Embodiment

Beauty as a Spiritual Practice: The 29 Day Taurus Challenge

What is the "Beauty Way?" How can the Taurus magic of beauty, embodiment and sensuality support our healthy personal practice?

The guiding principle of Taurus magic is, "Beauty as a Spiritual Practice, and Intimacy as an Art Form."

I first began my conscious initiation into the Taurus mystery school about 4 or 5 years ago. This exploration came around the time of my recovering from an abusive relationship and its associated wounds. Practicing the Beauty Way was enormously supportive of my healing path.

But my investigation went much farther than that: as I delved into the Taurus mysteries, I felt my way through a new way of being embodied in the world. For the first time, I allowed myself to fully receive in all ways, and experience visceral pleasure and enjoyment.

Taurus is the magic of the body, and how we experience the world through our senses. When Taurus magic is expressed and healthy, we allow ourselves to live fully in the body, experience true sensual pleasure (sensual=gratifying to the senses), and walk the Beauty Way. Taurus is the magic of receiving and devotion to the Self, simply for the sake of enjoyment.

As I explored the Taurus mysteries, I opened myself up to receive more and more beauty from the world around me. I savored delicious food, I dressed in soft fabrics, I enjoyed full belly laughter, I cultivated rich friendships and I explored Tantra and new practices of intimacy. I indulged in pleasure simply for pleasure's sake. I established my worthiness to receive compliments, affection, money, respect and affirmation.

Walking the Beauty Way has influenced all aspects of my life. Now, I look for beauty not only in the apparent (nature, poetry, love) but in the not-so-obvious: the art of running a business, the musicality of skillful conversation, the taste of learning new words and the texture of new ideas, the elegance of a well-organized home, the beauty of a still mind in total presence... you get the idea.

Artwork by Chani Nicholas

Artwork by Chani Nicholas

How can we witness more beauty in ourselves, in each other and in the world around us? How much can we open ourselves to receive?

Last year, I gave myself a personal challenge to practice the "Beauty Way" during the Taurus lunar cycle. Every day, I made it a practice to find, appreciate and share something beautiful. This led to so many rich discoveries and new layers of gratitude. I was delighted by taking pleasure in my life in a new way! The more I opened myself to receiving Beauty from the world, the more I found myself receiving in other ways, as well.

This year, as we approach next week's New Moon in Taurus, I am inviting you to join me in this challenge! What happens when we look for that which brings us pleasure? How much can we open ourselves to fully receive beauty? I challenge you to practice the Beauty Way with me!

Beauty as a Spiritual Practice: The 29 Day Taurus Challenge

Challenge guidelines:

  • The challenge starts at 4:59am on May 15 (Taurus New Moon) through 12:45pm on June 13 (Gemini New Moon).
  • Join the Facebook group here.
  • Post every day! Or as much as you like.
  • Share a photo or brief paragraph of something beautiful you witnessed or experienced, and what you received from it/how it contributed to your personal practice.
  • To be eligible for prizes, photos must be accompanied by a caption/takeaway. Paragraphs do not need to have a photo (but it is highly encouraged).
  • You can post multiple times per day if you like, but for contest purposes, I will only count 1 entry per day.

Prizes!

  • The person with the most eligible posts (most days walking the Beauty Way) will win one FREE 1-hour session of your choice with me! ($250 value)
  • The person with my favorite Beauty as a Spiritual Practice post will win one FREE 1-hour session of your choice with me! ($250 value)
  • The runner-up participants in each category will each receive one FREE 30-minute session with me!

I will offer examples leading up to the beginning of the challenge! Stay tuned for updates, ideas and start walking the Beauty Way!

Ready, set, GO!

Solar Eclipse: Courage & the Lion's Heart

My Heart and I have a pretty good system of open communication. Sometimes she speaks to me in words, using clear, precise language. Sometimes she expresses herself with a tender squeeze, or a wrenching twist of outrage or agony. She'll quiver with excitement, sing crystal tones of joy or hum in general contentment.

But whatever the message and means of conveying it, my Heart always tells me the Truth.

I wasn't always as skilled at understanding the deepest messages of my Heart as I am now, but that has come with years of practice of remembering how to get out of my own way and sit in stillness.

As children, we enjoy a graceful and easy connection with our Hearts and their truths. We are governed by the simple desires to be loved, to be seen, to feel connection... we bare our Hearts and their messages to the world.

I hardly need to tell you what usually happens next. We shut down, we step away from our Hearts and their truths, and we forget how to embody that effortless grace and communication.

But the good news is, we can always return to that effortless space. Our Hearts never abandon us, and even if we have closed ourselves off to hearing their truth, they still whisper in our ears.

Under this powerful Eclipse portal, that whisper is becoming a roar.

Any message of our Hearts that we haven't quite been allowing ourselves to hear or honor will now come blazing through in a way that we cannot possibly ignore. What is required now for us to come into harmonious alignment with these energies?

Courage.

Courage (comes from the root cor, or heart) isn't about being "brave" or "fearless." True Courage means living the Truth of our Hearts, whatever that might be. It means creating space and stillness to rediscover in ourselves that whisper of a message, that tender squeeze or drumming intensity. Courage means perceiving this Truth and being willing to honor it by acting upon the message. In short, this Eclipse Portal encourages us to wear our Hearts on our sleeves.

"But it's not safe to do that! Look at the state of the world! Why would I want to make myself vulnerable?"

Our mind presents reasonable doubts in its efforts to protect us. To that, I answer, look at the Lion/ess. The Lioness is truly the Queen of her Queendom. She is an apex predator whose presence maintains equilibrium for an entire ecosystem. Do you think she has any qualms about living the truth of her Heart?

This Solar Eclipse in Leo invites us all to go within and discover our own Lion's Heart. How can we unapologetically claim our seat on the throne of our Heart and live in total sovereignty as the Queen/King of our Queendom/Kingdom?

From one Lion Heart to another, you look great out there.

Embodiment

Originally published on Eagle Song March 6, 2016.

There’s a term I came up with that I like to use with my clients and students to impress a certain idea upon them. The term is “Divine Embodied Being.”

I find this term very appropriate for a few reasons, but largely because it reminds us of the multi-faceted nature of our existence. The term “Human Being” is of biological origin and serves only to describe our physical and genetic makeup. How are we different from other beings? Well, we’re Human Beings!

However, we are so much more than our limbs and our brains and our genes. We are the embodiment of the Divine. Our physical forms provide the anchor for our souls to live on the Earth plane.

And so, we are Divine Embodied Beings. We are the physical manifestation of Spirit. We are Source and matter.

(For the purposes of this article, I only talk about human Divine Embodied Beings, but plants, animals, crystals, minerals, etc are also Divine Embodied Beings.)

It is so easy for us humans to use duality to separate and exclude: “If A, then not B.” Or, “If I am human, then I am not Divine,” or even, “If I am Divine, then I have no reason to pay attention to my human body.”

This last example is one that I see all too often, especially among people who have begun to realize their Spiritual awakening but have yet to balance it with the earthly aspects of their existence. Many clients come to me who are so focused on the energetic part of their process that they haven’t bothered to bring their physical bodies up to speed yet.

So let’s talk about the purpose and importance of Embodiment practice from a Spiritual perspective.

In order to honor all parts of our nature and live in the world as whole beings, it is of equal importance to devote care and attention to the parts of ourselves that are Divine AND the parts of ourselves that are Matter. Moreover, we must not treat them as separate facets of our existence, but as deeply interwoven and mutually necessary components of our wholeness. It is our bodies that offer a place for Spirit to live inside of us, and it is our Souls that animate our physical forms beyond the level of a biochemical machine.

One of the ways we can support both parts of ourselves simultaneously is through Embodied Meditation. Absolutely any activity can be a form of Embodied Meditation, if you hold the intention for it. When students or clients tell me that they’re “bad at meditating,” I ask them what activities they enjoy, and what brings them peace. Often the answers include things like walking outside, gardening, yoga or going for a run. I tell them that these are all wonderful forms of Embodied Meditation, and when they do these activities, to practice bringing intention and mindfulness to the exercise.

My favorite form of embodied meditation is dancing. And I’m not talking about the kind of dancing where you sort of stand there awkwardly and shift your weight from side to side. I’m not even talking about structured dances with certain steps and standards of correct form. I’m talking about allowing your body to move in whatever way it feels called, whether or not it’s pretty. The kind of dance where you feel energy coursing through your veins, filling your cells and making your chakras spin and glow. The kind of dance where, as you start shaking, you feel all the blockages and stagnant energy inside yourself start to melt and release into the floor. Dancing until you are drenched in sweat and your hair is full of tears from crying as you allow powerful energy to rush through you, releasing old wounds. Dancing and channeling our ancestors who danced for thousands of years before us to honor their bodies, honor Spirit and feel alive. Dancing until you drop in so deeply that you enter a trance state and forget completely who and where you are, and all that exists is movement.

Needless to say, I start more slowly with my clients and we work up to trance dancing when/if they’re ready. I teach some basic practices and help my clients find what works best for them. Some forms of Embodied Meditation can be relatively peaceful, like gentle yoga. Some are more playful, like my friend’s game of “Zen rock-hopping” (jumping from stone to stone through a river or stream. As he says, if you think about it too much, you get wet). Others are fairly extreme, like my roommate running 100-mile races. She told me about one instance, about 70 miles in, were she started seeing ghosts coming out of the ground. But what is the point of activities like that? No matter what form it takes, why do we need embodied meditation?

Physical practices like these unite the part of us that is Embodied with the part of us that is Divine. When we bring our Spirit and our intention to an embodied practice, we can move energy through our physical system. It is the perfect union of tangible and intangible, working across the hemispheres of our brains and across whatever barriers we have put between our energetic awareness and our bodies.

Throughout my whole life, I have had some form of physical practice. Whether it was being part of a sports team or doing activities by myself, I always knew that I felt happier and healthier when I took care of my body. When I officially began my Reiki practice in 2006, it took a few years for me to make the connection between the energetic work I was doing and the physical process of moving energy through my body. There were times when I would do all I could with Reiki to release stagnant energies, but until I went for a run and flushed them from my system, they were stuck. In the last several years I have come to a deep understanding of how physically shaking and sweating old energies out of me is just as important to the healing process as the energy work itself. We are Divine Embodied Beings, and in order to be whole, we must honor all parts of ourselves.

I used to only teach Embodiment practices to my private clients as part of our work together, but I recently included an Embodied Meditation workshop in my Shamanic Reiki Apprentice Program.

Contact me to book a consultation to work one-on-one with me, or if you’re interested in taking classes. In the meantime, I encourage you to look at your physical practice with a new perspective, through the lens of yourself as a Divine Embodied Being. See you on the dance floor.