If you feel you're only functioning from the eyebrows up, get thee to a Goddess Playshop," says goddess.com.au creatrix, Anita Ryan-Revel.
Whether it's a goddess workshop, sacred retreat or women's circle, any event that connects women in a safe space is invaluable for a healthy state of being," she says. "This is by far the most beautiful way to awaken the heart, body and soul."
In fact, such activities are vital to the mental wellbeing of women, according to Leonie Young, CEO of beyondblue: the national depression initiative.
With the erosion of the traditional family structures and the surge in single women and working mothers, such gatherings can replace the traditional support systems a partner and family would normally have provided.
"Women who remain isolated are at greater risk of developing depression," says Leonie. "Meeting other women for fun and enjoyable activities not only boosts motivation, it provides a social environment for them to communicate and problem-solve. Ultimately this leads to an increased sense of belonging, reduced isolation and empowers them to deal with whatever life throws at them."
A survivor of depression herself, Anita developed her Goddess Playshops as one such enjoyable and empowering activity.
"Self-empowerment doesn't have to come through self-help books and dreary seminars. I use lots of easy and fun methods to help women connect with their ultimate source of power - their inner goddess."
Such gatherings allow women of all backgrounds to explore their weaknesses, strengths, psyche and soul.
"Women are enabled to reach spiritual depths and new levels of enlightenment they may not realise exist otherwise. In my Playshops, women remember that they are beautiful and powerful beings capable of achieving great things."
Lyn Volare is a New York-based facilitator of goddess workshops and events that celebrate the Divine Feminine.
"We all have the right to live a happy, empowered, spiritually fulfilling life, so I created events which bring magic back into women's lives. They encourage women to visit that peaceful inner sanctum where they can find the source of their strength and wisdom," she says.
Any woman is eligible to attend a gathering, says Anita. "It doesn't matter what your race, religion or culture is - the energy created by a group of strong, creative and compassionate women creates a new, all-powerful set of guidelines to live by."
Lyn concurs. "I have had all sorts of women attending my events - pouting priestesses, boardroom babes, earth mothers, Amazon women. Every woman should have the opportunity to connect with self and others to create a magical and fulfilling existence for herself."
A gathering doesn't have to focus on spirituality alone, however.
"I have conducted Playshops that are about nail polish, silk, chocolate and glitter," says Anita. "There are hundreds of activities that women can do in a gathering to help them connect with their higher consciousness and inner selves. Whatever they do, it all helps save them from being the Serial Soloist in the workplace or the Alone Ranger at home, and that's a good thing for everyone."
Below are some suggested activities women can do in a group together to celebrate the feminine divine.
Lyn sets the mood of her workshops by creating a lavish space using fabrics in rich vibrant colours, candles, flowers and essential oils.
"When women walk into this space, their jaws drop," she says. "It's like they're entering their very own 'Red Tent'. One woman likened it to re-entering the womb, which I suppose is quite appropriate."
If sumptuous fabrics don't fit the budget, Anita suggests setting the scene with crystal chips, candles and comfortable chairs.
"Aim to transform your ordinary lounge room into a magical space. The coffee table, for example, could be made into an altar using crystals, feathers, wooden statues, flowers, floating candles and a wand - these are all things that can come from nature at little expense. Choose an item from each of the elements to make it significant and special."
Prepare the Space
Even though every woman has gathered for the same purpose, it is important to decide on a set of behavioural ground rules and ensure the group agrees on them.
"I remind participants that they are in a nurturing and safe space. Crying is allowed, as is laughter, but judgemental attitudes are to be left at the door," says Anita. "Guidelines let everyone know what is expected from them, thereby adding to their security."
Once the space has been prepared, Lyn calls in the energies of the goddess with a short prayer and the lighting of altar candles. Sage or rose water is also used to cleanse the space and to uplift the participants.
"I then declare the circle opened," says Lyn, "and the real fun begins."
Meet a Goddess Patron
"As modern life focuses on 'doing' rather than 'being', I like to start off with a guided meditation to settle everyone into their bodies," recommends Anita. "This way the outside world can be left behind while we look inwards for a goddess patron to guide us through the next stage."
To find a goddess patron during a guided meditation (the visualisation in Anita's book, The Goddess Guide to Chakra Vitality is ideal), the hostess should introduce the group to several goddess archetypes and ask the women to listen for a message from each of them.
"Whichever message comes through the strongest should be taken as the goddess patron," says Anita.
"Music or gentle drumming or rattling can be used to deepen the meditative experience," suggest Lyn, "but pace them so they are no longer than 20 minutes."
Once the meditation is finished and people are back in the 'now', Anita suggests developing affirmations to promote a longer-term positive state of mind. Affirmations are precise statements that describe what you want to happen in your life.
"I get my workshop participants to build their affirmations based on the message they heard from their patron goddess. I also do it during a pampering exercise - it becomes a more free-flowing right-brain activity when the mind is being distracted by massaging hands, painting toe-nails or applying henna tattoos."
"Affirmations are powerful tools for changing your traditional attitudes to problems and outlook on life," says Lyn. "They can also be spoken as blessings for others which can be very transformative. But like motivational speaker, Anthony Robbins, warns, a repeated affirmation becomes embedded in the subconscious mind and eventually becomes your reality, so be careful what you wish for!"
Since ancient time our ancestors used dance as an expression of God and nature. By dancing they could become the spirit of the sun, moon, animals and plants and be empowered with their attributes.
"Movement is a primal language that doesn't need words or specific rules," says Anita. "It helps clear out the cobwebs, get the blood flowing and tones the body. It can be skilled like ballet, or free-form like rolling in grass or jumping around a lounge-room table. As long as the dancer allows instinct to drive her limbs she is transmitting a message from nature and thereby allowing a connection."
Recent years have seen a resurgence of belly dance in mainstream culture. Lyn introduces belly-dancing in some of her events, but takes it one step further and uses a blindfold.
"A blindfold shuts down the source of distractions and outer stimulation to the brain," she explains. "It gets people back into their bodies without being embarrassed about being watched or judged. It also lets the dancer see inner visions and find hidden meanings to their burning questions."
To get an ever-lasting reminder of the special energy gained, organise a day-long gathering and create a mask.
"Masks have the power to make things larger than life and transport you into the realm of the archetypes," says Lyn. "The wearer can expand her consciousness and explore new possibilities, taking her out of the square in imagining a new life map."
Masks can be made in papier-mâché, plaster, leather, metal or wood. "Plaster is good because it can be used to fit the face, torso, or even a pregnant belly for posterity!" says Lyn.
"If time is short, decorate a standard plastic mould that you can buy from any craft store," suggests Anita. "Go wild with feathers, sequins, shells, glitter, beads and paint - this way you can feel exquisite when you put it on and travel to amazing places within yourself."
Anita Ryan-Revel Goddess.com.au
Beyondblue For more information on depression, available treatments and where to get help: beyondblue.org.au
Tuesday, 29 January 2008
If you feel you're only functioning from the eyebrows up, get thee to a Goddess Playshop," says goddess.com.au creatrix, Anita Ryan-Revel.
Friday, 25 January 2008
Have you discovered Kate Nowark's Heartfelt Blessings yet? I've been a big Kate fan for a few years now, and like the daily Notes from the Universe, I love receiving her Heartfelt Blessings in my inbox.
You are a one-of-a-kind creation, Mich, who came here to love, spread joy and honor life, and if you will celebrate your differences, the world will, too.
May your day be filled with all things good.
Wednesday, 23 January 2008
A new year, a new term ... I'm leading Chakradance at OmShanti College this year, and I can't wait. Classes start in less than two weeks!
OmShanti is a natural therapies college, so there's a lot of synergy between us.
For those of you who don't know, Chakradance is a dance, meditation and therapy. Best of all, its a dynamic and delightful way to chane your life.
Chakradance directly works with each chakra - energising, rebalancing, soothing and stimulating the entire system. Its unique blend of dance and sound, spiritual understanding and sacred space can hlep us to dramatically rework our own energy, to the point where we begin to transform how we look, feel and think. Our intuition can be ignited, and we make better choices in our lives as a result of this healing and balancing process.
Dance is an ageless, natural form of expression that allows you to experience freedom, ecstasy and a closer relationship with the Divine. All movement connects us to our own spirit. Athletes often speak about being 'in the zone', a place where their sense of self dissolves and merges with the Creator. Similarly, all action has an energetic spiritual and physical impace on us - from swimming, to running, walking and whirling, to the wildest of movements, dance can be ecstatic. And of all the hearling forms of movement, dancing is the one which can transform us energetically, physically and mentally. When we dance with joy and spontaneity, it becomes uplifting and deeply cleansing.
But just don't take my word for it ... see it for yourself!
Monday, 21 January 2008
Why do I fight it so hard?
Decluttering my home, my life ...
Its almost as though I want to continue to punish myself
for some misdeed that I can't remember committing.
I've become the queen of procrastination
Living in chaos for the past few weeks,
as I can't finish what I started.
I wonder why I fight happiness
Yes, I do want it to come in to my life
But a part of me resists, why?
I know if I declutter my life
I'll have my space
My life will be lighter
Why do I resist?
Saturday, 19 January 2008
Friday, 18 January 2008
The other day I was walking around the lake with Trinity.
It was dusk, and the sun was starting to set behind the Brindabellas.
A cool breeze quelled the heat of the day, and the ducks and water hens were getting their babies ready for bed.
Everyone we passed had a smile and a hello for us. It was so peaceful, it was truly magical.
I noticed the sun sky suddenly darken, and I looked up to see the sun had ducked behind a cloud to show me its silver lining.
Stopping to drink in this moment, I marvelled at the beauty I was witnessing.
It was then that I noticed, that the cloud had formed the shape of an angel.
I could see her in profile - her wings, her flowing gown, her beautiful face, even her hair tied back in a pony tail. The rays of the sun forming her aura. It was beautiful, magical ....
Thats when I knew that we're never alone - that our angels are always watching over us.
All the hardships, trials and tribulations that I'd faced in 2007 were over. I could feel the different energy of 2008.
Everything is falling into place ... life is beautiful!
Tuesday, 8 January 2008
I bought Denise Linn's Soul Coaching Oracle Cards today, and the very first card I pulled was Passion.
This card tells me to follow my bliss!
To discover what I absolutely love to do or be, and then, like an arrow directed at its target, not to let anything stop me from fulfilling my passion.
It also says exuberant emotions are coming to me, perhaps in the form of a romance.
So what happened today?
Well, I found a venue for Chakradance - Om Shanti - a college training in natural therapies, so there's lots of synergy there. But for me its not only a venue, they're going to market my courses and do all the admin for me. So I get back to my passion of dance and meditation without having to worry too much about the business side.
While I was there, I signed up for Yoga classes, and I'm also starting private pilates lessons at the end of January.
As for the romance? Watch this space ...
Sunday, 6 January 2008
As you all know, I've been doing a lot of work on the feminine side of spirituality. However one of our soul sisters has asked me about the masculine side.
I know that the solar plexus is our masculine energy, and all about the anima and animus ... however her question stumped me.
Anyone know of any good books or websites that will help me to explore this?
Posted by Mich at 11:06 pm
Wednesday, 2 January 2008
I'm loving my daily Notes from the Universe. My latest one was so empowering, it set my spirits soaring!
Do you think it would be cheating, Mich, knowing all that I know, if I placed a bet on your inevitable happiness, success, and saunter?
Good. Because I have. It was called the "Big Bang," and every moment of every day I walk in your shoes.
Mich, I knew what I was doing.