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Archive for July, 2011

Spark in the Heart

For so long, probably centuries, we have found things here and there that make us feel happy – whether it is a song, a hobby, a piece of art, a beloved pet, etc.

Something that has been lacking in many, though, is the total ability to find our own happiness within. This is because our hearts have been closed off to a large degree  – because we were taught not to feel our gamut of human emotions – that feeling is much too painful, and is not civilized. So throughout history we have sought that spark, that piece of happiness, outside ourselves. We have found it in places such as the breathtaking beauty hanging on the walls of art museums.

The gorgeousness of the water splashing down on the rocks at the scene of a natural waterfall. A cuddle, hug, and kiss on the top of the head of our faithful puppy.

Yes, these things are all beautiful and we want to consistently have them and welcome them in even more – this is because they have played such a wonderful role as reflections of our own hearts. Putting our arms around that puppy awakens a stirring deep within. That waterfall whispers to our soul: “Wake up! You have this beauty already!” The Monet hangs on the wall and says: “Look into me as if you are looking into a mirror! Feel that tingle, put your hand on your heart – look at me – you are this art!”

Our beloved external objects, friends and animal companions – the ones we have treasured the most – are constant reminders, if we let them be, to focus on that spark in our hearts – the one that teaches us we are alive, therefore we are beautiful, beloved; therefore, we are Love.

What connects you to your heart?


20 Tips to Sustainable Happiness

What do we mean by sustainable happiness?

We mean living in a state where you feel connected with your heart and joy even when challenges present themselves.

Here are 20 tips we want to share with you that have helped us be in our sustainable happiness:

-Approach life from a state of calm

-Rest between each activity to take a few deep breaths

-Breath has the capacity to alter the tone of any moment: Breathe with intention

-Several times a day, take a moment to connect with your heart and check in to see what it desires

-Remember that if something does not feel good in your heart, you can make a different choice

-Take time out to sit and Be, and feel your essence flowing through your body

-Know that if something feels like a challenge, you can face it, going through it in a way that feels good in your heart; and understanding that allowing yourself to fully process the challenge actually helps strengthen your heart

-Recognize that the challenges which present themselves on a daily basis are opportunities to uncover more of who you are

-Connect to your soul’s purpose and allow this knowledge to color and fill your days with what makes your soul sing – for this is why you are here!

-Understand that your abundance is already here, and you can learn to cultivate it

-Comprehend the abundance of all that you already have in your life, and open your arms to welcome even more of your Joy

-Allow yourself daily to contemplate your connection with all things on Earth; animal, vegetable and mineral

-Whenever the opportunity presents itself – walk barefoot on the earth

-Remember that you are a sovereign being – responsible only for what occurs for You

-Speak and defend what is True for You

-Be present in each moment

-Say No and Yes when it feels right for You

-Remember that anything is possible, and let yourself create

-Be sure that making time for YOURSELF is at the top of your To Do list

-The power of Love is unending, so when in doubt: Love

These tips have helped us grow and become stronger in who we are.

They help in the present moment and we see how they have assisted us over time as well. Employ these as often as possible, and please share your experiences with us! We would love to hear from you!

To your happiness!

Astra and ClareShale

Why Live from the Heart?

The Earth is shifting powerfully right now. It is a rollercoaster ride such as we may never have felt and we are realizing that much of our past experience no longer applies to how we are moving through life in the present. Old ways of thinking and acting now feel inconsistent with the stirrings and whispers of our hearts and souls, and the communications that are now coming through to us from our home, Planet Earth.

One thing remains consistent throughout any change we may experience: Love.

Our own love-centers, our Hearts, are opening like never before and we are experiencing this opening in many ways.  We have noticed physical sensations in the fronts and backs of our hearts and heart chakra-areas and other symptoms that have no other direct explanation. There has been discomfort as the “old” has been being released – old emotions, old belief systems, old teachings are coming up and out, making room for open expansive love to fully bloom from our hearts.  We are getting to know our heart-centered selves from a place of being willing to experience all aspects of our lives; acknowledging that some of our past choices were not made from the heart-space of our own happiness, but instead were in accordance to what our minds thought we had to do.

And then there was also guilt and regret that we may have chosen to take on for not doing what we were told we “should” have done. This guilt was a symptom of living within the old belief systems that kept us feeling bad if we strayed from what we were taught for centuries by a society filled with poverty, pain and struggle. That if we let our heart-spark grow and shine, if we chose a life of being who we truly are – our brilliant selves – and what we truly are – Love – then we were not being good citizens, good sons and daughters, nice girls and boys. That we even needed to be punished for living our Truths.

What we are awakening to is that there is no longer any purpose served by remaining hidden, small, in the dark. The Earth is exploding with newness and shattering the shells we have allowed to build up so protectively around our hearts.

Here we include the well-known passage from Marianne Williamson who puts it so remarkably:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Yes – nothing enlightened about shrinking! We are starting to see that where there is Love, there is truth – there is joy – there is excitement in meeting challenges, re-creating our Selves and re-remembering the flame in our hearts.

Astra and ClareShale

Abundant Heart: Heart-Inspired Living for a Shifting Earth

Independence Day

On this day, Americans celebrate Independence. Here’s what Dictionary.com (one of our favorite sites!) has to say about the word Independent:

  • Free from outside control; not depending on another’s authority
  • Not influenced or affected by others; impartial
  • Capable of thinking or acting for oneself
  • Not depending on something else for strength or effectiveness; freestanding

For many people the word “independence” holds mixed associations. On one hand, we value our self-reliance, on the other hand, our lives would not be complete without our dear friends and family. How do we find balance in our lives being connected with others while staying truly connected with ourselves? One aspect of exploring the answer to this question can be found in a surprising place – the backcountry.

Expedition Behavior or “EB” is a term coined in the sixties to describe the proper frame of mind for an individual to hold while on a backcountry expedition. In this setting everything is different – Paul Petzodlt writes in his Wilderness Handbook, “After a few days away from civilization, everyone starts to change. Values change. The veneer, the bluffing, artificiality, and crutch of family wealth or prestige are no longer valid in the natural environment of camping. Suddenly, people must make their place in a new society based upon what they can actually do and what they really are.”

One of the most important things someone can learn on a camping adventure is proper EB. Maintaining good EB is essential for the health, safety and success of any adventure. It is the reason many excellent companies and schools include a wilderness retreat in their orientation and team building programs. There are a number of facets to proper expedition behavior – but the one that is most applicable to the question of finding balance between ourselves and our fellow beings is:  Be as concerned for others as you are for yourself. However, we would say most of us have times when we need to recognize that the statement can and must also be read:  Be as concerned for yourself as you are for others.

It is easy to see in an extreme setting how important self-care is. A dehydrated or injured team member could impact the entire group as they spend valuable resources and time bringing the individual back to health. Each person must make sure they are taking good care of themselves for the success of the entire group.

When applied to a civilized, Abundant Heart lifestyle *Be as concerned for yourself as you are for others* implies the necessity of honoring personal boundaries in order to create a safe place for our hearts to shine. This may mean saying “no thank you” to that party invite, or speaking up at a family gathering if inappropriate comments are being made (and your heart is clearly telling you – this is not ok!).  Being concerned for yourself means reorganizing one’s schedule to create time for adequate rest, nutritious food preparation, joy-bringing exercise and time to just BE.

All this self-care doesn’t mean we don’t need balanced relationships with people we care deeply about.  In fact, what an honor it is to support each other as we live a heart-based life. Honest, loving connections are essential; as we move forward creating our world, we must have other clear hearts surrounding us and reflecting back to us what they see. Independence is truly a thing to celebrate in our lives and those of our friends. An independent person standing up for what their heart is saying adds powerful Truth to the emerging present moment – this benefits us all.


Astra and ClareShale



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