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there is power and fruitfulness in the most ‘simple’ spiritual practices.

in this article, we’ll start with your personal altar and close with…a helpful hippopotamus to make you smile, that also illustrates a fundamental truth about how energy flows.

the altar

altars are deeply personal, creative, and marvelous – yours might be a quiet focusing place to listen with the sacred, a sanctuary space to connect with deities, or a robust anchor for meditation, self-inquiry, or spiritual practice.

I’ve been surprised by how few folks seem to do this practice, because it’s so comforting and effective:

sitting at your altar, ‘speak until you run dry.’  let everything pour out of you until you have nothing else to say.  with intention, unburden yourself of everything weighing on your heart, any quiet or tender dreams, any life situations that feel challenging or too much to bear.

out loud.

(‘out loud’ and ‘until you run dry’ are key.  your mind might be ajumble.  your words are less so.)

in the silence that comes after, write a list (and also the date) of everything you’d like your concept of spirit to handle for you.  all of it.  as you write each thing, you’re handing whatever it is off to the divine for support.  everything that breaks you, and everything you yearn for.  in writing, you get ‘it’ out of your soma and into the waiting hands of your spirit guides and helpers.

then, walk away.  set it down.  let it go.  offer it up.  the next day or when you feel called again, rinse and repeat, and so on.  revisit what you wrote at each sit (and notice how long ago that was) – what got handled for you in unexpected or direct ways?

where did grace visit you?

sound simple?  it is.  and it works.

the hippopotamus

why a hippopotamus?  I shared this the other day with a beloved client, and we had a good giggle – but it brings the point home.

picture it:  you and I have been dear heartmates for years and years.  we get together, and this ensues:

  • you: hey, anna, how are you doing?
  • anna: umm, okay.  fine.
  • you: are you sure?  you seem…a little off?  is something going on?
  • (anna bursts into tears, with big noisy sobs)
  • anna: well, it’s like this – we’ve been friends for all these years, and I love you a lot, and you’ve really been there for me and we’ve had great adventures, and I’m so grateful, but…but…but… (fresh bout of loud, hiccuppy sobbing and a big wail of woe)…YOU’VE NEVER GIVEN ME A PURPLE HIPPOPOTAMUS!
  • you: ohmygosh!  that’s what all these tears are about?  I love you so much!  if I had any idea you wanted a purple hippopotamus I’d have given you one years ago!  no problem!  I can get you one now!

so.  it’s like that, with sitting at your altar (or focusing place) and asking spirit for help in the ‘simple’ practice above.  when you keep everything bottled up or rampaging around in your magnificent noggin without a clear, clean, direct ask, how can your helping spirits know how to help you, much less have your permission to do so?

take home: spiritual practice can be simple, and still profound and effective.  a clear, direct ask helps the divine deliver what you ask for.

you might consider sitting at your altar, unburdening yourself out loud until you run dry, and then writing down in 3D what your purple hippopotamus, er, needs and wants are, and asking for the help you need.

and then, receive.

like everything else, actually DOING this practice is much, much more effective than reading about it.  the beautiful thing about engaging this ‘simple’ practice is that we are directly and swiftly reminded of how spirit can show up for us…and that we’re never alone or unsupported on our paths.


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