I picked up this amazing piece of smoky quartz last weekend at Pisces Trading Company in Portland. Smoky quartz is a quartz variant that is strongly grounding, protective, and cleansing. It also transmutes negative energy to positive, so I use it a lot. I actually have smoky quartz near my front door so all energy that comes into the house is positive, and I've sprinkled smoky quartz chips all around the perimeter of my house and property so the energy that crosses to my home and property is cleansed and positive.
You pineal gland, which is located in the center of your brain, has a strong association with your third eye (sixth chakra). It is responsible for the production of melatonin, a hormone necessary for restful sleep and achieving the brainwave states associated with deep meditation, mystical experience, connection to higher realms, and psychic visions.
Many meditation techniques focus on pineal gland activation, which can help trigger and optimize the neurochemicals necessary for deep spiritual insight. But did you know that the pineal gland also contains microscopic calcite crystals? Calcite (CaCO3) is a hexagonal lattice system crystal that demonstrates the piezoelectric effect. In other words, when calcite crystals are subjected to mechanical stress, they generate a electrical charge or release of light. There is also some suggestion that the presence of calcite crystals in the pineal gland may turn it into a type of receiver that tunes in to different frequencies in a manner similar to a radio receiver (crystal radios use mineral crystals such as galena). This may offer the beginnings of a scientific explanation that ties the pineal gland to receiving messages from spirit.
In crystal healing, calcite is used to generate positive vibrations and increase vibrational frequency. Hexagonal crystals also aid in manifestation and increased awareness.
So what does it mean that you have calcite crystals in your brain? These crystals can release electrical charges to stimulate your pineal gland from within, helping with cycles of sleeping and waking and allowing you to achieve meaningful dreams and deeper connection with spirit. Activating them may also strengthen the function of your third eye as a receiver, allowing clearer communication with higher realms. With your focus on the pineal gland during meditation, you can activate these crystals from within, raising your vibrational energy. You can also use calcite crystals during meditation, holding them in your hand or placing them nearby, to create resonance with your pineal gland.
It's no coincidence that calcite often occurs naturally in amethyst. Amethyst is another piezoelectric crystal (it's a quartz variant) that is known to stimulate better sleep and dreams and to help you connect with higher realms and mystical experience. Keeping a piece of calcite in amethyst on a bedside table or in a meditation room can help you connect with the spirit realm in meditative, dream, and sleep states.
A large, multi-tiered lucky bamboo plant is a great feng shui prosperity tool. It cleans toxins from the air, and it's super easy to grow, propagate, and care for. It doesn't need much light, food, water, or trimming, and you can grow it in water and stones. Mine has a combination of river stones and quartz crystals in it.
I add spring water once a week and about once a month, I replace the water completely. I avoid using tap water because chlorine is harsh for the bamboo, but if you set a bowl of tap water out for 24 hours, most of the harmful elements will evaporate so you can use it in your lucky bamboo.
This plant grows and grows for me with little intervention, and it gives me a sense of peace. If you're bad at plants, lucky bamboo is a forgiving way to bring some luck and some green into your home. If leaves or stalks yellow or brown, trim them away with sharp scissors.
With the elements of wood (bamboo), earth (the rocks), and water, a lucky bamboo arrangement supports energetic balance and harmony. I like to tie a red string threaded with metal feng shui coins around the stalks to bring in the elements of fire and metal as well, so it represents a balance of all feng shui elements. Placed in your southeast sector, it supports prosperity, and placed in your east sector it strengthens family and relationships.
I woke up this morning at 3 AM with tightness in my chest, a a cough, and congestion. Given it's cold and flu season, it doesn't take much for me to understand what's happening in my body physiologically, and it's easy to reach for the nearest symptom relieving medication so my body's signals don't bother me as I go throughout my day.
It has been my solution for years; take care of the symptoms so I can power through. In the Western world, this is often how we deal with physical discomfort - a.k.a. symptoms. We ignore the invitation for rest and contemplation they provide and instead go straight for suppression because having symptoms during our busy lives just feels so darn inconvenient.
I came into adulthood in the 1980s when the motto was, "No pain, no gain," and I took that crap seriously. No matter what my body signaled, I powered through it either ignoring or suppressing any symptom that arose. Perhaps not surprisingly, the messages from my body grew louder and more intense until my first chronic illness entered my life: Hashimoto's thyroiditis. That was my body sending messages loud and clear to me, and yet I continued for a few more decades to power through until I discovered a kinder approach. Even today, powering through is my first instinct, arising from my ego which loudly proclaims, "Show no weakness! Pain is for wimps!"
In Ayurveda, there is a principle called samprapti, which describes six stages in the progression of disease. Each stage progresses from the one before it, offering you the opportunity to heed a signal (symptom) before it becomes systemic. Ayurveda focuses on doshas, or forces, comprised of the five elements. These dohas, Vata (air and space or ether), Pitta (fire and water), and Kapha (earth and water) must be in balance for emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual health to be optimal. When imbalance between the elements occurs, it first shows as a symptom. If the imbalance is ignored instead of addressed, then the progression of disease begins.
These six stages include:
Therefore, it's in our best interests that, instead of powering through, we accept our body's invitation to bring it back into balance when the first symptom, no matter how mild, arises.
When you have a symptom (physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual), no matter how mild it is, your body is issuing you an invitation. It's alerting you to an imbalance that is present and inviting you to discover how and why it has occurred.
During these times, the best thing you can do for yourself is to take a moment to sit quietly with the symptom instead of ignoring it and forging ahead with your day. Close your eyes for a moment, focus on the symptom, and ask, "What is it you are trying to tell me?" Then, breathe deeply, empty your mind, and listen. Your innate intelligence will tell you what you need to do to return to balance because your body, mind, and spirit always seek to return to a harmonious state before imbalances can set in, get stuck in your body, and manifest as illness.
BJ Palmer, the son of the father of chiropractic Daniel David Palmer said, "The power that made the body heals the body." In other words, your body has an innate intelligence to return to balance and wellness if you remove the forces that are causing its dis-ease. And sitting with discomfort of any type (mental, physical, emotional, spiritual) as soon as it arises allows you to listen to the invitation being issued in order to address an imbalance long before it ever has the opportunity to progress into something catastrophic you can't ignore so your body, mind, and spirit can return to a place of optimal wellness through its own innate intelligence.
And so I laid in bed at 3 AM, with my eyes closed and my Reiki hands resting over the area of tightness in my lungs. I listened to my body's invitation for balance, and I listened to what it told me was out of balance. I breathed deeply and allowed my mind to go where it needed to in order to release emotions that had stuck in my chest. I didn't try to suppress the discomfort. Instead, I moved into it and allowed it with all of the attendant thoughts, emotions, and beliefs that came with it. If the symptoms arise again, I'll need to do it again, sitting with my mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical symptoms alerting me to the opportunity to recognize imbalance and release it so my body, mind, and spirit can heal themselves.
Energy forms the structure of the universe. Everything is energy in a different form. What we perceive as solid matter is vibrating strands of energy held together by force fields to give the illusion of solid objects.
This means at our core, we are no different than anyone or anything else. We are all pieces of Source energy held together by force fields that create the ego identity of "I". This allows us to perceive we are different from others. It allows us to believe we have some special "otherness" that makes us stand out from the pack. And certainly we have our own goals, ideals, ambitions, and gifts. We've all taken something different from the creative energy from which we are birthed, and we've all expressed that creative energy uniquely in our individual lives and in our own expression of who we are. But all of us have the sum total of every expression within us; we all have the same potential for love and compassion or hatred and violence, for example. The entire spectrum of emotion, behavior, and expression exists inside of every human being. What makes us different, however, is how we each choose to be, and which of the ALL we wish to make present in our lives. Ultimately those choices bring us closer to or drive us farther from who we are as the essence of love and oneness. However, eventually, we all return to our source and rejoin with the oneness of the creative energy that makes up the core of who we are.
When you realize this, there's only one conclusion we can make. We are One with All. We are all Source energy in different packages, but underneath we are all expressions of the same creative force. What I do to another expression of vibrational energy, I ultimately do to myself. Understanding this makes it easier to choose compassion, love, and kindness as the places in which we dwell while we exist as embodied energy known as human beings.
Today is the one-year anniversary of my dad's death. My family is understandably feeling sad today because he has been gone from us for an entire year.
During that year, people have generously shared memories of my dad. They tell us what a good man he was. They share stories of his humor, his compassion, his kindness, his caring, his integrity, and his willingness to help. They talk of his curious mind, his intelligence, and his quick wit. They discuss his acts of community service, his athletic feats, and how inspirational they found him.
My dad was that man. He did all of those things and more. But he was also human.
In his eulogy last year at Dad's memorial service, Rev.Gary Shoemaker started by saying this. "John Riseland was no saint, but with everything I'm going to tell you, by the time I'm done, you may think he was."
When someone dies, we tend to focus on all of the good things about that person. We romanticize them in our memories and in how we talk about them to loved ones who are grieving. We even have a saying in our culture, "Don't speak ill of the dead." I'm sure it's a respect thing, but I think we do a disservice to ourselves, to the person who has died, and to society as a whole when we immediately turn those who have passed from this realm into saints. In doing so, we strip them of their humanity.
My dad was a good man. In fact, it's likely he was a great man. He was a wonderful son, father, husband, grandfather, great grandfather, brother, friend, and human being. He is someone I've always tried to emulate. But he was no saint. He was a human being. He made mistakes, but as soon as he realized he had, he apologized, made amends, and tried to do better. He was a decent athlete, but he was also pretty clumsy. He was involved in his church and believed deeply in the power of the church to bring healing to communities, but he frequently questioned his own faith. He was open-minded but often got a little cranky in political arguments. He was compassionate and slow to anger, but trust me, he could get mad. As a teen, I personally experienced his temper each time I made a new dent to his car. (In his defense, there were a lot.) He was very funny, but sometimes his jokes were really, really awful.
My dad was no saint. He made mistakes. He was a human being. But he was also a man of tremendous integrity, kindness, compassion, and depth. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, brother, son, uncle, and friend. He loved profoundly, and his emotions ran deep. And the beauty of all of that is this: every one of those wonderful stories people have shared with my family about my dad in the past year are true. He was all of those beautiful things in spite of the fact he was also a fallible human being. His goodness far overrode any flaws or mistakes.
And so, going into the second year without his presence in my life, I choose to remember all aspects of my dad. Because in spite of having the fallibility of every other human on earth, he chose to make goodness the overall focus of his life, and I think that's far more relatable and easier to aspire to than sainthood. My dad was no saint, but he lived a beautiful life. He was one of the best men I've ever known, and it helps me to remember that during the times when I, too, am no saint.
Want to bring more prosperity and abundance into your life? Try adding money tree, which is the plant Pachira aquatica, to the southeastern sector of your home or any room. You can also add them to the southeast sector of your office or small business for work abundance.
The money tree pictured is one of mine (I have three because I think they're cool - I love the braided trunks and the structure of the leaves). It sits in the southeastern sector of my home and of my living room in an eastern-facing sunny window. I have another in a south facing sunny window and a third with southwestern exposure but away from the window. You'll notice I've also tied a red cord around the braided trunk. The cord has three feng shui prosperity coins tied with a mystic knot on it to further reinforce the theme of abundance.
Pachira aquatica are relatively easy to find and care for. I've seen them at floral shops, online, and even at Home Depot in the plant department. Look for a specimen with healthy olive green leaves and braided trunks without any obvious wounds to them. The trunks are braided when the plants are young and pliable so it doesn't harm them.
To care for your money tree, place it in well-drained soil in indirect indoor light. Too-bright direct sunlight can burn the leaves. Water it until water runs from the bottom holes once or twice a week when the soil starts to dry up. I tend to water mine every four to five days. Money trees also love humidity, so spritz it daily with water or place it with other plants grouped around a humidifier set on low. Make sure the plant never sits in standing water, which can cause root rot and kill the plant. Empty water from the water tray when it collects after watering. Transplant into a larger container every few years. This is easy to do because the root system of the tree is very close to the trunk, and it doesn't root deeply into soil. Fertilize three to four times each year, but don't overdo it.
That's it. These plants are wonderful and they can bring plenty of abundance juju to your home. They also help improve interior air quality, and they're lovely to look at. Mine have flourished in my home. Expect to pay about $30 to $50 for a good-sized tree or about $10 to $20 for a smaller plant.
Tibetan Buddhists believe every time a Tibetan singing bowl is sounded, it transmits the dharma, which is all of the teachings of Buddha. The chanting of the word Om represents the sound of the universe. In his books Destiny of Souls and Journey of Souls, Dr. Michael Newton describes the experiences of people under hypnosis who describe their life as souls between incarnations. Many of his subjects tell of hearing the sound of vibrational energy resonating all around them. Sound plays a role in multiple religious and spiritual traditions, from bells ringing, to choirs singing, to sacred drumming and rattling, to chants and prayers.
Sound is vibrational energy striking against our ear drums, but it's so much more. Its vibration works our way through every part of our energetic being, from the physical all the way up to the ethereal and eternal. It evokes memories, calms and uplifts spirits, and sets moods. It contains energetic information that can help balance our energy patterns and remind us of who we are when we aren't embodied. It is universal across cultures, spiritual traditions, and even species as a form of communication and communion. When you surround yourself with the energy of sound intended to bring about healing, it helps shift your own vibrational rate to a higher level. It can uplift you or ground you. It can pull you to higher spiritual realms, enhance meditations, cleanse negative energy, and so much more.
I have been drawn to sound, particularly musical sound, all of my life. I've been a musician for more than 40 years. I studied music in college and after college, and I continue to study sacred sound and sound healing. Musical sound has always been an extremely important part of my life, so it's no surprise I was drawn to sacred sound instruments as part of my healing practices. I use my sacred sound for my own meditation and healing, I teach with it in my classes, and I share it with my healing partners. I use it for cleansing, meditation, and grounding, to unstick stuck energy, to amplify weak energy, to dampen overactive energy, to connect to my higher self, to signal intention to the universe, and because I love it. For me, sound resonates more strongly than any other energy or vibration.
Sound is a vital component of vibrational energy. Finding ways to incorporate it into spiritual, meditation, and healing practices can enhance how we experience the universe.
Want to experience the healing power of sacred sound? I have two live sacred sound healing sound baths coming up, one at Vision Collective in Portland, Oregon on February 23, and one at the Oregon Ghost Conference in Seaside, Oregon at the end of March (specific day and time TBA). During a sound bath, you relax in a comfortable position with your eyes closed as I play sacred sound instruments including antique Himalayan singing bowls, modern Tibetan singing bowls, crystal singing bowls, Tibetan bells, tingshas, and chimes. Let the waves of sound sweep over you, bringing you to a relaxed, meditative, and healing state.