Listening to the Whispers

Listen-to-Whispers-of-the-HeartI am learning to listen to the whispers.
My body speaks to me. In fact, it never stops.
When I am asleep, it speaks to me through my dreams.
When I am awake it whispers.

It’s not easy to hear the whispers.
It takes quiet.
I have to stop moving and my mind must be still.
But then, dropping in, ever so closely, I hear them.

The whispers of my body are not heard with my ears.
They are felt sensations coming from the deep recesses of my inner landscape.
They speak to me of my heart longings.
They tell the stories of neglect.

I listen in awe, with high regard for what I hear.
I honor the wisdom of this voice.
I have learned to follow this guidance.
For when I don’t, the whispers become primal howling cries.

Mountain Valley Retreat…Launching!

Here I go, ready or not! Launching the new website for Mountain Valley
Retreat! Let me know what works for you and what does not…I will greatly appreciate all feedback.

A Letter to my Soul Mates

etheric meditationI wrote a letter this morning and I share some of it here because it speaks to all of my new and old heart connections…
I have often felt awe at the connections I have with you and others in my life that are beyond my ordinary understanding. I can only imagine that we are interrelated throughout many lives as I recall a book I once read called Return of the Revolutionaries. Dr. Epstein explains about “Soul Groups.”
Soul Groups are individuals who make a pact on a soul level to move through lifetimes together; changing roles, changing gender, race, ethnicity and interrelationships. A friend in one lifetime may have been a wife, child, parent, or someone else in a previous lifetime. The group has a common thread running through all their lives and relationships. I think he called it the Soul Group Mission. It is a large-scale mission, shifting the global thought field. The group Dr. Epstein tracked in his book was revolutionaries in the American Revolution and continue to walk the cutting edge of revolutionary thought regardless of their occupations in this life. (Oprah Winfrey is an incarnation of one of the souls he tracked.)
When I read the book, it rang true for me. I have noticed that in the past 20 years, and especially in the past 6 years, the friends that I have deep heart-felt connections with, practice healing methods that are outside the mainstream view of medicine. They include art therapists, organic farmers, teachers, writers, actors, sound healers, energy workers, yogis, bodyworkers, psychologists, movement therapists, physicists, shamans, and non-traditional nurses and doctors.
I think that our “soul group” chose the mission of changing the worldview regarding healing.
I have no doubt that you and I are partners in this soul group and that we are affecting the global field with our beliefs and actions regarding the way healing happens.
Interestingly, it is a return to indigenous ways supported by modern science. Quantum physics has now proven what the ancient mystics intuitively knew: every thought-form put into the field affects the field.
All fields entrain themselves toward the strongest, most organized field. Our thoughts draw to our awareness from the unlimited Universal field of all-potential the experience we are having.
The most intriguing and thrilling aspect of my life is the repeated experiences I have that support this belief. When I meet someone from my Soul Group, we both experience a feeling of remembering and reconnecting on a soul level. The level of comfort and communication is deep and immediate. I am smiling as I think about what the future is holding for us, just waiting for us to think the thought!

 

Joy

hummingbird2

I had an email this morning from a dear friend. He said I seemed like a joyful person and asked me how I felt about that.

Joy, the name of the hummingbird that is the official bird of Mountain Vally Retreat. I am not always joyful. I am often consumed by the thoughts in my mind which are busy at best and stressed at worst. My joy usually comes out when I am with other people, animals, or walking or sitting outside without an agenda.

If I am alone in the house, I can become depressed feeling. It is an unregulated feeling that rises out of nowhere and creates a lethargy in my body…a feeling of laziness, lack of ambition, and lack of desire…sometimes even worry!

My joy feeling may return if I play the piano, listen to music, dance, go to the mat and stretch or meditate, read, paint, draw…anything creative or self-restorative.

I have come to believe that my joy never leaves me. It is always running as a background undercurrent which gets over-laid by stress, worry, anxiety thoughts and feelings. As soon as I clear my field of negative thought forms, ah, there it is, rising to the surface again. The trick is to clear my field of negative thought-forms and I feel as though I am getting better and better at that.

The surest way to bring myself to a feeling of joy is to practice gratitude.  When I start thinking about all of the positive experiences and people in my life I cannot help but smile and feel fortunate which leads me straight into joy.

I am alive.  I am healthy.  I want for nothing.  I am loved.  Remembering these important facts leave me helplessly in joy.

The Biology of Courage and Compassion

Chemical structure of Neuropeptide Y

Chemical structure of Neuropeptide Y

Today is the anniversary of the attack on the twin towers in NYC. It seems like a good day for me to resume my lost practice of writing a daily blog. A friend sent me a “Ted Talk” link this morning by a young woman named Kelly McGonigal. It is about stress.
Like Kelly, I have thought of stress as my enemy, the underlying cause of all disease and disorder in the human body. I have thought if only I could practice enough meditation and other stress-releasing techniques I might offset the negative effects of everyday stressors in my body. I am thrilled to learn that stress does not kill! The belief that stress kills, kills.
I learned this morning that when my environment feels stressful to me, my body goes into a “stress response.” This is my body “rising to the occasion” to meet the stressor. Among the many chemical reactions happening, like adrenalin, which raises my heart rate, oxytocin, a neuropeptide, releases from my pituitary gland. Oxytocin, the so-called “cuddle hormone”, fine-tunes the brain creating a craving for physical contact. It increases empathy and compassion. It motivates my body to seek out support. It creates an urge to surround myself with those who care about me.
I am amazed and fascinated to discover that a belief I have held all of my adult life has been proven wrong. I love that! It reinforces my intention to recognize that all of my beliefs are simply opinions, not truths. I recognize that this belief about the negative effects of stress is simply an opinion that is false and I can let it go and respond differently to stressors in the future.
My amazing body has a system for meeting stress in a way that is protective of my heart if I choose to believe it. Listening to my body, I will follow the urge to seek out support in times of stress. I will be watchful of opportunities to be supportive to others who are experiencing stress. It is in moments of heart-felt connection when we feel empathy and compassion, that our bodies go into heart healing. Our cells release natural anti-inflammatory neuropeptides and our heart cells relax and regenerate resulting in a stronger more resilient heart. This new information makes my heart sing.
Listen to Kelly’s Ted Talk and reinforce your heart health today!

Today, I Am Enough

I share Wednesday mornings with my friend Sharon. I drive up to the foot of Hot Spring Peak where she is living on the Los Coyotes Indian Reservation with her ninety-year old Grammy, her teen-age twin girls and her 22-year old daughter, Sarah, who is her caretaker. Her father, his wife, and their two boys live in the house nearby.

The drive is a short twenty minutes from home through our beautiful countryside, past huge valleys of pasture lined with groves of live oak and manzanita trees. Horses and cattle graze on the Warner Springs Ranch and I see an occasional hiker on the Pacific Crest Trail. The through-hikers are north now, in the cooler High Sierras, but day hikers still walk the trail as our temperatures climb into the summer range.

I drive past the fascinating rock outcropping known as Eagle Rock as I approach the “res.” I wave to the gate guard as I enter and make the left turn up the steep driveway to Sharon’s house. The yard is a beautiful wild landscape of cactus and fruit trees, flowers and small structures. As I walk down the steps to the back patio, the hummingbirds at the collection of feeders bring a smile to my face and the wind chimes play their melody on the breeze.

Eagle rockLos Coyotes entrance

I open the door, stick my head inside and call a soft hello. She is there, sitting up in her hospital bed. The massage table has been set up in anticipation of my coming. Sarah comes in from the kitchen, her quiet beauty and strong nature (gifts from her mother) strike me every time I see her. Sarah’s path has brought her to a powerful door and she is walking through it with grace and courage. She greets me with a hug…I want to hold her tight and tell her something that will bring more light to her day. I ask about her birthday party of last week and she smiles. Sharon talks about all the friends that came and the great food they enjoyed.

I sit on the sofa next to Garfield, the big orange tabby cat that is Sharon’s constant companion. He is sleeping but lifts his head to acknowledge my touch.  I hear him say as he resettles himself, “She is one of the “okay” ones.” Garfield is like a sentry; Sharon’s feline bodyguard.

garfield cat

Photos of family and friends cover the wall behind Sharon’s bed. I look at the smiling faces of her five children at their various ages. Gazing at the pictures of this tightly knit family, I think about the support network they have created for their mother, daughter, sister and friend who loves them fiercely and has cared for them so well.

Sharon begins to tell me about her experience of the past four days since I was here last. Her story is of pain in various forms and about the therapies and body positions she uses in her attempts to relieve it. Her physical world has become small. Mostly she is on the bed, with occasional trips to the bath for treatments and soaks, and maybe a brief walk to the kitchen for food or a cup of tea. When Sarah needs to leave, Sharon tells me she stays in bed and shifts her body searching for the spot that will allow a few moments of relief and relaxation before the ever-present pain returns.

When Sarah is there, they employ body therapies like castor oil packs, cryotherapy and massage, which may give temporary relief. We share a common story:  when ill or in pain, we therapists often forget the very things we tell our clients with the same symptoms. We forget even the simplest  treatments we have prescribed hundreds of times. It is as if we get temporary amnesia when it comes to taking care of ourselves. We wonder aloud if perhaps that has to do with the bigger lesson of learning to ask for what we need and learning to receive when we are so programmed to be givers.

The primary location of her pain begins in her low back and travels through her hip and down her right leg, ending in her shin. It burns, throbs, aches and mostly never lets up. Standing is especially irritating and at times sitting and even lying on her back is no better. One of the tumors is on her low spine, compromising the sciatic nerve that innervates her right leg. As I listen, I am drawn to decompress her sacrum. Perhaps the relief of that pressure will be helpful. Humbled by her condition, I know not what to do other than listen to her body and follow its instructions. It seems right for her to stay on the bed today. The table looks too hard and unforgiving. We prop her with pillows, raise the bed a bit and I position my hands and body to do a CST sacral release. Once my hands have met her tissue we both drop into silence. As I listen and follow the tissue, I coach both of us to remain neutral, letting go of our agendas, our expectations and our judgments as best we can. Now is the time to trust the wisdom of her body and invite her “all knowing” to guide us. I remind her to feel the support, seen and unseen, that is here for her. I remind myself of this, as well.

After about twenty minutes, the tissues around the sacrum have softened and I feel the bones drop into my hand as they let go of their gripping. Hoping to gain space where the tumor is pushing against the nerve, I gently traction the sacrum towards her feet. Sharon reports that the pain has lessened and changed its character.

As I slide my hands out from under her body. I encourage her to roll onto her side to see if the change in position feels good. She does and says, “Yes, better.” I check in with my “all knowing”, asking, “What next?”

As I lie on the bed and snuggle up behind her I say, “This is unorthodox, but here I am!” She laughs and asks with pleasant surprise in her voice, “Are you going to snuggle me?” “I haven’t been snuggled in a while!”

I rest and relax into her, becoming a full body of warm support that “has her back.” I feel her soften into me and in a few minutes, I realize she is dozing. As I lie in stillness, I ground and fill myself with the nurturing, nourishing energy of the earth’s field and then expand my field to become a cocoon of loving energy holding my dear friend. I feel the boundaries between us dissolve as our fields unite.

When she moves, I check in with her and we decide to test her for the Garden Essences I brought for her.  I administer three of the essences she tests positive for and a fourth that I am drawn to give her.  We talk about the wisdom of nature and our gratitude for having been shown this way of co-creating with nature to facilitate healing the human form.

Sharon enjoys being read to, so I bring out the book of poetry by Jennifer Welwood I shared with her last Friday.  I open the book randomly and read:
“Freer of our conditioning, we now meet with openness all that we had previously fled from. We discover that everything so met, without grasping or rejection, becomes a doorway to radiant being…”
Unconditional
Willing to experience aloneness,
I discover connection everywhere;
Turning to face my fear,
I meet the warrior who lies within;
Opening to my loss,
I gain the embrace of the universe;
Surrendering into emptiness,
I find fullness without end.

Each condition I flee from pursues me,
Each condition I welcome transforms me
And becomes itself transformed
Into its radiant jewel-like essence.
I bow to the one who has made it so,
Who has crafted this Master Game;
To play it is purest delight–
To honor its form, true devotion.

As I walk out the door, she is sitting up on the bed smiling. I walk to my car sending my intention into the Holy Universe, “Today, I am enough.”

Hot springs mountain

Like an Erupting Volcano

erupting volcanoAnger is not an emotion I am familiar with. I stuffed it down for so many years it gave up and stopped bubbling to the surface. Today it erupted like a volcano.

As a child I was not allowed to express anger. Mom taught me that anger was “unladylike” and Dad considered it disrespectful. No one modeled healthy anger management in my household. I saw the extremes of raging and denial/suppression.

In my marriage I was afraid to express anger. My ex-husband was a very big guy who could get his own good rage going, usually directed at me, and my returning anger was like pouring gas on an already raging fire so I learned quickly that anger wasn’t a safe emotion to express. I usually channeled my own rage into cleaning!

Six years ago I left that oppressive-suppressive-depressive marriage and I gave myself permission to express what I feel. I embarked on a mission of honesty and transparency. I wanted to be totally honest and expressive about every emotion I felt with everyone I was in relationship with…most of all myself.

For two years I lived with my cat and dabbled in internet dating neither looking for nor encouraging a long-term relationship. I had just ended one of those and I was in no hurry to dive into those deep waters again. But then…

I have been living with G for four years. We have a good relationship based on a long history (we grew up together) and many similar beliefs and lifestyle choices. We also have magical chemistry, not only sexual but we “get each other”, we respect one another and we laugh at the same things and make each other laugh. We call our relationship “Fragil Majik.” G is an intense personality, and I know I am my own strong flavor, so live and let live is my motto, as best I can. I consider myself a compassionate person. I do my best to appreciate every person’s unique situation and since I don’t walk in their shoes, who am I to judge? But then…

I have some strong opinions and beliefs about the human body, the effect of diet and our health. Natural healing has been my profession for twenty years and I was a student of nutrition and natural healing modalities for ten years before I became a professional. I use food like medicine to treat myself when I am not feeling as well as I would like. I am far from perfect but I am a strong, healthy 60+ woman, and I have plenty of anecdotal evidence that the natural therapies I employ work on myself and others.

G has some health issues. Without going into detail I will say they are long-standing (some since childhood) and have been exacerbated by his lifestyle which does not put health as a priority. I believe that some of the diet modifications and therapies I use would be helpful for him. For four years I have been sharing with him what I have learned from study, from clients, from fellow therapists and naturopaths. It falls on deaf ears. I’m not sure why. Perhaps he doesn’t believe the information is true. Perhaps he has resistance to changing his lifestyle. Perhaps he is triggered by the way I present the information. I don’t know.

This morning something snapped in me. When he did several things that were all contrary for his condition and the alternative healthy choices were all simple and easy I lost it! I told him his behavior was selfish because I live with the consequences of his ill-health. More than that, I couldn’t wrap my head around why anyone would knowingly, intentionally do that! It just made me crazy! I erupted like a volcano. So much energy came pouring out of me. It felt good in a strange way. I said my words to him and then I took off walking fast around the property, crying, cursing, venting…erupting. It lasted about five minutes and then I got a strong, full feeling in my gut. I got very calm and worked hard outside for the rest of the day letting my thoughts move through me, noticing the chain of events that led up to the eruption. It makes some sense to me now.

I don’t feel angry toward him anymore. My compassion has returned. My patience with the situation? I’m not sure…the volcano may still be simmering.