Summer Solstice Retreat

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Sacred Pathways Sarasota is celebrating the Summer Solstice by offering its first full three-day retreat June 19-21 from 9AM to 5:30PM daily. This will be an intensive, transformative experience of healing and personal growth for this auspicious time of the year.

Co-creators Kelly and John Stewart, aka Jiwan Shakti, will lead you through a comprehensive, integrated program of Energy Healing, Kundalini Yoga, extended meditations, journaling, ceremony, art, and music. The emphasis is on feeling good about yourself and the planet, all things as they are.

The days will start with a group check-in, sharing time, then move into a Kundalini Yoga set and meditation. Kelly, an established energy healing practitioner in Sarasota known as StarLightworker, will lead group Energy Healing sessions and guided meditations using art as a vehicle for exploring our inner journeys and healings. She will also transmit some of the nine Munay-Ki rites to those who are willing to receive them. These are rites of initiation given to us from the shamanic lineage of the Quero shamans of the high Andes.

There will be a constant flow of healing mantras, some recorded by Jiwan Shakti as part of his sound current healing practice. The retreat will wrap up on the day of Solstice (the final day) with a Despacho Ceremony used for healing, restoring right-relationship, and protection and an optional group dinner out where all can relax and continue the tribal vibes. John and Kelly hope you will join them for their first three-day event in this newly renovated spiritual space.

All three days will have common threads but each day will have some special added experiences; also, the more days you attend, the deeper and more transformative the experience (that’s why they call it “practice!”). Healthy snacks provided — please bring a light lunch.

The cost is $180 for all 3 days or $62 for one day; register in advance and pay at the door.  Space is limited. Registration is required, please text/call 941.322.7284 or just fill out the registration form below!


What Kundalini Yoga Is and Isn’t

vishuddha chakra

Everybody is looking for something, a lot of pop song lyrics go, and it seems more or less true; and what we are looking for tends to change with the phases of our lives. About 27 years ago I was looking for a way to integrate my body, mind, and spirit. Running, macrobiotics, some little hatha yoga, reading Autobiography of a Yogi, and a number of other things had provided some satisfaction (see: Rolling Stones), but hadn’t quite done it yet. So where else to look but the yellow pages? (Back when that was how people found stuff.) There was Baba Siri Chand Ashram, and they had classes in Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan, and I went, and never really looked back. It’s not for everybody, but for me, then, it was, as one of my Zen teachers had told me once, “the hook that caught the fish.”

So here in no particular order are some fun facts and fallacies about Kundalini Yoga.

Kundalini Yoga is dangerous. As a matter of fact it is, because it will change you in fundamental ways, and that is generally upsetting to at least some of the people around you; people tend to want you to stay as you are, even if you are dependent, uncertain, limited, and a bit lost–at least it’s familiar. Kundalini Yoga will make you independent, certain, and will help you find your way–not somebody else’s way, but yours. This is what makes you independent and certain, and more able to explore your destiny in life as a free soul. So don’t do it if you want to stay the same. Staying the same is always safer.

Kundalini Yoga is in conflict with your religion. Yes, but only if your religion is so rigid that it only believes in one possible truth and excludes everything else. Kundalini Yoga (and any other yoga for that matter) is more like a science of all religions–it helps you connect the parts of yourself that are usually a bit scattered and disconnected (and if you don’t think you’re scattered and disconnected, just keep a careful, honest journal of your thoughts and actions for 24 hours, then burn it).

This connecting of spirit, mind, and body actually will invigorate your other practices and make them more clear; why am I a Christian, or a Buddhist, or an Atheist (yes, Atheism is practice too–it takes a lot of practice not to believe in something). In authentic religious experience, there is never any conflict.

Kundalini Yoga is really hard physically and mentally. Well, sort of. Like everything else in life, it depends on your judgement. Yes, a lot of the kriyas (Kundalini Yoga mostly consists of sets of kriyas, literally, cleansing actions, which clean all the garbage out of your system) can be physically and mentally challenging, but you only do what you can do–this is a matter of personal judgement. If you go to a class and even just close your eyes and imagine that you are doing the kriyas, it will have many of the same effects. If you can’t sit on the floor, you meditate in a chair; it still works the same. If you can sit on the floor, so much the better.

You also find that many of the barriers you thought you had are largely or wholly illusions as you break through them. This can be dangerous (see Point #1). This helps you overcome your fears, and all of us have lots of those. It’s a long-term project to work them all out, sort of like peeling an onion. Somewhere in the center you run out of layers. Don’t do Kundalini Yoga if you want to hang onto your fears.

I don’t have time for a yoga practice (or the ever-popular variation, now is not a good time for me to start something like this. This could apply to any yoga practice. This is certainly true for all of us. We have to take time to go to work, sleep, eat, do our bathroom routines, recreate a little, drink, smoke, go to the movies, forget ourselves for yet a bit longer, etc., etc., but when it comes to practice, the unconscious mind says “forget it.” Of course you don’t have time. The alternative to this sort of thinking is to simply put your practice (by this we mean to have some spiritual action that we do every day, whether or not we have time, whether or not we feel like it) at the center of everything else.

If you prioritize your practice, your taking time to be with God, The Universe, or whatever you want to call it, the It will take care of you. Synchronous things will happen, doors will open, and time will somehow become available for the really important things. If you put your practice at the center, everything else will begin to rotate around that center, and there you are, at the center. You don’t have to believe in anything, you just have to do your practice.

Yogi Bhajan used to say, a lot, “Now is the time and the time is now; keep up and you will be kept up.” Also related to this is the good old notion that I can’t be perfect, or I missed a day, or whatever, so just forget the whole practice thing. Is my practice perfect? Of course not. In 27 years I’ve had many very good clear times and many missed days. One just starts over. Every moment is a new day.

John Stewart, aka Jiwan Shakti has practiced Kundalini Yoga as Taught by Yogi Bhajan for 27 years. He received Level I Kundalini Yoga instructor certification from the Kundalini Research Institute and is a member is the International Kundalini Yoga Teacher’s Association.

 

Numerology and 444

muladhara chakra flag

A while back I started noticing patterns in the numbers when I was doing my financials every week–a task that I don’t generally enjoy all that much, but that I like to keep up with so that I know where I’m at in relation to the world of substance.

I also had somehow found Joanne’s Sacred Scribes Angel Numbers site. Years ago I had done some Tantric Numerology years ago as part of my Kundalini Yoga experiences, so I had some idea of what numerology was about–some consultations with a numerologist yogi who convinced me that there was definitely something to this.

Anyway, the more recent process goes something like this: Every week when I do my financials I look over my receipt totals and other financial bits and notice double and triple numbers, repeating patterns, that sort of thing, that seem to be speaking to me via my most practical side, then I look them up on the Sacred Scribes site. The results always seem pretty resonant, no matter what you might think about numerology being nonsensical.

Kelly also pays attention to number combos and noticed a significant increase in frequency in the days leading up to and now after the opening. She sees them in license plates, phone numbers, and clocks. It tells her that she is on the right track, that the Angels have her back, and that all is in accordance with Divine timing. The messages came with an exclamation point when she saw a car with the phone number 444-4444 on the day of the event. She then noticed the day after that the same number advertised on a place of business a few blocks from Sacred Pathways. It had always been there but went unnoticed. That is, until the Angels were ready to draw her attention to it.

Since Sacred Pathways opened both Kelly and I have noticed a lot more 44s and 444s, so looking that up on Sacred Scribes tells me that it’s about practicality building foundations, and working harmoniously to achieve our divine life purpose. The number 4 represents the four elements and the four directions, and to me, the four corners of a stable building. The muladhara chakra, the root chakra, is symbolized as having four sides because it is the earthly base for everything else above it; if it is not strong and clear we tend to feel weak, ungrounded, and unsure of ourselves and our support from the infinite.

All this seemed very resonant with our founding of Sacred Pathways; there’s a lot of work involved, it’s another step toward our spiritual purpose on this plane, and it seems a little risky sometimes. Will it go or not? Those kind of thoughts.

Another note about 444 is that we are on the right path and that the angels are available to assist if we just call them. This is all very reassuring when working hard on a risky enterprise, and just being alive in this era is a risky enterprise. We live in interesting times.

So all this is to say that, as you are working through your finances, your basic elements of this Earth-life, it’s easy, fun, and inspiring to notice what messages are being put in front of you and check in with the numbers to see what they mean–make notes in a little book about the patterns and you will start to see more of them. It makes what might seem like drudge work more inspiring, and you can see that you are not alone, never, and that your life is moving toward a higher soul purpose.

A Journey to Another Time and Place

I am sharing this post from the StarLightworker Healing & Massage blog describing a way in which nature speaks to us. Jiwan and myself are avid hikers. We love being outdoors dancing with the nature spirits. On this particular hike in a forest full of sequoia trees, the nature spirits took us on a journey to another time and place. A place of feeling free and a sense of being part of something much grander than our tiny bodies. The journey is forever written in my heart as it represents a serene and peaceful way of being. That is, with the knowledge that all is well in this world. Click the link below to see the whole post.

Journey to Another Time and Place

 

Valentine’s Day and the Heart Center

anahata chakra prayer flag

In yoga philosophy the 4th chakra, the anahata, is at the heart center, the center between Heaven and Earth. There are three chakras below that ground us to the Earth (if they are balanced) and three chakras above that allow us to touch the Heavens (again, if they are balanced–and if they are, we are). The heart is in the middle, the meeting point of the two worlds. You can see this in the two interpenetrating triangles, one pointing down toward Earth and the other pointing up toward Heaven and the Infinite. Green is the color of this center, the color of healing and growth. Like the rest of the chakras, it takes the form of a flower, a lotus.

On Valentine’s Day in the West we have largely been programmed to think about cartoon hearts, candy, and flowers, but it’s also a time when most people turn their thoughts to relationships–with themselves, perhaps, but certainly to the outer relationships with lovers and spouses, perhaps parents, relationships that they have, that they wish they had, and that they hope for. Relationships as they are and as we would like them to be.

So V-Day is a good day to meditate on the heart, on the anahata, on our center, and to meditate on how it feels, how to radiate love and gratitude to our close ones. This is a simple meditation: Just sit somewhere peaceful (or even on a bus if needed), close your eyes, and focus your attention on one thing–love and gratitude for love–for a few minutes. See if things look different when you open your eyes.

This day is a good opportunity to give a hug, a flower or two, to maybe make something with our own hands to give, something that shows we are conscious of the love that surrounds us all the time and that can be focused through one person. If we can love ourselves, then we can love another one, and if we can love one, we can love all. We don’t always have to be perfectly centered to feel loving, but the more we can meditate on this center between the Grounding and the Expansion into Infinity, the more we can feel deep love and peace.

Peace, love, and gratitude to all on this Saint Valentine’s Day 2018 from the very fresh and just-blossoming Sacred Pathways Sarasota.

 

Reflections on the Grand Opening

Sacred Pathways Sarasota celebrated its grand opening Saturday, January 27, 2018. Thanks to all the bodyworkers and lightworkers who shared their time, the folks who helped with food, check-in, cleanup, and generally ensuring that things went smoothly (and they did), and the great people who took time from their day to spend with us–it was an amazing success. We counted over 50 people on our signup sheet, which was enough people to stuff Sacred Pathways full for a couple of wonderful hours of making new friends, healing, and connecting. Thank you everyone for your participation and for sharing your time and energy with us! We’re very grateful to get Sacred Pathways off to such an energetic start. We got a lot of nice comments on the energy of the place, and you can definitely feel it building.

Looking Ahead

We have lots of plans for events including our every-Friday-evening Kundalini Meditation class from 6:00 to 7:30 PM and an all-day Vernal Equinox gathering in March with a variety of meditations and fellowship to help make your Spring a season of personal growth and flowering; more details to come.

We’ll be posting some images and recordings from the grand opening in the next few days, so please stay tuned in for more ongoing inspiration.