New Moon, New Opportunity

New Moon, New Opportunity

There is that old saying, “Every day is a new beginning!” which is just as inspiring as it is true, but did you know that every month we are offered a chance to begin anew as well?

This lesser known second chance is one that is gifted to us by our amazing universe every time that a new moon occurs, which is about every 28 – 30 days.

The new moon is an planetary (or astrological) moon phase that happens when the sun and moon become conjunct. This is also when a new lunar phase cycle begins.

Tomorrow, on July 2, 2019, at 3:16 p.m. EDT, a new moon in Cancer will occur – and with a solar eclipse! How exciting! Unfortunately, though, this occurrence will only be visible in South America – but that doesn’t mean that you can’t experience the healing and spiritual effects of the this event.

“A new moon teaches gradualness and deliberation and how one gives birth to oneself slowly. Patience with small details makes perfect a work, like the universe. – Rumi

Most people never pay much attention to our alignment with this energy force, but it is there for the taking if we’re open to receiving its offerings.

New moon events are prime times to set intentions, make life changes, start new goals or projects, etc. I, personally, like to think of these events as being special unconscious universal connections that help us to vibrate higher and grow spiritually.

If you’re wondering what to do during a new moon, and are interested in taking advantage of this celestial event I’ve listed a few simple ideas below.

Start a new venture.

Energy received from the new moon holds an abundance of possibility allowing you reap the rewards of the seeds you have sown in the form of set intentions prior to the new moon event. (It’s best to set intentions that will take place the day after the new moon – not on or before.)

For example, the new venture that I have set my intentions for is to successfully train for a 5k that I will be participating in this September. So, any training that I begin, in order for my intention to have the best chance for success, will begin on the day after the new moon.

You should also make sure that your intentions are as specific as possible. For instance, ” I want to complete the 5k in September in 35 minutes or less”, or ” I want to beat my score from last year’s 5k by 10 minutes.” The reason why you should be as clear as possible is because this helps the universe and divine intervention help you reach your specific goal without any ambiguity.

Start a healing ritual .

Thankfully, new moon energy is great for helping us learn to appreciate the calm after the storm or better yet, the light that brightens our days once again after the darkness ceases. A healing ritual can help you overcome grief, a job or relationship loss, or any other type of loss and it is as simple as drawing on divine intervention or the universe for comfort and solace. Being as specific as possible here is key as well. You might want to include, in your intention, when you would like to be healed; and note what what you would like to replace your loss or sadness with.

Create a sacred space.

A sacred space is an outdoor or indoor space that is created for the purpose of prayer, meditation, self-reflection or intention manifestation. Most sacred spaces are created within one’s home, and becomes a place that one uses to get away from everything or just commune with a higher power. It is a safe, quiet, comfortable space decorated with personally relaxing or soothing colors, preferred spiritual or religious relics, decorations and furnishings. Oftentimes a makeshift alter is also created within a sacred space and filled with candles, religious or spiritual beads, statues, crystals, rocks and other items that can help you connect with your higher power and enlist good positive healing energy.

I recently began working on creating a sacred space in my home. It isn’t quite where I would like it to be, but I will be working on it until it meets my satisfaction. Stay tuned for future updates on its progression – especially if you’d like some tips!

Candle lighting.

My tried and true… and my favorite means of preparing for a new moon is candle lighting. This method is done by lighting a candle, holding it in your hands and saying a prayer, mantra or asking your higher power to help you bring more love, happiness, gratitude, blessings and light into your life. It’s as easy as that. It is customary to let the candle go out on its own, but for safety’s sake… I would not do this. Please put the candle out in a safe manner once you have completed your candlelight new moon ritual.

I hope that you found this non-exhaustive list of new moon ritual ideas helpful, or at the very least interesting. Thank you for reading and Happy New Moon in Cancer!

Until the next post…

Take care + Be well!

What I learned about resilience from hiking in the desert

What I learned about resilience from hiking in the desert

I am always looking for ways to find similarities between life and nature whenever I am out hiking, taking nature photos or just out and about walking my dog.

One thing that I, and other outdoor enthusiasts, can probably agree on is that nature has this glorious way of teaching us about ourselves and life.

The only difference will likely be in perspective and opinion as everyone tends to see different things — and in different places — sometimes where others may not see anything at all…. such is the remarkableness of storytelling! Such is the splendor of our natural world.

When hiking a trail every landscape, for me, seems to have a plethora of lessons. Lessons that may or may not always be immediately noticeable. Sometimes a lesson will catch you off guard right after you just turned a corner or reached a phenomenal trail peak; and at other times it is found in a sunrise or sunset, a wild creature that has just crossed your path, or something as simple as the shape, texture or color of a plant, tree or rock.

The amount of inspiration is, in my opinion, limitless and I would like to share a few of the lessons that I have learned from the natural landscape of the Joshua Tree National Park desert with you on this Wellness Wednesday.

  • Life is hard, but regardless of the conditions and situations you may be faced to live with, you can survive them. [It is possible to survive just about anything]
  • Even though the conditions and situations may seem desolate, every now and then, (usually when you least expect it), a little bit of hope and possibility will rain down on you and give you just the break that you may need to make it to the end of your trail. [With or without hope… with a little patience good things will happen]
  • The rain is necessary! That is…if you want to be able to truly enjoy the full range of the beauty of the desert. [Balance is the key to joy and well-being]
  • Sometimes it will be the trail that you least expected to inspire you that you end up gaining the most from – so try not to pre-judge or worry about the trail that you are on. [Life is always full of surprises – if you’re open to receiving them]
  • Although the flora and fauna residing within the desert may seem strong, (because they have had to endure so much harsh weather), they are actually some of the most delicate, beautiful and treasured items and should be respected and handled with great care. [Strength can be found in many places and expressed in a variety of ways – not in just the most obvious things]
  • Every trip through the desert should be carefully thought out. [Acknowledge what you must face and face it best by preparing for the unexpected – because there is a good chance of something happening that will be unexpected- safety first…always and in all things.]
  • Stunning and amazing thing will spring up from the most unexpected spaces. [Life is full of surprises…Always be prepared for a plot twist]
  • You may have to carry heavy loads through rocky terrain and challenging elevations until you reach the top of the mountain or complete that strenuous trail; but every step you take is one step closer to removing the weight from your back and delighting in pure refreshment. [Allow yourself to be transformed by things that you may find difficult to manage because there will be a reward of some kind waiting for you at the end.]
  • You can journey through the desert trails alone and make it through, but that journey is often more interesting and special with a friend by your side to share it with. [Sometimes a little support can help ease your journey and make the time go by a lot faster.]
  • Just when you thing that you have had enough of the desert, something special will happen to change your mind and you will realize that your pilgrimage through the vast unknown was a gift from above; that is when you will feel as though there is no place that you would rather be. [Accepting all facets of life allows you to remain open to continually finding gratitude and joy!]

Thank you for reading.

Until the next post…

Take care + be well.

An Experience in Late Spring Desert Soothing

An Experience in Late Spring Desert Soothing

Hello Everyone and Happy Thursday! I just returned home from a slightly extended, (and much needed), trip to one of my favorite places to visit in Southern California – Joshua Tree National Park.

It was exciting, relaxing and wonderful as usual – this was my third time visiting this national park.

I missed not going last year, tremendously, because I was deep in the throes of overcoming grief, and I didn’t realize exactly just how much I missed the desert until I was finally able to once again step foot onto the coppery, tawny hued hot sand and dirt of the very beautiful Mojave-Colorado desert inspired landscape of Joshua Tree National Park. You really have to visit this part of the earth to truly appreciate just how welcoming it is.

To back track a little bit, I didn’t go last year because it just didn’t feel right. I even made reservations twice last year, and cancelled them just as soon as I made them. So, I know deep down I wanted to go badly, but my need to hibernate at home and learn how to live without my youngest child was so much stronger. Sometimes I think that my son may have even had a hand in my not going because I was no where near ready to enjoy myself – as one should when on vacation.

My last visit was just a few months before my son’s death, so as you can probably imagine, this trip brought back so many memories of when he was still physically in my life.

This year though, I was more prepared for the adventures and physical exertion required for such a trip; as well as the opportunity to release some really heavy internal turmoil and manifest a hint of personally relevant rehabilitation. The desert offers many opportunities for reflection and healing and my heart and mind are now in a good place – a place of equanimity.

This trip was quite different from my previous trips to Joshua Tree National Park in that it was less about reaching a specific peak, enduring a strenuous trail, or taking a lot of pictures so that I could post them to Instagram. In fact, for the first time ever while traveling, I gave extra attention to avoiding my smartphone while away. I wanted to make sure that I would be fully immersed in my trip, and that required me to be fully present in every moment so that I could obtain the most from my experience with nature, and the culture of the area, while there. Trust me, it was by no means easy, and I was tempted to get on my phone a few times to post photos on social media and to create a post here on Salubrity and Soul, but I didn’t and I am glad that I was able to keep my promise to myself and to ensuring that I would be able to have the best possible connection to my trip experience.

I did take a few photos eventually though, because I had to have something to remind me of my trip besides the Joshua Tree t-shirt that I bought. I just made sure that capturing photos from my trip just so that I could let everyone know what I was up to at the moment was not my main focus – or a focus at all.

This trip was was less about physical activity and more about becoming one with nature, more specifically, the desert – and and allowing it to teach me about surviving, overcoming, adjusting to harsh conditions and thriving while in that state.

I love being in the desert and I figured if anything was going to propel me to another level of healing in my bereavement it would be within the lessons learned from watching the example of resilience from the delicate but oh-so-mighty desert.

One of the first things that I noticed was the abundance of plant life and wildlife at Joshua Tree National Park this year. It was obviously more green and more bright with colors from a variety of plant species that were dormant during my last visits – (and my 2017 visit was pretty exciting as far as seeing color and running into fauna was concerned, so that should give you a little hint to the eye-catching changes that left me in awe.) I concluded that my increased sightings of lizards, birds, insects, desert rats and rabbits were the result of the increased plant life which undoubtedly was the result of the fact that the desert had received quite a bit of rain earlier this year. This part of my trip was something that I enjoyed witnessing as it made my trip even more pleasurable and in a lot of ways – more spiritual.

Joshua Tree National Park emits such a deep, raw energy within its boundaries that I would describe as being very cleansing. Maybe it has something to do with it being a high desert, or maybe it is because when you are out there it is almost as though you are visiting another planet, or because the desert holds a great deal of “fire energy”, or perhaps it is due to it being a vast land once inhabited by ancient natives and still feels like it.

Whatever the reason, many people, myself included, love to visit this desert public land for the visual aesthetics, the physical activity offerings and the spiritually stimulating opportunities.

Had I decided to go last year, I know that I would not have enjoyed myself as much. It would have been a very solemn and mentally draining trip and I don’t believe that I would have been able to even entertain the thought of going out for a hike each day; or try new restaurants in the area like I was able to while on this trip. It feels very good to be able to open up myself up to new experiences once again – and in a place that fills me with so much joy and peacefulness.

Have you ever gone on vacation only to return home feeling as though you now need a vacation from your vacation? I have, but that never happens to me after visiting Joshua Tree.

I am grateful for every moment of mindfulness along the trails that I hiked and every awe-inspiring view that captured my attention and my heart. The connection that I receive with every visit here never fails me. This time is no different. Right now I feel transformed, invigorated and inspired to share the lessons of resilience that I learned from the desert.

Thanks for reading!

Until the next time,

Take care + be well

Grief Rituals

Grief Rituals

Hi Everyone! I hope that your week is off to a wonderful start! I also hope that you had a great weekend. Well it is Monday, which means that it is “Memorial Monday” here at Salubrity and Soul.

Memorial Mondays are days that I will discuss topics related to grief and loss, and on this first Memorial Monday I’d like to begin this series by discussing healing rituals for grief and loss, or “grief rituals”.

A ritual, (although it may sound like something having to do with witchcraft or something), is actually just a task or activity that is performed, and is considered proven to be personally effective as a means of helping the bereaved move through their grief.

“If you have lost someone you love this year, or if it’s the anniversary of their death, you can celebrate their life by creating a ritual that is meaningful for you.” – Dr. Margaret Rutherford

After my son died I began stocking up on candles because I found that lighting a candle every Friday night beginning at the last hour that he was physically at home, until the hour that we received word of his accident helped me adjust to losing his physical presence within our home. It also helped me to gently process losing our mother/child, mother/son relationship and connection.

That was almost two years ago, and I still practice that ritual, but now instead of lighting a candle every Friday evening, I now light one every evening after dinner at which time I call out my son’s name and declare that this candle lighting is for him and then I go on to say a few words to my son and close with a prayer or some other wording that holds special meaning. I then end each nightly candle lighting by blowing out the candle and then telling my son “good night”.

Another ritual that I have is that I watch, (or rather continue to watch), my son’s favorite television shows. There are several shows that my husband, son and I used to watch together regularly and we would have in-depth conversations about each episode afterwards. That was really hard to adjust to losing by the way…

Continuing to watch those shows helps to remind us of his opinions, perspectives and personality. He used to have his own special spot on the couch and now when we watch those shows it is healing because it’s almost as though we can still feel his presence.

“All healing is first a healing of the heart”. – Carl Townsend

I guess I would probably also include my journaling practice as being one of my grief rituals as well since the writing that that I do for my grief is within a journal that is reserved specifically for expressing my personal feelings about my son, how his loss has affected me – and our family. It is also another way that I speak to my son as well.

The ritual examples that I have just discussed are daily and weekly rituals. However, there are also grief rituals that can be performed monthly or yearly as well; such as memorial rituals. I will talk about those next week so if you are a part of my fellow bereaved tribe, stay tuned for those other helpful ideas.

There are many things that can be done to ease grief. Grief rituals are just a part of the many ways to do so. What makes these rituals so special is that they are often quite personal in nature, and can be created to be very unique representations of the relationship that we had with the person we lost; and our connection to them. So much so, that it can become a way for us to continue feeling that connection – even after they have passed on.

Grief rituals can be helpful in providing, us, the grieved, with some sense of of normalcy during a time when everything seems to be out of control. I like to think of them as a way of “making the burn sting a little less” when you’re needing the world to just slow down a bit because your grief is making it so hard for you to keep up.

That is what grief rituals have done for me. They helped me to re-frame my thinking by making me feel as though what has passed; hasn’t completely passed and it gave me the chance to view my loss in a more positive light by helping me remember that there are so many things that I can still be grateful for within my experience with loss.

One important thing to remember during your grief ritual is to let yourself feel whatever you need to feel, and don’t feel bad if you find that you need to express any anger, or need to cry. Just let it out because that is going to help you get through your pain – even though it may not feel like it. If you don’t find that you need to express any emotion that is fine too. There is no right or wrong way to feel during a grief ritual – or through any aspect of grieving.

Here are a few daily and weekly grief ritual ideas:

  • Write in a grief journal daily.
  • Visit your loved one’s burial or accident site weekly.
  • Light a candle daily or weekly during a specific time of the day to remember and honor your loved one.
  • Watch your loved ones favorite shows, sports or movie.
  • Create a playlist of your loved ones favorite song(s) and play it during a specific time of the day or week.
  • Put fresh flowers in their room weekly.
  • Say a daily prayer for them or recite their favorite quote or other reading.

Do you have any thoughts regarding daily and weekly grief rituals? If you know of any additional grief ritual ideas please feel free to share them with me. I would also be very interested in hearing any stories telling how you were helped, (or not helped), by a grief ritual.

Thank you for reading!

Until the next post…

Take care + be well

Gratitude

Gratitude

“Gratitude soothes and heals the soul.”

– C.c.m.

Some days won’t be as good as others, but there will always be something good in each day. The key is to keep looking up!

Until the next post…

Blessings, love and light,

Carol

Welcoming 2019

Welcoming 2019

Happy New Year! December was an engrossing month for me. Not just because of Christmas or because the spirit and activities of the holidays were in full effect, but because in addition to all of that loveliness I had the opportunity to experience a few things that brought me just a bit more added holiday cheer, profound happiness and joy.

For starters, I received exciting news that one of my children had plans to get married and I also received news regarding my son’s accident which helped me to gain some closure with regard to the details of his accident and eventual passing. Both of these occurrences were blessings and really helped to make an otherwise stress laden, but truly wonderful and exciting month a much more rewarding experience overall. In fact, those were the best Christmas gifts that I could have ever received…but, enough about my December. I hope that you had a great Christmas and were able to enjoy the holidays with those you hold dear to you… and for my fellow grievers, I hope that you know that your loved one(s) were with you sharing every moment of the beauty of the holidays with you.

“There are 365 days in a year and you will meet all the colours of life throughout the year: The blue, the black, the pink… Only blue is not a life only pink is not a life, only black is not a life! Life is all the colours!”

Mehmet Murat Ildan

Now that 2018 has passed I know many of us have made resolutions for the new year. Some of which will be successful throughout the year; and some that will probably fall to the wayside in about three months or so. Just remember that the good thing about new year’s resolutions is that you can always begin again if yours did not work out this time; but if you can stick with yours for the remainder of the year (and possibly thereafter), even better and think about how wonderful that feeling of accomplishment will feel!

The reason why I mentioned the possibility of not fulfilling a resolution is because, in all honesty, it is a common reality. We can promote positivity and motivation tactics until the sun falls from the sky, but the truth is that sometimes sticking to our resolutions can be difficult, not just for the bereaved, but it can happen to anyone and for any reason. Sometimes it just isn’t the right time to start something no matter how much we may want to do it and that does’t mean that that person is a failure or lazy, it just means that maybe there is something else that might need to be that person’s central focus at the moment. What I know is that if someone wants something bad enough, they will do everything in their power to try to achieve it – in such an instance the question is never “why not?”, but “when?” and the answer to that is always when they are ready. So “Cheers!” to the new year and to success in all of our resolution endeavors!

“Another chapter in our lives has begun and as our thoughts all turn to improving ourselves we ought to remember that this book holds 365 pages and only we are responsible for what is written on those pages, so let’s all make sure that our books are worth writing, reading and publishing. “

– Carol C.M.

Until the next post,

Blessings!

Take Care + Be Well,

Carol