Himalayas, Indian Festivals, People, Travel

Magic Of Life !

**** STAR DUST ****

“When I look up at the sky, and I know that, yes, we are part of this Universe, we are in this Universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts is that the Universe is in us. When I reflect on that fact, I look up — many people feel small, ’cause they’re small and the Universe is big, but I feel big, because my atoms came from those stars.” –Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Your thoughts do indeed create your reality. Thoughts are forms of energy that are sent ahead and eventually manifest as physical matter. The thoughts you think determine the outcome of your worldly experiences, from finances to health, relationships to environment. In fact, there is no aspect of your life that is not affected by your thoughts.

Picture taken : BORRA CAVES

Indian Festivals, People, Travel, Xpressions!

Stone WOnder ! –  The Brihadeshvara temple

 

During the times of the Cholas (900-1155 A.D.) temple arcitecture in the South reached its climax. The famous Chola temple built at Tanjavur (Tanjore) is known as the Brihadeshvara temple. It is also called the Rajarajeshwara temple after the name of king Rajaraja who built it in honour of Lord Shiva in about 1009 A.D.


This Temple is one of the most outstanding monuments of the Chola Period. It is composed of many interconnected structures such as the Nandi pavilion, a pillared portico and a large hall. Its vimana(a temple like structure having thee cella in which the deity is enshrined) is 66 metres high. The inner walls of the temple have extensive paintings and sculpture. The tower of the temple rises to a height of 57 metres, like a pyramid, in 13 successive storeys. Its top has a single block of stone, 25 feet high and weighs about 80 tonnes. The structural idea of constructing a Gopuram (or a fine gateway to the enclosed walls of the temple) was first conceived by the Chola kings.

The Temple stands in the middle of a rectangular enclosure entered from the east through a gateway, now dilapidated. The Double pilastered walls of the sanctuary are elevated on a moulded basement with lions. Those on the central niches, on both storeys depict – Dakshinamurti(south) ,Vishnu(west) and Brahma(north).

A massive linga on the central pedestal is enshrined within the sanctuary. A stone altar carved with a lotus on the top has the Navagrahas carved on to the sides. Another small structure in the south-west corner of the enclosure houses a Ganesha image. A large Nandi sculpture constructed of blocks is constructed in the front(east) of the principal temple.

The temple, especially its tower, is the finest example of Dravidian art. The Chola architecture is so executed that it is said that the Cholas conceived like giants and finished like jewelers. The Brihadeshwara temple combines the best in the tradition of temple building – architecture, sculpture, painting and other allied arts

Himalayas, Indian Festivals, People, Travel, Xpressions!

~ The Dance of SHIVA ~

The cosmic dance of Shiva symbolises the interplay of dynamic and static divine energy flow, containing the five principles of eternal energy – creation, preservation, destruction, illusion and emancipation.

 ~ The Dance of SHIVA ~

Shiva dances in ‘Rudra Tandava’ or the dance of destruction in an aureole of fire, creating wild thunder storms all around the universe, even shattering the Sun, the Moon and stellar bodies with his matted hair, marks of ash on the forehead, trident and drum, lifting his left leg and balancing over a demon of ignorance, with snakes crawling over his arms, legs and braided hair that depict egotism. His upper right hand holds an hourglass drum or ‘dumroo’ standing for the male-female vital principle, while the lower gestures us to ”Be fearless”. A skull on his head depicts conquest over death. Goddess Ganga, epitomising the holy river, sits on his hairdo. His third eye represents omniscience, insight and enlightenment.

‘Locks of matted hair/ Thick like luxuriant Amazon rain forest/ Spread all over/ Stirring never-ending cyclones, tsunamis! Ceaseless torrents/ Cascading cataracts/ Floodwater of the Ganga/ Caused holocaust, apocalypse/ Unprecedented obliteration in the Milky Way! Blazing inferno originated/ From his third eye raged like wild fire/ Blazed all over his forehead/ Engulfing everything in the aureole of fire!’

The ‘Lasya’ or the gentle form of his dance, known as ‘Ananda Tandavam’ or dance of bliss is associated with the creation of the world, after its total destruction. Shiva’s two different cosmic dances take place in one’s ‘Chidambaram’ or in the sky of the mind, portrayed as the centre of consciousness situated at the altar of one’s heart.

Shiva is the symbol of ‘Brahmn’, the universal consciousness. The cosmic serpent called ‘Kundalini’, draped by the Lord of all dance, is mythically present in every living form. Arousal of the ‘kundalini’ is a metaphor for the awakening of the seven energy centres or ‘chakras’ situated in the spine.

The sacred text, the Bhagavad Gita, interprets that the three basic gunas – sattvic, tamasic and rajasic – combine with each other to create life forms in the universe. The divine entity is divided into nine; but only eight of them are perceived by human intellect – earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intellect and pride. The ninth part of the divine entity is eternally shrouded in the mystery of creation.

Fritjof Capra, in his book The Tao of Physics, paid due tribute to the Hindu view of matter and established its linkage with modern physics with empirical research in 1972. He observed the linkage between ancient Vedic mythology, religious symbolism, art and modern physics: “Every subatomic particle not only does an energy dance, but is also an energy dance; a pulsating process of creation and destruction…without end…For the modern physicists, then, Shiva’s dance is the dance of subatomic matter.”

The European Centre for Research in Particle Physics in Geneva-CERN had unveiled in 2004 the two metre-tall statue of Nataraja, the form of Shiva depicted in the dance pose. The dancing Indian deity, representing the cosmic cycles of creation and destruction, also depicts the dynamics of subatomic particles, the basis of creation of the universe that is being researched by physicists around the world.

 
 
 
Ref article : Cosmic Dance Of Shiva
Indian Festivals, People, Travel

From The 7 Blessings of a Hindu Wedding

 

The Hindu ceremony, a rite known as ‘samskara’, has many components and it is quite beautiful, specific and filled with chanting, Sanskrit blessings and ritual that is thousands of years old. In India, it can last weeks or days…. 🙂

1. May this couple be blessed with an abundance of resources and comforts, and be helpful to one another in all ways.

2. May this couple be strong and complement one another.

3. May this couple be blessed with prosperity and riches on all levels.

4. May this couple be eternally happy.

5. May this couple be blessed with a happy family life.

6. May this couple live in perfect harmony… true to their personal values and their joint promises.

7. May this couple always be the best of friends.

More on Hindu Wedding 

Picture Taken : From Weddingshoot for SUdha.

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HAppy HOLI !

One of the major festivals of India, Holi is celebrated with enthusiasm and gaiety on the full moon day in the month of Phalgun which is the month of March as per the Gregorian calendar.

Holi festival may be celebrated with various names and people of different states might be following different traditions. But, what makes Holi so unique and special is the spirit of it which remains the same throughout the country and even across the globe, wherever it is celebrated.

Holi festival has an ancient origin and celebrates the triumph of ‘good’ over ‘bad’. The colorful festival bridges the social gap and renew sweet relationships.    Happy Holi!!

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Holi HAI!

According to mythological records, it is said that Mathura is actually the birth place of Lord Krishna, whereas Vrindavan is the place where he spent the early days of his childhood and left behind tales of mysticism and divinity. This explains the enigma of Mathura Vrindavan, where one can still feel the divine presence of the Lord. This is the place where Lord Krishna introduced the modern form of Holi. This is the reason that Holi is celebrated with great zeal here.

This legend is wonderfully brought alive each year all over India, particularly in Mathura, Vrindavan, Barsana and Nandgaon-the places associated with Krishna and Radha.

In fact, the entire country gets drenched in the colour waters when it is time for Holi and celebrate the immortal love of Krishna and Radha.

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Garuda: The Embodiment Of Strength and Service!!

Location: Tirupathi,India

Garuda is popularly known as the vahana or vehicle of Vishnu. In this form he can be found in every South Indian temple dedicated to Vishnu and even in the temples of South-East Asia. However, his stature is far greater than this apparent submissiveness. Garuda and Hanuman are the strongest of the strong powers in the universe. Even Shiva and Vishnu would find it hard to match strength and abilities with them. Both these great beings, Garuda and Hanuman, have dedicated their lives to service instead of using their powers to rule over the cosmos. Garuda’s reward is immortality and a stature that is, literally, always above Vishnu.

The commonly accepted Garuda story in India is as follows. The great rishi Kashyapa was the progenitor of most life forms on the planet. This happened because  the creator god, gave him thirteen wives who were only partly human and retained many aspects of their origins from vegetation and animals. In the early days of creation. Kashyapa was a good husband but he was essentially a spiritual person. He used to retire occasionally from this excess of connubial bliss and domestic felicity to recoup his powers with meditation and tapasya. Such absences left the field open for his wives to engage in bitter conflicts with each other.

Of all the malicious strife, none was as bad as the one between Kadru, the serpent mother and Vinata, mother of our hero. Kadru was the senior wife, a socially and culturally advantageous position, and she spitefully exploited it to vex Vinata. When their oblivious husband asked them to choose a boon as to the types of children they wanted, Kadru asked for a hundred mighty serpents to be born to her. Vinata saw her chance and asked for only two sons, but they were each to be superior to the sons of Kadru. Naturally, matters only deteriorated after thisIn time, Kadru brought forth a hundred eggs from which would hatch a race of Nagas, Man-serpents. Vinata had only two eggs to console her and they seemed to be endlessly incubating. Thoughtlessly she broke open the shell of one of them and a furious divine being emerged, who had been formed only up to his waist.

He cursed his mother into slavery for so deforming him, but modified the curse so that his younger brother would redeem her. He then rose up into the sky to become Arun, the charioteer of the Sun God.  So bright was the blaze coming off him that the gods were afraid that Agni, god of fire, had decided to burn up the universe. He had the head, wings, beak and talons of an eagle, but the body of a man. His face was white, with red wings and a golden body. Since he was the son of the great sage, his wings had a peculiar quality in that every time they moved, verses from the Holy Vedas would be heard. The very presence of Garuda was thus a blessing and benediction. His immense powers were also a gift conferred upon Kashyapa by the Valkhilya rishis, supernatural beings of miniscule size but immense spiritual accomplishments.

Indra, King of the Gods, had made the mistake of laughing at them, and they set about using their powers to create a being greater than Indra, capable of going anywhere at will, mustering any measure of strength and assuming any form at will.

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Wishing All a Happy Shivratri:

Location: Haridwar, Uttarakhand India

Shiva is referred to as ‘the good one’ or the ‘auspicious one’. Shiva – Rudra is considered to be the destroyer of evil and sorrow. Shiva – Shankara is the doer of good. Shiva is ‘tri netra’ or three eyed, and is ‘neela kantha’ –  blue necked (having consumed poison to save the world from destruction. Shiva – Nataraja is the Divine Cosmic Dancer.

He is both static and dynamic and is both creator and destroyer. He is the oldest and the youngest, he is the eternal youth as well as the infant. He is the source of fertility in all living beings. He has gentle as well as fierce forms. Shiva is the greatest of renouncers as well as the ideal lover. He destroyes evil and protects good. He bestows prosperity on worshipers although he is austere. He is omnipresent and resides in everyone as pure consciousness.

Om Namah Shivaya:

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{{Om Shiva}}

Shivalingam denotes the primeval energy of the Creator.It is believed that at the end of all creation, during the great deluge, all of the different aspects of God find a resting place in the Lingam; Bhrama is absorbed into the right, Vishnu to the left and Gayatri into the heart. The Shivalingam is also a representation of the infinite Cosmic Column of fire.

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May Peace Prevail!  Om Shanti!
Let there be peace in the heavens, the Earth, the atmosphere, the water, the herbs, the vegetation, among the divine beings and in Brahman, the absolute reality. Let everything be at peace and in peace. Only then will we find peace.In some spiritual traditions this type of spiritual communication is known by words such as visualize, craft, spell, meditate, affirm or bless.There is no wrong way to pray for peace. Our intention is to engage the Divine within and without for the purpose of peace; peace for the individual,the family, the countries of the world, indeed,for all life.Prayer beads as a devotional tool are universal.The English word bead is derived from the Anglo-Saxon “bidden” (to pray) and “bede” (prayer). The use of beads to support prayer appears to have originated with the Hindus in India.
Let there be peace in the heavens, the Earth, the atmosphere, the water, the herbs, the vegetation, among the divine beings and in Brahman, the absolute reality.
Prayer beads as a devotional tool are universal.The English word bead is derived from the Anglo-Saxon “bidden” (to pray) and “bede” (prayer). The use of beads to support prayer  originated with the Hindus in India.
Today, two-thirds of the world’s population utilizes some form of prayer beads. The circular form of prayer beads has different levels of religious and psychological meanings.
In meditation, the circle draws the mind into contemplation: one uses prayer beads, ringing oneself in, thus concentrating energy. The Peace Beads are modeled on Hindu and Buddhist malas and mantra meditation. A mala usually has 108 beads or a division thereof; 54 or 27. The number 108 has ancient mystical significance in these systems.

 

Location: Tirupathi,India

Let there be peace in the heavens, the Earth, the atmosphere, the water, the herbs, the vegetation, among the divine beings and in Brahman, the absolute reality. Let everything be at peace and in peace. Only then will we find peace.In some spiritual traditions this type of spiritual communication is known by words such as visualize, craft, spell, meditate, affirm or bless.

Prayer beads as a devotional tool are universal.The English word bead is derived from the Anglo-Saxon “bidden” (to pray) and “bede” (prayer). The use of beads to support prayer  originated with the Hindus in India.

Today, two-thirds of the world’s population utilizes some form of prayer beads. The circular form of prayer beads has different levels of religious and psychological meanings.

In meditation, the circle draws the mind into contemplation: one uses prayer beads, ringing oneself in, thus concentrating energy. The Peace Beads are modeled on Hindu and Buddhist malas and mantra meditation. A mala usually has 108 beads or a division thereof; 54 or 27. The number 108 has ancient mystical significance in these systems.

Significance of Number 108.

Indian Festivals, People, Travel, Xpressions!

The Prayer Wheel : Spiritual Technology
Tibetan prayer wheels (called Mani wheels by the Tibetans) are devices for
spreading spiritual blessings and well being. Rolls of thin paper, imprinted with many, many copies of the mantra (prayer) Om Mani Padme Hum, printed in an ancient Indian script or in Tibetan script, are wound around an axle in a protective container, and spun around and around. Typically, larger decorative versions of the syllables of the mantra are also carved on the outside cover of the wheel.
Tibetan Buddhists believe that saying this mantra, out loud or silently to
oneself, invokes the powerful benevolent attention and blessings of Chenrezig, the embodiment of compassion.
Viewing a written copy of the mantra is said to have the same effect — and the mantra is carved into stones left in piles near paths where travelers will see them. Spinning the written form of the mantra around in a Mani wheel is also supposed to have the same effect; the more copies of the mantra, the more the benefit.

Location :Manali,Himachal Pradesh

Tibetan prayer wheels (called Mani wheels by the Tibetans) are devices for spreading spiritual blessings and well being. Rolls of thin paper, imprinted with many, many copies of the mantra (prayer) Om Mani Padme Hum, printed in an ancient Indian script or in Tibetan script, are wound around an axle in a protective container, and spun around and around. Typically, larger decorative versions of the syllables of the mantra are also carved on the outside cover of the wheel.

Tibetan Buddhists believe that saying this mantra, out loud or silently to oneself, invokes the powerful benevolent attention and blessings of Chenrezig, the embodiment of compassion.

Viewing a written copy of the mantra is said to have the same effect — and the mantra is carved into stones left in piles near paths where travelers will see them. Spinning the written form of the mantra around in a Mani wheel is also supposed to have the same effect; the more copies of the mantra, the more the benefit.

‘Om Mani Padme Hum’ in Sanskrit or ‘Om Mani Peme Hung’ as in Tibetan Buddhism is known to contain the essence of all of Buddha’s teachings in this magical six syllable mantra of the bodhisattva of compassion, Avalokiteshvara .

OM MANI PADME HUM purifies us at 3 levels Mind, Body & Speech and in this way liberates us from all negative karma. This Mantra is popularly known as ” The Jewel in the Lotus ” or ” The Diamond in the Lotus ” ( “mani” means Diamond , a precious jewel and Padma means Lotus flower which is the spiritual symbol of consciousness )

OM MANI PADME HUM

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Diwali: Light the Lamp of Wisdom

Diwali or Deepavali is amongst the most celebrated Indian festivals. The word Deepavali originates from two Sanskrit words ‘ Deepa ‘ which means ‘light’ and ‘ Avali ‘ which means ‘a row’. This is why Deepavali is called ‘the festival of lights’.

Each one of us has positive and negative tendencies. When we identify with the good in us, work towards something beyond our selfish interests the lower, negative tendencies fade away. Our desires get sublimated and through constant sadhana (spiritual practice) we overcome our ego and desires. The darkness of ego and desire are banished, replaced by the light of wisdom. Knowledge that we are not incomplete and limited as we think ourselves to be. But that we are that Divine Self that is free and independent of the entire world has to offer.

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Awakening of Durga..
Durga Puja is to Bengal what Ganesh Chaturthi is to Maharashtra in India – an occasion to celebrate, worship, bond together, to get festive, to exhibit one’s artistic abilities, and all in the name of the Divine Mother.
Relating to God as Mother forges a personalised relationship, strengthening the bond between bhakta and bhagvan, as between a child and mother. Celebrated as Navratri in other parts of India, these nine nights are devoted to the worship of the Divine Mother – some do it through dancing the Garba or Dandiya Raas as in Gujarat, and some do it through austerities and fasting.
Also , Mother Kundalini, the Divine Cosmic Energy that is hidden in Us ! As t Kali, Durga,Adisakti, Rajarajeswari, Tripurasundari, Maha-Lakshmi, Maha-Sarasvati! We Give  all these names and forms. Which is manifested as Prana, electricity, force, magnetism, cohesion, gravitation in this universe. This whole universe rests in Thy bosom. Crores of salutations unto thee.
O Mother of this world! Lead me on to open the Sushumna Nadi and take me along the Chakras to Sahasrara Chakra and to merge myself in Thee and Thy consort, Lord Siva.
Read more here: » Kundalini Yoga: Preface to Kundalini Yoga by Sri Swami Sivananda

Location : kalibari,hyderabad,India

Durga Puja is to Bengal what Ganesh Chaturthi is to Maharashtra in India – an occasion to celebrate, worship, bond together, to get festive, to exhibit one’s artistic abilities, and all in the name of the Divine Mother.

Relating to God as Mother forges a personalised relationship, strengthening the bond between bhakta and bhagvan, as between a child and mother. Celebrated as Navratri in other parts of India, these nine nights are devoted to the worship of the Divine Mother – some do it through dancing the Garba or Dandiya Raas as in Gujarat, and some do it through austerities and fasting.

Also , Mother Kundalini, the Divine Cosmic Energy that is hidden in Us ! As the Kali, Durga,Adisakti, Rajarajeswari, Tripurasundari, Maha-Lakshmi, Maha-Sarasvati! We Give  all these names and forms. Which is manifested as Prana, electricity, force, magnetism, cohesion, gravitation in this universe. This whole universe rests in Thy bosom. Crores of salutations unto thee.

O Mother of this world! Lead me on to open the Sushumna Nadi and take me along the Chakras to Sahasrara Chakra and to merge myself in Thee and Thy consort of Lord Siva.

Read more here: » Kundalini Yoga: Preface to Kundalini Yoga by Sri Swami Sivananda

Indian Festivals, People, Travel, Xpressions!

A Depiction Of Kali…The Dark Mother!

Picture Taken : Hyderabad,India

Kali (Sanskrit: काली,Kālī), also known as Kalika (Bengali: কালিকা, Kālikā), is a Hindu goddess associated with eternal energy. The name Kali means “black”, but has by folk etymology come to mean “force of time (kala)”. Despite her negative connotations, she is today considered the goddess of time and change. Although sometimes presented as dark and violent, her earliest incarnation as a figure of annihilation still has some influence. More complex Tantric beliefs sometimes extend her role so far as to be the “ultimate reality” or Brahman. She is also revered as Bhavatarini (literally “redeemer of the universe”). Comparatively recent devotional movements largely conceive Kali as a benevolent mother goddess.

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Gan::esha! God of planet Jupiter!

Ganesha’s head symbolizes the Atman or the soul, which is the ultimate supreme reality of human existence, and his human body signifiesMaya or the earthly existence of human beings. The elephant head denotes wisdom and its trunk represents Om, the sound symbol of cosmic reality. In his upper right hand Ganesha holds a goad, which helps him propel mankind forward on the eternal path and remove obstacles from the way. The noose in Ganesha’s left hand is a gentle implement to capture all difficulties.

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Age of Kali!

Kali’s four arms represent the complete cycle of Creation/ Destruction/ Creation/Destruction, contained within her. She represents the creative and destructive rhythms of the cosmos. Her sword is the sword of knowledge, that slices through ignorance and destroys false consciousness. She is said to open the gates of freedom with this sword, having cut the bonds that bind human beings.

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Festival..of Power..

 

Bonalu ( Telugu: బోనాలు ) is a Hindu festival for the Goddess of power, Mahakali or Kali, celebrated in Hyderabad,Secunderabad and parts of Telangana and Rayalaseema in India.[1] It is celebrated in the month of Ashada masam, in July/August. Special poojas are performed for Yellamma on the first and last day of the festival. The festival is also considered a thanksgiving to the Goddess for fulfillment of vows.
Bonam means Bojanaalu or a meal in Telugu, is an offering to the Goddess. Women bring cooked rice with milk, sugarsometimes onions in a brass or earthen pot, adorned with small neem branches and turmeric, vermilion (kunkum) or Kadi (white chalk) and a lamp on the top. Women place the pots on their heads and take it to Goddess temple, led by drummers and dancing men.
Goddess temples have names such as Mysamma, Pochamma, Yellamma, Pedamma, Dokkalamma, Ankalamma,Poleramma, Maremma, Pochamme, Maramma, Yellammma etc. and are decorated with special illumination buntings and festoons.

Bonalu ( Telugu: బోనాలు ) is a festival for the Goddess of power, Mahakali or Kali, celebrated in Hyderabad,Secunderabad and parts of Telangana and Rayalaseema in India.[1] It is celebrated in the month of Ashada masam, in July/August. Special poojas are performed for Yellamma on the first and last day of the festival. The festival is also considered a thanksgiving to the Goddess for fulfillment of vows. Bonam means Bojanaalu or a meal in Telugu, is an offering to the Goddess. Women bring cooked rice with milk, sugarsometimes onions in a brass or earthen pot, adorned with small neem branches and turmeric, vermilion (kunkum) or Kadi (white chalk) and a lamp on the top. Women place the pots on their heads and take it to Goddess temple, led by drummers and dancing men. Goddess temples have names such as Mysamma, Pochamma, Yellamma, Pedamma, Dokkalamma, Ankalamma,Poleramma, Maremma, Pochamme, Maramma, Yellammma etc. and are decorated with special illumination buntings and festoons.

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Face your fears!

Kali (pronounced kah’lee), the Hindu triple Goddess of creation, preservation, and destruction is the animating force of Shiva, the destroyer (lord of the Dance). She is the insatiable hunger of time that births then devours. Skulls, cemeteries, and blood are all associated with her worship. Kali‘s energy is uncontrollable. After killing two demons, she got drunk on their blood and began dancing on their dead flesh. She danced herself into a frenzy until she realized she almost danced Shiva to death.

The Lessons of this Goddess

Kali has begun her dance in your life to tell you it is time to face your fears. All that is lurking ominously, eithre buried deep in your inner darkness or close by, needs to be stared in the eye and brought into the light of consciousness. Are you fears serving you by warning you about dangerous places, things, or people? Or do your fears prevent you from dancing your dance, living your life, creating with Creation? The Goddess comes to tell you that your dance is needed as part of the whole Dance of Creation. Wholeness is nurtured when you reclaim the pieces of yourself that you’ve given over to fear. Most fears are formless. By naming and witnessing the fear, you gain power. Wholeness is created when you learn to acknowledge your fears and walk through them.