12/2/14 4:45pm

Finding the Sweet Spot Between Giving and Receiving

Remember to take time for self-nurturing like a bubble bath, reading a novel or a nap.

Remember to take time for self-nurturing like a bubble bath, reading a novel or a nap. (Photo by BlackLion)

Finding the Sweet Spot Between Giving and Receiving
by BlackLion

If you find yourself drained because you keep on giving and giving and giving, yet never expecting anything in return, perhaps you need to shift your perspective toward more receiving. Or maybe you’ve collected extra boxes of clothes, tools, knickknacks, or food, that you have no place to fit any more – give them away. You can always go to extremes of giving and receiving, yet the juicy sweet spot in between is the place to be.

Of course, the sweet spot is different for each person. Caretakers definitely feel more comfortable when they can offer themselves to their family, friends and community. Remember to take time for self-nurturing like a bubble bath, reading a novel or a nap. Being of service is a noble purpose, yet imparting all of your reserves without caring for yourself doesn’t benefit anyone, ultimately. The people who are your beneficiaries will recognize your sacrifice yet also may add guilt on their plate for receiving from someone already stressed out. Be kind to yourself as well as those you gift.

Hoarding is a pattern of energy in which you store away that extra set of clothes or ten that you want to save for when you lose those extra pounds, or as a memory of past events. Perhaps you’ve accumulated boxes and boxes of old books, papers, tools, dishes or whatever that are taking up inordinate amounts of space in your basement, attic, garage, or living room. This is the receiving gone extreme. Let the energy of abundance flow by giving away what you no longer need to those who will welcome your gifts.

The sweet spot between giving and receiving is the nexus of the energy of abundance.

So if you overcompensate one way or another, whether you feel it is out of obligation or fear of lack, you’ll find yourself stuck in ways that don’t really feel all that good. Instead, take a step back and look at it from a higher perspective, one grounded in spirit. Your spiritual energy is the driving force for why you are here on this Earth plane. By giving too much or taking too much, you’ll dwindle your ability to flow with your natural abundance.

Sometimes these restrictions can manifest as illnesses, so that if you give too much, you’ll just have to skip a holiday party that you spent so much time planning, organizing, and funding. Or perhaps you’ve got your life so full of useless extra junk that you can’t possible see how to juggle just one more thing, causing stress and worry. Luckily you can get to a place of peace.

In the sweet spot, you are open to possibilities without harming yourself and you’re still able to offer your unique gifts to others. The nature of stuff is impermanent. Why not embrace that aspect of abundance where money comes and goes, people come and go, stuff comes and goes. Keep the treasure, lose the excess. Being in this great feeling place of abundance offers you a new perspective on the universe in ways that would feel unnatural when off-balance.

Your unique insightful gifts inspire the world, share yourself with intention.

It can be hard sometimes to let go of what we think we need, or we thought we might need sometime in the future. If you simply let go of the fear of lack and open up to trust that the universe will provide you exactly what you need, exactly when you need it, you’ll be able to step up to any of life’s challenges with grace and intention. If you tend to give too much sometimes, begin to say yes to only the events or projects that will benefit the most people, including yourself, and respectfully decline things that would drain you or compromise your balance.

The sweet spot between giving and receiving is an awesome-feeling place. You know how much energy you have to offer at any one time and you’re open to receiving the gifts that the universe offers all the time. Being open and aware of your balance point between giving and receiving will lower your stress during the holiday season as well as clear out the clutter that is blocking your natural abundance to flow into your life. Bon chance!

11/19/14 8:05am

Dreaming in the Shadows

mystickDreaming in the Shadows
by Starcat

Every night when you fall asleep, your consciousness goes on a journey. Down you go, down, down into the depths of inner space. Your body lies relaxed on the bed, breathing deeply, your cells rejuvenating. Meanwhile, you are away on a fantastical journey into the deepest realms of your subconscious.

This is a shadowy place, filled with beings and places and symbols that represent both your most cherished dreams and your most horrific fears. It is a landscape that is created by you, for you.

You must travel there alone.

When the days are short and the cold nights stretch out, you may start to feel tired earlier. You might long for your pillow and the solace you find in deep sleep. You hear the siren call of your bed, with its smooth sheets and warm fuzzy blankets.

Allow yourself to be drawn to your cozy nest. Turn off the TV or the stereo, and put away your phone. Place your dream journal, or paper and pen, close by your bedside. Finish your chapter and turn out the light. Yawn and stretch. Get as comfortable as you can. Before you succumb fully to sleep, close your eyes and take a look at what’s behind them.

At first you might see only darkness, wait patiently. Breathe slowly and deliberately. Let your thoughts flow gently by like a dark stream, but don’t grab onto them.

Wait patiently.

Soon you’ll start to float in the black inner space. This is the place between waking and sleeping. It is like a still, quiet pool in a deep, dark cave. You float there, neither waking nor sleeping. Wait patiently.

When the time feels right, you can drop something into the pool, like a pebble. It might be a question about an issue you’re struggling with in waking life. It could be a prayer for someone in need. Maybe it’s simply the intention that when you awaken, you’ll remember your dreams.

Drop your pebble into the pool, and let it go. Watch the ripples. Breathe. Let go. Wait patiently.

Let it go.

Sooner or later, you’ll start to dream, here in this liminal space. Images will float up from your inner depths. Shadows might dance against the walls of the cave. Fear not. Wait patiently. Let go.

Dreaming is one of the ways our inner self sends us messages. When you set an intention before you go to sleep, you’re sending a message in return. You are saying that your dreams are significant to you. Your attention will make it so. This practice will help you to remember your dreams more clearly, and more often.

When you first awaken, write down any dreams you can recall, or even just fleeting impressions of what you dreamt. Emotions are a key part of the process. What did you feel like in your dream? What emotions are you awakening with? Even if you can’t recall what happened in your dreams at first, you can often remember how you felt.

Remember your dreams.

This is a perfect time of year to practice dream awareness. It is cold and dark, and your body wants to hibernate. Get some extra sleep, and set your intentions when you first close your eyes.

In the shadowy inner realms, helpful messages are being crafted just for you.

Tap into them.

Learn to bring back wisdom that can help you in your daily life.

Sweet dreams!

 

11/13/14 11:00pm

Integrating Your Shadow

Photo by Nikki Starcat Shields

Photo by Nikki Starcat Shields

Integrating Your Shadow
by BlackLion

Whenever I have found resistance within my energy field, whether frustration, anger, fear, or worry, I have found integrating rather than segregating these emotions to be ideal. Though I’m not suggesting you act on those impulses, accepting your emotions as a natural part of being human allows for an appeasement between you and your shadow.

Our natural (or is it learned) tendencies are to “confront” our feelings or even to “let go” of these emotions like a hot potato. Not it! Instead, fully experience the feelings. There is a hidden part of you that needs your attention. Will you listen or turn a blind eye?

You are all the “good” and the “bad” parts of you. Transforming judgment into acceptance doesn’t mean you don’t want to change bad habits, express yourself more compassionately, or communicate more clearly, it just means that you are aware and acknowledge that you may have some unresolved issues.

Do you have recurring conversations or even arguments with yourself during the day? Are you holding onto a grudge for a year, two or ten years later, where clearly the parties involved have changed and become different people, perhaps even because of this incident? Why should you suffer any longer for past hurts when a brand-new world is jumping into your experience every moment?

Let bygones be bygones, forgive and learn from all of your feelings. Your shadow dares to show you the painful truth that you need love too, even if you would rather bury the hurts or forget them. Integrating these parts of you allows the healing to truly begin.

You are a much better person for going through your shadow dance. <link> Why not let go of the limitations that your shadow self insists upon? Learn the lessons from your shadow, then the part of you that needed your attention will be appeased. In fact, the voices that had previously chided, ridiculed or worried you will become your biggest cheerleaders, reminding you of all the challenges you have already faced and overcome.

11/5/14 8:50am

Dancing With Your Shadow

fd141104shadowdanceDancing With Your Shadow
by Starcat

In order to live a joyful and fulfilling life, you’ll want to tap into your inner source, the essence of who you are, even beyond this lifetime. I feel that our purpose here on Earth is to learn, and to help uplift others along the way. Learning the lessons that you came here for won’t be easy, and you’ll experience resistance of one kind or another along the way.

That resistance shows up in different ways for each one of us, but we are all human. We all experience times of fear, grief, and anger. If we resist those deep emotions, whether by shoving them further  inside or projecting them outward onto someone else, they’ll build up.

Your shadow side is comprised of the stories you tell yourself. “I am a victim.” “Those people wronged me.” “No one understands.” A pattern develops, slowly over time, and you might find yourself blocking your own happiness and success. You feel you don’t deserve it, or that the world isn’t fair, or you create some other excuse for not pursuing your passions.

The shadow isn’t to blame for your troubles, nor is it evil. It’s just a part of you, perhaps from long ago, that feels sad or scared or upset.

Often your shadow’s stories have a basis in reality. Difficult, even terrible things do happen sometimes in this life. These are the things that you learn to overcome. You learn to use them to help you grow.

Your shadow really wants your full attention. By looking at your shadow side and listening to its stories, you acknowledge those deep feelings and tough experiences. Embrace that side of you, perhaps thinking of it as a small child that needs your love. It might take a while to love your shadow. Start with acceptance and move toward compassion.

When you can look at your own shadow side and feel compassion, you’ll be tapping into the love that you are made of, your inner source, your connection to the divine, the Universe, All-That-Is. You’ll be held and supported in a warm embrace.

This is not easy work, nor will it be done in one moment. The practice is to return to compassion for yourself and others, even during times when you’re full of despair or rage. This could be the work of a lifetime.

Forgive yourself when you fail at this. You’re learning, you’re trying, and that’s what counts.

At the same time as you look deeply at your shadow self, try to take yourself less seriously. Allow yourself to be light-hearted, to laugh when you feel like it, to cry when you need to, and to enjoy the gift of this life.

As you integrate your shadow self into your entire being, embracing your own wholeness, you’ll find more space for joy and for your passions and desires.

When you can see your shadow, you know that a light is shining nearby. Be thankful for the darkness, the light, and everything in between.

 

10/29/14 10:44am

6 Penetrating Questions About Your Relationship With Nature

fd141029nature6 Penetrating Questions About Your Relationship With Nature
by BlackLion

Most of the time, we don’t really think about our relationship with the environment and the beings surrounding us each and every day. The air you breathe, the food you eat, and the people you share your time with are fundamental aspects of your connection to the rest of the world. Perhaps it’s time to rev up your love life with Mother Gaia with these titillating questions. Are you ready?

1. When was the last time you were wowed by the world?

Life can seem dull and repetitive unless you infuse it with the elixir of plant and animal companions, a scintillating sunrise, or a breath of crisp, fresh air. What grandeur have you witnessed? Perhaps splendid mountains majesty or crashing waves upon granite cliffs. A view from five thousand feet high or beneath the dark, thriving ocean.

2. How have you been seduced by the fragrances on the breeze?

Lilacs in the spring, apples ripe on the branch, or a waft of your favorite perfume. When next you roam outdoors, take a sniff in the air and see what you may find. At least look forward to the aroma of a savory meal, the fragrance of a bouquet of roses, or the scent of a baby’s soft skin.

3. Who embodies your connection with the natural world?

Think back to your childhood and find out who was your greatest mentor for your connection to the outdoors. Perhaps you remember the joy you felt with your grandmother in her cherished gardens, with blooms, fruits, and vegetables galore. A walk with your mother along a path in the woods where you held hands and reveled in seeing the wildlife dancing among the trees. Who elicits a deep connection to life force?

4. What about nature invigorates your sense of wonder?

The world is a fascinating, and as far as we know, unique place in the universe. Our little blue sapphire in the darkness of space has windswept mountain peaks, vast salt water oceans and a massive variety of animals, plants, and people. Are you awe-struck by the a magnificent sunrise or sunset, the affection between a cat and her kittens, or the majesty of the wilds in a national park?

5. Where can you find a sense of tranquility?

Looking down upon a verdant vale, dancing in a sudden rain shower, or sunning yourself at the beach can be ways to feel connected to your inner self while communing with Nature. Simply taking a walk in the forest can align your energies with that of the rest of the world. Where do you find union with All-That-Is?

6. Why aren’t you outside right now?

Knowing all the benefits of being connected with Nature, why do you spend most of your time indoors? Sure, you can find simple comforts inside, yet you’ll miss out on the most amazing energies ever-present outside. Make a vow to increase your face time with Mother Earth and all her wondrous children – including yourself!