Saturday, October 31, 2015

Open and Trust

Back to back days of yoga presented with these two powerful themes - being open and learning to trust.  This was an important part of the sequence of coming out of that dark place - one that was necessary for the next lesson - and being able to enter a new phase, albeit unknown.

A few of my blog followers reached out with compassion and love and I very much thank you for that - especially because I did not sense fear in your words, but a true loving way of reaching out with compassion.  This response continues to fuel my passion for being authentic in my reflections and sharing, so that we all may be blessed and grow from both the dark and the light.

Immediately what comes to mind from my own spiritual upbringing is Jesus being laid in the tomb for three days before rising into the light.  As I've grown in my own philosophical understanding, I take the meanings of the stories passed down for centuries in a less literal way.  Neville Goddard, a writer on mysticism, christianity and God, used references from the bible to explain complex concepts in a simpler way - a way for the new age of spirituality to make sense as we evolve.

When I shared birthing my heart, I was beginning to understand on a very mind-body-spirit level how these aspects of oneself tell a unique story of our purpose and journey and these hints provide opportunities to create something very different for ourselves.

For me it became more clear that this period of physical and emotional challenge provided me with opportunities to set limits - to state "enough is enough" - and to proclaim that "I do want to be taken care of and that my heart yearns for this, yet is afraid".

It is easy to stay stuck in old ways of being, creating chronic cycles of physical and emotional pain, without even knowing that this is the pattern.  It is much more difficult to look out at a clean slate and ask, "now what"?

As I entered this phase of being open, I began to feel alive and my digestion has been positively affected as well.  While I know that my physical path continues to have challenges that will take time to heal, I KNOW that all is well, even on the dark days.

Trust was the next powerful message that came to me the following day.  This refers to trust in myself, as well as others.  Old programming, societal messages, fear-filled families of origin, often keep us in a place where learning to develop and listen to our own inner knowing is not supported.  And I grew up in this place, as well as so many of the wonderful lives that I touch on a daily basis.  It became clear to me that the gifts I give to others are often clear messages of what I need to do for me.

I can talk about my past weight and compulsive eating or my intimate relationships as examples of where I did not listen to quiet inner voice, but it is time now to thank those lessons and move into a place and time when I truly honor my inner knowing and the power that I possess as a person, clinician, family member and friend.

As I came to a close for the week, I met with a psychologist who is also trained in astrology, and we talked about these themes.  It is so much more clear for me why and when I face these challenges, but what was more helpful was how to circumvent them from fully manifesting.  When I speak with my eating disordered clients, I use the phrase," when ED is knocking on the door, stop and ask yourself, this is interesting, what is really going on and what is out of balance?"  Become the outside "observer" for yourself, not getting caught up in the judgement, and truly listen to your inner voice - that tiny, but powerful voice.

With Love and Compassion,

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Giving Birth To My Heart

I had begun a blog on Sweets N' Treats and my fun gathering with friends, but have deferred to a much more pertinent topic and need to share such a revelation.  The past two weeks have been challenging beginning with the physical realm of chronic conditions - the significant IBS that affects energy, feeling sick, headaches, and limits my world to just attending to the daily necessities; the migraines that while debilitating, I push through the days and sleepless nights.  This is not to bring out the violin - NO - this is to illuminate how compassionate I feel for the many clients who enter my life on a daily and weekly basis with chronic conditions.

We talk about how for them, it never feels like life will get better.  Somehow, I tapped into that scary abyss myself and while it truly sucked, I had an ability to feel my physical and emotional pain and finally have some major acknowledgements.

It is so easy to blame parents and circumstances for why we are the way we are, but, as I was speaking with a therapist colleague the other day, she mentioned, the past is just to establish a base, context and understanding, but never to dwell there.  So true.  My folks so desperately did not want their only child to be hurt, spoiled - all good intentions - but the world was a scary, dark, dangerous place from my lens, and with the unrest at home, it, too, was an unsafe place to be emotionally.

From my experience, I learned to be independent, to be stoic, to create a pollyanna-like world, one in which my optimism would supersede any negativity or harm.  While talking  and blubbering with Lindsay, my oldest, last evening, I had this epiphany and it continued into yoga today.

I finally admitted that I do, indeed want to be taken care of, that I no longer want to do this on my own and have been working on establishing a medical team to do just that.  My past few years in particular, have been a great example of the failing healthcare system in our country.  I have had to pull together my team, TRY to get them to collaborate and communicate, which often did and does not happen.  I am stepping into a place of now expressing my dissatisfaction, asking for more help and feeling deserving of this care.

I am so aware how this impacts who I am as a healthcare professional.  I do care, I do create collaborative teams, I do work at creating a better healthcare system for all.  And, I will not stop!

Back to today.  At yoga, we worked hard and a lot on exposing the hear.  My immediate visual was giving birth to my heart - kinda graphic, but beautiful, both visually and metaphorically.  I have been told by countless alternative providers - massage therapists, therapists, energy workers, channelers - that my heart was broken and I learned to wall it off.  It shows up in my posture - the hunched shoulders that were to hide my fatness as a child, the mid-back tightness that has been impossible to manipulate even by some of the strongest chiropractors.

What I realized today, was that this dark period was needed to bring forth (birth) my heart, opening me up to really living, really being able to not only ask, but to receive.

I wish you all an open heart, trusting that you are whole, healed and loved.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Be Not Afraid

As I awoke this morning, I was all too aware that this is the second anniversary of my Mom's passing.  I did the usual morning routine, put the coffee on, got Tammie out to do her business and just looked at the beauty of the sky, quieting my mind for a moment to listen intently to the sounds around - the whisper of the air, the birds singing their morning songs and I thought, hmm, I want to quiet that mind enough to hear the waves gently lapping upon the shore - a good goal.

Once I came in, I thought of Mom and was easily transported back to Oct 13, 2013 - I was brought back to preparing to make the trip out to Hubbardston once again to assist my Dad with all the arrangements, feeling quite on alert and not as tired as one would think with about 3 hours of sleep.  My next focus was a song, a very favorite one, Be Not Afraid - and I began to hum it for a few moments.

All of a sudden, this past week of highs and lows came into focus.  There are no coincidences and music continues to be so powerful for me - not only as expression, but as purpose and meaning.  The words in a song, often bring to light my emotions and my thoughts put into words and melody.

As I've mentioned in previous blogs, anniversaries have a lot of meaning for me.  I am aware of these important dates up to a week before and usually awaken with reminiscences of the person, our relationship, the intent and purpose of our being together in this life.  Yup, I am a deep thinker.

My Mom was a supportive cheerleader regarding my pursuits - she brought me to my music lessons as a child, she joined my various nutrition groups and became one of the gang, so to speak.  I often gently listen to her support now, even though she is not here in the physical sense and this past week is no coincidence.

I have been working on a life-long dream since college days and came to a pivotal time when I am to really proclaim what I am "up to".  I have dreamed of having a bed and breakfast in Marblehead since I was at Framingham State University in the Nutrition and Home Economics Department back in the 70's.  I planned to cook my healthy meals and teach and support others in their process along the path to wellness.  As I've explored this opportunity  over this past year, it has grown into a retreat center and most recently, given the property that I envision as "thee place", I have learned that it must also be a non-profit.  Thus began the exploration of just what a non-profit is and does, as well as how it operates.

Of course, this is entirely new territory for me and while there is a steep learning curve, I feel guided into continuing along a path that appears, at least on the outside, either crazy or impossible.  By the end of last week, I had reached a point of sending out my letters of intent to all of the Marblehead Neck residents - easily over 500 letters copied, stamped and by Friday, I had the ego looming in the back of my head telling me that I am not prepared, have no business pursuing such big idea and the overarching theme that I continue to wrestle with - do I deserve this!

I decided to go to the post office anyway and mailed out my numerous letters.  I felt a sense of accomplishment as well as astonishment - I am proclaiming my desire to bring health, healing and support to not only a beautiful oceanside community, but to those desiring a destination retreat where their path is held sacred.

Mom, thank you for your support, not only while on earth, but in the very air surrounding me - we are all spiritual beings experiencing a mortal world.


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Offline But not Off Course

So we had this wild weather a week and a half ago and my printer was affected in the weirdest way.  First the scanner went off, then the print-computer connection, then finally, even the USB would not function.  Messages showed the wireless was working, yet the printer could not be seen.

This even stumped by PhD IT guy for over a week.  Now that I am online, able to print, send, scan, I am back in action and it took til later last evening to finish all the backlog.  What was more profound was to observe my reaction or shall we say, lack of reaction.  I was able to take things in stride, seeing this as an inconvenience, but not a disaster.  I was also very aware of how dependent we are as a society on computers and living in an instant world.  When things fall apart in the daily functioning, it is important to be creative.  I made a list of all the doctor notes that needed to be printed and mailed, I emailed the goals and treatment plans to patients and kept things moving along.  I even had to let go of a few things, such as my blogging and writing for the newspaper, but guess what, all is well!

This mentality has been spreading into other areas of my life as well.  There's the retreat project - a lifelong dream of creating a center where people can come to rest, learn, eat healthfully and immerse themselves into a world of total health-  mind, body, spirit.  This project has morphed into a very large undertaking and I was aware of the little voice in my head saying "Can you really do this", "Do you have the energy, knowledge to pursue this", "How are you going to finance this thing".  All reasonable fears and doubts, but as I continue to move forward, I talk with people who know more about specific areas and I take on what I can without allowing the mind to race too far ahead.

This all takes practice because my norm is to become filled with self-doubt, racing thoughts and an inability to move forward in areas that I have not mastered.  I find yoga and being outdoors to offer me balance.  These have really become my leverage, even on days when I don't want to do it.  I will stop and look at the end goal and readjust myself to "just do it", because it works.

Moral of the story is that there is nothing that cannot be overcome.  And often times, the strategies right in front of us are the most powerful.

Just Breathe!