Tell Me About Peace

Last week, I had the honor of speaking at the local Interfaith Celebration of Peace organized by Unity Comox Valley. The theme was, “Tell Me About Peace”. It was a wonderful event, with speakers from the Aboriginal, Buddhist, Baha’i, and Jewish communities, as well as myself. This is the speech I gave.

religion-peaceWhat is peace?

That’s an interesting question. Logically, my mind’s first answer is simply, the absence of war, or the absence of fighting. But that more accurately answers the question, what is peace NOT?

As a Pagan and a Wiccan, I don’t really have one set holy scripture to turn to for answering such questions. I look to mythology, and nature, and I turn to my own heart.

For me, I experience peace in the early hours of the morning, when I meditate. Peace is that quiet place inside myself, when I connect with my body and my soul, my guides and my Goddess. When I am fully grounded in the Earth, and fully connected to the stars.

Peace is a walk in the forest, listening to the robins and the ravens, and the babble of the creek, and the wind in the trees. It is being connected with the natural world all around me.

Peace is a walk on the beach, listening to the waves as they gently rush, or loudly crash, on the shore. It is wading in the water, and watching the crabs and fish, and digging my toes in the sand.

Peace is sitting in my home, drinking a cup of tea, and listening to my children laugh and yell as they play outside. Sometimes it is looking up when everyone is working on their own project, on their own devices and just being comfortable being in the same space together.

Peace is laying in bed with my beloved on a gray morning, listening to the rain fall on the rooftop, and softly sharing our lives with each other.

Outside of myself and my family, peace looks a little different. Peace is acceptance of each others’ differences. We may have different colored skin or different genders, different body shapes and sizes and abilities, different ways of seeing our selves and the world, different opinions, different food preferences or sexual preferences, different ways of connecting with the Divine. Peace is being able to BE different, to be able to say, “I am Wiccan,” or “I am bisexual,” or “I am Aboriginal” (not all of those are ways I identify myself) and NOT be afraid of what others will say or do because of that difference.

We are blessed to live in a country that is not at war (some might say it’s peaceful). We are blessed to live in a time and a place that has not seen bombing, or famine, or epidemic illness. And yet, there are many around us who live in fear because of what they look like, or how they identify themselves, or who their ancestors were, or what they believe. They do not experience peace.

I have been afraid. I have been afraid of sharing my beliefs because of the judgments of others. I have been afraid of the misconceptions that others’ may have when they hear the words Wiccan, Pagan, Priestess and Witch. I have been afraid that I might not get the job, or the loan, or even just make a new friend if they knew what I was. Who I am. Even now I don’t feel entirely comfortable calling myself a Witch, though many of my friends may be.

It’s been a long, slow process of becoming comfortable and confident enough to share who I am. And there have definitely been setbacks along the way! I have been encouraged by friends and mentors, and even strangers. By being confident, and yet vulnerable, by loving and accepting myself, by simply BE-ing who I am, I get to be a guide toward peace for others.

What is peace? Peace is acceptance, and peace is love. Blessed be.

Blessings,

Mary

Ritual and Meditation

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the Importance of Ritual. Bringing a sense of ritual can be very helpful in your meditation practice.

Remember that I mentioned that ritual helps tell your mind that you are moving into a new space. Meditation is definitely entering a new space, so any cues you can give your mind will help you move into that altered space will make your meditation practice that much easier.

There are many things you can do to add ritual to your meditation practice. Here are a few examples:

  • Unplug your phone
  • Light candles or incense to set the mood
  • Put on your favorite meditation music or white noise generator
  • Put on a guided meditation recording (shameless plug!)
  • Have a specific location in your home or office that you go to to meditate
  • Sit or lay down in your favorite meditation position
  • Count forwards or backwards
  • Repeat a mantra

As with any action you take, the intention is what makes it a ritual or routine. Be mindful as you make your preparations to meditate.  What is the main thing you would like to achieve or take out of this meditation session? A few things you may want to take away from your meditation include:

  • A greater sense of peace, joy, love, etc.
  • A quiet mind
  • A solution to a problem or question
  • Healing
  • Setting your intentions for the day
  • A greater connection to your Higher Self or Source
  • Gratitude

This list is only a few of the things that I use meditation for. Be creative, and have fun with it! What rituals do you to to prepare yourself to meditate?

Blessings,

Mary

The sale on Power Walks Within ends on November 22nd!  The price will be going up after that, so buy it now before this great deal ends!

Remembering the Dead

This weekend we celebrated Halloween, also known as All Hallow’s Eve, or Samhain.  For my children, it was very exciting to dress up, and go from house to house collecting candy and goodies.  We didn’t see many trick or treaters at our house this year…it was windy and rainy.

My Grandparents Young Again

My Grandparents Young Again

For me, though, the highlight of the celebrations was remembering the dead, the loved ones who have past this year.  My favorite grandmother graduated last spring. In meditation at one celebration that I went to, we visited with loved ones who had passed on.  I saw my grandmother as a young woman, on the arm of my grandfather, who passed many years before her.  Both were smiling and laughing, and clearly very happy to be reunited.

After the trick or treating, we went to a bonfire at a local park.  We offered sticks tied with scraps of cloth to the fire in honor of our ancestors and in memory of those who passed this year.

Halloween Bonfire

Halloween Bonfire

It’s no coincidence that we honor veterans at this time of the year, with Veteran’s Day in the US and Remembrance Day in Canada. Many cultures around the world honor their dead at this time of year, when the Earth around us seems to be dying as well. This is the time of year when the veil between the worlds is thinnest, and we are most likely to be able to reach our loved ones with our thoughts and memories.

Remember them.  Honor them.  Then let them go in peace with love. I love you, Grandma!

Blessings,

Mary

Golden Firefly Bubbles

As I mentioned last week, I’ve been reading on several different topics, including manifestation and abundance.  One of my daily practices has been the 40 Day Prosperity Plan, from The Abundance Book.  Each day there is a statement to read and meditate on.  After my meditation yesterday, I was feeling tired, so I decided to rest for a bit.

And then the magic happened.  With my eyes closed, I saw little golden specks coming towards me.  They were like little fireflies, or the sparks rising from a fire.  At the same time as I could see them, I could feel them rising inside me, like effervescent bubbles from a bath bomb, or when you open a bottle of carbonated drink that has been shaken just a little bit.

It started out as just a small amountof “firefly bubbles”, then there were hundreds and thousands flowing to me and through me.  I felt I was undergoing a transformation.  It was exciting and tickly and refreshing and it lasted only a second or two, though it felt like quite a while.  After the rush had past, I was left with a feeling of peace and joy, bliss even. I also knew in my bones that wherever it was that I was holding myself back, whatever blockage I had put in place for myself had been cleared away, and that I was know fully in the flow of abundance.

I drifted through the rest of the day, taking care of life’s details, but I reflected on my experience again before going to sleep. By thinking about it, I could brnig the feeling back. I was really struck by the thought that I could feel the firefly bubbles inside me, and I could see them coming from outside me.  I realized that this was the experience of manifestation.  I create my reality from within, through feeling (preferably good feelings!), and then I see that coming back to me from outside.  The results are visible,  though the feeling is the important initiator.

I’ve read about the process of manifestation, and I know I have manifested different experiences and things in my life, but for the first time I really feel like I “get” it now!  That momentary experience explained it to me clearer than any book or lecture.  And I am extremely grateful!

I’d love to hear about profound “aha” moments from your life!  Leave a comment and share with me.

Blessings,

Mary

Breathe Love

The other night I woke up in quite a lot of pain.  The muscles all up and down my back were spasming.  I prefer not to take medication until all my other options have run out.  I also avoid getting out of bed if I can! 🙂

So I started by slowing down my breath.  When I’m in pain, like most people, my breathing gets shallow and quick. Then I started a technique that my dad taught me when he was learning to manage chronic pain.  With each inhale, think, “I am.”  With each exhale think, “Calm.”  Each breath affirms that your entire being is calm.

I have used this technique to successfully manage pain and anxiety in the past.  This time, a flash of inspiration came to me.  Change the word “calm” to “love!” I AM…LOVE. Now each breath affirms that my entire being is love!

I instantly felt my pain level decrease.  After only a few breaths, I felt my heart expand, and a feeling of peace and joy washed over me.  My mind kept taking me out of the experience to analyze what I was feeling so that I could write about it this week, and I would return to focusing on the breath.  I AM…LOVE.  I AM…LOVE. My heart expanded, and I felt a deeper connection with my family, and soon with the world outside.  I was in unity.  I was relaxed.  The pain was not completely gone, but it was significantly decreased to the point that I was able to go back to sleep.  And I felt great!

For a deeper meditation experience, do this in combination with alternate nostril breathing.  Here’s how:

  1. Hold your right hand up, palm facing you.
  2. Bend your index finger and middle finger down, leaving your thumb, ring, and pinky fingers up.
  3. Using your ring finger to hold your left nostril closed, inhale through the right nostril for a count of four.  (Think, “I AM.”)
  4. Release your left nostril and using your thumb to hold your right nostril closed, exhale for a count of eight. (Think, “LOVE.”)
  5. Continue holding the right nostril with your thumb, and inhale for a count of four.  (Think, “I AM.”)
  6. Release your right nostril, hold your left nostril closed with your ring finger, and exhale for a count of eight. (Think, “LOVE.”)
  7. Lather, rinse, repeat three to seven times.

Alternate nostril breathing activates both sides of the brain.  Even practicing here while I am typing out the instructions, I can feel the positive effects!  Let me know what you experience.

Blessings,

Mary

An Invitation…

I recently returned home from The Peaceful Woman Maui Facilitator Passage.  This is the third time I have gone, and it continues to amaze me.  Or rather, I continue to amaze myself.

How do you describe your own inner journey to someone else? How do you put deeply personal and meaningful “aha” moments into words?  The Peaceful Woman Maui Passage is a week long journey into your own truth.  And each time I return, I learn more and more about myself.  I learn how to cut through the noise in my own head, to drop into that still place inside myself where my soul resides.  I learn how to be the observer in my own life–how am I occurring in this situation?  And what does that say about how I occur in the rest of my life?

I arrive open to the teachings this time and this place have prepared for me, vulnerable in the knowledge that I have manifested the experiences that will take me to the next level.  I am here to support the other women on their journey, and I allow myself to be supported, by conscious women who become soul sisters, as well as by Mother Maui, a magical island that has much to share.  I tune in, listening to the requests of the women with me on this Passage, my body,  and Mother Nature all around me, knowing they are all reflections of my innermost Divine self.  I share my experiences and insights, and soak up the breakthrough moments like the rays of brilliant sunshine.

I dance the ancient dance, blessing the land, and walk the labyrinth to my center and back.  I am cleansed in the river of feminine energy, and purified in the ocean where the ancients landed their canoes.  I am teleported to the sacred place where the sky meets the land, from which messages are sent and received.  I walk the fields of heat and passion, sweat out the stones that block my Light, and claim my blessings.  I sway with strong bamboo, bathe in healing waterfalls, and am pampered into a state of relaxed bliss.  I unite with my sisters to carry us swiftly across the waves to sing to the turtles, and swim amidst rainbow colored fish.  I celebrate the journey with dancing, singing and feasting!

And throughout I am treated to the wisdom of the Hawai’ian culture.

Experience is a better teacher than any book, and nature is the best classroom there is.

This is my truth, and I choose to live from this place of peace and power.  I invite you to join me, to know your truth, and live your truth. I am leading Peaceful Woman Maui Passages August 15th-21st, and September 12th-18th, and there are other dates with other incredible facilitators available. For a limited time, you can get 10% off the full price of your Passage.  Please enter coupon code “MM”.  There are also limited spaces for facilitators still available.  Contact me here if that is something you are interested in.

Here’s my experience from my first Passage:

Blessings,

Mary

Stuff

Last week after the funeral, I helped my parents and my sister clean out my Grandmother’s apartment.  Just a few months ago, she had moved from a larger apartment to this smaller one that we were clearing out, so she had already downsized and gotten rid of quite a bit of her stuff.  She had told my father and my sister about the history of several items from the family or with significant sentimental value, and many of these had already been set aside or given away to family members.  So most of what was left was decoration, or everyday household items.

I’ve watched “The Story of Stuff” several times with my children, and I’ve worked to tame my own pack-rat tendencies.  I was a FlyBaby for a while, though I have fallen out of practice.  So in my mind there is a war between saving the landfill, and saving my home from becoming a landfill.  Much of Grandma’s belongings were donated to Churches United for the Homeless, and the medical equipment went to HERO (Healthcare Equipment Recycling Organization).  Both of these are organizations my Grandmother’s generosity did support or would have supported.  Some things went to the dumpster.  And a lot went back to my parent’s home.

I kept being asked if I wanted any of her household items.  If I did not live so far away, and have to figure out how to get it home, I might have said yes to more things.  Thankfully, I did not come home burdened with a lot of “stuff”.

There was a potential for hard feelings in the family with some of the sentimental items. I’m not sure where Grandma’s will was, or whether or not she specified who got which items.  So there was a challenge between two family members over one item.  Apparently Grandma had told each of them at different times that they could have the item.  There was a certain amount of tension all week about it.  Fortunately, it was resolved by the end of the week.

It really made me think about an audio course I listened to several years ago, called LegaLees, by Lee Phillips.  Much of the course was about asset protection, but he also goes into wills and probate.  He uses the phrase, “the dollies and the doilies,” frequently in that section, and when it came to who got what, that phrase kept going through my mind.  Ultimately, none of Grandma’s “stuff” was so important to me that it was worth hurting the relationships with my family members.  I was not attached to the material possessions.  Yes, I did come home with a few of them, but if someone else in my family really wanted them, I would have acquiesced to their desires, because relationships are more important than things.  Most of my family felt the same way, and for that i am truly grateful.

Now I hope that I can impart that same feeling to my own children.

Blessings,

Mary

Peaceful Woman Maui Passage Feb 2010

I can’t believe it’s already been two weeks since I returned home from assisting with the most recent Maui Facilitator’s Passage.  Since it’s officially March, I can even say it was last month!  How quickly the time passes.

As always when I return home from a retreat or course, or really any time I have been away on my own, I am faced with the opportunity of integrating what I’ve learned into my daily life.  Sometimes it is easier than others!

It was very interesting to experience the Maui Passage through new eyes – having gone through it once already six months ago.  Here’s a video of me on the last day of the Passage last August:

Aside from getting to meet 10 incredible new women and deepening my connection with four women I met last time, going through the Passage for a second time helped to anchor a lot of the things I had learned on my initial Passage.  For example, in August I had some challenges with “Flow Day”.  When the day didn’t go as I thought it should, I became upset.  I’ve been working on that over the past six months (my youngest son is a wonderful teacher who goes with the flow all the time), and I felt a lot more ease this time around.

And I learned some new things as well.  On “Volcano Day”, I went and visited a heiau, a sacred place, up a hill that I had missed visiting in August.  On the way back down to the beach, I had an aha message: “Stop searching for the significance of every moment, and allow each moment to be significant.”  I saw that many times I work really hard to figure out why something is special, or push for the message I am supposed to receive.  I don’t always get one.  But when I am able to be truly present in an experience, rather than observing myself in it, I find much more profound meaning and insight.

On “Waterfall Day”, the experiences and the women in the February Passage reflected back to me that I am strong and a good leader.  I saw that while my body may not look or feel much different, the work I have been doing to take better care of my physical body is making a difference.  I was able to run up a hill at one point, something that would have winded me even six months ago.  And when I planted myself in order to assist other women, I was stable and unshakable.

Going back to Maui completely reaffirmed for me that this work is what I want to be doing, and this company is totally in alignment with my purpose and values.  I am excited to announce that I will be starting a Peaceful Woman Meet Up group this month, and I will be facilitating Maui Passages August 15th-21st, and September 12th-18th, 2010.  I would love to have you join me!  You will be expanded, enlightened, and peaceful, in your own way and through your own experience.

Blessings,

Mary