Training in Active Receptivity

I was at a Qi Gong class with a friend and we learned a fun receptivity exercise. It’s designed to teach the difference between active and passive receptivity.

To do this exercise, you need a partner. The exercise consists of three parts: 1. Passive, 2. Active (Energized), and 3. Active Receptivity. As you practice each part, notice the energy and how it changes. Notice your hands and where you are storing any tension.

To begin, stand with your feet comfortably apart, facing your partner. You put your hands out in front of you, palms to the sky, elbows bent, as though you are about to catch something in your hands. Your hands remain palms up throughout the exercise.

Your partner puts their hands out, under your hands, with palms up and gently open. They lightly hold up your hands. There’s no force or exertion. Your partner’s hands are gentle, soft, and strong.

1. PassiveReceptivity Exercise_Fig1a
In this first position, make your hands passive, almost limp, with the palms still facing up. This is passive receptivity. Feel the energetics of this passivity. Your partner may notice that your hands feel heavy and difficult to hold up.


2. Active (Energized)
In this second position, you make your hands energized, spreading your fingers open wide and tense, like yoReceptivity Exercise_Fig2au’re trying to reach for something with only your fingers. Keep your arms steady and relaxed. Your partner continues to gently hold up your hands. Notice the energy of this. This is like the energetic of controlling, or “I can do it myself.” It is difficult to support your hands when they are tense and energized like this.

3. Active Receptivity
In this last position, you focus on being Actively ReceReceptivity Exercise_Fig3aptive. Your palms are open to receive. They are neither limp nor agitated: they are actively receiving. Your partner will find it easy to support your hands, because they are neither too tense, nor too limp. When I did this position, it was as though my hands were floating.

To finish the exercise, your partner gently guides your hands until your palms meet in the middle and then releases them.

Now repeat the whole exercise, changing positions so you are holding up your partner’s hands.

Each time I do this exercise, I’m reminded that trying too hard is as just as unrewarding as not trying at all. And in practicing this exercise, I am finding that holding the position of Active Receptivity is getting more natural.

~ Lisa Voisin, Level II Teacher

The Power of Quiet

I’ve always known I was shy. Some people call me reserved. I don’t do small talk well. I called myself “socially inept” because of my discomfort in crowds and at parties. Anywhere with lots of people or noise was a place to be avoided.

All my life, I viewed this as a problem – something to be fixed. As I grew more mature, I stopped trying to fit in. I started avoiding social engagements, especially parties, and I stayed out of crowds whenever I had the choice. By then, I was sort of defiant about it. But I was ready to claim my right to be the way I am. Except that I still felt like there was something wrong because I am this way.

Recently a good friend recommended Susan Cain’s book called “Quiet, The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking”. I chose the audiobook as I have more listening time than reading time. As I listened, I had many “aha!” moments. I could see more clearly why I felt something was wrong with being this way.

Susan Cain’s TED Talk – The Power of Introverts is a great introduction to the “Quiet Revolution”. It’s 20 minutes.
quiet please
The most important distinction I learned was how it simply comes down to the amount of stimulation one is comfortable with. We’re all wired differently. We’re all somewhere on a spectrum between introverted and extroverted. And the amount of stimulation we can deal with comfortably in any given moment is situational.

Now, all labels aside, I love quiet. I no longer own a TV. I only listen to the radio long enough to find out what the bridge traffic is like 🙂 I don’t read the paper or listen to the news. I can actually feel my energy drain when I pay too much attention to the media.

So I’m celebrating the Power of Quiet. Quiet solitude is a place of creativity and epiphany. Quiet allows me to regroup, recharge and remember who I am. And for those who need the higher levels of stimulation, bless you. And thank you for understanding when I turn down the volume or leave the party early. I’m just happy I no longer feel like I need to apologize for it.

~ Nancy Marsh

Meditating with Crystals – Garnet

For years, I used to pore over books about crystals, finding contradictory information and wondering how to know what was correct. As I mentioned in my post about Sodalite once I decided to meditate with my crystals and see what information they had to share with me, I discovered that every crystal is a unique individual.

As I began treating each crystal in this way, I could see the common properties and similarities between all stones of a type. But just as crystals amplify, absorb, clear, and store energy, they are affected by their experiences, the places they’ve been, how energetically clean they are, and the people who’ve handled them. Interesting how like us they are.

The garnet crystal I worked with in this session was one I bought at a rock and gem show in Abbotsford a few years ago. I bought it because it seemed to call to me from across the room. It was love at first sight.

In general, garnet is a rich red stone with a lovely energy. Because it’s commonly used in jewelry, you often see it cut and polished. In its rough form, however, the rich red garnet looks like a brownish red pebble. Garnet is sometimes known as the birthstone for January.

Here’s what I discovered about my garnet crystal when I meditated with it:

  • Garnet energy is quite grounding.
  • It heals and opens the sexual and procreative areas.
  • It enhances passion.
  • Garnet is good for the root chakra.
  • It allows for creative vision.
  • Garnet energizes the aura in a calm way and amplifies energy without any jarring.
  • It sharpens all the senses, especially smell and taste.

Garnet energy is self-contained, never showy. It is often used as a stone of protection. It promotes prudence and energetic awareness, clarity and calm.

As I experimented, I discovered some specific uses:

  • Held over the second chakra, it promotes creativity, the freedom to explore who you are and the ability to move from a plan into action.
  • Over the heart chakra, it enhances a love of truth, and opens your heart to your physical self.
  • Over the thymus, it opens you to stardust energy.
  • Over the throat, it opens you to creative communications – new ways.
  • Over the 3rd eye, it enhances archetypal visions, such as remembering experiences from past lives.
  • Held over the crown chakra, it encourages a flow of energy from the crown down to the root chakra – grounding, and bringing light into the body.

These are just some of the things I learned while meditating with this piece of garnet. I encourage you to do the same with some of the crystals that you share your home with.

~ Lisa Voisin, Level II Teacher

Garden Rainbows

One glorious summer day, as I was watering the garden with the garden hose, I became aware of a rainbow in the diamond-like water droplets coming from the hose. As I watered and watched the rainbow, I realized it was upside down with purple on the bottom and red on top.

And then I remembered there are always two rainbows. As I lazily gazed more gently into the cascade of water droplets spraying from the garden hose, there it was – the second rainbow right above the first. It was fainter and reversed – it had the red on the bottom and the purple on the top.

Transfixed, I watched the rainbows streaming their coloured, arcing light right into the earth, and the garden came alive with a circus-like symphony of dancing garden sprites. The mirrored rainbows extended themselves and became mirrored rainbow circles – looping into the ground – joyously circling through the earth to join the arcing rainbow light on the other side. The faeries teased and taunted and danced joyously as they urged me to paint bigger and smaller circles. So I whirled around with abandon, painting the entire garden with rainbows.

Rainbow Light Reflection
And then… I turned around, looking into the sun now, and continued to water the garden. But I could only see water coming from the end of the hose. Where did the rainbows go? I felt sad, and somewhat confused. So I turned back, and there they were – joyful, double-rainbow circles with those garden sprites playing in the spray, pulling the rainbow arcs into the earth. When I turned around again into the sunlight, the rainbows and faeries were gone – only water came out of the hose.

These two very different perspectives made me wonder…. And I realized that what I’m able to see in each moment is all about my position – the position I hold. When I was blinded by the light, I could only see water coming from the garden hose. I could only see “reality”. But with the light behind me – and in me – my world was filled with magic – dancing faeries and arcing rainbows of water and light. All from the same garden hose.

Of course. It’s my choice. Always. And I choose to be in light.

~ Leslie Robinson, Level II Teacher

Tuning Your Instrument

If you look at your body as an instrument, you may see that it is a vibrational form that allows you to move freely through this time/space continuum. As with any instrument, tuning is an ongoing activity, never perfect, always changing. The key to tuning any instrument is awareness.

The following two exercises are a great way to begin tuning the beautiful instrument that is your body. Find a peaceful place, be well watered, start listening to the consciousness of all your cells (not just the ones in your head:)…and begin!
In the Woods

Equalize The Weight On Both Feet

  1. Stand with your hands resting over your lower belly, and your feet hip width apart.
  2. Align the soles of your feet and distribute your weight evenly through both feet. For cramped feet: reach for the ground lovingly with intent. For sagging feet: feel a soft energy support bubble at the insteps.
  3. Allow an intimacy with all cells of both soles with the ground.
  4. Feel energy quickly trickling up from the bubbling springs or Yongquan point at the instep of the feet.
  5. Simultaneously feel energy express out through the padded part of the feet back into the ground.
  6. Feel this flow of energy up the inside of the legs to the pelvis/second chakra and then down the outside of the legs to the pads of the feet.
  7. Intend this circulation of energy for 3 minutes or longer.

See With Your Kneecaps

  1. Stand in the same position as the first exercise.
  2. Catch your in-breath with your hands.
  3. Breathe and build a grounding awareness.
  4. Open the eyes of your knees by gently contracting the muscles directly above your kneecaps.
  5. Hold these muscles in tone (instead of tension) for a few breaths.
  6. Feel a spinal alignment.
  7. Celebrate subtly.
  8. Repeat for a few more breaths.

Practice awareness walking with the eyes of the knees open. You’ll never stub your toe again!

Have fun tuning up and thanks for playing!

~ Megan Gerace

Someone’s In the Kitchen with a Juicer and Almonds

I’ve recently dug out my “Champion” juicer – a heavy, hard-working, heat-producing, stand up model that’s been sitting in my cupboard unused for several months now. I did a lot of juicing last year and really noticed the health benefits – clearer skin, a boost in my overall energy level, better digestion, but then, for some reason I stopped, and it’s been sitting on my shelf since.

Lately I’ve been hearing people talk about juicing, and seeing new juicers on the shelves as I’m shopping so I figure I’m being given a nudge. I decided it was time to get my “Champion” working for me again.

When I started juicing, one of my favourite combinationFruits, Juice, Pineapple, Mangos included apples, carrots, celery, ginger, kale and some lemon juice. However, I recently learned from a nutritionist that blending vegetables and fruits in the same drink is hard to digest. This is because fruits are acidic and contain a lot of sugar. For good digestion, they are best eaten alone. Vegetables, on the other hand digest in the mouth (a mildly acidic environment).  But if you eat highly acidic food (such as fruit) at the same time as vegetables, the saliva becomes too acidic and this impacts the digestion of the vegetables. The fall out is an added burden on the pancreas. The solution is simple; juice fruits or vegetables separately.

It’s also preferable to drink juiced fruit on an empty stomach because fruits require so little time to pass through your system. My morning fruit juice begins with peeling tropical fruits, like pineapple, kiwis and mangoes. I also peel apricots, peaches and melons. While it may seem strange to think of peeling soft skinned fruits (like peaches) before juicing, my nutritionist friend reminded me that many fruits, even organic, carry mould or e-coli bacteria on the skin. And if they aren’t organic, they’re covered in fertilizers and pesticides that simple washing may not remove.

One yummy fruit juice recipe includes apples, pears, plums, ginger and some lemon pulp. With summer on the way, you can choose from locally grown varieties like plums and berries. Juicing melons together, like watermelon and honeydew, produces a delicious, high water-content beverage with powerful anti-oxidant benefits that helps the body to cleanse.

Later in the day I’ll make a vegetable juice with kale, carrot, and celery to carry me through the day. And often I’ll use a wide range of veggies. Vegetables are health restorers and combining a wide variety of them produces a juice with maximum nutritional value.

Bok choy makes a great addition, as it also has high water content, and some green colouration. Peeled cucumber and more intense greenery such as parsley and Swiss chard add colour and flavour. Spinach is especially high in minerals. Cabbage is also a healthy addition to juice. It’s fun to experiment with different combinations and I keep this in mind as I shop.

I recently purchased a 25 lb bag of juicing carrots. Carrots are a great substitute for apples as they add sweetness, as well as colour and lots of nutrients. They go well with celery, golden beets, ginger and kale. A clove of garlic (or two) and some parsley or cilantro, add additional zing for the brave and adventurous.

Fresh fruit and vegetable juicing takes a little extra time to prepare but one sip of a newly created concoction and it all seems worthwhile.

Almonds Are Not for Juicing
A few years ago a friend began roasting and selling almonds. They were so yummy and made a really convenient protein snack. I decided I would try and make my own version.

Almonds with their skins are hard to digest because of a certain enzyme they contain. Soaking the almonds for 24-48 hours in clean water removes the enzyme. The nuts swell up and the skins just fall off or are easily peeled off.
After soaking the almonds, dry them on a cookie sheet in a very slow oven (100 to 120 degrees). This can take several hours. Be patient. Higher heats destroy the live enzymes. My last batch took nearly twenty hours to fully dry out. Others have finished in twelve hours.

For a sweet treat, coat them with honey or maple syrup, and add a smidge of Celtic sea salt. Stir well and pour them onto a large flat baking pan in one layer. It will vary with each oven. The finished almonds then taste sweet and are still full of live enzymes. The perfect snack!

~ Matthew Craig

More Nutrition Tips

1. Soak nuts, seeds, grains and beans
Grains, nuts, legumes (green beans, peas, soy, dried lentils and beans) and seeds are rich in enzymes and other nutrients, but they also contain enzyme inhibitors. Sprouting, soaking, sour leavening, fermenting – are all processes that were traditionally used to de-activate enzyme inhibitors, making the foods digestible and their nutrients readily available.

All grains contain phytic acid. Left untreated the phytic acid will combine with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc in the intestinal tract and block their absorption. Soaking allows enzymes, lactobacilli (beneficial bacteria), and other helpful organisms to break down and neutralize the phytic acid. The practice of soaking grains (rice, oats, etc.) overnight in warm acidulated water (add a dollop of yogurt) will neutralize the phytic acid in grains.

There are 2 categories of grains:

  1. Grains containing gluten. These include oats, rye, barley and wheat. These must be soaked to make them digestible
  2. Grains without gluten. These include buckwheat, rice, millet. These contain less phytic acid. In lieu of soaking they may be gently steamed for 2 hours or longer in a mineral-rich gelatinous broth. If you don’t steam, do soak.

Soaking seeds and nuts in warm water will also neutralize enzyme inhibitors and stimulate the production of beneficial enzymes.

After soaking overnight, drain well and dry in a warm, slow oven (maximum 100 degrees) for several hours. You can store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 months.


2. Color your plate
Eat one serving daily from each of the phytonutrient-rich color groups to prevent premature aging and degenerative disease.

Phytonutrients offer protection from cancer and are contained in the following foods:

  • Red: apples, beets, cherries, cranberries, tomatoes, red grapes
  • Orange or Yellow: apricots, cantaloupe, carrots, mangoes, nectarines, oranges, pineapples, yams
  • Green: asparagus, avocado, broccoli, brussels sprouts, celery, kale, leafy green vegetables
  • White/Purple: cauliflower, parsnips, turnips

Some of the best phytonutrient-rich foods are:

  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Chili peppers
  • Citrus fruits
  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Flaxseeds
  • Garlic
  • Melons
  • Pink grapefruit
  • Sweet potatoes

3. Choose your oils carefully
When purchasing oils, such as olive or sesame, always choose cold-pressed and unrefined oils.

Other processes used to extract and refine oils involve chemical solvents and temperatures in excess of 450 degrees F. All refined and heat processed oils are rancid and transform into trans-fatty acids at 320 degrees F. Don’t be fooled by the clarity or pleasing aroma of a refined oil. A deodorizing process is used to disguise the odor and further processing is used to filter the cloudiness. Consuming rancid oils and trans-fatty acids interfere with metabolic processes in the body and dramatically increase the risk of heart disease and cancer.

~ by Nancy Hall, R.H.N., Level X

Living with Things that Sting

In the spring, a few years back, I noticed a small hornets’ nest in my outdoor kitchen. I was dismayed. Why would the hornets want to make their nest there? How was I going to get rid of it without being stung a hundred times? Would I have to pay someone to kill them? Well that didn’t feel right. They were just doing what hornets do …. whatever that is. Surely they didn’t deserve to die for living their life. What else was I to do?

Then I had the pleasure of visiting with Dorothy MacLean who started Findhorn in Scotland. I was reminded of a time that they relocated a colony of moles by asking them to move. The next day they saw a parade of moles moving to their new home in the adjacent land.

I decided I would ask the hornets to move. I tuned to their vibration, to the queen hornet specifically. Her energy seemed to steadily and gently invite my alignment. Not quite believing I was doing this, I found myself silently asking her what to do. I was asking from the heart, without words if you know what I mean. I felt her response in a sweet, calm energy reflected in their thrumming, flying vibrations. There was a steadiness and a strong willingness to work with a human. I felt honoured … then surprised that I felt honoured by a hornet. I mean really, it was pretty weird!

Over the summer the hornets’ nest grew and so did the hornets. The spring hornets were tiny and by midsummer they were about an inch long. They were highly focussed flyers and amazing paper nest builders. Each day I observed them with awe and wonder – as well as with a quiet but steady terror reminding me I was still afraid.

I learned that the queen creates a tiny nest in which she builds a hexagonal structure for each egg. After laying an egg, she protects each hexagon with a silken dome, anchored to the larger nest. Apparently, the ancient Chinese used this as a model for their papermaking.


All summer long, the hornets’ nest drew a great many human visitors. More than a dozen power trainers witnessed its growth and probably have their own stories. At one point, I needed a phone jack inches from the hornets’ nest. Three beefy alpha males showed up to do the install. They were the most entertaining human visitors – jumping around, swearing oaths. One wanted to throw rocks at it. I calmly told them I had an agreement with the hornets and all they had to do was get out of the flight path. Once I pointed it out, these guys got out of the hornets’ way and the swearing stopped.

And then, an interesting thing happened. One by one, each guy came to me – out of earshot of his mates. One started to talk about energy lines. Another made ‘meaningful’ eye contact as he left asking what really was going on. I told him I was overcoming a lifelong fear. The third told me that, because he had been hurt as a child when he tried to share his gifts, he’d been hiding them away, not able to talk about them. That is, until now.

Well, by October, the hornets were gone. I was unexpectedly sad. One hornet returned a few days after the rest left and slowly walked around the outside of the magnificent art form that is their nest. She was dying. It was her time. I stood below looking up, feeling such loving gratitude for these creatures, so maligned by our culture.

I learned so much in such a short time from these creatures. They taught me about:

  • birthing inside a hexagon under a silken dome. 
  • making and honouring a contract with another life form – the wavelength we call ‘hornet’. 
  • shifting my consciousness and using perspective. 
  • how shifting my own consciousness causes the consciousness of others to shift. 
  • humility in surrendering to the flow of life force.

My life was enriched that summer, living with things that sting.

~ Leslie Robinson, Level II Teacher

At the End of the Parade

So often in my life, I have expected a big brassy fanfare or an elegant display of light to precede big spiritual moments. When I find myself waiting for the fanfare, I’m reminded of a time from my teen years.

I grew up in a small town about sixty miles outside of Chicago, where the suburbs halt and give way to the cornfields. Although my high school was quite small, our marching band was quite good and quite a bit larger than one would expect.

marching bandOne year, our band was invited to march in the famous Chicago St. Patrick’s Day parade. It was freezing that day. But even with the cold and long time waiting in line, we were all entering a new chapter in our lives. Many of us had never been to Chicago before. Few had witnessed such a huge community of spectators. For sure none of us had seen so many bagpipes at one time before.

We felt so good that day! The notes from our instruments expanded in a regal way as they bounced from skyscraper to skyscraper. And in these last 40 years thinking about that day, I don’t recall our marching band ever looking or sounding so good.

So where am I going with this? We won first place out of over 50 marching bands in the parade. And because no one had ever heard of our small town, we were lined up near the back of the parade. We didn’t even make it on the three hours of TV coverage. We surprised everyone that year. None of us cared about the recognition. We each knew the experience was perfect just for us.

Throughout my life, spiritual mo

ments of any magnitude came in like this. The fanfare was of a different type and always took me by surprise. It was never what I expected. Sometimes it would touch a different place in my life than I envisioned. Most of the time, these moments of magnitude come quietly at the end of the parade. But without exception, each time that I am gifted with a real connection to Spirit, to Source, to the Universe, I am amazed at its perfection.

~ by Patty Ferris – Public Speaker
Level III Teacher and Spiritual Counselor with Training in Power Academy

One of the Most Unbreakable Powers Of All

I recently had a stirring conversation with Shaughna Born, a colleague/teacher/friend of mine. We were discussing the trait of loyalty. I shared that I had been wrestling with a relationship in which I feel that trait has been a detriment. Loyalty has always felt like a double-edged sword. When I’m loyal to someone, I feel compelled to remain in a loving space even when trust is broken. Sometimes, that feels like the worst kind of double bind. Do you hold that space or do you walk away?

I’d like to share what Shaughna said to me. It helped me so profoundly and perhaps you might also benefit from hearing it.

“Loyalty is a beautiful and valuable thing. It requires discernment. Make sure you invest it wisely. It is one of the most unbreakable powers of all.”

Walking Away

I realized that having discernment doesn’t mean that I lose that person or the love I have for them, if I choose to remove myself. It means I can keep holding that healing space open, and hold my loyalty to what will surely be a better place for us in the future, whatever that looks like. Now, my power to wield the purity of loyalty remains a positive characteristic, and not a weakness. The trick is, the discernment must be made in power, not in anger or hurt. This keeps my loyalty and love intact and allows the other to step into their own.

I can’t say that I have mastered this. But I now understand the power of loyalty as a strength, and I choose to wield it from this perspective, with discernment. It feels correct to me. And I am grateful for the freedom of now reframing how I use and where I invest my loyalty, instead of just throwing it away.

~ C. Braunwarth, Level I Teacher