with Melinda Rodriguez

Posts tagged ‘nature’

The Return of the Shaman

shaman1I awoke this morning to the cry of Hawk as she soared above the pine trees outside my bedroom.  What a perfect alarm clock.  I got up from my bed and peered out my open window at the beautiful sight and scent of a light spring mist that carried the sweet perfume of my blooming roses and jasmine.  Ahhh, Pachamama – Good Morning!  The Hawk continued her sacred song as messenger.  She has appeared to me often in the last few weeks on my morning runs with my dogs.  Her message is a confirmation to what I have been observing for quite some time.  We have entered the time of the return of the Shaman.

As the world around us continues to evolve with a huge increase in technological advances, the world within us is pulling us towards our true essence – Spirit and the realm of Nature.  This paradox in seemingly opposite directions is actually an act of stability and harmony.  But only if we listen and follow that inner pull.  The Shaman within each of us desires to awaken and ignite our connection to nature, arousing our awareness of Spirit and illuminating our pathway of purpose.

The illusion of economical stress, violence and upheaval that penetrates the psyche of humankind right now is actually the perfect platform for the Shaman to emerge.  When the cloak of media and excess materialism begins to fall away, what is left is what matters – community, family, relationships, the beauty of nature, and a deep connection with Spirit.  Our inner Shaman develops and thrives within the natural world of rhythm, harmony, wellness and wholeness; this is the essence of who we truly are.  This essence is thirsting to take front and center stage in our lives so that we may experience the beauty, wisdom and peace that we came here to be.

The fundamental nature of the role of a Shaman in both ancient and contemporary societies is to create and sustain equilibrium and wholeness for Mother Earth and her inhabitants.  This role is becoming increasingly necessary causing people to awaken and remember their purpose.  Our awareness of our inner Shaman is intensifying and we are being called to embrace our path.  The Shaman or Shamanic Practitioner takes on many different roles to achieve wholeness.  For some it may be the role of healer, activist, teacher, intuitive advisor or even bringing sweet shamanic medicine into seemingly mundane roles.  The common denominator is a developing and deepening a connection to nature and increased intuitive awareness.

Sacred ToolsNature is the teacher of harmony and wholeness.  When we are aligned with inner rhythm and the natural world our Shamanic instincts awaken and we embark upon the journey of traveling the inner worlds of consciousness.  If we follow our instincts, we are lead to the right circumstances to further develop our gifts and talents so that our unwavering, constant connection to Spirit becomes a natural, harmonious way of life.  When challenge arises, our response comes from wisdom rather than fear.  We hold onto our power and utilize that force as a beacon of light and love that inspires others as it permeates and fuels every aspect of our life.  We are aligned with our own rhythm and listen to the heartbeat of nature to guide us as the rhythm shifts.

On this sacred Holy Day of Beltane, may we welcome and celebrate the return of the Shaman.  Let us step sacredly upon our Earth Mother and listen to her song.  Dance to the rhythm of the wind, let your passion ignite by the light of fire, drink from the waters of joy and be nourished by the abundance that is all around you.

In Rhythm & Harmony,

Melinda

 

 

 

 

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Ancestor’s Whispers

Long ago, on the very land where I currently live, there were sacred people. I feel their spirit every time I look around and see a hawk soaring, a deer or coyote walk by and hear the sweet song of the birds and the wind through the pines. There wisdom still runs deep in the soil; it is etched in the very molecules of air I breathe. The ancestors speak to me through the language of nature.

b48990ec3c9be0df5cb65be3e76a614dThis ancestral wisdom is from people who had no technology and yet remained profoundly connected. They had no money and yet they lived richly. They had no cars and because of this their bodies were strong and fit. They had no kitchens or even gardens but they knew how to live off the food of the land and they ate well. They lived in community. They had healers amongst them who knew how to heal the whole person – body, mind and spirit. They needed no government, no police force, no military. But they had warriors amongst them who knew how to protect without extremes or needless killing. They honored women, they listened to them, followed their wisdom and always protected them. They honored each other; it was never “them” or “us” or “I’ but always WE.

This past Monday I felt an unexplainable sadness.  I kept experiencing an urge to cry, but I didn’t know why.  After some introspection I realized I was feeling the Earth Mama’s sadness.  It was Earth Day, but so what? What good is one day to honor her, only to go back to sleep and continue the abuse. All she wants is for her human babies to wake up! She beckons us to see through the illusion of being separate from her and to fully comprehend that our body and her body are one. What we do to her, we do to ourselves. What we do to ourselves, we do to her.

She doesn’t need adoration of her beauty. She asks us to adore our own beauty and the very temple we exist in while here. I am not just talking about nutrition but the whole being, body, mind and spirit.

When we truly honor ourselves we dissolve the notion of separation and then recognize the beauty of everything and everyone. This concept eliminates greed, a hunger for power, poverty and violence. And this is why Mama cries. We have yet to achieve this as a species. But every small step we take as individuals and as communities towards this awareness and self love is a giant step towards drying her tears and making her smile.

What we need now more than warriors are Earth Missionaries, Love Emissaries and Potential Visionaries. There will always be warriors, but these roles take extreme courage to walk our talk. It begins by awakening our own inner Shaman, our wilderness, for there lies the wisdom and courage to live authentically with Nature.  This essence is already an intrinsic part of who we are, it just needs to be nudged out of dormancy and nourished into a flourishing force that drives our actions.  This state of awakened wisdom is a blissful way of living.  And although it does not eliminate difficulty or adversity, it provides a strong foundation to transform life’s trials into triumphs.

The ancestors are my mentors. Part of my life’s mission is to be a bridge back to the red road, right mind, and the way of sacred, peaceful, healthy living while maintaining what is good about contemporary life. There is no one pathway to this wisdom, for we are all imbued with our own sacred uniqueness.  But this I do promise; when you connect with your rhythm a profound sense of clarity is unleashed.  Through the pulse of the Earth Mama’s heartbeat, we are eloquently guided to our purpose and reclaim our oneness with nature.

The journey back to the land of the ancestors is not backwards but one that gathers what we need to remember as we move forward. It is not a swift journey but it also need not be prolonged. Open your heart, listen with your soul and you too will know this wisdom. May it lead you to peace, wellness, and the magnificent wholeness that you are. Aho!

In Rhythm & Harmony,

Melinda

The Myth of Balance

balanceDo you feel totally and completely balanced in every aspect of your life?  What if I told you that the notion of such a state of total balance, 24/7 is an illusion?  One of my greatest inspirations, Susan Weed is quoted as saying “Balance is the step immediately preceding death. The Wise Woman Tradition defines health as flexibility. In the Wise Woman Tradition we nourish wholeness rather than trying to achieve a mythical balance. The essence of life is, in the words of E.O. Wilson, dynamic disequilibrium.” 

There is a great deal of power and freedom in this concept.  If you stopped chasing balance and instead surrender and relax into wholeness, what might your daily life look like?  What if you exchanged the unfounded notion of balance with the concept of harmony, which is found in wholeness?

The paradox of living a “spiritually connected” life is that you are already just that.  It’s like looking for the glasses that are hanging around your neck.  You can spend hours in meditation each day seeking wisdom, peace, centeredness and heightened awareness and what does this really achieve?  I believe it can create a state of living that is very ungrounded and unnatural to your purpose of harmony.  The real wisdom of life is found in the natural world; it is found in the trees, the animals, the elements and most importantly, your body.  When we are acutely attuned with the natural world we LIVE in a state of harmonious awareness; we are always connected to the inner peace and centeredness we desire.  When we are tuned in to nature we are fully present, in the body, aware of our innate holiness and able to hear the voice of spirit speaking to us.  This way of living is a dance of harmony with the “dynamic disequilibrium” that is wholeness and a whole heck of a lot easier to embody than the elusive and illusionary “balance” that we seem to hear so much about.

If you are being bombarded with stress, an inner nagging, fear, pain or any of the negative forces of polarity that exist in the earthly realm, it is nature that will restore a blanket of divine thinking and feeling.  Meditation certainly has a very noble place and is a useful practice in its own right, but sometimes the efforts of trying to quiet the mind and feeling the opposition of stopping the thoughts may actually create disharmony and not be the best medicine in the moment.  But when you step outside, take a walk or sit on the ground and look around at the wonder of the natural world there is an instant exhale from the body, mind and spirit synchronized.

Believe me; I spent hours upon hours in meditation in my early years of spiritual awakening.  I could achieve amazing feats of speaking in tongues and channeling enlightened beings.  I could access incredible portals into alternate universes and deep, deep states of awareness.  And during that time in my life I was so incredibly ungrounded in my day-to-day doings that I sometimes felt depressed when I wasn’t meditating.

As the awakening process evolved, I realized through connecting with indigenous ways of spiritual practice, ceremonial ritual and drumming that spending all that time in the ethers, with my upper chakras wide open while my lower ones were closed off was not supporting me. I was disconnecting with my body and the earthly realm. I needed to explore a more nature-based wisdom pathway to wholeness and harmony.  After all we are here in this bubble of biology we call a body for a reason.  We are not here to escape our earthly reality through meditation or chasing an unreal state of balance, but rather transcend the polarities, center our whole being, and align with who we really are – nature.  We are raw, thinking, feeling, always-changing, wild creatures roaming the earth realm to anchor our spirit where it is needed.

What I discovered was that I could walk through life awake, aware, tuned in to my wisdom and all those cool ethereal experiences meditation had brought me without having to shut myself off from the world around me.  I was able to integrate the benefits of meditation into my daily activities in a conscious sate.  Through nurturing my wholeness and aligning with nature I felt more harmonious than ever.

Wholeness creates the pulse in which you craft the music for your dance with constant change.  Living in wholeness is living in rhythm and when you are aligned with the ever-changing rhythm of your life you are harmoniously contributing to the symphony rather than creating chaos.  You already have heaven within you – you came here to infuse it into the very soil you walk upon.

Wholeness is a nurtured state of being.  It honors all of you, your body, your mind, your spirit.  So if you struggle with conventional meditation, what if you put down the practice of trying to achieve inner silence and instead engaged in an act of self nourishment?  It too will raise your vibration and re-calibrate the brain and put you back into the flow of harmony through divine gratification. Perhaps a warm bath with relaxing music to delight those senses that are intended for pleasure.  Maybe a sitting in a garden where a gentle breeze and the song of birds reminds you of the wisdom that you are.  Or possibly a stroll upon a trail, or a shoreline, or even on a sidewalk that meanders through a serene neighborhood.  What if you made a ceremony out of preparing a nutritious AND delicious meal for yourself?  How about sitting with a pet and exchanging the unconditional love that animals are absolute experts at?

Nourishment is not about discipline, it is not about work, it is not about drudgery, it is about joy, pleasure, feeding your soul and disconnecting with opposition, difficulty, technology and negativity.  Nourished Wholeness does not contain the word “should” in its nomenclature; it is all about the essence of “could.”

Wholeness does however require consistency and regularity to maintain.  At the end of the day, and eventually at the end of your life, your moments of nourishing wholeness will far outweigh how many dishes were washed, how clean your house is, how many hours you clocked at the office and how many chores you accomplished.

Another powerful practice that nourishes wholeness is community ceremony.  Here in the West, where culture has been washed away through the cultural “cleansing” that has occurred in what we call the “melting pot,” people are thirsting and down right parched for ritual in a community setting.  When we come together around a theme or common cause and honor the spirit that we are and the natural world we are a part of we automatically heal the wounds that block us from our wisdom and the life we desire.  Through ritual and ceremony we align our thoughts, our words, and our actions and create the congruency necessarily for manifestation.  Ritual is active meditation.

In ceremony I access the sacred portals.  I synch up with the ethers while remaining firmly grounded.  I channel divine wisdom and disperse this grand light within my community.  My body is active, my mind is focused, and my spirit sings hallelujah in the divine, harmonious alignment of my being.  Ritual is my meditation.  And there are many pathways to this wisdom, countless ways of engagement, and numerous traditions to incorporate.

feet in grassSo here I share some ways in which I nurture harmony and wholeness as inspiration for you upon your own journey:

Hot sea salt baths

Cuddles with my fur babies (3 cats, 2 dogs)

Long walks in nature

Daily walks (sometimes runs) with my dogs in the peaceful suburbs where I live

Making the time to create a wholesome meal

Preparing and drinking herbal infusions like my beloved Nettle

Dates with girlfriends (which often requires me saying NO to other things that pop up)

Dates with my sweetheart Luis

Time with my daughter

Working in my garden

Weeding – yes weeding, it is an incredible metaphor

Sitting in my garden and doing nothing

Taking a day every now and then where I don’t get out of bed

Putting my bare feet on the earth and drink in the energy (known as earthing)

Receiving a massage

Receiving Reiki (where I naturally go into the silence and meditate)

Reading

Browsing through a magazine

Drumming

Community ceremony

…the list is always evolving and expanding

These activities are a meditation for me.  I am grooving with my rhythm when I engage in nourishment.  When I am hiking a trail in nature, I am so fully present.  Nothing else matters but that moment.  None of the issues I might be facing are even in my awareness.  I am completely soaking in the beauty that surrounds me and feeling the resulting alignment of my being through the holy force of nature.  I return refreshed, renewed and in a state of harmony ready to deal with life once again.  Nourishing my wholeness does not require I escape life, but rather deeply immerse myself in the organic earthly realm that is Spirit.

And for the sake of clarity, let it be known that committing to this nourishment is not always easy.  Just like meditation, I must set aside the time, often sacrificing.  But sacrifice is not a word of profanity, but quite simply a divine exchange of one thing for something else of greater value.

In closing I share one last quote from the lovely Susan Weed “Wisdom springs from connection. When we are connected to ourselves and to the Earth, then Wisdom flows through us. Listen to Nature. Listen to your gut. Listen to your heart. Drink nourishing herbal infusions. Eat wild salads. Breathe deeply. Every breath is a give-away dance with the plants. Every breath is filled with green blessings.” 

Tell me how you nourish harmony and wholeness.  Tell me where you might struggle with it…I’m happy to help.

Harmonious Blessings,

Melinda

 

 

Stinging Nettle – how I love thee…and so should you!

As any nature-loving gal can share, if you hike on a warm day in shorts, watch for Stinging Nettle!  If you rub against it, it can feel like you swiped your shin on a barbed wire fence, without leaving a trace of blood.  It doesn’t last long, but those few moments you wont’ soon forget.  Nor should you forget for it is Mother Earth’s way of getting your attention and saying “Hello lovey!  I’ve got this amazing defense mechanism that likewise creates amazing defense against a plethora of ailments of the body and mind.  Did I get your attention with that sting?  Good!  Now respectfully harvest this blessed herb, or do the urban harvest and order online and brew it up my beloved!”

ImageWomen (and men) have an innate connection to the earth.  If we tune in to that connection, we will find that she offers a wealth of medicine for our personal needs.  My reference to medicine here does not refer to a pill or other pharmaceutical.  Rather, it encompasses an essence that brings personal power, understanding and healing to the body, mind and spirit.  This kind of medicine is often associated with a specific trait connected to an animal, insect, plant, or human.  That medicine has a way of showing up in your life in a variety of ways.  That fact that you are reading this indicates you are magnetizing to the medicine of Nettle.

Several years ago I experienced my own magnetization to Nettle.  I kept seeing brief references to it here and there over and over again.  My wisdom was actually hounding me about it.  I even discovered it was growing wild in my own backyard.  I did a little research on the herb and became quite intrigued.  Not intrigued enough to harvest it myself from my back yard, but enough to embark upon an urban harvest of ordering online.  Hey, you gotta start somewhere!  Someday I’ll dive into the next phase of herbal exploration and actually pick it and build a further relationship with what has become a most powerful ally for me.

Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) is one of the most potent healing and nourishing herbs I have experienced. I began making infusions (which I will explain how to make below) and drinking several glasses daily.  The first thing I noticed was my energy level went through the roof!  I was amazed that I did not need to rely on adrenal taxing caffeine to provide me the vigor I needed to get though my day, but rather this exhilarating elixir supplied me with all the vitality I desired – without impeding sleep!  Then came all of the other more subtle, yet immensely powerful effects of this supremely powerful herb.

Susan Weed, one of the greatest and wisest herbalist and teacher on the subject, says “stinging nettles nourish and support the entire body, particularly the endocrine, immune, urinary, respiratory, and circulatory systems. Nettle root is also a kidney ally and lymphatic/immune strengthener.”  Well of course, Nettle is chock full of necessary nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, iron, B complex vitamins, C complex, vitamins A, D and K. She has protein, cobalt, trace minerals, potassium, zinc, copper and sulphur and is especially rich in chlorophyll.

Corinna Wood, another noted herbalist says “Nettle has long been revered for its benefits to the kidneys and adrenals. The kidneys allow us to expel toxins and the adrenals help us to respond to stress (think adrenaline), so given the challenges of modern life, most folks can benefit profoundly from nettle’s medicinal properties. Additionally, she offers relief from seasonal allergies, strengthens the bones, hair and nails and nurtures the lungs, nervous, hormonal and immune systems – that covers a lot of ground.”

That does cover a lot of ground!  And no wonder Nettle can do all of that, According to Susan Weed a quart of nettle infusion contains more than 1000 milligrams of calcium, 15000 IU of vitamin A, 760 milligrams of vitamin K, 10% protein, and lavish amounts of most B vitamins.  There is no denser nutrition found in any plant, not even blue green algae; and nettle is much more reasonably priced than any supplement, especially if you buy more than an ounce at a time. My favorite resource is mountainroseherbs.com.  In fact, I have purchased Nettle from a local merchant and for whatever reason, even though the Nettle came from the same place as does the stuff you get at Mountain Rose Herbs, it just didn’t have the same impact on me.  Maybe it was in my mind, I don’t know, but that is certainly one of my authorities so I’m sticking with Mountain Rose until I harvest myself.

One of Susan Weed’s students reports “After drinking a quart of nettle infusion daily for only four days, I now have more energy then my toddler! Now, when he goes to sleep, I get some time to myself, instead of falling asleep with him. I can’t thank you enough for the gift of nettle.”  Nettle builds energy from the inside out by nourishing the adrenals. Nettle smoothly and persistently carries optimum nourishment to every cell in the body. Weed reports “Because the minerals in nettle infusion are polarized to the blood, they are literally magnetized into the blood stream without needing to be digested. Drinking a glass of cold nettle infusion pumps so much nourishment into the blood; you’ll feel invigorated in just a few days.”

Susan also says that regular use of stinging nettle (2-3 quarts a week) not only increases energy, it brings a shine and swing to the hair, strengthens fingernails, clears and firms skin, restores elasticity to blood vessels, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, counters incontinence, improves digestion, reduces cancer risk, and strengthens the lungs.

One woman reports “My doctor is astonished. He insisted that I had to take drugs to deal with my severe osteoporosis. Instead, I drank two quarts of nettle infusion a week for several years.  According to my latest bone scan, I now—at the age of 67—have the bone mass of a woman half my age. Ha, ha, ha! With nettle, I get the last laugh on modern medicine.”

But wait, as if you haven’t heard enough about how awesome Nettle is, if you are trying to conceive, are pregnant or nursing, check this out:  Many midwives consider Nettles a primary fertility promoter and one of the richest plant sources of folic acid, which is vital for fetal health. The vitamin K helps prevent hemorrhage and the protein, vitamins and minerals in nettle enriches breast milk.

What is important to understand is that we must consume lots of nettle to get this kind of mighty nutrition.  A simple tea, capsule or tincture just won’t cut it!  An infusion is required.  I infuse a full ounce of dried nettle to a quart of water to make my brew.  Infusing nettle maximizes its energy-enhancing effects as well.  Taking the time to make a real infusion is NOT difficult or even time consuming and if you consider the benefits, any time invested is an investment in yourself which in my opinion is an account we should all be making huge deposits into!

To make a nettle infusion: Measure out one ounce of the dried herb into a quart jar (I like mason jars). Boil a quart of water and pour into the quart jar and fill to the top with the boiling water. Stir, then put the lid on tightly and set aside to brew for at least four hours, or overnight. Once brewed, strain and squeeze the liquid out of the herb. Be sure to refrigerate your infusion, as it will go bad at room temperature once it is done brewing. If that happens however, you can use it as plant food!

I also like to add two large pinches of mint to the nettle for taste.  I must admit, the first time I made it, it smelled like a fish tank.  But it tasted better thankfully.  I don’t sweeten it, but many people do.  Some mix it with a little apple juice to enhance the taste.  Experiment with what works for you.

Some tips on making an infusion – put a stainless steel knife into the jar with the herb BEFORE you pour in the hot water and don’t take it out until you have poured all the water into the jar (watch your fingers, it will be HOT).  I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had jars break on me from the heat – and oh what a mess!  Granted, those were not mason jars, but I don’t risk it anymore.  The knife acts as a conductor for the heat.  Thank you Dad for showing me that trick!  Also, again as extra caution, put the jar in the sink as you pour the hot water into it.  This way, if for whatever reason the jar does break, the mess is in the sink instead of all over your floor.  Lastly, I prefer to infuse over night.  You can make the infusion as your making dinner then let it infuse over night, or do it as you do your other nightly kitchen rituals.  And that’s just what making an infusion is to me – a ritual.  My kitchen is a healing space and on the counter is a small alter (items of sacredness to me) that represent the healing that goes on there through preparations…like infusion making!

If you haven’t already, are you ready to take a stab at making an infusion?  Let me know if you have questions.  I’m here to help!

Harmonious Blessings,

Melinda Beth

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