The Ancient Ones, a Medicine of Hopefulness

Who are the ancient ones?  How can they help? 

I read an article by a scientist recently.  He talked about how miracles had occurred in certain sacred places on the earth when ancient ceremonies were performed there, restoring some long lost connection to some unseen power.  Despite his cynicism and his linear upbringing, he heard the murmurs of the ancient ones.   He called for us to renew our acquaintance with those who live disembodied but present in all things, he asked for us to be still enough to feel the spirit of the earth and to listen to what she needs.

Have you felt the presence of the ancient ones when you sowed your seeds in the soil nourished with your love?  Have you seen something out of the edges of your eyes, when you wandered through the forest on a misty morning, something that reminded you that you are not alone?  Have you heard the invitation given by the rising sun and echoed in the still waters of the morning sea, asking that you make this day “the day”, the day when the subtle voices are honored.

There are those who can see spirit in the smoke of the fire.  There are those who can call the wild animals to cross their path and affirm their choice.   There are those who can hear a message in a dream and know that it comes straight from the wisdom of the ancient ones and it is a message to heed.  There are those who know the old practices from a different time, and know the value of the sacred places and the sacred objects.  There are those who would see the world lifted up with the help of powerful forces who are ever present but unseen.

The giveaway, the sacrifice, the fire ceremony, the animal totem, the altar, the ritual cleansing, the fasting and feasting, the long night of dance and song, these words themselves evoke something within us.  Spirit longs to be present.  The indigenous knew that there was no life without spirit.  Spirit flows through the world and is the life force of the planet.  And spirit is honored by the practices that acknowledge all that is.  

Most of us are given but a brief moment here and there when we can feel deeply into the unknown. Mostly we travel on what we think is solid ground.  We are veiled and limited. 

But the tender heart knows there is more.  And in those moments when we light a candle and send a prayer rising up with the smoke, in those moments when we plunge our body into the cold water of dawn to join with the waters of the world and wash ourselves clean; in those moments, then we too can feel the presence of the ancient ones, the ones who care and who know how to help, and who know what matters.

The earth yearns for us to be a bridge to heaven and for us to stand supported on her broad shoulders, calling down the compassionate love that heals and connects.  The earth longs for us to be as family and not as conquerors. 

The ancient ones, pouring down their tears like gentle rain, nurture that longing and that yearning and ache with us and for us, as we walk on, blind, but holding the possibility of everything.

This medicine that I practice, this medicine that seems to work despite my doubts; it is resonant medicine, a medicine of vibration that works on Qi, energy, spirit.  It is strengthened by my good intentions and by the enormous love I feel for my patient. 

And I practice in the old way, in the indigenous way that was handed down to me.  It is like a ceremony, a ceremony of healing. I follow carefully in the footsteps of the ancient ones who first practiced.

Can we practice a medicine now for the planet that she may heal?  This earth needs our intention and our enormous love and she needs the wisdom of the indigenous way.  Because our way, our linear way of taking and using and owning, our way is killing her and killing us.

And so I pray, and offer up my little life for the greater good.  I practice my medicine and pray that the vibration ripples out and is amplified and joins with all the good that exists.  I pray that this force for good is magnified by the ancient ones to make an unstoppable power, that we may change and we may evolve and that our blessed sacred mother earth may heal.

May we walk together, blind and veiled or with sight and awareness, holding the possibility of everything and listening to what the earth needs.

Belize 2019, Women’s Kayak Adventure

Going back to Belize had been on my mind for years- over 25 years actually.  Some of the best times of my life were spent exploring the gorgeous waters and tiny islands off the coast of this small, English speaking country in Central America. 

I went there as a young traveler and bought a small sailboat with a fishing well with my sister when I was in my early twenties.  We had some adventures (OMG!!!) and we lived to talk about them, thanks to the gods that look out for first time sailors. 10 years later, in the 80s, with a lot more experience and expertise, I sailed back there on a big ketch and ran charters there, picking my way around the reef strewn waters, and visiting the off shore coral atolls and some of the world’s most beautiful sailing grounds.

It wasn’t until my partner Spring agreed that we should do a women’s kayak trip somewhere warm and tropical and made plans to go to Belize to reconnoiter that the thought of going back moved from fantasy to possibility.  Thank you Spring!

Plenty of people seemed to love the idea as our trip filled up in a hot minute as soon as we posted the barebones outline of what we hoped to do.

What followed was an incredible mixture of wonderful women, beautiful water, wild deviation from our original plans, lots of learning, and some outright miracles.  Journey For Purpose’s Women’s Kayak Trip to Belize was a big success by any measure.  

Spring and I are both so grateful that it is possible to make something amazing out of nothing but an idea and a longing.   The women who joined us had an empowering experience- it was deeply bonding, incredibly gorgeous, very enriching, and ultimately transformative.  Our souls sensed the possibility of freedom and our spirits soared in response.

We paddled and camped on a true gem of a tropical island- all the things that you can imagine- coconut palms swaying in the breeze, pelicans dropping into the azure water, white sand so warm on bare feet.  We set up a tent village, enjoyed hammocks, picnic tables, incredible snorkeling, and a beautiful beach perfect for yoga, beach art, and sunbathing. 

Our cook, our guide, and the island caretakers did everything in their power to make us comfortable and we had the most amazing time.  We shared stories, we sang songs, we played games, we went off alone, we snorkeled, we read, we sat around a fire, we bonded and deepened and lightened our load until we were all laughing and playing like children. 

Early on, one woman got the news that her father in law had died, and although he had been very ill, it was unexpected and she felt terrible being away from her family.  I told her that whatever she decided to do we would support her and I wondered if we could put on a memorial for him that evening to bring us all together to share her grief and to hold her in understanding and compassion. 

We had a most beautiful ceremony with smoke from a small fire rising to heaven while the orange sun set into the water beyond a lovely altar created with shells, stones, and beach beauty.  We sang, shared readings and stories, and toned while the sun sunk down into the night and everyone was uplifted.  She was able to enjoy being with us to complete the voyage and we all were so impressed by what women can do together.  Everyone showed up with something to offer and the result was so moving. Tears flowed as all grief and ancient losses were touched and offered up for healing.

Leaving the island for the mainland, we relished our hot showers and a chance to see a bit more of Belize.  Touring the chocolate farm and factory and the baboon sanctuary were wonderful choices for us as a group.  Our last evening together was a rich sharing.  Being in a different country with so much to see and learn is always deeply stimulating.  Enjoying a place so rich in beauty and color, fabulous people, and incredible natural history is a delight. 

But what will stay with me the most is the experience of being with a group of women who are interested in being their most authentic selves and of exploring what life offers at the limit of their comfort zone, trying something new, signing up for an adventure, and sharing themselves as they open up to new things and the empowerment that brings. 

I love to watch new possibilities emerge as we support each other in shedding what doesn’t serve us and open up to who we really are and all we have to offer. 

Hurray for Journey for Purpose- Adventure/Empowerment/Community!!!

Oaxaca- the gift of Magic and Medicine

Every time I go to Oaxaca I am plagued with doubts and concerns.  I never am sure if people will truly enjoy the trip.  I wonder if they will feel comfortable with the rituals and ceremonies that Elizabeth leads in nature. I am anxious about the trip being so wild, so natural, and so remote.  I hope that they will want to be present and participate fully in the circles and sessions that are so profound.  I get concerned that the family style living will be unsatisfactory or that maybe I have been kidding myself about the beauty of the place.  

Then everyone invariably has an amazing time and all are full of thanks and gratitude for the experience.  We sing, we share, we laugh, we play, and we grow closer together and engage on a deep level where transformation happens.  And the beauty of the place astounds us.  And our wild souls love the natural beauty and the remoteness.  And everyone is blown away by the rituals and ceremonies in this beautiful place- in the river, with the earth, in the cave, in the jungle, in the dark night with the full moon, in the small adobe temple, with candles and flowers and great connection to spirit.

This last trip I led eleven women on this profound retreat and the magic and medicine of Oaxaca touched us all deeply. There were so many stunning moments that are etched into my consciousness, moments of vivid experience where we felt life and all its synchronicities calling us to be ourselves fully, asking us to forgive, let go, release the past, open up, and receive and share the huge love that was holding us in a container of joyful possibility.

I remember each person and the gift of themselves in a given moment- the sweet innocence and openness of Jen as she reached with open arms and heart, with conscientious intensity into the dance circle to sing, “Come, come, whoever you are, this caravan is not of despair.”

And Jenny’s wisdom and generosity as she reveled in the community gathering that we attended to celebrate the opening of the community library, a gift from our hosts to the community, made possible in part by our tourist dollars, enjoyed by the darling chattering children and appreciated by all.

And Mauli’s talent and creativity leading those same children in song and dance as they watched her antics with wide eyed wonder.

And Aneesha leading us in pranayama by the riverside on the new viewing/meditation platform with the rushing river below.

And Jesse smiling her sweet ethereal smile of gratitude at the gift of life as she dealt with her own concerns with heroism and humble acceptance.

And Monica, so giving and grounded, organizing all the head dresses that we were scrambling to make for the full moon ceremony, holding our center as we drifted in and out around her.

And Malia, lovely and giving, always noticing a need and being there to help.

And all the rest of us, each of us bringing ourselves and our gifts to the circle and feeling the support to be ourselves and confront our edges, working to soften and grow and lending a hand to each other on the path. It was an amazing group and I love each person and what we were together.

Claudia handled the logistics with such aplomb, it always seems so easy, to move large groups over the landscapes, with meals and events emerging seamlessly, so that we floated along in bliss, attended to and cared for, knowing that our comfort and concerns were considered.

Elizabeth was a huge presence for us, our hostess, although her home was not on the grounds of the plantation house where we all stayed together, but nearby up a steep hill. She is insightful and intuitive and somehow knows what we need and what would help. And she is willing to encourage us to do the hard thing, to face fears, to work through resistance, to listen to the truth. She holds up a mirror where we can see ourselves and then she takes us to her special places, deep in the jungle, in the river, in the cave, where we can work through our restraints with the water, the stones, the plants, with shouting, and beseeching, and dancing, with joy, with tears, with upturned faces finding the sun’s first rays as it skirts the horizon and emerges into the day. Whatever it is that she does, that she leads us to do, it is amazing and cannot be described with words or even pictures because it is something that is felt by the spirit and it changes everything

 

 

 

 

 

 

People were so sad to leave the retreat that we had enjoyed so deeply. I was really worried that the trip would be down hill after the wonderful high of our time with Elizabeth and her family at the plantation house in the jungle. Then we arrived at the beach and I laughed and sighed- it is so incredibly beautiful at the small beach town where we go, one of the most magnificent places on earth, really. And we had a lovely, lovely time, with time to integrate, time to explore on our own, with boat trips into the lagoon and out onto the waters of the Pacific to see the wildlife and enjoy the natural beauty.

The last thing we did together was another deeply moving spiritual adventure, a temezcal or sweatlodge, and as we prayed and sang and sweated, and as our spirits were lifted by this ancient healing practice, I rejoiced deeply about our whole experience, knowing that my doubts and concerns had helped me to be more attentive and present, and knowing that the offering of this trip is a rich gift that I can share and that it is part of my purpose. It is only for the few who are ready for something wild, remote, and natural, but for those few, it is deeply transformational and will never be forgotten.

Align with Fall and the Metal Element

Letting go and letting in is a part of the Metal Element, in 5 Element Theory. The fall is a good time to explore this deeply. We can discover ways to turn grief into nostalgia and to let go of what no longer serves us, including those voices in our head that want to hold us back.

The Metal Element is about evaluating and finding worth. It teaches us how to make compost of our life, creating the rich soil for the seeds of our dreams, so that we can grow forward. It is associated with the Lungs (inspiration) and the Large Intestine (the Great Eliminator) and with the season of autumn.

Autumn is the perfect time to look back on the year and think about what worked and what didn’t. What are the qualities you need to cultivate to bring something new into your life? What things have served to enrich you? What has helped you to be more of who you want to be? What things do you need to release and change?

Tuning in deeply is a part of the Metal Element. Breathing in our connection to all things is another aspect. Transforming our story is the work of our inner Metal, so that we can recognize the gem inside of ourselves and offer our life up for a greater purpose, being ourselves fully.Align

Avoiding Burnout!

We are deep in the heat of summer and fires are burning all over. The world can seem like a cataclysmic place, especially if you listen to the daily news- which I don’t!

On a personal level people are so busy, there are so many events and activities calling, and it is a time of gathering and celebrating in the sun. This is the time of the Fire Element and one of the key questions is how to avoid burnout.

Do you have so much to do that you can’t fit it all in? Do you find yourself longing for some downtime but not sure where to find it? Are the most important things slipping away as you struggle to handle all the input and opportunities? Do you exhaust yourself with doing and then become too tired to manage what really matters? Do you find yourself renewed by your leisure activities or you drained by your own fears of missing out, so you keep saying yes, when you really need to say no?

Prioritizing what is important is key to avoid burnout. And take some time to muse upon what fills you up, so you can do more of that. Sometimes we do things because we feel we “should”- and that is always a good thing to question.

Avoiding toxic people and folks who drain your energy is crucial in this summer time of socializing. You can only give if you are filled up, so find times for folks who inspire you.

We can’t maintain that many intimate relationships and it is important that those people who we keep close are really supportive. We all need outlets for our challenges and we all want to be there for others, but listening to complaints and concerns continually can use up our own internal resources.

We want relationships that are balanced, where there is a flow of giving and receiving and where we experience a sense of safety in being ourselves fully.

One of the ways to avoid burnout is to take stock of how and with whom we are spending our time, and make small shifts so that we are not giving constantly.

It is so important to cultivate good boundaries. Time and energy are precious assets in this busy season and we can often conserve our resources by finding ways to shift conversations and relationships so that there is more of a balanced flow.

Some people ramble on about things that are unimportant to others because they need attention. Try focusing on your heart area and connecting to their heart through yours. Flooding a person with heart energy, that you can refill from your source ,through the back of your heart, is a way of overflowing to people and not being drained.

It gives them what they truly need and helps them to connect to source energy so they can get the attention they crave in a way that truly supports them, without depleting you.

Time in nature is a great way to recharge and this is the time of year to get outdoors. Choose your activities so that you have a chance to be outside. Spending time gazing at water or sky and doing nothing can be totally restorative.

On hot days I make sure to leave work early and head down to the water so that I can plunge into the Sound. The cold brace of the sea is a reset for mind and body after a long day of work, and I can relax and let go of all the things that need attention and give my spirit a chance to recharge.

When there is so much calling you and so many things to attend to, time away from a to do list is really important. Scheduling in meditation, naps, walks, swims, or rest is essential when it won’t happen if it is not in the plan.

Make some space in your day or week where nothing is planned and where you can just take in the beauty of the world. It is too easy to get caught up on social media or the news of things that we can’t do anything about. We have to calm ourselves with quiet time so that we are more able to do what is in our power to do.

It is too easy for the yang energy of doing to dominate our day and in a culture that is completely deficient in yin, we have to actively make sure we have the time and space to receive, surrender, and replenish with some time for just being.

Avoid burnout by cultivating the capacity to say no. It is ok not to show up at everything. There is a huge tendency to not want to miss out, to not want to feel left out, and to push ourselves to do more than is appropriate, but time to ourselves is absolutely precious, and if relished and used to deeply restore, it is a wonderful gift for yourself.

If you think everyone is at the picnic but you feel too tired, honor your true needs. Introverts and extroverts are different in their needs to socialize and be active, but we all could do a little less and just be a little more.

It is also really important to limit your resistance to the things that your life has brought you. Some folks have huge caretaking responsibilities, others have enormous projects, commitments, or involvements where people are counting on them. We may not have enough time for ourselves or get enough rest.

But we can avoid wasting additional time or energy with resistance, griping, or procrastination. Nothing is forever in this life, but whatever is on our plate right now, there is something to be gained by attending to it, and savoring whatever time and energy is left over.

Even a few moments of moon gazing can bring us stillness and peace, so make sure you pace yourself so that you have some energy left to really enjoy the time you do have for yourself once you have taken care of the things that need to be done.

Whatever you are doing this summer and whoever you are spending your time with, you have control over your attitude.

Give yourself the gift of balance and flow, so that you have time and opportunity to restore. And enjoy every moment that you can!

Empowering Change

Sometimes I feel so stuck, a physical pain takes a long time to heal or I can’t find a solution to an emotional challenge. I know I have to grow. If things don’t change, I have to seek help, I can’t do it alone.

Change, healing, and growth are components of life that we don’t want to avoid.   But they can involve risk, pain, and challenge, so we sometimes need help to step up, to know what to do, and find support to do it

Our body can signal us that change is needed with physical pain and illness. Negative emotions are a strong sign that we have to do something differently.

Too often though, especially with negative emotions, instead of taking responsibility and looking for ways to shift, we look outside ourselves and project and blame. Or, instead of opening to the possibility of change, we shut down and become depressed, discouraged, or overwhelmed.

We may realize that change is needed, but not have the courage or impetus to make change.

We have to risk letting go of patterns, perhaps long standing ones, in order to let in new behaviors and thoughts that could serve us better.

We have to be willing to sever connections that are no longer healthy, to stop over- giving or seeking approval for its own sake, to risk conflict instead of sacrificing authenticity, and to have boundaries around inappropriate behavior.

We may need to overcome inertia to take on a healthier habit, or face our fear of failure to try a new way of doing things.

Life requires work, if we want to live fully: the work of changing ourselves to meet changing circumstances and to back up our insights with action. We may have a sense of what we need to do to feel whole and happy, but we have to take action.

And sometimes we need a lot of support to do that.  Sometimes there are old traumas or very deep patterns, and we may have a lot of denial to overcome, as it frequently feels very unsafe to change or to uncover old wounds.

We may be very stuck.

I love my work because I support people in the transformative process of stepping up to bring change.

Acupuncture connects people to their own inner resources to heal.

My new company, Journey for Purpose, is about creating supportive community and transformative experiences that empower change, healing, and growth.

What can you do today to support yourself on this journey through life? This journey that requires so much courage, so much commitment, so much love? This journey of releasing resistance and embracing what is being offered- this amazing opportunity to face our fears and open to life, connection, and joy.

I am embracing the things that I love, that make me feel good- writing, singing, paddling, entertaining. I am planning things that excite me and learning new things. I am loving my peeps and reaching out.

I am making time to be there for those who need me. I am deepening into my work, trying to serve in a more meaningful way.

I am incorporating rituals to call on unseen powers for help. I am doing what I can to bring change to the troubled world, mostly by helping others in their work.

And in my moments of doubt and despair, when I am overwhelmed or feel that I don’t have what it takes to do what I need to do, I turn to you, my community, for support and encouragement, to remind me of what is true.

We can do this, together.

Following the Yellow Arrow, a Pilgrimage

I recently returned from Europe. I had been invited to join a friend to walk the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, starting in Porto, Portugal. The Camino is a pilgrimage and there are many routes that end in Santiago, the most popular goes across Northern Spain. These are ancient routes traveled by pilgrims for hundreds of years for many different reasons, and they are gaining in popularity again. We set out on the Portuguese Camino.

The routes are serviced by hostels or albeurges, which are very low cost and by lots of small cafes and restaurants. The routes are maintained by the local municipalities and also by larger organizations, which tend the route or the Way or Camino, as it is called. The Way is marked by painted yellow arrows everywhere along the route where there might be a question about which way to turn.

The Way winds through paths and alleys, bordered by fields and stone walls, it goes through villages and through the old centers of towns, and occasionally you follow a road. It is a beautiful route, an incredible experience, and you meet many other pilgrims along the way. As you travel along, you are guided by the yellow arrows, pointing your way to your destination, Santiago.

After 5 days of walking I developed plantar fasciitis and on the 6th day it became evident that I couldn’t walk much further. Change of plans. I had to look inside for my own inner yellow arrow and I ended up visiting friends in Italy and having an amazing time. I am forever grateful that I had the flexibility to embrace a new plan and to give myself over to finding joy despite disappointment.

If we cling to an idea or a plan that isn’t working, if we are not flexible in our thinking, if we can’t shift, change, and grow- we risk a shrinking world where we can’t take on things that challenge us. We lose our capacity for life and sometimes miss out on marvelous but unplanned experiences. And if we can’t find our own inner arrow, we might not heed the choice that will bring us to where we need to be, despite what we had planned.

How to find your inner arrow?

  • Practice listening to your heart and be aware of small signs and signals. Little miracles and synchronicities abound when you are open to them, and can often validate choices.
  • Notice fear and resistance, or your own tendency to be obsessive rather than flexible. Use these feelings as a cue that something can be gained by moving forward despite resistance, by facing fear.
  • Give yourself space to dream and imagine. Think about how you would like to feel, and in the emptiness of the imagination, let possibilities emerge.
  • Remember that moving out of your comfort zone, out of the ordinary, can often be a catalyst for great insight and growth. Embrace change. Stay open to the invitation that is there.
  • Clear out the clutter of old beliefs that no longer serve. Question your assumptions- what is the underlying belief that is at the core of your feeling. Are you making a plan to keep yourself safe, or are you limiting yourself.
  • Sometimes we just “aren’t in the mood” for something different- could you decide to expand your capacity, to change your mood by being open to new possibilities.
  • We can use our energy to make commitments to ourselves- make useful ones. Commit to appreciating opportunities as they arise, even if they are uncomfortable.
  • There is a lot to be gained by dealing with discomfort- we can gain skill and awareness. Stay in the moment, noticing the things around you. Taking joy in the beauty of the world can help ease concern about change.
  • Connect with others from your heart. Many people are ready to be kind and helpful and seek only appreciation. If we can relax enough to be present, we can have wonderful meaningful connections with strangers and we can find a lot of support for our path.
  • Who knows why things happen the way they do. Be open to the gift of everything. You just never know how something will turn out, so withhold your judgment and go with the flow, doing the best you can.
  • There are many ways to get where you are going, and many places to go. Enjoy the journey. It is all we really have.

Radical Self Care to Heal your Emotions

We talked a lot about energy medicine on the Journey for Deep Healing to Oaxaca. Traditional healers or curanderos practice a kind of energy medicine. Acupuncture is also energy medicine, as is anything that stimulates a person’s capacity to heal. Energy medicine works on emotions as well as on physical illness. Energy medicine is part of the practice of self care.

Negative emotions are a type of dis- ease and indeed can solidify into a physical illness. It is easier to transform a problem before it settles in and takes root as a pattern held in the body.

So we work on transforming our emotions and we work on the big question of our time, how to take care of ourselves so that we experience real wellbeing .

We are never taught how to take care of ourselves on a deep level- beyond eating well, exercising, getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, paying attention to our diet, and taking appropriate supplements.

Sometimes something is in the way of our doing all that, and to care for ourselves, we have to address our emotions and things that keep us stuck.

Some wonderful wisdom emerged about radical self care-

  • Make care of your self a priority. We are better able to serve if we can fill ourselves up. So ask yourself, is this good for me? Will this serve me?

Too often we act out of a sense of obligation or because of an unquestioned obsession, or even because of resentment- “I’ll show them.” If we can truly look into the recesses of our heart and shine a light on our choices, we can refine our behavior and more clearly let things pass that aren’t going to cultivate the qualities we want to manifest.

  • Release others to follow their path and learn what they need to know. People will only learn and take in what they are ready to use, and sometimes people need to experience things for themselves before they can truly understand.

One of the hardest things we need to do is to allow others this process, instead of trying to intervene, fix, or help. Sometimes our own good intentions keep the ones we love trapped in their pattern by not letting them find their own way.

  • We have to do our best to maintain equanimity, and to remember that there are toxic energies in the world, and we have to protect ourselves. We can find ourselves impacted by others. Instead of staying centered, calm, and with a peaceful mind, we are reactive.

We might feel threatened or afraid, or we can respond to others with judgment and irritation, lacking compassion and forgiveness, or we can become victimized by jealousy and envy. It can be helpful to cut energetic ties with those who really trigger us.

And we have to concentrate on our own care, on doing what we know to do to bring us back to a peaceful centered place, so that we are stronger.

  • We need to develop a tool kit when things are going well, so that we have established practices that we can turn to when the going gets rough. These can include mediation, breathing routines, expressive arts, getting help through energy treatments like acupuncture, yoga or other physical and spiritual disciplines, tapping, inspiring readings, and any activities that make you feel good and move energy.

Having these things as a part of your daily or weekly routine means that they will be in place when you especially need them. We also need a supportive community as part of our overall self care.

  • It is so important to forgo those things that keep us stuck in negative thinking. “Boot the Bitch.”

So often we speak out loud words that deepen our sense of being a victim and don’t contribute at all to the greater good. We need to pay attention to our language and use words that empower us.

If we can let negative thoughts pass through without giving them so much attention or weight, they won’t have such a hold on us and we can get back to a calm peacefulness sooner.

We don’t have to believe everything we think, and even if we believe something for a while- that we truly are a victim rather than an empowered being of great light- we don’t have to share that belief or ask that it be validated.

Instead we can question all the thoughts and feelings that don’t serve us and find another way to look at things so that we come to the conclusion that we really are ok. We are enough, we do enough, we have enough. This is important self care.

  • Make an affirmation, here’s mine: Today I take care of myself. And I am so grateful for the hard times that have taught me so much. I know I won’t get out of this life alive, so I don’t resist the moments of suffering that hold so much juicy aliveness. I just ask that they hollow me out and help me become a larger container for joy.

Treat the cause, not just the symptom

Stress is related to 99% of all illness. How we handle stress can greatly impact our health and well being. Some stress in life is a good thing- it can spur us on to be more resourcefulness and creative, it keeps us engaged and interested. Sometimes there is not much we can do to reduce the amount of stress in our life. We have to work with the thing we can control- how we respond to that stress.

We develop patterns of response over the course of our life. Vulnerable areas and systems in our body eventually feel the effects of stress. It may be our immune system or our muscular skeletal system, many people develop digestive troubles, others feel anxiety with a racing heart. These patterns can become deeper and more intractable.

Western medicine treats the symptoms that we experience and that can be very important.

Alternative and traditional medicine is more likely to work on the cause of our symptoms- how we are coping with stress- and it can disrupt the patterns that have developed and encourage us to respond in new ways with different results. It works on the mind and body and doesn’t differentiate.

It offers help for people who are having trouble digesting food and at the same time works on the tendency to worry, which is mental indigestion, the inability to break things down into absorbable parts or actionable items and to just keep going round and round. The same treatment helps mental or physical indigestion, and helps a person bring change into their life by cultivating the capacity to address what is wrong on a deeper level.

Impacting a person’s energetic system, with tiny needles in acupuncture, or a limpia, a ritual cleansing, or a temezcal, a ritual sweatlodge in Oaxacan Traditional Medicine can awaken a person’s own ability to heal. It is like saying- “hey, try something else, find a new way of looking at things that brings more joy, less pain and constriction, more of a sense of possibility.”

To feel better, mentally, physically, and emotionally, we have to do things differently. We can’t keep doing things the same way and expect a different result. Sometimes it requires breaking out of our comfort zone and trying something new to break out of an old pattern.

Just taking a break, traveling to a new area, being with a group of supportive people, and tapping into a sense of magic and spirit can be a great encouragement to learn new ways of coping with stress and new ways of being that bring more health, happiness, and freedom. Join me for a transformational journey!

Traditional Medicine- what’s the deal?

I have been working with practitioners of traditional medicine for years now. It has been so wonderful for me that I want everybody to come and experience the same blessings.

 

As an acupuncturist, I practice a kind of traditional medicine: working with the vital energy that enlivens us and keeps us in balance physically and mentally, stimulating our own internal capacity to heal, and bringing us more in touch with our own inner knowing about what we need, our intuition, and our source of energy and capacity. Yup, best job ever!

 

The practitioners we work with in Oaxaca share a similar foundation. Oaxacan Traditional Medicine is based on natural rhythms and cycles, it has been handed down through generations, it honors the connection between the mind and the body, and it treats the whole person. It recognizes the importance of spirit. I love that. If we are feeling “spirited” we know we are feeling healthy.

 

Too often these days in the western world, we are dispirited. Stress makes us anxious and depressed. We are disconnected from any sense of miracle or mystery and we only think about cheap quick fixes for a very deep systemic problem.

 

If you can step back from your routine and the patterns and tendencies that are ingrained in our culture, and in our upbringing, you can breath life into an internal fire and get excited about life again. Beautiful moving ceremonies can reawaken a sense of wonder and possibility. Prescriptions for healing can include rituals that you can do at home to enhance your sense of knowing and connection. When you add a bit of magic back into your life, the colors are more vibrant, your relationships more precious, and you have more capacity for patience, understanding, and compassion- all those things that we need to help us cope with the challenges we face in our life today.

 

And it is fun! I love the playfulness that emerges with this kind of earth based, spirit infused practice. Sacred playfulness, soulful ceremony- kind of a code for lots of laughing and deep appreciation for this miracle of a life.