Where are you out of balance?
Need more play? More sleep? More exercise?
More interaction with others? Or less?
Do some spring cleaning and reshape your schedule so it nourishes you.
Ayni is a beautiful little word.
Ayni is the art of living in balance within and without;
Living in right relationship with Self, Soul and World.
Click on the link below to listen to a wonderful little talk; Two well-known shaman discuss Ayni and Shamanism as the Art of the Soul: Interfaith Radio
Each week I receive Heart Advice emails from Pema Chodron. Pema is wise, humble and quite funny in a dry Buddhist kind of way. She is one of my all-time favorite spiritual teachers. This week’s Heart Advice is so good that I wanted to share it with all of you.
Sometimes the most profound advice is quite simple:
A BRIEF PRACTICE FOR GROUNDING
“First, come into the present. Flash on what’s happening with you right now.
Be fully aware of your body, its energetic quality.
Be aware of your thoughts and emotions.
Next, feel your heart, literally placing your hand on your chest if you find that helpful.
This is a way of accepting yourself just as you are in that moment,
a way of saying, “This is my experience right now, and it’s okay.”
Then go into the next moment without any agenda.”
Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change
Where is the moon tonight?
Is she up yet?
What aspect of herself is she showing?
These are the questions that come to mind when I gaze at the night sky. Maybe it’s because I’m female. The ancients claimed that all women are creatures of the moon. Or maybe it is because I was born in the early morning hours before dawn, just as the moon became full. And on that night many moons ago, the moon rose in the sign of Scorpio, the keeper of the night and the dark mysteries of life, death and rebirth. I am a moon baby.
For whatever reason, I have been fascinated by the moon for as long as I can remember. My ancestors used the cycles of the moon to track the passage of time. And I still do the same – in fact, it stuns me that the Gregorian calendar in use all over the world is not linked directly to the cyclic movements of the earth and moon. That’s why we have a silly Leap Year day every 4 years – we need to “correct” the errors in the Gregorian calendar! Whoever thought it was a good idea to ignore astronomy when creating a calendar?!
In every solar year (the time it takes mother earth to go all the way around our sun), the moon goes through 13 cycles. There are 13 lunar months in each year, not 12. And within each lunar cycle, the moon slowly shifts from the dark phase of a new moon, gradually showing more and more of herself (waxing) until she complete reveals herself at the full moon. Then she slowly wanes, showing less and less of herself in the night sky until she is not visible at all. Then the moon cycle dance begins again.
These cycles where the moon is constantly shifting and dancing with how much she reveals of herself seem quite female to me. There is nothing linear about the moon! And I find that women are typically more changeable and moody and rhythmic than men, whether we care to admit it or not. 🙂
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant,
and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance…”
~Ecclesiastes, King James Bible
Our ancestors planned their sacred rituals around the cycles of the moon; they knew that each moon phase holds a specific power. So, when the moon was fully revealed in her full moon state, the ancients celebrated and worshipped the divine feminine energies of birthing and completion. Even today, wise midwives plan their schedules, knowing that many, many babies are born when the full moon exerts her pull on pregnant wombs! Full moons are times of completion.
In contrast, when the moon is hidden from view in her new moon state, the ancients saw it as a potent time to plant the seeds for new projects and begin new ventures. Even the timing of farm planting and sowing was tied to the moon cycles in ancient times; not so silly when we realize that the waters and tides of planet earth feel the pull of the moon as well.
The next time you’d like to start a new project, try starting it during the dark phase of the new moon. And when you are ready to celebrate an accomplishment or rite of passage, hold your celebration during full moon time. Synchronize with the rhythms of the moon and see how much potency organic timing can add to your life.
I love watching the moon go through her dance from dark to light and back to dark each month. I am definitely a moon baby! And I plan to continue my love affair with the rhythms and cycles of the moon until I leave this earth. It keeps me connected to the cycle of the seasons in a deep meaningful way.
“To learn to see, to learn to hear, you must…
Go into the wilderness alone.
For it is not I who teach you the ways of the Gods.
Such things are learned only in solitude.”
~Matsuwa, Huichol Shaman
We all want perfect health, don’t we? No more physical ailments, no more pain. We each crave a perfectly shaped body that silently and efficiently does whatever we demand of it. But is that even possible?
Human life is about finding a balance point between opposing forces; to be healthy, we must strike a balance between motion and stillness, between liquid fluidity and grounded earthy stability, between shadow and light, between creative and destructive forces. So, our miraculous bodies cannot stay stable and static for long. Our body processes also shift in response to changes in our environment. The world is constantly shifting and changing around us; temperatures rise and fall, one day it rains, the next is sunny. Human bodies are designed to constantly shift and change as well.
This idea of health being a dynamic balancing act becomes so clear when we look at natural environments. Balanced nature is never static; healthy ecosystems are diverse and contain many elements that constantly interact with each other. And the entire natural system finds balance through an ongoing dance between the elements; water wears down stone and sweetens the dirt with minerals that the trees use to grow. And the trees on the riverbank also draw river water up into their bodies and in doing so, slow down and calm the river’s wild currents. The trout rest in the shade of the trees, waiting for bugs to get blown into the current by the wind and become dinner. True balance lies in the web of interactions between bug and wind, fish and tree, stone and water flow.
There is no perfect physical state that we can attain and be ‘finished’ or ‘complete’. Look again at nature – Nothing is perfect in nature; tree trunks are crooked spirals, flowers are not symmetrical, and each animal has little quirks and imperfections in its shape; eyes are slightly different sizes, ears are uneven, spots are imperfect or missing. Perfection is a human delusion, it does not exist in nature. (despite what dog show judges hope and look for!)
Healthy balance is a wobbly, imperfect and dynamic process; much like riding a bicycle requires continuous tweaks and changes to stay upright, so do our lives and our bodies cycle through continuous shifts and changes in order to stay in healthy balance. And it is a waste of time and energy to strive for perfect health. Perfect for what moment, what situation? Our bodies and minds are designed to shift and adapt to each place, to each situation we find ourselves in; it is our strength as humans to be adaptable if only we will allow ourselves!
Allowance of our own imperfections and life’s many wobbles and imperfections is actually a key part of getting healthy. We do ourselves and our bodies a huge disservice when we reject and judge and try to annihilate our issues and imperfections. This is why yogis and sage healers throughout history keep telling us to relax and breathe; to smile at ourselves and our foibles!
Balance and healing will elude us until we can surrender to imperfection and constant change. True healing is about allowing ourselves to be complete just as we are in this moment, warts, bad hair, temper tantrums and all. In the end, healing is not a fix yourself project. And it’s not about finding someone to help you change and improve either. True healing is about learning to wholeheartedly love and embrace the wonderfully quirky, imperfect, amazing and unique creatures we already are.