The Restorative Power of Nature

I don’t get enough exercise. I know this about myself. Some days, I am totally OK with that. Other days, I really feel like I would like to exercise more. Usually, the other things on my to do list take priority.

Yesterday, though, it was a beautiful, clear, sunny day, and I decided that before I fell into the black hole of time and tasks that appears whenever I turn my computer on, I would go for a walk.

Meditation and ReflectionI am blessed to live in a very beautiful part of the world – Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. I also live in a semi-rural area, not far from a wooded area. There is a wide path through the woods, crossed by several streams. As beautiful as it is, in my busy life I don’t get there nearly often enough.

Yesterday it was calling me. Though I started out on my walk to get some exercise, that didn’t end up being the main focus of my walk.

I got as far as the first creek crossing. I stopped and stood on the fallen logs that form the “bridge”, and listened to the sound of the water flowing over the stones and fallen branches. That sound has always soothed and refreshed me.

My balance on the log shifted, and I waved my arms to stay upright. I heard a splash behind me, and turned in time to see the bright red flash of a salmon dart around another log to hide. I tried to catch another glimpse of it, to no avail.

As I turned to move on, a couple of people coming from the other direction said they had seen a black bear near the big puddles. I thanked them, and decided to carry on anyway. If I was meant to see a bear, I would.

I took my time walking now. I was absorbing the energy of the place, soaking up the sun and the smell of the decaying leaves and the gentle breeze and the greenery and the water and the songs of the small birds. Just being out in the woods was energizing me.

I came to the first big puddle in the path. The water was still and clear – I could see the leaves and rocks on the bottom and the reflection of the trees and the sky. I stood staring at it for quite some time. It was a form of meditation, like looking in a mirror, though I was not reflected in the water at all.

I am a reflection of all the events and circumstances in my life, and the events and circumstances are a reflection of what is going on inside me. I am not the reflection, though. There is so much more going on under the surface. It’s important to be aware of both the reflection and what is going on underneath.

I kept my keys jingling for the rest of the walk, so I wouldn’t startle any bears. I didn’t see any bears, but I did see a beautiful young stag.

As much as I would like to say I’m going to do that more often, I know better than to make promises I’m not likely to keep. However, it is there whenever I need a recharge.

What are some of your favorite experiences being out in nature?

Blessings,

Mary

The Energy – Exercise Paradox

Why does my body feel so good that first day I do yoga after I haven’t done it for ages, and then hurt so much afterwards?

I’ve been struggling with my energy levels for a few years now. Yes, I keep myself very busy and have a lot of commitments. My days are fairly well packed. And yes, I am getting older. We all are.

Yoga and Meditation - Mary MalinskiIn spite of all that, I’ve felt that my energy levels have not been what they could be. There are days in which it takes an incredible amount of will-power to get myself out of bed. My meditation practice has been suffering because I have been falling asleep during my meditations. I feel tired more often than I don’t.

A little over a year ago I had a medical scare – a gallbladder attack that put me in the emergency room. After consulting with my doctor and a naturopath, I chose not to have it removed. I’ve been working with the naturopath to get my body back on a healthier path.

I still struggle with fatigue, though.

I know that exercise helps boost energy and mood levels, and yet, quite often I can’t find the energy and motivation to exercise. Or if I can manage it one day, it’s gone the next. So I don’t establish the positive habit.

It’s a vicious cycle. I feel tired, so I don’t exercise, so I experience more inflammation, so my energy levels are lower, so I feel tired…

Something has shifted for me in the last week. I’m not sure what it is exactly. It could be that I ran out of my normal breakfast supplies and started eating just an apple for breakfast. It could be that Hekate’s Sickle Festival is over, and I have just that little bit less stress in my life. Whatever it is, I’ve felt the need to exercise.

Once upon a time, I was able to get up early – well, earlier than I already do – and exercise before work. That hasn’t happened for a long time. I’ve thought about exercising after work or before bed in the past, and haven’t been able to motivate myself to actually do it.

This week, it happened, though. I came home from work on Friday (the one night I didn’t have a class or meeting after work), and I got out my yoga mat. It felt SO good, and I was quite pleased with myself for actually following through.

Of course, I hurt yesterday, and really hurt Sunday morning. Instead of using the pain as an excuse not to exercise, though, I got out the yoga mat again on Sunday. I know from past experience that the best way to get through the pain of sore muscles is to keep stretching and working them.

It’s too early to tell if I’ll be able to keep the momentum going. And I really hope so. I’m ready to feel better.

How do you keep yourself motivated to exercise? How do you keep your energy level up?

Blessings,

Mary

Black Friday Puts Me in a Black Mood

This past week was Thanksgiving in the US. I have to say I miss the big family dinner in November. I remember going to my Grandma’s house, and my aunt and cousin would be there. And always so much wonderful food! I miss that.

This year, though, I didn’t hear much about Thanksgiving. Mostly I was hearing about “Black Friday”. It was everywhere – on the radio, on social media, in my email. I really got tired of hearing about it. It is such a huge contradiction to the holiday the day before.

Here’s a holiday that is supposed to be about gratitude for all the things we have and spending time with family. Then the very next day, or in some cases, the very same day, going out and buying lots of stuff because we obviously don’t have enough.

I know this has been going on for years, I just don’t remember hearing SO much about it in the past. Maybe I was just better at tuning it out before. Or maybe the desperation of retailers encouraging us to consume more was deafening this year.

Don’t get me wrong. I like my stuff. I’m quite attached to my cell phone, aka pocket computer. I like having lots of clothes to choose from. And I’m starting to get quite a collection of goddess statues. And if you are one of those who went out to get great deals this weekend, that’s OK. It’s your choice.

The blatant, loud, repeated message to “BUY MORE!” got on my nerves though. I’m very conscious that the next consumer holiday is coming up quickly, thank you. I’m also very aware that I have two birthdays in my immediate family in the next month. I don’t need it hammered into my every waking moment.

OK, rant over. Time to refocus. Deep breath. Ground and center. Gratitude. Yes. That’s a much higher vibration.

meditation love gratitudeI’m grateful for my amazing supportive husband – I can’t say that enough. I’m grateful for my children, my extended family, and my family of choice. I’m grateful for my spiritual community, and opportunities to learn and grow. I’m grateful for my friends. I’m grateful for my home, and the warmth of the fire, and a full belly. I am so blessed with abundance all around me.

I am grateful that I have the choice to re-focus my attention where I want it to be, and not where someone else tells me it should be.

I feel so much better now!

What are you grateful for?

Blessings,

Mary

PS. There’s a contest going on at this post over here. Make sure you get your entry in by leaving a comment!

What a Weekend!

I’m in a bit of a sleep-deprived haze while I write this. It is Sunday evening, and I’ve just gotten home from a weekend of camping. Which is a pretty impressive thing for me, really.

When I was a child, my grandparents lived at a lake. We never needed to go camping – we would just go to Grandma and Grandpa’s place for the weekend, complete with really beds, running water, and actual toilets. “Roughing it” was sleeping on the day bed in the screened in porch. Camping just wasn’t a part of my childhood. The car accident my family was in may also have been a factor in that choice.

This weekend was the camp out that my church organized. I was looking forward to it with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. I was looking forward to meeting new people, and enjoying some relaxing time to get to know them. But sleeping in a tent in and having to pack 4 days worth of food was daunting.

The first night somewhat confirmed my fears. After more stops and about an hour and a half longer than expected to get to the campsite, I was a little short tempered. The boys were overly excited to arrive, and had begun acting out in the vehicle, driving mommy more than a little crazy.

We had a good dinner, and some good conversation around the fire that night. The boys all had friends to connect with, and they were entertained. And then I went to my tent. The air mattress was a little soft, but I figured that was because it had been so hot and now it was chilly. I blew it up a bit more, and drifted off to sleep.

When my husband came in, I turned over in my sleeping bag, and my hip hit the rocky ground. That was not a good sign. I dozed off, and it wasn’t long before more of my body was on the ground. As much as I tried to ignore it, I was not comfortable. Then my youngest started doing an imitation of a cat, and trying to crawl under my pillow or otherwise curl up around my head (he’s 7 years old, and tall). I was very much not amused, and in pain. I blew up the air mattress again, but it wasn’t long before body and ground met once more.

By morning, I could not sit up without help. I was in quite a lot of pain, and to use a word of a friend, feeling stabbity. I got quite angry with a friend who tried to make a joke about it (sorry, P!).

I am so glad I have the tools to help manage my pain levels and calm down! I secluded myself for a while of to the edge of the campsite, put on my headphones and meditated. I grounded, and connected with my chakras. After about a half hour, I was feeling much more calm, relaxed and sociable, and my pain levels had decreased dramatically. I was able to be friendly even. And I went out that afternoon to get a new air mattress and make sure there would be no more stabbity moments.

The rest of the weekend was very good – great food and my husband did most of the cooking, great conversation, lots of laughs, a few tears, and most of all, good community and connection. We even re-kindled an old friendship. The children all played very well together, and all the parents helped keep an eye on everyone. It became our own little village for the weekend. I’m so glad I was able to attend this year, and I look forward to next year with a lot less trepidation.

Blessings,

Mary

PS. The Elements of Abundance starts this week! There is still time to register here.

A Lesson in Choosing Both

Expressive Yoga for the SoulI used to do yoga regularly. I have a DVD that my husband gave me that I love – Expressive Yoga for the Soul. Then something happened, I don’t even remember what, and I stopped. I’ve missed it. I even thought that it was something I would do this summer while I was off work.

Yeah, didn’t happen.

I’ve thought on and off that I would like to get back in the habit of doing yoga. Maybe not every day. But several times a week. Then I look at my schedule, and wonder where I would fit it in!

I have been telling myself that the only time I could really do yoga is first thing in the morning, when I meditate. I’d have to give up my meditation to do yoga, and the meditation has been more important to me.

I’m working with the goddess Athena right now. She’s a warrior, and warriors take care of their body AND mind. I’m also setting goals, and I want to continue getting healthier, and strengthen my back so I can heal from old injuries.

Anyway, the inspiration came to me this week that if I just shift my alarm 10 minutes, stop laying in bed after meditating (i.e. basically hit the snooze), and shift what I do in the first few minutes when I wake up just a tiny bit, I would be able to meditate AND do yoga.

So I tried it on Wednesday. And it worked! I did it on Thursday, too, even though I was up later than I wanted to be on Wednesday night.

I haven’t decided yet whether I am going to do yoga on the days I do my other workout yet or not. I’m thinking yes, at least for now. I’m building a new habit, and that takes consistency. It’s still a baby habit right now, though. It’s very fragile. If I give myself an excuse not to do it, even a valid excuse, I open the door to other excuses.

I could use your encouragement. Your comments of support, or even asking me how I’m doing. And tell me what habits you are nurturing. I’d love to support you in growing healthy habits. 🙂

Blessings,

Mary

 

 

 

Link Share: 50 Incredibly Successful People Who Credit Meditation

Just before I went on hiatus, one of my readers sent me a link to an article about 50 successful people who credit meditation as one of the keys to their success. The article categorizes these celebrities into categories based on their expertise, and there are some pretty amazing people on the list!

Benefits Of Meditation

While many around the world have long known of the benefits of meditation, Western medical science has just recently begun to take note of the short- and long-term effects meditation can have on the body and mind. The practice has been shown to not only help individuals to relax and de-stress, but also to improve concentration, expand understanding, and to actually create sustained changes in the brain itself.

While meditation has grown in popularity in recent years, many of the most successful people in everything from business to writing have been using it for years to expand their minds and find clarity. Some even credit it with helping them to achieve their goals and to advance their careers. Here are just a few big names in literature, acting, business, politics, and music who’ve used meditation to improve their lives and their work, who may just inspire you to take up meditation yourself.

Read the article, and the list here and have an excellent weekend!

Blessings,

Mary

*UPDATE: I’ve been asked to remove the link. Sorry everyone!

I’m Back!

Did you miss me? I’ve been a very busy girl – yesterday was my first real day off in weeks. Now it’s time to get back in the regular routine of blogging and work and overworking myself. Well, I’m working on NOT doing that last one.

Blessings,

Mary

Working With Hecate

HecateHecate is the patron Goddess of my church – The Aquarian Tabernacle Church of Canada. I never felt called to work with her, until I went to visit the Mother Church (aka The Tab) in Washington last June.  Then, it was like she tapped me on the shoulder and said, “You’re finally here. Good. Follow me.”

And when a Goddess taps you on the shoulder like that, it is usually a good time to give her your attention.

I’m working on a meditation featuring her right now. I had actually written one several years ago, but my computer ate it. I only had the very beginning – no real journey, no closure. I guess She didn’t like it. So I’m starting over. Only, I’m having a hard time getting started. I think I have added one paragraph in the last 24 hours. Which is why I am writing about it, and Her, here – to get the inspiration flowing.

When I was at The Tab, I read a poem to Hecate that really touched my imagination and inspired me. Perhaps re-typing it now will help inspire me with the meditation.

Daily Prayer for Guidance

Blessed Goddess Hekate
Please continue to show me the path I am meant to walk
And alert me to choices open to me along the way,
So that I may fulfill my own chosen destiny
And make the most of the skills and talents I’ve been given.

Please continue to guide me,
Through symbols and dreams,
Intuition and synchronicity,
And keep me safe and strong,
Healthy and inspired
So that I may follow you, serve you,
And learn whatever you would teach me.

Please keep me under your watchful eye,
And your divine protection,
Lighting my way with your torches
Surrounding me with a shield of light,
That I may walk with confidence,
Knowing that you guide me and guard me,
Now and always.

~Krysta S Roy, Bearing Torches, A Devotional Anthology to Hekate

Where do you turn for inspiration when your creativity isn’t flowing? Share what inspires you in the comments below.

Blessings,

Mary

Why Are Good Habits So Hard to Maintain?

The 30/60 blog challenge is over, and I made a commitment to blog twice a week. It’s now Friday, and I am scrambling to get a blog post published today. What’s up with that?

I succeeded. I achieved my goal. And so I tell myself I deserve a break. But that break takes me out of the positive habit I had been building. My motivation is low. I want to watch movies or play games instead of writing.

No Junk FoodI notice this with other positive habits in my life, too. As soon as my stress levels increase for whatever reason, out go the good habits and the bad ones leak out all over the place. I stop journaling, meditating, and exercising. I start eating junk food and seeking escape in games and movies.

I know what keeps me healthy in body, mind and spirit. And most of the time I find joy in doing those things. Then some kind of speed bump happens and it completely derails me. I have to begin the uphill climb of re-establishing my positive habit

They say it takes 21 days to change a habit. And that you can’t just stop a bad habit, you have to replace it with something else. I’ve been exercising three times a week for more than a year, eating a healthy, raw lunch for about a year and a half, and meditating daily for over two years. Definitely more than the 21 days, though admittedly with some speed bumps along the way.

So why is it so easy to fall back into old patterns? I don’t have any answers. I wish I did. Perhaps I can take a little solace in knowing that I am recognizing and catching myself in old patterns more quickly than I used to. I’d really like to understand why they are not gone, though.

I don’t think it’s because I’m lazy. Even when I’m slacking I tend to accomplish more than I give myself credit for. I’d just like to stop falling “off the wagon” when it comes to the things I know are healthy for me.

If you have any insight, or can point me towards any resources that address this, I’d love to hear from you. Even if you just want to let me know I’m not alone, I’d appreciate your comments below.

Blessings,

Mary

New Meditations Available and Coupon Code for Half Price

Happy Labor Day! Today’s post will be short and sweet. If you haven’t browsed around the site lately, there are a few new meditations available.

Spiritual Grounding Guided Meditation

Spiritual Grounding Guided Meditation

First, the free stuff! I still plan to do another teleseminar about the benefits of grounding, and until then, you can download the Spiritual Grounding Guided Meditation here, my gift to you!

 

A Walk with Kali Guided Meditation

A Walk with Kali Guided Meditation

I have been extremely remiss in getting the Walks With the Goddess guided meditations uploaded on the site here. As of today, I am all caught up!

 

 

 

A Walk with Baba Yaga Guided Meditation

A Walk with Baba Yaga Guided Meditation

A Walk with Kali Guided Meditation, A Walk with Baba Yaga Guided Meditation, and A Walk with Artemis Guided Meditation are all now available.

 

A Walk with Artemis Guided Meditation

A Walk with Artemis Guided Meditation

I’ve just sent my artist, Katana Leigh, two more meditations. We hope to have them available for you soon!

For the next week, you can get any of the guided meditation audios on the site for HALF OFF! Use coupon code LABORDAY. And enjoy your time off!

Blessings,

Mary