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Category: materiality

Unsplash image by Rokslana Zasiadko

Read this next time you’re longing to feel beautiful

Are you beautiful? Do you find that a provocative question? Perhaps it hits a nerve that has you listing the ways that you’re not, yet, beautiful. Or perhaps you shy back due to modesty…

We don’t go about openly declaring ourselves beautiful in this culture. And yet we’re obsessed by it!

It’s difficult not to be obsessed considering that we’ve been indoctrinated from a young age, even if simply from watching movies and music videos.

As a maker of jewellery, and a first-house-Venus-in-Taurus, beauty has always held a certain prominence for me. And yet, like many, at the same time I crave beauty, I’ve also felt there was something self-indulgent, frivolous and ultimately irrelevant about it.

But then I started to dig into why beauty is high on my list of values. So I decided to do this series of explorations on beauty and what it really means…

What if beauty is not what you think it is?

Do you recognise that deep longing for beauty that you can feel in your heart and your belly? Do you crave beauty and yet sometimes have this jealousy, this feeling that sneaks up on you, that it’s something ‘out there’ that other women have but not you?

Are you the kind of woman who gets caught in comparisons? Not enough of this, too much of that? I know I am. It’s hard not to in this society where everywhere we turn we see a parade of Hollywood beauties, airbrushed to perfection – or the ‘ugly’ counterpart much used by checkout magazines splashing pics of ‘stars without their make-up’ across their covers.

Remarkably, I notice that whenever I read one of those mags (and only because I’ve been waiting too long at the doctor’s surgery and I’m desperately bored), I feel drained of my energy. Robbed of it, in fact.

And this drained feeling comes from the simple truth that these magazines are stealing my beauty by making it impossible. Since I can only ever be myself, not some copy of a celebrity or supermodel.

What are you allowing to steal your beauty?

In modern times it’s easy to believe that beauty is about a narrow range of visual criteria, because way too much energy is spent trying to convince us of this fact in order to sell us a product or service!

And thus we’ve been trained to forget what beauty really is. We mistake beauty for appearance, or rather we think beauty is in how we appear, when it’s actually an energy.

This is why we can meet people who have perfect faces and bodies, and yet something feels like it’s missing. This seemingly perfect beauty is an artifice.
It’s beauty that does not believe itself because the woman (or man) is not connected to that intangible vitality that energises her from within.

This isn’t just an experience we have with people either. Although the “beauty” industry works very hard to suppress our natural and uncanny ability to detect when something is ‘all surface and no substance’.

Beauty is the vitalising energy of life pulsating through us.

And it’s an energy that can be ‘stolen’… or more precisely it’s an energy that can be diverted or suppressed.

For example, whenever you look in a mirror and critique yourself for not meeting beauty standards, you’re giving away a little of your life energy to some social dictate about what beauty is supposed to look like.

It’s the same when you’re ogling makeup displays in department stores, or poring over the images of Vogue, and you feel this ache for the possibilities promised.

In each of these actions, beyond, around, behind envy is that little delicious scent of potentiality. When we pause a moment to recognise that sensation we’re seeking, when we really feel into the potency of beauty, we get to claim it for ourselves.

Because it doesn’t live in magazines or products, it lives within  our own vitality.

So even if you’re struggling to see it in yourself – or most importantly when you’re struggling to see it in the mirror – seek it not in magazines and advertisements.
Look for it in life. In gardens and galleries, in pets and sunsets.

Just because it seems to be ‘outside’ you doesn’t mean it’s not yours to experience. Beauty is not something we can own. And it’s ironic that the billion dollar industry so effectively keeps us chasing the possibility of it, by promising we can own it via a particular product. Even as we know this beauty is never permanent!

We can’t own it and it’s not permanent, but not because someone else has what we don’t, or time and age take it away from us – but because we can’t own an energy.

You can’t own vitality. You have to let it flow through you if you want the experience of it.

The ancient Greeks thought of the beauty we see as a manifestation of some ideal ‘off-world’ pure essence. But beauty is not abstraction, it’s of-this-world, available through the deeply embodied experience of life pulsating through us – in response to the vitality of a flower, or the energetic presence of the artist in an artwork.

Or the clear expression of our own real-ness in a world accustomed to artifice.

 

Unsplash image by Rokslana Zasladko

 

Beauty is an experience of energy, not a specific thing.

If you want to feel beautiful than dip into your own vital life force and feel it express through you. In laughter, or sadness, or calm. In all its forms.

Every time you see something that is naturally beautiful – flower or sunset, kitten or baby – it’s because there is a pure energy expressing through these.
Accept that energy as a gift, letting it enter your senses, feeling it infuse your body with whatever ‘feel-good’ chemicals that happiness and awe and joy evoke (and there are a bunch of neurotransmitters connected to these experiences).

And then just let that sensation fuel your own beauty, your own deep and vital essence.

Receive the beauty the world is offering everyday. This most simple of actions fuels your own beauty.

Some days you may have to ‘work’ on seeking it out, especially in a chaotic, cacophonous modern city. But whether it means flowers that make your heart sing, or a delicious fabric that enlivens your senses, or the taste of something amazing, let it all in.

Get excited about being alive. Because this increases your reserves of beauty.

And we need to continually replenish these in a world that seems constantly at work attempting to steal the beauty that we naturally have.

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.

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…

Jewels tell stories

When I was about 10, I wrote my first novel, an epic adventure about a warrior princess. Painstakingly hand written in book format, I drew the cover design (on her chariot leading the troops – I think I’d just heard about Boadicea), stapled it together and presented it to my parents for their reading pleasure.

Needless to say I didn’t get the rave reviews that help one to top the New York Times bestseller list. But, for a while there I was quite convinced that I was going to be a novelist (this was after I was going to be an actress, and before I was going to be an architect).

And then I ended up being a jeweller, and I could never work out why cos it was never on the list.
Except I always enjoy telling the tale that I saw ‘gold & silversmithing’ in the art college prospectus and had visions of lost ancient worlds (at some point archaeologist was on the list too).

AmberClaw

Now I realise that jewellery is storytelling.
Making jewellery involves stories, not just the ideas, but the materials – gems, metals, feathers, etc, all have tales to tell. Then there’s their life once they leave the maker’s bench, and begin to inhabit bodies and jewellery boxes and shoeboxes under the bed. They get lost, or stolen, they end up in the middle of someone else’s story.

I was fascinated to learn that gold never breaks down, and the vast majority of gold in circulation, even in new pieces of jewellery, has been out of the ground for many centuries.

Molecules of time, crossing centuries and passing through many lives.
A ring made from antelope horn found in a market in Marrakech, my grandmother’s engagement ring, a pair of sparkly crystal earrings my mother wore dancing at Cloudland (it’s a Brisbane thang…).

One of the things that I love about having made jewellery for more than 20 years is now so many pieces have stories to tell about all that time they’ve spent with their peeps.
Some are still being worn daily, others wait quietly for their moment in the spotlight again.

Not so long ago I got an email from someone who’d felt the urge to bring one of her SKjewels (circa 1991) out of the closet again.
“I gave my piece an outing last week” she said “and the old magic was definitely there with many compliments.”
How fantastic that the necklace had a chance to work its glamour again, that jewel and wearer could work it together!

A while back I thought about compiling all the stories that people have told me about their pieces of jewellery. But I never did, and now I can’t remember most of the tales.

Do you have a piece of SKJ ancient history? Or perhaps it’s more recent history? Or do you have a fantastic story about a piece of jewellery you inherited, you found somewhere, or that you lost and is out there still travelling? If you do have a tale to tell please tell me by leaving a comment below…

Its all about materiality

When it comes to materials and materiality I am on a mission – to restore the value of material things, to re-align our thinking about materiality. By this I mean not only how we relate to the material objects which we are surrounded by everyday, but also our environment and our own bodies – the matter-reality of our lives. To recognise and celebrate the fact that we are material beings in a material world is not to deny that there is a spiritual realm, something beyond the ‘hard facts’ of science, something beyond the limits of the designated 5 senses. In fact I’m with multitudes of so-called non-modern people who know clearly that there is no distinction between the realms of spirit and matter. Pantheism some call it, although that’s only one understanding.

If you are at all interested in this topic, I will be going on more about it, in between various other interests – stay tuned…