Tag Archives: healing

Walking the Mystical Path with Practical Feet – The Four-Fold Way

Being a mystic is one thing. But showing up for everyday life is another ball of wax.

the four-fold way: Angeles ArrienAngeles Arrien, Ph.D., an American cultural anthropologist (d. 2014) taught The Four-Fold Way™ , emphasizing four major principles that integrate ancient cultural wisdoms into contemporary life or as she interpreted it “walking the mystical path with practical feet”:

The Way of the Warrior
Show up, and choose to be present.

The Way of the Healer
Pay attention to what has heart and meaning.

The Way of the Visionary
Tell the truth without blame or judgment.

The Way of the Teacher
Be open to outcome, not attached to outcome.

4-ways

The Way of the Warrior or Leader is to show up, or choose to be present.
Being present allows us to access the human resources of power, presence, and communication. We express the way of the Leader through appropriate action, good timing, and clear communication.

The Way of the Healer or Caretaker is to pay attention to what has heart and meaning.
Paying attention opens us to the human resources of love, gratitude, acknowledgment, and validation. We express the way of the Healer through our attitudes and actions that maintain personal health and support the welfare of our environment.

The Way of the Visionary or Creative Problem Solver is to tell the truth without blame or judgment. Truthfulness, authenticity, and integrity are keys to developing our vision and intuition. We express the way of the Visionary through personal creativity, goals, plans, and our ability to bring our life dreams and visions into the world.

The Way of the Teacher or Counselor, The Wisdom Way, is to be open to outcome, not attached to outcome.
Openness and non-attachment help us recover the human resources of wisdom and objectivity. We express the way of the Teacher through our constructive communication and informational skills.

 

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On Ceremonies, Cloth Bags and Grief

One of the most powerful moments of my mother’s committal service was seeing my brother and sister-in-law placing her ashes into the ground. They knelt down on the grass beside the small hole. Gently her arm went all the way to the bottom of the soil floor, over a metre down, like a final caress.

graveside

Families who are not given the opportunity to partake in rituals such as, funerals and memorial services, religious or not, are missing out on chances to fully mourn, experience their grief and have that grief witnessed, a vitally important function. All of the great religions feature rituals around death, for good reason.

I increasingly hear about individuals requesting no ceremony after their deaths. This is troubling to me. We have rare opportunities for collective emoting, not just for joy but especially for grief. No wonder grief sometimes takes the form of huge displays after public tragedies. When our grief is denied expression we gunnysack it and it comes out in other ways, like anger and depression.

Public displays of grief are important and necessary, such as state funerals, processions, piles of flowers. Why do we deny ourselves the right to grieve when it is our own loved ones?

Ceremonies are not for the dead, but for those who need and want to remember and mourn. They help us to face our own mortality. Of course not all families and cultures need to do things the same. Nor do individuals need to grieve the same. But pretending that nothing is going on, by bypassing these rituals, does not support good grief.

I felt privileged that my brother had asked me to make a fabric bag to house my mother’s earthly remains. I put off making this bag for weeks until I just couldn’t procrastinate any longer.

It took a couple of attempts before I came up with something which satisfied me. I started with a piece of batik fabric in teal colour and held it in my hand for about 20 minutes. Nothing came. I then went rummaging through a special drawer I have of old pieces of fabric, tapestries and recycled cloth. I came upon a piece of old quilt on which I had already started a kantha quilting on years before and never finished. THAT was it!  The fabric just jumped out at me. Pick me, pick me. This old quilt, no doubt fashioned by a woman many years ago and well worn with loving use was in the perfect colours.

bag – Version 2

I felt a tinge of what artisans (no doubt slaves) of King Tut must have felt to fashion things for his royal tomb, grand things, like a gold chariot, that they knew would never be seen again. When I finished the embroidery, and embellishments of costume jewelry selected from her jewelry box, including a butterfly/cross pin which symbolized the Faith At Work movement, I knew my mom would have liked it. 

Then when my sister-in-law read a poem entitled “Butterfly” at the graveside, a poem which she had written immediately after Mom died, it was like a mind meld had happened that I had included the butterfly pin on the side of her bag.

Faith At Work symbol

The Faith at Work cross symbolizes death (the cross) and resurrection (the butterfly) and the lifestyle Sam Shoemaker urged: “Get changed (cross); get together (circle); get going (butterfly).”

Beautiful.
Light as a feather.
Translucent gossamer wings
shimmer in the sun.
She flits from blossom to blossom,
gently touching all in her path.
She imparts the blessing of mercy
with each delicate touch,
leaving the fragrance of beauty 
to linger lovingly
long after she has gone.
Unaware, 
she drifts into a lurking cage.
She is frightened,
cannot find her way out.
She struggles, throws her fragile body against the 
prison bars
again and again.
She cannot escape.
Bruised, battered,
confused, and bewildered,
she collapses on the floor.
And she waits.
Kept alive by a few random raindrops that fall
into her prison.
Slow death awaits.
Those who come and stare cannot release her, 
this she knows.
Yet somehow she imparts her gift of loving kindness and mercy
to each one.
The sheen of her gossamer wings has faded now.
Translucence transformed
into dull lifeless grey.
Unable to fight it any longer,
she rests, releases her battered body after years of struggle.
That beautiful body, now at peace.
Spirit soaring now to heights unknown,
to beauty never before realized.
She is finally free of the fetters
that bound her for so long.
She is in the sparkling diamonds on the river.
She is in the tender young buds on the tree.
She is in the timeless sweet song of the robin I hear.
She is in the tiny any scurrying along my path.
She is in the sweet squirrel
staring curiously at me from the branch above.
She is in the beautiful butterfly
who lands beside me,
on my bench by the river.
She is finally free.

-Sheri King Ward, 2016

Perhaps one of the greatest compliments I have ever received as an artist (and daughter) was from my other sister-in-law who said something to the effect “it’s remarkable how you were you able to get a piece of fibre art to look like someone”.

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Few of us will ever get the chance to see human ashes, or touch them. Of course, it was me who had to transfer the ashes from the temporary box provided by the crematorium into the bag; a job which was difficult, enough in itself, to perform.  Again, this was a healing moment of grief.

Cremation isn’t for everyone. If you have quandaries about cremation, I recommend listening to this podcast on End of Life University, https://lessonsfromdying.wordpress.com/2015/08/21/everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about-cremation/. Even though it comes from an American perspective there is much to gain from it.

I know my mother isn’t ‘in’ that bag. But the act of creating the last holding vessel for her ashes was profoundly healing. And seeing it placed into the ground gave me a finality which, even though ripped my heart out, was necessary.

Later we all joked about me making this “griefcase” and how I should be selling them on Etsy! But it was a ‘one of’.

I honestly don’t know how families who are denied these rituals cope. Ceremony is necessary. Rituals are important. Creating your own as a family is wonderful. Please do not fear these times. This is where the healing lies.

 

God’s Nest of Creation

I’ve been weaving a series of coiled basket creations mounted on driftwood, which I call “Bird Nests”. IMG_7419.jpg

Recently someone purchased this one and sent me this beautiful story.

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Nests evoke all kinds of emotions and bring forth thoughts of birthing, creating, preparing, anticipating and incubating. This Christmas I am gifting one of your nests to a very good friend who is undergoing chemo for breast cancer.

When I first saw your creation I thought of all within her that is being nourished and cared for and lovingly healed, in anticipating of the creation of health and a life filled with grandchildren, friends and family. The nest holds so many possibilities. It is the vessel for life used by feathered beings who fly free, seemingly effortlessly. It is safety, a sanctuary, a haven for life.

The nest is a place of living into hope. At Christmas, when we celebrate the birth of hope, peace, joy and love in the form of Jesus, we are reminded that God breaks into our world in tiny, fragile ways. Indeed we are the inhabitants of God’s nest of creation.IMG_3878.jpg

Thank you Susan, for sharing.

A Path to Connection

At the heart of every longing is a quest for deeper connection. How can I help you make those connections?  This is my work and the work of Heather Plett.  Gathering in circle, allows us to connect again with each otherourselves, the sacred, and the earth.

Heather has included my submission about connecting to our earth in her new ebook, A Path to Connection.

A Path to Connection - mock book cover

 

From Heather’s website….

Four-paths-graphic-300x290The journey to connection has four paths – self, sacred, others, and the earth. We can’t make connections with any of these four without impacting the others. When we seek connection with the sacred, we must also honour the earth. When we seek connection with others, our connection with ourselves also grows. At the intersection of all four of these paths is a sweet spot, and that’s the place of deepest connection that we all long for.

 

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Download your free copy today.

Therapeutic Benefits of Drumming

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“…the drum has been used since time immemorial as a regular part of healing traditions…” (The Joy of Drumming: Drums and Percussion Instruments from Around the World By Töm Klöwer, Plym Peters, 1997)

  1. Emotional and creative expression: develops and encourages expression of all kinds of experience non-verbally; then enhances creative self-expression; develops creativity.
  2. Emotional release: helps us let go of troubled feelings, physical tension, frustration & sadness.
  3. IMG_5349_2Develops memory and increases concentration and attention: by learning to play structured rhythms, long & short-term memory skills are exercised and extended.
  4. Self-discovery: facilitates learning about desires, fears, personal issues, skills, limitations, and intentions.
  5. Develops right brain hemisphere functioning: emotions, creativity, intuition, sound & visual.
  6. ‘Hemispheric synchrony’ /mental clarity: balancing the right & left brain hemispheres results in theta brainwave states which calm, soothe and expand heightened awareness & creativity.
  7. Group/community awareness: we learn to co-operate with others to make music, this leads to feeling heard, acknowledged and affirmed by the group. We awaken to our role in the group.
  8. Increases Self-esteem: Self-expression leads to confidence, as does musical skill development.
  9. Increased Energy: drumming releases endorphins, which energize body & mind and lifts our spirits.
  10. Peace and stillness: expressing emotions creatively clears the body. Rhythm stills the critical mind.
  11. Stress release & Relaxation: drumming ventilates our emotions and allows relaxation.IMG_7824
  12. Communication: drumming is symbolic non-verbal communication, teaching us how to listen, repeat, reflect and express. Then, with strong conviction, we can speak proudly to the world.
  13. Motor-co-ordination: drumming develops hand-eye co-ordination, motor skill fluidity and teaches the brain to send messages to the hands in accordance with auditory signals.
  14. Time keeping: mental discipline is required to monitor the physical action in accordance with the time & pace of the rhythm, promoting mind & muscle control. Intuition develops here.
  15. Inspiration: the music and magic of the drum’s rhythm excites us & fills us with passion.

For these reasons drumming is highly suited to addressing and facilitating personal growth and inspired experiential learning processes.

written by Heleniq Argyrou M.A. (Clin. Psych.)
Clinical psychologist, Sound & Drum Therapist, Drummer, Organizational and Peak Performance Trainer

http://www.ahaintelligence.com/druminspire/#Drumming

drumming