As we get closer to the Summer Solstice, I find myself wanting to share insights about what we as a collective are experiencing and what I'm processing personally. Today, I'll share my thought process, actions, and self-care practices with you that promote emotional stability and spiritual connection to the greater cycles of nature.
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During the Winter Solstice, we planted seeds of who we are becoming. In December, we honored our ancestors and went into the dark foreboding places of our lives. We explored the cold darkness- the extreme Yin. In the deep dark places, we found beauty. We found the lost parts of ourselves, our forgotten talents, and abilities. We found our inner light and shared it with the world.
Now during the Summer Solstice, the time of fire, heat, bright light- the time of extreme yang. The sun is so bright it catches us and exposes us, like a deer caught in the headlights. Or like an interrogation room with the bright spotlight revealing our vulnerabilities and our shadow. The stark truths about the hidden parts of ourselves are revealed. They become so clear and evident that they can no longer be ignored. We are being triggered, and the ugly parts of ourselves that we pretend don't exist are flaring up in our faces.
In our society today, we are experiencing the cruelty and reality of systemic racism, riots, lynching, and hangings. We are burning flags and destroying racist statues. The lines are no longer blurry. If we don't see what's happening, it is because we choose not to look.
In my other recent videos, I keep mentioning that spring's beauty and gentleness are excellent buffers for the painful events happing in our world. Because of this buffer, I started making videos about more sensitive topics, thinking that springs softness and newness make the issues easier to process.
Now that we are moving into summer, that buffer is getting burned away. No longer are there sweet pink peony flower petals on our path as we talk about loss, death, women's rights, and racism. Of course, there are still beautiful flowers blooming on our garden path, but they will soon harden, become dry, and brittle.
Regardless of the buffer of soft spring is there or not, we still need to face our truths and each other.
Along with the Summer Solstice comes Father's Day, which is entirely appropriate from a Yang perspective. I just made a sweet video about the fathers in our lives and how to communicate with them better by speaking their love language. I ended that video talking about forgiveness. Check it out. It's about how to include your partner in your birth.
Today, let's go a little deeper and explore more about our fathers. It's an important topic for me to process because my Birthday is a day before the Solstice and is often on fathers day. And it is the anniversary of my father's death—all within four days.
I grew up without my biological father being very active in my life. I remember wondering if my dad would be at my birthday party or send me a card. Or maybe I can "get a dad for my birthday." Later my stepfather came into my life. And that was the most transformative relationship I've yet to experience.
I'm bringing this up because, with this Solstice, we are being faced with the stark truths. Some of the truths I see right now is how patriarchy has dominated our society. How many women are trying to earn men's favor and respect? How many women are attracted to emotionally unavailable men just like their fathers? How many children have felt abandoned by their dads? Or could never live up to their expectations?
Also, the word father is associated with the heavenly Father, God. How many times have you heard father why have you forsaken me? Or father, please forgive them?
What about the Fathers of our nations. We think of presidents, political, spiritual, and religious leaders as fathers. How often have we been let down by their lack of integrity, empathy, and respect for the people they have power over. They have blatantly abused their power!
This is a part of what is happening right now in our country and around the world. Patriarchy and supremacy are systems. They are structures that our society is built around. Right now, we see how these systems of power have been erected to dominate and subdue the citizens. Right now, these structures are being exposed and being dismantled. Ideally, they will be rebuilt in a more inclusive and equitable way for our people, planet, and animals. For that to happen, we must be active participants in birth and co-creation of a new humanity.
Forgiveness and Understanding
On a personal level, I'm learning, and I forgive my father. It feels so good to release so much disappointment. A valuable insight that came to me today was that I just forgave the past. We must be radical in our forgiveness and forgive the present and future as well. We are making decisions now that affect the next 7 generations. Think about this. Just 3 generations ago, some of us were born as slaves or born as slave owners. 3 generations ago was our great grandparents. When it is put in that perspective, we can see that it was not that long ago. It is still living in us. That is why forgiving the present and future are essential pieces of the healing work that we are doing right now.
Along with the Solstice, we are experiencing eclipses and interesting planetary alignments. Anger, resentment, and abandonment are all being triggered right now because of the extreme yang and associations with our fathers. And with the planet Mars. As we know, Mars is the planet that rules war, conflict, finances, and us vs. them mentality. Mars is angry. Some of it is irrational rage, and some of it is righteous rage.
The anger is real. This is deep-seated anger that has been inside us for along time. Now it's being revealed and acted upon. The Solstice can burn it and clear it away. Or it can amplify it to become like a wildfire that is out of control. How we respond to this anger right now is extremely important. If we allow uncontrolled rage to be expressed, it will leave lasting and damaging consequences. I grew up in Northern California. We are acutely aware of how quickly a small spark can destroy and decimate an entire forest and community.
It's important to note the thing that you are mad about right now. The thing that is triggering you is not the cause of your anger. The reason is from old past experiences that stem from the repressed feeling of powerlessness. We started feeling powerless as babies long before we could talk. We can all remember times when it felt like everything was beyond our ability to control it.
And this is generational anger. This is anger from our great grandparents and their ancestors. I will go so far as to say it is from the future decedents that are looking to us to take necessary and wise action. Just like how we look to our past and say how could you let so many die in concentration camps?! Oh, the same way we are letting the Hispanic people be in detention centers right now and not do anything about it. That's how.
Ultimately no matter how we were raised and what our childhood was like, it is up to us to take personal responsibility for how we feel and how we behave. Now we have the opportunity to be the parents of ourselves and to our angry, abandoned, and powerless inner child. We can give that wounded child what it needs.
To effectively clear this type of anger, you have to remember the first time you felt that way. And use the techniques I taught you in the video How to Navigate Through Intense Emotions.
Now is the time to be in our integrity. To stand up and to stand for what we believe in. Now is the time to stop lying to ourselves and others. Besides, the people we love can see through us. With such a bright light cast upon us, we realize there is nowhere to run and nowhere to hide from the truth. This sounds almost freeing. Yet what happens is it triggers our fight, flight, or freeze protective responses.
Commitments, Investments, and Risk
Now is the time to choose. I feel this so strongly in my own life. It is the time to commit or recommit to the life and be the person you are called to be. Ask yourself what previous commitments need to be reevaluated and recommitted to or to be let go of?
This Solstice and Mars is about finances and investments. Our financial stability and our issues around money are being brought to light. Money issues are being triggered big time with COVID and the uprisings. Many people have lost their jobs and business. Money is energy, and our relationship to money is a learned behavior that came from our parenting.
The question I'm asking myself is, what am I investing in? What do I have to invest? What will be the return of my investment? What are the risks? What are the risks if I invest? And what are the risks if I don't invest? What will this cost me? Will it cost my time, my business, my money, my relationships, my happiness?
It is essential to clarify your commitments, investments, and risks because, during the Solstice's bright time, we have a deeper, more comprehensive, more expanded perspective. We can get clarity on these questions. Also, we are in the eclipse season, so we can also become confused and unsure. When we make commitments when we are clear, they become our guiding principles, our framework that helps us know what to do when we are unclear. When we are lost and confused, we can rely on our commitments to guide us to our next steps.
Art of Peace
As I said, we see old and generational patterns repeating within our personal lives and the human collective. Patterns of racism, history of superiority, and oppression are angry, and there is an impulse to do something about it. To fix it to solve it, right now! Yet with all this Mars energy and the eclipses, now is not the time to rush out, or to lash out in anger.
Instead, now is the time to practice The Art of Peace. The Art of Peace is not- not doing anything. It is not just waiting and seeing what happens. It is not waiting until things get back to "normal." The Art of Peace is a deliberate action and non-action. It is making mindful commitments and dedicating yourself to your practice. It is the art of profound listening, observation, integration, and healing. Skillful practitioners in the Art of Peace do not react; instead, they respond, anticipate, and apologize.
Self Care Tips for the Solstice
On the one hand, we have the energy and clarity from the Solstice. Now we see our next steps and have the motivation to act. On the other hand, we have eclipses that create doubt, confusion, and uncertainty. Remember, we have the capacity to hold the paradox.
Harmonize with Water
To harmonize and balance the fire energy of the Solstice, we need water. Being in the eclipse season means that we are connected to the moon. The moon pulls on the ocean tides. In summer we are traditionally out at the river and the beaches. We need vitamin D, the sea breeze, and the saltwater.
We are feeling lots of emotions! Our tears are just beneath the surface and may come bursting forth at any moment. Let them come! Let them bathe you, clear you, and recalibrate you. The tears have so much medicine and information.
Drink lots of water! Put a pinch of Himalayan or sea salt in your water. Get in the pool, creek, dance in summer afternoon rainstorm. Take an alchemy bath. I call it an alchemy bath because it nourishes and purifies.
- The Epsom salts provide minerals like magnesium.
- The baking soda helps detoxify the body.
- Rosemary helps us to remember. We are in a state of seeing our truths. We must not forget our past to heal our present. Rosemary helps us put the past pieces together so we can integrate with them.
- The St. John's Wort is helpful for any aches and pains we may be experiencing.
- The Lavender is an act of self-love and care. It helps us reach a parasympathetic state more quickly, so our physical and emotional body can heal.
- The Ceremonial White Sage is a sacred plant that clears our energy field and transforms the simple to the holy.
If bathing is not possible right now, do what I've been doing. Make a small amount of the bath, dip a washcloth in it, and wash with the herbs. You can place the compress anywhere on your body to let the herbs permeate deeper.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or really upset let herbs comfort ground you. Calm your nervous mind with Solid & Serene Herbal Support for Stress and Anxiety Having an herbal ally to help keep you centered is essential in times of extreme energy fluctuations and times of uncertainty.
Sunbathe, get naked. Let the morning or evening light touch your skin in places that haven't been exposed for a long time.
To manage our anger effectively, we can work out or yell into a pillow. But when we are upset and do more energy-producing activities like running and kicking the bag, it helps discharge some of the excess energy. But these activities can keep you feeling worked up. They keep you in the sympathetic state. The fight, flight, or flee state.
Instead, try doing something very slow, calm, and concentrated like Qigong. Qigong puts you in the parasympathetic state and will help you clear your mood, manage your anger, and heal. Your body and mind cannot heal when they are in a stressed state.
To be in an alert and relaxed state, we need to focus on our breath, relax our body, and move slowly, softly and precisely. When we coordinate our breathing with simple slow movements like in Qigong, we can free up the energy that is being blocked and needs to flow so we can experience more ease and grace.
One of the beauties of Qigong is that there are so many different kinds of Qigong. One variation that I practice is called Four Seasons Qigong. That means there is a set of gentle movements, breath patterns, internal organs, foods, massage, colors, sounds, and vibrations for each season.
The season of summer is all about heart fire. The color is red, and the heart sound is ha. This Friday, in my Qigong class, I will be teaching an elegant movement to harmonize the heart fire. It is a beautiful practice that helps you feel grounded, connected to the earth, and expanded into the universe. Humans are the intermediary between heaven and earth. Our body is the meeting place for these energies. We can work with the seen forces such as the sun, moon, ocean, plants, trees, stars, water, rain, wind. We can work with the unseen forces such as gravity, planetary alignment, universal love, breath, vibration, and sound to help us navigate during this intensity of the summer solstice.
Our heart is a yin organ. It is tender and needs protection, love, acceptance, acknowledgment, and forgiveness. All this Yang energy is too much for our hearts. This Qigong practice is a beautiful expression of self-love and the Art of Peace. I'm excited to share it with you on Friday. The information to sign up for the class is at www.pathwithharmony.com. The class is a part of my weekly lessons that are taught on Zoom for donations. I look forward to practicing with you.
Self Reflection and My Vision
I love the Solstice, and every year I take the time to get a vision for my next season. Get an idea of where I've been and where I'm going. This year on my vision quest, I could see myself on the top of a mountain. I was so happy to have arrived at the summit. Here you can see in all directions. I asked my soul what's next. Where do you want me to go now? I could see a mountain in the distance. I could hear my soul say; you need to hike that mountain over there. The more I looked, the farther the mountain appeared to be. And the more I looked, I could see that there is an ocean between me and my new mountain peak. My first thought was overwhelming. How am I going to navigate through an ocean and up that steep and distant peak?
I asked my soul, what about this other mountain that is right here beside me. The answer was simple.
You can hike that mountain if you want. You can stay in your familiar and comfortable climate. You will learn lessons, maybe even find happiness, and you will waste time.
That is when it hit me heavily. We are not on our spiritual path of awakening for our happiness and our comfort. We are on the path of awakening to save our souls. It is an urgent matter of utmost importance. None of us can find our wholeness until we are all whole. It is not to be rushed or hastily acted upon, but it must be the most important thing we do!
This time 25 years ago, I was in a Zen temple meditating with the monks I had just turned 21 years old. That is when I learned about The Bodhisattva Vow. The Bodhisattva vow is a vow taken by Buddhists to liberate all sentient beings. When I first heard about the vow, I was like, No, thank you! I'm not that much of a team player. I'll walk my own path, but I'm not about to try to liberate all sentient beings! That is way too much pressure.
I see now that we cannot self actualize by ourselves. When others are not whole, we can not become whole either. We are actually all in this together. Our awakening is not for ourselves; it is for us as a collective.
Wow! I've been meditation nearly every day for 25 years and am just now realizing the importance of my awakening process is for an entirely different reason then I thought.
One last thing, when I saw the distant mountain and the ocean in between us, my first thought was overwhelming. Now I realize that I will get there one step at a time, and once I make it to that summit, there will be another mountain for me to hike. It's not about the mountain. It's about falling in love- Falling in love with hiking! Falling in love with the journey!
Happy Birthday to me! Happy Juneteenth! Happy Summer Solstice! Happy Fathers Day! Rest in peace, dad!
Remember to join the Qigong Classes on Friday Mornings.
Go to www.pathwithharmony.com to register.
Until next time, my friends drink deep and fall in love with hiking!
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