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Author: Sheridan Kennedy

I'm Doctor Jewels, creator, writer and practical mystic...
I believe that when we embrace our materiality and own our innate wisdom and joy, we access authentic well-being for ourselves, those around us, and for the planet.
Ultimately everything I do is centred around a simple desire... to restore a sense of magic, mystery and wonder to the world.

Stop hoping for that “One Defining Moment”

“If it would only take one word, perhaps one wise phrase to make us change, heaven would be easy to reach, here on earth.”**

How often have we heard the story that every transformational book, every life-coach loves to tell? That one moment when something clicked and everything changed. The lightning flash of enlightenment that comes from reading a phrase, a sudden revelation while in a state of crisis, or an epiphany in the midst of some everyday activity. And this defined THE moment when they were on the path that lead to success, and the realisation of dreams.

Everyone loves a miracle. I’ve done my share of chasing after them, listening to those lectures, reading those books, waiting for it to happen to me.

But wherever I look, there I am – and where are the miracles that just don’t seem to be happening?

But the real truth is that I’m sitting in the midst of continual miracle making – an aggregation of moments.

There is no single defining moment – we are actually in the midst of making miracles all the time.

Don’t get me wrong – I’ve had revelations that changed my world. Eye-opening or gob-smacking or rapturous moments.

But what followed on from there? It wasn’t that everything suddenly got easier. It wasn’t that one decision, one insight changed everything else. Did that mean I was some kind of idiot who just didn’t get it???

 

The truth is, these stories of Defining Moments are simply a dramatic device. It’s the archetypal hero’s adventure. 
Everyone loves a hero, or wants to be one. Hollywood and transformational coaches have taken up where myth-telling round the fire left off.

A sudden message or a stroke of synchronous luck, that culminates in a turning point from which you (the hero of the tale) never look back but surge ever onwards, no longer daunted, or taunted by demons.

 

This is the story transformational coaches love to tell, standing on stages in front of hundreds. I’ve fallen for this stuff, dreamed of having such a transformative experience, the moment that makes all the difference.

 

When I recognised they’re just retelling the ‘hero’s journey’ it became clear that it’s all just ‘backtelling’. Telling the story with the hindsight that helps us pick through the plethora of our lives and pluck out The One Defining Moment.

The key. The singular revelation that has made all the difference.

‘From that point on I stared success in the eye, and I became a winner.’

 

When I look back at my life for that crux point, I can’t pick just one. Does that mean I haven’t had a big enough revelation?

Instead what I see is a collection of revelatory ideas, experiences, feelings – small, almost insignificant, large and loud – all of them building on what’s gone before, and each slightly morphing and reshaping the others as I go along. Outside that reality trick that tells us time flows in a straight line, how can I untangle these moments from each other?

It’s not that One Thing breaks through, it’s that I never could have known or experienced ‘this’ if I hadn’t known or experienced ‘that’.

 

Let’s be clear that this story of the One Defining Moment is just a myth.

Which is not to say it’s untrue. It is simply the format of an archetypal story that snatches our imagination and carries us along on a wave of entheos – all infused with divine hope.

 

The reality is much more prosaic. It’s an accumulation of wisdom, an aggregate of revelations each building on what already exists. We don’t need to have that old-testament-style blinding flash so we finally wake up to our own wisdom and divine guidance.

If you haven’t had that One yet, it’s OK. You still know where you’re going, you’re still being guided. You’re not forsaken. Even your current crap-storm is not something working against you. You don’t have to solve a series of life issues and problems in order to be more ‘ready’ for the One Defining Moment.

This One Defining moment of the hero’s journey is simply an effective symbol of the overcoming of fear. But the overcoming doesn’t happen in the instant.

Maybe it’s true for some people that their fear is overcome in a flash, just as the Archangel Michael slays the Dragon.
Let me know in the comments if that’s the case for you…

I reckon the act of ‘slaying the demons’, however inspiring the story, isn’t the moment when everything changes.

For the vast majority of us it’s incremental steps, it’s recognition put into practice, evaluated and tweaked and practiced again.
One step after another. It’s the ‘chop wood, carry water’.

It just doesn’t make inspiring copy.

Don’t fall for the rhetoric that you need that Moment. In the midst of preparing ourselves for that One we’re not seeing the aggregate of moments, all those minor revelations and miracles which bless – and direct – our life every day.

We simply have to look for them in the dross. Because there’s not One Moment, there’s many.

(**these are the opening words of a song by my gorgeous and wise husband… who like you is a channel helping others recognise they are also channels.)

Zodiac illustration of Aries

What astrology has taught me

I first discovered astrology at a time in my life when I was stuck.
For one, my obsessive desire to be a successful artist seemed to have run aground and I wondered was the Universe working against me? Was I just unlucky? Or just plain ‘not good enough’? Was it a sign that this wasn’t meant to be?

Can you relate to that kind of situation where it feels like an uphill battle and things we have no control over keep blocking the path?

Ah, such a human dilemma! As a species we’ve been chasing that elusive control over our fate since the time before time. Whether it involved inspecting the entrails of chickens, or visiting the priestesses at Delphi for some incomprehensible gibberish, we’ve pursued this hope that if we could just unravel the signs they would reveal the secrets of what the gods had in store for us.

Astrology provided fuel for my obsession to decode the mystery of who I am. (Notice this theme of obsession running through my oeuvre?? And yep, it can be seen in my astro-chart). I’ve always felt different – you know, the weird kid at school, the oddball who didn’t know how to do things right – and I desperately wanted that difference to make me distinctive, instead of a victim of ‘not good enough’.

So initially, like many others, I was drawn by astrology’s promise to reveal destiny.
And I had really high hopes of what I would find – although I confess I was a bit disappointed. It felt like Alice’s rabbit hole and I could keep digging forever without finding definitive ‘answers’…

Now, 20 years later, and with the comforting retrospection that only time affords, I recognise that astrology doesn’t hold all the answers, but it does give us the ability to develop tremendously useful wisdom of the most practical kind.

In fact, there are 4 very useful things that astrology has taught me.

1. Perspective.

Or what I like to think is ‘the God’s-eye view’ – that view from a great height or depth or distance.

What the soul knows that the brain doesn’t.

When we understand how certain qualities we possess create our expectations of what we’ll meet in the world, we can cultivate the ability to ‘step outside’ of the frame and get that ‘big picture’ view.

Astrology gives me perspective on how I ‘operate’ – not only my character traits, but also what my soul is learning in this lifetime.

Ironically, I only developed perspective after I stopped relying on astrology for all the answers to even the little things. Because astrology’s greatest promise is to be a map for the soul, and maps give us a perspective we don’t have when we’re on the ground with the road in front of us. That’s why I refer to the astrology sessions I offer as soul-mapping.

If we start to believe astrology offers all the answers we lose the ability to access the truth it really does offer.

So now I think of our charts as our own personal sacred geometry, a map we can use to navigate life.

Capricorn and Sagittarius
from: Constellations of the Zodiac, Atlas Maritimus by John Seller, 1679

2. Compassion.

With perspective comes compassion. Too often in the age of psychiatry we’re fond of blaming others (especially mum or dad) for our foibles and failings.

Astrology shows me I’m not a victim, and what I’ve experienced is what my soul expected to experience.

It also shows what’s to be learned through having that experience.

I can’t tell you how huge a leap this enables. It helps move me move through resentment and blame, even in the most challenging experiences.
And so perspective has helped me cultivate compassion – for myself, for my parents, or for anyone who’s presented me with challenges  – in way that is completely natural, not forced or obliged.

3. What to do when things get challenging.

Perspective and compassion underpin the ability to know when to act and when to wait patiently. (Or in my case, as a rampant Aries, how to learn patience!)

Astrology not only reveals where I need to be paying attention when the proverbial hits the fan, but also the nature of a challenge – and it’s ‘reason’.

It provides the shortest route to the heart of the matter.
And shows how this challenge fits into the much larger play of time, and my own personal mythology unfolding over a lifespan. It’s even possible to see where it fits the collective challenge of a generation or an era.

4. Repetition is necessary

And in respect to the ‘play of time’ – do you find yourself still doing things that you think you should be over by now? Like perhaps you’re always ‘choosing the wrong man’. Or you could be in a work situation and suddenly feel like you’re reacting in a way that takes you straight back to some high-school horror story…

We think we should be past that by now, but repetition doesn’t mean you’re stupid and you’ve learned nothing.

Astrology has helped me to be OK with repetition because I recognise that when I’m repeating myself it just shows where I’m not really awake yet to what I’m supposed to be learning about this particular theme that keeps recurring in my life.

So that means I really know I’ve ‘got it’ when I don’t repeat it anymore. And maybe that’ll be never!!

 

Aries the ram
from: Constellations of the Zodiac, Atlas Maritimus by John Seller, 1679

 

Essentially, astrology shows me a more wholistic picture of who I am, and how to be more of me – to accept myself as I am.
It helps me get comfortable with being both the shadows and the light.

I don’t need to ‘overcome’ some bits of me in order to be a better human.
Because in every quality there is an advantage and a hindrance.

Of course developing the above skills doesn’t mean life is easy… but it sure makes it easier to deal with.

(P.S. If you want to know more about my astrology technique check out the Body + Soul Code sessions.)

7 tips for the perfect engagement ring

Do you have a special woman that you’d like to gift a piece of jewellery like an engagement or anniversary ring? And you really want that piece to reflect her individuality, that certain something you know makes her unique?

If you already know exactly what would be perfect for her, you can skip this post and head straight for the jeweller…

But what if you have a secret fear you’ll make the wrong choice?
Getting a bespoke piece made for someone can be a big decision especially if you’re fretting: “What if she hates it?” Your instincts already say there’s no-one else like her – but how does that translate into something solid like a ring?

It’s stating the obvious to say you’re going to have to be a bit of a detective about this.
But even knowing what to notice isn’t always easy.

It’s not that hard if you follow these 7 steps. You’ll be able to decide just what details matter.
The pressure will be alleviated and you can get on with making tangible what you already love about her.

1. Watch, listen, take notes. What is she drawing your attention to?

Prick up your ears when she talks about stuff she likes, because that could be useful information.

When she points out something in a magazine, in a shop, or anywhere make a mental note.
Maybe casually ask her what’s so appealing about it. But don’t rush out and buy that thing.
Women aren’t really that literal – we like to allude to qualities in things rather than to the actual thing. (Unless she repeatedly points out the same thing, then you better get on it!).

2. Does she want what everyone else is having?

If you’re contemplating having something specifically designed for her, get clear how far she would want to go with ‘uniqueness’.

Is she’s the kind of woman who prefers things that are different to what you see everywhere?

Or does she need to have one of those handbags, a pair of earrings or gadgets that are the latest fashion?

Is she really the bespoke type? Or does she get excited when she sees Michael Hill ads on the telly?

Does she love it when people pay attention to what she wears? Does she go out of her way to stand out in a crowd? This is where you’ll have to zero in on the detail because how she dresses has much to say about who she sees herself to be. (By the way, we’re not talking the “I have nothing to wear” syndrome – that’s about women wanting to dress to suit a specific occasion.)

18ct gold, emerald, sapphire and diamond engagement ring
Allison’s emerald ring was inspired by the renaissance rings she loves.

3. Gather evidence.

Ah, how much easier is life with your smart phone camera within easy reach! Take photos of her – and her jewelry so you can show your bespoke jeweller.

Get photos of her in work outfits and play clothes. Shoot details like the rings already on her fingers, or her earrings. Just be subtle about it, like pretending to be goofing around with your phone…

Take photos of some her favourite things – you know that stuff she pays attention to and likes to be around. (More ideas below…)

4. Note the details about her appearance and what she’s already wearing.

If you’re thinking of getting her a coloured gemstone then the colour of her hair and skin, as well as the colours of her clothes will help you choose the right stone.

Is she a black, white, ‘angles and sharp lines’ kinda girl? Or does she love floral prints and soft fabrics? Are her clothes bright colours or neutrals? Does she prefer ‘pared back’, or are her clothes a riot of colour and texture?

Is she short or tall? Small women usually need more subtle and delicate jewellery – except in the case where she’s a bigger personality and likes to stand out in a crowd.

5. What she surrounds herself with is also important.

I’m talking about the objects she owns: paintings, furniture and decorative objects. And don’t forget to take some pics!

Perhaps she has a collection of objects from her travels around the world. Perhaps her house is completely pared back and minimalist. Does she choose to drive a distinctive car?Any of these can be super important detail when it comes to the kind of ring she’d like to wear.

Along with the clothes we wear, what we live with not only shows what we like, it helps to define the way we want the world to see us.

Also the magazines and books she reads will give you much insight into what she really craves. Does she drool over Vogue or prefer Country Style? Does she read about gardening, or health, or is she more entranced by articles on business & finance?

6. Let’s not forget what interests her.

Does she play the guitar in her downtime, or is she an avid horsewoman? A dog lover? A knitter or a craftie? A keen frequenter of art galleries – or sporting events? A voracious reader of novels, or more focused on serious non-fiction topics? Does she have an unusual job? Is she passionate about the work she does?

Put simply, is she obsessed with something?
Does she care deeply about a cause? Does she love to talk about big ideas and dreams?

Is she focused on fun, or more inclined to be serious in the way she approaches her life and what it means for her?

Platinum, diamond and sapphire engagement ring based on constellation Delphinus.
Justine’s platinum, diamond, and sapphire ring reflects the constellation Delphinus.

7. Finally, and most importantly, What’s the vision you share?

A relationship is always more than the sum of two people. So what is the future you’re shaping together?

When I create engagement rings for people it’s always as much about meaning as it is about making something beautiful and unique. It can be the distillation of something essential or magical about the woman you love, and it can also be about the essence of the vision you two share.

And if it’s an anniversary ring you’re seeking then there’s an opportunity to distil something of what you already are, as a couple, into this piece of jewellery.

Imagery or symbols you both love can help shape the design of the ring. It’s not even necessary to know what a symbol means to you in order for it to continue to resonate with who you are, together.

One couple who were clients of mine had a mutual fascination for the constellation Delphinus and he asked that I map the pattern in sapphires. Another of my clients and his wife-to-be shared an interest in alchemical symbolism and roses – leading to a very unique design. Yet another client wanted to transform her mother’s engagement ring into a modern talisman for themselves as a couple.

Rings have a rich and ancient symbolism. It makes perfect sense that you want her to have the kind of ring no one else is having. And, by the way, it doesn’t even have to involve diamonds.

Long before DeBeers trained everyone to believe ‘a diamond is forever’, and thus the only choice for engagements, people had been exchanging betrothal rings as signs of dedication and future promise.

Much of this information, that you’re on a mission to collect, you probably take for granted. But it’s what shows she’s unique. And it’s not like all of it can be incorporated into a ring, but it can very useful intel that helps your bespoke jeweller to zero in on the perfect jewel for your lady.

 

rubies, diamonds and white gold engagement ring
Amy’s Ourobourus Ring: 18ct white gold with diamonds & rubies

 

So now you can feel confident on how to get that dream ring into a solid form rather than it just being a fancy idea in your head.

The next step is to find the perfect jeweller to create your masterpiece – and you’ll find tips on how to find that person over here.

 

P.S. Ring sizing tip: you want the ring to be a surprise but the size needs to be accurate? Here’s some ways to do it. Try her rings on your fingers and make notes about how these fit you – sometimes it may be a case of ‘second knuckle, pinkie finger’. You can also put one of her existing rings on a piece of paper and draw around the inside (and outside) with a sharp pencil. Take note of what finger she wears it on too. It’s not the most accurate of methods, but can be used as supplementary information. The best way of course is to sneak out a ring that she already wears on one of her ring fingers and present it to the jeweller for sizing.

The pleasures of bodyfulness

3 things I no longer believe about my body

From when I was a teenager until well into my thirties I believed the usual amount of guff we women are fed about our bodies and their general unworthiness. Too fat, too skinny, thighs too big, breasts too small, hair all wrong etc, etc. I’m betting you know this story, because you have one of your own.

Simply enough we learn we are supposed to be worried about our bodies and their general lack of perfection in comparison to some ideal. And then as we get older, it’s time to start worrying about how our bodies are letting us down, as we begin the apparently inevitable decline.

Basically, we’re encouraged from a young age to be at war with our bodies.

And ultimately this means we are at war with ourselves.

We force our bodies into shape with diets and the gym, and eye them in bathroom mirrors with unconcealed disgust!

Yet as a jeweller, the body is my gallery. And the more fascinated I became with the way that bodies and jewels work together (indeed, conspire together – but that’s another story), the more I decided that as a society we just have it all screwy when it comes to attitudes around and about ourselves.

I had an inkling there was something way more mysterious and wondrous about bodies.

And not just the female body which has the ability to actually create a new life (dismissed by the powers-that-be as merely ‘reproduction’). But all bodies, everywhere, of all shapes and sizes and genders.

Curiously, I’ve started to find that the frontiers of science increasingly support my suspicions.

And fundamental beliefs that underpin ideas of our self, and ideas about our health, are being shaken loose and discarded.

It can happen with these 3 small shifts in what we currently believe about bodies.

1. That the body works like a machine.

Humans started building machines, then thought “hey, what a great metaphor for how the body works”. But somewhere along the line the metaphor became the fact and now this meme shapes everything from medicine to physiotherapy and how we train. Then physicians realised that it’s not just fluids being shunted from here to there, and joints grinding away from wear and tear, there’s also lots of electrical activity going on. So now the computer has become the new analogy for body functions.

But despite comparing bodies to things that humans have built, science still cannot fully explain how it works.

We’re only beginning to understand that it’s not a computer, or a mechanism, it’s a living eco-system.

To describe it as mechanical is similar to saying a rain forest is like a machine. Because, we’re more like the rainforest with an extraordinary complexity of things going on in our bodies.

And while all the cells are producing energy and vitality, this is also being translated into emotions, ideas, and dreams.

Scientists have dealt with this complexity that is life by considering all the stuff of mind (visions, language) as separate to the stuff of the body (blood flows, cell divisions), and then confounded themselves with questions such as “how does consciousness arise in the brain?”

Which brings me to the second thing I no longer believe.

2. That the brain is in charge

In fact, the mind is not the brain. Plenty of scientists continually refer to the brain as the mind, and they keep looking in the brain for how consciousness can exist in ‘grey matter’. So far, no success in locating it.
Because they’re looking at consciousness the wrong way.

Neurons that produce the neurotransmitters associated with emotions and thinking are also found in the heart. And in the 2-way communication between heart and brain, the heart sends more information to the brain than comes back in the other direction.

We humans love hierarchies. It’s a tidy way of organising things to have a simple centralised control. And so we’ve come to believe our brains operate rather like a monarchy, where a single boss tells everyone else what to do.

Aside from all that information our hearts are constantly sending to our brains, there’s plenty of other bodily systems ‘thinking’ for themselves and influencing what the brain does.

You may have heard of ‘the second brain’, the digestive system, with it’s superhighway of nerve cells making judgement calls about whether what we’ve just eaten is useful and nutritious, or needs to be sent off to the garbage. And then there’s the community of microbes in our guts that are actually impacting the thoughts our brains are busy creating.

Our body is not controlled by our brain just because it’s ‘on top’.

While language and thinking are shaped in the brain, everything we know comes through our body and our presence in the world.

Without your body you can’t know anything.

The parts played by all the elements, cells, organs and systems in the body are relevant and equally important.

Think of it like a movie. Even though the director and stars get top billing, there is a plethora of worker bees without whom that movie would never exist. And these people bring their own skills and imagination to creating the whole.

Once we move away from the meme of the singular “I” (or brain) at the centre of things it’s necessary to let go of another belief.

3. That I am an individual entity

There’s a multiplicity of ways in which I am not a single, individual entity held in place by my skin. However the simplest example is found in the ‘human biome’ – the colony of microbes, viruses, macrophages and what-not that live with us, in and on our bodies.

Depending on how you run the stats each one of us humans is only 40% to 10% human*.
The rest are the kind of creatures we’ve been fighting against since Pasteur invented germ theory. (*If we count the red blood cells we’re 40% human. The reason some don’t count them is that red blood cells have no nucleus. That’s a lot of cells being ignored…)

Since most of these trillions of cells aren’t ‘human’, how can you be an individual?

You’re actually a collective. And the story of life is the story of the triumph of the collective.

It was the banding together of those original life-forms, single celled organisms, and their decision to co-operate, which created the more complex life forms and eventually the complex life form that is the human. For example, mitochondria in your DNA are an early bacteria that agreed to help out. They now shape genetic destinies.

Therefore, strictly speaking, ‘self’ is not an ‘I’.  It’s a ‘we’. A confederate of us. A united states of being.

Because there’s the percentage of us that is ‘human’, and then there’s all the microbes that are not ‘us’. But they live with us, inter-dependently. Bringing the outside world inside, the ‘other’ into ‘self’. Basically you and I are composed of multitudes: 10 trillion+ cells, all working together.

 

You’ve heard that “the way you do one thing is the way you do everything”.
In the same way, how you think about one thing (like your body) reflects how you think about everything.

You might consider these little changes of perspective I’m talking about as just mind games.

And yet they have the potential to create a social revolution.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that how you’re trained to hate your body’s imperfections and fear its potential for disease is your own problem, disconnected from the larger story that creates inequality, violence against others and destruction of our environment.

When we recognise that our body is not a machine but an eco-system it erodes the modern idea that we humans can just live in an urban bubble separate from nature. (So no, Stephen Hawking, moving to Mars is not the answer to the environmental mess we’ve made).

The natural world lives inside us as well as out. Our health depends on it’s health.

When we understand that intelligence isn’t located in brain or language, it’s diffused through our whole body, this sets in motion a new meme of co-operation.

A meme with the potential to dissolve old authoritarian thinking currently running the world.

And once we recognise what we consider as ‘self’ is actually a collection of diverse beings not an isolated ‘I’, it allows us to see difference in a new way.

Xenophobia no longer makes sense.

Thus, a few small shifts in how we understand our bodies create ripples that begin to re-weave the defining elements of our current reality.

About symbols. Or, why I’m so over jewels with words stamped on them.

I’m prepared to admit that I’m a jewel snob. And I’m also going to be a cranky pants.

I’ve had enough of bracelets stamped with your ‘bespoke’ word, like ‘love’ and ‘peace’ and ‘harmony’. And maybe your children’s names (like, really? are you going to forget them?).

I love words, but I also know the limits of words. Not only for the constraints on what they can express to other people, but also on what kind of meaning they can create for ourselves.

Oh, and while I’m on the topic of pet peeves, I’ve also had enough with $20 pendants of chunks of crystal wrapped in some cheap industrial metal and being sold as a ‘symbol of spiritual abundance’…. So ‘fast food’.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for symbolism.

But there’s something out of whack here.
Words only represent ideas in very limited ways. While symbols, on the other hand, are so much more than what most people think… So, warning, soap box ahead!

Words are stand-ins for ideas. They hold the position of the main actors, in their absence from our minds. This is what makes them so extraordinarily useful. And seductive.
You don’t need the real thing to be always present if a word can recall it at will.

It’s the power of grammaring!**

That’s why the Word of God worked so well for Christians, evoking the presence of the divine authority without him actually having to be there, in church and so forth.

It’s also why words play such a huge part in magic rituals – abracadabra and all that.

I don’t, by any means, underestimate the power of words.

However the symbol offers us so much more. Layer upon layer, we can peel away meanings to reveal new vistas, like the difference between binoculars & the Hubble telescope. Which is why I am so irritated by the ‘fast food’ version of the symbol. Like the news story in a tabloid, it’s designed for easy sales, easy digestion, and it offers no real insight.

The thing about symbols is that they’re not immediately understood.
You can still be chewing over their resonance and meaning long after the first encounter. Despite what dream dictionaries and Dan Brown would have us believe, they aren’t about attaching clear & precise meanings.

This makes them very different to words. So when you use them like words, to ‘represent’ something, you’ve missed 90% of the story.

Representing is what ‘signs’ do – they spell stuff out, sometimes with pictures.

When I was a (very bossy) lecturer it would so get up my nose when one of my jewellery students started talking about her project: ‘Well, this symbol represents my love for…’.

Go beyond representation I always say, keep following the idea down rabbit holes.

Find out something entirely new, or unexpected, or paradoxical.

Symbols open portals to meaning, they don’t close them down.

Words take care of clarity. Symbols reverberate & resonate & expand continuously into new, deeper, wider understandings.

Symbols follow a similar process to manifesting. There’s been enough out there about manifesting, so that you know by now that manifesting is not about writing the list and handing it over to the Universe to do your bidding. It’s about the feeling, and about being present in that feeling.

Symbols open vistas along the road of continual becomings.
They accompany us into wordless places where meaning is in our being.
It happens regardless of whether we’re even thinking about it.

A symbol is a material (i.e. visual, aural, tactile, sensorial, perceptual) key that unlocks a door into a greater reality. It’s a tele-portation device through which the numinous manifests. It takes the vast power of the cosmos (untrammelled by thinking) and it brings it down to earth, and holds it against our breast, or wraps it round our finger, or sits it on the table in front of us.

It brings the inexplicable into experience.

A piece of jewellery doesn’t have to be symbolic, although there is something about jewellery that means it is perfectly primed to be so.

Why is this? Perhaps because we wear it, maybe everyday, and like any well-loved object that we live with, it becomes part of our definition of self. It’s a familiar presence with us, giving reassurance or succour to our in-conscious self. (The conscious rational self is probably taking no notice, or else it dismisses the effect.)

For a symbol to ‘work’ for you, you have to become present with it. You live with it. You wear it. It sparks off whole flights of thoughts, ideas, dreams taking you to new lands.

And the most fascinating part – we probably never had intended this when we first saw it, purchased it and started wearing it.

This is one of the things that makes a piece of symbolic jewellery so magical.

 

[**Piece of trivia – because I just love this stuff, and maybe you’ll find it as scintillating as I do: the witch’s Grimoire (aka the Spell Book) has a connection to the word ‘grammar’ via the Scottish word ‘gramarye’ which means ‘occult learning’. And the word ‘glamour’ is also derived from ‘grammar’. Who would have thought something so dull could have such a secret past???]

But you ARE your body. Here’s why.

I’ve heard a few people comment lately, following a period of challenging illness, that in the end they discover they are not their bodies.

They are something more transcendental, more unfettered and free.

I always feel a visceral reaction to statements like this. Maybe it’s the Taurean archetype coming out…
While I get what they are saying – we are a soul that lasts beyond the mortal flesh and so forth – to me there is something fundamentally wrong with this attitude.

Think I’m being a materialist here? Maybe I am, just not in the way you are imagining it…

It’s in moments of illness and suffering that we get to feel completely alone.

And we mistakenly think that being ‘trapped’ in an individual body is the reason we are alone, because we really crave the connection, the sense of belonging, the feeling of oneness with a divine source that we know is the cure for any dis-ease.

I say ‘mistakenly think’ because this is a social training. It sneaks in as we are learning how to speak, and as we grow older it becomes more and more the way we think about ourselves – isolated entities, separated into our own individual bodies.

While this appears to be true on the surface (according to visual logic), it’s patently not true on any kind of fundamental level. Molecules, cells, the colonies of bacteria and parasites in our bellies and on our skin, all ensure we are always multiples, never singular.

Each of our cells is a tiny intelligent system, banding together with every other cell to create an “I”.

This apparently singular body is actually composed of trillions.

And do we end at the edges of our skin? It’s a big question, just the kind I like to get lost in.
But don’t worry – I’ll stick to the point.

Which, succinctly, is that when we blithely mouth the cliché ‘you are not your body’ we are throwing the baby out with the bathwater, exacerbating, even perpetuating the split between body and mind, body and spirit.
It’s a dangerous attitude. And sooo old school.

If you’re having a hate relationship with your body – stop!

If you think you have to control your body – stop!

In fact, you are your body, and your body is also so much more than what you think it is.

Your body is a vehicle for soul, sure. But it’s not like getting in your car & driving somewhere.

Our soul (and mind, for those who feel a little uncomfortable with soul stuff) completely permeates our body.
It lives in every cell & molecule. Yep, mind also lives in the body. It doesn’t depart until you die, when everything breaks down & recycles into new form.

When people say “I realise I am not my body” what they are really trying to say is:
‘I realise I am not the body that has been proscribed by medicine, and materialism, and prudish Christians…”.

And what they have actually realised is that they are not what is represented by the concept of ‘body’.

This is the difference between the representation (what we think it is: the concept of ‘body’), and the reality – what is real, what exists despite and outside of the understandings given to us by society, by medicine, or by spiritual systems.

So the problem is not our bodies, per se, the problem is what we think our bodies are…

Because whether we think that the body is the limits of the self, or whether we think that our bodies trap us in a world of matter and separate us from spirit, these are simply ideas we have about bodies.
This holds true whether we’re talking the ideas that science has about bodies, or what spiritual disciplines tell us about bodies.

When we say “I am not my body” we are really trying to escape the constrictions and limitations in our own thinking.

May as well say “I am not my mind”.

So, if you think your body is a dumb lump of flesh, that’s just a concept you learnt somewhere. It ain’t the truth.

We wouldn’t even be able to have a concept about a divine life, or a dull life, without our body.
Any inspiration, or pleasure, any intelligence of any kind comes through perception.
This is the ability of your brilliant physical form to pick up transmissions and translate them from the imperceptible to the tangible.

Beauty, joy, love, all are found in form. And only possible by living it.

The physical body does not make us separate from the great divine web of life – it is our ticket to this glorious event.

Don’t try to get out of your body – try to escape your narrow concept of self.

Your mind is actually your problem, not your body.

5 steps to your perfect custom-design jewel

So you’ve been looking for a very special ring but nothing you’ve seen is really grabbing you and screaming ‘I’m the one!’

Or perhaps you have just decided that you deserve that fabulous piece of jewellery you’ve been promising yourself for a while.

And yet, you’re feeling less than excited about all the prospects that have presented themselves as you’ve browsed shops and websites and galleries and anywhere else looking for that piece that will precisely express all the deliciousness and value that you really want to express about yourself.

It could be that you have inherited a pile of rings and things from your grandmother, and its just not quite your style. Or you snapped up gold when your saw it in antique and pawn shops because you love the idea of wearing it, but the designs are less than exciting.

Any of these symptoms are a sign that you need a bespoke jeweller who is going to transform your ideas, your intuition, even just the scent of what you’re wanting, into a piece of jewelry that is perfect just for you, totally unique and it just ‘feels’ right.

But imaybe you’re wondering just how you go about finding someone who can translate your idea, your inkling, maybe even your Frank-Gehry-style-sketches-on-a-serviette into a divine jewel that you feel is “you”.

So how to find the right jeweller? And how to communicate this vision in your head into something tangible so that they can create it for you?

You see, while I make jewellery, I’m not saying that I’m the one for you. That’s up to your intuition.

But I’ve got some suggestions about how you can be sure you get what you want, when you find the ‘one’.

1. Get clear for yourself on the outcome you really want.

I don’t mean that you need a design sketch or a photo of what it should look like. Maybe it’s about the way you feel when you wear it. Or the impact you want to have when others see it. Maybe it’s a metaphor: “like a galaxy of stars”, or “a renaissance princess ring”.

If you are thinking: “I don’t know what I want but I will know it when I see it” you will greatly increase your chances of getting the result you’re after if you can clarify some things for yourself first.

Some questions to help you brainstorm:
How do you want to feel when you wear this piece of jewellery?
“Special”, “powerful”, “loved” are useful descriptions, but try to get inside these sensations as well: what exactly will make you feel that way? Your bespoke jeweller may not ask you these questions but if you work through these yourself you can clarify some things before you even start to look for a jeweller.

If you say ‘I want to feel sexy and sensual when I wear it’, how does that translate for you? For one person ‘sexy’ is burlesque glamour, while for another it can be a particular texture or form. Perhaps red is your favourite colour and when you wear it you feel powerful. Or maybe you will feel the love between you and your sweetheart if you have have matching bands, or have the ring engraved with symbols that are deeply meaningful to you.

What materials appeal to you?
Do you want diamonds for your engagement ring, or something different? Are you interested in the properties of different kinds of gemstones? Do you want precious materials? Or perhaps you love the idea of something made from wood, or from steel.

What about colours, textures, shapes? Start to collect imagery. These might be imagery of existing jewels – you like a bit of this one, or a bit of that one. Or perhaps something more abstract – a photograph, a piece of fabric, a pattern.

Are there particular symbols or visions which you’d like to incorporate?
One of my clients requested a ring where the stones were set in the pattern of a particular constellation of stars that held real significance for her and her husband-to-be.

Collect visual information, of jewellery, or anything else that relates to what you want. This way, when you meet with the jeweller you’ll immediately give them a sense of where you’re wanting to go.

2. Find a jeweller that fits your vision.

Got some clarity? Its time to find a jeweller. Even if you don’t feel your vision is really clear, recognise that you’ve set your intention in motion by teasing some definites out from daydreams. This will greatly help any jeweller who is going to translate these ideas into a piece of jewelry.

Do your research.
Try word of mouth – like someone’s jewellery? Ask where they got it.

Spend a bit of time googling jewellery websites until you find the jewellery that sings to you.

Visit jewellery galleries and single out the pieces that appeal. The gallery can tell you if the jeweller will custom-make pieces to order, and may even organise this process.

Or just collect names everywhere you go, then head for the internet and research what the person does, what people are saying about them, etc.

Be endlessly curious until you find someone whose aesthetic and skills feel like a good fit.

A word of caution: DO make sure the person has experience with custom-design work.

Look for a jeweller who has a portfolio that already appeals to you – or a track record (again here’s where personal testimonials help).

3. Don’t ask your bespoke jeweller to copy something.

I can tell you from experience that “Tiffany’s without the price tag” is an awful brief! Do you really want a cheap imitation?

However, you can offer references to a bespoke jeweller: “something like this” or “a bit of this ring, and a bit of that ring” to give them some starting points.

Working from reference points helps, but when you’ve done you’re homework, and allow the jeweler space for their own imagination you’re on the path to something unique.

4. Get clear on the process your bespoke jeweller uses to translate your ideas into reality.

Expect more than one consultation where he or she will ask lots of questions, show you examples of their skills, discuss their techniques and the design ideas. If you come to them with some clarity (see point no 1) that increases the chance of you getting a jewel that’s perfect for you.

Expect to see design drawings, and perhaps a model of the work in progress. ,
Or a jeweller may use other techniques to communicate to you a clear idea of how the finished piece will look.

If you’re not sure ask for more clarification.
Don’t go forward with the piece until you feel confident that you’ll be very happy with the end result.

Most importantly, if you’re feeling any doubts about the design, how willing is the jeweller to keep working through the issues with you?
You need to feel confident about the outcome. If not, perhaps the 2 of you aren’t a good fit, and its best to know that before you progress further.

5. Get clear on the contractual details – even if there is no formal written contract.

Each jeweller has a different approach, and depending on how complex the piece is you may get an initial quote or ‘ballpark’. This will be close to the final price with a few provisos: eg: market fluctuations with metal prices, a given number of design consultations before arriving at the final design, etc.

Or save yourself the worry and tell them your budget upfront.

If in doubt, like the design, first rule is to ask for clarification.
After the design elements are finalised and before the production starts you should be told the final price.

Check the jeweller’s guarantee and after care.
Is your satisfaction guaranteed? If you’re not happy with the outcome, what’s your recourse?
Will the jeweller work with you until you are satisfied?
Be aware that once you’ve given your consent on viewing final drawings, you may be committed to the pay the balance.

Once you have the jewel – do you know how to look after it properly?
Have you been given care instructions for the lifetime of the piece? Can you bring it back to the jeweller to have it checked and cleaned?

A custom-design jewel can be a significant investment, but the experience should be exciting not scary.

If you follow these tips you can be pretty confident you’ll get what you really want.

And if you have any tips to share from custom-design experiences I’d love to know – leave me a comment.

Interested in my custom-design process? Find out more on the custom design page.

The Solstice Gateway

[this post relates to the astrological phenomena of Uranus square Pluto that was active from 2013 to 2015. What happened then is still relevant now].

There’s a revolution underway.
Can you feel it – the pressure of forces beyond our control?

If it’s something you sense, it’s likely that the Uranus/Pluto square has laid siege to some of your personal planets…

Those with birthdays in early April, July, October and January know what I mean.

And for any of you with planets in the mid degrees of the cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn), Uranus and Pluto have been playing rough on your turf too.

Pluto moves with tectonic slowness.
It unearths the deep psycho-social forces that underwrite human lives.
Its urge is to break down, to split apart the old and the outworn (ideas, behaviours, realities). Things past their use-by-date.

Not destruction merely for the sake of it, but as a necessary natural force, using this energy of entropy to generate new life. Just as soils are made fecund, and seeds are sprouted by the action of earthworms in shit and decay.

Pluto could take 20 years to move us through this elemental regeneration.

Until Uranus steps into the mix, says ‘ready or not’, lights the fuse.

Pressure builds to critical, forces beyond our control push us forward, outward, in any direction.

Even though we want this revolution, because we know it’s the fast track to that re-formation we’re craving, still we respond with fear and resistance.

It’s been going on for a while in fact. Since June 2012, the revolutionary forces have been stirring up the safety and security of position ‘normal’ (if there ever was such a thing).

Seven times they’re squaring off, over a span of years. Not that it’s been a non-stop ride since 2012 – there’ve been months of respite when we get to relax and take in the view.

Even to touch, for long moments, those potentials that we feel coming into form.

 

This week we’ve entered the 6th pass of Uranus square Pluto.

We approach the seventh and final gate in March 2015.

Seven is a curious and unruly number, a prime number (in other words, indivisible).

Not comforting like 6 or 8 which make perfect structures, complete unto themselves.

Apparently, when we’re asked to ‘pick a number between 1 and 10’, the majority of us choose the number 7.

The number has always seemed a little mystical to me. I once made a rather complicated contraption called the Gyromancer with seven rings, one inside the other, all about the revelatory qualities of the number 7.

Seven is the number of process.
The steps towards a goal, where each stage is a challenge that reveals a little more of what needs to be known by the seeker.

Seven is the number of initiation.
Salome removes her 7 veils of illusion, Ishtar passes through 7 gates on her descent into hell to rescue her son-lover.

(A quick aside: this holy incest is not some archaic paedophilic fantasy but rather a symbol of the mysterious and mystical union of creator and creation).

Lately, as the 6th gate approached I’ve been feeling the pressure rising again. Off kilter, out of balance, in my pushing to complete everything before I could start a new year…

While I’m in the thick of pushing to get things done, pushing through difficult moments, it just feels like I am up against an immense and resisting force. Rather like being under siege.

Until I sit back and realise that I am the resistance.

Out there fighting on the frontiers (of my own mind). Recognising that I have fallen back into old patterns. Of using work to feel deserving.
Of trying to control everything by working on it.

It’s the classic response – we cling to the old ways and habits, even if we actually can’t stand them anymore. Because at least they’re ‘comfortable’, and safe. We know them, and when we know something we can feel like we’re in control. Even if it makes us feel slightly ‘mangled’. That’s the funny thing about addictive habits.

Then this week the harmonic balancer in my car’s engine broke. Haha – how’s that for a cosmic joke – a serving of Jungian co-incidence?

The 6th gate was exact on the 15th when a crazed gunman trapped 17 people in a chocolate cafe, dubbed #SydneySiege.
A harrowing event that lead to the sudden deaths of two people in addition to the self-styled revolutionary with the shotgun.

Then days later in Cairns, eight children are inexplicably murdered – perhaps by the very woman who cared for them, in a Medea-like slaying of all that is dear to her.

The gate remains open until the Solstice on Monday the 22nd (AEDT), when there is a conflagration of cosmic events.

Uranus goes direct (the revolution goes full steam ahead).

The moon starts its new year cycle, in rare coincidence with the solstice.

And the sun basks a moment in its longest day (on our side of the world) before turning around and heading north again on its next cycle.

Hanukkah completes, Christmas looms.

All of these events are only significant from our earthly human point of view, of course.

The sun does not go round the earth, the retrograde motion of planets is only apparent to the human eye. Even the cycle of the moon is a symbolic construction.

Yet they’re also perceptible. We experience them.

We’ll notice our days getting shorter and the angle of the sun will change (my good washing days when the sun fills the whole of the back-yard are on the wan). The moon will slowly light up the night sky to it’s fullest over the next few weeks.

And the real power of any act of transformation or revolution occurs on both the perceptible and symbolic level.

Media whipped up a frenzy of fear post the Sydney Siege. Yet, people responded with so many flowers that florists sold out, and the tweet phenomena #IllRideWithYou went round the world.

It appears that still the revolution will not be televised. Only the fear of change gets air-time.

Each day we make a choice about the meaning we give to what we perceive.
To the information coming in, to the emotions we wake up with, to the events which carry us through the day.

Yesterday, I just happened to be listening to a podcast by Walter Makichen, a podcast so ancient it was from 2008 but I hadn’t heard til now. More Jungian coincidence.

I was musing on his theory of 4 levels of spiritual practice.

The first level is when we find a way to make sense and meaning from collapse and chaos – religion, or yoga (real yoga not that stretching at the gym), or meditation, etc – whatever your flavour.

Then it can become a tool for clearing out the karmic dross of psychological wounding; for calming the mind and heart.

After this we discover that spirit is in the creative act, and we begin to understand the power we have to generate our own reality, to bring things into being.

The trouble is that we can get stuck there, and forget that the source of creativity is that energy which is so much greater than ourselves.
We think we can control everything, we get caught up in hubris ( I love that word – the arrogance that challenges the Gods, to which the only antidote is humility).

Walter describes the 4th level as transcendence, the moment when we step out of trying to control everything and we just let it be.

I have an issue with the concept of transcendence – I’m sure we can still be on and of this planet without getting caught up in that particular human need to identify with what gets created, and destroyed.

Instead I prefer to think of this level as what Tosha Silver describes as ‘offering’.

It’s the handing over. It’s surrender.

Not a very appreciated quality in our culture. Suggesting loss and failure.

And so we struggle to find a way to win the revolution, not realising that we’re buying into the very mindset that we are fighting to bring down.
And, ironically, the fate of most revolutions is to replace the ousted oppressor with another form of oppression.

This morning I realised that when I surrender, the revolution is truly underway because the struggle, the resistance is over.
Blockages fall away. The wheel turns.

So this solstice I’m ready to drop another veil, to burn what needs to be burnt, to open up to the future.

I’m asking myself: what revolutionary act, or thought, or feeling, do I want to make a reality, today?

And you, what is your solstice act of release? How are you answering the challenges of the 6th gatekeeper?

7 steps to creating an intentional jewel

The power of your intentions.

One of my favourite books The Intention Experiment by Lynne McTaggart, is an in-depth study of just how much of a difference intention can make.

It’s a fascinating read if you want to know the science of it – i.e. randomised control experiments which have been happening for many years in various Universities and Labs. You just don’t hear so much about this as it’s all a little bit hard for mainstream thinking to get its collective head around!

The observer changes the result.

Quantum physics has been telling us this for years. Yes, I know physicists among you will say that what happens in the quantum level of particles doesn’t happen in the actual world of complex matter.
But perhaps it does, and it’s just all about how we are looking at reality.

Anyway, this post is not intended to be a dissertation on the general consensus of ‘what is reality’. Let’s talk about that another day…

Here, I’m interested in your reality – and how you are creating and sustaining it on a daily basis with what you believe, and what you intend.

So what is an intentional jewel?

Jewellery has a very ancient history of being used intentionally.
A wedding ring is the most obvious example. With it we declare our intention to commit to another.

Then there’s amulets and talismans which go back to pre-history. And before Lord of The Rings there was many a story and folktale of magical jewels with all kinds of healing or protective properties. You’d have already heard about different attributes of various gemstones, and their purported effects.

Jewellery can also contain desires and intentions for the one who owns it.
It holds these rather like ever-present memories.

The jewel (and it’s meaning) can be subtle and private, or a very public display transforming you into something more than your everyday self.
I think that jewellery’s intimacy with us gives it a special advantage – sometimes familiar enough to feel a part of our body, it takes on our warmth, it breathes with us. It works for us.

We all have days when we’re unmotivated, dispirited, anxious, lacking focus. On those days, you can slip on your intentional jewel and you’re reminded of what you’re here to do – or be.

I’ve always been fascinated by the somewhat magical properties of jewels, so I decided to harness this fascination, pair it with a bit of doctor-ish research, and add a touch of playfulness.

Thus the EnerJewels collection was born.

EnerJewels are intentional jewels. While they work with inherent qualities and properties of materials, and also use symbolism, this is only the first step in creating an intentional jewel.

The rest, you see, is up to you.

‘Loading’ the jewel with your intention is a DIY process, but I thought I’d give you some pointers…

7 steps to an intentional jewel:

1. Get clear on what you want.
Remember it’s not about things, events, or other people’s behaviour. It’s about how you want to feel.

Look at the desired goal and then dig down to find out how having this will make you feel – this is your real aim, and the only way manifestation can work.

This exercise of finding out how you want to feel can be quite eye-opening. How many times have you achieved a goal only to feel unsatisfied? Makes you wonder if you really know what you want… but I bet you do know how you want to feel.

Separate the goal of ‘things’ out from how being that, or having that, would make you feel. Whatever comes through, make the feeling your focus.

2. Be able to envision it as if it were real.
Not just envision – embody, which means bringing all the senses into play.

What does it smell like? What does it feel like? What is the texture, the shape of it? What can you hear people saying to you?

Do what’s necessary to get clarity – write it down, imagine living it with all your senses.

Know the experience. FEEL IT.

3. Find the jewel. Or let the jewel find you.
Do some research into gemstones and their properties, or go out shopping.

Or be awake to visions you might have. Perhaps it’s a particular symbol that’s calling you. Maybe it’s a particular material  – a gemstone, a river rock you found. Anything that you’d like to wear.

Trust that once you go looking for it, it will come to you – it will be put in your way.

4. Clean and clear the jewel.
If you are seeking an intentional piece of jewellery, you’re already aware or at least suspect that it can carry your energy.

If it carries energy, it’s already carrying it from wherever it’s been previously – the hands it’s passed through, or the way that it was taken from the ground. If it’s a second-hand piece of jewellery this is particularly important.

Cleansing and clearing doesn’t have to be elaborate – start with the intention to clean and clear, then take the action. If you’re inspired to do something in particular, do it.

If not, use the tried and tested approaches such as:
A salt water bath (providing the material won’t be affected), or simply running water from a tap or a spring. Some like to place their piece in the light of the full moon.

5. Create an anchoring ritual.
Why a ritual? Rituals are actions (they can be habitual but they don’t have to be) that are designed to bring you, jewel and environment into alignment.

What does that mean? Maybe you’re thinking this sounds weird – how do you ‘align’ with your environment?

Think about it as being ‘in accord’. Accord is harmony and coherence.
One way to be in harmony with your environment is to set up your environment in a way that feels harmonious to you.

Since you want to evoke a specific emotion, which you will anchor into the jewel, set it up by using particular objects, times of the day or cycles of the moon. Ultimately it’s your choice, and by becoming bodyful (more consciously embodied) you will be able to make those choices easily.

(I’ll be talking more about bodyfulness, or rituals in this blog – so stick around.)

Here’s a suggestion for an intention anchoring ritual:
Condition your space. Emotions, aesthetics, music, dance, poetry are all acts to condition a space.

Place flowers, beautiful fabrics or objects in the space – or choose a space outdoors that has it’s own beauty and power.

Or create an altar on which you arrange special, meaningful, or sacred objects and images.

The idea is to evoke in yourself the sensations that you intend to experience in the future, when you wear the jewel. This may require meditation, or particularly inspiring music.

In the ritual process put on your jewel, and incorporate the way it feels into your emotional state – in other words be aware of it – touch or hold it.

If your intention is something very practical, such as focus then it’s probably enough to condition yourself through some kind of action – like your morning exercise ritual, or any situation you go into that you already feel focused.

Can’t think of anything for setting focus? Next time you’re doing a disciplined activity that needs focus, wear your jewel. Notice how it feels to be focused while holding and bringing your attention to how the jewel is feeling on your body as you wear it.

On a practical level you are creating a connection between your awareness of experiencing that emotion (focus, brilliance, valuable-ness etc) and the piece of jewellery you can also feel yourself wearing.

You are forming neurological connections between these experiences of wearing, and the experience you desire to have.

6. Keep your intentional jewel in a special place.
If you have an altar you may want to keep it there. Don’t let it hang with your other run-of-the-mill jewels!

Continue to condition your jewel by wearing it. Not every day (unless of course it’s meant to be never taken off like a wedding ring).

Wear it when you want to evoke that emotion.

Say you want to evoke brilliance, just before a difficult meeting, or a challenging phone call. Take a nice relaxed belly breath,  hold the jewel, or touch it in some way so that you notice it, and then evoke that feeling of being brilliant, which you intend to make a regular integrated part of your life.

7. Embodying your intention is a practice.
Continue to condition your jewel regularly through focusing energy on it, meditating and envisioning yourself feeling that feeling, doing what you want or need to do to cultivate that feeling in your life.

And condition the space it lives in (through offerings of fresh flowers, good thoughts, affirmations etc).

Although we may think that the thing we desire (love, abundance, brilliance etc) is something we lack, it’s important to remember that if you desire something, you already recognise what it is like to experience that desire.

At sometime you have already felt like that, otherwise you could not desire it.  And if you have any inkling of what it’s like, it’s possible to re-capture that feeling. Those pathways are already laid down, neurologically speaking.

In the way that every skill is learned through practice, a regular practice of evoking the sensation you seek through some kind of ritual, or through use of music, for example – or simply by recognising and acknowledging when you feel that way – uses those pathways again.

The more you use them, the easier it gets to evoke that experience again and again.

When you have a great experience and you’re wearing the jewel, condition it again by holding it while you absolutely enjoy that sensation, acknowledge it and indulge yourself in it. This is your power to create your own reality.

And if you have a negative experience that seems to hang around the piece and not dissipate, clean it again and re-condition it through steps 4 to 7.

 

Most of all – love your jewel, admire it’s beauty, and enjoy wearing it.

Over time when you put it on you will feel it as a somewhat magical experience.

You will feel how the jewel helps you in loving yourself and in becoming so much more the person you want to be.

Want to know more about intentional objects? Feeling skeptical, or doubtful about it’s effects?

I like to approach the intentional jewel from a holistic point of view – from the historical, the magical, the bodyful, the aesthetic and artful, and yes, including the rational and intellectual.
Keep visiting me here to find out more.

Does the body get in the way of mindfulness?

Back in 2009 when I was a phd student, and exploring the science of consciousness, I put myself forth as a guinea pig for several experiments conducted by other students at the Institution I attended.
Electrodes on the head while staring at computer screens, that kind of thing.

One particularly memorable experiment involved a study into mindfulness.

It all began on a dark night in fluorescent lit, windowless room deep in the bowels of the Psychology department.

We (me and a dozen others) hooked ourselves up to some computers. It struck me that there was nothing natural in this room except human flesh (by which I mean, nothing that is self-creating or self-regenerating – just steel and polymers and glass, a cacophony of cables, and melamine tables, plastic moulded chairs, etc).
And there I was squeezed in front of a computer screen, while the bulbous back of another old-fashioned behemoth beamed its photons into my spine.
Even the air was fake.

I was at that particularly sensitive stage we women enter, just prior to our metaphorical new moon, the onset of our menses. A stage that has, as we know, been much maligned and feared as a time of dark and threatening feminine irrationality! In truth it’s just a time of deepened sensitivity that, when not acknowledged, turns into monsters.

There, in a plastic land vitalised by a cacophony of EM fields, windowless, fresh-airless, I was already feeling pretty weird.

Add to that an hour of staring at the screen doing all kinds of boring tests measuring my attention and awareness, and I was properly screwy.

To complete the exercise, the coordinator took me into another room, sat me in front of a video camera and asked me to unscramble a bunch of letters to make words. While being recorded for observational purposes.

I looked at the gibberish of letters and burst into tears. Flustered, she informed me, that the camera was just pretending. And the words were too – they didn’t spell anything! Basically it was to measure my calmness under pressure. (Giant Fail!)
She didn’t know what else to do with me. Essentially I had wasted her time.

I was the glitch in the stats. Later when I spoke to a psychology professor about it he explained that aberrations like myself are averaged out by the sheer volume of people included in the study. That’s how the making of stats works.

This is what happens when an idea (or experience) must become a theory to be proved through factual ‘observations’. In order to be accepted as medically viable.

An averaging out. A negation of the influence of hormones, and plastic, and EM fields, on the mind.

In this way mindfulness can be quantified, when it is in fact a quality.

Is mindfulness the ignoring of external stimuli, or internal stimuli complaining quite clearly that something is bad for us?
Seemed to me this giant experiment, in it’s search for proof, had missed the point.

I was left with the feeling that all of these studies on mindfulness were fundamentally flawed. They pretended the body had nothing to do with it. Its role in the story could be ‘averaged out’.

Does anyone else smell a decoy here?

This is the problem of the ‘universal body’ we find in medicine. This is the challenge of every family doctor who must balance their collated medical facts with the panopoly of life that comes through their doors.

Perhaps I felt slighted because ultimately my contribution to the study of mindfulness (which I was all in favour of, from the outset) was reduced to naught.

And, being in the control group, I didn’t even get to experience its benefits.

Although, something did come through to me very clearly.
In the measure of mindfulness, my body was an interference.

But does my body get in the way of mindfulness? I wondered.

And I felt resistance. I didn’t believe it.
You know that expression ‘ever fibre of my being screamed “no”’?
Well that’s how I felt.
My fibrous, material, body-self refused to accept that picture of the world.
That tired old paradigm where our body is an impediment to mind, to wisdom, and to spirit.

Ever since then I’ve been on a mission to champion bodyfulness.
And to expose mindfulness as simply a rather misguided remnant of a frayed and decaying worldview that has reached its use-by-date.

Curious? Consider that them thar’s fightin’ words?
Stick around I’ll tell you more about what I’ve uncovered…