Old Bones

First of July’s posts for the fantastic folks at PsychicsForetell.com


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My mom always says, “Getting old ain’t for sissies.”  And every morning when I get up with a new ache, I believe it.

I do physical work for a living and, as I age, I feel it.  For every new pain I get, I’ve probably got two nagging old ones to go with it.  And the nagging old ones just seem to get louder.  As for the actual  shape of my body?  Lately it seems like one day of poor eating and no exercise easily translates to 10 pounds right in the middle.   On top of that, what used to take a week to fix is now more like a month.

And still, even after a month of diet and sit ups, the pounds I have left aren’t in the same places. My boobs’ new favorite song?  “Up Where We Belong”.   Yeah, getting old ain’t for sissies. That’s for darn sure.

But as with most things, I’m finding an attitude of gratitude goes a long way in changing my energy.  I could lament all the things that are never going to be the same or I can be thankful for the opportunity to see another brand new day.  Not everyone gets the privilege to see their later years.   Not everyone gets to see tomorrow.   I count myself lucky so far.

With that I’ve started embracing my aches and pains.  I give thanks when I hear the creak of my knees as I get out bed.  Hearing that snap, crackle, pop means I’ve got another day to experience life.  I’ve got at least one more opportunity to give love in this world.  And in that way, I’m blessed.

To be honest, as I change my perspective on aging, I transform my entire experience of aging.  I tune out of my pain more easily.  I could complain and feel miserable, but that would be the most fantastic waste of my precious time.  I still got life flowing through these old bones.  And life is nothing less than the greatest magic.  And as long as I get to stick around this place, I will be a grateful magician.

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Tears from a Deeper Well

Last of June’s posts for the good peeps over at PsychicsForetell.  

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I decided to revisit my intention for the year.  To live fully with integrity.  To do this I must know my full truth and accept it.  The wonderful, the terrible and the God awful, all of it.

To live with integrity is to live without worry about how I will be perceived by others because I know I am living my truth.   When I live with integrity, words and deeds jive and I resonate with a universal vibe.  In that way, I level up from worry and fear because I know my Truth and I’m cool with it.

As I sit with a heavy emotion, I find myself discovering a more subtle level of integrity.  How do I integrate experiences of the deeper emotions?   The feelings I do not want to know.  How do I find integrity and wholeness with an emotion that feels like it is tearing me apart?

I’m finding as I sit with this grief the pain isn’t from me falling apart.  It is the emotion carving out space in my heart.  It is the emotion asking me to find a deeper truth in my soul to fill in that space.  To find a new understanding of myself and this world and beyond it all.  And my integrity is maintained as I let that new truth settle into my bones.  It isn’t easy and it hurts.  But I have lived this now and it has changed me.  And I would be disrespecting myself if I tried to keep living with my old limited view.

In this space, it comes down to a choice.  Do I choose fear and pretend I don’t have this deeper knowing?  Or do I stay open to this excavation of my soul and allow it to dig deeper still?

It is hard to accept the darkness of life.  But it is still life, isn’t it?  I cannot separate the dark from the light and be whole.  Not if it is true.  So I accept it and allow it to season me how it will.  And I keep hold of the love as I find my new stride.  In this way I move through this space with my Truth intact.  In this way, I move forward with integrity.

How have you integrated life’s deeper lessons?  How do you find your Truth in the dark?

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Emotional Body

One of my June posts for the fine folks over at PsychicsForetell.

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So our physical bodies are all detoxed and summer ready.  All the accumulated toxins we ingested over the winter months and the heavy, cold, dark seasonal qualities have worked their way out of our systems.  We’ve had enough comfort food, bring on the fresh fruits and veggies!

But wait.  What about the emotional body?  Have we done anything  about all the accumulated toxins we’ve held onto over the dark winter months?  Have we done anything to cleanse ourselves on the emotional level?

Though others may not see the effects of emotional accumulation, it still affects us on the visceral level.  In Western medicine, we are generally looking at the body as a machine. Feelings and thoughts, our emotional and mental selves are separate.  We don’t tend to treat our emotions as possible causes for our physical imbalance but instead symptoms of those imbalances.   In Eastern philosophy, we see how all is energy.  Therefore, there can be no separation.  Emotions can be seen as the root cause of imbalance and disease.  So it is as equally important to keep the mental and emotional bodies moving freely as our physical bodies.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, emotions are linked to organs and systems of the body. Through the thousands of years this system has been practiced, they found a correlation between the build up of certain emotions and the function of their corresponding organs.  The heart is the seat of Joy.  The liver is Anger.  The kidneys are the house of Fear and the lungs are Sadness.

Let’s say a person is presenting with symptoms of lung dysfunction. In Eastern Medicine the Lung Meridian, which is the energetic channel that supplies the nutritive energetic life force (chi) to the respiratory system, would be addressed.  The emotional state of the person would be as much of a consideration as their physical habits, especially if a clear physical cause is not present.  If they have been in a prolonged state of grief, it would be plausible that there could be an accumulation of the emotion’s energy at one of the acupuncture/acupressure points along the meridian that could be blocking the flow of chi.   Accumulation of certain emotions can create energetic holding patterns that can affect our thoughts, moods and ultimately our bodies.

It is important to allow our emotions their time.  But no more than their time.  If the emotion is no longer being triggered by something in the present, it may do us some good to stop giving it space in our now.  If we find ourselves wallowing, it may do some good to redirect our attention to our breath.  It can be like coming up for air from the sea of emotion giving us the boost of energy we need to swim for the shores.

Mediation can be of great benefit in keeping our bodies clear of energetic blockages and break long-standing holding patterns.  It is one of the best medicines available.  If we are present with an emotion, we can begin the practice of neutralizing it.  We can start by observing it and accepting it.  No judgments, no expectations, just being with it and looking at it for what it is.  Just like food we’ve ingested, we must allow emotions to be metabolized.  Take what we need from it and release the rest.

Yoga is an excellent physical practice for helping emotions flow.  There are certain poses for the emotions we are trying to address.  In Kundalini yoga, there is an entire series of kriyas designed just for the emotional body.  Other forms of physical activity are also beneficial and can be made more so with an added awareness of the breath.

Mantra and affirmations have also been found to help break mental and emotional patterns that we’ve adopted, knowingly or not.  Again, if we accept that everything is energy at its core, we can see that our words have their own vibration.  Intention is the key to that vibration so if we are to use affirmations or mantra to help change our frequency, we must be sure our intentions match our words.  If we adopt an affirmation of health and abundance, we need to tap into the energy of health and abundance.  We need to feel and visualize health and abundance in our lives.

We are much more than our bodies.  Utilizing these practices can help detoxify our emotional and mental bodies, allowing for our holistic well-being.  It may take a bit more effort and time, but this juice is worth the squeeze!

 

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Grief Sublime

One of June’s posts for the team over at PsychicsForetell.

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I am travelling for a funeral this weekend.  For a young man I love, heart and soul.  And so it is very hard for me to write about anything else with any truth other than this particular feeling of which I am most acutely aware.

Grief is the energy I’m in right now.  It has been playing with me these last couple weeks and I’m preparing for the reality of it to hit.  I know I want to find the highest frequency available to me in this present space.  I don’t really know what I mean by that but I just know there has got to be a way to help me transmute this emotion into something positive in my life.  And in that way I will keep him in my life forever.

Right now the way is not clear.  I’m not ready to look for the light in this.  Not really.  I haven’t let it take me to its darkest places.  Hell, I haven’t fully allowed it to take me anywhere yet.

I’ve been floating out in stormy seas.  Sometimes there is a lull, a calm sort of numbness where my soul is just tired enough to let everything go.  And other times, I’m pulled under by the waves.  I fight them mostly.  But I know the real storm didn’t hit yet.  And when those waves roll through, I’ll need all my strength.  I know I’m going to need to let them roll right through me and change me how they may.  That or break.

I know I won’t make it to any shore unscathed, if I find a shore at all.  I try to have faith.  My faith has always been strong.  But I’m kinda pissed at the universe right now.

I know my only way through this without being bitter is with him.  It is to keep hold of the love we shared, keep hold of what I still have.   Love transcends everything we can think of that separates, that limits, that ends.  It connects, it expands, and it is perpetual.  Infinite.  And I love him.

I hurt everywhere right now. And it is only going to get worse when this actually sinks in.  I refuse to hold on to the anger though.   So I will make sure to keep hold of the love.  So that if this grief can sublimate into something higher, if it can transmute itself into something that keeps him in my everyday, I can be sure it will be something beautiful.

Because I love him. And I always will.

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Now, Transformed

The last of my May posts for my friends over at PsychicsForetell.

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Within our daily experience as keepers of home and gardens the spirits still move and speak if we but attend.  They slip in through the cracks, making themselves felt in little breakdowns in appliances, unplanned sproutings in the flowerbeds, and sudden moments of blinding beauty, as where sunlight glances across a newly-waxed table or the wind stirs clean laundry into fresh choreography.” ~ Jean Lall

There is beauty in the everyday.  I only need to be still with it for a time.  Despite all the noise of the world begging for my ear, I get to choose where my attention resides.  And I owe it to myself, for the health of my spirit, to give my attention to this beauty.

These are the things that feed the soul.  Simple joys and pleasures I often don’t even notice because I am just going through the motions.  It’s easy to fall into the habit of doing the daily grind with my mind and soul separate from my body.  Lately I’ve found life to be far too precious to just go through the motions for a single second.

So how then do I live a life fully embodied?  How do I let my soul into each moment?  I’m still figuring it out.  But I start with the beauty, the art that is in every moment when I look at it right. When I view the seemingly meaningless with an appreciation in my heart for the opportunity to view anything at all, the ordinary can be transformed to extraordinary.  Life can express art even in the darkest of times, times I tend to try to escape.   Times I go on autopilot.   But sometimes in seeing that art, some light can be found.

When I catch myself away from the task at hand, I reel myself back in with a breath.  And I give my attention to my senses and find an alternate way to view my now.   Right now a few birds are singing.  The air is thick with unshed rain and holds the scent of smoke from a neighbors grill.  A light is playing with an old bottle holding a crooked plastic poppy and casting a shadow of the flower on my wall.  There is a breeze, almost imperceptible inside my house, but the gauzy prayer flags give it away.

Despite all the work left to be done I could focus upon and even more work to be done on my grieving soul, there is beauty to be found here.   And there is healing and wholeness in its finding.  These moments that have been slipping quietly by have the potential to be some of the best moments of my life.  And so I will do my best to live them to their fullest.

What are you doing with your time these days?  What beauty is offering its grace to your soul in your life right now?  And how do you honor that in your life?  How do you embody that?  How do you allow your soul to experience the moment?
 

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Being In Pain, Being With Pain

Another post from May for the fine folks over at Psychic’s Foretell.  

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We live in a quick fix society. It seems like most people are overstressed and short on the greatest healer, time. So we seek to stop the pain and the stress. We address the symptoms by masking them or “sucking them up” and wonder why the disease lingers. And in our denial, we have created a crisis in our nation that is very hard for people to talk about. We are overprescribed and underserved. And when the prescriptions are through, many are left with a new disease, one of addiction.

Pain is a hard thing to manage. It isn’t pleasant. And it comes in many forms. It can be acute like the pain of a broken bone and it can be chronic, like arthritic pain. And pain isn’t limited to the physical body. We can experience mental pain and anguish, emotional or spiritual pain like grief. Whatever the form, we can’t be rid of it fast enough. But we must understand, pain isn’t the disease and stopping ourselves from feeling pain doesn’t cure us. It just numbs us for a time.

So then what do we do with pain instead? What about being with it? What if we accepted it? Now I’m not saying to someone who has a finger dangling off their hand to just be still and accept the pain. They see the cause and it can be fixed. But for those who struggle with a deeper pain, who suffer in a pain that doesn’t seem to have a source that can be “fixed’, is it possible to allow it?

I see time and time again, what we resist persists and what we allow is transformed. What if we allowed our pain its space? What if we were able to hold our pain and move through it? What does that look like? How does that work?

Honestly, I cannot say. I, myself, am writing this today as I move through grief. I am grieving a loss of someone who was trying to escape their own pain, fresh on the heels of another loss of the same kind. And I know I’m not alone even though most people don’t like to talk about pain, our own or anyone else’s. But maybe we can change things if we start there.

 
Pain is not a sign of weakness. It is not a fault of character. It is not a badge of shame. And the roads pain can take one down can be darker than we could think possible. So in the spirit of shedding light, I would like to share some information I’ve found helpful with this community. Just some ideas to help one live with pain, whether it be spiritual, emotional, physical or mental (or as in many cases, all of the above) or even someone else’s.
Try to allow it. There has been research that suggests allowing pain to be what it is and living how you wish to live despite it can be beneficial. The idea is to take the focus from avoiding and suffering through pain to finding what things are still good despite the pain. And then spending more time doing these things. Giving the positive perspective the attention.

Breathe. Connecting to our breath can do wonders to relax and destress, which allows us to better handle feelings of pain. Just pausing and taking a few mindful deep breaths can help us reset and gain clarity. There are even a number of yogic breathing exercises designed with specific outcomes in mind.

Move through pain, literally. Find a way to move if possible (*disclaimer: and okay by the doctor!) Bodies in motion, stay in motion. Even if it is limited motion, it is better than no motion. Find a way to move that makes you feel happy. Jog, walk, wog, lift weights, do yoga, play a recreational sport, dance, whatever. If there is a physiological reason not to move, we need to honor our limits. But if we are self-limiting because of overwhelming fear, anxiety or depression, it may be worth pushing those perceived boundaries.

 
Find support. Talk about it. We can’t fix what we don’t accept as broken and we can’t heal what we deny is hurt. The people who love us will love us just that same as we’d do for them. It can be uncomfortable at first to talk about pain or even listen to someone speak about their pain. But sometimes as we talk, we heal.
 

Give faith a try. I’m not looking to convert anyone. But there is something to prayer. Having a spiritual practice and deep faith can do wonders for a body. And it doesn’t matter what religion: Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Pagan or Love. Nurturing our bodies is great. Nourishing our souls too? Even better.

One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. ~ Carl G. Jung

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Mastermind

Another of May’s posts for the intuitive folks over at Psychics Foretell.

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Want to feel less anxious?  Reduce your stress?  Increase your focus?  Improve your heart health and immunity?  Yes??  Meditate!  Want to find detoxify your mind of negative thought patterns?  Clear your body of old emotions?  Find your inner guru?  Meditate!  Want a million dollars and a brand new car?  Okay meditation may not help you there, but it could give you the space to create a plan to make it happen!

Working meditation into your daily routine is one of the best things you can do for yourself without spending a single penny.  I could go on and on about the benefits of meditation and you can google it yourself to see it is all true too but I know how it goes.  Finding the time to be still seems to go against everything this world demands of us.

We live in a time where most of us have to work full-time, probably doing some serious multi-tasking to stay on pace.  Same goes for housework which, like job work, offers a fresh batch to do every day.  Then there is your handy dandy phone/computer/camera that enables you to be on call to anyone in your contact list 24-7.   And if you have kids, forget about it! Sitting still with absolutely nothing on your mind seems extremely counter-intuitive when you look at your overbooked schedule.  But actually, if you don’t take the time to be still in your space, your intuitive self is probably in desperate need of calibration.

For those who haven’t tried it, I will say it can be difficult at first.  But like any new thing, practice makes perfect.  Start small, even 5 minutes works wonders.  Then work your way up.  Find a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed.  If there is no quiet in your home, grab a pair of headphones and listen to some white noise station.   Get comfortable.  You can sit on the floor, on a chair or lay down.  Whatever works for your body.  Set a timer so you can let time go.  And then just let thoughts pass like clouds through your mind without weight or attachment until the timer goes off.  Easy right?

I know it’s not that easy.  I spent the first part of my meditative journey cussing myself out for not doing something to make my to-do list shorter with that precious time.  And the more I tried to block it out, the louder my inner voices got.  Until I was able to just allow them to chatter knowing I AM doing something.  Something very important.  I’m taking care of me.  And slowly, they grew softer until I could hear the smallest, quietest voice speak within.  The voice of my truth.

Sounds hippy dippy to some, I know.  But seriously.  When we can clear the chatter, we begin to hear what we need to hear most: ourselves.  And it isn’t just “ourselves”  but it is our unharassed, unrushed, unscattered,  uncomplicated selves that speak in this space.  It is our peaceful, loving selves that are so glad we checked in on them speaking to us there.

And I also know it takes all kinds to make a world.  So while I crave silent spaces to sit still and listen, I know many others dread the quiet and can’t fathom the idea of sitting still on purpose.  If you are one of those people, don’t despair!  Can’t be still?  There are walking meditations. Can’t be quiet?  Try mantra meditations.  Diehard multitasker?  Make one of your daily monotonous tasks a meditation if you must.  Just meditate!  You are worth the time!

Stick with it for at least 3 weeks.  That is how long many say it takes to make a habit.  So at least give it that long before you write it off.  And understand, you aren’t doing nothing.  You are cleansing your mind.  You are mastering the fine art of controlling your thoughts so your thoughts can no longer control you.  Practice first by shushing that voice that says mediation isn’t for you!

Please feel free to share your mediation triumphs and trials with the community below.  If we can all find a little more peace in this world, we all can share a little more peace with this world.

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