Tag Archives: ritual

7 Steps to Dealing with Extreme Emotions

Do you ever feel like your emotions are so intense, you’d just rather not experience them?

These may be toxic emotions, like anger, jealousy, or guilt. But they may be neutral or even positive, but the intensity of the feeling is almost too much to bear.

While fielding questions in the heart of NYC’s Union Square for The Chopra Well series, SPIRITUAL SOLUTIONS, Deepak was approached by Kersten with the predicament: “How do I deal with extreme emotions?” In the past, Kersten said, she has tried to avoid her emotions. Now when she experiences them, they “come in great force.”

This seems to be a conundrum in our culture. Americans especially love getting emotional over their favorite football teams and the latest controversies of political campaigns. But in our personal lives, who wants to be the one laughing the loudest at the movie theater or saying “I love you” first to a sweetheart? Balance is a virtue; moderation is key.

In response to Kersten’s dilemma, Deepak shares a 7-step process to release emotional toxins. It may come as surprise to many, though, that the process focuses on experiencing emotions fully and then releasing those that get in the way. The steps originally featured in Deepak’s book, The Ultimate Happiness Prescription, and follow as such:

1.     Take responsibility for your present emotion.
2.     Feel it in your body.
3.     Label your feeling.
4.     Express what you feel.
5.     Share what you feel with someone you trust.
6.     Release the toxic feeling through a ritual.
7.     Celebrate the release and move on.

As you work through the steps, imagine that you are metabolizing the emotion. Your body, mind, and soul need to process feelings, just as you process food or toxins, so that they don’t make you ill. Don’t shy away from the experience, as raw as it might get.

First, take responsibility for what your body and mind are experiencing. Feelings occur within you, though they may be triggered by external stimuli. There are always alternate ways of responding. Deepak emphasizes that we have the power to feel and respond exactly as we wish.

Feel the emotion in your body. Close your eyes and meditate on the feeling. You may experience sensations in certain parts of your body – tension, tingling, aching. Notice the feeling without any attachment to it.

Label the feeling; identify it. The Boogie Man isn’t so scary if you learn his name is Albert. Give the feeling a name. Irritation? Fear? Anticipation? Once you label it, you already have the upper hand.

Express what you feel by saying it out loud and writing it down on a piece of paper. It can help to frame from first person, second person, and third person. This may help you understand it from a slightly new perspective.

Share the feeling with someone you trust – a loved one or friend. This will help you verbalize the progress you are making in dealing with the emotion.

Release the toxic feeling by performing a ritual. Deepak tells Kersten that this may entail burning the piece of paper on which you wrote your feelings, throwing it to the wind, singing, dancing, or doing yoga. This symbolically releases you from the experience.

Celebrate the process and get on with your life. Allow yourself to be free of the emotion and recognize the hard work you did to overcome it. Then go have some fun! You deserved it.

Do you have a problem you’d like Deepak’s help with? Submit your questions in the video’s comments section!
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Further resources:

For an even more in-depth outline of the seven steps, check out this article by Deepak Chopra.

What Are The Seven Principles of Manifesting Your Desires? Ask Deepak!

How Does Forgiveness Heal? Ask Deepak?

Memories and Emotions: All in the Mind or the Brain?

Participate in the 5-day Emotional Freedom experience at the Chopra Center.

Seven Ways to Release Anger Out of Your Body

Originally published July 2012

8 Incredible Photos of Burning Man’s Singular Landscape

A woman performs with fire at sunrise at the Temple of Whollyness

A week in the middle of the Nevada desert. No running water, no escape from the dust, no cell reception, no contact with the outside world. If these conditions excite your imagination and call to your soul, then all roads lead to one place: Burning Man.

This once-a-year-temporary-town, called Black Rock City, draws tens of thousands of people from all around the world seeking adventure, communion, transformation, and much more. Burning Man is essentially an art festival, if you allow “art” to encompass extravagant installations, fire shows, music, dancing, cooking, performance, yoga, and an everything-covered-in-LED-lights atmosphere. There’s the Temple, where people go for spiritual connection, write prayers and affirmations, and even get married. There’s Center Camp, the one place where people can exchange money for goods (coffee, tea, and lemonade.) And of course there’s the actual “burning man,” a massive effigy burned at the end of the week-long festival, a transcendent experience for all who witness it.

If you missed out on Burning Man this year, then not to worry! It’ll come back around next year, always the first week of September. Apart from actually attending, nothing can give a better sense of the festival than the incredible images captured by participants.

Here are 8 of the most moving photos we saw from the 2013 Burning Man:

 

Photo credit: Jim Urquhart/Reuters

Photo credit: Kevin Tang

Happy May Day! 10 Funny Ways to Celebrate the First of May

Elmenhorster MaibaumAh, the first of May. Late spring, maypoles, dancing, and merriment. A remnant, perhaps, of ancient pagan summer festivities, still observed by many around the world as the holiday Beltane, May Day gives us a chance to rekindle that childhood fervor for sunshine and play.

As was immortalized in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s story “The Maypole of Merry Mount,” many communities around the globe will be celebrating May Day as they have for decade – by dancing with ribbons around the maypole, crowing a May queen, and decorating their homes with leaves and flowers. For others, this day commemorates the efforts of a century-and-a-half long international labor movement that has fought tirelessly to reduce workers’ hours and increase wages. The combination of bloody labor protests and whimsical summer dances makes May Day at once a complex, significant, and still very relevant holiday.

To connect with that long and fascinating history, here are 10 unique ways you can observe May Day this year:

  1. Beltane, the original holiday May Day derives from, translates as “Day of Fire.” So light some candles, build a bonfire, dance around a flaming cauldron, or something along those lines to tap into the fiery roots of this holiday. (Just be sure to have plenty of water and a fire resistant blanket handy.)
  2. It’s a summer holiday, after all, so why not pretend the season’s truly here already and have a barbeque or a beach day this weekend? So what if it’s still snowing where you live? (Sorry Minneapolis…)
  3. If you’re more intrigued by the labor side of May Day’s history, then take the opportunity today to stand up to your boss. Never get that full hour of lunch? Dying to practice casual Fridays?
  4. May Day is actually called “Garland Day” in some parts of Britain…Connect with your inner child and pick some flowers and grasses for a homemade garland! Make a daisy chain! For the lazy ones out there, tuck a flower behind your ear and call it a day.
  5. If you don’t have a maypole at the ready to dance around, pick the first street sign or telephone pole you see and have a Singing in the Rain moment.
  6. In Central Europe and Scandinavia May Day is called “Walpurgis Night” in honor of an English-born nun who was said to have a knack for curing illnesses. So go hang with some nuns today, perhaps?
  7. For a tamer celebration, enjoy the bounty of spring and summer with a big feast of delicious, local foods.
  8. Some report a common May Day superstition that washing your face in May dew makes your skin beautiful and youthful. As city dwellers we’re not even sure what “May dew” looks like, but if you try it let us know how it goes.
  9. The day’s significance to the labor movement makes this holiday particularly revered in socialist and communist circles. So when you get home from work today, enjoy a cup of tea over your copy of Marx’s Communist Manifesto.
  10. As a holiday that, originally, was probably intended to celebrate the lengthening days, warming weather, and increasing fertility of the fields, there is perhaps no better way to enjoy the first of May than to spend some quality time with your loved ones. Go for a walk, cook a meal, have a cuddle, and enjoy the summer ahead!

 

Photo credit: Flickr

Extreme Devotion: Does baby tossing ritual cross the line?

What is the most “extreme” thing you’ve done for your faith?

If, for example, you alter your body in some way or fast for days on end, that’s one thing. Once you involve someone else in your devotion, though, things start to get fuzzy. In this week’s episode of “Holy Facts” on The Chopra Well, Gotham Chopra explores some of more extreme spiritual practices around the world, including a particularly alarming festival involving babies.

In this 700 year old tradition, practiced every year in Karnataka, India by Hindus and Muslims alike, parents hand their infants over to priests, who swing the youngsters back and forth before dropping them 30 feet off of a balcony. Men standing below hold a blanket taut in which to catch the screaming babies before returning them to their mothers. Devotees believe the ritual to bring the babies prosperity and good health, though children’s rights organizations around the world decry the practice as “barbaric.” And it seems a rather life-threatening thing to do for the sake of “health.”

Screen Shot 2013-02-15 at 11.37.36 AMApart from the perhaps obvious problem with dropping babies off of balconies, there’s also the issue of forcing one’s devotion on another person. Is it okay for one person to engage another in their extreme and dangerous act of devotion, particularly if that other person is an innocent baby with no autonomy and no way of consenting? Maybe parents know what’s best for their children, physically and spiritually, but it would be interesting to get the baby’s perspective, especially when his or her life depends on a bunch of men with a blanket 30 feet below.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Devil Trees and Leadership

 Over the holiday break, a contingent of our family stood on a hill overlooking Panama City. As we took in the view, our son Cameron remarked, "It’s all about perspective, isn’t it? I might suffer a terrible death. From a personal perspective that would be catastrophic. In this city, that might make news. Yet, from a historical perspective, that is nothing. How many millions have suffered the same? It becomes nothing."

We listened to the sounds of the city and watched women hanging laundry out of windows below. We surveyed the skyline, a building fashioned to look like a corkscrew, and the ocean etching a border.

Senya, Cameron’s sister, then encouraged us to contemplate that cities, or systems, like this were rocking and rolling, moving and shaking across this country, across Central America and beyond. She brought up the struggle of actually comprehending how interdependent actions were madly occurring all around us and that we were somehow affecting the melee, even as observers from above. How many people were hanging their laundry at that exact moment? How many were laughing, crying or walking to work? How many were watching like we were? How did each of those actions mess with another?

I appreciated this conversation and how it shifted my perspective in those moments. I was remembered a Jewish proverb that reminds us to place a piece of paper in each of our front pockets. On one we are counseled to write, "I am unique in all the universe," and on the other, "I am nothing but dust." The art is to know which piece of paper to fish out when.

I was brought back to Cameron’s initial statement four days later floating down a creek in a small fishing boat, or panga, near Bocas del Toro, Panama. Our captain and guide hailed from the local Nôbe-Buglé tribe.  After pointing out caimans and sloths, he added, "and that tree over there is called a devil tree. Some people will go make offerings in front of trees like those to call out the devil to get things that they want — jobs, a girl or money.  On Good Friday they wait to make their request and spirits will appear sometimes in the form of a monkey to answer them."

He had my attention. I have been long fascinated by how trees play a role in cultural practices. In Thailand, you can pray to a tree to save your child from illness or to get a job. If rewarded, you return to the tree and give it gifts. Apparently, tree spirits are feminine as when traveling in the country, I witnessed a number of trees awarded very fancy dresses.

In Crow culture, trees might be adorned with prayer bundles or gifts if prayers are answered as  you can see in the included photo.  

And, Deidre, how are you going to  connect this to leadership?

Harkening back to Cameron’s statement, leadership is all about perspective. For example, how often does your average Westerner walk past a tree without notice? How many of you reading this knew about the potential importance of trees and tree spirits within these cultures? More importantly, how often do I remember that what is standard to some is sacred to others?

Leadership calls for humility. I know well that my personal perspective is not the only one on each situation, yet I need constant reminders. Too often I want to barrel ahead ignoring this fundamental fact.

Like the death example above, what might be a catastrophe for me could be interesting news to another, or have no significance at all. As simple examples, take the cutting down a tree or filling in a wetland. Therefore, as leaders some of our most critical tasks must become sharing, gathering and shifting perspectives.

 

The Battle of Hastings

Yesterday a swarm of sturdy re-enactors gathered at Hastings, in England, on the very field where the battle was fought in 1066. The last Saxon king of England, Harold, died there, and William, Duke of Normandy, became king.

And suddenly the whole country had to learn medieval French.  All the existing power structures were changed and handed over to French nobles, and England would never be the same again. The Saxons were, effectively, frozen out of everything.

The upshot was that England became a ‘modern’ country; the English language absorbed the French language and became unimaginably rich and varied, and an ancient way of life died out forever. Paganism was out, for instance.

In case you think that these re-enactors are just a bunch of 350 louts who would do anything for a punch-up I have a surprise for you. Many of the carefully costumed ‘warriors’ marshaled yesterday were in fact women, not all of them young, and they knew they were part of a ritual. It was a ritual that acknowledged the way things must change, and it sanctioned the alterations that would come. In so doing they affirmed the hand-over, for better and for worse.

What Brings You Serenity?

Taking vacations is a no-brainer. We spend copious amounts of money traveling exotic parts of the world, looking for a hide away where we can indulge our senses. Be that our sense of adventure, exploration, a place to unwind and reclaim a lost sense of calm, or just a simple get away from the bustling lives we live in the city. 

 But what about the larger chunk of our lives that is spent behind our desks, in our homes, around wailing kids, amid deadlines, pending bills, home repair etc etc? Isn’t that where we need to find little windows of respite, that are healing, productive, nourishing and calming at the same time? 

 

I have found that the simpler things are what help us assuage our otherwise over-populated existence. For me, sometimes its an hour alone with a pot of my favorite tea (rose melange and lavender),  and a good book. At others, its just the daily ritual of lighting a candle when I work. The dance of an open flame giving off a calming scent is sometimes all I need to take me to that little wonderland in my mind, where everything is at peace and manage-able. At other’s, its transmuting feelings through inexplicable shapes on a piece of canvas, in a dance of colors that attract my senses–amateur art but very healing. 

 

Rituals are delightful, and we already have so many centering around our daily lives. Our morning ritual of coffee and the news, our desk-cleaning or cluttering ritual, our nap ritual (if we can manage one), our once-a-day or once-a-week talking to mom ritual. Why not cultivate a quiet little space for oneself, a private ritual that helps one re-connect with that lose or displaced sense of wonder that gives us the fire to keep living and thriving in this beautiful life? 

 

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / this lyre lark

The Body Divine

I love the thought of my body being a divine instrument. It makes me feel as though music is being played through me, like a flute, or an entire symphony orchestra at times. But I don’t always treat my body as such, and so…just more to nurturing self-love and compassion to be had. I’ll get there…eventually…perhaps when coffee and chocolate become exstinct! I’m learning though, that what I do to my body, is also affecting the Great Earth Body upon which I live.

Learning to awaken to our natural divine body is a journey, and it is in our very bodies that this nature is housed. Just like a daily ritual of a cleansing shower or bath, to nurture, adore, and care for our bodies is to recognize who we are.

This the ancients did through rubbing their bodies with healing oils, adorning themselves with precious jewelry, bathing in waters scattered with fragrant petals, dancing ecstatically with the divine, feeding it with nourishing foods prepared by loving hands, and engaging in holy acts of sacred sexuality. These were not indulgent rituals saved only for a special occasion, for the ancients knew something that we have so long forgotten. That our bodies feed the body of mother earth, and visa versa.

It is no accident that we were designed with feet to walk upon this earth. From the infinite Oneness above, this energy pours in through the top of our heads. From the magnetic core of the center of the earth, we are anchored here and fed these grounding energies up through our feet. Both energies meet in the middle, at our heart center, where they blend as One, then divide again to form a continuous loop, a never-ending delicious dance between heaven and earth.

Without our body how would we experience ourselves on this planet, or could we? We did choose to have this earthly experience for a reason. We wanted to know what it would feel like to be physical. And of the infinite possibilities of unknown realities we could have chosen from, there truly is none other than this earth’s perfect playground to do just that.

So, while it is a physical experience to pollute our bodies and our earth, it is also a physical experience to have honor and reverence for our bodies and our earth. What we give to one, we are giving to the other. I wonder what happen if we gave love?

What if we loved and cherished our bodies, these precious vehicles, to such an extent that along with heaven and earth nourishing us, WE began the reciprocal dance of nourishing heaven and earth? I think this is what unconditional love looks like. What we give to ourselves ripples outward in untold waves of either love or fear. Never again can we believe that what we feel isn

“To Honor and Heal Those Who Serve”

I am sharing this with the planet

The GODDESS TEMPLE of Orange County
Offering returning warriors and their loved ones an inter-faith ceremony
for the healing of hearts, minds and souls…
 "To Honor and Heal Those Who Serve" ….
SATURDAY, SEP 26, 2009
6: 30 PM Gathering
7 pm Event Begins
 
 
 “QUAN YIN” RITUAL
for MILITARY & MILITARY FAMILIES
presented by The ABBEY of AVALON
in conjunction with The GODDESS TEMPLE of Orange County 
(for women, men, families)
Co-Sponsored by the Order of the Pentacle, a national Pagan Veteras Association and
 Operation Circle Care of
Circle Sanctuary
Healing Ceremony – Silent Auction – Performers
Refreshments

COST:  $10/person ($5 for military personnel in uniform or dress fatigues)
RSVP Appreciated but not Required

Donations  Welcome (but optional)  of   Goddess/Pagan medallions, amulets, CDs of music  & other spiritual resources to be sent to Pagan troops serving overseas  
 
“Putting aside how one feels about politics and war, the military and their families bear the burden of sacrifice during these troubled times. How does our community offer healing, solace and appreciation to the brave men and women in our Armed Forces who have returned home? How do we help them re-assimilate into their families and communities? How do we show support for these soldiers (retired and active duty) and their families who enable us to exercise our many freedoms? For those of us who have never been in combat or in the military we can only strive to fathom the depths of what these people of our community endure in war. Unless we have walked in their shoes, we can only try to understand but we can let them know they are not forgotten. They are appreciated. We honor the sacrifice and burden shared by so few for so many.
In response, and in service to these soldiers and their families, the clergy of the Abbey of Avalon, in conjunction with The GODDESS TEMPLE of Orange County, with sponsorship by the Order of the Pentacle and OperationCircle Care of Circle Sanctuary have combined efforts to offer these returning warriors and their loved ones an inter-faith ceremony invoking the divine power of the Goddess of Compassion, “Quan Yin,” for the healing of heart, mind and soul, a ceremony called "To Honor and Heal Those Who Serve."

The evening will include the ceremony, a silent auction, and performances by many talented artists within the community. Refreshments will be served.

Please arrive no later than 7PM.

The service is open to the entire community.
Men are of course welcome.
We invite you to share notice of this event with those you know who are military personnel, retired and active duty, and their families.
INFORMATION: Rev. Karen Tate   karentate108@ca.rr.com
This event at
The GODDESS TEMPLE of Orange County
17905 Sky Park Circle, # A   Irvine, CA 92614
PHONE: 949/651-0564   FAX:  949/260-1354
WEBSITE: www. goddesstempleoforangecounty.com 
 
With the Support of:
Circle Sanctuary Military Ministries
PO Box 9, Barneveld, WI 53507 * 608-924-2216 * circle@circlesanctuary.org
 
Order of the Pentacle Veterans Association
 
Operation Circle Care: Support for Pagan Troops in War Zones

Ceremony of Welcome – Welcoming a New Member to Your Family

 Just as our inner landscape is constantly shifting and changing in response to the world around us, the dynamics of the families we belong to evolve over time. When we welcome an individual into our family—whether that individual is human or animal—a transformation takes place, a shift in the energy of your family unit. The birth or adoption of a child, the introduction of a spouse or stepparent, or the choice to bring a pet into your home can mark a new direction in the life of the family as a whole. A simple welcoming ritual can serve as the platform upon which every member of the household, old and new, gathers together to joyfully mark this new phase of family life. Encouraging every member of the family to take part in the ritual will foster a sense of unity and help members come together to grow into the new family paradigm as a group. 

The transition from one family dynamic to another isn’t always straightforward. The needs and desires of new members of a household may not always correspond with those of other members of the household. It is precisely because the introduction of a new family member can interrupt the flow of energy upon which the family previously thrived that it is so important to respect the change and honor the induction of the new addition. When welcoming an adult into your family, a sand ceremony can reinforce each member’s individuality and symbolically integrate the newest family member into the whole. During the ceremony, parents, children, and extended relations are given sand of a different color or texture and, one by one, pour it into a thoughtfully chosen container. The rainbow of sand can then be displayed as a reminder of family unanimity. To honor the introduction of a child, parents can hold a ritual during which they formally introduce their child to the other members of the family and invite each to speak a blessing over the child. Welcoming a pet can be as simple as coming together in the presence of your new friend and articulating your intention as a family to provide it with a loving and secure atmosphere in which it can flourish. 

As each family is different, you may feel more comfortable using a ritual or ceremony of your own design to welcome the new member of your household. However you choose to honor your new family member, know that your decision to acknowledge the manner in which your household has grown will make the transition a beautiful and memorable event in your family history.

For more inspiration, visit DailyOM

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