What Katy Louise Did...

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Katy Louise writes about health, wealth, happiness and relationships, and the spiritual insights she gains along her path. She is currently editor of Top Sante magazine (www.topsante.co.uk). Prior to that she was editor of Bodyfit magazine (now Your Fitness www.yourfitnesstoday.com) and the launch editor of Soul&Spirit magazine (www.soulandspiritmagazine.com). Katy is also a certified Fitsteps and STOTT Pilates instructor. She is the go-to girl for all matters relating to health, wellbeing and spirituality.

Tuesday 21 December 2010

Solstice lunar eclipse ritual

So what did I do to celebrate the solstice lunar eclipse on the sinter solstice? Well, as soon as I got home from work I set about clearing a tidying the little bedside table I have, which I decided to use as an altar/shrine for the purposes of dedicating a small space to my new intentions. Having spoken to Suz, my advertising lady, earlier in the day (the pagan and spell guru), she said today was a perfect day for setting intentions for the coming year: what I want to do, achieve, and also what to let go of.
So, I cleaned the small table, then put onto it two rose quartzes for love, some apopholite crystals (think I may have spelled that incorrectly!), two lazer quartz points, a citrine, a big old amethyst, a purple tea light in a glass holder, a heart-shaped pot with my incense stick in it, plus a smoothe rhodonite stone I got at work recently and which feels lovely to touch.
Then I sat and spent a good half hour or longer writing a list of all the things I am letting go of as of now. This list included many thing, including fear, guilt, doubt, inner stress, not believing in or trusting myself, listening to others over myself, not believing in myself plus many more. I then wrote on the same size piece of paper all the qualities I want to nurture and grow this year, including love, tollerance, patience, self-belief, courage, appreciation, honesty, integrity, joy, fun, plus lots of others. And then I wrote a list of a few things I want to happen next year (which I'll keep private for now but will let you know whether they happen in 12 months' time!).
Next, I read out each negative thing while looking into the candle flame, imagining releasing each thing. Afterwards, I ripped the paper into eight sections and burned each one in a fire-proof dish (actually I got scared if the paper burned too much, paranoid it might start a fire somehow, so I only burned the corners of the papers, but it was the symbolic gesture that counts!). I then flushed all the remaining pieces and ashes down the loo. Good riddance to negativity!!!
Next, I read all the positive qualities and statements aloud while holding onto my dedicated crystal, so that when I hold it next it will remind me of all those great qualities I am nurturing. This list I blu-tacked up on my wall where I will see it each morning.
As for the lists: well I put them under my pillow (as directed by Suz) so they can grow during my sleep.

This little ritual I made up, as I've learned it's more about the intention behind your actions than it is to follow any specific pre-set guidelines. And you know what? I feel pretty good having done it. It felt very symbolic saying good bye to bad habits and bad thinking, and encouraging positive thoughts and emotions - all on the lunar eclipse, to add even more power to my intentions!!!

Monday 20 December 2010

Total eclipse of the Moon

LUNAR ALERT! Make sure you set your alarms early tomorrow, for there is to be fantastic, once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event taking place: a full lunar eclipse. But what makes it all the more magical is that not only is tomorrow a full moon, but it is also the pagan festival of Yule – also known as the winter solstice (the shortest day of the year).
Having just spoken to Suzanne, my Pagan friend who works in the ads department on Soul&Spirit, I am informed that the whole day will be infused with extra energy, making it the perfect time to do affirmations, put in cosmic orders, and cast any spells. Pagans will be celebrating this day anyway, as the darkest point in winter, but the lunar eclipse makes it extra special.

According to the fantastic webpage http://earthsky.org (click on the ‘tonight’ link) “There won’t be a total lunar eclipse this far north on the sky’s dome until December 21, 2485”. Here is what else the page says: “…this eclipse is happening almost simultaneously with the December solstice … when the sun will be southernmost for this year. Remember, a totally eclipsed full moon has to lie exactly opposite the sun. The winter sun rides low to the south now, as it crosses the sky each day. So this December full moon is far to the north on the sky’s dome. It rides high in the sky – much like the June solstice sun.”

In England, the partial eclipse will begin at 6.33am and the total eclipse will be at 7.41am. It will last for around 72 minutes. If you live elsewhere in the world, check out the website http://earthsky.org/tonight to find out times for you. I just hope it isn’t cloudy, as the snow clouds have been obscuring the sky for most of this week! But even if we can’t see it, we can still all work with the extra ‘cosmic’ energy and send out positive intentions for ourselves and others around the world.

Visit http://earthsky.org. Also, the fabulous January bumper edition of Soul&Spirit is now on sale! Don’t; miss out, as it contains a crystal bracelet, angel charm, crystal card deck, spiritual 2011 calendar, and psychic development CD along with lots of other free send-away offers (just need to pay postage). Visit www.soulandspiritmagazine.com

Thursday 16 December 2010

Those who anger you are your greatest teachers

They say all relationships are like mirrors, either reflecting back to you the qualities you dislike about yourself, or things you like but perhaps don’t acknowledge. Well, I was thinking about this in quite some depth last night, having gone for an evening meal with my flat mate and elderly neighbour, who for the sake of anonymity I’ll call Frank. Over the course of two-and-a-half hears I have often bumped into Frank in the street, or when both in the garden, and we’d have a little chat. A couple of months ago, he seemed particularly down and said something that I interpreted as meaning he would like to have more company (his wife had died a few years previously), and so I went round to visit one evening and spent a couple of hours listening to his interesting stories about the war, people from his past – those loved and lost – and his family. I think I have mentioned him before so I won’t ramble on too much but suffice to say that over the past three months he has grown increasingly fond of me and having me round to visit, hence why he invited to take my flat mate and me out to Christmas dinner.
And I what to say that first off, 80 per cent of the time I spend with him is enjoyable – talking about many memories, showing me old photos, old coins, etc – but then he goes and says or does something strange or slightly inappropriate that makes not only me but my flat mate think he’s weird. Yes he is old, which is what makes us let him off somewhat, but it’s not age that makes him this way, I don’t think.
Last night at the dinner table he called me cruel (he’d done this before) much to the disbelief of my flat mate who jumped to my defence to say she had known me a lot longer than he had, and there was not a cruel bone in my body. His reasoning was because a few weeks ago, I promised to post a copy of the magazine through his door as he is now interested in it (having not liked it one bit when I first showed it to him). I said I would but not when I would, and being the busy, slightly forgetful person that I am, I hadn’t posted yet done it. And this is where life all comes down to interpretation: I saw this as me being forgetful, but in no way was I being intentionally malicious by withholding the promised magazine – I just don’t see it as that important, especially when I am running late for work and think ‘oh I’ll do this tomorrow’; however, Frank interpreted this oversight as me being intentionally cruel towards him nd deliberately withholding it – interesting!
Having come to know more about him and his past, I know he has spent most of his life, sadly, being suspicious of those he meets, studying their body language and trying to ‘figure them out’. But this reinforces the idea that I once read somewhere that you always get what you expect; i.e. if you expect the worst from someone you are more than likely to get it, where as if you expect the best and encourage a person to be their best, you will most likely get that, too. I know this is not the case all the time, but expectations can play a huge part in how things pan out. In Frank’s case, it’s as if he expects everyone he meets to be out to get him in some way (based on many things that must have happened to him in his past, which I wont go into here), and so he reinforces this for himself by interpreting my benign behaviour as cruel.
Another thing he can’t stand is people trying to control him – he is a total control freak. He purposely does or does not do things his family asks of him in order to a) annoy them, and b) show them he is still in control, despite being in his 91st year.

Mirror mirror on the wall…
So why am I telling you all this? Well, to come back to my original statement about how relationships reflect our good or bad qualities, this neighbourly relationship I have with Frank must be showing me something, for, having read as many spiritual books as I have, I believe we all come into each others lives for a reason, and it is that reason I am trying to discern. Is he here to show me patience (because God knows he really tries my patience sometimes!)?; is he here to show me the dire consequences of a life full of bitter regret, and therefore I should deal with any issues as and when they arrive and not drag them around with me like excess baggage, which clearly he has been doing his entire life?
Perhaps it’s these things, but this morning it came to me in a flash: he is a control freak and so am I!!! I admit it, I like to control things and if someone asks me to do something I don’t want to do, I huff and puff and grumble (even if only to myself and not to the person). In my jobs I have tended to be put in a position where I can work autonomously, and get on with doing things my way, by and large, and I love that. I used to find it really hard to take criticism, even if after the fact (sometimes years later) I could look back and realise that perhaps the comments were true. And I think I am getting better at accepting constructive comments now – it depends how they are put across though! But I recognise this stubborn, controlling streak within me and I realised, like a light bulb going off, that this was the same quality I disliked in Frank, which brings me neatly back to the mirror analogy: his control freak tendencies are showing what I dislike in myself, or rather, getting me to own up to them. Now, what I do about this or where I go from here, I am not sure, as his future speech and actions will determine whether I spend any more time with him (from our meal last night and some odd comments he made, my flat mate has pretty much already decided not to spend any more time with him).  
But maybe I am in his life to show him the things he dislikes about himself and get him to change; he has, after all, already told me he actually wants me to help him change, to help him get rid of his bad temper as he doesn’t like being like that anymore. I’m not really sure I can help him do this, I can only offer a friendly ear from time to time (but not all the time – another lesson I am learning is about barriers, and how it’s important to be clear with others about what you will and will not accept, as if you give some people an inch, as I did with Frank initially, they can tend to want to take a mile – but that’s another subject). 

So there you have it: the message for today is to seek to find what your relationships are revealing to you. Are they highlighting your strengths or weaknesses? Do you dislike in others what you really despise in yourself? I think it was the Buddha who said something like ‘our worst enemies are often our best teachers’. Not that Frank is an enemy of course, but he’s the one person in my life right now who causes me most grief, albeit unknowingly a lot of the time, so he therefore must be my best teacher right now.
Can you think of someone in your life that annoys you? Try thinking about what the lesson might be…

The bumper January issue of Soul&Spirit, with crystal cards, a crystal bracelet, a spiritual calendar, angel charm, plus free send-away offers (including P&P) is on sale this Friday, December 17th). Visit www.soulandspiritmagazine.com on Friday to find out more!!!

Monday 6 December 2010

Good grief

A week or so ago I was pondering the saying ‘good grief’, which posh English people tend to say when either faced with something surprising, shocking or terrible (or a combination of all three!). Where does it come from? Because how can grief ever be good?
It came to mind because I feel as if during the past few weeks and months I’ve been grieving for past relationships, opportunities missed, things that didn’t work out, and none of it feels ‘good’ in any way.
However, having recently read Loving What Is, by spiritual teacher Byron Katie, I just don’t seem to be able to let myself get too depressed about it anymore. According to Katie’s book (we have a feature about it in the January issue of the mag, on sale soon), she gets you to look at your belief and to first ask yourself whether the thing you are bothered about is actually true, and secondly to turn it around.
So taking this on board, when I start thinking ‘oh I should be with so and so’ or ‘if only I had done X, then my love life would be great’ can I actually know those things to be true? Do I know that my life would somehow be miraculously better and happier if I had made different choices and things had worked out wit this person or that person? Well, no, not truly. I think I know they would have made a difference, but I do not know they would have, so my answer has to be know, I don’t they are true. 
It makes more sense when you read the book, but in a nutshell, Byron Katie gets you to really question your beliefs, and to see that usually the reason you are suffering is because you want the world to be working out to benefit you, and often it does not! This is quite Buddhist in a way, in terms of suffering because we grasp at things, concepts, people, places etc and either want them to stay the same, or mould themselves to our liking.
So despite some evident sadness I have been going through, I just have to look on the positive side, or at least be neutral, because I don’t know that my life would be better if it had gone along a different path, it’s just easier to imagine so. And as Louise Hay, the queen of spiritual wisdom, always says: “You are in the right place, at the right time doing the right thing.” Amen to that.
Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life You Can Heal Your Life

The december issue of Soul&Spirit is on sale now, and the January one, with an article by Byron Katie, will be on sale December 17. Visit www.soulandspiritmagazine.com