Have you given any thought to how you can be a better leader through mindfulness? This is a topic I’ve been passionate about for years, way before its mainstream acceptance. As mindfulness continues to grow in popularity and becomes the latest health and wellness craze to infiltrate the workplace, it’s as if we’ve finally been given permission to talk about this stuff openly.
Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D., and Diane Solomon, host of A Meeting of the Ways, continue their discussion about the Spring Equinox and explore the concept of the Sacred Feminine and its relationship to the spring season. They touch upon some important insights about the Sacred Feminine that have emerged from the classes that Isa has taught on the subject for the last 15 years. Isa also talks about her collaboration with thought leader and Buddhist scholar, Dr. Robert Thurman, in co-teaching a class called Embracing the Sacred Feminine, and discusses the role of the feminine within Buddhist philosophy.
As I am preparing to return to Menla Retreat in the beautiful Catskill Mountains in Phoenicia, New York to teach Embracing the Sacred Feminine with Robert Thurman, I am struck by the change in public discourse around the feminine experience that has occurred since the last time we taught this class together. With the ascendance of a president who grants permission, through his words and actions, to publicly humiliate women without negative consequence, others have become emboldened to repudiate women’s rights. This repudiation, demonstrated in the U.S. Senate, demonstrated in the struggle for women’s reproductive rights, and demonstrated in the rejection of a woman president can only be a function of a larger misogyny. Misogyny has always been part of the cultural fabric – not only in the U.S., but also in many, many other cultural settings. Yet the current bald demonstration of it at this point in our history is shocking.
In my book, Coming to Peace, I focus on how to resolve conflict in families, communities, and between individuals. Just as important, I also attempt to help people understand the deeper reasons conflicts arise in the first place. Often the causes are far more complex than a simple misunderstanding between people suggests.
Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D., speaks with Diane Solomon, host of A Meeting of the Ways, on the very ancient connection between Valentine’s Day and the Spring Equinox – and how both celebrations have everything to do with relationship.
I am very excited about a book reading we have coming up at the Sacred Stream Center on March 9. Listening to Ayahuasca, Rachel Harris’s groundbreaking book on working with the Amazonian plant combination ayahuasca is helpful and eye opening. It deals with the realities of working with plant medicine and offers ways of integrating the experience. Finally, someone with a background in psychology and research takes the journey with you!
Rachel and I sat down over tea to talk about her book and she shared some surprising insights with me.
In the last post we were exploring the complications that can come out of working with psychoactive plants in the wrong setting. There is so much to understand about the way plants’ biochemistry interacts with our own. I am referring not only to psychoactive plants, but even just plants that we use for food. We could spend a lifetime studying these interactions and never fully understand the deeply magical state of interdependence that scientific investigation reveals about the way we live in relation to plants.
Having worked with hundreds of people who have sought assistance in understanding their experience with psychoactive plants, I can point to some very consistent themes regarding how psychoactive plants work with our psyches.
In Ariel Levy’s article “The Drug of Choice in the Age of Kale,” in the September 12, 2016 edition of The New Yorker, she describes her experience as part of a circle of participants who came together to drink ayahuasca tea at an urban yoga studio. Her report is highly informative and not unlike some of the stories people have brought to me after similar gatherings, where people have been inappropriately exposed to others’ uncontrolled experience of parts of their minds they may have never encountered before.
Ayahuasca is a powerful combination of plants that, like other psychoactive plants, can reveal the inner worlds to those who ingest it, sometimes in very surprising and even difficult ways.
Sacred Stream Founding Director, Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D., Sacred Stream Executive Director, Laura Chandler, and Diane Solomon, host of A Meeting of the Ways, speak about the use of music and sound in healing traditions around the world.
In the previous blog post, we talked about removing the imprints of past experiences from a location through the shamanic practice of space clearing. We discussed positive effects of space clearing, such as making a workspace more conducive to the productivity and general well being of the people working there or making a home more attractive to potential buyers.
We also talked about how shamanic processes work outside of time, which makes it possible to help people who died many years ago. Similarly, shamanic processes done in one place can affect events at a distance. This aspect of shamanic practice was at work in a clearing the Sacred Stream Space Clearing Society completed last fall.