Me and My Awesome Sisters

Woman-power symbol (clenched fist in Venus sig...

Woman-power symbol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Okay, so I’ve been wanting to participate in Ronovan’s BeWoW Wednesday for ages.  Somehow couldn’t seem to pull it together. If I thought of a topic I couldn’t decide which blog to put it on or I thought of it too late for Wednesday…  Today I finally realized that a post I’ve had on the back burner for a while could be a good BeWow post.  Then I saw the suggested topic:   what does family mean to you.

At first I thought it didn’t fit.  And, it’s a bit of a stretch, but I’m fitting it by saying that for me family includes not only my blood relations, but also the many people whom I have loved and who love me and extends outward.  And my little tale of feminism is about me and my multitudes of sisters who participated in changing so much about the lives of women.  It’s a little off the path from my usual posts but I felt like it belonged on this blog anyway.

The post has been slowly forming for the last couple of years as I’ve periodically read posts by much younger–mid-20’s to mid-3o’s–women who stated emphatically that they are NOT feminists. And the tone felt to me like they were describing something you’d wipe off your shoe.

Up to a point, I get that.  There’s always been a radical fringe in the women’s movement who are militant about what we all should be wearing and doing [I never could see how conforming to them instead of men would do anything for my independence]. In law school, some of them quit speaking to one of our friends when she became engaged.  I took a lot of guff about wearing a little eye make-up. You know the ones.  Like the most far-out of every group, they’re hard to take.

But the women’s movement is so much more than that and it startled me to see these young women with a view that feminists are not relevant to them.  I’m particularly intrigued by this point of view because they’ve all been young women with interesting careers and marriages with seemingly far more equality than the marriages of my childhood.

I began asking myself, “Really, in just the 40 years since my collegiate feminist days has everyone forgotten what it used to be like?”  When I was growing up girls were encouraged to explore one of three paths:  (1) teacher, (2) nurse, (3) wife.  My mother and aunts and their friends were expected to do nothing but clean house and cook and do what their husbands wanted.  None of the dads wanted “their women” to work outside the home.

My grandmother brought a small fortune to her marriage and it instantly became the property of my grandfather–who had the gall to leave it in a trust with income to her but no power over it at all.  One of my aunts became the first woman turf reporter in the world and was banned from the press box.  They suffered indignities just because they were women that these young women probably can’t imagine.

The sea change from the lives of women of my mother’s generation to these young women with a variety of careers and husbands who support them in their paths is so immense it’s hard to imagine that they don’t know how good they have it compared to women such a short time ago (historically speaking).  And that feminists opened those doors for them.

And then my thoughts took a turn that surprised me.  I was never a mover or shaker in the women’s movement.  I bow to the likes of Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan who sounded the battle cry and led the charge.  But my sisters and I, living in a time of turmoil and questioning and excitement about new possibilities, heard the cry and stepped into the opening those warriors created.  In record numbers we started going to graduate school, law school, medical school; enrollment of women rose more than 30% from 1970-1980.  My law school class was half women for the first time.

And it isn’t just the women of my collegiate years.  Everywhere I go I wind up with friends my age from all over who seized that moment and demanded more for their lives.  All across the nation they pushed forward, demanding equality in marriage, pressing into career paths never before open to women, achieving higher education.  We wore bras and didn’t wear bras and shaved and didn’t shave and wore make-up and didn’t wear make-up — we didn’t have to be all the same, we just had to be women who wanted to shape our own destinies.

And there’s so much more to do when there’s no profession in which women make as much money as men and women are barely represented on Boards of Directors and in the upper echelons of corporations, etc.  I’m sad that these young women see no reason to step through the remaining doors.

My friends and I may not have been planning rallies and shouting from the rooftops, but we seized the day and stepped up to shape lives that let us be more, explore more, ask for more, expect more.  We created lives we were not raised to expect or imagine we could have.

“They have those jobs and equality-minded husbands because of us,” I found myself thinking!  Do they really not know us feminists made their lives possible?

Me and my sisters, we were AWESOME!  And you should see us now — we just got better and better!

Check out this week’s BeWoW here

J2P Monday: Every breath I take

Instructor de Kundalini yoga practicando Pranayama

Pranayama (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since the big healing experience, I’ve been really aware of my breath and how much more full and complete it feels.  Also want to remind you this is the last week to put up a post about women and/or the Divine Feminine as it relates to peace in the world.

Early in the this journey, the amazing vision therapist Dr. Harry Sirota, noted that I kept holding my breath.  During each of our long, careful appointments he’d keep reminding me to breathe, over and over.  I’d never realized how regularly I caught my breath and held it–all day every day.

Fortunately I was already taking yoga and completed pranayama class not that long before so I started a more regular and expanded pranayama practice.  Alternate nostril breathing was the centerpiece of my practice, but I also stayed conscious of taking full breaths during yoga practice as well as checking in off and on all day and taking a series of full breaths.  Some years later I added the Eight Key Breaths as well.

The breathing practice eventually cured the held breath habit and I became increasingly adept at taking long slow breaths.  While nowhere near the level of expert yogis, at the height of my practice I could slow my breath down to one per minute.  In spite of being able to breathe that deeply I often felt the air didn’t reach an area of my chest; in the center from just above the base of the breast bone to just under the collar bone.  After practice I could feel lots of prana flowing but realized it did not flow freely throughout my body (too many blocked areas to enumerate).

Osunnike worked quite a while on that area of my chest (without my having mentioned it) and one of the biggest releases came from there.  Since then I am very aware that my breath fills the whole chest cavity now.  After breathing practice I tune in and feel breath/prana flowing more readily through most of my body (still have a few muscles issues working out).

It has me thinking about life and flow.  The habit of holding breath is pretty common and most Americans breathe very shallowly.  Muscle tightness is rampant, so even when people do breathing practice, the flow of prana is often impeded.  As I’ve mentioned before, how you breathe is a key factor in your ability to be/feel peaceful.

So I dreamed up a little exercise for you to explore your breath.

Either spend 15 minutes doing Full Breaths (see this post for instructions) or do alternate nostril breathing, which you can learn here:

Once you have the technique, add counting.  You might want to start out just inhaling and exhaling to the same count.  Once you have practiced a bit (or if you already do breathing practices), try to exhale twice as long as you inhale.  Eventually, holds with breath in and breath out can be added, but for our purposes, just try to have nice long breaths with either even inhalation and exhalation or exhale twice as long (i.e. if you count to 10 on inhale, count to 20 on exhale).  Practice this for 15 minutes.

When you finish the breathing practice, lie down and concentrate your attention on following your breath through your body after every inhale.  Do your abdomen and lungs feel completely full?  Can you follow the flow of energy down your legs and arms?  Up into your head?  Can you feel it move through your neck?

You might want to take notes on what you find so you can track progress.  If you can’t feel your breath move throughout your body, you know that you are limiting your ability to hold a space of peace. Stretching exercises, body work, pranayama practice, emotional release, etc. are all means of opening the flow.  What are you willing to do?  If you’re resistant, explore that because resistance to healing whatever blocks peace tells you something about your beliefs about peace.

I feel that one of the most important things you can do to find peace is to work on getting your body to the place where energy flows freely.

If you want to participate in posting for peace, don’t forget to add this link: (so I get a pingback and others can see it in the comments list) and tag it with J2PChallenge and Journey2Peace.

Check out benefits of pranayama practice:

Do your Sunday plans include peace?

Peace time reminder:  chant or pray or meditate for peace a minimum of 10 minutes every Sunday.  The suggested chant:  May earth be filled with lovingkindness, May she be well, May she be peaceful and at ease, may she be happy.

However you choose to observe peace, those moments of peace in your piece of the web of all life serve everyone.  Peace within leads to peace without.

Check out the Collective Prayer Sundays page for more info.

Is it true — does it matter?

English: miracles - by Remi0o

English: miracles – by Remi0o (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I know the regular crowd here pretty much gets the healing stuff I’m talking about.  But there are lots of folks who drop by who don’t necessarily believe in past lives or cellular memory or healers like Osunnike, so I thought I add some thoughts about stories like mine that involve other lifetimes and ancetral imprints, etc.

Two of my earliest teachers were Ann and Arthur Cataldo.  They’d been psychologists (clinical, in Arthur’s case; not sure about Ann, who has since died) whose lives were transformed by doing the Course in Miracles.  She began channeling an entity, Simon, and he began channeling healing.  He also led past life regression work.

At the first workshop I attended with them we did some regression work.  Arthur addressed the question whether past life stories are real by saying that as a psychologist he didn’t know that it mattered.  People’s lives were clearly changed after working with past lives and that makes it worth doing.

From his perspective, the healing was the point.  It made no difference whether something about the “story” just made it easier for the mind to heal or whether the past life memory was true and its release created the healing.  Real or fiction, if the client/student is changed by the experience that’s the important thing.

I thought this was brilliant and I’ve brought it to mind periodically ever since.  Now, personally, I believe there is so much beyond our ordinary sense of reality.  I believe in past lives and ancestral legacies and hands-on-healing and angels and guardians …

But if I tell my story to someone who doesn’t believe, I just explain it doesn’t matter to me whether it is or isn’t real or true; these “stories” heal me, change my world and leave me transformed.  So I don’t care whether I can prove “the ancestor made me do it” or my past life as a priestess influenced my life.  I have deep faith that this path is right for me.  The many amazing ways in which my life and health have transformed are all I need to know.

For more about this story see posts, here, here and here

More healing unfolds

weeping cherries

weeping cherries

Yesterday I had a cranio-sacral appointment with Robyn.  Five days after the healing session with Osunnike, her description of what it was like to work on me this time–compared to previously–sounded like a different body.

Words like fluidity and flow — wow.  I don’t think anyone has ever worked on my body before and used such terms in reference to it.  There are still a few spots, mostly in my head, that aren’t completely open, but the change is so huge, I can’t complain.

One piece of the healing with Osunnike that I’m still processing involved her seeing my karma as clean but with a bunch of stuff attached as with velcro.  Her sense was that it was all ancestral stuff and none of it was mine.  She was able to clear it all and it’s hard to describe the sense of change.

I’ve been saying for a long time that I felt as if something “not me” has been influencing my life, especially as to success, abundance and spiritual development.  I’d done enough genealogy research to realize that these influences followed familial patterns and I guessed that cellular memory might play a part.  I began doing ceremonies and practices to release and/or cut cords with my ancestors but continued to feel that sense of being controlled by something outside me.  I didn’t say a word to her about any of that, so it came as a great affirmation to have her “see” this.

Ever since the healing, I’ve been noting a big shift in my perceptions and thinking.  It used to be that I’d say affirmations or think positive thoughts and feel like some other voice was pooh-poohing everything, dragging me back toward negativity.*  I’ve also felt as if something literally blocked my path every time I tried to create a new career path/business venture.

Now I say affirmations or think positive thoughts and no little voice starts spouting the “why-nots” and the “can’t-dos”.  As Robyn worked, I kept feeling happy and freed and thinking positive thoughts about release and I had such a consciousness of what a sea change that represented.  I don’t think I’ve ever felt like all levels of me were pulling in line with healing as someone worked on me before.

So much is shifting these days, I’ve been sleeping a lot and another consultation with the Akashic records has advised me to take it easy and let all this process for a while.  Osunnike also mentioned it would be important for 30 days to be sure I keep doing practices that keep my energy clear and balanced so I’m moving back into key breaths, yoga nidra, etc. more often.

I particularly felt drawn to share this story because I keep running into people who feel stuck in their journey or blocked somehow.  It’s possible to be influenced by past lives and/or ancestral issues.  As I’ve mentioned before, my research pointed to patterns of poverty consciousness, negativity and stress.  It’s amazing how much you can pick up as you research your family, just from seeing census info.

I used a number of modalities to work on ancestral issues, which I discussed here.  While none of it eliminated all issues, I’m quite sure that the seeming ease with which the current healing process took place came about because of all the preparation, body work, practices, etc. that came before.

I’ll let you know about progress as it occurs…

* For a long time there was definitely a lot of me in that but somewhere in the last few years I started feeling like I’d cleaned up my part of it and something else was in play.

See also:  Stern and Stingy Ancestors and Peace time and Update for related info.

J2PMonday: Bee Breath

Bee-wolf feeding on Baby's-breath.

Bee-wolf feeding on Baby’s-breath. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Besides reminding you two weeks remain to post something on the challenge, I thought I’d give you another exercise that can bring you to a peaceful place.

Bee Breath

This is a pretty simple breath with a lovely impact.  Using the Full Breath technique (see here), inhale fully.  With mouth closed, exhale through the nose and hum (one note)–or think of it as saying an extended “hmm” with your mouth closed– as you exhale.  Keep exhaling and humming until you have emptied all breath. You will sound more and more like a bee, the longer you can keep exhaling and humming.

This breath is relaxing and can be used before bed to help you sleep.

Challenge Reminder

Write about the role of women in creating peace; from education to equality to power to the Divine Feminine and more, tell us whether you think changing something regarding women could help the world find peace.  Tell us how you would do it.  Or explain what needs to shift in order to get there.

Don’t forget to add this link: (so I get a pingback and others can see it in the comments list) and tag it with J2PChallenge and Journey2Peace.

Peace time and update

It’s Sunday here in the Western Hemisphere and that means it’s time to find a minimum of 10 minutes to pray for peace.  Or chant.  Or do whatever practice feels like it would contribute to peace within or without.  If you’re already beyond Sunday, hope you found that oasis of peace.

I’ve been feeling pulled back to my Yoga Nidra practice so my plan is to do the long version and a bit of chanting Om Shanti.  My general suggestion has been to say the lovingkindness chant for earth; you can check out the Collective Prayer Sundays page for the chant and a recording that lets you say it along with me.  But my feeling is whatever you do in the spirit of peace adds to the ripple of peace around the world.

Update on the big healing this week.  I have a cranio-sacral appointment on Monday so on Friday I wanted to start doing lots of my Robert Masters/yoga work.  There’s a set of release movements for spine that I love but haven’t done too often since I quit teaching.  I added that to my practice and was astonished to realize my spine had SO MUCH more movement than it’s ever had before.  Right from the beginning.  Even the times I taught a two-day workshop and did that spine work several times with my students, my spine never exhibited the flexibility and freedom of movement it had from the moment I started the exercise.

That little-girl-me who longs for “proof” got a big kick out of this one! I can feel it when I walk.  I’ve already been aware for a long time of much greater flow in my movement thanks to the Masters/yoga work but this one shift has moved it up a few notches.