Dear Seeker

Dear Seeker- clay sculpture holding crystal

Dear Seeker- clay sculpture holding crystal

Dear Seeker

Sit, be still, listen-

The guide you seek is within.

Susan Korsnick 2016

Dear Seeker- view 2

Dear Seeker- view 2

It is natural to look outside ourselves for gurus, guides, and teachers at various stages of our spiritual journey.  The worthy teachers are like the Hermit in the Tarot deck- shining their light to illuminate the path for those who follow.  True masters are humble, trustworthy, and wise.  They recognize that their purpose is for the student to surpass the teacher so each initiate, in turn, can hold their own lantern high and light the way for others.

Dear Seeker from the back

Dear Seeker from the back

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StarFlight

I’m exploring the integration of my visual art and original poetry.

StarFlight- acrylic on canvas

StarFlight- acrylic on canvas

Wings that carried me far and wide

Return me to the cosmic center of Self.

Greatest journey over shortest distance.

Inward.

Susan Korsnick 2016

 

What’s Your Tipping Point?

“What is your tipping point?”

Years ago, a friend posed this question to me when I was going through a particularly challenging time.  In other words, he was asking me, “How much are you willing to put up with before you make a change?

I’ve always seen life as a hero’s journey, an adventure filled with great challenges and great joys.  It’s not the challenges that defines us, but how we act when facing them.  Do we run?  Tackle them head on?  Or wait to be rescued?  In the end, we all want to live happily ever after, with meaning, joy, health, and security.  Right?  I know I do!

When the negative outweighs the positive in our relationships, careers, or other aspects of life, it’s time to ask “What is my tipping point?  How much will I tolerate before I say ‘enough’?”

The particularly challenging time I faced all those years ago was an unhealthy relationship.  I had spent months trying to “fix it” alone.  He wasn’t going to be what I needed and I couldn’t make him.  The tipping point was the realization that the only thing I could change was me.  Was I willing to put up with his behavior or was I going to walk?  With clarity I saw that failure wasn’t in leaving the bad relationship; failure would be staying where I was crying more than I was smiling.   Ending it took immense courage and strength but proved I loved myself enough to rescue my Self, be the heroine in my own story.

Fast forward several years and the next big obstacle on my life’s journey was a career that was in conflict with everything I value and hold sacred.  It started out small, as many problems do, easy to dismiss as just a bad day or an isolated incident.  Then, the problem grew.  It was harder to ignore but the positive still outweighed the negative so I stayed.  It started to impact my life mentally and emotionally through worry, stress, and dread.  It affected me spiritually, compromising my principals and integrity but still I held on, thinking “It could be worse.”  And finally, because I ignored all of the warning signs, the Universe said, “Ok, Susan, I’ll get your attention with this!!” and I suffered physically- chest pains, insomnia, nausea, lowered immune system…  That was my tipping point.  I felt something powerful awaken in my Soul and I knew I had enough.  My health and well-being had to be the priority.

I resigned from public education in June of this year for reasons that could fill a book, not a blog post.  Suffice it to say that it took everything I have inside of me to make this leap of faith.  I was terrified to leave but more terrified of what would happen if I stayed.   Every aspect of my life has improved since making this decision- physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.

Calling it a “leap of faith” is an oversimplification.  It was a leap of faith based on intuition, intellect, and imagination.  And if I can do it, you can, too!!

So why am I sharing something so deeply personal on such a public platform?

For years, I’ve been leading women’s spirit circles, workshops, and Red Tents with the intention to celebrate, honor, empower, support, and awaken the authentic Self in each woman and girl who attends my events.  How can I continue this purposeful work if I’m not willing to celebrate, honor, empower, support, and awaken my own authentic Self?  In other words, I need to walk my talk and come from a place of knowing.  Otherwise, I’m a fraud and a hypocrite, and that’s not an option for me.

Reaching the tipping point and choosing to change is empowering and scary at the same time.  I know.  But I also know this… people don’t regret leaving bad situations.  They regret staying.  So when intuition says “You’ve reached your tipping point”, honor that still, small voice inside and take the leap of faith… faith in your Self.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sacred Journey: Personal Mapping

We think we know our stories well because we’ve told them so many times– tales of the choices we made, choices we didn’t make, & things that happened that were out of our control.  Time changes our stories, smoothing the rough edges of some experiences; eroding others until they fade from memory; & leaving some to stand as monuments to who we “think” we are.  We believe what we can articulate is the whole truth about ourselves.  Quite often, words are not enough & we must use a different modality to reveal what lies under the surface of our story.  The deeper meaning of who we our… our Pure Selves.

Each of us is a pilgrim on a sacred journey, where the past shapes the present & the future… & even doubles back on itself at times.  Yet, the past does not define us.  The past is the part of the path we have traveled & the present is the place on the path where we are standing at this moment.  Seeing life as a sacred journey doesn’t erase painful memories but it softens them & helps us view each experience as a source of wisdom or at least, a lesson learned.

Replace the tendency toward judgement of “good” & “bad” with the understanding of “wisdom gained” & “lessons learned”.

I believe the intellect can get in the way of spiritual growth.  We want to analyze situations to get clear, easy “answers” as to why things happen.  Sometimes, the only way to get beyond the logical mind is to try a non-logical approach.  This is why I challenge workshop participants & clients to use creative expression to more intimately connect with their authentic selves, diving into the deep waters where the heart & soul can speak their truth.

My Sacred Journey: a treasure map of my past & present, ending with an image representing my future.

My Sacred Journey: a treasure map of experiences & people who have influenced my spiritual growth.

I developed Sacred Journey: Personal Mapping as a visual way for members of a newly formed womens’ group to introduce themselves to one another & beginning forming meaningful connections with one another.  I explained that there would be three components to their maps.  1.  Images or words portraying their spiritual path to this point.  2.  A representation of where they are, spiritually, in the present moment.   3.  A symbol of where they would like to be, spiritually, in the near future.   That’s it.  That’s all the direction I gave.  You can imagine the variety of reactions I got from each woman, depending on her comfort level with artistic expression.

The point of Sacred Journey Maps is to express something the intellect cannot easily explain with words.  Creative expression gives voice to the soul.  Something surprising & yet recognizable emerges, when you act from heart rather than the mind.  That something is Pure You, your higher self.  You know it when it happens because when your soul speaks through the creative process, there is a physical reaction in your body, usually the solar plexus region or a tightening in your chest… the heart chakra.  There is recognition & an acknowledgement that this is your truth.

After a guided visualization designed to prepare the way for the soul to speak & a brief period of meditation, I set the women free in a room full of art supplies– magazines, adhesive-backed letters, inks, paints, markers, embellishments, scissors, glue, & large sheets of Bristol board.  The images below show the wide variety of Sacred Journey Maps made by the participants.  Each map is a powerful reminder that life is a sacred journey.

Kathy MapCatharine Map

Molly Map Joanne Map

Pure You: Awaken Your Authentic Self

PureYou_Logo2_Color

There came a point in my life this past year when I had to ask,  “When am I going to invest as much time, energy, & love in myself as I invest in work, relationships, & other commitments?”  Honestly, I’ve never done that, judging it as selfish & self-absorbed.  But how can we give to others if we don’t first nourish ourselves?  I took a deep breath, ready to invest in myself with just as much passion (if not more) as I put into everything else.  Elbert Hubbard said, “There is no failure except in no longer trying.”  I had to give it a try.  I had to commit to an idea I’ve believed in & put into practice, with profound results, for the last several years.

The idea for Pure You: Awaken Your Authentic Self came to me after attempts at getting to know my “authentic self” (i.e. my Soul) through one-dimensional approaches fell short. By “one-dimensional” approaches, I mean any attempt at self-discovery that treats the physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual aspects of us separately without seeing the four as comprising a total human being.  While I am a physical body, an emotional being, a thinker, & a spiritual seeker, compartmentalizing tends to be a “divide & conquer” approach; while I truly believe the Soul (i.e. the Authentic Self) is all of these things & much more.  Focusing on one aspect, expecting enlightenment or healing, is like expecting one leg to support a table.

Picture a plant in your mind, from root system to the flower or fruit-laden top…

Our Soul, our Authentic Self, is like a plant.  A plant has roots that ground it, drawing nourishment from the land.  Our physical body is the same way, grounding in this existence & gaining nourishment from the food we harvest from the earth.  A plant has a stem that draws nutrients up into the rest of the plant, keeping all systems working, & supporting the entire structure.  Our intellect is the same way, regulating everything from body functions to decision-making.  Plants have leaves for photosynthesis, opening to the sun, & drawing in what it needs to energize itself.  Our emotional self is the same way, reaching out for connections & sustenance.  Many plants have flowers or bear fruit.  Our spiritual self is the same way, something beautiful that enhances our lives & capable of becoming something richer that not only nourishes us but those around us.

Can you say a plant is a stem any more than you can say your Authentic Self is your intellect or your emotions?

Pure You takes a “whole-istic” approach to Soul Retrieval, integrating all aspects of you to support your journey of awakening & empowerment.  It’s the sacred space where you can explore who you are at this moment, what you value most, & how you nurture your Self so you can serve others.  Your body, mind, heart, & spirit must be in alignment for your Soul to thrive.

You cannot fulfill your life’s purpose if there is imbalance.

Pure You is the place to find that balance using a variety of ancient & modern methods, including energetic healing, creative expression, dream work, & spiritual exploration to awaken your Authentic Self.  Both my group workshops & individual consultations are challenging, provocative, & meaningful; yet, I’m fully aware that a client will only get out of it what he/she puts into it.  Pure You recognizes your journey of discovery must start & end with you.

Pure You provides the sacred space where you can Turn Your Divine Spark Into a Flame.  There are 3 goals of Pure You

Recognize Your Own Divine Light

Let Your Light Shine

Share Your Light With Others

There is a deep-rooted desire in each of us to respect our own divinity, stand in our power, & connect with all that is in a rich & meaningful way.  Pure You: Awaken Your Authentic Self reunites the physical, emotional, mental, & spiritual aspects of your existence to live your life as your greatest & highest Self.

You are uniquely you, with talents & skills in a combination that no one else possesses. 

On August 10th & 11th, I’ll be premiering my new venture “Pure You: Awaken Your Authentic Self” at the New Visions Celebration of Life Expo in York, PA.  Click on the link below to learn more!

New Visions Celebration of Life Expo

May this balanced approach to empowerment, healing, & awareness resonate with others & help more people stand confidently as their Authentic Selves.

Journeys- A Shared Art Journal

Although my sister & I are emotionally very close, it’s been years since we lived physically close.  To bridge the gap, we decided to create a shared art journal, capturing where we were physically, mentally, & emotionally during the time the journal was in our possession.   After a bit of thought, we agreed our experiences would serve us well if we focused our artwork on the theme of “Journeys”.  What kind of journeys?

Instead of limiting our creative processes by defining the word “Journey”, we left it wide open to interpretation.  Over the course of 2 years, this art journal went back and forth between us until its completion earlier this month.  This shared artistic experience connected us in spirit even when space kept us apart. 

Journey 1

The journal page that started it all.

Journey 2

Journey of the soul.

Journey 3

Journey of the heart & mind.

Journey 4

A lifetime of travel- my journey around the world.

Journey 5

Detail of my journey, showing longing to return “home”.

Journey 6

Our grandmother’s journey to America from Hungary in early 1900s.

Journey 7

Exotic beauty from Gyor Hungary moves to USA.

Journey 8

The spiritual journey within.

Journey 9

The never-ending journey between “right” and “wrong”.

Journey 10

The long journey of mourning my beloved Pixie.

Journey 11

Journey deep within.

Journey 12

Journey to the spirit world.

Journey 13

Detail of the journey to the spirit world… subtitled “Passages”.

Journey 14

The journey that is, perhaps, the most frightening.

Journey 15

Journey of self-awareness & self-worth.

Rhythms of the Year

If we are sensitive to the messages from the natural world,

we’ll recognize great truths that hold meaning for our own lives. 

That’s the message of Rhythms of the Year, a workshop I’ve designed that draws on a variety of earth-based traditions that respect the cycles of nature-  from the seasons of the year to the phases of the moon.  This new workshop is a year-long study for women who requested “something more” after attending almost 2 years of other workshops I facilitated.  I understand that not everyone can make this kind of a time commitment so I’m also designing a distilled version so the most important concepts can be explored in a shorter time period (maybe a week-long retreat or weekend introductory experience?  Who knows what will evolve!)  Rhythms of the Year teaches us to honor nature’s cycles & recognize how they impact the cycles in our own lives.  I truly believe that the rhythms in each of us mirror the rhythms in nature.

As the facilitator, it’s my responsibility (& privilege) to hold a sacred space for self-discovery & exploration… a safe, inviting, nurturing environment where participants can comfortably explore their own journey in the company of others doing the same thing, in their own way.  There’s laughter, tears, times to be serious, & times to be silly.  It’s who we are, where we are, at that moment in time.

Rhythms of the Year is a workshop that incorporates creative expression, spiritual exploration, & intuition to enhance self-awareness & understanding of the interconnectedness of all things.  Activities include the creation of vision boards, mandalas, & prayer flags; forms of writing; musical expression through dance, chanting, & drumming; mediation; prayer; & energy work.  I ask participants to “come with open minds & open hearts.  Take what resonates with you & leave the rest.”  This isn’t about adopting another person’s belief system; it’s about creating a more spiritually-meaningful, self-empowering life experience in whatever way works for you.

I’m excited about this workshop because it incorporates many of the practices that hold meaning for me & allows me to share them with others.  What I love about the workshops I lead is how they take on a life of their own.  Even though I can offer the same workshop multiple times, it inevitably evolves into something unique depending on the participants & what they bring to the experience.  We’re co-creators.  I’m really looking forward to seeing where this journey takes me & hope to share more with you soon.

Baby Steps

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, & endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”  Henry David Thoreau

I gravitate to inspirational quotes like this when I’m preparing to go in the direction of my dreams & hoping to meet with “success unexpected in common hours.”  Keep talking, Thoreau; I hear you & I know you’re right.  And while I’d like to stride confidently in the direction of my dreams, more often than not, I take cautious baby steps instead.  Why?  Because I can’t see the destination & running in the dark seems a certain way to trip & fall.  I prefer baby steps, slow & steady.  I’ll pick up speed when I’m more sure of where I’m going.

Change is scary but staying in a situation that you’ve outgrown, that makes you unhappy, or that causes you to compromise your Self is scarier.  I know this from experience.  A little over a decade ago, I was in a position where I had to ask myself, “Is this really how I want to spent the rest of my life?”  The answer was an emphatic “NO!”   I couldn’t articulate exactly what I wanted but I knew what I didn’t want.  That’s the time to take a baby step, when the dream is germinating but hasn’t pushed through the soil into the sunlight of awareness.  Baby steps are perfect for when you aren’t sure which direction to walk, you just know you don’t want to stand still.

Baby steps are also a great way to proceed when the journey seems overwhelming.  For example, when I graduated from college, I had a mountain of debt that seemed impossible to repay.  I had no idea how I’d pay it off but I knew drowning in debt wasn’t an option for me.  Giving up is never an option for me.  I paid $10 here and $100 there, month by month, until it was finally gone.  Baby steps.

Am I writing this for you, dear readers, or am I writing this for me?  Yes & yes.

It’s time for a baby step.  To be continued…

An Unlikely Labyrinth

When is a labyrinth not a labyrinth?

When it’s the sidewalk I travel while walking my dogs.

While there is a beautifully-designed labyrinth in a serene setting within 20 minutes of my home, it’s not always convenient to go there when I need a contemplative walk.  Labyrinths, unlike mazes, have one clearly marked path leading in to the center and back out again.  I enjoy walking them because they allow me to focus on the journey rather than the destination.  Isn’t that ultimately something we all want to do… enjoy our journey without worrying about where it’s leading?

If you’ve read some of my previous posts, you know that my earth-centered spirituality means I hold every place in nature sacred– my backyard can be just as holy a place as an ancient stone circle or burial mound.  That broad view of the sacred led to my next question… Can any walk be a labyrinth walk with the right intention?  I immediately answered yes, as long as I’m not preoccupied with where I’m going.

I gave it a try a few days ago, when taking Freyja for her walk.  We both know the route so well that thinking isn’t necessary.  I set the intention before leaving the house to respectfully walk away from my home in prayer, talking to the Divine and return to the house in meditation, listening to what the Divine had to say to me.  All relationships, including our relationship with Source, require great communication skills.  The ability to know when to talk & when to listen.  Labyrinth walking, for me, allows a balance of both.

There is a specific issue weighing on my mind so I shared it for the first half of the walk, praying silently so people wouldn’t look at “this woman” muttering to herself like she’s crazy.  When I felt I had shared my heart’s concerns fully (this took an extra-long walk), I paused & lifted up my concerns.  “This issue is completely out of my control; I know that.  Help me do what I can to improve the situation & release what I can’t for the greatest & highest good.  Blessed be.”  I took a deep breath, let it out slowly, & returned home in quiet meditation.  Among the birds twittering & wind howling in the fir trees, I heard a whisper of encouragement.  I wasn’t walking alone.

So, to answer my own question, “Yes, an ordinary walk can be a labyrinth walk with the right intention.”  It’s amazing how much better I feel when I approach ordinary experiences with a more spiritual attitude.  Walking dogs, picking berries, or even washing the dishes can be spiritual.  All it takes is a shift in focus, allowing it to be so.

Love: The Path & The Destination

What I love is the path & the destination.    Susan Korsnick

Time takes flight on wings of joy when I’m doing something I love.  I forget about meals & even sleep when I’m immersed in moments that bring contentment & meaning to my life.  For example, I’ve often looked up from gardening to see the sky has moved beyond dusk into that inky blueness just before nightfall.  It’s that late already?!  Until my attention is drawn away from what I love to do, I’m neither exhausted nor hungry.  The same thing happens when I’m creating art or pursuing my spirituality.   Focused on what I love, I have no concept of time or limitations of any kind.

When friends are being supportive, they say things like, “What does your heart tell you to do?” & “Follow your passion.””   We know we should listen to our hearts but sometimes the obligations of life roar in our ears & drown out the encouraging whisper of Self.  The more we fill our days with commitments & obligations, the more we are distanced from what we love.  Sure, we all have duties we must perform… bills, jobs, errands, chores, etc.  But it’s vital to the human spirit that we immerse ourselves in what nourishes us on a deeper level so we can perform the “musts”.

Yes, what I love is the path I follow & each moment lived in love is a destination unto itself.

“Don’t worry about what the world needs.  Ask what makes you come alive & do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”  Howard Thurman