What is worship

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Worship does not mean offering flowers.

It means offering your heart

To the vast mystery

Of the universe.

 

It means letting your heart pulse

With the life of the universe,

Without thought and without reservation.

 

It means being in love

That you are

Willing to dissolve

And be recreated in every moment.

~Insight Verse 147, The Radiance Sutras

 

We are small beings in the presence of a vast mystery.  We stand in awe of its power and grace, abundance and love.  We scramble around trying to show our gratitude, prove our devotion and convince others that we have found it, we have found truth.

There is nothing we could ever give that would be worthy for worship.  There is no flower we could pick, song we could sing or words we could say that exist apart from the Mystery.

We live within it and are alive because of it.  It is here in this cacoon of existence that we are  invited to fall in love.  To melt into a presence that saturates our being and dissolves everything that separate us.

 

May this promise of love, connection and grace sustain you as you seek to worship the Divine.

Blessings of love and light on the Journey.

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Finding my Yoga Heart

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As I enter into my final year at The New Seminary, I am challenged to go deeper into my spiritual practice and strengthen my connection with the Divine.  As part of this journey I have been exploring the Vedic religions under the guidance of my wonderfully insightful and supportive advisor Swami Shraddhananda.

I attended a class this fall through Wholistika which was taught by Philip Goldenberg (author of American Veda and Roadsigns on the Spiritual Path) entitled The Great Yogic Transmission.  It was a wonderful class that really opened me up to eastern thought and practice.  I particularly liked that he had to say about yoga so I will summarize here.

We think of yoga as something we do.  We go to yoga.  Yoga is a set of practices but it is also a state of consciousness.  We do yoga to achieve Yoga.  The result of the practice of yoga is  the state of Yoga which is the unity of body, mind and spirit.  The little self and the big Self.

With this explanation I decided to immerse myself in the practice as I sought to journey towards this state of consciousness.  I had done yoga before but always as a physical practice, so this approach was a very different experience.  Over the past month I have participated in approximately 25 hrs of formal yoga as well as many evenings of sitting meditation at home, time spent exploring the Bhagavad Gita and Sutras, attending Krishna Consciousness gatherings, repeating sacred mantras and practicing Sacred Feet Yoga.

During one yoga session in particular, which focused on opening the chest, I found myself crying during Savasana as my Heart Centre and 4th Chakra softened, allowing the Divine energy to move through.  It was a beautiful experience despite being embarrassed of my tears, as I began to release the anger, grief and loneliness I had been holding on to for a long time.

The experience has been transformative.  I have never felt more connected, fulfilled or present in my life.  I have made changes that have brought about more peace and harmony, engaged in deeper conversations, shown more loving kindness and been far more forgiving of myself.

It is a beautiful gift to journey with the Divine and I am blessed to be alive in this moment.

The One who Is at Play Everywhere says,
There is space in the heart where everything meets.
Come here if you want to find me.
Mind, senses, soul, eternity – all are here.
Are you here?
Enter the bowl of vastness that is the heart.
Listen to the song that is always resonating.
Give yourself to it with total abandon.
Quiet ecstasy is here,
And a steady, regal sense
Of resting in a perfect spot.
You who are the embodiment of blessing,
Once you know the way,
The nature of attention will call you to return.
Again and again, answer that call,
And be saturated with knowing,
“I belong here, I am home.”
Vijnana Bhairava Tantra 49 (The Radiance Sutras, Lorin Roche, PhD)

Peace for Gaza

As I lay in bed this morning with my babes sleeping peacefully beside me, I can’t stop the tears from coming as I read about the continued conflict in Gaza.

My children aged 4 and 2 have woken up every day of their lives happy, secure, safe and free from pain. They have never had to fall asleep listening to heavy artillery or had to hide in a school with hundreds of other crying, hungry, terrified parents and children hoping they survive the night.

We live a privileged life that so many people around the world can’t even begin to dream of and today my heart is breaks.

Children living in Gaza aged seven and under have spent their entire lives in conflict. These children have had to hide, watch loved ones die, sleep in different places, go to bed hungry and suffer the emotional and psychological distress that continued violence and conflict causes. They have lost their childhood, their innocence their sense of wonder and security which should be the birth-rite of all children.

Pierre Krähenbühl commissioner general for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA said

“last night children were killed as they slept next to their parents on the floor of a classroom in a UN- designated shelter in Gaza. Children killed in their sleep; this is an affront to all of us, a source of universal shame. Today the world stands disgraced.”

It is a sad day as we continue to bear witness to the unimaginable violence, fear and terror.

The issues between Israel and Gaza are complicated, there has been pain and death and unforgivable acts carried out but as people of deep faith and devotion there needs to be another way.

May we all, no matter our religious beliefs or affiliations continue to pray for a quick and peaceful resolution.

Great Spirit, Mother Divine please bring awakening and peace to Israel and Gaza now. And so it is. ~ Awakening Women Institute

Saying Good Bye

Everything has a beginning, middle and an end.

I began working at Calling lakes Centre in 2009.  I was hired as one of the contract staff people in charge or planning and organizing a handful of weekend programs and events.  Everything from youth retreats and ministry certification, to advent weekends and social media workshops.

In many ways, Calling Lakes has made me who I am today.  The passions that were nurtured, the leadership skills that were developed and spiritual yearnings that were strengthened all took place here.  This was the home where my spirit “grew up”.

A few months ago I learned that Calling Lakes would be closing its doors.   I understood, the church is changing and part of that change requires letting go of some aspects of its ministry, even though they were loved and appreciated.

I understood the decision, accepted the outcome and thought I was ok with it.  However, this weekend I attended my last course at Calling Lakes and all of a sudden I found myself sad, not ready to let go.

Its amazing how a collection of buildings can hold you so tenderly.  How squeaky doors, mismatched bedding and solid wood chairs can make you feel safe.  This ministry has so many memories, and emotions attached to it that its hard to let go.

Knowing that this would be the last time I slept in the dorms or had to fight with the finicky  faucets I was reminded of all the times i’d walked down these halls doing night checks for excited youth or talked for hours with a fellow program participant.  Times when I’d shared the family suit with my beautiful children or stayed up all night as a result of someone snoring.  This was the last time i’d sit in these rooms, eat this incredible food or drink hot chocolate in the lounge.   Change is hard.

Despite the sadness, I am grateful for the time I spent at the centre both as a participant and as an employee.  They were years that changed me,  experiences that taught me, memories that remain with me and friendships that will last a lifetime.

Thank you to those who sat in programs with me, worked alongside me, mentored me,  shared a meal or engaged in conversation with me.  This place will forever unite us and for that I am truly grateful.

Though I am sad, I feel blessed to have been part of this ministry and journey.

Saying Good-bye

A visual journey 

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Turning into Calling Lakes Centre off Fort San road

The beautiful tree lined road in front of the centre

The beautiful tree lined road in front of the centre

 

Welcome to the Centre

Welcome to the Centre

 

Calling Lakes amidst the spring foliage

Calling Lakes amidst the spring foliage

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You have arrived

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Unique wooden signs signal where to go

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Spring ferns

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A cozy corner to sit and visit with friends

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Saskatchewan dormitory

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A welcome space for songs and stories, s’mores and fellowship

Overlooking the front yard

Overlooking the front yard

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The gorgeous surroundings

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The trees hold a special place in my heart

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The hills

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The Qu’ Appelle Valley

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The view

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The details

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The labyrinth

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farewell

When Spirit Calls

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As far back as I can remember, I’ve recognized the Spirit’s call.  I’ve  heard Her voice in the stillness of my heart and quiet of my mind.

When I was in elementary school, She whispered poetry and love, in high school She sparked passion and direction  and as i’ve matured, She has provided me with strength and purpose.  She is wisdom and power, eternity and presence, witness and teacher and when I hear Her voice in the whirwind of  my life, I slow down and listen.

Six months ago I heard a whisper of a dream, a nudging in my heart to create a space for spiritual exploration in nature.  A place that was affordable and accessible to anyone of any faith to connect with their Source.  I imagined a close to earth environment that was off the grid, simple and sacred.  A place where people could come for individual and group getaways, programming, natural exploration and spiritual discovery.

On May 12, 2014 After sitting with this dream for awhile and discussing it with my husband and family, I decided it was time to share it with the Facebook world. The vision was quickly affirmed by friends and family and any questions or hesitations vanished as I felt the Universe’ strong pull forward.

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“Wild Spirit” spring crocus’, our inspiration

 

“Wild Spirit Prairie Sanctuary” is now in the early stages of development and has already received so much love and support.  I am excited to see where this leads and feel blessed to be on such an incredible journey.  I am forever grateful to and in love with the Spirit who guides me, She is my inspiration.

 

God is to me that creative force, behind and in the universe, who manifests [Herself] as energy, as life, as order, as beauty, as thought, as conscience, as love. ~ Henry Sloane Coffin

 

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