As I’m writing this, we have ten days until the New Moon occurs. This will be the Strawberry New Moon; in correlation with the Full Moon we just had on June 9th.
The Full Moon on the 9th was in Sagittarius which encouraged us to release and let go of some emotional bondage we were experiencing in our life. It was an intense and transformative Full Moon that affected the tides within you, whether or not you really realized it.
As the New Moon occurs it will be shifting into Leo which means we are starting to feel the intensity of these emotions. They might lead us to great relief or deep anger and resentment. It is up to you as an individual to decide which path you will take. No one has control over your life except yourself; no one can set you free except yourself. It cannot be given to you.
Leo Moons can affect us by encouraging explosive glee or spontaneous outbursts. You will feel a tug towards adventure and experiencing something new. If you follow this feeling, it will lead you to a new outlook you have desperately been needing. Keep your sunny outlook on life, keep encouraging your friends and family, and most of all don’t forget to encourage yourself to be the best you, you can be.
Pride is a major issue for Leo’s and since the New Moon will be in Leo, it will play a part in the ego that exists in every single one of us. Is your pride helping or hindering you? Is your ego INFLATED or DEFLATED? Work on transforming the mind into something productive and useful for society; steer yourself away from materialism and false beliefs.
Leo’s are also very well known for theatrics. They are extremely entertaining to watch and are very boisterous when in a room of people. They do not hold their tongue and they do not worry about how the words affect others. As the New Moon enters Leo it will, in the darkness of night, encourage us to express some deep feelings and act out in ways we typically don’t. It’s fun when the audience is joyful but its disastrous when the audience is reacting in disgust; whoever that audience may be.
This New Moon should be fun though. Buddha taught a middle road. A balance between all things. I’m not perfect at this; I find myself swaying from one side of the road to the other (mentally anyways) all the time. I keep stones on me to help as reminders to bring my vocal tone down and to keep my chi centered. Have fun with this moon. Let go of the things that are holding you back in life, live and let live.
The Science and Spirituality of Meditation – a documentary that offers perspective on how meditation affects the psychological, physical and spiritual aspects of the human body. The documentary was filmed over a five year period where they traveled and interviewed many different people of different standing and experiences to understand their relationship and ideas on meditation. The documentary is intended to be an unbiased presentation of meditation in general. Filmed by G Productions. Available for viewing on Amazon Fire Stick as of May 24, 2017.
We live in a time where we rely on science to explain everything. If science cannot explain it there is a chance we won’t take it seriously. Unfortunately, science can’t explain everything… at least not at the moment.
This documentary not only wants to help understand the scientific part of meditation but also the religious beliefs that accompany it.
Professor Fahri Saatcioglu from the University of Oslo (Department of Molecular Biology) explains that meditation is not just mental contemplation and visual thinking, it has an effect on the molecular structure and DNA encrypted in our bodies.
Dr Frederick Hecht, MD from the University of California San Francisco (Professor of Medicine) states that meditation has a direct effect on the cytokine genes in human tissue.
Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India – documentary visits an ashram outside of the city to discuss with attendees how meditation has directly affected them and their life. There are a few people there infected with HIV and they believe that meditation is helping them heal from this sickness. The man that leads the ashram is Guru Siyag. He believes that the meditation heals because it actives their kundalini. He states the kundalini lays dormant until it is awakened, which he assists with, and forces the kundalini to stand upright and awaken. He explains that in their philosophy of yoga the Sage Patanjali describes eight purposes of Yoga;
Yama – ethics and moral code
Niyama – study and self purification
Asana – the yoga postures practiced
Pranayam – the control of breath during yoga and all other activities
Pratyahar – control of the senses
Dharna – your intentions
Dhyan – meditation
Samadhi – thought and contemplation
In yoga, the movements are all regulated by induced by the awakened kundalini. The kundalini sparks all the functions of the human body and helps them develop into something more productive and helpful.
Guru Siyag also believes that within all of us lies a feminine source of energy which he calls the kundalini. This kundalini is visualized to look like a serpent with its tail in its mouth and as the kundalini awakens it unravels and starts working its way up the direction of the spine. As it travels each chakra slowly awakens and is activated.
Different faiths have a variety of beliefs on how to awaken the kundalini but this particular ashram believes it can be awakened with the assistance of a spiritual guru, who in this documentary is Guru Siyag.
Many followers in this movie explain that they all experience involuntary movements when their kundalini was awakened and had no physical control over them. Their bodies would bounce, twist, stretch and move in ways they claim they didn’t do intentionally. They all believe that it is the functioning of the kundalini moving up along the spine towards the highest chakra which connects us to the universe as a whole.
In India the belief in meditation and the abilities of spiritual guru’s is so heavy that even physicians in the area recommend the Guru to help heal them of their illnesses; specifically in this documentary they state the Guru can help cure them of HIV.
One man claims he was advised by a physician to see the guru and practice meditation. He said that knowing he was going to die from HIV he saw no other choice than to give it a try. He claims that each day he meditated his illness and symptoms slowly started to disappear. He felt better as each day passed. The man provides documentation on film of his medical records showing the test results and also showing that he refused treatment from the doctor because of his faith in meditation as a cure.
San Francisco, California, USA – The visited San Francisco to talk about the biological effects that occurs during meditation and yoga. The Professor and Physician are trying to understand what we can do to maintain our health in ways that medication can’t do.
Dr Frederick Hecht, MD (Professor of Medicine, University of California San Fransisco) has seen that which meditation there is an effect on the cytokine gene that resides in tissue. He is aware that sometimes the state of mind can have a direct effect and create changes in the state of human body. These changes effect one another by allowing certain genes to be more expressed or activated.
Genes are what define how we are built and structured. Genes are the deciding factors in what diseases we can inherit and/or develop.
They did studies of meditation using people who were overweight and during these studies they observed direct changes happening on the genes of those patients while meditating. They observed more response to diet and exercise if meditation was included in their health regimen. The genes being affected were those that control inflammatory response.
Oslo, Norway – There is a professor in Oslo Norway that has been studying the genetic effects of meditation and yoga that the documentary goes on to visit.
Professor Fahri Saatcioglu (Department of Molecular Biology, University of Oslo) explains the reason he decided to investigate the effects of meditation is because he learned of the genetic changes happening during studies of meditation. He wanted to understand it further – how it effects us on a molecular level.
The studies Professor Saatcioflu observed directly included people who learned and participated in a yoga program that included gentle yoga postures, powerful breathing exercises called prana yam and meditation. They practice this for two hours once a week.
They included another controlled regimen which was a one hour walk and a one hour of listening to music to the program to observe their effects as well.
They took blood from the patients, isolated the immune cells, then compared the gene expression patterns before and after the above listed practice for the controlled regimen. Based on the blood they collected they observed that there were approximately 4x more genes affected by the yogic practice than the controlled regimen listed above.
Meditation and Yoga directly affects our gene expression which is more than gentle exercise can do.
Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India – The documentary visits back in India to follow up with a follower of Guru Siyag, named Buddha Ram ji, to find out how the HIV recovery is going which happens to be 4 years after the initial interview. He states that he he has “become aware of the reality” after connecting with Guru Siyag. He says that meditation and yoga has helped him become more mentally and physically stronger. He is now running 10 KM in 44 minutes. He states he is still HIV + and hasn’t taken medication for many years AND hasn’t visited a doctor for the illness. He states that he didn’t believe Guru Siyag at first but continued meditating because he had no other choice and thought he was going to die. He now believes that meditation is the answer for all problems. He states that during meditation he undergoes “khichari mudra” where his tongue rolls up and goes to the pharynx which leads to a cold sensation throughout the entire body.
Guru Ram lal ji Siyag (at the time of the movie 89 years old) teaches Siddha Yoga Meditation completely free of charge. His only goal in life is to help people.
My evening ended with a cigar, watching the men in the family play with guns and drink whiskey. I had Sangria but it wasn’t worth photographing. 😉 It was the perfect end to a perfect day that would guide me into a perfect morning on the Pacific Crest Trail.
The man of the house shared a wonderful story about a hunter using a 500 on a 300 lb boar. I couldn’t recite the entire story but it ended with the bullet entering one shoulder, hitting all the vitals and blowing out the other end. A quick death for a large animal that would lead to a great dinner for many people.
Smoke a Black & Mild with a wooden tip and sip on Sangria. It creates an interesting taste on the pallet only someone mindfully looking for it will appreciate. The wonderful thing about Sangria is it’s recipe changes from one brand to the next and often times one batch to the next depending on it’s maker. The flavor will continuously change and its experience is worth taking wine notes on.
I could hardly sleep the night before because I anticipated the walk with so much excitement. My dreams were playing tricks on me and causing me to wake up earlier than I had intended multiple times throughout the night. There was one dream in particular I recalled the most vividly. In my dream I was fast asleep on the couch (just as I was in reality) and was waken up by the sound of my sisters voice. She said “Denise why haven’t you left yet? Did you decide not to go on your walk?” I looked around the room in a panic; everything was lit up by the sun shining through the windows. I grabbed my phone to see that my alarm had never went off and I missed the sunrise I was so excited to witness. I was heartbroken.
Luckily, it was just a dream.
I woke up one last time around 5AM before the alarm decided to sound. Mom woke up briefly to let the dog out and we had a nice little chat before she went to back to bed and re-enter dreamland. She was the only person I saw that morning.
I went to bed with the clothes on I intended to wear on my hike (even the menstrual pads in between my toes to prevent blistering) and all I had to worry about was putting my shoes on. I grabbed my backpack, my reclaimed-walking stick and left. I walked through town before arriving at the entrance of the PCT. I passed by the campgrounds and many houses. Everyone was fast asleep. The only living thing I ran into were birds and a turkey gobbling as loud as possible and wandering through the streets. That obnoxious gobbling was the only sound louder than my stick hitting the cement under me.
There was a very dense and thick fog covering Lake Morena. It reminded me of what a town might look like abandoned and haunted. Despite the creepy feeling the fog brought with it I welcomed the silence and the alone time. As I walked onto the trail I constantly turned around to snap pictures of the sunrise and greet the Sun Gods.
The higher I went the farther away the fog was. Looking down on it was amazing to me.
As I ventured father along I kept getting a whiff of what smelled like (to me) horrendous body odor. I smelled my own armpits trying to figure out if it was me. I did have a body odor smell but it was clearly mixed with deodorant and did not smell like what I kept getting a whiff of every now and again. Eventually I found a large rock slab and sat down to have a snack. That was when I learned; that horrendous smell was coming from the sage plants that decorated the trail. I know not everyone feels the way I do about the smell so please don’t take offense. I think they are lovely and I used to burn them around my house to cleanse (dried sage that is) and never knew what the live plant smelled like. That was a new experience for me!
All along the trail I also ran into many hummingbirds. I LOVE hummingbirds. We have a feeder in our yard and seeing them every day cheers me up. The ones near my house are brightly colored with greens, pinks, reds and blues. When I try to get near to snap pictures or video tape them they often times fly away. The ones on the part of the pacific crest trail that I was on were brown and grey. None the less, seeing them brightened me up and observing them delight on the dew drops resting on the plants around us was entertaining. I turned a corner to find four hummingbirds buzzing around and flying in circles around each other. I stopped to observe, so amused. That is when a large hummingbird went flying right at my head! As my friend Faye said, “Gangsta hummingbird was pissed off that I was in his mother-fucking turf!”
That is ok though! I am thankful I didn’t run into any mountain lions, bob cats or rattle snakes. The menstrual pads ensured I had no blisters and my repurposed walking stick helped me down off the mountain and maneuver the terrain. It was a wonderful morning. If I could embrace my mornings every day the way I did this ONE day I couldn’t imagine ever having a bad morning. All I caught was a snippet of what is to come and I am starving for something more. Something deeper. Something with heavier weight. I know the universe will not disappoint.
I’ve been preparing for a long distance hike for a few weeks now. I’ve been invited multiple times in the past by my good friend Ross, who adventures around the world and used to be an Army paratrooper, to join in with him. I always had a reason why I couldn’t though. I had a child, I had bills, I had a job, I had a car payment; I had a lot of reasons that would justify my not joining him. What I did know was if I ever decided to run away and go on an adventure it would be with him.
In the last few years since his initial invitation from Ross my life took a drastic change for the worse. I lost my job at the casino I loved working for, I lost my apartment that I decorated and made personal, I lost my car that I named and had an attachment to… I lost everything including my daughter, who now lives with her father. I found myself in and out of a pill and spice addiction (two things that shouldn’t be used especially combined). I found myself suicidal, anti social, anti everything and very self-destructive. All my belongings fit in two bags and a purse. I lost practically everything.
My sister and brother-in-law saved me. They moved me back to my hometown of San Diego California and took me into their home. I quit taking pills, I quit smoking spice and I got a job at a call center that sold wine. I climbed the office ladder and in less than a year was supervising anywhere from 20 to 40 phone agents efficiently and with much confidence. I had thousands of dollars worth of dental work done and was moving quickly to “better” myself or so I thought.
I became irritated with the office politics, didn’t know how to cope with it and a job offer from another call center enticed me. I quit my job and transferred believing I was working towards a better me. I found myself in a situation that was no better. I didn’t feel satisfied. I still felt empty, depressed and hating my life.
I worked hard to try and be independent and yet I hadn’t improved my life much; I was still under the care of my compassionate sister and brother-in-law, and my belongings fit into the trunk of the Saturn Ion they had let me use to transport myself to work and back home.
Long story short, that job fell through the cracks and I found myself right at the same place I was when I got off that airplane and landed in San Diego California a year and half prior. I found myself jobless yet again and had nothing to show for my hard work except a Level 2 WSET Certificate that proved I learned the basics about wine.
I sat up late one night, unable to sleep due to the crazy thoughts that ran through my brain. I remembered Ross invitation to go on an adventure. The last I heard he was hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. He wanted me to join him on that adventure but it never happened. At this moment, sitting in the dark all alone, I realized I had no excuses. I had so few belongings it was silly, no job, no child, no bills… I had nothing. I found Ross on Facebook and messaged him.
He only made it 300 miles into the PCT due to a damaged Achilles tendon. As unfortunate as that event was for him it gave me a reason to join him. I don’t want him to be alone on some crazy adventure like that ever again! He is my friend and I love him.
His next venture would be on the Arizona Trail from Phoenix to Utah. This time I wanted to join. I have to be prepared by March of 2016 and that is what I am doing. Here we go.