Shamanism: An Ancient Recipe for Modern Living

Shamanism - an ancient recipe for modern living

Jean felt lost. While she was a student there was always the next class to attend or assignment to be done. Her life was  structured by her timetable and tasks to complete. Now that she had graduated life had changed. There was no structure determining her next moves. She was anxious and felt insecure; that she had been set adrift with nowhere and everywhere to go, with no rudder to steer her.

She didn’t know it then, but her life was about to change. As she scrolled through her Facebook feed, she saw posts that ignited her curiosity. The posts were about Shamanism and practices.

Jean Today

You wouldn’t recognise the same Jean today. She has a presence that tells you she knows herself well and will fearlessly pursues the things that she is passionate about. Jean hasn’t just achieved goals that she has set herself, she is tuned in to her environment, compassionate and aware of others and is true to her values. She is confident, self-assured, and above all, happy.

Shamanism

Contemporary shamanism draws from the ancient practices of indigenous cultures across the world. Shamanism is not a religion, but a spiritual way of life that embraces all the practicality of daily living. Jung travelled the world observing indigenous cultures. He observed great similarities shared by cultures that had never had contact with each other. Subsequently, modern psychology has created modalities for treating patients based on his observations. Contemporary Shamanism goes further in that it gives you the tools to live consciously aware; to know yourself well and create a lifestyle that reflects your true nature.

It is a common theme in many people’s lives that they lose confidence, feel unworthy, lost and unsure like Jean. Many also find themselves repeating the same pattern repeatedly; often becoming worse with each cycle. Jean attended several private sessions that in turn dealt with the causes of her lack of confidence and direction. Conditioning from childhood experiences (wounding), ancestral patterns, soul’s journey and past lives all contribute to how we are in the world. With the help of a shamanic practitioner, these were discovered and brought to the light and transformed. In this way, Jean was relieved of the burdens of conditioning and past experiences and could step forward and express her true self.

Self-Empowering

This may sound rather daunting as it sounds radically life-changing; and it can be! However, Shamanic practice is a self-empowering process where you are completely in charge and learn as you grow and change. Shamanism is a many faceted concept and you will be attracted to the things that will resonate with you most. To give you a better idea, this is Jean’s experience.

Jean’s Journey

# Visioning workshop

Jean needed to find some direction so she decided to attend a shamanic workshop with the intention of creating a vision of her future. She was immersed in a safe and sacred space with others with similar intentions. As the workshop progressed, she became fascinated by how the ritual, symbols in many forms, and the Sacred Circle of Whole Consciousness spoke to her, her truth and helped her to vision what is possible in her life.

# Personal Sessions

After the workshop, Jean was aware that she was feeling quite anxious about some aspects of her vision and that she couldn’t bring them to reality. She decided to have some personal sessions. Each session was focussed on a vision that she wanted to achieve; confidence, assertiveness. During each session, she felt healed; that ‘blocks’ had been transformed into the light aspects that she desired, and were now part of her.

# Everyday Living

A core principal of Shamanism is to be consciously aware – in the present moment. As she learnt more about Shamanism, Jean learnt tools for everyday living. She learnt to stop regularly during the day to be mindful, to notice the small things that are usually missed and recognise them as signs of synchronicity. She remembered the ‘rules’ that are congruent with the Shamanic Way – The 8 Ways, channelled by Heather Price – to keep her on track.

In this way, Jean became who she is today – her authentic self. She is confident, happy, fulfilled and positive.

What about you?

Are you living life the way you want to? Do you feel that you are comfortable being yourself in all situations, or do you put on a mask and act as though you must be someone else in the theatre of life? Are you confident and happy? Are your relationships loving and caring?

Life is too short to not be confident and happy in the way you live it. Although changing the way it is now can be daunting, the outcome of change – transforming it – is beautiful as it brings the gifts of confidence, joy and peace and you become the best that you can be.

The added bonus of Shamanic practice is that it not only supports you with vital tools for living. It provides you with ‘culture’; a depth and richness to life that otherwise may not be there, as rituals, symbolism and conscious awareness bring colour and deep meaning to daily life.

If you would like to know more, please explore my website and any questions, please contact me.

Injalak

How Shamanic Journey Helps Solve a Dilemma

 

Confused ideas and choices entangled stops the flow forward

Confused ideas and choices become entangled and stop the flow forward

Angela’s heart was racing. Her chest contracted and fire burnt from her heart down her arms. Her throat was closed and tight. She wasn’t sure why this was happening, but she had been told it was a panic attack. She realised that for some time she had been worrying over changes she would ultimately have to make in her life and she was becoming more anxious as time progressed. She had heard about the gentle process of  a shamanic journey and how it would empower her to make her decisions.

When Angela came to see me, she was distressed. She was experiencing panic attacks and felt that her world was going to collapse. All this, because she couldn’t make a decision about what her next move would be. Either way, she felt that she would lose; that the change involved would be frightening and challenging. She wanted clarity. She wanted to be able to decide what was best for her from her heart – with confidence and courage.

Angela decided to have a session where she would be guided on a journey within. By journeying within, she would be able to explore the different scenarios of her choices and gain a true feeling about how each one would impact on her – without the distraction of her fearful brain. She would be fully supported and safe as she was guided on the journey.

Injalak

Angela was concerned that she wouldn’t be able to journey; that her brain would stop her with too many thoughts. I supported Angela as she constructed a clear intention for her journey to ensure it would be purposeful. She breathed deep and slow and relaxed. With my guidance and the company of her spirit guides, she journeyed deep into the earth; into a cave.

After her journey, Angela was both surprised and enlightened by her experience. She said that as she visited the nooks and crannies of the cave in her journey, her experience showed her the reality of each of her possible choices. She hadn’t expected to be so connected with her feelings during the journey. She now felt confident with a clear vision of what she truly wanted to achieve and had new creative ideas to grow.

Before her experience, Angela was torn between several choices. She couldn’t decide what to choose because her fears and fearful brain were cluttering her mind, stopping her and leaving her more confused than ever. As time progressed, this became worse and was a continual assault upon her life. When she decided to act, a weight was taken off her shoulders.

The process of the Shamanic journey was gentle and supportive, boosting her confidence and understanding of who she truly is, and opened the way to a new chapter in her life.

When you want to make changes in your life – you feel stuck and yet want to move forward – you don’t have to do it alone. Shamanic journeys provide gentle guidance for you to find your way, and put your vision into action.

If you would like to journey with my guidance, please contact me. I offer private sessions, group healing circles and meditation.

How to clear mind chatter and make space for useful thinking.


mind chatter

Jenny was stressed. She had several projects on the go and the added challenge of organising a family dinner with her partner’s relations. So many thoughts overloaded her mind, with some going around and round creating ‘thought demons’; each demanding attention. There was no space left for thinking clearly about any one thing. She felt she wasn’t capable and was overwhelmed by the constant mind chatter and her anxiety was at a peak.

Jenny decided that this wasn’t good enough for her since she wasn’t enjoying life, so she followed the steps that I’m going to give you here.

These steps are the beginning of a lifetime habit that will quieten mind chatter and make space for clarity, problem solving and creative thought.

  • Make a commitment to invest some time in changing your monkey chatter.
  • Recognise when your mind chatter appears – make a note of what it is.
  • Mind chatter loves attention – don’t fight it. Acknowledge it and change it.
  • Prepare for transformation – ready yourself with positive thoughts (affirmation) to replace the negative busy ones.
  • Create your vision of how you want to be – Have an image of how you are when thinking is clear and productive. It is helpful to have a symbol you can bring to mind easily.
  • Practice – Each time you notice mind chatter, visualise your symbol and say your affirmation.

“But I’m in a hurry”, you say. “I don’t have time for this!”

The truth is, you don’t have time for the mind chatter either. It’s unproductive. By dedicating a relatively small amount of time to commit to and practice this different way of thinking, you will find it will become an automatic reaction to mind chatter and your mind will have the space to problem solve and create.

Why not make a date with yourself today to begin practicing being in charge of your thinking brain?

 

 

Shamanic Wisdom ~ Walking in the East with Spirit.


horse - symbolism

I woke up feeling sad this morning.

The reason for it is one I don’t need to share except to say that it involves the behaviour of another…. and discussing it is not an option at this time. So, what to do? I could, as I have in the past, spiral downwards, become more upset and try to manipulate the situation with my emotions, or I could draw upon all my Shamanic wisdom and resources and be responsible for myself and my reactions.

How I took action.

I decided that the best thing to do was go for a walk. Walking shifts the energy in my body while it gives me the opportunity to ask Spirit to help me out. In the past, I would have indulged in my thoughts; they say this, they said that and I felt this and that etc. and in this way, put things into perspective in my mind. I would become very emotional and allow my emotions to fully expand and explode. Now I find I do it somewhat differently. Today I stepped out calling upon Great Spirit to help me with this situation; to put it into perspective and show me what to do and how to be.

On the Sacred Circle Map, I was walking in the East; in Spirit. Previously I would have been in the South, indulging my thoughts or the West with my emotions or maybe in the North looking for practical solutions. The North was helping me out with physical activity of walking to help me connect with Spirit. This means that I was walking mindful of my surroundings with my mind quiet and the issue resting with Spirit. I breathed in the air, the scents, sounds and sights and felt and acknowledged the great sadness within me, while feeling gratitude for the beauty around me.

Message from Spirit.

When I arrived at the field where beautiful horses graze, I found my solace. Today there were five horses (the number for my name) – usually there are four. Four of the horses were standing facing away from me in the shade. Sitting on the warm gravelly sand next to the small pond was a dapple grey looking straight at me, as though to say, ‘Yes, this is it! Take note!’ Then he proceeded to lie down and relax in the warm sand, then sit up and look at me again. Then he did it again but this time he turned his tummy to the sky and lavishly wriggled in the sand before sitting and looking at me again.


Horse symbolism

The Meaning.

When receiving messages, it is important that you have a clear intention in the first place so that you know what it is referring to! Today I stepped out calling upon Great Spirit to help me with this situation; to put it into perspective and show me what to do and how to be. Here was a clear message to ‘Chill out and relax!’ Tummy to the sky – vulnerability – I’ve allowed myself to be vulnerable and this is important; now things will have the opportunity to shift. Sitting by the pond – look at your reflection; know who you are and what you want that will serve your higher good. Also, be aware of the other’s reflection – it is different from yours. Take care of yourself, enjoy and relax. Horses are earthy and grounded. They take us on journeys as they take us for a ride. They are playful, intelligent, independent and yet giving. These are qualities that I also bring into my message.

Further along the track, a little stick called me to pick it up. It is a beautiful wand and reminds me of the magic within me and that I am responsible for making the magic happen.

Wand symbolizes the magic.

Conclusion

On my return journey, the horses had dispersed and were munching grass in the sun. I had my answers and will take time to allow myself to process how they will manifest from in my life.


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Walking in the East:

  1. Make a clear decision that you are going to walk with Spirit and that you will release your mind/brain.
  2. Set a clear intention.
  3. Walk mindfully, noticing if your brain engages in deep thought. If it does, thank it and tell it you are looking at nature in this moment.
  4. Notice what grabs your attention and take in all the details.
  5. Sit quietly, breathing into your belly and this will help you absorb the meaning that arises from the symbols you’ve collected.

Collecting Colour Reveals Hidden Treasures.


Rene and Priscilla digging out 'yellow dye' roots.

My recent journey to the Northern Territory promised to be an adventure but turned out to be so much more than I ever could have imagined or hoped for. The outward purpose of the journey was to learn about how fibre is processed and weaving techniques while immersed in indigenous culture, but the purpose for my world within would be the powerful outcome of the journey.

Collecting Colour in the Bush.

My adventure begins with collecting colour. Priscilla is our guide and as she sits in the front seat of the four-wheel drive, her sharp and practised eyes are scanning the bush for signs of plants that will become dyes for our fibre. The bushland here is different from where I live in Queensland and the types of trees seem to be in pockets; changing as we drive along.

Priscilla directs us to the visitor centre where she knows there are some ‘pink dye’ plants. Armed with bags, we set off into long spindly dry looking grass with bunches of tiny seeds at the top. This is what we are collecting to make pink dye. When we have collected as much as we can find, Priscilla uses the shovel to show us how to harvest the roots. As they are lifted, the shovel grazes the surface to reveal a rich red/orange colour. Such beauty hidden in the earth! These roots will make ‘brown dye’.

This is only our first stop in collecting colour, but already I have the sense that this is so much more than the ‘outer world’ story I am telling here. I am aware that whereas before I wouldn’t have noticed the little black seeds, my eyes are open and are keenly seeking them out. I am aware of the environment around me and how my body feels as I work with my companions. I am grateful for the feeling of awe when I see the truth of the colour of the roots as they are lifted from the earth.

Driving on towards Gunbalanya eyes are peeled for kapok trees with their spindly tall thin trunks with green pods riding at the ends of the branches. “There’s some! … and some more!” …  but I can’t see them! It isn’t until we stop and walk a little way from the road that I see what has been described to me and now they appear everywhere.

Harvesting is as easy as shaking the tree or pulling the branches down and plucking the pods – that is, unless they have been colonised by stinging green ants. I noticed that the pods on this kapok plant look rather ‘hairy’, being covered with the ants, and Priscilla is timely in rescuing me from their stings as she says it’s better to choose one with no ants!

With a dilly bag full of kapok, we are now looking for yellow dye; the root of another spindly looking plant with yellow flowers. In the Northern Territory heat digging out the roots is no easy task, but we dig down to the roots and follow their contours to chop out the biggest parts. Black dye comes more easily in the shape of shiny green leaves nearby.

 


Kapok pods

Crushing kapok seeds turns the white fibre inside bright yellow.

Roots of 'pink dye' plant

Kapok Pods

The white fibre and seeds from inside the pods are crushed exposing a brilliant yellow colour.

Sylvia is chopping ‘pink dye’ plant roots for brown dye.


Cooking up dye

Pink Dye -photo Renee Bahloo

Dyes simmering over the fire

Dye cooking on the fire.

Pink dye seeds. Pink dye cooking on the fire and pink dyed pandanus fibre.

Yellow dye and green dye cooking on the fire.

Connections are being made. With the Earth, the plants, each part of the plants and so too we are connecting with each other; local women, guide and adventurers. Helping each other, watching, listening, learning, accepting, enjoying each other’s joy and enthusiasm; sharing heart connection.

Treasures Revealed

Being out in the bush collecting these resources was new to me; different from the walks I love to take in the bush. We were there with a clear intention, and the dyes we would be able to make depended upon what we found and could collect. But it wasn’t only the feeling of achieving our purpose and learning about the plants and how to collect.

Driving past nondescript bush and taking it for granted is no longer an option. I know there is a treasure trove of things to be discovered there! I have acquired an acute awareness of ‘being’, of feeling grounded and feeling connected to the land and people. It is as though the very earth has become ingrained in my spirit and will stay with me forever.

My recent journey to the Northern Territory promised to be an adventure but turned out to be so much more than I ever could have imagined or hoped for. The outer world purpose of the journey was to learn about how fibre is processed and weaving techniques while immersed in indigenous culture, but the purpose for my world within would be the powerful outcome of the journey.

Interested in Rene Bahloo’s journeys? You will find all the information about her workshops and journeys to Arnhem land on her

website: http://weavery.com.au/ or join her on

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/weaverywork

Injalak Arts has cultural information: http://injalak.com/

Look out for my next story of Arnhem Land !

Blessings to you

Betsy

 

Raging Waters Have Symbolic Meaning

Have you ever noticed how the nature reflects the pattern of your life?

Have you noticed how the weather affects your moods?

The recent deluge of rain caused a very significant flash flood in our local creek with the water inundating the park and walking track. Tonnes of gravel was shifted from the creek bed to cover the path and river sand covered the park. Trees had been undermined by the force of the water and some had fallen. Their branches and other debris remained where the water had left them; choking the bridges and wrapped around the plants and posts that had caught them.

As I walked down the path after the event, I felt the great power that had been unleashed and I knew that this was significant for my life. I felt like a weight had lifted from my shoulders and the emotional confusion that I have been feeling had been washed away.

When you walk in conscious awareness you come to notice everything around you and you notice significant things; symbols that will add meaning to your life. The unconscious part of our brains is many times larger than the conscious part and we aren’t able to access this information directly. When we dream our brain waves have slowed down allowing messages in symbol form to rise to our conscious brain. This is why dreams often entertain us with their funny or fearful stories. In the same way that we can interpret these dream symbols, we can also interpret the symbols that we notice through conscious awareness.

To walk in conscious awareness, I first decide upon a question or a problem that is troubling me and ask for guidance around it during my walk. I ground myself, breathe, call my guides, and ask my question. ‘What can my walk tell me about what has been happening in my life?’ I then walk, with my mind relaxed and open to anything that presents itself.

The day after the flood there were several significant things that presented them to me. Water is often described as symbolic of emotions. As I have mentioned already, the atmosphere, the energy surrounding me, was very powerful. It contained the power that had been expressed by nature the day before and had a strong feeling of everything being flushed clean and renewed.

Gravel was swept in a small mountain range across the path; fresh small rocks piled into a form that I had to step through and over as I couldn’t go around. For me this symbolised fresh new things coming across my path that I can’t avoid. I will experience them and emerge on the other side better for the experiences.

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The evidence of the power of the water was everywhere. The flattened grass and weeds showed the ‘going with the flow’ of the water and surviving. The debris under the bridge and against the trees spoke to me of holding onto the old and the message to release and let it go with the flow – keeping only that which will serve me well.
Ducks were in their element as they paddled happily in the tranquil ponds left by the flooding rains, finding lots of juicy grubs to eat. Ducks work hard paddling under water while they look serene as they glide along – hard work creates serenity through organisation and planning for it. Enjoying the flow, the emotions both overwhelming and calm, seeing out the storm and reaping the benefits are other messages here.

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Walking in conscious awareness this way connects me with my guides and intuition. The messages are very confirming about what is happening in my life, give me some clear directions for moving ahead and hope for the future.

Here is a pattern to follow.

  1. Breathe and ground yourself and ask for your guides to be with you.
  2. Set a clear intention for your walk
  3. Walk with your mind relaxed, not thinking or wandering; allow it to take in your surroundings.
  4. Notice anything that presents to you.
  5. Write these down on completion of your walk.
  6. ‘Listen’ to how each of these sound to you when you write them. What do they mean for you with regard to your intention?
  7. How do these come together to make a story to answer your intention?

So, next time you go for a walk, why don’t you set your intention to find answers to something that’s been bothering you and see what happens. I wonder what you’ll discover?

Courage or Fear


Courage

COURAGE

is

STRENGTH  and DETERMINATION

in the face of

FEAR

Courage comes easily when we are feeling good about ourselves. We are confident and fear stands out of the lime-light.

When I’m feeling courageous everything is bright and possible.

Yellow is my colour for courage.

When things seem to be too hard and I’m questioning my commitment, I know that fear has taken over. That means it’s time to take out the Yellow flag of courage. In these times courage is drawn upon in the face of fear which can be difficult to do especially if it isn’t a situation where our values or empathy are being seriously challenged.

With courage I can attempt anything and while I’m trying new things I’m learning and growing. Success is knowing I’ve tried.

Sensory Communication


Sensory Communication

We communicate in many ways!

Have you ever thought about

Sensory Communication?

Sensory communication brings greater depth of connection with the world around us giving us greater meaning and richness of experience. I  would like to share with you a ‘moment of Clarity’ that I experienced this week when I was preparing myself for my meditation group. It was a profound moment of realisation for me and I don’t think I’ve ever heard of communication expressed in this way before.

We are very conscious of our ‘brain talk’ and this communication is always in words. In fact we mostly think of communication as being in words or signals given in body language or specific movement signals.

As I opened myself to dream the session as it was going to happen, I picked up a piece of sodalite and held it in my hands. I became aware in an instant that the crystal was communicating with me. NO! it wasn’t talking. There were no words in my head. I was AWARE; aware of the weight, aware of the coolness, aware of the roughness and the shape of it. I opened my eyes and drank in the colour. I was AWARE; aware of the colour, aware of the white veins threading through the crystal. No WORDS were there or required. Communication was purely sensory.

This has brought a deeper meaning about communication for me that I wanted to share. Taking space to absorb the messages from our senses gives us the ability to communicate; to receive sensory communication that has the capacity to enrich our every experience. Each of our senses; sound, sight, touch, taste,smell and also our energetic field, is communicating with us in every moment.

The ‘real’ world of hustle and bustle and ‘brain talk’ blanks out this awareness; this sensory communication.

Mindfulness is a modern term for being aware of these senses and is certainly a great skill for being aware in the present moment. However, I rather think that what I am describing is more akin to mindlessness. It felt more like I am empty and the crystal is giving me information; replacing words and thoughts.

  • Do some relaxation breaths.
  • Take a moment.
  • Decide to hold something or stand near it.
  • Take a breath and let go of thought and mind talk.
  • Notice.
  • BE AWARE.
  • What sensations are happening?

Take in your awareness of the sensations before your brain engages and begins to put words to the experience and treasure the moment.

In my next blog I will take this further where the communication becomes clearer and meaning is processed through symbolism.

Thank you for reading and please comment your experience below.

In Love and Light,

Betsy

Breathe! It’s Important.


Breathing is important words

Breathe! It’s important!

I breathe to live

I breathe to energise

I breathe to be calm

I breathe to ground and to be confident

I breathe to release

I breathe to relax

How can Breathing Help?

Most of us take breathing for granted. After all our bodies take care of this every moment of life function. The truth is though, that we get tied up with the story of our lives and all of the stresses and strains, conditioning, self judgement and fear, to name a few things change the way we breathe. Our ‘normal’ breath becomes changed so that it is no longer as effective in its function and this affects our bodies’ oxygen supply.

Mindfulness; watching how the breath enters and leaves the body is a major key in using the breath to help feel better in all ways.

Stress and anxiety is caused by the fight, flight or freeze programming in the brain. Breathing is an almost magical tool in creating a ‘switch’ to turn this programming off or at least tune it down when it has gone out of control.

Used mindfully and with intention, breath can be used to clear the energy field and body of negative emotions and past trauma.

With mindfulness and intention the breath can also be used to ground yourself, and along with visualisation, to draw into yourself the way of being and feeling that you desire.

Could you ever have imagined how powerful something so taken for granted could be!

Go to http://lifehealingjourneys.com.au/email-free-information/ to request the instructions to Breathing effectively.

In Gratitude,

Betsy

Landscape Dreaming and Symbolism



Symbolism is an amazing tool

that we can use to assist us

on our journey through life.

This is how I connected with Mother Earth and my higher power this morning using the symbols around me.

I recently experienced an amazing drum journey with Heather Price. During the journey  I visited the landscapes that my Spirit is connected with.

The water landscape that showed itself to me was a shady tree near a babbling creek. This is a place where I often visit during relaxation meditations.

So this morning, as I walked along my favorite walk beside the creek it was no surprise to me that I found a place quite like it. The only difference is that at the moment the creek bed is dry; a symbol in itself.

I took some time to sit and connect with Great Spirit and this lovely place and this is what I found.

With no flowing water in the creek I observed that this reflects how there are phases in life; times of flood, times of steady flow and times where there is silence – a time to contemplate and integrate.

As I looked at the rocks in the creek bed they showed me that the large ones are steadfast, embedded in the Earth; unmovable. The smaller ones are at the mercy of the force of water and are swept up by the water in times of flood, although some find safety in the spaces between the embedded rocks. For me the large rock has significance. My recent journey has been the large rock embedding/grounding me in who I truly am.

How does this relate to your journey? Are you scattered and swept along by the floods – your emotions? Are you swept up and off on a journey of excitement and travel? Or are you standing firm in who you Truly are?

Looking at the large embedded rock, I noticed the flotsam that it had held from the last flood. Stepping into the feeling of the steadfast embedded rock, I realised that so much, in the way of information, experiences, sensations, emotions, comes my way constantly. I realised that some of these I mindfully decide to keep; act on, use for my benefit or save for the love of it. At the same time, most of it is no longer useful and I it allow to be flushed away down the creek.



As I sat there under my spreading tree, there was an almighty raucous as two bush turkeys battled it out, flying up into the branches and crashing to earth; one chasing the other with great determination!

‘This also has significance to me,’ I thought, as I watched them walk in opposite directions with as much dignity as they could muster. The argument was settled. They were able to let it pass and go on to the next thing in their lives. So often when the ‘flotsam’ hits us in a flood of emotions it is difficult to know how to let the stream wash it away so that we can start anew. I examine it, see it for it’s true value and decide to keep the worthwhile lessons and allow the flotsam to flow away.

I love being in nature and now that I am committed to noticing the messages there, I love it even more!

Message Successfully Sent!