Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Oh Holy Night

It's the day before Christmas Eve and most likely my last post until I return from my first European vacation - visiting Ashley who is studying abroad.  My older daughter, Lindsay, will come with me for us to enjoy a "girls vacation".

In many ways this marks a first and a last for us.  Having been a single mom while the girls were growing up, vacations were scarce and it was the kindness of my Mom and Dad, that we were able to have some fabulous times away - Disney cruises, the Bahamas.  This is the first time that the three of us will traverse London and Amsterdam under the direction of Ashley, who has now been there for four months.

It marks a last in some ways, as Lindsay will be getting married and although we may continue to have some "girls time away", a new and exciting chapter in her life will begin!  I am so blessed to enjoy the company of my girls - truly remarkable young women and really fun to be with.

It has been a whirlwind of busyness with business - no pun intended.  I am blessed in the knowing that I would re-build and am doing so quite nicely.  Of course, this week, people are frantically wanting advice for the next few weeks, and I generally set no high expectations with regard to behavior change, but support the process and listen to the emotional roller coaster that often accompanies the holidays.

In the back of my mind, I am often humming and thinking about the very title song, "O Holy Night", as this song has rich meaning in my family's life.  From the time I was little, I remember listening to Gregorian Chants, both popular and choral Christmas music and as I grew, I led sing-alongs, cantored for the Christmas masses and sang this favorite hymm to my aunt and uncle as they were dying - what an honor to provide solace along with song.  These were my Mom's brother and sister, and my Mom would always request for me to sing this song each Christmas.

I feel deeply that this indeed will be a holy night, as this year concludes and the hope for a new beginning peaks through.  I have had the discussion often times this week with my clients, how this is the time for reflection and contemplation with a vision for the new year.  I also continue to support focusing on the positive aspects of life, while acknowledging the challenges.  The yin-yang symbol so nicely demonstrates that danger can be seen as opportunity.

My wish for all is for a Holy Night that becomes the dawn of a New Day/New Year.

With peace and love,

Saturday, December 19, 2015

With Gratitude and Song

Since I have moved from my home of over 20 years in Wellesley, MA, I have periodically been back to sing and play guitar with my folk group at St John's - a parish community that has been a backbone for me and my girls as we traversed many challenges in life.  It was not the religion per se, but the open love, caring and compassion that this faith community has offered me and so many others.

In fact, during the sexual abuse scandal, our pastor allowed the meetings to begin the process of revealing the wrong doings, knowing that significant transformation must occur in order for justice to ensue.  Another appeal in our community was the inclusion of all faiths - not segregating, but encompassing all as spiritual beings.

Earlier this week, I was contacted by one of my fellow musicians to join the choir for a funeral mass for my past music director's grandmother.  Not only was I honored, but I felt enthusiasm to give back with song, being with people I have known for years, but some whom I have not sen since I was ill.

Ironically, I was going to meet my Dad at the St John's parking lot in order to have the annual meeting with our financial person.  My Dad does amazingly well getting around, but has been getting lost more often, thus we have very distinct places to meet, and over the years both he and my mom attended many, many masses and school occasions there.

When I arrived, I was flooded with hugs and well-wishes and I once again, felt at home.  I have often referred to St John's as my second home.  It was a place of refuge,a place where I was able to share my musical talents, a place where I led groups-both young and old - to prepare sandwiches for the poor, to deliver christmas plants to the shut-ins and to bring communion to those unable to receive.  It was also a place for my healing.

As I've grown in my spirituality, I have felt less catholic  and more spiritual, while appreciating many aspects of my upbringing.  I've never felt shunned or left out in my community. There has always been a scholarly person to discuss my personal challenges and conflicts with.

As the funeral began, we sang songs that hold a dear place in my heart - memories from my own childhood through more recent times of consoling an aunt while she was dying and singing at my own Mom's funeral with my group.  Our music director, also the grandson, led us in song, stating how this was to be a celebration of his grandmother's life.  How true!

When we think of the range of human emotions, from joy to sadness, they really run the spectrum and music with meaningful lyrics, offer a way to express these emotions while connecting with others.  This brings me to thinking of chanting and how tones affect the chakras, or energy centers of the body.  There is science imbued into the beauty and art of sound.

My day was full.  Following the funeral, I accompanied my Dad to his appointment and we journeyed on to our annual holiday visit with a long-time dear friend, keeping the tradition ongoing that is so important for us.  Love filled the day - with gratitude and song.

May you be filled with joy as we approach this magical week,

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Peace in the Pain or Healing the Hormones

Well, since I could not decide between the two and actually see an association between them, I decided to elongate the title!

As Monday approached, I had "the migraine", a pretty chronic issue since my late teens.  I've tried the conventional approaches, as well as many alternative ones, and at least now  I am able to go without medications, yet still have these long duration headaches that can last from 3 to 5 days.

I've been asked to track my menstrual cycles for years to see if there is a correlation and while there has been, often there are migraines in the middle as well or that seem to have no rhyme or reason - at least on the "earthly plane".

As I approached this migraine, I was able to step aside and recognize that this is not me, that this discomfort will, indeed pass and that it is not necessarily something I did wrong.  While uncomfortable, I did get through my week, knowing that my intention is no longer to just get through, but to thrive and feel fully alive.

Accompanying this week was also the dreaded progesterone week!  I speak openly about my experiences because this truly is about sharing for the healing of myself and others.  I've had hormonal issues since the age of nine.  I have followed in my mother's and maternal side of the family's footsteps with dysmenorrhea, amenorrhea, infertility, endometriosis, pituitary insufficiency and late miscarriage.  As I look at my history, I likely had PCOS as well, but it wasn't even talked about in my day.  As an early teen, I was poked, probed, put on strong hormones that really messed with my weight, mood and cognition.  I was hospitalized at age fifteen for a D&C - being unable to recall how I felt, but remembering that my Dad would not talk to me for weeks.

Sexuality was not discussed in my home - not even the word pregnant was allowed.  Sex was considered "dirty", "bad" - and there was a lot of confusion for me having female issues and not understanding what was wrong with me.

As I've said so many times before in my blogs, this is not about name and blame, but really digging deep into my conscious, sub-conscious and overarching meanings for me/others.

This week was different.  I recognized how much influence the hormonal regimen has on how I feel physically and emotionally.  My endocrinologist has been brilliant in assisting me with a regimen that allows me to function, yet there is a missing piece.  I contacted one of my treatment team who specializes in essential oils because between her and my acupuncturist, I have been feeling better with the addition of oils.  As she reviewed my history again, going back in time, she suggested progesterone resistance and bingo, it all fell into place.  My years of symptoms fit this description exactly.  The cell receptors need cleansing, a "tuning up", in order for the medical support to do its work.

What is even more important, is that while feeling the emotional roller coaster of PMS (the moodiness, fatigue, bloating etc), combined with a migraine, I was able to not be in it, but rather observe it.  I am not the angry person, the paranoid person - these are aspects that I can feel when the hormones are not balanced.

I talk about this very challenge with countless patients and have been on the cutting edge of diagnosing PCOS for others long before it was "in vogue".  I am able to see personal challenge as gift for others and that does not mean in any way that I do not want continued healing in my life.  I truly do and have come a long way in this process.

This month, as I work on tuning up cell receptors, I feel excited to put more of the pieces of the puzzle together - healing the physical, understanding and healing the emotional binds that have been in my family for a long time, and evolving in my spiritual understanding for me and all who come in contact with me.

My fertility on all levels be in your life,

Sunday, December 6, 2015

A Deliberate Break

It is two weeks since my last post and this is the longest I've gone since beginning the journey with you in my blogging.

This break was deliberate - I tuned into my intuition about needing to go inside and honor my need for receptivity rather than doing.  Being able to give myself permission to take time tends to be a blindspot and a very, very hard one to transform.  The time is now here.

After consulting with various healers over these past few years, the messages have been similar - you need time and rest for the remainder of the healing process.  And while this should be easy, years of conditioning, family and societal messages and my make-up from birth, have made this somewhat of a mountain.  A mountain that can be moved!

During a time when many are ramping up for the holiday season, I chose to take some quiet time.  Ashley is abroad and Lindsay celebrated Thanksgiving with her fiance's family out of state.  I had a lovely day with my Dad, then came home to rest.  On Friday, I pulled out the Christmas boxes  - something my girls and I have done since they were little.  I decorated while listening to Christmas tunes, then took Tammie to our local garden shop to find a tiny - and I mean tiny, tree.  Since Lindsay and I leave to visit Ashley in Amsterdam Christmas night, I bought table topper, however real, as it has always been our tradition.

I practiced playing guitar and piano, and finished the manuscript for my cookbook. I went to a kirtan - an evening of chanting and music. I walked a lot by the ocean.  I listened to my heart and not my head.  It felt freeing to be spontaneous and not programmed as I so easily fall into.

What I've also noticed is how taking time, has opened up more healing for my digestion and headaches.  I continue to do many practices and have added in essential oils for sleep and detoxification, but it is the sum of all of these practices that is bringing about continued healing.

This is nothing new in my cognitive understanding, but I am moving into practice and knowing, without the judgment.  When the ego pops in, I am observing and letting it go.

My wish for you, my faithful audience, is to take a break during this season, pace yourself and know that you are loved for just being you!

Advent Peace,