Tune into Your Heart

A Valentine’s Party~

Are you holding onto hurt feelings or resentment in your relationships? Is self care at the bottom of your priority list? Join us for an open heart meditation. We will journey via guided meditation into the realm of the heart. Here, you will explore the space, clear it, and fill it up with love. Sunday, February 7th, from 1-2pm at A Place to Breathe, no charge, donations accepted for Mended Little Hearts of Charlottesville (list here). Please RSVP: elizabethbain11@gmail.com or kimberlohan@gmail.com


 

Kim’s Thoughts:

This time of year we are often bombarded with red hearts and the pressure to declare and prove our feelings about a significant other. With that in mind, we decided to host a heart meditation on February 7th from 1-2 PM at A Place to Breathe Meditation Studio. I’m excited for this event because we will be zeroing in on one of the most exciting aspects of every human being ~ the love we hold in our heart. Our heart is the center of our chakra system and it is through this bridge we move from the lower chakras 1-3, to the higher chakras 5-7. The heart is where we experience healing transformation.

I’m also fired up because we are doing this event at no charge and asking folks to bring items for the nonprofit, Mended Little Hearts of Charlottesville. They assist kiddos who have heart conditions. I feel connected to this organization because after pregnancy complications I experienced congestive heart failure. I was in my 30’s when I went through this and often felt scared or uncomfortable with many of the procedures associated with cardiology and heart monitoring even though I could mentally understand what was happening and knew I was receiving excellent medical attention. I can see how valuable an organization such as this could be: providing much needed support when your little one is facing a chronic medical condition.

We are asking for donations for their care bags for when families have to stay at the hospital (toiletries) or donations for their bravery chest. The bravery chest provides a special gift for children following a cardiology appointment. They are able to select a small toy, (hand stamp, stuffed animal, think pocket size) for their courage. Please join us.

Kim can be found at Hara Studio


 

Elizabeth’s Thoughts:

In February the emphasis is often on partnered humans. But whether you are single or in a relationship, self-love is a must! It is often put at the bottom of the list or even cast aside, so here are a few ways to draw self-love into daily life.

Here’s a wonderful way to start your day. When you first wake up in the morning, with your eyes closed, breathe deeply into your whole body, feeling this complicated, magnificent organism that allows you to do what you do every day. Put your hand on your heart, breathe in this space. Feel the power of the love that you are radiating. And feel the stream of love that you are always in, feel the love pouring into you even as it radiates from you. Breathe this love, and let this love guide you as you open your eyes and move into your day.

The unconditional love of our nonhuman friends is amazing guidance and support that is always available to us. I find one of the fastest ways to settle into my heart space is to place one hand on my heart and one hand on my dog’s heart. If you’ve got a smaller critter friend she or he might lie down on your heart. My cat is a normal cat in that he’s particular about how he likes to be held and he has never sat on anyone’s lap of his own choice…and yet, one of his favorite positions to be held in has his heart over my heart. Notice if your critter friends find ways to be heart to heart with you. They probably already do. Now watch what happens when they notice that you’re going out of your way to find ways to be heart to heart with them. They will notice.

Whenever you do choose to move into your heart space, feel this stream of love that you are in, this stream of love that is the All. When you love yourself, you are loving every being, for there is no true separation. Be your own Valentine this year.

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December Collaboration

Building My Inner Light     Kim Lohan

Winter solstice is approaching and as the days get shorter, I find my energy starting to wane. I decided to make a plan to work on charging up my inner light. Here’s what I came up with, and to make this happen I wrote it in my day planner:

Dec. 21: Dark / light exercises (see Elizabeth’s post below).

Dec. 22: Candlelight meditation.

Dec. 23: Dance party. – I find that anytime I dance around my living room it really charges up my field. I will probably do this by the light of the Christmas tree.

Dec. 24: Go complaint free all day!

Dec. 25: Go to bed 1 hour earlier than normal. – Seriously, I am already looking forward to this.

Dec. 26: Recharge. – Choose something that boosts your energy: maybe it’s a yoga class or hanging out in a bookstore or taking a walk.

Dec. 27: Unplug. – Disconnect from all technology.

Dec. 28: Gratitude notes. – Write a thank you note to a friend, family member or teacher.

Dec. 29: Rent a comedy. – Pick something that strikes your funny bone. I want to spend the night laughing.

Dec. 30: Create a vision board. – Create a collage of what you’d like your life to look like. This is a powerful way to energetically clarify what you want.

Dec. 31: Edit bookshelf. – Go through books and release those with which I am done. Decluttering helps to recharge you and your home.


Dark and Light        Elizabeth Bain

December is a busy time of year for many: completing projects; celebrating holidays with friends and family. Here in the Northern Hemisphere it is winter and the days are short, the nights long. Whether you are aware of difficulties traversing this busy season full of contrasting dark and light or not, I’m going to share some simple ways to shift your perspective and recharge yourself when you need it most.

In our dualistic culture/mindset, we tend to label and judge things frequently and quickly (often this is learned from such an early age, we’re not aware of the process). While we could easily get overwhelmed with the thought of removing judgment from our daily lives, here we are just focusing on our labels and judgments of dark and light. Dark is not bad, just as light is not good. Dark and light just are; we choose to label and judge them as bad or good. They are both tools that we can choose to use for our benefit. Dark can be used to create a womb-like space free from distractions and ripe for introspection, getting to know some aspect of self better, dreaming big. Light can be used as fuel whether you are sitting in the sun and feeding the physical body on the cellular level or lighting up the energy bodies for clearing or inspiration.

This year winter solstice falls on December 21st or 22nd depending where you are on the planet. Traditional celebrations are often fire oriented and many cultures have celebrations of light in some form or another. While the solstice is just one day, celebrating light can be an every day event or occasion. To fully celebrate the light, I like to celebrate the dark, too, as there cannot be one without the other.

Exercise 1, Knowing the Dark: Choose a time well after the sun has set, step outside into the dark (in a safe place with lights off or inside create darkness if that’s safer). Breathe, settle into your body and notice what dark feels like for you: physically, mentally, emotionally, energetically. Notice what labels and judgments appear. Just notice what is. Acknowledge the dark. Feel the dark that is outside of you and feel the dark that is inside of you. Feel the void as a space both empty and full of possibilities. Honor and respect the dark.  Say any prayers of thanks that come to you. Notice how you feel now: physically, mentally, emotionally, energetically. Then, gently breathe back into your body in the now, opening your eyes as you are ready.

Exercise 2, Knowing the Light: Choose a time when there is sun and pause in the sun (outside preferably, but inside works, too). Breathe, settle into your body and notice what light feels like for you: physically, mentally, emotionally, energetically. Notice what labels and judgments appear. Just notice what is. Acknowledge the light. Feel the light that is outside of you and feel the light that is inside of you. Notice if they merge or not. Notice where that merging does or does not take place. Honor and respect the light. Say any prayers of thanks that come to you. Notice how you feel now: physically, mentally, emotionally, energetically. Then, gently breathe back into your body in the now, opening your eyes as you are ready.

(Tip: If you find that it’s difficult to read the exercise and do it at the same time, find a friend to assist. Have the friend read the exercise to you slowly, calmly, while you relax into the exercise. And then after a pause, trade roles and read aloud for your friend.)

 

 

Moving in Transition

Life is not static. There are layers of life that move at different rhythms within your being and your world. At times of transition, when there is a big shift in those rhythms, finding a way to stay in balance and connected to this earth plane can be difficult. The farther along I move through this year, the clearer it is to me that this is a pivotal year for me in many ways. So, I’m in the middle of transition right now, and I thought I’d share some of the ways I’m finding balance in this ever shifting time.

Having danced all of my childhood, then found hatha yoga, flexibility is something that has always been present in my realm. Often, flexibility is thought of only in terms of the physical body, but flexibility is a state of being. Flexibility is being in touch with the movement of energy, whether that is tangible in the physical body, or intangible in the form of thoughts, emotions, and patterns of relating and existing. Flexibility is being in touch with the elements you are, especially the water and wind, but also the fire, storm, and even the earth. There are rhythms everywhere and as change occurs, you can move your way through different rhythms to feel your way into the rhythms that suit you best in the moment.

So think of yourself as dancing through each moment, each breath even, and being aware of what feels good. Whether you want to actually dance around your room every day as you get going, or dance words through your being by singing or reading aloud words that resonate with you, do what feels good to you. Know that if you’re uncomfortable, you can keep moving to find your way into a place more comfortable.

If dancing or singing/speaking doesn’t feel like the rhythm for you, breathing exercises are something else to try. Alternate nostril breathing is an easy way to clear and balance yourself and only takes a few minutes and breathing which we all do.

As we near the summer solstice, there is plenty of light to draw in to support your transition. Focusing on the energy of the solstice, the changing angles of the earth to sun, provides added strength to your own changing angles.

Flexibility exists in each step, each thought, each emotion, each breath. And moving in transition is just one movement of the symphony that is your life. Smile, be gentle and kind with yourself.

Namaste

Short Days and Long Nights, Where Is the Light?

As the sun rises later and sets earlier all while moving farther to the south each day, I feel a pull inward and a pull downward. While I love other beings, I also love solitude. And I need that time alone to really be the me that I’m here to be. The longer nights allow me to curl into a book or into dreamland, to shift my journeys from time with others to time with myself which is ultimately time with Spirit. That is my pull inward. My pull downward is the Earth calling me to melt into my surroundings. To fall into the All. While these pulls lead me to the same space, the journey to get there is different and I love them both.

With shorter days, it is easy to feel that darkness is taking over. But the night sky is full of tiny spots of light. I think of how far that light is traveling to enter not just my eyes but my whole being, and how we just have the one sun so bright during the day, but so many stars during the night. When I stand staring up, I feel the light that is me reaching out to those pinpricks of light across the night sky. I am not alone for I am not separate. We are all light.

Here’s an exercise to try whether you’re feeling harried, out of sorts, or want a reminder of your true self.
Take five minutes after dark to step outside.

Close your eyes and breathe into your physical body. Feel the edges of your physical body. Notice any and everything in this moment. Feel your feet connected to the earth below you.

Gently open your eyes and scan the skies slowly, noticing the many, many stars. Notice just how much light there is in the darkness. Pick one star, pause, and feel the journey of the light across the universe to reach you.

Close your eyes and feel a spark of light within you, breathe into that light, making it bigger, until it fills your entire being and shines out of you in all directions. Feel the light from the star you picked still pouring into you as you shine your light. Feel that you are the star. You are light. Revel in the light you are.

Gently breathe back into your physical body. Feel your feet connected to the earth below. Feel the air supporting you. Slowly open your eyes and notice what is the same and what is different.

May the light you are shine brightly!
Namaste

Full Moon Invocation

With the moon close to us and full, today is a wonderful day for releasing. New moons are for setting intentions and thus, setting the path for manifesting. Full moons are for letting go, shedding, and aligning.

The energies of the universe have been shaking things up in a big way lately. Not just in schedules not going as planned or wacky synchronicities appearing, the internal landscape has been shaken, too. I’ve been almost stuck, rather still in a fashion that is vaguely unpleasant. Old stuff has been popping up, and the new me has been floating in stagnant water trying to find a current or even a footing.

My walks are like breathing for me at times like this. The same is never quite the same since it is always new in the now. Seeing the same lines of ridges in the mountains, hearing the same birds singing, feeling the same earth under each footstep, gives me a footing, a rhythm, a sense of connection, for at least part of each day. And it carries me through the day. Once I’ve experienced something it is always with me. I can reach out and pull it to me, and wrap it around me or sink back into it or breathe it when I need to. This summer has been one of expanding, and while the pace has not always been comfortable, trusting that the pace is right for me in the now has become a little easier each day.

This full moon feels like the culmination of some big lessons, and today is the day to choose to complete those lessons by releasing them. Here is my full moon invocation for all of us.

I call the Angels from the North
I call the Birds from the South
I call the Water Beings from the West
I call the Faeries from the East
I call the Crystals from the deepest earth
I call the Stars from the farthest galaxies
May we release that which does not server our higher purpose
May we align with Spirit in the Now
May we open to the All
May we be the Light of Love

Namaste