J2P Monday: New challenge is “Peace out there”

English: A peace tattoo and two peace signs, S...

English: A peace tattoo and two peace signs,  Photograph by Patty Mooney,  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I’ve mentioned, I believe that peace begins within each of us.  But many believe peace arrives through policies, governments, social change, etc.  So I thought I’d offer a challenge that gives you an opportunity to describe your vision of how peace arrives through events/agencies outside of you.

What government policy in the world would bring peace?  Does peace arrive through educating and/or empowering women?  Can you legislate peace?  Is there a relationship between environmental issues and peace?  Name the social shift you think would be needed.  You have this month to write a post (or more) that reflects on these questions.  In the next couple of weeks I’m going to issue a couple of challenges within this challenge so you might want to write a post each week.

Don’t forget to include a link to this post– https://bluegrassnotes.wordpress.com/2015/03/02/j2p-monday-new-challenge-is-peace-out-there/ — and to tag your post with J2PChallenge and/or Journey2Peace.  So far I’ve not received a ping for any posts for February nor do searches with the tags reveal any.  If you posted a response to the February challenge, please edit it to add the tags and the link:  https://bluegrassnotes.wordpress.com/2015/02/03/j2p-monday-what-blocks-your-peace/  If anyone who doesn’t have a blog would like to participate, get in touch and I can put your post on here as a guet post.

Peace time and last chance for challenge

Just a last minute reminder:  Monday night I’ll be posting the Journey2Peace challenge for March so this is your last chance to participate in the February challenge, which is to write a post discussing what blocks your peace.  The original challenge can be found here.  And a couple of posts suggesting possible directions you could take are here and here.  Don’t forget to add this link: https://bluegrassnotes.wordpress.com/2015/02/03/j2p-monday-what-blocks-your-peace/ and tag with J2PChallenge and/or Journey2Peace

And today it’s time to pray for peace.  Or chant.   Or meditate.  Or … whatever brings you peace.

In case you’re new, we’re finding 10 minutes at a minimum to pray or chant or meditate (or???) for peace every Sunday.  Details are on the CPS page.For comments:  you can comment here or on that page or you can go to the Facebook page.

Too much to wrap my head around…


Had trouble deciding which blog to post this on and after I chose Scribblings I thought maybe it should have been this one…

Originally posted on Scribblings from the Bluegrass:

Since last weekend I’ve been reeling over a story that hits a bit closer to home than anything like this ever has.

It starts back in the 80’s when my aunt Mary Jane (aka Wicked Bitch) finally married at 62.  Fred was the perfect match for a wicked bitch.  He had two daughters, one who fit perfectly with the wicked duo and one, Sarah, who was the kind of person you liked the minute she walked in.  Sweet and nice and you wondered how she got that way.  I didn’t live here then and only saw the daughters a few times.

Last weekend, we finally got a bunch of newspapers after some days when delivery was impossible.  As she looked through them my mother suddenly called out, “Fred’s daughter Sarah and her husband and two children are all dead.”  Four obits with, as usual, no information about cause of death.

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J2P Monday: In your body, what blocks peace?

Another aspect of the challenge I’ve issued this month is physical.  As the temple that houses the soul, the body’s condition is so important to the journey.  A body out of balance or struggling reflects emotional and spiritual aspects out of balance as well.

The role of the body in achieving inner peace and/or higher consciousness is often ignored or put on the back burner.  While many seekers seem to put a lot of emphasis on diet and nutrition,  they often pay no attention to the role of stuck patterns in muscles.  These patterns influence a spiritual journey in two main respects.

1.  When muscles are held in twisted, knotted, intertwined patterns, there are usually unacknowledged issues buried in the knots and twists.  Unacknowledged/unconscious beliefs are part of such repressed memories and those beliefs are usually negative and controlling much of your life.

2.  Prana, or vital force energy, flows through channels called nadis which correspond roughly to the circulatory system.  Tight, twisted muscles block the flow of energy as well as restricting blood flow.  It is very difficult to maintain inner peace when the body is tense, blocked and working overtime to move energy and blood.

Not only do I know through reading that TMJ, tight necks, shoulders, lower backs, hips and hamstrings are rampant, as a long time movement teacher I can see how stiffly most people move and how common it is to have muscle patterns interfering with a flowing body.

Sometimes these issues can be released through emotional work or spiritual practices, but to the extent they’re caught in the muscles, the muscles need to be released too.  Practices like yoga, Feldenkrais and the Psychophysical method (see my movement classes) and bodywork like craniosacral, Rolfing and Polarity therapy help to sort out the muscles and can help you release the issues if you’re willing to be open to all that arises from the work.

Close your eyes and scan your body from head to toe or toe to head.  Note every place where you feel pain, tightness, numbness (lack of consciousness of that place) or discomfort.  All those painful, tight paces are blocking the flow of prana and tell you something is buried there.

Do you have TMJ?  A stiff neck?  Trouble moving your hips?  What blocks peace in your body?  Why do you think you hold these patterns?  What stops you from doing something to release it?

Just a suggestion of an area you might want to explore in a post for this month’s challenge to write about what blocks your peace.  Link to the challenge post and tag it “J2PChallenge” and “Journey2Peace”.

Oh those energy shifts… and peace time

Collage of varius Gray's muscle pictures by Mi...

Collage of varius Gray’s muscle pictures by Mikael Häggström (User:Mikael Häggström) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the fascinating aspects of my journey through muscle/health issues has been the way my energy practices change as the muscles open.  Every time there’s a major shift, I feel more and learn more about the practices and what they do.

With yoga, I’ve had several stages at which I literally had to re-learn balance in my practice because so many muscles opened that I no longer could hold postures or find the balance in them in the same way.  With more subtle energy practices, the changes are smaller and harder to describe but as my body opens, my relationship with all such practices changes.

A few years ago I wrote a post about my decision to work on building stamina using energy-changing practices.  For some years I faithfully practiced the Eight Key Breaths, the Five Tibetan Rites and Flying Crane Chi Gung.  Eventually I started getting interested in kundalini yoga and started spending enough of my practice/exercise time on it that the other three practices slowly fell by the wayside.  Then as my problems with the unwinding in my head grew worse, all exercise/practice became sporadic.

Recently I’ve been working on getting back to those practices. Today I practiced all three for the first time since I don’t know when…  long time!  I’d not had enough sleep and thanks to crazy unwinding had a vicious headache most of the day.  I felt like somebody’d let my air out and struggled to get myself to do any exercise.  I chose those three practices thinking the energy movement and balancing might soothe my unhappy occiput/neck.  I began with the basic spine series, which helped loosen my neck.

These practices have been part of my repertoire off and on for something like 25 years.  I’ve always felt better for doing them but–because of the extreme issues with tight, intertwined muscles– could only feel the impact as a general sense of balance and/or well-being.  Over the years, as various muscles opened, I began to discern more about the patterns of energy in my body and how the practices build, balance and move energy.  When I started using them to build stamina, they definitely helped, but it was still subtle.

In the time since I last practiced them regularly my body has opened a lot and some of the major holding patterns have released.  Tonight when I did them the energy built so much that at the end it was like I’d mainlined a few espressos.  Normally doing those practices when really tired and at the end of a bad headache, I’d feel better and relaxed, possibly even a little perked up.  But this was the first time I felt something close to the full impact of enhanced chi.

Wow!  I’ve worked long and hard; really great to experience this benefit.  Looking forward to receiving full –and more palpable–benefits from these practices.

Don’t forget it’s time to chant or pray for peace.  See Collective Prayer Sundaypage for more info.

J2P Monday: Mapping beliefs

English: Peace Park

English: Peace Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think one of the hardest things about figuring out what is blocking peace is discovering unconscious beliefs and issues.  Most of us have tapes playing in our heads all the time that are based on beliefs we don’t even realize we hold.  Painful issues are often buried deep and ego works very hard on keeping them that way.

One of the most useful tools any teacher has offered was given to me in somewhat different forms by two different teachers.   On any given issues in life make a list of what your mother believes.  Then do the same for father.  If you had a family member at least seven years older than you who had a big influence, make a list for that person too.

Some examples, what do (mother, father, aunt, older brother…) believe about:

  • War
  • Government
  • Politics
  • Fighting
  • Anger
  • Love
  • Peace
  • Body
  • Sex
  • Money
  • Career
  • Financial management
  • Happiness
  • Sadness
  • Optimism
  • Pessimism
  • Struggle
  • Suffering
  • Health
  • Wealth
  • Rich people
  • Poor people

You get the idea.  In my Fischer-Hoffman group we had a handout of 16 pages of nuances along those lines and as we spent two months each on mother and father, most of us added our own items to the list.  You can put a lot of time into this if you want to do a thorough job.

Once you have your lists, take a good look.  Those lists tell you what you believe.  Yep.  Everything on the list that you’re assigning to a parent/influential figure is something you believe.  They may or may not also believe some or all of the list, but the key factor is that all of those beliefs are YOUR PERCEPTION of what they believe.  And they’re in crazy daisy chains, intertwining and surfacing in one context but not another.  Contradicting each other depending on the circumstance.

One of the best ways to realize how important perception is in this is to have siblings separately make lists.  It’s astonishing how often they’ll have complete opposite lists of what Mom and Dad believe.

As part of this month’s challenge to explore what blocks your peace, you might try this exercise.  Make your lists and write a post about what you find.  Do you see beliefs that seem to interfere with having a peaceful heart?

Chanting and praying light up heart

Just couldn’t pull it together yesterday to write my usual reminder post, so I hope you found time to pray or chant for peace without hearing from me.

After my recent suggestion to chant lovingkindness for yourself first and then for earth, I decided today to chant for myself again and then sing the Guyatri Mantra.

As always chanting, “I am filled with lovingkindness, I am well, I am peaceful and at ease, I am happy” brought light and energy to my heart.  Then singing Guyatri Mantra along with Deva Premal intensified the feeling of opening heart.

I hold a vision of all hearts open and filled with divine light.