Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Feng Shui Basics

Applying feng shui basics in the home need not be that complicated.  There are some ways in which this ancient practice can be used to make the home flow with positive energy or chi.  Here are some of the basic feng shui practices that you need to know and can easily apply to make your home (as well as your life) filled with positive chi.

Light, Air and Feng Shui.

In order to fill your home with good chi, you need to have good quality air and adequate lighting.  In feng shui, it is believed that chi flows through with the help of air as well as natural light.  Because of this, it is essential to make use of these two elements to ensure that your home flows with good chi.  To allow the good energy into your home, open your windows often to let natural air flow through.

You can also use air purifying plants or an air purifier at home to make sure that the air remains clean and pure.  Also try to allow as much natural light into your home to allow good chi to fill your home.

Unclutter Your Home.

Clutter is a known obstacle to the flow of chi.  It can have an effect on health and quality of life, as well as overall energy levels.  Too much clutter can drain your energy and impede good energy from flowing into your home or life.  Getting rid of the clutter can also help get rid of the negative load that affects your life.  By clearing clutter, you are creating a harmonious environment in your home flowing with good energy.

Know Your Feng Shui Birth Element.

In order to better understand how you can use feng shui to achieve a certain balance in your life and home, you should know your own birth element.  There is a certain element that corresponds to your birth year, and knowing what element your are born in can help you decide the best approach to achieve balance with feng shui.  You can use your feng shui birth element to introduce the different expressions of that element into your home through the use of colors and the balance of the other complementary elements in your life and home.

Know Your Kua Number.

According to feng shui, each person has his or her own kua number, which corresponds to one's date of birth and gender.  The kua number is also an indicator for each person's energy needs.  In the school of feng shui, called the Flying Stars, people belong in either one of two energy groups:  the East or the West.  For the East group, their kua numbers may either be 1, 3, 4 or 9.  For those on the West group, their kua numbers can either be 2,6,7 or 8.

You can use your kua number to determine directions and orientation of structures such as your home decor, or where you face when working in order to ensure good positive energy to flow.  These feng shui basics can help you start off in making your life and home flow with good chi.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Journey of the Willow

Journey of the Willow

Underneath the willow tree
to find a way to just be me,
but words of wisdom never would I hear.

I'd make a wish on midnight's star
of dreams I've dreamed of lands afar,
but daylight came and took them all away!

I'd sing a song of joy and pain;
of lightning strikes before the rain,
but mellow words I cry won't save my life.

I'd tell a tale of days gone by;
of mockingbird's and raven's cry,
but wind said,  "Save it for another day!"

By night, by day I'd come to know
her wisdom's in the way she grows,
and how she whispers wishes without fear.

She'd whisper to the clouds above,
"I've witnessed dreams and shattered love!"
But soon I'd whisper of the willow's strife.

"She danced along the river bank,
dipped in her roots and then she drank;
she danced and mourned and swayed where she was told.

"The wind controlled her every sway.
She used to whisper in the day,
when sunlight brought the heron to her nest.

"Then at night the wind did blow
and tossed her branches to and fro,
and scared the mottled heron into flight."

Her limbs would bend but wouldn't break --
The dance she danced for living's sake.
In moonlight soon she'd whisper tales of old.

She'd whisper of her heron friend,
the empty nest, the bitter end,
when from her broken heart she wanted rest.

The river dwindled to a brook
but still she stayed - her life it took!
Her roots shrank and she withered up and cried,

"No more heron's home to be!
No more friends confide in me!
No more secrets whispered in the night!

"No more dancing by the stream --
no more wishing of a dream."
The willow's dreams of days gone by had died.

The phoenix came and danced away.
The bellows blew and the branches swayed;
the withered willow knew not of her song.

The phoenix gathered branches long,
she built her nest and sang her song.
She gathered twigs and leaves to make a spark.

The fire grew throughout the night,
the phoenix' dance became her flight!
She sang of willow's secret life gone wrong.

She sang about the heron's nest,
the change that came upon her breast  --
the spring that came just after winter's snow.

She kept the embers burning high!
The waters flowed where once was dry!
The willow's branches sprouted buds of spring.

Now once again the willow sings!
The river flows from mountain springs
and gives to me a place where I can go.

I lay beneath the willow tree
to find a way to be "just me",
and Willow whispers how she loves to sing!

She sings her song in morning light;
She sings a song of Heron's flight!
She sings of ember echoes in the dark.

© 2011.  All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Why Am I Doing This?

Peace and Healing Through Reiki

Several years ago I wanted to take Reiki. I was in search of healing from past traumas when I came across Reiki as a complementary form of treatment. I was in what seemed to be an endless cycle of abuse . . . I just attracted them like flies on honey!

I was originally diagnosed with Complex Post-traumatic Stress Disorder in 1998, but back then I was still able to function in society. Because of the situation I was in, my cPTSD got progressively worse. I had been isolated from my family, had no friends left, wouldn't dare go in public around strangers, and I was unable to work. I also suffered from physical ailments that affected my mobility, my sleep pattern, and eventually my memory.

In 2006, I was told I would not be walking in five years because of scoliosis and degenerative disc disease. As time went on, I needed a cane at times to get up off the sofa. As my condition progressed, I eventually had to use a cane daily. It was extremely difficult for me to walk, especially when I was dragged to public places. I was in my late thirties, and when people see a "young" woman walking on a cane they stare with compassion and pity. My current abusive situation and my pride kept me from going out in public most days.

I went nowhere on my own; and until the night I left in 2011, I hadn't driven a car in three years. I began to accept that perhaps the doctor knew what he was talking about, even though I didn't want to believe. It looked like my wheelchair diagnosis was accurate. I had also gained a great deal of weight, which only made my mobility worse. Because of my living arrangements and my condition, I became depressed. I just didn't want to leave the house for any reason.

In 2010, Something happened at home that caused me to take a good, hard look at my life. The man I was married to often asked me to talk about the bad things that happened to me. He thought if I would "get it out" that somehow it would help. He didn't permit me to seek medical care after the first year of our marriage, so a therapist was out of the question and I suppose he thought he could fill those shoes. We were sitting on the sofa watching television one night when I decided, "Okay, I am ready to talk."

Solace © 2013
Art Prints Available: Solace - Photography

Solace is finding comfort or consolation in a time of distress or sadness. Yellowstone National Park reveals great beauty even amidst great distress from the pressure beneath the surface of the grand caldera. This piece of driftwood with its curves and twists is quite peaceful to gaze upon against the pale blue waters of the hot springs.

I started telling him about some of the traumatic things that had happened to me over the years. His reply to me was, "How can I listen to the television while you're engaged in conversation?" I was floored! Absolutely shocked! Really? He had encouraged me to talk, and when I finally did, he couldn't stop watching television (a re-run at that) long enough to listen! This comment made me stop and think about what kind of mess I had gotten myself into, and what could be done to fix it. I remember asking myself, "Is this what love is supposed to be about?"

Over the next several months I thought back over the years spent with him, and just exactly what had happened. His question really made me think. I started remembering the past years of my life I had given to him, and the devotion I gave that he probably never deserved. I considered whether or not this mess could even be fixed. A relationship is about giving love, pure love to another person. Love is about encouraging the other person to be the best they can be . . . it is about encouraging them in every aspect of their life: spiritual, emotional, mental and physical. It is not about tearing them down, controlling them, or isolating them from others whom they love.

During the time we dated, I had given full disclosure of my hopes and dreams, of who I am and who I desired to become. When we married, he was aware of my spiritual beliefs as well as my desire to become a Reiki Practitioner. He was aware of my emotional "baggage"; he was told about my diagnosis of Complex Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, the causes of it and the difficulties I had with it as well. He knew I had been searching for a "cure" to the trauma I had been through, and that I felt Reiki would help. I was right . . . it has helped so much, I cannot begin to explain! That is a story for another day!

This story has a bittersweet ending. A little over a year after his cold-shouldered statement when I was ready to talk, we were sitting on the sofa watching television again. He had rented a movie and was watching it. I was trying hard to ignore the movie, because of the content. It was about rapists who hire a hot-shot attorney to get them out of going to jail. The movie had been playing about an hour when I asked him if the entire movie was going to be about rape. He said, "Probably." He kept watching it. Not long after that, the movie got a little more violent so I asked him if he minded turning it down, or turning it off. It was really starting to get to me. He refused, stating that he wanted to see how the movie ended since he'd been watching it for so long. He said it was, ". . . just about an attorney who was really good at getting people out of trouble."

It was the next statement he made that changed my circumstance, and changed both our lives forever.

"I can kill someone and make it look like someone else did it," he said as he put his hand down in the sofa where he kept his loaded hand-gun with no safety.

Okay . . . last straw! I got up off the sofa, grabbed the car keys, and told him I was ". . . going out for a while. I'll be back soon. I just need to go for a drive." He didn't stop me as I got behind the wheel of a car for the first time in three years. I didn't go back. I didn't take anything with me except my dog.

I bought another cane, and some new clothes. Within a month, I was able to put down the cane. Actually, I haven't needed one since. I still have it as a reminder of how far I have come. I do still have joint pain from time to time, but it hasn't stopped me so far! I have also lost fifty pounds, and counting.

A year after I left, I searched for the perfect Master/Teacher and enrolled in Reiki I and Reiki II. I noticed an immediate change after the first class. The second class only increased the healing. I sleep much better now and my flashbacks, though not completely healed, are less crippling for me.

I used to have daily flashbacks . . . and nightmares. They would come without a particular trigger. I had absolutely no control over them. Now it takes a trigger to start a flashback, and triggers can be controlled somewhat. I am also able to go out in public. I even started making new friends! I have met some wonderfully caring souls since I took my first Reiki class. I am so thankful to have them in my life.

I also used to keep things bottled up. I was unable to stand up for myself for fear of the ramifications in doing so. Now I speak my mind, and courteously defend my opinion when necessary. I have been able to stand tall in the face of abuse or criticism. I also know when to walk away from a disagreement. That is something I have NEVER been able to do before. Reiki has helped me to release most of my fears; and when I have memories, I find it is easier to view them from a place of learning and acceptance, peace and love.

When I was growing up, my father used to tell me I was his "dream baby". Before my mother ever became pregnant, he dreamed that she was going to have a girl, and what I was to be named. My name literally means, "Noble Song". So why am I doing this? I do this to sing my life song. I know what I have been through and I am lucky to still be alive to tell about it. It has taken so much healing for me to be able to speak of such things, and I want to be able to tell of the wonderful healing God has given me. I want to help others find their song . . . it is my melody in this dance we call "life".

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

From Right- to Left-Brained

On Sunday, I attended my Reiki II class at a local spiritual center. I signed up for it a few months ago, after taking Reiki I. It was wonderful and as always, Reiki did not fail to surprise me! I had the most unusual experience! I have a feeling most of my Reiki stories are going to start out that way!

Anyway, shortly after the initiation into Reiki II, we moved to the practice portion of the class. We had learned how to “power up” with symbols and were ready to put them into action. We divided up into two practice groups. My group consisted of classmates from my original Reiki I class. There was also one gentleman from the second Reiki I class I recently attended just for reinforcement, and to offer support and assistance to my wonderful Master/Teacher.

I noticed that I could sense the duality in each of the classmates we practiced on. This was something I had not experienced before. “Jacob” was lying on the table and we were gathered around him as open vessels, working through our hand placements and the new knowledge we had been blessed with. One of the students was working on his head, two were working in unison down each side of his body, and I was at his feet. I placed my hands around his ankles, and immediately I could feel a greater amount of energy surging from my left hand into the right side of his body than what was coming out of my right hand.

Our class is very unique . . . quite a gifted group of healers! We have a very close bond, and our communication is open and honest, even during the treatment portion of class. It was this way in the first class, and so it was in the second class between “Jacob” and many other classmates from the second Reiki I group. We all have an understanding that we can say whatever comes to mind and receive positive feedback from the other group members. I spoke up and commented on the amount of energy flowing into his right side. I was amazed that I noticed a difference. My supportive classmates immediately spoke up and confirmed that this side was his weaker side, and also the side where he had physical symptoms. I knew “Jacob” had physical symptoms, but I was not aware which side his difficulty had manifested itself.

When it came my turn to be on the table, we discussed what sort of trouble I was having. I have always had trouble staying “grounded” and present in the moment. My mind tends to wander, and I lose sight of my present surroundings. When “Greta”, a particularly gifted healer, placed her hands on my feet, I felt the Reiki energy go to work. She stayed on my feet and legs the entire time. She felt a “coldness” and lack of energy flow from my knees to my ankles. She worked with the symbols to “boost” the Reiki flow, and my legs physically went from cold to hot. The energy block was successfully broken and for the first time in a very long time, I was grounded.

Fire And Ice Elementals - Impasto Abstract © 2016

When class was over, I felt strangely wonderful. I commented to my classmates that I felt so balanced, I somehow felt “out of balance”. Being balanced was foreign territory, and when I walked I almost felt like I was physically leaning toward my right side. Yet I was standing straight and tall! Being grounded was also a new feeling for me, and why I noticed I felt so different. I was aware and present in my body for the first time in years!

The biggest shock came when I returned home. I walked to the refrigerator to get something to drink, and up popped my right hand to reach for the refrigerator door. I walked over to the cabinet to get a glass, and my right arm opened the cabinet! I sat my glass on the counter and my right hand grasped the pitcher and poured the tea! I didn’t spill a drop! I returned the pitcher to the refrigerator and sat down on the couch, contemplating what had just happened. I have always been so entirely left-handed, that I have cracked jokes over the years about my right hand hanging around “just for looks”, and being completely useless otherwise!

It has been three days since my Reiki II class. I finally got up enough nerve to pick up my guitar today. I bought it about ten years ago, maybe longer. I tried in the past to play, but I just couldn’t do it . . . no matter how hard I tried, my right hand just didn’t want to strum! Since my Reiki I class in August of this year, I have picked it up some and tried to learn. I am in a wonderfully musical environment; and I am surrounded by people who love me and encourage anything I want to try. They have tried to give me lessons, and practice with me. But no matter how hard I tried, my right hand just didn’t want to hold a guitar pick, nor did it want to go through the strumming motion required to play the strings! Oh, sure my left hand was getting the chords down pretty well, except for the painful fingertips and newly formed calluses! But strumming was a completely different story!

Today I picked up my Seagull Grand parlor guitar and held it in anticipation that my right hand was indeed going to function as it has since Sunday. Well, it did just that! I strummed the strings, pick in hand, and was even able to play the picking pattern for “Dust in the Wind”. Of course, I am a far cry from Carlos Santana (bwahaha), but WOW! Reiki never ceases to amaze me!

I don’t know which part is more shocking . . . the fact that my right hand is actively participating in my life, or the fact that I noticed! I feel like an infant who just found out she has fingers for the first time! What a beautiful surprise to find out at the age of forty-one that my right hand isn’t completely useless after all!