Intending to Forgive

Although we are engaged in the concept of intention during the month of January, I find myself drifting already towards February, and a project all about forgiveness. I find myself feeling a profound desire, an intention to forgive fully, let go completely, and heal my spirit once and for all. Is it possible to achieve that? I don’t know, but I feel it’s time to break free of shackles and free myself as best as I can. 

At just four years old I was held down at knifepoint and brutally molested by a trusted family member, whose care I had been placed in for the day. This event remained buried inside only to come bursting forth as a release of muscle memory during a massage in my thirties, hurting and recovering from a car accident. A lot of things about me, my life, choices, and relationships became clear in that instant. This incident, and its effect on my physical, mental and spiritual health is up again now, and I am intending to let it go for good.

There is nothing I can do to take away the fact that it happened. There is no way for me to confront him because he has passed on. All I can do is reach to the other side in unconditional love. I do this not just for him, but also to set myself free, and to set the wounded little girl inside free. Reclaiming my soul, whole and strong, I intend that this event will no longer hurt me.

A couple of weeks ago we did our practice pieces for the February Mending a Broken Heart Kit. I used this incident in the process, and found it to be very helpful. We hope it will help you as well in the process of healing a past hurt and celebrating rather than hiding the scars that have made you stronger. If you are not a subscriber yet, there is still time to get in on this one.

With unconditional love,

Ann

Aging as a Work of Art

I have to admit I have been feeling a bit apprehensive about the fact that I turned 60 this year. Clearly, I have lived more years on this earth than I have left to spend, and that gives me a bit of an anxious feeling.  

So, I was excited to run across this article by Cecilia Dintino on The Huffington Post recently.

It gave me an entirely new way to frame this phase of life.  I would challenge all of you at every age to adopt this approach, as it is so much more useful, interesting, and uplifting than the ones we usually apply to a process no one gets out of alive.

Here's the start of her article.  Please follow the link to read the rest. You will be glad you did.

Happy New Life!

Karen

How to Age: Become a Work of Art

Cecilia Dintino/Dec 21, 2016

    What would you say if I asked you to consider yourself a work of art? Could you have fun with this notion? Can you get your creative juices flowing around the possibility? Or have I already lost you?

    I don't know when I decided to consider myself a work of art. Perhaps it was after years caught up in my shortcomings and flaws. Or maybe it was after years of personal therapy, and a lot of time spent recognizing my habitual thinking patterns.

    Maybe I decided to consider myself a work of art when I realized I was aging. At first, the aging process upset me. It filled me with despair and humiliation. I began to disparage myself and close off my options.

    But then I got creative. I decided to let something else emerge and, to my surprise and wonder, the creative process of aging, like any creative process, turned out to be both exhilarating and challenging.

    The problem with aging is that we get caught up in old, over-used narratives. We write scripts about our identities and potential, and then we let the scripts guide the course of our lives. We think we have life figured out, so we continuously look for the patterns that confirm the old scripts, passing by anything that may take us on a new or divergent path.

    In other words, we age without creating.

    Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone De Beauvoir would call this "bad faith." Bad faith is when we play a role in a script without variation, without freedom. We stick so close to the script that nothing new or different can happen.

    READ ON IN THE HUFFINGTON POST

    Why Crafting is Good for Mental Health

    As we consider this time of year and all we have to do, we find we are thinking more and more about the gifts which art and craft provide to us.  We ALWAYS feel better when we make at least a little time to do something artsy or crafty.  

    Recently a friend send this article over, and we thought it would be perfect to share.  We couldn't day it any better ourselves.  Here's the article by Robin Shreeves of 

    Why Crafting is Good for Mental Health
    by Robin Shreeves

    Our senior year of college, my roommate Gayle and I waited tables until closing time at a local restaurant. We’d get back to our dorm late, physically tired but mentally wired. Our conservative school didn’t allow televisions in our dorms, so we couldn’t plop ourselves in front of one to quiet our brains.

    Instead, we took up counted cross stitching to relax. We’d sit there with needle, thread and canvas, methodically following patterns, sometimes chatting but more often in silence. Eventually our minds let go of the racing thoughts that goes with the quick turnover of tables on a weekend night, and we would be able to go to sleep.

    So, it’s not surprising to me that recent studies are finding that complex crafting is good for mental health. The repetitive mindfulness of knitting, for example, has been likened to meditation. When 3,545 knitters were surveyed online by Betsan Corkhill, a knitting therapist, more than half of those who responded said they felt “very happy” after knitting. Many of them did it specifically for relaxation and stress relief. Those who knitted more frequently reported more mental and emotional relief than those who did it less frequently.

    Is it just working with needle and thread that has these effects? No. Neuroscientists are studying other forms of creativity and finding that activities like cooking, drawing, cake decorating, photography, art, music and even doing crossword puzzles are beneficial, according to Time magazine.

    Why? One thought is that when we’re being creative, our brains release dopamine, a natural anti-depressant. Creativity that takes concentration is a non-medicinal way of getting a feel-good high.

    READ the rest on Mother Nature Network

     

    A Mindfulness Practice

    A few months ago I started taking close up pictures of plants, and posting them daily on our Instagram feed as ‘daily dose of green’.  Along the way, I started also taking pictures of flowers of all colors, fall leaves, and plants in all sorts of gorgeous hues. At first it seemed like a good way to add to our Instagram feed, but after a while I realized how much the practice meant to me- for it was becoming a practice, a way for me to be mindful, attentive, and respectful of the beauty all around me all the time.

    I don’t consider myself a very good photographer, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is the curiosity, the thought process, the wondering of just what angle will create a whimsical shot of this beautiful, twirly vine or that amazing purple flower. It makes me feel like a child again- looking with fresh eyes at things I might easily have taken for granted or walked right past. If I didn’t think to myself, “I need to shoot some pictures for January,” I might not take the time to do it. Deadlines work for me, even if they are utterly self imposed. 

    Mindfulness is a noun, and can be defined as:

    1. the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something. 
    2. a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

    Creating a mindfulness practice doesn’t have to be this big thing. Find something that you love, that gives you joy, and approach it with fresh focus. Cook a meal, write a letter, draw a picture, walk and feel the breeze on your face… it doesn’t matter what you do, it matters how you do it.

    I wish you a conscious, mindful holiday season, and the gift of many beautiful moments to cherish.

    Mindfully yours,
    Ann

    ESPECIALLY When We Don't Feel Like It

    Sitting down to write when I don’t feel like it is a lot like sitting down to craft when I just don’t want to, or I don’t feel like I have the time, or the energy, or the ‘right’ mood, or whatever else my linear left brain might try to throw up as a road block to my creative expression. I have learned that every time I resist the urge to give in to apathy, or my busy life, or the martyrdom verging on sainthood I sometimes feel about taking care of everyone all the time, and commit to consciously creating even when, ESPECIALLY when I don’t feel like it, magic happens, my mood is lifted, life looks more optimistic, and I face the scary world a little more relaxed and renewed.

    Today I just don’t feel like writing, but I’m doing it anyway because I said so, and guess what- it’s making me feel better, more optimistic, more productive and positive.

    The election last week was really rough for a lot of us. We had a Conscious Craft Night scheduled for Thursday. A couple people couldn’t be there for various reasons, but for those of us who made a conscious effort and choice to come together, it was magical. The table soon became a chaotic sea of paper, glue, jewels, snacks and wine glasses as we began to create our treasure tins. At times the room was silent, each of us deep in our own creative process. There maybe wasn’t as much laughter and revelry at this particular gathering, but what we got was what we needed- a break from the relentlessly bad news. We left feeling better than we did when we arrived, and we had created amazing creations to take with us.

    I encourage you to make a commitment to your creative self. Set aside time daily, weekly, or even monthly and do it regardless of how you feel. Use whatever feelings you have and channel them into the piece you are working on! Maybe the most important piece of the puzzle is finding support. Find a friend or group of friends to craft with regularly. Subscribe together. Make a commitment to meet and craft on a regular basis, and then do it. We are starting programs to facilitate just that. Take a look at the ‘Host a Crafting Event’ page in our website. Special packages will be available soon in our online shop that will go along with that.

    In commitment to your creative practice,

    And love,

    Ann

    Special Treasures

    I went to sleep last night ruminating on the word treasure, and awoke with vivid memories of the “special treasures” that my now teenage daughter collected when she was little. My little naturalist was in love with our very natural yard, and spent many afternoons with the “ladybug friends” she would find on her late brother Jake’s memorial rose bush, chasing hummingbirds, hanging out with our two desert tortoises Rocky and Olivia, running around with our dog Honey, and collecting things.

    My girl has had a pretty good life, with comforts and possessions, but her most precious treasures have always included the rocks, shells, leaves, petals, nests, feathers and other objects that she found in our yard, or on one of our many family adventures. The act of collecting these treasures helped to connect her to those events, and she will always remember them. What are some of the treasures that connect you to your memories, loved ones and adventures? How do you tend to and honor them? Maybe take some time this week to touch them, to reconnect to them and to the memories they evoke.

    If you haven’t yet subscribed and missed our November kit, you can purchase it and other individual kits for yourself or as gifts for the holidays. Our November and December kits in particular will help you to create special mementos for treasuring and remembering the things you hold dear.

    Wishing you a holiday season full of love, light and many wonderful new memories.
    With love,
    Ann

     

     

    Treasuring Memories

    The following is a poem I wrote for my eldest son when he was two years old:

    Streaks of golden light
    Shine in hair and eyes
    A vision of butterflies
    Runs in from the sun upon sweet grass

    Child of golden light
    Shines like sun at noon
    Dreams of stars and moon
    Child of night
         Not of me and all of me
    Sleep tight
         And dream of all and none

    He is a wonderful 33 years old man now, and I have no idea where the years have flown to. I still have vivid memories about that moment; his laughter and joy, running in the morning sun as I push my infant daughter in her stroller on the way to Jazzercize class (say yay for the 80’s!)

    The word for the month of November is treasure, and I find myself immersed in the question, “What do I treasure?”  The answer always come back to my family, particularly my beautiful children and grandchildren, and the time we spend together. I am happy that I have raised kids who would prefer to have a fun family outing to receiving a new possession as holiday gifts: at trip to Disneyland, a play at the Pantages, a concert, dinner and a movie, or simply a wonderful game night with my legendary Velvet Butter Chicken.

    Conversely, I am finding that I treasure my alone time more every day. I am enjoying my own company, and even allowing myself to have adventures on my own. I was a young mom, and like many of you I have devoted my life to taking care of others. I treasure moments of independence, free to move at my own pace, unencumbered. 

    As I get older I find that creating fantastic memories becomes ever more important. For me at this point, memory is everything. I try to let go and enjoy the moment fully, knowing how much I will cherish and treasure those memories forever.


    Wishing you memories to treasure,
    With love,
    Ann

    October Subscriber Response - RELEASE

    This beautiful sharing was sent to us by our subscriber Troy.  We are so grateful to hear the way that the word of the month resonates with life events and positive movement. Thank you, Troy, for this.  Here is Troy's lovely experience.

    This recent August I was blessed with an opportunity to be travel companion with a childhood friend on holiday here from Australia. I spent almost four weeks away from home having a splendid time! Then, the trip was complete and I was back home again. Nothing like 4,000 miles of highway and great company to alter the perspective of your life.
    After I returned from travelling to my home, I was struck by the strong, and new, experience of feeling encumbered – to restrict or burden (someone or something) in such a way that free action or movement is difficult. It took the time away to recognize when I returned that something in my life was hampering my “free” action. There was something in my life that I needed to let go of so that the feeling of freedom I experienced while on the road would accompany me at home as well.
    Some of us can relate to having a relationship in our lives that, over time, becomes heavy as a stone tied to your ankle with rope, or maybe even chain. I discovered that one of my intimate relationships was encumbering me, and the stone and the chain were invisible because they only existed in my mind. Then an event occurred that was the “straw that broke through my illusion.”
    I have come to know that our first and foremost birth right is ourselves; all of ourselves from physical to spiritual we have the birth right to destroy or take care of ourselves. When I looked inside myself after this defining event, I realized that I had taken responsibility for the well-being of another even when I felt anger at the hypocrisy of their life choices.
    This month is about RELEASE at Divine You Crafts and one of the excellent release questions this month is: Is there someone who is a drain on you that you should cut ties with? All of this dovetails into one of the biggest things I have ever let go of – released – in my life. I realized that since I have sovereignty over my body, mind, emotions, and spirit, so must everyone else even those closest to me. What I do not have to be is sympathetic to those who choose a lifestyle that I perceive harmful or hypocritical. I do not have to even accept it because acceptance would lead me right back down the same trail to feeling encumbered.
    What I did was speak my truth and express that from this moment into my future I will no longer feel sorry for someone who practices willful ignore-ance in the presence of knowledge. When I spoke my truth I could hear the ankle shackle spring apart, the chain dissolve, and the stone in my heart disappeared. RELEASE.

     

    Letting Go

    I was thinking today about the monkey who gets its paw stuck in a jar because it won’t let go of the fruit or other food at the bottom of it. The monkey stubbornly clinging to its treasure becomes weighed down by the jar on its arm, but can’t seem to give up and let go. In reflecting on that, I began to examine ways in which I miss out on what wants to come into my life because I am too busy holding onto physical objects, ways of being, relationships, projects, hobbies, employment, and recreation that no longer suit me.

    I think I am going to begin a regular practice of acknowledging, thanking, and consciously letting go of these them. Do you have things that could be appropriately released at this time? Here is a visualization to help you do that. Read through it first, and then try it out if it seems helpful.

    LETTING GO VISUALIZATION:

    Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and relax
    Visualize the thing you wish to let go of as some sort of small object you can hold in your hands
    Thank it for its lessons, and say whatever else you need to feel complete
    Look down and notice that a hole has opened up in the ground, just big enough to bury it
    Place the item in the hole, and see the earth close around it, transforming the energy into pure white light, love and beauty to be recycled into the world
    Take a moment and ask that all of the energy you have left scattered in the world come back to you now. See it coming back into your body, filling in all of the spaces like puzzle pieces until you feel complete
    Repeat this process as often as you like, continuing to let go of the old so that your hands are open and free to receive new treasures when they are presented to you

    It’s time for all of us to let go and start really living the lives we’ve always dreamed of, the lives we can barely imagine because they are so magical and beautiful. Now more than ever it is important to keep our energy high, in love and light for all mankind. It makes more of a difference than you know.

    In love and light,
    Ann

    That Thing Just Beyond Your Grasp? Let it Go.

    I was doing an energy balancing session on a client the other day, and one of the things that came up was a deep sense of frustration he has about trying to follow his bliss. He knows what he wants, desperately, but it evades him, always just out of his grasp. Grasp may be the pivotal word here, for often we do grasp, cling and hold on to the things we desire, and don’t allow them the freedom of movement they need to actually manifest.

    My advice to him, as it is to myself and to all of us, is to just let go. Meditate on, visualize, write down, draw, and/or imagine exactly what you want, and the release it to the Universe, trusting that it, or something so much better that you can’t even imagine, will come to pass.

    We are living in extraordinary times. The chasm between what is stressful and awful and what is beautiful beyond imagining in the world is as wide as the divide between parties in this presidential election, and there doesn’t seem to be any middle ground. I for one am trying to stay focused on the positive. Watching my life and the lives of my friends and loved ones, it appears to me that this is a time of easier manifestation. Harness that creative energy to create a better life for yourself, your loved ones, and the world at large. Imagine what a glorious world this would be if we all, or even just a significant number of us, began visualizing peace, love and harmony. It could change everything.

    Focus on the positives, on the things that light you up and give you joy. Then, like making a wish while blowing dandelion seeds, let your wishes go, releasing them to the sky, not knowing exactly how or where they will end up. Trust that they will be nurtured for your highest good and the highest good of all.

    Wishing you all your deepest desires come true,
    Ann