Crystal Understanding

After studying the chakras and their purpose, I set out to discover how to keep them in balance for myself and others. I will remind you that I am not Wiccan nor do I practice any types of magicks. Again I turned to the internet and am thankful to have Google in my life otherwise I would be at my local library for hours on end because all good information can be found in books. I discovered that crystals and chakras work well together with the crystals being able to stimulate and heal the chakras and thereby helping heal ourselves. As a nurse, I was very sceptical of this process, but as a healer I could see the value of all types of care.

Once the decision was made to gather crystals for my own use, I went full steam ahead. Initially I ordered my first five from an online site and the seller added an extra stone as a thanks so my beginners’ set was complete. I then had a stone for most chakras and some have interchangeable uses. Here’s my initial set.

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Set of five “beginner’s” stones

 

These five were the ones I was told to start with although they didn’t cover all the chakras and they are, from left to right; a clear quartz, a citrine, a rose quartz (which doesn’t like it’s picture being taken) a green aventurine and an amethyst. I really thought I would be most drawn to amethyst as I’ve always loved the colour but it turned out that the green aventurine is the one I’m attuned to. I held each crystal in my hand for a few minutes to see if I could feel anything from them and when I held my aventurine, it warmed almost immediately. I carry this one with me constantly. I have used it a few times to ease headache pain and now I can’t remember the last time I had a headache. I have added to my collection with carnelian, jade, blue lace agate, lapis lazuli, sodalite, bloodstone, black obsidian, pyrite, and red jasper. I now have covered the main chakras and have a few others for more specific uses.

When I received my crystals, I cleaned them by allowing cool, filtered water to run over them and then soaked them for about fifteen minutes. Please remember that not all crystals can be left to soak in water, salt based crystals will dissolve in water so be careful! New to you crystals tend to pick up energy from whoever has handled them so a cleansing step is very important. If there is still mud on your crystal, it can be cleaned off with a new soft toothbrush. Some folks prefer to smudge their stones with sage, sweetgrass or incense. Spend about five to seven minutes smudging by wafting the smoke over the rocks with a feathered fan. Don’t use your hand; as the smoke rises it pulls negative energies away from the crystals and if you’re using your hand, that negativity will enter your body.

After I cleansed my crystals, I set them in the sunlight for twenty-four hours to charge them. Another way is to put them in the moonlight for the same period of time, this is especially good if done during the full moon period. If one of my crystals is used a lot, I will flick any negativity away and then blow on it to reset it for use on myself. If I use them on someone else, which I haven’t yet but plan to do, I intend to do a smudge cleanse afterward.

I am happy with my crystals and am looking forward to using them more. My next step will be to cleanse my chakras using my crystal quartz pendulum. I’ll be telling you all about that experience for sure!

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Pyrite and crystal quartz pendulum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Getting to Know My Chakras

 

Meditation is helping. I am calmer and have more organized thoughts. I wondered what other tools there are for me and others to use. Many years ago I studied reflexology, became a practitioner and was aware of, and able to, stroke auras. This was before such “out of the box” practices were the norm and I was a little embarrassed by my interest so I tended to hide it from most of my acquaintances. I used reflexology sparingly but became adept at stroking bad energy away from those on whom I practiced. It was never a successful business venture and I didn’t keep up the practice. Fast forward to now and I wish I had continued to do reflexology and study even more about the metaphysical.

My meditation routine has really helped with concentration and ability to stay calm and focused (most of the time). The next logical step for me, was to go deeper into how and why these practices work. So I’ve begun learning about our chakras, their purpose and how to maintain balance in my life.

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A very basic sketch of the position of our seven basic chakras

This rough sketch shows the seven major chakras. Since these are the most important ones, I decided to start here. Much more information can be found on the other chakra areas but these are the ones to start with as a beginner.

The first (1) is the Root Chakra, named I think, because it is at the base of the spine in the tailbone area, the “root” of the body. This is our foundation and enhances one’s feeling of being grounded. It is responsible for survival issues such as financial independence, money and food.

Second is the Sacral Chakra located at the lower abdomen about two inches below the navel and two inches in. It helps connect with the people around us, our ability to accept others and to accept new experiences. It also contributes to our sense of abundance, well being, pleasure and sexuality.

Our third chakra is the Solar Plexus. It is the located at the upper abdomen in the stomach area. This one gives us the ability to be confident and in control. Through this chakra we  have self-worth, self-confidence and self-esteem.

The fourth chakra is the Heart Chakra. This is located at the centre of the chest, just above the heart. As you would expect it is responsible for our ability to love. Joy, inner peace as well as love come from this chakra.

Next on the list is the Throat Chakra, located of course in the throat. It gives us the ability to communicate. It is responsible for self-expression and truth.

Our sixth chakra is the Third Eye. It is located on the forehead between the brows. The ability to focus on issues and see the big picture comes from the third eye chakra. It is responsible for intuition, imagination, wisdom and the ability to think and make decisions.

Finally we have the Crown Chakra. Situated at the very top of the head, it is the highest chakra and represents our ability to be fully connected spiritually. It also gives us our inner and outer beauty and pure bliss.

 

How Prices Have Changed – Or Not

 

 

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Now retired, the hubby and I are on a fixed income and I, as the grocery shopper, am much more aware of our day to day spending. No longer do I pop into the nearest grocery store on the way home and pick up whatever I decide, on the spur of the moment, will be our supper that day. Now I go in fully armed with coupons and flyers; I know how to price match and am relentless at hunting for bargains. My lists are legendary! But there is a difference in grocery shopping now, the money doesn’t stretch as far as it used to. I may have been a bit ‘laissez-faire’ about spending before I retired but I know that over the last five years or so, prices have gone up – a lot.

To give you even more to ponder, here in Canada, our measurements are in metric. Instead of pounds and ounces, we have kilograms and grams. I think my generation are the last to be able to convert fairly easily having lived with both systems, But although our weight measurement is metric, grocers still advertise price per pound instead of per four hundred fifty four grams or per kilogram. Why? Well it appears cheaper that’s why. After all $5.99 per pound seems a better deal than $13.18 per kilogram doesn’t it?

There are some good reasons for price increases. Fuel prices have soared, wages go up, farmers need more for those same reasons but I’d bet the main reason is to satisfy the company shareholders who expect larger returns on their stock prices year over year. All this aside, the makers of the goods as well as the grocery chains themselves, use some interesting ways to increase profit without consumers even noticing.

A few years ago, before social media was a big influence, the producers of canned tuna reduced the size of the can from 7 ounces to 6.5 but kept the price the same. It came out on the television news but was only a small blurb and most of us were outraged for about two minutes. There was no boycott, no rally against the big companies, just a shrug and acceptance. Then a couple of years later, I saw a commercial for a certain brand of pickle in which an employee was saving his company money by removing one pickle from each jar. This one caught my attention but again no one boycotted or sent petitions to the company and I was busy with other things going on in my life.

 

 

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But I’m retired now, on a fixed income, and watching my pennies so I have a reason to find out all I can about the prices I’m paying and how companies are sneaking prices up with out us even knowing about it. The biggest price hike happens when companies decrease the size just slightly and charge the same price. Or they may even drop the price a bit but the trick is that the price per gram (or ounce) is still up on average of nine percent. I mean do you always read the price per gram and remember it from month to month? Hmm there’s a good project for someone, keeping track of per gram changes. But because consumers are more sensitive to price changes than size changes, we make it easy for them. Have you noticed, for instance, your peanut butter looks to be the same as ever, but now there’s a scoop (indentation) on the bottom so the jar actually has less in it. Many company’s will actually brag about their great, new packaging that’s ergonomically designed and blah, blah, blah but they won’t tell you it actually holds less than it used to.

Best things you can do to fight these changes is to be aware of what’s happening and start shopping smarter. There is a long list of things we can change to better manage our grocery costs, probably worthy of another blog but I do believe in being an informed shopper and in telling others. I also am a letter writer and I will write to various companies to let them know I’m on to their ways and am very aware of their price manipulation. It might not make a difference but I always feel better after I send off those emails.

RETIREMENT – CRAFTY LADY

Life-of-pix-old-pictures-Karolina-Grabowska-Retirement, now I’ll have time for all those really neat things I’ve seen others do with twine and cans and candles. Why I could make anything, paint it up and wow; Christmas gifts for everyone in the family, hand painted by yours truly. So much information is available that we can learn to do virtually anything online. From making the perfect bow to performing neurosurgery, we can learn it online. I can grow this new talent and become known as the crafty lady of the neighbourhood.

But you see, that’s the trap. I have spent hours researching, making lists and then pinning exciting tips and how to’s onto my own “do this next it’s easy” account. I wonder if the developers of those pages knew what havoc would be wreaked on the world. My grandkids will soon learn how to make feeders from empty toilet paper rolls and the hubby has tasted some successful and some not so great meals. They all might develop a mysterious ailment when Nana has that look in her eye and a bag full of odd looking things in her hand.

Two years ago I made the older grandchildren candy dispensers with clay flower pots, flower vases, and candy of course. I was incredibly proud of those dispensers, nevermind that they cost at least twice what I would have paid to purchase. I created wonderful gifts for my three special people. Everyone else got store bought that year.

I still have some big plans for crafting. the craft room/office is not well organized and right now that’s my excuse but before I can continue crafting I have to organize it all. and guess what? I got lost on the internet again, studying designs and builds for organization. Oh the ideas that came through the screen! Easy things if you can leave the computer and get to it. I think my problem is having the computer and my craft items together in the same room – the computer wins every time. But I know I can do it. If I can get down to serious crafting I can easily finish many of my projects. I have supplies for scrapbooking and two half finished books. Knitting needles and wool abound and there are enough cross stitch patterns and thread to open my own shop. And I’m seriously thinking I love decoupage. You’ve heard of crazy cat ladies; well I think I’ve become the crazy craft lady.

RETIREMENT – I GET PAID WHEN?

Being retired means a huge change in you financial status. Now I’m not a financial guru or an investment counsellor, but I did have to learn to change my habits. Hubby and I decided we didn’t need to cash in our investments yet, saving those for a lovely trip, but we certainly did have to change some things that, before, we didn’t even think about and no one prepared me for this one big thing. I Get Paid When? We get our pension monies, public and private, once a month. What?!? That’s crazy but true. When I started working in my early twenties, we did get paid once a month but that was soon replaced by bi-monthly pay periods and quickly followed by bi-weekly. So for decades I’ve been paid every two weeks and so was the hubby and his pay was on alternate weeks to mine, so every week was a pay week and budgeting was a breeze. Now we are paid once a month and I really have to stretch this old brain and plan a budget for a month at a time. That’s really hard when you’re not used to it.and there were months when I wondered if we were going to starve those final few days. That’s a bit dramatic but I was used to a constant flow that had just dried up. Not only that but the monthly income of a retirement pension is considerably lower than a working income, and it requires a lot of work until you’re used to it.

How have I survived? One of the benefits of aging is a decreased appetite. Not that you’ll lose weight, it doesn’t seem to work that way, but you will eat less thus saving on the grocery bill. I learned that food from the no name stores is every bit as good as from the expensive mainstream stores. I scan the sales flyers and have the app on my phone because I now have the time to price match and I use coupons. I buy in bulk and if it’s meat, chicken, or fish, I divide and freeze. We don’t seem to need as much in the way of clothing either and no, we don’t belong to a nudist colony. It’s just that I’ve realized I can wear the same thing twice without laundering and if I dress up for something I can’t wait to change into more comfortable clothing when I get home. So those good clothes get worn for only a couple of hours, not for the whole workday plus commute. I have a very strict budget for birthdays and Christmas gifts but try to tuck in a little something extra every so often for no reason.

Our biggest outlay has been for travel but I’ll tell you more about that in a later blog. I did at one time, think I should try to bring in a little extra with a home business, yet another blog subject, but it’s really hard to succeed without putting in a huge number of hours. I decided it wasn’t for me and, after several failed attempts, gave it up as not my thing. I guess the final word is be prepared for a tight budget and remember – I Get Paid When? – is usually once a month.

Retirement, My Story – What Now

Life-of-Pix-free-stock-photos-cove-wave-rocks-sea-beachmuser I actually retired five years ago and it was such an exciting time! The very hard work was done, studying, working hard at my career, raising my family, those were all ticks in the “accomplished” box, and I was about to reap the benefits of all those years. My house would now be spotlessly clean – every day, and we would eat gourmet meals prepared by yours truly. My craft room/office (I use the term loosely) would become a well organized, efficient workplace. I would enjoy sitting in my perfectly planned and tended garden while writing my first full length novel. What the heck happened?!? I still hate doing housework, can’t find what I want in the craft room, have been known to eat candy and chocolate for dinner if hubby isn’t home and writing a novel of fifty thousand words is a daunting task.

My retirement life took a different path from the one I envisioned. I had long been interested in politics so I joined my preferred party and decided to run as their candidate in my area. Don’t worry, I won”t try to sway you to any political bent, it is simply a part of my life, one that I enjoy and I’ll remain a very interested participant. Suffice it to say, politics took over for a while. There was so much to learn and study, people of all ages to meet and talk with, and many, many hands to shake. I enjoyed this experience most of the time. Though I wasn’t successful in my riding, it was a great life experience.

At the time of my retirement, my husband was still working four or five days a week so I did have many hours to fill on my own. Coffee or lunch with friends, shopping, and then the Internet became a vital part of my life. That sounds strange but it was a way to connect with people I hadn’t seen since childhood. My relatives are spread across this huge country so catching up with all those cousins has been great. Hours literally fly by while I chat, research, or play.

Being retired means I can do what I want when I want – sort of. There are still bills to pay, meals to plan, and housework to do. But there’s also the joy of watching grandchildren grow if you’re lucky enough to have them. You can put off until tomorrow, things that could have been done today. You can hop in your car and run away for the day, the weekend, or even longer. You can pop into the old workplace, that will reinforce why you retired in the first place, but take cookies so they’ll remember you.

Not only did all my hard work get me to this point, but this, my retirement, really is a nice benefit of aging. Please join me on my journey.