A SACRED SPACE RITUAL FOR VALENTINE’S DAY

Laurey Simmons of The Colourful Dot Boutique, shares a sacred space ritual to open your heart this Valentine’s Day…

Beyond the chocolates and red roses, Valentines Day for me is a precious reminder to keep our hearts open. As psychotherapist and spiritual teacher John Welwood says, our heart’s true purpose is really: “to be an open channel through which great love flows into this world.”

One of my favorite ways of opening this channel is by spending time in my sacred space. A sacred space is simply one corner of our home environment where we keep beautiful objects that are special or sacred to us. The space can be as large or as small as you want. Even if you only have a small section of a shelf, this too can be a perfect place to make your sacred space.

Keeping a sacred space is a precious gift to our soul, a reminder of how we want to be in the world, a mirror reflecting back to us our Inner Beauty.

Read on for a sacred space ritual for an open heart…

1. First thing to do is to cleanse the energy of your space. One of my favorite ways to cleanse is by burning Frankincense resin. Dropping a few pieces of the resin onto a burning charcoal disc allows for the heavenly smoke to rise and fill the surrounding air. Breathing in this aroma, I find my mind-chatter settles, my body relaxes, and my energies become grounded.

2. With the theme of Love in mind, I’ll be adding a few drops of Rose Oil into my diffuser. The combination of Frankincense and Rose Oil smells seriously divine! Rose of course exudes love and beauty, both visually and through her perfect scent. Did you know that Rose essential Oil has been proven in studies to reduce anxiety and produce deep levels of relaxation?

3. Now for some visual beauty. Nothing opens my heart more than beautiful objects from Mother Nature, especially crystals. Three pink, heart-centered stones I’m working with a lot at the moment are Rose Quartz, the mother of Love stones; Mangano Calcite, which radiates the energies of the heart in a very gentle, nurturing, and soothing way; and Pink Morganite, also known as the Pink Emerald, and a wonderful tool to help cultivate qualities of the heart, like compassion. I also love to add fresh flowers to my sacred space—in this case, either fresh pink roses or a bowl of dried pink roses.

4. The next step is to connect to the energy of those who radiate an open heart or Unconditional Love. It could be a spiritual teacher, a historical or mythical figure, a friend or family member. At the moment, the chosen beings of light in my sacred space are Ram Dass, Maya Aneglou, Thich Nhat Hann, Joni Mitchell, and Heqet (the Ancient Egyptian goddess and symbol of new life). Ideally, print off some small images of these people so they can beam their light right back at you from the heart of your sacred space.

5. An open heart is only truly open if we can keep it so in challenging situations. With this in mind, I like to have an object in my sacred space that symbolizes this challenging situation or person. This practice is taken from one of my spiritual teachers, Ram Dass, who spoke about his own puja table and how he’d have pictures of his teachers there, Buddha, Hanuman, Maharajah, Mary, and how every morning he would greet them with love. This included a picture of one of his most difficult people, Caspar Weinberger, President Reagan’s Secretary of Defense. An alternative to a picture of a specific person is simply to include a broken or damaged object. I sometimes use a decaying leaf to, reminding me of those spaces in my heart that sometimes struggle to stay open, allowing feelings of compassion towards that situation or person that challenges us.

6. To finish this ritual, I love to place my hand on my heart and set a little intention: to keep the people who inspire me and the beauty, especially the beauty of imperfection, in my heart throughout the day, so I can be a more compassionate and loving person in the world. I also recommend placing your hand on your heart throughout the day, especially if you ever feel it closing up. This simple gesture can bring you directly back to that inner space of Beauty and Love.

Discover more about Laurey and her work at The Colourful Dot Boutique, an online sanctuary for Inner Beauty. Pre-order her new book, The Inner Beauty Bible: Mindful rituals to nourish your soul, today. 

ESCAPE TO EDEN: IS BURNING MAN A SPRITUAL GAME CHANGER?

Is making the pilgrimage to Burning Man a spiritual game-changer, or can that change only occur within? The conscious party scene can be a portal for sure, but there’s no fast track to enlightenment, says David H. Wagner. Homepage image: Elena Kulikova via Behance.net 

Recently, I shared an email exchange with a young seeker in our community. She was considering making it to Burning Man this summer. I have to preface this whole thing by saying I have nothing against BM. I have dear friends and colleagues that go every year, I think it’s actually pretty cool. Overall, I’m glad it exists.

This could just as easily be written about a South American Shamanic Retreat, or a hot new weekend workshop, or someone signing up for a Yoga Teacher Training. It just so happens it’s about BM. That aside, I think there are valuable points in here about the cross pollination between yoga, spiritual disciplines, partying, and consciousness expanding drug use. Here’s a snippet from the email:

“As an elder in this spiritual scene I’ve seen so much of this over the years. I’m not against partying – and the kind of partying at Burning Man is probably a lot more positive than other party scenes you’ll find. But if you choose to go – just be clear what you’re getting into. Many people will talk about it like it’s a spiritually ‘game changing’ experience – but in many ways it’s just a slightly spiritualized party.

You might experience a little anarchy, or get naked in public, or take some E or some acid, or smoke some weed, or dance all night, or have ‘deep conversations’ with people while doing any of the above. And if you were TOTALLY closed before that, or TOTALLY uptight or TOTALLY un-awakened then it’s true that any of these experiences could be profound…”

True. If I could send my conservative Kentuckian cousins to Burning Man, they might come back transformed. But the young seeker I was writing to was already very open-minded and in the process of awakening, and looking for training and a deepening of her experience. Here’s some more:

“Anyone can FEEL free taking E and dancing naked at Burning Man. But feeling free and learning to BE free are two different things.

And…too much of the former actually can hinder the experience of awakening. In all my years working on a spiritual level with people, there have been only a handful of people I really couldn’t help. Among them the ones who’ve burned their neurotransmitters out on E, or built up a whole quasi-spiritual identity based on these external experiences. In my experience, getting high prevents people from learning to be high.

These sorts of experiences are good doorways – if the doors are stuck. But the idea is to then walk through them. You don’t hang around the doorway, or deify the door, or the openers. You move forward, you find your vision for life. You live your vision.

Ram Dass has awesome teachings about all this. Once he asked his guru Neem Karoli Baba about using drugs as a spiritual means. The Maharaji said; ‘You can use it to see Christ. But you can’t use it to become Christ’.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all into experiencing new things. The thing is, when people rave about the experience (pun intended), I think that’s more about the raver than the rave. People can have deep experiences even at super hokey things. It’s the same when people have been in the presence of great masters and have been exposed to great practices and teachings, but only a handful get the deep benefits. It’s what’s going on inside that counts.

More from the email:

“A sincere seeker will get benefit from even the stupidest bullshit. Even a broken clock is right twice a day. If you haven’t already, you’ll hear about ayahuasca, and Ecstasy, and all sorts of substances that people have found to be the key to their awakening. Or you’ll have people try to enroll you into some new coaching method, or a radical health approach they found to be the ‘answer.’ And often times you’ll hear about these things from really goodhearted people. And for them, in this snippet of time, it may have been the answer.

But over the years I’ve seen that things come and go. Even if, in the moment, they are THE THING for a group of people, like all things, they then move on. What remains, hopefully, are the seekers and their sincere intention to live in wisdom and freedom. All the long-term yogis and path-walkers I know have cycled through dozens of different ‘game-changers of the moment.’ And as we have, we’ve seen countless good people get swept up and lost in these things when they lost their sense of self and perspective.”

On the spiritual path, we need to know what we’re after. And know ourselves well enough to know whether or not we’re on the right track. It also helps to have some elders around. People who have some seasoning and can offer some perspective. Even after 26 years on the path, I feel like I barely qualify – but none the less, when someone like this person has a question, I feel it’s our duty to answer, even if I sound old and lame.

As a young seeker, your beauty, your sincerity and your light are all qualities that people are going to lust after. And not just in a sexual way, I mean organizations lusting after your enthusiasm and your brightness. I mean “scenes” lusting after your awesome energy and vitality. If you’re getting into all of this at a young age, you will likely have a lot of different ponds to swim in.

It’s all good. Swim in them.

But listen to your gut before you dive in, heart first. Just know there are a lot of blind people out there leading other blind people, and some straight up jackals too. So stay alert. Stay in touch with your heart. And you’ll be good.

Read more from David and learn about his work at Davidhwagner.com