3 Reasons to Wake Up Together!

    —
June 24, 2014

From our dear friend Nikki at glad.is regarding our annual Wake Up Festival

I HOPE WE WAKE UP NEXT YEAR – 3 REASONS WHY WE SHOULD

At this time last week, I was sitting in my chair in Estes Park Colorado, at The Wake Up Festival, listening to Jeff Foster, day three of my journey there. At least I think I was sitting in my chair – I may have been floating in the air, or laying on the floor dying into Who I am.

It was an incredible experience and I’m about to give an unabashedly impassioned retrospective of this festival. Not because I’m paid to do so by any means, but because, as I sat there in my chair, I wished that I could give every one of my friends and family the gift of attending this festival.

First though, it’s not a “festival,” like say Wanderlust or Coachella. It’s five days of something in between what Sunday School or church should have been and the courses you wish they would have taught in University. It’s extremely well run, featuring the best of the best of modern day spiritual teachers, Ivy League professors and heads of Clergy, shaman and mystics and few sound healers too.

I’m a Virgo and very prone to my sign’s traits of being able to point out how anything could be done better, and I don’t think a festival or gathering of this kind could be done better.  It’s deep – there’s none of the superficial sales-y stuff I somehow find myself in at “spiritual” events in my hometown of Los Angeles.  It’s the real deal. It’s delivers raw truth in the teachings, the kind that you wouldn’t expect to experience at something with the name ‘festival’ in the title.  This is a place to go and absorb.

I don’t know if there were fifty people there, five hundred or five thousand. But when Jack Kornfield got up on stage, there was just he and I. He found a crack in my heart that I didn’t even know was there, and filled it with an intangible wisdom and courage that stuck, right in the place where the book I read last week was already forgotten.

I almost didn’t make it. My husband had a huge new business meeting, I couldn’t find anyone to cover for me to watch our two young kids. One of my daughters was in a play I had to miss. This website was having technical issues – how could I justify letting all those things go to cover the Wake Up Fest?  The list of things goes on, but I’m so grateful I made it. To be honest, I didn’t expect it to be such a unique personal experience. I was going as a member of the media, but I came home a filled soul.

Here’s 3 Reasons why you should consider attending next year:

1- Many of us just don’t prioritize physically attending events like this, and instead practice alone or in a cyber space.  (And in fact many people don’t even have access to this type of open-minded spiritual gatherings where they live.)   We used to gather to hear uplifting messages in the weekly Sunday meetings of the traditional churches we grew up in, but now many people have a hole where the experience of spiritual community used to reside. So if you are a modern seeker, you must seek a physical community.

2 – To hear these great masters, teachers & authors deliver their message, to practice with them in person is priceless. It’s like the difference between looking a photo of the ocean or being there. (bonus: they’re all accessible at the event – bring your books to get signed.)

3- It’s a great tragedy that our educational system provides no curricula for life.  There is plenty of college worthy content in this space – scientific studies on happiness, libraries of philosophical theories and of course loads of unifying spiritual beliefs that should teach us about being human, about dealing with life’s ups and downs.  This four days of life class.

It’s for those reasons; finding community and the deepening of wisdom, that I hope you’ll either attend the Wake Up Festival, or find something similar that provides this experience.

Personally, I wish I could attend something like this every week or every month. I can’t, but I do hope you’ll meet me there next year – I’ll definitely send you a reminder! (Make sure you’re signed up for our email list.)

Here’s a run down, the nuggets if you will, of what I took away from the speakers I personally heard. (There were many more – I missed Adyashanti and others – and each of these speakers provided so much wisdom, it would be impossible to get it all down but there’s a lot of great messages from these masters below!) Enjoy, and if you were there, please add or share your experience below.

Also, since you’ll have to wait a year for the next Wake Up Festival, we’ve put together a page of our favorite books by these teachers on page 1 in our Amazon store.

Wake Up Festival Highlights:

Tara Brach-

Tara gave us a two hour lesson on the nature of fear. It was powerful. Epic even. She reminded us that it’s not about getting rid of fear. We need it, we are conditioned to have it. But our frontal cortex allows us to be mindful toward it, and to find freedom to relate to it. We have the equipment we need to wake up out of the trance of fear. She explained that the whole of the spiritual path is to meet your edge and allow it. Then she invited us to have tea with our fears.

Mark Nepo –

Author Mark Nepo enlightened us on the importance of story, how we each have our individual stories, but that we are also part of each other’s stories. He told the story of how his grandmother made him feel special, and gave him the confidence to go forward with his story.  (Which, is similar to my experience — the name of this website is not only a nod to joy (gladness) but also to my grandmother Gladis.)

Mark reminded us that you can’t step into the same river twice – a story also evolves based on our perception, and our personal growth…over time some stories become more important than others.  The story we’re in takes time to tell itself.  Have patience and courage to let the story evolve. We do see our stories differently as time goes by. Write them down.

Sandra Ingerman-

Sandra was the only Shaman and one of the few mystics on the speakers roster. She gave a great introduction to Shamanism, reminding people that it’s the oldest spiritual practice known to man – it dates back over 100,000 years and it was practiced all over the world, by every culture.  Everyone in the world has ancestors who practiced it. There are culture specific ceremonies, but shamanism is not specific to certain culture.

Sandra explained Shamanism and how to work with spirits; spirits can help you ride the waves of life and connect us to source. It’s a path of direct revelation. The key to learning about it is to practice it, she said. It’s about the experience.

David Whyte-

Oh my, David Whyte. He was the keynote speaker on Friday evening. I’ve read his poetry, but have to be honest; I don’t ever find myself buying books of poetry. But when David Whyte stood on stage and spoke, for 90 minutes, reciting his own poetry, and also quoting the famous and not so famous philosophers and sages, without ever once looking at any notes, never once interrupting the melody of his poetry with an “ummm” or a “like,”  I simply melted.

When David spoke, I could clearly imagine a time, long ago, where women fell in love with and swooned over poets and writers and intellectuals instead of rockstars and soccer players and reality stars. As it should be.

One of the many things he told us is that what we’re most afraid of is our own unhappiness. Because “if you were to claim it, everything in your world would require downsizing – all the parts of you that told you it was not possible would need new jobs.”

If you ever have the chance to hear him, please don’t miss it.

Dr. Kelly McGonigal-

This PhD, Stanford professor and yogini took us through slideshows of the brain that should have put you to sleep, but each slide and study that she explained was SO fascinating – this is the class that should be a requirement for any diploma.

She took us through the functions of the prefrontal cortex, the Insula, the anterior cingulate cortex, and after showing us how the different parts of the brain work together, and how they signal other parts of the body, she explained how to connect with our highest self and stop identifying with the suffering. I mean seriously, how do we NOT learn this stuff in school?

Jeff Foster-

This guy must be creating lots of spiritual crushes everywhere he goes. He’s like a younger surfer version of Eckhart Tolle, but with a British accent.  He delivers his words with a really unique style, lush with intent, humor and compassion. His talks were like an orchestra of sensations for the ears, brain and heart to process together, to take in his direct and uncompromising message, which comes broken up with his funny laugh, and the too long pauses… which you later realize a real gift, to allow you the time to inhale and exhale….and allow his words go straight to your heart and feel their truth.

Jeff inspired a separate, full article of quotes. But my favorite piece of advice from Jeff’s keynote: “Perhaps all our suffering is pointing to the same place. Perhaps even this is God. Perhaps even this is grace. Even if it’s not the grace you read about in the books. You’re not really interested in a second hand life – in living someone else’s life. You want to taste it, taste life right now because you want to be alive.   Taste the moment, the pain, don’t try to escape.”

Seane Corn-

The gorgeous Yogi entertained the crowd with her humor and her passion to move people to make difference. She pointed out that many people – no, most people in the world – live in perpetuated oppression, never allowed to challenge what religious authority tells them. Put to death for it even. But not us. We can question, evolve, transform, seek the truth. What a blessing. And why us? Were we just born at a lucky latitude or longitude or are we living out some karmic progression? I don’t know the answer, but we DO get to do this, be in this free-thinking, truth-seeking community of discovery. What a gift.

My favorite quote from her, paraphrased – “It’s why we must go deep, get raw, celebrate the opportunity to grow and transform. We do it not to be right, but because we make the world better. We make the world better not by being right, but by being love. By understanding the wholeness of our being. By expressing love and knowing truth. And we will make peace inevitable.”

Rabbi Rami Shapiro-

Rabbi Rami, delivered a fantastic, humorous talk on why he loves religion, and why it’s also really scary.

He points out that all religions stumble around the same ideas. Even though they divide us, every religion has the same perinnial philosophy or idea: The throught that you are not who you think you are. The extent to which you identify with who you think you are, is the extent to which you live with alienation, fear, suffering violence.  The extent to which you live in the larger sense is the ability to live in more joy, peace and have an ability to make the world better.

He explained how religion is a human construct. How it is brilliant when it taps into something beautiful like “love your neighbor as you love yourself’ – and then the tragic irony of a religion that says ‘love your neighbor, but kill or hate all those people over there.”   God is not like that. People are like that.  Religions do that to get people to commit to their ideas. Religions are brands with taglines and slogans. (Death sells.) Question yours. Always.

Matthew Fox-

Matthew Fox lead a non-denominational “Cosmic Mass” service on Saturday night, the closest that this festival got to being a festival the way I think of the word. I hadn’t heard of Matthew, and feel that I need to introduce him to explain this event:  Matthew Fox is an internationally acclaimed spiritual theologian, an Episcopal priest, and an activist who was a member of the Dominican Order for 34 years. He holds a doctorate, summa cum laude, in the History and Theology of Spirituality from the Institut Catholique de Paris. As a spiritual theologian, he has written 30 books that have been translated into 48 languages and have received numerous awards.

With the Rabi, Sandra Ingerman Shaman, and Tami Simon joining him on stage, Matthew kicked off a mass that I at first I couldn’t quite fit in with the rest of my Wake Up experience, but days later I understand that of course everything there has purpose and meaning ,and his presence was a part of dismantling my own ideas of what a church service looks like.  He’s certainly a radical, but our times call for radical leaders.

He reminded us that for most of human history, dance has been an important part of spiritual ritual. (And we danced, with Shiva Rea and Djs) We were reminded that the Pope did not invent mass. That we need to stop challenging the priests and pastors to keep us awake in the pew, but to become our own priests.  He told us not to abandon religion and ritual just because the modern church abandoned us, but reminded us that we must gather in new ways to meet our modern needs. He pointed out that the West remains so out of touch with its own mystical tradition that many Westerners seeking mysticism still feel they have to go East to find it. But we can create the practice and find the wisdom our soul seeks and knows is true, he said. And so we did.

Anne Lamott-

Anne is probably the person you’ll most want to have dinner with when this festival is over. She is as hilarious and loudly individual as you’d expect and then some.  Feminist, mother, writer, comedienne, philosopher and intellectual, she’s like the crazy aunt that enters a room and casts a spell of wonder on every adult and at the same time makes every child there feel that there’s no one so special as them. You see your own specialness, your wildness in Anne Lamott.

Anne on Life:  Life is like driving in the dark at night with the headlights on. You can only see a little ways, but that’s all you need to make the whole journey.

Anne on Writing: “You write and write and it’s great but then you have to cut 75 pages. So you go back and kill your little darlings that were so perfect and so well said, but they were not human, they were arrogant and weighty. So you cut them and thank them for getting you to the human stuff. Those days writing those words were not wasted.  It’s just like meditation. I sit, it goes badly. The bell rings, and it’s ok because I get a piece of me back. And I still get full credit.”

Jack Kornfield-

Who better to close five days of being in spirit, getting to know your soul, and connecting to the higher source, than the author of After The Ecstasy, the Laundry”?

Words truly can not describe how amazing his closing keynote was.  I probably would have messed up the whole experience once I got home, if he hadn’t been there to take us home to the message. He led us through a couple of beautiful meditations, a poignant closing ritual, and mostly talked to us about this path, reminding us that everyone has triumphs and losses on it. “Last year foolish monk, this year no change,” he said.

He surprised most of us in the audience when he told us his wife asked for a divorce last year, after almost thirty years of marriage. He reminded us that “we all get lost, that we forget, in our small sense of self, and then we remember, that we are not that limited person. Your loving awareness, your spirit, can not be taken.” No matter what our circumstances when we get home.

“Who do you think you are?” he asked, “Who is born into that body with patches of fury hair, with a hole to put in plants and dead animals…how did you get in there?  You come here and get joy and sorrow, pain and happiness. It’s the curriculum. It teaches the heart how to love.  It’s messy.”

The secret of all of this, (“this” being both life, and being on this path) is to act well, without attachment to your emotions or what happens in your life. It’s about not depending on your hopes for the results of things. That’s the key.

His parting advice:  ”Find the people who love the inner life. You need community.”

So, the over-riding message, take away from the Wake Up Festival, as I experienced it?  Wake Up. Wake up to being present and fully alive. Wake up with this community of seekers of truth, to the acceptance of Suffering, and it’s trusty side-kick Fear, as part of the human experience. Don’t shame them away, or shut them away; invite them to tea instead.

review of wake up festivalWere you there? Do you recommend it to others? Please add, and tell others about your experience below!

Author Info for Sounds True Coming Soon

Also By Author

Six Summer Reads You Won’t Want to Miss!

After the stillness of winter and the slow waking of spring, summer is a time for getting up, getting out, and getting our hands on what inspires us the most. Here are some recent Sounds True releases for tapping into a life well lived.

1. The Biophilia Effect – Clemens G. Arvay 

Summer Super Sale - The Biophilia Effect

This is a book that celebrates our interconnection with nature and shows how to deeply engage the natural world wherever you live to dramatically improve your health. Clemens G. Arvay presents fascinating research, practical tools and activities,

inspiring stories, and more in this accessible guide to the remarkable benefits of being in nature.

Get it here: https://www.soundstrue.com/store/the-biophilia-effect.html

 

 

 

 

2. The Healing Code of Nature – Clemens G. Arvay

The Healing Code of Nature - Clemens G. Arvay

Human beings are inseparable from the natural world, coevolving with all of life. In order to thrive, we need to nourish this bond. In his latest book, biologist Clemens G. Arvay illuminates the miraculous ways that the human body interprets the living “code” of plants, animals, and our larger natural habitat for healing and sustenance.

Get it here: https://www.soundstrue.com/store/the-healing-code-of-nature.html

 

 

 

 

 

3. Book of Beasties – Sarah Seidelman

Summer Super Sale - Book of Beasties

From an ancient perspective, everything—including all natural things, like rocks, flowers, trees, insects, birds, and mammals

—is alive and infused with conscious energy or spirit,” writes Sarah Seidelmann. If you’re one of the many people looking to reconnect with the creativity, wisdom, and vital energy of the natural world, here is a fantastic guide for tapping into the power of animal totems, or “beasties.”

Get it here: https://www.soundstrue.com/store/book-of-beasties.html

 

 

 

4. No Recipe – Edward Espe Brown

Summer Super Sale - No RecipeMaking your love manifest, transforming your spirit, good heart, and able hands into food is a great undertaking,” writes renowned chef and Zen priest Edward Espe Brown, “one that will nourish you in the doing, in the offering, and in the eating.” With No Recipe: Cooking as Spiritual Practice, Brown beautifully blends expert cooking advice with thoughtful reflections on meaning, joy, and life itself.

Get it here: https://www.soundstrue.com/store/no-recipe.html

 

 

 

 

5. Yoga Friends – Mariam Gates & Rolf Gates 

Summer Super Sale - Yoga FriendsFrom the creators of Good Night Yoga and Good Morning Yoga comes a beautifully illustrated city adventure that introduces children to the delights and benefits of partner yoga.

Perfect for teaming up with a friend, sibling, parent, or caregiver, each easy practice shows how cooperation helps us to imagine, move, and have fun in a whole new way.

Includes a back-page guide for parents and caregivers, showing how to do each pose and how to connect them into an easy-to-follow flow.

Get it here: https://www.soundstrue.com/store/yoga-friends.html

 

6. Happier Now – Nataly Kogan

Summer Super Sale - Happier Now

What if you could be happier, right now, without radically changing your life? As nationally recognized happiness expert Nataly Kogan teaches, happiness is not a nice feeling or a frivolous extra. It’s a critical, non-negotiable ingredient for living a fulfilling, meaningful, and healthy life—and it’s a skill that we can all learn and improve through practice. In Happier Now, Nataly shares an illuminating, inspiring, and science-based guide to help you build your happier skills and live with more joy, starting now.

Get it here: https://www.soundstrue.com/store/happier-now.html

 

 

 

 

 

Have other books you’ve read by the poolside or under a shade tree ended up changing the way you see the world? Tell us about those summer reads that ended up being more than you expected!

 

Singing Bowl Meditation Sounds True Spotify Playlist

Sounds True is on Spotify!

Need some tunes for rest and relaxation? Check out our Singing Bowl Meditation Playlist! A variety of artists who make a soothing mix of infinite rhythms using Tibetan singing bowls. Perfect throughout a meditative practice.

 

November New Releases and Giveaway

NOVEMBER NEW RELEASES

 

 

The Integrity Advantage by Kelly Kosow

Are you ready to open up to new levels of self-trust and self-love, to get where you want to go?

You vowed to speak up at work, and then sat silent in the meeting yet again.

You told yourself “this time the diet is going to stick,” only to watch the scale inching up.

You felt that something just wasn’t right about someone that—until you learned the hard way that your instincts were right.

“Every time you bite your tongue,” teaches Kelley Kosow, “you swallow your integrity.”

Before Kelley Kosow was a renowned life coach and CEO, she constantly second-guessed herself, let her “to-do” lists and others steer her dreams and passions, and played it “small and safe.”

Inspired by the groundbreaking principles of her renowned mentor Debbie Ford, who hand-picked Kelley to be her successor, The Integrity Advantage is Kelley’s step-by-step guide for facing the fear, shame, and false beliefs that cause us to lose our way.

Through life-changing insights, true stories, and proven strategies, this book will show you how to live on your own terms—according to you—from the inside out.

 

Daring to Rest by Karen Brody

As modern women, we’re taught that we can do it all, have it all, and be it all. While this freedom is beautiful, it’s also exhausting. Being a “worn-out woman” is now so common that we think feeling tired all the time is normal. According to Karen Brody, feeling this exhausted is not normal—and it’s holding us back. In Daring to Rest, Brody comes to the rescue with a 40-day program to help you reclaim rest and access your most powerful, authentic self through yoga nidra, a meditative practice that guides you into one of the deepest states of relaxation imaginable.

It’s time to lie down and begin the journey to waking up

 

 

 

 

Breathe and Be by Anna Emilia Laitinen and Kate Coombs

Teaching mindfulness helps kids learn to stay calm, regulate their emotions, and appreciate the world around them. With Breathe and Be, author Kate Coombs and illustrator Anna Emilia Laitinen team up to present a book of poetry and art for young readers to make mindfulness easy, natural, and beautiful. Here is a book sure to delight parents and kids alike, blending lovingly illustrated nature imagery with elegant verse about living with awareness and inner peace.

 

 

 

 

Leopard Warrior by John Lockley

A Teaching Memoir That Crosses the Barriers Between Worlds

A shaman is one who has learned to move between two worlds: our physical reality and the realm of spirits. For John Lockley, shamanic training also meant learning to cross the immense divide of race and culture in South Africa.

As a medic drafted into the South African military in 1990, John Lockley had a powerful dream. “Even though I am a white man of Irish and English descent, I knew in my bones that I had received my calling to become a sangoma, a traditional South African shaman,” John writes. “I felt blessed by the ancient spirit of Africa, and I knew that I had started on a journey filled with magic and danger.” His path took him from the hills of South Korea, where he trained as a student under Zen Master Su Bong, to the rural African landscape of the Eastern Cape and the world of the sangoma mystic healers, where he found his teacher in the medicine woman called MaMngwev

 

 

Things That Join the Sea and the Sky by Mark Nepo

A Reader for Navigating the Depths of Our Lives

The Universe holds us and tosses us about, only to hold us again. With Things That Join the Sea and the Sky, Mark Nepo brings us a compelling treasury of short prose reflections to turn to when struggling to keep our heads above water, and to breathe into all of our sorrows and joys.

Inspired by his own journal writing across 15 years, this book shares with us some of Mark’s most personal work. Many passages arise from accounts of his own life events—moments of “sinking and being lifted”—and the insights they yielded. Through these passages, we’re encouraged to navigate our own currents of sea and sky, and to discover something fundamental yet elusive: How, simply, to be here.

To be enjoyed in many ways—individually, by topic, or as an unfolding sequence—Things That Join the Sea and the Sky presents 145 contemplations gathered into 17 themes, each intended to illuminate specific situations.

 

 

                NOVEMBER GIVEAWAY

 

WIN OUR NEW RELEASE BUNDLE:The Integrity Advantage, Daring to Rest, Breathe and Be, Leopard Warrior, and Things That Join the Sea and the Sky

TO ENTER: Simply reply in the comments with why you’d like to win!

You Might Also Enjoy

Valarie Kaur: Activating Revolutionary Love

Valarie Kaur is a seasoned civil rights activist and celebrated prophetic voice at the forefront of progressive change. She’s the founder of the Revolutionary Love Project and author of the book See No Stranger: A Memoir and Manifesto of Revolutionary Love. With Sounds True, Valarie has created The People’s Inauguration—a 10-day online program to help us reckon with all we have lost and point us toward a vision of the society we can build together, grounded in love. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon and Valarie discuss “revolutionary love” as a guiding ethic for our times. They explore what it is to extend love to all people without limit and how opening our hearts in this way is both an ancient and radical act. Valarie also talks about “the heart and the fist,” and why both are necessary in order to create the systemic, cultural, and environmental transformations our world needs. Finally, Valarie shares what we can learn from our rage and grief, as well as the importance of connecting with our joy and our ancestors as we keep showing up for the labors of love before us.

The Remedy We Are Excited To Try in the New Year: Flow...

What are flower essences?

The goals of flower essence therapy include: ease in accessing higher vibratory states like joy and gratitude; enhanced mind-body-spirit balance, presence, acceptance of emotions and integration of difficult vibratory states; encouraging flow states like creativity; manifesting; supporting balance; expanding awareness of self and the Universe, ancestral connection and healing; and helping us to be of greater service to ourselves, others, and the Earth.

Flower essences work by way of the following:

  • synchronicities—helping us connect seemingly unrelated or previously unseen opportunities or happenings
  • indirect occurrences—positively affecting different environments and interpersonal dynamics
  • insights—supporting mental, emotional, physical, and/or astral awakening; new ideas, solutions, or information may present
  • physical changes—bringing up new sensations, shifts in organ/system functioning or in symptoms
  • emotional responses—bringing up new feelings or memories; stabilizing or releasing them
  • expression—inspiring artistic, verbal, and kinesthetic expression
  • dreamtime—bringing about new or recurring dreams, insights, and subconscious resolution
  • invoking intention—the more time and space you can offer, the more likely you’ll be able to feel flower essences. For example, taking them with a light meditation, a visualization, while doing yoga or some other kind of bodywork or prayer  

flower essence illustration

How to Select a Flower Essence

Flower essences can be purchased from a quality producer, or you can make your own. Here, I will discuss how to select and apply ready-made flower essence remedies. You can learn how to wildcraft your own flower essences with me in this video.

When you’re starting out with flower essences, it can be overwhelming—so many producers and so many essences! I like to encourage people to remember that it’s your relationship with the plant that is the most important thing in selection. Your relationship with the remedy is the co-creation with that plant. The more you work with flowers, the more you will be able to feel and trust this part of the process.

 

The following are some ways to begin exploring flower essences:

  • Depending on what issue(s) you’d like to address, begin by taking one to three essences that resonate with you. Many producers offer sets of remedies that have a particular focus. You may want to purchase a set to experiment with, such as the FES’s Range of Light, Delta Gardens’ Protection Set, Alaskan Essences, or the Bach Essences.
  • Consider flower essences that invite presence, relaxation, protection, and grounding.
  • If you want to study the essences more carefully, consider making flashcards or purchasing the flower cards (Alaskan Essences, FES, and Bach make sets).
  • If you’re curious to learn more about how a plant might connect with your ancestry, consider doing some research on how it was used historically.
  • Perhaps there’s a flower you’re curious about, or have seen in nature. Ask this plant if it would like to work with you.

flower essence

 

Here are five basic ways to select a flower essence:

  • Intuitively: A flower essence might come to you by way of revealing itself in nature, or appearing in a dream.
  • By dowsing: Using a tool of resonance, such a pendulum, to test for essences.
  • Through muscle testing: A simple way to muscle test is to make a ring with the index finger and thumb of your nondominant hand. If you would like to test for a yes for an essence, say the name of the plant and flick the circle with your dominant hand. If the circle holds, that’s a yes. If it breaks open, that is a no.
  • By consulting reference literature: Books, repertories, or flower affirmation cards.
  • Through blind testing: By drawing a card or randomly selecting an essence from a set. This method works well with children.

Any of these methods can be integrated into your ritual. Before making remedies for other people, it’s a good idea to spend some time with the flower essences yourself. The flowers will have much to share with you. Also, the more experience you have with the essences yourself, the better you will understand how the essences will work for others.

This is an excerpt from The Bloom Book: A Flower Essence Guide to Cosmic Balance by Heidi Smith.

 

Heidi Smith, MA, RH (AHG), is a psychosomatic therapist, registered herbalist, and flower essence practitioner. Within her private practice, Moon & Bloom, Heidi works collaboratively with her clients to empower greater balance, actualization, and soul-level healing within themselves. She is passionate about engaging both the spiritual and scientific dimensions of the plant kingdom, and sees plant medicine and ritual as radical ways to promote individual, collective, and planetary healing. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her partner and two cats. For more, visit moonandbloom.com.

 

 

 

Learn More

Sounds True | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop

 

Building the Bridge Between the Heart and the Mind

How can we drop what we are holding on to, if we do not first look for the hand that is grasping so tightly?

Have you ever noticed that you have two distinctly different personae and tend to vacillate between them?

One is very rigid and concerned with the outcome of everything. It worries and frets, its gaze mostly downcast. It doesn’t rest easily, even keeps you up at night sometimes. It acts almost like a dog chasing its tail. It circles obsessively over every detail and unknowable outcome, chasing the same things in a constant repeated pattern. It is cunning, convincing, and tyrannical in nature. It is feverish and ungrounded. Changing, morphing, and flopping from one story or idea to the next. This is your unharnessed mind. The persona you take on when your mind is not connected to the compass of the heart.

For most of us, that’s the dominant persona. But the other aspect of you, as if by some divine intervention, will from time to time slip past the censor of the mind and cheerfully take over your being with its boundless and uninhibited spirit. This personality doesn’t worry. Its face is often lifted, looking in wonder at the shifting sky and swollen moon. Lips curled into a slight smile. It is fluid and flowing, as if it’s on a river of unending joy. It acts like water and reflects light. You feel buoyant. This is your heart-centered self, your true self.

Because most of us moved into our mind long, long ago as a way of protecting our hearts, we now live most of our time in that rigid, concerned first persona. Without even realizing it, we allow our minds to stand between us and our true nature. We have no (conscious) idea how much our minds are acting as a defensive block against our soft and tender core, constantly at work trying to find ways to keep us from feeling, from hurt, from heartache. The price we are paying, however, is that we are also kept from accessing source.

In order to be heart minded, we need to bring the heart and mind into harmony and partnership with one another. For this to happen, we have to train the mind not to fear and close off from the heart, and instead, serve our heart and implement its wishes. In order to do this, we have to undo our mind’s association of feelings of the heart with hurt and harm. In situations that would ordinarily have us retreat or retaliate, we need to remain conscious of what’s happening and choose to soften and lean into our heart’s center. Each time we practice this softening, we send a new message to the mind that signals that we are safe, willing, and wanting to live in this more open, more sensitive way.

Over time, if we are resolute in our intention to step into our heart, our mind will become less rigid in its defenses against feelings and tenderness, and gradually we will become more heart centered.

Remember, we are not trying to pit the heart and mind against one another; we are trying to marry their aptitudes.

Let’s say a wave of anxiety washes through you. You notice your mind begin to race and attach to fearful thoughts. The anxiety then morphs into panic, which courses through you and makes you feel like jumping out of your skin. You begin reaching for an escape, resorting to some form of substance or distraction that can act as a numbing balm.

What just happened? Because you avoided your distress, you are only slightly comforted. A part of you remains braced under the distraction, in fear of the next time this could happen. Your mind’s instinct to protect and defend has been confirmed.

Your heart is neglected and still aching.

But let’s say a wave of anxiety washes through you and instead of looking for an escape route, you go to a quiet room to confront the feeling. You let go of the notion that something is wrong and respond as if something very right is taking place. You know some part of you is calling out for your love and attention.

Let’s say you close your eyes and open your heart to the bigness of the feeling. You create space around it simply by looking without resistance at its contours. You know the only antidote is self-love and hospitality. The mind stops racing away from the distress, which makes room for the heart to begin healing and soothing the body. Your mind learns a new route. You are gifted with courage and resilience.

The only difference between these scenarios was one simple choice: to remain a bystander as the mind continues to ignore the call of the body and heart or to act in ways that support leading from the heart, so the mind can follow.

The two can be wonderful allies if we let them.

As we become heart minded, we begin transforming our human experience from something out of our hands to something very much in them. We begin to cultivate joy instead of haphazardly stumbling upon it when we are willing.

Each moment, our bodies are counseling us to make choices that bring us closer to love. The wisdom of the heart and body is there for us, always, if we listen and let it lead.

For a guided practice in learning to stay in our hearts during difficult times, follow along with Sarah in this video.

 

This is an adapted excerpt from Heart Minded: How to Hold Yourself and Others in Love by Sarah Blondin.

 

Sarah Blondin

Sarah Blondin is an internationally beloved spiritual teacher. Her guided meditations on the app InsightTimer have received nearly 10 million plays. She hosts the popular podcast Live Awake, as well as the online course Coming Home to Yourself. Her work has been translated into many languages and is in use in prison, recovery, and wellness programs. For more, visit sarahblondin.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Learn More

Sounds True | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop

>
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap