A look back…
Look back and join us in moving forward!
Thank you, Christian Minson, our July facilitator, for introducing our Invitees to Transformational Breath. Christian is an International Speaker, Best-Selling Contributing Author, Trainer, and Coach. A former Monk, Christian spent 10 years in a meditative monastery searching for deeper meaning in life. Through breath work, he helps others achieve greater spiritual and emotional intelligence by integrating trauma, releasing limiting habits, managing emotions, and teaching others to find meaning in their own lives and work. While Christian has returned to his home in California, you can learn more at: www.breathflow.com
The benefits for breath-work are immense:
We breathe at about 15-20% of our capacity
Habituated breathing patterns create stress and anxiety by depriving essential energy. Conscious breathing patterns sustain happiness, peace and well-being
Oxygen is the miracle element. In Latin, spiritus means to breath. Respiratus (the root of respiration) means to re-spirit. Breathing deeper and fuller creates a catalytic transformation within our bodies And our souls, inviting more expression, creativity and vibrancy into our lives and our relationships.
As women, we often restrict ourselves in protecting past wounds and potential vulnerabilities. Having a process to work through any hurt opens us up for greater possibilities of loving and living that comes from a willingness to accept and receive. Conscious breathing connects us to a life-force energy, and creates a physiological and fundamental “opening.”
I hadn’t anticipated how the structure of An Invitation would instantly bring us intimately closer to our own vulnerability. Creating an Invitation has been an exercise in trust for me as well.
Because EXPERIENCE really is the best teacher. We invite you to join us for our next Invitation.
We’d like to express our deep gratitude to Anastacia Nutt for leading the Invitation on Discernment. It was a magical morning in lessons of the embodiment of peaceful power. Anastacia teaches throughout the United States, Canada, the UK and in Israel to bring new healing and ancient wisdom to women and their communities. We learned to construct pathways to our imagination and intuition enhancing our critical lens of discernment. Gained were practical strategies for cultivating a spiritual life, decompression and intuitive discernment for the input-laden lives we women navigate today.
Anastacia has a mystical quality and carries a powerful narrative of the feminine. Found were answers to supporting the inner life in a way that grows and nourishes the outer life.
A portion of the session’s notes are included here:
“An Invitation” Presentation Focus: Spiritual decompression and intuitive discernment for the input-laden lives we women navigate today. By Anastacia Nutt
Before we can engage our Imagination…our Intuition…or Discernment in a strong and reliable manner, we must ﬁrst take the time to decompress.
Let’s deﬁne this term. To Decompress is to loosen, open, expand, recover and thus return to “natural” state of being. To Compress is to tighten, squash, pressed, ﬂattened, contract into a smaller state of being. To “decompress” is to withdraw our orientation to the “externals” and reengage with the “internal.” We do this through Stillness.
Today, our attention and therefore our orientation is on what’s coming at us and how to respond. This over-focus on the fast-moving story of life around us creates an imbalanced state within us. Our bodies, our emotions and our hormones react to this imbalanced state locking us into patterns stress and illness, depression and overwhelm. To stay healthy, vital and balanced in our world today, it is essential to take time every day to decompress from the outside inﬂuences of our lives and return to the inner inﬂuences.
If we operate in constant compression we cannot engage our Imagination our Intuition or Discernment in even a moderately reliable manner. Why? Because…
- Imagination is how humanity participates in Divine Creation.
- Intuition is the conversation between ourselves and our souls, or ourselves and the Divine.
- Discernment requires us to have a broad perspective rooted in wisdom; as opposed to a narrow perspective rooted in survival.
You see, for us to work well with Imagination, Intuition and Discernment…we must Decompress and thus return to our “natural” state of being.
Material Copyright A. J. Nutt 2017
To learn more about Anastacia and purchase her books visit: https://rjstewart.org/the-mothers-of-change/
As we gathered together in the front I said, “Welcome to Ecstatic Dance. We will be dancing with about 150 people. The music is the only sound, as this is a completely silent dance.” One woman spoke up and shared how she thought we would be walking over hot coals. Another asked if we would be retaining our clothes. We all laughed.
Still, they came. My instructions were simple, “Our bodies hold memories. Ecstatic Dance is where we’ve come to master the JOY place. Pay attention to how you arrive at joy and what kinds of resistance emerges.” Empowerment is when you step squarely into possibility and court the great mystery.
Weeks later, we sat under a star filled sky, warmed by a fire and shared our reflections. One woman has given permission for me to share her journal entry with you here below.
Tonight I danced…
Something awakened inside.
I didn’t worry what others thought of the way I shook my hips, the ones that birthed five amazingly beautiful humans. The hips that I have grown to love instead of despise at the thickness they’ve become.
I left any sort of calculating that constantly goes on in my head; my mental lists of what I need to do, where I need to be….as the group of ladies and I stood and chatted outside.
Tonight I opened my heart wide and allowed endless possibilities to flow.
I allowed myself to take back the true woman that I have withheld for too long. I allowed myself to feel sexy, to be sexy; to feel my own eroticism. Tonight I did it just for myself.
Not anyone else.
We stood on the edge as we entered the room…
My hips started swaying,
My beautiful long fluid dress flowing
I slowly made my way towards the center of the universe.
And then it was just me.
Dancing. Feeling my Joy.
Tonight I raised both arms in the air and felt the vibrations of my soul.
Tonight, I freed myself more than I was free yesterday.
Because I began to master the true feeling of Joy.
I fell more in love with the woman who is breaking free.
~Chanté Okic Ouye Wiya~
Do work from their heart woman
Molly Ryan-Kills Enemy
A special thank you to Ahva Lenay, Rhythm Sanctuary Founding Member and joy instigator.
The Power of Quiet
The idea of a soul cleanse first came to me in 2017 after the holiday buzz leaves its usual hangover and a new year commences. In the process of life’s internal turmoil and external overload, I realized I needed some sort of interruption. My psychological and spiritual state was in need of a reset and yet I wasn’t quite sure how something like that could be accomplished. I had decided to take a vacation from my life but I didn’t want to escape and I didn’t want to be entertained. My goal was to travel inward.
We become so habituated to our daily routines and unconscious in our own patterns. In listening to a friend’s experience of a vision quest, “Going up the hill,” as some American Indians call it, the plan for a soul cleanse began to take shape.
My point of departure from the traditional vision quest was the element of struggle. I felt that life had provided an ample serving of suffering. As I approached the middle of my life, it was my hope to access more in the areas of ease, comfort and joy. I wanted to create the kind of experience that would disrupt my normal and yet not create further hardship.
During my three day soul cleanse, I simply courted the quiet. Quiet and stillness connect you to the place of knowing where uncertainty isn’t frightening and trust replaces the need to control. Amidst the noise and expectations, it’s important to construct the spaces where the whisper of our souls calling can be heard…and lived.
It was space that attracted me; the need to simplify with some way retreat from the chaos into the silence. Some part of me knew the answers were not where I had been looking and I needed to change course and begin again with new eyes in which to see the path.
Included are some of the pictures. Please join us for the next Invitation where we collectively explore the power of QUIET.
Since spirituality is practiced in the imagination, consider these questions:
- Who or what are you communing with?
- Where do you go to connect with spirit?
- How do you get there?
- What is shared or exchanged?
- How do you communicate?
- What is experienced in the process?
“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.”
– Louise Erdrich
The Freedom of Forgiveness
Thank you to those who attended last month’s INVITATION, “How to break the bonds of resentment and find freedom through forgiveness.” Your stories illustrate how forgiving even the unforgivable is possible and liberating. There is tremendous power inside a circle of women who hold each other in the tender space of love and acceptance.
A Love Letter from God
If you are broken, I can’t fix you
You can fix yourself
I cannot speak for you either
Because you have a voice
If you are lost, I can’t find you
Trust those around you to point you in the right direction
You are not alone
To know yourself…
is to find yourself
If you are afraid
Move forward anyway
If you make a mess
Clean it up
If you create something beautiful
When you hurt someone
Or a thing that bears the capacity for injury
If you are wrong
If they are wrong
Even if I could save you, it would mean denying you one of the most important reasons for being alive…
To save yourself
You are free…it is my will
Angela Engel ©September 16, 2017
From Attachment to Detachment
Answering the hard questions of why we hold on and how to let go. This month we explored the attachments that keep us stuck and constrained and discuss ways to move towards more freedom.
I’ve provided a small glimpse of our work through the detachment meditation. The written words falls short of the power that comes from a circle of women, relating honestly and authentically and in support of one another. If you haven’t tried an Invitation, the door is always open…
Detachment meditation: Reflect on all stages of your life and what you’ve brought with you into this moment…into this space. Infancy, adolescence, your teen years, early adulthood, the years before you knew better and the years when you thought you knew.
* The past events that marked your development
* The roles you chose and were assigned
* The beliefs you held
* The commitments you made, consciously and unconsciously
* The habits you developed and the patterns you carried forward
* The obsessions
* The material objects you accumulated
* The values you shared
* And the stories you tell yourself both real, and imagined
Create an altar of your attachments. Look at all that you have collected. Before deciding what you would like to do now, express gratitude for these attachments. Then… Consider what serves you and your most evolved self, and what doesn’t.
* “What would you have to release to be free?”
* “What would you have to say goodbye to in order to be completely open?”
* “What would you have to reject, in order to extend a new invitation for your own existence?”
Reflecting back on your altar of attachments, choose your next course:
* Would you like to keep the altar of attachments and visit occasionally to pay tribute to your collections?
* Would you like to box it all up and float it down a river?
* Would you like to buy a new luggage set and pack it up so you can carry it all with you, everywhere?
* Do you want to attach it all to a balloon and simply let it float away?
* Or do you want change so badly, you could strike a match and set fire to it all? It’s your choice. These are your attachments. You get to decide. Imagine yourself so free
* No burdens
* No expectations to fulfill
* No things to manage
* No thoughts to project
Nothing to hold you but the light and the air and the earth beneath your feet Maybe you’ve been here before. Maybe you’ve danced at freedom’s edges. Maybe you’ve just entertained the promise of it. This…this is a new moment…you are presented with a new set of possibilities…and you get to decide.
In moving from attachment to detachment we explore all of the possibilities that arise when we stop trying to control outcomes, events and behaviors and leave the door wide open with a door mat that greets new possibilities with the words, “Welcome.”
She let go https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBCfAbZZjqY
Honor Every Child Especially the one that lives within….
There were several defining moments in my childhood. My mother had a penchant for teaching a child a lesson. Once when I was eleven and I had my best friend over to spend the night, I left my necklace on the bathroom vanity counter. When I returned later to retrieve the necklace, it was gone. I looked everywhere and not finding it, made the only reasonable conclusion an eleven-year-old often makes. I asked my friend if she had taken the necklace. I can still recall the hurt in her small brown eyes at the accusation. Because I remained convinced that was the only plausible explanation for the missing necklace and she was tired of answering the same question, she called her mother to come and get her. We sat, each of us on separate ends of the porch, in the most uncomfortable silence. As I watched my best friend climb indignantly into the passenger seat and the car and drive out of sight, my mother came out onto the porch and stood next to me. She asked me if I was sure about the claim I had made against my friend and I shrugged in uncertainty. It was then that she reached out her closed hand. In my little pink palm the gold necklace was placed in a pile of acute surprise and regret.
It was a valuable lesson in judgment and the limits of our own ability to sometimes grasp a complete picture. My mother taught me in many ways to question my own perceptions and ask the bigger question of, “What am I not seeing?” She also cost me the trust and ultimately the friendship of a beloved childhood companion. Perhaps the even bigger lesson in those early stages of development was to become intimately aware of the fragile nature of security; mine was the consistency of rice paper.
In raising my own two daughters, I approached life’s lessons a little differently. Their world, while not perfect, was one of security. They were taught to examine their perceptions while trusting their intuition. Their feelings were affirmed, their thoughts were validated and for the most part, their ideas were celebrated. We respected their privacy, observed their boundaries and trusted them in their decision-making. Most importantly and perhaps most challenging, we protected them against the human and real world forces that too often seek to break the spirit of a child. It is perhaps, the most significant calling to all humanity, Honor every child, including the one that forever lives within each one of us.
Please accept AN INVITATION and join us for our next event…
Alignment is about attracting and displacing energy efficiently and effectively in order to synchronize our mind, body and spirit fields. Ultimately it means being able to target our attention and maximize our resources — emotion, time, money– so that we can optimize our experiences with the least amount of effort and exertion.
We started this month’s Invitation with the following question:
“How do we direct energy, both within, as well as the external forces, without…consciously, efficiently, and lovingly?”
Imagine yourself as a light. Attending to the polarities and the charges that present themselves regularly we can begin to navigate daily decisions making; choices that expand and strengthen our own light. Not everything is positive and sometimes our attractions cause more resistance.
All experiences, like energy, bear the capacity for transformation. Once we become conscious and intentional about how we interact and relate internally and externally, all interactions become opportunities for conversion. Meaning, we have the capacity to transform our experiences…
Our experiences have the capacity to transform us. This is really the whole purpose of why I created An INVITATION. Each month offers a new experience with the potential for transformation, recognizing that as one changes and grows, so does the whole. The principle behind alignment means intentionally and consciously choosing experiences that facilitate our healing, advance our capacity and elevate the greater community through our personal contributions.
Our circle of women completed several exercises to examine alignment within the context of our own lives. The table below is provided if you so choose to examine the energetic charges associated with your decisions. Consider the following themes: Money, Time, Values, or Relationships.
For example: What things do we spend money on that create a sense of satisfaction, fulfillment, or contentment? Place those purchases in the positive category. What things do we spend money on that create discomfort, anger, resentment or frustration? You may decide to place Insurance in the Negative category. For the expenditures that don’t feel either, positive or negative, place them in the neutral category.
Understanding the triggers, transactions, patterns, and relationships that dim, diffuse and fragment our light is the goal. We are also seeking and creating the kinds of encounters and intersections that expand our light. There’s no need to reject the uncomfortable or to try and avoid the negative. Our impulses, thoughts and emotional responses are all important indicators to a deeper sense of knowing ourselves and the world.
Some experiences are simply unavoidable like paying bills, losing a loved one, or addressing conflict. People are complicated, life is messy, and reality sucks on occasion. While we can’t control all of the variables or manage every outcome, we can be our best selves in the moment. Awakening to our own energetic associations simply helps us to exercise greater discretion and selectivity in the decisions we make.
In directing our own spiritual, physical and emotional resources in ways that align our actions, beliefs and relationships, we will experience less friction and incongruence and move closer to a greater sense of peace and well-being. Through our own awareness and intention, we can begin to remove the barriers and blocks that keep us stuck and actively convert our experiences for personal growth and transformation, expanding and strengthening the light within so that we may expand the light elsewhere and everywhere.
What privilege to have partnered with Tom Fuhrmann and Little Rishikesh for this past INVITATION to Synchronize.
Drumming together creates a physiological synchronicity and awareness of our greater spiritual community. Through drumming we discover our own innate rhythmic ability and how that ability can wordlessly communicate and connect us with others in the circle and beyond. No experience is ever necessary and everything is provided… including the drums.
Thank you to those who joined us for last month’s drumming circle and the INVITATION on synchronicity. Through collaborative rhythm making and deep conversations, we explored the experiences, environments and relationships where we harmonize, body, mind and spirit.
This event spoke to the playful part of ourselves — the internal recognition that says, “I know that protecting and defending keeps me from loving and being loved.” This invitation and the rhythm of the beats that traveled from our own hands through our feet and to the center of the universe, reflected back the part of ourselves that sings, “No matter how frightening the world outside becomes, the key to peace and joy is to maintain an open heart.”
Attend one of their weekly drumming circles or Kirtan ceremony at:
Little Rishikesh is dedicated to providing a safe and sacred space for people to explore and experience their own spiritual and creative expression through music, rhythm, kirtan, drumming, movement, dance, devotion, silence, and prayer.
“If someone told you, “You are free and at peace, you likely would not believe. But if you danced freely and sat in peace, the experience would become the evidence you sought.”
Joy of Living
We invite you to join us for this month’s September Invitation, The Joy of Living. I cut out this picture from a magazine featuring a photo contest. I can’t recall the magazine but for many years and through a couple of moves, the photo has been attached to my computer monitor. This woman’s beautiful smile has been a frequent reminder of something my mom often used to say. “If you have a healthy body, a sound mind and your basic needs are met, there’s no excuse not to be blissful.” My mom was a great example of moving beyond difficulty after a toboggan accident had left her paralyzed at the age of eighteen.
So why haven’t we given ourselves permission to live each day joyfully? It’s because in many ways we’re conditioned to be discontent; making us more likely to buy more and behave better. When we are unhappy our behavior is more easily predicted and our decisions more easily controlled. A great deal of religious, political and commercial propaganda has fostered a state of discontent in American culture. New conditioning is also something we can create for ourselves.
Join us for our next INVITATION and learn to create a daily practice of joy and contentment.
In this fast pace world of constant demands, we invite you to try a new kind of conditioning: a daily practice of JOY! It’s simple really. Start with a list of the things that thrill and delight you. Then every day dedicate twenty minutes to doing the things you love, visiting the places that fillyou up and connecting with the people that add to your happy. Just set aside a few minutes to exercise your Joy muscle and then pay attention to how life begins to feel different.
Share your joy by posting pictures on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram @ #JoyChallenge. Help inspire others, and let joy serve as the great connector between us all!