Wednesday, August 13, 2008

"In the Moment " Tips for Coping with Depression - Part 2: Engage the Body

Today’s post focuses on strategies that engage the body in coping with depression. Here I'm suggesting that you take advantage of the awesome design of the physical and energy bodies to deal with distress by sneaking in the 'back door' - accessing issues through the body instead of the mind.

1. Honor Body Basics. By this I mean tend to all the basic things human bodies need to function properly. Have a Basics checklist:

  • Eat something nutritious
  • Take your vitamins/supplements
  • Breathe intentionally
  • Drink water - lots of it
  • Move - go for a walk, even 10 minutes
  • Rest - take a power nap
  • Rejuvenate: get some fresh air and sunshine

2. Outwit the Mind. Simple mind-body techniques go a long way toward shifting your energy relatively quickly. The biggest reason I love these techniques is that sometimes I'm just not able to directly or easily 'change my thoughts.' I first have to somehow shift feelings of heaviness and hopelessness, so intertwined with my thoughts. Some of my favorites include:

+ Smile. Make yourself smile, or half-smile, even though you don't feel like it. The body thinks you're happy and produces happy hormones.

Thump. Do the Three Thumps exercise described by Donna Eden in her book Energy Medicine: thump assertively several times each at your collarbones, breast bone, and the bottom of your ribs. This wakes up and stimulates your immune system and overall energy flow.

+ Chop. “Karate chop”: Bang the sides of your hands together repeatedly while speaking aloud ‘even though’ statements such as:

“Even though I feel hopeless, I totally and completely accept myself.”
“Even though I feel like a failure, I totally and completely accept myself.”
“Even though I don’t have a job right now, I totally and completely accept myself.”

This maneuver activates potent energy meridians while unhooking deeply held, subconscious beliefs. The karate chop is often used as an initial step in various tapping techniques, but is also very helpful by itself. One thought leads to the next, and the next, often guiding you to whatever underlying dynamic is really troubling you. And, as Louise Hay says in her book You Can Heal Your Life, the root of all dis-ease boils down to lack of self-love and self-acceptance. This exercise begins to re-write this most fundamental inner script.

+ Tap. Other mind-body techniques include the Rapid Relaxer from the book Instant Emotional Healing (Pratt and Lambrou), and any variation of the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). These techniques involve tapping on specific sequences of energy meridian points associated with strong emotions to interrupt unproductive negative loops. As described in my previous post entitled Why Aren’t We All Tapping, they often produce seemingly miraculous results.

3. Come into the Now. Each of us has favorite ways to come into this moment, and out of the viscious cycle of self-defeating thoughts. The idea here is to engage the senses to distract, self-soothe and transcend despair one moment at a time. It is extremely useful to maintain a tried-and-true list of your personal favorites to pull out and use in times of depression. Some examples include:

* listening to music;
* taking a bath, especially with essential oils;
* doing yoga, dancing, jogging, walking – any form of movement;
* meditating or praying;
* practicing gratitude;
* journaling;
* reading or listening to something inspiring;
* getting energy work or massage (one of my favorites
J )

Pay attention to what works for you, and practice, practice, practice doing whatever it takes to bring yourself into this moment.

Monday, August 11, 2008

"In the Moment " Tips for Coping with Depression - Part 1: Get a Grip

Coping with depression isn't a neat, clean process. I'm reminded of the advice I was given as a new mother trying to calm an inconsolable baby: try 10 things and the 11th might work. Same applies here. If one thing doesn't work, keep trying, as well as combining various tools and techniques until you've somehow reached a better place.

The following tips are my best attempt to share what I've learned and what's worked for me in coping with episodes of depression. Today’s entry includes Part 1: three basic tips focused on getting a grip. Part 2 will address engaging the body in dealing with depression, and Part 3 will offer strategies aimed at taking control of the mind.

Stop, Drop, and Get Mindful. Mindfulness is the crucial first step that allows access all other suggestions. It is imperative while in the swirl of despair that you stop long enough to get in touch with the 'observer' part of yourself, drop into your body and into the moment, and very intentionally choose to be mindful. Mindfulness means "just noticing" - without judgment or attachment - the facts of the situation: what you're feeling, what you're thinking, what events occurred, what the circumstances are. Mindfulness is like pushing the pause button on your experience long enough to gain some perspective and be intentional about how to respond.

Once you have gotten still, you can ask yourself what do I need? What works for me? What help or tools can I access?

2. Breathe. The importance and effectiveness of intentional breathing cannot be overstated. Breathing deeply provides instant access to calming energy, to our deeper spirit, and to significant relief. It also distracts the mind, at least temporarily. It only takes a couple intentional breaths to relax deeply and completely, and shift stuck energy. Try reading this out loud slowly:

Quiet the breath.
Soften the breath.
Slow it down.
Breathe in.
Breathe out.
Let the breath just trickle down through all the cells of your body.
Breathe in.
Breathe out.

(doesn't that feel great?!)

3. Vent!
Others may disagree about the value of venting, but I've found that until you unload your baggage one way or another it's difficult to move on. Venting is a means of both validating your very real feelings and simultaneously expelling all that negative energy. I find journaling or emailing very effective ways to vent - I just get on a roll and it all spills out. The great thing about email is that you don't ever have to actually hit 'send', but spilling it as if you're telling someone makes the writing easy and is very cathartic. Actually telling someone works, too, but sometimes putting it in writing helps to really highlight repeating themes and patterns which you can begin to address more effectively in the bigger scheme of things.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Depression - The Stop Sign of the Soul

Some of you may wonder why I haven't posted for almost a month. I've been wondering myself. The main reason is that I was away for a week visiting my mom in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I was so grateful for this opportunity and had a fabulous time. However, travel involves so much pre- and post- expenditure of energy for me, that as much as I love it, it still knocks me for a loop. And part of that loop often involves a spiral into the dark place of depression, which brings me to my post for today.

I have tended toward depression most of my adult life. I now realize that my first experience of serious depression was in my early 20's during my first years in college. Looking back, I see that the depression coincided with my first serious identity crisis - if I decide not to be a doctor as I had always imagined, who am I, what am I here for, what the heck am I going to do instead? The depression got clinically significant during my years as a new mother, when I became classically lost in being a wife and full-time mom. Swept up into meeting everybody else's needs, where was I in this equation? After trying so long to cope on my own, I finally sought treatment at the urging of my sister ("life really doesn't have to be this hard...."), and found some relief with short bouts of therapy and many years of medication. I often credit Zoloft with saving my life at that time.

Even with medication, my depression peaked about 10 years ago when our family endured a series of crises, life as I knew it unraveled, and I eventually ended up getting divorced. As most who've been there know, this process was excruciating, and the last thing I ever intended or wanted. But as my friend says, depression is the "stop sign of the soul" and I had to heed the lessons my soul was calling me to learn. I couldn't survive within existing conditions. Satisfied that I had done everything in my power to 'go to the mat' for the marriage, I somehow found the courage to separate. Talk about an identity crisis! I had been fully vested in a lifetime partnership. I remember feeling like I was literally disintegrating at many points during this time.

By the end of my marriage, my spiritual seeking had intensified. When we split, I was in my final semester of massage school (a common path, I found out, among spiritual journeyers), and had also begun exploring energy and intuitive healing in earnest. I was blessed to meet some amazingly gifted clairvoyant and clairaudient healers, and experienced many incredibly powerful sessions. I discovered that, for me, an hour with such a healer was the equivalent in effectiveness of about 6 months of traditional talk therapy. This was not a matter of "believing" in energy work. This was my own experience of it, felt in the body and life changing. These healers work at the soul level, and insights and healing happen in many dimensions, in quantum ways. I learned quickly what Truth feels like when it resonates so clearly and strongly in my field, and it's extremely comforting. I became convinced that it was possible to manage the depression without medication and I gave it my best go. I also recognized my own calling to this profound soul-focused Lightwork.

Although I did have to revisit medication for a short while during the worst of my separation and divorce, I have now successfully remained medication-free for about 5 years. I credit a broad based approach to alternative methods as well as the steadfast support of my dearest Soul Sisters (whom I will profile in future posts!) for my ability, eventually and with much diligence, to overcome seemingly endless setbacks and truly shift my vibration upward. This, I discovered, is the holy grail - a permanently upregulated vibration.

At this point, I am taken by surprise when I feel myself spiralling downward again. I am usually able to take effective action to reverse or prevent full descent, but I still have occasional episodes of finding myself swirling in the thick of darkest despair. But I take heart - these episodes happen much less frequently and I bounce back much more quickly now. I will be sharing my essential tips for surviving these brief - but brutal - episodes in my next post.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Power Living Update - 6 weeks later

The 6-week Power Living(TM) program at BodyTech (described in my post on May 10, 2008) wrapped up last Saturday. At the final meeting members of the group shared their reflections on progress, areas of difficulty, and especially, their Wellness Plan for the next 3 months. Some themes emerged:

  • everyone appreciated and directly benefited from the information imparted through the program;
  • everyone made progress toward significant change to improve their own well-being;
  • even with different areas of strength and weakness, and varying challenges, everyone benefited from Power Living's holistic approach to learning about change in all areas (food, fitness, thinking).
  • everyone experienced slumps, and found the group meetings very helpful for re-energizing.
The main message of the final session was that slumps are inevitable, and the key to long term success is to continually revisit one's original vision, motivation, and commitment, to learn from experience, and to revise and recommit to your Wellness Plan as necessary.

Some examples of lessons learned:
"I need to make getting to bed by 9 p.m. an absolute priority. Otherwise I'm too tired the next day and everything goes haywire."

"I did great with the nutrition and exercise, but I need to incorporate more stress-relieving activities. I'm going to plan in regular massage."

"I need to be diligent with my journaling, to keep myself accountable."

"I need to plan my meals, prepare ahead, and have food with me at work to avoid going off-track."

"I need to continue to make myself my priority. I know I have to get my workout in first thing in the morning to make sure it happens - and I always feel so much better."

"If I go over a certain weight, I need to go back to the mini-cleanse guidelines for a while."

Personally, I am delighted to have gotten into the healthy habit of walking at least 30 minutes most days. Now I miss it if I don't go, and sometimes I can't wait to get out there to clear my head or listen to my I-Pod. I love this personal inspirational and cleansing time. I also benefited tremendously from the two sessions with the personal trainer to learn about resistance training to build strength. This is still my biggest challenge, but I'm getting my mind around it and have at least begun some resistance work. I've also continued to eat very lean - mostly protein and fiber, very little sugar, dairy or "starchy" carbs. And I only have coffee once a week as a treat on Sundays.

My goal was not weight loss, but I have lost a few pounds. More striking for me, though, is the transformation I feel in the composition of my body from flabby and weak to at least a little more solid and toned. And it's not any one thing - it's all of it working together. It's the coolest thing! And, even a little success breeds more success.

The next Power Living(TM) program will be offered in September. Needless to say, I highly recommend it! Please let me know if you'd like more information or are interested in participating in this life-changing program.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Connecting with Ascended Masters and Angels - the Lightarian Way

Have you ever been curious about connecting to Angelic beings or Ascended Masters? Have you heard others speak of their experiences and wondered what this kind of energy experience is like?

I am delighted to say that I am now offering
two sets of energetic attunements brought forward by the Lightarian Institute for Global Human Transformation. These attunements, called Lightarian Rays(TM) and Lightarian AngelLinks(TM), are simple but powerful guided meditation/energy sessions for the purpose of connecting with specific Ascended Masters and Archangels. As described on the Lightarian Institute's website, these sessions are:

“celestially-inspired, channeled attunements designed to support the spiritual transformation that is taking place on Earth at this time. Steadily over time, these energetic attunements with the Masters and Angels will provide you with the most extraordinary enhancement and acceleration of your personal healing and spiritual development. Teachers, students and clients all over the world describe them as amazing and life changing.”

The series of Lightarian Rays(TM) includes attuning to 6 Light Ray energies:

* Empowerment Ray - Ascended Master Maitreya

* Clearing Ray - Ascended Master El Morya

* Healing Ray - Ascended Master Buddha

* Activation Ray - Ascended Master Sananda

* Manifestation Ray - Ascended Master Saint Germaine

* Source Ray - Source Energy

The series of Lightarian AngelLinks(TM) includes connecting to 5 Angelic energies:

* Seraph Rose Aura - unconditional love

* Archangel Michael - love, non-judgment, etheric interaction

* Archangel Gabriel - angelic joy, improved communications

* Archangel Raphael - courage, lighting the way, balance

* Archangel Uriel - beauty, creative expression

If you've ever felt drawn to the Angelic realms or to any Ascended Masters, or if you've just been curious, these gentle but lovely sessions provide a readily accessible way to experience a direct and permanent connection with beings "beyond the veil" while simultaneously raising your own vibration. For more information, see
Lightwork on my website.

Why Aren't We All Tapping?

Some time ago, I became aware of something called the Emotional Freedom Technique or EFT. This technique is a self-help tool for unblocking stuck emotions that keep us trapped in unhealthy patterns of thought and behavior. It involves tapping on specific energy meridian points on the body in a specific sequence while actively thinking about the problem or stuck emotion. It is simple to learn, simple to do, and by all accounts delivers not just rapid, not just effective, but positively miraculous results. From huge traumas to chronic stressors, EFT slays one after another emotional dragon. I wonder to myself, why in the world aren't we all tapping on a regular basis?? Why isn't tapping a household word (concept)?

EFT is one of several "tapping" techniques that have grown out of something called Thought Field Therapy, a subset of the broader field of Energy Psychology. In their book Instant Emotional Healing: Acupressure for the Emotions, George J. Pratt, Ph.D., and Peter T. Lambrou, Ph.D., describe these techniques as being:

"at the leading edge of a whole new approach to healing that combines elements of cognitive therapy with the latest thinking in everything from the mind/body connection, to subtle energy theories, electromagnetism, polarity, neuropeptide chains, acupuncture, and quantum physics."

While the specific mechanisms that make tapping work are not definitively understood, as Pratt and Lambrou point out, "It is not necessary [to] fully understand or believe in the theoretical foundation of Emotional Self Management (ESM) [their particular version]. The techniques will work whether you believe in them or not. You do not have to understand radio waves to listen to an FM radio station." Pratt and Lambrou go on to say that they themselves, as conventionally trained psychologists, continue to be amazed at the power of these techniques, stating that in their nearly 40 years of combined clinical experience, nothing has ever produced the same "immediate and powerful results."

For quite a while I was resistant to believing that EFT could possibly be as amazing as it sounded. However, as evidence of its effectiveness continued to cross my radar screen, I realized it was definitely time to let go of outdated beliefs and give it a try. I have since learned the basic technique by watching the introductory instructional videos offered by EFT developer Gary Craig; I have read Instant Emotional Healing referenced above, a self-help manual which also provides great background and context; and I have had several sessions with accomplished EFT practitioners. I highly recommend this readily accessible emotional power tool.

For an overview of the technique, see the video clip at Gary Craig's website,, as well as a wonderful new youtube video called "An EFT Documentary: Try It On Everything." I'm considering offering a "Learn to Tap" workshop based on the Instant Emotional Healing book. Please comment back if you'd be interested in giving it a try!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Power Living - Food, Fitness, Forward Thinking

This week I started the Power Living program at BodyTech in Gaithersburg, and I'm lovin' it! This comprehensive, unique and fabulously supportive program was designed by Dolores Zumbado (Doc Z or Z), Doctor of Chiropractic and the heart and soul of BodyTech. It is the latest expression of her passion to address the underlying causes of physical pain, and to help people truly step into a new and healthy life.

Power Living offers a three-pronged approach to lifestyle change:
  1. food as fuel;
  2. fitness done right; and
  3. mind over matter - rewriting outdated or non-serving habits of mind.
The program involves 6 Saturday morning group meetings with presentations by Doc Z and clinical nutritionist Susan Mudd, as well as other guest speakers, covering a range of topics. The program includes:
  • a healthy eating plan beginning with a 3-week 'mini-cleanse';
  • a resource notebook for planning and journaling;
  • weekly weigh-ins and body fat measuring;
  • an individual counseling session with Susan to discuss specific issues and tailor each person's food plan
  • two individual sessions with a specialized personal trainer to address overall fitness and core strength, flexibility and balance;
  • group sharing and support, including struggles and successes of previous program participants now in a mentoring role; and
  • ongoing coaching and support by Doc Z and Susan by email or in person.
So far the sessions have focused primarily on components of lasting change (readiness, motivation, preparation to change, commitment) and nutritional education on how - and WHY - to eat healthy. The nutrition component evolved out of Susan's previous course on Overcoming Weight Loss Resistance, and includes availability of high quality protein shakes and supplements. Doc Z and Susan are genuine and passionate, offer a wealth of knowledge, and make it all seem possible!

My personal goals are more about getting fit than losing weight, but sound nutrition, fitness, and thinking principles apply across the board. So far my biggest challenge has been giving up coffee and committing to exercising at least 30 minutes every day - but I'm doing it. The journaling takes time, but is a critical component for detecting patterns, habits, and triggers, as well as remaining intentional about the whole undertaking. Even though I've been hooked on healthy and swimming in wellness for many years, I'm still learning a lot and feel better already after just a week. Can't wait to see how I feel in week 6 and beyond!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Standing Fully in One's Power - Effecting Miracles

A coaching client of mine was describing a class he took over the weekend in a healing modality called ThetaHealing™. This modality, one of many variations on a theme, involves going into an alert meditative, or theta brainwave, state and intentionally rooting out subconscious beliefs responsible for stuck patterns of thought and behavior. Ah, the old prison of limiting subconscious beliefs - key word subconscious.

Like many similar healing methods, this one was developed by someone with a terminal condition to whom the knowledge was "revealed" or channeled, and subsequently used to effectively cure the condition. This particular technique was originated by Vianna Stibal who cured herself of terminal lymphatic cancer. She began sharing the technique widely in 1995.

My client experienced this healing weekend as extremely intense and profound. In the course of sharing what he learned, he said two very interesting things:

  • that a healer, IF fully in alignment, fully in his/her power, standing solidly in his or her vibration, can, with this healing method, effect a miracle healing; and
  • that true healers of any variety work at the energetic level, shifting energy and beliefs preliminary to quantum shifts in perspective and vibration.

My client seemed astounded by the possibility of effecting a 'miracle' cure. We're talking miracle here, a la Jesus Christ, of really any physical, mental, or emotional condition. But this statement resonated as “of course” for me. Having personally experienced countless sessions, attunements, trainings, and channelings, in many, many versions of energy therapy and Lightwork, the more important part of the equation to me was the alignment, not the particular healing method.

This conversation was a huge reminder to me that the only thing limiting me, or any of us, is my/our beliefs. I got a glimpse of simply, simply standing up and Believing and Allowing the grace of God to flow through me.

Many of us have been sowing our seeds, and weeding out limiting beliefs, for a very long time. All that’s left is for us to step into our power, fully.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Gratitude - A Reminder

I am a huge believer in the power gratitude to exponentially raise one's vibration and therefore rapidly and radically improve quality of life. My intentional practice of gratitude varies from spells of daily journaling 3 to 5 things I'm grateful for, to grabbing a piece of paper out of the blue and getting on a roll, to occasionally reaching for my gratitude journal and reflecting more deeply upon the many gifts in my life. I'm often shocked that a year or more has gone by.

In looking at my journal today, I came upon an entry from November 2005 that resonated so strongly I decided to share it here. I offer it as a reminder to myself, as well as, hopefully, an example and inspiration to others. When you're being grateful, you can't be depressed or negative. Gratitude flips you to the positive side, and gets the energetic ball rolling in the right direction. That alone is worth the effort!

I am, above all, grateful for the love that surrounds me in the manifest form of family and friends, and - I am learning - the unmanifest form of angelic and other benevolent entities. I have moments of truly understanding - feeling - knowing - that I am never alone, that I am supported in many realms at all times. I am grateful for those moments, for that knowing, and for that endless, timeless, infinite energy of love.

I am grateful for many 'mundane' things - a roof over my head, a car that is reliable, money in my bank account (somehow!), food, clothing, stuff.

I am grateful for moments of inspiration and passion. I am learning to recognize them and blow gently on the embers - to begin to build a strong and steady fire of passion and purpose in my life.

I am grateful for the opportunity to touch people - both literally, in doing bodywork, and otherwise, in holding space for people's emotional and spiritual pain. I am grateful to offer others my own experience as perhaps a ray of hope along the path and in so doing, renewing my own hope.

I am grateful for the privilege of having done bodywork on so many people, for the vast learning - through my hands and senses - of this wondrous container and vehicle that defines our human experience. I am ever-awed by its mysteries and the infinite intelligence it offers.

I am grateful for today.
I am grateful for this moment.
I am grateful for this chance to be so intentionally grateful!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

David Archuleta - You're the Voice

I am moved to write once more about 17-year old American Idol finalist David Archuleta. This week the remaining top ten contestants each described when and where they were born, shared a bit about their childhood, and sang a song from their birth year. David Archuleta sang a Johnny Farnham song called You're the Voice.

Johnny Farnham?
You're the Voice? Whaaa?

The judges reflected their bafflement at David's song choice. Only Simon Cowell seemed to remotely recognize the song, or really know of Australian singer Johnny Farnham. Obviously "You're the Voice" isn't familiar to mainstream America, and this lack of immediate connection was a detraction from David's American Idol performance. Even Paula Abdul, the queen of positive spin, teasingly questioned David, "You couldn't have chosen an American composer?" Further disappointing for David's American Idol chances was Simon's characterization of this upbeat, spirit-raising performance as reminiscent of a "theme park performance, one of those ghastly songs you sing when you've got animated creatures with you and everyone joins in together." Unfortunately, Simon had a point. Up With People comes to mind.

However, I believe Simon is dead wrong in his assessment that the song is "not you at all" and his further speculation that someone else must have chosen it. While Simon may be maddeningly discerning and painfully accurate with regard to vocal talent and performance abilities, sadly, he doesn't have a clue about what makes someone like David Archuleta tick. About soulful intentions and living a bigger purpose.

David's bigger purpose, which he can't seem to help staying true to, is to use his gifts to make a difference in the world. David lives from the heart and sings from the soul.
He is all about the message. Unlike Simon, I believe David Archuleta must have chosen the song himself. Listen to the lyrics! This is a song of vision and empowerment, encouraging every single individual to recognize and own the power of his or her unique voice and to use that power to stand up and make it count:

You're the voice try to understand it
Make a noise and make it clear
Oh-o-o-o, whoa-o-o-o
We're not gonna sit in silence
We're not gonna live with fear
Oh-o-o-o, whoa-o-o-o

This time, we know we all can stand together
With the power to be powerful
Believing, we can make it better
ooooh, We're all someone's daughter
We're all someone's son
How long can we look at each other
Down the barrel of a gun?...
Quite simply, David - purely, genuinely, radiantly, innocently - with every cell in his body and every ounce of his being, wants us all to join together to change the world. And he believes we can.

Okay, so the song may have been sketchy as an American Idol finalist choice. But there is no mistaking, again and always, the purity and power of David's voice, and the purity and power of David's spirit. To my ears, David Archuleta's voice is in a league of its own. I can't wait to buy his first album, and I hope he makes it exclusively focused on these songs of vision and empowerment that so move him and really do affect the reality we're collectively creating.

David Archuleta. "You're the Voice." What a perfect song choice, really.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


The universe speaks to me through books, and the books I'm reading usually mirror quite accurately where I am in my process of awakening. As much as I love books, I usually avoid bookstores because I feel easily overwhelmed - so many good books, so little time. Too much incoming.

But I braved the bookstore recently in search of a book recommended by a friend entitled The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer. This title so intrigued me that I wanted to get the book in my hands immediately - couldn't wait for Amazon by mail.

And I haven't been disappointed. I'm reading it now for the second time, taking it in on a deeper level, and I can't recommend it highly enough. My two favorite testimonials sum up what makes this book a must-read:

"In the book, The Untethered Soul, Michael Singer takes you step-by-step through the process of Gyana, the Yoga of the Intellect, to the Source. Moreover, he does it with elegant simplicity. Read this book carefully and you will get more than a glimpse of eternity."
~ Deepak Chopra, Author, Life After Death: The Burden of Proof

"In lucid, unadorned prose, Michael Singer delivers the essence of the great spiritual teachings of the ages. Each chapter of The Untethered Soul is an instructive meditation on the binds of the human condition and how each and every knot can be gracefully untied so that our souls may fly. The accuracy and simplicity of this work is a measure of its pure mastery."
~ James O'Dea, President of the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS)
Singer's exploration of the spiritual journey and his descriptions and metaphors are accessible and insightful. I love, for example, his characterization of the incessant inner voice that's always narrating your life as your "inner roommate." He proposes that the first step toward freedom is to become aware of this voice and think of it as someone else in the room with you. By doing this, it's easy to recognize that this voice is not you, and that until now you've been locked inside with a maniac. So refreshing to see it this way!

Singer suggests that to attain inner freedom, you must be able to objectively watch your problems instead of being lost in the energy of them, and to break the habit of thinking that the solution to problems is to rearrange things outside (new job, new spouse, whatever.) Rather he proposes dropping back and living from what he calls the seat of consciousness. He goes on to describe how energy flows through us and how we have all constructed elaborate walls of protection in the psyche around places where energy has gotten stuck in the past. He suggests that freedom lies just beyond these walls, and if we can but
untether from the triggers that have hooked us in the past, keep our hearts completely open, and learn to let energy flow freely through us, life will never be the same. Peace, joy and freedom will abound.

Like I said, can't recommend this book highly enough. The chapters on "Contemplating Death" and "The Secret of the Middle Way" are my favorites. Peace, joy and freedom, here I come!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Client Picks for 'Extreme Health' - Raw Foods, Chakra Music, TRX Bands

Last Friday I had the good fortune to work with a new massage client who somehow started telling me about a conference she had attended on Extreme Health. Instantly intrigued (my favorite subject!), I asked her what were the stand-out things she learned there. In the course of our session, she mentioned five things:

* David Wolfe's Raw Foods nutrition advice;
* Steve Halpern's music for brain and chakra balancing;
* TRX exercise bands, the latest in functional resistance training;
* Active Isolated Stretching,
Aaron Mattes' method for efficient stretching; and
* Yamuna body rolling, a fitness and therapy technique developed by a yoga instructor using specially designed balls.

Upon searching, I found that the seminar my client had attended was T. Harv Eker's Extreme Health Seminar. My client told me that the speaker who had the most impact for her by far was Raw Foods expert David Wolfe, and that much of his presentation was available on YouTube. I've just been watching these videos, and I see why this was her reaction. David Wolfe is a dynamic and believable speaker, whose life work, he says, has been to marry "you are what you eat" with "you are what you think." He is young, and his approach to what I've always considered a dry and dreadful subject - nutrition - is incredibly refreshing and uplifting. I love this guy, and am inspired by both his message and his delivery of it. David Wolfe's passion for what he does is compelling, and he makes the impossible seem not only possible but truly within reach. I find myself suddenly actually contemplating a paradigm shift in how I think and behave with regard to how I fuel my body. I second my client's recommendation to watch these videos!

I had heard of Steve Halpern's music and active isolated stretching in massage school, and both are worth knowing about {though I haven't delved into them any further at this point.} I am also familiar with Yamuna body rolling because my yoga teacher loved this specialty. I did, however, check out the TRX exercise bands, and they look fabulous. They are designed for "suspension training" and made by a company called Fitness Anywhere whose motto is "make your body your machine." The website is informative and user-friendly, with lots of FAQs and offerings. I recommend a look at it!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Crystal Clear - David Archuleta's Transcendant Example

Last Tuesday night I happened to watch American Idol. The 10 male finalists were competing in the second week of the weeding out process. For the first nine contestants, the show was interesting in the usual way. The combination of incredible talent and the raw courage to perform and be vulnerable to searing criticism before the entire world is fascinating to witness. This endeavor certainly would stretch anyone's psychological and emotional comfort zones.

first nine performances this night supported the general consensus that this season's crop of American Idol finalists is exceptional. Each voice, personality, and style uniquely strong. A pleasure to watch. Great entertainment. Fun.

Then 17-year old David Archuleta sang John Lennon's Imagine. And
something profound happened. This young man sang with such purity of both voice and spirit as to send ripples of pure positive vibration into the universe. Something shifted in the fabric of creation. David wasn't singing to please the judges or the audience. He wasn't calculating or strategic, clever or theatrical. This young man was the embodiment of pure, unadulterated Light. He sang completely from the heart, allowing every cell of his body to resonate and express his powerful, powerful spirit. It was obvious that he was not just performing, but expressing, from the deepest, purest heart space, the message of the lyrics.

With only time for one verse, David chose to sing the third verse - his favorite because of its 'great message.' David not only sang the song, but made it his own, in what Paula Abdul described as "one of the most moving performances I've ever heard" of "one of the most beautiful songs ever written." It's as if David Archuleta picked up where John Lennon left off.
I don't know how anyone who saw/heard/felt this performance could help but be affected.

My reaction was to feel hope for - and get a glimpse of - a truly transcendant future. The newly dawning Aquarian Age. I can't stop watching the YouTube video of David's performance. When I do, I feel my heart expand and I am frequently moved to tears. I really do imagine a brotherhood of man, nothing to kill or die for, a world in which we really do live as one. And the more of us that imagine that, day after day, with open hearts and full-throttle passion, the sooner it will materialize.

I believe David Archuleta is one of the special ones, a quintessential Crystal Child. A being of Light born to help the species ascend to higher dimensional living.
He is a vivid and shining example for the rest of us, of what it looks and feels and sounds like to be fully in our bodies, to live from the heart, to resonate at the highest frequencies. And in the process make the world a better place by holding a vision for a glorious future, and unreservedly and joyfully doing what we are born to do.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Day at the Dog Park

One of my friends is an avowed animal lover. She lived with me for about 6 months after she got her first cat and her parents wouldn't let her bring him home. Shortly after she moved into her own apartment, she got another cat to keep the first one company. Since then she has also adopted a guinea pig from the veterinary office where she works, set up a fish tank, and taken in a third cat, a stray who stays mostly outside. This young woman can't seem to get enough of animals.

About two months ago she added Terrence to the mix. Terrence, or Mr. T as she likes to call him, is the cutest, most full-of-energy Jack Russell terrier mix. He has changed the equation quite a bit because for as small as he is, he is indefatiguable. He runs and leaps and hops incessantly. He never seems to stop. He is undeniably adorable.... and constantly demands an outlet for all that energy.

So my friend has gotten in the habit of taking Terrence to the dog park pretty much on a daily basis. I went along this week just for fun, and, my, what a scenario! My frame of reference for a "dog park" was something along the lines of a public park or school grounds known to local residents as sort of a gathering spot for dogs and their owners. What I discovered is that "dog park" is a much more official term these days. It's a special, large fenced in area with no grass at all, just a gravelly surface. You enter through double gates with a buffer area in between to avoid any escapees. Dispensers of special biodegradable doggie doo-doo bags are located conveniently around the place, and official park signs list the rules for using the facility. A couple durable-looking picnic tables and a few old balls and toys strewn around complete the picture.

When we arrived around 1:00 p.m., there were 3 women and about 10 or 12 dogs already there. Two of the women were clearly dog-sitters, overseeing several dogs each. The dogs perform quite a welcoming ritual when a new dog arrives involving a lot of barking, jumping, and sniffing until the newcomer is accepted into the group. Then everybody goes about their business. The little shelty goes back to running around and around the lone tree, barking and yelping at the imaginary squirrel high in the branches. The sweet, older black lab lies down in a spot of gravel off by herself, rolls around, and flops out. Some dogs patrol the place, and others hang close to their human looking for love even though they are here to run around and play with their dog pals.

A friend of Terrence's arrives, a surprisingly timid female German Shepard who cowers through the welcoming procedure, shackles raised. She is visibly happy to see Terrence, and even happier once she locates her special ball. She carries the ball around as if it evokes the courage she otherwise lacks. The dogs are a mix of shapes and sizes: an English sheepdog, a doberman, a border collie mix, an older Golden Retriever and a couple younger Golden puppies, and several small dog breeds, too. Everybody seems to know all the dogs by names and quirks.

What struck me about this whole scene was how drastically times have changed with regard to having dogs, taking care of dogs, interacting with dogs. I've known this, of course, but experiencing the dog park dynamics was a graphic reminder. Dogs appear to be fully integrated members of society, with a whole subculture of dogs and their owners or caretakers alive and thriving. It also struck me how easy it was to appreciate and accept differences in dogs. The obvious influence of breed and 'personality' make it a no-brainer to forego judgement about their behavior. If only we could remember to do this with people, too.

My Reiki Session with David

Last night I had the privilege of having a Reiki session with David Gleekel, Director of the Reiki Center of Greater Washington. I hadn't realized how much I needed work, and the power of the session made me think about how grateful I am for David's presence in my life - as a friend, teacher, guide, and colleague.

David came to me as a massage client several months ago, referred through a request on the Energy Therapy Network (ETN). ETN is an active list-serve of energy practitioners of all kinds, an amazing resource of and for healers - more on that in another post, perhaps. I was delighted to meet David because as a full-time energy worker, he truly appreciated what makes my work my work - the energetic component of the massage. He has since become a regular client, and his observations and descriptions have been affirming and helpful in owning my own power as a healer, in feeling validated and valued. He is a discriminating, discerning consumer of bodywork, who gets that 'deeper' does not mean more pressure, force or pain. "This is actually an energy experience delivered through massage!" Yes, yes, yes!!

In addition to massage, David was also very interested in experiencing and learning about Jin Shin acupressure, my personal stepping off place into the world of energy healing. We decided to exchange sessions - Jin Shin for Reiki, and we have been exchanging ever since. Through this experience
I have come to understand more about my own favorite healing art by comparing it to Reiki, both through my own sensations on the table, and also through David's astute and informed observations of his sensations. My knowing of both these healing arts, and of David's and my respective gifts as unique healers, has deepened considerably. I have also come to understand in a body-felt way what I've known conceptually since I started doing massage - bodyworkers need bodywork. This is not optional. The more I resource myself, the more I'm available to clients.

So last night it was my turn on David's table. His hands were drawn immediately to my right shoulder and I felt waves of release and relief begin to wash down my arm. David got a flash of a stabbing wound from a past life as a warrior, and I was glad to be releasing any residual pain from that. His hands followed the pain down into my arm, and he laughed and told me my arm was holding the distinct emotion of anger and wanting to punch somebody. I wasn't conscious of wanting to hit anyone, but as the healing proceeded a few choices floated through my mind. But it didn't matter, it didn't have to be made conscious, just released.

When David got to my right hand, he became quite still, almost reverent. He softly said my hand felt sacred, as if he were holding "a religious object that brings heaven to earth." His comment, and the vibration I felt of something like awe, took me instantaneously to a deep knowing and gratitude. To soul-level recognition of my hands as instruments of something so much larger than me, and the message that touching people is an unmistakable part of my purpose in being on earth this lifetime. As I seek to find a vision to integrate all the pieces and parts of me, this was a gentle but potent reminder not to take these amazing hands for granted. And how better to deliver and impress this message than with his own incredibly powerful hands.

Thank you, David. For last night's session and so much more.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Gift of Massage

It’s hard for me to believe I’ve been working as a massage therapist for five years now.

My fascination with the body lies in its unique context as the vessel of the spirit. As an energy healer as well as a massage therapist, I am ever mindful that when I touch someone, I’m accessing not just the physical body, but the mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects as well. I’m directly touching the soul of another.

By now I’ve touched literally hundreds of bodies, and therefore, hundreds of souls. What an amazing and humbling experience. I’ve learned to respect the fact that our bodies represent a magnificent intelligence ever at our disposal if we would just learn to listen and interpret. They communicate – unerringly - through sensations and symptoms. Although we may feel betrayed by our bodies, they are in truth our best friends. They never, ever lie and they never give up on us. I remember my deep tissue teacher in massage school telling us that our “issues are in the tissues” and to be prepared for the possibility of deeply held emotions and patterns to come up. I later learned that the soft tissue of the body, not the brain, is where emotional memories are stored. Enough clients have had vivid memories or emotional releases on my table to make me respect this fundamental truth.

There are many great things about massage, but what I love the most is the opportunity it affords for us to feel nurtured and soothed, literally touched by another. So much is conveyed through touch – love, compassion, forgiveness, acceptance. Massage is a unique opportunity to get out of our heads and into our bodies, to become aware of where we’re holding tension or dis-ease or emotional blocks, and to begin to ask what that’s about from a bigger perspective. And, if we’re really lucky, massage is an opportunity to relax to a point of transcendence, when healing at the very deepest levels can occur. What a delicious way to get there!

As much as I love practicing massage, and recognize its significance to my personal journey, I know that - for me - it’s a bridge to deeper knowing and not a destination in itself. I may or may not continue to practice this beautiful healing art, but I will always be a fond and grateful recipient of its many pleasures and soul-satisfying benefits.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Preview of Things to Come

Now that I have finally begun this blog, I wake up in the middle of every night flooded with ideas for posts of all kinds. The overwhelming feeling I get at these moments is, “I have so much to share!” I compose madly in my head, to the constant background message that I need to figure out a way to capture all these fabulous thoughts and entries.

So today’s post is a brief preview of some of the most prevalent themes that cross my mind.

As I ponder each night, it strikes me that there are three major areas of endeavor in my life, three intersecting pools of experience and knowledge that converge here. By way of context, then, these circles include: 1) my journey with relationship, which has brought me intense lessons especially as a wife and mother, but also as sister and daughter; 2) my journey with career, with lessons about following my heart, creative fulfillment, and the meaning of abundance; and 3) my journey with soul or higher self, an ever-present spiritual seeking which has intensified and accelerated in the past few years.

From each of these areas of my life I have read and learned and absorbed so much. It is my way to delve deep into whatever issue or challenge shows up in my life, to look for what resonates as truth, and to find common themes and practical guidance. I am fascinated with so many areas of inquiry, and, as one of my many teachers pointed out, have a very broad “band width.”

So here's a quick sampling of what to expect:

Circle #1: parenting challenging children, coping with mental illness (a child’s anxiety, emotional dysregulation, and executive function deficits and my own tendency toward depression), DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy), equine experiential learning, relationship and communication skills

Circle #2 : the body as intelligence, hands-on healing, energy medicine and energy psychology, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and other body-mind techniques, life and wellness coaching, living vibrantly, changing patterns, NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) and other conscious languaging - what my friends and I call “Word World."

Circle # 3: spiritual awakening, channeled guidance, raising one’s vibration and the vibration of the planet as a whole, ascension of the species, the teachings of Abraham, sacred contracts, animal communication. I envision a “Showcase of Healers” - short audio or video posts interviewing local practitioners who offer amazing services you may not even know are available or possible!

As I said, these circles overlap and weave together, but that's the general territory. I'm excited to get writing, and welcome any comments or feedback on what's of most interest.


Saturday, January 12, 2008

"You appear to be thriving!"

I was so tickled when my aunt, in her uniquely candid but loving way, made that observation of me last October. After years of being relatively out of touch, we had gotten close through phone conversations during the preceding months as she courageously journeyed through surgery, radiation, and chemo for lung cancer. As I have gotten to know my aunt at this point in life, from a very new vantage point, I have learned so much from her about living independently, about being short on expectations but long on gratitude, about having faith and facing fears, and maybe most of all, about knowing and honoring oneself. I have come to truly treasure her presence in my life.

Above all, I love Aunt Karen's keen observations of the world around her and her candor in calling 'em as she sees 'em. So when she told me I ‘appear to be thriving,’ I had to laugh. I felt joyful - victorious, even. I chuckled because I knew that, in general, my family worries about my lack of outward “success.” They know the last five years have been a turbulent and challenging time for me, with life as I knew it unraveling completely. They’ve been concerned at my commitment to follow my heart and stick to my spiritual guns, despite the financial wolves constantly nipping at my heels. In short, they shake their heads and wish I’d come to my senses.

What they perhaps don’t realize is that coming face to face with my deepest, darkest fears also precipitated intense and accelerated spiritual awakening. That while paradoxically things look bleak on the outside, my “work” and solace is always within. And while it may appear that I’m not “doing” anything, I am setting in motion a whole new life for myself – changing my future moment by moment by vigilantly monitoring my thoughts and vibration, by choosing to make conscious contact with Something More my daily practice and highest priority. By coming into alignment with the eternal All that I Am, at least more of the time and certainly more intentionally.

Which is what, I believe, Aunt Karen was responding to. That intangible sparkle of vibratory alignment with one’s purest essence. The calm center of a humble but joyful spirit. The deep peace of an awakened heart.

Of course, whether I'm acutally thriving is anybody's guess - I'm a work in progress like all of us. But I like to think I'm thriving more of the time than not, and that the snowball is rolling in the right direction. And I love Aunt Karen for planting that vision so firmly in my mind’s eye!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Thanks, Coach!

It seems like almost everybody these days has a wellness goal of some kind, whether it be to lose weight, exercise more, reduce stress or manage chronic mental or physical conditions. Many people are wearying of doctors and diagnoses and seeking more empowering alternatives. Complementary and holistic options are very much in demand and more and more mainstream. We are in the midst of a wellness revolution.

We've all read a thousand articles on better nutrition, new diets, the importance of exercise, how to manage stress, how to change our thoughts, etc., etc. And yet, though we all know better, and want better, most of us seem to stay stuck. Or we try and try again, yet can't manage to sustain success.

So what makes the difference between knowing and doing? between trying and succeeding?

The answer might increasingly be the support of a life coach or wellness coach.
Personal coaching is a profession whose time has come, and coaching may be the wisest investment one can make in the long-term. Why? Because coaches bring a unique expertise in facilitating change. Coaches don't advise or consult. Rather, they offer perspective, insight, and accountability. In steadfastly empowering clients to answer their own questions and honor commitments to themselves, coaches help people navigate the difficult terrain of lasting change - resisting the pull of the old and overcoming the fear of the new. Their currency is "aha moments," future vision and forward motion. It's a powerful and energizing combination.

No wonder I love this work!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Why Vibrance?

Welcome 2008!

I've decided to write about Vibrance because I've realized that to live vibrantly is truly my passion. Vibrance seems to be at the intersection of all things near and dear to me, of all the areas of endeavor and struggle and study in my life. It seems to be my central theme.

I view Vibrance as not just health, not just wellness, but extreme well-being. Wellness and beyond. Wellness on every level. Vibrance definitely encompasses a significant spiritual component, in addition to physical, mental, and emotional aspects. Vibrance is Joy embodied. Vibrance is where it's at!!

My intention in creating this blog is to pass along to anyone interested the pearls I gather as I soak up all things related to wellness. I am drawn endlessly to books, articles, magazines, websites, blogs, etc. etc., that offer more and better wellness wisdom, and my particular gift is in crystalizing and applying the nuggets therein. This blog is my attempt to share those nuggets with the world!

So for now, I welcome the new year which I know will be one of profound and amazing transformation. More on that in future posts!