July 24th, 2014

So this one was hard for me and I am not sure I communicated as clearly as I wished, but as I allowed myself to be vulnerable in the space and showed it, I’m going with this as is.

Sanskrit name: Anahata
Meaning: Unstruck
Element: Air
Function: Love
Color: Green
Sense: Touch
Seed Sound: Lam
Chief Operating Force: Equilibrium
Demon: Grief
Foods: Vegetables
Inner state: Compassion
Animal: Dove

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July 22nd, 2014

If you follow me on Instagram or even on Facebook you know all about Frank and his month long vaca at our house. For those that don’t or that were curious as to how things went in greater detail, let’s talk about my buddy.

This is Frankenstein (or Frankie or Frankie Figs as I started calling him)
he belongs to our friends Kristie and Duvain and he’s a French Mastiff aka Dogue de Bordeaux.

I fell in love with him when we met him last year in Wales on Sprog’s graduation trip, because COME ON look at this face!

Obviously when K&D asked us to watch him while they were out of the country, I said yes immediately but of course I had concerns in the back of my mind because of our girls. Mayday is fear aggressive to pretty much anything in the world and it’s only made worse by the fact that she’s mostly deaf after her latest stroke. Maddie is a sneak, she acts like she loves everyone but then snaps at any dog that gets within face reach of her. So, clearly, we were going to have issues bringing this giant dog into our home.

At first, and as expected, there was a lot of growling and avoidance by our ladies. Frank is awesomely trained so I would have him in a down stay and slowly bring the girls out into his space. Introductions happened with my hand firmly on a collar or body of one of the girls and lots of reassuring tones were used. We also walked them all together as much as we could (14 year old ladies vs 3 year old pup is vastly different in energy levels)
but eventually 2 of the 3 had solid friendships

and the other one would tolerate him, mostly.

We got into a routine of taking Frank out in the morning to play ball with me and in the evening to play ball with Willy

and took him to do things like get puppy whip at Starbucks or brunch at Barnaby’s
and he really loved swimming in the pond next to our bayou

Sprog was even willing to get his precious interior dirty for Frankie.

He is well loved and a member of our family, now. I can’t wait to get him back at Christmas when it’s cooler and we can take him to do even more fun things outside.

Maybe even get him back to the beach

July 21st, 2014

Chakra two is coming, as I mention in the video, for now we move on to chakra three.

Sanskrit name: Manipura
Meaning: Lustrous Gem
Element: Fire
Function: Will, power and assertiveness
Color: Yellow
Sense: Sight
Seed Sound: Ram
Chief Operating Force: Combustion
Demon: Shame
Foods: Starch
Inner state: Laughter, joy, anger
Animal: Ram

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July 16th, 2014

In the past few weeks I have been inundated with doctor appointments and tests. I have had medical issues for a long time now and have a running list of things that need to be addressed: gastroenterologist, ENT, hand specialist, OB/GYN and follow up with my primary care. So I had my OB/GYN for my well woman first because I figured it’d be an easy thing to knock out without a lot of additional drama or testing. I was wrong, of course I was, and so I got a bone scan added to my yearly mammogram. I also was treated to 8 vials of blood being drawn to work on sorting my hormones, a mouth swab to see how I metabolize medications, a test for RA and a test for sexually transmitted diseases (spoiler: I have none).

My mammogram came back clear, thankfully, but with the notation that I have “dense breast tissue” and my doctor might want to schedule me for additional testing as that can mask lumps. My doctor’s response “Dense breast tissue is good, it keeps things from sagging to our knees”. The drug metabolization test came back with A LOT of yellow notations which means I have many families of medications that affect my body in not a great way: if there is a side effect I’m likely to experience it or I need more or less of the recommended dose because of how I process. The hormone panel was atrocious which I expected. I have been on only estrogen since my hysterectomy in 2001. I have been dealing with insane night sweats and hot flashes, which have just progressively gotten worse. Of the four major hormones they look at I don’t even register with a number on 2 of them and the other two have a number so low as to put me in middle to low range of an 80 year old woman. Which brings me to my bone density scan. I DO have the body of an 80 year old woman! Osteoporosis with a high fracture risk in my spine (L1-L4) and osteopenia in my hips. Swell.

In my follow up appointment we discussed all my results and issues. I found out that I don’t have RA so my trigger finger is unrelated. We went over the best combination of hormones to try to get me back into normal to high ranges for my age. We also discussed all of my gastro issues and she recommended a full food allergy panel (why has no other doctor asked for this? we know I have at least one major food allergy, there are likely to be others) to try and help reduce inflammation in my body by eating the right foods. So another 12 vials of blood down and I’m waiting on those results now.

My trigger finger has flared up again. The first issue was in October of last year when I couldn’t even bend it. Now it just aches all the time and my range of motion is less. I went in for another injection but if this one doesn’t solve the problem our only other option is surgery. So far? It’s looking like I’ll get another surgery under my belt as the injection has only served to bruise my hand and my pain level is the same as before.

In my follow up with my primary care, I let him know about my osteo and he was shocked. He also told me I was too young for any of the osteo medications or treatments. I’m continuing weight bearing exercise like yoga and keeping up my calcium intake. We drew blood (ANOTHER VIAL, HAVE I ANY LEFT?) to check my vitamin B levels to see how that treatment is going. If my levels haven’t dropped drastically after moving the injections down to once a month, we’ll stick with that schedule.

Soon I’ll schedule an appointment with the gastro (I’d like my food allergy results first) and I probably will just wait on the ENT. I feel like there is no sense in having another sinus surgery when I am just going to continue to live in a place that I am allergic to and will barrage my face with more inflammation and scarring.

And hopefully I’ll start regular acupuncture for my migraines soon. I had a multiple day one this week that kept me out of yoga class. My hair is finally a little less hurty today so maybe it’s going to let go.

This body is a lemon. I demand a refund.

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July 3rd, 2014

So now we get into the individual chakras. The first being Muladhara Chakra or Root Chakra.

Sanskrit name: Muladhara
Meaning: Root Support
Element: Earth
Function: Survival
Color: Red
Sense: Smell
Seed Sound: Lam
Chief Operating Force: Gravity
Demon: Fear
Foods: Protein, meats
Inner state: stillness, security
Animal: Elephant

Please let me know if you have any questions, if I covered information that you find helpful and what information you might find more helpful that I could include in the next one.

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July 2nd, 2014

The Chakra video is up, today has been a day and the first video included a dog puking in the hallway and a dog barking (FOR NO REASON) until I threatened her with death so this final version has a janky ass edit and the second part is super quiet for some reason, turn it up after it goes dark for a second.

Hopefully it makes some sense. The next video will be chakra specific.

Let me know if you have questions after watching, I can answer them in the next video.

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June 20th, 2014

I did a little video, I think it’s a bit all over the place and this was like the 7th one so I left out things and said things wrong with each new re-record. Let me know what questions you’d like me to answer and I’ll do another.

Also, the forward facing does pretty well with photos but with video it’s not so hot. Switching back to iPad or the real camera for the next.

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June 17th, 2014

Instead of emailing these questions, I thought it might be best to post them here in case other folks might need some assistance in their thought process when choosing their Mala. Hopefully these general questions will help narrow your focus (and mine for those that have asked me to create a custom piece for them) and get you started on the right path. Once these are answered we can direct focus to specific needs.

1. Are you going to be wearing this piece or is it solely for meditation?

2. If yes, do you prefer a necklace or a bracelet?

3. If no, would you like a long traditional Mala or something shorter?

4. Do you have texture issues, meaning when touching things are you queeged out by rough things?

5. Would you prefer a tassel or just a simple bead to end it?

6. Is this piece something that needs to stand up to a lot of wear and tear or will it be stationary when not being used during practice?

7. Are you more drawn to dark or light colors?

8. Are you more drawn to earth tones, warm tones, cool tones, brights or metallics?

9. Would you prefer to have your energy focused on one specific issue per piece, a small set of issues per piece or as many as you can throw at it?

10. Would you say your energy is chaotic during meditation or does it seem to trail off?

11. Do lots of different colors and textures tend to distract you?

12. Does a singular color palette calm you?

13. Do you find holding heavy things in your hands soothing or annoying?

14. Does the faint click of beads knocking together annoy you in any way?

15. Would you prefer the string be a contrasting or complimentary color?

I’m going to put together some more direct questions too but I think those are likely more individual and won’t work in a broad audience. I’ll try and see how it goes for now, I’m putting this up here. Hopefully it helps to get you started, please let me know if you have any questions!

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June 12th, 2014

So now that I’ve given a general overview on Malas and meditation using them, I thought I would give a little greater detail on the beads I used in my current pieces.

The first one
Lava is tied to the Root Chakra which is grounding and signifies strength and clarity (by rooting scattered energy).

Amethyst is tied to the Crown Chakra and is a master healing stone. It works to dispel nightmares, strengthens psychic energies, relieves stress and promotes clarity.

Howlite is tied to the Heart Chakra and is for spiritual attunement. It’s also soothing and helps calm an overactive mind. Works to build character.

Hematite is tied to the Root Chakra and is for balance and stability. It restores equilibrium and a sense of self. Deflects negativity and increases will.

Turquoise is tied to the Throat Chakra and is for protection. It encourages communication between the heart and mind, cleansing the aura and balance between Yin and Yang. Capricorn stone.

So if you look at what I put together there you can see I feel scattered, stressed, out of balance and am seeking healing, protection and calm. I need grounding and stability. I need protection and to feel safe in communicating what is in my heart and in my mind.

The second one

Cowrie Shell is tied to the Goddess Lakshmi and is for prosperity.

Zebra Jade is tied to the Root Chakra and is for adjusting to new situations or changes. A good stone for matters of the home.

Green Adventurine is tied to the Heart Chakra and is for releasing old habits, balancing emotional harmony and finding inner peace.

Rose Quartz is tied to the Heart Chakra and is for compassion and tenderness. It’s also responsible for diffusing negative stimuli and uncomfortable memories.

Howlite is tied to the Heart Chakra and is for spiritual attunement. It’s also soothing and helps calm an overactive mind.

Jasper is tied to the Root Chakra and is for grounding. It’s also about methodical, practical, down to earth solutions to problems and known as the supreme nurturer.

Soapstone is tied to the Sacral Chakra and is for use when undergoing great changes. It’s for cultivating a new loving environment and being prepared with a new calm energy

And if you look at what I put together there it’s all about being prosperous in matters of the heart, diffusing uncomfortable memories, being open to new experiences/relationships and approaching it with compassion and tenderness. It’s also about not losing myself in the midst of all of it and being grounded and nurtured.

Both of these encompass what has been going on in my life. Between the reconnection with my brother and his present situation, my health issues, the dog’s health issues and Sprog’s school/work stuff. I have all aspects of my life covered in two lengths of beads. Pretty interesting, no?

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June 12th, 2014

If you are into yoga at all, you may have heard of or seen an item used in meditation called a Mala. I am no expert but here is what I have learned. It’s a collection of beads (either 21, 27 or 108 and a Guru bead) used to help keep focus during meditation by keeping count during the recitation of mantras. In addition, depending on the type of beads used, Malas have the added benefit of energy work (semi precious/gemstones/shells/rocks) or color therapy (glass). Typically, you skip the guru bead when beginning your meditations, say a final prayer on the guru when make it all the way round and go the opposite direction when you resume your work. If you need to pause or know you aren’t going to do the full round, stopping at 27 or 54 is a good way to do it, then you’d just pick up at the next bead and continue forward when next you practice.

So how does one choose a Mala? Well there are really three ways you can go about doing this 1) look at a bunch of them and select one that calls out to you 2) identify specific issues you are having and wish to address and choose one that meets those or 3) create your own (either actually homemade or custom made by someone else). The basic premise is that if you truly give yourself over to the process of selecting one premade, the right one will call out to you. But how does one really give themselves over? And how do you know that you didn’t just pick something because it’s pretty? Well, in answer to the second, you don’t, not really. There isn’t anything wrong with that IMO because you might find that something you picked because you just thought it was pretty actually turned out to have deeper qualities in the stones. To give yourself over, I recommend ignoring the name and just looking at the picture. Scan them quickly and notice any that grab your attention, any that you may want to go back to more than once. THEN look at the name and the description of the stones to weed it down further.

I use this same basic premise when making my own. I went through my own stash of beads at home and selected the two guru beads that called out to me: a lava bead and a cowrie shell. Then I went to a hobby store and looked through their beads to see what I might want to use for the rest of it. I stood in front of the beads for A LONG TIME and touched any that called out to me. I pulled several varieties and held them in my hands lined up next to one another like this


and then I would research each bead on the internet to see why it called out to me. If you do a simple google search on the type of bead + meaning or mala meaning you’ll get many links directing you to what that specific stone is used for in meditation or crystal work. Some of the results will even boil a specific stone down based on your Astrological sign, like Turquoise being the stone for Capricorn (which I am).

Putting the Mala together is a combination of aesthetics and stone properties. I try to make sure that the piece feels balanced to me. I also find that I like using all stones versus the traditional seed + stone or wood + stone varieties. It makes them less wearable (they are much longer due to the larger stone size) but I prefer the heavier weight for focusing and the cool sensation in my hands.

Sprog helped me design this grid layout when I made my first one

and I found it so helpful I used it for the second one

Now, some people may have only one, but I like having specific needs addressed and knowing that I can reach for the energy I need to match what I have going on in my life.

When I use my beads

I pull from meditations I have done in my Chakra class, one of the easiest to get into the practice is So Hum which translates to “I Am That” or “I Am All That Is”. On your inhale you think the word So. On your exhale you think the word Hum. Or you can think the translations: inhale-I Am, exhale-That or All That Is. Doing this meditation while counting means that each bead would be an inhale or an exhale. Take your time and go slowly. You don’t want to rush your breath so you end up hyperventilating. Nice slow measured breathing and thoughts.

Your meditation could be simpler still, one word, the word of the Chakra you need to work like saying Om. Or your meditation could involve a personal mantra/affirmation. What mantra/affirmation gives you peace or applies to your life right now? Do you need to heal? “I am healing everyday” Do you need strength? “I am stronger everyday” Do you need calm? “I breathe calm into myself” Do you need clarity? “I see things more clearly every day” Do you need comfort? “I unburden my soul everyday” Do you need balance? “I am supported by the ground underneath me” Do you need compassion? “I accept the things I cannot change with grace”. Each bead would be the entire saying.

The point of meditation is to give your mind and body a connection point, a break from the craziness of schedules, menus, bills, arguments, tantrums and a focus. It doesn’t have to be any one thing. There is no right or wrong, really, only what is right or wrong for you. And if you find your mind wandering, the beads between your fingers are a grounding point that pulls you back.

There are different connections for specific fingers but again, I say do whatever feels most comfortable to you, unless you are on the path for becoming a practicing monk, then of course you would want to do your meditation correctly using only blessed beads.

Oh and before I forget, if you ever get a funky feeling from your stones, like handling them makes you feel off or bad in anyway? There is likely some residual bad energy there, you can clear your stones by soaking them in salt. You want to try to only handle your stones when you aren’t filled with rage or sorrow, so if you are feeling like that (and really that’s when a lot of us need time on the mat the most) try taking a few deep cleansing breaths before you even take them in your hands.

I hope this helped, if you have questions, please ask, I’ll do my best to get you answers. I’m going to be attending a full 7 week Chakra workshop complete with book work and I’m sure that will add a lot to my knowledge.

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    I'm a 30-something mother of 1 boy and 3 large fur-babies, with an unhealthy addiction to fashion, decorating, shoes, photography, music and the internets. I blather on more in the "about me" section and well, in every blog post, that after all is the nature of the beast, is it not?
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