Back from Camping

20160902_075240Back from a week in the woods learning and growing in the arms of Mother Nature. All ready for a busy fall teaching schedule. Next week an online drum meditation, a new class at OLLI – Nature as Healer, and a series of classes at Mystikal Scents! Life is good.

 

Online Drum Meditation
Second Wednesday of the month at 7:15 PM

OLLI – Osher Life Long Learning Institute
Friday, November 4-18
10:15-11:45 AM

Mystikal Scents
Mining Your Mind’s Potential: Brain Balancing
Nature as Healer

May the Great Mystery hold you tight, but not too tight.

 

Learning from Egret – The Winged Messenger

Egret, Winged Messanger

Egret, Winged Messanger

I talked to the white box with the disembodied voice coming out of it. I told them I needed a coffee, swung around the building, paid for it, went to the next window and grab my cup. When I made that stop I didn’t know it would turn out to be the answer to my morning prayer.

This morning I was asking Spirit, “How do I share my work and my calling with people interested in learning shamanism?” The answer came in the shape of an egret. She flew onto the hood of my car. I was delighted to see this beautiful creature up close and personal in the city.  She began to preen herself using her long yellow beak to pull on her feathers straightening them out, fluffing them, poking at them and in general just making herself ready for the day.

At first, I tried not to move too much but I really wanted a sip of coffee. So I took a chance and slowly took the coffee cup and started to drink. She didn’t seem to mind my movements. I even got a call from a friend and talk to her about the bird. I wondered why she had picked me to stand in front of, to spend some time with.

She stayed with me a long time, long enough for me to take a picture long enough for me to be filled with gratitude at her sharing this intimate moment with me. She even stayed while other cars pulled up on the side slammed doors and released screaming children. It  doesn’t mean that she wasn’t aware of her surroundings. She looked up and around often but seemed to be satisfied that all was well, and continued her grooming.

This exchange didn’t feel ordinary. I dug deeper. What was Spirit saying to me through this winged messenger? How should I share my teachings? I cleared my mind and waited for an answer to rush in and it did. Just like my new egret friend was modeling, relax and be yourself, share who you are in the way that comes naturally. Prepare yourself each day and be ready for the many wonderful opportunities to come.

 

Nature Speaks: A small leaf turned into a nursery.

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I encourage you to take morning walks. It’s a good time to talk to Spirit and ask for guidance. Walk out the door and take a moment to think about what you want for the day. Perhaps come up with a question and allow Spirit to inspire you.

What you see and hear on your walk will depend on your awareness. The thing to look for is context, is this creature that I’ve come across in the morning a nocturnal creature that might not be expected during this time of day? Is this paw print unusual for this area? You’ll have to put your observations together with your intentions and see if you’ve made a spiritual connection. This skill will grow as you exercise this muscle, so give yourself some time.

Usually, I’m interested in having a question answered. So as I walk or sit in nature I ask my question, then wait to see what signs, symbols or omens Spirit sends me. It’s a bit of magic inserted into my life that never gets old.

A small leaf curled up and sealed fell from one of the branches into my lap. I know from experience that it’s an insect nursery. I was startled, and then I noticed how beautiful it was, how complex it was, how interesting it was. And when I put it between my two fingers and began to look at it deeply it dawned on me that my question for the day had been answered.

I was asking about creativity, writing, and nature. This tiny little gift that fell from above was answering my question and Spirit had once again sent me the perfect guidance for the day. Just like the nursery leaf, creativity needs time to develop and when it’s ready, it’ll burst open.

There are times when it’s very clear to me what Spirit is trying to say and other times it might take a few days before I completely understand the answer to my question. It becomes a mini adventure that fills my heart each day.

So give yourself the gift of Spirit’s guidance by visiting nature and learning from her. She is extremely wise and has lots to say, you only need to ask.

How to Get You and Your Child Ready for College: A Shaman’s Prayer

How to Get You and Your Child Ready for College- (1)It’s that time to say good-bye to our children, nieces, and nephews. They’re leaving for college. I wish them a safe and prosperous journey. I pray for their personal vision to become clear to them. I ask the ancestors to protect them as they test the waters of adulthood.

I know that the adventure is challenging. It’s full of new experiences and learning. Those of us that remain are at once heartbroken and excited for you. How do we balance the two? How do we let you go to explore and watch over you at the same time?

We can no longer hold you so tight that you can’t make your own choices. We must loosen our grip. We must learn a new way of holding you. We must grow in a new direction to allow this journey to take place. I offer this healing prayer to help us both accept the new place we stand.

The College-Healing Prayer
For My Niece

Leave these things behind:

I ask that you leave any fear of failure behind.

I ask that you put down any worries that remain in your heart.

I ask that you leave any hesitation here with me.

I tie these fears in a bundle and send them down the river to be healed.

Take these things with you:

I ask that the waters of the world teach you how to move up and over obstacles.

I ask that you remember we’re here to catch you if you should fall.

I ask that you see clearly with your perfect spirit given vision.

I ask that you find goodness in your travels.

This prayer I send in a puff of smoke from my sacred pipe to the Creator’s ears.

Healing a Damaged Heart That Yearns to Be Restored

I worked with a client named Pricilla, a pseudonym, on the loss of her sister. Her sister had died of cancer. When I met Pricilla, she was interested in meeting someone and having a relationship. Her romantic relationships were short-lived. They were difficult, and there were several setbacks. Each time they ended, she felt she did something wrong. She felt she was unworthy. She was in great pain. Her unfinished business with her sister’s death was not allowing her to move on.

We sat together in nature calling to the landscape and listening to spirit. I would ask what she wanted to work on for our next session. Pricilla would talk about wanting a soul mate. Then she would switch to, “How could my sister leave me?” I could feel her anger and pain. Spirit would show me what to share with Pricilla to help see her through this loss. Eventually, after a few sessions, she began to speak about forgiving her sister for leaving her alone and letting her anger go.

We took spiritual journeys, and our sessions were filled with energy shifts as Priscilla visited feelings associated with the death of her sister from a spiritually safe distance. Pricilla also clarified her personal vision for the future. Today, Pricilla reports that she feels much better about her future. She returns to our sessions to take on other challenges at her pace. She also found her soul mate and began a relationship that has lasted two years.

Living fully invested means finding a place of balance between grief and comfort. If you’re spending your emotional, mental, and spiritual energies on a lost relationship, the same way you had done before the relationship changed, then you’re living in pain. A relationship with someone that is no longer available is unfinished business. Finding a way to shift from loss to a place of acceptance, reclaims your personal power. What unfinished business is holding you back from living a joyful life?

 

Contact me for your personal healing. Use our contact form to schedule a consultation.

 

Meditation’s Greatest Gift is Personal Freedom

The Meditation’s Greatest Gift is Personal Freedom1 (1)The Buddha was asked, “What have you gained from meditation?” He replied, “Nothing! However,let me tell you what I lost: anger, anxiety, depression, insecurity, fear of old age and death.”

Meditation Opens the Door to Awareness

In the 80s, I began meditating on my living room couch for about 10 minutes each day. Some days, I’d make it for the full 10 minutes. On other days, I’d come out of my meditation early. Several meditation teachers recommend at least 20 minutes of meditation a day, to allow the benefits of meditation to take hold. So, I made myself a promise that I’d work up to meditating for 20 minutes each and every day.

Finding a place and time to sit is part of the challenge we all face when we begin meditation. It helps if you have others in your life who meditate. They can give you ideas and options about when and where to sit. I began on my couch but eventually moved to a cushion. Then much later to a walking meditation that I use every day.

Meditation helps us focus and relax. It also opens the door to awareness. I learned to listen to my inner voice, the Divine, and a peace I feel inside. I became deeply aware of my connection to the creatures and the people around me. Nature became my teacher, the river showed me how to move around and over obstacles, and my bird feeder became a focal point of my day. There I observed the birds and squirrels visiting every day. I noticed their beaks and heard their calls. I cared for them. I witnessed how they treated each other.

Awareness Opens the Door to Choice

It helps to hear the stories of triumph and struggle from fellow mediators. In my case, my teacher talked about one of his student’s. He healed himself of a drinking problem he would never admit to, How he discovered it was unique.

One day, while driving, his student didn’t hear beer bottles clinking in the backseat of the car. It told him he was no longer dependent on beer to get through the day. He had stopped drinking! Meditation can be like that. You practice and practice, and one day you notice you feel better. It’s not always a straight line, it’s individual and personal.

On occasion, I’d miss a day here and there, but for the most part, I was meditating every day. They say meditation is cumulative. They’re right. Here’s where awareness opens the door to choice. After hearing that story, I paid attention to how I felt before and after I meditated. I noticed my own changes. This meant that I had a choice, to keep the new behavior or go back to my old anxious ways.

Choice Opens the Door to Freedom

Once you discover you have a choice you’re no longer trapped in anxiety and despair. You can find your way out of most difficulties. The world opens to you in a helpful way and there are fewer things deemed impossible. Meditation helps shift perspective. When that occurs, things you no longer need fall away. I’m not saying meditation will make everything perfect. I’m saying meditation is one way of finding freedom.

Meditation’s Greatest Gift is Personal Freedom

Meditation opens the door to Awareness
Awareness opens the door to Choice
Choice opens the door to Freedom
~Magda Santos

Part 3 It All Began on Dykman Street-The Nature Walk

Inwood Hill ParkSuspicious Bob

I told a friend, Bob, about these walks and his first remark was, “How did you find this walk?” When a brochure arrived at my home describing a teacher giving a walk in the park I realized he’s a traveler like me. I also deduced that he read the same book I did, titled “The Tracker,” A book I found on the blanket of a street seller.

Bob wasn’t a traveler yet so he didn’t see that this teacher had access to a certain kind of knowledge. Who knew that I’d take this walk each week for the next three years and find a generous teacher, willing to take me to places I’d only glimpsed in my dreams.

My friend Bob never took the walk with me. He did, however, question everything about the walk. He couldn’t understand why I kept going back. He first started to ask me out for coffee just before the walk, sometimes tempting me with street festivals and bookstores. By the second year, he wanted to meet after the walk to hear about the travelers and see my face. He said it had changed.

I once told him that each group of walkers gave me the impression I’d made a prearranged commitment to meet them in this life for those two hours in the park. The ease with which we all moved and talked was very unlike city dwellers, subway riders, and New Yorkers.

During the walks, Vin would lead and I’d take the rear. My legs became strong after a while and my breathing easy as we moved through the landscape week after week. The first few times I huffed and puffed, but soon my stride opened and my comfort increased. Breathing so much oxygen was invigorating. The trees and I began to know each other.

Walking as One
As we continued our walk, the travelers began to exhibit signs of becoming a clan or tribe. They were remembering how to walk quietly on the earth. Perhaps it’s because we were all cement and asphalt walkers walking on soft soil. The harsh pounding created by hitting pavement was gone. Without the noise we could hear each other.

Each person’s experience seemed to relate to what they were asking for and what they wanted out of the walk. Some wanted a brisk walk, others to learn about survival. Still others were open to the spiritual experience before them. Everyone slowly began to feel “something” was different about this walk.

We were all enchanted, taken to a park and put under a spell until the walk was over. Some travelers felt this and recognized it but others felt “something” they couldn’t describe. The universal response was, “I feel relaxed.” It doesn’t matter who was on the walk or whether they felt like I did about the day. What mattered was that we all rendezvoused for one beautiful New York afternoon to share the woods. Many times we hugged, said good bye, and walked back into our lives never to meet again.

Part 2 of It All Started on Dykman Street-The Nature Walk

InwoodHillPark 2

Along the walk, plants are identified as useful edibles, medicinal, cordage, and more. There are reeds good for making arrows and young saplings that would never survive the competition for light. They were touched and talked about because they would be the first to harvest in a survival situation. They make excellent shelters and sweat lodges.

However, there is a code that we live by and it includes never taking anything from city parks. They are already under stress from their surroundings and need to thrive in a very limited area with limited resources. No materials were taken from such places. This is the role of the traveler. Of course this doesn’t apply to garbage. We always cleaned up after ourselves and others.

Compare and Contrast
Traipsing around a New York City park, learning about awareness and survival is like choosing the most difficult setting on a new video game you haven’t even tried to play yet. Getting beat up, robbed, raped or any number of other things come to mind. But, and there’s always a “but” with me, I want what I want. I want a closer relationship to the earth. And the only way to get it is to step out of my comfort zone and dare to take a different road. In this case, it’s a nature walk with a magus in one of the biggest cities of the world.

I’ve always enjoyed sauntering. I’m not much of a fast walker. I love looking at things along the way. When I’m walking along a busy road I notice all the nuts, bolts and other metals strewn about the shoulder. An inventory would shock you, not to mention that it dawns on you that they flew out of cars traveling at high speeds. I find money, and car parts that make me think there are lots of vehicles falling apart out there. But I digress. Our walk worked wonders on the nerves unlike the walk along the highway, I described above. Walking deeper into the park the ding of modern life dulled and our nervous systems began to recognize the removal of those manmade stimuli.

The joy of walking in the woods is intoxicating. All of God is before you. Even discomfort is welcome because the prize is so great. There is nothing that I can’t do in the woods. There is nothing that I need when strolling through the park. And I’ve had magnificent city parks to walk in, Prospect Park being my favorite, then Central Park. And, of course, Inwood Park, thick and dark with trees. These are small islands that enrich the lives of us city slickers. It’s true that the ability to expand out and reach the mountains or prairie without concrete or skyscrapers in the way is a needed exercise for the soul. It’s a way to dream with the endless, the oneness, the sameness that we all share, urbanites or not. But when in Rome do as the Romans do and Inwood was what we had to dream in. The walk had no destination, so when we finished we had to find our way out of the park and onto the street. This is part of the code. Never have a destination.

Stay tuned for part 3 of The Nature Walk and meet suspicious Bob.

It All Started on Dykman Street

Welcome to the first of a three part series The Nature Walk.
It was the 80’s and my spiritual journey began in earnest with this walk in Inwood Park, New York City.
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The group gathers at Dyckman street subway station, the northwest corner of the intersection. We all approach one or two at a time and greet each other with a nod. Everyone bundled against the cold, travelers on an adventure into the park. At the right moment, Vin tells us to follow him. The walk begins. As we walk, I notice I’m relaxing.

It’s hard to describe calming down on a busy New York City sidewalk as you view the entrance to what feels like a Garden of Eden. Each step closer to the trees, I think, ”How beautiful.” We all stop before entering the park. This walk is taking on a whole new feel.

The Veil
With a few words, Vin asks us to contemplate the entrance to the park and to see perhaps for the first time that creation is before us, that once we enter, we’ll immerse ourselves in another realm. I walk into the park, trying not to make a big deal about it, I feel the veil that separates the park from the noisy sidewalk. The next two hours are a blur of information, feelings, and spiritual awareness. Who knew so much lived in the city parks?
The trees are barriers to city sounds, the kind you accept every day because you must to survive, the kind of sounds that overwhelm. These two hours are an opportunity to open up to the spirit of the forest, the spirit of beings who share our planet and give us breath. The chemical exchange we share reminds us we need each other.

This is how the landscape begins to heal the travelers. It grounds them. It holds them up. It bestows on them the ancient connection to the land. Each step became sacred. Each beat of their heart begins to synchronize with the rhythm of the earth. It’s the call of your mother, your Creator. Each time your foot touches the ground a connection is made and rings of intention spread across the land. The message sent is simple. Our hearts are opening to creation.
Geography

Inwood Park has huge boulders and stones made of granite from the last ice age. When the ice recessed it dragged and pulled stones over the earth and left giants on the landscape. Their grey color and sharp edges created nooks and crannies everywhere. The fall leaves wedge themselves in the crevices.
Vin is the leader of the walk and on the streets of New York Vin is my height. He’s slight and possesses a hearty laugh that often trails off into a giggle. In the woods, he is magic, sometimes towering over me and other times a dark dwarf with mischief in his eyes. He stands fiercely focused on the task at hand, a nature walk in Inwood Park in upper Manhattan.

Stay tuned for part 2 of The Nature Walk, with details about the code and the importance of wondering.

Nature Heals T- Shirt

 

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Nature Heals, in every way this t-shirt honors the healing properties of nature. In my energy work the landscape is one of the best partners in helping reach a place of balance for my clients. The mountains in this image reach up toward the heavens and the forest with its regenerative powers both symbolize the union between heaven and earth. The deer in the drawing is the one creature that moves between the flesh and spirit worlds at will.