February Thoughts

February sees the very first early signs of spring for us in the Northern Hemisphere.  The days are slowly getting longer and I have been delighted to spot the first snowdrops and know that this means the Earth is quickening, awaking from it’s winter sleep.  As the Earth awakes and prepares herself for new growth we are reminded to make plans for our own blossoming.  It is around now that I feel the urge to purge, declutter and make space for what’s to come; so spring cleaning begins.  
Imbolc Blessings
If you are still feeling the Winter blues try some of these tips to put yourself in a Spring mindset and the spring back in your step:

 

1, Get outside for a walk, find a peaceful spot and stop.  Breathe in the fresh air, look around you at nature awakening from her winter sleep.  Use as many senses as you can to experience this peaceful moment and let it refresh and energise you.

2, Sit with a journal and a cup of herbal tea – something citrusy and zingy would be good, (or whatever you like to drink).  Write a list of everything that you’re looking forward to this year.  These don’t have to be huge unattainable goals, just little things that make you happy like family celebrations, trips out, the changing of the seasons, days off, new challenges, time spent with loved ones, new books, films and music, decorating or reorganising your living space; whatever excites and enthuses you. Revisit this list when you’re feeling low to remind you of everything you love and give you a positive focus.

3, Put on some music and sing and dance, no one’s watching, let yourself go!

4, Light a candle or two (safely) to remind you of the returning daylight.  You could also try candle gazing: empty your mind, stare at the flame for a few minutes and see what imaged and thoughts drift into your consciousness.

5, Do  something creative, it doesn’t have to be a masterpiece just enjoy creatively expressing yourself: doodle, draw, paint, use modelling clay, bake, cook, write, craft, do colouring, photography, scrapbooking, sing, dance, act.  Whatever it is try to do it away from technology or social media.  You are a wonderful creative, expressive, perfectly imperfect human being and you’re looking to express that, enjoy an inner connection away from any toxicity from technology and social media.

6, Meditate.  It’s not as hard or as time consuming as you might think.  Just relax, close your eyes, take some deep breaths then spend a few minutes visualising a beautiful spring day, see the blue sky and the green plants, feel the sun on your skin and the grass under your feet, smell the grass and the flowers, hear the birdsong and insects, lose yourself in Spring… rouse yourself gently and ground yourself by stamping your feet a few times before carrying on with your day.

7, Cleanse and purify your space by clearing out the clutter.  Burn incense or open a window to let in fresh air.  To help you decide what to chuck when decluttering repeat this affirmation to yourself: ‘If it doesn’t nourish my soul, I don’t need it” – Disclaimer – Obviously be sensible here, don’t throw away your vacuum cleaner because it doesn’t fill you with joy and then blame me when your floor is dusty! But just bear in mind that we do tend to hold on to a lot of possessions for security when actually making space would make us happier.

8, Move stuff around.  Gove yourself a fresh perspective and reorganise your space.  Move furniture and decor, re-hang pictures and mirrors in new places.  Changing things up can allow you to view your ‘stuff’ in new ways, proving you don’t always have to spend loads of money on new things to refresh and re-energise your space.

9, Pick or buy yourself some flowers that cheer you.  Or if flowers are not your thing put up some artwork that you love (a greetings card or image from a magazine would do).  Repaint a wall in a colour that makes you smile, put a new cosy cushion on your chair, use a scented candle, (remember to check out charity shops for homeware bargains), wear that favourite outfit, whatever it is, do something that makes your surroundings feel nurturing and happy.

10, Spend time with people who light you up and setter conversations away from things that you find draining.  Yes we need to address important issues but talking about the state of the world today ad nauseam just exhausts and depresses you (especially without actually taking action).  If you can’t or won’t change something give yourself a break from it and focus on something positive for a while.

11, Spend time doing what you love.  Don’t feel guilty about it, you deserve it and it’s helping you be happier person, which in turn can only be a good thing for you and those around you, those positive vibes ripple out.

I hope these ideas are helpful, I’d love to know which ones work for you add anything else you find that works to lift your spirits.

Some good affirmations for February:
I am open to change.
I let go of the need to control, I am open to positive suggestions.
I will not worry about what I cannot change.
I choose to see the bright side of life
 
I Love life and life loves me.
I am open to excitement and adventure.
I choose positive change.
I remain calm and balanced in the face of challenge.
I allow spring to inspire me.
Repeating affirmations helps you to replace unhelpful thoughts with more nurturing ones.  To help you remember you could write them on pieces of paper and stick them up or set an alarm on your phone to remind you.  If these affirmations don’t resonate with you create your own.  Remember to make it positive (stating what you do want, not what you don’t want) and in the present tense as though it is already true.   Repeat as often as you need to.
Wishing you a fantastic February.
Namaste,
Steph

A Card Reading As We Head Into 2020

I’ve drawn three cards for us to think about going into 2020…

 

Dance – Find your hearts rhythm. Step lightly and swing with the melody. Close your eyes and let joy lead the way. – Telling us to go with the flow, allow ourselves to follow our heart and be happy that life is not supposed to be all hard times and challenges and even when it is there is still joy to be found.  Your hearts rhythm is your own unique vibe and it is important to get to know and love it.  

 

Partnership – Learn to grow with others.  Overcome obstacles by working together. Touch each other’s hearts while life lasts.  – This card reminds us that we are not alone, that ‘no man is an island’ and that by working together we can achieve great things.  It is time for humans to put aside old differences and co-operate in order to build a happy and healthy future for ourselves and our home, the Earth.  This seems like a daunting task but it begins with each individual in small gestures.  Forgive the person who cuts in front of you, smile at the person who serves you in a shop, help someone in a small way, find community projects to volunteer at, get friends together and have a good time – Raise each other up.

 

Prosperity – Focus on the positive and more good will come.  Give thanks for blessings and they will multiply.  Prosperity begins in the mind.  This card asks us to approach life with a positive mindset and this can be done by focusing on the good things in life.  True wealth is in the good and happy moments.  Focusing on gratitude has huge benefits for our wellbeing and also attracts more to be grateful for.

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This card reading was taken from ‘Magical Times Empowerment cards’ by Jody Bergsma.

A depth year. How I changed my clothes shopping habits.

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Last year I did what is known as a ‘depth year’, which basically means not buying new things but instead going deeper into what you already own.  People usually pick an area to focus on during a depth year such as books, clothes, make-up, tools, stationery; whatever they tend to overspend on or have more than enough of.
I chose clothes for my depth year.  I’ve never been a fashion conscious super shopper but clothes were definitely the thing I would buy for a ‘pick-me-up’ and I had accumulated more than I needed or had space for.
You choose your own rules for your depth year so my rules were:
EmojiStart the year by going through all clothes and donating/recycling any that don’t fit/suit anymore.
EmojiOnly buy new clothes as replacement for necessary staples.
Emoji‘One in, one out’ system in the wardrobe.
EmojiRepair all clothes at least once before taking to clothing bank.
EmojiWear all clothes owned, what’s not worn gets donated (excluding ‘dressy dresses’ and very seasonal clothes)
EmojiWhen shopping for replacement items look for Fair trade, eco friendly fabrics.
EmojiLook in charity shops before buying new, especially for non essential items.
EmojiNo fast fashion panic buys as a confidence boost before going out.
EmojiNo ‘retail therapy’ buys to cheer myself up (there are many other ways I can cheer myself up if needed).
What I discovered from my depth year:
My wardrobe edit at the start of the year was not thorough enough and I need to do it again and be stricter with myself this time.
Other people don’t notice very much what you’re wearing.  I might have known that I was wearing the same thing I wore last time I saw them but everyone else is busy worrying about their own appearance and not noticing mine.  If other people did notice, it wasn’t an awful thing.
I owned several pairs of jeans at the start of the year and they all got holes/ripped seams at some point which I mended at least once before throwing them away and not replacing them straight away meant I wore other things more, getting more monies worth out of each piece of clothing.  I didn’t replace every pair as I realised I don’t actually need that many.
Having less clothes in general means wearing garments more often.  This helped me figure out which brands wash well, are the most hard wearing, last longer and are therefore better value for money.
Clothes shopping became a challenge in a new and exciting way.
I looked forward to buying a new item, guilt free because I knew I really needed it.
Finding 100% natural fibres or fair trade clothing is not easy, but more high street shops are doing more of this kind of thing now due to demand. It felt good that my choices were helping to drive that positive change.
Dressing to socialise was a challenge and I had to confront some confidence issues that would normally have been glossed over by buying a new top to feel good in.  This part I admit was not easy and I did find going out feeling dressed a bit out of my comfort zone was not a great feeling but it forced me to get over myself and realise that I was going out to meet friends and have a nice time with them, it wasn’t about how I look or feel about my appearance, it was about connections with others, fun and good times.  My depth year helped me to focus on what is really important to me.
True friends couldn’t care less what you’re wearing or how you look.
I like wearing dresses but tend to wear jeans most of the time because of my lifestyle and the type of work that some of my jobs involve, but having less clothes to choose from has impressed upon me that it is still important to me to make the most of the times when I get to dress in a more expressive way and in my own individual style.
I had held on to a lot of stuff ‘just in case’ but keeping a pair of jeans I used to feel good wearing, just in case I ever fit in them again was giving me a sense of failure rather than motivation.  Ironically, getting rid of them and letting go of those pressures and expectations and replacing them with trying to accept myself as I am has put me in a much better place to approach getting healthier from.
Only owning clothes that fit and suit me now, in this moment is a more mindful and present way of being.
I feel good and a great sense of control when I walk away from what would have previously been an impulse buy.
What feels like a totally necessary and life changing garment will usually be totally forgotten about as soon as I leave the shop.
I have saved money.
I have lost the urge to shop for fun.  Shopping is still fun but I don’t feel an unhealthy need to spend to feel better.  What is fun about shopping now is going with a friend and hunting the charity shops for treasure.
Buying a few decent, well made, good quality pieces that suit me are better value in the long run than lots of cheap, poor quality, short lived fashion items.  (Better for the environment too).  I’d now rather save up and look forward to getting one thing that I will really enjoy than buy a new item every time I go out.  
Will I be carrying on the depth year into 2020?
Yes I’ll certainly keep to the rule of replacing staple items on a one in one out basis.  I’ll also be repairing garments to get more wear from them before throwing them away.  I have already treated myself to a couple of dresses in the January sale and I know I’ll love wearing them but will continue to avoid those panic buys to boost my confidence as I know in the long run, not being able to rely on those will build my resilience and force me to dig deeper into how to feel better about myself.  Reiki and mindfulness have helped a lot already and I’m grateful to have those tools on this long and winding journey of self discovery and acceptance. 
If you’re interested in doing a depth year of your own there’s lots of ideas online about it but remember you do it for your own reasons and to your own rules.  I’d love to hear how it goes for you.
Namaste,
Steph

Something to cling to in this storm.

There is so much going on in the world right now, I don’t think I know a single person who is not feeling the effects in some way.

We are physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually depleted from our unsustainable lives and the endless bombardment of negative news.

Wherever we turn we see wrongdoing, injustice and tragedy.

There is so much anger, frustration and despair and it feels overwhelming.

Being a resilient person I had until recently managed to keep myself afloat, my head above the stormy waves but the sadness and helplessness I feel at the way we treat our planet and fellow living beings and the anger at the wrong that is being done got the better of me and I surrendered to my feelings.

Once I let the wave crash on me it was really hard to drag myself back up again, but I couldn’t stay down there, it was too dark and choking and scary.

I have had to dig VERY deep to find some positives to cling to about what is going on the the world right now and thought I’d share them in case they help anyone else to keep their head above the waves:

We are seeing some really nasty stuff in the world right now, but it’s like we’ve ripped all the plasters off the wounds and have exposed the festering mess underneath.  We don’t like what we’re seeing and thats the first step to action and healing the wounds.  Better to have it all out in the open and deal with it than leave it to fester.

We are defining new standards and holding each other and ourselves accountable to them.

We are going to have to put aside differences and work together to find solutions.  As hard as that seems right now, as we move through the process we’re going to learn and get better at it.

Old ways of being aren’t serving us anymore, we’re feeling guilt and shame about the misguided ways we have been living but this is pushing us individually and collectively to find new and better ways.

We’re finally realising that our lifestyles are environmentally, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually unsustainable and not only will that inspire change but it is also leading us to realise that in contemplating life, our wellbeing and meeting our needs, we need to not only think about our own physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing but also that of other people and our impact on the Earth.  We cannot be fulfilled and content individuals while there is suffering and destruction around us.  The Holistic approach usually refers to body, mind and soul.  Going forward we are learning that this is not enough because those three elements are not going to be fulfilled if they are not in harmony with their environment and the whole world.  We are learning that every decision we make needs to be considered Holistically and in context with not just ourselves but the Earth and all life on her.

When life as we know it, our systems and processes are uncertain and proving to be failing us we feel fear and consider what the worst case scenario could be – dwelling on this can be depressing but also highlights what really matters to us.  If we could lose everything we know, what will we cling on to for dear life?  In my case this would be my family and loved ones.  If it all goes wrong and life as we know it crashes around our ears, they are the ones I would be clinging to.  That ‘deathbed thinking’ gives a new appreciation for what really matters, and if they’re the ones I want there at the end why not enjoy them to the fullest on the way there?  Obviously I’ve always known that, but dwelling under the stormy waves has given me a new appreciation for it.  Knowing who matters most in your life and enjoying them brings joy and contentment even in turbulent times.

Mirrors are held up to us in all situations.  You learn a lot about yourself if you allow yourself to acknowledge that some of the discomfort you feel about politics, the environment or injustice is because you see some of what you don’t like out there in those situations within yourself too.  And that’s ok, we are only human, we all have a certain level of selfishness, greed, the ability to turn the other way, dishonesty etc, faults are a natural part of us.  It probably sounds like a negative but being honest and real with ourselves is so important for authentic living.  Living authentically will lead us to make decisions and live in a way that suits our whole being, not just gratifying our short term wants but consciously deciding what is going to serve our highest good. Our highest good is interdependent on our impact on others and the environment.

You develop a sense of humour about it – and in my case a whole new vocabulary of swear words! Sometimes, watching the news and feeling the negativity hit you in the gut inspires a new way of expressing yourself – it’s just too hard to contain within!  I’m not sure how I feel about the new sweary me but I’m letting myself experience it for a while at least and counting it as a positive because, as I said, I had to dig really deep for these and I’ll take what I can get!

It makes you talk to others about what really matters.  It’s nigh on impossible at the moment to have light hearted chit chat with anyone about anything before something gut wrenching from one of the festering wounds comes up in conversation.  It would be easy to fall out over differing opinions so we are learning how to get along despite differences. We are also learning more about our fellow humans; what matters to them, what their passions and causes are. In these interactions I am learning to communicate from, and listen with, my heart.  It’s bought me a new level of connection with others.

You learn how to feel everything and often all at once!  I’ve always known I can feel opposing emotions simultaneously but it’s not been experienced this extensively until now!  I can feel despair and hope, anger and compassion, frustration and determination, rage and calm and I can feel them all at once and although it’s utter turmoil I can see that there’s an opportunity to grow as a person here (I have to grow to fit it all in!), and I am definitely experiencing the fulness and variety of life.

In our desperation we are seeking each other out, it feels like safety in numbers.  We’re sticking together to get through this.  Recognising our inner turmoil reflected in the eyes of others seems to bond us and we find like minded people to weather the storm with.

When all around us seems to be going wrong and falling apart we have to go inwards and find new levels of resilience and new survival tools.  These can then be shared with others and passed on to our children.

Moments of light and hope mean so much more and bring joy and relief.

Life is beautiful.  I just refuse to believe otherwise.  Life is messy, painful, unfair, cruel, full of injustice and wrongdoing but it IS also beautiful, abundant, exciting, wonderful and full of love and hope and kindness. The contrast is what creates the high definition. Better to have both experiences than neither.

 

 

So there they are, my positives, the rescuing ropes I cling to when the storm gets rough.  They’re keeping me afloat, I hope some of them offer you buoyancy too.

Namaste x

 

 

 

 

 

The Realities of Back to School Morning.

There was no first day back at school photo from me on social media this year. There wasn’t time, they just rushed out the door to the bus stop after hurriedly emptying last years books from their bags and finding the new pens and pencils I bought ages ago at the the start of the holidays, when it seemed we had so much time. Luckily the P.E. kits that I didn’t wash until Tuesday and left on the line in the rain until yesterday morning have dried. Charlie’s school trousers are wrinkled because I left it to him to put them in his wardrobe and he did it 12 year old boy style, ramming them in a screwed up ball above the rail. Harrison’s trousers are too short because although I bought him some new ones we didn’t get round to talking the old ones out of his wardrobe and he put those on this morning – there was no time to change. They’ve got the same old school jumpers which might look a bit tatty but still fit because I bought them big enough for them to grow into. (They’ll possibly still be growing into them when they leave school!) As I watched them cross the road I had a sudden pang of longing for them, and guilt laden anxiety – did I give them enough time over the holidays? Did we do enough fun things together? Did I talk to them enough about how they feel about going back to school? Have I topped up the dinner money account? Will they get in trouble for not being able to find a ruler this morning? Am I a terrible mother for not having sorted such things out ages ago? How will I adjust to not having them around all day again? The last thing they yelled to me across the road was ‘LOVE YOU!’ then they didn’t look back like they used to, just trotted off confidently in their wrinkled and ankle flapping trousers – I’m doing ok! I’m a tearful mess but ok!

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Did I make the most of these precious moments this summer?

 

Radical Self Love.

Guilt, shame, indignation, self love, sisterhood and baggy trousers – I’ve got it all going on this morning!

I have a pair of trousers that I bought last year and haven’t worn because they skim my belly. I love the colour and pattern and wide legged shape but because they show the shape of my body I’ve avoided them.

Today I am on my own so I chose to wear them knowing that no one will see my shameful saggy belly. While doing my morning Reiki self healing practice I was guided to place my hands on my belly. I usually try to avoid touching that area of my body and flinch if someone else touches it. So much guilt and shame carried around because of the stretch marks and saggy skin left behind from carrying my precious children. Which has in turn lead me to ignore and mistreat my poor body. The gentle power of Reiki helped me to see that I cannot heal within myself what I do not love. I know it’s not going to be an instant thing but I am going to make the effort to love even the saggy parts of myself.

This realisation also lead me to feel full of indignation on behalf of all women who are shamed into hating their precious bodies because they don’t look ‘perfect’. I know that the guilt, shame and self loathing that I carry is not just mine but also generations of women before me and millions of women walking the planet now, who’ve felt the same. By healing ourselves we heal the generations past and future and send healing out to our sisters to rise above all that body shaming bull$#!t.

You are beautiful inside and out. Shine on Sisters.36929116_1304581146340522_6505652968308604928_n

Bedtime Stories That Heal.

Try telling yourself a bedtime story tonight and make it a happy one about you.
If you find yourself with a lot of negative self talk going on in your head, and you seem to be listing all the things that don’t work for you, try this tip – Tell yourself happy stories about your life.
For example, today I could be telling myself: My bedroom is too hot, there’s a leak in my bathroom, my children take forever to get ready for school, my car is old and I had to run loads of errands. I had to do housework and shopping. I had to supervise the children’s homework. I worry about money. I never get any quality time with my husband… the usual stuff we moan about from time to time. But if I list the things that I appreciate and that are working for me, my Happy Story for today would go something like this: I got to wake up with my family in a cosy bed, on a beautiful sunny day. I have fresh water to drink and got to eat my favourite bread for breakfast. I am so lucky to have a car which enables me to get about. The person serving in the shop was really friendly. I had enough money to buy the food my family needs. I got to spend time listening to my favourite music while I got some chores done and I discovered a new podcast that I like. My children got home safely from school and didn’t make too much fuss about doing their homework. I am so lucky to be in a happy relationship.

You see the day was the same but the version of the story I tell myself will ultimately be what affects my state of mind.

Tell yourself happy stories and don’t forget you are the hero and the author of the story of your life.

Much love xIMG_3615

Solace in Silence.

Silence definitely feeds my soul.

Sometimes when I need to recharge I have to get out in nature and enjoy just being.  Breathing the air, smelling the earth, it’s where I can hear my soul.  The tendrils of ideas and thoughts can start to unfurl and take shape out here in the wide spaces.

No distractions, no limitations, no judgements.

Just air and earth and space.

 

 

Namaste,

Steph

Why ‘Angelic Hands’?

I’m an earthy type, I love being outdoors, and am very grounded in reality and nature so some people wonder at my business name.  The name ‘Angelic Hands’ came to me before I’d even completed my first Reiki degree.  It just popped into my head and wouldn’t go away.  I thought it a bit presumptuous (who am I to say my hands are Angelic?) so I ignored it.  Then I did a course on Angelic Healing and whilst practicing on the course leader I was meant to place my hands on her shoulders but couldn’t because I could sense that there were ‘other’ hands there.  She could sense it too and we both felt that they were Angelic.  I forgot about this as the months went by until I was doing my Reiki case studies and several of the clients would say that they had thought I was touching them in one place like their feet or shoulders but then realised that I was actually elsewhere, commenting that they’d felt more than one pair of hands.
I always call on any Angels, Guides or other Beings of Light who work for the highest good of all when I prepare for a Reiki treatment and sometimes see sparks of light where I believe these Light Beings are present and working with me and the client to bring about healing and positivity.  So the ‘Angelic Hands’ are not mine; my hands are very human, grounded, warm, caring, nurturing and sensitive but I’m not claiming to be divine! The name of my business refers to the other hands that are often present in my practice and sensed by many recipients of Reiki.  It doesn’t matter if you believe in the presence of other worldly beings for them to help.  You also don’t have to believe in Reiki or understand it for it to work, just as antibiotics work on a baby who has no concept of modern medicine and how it works in conjunction with the human body.  Obviously it helps if you believe you are going to feel better but that helps with modern medicine too and thats about having a positive mindset and the healing effect that can have on the body.
Although Reiki is often thought of as a mysterious, spiritual force exclusive to those ‘in the know’ and while it is that, it is also an everyday energy that we experience all the time without realising it, it is constantly flowing around and through us, so familiar that we rarely notice it. Reiki can be thought of as the energy that makes the heart keep beating, a seed germinate, the secret and sacred knowledge that helps animals to migrate, the seasons to change, tides to keep turning and the earth to spin.
Reiki is both familiar and ordinary and special and sacred.
The Reiki practitioner has learnt to sense and channel this energy and to channel concentrated amounts of it and deliver it in varying frequencies to various places in and around the recipient’s body.  The recipients mind, body and spirit, is familiar with this energy, that is a constant but not consciously detected presence in our existence, so that they can use the extra energy that is received during a treatment to balance and heal themselves without the recipient having to do anything.  Just as you don’t have to have faith in or understand in Theory how modern medicine works for your body to use it to heal itself, your body, mind and soul will respond to Reiki and use it to heal itself in the way that it needs to at the time.
We do not as yet have the ability to scientifically explain Reiki (although Scientists are able to detect more electromagnetic energy than two human bodies can produce when a Reiki treatment is being given from one person to another), but then there were times when we didn’t know what electricity was or radio waves are or infra red light or any of the other things that we cannot see but have developed ways of detecting, harnessing and using for our own good.  Neither do we have sufficient brain power or language to explain many wonderful, mysterious and spiritual things, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
Bearing in mind the everyday, familiar and yet sacred and wondrous nature of Reiki, it seems right that I acknowledge the presence of the ‘other’ hands that often work alongside my normal human ones when I am giving a treatment and are experienced by many recipients as well as myself.  Given our human lack of understanding about the unseen spiritual side of life and our lack of language to describe it, we all interpret our experiences differently and for want of a better word I call these ‘other’ hands Angelic.  They could be explained as spirit guides, passed over loved ones, the clients or my own higher selves, wishful thinking or a collective hallucination, but what does it matter how we explain it or describe it if it works and makes people feel better?
Namaste,
Steph img_5019

Reflection

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I’ve been experimenting with different scrying methods and also with black and white photos (I don’t have a camera so use my phone), this is a Crystal ball on a mirror.

In this crystal ball I see two people standing one in front of the other, maybe a small child in a skirt in front of them and possibly a very large wing on the left. Or is it a person sitting on a chair with a child on their lap? Tilting my head the other way I see a Dragon with it’s mouth open and a moth or dragonfly.  There’s a person walking away, obscured by one black and one white leaf. in the reflection of the ball I see a figure on the left standing in shadow and maybe another one further away. I’m not sure what the thing in the middle is – a hand pointing upwards? a church? a chiminea?

What does it all mean – if anything at all?  I’ll have to look up the meanings, meditate on it and trust my instincts.

What do you see?

Namaste