trust yourself: everything you need is within you

listen to the wind, it talks. listen to the silence, it speaks. listen to your heart, it knows. – native american saying

good evening, friends. i hope that you have had a good weekend. here, in my little corner of the world, i am feeling satisfied + peaceful after sneaking away with my love to atlanta for about 36 hours to refocus + recharge with some good friends (more to come on that on tuesday!). but, now, i am focused on winding down the first week of my meditation mondays series – and it feels pretty good.

me. right now. as i type to you.
me. right now. as i type to you.

last monday i started this new series, and i challenged myself (and you, if you are so interested) in taking a little vision quest journey, as native american children have done in the past. i’m not sure if they still practice this today, but i sure do hope so. in any case, my meditation on monday introduced us to the idea of taking our own quest throughout the week = taking some time to just be + listen to our souls. a chance to reconnect with ourselves + discover to what the universe may be calling us to next in life.

for me, there has been no clear message slapping me in the face this week, rather lots of little things, that, had i not been deliberately trying to slow down + pay attention, i would have totally missed.

once again, my soul reminds me that i am a writer. that all i want to do is write + travel, and travel + write. and, even as things are changing right now in my life (more to come on that at a later date), i am reminded once again to stick to what my soul says.  scary and uncertain as it all may be, my soul knows me.

friends atlanta walking avondale lake autumn

now, before i let this vision quest thing go and prepare to move on to next week’s meditation mondays theme, i want to address something that we all often struggle with: guilt!

all this talk about the soul sounds a lot like me, me, me, me, me! egocentric. self-centered. selfish. but, my friends, it isn’t. not when you focus on yourself in the hopes of growth + transformation. now, only thinking about what we want next or what we want now, is one thing. meditating and turning inward is something completely different, i believe. something that is necessary in order to remain aligned + attached to our soul – because when we do that, when we attach ourselves to our true inner soul, then everything that flows out of us is done with love and compassion. therefore, when we go on a little quest to discover our personal legend or our calling at this time in our lives, then we are seeking ways to be true to who we are, which, in turn, makes us better people – who then make a difference in the world.

the native americans have a belief that life can be described as 4 concentric circles, with the first and inner circle being our self. the next one, our family and community. the 3rd one, the animals + the earth + all of humanity. and, the last one, spirituality. this is freaking genius, i believe.

native american values life

this is my little image that i created to show you what i mean. life begins at the center – at discovering who we are as unique individuals. but, we expand outward. in fact, everything in life is fluid, flowing back + forth through all of the circles, crossing lines, all connected and affected by one another. and, yet, unified as one circle. how beautiful is that?

this week, we went on a quest, a personal journey. starting tomorrow, we will begin to meditate on the next circle – family + community. using who we are, how do we impact those that are closest to us? what do the native americans have to say about the importance of family + community?

but, for tonight, i want to leave you with a bit of music from my native november playlist (see the left column for a link) for inspiration. listen + ponder. and be secure in who you are. you have everything you need within you:

light + love. xx

see you tomorrow for a new meditation!

introducing… meditation mondays: a place to inspire your week

native november

Continue reading

darkness has come

darkness has arrived. halloween has been celebrated with all of its ghostly and ghoulishly fun. all saint’s day, the day we remember + celebrate the dead, has passed as well. and for us in the states, we have changed to winter time (no more daylight savings time), so the sun set today so very early. darkness has literally arrived. and it feels heavy, yet cozy.

you know, this all hallows time (halloween and hallows/saints day) was actually a festival time back in the day. the celtic festival, known as samhain, celebrated the dead halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice. it was a time when winter preparations began for farmers, bringing their livestock in from the pastures. fires were lit, offerings of food and drink were left to the gods, asking for survival through the winter, and feasts were had, inviting the souls of the dead to draw near. people even dressed in costumes, going from door to door, reciting verses in exchange for food to be used at the feast. it was seen as a day that the spirit world was closer to the living world, thus the invitation for the souls of those who have gone before to come and feast with the living.

in my opinion, there is nothing dark and demon-y about this. it is simply recognizing the cycle of life, as seen in nature + in our own lives. november is a month that feels like the very end of life. it feels like death. it even looks like death in the northern hemisphere. just look around and notice what happens to the earth as the month progress. it grows darker, the plants and trees die. animals hibernate. we all move inside.

all saint’s day was introduced by christians in the year 609, but was originally celebrated on may 13. a few hundred years later it was officially switched to november 1, influenced by and merging with the celtic samhain holiday. offerings of prayers, flowers, candles, and even food are made in some countries. in sweden family members visit the graves of loved ones, taking candles and gifts to lay by the tombstones. when i lived there, i remember how silently beautiful it was. it was an overwhelming feeling of reverence – and i felt that the souls were closer to us. but, perhaps it was just me, being aware of them – that the souls are nearby all the time, but we never stop to really reflect on their presence. 

photo from here
photo from here

in the christian church in the states the only thing that is done is that a list of names of all of those who have died in the past year is read in the middle of the service. touching and sweet, but i definitely prefer the swedish way of actively being involved in remembering and giving thanks.

with that in mind, lina and i celebrated in our own way at home for all saint’s days/samhain. we lit a single candle and let it burn all day long, in remembrance of our loved ones. then, we picked up paige and headed to a historical cemetery in asheville. it was snowy, cold, misty, and windy. the air was damp and raw, but we walked a bit, lighting tea lights and leaving them on the grave of thomas wolfe, a famous american author from asheville who is buried there. it was our way of mingling with and showing respect for the souls of those who have gone before – and it reminded me of my one precious life that i have…

candle all saints day

all saints day riverview cemetery

all saints day riverview cemetery

all saints day riverview cemetery

i know it sounds depressing, but it is simply a reminder of who we are. a reminder that life is short and fleeting, and that we miss the people who have already left this world.

but, my friends, i truly believe that we must reflect on these things to help us gain perspective, to inspire us, and to ultimately transform us. it may be tough, but i believe that taking the time to ponder these things, together + alone, make us better people. it helps us to embrace the life that we have and live in the present moment.

so, whether you call it samhain or all saint’s day, the hallows festival is a beautiful time to dress up and enjoy the fun + craziness of halloween, while knowing that the tradition came from a festival of respecting death – both of the season of summer, and of the death of people we have loved. it is also a beautiful time take a slow, deep breath and light a candle. a time to be inspired to hold on + move forward. to grab on to the life that pulses through our veins and the breath that sustains us, inspiring us to make something of the life that we have been given.

all saints day riverview cemetery

what will you do with your life?

sending you light + love… even in the darkness, my dear ones.