{POETIC HEALING} The Gifts of Dark and Light

Sun and moon

At dawn
The sun seems not to play a role
In the fierce heat of the later day
In her dawning, she is light and free

Yet in her fullness
Her intensity sets fire to all she touches
Igniting passions to rise
And burn

And in the evening
The sun mercifully gives way to sister moon,
Her mystical softness hanging in the nighttime sky
Cooling down the tensions risen in the day

Turning passions into prayers
Heat into humble admiration
For the gifts of dark and light

©SpiritLed 2017

How to Quiet the Mind

quiet mind

The mind doesn’t quiet
Or slow its thinking
And would we even want it to?

It protects us,
Warns us,
Keeps us out of our own way

And also,
The mind creates fear
Indecision and doubt

And so we need a balance
Of logic and peace,
Protection and freedom,
A life free from self-imposed fear

And in that quest
We find stillness,
Forgiveness,
Gratitude for all our weary minds
Have shown us in love
And duty
Faithfully leading the way

Step aside
Let the heart lead
Let the mind rest
A gift for a lifetime of service

©SpiritLed 2017

Daily Bliss – July 17


The Angels remind us that there will always be naysayers who spend their energy criticizing the work of others.  Though disheartening, we need this balance. We can be open to their message, hold onto any nuggets of insight they share, and keep moving forward anyway, with new wisdom and inner strength. 

For more inspiration and info for Awakening Angels, visit www.aspiritledlife.org.

Whatever You Do, Don’t Do THIS!

Howling Wolf Background

Something is going on with me and the animal kingdom lately.  In the past week, I’ve crossed a stray cat that looked like a little fluffy lion, a wild tom turkey pursuing two females with his body puffed up and tail feathers completely spread, a large black snake which played dead despite my efforts to make it move from my path, rescued not one but TWO frogs from certain death in a parking lot and a neighborhood street, and encountered a huge snapping turtle right on the sidewalk in my neighborhood.  Then a wolf appeared to me during meditation.

Nature is literally coming at me from EVERY angle!

Now, everyone around me is asking, “What’s up?!  Are you an animal whisperer?”   It’s true that I’ve always had a strong connection with animals. This is nothing new.  And that hasn’t dimmed with age. In fact, it’s only become magnified, especially with having children who also have a fierce heart for animals and their welfare (just last night my daughter sent me a link from the Humane Society to donate in support of stopping puppy mills).

I’ve also recently taken two animal communication classes and belong to an AC group online. I’ve even had some success giving messages in the online community.   But I haven’t done much with it since before Christmas, at least in part because I’ve been energetically overwhelmed (I’m a chronic over-scheduler), and I’ve been trying to give myself a rest.  I’ve also been putting more focus into the future of A Spirit Led Life, especially around my goals of writing more, publishing more, launching the Awakening Angels Circle, and reaching more people. It doesn’t leave much time for work with animals, virtually or in person.

Yet, in my experience, when it’s time to put more focus on another area, Spirit lets me know.  Like running across a cat, a snake, three wild turkeys, two frogs, a turtle, and a meditation wolf, all in a matter of days!

But still, what does it all MEAN?

While I do generally look for subtle messages and meaning in most everything around me, I also realize that not everything means something.  Some events are just events.  However, when I get this much coming at me at once, and all around the same basic theme, I can’t help but wonder what significance it might hold for me.

My question is a familiar struggle for many who are making their way through the spiritual jungle, so to speak.  We’re often given the impression that if we’re really in touch with our inner guidance that it will be clear and obvious to us when messages come and what they mean.  For some people this might be true some of the time, but I feel safe saying that even the most skilled and connected person feels unclear from time to time.  And a lot of us feel unclear most of the time, which can be frustrating.

If you’re like me and are terribly impatient with the process and easily distracted by not knowing the answers RIGHT NOW, it’s especially frustrating.

Clearly, this is an area where I STILL struggle.  As a result, I usually follow a predictable pattern:

  1. I get totally overwhelmed because I don’t know what anything means.I switch directions, spend all my time thinking about what it might mean, and end up in a funk when I can’t figure it out.If you’re one who tries to tackle everything with your head instead of your heart (like me), then it’s a strong wake-up call to slow down, because too much of this can seriously cloud our intuition.

    WHAT TO DO INSTEAD:  Do some mediation, stat.  We have to make ourselves take some down time.  The more we feel resistance (you know that voice that says, “You’ll never get this done if you don’t stay up until midnight every night slaving away until it’s perfect.”), the more we need a break.  Recognize that thinking all the time only wears out our minds and, in the end, we’re still not sure our answers are correct because our hearts haven’t had a chance to give their stamp of approval.  We have to trust that what needs to get done will be and allow ourselves to let something go.  We can always come back to it later if necessary.   The reward is more calm, which leads to greater clarity.

    2. I look for someone to talk me down from the ledge. I reach out to my energy worker and intuitive friends and my husband and anyone else who I think might be helpful, asking them to clear my energy, give me insights, or just plain tell me what to do.

    WHAT TO DO INSTEAD:  Trust our inner guidance.  It takes more strength to be honest with ourselves and be willing to slow down and support our own needs than it does to frantically ask someone else to do for us what we already have the power to do for ourselves.  And once we’ve taken a break, if we still feel like we need help, then we can seek it out from a place of more authenticity and awareness.

    3. I flip all the way to the other side, wipe my slate clean, and do nothing I don’t absolutely have to do until I feel better.True, I get more time with my family and I’m rested because I’m in bed early every night.But my writing and other passions take a hit.

    WHAT TO DO INSTEAD:  Find some balance!  We’re not meant to be teeter-totters!  When we swing from one extreme to the other, we’re really not solving the true problem, which goes back to slowing down and trusting our inner guidance.  And all our energy is used up on the swinging.   We can slow down, but we don’t have to stop completely (because it takes a lot more energy to start up again).  We can sit right smack in the middle of that teeter totter, open up, and let our inner guidance lead us in the right direction (and then have the courage to follow it, because it otherwise, what’s the point?).

Long story short, I don’t know yet what all these animals mean for me. Maybe it’s just springtime and I’m really observant. Or maybe it’s the next step on my personal journey. It’s not clear to me yet. And that’s okay. What I DO know is that doing nothing or overthinking is not going to bring me the answers I seek.

And maybe that’s really the lesson anyway.

XOXO
Ashley

P.S. If this resonated with you, let me know!  Leave a comment below or on my Facebook page.  And please share with your friends!

Our Gifts

gifts

Our love, greater than any,
Our passion, unmatched
Yet we falter,
We fail,
Our steps come out of sequence,
Each one like feet in quicksand

Shouldn’t it be easy
For those who have answered the call to love?
Shouldn’t a life of passion
Follow the most direct path?

And yet that passion keeps us fiery,
Out of balance,
Darting to this fire and the next,
Trying to put out each one simultaneously
While rejecting the fire inside,
That heat which fuels the drive to move at all,
And which inspires movement to continue,
The movement that is love,
Given selflessly to the world,
Yet heaped minimally on ourselves

Shouldn’t it be more easy
To love ourselves,
To fuel the fire within,
To stoke our own divinity?

Slow down, dear ones, and rest,
There is time for movement forward
And there is time for fighting fires;
The times spent freeing feet from quicksand
Has more forward momentum
Than actual movement often does

Relax, embrace the resting times,
The quiet times,
The times which feel like stagnation,
For these are our gifts too

©SpiritLed 2017

Take Care of Your Gut to Improve Your Intuition

gut feeling2

Ever heard this joke?

One day the different parts of the body were having an argument to see which should be in charge.

The brain said, “I do all the thinking so I’m the most important and I should be in charge.”

The eyes said, “I see everything and let the rest of you know where we are, so I’m the most important and I should be in charge.”

The hands said, “Without me we wouldn’t be able to pick anything up or move anything. So I’m the most important and I should be in charge.”

The stomach said, “I turn the food we eat into energy for the rest of you. Without me, we’d starve. So I’m the most important and I should be in charge.”

The legs said, “Without me we wouldn’t be able to move anywhere. So I’m the most important and I should be in charge.”

Then the rectum said, “I think I should be in charge.”

All the rest of the parts said, “You?!? You don’t do anything! You’re not important! You can’t be in charge.”

So the rectum closed up.

After a few days, the legs were all wobbly, the stomach was all queasy, the hands were all shaky, the eyes were all watery, and the brain was all cloudy. They all agreed that they couldn’t take any more of this and agreed to put the rectum in charge.

The moral of the story?

You don’t have to be the most important to be in charge, any a**hole can do it!

We all know our gut is an integral part of our body.  Our guts, not just the rectum but also the large and small intestines, are invaluable to helping us feel GOOD.  And when they don’t feel good, when they aren’t working well, NONE of our parts feel good.
I know this firsthand because I’ve had IBS my whole adult life.  IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) is one of those catch-all diagnoses which means they’ve ruled out everything else and you still have issues.  It often results in great abdominal discomfort:  gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, cramps and spasms, pain, and misery.  Poorly treated, it is no fun.

And treatment isn’t straightforward!  Specialists give drugs that provide relief for some.  For me, the super-gentle, non-habit-forming intestinal muscle relaxer (aka, laxative) simply stopped working.  For many people, diet is a huge concern, with many otherwise healthy foods having to be eliminated (think whole grains or even whole food groups, like dairy).  Coffee, the drink of the gods, is a gut irritant.  And so is alcohol!  All the fun can be sucked out of life with IBS.

More importantly, having all those unresolved gut problems can wreak havoc on your gut feelings too.  Gut feelings as in INTUITION.  How, you might ask, does having an irritated, agitated, stopped up, overactive gut affect our intuition?

Well, you see…we have energy centers throughout our body, often referred to as chakras.  These areas are integral in the health of our energy body, as well as our physical body, allowing the universal energy (qi, chi, prana), which both surrounds us and is part of us, to flow smoothly.  When it doesn’t flow smoothly, because of illness, stress, trauma, or other imbalances, we get blockages to our energy flow.  These can be temporary or long-term, depending on the situation and what we do to resolve it.

One of these energy centers—the sacral chakra—is located directly over our gut.  Whenever we have gut issues, that energy center is affected.  The sacral chakra is the energy center involved in creation – both procreation and the creation of new ideas, thoughts, and behaviors.  We often think of the third eye as the seat of our intuition, and it does play a primary role in being able to see clearly and with inner wisdom.   However, the power of creation is also a natural connection to our intuition.  Seeing clearly is only part of the puzzle; we must have enough support and strength from our creative center to bring forth our vision into the world.

This is an important point to remember, as so many people go into spiritual development thinking they need to focus on their upper chakras, especially the third eye and crown, in order to connect.  In reality, it’s about BALANCE, like everything else in our lives.  Not only balancing the chakras, but also balancing the body, mind, and spirit. It’s why we nurture ALL our parts!

Because I’ve suffered so much over the years with IBS, lack of balance, and their collective impact on my natural intuitive nature, I’ve cultivated a few tips that may help YOU to get your gut—and therefore, your intuition—back in order.

Eat a gut-friendly diet – There are many diets out there; the key is to find that one that works for you!  Generally speaking, avoiding standard gut irritants and identifying any food sensitivities is crucial.  These (sadly) most often include:  coffee (and caffeine in general, so no sodas either), alcohol, greasy foods, spicy foods, acidic foods, dairy, and wheat/gluten.  You may not need to completely eliminate all of these foods, however. Test each one out by eliminating for a week and then adding back in to see what causes irritation for your unique system.  For me, I can handle dairy most of the time (which is great because I LOVE ice cream), but eliminating wheat has been super helpful.   I also have sensitivity to eggs, so I avoid those too.  It makes breakfast difficult (no bread, no eggs!) but my belly feels sooo much better when I tend to its needs and it helps keep my sacral chakra clear and flowing!

On a side note, I also recently learned that there’s such an ailment as “irritable bladder;” I know because I have it too!  Apparently some bodies are just extra-sensitive. The dietary suggestions for this are pretty much the same as for irritable bowel, not surprisingly since they’re in the same area (apparently they often occur together…who knew?), which also means they’re both governed by the sacral chakra.  The good part of nurturing your intuition is that you start to become much more aware of your body and can identify when something is off.  I’ve known for a while I had something new going on, it just took some time figure out exactly what.

Balance all your chakras daily – You only have to know a few basics about chakras to help them stay balanced.  You have 7 main chakras:

  • Root (red) – Located at the base of your spine
  • Sacral (orange) – Located in your lower abdomen
  • Solar Plexus (yellow) – Located in your upper abdomen, just below your ribcage
  • Heart (green) – Located at your heart
  • Throat (sky blue) – Located at your throat
  • Third eye (indigo) – Located in the middle of your forehead
  • Crown (violet or white) – Located on top of your head

While sitting quietly, take several deep, slow breaths.  Then bring your awareness to the root chakra and imagine breathing in cleansing red light into the root.  Do this until the area feels clear, then move your awareness up to the sacral area and breathe in orange light.  Continue through each chakra and color until you feel clear and refreshed, or until you feel like you’re finished.  As an alternative, you can breathe white light into each chakra, or even simply breathe white light into your body, starting with your feet and moving up to your crown.  This process should take 5-7 minutes, unless you feel the need to stay with an area longer.

It’s important to balance all your chakras, not just the ones that seem blocked.  The key is balance and focusing only on one or two can cause them to become out of balance instead.   You can put extra focus onto blocked chakras, but be sure to work with all of them during a session.

Flex your creative muscles – The gut is the area of creative energy – it needs to create!  There are so many options to flex your creative muscles, and there’s not requirement to be a pro.  If you like painting, drawing, or other visual arts, make time for that.  If you like writing (ME, ME!), make that a priority.  Perhaps you have some unfinished projects (or some you’ve never even started) that need to be brought to life.  Don’t put it off one more day!  These stagnant creative energies get stuck in the sacral area and they need to be released (and keep in mind, sex is a creative energy too…maybe you need more of that)!

As a reminder, it’s important to keep our gut happy in order to keep our intuition flowing!   A happy gut grows our intuition, which in turn, helps us be more aware of what’s really going on with us. So eat some good foods, create some interesting things, and be sure to keep those chakras clear!

Not sure where to start?  Reach out to me for additional tips, tools, or one-on-one chakra healing!

Until we connect again,
XOXO

P.S. If any part of this article resonated with you, please leave a comment below and share on your favorite social media site!

6 Practices to Mind Your Holiday Mindset

Christmas is not a Date is a State of Mind

It’s almost time!  We’re in the last week before Christmas, with the last mad rush of shopping and baking and parties upon us.

Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, it’s hard to escape the hectic nature of the season.  Besides the hustle and bustle of holiday activity, world events keep many of us feeling stressed, bewildered, and hopeless.  It’s safe to say the energy this year is different than in years past.

How do we cope?  Especially in the face of events over which we have no control? 

This has been a personal struggle of mine for years.  The holidays have often been less fun as they could be for me because of the stress they bring with them.  I usually want to simply curl up under the covers and hide all month.  However, my struggles a few years ago with adrenal fatigue and the debilitating symptoms that accompanied it forced me to seek more balance in all areas of my life:  diet, physical activity, sleep, time management, and especially mindset. It’s a daily challenge to find balance in all these areas (and admittedly, I still struggle), but I NEVER want to feel that bad again.

As I said, I’m not perfect, but over the years I’ve cultivated some practices that have helped me keep my energy more balanced and my stress low.  I share these tips below in hopes they’ll help you too, not only to get through the holidays, but to actually ENJOY them.

  • Choose not to stress.  Yes, this is easier said than done.  However, when you recognize that stress is based primarily on your perception, rather than the situation or the other person’s behavior, it helps you feel a whole lot less controlled by outside influences.  Breathe deep and find the peace that exists inside (I promise it’s in there).
  • Banish guilt. ‘Tis the season of overindulgence. Don’t beat yourself up over the past or things that can’t be changed.  We make mistake and poor judgements on a daily basis.  Life is too short to carry around that much guilt.  Do the best you can and do better tomorrow.  That’s all you can ever ask of yourself (or anyone else).
  • Learn to say no. It really is ok if you don’t go to every party or get a gift for every person you know.  We all have limits and boundaries and we need to honor those.  Saying no can be empowering.
  • Practice trust and forgiveness.When you allow yourself to let go of some of those feelings of anger, sadness, and disappointment that pile onto your heart from the daily injustices we all encounter, it can be incredibly powerful.  It doesn’t require letting anyone off the hook for doing something terrible.  Rather, choosing not to carry a few heavy things offers a way to lighten your energetic load and allows you to feel brighter & more joyful.
  • Reframe.  When you choose to see the positives aspects of all situations, you’ll soon you’ll start seeing the world differently without trying!   Can’t see the positive?  Create one!  Use your imagination to create a positive perception, even if it’s only in your own mind.  For example:  “I didn’t get invited to the party.  I’m mad and disappointed.”  Consider instead, “I didn’t get invited to the party.  I’m sure they just wanted a small guest list.  They’re my friends and I know they care about me. ”  Work with this process until it becomes natural.
  • Have faith.Tap into your personal beliefs, whatever they are.  Trust that everything is right, in this moment, just as it is.

Do you have any tips or practices that help you through your holidays or other stressful times? Reply to this email or head over to my Facebook group and join the conversation!

Love and light,
Ashley