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Healing the Feeling: Embracing Self-Love WOMENS TRANSFORMATIONAL RITUALS AND MEDITATIONS FOR SPIRITUAL GAIN.

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Presentation on theme: "Healing the Feeling: Embracing Self-Love WOMENS TRANSFORMATIONAL RITUALS AND MEDITATIONS FOR SPIRITUAL GAIN."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Healing the Feeling: Embracing Self-Love WOMENS TRANSFORMATIONAL RITUALS AND MEDITATIONS FOR SPIRITUAL GAIN

3 HEALING THE FEELING; EMBRACING SELF LOVE AN ACTIVITY OF A SACRED PRAISE AND HEALING CIRCLE A SPIRITUAL-BASED SUPPORT NETWORK FOR WOMEN Rev. Bettye Muwwakkil PhD

4 AGENDA 1.HEALING THE FEELING EMBRACING SELF LOVE- SACRED PRAISE AND HEALING CIRCLE HISTORY 2. JUST WHAT IS A SACRED PRAISE AND HEALING CIRCLE 3. WHAT IS GAIN/BENEFITED FROM ATTENDING? 4. WHAT ARE THE ACTIVITIES OF THE CIRCLE? 5. HEALING RITUAL 6. WHAT ARE THE OUTCOMES AFTER ATTENDING CIRCLE ACTIVITIES?

5 A NEW BEGINNING Autumn of 1988, on 4 th & D streets, N.W. Washington, D.C. Searching for meaning to and in my life. Had no idea where I was going and lost in Washington D.C. Arrived at a red brick building that sat alone-New Endeavors for Women (NEW) transitional resident for homeless women in recovery. Became a volunteer. One gray, rainy, Sunday evening women were just hanging around board and I was ask to do something different, something, moving, uplifting something engaging. We formed a circle, the music started and we began to dance around the circle. One at a time, a woman would enter the circle, state her name, how she feels, her life goals and what she desired for her life. We prayed, called for the Higher Power for help, meditated, shared feelings, cried, played childhood games, danced and danced.

6 A NEW BEGINNING As the Sunday afternoons came, more and more women joined the circle, residents invited their families, friends and the staff even joined in. Sunday afternoon was our day to dance in and around the circle and praise and pray to the God of our conscious understanding. The women of NEW were in need of transformation time a time to discover self, heal old feelings, embrace self love and the circle provided this healing opportunity. Rituals were created to celebrate birthdays, deaths, court orders to reinstate their children, new jobs, transition into independent living, clean and sober days and graduations (GED). A Sisters Circle was the first name of our gathering. They finally named it A Sisters Praise and Healing Circle. The women titled themselves, spiritual warriors, a masterpiece in working order; working to experience an understanding of why me- the dope feind, alcoholic, the homeless, broken hearted, the lonely, angry, rejected. The women of NEW worked towards freedom from drugs/alcohol/tobacco addiction, violent behaviors, bad relationships, terrible choices, unkind men, distasteful feelings, and incarceration. The Circle has been held throughout the United States

7 Introduction Dear Minister Bettye; Peace and love. I dont know if I can completely express how blessed I am to have been a part of the sacred healing circle. I am so grateful to you and to everyone that was there. I have never attended a healing circle before and did not know exactly what to expect. The first powerful moment came for me when asked me to, call forth my healing. As I started to do that I realized I had only known the superficial meaning of those words. To my surprise, those words, that invocation, had so much more depth and meaning that I had ever imagined. As I continued to affirm those words, I call forth my healing, I intuitively felt it moving toward me. I then got scared, a part of me, my ego, Im sure started to flood my ears with negative words; youre not ready for this today. Things arent that bad, why are going to try and go through all these major changes? You may be ready for this one day, but not today, you still have a lot more work to do on yourself. My ego had won that moment, at the end of the affirmation; I was convinced I was not ready. However, as the healing circle continued it brought healing into my heart. And as I sat in the circle with all those beautiful women surrounding me with love, I knew it was time. It was time to let go of the old me who would shy away from projects, people, or situations where she would be put in the spot light, where she would have to let her light shine. The old me who would most times keep her moth shut so she wouldnt make others mad when people or situations dishonored her. It was time to let go of the old me, send her away with love, and thank her for the lessons Ive learned and for serving her purpose. It was time to let the new me emerge, while in the circle there was no more denying that she even existed. It was time to introduce her to the world now that she had been armed the gift of unconditional love, laughter, discernment, strength, free flow, forgiveness, peace, happiness, contentment and love and the truth that, I can accomplish anything!! What a blessing! I thank God. I thank God! How could I not be moved by such a blessed event?!!! It was hard for me to come down from such a high. I had never felt so close to God. I continued to thank and praise him through the night and into the wee hours of the morning. Please know that I am so grateful for the experience and blessing I received and it is my prayer that the universe repays you and all those in attendance 100 fold for the blessing you gave me. God bless you.

8 A Sacred Praise and Healing Circle is a working model of compassion, incorporating spiritual-based transformational rituals that encourages women to engage their thoughts; feelings; discover their underlying dynamics of aliveness; develop and enhance ones spiritual energies; and nurture the emergence of wisdom as the feminine energy. Soft, pink, moving, delicate, blossoming, an art. A Sacred Praise and Healing Circle is an activity that incorporates dance, prayer, affirmations, movement, meditation, inspirational messages, sharing ideas, thoughts, feelings, suggestions and

9 A SACRED CIRCLE A sacred circle is a holy place that has been blessed and consecrated reflecting our beliefs, inspirations, our spirits, passions, and intentions. A sacred circle is where we can interface with the omnipotent presence. Its a crossing point in time and space that can attract, cultivate and/or repel energy.

10 SACRED PRAISE AND HEALING CIRCLE A sacred place is a holy place and a protected space in which wondrous occurrences happen and Grace is abundantly present, such occurrences such as spiritually-based rituals. It is in this dwelling that we feel an abundance of self-love; connected to each other and a Higher Power, centered, balanced, hopeful, joyous and peaceful. SACRED- that which has been consecrated and dedicated to the Creator with ones desirers or intentions for positive actions, change and re-enforcements. Sacred can be a place, person, thing that is secured against violation or interference, treated with reverence and respect, where Divine love, power and security is felt and created just by focusing ones intentions. It is where power is easily accessible and can be used as a powerful tool in our quest for a peace of mind and in connecting with God, Higher Self (GOD).

11 An energy field that is Consecrated to God. Serves as a transformational tool to obtain positive outcomes. Center focal point from which all things flow. It is the beginning and the end, the Alpha and Omega. Collection of focus uncultivated and cultivated energy. 365 degrees having no boundaries and is infinite. Shape of Mother Earth- the moon, the universe, the sun and every planet, the growth pattern of the rocks, the shape of the opening of our ear, the opening of the birth canal, shape of our eyes, diameter of our bodies, atoms, cells, are all circular. Symbol of oneness, the universe. Thresh-hold of ritual work and the starting point of rituals. A SACRED CIRCLE

12 Spirituality Spirituality is the base-the-root of Truth and the connectiveness or cohesiveness of our relationship with reality. Our spiritual development enhances and empowers our relationship with what is truly real.

13 HEALING THE FEELING;EMBRACING SELF LOVE- A SACRED PRAISE AND HEALING CIRCLE BASED IN SPIRITUALITY Spirituality derives from the Latin spirare, to breathe. It is our Spirit- the essence of life that gives us breath and allows us to be to experience the human experience. Spirituality is a way of life. It is the way-path; a mode that makes life meaningful-colorful-tasteful-gentle. It is the umbilical cord connecting us to our source of being. Robin Deen Carnes and Sally Craig, authors of Sacred Circles, A Guide to Creating Your Own Womens Spirituality Group, defined spirituality as the practice of staying consciously connected with what makes us alive, with our own selves, with one another, and with the Great Other. It is that part of us that strives to make existence meaningful.

14 Sacred Praise and Healing Circle: A Model of Compassion A Sacred Praise and Healing Circle is a working model of compassion for all women incorporating rituals that encourages us to engage our thoughts, our feelings and discover our underlying dynamics of aliveness develop our spiritual energies and nurture the emergence of wisdom as the feminine energy. Compassion, a Major Emotion of Our Sacred Praise and Healing Circle

15 A Sacred Circle is Dedicated to Ritualistic Activities Rituals are key components in the Sacred Praise and Healing Circle activities. Rituals help us learn what it means to be self-determined and to make changes okay. A ritual is the traditional or ceremonial approach to an event or series of events. Rituals (secret, religious, social, family and personal) create, utilize and release energy. Rituals demand and create sacredness. The Art of Ritual written by Renee Beck and Sydney Barbara Metrick describes a ritual as a series of symbolic acts focused toward fulfilling a particular intention, and empowers ones life in order to create a positive value. El Obatala Creative Rituals written by Helke Thomas describes ritual as a profound form of autosuggestion in which the psyche (subconscious mind) is rendered receptive to energy patterns.

16 RITUALS A Guide to Life, Love, and Inspiration written by Emma Restall Orr, defines a ritual as the act of pausing to learn on a journey that leads us to know that all life is sacred. A ritual is an art form and when create a ritual whether we make it delicate with fine detail, abstract or impressionistic, or as earthy as finger-painting with mind- it always offers us the same opportunity: to pause amidst the chaotic stream of living to look around, to check where we are and where we are going, and to remember how beautiful our world can really be.

17 Rituals Address: MEANING, STABILITY, PURPOSE, DIRECTION LOVE in our lives; Individual needs and desires in a profound and meaningful manner; Our visions, dreams outside of the hustle and bustle of everyday living and is deepened by our focus without interruptions; Our beliefs, conscious and unconscious thoughts - thoughts we think, words we utter, our movements, gestures; Who we are; The urge to comprehend our existence in meaningful ways; Transitions or turning points in our lives- those aspects of change (the unknown, the loss of what was comfortable or uncomfortable) can make the experience of change difficult; The search for a pathway as we move from transformation to transformation and transformation to healing; The need to establish secure and fulfilling relationship with other women in the Circle (group); and The longing to know ones purpose in this vast wonder and mystery of the universe and cosmos.

18 BENEFITS Spiritual enlightenment; Learn the importance of shaping positive values; promoting responsible behaviors; Raise awareness to the importance of discovering the correct path to inner healing; Increase awareness to available and accessible spiritually-based women support services and networks that are compassion based, non-judgmental and non-critical; Learn how to love self Promote the awakening to ones greatest potentials to live a quality life Peer-to peer support for women with chronic illness Learn humility

19 Serenity Prayer God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; and the courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Reinhold Niebuhrs

20 WHO WE ARE Yes, the moment is at hand to recognize Who We Are, Our Earthly Purpose for being on this universe at this particular time, and to learn the importance of loving the God, others, forgiving and embracing self-love. The process of healing, to know-to-reclaim our natural birthrights as women, spiritual veterans/warriors, powerful spiritual beings, and Divas experiencing a human experience. This awareness is a God given chance to raise the self-love consciousness, vibrations, and learn our lessons for spiritual gain so that we may reap the benefits of spiritual healing. Its time to Know Ourselves and to have a personal relationship with the Creator- God – Higher Power and whole SELF. GAIN

21 POWER TOOL Spirituality is a power tool to the survival of women diagnosed with HIV. Many infected women are in search of remedies, bandages that will cover their wounds, wearing fancy masks that will mask their pain, unhappiness, anger, shame, disappointments, catering to fears and resisting transformations.

22 BENEFITS Too many women are in search of remedies, wrapped in invisible bandages that will cover their misfortunes, wearing fancy masks hiding unhappiness feelings; shoulders weighed down holding/carrying, calming other peoples baggage, neglecting self-love. Too many women imprison themselves in toxin relationships, embracing the feelings and emotions of pain, hurt, dishonor, disrespect, disappointments; hoping one day to be loved, recognized, wanted or even desired. With bitterness, we hold tight for dear life to just what use to be, neglecting self-love. Loneliness, the need to be wanted and loved too often trap us into risky behaviors, playing the games of self-destruction while trusting, believing, holding fast to broken promises, uncertainties, neglecting self-love. A Praise and Healing Circle offers an opportunity to LEARN HOW TO LOVE SELF, DISCOVER THE HIGHER SELF, CONNECT AND COMMUNICATE WITH THE GOD OF ONES UNDERSTANDINGS AND THE GREAT I AM.

23 BENEFITS Recent research among people with HIV suggests that those who find meaning through spirituality suffer less from emotional distress, anxiety and depression and are able to cultivate a greater sense of hope for the future than those who do not. By engaging with spiritual questions, beliefs about lifes meaning, and ones role in relation to a higher, universal power, people are able to contextualize and cope with the significant stressors in their lives. For people with HIV, these stressors include the constant threat to their health and life from their infection, and the psychological stress of inhabiting a stigmatized role within their community. Spiritual coping is even associated with higher immune function. THE SACRED PRAISE AND HEALING CIRCLE ALLOW WOMEN WITH CHRONIC ILLNESS TO EXPERIENCE A SENSE-OF- BELONGING-INNER PEACE- LOVE-HARMONY

24 SPIRITUAL FRAMEWORK HIV disease is among the most devastating of illnesses, having multiple and profound effects upon all aspects of the WHOLE PERSON (bio-psychosocial and spiritual being). The profound struggle in the lives of women living with HIV to cope with anger, distress, guilt and grief, and often addiction to drugs and alcohol is real. Several scientists are contributing to an emerging body of research suggesting that many HIV positive view this struggle within a spiritual framework, and that engaging explicitly with spiritual coping can be a productive way for to help HIV positive women and for HIV positive women to help each other.

25 Energy of Love and Compassion Compassion releases us from the grips of self-concern- self-pity. As women, when we become aware of our struggles or our own longings for freedom and happiness, we realize that others are seeking the very same goal especially during our Sacred Healing Circle. Pain arises out of fear, desire and ignorance. We must first work through our illusions in such a way that the essential nature and energy of aliveness, which sought expression in the form of sufferings. When we are ready to be freed from the constrictions of our own habits and allow the energy of love and compassion to work on our behalf during our Sacred Praise and Healing Circle transformation is experienced.

26 Compassion When our intentions are to work on healing our hearts during the Sacred Circle, we are able overcome our sense of being stuck and needy and become open to feelings of wholeness, love and belonging once again. When we remove these constrictions, the essence of compassion is unlocked and we also further realize that so many other women are seeking the same goals. No matter whether fear, ignorance, stuck energy, needy energy, self-pity the act or the deliverance of compassion opens gateways to healing. Compassion for others in itself is a path to freedom; compassion is a response of an open heart. When we open our hearts wholeheartedly to the unknown, we experience the unshaken knowledge of freedom. GAIN

27 Pathway to Inner Freedom Compassion releases us from the grips of self-concern- self-pity. As women, when we become aware of our struggles or our own longings for freedom and happiness, we realize that others are seeking the very same goal especially during our Sacred Healing Circle. When our intentions are to work on healing our hearts during the Sacred Circle, we are able overcome our sense of being stuck and needy and become open to feelings of wholeness, love and belonging once again. When we remove these constrictions, the essence of compassion is unlocked and we also further realize that so many other women are seeking the same goals. No matter whether fear, ignorance, stuck energy, needy energy, self-pity the act or the deliverance of compassion opens gateways to healing. Compassion for others in itself is a path to freedom; compassion is a response of an open heart. When we open our hearts wholeheartedly to the unknown, we experience the unshaken knowledge of freedom. GAIN

28 A REMINDER TO LOVE YOU With each illness or disorder, your body is reminding you to love yourself. Through genuine self-love, you allow your HEART to guide you to wellness and wholeness. To love yourself is to give yourself permission to live as you choose. When you love yourself, you accept yourself as you are at any momentin all your humilitywith fears, weaknesses, desires, beliefs and aspirations that are all facets of who you are. Once you are able to unearth the belief that blocks you from being what you really desirer and feel that you need, you will have to work on it. The first step is to acknowledge that at some point in your life, you decided to believe this. You thought that this belief would prevent you from suffering the same pain over and over. GAIN

29 LOVE IS? LOVE IS THE MOTIVATING FORCE TO EXPERIENCE OUR HIGHER CONSCIOUSNESS. THE HIGHEST OF WHICH IS SELF-LOVE.

30 SELF-LOVE IS A CUP WITHOUT ANY BOTTOM, YOU MIGHT POUR ALL THE GREAT LAKES INTO IT, AND NEVER FILL IT UP. O.W. HOLMES

31 SELF-LOVE Self-love is defined as the instinct or desire to promote ones own well-being; regard for or love of one's self; Self love is you honoring the essence within you; the Gods Force.

32 KNOWLEDGE-ILLNESS/ DIS-EASE Sacred Praise and Healing Circle assist women who are experiencing illness in accepting and understanding the need to make lifestyle changes, ease fears, doubts, and support the transformation When illness or disease is indicated, the body is communicating to us that our way of thinking (although unconscious) is out of harmony with what is beneficial to our being. Illness indicates the need to change in our belief system and tells us that we have reached our physical and psychological limits. Illness is thus a gift whose purpose is to bring back the equilibrium in our being. The most frequent causes of illness are negative attitudes and emotions, guilt, the need for attention, or the need to escape an unpleasant situation. Those who are vulnerable to the suggestion that illness is contagious will attract illness because they expect to be sick as a result of circumstances. If they believe, for example, that a draught will result in a cold, they will get a cold when exposed to a draught. GAIN

33 Spiritual Transformation The season of spiritual transformation is at hand. Old patterns of beliefs, out- dated life themes are in need of revision, and/or depleted- to experience healing. Wearing masks, dressed up and spiritually messed-up has reached a screeching halt. GAIN

34 TRANS-FOR-WARD Often, however, we aren't sure that we want this show to go on. The refusal to admit change in our lives is a major obstacle to transformation. We cling tenaciously to our habitual ways of doing things, thinking they are our only choices. We may resist anything new or different through indecisiveness. We waver, going back and forth between fear and doubt Spiritual Practices: Transformation, Resources for Spiritual Journey; Barbara Crafton

35 When you think about situations and circumstances, places and people that somehow brought major changes into your life, what you are thinking about is transformation. Whether transformation is pleasant or painful, inspiring or traumatic, one thing is certain: After it happens, you are never the same. Transformation means moving to a greater understanding of our divine selves- learning to move back and forth between the physical and spiritual realms, between an ego perspective and soul perspective, and, ultimately, to see all perspectives at the same time The spiritual practice of transformation holds within its wide embrace the personal renewals that come with a spiritual awakening, a conversion, a mystical epiphany, or enlightenment. It covers the deepening that takes place when we get in touch with our Higher Self or Spirit. With transformation comes healing and wholeness. It's as if they had been waiting in the wings all along, until you made room for them on stage. TRANSFORMATION TRANS- TO GO FORWARD- TO GO BEYOND

36 What is Praise? Praise means to commend, to applaud or magnify. Praise to God is an expression of worship, lifting-up and glorifying the Lord. It is an expression of humbling ourselves and centering our attention upon the Lord with heart-felt expressions of love, adoration and thanksgiving. High praises bring our spirit into a pinnacle of fellowship and intimacy between ourselves, others in the Circle and God it magnifies our awareness of our spiritual union with the most high God. Praise transports us into the realm of the supernatural and into the power of God. Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance (Psalms 89:15).

37 PRAISE Praise Elevates us into Gods Presence and Power We must learn how to lift our hearts above our troubles and enter into Gods presence and power. Through praise and worship our hearts will raised into the joyous presence and peace of God, and provide God a channel for his power to operate in our circumstances. The Bible says that God inhabits in the praises of His people (Psalms 22:3). In other words, God dwells in the atmosphere of His praise. This means that praise is not merely a reaction from coming into His presence - Praise is a vehicle of faith which brings us into the presence and power of God! Praise and worship is the gate-pass which allows us to enter the sacredness of His glory. The psalmist writes, Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name (Psalms 100:4). GAIN

38 FEEL-INGS YOU CANNOT BE STABLED IN LIFE SITUATIONS IF YOU ARE GUIDED BY YOUR FEELINGS. BE STILL AND KNOW GOD IS GOD AND STAND ON WHAT YOU BELIEVE AND BRING YOUR FEELINGS INTO WHAT YOU BELIEVE. GAIN

39 Womens Wisdom Way Strengthen your belief system When you know deep inside that you want to change a belief, all that remains is to take steps to achieve your desires in order to let yourself manifest your desirers. Ask yourself if you still need to believe this in order to be happy. If you answer yes, youve determined that your belief is still of use to youby all means continue to believe it and behave as you always have. But dont expect any change in your life as you are the architect of your own life, the choice is yours. Just know that by refusing to go towards what you want in life, your life will remain the same. If youve determined that your belief is still partly true, but that it makes you unhappy, determine whether or not it has diminished in strength in the last couple of years. If it has, it will be easier to let go of. By doing so, you will be on the road to self –fulfillment-to healing.

40 THE CIRCLE TARGETS Women and girls- ages ; Women who have the desire to explore spirituality; Those needing support in decision making; Women experiencing a chronic illness and desirer support; Those feeling the desirer to belong to a greater cause; Those wishing to celebrate life; Women needing spiritual uplifting Women desiring spiritual coaching Women desiring prayer Women who desirer a listening ear Women who enjoy dance and movement

41 Love cannot be far behind a grateful heart and thankful mind. A Course in Miracles

42 ACTIVITIES THE ART AND SCIENCE OF MEDITATION : The laws of the universe dictate that we create what we focus on. We manifest what we concentrate. Meditation is the practice of disciplined thought. That which we contemplate on becomes powerful: it molds and generates everything that we think. Meditation is active creation. Meditation is a method of obtaining a relaxed state of mind to obtain an inward journey into the realms of consciousness known as an altered state of consciousness. The deeper dimensions of our minds contain all the tools and equipment we need to function at the inner levels of awareness. THE ART OF AFFIRMING: Affirmations are tools that assist us in remaining focused, improving concentration and help us to see the big picture, our intentions becoming reality. Affirmations repeatedly uttered will create the energy of what we desire and send that energy out into the universe to return to us our intentions. All affirmations must always be positive, very specific and spoken always with conviction and in the presents. THE ART AND SCIENCE OF PRAYER: A Prayer is a way of thought. Every thought is a prayer that focuses our awareness on GOD. Prayer is a process of connecting and communicating with the Higher Power. CREATING SACRED SPACE: Sacred is that which has been consecrated and dedicated to the Creator with ones desires or intentions for positive actions and re-enforcements. CREATIVE VISUALIZATION : Altered state of consciousness journeys through the subconscious mind and brings it into everyday attention. Creative visualization is through the imagination – the imagination is through the thought form. Creative visualization brings conscious thoughts into realities THE ART OF VIBRATIONAL SOUND : Calming sound, employed in the presence of quiet solitude and thoughtful introspection, is a major factor in achieving higher levels of conscious awareness. When one learns to produce harmonious sound vibrations and mentally direct them inwardly toward the physical body energy centers, a rearrangement for balancing and centering is acquired which permits greater and more effective energy flow. DRUMMING: Drumming is an ancient tool that has health benefits. Drumming slows our brain waves to a theta rhythm which places us in an alternate state of consciousness thats a characteristic of a meditative state of being. A meditative state increases our immune responses, and is therefore useful in managing stress. SINGING: Through voice, we express ourselves-from words to song, grunts and groans to smiles, various songs DANCE AND MOVEMENT: is as an expression of self love, praises and makes a song that resonates through the body down into the earth, just as the earth sends it generous and healing resonance up through the feet

43 Welcome to an uplifting opportunity for women especially those experiencing HEALTH AND WELLNESS challenges. We welcome you to an opportunity to change non-usable out-dated non- productive, non-recyclable behaviors and assist you in exchanging them for a healing journey fulfilled with an abundance of inner peace, self-love, a spiritual make- over. We offer you a sacred dwelling where just like you experience the power of healing energies, self-created rituals that aim to raise ones spiritual consciousness. We offer you an opportunity to join us on a transitional adventure being equipped with all the necessary tools to experience the highest potentials of the great I AM.

44 WELCOME Welcome to an opportunity to tell your Story without being judged or criticized. Just because you have been diagnosed with being infected, does not mean you are not entitled to a fruitful life. You are vibrant and you blossoms in all season and spread your seeds of growth, prosperity, health and wellness, and hope throughout the universe.

45 UNLOCK THE DOOR TO YOUR INNER POWERS AND TRANSFORM THE EXPERIENCE OF FEELING THE HEALING AND HEALING THE FEELING

46 REMOVE YOUR SHOES AND COME DANCE WITH ME IN A SACRED PRAISE AND HEALING CIRCLE

47 CALL TO CIRCLE All ceremonies or gatherings have a purpose/ intention. When you send out an invitation or and announcement to your families and friends you have a purpose in mind whether a birthday celebration, family reunion, anniversary, book club or support group you have a reason. There are several purposes for calling a sacred circle: healing, praise and worship, rites of passage, self-love etc. The question is: What is our intention for sacred circle ceremony? Once the intention for sacred circle ceremony is clarify, its time to make an announcement stating our intentions and decide to who we choose to invite. A letter is designed writing out our intentions.

48 Invitation My Beloved Daughters: You are worthy of the kingdom of our Mother/Father God. If no one have announced to you today that you are loved and most appreciated, let me be the first. You my beloved sisters are cordially invited to attend an opportunity that will transform your mind/body/spirit. Whatever challenges you maybe facing or perhaps you have joy that you care to share or a heart of compassion that you would love to share with to other women, then this is your calling. You are invited with open arms and an open heart to attend a Healing the Feeling: Embracing Self Love a Sacred Praise and Healing Circle. This is a spiritual-based women's network support group. Now, I guess you ask, just what is a Sacred Praise and Healing Circle and just what will I experience? What will I expect? Expect nothing; just arrive with an open mind, an open heart to receive and share unconditional love and to commune with the God of your understanding. A Sacred Praise and Healing Circle is a spiritual ceremony wherein each participant is given an opportunity to explore, and experience spirituality holistically (mind/body/spirit connection) while playing a major role in the healing process of self and others. Spiritual-based rituals are the heart of our sacred circle which are symbolic acts focusing on fulfilling a particular intention. Rituals are a part of our daily lives. Rituals performed in the Sacred Sisters Circle are journeys of our hearts and leads us into the inner realm of our minds and at last into our souls. These rituals will address our individual needs and desires in a meaningful way. All spiritually based rituals are done with love, in love, light, passion, and devotion, which enhances our hearts desire and strengthen our capacity to live. The goals of our rituals are to assist us in rediscovering or to raise our spiritual awareness of the Great I Am, and to recall and remember how to utilize the great potentials within us. Just what my sister will you experience? You will experience inner peace, and abundance of light, unconditional love, a listening non-critical ear, support in a safe environment, an opportunity to express yourself, a non-critical loving response to assist in the healing process of others, and assistance in successfully facing our self-created challenges. Just how do you dress? Come as you are. Loose fitting clothing especially pants work well. The intention of this gathering is to welcome a new season with promises of prosperity and planting and cultivating seeds for health and wellness. Dr. Bettye Muwwakkil is the group Facilitator she has over 25 years of experience conducting Womens circle throughout the USA,. She is also the author of Healing the Feeling and Embracing Self-Love. We look forward in dancing, singing, praying, and meditating with you. Thank you for your continuous support in making our Sacred Praise and Healing Circle possible. GRACE, Bettye Muwwakkil

49 A SACRED PRAISE AND HEALING CIRCLE PREPARATION Intention- The intention of the Sacred Circle is pre-decided by the Facilitator and announced through the outgoing invitations and once again announced to all participants the day of the Circle. The location (indoors, out-of-doors) is also pre-planned; and with a back-up location if the weather is inclined. Meeting with Facilitator, volunteers, prayer warriors is scheduled one week prior to Circle in an effort to plan event. The day before the Circle can be very busy. I prepare myself both psychologically and physically. Im busy gathering all the items that I think, I maybe using. As the Facilitator, I am constantly anticipating, preparing and/or feeling great expectations. Creating manifestation is seeing it happen in all my senses. I prepare myself through visualization, fasting, prayer and meditation; surrendering myself to the will of God. I gather and prepare tools or items that will be used during the ritual ceremony such as Flowers for the prayer altar, drinking water, Kleenex, pens/pencil, writing paper, candles, music selections and music instruments. On the morning of the Circle, I would create the sacred circle by walking the circle with prayer and singing songs of praises

50 Pre-Circle Entrance Activities Because this is a moment of uncertainties, fear and doubt for some new-comers, the time is taken to meet before the Circle with participants. This really helps to break the ice. The Circle team is introduced. I have a small hand-out that I share that introduces me (Facilitator), information about the circle to include rules, regulation and expectations. The pre-circle activity is also a time to share any concerns that first timers may have. It is very important to have a room where participants can hang their coats and remove their shoes. I usually provide footings with the grip soles. They are warm and will prevent slipping. To prevent any illness, any allergies to smoke, incense, perfume, etc… participates are addressed in reference to any allergies that they may have. House rules are also shared (where the rest rooms are located). Participants are asked to use the restroom prior to the start of the ceremony. If for any reason someone has to leave the circle during ceremony, walking the circle one full time and than exit counterclockwise only and when returning walk the circle counterclockwise and return to specific seat. This prevents the breaking of the energy and reduces any distractions. To help Circle participants to get past any resistance during Sacred Circle activities, each participant is handed a small mirror. She is asked to look into the mirror and say: I intend to participant in this Sacred Circle today for the greater benefit of myself, my family, my community, my work, my universe. I vow that this noble intention stay in my heart, mind, spirit and develop into a successful outcome, so that I may enjoy and experience spiritual gain and soul satisfaction and a more fulfilled state of being. Two slips of paper and a pen are given to each participant; desire for prayer is written on one and Inspirational statement, such as, Faith is knowing without any doubt. Is written on the other. Each participant chooses her instrument (rattler, drum, bells etc...). The importance of confidentially is stressed. (We practice spiritual/universal laws) What is said in the Circle remains always in the circle unless permission is given to share experience. Each participant selects two women that they do not know: One is selected as a prayer partner and 2 nd Holds up her highest good. The prayer requests are given to selected prayer partners and the inspirational statement is placed in a basket on the altar. Women are now requested to leave their belongings in welcome room to include their shoes. Women are asked to form a line before entering sacred circle space and to be mindful of the Circle boundaries.

51 STEP- 1 Participants are: Welcomed by Facilitators, Prayer Warriors and Volunteers- sprinkled with holy water (sea salt) in an effort to cleanse the auric field to remove any negativity. A personal prayer is whispered in the ear of each participant especially for courage, strength and inner and the removal of any fears, doubts and any other obstacles that may obstruct a successful outcome. Participants are asked to affirm the following affirmation: I enter in this Circle of light with the heart of compassion, love and faith in God. And so it is! Participants select musical instruments such as drums, bells, rattlers (tools to raise and move energy). Participants are instructed to dance around the circle counter clockwise (direction feminine energy flows) twelve times playing their instruments. Participants continue to dance around the circle until instructions are given to stop. Facilitator: Instruct participants to slow down and stop, placing all musical instruments beside her. STEP-2 Invocation- Facilitators Prayer for Protection: Facilitator steps to the center of the circle The Music is lowered Hands are extended to the center of the circle with palms up (facing the center of the circle). Facilitator prays.. My Father God, Mistress and Master of All Creations, Make me, your humble servant an instrument, a channel of Divine light, love, and Divine truth. Let my spirit and my heart be loving, nonjudgmental and insightful in the working of a miracle today. Guide my thoughts, reactions, effort and my loving energy. Protect me, Dear God from any harm and/or discomfort. Bless us right now with peace and harmony, balance and love. Protect my sisters and may the desires of their hearts be Your Divine will as well. We call upon your name and praise Your name with the highest of praises. Thank You for your presence. So be it. Inspirational music is played softly. Facilitator: Request for silence.

52 STEP-3 Invocation- Opening Prayer: Dear Mother/Father GOD, we gather today to thank you for the opportunity to recall that healing is ours just…for the asking. We are so grateful for your grace, your love, and your mercy and for your presence in this space today. We desire to hear from you and we desire spiritual messengers of light to assist us in healing each other and ourselves. Illuminate the way, Father-Mother God that we may see your perfect way, that we will hear all messages, see and feel all of your works today, right here and right now. If we call upon your name and humble our hearts, You-Dear God will make haste to help us. We stand on your words today and forever. We stand ready to remember and recall WHO we are. We praise your name today. We praise and honor you and we thank you for all healing today. Today is our day to give love, to listen, to follow and to heal by your Will. Thank You God for healing us all. We come today expecting and accepting miracles. And so be it. STEP-4 Grounding and Centering Exercise Using the Art of Visualization 1.Stand still and feel your feet implanted firmly into the earth. 2. Imagine a long silver cord running straight down the center of your body; see this silver cord before your minds eye. 3. Continue to align yourself with this silver cord. 4. Count from 5-0 as you continue this process. 5.Imagine before you a very tall tree; imagine the roots of that tree beneath the earth, connecting to Mother Earth. See how strong and out stretch are the roots of that tree. 6. Feel how those roots must feel out-stretched and connected to the earth, connected to nutrients, minerals, and sunlight. 7. See how strong and supported the trunk of the tree is to those roots, to the large branches. 8. You are that great tree, standing tall, connected, balanced, feeling apart of a whole. You can not be moved, until you are ready to up rooted. Feel yourself connected. 9. Claim your earthly connections. Claim your connection to the heavens. Just relax into the feelings of being balance.

53 Step- Bonding Ritual Intention: This exercise aims to bring participants bonding and balance into the circle. Materials: Mirrors, Meditative music, Essential oil of lavender Exercise – Facilitator: Relaxation technique is shared. Feel that a warm cloud is bathing your entire body. As it touches your body, it engenders a wonderful feeling of warmth and relaxation. Feel the comfort of this cloud engulf you touching every part of your body in turn, bringing a sense of energy, warmth, release of all tension, and peace…. Peace…. Once you are completely engulfed by the cloud, feel your body becoming increasingly light, so that it seems to float effortlessly, drifting… drifting… drifting upwards into the blue heavens. Cushioned safely within the cloud, you can now go wherever you please to feel at peace. Now, I would like you to slowly bring your awareness back into this room. I will count from one to five. On the count of five you will return feeling relaxed, energize and capable of completing all tasks. One… two… three…five. Very good. Participant: Mirrors are given to each participant and instructed to take her time to look at herself and her neighbors on both sides. One at a time. She looks at herself and her neighbor to the right. She looks at herself and her neighbor to the left and repeat: When I look into the mirror, I see myself and I say, I love you (say your whole name) and I thank you (say your first name) for not giving up on me today. I am beautiful, worthy of my hearts desirers, and I have all that I need to passion your living in a most healthy way. Youre loved today. Look into the eyes of the sister to your right and repeat the following: You are never alone, we are connected in spirit. I am a reflection of you. I behold the Christ spirit within you and to you I extend my heart of compassion. I cant solve your challenges nor can I walk in your shoes. From my heart, I send you light-love-and peace. You are a Queen, a Diva, a Goddess Spirit and my dearest sister. We are One-one- in-Spirit. Now, look into the eyes of the sister to your left and repeat the above statements: You may ask permission to hug your neighbor. 5

54 Releasing Ritual Intention: Feelings attached to the emotion of anger may include feeling despondent, trapped, unloved, rejected, lonely, dishonored and or detached. Feelings that detach the emotion of anger are love, free, belonging, honored and desired. The intention of this ritual is to recognize, understand, release and heal those feelings attached to the emotion of anger. Materials: Color paper cut in squares, Pencil, or pen, sheets of paper, glue, small trash can with a lid, drinking water, glitter, small plastic flowers, small cut out pictures. Instructions given by Facilitator: Just be still, perhaps you may desire to close your eyes and focus on your breath. Tell yourself to relax. Slowly count backwards from ten to zero. Now, bring before your minds eye, a challenge/issue/problem that you have been confronted with, see and feel that challenge and all the feelings attached to those emotions. Right now. Remember… You are not your emotions. They are only lessons attached to an experience. Know that within you is the power to understand and heal the experience and all of its attachments. Relax, and repeat, I love me today, and I am ready to pay the debt and do the tasks needed to heal the lesson. So be it. Before you are several sheets of paper. Take one sheet of paper at a time and write down a challenge that came up for you. Ball up the paper. Place it in front of you. Continue this process until you feel you are finish. Now, write down the unpleasant feelings attached to these challenges. Ball it up and repeat until you feel that you have written them all down.

55 Wait. Be still and close your eyes. Take yourself on your special cloud. Go back to the cloud and just relax (Please see instructions to the cloud relaxation in Circle Bonding Exercise #1) Now, is a good time to just pray- Asking the Creator to alert your conscious mind to anything that you are unaware of related to these challenging experiences. Just relax. Be still. If anything else comes up feel free to write it down. Before you are balls and balls of paper. Make the balls as small as possible. Bring all the balls of paper together and take one large sheet of paper and paste it around the balls as much as possible. If needed get another sheet of paper. NO TALKING. Mold them into one ball. In front of you are decorative items: flowers, small pictures etc… Decorate that ball with those ornaments of your choosing. A small trash container with a lid on it is being passed around. Open the lid and place your finished ball in it. Perform now the jester of wiping your hands and place the lid on the trash container. Pass the container to the next participant. Prayer Warrior: Repeat the following prayer

56 Prayer: Thank you Mother of us all for the opportunity to learn this lesson and dispose of all of its attachments. When this issue appears again, I understand it. I honor it and I thank it for remaining me of my greatest and my gift to re-create and transform new realties for my highest good. I smile now into my heart. Because God is omnipresent, Im never alone. Through it all, I am not alone. Thank you for your presence. And so it is. Affirmation: I release and I let Go, I let Spirit move my life. I am free in my Spirit today. I am free from any attachments to anger. I feel the healing and I embrace self-love. After ritual is completed women are asked to get up and clap as they walk the circle in praise of freedom. NOTES: After performing this ritual many women feel as if they want to run. Allow them to run around the inner circle. Some feel as if they desire to jump, shout please be sure that they are supported during this time and some may cry. You just never know the impact of holding on to stuff that obstructs wholesome living and productive thoughts. End the Circle with the Closing Circle Ritual.

57 SUMMARY Often, we expect ourselves to recover quickly from difficult or painful circumstances. When we do not or cannot, we may feel emotionally inept or hopeless. It is a matter of accepting that even when we do our best there are going to be situations, people, and outcomes that we cannot control. It is also important to remember that your experiences now may be setting the groundwork for future healing. The more you release in each time, the more you grow. Although it is not always possible to work through all of our issues, it is important that we confront what we are called to face in this life and do the work we need to do. It is also important to remember that the most effective way to spiritually grow is to be an active participant in life. Be present in each moment and know that Gods holds you and the angels protect you. Once, we decided to make peace with our lives and to move fully into self-acceptance- self love, we must get beyond the blaming- even God, or whatever we perceive that energy to be. Even if we have been victimized in a traumatic way, just understand that we are still responsible for what we do with that lesson. This means first looking and owning for the moment all of the feelings involved, including anger, fear, and powerlessness. It not always important to point a finger, however, it is urgent that we recognize and own the feelings that keep us stuck in bitterness, anger and suppressed rage. Yes, sooner or later, we must decide what we are going to do with those feelings once we have named them. Its time to make a change!

58 Living a Spiritual Lifestyle: A Path, Not a Destination, an article authored by Bobbie Lieberman stated, seven universal qualities embodied in a spiritual life and that can directly contribute to our health and wellness. These qualities are as followed: Learn to forgive. When we hold on to grudges, we eat the seeds of bitterness and resentment. These toxic emotions can depress the immune system, eventually taking a toll on your health. To let go of a longstanding blame is not to let the offender "off the hook" it's to release you from the burden of judgment, and turn the matter over to your Higher Power. When we send forth the energy to for-give, we set that person free from the attached emotions and their feelings that bonds that existence between us. We admit that we no longer hold offense against them. Furthermore, we also free ourselves from the burden of being the 'offended ones.'...Forgiveness, therefore, liberates, sat us free not only the others, but also ourselves." SUMMARY

59 Health and Wellness Practice gratitude. Spend some time in mindful contemplation "counting our blessings" aloud, and reflecting on each one. Record daily what you are grateful for. Make time of heart-felt sharing and give-and-take, not a chance to catch up on the daily news of the day. Observe the sense of peace that comes from this practice. Remember, what we put out comes back to us. Demonstrate appreciation. Heartfelt appreciation is a powerful motivator. A simple act of appreciating someone is blessings in the bank. Appreciation is like having a savings account for a rainy day. Give and receive. The act of giving requires us to give of our time, talent and especially our caring to another from a heart of love. Learn to be open to receive. For some of us, it is very difficult to receive than to give. When we accept the gift from others with grace and gratitude, we are perhaps giving an even greater "gift" to the giver: we are sending a message that they, too, have something worthwhile to contribute and that we are worthy in the eye of the giver. Practice compassion. Compassion arises when we allow our hearts to be touched by the pain and sufferings of others. Compassionate is the base of spiritual living because it is the practice of letting go of love to connect with the challenges of others. Honor the sacredness of all life. We are all unique in the eyes of the Creator. We are all gifted and connected to the same beam of cosmic energy. We are one. As we gain spiritual knowledge, we think more deeply about the value of our lives and others before thinking, acting and reacting in a negative way. Love one another as the Creator loves us all. Practice Daily meditation. When we take the time for stillness, we connect to our Higher Power. summary

60 Outcomes Joy Prevention is the best medicine Gain knowledge in knowing how to accomplish inner peace, a state-of-relaxation How to create and use inspiring transformational rituals to bring understanding, healing, balance and to transform ones life Recognizing and not allowing other peoples baggage to overwhelm you How to accomplish and experience spiritual gain and empowerment Raised awareness to time limits on self pity How to interact in group settings Grounding and feeling connected to a greater source (God) Importance of healing old behavior patterns Understanding of ones self purpose Understanding and being aware of life lessons and what they are teaching you How to embracing self with love Knowing that you are not alone, others have the same experiences Gain knowledge in the development and performance of womens spiritual-based support circles. Move forward in your life with emphases on spiritual gain and the desire to share experiences on a higher conscious awareness. Feel comfort during your healing process. Remember what being loved feels like.


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