Embodying Love

Hi, today I offer a song about love as the connecting force that moves through all.

The love that flows through me to you,

that flows through you to me,

Is the Spirit that moves through all things.

(2)Compassion and peace, gentleness and love – all gifts of spirit.

(3)Spirit gifts of Quan Yin and Jesu, the gentleness of deer, the apple tree – all gifts of spirit.

Like so many of the songs and chants I’ve written, this one simply flowed through me in a moment of meditation. The first verse, which I sing many times on today’s video, is an excellent meditation in itself. The 2nd and 3rd I offer once. All three can be sung together at the same time.

Day 12 Spirit Love

As we move into 2018, it will be beneficial to embody love. Begin with yourself. I believe this is a major key to healing our planet.  The various forms of the Golden Rule that shows up in so many spiritual traditions requires this self love. “Love your neighbor as yourself” has a whole different meaning if you do not love yourself. We must start by letting love flow through us and to us.

I happened upon a new Beach Boys song today. It’s got lots of words, but the same theme. Give a listen: “Unleash the Love”

I love the line: “It’s in our power to change this planet’s destiny.”

Be the love the world needs.

Love and blessings, Coleen

We Are a Story People – Do you withhold yours?

The warmer time of the year is usually more about adventures out in the world. The winter is about sharing the stories from those adventures. Stories about adventures evoke treks across the globe, dangerous quests, or luxurious vacations filled with interesting characters. And aren’t those stories delightful?!Day 11 - Story

But perhaps more useful are our everyday stories. What if we considered our everyday lives an adventure? No, you do not need to change anything. The point of this post is: our everyday-ness may just be the story that’s needed. Watch today’s video for an example.

We live in an overpopulated world and yet we live incredibly isolated lives at times. But we are a story people. We are designed to be in community, to be interdependent, to share and learn from each other’s experiences. This is what makes humans so adaptable. If we listen to each other’s experiences our base of knowledge is greatly expanded. But instead of sharing real stories, we watch made up stories on TV.

Perhaps we’ve come to believe our stories are not significant; they’re too small, too boring. To suggest those may be the very stories that will bring healing and joy in a hurting world, … That might make us significant and perhaps even inspiring.

“Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.” Marianne Williamson

Nelson Mandela brought international awareness to Marianne Williamson’s words. They touch a knowing place in our hearts, don’t they?

  • Have you ever felt all alone in your experiences?
  • Have you been convinced that no one else knows how you could feel?
  • Have you ever felt no one could possibly understand your life – or, that if they knew you’d be shamed?

What if, someone shared a bit of their story and you found yourself in it? Imagine how comforting and inspiring that could be. In those moments you do not need some far off adventure, dangerous quests or intriguing characters. You probably simply want someone who can relate. What a gift! What a gift you could give.

matthew-henry-86779

Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

Risk it. Share yourself with someone – find places where you connect and relate. Even if they don’t share your experience, you will have brought them a place of understanding that experience and help them relate to others with that experience.

We are a story people. Please do your part. Share your everyday, small, boring, incredible, inspiring, IRL story. Someone needs it.

In my family, story came through my mother. We’d tell her and she’d tell everyone else. So all our info about each other came through her filters. When I recognized this and started speaking directly to my siblings, our relationship totally changed. Words like, “you too?”; “I thought I was the only one,” and “I didn’t know you felt that way.” emerged – and so did a deepening of our connection. Shared experiences need to be validated through shared stories. For me, it’s been well worth the risk.

Blessings, ~ Coleen

What’s Emerging …. from you?

As we approach the winter holidays and celebrations of new hope, new light, new birth – we are invited to look within and discern what new things want to emerge in our lives.

Our focus is so often on anticipation of what new light/hope/birth will come and we forget to honor that through which the newness comes. All things are born through the feminine; it is the feminine within each of us that brings forth new birth. This process includes labor, doubt, fear, hope, joy, pain.

luke-brugger-29476

Photo by Luke Brugger on Unsplash

We all carry this story at various times in our lives. We are all part of the same story, as birthers. Did you know that research shows that women in labor have a shorter and easier time in the birthing process if another women (birther) is in the room. That woman does not need to do anything, but be present.

Let’s be present to each other, to the birther in each person. Let’s allow our presence to ease their labor, calm their fears and give them hope.

Today’s video offer a SpiritSong Prayer for the Birther. Be with us as we labor to bring forth whatever it is we are called to birth in the world at this time.

Picture2

To join in conversation add your comment below – or, Like and follow my Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/CRhalenaRenee/

Many blessings, Coleen

Is the Dragon Lady All Heart?

Today we explore the fierce feminine. Now, if you have words like “raging bitch” “bitter old maid”, or “dragon lady” going through your head – push them aside cause you’re on the wrong page!

Here are some places you really want the fierce feminine on your side:

Giving birth to a baby – talk about fierce energy!

Your “baby” (child, project, recipe of your heart) is threatened.

Your life is threatened.

You need to stand up for yourself at work or home or in a relationship.

Survival is at stake.

You’re sabotaging yourself.

Day 8 Fierce

Photo by Christopher Campbell on Unsplash

Before we continue, remember that the feminine is community oriented, has an eye for the long term/big picture view, is committed to relationships within the whole.

The fierce feminine is deeply compassionate and willing to do even the difficult/unpopular things in order to accommodate what needs to be born or protected. She cuts the umbilical cord, frees us from things that bind us, cuts away what does not serve. She makes sure that we have what is needed for survival – what we need to thrive.

Yes, she has a “sword”! Yes, she knows how to wield it. No, she’s not unfeeling or out of control. The fierce feminine is deeply compassionate and discerning. When should we call on her?

christopher-campbell-37569

Photo by Christopher Campbell on Unsplash

Have trouble saying no?

Still carrying old habits or ideas about life?

Stuck in bad relationships?

Need to find your voice?

That’s right, you’re getting it. We all need a bit of the fierce feminine to pave the way for change when something new is wanting to be born. Her “sword” may be her voice, her eyes, her healing hands, the written word, a song, a scalpel, a conductor’s baton, …

Give her some light. Let her help you face the challenges from a place of deep compassion. Once you experience her a time or two, you’ll treasure her and her loving heart.

Here my story about the first time the fierce feminine showed up in my life.

Blessings, Coleen

What Do You See? Get Rattled and Sing

One of the beautiful aspects of the masculine is the ability to separate things so you can see how each “piece” is made. Of course if you leave things in separation, you lose track of the beauty of the whole. It is the feminine energies that gather and connect.  Today, I offer you a song to help you remember, see and celebrate how connected we truly are.

cathal-mac-an-bheatha-208192

Photo by Cathal Mac an Bheatha on Unsplash

Before we do that, I offer you a tool to shake off the debris of your day – anything that puts a cloud around you and separates you from what’s important. Sound can do just that! Get a rattle and shake it – shake it over and around your body, your children’s bodies, your partner’s body, …. you get the idea. Don’t have a rattle? Watch today’s video and learn how to make your own in just a few minutes.

Now that the cloud of debris from stress and the day’s worries is released, let’s sing.

The song I offer came through me a couple years ago. I was probably out on the land talking to the trees, sage brush, deer… It’s simple. Its teaching is profound. Singing it as a practice can open your heart to connection, open your eyes to possibilities and offer healing to the world.

I see me in you.

I see you in me.

And together, we move now in harmony.

I see me, I see you, I see we.

This is a powerful song to offer in prayer at the holidays as we seek to see the light in ourselves and in each other. Learn the movements on the video and share this song in a circle with each other. Be sure to look in each other’s eyes. Open your heart. Smile. Love.

Blessings, Coleen

 

Can You Hear the Land’s Song?

The sunny winter day is calling me, so I grabbed my camera and off I went to see what it might say.

“Sing.  Sing Me, Beloved.”

aaron-burden-191067

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

It’s my deep joy to sing the winter hills. May it speak to your inner light and maybe even wash you with golden rays as the setting sun washes the hills with golden light. What shadows might it cast for you?  Look for the treasure in both the light and the shadow.

Watch the video and hear the song.

The feminine dwells in experience and in the mystery of the song without words. May it bless you  this day.  ~ Coleen

The Lover’s Impulse – Can More Than One Love Be Best?

Today we’re exploring the feminine aspect of the lover archetype. I hope it invites and encourages you to deepen your juicy lover potential.

Our over focus on the masculine energies in the last several centuries has affectedDay 5 Lover all aspects of our lives – including the lover within. Masculine energies are wonderful and especially needed when you have a task that needs laser focus and quick results. Love is much messier than that!

 

The feminine energies are more engaging of all aspects and absolutely not afraid to be juicy and take all the time you need to do so. This post is not about sex, but it just might improve your sexual experiences.

The lover is the one who fully engages in mutual exchange. The lover is interested in choosing to connect, generously. It’s a heart to heart sort of thing and it is always intimate.

One of my loves is music. I talk about this in today’s video. I also speak about my love affair with the land, with nature, with words,…  There are so many ways to engage the lover archetype.

Aphrodite often gets a bad reputation these days. She’s sometimes presented as a whore. When this happens, she’s clearly not understood. She is vital, sensual, demanding and generous – in all the ways she loves. She wants us to become the lover – the one who is ignited, juicy and full of vitality. She wants to share in that and will take no time with someone not willing to dance in the beautiful exchange of loving.

Here’s some examples that might be helpful.

When you go hiking, do you focus on getting to the end of the trail and back with speed and efficiency? That’s a very masculine energy.  Do you take your time, stopping to watch a bird, smell a plant, take in the beauty around you, offer gratitude and love? That’s a very feminine energy.

When you read a book, are you just trying to get to the end (masculine) or are you savoring it, pausing to really enjoy evocative words (feminine)?  Same question for the last meal you ate.

annie-spratt-191710

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

When you talk with someone who is intriguing, do you allow yourself to fall into the love of their words. For those of you who are in committed romantic relationships – this is not cheating. Yes, there is an intimacy when we share a love of something with someone else. But if it’s not a sharing of romantic love, it’s not cheating on your romantic partner. Instead, it’s creating a more vital and juicy inner life, which will spill over into your relationship with a romantic partner in a delicious way.

I invite you to look at all your relationships (at anything you spend time and focus on). Can you bring the lover – a generous, engaging, connected presence – into that relationship. Dance with Aphrodite. Demand mutually satisfying exchanges. Come on in, the water is good!

Follow my Facebook writer’s page for this series at http://bit.ly/2ipEDYJHead shot

Follow my YouTube Channel for videos at http://bit.ly/2jSy0yi

Blessings and love, Coleen

Archetypes Galore! What are They & Where Do I Get Them?

Welcome to Day 4 of 21 Days to Solstice. Our journey has taken us to Samoa, Japan, and New England as we’ve explored the faces of the feminine and connected to our own inner light here in the dark time of the year.

We’ve met Moana’s crazy grandmother, the wisdom keeper; Te Fiti, the earth mother; Moana, the daughter, chief and voyager; Amaterasu, the provider; masculine embodiments of the feminine; and today, we meet the daughter and maiden in Pollyanna. (Watch video.)

Day 4

Why are these stories significant? They are stories that express innate expressions of the feminine, or archetypes. All these faces are available within each of us. We tend to focus on just two or three of these expressions during our lives. But they’re all within us and available to draw upon. When you’re really stuck in life – it’s probably time to call on a new archetype. It’s helpful if we explore them, so that when needed, they’re easier to access.

Recent history has limited us culturally to the mother, lover and daughter. But in the last several years, the expressions are opening. Movies and stories for young people no longer limit roles for women or require that they be rescued by a man. Brave, Mulan, Harry Potter, Moana, Nanny McFee, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and more show us new faces of the feminine and ignite those possibilities within us. In real life, women are CEO’s, Presidential candidates, directors, journalists, warriors.

Women have demanded their place and, perhaps by necessity, claimed those places at times not through the strength of the feminine, but through incorporating masculine archetypes. These mothers and grandmothers have paved the way and opened the world. They have my deepest respect and gratitude.

Too often they’ve had to sacrifice the feminine in order to make strides in an overly masculine world. Perhaps the most damaging masculine face is the one that encourages us to do it all on our own – discouraging us from connection and interdependence. The Enjoli ad from the 1980’s epitomizes this as they sing about the 24 hour woman, who can do it all.

Now, we get to reclaim the feminine and find healing and balance for both men and women. As we continue our 21 days we’ll visit both ancient and modern stories of the emerging feminine.

On today’s video I mention two resources:

The Circle of Life: Thirteen Archetypes for Every Woman.

Matt Kahn’s The Alchemy of Transformation

I invite you to open to the wonder and joy of the archetypal faces of the feminine. They are alive and well!

Blessings, ~ Coleen

The Green Man & other Males Rockin’ the Feminine

It’s Day 3 of 21 Days to Solstice – a journey of celebrating our inner light and exploring the feminine. Today’s video talks about the Green Man, perhaps the epitome of a male carrying the balanced feminine. See the video for more about the Green Man.

day 3 green man

Just to be sure you don’t think the feminine is just for women to embrace, I’m including some males who express the feminine. While it’s true that women are more biologically tuned into the feminine, men have access to the feminine as well and are much healthier and happier when they embrace it.

Why are women more biologically tuned in to the feminine? The uterus, estrogen and the birthing process all highlight the feminine principles of nurturing, long term relationships, emotional investment. The feminine honors cycles and the interconnection of all things. Women’s part of the birthing process is long, takes most of her resources and encourages interdependence.

Men on the other hand can do their part in a few minutes. They create sperm on a daily basis, whereas women are born with all the eggs they’ll ever have – carrying  them for a lifetime. Does this make men less able to embrace their feminine aspects.

No. That’s all biology – only one aspect of our beings. Until recently, men have been discouraged, even shamed for being emotional, for taking part in slow nurturing activities. Still, many men have been able to call forth the feminine in powerful ways.

Here’s few examples:Ghandi

Mahatma Ghandi – leader of the Indian Independence movement against British rule used non-violent passive resistance to free his people and promoted peaceful civil disobedience, inspiring future world leaders.

George BaileyGeorge Bailey from “It’s a Wonderful Life” – put the needs of his community above his own, created ways to provide dignity and reasonable livelihood for everyone, inspired love and loyalty, put his family and friends first. Although he resisted these actions and longed to explore the world and be adventurous – he ultimately came to realize the beauty and balance in his choices.

Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī – Persian mystic, theologian, Islamic scholar and poet.

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about.
Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it

My brother, John Bittinger – an excellent teacher, father and husband. He has always taken a active role in nurturing his children. He makes his family a priority and stays active in his community. He has a strong sense of service. He cooks, does woodworking, fishes, bird watches. He has strong long term relationships with family and friends. He shares his love, is able to talk about his emotions, dreams and life purpose.

A dear friend, Dan S. a stay at home dad, who gardens, cooks, takes care of the home and children. He built his own home and maintains several rental properties. He’s patient, kind, nurturing and never in a hurry. In college he minored in women’s studies because he wanted to teach home repair to women. He sings in the choir, teaches in the children’s program, is active in sustainability programs. I’ve known him for almost ten years and have never heard him say anything negative about anyone. He values his family and traditions.

What men do you know who embody feminine principles? Share their stories in the comments to inspire us all.

Let’s thank these wonderful men and give all men the room and encouragement to embrace their feminine sides.

Blessings ~ Coleen

Amaterasu’s Mirror

Have you ever felt diminished by other people’s discomfort? Have you feared shining your own light?

21 Day - 2

We are all part of the whole and each of us is a vital piece. If we’re here, we’re needed and so are our unique gifts. This feminine principle speaks to our innate inheritance. It reminds us that when any part is diminished, so is the whole. When any person in the community is diminished, so is the whole. Whenever we diminish a part of ourselves, we diminish ourselves and our community.

Today’s story takes us to Amaterasu, the Sun Goddess. Amaterasu lives with her brother in a village in Japan. She walks with her people, helping them plant and harvest the rice; celebrating their births; honoring the ancestors and generally living in harmony. Amaterasu is unaware of how she shines and of her importance in the community.

Her brother, however, is quite aware of her unique gifts and status in the community. Next to her, he feels insignificant – that he has no important place in the village. So, instead of working together with the people, he drinks and casts criticism upon Amaterasu.

Amaterasu loves her brother and puts up with his behavior. One day he goes too far. Amaterasu and the whole village spent the day planting the new rice paddies. They went to bed feeling proud and happy of the work they did. The next morning Amaterasu rose and went to bless the new rice paddies. What she saw upset her deeply. Her brother lay passed out next to the newly planted rice. He was covered in mud. He had destroyed the newly planted fields, throwing the tender rice plants at Amaterasu’s window.

Her heart broke in two; she was deeply sad for her brother and was devastated that the pain she seemed to cause him had now hurt the village. She decided in that moment to leave. She could not allow her presence was to harm them further. She hiked up into the mountains and found the cave her father used to take her to when she was a child. She rolled a boulder over the entrance of the cave and disappeared – never guessing that she was taking the life giving sunlight with her.

As you might guess, all things began to die without the sun.

I first heard this story at a time when I was afraid to step into my gifts and shine my light. I was afraid of being judged, of being misunderstood, of risking my relationships. I didn’t want to put myself above others or beyond them. You see, I had done that once before and those closest to me became very unhappy. So I learned to make myself small.

I totally understood Amaterasu’s choice. I’d gone into my own cave and rolled the boulder across the opening.

But the story goes on:

While Amaterasu is in her cave, the people of the village become weaker and weaker. Without the sun, there is no food. Without the sun, people get sick. Without the sun, their hearts were broken, for they loved Amaterasu and missed her loving presence. All of the village felt this loss, including her brother. He realized her significance and felt guilty that his actions had chased her away. He prayed and asked the ancestors for help in redeeming himself and saving the village.

That night he had a dream about his father taking him and his sister to a cave in the mountains. He woke with the certainty that she would be there. He rushed out to tell everyone that he knew where she was. The village felt hope for the first time since she’d left. They grew excited, all talking about who would go get her.

How will we convince her to return, they wondered. A small girl remembered that Amaterasu loved a party. They could take a party up to the cave. An elder of the village knew this would not be enough; Amaterasu needed to understand her importance in the village. The elder suggested they take up a large mirror.

They arrived outside of the cave, built a fire and started singing as loudly as they could. Amaterasu heard the noise and wondered who it could be. She rolled the boulder just a tiny bit from the mouth of the cave so she could hear better.

As soon as she did this, her light shone brightly through the tiny slit. The people became excited, singing more loudly and dancing. The elder directed them to place the mirror facing the mouth of the cave.

Amaterasu’s heart was warmed by the sound of the singing. She missed her village and longed to be part of things again. So she rolled the boulder farther away and peeked out. As she did so, she was blinded by the reflection of her light in the mirror. The light had always been with her, so she didn’t really notice its warmth or power. But now she was totally aware. The village helped her to see her unique gift.

As the people told her about their lives since she’d left them, she was astounded at the loss she had created by leaving. She vowed in that moment to never withhold her self or her gifts again. Brother promised to help her live up to that vow.

sid-severin-422980

Photo by Sid Severin on Unsplash

We all have a light. A retreat in a cave is sometimes just the thing we need for self care. It is remembering that we are a vital part of the whole that brings us out of our caves and into the arms of our community. If we’re wise, we take the time to acknowledge and encourage the light in others – and to be in gratitude for that light in our lives.

Solstice Blessings   ~ Coleen

Watch the video