I thought I'd share a little project I recently put together for the Infinity Foundation. They are the Chicago area's leading holistic education center and were voted Chicago's "best place for meditation" and "best place for life-long learning" by Mindful Metropolis magazine's Reader's Choice awards. LOVE what they do!!!
Four years ago I attended my first workshop at Infinity, and was so inspired by the fabulous work they were doing that I volunteered to help let others know about upcoming events via social media, and have been doing so ever since. Chances are, anyone interested in reading my blog would enjoy hearing about Infinity (they are a non-profit organization, based in Highland Park, IL) so I thought I'd take a moment to let you know about their project, aptly entitled: "WHAT IF?"
The video gives all the info on the amazing dream they have to expand - and to build an ALL-IN-ONE holistic community center, right here in the Chicago area! By buying a $20 raffle ticket, you have a chance to win $1,000 AND of course you'll be helping Infinity achieve their dream - which will benefit us all. (Hurry, the drawing date for the raffle is May 19, 2013).
Check it out:
Card of the day: 7 of Pentacles. Evaluation time!
Especially where long-term projects, work, physical health or material investments are concerned, take a moment to assess where you ARE in relation to where you've BEEN, and where things are headed. What's working? What isn't? What, if anything, needs to be changed? A well-tended garden grows best.
Sun on your shoulders, wind through your hair
A loyal companion who's constantly there.
All the tools that you need for the journey ahead
are packed up, ready and waiting, my friend.
That first step's a doozie, so leap but don't look.
Trust in your heart as you write your own book.
Let go of your fears! You're loved and protected.
You were born for this journey, even parts unexpected.
Each footstep you take on the path at your feet
brings you closer to destiny, and closer to fate.
Ahead there are valleys and peaks, there are shadows and light.
It's all for a reason though you may not know it outright.
When struggles prevail and your path is unclear,
ask Spirit to lead and watch guidance appear.
Give thanks for the journey and take each step with grace
With joy in your heart and a smile on your face.
~Dawn Jones 4/1/2013
Today's card: 7 of Wands
I've always found it fascinating that the figure on this card is wearing one shoe and one boot, as though this "battle" had caught them off guard and there was little time to prepare to defend themselves. Sometimes we are forced to react to life situations without having time to plan. Always stand for what's right, even if it means you are standing alone.
Today's card is the 4 of Swords.
2) Take the time you need to contemplate a plan of action and identify your next steps. Those problems will probably still be there waiting for you, but you'll be better prepared to deal with them once you're centered.
Happy Friday all! I originally posted this article years ago, and thought I'd dust it off since spring is once again upon us - isn't it? I don't know...we still have cool temps and snow on the ground here in northern Illinois but I have hope since we can hear frogs chirping & birds singing and see deer foraging. Looking forward to the warmth and the joy of earth coming ALIVE again. Enjoy! Dawn :)
Spring. Such a time of renewal! Four times a year, at the start of each new season, it’s a great idea to clear out the clutter from our surroundings to make room for fresh new energy. By purging our excesses and clearing out the “stuff” in our living space that no longer serves us, we consciously invite abundance into our lives. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to clear the air!
We all know that no matter how much we clean, dust and cobwebs inevitably accumulate in spaces that we live in. Under the sofa, high up in the corners of the ceiling…it’s a fact of life. Until someone comes by to sweep away the cobwebs and clean the dust away, it will sit right where it is, accumulating more as time goes on. Have you ever thought about residual energy hanging out where you live?
A Native American spiritual tradition, smudging is an energy cleansing technique that uses sacred herbs to help remove the “cobwebs” of stagnant or negative energy left behind by our day to day living. Through smudging, the old energy is broken up and released into the atmosphere, clearing the way for fresh new energy to be created and enjoyed. Think of it as a “spiritual housecleaning”! Here is what you need to know to effectively cleanse your home:
Out with the old
The first step in any cleansing is to clear away the clutter. Go through the infamous "junk drawer", the closets, the cabinets. Determine what items are no longer useful and donate, recycle or throw it away. All that should remain is things that serve you in some way, for practical or sentimental purposes. Don’t keep anything out of guilt! If you still have that bright orange throw blanket that was knitted by Great Aunt Miriam but matches nothing in your home (and you don’t want, need or enjoy it), this is keeping something out of guilt: you feel obligated to keep it only because the memory of someone you love is “attached” to it. Look for creative ways to keep the object in some form…maybe take a photo of it then dispose of it or donate it to charity, or see if someone else might enjoy having it. If your home is truly your haven then it should surround you only with things you use, love and enjoy.
Once you have decluttered, it’s time for a thorough cleaning. Put on some uplifting music, light a scented candle, and start cleaning! Wash windows, shampoo carpets, clean your home like your favorite celebrity were coming by for a visit. Don’t cut corners, the key here is that YOU have to know it’s truly clean. Try to stay away from using harsh toxic cleansers…there are many environmentally friendly products on the market that are inexpensive and safe to use. Vinegar and baking soda also work wonders for so many cleaning uses.
Now that everything is physically clean, it’s time to get rid of those energy cobwebs. You’ll need to assemble the following items beforehand:
1 sage smudge stick.
This can be purchased for a dollar or two at any new age shop. A smudge stick is dried sage that has been wrapped up into a small bundle and tied with cotton string. Sometimes additional herbs (such as cedar or sweetgrass) are added. IMPORTANT NOTE: Make sure that the smudge stick you are using is intended for indoor use. There are larger versions for outdoor use only that will produce more smoke and may set off smoke detectors.
1 large feather.
The feather will be used to fan and direct the smoke during your cleansing.
1 abalone shell.
This is used to contain the smudge stick when it is lit and also to extinguish it when you are finished smudging. You may want to add a few spoonfuls of sand to the bottom of the shell to avoid heat transfer to your hand as the smudge burns. In place of the shell you may use a heatproof dish or clean ashtray.
Alone time of about an hour.
Try to schedule your smudging session during a time that you can be alone and focus on what you are doing.
When lit, the sage represents the element of fire. The feather represents the element of air and the shell represents the element of water. When you complete the cleansing, you should return any remaining smudge ashes to the earth in a garden if possible, so that all elements are represented.
Time to Smudge
I like to begin at the lowest point of the home and work my way upward in a counterclockwise direction (this direction represents removing or undoing). The most important thing to remember during a cleansing is to allow the stale energy a way out of the home. That means opening a window or a door as the designated exit and directing all energy outward towards that exit. Put on some soft classical or new age music in the background if you like. Light the tip of the smudge stick and allow it to burn for just a moment until it is well lit, then blow out the flame so that the stick continues to smolder. Place the smoldering smudge stick into the shell and using the feather, fan the smoke outward as you walk around the room. Pay close attention to doorways and corners, as these areas tend to hold more energy. As you fan the smoke, visualize it as white light breaking up the energy and carrying it out towards the designated exit. You will probably feel the area changing as you work; it may feel lighter to you. If one particular area feels like it needs more cleansing, go back again and continue to work there until you feel like it is clean. Continue to visualize the smoke breaking up the energy patterns and removing them. If the smudge stops smoldering light it again as you did in the beginning and continue.
Once you have finished cleansing a room, move on to the next room and continue until all areas have been cleansed. When the entire home is finished you can then take a step back and know that the whole home feels clean, light and harmoniously balanced. SUCH a great feeling!
If you find the smell of smudge smoke offensive, you can light some incense or a scented candle. I also like to leave the windows open for a little while afterward.
In with the new!
You have just cleaned and energetically cleansed your home, and in doing so you may have depleted your own energy. Head to the bathroom and treat yourself to a nice long soak in a very warm salt bath to cleanse and re-energize your aura. Be sure to drink plenty of cold water after the bath as salt can be very drying. Now comes the best part…relax and enjoy your fresh, clean surroundings…the fruit of your efforts!
How exciting! The finalists in the 2013 About.com Readers' Choice Awards for Holistic Healing in the category of Best Tarot Cards are:
Alchemical Tarot, by Robert Place
Ghosts and Spirits Tarot, by Lisa Hunt
Mystic Dreamer Tarot, by Heidi Darras
Psychic Tarot Oracle Cards, by John Holland
Voyager Tarot, by James Wanless
Choose your favorite and vote! Voting is open February 18 through March 19. The winners will be announced March 27, 2013. Participants may vote once every 24 hours, click here and make your voice heard!
I'm often asked about the when it's better to work with oracle cards, and how they differ from traditional tarot decks.
My response is that while I prefer tarot cards for most applications, oracle cards seem to work best when doing self-readings...asking questions about my path, life situations, etc.
Why? Most oracle cards are kind of like fortune cookies...you get what you get; many of them even have messages written directly on each card. This means that there is not a whole lot of intuitive work to be done with them, which takes out a lot of the guesswork - especially helpful for newer readers.
Being humans, we each have a desired outcome...a way that we hope things will turn out. This vision of what we want to happen makes it extremely difficult for most (if not all) readers to use tarot to get a true feel for what's going on. So, where I prefer oracle cards for quickie self-readings, wherever there is need for further exploration of a question, tarot works better for me.
Tarot cards have a structural system that assigns elements, numbers, suits, and arcana to each card, as well as deeper symbolic references. This allows us to really dig in and work intuitively with all that wonderful info to come up with answers that have more meat to them.
Which do you prefer to work with, and when? By all means, chime in with your comments! I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. There are hundreds of decks out there today...tarot and oracle. Which ones are your favorites?
Today's Card: The Hanged Man
Feeling stuck? Shift your perspective on the problem and see it with new eyes. Changing your life requires making life-changing decisions and getting out of the proverbial "box".
Sometimes we have to sacrifice what we KNOW for what we NEED.
"When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." ~Dr. Wayne Dyer.
I grew up in a pretty close-knit community on the northwest side of Chicago. When I close my eyes and recall the summers of my youth here is some of what comes to mind: I remember like it was yesterday...
The chirp-bang of my grandmother's storm door closing (and always the scent of something delicious cooking there)
The chugging of the window air-conditioner which promised relief from the heat of the day.
The hypnotic buzzing of cicadas in the trees blending with the melody of the neighborhood ice cream truck. My favorite was the Mickey Mouse bar on a stick and sometimes I'd buy my little brother a "screwball" (orange sherbet in a cone with a gumball at the bottom) or a frozen malt cup.
Drinking ice cold water from the garden hose. Daily. (No one died from this that I know of.)
Hopscotch. Chalky sidewalks. Skinned knees and elbows. Dirty fingernails.
Freeze-tag, "store", "school" (being the oldest I was usually the teacher), and riding bikes and Big Wheels.
Walking my favorite doll in her "Rock'N Roll stroller" down the block. It played music when you pulled a string.
Bringing birthday and allowance money to the candy store and buying nachos, sour cherries, wax bottles, flavored popcorn and loads of chocolate.
Sitting outside on the front porch visiting with relatives and neighbors on those hot summer nights, listening to stories from when they were kids. Usually someone would run out for hot dogs or ice cream and bring some back for everyone.
The plastic swimming pool in the back yard that always seemed to be full of grass minutes after we got in.
The knowledge that I was off school for an entire summer (which seemed like an eternity of blissful freedom as a kid)
The beaches of Wauconda or Lake Zurich where we'd spend many long summer days with family, eating ice-cold drippy watermelon slices and sandwiches, drinking kool-aid and laughing...always laughing.