Monday, February 29, 2016

The Jog

I spent a weekend chanting, learning more about Indian philosophy and how central music and chanting has been in raising one's awareness, as well as becoming focused on God or as some refer, the Divine.  I also did a track on Positive Psychology and was immersed into more yoga, exploring the deep crevices of tension and discomfort, having an attitude of inquiry that goes beyond the usual practice.

As I contemplated, I became even more aware of how flooding thoughts continually enter my mind, yet I was able to remain the outside observer and just notice.  This was particularly noticeable when "trying" to sing chants that I've never heard, language that I don't really speak except at a few kirtans and also thirsting to know what I am singing and its significance.

Well after some struggle and disenchantment, a lightbulb went off.  This is all conditioning.  Being a singer for much of my life, I reach for perfection - the notes, the lyrics, the embodiment of spiritual song - and while this is a gift that I offer to myself and others, there has always been that critical voice in the back of my head, the yapper, that would rob the spontaneity and joy from being one with song.

My girls had observed this in me long ago, often saying, "Mom, you take responsibility for everyone and everything and make even your hobbies a job".  Wow, how this came back in a flash and in that moment, I chose to let go and just sing, also taking in the drums and bells and the harmonium.  I sang loud while not having perfect notes or words, but it felt good. And, there was a room of likely 200 people, all connected in sung prayer.

Later during our session, there was Q&A and this topic came up for another catholic, who also wanted to know about interpretation.  The explanation was about repetition with intention, getting lost in both of these concepts, and how this can lead to meditation/focus.

While my journey is still in very beginning stages, the thirst for more continues.

This time was not only about music and yoga, but about re-setting old, entrained patterns, freeing myself of the dark shadows of disease.  I remain on the path to wellness, having sub-optimal labs and physical discomfort, YET, I am so healthy in so many ways.  I decided to begin a tradition that left when I became ill in 2012, being unable to get up and jog at 6am as I had for years.  Today, I jogged (not at 6am-think those days may be past!) for 11 minutes without stopping, feeling the 2 minute "Oh my God how will I finish" into "this is not so bad", and by the time I arrived back home, I felt so accomplished and well on my way.

The body is an amazing vehicle - use it with care!


Sunday, February 21, 2016

Sacred In Many Languages

As I listened to the homily at mass last evening, I was drawn to the focus on forgiveness - of self, of others and looking at ways to accomplish this sometimes seemingly hard task.  Softening of the heart, looking up to Jesus as a guide.  It was a nice reflection to ponder.

This morning, while at yoga - I often refer to my Sunday tradition as my spiritual time at "Saint Yoga Loft", as this has become yet another tradition to tap into the unseen world of God and spirit.  My mantra today was "ecstasy".  What struck me today was that the language that I grew up with - the catholic tradition - is so similar to what I listen to from my amazing instructors in yoga.

While different, it is all the same and I personally find peace and contentment when I am able to tie concepts together.  I am so drawn to philosophy and love bringing people from different perspectives together.  It feels like a calling for me - something that I am supposed to be doing in this life,along with my continued passion for other healing arts as well.

Later today, while driving to a workshop on shiatsu massage, I listened to my contemporary spiritual CDs.  I had been unable to do this for many months due to a broken CD player in my car, but it felt so good to belt out the music that I have cantored for years in church.  And as I sang the words, I also listened carefully and again, saw the connections between the sanskrit chant earlier in the day and the lovely melodies that I have sung over and over again.  I smiled and felt a warmth, an opening in not only my throat chakra, but in my heart as well.  The throat chakra is about finding and using one's voice and the heart, well, most of us know, is all about love and being open.

I truly felt the "ecstasy" from my mantra this morning.  I feel blessed knowing that many languages, just as many paths, all lead to one - the sacred.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Valentines Reflections

Happy Valentines - at least that's how I am feeling upon the ending of my day.  But leading up to it, there was a little tug and awareness of the hype and societal pressure that goes into being with someone and if you're not, what a loss.

I had my moment last night as I thought about my relationships that just didn't go as I had hoped and dreamed.  Sadness took over for just a bit and then I realized how much I have learned, how much I have grown and how much more I know about who I am and what I want and who I want to be with.  Wow - now that is a mouthful!

What I really gleaned from these few sad moments was how I learned as a young child that it was not okay to be pampered, not okay to be given to and that what was expected was to take care of others and to make others happy.  As children, our beliefs are ingrained by the age of 7.  How many learned this same lesson - many of us!  And it can take a lifetime or much of it, to undo these beliefs, recognizing that it truly is okay to want reciprocity in love.  What I also realized is that is was also a bind for my partners because given my belief system, it would hard for anyone to know how to give to me!  My husbands truly have and had beautiful qualities and talents - it just wasn't meant to last a lifetime and tragically, my second husband died after suffering for over three years.

As I've said so many times before, this is not about name and blame, but is truly about choosing to put the history where it belongs - in the past - and to choose the life that YOU want - to thrive and not just survive.

I had learned the beauty of giving to others and I gain great joy in seeing the twinkle in one's eyes, the shear happiness of giving a romantic or just loving surprise, but what I had not learned was how to give this to myself.

Last evening, I lit my beautiful himilayan salt candle, made my tea, watched a few movies and slept in an extra hour this morning.  I went to my usual yoga class on Sunday.  I call this class, St Yoga Loft, as I truly gain my spiritual uplift from Jaishree's class, especially when she and her husband sing.  I went to Whole Foods to purchase a yummy lunch just because and I baked brownies for my upcoming television spot on the local news announcing my cookbook.  I sang and played guitar and boy does my Martin sound heavenly since being fixed and ready for musical engagements.

I feel loved, satisfied and thank my past for showing me the way to my present.  May you feel loved too!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Let's All Play Nice In The Sandbox

As I finish another week listening and supporting patients and continuing along in my own journey to whole health and healing, I continue to be struck with how divisive healthcare or shall we call it disease management is these days.

I will still state that we have excellent emergency care and this is a necessary part of medicine, but where the state of the nation lies with regard to wellness, health promotion and disease prevention or minimizing relapse is quite dismal.

I will not get into the politics of the insurance and pharmaceutical industries, but suffice it to say that these large corporate entities are driving the decisions with regard to education in medical schools, with regard to incentives to prescribe medications and a huge dis-incentive to seek alternatives, often making these options unavailable to those who need it.  We do need medications, but we also need softer forms of therapy that hold powerful solutions, often without the degree of side effects.

In my my own practice, I am being referred by providers or individuals are seeking me out often as a last resort - a desperate hope for someone to listen, connect the dots and to offer hope for a way out of increasing medical challenges.

I find this also on a personal level.  I seek out those who will truly listen and take the time to help me sort through the various challenges that have manifested into full-blown illness or an under-current of just not feeling well.

We all deserve to have vitality, to have bodily systems that are working to their best capacity and above all, we all deserve not only the intelligence of our medical professionals, but compassion and an openness to thinking outside the box, looking into unknown areas for possible answers or supportive measures.

It is time to go back to the days of preschool when what we were taught was to play nicely with others, to take turns and honor the person in front of us.  It's time to put competition into the background and cooperation into the forefront.

In collaboration,