Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Where Does Agitation Come From?

Where does agitation come from? It just seems to show up. Did someone just let it in the door without realizing who was coming in? Maybe I am tired or possibly an emotional nerve has been touched?

Things can be going so well and yet the agitation sets in as a rainy day in the summer. While maybe we would love to have all sunny days, without a little rain, our lives may not grow in its absence.

Just think of life without rain in that we would eventually wither and die. We would droop our leaves and our leaves would turn brown and drop off. Without the rain, we would not maintain, evolve and grow.

So today, I will ask the question, "what is my source of agitation?" Could it be that I pushed my body physically and it needs some rest? Am I feeling as if an emotional nerve has been touched? Is it what I pick up from the world around me?

For today, in this moment, I will honor and respect myself. I will allow myself to feel agitated without judging it and instead, I will accept it through love. I will sense and feel where it resides within my body, than offer a voice to it, so that it may share wisdom with me.

Finally, I will observe it throughout my day to notice the depth, qualities, feelings, sensations and connections to my consciousness that it holds.

I lovingly honor and accept myself

--All of myself

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

How Do I Quiet My Mind?

From my morning meditation time on June 28., 2010. As I was sitting there in my refreshing, cool and simply peaceful surroundings, my mind was racing. There were many thoughts swirling around as to what I needed to accomplish, someone that was struggling with pain, and just about everything else that I could think of. So my thoughts turned to the question of "how do I quiet my mind? ". While I realize, there are many ways to do this, the ideas I am listing here were what came to me during this time.

1) Keeping perspective for this moment.
2) Recognize fears and worries.
3) Honor the unknown
4) A conscious decision to let go
5) Noticing my body and my breathing
6) Feeling all of my body including the areas of discomfort
7) Realizing that this is a sacred time
8) Making the conscious choice to just be in this moment
9) Loving myself enough to give myself permission to quiet my mind
10) Gently breathing in and breathing out
11) Noticing the joys in my life
12) Knowing that all things will work out as seen by my path to this point
13) Offering myself a new day to create, mold and shape it as I desire and sense that it needs to be done.

Monday, June 28, 2010

My First TIme Walking The Labyrinth

To learn more about what a labyrinth is, please see my earlier blog posts on “What Is A Labyrinth” written by Trish Kalhagen on April 27, 2010. Also check out the blog post on “Walking The Labyrinth” posted on May 12, 2010. This particular account is of my first time walking a labyrinth. It was an experience that I will cherish forever.

Today, I walked the labyrinth for the first time.

“I don’t know what they are doing but it looks nice,” said one lady.

“It looks like a nice maze or something,” said another lady.

Of course, these were the words I heard as I walked a portion of the labyrinth today at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Orlando, Florida. There was a group of ladies that came out to stand on the terrace, not knowing that we were walking a labyrinth as a spiritual healing practice. They did not realize what this was about and so I heard what they said, but just patiently focused my mind and continued my walk.

After all, it was not that long ago, where I would have probably said the same things and thought this was one fancy maze. I had no idea it was rooted in spirituality (note that I did not say religion) and is part of one’s own personal journey into reflection on life, releasing things not desired and integrating your life with what you receive. Even though I remember posting a blog entry on April 27, 2010 titled, Labyrinth Experience, I did NOT remember that these were the parts of a labyrinth experience – the releasing, receiving, and integrating. So now, any doubts I had about the experience have just been reduced to zero! I’ll explain more about this as I write this about my own labyrinth journey today.

I was the first to start walking and to be honest, I was a little nervous. I really wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do other than walk slowly and stay open. My fear of maybe getting off the path and getting mixed up weighed in as well as people were most likely watching me from the windows of the building that surrounded us. Of course, my friends were there and I was a little self conscious about them observing me, in case I might have been doing anything wrong.

So planting my feet firmly at the start of the path into the labyrinth, I just stopped and focused my mind, breathing in to my body and just feeling my body as it was grounded to the stones below my feet. I knew that it was all about putting one foot in front of the other and just following the path laid out before me. As I took one step after another, my legs felt so wobbly that I could barely walk, let alone stand up. I began to get fearful that I would not be able to walk which of course triggered many fears within me. In my mind, I began to rationalize that walking like this should be no different than walking in any other way during my day. Yet, I was really struggling to get my feet steady on the ground. It felt as if hurricane force winds were blowing me from side to side, yet the wind was gently blowing on me.

Finally, I just stopped and took some deep breaths, trying to honor and respect my body and just connect with my legs. It felt good to stop and just take in what I was feeling. Whatever it was, I knew it was very strong. Soon I was walking again, but as I did my feet became wobbly and I struggled to get my feet on the ground. Why was I having such a difficulty in walking, I pondered? I didn’t have an answer to that but I soon realized that I would just need to go slower and allow myself to be there with my wobbly legs and uncertainty and all my fears.

My breathing was somewhat difficult as well and I kept stopping along the path before me to just focus on my breath and keeping my feet planted firmly on the ground. At some point, I began to notice that walking became much easier, that my feet were much more firm than they had been. Yet, I was puzzled in my mind as to what changed? It was all the same material and all the same stones. The patterns changed in length but were all basically the same. I could not come up with an answer but knew that something had shifted. As I began to notice this, I realized that my breathing was becoming much easier. Up until this point, I felt as if a heavy weight was bearing down on my chest and diaphragm, making it difficult to truly breathe.

I kept my eyes on the path ahead of me and kept walking. I felt the ease of the moment increase which brought joy to my body. Then, all at once, I felt as if the sun was beaming down upon me and just as if I was getting a lot of information from some source. It was almost like a computer download. I could not make out the specific information but I could feel it as energy waves coming into me. It was a strange sensation that I felt but in many ways, there was a familiarity to it.

As I continued to feel all of these, I noticed that each step I took, it was easier and my walking was freer. I was not as concerned about where I was on the path or how I would stay on it. It just felt natural to continue walking. It was a feeling of freedom, of ease and everything coming together.

The more I walked, the more I felt almost like a child wanting to skip along. It was as if I could hear children laughing and giggling although none were present. It was as if I felt like a happy go lucky person with no cares or concerns in the world. It was a good feeling. It was a welcomed feeling.

Continuing along the path, my attention began to turn towards the building I was surrounded by and the people in it who were undoubtedly dealing with some of the most difficult forms of fear that they would ever deal with which was cancer. While I personally don’t know what that is to deal with, I’ve had enough experiences in my life to understand so much about fear.

Automatically, as if following some unknown script, my prayers began thinking of these people. I began to ask for strength for those that faced these things and for support for them during these times as well as their loved ones, the doctors and caregivers. As we were walking out to the labyrinth on the terrace of the building, a patient was walking out the door with a caregiver and exclaimed “Oh it feels so good to see the outside”. My heart heard that and connected with some of my old fears of the past as I was moved to tears. For this person and the others, I offered the prayer of support and love and healing to them. I was a guest in their building.

My next prayer drifted to the thoughts of the meditation prayer Dr. Masaru Emoto had asked the world to contemplate. It was the prayer for the Gulf Of Mexico and the oil spill. I offered my own version up to the labyrinth and the universe asking that the reefs be protected and the oil be contained before it did any more damage.

As I continued to walk, my prayers turned towards all those around me in the world. It was a collective group of people that I focused on, asking that they open their eyes and become aware of more than they currently see. I long for people to wake up and connect with a part of life and the universe that they now treat as a stranger. The hearts that have closed, the anger that rules while the bodies and minds are at two opposite worlds. I cry for the hurt and pain inflicted within humanity. I weep for the people who struggle to see with eyes that are closed. I weep for the hatred and fear that has infected the lives of many. My prayer is for all the people of this world who are still trying to find their way along their own paths.

The next prayer then turned towards myself knowing that I have been struggling through some intense times of wondering what’s next for me – where do I go – how do I get there? Filled lately with so many questions and not allowing myself the time to ponder the answers that most likely lie before me. I want to know – where do I go? What steps must I take?

As I began to ponder that prayer, my attention turned toward the labyrinth. Here I had entered the beginning point, not really knowing where or how the path would get me all the way back to the starting point. If I looked at it carefully, the labyrinth seemed very confusing and yet, it had a particular flow and shape to it. You really didn’t have to worry about where to go because if you just followed the path and put one foot in front of the other, you found yourself moving through the patterns. It wasn’t a difficult thing to do but yet, if I had stopped to worry too much about how to get through this maze of geometric shapes, I would have never taken a step. Yet, all of it unfolded as I journeyed on. I really didn’t have to think about it. It just unfolded as I moved forward. It happened as I needed it to happen and if it was coming to fast, I could slow down. If I wanted to go faster, I would just pick up the pace. It was a path. It was a journey and all I needed was right in front of me the entire time.

Much is like my life. As I look back on the path that I’ve already walked, I can see how it is connected. At the time, I could not see that but then if I just continue to walk the path, I will be on my journey. I need not worry about what is coming up in the next section or how I will get around the next bend. All I need to do is put one of my feet in front of the other and keep following the path. That’s it. That’s all I need. The rest will be waiting on the path as I approach it. It will not come a moment too soon nor will I walk by it for it is all on my path. It is all part of me to hold, honor and cherish. It is there to sustain me, give me direction and help me on to the next bend, twist or turn in my path. How hard is that? How easy is that, I ponder to myself?

As my thoughts grew to a close, I noticed that I was coming upon the beginning point. It was where I had started this particular part of my journey and where this part of my journey came to a close. What comes next is as unknown as walking on the labyrinth path. Does it matter? Most likely not! For if I get worried and concerned about having to know all what lies ahead, what do I profit? I’m just robbing myself of the useless energy of trying to control something which is not ready to unfold or appear to my consciousness. Instead, if I use that energy to welcome all that I’ve been given and all that I’ve learned, realized and grown through, than there is the possibility that I am taking giant leaps on my path rather than small baby steps. There is so much that I’m realizing that the “now” is the most important thing I have. It is more precious than gold. It is all I have. The next minute, the next project, the next income source is beyond my grasp. It is in a moment we do not have and cannot obtain. In much the same way, if I focus upon the moments gone by, than, I am taking away from the joys of my current moments. It is best if I can remember to live with the “now” because it is what I have and it is what is the most important for me.

Walking the labyrinth was my first time and I’ll be forever grateful for the experience, the wisdom and the courage that I had to do this. It was a very spiritual experience with friends that helped me to see what lies before my eyes. I’m honored to have walked this labyrinth. After I began to write this experience up, I realized that I had went through the stages of releasing, receiving and integrating without being aware that these were the stages you would experience. What a wonderful gift to realize just how this was manifested when I was not consciously aware that it would happen in this way. I am forever humbled by this experience.




*For more articles, check out the Mind Body Thoughts Blog

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Peacefully Connected

From my morning meditation, this is something I wrote as I listened to the birds outside including the red headed wood pecker going at the telephone pole.

Symphony of birds
How beautiful the sounds
Peaceful
Connected, yet they stand alone
Dogs in the background
Voices filter in
Peaceful
Simple
Connected

Maybe what seems disconnected and as individual moments in our lives, is part of our overall symphony. It is connected but yet it often appears as we are standing alone in our individual moments. If we allow all of it to come in, it will simply be peacefully connected.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Vision For My Healing Life

One of the things that I do with this blog is to create a mile marker, if you will, of various moments in my life. In many ways, this blog is about my own journey through life including the good, bad and sometimes the things that are difficult to write about. It is about my own experiences and my learning that evolves as I grow and continue to take steps forward. I try to hold open my life as an open book in hopes that by sharing my own struggles, triumphs and growth, it will inspire and encourage others. Today's post is one such moment in my life.

Lately I've been looking for answers to many questions that I have and struggling to find my footing on what seems to be a treacherous path. While I know that the times of discomfort and aloneness are moments which lead to a greater awareness, they are often difficult. It is a journey and I'm not one that is afraid to travel down the difficult paths. Yet, sometimes I am afraid of the fears that show up along the way.

After a much needed week of time off from the daily routines and spending it with some wonderful friends doing everything from fun events to exchanges of healing, my mind is much more focused than it has been. I needed this time of renewal. It was like pressing the reset button in life. I was hoping for this and I was given much more than I could have ever hoped for during the week. It was a gift that touched my heart deeply and impacted my life in ways that will ripple beyond my current moments.

So today, I am marking the point where instead of getting up in the morning and starting my daily routines, I'm going to spend a few moments in meditative silence being open to all that is within my consciousness and listening to all that is waiting for me to receive. Today's post is about what came out of that which is my starting point for shifting my focus into the world I desire to connect with instead of the perplexing world I live in. I realize that in order to shift things and to flee from feeling stuck, that defining what I'm looking towards is key. I hereby offer the following up as my moment of drawing the line in the sand.


What Would My Healing World Look Like?
Saturday, June 26, 2010

Vision:
Helping others heal from lifelong trauma in a way that not only enlightens and helps them to evolve but helps me do this in myself as well as anyone connected with the work or with me. It is permanent life changing work available to anyone regardless of their ability to pay for it. The necessary time and resources to enjoy life are available in the way that I need them at any given moment.

1) Not every day bodywork sessions – plenty of downtime, rest and time to myself – would allow me to set the pace and schedule of my day. Feeling of ease and not being overwhelmed.

2) Mix of bodywork sessions, workshops I give, time for me to write, learning and maybe teaching. Most likely it would involve drumming, music, angel therapy. Would keep me grounded and growing. Would involve all kinds of bodywork, energy healing, book discussions, workshops, speakers, seminars, creative expressions, health practitioners, experimental concepts, regular exchanges between body workers

3) Regular bodywork done on myself

4) Some air travel but limited driving and limited time away from home

5) Feel connected to the ocean and also long for the mountains

6) People who are spiritual and grounded that can support my own growth, work or endeavors that I can learn from and grow with. Connections to other health practitioners who share the same vision.

7) Feel very connected to nature – outdoors – trees – animals

8) Creative Idea oriented but details left to someone I trust with the same vision

9) Facilities/building in a place like Oviedo – peaceful, wooded area with lake, connected to nature, plenty of windows to make the space open but secluded for privacy, quiet and spacious.

10) Ability to offer work to anyone whether they can afford it or not. Money would not be a motivator. Anyone who needs healing could come. Workshops would be inexpensive like QiGong seminars.

11) Would provide for our needs in life but not asking to be extremely wealthy or barely surviving in life. Wanting a healthy income that allows us to enjoy life and do things we would love to do. Work would be self sustaining financially for us.

12) Would allow me to continue writing as I do now but with someone that could edit it as I write

13) Would allow me to be creative in all that I do as I currently do

14) Would include close friends that were nearby who share a similar view and vision for the world.

15) It would touch all corners of the world


Dear Universe:
I offer this up. I am anxious but patient to see it unfold. I am ready to do my part and take my place in all of this so the world may heal and grow. I am ready to embrace my fears and take the step into the unknown.



*For more articles, check out the Mind Body Thoughts Blog

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Body Posture Affects Confidence

Source: Body Posture Affects Confidence In Your Own Thoughts, Study Finds

Researchers found that people who were told to sit up straight were more likely to believe thoughts they wrote down while in that posture concerning whether they were qualified for a job.

On the other hand, those who were slumped over their desks were less likely to accept these written-down feelings about their own qualifications.

The results show how our body posture can affect not only what others think about us, but also how we think about ourselves, said Richard Petty, co-author of the study and professor of psychology at Ohio State University.

Petty conducted the study with Pablo Briñol, a former postdoctoral fellow at Ohio State now at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in Spain, and Benjamin Wagner, a current graduate student at Ohio State. The research appears in the October 2009 issue of the European Journal of Social Psychology.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Dr. Masaru Emoto Prayer for The Waters

With great respect for Dr. Emoto's work, I am forwarding this invitation to you... if this speaks to your heart, please hold a blessing of gratefulness and love to our ocean, animals and the oil spill situation in the Gulf. Please join us in repeating this healing prayer of Dr. Emoto's and feel free to forward this information.
Event Time: June 21

"I send the energy of love and gratitude to the water and all the living creatures in the Gulf Of Mexico and its surroundings. To the whales, dolphins, pelicans, fish, shellfish, plankton, coral, algae and all living creatures - I am sorry. Please forgive me, Thank you. I Love You!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

We've Got So Much

Sometimes in life, we look around and complain about many things. We wish this was different or that was different. Sometimes we subscribe to different schools of thoughts and we know that if we just keep believing, things will somehow change for the better.

The only thing is that while doing this, we often fail to see what is so good about our lives in the current moment we are living in. We've already got much more than we sometimes see. We've already accomplished so much of what we are wishing for. We have already changed so much of what we wish to change.

Yet, we are too busy looking for the golden rainbow to notice that the rain and thunderstorms in our life are actually offering to us what we long for. Sure, we may have to dodge the lightening bolts and the hail and find shelter from the drenching downpours of rain, but just as we celebrate a sunny day, so should we celebrate the rainy season.

Spend time today, observing in your life just all that has come into your life. Recognize what is already there, and what has shown up. Know that life is about seeing what is before us instead of squinting into the horizon to guess at what is out there.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Brain Never Rests

According to an article on Newsweek.com, Why Your Brain Never Really Rests, scientists have ignored the brain activity in the background as the brain is not really active doing anything. Since scientists doing PET scans and MRI's assumed this activity was meaningless, they actually took it out of the results from the scans.

When someone is lying still and it seems like the mind is blank, the brain activity is really working hard. The very idea of default activity was so against the norm for the scientific community that when Marcus Raichle discovered it, his paper on the subject was rejected. The brain might be very active in the areas where it seems as if nothing is going on.

The brain is in the "default mode" when we sleep, stare in to space, undergo anesthesia or even when we are sitting motionless like in a moment of meditation and relaxation. The brain consumes 20 times as much energy during this time as compared to times of thinking, feeling and using our senses. That is a lot of energy consumed for the brain to be at rest. So while one may say the brain is at rest, it truly is not at rest.

The default mode of the brain seems to be preparing our minds for future situations including creating images about what to expect from future situations so we are prepared for those moments. There are many synapses taking place in the visual cortex of our brain during this default mode which suggests that the brain is creating mental images that help us make sense of the images in real time. The default mode is active when we are not taking in information and processing events from our day. It is a time when we may be pulling all kinds of information together including other people's perspectives to help us play through possible scenarios which help us plan and prepare for our moments ahead.

Just think of how much our brains are doing while we are in this default mode and then consider just how much we may limit the capacity of our brain when we keep ourselves too busy. We need the down time and the rest whether it is relaxing on a beach or at a pool, taking a leisurely walk, taking an afternoon nap or doing meditation and relaxation exercises. If we constantly stimulate our minds, we may be missing out on some of the most important revelations that will help us navigate through life in a much better and more balanced way.

I cannot help but think of the times that I've struggled to solve a problem. In one case, I was on a client site and spent all day trying to solve an issue. Finally I went home and just completely let go of it from my mind. I knew I had just a few hours to solve the situation the next day but I also realized that the best thing I could do was to just let go of it and get my brain off of the problem. Lo and behold the next morning when I walked into the client site, I solved the problem in the first 15 minutes. My brain had a chance to analyze all scenarios and all the information and input from the day to come to a solution that worked.

It is very important to give our minds a rest during the day and if we do this even for a few minutes, we'll be far more productive than if we just keep pushing through our day and pouring those gallons of caffeine into our body. Our brains offer us much more than we sometimes realize and often times, we are the ones holding ourselves back. Let us give ourselves what we need and watch how much our brain gives us in return.

Images: NASA/courtesy of nasaimages.org

*For more articles, check out the Mind Body Thoughts Blog

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Note From The Universe - Empower

Source: Daily Emails from www.tut.com


To empower another, is to empower yourself.

To celebrate another, is to celebrate yourself.

And to free another, is to free yourself.

I say empower, celebrate, and free them all,

The Universe

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Agave Nectar - Fact Or Fiction?

On June 1, 2010, I posted a blog entry Agave Nectar, The High Fructose Health Food Fraud. While I realize that I'm no authority on this, I was blasted by a comment from various "unknown persons" citing absolutely no sources to back up what they were saying.

Now, I'm not saying they were wrong in what they said or that they were wrong to reply to me. Actually I am glad they did. However, I just cannot understand that if you are bashing someone for giving bad or inaccurate data, that this would be done by giving opinions instead of research and science based facts. Some sources of information would have been nice.

It boggles my mind for this and while I'm sure they have something to back up what they are saying, one would think that they would include this. For all I know, these people could be in the Agave industry and trying to spin things in their direction. Who knows? No one knows because they hid behind a screen name. It is anyone's guess who they are.

The thing is, it is very difficult to tell who is telling the truth in the Agave products. On each side, people are making statements as fact when they do not necessarily have anything to support them. The people against Agave probably have some very good points just as the people for this product. Like everything in the new age versus the main stream culture, gossip is disguised as fact.

Like I said - who really knows the truth. I don't expect the people that produce Agave to give the complete truth. I don't expect to hear it from the people who claim Agave is bad. But the one thing that is clear or seems to be clear on both sides of the issue is this is a manufactured product and if that is the case, than it is not a naturally occurring substance. If it isn't a natural substance than the health benefits have to be questioned in my mind.

I'm not going to sit here in this blog post though and tell you what to believe or what not to believe. You can google search this and see what conclusions you come up with. Maybe I should have added all of those search results in my post and then the people bashing me with their comments would have been more than happy. Who knows? And if people cannot do a search and check out information presented to them to draw their own conclusions, than there isn't much I can do about that.

So now it is up to you to read both blog posts and then do your own research to truly determine for yourself if Agave Nectar is fact or fiction. That's the best I can do in presenting information and making an argument because I doubt anyone will find the true answer in the information presented.

Some other articles online you may wish to read:

1) Agave Nectar: Good Or Bad?

2) Madhava - Agave Myth Buster

3) Dissecting The Agave Controversy


*For more articles, check out the Mind Body Thoughts Blog

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Journey Through Words - Book Review

At one time, there was an organization called, Voices In Action. Voices in Action stands for Victims Of Incest Can Emerge Survivors and was around for approximately 25 years until lack of funding and donations took them under. It was a great organization and one that really helped put me on my own personal road to recovery.

The reason I bring up Voices In Action, is that through this organization, I began to write and collect writings of my own healing journey. At each yearly conference, Voices would have an art exhibit for survivors and so this collection of writings was created as an entry into the exhibit. Of course, it may not be the most professional thing written on the planet, but it was a work in progress showing my own journey and my own recovery. It changed and grew as I changed and grew.

It is very colorful and artistically designed with images and pictures that match the words or thoughts coming through. Much thought from my heart and soul went into it. Some of the images are from fellow travelers through my journey but most images are my own creation. At the end of it, you'll find some of my own personal story written which at the time is all that had evolved. If I was to sit down and write my own personal story, it would be much more complete and evolved than this book was written.

The book, A Journey Through Words, is a very personal side of me and a work that I'll always cherish knowing how it got its start. One day soon, I hope to be publishing more work. As you will note through much of what I write, I try to be very open with my own journey and recovery. There is too much silence when it comes to child abuse and my hope is that my life will touch others in a way which enables them to move from being a survivor to a thriving person healing from the pain.

According to an email I received from LuLu.com, for a limited time through LuLu.com, if you enter the coupon code of "summerread305, you will receive a discount of 10%. I believe that is for the 8x11 paperback version. There is a digital version that you can download online which is cheaper but no discount is applied. The offer ends on June 30, 2010 according to the email I received.

Here is the description of the book, "A Journey Through Words"

Don is a survivor of sexual abuse by members of his family. The abuse started when he was around 5 years old and continued until he went to college in 1983. Don has been in recovery for several years. In 1991, he was paralyzed from a conversion disorder and at that time, he started on his road to healing. Throughout his journey, he has faced anxiety attacks, depression, suicide and nightmares! As he looks back, he sees that it is possible to go from a victim to a survivor and today as a result of his journey; his life has changed in ways he could have never imagined. One of the things that Don has used over the years in his healing is that of writing. Poems, stories and thoughts have helped him piece so many missing parts of his life together. A Journey Through Words includes many of those things he has written. His only hope is that it will touch the lives of all who read the words and that it will have a special place of love and compassion in their hearts.
A Journey Through Words is also available on Amazon but there is no discount at this time.

If you would like to leave a beautiful comment and review for the book on Lulu.com or Amazon.com, I would be greatly honored.


*For more articles, check out the Mind Body Thoughts Blog


Monday, June 14, 2010

The Pulse Of Autonomic Arousal

The past several weeks and especially the past few days, I've been under a tremendous amount of stress. I could feel it building up within me. The overall tension in my body was building and making it difficult to just enjoy living in my body. My nerves were on end and I could feel an overall agitation knowing that there were many things to get done and not enough time to do them in. I felt the pressures of the world, of daily life, responsibilities coming down on me as well as things that various people were expecting me to get done.

It seemed like no matter what, finding a moment of peace was almost as difficult as finding a four leafed clover. Yet, I longed for peace, for rest and even just some tranquility in my life. It had been far too long because I had been just pushing myself hard and for good reason.

Then I grabbed my pulse meter and went into my massage room to just give myself a moment of saying, this is my time. I didn't care what I had to do at that moment, but I just wanted some time of rest for myself. The pulse meter of course showed exactly what I felt in my body with my pulse being around 110 beats per minute. Of course, I've been down this road and so I didn't freak out from fear of my pulse being so high.

As I went into my body and connected with all the shaking, tremors and movements, I began to feel some pain and the tension really deep within me. It was at that moment, that my body began to violently shake and move almost as if the movements were coming from deep within my core. I allowed this to take place and just road it through as a surfer riding a wave. For I knew that at some point, it would dissipate and subside. It was potential energy that needed to get released. My body continued to twist and turn with moments of extreme shaking and movements then letting go and sinking down in to the table.

My pulse after a few minutes had come down from 110 to 103 which is still high but an improvement. Than as I continued to lay there listening to the relaxing sounds I had going, my pulse slowly began to come down to around the low 90's. Again, that is still a high pulse and shows that there is autonomic arousal in my nervous system. The best thing would be for me to go further into this but the time doesn't permit me to do this at the moment.

The feeling though of my body at 110 bpm and then at the low 90's felt like a nice wave of relaxation to me. It felt refreshing and welcoming to me. It gave me a breath of fresh air knowing that I could drop my pulse down and dissipate some of the stored energy that was locked up in my body. Tomorrow, I will do more with this and drop it further but for now, I'll just enjoy the feeling of my body coming down and letting go and traveling deeper into relaxation, rest and peace.


*For more articles, check out the Mind Body Thoughts Blog

Friday, June 11, 2010

Focus On Breathing - Exercises and Awareness

If you have read the past two posts "Focus On Our Breathing" and "Focus On Our Breathing - 30 Second Exercise", than you will already have understood why focusing on breathing is important and a quick way that you can do this. If you have not read these two entries, please check them out.

Breathing is so powerful and I'm sure each person reading this blog post is aware of that. However, we often forget and neglect the most basic thing we do outside of pumping blood through our veins. All too often, we go through life just assuming we are breathing as we need to but we never stop to check to see how we are actually breathing. I remember sitting through many counseling or bodywork sessions and having people remind me to breathe. At first I was startled by their comments for me to remember to breathe because I thought I was. However, as I have since found out, there are times that I almost hold my breath or I just don't breathe! It may sound strange but I have witnessed this in not only myself but in many others.

As a massage therapist, I have used breath work to help people really go in and release deep, long held pain within in their bodies in a very short time. Having people use their breath as I work on them in a very directed way is powerful and makes my job much easier and their results more profound. It is important to note that each one of us can go deep within our own bodies using our breath and release tension, pain and long held somatic memories.

Here's some thoughts about how you might actually go about working with breath on your own. These are additional methods to the 30 second exercise I shared about in a previous blog post.

1) Find a comfortable place such as a bed, massage table or maybe a lounge chair on your patio. Get yourself comfortable and make sure the place you are lying on has much support but is also soft and gentle on your body. You could also sit up in a meditative style if you want but I find that the body really lets go when it is not trying to hold itself up. It doesn't make sense to me to sit up, having tension in your body while trying to let go of that tension. Maybe it makes sense to some but not to me in my experiences.

2) If you have a pulse meter, check your pulse before you begin and establish a baseline of where you are at. This helps greatly because then you will truly know what is going on within your body and you will see through measurement what effect it will have had upon you. There will be no second guessing or having your mind trick you into thinking that something happened. There is too much of that in our society and in our healing world where people think something happened, when in all reality, very little if anything at did actually happen. I use the Finger Pulse Oximeter. The reason I use this pulse meter is that it tells me in real time what my pulse is and how the wave forms of my pulse appear. It gives me some very good and helpful information. Plus, it shows me exactly what is going on, not what my mind maybe tricking me into believing what is going on.

3) To begin, just get comfortable in the place you have chosen and lie there for a few minutes doing nothing but just sensing what it is like to lay on the table. I'm going to use the word "table" referring to a massage table to make this easier to explain. What does it feel like to lay there on the table? Are you completely comfortable or can you add a pillow or change your position to feel more comfortable? Just sense all of that and take it in for a few minutes. Focus on allowing all your busy thoughts and things that you need to accomplish, to just stand outside the door of the room you are in. You can always pick them up at the door later if you so choose but for now, they are not needed.

4) As you begin to feel the comfort and support of the table, begin to focus in on your breathing. Notice the inhale and exhale, the rise and fall of your breath. This is not the time for judgment but just observation. Observation which allows you to look at it through caring, loving and accepting eyes. Take note of the depth or shallowness of your breath as well as the speed of it. What is it like? How deep is it or how shallow is it? Maybe even trying to sense this is difficult at best for you and if it is, take note of that. Consider giving yourself the option of just allowing that feeling to be there and to be ok with it, not expecting anything more than is happening.

5) Continue breathing and then see if there is any change within how shallow or deep it is, how slow or fast it is and any other qualities you may find. Keep noticing this and focusing upon your breath. While you are doing this, you may begin to notice things within your body. This could range from minor shaking and trembling to maybe a body part is moving on its own. You might also notice an itching sensation or tingling as well as you might notice areas where it is almost a numb feeling. Emotions such as crying and laughter among other things may be showing up. There may be unexplained pains or stiffness that is present. You may see colors or feel all kinds of sensations within your body. Accept and honor all these things for they are your messages and your gifts to bringing about greater awareness within your body.

6) Keep your focus on what is happening within your body and with your breath. While all the experiences may be exciting and it could be easy to get lost in those, keep your focus on what you can sense and feel within your body. For this is where the true healing will take place and lead you to a greater awareness. If you begin to find areas of discomfort and pain or strong emotions coming up, begin to shift your breathing to these areas and imagine filling yourself up with the power of your breath. You may notice that your breathing speeds up as if you were running a race and that is perfectly ok. Allow your breathing to go where it needs to and then keep observing to see how things change in your body. Are areas less tense, less painful? Have emotions changed that maybe you were feeling and experiencing? Maybe some of the things you noticed have shifted from one area to another. Maybe you're feeling heat rise from your body. Welcome all these things and just continue to observe everything that is taking place. Continue to allow yourself to be with what is happening and just allow it to take place without trying to control, change or manipulate it or judge it.

7) As your body moves through the feelings and as you begin to feel and sense more of your breathing, allow your body to just sink down into the table and find a moment of peace and rest. Know that you do not have to solve everything in your life that may be showing up in your body at one time. Sometimes, short bursts of doing this type of exercise is healing far beyond comprehension. So just allow your body to come back down to a moment of stillness and rest on the table, giving it honor and thanking it for being there for you.

8) After laying there for a few minutes, you might check your pulse again with the pulse meter we discussed above. How did your pulse change? Is it significantly lower? Is the wave form more pointed and even? Then match that up with how you feel now versus how you felt before you started. What changed in your body? What changed in your mind?

Honor all these things and take them all in. Treasure them as gifts of awareness for they will connect together the more you do exercises like this and they will yield so much to your life. For you have the power to do so much within your own body. Yes, there may be some difficult challenges in which you want a safe and supportive person there with you to help coach you through them. We are all much more powerful than we realize and we can do so much on our own that will give us so much in our lives.

If you have found this helpful and you're working with it, I would love to hear your experiences. If it was possible, I would most likely ask to share them on this blog. For I know in my own life, some of the basic things above that I described have helped me push through so much in my life and helped me heal in my own awareness. My hope is that as a result of this exercise, that your life will grow in a more rich awareness and it will help you further your own journey of self discovery and healing.



*For more articles, check out the Mind Body Thoughts Blog


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Focus On Breathing - 30 Second Exercise

As you can see from the previous article "Focus On Our Breathing", stopping to check out breathing out in our day is very important. While it may seem that this is something where you don't have the time to do nor the place, I am here to tell you that you you can do this at anytime or in almost any place. It is simple and yet it can be profound for our day.

Of course, you probably do not want to do this if you are in a car or in a situation that requires your constant alertness and awareness of what is going on. Please use your judgment in what place is appropriate and what places are not appropriate. Sitting at your desk or in a break room or even outside on a park bench would all be great places for this scenario. Even standing in a line waiting for an event or at a checkout in a store would work as well. There are many places and many different moments that you can do this. Your willingness and imagination are the key to finding them.

So now that you've found the appropriate place or time, let's get started.

Try to find a comfortable way to sit or stand so that you're body is in a relaxed position as it can be. Let your arms rest comfortably by your side or in a position where you can just let the tension go. Drop your shoulders a little and just recognize any tension that is there. Feel throughout your body for a moment and just recognize any tension that may be present and that you can sense. Give yourself a moment where you just focus on your body letting go and feeling it sink down into the floor or chair or where ever you may be.

Now as you do that, take a moment and only focus on your breathing. For the next 30 seconds, you want to do nothing else but focus on breathing. No thoughts or tasks or appointments that you need to get done are needed for this time. This next 30 seconds is just for you and you can give yourself permission to just let those things wait patiently away from you.

Take a moment and close your eyes. Begin by feeling your breath as you inhale and notice the depth of your inhale. Feel the exhale and how far the air is released through your body. You're not trying to influence anything at this point, just observing and acknowledging what is going on without any judgment. Just continue to focus on this and be with your breathing, honoring it and respecting all that is there. This is your life blood and what keeps you going through your day. It is there for you to support you and give you all that you need for your life. Just continue to observe your inhale, your exhale. Feel what it is like for your body to inhale and exhale and what your breathing is like when you do this.

After about 30 seconds, begin to open your eyes and note the depth of your breath, the pace of it and all that you could feel. Did it change as you continued to observe it? Did it slow down and become deeper? If not, don't worry but just observe and note what took place. The more you do this, the more connected you will become to your breathing. You'll be able to monitor it much easier as you do this more and you will become more aware of it throughout your day.

Take note of how you feel after this. Do you feel more centered and more focused? Maybe you just feel a sense of peace and rest or relaxation. What about tension in your body? Do your shoulders or neck or back feel a little less tense? You may or may not be able to notice these things but if you do, take note of them.

Hopefully after 30 seconds of focusing on your breath and your body, you will be much more aligned with your day and ready to focus what lies ahead. If you did this little 30 second to 1 minute exercise each day or even twice a day, your day would go so much differently. My challenge to you is to try this and see what happens and then try it for a month. Find out what is possible from doing something as simple as this focus on your breathing exercise. I have a feeling that it will greatly impact your life in ways that you didn't even realize were possible.

Come back tomorrow for the followup post on "Focus On Breathing - Exercises and Awareness".


*For more articles, check out the Mind Body Thoughts Blog

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Focusing On Breathing

How often do you stop throughout your day and focus on your breathing? Is it shallow and rapid, slow and deep or is it hardly existent? Can you even tell that you are breathing or sense the qualities of it?

Yet, breathing is what gives us our life and our energy in a day. Without it and without the oxygen it provides, we would not be in a good state of being. So, why is it that we fail to pay attention to something that is so vital to our existence.

Most likely we are so busy and hurried in our days that stopping to pause for a moment is not on our calendar. Stopping to check in with ourselves to see how we are breathing is not something we most likely feel we have the time to do. This is sad, because it only takes a minute and our awareness of what is going on with this vital process can give us so much more fulfillment in our lives and replenish our body in ways that we may not think about.

Sometimes what may be the most obvious, simple things in life, end up being so difficult. We are much more concerned about getting to the next meeting, completing a task that the boss is hammering us on or competing for a deadline. While those are all noble and worthy tasks for our day, if we fail to take a moment and check in with our body, especially in regards to breathing, we may just be forcing ourselves through our day with more difficulty than is needed.

Consider for a moment that if you check in with your breathing and realize that your operating out of stress and from a frantic pace but you're able to slow yourself down for a moment, just think of what that would do to help you accomplish all that you need to. One moment of checking in with your breathing may help you make corrective changes that will empower and give you a boost into what needs to be accomplished. Otherwise, it is like adding water to your gasoline tank. While it may keep the engine running at a minimum, it won't get you as far as the ultimate fuel source.

Checking in with your breathing isn't as hard as you may think it is and it isn't as time consuming as you might think either. There are some simple things you can do during your day at just about any moment and if you do them, you'll be much better off in the long run. You'll be more productive, more centered and much more full of life.

Come back tomorrow for the next post on this topic, "Focus On Breathing - 30 Second Exercise", when we discuss a quick way of checking in with your breathing that you can do at almost any time and in almost anyplace.



*For more articles, check out the Mind Body Thoughts Blog

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Why Horrible Things Happen In Certain Locations

I saw this blog entry published on www.edgarcayce.org and found it quite interesting. It isn't that I necessarily buy into all that is stated here. After all, it is this conclusion of this writers view of the facts that of course formed this particular blog entry. There is much good though that was written here and the overall, moral to the story at the end is probably the most important.

As Tina D. Ewin states,

Perhaps one of the lessons of the Villisca Ax murders would be to absolutely listen to that psychic sense that tells you that something doesn’t feel right about a location. Remove anger from your life and research the history of a location before you purchase, rent, or work in an area!
We attract what we are and what we think, and if what we are attracting is negative, then we must change our thoughts and our life. Only each one of us can make that karmically life-changing decision for ourselves.

As you will see if you read the blog entry, the little Iowa town of Villisca was the site of a tragic event. On June 12, 1912, an axe murderer killed all six family members in the house. The crime was never solved. After 100 years and several owners, no one lives in this old house.

According to the blog, the Fox Indian Tribe controlled this town that they called Willisca. Willisca was changed to Villisca because the name Villisca means evil place or the place of devil spirits. This house was located exactly over the spot where the Fox Indians sent their criminally insane family members.

Of course this is just part of the overall story and to really read and understand where the author is coming from, you do need to read the entire piece. So, I'll stop there and let you click on the following link "Why Horrible Things Happen In Certain Locations" by Tina D. Erwin as posted on the Edgar Cayce Blog.

Photo courtesy of http://www.villiscaiowa.com/



*For more articles, check out the Mind Body Thoughts Blog

Monday, June 7, 2010

Change Begins With Us

Eckhart Tolle 's Present Moment Reminder:
"A change in the collective does not happen until the change happens in the individual. The individuals make up the collective. This is why we are here. We are looking at the collective insanity and seeing how it works, and that is the first step in liberation." (as posted on Eckhart Tolle's Facebook page)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Male Survivor Organization

For those out there who are male and are victims of child sexual abuse, there is a website and organization that is extremely helpful and valuable. The site is Male Survivor. It not only offers a message board full of resources and support by other survivors but they also host retreats, conferences and other events. While I'm not as active there as I once was, mostly because of my own endeavors and time constraints, it is a wonderful place. There are some very supportive people on this site and if you have been sexually abused as a child, then consider checking it out.

Many years ago, when I first came to terms with things, I was looking for other survivors of child sexual abuse that I could talk to. I was not completely ready to admit to all that I had been through for the feeling of shame, guilt and secrecy kept me quiet. However, after finding one of the early male survivor sites, I began to get to know others who shared this same secret. As a result, my life began to grow and heal in ways I didn't even believe were possible at the time. Some of those people grew to be great friends and supporters in my healing journey. There is healing from child sexual abuse and I will admit that it often is a very difficult process. However, I can honestly look back now and see just how far I've come. If I could make it through this, anyone can.

It is important to state that if you've been sexually abused as a child, you're not alone. There are many others who have gone through this. The feelings of shame, guilt, anxiety and depression are all typical. It does not mean there is something wrong with you that you did to yourself. All it means is that you suffered through a horrible traumatic period in your life and there is healing that awaits. Just know that you are not alone! There is support out there and there is healing that can take place. It may seem like your life is miserable and pointless and filled with nothing but despair but you can heal through this. It is possible no matter how dark and scary and overwhelming it may appear. There is hope. There is healing!

If you want to know more about some of my story, please check out the following book. This is a collection of poems and writings as well as some of my story in my own healing journey. The title is "A Journey Through Words" by Don Shetterly and is available on Lulu.com.

Also check out my book on Amazon, Hope And Possibility Through Trauma.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Ear Temperature And Left Brain, Right Brain

According to an article on www.physorg.com , researchers at Australian National University have developed a device that could potentially unravel the mysteries of the left and right brain by measuring temperature.

The device allows researchers a cost effective method of testing which side of the brain is active when performing various tasks and functions. Researchers understand that one side of the brain is usually more active depending upon what tasks or functions it is undergoing. In a general manner of speaking, language is handled by the left side of the brain and more logic prone functions are handled by the right side of the brain. Brain scans can be very expensive so this device gives new possibilities.

The new device was developed by psychologists Mr. Nicolas Cherbuin and Dr. Cobie Brinkman. It measures the temperature inside the ear which of course indicates the busier side of the brain. If an area of the brain is more active, it requires more blood. Because the blood flows through the carotid artery on either side of the neck and the blood is shared between the brain and the ear, ear temperature gives an indication of which side is busier.

Because blood flowing to the brain is cooler than blood already in the brain, a decrease in ear temperature indicates increased blood flow. This signals increased activity to the corresponding side of the brain.

Source: http://www.physorg.com/news3468.html

Image Source: www.physorg.com


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Stress And Forehead Temperature In Children

Asymmmetry of forehead temperature and cardiac activity.

Abstract:

Measures of heart rate and forehead temperature on 238, 21-month-old children exposed to mild laboratory stressors revealed 2 provocative results. More children were cooler on the left side of the forehead than on the right side of the forehead, and those with a cooler left side of the forehead had lower heart rates. These data suggest that some aspects of cerebral asymmetry and cardiovascular reactivity may be mediated by a common set of processes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved)

By Kagan, Jerome; Arcus, Doreen; Snidman, Nancy; Rimm, Sara E.
Neuropsychology, Vol 9(1), Jan 1995, 47-51.


Image: Courtesy Of ClinicalGuard.com

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Agave Nectar, the High Fructose Health Food Fraud

Agave Nectar, the High Fructose Health Food Fraud

Agave nectar is advertised as a "diabetic friendly," raw, and a "100% natural sweetener." Yet it is none of these. The purpose of this article is to show you that agave nectar is in reality not a natural sweetener but a highly refined form of fructose, more concentrated than the high fructose corn syrup used in sodas. Refined fructose is not a 'natural' sugar, and countless studies implicate it as a sweetener that will contribute to disease. Therefore, agave nectar is not a health building product, but rather a deceptively marketed form of a highly processed and refined sweetener.

Some statements and thoughts from the above referenced article. I have just highlighted some parts of the article, but please read the entire article because it has some very good information stated in a way that is very simple and easy to understand.

1) Found primarily in health food stores under the labels of Agave Nectar 100% Sweetener and Organic Raw Blue Agave Nectar.

2) The implication of its name, the pictures and descriptions on the product labels, is that agave is an unrefined sweetener that has been used for thousands of years by native people in central Mexico. But, as one agave seller explains, the agave nectar purchased in stores is neither of these traditional foods: "Agave nectar is a newly created sweetener,

3) The principal constituent of the agave is starch, such as what is found in corn or rice. The process in which the agave starch is converted into refined fructose and then sold as the sweetener agave nectar is through an enzymatic and chemical conversion that refines, clarifies, heats, chemically alters, centrifuges, and filters the non-sweet starch into a highly refined sweetener, fructose.

4) Fructose is not what is found in fruit. Commonly, fructose is compared with its opposite and truly naturally occurring sweetener, known as 'levulose'. There are some chemical similarities between fructose (man made) and levulose (made by nature), and so the synthetically refined sugar fructose was labeled in a way to make one believe it comes from fruit.

5) Saying fructose is levulose is like saying that margarine is the same as butter. Refined fructose lacks amino acids, vitamins, minerals, pectin, and fiber. As a result, the body doesn't recognize refined fructose. Levulose, on the other hand, is naturally occurring in fruits, and is not isolated but bound to other naturally occurring sugars. Unlike man-made fructose, levulose contains enzymes, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and fruit pectin.

6) Refined fructose is processed in the body through the liver, rather than digested in the intestine. Levulose is digested in the intestine. Refined fructose robs the body of many micronutrient treasures in order to assimilate itself for physiological use. While naturally occurring fruit sugars contain levulose bound to other sugars, high fructose corn syrup contains "free" (unbound), chemically refined fructose.

7) The reason why refined fructose is used so commonly as a sweetener is simple: it's extremely cheap in cost.


As you can see, there is some mighty good information in this article. While I've quoted a few of the spots in it, again, I urge you to take a moment and read the entire article.

I find it disturbing that high fructose corn syrup or the healthy touted agave nectar are so prevalent in our society. They are ingredients in food products that have no business including them. When I try to prepare meals from all natural foods and substances, I am always amazed at just how much better they taste, how much more vibrant the colors and overall, just how I feel from them.

Granted, we live in a fast paced society and it isn't always easy to grow all your own food, create everything from scratch and select the most healthiest ingredients. Yet, you can help yourself drastically by reading labels on food ingredients and getting to know more of what is in the stuff that you buy. And of course, the more you can grow in your garden and the more you can get away from processed foods, the better your life will be. We all know that of course but in our society where we live in an abundant supply of stores, we have gotten lazy and forgotten what really matters.

If we don't take care of our body, no one else will. We're only given one body and what we do with it is all up to us. It is our choices, our decisions and our awareness.