Thursday, October 29, 2015

MAKERS + MOVERS: PUAKAI / MAGGIE HARSEN

photo courtesy of Dan McMahon

It is with the highest of pleasures that I introduce you to Maggie Harrsen of Puakai today. Maggie is one of the wisest healers I know—aware of the pools of energy housed in her hands + her heart woven into all those whom she touches. Here she is graciously sharing her journey into energy medicine, the Andean tradition of the guiding Star, and holistic staples . . .

M A G G I E   H A R R S E N  |  P U A K A I   H E A L I N G 

Q: Tell us a little bit about you and what led you to create Puakai. What led you to the service of healing?
Puakai Healing is rooted in my personal path to healing myself and connecting to my soul. It was created through my exploration of various healing modalities including Shamanism, Andean Mysticism, Usui Reiki, Sound Healing and Energy Medicine. When I look back over time, my vision shows me that many years of suffering were simply a result of not having access to tools that could help me move through various life experiences to ultimately align my being with my soul's path. I created Puakai Healing to support and empower individuals to heal themselves, to educate and inspire a path of wellbeing and right relationship with Mother Earth and all living beings.

Q: What inspired the name?
My first class on Shamanism was a workshop with Llyn Roberts at Omega Institute in upstate New York called Shamanic Reiki Healing. I had previously received various Reiki attunements so my curiosity about this work felt natural. Essentially this was the moment I followed my intuition and took action after many personal experiences healing through Shamanism. I received clarity at this workshop when we learned how to journey and I was shown that my soul manifested on Earth to work with Spirit and the mystical. During our closing shamanic journey, I visited my ancestors. The vision I carry with me of this experience is crystal clear to this day.

There was a wild fire by the sea with a circle of elders, their faces illuminated by the glow of the flames and the moon. I was far away in the mountains and the flickering fire light merged with the starlight and guided me to the sea. As I approached the circle, I could hear the vibrations of rattles, drums and chanting. I entered slowly and everyone became silent. There was a single space on the Earth to sit and I went there. At that moment an elder woman came to me, moving like the Puma with piercing eyes of golden amber and she whispered, "Puakai". One by one each elder shared their visions of my life and work on Earth. They called me Puakai, my spirit name meaning "ocean flower" in Hawaiian.


Q: When you are not working on Puakai Healing, what else do you like to do?
I love preparing nourishing meals for my loved ones and animals. Being in nature: sleeping with Mother Earth, swimming in the sea and creating flower mandala's brings me joy. I am beginning to explore flower essences more intimately and as I connect to this kingdom, I am deeply inspired to weave their subtle energy into my shamanic healing sessions.

Q: What keeps you going? Do you have a daily routine, ritual, or a mantra?
My star. In the Andean tradition they believe we each have a guiding star. A celestial point connecting us to our cosmic ancestry. Our guiding star is where we come from before birth and it is where we will return after death. It is believed that when we connect to our star, we connect to our soul. I have many rituals and ceremonies that flow with the changing season's and the moon but when I connect to my star, I become starlight. I merge with my higher self and my day reflects this vibration.

Q: What are some of your favourite snacks or foods that fuel your creative process?
I enjoy the ritual of pressing fresh fruit and vegetable juices and steeping herbs and flowers for tea. I recently started using a dehydrator for the first time and I'm having so much fun activating and dehydrating nuts and seeds. My loved ones and I went apple picking in the orchard last week and I dehydrated trays of these little ones on the Harvest Moon and Lunar Eclipse. They are charged and feel so alive, a true gift to merge with their energy. I love the ritual of cooking with the season's and infusing my food with healing energy. For a sweet taste, our friends Zenbunni on the West Coast make amazing biodynamic cacao bars.

Q: What are your three staples for glowing health?
Water, water, water. The alchemy of water is something that always moves me. I drink spring water to hydrate and nourish all of the organs and cells in my physical body, I swim in the sea or bathe in salt water to stimulate and care for my energetic body and I take drops of various vibrational medicines based in water, such as homeopathic remedies and flower essences for my wellbeing. 


Q: What would be an ideal day for you?
I live a very simple life, flowing with the rhythms of my environment. My love comes from the natural world and caring for her and the loved ones around me: the human beings, animals, plants and minerals. These days I live in "Ayni " with Mother Earth, a Quechua word meaning "right relationship". These words by Thich Nhat Hanh express my way of life, "I know the Earth is my Mother, a great living being. I vow to protect the Earth, and the Earth protects me." My ideal day is waking with Father Sun, harvesting fresh flowers, fruits and vegetables from the land I live, spending time with Mother Ocean or the Apus (the mountains), cooking, chanting and playing my drum, a fire ceremony with beloveds and falling asleep with Grandmother Moon.

Q: What are your go-to products in your holistic medicine cabinet?
Bach Rescue Remedy, Calendula ointment, Palo Santo smoke, St. John's Wort Oil, Sandalwood essential oil, Rose Otto facial mist. 


Q: What moves you through fear + brings you into bliss?
Being vulnerable and understanding that my vulnerability is my strength. If I am in moments of deep shadow or in situations where there is a lot of heavy energy present, I connect to my power animal. I shapeshift into her and with her presence, I feel the fear. I become the fear and I let it take me over and then it passes. I am reminded that every time I choose to feel the fear or the suffering I am choosing to live in truth. I step out of the illusion. When speaking of fear and shadow, I am always drawn to the words of Carl Jung, "There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own Soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious."

Q: What’s on your reading list currently?
I love books. I honor the ancient ways, this knowledge and wisdom. Following my soul's path has led me to many incredible places in North America and around the world, such as Peru, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii and Switzerland. Every place I visit I collect a book and it has blossomed into a beautiful library with books on nature, healing and spirituality. This month I'm beginning a course on Biodynamic Farming & Gardening and my textbooks are Theospohy and the Agriculture lectures by Rudolf Steiner. I am passionate about Biodynamic agriculture as it flows within similar beliefs of Shamanism, "it works consciously with the life forces and other subtle energies active in nature, Biodynamics understands the 'alchemy' of nature as a materialization of spirit and a spiritualization of matter."

Q: What makes you feel nourished + connected to Mama Earth?
Standing barefoot on her belly, enlivening her soil with my hands and preparing healing meals with her bounty.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

SPIRITUAL SMACK: MAMA MOON GATHERING / PUAKAI

photo courtesy of Maggie Harrsen

S U P E R  M O O O N  |  F U L L   M O O N   I N   T A U R U S


Sweet SuperMoon in Taurus—full , aligned, + abreast with the subtle energies of la tierra sagrada. This full moon is a time to sip the nectar dripping from our hearts + sink our feet into our own grounds—a time to listen to our own internal truths, hold our own heads, shed + touch our own tears, + reveal ourselves to ourselves. A time to awaken out of the dust of the eternal past to arise into the rolling of the future. 

What a humbling opportunity to share with you the Moon Ceremony of Maggie Harrsen of Puakai Healing. Maggie is a healer that restores our ancestral line of medicine through her offerings ranging from shamanic healing to ceremonies. My heart reverberates with admiration, awe, and deepest echoes of gratitude for her work. I hope her moon ceremony below brings you clearance in this Full Moon in Taurus . . .
M O O N    C E R E M O N Y   B Y   M A G G I E   H A R R S E N


A NEW MOON is the lunar phase when it is in conjunction with the Sun and nearly invisible from the Earth. It symbolizes alignment with our inner truth, a time of manifestation by calling in dreams and new beginnings. 

A FULL MOON is the lunar phase that occurs when the Moon is illuminated from the Earth and in opposition with the Sun. It symbolizes illumination of the shadow, a time of purification by releasing all that no longer serves us.

Below is a basic Moon Ceremony to create sacred space, honor the world of Spirit and expand our awareness through intention and ritual. It is important to partake in a ritual that resonates deeply with you as this will have the most profound transmutation. Keep in mind you may always modify steps and great importance lies in following your intuition. This is a beautiful ceremony to share with loved ones and very special to include children.


c o l l e c t 
palo santo, or sacred herb of choice
candle, with matches
stones, crystals, feathers, herbs, flowers
three small strips of paper (per person)
pencil
instrument (flute, rattle, drum, bells)
large shell, or stoneware bowl


c e r e m o n y 
I | Gather your sacred elements, perhaps you would like to add something essential for you - an item from your travels, a gift from a beloved, pieces that represent the universal elements (fire, water, air, earth, ether) and plants or flowers of the season to use in creating a Mandala, as an offering to the Earth and the Spirit world.

II | Chose a sacred place in nature, or in your home preferably on the ground, where you can quiet yourself and enter into a state of meditation and relaxation.

III | Play soothing music and as you wish to, arrange the elements you collected and gently light the candle.

IV | Ignite the palo santo or herb of choice from the candle's flame and use it to cleanse the energy field of your body and the space you have chosen. If you are with others, one person will hold the burning herb and purify the other beings. You may enjoy using a feather too. At this time open sacred space, with instruments in hand you may sing a song or recite a prayer. One of my favorite prayers is from the Lakota Sioux Tribe called, Aho Mitakuye Oyasin:

"All my relations. I honor you in this circle of life with me today. I am grateful for this opportunity to acknowledge you in this prayer. To the Creator, for the ultimate gift of life, I thank you. To the mineral nation that has built and maintained my bones and all foundations of life experience, I thank you. To the plant nation that sustains my organs and body and gives me healing herbs for sickness, I thank you. To the animal nation that feeds me from your own flesh and offers your loyal companionship in this walk of life, I thank you. To the human nation that shares my path as a soul upon the sacred wheel of Earthly life, I thank you. To the Spirit nation that guides me invisibly through the ups and downs of life and for carrying the torch of light through the Ages, I thank you. To the Four Winds of Change and Growth, I thank you. You are all my relations, my relatives, without whom I would not live. We are in the circle of life together, co-existing, co-dependent, co-creating our destiny. One, not more important than the other. One nation evolving from the other and yet each dependent upon the one above and the one below. All of us a part of the Great Mystery. Thank you for this Life."

V | Sit or lay upon the Earth, or ground, to root yourself and connect to the nourishing vibration of Mother Earth. Slow your breathing and take a moment to tap into this connection of oneness. Feel your heart beating in union with all of life.

VI | As you feel relaxed, write in words your three intentions on the strips of paper. (Noting that if it is a New Moon you are calling in your deepest dreams and if it is a Full Moon you are releasing what no longer serves you).

VII | When you finish, choose the intention you would like to begin with. Holding it in both hands, repeat the intention three times and with the third repetition inhale and direct your breath out and into the paper. 

VIII | Carefully hold your paper into the flame and allow the fire element to burn it completely until turning into ash. Then gently place the ash into the shell or stoneware bowl. Be mindful of the element fire and its power, if there are children in ceremony assist them with this step.

IX | Repeat the process for all three pieces of paper. If you are among a small group of people, form a circle and allow each person to individually go through this process. During this time, the others will remain quiet while holding space for the one connecting. It is nice to drum or rattle during this time as these vibrations create a nest of support.

X | When everyone has completed, take a moment to express your gratitude to Mama Killa, Grandmother Moon, Mama Nina, Mother Fire, and the nature spirits. Relight a piece of palo santo, as a closing, and place it in the middle of the circle on a stone. With both hands bring the smoke into your heart space, then bring your hands together over your heart.

XI | At this time, close sacred space by thanking the spirit world and releasing the elementals. If you created a mandala, you may offer this again and leave it gently on the Earth. At last, individually place the ash onto Pachamama, Mother Earth, expressing your gratitude for her healing. You may also leave an additional offering such as grains or herbs.

Friday, October 23, 2015

THE GUIDE: WASTE-FREE KITCHEN


From farm-to-table into the future of garbage-to-plate—even Marty couldn't have predicted such a feat. Restaurants today waste around 80 tons of produce merely because they're . . . "ugly." Bruised, bent, and broken flora that has not wilted away its flavours seem too visually unappetising. 

Judging a book by its cover and eating with our vision, we are wasting away ourselves by increasing our waste. Yes—that persimmon with pigments of brown is at its height of nutrition and the expiration date on that carton of eggs is by no means a cutoff. You can even juice ugly produce and that is the mission of the inspiration behind this post—Ann Yang. Ann and her best friend Phil are the duo behind Misfit Juicery who believe that dimpled apples and produce that falls by the wayside due to high aesthetic standards provides equal fuel. 

Because 6 BILLION pounds of produce go unharvest or unsold per year, because 20 to 40 percent of produce is discarded due to not meeting "cosmetic specifications," and because landfill + waste causes 21 times the impact on global warming impact than does carbon dioxide. Because Michael Pollan says it's the future of food . . .


T H E   G U I D E   |   W A S  T E  -  F R E E   K I T C H E N
To reduce food waste, we need to instead dispose of our fear of the ugly and expiration dates. Here's NPR's The Salt on the latter. Here are some tips to preserve your produce + to taste beyond the beautiful . . .

I | Cheese is best preserved when it can breathe to prevent mold, so use wax paper such as these
II | Eggs usually last up to a month after the printed expiration date. Just place it in a bowl of water to check for freshness—if it sinks, it's still edible!
III | Sagging and wilted vegetables can be revived by being placed in a bowl of water with ice
IV | If your leafy or salad greens have wilted or browned, simply sauté them—I love putting them in a cast iron pan with other vegetables, onion, + some coconut oil
V | Breads mould easily, especially if they're homemade. Slice them up then freeze them to avoid this.
VI | Store your berries in one part vinegar—white or apple cider vinegar—to ten parts cold water in the refrigerator to make them last longer and prevent mould
VII | Herbs wilt or dry easily—preserve yours in your preferred oil in a stainless steel ice cube tray in the freezer + pop a cube out whenever you're cooking
VIII | Store vegetables + fruits in the drawers, eggs in the main section of the refrigerator, and items not highly sensitive to temperature fluctuations in the door o the refrigerator
IX | I buy a lot of asparagus + store them like flowers in a glass jar in the refrigerator to keep them crisp
X | Store ginger and turmeric in the freezer
XI | Make sure that you're refrigerating the right items + keeping others at room temperature
XII | Compost food scraps—if you can't at home, place it into a bin then take it a local market that does. I take mine to my local MOM's Organic Market.


R A D I S H   G R E E N   S O U P 
Root vegetable greens like those of beets and radishes always get thrown away. I assume this is a combination of not realising that they're edible, not knowing what to do with them, and as Tero of Four Sigma Foods had once pointed out to me, our move away from bitter foods. This radish green soup is lightened up with the slight sweetness of onions, coconut milk, and coconut oil. It's the most incredibly easy soup that is as good cold as it is warmed.

1 bunch of radish or beet greens
2 tablespoons of coconut oil or grass-fed ghee
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup purified water
1 medium yellow onion

Sauté your onions in medium-heat with coconut oil or grass-fed ghee. Cut up your radish greens then place them into the pot, sauté, then add in the coconut milk and water. Bring to a boil then simmer in low heat for about 15 minutes. Pour into a belnder or blend with a hand-held blender. Season with celtic or pink salt to taste!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

BEAUTY BITES: FERMENTED FRUITS


I am honoured + humbled beyond words to be featured on Empowered Sustenance today. I have followed Lauren's blog for what seems like time immemorial and she continues to be my primary resource on anything from nutrition to holistic beauty

Please hop on over to Empowered Sustenance  for my skin-beaming, gut-healing, energy-reviving fermented apple recipe + prepare yourself to peruse her site for hours . . . 



B E A U T Y   B I T E S  |   F E R M E N T E D   F R U I T S
r a w  |  v e g a n  |  p a l e o




Monday, October 19, 2015

FARMACY: THE ALCHEMISTRESS'S DEN

photo courtesy of Leslie Kirchoff/Refinery29
Aromatherapy is touted to be a systemic tool   in my recovery + prevention protocol—creating immediate results through sensory revival. Here is the alchemistress Desirée Pais of Benshen to guide us through her pick of the illustrious cabinet . . .

F A R M A C Y   |  T H E   A L C H E M I S T R E S S ' S   D E N


The art of aromatherapy has so many intricate layers to it. Maybe its taking a scientific approach to understanding the chemical makeup of the molecules in each oil and the constituents. Or to developing the depth of the olfactory system to comprehend the complexities of each offering. Or my favorite, the magical and esoteric qualities of the oils. As we live in the present and focus so much of our attention to the new discoveries of the feature, we tend to forget about the beautiful simplicities of that past, which actually were much more profound and vast than they appeared to be. With more of a connection to the cosmos and the magic of the Natural World, alchemists could tune into the more magical qualities of each essential oil. 

In his book, Magical Aromatherapy, Scott Cunningham describes magic as “the movement of subtle, natural energies to manifest needed change…In [magical aromatherapy], the practitioner visualizes a specific, needed change such as a loving relationship or business success. The visualization is maintained while inhaling the fragrance of aromatic plant materials or essential oils…To create and internal change, this aroma-charged energy is allowed to permeate the body and/or the two minds (conscious and psychic).”

I absolutely love this. When we can begin to co-create with the oils, with flowers, with sage, with herbs, then we are actively participate in the manifestation of our desires. This to me has always been the more empowering way to work with plant medicine.


h e l i c h r y s u m 


One of my favorite oils to work with is the powerfully healing Helichrysum, also known as Immortelle. The flowers are a beautiful golden yellow and receive their latter name for their resilience in life force and do not die easily. It’s one of my most adored oils as Helichrysum, derived from the Greek building blocks of helisso, to turn around, and chrysos, gold, embodies the internal alchemical magic that occurs within when we begin to turn inwards with meditation and yoga. The power of the strength of the flowers activates within us the strength and courage we need to make it through challenging times. As the petals do not wither easily, it activates the parts within ourselves that find the power to stay strong when we no longer feel able to. 

m a g i c a l   a r o m a t h e r a p y 


Take your seat as if to meditate. Sit up nice and tall, spine is straight. 
I / Sit quietly, breathing in and out. Settle yourself, ground yourself, connect to the subtle energies around and within you.
II / Take a cotton ball and a drop a few drops of Helichrysum onto the cotton ball
III / Visualize whatever challenge you are trying to over come, whatever obstacle where you feel like you need more power to face it.
IV / Take the cotton ball to your nose and inhale the beautiful, earthy scent of the Helichrysum and see yourself with being victorious
V / Repeat a few more times
VI / Close by bringing your hands to the heart and thank the plant medicine for guiding you.


Friday, October 16, 2015

THE GUIDE: ZERO WASTE LIFESTYLE


To compliment this weeks feature on Lauren of Trash is for Tossers, here is my guide to physically  + energetically stepping into a zero waste lifestyle . . .

T H E   G U I D E   |  Z E R O   W A S T E   L I F E S T Y L E



A W A R E N E S S  |  Before embarking on reducing physical and mental trash in our lives, we must notice and acknowledge their presence. All our hands are dirty—we need to dive them into the muck before we can wash ourselves into simpler living. When I first became aware of Laurens work, I felt like my mind was blown / being crumpled up. Even with the level of awareness I had of not using plastic, I was still producing more trash than I frankly could otherwise. The accumulation reflected itself in my mind as well since any sort of “clutter", even if tidy, will occupy mental space. 

Some of Lauren’s questions that evaluated + expanded my view were why I want to reduce trash and what I am currently doing that is producing more of it:  Focus on + pat yourself for your response to this last question—it’s important to not embark on your journey feeling overwhelmed or critical about your current lifestyle. You’ve already made a highly aware and impactful decision for yourself and all that is larger than you. 

 I N C O R P O R A T I O N  |  With a heightened awareness + buzz of the newfound, take the time to clear your physical and mental space. I’m incredibly sentimental, so this meant throwing away diaries that I had from nine years ago [after a long, long glance over heart-shaped entries + complaints of a baby-then me], birthday cards, + odds-and-ends. I was stupefied by how easy it was to part with most of these endeared items. Lighter . . .

This follows an energetic clearing of your clean space. Pick + clear your path—my favourite is white sage but I also love palo santo and sweetgrass. Burn it away. I like to say a simple internal prayer as I do so, asking that this physical clearing manifests into a clearing of my mind and all those who entre into the space. 

Once the air is also lighter, sit in your space. I sat by my puja which you can hop on over to learn about how to perform it here or simply sit wherever you’d like to, envisioning a similar internal cleansing. I focus on my crown chakra and third eye, with a swooping “L” shaped point of light entering through the crown, clearing my mind,  and exiting through my third eye.

T R A D I N G   T O O L S  | Lauren has a guide of her own for a zero-waste told of the trade that you can peruse here. Here are my picks that make for an easeful transition from trips to the market to decluttering your bathroom staples . . .

produce bags | I love this greens bag to stash away produce I get from the market + these unbleached, compostable bags for snacks
cotton market bag | Any cotton, reusable bag will do, but this one from Moon Juice + this one from Huckle &Goose are handy for me! 
stainless steel bottle | My go-to has always been Klean Kanteen and I use this one
cutting board | I love my wooden + marble cutting board, but these are a great option as well
to-go utensils and tupperware | Travel with these + avoid BPA-laden + non-recyclable plastic utensils while noshing on your meal packed into this or, my favourite, weck jars
pots + pans | a forever favourite + affordable classic of Lodge + stainless steel pans (as well as, of course, Le Creuset)
towels | keep a small cotton towel handy at work for trips to the bathroom and in the kitchen + avoid paper towels

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

MAKERS + MOVERS: TRASH IS FOR TOSSERS


I am more than honoured to feature Lauren Singer of Trash is for Tossers with you. I've always been a recycler, reducer, reuser—aiming for low-impact simplicity—but Lauren's awareness has completely shifted mine. You can enlighten yourself by listening to her TEDTalk here. At work, I now tug along a cotton towel with me rather than using paper ones, bring these along to Sunday markets, + always have some silverware  jangling in my purse.


Lauren has produced only a small mason jar's worth of trash over years . . . That's sadly [yet frankly] a day's worth of trash for some of us, ripping away sheets of paper towels and opting for plastic containers. These choices are not out of necessity but what we assume is convenience, and Lauren's work throws that myth in the trash [in all its punny glory]. It's just as easy to reach for a cotton towel as it is for a paper one. Here is Lauren Singer to show you that we can make our own toothpaste, tare our own jars, and yes, have sustainable sex . . . 


L A U R E N  S I N G E R   |  T R A S H   I S   F O R   T O S S E R S


Q:  Tell us a little about yourself and what led you to begin a zero waste lifestyle.
I have always cared deeply for the environment. I studied environmental science in school and was always
talking about how we should do this and that to tend to it. One day I realized that while I cared for the environment, I wasn't doing anything to live that way, and so I decided to make a change. Going Zero Waste for me, has been the absolute the best way to align my values (hope for a more balanced environment) with my day to day lifestyle (not producing any trash and living sustainably). This alignment has exponentially improved the quality of my life. I am a big proponent of not imposing my values on others, but instead, being a walking example of the values that I embody.

Q: What has been the most challenging aspect of living a zero waste lifestyle?
There really hasn’t been anything challenging about living a Zero Waste lifestyle. I began living this lifestyle for myself and every step of the way was one for me to get closer to aligning my values with my lifestyle and so I always had fun along the way.
Q: What are three tips you would give someone interested in reducing their environmental impact/produce less trash.
For anyone who is looking to begin living a life without trash - I have three simple steps.
I // The first is to look in your garbage can, see what you have, and focus on how you can eliminate it. For me it was food packing and food waste and so I learned how to shop in bulk and compost.

II // The second is to focus on low hanging fruit - meaning little things that you can change in your everyday life to prevent waste. Those are bringing a reusable bag to the store as opposed to taking a paper or plastic bag, bringing a reusable water bottle instead of buying plastic, bringing your own cup to the coffee shop instead of a disposable one, packing your lunch instead of getting takeout. 


III // The third is to DIY meaning make products yourself. There are some really simple and easy ones on my blog, such as toothpaste, that make the transition really easy!


Q: What are your top sources for education and products for sustainable + environmentally-friendly living.
I love Life Without Plastic for great Zero Waste swap outs! As far as education, I just keep my eye out for any type of literature or press having to do with technology or environmental issues. There is always so much happening!

Q: What is just one zero waste practise that anyone can incorporate into their lives today?
Everyone is different so there is not a one-size-fits-all tip, but I think there are some easy swaps that we can make such as using a reusable bag instead of paper or plastic bags, a reusable water bottle instead of buying plastic bottles, and a reusable coffee cup instead of daily disposable cups.

Monday, October 12, 2015

SPIRITUAL SMACK: MAMA MOON GATHERING



T H E   M I R R O R  |  N E W   M O O N   I N   L I B R A


The intensity of this New Moon in Libra has eclipsed over me, unearthing layers upon layers of unconscious habitual tendencies. Last night under the light of the approaching New Moon, I had an epiphany through a cœur ouvert with my mum. She piercingly spoke of how fears which I have developed were accumulating themselves into unconscious habits, burying the presence of my authentic Self. I had progressively built myself into an automaton, built of an engine that re-wired that of my own. I was not self-functioning and, frankly, unaware. I was spinning my world around other moons—other people's expectations, stories, and even those I was inscribing about myself. We all tell ourselves stories. We then find ourselves swimming in dark waters that are shallow yet leave us treading in fear of drowning. We are fearful of standing on our own grounds, allowing the world to revolve around us for once and more. We feel guilty about the good.

Many of us do. I think of this habit as a lunar and solar eclipse. We tend to view ourselves like the latter; from the point of the Earth, only seeing our smaller selves—the moon—rather than our highest selves of the Sun. This New Moon builds energy towards around seeing ourselves more like a lunar eclipse, leaving our shadow behind and turning towards a lighter presence. It's a challenge to see ourselves as the centre of our Universe and to allow it, without trickling in of feelings of selfishness. It's a time to cultivate time—for ourselves—and recognise that if we do not cultivate it for ourselves, we cannot set it aside for others. We're in a frantic search for answers + fling away our time to others. 

In light of this New Moon, make the space to pull back + recoil into yourself. Take the time to think more—to say "I don't know" or dare to deny, to say no. We can say no to others, to our loved ones even, without withdrawing from love. Rather, saying no is love when we can be straight + honest enough with others about our condition rather than seeing yes as a sign of love. Yes should not be an obligation but a sign of care, for both you and the other. We can then re-define saying no as learning to be fully present to say yes to others by taking a moment to gather + say yes to ourselves.

This New Moon is an encounter of the Self and Other that results in a clearing for ourselves, mirroring what lies within by how we perceive and interact with Others. "Everybody is a somebody," Ram Dass says, "when nobody is home." The moon is knocking, let's come home . . .


T H E   G U R U   M A N T R A 

This mantra meditation is an appropriate transition from a quote from Ram Dass + complimentary to his words. It follows as "Guru Guru Wahe Guru, Guru Ram Dass Guru" and it clear our chakras so that we can open the door + invite ourselves back into our homely bodies. Here is a short guide to it. Each word in the mantra directs our awareness to each of the chakras—the first Guru starting at the base of the spine in our root chakra and ending at the crown chakra, with a visualisation of a light-filled lotus flower inviting in clearing energy. Begin with 11 minutes + see what feels right for you in terms of timing—three, seven, 11, and so on. Sat nam . . .