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The Gift of Clarity… from Big Sister

2 Jul

Christine Mason Miller

My birthday was last month and my big sister Marisa couldn’t get up here to celebrate. She was busy getting ready for a business trip and preparing for a big trip to Puerto Rico with her family. I miss her sometimes, but I’m glad that I have an amazing group of  “sisters” that I meet with once a week to talk about matters of the heart and soul.

This week we talked about the power of meditation and prayer, as well as the definition of happiness. Is happiness the same thing as joy, gratitude, authenticity? We wrote about it a bit and there was a magical consensus of sorts. Happiness is about a return to your true self, and the power of that self exists in each moment. Wherever you are.

So yesterday my father delivered a present from my sister. It’s an art collage with writing created by Christine Mason Miller. It reads:

“The deepest joy exists in those rare instances of CLARITY when there is no wanting, no yearning, no clinging to some idealized life we believe exists somewhere other than exactly where we are.”

I love it when themes emerge. Don’t you?

Cool Gift Guide… for the Eclectic, Spiritual, Pop Culture Geek

16 Jun

I know it’s been a couple of weeks since turning the big 4-0, but I was going through some gifts and– wow– my friends and family really, really know me. Here is just a sampling of some great gifts you might consider getting the eclectic, bookish, silly friend in your life.

gnomeThis fun little Gnome Away From Home is perfect for a desk shrine, cake topper or cat companion, and compact enough to take with you on a trip. He’s so tiny, I think it’s actually lifesize, for real. He even comes with his own stylish suitcase and all the right international papers to travel with. Particularly appropriate if you’re writing about Gnomes (which I am)! (Thanks, Nettie)

Sticking with the mystical theme, I also received a set of Angel Cards (r) which is a 72-card set of illustrations with special, guiding words on them originallyangelcards_sml-1 designed by members of the Findhorn community for their Transformation Game (r). Yes, it all sounds very serious and stealthy, but these are small, charming little cards that direct the seeker to encourage meditation and reflection on themes from  wisdom to simplicity. (Thanks, Sonya)

Meditations from a Course in Miracles by Helen Schucman and William Thetford is an elegant and beautiful companion to A Course in Miracles published by the Foundation for Inner Peace. I love picking this up and randomly flipping to any page to get some wonderful guidance. Here goes… “On the lack of necessity for fear: All aspects of fear are untrue because they do not exist on the creative level, and therefore do not exist at all.” Page 140… true dat.   (Thanks, Fritz)

votivoAlways an awesome gift for anyone, anytime… Votivo candles. I was so thrilled to get the Mandarine candle. It’s citrus scent is light and fresh, and not perfumy at all. Nothing overwhelming about it… just a pleasing glow, a simple container and a relaxing aroma. It comes in a gorgeous gift box and makes a thoughtful, lasting gift. (Thanks, Renee)

Me likey Alamo Drafthouse Gift Cards so, so much. This is my favorite movie theater in Austin. And I used it right away to go see UP which was fantastic. I was crying within the first ten minutes– in a good way. Fabulous, must-see movie, so get to it. At the disneys-up-2Alamo you always get cool, retro film footage before the show. We were lucky enough to get to see a very blonde, very leggy Nancy Sinatra sing “Up, Up and Away” as she (seemingly) navigated a hot air balloon all by herself as happy white trousered/mini-skirted dancers frolicked in the meadow below. And then you get dinner. I had a $5 milkshake (thank you, Pulp Fiction). Great evening. (Thanks, Rachel)

And, of course, the requisite gag gift. Yes, I am 40 now… and that is hysterical. Right? So what do I get? A 40 oz. Mickey’s Malt Liquor which will quietly sit among the jumbo jar of salsa, the organic peanut butter and the Goddess dressing until something horrible happens… like a blackout or the end of the world. (Thanks, Scott)

darshan DVDAnd one of my favorite gifts was the DVD Darshan: The Embrace, a French documentary on Amma. Amma is internationally known as “the hugging saint.” Originally from a very poor Indian village, she has emerged as a major humanitarian figure who has literally hugged over 23 million people worldwide. Her foundation has distributed tens of millions of dollars for hospitals, housing, food, educational programs and more. Such an inspiring and beautiful shot film which was an official selection in the Cannes Film Festival in 2005. (Thanks, Amy & Suzanne)

There were so many others… I also received a stunning indigo-colored votive candle holder from my friend Sonya whilotus candleholderch is made of shells from the Phillipines and shaped like a lotus flower. Evertytime I light a candle in it, I will think of this special birthday and remember the people behind the kind gestures, and the feeling of abudance that overwhelmed me during such a special occasion as this. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Good Vibes: I Love Oracle Cards

24 Apr

I’m relatively new to the world of oracle cards and what they are designed to bring to a personal development/meditation/self-awareness practice. The only cards I really ever had any experience with were tarot or regular playing cards when I would get a psyhic reading once a year.

2375_c1But after I read “Ask Your Guides” by Sonia Choquette I discovered the accompanying oracle cards and I was intrigued. The card meanings were gentle, clear and above all extremely relevant. I was incredibly impressed with the overwhelmingly pure insight that Choquette provided in the guidebook that came with the deck and thought “how can something that looks like a Valentine’s Day gift include such simple and sustaining advice?” This is amazing! Whether I am pulling one card or doing a simple spread, I always find crystal clear guidance from my spirit guides, particularly if my own mind chatter or physical exhaustion is preventing me from hearing these messages through meditation.

druid-deckI am also a big fan of animals and Celtic folklore, so I had to check out The Druid Animal Oracle Deck created by Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm. Inspired by Native American medicine cards, this uniquely Celtic take on power animals has managed to build on the past while exploring the changing tradition on Druidry in ways that are compelling, rich and accessible. A combination of real and mythical animals (there are several dragons), the card deck is really inspired by an understanding of psychology and well as traditional lore. The illustrations by Bill Worthington are beautiful.

I also love Doreen Virtue’s decks which at first seemed a little too “out there” for me. But I was guided to get both the “Messages from Your Angels” and the “Ascended Masters” decks from my extremely gifted neighbor and from a medium, respectively. 3047_c1What I’ve experienced is that all of the decks synchronize so perfectly when I ask a specific question. I am able to go from deck to deck seamlessly and find information, guidance and insight which is inspired by great spiritual masters who have passed or highly beings or streams of thought– the angels– who can provide positive perspective which I sometimes have difficulty grasping through my personal ego lens at given moment. If anything, the cards have the ability to efficiently direct me back to my true still small voice inside that resides separate and apart from the ego that wishes to direct me through hesitation, fear and worry. The “Ascended Masters deck “includes gorgeous paintings of 44 male and female cross-cultural deities, such as Ganesha, Merlin, Saint-Germain, Apollo, Pallas Athena, White Buffalo Calf Woman, Jesus, Moses, Yogananda, Green Man, and Kuthumi. The enclosed guidebook gives expanded explanations of each card’s meaning, and a brief history of each ascended master. As with each of Doreen’s oracle-card decks, the messages for each card are positive, accurate, and life-affirming.”

maya-deckI also discovered an unconventional deck that leaves the world of angels, fairies and animals behind. The Maya Deck by Dr. Ronald L. Bonewitz features carved illustrations by Achim Frederic Kiel. Being from the Southwest U.S. and part Mexican-American myself, I was very interested in understanding how my Mexican heritage could be represented in something as esoteric as a card deck. Then, of course, Mexico is a culture that celebrates magic, mystery and beauty. Mayan daily culture was driven by spiritual beliefs. They lived in a state of constant divination, forever communicating and listening to guidance from gods and heavily influenced by the power of numbers. This deck reflects those influences and the accompanying 80-page booklet makes it easy to intrepret simple three card spreads.

Cards are tools only– they have no inherent power other than being the microphone for Source Energy to communicate simple human truths in order to keep you in the current of universal truths that can positively impact our experience on the physical plane. In my experience, there is no separation from “out there” or “in here.” It’s a beautiful thing to be plugged into universal intelligence and positive personal development tools like these are uplifting and energizing to the seeker.

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