Silence is Golden and Extremely Painful (using Silence and Solitude as the furnace of transformation)

I’ve been profoundly affected by a seemingly simple occurrence, triggered unknowingly by my comic book anthology group, as we get ready for our next publication. You see, we decided to work with a particular topic… and the topic we voted on is Silence.

As I started to contemplate how I could weave this topic into a short story, I uncovered not only lyrics to songs (Sounds of Silence, etc.) but that “going into the silence” is exactly what I’m experiencing in my life right now, on several levels. And that silence is probably one of the most difficult and yet most profound spiritual tools available to us.

I used to be the kind of person who worked a full time job, managed a volunteer program for a non-profit arts group AND simultaneously worked (volunteered) to promote/enlarge/expand a spiritual group that I had been studying with for quite some time. On top of that, I was riding (horses) very religiously. I rarely had time for myself, except to sleep.

But now, I’ve chosen to work toward the realization of dream (a successful coaching and energy healing practice as well as writing a graphic novel) which requires a lot of time in solitude, in contemplation, in learning, and in listening. As I write my graphic novel, I spend even more time in solitude, envisioning what obstacles my characters must over come and how they themselves must transform. I’m spending a great deal of time alone … and it feels downright uncomfortable.

I realize that my preoccupation with activities, while fruitful, were also preventing me from being present with myself. I never gave myself the opportunity to hear me, to see me, which then, of course, meant that I was not creating space for the divine to be present.

But even with this awareness, I’m still experiencing the discomfort, and sometimes am terrified by silence’s vast emptiness.

Why am I so afraid?

Silence strips away the distractions of life which anesthetize us from our feelings … that our lives are empty, that we perhaps are “nothing”, that our lives amount to nothing. It is this nothingness that I face in my seclusion, a feeling so abhorrent that I feel hopeless, insecure, despairing … everything in me wants to run to my distractions so that I can forget my nothingness and make myself believe (and prove to the world) that I am worth something.

An article written by Ministry Coach W. David Phillips, on Solitude as a Spiritual Practice, sums up exactly how I feel when I am in seclusion. “As soon as I decide to stay in my solitude, confusing ideas, disturbing images, wild fantasies, and weird associations jump about in my mind like monkeys in a banana tree. Anger and greed begin to show their ugly faces. I give long, hostile speeches to my enemies and dream lustful dreams in which I am wealthy, influential, and very attractive – or poor, ugly and in need of immediate consolation. Thus I try again to run from the dark abyss of my nothingness and restore my false self in all its vainglory.”

I’m comforted by the knowledge that all human beings are built with this void in our souls that we fill with people, noise, activities, possessions. Because it means that the “struggle” is meant to be. That it is part of the human process. That SILENCE is the gatekeeper to WISDOM and the path to wisdom is not meant to be easy. That is the very nature of our humanness. Our human condition.

I take comfort in the knowledge that to go into the silence is to find the place where the old self dies and the new self is reborn and re-emerges. To go into the silence is to greet oneself – naked and vulnerable and probably even broken – to begin the process of renewal. I realize that this process is needed if we are to develop a true friendship with ourselves, and hence the divine.

I understand the challenge is to persevere in my solitude, to stay in my place of retreat, until all of my demons grow tired of their roaring and lose their voice.

But how, without losing my mind?

Walking the path of your dreams, hand-in-hand with fear and self-doubt

"You've got to go out on a limb sometimes, because that's where the fruit is." - Will Rogers

I’m writing a comic book. Yes, you read that correctly. 

Seems a bit left field, doesn’t it? Especially on the heels of launching a transformational coaching/energy healing practice (and leaving a “safe” job in the photography business).

But what is life if you are not pursuing your dreams? Why are you here on this planet if not working toward the expression of who you are? If the primary energy of the universe is love, then aren’t you honoring love when you pursue what matters to you?

When I was recuperating from surgery that cured me from cancer, I realized that I wasn’t fully expressing myself … I always had horses in my life (a huge dream for me) and my spiritual practices but what else? What else did my heart yearn for? If my time on this planet is now marked as limited, what was I going to do with it? What legacy was I going to leave?

As I’ve written previously, I spent nearly seven weeks recuperating on a couch, which meant that I had a lot of time to ruminate. One of the things I uncovered was that there was a story buried inside of me. I have always been a reader – I love stories and storytelling and consider it a magical art. But I realized that I also wanted to create a story, to build a world and populate it. To take characters on a transformational journey and share the experience. So I started to transfer the story out of my head and into words. I took comic book writing courses and met a group of people with whom I co-founded an indie anthology, which debuted at New York Comic Con this past October.
The aptly named anthology group I co-founded.

Bully for me! Yes indeed, I have enough grit to follow my dreams.

But …

There are times when I think that I am out of my mind, to lay everything down on the line and try to make these dreams come true, especially in a fairly new industry to me. What if I fail? Does this make me a loser? I don’t report into an office any more, I don’t get a guaranteed paycheck, have had to let go of many things that don’t contribute to my forward movement and am now completely responsible for my own success. I wonder if people must think that I am a ne’er do well, reduced in their esteem because my decision has placed me in a more precarious financial position. In the middle of a recession too! Do you hear my knees knocking?

I love the quote above – because it’s true. To pursue your dreams is to take a risk. The fruit of one’s life requires a stretch. And many times it requires a sacrifice. But no one talks about how absolutely scary it is. When you think about pursuing your dreams, what fears come up for you? What feelings, judgments, criticisms come up for you?

At this moment, I do not have an easy solution for dealing with self-doubt. But I do realize that FEAR and self-doubt will walk the path with you… The next question will be: how do you make them your friends?

More to come.
And please feel free to share your experiences with befriending fear as you pursue your dreams.


Putting the Universe into Universal Truth

I was going to write about energy~how we are all energy, how our energy is affected by our thoughts and emotions … but then a friend shared this amazing video of time lapse sequences of photographs taken by the crew of expeditions 28 & 29 onboard the International Space Station from August to October, 2011.

I was once again struck by the immense beauty and magic of not only our planet but that we are part of a star system and a vast, unknowable universe, ruled by its own agenda of death and rebirth. Watching the video brought back the feelings of amazement I felt when I visited the Rose Center for Earth and Space here in New York City to watch an Imax presentation of Journey to the Stars. The film was an incredible experience and gave me many “take aways”~one of which was the fact that we carry within us bits of stardust, given to us by supernovas. Quite literally As Above, So Below.

These experiences are good reminders to me that the reality we face every day is connected to something much larger. That the Creator is the universe; all of the squabbling about what spiritual path is “true” or came first, in the face of the majesty of our cosmos, seems to be a waste of time. I’m guessing there is reason why the phrase Universal Truth exists.

Sending you sprinkles of blessed star dust!

Oliver the cat with nine lives – a follow up Reiki visit

One of the driving reasons why I launched AuroraSana was not only did I want to help people align themselves with their Higher Selves, but, I wanted to help heal animals holistically. Working with animals through Reiki is a blessing beyond compare ~ I’ve been getting amazing results.

Take, for instance, Oliver, a white Persian who had fallen from a window ledge and plummeted about 10 stories on to a balcony where his soon-to-be new mom was sitting. A potted plant cushioned his landing thus he luckily only suffered a dislocated femur (as diagnosed by the vet). 

Oliver the miracle cat.

I came in to do a free demo session for both the mom and the cat, who was mobile but limping. The other day, I received an email from Oliver’s mom, who said that, within a week of my Reiki session with them, the cat was walking perfectly normally, no sign of a limp at all. He had also started to leap around, which he had not been able to do.

Oliver’s mom was absolutely thrilled with the results, and she also had benefited from the Reiki ~ her bursitis had stopped hurting her.

However, things recently changed for the two of them, when Oliver’s former owners paid him a visit. Perhaps the chaos of the visit, or perhaps Oliver’s fear of being returned to his former owner, caused a transformation ~ it’s not exactly clear to me ~ but the end result was that Oliver began to exhibit dominance behavior: yowling at his mom, scratching, and biting. His mom was heartbroken and felt like she had lost a friend. On top of that, her bursitis pain returned.

I visited them both for a Reiki session, first spending about 45 minutes with the mom, and then about 30 minutes with the cat and the mom, to balance their energies and release any toxins that may have built up from the stress of their situations. Oliver made it clear that he felt great, and really enjoyed the Reiki healing, purring and stretching and rolling around. Afterward, though, he made a demonstration of his dominance behavior and seemed to be downright angry with his mom.

I am not a cat trainer so I didn’t offer any advice, except that we did talk about ways in which the mom could potentially break the cycle. Later that night, I got another email from the mom, who said that he quieted down a lot afterward … I’m scheduled to go back for three more sessions so I am very curious to know how Oliver will react.

More to come on Oliver!

How to use the energy of 11/11/11: pursue your wildest dreams

So now the energy of last Friday’s “Elevens” has been unlocked. How did you use the energy of the day? Do you feel any different? How are you carrying the magic of the day with you into the future?

Since the day was heralded as a new beginning (echoes of Aurora there!), I set aside 15 minutes surrounding the precise time of 11:11pm to do some work in the spiritual realm (and invited some of my students to join me there). I decided to ask the universe what I needed to know regarding moving forward. I am at the beginning of my journey, with the launch of my transformational coaching business (AuroraSana) but I feel like the clock is ticking. I often wrestle with anxiety that things are not happening fast enough. The classic push/pull of the intuition suggesting that everything takes time to “cook” properly, and the conscious mind wanting “action” and “doing” now now now.

Exhausting! I want to get to a place of FLOW – where the center is a still point that brings everything into balance.

How do I get there?

I love the tarot as a tool for insight but the energy of the day inspired me to try something different, so I pulled a Rune and got Raidho – pronounced “Ride-ho” – which literally means “Ride” or “Wagon”. (A horse reference no doubt! How appropriate.) According to various interpretations, Raidho is “the rune of ordered movement of energies in time and space as it pertains to human awareness.” Representing one’s deepest personal life journey, Raidho encourages us to “recognize the direction in which your daily life pulls you, for there is a compass within you that can be tapped into using the energy of this rune.” Following your interests and your love, your grandest wishes and dreams, is the best way to use this Raidho inner compass. Am I following my interests, my burning passions and my deepest dreams, you betcha. I am making sure that on a daily basis I meditate, I write my comic book & study how to become a better writer, help animals with Reiki, do yoga, expand my skills and knowledge as a coach, and investigate something new surrounding my spiritual quest. Obviously these things mean a lot to me.

Further exploration of the rune revealed that to use the energy of Raidho is to enter the present; and to enter the present is to journey away from needless anxieties as well as to release oneself from the past, which can act as burden and drag us down. The journey into the present moment is about mindfulness, whether in meditation or driving to the store, and is always accessible to us. “Because of its capacity to bring focus and awareness to the present, Raidho will expose hidden dangers along the path, so that no strange place or new circumstance can sneak up on us during our travels.”

I’m encouraged to know that the path I’ve chosen is bringing me into this moment. It’s always gratifying to hear  words of affirmation and acknowledgement from the universe. Heaven knows, once you step off the well-worn track of what is familiar, and you are not sure you know or can see where you’re going, you must rely upon your inner guide. 

Blazing new trails in your life is not easy – but it certainly the foundation of creating happiness.

Happy trails!

** Rune source:   runesecrets dot com

Welcome to 11.11.11! A day rich in magical meaning

What a powerful day! 

A number of my teachers have been talking about the significance of this day without fully explaining why today is so magical, so I thought I would do a little research. Turns out that this date is significant on several levels.
As Above So Below ~ 11.11.11 and the planets
According to a friend who is an astrologer, there will be a Full Moon on 11-10-11, the night before the 11-11-11, so we will still be within the 3-day period of the full moon energy. This Full Moon will be at the 18th degree of Taurus: illuminating all projects and ideas that were started on the New Moon two weeks ago. (As a personal note, I launched AuroraSana on Oct 31, Samhain, which is within this two week period.) Taurus as a Full Moon signifies powerful creative ability, ability to be grounded, practical and appreciation of beauty. And with the Sun in Scorpio, there is a push/pull between the need to let go and recreate and the need for stability.  The planet Venus (which rules Taurus) and it's connection to the Sacred and Divine Feminine is also contributing to the ongoing awakening (which many people say will actually affect our DNA codes ~ wouldn't that be magical?) since Venus and Mercury will be conjunct in Sagittarius at the 11th degree. According to another source, people are going to love (Venus)  to speak up (Mercury) and pontificate their beliefs (Sagittarius) at this time.  Jupiter rules Sag, which means higher education and contact with foreigners with be highlighted. Long distance love will flourish and people will discuss love, philosophy, religion and giving.
The Good Eleven will always be a friend of mine
Of course 11 has its own numerological meanings. One interpretation is that it marks the beginning of new cycles, increased spiritual leanings and compassion. Eleven is considered as one of the master numbers, because it is a double digit of the same number, thus causing the vibrational frequency of the prime number to double in power. So, in numerology, the number One is that of new beginnings & purity. When we see this digit doubled as with the 11,  then these attributes double in strength.  Other interpretations include the number 11 to represent higher ideals, invention, refinement, congruency, balance, fulfillment, vision. 
Co-joining of energy of the astral 
Many people are honoring this day in different ways, some with gatherings and ceremonies, and in particular, with meditations at 11:11 am and/or 1:11 or 11:11 pm. This coming together of energy creates a collective stream of consciousness, in addition to the energies occuring on this day, which can be added to your intentions for the day.  How are you planning on celebrating this day?
 As for me, I have already started my day off with meditation, which is a new thing for me. I enrolled in a Mantra and Meditation class at the Open Center (so I could learn how to effectively meditate) and our first class was last night. I feel like this class, and what I experience as a result, is going to profoundly shape my life to come. I feel hopeful! 
Many blessings to you on your journey!

Salutations to new beginnings.

The rising sun this morning, off the New Jersey coast.
Salutation to the Dawn (attributed to Kālidāsa)

Look to this day
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course
Lie all the verities and realities
Of your existence
The bliss of growth
The glory of action
The splendour of beauty
For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow is only a vision
But today, well lived, makes every yesterday
A dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore to this day
Such is the salutation to the dawn.
I woke up at 6:30 this morning and ran out of the house, to greet the new day, to celebrate a new beginning, to pay homage to the goddess who has blessed my horse, my spiritual studies and now my new business.

All I can say is how glad am I that a typical libation to Aurora is COFFEE.

A practice emerges...

For a long time, I have been staring at the different threads of my life as well as my seemingly disparate interests:  an interest in helping people heal mind/body/spirit, a profound interest in the welfare of animals, an interest in exporing spiritual concepts that lead to healing -- plus tools and actions (i.e., tarot and guided visualization) that can be used to help people access their higher Selves, Spirit Guides, or their God Consciousness. I really had no idea how to weave these interests together but always knew that they were propelling my life.

The solution hit me not too long ago. I recently enrolled in the Coaching for Transformation program offered by the Open Center in New York City, through which I am preparing for accreditation with the International Coach Federation. As I have been studying the techniques of transformational coaching, it dawned on me (yes! DAWN!) that I can easily combine these threads into a service that can help people step into their own power. And hence, AuroraSana was born: .

Join me on Facebook, where we can continue the conversation.

And what does AuroraSana mean? I'll explain the name in the next post .. but part of the inspiration is hinted at in the photo here. 

Meanwhile, wishing you a magical day!

Faith exists in spiritual and energy healing, but it’s not what you think.

In my early spiritual studies, the teacher I was studying with maintained that there was no place for “faith”. That we don’t believe, but rather KNOW based on experience. I remember the conversation distinctly – we were sitting in circle with the rest of my circle brothers and sisters and one of them was expressing some anxiety over interviewing for a job, hoping that she would get this job, which would then alleviate some financial problems she was having. Trying to encourage her, I said: “The Goddess will provide – you just have to believe.” It was then that my teacher leapt in with a lecture about knowing versus faith.

That conversation has stuck in my mind for a very long time – as a recovering Catholic, my early days with the Catholic church was all about having faith, having faith that if we stayed on the path of the true, that God would reward us in the end. So to be told that faith – that we don’t believe, we KNOW –  had no place in this earth-based religion that I was studying was a shock to my system and confused me for quite some time.

Until I read “The Art of Power” by Thich Nhat Hahn. In this magical book, the author talks about the five Buddhist spiritual powers – the first of which is faith. Now I respect for Buddhism … every Buddhist I have ever known has always had a connected, balanced and empathetic outlook on the world … so I was surprised to discover that Buddhists employ a concept called FAITH! But what really excited me was to learn their definition of faith:  “…the word faith is better translated as ‘confidence’ and ‘trust,’ because it is about something inside you and not directed toward something external.” Thich Nhat Hahn goes on to say: “If you have some experience that [a] path leads in a good direction, you will have faith in your path. … When you have faith, your eyes are bright and your steps are confident. This is power.”

So in their words, FAITH is the confidence in yourself, that you have the capacity of transformation and healing, which is grounded in knowing, which is grounded in experience.

I love that definition. I have often thought that ruling faith out completely made no sense. Blind faith, yes, that I can understand – it’s never a good idea to blindly put trust in anything. But I think you can tap into a great deal of power by having faith and confidence not only in ideas but in the tangible results – faith is not gotten from something other people tell you or based on superstition. Faith is not relying on someone outside yourself to tell you what to do, or to guide you. This definition of faith directly relates to the concepts of responsibility and ownership of your path, which we’ll explore in another post.

How have you experienced faith? Have there been times when your faith has been “blind”? Have you experienced faith when it was based on KNOWING?