Music Monday: The Energizing Edition

The past week was a wonderful, rejuvenating experience. I restored my soul at the beach, mountains and desert. I found peace, rest and healing. I turned 31 with ease and am ready for the year ahead.

15684032039_b2bd93c75b_o15698612437_b066dbac5d_o100_3059

Now, it’s time to get back to business. Ed & I both return to work this week after vacation break. I have a particularly long week ahead of me and will be working all weekend, supervising and assisting at CCEJ’s Building Bridges Camp where I will be taking a group of students all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

For the long haul ahead, I needed an energizing song. One of those songs you just cannot possibly sit still when it is played. I am loving this funky, upbeat song by Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson.

This week when I start feeling fatigued, I pull down my imaginary fedora over my eyes and dance through the situation at hand.

What song always gets you energized and moving?

Hair In A Bun Friday: First We Reiki, then We Kiki!

“To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” Buddah

On Friday night, November twenty-first, Angelina and I wrapped our hair in a bun together and started our week long vacation.  We kicked off the upcoming holiday by inviting her Reiki instructor over for the night in order to regain focus on our spiritual health.  I firmly believe that some illnesses have a root cause in past trauma or unresolved issues; so when the opportunity arose to have my first chakra aligned, I jumped at the chance.

We held our session in the living room of Angelina’s Earthy abode.  Her walls are painted an Earth tone hue; the environment is lightly decorated with spiritual symbols and there’s always a slight hint of sage in the air – it’s a great environment for recollection. I won’t go into the details of the session since she already spoke about here experience in a past blog.

FullSizeRender-1.jpg FullSizeRender.jpg

After all was said and done and our healer left, we opened a bottle of wine and discussed the benefits of internal health.  After a couple of glasses, we laughed endlessly after we changed the the pronounciation from rey-ki, to riki; it was our way of going from Spiritual Sisters to Scissor Sisters (but not the kind of scissor sisters you’re thinking of).

Happy Thanksgiving to our fellow bloggers!

Ed

Field Trip: Spirit and the Art of Heart

“I never paint dreams or nightmares. I paint my own reality.” Frida Kahlo

For a while now, Spiritual Bahana and I have been discussing coping mechanisms; the how and why people cope with this one life we all have been given. In the day–to–day, we’ve discovered that a creative outlet is necessary in order to step away from the hustle and bustle of everyday stress; otherwise life can become too much and unhealthy habits can take the place of the creative spark. So when the opportunity came up to visit an annul art show held in Downtown L.A, we figured it would be a great way to see how God – the ultimate coping mechanism – can be found in art. We didn’t go with a certain focus or looking for any artist in particular, we thought we’d go, check it out and then discuss our personal experience afterward.

As I was walked through the galleries, I found myself not so much paying attention to the art – the original reason why we were there – but the sacred spaces created within.  I’ve always found it interesting that when entering into a gallery, it’s often very similar to walking into a sanctuary – the first thing visitors do is observe silence. There were many nooks outside the galleries that held sacred quiet as well.  Here is a pictorial of what we found:

Sacred spaces: Where the artists meditated.

IMG_1334 IMG_1335 IMG_1336 IMG_1337

Creative spaces: Where the artists created.

IMG_1328IMG_1329 IMG_1327

Community Space: Where the people gathered.

IMG_1339

As I move forward on the path of expanding my world view of God, I’m finding that the Creator is everywhere beyond what my own eyes and mind can judge; co-creativity first manifests itself deep down where the Spirit dwells, within the sacred spaces and places of the heart.

Ed

Ed & I attended The Brewery Art Walk a few weeks ago. We have talked about the need for a creative outlet and how that relates to spirituality. We went with an open mind and curious to see how art and spirituality intersected.

15460000717_a4980f5635_o

Although we did find plenty of examples at the Art Walk of creativity expressing the soul’s inner-workings, there was something that happened after the show that stuck with us more than anything.

15452170537_93cb378df8_o 15614436246_7143229c63_o

We were pretty hungry after walking around and looking at art all day, so we stopped at Umami Burger, before heading home. We were shoveling food into our faces, barely breathing at our table outside, when a man approached us and began singing.

He was probably homeless, with a rough appearance, but he had a beautiful voice. He sang an original song that was hard not to enjoy. At the end, he asked for money and told us, “I don’t even have any teeth, but am doing the best I can.” We clapped, Ed gave him money and he moved on.

After all, aren’t we all just doing the best we can? Ed said something that stuck with me about our singing friend. He said, “sometimes it is better to break out into song, than into tears.” He didn’t have all his teeth, a home or means, but he still had his voice and used it to make the best of his situation.

I sometimes get caught up in complaining about things or focusing on the negative. I definitely believe tears are healthy and necessary. But, after you have cried and done what you can to change a situation, then what? Keep crying? Or maybe, make a song out of it?

This concept has helped me out quite a bit in the past few weeks. Instead of getting wrapped up in work stress and complaining away, can I make the best of situation and sing it away?

I went to this Art Walk hoping to find out something about how creativity and spirituality combine, I did see instances of that, however, God had something else for me to see. Often times, we have our own plans about a situation, but I believe that the real lessons we need to learn will present themselves accordingly.

Have you ever had a spiritual lesson, when you did not expect it? Tell us about it.

In love and sisterhood,

~Ang

Music Monday: The Grounding Edition

Ed & I are both fortunate enough to have this whole entire week off! This is one of the many bonuses of working for the public school system. I have to say, this week is SO incredibly needed. I have felt myself caught up in the absolute whirlwind of work. The past month has been hectic and I found myself going in earlier, staying later and skipping yoga classes or my morning meditation, to be at work more.

I definitely need some time to reconnect back with the earth, beings outside of work, my soul, my source and guides.

I find that connection strongest in the morning, when I wake before everyone else in my home, light some candles, diffuse lemongrass oil, drink herbal tea and journal, read, meditate, sit and BE.

15858249791_3b37719b78_o

I also find that connection in nature. It has been far too long since I have been amongst the beaches, deserts and mountains of Southern California and I plan to visit each of those landscapes, in this next week. (You can follow my journey to Venice Beach, parts of The Pacific Crest Trail and Joshua Tree through my Instagram.)

This song is from an album of chants by Sacred Spirit. I was completely entranced the first time I heard it. It calls to me and draws me in to a state of relaxation and meditation. It’s called “Cradlesong” and it definitely resonates within me as a song of nurturing, care and unconditional love.

I feel the need for all of those things currently and plan to spend this week giving myself just that. I feel the need to be grounded and connected, renewed and refreshed to return to work after my vacation and prepared to be better.

How do you find that connection and grounding, when you lose it?

Hair In A Bun Day Friday: Hair Color, the Dark Woulds and God

“…new life starts in the dark. Whether it is a seed in the ground, a baby in the womb, or Jesus in the tomb, it starts in the dark.” Barbara Taylor Brown

All this week I’m on vacation for the Thanksgiving holiday which means: no make-up, no tight fitting clothes and my hair will be in a bun all week.  If I could, I’d join all my female friends who’ve decided to color their hair a shade darker for the fall and winter season. Fun!!

This week Angelina and I wrapped up our three part series: Youthful Decisions and the No Clue Blues.  Sometimes, life’s decisions take us into a dark period that never seems to go away.  Somewhere in between finishing school and working full time, life became a bit dark.  It all started when I realized that I was no longer floating in dreams of the future but actually taking part in life.  Ever since life came after me, I’ve needed to adjust myself around it and it hasn’t been easy.  I needed some encouragement in this area so when I heard about this next book, I bought it immediately.  This week I finished listening to (I’m an auditory learner) Barbara Taylor Brown’s book:

9780062283931In the Catholic tradition, as well as other Christian faiths there is the idea of the dark night of the soul.  Read more about it here. In her book, Barbara explains how necessary it is for a person to go through dark periods in life – these dark periods represent spiritual growth.   

Angelina and I both experienced the dark woulds: If I could I would get a divorce; If I could, I would come out of the closet.  Although we both didn’t know it spiritually, we were experiencing our own dark night of the soul when considering these life altering decisions. One of the benefits of being young is the ability to make these decisions without a second thought.  I’m finding that as I get older, major decisions are much harder to make when factoring in such things as: comfort, stability and predictability.  Today, If I could, I would leave my current job and find something less stressful.

But for now, I’m going to pretend to color my hair a shade darker for the winter season; it’s a much easier decision to make.

Love,
Ed

Youthful Decisions and the No Clue Blues: Part 3

“The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.” Aristotle

There comes a point in life when life itself becomes the classroom.  There are no classes, lectures or degrees one can attend or attain in order to by-pass the hard lessons that need to be learned.

As I move forward, I’ve decided to keep all the spiritual practices I’ve learned along the way and apply them into my daily routine.  There’s still a lingering temptation to go back to the one dimensional way I use to worship which feels more comfortable and familiar, but then I’d be going back to something that really wasn’t truly me.

There’s also something about walking the thin line between heathen and saint; when I walk the line of Mary Magdalene, I feel fully human, full of imperfections and mistakes.  When I walk the line of sainthood I feel the peace that not even the world can bring.

Love,

Ed

I spent most of the earlier parts of my 20s working hard to achieve goals. I was constantly working towards the next thing and trying to be better. Once I finished my Bachelors, it was on to my Masters and working hard at an internship to hopefully land a great job. Then, it was working on my credential and pursuing a more secure career. Once that was set, my attention turned to running and I started training for marathons, racking up miles and tearing up my knees. I strove to run faster and longer. I averaged running 3 marathons per year for about 3 years.

5188402583_f5a905f32a_o

I realized later that so much of the motivation behind all of the achieving and working was fear/anxiety based. I felt that I had to work hard so I had a secure future. I felt that I had to do something productive and impressive with my time. When I really stopped to think about it, I realized that I was dealing with anxiety for so many years and keeping myself busy was a way to keep my anxious thoughts at bay.

What was I anxious about? Everything and anything.

There was mostly this underlying fear I had that something bad would happen. There was no true basis for this fear, but I would create fearful scenarios in my head and lead myself into a full-fledged panic attack, thinking about all the bad things that could happen. My family could get in a horrible car accident. I could be struck with some terrible disease and die a slow, painful death. The list of horrible thoughts I put myself through goes on and on. As I reflect back, I realize it was fearfully clinging to everything I was attached to and afraid to lose.

I had been working on my anxiety and seeing small improvements. When I was 28 years old, my father was shot and killed. This event was a turning point in my life for so many reasons, but I bring it up here to explain how strangely enough, it freed me of my anxiety.

I was always so fearful of “something bad” happening, and then something very bad did happen. It was absolutely the worst and a difficult time for my family. However, it was how I death with this event that released me from my anxiety. I used yoga, meditation and lots of friend/family support to get me through. I realized that something very bad did happen…and, I got through it. I was able to live through the pain, fear, anger, sadness and grief. It is possible for bad things to happen and still come through the situations.

Although I still struggle with anxiety, it is much more manageable and identifiable. I recognize when it’s creeping in and use some of the coping mechanisms that have worked before to address it, before it gets out of control.

In love and peace,

~Ang

 

Music Monday-The Reiki Edition

This past week, I had my first ever reiki session with my fellow yoga teacher and friend, Jasmine. I had heard of reiki,but never experienced it before. I was interested in what it would be like to have my aura cleansed and chakras aligned.

Jasmine has such a joyful, calm and healing energy. I knew I would like her when I sat next to her in a yoga class and saw her pull out a bag of essential oils to use before we begin. I was ecstatic to hear she offered reiki and set up a session immediately.

15185363883_9564fd5af3_o At the end of our session, Jasmine said my chakras were pretty aligned and she could tell that I did not hold on to too many things for a long time, that I was good at letting them go. This has not always been something that I have been good at, but that I have worked hard on the past couple of years.

She also shared with me a vision she had while working on me. In Jasmine’s words, “in the vision you were grounded to the earth, but also stretched long through your crown chakra to meet Source and your heart chakra was bursting with green energy, and then the doves flew out of your solar plexus.”

When she told me this, I stopped EVERYTHING I was doing to process what this could mean. Which means, I immediately started texting Ed so we could talk back and forth to analyze.

After taking  time to process, journal and research what it could mean, here is my take on the vision.

The solar plexus chakra is tied to strength and balance. Balance, especially, is one of my largest struggles that I work hard to achieve.

solar plex The heart chakra is associated with love and forgiveness.

I have been working towards being more open, loving and balanced in my life. This blog has been very therapeutic for me as I have started to explore and share about aspects of my life that I was not necessarily ready to deal with before. As I have delved into Religious Roots and The No Clue Blues, it has been emotional, at times, but healing to realize I have enough strength to comfortably share about the ups and downs of life.

Last week, I was also the guest blogger at Yoga By Candace and shared about my dad’s murder, two years ago and how yoga has helped me heal. It was emotional to type that post, but also freeing. I have worked hard to deal with these situations and have found strength through the healing process.

I think the vision is tied to that new found openness. I think before, I used to view vulnerability as a sign of weakness and want to always viewed as strong. However, in the last few years, I have found more strength in being open, honest and making peace with my flaws and mistakes. In that vulnerability I have become more rooted to the earth and more connected to other beings. It is my hope that sharing my experiences, weaknesses and flaws (all my doves) will resonate with others and potentially help them through trying situations.

And maybe that is what it sounds like, for doves to cry.

In love and sisterhood,

~Ang