Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Meet Me in the Land of Hope and Dreams

In our quiet town an 18 year old recently shot and killed his 16 year old friend while fooling around with his first handgun.  Scarier (to me) than this senseless event is that I feel nothing.   I'm becoming inured to the daily assault of idiocy, chaos, lying, deliberate-divisiveness -- all cunningly designed to pit us one against the other and fuel the flames of polarity that could rend the very fabric of our way of life.  And now gun violence and the death of a young man in Wethersfield.  An anguished mother.  A shooter with a troubled history.

I know it sounds cowardly but I can't take it.  I just can't take it today.

After that last sentence I went out for a walk to escape my thoughts.  Because where was I going  with that line of thinking?  Right where they (the old energies) want me to go -- to doubt, confusion and fear.

I REFUSE TO GO THERE.


I'm not outside for five minutes before I come upon these back-lit leaves mirroring my inflamed thoughts.



I slow down, breathing in the November air.

Despite a recent storm, my usual route is vibrant ruby, amber and tarnished gold.  Maybe this is why walking at this time of year is so healing -- the colors resonate with my subtle energy body, the one that's flagging.

This vibrant red feeds my root chakra.  I draw the energies of the earth -- grounding, stabilizing, nurturing -- up through the soles of my feet.  My swirling thoughts palpably calm down.



Shades of orange soothe my second chakra cauldron of simmering emotions. They're meant to move; stasis is no good for our emotional center.  Walking always brings relief from feelings of stress/anger/exasperation/incredulity/pain/sadness/  grief.  Letting them move through is healing.




Here I know that I'm not numb.  I'm protecting myself from being overwhelmed.

At our recent Kennedy Dinner, our traditional Saturday-night-before-the-election gathering.  The committee hung star-spangled banners and local candidates' signs from the ceiling, recruited  young dems from the high school to provide jazzy background music, and lit up the podium with a spotlight. There were many speeches; it seems there are as many candidates and elected officials who want the mic for a few words as there are people seated at linen-covered tables sipping wine.  Our ReSisters, new to the event, dubbed it the Democrats' prom.

Over the years I've grown very fond of the people in this room.  They are activists, behind-the scenes volunteers, elected officials in leadership positions, the ones who get out the vote, drive the elderly to the polls and gather on election night for better or worse.  So I don't mind the speeches and catching up with neighbors and friends.  But when the Chairperson asks for a moment of silence to mark the tragic shooting, my eyes fill with tears.

I'm not numb.  I'm in some kind of nether world out beyond rage. Outrage.

Yet it can be empowering.  When my beliefs and values are challenged every day, I have a choice.  I can let it plow me over like a tsunami or I can do what I can to remain in control of my consciousness.  This purposeful energy radiates in golden waves from my third chakra, my power center. It imbues the landscape.




With every step the pieces of my broken heart meld back together again.  With every breath, emerald green waves soothe and mend my heart chakra.  Contemplating this last blast of bright green, compassion wells up.



How to express it all?

I set an intention to nurture my creativity on the last new moon.  Since then, I've been faithfully writing three long-hand pages (almost) every morning.  At first, taking all that time to write made me anxious.  I thought it would take 10 minutes but it's more like thirty!  It's a practices that promises certain rewards but thirty minutes?  However.  Certain things I've been unwilling to admit have become apparent in those pages.  And when they rise into awareness they must be expressed.

So I lay down on the dock and let the blue sky bathe my throat chakra, center for communication, expression and creativity.


These clouds look like Hogwarts' sorting hat to me so I smile and trust that my thoughts will sort themselves out.

Resting on the dock, I let myself drift.  I let it all fall away -- the reality that a 29 year old terrorist mowed down countless people on Halloween in NYC; the reality that Hillary choked off Bernie's funding through the DNC; the reality that we have a narcissistic president who can't control his impulse to insult anyone who disagrees with him.

I let all that drop away as I rest on the cool planks of the dock.  The tension in my back eases. My breath slows down.  It's quiet. Most of the branches in my peripheral vision are bare.  I close my eyes and attune to a vibration that emanates from the depths of my being, up through my body and out across the pond. It pulses with the rhythm of my heart.  It feels vast, like the web of life itself.

Out beyond knowing, I know this:

Lower level realities -- greed, selfishness, short-sightedness, violence -- these cannot survive in the rising frequencies that are available to us now.  These shadow energies are being exposed daily and will not survive in the new vibration surging in from beyond the stars, enveloping the earth and activating us.  Activating me.  I can only speak for myself but I offer it because you're being activated too.




Shading my eyes against the bright sunlight, I know I've journeyed into the realm of of intuitive wisdom, the sixth chakra -- Knowing beyond the mind. It glows midnight-blue and purple in the light body.  It restores perspective.

I've ascended the luminous energetic rainbow of inner light and now only white is left.  It hovers above the crown of the head like a halo. I recall these tiny blossoms from just a few days ago.



Their purity suggests innocence.  Somehow it seems that innocence encompasses both the 16 year old who lost his life and the 18 year old who took it.  Somewhere, inherent innocence was lost. When someone puts a gun to his friend's head and pull the trigger, bullets or no bullets, part of his humanity is greatly damaged.

Maryanne Williamson, in a talk after the Nazi march in Charlottesville, says that the answer to every problem is in the mind of God.  And where IS this mind of God? 

Within each one of us, within you and me.

It's up to me to download, from the mind of God, what my task is in response to what happens.  It's up to you to discern your task, your remedy, your contribution.  And when all of us act on our inner knowing, a new collective consciousness arises to create a new paradigm.

This is how my thoughts composed themselves on my walk.





Beyond tragedy there is a miracle waiting.  

You bring your precious piece of it and I'll bring mine.  

Perhaps only when they are joined, 

When all the parts of the mind of God are joined in unity,

Will we have the alchemy needed

To forge the keys to the Kingdom,

The land of hope and dreams.


Borrowing from Bruuuuce

Meet me in the land of hope and dreams.






Friday, April 21, 2017

Twilight Enchantment

The other day I read about certain times of day -- sunrise and sunset -- when the veils are thin and we can sense other realms of consciousness more easily.

In The Great Human Potential, Tom Kenyon, channeling the Hathors -- a helpful group of  spirit beings -- says:

When the sun rises and sets, the elementals of your Earth become enchanted...by the change of light and energy.  They fall into a hypnotic spell, and in this quietude you can more easily sense the subtle worlds because they are not stirring things up....  It is a fleeting and temporary moment.

So last night, just after sunset, I sat on the front porch with this new information.

I'm familiar with the hush of dawn and dusk, but I was intrigued by this idea of elementals falling under a spell. The Hathors describe elementals as subtle conscious energies related to the elements themselves: Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Space....  These are archetypal forces not related to your periodic table. They are conscious beings.

Somehow, I've always known this. Earth, air, fire and water -- sentient beings with their own intelligence.

If you pause during sunrise or sunset and contemplate the shifts of light and energy through your senses you will find a sense of wellness arising within you. Eventually you can sense the flow of grace that moves through all the worlds.  And this sense of grace unifies all the worlds from the highest realms of light to the lowest vibratory worlds of matter.  

On the porch, with my  bare feet on the cool cement steps, I'm thinking, If ever there was a time humanity needs grace, it's now. Twilight falls, the stars peek out, and yes -- enchantment is the perfect way to describe the sense of calm that descends around me.

The energies have felt  tumultuous to me for a long while now, like we're on the deck of a ship making it's way across a roiling sea.

It reminds me of one of the most vivid dreams I ever had.  I was on the deck of a ship in full sail, tossed by looming, translucent, bottle-green waves on every side.  I was giving a healing, riding the wind-whipped waves (of energy) while trying to stay firmly-footed on the rolling deck.

This must have been before our class went to Anguilla in 2007 during our training in Energy Medicine because while we were there I collected some coins imprinted with sailing ships that reminded me of my dream.


When the Hathors mention the highest realms of light and the lowest levels of vibration it feels to me like they're talking about NOW.  History is a record of tension between opposites but now it feels like it's intensifying to the point where it can't be sustained much longer.

It's playing out globally and personally.  What's been simmering is coming to a boil.

I usually shake my head in disbelief at the escalating lunacy on the nightly news, but I do have some power around my inner landscape.  In the face of tension between the higher and lower realms, my strong sense is that I'm called to bring myself into harmony.

In a holographic universe, where a shift in one facet affects the whole diamond, this is no small thing.

But these have been difficult times to navigate. Recently the arena calling for change seems to be in my relationships with close women friends.  It's been a puzzling pattern, but some pieces fell into place last night as the day gave way to twilight and I let myself be enchanted.

In each instance with my girlfriends, a boundary was crossed that made me uncomfortable.  In the past I may have let it go or just lived with it.

But isn't doing so a mild form of self-betrayal?  And is there even such a thing as mild self betrayal? Sometimes a button got pushed and my response was to push back. I was no longer willing to indulge whatever it was I had been allowing.

I had to own my part in this -- to get clear on how I had been contributing to the dynamic. And to communicate, with as much mindfulness and heartfulness that I could muster in the middle of these tempests, that the status quo was no longer working for me.

In every instance, things shifted.  With every friend I have been through this with, there has been an up-leveling of sorts.  Moments of humility, yes, and lessons in forgiveness, but also a sense of each of us helping the other find her footing when the deck was rocking beneath our feet.

The Hathors say, Grace ... is a sense of harmony between divergent parts....  

Perhaps honoring the divergent parts of myself brings a kind of grace.  I want deep and lasting friendships, but not if it requires ignoring some other part of me that's waving a red flag. By honoring both -- the divergent parts -- tension resolves.

But this can be a tricky road for us women because we were taught to give in, taught to turn the other cheek, taught to acquiesce for the sake of peace.  We were taught not to rock the boat.

But the boat is rocking on a heaving, paradigm-shifting sea.  From international politics to interpersonal dynamics, I'm called to honor my inner compass.

And so there is something to be said for the elemental enchantment of nightfall.

When chatter falls silent, scattered thoughts constellate into meaning.

Under the spring stars, Grace bestows her magic.


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Descent

I think there's something to be said for this Venus retrograde.

The astrologers I follow have been keeping track of her path as she disappears from the night sky. Ancient Greeks mythologized the descent of Venus with the story of Persephone, the beautiful daughter of Zeus and Demeter, who was abducted to the underworld by Hades.  While she was trapped there, winter lingered on the Earth.


These archetypes -- Venus and Persephone -- resonate in our bones.

Venus is the planet of love, associated with beauty, refinement, relationships and union.  She has the energies of art, balance and harmony. When these go underground, we feel bereft.  The kidnapping of Persephone, daughter of Olympian God and Goddess, leaves heartbreak and barrenness.


Even hardy New Endglanders are weary of winter, with her overcast skies, her chilly drizzle and her mantle of snow still blanketing the shady corners of our lawns.

Around mid-march Venus disappears from our night sky.  By the 25th she is in the underworld. During this time, several strong, talented, sensitive and optimistic women -- including me -- have hit the wall, so to speak.  Our store of inner resources has dwindled. Our muses are silent.  Low-grade anxiety that simmers over the winter months comes to a boil and screams like an untended teapot. Depression steals in like early-morning mist clinging to the forest floor. Our usual magic doesn't dispel it.


The descent of Venus below the horizon mirrors our descent into the shadow psyche, where we see all our hidden motivations and mechanisms -- the below-deck dynamics that often rule our actions and choices.

As we peer around in the dark, we see that the engines are cumbersome, outdated, grimy -- and fueled by our tiresome, outmoded beliefs.


It's a mess down here!

Slogging in these damp dungeons, I'm privy to the secret psycho-emotional-spiritual machinery that powers my very being -- ceaselessly operating below the level of my awareness and undermining my best intentions. Derailing dreams and visions.  Sabotaging plans.  Disrupting relationships.



So it is with reverence that I honor these days in the underworld.  I send out blessings to my friends near and far who have shared the shadowy state of their souls.  I  marvel at the sheer courage of the women in our JOURNEY TO SELF (anxiety and depression) group -- examining their automatic thoughts by inquiring, Is it true? 

They share stories of loss and anguish. At first they were reluctant; now they're candid.  Together, we're dismantling the below-deck machinery, the unconscious belief systems that have not always steered us toward happiness.  We're learning to formulate alternative thoughts in response to challenging circumstances.  We're becoming skilled at tracing our thoughts back to beliefs that no longer serve us and choosing new beliefs that relieve suffering and feel truer than what we grew up believing about ourselves and the world.



This is the work of the spiritual warrior.  We're not battling something out there; we're taking steps toward self-mastery.

We're cleaning up below deck.  Overhauling the engine room.

Visiting the underworld is not for the faint of heart.  Peering into the shadow aspects of our selves requires bravery and compassion.  Our circle of women provide these generously when one of us falters.  As we re-work our inner dynamics, we feel the ship of self begin to sail on it's own power, inspired, toward what we may not have thought was possible.


But here's the real magic about Venus, that sparkling star who ventured through hell -- on March 31 she emerges in the morning sky!  The evening star rises with the sun.

I expect all of us who are doing our shadow work -- willingly or not -- will feel the shift as Venus graces the pre-dawn skies at the beginning of a brand new day. Maybe then it will finally feel like spring.



Persephone promises to return and when she does the earth flourishes. May we align with the great creative forces of the earth and sky and do the same.



*If you're interested in JOURNEY TO SELF:  Beyond Anxiety and Depression, a therapeutic group for adults combining cognitive behavioral therapy and holistic healing, look for us on Facebook.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Shooting Star!

Last night fourteen women and one (brave and lovely) man gathered around the fire for meditation.

I trusted that the best way to serve the circle would arise.  Signs and omens abounded.

On the pond, glassy ice covered the inlet, but further out there must have been open water because two stately swans presided.  So I chose their image for our altar.


Since I planned to introduce some new attendees to Energy Medicine -- specifically the second chakra, the realm of emotions and movement --  I chose this snowman, created by my daughter in elementary school.  Intuitively she gave him an orange low belly, just as it is when you tune in to the energy body.


I also planned to mention Imbolc, the cross quarter day at 2 o'clock on the wheel of the year -- indicating we're half way to the Spring Equinox.  We find solace in this.


Our meditation immerses us in an etherial mountain-top hot spring, surrounded with snowy pines. We inhale the healing vapors and let them circulate around and through our bodies, releasing tension, fatigue and stress.  Ahhhh!  Through the soles of our feet resting on a smooth stone, we anchor into the Great Mother Earth and let ourselves be deeply replenished by her strength.  From our hearts we send gratitude into the fathomless depths of her body, humbly returning the favor.

We allow the bubbling, swirling waters to cleanse, clear, balance and heal, with gentle emphasis on the low belly, seat of emotions often lodged deeply in the dark.  Inviting them to bubble up, we can reclaim their power.


I guided everyone to imagine a gentle snow falling out of the sky and melting into the mists of our mountain retreat.  I almost didn't place this sign on the mantle because there has been no sign of snow but I planned to invoke it in our meditation, so....


And today, here it is in the material realm.

This lush little bouquet was sent by my daughter -- one of three -- because we both have difficulty with this time of year.  By way of check-in last night, I shared with everyone that I was having trouble meditating of late, speculating on the shortage of sunlight.  Day times, I need the open sky; at night, I long for the spaciousness of the stars.  Overcast makes me feel restless, claustrophobic.


These little bouquets, and the impulse that sent them, give me joy.

After our meditation I notice the sky is clear and bright with stars so I offer to show everyone Orion, the prominent winter constellation.  A few of us bundle up and go outside.  As I'm pointing to his belt -- a falling star!


Orion, the hunter, aims at the Pleiades, seven sister stars.  Women gathering in winter, gazing at sisters in the heavens?  Priceless.

Synchronous events like these tell me that the animating force of the universe is at work and blessing the soul sisters and brothers of our circle.

How else could  it be so powerful?









Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Celebrating the Return of the Light


December 21st marks the longest night of the year -- the Winter Solstice.  The sun "stands still" at the lowest point on the horizon for three days and then changes direction, granting us longer days from that point forward. Festivals of Light around the world celebrate the  re-birth of the sun and Christians honor the birth of the Son of God, Light of the world.




Join us around the (indoor) fire as I share perennial wisdom associated with the Winter Solstice. We'll have an evening of reflection, candle light, music, guided meditation and (optional) hands-on energy healing.



Wednesday, December 21, 2016
7:00
Blue Heron Healing
43 Amato Circle
Wethersfield, CT


The fee is $20 or $15 if you let me know you're coming by Sunday, December 18.  You may contact me at julie.montinieri@gmail.com or 860-614-0747 to let me know if you plan to attend.

Gift yourself with the peace of the season.  You'll leave feeling clear, grounded, cared for, blessed -- and decidedly less stressed!







Tuesday, August 2, 2016

First Harvest

Can you feel the shift?

High summer has come to a close with the arrival of Lughnasadh (loo-nah-sah).  Named after the Celtic sun god, Lugh, it's time to reap the bounty of fields and gardens.

Farmer's markets are brimming with corn, zucchini and greens.  Bouquets of flowers grace our kitchen tables and window sills.




Lughnasadh falls mid-way between the summer solstice and the autumnal equinox on the wheel of the year.  How are you feeling as the days grow shorter?   Have you noticed the summer stars shifting in the sky?




I set intentions on the winter solstice, seeding them in my awareness during the dark days of winter. I felt my ideas germinating through the early spring.  I nurtured them with practical steps until they burst through -- from fertile ground into tender seedlings.  Actual evidence this might work! During the long days of summer, I've  been tending my plans the same way I tend my plants, doing what I need to do to help my ideas thrive.  I'm weeding out what doesn't fit in with my evolving vision.

I had the idea of teaching energy medicine.  I mulled it over during the long winter.  I began to envision it.  I talked it over with a trusted mentor. Friends offered to help.

Bringing this idea into reality required action on my part.  Dreaming about it was not going to make it happen.  I placed ads in local publications.  I drafted copy, solidifying my ideas.  I pulled out my calendar and chose seven weekends over the next year, with consideration to the phase of the moon, of course. For on-line advertising, I was asked to convert a word document into a JPEG.  How to do this? I had no idea! But I learned.  Lo and behold, there was my ad, in The Door Opener e-blast -- it looked good!  I posted my offering, Opening the Channel:  Introduction to Energy Medicine, here on the blog.




At the time of this first harvest I have two students paid in full.  

Still many blessings of the summer to treasure -- Meredith, our oldest daughter, will be married this month!  All our planning will culminate in that day of joy for our families.  

Yet as the Earth turns toward autumn, so do we. Earlier evenings, pulling out the tea pot, resuming our Monday night meditation circle -- I look forward to these familiar rituals of fall.  But I'm not in a hurry to have them yet.




Instead, I'm savoring the bounty of the earth using fresh ingredients straight from my modest garden. Herbs sprinkled into salad.  Wondering what to do with lemon balm.  Our current favorite is blueberry zucchini cake with lemon buttercream. (http://iambaker.net/blueberry-zucchini-cake-with-lemon-buttercream/)



I hope you savor whatever you are in the process of creating in your home, business, career, relationship and spiritual life.  My friend Mary is nurturing her relationship with her precious first grandchild; Kathy is piecing together an art quilt to take your breath away, and Michela is seriously considering retirement to make room for her many talents as a healer.



And don't forget to weed!  That painful relationship?  Is is time to let it go?  That situation that's always fraught with drama?  How can you step away from it? Or shift your perspective so it no longer triggers you?  Has some illusion shattered?  Embrace clarity.  

Just as the garden is even more vivid after a good rain shower, so is the inner landscape more vibrant after being tended to in ways like these.



If you haven't been consciously aware of this creation cycle that began on the winter solstice, it's not to late to set your intentions now.  Today is the last day of the current lunar cycle -- the balsamic phase -- the exact time for going inward and reflecting on your dreams, goals and priorities. Tomorrow, August 2nd, is the new moon -- the exact time for setting your intentions for this lunar cycle.  Use the power of the shorter lunar cycle to jump into the larger solar cycle of creation.  Aligning with these cycles within cycles  attunes you to the powerful rhythms of the the great forces of the cosmos.  Navigating with these energies puts you in the flow of creation.


Why paddle upstream when you can have the wind at your back?


May your first harvest be as delightful as a pint of freshly-picked strawberries -- bursting with flavor, nurtured by light, and tenderly harvested by your very own loving hands.


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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Summer Solstice Around the Fire

In the couple of mornings since our solstice gathering, I've awakened with images from our evening floating on the edges of my consciousness.

I try to follow these, like a trail of breadcrumbs through the woods, back to the deep well they emerged out of while I slept, but the trail is misty.  The sun-infused leafy canopy out my window beckons.  A new day awaits.

In preparation for our solstice evening, my co-facilitator (partner in crime), Jen,  journeys inward to receive messages from her spirit helpers as to exactly how we should conduct our ceremony.  In this case it was somewhat detailed, complete with instructions to make 22 prayer ties connected with a string.  These were to be placed around the fire and put into the fire at a specific time. These spirits kept Jen busy! She's prayerfully placing tobacco, infused with healing intentions, into red bundles and tying them up with string while I'm pulling up chairs around the fire pit, arranging a medicine wheel, and infusing water with mint and lemon for our guests.

Before journeying, Jen asked if there was any information I wanted her to seek in the realms of Spirit. Since the sun reaches the peak of it's annual arc across the sky on the solstice, I wondered if there might be a message from the Sun. Or the full moon. This rare and powerful alignment of a full moon on the summer solstice hasn't happened since 1967 -- the summer of love -- and will not happen again until 2062.

This morning, upon awakening, it was the message from the sun that I remembered.  In the spirit world, Jen learned that the sun welcomes our greetings each morning.  We are advised to energetically root into the earth and open to the sun -- just as we have been doing in our meditation classes!  We may even give our burdens to the sun!


So before I sit down to write about my dream snippets, I step outside onto the patio.  The stone pavers are cool beneath my bare feet.  I face east. The strong white light of the sun filters through the leafy backyard trees.  This morning, rays of the sun feel like arms slanted downward, offering to take my burdens.


What if I offer gun control legislation to the sun?  One mass murder on top of another -- it's too much.  What if I offer poverty?  There's a young family in my life for whom poverty is causing suffering.  As usual, my prayer extends beyond them to include everyone across the globe who languishes in poverty.  I especially include every mother and father who needs food for their children.  Faces flash across my inner vision as I ground my feet into the earth and open my arms to the sun.  Returning the gesture.

With these and myriad intentions tumbling around in my mind, I do seven (modified) sun salutations, asking the sunlight to help me see clearly.  I'm blessed with it's elemental light to illuminate my path today.  I allow it to  infuse my being so that I may share it with my clients today.  With everyone I meet today.

Never have sun salutations felt so powerful!  I've always done these beautifully choreographed asanas to honor the sun, the new day, and to energize my body, but never have I felt communion with the sun itself.

This is only one gift from our solstice celebration!  I'll share more over the coming days.


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