Moon Lesson • May we see the Beauty
In most parts of North America, flowers are abundant by the time we reach this month's full moon. Some native tribes have referred to this moon as the Full Planting Moon and others have called it the Full Milk Moon. But given the burst of color gifted by Mother Nature, many refer to this moon as the Full Flower Moon.
To honor this moon cycle, we're going to follow Mother Nature's lead and take the fertilizer of our struggles and use it to manifest something beautiful. And wildly enough, our practice this month is Santosha (also often spelled Santosa).
A simple translation of Santosha is contentment. But a more thoughtful translation is revealed by looking at the sum of it's parts. Santosha is a combination word in Sanskrit, derived from Saṃ (सं, सम्) and Tosha (तोष, तुष्, tuṣh). SaM, means "completely", "altogether" or "entirely", and Tosha, "contentment", "satisfaction", "acceptance", "being comfortable". Combined, the word means "completely content with, or satisfied with, accepting and comfortable". In other words, desiring only that which is necessary for one's survival.
A yogini who has embodied santosha is no longer swayed or manipulated by the human interpretations of pleasure or pain, profit or loss, or success or failure and has mastered acceptance of each experience as it truly is. But before you start thinking, "oh, well...that's not me!". Consider another of my favorite interpretations of the word — santosha is the lack of Trsna (craving). I find this fascinating. A lack of craving can penetrate so many areas of our lives; from craving certain foods to money or material things or even craving validation. At first read, this interpretation might seem to set up an endless battle. But what it really does is allow for more opportunities to succeed (yep, there's my wink and a smile). As yogis, we'll approach the practice of santosha as we do everything else — one breath at a time.
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In our journey, we are stepping deeper into the realm of Earth Medicine. As 'evolved' creatures on this planet, some might say we've evolved ourselves right out of contentment — out of phase with mother nature. So I want to remind you that 'contentment' does not mean we become 'complacent'. In April, we explore struggle and I discuss how our very existence is much like the seeds that must struggle to burst through the earth's crust each spring. In April's 5 minute Journey Practice, I encourage you to look at what you're using for fuel to support yourself in times of struggle. Our lives flow through cycles of dormancy and of growth. The full Flower Moon is the perfect time to acknowledge the first bursts of progress (the blossoms of your efforts) in your journey right now. And before your internal dialogue pipes in with "but I haven't x, y, or z" remember the tree doesn't belittle the bud for only being a bud.
Let the small efforts be enough. Then take the broader view.
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Consider the spirit of the Eagle. The power of any of our winged guides is their ability to rise above and see things from a higher perspective — to literally gain a bird's eye view.
Allow me to explain a bit the difference between our Journey through Thirteen Moons and a traditional native medicine wheel. When you consider a traditional native medicine wheel there are four directions: east, south, west, and north and these directions are tied to the cycles of the moon and the cycle of life, inherently. Each of the Four Directions has a great spirit keeper and each point in between has a totem or spirit as well. As an animist and Medicine Woman, I recognize the spirit in all living things. That said, in our Journey through Thirteen Moons, we are certainly following the moons' cycles and we are learning about a number of spirit guides. The spirit guides I've presented for your journey have been selected specifically because of their ability to nurture, protect, and bolster the Divine Feminine within you. These guides do not necessarily correlate to the spirit guides along any native American medicine wheel. Should you decide to continue with the second year of the 13 Moons, the Year of the Healer, you will journey directly along a medicine wheel and use each month to "pick up" medicine (objects, totems, tools of importance, power and remembrance). Through this act of picking up your medicine, you'll work to heal the archetypes you've been introduced to in Year of the Yogi.
This month, I'm bringing in one of the great keepers of the Four Directions — Spirit Eagle, also known as Wabun*, the Spirit Keeper of the East. East is the home of the rising sun, all that represents dawn and new beginnings, innocence and birth. East is also the beginning of understanding because light helps us see things the way they really are. Being able to see things as they really are opens the gate of Santosha.
Spirit Eagle reminds us to loosen our grip on earthly attachments and free yourself. Lighten your load and lift off. See the landscape of your life from a safe vantage point. From there you can take better see the peaks and valleys and experience a degree of contentment with it all. So what happens when you come back down to earth? Eagle invites you to recognize that you have what you need beneath your feet, you have the keen vision to see what's needs to be addressed next and if something is truly lacking, you have the ferocity to dive in and secure it. There will be no need to be frantic about your endeavors, you will have the wing span to gather what you need to you or at the very least the endurance to handle the flight.
Now consider the Child archetype. As described by Caroline Myss (cause she really has an incredible handle on all of our archetypes), "the mature personality of the Child archetype nurtures that part of us that yearns to be lighthearted and innocent, expecting the wonders of tomorrow, regardless of age. This part of our nature contributes greatly to our ability to sense playfulness in our lives, balancing the seriousness of adult responsibilities. The balanced Child is a delight to be around because the energy that flows from this part of our personality is positively infectious and brings out the best in others, as well as in us."
Herein lies that illusive 'balance' that you've been looking for. To embrace the freedom of our inner child in a healthful and mindful way, is the way to contentment. Your inner child sees the simplicity and beauty in your day to day. Your inner child invites in wonder and magicks beyond your adult thinking. Your inner child remembers how to laugh freely, relax in the moment, and just have good natured fun.
But what of a Wounded Child? An Abandoned or Orphan Child? Caroline Myss goes on to suggest the Child archetype establishes our perceptions of life, safety, nurture, loyalty, and family. Its many aspects include the Wounded Child, Abandoned or Orphan Child, Dependent, Innocent, Nature, and Divine Child. These energies may emerge in response to different situations in which you find yourself, yet the core issue of all the Child archetypes is dependency vs. responsibility. Ultimately, the balanced Child archetype represents hope and untarnished vision. This archetype not only sees and accepts that we cannot change our past, the Child recognizes our ability create our future.
In this journey, you might find healing for the various aspects of your Child archetype, but our primary focus is to connect to your Child-like innocence, creativity, and playfulness to cultivate a bit of contentment in each day.
Moon Time Exploration
Playfulness – Primal Feminine Energy
We may not realize it, but if we pay close attention to ourselves we will find that the child tries to make itself known and heard, through various ways. It is useful to get to know this child in us, to acknowledge it and draw strength from it. Here are a few ways in which you can reach out to your child archetype:
- Steal moments from the mundane and engage in creative pursuits that call upon your inner child. Any activity that brings an automatic smile on your face, the joy in your heart and your mind in the present moment is the right choice.
- Bring out the child in everyday activities like having an ice cream or doodling, just to tap into the innocent energy anywhere you need.
- One of the fun ways to keep in touch with your inner child is to spend some time with a child. Make faces, allow yourself to be messy, participate in their make-believe play and this will help you feel closer to your own inner child.
Read through the entire exercise before beginning. Materials needed: your journal and a pen
5 min Journey Practice
Yes, you may. Come what may
The key to contentment (or lack of craving) is held by your inner child. We've all experienced how the more we deny ourselves something, the more we seem to crave it. That's your inner child beating at your door. This month, give yourself permission to enjoy and explore those small things in life that make you giggle and feel a bit silly. To cultivate a bit of freedom and clear out the clutter in your mind, adopt this mantra: "Yes, you may." And then follow through.
In order to quiet that restless and malcontent chatter in your mind, cut yourself some slack at regular intervals. Seriously, stop being "responsible" and instead soothe your inner child for just 5 minutes each day.
I recognize you may not be ready to buy the completely impractical 5" red heels that have been following you around on the internet. You may not be ready to sing karoke. You may not be ready to slow-motion run down the grocery store aisles to the tune of Chariots of Fire. And you may not be ready to throw a dart at a map and buy a ticket to where ever it lands just to see what you discover. But maybe you are?
If not, you can awaken and benefit from the spark of your inner child in so many other ways. Letting your hair get messy as you drive with all the windows down on your car. Baking and licking the bowl. Buy yourself some chocolate covered almonds and choose not to share them. And my personal favorite, for a truly beautiful blend of childish joy and yoga, try Zentangling this month. Just like Yoga, any one can Zentangle. Here's my favorite book. It's called 'One Zentangle A Day'.
For those of you who print your journey this short link (https://amzn.to/2HZEitZ) can take you to the book on Amazon. Just type it directly into your browser. This wonderful book walks you through step by step and you truly don't need anything by a pen and paper (in fact, you can use your journal). If you find that you love it, you can certainly get super fancy with it and pick up so special paper and special pens. But this month, it's about giving yourself 5 mins of silly...so don't sweat the details. Your inner child wouldn't. Just go for it. You are an adult with an inner child who's craving to get out. Give that child room to run.
Come what may.
For those of you who enjoy Facebook, post your doodles and zentangles on our private Facebook page this month.
This month let your twisting be more about how you unwind...than the twist itself. The twist should maintain a long spine, provide a rinse, and a thorough release.
Your pranayama this month is designed to support our journey of clearing our personal plumbing. Journeying in the realm of rest and digest to make space.
This mudra is used to balance the organs that reside in the sacral region into to help with cultivating freedom by helping you with the process of digestion and elimination.