The Practice: Part 1

With all the wonderful experiences I’ve been having here in Belize, I’ve also been dealing with the upheaval that comes with moving to a new place. Moving in general can be daunting and stressful. Moving to a new country is another level. Although I experienced it before when I went to live in Nigeria eight years ago, this move has had its own challenges. Of course I knew to expect that things would not play out as fabulously as I pictured them. And yet, there are all kinds of things, big and small, that unfold in their own ways and I’ve had to reset and go with the flow many, many times. Along with moments of excitement and joy, there have also been fierce moments of worry and the anxiety that comes with knowing I don’t have complete control over this process. From financial issues to realizing I packed the wrong shoes to finding a waterbug in the bathroom, there have been times where shit just happens and I have to deal.

My spiritual practice has been a source of grounding for many years, and has evolved and incorporated different traditions. It has been essential to my peace of mind and general wellbeing to have a daily practice which keeps me sane and connected to an energy beyond myself. There is always a corner in my living space devoted to some kind of altar to ground my spiritual practice. Along with an ancestral altar in my new home, I have made space for objects which provide healing reminders. These change and shift according to my needs and what’s going on with me. Here’s what I have right now:

Sage is a powerful purifying herb. I burn sage when I move into a new home, during times of transition when I am feeling anxious or afraid, and when I need to clear the air and release negative energy in my space. This sage was given to me by a good friend, which of course makes it more special. I light it and walk through all the rooms of my home, clearing the air with the smoke and communicating my intention for cleansing, healing, and good vibes. I also cleanse my body with the smoke for the same purposes. I always feel lighter in heart and mind when I do this.

Crystals are unique in that each one is different with it’s own size, shape, color, and frequency. I have a collection of crystals I use for personal and space healing. The ones I keep on my altar are clear quartz and amethyst. I use them to clear the energy in my home, as well as for personal energy work and when practicing Reiki on myself or others. Clear quartz corresponds with the crown chakra and amethyst with the third eye chakra. I hold them in my hand when I need to come back to myself and tune in. I also hold them to those chakra centers while I’m sitting or lying down to calm my damn nerves.

Elephants are strong, resilient, beautiful animals and they embody stability, security, and community.  I bought these during my last visit to Belize from the shop of a very wise and wonderful woman. They’re made of quartz and came in a set of seven. I’ve been collecting elephants for years and I love looking at them. Especially after moving so far away from my folks in New York, they remind me that I’m still connected to my tribe.

Tarot cards are a way that I communicate with spirit for clarity and reflection. I have several decks I’ve used over the years, and have done readings for myself and others. As of late, I’m using the New Orleans Voodoo tarot deck, and I am getting my life up in these cards, honey! Seriously, the cards have been confirming my experience and the energies at play, and have been really helpful in keeping me focused on the larger vision of my being here in Belize.

It’s been essential to have a practice that grounds me during times of intense change, especially right now with so much shifting at once. My spiritual practice is part of a larger practice of self-care that is also evolving and changing. It has been difficult at times to put my self-care first before everything. I don’t always eat clean, sometimes I drink a little too much rum, and my yoga mat is a bit dusty at the moment. While I feel an expansiveness here in Belize, I’m still me and I trip over myself sometimes. My spiritual practice reminds me that I am loving and loveable even when I’m not doing everything right. And that is a gift.

What kind of spiritual and self-care practices do y’all have? I’d love to hear about them.

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