Companions on the Path

With regard to my previous post about creating new neural pathways, I thought I would share some practical tips on how to help with this. It can be tough to shift our thoughts away from old ingrained patterns of thinking and it can be useful to find tools that can help us to stay focused and strengthen our resolve.

I have several techniques that I like to use and they work for me but you might come up with ones of your own. However, in the spirit of sharing, I offer the following – each has become a trusty companion on my path.

As previously mentioned, I am a great fan of the mineral kingdom and I love working with crystals and stones. Many believe that crystals and minerals possess energies that can have a transformative impact upon our bodies and emotional states. Having worked with them for years, I would say that this is true but I don’t think it is necessary to believe this in order to draw benefit.

Many crystals are said to contain particular properties and there are countless books listing these but I think that although these properties can be valid, it is useful to create our own associations with each stone as we work with them. It is always good to meditate with individual stones to see what we feel about them; to really get to know them; personal associations have a power all their own because they have meaning for us.

Regardless of whether we believe that stones contain a healing energy, we can set up intensions when we work with them, using associations to give strength to our intensions. For instance, lately I have been working with a very beautiful stone called Labradorite – it is one of my favourites. I meditate with it, carry it in my pocket and even sleep with it under my pillow.


Labradorite flashes

Labradorite hiding its magic

As a stone, on first glance it looks to be a dull grey-greenish colour but when you shift it about, the light catches it and draws from it stunning flashes of colour: golds, greens, blues, indigoes, reds and oranges, on some stones even pinks and violets. Because of this ‘hidden’ beauty that is only glimpsed if your shift the angle,  I have come to associate this as a stone that helps me to remember that when life feels dull and I feel disconnected, I need only shift my own perspective to see the magic that lies beneath. It is a stone that reminds me about the power of my own mind to change my reality, and that perception is the key. This association has become so strong for me that every time I hold or look at Labradorite, my brain shifts a gear, it makes me feel physically and psychologically strong, well and happy – it has helped me to stay on track when I have felt myself slipping back into spiritual apathy. It literally works as a touchstone for a way of thinking and being that I am practising.

I also use this technique with Animals, Trees and Plants. Many people work with animal guides, tree and plant energies to help them focus on and develop certain qualities. If we stay open, we often find certain animals, plants or trees synchronistically popping up in our lives. So often, when this has happened to me and I research them, I find that they offer some help in understanding a problem I am struggling with. But we don’t need to wait for them to appear in the world outside of us; we can simply quiet ourselves and ask which animals, plants or trees might help us (you can do this with stones too) and see what comes.

I have been drawn to work with Fox for some time now; I kept seeing them outside, hearing them bark at night and they would suddenly pop into my mind when meditating or just randomly during the day. I have come to understand that Fox has been helping me to adapt to my situation and accept where I find myself – I had been feeling exiled from my sense of home and Foxes are masters at making any environment work for them.

Equally, I have worked a lot with the energies of White Willow, a tree that has a traditional association with the healing of grief; watery giants who remind me to let my emotions flow and clear out the stagnant blockages within me. And Birch too, the tree of new beginnings, the first to take seed on any area that has been cleared – after feeling that my old life had been totally dismantled, these gentle, beautiful trees have helped me to feel hopeful that I can seed a new life amongst the rubble.

And so, you can see how these beings of the stone, animal and plant kingdom can become guides when we are seeking to break free from old thought forms and create new ones. We can turn to them to strengthen our resolve and deepen our understanding as to how we can best achieve our goals. Such an approach also reminds us that all beings have value, that all creation can gift us with powerful insights that enrich our lives. I always remember to thank my companions and recognise that there is a gift of exchange in the relationship. I like to honour them as powerful teachers and give thanks for their presence in my life.

One more tool that I have found to be invaluable – which at first might not seem to be a spiritual practice at all – is exercise; when we have become stuck and want to shift our perspective, there is nothing like exercise to shake up stagnancy and lift our mood. I have practiced Yoga for years and it has been so useful in not only keeping me physically flexible but also reminding me that emotional and mental flexibility is so important too. When we are struggle with change, we can hold tension in our bodies; tension is resistance and yoga can help us to release and open and allow a greater flow in our lives, as well as helping us to relax. But I also recommend doing a little cardio vascular exercise each day, something that really gets your blood pumping. This will release happy hormones into your system, brighten your mood, lift your energy, and when this happens it is so much easier to focus positively on the changes you want to make. Not only that, exercise grounds us in our bodies, brings us right into our present moment; when we are changing our thought patterns, we also need to act on these, make them a reality in our physical world, and being present in our bodies –  in the here and now – is key to this.

I hope you will find these suggestions useful and use them to support you along the way. Explore and find ones of your own that resonate with you.  It can be hard to make changes but help is always at hand and it can come from the most unlikely places.

running girl


  1. Christine Croft said,

    September 27, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    Hello Maria, Enjoying your writing (am on Druid Thurible Alerts). We moved to Worcestershire in June and I am currently in love with Trees.
    There are some old, big and beautiful trees in the county. I talk to them
    when out walking. Will look into the Crystal thing again, as had some
    success with them in the past. Love and Best Wishes, Chris x

    • luckyloom1 said,

      October 1, 2017 at 3:54 pm

      Hi Chris, Thanks so much for your support xxx Ooh, your move sounds exciting – it’s a lovely part of the country. I hope you have settled in well. It is lovely getting to know a new home, finding the places that will become special to you. Yes, I love my crystals – I find them so helpful. Sending much love, M xxxx

  2. Carl Markham said,

    October 4, 2017 at 10:42 am

    Another wonderful posting, Maria! I’m finding how amazing how many of our thoughts, ideas and interests etc. seem to be in ‘alignment’ and this latest is no exception! ‘Sleeping stones’ for instance. I’ve been using one for years, and talk to it every night about my day and ask it to give me a good night’s sleep, with some good dreams – and it usually does! (This is the first time I’ve ‘confessed’ this to you (and the world) as I felt that folk would think I was crazy – so good to know I’ve got at least one other Ally!

    As I’ve mentioned in previous postings, I also use crystals a lot – particularly in my Reiki healing, both directly and for distance healing (the latter ‘makes sense’ when we remember that the first radio receivers were operated by just a crystal – no electric power at all, just waves of energy coming through the air from sometimes thousand of miles away to a tiny piece of quartz!

    Also – the spiritual energy one can gather by running can be just as effective as gazing at one’s navel (and/or performing a headstand)!
    I also discovered this many months ago when I read a wonderful book called ‘The Psychic Power of Running’ by Valerie Andrews which I would strongly recommend you try to obtain if it’s still in print (published by Thorsons way back in 1979) I still have my copy!

    Spiritual ‘alignment’ with animals and trees too. Sadly (some might say “hooray!” no foxes in Orkney – but plenty of SHEEP! I have a pet one called ‘Timmie’ which I bottle raised as an orphan, and can really communicate with him – at many levels. Few trees here also – so I’ve created my own wee copse! “If the will is there” etc!

    Thanks again Maria for being so inspirational to us all.

    Bright Blessings

    • luckyloom1 said,

      October 6, 2017 at 2:41 pm

      Many thanks Carl! That book sounds interesting! Must look into that! Aww, a big hug for Timmie from me – sheep are gorgeous! :0) How lovely to have that bond!

      • Carl Markham said,

        October 6, 2017 at 11:16 pm

        Timmie says thanks for your hug! He’s a big boy now, and very tame. I have a collar and lead for him and take him for walks, wich make some folk take ‘second looks’! Kids love to stroke him. Hope you have better luck than I in tracking down that psychic running book than I did with ‘Voices from the Goddess’- as Sunflower was only a contributor! Author/Editor is Caitlin Mathews (an old time friend.)Book now ‘rare’ – and costly! Warmest wishes.

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