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December 2015

Mind KEY / 2015

2015 in Review

Charla Dury2015 has brought me many challenges and opportunities for growth in my professional life (taking on editing for Mind Key and a promotion at work) and health struggles personally revolving around depression and kidney issues.  I am looking forward to rising above and beyond both professionally and personally in 2016, taking on the daunting task of finding myself in this sea of life as well as finding my passion and living it to the fullest.  Mind Key is a large part of my life and I'd love for it to rise with me!Barbara Steingas2015 is the year I finally got over my fears and hesitations about sharing the strategies I used to heal myself from what is considered to be an incurable disease.  I started my coaching...

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Feel the Difference.

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Create your most genuine year with the Rituals for Living, Dreambook & Planner

    2015 went by in a blur, as years often do when you are 30 or 40 plus. We are familiar with the clichéd New Year's resolutions often made in late December while we're entwined in tinsel and credit card debt - lose weight, save money, exercise more, quit smoking, quit my job, quit complaining - you get the idea. But how many of us take the time to physically map out and visualize an ideal year?     A planner, datebook, or journal is an easy go-to holiday gift because who doesn't want to be more organized or have a place to jot down ideas? You've probably given or received one or two, or more. The problem with most...

I thank fear, societal standards, and failures – a discussion of The Heart and Soul of Things

Tis the season to reflect on the pause from the regular routine. Smile through an afternoon of family bantering over mashed potatoes or send tidings of great joy, even if it's via text. But what if we expressed our gratitude for the things that bring us down? That's right. Be thankful for the fears, regrets and disappointments because we can transform that negativity into authentic living. This is one of the many messages of The Heart and Soul of Things, written simply but beautifully by Jessy Lugo-Rodriguez, appropriately known as Gaia (Earth Mother). The first few chapters of her book bring to light how we have become our own worst enemies. But instead of allowing our inner antagonists to...

Ringing in new holiday traditions for happiness and health

Merry Christmas, World!Whether under a palm tree, an evergreen, or falling snow, I find it interesting how the holidays represent so much for us as individuals.Some people go all-in, shopping and decorating and baking and celebrating… while others prefer to bah-humbug it, and stay under the covers.  Most of us, in my experience, prefer some combination of the two.But why do the holidays mean so much?  Is it the marketing?  The spirituality?  The ancient history of celebrating at this time of year?  Earlier this week I discussed celebrating the "coming of the light." No doubt this history is part of what compels us to continue the celebrations, even if we are not religious or spiritual.  It is likely, in large part, what brought about the...

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Holiday traditions through the (your) ages

Its interesting how Holiday traditions morph as we move through the stages of life.When I was a kid, we ate chili and opened all of our gifts on Christmas Eve and Christmas day was just Santa stuff.  None of the Santa stuff was wrapped.  I'd spend New Year's weekend with my dad's family and do Christmas with them then.  My husband's family opened one gift on Christmas Eve (always new pajamas) and then the rest of their gifts  on Christmas day and I think they wrapped their Santa gifts and they were under the tree in the morning.  When he and I got married, we realized that you have to somehow meld traditions.  So, while my mom was alive, we'd go over to my mom's on Christmas Eve and open all of her gifts and...

Breathing through holiday stress

The holidays are a hectic time of year for us all.  Even for those who don’t celebrate a winter holiday, the roads, restaurants and malls are crowded and your friends and loved ones are probably running around like chickens with their heads cut off.  I know I am!With holiday stress on top of everyday normal stresses, life can get pretty overwhelming.  Remember to take a moment for yourself.  I know, I know, that seems impossible!  I don’t have a moment, you might say.  It may seem like you don’t.  But when you’re stressed out and overwhelmed, what kind of support are you providing to your loved ones and those around you?  What kind of support are you providing to yourself?  You don’t have anything to...

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Celebrating the solstice across culture and religion

Winter Solstice at Stonehenge In my mind, the solstice is why we say "happy holidays" instead of Merry Christmas.  It's why we celebrate the New Year, Christmas, Hanukkah and any other number of holidays this time of year.  It's the real reason for the season.Please let's not get into a religious discussion here.  I'm not a pagan, nor am I a witch.  In fact, I was raised Catholic. This isn't about religion.  It's not even about spirituality.  Well… except for how the tradition of the season resonates with each of us in a very spiritual way.The Winter Solstice an actual astronomical event.  Today is when the day is the shortest and the night is its longest.  From here on out, the days will only grow longer until the...

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Food That Boost Metabolism

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet mattis. Class ante erat. Dapibus ipsum turpis libero sagittis suspendisse. Velit fringilla a. A lorem ipsum vel urna aptent. Consectetuer urna ante elementum maecenas magnis sodales mauris pede. Quo venenatis volutpat aliquam ut libero. Dui urna pede velit hac mauris. Etiam aliquam pellentesque potenti ut neque. Neque felis ut ante id cras fermentum feugiat volutpat sed ante magna. Commodo purus sed. Orci ipsum per. Exercitationem vestibulum pede. Posuere lectus id eleifend nulla mi id metus enim erat dictum praesent. Tincidunt placerat ut magna urna nunc. Quam fermentum nunc. Vivamus erat bibendum. Ipsum augue duis. Proin faucibus pulvinar nullam illum maecenas. Fermentum fringilla egestas vivamus nunc eu. Dolor tortor quam. Sollicitudin quisque neque quisque ad in duis consectetuer penatibus sit nostra...

Follow your dreams with Mind Key!

Mind Key is all about finding inspiration to follow your dreams, to live your healthiest, happiest and most passionate life.  For many of us, that includes the creative pursuit of writing and being involved in the writing process.Following on the heels of Danielle’s awesome Chimera novel pitch and a wildly successful 2015 NaNoWriMo, we here at Mind Key would like to offer our lovingly crafted writing and editing services.  These services would be a perfect gift for yourself or a loved one this holiday season and come in many forms.Charla DuryThe Mind Key writing team can provide story editing services, pointing out your writing strengths as well as possibly needed story edits.  Your novel, story or writing project doesn’t even need to be complete for...

Healthy splurging…. a tradition of self-love

Dictionary.com  defines "diet" as the general condition of the body or mind with reference to soundness and vigor.  This definition is rapidly followed by entry number 2: a particular selection of food, especially as designed or prescribed to improve a person's physical condition or to prevent or treat a disease.  And entry number 3: such a selection or a limitation on the amount a person eats for reducing weight.We're almost halfway through December, and I'm thinking that all of the above are probably the last things on my mind at the moment.  I'm surrounded by Thanksgiving leftovers (luckily they're all gone now… but the sweets lingered for a frighteningly long time), gingerbread houses (it's amazing how much icing I unwittingly licked off my fingers), Christmas...

Wearing and living your enchanted muse with avalove

Ms. Ava Hu"I hope to be able to inspire others to feel good when they wear avalove, and live their dream!"Ava Hu is a writer and artist and businesswoman who is most passionate about the moment creation happens.  She has contributed four poems to Mind Key's Yin and Yang: The Duality of Balance and is a wildly successful clothing artist in New York City.  Ava's muse, spirit, and inspiration is the moment creation happens. (Click HERE to read a review of her poetry and accompanying art in Yin and Yang).Inspired by music and nature—by branches, bodies of water, flowers, birds and botanics, and feathers of all shapes and sizes—Ava's life has been dedicated to following the song of her heart and her soul to create...

Holiday Season Stress? Yes, You’ve Got in Under Control

This month Mind Key will be sharing stories and tips for living in the moment with ease and brilliance this holiday. Inspirational author and motivational speaker, Azuka Zuke, provides encouragement and insights on how we can remain positive and present with our loved ones and the beauty of peace during even the most stressful moments this holiday.author Azuka Zuke *   *   *                     It’s holiday season again.  A time when we get into the frenzy of celebrations. From holiday songs to decoration adorned houses lining streets of holiday shoppers. For some people, this is an exciting time. But for others, this can also be a tough time of year. We all want peace, beauty, mindfulness, happiness, strength and joy, but oftentimes...

Surviving the most wonderful time of the year

Peace, joy, happiness…All words that we use to define the holiday season.But how many of us actually feel these deep emotions during what is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year?Instead, we suffer through the holiday hustle and bustle.  The next trip to the store. The next gift we can't really afford. The next party we don't have the energy to enjoy…. And on and on and on it goes.  We promise ourselves this year it will be different.  This year we will sit and enjoy the holidays.  This year we will spend more time with our family and less ticking off our endless to-do lists.Sometimes it works.  Usually not for long stretches, but in those blissful moments when our children get...

I’m thankful for weird stuff

I am thankful for my incredibly stressful job.I pull my hair out and rant and rave about how much work I have and how hard it is to stay organized and how badly deadlines and waiting for others to do things sucks.  I look at other’s salaries and salivate.  I look around my office and wonder where my head’s at.  I walk to the printer or the front area and forget why I'm going there on the way. I stress on work when I'm home and wish I had a work laptop so that I could get more done.  I worry about stress in my office and the changes that are happening so quickly.But I'm thankful I have a job and work with mostly awesome...

Your most essential self with essential oils

I believe we all want to feel vibrant, healthy and express ourselves with our personal touch of creativity and beauty. We want to feel more abundant, seen, and loved.  ~Jane Kamala Morba Jane Kamala MorbaMystic, photographer, Aromatherapy Wellness Advocate, storyteller and coach, Jane Morba believes we are all unique and each have important contributions to the world."It's important that we connect with our life force and sensuality to attract what we desire." Jane's mission is to encourage people to use earth based practices to heal body, mind and spirit, to balance the masculine and feminine qualities in our lives, and to support  intimacy.   She practices a blend of Buddhism, goddess feminine wisdom, Hinduism, and the school of yoga. She is a yoga teacher, trained in...

Connect with your Muse at Mind Key’s Winter Solstice Celebration

Red Room, art and poetry by Tara Ann Lesko To not live some sort of creative life makes little sense to me. I love creating with words. I love working with collage paper, scissors, and glue. In the rigmarole and chaos of the 21st century, it's too easy to fall into a drone-like eat-sleep-work routine. Creative endeavors such as visual arts, gardening, dance, or writing pull us out of the abyss of the mundane. Only when we create do we reach a deeper understanding of ourselves and our places in this world.Bare Bones, Tara Ann Lesko             With the support of Mind Key, Muses with Scissors hopes to prove that there is no such thing as sucky, talentless art. If...

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Finding healing for body, mind and soul at the Mind Key Winter Solstice Celebration

Barbara Steingas is an award-winning author, inspirational speaker and radiant life coach. She has written three books which share her tools of healing and wholeness through body, heart and spirit, drawing on her personal path of healing, and 30 years experience as a physical therapist. Her coaching, workshops and talks are designed to help you quickly identify the missing pieces to your personal healing puzzle, optimize your health and vitality, and live the radiant life you deserve.As a member of the Mind Key Community, Barbara will be joining us at the Winter Solstice Celebration this Saturday in West Milford, NJ.  Visit www.mindkey.me/festivals to learn more about this day of free events, demonstrations, crafts, live music and open mic, and more for the entire family."I have...

Meet The Village Shaman at the Mind Key Winter Solstice Celebration 11/21/15

We are pleased to announce The Village Shaman as one of our vendors and healers at the Mind Key Winter Solstice Festival in West Milford, NJ this Saturday  Today, Kieran of The Village Shaman shares The Village Shaman's philosophy and offerings:"The whole is more than the sum of its parts".                                                               ~ AristotleHolistic care addresses not only imbalances of the physical body, but encourages harmony within the entire being, body, mind and spirit. The Village Shaman believes that the best healing occurs within a partnership between client and practitioner, in which the client is educated and inspired to take an active part in sustaining their well-being in all aspects of life.  Through a variety of modalities, we offer an opportunity to rediscover health, peace and empowerment....

Sneek peek: The Mind Key Winter Solstice Celebration and holiday shop

This week we will be sharing the stories and offerings of vendors that will be joining us at the Mind Key Winter Solstice Celebration this Saturday, November 21st from 11:30-5 pm.  There will be talks, live music, and a number of free events and demonstrations.Learn more about: The Village Shaman Living your most radiant lifeMuses with Scissors creativity for allEssential oils and goddess energyThe Winter Solstice Celebration is a day of vendors, music, talks and events for the entire family. Finish your holiday shopping early with our vendors, and with the Mind Key gift certificate, offering products and services to help you live your happiest, healthiest, most inspired life--the perfect gift for anyone ready to live their passion. Join us at Lindy Lake Manor house270 Maple Road,...

Scrivener Tutorial: Why I wouldn’t use any other word processing or organizational program

Whether you've never heard of Scrivener, or whether you use it regularly, this simple, easy-to-use program is always surprising me with how versatile, effective, and powerful it truly is.While it's impossible to talk about everything Scrivener does in one blog or tutorial, today I'm discussing why this program is one of the most effective time-saving and organizational tools I discovered as a novelist and a freelance writer.For one, I can keep everything I'm working on in one handy-dandy online "file cabinet."  This means if I'm NaNoWriMo-ing, and need to pick up a phone call with a contact for an interview, I can click off my NaNoWriMo folder and easily click to my article folder, creating a new blank document in the appropriate spot.I can keep...

Shut up and write Nanowrimo-ers!

Last April, I participated in National Novel Writing Month (aka. Mind Key's Minute Novel Challenge) for the first time, and not since grad school did I have the discipline to write and write often. I guess the competition was a big motivator too. Yes, there was a prize to be won, but more importantly, there was a group of us on a mission. We joined a chorus and passed muses to one another. Unexpectedly, I won the Minute Novel challenge with a variety of excerpts from my memoir-still-in-progress, The Golden Skillet. My success with Nanowrimo could have only been accomplished by the energy and support provided by Mind Key members and followers. Knowing that significant snippets of my work had an audience became a...

Lose Yourself in NaNoWriMo

How many of us have grand ambitions of writing a masterpiece? Ok, how many of us have actually accomplished that? Yeah, me either. It’s OK. It’s not an easy task. Staring at a blank page can be daunting. You can see your world so crisply, so clearly. The mere act of typing out letters, though, dilutes your world. That word you just typed, that doesn’t quite convey what you felt while imagining. No, that sentence doesn’t really show the reader what you meant. Before you know it, your inner Editor has taken over, rationalizing and nitpicking your dream to death until it’s less than vapor. Suddenly that magical world in your head seems foolish, not worthy of bringing to the light of day. You walk...

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30-Day Total Body Challenge

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NaNoWriMo 2015: What You Need to Know

For writers, this is the highly anticipated month of the year.  We bite our fingernails to stubs, elusively try to rearrange our schedules, and promise—no, threaten—ourselves to be as productive as possible.It’s NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, and it’s the most wonderful time of the year.  Okay, maybe Christmas is, but November holds a very special value for those who yearn to write a novel or simply tackle a writing project.Sounds crazy?  It is… a bit.  The truth is if we silence our inner critic, if we truly sit down and ignore the grammatical mistakes, editing faux-pas, and everything telling us that our writing isn’t turning out right, then the 50,000 word mark is actually achievable.  Read author Marissa Meyer’s guest blog to find out...

Becoming Whole: Making peace with the light and the dark

At Mind Key we believe are all whole and perfect, exactly the way we are. The only way to accept and make peace with this truth is by exploring the shadow side of ourselves and bringing it to light. In our anthology, Yin and Yang: The Duality of Balance our healers, artists and writers share their insights and journeys into achieving wholeness via both the yin and yang sides of themselves and the world around them. Let them inspire you on your own path of healing and happiness in the following reviews of their contributions to this beautiful, full color work of art:Award-winning author, inspirational speaker and radiant life coach, Barbara Steingas, helps people find the pieces they need to solve their personal health...

The Making of Yin and Yang: The Duality of Balance

See how editor, Danielle Rose compiled the art and writing from contributing artists and writers to create Yin and Yang: The Duality of Balance, an anthology of art and writing that speaks to balancing the shadows and light within.  She takes us through the inception stage of the book, the program used to create the spreads, and how the file was rendered for proofing before being sent to print.  Plus get a sneak peek of the interior art!Help us get this project rolling by preordering your copy today at www.mindkey.me/anthology --we guarantee it in your hands by the holidays...

Juggler of the World, art by Dana Bree

Artist and designer, Dana Bree, has always been intrigued with questions of alternate realities, past and future lives, and our present course.“I have always loved to make art, draw and paint what I see in real life as well as give voice and image to my dreams,” Dana said. “I have always had a very active, colorful and memorable dream life.”Dana's artwork is a fantastic and bold melding of dream and reality, creating the perfect jumping off point for conversations about the metaphysical, spiritual and magical realms, which are often born of a similar melding.xAs an artist, Dana believes that a connection to, and an opportunity to discover new things with like minded individuals, is essential to her health, happiness, and creative progress.The Master Juggler,...

The power of simple words, images, and art: Ava M. Hu in Yin and Yang

Photography by JoAnna SchillaciYin and Yang poet, Ava M. Hu, is an artist and poet currently residing in NYC.  She designs her own clothing line called avalove with a shop in Artists & Fleas in Chelsea Market, NYC. She creates one poem, one metaphor at a time. Ava received the Amy Award from Poets & Writers magazine as best woman poet under 30 in NYC, and Jane Hirshfield picked her poem, Varanasi, as first place for the America's Review Poetry contest.Ava M. HuShe has submitted a number of simple poems for inclusion in Yin and Yang: The Duality of Balance.  Ava's word choice is exquisite, eliciting raw, and often nostalgic emotion from a few short lines of descriptive language. She does this in all her pieces, whether...

Nature reaches to the Cosmos with Elisabeth Ladwig in “Yin and Yang”

"In Dryad of Death And Rebirth, the photo captures yin," Sarah said. "Though her roots are decaying in the earth, without that death, new life cannot grow.Hailing from the mountains of West Milford, New Jersey, Elisabeth Ladwig, an award-winning conceptional photographer and artist believes "that life’s mysteries fall within the parameters of scientific explanation, that science abides by the Laws of Nature, and that nature is magical."This belief is conveyed through her digitally composed photography, each piece with elements of nature and with an anonymous subject, offering a variety of metaphors for the miracles all around us, and for humankind’s relationship with the Earth and with the Cosmos.“Anonymity allows the viewer to take part in writing the story,” Elisabeth says, “and that story is going...

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What if God were still making up his mind? Poetry by Gene Myers

Gene Myers lives his passion as a journalist, musician and poet. He started with a deep love of music—writing lyrics in middle school, frustrating his bandmates by neglecting the melody. In high school a friend finally said, "That would be poetry, Gene!" After that realization, Gene fell hard for poetry. Today, Gene is a columnist for the Haiku Society of America, and his poems have been published in journals such as Frogpond Journal and The Rutherford Red Wheelbarrow Anthology.  Still, music never took a backseat. Gene's column, The Joy of Life, which runs in New Jersey newspapers, features celebrity music interviews that go deeper.  He always looks for melodies to accompany his poetry—even, he said, the most cerebral examples. And he has never stopped singing in the car...

How do you glisten? Artwork by Heather Taylor for “Yin and Yang”

Today, Mind Key writers, Tamara Rokicki and Danielle Rose, share their thoughts on anthology contributor Heather Taylor and her photography which is included in Yin and Yang: The Duality of Balance, available for preorder today.Heather Taylor is a mom first, but she refuses to let motherhood define her solely, and is continually creating, whether photography, art, crafts or food.  Glisten Dichotomically by Heather TaylorTamara writes that in Heather's anthology photo, Glisten Dichotomically, shown here, Heather brings us an ethereal concept wrapped in raw natural beauty.  "The spirit of the earth reaches out from the picture and allows us to connect with foliage, landscape and wildlife," Tamara said.  "I can hear the footsteps reverberating off the wooden planks of the trail, the cool air caressing...

Striking the balance: Barbara Steingas’ story of having it all, but in moderation for Yin and Yang

author Barbara SteingasAward-winning author, inspirational speaker and radiant life coach, Barbara Steingas, has shared personal story of finding balance in health in Yin and Yang: The Duality of Balance. Barbara's passion is helping others optimize their health and vitality. She assists people in finding the pieces they need to solve their personal health puzzle through coaching services, talks, workshops, and her writing.  All three of her books represent different facets of whole-body, whole-spirit health including, "The Healing Puzzle," her personal story of "overcoming a chronic illness through unconditional love," and "Germans are Funny, Too!" which helped her embrace the emotional side of growing up with her "cuckoo kraut family."  She has also written "Solving The Crohn’s & Colitis Puzzle: Piecing Together Your Picture of Optimal...

Using Light by Night by Kevin Hall: From “Yin and Yang: The Duality of Balance”

This week we will be sharing some of the beautiful artwork and writing included in our upcoming anthology Yin and Yang: The Duality of Balance.  We hope that you will consider supporting us by pre-ordering a copy of this book at great prices before it is too late.In "Using Light by Night," Dr. Kevin Hall talks about his struggle with life's curveballs.  In his medical practice Kevin encompasses a wide variety of modalities for health to create a wide-angle vision of what’s happening.  So, this wide-angle applies in his essay as well.“There are people that looked up at the starts and just saw stars, then there are those that looked up and saw constellations,” Kevin said.  “I’m a constellation seer.”Kevin approaches both health and life...

The energies and power of the New Jersey Highlands

The Haunted Wood--Photo by Reiki Ruth AmaranteNestled deep in the New Jersey Highlands, between what is now known as the towns of Mahwah, Ringwood, and Sloatsburg, NY, is a secluded mountain with mysterious lore.  Therein resides a melding of cultures from Native American to Irish, German and African American, as well as a rich mining history, historical moments in both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Stories claim the Natives called the area "The Haunted Wood."To Ringwood Manor graveyard--by Claire T. Dunn Due to the geography—steep and often craggy mountains rich with iron ore—the largely inaccessible Haunted Wood was a haven for runaways, escaped slaves and others.  Its perimeters were settled early in our country's history, but predominately for the iron ore.  Even today, the heart...

Confessions of a Ghost Hunter

There are really ghosts, spirits, whatever you wish to call them.  How do I know?  I’ve had conversations with them.    After taking a paranormal certification course, I went on several “ghost hunts”.  Though initially reticent, I finally began asking questions in an empty room using a tape recorder, video camera, and K-2 meter. Although I wasn't speaking to a “human” being, I seemed to record real interactions with something otherworldly. The heck with those TV ghost programs, I’ve heard my name called and what sounds like guinea pigs squealing. I've since learned that angels sound like that because they vibrate at such a high frequency.  Soon after we got our black lab Watson, my Jack Russell named...

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Hunting ghosts in your backyard–A kid-friendly craft

Getting in touch with your paranormal side sometimes means having a little fun with little ones.These cute little ghosts are great to make with kids-at-heart of all ages and look great swinging from a tree.You will need:White tulle,scissors,elastics,rubber bands or thread,fishing twine,a black marker.  Cut about an arm's length rectangle of tulle.Fold the rectangle in half long-way, then in half again. Pinch the folded end to make the head of the ghost  Use an elastic, rubber band, or string to secure the pinched end at the "neck."  Finishing touches:  Using the holes in the tulle, thread a length of fishing twine through the ghost's head, and use the sharpie to add eyes.Now your ghosts are ready to hang from your favorite haunt....

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Loving spirit contact

As a sensitive psychic and tarot reader, when your own loved one dies, you don't really think of using your gift. You are just like anyone else, you just lost a loved one and are sad and at a loss.On the day of my own Grandfather's wake, Everett Henry Casson (my Grandfather), was at the funeral home awaiting our families’ arrival. I am never early, in fact, I’m usually late but, for some odd reason, I was the first one there. I was 20 minutes early. I walked through the doors and the Funeral Director asks me who I was there to visit. I tell him that I'm there to visit my grandfather, and the man informs me that I’m the first one...

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In a Nutshell: All about the Darkness

Darkness has always been associated with the scary, frightening or evil. The light, on the other hand, seems to represent goodness, comfort and ease.  Mind Key writer, Rebecca Godina sums it up in her blog Embrace the Dark, when she said: "We have been taught to fear the dark. After all, our myths inform us that is where the monsters lurk."But what of those peaceful moments at night? Those sweet dreams, or midnight trysts?Destruction is often represented by darkness, Rebecca said, and destruction represents change, and change can be scary.  But it doesn't have to be this way."Imagine how much more painful the process of transformation would be if it was done in the full light of day," Rebecca said.After all, in Three Reasons to Love...

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Battling the darkness as a spiritual warrior

In this time of great change, indigo children are the souls born to pave pathways through the darkness for future generations.  They are considered the spiritual warriors of our time.Indigo children, so called because of the predominant indigo color in their aura, often undergo periods of great turmoil and personal stigma, and must accept and embrace the shadow side of themselves in order to transform the the world into light. 

Ara MacDonald explains the astrological implications of being an indigo child, and what it means to be a spiritual warrior.

 "Spiritual warriors encounter the urge to fight, but the spiritual side asks if it’s a battle worth fighting… having a battle with self to discover the answer," Ara said. 

The indigo children are born with...

3 Reason to Love the Darkness

Now that autumn has cast its shadows on us, here are a few points that may lead you to love the darkness a little bit more, for we should all take a moment and, "Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness." - Anne Frank     1. Darkness Is Healthy. Our bodies produce the hormone, Melatonin, to help us sleep. According to a May 17th report from Bill Blakemore of ABC News, scientists discovered that only when there is complete darkness can the body produce enough of this hormone.Even if there is a little light around your bed, say from a street lamp shining through your window or from an exceptionally bright alarm clock, this tells the...

Embrace the Dark

  We have been taught to fear the dark. After all, our myths inform us that is where the monsters lurk.   Is this the truth, though? How can we be so sure something evil awaits us in darkened closets and   shadowy places under our beds? We aren’t sure, and therein lays the real root of our fear. Ours is a   culture obsessed with knowing, and the darkness reminds us of that which is inherently unknowable.   What is it that really waits for us in the formless dark?         Anything-- like the Void preceding all of Creation, the darkness houses limitless possibilities.         It’s interesting to note that darkness was often attributed to a Goddess figure in many cultures.   Take, for example,...

In a nutshell: Making sense of the dreamworld

"Ever since the inception of civilization dreaming has fascinated humanity," Tamara Rokicki writes.  Whether an exhilarating or frightening, dreams reach deep into our psyches and find the soft places that have deep meaning—often only to us.In The Inconspicuous Dream, Tamara shares how she finally made peace with a life-long recurring dream."Sometimes we spend an immeasurable amount of time hoping to decipher the darkest, deepest crooks of our minds, but what if they’re meant to remain that way?In A Dreamy Interview with Jefferson Harman, Jefferson explains that dreams are conversations with one's higher self that come through in a way that we can accept.  Disturbing dreams come when we aren't paying attention—when we are focused on one thing, but the important information is flying around in...

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The Inconspicuous Dream

'Tangled Branches'- Kely Luzio-CardonaEver since the inception of civilization dreaming has fascinated humanity.  From Joseph interpreting the King of Egypt’s dreams to modern psychological research, dreaming has always exposed a captivating and mysterious aspect of our minds.Throughout the years, as most people, I’ve had my share of colorful dreams; in particular one that has occurred since I was a little girl.  It is an incomprehensible dream, one that focuses more on sounds and feelings rather than the visual aspect of what happens in it.  The emotions tied to this recurring dream have left me drained, confused and really unsettled.  In my waking hours, I’ve tried to analyze exactly what the dream means or better yet, what message it tries to send me.  The fact that...

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A dreamy interview with Jefferson Harman

Jefferson HarmanJefferson Harman has been interpreting dreams professionally since his early thirties.  As a small child he had a nightmare so vivid it made him hyperaware of his other dreams.  As a result, Jefferson began connecting patterns and was able to see that his daydreams, and the path he thought his life was taking, were closely related to his dreams."As I … began to articulate this with my friends, I was able to interpret dreams for them, and then for others as I do on my radio show."Jefferson speaks on Life Unedited radio show, (usually on the first Saturday of each month, but check his events calendar for schedule changes).  Life Unedited will run a special Halloween edition featuring Jefferson on October 31st.In addition to...

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Using personal symbols to interpret dreams

art by Grace Ng DungInterpreting dreams can be tricky business.Dream dictionaries offer great insight, but they aren't the only ways to interpret the often strange symbols that come late at night.Interpreting dreams is only part "dream" dictionary.  The other part is compiling the multiple meanings of the image or symbol throughout a variety of different sources. Just because something came to you in a dream, doesn't mean that the image is unique to the dreamworld.  In other words, water symbolizes emotions.  It doesn't matter if you dreamt it, crave it, or are drawn to it.  In each case it the symbolism is the same.  Certain animals represent certain qualities—again, whether dreamt, envisioned during a journey,...

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Online Dream Interpretation

I don’t have a Shaman or a psychic on hand every time I have a dream.  In fact, I just plain don’t have either of those folks in my life.  I do, however, have dreams.  As we all do.  We may not remember them when we wake up, but we all dream.Since I don’t have a live dream interpreter handy, if a dream is weird, troubling or interesting to me, I turn to www.dreammoods.com.  There are a multitude of websites that claim to be the “correct” interpretation of your dreams, all backed by someone or other who says they know.  I chose dreammoods because #1, it was the first website of its kind that I had seen, #2, It has a dream “dictionary” where images...

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Flowers–spirit medicine for the body and heart

Evening Primrose by Danielle RoseFlowers are more than just beautiful to look at.  They are powerful medicine for both the body and spirit.  This week we discussed several flowers and how they can benefit healing on many levels--from alleviating the winter blahs, to dissolving life-long trauma. In Flowers of Fall--Harvesting strength for body, heart and soul Danielle Rose writes, "[Autumn flowers] are bright and cheery, and these attributes are mirrored in their emotional and physical benefits, perhaps to strengthen us for the winter ahead."While on a family vacation less than a year after her mother's passing, Charla Dury also recognized the spiritual power of flowers in Wild Flowers are God's Make-up. "I smiled a sad smile, but with hope in my eyes because of the flowers,"...

Spiritual trauma and Star of Bethlehem: A case study

Dr. Lisa M. AvilaLisa M. Avila is a chiropractor, kinesiologist and herbalist in private practice in New York City, where she custom blends care of the body, chemistry and mind/spirit for balanc of the human condition. I met with a 34 year old woman who had since her earliest memory what she described as an “unrealistic fear of kidnapping and death.” She reported no background of trauma of this or a similar nature having ever happened to her in her life. This fear manifested in her having anxiety when walking outside after dark, when being around strangers and what she felt was an overprotective reaction to her children playing outside. These fears of kidnapping and death were...

Amaryllis: Bring pride, beauty and success into your home all winter long

Images from www.gardennewsbreak.com The plant hippeastrum, commonly known as amaryllis, is a a member of the lily or Liliacea family. Robin Rose Bennett, herbalist and author of The Gift of Healing Herbs said that although amaryllis are not edible, the liliacea family contains many edible and medicinal plants such as garlic and chives. Tulips are also part of this family. Amaryllis are often sold as gifts around the holidays as they provide vibrant color indoors during long winter months.The beauty of these bulbs is that they are fairly easy to grow, and within 5-10 weeks after planting (depending on growing conditions and variety), horticulturist Christian Curless of Colorblends, a third generation wholesale bulb merchant, says they produce multiple flowers on two to three towering stalks...

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Wild Flowers are God’s Make-up – a Photoblog

  My family and I took a road trip a few years ago to the Grand Canyon.  It was Spring Break for the kids and it had been less than a year since my mother had passed away.  I was depressed.  Really depressed.  I did my best to put on a good face, but I spent a lot of time staring blankly out of the truck window, watching the still barren landscape of southwest Colorado pass us by at 65 mph. “Wild flowers are God’s make up,” I told my husband.  I think I scared the man, because he jumped.  I hadn’t said anything in a while.   “What?” he asked. “Wild flowers are God’s make up,’ I said again.  “They’re the blush that God puts on to show that...

Flowers of Fall–Harvesting strength for body, heart and soul

As my all-time favorite season, spring seemed to hold the most award winning blooms.  Fall is ordained by the leaves, spring is for the flowers.Not until I became an herbalist did I find a true appreciation for autumn flowers. Now my yard is full of goldenrod, queen ann's lace, evening primrose and flowering artemisia—plants I never gave much notice before. making evening primrose flower essenceEach of these plants have their blessings and beauty in both the medicine cabinet as well as the garden. They are bright and cheery, and these attributes are mirrored in their emotional and physical benefits, perhaps to strengthen us for the winter ahead.Evening primroseEvening Primrose in Watercolor by D. RoseShe is known on the shelves for women's hormonal support. Evening primrose...

In a Nutshell: Shamanism

Last week on Mind Key the Blog we explored shamanism and how elements of this ancient tradition can help you discover your path to healing and balance.  "When I think of a shaman, the first image that comes to my head is an old, Native American man, grizzled and peaceful, sitting cross-legged next to a fire," our editor Charla Dury said in Shamanism for DummiesIn Nuances of Shamanism, member Vera Remes explains, "That power comes from a 'whole' soul and the protection of compassionate spirits and power animals, which create a spiritual force field around us."Meanwhile, Tara Ann goes bold and reveals the benefits of sharing your sacred spirit animal in The Spirit Deer."I may not agree with the suggestion of...

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BMI: Time to Measure Up

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Nuances of Shamanism – what shamanic healing means to me

Vera at a Raven Reiki Drum CircleI felt the horse I loved so much was “off”.  I contacted the vet who examined him, watched him move and told me I was crazy but agreed to take an x-ray anyway – mostly to shut me up.   I received a distraught message from him several days later saying my beloved mount had “rotation” of 17 degrees in the navicular bone in both front feet.  That’s a really awful thing for a horse, a painful, crippling condition.  He should have been lying down or limping painfully.  What I didn’t tell him was that for months before as soon as I felt he was starting to go "off", I...

Shamanism for Dummies

While the vast majority of members and subscribers of Mind Key, the concept of Shamans and Shamanism may be very familiar, there are those of us out here who are clueless.  So, I decided to do a little research.According to Wikipedia…           Shamanism:  A practice that involves a practitioner reaching altered statesof consciousness in order to perceive and interact with a spirit world and channelthese transcendental energies into this world.  A shaman is a person regarded as having access to, and influence in, the world of benevolent and malevolentspirits, who typically enters into a trance state during a ritual and practicesdivination and healing.Ecuadorian ShamanNow, when I think of a shaman, the first image that comes to my head is an old, Native American man, grizzled and peaceful,...

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The Spirit Deer

​In early summer of this year, I popped my shamanic drum circle cherry. I had an idea of what to expect, but the actual experience differed greatly from my expectations. Thanks to fellow Mind Key members Vera Remes, Reiki Ruth, and Danielle Rose, I now have a hunger for shamanic journeying and working with spirit or totem animals. ​Somewhat deep in the woods of Ringwood, NJ, a group a seekers and I came together around a lush fire with drums, shakers, Smores, and hot dogs. Before this meeting, I had not spent much time in the woods, and I hated realizing what I had missed. Spiritually consuming nature is a necessity to true connectedness, no matter where you are mentally or emotionally. The most anticipated event at this drum circle,...

Sacred Smoke Bowl Blessing: A Native American Ritual

Among the many world cultures, I find Native American history to be the richest and most profound of all.  Deeply rooted in the great land that makes up the United States, their culture and practices are the foundation of our American civilization.  Much is credited to Native American history and traditions.  Many of their practices we still use today (think moccasins, teepees or dream catchers) but others are unfamiliar and worth exploring. Continuously aware of the spirit world and connected to the purity, symbolism and value of each nature element, Native Americans believed in the worth of life—most importantly the manner in which one conducts his life. As an immigrant who has grown up with a varied cultural background, I find the Native American culture...

A novel is never a one-person project

Cover design for "Chimera"Finishing a novel is easily the biggest accomplishment of my life.  Immediately I had to change my bio, as for many years it had read: "Danielle has begun dozens of novels, but has yet to finish one.""Chimera" is about to be fully realized as I head to Vermont with a better than one-in-six chance to win a traditional publishing contract.  I am so blessed and honored for this opportunity.I am so proud not only of myself, but of all the collaborators that helped me finish this.  I could not have done it without Charla Dury, Tamara Rokicki and especially Rebecca Godina, who has been in it since the beginning! They were all patient with me as I gave them large chunks of...

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