The power of a TALISMAN during the holiday season!

 

Last weekend I had the joy of making Peace Bracelets in person at the 8th annual Gingerbread Festival at the Wood Memorial Library and Museum in South Windsor, CT. What a treat it was to connect with so many special souls all searching, like me, for a way to give themselves what they need so that they can in turn give loving kindness to the world around them. I will be back at The Wood this Saturday, making Peace Bracelets again from 10-5, and as I prepare for the event I’m left ruminating on the power of a talisman during the holiday season.


 

The end of the year - through the holidays and transitions it brings - seems to me to be the ideal time to wear a talisman, like your peace bracelet, each and every day. I think we all know, to some degree, how trying and tiring this time of year can be. Does any time of year seem to test our patience, our empathy, our ability to practice metta more than between the months of November and February (lets be real here, March!)? Me thinks not! 

As magical and special as they can be, the holidays can also be a source of stress, sadness, and general tsuris for many people. Being with the people we love so dearly also often means being around the people who can push our buttons and somehow bring out of us aspects of ourselves we thought we had worked hard to move beyond. Being without the people we love can leave us lonely, feeling disconnected and hopeless. In the face of so much manufactured joy, our inability to create our own inner jubilation can feel heavier than at other times of the year, as if we are somehow failing by not feeling the warmth and excitement that seems to scream from every street corner and TV screen. We can end up grumpy, or sarcastic, sometimes even mean. We may end up feeling withdrawn, or maybe the opposite — too involved, too put out, too obliged.

Being around our loved ones, the people we have known through all/so many of the emotional stages of our lives, can sometimes throw us back into patterns, or habits, or just general feelings that we thought we worked hard to leave behind. Aspects of ourselves that we have learned to manage and let go of can suddenly be driving the show, leaving us feeling disconnected, discouraged, and generally down in the dumps. Being alone when we are told we are supposed to be together can do the same thing — making us forget that we are content with our special little lives because they don’t seem as grand as everyone else’s.

We can end up feeling like we are wearing the skin of someone we once had to be but no longer need to hide behind, and that can leave us spiritually, psychically, energetically suffering. We can end up hiding behind a smiling face, or in a corner, or behind the stove, or in front of a TV, instead of interacting in the ways we’d really, truly, like to. Often, we find ourselves reacting from this space of stress, anxiety, and loneliness, instead of acting from love like we know we should, like we want to. And at the end of it all, we are the ones who really experience the trauma of that suffering — not those we lash out to, or disconnect from, or expect to give us something we can, do, and must give to ourselves. We can even, if we’re really overwhelmed, end up in a negative feedback loop that pushes us into the New Year with less hope and more frustration.

So what do we do? How do we continue through this season with an open heart, an open mind, and an ability to work through love in the face of such trials? How do we walk confidently, honestly, lovingly into the New Year, able to give empathy and love to all those we encounter? How can we keep from retreating into those old, dark, uncomfortably-comfortable spaces and instead, stay in the light of our truest intentions?

There are so very many things that we can do for ourselves, many of them as easy as making a cup of tea or letting ourselves take that extra few minutes in the warmth of the shower. The most important thing that we can do, and there are many many ways to achieve it, is to create for ourselves a space in which we can find (and mindfully return to!) peace, love, and patience during times of difficulty. By doing the work every day to create that spiritually nourishing, energetically connected, mindfully aware and deeply loving space for ourselves — through acts of self love, compassion, and awareness — we give ourselves (and the universe at large!) the greatest gift of any holiday. We give ourselves the gift of loving kindness. We give ourselves the gift of metta.

Metta is the practice of benevolence, or loving kindness, as prescribed by the Buddha in the Metta Sutta. The practice of metta is multi-layered, but the basic essence of the concept is the wish for all things to be happy. When we regard others through the lens of loving kindness — of empathy, of compassion, of universal connection — we are practicing metta. When we stand up for our truths, instead of allowing others to hurt us, and in turn hurt themselves by keeping us from doing so, we are also practicing metta. When we give without expecting anything in return to those who deserve our unconditional love, we are practicing metta. When we treat ourselves tenderly, giving ourselves into consistent self-love rituals and routines, we are practicing metta. This aspect of the practice of metta — the day-to-day, personal practice of loving oneself — is in some ways the most important aspect of the practice. For until we are able to give ourselves true loving kindness and compassion, how can we expect to do so for anyone else?

The holiday season is a crucial time for us to keep up in our practice of metta. It is a time when people need more love and understanding than usual, ourselves included. And yet, there are so many cards stacked against us this time of year — especially those of us who live in the colder, wintery climes! Little sun, cold bones, and a seemingly endless calendar of events — both obligatory and truly desirable — can make even the most benevolent of souls a wee bit prickly! And so more so than any time of year, we can really use the help and support that energetic tools like a talisman can provide.

A talisman is an object that gives its wearer protection and strength, and in terms of the practice of metta, a talisman can be an incredibly powerful way to support your practice of loving kindness each and every day of the year — especially during the holidays. Even if you aren’t “into” talismans, you probably have many without even realizing it. Your favorite sweater that you wear whenever you’re feeling like you need a hug? That’s a talisman. The ring your grandmother gave you that helps you remember her love and in turn, how lovable you are? A talisman. The keychain you bought on your road-trip that keeps you connected to the brave and passionate soul within you that put you out on the road in the first place? Yup, you got it — that’s a talisman too.

Traditionally, talismans have often been pieces of jewelry made from a variety of natural materials. The materials of these objects, as well as their colors, their design, and the intention that went into their making, help to create an object that is more of a friend than an inanimate thing to wear. When I designed my Peace Bracelets, I intuitively created a line of wearable talismans, each one made to help its wearer in its own unique way.

I hold your name and spirit in my consciousness as I make your bracelet, and with each knot, with each bead, I push into the bracelet my intentions for you to find peace and compassion so that you may always act in the service of love. If I have been fortunate enough to learn more about you, that knowledge sits with me at the table as I make your bracelet, and into the subtle energies of the bracelet I program my wish for you to find the specific support and guidance you need to continue your practice of loving kindness each time you wear it.

Each design serves a special purpose, is able to help you in different ways. Maybe you know that in order to sustain your metta practice, you could use a little more balance, or a little more clarity. Maybe you know you need some more patience, or perhaps a little more faith. Sometimes we need to trust our intuition more. Or maybe we just need more love. The design of each bracelet — the color, the materials, the design itself — determines the way in which it can help you. The meanings behind each design comes printed on a card in your personalized Peace Bracelet package, so that you can always revisit the ways in your bracelet can help you the most. Often, the design we are most attracted to represents the things we need the most support with, though I am always happy to help you find the right design, too. I do believe, though, that the spirit often chooses the right bracelet — sometimes even without awareness — and so I do encourage you to let your decision be intuitive and to honor that initial intuition.

In many ways, a talisman is like a winter jacket. A jacket keeps us warm, protects our bodies from the elements, and allows us to function in conditions that otherwise might physically and energetically prevent us from functioning. In the same way, a talisman keeps our souls warm and pliable, so that our spirit and subtle energies can continue to function in the face of less-than-preferable conditions. As a jacket shields us from the cold, a talisman shields us from the negative energies that pervade around us. A talisman protects us from energies that do not serve to help us, so that we may keep our spirits high and able to vibrate at a level that benefits not just us but all those we encounter.

And just as a jacket warms our bodies with our own warmth, a talisman fosters our spirit with our own spirit, increases our love by giving us our own love. A talisman acts as a touchstone by which we can re-connect to our inner strength, our inner peace, our inner awareness. By wearing and connecting to our talismans, we are strengthened, we are embodied, we are able to act from within our safest space of true intention, instead of the chaotic spaces that we might find our physical selves in. Just like we can stand comfortably outside on a cold day in a jacket, so too can we stand comfortably amidst holiday craziness if we allow ourselves to wear and connect to our talismans as a part of our every day practice of extending boundless love and compassion to the world around us (to sort of quote the Buddha himself!).

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I wish you peace, warmth, and most of all, love this holiday season. May you allow yourself to use all your tools, metaphysical and physical, to stay warm, mindful, and practicing metta all season long. Sending you love and gratitude from my little corner of Connecticut!

xoxo,

 
 
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Faeries & Our Magic Dust

As a little girl, I found myself spending hours alone in the woods around my house, playing for hours on end. I had very special spots in those woods where I felt at home, where I could feel myself surrounded by energy and spirit. There was this one low hanging branch that always called out to me, and I would sit there, alone, and be transported to another world. By the time I would hear my mom calling me inside, I would realize that what had felt like only minutes had maybe been hours! I look back on those times and I realize that while I was physically sitting on that branch in my human world, I was actually being transported to a world just beyond my eyesight. And while I could never fully remember what I did when I was where I was, I knew that it filled me with a sort of joy and wonder that not much else in my physical life did. I felt swept away, as if I were dancing through the woods, the forest floor kicking up around me in a symbiotic dance of energy without a body to hinder its flow. As an adult, I now know that in those times I was swept away to the world of the Faerie Kingdom, and I was dancing - dancing with the trees and the grasshoppers and the beautiful Faerie folk that found and welcomed me there.

I have always believed in Faeries

As I have grown, this belief has only increased. I believe in house Faeries, woods Faeries, Faeries of all kinds. I love to read books about faerie lore and Celtic wisdom, and the more I learn the more I am affirmed in all the things that I experienced, felt, and naturally knew as a child. Even now, at 32, when I return to those woods of my childhood I can feel the call of my friends - the swirling energy of their activity and curiosity. The thing about Faeries that makes them such wonderful (and somewhat tricky) friends is that they are just as curious about us as we may be of them. Perhaps even more so! To them we are magical creatures in our own right - with a different experience of time, existence, and physical presence. It is through this curiosity and wonder that the Fae Folk stay connected to us and willingly extend their magical and deeply-earth bound energy to us humans when we need and deserve it.

At some point in my childhood, I acquired a bottle of Faerie Dust. It was your sort of run of the mill Tinker Bell product - but to me, it was not some Disney souvenir. I loved Tinker Bell, yes, but only because she was the most present representation of a Faerie I had in my young life - she was a figurehead onto which I could project the feelings and knowledge I had about my Fae friends without being told I was silly. So when I received a bottle of her special glitter, I knew that it would automatically be blessed with that power and joy that I felt each time I'd sit on that branch in the woods. I could feel the energy emanating from the bottle, and when I would pull the cork out it was as if a little burst of love popped out with it. I knew that through my connection to them, the Faeries had blessed that bottle of commercialized glitter and had made it something truly special, truly magical, just for me.

When I would find myself in sad, upsetting, or scary moments, I would pour a teeny bit of that glitter out into my small, little girl hand, close my eyes tight, and sprinkle it over my head. Looking back, I realize I was doing a lot of other things in those moments too - even in fear or sadness I would open my heart big and wide, and my third eye too. I can still feel the bodily sensations of some of those moments, and I feel both the anxiety and tension but also the expansiveness in my heart and head. I would be transported again, in those moments, swirled up in the energies of love and wonder sent out by my Faerie Friends, and I would instantly feel better. I think what I was really feeling in those moments was the glory of being fully connected to the Earth and all of her power and presence. I was grounding myself through the power of the Faerie connection, and I am forever grateful to my Faerie friends for sharing their love and energy with me in those tough times.


I think what I was really feeling in those moments was the glory of being fully connected to the Earth and all of her power and presence. I was grounding myself through the power of the Faerie connection, and I am forever grateful to my Faerie friends for sharing their love and energy with me in those tough times.

Not long ago, I was helping my mom organize some things in her house - the same house in which I grew up. Around that same time, I was beginning to academically connect to my Faerie experiences - learning about the Celtic wisdom and lore that has helped human beings understand the Faerie World for centuries. It was an exciting time to revisit my mom's home and the woods and trees there, and from the first moment of the visit I could feel my Faerie friends' excitement and respect at my learning more deeply about them and their culture, their world. Faerie's often only share themselves with people who have a deeply honest and genuine interest in and knowledge about them. The more we prove ourselves to respect, honor, and desire to protect Faeries and their kingdom, the closer we often are allowed to get.

As we were clearing out her pantry, I found, on the very highest shelf all the way back, my bottle of magical Tinker Bell Faerie dust. It was a truly tremendous moment! In its absence, I had almost accepted that the bottle was just a figment of my childhood memory - some gloriously glittery coping mechanism I had drummed up with magical little girl intention. But NO! There it was, real as the light of day, still in it's original plain white oval packaging. I opened up that boring tube and there it was, inside, my specially blessed bottle of Faerie magic. I held it in my hands and felt so many things at once - but one of the most significant things I felt was that same sort of Earth-bound joy that helped comfort me all those years ago. I knew that my friends had brought that bottle back to me, as a thank you for my renewed and deepened interest in them and their world. I could feel their energy so clearly - it was magical. That same visit, three rings that I had lost previously re-appeared, and a couple of other things that had been missing for my brother and mom re-appeared too. Before I left, I made sure to leave some gifts at the trees where I had left gifts for my friends as a child. And sure enough, just as would happen back all those years ago, not long after I placed the special trinkets did I find they were gone - surely squirreled away by those wonderful Faerie friends who I am so blessed and thankful to know and love.

I knew that my friends had brought that bottle back to me, as a thank you for my renewed and deepened interest in them and their world.

When I returned to my studio after that wonder-filled trip home, I knew what I had to do. I had to make my own magical Faerie dust. I had to share that incredible power and presence of mind, body and spirit I experienced as a child - and I had a responsibility to share my knowledge of and love for my Faerie friends with the world as well! You might think this is all just a bunch of silly business, but I think you will find that this magical glitter is truly imbued with the enveloping, loving, and supportive energies that are characteristic of Faerie magic. Even before selling a single packet, my Faerie friends helped to affirm this truth to me (and my mom, as well - just in case she had any lingering doubts that needed to be quelled, of course. Faeries hate doubts!).

My mom was the first person I gave a packet of Magical Dust to, during a visit she made to Tucson. I had only given her one packet, but there was a second packet laying around and she mindlessly grabbed it when leaving for the airport. As she de-boarded the plane in Dallas for her layover, she went to pull something out of her pocket. She realized she had dropped something, and when she went back to see what it was, she found a cleaning woman sweeping whatever it was into her bin. My mom looked down and saw that it was that second packet of Magic Dust! She stopped the woman, and as the the woman brought her dustpan up to pull the item out and return it to my mom, she too saw what it was. "Magical Dust!" this 50-something year old woman said to my mother. "Magical Dust!" said my mom, "I bet you didn't know that the dust you were just sweeping up was the magical kind!". They took a moment and looked over what they had found, and my mom, sensing this woman's intrigue and energy, asked the woman if she would like to have it. She explained to her that she didn't even realize it was in her pocket, and that she had one of her own already. The woman accepted, and gave my mom a hug. She then looked at her with deep emotion in her eyes and said something like, "This is exactly what I needed today. How did you know?"

 

You can purchase your very own packet of Magical Dust here!