So What is a Modern Mystic Anyway?

You may be wondering what it means to be a Modern Day Mystic. It’s not easy to describe, but some of you reading this may already be a modern mystic and not even realize it. A mystic is someone who recognizes that all is not as it may appear to be, and what we see, hear, and experience with our physical senses may not be all that there is.

A modern mystic uses extra sensoria to perceive. She acknowledges that everything is alive. Rocks, trees, the air. There is living energy in everything, and she feels her way through life as if blind. The owl is one companion of the mystic because Owl can see at night in the dark. She opens her awareness in order to receive information through a metaphorical lens making meaning out of synchronicites and chance encounters.

Just today I was at the beginning of my walk, and two crows started squawking loudly. I could have dismissed them since they are just crows after all, but the mystic in me stopped and wondered what all the fuss was about. For me today, Two Crows was beseeching me to stay in present awareness on my walk instead of hurrying along letting the busy, monkey mind have its way. I heard the message and was able to drop into the present moment i.e., non-ordinary reality.

Ordinary reality is when you are going about your day managing details, planning and getting things done. Making that shift to non-ordinary reality is very important for the modern mystic because she knows that the way to transform the world is by transforming herself. Non-ordinary reality is the gateway to the mystic realm. The mystical realm arises from a different mode of perception than the one we are used to in our ordinary way of going about our day. The mystic has the intention of bringing consciousness to her life as much as possible because that’s where the alchemical juice is. She opens herself up to natural and archetypal encounters knowing that there is more than just this body, this mind, this ordinary reality. It is not a belief system, however.

The mystical realm lies beyond all dogma and beyond the evidence of the physical senses and, as Marianne Williamson says: “The mystic is a spiritual practitioner, seeking not merely to understand the principles of spiritual awareness, but to embody them as best he or she can.”

The mystic may have experienced hardship and adversity that has positioned her at a crossroads, where she has had to choose the road less traveled. Often she has been called to a journey, but this is a mystical, inner journey to the heart and soul of life itself. She learns how important it is to keep her heart open even when she finds herself in hell! She knows that this is the key to personal transformation, and personal transformation is the key to world transformation.

The modern mystic has learned the hard way how important it is to cultivate the sacred in the midst of the great and small difficulties of our daily existence. In order to do this she has to let go of attachments and expectations. The sacred gives her a cloak of courage that allows her to face everything and relax into the matrix of the All.

All is well!

Blessings of the Mystical Journey!

PS: I hope that gives you a little taste of what it means to be a modern mystic. To experience more first hand for yourself, please consider coming to this mini-retreat I am offering this Saturday, May 15th.

Vision Quest Saturday Morning

Hello Beautiful Beings!
I trust you have found new ways to be resilient over the past year. I just wanted to let you know about a retreat I am offering that you might be interested in called Vision Quest Saturday Morning. It will be a relaxing day of creativity and transformation in an open air greenhouse to take time to recalibrate and renew.  I hope you can join me! (Flyer below)
What is the next step on your journey?
If interested, please RSVP (sullivamy@yahoo.com) for more details.
Blessings of the day,

Emoji

PS – Please be aware that we will be wearing masks and practicing social distancing during this event.

Preparing for a Ceremony

After many years of being in the world of clinical psychology, I have developed a psycho-spiritual approach to mental health and healing. It made sense because working with families with long-term, intractable problems such as trauma, substance abuse or chronic behavioral or health issues, it is easy for all involved to start to feel hopeless and helpless. I needed a new approach, and I started seeing the benefits of bringing in a higher power to restore the system to health and sanity. So… I started introducing people to a more heart centered approach incorporating ancient sacred practices and wisdom from the East, Europe and divine feminine and indigenous traditions that I, myself, had been practicing.

Traditional psychology loves to analyze the mind and the thoughts it generates. According to ancient wisdom, those are just the waves on the surface of the vast ocean. This new spiritual approach drops down into the heart and deeper into the soul to tend to what is really going on inside. In this approach we use ceremony to tend to mind, body, heart and soul.

A heart centered approach

You can do this yourself! There is a big DIY movement afoot, and self healing is becoming more of an option for people to address imbalances and disharmonies in the person, family or community. Here’s how to begin the process.

During the next week or so you will be preparing your mind, body and spirit for the actual ceremony. Trust that you Soul Self already knows how to do this.

  1. The first step is to set an Intention for the ceremony. The overall intention is always to bring balance, harmony and equilibrium to all aspects of the system (person, family, or community)

     2. Next prepare a Medicine Basket which includes the following:

-sacred items representing the 4 elements – earth, fire, water and air

-sage stick and matches (or Palo Santo or a spray bottle filled with water and a few drops of your favorite essential oils)

-a votive candle and ceramic plate so it can completely melt down a sacred cloth to serve as the altar place setting

-herbs

-holy water (collected by placing water outside overnight during celestial events)

A small fire activates the alchemical process

-sound/music makers (rattle, drum, bells, etc.)

     3. Then comes a small Fuel Bundle and fire proof container (fire pit, old metal container, etc.)

-sticks, twigs, bark, paper, etc

-old candle wax for fire starter

     4. Lastly, go for a Walk in Nature and be open to messages from the living energies of the natural world. Just notice any signs, symbols or synchronicities. What wants to talk story with you?

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you have and let me know how it’s going. Thank you for letting me help you design and create a custom made ceremony that will have meaning for you and your significant others for many years to come.

More to come in the next blog. Stay tuned for an introduction to your actual sacred ceremony.

Many blessings along the trail!

Create Your Own Ceremonies

Have you ever wanted to create your own ceremony to mark an important time in your life? Or maybe to bring clarity to some baffling or out-of-control aspect of your life?

You can!

Ceremonies can be really helpful and meaningful during times of joy and sadness, life changes, health concerns, loss or celebration.

Smudging with Sage sets the stage

Maybe you are already a burgeoning modern day mystic or spiritual warrior or maybe you are just looking for a new path. Either way, you can learn how to invite the sacred into your life if you just understand certain principles that I can teach you.

For many years, I had been studying different traditions which taught me that the overall intention of a ceremony is to restore balance, harmony and equilibrium to the system (your body, family, community, etc.). One day I realized I could set the intention, create sacred space and invite in helping allies myself. It was then that wonderful synchronicities started to unfold.

Let me help you design and create a custom-made ceremony that will have meaning for you, your health and wellbeing, and your significant others for many years to come.

Simple 2-Step Process

Let me help you create your own way.
  1. Initial consultation and orientation for setting an intention and preparing your medicine basket starts with a 20-minute FaceTime phone call.
  2. One week later – a 1 hour FaceTime appointment to guide you through the process starting with creating the altar, then calling in the allies and ending with a closing for your very own, first-ever ceremony.

$125. payment required before first session. Payable through Venmo or PayPal.

Let me show you the way ~ YOUR way!

Blessings along the trail, trailblazer!

To start the process, please email Amy directly : sullivamy@yahoo.com

Broaching the Threshold

Broaching the Threshold

Reaching out from my world to yours

Just a beginner offering some space for you to enter in to. I promise that I will stay present.

I come in peace.

How I yearn to connect. How little courage I have to cross that line.

Inability? Or maybe just fear of traveling into unknown territory

Will you scalp me, torture me, or just destroy me on sight?

Will you fool me, blame me or just kiss me goodnight?

Just for today, let’s take a risk and broach the threshold

If I do, will you?

 

© 2020 Amy Sullivan

 

The Fear Experiment

If you have anxiety, this practice is for you!

Last week I decided that I was going to dedicate a whole day to acknowledging my fear. Every time I had any inkling that fear was coming up, I would dive deeper into the feeling and let it develop. Admittedly, I have developed many deep seated and effective behaviors and mind games precisely designed to divert my attention away from fear, so it wasn’t easy. Since childhood, I have always been on the anxious side, and, in many ways,  my career as a therapist has been a pursuit of methods and practices to calm the mind and relax the body. After reading the bestseller, Untamed, by Glennon Doyle, however, I was encouraged to face my fear. Glennon Doyle suffers from bi-polar disorder, and this has become an essential practice for her to maintain her sanity. “I resurrect myself every day, in every moment that I allow myself to feel and become. It’s my daily reminder to let myself burn to ashes and rise, new.”

You’ve probably heard the expression that everything is either love or fear. Since I am interested in creating more love in my life, that notion became my guide. Any thought fullsizeoutput_9f4or behavior that was not loving was a signal to let the fear into my awareness and stay with it as long as possible. The first time I tried it, my attention was drawn to an area of chronic pain in my hip. I stayed with it, and a memory surfaced from my 20s, when I was terrified walking to my car after evening seminars at graduate school. There was a news story at the time about the Night Stalker, who had raped and killed many women. I would have one of my keys ready to defend myself just in case I got attacked. Letting go of all that built up fear was intense, but very rewarding because as I did, I simultaneously felt a great sense of expansiveness and aliveness move into the old contracted tension in my body. Now I make sure to check in with my hip every so often, and consciously release any holding in that area.

The Fear Experiment – If You Dare

Set aside some time and a place where you will not be disturbed for 30-60 minutes. It is important to create a safe and sacred container by lighting a candle or burning incense. Ask your higher self or spiritual guides to be present with you as you go inside, and drop into a space of allowing your fear to be present with you. Start breathing deeply and melting and relaxing into the experience. Open yourself up to feeling whatever you feel, and sensing whatever you sense. Then… simply notice where your attention goes.

When you have had enough, bring your awareness back into the present and write down what you experienced. You can also dance, sing, or make some art about it as the arts are very effective for moving and processing old energy.

And let me know what happens!

In the words of James Hollis, PhD., “The current crisis presents an enormous opportunity for encountering oneself and granting ourselves permission to really own our own lives – if we can bear it.”

 

 

 

Remember to Breathe on the Way to the New World Order

Can you feel it? The beginning stages of a New World order are starting to take root. As a modern day mystic, I want to impart that while you are out there making systemic changes and saving the world, don’t forget to take some time to breathe deeply.

Those of you who know me, know that, as a modern day mystic, I like to shine the light in the darkness and take a look at any shadows lurking in the corners. Instead of trying to just get rid of symptoms, I like to first bring awareness to the illness or dis-ease, which, in turn, brings in the healing. Of course, people want the symptom to go away, but often the symptom is doing its best to show us where the imbalance is. Naturally, we want the coronavirus to go away. We want racial injustice to go away. But what I am wondering is – Is there some important metaphor or message we are missing with the current symptoms in America? What might be the meaning behind these dis-eases (physical, racial and economic) we are plagued with in our nation.

Hearing people during the protests chant “I can’t breathe” together with the fact that so many people need to go on ventilators because the coronavirus attacks the lungs, it dawned on me that perhaps we, as a nation, are not really breathing very well. One of the first signs of having contracted the virus is that blood oxygen levels go way down. Are we collectively not getting enough oxygen?

Crazy talk? Maybe, but, seriously, are you getting enough oxygen? There is plenty to go around, and you really can’t live without it! 😉 Some signs that you may not be img_2603-version-2getting enough oxygen are: low energy, overthinking, panic, anxiety, depression, forgetfulness, irritability. Conscious breathing is the fastest, easiest and most readily available way to significantly impact your energy, your wellbeing and your mental health.

First of all, it’s important to turn your attention from what is going on outside to what is going on inside right now. When you are predominantly focused on what is outside, your breath tends to be shallow and fast. Drop from the thinking and doing mind down into the body. How are you feeling right now? I mean really feeling. What is going on inside? Inside your chest, your belly, your throat? Is there any constriction, pain, tension, sadness, restlessness? Where? What kind? What is that all about? You don’t have to change it or try to make it go away. Just be with the sensations as they are. For instance, I am feeling tension around my eyes and some sadness in my heart.

You may find your breath starting to expand naturally, because the simple practice of  shifting our focus inward invites the breath to open up and become slower, deeper, and more regular. Keep inviting the breath to expand.

Inhale deeply through the nose into the belly and chest 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

Exhale with a haaaaa sound through the mouth 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

As you breathe in deeply, you are pulling oxygen into the body with your diaphragm, and then when you exhale, the diaphragm releases and shoots oxygen out into every cell in your body. Can you feel the effects of increased oxygen coursing through your blood stream and pulsating through your body? 

Now you are ready to add your contribution to the New World order.

 

 

 

As “One of the Amys of the World”

A big thank you to all those who are exercising their rights and protesting peacefully. It is a challenge to stay calm and centered when our collective nervous systems are getting over-activated from a constant barrage of intensity piled up on top of more intensity.

We are all getting confronted with our own vulnerability on so many levels, and it can be hard to find any semblance of safety in our lives. When the amygdala, the part of the brain that sounds the alarm system, gets activated, you can’t think. The survival mechanism is designed to help us fight, flee or freeze, and thinking essentially gets shut down. This happens to me every time I go to the grocery store. Anticipatory thoughts of germs, long lines and scarcity put me into an activated state before I even get there, and then, once I’m there, armed with all my protective gear, I literally can’t think. I can’t remember what I came in there for. Checking my list is little help, because I have trouble reading and even understanding what I’m reading. One day I pulled out a list I had written, and I had this strange dissociated feeling, questioning if I had even written it.

I am so grateful for those brave souls like Christian Cooper, who can keep their heads long enough to make videos witnessing events that provide us with evidence of what is really going on. He’s the Black birder in Central Park, who videotaped Amy Cooper, threatening to call the police on him because he asked her to put her dog on the leash. IMG_0526And Oscar nomination to Amy Cooper for playing the role of privileged white person so beautifully! The arrogance, entitlement, disrespect, and abuse of power could not have been more accurately portrayed. (Even the poor dog got caught in the drama.)

Is it coincidence that they have the same last names? Or some preordained cosmic dance that was destined for center stage? Is it coincidence that my name is Amy, and I am a privileged white person? I guess that makes me “one of the Amys of the world?”

As “one of the Amys of the world,” I suddenly feel exposed, and vulnerable. But instead of going into fight or flight, or trying to defend myself, I would like to take a moment and just be with all the implications of the reality of this moment. Please give me (us) a moment to just take a breath and fully feel all the helplessness, powerlessness, guilt and heartache of this moment. It is immense.

…………….

As “one of the Amys of the world,” I would like to extend an apology from myself and my ancestors who have wittingly and unwittingly used our privilege to subject others to abuse, fear, threat, shame, slavery, control, incarceration, humiliation, impoverishment, hardship, death, disempowerment, injustice, wrongful accusation, blame, assault, etc. I am truly sorry that we have perpetrated and created a legacy of trauma that has caused so much pain and suffering especially for people of color.

I realize that this apology may be just a drop in the bucket.

Even still, may cumulative drops of mercy create a big gulp of thirst-quenching redemption over time.

And may we abide in witness consciousness long enough to realize that our intention is to live together as One in peaceful harmony.

All images are the property of Amy Sullivan ©2020

How to Connect If You Don’t Do Zoom

I really feel for teens and young adults these days. Suicide rates are up in those populations, and I can understand why. I can remember when I was in my late teens and got stuck at home with my dysfunctional family for a summer. I was bored out of my skull even though I was taking a couple of classes, and felt this deep longing to connect, but I didn’t know how. I did connect with the refrigerator that summer, paying it a visit every hour each day. I recall being grateful for some stretchy shorts I somehow got ahold of that would neatly accommodate my ever expanding hips.

Full disclosure – I am somewhat of an introvert with depressive tendencies (AKA an empath or sensitive), so reaching out has always been difficult for me. I do have many dear friends that tolerate my eccentricities, but sooner or later they start coaxing me to join some Zoom class or another. If I give them an excuse, they persist because it works for them. One size doesn’t fit all, however!

So is it hopeless for people such as myself to connect especially during these times of social and physical distancing?

What I have come to discover over the years, as I developed spiritually, is that I can connect with the unseen world in non-ordinary reality or what the Aborigines call Thefullsizerender Dreamtime. The Dreamtime is where you expand your awareness beyond your mind, and your physical body, and then energetically connect with the living energies that surround us. According to this practice, everything, even inanimate objects, are alive with energy or spirit, and you can relate to them if you open yourself up to this world beyond the veil. All it takes is your conscious intention. No pixie dust or mind altering substances required. Let me teach you a method I use called Flipping the Switch.

Flipping the Switch

You can do this anywhere, but a good place to start is out in nature. First thing to do is to address this other reality, and ask for some guidance. You might say:

“All That Is – Please show me what I need to know to better cope right now?” After that you move your hand in a gesture like you are switching on a light, take a deep breath and relax. Now you just go about your business and notice what shows up. Sooner or later you will be surprised to hear a bird calling out to you, or a lizard stop you dead in your tracks, or see a face in a rock. The next step is to stop, and take a moment to get quiet and BE with the presence that is showing itself to you. What is the message that it wants to convey to you today? Resist the tendency to speak for it presumptuously. “Oh, butterflies symbolize change. I must be going through some changes now.” Let the information exchange unfold by observing and noticing what is happening in the present moment.

And let me know how it goes! Many blessings of love and connection along the trail.

All images are copyrighted by Amy Sullivan ©2020

 

The Opposite of Fear

I have been wanting to write about fear since the advent of this new era, because one of the consequences of being in a pandemic is that we are simultaneously experiencing an epidemic of fear. I have such compassion for those who are really suffering right now. There’s no other way to put it ~ just plain old suffering. A lot of tasty cliches have been popping into my head like FEAR = face everything and relax. Or FEAR = false evidence appearing real. And the good old ~ there is nothing to fear but fear itself. Somehow they just seem trite in the face of a pandemic.

As I sat here riding my comfy couch listening to Cloudscapes (a Hemi Sync CD from the Monroe Institute), I decided to sink in a little deeper and see what might show up. I started out by contemplating ~ What is the opposite of fear? For me today what came fullsizeoutput_421up was trust. (It may be different for you, so just go with whatever comes up for you.) Sinking down a little deeper, I could feel the resistance to the whole thought-feeling-body sensation experience of trust. The resistance comes from the current reality that the present moment is most probably fraught with tons of unanswered questions, insecurities and unknowns. The present moment is inherently and excruciatingly uncomfortable!

So then the task becomes to ever-so gently, bit by bit, soften, melt and dip our toe into that space of the present moment.

Breathing… and relaxing… and letting go… and feeling….

Feeling may be the most difficult challenge of all. Who wants to feel what’s happening right now? Not feeling is actually a good coping skill for times of trauma. The idea is to just stay numb and maybe even leave your body until the trauma has passed. In addition to that, thinking about the future is also very seductive. It’s a bad habit to get into, however,  because, then, when you get to that time in the future, you have lost your ability to BE in the present moment.

I read a quote by Eckhart Tolle today that succinctly expresses this very notion and might help turn things around a bit. “Stress is caused by being ‘here’ but wanting to be ‘there.'” So when you are future tripping, you are also causing yourself stress!

So, dear ones, I want to encourage you to take some time for yourself to just sit with this question – What is the opposite of fear? – and notice whatever you notice. Please feel free to comment and share what comes up for you.

Many blessings of peace and serenity along the trail! 

All images are copyrighted by Amy Sullivan ©2020