Posts Tagged With: Spirituality

The Lifepath Dialogues Gathering: Is Genetic Engineering Life-Affirming? (Audio)

The Lifepath Dialogues Gathering is held on the fourth Wednesdays, 6:30-8 PM, at Creekside Center in Prescott, Arizona. The intent is to build like-hearted community and dialogue about what truly matters. I choose monthly topics from my blog and host the evening with special invited guest(s) whose philosophies and work are relevant to the topic. The format involves my presentation of material to create a framework and interview of the special guests. This portion is recorded to share with the world community—wherever you are. Then we turn off the recorder and turn to intimate sharing.

The October 24 Lifepath Dialogues Gathering:

Is Genetic Engineering Life-Affirming?

This discussion was based on the collaborative post: What Legacy GMOs?

I was out of town for the October gathering. I want to thank special guest host Lesley McKeown, Vice Chair, and board member of GMO-Free Prescott, a nonprofit organization seeking to raise awareness of genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) and encourage nourishing food options. October was National Non GMO Month. This topic is so important to health and preservation of tradition. The subject matter is a very tangible aspect of spirituality: what we put into our bodies.

The complete unedited audio is about 40 minutes long. Click on the link below to listen. Please be patient as it may take a few minutes to download! I hope you enjoy.

Is Genetic Engineering Life-Affirming?

Wicked Corn

Our next gathering will be held on Wednesday, November 28, 6:30-8 PM, at Creekside Center as usual.  My special guest will be Yaqin Lance Sandleben, an ordained Sufi minister. 

To remain current on monthly topics subscribe to The Lifepath Dialogues blog or Kenosis Inspirations ezine.

Categories: Healthy Living, Spiritual Evolution | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

November 28 Lifepath Dialogues Gathering

Lifepath Dialogue Gathering

Exploring the many threads that weave together an expressive, celebrated life.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR AND JOIN US FOR DIALOGUE THAT MATTERS

You are invited! Please pass to friends and family.

NOVEMBER 28, 6:30-8 PM

FREE Monthly Gathering on Fourth Wednesdays

Creekside Center, 337 N. Rush Street, Prescott, Arizona

November’s topic:

The Ways of Inclusion

Based on the post: The Gift of Mother India

By CARLA WOODY
Author of Calling Our Spirits Home and Standing Stark
Founder, Kenosis and Kenosis Spirit Keepers

Yaqin Lance Sandleben PhotoNovember’s special guest is Yaqin Lance Sandleben. Yaqin is a Cherag, an ordained minister of American Sufism following the Chisti Sufi lineage of India. He leads the Dances of Universal Peace, Universal Worship Service and offers guidance on the path of spiritual awakening. Yaqin lives in Prescott, Arizona, where he has practiced pharmacy for 35 years, raised a family, and served the community in different ways—mostly through volunteering.  His interests in religion, spiritual development, and the awakening process began at the age of 12 in the Christian Church.   For many years he studied well known and obscure paths of awakening.  He began meditating 40 years ago and embraced American Sufism 33 years ago.   He has also studied and practiced Buddhism with many teachers, including HH the Dalai Lama and other Tibetan teachers.  His Sufi connection has led him to India, to the shrines of saints, and to the study of Raga, Indian Classical music.
PLEASE NOTE: There will be no December Lifepath Dialogues Gathering due to the holidays. We will return to our regular schedule on January 23, 2013.

Email: info@kenosis.net or call 928.778.1058

Categories: Healing, Meditation, Personal Growth, Sacred Reciprocity, Spiritual Evolution | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Edge of Limitation

For years I led a meditation group. A good number of folks were faithful to this weekly gathering, a quite important factor because every one of them extended their self-intent to the group as a whole through presence and commitment. Consequently, when we came together we were able to dive deeply—immediately.

Resistance

The Resistance
Photo: Carla Woody

We always opened with breathing together, to leave the day behind and connect with each other energetically. Then I would open the circle for sharing before we moved on to guided meditations. One time during the open frame a long-time participant asked a question.

What is the edge of limitation?

It was an astounding question, one I’m not sure I adequately answered in that moment. It was a question that—over time—framed a journey of my own, an odyssey into self-inquiry and the nature of a spiritual journey. I went on to write an entire chapter on this question in Standing Stark and, in the process, generated other queries to further define the question. Some of them are below.

Where is the meeting point between complacency and possibility?

Where is the meeting point between pain and healing?

Where is the meeting point between control and surrender?


Invitation

The Invitation
Photo: Carla Woody

Recently I was camping in Utah with friends. When we get together we’re in the habit of exploring such territory. So, sitting around an evening campfire, I brought up the question originally posed to me. Thoughtful discussion unfolded. We may have had different words for that edge—but we all recognized it. With their permission I’m sharing excerpts of our conversation.

  • …the duel…as one decides or is compelled to take the risk of expansiveness or remain stuck…
  • …looking from the inside, fear is as far as I can go—the limitation…from the outside, I cross the “edge of limitation” as I conquer the fear.
  • …a balance point between growth and fear, then maybe as the high tide mark—which moves and shifts—between those two.

Clearly, the edge of limitation is something you lead up tounless you’re merely fantasizing. New considerations will open to places that are unfamiliar. I use a variety of metaphors to describe that state. Perhaps it’s a dark forest where the path isn’t visible. Maybe it’s a membrane you bump up against; to break through the sheathing involves an identity level shift: how you are in the world. Or it’s a threshold, the precipice where a decision is made to retreat or move forward. So the edge of limitation is the pinpoint in thought, time and space before Separation from the old self of status quo.

Fulfillment

The Fulfillment
Photo: Carla Woody

One time I asked retreatants to do an exercise I drew from NLP. They chose an area of their lives where they experienced a block. Then I invited them to choose two spaces along a line they imagined on the floor. The first had to do with the edge that, if they moved beyond it, would take them through the threshold to freedom. Second, they chose a space along the line, prior to the first space, that signified their degree of resistance regarding the issue. The farther back they stood, the greater the degree of discomfort or blockage. Some had their backs up against the wall; others were poised close to the edge. I invited them to try something out; to physically walk along the line, out of the space of resistance and up to the edge; and if they chose, to cross the threshold to what lies beyond. To a one, they did. Their responses ranged from displays of relief to calm to abject jubilation. Fear vacated and possibility took its place.

Sometimes it’s just that simple to open the way.

Categories: Healing, Meditation, NLP, Personal Growth, Spiritual Evolution | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Readiness

Author at Hayu Marca

The author at Hayu Marca, Puno Region, Peru.
Photo credit: Darlene Dunning

Excerpted from Navigating Your Lifepath.

Preparing for the Journey

The point of readiness is exactly that.  It’s a pinpoint in time, a moment of decision when we are poised at the threshold contemplating intent’s power to move us to a farther path from where we’ve been.

Hopefully, readiness endures. Some people dance back and forth or even all around it. Others try to ignore it. But it’s hard not to notice a strong wind at your back urging you to go somewhere, to fly over the landscape.

Still others go willingly, pausing for a moment and then stepping deftly through the doorway. But they, too, had to come to that marker called readiness—even if more subtly—the love of adventure already built into their personality.

This is the path called evolution. We’re all on it. Some of us rest on the plateau longer than others. Most of us take a series of leaps in our lifetime. The question here is to consider: How do we know when it’s time to go? To jump? To move through? To evolve?

The movement we entertain or undertake may not even be visible to those around us. Yet there is a part of us that is restless, that’s weary of standing still—or worse, running in place. It’s this part that asks: What needs to be in place in order to come to readiness? Is there something to settle? Or maybe a little used quality to call into service? Perhaps it’s the courage to open to something new instead of settling for what has been.

I invite you to reflect on your own readiness and the questions here. Add more of your own. Then allow your expression to emerge.

Announce yourself.

Categories: Healing, Personal Growth, Spiritual Evolution, Spiritual Travel | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

The Gift of Mother India

Last night I saw The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel with a circle of friends. It’s a film about travelers all seeking something—even if they didn’t know it—against the backdrop of very foreign land, in this case Jaipur, India. As we sat around a restaurant table afterwards, my friends and I had plenty of fodder for discussion—and for me, waves of beautifully intense memories flooded back.

In February of 1998 I was in Delhi and Jaipur studying raga, Indian classical vocal music, with Pir Shabda Kahn, who is now spiritual leader of the Sufi Ruhaniat International and Director of the Chisti Sabri School of Music. I was truly ripe for my experience in Mother India and what unfolded back then. Through the daily hours-long practice the veil became quite thin. I remember having a challenge staying grounded in “normal” reality at all. The drone of the tamboura going straight in through my crown set up the ensuing Initiation quite nicely. I relayed part of my experience in my first book: Calling Our Spirits Home.

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Temple photo

Burial temple in Delhi of Hazrat Inayat Khan, who brought Sufism to the west.

I was drawn to go to India.  I was inexplicably drawn from the depths of my soul.  I had no words of explanation for my friends and family.  I had no expectations toward the outcome.  Yet, I knew that India had something to teach me, and that I would learn.  I found myself in a state of not knowing, but trusting.

We landed in Delhi in the early morning hours.  As our taxi conveyed us to our hotel, I was immediately transported back to 1978.  Magically, my time travel took me to the six months I spent in Iran.  There was a palpable aura of dejá vu as I noted the walls at streets’ edges barring glimpses into homes beyond and battered shutters rolled down over crumbling shop fronts.  The same coating of dust blanketed everything.  I saw the faces of the Iranian people I knew back then in the dark skin and beautiful brown eyes of our taxi driver.  I said to myself: This is nothing new.

In the days that followed, I made entries into my mental databank:  beautiful architecture, beggars on the street, tent dwellings, exquisite handicrafts, waves of people, gracious smiles, noxious fumes and traffic without rules.  Each time effectively dissociated, I said: I’ve seen this before.  Then we left Delhi and went to Jaipur.

While still in Delhi, I wrote about my feelings that, as I looked back on them later, seemed prophetic to me.  From my journal: “I feel as though I am waiting to leave Delhi and go to Jaipur where something awaits me.  I have the sense of going into myself and knowing that Self in all its manifestations—past, present and future…”

Choutu Singh

Choutu Singh

I spent the first days in Jaipur in meditative practices sequestered in the compound of Diggi Palace where we were staying.  Diggi Palace was so named from its history as the hunting lodge of a long-gone maharaja.  Its modest rooms and grounds provided an oasis in the heart of Jaipur.  On the third day, my companion and I left the grounds and encountered Choutu Singh, the young Indian man who would become our constant guide.  He offered us the services of his rickshaw and there I began my Initiation.

It seemed that Choutu drove us through every aspect of Jaipur and suddenly I experienced all as new—and connected directly to me.  From my enduring meditations, or perhaps from just being in Mother India, I was in a heightened state of awareness.  As we drove through byways and alleyways, the material destitution of the people I saw entered me.  The filth I saw entered me.  The barrage of noise and toxic air entered me.  The open sides of the rickshaw found no barrier, physical or psychic, that divided any experience from me.  There were no boundaries.  All was seamless and I said out loud, “I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Jaipur photo

Street scene Jaipur.

Carla Woody photo

Author Carla Woody in a Jain Temple in Jaipur.

We had stopped in a gem shop when I experienced waves of illness—immediate, sudden.  Although quite healthy prior to our venture out that afternoon, by the time we returned to Diggi Palace less than an hour later, I was desperately ill.  Fever, chills, insomnia and acute body aches were my companion through the night.

Inexplicably, waves of intense sadness arose from unaccountable depths.  It was mine and it was not mine.   Tears streamed down my face off and on through the night and during meditation the next morning.  Then, I put hands on myself with the intent toward healing and began to feel better throughout the day.  That night I had a normal night’s sleep and awoke feeling energetic and light as though I had been through a deep cleanse.

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It took me two years to integrate this gift. Through that process I learned that dissociating from what brings fear only enlarges upon fear. Solely by fully associating, inviting the demon to tea as Shabda was fond of saying, allowing the aversion or angst to wash through consciousness may it be transformed. I remain indebted to Pir Shabda Kahn for creating the safe haven for this particular Initiation of mine.

Categories: Arts, Healing, Meditation, Personal Growth, Spiritual Evolution, Spiritual Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Spiritual Travel: Destination or Process?

Some years ago I had an inquiry from someone who was interested in the Entering the Maya Mysteries program I was sponsoring; specifically he was enticed by a destination on the itinerary. He’d done a search and I was the only one offering the opportunity. “But,” he said. “I’m not so sure about this ‘spiritual travel’ stuff.”

How to explain something so intangible? In one respect, it contains elements of tangibility: sites and interactions. Invisible to the naked eye, perhaps unanticipated by the mind, are myriad ways to be drawn into the deeper journey that define these potentially uncharted waters—without conscious realization in the moment that you’ve taken the plunge. Hence, enter aspects that: may have no words or audible sound, cannot be held in your hands, your eye can’t get a bead on, can seem ordinary but aren’t. Yet it produces something akin to a lightning strike that splits the rough outer covering and creates an opening, a probable pathway — and a tangible result. There appears a fork in the road inviting decision. It’s not the territory for a faint-hearted tourist but the traveler of a different sort.

Offering I

Offering I
Mixed media on Arches 88
©2012 Carla Woody

I personally welcome those unending layers and outcomes, only bits and pieces of the larger picture solidifying long after closure of the initiation. I’ve had the great fortune, maybe even destiny, to create such organic spaces, through many years’ relationship-building and travel with special intent: being alert to those people and places who offer themselves as powerful conduits. These elements being necessary to push the energy—our energy—to catapult us beyond places that have grown familiar.

My brand of spiritual travel is physically comprised of sacred sites, ceremonies and those who keep the rituals and stories. The travelers who show up to participate equally act as catalysts. An entrainment occurs and each one gains what they need to further the collective and their own journey. And we find out what it’s like to be at play in a field of mirrors: coming face-to-face with aspects that call out for healing and simultaneously create beauty. I personally celebrate it all.

The question arises: do you have to travel to experience such initiation? You do. We are creatures of habit who tend to cling to a mindset that is familiar, even if not particularly healthy. You must be willing to move outside the container: to be fearless, to be open, to explore. You must embody courage to create a wider life. That’s travel.

The fast track requires putting the daily life on pause and dropping yourself into an unfamiliar environment to rediscover what you forgot. When people gather with this common intent, magic happens. They give themselves permission to explore parts of themselves they’re not so in touch with. Add exposure to Native peoples who inherit a sense of the sacred as an integral aspect of life—and a landscape of possibility appears.

When that happens it leaves an indelible impression and shifts who you are in the world. I frequently face a challenge finding words to express the profound value of the intangible elements running through the lifework I’ve chosen. I currently live in a culture that values the immediate result while ignoring the process that’s all-important in creating something of deep meaning that endures. My sense is that if we’re able to finally find comfort floating in the abyss, it will produce all that’s ever needed–beyond what we could imagine. But it takes travel. I’ll leave you with this quote from A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller:

And once you live a good story, you get a taste for a kind of meaning in life; and you can’t go back to being normal; you can’t go back to the meaningless scenes stitched together by the forgettable thread of wasted time.

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Author’s note: Those years ago I must have found the right words. I’m happy to report that the man concerned about the “spiritual travel” stuff has since traveled with me twice. And even more importantly, in the process, we’ve become friends.

For information on our upcoming “Entering the Maya Mysteries” programs, go here. For other spiritual travel destinations, go here.

Categories: Indigenous Wisdom, Personal Growth, Spiritual Travel | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

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