Exploring our inner boundaries{Winter}

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Hello and Welcome Dear Friends,

Take a breath, settle in and join me for a few moments…

Early morning has become my favorite time of day this summer, watching and hearing the birds become active, the first visit from the hummingbird and the energetic bounces of the twin fawns that live in our lower field both a gift and delight. I watch the steam rise from the pond and the canal as the sun rises and begins to shine and warm the Earth. The moon has also been a companion on these mornings, growing smaller each day, retreating into the darkness. I’ve noticed my own energy crest and retreat, feeling mentally energized and productive on some days and then slower on other days, noticing emotional waves swelling and crashing within me; and this is the way, the ebb and flow that is a constant within our lives. What have you been noticing about your summer routines?

As the moon goes within the dark, we welcome the lunar cycle of Holly.

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I cast out my senses to Holly in Winter, seeing her green and vibrant against the snow. An image floats in of a bird perched on her branch next to the berries. I feel that the shell is there, the berries are there to nourish others but she is deep within. Her consciousness is in her roots mainly. There is no more outward expansion, no outward growth happening but she remains a constant reminder of the growth and vitality of the times of growth. Evergreen, ever fertile. She is hope and possibility. This is the magic of Woman, of the Sacred Feminine- to embody and remember our true nature that is birth, growth, vitality with her ever present prickly leaves forming strong outer boundaries.

Around me, in media, in my readings, in my own experience, I am noticing the paradox of boundaries; the call for the dissolution of boundaries and for the development of boundaries. If we weave this call for the dissolution of boundaries with the energies and protection of Holly, we want to take a look at the beliefs that define what we are capable of, the boxes inside us that dictate what is ‘allowed and acceptable’. During this Inner Winter, I invite you to turn inward and see the boundaries, the stories, the myths, the childhood experiences and memories that hold you back internally; those places, memories and hurts that you judge and compartmentalize. Approach this inquiry as you would when listening to a friend, with compassion, curiosity, tenderness and love.

To be steadfast in adversity and the consistent possibility of creativity. This is a strength of the Holly that is offered to us.


Steadfast means resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering. This often conveys the belief of being unwavering in one’s practices.

What this brings up for me is the desire to remain centered and aligned in the midst of adversity, of difficulty. Neutral. Our Nourishing Spiritual practices either fall away or become more of present in times of struggle and adversity. I have experienced both but often it has been the realization that my prayers and spiritual practices are often absent in the times surrounding a strong, tumultuous times, when they are very much needed! But with awareness comes the consistent possibility of creativity; of creating one’s own life..

I used to judge myself thinking that I must have one practice that I do with unwavering consistency. And… I always fell short because it is not my nature to be this way, I dance around and try different ways, practices, experiences. So, for me, this belief held strong boundaries, restricting what was possible for me, and it dissolution brings freedom. Perhaps it is just fine to be steadfast, to be consistent with nourishing practices that take different form? All of our nourishing practices, ones we know and ones we are yet to discover, are present within the Web of Life, always there, pulsing in and out of presence. Working with Willow sticks, shells, tarot cards, moving prayer, sitting prayer, meditation, journaling, walking, yoga, drawing, etc, they all exist within an ebb and flow, and we can listen and respond, following the energy of the present moment, towards what is being called for at this moment.

Be steadfast in casting out your senses and following the energy.  

There is also the call for the development of boundaries that are important as they support your ongoing unfolding as an insightful, strong and powerful woman. Boundaries, systems and frameworks provide structure for movement and growth. Image the power, energy and strength of a river with strong banks. For now, let’s listen to what is bubbling up from the depths.

Sacred Acts and Practices

contemplations for this week:

For now, during your week, days and moments of winter, explore softly, compassionately, with curiosity and wonder, what is happening on your inner terrain, your dreams, your intuitions about situations in your life, ponder who you are outside of relationships with others, and what happens within your relationships with others, what messages you send yourself, what messages encourage you and what messages hold you back. We evolve through our relationship with others, so be an observer, recognize and acknowledge when you offer insights to someone, you are also offering it to yourself. I have been noticing great synchronicity around this lately and several moments of ‘aha’ as well as ‘oh, duh!!” What will you notice?

  • What inner boundaries- stories, myths, beliefs, do I hold that hold me back, that keep me pruned down from my Essential self?

  • What kind of inner work supports me developing a greater relationship with myself? With Source? With myself as Creator of my life?

  • What are your nourishing routines and practices? What did you used to do? What do you do now? What do you want to try, explore and learn about?

  • We root to rise- this week we examine what nourishes our roots so we may be strong, fierce women in the face of injustices, in our sacred just battles, on many planes and levels.

Practices:

  • I will be sharing more contemplations about Holly, a guided journey and ritual to connect with the New Moon in the next day or so- Learning about and connecting with the Feminine Strength those Ancient women who fought against patriarchy called upon- the Amazons, and others, to battle against injustice.

  • When you are feeling particularly vulnerable, self critical, or emotionally upset, place your hand on your heart, offering yourself the soothing therapy of gentle touch.

  • Hand on your Heart Exercise- From Mary Ann Copson and Evenstar Earth Path Seminary

    This is a great practice when you are feeling particularly vulnerable, self critical, emotionally upset, or just shifting activities. It is a lovely practice to incorporate before you begin to cook and prepare food. Even if you’ve had a long, busy or stressful day, taking a few minutes to heart breathe and come into coherence will transform your vibrational frequency.

     

    1) Close your eyes and place your hand on your heart.  You may also place your other hand on the occipital (the rounded spot on the base of your skull)


    2) Begin breathing normally and maybe slightly deeper. Noticing what is happening within your awareness both physically and multidimensionally. 


    3) Begin to imagine a relationship, one moment, where you felt loved, cherished and connected. It could be with a person or possibly an animal. Animals are a great choice because it is usually a less 'messy' relationship. 

    4) Remember and imagine this experience. Stay here for 30-45 seconds and savor this feeling. 


    5) Notice the fullness of what is happening and speak it out loud, give it a named condition.


    6) Reflect on the experience and notice any shifts.  Speak these shifts out loud to an imagined compassionate listener.  


    The physical placement of your hand on your heart and head stimulates the release of oxytocin into your bloodstream, flooding us with feelings of safety and security.  This enables us to come out of the negativity bias and into the window of tolerance from which we can self reflect and analyze. Using this tool, you reconnect your prefrontal cortex to whole brain functioning and to the place of resiliency. 

Magical Cooking:

I’m sharing with you a recipe for a creamy miso dressing, it is a delicious and grounding dressing to simply dress greens or a full salad. I love it with some protein, cucumber, carrots and tomatoes for a delicious and light summer lunch that is a nourishing routine for our body and mental health. The greens helps to detoxify the liver and emulsify and digest the fats to be utilized for energy. White or yellow miso provide needed bacteria to enhance GABA, the relaxing neurotransmitter in the gut. I love the fresh ginger and garlic tastes, they feel clearing and sharp; sort of like the energies of Holly and her spiky leaves :)

Greens with Creamy Miso Dressing:

1 rounded tablespoon of yellow or white miso

2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar

1/2 tsp. Grated fresh ginger

1 garlic clove, minced or put through a garlic press

Pinch of cayenne pepper

4 tablespoons dark sesame oil

2 tbs. full fat yogurt - I have done this with low fat as well but full fat is recommended.

Directions:

Blend all ingredients in a blend until smooth and creamy

Pour over greens and enjoy. Your choice of arugula, romaine, spring mix, red or green leaf, spinach, etc.

Add sunflower seeds or pecans if you like. I like to add other veggies, roasted broccoli is really good here.

This dressing keeps well in the fridge for a 3- 5 days.

*Source: Eat Right, Feel Right. Recipes to Improve Mood, Sleep, Attention and Focus by Leslie Korn, PhD, MPH, LMHC

May you know self care as a physical and spiritual practice bringing yourself to the still point of possibility and neutrality to gather yourself as Source. May you create a life where there is time for all that nourishes and sustains you- family, friends, work, nature, beauty, and downtime.

Blessings on your week, Dear Friends,,

Annie