I Met God Today

Today I  meditated on compassion and not judging people, but just accepting them as is, including myself. My meditations are always a bit ADHD with thoughts coming and going. Images popping up before me and dissipating like smoke. I have learned not to fight what happens during meditation. I just stay present and accept what comes. I ignore my mind, which is constantly trying to narrate and document everything that is happening. I focus on my breathing, or a mantra, when the mind gets to insistent and just let it float to the background.

Today was no different. I was meditating, as usual, when suddenly there was this white light before my mind’s eye. It was a bright light and grew in intensity as it came closer. I grew to realize that this was God. I sat with him and just accepted the Divinity of this moment. My mind screamed at me to write it down and document it. I ignored the mind and allowed the observer part of myself to enjoy this extraordinary experience. Then it changed. The bright white light changed into an inky purplish black color. It was no longer a concentrated sun as the white light had been. It spread and filled the area of my vision, nebulous and changing. I came to understand that this was also God. She explained to me that God is all things; light and shadow. Duality is a necessary part of all things. She said just as I do not judge the moon, the negative charge of electrons or femininity, as bad, nor is the dark side of God or anyone. It just is.

This is a hard concept to wrap one’s head around. In the Taoist philosophy there is the Yin/Yang. This is the symbol we often see where the white and black swirls meet to form a perfect circle with a little spot of the opposite color on each side. It shows the nature of both being necessary for the whole and that each contains a bit of the other. Yin is feminine and the dark side. Yang is masculine and the light side. Neither is good or bad. But both are necessary for the formation of life. We could not continue the human race without both. A battery does not work if the charges are not aligned correctly. Night and day are both required for nature to exist in harmony. We must work and we must sleep. Why should it be shocking that God contains balance, duality within the Divinity of our source?

We have put so much negative connotation to the shadow side, that perhaps some of its true nature has been lost. Darth Vader tries to get Luke to come to the Dark Side and the movies make it all very evil. If you have ever watched the Disney movie Maleficent with Angelina Jolie, you know that a story can be told in a very different way, in which the villain’s story looks less like a villain and more human. Someone who is doing the best they can in the time and space they are in. What if we say that God is in all people? What if we noticed the duality and knew they were doing the best they could in the time and space they are currently in; to balance the duality within themselves? Know that they are doing their very best possible, to express the divinity from which they come. It does shift how we see each other, doesn’t it? I feel this makes it a bit easier to have compassion, rather than judgement, when experiencing others along this path called life.

Spend some time with this concept. Let it float around in your mind and in your dreams. Try it on and see how it feels. Find your own truth within it. I hope it helps you find more compassion for yourself as well as for others.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May you find compassion over judgement naturally, as if by magic.

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Messy Emotions; How to better understand yours!

Emy and I returned from our retreat with such Joy in our hearts. We decided to set an intention to keep this Joy, regardless of what life through at us. We had no idea how much we were going to be tested. A series of random concerns and annoyances turned into opportunities to learn how to hold Joy firmly in our heart.

The Joy was overflowing from my heart while on our retreat. I couldn’t stop smiling. Having had the space and time to just be and work on myself was such a beautiful gift. Then we stepped back into our lives and it was life. Things were being thrown into our path to see if we could really continue to navigate with Joy. What a test it was! When I was having an especially hard day, Emy reminded me what Wayne Dyer had said. He told us that, when we are squeezed, all that can come out is what we truly are. If I am Joy then only Joy can be squeezed out of me. So as stressful situations and heartbreaking circumstances popped up, I purposely sent Love (Joy) into the world and to the other parties involved. Hate (Fear) serves no purpose. It only hurts everyone.

I do not mean to say that I am perfect and that I didn’t feel frustrated, fearful, or even angry at some of the things going on. I just didn’t allow myself to stay in those lower vibrational feelings. I believe that ultimately there are 2 emotions and everything else are just ranges along that continuum. There is Love. This is Divinity and our true nature. Love is the energy that creates all of the beauty and blessings we are surrounded by. On the far, other side of the spectrum is Fear.

Fear holds a much lower vibration and is a place where we can get stuck. Look at a situation in your life that brings up negative emotions and then ask yourself why you feel that emotion. Keep digging away and going deeper into that emotion. Keep asking yourself what is underneath it or what is bringing this emotion up. I bet as you peel back the layers you will find Fear deep in the core. You are also likely to find Love there too.

Let’s look at an example. Say you have a friend that has some unhealthy habits. You get so frustrated with this friend; because they just continue to make these poor choices. You try to talk to them or help them but ultimately nothing changes. You may even feel angry with them or even disgusted at this point. Why? Because you love your friend and you want to see them have a happy and successful life. You are fearful that they are going to get hurt or their choices are going to cause them problems that they cannot recover from.

Try this with scenarios in your own life and see what is deep down there. Understanding where the emotions are coming from may not change how you feel but it may make it easier for you to send Love to the person or situation, rather than Fear.

Thank you for reading my blog today! I love you! May you find understanding of your emotions and acceptance of yourself, as if by magic.

*photo was taken in Ybor City, FL

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A Retreat With The Adventure Sisters!

I have felt guided to attend a silent retreat lately. When I checked into them, many were quite pricey, required travel, and a substantial amount of time off from work. It was simply not in the budget! However, the impulse to go on one still remained very strong for me. I decided I needed to do this. So I spoke to Adventure Sister Emy and we decided we could do our own silent retreat. So, would you like to come along, virtually?

We have an agenda all laid out with links to different types of meditation as well as instructions from different teachers. We are headed to the boat in Florida. It will be a nice quiet place for our retreat, but we could have just as easily done it at her house or mine. Our bags our packed and intentions set.

Below is our retreat schedule. Feel free to join us! Set your intention, raise your vibration, and dig down deep inside yourself to remove what no longer serves you so you may move forward into all the glory that is meant for you. Please feel free to adjust the times to suite your needs. Also, if you need more time in silence and less time listening to instructions, feel free to do that too. I was worried about spending the whole weekend in silence, so I planned lots of different links to help my monkey mind stay busy. I figured either Emy or I could walk away from the space where it was playing and find a quiet place if that is what we needed. It is meant to be structured enough but free flowing enough to offer you what you need.

I recommend, prior to your set start time, planning your meals and prep anything you can to make cooking as simple as possible.  Also prepare your space or spaces. Where will you spend your time during the retreat? What items will you need for comfort. Plan your clothing too. It should be comfortable clothing with layers so you can adjust according to temperature.

We look forward to sharing this experience with you if you join us. We will see you in the ether. If you cannot join us, we have blogs scheduled to post and memes for our FB page. We look forward to sharing our experiences after the weekend.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you find what you need, as if by magic.

Silent Retreat Schedule 

Set intention for retreat, prior to beginning.

Friday

  • 4:00 – 5:00pm Dalai Lama https://youtu.be/lTLe5TFTh24 basic techniques of meditation 
  • 5:00 – 6:00pm Kundalini Yoga https://youtu.be/Q3lU1rRyoW4 Nabhi Kriya For Courage, Confidence, Power
  • 6:00 – 7:00 Dinner prepared and eaten and cleaned up after; mindfully 
  • 7:00 – 8:00  Meditation for Connection https://youtu.be/PkVvpfld7DQ
  • 8:00 – 8:30 Walking Meditation/ Free Time
  • 8:30 – 9:00 Shamanic Drum Journey https://youtu.be/MmQ1H4wU0zs (If you have not drum journeyed before substitute optional video from below, mindfulness meditation, or inspirational reading)
  • 9:00 – 10:00 Hot tea and journaling before bed
  • Restful night sleep

Saturday

  • Dream journaling upon waking
  • 5:30 – 7:30 Sitting meditation (if awake)
  • 7:30 – 8:30 Sun Salutations https://youtu.be/L4Z7lix6Qao
  • 8:30 – 9:30 Shower, prepare for the day and have some tea; mindfully
  • 9:30 – 10:00 Your Destiny Is Waiting For You ~ Michael Bernard Beckwith https://youtu.be/zViQiX2T2rQ
  • 10:00– 11:00 Breakfast mindfully prepared, eaten and cleaned up
  • 11:00 – 11:45 Hypnosis for Letting Go of the Fear of Success  https://youtu.be/yh-V9q93XC8
  • 11:45 – 12:00  Walking Meditation/ Free Time
  • 12:00 – 1:00  Yoga Nidra for emotional healing https://youtu.be/lBx7crrZw3A
  • 1:00 – 2:00 Lunch mindfully prepared, eaten and cleaned up
  • 2:00 – 3:30 Inspirational reading and journaling (Deepak’s 7 Spiritual laws for success or any spiritual or mindful text you have been meaning to get to)
  • 3:30 – 4:00 Walking Mindfully / Free Time
  • 4:00 – 5:00 Kundalini yoga for expansion and elevation https://youtu.be/vwpm0F8L820
  • 5:00 – 6:00 Dinner mindfully prepared, eaten and cleaned up
  • 6:00 – 7:00 Becoming Limitless ~ Wayne Dyer https://youtu.be/gNZ1JqvXeN0
  • 7:00 – 7:30 Shamanic Drum Journey https://youtu.be/MmQ1H4wU0zs (If you have not drum journeyed before substitute optional video from below, mindfulness meditation, or inspirational reading)
  • 7:30 –  8:00 Free Time 
  • 8:00 – 9:00 Guided Loving Kindness Meditation https://youtu.be/c2iCoEluq8A
  • 9:00 – 10:00 Hot tea and journaling before bed
  • Restful nights sleep

Sunday

  • Dream journaling upon waking
  • 5:30 – 7:30 Sitting meditation (if awake)
  • 7:30 – 8:00 Sun Salutations https://youtu.be/9ZZa4psFcpk
  • 8:00 – 9:00 Shower, prepare for the day and have some tea; mindfully
  • 9:00 – 10:00 Kundalini yoga https://youtu.be/IX5vn7rAsuU
  • 10:00 – 11:00 Breakfast mindfully prepared, eaten and cleaned up
  • 11:00 – 12:00 Lisa Nichol’s Step into your lives purpose https://youtu.be/40LXbK94lxY
  • 12:00 – 1:00pm Crystal Jungle Meditation https://youtu.be/Zp3pZee34fo
  • 1:00 – 2:00 Lunch mindfully prepared, eaten and cleaned up
  • 2:00 – 2:30 Shamanic Drum Journey https://youtu.be/MmQ1H4wU0zs (If you have not drum journeyed before substitute optional video from below, mindfulness meditation, or inspirational reading)
  • 2:30 – 3:00 Mathew McConaughey Speech on Finding Yourself https://youtu.be/p0p1fjLPjYQ
  • 3:00 – 3:30 Closing ceremony (not silent but something you have prepared that feels good to you) 

 

*Photo was taken in the BWCA

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Letting Go of Darkness

The full moon is in a transformative time that comes every 28 days. It is all about letting go of the old, while the new moon is about manifesting or bringing in the new. These energies of the moon start about 4 days prior to the actual event and last for about four days after, according the Susan Miller: Astrologer. This transformative time gives us wonderful opportunities to think about what no longer serves us and what we would like to see come into our lives.

Last night was the full moon. My husband and I attended a Kirtan. These are becoming the favorite feel good events of ours to go to. This full moon Kirtan was a beautiful event and attended by many sweet souls. This, once again, made our souls sing along with our voices; as the call and response of the mantras progressed throughout the night.

When attending an event like this or starting a meditation, going to a yoga class or retreat; it is always a great idea to set the intention for what you hope to achieve or experience. I learned this many years ago from a wise teacher and have found it to powerfully enhance my experiences as well as help me along my path of healing and health. Knowing that there was a full moon shining overhead, I set an intention to let go of any darkness in my heart. To let any anger, fear, jealousy, hate, distrust, sadness, or need to complain flow gently out of my heart and into the earth. There it could become fertilizer to grow something beautiful. I intended for all darkness to leave my heart so only love would reside there. My great grandmother said, “Those who sing, pray twice”. Singing or chanting is a beautiful form of prayer.

As Chi Johnson lead us skillfully through the various chants. We came to the one that was so very perfect for a full moon Kirtan: “Nataraj, Nataraja, Jai Shiva Shankara Nataraja”. (One part of this powerful mantra) Shiva is the Hindu god of destruction and transformation. He is also called Lord of the Dance. This is basically asking Shiva to dance through our lives and destroy what no longer serves us, so that we can transform into who we truly are. As we sang this chant I asked Shiva to remove any darkness from my heart. No, not just remove, but destroy anything other than the love that was residing there. “Music in the soul can be heard by the Universe”, Lao Tzu.

When we are hurt, darkness can take hold in our heart center and it can come out in a variety of ways. It has a purpose though; it is trying to protect us. There is purpose is all things, even when we cannot see it or know what it is. The complication is, that sometimes we hold onto these things much longer than we need too. My heart’s fear of being hurt, served me well, as I was healing from the acute pain of a broken relationship. It no longer serves me though. I have held onto it much longer than I needed too. Now is the time to release any darkness in my heart to make room for unending love. Love for all people and things. Love and respect so that I can more fully live in the flow of life. By doing this I can open up to appreciation and gratitude for all the beauty around me.

I am grateful for the Full Moon Kirtan. I am grateful for Shiva dancing through my heart, so that I can release that which no longer serves it. I appreciate all of you who walk your journeys along side mine. When you are ready, know that you are safe to release those things that once protected you.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you easily let go of the darkness that has taken up residence in your heart, as if by magic.

* Photo was taken on the banks of the Ganges River in Rishikesh, India.

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Are You Positive?

What do you practice daily? This question showed up in my facebook news feed as a video by a young boy. I was so impressed with the wisdom of this youngster. I shared the video to our Adventure Sisters Facebook page. He was asking people if they had a daily practice. He went on to tell them that, whatever they practiced daily, they would become expert at. He gave example like; joy, anger, and complaining. He gave example of how practicing complaints and anger could make you very skilled at these things. It was really amazing insight for such a young person. Obviously an old soul resides in that young body. You can see his video on the Adventure Sisters Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/BWCAdventureSisters

So what do you practice everyday? I think it is a good thing for us to look at and really talk about. Our brains are predisposed to see the negative around us. When you think about it from a survival stand point it makes sense. If you are always looking for the danger (aka the negative) you will be able to flee to safety. The habit forming potential of negative thinking is probably something we have all experienced. So how do we shift our focus? I consider myself a pretty positive person. Am I really, though? If I sit back and watch myself, do I complain as much or more then I express joy and delight? It is winter where I live. I do not tolerate the cold as well as I do the heat. I think I probably complain more in the winter then I do in the summer. Winter is beautiful. I love the way the fluffy white snow sits on the prickly branches of the evergreen trees. There is a simple serenity in the the near black and white color palate of winter in the north. So why do I spend my time bitching about the cold?

Others expect negativity from us as well. Have you every been excitedly telling someone about the positive things in your life and you get a sense of disapproval from them? So you throw in a couple negative aspects. The other person will accept you now. If I told you: I love my job, I work for a great company. I have supportive collaborative teammates. My boss has my back and helps mentor me to further success. I get paid well. My benefits are good. I get plenty of vacation time and my job perks are out of this world. Would you feel jealous? Would you feel I was bragging? Would you think I was trying to convince you or me that my job was great? Would your eyes glaze over and would you secretly be plotting my death? Would I notice this look in your eyes and feel the need to think of a couple of negative things about my job in order to feel a little less like a crazy person?

Do we not want our friends and family to be happy and have lots of blessings in their life? We say that we do. What is it that makes us not want to trust happiness, joy, good fortune, and miracles? Of course nothing is perfect. Given the opportunity, we can find something to complain about in any situation. But the opposite is true too. Given the opportunity we can find something good to talk about in any situation. I challenge you to be Pollyanna. (Do you know who that is?) Look for the silver lining. Turn that frown upside down. Make a decision to be the happiest person in the room. Embrace the madness of a positive attitude. “It is only through mystery and madness that the soul is revealed” ~ Thomas Moore.

Thank you for reading my blog today. May your daily practice bring you joy!

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The Boundary Waters Canoe Area, like so many beautiful areas, may be at risk from exploitation. If you feel so moved please sign the petition below to save this amazing natural resource!

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Bringing Hidden Emotions to the Surface

Recently Emy and I started planning our next BWCA trip. We were debating how many days we should stay. Because there is usually no cell service and you have to arrange for an outfitter to drop you off and pick you up, once you are there, you are there for the duration. I have noticed that when I am “stuck” somewhere, without some distraction, my emotions move.

There was one year that it rained, a lot! Emy and I passed the time sitting under a tarp, drinking tea, journaling, and talking. There is no electricity so using your phone for entertainment is not an option. After hours of sitting under our shelter I felt this desire to leave. I didn’t want to be there anymore. It was like my “fight/flight” response was in full swing and I wanted to run! Of course there was no way and no where to run to. I had to just sit. Then a breakthrough happened. My emotions broke free. I had a revelation. I became aware of some old thoughts about myself that I was holding as true. I realized that I did not believe I was lovable. I broke into tears and cried (something I seldom do). Because of this solitude and sanctuary of the forest, I was able to process this emotion.

Another year, it was the day before we were scheduled to leave, a beautiful sunny day had us lounging in the sun. I could feel the anxiety building in me. Our scheduled pick up time on the next day seemed so late in the day to me. We had a long drive to Emy’s home and then I had an additional hour to my house. I needed to unpack from the BWCA trip. I was scheduled on an early morning flight the next day for work and needed to pack for that trip. Laying there, on a warm rock, next to a sparkling lake, I once again felt that “fight/flight” instinct kick in and I wanted to run. I needed to get home and get stuff done! With nowhere to go and nothing I could do, I asked myself why I was feeling this way. Digging into those emotions and explored their root cause, helped me realized it was about not speaking up for myself. When we were arranging our pickup time, I knew I needed to leave early. When Emy suggested a later pickup time to the outfitter, I didn’t explain to her my perceived need to leave early because of pressure to get ready for a work trip. I just passively let her pick the time. Here it was four or five days later and it was causing me discomfort. Being in a place where I could allow my emotions to surface without the distractions the modern world offers us, gave me the time and space to allow the emotions to surface. I had the ability to dig into them and see what was causing them. I then knew how to prevent feeling like this in the future and advocate for myself.

So often in life we use distractions so that we do not have to deal with our emotions. TV, alcohol, games on our phones, housework, and so many other things to “be busy” and not have to deal with or process our emotions. Give yourself time and space to just be. Even though, at times, it may be uncomfortable it will allow those old emotions to break free. Then you can deal with them and release them.

What types of things do you do to “be busy” and not feel? How do you find space to let these emotions surface?

What do I Have To Learn From This?

Four days before Thanksgiving I fell and crushed my wrist. Friends and family from everywhere were about to descend upon my home in anticipation of the traditional Thanksgiving meal. It was my dominant wrist that I broke in the fall. What do I have to learn from this situation, other than watching where I step? How am I going to get through this? Should I just cancel the holiday? All of these questions and more were going through my head. Here’s how I managed to get through it.

  1. Go with the flow. The first thing I had to do was realize I had no control of the situation. All I could do was take a deep breath and realize that it was all going be OK and go with the flow. It may not be what I had originally envisioned but it would be OK.
  2. Ask for help. I had to call in the troops. I called my daughters who agreed to spend the night on Wednesday in order to help make the homemade buns. They also aided in getting all the side dishes and turkey properly prepared. A friend had to drive me to my doctors appointment. I also got help to go shopping for groceries.
  3. Examine my expectations. I have always been a person with very high expectations for myself and of others. I had to examine my expectations and realize that it was unrealistic for me to try and do this all alone. I had to allow for other ways to do things. My way might not be the only way.
  4. Slow down. Not only was my wrist broken, but also my hemoglobin (Iron) was 9.6. 12.5 is a normal result. I was feeling extremely fatigued. The pain and the effort to complete tasks with only my left hand was taking a toll on me. Which further increased my fatigue. I had to learn to take it slow and allow myself  time to rest. Anyone who knows me, knows that rest does not come easily to me. I am the type of person who will push through to get things completed.
  5. It’s not about me. Thanksgiving is about what there is to be thankful for. It is also about the coming together with friends and family. This misfortune did not change any of that. In fact it gave me more to be thankful for. I have gratitude for all of those who helped and offered to help. I am grateful because the kitchen was cleaned up without my interference. All of this help and other help that was offered made this gathering possible. My life is truly full of blessings.

So what are the lessons that a fractured radius and ulna have to bring me? It’s taught me a lot. I have learned to be grateful for all that I have, including the friends and family who rallied to support me. It’s taught me that there are other ways for things to be accomplished. It’s taught me that it’s OK to be weak sometimes. It’s taught me that perfection can be found in situations that are not ideal. Have you had situations like this? Have you had to learn things the hard way? Do you have any stories to share with us?