Struggle No More

For many, many years now Thich Nhat Hanh as been a guide for me…suggesting a path back to the deepest parts of myself that know no struggle, and are free to co-create a life of joy and alignment with thriving.  I am still practicing this gentle form of mindful awareness.  This week I bring to you a beautiful song by Phap Niem and Gary Remal on Thich Nhat Hanh’s – The End of Suffering.

Bring yourself into a quiet and comfortable space as you listen to the song and observe the stream before you…. a breathing space that brought these words to the surface for me:

 

 

Observe the water flowing around the barriers that may attempt to obstruct its path…freedom of movement, of life, of breath…suffering no more…letting go of all but the moment of the next inhale…the next exhale…be present to the opening of breath and creative force that brings life to everything around you and within you….breathe love…breathe compassion…breathe joy…breathe release from any struggle that comes into your mind…let go…

 

 

Next post look for a breathing meditation and movements, also by Thich Nhat Hanh.  His compassionate and loving Presence has moved millions.  He is You….

 

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The Sacred Geometry of Life

P.C. Turczyn - Malestrom

All around and within us lies the beauty and sacred patterns of life.  As visionary artist Pamela Turczyn states in her artist statement “Ancient teachings and quantum theory teach us that the universe is comprised of vibrations consisting of light, sound and information. I believe that everything carries a unique identifying vibration, somewhat like a genetic code. “

The strands of our DNA, the cornea of our eye, snow flakes, pine cones, flower petals, diamond crystals, the branching of trees, water crystals, a nautilus shell, the star we spin around, the galaxy we spiral within, the air we breathe, and all life forms as we know them emerge out of timeless geometric codes or geometrical archetypes.
Spending an entire afternoon exploring sacred geometry I was lead in what seemed like spirals of understanding as I delved deeper into the patterns of life.  It makes sense that even our breath is moving in patterns that support sacred design and breathing space to thrive in.  If this is so, then I wonder if we place ourselves in architecture built upon the patterns of sacred geometry; immerse ourselves in visionary art; create gardens that reflect back to us the fabric of our being; and seek out practices that open and align us with our deepest knowing and understanding of these geometric archetypes  – that the mystery of life will reveal more to us, and we will come to a greater understanding and functioning of the fullness and resonance of who we are.

Chalice Well Gardens, Glastonbury

As Bruce Rawles (www.geometrycode.com) states, “It is this principle of oneness underlying all geometry that permeates the architecture of all form in its myriad diversity. This principle of interconnectedness, inseparability and union provides us with a continuous reminder of our relationship to the whole, a blueprint for the mind to the sacred foundation of all things created.”
There are many sites dedicated to Sacred Geometry – some of which will give you theory and mathematics, and others that will take you into the heart of creation.  I invite you to take a peak at Charles Gilchrist in the video and P.C. Turczyn at the blog link below.  Here are two amazing artists that are reminding us of the interconnectedness of life by “using sacred geometry as expressed in nature, light, color, rhythm, sound, and intention.”

Sacred Geometry: The Golden Mean with Charles Gilchrist

Lillian Sizemore, mosaic artist, educator and independent scholar, has written a comprehensive article for her blog/newsletter about the work and unique studio practices of Pamela C. Turczyn. Follow this link for the article on her blog and then visit Pamela’s website from there: http://sfmosaic.wordpress.com/2010/01/11/pcturcyzn/

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Life Flower


Ecstatic Breathing – Birthing the Breath

This week I was privileged to view a video that stunned me with its beauty and sacredness.  If you go to the dictionary, ecstatic is described as “in a trance like state of great rapture or delight.  Showing or feeling great enthusiasm.  And….a person who has periods of intense trance like joy”.

In this video you will view a woman giving birth in the most sacred and natural of ways – the way in which it was meant to be.  The most important component in these hours of “labor” was breath, and the sounding that birthed from the breath.  There is no doubt that there is pain involved as you watch this beautiful woman in her birthing passage, yet it is the breath that washes the pain through and expands the stressful process of birthing through “sounding out breath” into an ecstatic state.

I invite you to watch this video now and then come back to see what you can do to practice “sounding out” your breath.

Dr. Chris Northrup posted this link on her twitter feed.  It’s a video of a woman going through labor and birth – an ecstatic birth experience.  The video is 18 minutes long.  I say take the time to watch the entire video.  It is worth every moment spent whether you have ever given birth or not.

You’ll find it here: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=149916791692395&ref=share

Sounding Out Breath Practice:
Last week we talked about how the breath is such an integral part of being able to sing with your full being and voice.  A big part of the healing power of singing, sounding, and chanting is that they work to regulate our breathing. When we sing, whatever the words of the song, we tend to “sound the breath out” until it’s time to inhale. The more often we sing, the better our breathing as it expands our capacity to not only bring in more life giving breath, but also intimately supports the letting go within the exhale.

Chanting adds to this the inherent power of certain sounds. Sounding the breath out with ooooommmm has long been practiced to deepen meditative states. And aaaahhhh, the sound that people often make when feeling pleasure or satisfaction, can be used to intentionally generate healing energy in the body.  This sounding out breathing also “turns on” the parasympathetic system in the body which signals the relaxation response, and stimulates the “feel good” chemicals of the endorphin system.

PRACTICE:  With a long slow inhale
 let the air out through the mouth with a
 long sustained sound of aaaaaahhhhhh . . .
Breathe all the way out, until it’s time to inhale
.  Then breathe in through the nose a long slow inhale
 and sound the breath all the way out
 with a long sustained sound of aaaaaahhhhhh . . .Pause for a few moments noticing any feelings or sensations.
Now continue for several more breaths,
 breathing in through the nose, 
filling yourself with energy, and sound out the breath
 with a long, gentle aaaaaahhhhhh . . .

then experiment with a fuller, more powerful aaaaahhhhhhh….changing the texture, sound, and vibration as you feel so moved.

Practice this daily whenever you feel stress or you feel “stuck”.  Breathe into the stress or the frustration and release it with a long slow exhale –  sounding whenever you are able, and experimenting with types of sounds and perhaps movement.  This will become an automatic response to stressful or difficult situations as they happen – and can lead you into a place of ecstatic breath.  Enjoy the moments…birth the breath…    

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Songs Are Thoughts Sung With The Breath

“Songs are thoughts sung with the breath when people are moved by great forces and ordinary speech no longer suffices”.

“There are so many occasions in one’s life when a joy or a sorrow is felt in such a way that the desire comes to sing. All my being is songs, and I sing as I draw breath.”

— Orpingalik  (Inuit poet and shaman)

From the beginning of time humans sang their stories.  Sacred, playful, joyous, sensual, blues, gospel, or wild – song has woven our history on this planet.  It was at a “Song Weavers” event last weekend that I realized that it is rare that I break out in song myself, and certainly don’t sing with my friends or my community.  It was also at this event that I discovered how tight my singing voice actually was.  Yet, within the space of a couple of hours I also realized how easily, within the company of others, that voice can be released and played with.

The video below instructs us on how to breathe for singing.  Watch and listen carefully and notice that this breath strengthens and expands our diaphragm muscles and relaxes the upper chest, neck and facial muscles –  secondary breathing muscles that are often used in tight, contracted, chest breathing and stressful situations.   The emphasis on lengthening the exhale with the hissss sound allows us to find our ground of being, relaxed voice, and our full expression.  This also builds and expands our capacity for breath and thus for LIFE.  Practice this and then let loose with a song, a sound, a tone!

P.S.  For those of you that are Carol King/James Taylor lovers here is a treat – they are back together and are touring.  Not only do they love to sing the “hits” –  we love to sing along with them!

Breathing Space of the Heart

Writing “morning pages”, a practice taught by Julia Cameron, I was lead to reflect this morning on the power of coming from our hearts.  This leads us to the awareness practice of remembering who we are in each moment and is perhaps why we are placed here in this lifetime. The next steps from here are then to take conscious action from that place.

What an adventure to move through all the feelings and experiences of our lives to keep coming back to “remembering who we are”.  Such a simple concept – but one which takes a lifetime (or many) to practice.  The last few days everything that has come in to me speaks to this practice and beckons me to share with you.

Singing last night with a community of “song weavers” I remembered that it is through story, movement, and song shared that we connect and find not only joy, but answers to the challenges that light up our lives.  It brings us back to tribal/community connection, centers us in the miracle of our bodies,  expands our breath and vitality, and brings us back to “ourselves”.

The breathing space of the heart is a space rich with possibilities, ripe with adventure, and resplendent with a wealth of opportunities to “remember who you are”.  I leave you with a Rumi poem that touched me this week.

Lovers and men of intellect cannot mix.
How can you mix the broken with the unbroken?
Cautious men of intellect shrink back from a dead ant.
Lovers, completely carefree, trample down the dragons.
The intellect says, “The six directions are limits. There is no way out.”
Love says, “There is a way.  I have traveled it thousands of times”.
The intellect saw a market and started to haggle.
Love saw thousands of markets beyond this market.

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