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<Drums Rattle Djembe Doumbek>

The Drum and the Dream

January 25th, 2018

Are you willing to listen to your most profound sound living in you and dream it into being?

Am launching a new shamanic teaching and journey program – the Drum and the Dream. It was time to birth new life into shamanic healing and teaching practices.

As I focused more on ways to nourish peace within myself, I meditated on nurturing a direct path to peace. This led me to my heart-center and connecting to my inner rhythm. Deep meditation and writing allowed me to relate to my personal rhythm and connect it to universal rhythms. This shamanic journey of the heart led to profound processes and my path into the Drum and the Dream.

Are you willing to expand the maximum capacity of your heart?

Perhaps by connecting to our own personal rhythm, we can relate to those around us in new ways. We can connect with our heart first and then our mind. We can connect on deeper levels, beyond the known and into the unknown and unseen world. We can meet each other with purpose. We can learn ways to release anger and open to patience acceptance. We can learn ways to relate to our own personal rhythms that live inside of us. We can step into the life we have been longing for.  

Maybe it is time to embark on a deep personal healing journey.

We are all dreaming the world into being. It is not the sleeping dream we’re familiar with, but the waking dream we craft with our eyes open. When we awaken our power to dream, we can begin to create original dreams that allow us to embrace the ever-shifting landscape with equanimity and courage.

Welcome to the Drum and the Dream!

We will be offering the Drum and Dream shamanic teaching and journeys who will share more specifics of the processes and practices you will learn in the Rhythms of the East workshop/training starting in April 2018. 

** Also, save the date: the Drum and the Dream Shamanic Retreat: Rhythms of the East will be held at Menla Retreat Center in the Catskills, September 28-30, 2018.

 

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Posted in Shamanism | Toning the Om

Tiny Steps

January 16th, 2018

On a recent trip to Florida, I met up with my friend, Evonn. We walked around the beautiful Morikami Japanese Gardens. As we walked around the gardens, Evonn shared a story about slowing down. Evonn was helping her grandchildren get ready for school and wanted to be sure they caught their school bus on time. Her five year old grandson, Charlie, was in no rush as he wandered around the house at his own pace. Evonn was making sure his socks and shoes were on as they walked to the front door. Charlie came to a stop. He looked up at Evonn and said, “Tiny steps.” The pace slowed down and Evonn and Charlie walked to the door taking tiny steps. It was a lesson in being present and slowing down. In a time when everyone seems to be rushing around, a five year old child reminds us to stop and pay attention. Take tiny steps. Be present. Slow down. Be.

Evonn shared with Charlie over the holidays that she liked his “tiny steps.” Charlie responded, “Oh, I don’t do tiny steps anymore.” He had moved on into a new present movement. As my friend Evonn shared, “May we stay in the moment and move right on.”

We can learn a lot from taking tiny steps. And we can learn even more from a five year old.

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Posted in Storytelling | Toning the Om

The Year of Devotion

January 3rd, 2018

As I sat ready to release 2017 (and I was ready!), I listened for what 2018 was preparing me for. What energy, focus, theme, word or phrase did I need most for the new year? Devotion.

Devotion to stillness, to meditation, to love, to service, to creating, to healing, to traveling, to causes, to writing, to connections, and to nourishing peace.

I also ask our community to share and declare their word/s and focus for 2018. The global response was amazing. Here are some that have been shared by our tribe:

Direction. Intentional. Employment. Believe. Focus. Inspire. Patience – with Myself. Breathe. Focus on What Matters. Detachment. Declaration. Non-judgment. Trust. Forward/Align/Reflect. Transformation. Intentionally. Forgiveness. Fortitude. Determination. Intention. Meaning/Joy/Flow. Kindness. Resist. Inner Strength.

What is your word/s, theme or focus for 2018?

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Posted in Meditation | Toning the Om

The Light of Your Being – Winter Solstice

December 21st, 2017

“I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being.” ~Hafiz

How will you celebrate the light in the darkness?

As winter draws near, it is time to go inward. The winter season allows us to align with a slower pace. In the depths of winter, when the bears hibernate, trees put their energy deep into their roots, and many of dive deeper into the dream world, it is natural time to retreat.

As we go inward, let us notice the beauty and tranquility of winter. Let us celebrate the light within that is always possible. Let us embrace the opportunity for deep rest and integration that winter provides.

How will you keep the candle lit inside yourself?

Celebrate the light of your own being!

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Posted in Meditation | Toning the Om

A Meditation on Gratitude

November 22nd, 2017

You are invited to a meditation focusing on gratitude.

Take a nice slow breath – in through your nose and out through your mouth. Soften your gaze. Make your spine long and tall. Allow your shoulders to drop away from your ears.

How are you breathing? Allow yourself to breathe in and breathe out. And with your next breath, hear the words: Thank You.

Take a deeper breath. Allow more to come in and exhale and allow more to go out. Allow your mind and heart to take in more and let go more.

Invite a free hand onto a part of your body that needs some attention. Listen and send the mantra Thank You to that part of your body. Allow the mantra to move more deeply there. Breathe in and out. Follow the inhalation and exhalation. Follow your brilliance. Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.

Direct your hand to the center of your chest – your heart center. Direct the words Thank You to your heart center. Allow the gratitude to grow in and around you. Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.

Carry this mantra with you. Notice when you are not in gratitude. Thank You. Notice what takes you closer to gratitude. Thank you. Notice how we can be gratitude with each breath. Thank You.

And take a deep full breath in and out. Repeat the mantra: Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.

Invitation: In the next 24 hours, find at least three people to say Thank You to and pass on a transmission of gratitude.

Open your eyes and look at the world you help co-create with gratitude. Look at the world with Thank You eyes. Look at the world with a grateful heart.

When we see this love and gratitude in ourself, it will be seen in others. Thank You.

 

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Posted in Gratitude | Toning the Om

The Lost Art of Good Conversation – Book Review

November 14th, 2017

In his new book, The Lost Art of Good Conversation, Sakyong Mipham uses the basic principles of the Shambhala tradition – meditation and an authentic belief in the inherent wisdom, compassion, and courage of all beings. At a time when noise and technology fills our days, Mipham offers us a new lens of connecting. The Lost Art of Good Conversation provides a map to help us to listen and speak more mindfully with loved ones, co-workers, strangers, and even ourselves. Providing guidance grounded in his spiritual traditions (he is head of a worldwide Shambhala community), Mipham explores effective and intentional aspects of conversation

Most of our days are spent cutting through all the noise, cell phone distractions, and social media. Rather than connect deeper with these tools, we have disconnected from ourselves and those we love. Mipham offers practical advice to help us increase our attentions spans, become better listeners, and strive to appreciate the people around us. In a world of digital resources and connectivity to social media and email, we are all in constant connection with one another. Then why are so many people feeling burned out, distant from loved ones, and experiencing deep loneliness? The path starts with recognizing our own goodness and cultivating meaningful conversations. As Mipham says, “Mindfulness is the act of noticing. It is not engaging in like or dislike; it is paying attention to be alive. Mindfulness begins with awareness of feeling.”

Good conversation starts with kindness and compassion. It is the experience of syncing our mind to our heart (rather than a computer). What if the truth we are seeking, the connection we are longing for, and the wisdom that exists in our relationships starts with recognizing our own goodness? If we are willing to look at the deeper truth of ourselves – it starts with a good conversation. Sakyong Mipham provides inspiring ideas and practical tips on how to be more present in your day-to-day life, helping us to communicate in ways that elevates the dignity of everyone involved.

“When we are gentle with ourselves, we can open our hearts to others.”

What is quite powerful in this book is how Mipham gives examples of how to share words as a meeting place. We can stay in the place of what connects us rather than fear the unknown and perhaps areas of what we view differently. “Finally, what makes good conversation great is wisdom – the wisdom to see your world.”

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

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Posted in Book Review | Toning the Om

Wait, So You Just Sit?

November 7th, 2017

For the first few years of my meditation practice, I sat in formal lotus posture cross-legged with my back straight and often unsupported. Now for the past two years I sit very differently. My sitting practice teaches me to listen. It’s my way of becoming present. It’s my way of being completely relaxed and comfortable on a chair, or a cushion, or even on a seat in the subway. I have chosen to be comfortable during my practice. This comfort has taught me about how my body rests. My sitting practices has taught me how to more deeply listen to my body and mind. My legs can be crossed or not. My legs can be flat on the floor or not. I just sit upright, comfortably, relaxed and natural. I give myself complete permission to just sit without judging my sitting or anything that arises during my practice.

I place my hands either resting on the arms of the chair, my lap or my palms facing upwards on my lap, whichever is more comfortable. My palms are in the cosmic or also known as the universal mudra, left palm on top of my right, thumb-tips touching. I expand my shoulders so I can feel my heart-center open. I am in receive mode. I either close my eyes or leave them partially open looking down.

I begin sitting with four very slow, deep breaths, expelling all the air through my mouth. Breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth, I continue to count these slow deep breaths for a few moments. Then I begin breathing naturally with mouth closed, through the nostrils only, dropping the counting and just sitting without judgments. I allow my mind to wander until it fades. I see the thoughts as floating and passing – this way there is no grasping at one particular thought. Sitting in a non-judging mind takes time – a daily or lifetime practice.

Sitting in this way I can completely relax, and make adjustments if I feel any pain anywhere in my body. I sit for fifteen minutes to one hour. It has become a daily ritual that allows me to start my day with ease and grace. Sitting daily teaches me how to be present. I don’t need to get caught up in chaos. Sitting has taught me to slow down.

There is real joy and pleasure in serving and being present for others. There is a very deep appreciation for being who we are, and not needing to change or fix anyone. Allowing you to be you and me to just be me. Sitting gives me permission to let go, drop into a deeper place within, and live from that place. It is not always easy. When I am stuck, I go back to the breath. When I feel overwhelmed I go back to the cushion. In the stillness within, I experience peace again and again and again. If I am willing to sit, just sit, I discover what remains – pure joy.

Wait, so you just sit? Yes.

 

 

 

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Posted in Meditation | Toning the Om

Losing My Voice and Choosing Quiet

October 24th, 2017

I spent last week at home with a fever and sore throat. This meant I slept through most of the early part of the week. I had strange dreams and memories come and go. I had to rest. And be quiet. And rest some more. By mid-week, my fever broke and I lost my voice. I couldn’t speak. Everything felt strained. As my quietness deepened, I took an inventory of all the times I lost my voice.

When did my voice become a whisper?

What silences me?

Where is my voice in the world?

I had a lot of time to meditate. I took time to notice the places of not being heard. I listened for what rises up within me from silence.

Daily silent meditation brought a few insights:

I am curious about when my voice becomes a shout and when it is a voice of clarity.

I am still learning to sift through the noise and listen to the vibration of sounds.

I am open to hearing my own voice – quiet, clear, and full of love and peace.

I am attuned to moments when I choose quiet and when I feel silenced.

Now, more questions arise:

When do I lose my voice?

And what brings it back?

Are the whispers of my heart ready to be heard?

Maybe we all need to lose our voice to truly discover what need to be voiced.

 

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Posted in Storytelling | Toning the Om

“Hey Irish”

October 3rd, 2017

My father-in-law, Don, had a wonderful sense of humor and loved to laugh. He would come up with funny names and phrases. I was no exception. My nickname from Don when he was calling me was, “Hey Irish.”

Don was an incredible photographer. He not only took wonderful pictures, but also kept detailed notes on the back of them. He always tracked who, where, and when the photos were taken. He had an amazing eye for taking pictures. Don had been a part-time wedding and newspaper photographer when his children were growing up.

In the late 90’s, Don realized how much of an interest I had in photography and he offered some advice on how to frame photos using various viewpoints. He taught me how to see with a new lens. It’s not easy – seeing with a new lens. He liked to show me how to breakdown the parts of a picture: the foreground, the main view and the background. See the whole thing. When he showed me how to capture an image or a person, he would often advise me to see the whole picture – take in the whole scene. Don wanted me to see more than the photograph I wanted to take. Rather, his advice was often about opening myself up to the larger view, the larger lens, and the larger frame.

I have taken many photos for the past 20 years with new eyes thanks to my father-in-law’s wisdom of seeing through new eyes and a new lens. And now when I photograph a moment using his technique of viewing, framing, and capturing, I always think of him. He was a good teacher.

I don’t think I ever got the chance to say thank you. Don, thank you – I see the world with a bigger lens because of you.
Love, Irish

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Posted in Storytelling | Toning the Om

If Only You Knew

September 6th, 2017

If only you knew how magical you are.

If only you knew how beautiful you are.

If only you knew how radiant you are.

If only you knew how magnificent you are.

If only you knew how creative you are.

If only you knew how joyful you are.

If only you knew how peaceful you are.

If only you knew how playful you are.

If only you knew how blessed you are.

If you only knew how supported you are.

If only you knew how powerful you are.

If only you knew how embraced you are.

If only you knew how loved you are.

Breathe in your magical, beautiful, radiant, magnificent, creative, joyful, peaceful, playful, blessed, supported, powerful, embraced, and loved SELF. You are all of this and much more – always and in all ways.

 

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Posted in Letting Go | Toning the Om