Friday, February 27, 2015

A Trip To Whole Foods and A Message for All

As I pondered my conversations with clients this week, there often seems to be a theme for the week.  This week was about honoring one's body, accepting what is, loving the self with its perfections and imperfections.  I was struck by this poster hanging in the window at Whole Foods stating Treat Your Body As If It Belonged To Someone You Loved!

I was struck by how much initial desire for behavior change is determined by what one dislikes or feels a need to change about oneself.  This type of behavior change will only be temporary for a few reasons.  It takes more energy, or shall I say is an energy drain, to focus on negativity than on positive thoughts and actions.  This brought me to a youtube interview with Bruce Lipton about his book, The Honeymoon Effect:  Creating Heaven on Earth.  It is so true that when one experiences this feeling - much like falling in love for the first time - that one has boundless energy to do what he or she wants, is committed to etc.

Why then, do we focus on flaws, negativity, needing to change the very essence of who we are?  Fear of aging, money, greed - a platform of how our society is built in order to camouflage aspects that are deemed not good enough.  But according to "whose" standards?

I could go very deep into my own research on this subject because I have spent many, many years trying to "change" me, only to discover that what I truly want is self-acceptance.  And I am finally getting it and want you to get it too!

Brief history that many of you know:  very overweight and sugar addicted as a child, diets by the age of nine, no frank eating disorder but quite distorted, medical issues that cause weight gain/loss as a teenager - the fragile time when our bodies morph on their own, never mind be morphed by synthetic hormones!  I spent years trying to change my food addiction, trying to change my body until I started to look at different philosophies about our very nature.

It brings me to another book, by Greg Braden, The Spontaneous Healing of Belief - a very powerful discussion about looking at religion, philosophy and bringing unity to light and dark.  Being brought up in a religious home and having the basic education that most of get, left me with looking at good and bad, light and dark, as being separate.  Modern theory is bringing us to a closer look into light and dark being one and the same but at different frequencies.

While this can become very technical, suffice it to say that the darkness or shadow side of oneself, shows a need for love and compassion to bring it into the light.  This darkness is also a reminder that as humans, we all have dark and light, thus compassion for that which we do want to transform is key if we want to bring it into light or greatness or doing good.

My motto for years was that I wanted to be "comfortable in my own skin" and I am finally there - I am comfortable in my own skin - and when I begin down the trail of self-doubt or focusing on what I do not have, I now catch it, stop and have a list of phrases that bring me back to a place of positivity.  My spiritual coach/meditation master helped to coin specific words to elicit that warm, fuzzy, loving feeling that one must possess in order to bring the dark into light.

I share with you and wish you love, peace and contentment:
I am Whole, Perfect, Strong, Powerful, Loving, Harmonious, Happy, Healthy


Friday, February 20, 2015

Cycles and Using the Breath

It's been a week full of so many positive things and then, there are those cycles that CAN become consuming if one lets them.  My personal cycles are stomach bloating and constipation which leads to significant fatigue, brain fog and less ambition; muscular and joint pain; and migraines!  Maybe a little TMI, but I tell my patients that I talk about "poops in the office"  all the time.  There you have it - you now know my whole story!

I am approaching these cycles differently however, and instead of creating fear or the feeling of it'll be just like the last time, I am using visualization to see this as a new event and am using breath to stay very present-tense.  While not easy due to years of conditioning, it feels better.

Last week, I finished another continuing education program regarding The Healthy Gut - and learned much, confirmed much - and once again was reminded of how our bodies are meant to heal, programmed in fact, for health and wholeness!

It is in believing this very wisdom that can allow for healing or at least beginning the journey towards wholeness on many levels.  I find in my work with my clients, that I attract folks who have really complicated challenges - not unlike myself - and I find that cycles or chronic conditions are so very difficult on a physical and emotional level.  Once in this cycle, the expectation is that nothing will change.  This is far from the truth, but it does take a new set of skills and commitment, recognizing that it will take time to erase our programmed set of beliefs, while fostering a new way of thinking, feeling and believing.

Each time I talk about this, I have my own "ah-has" to contemplate.  This week, my personal challenges have been stomach and muscle pain related.  While I recognize this as part of having the label "chronic lyme" and which has been exacerbated by chemotherapy, I see these as labels that help explain a little of the "why", but do not define or confine me any longer.

Yoga brings me to that place where I can let go of the labels, let go of the awfulness of the chronic condition, let go of the tension that is held in the body and mind and just release.  I felt it so much more on the matt this week - the pain was pretty intense, yet the trust in just sinking or melting into the floor brought me to a better place - a place of relaxation and of knowing that I am well.  It was the breath that allowed this process to begin and to continue.

Give breath a chance!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentines Day - A Day of Anahata Presence

This day has a tradition of love, romance, sharing with others from the heart.  While I am alone today, I am not lonely, but filled with joy, peace, love and contentment.

I began my day with meditation - a new habit cultivated to continue along in my journey to total health.  I now enjoy taking this 15 minutes to focus on being calm, centered and in the moment.  A few hours later, I enjoyed my usual Saturday yoga class and today, the theme was Anahata, the heart chakra.  We did a lot of twists shining the heart to the heavens, as well as lying down poses with chest expansion.  It felt wonderfully refreshing.

Given the snow during the week, I had to reschedule my reiki session to today - and this, too, was a treat!  Over these past few years, I choose or shall I say, am drawn to knowing what alternative healing practices are needed to assist in the process of manifestation.  While certain physiological mechanisms are known or labeled in my medical diagnoses, some of the driving forces creating dis-ease have been in my inability to be in a parasympathetic state (state of calm) long enough to allow healing to occur.

Over the years, I became the "energizer bunny", as my friends and family would call me, and of course, this puffed up the ego, knowing that "I" could do it all.  Or shall I say, "thought".  Women of my age were reared to believe that we could do it all, have it all, and still be vibrant.  Statistics of disease, mental health challenges, as well as statistics of divorce, prove otherwise.

While it has been very challenging for me to quiet myself, I am practicing it because I do know that this is the true source of well-being, AND, I am enjoying it!  Today, in particular, my reiki session brought up visualizations of being strong, healthy, doing what I am passionate about, and feelings of being loved and taken care of.

When I compared notes with my reiki master, she brought up words such as "triumphant", "shimmering diamonds", "12" - a number of great significance in the bible, "wisdom", "I am well",  and she felt less stagnant energy in my compromised areas.  I left feeling so peaceful, strong and vital and this feeling has carried on through the rest of the day and evening.

Today is a day of love - love of others and love of self.  Happy Valentines Day!


Monday, February 9, 2015

Hearty Grass Fed Steak and A Snow Day

Since we are snow bound in Boston – our third storm in a week with over 3 feet of snow, it felt like a great day to prepare a hearty meal.  It has been a reflective few days, as well as an opportunity to be impromptu and creative.  Since my favorite yoga studios are closed, I lit my himalayan salt candle, set up my matt and created a shrine-like atmosphere where I practiced my own class.  It has felt so good because I am gaining the confidence to get back out and teach again.  While body flexibility remains an issue, it is so much improved with my daily work on the breath and knowledge that I am healthy, healed and whole! My plan for teaching will be to include my singing a song during savasana or the integration/rest phase of the practice.

Savor the flavors and enjoy this combination:

Grass fed sirloin marinated in balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, toasted sesame oil
Oven roasted chopped golden, red beets, and black radish in coconut oil and toasted pecans
Oven roasted green beens with minced ginger in toasted sesame oil, sprinkled with salt before roasting

Top with a mixture of grass fed plain yogurt and Dijon mustard

Black radish has been used in Asia for many years to treat various afflictions, and was introduced in Europe during the latter half of the 20th century. Its juice or extract is commonly ingested as a tonic that is good for the liver and beneficial for the entire gastrointestinal tract. The vegetable contains antioxidant properties that eliminate the free radicals. Its diuretic effects stimulate urination, which helps eliminate toxins from the body. This medicinal radish helps the body remove bladder and kidney stones. It promotes the production of bile to aid in digestion, and detoxifies the liver. It also helps purify the blood.

Friday, February 6, 2015

One Voice, The Power of One, That All May Be One

Now that my CD player is working in the car, I decided to pull out a few of my favorite CD's to sing along with while in the car yet again for hours on end as I approach the end of a 3 week daily injection at my doctor's office.  This intervention is to kill the lingering cancer cells known as "persisters", while boosting my immune system to allow it to fight on its own.

Pretty interesting stuff, albeit, very time-consuming and requiring a commitment on my part.  I'm okay with this commitment because I truly believe that I am healing, healed and whole!  Now back to the title that came from my mind's focus.  I love Barbara Streisand, have sung her songs for years and this particular album has some of my favorites - Over The Rainbow, People, Evergreen - all songs that have meaning and purpose about love, caring and making dreams come true!  She dedicated this album to raising human consciousness about caring for our world and each other - a theme that resonates with me.

It led me to think about the Power of One concert that I coordinated about five years ago in order to raise money for our mental health agencies in town.  The youth in our affluent town had been affected in a major way with a rash of suicides and this took a toll on the morale of the students, families, religious communities and schools.  My younger daughter and I decided to become actively involved in a wonderful support and education program called Adolescent Wellness.  The title of my concert was born out of my relationship with a priest who is a life-long family friend.

Fr. Steve belongs to the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement at Graymoor in Garrison NY.  The group resides on a beautiful mountain in the Catskill region.  What I remember and love about Graymoor is the mission of these dedicated folks - to serve the underprivileged and to offer a place of healing for those struggling with addictions.  Fr. Paul, the founder of the religious group, had the vision of bringing all religious groups together and to break down the barriers which lead to conflict and war.  I was always struck by this profound message - one so needed in this day and age of turf wars.

I sang for hours, while contemplating the power of unity, feeling very connected to all that is.

May you have peace and unity,