Last year I made a vision board for who I am and how I feel when I express my creativity. I had devoted 2010 to my Core of Peace, and I was setting a new intention for 2011. I didn't know exactly HOW my creativity would be expressed. But by making the vision board I connected with images and words that captured how I knew it would FEEL to be in that place of expression. I let go of the HOW, because I didn't - and couldn't - know at the time what the exact steps would be. I breathed deeply into the feelings of my own creativity, and allowed images to attract me without needing an explanation or a meaning or a concept. They were just images that I loved, for no "reason" at all. Here is the vision board I made: Continue reading "Be Careful What You Wish For…"
I had an Energy Release Ritual this morning. Spur of the moment, totally unplanned, but absolutely inspired. I've been reading a few mind-body healing books ever since attending Dr. Mitchell Gaynor's workshop at CIIS this weekend. Dr. Gaynor is an integrative oncologist based at Cornell Medical Center in New York City and is the embodiment of physician-healer, embracing all of his life experiences and learning from diverse traditions in order to create healing partnerships with his patients. I don't see myself working with disease, but still find myself fascinated by healing stories. Disease is merely one form of communication, through the vehicle of our bodies, to help us become more aware of ourselves. Some people experience healing through a financial crisis, or a job loss, or the death of a loved one. Any time our expectations about life are challenged or even shattered, we are being handed the gift of an opportunity to heal and grow. Somehow this morning I was inspired to let go of some of the energies that I am still carrying and am no longer in need of. I knew that I wanted to have a total body experience of this letting go - not just writing it, or saying it, but experiencing it with all of my senses. I created an altar, which incorporated items representing the five elements - earth, fire, air, water, and ether. Continue reading "Creating New Rituals: Honor Your Whole Self"
Have you ever tried actually doing one thing at a time? I've found that it takes a tremendous amount of trust - an amount I often don't have - to truly do one thing at a time. Somehow my brain prefers that high-anxiety mode of doing many things at once, having many irons in the fire, keeping many options open, so to speak. But the reality of that mode is nothing ever gets done, and I never feel totally complete. In other words, I set myself up to prove the belief that underlies this kind of behavior: "I am not enough." To turn this behavior around, I first choose a new thought to believe: "I am complete, as I am, in this moment." At first, I repeat it as a mantra that sounds ridiculous because my brain has never practiced focusing attention on all the ways that I am, in fact, complete, as I am, in this moment. I have trained my brain, for many years and quite intensively, to find all the ways that "I am not enough" - all the ways that I "should be" doing more than what I am doing right now. But since I have made the choice to be and do in a different way, to connect with a different energy as the source of my actions, I keep repeating that mantra. I allow myself some stillness and some time to find one example of how I am really complete, as I am, in this moment. I find some gentleness toward myself as I learn a new way. I remember that I am like a toddler, about to take my first steps, and joyfully falling and getting up more times than I will be able to count.
The creative space is one of NO mind.This morning, as I was driving to the grocery store, there were these thoughts running through my head: "What if I could just relax into ACCEPTANCE of myself, exactly as I am right now?" "What if I could treat myself as if right now, exactly as everything is, it IS all exactly as it should be?" I was trying to examine my recent thought patterns which were centered around "concern" for a variety of things in my life: was I spending enough time doing the right things, was I doing enough yoga, was I eating enough fruit and vegetables, was I working hard enough on the right things for my business, was I spending too much time on "non-productive" activities.... The list went on and on, and nothing seemed to be "clicking" or "flowing" during the past few weeks until the rare moments when I just let go and did the ONE thing right in front of me. This morning, I was thinking about the feeling and energy around doing JUST THIS, RIGHT NOW. What is it about that thought which creates flow? It's certainly not a state of heightened anxiety and pushing and grasping. It's not an energy of worrying. It's exactly the opposite. It's LETTING GO of all the worrying and relaxing the mind completely. Continue reading "The Space of No Thinking"
How many times have you witnessed the sun setting? Now that I live near the California coast, that number has gone from "zero" to "so many times I've lost count". I never get tired of it, even though it's usually so cold at the ocean that I'm not completely relaxed as I'm watching. I'm usually huddled under blankets, or in a car, woefully underdressed for the plummeting temperatures. Last night, though, we were blessed with "Indian summer" weather and a warm enough evening at the coast that we didn't even need to wear our jackets. I had nowhere to be, nothing to do, except to behold the sun folding in, the waves ever-present in their rolling motion against the smooth sandy beach, and the earth turning away from the sun's reach, notch by notch. I managed to catch the very last 52 seconds of the sunset on video. Watching the playback, I saw a perfect soundtrack and image to accompany this affirmation (which I am practicing to replace one of my habitual thoughts, "There will never be enough."):
"I am complete, as I am, in this very moment."Saying this out loud, or even reading it silently to yourself for the duration of the video, can be a powerful practice in shifting energy and attention. Notice the rhythm of the waves, and the silent power of the sun as it gradually disappears below the horizon. Enjoy...
Continue reading "At Peace with Confusion – Part 1 of 2"
Last night I hosted a free coaching call for medical students, residents, and fellows. I focused on the topic of SELF-CARE. As trained caring professionals, often we think of self-care as "selfish" or something that we do after we've taken care of our other "duties", "responsibilities" and "obligations". In this call, I invite you to think of self-care in a different way. I invite you to consider that your knowledge and practice of self-care is essential in creating a healing relationship with your patients, and creating a healing environment in your clinic, operating room, or hospital. I have a new mantra as I create my life and offerings to the world: "You've gotta live it to give it." Until we can connect with what is common to all human experience, we cannot be fully compassionate toward our patients and authentically promote the state of wellness and health we claim to be guiding them toward. The 5 main principles of self-care I discuss on the call are as follows: Continue reading "5 Principles of Self-Care for Caring Professionals: Recording from Free Coaching Call for Physicians-In-Training"
Do you have 7 and a half minutes for your self-care today? Grab a seated position, with your spine straight, legs and arms uncrossed, and palms open toward the sky. [display_podcast] This is a Call and Response version of the Purification Mantra. I invite you to listen to my voice, and repeat along with the group. Notice the duration of each breath and each sound. No thinking! Just listening! And play... Focus on the SOUNDS, without worrying about the meaning or translation of words. If you have trouble sustaining your attention, try noticing when your mind wanders, and notice what thoughts arise in your mind when this happens. Then gently bring your attention back to the sounds. Attempt to focus your attention on the quality of all sounds - those coming from the recording and coming from you. I use this mantra when my mind feels distracted and overactive, when I want to find my center of freedom before a presentation, a class, or seeing a client. When do you find it useful? Enjoy...
I'm honored to share with you a mantra, transmitted to me by my teacher Silvia Nakkach, Director of the Sound Voice and Music Healing Certificate Program at California Institute of Integral Studies. Yup, that's my voice on this recording! Take 3 minutes and purify your mind with this calming mantra. [display_podcast] Instructions for a breath and listening meditation: 1. Sit with your legs and arms uncrossed and your spine as straight as possible. 2. Breathe out with each sound you hear. Match the length of your exhale to the length of the sound. 3. Listen to the sounds. Do not try to translate meaning. Immerse yourself in the sound. Variation for a breath, voice and listening meditation: 1. Sit with your legs and arms uncrossed and your spine as straight as possible. 2. Listen for each sound and join in with your own voice, making the sound you hear. 3. Focus on listening and breathing, and allow your sounds to arrive without effort.