PERSONAL POWER – QUESTIONS & CONTEMPLATION
When I facilitated a workshop recently – for a group of experienced meditants – we looked at the themes of self-investigation, transformation and renewal. One of the images I chose to work with was Archangel Michael and the Dragon – which can remind us of our own personal power in respect to overcoming the ‘shadow’ aspects of ourselves. It requires strength, focus and courage to meet and redeem our personal shadow-demons. As well as daily perseverance and dedication to our own personal growth, the words ‘I BELIEVE IN MYSELF’ can be fostered within, as a reminder of the authentic power we all carry at the centre of our being. Believing in oneself is the ‘spiritual spearhead’ with which we can meet all of life’s challenges and difficulties.
The cards I provided the group had two questions on the reverse for participants to contemplate – ‘What particular transformations or maturings of the soul are being asked of me as an individual?’ And ‘What is my task/what am I responsible for now?’
These are questions which require not only true self-reflection but insight into our own way of being. When we reflect on our tasks we are being asked to focus on our service to the world.
These cards were then to be taken home and placed on the meditation table, Christmas altar, or placed in one's journal, to live with over the Holy Nights – which begin on Christmas eve and finish at dawn on 6 January. At this special Christmas festival of new birth, as we undertake our social activities and commitments, we can have a small time set-aside for such contemplations, a way to connect with this Holy time and awaken to our future possibilities.
Though this was written just prior to Christmas 2020, these kinds of exercises and contemplations can be done at anytime during the year.
SACRED SPACES & SOUL NOURISHMENT
For a long time I have been interested in the healing power of my surroundings and my self-curated personal environment – at home, in the office and in my studio. Whether I have only a small space to work with or an entire room, I carefully choose objects and create altar-like settings – placing special objects that speak to me of something beautiful, holy, contemplative and noble. These altars or contemplative settings have provided succour in times of busyness & stress enabling a more immediate pathway into my inner self after a busy day. What I speak of is something very different to interior fashion & style and is initiated from an authentic place within that consciously chooses items of meaning & resonance to uplift and revivify. A picture can be a meditation, an object can be a talisman, a candle can be lit as a daily ritual and a nature object can speak of our connection to the infinite wisdom that lives in the animal, plant and mineral kingdom. We can create these spaces in small & large ways depending on the space available to us. Even a written out verse or carefully chosen image by our computer at work can bring meaning & comfort to a utilitarian environment and ameliorate a space that is otherwise out of our control – bringing us peace and encouragement.
CREATIVE MINDFULNESS – LETTING GO
For a recent Creative Mindfulness Session for staff at the Mary Potter Hospice in Newtown I chose to work with the theme of ‘Letting Go’. I used this image of the Dying Lily as a discussion tool as it provides an incredible archetype of what ‘Letting Go’ actually is. Take a moment and observe this picture for yourself and allow it to speak to you – it is a remarkable meditation!
In nature once the beautiful lily completely falls away a seed pod is formed containing a bountiful supply of seeds (which are the two pods in the left picture). This cycle lives inwardly in our own soul lives – the blooming, the letting go and the seeds of new experiences to come. I have added an image of the artist Georgia O’Keefe because she too shows a wonderful archetype of letting go – aging with grace and dignity on the outside whilst sustaining a creatively rich inner life
For over a decade now I have bought stems of lilies and I have kept them throughout their entire dying away process – using them as objects of contemplation. Which is how I came to photograph this spectacular stem! Great life secrets are revealed when we take the time to observe this kind of living & dying phenomenon