Happy Solstice and Welcome to the Golden Age of Truth and Beauty

It’s December 21, 3:28am, the winter solstice 2010.  I woke up to get a glimpse of the total lunar eclipse this morning.  Earlier I had been looking for historical or ancient symbolism of this unique event, a lunar eclipse on the winter solstice.   The winter solstice is the time when the sun reaches its lowest point in the northern sky.  The day of the winter solstice is essentially the shortest of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.  The seasonal significance of the winter solstice is in the reversal of the gradual lengthening of nights and shortening of days.

While I gazed out of my bedroom window (did you think I was really going outside in the 20 degree temps?) at the progression of the eclipse, it came to me.  The solstice is the darkest and longest night of the year.  From here it only gets brighter.  This coupled with the dark crimson moon  reminded me that we are currently experiencing a time of  Kali Yuga, or dark age (not the Goddess Kali).  According to the Hindu faith, Kali Yuga is literally  the age of the male demon, or the age of vice.  Kali Yuga is the last of the four natural stages that the world goes through as part of the cycle of yugas described in the Indian scriptures.

The bright and luminous moon, closely associated with the divine feminine, grew duller and duller.  It made me think of recent times of women forgetting about their divine essence,  and the feminine attributes of nurturing, collective cooperation, creativity and deep respect for the environment.  It made me lament that women have been affected by corporate conditioning, hiding their true beauty behind plastic masks and starving their bodies in pursuit of the perpetually unattainable standardization.  I thought of the unnecessary pain and abuse of not only women, but of humankind worldwide, due to excessive greed, jealousy, selfishness, and aggression characteristic of this dark age.

I couldn’t help but imagine that in this time of darkness (well not really for me, I’m a city dweller and there’s light pollution) is a very important event.  Within the next hour, we will begin to see Luna’s re-emergence as a bright and powerful cosmic entity.  Slowly I’ll watch as the darkness again becomes light.  Is this our release from 432,000 years of  Kali Yuga, or dark age?

I am not Hindu (so please forgive me) but I would like to believe that this is the end of Kali Yuga and the beginning of the Golden Age of Truth.  Women and girls will once again recognize their power and beauty.  The world as a whole (feminine and masculine) will begin to experience a divine feminine spiritual revolution and enjoy the benefits of a more evolved and civilized egalitarian society?

Today’s event can serve as an inspiration.  I will start with myself right now.  I can spare a little (actually a lot) more general kindness to people around me.  I will pay more attention to the needs of others, instead of ignoring them because I’m crankified.  Although I love my body and am generally comfortable in it, I have my moments.  I am going to appreciate and adore it more, even the parts that tend to annoy me (the hereditary belly pooch).  Adoring my body includes getting it into the best shape in can be in, without extreme measures or harmful abuse.  (I need to lose a few pounds of fat).

What will YOU do to bring on the Golden Age of Truth and Beauty?

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The 10 Pounds in 30 Days Plan Went Bust: I Confess

See, wha-haa-haappened wuz…back on September 9th I went on a mission to drop 10 pounds in 30 days with no diet or fake food and no boring crap.  The whole plan went straight to hell when I discovered a health problem and took action to correct it.  I will spare you all the gory details but I went through a minor surgery (which didn’t seem so minor at all) at the end of September.  Before that I had lost 3 pounds of fat.  After, I don’t know.  It looks as though I gained seven, but the doctor insists that this is water weight.  I my mind I know he’s right because just the same as how the body can’t get rid of more than 1-2 pounds a week, the body can’t manufacture more than 1-2 pounds a fat per week, unless it’s a Supersize Me situation but still, I had a few resulting cookie episodes.  I had to take it easy from all physical activity for 2 and a half weeks after the surgery, which kinda threw me off a little bit more.

So, here we are again.  These things happen because this is real life.  I’m back on the program because I want to slim down a little but also because I love the variety of foods and the exercise, well, is not just exercise.  It’s all fun and games.  (Yasmin unlocked some new songs on Dance Dance Revolution, woo-hoo!)

I don’t know whether I can lose 10 pounds in 30 days or not.  But I know I can slim down and look fabulous in 30 days, but it might take a few more weeks to total 10 pounds, or maybe not, who knows?  I’ve learned that this doesn’t matter.  I was wasting energy worrying about something stupid that just causes unnecessary anxiety and a fall off the bandwagon. I decided a while ago that I am not willing to make any drastic dietary or exercise changes that I am not willing to reasonably keep up forever.  However, I fully acknowledge and take into consideration that  to lose weight requires that we intake less and exert more than maintaining weight does.  But the difference between the two should not be drastic if I’m generally eating nutrient dense delicious foods and keeping my body moving.

The lesson learned:  do the right things and skip the arbitrary deadlines and quotas.  Motivation should not be found in a date on the calendar or a number on the scale, especially since the journey never ends there.  I’ve found some super motivation (besides the good feeling) though.  I’m dancing in a show in February.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t need to work towards a certain weight or size.  The motivation is to get back down in that studio working on the most deliciously fantastic erotic tantric bellydance creation ever!  Stay tuned for details, dates, invites.  What’s YOUR motivation?

10 Pounds, 30 days, and No Boring or Nasty Crap

I decided on September 5 that I want to lose 10 pounds of fat, not water or muscle in 30 days.   I lost weight and felt great in June of this year but much of that belly pooch has crept back again (which also lets me know that a lot of the original weight loss was water because the body can not put on that much fat so quickly).  I allowed the super hot weather influence me to stay inside in the air conditioning and drink my friend Reba’s home made rum punch and eat jank just a few times too many.

Fake Wax Food by Silkytyme.com

NO FAKE FOOD!

Now I want it all back, the fabulous feeling, the super high energy and the cute outfits.  So here’s my fool-proof plan.  I am not going on a diet.  I never do because they suck.  Right now I am focused on eating nutrient dense food (if anybody is interested I can provide more complete details on this, just let me know).  I’m not having any nasty fake processed food.    Only fresh, colorful, delicious, whole, gastronomic delights.  I have recipes.

Autumn is the absolute best time for this because of the bountiful harvest at the farmer’s markets.  There is such a variety of fresh, whole, delicious things to eat.   Honeycrisp apples will be available soon!  These are the most delicious apples I have ever had in my life.  I can’t get enough of them and my daughter will scarf down 2-3 of them in a day.  I get mad when she eats the last one and leaves me none.

Play is exercise.  I’m not buying a gym membership or an expensive  boring machine.  I am going to play. I have a big heavy hula hoop, a jump rope, Francie’s yoga class, my bellydance class, Wii Fit, Dance Dance Revolution, some good (crazy fast) soca music, and a bike.  That’s it: fun and play.

Anybody care to join me on the 10-pound 30-day adventure?

Man on Rat Wheel

NO BORING CRAP

This is not an ad for the yoga or bellydance classes although you are invited to join.  But you could also just dig in your own closet and find some toys to play with or even better, throw a huge fun soca dance party every weekend and invite me!  We can share ideas and experiences to help make this a non-painful, non-boring experience.

I must warn you though, there is actually more to this plan.  Balance is key.  For example, I know I want to go out with friends this weekend for wine and tapas.  I hate going out with (or being) one of those “I’m on a diet so I’m gonna have the salad and water at this great restaurant”-type people so I must offset this moderate indulgence with something–more activities, or decreased caloric intake.  There is a science to this.  Not rocket science, but a little bit of brain work is required.

Ok?  Let’s go!

What is Tantra? An Informal Explanation

I have been getting this question a lot more lately, “what’s tantra”?  Nobody wants to hear my well thought out and researched dissertation on the topic.  They want to know what it is, what it means to me, how it could help them, in 90 seconds or less.   So here we go:

Tantra is a way of life, a world view, and a spiritual practice that involves full and non-judgmental acceptance of self and the full integration of mind (intellect), body (senses), and spirit (heart, connectedness to all of creation) into one unified being.  So you see your whole self not as good or bad, but just as is.  Tantra goes against the Puritanical concept that the physical body is dirty or sinful, and instead views sensuality (the senses – hearing, seeing, feeling, smelling, and tasting) and sexuality as inseparable from the spiritual self.  In short, tantra is like sensual yoga.  Tantra does not however, degenerate into the practice of hedonism, or overindulgence and irrational devotion to extreme pleasure.  The idea is that passion and desire are pathways to experience a higher state of spiritual consciousness, or pure contentment.  The practice of tantra, much like yoga, taps into subtle energies and moves them through meditation (both moving and still), visualization, and ritual to affect health, beauty, state of mind, and overall wellness.

Tantra does not require adherence to any particular religious beliefs, dogma, or rituals and rejects all forms of prejudice. The only required ideal is to live as a whole and authentic human being, without the exclusion of natural passion, creativity, enjoyment, and sensual perception in order to become and remain deeply connected with life.  Tantra is not all fun and games.  It is challenging in that you must remain “present” most of the time.  To be present means to be unattached to the past or preoccupied with the future.  The focus is on the here and now.

I originally sought tantra as a way to experience a new dimension to my bellydance.  It turned out to be an effective means of anger management, greatly developed my sense of intuition, enhanced my sex life, and helped me to be a more effective parent. In broader terms tantra is very useful in stress relief, living a lifestyle that promotes wellness, emotional stability, more meaningful relationships, and general success in challenging endeavors.

I teach tantra workshops and provide coaching to individuals and couples.  For more information see: LifeBliss Solutions.

Reconvergence of Divergent Paths

One of my favorite poems depicts the oft accurate story of my life journey:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And being one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

~Road not Taken by Robert Frost

So I took the path of entrepreneur, sensual lifestyle and wellness coach.  After all the (law) schooling, (office) training, (fun) sacrifice, and attention not paid to the naysayers.  I loved helping people to manifest their deepest desires, having control of my time, and living a sensually spiritual lifestyle and being authentically delicious 100% of my time.  La-la-la-laaaaa…

Enter a contracting economy.  With a dwindling client base and mounting financial stress I decided to get a daytime office contract gig.  Nothing ambitious, just something easy that yields a predictable base pay and requires no overtime.  But of course, nothing could be so easy for me.  Just shifting the remaining clients from daytime to evening, going on the short commute (to the other side of my neighborhood), doing some boring paperwork, and then coming back to my delicious life.  Not quite.  I ended up in a slightly different (higher) position than I had applied for.  Word got out quickly that I’m also a lawyer and the responsibilities quickly multiplied and I found myself being sucked into the miserable abyss of indentured corporate (gum-ment) servitude.

A series of unbelievable events occurred and a year and a half later I found myself popped right into a real legal position under the wings of two top-notch mentors from my alma mater, earning a decent keep.  Wha?  Nooooooo!  This was not what I intended to happen!  I thought I was leaving all this behind when I founded LifeBliss Solutions.  I wondered what would happen to my delicious life now?  But this opportunity is one I could not refuse.  So in the true spirit of sensual spirituality I decided to take it on, and just go with it.  It was undeniable that I could shore up resources for the future of LifeBliss for years to come.  I didn’t only decide to go with this, I decided to bring my delicious life along with me.

Living a delicious life does not mean always being free to do whatever you want, whenever you want.  I’d almost forgotten that it means always making the best of what you have in the present moment.  After all, it has been my life work to help others live deliciously, whatever their current circumstance may be.  Now I had the opportunity to demonstrate in real-time.

I happily took on the new challenge and obtained the necessary assistance with LifeBliss’s functions, which I now have ample resources to procure.  There are many bright sides to this spot I am in right now and since I am more comfortable that LifeBliss Solutions will continue to thrive and support the mission to change the world, one person at a time, I feel fully delicious again.  It’s as though I have one foot on two different paths and I like it. With me, things never go as the textbook predicts.  So I’ll just go with it.

The Grace in Falling Apart

by Pamela Slim
Escape from Cubicle Nation
from Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur

There is a dark, ugly and awkward place that many self-help enthusiasts don’t want to tell you about.

Sometimes it comes up from behind and hits you in the head like a wooden plank.

Like when you get scary results back from a cancer test, or learn your spouse is cheating, or lose your job.

Other times it creep ups on you inch by inch as you are in the midst of being busy.

Like when you wake up one day and realize that you really want to do something different but don’t know what. And that your current work feels hollow, and meaningless. And that you know you have done great stuff in the past, but don’t know if you are capable of doing great stuff in the future.

It is the meantime, and it happens when you leave the comfortable, creative groove of feeling secure in your life and enter into the territory of I have no idea what is going on and I really want to feel better and won’t it stop now?

It can feel really, really awful.

The reason it feels awful is that you have no grounding. You are not producing great work. Your long-term relationships feel awkward.  Your sleep is fitful. You want to do something but don’t know what it is. Most people don’t understand it. You don’t understand it. You just want to go back to the way things were in the “good times.” You want to be a Linchpin, a world changer, a force for good. But all you can manage to do is watch reruns of Law & Order.

In the confusion, there is grace

If you let yourself sit with the confusion and sometimes dread, sadness and anxiety, a wonderful thing happens.

You find yourself.

Under the fancy degrees and impressive experience and a stellar community profile, there sits a quiet and unassuming person.

One with the confidence and wonder of a 5-year old. One without preconceived notions of what is responsible and appropriate and without fear of disappointing anyone but herself.

And you can ask her: If none of this frenetic activity really mattered, what would I be doing?

Or perhaps:

  • Who do I really want to work with?
  • If I had a dying breath and had to say something to the inhabitants of this planet, what would it be?
  • How do I want to spend my limited time on earth?
  • Who do I really love? Who really loves me?

Great, meaningful, deeply significant work happens when you really marinate in the meantime.

It is not a distraction from the creative process, it is the creative process.

Khalil Gibran explains this perfectly in The Prophet:

“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.

Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.

And could you keep in your heart the miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;

And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.

And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.”

If you are feeling awkward and out of sorts, take a deep breath and sink into the feeling.

Renewed creative spirit must be just around the corner.

Affirm Your Dream Today!

Greetings fellow Goddesses! Whew! Life has taken me on a whirlwind tour as of late and I just had to jot a few thoughts out to you, since I’ve been so inspired. The power of  “Be and It Is” should not keep shocking me but as I sit and reflect on some of my own personal accomplishments I’m floored by the power of positive affirmation. Without going too far into the Yay Mee story let me just give you the short gist of what’s been going on.

A few months back I had my 31st birthday. Not the milestone 30th but for some reason I felt that milestone angst you get when you turn the corner on your twenties. I decided to mark this year as my 31st year of firsts, I scribbled out a short list (which has since grown) of first experiences I wanted to have this year and I hit the ground running with the idea. Now some of this may have to do with my sun sign. As an Aquarius I have about the most impulsive sign in the zodiac, and anyone who knows me would agree that I encapsulate impulsivity. But it’s something else altogether when a myriad of impulses come together to forge one linear and focused path, and even more strange when that path is the most improbable imaginable. Well however improbable, here is where I find myself and the only thing I can attribute to this is the power of concise affirmation.

A few months back I made a declaration, not so much of things I wanted, cause things are trivial, but of a way of being that I desired. Now it just so happens that this way of being brings those trivial things I mentioned earlier, but I can’t be held to the fire for that! At any rate, I know I’m no Houdini, and I’m no more special or powerful than the rest of you Goddesses, so my message to you today is a simple one. If you’re not living the existence you want to live, AFFIRM IT!

First decide on what you want or where you want to be. Picture yourself there.  See yourself doing whatever it is you want to do. Word of advice…pick one path or you’ll drag yourself in a million and one directions! (take it from me) Once you see yourself, and I mean, really picture yourself there, begin to shape yourself around that image. For example I have always pictured myself on the jacket of a book cover. In this picture I’ve always had long locs. Well the longer I put off locking my hair the longer that process will take right? I experienced a life altering event about a year ago and decided to loc at that time. Now I didn’t consciously do it to match up with the image of myself on the jacket cover but since I did that, I’ve been well on my way. Funny how that image I’ve been carrying is bringing itself to light. And I should probably add that though I pictured myself with locs I had no interest in ever wearing my hair that way. I mean I would have belted an emphatic HELL NO! If you told me my hair would be locked today.

Next you need to tell other people what you’re affirming. This is the hard part cause this can be kind of embarrassing. If your thinking of a desire that is intensely personal to you, you might not want to share it with anyone. You might be afraid of their response. I say forget their response today. Imagine their response when your actually living your dream. Do you know what that response will be? They will be saying, “I knew her when…” No matter how crazy it sounds just put it out there. Just be careful not to share too much with those toxic folks out there. You know, those dream killers. A perfect stranger would be better to share your dream with than one of them.

Make your affirmation a consistent part of your routine. You should affirm who you are to yourself daily…ALL DAY actually. This not only keeps you focused but it allows you to begin to really believe what you are telling yourself if you haven’t been already. In addition to that, you will find that you accomplish more in the way of achieving this goal when you set time aside in your daily routine to work on it, even if you are still only thinking about it or mapping it out. Mental energy is REAL energy. So what you focus your thoughts on will manifest in some way eventually.

There i s no last step to this process, it’s as perpetual as breathing. Like every breath, each thought will take you to the next. You’ll be amazed at where you end up!

I hope you got a little inspiration out of this. Look for my next post coming soon, and I should have a link for you to follow so I can show you first hand how far affirmation can take you!  Until next time…Peace and Power!

Aset Musheera (Shemeka Hollis) is a DC artist, poet, essayist, mother, sister, student, lover, awesome best-friend, and enthusiastic liver of life. She revels in the journey of the life experience and encourages everyone to explore the inner passions keep tucked away in the vessel we mistake for our identity. She is silly. She is cogent. She is loving. She is present in this experience. She IS. Bless

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