By now all of you know about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. And most of you also know that I grew up in New Orleans, just across the bayou from the Gulf. This disaster has been really hard for me to stomach. It frankly breaks my heart. The Gulf of Mexico may not be pristine, but it is a vital body of water that is home to hundreds of species (including a hardy breed of humans called Cajuns) who have already experienced great distress from the gradual erosion of the coastline and the pummeling of Katrina. Read a great book about this area to learn more.

I spent many weekends and vacations with family in the islands and beaches of the Gulf, including a recent trip to Florida (see photo of myself and Coco). It has been devastating enough to see how much of the coast was destroyed by Katrina; this oil spill is a sucker punch to areas that are already struggling.

It has helped me to focus my energy in a positive direction. Want to join me? Here’s what you can do:
1. Send your thoughts to the Gulf and the people affected AND the people trying to help staunch the leak and clean up the spill. They need our mental support. Try the Unconditional Meditation I learned from my teacher Rod Stryker. Brief instructions follow, full guided meditation can be found on “Meditations for Inner and Outer Peace”
2. Join us on Monday, May 17 for a Benefit Class. All cash or check drop-in payments (and any additional donations) for the 7:15 and 7:30 classes at all four 8 Limbs Yoga Centers will go directly to the Gulf Response Involvement Team (GRIT). Checks may be made out to GRIT. Class will still be available to members or class pass holders at no extra charge. Please spread the word and bring a friend.
3. Can’t make it? Send your positive thoughts whenever and whenever, but try and join us in spirit on Monday night, especially between 8:15 and 8:30, during meditation. You can make a donation at the GRIT website: http://lagulfresponse.org/aboutus.html

Unconditional Healing Meditation
Preparation: spend a few minutes with attention to your breath. Feel a wave of relaxation through your entire body. Bring your attention to your mouth. Withouth changing your expression, feel the feeling of a smile. Then go through the organs and limbs of your body and feel the feeling of a smile at each location. Feel an open radiant smile in your whole body; every cell is smiling. Now feel rose colored light throughout your being, purifying and cleansing.
Step 1: Bring awareness to the space behind your navel at the spine. Feel life giving energy and awareness move on the inhale up your spine, on the exhale let it spread and expand into the space above the brain, in the skull. Repeat for several minutes with the internal sound AU (ah ooo) on inhale, M on exhale. Then hold your attention a the top of the head, meditate on the infinite and the sound OM.
Step 2: Now move from the space behind your navel up the spine and exhale that awareness into the throat. Repeat with the sound shan (“shun”) on inhale, ti on exhale. After a few minutes, hold attention at the throat, and meditate on peace.
Step 3: You will now share your connection to peace by projecting it to someone else or a situation (ie the oil spill). Whether you wish to help another person or positively affect a situation, you will project unconditaional awarenesss from your third eye.
When you inhale feel consciousness rise up your spine from the navel to the 3rd eye or brain center. Exhale and project unconditional consciousness from the third eye to the heart of another or situation. Add the mantra OM on the inhale and Shanti on the exhale. Continue to repeat, flooding the person or situation with your awareness. Sense that the person or circumstance is absorbing your attention and is filled with unconditional peace. You are empowering this person or situation with the healing power of nature. What they choose to do with it is up to their free will.
Now relax the technique and meditate on the object of your offering. See them/it fully enlivened and connected to the eternal stream of peace. Silently share the spirit of OM Shanti, Universal Peace. Feel that you both bask in the presence of spirit.
Bring your attention back to the space between your eyebrows. Be aware of your own foundation of happiness in your life. Seal it within yourself.
Bring your attention back to your brain, feel it descend all the way down to the navel. Place both palms over the navel. Feel that a presence is moves out of your hands and is absorbed into the navel center and abdomen.
Feel steeped and anchored in a clear sense of centeredness. Open your eyes.
From “Meditations for Inner and Outer Peace” by Rod Stryker

Posted by: Anne Phyfe Palmer

Neighborhood Studios