Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Ceremony of Cosmic Love

"Is everybody in? Is everybody in? The ceremony is about to begin… "
~ Jim Morrison : An American Prayer

I often imagine I can hear Jim Morrison saying those magic words (in my inner world) as I prepare a space with my rattle, and then drum, for my close of year ceremony.  

It's NewYear's Eve night and I find myself in a moment of stillness and solitude. I am preparing myself to bridge across this time-threshold into a whole NewYear, 2015.  Candles are lit and the native herbs are smouldering up a purifying haze.

I pray to return any energies I have held onto unconsciously, returning them back to those they belong to, and then I recall any soul parts I have lost myself and any personal power I have given away to others, knowingly or unknowingly.  The flames and smoke carry my words and intentions. Bringing things back into balance. It feels good. Keeping the slate clean, energies retaining their integrity.  Be it so!    ……and it is done.

If the rising tides of this past year are anything to go by, we have a remarkable time ahead of us. I'm told by a very reliable astrologer that the energies coming in and the pace of our lives will only get faster in this year to come!  Lets ride! 

Travel light
Blessings of beauty and mystery,
Catherine Athena xo

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Self-Care Sunday

I stayed up late last night. I was working on a new painting.
It felt real good to sleep in even later this morning, a slow start, leisure breakfast and a walk round town in the chill winter air... and then out to pick up a few Gaiam Yoga supplies so I can indulge in some on-going gentle self-care. 

Some Rodney Yee Yoga DVD's, a yoga strap and a couple of purple blocks... I have to say Rodney Yee has me tuning in to my felt sense, my inner awareness while in poses in a way I have not encountered before. It's quite a workout - both inner and outer! 

How are you taking care of yourself in this weekend? Please do let me know in the comments below…

Choose happiness,
Catherine Athena xo

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Word of the Year Wrap-Up 2014 : Happiness

It's been quite a year, this one. 
When you choose a word, as a guiding intention for the year, all sorts of things start to unfold.  

Back on December 31st last year I wrote about my chosen word mantra for 2014, in this blog post on 'Happiness'.  Before that, 'Expressive' was my word for 2013… and through 2012, I worked away quietly but determinedly with 'Brave' guiding me.  

So here we are again… looking back over this year of 'being with Happiness' and how it has taken me has through crossroads and junctions where I got to see up real close all the things that truly bring happiness, and all the things that don't (as is perfectly usual with these 'one little words'!)

I remembered that chanting (and singing) sanskrit mantras, having the sun on my face, slowing the pace of my life right down, and getting my art published in a magazine and 2 paintings selected for an upcoming book by a popular artist (due for release in 2016), can certainly bring on feelings of happiness.  As can practicing Mindfulness, really engaging my senses, body awareness and being fully present for my life.  But first I had to tumble down the well (so to speak).

"Little Buddha" (inspired by the film starring Keanu Reeves) 
Prints of this painting are available here:

And so telling the truth the only way I know how, the mirror side was that I got to find out that there were 'triggers' that could push my nervous system way beyond what it should be handling. After a July full of intense and unexpected pressures, I was diagnosed in early September with PTSD & C-PTSD (complex post traumatic stress disorder) with 9 major traumas identified stretching right back to my childhood….and since then I have gone on a bit of an adventure, out of absolute necessity and as a point of some urgency, delving even more deeply into what truly makes me happy.  

I have unexpectedly learnt a great deal on the way about this fascinating and completely misunderstood area ~ unresolved trauma…. which led on to a Mindfulness practice and slowing everything in my life right down, learning new ways of being in the world while I am guided to heal this 'injury' to body, mind and psyche with expert help.

I have also found His Holiness, the Dalai Lama to be a quintessential emissary when it comes to exploring the meaning of happiness and how we can attain it for ourselves.  

"Happiness is not something that comes ready made. It comes from your own actions" he says. 

I fell in love with a delightful story from writer Douglas Preston, who was fortunate enough to spend some time with the Dalai Lama when he visited Santa Fe, New Mexico in the 80's.  At the time, a young waitress in a cafe paused to ask an important question "What is the meaning of Life?" she said, and the Dalai Lama's reply to her was…

"The meaning of Life is happiness. Hard question is not "What is the meaning of Life?" That is easy question to answer!  No, hard question is what make happiness. Money? Big house? Accomplishment, Friends? Or…" (he paused) "Compassion and good heart? This is question all human beings must try to answer: What make true happiness?"

You can read Douglas's whole article over here >    
~ I think it gives a good insight into the character and beautiful nature of this incredible messenger of peace and happiness. 

And so I take with me some valuable realisations and new-found understandings into the next year…. a new year where I just know I will build upon what happiness this time has brought, often from very, very simple things -- like lazy Saturday mornings, cooking breakfast in the kitchen, toast and eggs, the sound of butter scraping over hot toast while tea brews and favourite music fills the room -- or a stick of fragrant incense -- the pleasure of walking and feeling wind or rain on my face, moonlight through the window, or watching a bird pass by high overhead.  Happiness. It's what we put into it. It's what we make it. 

And finally, I cannot overstate what it has meant to me having the closeness and support of my friend, as I have navigated through this challenging year. He was the one who recognised all the signs and helped me get my Doctor to hear me so I could be assessed properly and diagnosed. I was too lost in the woods to be able to see clearly what was happening.

I'm including a couple of useful links about PTSD and C-PTSD for anyone who suspects they may have unresolved trauma that is effecting their life, or is interested in what these conditions entail :

Blessings of beauty and mystery, till next time, 
Catherine Athena xo