The Spiritual Practice of Play

During lunch with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in April 2012, one of the things he shared was that he learns best when he laughs.

Our spirits need celebration! What feels joyful to us encourages us along the path of personal growth and expansion.

“You don’t stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing.” — Michael Pritchard

Play is the exuberant expression of our being, it fuels our joy and wonder. Play provides the energetic space we need to feel alive; it taps into unlimited possibility, inspiring us; it resides at the heart of our creativity and our most carefree moments of devotion. Play is a powerful way to feed our soul.

When was the last time you stepped into the transformational space of play?

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
— Laurie Buchanan

The Book—Discovering the Seven Selves
The Experience—Life Harmony

© 2013 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

Find me on Twitter @HolEssence

Satsang – Sacred Listening

During a Life Harmony session one of my clients shared that she’s contemplating starting her practice of Satsang as a business. Satsang is sacred listening.


Listening is a creative force that transforms relationships.

Listening to yourself elicits full self-expression—speaking from your soul.

Listening is being fully present—to Source, to Self, to Others.

Listening beyond words is a sacred act.

How often do you engage in the practice of Satsang?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
                — Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com and our Facebook page

© 2011 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

Self-Realization Fellowship & Meditation Garden

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During a recent visit with my dad in Encinitas, California (Dec 31 – Jan 1) I spent time at the Self-Realization Fellowship and Meditation Garden. This location—founded in 1920 by Paramahansa Yogananda—is always included when I visit.

It’s a wonderful place to recharge one’s personal battery; to just sit and drink in the beauty with all of the senses; to meditate, relax, and renew. It was a welcome part of my journey. I hope you enjoyed the virtual tour.

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com.

© 2011 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

G is for Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude

The words “gratitude” and “grace” share a common origin: the Latin word gratus, meaning “pleasing” or “thankful.”

In the monthly copy of the AHP newsletter (Association for Humanistic Psychology) that I receive, a recent article defined gratitude as “orientation towards noticing and appreciating the positive in the world.”

I won’t argue with that, but I’d like to add a qualifier. I believe that definition describes passive gratitude. If, however, that spark ignites a fire that inspires personal change, that passivity transforms into active gratitude.

It is my perspective that gratitude in action—as a regular practice—has a wide brushstroke of positive effects:

Inward—through appreciation we find contentment.

Outward—it inspires generosity—be it our time, skills, or money—and gifts us with opportunities to serve.

Environmentally—it’s a catalyst for healing our planet through the respect of nature.

For thousands of years gratitude has crossed religious and cultural boundaries not only as a social virtue, but as a theological virtue, but it’s a relatively new subject in the field of scientific research.

The University of California Davis psychology professor Robert Emmons’ research indicates that “Grateful people take better care of themselves and engage in more protective health behaviors like regular exercise, a healthy diet, (and) regular physical examinations.” His research also revealed that grateful people tend to be more optimistic, a characteristic that literally boosts the immune system—a clear physical benefit.

Dr. Alex Wood, a postgraduate researcher in the Department of Psychology, University of Warwick says, “…gratitude is an integral part of well-being;”—a distinct benefit to our mental and emotional faculties.

Gratitude helps to open the heart, the seat of compassion. It helps us to see the good in our experience, regardless. It enhances trust and helps us to forgive—an unarguable benefit to our spiritual aspect.

Better than a multi-vitamin, gratitude is plain good for us!

How do you weave gratitude into your life tapestry?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

F is for Feathers

Feathers

 Metaphorically speaking, a feather is synonymous with the soul. Sacred since the beginning of time, feathers have symbolically represented spiritual evolution, truth, speed, lightness, ascension, and flight—freedom of the human spirit.

Native Americans wore feathers to symbolize their communication with Spirit, and to express their celestial wisdom. They also represented the power of the thunder gods, along with the power of air and wind.

Celtic Druids wore ornate feathered robes in ceremonies to invoke the sky gods and gain knowledge of the celestial realm. They believed the feathered cloak along with the presence of the sky gods allowed them to transcend the earthly plane and enter the ethereal realm.

Egyptians believed that feathers were symbolic of sky gods too. Ma’at, the Egyptian goddess of justice, would weigh the hearts of the newly dead in the underworld against the weight of a feather to determine the worthiness of his or her soul.

In Christianity feathers represented virtues—faith, hope, and charity. An image of three feathers were made into signet rings, and then worn as a symbol of a virtuous soul; they were also used as wax seals.

In dreams feathers mean travel or the ability to move more freely in life. White feathers in dreams indicate innocence or a fresh start in a spiritual sense.

The Path of the Feather is the simple practice of going inward and embracing your source of power. It’s a daily journey of spirit that transforms, empowers, and heals. It’s sacred awareness. It’s BEing aware. It’s BEing awake.

Sacred Feathers—The Power of One Feather to Change Your Life by Maril Crabtree is an excellent book. In the introduction she says, “Feathers! Magical, mystical, incredible feathers! Feathers of all shapes, sizes, varieties, and colors. Throughout history, feathers have served as spiritual symbols for shamans and priests, as symbols of royalty for kings and chiefs, as symbols of healing, or a symbol of sacred power for cultures as far back as the ancient Egyptian, Asian, or Celtic eras. These cultures possessed abilities to communicate with nature in ways that have been overlooked or forgotten in our town time.

“Yet feathers are more than history. For many, they are mystical signs, messages, or opportunities. They are scraps of synchronicity in the flowing patchwork of universal meanings. Feathers appear in unlikely places as assurances of well being, as a comforting sign of abundance in the universe, and as unmistakable messengers of hope and encouragement. Their ephemeral grace makes them the perfect emissaries of spiritual and emotional freedom.”

I happen upon feathers all the time—they seem to throw themselves at me out of the clear blue sky. Have you ever happened on a feather, or has a feather ever happened upon you?

Important Note: Under the current language of the eagle feather law, only individuals of certifiable Native American ancestry enrolled in a federally recognized tribe are legally authorized to obtain eagle feathers. Unauthorized persons found with an eagle or its parts in their possession can be fined up to $25,000. The eagle feather law allows for individuals who are adopted members of federally recognized tribes to obtain eagle feathers and eagle feather permits.

Additionally, most migratory birds found in the United States are protected by international treaties as well as U.S. laws. No part of protected birds, live or dead, including feathers, claws, bones, skins, or taxidermy-mounted birds can be possessed without an appropriate permit, which is exceptionally hard to obtain even for legally acquired birds or bird parts.

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com.

© 2010 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

B is for BEing

BEing

BEing

Be bold.
Be thankful.
Be quiet.
Be original.
Be spontaneous.
Be punctual.
Be a star.
Be young at heart.
Be love.
Be crazy.
Be in the moment.
Be loud.
Be random.
Be adorable.
Be unique.
Be humble.
Be courageous.
Be the change.
Be yourself.

Recently Gil gave a great example of BEing on Barbara’s blog, “In the Presence of Others.” She said:

“I am training to be a therapist at the moment. This week I had an epiphany! I can’t fix anyone; I can only help them to help themselves. I can’t DO anything for them, but there is something I can BE. A listener

How do you express your BEing?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com.

© 2010 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

A is for Alchemy

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A very basic explanation of alchemy is that it transforms something common into something special. Derived from the Arabic word al-kimia, alchemy can be either a practice, or a way of life:

As a practice, the focus of this ancient art is an attempt to change base metals into gold—making the alchemist outwardly rich—financial gain.

As a way of life, the focus is on living with intention, achieving wisdom, and doing the work it takes to become a little more enlightened every day—making the alchemist inwardly rich—inner wealth.

What area of your life could use a touch of alchemy?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com.

© 2010 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved