I'm working on a huge project that is only tangentially related to my healing practice (more on that later). It's taking a lot of my time and energy... and in my introspective moments I'm learning about my own process for vulnerability. And what it has brought into sharp focus for me is how healing is so very multi-faceted. How it is so much of addressing the physical and emotional realms... and how it is so much more.
I've known this for a long time... it's where I work... the intersection between the physical and the subtle bodies. But it's different to be in deep healing myself, and have the opportunity to observe myself moving through it.
What I want to share with you right now is that I see the importance of feeling supported in our healing journey. Usually that means that we have several avenues of support... friends, healing practitioners, partners, family, yoga practices, quiet time... whatever moves you to a place of feeling truly seen, heard, honored... whatever lets you fall deeper inside yourself.
When we identify our support avenues, we create our own safety that makes our journey possible. So, while we need others to walk with us, part of our healing is our own work, our own knowing about what it is that we require. When we offer ourselves the time and space for our own process, when we even know what that is, we are poised to take our next step in healing ourselves.
So, it turns out that we are our own healers... in part because we show up to our own lives, knowing what we need, willing to invest in the introspection required. Then, when you reach out to your healer-type (acupuncturist, therapist, body worker, energy healer) you have done your part of the work and their expertise can be even more beneficial to you.
If you're wanting to increase the support you receive around your self-healing, I lead a free monthly Body Wisdom Healing Circle call. In that call we have a group resonance experience with using our attention in great detail in the body to fuel healing shifts. You can sign up for the call-in number here.
This is a powerful moment in time... this liminal space. In the Chinese 5 Element System this is the season of metal, whose primary emotion is grief. So, we have a melding of tradition that suggests a powerful moment to be in touch with our ancestors, as well as the seasonal emotion of grief, which brings them even closer.
I celebrate Dia de los Muertos with full reverence for my personal ancestry, as well as that of my community. Everything we have now was built on the legacy that was left us.
This leaves us in a particularly potent healing moment. Sometimes this legacy has been left to us in our beliefs, perspectives, family stories... and sometimes it has literally been given to us in our DNA*. Our ability to heal, especially those weird symptoms we have that are persistent, recurrent, and have no discernible cause to doctors... those are often ancestral in origin.
We do have the power to release these ancestral traumas, dis-eases, and tensions. The key, I think, is externalizing the ancestral patterns, and then choosing how to engage with them. That is, it is important to move the patterns from inside our bodies (physical + subtle) into the external environment. These are not your personal patterns. They do not necessarily belong to you. And yet, it may be extremely important to interact with these patterns... as they are part of the familial legacy.
I encourage people to externalize and interact with these patterns in several ways. One way to externalize the pattern is to build some kind of altar or shrine to their ancestors. This is a central part of Dia de los Muertos, that I love so much. Not only is it honoring of the ancestors to give them their own space, but it honors us too.
It means that ancestral patterns are a context for our lives, but do not necessarily need to be repeated within our lives.
Second, is relating directly to the wholeness of who your ancestors are... that is, consider not just the one story you have about how your great-grandmother was admitted to a mental institution... but to consider (imagine, receive) what ELSE might have been true about her that you might want to interact with. Thus, we relate to our ancestors as whole beings. Not simply a single story, event, or trait.
This is the single biggest healing perspective shift that exists. Wholeness.
If you want to play with this more... I have attached my Legacy Homework that I sometimes give to clients.
Blessings as you pursue this deep journey of healing. There is no end to the possibility that exists when you are willing to heal not only yourself but those who came before you. You are brave, you are strong, you are a healer.
Click on the image above to access the 7-page pdf file.
You will find that this work clears so much that you weren't even aware was connected to your ancestry. It is powerful and worthy work. May you also enjoy this work, as it connects you in positive ways with the legacy that was left to you.
*There are several articles about how memory can be handed down in your DNA. If you're interested, you can read:
Parental olfactory experience influences behavior and neural structure in subsequent generations.”
December 1, 2013, Nature Neuroscience:
Also, see Grandma's Experiences Leave A Mark On Your Genes
May 2013 Discover Magazine:
... Or "How The Heart Is The Center of Healing
I wrote last time about the Heart and the Heart Protector (Pericardium), and how I see them function in healing. The Heart provides access to our center, to our essence, and the Pericardium protects us. It is a sweet union, but one that is profoundly affected by pain... specifically the pain of feeling heart-broken.
Even though the Heart collects some pretty intense pain, it also holds the path to healing. The electro-magnetic fields of the Heart are a great beacon, a shining light, for a return to happiness and vitality. I'm not saying it's an easy road, that it's all skipping and giggles, but I am saying that it's where I often begin... with myself and with clients. Because it's powerful.
The electromagnetic field of the heart is created by the flow of the electrical signals from the top to the bottom of the heart. This flow of electrical potential creates a donut shaped electromagnetic field around the heart organ. The "donut shape" is known as a torus. This is measurable and well known. I didn't make this up.
But see... the beauty lies in the fact that the heart is not alone! The heart has an electromagnetic field... but so does the whole body (I'd argue details with the image below that I got from the HeartMath website... but the gist of it is true). Thus, the heart field is nested within the Whole Body Field... and ultimately, the earth has this same magnetic field, so we are each nested within it.
The point is that when we connect with the Heart Field, we can notice how the Heart Field is nested within the Whole Body Field, which is, in turn, nested within the Earth Field. We can then invite into this dynamic, other fields in our bodies.
For instance, red blood cells have this same toroidal shape... and when we invite them into resonance with the Heart Field (and the others) the blood cells shift into a supported and robust form, and carry more oxygen (this is where Western Medicine does not follow me... but I still know it to be true).
In fact, each chakra, each organ, each cell... when invited into resonance with the Heart Field, are able to step a little more into their essence and their full expression of well-being and vitality.
Don't believe me. Try it. Sit quietly. Take a few deep, cleansing breaths. Bring your attention softly to your body. Gather yourself and your energy to you. Relax your shoulders, your neck, your back. Release the tension in your fingers. Notice that you are in relationship with earth... simply because you press down on her surface. Notice that she sends energy back up through you. Breathe into alignment with that energy source. Notice that you are also in relation with spirit... as inspiration and life force bathe you. These energies mingle inside of you, at your heart. It is your sense of center, of essence, of Who You Are, and a sense that your essence is supported, safe, nourished.
The Heart beats softly. Allow the sensation of the energy field of the heart to come into your awareness. It is flowing, regular, steady. This sensation sends the message to the body that all is well. There are measurable physical benefits to this sensation... we can get into that some other time. For now, just know this place.
For practice, you can invite your mind to awareness of your red blood cells, circulating through the body... through the heart. As they flow through the heart send the intention to bring them into alignment with the energy field of the Heart. Feel the desire for deep belly breaths. Give in.
This alignment between Heart Field and Red Blood Cell Fields brings up oxygen in the body. You might experience it as a light tingling... or you may not have a physical sensation of it. Inviting it to your brain will increase clarity, certainty, and alertness. Inviting blood flow to a tense place can begin to unravel the anaerobic conditions created by chronic tightness. It probably won't relieve it completely, as there's a pattern holding tension there... but it can make it bearable for a time.
Play with this... where else could you invite oxygen? What other fields could you invite to resonate with the heart? What is possible when we get to know ourselves so intimately?
It's not all in your mind. In fact, there's a good chance it's in your BODY.
You know those days when you find yourself in a constant state of irritation with the kids/husband/job/demands? The kind of irritability where you feel guilty because although your mind tells you it's not that big of a deal, but you feel like you could lose your cool at any moment?
First, you're not alone. It is a common experience to have that internal conflict where you WANT to do what's on your To Do list AND you have the sense that a storm is brewing within. While part of the irritating situation does exist outside of the body, the storm is happening because something that feels irritating is also happening INSIDE THE BODY. When hormones are out of balance, there is a cellular level of irritation, that is ADDED to what is happening around you... and when all the cells are irritated... that's what your stormy feelings reflect.
Once irritation settles into the body it becomes self-perpetuating. Irritation produces tension and inflammation in nerves and muscles. Blood flow is decreased by the tension, which in turn decreases oxygenation and pH begins to become more acidic. Low oxygen and high acidity are irritating to cells, and the cycle of tension and irritation is perpetuated.
So, how do we break into such an IRRITATING cycle? I have included two tips that are tried and tested, yet simple and easy to integrate into your daily life to create quick and long-lasting change. One word of caution: don't mistake simple for unimportant.
1. Take slow deep breaths.
Sounds simple enough, yes? It is, but most of us don't do it.
Most of us breathe too shallow. By not expanding the lower lungs, making the belly move when you breathe, you deliver a bare minimum of oxygen to the body and brain, signaling your body that you are in danger.
The effect of shallow breathing is that we CREATE a stress response when there is no danger!
In dangerous times the body doesn't do repair work, or digest food well, or mount an immune response. If you are in a constant state of shallow breathing and perceived danger, you are likely to get sick often, have sluggish or painful digestion, and eventually have general body breakdowns.
By taking nice full, slow breaths deep into the lungs, you signal your body to drop into relaxation... which also happens to be the mode in which we are able to do cellular repair and mount a sufficient immune response. This is why noticing the breath is part of nearly every wellness practice.
Coming in a close second to breathing is... RESTING. Rest is undervalued in our society, but our bodies CRAVE it! Much of our tension comes from forcing ourselves to do the things "we should be doing", instead of listening to the cries of our bodies for more rest. It doesn't have to be sleep, although that's good too, but it does need to be RESTORATIVE.
For myself and many of my clients, I'm finding that truly restorative rest involves a true break from doing things. So, it's not doing yoga, or exercise, or creative projects, which do have high value and provide clarity of mind... but when I say REST, I mean that the muscles are not working, the mind is not solving problems. REST is committed time to simply BE.
Rest is best done laying down, and the more you practice true REST, the more you will train your body to TAKE BREAKS from the doing mode. And through this practice you will bolster your physical resilience. Your To Do list will still be there after 5, or 10, or 20 minutes of rest... and you can pick it back up... but with a REST practice you can teach your body to return quickly and easily to cellular rejuvenation.
One of the KEYS of true rest, though, is not letting your thoughts stress you out as you lay there! Breathing into the center of your head - between the temples and behind the eyes - is a practice that can keep you thoughts from taking over. This take practice... so if you notice a thought... just label it a thought... and go back to the breath and focussing on the center of the head. This is a very quiet space, and the more you practice going there, the easier and more restorative your rest periods will be.
As simple as these exercises may sound, they have changed my life and the lives of my clients. These tools offer your body significant shifts in the chemical processes available to it.
If you are noticing resistance to something so simple as part of your well-being plan... then ask yourself "Do I believe I have the capacity to change my situation?" and "Am I committed to my well-being and willing to take action?".
Consciously stepping out of the stress response to rest and rejuvenate mode can go a long way toward the body healing itself. If that's not enough, it may be necessary to take a holistic approach to unwinding the mental, emotional, and physical structures that hold the tension in place.
Here's to your well-being!
This is what is the matter with us: we are bleeding at the roots because we are cut off from the earth and sun and stars. ~ DH Lawrence
Not only is the above quote is referencing ways humans fall short in the pursuit of love, I believe it applies to many parts of life. We have separated the meaning of our lives from nature, our very souls are isolated from our everyday focus and tasks.
It's no wonder this creates disharmony. Whether it shows up as adrenal stress, deep fatigue or hormone imbalance, the body suffers from this separation as it struggles to make ends meet. The repair of this disconnect, between our souls and nature, succeeds when we become aware of the beacon that guides us to our soul vision, through consistently honoring our personal beliefs and values.
Even after reconnecting with the soul, we may still struggle with the physical symptoms. Why? Because the physiology can get stuck. We can do everything "right"... eat well, sleep plenty, learn to occasionally say "no" to others so we can say "yes!" to ourselves. However the adrenal depletion, thyroid imbalance, symptoms of PMS and menopause can persist. This is how we are "bleeding from our roots", while everything seems fine at the surface (or according to your doctor), things don't feel fine.
Once the body responds to a stressful event, if that event is prolonged, or the brain perceives a constant need for vigilance, the body's pH can begin to decrease in susceptible areas in the body. This can become it's own stressor. Or, perhaps cells fall into disrepair due to persistent inflammation, compromising cell function, and therefore becoming yet another stressor. These situations, and others like them, fall into a place in which they are self-generated, persisting even when the original situation is removed, resulting in a frustrating and vicious cycle.
This is where the ability to dialogue with the body through muscle testing is very helpful. Only when each stressor, from cellular to whole body, can be identified and resolved SIMULTANEOUSLY, can the space for healing be opened.
This is my offering. I am a seasoned guide who can help you make the voyage into the cells, into the biochemistry, into the DNA, to relocate your inherent wellness plan.
Because this is an adventurous journey through an interdependent web of processes, I work in a series of session rather than a single session. This requires a positive commitment from both of us, to travel together into the physical body, freeing tensions that are in self-generating cycles, and to release you from a life of overwhelm and frustration.
Does this sound like you?
If so, grab a spot on my calendar to set up a free 30 minute Rejuvenation Session so we can explore the possibility of working together and talk about how to get you back on your feet and feeling GREAT!
This is the moment... the expression moment. Can you feel it? Can you feel what your body is telling you? Can you hear the song your cells sing? Are you connected to your soul or spirit or essence? Our most important connection is to our own essence. It is the foundation on which all of our relationships and expressions are built... and the lens through which they are filtered.
What keeps you from your full expression? Fear of rejection? Fear of loss? Uncertainty? Old beliefs about what you are or aren't capable of? Do you trust yourself to be able to handle the backlash from others who want you to play particular roles for their comfort?
This month the Body Wisdom Healing Circle focus is on the heart... or more specifically... the pericardium, which is the soft and flexible sac that protects the heart muscle. The meridian that governs this tissue is the Circulation/Sex/Pericardium Meridian, and is part of the fire element. It is the place from which we decide how we will express ourselves to the outside world. How much of our true selves do we show? And to whom? What do we tell ourselves about who we really are?
Join me for the June Body Wisdom Healing Circle. We will talk about applying compassion, vulnerability, and forgiveness to ourselves as a basis for giving it to others. This is the ultimate in "healer, heal thyself". We're doing it on Sunday June 1st at 9am. It's a free call... there's nothing to lose... except the limitations to your authentic self!
I saw somewhere... a spoof of some fitness posters. It was really pretty phenomenal how the message of the original posters was along the lines of "work harder", "do more", "look in the mirror to assess where you are"... all things that seem to me to say "you're not good enough, you should do better than that". I guess that sums up why I have trouble getting on board with most fitness programs. It's always some type of "whip you into shape" kind of attitude that I don't go for, myself. In fact, those kind of messages, about how I'm not good enough... really just stress me out.
Anyway... then I got to the end of the list of posters... and one said something about the goal being clear urine. Now there... you just went beyond "you're not good enough" into "dangerous". It seems to me that fitness AND nutrition types are often pushing water. They act like there's no upper limit. Oh... but there is. Your urine should NOT be clear. It also should not be dark yellow. If your urine is clear you are in danger of flushing out critical minerals... some that could cause your heart to beat improperly (potassium comes to mind first).
The truth is, I can't think of anything that the body uses and NEEDS that can't become too much. Some things are harder to get too much of than others, but it can be done. The whole thing with the body is finding a BALANCE. Not too little, not too much.
Let's go back to the water thing. I've heard lots of formulas and such about water. I wonder why we don't teach people to listen to their bodies? Why don't we train ourselves to monitor for signs of too little water? I realize that means that we are already off balance... but if we monitor ourselves for a few days or weeks, I imagine you'll get a pretty good idea of how much water YOU need. That is to say... based on YOUR exercise, body composition, diet, and metabolism.... how much water do YOU need every day? This provides you with no less than two strengths that the "clear pee" goal doesn't. 1) You can respond to changes in weather, activity levels, or body conditions that might require a change in the amount of water you are drinking. 2) If you're self-monitoring this way you are training yourself to be conscious of your body's needs, you are responding to its feedback, and you are building a relationship with your body. You are doing what's right for your body based on the feedback you get... not following someone else's idea (or ideal) that isn't applicable to you.
My goal is that we all learn to listen more to our bodies... there is so much wisdom to be found there. The body can connect us to our emotions, our experiences, and truly enrich our lives. But it can't do that if we're constantly forcing it to do things that aren't supporting it. Too much water can be very hard on the kidneys. This provides a physical stressor, in addition to the messages that we aren't good enough as we are. I have more coming up soon with regard to stress... but long-term ongoing stress is certainly one of the things that underlies many hormone imbalances. More on that soon...
Insomnia can be one of the most frustrating symptoms of menopause because its effects last for days as you drag yourself through the motions of getting things done.
Being tired makes it hard to be patient and compassionate... especially with yourself!
When we are tired, and then we are hard on ourselves for how we behave when we're exhausted and depleted... we spin a vicious web of sleeplessness, judgment, and condemnation. To break that cycle we often need help... and here are a few ideas about how to get it.
Herbs that help you sleep:
Essential oils that promote sleep:
In this video I discuss hot flashes and night sweats with a friend who didn't realize that night sweats were a common symptom leading up to menopause. Like many of us, she ascribed this symptom to many other causes until she started looking into the effects of hormone shifts. I offer some small suggestions about dealing with hot flashes/night sweats in the video, but if you are struggling with this as a symptom please do be in touch.
As always, I'm happy to provide a free 30 minute discussion to hear your story, offer possibilities, and to give you additional resources for looking into your unique situation. No obligation... just information!
Picture from Wikipedia
This is a North American native plant. It is known as a tonic for bronchial health, and has long been used to support the female reproductive system through the perimenopausal and menopausal years. Because of it's widespread use it is generally deemed quite safe. There is also clinical research indicating relief of physical and emotional/mental symptoms associated with perimenopause after just 12 weeks of use.
Image from Wikipedia
Chaste Tree or Chaste Berry
This is widely prescribed in Europe for relief from PMS, breast tenderness and menstrual irregularity. This herb has also been studied in clinical trials and is considered safe. Women experiencing symptoms of estrogen dominance may have the most to gain from this taking this herb. Estrogen dominance will be another post... but essentially, progesterone begins to decrease before estrogen, leaving some women with a proportional excess of estrogen.
One note with chaste berry, if you are still cycling, and find that depression symptoms worsen just before your menses begin, discontinue this herb immediately.
Dong Quai (no photo)Photo from Wikipedia
This is a Chinese herb that has long been used to address female reproductive issues. It contains high levels of phytoestrogens, which may help women who are experiencing a drop in estrogen with the onset of menopause. It is generally most effective when used with other herbs in a formula, and is not recommended at all if you have ever had an estrogen-sensitive cancer.
This is an Ayurvedic herb, and is the one that's given me some relief from my symptoms. It is generally used to rejuvenate the adrenal, immune, and nervous system and is particularly good if you're struggling with fuzzy thinking, stress, or sleep problems. It may also help if vaginal dryness has become a problem for you, as it's known for invigorating both male and female sexual potency. Over 200 medical studies have been done on the benefits of taking this herb. Healing benefits may include:
I'm an explorer of inner realms, a pattern observer, and an invitation maker. I believe that healing the world starts within.
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