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Rev. Connie L. Habash, MA, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist
My daughter is a Harry Potter fan. One of the most powerful spells in that series of magical books calls forth your Patronus. What is that, you say?
A Patronus is (from J.K. Rowling’s description) “a kind of positive force, a projection of hope, happiness, the desire to survive”. The Patronus can’t feel despair like humans can. Its function is to protect you from forces that want to suck all that positive energy out of you (called the Dementors in Harry Potter land).
Guess what – you have a Patronus, too! It’s that part inside of you that believes in you, that holds your memories of joy and happiness, that sees the magical possibilities of life. When you’re tuned into your Patronus, you can ward off negativity. Continue Reading
On a pilgrimage to Mount Shasta, butterflies became my spiritual teachers.
One of my favorite places in the world is Mount Shasta, and of all the sacred and beautiful locales around this mountain, I love a particular meadow about half-way up the slope. The source of its beauty – that nourishes the abundant life there – is a pristine spring.
This is where I like to sit when I visit, right next to the spring. Not only am I able to hear its sweet trickling sound and dip my feet in the freshly-melted-from-the-glacier water, but I’m able to look over the many wildflowers blooming around the tiny stream. And along with the flowers come the butterflies.
I’ve only been to a couple places that had more butterflies (I have seen Monarchs on their migration). There’s a lovely variety of them, too – orange and brown, white, periwinkle. They tend to linger nearby on the warm step stones, not just on the flowers. And this is when I get excited, because I love to coax them onto my fingers. Continue Reading
Two celebrity suicides prompt me to share my own story of depression, and how I journeyed from being suicidal to wholeness and happiness within.
I have struggled this week with what to write in this month’s blog. I can’t say that this is a unique experience; I often have challenges with the looming question of “what to write?”
But this week it was a bit different. The recent suicides in the news – Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain – made me stop to reflect on things.
I hardly knew who Kate Spade was, other than seeing her name on merchandise in local department stores. Anthony Bourdain, however, I was very familiar with. Our family enjoyed watching Parts Unknown as a bit of education about other cultures around the world – how they lived, ate, celebrated, and even mourned the tragedies that their nations had been through. It felt important for us to know these foreign lands and peoples who lived very differently than we do.
Though I have no idea why they ended their lives, one thing was very clear to me: fame and fortune didn’t make them happy. At least not in a lasting, sustainable way. Although I can’t say I have had fame and fortune, I have had many lessons in the pain of depression, and in discovering what made me truly happy, or at least content with my life. It didn’t come from making money or appearing successful, or even from a wonderful relationship. I had to find it inside myself. Continue Reading
When we believe we’re faced with evil-doers, the spiritual attitude we need most to maintain our inner peace is Upeksha – even-mindedness.
Government scandals, #MeToo, and Black Lives Matter – oh my! Civil war in Syria. Russian interference in our elections – true or false? Building the Wall. Rolling back environmental protections. The distance and tension between the conservatives and the liberals – let alone the United States and the rest of the world – has never been so great, and it’s more difficult to find common ground and work together. Here where I live in the US, and around the world, we are living in challenging times.
Granted, you could probably argue that just about any time in history is challenging, but we certainly are getting an earful in the media these days. And I have noticed that it has been stressful and disturbing not only for myself, but for my clients and students as well.
Especially when we’re having a lot of judgment about it. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Who’s good? Who’s bad? It has been all too easy lately to point fingers… that person, that position, that behavior is simply bad. Wrong. Even evil. If we aren’t careful, we can fall into righteous, polarizing attitudes.
Fortunately, yoga philosophy has an answer – not to “fixing” it all, but how to maintain some inner peace through tumultuous times. Even when we believe we’re faced with no-good scoundrels. Continue Reading