Daily Om ~ Acknowledging Our Pain

sunlight iceSometimes the motivation to help others may be an extension of a deep desire to heal a wounded part of ourself. Some people seem called to help others, often from very early on in their childhoods, responding to the needs of family members, strangers, or animals with a selflessness that is impressive. Often, these people appear to have very few needs of their own, and the focus of their lives is on rescuing, helping, and healing others. While there are a few people who are truly able to sustain this completely giving lifestyle, the vast majority has needs that lie beneath the surface, unmet and often unseen. In these cases, their motivation to help others may be an extension of a deep desire to heal a wounded part of themselves that is starving for the kind of love and attention they dole out to those around them on a daily basis. For any number of reasons, they are unable to give themselves the love they need and so they give it to others. This does not mean that they are not meant to be helping others, but it does mean that they would do well to turn some of that helping energy within.

One problem with the rescuer model is that the individual can get stuck in the role, always living in crisis mode at the expense of inner peace and personal growth. Until the person resolves their own inner dramas, they play them out in their relationships with others, drawn to those who need them and often unable to acknowledge their own needs or get them met. In the worst-case scenario, they enable the other person’s dilemma by not knowing when to stop playing the rescuer and allow the person to figure it out on their own. However, if the rescuer finds the strength to turn within and face the needy aspects of their own psyche, he or she can become a model of empowerment and a true source of healing in the world.

Some signs that you or someone you love may need to rescue the rescuer within are inner burnout from over-giving; underlying resentment; an inability to admit to having needs of one’s own; and an unwillingness to be vulnerable. Help comes when we allow ourselves to admit we need it, acknowledging our humanity and our wholeness by acknowledging our pain. The understanding we gain in the process will naturally inform and inspire our ability to help those in need to do the same.

Source: Daily Om


Daily Om ~ Conscious Decisions

rhodBecause an idea or way of doing things is popular doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. Just because an idea or way of doing things is popular doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. However, part of the way that something becomes popular is that many of us don’t take the time to determine what’s right for us; we simply do what most of the people we know are doing. In this way, our decisions about life are made by default, which means they aren’t what we call conscious decisions. There may be many other options available, but we don’t always take the time to explore them. This may be the result of feeling overwhelmed or pressured by family, peers, and humanity at large, to do things their way, the way things have always been done. Regardless of the cause, it is important that, as often as we can, we decide for ourselves what to do with our lives rather than just drift along on the current of popular opinion.

It is not always easy to make decisions that go against the grain. Many people feel threatened when those close to them make choices divergent from the ones they are making. Parents and grandparents may be confused and defensive when we choose to raise our children differently from the way they raised us. Friends may feel abandoned if we decide to change our habits or behavior. Meanwhile, on our side of the fence, it’s easy to feel frustrated and defensive when we feel unsupported and misunderstood simply because we are thinking for ourselves. It can be exhausting to have to explain and re-explain our points of view and our reasons.

This is where gentleness, openness, and tolerance come into play. It helps if we are calmly persistent, consistent, and clear as we communicate to those around us why we are making the choices we are making. At the same time, we have the right to say that we are tired of talking about it and simply need our choices to be respected. Our lives belong to us and so do our decisions. Those who truly love us will stand by us and support our choices, never mind what’s popular.

Source: Daily Om

Daily Om ~ Expanding Their Vision


Nine Ways to Help Others Awaken to Consciousness :

1. Living by your values allows you to become a positive source of inspiration for others. Don’t hide – express yourself and embrace life without reservation. By simply being yourself, you can help the people in your life see how one person can make a difference by being a living example of consciousness.

 2. When you communicate your views, do so casually and in a nondogmatic manner. Allow the people you speak with to ask questions. Offer only as much information as they are ready to hear.

 3. Igniting the spark of consciousness can be as easy as giving someone a gift. A favorite book, a medicine bag, or a beautiful gemstone can pique your loved ones’ curiosity and prompt them to begin an exploration of the soul.

 4. Teaching a friend, relative, or colleague to meditate or chant can put them on the path to consciousness while simultaneously reducing their stress levels.

 5. Others may want to know more about living consciously but are unsure of how to begin. Starting a discussion group – even a virtual one – can help you reach out to individuals that are eager to learn.

 6. By recognizing and acknowledging the inherent value in everyone you encounter, you can teach them how to value others. Sometimes, the easiest way to encourage people – even challenging ones – to respect others is to respect them first.

 7. Invite people from your personal and professional lives to join you in attending a ceremony or ritual. The experience may touch them in a profound way or introduce them to a new spiritual path.

 8. Casually point out the interconnectedness of all living beings using concrete, everyday examples. Many people are unaware of how their actions affect the world and are intrigued when they learn of the power they hold.

 9. Introduce your loved ones to conscious living in a lighthearted and enjoyable way. Serve delicious organic recipes at gatherings, volunteer as a group, and show them how wonderful it can feel to be truly aware and connected to the universe.

Source: Daily Om

The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Chocolate Rabbit ~ A ritual for spring

little choc rabbitOstara is a time to celebrate spirituality and the turning of the earth, but there’s no reason we can’t have a good time with it as well. If you’ve got kids — or even if you don’t — this simple rite is a great way to welcome the season using some things that are readily available at this time of year. Bear in mind, this is meant to be fun and a little bit silly. If you think the Universe has no sense of humor, click the back button on your browser immediately to exit this page.

Difficulty: Average

Time Required: 20 minutes

For this ritual, you’ll need the following: A bag of jellybeans Marshmallow Peeps — chicks, bunnies, etc. A chocolate rabbit for each particpant A glass of milk for each participant

Arrange your ritual supplies on your altar so they look pretty. Kids can do this — typically the chocolate rabbits end up in the center, surrounded by an army of Peeps and several rings of jellybeans. A quick note — you might want to perform this ritual well in advance of mealtime, or all the kids will be too full of candy to eat a real dinner.

First, give everyone present a handful of jellybeans. Point out the different colours in the jellybeans, and what they can represent. As you call out each one, eat the jellybeans in that colour. Feel free to be a bit goofy. Say:

Behold, little jelly eggs, small symbols of the season,

How we adore you!

Green is for the grass that springs from the land! (eat all the green jellybeans)

Yellow is for the sun shining above our heads! (eat all your yellow jellybeans)

Red is for the tulips that grow in the garden! (eat your red jellybeans)

Pink is for Aunt Martha’s new Easter hat! (eat your pink jellybeans)

Purple is for the crocuses that sprout in the wood (eat the purple ones)

Continue this until all the colours are gone — if you really want to have some fun, make the kids take turns naming off the colours and what they mean to them. When they’re all gone, call out:

Hail! Hail! to the mighty jelly bean of Spring!

Next, hand out the marshmallow Peeps. As you do, say:

Behold the Peep!

The Peep is life, brought back in the spring!

Little Peep chickens, we honour you! (bite the Peep chicks)

Little Peep bunnies, we honour you! (bite the Peep bunnies)

Continue this until the Peeps are all gone — it’s probably a good idea to limit each kid to just two or three Peeps at the most. When the Peeps have all vanished, call out:

Hail! Hail! to the mighty Peeps of Spring!

Finally, distribute the chocolate rabbits. Say:

Behold the great chocolate rabbit!

As he hops through the land, he spreads joy and happiness!

O, how we adore the chocolate rabbit and his great big chocolate ears! (eat the rabbit’s ears)

Praise the chocolate rabbit, and his delicious chocolate tail! (eat the rabbit’s tail)

Honor this chocolate rabbit, and his chocolate hoppity legs! (eat the rabbit’s legs)

He is a wonderful rabbit, and he is special indeed! (eat the rest of the rabbit)

When the rabbits are all gone, say:

Hail! Hail! to the mighty chocolate rabbit of Spring!

Give everyone a glass of milk, and raise your drinks in a toast to these three symbols of the season.

To the jelly beans! To the Peeps! To the chocolate rabbit! We drink in your honour!

Drink your milk, and sit back to enjoy the sensation of being stuffed with ritual candy.

Source: Patti Wigington



X is for…eXpectations

wild thyme plantsI thought and thought…and then thought some more about what I could possibly write for the ‘X’ post for The Pagan Blog Project. I finally decided on eXpectations, although I think someone else has covered this also but nevermind. So what are expectations? They can mean all kinds of things…what we hope for…what we expect of other people…what we expect from ourselves. In fact the Oxford Dictionary defines it thus:

Expectation – a strong belief that something will happen or be the case.

I have many expectations, some of which materialise and some that don’t. sometimes my expectations are so high that when they don’t occur I fall flat on my face and feel terribly dejected, often feelings of failure or resentment wash over me. However, I have learnt one way of minimising the negative feelings that can happen if our expectations aren’t met.

This wonderful tool is called Mindfulness. That practice of being in the present moment, and it is a practise. I don’t do it perfectly and quite often I don’t do it at all because I’ve forgotten to do it. That’s when the Universe slaps me in the face with a wet haddock! You see quite often we set our expectations way too high. That’s because of Ego! But the Universe works to its own rhythm and not that of the ego. So do we have to let go of all our expectations? I have been told in the past that we should do so and in some respects it’s good advice. If we have no expectations then we’ll never be disappointed. However, I’m not sure I totally agree with this. I think ‘reasonable’ expectations are good for us…they can spur us on to do our best, or be more motivated. But the word here is ‘reasonable’.

To have reasonable expectations of ourselves and others we need to remember that right now, in this incarnation, we are human and that means having all the frailty and vulnerability of humanness. Humans make mistakes, we mess up, we don’t always do what we should do…that’s being human and nothing more or less. We have to learn to be able to say ‘Oh well!’ Having reasonable expectations of yourself means you need to throw words like failure, perfection and self blame into the trash can. Doing this is an extremely free-ing act. It helps us embrace our humanness and love it for all its faults and foibles.

What about the expectations we have of others, especially significant others and our families? Yes, we all have to admit we have them. We want our partners to be what we want them to be. It’s hard to admit that but it’s true. Same goes for our kids too. It’s not a pleasant thought is it, that deep down we want them to be this or that or the other. We want them to behave in a certain way and we explain it by saying ‘but it’s what’s best for them’. The truth is although we, as humans are linked, as we are to everything in the Universe, in the Web of Life, we are also individuals. Our expectations are not the same as someone else’s no matter how much we love them.  Our needs are not all the same.

So what do we do? Well here is where we just…let it go! Let our expectations for others go completely. If we have these expectations of them they’re always going to miss the mark. This causes so much friction and negativity in families, and we see it on a larger scale in the world too. I’m a fine one to talk…I still have expectations of others and when they fail to meet my expectations I get angry and resentful. Letting go is an ongoing process and may be a life time’s work. But it is an important lesson for us all.

Daily Om ~ The Start of Change

Breaking the chains of family cycles can be done, and it only takes one person to step and take action.

It is easy to believe that in leaving our childhood homes and embarking upon the journey of adulthood, we have effectively removed ourselves from harmful and self-perpetuating familial patterns. In looking closely at ourselves, however, we may discover that our behaviours and beliefs are still those that were impressed upon us during our youth by our parents, grandparents, and the generations that preceded them. We may find ourselves unconsciously perpetuating cycles of the previous generations, such as fear of having enough, not showing affection, and secrecy patterns. Yet the transmission of negative patterns from one generation to the next is not inevitable. It is possible to become the endpoint at which negative family cycles that have thrived for generations are exhausted and can exert their influence no longer. Breaking the pattern is a matter of overcoming those values imprinted upon us long ago in order to replace them with pure love, tolerance, and conscious awareness.

Even if you have struggled with the cumulative effects of family cycles that were an expression of established modes of living and a reflection of the strife your ancestors were forced to endure, you can still liberate yourself from the effects of your family history. The will to divest yourself of old, dark forms of familial energy and carry forth a new loving energy may come in the form of an epiphany. You may one day simply realize that certain aspects of your early life have negatively affected your health, happiness, and ability to evolve as an individual. Or you may find that in order to transcend long-standing patterns of limiting beliefs, irrational behavior, and emotional stiltedness, you have to question your values and earnestly examine how your family has impacted your personality. Only when you understand how family cycles have influenced you can you gain freedom from those cycles.

In order to truly change, you must give yourself permission to change. Breaking family patterns is in no way an act of defiance or betrayal. It is important that you trust yourself implicitly when determining the behaviours and beliefs that will help you overwrite the generation-based cyclical value system that limited your individual potential. Many people are on the earth at this time to break family cycles, for all of you are true pioneers. In breaking negative family cycles, you will discover that your ability to express your feelings and needs grows exponentially and that you will embark upon a journey toward greater well-being that can positively impact generations to come.

U is for…Unseen Company

With Samhain (pronounced Sow-en, or Sow-een) nearly upon us I thought I’d write a post on The Dumb Supper, or having a feast with the dead. I don’t think anyone really can attest to the exact origins of The Dumb Supper but it is something that is born from honouring the Ancestors and reverence for the dead, and thus it is obviously pagan in its origins. The act of offering food to those who have passed on is not new, cultures from ancient history, such as the Celts, the ancient Egyptians and the Romans all offered food and drink to their dead. In Japan, many thought it advantageous to provide the dead with their favorite foods. Buddhists present offerings of food to the “Pretas”—lost, goblin-like souls—for the purpose of relieving their ghostly pains. Even Christianity acknowledges the dead in their holding of three days of observance for the dearly departed at All Saints Day on November 1. So the custom of honouring the dead spans many different cultures from the distant past to the present day.

So, what is a Dumb Supper? Well, literally it is a supper you have with your loved ones; family and friends, but also with the dead, usually members of your family who have passed over. It is in fact simply dining with the dead. For many this might seem totally crazy but it is a way of remembering our loved ones as well as having a family get-together. I mean let’s face it, a lot of people speak to their loved ones who have passed on don’t they. They might tell them they love them or miss them or even have a kind of conversation with them. So why not have dinner with them?

Why hold a Dumb Supper on Samhain? Well, it’s traditionally known as the night when the veil between our world and the spirit world is at its thinnest. It’s the night when we know for sure the dead will hear us speak, and maybe even speak back. It’s a time of death and resurrection, of new beginnings and fond farewells.

How to have a Dumb Supper. Well, obviously in keeping with its name, it is a dinner held in complete silence. Remember that it is actually a kind of ceremony for the dead, so you might think it better if young children don’t take part in this. Ask each person to bring a note to the dinner. The note’s contents are kept private, and should contain what they wish to say to their deceased friends or relatives. Set a place at the table for each person, and reserve the head of the table for the place of the Spirits. Although it’s nice to have a place setting for each individual you wish to honour, sometimes it’s just not practical. Instead, use a tealight candle at the Spirit setting to represent each of the deceased. Shroud the Spirit chair in black or white cloth.

No one may speak from the time they enter the dining room. As each guest enters the room, they should take a moment to stop at the Spirit chair and offer a silent prayer to the dead. Once everyone is seated, join hands and take a moment to silently bless the meal. The host or hostess, who should be seated directly across from the Spirit chair, serves the meal to guests in order of age, from the oldest to youngest. No one should eat until all guests — including Spirit — are served. Some people say the order of courses should be backwards, so you should begin with the dessert, then have the main course and finally the appetizer but personally I don’t think this is necessary. It’s your choice. Remember also that the dead have no need to eat physical food any longer but instead they will absorb the ‘essence’ of the food. After the meal I usually give the Spirit’s plates of food to the wild animals outside for them to consume.

When everyone has finished eating, each guest should get out the note to the dead that they brought. Go to the head of the table where Spirit sits, and find the candle for your deceased loved one. Focus on the note, and then burn it in the candle’s flame (you may wish to have a plate or small cauldron on hand to catch burning bits of paper) and then return to their seat. When everyone has had their turn, join hands once again and offer a silent prayer to the dead. Everyone leaves the room in silence. Stop at the Spirit chair on your way out the door, and say goodbye one more time.

This is just the basic framework for holding a Dumb Supper, and many traditions and cultures add their own aspects to it. You can decorate the table any way you like, although black and/or white is most appropriate,  and the food can be anything you want to serve and eat but bear in mind the season as it is usual to have food in keeping with the time of year. Some people serve soul cakes at the meal, which I think is a lovely idea. Soul cakes were traditionally baked as a gift for the spirits of the dead. In many European countries, the idea of “Souling” became an acceptable alternative for Christians. The cakes took many different names and shapes — in some areas, they were simple shortbread, and in others they were baked as fruit-filled tarts. Still other regions made them of rice flour. Generally, a soul cake was made with whatever grain the community had available.

Recipe for Soul Cakes

Two sticks butter, softened

3 1/2 cups flour, sifted

1 cup sugar

1/2 tsp. nutmeg & saffron

1 tsp each cinnamon & allspice

2 eggs

2 tsp malt vinegar

Powdered sugar

Cut the butter into the flour with a large fork. Mix in the sugar, nutmeg, saffron, cinnamon and allspice. Lightly beat eggs, and add to flour mixture. Add malt vinegar. Mix until you have a stiff dough. Knead for a while, then roll out until 1/4″ thick. Use a floured glass to cut out 3″ circles. Place on greased baking sheet and bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Sprinkle with powdered sugar while the cakes are still warm.