Week 5 ~ creating conscious agreements

 

What if my relationships have the potential to become more sacred, the more consciously they are designed?

 


GUIDED Meditation

* loving-kindness meditation


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Suggested Reading

From Protection & Boundaries, by Pixie Lighthorse...

  • Establish Ground Rules-29  
  • Contracts-35  
  • Identifying The Desired Outcome-41  
  • Course Correct-59  
  • Know Your limits-65  
  • Money Matters-81  
  • Body Boundaries-83  
  • Sexual Boundaries-85  
  • Divorce Boundaries-87  
  • Boundaries For Children-89  
  • Invasion Of Privacy-91  
  • Boundaries With Parents-93

"A moment of self-compassion can change your entire day. A string of such moments can change the course of your life."   

- Christopher K. Germer


Writing Practice

Begin writing your own conscious agreement with your self. Include declarative statements & ways you will commit to being in intimate relationship with your spirit. Consider:

  • What is your intention for your relationship?
  • How do you want to feel in it?
  • What medicine do you want the relationship to hold for you?
  • How can you best design for this sacred relationship?
  • What would you design out of the current relationship to better design for your preferred version?
  • How can you anchor, or remind yourself, of your new agreement?

If you have a willing friend, partner, parent, etc., you might ask them to do this process with you as well. 

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Bringing conflict above the water line

  Photo by Zippy Lomax

Photo by Zippy Lomax

In Pixie Lighthorse's book, Boundaries and Protection, she says.... The degree to which we can have healthy conflict with another is the degree to which we can find intimacy in the relationship. 

All of us, in even our closest most easeful relationships, have experienced moments of tension and conflict. Sometimes what stops us from stepping into the conflict, and instead choosing silent resentment, is simply a lack of tools to help guide healthy conflict. 

The conflict resolution process below comes through the Deep Democracy method, created by Myrna Lewis. Two of the main beliefs that support this process are 1. The making the content of the conflict visible, allows a deeper wisdom to arise, which in turn, has the medicine needed to resolve the conflict. And 2. That we can't resolve conflict until all resentments have been said.

There are also 3 principles on engagement that are essential to set us a safe and healthy space to go into conflict;

  1. No one has a monopoly on the truth
  2. There are no winners or losers, rather a mutual interest in the relationship
  3. Participating in this process is for our own learning, not to convince the 'other' of our perspective

Sometimes we have the opportunity to do this directly with the people with whom we have conflict, and sometimes this is simply not possible, due to capacity or other limiting factors. However, we can still resolve the conflict for ourselves, relieving us of the tension and burden that goes along with it, by doing this process with a proxy.... a willing partner who can simply hold space for you to do this work, or someone who also wants to resolve an inner conflict, for whom you can return the gift.

  1. Review together the principles of engagement 
  2. Check in with one another around needs (consider what will make you feel safe, time constraints, etc.)
  3. 'Debate' - One partner begins speaking to their partner as if they are the person with whom they are in conflict. Speak stream of consciousness without editing, remembering that your partner cares about you. The partner listening does only that, listen. There is no feedback during this process. When you have finished saying everything you need to say, let your partner know you are finished for now, and your partner has a turn to share. Continue to go back and forth as many times as necessary until you feel you have gotten all of your grievances out.
  4. Each partner takes a turn reflecting on the insights received through the process. Sometimes the insight comes from our own sharing, and sometimes, almost miraculously they come through our partners own sharing.
  5. Each partner takes a turn sharing the decision that will now flow from their insight. Large or small, any movement is a valuable step toward inner freedom.

Creating Sacred Space

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Creating sacred space is one of my favourite topics, as I deeply enjoy creating sacred and magical containers conducive to consciousness, transformation, and creativity. Maybe you do too.

Carving out a space in your heart and home just for your creative and spiritual unfolding can be particularly jouful. If you already have created a space, perhaps this exercise will be an invitation to revisit, shift, love, or occupy it even more deeply.

Developing your own sacred creative space is a way of integrating the ongoing process of your creative and spiritual development into your daily life. You might choose to create a space that is designed for reading, meditating, writing, dancing, yoga, music making, art making, reminding you of what is important to you most..... any purpose of your choosing.

Ideally your space can have a certain degree of permanence... It can sometimes be uninspiring to have to continually rebuild a creative space over and over again before you can play in it. (I used to paint in my dining room and would have to pack up and unpack constantly). That said, if creating a dedicated space isn't a possibility, consider getting really slick in your design of a portable space for ease of setup when the time comes. Sometimes temporary spaces can feel particularly alive, inspiring and fresh, so there are benefits to either. 

Setting intention

One of the first things you might consider when creating your sacred space is setting an intention or intentions, that will guide its creation. You might consider....

  • Purpose - ie., writing, yoga, dancing, reading, painting, etc.
  • Preferred energy - what qualities would you like the space to hold for you? i.e., healing, creativity, confidence, freedom, etc....
  • Feeling - How you want to feel in the space... ie., safe, calm, inspired, unpressured

Size doesn't matter

It's true, you can create sacred space regardless of square footage you have available to you.... you don't need a huge studio, or your own room to create yourself something inspiring and meaningful. Notice areas in your house that you love to spend time in, maybe you have empty spaces or corners just waiting to be developed, or a beam of sunshine filling a special spot just waiting to be enjoyed. Maybe you are ready to clean out an entire room that is under-utilized, or maybe a small shelf that you can turn into an alter. You might consider light in your spaces, perhaps creating an early morning meditation space in a place that will feel dark and womb-like, and a creative space in areas where light streams in as inspiration. Throughout my life I've created sacred spaces ranging from (literally) my closet, to an entire gorgeous shared public space we called The Creative Commons. I've even had the opportunity to create the tiniest of sacred spaces with a group of women who were experiencing intimate partner violence.... meaningful spaces so small they would go undetected by the untrained eye.

Design

Throughout the design process, continue to hold your intention in your heart as a guide. Instead of beginning with an agenda of how it is going to look, try allowing the intention and perhaps an accompanying sense of joy to illuminate the optimal design. Sometimes I will gather objects that sparkle and call my attention as I walk around my house, or peak through my caches of sacred crystals, feathers, and special goodies I've collected or have been gifted over the years.

Less is sometimes more, especially in creative spaces. If a space is already filled by objects, it can create a cramped feeling and cause tension in response. You may also sense in to your personal comfort levels with empty space.... where emptiness and objects strike the perfect balance for you.

 

A few more design tips... 

  • Add objects sparingly and see how your body responds to their presence... remove/add as your heart guides you
  • Colour is powerful... it is its own healing modality. Look up the energetic qualities or sense into how colours make you feel, and apply intentionally to your space
  • Design to suit your specific purpose... no need to add that old chair you have had for years just because... be focused and scrupulous! 
  • Continue to tweak your space after using it for a while... its like first going into a meditative posture and then realizing your neck is out of alignment... keep listening and intentionally readjusting as necessary. Your space will grow with you.
  • Protect the boundaries you've set around your space. What are the expectations around how this space is treated? Can anyone pick up your paints, adjust your alter, or burn your incense? Sharing can be fun.... if its the intention
  • Remember that you deserve it! No apologies for claiming a space to call your own

Now its time to use it!

The more a space is used, the more it magnetizes us to it and enables our creative and spiritual practice. Eventually your sacred, creative space will develop an energy field of its own that will joyfully and effortlessly draw you in, supporting and magnifying all of your efforts.


Additional Resources

The Four Agreements: Don Miguel Ruiz

Winds of Homecoming: How Intention Frees our Heart: Podcast with Tara Brach

Creative Agreements Deck : by Angela Gollat and Kevin Kaiser

 
 

Kara's Addicting Cookies

1/2 cup butter softened (I usually use salted butter and then omit the salt from the added ingredients)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp water
1/2 tsp vanilla (I usually guesstimate... the cookies might have closer to 1tsp in them)
3/4 cup whole wheat flour (I used rye flower last night but usually use straight up all purpose flour)
1/2 tsp salt (I omit when using salted butter)
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups rolled oats
A little bit of love and, 
Desired amount of any additives (I usually do about 1/4 cup... of course I guesstimate these too haha...each of walnuts, flax seed, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and have also been known to put in chocolate chips, shredded coconut, caramel chips, raisins... honestly whatever you like!)

Blend butter and sugar. Stir in egg, water and vanilla. Sift flour, salt and soda and then blend into mixture. Add remaining ingredients and mix. I usually do about a tablespoon dollup onto the pan, 12 per cookie sheet, or however you like. Bake at 350 degrees F for 7-10 minutes. I start checking at 7 min and decide from there. They will be very gooey so let them cool before removing them or stacking them.

Thank you Kara!


Yoga Suggestions

 

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Butterfly Pose

  • Connects us to our emotional needs, relationships and pleasure
  • Promotes stillness, presence and increased awareness
  • Opens body and heart for more easeful 'birthing'  of the new

(click here for full instructions)

 

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Tree Pose

  • Cultivates a steady body and calm mind
  • Promotes self discipline
  • Helps to motivate us to work towards our goals even if there are many obstacles in our way
  • strengthening & enhances will power

(click here for full instructions)


  See left half for shadowing example

See left half for shadowing example

Painting Overview

* adding pattern... using stencils or brushes in the shape that you are trying to make. Remember to use square brushes to make square things and round brushes for round things.

* considering your background... what is the environment my being is in? does it want imagery added? would it benefit from being simplified?

* adding shadows.... using any dark colour and a small or medium hog hair brush, tend the entire painting with  shadow. Consider what is in front of what, and add dark dry paint on the side of the line where the image goes back, which makes the image in front pop off of the shadow. In less obvious places, don't worry to much about what should be in front of what... there is no right way... you get to make the call. Also take a moment to consider deepening some of the darks in your painting to develop contrast even further.

* adding light sources.... considering if there is a light source in your painting or if it is generally front lit, add a paint colour that is even lighter then the lightest light you've used so far to bring parts of your image even further forward.

* you will know when you have achieved good contrast when you can squint your eyes at your painting and really see that there are distinct darks and lights. If it all looks like it blends together, consider getting even a little more brave with the lights and darks.


 

  • b&p photo credit: Pixie Lighthorse