I have a great affinity for crystals.

The first time I went to a Reiki Master, she placed some on my body and in each hand. At the end of our session she told me the beautiful piece of clear quartz I was holding wanted to stay with me, and that I should keep it. It was then that I first truly felt the intense power, energy, and healing qualities crystals boast. Beautiful, magnificent raw pieces of the EARTH, crystals possess the energy of our great planet and mother.

As Carl Sagan said, “we are all star stuff”; when we fully digest and hear his words interactions with crystals become very poignant, and attuning to the abilities they possess becomes easy. They are Earth, we are Earth.

I’ve made a list of some of my favorite crystals, their properties, and the capacity for healing they offer. If you choose to go buy some for yourself, allow them to call to you–you’ll know which one to pick! The type of crystal that reverberates with you may not be on my list, but those are the ones to befriend!

It’s vital that you charge and clean your crystals of old energies. The only crystal that does not pick up or store negative energy is citrine. To re-charge your crystals place them outside, preferably a night under a full moon; the warmth of the sun is extremely cleansing as well.

clear quartz-Known as the “master healer” this crystal cleanses the soul. It will accept any unnecessary, stagnant, or negative energies you may be holding onto; because of this it is extra important to be diligent about re-charging it. If you are trying to clear the cobwebs or release long held sadness or anger, clear quartz is a wonderful choice. My clear quartz is the crystal my reiki master gifted to me, and it still brings me great comfort. I hold onto this guy when I am cloudy and feeling dark; my clear quartz always generously and graciously accepts my negative energy and it always helps me immensely. Sahasrara (crown) Chakra

rose quartz- Rose quartz is the stone of universal love; it works to replace negativity with the gentle forces of peace and harmony. Rose quartz brings about deep emotional purification, and helps release any long rooted negative energies that hinder happiness, peace, and grace. This stone encourages us to be love and is very useful when trying to cultivate compassion and rid yourself of unproductive anger. Sometimes I just have to hold onto my rose quartz or place it on my heart and I think it’s always a good idea to have a nice chunk of this rock in your home. Also a beautiful and considerate present for an expectant mother because it will protect the health of her and her baby. Anahata (heart) Chakra

moonstone-Moonstone is absolutely vital in my life. I’m not sure where I found the moonstone ring I have worn for at least 10 years, it just seems it appeared on my finger one day and never left, but I am sure that I always feel safer and more capable when I have it on. Moonstone is especially important to me because of its great sacred feminine energy; it is the stone of Diana the Moon Goddess and I highly recommend all women wear this rock as much as possible, if not everyday. This stone, each of which relfects its owner and is the most personal of those listed, brings good fortune in love and business and promotes intution and inspiration. It’s excellent for meditation because it helps us to know ourselves, aiding in discerning our wants from our needs and is a great catalyst for growth, emotional strength and empowerment. If you suffer from sleepless nights, moonstone is a comforting crystal to place under your pillow as it will grant you deep rest. Svadhisthana (water) Chakra

blue aragonite- This is absolutely one of the most healing stones I have ever encountered. Just looking at it brings a sense of cooling calm; its color vibrant and comforting all at the same time. Blue aragonite opens both the heart and throat chakras helping us to to express ourselves clearly and kindly, and to hear, interpret and communicate with our divinity and spirituality. Bringing forth compassion in thought and speech, it alleviates wounding caused by emotional abuse. Blue aragonite is also great for pranayama, because it stimulates the lungs. I’m obsessed with my blue aragonite, and hold it very dear. It is another stone I often find I want to rest on my heart. Visuddha(throat)/Anahata/Sahasrara Chakras*

black tourmaline-I have a special affinity for black tourmaline because my yogi sister created the most beautiful chakra necklace for me, and at the bottom, heavy- protecting- throbbing with magnetic Earth energy- is a chunk of beautiful black tourmaline. Before she had sent me my necklace I hadn’t come in contact with this amazing piece of what feels like pure center of the earth, upon receiving my necklace I asked her “what is this stone?!” that feels so energetically dense and pure at the same time. Black tourmaline repels negativity and dark energies, and is also a great stone for extra sensitive people to carry. Attuning with tourmaline will help you better understand others and yourself, enhance your self-confidence and energy, and diminish your fears. Black tourmaline attracts inspiration, compassion, tolerance and prosperity and releases tension while removing blockages. Carrying tourmaline yields grounding, serenity, understanding, objectivity, compassion and happiness. It is an extraordinarily powerful stone, and I highly recommend getting to know a piece and keeping some in your home. Muladhara (root) Chakra

I hope you’ll take the time to explore crystals and all they can offer you. Although at first it may seem a bit esoteric, remember that they are made from the same materials we are. These easily accessible, breathtakingly dazzling pieces of Earth, of portable planet, can attune to your body in ways many other aspects of this world can not, acting as a catalyst for great healing and the creation of space for joy, peace, love, comfort, stability, and harmony. They are a transcendent and gorgeous phenomenon that remind us of the mystery, complexity, and swirling beauty that exists in our universe and that is of our Mother Earth. “We are all star stuff”.

namaste!

Ohhhhh, the ego.

As our spirituality deepens with our practice, yogis learn that one of the aims of the ancient tradition is to “break down” the ego. When we begin to explore this idea, we feel and see the limitless liberation that releasing the ego holds!

As I’ve mentioned before, I used to be SO angry. The slightest bump on the street, a friend not responding in the way I wanted , someone else’s joy (hard to admit but true!) could bring on anything from a frenzied and impulsive “f**k you!” to days of dark sadness that were steeped in being imprisoned by my mind.

I must always mention that asana is a vital part of a yoga practice, and for me, life practice- because it is on the mat we allow our fire to burn. Many of us contain old negative energy; when you practice the physical postures of yoga you allow this toxicity to be burned up and released with the breath, making room for prana or life force.

If you do not have an asana practice it is still very possible to work on quieting the ego’s perception of a situation so that YOU can assess the reality much more effortlessly, able to respond with clarity and kindness.

The ego is the voice inside that screams ME! ME! I! I! So of course when it is out of whack we are going to take personal offense if we’re bumped on the sidewalk or cut in line. The ego screams, “THIS IS ABOUT ME!” but the thing is, of course it isn’t! That person may have someone they love in the hospital, a headache, just gotten fired, or maybe just inconsiderate; regardless it is not up to us to judge or chastise- we are just one of the same divinity that the “other” is from. If you are at a party and someone takes the last piece of cake you wanted, it is unfair to say “that was a direct assault on ME”—they are just existing, havin’ some cake! When you guide your perception in this direction, YOU will live more calmly with much less unnecessary agitation.

The other day my ego got in the way when one of my best friends was in a bad mood. She clearly communicated she was having a hard day and that she felt off, and I kept needling her for attention and feeling rejected, angry, and sad when I was rebuffed. On the way home I started a conversation with myself, and realized that not only was I being a bad friend in not providing her comfort on a bad day, but it was unfair for me to expect her to behave the way I needed her to, because that’s what I needed. She needed some chill understanding and a little peace from other peoples’ (including my) needs and wants. I decided to apologize to her for being nasty. She wrote back kindly, again expressing she was a bummed out and that really, she hadn’t even noticed because she was dealing with her own troubles.

If I had let my ego dictate my actions, I would be punished with feelings of anxiety, anger, and resentment and our awesome friendship would have been impacted; instead I’m looking forward to seeing her and I feel great. Plus, my ego had created a problem and tension between us that to her did not exist. Because I was trapped in my ego I could not see clearly and was on the verge of starting a fight. When I made the effort to clear at least some of the ego clouds that were impeding my perception I was able to quickly remedy a situation that would have only caused me great stress in innumerable ways. I had nothing to do with her mood one way or the other. It’s vital not to become trapped in the ol’ “the world revolves around me”; when we live in this space we decide “they” must be acting that way in some reaction to “me”. I cannot stress enough how important to it is to remember this is usually not the case! If you believe that it is however, you’ll live with a lot of anxiety, regret, and self-doubt.

We have the choice to create the relationships and life that we want. We must love ourselves and not look to others for validation; we do this through asana practice and swadhyaya. We must discern ego from pride (which when balanced manifests as self-love and self-respect), and take responsibility for the role we play in our interactions with others and ourselves. We must take the “I” out of the way to release ourselves from so much unnecessary anger, drama, sadness, anxiety, fear, depression etc.

Life is a gift; do not undermine yourself or your great power! Choose to live beautifully and happily!