Category Archives: Crowwitch

A touch of yoga near you…

As you step onto the wood flooring, you can feel the warmth and comfort of where you are. There is a peacefullness that bellies the hustle and buslt outside. A gentle breeze from the fans above cool the room from the heated performance it had just experienced. The smell of pepermint permeates the air and mixes with the sound of music. Calming, soothing, relaxing.

This is how I feel when I walk into the studio of Nirvana Yoga downtown Fredericton, New Brunswick. There are several yoga studios in and around the Fredericton area. There is Moksha Yoga, Dynamic Fitness, Satori Centre, The Iris Centre (Dr Cook does mindfullness training as well and is amazing), Lokamotion, Lifesong Yoga, Jane McKeown Yoga, and Yogasana Studio (technically in Charters Settlement about 15 minutes outside of Fredericton). Some of these (many) offer Hot Yoga which has gained a great deal of popularity in recent years. For me though, my personal favourite is Nirvana yoga haven and resto juice bar.

When you first enter Nirvana, you will see the resto bar side. It is an open concept, with an assortment of seating choices and a wonderful organic vegetarian menu that changes daily. Turning to the left will take you to the restrooms, changerooms, and the yoga studio. It is not a large studio, but that is a part of what makes it feel so wonderful when you enter. An all natural cleaner made with what I believe is peppermint is used to wipe down the mats that are available for all to use. They also provide blocks and bolsters for those who require them. There is no need to register for classes, they are by drop-in.

For more then a decade I have wanted to try yoga. Something always got in the way. Even when I was attending rituals, the guided meditation was my favourite part. Yoga is a bit like that, but instead of just the mind working, your whole body gets involved. Every Friday evening there is a Healing Yoga class at Nirvana lead by Paleki. His slow pace, descriptions, and general peace lead to a really wonderful class. Even a beginner, like me, feels comfortable participating. It is at your pace. Paleki gives you alternatives to more difficult poses and is always helpful with anything you may need. There is one exercise in particular that makes me feel particularly happy inside – it involves opening your hands like a book before your heart and envision something happy and wonderful and then ‘gifting’ it to yourself, to your heart. The feeling I have after this exercise is contentment and joy.

For anyone interested, here is the link to Nirvana Yoga http://yoganirvana.ca/. Namaste

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Crowwitch is a spectacular balance of chaos and order. This energetic hockey, soccer, ringette, karate, mom works hard to keep up with her two brilliantly funny children, and enjoy some quiet time with her devoted partner in the evenings. She also maintains a personal website called Crowwitch.

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Walking the Park

The path is uneven and often tread. The light, flickering between the leaves, offers a touch of warmth. The sound of laughter tickles your ears as you walk further into the wood. Up a winding path to the top of a small hill you find the bear cave. It’s small; truly more a nest of large stones then a cave, but the giggling of little ones and the roar from an adult makes it all the more interesting. As you continue on over tiny brooks, and meandering streams you become swept up in the sounds of rustling leaves, bird song, and the murmuring of voices.

Sound like a far away land? Not so. This is my experience when walking through O’Dell Park in Fredericton, NB. It’s fairly close to my home and an often visited oasis in the midst of the city. Only a short few blocks from downtown, it offers and an escape from the hustle and bustle. For one looking for seclusion to meditate or just commune with the natural it is a true gem.

Having lived in this area for most of my life, I find it easy to overlook what is right before us. It is easy to take mindful walks through O’Dell Park. It’s never been over crowded (that I remember). As you walk up the hill on certain paths it takes you to the Fredericton Botanical Garden. The Gardens are fragrant, but not over done. For the most part, the park itself is wooded until you reach the Gardens. The Gardens are partly wooded, partly open field with a pond and some benches. It’s peaceful and relaxing.

I often find that when I am walking alone it feels more like a meditative practice than simple exercise. Often the sounds around me, the human sounds, seem to dissipate and the natural sounds – the leaves, wind, and birds – take on a soothing feel. The trails are well maintained, at O’Dell Park, and the forest about them shields you from the sounds of traffic and population. There’s a little park my children love to play in, geese and ducks to feed in the pond nearby.

A few years back, some local Pagans gathered in the park for Winter Solstice. Star shaped ice candle holders were made, boughs brought about, apple cider shared over a small fire. It was beautiful, calm, and welcoming. I look forward to walking those paths, and sharing the tranquility.

Do you have a local ‘haunt’ that you enjoy walking mindfully through? Anyplace that holds a special place in your heart?

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Crowwitch is a spectacular balance of chaos and order. This energetic hockey, soccer, ringette, karate, mom works hard to keep up with her two brilliantly funny children, and enjoy some quiet time with her devoted partner in the evenings. She also maintains a personal website called Crowwitch.

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Beware the Ides of March

As I look out my window, the rain is falling. Hard. We’re expecting a deluge that already has my yard reminiscing about it’s time as a marsh. Some would say the weather is dreary enough to echo that famous warning to Julius Caesar “Beware the ides of March”. For those who are not familiar with the tale, the ides of March is the 15th of March, the day this will be posted, and in 44 BCE Julius Caesar was assassinated on the ides of March. History lesson aside, it’s an easy time to feel deluged in all that has come and all that will be. It is a dark, dreary tone foreclosing on the ending of a long dark season. But for every grey cloud, there is, as they say, a silver lining.

Spring is just around the corner, thoughts of the coming celebrations and the growing seasons; a renewal of hope dance in my thoughts. This past season has been personally a hard one with illness and stress dogging my steps.  I’m sure I am not alone in this. It seems that this transitional phase between Winter and Spring has been particularly difficult on many. In spite of the dreariness I am choosing to remain positive. I’ve started (albeit slowly) to get into some course work I had been waiting for, and my yen for summer to arrive grows with the changing of the seasons. I’ve begun plans for a small vegetable garden, herbs, and flowers as well. In light of my springing forward, if you will, into the new season here is a poem to bring about the mood. Realizing we are still quite far from Summer, the Spring brings hope of these things to come.

Summer Shine

I love that summer shine
you know it
The sun so hot
the grass so cool
you just want to sit
in the shade just right
under the willow
The clouds so high
and barely there
you wish you could dive
into the blue sky
so inviting in the day
When the night comes
the stars shimmer so clear
the moon kisses them
until they disappear
into another summer shine day
No breeze to fly a kite
the hum of insects
frogs croaking
birds chirping
today is the day
of that summer shine
The reflection off the lake
strikes the eyes
and makes you blind
to that child that splashes
the water on you
It freezes and feels so good
Tip toe over the hot road
feet in the sand
make it to the beach
When the summer shine ends
the bonfire full roars
at that full moon
They sing and dance
filling the night
with an intensity
until the next
summer shine

As a Pagan, the thought of singing and dancing beneath that full moon fills me up with hope and instills a more positive mindset. In this dreary day of rain and darkness, I hold close to me my summer shine daydreams of tomorrow. Though once was said to beware the ides of March, I welcome it with the hope of and dreams of tomorrow. How do you keep the light shining?

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Crowwitch is a spectacular balance of chaos and order. This energetic hockey, soccer, ringette, karate, mom works hard to keep up with her two brilliantly funny children, and enjoy some quiet time with her devoted partner in the evenings. She also maintains a personal website called Crowwitch.

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Waiting No More

I have been thinking a lot about what I want out of life spiritually, physically, and mentally. I have been devoting a lot of inner talk to those three ubiquitous attributes that I so desire to feel complete and solid. Over the years that inner voice has been negative, damming, and chaotic. But I feel that a new voice is taking over. After years of being lost, I have once again come full circle. Once again found my path.

Druidism is something that called to me when I first realized I didn’t have to be Christian. I was raised by a very strict Roman Catholic and thought that was my lot in life. Then I studied, and I learned and I grew. I realized quite by chance that whilst studying Pagan societies that I could be Pagan. ME. It was a shock to the system – but one filled with excitement at this new prospect, this new path so suddenly cleared of spiritual debris.

I spoke with friends and one broached the subject of Wicca with me, and I began studying all things Wicca. I absorbed the information I read both in books and online. I read about alternative options – there wasn’t just one form, there were many Pagan and Heathen paths! I was astounded. I created a website in hopes of helping myself clear the clutter, and with the hope that it would help others as well.

Then it all came crashing down in conjunction with personal struggles…and for more then five years this is how I felt…

 What am I waiting for

The dawn has come
lush with new life
and
I am standing still.

Holding back
from what
I know can be
from what
I should be…

What am I waiting for?

I feel the energy
flowing through my veins
I know what
it tells me,
what
I should be.

What am I waiting for?

It pulses through me,
like a concert
of life telling me
what
I should be.

I hold on,
hold on to the everyday
while
I should be
on that plane
where my dreams will
be reality

What am I waiting for?

I’m not waiting anymore. I finally broke down my brick wall, bit by bit, piece by piece. I wrote about renewal in my last post, and I feel it even more fervently now then I did at that time. I patiently (not really) await my first Gwersi (weekly lessons) from the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids to arrive so that I may embark on a path that initially sparked a flickering flame. But I’m not waiting for it, in the meantime I have begun to read other books on Druidry, planning my spring time gardens, looking into growing fresh herbs again, and have been in the process of revamping my website.

There is an excitement and anticipation in all of this. One I am abundantly ready and willing to share.

I’m breathing it all in deeply. Once again I feel the presence of world energy all around me. It’s exciting, inspiring, and energizing. Over the coming months I hope to share this resurgence with you and explore what is to come. I feel a flame burning within that was but a mere spark before. Are you feeling inspired? If so, what are you waiting for?

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Crowwitch is a spectacular balance of chaos and order. This energetic hockey, soccer, ringette, karate, mom works hard to keep up with her two brilliantly funny children, and enjoy some quiet time with her devoted partner in the evenings. She also maintains a personal website called Crowwitch.

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Breathing In

While I sit at my computer, I gaze at the scene outside. Beautiful evergreens with a covering of snow stand tall upon a blanket of white. It all appears so fresh, so new. Stepping out of the old year and into the new can be overwhelming. Soon I’ll be another year older, inching my mortality away while breathing it all in deeply.

It is a beautiful sunshine filled day. The wind is cold; we have a fire burning in our woodstove. In the coming weeks my days will be filled with appointments, drum lessons, karate, ringette, and hockey. There will be tournaments, birthdays, homework, and tests. A crush of life. As anxiety filled as it can be, I look forward to it. The sound of my children’s laughter as it floats through the house, the smell of something delicious baking in the oven, bubbling over on the stove as I left it to let the dogs out. THIS to me is life.

Distractions have been aplenty for me in the past year. My life always seems to be a mix of chaos and order, and all shades of the rainbow. As a mother, this time of year has always been a mixed bag for me. My children return to school after the holiday break, I have to return to work, bills need to be paid. It can be a depressing time. But it doesn’t have to be this way. It can be every bit as beautiful and wondrous as any other day in any other season.

Breathing in deep and inhaling all the abundance is refreshing. Sometimes life can be daunting. The challenges life brings and drama that accompanies it can be draining. As a parent, taking a step back and looking at the entire picture as opposed to the moment at hand can not only help, but bring things back into view. One of the most important things delving into Paganism has taught me – breathe deep, meditate. For a busy, stressed out parent (especially this time of year), these are two of the most important lessons. Breath deep – literally expand your lungs, bringing in more life giving oxygen, gather in the life around you. Clear your mind, your heart, and your body. Only then move on to the next challenge.

My challenge this season is to continue to remember to breathe deep, taking in all the nuances around me and not allow myself to be overwhelmed. My challenge is to remember that nothing will cause the end of the world. As my gaze floats back to the trees and wind outside, my mind fills with the possibilities of what will be and can be. I breathe it in. Do you?

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Crowwitch is a spectacular balance of chaos and order. This energetic hockey, soccer, ringette, karate, mom works hard to keep up with her two brilliantly funny children, and enjoy some quiet time with her devoted partner in the evenings. She also maintains a personal website called Crowwitch.

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Reflection on Renewal

The invigorating smell of cool, crisp air you take in deep and let out in a warm haze… Snow crackling under foot as you walk down a darkened path… The ticking of a clock as it nears midnight… A glass raised in a toast… A warm kiss with the one you love to welcome a new time…

New Year’s Eve is all of these and more. Whether celebrating with a group or alone, this season always brings about thoughts of the year to come and those that have passed. As one year turns into another, thoughts of renewal come to mind. There is a stripping of the old, worn facade and a building of a new, stronger, more resilient one.

What is renewal? According to Miriam-Webster, Renewal is “the act of saying or doing over again” or “the act or an instance of bringing something back to life, public attention, or vigorous activity.” It can also be said to be a reanimation, rebirth or revitalization.

Renewal is only a single piece of the puzzle that is you.  What was once strong can become pitted over time by stress both physical and emotional, by illness both physical and mental, and by a variety of other factors.  Sometimes you can’t control those factors, but there is always a chance, a rebirth of what once was, no matter how defeated you feel. The spark has always been there; one only need identify it, and re-grow it. One only needs fight to rekindle those embers of desire – burn down those self-imposed prisons of rejection and dejection and burn brighter than ever before.

There was a time when I was a strong, able bodied woman. I had a wonderful connection to everything around me.  I could walk down a busy city sidewalk and hear nothing but the trees whispering in the breeze, birds singing a storm. I could meditate and focus on the now and rarely feel anxiety or stress. That time has passed but needs renewing.  In a time of fast food, fast diets, fast exercise, it can be difficult to get back to basics, but restarting that energy is a necessary and healthy undertaking.

Renewal has been in the forefront of my mind for most of this year, but more so now than ever.  Not only is this year coming to a close, but so is my last year in my thirties.  As I age, I feel time more then ever whilst sensing its fluidity.  I’ve allowed life to overtake my spirit and my body. Both are in need of a rebirth of their own.  Many see this time of year as a spiritual opening to renewal of vows made, oaths taken, promises to be kept.  It is the inner and outer temples that must be renewed.

As I head into the New Year, a desire for renewal leads me. I feel called to delve deeper into my own reflection and the reflection of the world I create. It will be a revitalization that will strengthen and enlighten me, as it has before. For me, it is a reanimation of myself to strengthen my body, to sharpen my mind, and by extension renew that spirit that burned so bright – a phoenix raised from the ashes.

What reflection has renewal brought to you?

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Crowwitch is a spectacular balance of chaos and order. This energetic hockey, soccer, ringette, karate, mom works hard to keep up with her two brilliantly funny children, and enjoy some quiet time with her devoted partner in the evenings. She also maintains a personal website called Crowwitch.

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