What is Kirtan Music?

KIRTAN MUSIC is form of chanting. Group chanting is a platform for a profound sharing of energy, heart, and soul. Chanting is in call and response format in many spiritual traditions. In the west, kirtan is call and response or sing-along style. Do I have to be musical? How well you sing is not a pertinent issue. You do not need prior musical experience. Kirtan is ideal if you are self-conscious about singing. Your voice blends with everyone around you. Science shows that group singing changes the chemistry of the brain. These changes happen regardless of skill level. Everyone reaps … Continue reading

Sports and the Superhuman

There are athletes all over the world demonstrating superhuman feats of endurance and agility in many different sports. There is a growing recognition that there are multiple components necessary for success: psychological, emotional, physical, and spiritual. Some athletes have had transcendent spiritual experiences while pushing themselves to their physical limits. Sports can be a path of self-mastery on all of these levels. In particular there are traditions in the martial arts and in endurance sports that give the practitioner the means to reach both the highest levels of physical culture and spiritual attainment. The ancient Taoists viewed the human body … Continue reading

Practicing for the Cave

I was talking to a friend of mine and suggested that he try giving up sugar for a year. Or maybe give up alcohol for a year. Or coffee. Or maybe he should try some mental deprivation for a year. Like giving up movies for a year. Or giving up reading books for a year. He was less enthusiastic than I had hoped. I call that kind of self-imposed deprivation “practicing for the cave”. What comforts and pleasures do you have in your life that you would not have if meditating in a cave for an extended period of time? … Continue reading

Prayer for a Predator

I am grateful for all of the recent media attention shedding light on one of the darkest of topics: sexual predators. This focus has caused me to look deep within to continue to find a way for myself that goes beyond forgiveness towards prayer for the predator as well as those who suffer at their hands. As a victim of sexual abuse by a Catholic priest as a young teenager and later as the victim of rape by a health practitioner, I feel a kinship with all who have been terrified, molested or raped by anyone in a position of … Continue reading

Workout Lingo

I think I’m starting to catch on to the workout lingo for weight lifting. I’ve learned about supersets (two or more exercises performed in a row without a break between them) and bench presses and back hack squats and lateral raises…. Sometimes the name of an exercise does a pretty good job describing the movement. These pics are a Concentration Curl. I think of this as a very physical moving meditation! … Continue reading

One Lift at a Time

Six months down! My son Chrissy and I are finishing a half a year of weight training this weekend! I’ve read that the fastest gains are in the first six months so it may be slower going from here on out. For example, the first time I did squats, I could only use the bar–which weighs 45 lbs all by itself–no additional weights at all. Now we add 50 lbs so it’s 95 lbs total. It doesn’t look like much and the point is not to brag (though there is some of that, I’m human) but if I can do … Continue reading

Boundless Health

I wasn’t super strong as a kid. In fact, I got sick a LOT. I wore special shoes because one foot turned out. When I was only three years old, I had drops put in my right eye every day to paralyze it and make the other eye work harder. That was the cure for having a “lazy” left eye. I stuttered a bit and had terrible allergies. I had pneumonia in grade school and five years of allergy shots. I was ill so often that my tonsils were removed in hopes that I’d get strep throat less often. As a … Continue reading

Reforge Your Heart!

Everyone experiences heartbreak of some kind. We’ve all got our life credentials! I suppose we are each affected to different degrees by different types of experiences. The depth of the heartache seems to be related to the significance of the event in your life and the things that matter to you the most. I know what it’s like to have pain in your heart that keeps you awake at night. That kind of pain is shockingly physical–the kind that makes hard to breathe or move or think. You don’t know how or when the pain will cease and whether hope … Continue reading

Kirtan for Middle Schoolers

My husband Andrew and I recently had the opportunity to share kirtan from the Hindu tradition with a sixth grade World Cultures class at a private middle school here in Bozeman, MT. Headwaters Academy describes itself as an independent middle school focusing on “developing students who possess great independence, strong self-advocacy, good decision making skills, and a solid set of personal values”. The school is located in very close proximity to Montana State University and takes advantage of many of the facilities and resources available. Learn more at headwatersacademy.org. We’ve had four of our kids at HWA for some or … Continue reading

Essential Oils for the Chakras

chakras

There are essential oils that are associated with each of the major chakras. These oils can be used for balancing and healing the chakras. Essential oils have an ancient history of use in religious rituals as well as for medicinal purposes. What I personally appreciate about essential oils is that they operate on many levels: physical, emotional and spiritual. They are volatile, meaning they evaporate easily. They also tie into the sense of smell, which is part of the limbic system. This is where memories and emotions are often stored in the brain. Although recommendations vary, the following essential oils are … Continue reading