So it’s Christmas Eve, and I have a yearning to attend a midnight mass … but in thinking this urge through I realize that I have no desire to attend a Catholic mass or any other church service. I grew up Catholic, and my medieval mind has a yearning for something like Gregorian chant … but my wild heart yearns for the forest.
Yes, I may head out into the woods at Midnight, light a candle, sing and improvise a few songs under this dark night (it being the New Moon, there will be no moon in the sky; it being cloudy today, stars are not likely to be here either). But what sparked into my heart was an old idea of mine, newly remembered: to create a “Forest Mass” — ignited by Celtic soul and sprinklings of song and poetic word, and the wisdom of the trees, stars, earth, the Light that returns (harp too!).
So this is my quest for the next year (in addition to completing my novel “Because Of The Red Fox”) — to discover and create this Forest Mass, a quiet song and celebration woven of the trees and earth, the stars and true things. Breathed in by dreams.
I’ll share my journey with you here. Please join me.
And merry everything to you, in this Season of Miracles. May you know blessings and beauty, and the holy light that burns in your heart!
When we are in extended suffering, due to our own crisis or a loved one’s, it can seem that blessing and inner peace are words with no meaning. Such a state of clarity and nourishment seems entirely out of reach, an impossibility in the face of our internal storm.
In other places and times cultures crafted entire practices and ceremonies to help restore an individual to a sense of harmony within his or herself, to a sense of grace with all of creation. And in that restoration to harmony with self, community, nature, the cosmos, and God/Spirit — with all that is — the sufferer gained a sense of wholeness and peace — an understanding and felt knowing that she is part of a great weaving that truly cares for and loves her.
The reasons for the despair and suffering may still continue, but the ability of the individual to weather the winds of Mystery shifts as a result. She finds that she has a place of rest and connection that fuels her spirit, and gives her the strength to continue. She finds herself able to discover gifts hidden in this painful yet exquisite experience of the preciousness of life.
In my healing arts practice I strive to offer my clients an experience of the blessing and beauty woven around each of us in every moment. I use my harp, love of the natural world, song, and offering of healing energy (Reiki) to ‘make visible’ the music and coherent harmony I experience of you. All of us are amazing expressions of life. Our bodies perform innumerable miraculous functions in any moment without our even having to think about it. Our minds pull ideas together, or follow paths of dream. Our emotions speak a language that responds and reacts, creates entire Universes and release them. We are far more grounded in the earth of ourselves than we think.
When I offer music and healing, or point out the magic of birdsong in the moment, a flower opening, or recognize a kindness offered to you or by you to others, I am really offering a reminder of something your body, heart, and soul already knows: the poetry of you. You are an astounding gift to Creation, to each person around you, to the nature that exists outside your door.
Being on this good earth is an astonishing blessing indeed, and though times may be messy and chaotic and wrenchingly painful and sad, pathways exist to uncovering the wholeness that lies within these tumultuous layers. We can find our way, or even just ‘a way’. And in that discovery, shifts happen throughout our minds and cells. Stress, tension, and confusion may ease, griefs lighten or at least become bearable. Our minds may clear and we may come to breathe more easily, our organs begin to function in a restored rhythm. Any experience of blessing reminds our bodies, minds, hearts, emotions — our whole self — of the harmony that exists in every level of we are.
Where does beauty and blessing exist in your life today, right now, where you are? Take a moment to breathe in the fragrance of the Universe, to hear the sweet song of life that is you. Can you hear a bird singing outside your window? And what of the wonder of our minds that has created the house around us, the furniture, the technology that serves us? Where have you experienced a kindness, a warm hand, a thoughtful word?
And if it is too much to attempt to identify blessings, just surrender to the possibility that blessing exists and is here, right now, surrounding you, enfolding you.
Anything that we can truly experience with wonder can weave beauty around us that makes all the difference in how we — how any of us — face each day.
Jane Valencia helps spirit-centered men and women who feel disheartened and depleted to receive replenishment of soul, a renewed perspective of their situation, pain relief, and an experience of grace. For more information contact Jane here.
A very old idea is that when you situate yourself in the physical world–in relationship to the presence and energies of your place on earth and in the cosmos, where you are right now–you restore your right relationship with all creation, and with your inner self.
The simple notion of knowing where East, South, West, and North are in relationship to you (let’s also include Above and Below and Within)–and reestablishing your awareness of the archetypal energies of each direction has the effect of activating those qualities within you, or reawakening them. You stand at the center of this web of possibilities and guidance for yourself.
The ceremonial practice of “calling in the directions”, by greeting the Four, Seven, or Eight directions and welcoming their qualities serves to remind you on an inner level that you are an essential part of this weave. All of this is part of you, and you have a place in this weave.
In noticing and greeting the Directions, be sure to offer special attention to what lies physically in those directions for you, right then. Notice the trees, the mountains, clouds, sun rising or moving across the sky, the stars. Be as curious about these companions on your journey as you might be of a person entering a room you sense may be a kindred spirit. Pay attention to what it feels like within you to experience the nature in each direction, encircling you.
I Walk In Beauty
Below is a sacred song for restoring us to Beauty — within our surroundings, the universe, and within ourselves. I encourage you to learn the song and sing it to yourself whenever you need reminding of the Beauty all around you!
The words are:
I walk in Beauty
Beauty is before me
Beauty is behind me
Above and below me.
You can also sing a second verse (not sung in the video):
I walk in Beauty
Beauty is before me
Beauty is behind me
Around and within me.
A little about the video:
Last July I participated in creating harp music for a worldwide Peace Hour, initiated by Harpists For Peace. Harpers Hall members played as a group and solo, offering music for peace. I led community singing of “I Walk In Beauty”, a contemporary setting of Navajo wisdom words to music. You can read more about our Peace Hour offering in my post How I Experienced Village At A Harp Gathering.
Here (revealed for the first time 🙂 ) is the video of my musical offering. Please join in the song. May you experience yourself walking in Beauty!