Monday, April 23, 2018

When Ancestors Speak

When Ancestors Speak

The wind blows across the sea
Music left behind
Floating
One with water

Lapping

Old Country twice
Two Seas
Go back and back
Blood still red
Grandmother country
We are here in you 
Speak
Mother country
We are here in you 
Speak
Land is one



                                                                   

Antoinette Cresci de la Torre - Copyright,2018

This ancestor mask was a year long project filled with dance, drumming, poetry, sculpture and of course.....Shamanic Journey Work. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The People Behind Me

What led me here? To this place of talking to my ancestors. I've always known I'm connected. I remember being a little girl up at the Russian River. My aunt had a house in Monte Rio and we would go stay at her house in the summer time. Every day we would make our way down to the river to spend the day. Its not that the river had any more meaning than the ocean or the bay that I grew up near. I think those days at the river were times when I was actually allowed to be present with the water long enough to really go deep with her.

We never spent the day at the ocean or the bay. In fact my mother was very afraid for us kids at the ocean. So my yearning to be with her (the sea) was discouraged. I have alway had a very intimate connection with the water element. My father had a business that was right on the San Francisco Bay. He was in the fish business. I always wanted to jump off the pier and be one with her. But that was unheard of. I was told "Nobody swims in the Bay! Its polluted!" Later I found out that lots of people swam in the Bay including my uncle who swam the Golden Gate Bridge. But I'm getting off track.

Our days at the river would start out with me riding in the back seat of my mothers car imagining that this beautiful powerful woman was inside of me and I was going home to the water. I was going home to the greens of it all. I was ancient and I was becoming whole again.

As an adult I brought my own children to the River. I have had this homecoming every year for the last 53 years. And even as an adult I still feel the feeling of coming home once my feet are in the water. As I sit and write this I realize that I was having a shamanic experience. Even at the age of eight the ancestors were calling to me through the water. The spirits have always been with me. I have always had a relationship with them. But didn't realize all the serendipity I experienced over the years was really communication.

When I was 18 my brother gave me a gift. He gave me an all expense paid trip to Hawaii. I knew after that trip I was supposed to be with the Ocean. I spent 2 weeks in the water. Having the same altered state experience I had a a young child. The same coming home feeling. The same healing. On the plane ride back I cried the entire 5 hours back. I was grieving a great loss. I had ingrained in my head that Northern California water wasn't a safe place for me. I had been standing on the shore all my life and now I knew how it felt to merge with the birth waters, the amniotic fluid of grandmother earth. It would take another 30 years to finally work through the brainwashing I had been given as a child and take my relationship to the water to a new level.

My connection with water runs deep. I met a distant cousin a few years back. He was into genealogy. He had my family tree dating back to 1640. I, apparently, come from a long line of fishermen. Every male in my family tree was a fisherman dating back as far as the records go. Water goes beyond me. To go out on the sea and ask the sea to feed your family. To make it your livelihood for generations and generations. This takes deep unwavering faith, fearlessness, and most of all, the ability to call on help. Most of my life has been spent connected to or dancing with the water element. I know now that this has been my ancestors way of communicating with me. Our connection to our ancestors is part of the big picture. They are there for us. We just have to listen with our hearts and with our bodies.   We are all connected, physically, spiritually, vibrationally. When ancestors speak, listen.

I have been working with my ancestors to bring health and abundance to my life and I am now offering the chance to learn how to do it for yourself. I am offering a workshop called

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Gifts From The Ancestors - A TCM Perspective

To live well is to cultivate The Three Treasures. We are born with these three gifts. These gifts are sent forth from our ancestors so that we may live in harmony.

The Three Treasures are the three main energy centers in our bodies. They are called Jing, Qi and Shen. When the three centers are working harmoniously we are in balance in every way, physically, mental and emotionally and spiritually.  

A main concept in Traditional Chinese Medicine is the Taoist belief that a person is born fully enlivened with the treasures that we are born with. The treasures that we have inherited from our ancestors. They are with us at conception and see us through birth and as we grow in life. 

Jing translates to essence. It is the constitution we receive from our parents at conception. Jing can be strengthened through diet, sleep, exercise and life style. It can also be depleted by poor use of those things. It is stored in the lower dan tien (pelvic bowl)

Qi translates to energy or life force energy. It is also known as Mana, Prada or Ki in different cultures. This is the energy that is most dynamic. A healthy body has constant movement of qi through ou the body. Qi is stored in the middle dan tien (heart area)

Shen translates to spirit. It is the energy that drives our minds. Weak shen can manifest as anxiety or depression or even more serious problems of the mind. Shen can be strengthened with meditation, tai chi, or qi gong. Shen is stored in the upper canteen (mind center. 

Art, Dance and Music can have an effect on all three treasures. The arts integrate all three treasures helping to bring balance. I often ask my clients if they are feeding their creativity. Many people in our culture do not have a creative outlet. 

We are born with these Three Treasures. In our culture we tend to waist these treasures. We eat poorly, don't get enough sleep, and pollute our minds with negative thoughts. We must remember that what we take in has an effect on our constitution. The food we eat effects our bodies, the things we see and hear effect our minds and spirits. And the things we think can have a negative or positive effect on us. 

To cultivate these treasures is to practice right relationship physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. This is done through exercise, diet, herbs, and energy practices such as Meditation, Yoga, Tai Chi, and Qi Gong etc. When we are in balance we are in good health mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.


Exercise:
We think 1000's of thoughts every day. Are your thoughts positive? If they are thoughts of worry or judgement they may be hurting your over all balance. 

Catch yourself in thought. Ask this question. I how is this thought serving me?  If it is not serving you in a positive way replace it with a thought of gratitude. 

This sounds easy, but this is something that may take practice. We often go straight to whats wrong in life instead of whats right. The next time a friend asks how you are, tell them something positive and see how the energy lifts in the conversation that follows. 



For feeding the Three Treasures, you are invited to join me in a workshop offered by                    Wise Women Sharing 

click on the link below for more information


Facilitated by Antoinette Cresci de la Torre and Wanda K Whitaker

Monday, January 8, 2018

Preparing for your Shamanic Mask Making Experience

I have had a few people ask how they can prepare for the workshop I am presenting in the spring. I believe, to have a productive journey, you must be able to ground and stay grounded. Journeying is traveling to non ordinary reality in an altered state of consciousness. This in itself can feel like you are not grounded.

Grounding energetically protects us and helps to keep our energy flowing smoothly and unobstructed. Grounding helps to keep us in our power, in our bodies and present. It enables us to focus our energy and helps us to hear our intuition. Grounding secures your energy to planet earth It gives you a vehicle to release unwanted energy that you are storing in your body. It can increase your physical and emotional stability. Enables you to connect with spirit with more ease. 

How do you know if you are not grounded? A person’s energy is not focused. They have a hard time staying on task. They loose things easily and sometimes act hyper. But most of all, when you are not grounded it is easier to absorb negative energy. When you are not grounded, entering a room full of people with a lot of activity can be overwhelming. 

Often times you may walk into a room and realize that the energy is not comforting. Maybe there is an argument in progress, maybe there are just a lot of people, and there are too many different energies in the room. Grounding a room will help with all of these situations. You can bring harmony to the room or area by grounding it. Grounding a room will also assist in shifting the energy so that meditation, journeying or healing work may be more effectively done.Learning techniques to help you ground can benefit you in many ways. 


Techniques for Grounding Yourself


Heaven and Earth Connection

Begin by bringing your awareness to your breath. Breath in, filling all three lobes of your lungs with air or heavenly chi. As you continue to breath, bring your breath all the way down to your diaphragm noticing your diaphragm pressing down as you inhale. Continuing your breath awareness draw your breath all the way down to the pelvic bowl, or lower dan tien.  Standing with your pelvic bowl level draw the chi down filling your pelvic bowl. Nourishing your ocean of chi, your energetic reserves. As you continue with breath, notice your pelvis softening and expanding. Bringing the energy all the way down and out the perineum, down into the earth creating your earth connection, your grounding cord. This cord connects to your root chakra (CV1) and reaches all the way down into the center of the earth. Creating your earth connection. With your next outward breath, release any energy that does not serve you. Using your energetic cord that was created with your breath, release any negative thought, physical pain, or emotions that do not serve you. Release them out through your grounding cord using it like a funnel. On an inward breath draw earth energy up through the soles of your feet and the ethereal cord you just created, Again drawing energy into the lower dan tien. Continue drawing earth energy all the up the spinal column filling the cranium with energy. Notice the cranial bones relaxing and the cranial sutures softening. As you continue to breath, notice space forming at the top of your head allowing your energy to leave through your crown chakra (GV20), reaching all the way into the heavens. On the next inward breath draw again, heavenly chi in through the top of your head bringing it all the way down to the pelvic bowl. You now have a heaven and earth connection and are grounded through the earth.  

Drinking Water

Drinking water is a fast way to ground yourself, especially after receiving healing work, meditation or exercise.

Breathing

To ground quickly, Bring your awareness to your breath. A couple of deep breaths will bring you right down to earth. Often times during stress we begin shallow breathing and become ungrounded. This is also a great way to stop mind chatter. 



Grounding A Room

Stand or sit quietly. Bring your awareness to your breath. As you breath consciously in and out drawing fresh heavenly chi all the way down to the lowest lobe of your lungs bring your awareness to the room. 
Imagine the four corners of the room become redwood trees. Imagine these beautiful trees growing a root system deep into the earth, bringing weight to the room. 
As you continue to breath, imagine a trellis connecting the trees to one another. Replacing the walls with a trellis covered in beautiful climbing roses. 
Now imagine the floor below you turning to earth, and the ceiling above you turning to sky. 
You have now grounded your room and are standing one with nature. 

By practicing this you will have a more productive journey. You will be less likely to fall asleep and you will remember more of what happened during your journey.