Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Healing Crystal Meditation

Life has many stressors, some are positive and can move us to challenge ourselves and become productive. Other stressors may become tangled up with negative energies that often cloud the big picture and leave us feeling angry, frustrated, or doubtful. These are the toxic stressors that are often ignored, but give a feeling that make us feel ill at ease. Once recognized, direct confrontation with these feelings needs to be dealt or they multiply, become overwhelming, and throw the body into a state of dis-ease. One of the ways I deal with this phenomenon is to practice a full body meditation with my healing crystal. This is a crystal that I found, and in order to boost it's healing power it was consecrated. First, I lovingly washed it with my personal beauty soap, rinsed it, and towel dried it. Then I set in on a windowsill in the direct light of the full sun. To consecrate it I hold it in my right hand and extent the left palm open to the universe. I ask for the positive energies of the universe to fill it with my intent for healing clarity. Then I will place in the direct light of a full moon to complete the consecration. Whenever I feel that negative stress or situations occur that need to be confronted or released, I will fill a bathtub with warm water and salt and then slip in my crystal. Sometimes I will also add fragrance in the form of those inexpensive shampoos that are more economical than high end bath products, as the bubbles seem to last longer (also when you immerse your head under the water to meditate, you get an instant shampooing). I think long and hard of the situation that is causing the unrest and draw my full attention to every detail as I sort through the attached emotions associated with it. Once that is accomplished I will ask the crystal to help me see clearly on what I must do in order to heal. Sometimes the situation is not in my control and I must just let it go down the drain. Other times, a plan of action or a new way of looking at the issue will pop in my head and in my mind's eye I will take it to a positive conclusion. After rinsing myself and the crystal off, I take a deep cleansing breath. At that point I will follow my inner guidance to either take appropriate action, or put the issue to rest. The crystal is then put to it's resting place on my sunlit altar. It is one of my most important tools for healing.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cartoon Stereotypes

The other day I caught a few minutes of the cartoon the Simpsons. It was a Halloween episode and while I'm not the biggest fan, my husband is. In this episode, Lisa (who is the show's voice of reason and open-mindedness) is dressed in a witch costume. Her mom exclaims, "Oh Lisa you're a witch" to which Lisa replies... I'm Wiccan... why does a strong confident woman get labelled (or something to that effect). While I was happy for the sensitivity of the creators for making a statement, there was still a hint of negativity associated with the term "witch." My earliest recollection of a witch was a cartoon I enjoyed as a five year old. It was Casper the Friendly Ghost and his companion Wendy the Good Witch. Remembering back to my five year old mind, the characters seemed as very real to me. I loved both of them, even though it seemed the world conspired against them. I was painfully shy at the time and they seemed like good friends to have. Then came the barrage of negative stereotypes for witches brought to us by Disney. Some were attractive, some ugly, but all had their element of evil. I thought it was cool that they could use spells and make potions and I remember thinking, if they can do magic why wouldn't they use it for good? As I grew older, I realized that appearances are not good indicators of character and old prejudices die hard. I began studying the occult in high school and at the time, the only books on witchcraft that I could find also contained spells that seemed rather spiteful and mean-spirited. I knew that I had some special talents, that were outside the belief of most people and so I kept them to myself. But as I got older, books found me and I became intrigued that other people also had these "gifts" and some were as kind and gentle as I felt myself to be. I am comfortable now with my status as a Witch... more so than Wiccan which I consider a religion. I am a strong confident woman who enjoys myself and my unique gifts and for that I would not make apologies. I might, however, refrain from advertising my status, as the word "witch" is still frightful to some people. Tolerance seems to be moving in the right direction, and I only wish Disney could redress the stereotypes.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Matter of Healing

Years of working as a nurse in hospitals, nursing homes and the community has given me rare insights into human behavior, especially as it relates to the unwell population. As I went about the tasks of taking vital signs, damp dusting a room, or just sitting on the edge of a bed holding a hand and teaching a patient what to expect during and after surgery a mini friendship was formed. After the necessary assessment based questions, there was always the open ended "how are you feeling?" Then I would just listen, as some of the most intimate worries and fears were spilled out. I offered no answers or solutions, just an interested pair of ears and eyes of empathy. I truly enjoyed my work back then. Then nursing became high tech, and it was hard to concentrate on listening when there were so many medications to be given, procedures to be performed and a timetable that barely afforded the completion of assembly line tasks. There was no time for that one on one interpersonal relationship. I tried to reestablish that special relationship with patients when I travelled to people's homes as a community health nurse, however that meant I was doing the exorbitant about of paperwork on my own family time and that wasn't really fair. Once a professional trust was established, many patient's would want to pour out their hearts about what was really wrong with their lives... frustrations, disappointments, bad relationships, or a host of other mental and spiritual anguishes. I found out first hand that illness is not just a random physical disorder, but one that involves a host of factors that fester below the surface until they manifest as disease. While I would always encourage a person to seek medical attention in the way they feel most comfortable, I think there is a means of healing that goes beyond covering symptoms and treating disease. The symptoms let you know something isn't right, and disease signals that something must be changed. One of the ways to get to the heart of the matter is through sharing thoughts. Think of a kindly stranger asking you, How is your life going? what would you say? I'm often amazed as some of the things I will say when I get on a verbal role with someone who has no reason to judge me at all. The key is to listen sometimes to your own conversation to see what is really going on inside. I believe we all the the capacity to heal ourselves, but it will occur a lot sooner if there was a network of healers who aren't afraid to reach out and touch someone with kindness, listen with empathy, and allow the light from the windows of the soul to shine compassion into the lives of others. Sometimes it can begin with a simple smile.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Practicing Tolerance

It was a beautiful autumn day with a hint of chill in the air, and I had just slipped into my multicolored bathrobe after a quiet meditation in the luxury of a warm bath. There was a loud knocking at the door and I wondered who would be calling mid-morn... probably just a delivery person or a meter reader, as my friends don't make morning house calls. As I opened the door, the chill rushed in and there were two women, one old, one young, and both obviously related. With a forced smile, the young woman challenged me with a question, "Ma'am were here to ask you what does it mean to find happiness in a family?" An internal groan... as I saw the small weatherworn bible she clutched in her hands. "Well, I said, as respectfully as I could, " I usually don't share such intimate conversation with perfect strangers, why do you ask?" "They nervously glanced at each other, and the older woman spoke up." We're not here to sell anything, but while we were in the neighborhood, we wanted to help acquaint you with the good news of family values..." I took a deep breath, as I have heard these pronouncements before and politely asked if "the good news" had anything to do with the bible? The young woman brightened and then asked what religion I was. "Well, I'm not a christian but then again, I usually don't share my beliefs with strangers." The older woman now eyed me with suspicion, and added, we really only want to ask your opinion about family... and then quoted something from "the book." In my head, I thought of the horror I would probably encounter if I told these women my true beliefs and yet, there was no need to make this anything more than a pleasant exchange. Instead, I offered to peruse the literature I knew they had brought along in those large pocketbooks, saying that I am interested in other people's perspectives, even if I may not agree. Gladly they pulled out the familiar Watchtower pamphlets and handed them over, the young one stating, "I'm sure you don't want to catch a chill, as I see you just washed your hair." "Thank you," I said, "I hope you have a delightful walk on this glorious day." The older woman grimaced and replied, "Oh, it's awfully cold out here," and with that they both turned and walked away. I spent a few minutes looking over the materials that seemed a bit outdated, the words extolling both the secrets of happiness and the horrors of Satan, replete with italicized quotes from that old black book. "Yes, it must be very cold for you out there," I thought as I gently guided the literature into the trash.