Stress Management Article
360 Sacred Spherical Strategies
for Optimal Living
Welcome to 360. I'm pleased to offer you a spiritual stress management article from the selection (of three) below. This collection of musings is called sacred "spherical" strategies for optimal living -- living your best life.
Every spiritual stress management article has already been published online, as well as in print-form as a monthly column for Dayspring, the official publication for the International Ministry of The ADL (Alliance of Divine Love) www.allianceofdivinelove.org. So, each stress management article is ©copyrighted, and must not be re-printed or used on other web-sites or in any other publications without consent. Thank you very much for honoring that. I upload a new stress management article periodically - so stay tuned. Fill your cup with God's Love in the Greatest Degree!
Heartfelt Blessings, Rev Nancy Ash, DD, PhD
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(1) Spiritual Stress Management Article
Dayspring, MARCH ISSUE, 2008, page 11.
360 STRATEGY: "HEALING PATTERNS/ARMADILLO MEDICINE"
Recently I received a lovely e-mail from someone who asked: I'm not sure I really understand this "doing a 360" metaphor. Isn't it better to do a "180"...so I can just turn away from my life with its problems?
Let's use the simple shape of a circle to help understand "spherical" spiritual principles. Imagine the zia symbol (medicine wheel) used by our brothers and sisters in Native Spirituality. It has four cardinal points: North, East, South and West. If we begin at the East and journey 180°...we wind up only half-way across the circle.
In other words: Let's say someone perceives that they hate their job. The boss makes them miserable--so they quit. Then in the next job the new boss is worse--so they quit again. Hmm...do you see a pattern here? Yes, we may be tempted to turn or run away from our problems but remember the saying: Wherever you go...there you are. If you turn away from situations they will always show up--again and again and again--with different people. When you go consciously full-circle, or "do a 360", you joyfully heal the patterns. Then--and only then--will they be balanced.
A sacred strategy for March is: Identify and begin healing any imbalanced pattern in your relationships. Remember, this column is about “optimal” living, which is a happy, peaceful experience for our SOUL while IT is fulfilling ITS purpose on the Earth plane.
I'll use boundary issues as an example: Do you have anyone in your sphere of influence that you let "walk all over you?"
Here's a fun but powerfully effective method to use: Take doses of animal medicine until the pattern is healed. In this particular case, a good wisdom medicine would be armadillo. This little creature rolls itself up into a protective ball of armor which teaches the skillful means of setting boundaries. In essence all of God's creatures are connected...so align yourself with this medicine.
Visualize yourself in the center of a circle; the circle is your sacred healthy boundary. Call upon armadillo to empower you in this "medicine shield." Focus on divine love in the greatest degree. Focus on the positive aspects of the person that you had been allowing to encroach upon you. Be diligent with this strategy--it works! Happy boundaries to you.
Yours in the Greatest Degree of Love, Nancy Ash
Rev. Nancy Ash is an ADL Ministerial Trainer who writes and teaches from snow-capped foothills of the Sandias in New Mexico ©Copyright, 2008, Spiritual Stress Management Article by Rev Nancy Ash
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Spiritual Stress Management Article
(2) Spiritual Stress Management Article
Dayspring, FEBRUARY ISSUE, 2008, page 11.
"360 HATHA YOGA POSES"
A bit grey around the edge, offering afternoon tea and cozy evenings by the fire, February arrives with her glorious Valentine's Day, blanketing us in a silver lining: Warmth of Love. Today I share a beloved strategy which has maintained (for 35 years) my vibrant health and peace of mind through a powerful conscious connection to Soul: 360° Yoga.
A 360 (three-sixty) approach to yoga means that it is all-encompassing; nothing is left out in the view...especially our Soul. In fact, that is the purpose of the practice. We feel our Soul consciously "being" in a physical body during yoga asana. An accomplished yogini (female practitioner) or yogi (male) is quite aware of this precious gift. Without it, yoga is diminished. Once I heard a celebrity say the only reason for yoga is to 'firm her buns' and couldn't care less about the 'spiritual' aspects.
Remember, we're discussing sacred optimal living, so even though any exercise is wonderful, I always use my hatha yoga sessions as a template for deep sadhana (spiritual practice). Let's do 360° Yoga to cultivate an open heart and feel love--which is our true nature and real essence of hatha yoga. Our divine heart center (anahata chakra) is the focus for this practice.
Create a sacred space standing with feet hips width apart or choose a seated position: in a chair or cross legged on your cushion. Lift your spine; avoid slouching. Place palms on your chest/heart area; close your eyes.
Imagine yourself in a favorite place you absolutely LOVE. Take slow, luxurious yogic breaths (at least three). Feel yourself there--you are there. Now connect to SOURCE. Slowly slide hands down to clasp/interlace fingers together behind your back, drawing arms gently downward to expand your chest. Inhale with chin down. Exhale. Inhale again, allow chin to lift in comfort. Feel shoulder blades rotating inward towards the spine. Breathe slowly at least three times feeling your heart-space opening. Imagine someone you deeply love: hear them laugh and see them smile. Feel the warm sensation of pure love radiating out in all directions like the light rays of the sun.
Repeat this heart-opening asana twice. I call it the "feel the love" pose. Release with mindfulness and meditate on love...which is what you are!
(Note: you may need to hold a small towel or strap until your hands easily reach each other. Avoid any strain). Always consult a qualified yoga teacher for help with your practice.
Yours in the Greatest Degree of Love, Nancy
Rev. Nancy Ash is an ADL Ministerial Trainer and Nationally Registered Yoga Instructor with Yoga Alliance. She writes and teaches from snow-capped foothills of the Sandia Mtns. in New Mexico
©Copyright, 2008, Spiritual Stress Management Article by Rev Nancy Ash
Check back soon. I'll add a spiritual stress management article to the site as it's published.
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(3) Spiritual Stress Management Article
Dayspring, JANUARY ISSUE, 2008, page 11.
A new beginning. A new year. Resolutions. It all may sound a bit cliche' but intention is everything--isn't it? As we enter another round, another cycle in 2008, let's look at intention in terms of our Spiritual Development within the context of The Greatest Degree of Love.
Intention is our motivation, our sacred ground; it is the basis for our actions. Imagine the first step taken upon entering a circular labyrinth. Initially one 'decides' to enter the sphere for a meditative and healing journey. In this same way, you--as an aspiring ministerial student--had a personal motivation to study and train for ordination to serve others in need. There is no greater calling. The 'calling' is following Soul's purpose, the blueprint to a life rich in joy, happiness and peace. This intention draws us like a magnet...closer and closer to SOURCE.
As my spiritual friend and mentor Khenchen Palden Rinpoche always says, "intention is everything."
If our motives are pure with bodhicitta (Sanskrit, awakened mind of loving-kindness and compassion, pronounced bo-dee-chit-tah), then the outcome doesn't matter--not really, not in the bigger scheme of things. Like our three hundred and sixty degree all-encompassing view.
In a very simple example: Let's say I offer to make a cake for a friend's birthday party. Even though I'm thinking beautiful thoughts as I stir and blend, suppose the layers wind up tilted, maybe even a little lumpy. Because I created it while generating bodhicitta, it will be appreciated and taste delicious. Okay, okay...so it doesn't look that great but so what? It's intentionality from our heart of hearts that is key.
This month's sacred spherical strategy is: remembering bodhicitta in your intentions--whatever they are. You may choose to use this affirmation when beginning an activity, or planning a new year resolution: "With bodhicitta in The Greatest Degree of Love I __________(make this cake for Josie)______ . Just fill in the blank with your motivation.
Remember to keep any affirmations in the present tense. Avoid saying: "I will lose weight this year." Istead say, "I am slim."
With bodhicitta In the Greatest Degree of Love, Happy New Year!
Rev. Nancy Ash is an ADL Ministerial Trainer who resides in the foothills of what the New Mexico Native Americans wisely call, "The Great Turtle" or the Sandia mountain range. She's blessed to view the peak at 10,600 ft. from her window. ©Copyright, 2008, Doing a 360 Article by Rev Nancy Ash
Check back soon. I'll add a spiritual stress management article when it's published. Also, enjoy "looking inside" my books at Amazon before you decide to buy. Thank you for supporting this interspiritual "360" ministry. Heartfelt Blessings
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