I'm a true believer in the balance of the magical and the practical! It was the driving force behind the tagline and vision for my practice which arose almost 15 years ago... "A Practical Path to a Sacred Life." In many cultures around the world the spiritual is very much a part of day to day living, but it's something I see that we are really missing in our day to day lives and which I believe contributes to this cultural spiritual malady of feeling disconnected. So, I thought I'd share a few of the simple ways I bring the magical into my day to day practical life. These small and simple ways have been in my life for many years and are something I encourage in the students I support. They remind us that we are not "running the show" all by ourselves, and allow our hearts to remain open.
For many people, nourishing the soul and tending the spirit comes in the yoga studio, at church, or while on a hike in Nature. So, in other words, outside of the home which really is the heart and hearth of our lives. Over these years on the shamanic path however, I have found many ways in my daily life, to keep that connection to Spirit open so the relationship can develop, evolve, and strengthen into a clear conscious contact. These ways haven't appeared because I am a spiritual guru - LOL - but simply because I am a busy woman with a full life of work, art, and being a mama.
The first example I will share is this little altar I have here at my kitchen sink with my dear friend Ganesha, the Remover of Obstacles, and the Lord of good Fortune and Beginnings. I have had this little space for many, many years and over time I have developed a little ceremony of saying "Jai Ganesha!" either in a whisper or a little song.
It's a great way of connecting with Spirit.
Whether I'm washing dishes, rinsing my hands, drinking a glass of water, or wiping the sink, I often say "Jai Ganesha" as a way to give thanks for the support I receive in keeping my life, energy, body, relationships, as clean and clear as I can. If I am washing dishes, it helps me be mindful of what I am digesting. If I am washing my hands, I can be mindful of washing away something that doesn't serve me. If I am drinking a glass of water, I can watch the water running through my physical body, and my energy bubble to cleanse my energy, or I can give thanks for the privilege of clean water at my fingertips. So, this simple and easy little ceremony has a lot of potency in helping me be present and mindful.
Life is a Ceremony - bring the Ceremony into your Life
Naturally there are days when I have a lot on my mind, or have a heavy heart, or perhaps there's something or someone that's stressing me out. On those days, I stop and say, "Jai Ganesha! Please help me." And on the good days, I send love, "Jai Ganesha! Thank you for blessing my dear friend on this day."
Another practical way I bring the magical into my life is what I have come to call the "Tea Blessing." This means that every day when I make my family's cups of tea and I am stirring in the milk or the honey, I speak a blessing of protection asking Spirit to watch over them for the day. This isn't that much different than the old Irish way of blessing a tool passed from one worker to another as a way of bringing protection.
And then there's bringing the magical to those tasks that seem arduous. To be really honest, for me it's dog-walking! It's one thing I dread doing especially in our West Coast rain, and yet, it's one thing I have never once regretted. Once I am outside, I'm happy. We got our dog when my daughter turned 10 so she could learn responsibility, and yes, I walk and feed the dog! (I know there are other parents reading this who are having a laugh about that.) Anyway, I keep a little jar of sacred offerings right next to the pup's collar and lead. The little jar is full of a blend (cedar, rosemary, rose, lavender, sweet grass and sage) I recently bought at the Shaman's Market which was part of this year's Imbolc Festival. The little jar goes into my pocket, and when I come across a beautiful tree, flowering bush, creek, sunshine, sweet breeze, I take a little offering in my hand and say "Thank you for everything" placing it on the ground with love, or sending it on the breeze or over the bridge into the water.
(This pic was taken next to Our Lady who sits on my desk in front of me as I write, reminding throughout the day to stop and take a breath.)
These practical ways to bring the sacred into our lives are so important and it's one of the reasons why I love the path of Shamanism and one of the reasons it's been easy to stay passionate about it for over 20 years.
I hope these small practices I have shared will ignite your creative flame and you will find your unique ways of strengthening your conscious contact with Spirit and nourishing your Soul.
We would like to acknowledge the ancestral, traditional and unceded Aboriginal territories of the Coast Salish Peoples, and in particular, the Squamish, Kwikwetlem, Tsleil-Waututh, Kwantlen, and Katzie First Nations on whose territory we live and work.
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