with Mexi-Mayan Tours contact me directly or visit the website: Mexi Mayan Academic Travel

 

Full Faerie Feelin’ – Fae on Friday

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To fill with pleasure
So it overflows the soul
Is gratitude shared.
~ Me

In this neck of the verdant wood, Chicago – the midwest region of the USA, we are celebrating Thanksgiving and tucking ourselves inside for a longish cold snap.  

But like many all over the world, we are steeped in grief and confusion over recent events and the condition of the world suffering under the blows of psychopathology.  Wondering what is to be done.

What is to be done?  Work magic.  Be a mystic.  Meditate this.  

Let yourself fill with all the beauty and love and golden light you can.  This.  Fill until it lights your heart, spills out of you into your aura, till it touches everyone one you know, and those you don’t, expanding out to fill rooms and buildings and cities and wilds and countries…  That…

And the fullness and expansion, this, is to express gratitude.   And gratitude is not a tame feeling of some external “should” foisted on you by a chiding authority.  It is raw, soul-awakening, hugely powerful, expansive beauty.  And though it may sound trite, it’s  what the world needs.

So indulge, don’t let yourself be robbed by fear and guilt…  

For me beautiful sights and colors and loved ones and art and perfume and yoga, and circus and music and and and…  They feed my soul.  What fills yours, dear Reader?  I urge you to find and indulge.  Feed yourself this soul light and thus the world.

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Thank You, I am grateful to you, dearest Reader, for reading this blog!

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