All posts tagged Lori Tierney

Ahhh, Grasshopper!

Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 2.58.09 PMIn previous columns, we have explored the dynamic symbolism and influence found in the natural world, and particularly those represented by the animal spirits. They often fly, jump, hop, crawl, swim, saunter and leap into our lives at the most pivotal time, generally when we have a big decision to make, and are grappling with two paths on that fork in the road we call life.

I found myself in just such a position last month, as I had two big decisions to make and each involved a considerable amount of time and money, two precious commodities in short supply in my world. I was casually told by the property manager of my apartment building that rent for my lease, ending in December, was going to go way up. Similar units in the building were going up more than $700.00 per month. No rent control here! I decided to start looking for another place that would be in line with my budget, but not without some serious soul searching as to why I seemed to move so often…always with good reason, but move nonetheless!

The second big decision centered around making a commitment to sign up for a nine-week yoga teacher training that was to meet on the weekends, which were actually the only days I had to really decompress from the intensity of the work week, and usually I could only manage to clear part of one weekend day anyway. I have taken many rounds of yoga teacher trainings with multiple instructors, as I felt it would give me a diverse and well-rounded exposure to study with more than one teacher. I also discovered that the teacher trainings were like mini yoga retreats. They became “my time” on the calendar, meaning a time I could devote to myself, the yoga practice, to meditation, to the stillness we all so crave, living in the constant energy of Los Angeles’ urban setting.

I found a wonderful new residence in the form of a fully renovated triplex close to the Marquez area of the Pacific Palisades. I could actually walk to the Self-Realization Fellowship on Sunset, one of my favorite sanctuaries! I toyed with a Downtown LA move, but the energy of the Fellowship seemed to be calling me strongly, so I opted to move into the triplex. And I asked for a sign about the yoga teacher training.

My sign came a few days later as I was walking up the freshly painted white stairs of the unit I had rented. I couldn’t help but notice the bright green, very long grasshopper waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs. I was there to meet the wireless Internet installer and upon further study, he told me that I had to return to my old apartment for a piece of equipment. As I jumped into my car, I noticed that my grasshopper friend had planted himself firmly on my windshield. I backed my car out of the long hilly driveway and turned left onto Sunset Blvd., heading toward Barrington Avenue in Bentwood. With speed and wind to 45 mph, I thought for sure the grasshopper would fly off the windshield. I made it over to my old apartment, retrieved the router, and then rushed to get back into the car to make my way to the new place. Much to my surprise, I noticed that the hitchhiking grasshopper had stayed on the windshield, returning all the way back to the new apartment. Now all this felt very profound to me. Was I indeed receiving a relevant sign urging me to “take a leap of faith”? Here is what author Ina Wolcott wrote about the great grasshopper totem animal:
“Grasshoppers/Locusts medicine includes jumping across space and time, astral travel, new leaps forward/leaps of faith/jumping without knowing where you will land, leaping over obstacles, ability to change careers quickly.

There are 10,000 or so species of grasshopper, they are cold blooded as all insects are and are more mobile when it is warmer. Each species has their own unique song. However, only the males are able to sing with a few exceptions – the males sing to compete for female attention. The power of sound and song is part of grasshopper’s medicine. It is an ancient method to use song to alter ones consciousness and communicate with animals and spirits. There are some Native American songs that date back 20,000 years. If grasshopper has leapt into your life, maybe you need to recognize where you come from, to go back to your roots and to honor your ancestors.

Grasshopper is the Chinese symbol of good luck and abundance. Anyone with this power animal has been given the ability to take chances – to act on a whim and jump right in. For them things may not progress step by step as they do for other people progress – but rather extremely fast. When taking that leap simply trust your own instincts on when to make the leaps. Listening to your inner voice and responding to it will lead you to positive outcomes. Don’t be afraid to make that leap, remembering all the while that Grasshopper’s only ever jump forwards and never backwards.Needless to say, grasshopper quickly became my new favorite animal totem!

Kwai Chang Caine, the Shaolin monk mentored by Master Po and played by David Carradine in the film, sheds light on where the term, Ahhh, Grasshopper came from: “One of Caine’s first instructors was the blind master named Po (Keyed Luke). Po considered Caine his favorite pupil and behaved more like an elderly grandfather. Caine was given the nickname “Grasshopper” by Master Po; the reference was from an exchange where the still ignorant young Caine asked the old blind master how he could function without seeing. Po asked Caine to close his eyes and describe what he could hear. Caine explained that he could hear the water flowing in a nearby fountain and birds in a nearby cage. Po then asked if Caine could hear his own heartbeat or the grasshopper at his feet (Caine hadn’t noticed the insect until that moment). Incredulous, Caine asked Po, “Old man – how is it that you hear these things?” Po’s reply was, “Young man, how is it that you do not?” From that point on, Po affectionately called Caine “Grasshopper”.

The move is behind me, and today I wrapped one third of the yoga teacher training, all because of a green grasshopper crossing my path in a very profound and prolonged way.Keep your heads up and perhaps the animal kingdom will soon be talking with you too! The question to ask yourself is not how long they have been “talking” to you, but indeed, how long have you been listening!

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August: Five Silver Pockets Full!

Regardless of the hype and conflicting reports on the Internet about this August 2015 comprising an alignment of 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays, once in 823 years, (Chinese silver-pockets-full legend) the facts do remain that indeed this is the line up for the month. Perhaps the real gift in all the rhetoric is that this special aligning of 5’s is getting us to think about our resources, whether they be our personal monetary situation, our planetary resources, or abundance, in all its forms. It’s an opportunity to take stock in all things that feature our abundance and welfare.

Perhaps you have an unusually large bank account right now, but are feeling deprived in the relationship area of your life, or your health has taken a toll. Accumulating all that “wealth”, and spiritually you feel a void. August, the mid-way mark to the year is the perfect time to pause and reflect on the year’s goals and make some minor or even major tweaks to your life. Time to re-set the course and steer your ship of life in the direction that affords you balance and happiness.

Personally, I find even the smallest daily changes to be the most powerful. Others prefer to play larger and overhaul in a big way! Ultimately the changes you make and how they are initiated is up to you. The question we often find ourselves asking is this: what is the most important change we can make if we only had ONE to select?

This is where stillness and meditation come in. As the great Master Teacher, the Buddha suggested, all the answers we seek are indeed within us. Indeed.

Turn off the iPhone ringer, lock the front door, unhook the land line, if you still have one, dim the lights, light a candle, burn some sage or palo-santo (refer to previous articles for more on this practice), light your favorite incense, sit comfortably on your favorite couch, chair or meditation cushion. Remember you do not get more “spiritual points” for sitting cross-legged on the floor in agony. Are you meditating to sit (and to “look cool”?) or sitting to meditate? (to find answers). The latter, of course! Many of us lose sight of this fact and think nothing is happening if we are not sitting a certain way, wearing the latest yoga outfit or holding our thumb and index finger together. Meditation is as unique to each individual as a snowflake that falls from the sky…no two are alike. It’s your practice.

In fact, feel free to skip all the foreplay mentioned at the beginning if you prefer to meditate with noise and bright lights, or dislike incense, etc. Find what works for you. It’s not the method; it’s the intention and repetition that will garner results over time.

Once you settle in to a comfortable position, eyes closed, begin to simply watch your breath, listen to the rise and fall as it goes in through the nostrils and out again the same path. Allow the inevitable noises, smells and other distractions to be acknowledged, and then simply return to the breath, again and again for as long as you are able to stay and just be. That may be a few minutes, twenty, thirty or all day.

Now comes the tricky part. The part of all this that gives you the information you are seeking – that message you are looking for. For some it will come in the form of actually “hearing something verbally”, as in a conversation with a friend. For others, it may be a “gut feeling” or sensation, like goose bumps on your arms, legs or all over. I t may be an actual vision or picture in your minds eye, or it might be all three, or a combination of two. If you happen to have a journal nearby, which I highly recommend, take a few minutes post meditation to jot down your first thoughts, sensations or visions. Herein lies the pearl, the answer, the juicy part of all this inner work you just did. You might be surprised at how simple the suggestion is! Whatever is revealed, it is magical because it comes from the source of your own inner wisdom, your own personal compass.

As an example, I have been slowly working on ramping up income and clients for my new business, all while choosing to stay in balance with personal health, and in a way that also allows me to honor my own personal spiritual practices, like yoga, meditation and chanting. As a Feng Shui practitioner, I also know how important our personal space can be in reflecting balance to us and how important our surroundings are in attracting that which we choose to bring into our daily experience. Perhaps as a “nod” to the validity, however anecdotal or superstitious August’s “silver-pockets-full” declaration of abundance is, I was guided to drive to Downtown LA ‘s Chinatown district and walk the streets chatting with the local shop merchants until I found the tallest, healthiest money tree to replace one I had gifted to a good friend. I placed it in a regal position in the Southeast corner of my living room, blessed its abundant magnifying properties and, almost immediately, calls for new projects and proposals came flooding in. Word came from a company that owed me money that it would be deposited on Monday, and a check came in the mail. Perhaps you would say that these things would have happened anyway, without the “money tree” and my Chinatown sojourn? My reply to that is that now its time to go and water that money tree!

May your August be one of abundance, peace, joy and time for the personal practices that garner inner balance for you! Namaste!

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We’ve got your number: The ancient practice of Numerology

This month’s edition of DTLA Life Magazine is all about the numbers! We are marking the historic 10-year anniversary of the publication, so it seemed fitting to focus on the ancient practice of Numerology. If you think about, life revolves around numbers: your weight on the scale, medical numbers for how healthy you are from BMI to cholesterol, your fit bit tells you the numbers, you wake up to a number on a clock, your rent payment on the first of the month, dollars you earn, dollars you spend, years you mark every birthday watching as those numbers go higher and higher and you wonder where the time went, to keeping score on just about everything in life. Even grades in school have gone from letters to numbers! Getting into college is about the numbers on the SAT and that, oh so elusive, 4.0 plus that can get you in or out of your targeted university.

Football scores, baseball, basketball, the Olympics, Dancing with the Stars, your credit score and on and on. Every day we measure ourselves with a number. We decide if it’s a good number or a “bad one”, like negative numbers in our checkbook are “bad” and positive bank balances are “good”. Our Doctor tells us we dropped two pounds on the scale and immediately it’s a “good day”; conversely, if the scale isn’t our friend that day because of the numbers, it’s a “bad” day. We give out our phone number on a piece of paper to that cute guy at the bar, hoping he will call and our emotions rise and fall depending upon the outcome. We coin phrases like “I’ve got your number” and “When my number is up…”, “catch 22”, “behind the eight ball”, on “cloud nine”, “Fifteen minutes of fame”, “seven year itch”, “ménage a trois” and many others.

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It seems we measure everything in life by the numbers. Let’s take a look at why!

Numerology dates back thousands of years with some variations to be found in most cultures throughout history. The science of the numbers has been taught by some of the most respected mathematicians in history, even though many have dismissed it as a “pseudoscience”.

Many ancient cultures including China, Japan, India, Babylon and Egypt were familiar with numerology long before the Greeks and Romans adopted the practice.

Pythagoras, a Greek mathematician and philosopher circa 569-470 B. C. and generally the one considered the originator of the still popular Pythagorean system, believed that all reality is mathematical. He viewed the vast universe as being comprised of various mathematical patterns and was a vehement proponent that all things can be expressed in numbers, that all corresponded to energy patterns of vibrations, each with specific meaning.

The vast teachings of Pythagoras were adopted by the scholars Socrates and Plato, and studied by early Christian scholars, including St. Augustine. This ultimately led to its expansion during the Renaissance, and numerology continues to be studied and practiced today.

Numerology can be simply defined as the historic study of the relationship between names, birthdates, and numbers. In fact, the word numerology is derived from the Latin word “numerous” meaning number, and the Greek word “logos”, meaning thought and word. The Greeks today might be well served in revisiting this ancient practice. Perhaps it might aid them in shedding light on their present financial situation and help them find a way out!

In Numerology, unlike Astrology and Tarot, a person’s birth name, as well as their
birthdate, have significant influence on their life path and personality. Calculating these significant indicators is a simple and straightforward process.

To calculate the Life Path number, which is based upon an individual’s birth-date, you would use basic math to add up the numbers in the date and then reduce it down. For example: January 23, 1973 looks like this: Jan = 1 + 25 = 2 + 5= 7 + 1 + 9 +7 +3 + 2 + 0 + 2 , 1 + 7 + 2 + 10, reduced 1 + 0 = 1 . The person with this birth-date has a Numerology # of 1. Number 1’s have a mind of their own, demand complete freedom and have powerful drive and determination. They don’t let anyone or anything get in their way once they make up their mind and set their sights on a goal. They are great providers for their loved ones while demanding great respect and attention.

Our great magazine is celebrating 10 years, which in numerology is the vibration of a One! Happy Anniversary to the publisher, Alex Limandri, and all the wonderful contributors of this great publication. Indeed it is #1 in Downtown LA news and lifestyle views!

Resources and for personal Numerology reports: http://www.tokenrock.com/numerology/

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Urban Totem Animals: Messengers of Spirit

Navigating life in an urban environment, like Los Angeles, is not without its set of challenges. Surrounded by millions of people, concrete, traffic, noise, pollution and hectic daily schedules with work and family, finding time to catch messages from the spiritual world can prove frustrating. I work with many clients that ask for a sign, some type of way to find that indeed they are not alone, and that there is an unseen realm inhabited by benevolent beings, Angels and guides helping them to steer the ship through uncharted waters. “If only I had a sign that I was on the right path”, they say. Signs can come to us in a myriad of forms and can intensify over time as we acknowledge them. From license plates to numerology, to feathers and coins on our path, signs seemingly abound everywhere. The early inhabitants of our area, the Native American tribes, had a system for improving their connection to the Great Mystery, and to all of life. Native American “medicine” is an all- encompassing way of life, because it involves walking on the Earth Mother, in perfect harmony with the Universe.

According to Legends of America: Native American totems and their meaning: “A totem is a spirit being, sacred object, or symbol of the tribe, clan, family or individual. Native American tradition provides that each individual is connected with nine different animals that will accompany each person through life, acting as guides. Different animal guides come in and out of our lives, depending on the direction that we are headed, and the tasks that need to be completed along our journey.”

Native beliefs further explain that a totem animal is one that is with you for life, both in the physical and spiritual world. Although people may identify with different animal guides throughout their lifetimes, it is this one totem animal that acts as the main guardian spirit.

With this one animal, a connection is shared, either through interest in the animal, characteristics, dreams, or other interaction.

This Animal Guide offers power and wisdom to the individual when they “communicate” with it, conveying their respect and trust. This does not necessarily mean that you actually pet or spend time with this animal, more that you are open to learning its lessons.

For some, knowing their totem animal is almost an innate process. It’s as if they’ve always known, inexplicably drawn to a particular animal, or having a special feeling for the animal’s energy. For others, they wonder how to discern what their animal totem is.

Here are some questions to ask yourself if you’re wondering what your animal totem is:
• Have you ever felt drawn to one animal or another without being able to explain why? This could be any animal, including birds and insects.

• Does a certain kind of animal consistently appear in your life? This doesn’t necessarily have to be a physical appearance; it could be represented in other ways, such as receiving cards and letters with the same animal pictured over and over, unexplainable dreams of a particular animal, watching television and seeing the same animal featured time and time again, or actually having the animal show up.”
Following is a sampling of some totem animals right here in our urban back yard, a brief description of the “medicine” they carry, and their meaning:

Crow: justice, shape shifting, change, creativity, spiritual strength, energy, community sharing, and balance.
Cougar: leadership, loyalty, courage, taking responsibility, foresight.
Coyote: the Trickster; intelligence, wisdom, guile, innocence, staying in the present moment.
Deer: compassion, peace, intellectual, gentle, caring, kind, feminine, innocence.
Dolphin: kindness, salvation, wisdom, happiness, playfulness, deep emotion.
Hawk: messenger, focus, visionary power, seeing the overall view, receptivity, heightened awareness.
Owl: clairvoyance, astral projection, magic, both black and white, illumination, messenger, keen insight.
Wolf: loyalty, perseverance, success, intuition, spirit.
Whale: wisdom, keeper of the ancient knowledge and earth history, sound, intelligence, kindness.

As you call upon the essence of these amazing and local messengers, you will immerse yourself in complete harmony with their wisdom, their medicine or teaching. They are here to assist you as you navigate the “Good Red Road”, or lessons of vulnerability, being human, and seeking wholeness with all that is. They are part of the true pathway to power. Their power lies in the wisdom and understanding gained from one’s role in the Great Mystery and in honoring every living thing as a teacher.

“We have not inherited the Earth from our ancestors, for indeed, we are borrowing it from our unborn children” ~ Lakota prayer

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My Insens Blog: How 120 Days of Yoga Transformed Me

I arose on October 28 with a newfound sense of accomplishment for my ability to actually find the inner strength—through years of turmoil from divorces, loss, death, financial ruin, cancer and betrayal—to finish 120 days of consecutive yoga practice. I realize this may seem utterly ridiculous to those who were born with discipline and determination and would find my challenge to be a cakewalk. We don’t need pats on the back for brushing our teeth everyday or taking a shower, so why would we expect accolades for doing 120 days of consecutive yoga as a personal experiment in self-love, forgiveness and discipline? Indeed, many would scoff at someone who felt the need to embark on a yoga quest that involved counting days of practice vs naturally integrating yoga’s gentle rhythm into everyday existence.

Anyone who scoffs must not have lived my life. And this is where compassion enters the picture. I was shocked at the reactions I received from some self-appointed spiritual people, including teachers, whom I encountered through my journey and the judgment that my 120 days evoked in them.

But this October 28 was sweet for me. My 120th day of practice was spent in an early morning goddess class with five beautiful women in a nurturing, supportive environment. The class was fluid, filled with laughter and grace. The teacher, Honeybee, is pixie cute with a fairy-like twinkle in her eyes that spells mischief! She has a gentle kindness to her manner and her class was perfect and fitting for my last day of this particular yoga journey experiment. It reflected to me my own journey as a woman, a being who chose to incarnate into female form at this time of transition and transformation on earth.

The practice of yoga, especially Bhakti yoga, has been the missing link to my finding some inner calm and balance in what has been a turbulent life experience. It is a practice that is forever and belongs to everyone, not just the lithe, beautiful models who grace the covers of yoga magazines. It’s for young girls, moms, grandmothers, young men, dads and grandfathers. It is for those with pounds to lose or pounds to gain, for those struggling with disease or enjoying wellness, for those with all of their limbs and those without. It is a celebration of the human condition in all its forms and iterations in any given moment in time. It is one that I truly hope each of you reading these words will experience in your own way and your own time as you celebrate the teacher within. My wish for you as you embark upon or continue your yoga journey is for shelter, a nourishing supply of food for your body and soul, clean fresh water to drink, friendship, fellowship, wellness, peace, grace, self love, ananda (bliss) and the unconditional love of the divine, as you realize your own inner samadhi, as you enjoy the lila, the enchanted dance of your existence.

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