Rising Spring Energy

I love this time of year! Spring has finally arrived. My woods are full of green leaves and wild flowers. People are coming out of the winter doldrums to work on projects with new vigor.

What is waiting to burst forth in your life this spring? This is the time to balance the Wood element with a few simple acupressure points at the ribs and the feet. As you hold these points gently for two minutes, think about the things you wish to accomplish and devise a plan to take action and complete your goals.

I’ve been making lots of To Do lists to accomplish my goals. There are many projects and events happening this year. I discovered some creative bullet journal prompts to motivate me to keep on track.

Spring also brings fresh  foods back to the market. I’m buying local when I can.  I’m also focusing on eating as many healing foods as possible. Here are some great cucumber rolls to try.  Or try some healing cardamom in your chai tea!

Spring brings new routines. How about trying these tips for 30 days to a healthier you?  Many of the tips are consistent with the Be Well Decks (Balance Resource Cards) that I created to help my Breast Cancer patients make healthy lifestyle changes and prevent  the return of their cancer. What are the things you do to be well?

Spring can also bring stress to our lives with all the projects and opportunities available. What are you doing to keep your stress levels  in balance? This interesting article suggests showing compassion to others through service is a great way to feel good and reduce stress. Daily meditation is also a great way to slow down the pace.  Create space to breathe in your day.  Take a breath. Be present in the moment.

I’d love to year what new possibilities are waiting to blossom in your life this year?

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May you be well!

 

 

 

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Letting go and embracing ease

As the days begin to get longer and the hot muggy weather is replaced with cooler days, it’s time to look at our routines. I’m focusing on embracing ease as I move in the next few months.

Take a moment and PAUSE. Does your routine flow smoothly, with ease?  Are you ready to let go of something so that you can slow down?

Perhaps there is one more burst of energy for a task or project, just like those leaves give one last burst of color. Maybe you are ready to hand over a responsibility to another person, so you are free to focus on a project you are passionate about. I have a project on the back burner that is calling my name.

Just like those fall leaves, I’m ready to let go and move into a slower pace. What about you?

Autumn

Part of my focus on embracing ease this year is to consolidate websites and blogs, so DW Healing Arts will now be located at www.dwhealingarts.com. I hope you enjoy the new website and newsletter. You can sign up for this monthly newsletter in the bottom right hand corner of my website.

May you be well!

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Listening Prayer

While deleting old files from my laptop, I discovered a children’s story I did a few years ago. It was part of a series on teaching children different ways to pray. My task was to teach the children how to be silent and listen for God to speak to them. This is not an easy concept for adults to understand, so how do you teach children ways to listen to God?

When a person prays, they often say things to God but don’t take time to listen for a response. In this situation, prayer happens when a person does the talking (or thinking) and God listens. There is only conversation happening one direction, from us to God. True friends have a mutual give and take in a relationship, so they take turns speaking and listening. An important part of praying is learning to listen to God instead of always talking and expecting God to listen.  How can we listen to God when God doesn’t have a body and doesn’t speak with a voice the way people do?

One way people learn to listen to what God is saying is by becoming very quiet on the inside (internally within our hearts) and the outside (externally with our bodies). When a person reaches this point of stillness, they stay quiet for a period of time in awareness of their connection with God. It is like two people sitting quietly on a beach watching a sunset and enjoying the companionship with each other without the need for words.

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People are so accustomed to being busy and active that stillness is really difficult. You notice your thirst or hunger or the itchy spot on your arm. New thoughts pop into your mind almost as fast as you let go of the previous one. The body becomes restless and the chair feels uncomfortable. If you practice being still often enough, it becomes easier to listen without these distractions. You realize that God does speak to people with ideas or feelings or words to a song or mind-pictures. Each person experiences this listening time in different ways. It is hard to know how God will speak to you until you actually listen.

Sometimes when people first start to listen for God’s response, it seems like God isn’t there. You can’t tell if it is really God who’s speaking to you, or if you are just making it up in your imagination. This is a normal response. God loves that you are trying to listen and will surprise you in many different ways if you keep paying attention. God uses your thoughts and imagination and other sensory experiences to communicate with you.

Take a moment right now to try a listening prayer. This is one way to get quiet on the inside and outside. Make sure you are comfortable in your chair. Wiggle around until your body feels comfortable and relaxed. Allow your arms to rest in your lap. You can close your eyes if you wish to remove visual distractions or you can focus on an object in the distance. Instead of looking intently at the object, try to stare at it with “soft eyes.” This means your face is relaxed and soft while your eyes stare through the object, which allows the object to become slightly out of focus. If your body becomes uncomfortable, take a few deep breaths in and out.

Imagine sending love to God and feeling God’s love return back to you. This may make you feel really happy. You might imagine a stream of light like a flashlight shining from your body up to heaven and God’s love coming back down to you like a sunbeam shining on your body. You may wish to cross your arms over your chest as if giving yourself a hug to give a bodily sensation of being loved and held by God.

Once you are in this time of stillness, you can ask God a specific question or tell God something on your mind, then sit back and wait for a response. You can approach this time with a sense of curiosity and openness. You might receive a response which may show up as an idea, words to a song or a visual image. Sometimes you will become aware of a signal in the environment around you, such as a warning siren in the distance or your pet snuggling up to you. You might wonder what message God might be trying to tell you with these signals you noticed. When you feel that it is time to end the prayer, take a moment and express thanks to God for the time of listening and companionship. People often end their time of prayer with “Amen” or “Let it be so” or with a bow.

Listening prayer takes practice. Try to do this prayer first thing in the morning before you get out of bed or right before you go to sleep at night. God wants to have a conversation with us every day and is very happy when you take time to listen.

What things do you notice when you listen to God?

What to do on a retreat

Katherine Carey, one of my Right Brain Business Cohorts, asked several of us in the cohort circle why we pause and retreat. Our responses are in her January edition of Millin’air.

Millin’air is a newly launched online quarterly e-magazine with a tagline of Fashion, Business, Wonderlust. The first issue for 2016 is full of ideas and articles about designing a personal or business retreat. As someone who loves retreats, I really enjoyed this issue.

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Do you take time for regular retreats for self care? What do you do on a personal or business retreat?  Take time to Relax, Refresh and Renew.

 

 

Windchimes stir my heart’s song

19302581775_00f92d6614_cI love the sound of wind chimes. They make my heart sing. I have several that have various pitches and tones. I like the harmony they create as the breeze gently blows through them.

Why are these tones so deeply satisfying to me?  I’m not sure. I did not grow up having wind chimes on the farm. I can’t even remember when I first started collecting them. I just know that I feel a deep satisfaction internally when I hear the chimes singing in the wind.

My favorite set of wind chimes are from Ten Thousand Villages, my favorite Fair Trade store. They have deep tones. The finch feeder is hanging next to it, on the corner of our sun room deck. I enjoy hearing the chimes and watching the birds in the evening.

Perhaps the chimes are a reminder of the elements. Earth. Wind. Fire. Water. These elements help me feel connected to something bigger. I am connected to the Creator through these elements. So when I hear wind chimes, they become part of my heart prayer to the Creator.

What makes your heart sing?

Be present in the moment

“God is a God of the present. God is always in the moment, be that moment hard or easy, joyful and painful.” Henri Nouwen

One way to be present in the moment is to take a Photo Walk each day. I discover all sorts of things to pause and savor. When I am busy with my “To Do” list, I miss the little bits of beauty and insight around me. Photo Walks cause me to slow down and notice the ever-changing world around me.

flowersThe hydrangea bushes have burst into full bloom. They form an impressive wall behind the house. They look like powder puffs. My husband brought in a few clusters and added bright orange Tiger Lily for contrast. He rarely buys me flowers. Instead, he cuts and arranges the flowers and decorative grasses from our property throughout most of the year. He often takes flowers to work for patients to arrange as part of their therapy session.

Each day, the garden changes. Today, a blossom opened on a lone squash plant in the upper garden. Will it will escape the notice of the hungry groundhog and deer? If it doesn’t, we have other squash and tomato plants that appear to be thriving in the side garden. The side garden is fenced in as a deterrent to hungry animals. The plants are much taller there, with multiple blossoms. I will look forward to cooking the squash later in the season.

My favorite time to walk around our property is early morning, before the sun escapes from behind the trees. There are all sorts of interesting shadows and patterns the sun makes throughout the morning. The grass is still wet from early morning dew, highlighting spider webs on branches and slug trails on the sidewalk.

When I take these early morning walks, I forget about the things that occupy my mind at other times. The joys and pains fade. I set aside the easy and hard moments. I look for the artistic evidence of the Creator in nature. God is present. God is in the moment. And when I return back to my routines and the things on my “To Do” list, I remain aware at some deep level that God is part of the easy and hard moments, as well as the joys and the pains.

Photo Walks are an important part of my “To Be” list. What is on your “To Be” list?