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10 and 12 +

Palm Trees

Day 1 . Dec 14

Meditation & More

Welcome. I appreciate your presence.

For those not signed up, do so to get emails so you will be alerted about when these things will drop, what  will appear the next day, and get a private link to download the meditations; ashtreeconnect@gmail.com
Because you are from all different areas, and so am I, and the thing that I see the most is that we each benefit most profoundly from something different; and even from different somethings at different times; this will integrate a bunch of things.

I am starting this in December because it is such a special month in so many cultures and one that houses both light and dark, warm and cold, auspicious and inauspicious, according to so many traditions.

10 and 12+ means Dec = 10 and yet it is the 12th Gregorian month, (though still falls on a 10th month for some other cultures' calendars) thanks to Augustus and Julius. I am extending it into January. (For those familiar with the Indic calendar, it will run nearly the entire month of Pausha. This was absolutley a happy accident - or possibly an intuitive hit).

This is a splendid time for some, multifaceted for most -- especially those with more dynamic karma, and incredibly trying for others - simply based on the environmental factors; let alone one's inner issues which could exist throughout the rest of the year as well.

Last year, I gave an offering to a select few of material and meditation gifts and this year I find myself wanting to give again and to find a way to give to as many people as I can. That requires either sponshorship (which I might need to figure out for next year), an offering of my time and kosha energies, or Oprah's purse strings (which tend to include sponsorships) to facilitate the kind I gave last time for more people, and so I offer this collection of things directly from and through me and resources I have come across.

Meditation:

Much of this offering includes meditations. All recorded meditations are planned for Audiomack. For today, there are four guided relaxation, awareness, and breath meditations up on Audiomack. Go to Meditation 1 at your leisure. I recommend if you have not done any of my meditations, or any Nidra (I'm trained by Michele Loew, who integrates traditional Indic Nidra with contemporary Stryker and Miller research and design/order/ingredients input) to read the blurb on my meditation page (ash--tree.com/meditation). You can also scroll to the end and listen to the first three recordings (the fourth one doesn't work and I haven't been able to get it fixed by the host): These are on Nidra specifically. Many of my guided meditations; taught from all the places listed on my Meditation page; integrate Indic, Indigenous, traditional European, and conventional Positive Psychology. They often facilitate some of the same and/or additional benefits and go by a similar timing.Some of the formats I use I've developed from my trainings and some have been gifted to me by teachers and were not specific to those trainings mentioned.

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In this offering, I will also include days for self-care suggestions, readings, a pranayam instruction and information on why I suggest the ones I will mention, a couple of mantras along with suggestions for your own practice, some mentions of various sensory therapies, as well as an herbal tea recipe - or, you know, three.

I do not have my sound instruments with me (I am literally writing this from a stop along the big rad road; having checked out from one space and onward toward the next) or I would give a sound offering. I am considering including a recording with free instrument tracks and my own therapeutic sound instrument recordings. If I decide to and it serves you, great. If not, I'm sure a sound experience is somewhere in future me's offerings to the public.

Thank you for reading and I look forward to working with you throughout this process. Feel free to let me know if there is anything you are curious about from my site / offerings / education so I can weave it in, if possible. And constructive feedback is always welcome, of course.

I hope this is supportive for you in some way.

Thank you for being here,
Ashley

Forest Scene

Day 2 . Dec 15

Expansion + a surprise meditation

Hey there, Day 2!

I was not planning on a meditation for today, and yet one came to me early this morning, and so I decided I might need to share it with you that is in the Meditation 2 section and here: https://audiomack.com/ashtree-2/song/rose-gold-meditation.

The rest of today's offering is below (any companies mentioned are spontaneous; not sponsored):
Thursday is Thor and Jupiter's day in my current hemisphere and we transition soon into the day of the likes of Venus and Freya. In Jyotisha; an astrology stemming in its earliest iteration from the Vedas and Vedic traditions, Jupiter, (associated with the color Gold in Vedic), is known for expansion and high vibration; the archetype seen as the Guru to the Devas (sometimes compared to Angels, though not the strongest comparison) and the planet "Western" culture calls Venus, (associated with the color white in Vedic and pink or lavender in "Western") also is looked at as a Guru archetype - toward the Asuras or those vibrations more geared toward earthly, physical, worldly things - including affection, sensuality, beauty, and overall sense pleasures.

In Vedic wisdom (and other traditional sciences I am less versed in and would currently in most cases and areas feel irresponsible teaching) each of the five senses can be utilized to nurture, restore, and to heal oneself. And each is thought to connect with a different layer of one's being as well as a different organ system as well as different Marma pressure points (similar though not the same as the meridians and acupressure/puncture points). And so a multi-sense therapeutic approach is working to nurture all the layers of the self for a multidimensional facilitation of restoration. Outside-in, inside-out, AND inbetween.

I thought of Rose this morning while wondering about a way to address the transition and connection-s between the energies these two days as well as tie it to the overall season many in wellness, healing, and other facilitations of self-support are working to cultivate and en-cour-age; which is self-love, self-care, rejuvenation, healing, nurturing, and more relaxation and calm than strife and stressed overwork.

(Courage is dashed out there because it comes from the word for heart. So in some cases we might work to support and facilitate any needed restoration of your heart's strength to choose to better support and nurture your own self.)

I designed the aforementioned meditation for you. Parts are a little talky because I wove some dharma talk pieces into it that reflects some of what I am including below. May something herein be of benefit to you:

Rose is (by some) called, Queen of the Flowers. It has been thought of as the highest vibrational flower by multiple cultures for millennia. It has also been used in multiple traditions as a nutritive, tonic, oil, ingredient in salves, balms, baths, waters for topical application as well as ingestion, teas, and beyond.

The petals have multiple beneficial properties that include antioxidants, antibacterials, antiinflammatories and more. Some eamples are A, B, C, and E vitamin components along with polyphenols. They also not only help one relax by releasing endorphins simply upon smelling them; they can trigger a more restful sleep when placed next to a bed or under a pillow.

Because of properties mentioned above, rose water and other rose forms have benefits such as being astringent, antiinflammatory, and supporting the stimulation of collagen regrowth. The Pharaoh Cleopatra bathed with rose petals to nurture her skin. Roses not only cool / mitigate inflammation and provide vitamins, they also have been shown to regulate hormones. And the petals and water have also been used by some cultures not only in beauty and rejuvenation regimes, but in topical healing supports for wounds. They can also be used preventatively; one study showed women massaging their bellies with a rose oil for 7 days before their cycle had less painful and shorter length of bloating and cramping. 

(One teacher of mine did mention a study that suggested that the color pink, as far as sense therapies and color influences might go, when used too dominantly in a room might not support regulated hormones so much as the opposite, so remember that we are using the entire plant and every sense; not only its color in the all day, every day scenario.)

Rose water, if food grade, can be taken internally either at a cool temperature or as a warm tea for soothing benefits. There is a recipe coming later in this offering that includes rose petals. I will also share a way to make your own rose (or other flower) water. For now, I recommend organic sources - especially, but NOT exclusively, if you are planning to ingest any part of the plant. Your skin is your largest organ and absorbed topicals can enter your bloodstream, so it is often best for those items to be as simple, clean, and pure as they can be as well.

If I can't get items at my local bulk and/or organic stores, I personally tend to like Mountain Rose for petals as well as the water and essential oil. I also like Enfleurage in NYC for the oil and water. They do online orders as well and tend to have marvelous relationships with and desire to support the farmers they collaborate with. If you do not want to order online, most health food stores have an option for the water and a rose tea, at least, and many have an option that provides them organic and the water available in a glass bottle.

If you are purchasing a rose essential oil for application, a carrier oil is important since essentials are so concentrated. Jojoba tends to be good for the majority of skin types. It does contain innate Vitamin E, so only use it if that is safe for your body. Coconut is another oil that often works with most skin types, it just has it's own scent that will likely show up in the profile, so it's best to incorporate it only if you like that smell present.

Rose essentials will be pricey, especially if they are organic; if they aren't pricey and aren't mixed with anything else (like Geranium; to bring down the price) then it is likely not actual, pure Rose. Mixed with Geranium is lovely if that is the most affordable option for you. - A water or petals (or tea) in a sachet is also perfectly good for experiencing the scent now and again. For reasons also connected with hormones, I suggest a scent in an oil or water or other topical contain a genuine rose derivative and not a perfume made to smell like rose; which can actually disrupt one's hormonal balance, depending on the ingredients.

You likely also have seen another part of the plant; rose hips; a fruit that grows on many species of rose; used in herbal medicines and supplements for the antiinflammatory properties. 

Some companies like Anima Mundi (another company that investigates their sources more than many do) also sell a powder of organic petals, which can make it easier to use as a tea and more: I also know people who have used this in a bath for (less mess than petals and I was told that they do not stain anything!) and in recipes for food. I gifted this to a number of people throught the last year and it has been very well received.

Pink Rose color is associated with the Heart Chakra and unconditional love and so we work with that "rose-colored" light in the meditation, (along with the purity of White Light and Gold light since Gold is thought to be the highest vibrational color).

The name for the heart chakra; Anahata; means unstruck. Meaning unstruck sound; a vibration that endures without any conditions needed to initiate or perpetuate its operation.  Connected with primordial vibration that has no start or end. Today, there is still no complete understanding of what makes a physical heart start beating. I also think of it as a place in your heart of hearts where there is always a space pure and untouched; the part of you, perhaps that connects with each life, that is the most wise.

The heart is the medium energy space between Earth and Ether (also side and side and front and back), so it has the most integrated information potentially available. It moves the blood throughout the entire body and so in that way too has the most complete information about the whole system of any organ and supports that information continuing to move things about. Some say the heart and the sacrum connect with emotions and that the sacrum is the more primal / sensual while the heart has more of a birdseye view; often seen as the air element; it works with emotional relating like compassion and all expressions of the love vibration.

As much of this is likely reminders for you, I'll include the reminder that Rose(-colored) Quartz is associated with high vibrational, unconditional love. And it is thought to bring loving healing to the heart space (and connected areas) for one who works with it. I always recommend you look for ethical sourcing (I like sources like Beyond Bohemian for online orders, otherwise your local gem shop ought to be able to tell you about their sourcing process). And, of course, I suggest that you take care that you are getting genuine stones.

For today's offering:

I offer you

-the above info (a-you're welcome)

-the meditation (so. Very. Welcome.)

-an invitation to experiment with Rose in whatever sense(s) work best for / resonate most with you.

-A. a suggestion for a writing / journaling exercise: Make a list of those in your world who have nurtured, and who do today nurture, your heart. Truly. And without condition. (If you can't think of any, you are NOT alone and you WILL find people. I know from my own experience-s-s-s and those of others). For some, the more you find ways to regard yourself as loveable, the more that other people will see it. For some it is just dharma and stages of life. For others, still something else needs to, and can (if eventually or periodically) unlock it. There is no single cureall for this (or most anything) it is a very personal thing. Still, I have seen it again and again present itself to those who thought it entirely unavailable to them - often times it had actually already been present, if in a form they had not considered. (#Björk 🎼 All Is Full Of Love)

If you are one who needs healing in the heart space, sometimes it is a strong choice to spend as much (free) time as possible with those who nurture your heart - to give the wounds spacetime to heal without anyone picking at them, if you will... 

Regardless, I suggest that you note the ways people support you.  Genuinely. And those that seem interested, (again; genuinely), in your highest good - not what they want or project for you; what is truly best for you. And support those relationships that do nurture and support you. Genuinely.

B. IF you feel called (and it is comfortable, appropriate, etc; up to you) you might express your experience of one or more of these individuals' nurturing treatment to them in some way. Even just a text that says, "Hey". If that's the relationship, that's all it needs; it doesn't have to be some elaborate or overtly sentimental missive; just a reach out to connect.

-Next could be a list of the way(s) you show your self (body, heart, mind, spirit) love, and specifically unconditional love. This can change and grow. This isn't about judging the space you are in; just making yourself more aware, and then you can make more informed choices about how to treat yourself going forward.

-if Mantra (defined in the Tibetan language as Mind Protection and connecting Body and Mind; via Speech) is a strong choice for you, the seed syllable for Anahata is *Ham* (H-ah-m). More on Mantra down the line.

-an Asana (Hatha Yoga pose) for the Heart could be;

A. An expansive *heart opener* like Wheel / Chakrasana / Urdhva Dhanurasana / Wheel, or Matsyasana / Fish.

B. It could also be something stilling and / or comforting like Bālāsana / Child Pose.

C. Or just a pose you *LOVE*!

D. Depends on what you need at that time.

Bonus *If you have a regular Asana practice or class you attend (or both), maybe for the next month or so, consider doing the final pose (in a class, that pose we are offered by teachers who leave time for students to do whatever they uniquely need before Savasana), and use it to try working with an intention to somehow serve the nurturing your heart or showing yourself some sort of love; you don't need an encyclopedic knowledge of Hatha poses to do this; just doing the pose that you most FEEL and/or KNOW you need - at that moment - could potentially satisfy that intention and a message to yourself that you feel you are worth supporting.

-if you have a practice of daily self-massage, great. You KNOW what I'm talking about: This practice is known to help one cultivate, nurture, renew, and/or expand self-love. If you do it sometimes, try to make it daily for a week - or a month IF you can swing it (even 5 minutes a day is great), and make notes about any change you see even from amping up that commitment to yourself. And if you do NOT have a practice, I encourage you to take an oil that works for your skin and massage your body before your shower either in the morning or at night. (I will give an instructions self-massage or link you to another person's version later in this offering, until then; gentle over the entire body is all you need. For safety, only flat hands on the calves; you can knead the thighs a bit more if you have no circulation risks, but do not poke or otherwise prod into the calf muscles. Gentle and smooth over the internal organs. Overall circular; larger and smaller circles around the center of the abdomen and/or gently sweep upward; esp if you have a history of hernias include this upward motion; and gentle sweeps down the back; whatever your flexibility allows in that region. Up progressively from center chest to foreheard: Order: Gently massaging the cranium first from the crown down and then the forehead back with the fingertips. Then sweep from the heart center upward and outward. Bonus if you include a breast-region-and-underarm-check. Then working the arms up and down. Then the trunk as noted. And then upward from the feet: Only do bottoms of the feet if you have a way to move about securely afterward: This order can be an overall positive approach for gentle encouragement of circulation of both blood and lymph. Did I say gentle and gently enough? Because, gently, gently, gently. Love yourself like you would the most precious and delicate and worthy of the most gentle and thoughtful care. Do this massage (or don't) as feels best, safest, and most affordable timewise for you. It can be 5 minutes, or twenty, or two hours. All you. Use an oil that will be okay in the drain when you shower.) You can warm the oil, if you like (preferably not in a plastic container, etc). You can infuse organic flowers for your skin type into it, etc: Do you. Always; you do your truest YOU. 

Thank you for being here, for reading, and for showing up for yourself.


All the very best,
Ashley

Get in Touch
Night Sky

Day 3 . Dec 16

Meditation & More

The image for today came up in my FB memories and turns out, as you will see below, it is appropriate for a Friday:

Friday's planet being Venus, which is represented by the color white and Venus being the brightest *star* / *light* in our night sky, today's meditation is a Nidra with the 61 Points of Light.

The phase our Moon is moving through currently is Waning Crescent, which in part is associated with times of rest and reflection, being still (more on that tomorrow) and at peace (more on that on Monday), and a stage in the Moon's cycle that supports understanding; via that reflection; any lessons learned over the past few weeks (and/or beyond): What is the stage / what has been the process / and where is the progress when it comes to any goals one has set and/or worked toward in this spacetime?

A lot of astrological interpretations from various traditions of the various energies of today's cosmos connect with domesticity, marriage, love, the home, transformation, and/or stability in some way.

While the planet Venus is often associated with Lunar qualities, and it does have an atmosphere similar to that of our deep oceans, it also happens to be a very hot planet; it is actually more hot that Mars even though it is further from the Sun #VenusIsHot #MarsIsHotVenusIsHotter
#Steamy (because Water Element, Air Eement, and hawtness).

Today's Nakshatra includes two stars from the Leo constellation, an astrological sign ruled by our even hotter Sun (more on that guy Sun-day); the true star of our planetary system.

There is a transition aspect to Lunar days like this and a changeability to Venus the planet as well as the Goddess and her fellow *Friday* Goddess, which in their times included diverse mentioned below, all correlating to change and/or transformation. And so, staying grounded in an earthlike energy of Virgo (where our Moon is, according to Helenistic Astro) can be a supportive move, especially to avoid giving in to any desirous whims that might cause on to overdo or otherwise negate one's health journey.

Today's meditation, as ever, is open to whatever your desired intention/ Sankalpa might be (see/listen to the first three recordings at the bottom of ash--tree.com/meditation page for more on what a Sankalpa is): If you are wavering as to what area to focus on, I offer that perhaps something in the realm of Artha or Kama could be a strong choice.

Today's offering is

-the meditation (linked in the Meditation 3 section and here: https://audiomack.com/ashtree-2/song/61-points-of-white-light-nidra)

-the information below about some chill Goddesses
-since these Goddesses have a wisdom component, as ever, a book I'll recommend is The Heroine with 1001 Faces. It's a look at the hero-ine archetype as told over time and what we have done, tend to do today, and can do going forward, in stories to promote strong and more dynamic female characters, feminine virtues as ones of strength (which they clearly are and require), and far more. Thoroughly researched, vulnerably communicated, and exquisitely crafted (IMO) by Maria Tatar.
-wherever you are on this planet, the weather is reaching a peak, as is the amount of light or dark in each day: I invite you to sense into those temperature feelings and notice the ways the changes in light can influence your feelings and behavior and energy. Bonus points for balancing Winter lethargy with some movement and Summer overcharge with cooling down and relaxation.

-some taste and scent senspiration #coinedit (?): The rose (see Day 2) and the apple are some symbols of the Goddess, and the fig tree is associated with one of the Leo stars, which are part of the Vedic Lunar constellation our Moon is currently in. Since Venus can be all about the sense pleasures, have at these symbolic sensory treats -- and then reserve a bit more on a Saturday.
-a tea recipe; because some of us overindulge on Thursday and/or Friday with the expansion of Jupiter and desire-s of Venus; a strong support for digesting one's food (and therefore one's life) is CCF; Coriander, Cumin, and Fennel. This mix of culinary herbs support digestion and more; from Banyan Botanicals:
"-Caffeine-free herbal tea that supports gentle cleansing
-Strengthens the digestive fire without aggravating pitta
-Promotes a comfortable post-meal experience
-Supports proper function of the urinary system
When brewed together, the famous digestive spices cumin, coriander, and fennel blend into a delicious and beneficial Ayurvedic tea called CCF Tea. CCF Tea enkindles agni (digestive fire), stimulates the digestive system, and supports the body’s ability to break down ama, or natural toxins. Gentle enough for daily enjoyment, you can sip CCF Tea throughout the day, and it’s especially beneficial before, during, or after meals to encourage absorption and assimilation of nutrients."
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And now some *Friday* name derivation and goddess / planetary connection trivia:

I looked these up with an entirely different intention and I was reminded that Frigg, Freya, Venus AND Aphrodite; all female archetypal energies today often reduced to *love*, *marriage, *sex*, *fertility* had so much more to them in their times; being also associated with wisdom, prophecy, battle, keeping peace, the flourishing of vegetation (yes, a kind of fertility), death, and more.

Being that feminine energy manifests the reality in myriad traditions, this energy being associated with fertility and everything connected to it makes sense to me. Desiring also can lead to war, craving power, etc.

Friday is named for Frigg, the Norse goddess thought to be similar to, if not the same as the Old Norse Freya, associated with love, fertility, battle, and death.

Frigg was associated with marriage, fertility, wisdom, prophecy, the household, sexuality.

Venus was associated with love and beauty and also associated with vegetation and fertility (her attribute an apple...) and was known for her assistance in battles - the first temples to her in Rome were actually for THAT purpose. Julius and Augustus claimed to be related to her, allegiance with her was thought to be so important. She also became a symbol of Roman power.

Aphrodite also stood for a desire for military success as well as for civic peace. There was a statue with her holding a shield.

Go, Go, Galactic Goddesses

Contact
Forest

Day 4 . Dec 17

Patience

Happy Saturn's Day

The energy of this day that I think is essential (especially in this season and this work-smarter-not-harder / peaceful warrior time) is patience.

Moving at one's own pace as well as accepting the pace that life seems to offer from others in your world.

Saturn periods in people's lives often deliver difficult karmas / experiences and we can sometimes feel separated and even alone (hello, 2020).

Other Saturnian period qualities to cultivate are stillness and silence.

Ayurveda recommends eating meals in silence to fully digest the experience. This includes adding nothing in front of your eyes to digest; book / phone / TV / etc. No conversations either: Just digest your own energy and let the food vibration assimilate in your own system.

This practice can feel uncomfortable when it is unfamiliar. After a while it feels like the most peaceful way to eat.

We speak a lot about peace during this season (more on that on Monday) and yet many of us do not provide very little of it for ourselves or the other.

Bliss, Peace, and Patience are the three pillars of health in Ayurveda. Bliss is distinguished from Joy, which tends to be a more intense emotion. Dr. Nida; a Tibetan medicine teacher and lineage holder; warns to be wary of joyful people for they can also be wrathful people 😂 so true - because they can be intense on both sides of the spectrum; light and shadow; each actually is an expression of the same thing.

My Ayurveda teachers recommend accepting and embracing the qualities many deem shadow or unfavorable. This is not only because they are one half of a whole but because that is either the way that the individual is made or it is an imbalance. Either way it is beyond your control.

Many I know in the culture I grew up in appreciate the serenity prayer in many cases; whether they are craving bliss, peace, or patience. And so I offer it to you here.

I also offer you this; we might tell ourselves in this culture's version of living life that we do not have time to cultivate these qualities. But preparation and opportunity like being given the chance to meet. And that gift is in your hands. I'm not a big fan of focusing on suffering. I'm one who prefers to discern when it might be unavoidable and when it happens to be a little but more of a choice...it absolutely exists, and still there are multiple types of suffering - a prolonged pain - that people choose but could prevent and/or work their way out of in various ways. I think cultivating bliss, peace, and patience habits and practices when there is nothing to work on them with like a more realistic version of disaster preparation; in the majority of lives there will be pain, frustration, hard karmas, hurdles, barriers, disturbances, and more. Then you will be prepared and be able to get back to whatever you think is "normal". I thought this would be unnecessary to say after 2020, but it seems it isn't. It's like human beings keep on being human or something. Tres cray. Maybe it's because I spent a whole year in Girl Scouts, but I believe in preparation and in prevention.

As one teacher said in May of 2020, when things were more and more challenging for so many, this is when we use our tools: What is in your toolbox? You can add to it: In 2018, when I started to really dig into Ayurveda, I though I'm often blissful and I think I've had times of feeling peace, so I'm at least on my way with those. but patience is something that I ought to work on. And man, I was just in time to deal with some tough issues and challenges long (enough) before we all needed to go through it together, so that I could be present to support some others through that process: Filling your cup is always going to become a service to others and not just to you.

I leave you to marinate on that, sip your tea, take your time, eat in silence, find even 60 seconds of stillness today, and see how that changes things for you. And go forward from there.

Saturn is also about clearing out, so feel free to do a little lightening of your load.

You can also donate (genuinely from your heart) especially to things that benefit children.

Extra credit if you journal about times you have and have not personally experienced these pillars or their shadows and then; only after you go through your own shoes; about any times you have witnessed others present either end of the spectrum, what you have learned since, what you might have more perspective about now.

Happy Today.

May you be well,
Ashley

Green Forest

Day 5 . Dec 18

Meditation & More

Happy Hanukah! 
I incorporated 61 Points of BLUE (for healing) light into these meditations and out that one in today to acknowledge the appreciation of the color blue in the Jewish tradition and culture.
Today is Sun-day also. A solar day, and so I incorporated images that work with our own personal star in the sky. This holiday also connects with lights that did not go out...
For the day of the sun, it can be nice to do something for fathers (yours or others) and/or parent yourself.
A journaling suggestion is what paternal energy and/or masculine energy means to you. And where any associations with that arise. And, if you like, reflecting on some cultural traditions seeing things the opposite way; with female as Solar and masculine energy as Lunar.
A nice tea for today might be a golden milk or milk. Turmeric, ginger, black pepper, salt, and honey or dates with a milk or mylk of your choice. There are myriad recipes online that sometimes incorporate other herbs. I prefer these ingredients with much larger amount of turmeric, measurements to your discretion - feel ree to browse the recipes around into find your best match. Sometimes if you're in a more dry physical state of being, or climate, or if you tend to run hot, it could be nice to make hot ginger water with fresh ginger and then mix the other ingredients in. Likewise, if you include a salt; with salts, a pink or other darker salt can raise your internal heat and so if you already are warm a white salt could be a stronger choice, I suggest kosher as sea salt has been found to have higher levels of toxins lately. Sometimes a pinch of cinnamon to warm, or cardamom or nutmeg added to sooth parts of the system and/or mood can be a nice addition, depending on your needs and taste. If honey, raw honey, if date syrup or date sugar, note any additives. If dates, again in more dry situations, it can be nice to soak a while first.
If you like visual images, maybe give yourself a few of night skies lit with stars as well as bright sunny ones and gold and yellow (natural) things like sunflowers. - or go out and find then in your own environment if you are lucky enough to have them present, etc.
For other senses, anything soothing and connected with warmth and nourishing to you, I recommend that, whatever is accessible to you today.
May you be well, Ashley

Trees

Day 6 . Dec 19

Meditation & More

Hey --You!
As stated, oh, so many times the last couple months, we are in Mars retrograde (in Gemini; ruled by Mercury). We are also now, as of 12/12, in the preshadow of Mercury retrograde; when mistakes and miscommunications can come to be, intuition (a type of communication) might not be as on point, etc. We are also in a time when a lot of people get together with intentions of generating bliss, peace, and even patience, and end up in conflict and/or other sorts of disharmony.

Today is the Day
Today is a Moon Day. Moon's element is water. And so I'll speak of going with the flow in order to stay closer to all the more positive emotions; float; ride those waves - and infuse the ride with pleasurable feels.

Meditate On It
Today there is a meditation (being posted later). Focusing on peace and harmony. Toward giving you space to connect into clues for getting further into your own inner peace since that is the peace you have agency over and can actively work to cultivate with each and every moment and breath (more on breath tomorrow) Edit: Meditation Link Below: There were some hiccups with exterior sounds. I took it as an opportunity to demonstrate going with the flow and bit and improvised with it, hopefully it keeps the flow of the experience light enough to make it work edited out a bunch if the bg sound but some were too loud not to come through.
https://audiomack.com/ashtree-2/song/guidance-toward-places-you-can-cultivate-peace

We're Experiencing a Small / Slight / Tiny Delay:
A lot of people travel on the days after Christmas day and that is when we hit the most tense retrograde day. These energies tend to hit different people on different days; depending on all the factors; and so I suggest you give yourself and others as much room for error, upset, miscommunication, rescheduling, not hearing, delays, etc, as you can, especially, but not exclusively, in the days between the 24th of December and January 3rd when it comes to all things travel.

Take Care
Continue to nurture and work on loving yourself so that you can be more loving toward others. Especially when communication can be doubly impacted in these already potentially intense days; this includes your self-talk, which only you are in the position to be aware of, govern, and control.

You are important. Taking care of you is a big job and an important responsibility. It has been entrusted to you, and only you, because only you can learn how to do it extraordinarily.

Cultivate compassion, empathy, patience, letting things go, realizing when things aren't personal - even the things you might have habits of saying to your very self, and absolutely give yourself an extra hour instead of an extra 15 minutes for travel AND save up as much money as you can in case a travel change(s) pop(s).up; I already know somebody who needed to switch flights and rent a car to drive part of the way #preshadow.

Take Five (or at least One)
Whenever you can, breathe, tune in to your feet, close your eyes and picture something that makes you feel great and/or back and centered and grounded into your truest self and/or able to be peaceful, patient, or blissful - or more than one - or all three! Take an extra 60 seconds in the bathroom now and then, etc, if you have to make time that way and it feels best/appropriate/etc, at the time...

Feed Me
As far as nutrition, alcohol and sugar actually challenge the organs in the body that can help you cultivate bliss, peace, patience, love, empathy, compassion, clear thinking, etc. So, as always and in all of the ways, know what you are doing when you do it.

Wear Me
Wearing lighter colors if not white/ivory is said to attract lighter energies. Do what you will with that.

Pick stones carefully if you wear and / or carry them as they can be so potent in the ways that they influence your field. Even a colorless stone has its moments of not being so great for certain sorts of people at particular times in life...

You Feel Me?
Feel into and enjoy it if the shampoo person at the salon massages your head a little or you're manicure and/or pedicure person. (I am not 🙂) and receive a little massage that way, etc. You can also do a self-massage, just take care that whatever you are massaging yourself with is truly healthy for your body. These things help keep your body in flow. Dance &/or exercise in other ways that support bliss & flow and even peace & that can be expressive and challenging & that are nurturing; not overexerting.

Write It DOWN
If it helps you to process emotions, you can journal twice a day instead of once in this season. Even take a folded piece of paper with you to write on during that extra 60 seconds in the bathroom.

Use Your Voice
If you work with affirmations or a mantra, you can put them all over the living space as reminders; on the car dashboard; on your home and lock screens; in a wallet / a locket / a pocket, next to the bed to see at wake and sleep, etc; whatever works for you. This can be especially supportive if you are a type who has trauma-response patterns of checking out / energetically coming out of your body (because the pain is so much inside it) or generally feeling overwhelm and getting a little scattered; these practices can support you getting to a more harmonious state, and returning there.
Chill
For people who run hot / intense / angry, you can research explore things that can quell that. For example, Milk Thistle (in a tea form; most only need that subtle a dosage;) can help the Liver to detox and can therefore quell emotions of anger / frustration / unease (I know someone who says that just a cup of it is like heroine for them). Fennel tea (and all of CCF tea, as mentioned), can help the digestive system do its job-s and then cultivate a more harmonious feeling in your system. Digestive enzymes like licorice and marshmallow can also help digestion and help irritated parts of the body become soothed and therefore parts of your emotional space can be soothed as well.

Want Vs. Need
While cravings will often disappear if your system is nourished with clean, whole foods that are healthy for you and/or supported with things like the teas mentioned above, a small amount of the taste you most crave in its healthiest form can bring you toward balance; a sweet craving can be satisfied by a sweet herb or whole grain, a salt craving even by celery, etc.

If you are a compulsive or over-eater where you truly do not feel in control of your own behavior, it is a strong choice to look into; hormonal issues, and metabolic syndrome, inflammatory and frequently not tolerated foods, be tested for parasites, and/or better support all your system, incl skin surface, microbiomes. Sometimes you are not in control as much as others might project; there could be a. parasitic or bacterial issue, your body might not be properly processing or absorbing nutrients so it is asking for more and more looking for something in the food it isn't finding, the foods you do eat might be triggering an imbalance that sends your barometer off (often hormonally) and the body asks for more and more of a thing that it actually shouldn't be having at all, etc.

Also True
When, how much, and with what other people (or technology) you eat can also impact digestion as can undigested trauma that is stuck in a place in the system and needs to be cleared out so the physical body can repair and return to a more balanced flow for processing.

Learning Is Fun
Do your research. Reflect. Make notes. Notice how you're different when any variable changes.

Thank you for reading and for showing up for yourself; every time you do, you teach others to do the same. May you be well.

Happiness, Healing, and Harmony,
Ashley

Palm Trees

Day 7 . Dec 20

Getting One's *House* In Order

Self-Caring: So on Mars's day in Mars retrograde as the Moon and the Sun's gours decreases increasing darkness, turning inward, and self-nurturance; lighting our own way while each light in the sky grows darker; let's take some gentle self-care... As a drink, start the day with just warm water. Just warm; not hawt. Nothing else in it. Wait a bit before taking any changes in the system and notice the way this feels and how your body responds... Next or at lunch or dinner, try some fresh ginger in hot water and let cool to comfortable warmth before drinking it; do not overheat... Look into scenes that can be relaxing or, if you already know what works for you, take a bit of time with that/those..If possible, eat foods that are clean, simple, natural/organic, whole, and digest easily / are gentle on your system... Take opportunities to be soft when you want to be hard... All the best. 
May you be well, Ashley

Snowy Trees

Day 8 . Dec 21

Change . Expansion . Light & Dark . Alignment

Today's Meditation is inspired by the Solstice meeting the New Moon and the days of Mercury, Jupiter, and Venus in a row on and beyond them:  Meditation Link:https://audiomack.com/ashtree-2/song/solstice-new-moon-planets-days-meditation
.
Here is a link to information about Venus's appearing and disappearing.https://in-the-sky.org/news.php?amp=1&id=20230918_11_100.
For today's tea, I recommed trying Tulsi IF it works for your constitution. The Solstice is a holy day and it is a holy tea... For scents, I suggest smelling all the testers of the high vibe oils at your local essential oils access point. This includes florals and conifers... For taste / food / nourishment: (Note: I do not recommend ingesting essential oils: They are highly concentrated and all but lavender have an alcohol component, which is not supportive of the microbiome). What sort of eating do you want to encourage in yourself as the Sun's light hours in our skies expand? Make a meal that is the way you want to eat to manifest your best you: This doesn't have to be grand, simply aligned with your improved wellness, harmony, and performance in the world, and dedication to your practice(s)... En-joy your day! Love Light and Healing - that's an order, Ashley

Glitters

Day 9 . Dec 22

Purification and Healing + Expansion

Happy New Moon on Jupiter's Day!

If you're a person who's into ritual, the New Moon can be a great day to do something to harness focus on the goal(s) for the next cycle. Especially with the Solstice the day before this, it's a New Year of sorts as well. The Sun is born again on this day to grow for a cycle and contribute to daylights waxing process AND today the Moon begins to wax as well: I see that as potential double light on your vision. Being that it is retrograde preshadow for Mercury, it can be especially strong to move toward finishing something you already started and have not yet completed instead of something new. And it feels oh so great complete those things anyway. It could also be a strong choice with Mars in retrograde to continue to move toward a health / self-support goal. This all is subject to one's own personal chart, so do what feels best for you, as always. 

Meditate On It
Your meditation today is shorter than the previous few. It is a meditation on Purification and Healing + Expansion because Today is a Jupiter day and it crosses into a New Moon tomorrow, which is a Venus day.
https://audiomack.com/ashtree-2/song/new-moon-guidance-on-expansion-and-purification

The Inner Web
In it, I mention the fascia Universe and so here is a link to information about that and a therapy for it since our fascia can be tricky to repair after injury and in often become a bit more stiff and even brittle with age.
https://dynamicsportsmedicine.com/what-is-fascia-and-myofascial-release/

Hydrate More
For a drink I will recommend something to hell you sleep as the Moon's light and (the enhanced energy many feel as the day's light both grow): A pinch of cardamom or nutmeg in warm milk or mylk before bed. You should be sleeping with grounded peace as soon as it is able to absorb into your system.

Read Me
Since in the Northern Hemisphere it is Winter and we are supposed to get more snow, so it can be an especially great time to curl up with one of the teas I suggested and a great book, and likewise a strong time to go inward and to meditate. I'm going to give a book suggestion of Marcus Aurelius's Meditations. (There is also a journal out that has excerpts from this on each page as potential prompts for journaling, for those looking for gifts).

Work It Out
Since Winter is a time when we do not move enough and yet we are also in a place when we are best off being careful, I suggest you do strengthening and stretching work on the body and keeping it warm with lymph flowing along with aerobic that is steady and safe for you; speedwalking > black diamond skiing, etc. For those in Southern Hemisphere Summer, that much more reasson for you to take care and move at a slow and strengthening pace and not overdo or over heat in any sense of the term.

Moving Meditation
Along with the meditation and movement theme, I'll suggest walking meditation. This is said to be the way that the Buddha walked: Full attention on the part of the foot that is touching the ground as it changes continually while one is walking forward; slowly and steadily. Jack Kornfield mentions it in his book, A Path With Heart, which I also recommend.
I may as well mention another contemporary wisdom sharer in conventional USA Hatha Yoga culture (perhaps inspired by Jupiter's *Guru* energy): Thoms Ashley Ferrand who transmitted many mantras for people to learn from into a few different books/collections that come with recordings. 

Tea Time
As a potential tea to explore today, in addition to rose, another high vibe flower is the Lotus. Blue Lotus is becoming more and more popular and is said to facilitate higher vibes / connection / expansion in those who drink it.

Smell Me
For your scents, there are lovely essential oils made from lotus flowers.

Feel It, Feel It
I once had a notebook in which a boyfriend of mine said the pages felt like fabric and that reminded him of me because of my BA in design and love for wonderfully textured textiles. Even the note that I left him in the AM felt like fabric. Today, or over the next few days or week, month, whataveyou, if you don't already know, I invite you to explore and  notice the different textures of any items you use - paper, clothes, dishes, foods, (flowers?), etc. And notice the one(s) that feel(s) the best to you. Is there anything you can cultivate to be more pleasing and reflective of you.)? - Do you even have any desire to make those changes? -- This is less about making any change or not and more about being better acquainted with yourself and your environment.

Write It Down
Journaling Suggestions
-continue processing anything that came up in the meditation
-when in your life did you feel the most healthy expand on that.
-when did you feel the most aligned / in your integrity?
-What was a time when you really noticed that you had expanded in some way? - expand on THAT...
-When did you feel like a better version of yourself?
-What area would you like to expand in?
.
May You Be Well

Curvy Tree Road

Day 10 . Dec 23

Feeling Good

Happy New Moon and Venus Day!

Today might be a lovely day for a New Moon Ceremony since people often do ceremony on a Venus day anyway. If you didn't do yesterday's meditation yet, it can also work for today (or any day) as it works with purifying white light; which was inspired by the New Moon;
(yesterday being a day inbetween the growing light of the days and the growing light of the nights) and can go with Venus too; as well as healing golden light which was inspired by Jupiter but/and is also thought to be a very high vibration so can be useful at any time. If you are not in the ceremony or meditation mood - or simply do not have the spacetime - I feel you.

Venus is about sense pleasures, so you can give yourself a moment, or a few, to sense into something that makes you feel good. And / or you can sprinkle things that please you throughout the day. And / or you can even just take extra enjoyment to notice and absorb whenever you come across a delight, pleasure, enchantment.

Tomorrow I will give a pranayama suggestion since it is Saturn's Day and Saturn governs Vata, which is Prana / Movement and many in my culture are deep in the #holidaze and need to remember to breathe through things a little bit more. (As I mentioned in the dharma at the top of a meditation, I am not dictating that you ought to agree that planetary days have anything to do with your reality; I'm using the archetypes to better communicate parts of the structure of this offering.)

Feel free to not even look at any of it until you have the spacetime to. In case you want to give yourself a gift on one of the remaining of the 8 nights, Christmas Eve or Day, or Kwanza, Gregorian New Year, or beyond, I wanted to be sure to place things here for you to #treatyoself.

Since today is a day of sense delights and a bit of indulgence, I will suggest a version of a hot chocolate that I enjoy. (Cooled and / or mixed with coconut mylk might be an option for warmer weather regions). Equal parts chocolate and organic rose petals, a dash of cardamom, dash of your choice of salt, one date for two servings or 1 tsp maple syrup (or to taste / sweetener of your choice) Optional ginger, nutmeg, and / or cinnamon. I prefer to use water and you will do what you prefer. If you are sweetening with a date, you can cut it into small pieces and soak it in the water for at least 6 hours before and then cook it with the rose petals. Any other sweetener can be added afterward. Boil rose petals in liquid of choice until they lose their color. Strain out rose petals (date pieces, optional ginger - see below). Reduce heat and stir in chocolate. Add salt and sprinkle in cardamom. (Can also include nutmeg or cinnamon if those satisfy your tastes.) Optional ginger; if it's to your tastes / digestion needs, it could be nice to boil in a slice of fresh ginger with the rose petals). Add sweetener if applicable. Southern Hemisphere; mix this in the early AM with (though, not so many warming herbs necessary for most people in a hot time of year - maybe add a little coconut even at the end), let it cool, and enjoy mid-morning or evening. 

Since Venus is often associated with Love, I offer you this, through the hand Elizabeth Gilbert:

Love the one in you who is sad.

Love the one in you who is scared.

Love the one in you who is angry.

Love the one and you who is lonely

Love the one in you who hates herself.

Love ALL the ones who you are, and then you will know how to love the world.

A journaling or writing exercise is one she has offered, which is to write yourself a letter from Love.

Venus is also connected and associated with the arts, so feel free to express yourself in an artistic way you might not adult gene, experience some culture or art but you don't always, and/or support an artist in your world in some way.

Lastly, Venus associated quite often with the beauty, and so I invite you to really take in the beauty wherever you can notice it in your life. Extra credit for gratitude for it. Double extra credit for appreciation of all the beauties.

Happy Today

Forest Mist

Day 11 . Dec 24

Harnessing The Flow

Breathe through it.
Happy SATURN'S day. For all those dealing hard karma these days / weeks / years, especially, I FEEL YOU.

Saturn is connected with Vata, or movement.

The combination of flow, Vata which connects both with small and large P Prana, and more challenging times, mad emerges think we could all be better supported with the breath. The only Pranayama that has zero contraindications is, understandably, the Balancing Breath, often called Nadi Shodhana. I have included some basics along with excerpts from three articles to speed up the getting-info-to-you part❤️.

Let us control that which we *can* control; including our breathing!

But why, Ashley. I mean, we’ve been doing it since we were smacked on the ass at birth - I *think* we are petty much up to speed and in control, no? --- Aaand, I mean, come on, why alternate? I mean, we were given two nostrils, so shouldn’t we breathe with that symmetry?

If you can just breathe, on your own, and with good lungs, that are your own, congratulations; you are blessed with abilities that not everyone has! #justbreathe. That said, there are implied rules of how things function, there are things learned over millennia of observation and evolution, and then there is intuitive knowledge. SO: Newish Rule! (Because 7,000 years old, but maybe new to you).

THE h-WHY (because it’s breathy, get it?):

There is a perspective and evidence in and from several long-standing, often spiritually connected traditions, as well as areas of contemporary and science, that breath control is healthy and supports longevity - in numerous ways. There are even monks who hold a breath to the end of a written line; a practice that is thought to extend their lives (ee; big P and little p; Prana = lifeforce and prana = breath / movement force in our Earthbound self

WHY ALTERNATE

Alternating nostrils relates to the energy systems in the body; solar/masculine/active/hot on one side and lunar/feminine/receptive/cool on the other.

FRANKIE SAID IT BEST...

One power of a single nostril: It is thought that only breathing through the left nostril for 10 breaths or so can help you with relaxation; it could calm you down if you are unnerved in any way - fear/stress/anger. And it is a technique that is recommended for some to do before sleeping. It connects with the calming, receptive, cooling part of the system: Fire is hot; water is cool - “you’re all fired up; take a chill pill” (which come to think of it, according to the always reliable internet, is what Frankie was supposedly actually saying; they were into drugs; prescription drugs, and their supplier? rexal - sometimes typos can be so much better! #ThingsITellMyself).

TERMS OF ENLIGHTENMENT

This practice is a Pranayama; a practice that is and extension of the prana; breath control. Sanskrit roots; prana - life force + ayama - to extend / to draw out.

This Pranayama is called Nadi Sodhana pranayama, or subtle *energy clearing* breathing technique.

BASIC PRACTICE

You can alternate the times for breaths in and out, as well as for holding the breath.

I have learned both from Indic and Tibetan lineages. I am going to share the Indic here. There are distinctions in the practices, a key one, which I was first been pointed to notice in an instruction by Dr. Nida, being that Tibetan begins with the right nostril and not the left. Not unlike their practice of body relaxation for Crown instead of Roots, there is an opposing direction in the approach. Up to you what feels most aligned... and if you are aligned with the Tibetan / Buddhist side and feel more comfortable with those teachings, His Holiness the 14th as well as one of my more direct teachers have offered instuction. A heart mantra was offered in one instructional video, and to give more bang for the viewing energy bucks, will put that one below as well. More links with instructions and images herein.

Some notes before instruction:

Instructions are traditionally for the right hand. If your right hand is not available to use, you may absolutely just do the mirrored approach with the left.

If neither hand is available or you are congested or have extreme deviation in the septum or an injury, etc; it is all also totally okay; you get to jump some levels in this game onward toward advanced and simply use an/other sense/s to visualize, and/or feel, and/or direct awareness, etc, to the energy flowing back an forth to either side as you breathe. That is the ultimate point, after all; consciously directing the flow / harmony / balance of one's own system.

Each finger represents and is connected with an element, dosha, layer, organ system, etc, and so there is very much a method to each position and each part of each position.

Indic Instruction:

Sit and focus on stillness and silence. Let yourself let go of other obligations and/or distractions for the moment.

Let your awareness come to the breath.

Move your right hand up toward your nose and let your thumb pad hover over on the right nostril.

Forefinger and middle finger: Some place them toward the third eye; resting the tips where they fall in that central area between the eyebrows to further bring attention to that connection within the self, clarity/true-thful sight, and the big P. Some let those two fingers hover over the center of the nose; let your dexterity and comfort inform you what will facilitate you connecting with the true physical point of the practice; the focused and alternated breathing.

Place your thumb on your right nostril and lightly press it closed.

With this nostril covered, close your eyes, and breath in a full and gentle breath through your left nostril.

Once you’ve inhaled completely, let your right nostril open and put your ring finger (and pinky, if it is available to you), over the left nostril. Close it.

Exhale through the right nostril.

Once you’ve exhaled completely, inhale through the right.

Switch openings so the right is closed by the thumb and the ring and pinky have left the left side open.

Exhale through the left nostril. Then inhale.

Continue switching. Full, complete, gentle breaths and breath cycles.

If you are into numerology, for this tradition, it's said numbers like; 3, 7, 9, 27, 54, 108 times on each side - or whatever your personal number might be; of course; you do you, as always.

Left hand can face up to receive, down to ground, side to be even, or in a mudra of choice. Gyan Mudra is most often recommended.

A Tibetan version with
Dr.'s Nida and Thurman
https://youtu.be/zYGtvL5vkuY

ADDITIONAL BREATH TOOL TO RELAX

If the left-nostril-only (please consult a practitioner and your doctor first) isn’t doing it for you, you can try some breaths with this technique; fold your tongue in half and breathe only through that opening.
See folded tongue example here:
http://www.yogahara.com.au/news/2017/1/23/sitali

If folding the tongue in half is a stretch (word choice accurate, and yet not) for you, then try a fake smile (not hard to imagine doing with all of my bad jokes); with lips essentially only open to reveal the teeth; and the teeth closed, and then breathe through the opening. An example of this is also at the above link.

OTHER PEOPLE SAYS,
ALTERNATION = RELAXATION

Basic Info + Benefits and Risks
(Potential risk; heart or lung conditions might not be receptive to this, so speak with a doctor and even then, stop if you develop symptoms like dizziness or shortness of breath)
https://www.healthline.com/health/alternate-nostril-breathing#when-to-use

How To Practice
https://chopra.com/articles/nadi-shodhana-how-to-practice-alternate-nostril-breathing

3HO
https://www.3ho.org/article/the-power-of-breath/

BONUS

A. Simply letting your attention be on your breath IS a pranayama practice and has no known contraindications.

B. Another breathing practice that is said to have no issues is to *internally* use the mantra, *So Hum* OR *Ha(h)m Sa* (each thought in different lineages to be the sound(s) of breath); while you are resting your awareness on your breath. For example, *So* on an inhale and *Hum* on the exhale. Or the same approach with *Ham* and then *Sa*.

Extra Bonus, because you deserve it:

It is said in some traditions and lineages that singing is a good way to get through a Saturn or otherwise challenging period and/or a strong choice to do it on Saturn's day.

I always suggest music with a positive vibration, for hopefully obvious reasons... These are not always as obvious as they might seem... so notice how you feel (and even what happens to others in a room) after and/or during something you might see as positive (or otherwise) since rhythm and vibration can do a lot.

I am posting this on December 24th and during Hanukkah, and so it seems especially appropriate to my brain to further specify that songs (and/or intentions) of a devotiontional and/or spiritual nature are said to be a strong choice for your music used for this type of a purpose. -- To be clear, there is plenty of devotion available via vessels such as U2 and Johnny Cash - it doesn't have to be in an ancient text.

(It is even said by some that the *celestial musicians* are sometimes sent to an Earthly human life to work out their own hard karmas and often end up becoming musicians; intuitively finding their way back toward their literally higher callling as they survive this plane of existence... One of my teachers believes that Mozart was one, etc.)

Additionally, and not unlike so much U2 (Hi, Tandi), intention is a key and the lyrics do not have to specify a deity(ies) or Nature or Universe or Love or anything but a direction and / or recipient; and your intention can send that toward your intended recipient of devotional offers.

And the more pure of an intention, the better, as always.

So much love and light, and peace, and balance to you.

Happiness, Healing, and Harmony,
Ashley

Snowy Mountain Sunset

Day 12 . Dec 25

Light, Fire, and Time Travel

GREETINGS

Happy Christmas, a continued Happy Hanukkah, Happy Vinayaka Chaturthi, Happy Waxing Crescent, Happy Eve of Kwanzaa, most likely plenty of other worshiping I am not consciously aware of, and lastly (for this post), Happy Sun-day (in my region of Earth) to Sun worshippers. Maybe especially for those worshipping Sun and/or another Star and/or a Son of a Light-source, this could be a doubly light honoring day -- and nice that it arrives so soon after our day with the least Sun, whichever as also followed so closely by a day with a dark Moon. (I realize the former is not a coincidence and is and annual construct: I also enjoy celebrating the things we have in common; celebrating light and with light-s is one that many do.)

Meditate

And so, today's meditation isn't guided; it is foundational and still it is always a profound experience; a candle meditation. Set a timer for 5 minutes, settle into your support, close your eyes, and imagine a candle in front of you. Focus on that image, maintaining that image, and returning to it if you drift. If you are not a strong visualizer, you can use an actual candle. You can imagine the Sun's warmth if you are more kinesthetic. If you have access to a fireplace that can host a fire, you can close your eyes and listen to the sounds that the fire makes, etc: You will know the best way for you to connect with the fire element. You might be multisensory, so feel free to explore a bit, but only 5 minutes.

Fire 

Fire is the first word in Rg Veda; Agni; and there is a calculated order to everything in the Vedas, and so it was apparently considered to be of great importance by the holders of wisdom who chose to record the thousands of years of accumulated understanding, observations, and philosophy. 

Hopefully obviously, be safe and care-full as you can while doing any work with physical or etheric fire:

Agni

A lot of cultures use fire differently. Some see it as a destroyer and some as an expander. If we consider the light and the heat of the Sun reaching us and beyond us, we can understand this perspective. Some others, focus more on the ash result than heat expanse. I see the Ash as more transformation than destruction, or at least along with it. (Of course, I have had my whole lifetime to reflect in the very many usages of the sound, Ash.) Anyway, some cultures see expansion while others see it as burning things off. In Ayurveda transformation is more the focus. And if we think of the natural elements, like the burnoff of the watery fog out at a shoreline; it is just transformation; the water doesn/ cease to exist, it has been changed is all. As long as the element is kept in a state of equilibrium with all others, it is of great service in the way of transformation both within and without.

Ceremony

Because of these above subjective persectives on Fire and its obvious power, while I appreciate the use of fire ceremonies by others and humbly respect others' choices to work with what they choose; I simply do not feel responsible prompting one to work with fire because I do not want to offer an invitation to do one thing when one might possibly be engaging with a differently oriented force than we understand it to be:

While your intention is everything, these elements are very real and very powerful, as any California resident is aware in the ways of not only Fire but Wind, Water, and the quakes that can arise if Earth's stagnation is broken up.

In addition, it could be a good day in MY life to do something and not a good day in another's, and so, just as I use the archetypes to communicate this offering but not to govern or even fully guide it (you might be reading on different days, anyway, etc), I also use the general astrology and every other ingredient relatively loosely since it and all other dynamics are so very specific to each one of us.

Take Care

That said, one thing that seems to be useful for a lot of us it is available to, is writing. As a reminder, I suggest by hand not only to get the full brain-to-hand benefit but additionally to get that much relaxation for your eyes; away from a screen; as well as to overall reduce your EMF exposure. 

Generate

For today's writing prompts, I invite you to

-Write about a transformational experience in your life that felt as if it was not your doing but was visited upon you.

-Then one you feel you facilitatted.

-And then one you see yourself as having initated.

-Then, one you started off thinking was or w/could be destructive that actually (also) ended up paving the way for a transformation that was very important for, and to, you.

Digest

I let myself binge a book this week that was very much about (often unexpected) transformations. I will say that I thought it was going to be lighter than it was. While does have plenty of literal Sunshine and moments as well as moments of Light, light-ness, and Enlighrenment, it is not as light as I had anticipated, so be warned; not super dark, but triggers might be there. The most obvious I see might be death, illness, pandemic, and divorce. Also, if you've ever time traveled, accidentally, that could be a trigger for you as well, especially since it seems thag not a lot of therapists these days are fully equipped to deal with that. Yes that was a joke. (And apologies to any forcibly closeted time travelers out there for making light of the experience - even worked light in there, win)... Anyway, I found it an interesting read and so, in case you were looking for a read, it is called One Italian Summer...I just flashed back to a particular scene and, let me tell you, I want pasta.

To wash that down, as a tea suggestion today, I think I will offer the herb Nettle. Whether you are overdoing it in fiery Summer or a bit more stiff and creaky in less-movement-sometimes-greater-joint-inFLAMmation Winter, Nettles might be a good supprt for your joints (as well as other areas of the system, therefore, since everything is often connected). As always, look it up for allergies and side effects, check alongside any other herbs or meds you take, and ask a doctor.

As a food suggestion, partly because Agni is also the word used for one's digestive fire, and partly because we are in a season when many are posting about how we should worry about the other 51 weeks of the year's consumption over just this one; I offer for you to take up the practice of noticing time of day for your food. The organ clock is a very real thing. Particular things at times of day (something many of our grandparents were aware of), as well as in combination with one another, and the amount of any particular item, can have profoundly different digestive results than at other times and/or if combined with other foods.
*Bonus* if you chew each and every bite until it is as if it went through a blender before you swallow it.

L-I-V-I-N

As far as lifestyle, Fire is fast. So is our culture. Very Solar energy. The Moon is closest to us it waxes and wanes. And so do we. So do our days, seasons of year, and of life. Honor these things. Act AND intuit. Work AND rest. Consume AND fast. Even if fasting from food isn't healthy for your constipation (that's well over 45% of you) you can fast from media. That is brand new to our cells and they do not understand it, let alone binging. Binging anything; food OR information (including that book this week, or a TV series, etc) - and especially both, constantly. It's sensory overload; an overuse of fire as well as other elements. It is raising them up so none are going to be in equilibrium with other things. Watch yourself. Notice. And actively take better care of you: Do you NEED to consume all that you do? Notice if you can slow down, minimize, do less, consume less; your system doesn't understand the difference between mental and gut digestion: If you stop binging TV, your teeth/throat/asophogus-through-your-colon/rectum will thank you...

Move It, Move It

Resisting a pun on movements, I will say, Sun-day; Sun Salutations; in whatever variation makes them accessible for your physical state. (Regardless, I imagine that anyone who can read this can also think Om Surya three times in a row). Dr. Lad suggests at least 21 salutations on each side, each Sun-day. -- For a 9 numerologically; instead of a 3; that'd be 27. Of course, if they are new to you, graduate up gradually from 3, 7, etc. And if you are in a place that is much too hot, perhaps the mantra and a bow if you like some physical incorporation and then Moon salutations at night to move and yet to also cool down.

Inspire / Respire

I offered the breath / lifeforce practices yesterday and breath / Prana awareness in the first few meditation recordings. Working with those at any time can be supportive. From now forth in this offering, I will suggest various breath awareness options.

A great thing about breath awareness is that it is subtle outwardly, and so it can be a very meditative and soothing practice and still you can do it nearly anywhere without anyone noticing much, if at all. Usually only those very sensitive to energy and/or tuned in to you would and could notice ypu doing this at all if you are letting your throat stay relaxed and therefore not changing the sounds of your breathing.

For today, with all the aspects I have mentioned, I will suggest directing awareness into the diaphragm.

If it is in your practice and/or an MD says it is a safe thing for you, you can develop a practice of daily slow, gentle, full, diaphragmatic breathing. By this, I mean allowing the lungs to fill; downward into the diaphragm; as much as is best for you, which lets the diaphragm massage all the lower organs. (One can also fill up the lower chest, and the upper chest, in addition, for a truly full breath, as well, IF that is best for your system).

Choose your time allowance and/or numerology as to how many times you do train your awareness of the area that is the diaphragm; as you breathe in and out; in a conscious and meditative way.

The movement of the diaphragm assists in transformation in many parts of the internal organ system.

Calming, stilling, focusing, and silencing, inwardly focused, meditative practices can facilitate transformation even from the angle that the system might be more encouraged away from the outer-focused fight/flight/freeze state and turn back inward toward one's own rejuvenation processes.

If one is constipated, Dr. Lad said that the deep diaphragmatic breath mentioned can be tried (if approved by a doctor as safe for YOUR body), GENTLY, seated, holding a few counts in between before exhaling (IF that is safe for your system/BP), and after SLOWLY consuming an eight ounce glass of warm H20 - not hot or cold; a bit warmer than room temp is okay for mid-day, and room temp in hot areas. Otherwise, warm in a way that is truly soothing, gentle, and comfortable for the mouth, throat, esophagus, etc; not overly fiery OR the opposite; which can make the system try to warm itself up by becoming overly fiery.

Listen

Sound is a great sense to tune into (pun not intended; still, convenient) to notice its effects almost instantly.

Especially during a holiday, there tends to be a sonar element of the worship and/or celebrating - even if it is observed silence.

I personally appreciate the chimes and bells often sounding at this time of year. I think they, like singing bowls and chimes from other traditions, often have a clearing and/or harmonizing influence on a space.

As always, even if one isn't playing or singing, one can notice the way that a space is; and the way it becomes; and the way it is left; before, during, and after any particular sound influence. And notice what you are noticing.

Give

Lastly, Sun-Day is associated with Father essence / archetype, so it can be nice to honor that wherever it shows up in your life on this day of the week.

Grace

Thanks for reading and mostly for showing up for you.

All the best,
Ashley

Coral Reef Island

Day 13 . Dec 26

Agua

Lucky 13

Happy end of Hanukkah, start of Kwanzaa, Waxing Crescent, Vinayaka Chaturthi, and much, much more 

I got on an elevator the other night and the switch from 12 to 14 prompted a discussion among the 4 of us packed in there like pickles. A conversation I promise you I did not start. Numerologically, it makes 4 and I grew up in 4 elements culture, so even with cousins obsessed with the Friday movies, it always seems just fine to me. My first college roommate was appreciative of the number, going back into a tradition where it is actually considered lucky. And someone I dated had such a strong relationship with it that they had it inked on them. These and other instances have reminded me of it over time. Today I looked at the number I might not have noticed had I had that elevator ride where we learned the way that airplanes have come to number their aisles these days, "So people don't get weird."... I mean, I always did feel lucky to received a baker's dozen...

I hadn't planned on going into numerology but this is Moon Day, and I learned it is considered Uncertain in Indian numerology, I figured I'd drag you along the beginning of the pathway with me.
Then I thought, why not give my message *and* include information about 13, which is a pretty dynamic number. And so, for the sake of time, I am going to share a link to something for you to scratch that surface, IF you want, and then return to what you probably came here for:

13
https://www.magicbricks.com/blog/house-number-13-in-indian-numerology/123574.html

I'd was on numerology as a whole, but it's like recommending an herbal protocol for an imbalance; it is not only different in different cultures and traditions, would take a book to go over it and, regardless, as with all things, what I call The Snowflake Principle applies:
We are each unique and so numerology is about what is relevant to us each.

For information, teachers like Dr.'s Lad and Svoboda sometimes comment on Indic tradition in their writings and courses. I personally find Egyptian Numerology interesting. For a Western Sidereal approach, I'd make sure you're reading on pure Helenistic roots and not any changes made that were more to accommodate / preserve a class divide, rulership, power structure, and/or for a commodified purpose like prioritizing Sun over Rising which isn't the actual priority in true Western Astrology. (Anyone who tells you the Sun is the priority in Helenistic is actually telling you that they have ignorance in the area.)

Anyway, today is a Moon Day. It is waxing; growing. If you are a female, or a particularly lunar being (maybe your weight tends to yo-yo, as might your energy, or money, depending on your chart, etc), you know that we individuals tend to wax and wane on our own clocks and still also be influenced by our Moon as so much of us is fluid, and the collective itself can be so influenced, of which we are each part, and to which we need to relate all the time.


For a Meditation

I'm going to recommend you listen to a natural water source. I'd listen with your eyes open and then closed and then open again to observe the water with different senses. Since we all get to much screentime, if you are seeking an electronic recording of a natural source, I'd just listen to one instead of look. If it is available to you, best to do so without headphones; to limit EMF's (+ the energy in an interior space can shift wonderfully with the vibrations of the sounds of nature). I do like the recordings of artists and sourcers like Gordon Hempton who get true, clear, long stretch, and very deep wilderness sounds of the wild. These often include a waterway. Just let the thoughts literally move like water - you might even better visualize them doing so with that audio influence. Do this for 15 minutes or whatever time you have. Feel free to do it for longer as well. I'd of course do a pee break before any particularly long meditation listening to a water source😉.

For journaling, I'll offer a collage of things - Water, has so many forms, after all...

1. I'd you have not done free-FLOWing, STREAM of consciousness journaling in longhand. I suggest you try it. Whatever time is best for you, to start. If you're reading this after the 29th; all good, especially if you picked it up once and then stioped; retrograde is a great time to re-turn and pick things back up again.

2. Write about a time you felt you understood what being *In flow* meant for one of the first times. If you do not think you have, then write about that; be it your experience and/or what you imagine that experience is like, and/or what you might need to do in your life in order to make space for yourself to get to that point - be it again or for the first time.
*Bonus points for using some of your self-alotted screentime (because I know you're healthily budgeting yourself).

3. Write a bad poem (or brilliant one, or journal, or song, short story, etc) from the perspective of water observing humans.
(I'll share a fun one a person I'm a fan of says about Earth's perspective domani.)

*Bonus prompt: Write about your relationship with or perspective on the waning and waxing aspects of your own a self and of life it-self.

BUT Ashley, I don't wanna - Dude, this isn't even honor system; free will all the way; you do not even have to be reading this! (Also, thank you for doing so)

Agua AKA Drink Me

The first Spanish word I recall Sesame Street teaching me. A puppet crawled across a staged desert sighing, *Ah-guAH! Ah-guAH!* Water is the element paired with the Moon, it is life, and it is so important to our daily existence and to maintain our health.

1. Have you tried the plain warm water first in the AM?

2. How about zero refrigerated drinks?

3. And do you drink at least 3-4 oz of water an hour? More if you sweat?


Movement

For today's motion, especially for all those not ready to go full Surya during all these celebrations:

Chandra Namaskar:

Moon Salutations:

This from Yoga School Rishikesh, where some colleagues trained:

https://www.rishikeshyttc.com/chandra-namaskar-steps


Tasty Tea

On the note of all the celebrating, digestion can take a hit and Licorice can be helpful for some. You can chew the root, have it as a tea, or as a supplement. I recommend the tea for smaller doses and the supplement (organic and with as few additives as possible) for those with any vulnerability toward high BP. As always, consult a doctor first.


Smells Like...

Water is nurturing. When we have a natural craving for any sense, there is often something our body is asking for in it, (unless we have issues with hormones or it has hormones disruptors in it; then something else might be going on to confuse the system and its cravings). I recommend things in moderation, that are natural things in organic forms. Give yourself a scent of something today that you crave and/or look up scents that have been shown to medicate an imbalance you have and see if you feel drawn to any.

For example-s;
Vanilla Bean often calms nerves
Rose Hydrosol is not only calming but often quells liver/ gallbladder-based issues
Peppermint oil not only topically has eliminated particular kinds of headaches, but in scent form has been shown to mitigate nausea associated with a specialized kind of heart surgery.
#themoreyouknow

Philosphy

At my Yin (cool, lunar, receptive, intuitive, water element approach; directed largely at myofascial release, especially valuable for injury and aging as the fascia can dry up and be less in flow around scarred areas) training on Gili Air in Indonesia, we were surrounded by water - and in such close proximity; on an island so wonderfully walkable that one could cross it in maybe an hour, circle it maybe in two

(Go here to see Gili Air a-from the air: 
https://www.expedia.com/Gili-Air.dx6326554?pwaDialog=mediaGallery)

We went to the ocean's shore for sunrise on days connected with a relevant element (Water/Ocean, Fire/Sun, Earth/Sand).

Sometimes one could hear the ocean at night.

It was the end of monsoon season and the rains could fall heavy some nights.

There was a pool at the Yoga center, regular trips to the beach in the daytime, plus fountains and other water installations at the various places we would go eat.

Water, water, and again some watah.

The area is so humid that, even with more time exposed to the sun, we all lost age lines on our faces because so much fluid was in the skin.

At the front desk, this quote was displayed:

Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. The wise leader knows that yielding overcomes resistance, and gentleness melts rigid defences.

Tao Te Ching

Read Me

For a book recommendation, I will offer the Tao Te Ching as transliterated by Ursula LeGuin. I have shared this before, so you might recognize it. I deeply appreciate it for many reasons, including the ways it was a support throughout a particularly challenging moment of my personal experience of 2020.

That's it for today.

Thank you for reading, for showing up for your own self, and take great care!

Happiness, Healing, and Harmony,
Ashley

Tranquil forest

Day 14 . Dec 27

Care

Happy Tuesday

I am taking focus back to Mars archetype today since I see health issues being spoken about all over and have noticed a number in my own sphere.

We speak about self-care, self-love, self-nurturing a lot these days...and this post is more of that.

Mars is considered both fire and Earth element, depending on the tradition / myth / teacher. And warriors need to be both strong and have great resources of energy, so it makes sense this would be a link that many make. The anecdote I mentioned yesterday about Earth element, was a statement by Speed Levitch on a tour of Central Park. Speed stopped us along a pathway leading deeper into the park, moving northward, after the Sheep's Meadow are where there are some of the park's big boulders (not native to the island of Manhattan). He noted that the rocks look on, amused, as they watch Earth's most complicated animals try to enjoy the afternoon. And it is true sometimes our Martian energy can even make us seem to be at war within ourselves as well as with our experience instead of letting ourselves relax, be present, go with the flow, and experience the simpler, lighter, and more blissful parts of life, and more gently relate to all things.

Mars represents, in part, energy - not of any particular type - and so it is up to each individual to learn to wield their Mars in whatever way they direct. It CAN lead to a fighter archetype and some Martians do have a tendency toward things like impatience, (possibly because they have all that energy building up and need to get it flowing. It can also be in myriad other directions; takes one to know...)

When I was earlier on in my process of being a performer, I met with many more challenges to my value and potential in that area than I do today. Today it's more about age, which is just boring, (more because for a male, my age wouldn't seem an issue in the least). When it was about my value or capacity as an artist (and on some level my right to be one), I did what I had learned to do at a young age with any ball of fiery, angry energy that, for multiple reasons, generated in me, and that I had been taught I wasn't supposed to have; I used the transformation power of the elements and sent that energy directly into the process of working that much harder and getting better. 

This response pattern was articulated by a fellow warrior actor once as, "Oh yeah? Watch this". (They said that in a closed, private, safe space, and might not want to be credited publicly, or I would happily share their name here). The moment they said that, I knew that there were others like me.

I eventually learned to let go of the anger and use more parts of myself to fuel my work that were more sustainable for my health. I hope to facilitate others realizing they could do the same because I was afraid to let go of this thing that had worked so well for me; driving me, keeping me fired up, and in dogged pursuit of what I had felt aligned with doing since I was 3 years old, but been denied and prevented from pursuing until after college, when I was (kicked) out of the house (for wanting to at least try it).

That anger's energy was alchemized into helping me working 6 side jobs to pay for classes and to often act for free; sleeping 4 hours a night or less if I had to; and foregoing social events and seeing fewer and fewer people's names in my phone on my birthday the first few years. That's okay. Those fall away who do not align with you: I was catching up. This was a career like any other. And I was unprepared. And so, without knowing it consciously, in order to survive and hopefully one day to thrive, I changed one sort of energy into another form. And you can do it too. - We each have a different innate capacity. Also true, we can each develop beyond that.

For today's taste sense, I'm simply going to say a little something sweet, healthy, easy to digest, and that you enjoy, to add some sweetness to your life. If you are not a sweet person, then whatever taste works for you; that enriches your experience and simultaneously nurtures your wellbeing as much as it satisfies a craving. Sour is said to calm fire. Salt is said to be grounding, which also balance fiery impulses, yet it can also be heating so I recommend the white kosher salt for those fiery types reading this.


Scent

Something that makes you settle down if you get agitated. Or relaxes you if you feel scared. Or soothes you if you run worried. Some common options for oils, candles, etc, are Lavender, Vanilla, and Rose. Notes of Cedar can ground. Ginger can warm and ground.

It can also just be a familiar scent that you choose. For example, coffee can remind me of mornings with my Godparents after staying over to give my single mother a night off to herself. At their house, I always felt lifted, safe, and supported. They felt more like guardian angels. Coffee was a nonnegotiable for them. And it was an event for my Godfather, who loved to pour in the milk and then watch it swirl into live, transforming duotone patterns of swirls and curves as his coffee cooled. *Look at THAT, Ashley!* All from coffee... ephemeral artscape.

There can also, of course, be multiple scents.


For Sound

Many turn to nature to soothe.

Some find a particular style of music or instrument brings some harmony to their soul's experience here.

For some, it changes frequently what will balance.

So, tune in to the Yoga of your sound life today and reflect on the ways each thing - like the garbage truck outside my window now😂, followed by a motorcycle, a car passing, another car's lock beeping, the air turning on inside this space, a chime in a neighbor's space, the fridge clicking on to stay cold, a plane passing close overhead, the hum the air sometimes makes moving through the alley, etc. Obviously mine are many urban and machine sounds: Each brings in different, often subtle things for me:

What does each of the sounds in your world do for you?
Are there any you find, for any reason, especially pleasing?
What do you LOVE to hear?
That makes you feel balanced; safer when nervous; lighter when heavy; free and easy when constricted.
Can you make a way to hear it? Maybe schedule time periodically to do that.
That's okay to create for yourself, and it will feed your life more than you may realize.

For touch, again, not just what feels nice - or even delicious - to the skin, but what truly nurtures you? Would you drape yourself in velvet? Do you love nothing like a bath? Is there a comfort-er you used once at a relative's house that still to this day is the most comfort-able thing? Is there a texture, a practice, a piece of furniture, etc, where you feel in some way harmonized? Or just better? Can you make the spacetime for connecting with it, or something like it?


To Journal today, I offer

-writing about all or any of the above and digging in to any sense(s) you might not be so fulfilled in: What to do about filling those out going forward, if it is a priority you wish to enlarge.

-writing about people in your life who make you feel more nurtured and harmonized. - Even if you can be around them sparingly because of spacetime, can you make more effort? Isn't it always worth it? If there aren't individuals like that in your world, can the intention to cultivate whatever you need to in your own vibration to attract more of those people to you be a thing for you to focus on? Is it a priority? Why/not?

-writing about a place you visited once that felt like home even though it was your first time there (in this body, at least). What happens to you there? If you left, can you return? - Even to visit? Is there more than one place? If no place has felt like home yet, then again, where do you want to be and what steps can you take to manifest it? Is it worth it to you?


For Movement

Close whatever doors, windows, curtains, shades you need to and move whatever way your body wishes to fully express itself. (Safe, gentle, etc.)


For Pranayam

Same but with breath
And/or (vocalizing with this or not however feels best to you) for those who feel harmonized by being guided:
A. Breathe in; gently and fully as your body will at this moment; and exhale out with the intention to completely let go of anything in your life that doesn't serve your harmonization.
B. In again and out the next time with the intention to let go of anything from your day that doesn't fully support your harmonization.
C. In again and out gently with an intention to return your supportive energies of big and little Prana inward toward facilitating your own harmonization.


Gratitude

Whatever is not accessible of the above, what DO you have to be grateful for? You can always and in all the ways build on what is present now.


For Extra Beauty

I recently came across a poem by Ingrid Goff-Maidoff that felt right for some themes of this day and collective time:

And a voice will come from the stillness
To give these words: Love your life
You will know from its deep urging
to let go the well-worn list
of all you thought you first needed.
Being here, freely,
from this muddy place.
It doesn't matter if you are broken,
empty handed, shabby.
Go now, into the day:
the open fields, the markets,
the long trail to the sea.
Find all the ways a lover loves their Beloved:
each hidden bloom, unspoken wound,
vagary of heart.
Become a brave and willing traveler
in a wild, forgotten terrain-
A realm of intimate, tender relating,
infinite mystery, untethered joy.
Now, moving in this world, you know
that love is the greatest fortune.
Only you will not amass it,
you are it.

Thank you as always for reading; for showing up for yourself.

May you be well.

Forest Trees

Day 15 . Dec 28

You Blend

Happy Wednesday / Woden's Day / Mercury Day

This weekday has become carved more and more into the fabric of spacetime by multiple cultures as having partly to do with knowledge, communication, intellect. While it is controversial in some circles if the Sanskrit name for Mercury; Budha; is related to the word for awakened one; enlightenment; intellect; Buddha; it is an interesting near-parallel.

In views of Astrology connected with Vedic wisdom and related ancient texts - that I have been exposed to; so far - Mercury is seen as a Benefic by some and potentially also the opposite side of the coin. One teacher explained that it can depend on what energies a Mercurial being is with as to the way they behave. While it hasn't been described to me in the following way, and so is merely a musing of my own; the poet in me wonders if this connects to the concept in Indic mythology that Mercury is said to be partly a child of the Moon (also Mercurial - or is Mercury then Lunar...?), and therefore might reflect whatever energy is the most bright in their presence...

Mercury in mythology is also said to be connected with three steps of Vishnu, the preserver. And there is a connection with preservation and the Moon, as it nurtures life on Earth through the darker hours.

And so, here we are at nurturing in the ways of knowledge and communication, when there is a raised importance for our self-care, self-love, and to make peace with ourselves in our self-talk.

The idea of knowing oneself is communicated, repeatedly, throughout multiple cutures, across recorded history. I feel it goes deep and far into healing and properly caring for oneself.

I just got a flash of standing at a party in my very early 20's and being approached by a stranger and asked who I was. This was asked possibly 10 times; successively, as I tried to figure out what they were angling for. My personality's expression being what is was at the time, I was done being interested in connecting with this individual on the second repeat; as clearly they had more interest in games than in me and my interest is in the other individual, if we, dare I say, resonate, what we can learn and share and all of that. I didn't feel right just walking away, and so my survival mechanism kicked in and decided to get the right - or at least the desired - answer so that I could then excuse myself on a smoother, more socially acceptable arc of at least giving the time of day - or night in this case, plus having also figured out the game to boot. The latter wasn't of enough interest to me and eventually neither was the former.

The value of my own energies marinates long enough with their open amusement at my answers, and once that has cooked long enough, ding: No; Who are you? is asked again. I might remark that this process wasn't the way to find out and choose to redirect my energies.

Luckily, this is not a party. You can stop reading at any moment. And I'm not here to amuse myself by poking at you.

There are myriad ways to assign, define, classify, systematize, identify, codify, etc. And many are used to then judge other methods as strong or valid, because... 

That is not my endgame here and I do not mean to talk down: We will each always be learning more about ourselves since we are always changing. To me, change is evidence - or as Ayurveda might say, a symptom - of life: Everything is a symptom: Of balance or otherwise: In Ayurveda (and many other medicines), everything in your system is a communication. A message from you to you. It even links mental imbalances to the rest of the system. Go figure, it’s all connected. But sincerely, in my experience, and in my observations (and reflections on memories) of others, it all adds up.

This page has a few of the countless invitations to some windows to view more of yourself, and more parts of yourself. Hopefully they will lead you to some further clarity.

.
You Are (also) HOW You Eat

I did a day in which I ate each meal alone, in silence, chewing 32 times, with no media, just focusing on my food and saying grateful things in my mind as I ate; beginning with the food and eventually that I could support others and be supported and experience joy and learn things and - you get it. After that full day, I felt so much more clearly connected - to everything. #Recommend.


You Do You

My true pace is sometimes different than my mental stories say. Fostering more honest communication among parts of myself has shown me this and much more. I now see that I am far more productive when I do not try to figure out how to do things someone else's way - and I have more energy resources when I stop wasting them trying to be something I am not. Crazy talk, I know. Bonus: In honoring this, I more often seem to attract people who love and appreciate me for who I am, and who are similar in some almost alarmingly synchronistic ways. Plus my body, and therefore my mind, etc, feels so much more at peace when I am in my truer vibration. (see poem below)


You Are What You Are:
Accepting Your Constitution

Every body is different. That is not a typo. One's constitution is like a finger print (but not, because those apparently aren’t always so different: John Oliver teaches me so much), and they stay the same over your lifetime, and are said to form at 3-4 months in utero. So a part of you is always you. Always returning to that same pattern as each new cell grows, etc. True, innate, original vibration. Vedic astrologers can gather a lot via reading a palm partly because of your hands showing so much about specifically you.

In Ayurveda, and all Vedic wisdom, the way that has been developed to articulate this reality as it has been experienced over centuries assigns 5 elements to relate to and connect all thing in this manifestation. Pancha Mahabhutas: Five Great Elements. (More on these down the line).

When these elements are looked at as the ways they express themselves through the human form, there are three fundamental constitutions, or doshas (no matter how many times I type that, autoINcorrect makes it, dishes). Each d-o-s-h-a has two elements (2 have Water). Each human has all 5 elements and usually 2 as the majority of their 100%. Sometimes just 1 is dominant, and more rarely 3, 4, or all 5 are in closer to equal measure: Even when we identify two primary elements, it could be 3 elements at 1% each and the other two at very different measures. Same with two constitutions; 3-4 elements; the two main ingredients can be hot chocolate and marshmallows, but there can be 2 or there can be 15 marshmallows and a small or an XL cup of cocoa; so, like everything, it is more nuanced than it might seem at first glance.

Each system has not only ratios among the elements to harmonize with; they also have heredity, birthplace / climate, culture, chart, vocation, personal life, etc, to feed into their expression and potential for a harmonious state of being. 

One way to communicate with oneself is to listen honestly to one's emotions, desires, cravings, urges. They communicate about your health, balance, organs, homrmones, etc. Noticing, I craved/wanted/impulse purchased/felt the need to message a hello to ________ the same day I was in a great mood, had an argument with_______, had a great workout, had issues sleeping, felt sad *for no reason*, etc. There is always a reason and the more consciously aware you open yourself to being, the more you make space to see any connections. 

In addition to a regular journal, food and dream journals can be profoundly supportive for sussing out patterns and connections. As always, one thing at a time. Prioritize and move forward at a sustainable commitment and pace for YOURself.


Journaling questions to possibly play with:

Do you tend to feel the need for more calming? Invigorating? Stability? Pacifying? Drive? Passion? Bliss? Patience? Bliss? Etc.

Does it change sometimes? Often? - Seasonally, monthly, weekly, daily, each hour?

Was it always like this?

Are you aware of things that could get you into what you have faith would be a better space for you?

What now?


Pranayam + Journaling offer:

Warrior’s Breath:
One of my pulse-reading volunteers shared this with me a few years back and it can go along with journaling or be made into it's own separate practice - esp if you're a Morning Page-r. (If you get dizzy with breath retention, you can do this subtly; without the physical breath; the same way I described variations oj Nadi Shodhana; the balancing breath; on Dec 24)

1. Write down the day - everything that happened.
2. Turn your head to the left shoulder and breathe in, breathing in that whole day that you just experienced, and re-experienced.
3. Hold the breath as you turn your head to the right shoulder.
4. Now breathe that day out over the right side; letting it go; completely.
5. Now you can move on.

It is easy to see why this could be a great self-care practice for warriors with everything that they endure. - And all us weekend warriors may as well benefit from it too.🙌


Drink More Water (like this)

My drink for you today is silent practice while you drink something you would drink anyway. This means you are silent, you speak to nobody, you listen to nobody, you read nothing, and you watch nor read nor listen to any devices - silence the EMF's as well; only your vibration and the drink's.

Tasty

The same offer stands for a food; only your vibration and the food's.

Adding gratitude to this process, as I mentioned above, is a bonus.

Extra credit if you note the way you feel at that time and then if you go back to doing things another way.


You Heard Me

Notice when there is silence. That is not only where comedy can be (name that movie) but where many answers are. And especially in a cacophonous urban or work environment, every now and then when things go quiet, it can be so very precious for your system to tune into only needing to process - and even simply being able to hear - its own hum.


Felt That

Feel your feelings.

Bonus: Notice the difference between when you fully feel them; they express themselves; and then they dissipate vs. if you block them or lean into them so much you nearly attach; potentially retraumatizing yourself and creating suffering or even a Samskara where there might only have been temporary pain. I am aware that this is easier said. You can see me crying in films now when I have been in a room of semi and/or total strangers and needed to wait for all the prepping and then Action, etc. There was a time before I'd started figuring my acting process out, when somebody (who actually happens to be a brilliant performer) asked why I was watching a tragedy on a sunny afternoon and I frankly explained that I needed to cry. I could connect into it, through my own walls, via particular stories and films. (I'm so Briana, I know). These days, I'm closer to doing it more than I'd like - which I ultimately prefer both for my work as well as my health; to clean emotions out is far healthier.


Seeing

If you are a visualizer, then meditate by visualizing natural areas and phenomena (let me know if you'd like me to make a guided audio for you in the meditations). For now, notice wind, rain, ocean - and at different tides, mountains, daytime, night, fields, moon cycles, fires, deserts, quakes, jungle, etc. Let the sounds be present as well as any visuals as much as you can conjure them. Maybe you can feel the breeze or smell the grass, the sea, etc:

Notice what feels harmonious to you. Without shoulding all over yourself: What should be uncomfortable or unwelcome or threatening but doesn't feel that way? What maybe shouldn't but does? What definitely should and does? Where do your should come from? Are there reasons for your responses that you are conscious of?

Move It
Did you do yesterday's offer ofprivate, uninhibited movement. How did that go? Would you do it again - if only to see if it's the same today? To notice if you repeat or have expectations or feel more energized or lazy or more or less free, etc. What do you notice today?Have you ever done this sort of thing in public? - while sober? There's no need to do so, at all. That isn't your next assignment (unless you would want it to be... then be safe and be free). This question in this context is more reflecting on you and what you have and haven't done and do and do not do. Just observation without judgement. Then if feelings about it come up; feel them. There'll be an exercise soon on digging into those even further.


Practice is Practice is...

One of my teachers who gave so much light would say that to us.In - and to - a rhythm: A clap on each Prac- And flowing a bit back and forth between the claps.
We return.
And we return again.
To the patterns we create
and / or to our innate selves.We see where we are in the rings of the tree.
And we can create patterns to return us to ourselves.

Is there a practice you have that you consciously choose to employ? - Whenever I _______, I know that if I just _______, I will _________. Or maybe there are a few you fiddle with to see what works right now / this time / today... or maybe yours is still available for you to discover. I invite you to consciously and intentionally experiment with this wherever you are in the process:
Invitation here to nerd out a bit on self-transformation / help / improvement / care / and love. Find at least one thing for those who might not look for more - or for those of prone to overwhelm or overdo; find one thing for now and one thing at a time - that resonates with you; That sounds like something I c/w/should do. Who knows, maybe you will realize you already are doing something you didn't realize other people had to learn to do.

Thank you for showing up for yourself. Below is a Poem for you.

I hope this is of service to your highest good.

All the best,
Ashley


Say Yes

When two violins are placed in a room if a chord on one violin is struck
the other violin will sound the note
If this is your definition of hope
This is for you
The ones who know how powerful we are
Who know we can sound the music in the people around us
simply by playing our own strings
for the ones who sing life into broken wings
open their chests and offer their breath
as wind on a still day when nothing seems to be moving
Spare those intent on proving god is dead


For you when your fingers are red
from clutching your heart
so it will beat faster
For the time you mastered the art of giving yourself for the sake of someone else
For the ones who have felt what it is to crush the lies
and lift truth so high the steeples bow to the sky
This is for you

This is also for the people who wake early to watch flowers bloom
Who notice the moon at noon on a day when the world
has slapped them in the face with its lack of light
For the mothers who feed their children first
and thirst for nothing when they’re full

This is for women
And for the men who taught me only women bleed with the moon
but there are men who cry when women bleed
men who bleed from women’s wounds
and this is for that moon
on the nights she seems hung by a noose
For the people who cut her loose
and for the people still waiting for the rope to burn
about to learn they have scissors in their hands

This is for the man who showed me
the hardest thing about having nothing
is having nothing to give
Who said the only reason to live is to give ourselves away
So this is for the day we’ll quit or jobs and work for something real
We’ll feel for sunshine in the shadows
look for sunrays in the shade

This is for the people who rattle the cage that slave wage built
and for the ones who didn’t know the filth until tonight
But right now are beginning songs that sound something like
people turning their porch lights on and calling the homeless back home

This is for all the shit we own
and for the day we’ll learn how much we have
when we learn to give that shit away
This is for doubt becoming faith
For falling from grace and climbing back up
For trading our silver platters for something that matters
like the gold that shines from our hands when we hold each other

This is for the grandmother who walked a thousand miles on broken glass
to find that single patch of grass to plant a family tree
where the fruit would grow to laugh
For the ones who know the math of war
has always been subtraction
so they live like an action of addition
For you when you give like every star is wishing on you
and for the people still wishing on stars
this is for you too

This is for the times you went through hell so someone else wouldn’t have to
For the time you taught a 14 year old girl she was powerful
This is for the time you taught a 14 year old boy he was beautiful
For the radical anarchist asking a republican to dance
cause what’s the chance of everyone moving from right to left
if the only moves they see are NBC and CBS

This is for the no becoming yes
For scars becoming breath
For saying I love you to people who will never say it to us
For scraping away the rust and remembering how to shine
For the dime you gave away when you didn’t have a penny
For the many beautiful things we do
For every song we’ve ever sung
For refusing to believe in miracles
because miracles are the impossible coming true
and everything is possible

This is for the possibility that guides us
and for the possibilities still waiting to sing
and spread their wings inside us
‘Cause tonight saturn is on his knees
proposing with all of his ten thousand rings
that whatever song we’ve been singing we sing even more
The world needs us right now more than it ever has before
Pull all your strings
Play every chord
If you’re writing letters to the prisoners
start tearing down the bars
If you’re handing our flashlights in the dark
start handing our stars
Never go a second hushing the percussion of your heart
Play loud
Play like you know the clouds have left too many people cold and broken
and you’re their last chance for sun
Play like there’s no time for hoping brighter days will come
Play like the apocalypse is only 4…3…2
but you have a drum in your chest that could save us
You have a song like a breath that could raise us
like the sunrise into a dark sky that cries to be blue
Play like you know we won’t survive if you don’t
but we will if you do
Play like saturn is on his knees
proposing with all of his ten thousand rings
that we give every single breath
this is for saying–yes
This is for saying yes

Forest Trees

Day 16 . Dec 29

Kindness

THURSDAY!
(Name that movie)

We are in double retrograde of Mercury and Mars as of today and it is Winter in my hemisphere. Lots of things can get confused, health is of a high priority, and not everyone is moving as much outside to work things that get into their bodies out.

I appreciate that this overlap came to be on a Thursday in my area of the planet; a day when Jupiter and related archetypes are honored in some cultures. In the Vedic tradition, Jupiter's energy is called Guru and the behavior is that of the Guru to the Devas, who have been described as those who look to the possibilities beyond. (Some compare or equate them with Angels or Angelics. I do not think it needs a comparison, especially when it isn't a very strong one. Although, my Tibetan medicine teacher likes the description that Angels' counterparts are also Angels; only fallen; because he feels is helps communicate the concept of the Devas and their counterparts being the same and helps lean one's perception of reality toward nonduality. Indeed, in the myths of Indic tradition, the Devas and Asuras are drawn as being connected, just in a different way; as being quite literally related; they are kin.)

In my view and experience, in times of challenges communication, clarity, support, and health, it can be wonderful to be reminded of the greater wisdoms and that sometimes we fall, and still we can return to our higher levels of self. Both are within us. And tuning into the highest parts of ourselves while we are feelings (and therefore potentially behaving) lower, can be a form of medicine and restore us.

In the physical manifestation, Jupiter is the constitution that harnesses Earth and Water. My phone suggested watermelon and its taste does happen to be sweet - and Water-element-dominant people are often pretty juicy. Earthy people can have a little more challenge with their flow. In my area, it is cold and so even constitutions that are not so prone to stagnation as steady, and almost unmoving, Earth, can develop more slow speeds and less movement overall due to reduced activity.

Circulation can become more challenged in any situation where there is reduced movement and/or one's flow is otherwise not as supported, even for those who typically have few or zero issues with it, it can increase and, if not addressed, it can eventually present as an issue.

Living in places like NYC where people tend to be pedestrians more than most other places and like LA there are prevalent year-round active, fitness, and outdoor activity cultures, even semi-regular activity tends to fall off on colder or inclement weather days, especially after the last two years when so many developed practices of more outdoor activities - and/or traditionally indoor activities now being done more often outdoors.

Holiday and / or colder / stormy weather eating and cravings can lead to consuming more salt, sugar, and more ingredients that can contribute to increased inflammation, which can inhibit the body’s ability to circulate easily.

Add to that, with the constriction cold can create on the skin, and the often tightening of muscles in reaction to it, and the body can develop areas with stiffness and more challenged flow.

And, of course, some individuals don't even need an environmental cause to have circulation challenges due to innate constitution, hereditary hand-me-downs, injury or illness, etc.

If your system has been moving slower for any reason, some gentle things you can do are below. A reminder that I am #notadoctor and please consult an MD you trust and have faith in the integrity of about any changes to diet or lifestyle;

-at the end of each day, lay down on the floor/a mat/a LOW pile rug (too high of a pile can influence the evenness of spinal support) with your legs at a 90 degree angle to your torso and resting against a wall. Stay here for ten minutes. This helps drain anything that might have stagnated in your legs. Likewise, keeping your legs elevated at more gentle angles at any available point in the day can help your body restore improved flow.

-bicycle your legs in the air for ten minutes - inspires circulation in addition to any drainage from stagnation/accumulation. Be sure to keep the abs pressing the lower back into the floor while you do this in order to support the back while you do this. This can be an especially strong choice first thing in the AM for those who have hereditary challenges with circulation. Consult a doctor prior to make certain you have no risk of any clotting or other disturbances in the legs that could be encouraged to move by placing the heart below them.

-do what you can to reduce your stress level; blood vessels constrict when you are stressed; so freeing emotional pressure on the heart can also free the heart from any added physical pressure of pumping blood. It’s almost as if everything is connected.😯 Relaxation also tends to trigger / make space for the body's self-healing mechanisms.

-spices and other foods like turmeric that reduce inflammation can increase the ease of your circulation

-cayenne is a good circulation stimulator - one of my favorite companies, Moon Valley, makes a warming muscle rub that includes cayenne: It uses Arnica to reduce swelling as the cayenne works to facilitate circulation in the area - great for keeping any injured areas warm and circulating - especially in the colder weather. Like all topicals test this for 24 hrs prior to broader use for anything. And keep away from open wounds. (FYI for those who haven’t read up on this, icing an injury has been found to only be most effective in the first twenty minutes. Icing it repeatedly can inhibit blood flow. The healing process needs new blood in the region. It tends to be better to reduce swelling with elevation and diet, herbal, and/or topical supports than to use ice or cold packs ongoing.)

-Vitamins

Vitamin E is a blood thinner and therefore can give ease to the circulatory process (Be cautious if already taking any blood thinners, there are any challenges with the blood as is, and/or you already use a topical with Vitamin E like Jojoba). 

Vitamin D strengthens cells that line the blood vessels, which can keep them healthy; improved circulation.

B vitamins and iron can help (if you don’t want to supplement iron, you can try cooking with a cast iron pot/pan(s). That said, cooking everything this way can lead to too much iron for some people, especially if you cook every meal yourself, so observe your digestion and any additional physical differences if you try this). 

Omegas can help - again, anything that can reduce inflammation. (Be sure to balance your omegas).

-stay hydrated; keeping the liquids flowing at a moderate and yet steady pace can help with keeping the flow. Of course, make certain to keep things at room temperature or above.

-massage is also of help and the next message is all about a relatively simple, daily way that you can do that for yourself❤️ - more on that domani!

-tuning forks; one of my teachers, John Beaulieu, is certain that tuning forks can restore movement and generate more flow subtly in a similar way to acupressure or puncture - just with. Vibration instead of bodily contact or permeating any layers of the dermis. He also encourages using the forks along the neck and cheeks the same way one would work with gua sha and other facial stimulation tools in the interest of encouraging more movement in the area for both health and beauty-related rejuvenation.

-And of course movement inspires movement. People with all sorts of imbalances from hormonal to digestive to mood (not that those might not all co-relate) have seen diminishing or disappearances of their symptoms with regular movement that is healthy for their particular vessel's constitution (more into this in the coming two weeks).

The Other Kind Of Circulation

This has mostly been about the circulation of the blood. Please note that without movement, topical manipulation, and/or possibly vibrational manipulation, of the physical form, it is not very likely that the lymph will move steadily - especially in those with innately slower rhythms, digestion, speech, and other processing: Most often, one's speed is repeated throughout the system; even if it is irregular, the rest of the system tends to respond to a change in pace of one part because it's all connected. I strongly recommend, IF it is available to you, to move for 20-50 minutes a day. If you can get up and move around during breaks in a schedule - even for a few minutes (at a slow or moderate speed in those brief intervals; so as not to jolt the heart) that is ideal.

Females especially and males as well to a degree have been shown to benefit from a wall each day at at least a somewhat accelerated pace (as is safest for your ticker).

Walking can be especially useful not only for flow, including the flow of digestion, and also nerve issues, arthritis, and energetically it can feel very grounding because so many of the links can get worked out in such a simple, gentle way that is innate to anyone it is physically available to. These factors become even more valuable in this culture with so much sitting and standing and stress and overdoing / overwhelm / overintake-of-information, etc, which can lead many to check out up into their headspace or generally just not be as connected with all the parts of their system.


Bounce In The Haus

Another gentle physical movement for stimulating flow of the lymph is Qi Gong Bounce. A lot of Qi Ging is gentle movement focused on energy flow. It also moves most areas of the body and so it can stimulate the lymph movement in a gentle way.


Just Breathe

Breathwork (that is suited to one's constitution and/or current relationship with and to balance) has also been shown to support both blood and lymphatic flow. Part of this seems to be due to the gentle working of the spleen, which is part of the lymphatic system, in a full breath that massages all the organs; Mother Spleen being just below the ribs and lungs.


It's Possible

I am reluctant to put this here in case any who succumb to the lazy part of themselves (we all have one), but I will for the ill and injured who do not have access to support and agree that lymphatic and blood movement are paramount to a healing process: It has been showing in some studies that it is possible that imagining doing something physical sets off enough memory in the neurological systems and into he muscles that one can potentially get up to an estimated 30% of the benefits just by imaging doing it. #worksmarter, also note the immense number of qualifiers I put in that last sentence🤣. 


You do you!
This is your journey. My offer for those who are looking for encouragement or something similar is that due to the myriad benefits of movement, like circulating, promoting healing, promoting relaxation, neurological support, supporting digestion and detoxification, you will be healthier and happier -- AND that will flow out to benefit the experience of others who you encounter: This practice of supporting the flow of one's own system is a great act of kindness to oneself and to all of those one is connected with.


Drink and Eat
with thoughts to yourself and/or others that are as patient and kind as possible. If you catch yourself going off course, congratulations; you have self-awareness and are conscious of your own process; now you have the option to decide if you'll get back on the kindness track -- after processing whatever came up to bring you to a different kind of vibration, including why that might have been the place that you went in response to that particular thing.


Meditation

Whenever you move this week, focus your awareness afterward (and/or during) on the changes in yourself after you move. This is not about how great you feel - or at least not only about that: Sometimes there will be moments of uncomfortableness or even irritability as far as emotions if things are being detoxed out, etc: It is truly just meditating on what went down, what came up, what moved through, etc.


For a writing / journaling prompt

All as awareness without judgement:

When did you first recall being made aware of being kind to yourself - or another; whichever concept was more foreign to your innate sense of things and POV (maybe both depending on the relationship/ circle / situation).

What did you come to learn at that time and in the days and months after?

How are you today, in relation to that concept, compared to how you were then? 


Lastly

On this Jupiter's day in a space of retrogrades, changing years, and changing seasons, and all the rest; in which communication; including with oneself, and health including mental health, can be challenged, we can channel our prana toward that great kindness of the benevolent archetypes that re-mind us about the benevolent parts that we have within ourselves.

And so I share the poem below, which some of you might have heard read by somebody else recently.

May something here be of benefit to your highest good. 

And may you be well,
Ashley


Kindness

Before you know what kindness really
is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully 
saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and 
chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity
of lindness
you must travel where the Indian in
a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night
with plans
and the simple breath that kept him
alive. 
Before you know kindness as the  deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other 
deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes 
sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to 
gaze at bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

Naomi Shihab Nye
Words for Words
poets.org

Tree at Night

Day 17 . Dec 30

Motion is the Potion

Friday Freya Venus Love

Friday

Today, I am posting instructions on self-massage, since Venus is about the senses and love and self-massage can be a wonderful practice toward cultivating self-love. Those instructions are below before I get to that, a few other things:

Sound

The seed syllable for the heart is Hum (H-AH-M)

If you notice when you do the seed syllables they each resonates with the area of the physical body connected with that wheel of energy. When you use the interior of your mouth consciously to say this syllable, the resonance moves to the chest area. You are facilitating flow in the heart space. Repeat 3 times, if you feel moved to.

Taste

Tea
Another Herb that supports the heart is Hawthorne. As always, I suggest organic / fair / bulk, etc.

Food:
When you eat (and drink), remind yourself that this is an act of nurturing the self and therefore actively offering love.

Sight:
The color for the Heart Chakra is Green or Pink depending what source of this tradition you speak to. It can be different in other traditions. Nothing is right. We are each different and our unique frequency will resonate with something else. Plus, those of us lucky enough to have sight, each likely see different things when we see a color.

See what it feels like to be around or particular colors, in moderation. If wearing them, be more careful. With stones, be even moreso. You can start with pinks and greens. Notice if anything seems to make you feel a certain way - again, it is unique to each; there could be a reason for you that it doesn't resonate. And that's okay; this is about locating what nurtures you today. I say today because in a couple months or years something else might hum your frequency.

Meditation
I suggest relaxing and settling in in whatever way works for you and then breathing into that heartspace and otherwise tuning your awareness into your heart. We are in a double retrograde so no need to act immediately on anything that comes up. It still can be a strong choice to do this daily. And see how things might change, what comes up, the way it might, etc. It's just putting both prana and Prana there so things can flow and your awareness can tune fully into your medium point between Heaven and Earth, as some say.

Because archetypes of this day also have to do with enchantment, a poem by Brenda Hillma
During and enchantment in the Life

Do you love a living person
absolutely? Tell them now.
In a half-unwieldy life you made, under
The hyaline sky, while the dead
drank from zigzag pools nearby,
if they save you in your wild
incapacities,

in timing of the world's harm
In a little pettiness in your own heart 
while others took your madrigal in
shreds to a tribunal,
When others said you should feel
grateful
to be minimally adequate for the world's
Triple exposure or some tired
committee...

The ones who love us, how do the break through our defenses?
We're tired today. Come back later.
Their baffled voices melting our wax
walls
with a candle, the ones who
understand
what being is - the glowing, the
broken,

the wheels, the brave ones -
they have their courage,
you have yours,,,;
when you meet the one you love,
it is so rare. When you meet
the one who loves you, it is
extremely rare.

Touch
Self-Massage: A Practice That Promotes Self-Love:

The Sanskrit word for Oil, Sneha, also means Love.

This is reflected in Ayurveda, not only in its employment of oils as facilitators of healing, but in the Ayurvedic massage practice of Abhyanga. It is recommended as a daily practice and it is on the list of ideal Ayurvedic daily practices (coming soon) to do a self-Abhyanga; self-massage; every day.

This self-massage can be 10 minutes or 2 hours. A full Ayurvedic or Lymph massage is 2-3 hours, so if you’re feeling the need for a big self-love break, and the time can be made (there are so many ways to make time; I know people who do massage with their little ones so they can pass the practice on to their kids as well as make sure they have that self-nurturance in the practical reality's schedule in today's culture. Whatever you can give yourself (which boosts you to be able to give to others) have at it - always and in all the (healthy) ways have at the many pure forms of love that are available.

Below is some info about how best to prepare the oil and to apply it, which oils tend to be best for different constitutions; or doshas in Ayurveda (more specifics on those next week) for this specific practice, and the varied reasons that Abhyanga can serve each dosha, as well as the types of application and rigor considered better for each.

IT’S GETTING HAWT IN HERE

Heated oil is best in any moderate or cold season.

Doshas
-Vata is Space and Air/Wind and is cold and dry but can go hot if it goes out of balance - and since it can be as unstable as the winds of change can make us feel, that can happen.

-Kapha is Earth and Water so it tends to be more robust and/or juicy.

-Pitta is Fire and Water so it tends to run warmer or even hot. It tends to be oily unless it goes out of balance when it can get dry, irritated, inFLAMed, etc.

Warm (not too hot) oil in cold weather is therapeutic for most individuals. The simple warmth feels good, it opens the pores to help absorb the oil, and it helps to stimulate the circulation.

The Ayurvedic perspective is to oil first; massaging it in for a while promotes absorbency in addition to all the other benefits. After this, one is to shower; not before; that way the moisture that has gone into the pores remains there and any soaps won't dry the skin and the surface oil is washed off so things that might stick to it will not be able to.

To prepare the oil, heat in a pan and pour into (ideally) a glass container. 

If I’m short for time or energy, I might sit my little container of oil-for-the-day (you do not need much) so it is touching my glass of hot water / hot tea (as it cools to become warm) for a few minutes while I do some other AM activities.

JUUUUST RIGHT: Vata is cold and light so Sesame; a warm and heavy oil is good.

Pitta is hottt, so coconut (recommend) or avocado, if tolerated (esp. in stormy weather) can work because they can be cooling.

Kapha is heavy, so lighter oils like grapeseed might be best. 

All of this depends on the unique consitution since we are all combinations of the three; Sesame can be good for cooler Kapha because it is warming, but if you have Pitta with your Kapha and run warmer or have sensitive skin then do not use it.

CUSTOM FIT: If you are a combination, you will pay attention to the season, the way your skin is, your dominant dosha (those who have an even mix of all three will check in with the way that they feel each day for this), and any imbalances.

If you don’t know what you are, ask me and we can figure it out.

APPLY YOURSELF: This practice is ideally done each day. Kapha could be lazy about this, Pitta could decide there are more important things to accomplish, and Vata could be inconsistent, overwhelmed, or even forget😆, etc, but you will see each dosha’s reason for doing it in the next section. Regardless, as always, let yourself relax about whether or not it gets done, how long you do it, etc; this is for your health so let the emotions surrounding it be as healthy and relaxing as they can.

The Massage Itself: Overall, it is sweeps up and/or toward the heart/in the direction of blood flow. Reapplying oil as needed between each step:

-Starting with the head.
1. Meet all fingertips of the right hand together - or as close as is available, and place this at the crown of the head. Then slowly separate them and your spiral the fingertips around to the right and down toward the ears / not level of the skull. Do this 5 times.
2. Orient the middle fingertip above the note at the hairline and the other 4 fingers to the left and right where they meant the hairline, relatively evenly distributed so pinky and thumb and closer the the ear and ring and pointer are between these and the middle. Then move back to 4 more points on the skull; halfway back being the second point you hit. Do this 5 times.

-move to the sternum and work up and out through the clavicle, neck, and up toward the face in sweeping motions. Up and out, up and out.

-take the pointer and thumb and sweep the jaw from chin to edge of the jaw/neck meeting point 5 times
-point and middle sweep the side of the mouth under the cheekbones to the the ear 5 times
-pointer and middle move inward between the upper lip and nose from corners of mouth to center 5 times
-give the nose a little love moving up and inward toward the forehead
-five times massage the forehead up and outward toward the hairline; smoothing and soothing any tense areas out
-pointers at top of their respective brows and middle underneath gently sweep the brow line outward from the inner brows toward the hairline and then around and even more gently below the eye from the outer eye toward the nose. 5 times
-pointer and middle massage the temples up and down 5 times.

-recommemded to include a self-breast-and-surrounding-areas exam with the oil

-sweep up the right arm and down the left 5 times

-massage the webbing of the fingers from pinky toward thumb on the right hand first and the left hand 5 count on each web; finger webbings connect to places in the body:
—Pinky - ring is the reproductive system
—Ring - middle is the liver
—Middle - pointer is the stomach
-Pointer - thumb is the brain

Where there is sensitivity can be an indication something is not in harmony in the system.

-midsection. If you have no hernia or familial history of hernias, you can move the right hand clockwise in small-large circles around the belly button 5 times - encouraging the ascending, transverse, and descending digestive processes. As you do this with the right hand, the left is moving upward gently in a straight line to balance any downward motion, no matter who you are: Those with a family or personal history of hernias only sweep up, gently unless otherwise advised by a medical professional - who also understands massage.

-oil the hips, put hands into gentle fists, with the thumb side of the fists, tap the hips and the gluts to wake up flow there, 5 times each

-Now down to the feet: Only oil the bottoms of the feet in situations in which you aren’t at risk of slipping (have to say it).

-oil tops of the feet

-move up on the legs from the ankles; move fingers down the backs of the ankles and up on the front side

-only use soft, flat application on the calves - no random finger poking here; the calf is like a braid and it has a vein that connects straight to the heart so we must be careful with it. (Calves can actually tell you a lot about a person’s heart).

-massage from the lower / inner corner of the knees; diagonally around the cap toward the upper /outer corner of that area: hand on the same side running under the cap and hand from the opposite side running above it. This and the work at the ankles can help release anything stuck in these spaces.

-once you get up to the thighs, there are no circulatory risks, you can knead and drive a little deeper with your massage. 

-IF you are in a physical state where it is accessible to you to get to parts of the back, all movements are sweeps downward.

Congratulations, you have given love to your body. Those with lymph or circulatory challenges might feel about times lighter the first time they do this.

OIL (Sneha cont’d) - People with Vata skin (tends to be thin and dry even in the moist months, not thick with water like Kapha or greasy like Pitta) in Vata season will benefit from doing this each day. (If you want to do a steam, that can also help the skin. Moderate amount of time spent in there though). Gentle pressure. Cranial sacral massage could be a strong choice as these type can have more vulnerability toward an unset nervous system.

Pitta people can benefit because their bigger pores can let in toxins which the grease can hold onto, potentially leading to breakouts. Warmed topical oil absorbs into the skin and pushes toxins to the surface so that Pittas are then sweating through cleaner pores. (Pitta should do this *before* a steam to avoid breakouts and only spend a few minutes max in the steam, regardless, because they do not need to be warmed up much. - Hot yoga notsomuch for Pitta = potential forest fire in the system which can lead them to become, among other things, dried out...). Medium pressure. Pitta might not make time for a massage unless it is THE best or some other symbol of status or accomplishement; depends on how those concepts translate into their personal value system and what imbalances they'd accumulated by focusing more on work and other accomplishments than taking care of themselves. For these hot people, I think a daily, soothing, cooling timeout to self-massage is winning at taking care of yourself as well as ensuring greater longevity, an improved physical appearance, and being at your best to be able to do you work so much better. You can know that you win at those parts of life a little bit more each day.

Kapha can often hold water, in which case doesn’t need the moisture so much as it needs the encouragement of the movement to keep things flowing because it can also often get stagnated, which can lead to disease; for prevenative health in our systems, motion is the potion. (Can spend plenty of time in a steam if not combined evenly with a more Pitta or Vata constitution: Encourage that skin to warm up, to circulate; to open, and generate flow and release of toxins. Hot yoga, or at least a very athletic Ashtanga or other Hatha practice, can be a big yes for Kapha) Firmer, deeper pressure (where safe and more nurturing and soothing than uncomfortable and prodding). These people can benefit from deep tissue and lymph massage more often.

Thank you for showing up for yourself.

May you be well.

Love Light and Healing - that's an order,
Ashley

Ray of Light

Day 18 . Dec 31

By now...

Happy Saturday and to those associate with the Gregorian Calendar, Happy New Year's Eve!

I've given a few hints about Saturn. Karmas, silence, and stillness.

The holiday mentioned above can be a loud one. Saturn is about being more reserved and trimming away the fat. Harder karmas can do this, even if we do not see it at first.

I walked by a relief carving on a stone building yesterday and thought of the idea that a sculptor liberates a sculpture from the block; chipping away everything that isn't the true form: I was thinking that if that is true, then a partial carving might be elevated to a feeling of relief to the stone; like unbuttoning a top collar button, freeing up one's area of expression, which leads to full self-realization eventually.

The sense for the throat chakra is hearing. So on this day we can listen instead of speak. We can do silence fasting - including from devices and media. At least until about noon.

The first time I did a silence practice, it was assigned and for 24 hours and I was living in New York City and needed to be in public, using subways and more. I made a pin that said, I was in silence practice that day and apologized for not conversing. Then I decided not to have a pin, but instead as note that I could hand to people so I wasn't walking around with something that liked like a frigging nametag. I anticipated judgement, looks, and remarks, (which as always says more about me based on my previous experiences than about reality yet to be experienced). I was met with people who were gracious, in some cases moved to hold doors open for me, and total strangers absolutely beaming at me in response to seeing that statement. It was as if they knew how much I could potentially overshare.

Now that I know more and look back on it, I see it as a Yes from cosmic energy as well a possibly informed response by some who are if the perspective that individuals who do these practices have a dharma of a *higher* calling or evolution, including past lives with great faith and possibly notoriety for such piety, and so should be treated with the grace they work toward and, in select cases, alongside. All I noticed in that day was, and all that holds true on the surface reality level, is something I already knew about my hometown. New York; it was populated with a higher density of loving and gracious individuals than I have met anywhere else thus far. I also learned that I could comfortably be in recluse mode in one of the most oppositely-oriented concentrations of humans on this planet.

You can too. Whether or not that would pleasantly surprise you, something else about the experience might.

The potential loophole to being more silent, peaceful, patient during a Saturn period of any length is singing; particularly if directed at The Divine, as I mentioned in an earlier post.

An archetypal helper of dealing challenges is good to have to work with. Many in the Sañatana Dharma tradition turn to Hanuman; an incarnation of Lord Shiva energy. Wonderful myths about each abound.

If fasting is safe and healthy for your unique constitution and imbalances, it is recommended on Saturdays in a Saturn period. You could also do whatever modified fast seemed healthiest for you.

As this falls on the last day of a year in so many minds, I suggest reflecting on your harder karmas and looking at what they chipped away that actually turned out to be a relief. Lightening your load in general is a strong choice at Saturnian times.
Harder Karmas come in reaction to us not acting in alignment with our personal and/the greater Dharma...

Going into the next year, I offer this;
About 7 years in, I got the itch in my marriage to my acting work. I chose to consider the definition of insanity that says we need to change the things we do if we want the results to change. Some go by a Solar cycle of a year, some by school years, solstices, birthdays, anniversaries, seasons, Moon-th cycles, weeks, days, etc: Up to you. I suggest experimenting with what strikes the balance between overdo and/or overwhelm and twiddling one's thumbs.

For senses, I am going to suggest withdrawal in some way from whatever you overindulge in. Be honest with yourself.

For meditation and journaling, either / all
-chipping away toward relief
-awareness of and action(s) toward change-where do you genuinely feel in alignment? Where notsomuch?

May you find your unique cycle of checking in with yourself about any changes that you'd like to make in the best timing for your highest good.

And may you be aware of the relief after any discomfort of things that aren't resonant with your truest essence being chipped away.

Happy Upcoming 365

All the best,
Ashley

Foggy Forest

Day 19 . Jan 1

What We See in the Misty Morning of the Year Ahead

Happy New Day, Week, Month, and for some of you, Year!

Today is a Sun-day and I'm inspired by an Elizabeth Gilbert quote to speak about the meaning of the Sankrit word for the Solar Plexus Chakra; City (or Place) of Jewels. This space is a source not only of material jewels but also physical and beyond. In this step into many new measures of time and passages of celestial lights; Sun and Moon:

The Universe buries strange jewels withing us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.
-EG, Big Magic

I invite you to spend as much time as works for you - possibly the entire year - reflecting on or bringing awareness to or meditating on or journaling about or bringing up in therapy; whatever works for you; your jewels. Those that have been revealed, and even fully manifested, and those that may be revealing themselves this day/week/month/year (one said to be lucky for many of us) and this lifetime. Possibly letting your attention drift to your gifts whenever you find it without a place to sail. Just a suggestion.

There is a practice of writing down special moments and keeping them in a jar then going over the contents of said jar periodically. I propose that whenever another jewel of yours comes to your awareness, you write it down and put it where you can access it periodically.

And, if it is aligned with your way of going about this life, perhaps once in a while write down things you notice in others and send those along (plenty of you have received a random message from me here or there). Or even simply speak them: I was thinking about complimenting a stranger recently and then was concerned it could make her feel uncomfortable for some reason, so I withdrew, which I usually do not do when it comes to offering somebody support or praise or celebration of their presence in this reality. Times I had been complimented entered my mind and I felt silly thinking it'd be anything but nice or be taken wrong when I offered it sincerely and from a pure space. Then, as if on cue, a different stranger approached me and told me how great I looked. I was happy to be able to sincerely report that I felt the same about her. We celebrated one another for a moment and I mentioned the compliment I hadn't given and thanked her for reminding what it is to receive one, and we parted ways with beaming, sisterhood-infused, smiles that danced in front of exhales of delight-filled laughter.

...

I was lucky enough to wake up before sunrise today and to also see part of the sunset. I'm not near the beautiful beach I lived by the last 2 years and I was reminded, once again, that the sunset is so gorgeous in so many places. Everything cannot be compared because each thing is so different and so much else to offer. In the area I am in, it's very urban, and so you can embrace that landscape with all those glass reflections of the colors of the sun. Amazing. Before I started to work from home; when was living in NY; I was in an office near the Hudson River. I made a goal that, no matter how late I was working, I would at least go out to see the sunset each day; understanding deep down that would then at least make the space to go down periodically. I saw some gorgeous transitions into the night. Once I started working from home and had windows I could see the daylight out of, my body returned more and more to its innate biorhythm and I started to get tired and wake up more in alignment with the changing daylight, giving me more and more access to the rising of light as well. That building had a rooftop I had a much shorter trip to see a rise or a set and, while I still only actually made the spacetime to go and see a few from up there, it was great to have available. I always felt better after either. Still tend to. I offer you three meditation and/or writing options today;

1. Sunrise; literal and thematically:
-What does it mean to you?
-Where did the meaning(s) you associate with it come from?
-Did you always feel / think / see that way?
-If not, do you recall the moment(s) and / or source(s) of change?

2. Same as above with Sunset.

3. The Solar Plexus:
Closing your eyes and sensing golden light in that area of your system. Set a timer for 5 minutes to do this (or less if you only have 1-3). If it feels right to you, let it expand to surround you and then after feeling the expansion well enough, find its most aligned size for the moment and sit with that until you let the visualization go or the alarm goes off.
Notice any sensations that might arise during this time and where they seem to come from. (Always thanking your body for being smart and expressive enough to send you those sensations.)
If you journal after meditation;
What did it show up like at first?
How did it feel
-to expand it?
-to contract it?
-at full expansion?
-after keeping it there for a while?
-when it went to its best size for the moment / to leave the meditation with?
Are any memories or associations coming in or up for you as you go though this - or as you went through the exercise itself?

Writing Exercise(s) (feel free to meditate on these first if they do not come to you right away)
-What are some jewels within yourself that you have already found?
-Has anyone ever pointed one out to you that you hadn't been conscious of, and then agreed was there once your attentiom was drawn to it?
-Any you do not agree with?
-Any you see in others that they haven't seen (yet)?
-Any others think are jewels that you do not or vice versa?

Sense Therapy
The sense organ for Manipura is eyes and the sense is sight, so feed your sight sense, whatever that means for you.
OR; if you overuse your eyes; are they stressed? Showing signs of unrest? Even injury? Can you give that sense a rest? Will you? What can you do to better support it in a longer term / sustainable way?

As an awareness exercise, IF it feels right to you, I invite you to check in with things you do that involve your sight sense; dressing, writing, reading, taking photos, etc. And what is it like at that solar time of day vs other times? - when you look back at photos, for example, do the ones you took between 10 and 2 stand out to you more? Etc. Noticing what times of day you make the best optic decisions can inform when you schedule things you do w in th that sense organ. Since we each shift over time, I'd allow this to be a longer term experiment.

Bonus: Again, notice and acknowledge if you might employ the use of your eyes a LOT. Perhaps even too much. If so, what can you do about that, if anything?

Taste

The Solar Plexus rules digestion. I've mentioned a few digestive aids already. For today, especially now that a season many people overindulge is passing, how do you feel after you eat particular things? Are there things you accept as being just how your body works that might actually be linked to diet? - or lifestyle, which also influences digestion. This includes proper; and properly spaced out; hydration.

Sound
1. What "lights you up" in terms of sound?
2. There's a line in, "You've Got Mail" that, 'Daisies are the friendliest flower:
What sounds are the funniest sounds to you?
3. A.What people talk and you feel they have a strong flame within?
B. What does that sort of vocalization sound like as opposed to another element, like water, in your POV?

For movement, I already mentioned Surya. Things that work, move, and/or pacify the solar plexus; so things that open it, flex it, twist it, or fold it over are things to do depending what you think your power and digestive energy central city of jewels needs at the time.

That is all for today.

All the best,
Ashley

Tree Lined Path

Day 20 . Jan 2

Hello There, New Experiences

Happy Moon-day, celebrating our 2nd source of light in the 2nd day of this (Gregorian) year. The Moon reflects the Sun and our lives reflect our perspectives:

Today's meditation offering is a preset to the day. I'll drop a recording of this later this week, but I have been in a very noisy ar es a and cannot give a clear one. SO until then, for those who want it now-now-now, want to get active on resolutions and / or intentions / key words, want to use the growing sound and Moon together in this lovely time of the year, etc; The offering is something you can do before bed for the next day OR in the AM before you move forward with the rest of your day AND/OR soon before a particular experience you might be concerned about the way you will handle it; it is imagining the way things will be in advance.

Research shows that when we do this; when we decide something will go well, is in alignment, is exactly as it should be, let all our sense tune into it and fully feel it as we imagine it, etc; that we tend to handle challenges and overall life situations better because we have already conditioned ourselves into a space in which things are going that way; you way; well; happening for you; aligned; as they should be; as is best for all involved; one's highest good; etc: No matter what happens, you have already tuned yourself into a vibration of ease, flow, trust, and alignment. From there, you can ride any wave AND more easily accept if the ride goes a different way that you might have anticipated. This tends to increase your adaptability, flexibility, and availability for the next wave because you aren't trying to process out frustration, resistance, expectations, attachment, etc.

A nice freedom of an unguided approach is that this can be a 5 minute - an hour process; dealer's choice: you do you + you can avoid the EMF's of an electronic device - sensitive types, especially, be care-full around those.

Non - "New Year" Option: If you do not have a particular goal / resolution / intention / scenario selected for this year or another timeframe, you could do the projection / intention exercise I mentioned in a previous post; where you envison yourself 3 years out instead of one year because our estimations tend to be more accurate than for 1 year. Then you can meditate on what you would do today to get there.

Process:
-Settle in
-Close eyes
-Rest into the dark, quiet space behind your eyes
-Let yourself relax into the support below you
-Body Scan; relaxing the parts of the body intentionally from head-to-toe or the reverse direction; I have been initiated into each by Tibetan and Indic instructors, respectively and so will guide each for you in the recording. If you have no preference via reference or experience, then simply check in with which sounds right; including and especially for a reason you are not consciously aware of; that can be a deeper, more intuitive, need calling you from your particular system:
-Sense into the start of your day.
-What do you do to prepare for it?
-What are all the steps you take?
-Really feel in it every sense you have available. Be as present with tactile things, tastes, smells, sounds, etc, as you can. And fully live info the entire time period you're envisioning. What is the culmination? How does that feel. Let yourself be where you are interested in arriving, now. Be there fully. What does it feel like to each of your senses? Who is around you if you end up there? What do you wear? What are your surroundings?The sounds there? The smells? The temperature? All the things.
-Let yourself fully live into the experience leading up to and through and the results and then;
-Rest back into the space behind your eyes.
-Feel into the support.
-Find movement again in your fingers and toes take it gently into the legs and the arms; give a stretch if you feel called to.
-Let yourself roll to one side
-Slowly come up to seated, open your eyes once you feel ready to.

Happy Tuning In


Taste

This week, esp after all the indulging many do at this time, I invite you to choose something each day that is nurturing over an indulgent or otherwise not-as-healthy option.
Just once a day, at least.
Bonus points if it is the start or end of the day; when we are reintroducing the body to food or giving it its last digestion demands for its work through the night.


Pranayam with visualization

If breath retention is not available to you, you can still do this with deep, slow, conscious, intentional, breath:

-Close your eyes
-Let yourself relax
-Take in a deep breath
-Hold it a few seconds
-While you are holding it, picture something that make you feel great joy, bliss, appreciation, wonder, gratitude, bright love: Only positive emotions. - Many people use something like a puppy for this, fir example; relatively simple emotional response in the positive spectrum is ideal (explanation below).
-Let this image sit with you a few moments as you hold the breath or breathe deeply and slowly.
-Then let it out and let go of the image.

Check in if there is a lift in your mood:

Our sympathetic and parasympathetic systems come to a meeting space when we do this deep and then retained breath.
Imagining something that lifts us here triggers a reflective response in the system, facilitating the release of lifting chemicals like dopamine, etc.
This is not even a minute-long process with which you can lift your mood.
En-joy.


Sound
Notice the ways things reflect something else in your sound universe. If you've ever seen dancer in the Dark, you know what Björk did with the machine sounds making them instrumental ; let the vibrations translate into sounds play in ways that you can sense into the rhythm of things around you. In other words, it doesn't have to be a natural space with breathing of others, ocean waves moving, or the sound of a breeze in the trees where one can find a hum, rhythm, and even subtle music; even in urban and mechanical environments the washer or dryer's spin; tires over the seams in pavement on a highway; the increase and then decrease of the engine of a vehicle that passes by, the bell of a bicycle and the clicking of the chain on the wheels.


Touch

Notice what happens when you touch the same spot on either side of the body.
Or touch the same parts (whatever ones might be available to you); like the two thumbs, palms, or soles of the feet together.
The body is amazingly connected. If there is an issue near a lymph node on one side, a symptom of it will often show up reflected on the opposite side.
Likewise because of this connection, when we step put of balance in one way, we can initiate an imbalance someplace else. Even in the most obvious sense that if we let ourselves limp too much off an injured side, the other side can begin to get strained because it is taking on all the weight.
This shows up when we do not support our health in steady, longer term, sustainable ways; we are asking our body after all the overindulgence, for example, in this season, to carry all the weight of that unhealthy behavior and often expecting it to somehow not have a toll when we have sent it so far out of balance; carrying / processing / detoxing much more than it is used to.
Parts will reflect and send signals about other parts. Likewise, we can sometimes mitigate one symptom by relieving another. Even in the simplest action of rubbing an injured area; the skin and nervous system develop together. We often have an instinctive impulse to touch an area that has been hurt. Some say that sunconsciously this comes from an innate understanding that the pain will be less - or seem less - if we do this: This is because these nerves can only communicate one thing to the brain at a time. So, if you distract them with the touch of the hand, the nerves in the hand as well as the touched area will be picking up and sending signals, and so the signals of pain of the actual injury will be deflected, to a degree. This can make the self-soothing behavior of touch and comforting with a hand that much more supportive.


Smell

If you are sensitive, stay away from bad smells. None of us like to spend time around them, of course. But sometimes we are put into situations where we must tolerate things that are not the healthiest. Sensitive types do not always detox as well, so it can be a longer term contaminant as it might get deeper into the system than is safest for you. For this reason, it is ideal to stay away from things that smell off and/or that you know you do not tolerate well as often as you can. Try this for a while and see how you feel.
Bonus: If you notice a lot of butterflies and moths, this is often an animal kingdom sign to do this. Of course if you are an expressive person, a Butterfly can also be a symbol to dress is bold/bright/expressive colors and patterns - come out of your coccoon/ spread your wings, so to speak. They are also symbols of transformation you might be entering, experiencing, and/or emerging from.
Not for nothing, people who are sensitive often can be quite expressive, even intensely, and also often are quite transformative and/or frequently evolve/change. Sensitive people can truly be quite creative - and might even have an... artist's... temperament. Because intensity- in E-v-e-r-y city.
(Cali. people and travelers alike; the Monarchs are almost fully in season! If you were considering a trip to either location, January can be a great time to visit).


Movement

For experienced Hatha practitioners, check this out and if it is safe for and available to you, feel free to experiment / play with it as you work on jumping into your new year/experiences/general unknown; learning to trust where your roots and your heart already know to go. (Also feel free to do the short practice below.)

https://youtu.be/duj98UAmhsU

For those not as experienced and/or non-practitioners;
breathing into new experiences;
opening yourself up(ward) to(ward) them; breathing in the world; letting it in-spire you;
then also balancing that with coming back inward and home into yourself and to your roots #NewYearPlusMercuryRetrograde; repeat x 3 or 5
+
Optional moving into self-care #MarsRetrograde; integrate into stillness; rest here; onward
A. sit on your heels
B. bring hands and arms forward and lean the hands and hips in opposite directions to find your way into child's pose
C. breathing in, come up through seated on heels to the knees and lift arms up above the head, extending hands toward the sky
D. breathing out, take the hands down and loosely hug them around yourself toward each opposite waist/hip area as you sit on the heels
E. Fold forward over the thighs still hugging yourself
F. Repeat C-E two or four more times.
G. Extend the arms into child's pose.
Either stop here, or
H. Roll over onto your back and hug your knees into your chest.
I. Option to roll around a bit; giving the back a little massage.
J. Extend your heels toward the ceiling
K. Optional supine stretch here for the backs and/or insides of the legs and/or hips
L. Let the legs extend you out into Savasana.
M. One palm on the heart and one on the belly.
M. Breathe gently and deeply three times.
O. Backs of the hands on the floor.
P. Rest every part of you supported by the floor further into it.
Q. Rest here as long as it feels best to, and then roll your way up to seated and move on with your day.

Awareness exercise:

As an experiment and without judgement;
Noticing things people do that trigger you - in pleasant or unpleasant ways - and seeing what it might be within you that this is reflecting, because, #IfYouSpotItYouGotIt
Hint: It will not necessarily show up in that same area of life.

Writing Prompt:

(Without judgement)

A time someone reminded you of somebody else.
A time you reminded yourself of somebody else.
A time you did not see the similarity(ies) between you and somebody else and it was pointed out by another person.


Thanks for showing up for yourself.

Happy Today,
Ashley

Budding Tree

Day 21 . Jan 3

Self-Lov-ing Is A Healing Art

Happy Tuesday,

Staying with the Astrology theme, Mars rules tuesday and in our systems Mars rules all things related to our blood. The point of view of Ayurvedic wisdom, is that the nourishment of all the tissues in our body starts with plasma and then the blood, and it trickles down from there.

There are said to be 7 layers of tissues, or dhatus:
1 Plasma
2 Blood
3 Muscle
4 Fat
5 Bones
6 Bone Marrow
7 Reproductive tissues; semen and egg

I am putting a link below to an article that covers these and the related states of mind, emotions, and physical signs that any or all are in good condition.
https://www.back2health.net.au/nourishing-the-seven-tissues/

The blood, like the lymph, connects with so much of the body directly. Unlike the lymph, it comes with its own pump; the heart (I know you know) to keep it going all the time. And that pump comes with a protective shelter around it; the Pericardium. It is the only organ with that aspect. The soace from which our greatest acts of strength and courage are said to come has it's own armour. (Coeur = heart -- I know: You know.)

The movement of the blood all over is supported by a healthy heart and, in return, being that the heart is a muscle, a healthy heart is, in part, reciprically supported by proper nourishment so that one has healthy blood that can feed the tissues to regenerate nourished and healthy muscles.

And here I am again at Mars and the heart. Self-love, self-care, self-nourishment meaning a stronger, smarter, and healthier warrior; who will fight another day - and many, many days beyond that one. #isaidit mock me all you want to, it's the troof.

I'm not going to give a lot of information or instructions here today beyond that article. Today's moment with this offering is more to rest, reflect, and to take care. Take what time you would read here to do that thing you've been meaning to do for yourself. You know the one. Even if it's simply to sit still for a while and be quiet and breathe.

This goes for any food, drinks, movement, breath, meditation, writing, rest, sense and other therapies, and/or other practices: What is supportive of your wellness that you have you not made spacetime for?
What messages is your body sending to you as you read this?
Is it asking for support in some area that you can give it?
Or do the research or ask around to find somebody who can?

To meditate and /or write:
In a very safe, gentle, loving, compassionate, and non judgmental way:
What do you make room for in your own self-support and what you do not?
What do you truly prioritize?
What do you put off?
What do you consider to be a priority yet somehow seems to remain in the future?
Why? - choose any of the above.
Sometimes there are very real life reasons and sometimes not. Sometimes both and: There is a reason, aaand there are also ways that we can work around it for something we prioritize.

Nothing has to be every day / all the time the same amount. Just a little here and there: More than yesterday or last week: Higher on the list / more of a habit than it used to be: And of course the necessary days off.

To be clear, I am well aware that there are also times when we are keeping our heads just enough above water as it is and we need to be able to simply do that and then move forward when we develop the bandwidth; which may be after a while or just one good night's rest. We are each so very different.

I've said this before and I will again: to my Hatha students, I often reference what an Iyengar teacher once said;
-Those who are inclined to go-go-go and do-do-do might be best off not pushing / doing less in order to come closer to balance.
-Those who tend to not do so much at all might come closer to balance, and release a lot of stagnation, if they push themselves a little more to do more.
I will add that
-Those that can be inconsistent, nervous, feel overwhelmed, etc, can go slowly, steadily, and carefully, and in life they can find a rhythm to live by; routine is ideal for these individuals - or anybody with these vulnerabilities or imbalances, since many of us experience more than one thing and different things at different times.

And some of us have areas we show up one way in and areas we show up in another:
For some of us, these distinctions are a conscious choice, based on an internal priority system, to exert more or less energy in particular areas.
For others among us, it is more seated in emotion or obligation or living up to a standard, etc.
And for some it is almost autopilot; barely conscious; until we stop for a moment and really take stock of the ways that we are investing these hourly, daily, weekly, etc, pieces of their lives.

This is your life. Even if you believe in multiple lives; this is your moment to live this one...

I saw a clip recently in which Alan Rickman referred to our life experience as temporary, a romance, and to enjoy it. And then today, I read that Gloria Steinem spoke of her own single marriage, which she only did to get her partner a US citizenship, saying,

"Some people still assume that, because we got legally married, he was the love of my life -- and I was his. That's such a. Misunderstanding of human uniqueness. He had been married twice before and he had wonderful grown children. I had been happily in love with men who are still my friends and chosen family. Some people have one partner for life, but most don't -- and each of our loves is crucial and unique."

Each of our experiences and relationships; including and especially the one with our own self; has the potential to be a loving relationship and it is very crucial and unique.

And it is yours to develop. Eventually your life is one of your greatest contributions to the manifestation.

I shared the statement below last week in notification about this offering and will repeat it here for those finding this some other way:

"I think everything in life is art. What you do. How you dress. The way you love someone, and how you talk. Your smile and your personality. What you believe in, and all your dreams. The way you drink your tea. And how you decorate your home. Or party. Your grocery list. The food you make. How your writing looks. And the way you feel. Life is art."

-Helena Bonham Carter

And lastly, from Alan Moore:

"I believe that magic is art, and that art...is literally magic. Art is, like magic, the science of manipulating symbols, words or images, to achieve changes in consciousness... Indeed, to cast a spell is simply to spell, to manipulate words, to change people's consciousness, and this is why I believe that an artist or writer is the closest thing in the contemporary world to a shaman."

It is my belief that with the artistry you put into your own life, you can engage in healing yourself. That not only sets an example for others, my leading warriors, it is something worth fighting for.

Thank you for showing up for yourself.

May you be so very well,
Ashley

Misty Sunbeams

Day 22 . Jan 4

Re-solve

Today's installation offering is partly inspired by a colleague's post about their drawing of their resolutions.

If you haven't heard about this, here is a link to an article with an entire system worked out for you:
https://inkfactorystudio.com/blog/resolution/#

They mentioned concern about too many, getting to it all, sticking to it all, and a need to remember to find balance with resolutions to relax and take care and enjoy on the other side of doing yoga every day and going ot bed earlier and waking up earlier. Today's offering is a two parter because I was going to mention resolutions and sleep and she did both so I am folding them into one because there are about 15 things I want to share and only a few days left.

For sleep, my advice is pretty simple and you have heard parts, but not necessarily all of it:
1. Sleep direction: (these were developed over 1,000's of years in the northern hemisphere so southern hemisphere likely has cultures with their own findings as to if it is the same or it is reversed. As always, experiment with what seems to work best for you:
Crown of head facing;
South = Deep rest
East = Meditative / healing rest
West = Wild dreams
North = not great fo rest or health but can be a strong choice for practices like astral projection.

You know that you should stop screen time at least 2 hours before sleepm. It is also best to eat only one meal after sunset, if any, and sooner rather than later, then the body can start its digestive process and ask you for rest once it is far enough along.

If there is trouble falling asleep, one option is a pinch of cardamom or nutmeg in that oft mentioned mug of warm milk/mylk.

For issue staying asleep, magnesium could be a strong choice. You can take it internally in the evening (also could assist with falling asleep) or get it topically as an oil and out it on the bottoms of the feet before sleep.

Sleep positions are tricky because we each are so different. Traditional medicines I have studied suggest that sleeping on the back or side before on the front.
Side can be best because the breath has more space than when on the back or front.
Left side puts less stress on the liver/gallbladder, which can be the organs that lead to waking up between 12-2AM, so giving then more space might be the choice. But most of us move in our sleep, so it's just about setting the intention at start of rest.

Speaking of intentions: A little about resolutions. We are a few days in. How are you feeling about yours? I know a lot of people pick words or intention, theme, etc, so for those the following will apply to any changes you want to make:
My birthday is 6 months from the Gregorian New Year.
After I decided I didn't want to wait an entire year to move to a different resolutions/intention, I started using my own. Birthday as another marker. Realized I could at elast to a State of the Resolution check in at that time decided to increase the frequency based on dates that are significant to me. I don't know why could be significant to anyone reading this, so I will offer examples of mutually shared dates that will hopefully let your brain reach for what resonates more and locate a better idea for you:

Other New Years
If you know your ancestry have one or more cultures that have a different New Year? Maybe you could check in with yourself on all of them; might also be a nice thing to connect with your bloodline. If you do not know your ancestry, what places and cultures have you always felt a resonance with. Maybe acknowledge your appreciation for them on their New Year and also use it as a time to put awareness on whatever you happen to be working on.

Natural cycles:
Solstices
Shifts in Astrological signs / sky map
Moon cycles
Equinoxes

Weather:
Maybe every time there is a storm (after there hasn't been one for while), you make it an ritual to cozy up and reflect on whatever your intention / resolution / theme is and your relationship to it.

Calendar Days
Maybe each month that has a 5th Friday you check in. - or on every three day weekend.

This way you can rest the game a little and let yourself embrace the process of whatever you are focusing on becoming a habit or a more regular vibration in your life while also not obsessing or making too much of your day-s be about it when there is all of life for it to learn to integrate with in your vibrational expression in this body.

Lastly
Whatever you do, it is yours to do. It is nobody else's business. Making an updated resolution periodically, letting go of a resolution that isn't resonating, timing your checking with every away game of your favorite team, etc are not the norm in a lightweight way And plenty is not the norm in a way that has much more gravity. Your resolutions themselves might be either. You might have thought you were gonna get away without me mentioning that today is Mercury day. Notsomuch: Mercury is about communication and can be a very playful energy. The elements of the signs ruled bully that planet are Earth and Air. Young though advanced. Playful and clever. Steadfast yet changeable. We each have all the archetypes available to us. Mercury can be a bit of an trickster. That is in you to a different degree than anyone else on the planet. You will express your inner trickster differently and to a different degree than anyone else. And that is just perfect exactly as it is.

For a meditation and/or writing prompt; reflect on the things we recognize and feel resonance with. People, places, things that feel like home even when they are brand new to use, objectively. What was the first time you truly loved an exprience like that? What are your thoughts / feelings / intuitions about them?

I hope that something here is of service.

Thank you for showing up for yourself,
Ashley

Frozen Lake

Day 23 . Jan 5

I Have To Crave You -- wait, that's not the line...

Thursday energy is expansive and Jupiter - ruled humans often can present that way in the physical.

Sugar and Spice make us feel oh so nice.

Being conscious of the connections between your cravings, what you actually eat, and your moods/emotional state can be very helpful in figuring out how best to let food be thy medicine.

There are all different kinds of eating issues, many reinforced, and even made more acute, by our culture. If you have one or more and your personality can be supported by a group situation, I recommend OA or FAA.

FAA is pretty extreme for the truly challenged addict and has a very strict diet plan, etc. If that is the culture you need to be in, then I recommend trying that.

OA can be a healing space for pretty much any unhealthy relationship with food; anorexics and bulimics (food and exercise alike) as well as overeaters, bingers, grazers, etc. (Just like AA or NA, it’s recommended that you attend six different meetings to A. See if it can work for you, and to B. See if you can find your specific meeting(s)/people.)

The program helped me, so I recommend it. And if you aren’t a higher power person, that is okay, there are so many other elements and a big rule is take what works and leave the rest. You do you!

Ayurveda says things like a sweet craving is a need for love and a salty craving is a need for grounding. (Could even be something like not being finished with a big project or seeing any end in sight - this can feel like limbo to those who then feel a need to feel more stable).

I took TCM for Beginners a while back and have since been reading further into the texts. Traditional Chinese Medicine classifies people into types based on their five elements, in which each feels energized by a particular taste, and Ayurveda agrees; like increases like:

In traditional medical sciences I have learned about, your dominant innate elements and your state of balance inform your cravings and the best food choices for you. In TCM it even says that your bodily smells will mirror the things that you crave. And if you like a quality in the things you take in in the world, when you eat/drink that sort of food, - in moderation - you will feel more energized (See Popeye).

(For each of these reasons a food+ journal could be absolute gold for you.)

It is then just the management of making certain you keep a habit of moderation because, too much of a good thing; it can take you out of balance. Like overcorrecting in a vehicle. One of my doctors refers to it as, Too much medicine.

Articles on the Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda elements, tastes, perspectives, are below - you can see how they tend to agree with each other via different approaches with the same technical goal in mind. The relationships between these traditions are always interesting to me.

Begin paying attention to what you crave and then consider, potentially, why.

If you have any issues with moderation, you can start to investigate different foods of that type and figure out what specific ones give you a trigger - and at what point. Most foods have more than one taste either initially, as after taste, or the qualities it takes on once it is inside your system.

2 Finally, since Ayurveda is so very specific, I’m gonna say it again; the rules for others do not necessarily apply to you - be it people in your life or the latest trending superfood or your doctor’s most recent interesting study that she shares - if everybody says peanuts are suddenly the greatest thing (unlikely because the oil killed mice prematurely in some studies) and a person is allergic to peanuts, what then, right? - The only rule is there are no rules BUT to listen to yourself and the ways that you specifically operate - today.
- A man loves the meat in his youth that he cannot endure in his age. -
Much Ado About Nothing

More information on the elements, the tastes, and the constitutions:

Ayurveda has six tastes. It is believed that each meal ought to have each taste, and in proportion to the others, in order to help to balance the system; original meaning of a balanced diet❤️. (Even with this, of course, managing a specific imbalance could call for a different approach.)

Tastes:

Sweet - wheat, rice, dairy, cereals, dates, pumpkins, maple syrup, and licorice root.

Sour - lemon, vinegars, pickled and fermented foods, tamarind, and wine.

Salty - sea vegetables, tamari, black olives, Himalayan or Kosher salt, and processed foods that contain salt, although processed foods are not an ideal or recommended source.

Pungent - hot peppers, ginger, onions, garlic, mustard, and hot spices.

Bitter - raw green vegetables, turmeric, and green, black and most herbal teas.

Astringent - Unripe bananas, green grapes, pomegranates, cranberries, green beans, alfalfa sprouts, and okra.

Rest of this article is here: https://chopra.com/articles/the-6-tastes-of-ayurveda

Further explanation of Ayurveda’s tastes theory here: http://www.bluelotusayurveda.com/resources/shad-rasa-the-ayurvedic-view-on-food-and-taste/

In Chinese Medicine, it is five tastes to the five elements; The five elements are metal (金), wood (木), water (水), fire (火), and earth (土).

Each element has a relationship to the others.

A clear explanation from Spruce Seeds:

There are two main relationships between these five elements. One is called “mutual generation (相生)” and the other one is called “mutual overcoming (相剋).”

Examples of mutual generating:

* Wood made Fire stronger.

* Fire made Earth (ash).

* Earth contained and bore Metal.

* Metal improved the quality of the Water.

* Water helps the Wood grow.

Example of mutual overcoming:

* Earth can stop the Water.

* Water can stop a Fire.

* Fire can melt Metal.

* Metal can cut Wood.

* Wood can consume Earth.

To give an example from nature, a plant (wood) grows when it is given water. When burnt, wood gives birth to fire, and the burnt ashes subsequently return to the earth.

Rest of the article is here

https://www.thespruceeats.com/five-elements-theory-chinese-cooking-4062260

There is a taste associated with each element so it’s just a different way of getting to the same place via another balancing philosophy. Since like increases like, I have learned, piece by piece, much more about enhancing the lesser elements and supplementing the major ones for balance. May you be able to do the same.

Sunset in the Woods

Day 24 . Jan 6

Essentials

Venus is partly about sense pleasures, and so here is a window into ways essential oils therapies are thought to work, and are and are not applied, via Frankincense and Ayurvedic perspective.

FRANKINCENSE FRIDAY: This wonderful gift of the magical is closer to the top of some consciousnesses at this time of year. I personally like it because it is known to clean spaces, a thing I enjoy doing, and it resembles the name of my favorite saint. Also reminds me of Francisco - which is fun to say.

HOME CREEPY HOME: I first was introduced to Frankincense as a literal useable thing when I lived in a very disturbed apartment space - see Paranormal Activity - literally; it was in theaters & I hadn’t seen it because I was scared enough each day of the week with my living situation, which I described at a friend’s holiday party and someone nearby believed that I was describing the film. When I explained that I wasn’t, a partner was reigned into the conversation and I was asked repeat the things that had happened to me. When I finally watched the movie, ohmygoodness... others experienced it too. It was not at all insane - as in, I was walking around saying to people that I’d prefer to be crazy because then I could simply take a pill...how far I’ve come. But I digress.

Sage was a big ingredient in the initial suppression of whatever the energy was, but Frankincense and Myrrh played a part in the exploration process and in the maintenance.

WHICH BRINGS ME TO
In my Ayurveda studies I have learned more about Frankinsence - and about Myrrh - as a therapeutic scent and as a topical aid. In Ayurveda, each sense aligns with an element. Smell is earth, and these things do have potential to quite literally ground us. They can be linked to imbalance and balance, heat and cool, be neutral, help with sinuses, inflammation, energy, etc.

LET’S TALK ABOUT APHRODISIACS
I’d like to include a note on the term aphrodisiac here because it is thrown around a lot and it is important to health. In anything you hear about natural medicines or healing techniques and aphrodisiacs, it is not only related to sex. Sex is wonderful and totally natural but the sex organs and relating energy centers do so much more; what balanced them helps to balance and heal all aspects of things to do with the sex organs; including, but not limited to, awakened sexual desire. An aphrodisiac is just a rejuvenative. To create healthier new cells. The Sacrum is called the sacred bone and is connected with creativity and fluids; including reproductive fluids of creation. Spring season is the time for rejuvenation and mating season simultaneously: Aphrodesiacs can revive one's inner Spring.

FRANKINCENSE’S HEALER

Back to Frankincense, oils can be used to as topicals, scents, deeper healing, and even energy balancing (see dealing with haunted spaces above😆); in this last respect, it is thought that Frankincense is best for the Heart and for the Crown chakras. Myrrh is thought to be good for the Throat and the Crown.

Frankincense helps with emotions, is calming, an antiseptic, a tonic, and it can function as an antidepressant.

Myrrh is an astringent and antispasmodic so it helps heal sores and wounds with external application.

EAT ME, DRINK ME
Nope. It is not thought in this perspective that essential oils should be ingested.

SUCH A PUT ON
For topical use, a carrier oil is highly recommended.
(Carrier oils expire sooner so only mix them in amounts not meant to last too long).
You use carriers to dilute the essential oils in so that they are delicate enough to be applied to skin. It is different in each case of the oil and the carrier, so always ask a pro the different measurements. Organic and cold-pressed, as always. Stored in a cool, dark place and in a dark, non-plastic bottle is ideal.

If you know your dosha(s), recommended (#youdoyou) carrier oils are;
Vata (calming) sesame, olive, almond, wheat germ, castor, coconut.
Pitta (cooling) coconut, sandalwood, pumpkin seed, almond, sunflower seed.
Kapha (warming) mustard, safflower

Myrrh is though to help with stretch marks, Frankincense with Wrinkles and fine lines. (White) Frankincense is also thought to potentially break up cysts and tumors and my Aromatherapy teacher puts it on her thyroid daily and strongly believes that it is a key ingredient in her ability to now live without drugs to balance her Hashimoto’s.

SOURCING LOCAL
In NYC, I like Enflourage. The name is too good as are the oils and the service. It’s in the West Village on 13th btwn 7th & 8th. The prices are higher than health food stores & pyramid co’s, but it is for quality and ethics and it is worth it.

OUTSOURCING
Nature’s Gift
Floracopia
Mountain Rose

MEDITATION STATION
Diffuse 3 parts Frankincense and 2 parts Myrrh with 5 parts Sandalwood for a great meditation supporter.

DOSHA DOSHA DOSHA
Frankincense as a basic aromatherapy tool is thought best for Vata and Myrrh for is Kapha.

PATCH THINGS UP
Always patch test your oils before using them topically.

Meditate / Write on your favorite sensations or specifically smell (just substitute your sense for smell below.
Pick one or more of the below to explore.
What smells do you associate with a loving environment?
With taking care of yourself?
With being cared for or otherwise supported?
Are there any you find relaxing? Comforting? Grounding? Has your relationship changed to any scent?
What do you feel about *natural* scents v ones manufactured in perfumes, cleaning products, sprays for disguising bad smells, etc?

2. I invite you to-
-Notice the smells this week.
-Notice if any bring anything up for you.
-Notice if you feel particularly resonant or dissonant with any and consider why that could be.
-Notice the sorts of scents you lean toward and the ones that others move toward.
-How much does your relationship to a moment change if the space changes in scent?
-What happens in natural spaces for you and which nature space smells do you prefer? - pine, salt water, honeysuckle, lemongrass, etc.

Practice
If you have been thinking of trying and scent-related practice, can you make that a part of this year and give it a whirl?

Taste
Now notice the scents of the tastes that you enjoy - is your relationship to any of those the same? Different? Varied depending on the preparation (possibly spices, oils, chemicals shifts with different cooking styles, etc)?

Other senses;
As I indicated, every taste and smell connect with a different chakra and/or innate human inclination; safety, expression, energy, affection, etc. When you choose scents, you can do what you gravitate toward, because it can be a medicine for your particular constitution; just like tastes can; AND you can also use them as medicine for your imbalances and select the ones that may bring you toward more equilibrium.

Movement
Sense of smell is connected connected with the Root Chakra, so doing root and grounding Asana can help it. You could also simply go for a walk on your roots to get more grounded. Bonus if you notice all of the smells. Double bonus if you notice what else you are noticing as the scents change.

Thanks for showing up for yourself.

May you be well.

Tree Stump

Day 25 . Jan 7

Motion

Saturday

I saw a tattoo once that said, When I feel fear, I feed trust.

When we face our fears with the profound strength of our hearts, AKA with cour-age, we are so much better met.

Saturn governs, in part, the movement principle. Today is about some forms of movement and ways we can approach them.

Walking meditation, Hatha, and Qi Gong are some ways to physically work it out through our physical and subtle systems simultaneously. Every layer connects with the others and working them together can have a more profound influence.

If you do not know the walking meditation, it is mentioned in A Path with Heart by Jack Kornfield. It is thought by some that this was a way the Buddha walked. It is consciousness put into a slower, measured pace of movement and atten-ding to the physical system - with one's atten-tion - as they engage with this. This will (mostly) be on the feet as their nerve receptors are meeting the ground.

It is said that some who let themselves get stuck in the FFF response, also can have stagnation digestion.

For en-courag-ing that kind of movement;

Yogas (if safe for and available to you)

-Malasana. (Or a supine version if that isn't available to you)

-Twists

-Isolated rotating of the rib cage in each direction while on cat / cow hands and knees

-the pranayam breath retention exercise I mentioned with a glass of water prior

-certain Shiva mantras

Taste
The root of the constioation is the key.
Many need to hydrate
Some have IBS or even a subtle thyroid issue that's making that occur
More advanced thyroid issues
Issues with any organ in the digestive tract
Microbiome imbalances
Critters or bacterial or fungal disruption, etc

Eating warm or room temp, whole, nurturing, organic, and home cooked foods that are good for your constitution, and chewing each bite fully, so they always are more easily digested, is a step in the right direction.

For IBS people, changes can stop or exacerbate digestion, so slow and steady over sharp lefts and quick.

Gentle moving physically like walking or moderate dancing can support the movement of digestion as well as detoxing of the rest of the system.

Once we ground more, we more easily let go, we can then more easily feel both heavier and lighter in the heat ways; strongly founded and unburdened as well as nourished and therefore energized.

Smell

For those who need to calm, pacify, ground, it is a different scent pallette than those who need to warm up, get moving, and those who need to cool down, go slower.

The scent for your aromatherapy support is in those area(s) where what appeals to you and what does a job in the vast majority of humans meet(s).

For writing / meditation
What can you let go of in your fearscape?
What do you fear that might not be rational or at least necessary?
What might be beneath that fear? - where does it come from in your exprience?
If you can't identify it consciously, it might be blocked clarity from some toxicity/stagnation/critter imbalance, inculturated, or ancestral (our blood goes back as far as 14 generations of leanred responses, some say, and we have proven at least 7 in conventional studies).

The unknown, if that last two years have taught us anything, is fraught with light and shadow - a is all of life. Fear, as conventional science has taught us, impairs decision processes. Love and trust encourage relaxation and safety which not only bring stronger and more clear and grounded decisions but also rejuvenation and improved health; all layers of the reality supported because everything is related and connected. Everything.

Thanks for showing up for yourself.

All the very best and for the best,
Ashley

Foggy Forest

Day 26 . Jan 8

Letting Go, Letting...

Good (Sun) Day

Solar plexus; Manipura; is the warm center of our personal physical plane-ary (name that show) archetypal system.

It houses our brightest light and can manifest some of our sharpest shadows; as strong lights tend to do. This can be enhanced because the ego also lives here alongside the part of us that travels throughout all of our lives. The us now / Earthbound and the us ever / rywhere. Physical and metaphysical. Ancient and brand new. Spirit and ego. And sometimes, though contemporary culture resists this being a very natural thing to happen, those two things can be in conflict. The ego can get wrapped up in Earth and mind - which conventional culture simultaneously strongly encourages. This can take the behaviors, habits, and POV away from higher self and more evolved behaviors.

While the Sun gives us a new day to begin fresh, yesterday's Saturn connects with harder past karmas of any actions (which karma means), like the above mentioned behaviors. A similar figure in Buddhism is called a Dharma Protector; if anything is thrown out of balance from the path of the greater or ones individual Dharma, and therefore does not resonate with a balanced frequency, this vibration restores it: "The Univers is always trying to bring itself back into balance." In philosophies like this, this is a way the movement of the karmic ships you sent out into reality with your actions move back around toward you; Karma is action and everything comes back around; Newton's third law of motion; all things have an equal and opposite reaction.

There are philosophies that say that actions against the natural flow, like as spell or other ill deed, will come back around more than once. - three or even ten fold, depending what individual you're speaking to. Regardless where they come from, or if they are or aren't multiplied, snowballed, or otherwise increased; there will be challenges, discomforts, and overall things we wouldn't conscuously welcome into our experience. #thatslife Every action has an equal an opposite reaction...

You might've seen the Ricky Gervais comment asking rhetorically how arrogant one has to be to expect to go through life without anyone saying something that they disagree with. That we would negate freedoms of speech to avoid hearing differences among us is a hallmark of the comfort zone our society to desperately seems to cling to these days. Every action has an equal an opposite reaction...

There are so many unwelcome things flying back as what goes around comes around. And possibly so many unwelcomrd actions we send out. There is an indic myth in which an individual engages in intense spiritual practice in prayer for being sustained; able to find water each day and a bit of food and survive. Still, once meeting the divine, the individual finds they still have unresolved karmas to be returned to them and work through. They ask how this is possivlble, being that they were so devoted in this daily practice and only took what fruit appeared from a tree and water was available that they traveled for on foot. But they had done things like killed all the bugs under the their feet as they went to get the water, etc. EVERY action has an equal an opposite reaction...

It always intrigues me that the death penalty, pro life agendas, hunting culture, and kill shelters tend to coexist in the same states of this so called union (which, the word Yoga, means). That those who are pro life would kill a doctor who is trying to save the lives of young mothers if the fetus either has already gone or is beyond saving. What lives are sacred? What is not to be harmed? Every action has an equal an opposite reaction.

There was a jailed priest in WWII who wrote a letter to God while conflicted about the commandment that would prevent anyone from destroying a life. His question was around that this meant even if the one life was destroying so many other lives; the situation in Germany being the current example of this behavior for him. He asked about a scenario in which he knew for sure that a man was reported to be coming on the road to a village of 6 million people to kill all of them. W/should he would go to the road to kill the man? His question to God being if that was not better; to save 6 MILLION lives; than to avoid destroying one. When we think of Christian heroes like Joan of Arc, we can wonder this even more.

So, today's post is super light-weight, as you can se.

There is always a shadow principle and potential shadow behavior. There is always a way of light. It is often far more complex in our experience than these clear poles. And we are not necesarily privy to the seeming randomness / chaos / mayhem of when things come back around - if it even happens in the same lifetime, or the following ones, or not in a linear way, are more challenging - or sre even delivered in another dimension / reality altogether; like Christianity and other religions and philosophies suggest.

If we are not care-full, our witnessing of anything that doesn't resonate with us; that we don't agree with; can become a scar on our perception of the world. The Sankrit word for this is Samskara. These stains on one's perception, which a teacher of mine, Natalie Roy equates to a dirty screen outside a window, can negate a clear and accurate view of reality. We see less and less of what is outside and more and more of what is actually inside of us; our own beliefs and scars; reflected back.

Breneé Brown speaks sometimes about the idea that everyone is doing their best, or the best they know how to do. A Hatha Yoga teacher of mine once guided us in a meditation where we envisioned three layers of thre individuals' behaviors (the behavior, not the individual; the sinner v the sin) that didn't resonate with us, and let that rest on our solar plexus; seat of our souls and that ego space potential for samaskaras; we were guided to imagine a layer of skin coming off of us and let this feeling and any ensuing judgement peel off of us; like a snake shedding skin; and exiting the space to be alchemized by nature.

The three circles were;
-third circle of people we didn't know personally but whose actions we knew about - be they famous or those we knew of via word of mouth.
-second circle of those we did know whose behaviors we didn't agree with.
-first circle, our own behaviors we judged.
It was an interesting approach to letting go.

There is another Indic myth that includes a prostitute; who is in such work because she has no other way to survive; and the man across the street thinks himself a devotee of holy things and selfrighteously judges her behaviors. Each day; tsk tsk.

When this man meets the divine, he expects to have an easy go of it, and is disgruntled at the news that not only does he have a mountain of karmas but the prostitute has none to carry. How can this be? Each time the man derided her karmas he actually brought them to himself. She had been relieved of them because she didn't like what she did but also did it with the clear and pure intention to survive and did not add an action of judgement of her own actions or anybody else's; he now carried them because he held on to them and his judgements; cluttering up his screen. A karma hoarder. Every action has an equal an opposite reaction.

There is that Buddha saying that
Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned... Every action has an equal an opposite reaction.

This even happens with your own actions.

If we let go in the physical system, it is called detoxification (which the solar plexus organs have a lot to do with): And likewise with every other layer. These layers are thought in the Tibetan Medicine lineage I have studied to be linked; those who do not let go as easily might get constipated, those who do not understand the way to process their feelings and experiences might have fast and loose digestion, while those who are able to proces and discern what is useful (I mistyped with *usfuel*, and yes; fuel that is nurturing and vital for us v a hindrance) from what is not and lets go of all that isn't of use could have steady and smooth digestion. Whether it's chicken or egg, these layers of ourselves are related and it is thought by many that they can be healed in either direction; heal the organ or heal the perspective; it's just a matter of if there is enough human time for an organ to fully restore, etc.

Mediation / writing
What is a view you strongly hold that doesn't serve you or even blocks you?
What belief, experience that became a pov, or desire is underneath it?
What is underneath that one?
And that?

There was an episode of Gilmore Girls in which Lorelai becomes aware that her ways of dressing, eating, socializing, etc, might all be residue of a rebellion against her parents ways as a teenager that she never was conscious of; was she now truly being her own self? Or had she cultivated behaviors, a lifestyle, and points of view that were each so that it would be different than her mother's way - whether or not that might also be her way in a few select cases. She now had an option to be in conscious state and observe her choices, actions, behaviors, perspectives, relationships, etc, intentionally and truly ask herself if each was HER or just a lifelong opposite (of my parents) day. Was she asserting the truth of what she was? Or asserting opposition to what she perceived her parents to be as a way of asserting opposition to her parents?
Are we doing a aligns with our truth or what we learned to do from, or in response to, an external source? Are there things we didn't always to think/feel/believe and might have internalized from a formerly external source?

The liver, a solar plexus organ, is connected with discernment, which is mentioned as immensely important in the Yoga Sutras (which some believe were inspired by The Buddha's teachings). Discernment seems to be something that priest was looking for in his letter. When is The Gospel a law? A guide? Where do we let go? Let live? Let kill? Turn the other cheek? Lift voices? Silence? Imprison? Set free? What is right? - for the highest good?

Your answers will be very different than mine. Maybe even to the point of intense disagreement. Perhaps that is an integral part of the learning process of each of our lives. Perhaps that is a layer of reality in which we learn to discern...

What is the action most aligned - for you? And what we want and/or what feels good isn't always what is right...

We might want unhealthy snacks or deserts or even more immediately severe drugs than sugar. Still, we know we will be better off (and our intuition, clarity, and discernment. Will all be much ch strobger) if we eat healthier foods most, if not all, of the time.

A Tibetan Medicine teacher, Dr. Nida. Has said that each emotion, even the three Buddhist poisons, can be positive and are intelligent. And in the ancient texts it does say that everything in nature can be a medicine and a poison. The difference between something like an emotion that is toxic vs one that is positive us identifying the intelligent message it is offering and then letting it move on its way; just like any other messenger... so many people hold on to anger, fear, desire; instead of looking at what they are telling you. They can actually be, according to Nida (a name that is part solar; it means Sun and Moon) informing us when something aligns with us (anger), what we want (desire), what we want to to avoid (fear), etc. We can discern the message; with gratitude to our system for being SO smart as to know this and be able to tell us; and release into the next present moment; thereby letting go and keeping ourselves clear and calm and purified.

I Invite you to
Write on it.
Meditate on it.
Reflect.
Breathe.
Move in this awareness.
Let yourself be conscious of your choices, actions, perspectives, relationship to your experience.
Ask yourself honestly and humbly about your Samskaras.
Explore what is beneath each layer of a belief, desire, or fear to find the truest inner core of you.

Thanks for showing up for yourself.

Happy Today
May you be well

Trees Reflection in the Water

Day 27 . Jan 9

Patterns Reflected

Happy Moon Day!  
Reflections. Nature is math and patterns repeat. One word to identify the multiple dimensions and layers of this is, Reflection. The Moon reflects our Sun. Reflecting the idea above that many today align with; that everything in this reality is mathematically founded; is the improvisation principle of writing on one's feet; "If this is true, what else is true?", because everything in a world one is creating on a stage, as in the greater reality, is a reflection of the rest of the things in the same reality.

You might hear some who discuss astrology, phrase it as being the celestial lights (stars, cosmos, Universe, Galaxy, planets, etc) *as we see them*: A way I rephrased this for someone that seemed to make it more clear for them was, What are they reflecting back to us about our own experience of nature? - If everything is a reflection of original nature, then everything within it is a reflective source of information about it. Even things some individuals selectively judge as having less relevance than others.

Even if it goes in a different order, there is still a relationship; the arrangement of furniture in a room; the design of a building; the plan of city; the borders of a nation; the climate and shape of a landscape; in subtle and very obvious ways influence the experience of those in that area. Likewise, the larger "space"ial relationships also influence us in subtle and obvious ways. Sometimes it's material like a full on meteor crater. Sometimes it's light like Aurora from solar elements, shifts in cloudscape changing our access to Sun, or altering the glow of the Moon. And sometimes it's more subtle and distant dynamics of light and matter that our subconscious identifies and attempts to resolve as well as vibrational relationship shifts that influence our physical being.

Spend a night in a house with out electricity (on a night when it is a comfortable temperature to be in such a space and with a good bed, etc) only no electric waves, lights, or machine sounds and see what your shift in sleep is. Camping gives some indication. But a tent is not an edifice; which feels closer to the security of caves. And car camping is even closer proximity to electrics; you are sleeping inside a machine. The evidence that there are individuals affected strongly by these subtle EMF's shows us that everyone is affected. So why not also by the vibrational music of the spheres; like the woosh we see and feel of a gust of wind or one truck passing another on a highway, the massive presence of a planet would send some sort of wave out and much, much farther than we might comfortably, consciously perceive.

Regardless, these things definitely line up even with parts of the population disbelieving it; making it far less vulnerable to misinterpretation of projection, self-fulfilling prophecy, manifestation, or even weaving into the fabric of the Universe: It is, and so it is.

Of course, all of this said, I believe in manifestation. If everything is reflection, then it exists as well; if I go to a gas station, a health food store, a sporting goods store, I will likely be met with the things that are found in those spaces. Likewise, if on a more subtle level, I can be met with the places I go energetically. I can see the other shops as I pass them, but if they aren't places that I shop in, I won't be receiving things from them; attraction.

I also believe that this experience is possibly akin to choose your own adventure; there are certain variables that make it more to less likely that things from those other stores will be available to you. These days, we are all expanding our awareness, and simultaneously many retail establishments have expanded what they offer; moving back from specialization to more of a diverse microbiome model like a classic, old school, general store, so I can find crystals and candles and yoga mats and flowers and pet supplies and books and clothes and food and cleaning supplies maps and knicknacks and more all on one place. And so, if we move into a vibration that is more universal, we will have access to more things of the overall universe. Still, there are things one cannot purchase for use in the US that are from Europe (like lower EMF phones) and so, while the choose your own adventure model has many more options than a material human game of the same kind, the reflections is there that there are options and potentials and possibilities offered as well as those that might not be.

And of course, in our video games, there are more subtle channels within where we can jump levels and find things unseen to others just playing the obvious, surface level game, and so perhaps we are reflecting that that exists elsewhere in the greater nature. We humans certainly have a relatively limited audio and video spectruma md so could be missing things right in front of us or in supposed earshot. And, for the larger scale, there are remedial measures, or Upayas, for one's chart; stating (in more elegant Sanskrit poetics) that it is all possibility and that there are ways to hack the game; in 1,000's of years old traditions like Indic astrology.

A mentor of mine once said, "Notice what you're noticing." Even with animal signs, we can look to the great communicators of traditional wisdom. Also, if we do not have that available in the moment, we can check in about what that creature might reflect back to human experience. Additionally, we can also note things we might be projecting onto the animal; one of us might see it as running happily, another scared, another to get food, or be sheltered before a storm, or playing, or as a mating ritual; we all might project our life patterns and/or priorities onto what we see. We have the option to use this as an opportunity for self-inquiry.

If we do this more and more, with all that reflects back to us; which is everything in the reality we experience; and from a space of humility, generosity, acknowledgement of our own shadows, we can play a truly honest game of #youspotityougotit and make progress on the part of the reality we can control; the one car on the road that we are driving.

Writing / meditation / senses

Notice the reflections: Outside and inside: What is reflecting the greater space, other animals / humans, natural patterns; including of changes and movements. What here reflects uo there. What animals reflect other animals - or people you know? What people remind you of others? Why? Really dig in, if it feels safe to do so. Outside/inside; past/present; here/there; obvious/subtle; above/below.

I encouraged a practice like this already; this is a new circle into the spiral of this kind of practice.

Food and Drink

Trying foods and ways of eating that are easier on the digestive system for a week - or 6 - (a lot are in this offering) can ba a great hack that innately and greatly assists with many things I've written about today + the last few days, and all of life.

Movement

-Chandra Namaskar, as I mentioned the third day IF it is appropriate for your constitution.
-Half Moon pose and other poses that reflect phenomena, objects, or animals; like boat, chair, bear, down dog, fish, crane, crow, etc.
-heart openers into forward folds
-braath of joy again, which I also explained three days ago in this offering

Thank you for showing up for yourself.

May you be well

Dry Woods

Integrate

Warrior Meeting The Moment

Tuesday - Of course, we finish this on a Mars day:
Fighting your reality

I recently was privileged with the fortune to go to the Monarch sanctuary in Santa Barbara, which is in a magical Eucalyptus grove and near wonderful grass and beach areas with magnificent, steep bluffs with all sort of plants and wildlife at their peaks and beyond onto the shelf. As with so much of this area of the Gold Rush State coast, turning away from the entrancing ocean, one meets a delightful view of great mountains beyond the field and rolling hills bedazzled with adobes.

There were a few days of light rain (zero road closures) that had stopped for 2 days before I got there. Still, as this weekend's catastophizing reveals, Southern California's people aren't used to rain. Well, the ground isn't either.

The direct path to The Butterflies (which I capitalize because, to me, in their own right they are an event) is from an unmarked entrance by the street and then to the right, with a slope downhill before going up and over and into the woods and eventually the grove of Eucalyptus Trees (also a friggin' event).

To the left; from the same gate by the street; is a slight slope upward, graduating higher and higher up to the California Sun(event)lit grassway and eventually the tops of the bluffs and the beach with that little old Pacific Ocean stretching out and beyond. There were a number of reasons it felt best to go to the left, but I was told, and it seemed, that the direct route was to the right; down, into a dark area, that looked to be a little muddled and flooded.

I had cotton sneakers on and paused when I saw how much water had collected, leaving the sparse areas above any water for a good 300 feet+. A man sat on the railing gave me a funny feeling and I took him in now. He didn't look as if he'd stopped for a smoke (as my brain had decided from the corner of my eye). And his 2PM beer bottle on a weekday in an unmarked natural area...suggested some possibilities. I'm a big, strong person and I sensed that he was paying me no mind. More important I had a schedule of three more places to go before a new location for sunset. I decided to give it a shot. I passed him with a little tension in me and looked for an angle by which I could get through. It did not reveal itself. I then felt movement behind me and the man had gone across the path about 10 feet behind me to piss in the bushes. I looked at all the water and thick woods beyond it, my sneakers; some unbandaged cuts from yesterday's sandals peaking out, the time on my phone, and back at the harmless man who I felt was still indicative of the vibe being drawn to this general area, whereas from the left I'd seen a coupl.e of groups of bright, happy, people going out of the gate.

I mentally reviewed my itinerary. The Butterflies remained at the top of the list. I crossed back and went the other way, away from the downhill, water, and boozing and toward the uphill, sunshine, and a meadow. The extra time would be something I'd manage; the great trauma of missing out on a tourist stop would wash itself away realitively easily... Maybe I could find another entrance from the beach side. If not, a different day and I'd see, move through, and breathe in some glorious nature and then head back to the car.

One reason I felt I should stay and try to find it was as I had driven up; not seeing any signage; and looked to turn around to find the "right entrance" which would obviously have a sign; who doesn't want to know where there will be 1,000's of butterflies fluttering through a grove if Eucalyptus Trees? Nobody, that's who. Before I could turn around, a monarch speedily fluttered out into the street, which is about 1/4 mile from the grove, and then looped back toward the trees after dancing in front of my windshield. (Thanks, Butterfly spirit; I had come to the right place - and the not-always-reliable map system had done perfect work).

Letting my turbo tourist take a break, I headed off to find these natural phenoms who, while while reputedly so incredibly delicate, travel thousands of miles to these groves, and back, annually. Ah. mazing.

There was a very slightly flooded - just large puddle - area with a number of long eucalyptus shavings stretched across the highest part; so my sneakers got across it completely dry.

It IS a longer walk to go that way, but it was dry, you passed all the things I mentioned above, plus a few lovely landmarks like a large shrine (out in the middle of a bunch of paths) to The Buddha that was covered with flowers and other brightly colored, beautiful offerings. I eventually figured out what trail likely went toward butterflies by the one group of people not in I'm-here-to-exercise gear that were leaving it. Again, as I approached, about 10 yards away the trees - which turned out to be a good 1/8th of a mile up from the grove, I invited a sign that this was the way and within a minute a monarch flitted across my line of sight. YES. The right place.

The trees covered in butterflies were - trees covered in butterflies. Being that they are mostly orange and darker browns and blacks, they looked like Fall leaves up there - until they started moving independent of even the slightest but of wind.

It was a beautiful experience to be there. Their beauty. Their natural home that they find. Their survival. Their presence, and in such abundance, in a natural area; instead of something cultivated with a handmade design. My inner lovers of beauty, nature, and exploring were each satisfied.

I didn't get to do one of the things that I had planned. But I got to do the most important ones and come out with my shoes and my person unscathed.

The reason that I mention this to you is the most important thing; whichever path I took, I would have gotten to the butterflies. The destination was there. Had I been in a rush and fought against the reality presented to me, I might've put myself in a few different sorts of danger from the water, whatever was / had been growing in the water, and the creatures around it. Instead, I have a lovely memory with a question at the top as to what kind of experiences I want to chase / explore within.

We can move through life with ease and patience and m oriented toward a solution and prioritizing OR with fight and resistance to what is. We could still get to that same destination; it's just that entire experience that's inbetween that takes much more of the time of our lives is either pushing against what is, trudging through muds of life, risking our health in various ways, encountering people we do not connect with the ways we do eith those in the lighter side, or embracing it and finding the way to collaborate with it.

Also true, no matter who we are or what we choose or have chosen; we can get to see The Butterflies. The Universe is a circle, as is life; we can race through a swamp or arrive later than some (and by some, I mean we) might think we should and see green grasses, clean beaches, a wide and wild ocean, sturdy and impressive bluffs, and so much more along the way to our journey's end; we can go through the darker or the lighter vibration; we still could get where we are going. And we can trust that others we are concerned about will still meet their lessons and that life will nudge then toward those as well as it can.

What is in your control is the way that you meet the situation and choose to respond to it. What experience do you want for your total life?

Meditate / Explore it with words: All or none of these; feel free to simply freeform reflect, etc; these are for those who benefit from prompts:
Where in your life is it easier for you to let things slide / let the child fall / let it be?
Where less so?
Where absolutely not? - What about you and/or your experience(s) has contributed to these stances, or do you see them as innate?
What have you prioritized this whole time and what slid?
Is that a typical area or did you find yourself drawn to a new or different/unusual-for-you practice or focus?
What is obvious to you that is different now from Day 1? What's the same?
What did you not get to that you are making a note of to do? - even "someday"?
What just doesn't feel like you? - Or at least you today?
Did you go into this with expectations?
What came from that kind of entry?
What do you notice that you didn't before, if anything?
Why do you think that is and/or why might you not have noticed it before?
Thank you for, yet again, showing up for yourself, Ashley

Karma Offering 2022-23: The Daily
Stars

and other Karmas

Karma Offering 2022-23: Meditations
The Stars

4 Guidances . Dec 14 . Meditation(s) 1

Breath Awareness, Body Scan, Homunculus! - Oh my!

Today's offerings are brief guidances in relaxation, awareness, and breath; Four in total; two Body Scans, one Breath Awareness, and one Homunculus guidance.
All recordings are on Audiomack: You can set up an account and listen to these as many times as you like, for the entire length of this offering, for free.
Links to each are below. Thanks, as always, and may you be well.
Homunculus:
https://audiomack.com/ashtree-2/song/homunculus-guidance

Body Scan B: Crown to Roots
https://audiomack.com/ashtree-2/song/body-scan-crown-to-roots

Body Scan A: Roots to Crown
https://audiomack.com/ashtree-2/song/body-scan-roots-to-crown

Breath Awareness Guidance
https://audiomack.com/ashtree-2/song/breath-awareness-1

Stars

Rose, Gold, and White Light . Dec 15 . Meditation 2

Rose Gold Meditation

Guided Mediation encouraging multisensory connections with Rose vibration along with Gold and White light vibrations:
https://audiomack.com/ashtree-2/song/rose-gold-meditation

Science Museum Space Exploration

Yoga Nidra . Dec 16 . Meditation 3

Nidra: 58 minutes

Violet Stars

Yoga Nidra . Dec 18 . Meditation 4

61 Point of Blue Light

Today's meditation in honor of this time of healing and self-care has the 61 Points in blue light, since that is the color for healing in the tradition that I learned from.
I was going to include this type of meditation in the offering regardless, and chose to include it today in acknowledgement of this first day of Hanukah. 
As have been, there are a few stray sounds from outside, and today especially my own need to clear my throat a few times came up. I edited these things out as well as I was able with my current resources. May they be integrated into your meditation as part of the experience. 
https://audiomack.com/ashtree-2/song/nidra-with-points-of-blue-light

Moonlit Night

MoonDay . Dec 19 . Meditation 5

Go With The Flow: Guidance Toward Places You Can Cultivate Peace

There were some hiccups with exterior sounds. I took it as an opportunity to demonstrate going with the flow and bit and improvised with it, hopefully it keeps the flow of the experience light enough to make it work edited out a bunch if the bg sound but some were too loud not to come through.
https://audiomack.com/ashtree-2/song/guidance-toward-places-you-can-cultivate-peace

Butterfly

Solstice . Dec 21 . Meditation 6

Today's Meditation is inspired by the Solstice meeting the New Moon and the days of Mercury, Jupiter, and Venus in a row on and beyond them..   Meditation Link:https://audiomack.com/ashtree-2/song/solstice-new-moon-planets-days-meditation

Solstice . New Moon . Planets: Light & Dark . Expansion . Alignment . Change

Black Sky

Longer Northern Days . Dec 22nd . Meditation 7

New Moon on Jupiter's Day

Starry Sky

Lights That Don't Go Out 8 . 12/25

Light In the Darkness

Today's meditation isn't guided; it is foundational and still it is always a profound experience; a candle meditation. Set a timer for 5 minutes, settle into your support, close your eyes, and imagine a candle in front of you. Focus on that image, maintaining that image, and returning to it if you drift. If you are not a strong visualizer, you may of course use an actual candle to reference. You could imagine the Sun's warmth if you are more tuned in to the sense of touch. If you have access to a fireplace that can host a fire, you can close your eyes and listen to the sounds that the fire makes, etc: You will know the best way for you to connect with the fire element. You might be multisensory, so feel free to explore a bit, but only 5 minutes.

Buddha Statue

Light and Reflection . Dec 26

Reflection and Flow

I'm going to recommend you listen to a natural water source. I'd listen with your eyes open and then closed and then open again to observe the water with different senses. Since we all get to much screentime, if you are seeking an electronic recording of a natural source, I'd just listen to one instead of look. If it is available to you, best to do so without headphones; to limit EMF's (+ the energy in an interior space can shift wonderfully with the vibrations of the sounds of nature). I do like the recordings of artists and sourcers like Gordon Hempton who get true, clear, long stretch, and very deep wilderness sounds of the wild. These often include a waterway. Just let the thoughts literally move like water - you might even better visualize them doing so with that audio influence. Do this for 15 minutes or whatever time you have. Feel free to do it for longer as well. I'd of course do a pee break before any particularly long meditation listening to a water source😉.

Star Cluster

Alignment . Dec 28

You and Your Surroundings 

If you are a visualizer, then meditate by visualizing natural areas and phenomena (let me know if you'd like me to make a guided audio for you in the meditations). For now, notice wind, rain, ocean - and at different tides, mountains, daytime, night, fields, moon cycles, fires, deserts, quakes, jungle, etc. Let the sounds be present as well as any visuals as much as you can conjure them. Maybe you can feel the breeze or smell the grass, the sea, etc:

Notice what feels harmonious to you. Without shoulding all over yourself: What should be uncomfortable or unwelcome or threatening but doesn't feel that way? What maybe shouldn't but does? What definitely should and does? Where do your should come from? Are there reasons for your responses that you are conscious of?

Shooting Star

Heartspace.  Dec 30

 Heart  

either / all
-chipping away toward relief
-awareness of and action(s) toward change-where do you genuinely feel in alignment? Where notsomuch?

May you find your unique cycle of checking in with yourself about any changes that you'd like to make in the best timing for your highest good.

And may you be aware of the relief after any discomfort of things that aren't resonant with your truest essence being chipped away.

Abstract Paint

Eve . Dec 31

You As A Marble Relief

Meditate on whatever resonates:
-chipping away toward relief
-awareness of and action(s) toward change-where do you genuinely feel in alignment? Where notsomuch?

May you find your unique cycle of checking in with yourself about any changes that you'd like to make in the best timing for your highest good.

And may you be aware of the relief after any discomfort of things that aren't resonant with your truest essence being chipped away.

Starry Sky

Sun . Jan 1

Inner and Outer Sensings of Light

I offer you three meditation and/or writing options today;

1. Sunrise; literal and thematically:
-What does it mean to you?
-Where did the meaning(s) you associate with it come from?
-Did you always feel / think / see that way?
-If not, do you recall the moment(s) and / or source(s) of change?

2. Same as above with Sunset.

3. The Solar Plexus:
Closing your eyes and sensing golden light in that area of your system. Set a timer for 5 minutes to do this (or less if you only have 1-3). If it feels right to you, let it expand to surround you and then after feeling the expansion well enough, find its most aligned size for the moment and sit with that until you let the visualization go or the alarm goes off.
Notice any sensations that might arise during this time and where they seem to come from. (Always thanking your body for being smart and expressive enough to send you those sensations.)
If you journal after meditation;
What did it show up like at first?
How did it feel
-to expand it?
-to contract it?
-at full expansion?
-after keeping it there for a while?
-when it went to its best size for the moment / to leave the meditation with?
Are any memories or associations coming in or up for you as you go though this - or as you went through the exercise itself?

Night Sky

Meditate, Move, Manifest . Jan 2

Movement Optional

Today's meditation offering is a preset to the day. I'll drop a recording of this later this week, but I have been in a very noisy ar es a and cannot give a clear one. SO until then, for those who want it now-now-now, want to get active on resolutions and / or intentions / key words, want to use the growing sound and Moon together in this lovely time of the year, etc; The offering is something you can do before bed for the next day OR in the AM before you move forward with the rest of your day AND/OR soon before a particular experience you might be concerned about the way you will handle it; it is imagining the way things will be in advance.

Research shows that when we do this; when we decide something will go well, is in alignment, is exactly as it should be, let all our sense tune into it and fully feel it as we imagine it, etc; that we tend to handle challenges and overall life situations better because we have already conditioned ourselves into a space in which things are going that way; you way; well; happening for you; aligned; as they should be; as is best for all involved; one's highest good; etc: No matter what happens, you have already tuned yourself into a vibration of ease, flow, trust, and alignment. From there, you can ride any wave AND more easily accept if the ride goes a different way that you might have anticipated. This tends to increase your adaptability, flexibility, and availability for the next wave because you aren't trying to process out frustration, resistance, expectations, attachment, etc.

A nice freedom of an unguided approach is that this can be a 5 minute - an hour process; dealer's choice: you do you + you can avoid the EMF's of an electronic device - sensitive types, especially, be care-full around those.

Non - "New Year" Option: If you do not have a particular goal / resolution / intention / scenario selected for this year or another timeframe, you could do the projection / intention exercise I mentioned in a previous post; where you envison yourself 3 years out instead of one year because our estimations tend to be more accurate than for 1 year. Then you can meditate on what you would do today to get there.

Process:
-Settle in
-Close eyes
-Rest into the dark, quiet space behind your eyes
-Let yourself relax into the support below you
-Body Scan; relaxing the parts of the body intentionally from head-to-toe or the reverse direction; I have been initiated into each by Tibetan and Indic instructors, respectively and so will guide each for you in the recording. If you have no preference via reference or experience, then simply check in with which sounds right; including and especially for a reason you are not consciously aware of; that can be a deeper, more intuitive, need calling you from your particular system:
-Sense into the start of your day.
-What do you do to prepare for it?
-What are all the steps you take?
-Really feel in it every sense you have available. Be as present with tactile things, tastes, smells, sounds, etc, as you can. And fully live info the entire time period you're envisioning. What is the culmination? How does that feel. Let yourself be where you are interested in arriving, now. Be there fully. What does it feel like to each of your senses? Who is around you if you end up there? What do you wear? What are your surroundings?The sounds there? The smells? The temperature? All the things.
-Let yourself fully live into the experience leading up to and through and the results and then;
-Rest back into the space behind your eyes.
-Feel into the support.
-Find movement again in your fingers and toes take it gently into the legs and the arms; give a stretch if you feel called to.
-Let yourself roll to one side
-Slowly come up to seated, open your eyes once you feel ready to.

Happy Tuning In

Violet Stars

Self-Support . Jan 3

You Art A Work Of Art, Love You, Byeee

Pick a question, concept, or theme herein to meditate on:

In a very safe, gentle, loving, compassionate, and non judgmental way:
What do you make room for in your own self-support and what you do not?
What do you truly prioritize?
What do you put off?
What do you consider to be a priority yet somehow seems to remain in the future?
Why? - choose any of the above.
Sometimes there are very real life reasons and sometimes not. Sometimes both and: There is a reason, aaand there are also ways that we can work around it for something we prioritize.

Stars at Night

Resonance Reflection . Jan 4

It Was Like Coming Home...

For a meditation and/or writing prompt; reflect on the things we recognize and feel resonance with. People, places, things that feel like home even when they are brand new to use, objectively. What was the first time you truly loved an exprience like that? What are your thoughts / feelings / intuitions about them?

Purple Stars

Reflect/ion

Reflecting on Reflections

Notice the reflections: Outside and inside: What is reflecting the greater space, other animals / humans, natural patterns; including of changes and movements. What here reflects uo there. What animals reflect other animals - or people you know? What people remind you of others? Why? Really dig in, if it feels safe to do so. Outside/inside; past/present; here/there; obvious/subtle; above/below.

I encouraged a practice like this already; this is a new circle into the spiral of this kind of practice.

Desert Highway

Meditation 18

   

   

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