A Time to Give Back

Kyle, with the Ponte Veccio in the background (Florence, Italy)

QUICK UPDATE:

I just got back from Italy and Canada – see more photos below – and I’m raring to go with a BUNCH of new plans and projects for the season. Stay tuned and/or be in touch at CrystalConcentrics@gmail.com.

INTRO:

My Blogs can be lengthy. I have things to say. My Tweets are brief – I like them too – you should check them out as well (@CrystalsPower). In Blogs, I stretch out, pursue my thoughts to their conclusions. In Twitter, my thoughts are conclusions themselves.

In any case, this Fall is a turning point (as it always is, for most of us). The new season – academic semester, and Hebrew new year (which always begins in September or October) – together provide the perfect opportunity to refocus and prioritize. I will at once be working more on Results and on Process – and I hope to engage you in both, because our connection could accelerate our individual and collective progress (if we let it!).

Specifically, I’m going to make my knowledge & services more available, and I’m going to market them in new ways – to groups and individuals – through social networking, presentations, and direct contact.

The “ad” or banner graphic I’ll be placing here – is meant to represent that process – check it out (I’ll share it with you in due time), and contact me if interested, at CrystalConcentrics@gmail.com. Also, this site’s Contact (and Services) section has useful information you may wish to read over.

Basically, I’m identifying the What (which is: in person or remote sessions); the Why (benefits to you: groundedness, connection with Spirit, etc.); and the How (by contacting me!) of my work.

Most of my other work involves my collaboration with teams – this is more directly expressive – for me and for you.

…now for my MAIN BLOG content

A Time to “Give Back”

When I see self-satisfied celebrities thank their fans as they received awards – or publicly donate to charity – I wince at the whole concept of ‘giving back.’ For what, I ask myself. All they have was freely given them. They’ve delivered some benefit, simply by their being. Maybe their beauty provides light, or their acting is of particular interest. If not on stage, maybe they offer some other gift or talent. Ultimately, they’ve touched people with their work. If the exchange is complete – and everybody’s happy with what they got out of the deal – then where comes the surplus or motivation to return anything? Is it just vanity reflecting vanity…a kind of kickback to the audience for their hard work in lifting a star?

I have recently ‘gotten’ it, why they do that (at least some of them). I myself feel like I’m at a crossroads, and similarly inclined. It doesn’t have to be a pointless, showy transaction. The calculus – I imagine – is that the ‘successful’ person has gotten what they feel is more than enough benefit from the world – their cup runneth over – and they have something extra to share with others.

It’s not about money or fame (though again, it certainly can be). It certainly isn’t for me – having lost as much as I’ve gained – and having fought for whatever recognition I’ve earned. I’ve been lucky in my life, though – in more ways than I can count, and with some consistency – though I continue to have my fair share of tribulations.

Extraordinary Papal resting place, above a door way, with Death plunging through marble fabric, holding an hourglass of time, and passing easily through the veil between worlds! (at St. Peter’s, Vatican City, Italy)

I stand – even as I perceive the extreme fragility of life and circumstance – at a mid-life OASIS (as opposed to a mid-life crisis). At least according to the averages – I have lived half my life – and am looking ‘over the hill,’ but I’d like to think: from its top! Rather than lamenting what I haven’t done (or achieved), I’m relishing the opportunity to use my remaining time to reflect myself even more fully into the world…sharing more aspects of myself – hoping to reach a place of expression I can feel great about later – when all is said and done.

I’ve been around – literally – to 3 continents and probably 100+ cities…and have walked amongst many different types of people. I constantly feel like my work is never done – like I could always do (or have) – more…most of us solopreneurs do suffer from this angst. Yet I do have the basic attributes of an American Dream fulfilled: home, spouse, children. I don’t have a lot of material possessions (maybe stones, I do have lots of them), but I’ve pretty much been able to get by and have what I need to get through. My immediate and extended family have been generous, and I’m not lacking for connections there.

For someone who had cancer, as a young man (and thought living past 30 was unlikely), I’ve had a full life. I’m grateful to be approaching my 25th year of self-employment, still pursuing my Muse, and daily unearthing new and fulfilling revelations about Life, Body, Mind, and Spirit.

To that end, I’ve always collected amazing stones, whenever I could: at gem shows, hikes, gift shops. My collection is substantial – and rivals, for my own practical purposes – what I’ve seen for sale at any given display ‘out there.’ It may not be worth – on the open market – what some minerologists have going, but energetically, it can do more for the world than I have it doing for me alone…and it ought to!

That’s why now – and stretching back into earlier 2012 (which makes it 25 years since I was turned on to crystal power) – I’m writing a book to capture the philosophy of my belief system. In it, I explore how this work is not about Science, or even Health, per se – but per my graphic above (to show a cycle of Earth, Body, and Spirit) – it’s about bringing in Spirit from the Earth, and allowing both to more fully participate in our daily life experience.

In addition to my main site: www.CrystalConcentrics.com, I have the Twitter account mentioned above (@CrystalsPower), and both a Profile (Crystal Concentrics on Facebook – using the name Crystal Powers – at http://www.facebook.com/CrystalConcentrics) and a Page on Facebook (Crystal Concentrics Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Crystal-Concentrics/149848836492). I flood these with semi-daily pithy insights, as well as with posts from my new Crystal Concentrics Pinterest profile there: http://pinterest.com/crystalspower/.

Outstanding Argentine Rhodocrosite, from my Pink Stones board on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/crystalspower/pink-stones/

I like Twitter for its simplicity – and how it forces us to convey only the basic – most important things about how we feel.

I like Facebook because I think I can reach more people that way, and more substantively (because it integrates Shared links really well).

And Pinterest is unrivaled for image sharing…I’ve even created a not-just-stone oriented KRucialArts profile on Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/krucialarts/.

Now quickly, I’d like to share with you the What‘s and Why‘s of Crystal Concentrics.

The What is Sessions – individual or with groups (live or long distance) – meditative, instructional, and/or intentional. The Why are the list of Benefits you can expect from this work: increased Awareness, groundedness, connection with Earth and Spirit; a way to think about the condition of your body and health, as well as methods for interfacing with illness; release of untapped energies and the elevation of your imagination, to experience a natural high without medication. The How is ME – this modality – just give me a call or email CrystalConcentrics@gmail.com, so we can set something up and explore these possibilities together.

North African marble, on felled column (Pallatine Hill, Rome, Italy)

Lastly, I’d like to share with you some pertinent Boards I set up on Pinterest, since my return. First there’s ‘Archi-Texture in Stone’ (http://pinterest.com/crystalspower/archi-texture-in-stone/) where I share the MANY different ways in which stone shows up fascinatingly, not just visually, but in shape and contour…providing you a sense of the energy of rock in daily life (through the ages). I found a particularly large number of examples of this in Italy, where the use of stone has (also) preserved ancient civilizations for millenia. From tall and ruined structures to steps and bridges, even hand railings were made of stone…and all had such an amazing look and feel, possible only in such a well traveled nation(?).

Worked Stone is another Board I’ve just begun to build up: http://pinterest.com/crystalspower/worked-stone/. It’s more about the interesting and functional things people have done with rock through construction and ornamentation.

Stone of organic source and appearance, Creemore center (Ontario, Canada).

In closing, I’d like to share with you this image taken in Canada – where (north of Toronto) – there is what is called ‘the escarpement:’ an area that was once covered by seas, and has a lot of organically sourced stone. I like it because it’s not only clear that it was made up of living material at one point (you can sometimes find fossils), but the stone itself takes on organic shape, like a sponge, or some other living thing, here contrasted with some living succulents.

It isn’t about the Stones alone, though. They’re pretty and interesting – whole industries have arisen out of their aesthetics (gems & jewelry) and functionality (Architecture, construction) – but it’s the energy of particular pieces…the Power Stones, that are of interest to me…and I will endeavor to have them become increasingly of interest to you!

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Return to Dust(?!)” or “back to the rock”

So after a year of having it on my list (of things to do), I’ve posted my ‘availability’ in the www.SpiritOfChange.org (a New Age magazine’s site) Alternative Health Directory.

Availability to do what (you may ask)?

Here’s how it reads (about Crystal Concentrics):

“Whether you’re intrigued by what you’ve read in books, or are curious to get some direct experience — you feel drawn to the stones and would like some direction — I have years of experience (and an extraordinary collection of power stones) to help you benefit from Layouts, Placements, the creation of Sacred Safe-Space, and Therapeutic Percussion. This work is ideal for life changes or Spiritual rebooting, Renewal and focus Meditation, as well an unusual support for healers to re-energize. Give a call or shoot me an email. I’d be glad to discuss the opportunity with you.”

It always feels like a stretch, to put myself out there in this way: “what if people ‘find out’ – what will they think?” In myself, I don’t care – it is what it is – and I know what I know. If it can’t hang with it, move on.

I’m doing this not for the naysayers, but for the yay sayers, and I know there’s more (of ‘you’) out there than I think. I’ve built a musical database of 15,000 contacts+, ’cause that’s where I’ve put my energy. Where you water, that part of the garden grows.

I may be nurturing this ‘plant’ inside, and that’s great – to be in connection that way – but what about my legacy. Is it really fair for me to ‘go to my reward’ without having made every effort to ‘share my brownies’ (as says my business mentor Fabienne Fredrickson would say).

Some ‘brownies’ are for the Belly; some for the Mind; and some for the Soul. They’re not all gonna look the same. You can’t put them all on a shelf in a storefront, or even make them available Online.

Everyone reaches a point in their life where they’ve got to take a leap of Faith. For some it’s by Choice; for others, by Necessity; and still others are sought out: ‘Chosen’ if you will (as I was…it’s a long story). Something I read in the Prayer Book at High Holidays about “the chosen are those who choose,” a weird tautology by which you cannot be selected unless you self-select…you opt-in (like you would for a Newsletter list).

“The Universe cannot hear your call if you do not open your lips and make that call aloud – and clearly – for whatever it is that you want” (another paraphrase of Fabienne’s). These “truths” are self-evident, written mostly in self-help books (and was it the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence?). Indeed these sentiments are sourced in Scripture and Religion. But we need to hear them over and over again for it to sink in – the truth of it – never mind converting that intrinsic knowledge into action.

That’s the hard part, taking even the first step, taking a stand! Like the people conducting Occupy Wall Street (G*d bless them for putting themselves out there, at the risk of putting themselves in jail…I did that years ago: got rounded up for protesting Apartheid). But someone has to (or ought to) do it, and the more of us take Personal Responsibility for making happen what we know is right, the more likely the world will be to be “set right.”

Some think Revelation can only happen once we set things ‘right’ – here on Earth – currying favor with ‘The Father’ (and I mean that in the least Patriarchal way possible), and bringing closer the ‘Return of the Messiah’ (if that’s even a belief – or motivation – for you).

The more Existential among you – even if Religious – may feel we have no control over Judgment – the Apocalypse (if that’s what we’re in for) – will happen when it happens. In either case, we’ve got to mind our knitting, ‘do what we have to do’ – not in the lowest sense of the phrase – but in the highest, loftiest sense of it.

All that being said, as we approach the thinly veiled time of Halloween; All Saints Day; the anniversary of my own mother’s passing, I invoke the phrase “ashes to ashes…”

We all return to the Earth, whether as a lifeless body, or up in smoke (if we’re cremated). Our component elements are returned to the ground or the ethers, and that unique thing called our Spirit, or Soul, either dissipates forever; is transmuted into something else; or lives on, retaining some semblance of the identity exhibited while lodged in our person.

Enter my argument regarding the original and eternal nature of stone – it was here before us (though not in the same way as the Creator, who supersedes – and includes – all physical manifestation) – and stone will be here after us. There’s something reassuring in this knowledge. We “come back to the rock” – like a home base – or that place in the game “tag,” where you’re safe (if you’re touching it).

I had some rocks I wanted to show you – but they’ll have to wait – I’ve realized this Blog post is free standing, and that’s how it should be out there. I’d hoped to write less this time around, but it’s been some time since the last Post, so maybe I’m making up for lost time. I’d also hoped this Blog process would be The Book I’m going to write this year (ie. over the next 11 months anyway), but I realize – and so it should be – that this process is different, and should have its own identity…I can work out the book and bring you other updates independently…hope you’ve enjoyed reading, and I welcome your positive feedback.

Why Rock and Why Now?

Why Rock…and Why Now?

To start with a Religious Tradition – since that’s most people’s “gateway drug” into (or away from!) Spirit – you might know (or want to know) that in Judaism, there is an annual celebration of The Trees. It’s called Tu B’Shvat…and yes, I’m talking about the actual “arbors” growing tall and green, particularly in the summer, and out of doors.

trees in autumn

Trees in Autumn (c/o Google Images).

If that’s acceptable, and Christians have adopted the pre-Christian tradition of creating a shrine with a pine at Christmas, then why shouldn’t there be an annual “turn-over” time for “The Stones,” or Rock? I’m not talking about bringing a cairn indoors (though I do take one specific New Hampshire smoky onto my porch at this point in the year). The idea is not necessarily to create a ritual or celebration for the occasion (though both are certainly in order!).

What I’m talking about is sensing and acknowledging a particular time of the year for its unique, transformative quality, and pairing that time period with the bedrock and craggy backdrop of our lives. Rock is beneath our feet, all around us in the hills, and above us in the highest mountain peaks.

Not to be spooky, but this recently snapped image of tombstones reminds me of how they're employed to signify the eternal memory of a gone soul, and yet the grander context - the eternal cliff behind them - bears testament to why we even choose grave stones to be remembered by...they'll always be around (photo by Kyle Russell).

I’m proposing that this begins within days of October 20th. Maybe that’s on account of my living in a place – New England – that’s truly witness to the 4 seasons. The harvest time is pretty much done, and Halloween (or All Souls Day) is nearly upon us.

The Pagans previously (and still) – as well as the Christians (in a secular capacity) mark a time when “the veil” is thin between the worlds, and spirits are to be pacified with treats (or offerings), lest they turn on (or trick) us. Hence: the festival of “trick or treat.”

Rock (yes, down to those small pebbles we trod on outdoors) predates every human imagination by innumerable eons. How can we pretend to be more important than them?

This vocanic plain in Galapagos symbolizes the original rock face of the planet, and being relatively "young" geologically, it shows - as do everything from earthquakes to tsunamis - that the earth is still in geological flux (photo by Kyle Russell).

I don’t mean to anthropomorphize – as if the hills had eyes – but I’m simply trying to attempt to identify the strata of rock as a whole to be a witness, an entity considerable in and of itself, as materially AND spiritually significant.  If time were a test of meaning, value and significance, surely our paltry spot on the historical time line would sideline us as being irrelevant, except, perhaps, for our unusual capacity (as a species) to bring the planet to its untimely (and undeserved) demise.

I realize the human race has MANY other redeeming qualities, which make it’s relative newness to the scene pale by comparison with the wonders the human race is capable of. Our capacity for love, thought, language, and compassion are paramount. But that’s not my focus here.

...from an aptly named emporium's entryway (photo by Kyle Russell).

As you can see from the title of this posting, I ask the question: Why Rock? And the name of this Blog? It’s Crystal Concentric. It’s a long story, but I’ve become a bit of a rock hound, and more than that, have been exposed to the notion (eegads!) of “Crystal Healing.” Which means, for the purpose of this particular “chapter” of my expression, that I take rock more seriously than merely as something to walk over.

More to come on the “Why Rock?” but now for some more on “Why Now?” The latter is timely (necessarily), the former is timeless. If time is the current moment, every other moment – past and future – partakes of the timeless.

As in the case with the ground itself (which is a blending of organic – dead, previously living matter – and the inorganic worlds), the first frost is “felt” deeply everywhere the Mercury dips down towards freezing. It’s a logical, scientifically measurable happenstance. Earth and stone get colder when the sun shines less on them. They “feel” different, even to our touch.

Plant growth is halted by the oncoming season - the leaves turn read - only the rock face stays constant (photo by Kyle Russell).

The longest day has passed and daylight is waning. No longer is stone a repository of the Sun’s heat (even during the day). It’s every mammal for itself – reptiles and fish will go dormant – many birds fly South. The leaves fall, and most plants will withdraw energetically into themselves. The stone – which remains (as it always has) – is the enduring foundation of the world. Through all the seasons, though it’s eroding gradually, it remains a constant nonetheless.

From a macro perspective, the world itself is an orbiting rock, a great big stone with a molten core, rotating around an even bigger, all-molten fireball of elements. Yet our planet is blue from afar, holding water on its surface. The water is shared in a give and take with the atmosphere. Life is safe (or in any case IS) here. As far as we know (scientifically), this is the only spot in the cosmos capable of hosting Life. That would make this great big rock we live on (and all its component pieces) a kind of significant phenomenon, well worthy of note.

Earth from Space (c/o Google Images).

I heard an interview on NPR with the author (Leslie Marmon) of  “The Turquoise Ledge,” and she mentioned the possibility that extraterrestrial life might have evolved differently elsewhere, choosing to lodge itself in mineral form instead of organically (to thus be more hearty over time and distances), but we wouldn’t think to look there (in stones) for signs of intelligence). Yet don’t we keep time with the steady vibration of quartz? And aren’t all computer components made up of earthly extracts?

Truly, the chance of there being extraterrestrial life is much higher than the likelihood of there NOT being extraterrestrial life (given the number of suns, planets, and galaxies out there). But the power of stones does not rely on the possibility of there being extraterrestrial, or perhaps even terrestrial intelligence lodged inside them. Nor does it rely on the perception of G*d (however defined) – or any holy books – to ascribe value or meaning to it. We hold THESE truths to be self-evident.

Goddess in Stone at Kripalu Institute (photo by Kyle Russell).

If G*d created us in “his,” “her,” or “it’s image,” then surely stone has got to be a primary key to that reflection.

The mere fact of the earth’s rocky crust being the foundation of everything we see and know, even as we gaze out towards the heavens, is intrinsically meaningful (and I would argue: valuable + spiritually salient).

The food we eat is organic, to be sure, but chock full of vitamins and minerals, which are technically non-living elements. All that is can be broken down to these elements – excepting spirit, our sense of meaning, G*d – and the energies that move the atoms within and betwixt one another.

Where do we draw the line between the fixed and the moving – the Creator and the created – the animate and the inanimate? Why is a galloping horse alive and the wind is not? That is not really a question for this (semi-)“treatise,” but it’s a valid one nonetheless, and one worth at least posing here (although just in passing).

Let us come back to “civilization” for a moment. Where does oil come from, all plastics, precious metals, gems and jewelry…things that make the world economy go round and round (and surround our artificial lives in nearly every way)? The earth, that’s where they come from.

What is the Lost City of the Inka if not a montage of painstakingly carved and laid stones (photo by Kyle Russell).

And what is the hardest, most solid, most eternal concretization of the earth’s image (or identity)? It’s stone.

Coming back again to society, where do we live? Figments of our imagination: architectural concepts are realized with iron beams, poured concrete particulates, hewn cliffs and quarries made habitable. The greatest skyscrapers and cathedrals are made of what?

What is the remaining vestige, for all to see, of the great pyramids, the Maya, even the Temple of Solomon…all are stone, all are rock.

So without getting into any additional spiritual conversation or overlays – discussing the potential personal utility of “power stones” to effect any kind of “change” in our lives – let us end this first communication by resting our case: that rock is worthy of a second look, not to be taken for granted, and certainly not to be trifled with.