Monday, August 25, 2014

Putting My "Left" Foot Down

How often have you heard the phrase, "put your foot down", as a way to control situations that seem out of control. Well a colleague of mine who does channeling, had this come to mind when she heard of the abscess in the left hamstring. For those of you following my blogs, I talked about the emotional-spiritual meaning of the hamstring before - tight hamstrings can often mean that a deeper level of surrender is needed. "The thighs and hamstrings also hold on to past conflicts, such as traumatic childhood memories, anger, or resentment. This area is also closely associated with sexuality and intimacy." The left side of the body relates to the feminine side - nurturance, creativity, compassion. As I thought about the relationship between the hamstring and side of the body, it all made sense. I have continued to struggle with past conflicts while not employing an adequate amount of self-compassion. Although I was "getting better at it", the seeds of concern would seep in, creating fear and self-doubt, which in turn, would start me down the path of feeling compelled to "do more". This was and is in direct contradiction to the path that I am "trying" to follow. Trying means not doing. I use this phrase frequently with my clients - you are either doing or not doing - and try means not doing! This can also be described as being or not being. In our day to day busyness, it is easy to get swept up into doing and not being. Checking off the list of to-do's may provide temporary self-esteem, but what is more important is to consider who we are being in each moment. Am I the example of love, peace, contentment and compassion for myself and others, and do my actions reflect this? This entire journey which began six weeks ago for me, has been one of deep self-reflection, of really being stopped and while I did not volunteer to put my foot down, God's grace did it for me and for that I am thankful. It is by making these connections that true healing can occur. Onto the next chapter! Julie

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Color Game

How often have you given thought to the power of color, the language of color, the spirit of color? For me, I've always appreciated it, but did not give it much additional credit until my alternative cancer therapy trip to Germany, about one and a half years ago. While there, the older wise woman who assisted with energy-talk therapy, spoke to me of having a gift for healing others with color. She told me that I would need to find out what that was and how it would manifest. Over these past two months, while needing to rest more, sit more, be with myself more, I've taken the time to dream about what I want to play with and bring forth in my practice as an integrative nutritionist. Immediately I recalled having fun with the Color Me Beautiful concept that was around in the 80's. This addressed how wearing certain colors would either accentuate our beauty or detract, causing a washed out, rather sickly look. I loved this, brought it into the work that I was doing with women and decided to add it to my toolbox for helping women feel great and look great from the inside out - my tag line to this day! I had completed the modeling and finishing school teacher training, loving every minute of how colors and wardrobing could assist with increasing self-confidence merely by wearing clothes and colors that boosted the inner radiance! I created a class called Total Body Care, and I took it on the road to middle and high schoolers, as well as to my weight management class. What fun we had. Instead of seeing teenagers with "racoon eyes" all decorated with heavy black eye liner, there were budding young women who were attractive but not trashy. Years later, I have dusted off the concept, plan to resurrect it using skin care products that are cancer-chemical free - a total combination of my learning in Germany and here in the US. In addition, I had begun to think about the chakras,the energy of colors in various foods and found a fun ritual of using The Secret Language of Color cards by Inna Segal. While there are many ways to play the cards, I fan them out and choose one for the day. What is interesting in the concept of using color is that it is one more way to focus energy and intention on an inspiring and healing message. I am thoroughly enjoying this ritual along with using sage for cleansing and crystals and stones for meditation. All in all, these natural substances provide a way to calm the nervous system, allowing one's innate intelligence to balance the body, mind and spirit. Choose to be colorful, Julie

Saturday, August 16, 2014

East Meets West

This was a full week of doctor visits, nurse maintenance for my pic line and wound dressing, and I was so very aware and thankful for having the best of both worlds at my disposal! As I've mentioned in prior blogs, I have most always been the bridge or conduit between the traditional and non-traditional health-care professionals and have loved the opportunity over the years to decrease skepticism while enrolling my amazing colleagues into a new (but very ancient!) way of thinking. I have seen this role in my life since childhood and maybe it even predates my existence - family patterns, roles that we take on etc. I have personally delved into traditional therapy, energy work,mind-body training and spiritual pursuits in order to understand my own path as well as to assist others along the way. Most days, I feel blessed to see my challenges in a curious manner, although there are the ones where fear, doubt and just plain old crying, come knocking at my door. I, as well as all of us, must remember that this is truly living - to feel exhilarated in one moment, followed by a crash into despair at some time - as long as we come back to our reality with a sense of balance. I often describe this process to my clients as riding the crest of the wave! While visiting my oncologist, I gave him a packet of materials about how to blend natural medicine with chemotherapy. He was gracious and told me that he is happy to support this process as long as it does not impede what the chemo will do. We discussed how Boston has some of the best medical centers and yet, how narrow-minded the health-care professionals are. He agreed and acknowledged that we need more integration here. Wow - this felt thrilling to me! A few days later, I met my new naturopath and immediately felt as if I had landed in the right place. Luckily, he is one hour away and not three! His specialty is cancer and right away, we spoke the same language about tests, immune system support, the role of nutrition in supporting cancer cell death along with immune system building. He even drew pictures much like I do for patients, showing the process visually. Another Wow - I feel ready for this process! The last piece was seeing my nurse who has been with me three days per week since I came home from the hospital. She has been so supportive, caring and knowledgeable about the technology piece - wound pumps, pic line dressings, flushing out lines, cleaning out my still so deep but healing wound. We have this amazing technology to support the healing process - machines, special dressings and ointments - you name it! As I come full circle in my learning curve, I recognize and honor ancient, natural traditions along with the beauty of scientific advances that will bring newer meaning to blending the "best of both worlds". Now, I am off to the Farmer's Market for some organic food! With love and blessings, Julie

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Dusting Off The Yoga Mat

It is now two weeks from having hamstring surgery to remove an abscess and I am moving along quite nicely - not at my "old pace", but taking life and strength in stride! I was finally able to take my full walk without being exhausted or in discomfort from my healing leg and that feels so good! As I viewed the bay with sailboats, I felt such peace and gratitude for the beauty that exists in my life. I decided that today would be the day to clean off my new yoga mat and do some poses - with creativity! Not only do I still have a deep open wound on the left leg, but I have a pic line (a catheter that is inserted into my arm and drops into my vein near the heart) for self-administering medications. I was told not to stretch above my head, not to lift heavy objects, basically, not to move too much with my right arm. Hey, at least I'm balanced - right arm/left leg! As I thought about my yoga, I was excited to think about how to handle rehabilitation for myself. I've had years of training - a personal trainer in the 80's, an aerobics and conditioning trainer, a hatha trained yoga teacher again back in the 80's and now my recent certification with Yoga Of Energy Flow - a remarkable program that not only introduced many styles of yoga postures, but also discussed spirituality, philosophy and the "unseen" energy flow. Since my hospitalization, I have used my breathing and spiritual aspects, but today felt like the right time to begin some postures. While my body is still so very tight, I am able to do some postures with intention, yet not perfection. What a life lesson. I have always been able to count on my physical stamina, being very good at exercises - often pumping more weight than the guys! Today, I am starting from a place of truly listening to my body, my pain being the gauge of how much I can push. Another message worth listening to and I am really listening! I welcome you to do the same - listen to your body - it reveals so much truth! In balance, Julie

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Chronic Conditions: Not So Bad!

Over these past few months, the little voice in the back of my head has been whispering a dilemma for me. Of course, I chose to push it away until now that it has been placed right in front of me to process and share with those of you who also manage chronic conditions. My dietetics training prepared me well for assisting clients with chronic conditions - diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis etc. My graduate training also honed my tools with regard to the mental health piece - how to maintain positivity with what could be considered "the daily grind"! Much of the work that I do professionally and even with my family/friend relationships, relates to assisting others to focus on the things to be grateful for, while acknowledging that there are times when anger, despair and outright negativity abound. I have become the master at glass 1/2 full and not empty, and while that remains important, there was a part of me resisting that I, too, may have chronic conditions that may not miraculously be healed. I've read voraciously over these past two years about NDE (near death experiences) and the miracles that ensued, and yet, my path has been different. While accepting my journey and learning from it, there remained a part of me waiting/hoping and expecting that I, too, would share this immediate miracle and walk into the lab with my "report card" (see earlier blog) being straight A's. I could not accept that given all my hard work and effort, that I may not come out of this in perfect health. But, then again, who really has perfect health! The ah-ha has finally come. I realize that the strength that I give to others is something that I need to listen to for me. I am alive, healthy in so many ways, love what I do and am so eager to continue to spread the good news of the best of both worlds - the true gifts that ancient wisdom and modern medicine provide to us. I have always been in positions professionally to be a conduit or bridge between the traditional and more holistic approaches and have had a nice niche for years. I am taking my own medicine, so to speak, and am smiling as I put together my team of experts - my integrative PCP, my traditional but brilliant oncologist, my newly found naturopath and my acupuncturist! I believe that I will be spearheading this approach in Boston once I am completely back in action! With vim and vigor, Julie

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Day Five Home: A Day Alone But Not Lonely

I've now had 2 wound dressing changes at home, have begun to pick up speed on the walks and had my first decent sleep last night! How resilient we are as humans! As a family, we had many discussions this week about this weekend because of my potentially being on my own, so to speak. My younger daughter, now 19, who has had to clean bathrooms due to a pipe leak while I was in the hospital, take me to the ER an hour away in the middle of the night and take care of Tammie, our shih-poo, had an opportunity to go with friends for the weekend. We talked about it and I need and want her to be 19, not 65! My older daughter lives an hour plus away, works long hours and is feeling the pull of being the oldest needing to take care of things. Again, we are so lucky to have an open dialogue and landed upon the importance of the fact that I will let her know what/when I need her and she will visit when she can. In fact, today, she and her boyfriend are taking my Dad out for the day, so in many ways, this is taking care of a huge need for me! Interesting dynamics here. I grew up an only child with obligations and no real ability to state if I wanted to visit the elders on the weekends or not. It was expected, it was a weekly ritual and I learned to be a loyal care-taker no matter what! While there was safety psychologically for years that offered me protection - "I am good", "I take care of my family", "I am respectful" - it did not employ what is most important - choosing from the heart! As I continue to journey on the path of heart-centeredness, being in my integrity and truly "choosing", I am slowly shaking off these old parts of myself, dusting off to a cleaner, more authentic self on the inside. Not always easy because as much as our family and friends want us to be well on all levels, the change in behavior is not always desired. Back to today - I am not lonely - no, in fact, I have so many things that I want to do - work on revising my website, buying some starfish to create a wall-hanging for my bedroom, buying a baseball cap for those days when I can't wash my hair yet! The list goes on and what is so nice is that none of this is obligation - it is me choosing what I want in this moment! May your day be refreshing, Julie