Peace time and more

Here in the eastern time zone of the U.S. it’s getting close to Sunday–time to set aside 10 minutes minimum for chanting, praying, meditating for peace.  Or maybe releasing something that blocks you from being peace.  See the CPS page for more info.

Flint Institute of the Arts

Flint Institute of the Arts

On my Scribblings from the Bluegrass blog I’ve put up the first of what will be a few posts about this year’s trip to my home town, Flint, MI.  Less oriented toward spirituality and more toward personal story than what I generally post here, just FYI.

And a little update on those crazy, unwinding muscles:  been on a bit of a ride again, very exhausting and occasionally painful, but SO exciting, as the core muscles that have been intertwined and pulling my left eye, cheek and jaw into one another are finally opening.  They’re so tight I can’t tell how long this might take; but day by day I learn more about how it feels to have a face that’s relaxed and serene instead of clenched and drawn.  And I love it!

Time for peace again

I’ll be on the road most of the day on Sunday so my peace may just be doing some deep breathing as I drive along.  Hope you’re able to find some time to do something that brings you peace, which contributes to the peace in the great web of oneness in which we live.

See the Collective Prayer Sundays page for more info.

Lovingkindness time

cloud for bluegrass blog

Well, really, it’s always time for lovingkindness.  But it’s almost Sunday here in the Eastern U.S. and that means it’s time to set aside at least 10 minutes to chant the lovingkindness chant or say a prayer for peace, clear a block to peace within, contemplate peace…  See the CPS page for more info.

  • Earth (Gaia, Mother Earth) is filled with lovingkindness
  • She is well
  • She is peaceful and at ease
  • She is happy

However you observe peace, may it lift your day and bring you serenity.

Peace Reminder

Here on the east coast of the U.S. it’s almost Sunday and time to think about spending some time chanting or praying for peace.  My main suggestion has been to use the lovingkindness chant but I’ve always encouraged whatever form of chant or prayer or meditation you wish.

Last week I chose to sing the Guyatri Mantra and Om Shanti Om, both of which I posted the next day here.  However you choose to hold a space for peace, thanks so much for being part of peace-making.

Chant time and Dungeon Prompt

Muscles of the head, face, and neck.

Muscles of the head, face, and neck. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here in the eastern U.S. it’s Saturday, which is a good time to think about setting aside 10 minutes to pray or chant for peace on Sunday.  See the CPS page for more info.

And this week’s Dungeon Prompt from Sreejit:

We all have our breaking points. For some, we know that we’ve reached our limit when we dissolve into tears, while others of us cry at a well sung song, or a work of art. Some of us rage against the world, while others turn within and leave everyone they know behind.

Tell us about the last time you just couldn’t take anymore. Share with us, both what was going on in your head, and the expression of it that the world saw outside of it? What was the trigger that set everything in motion? Is this a common occurrence or a once or twice in a lifetime event? Let us all be a part of your breaking point.

Most of my breaking points have had to do with health — and especially pain– over these long years of healing. there have been a few memorable moments when I just couldn’t take it.

A couple of prompts ago I wrote about the time a pinched nerve in my neck led me to a Fischer-Hoffman processing session and lots of release.  The breaking point moment came earlier when the pain was so excruciating I sank to the floor and cried for God to either heal it or kill me.  And I really didn’t care which.  Soon after I had the lightbulb moment that led to the amazing processing session.

But for this prompt I thought about more recent breaking points.  Ongoing, recurring breaking points in this long drawn-out healing.  The first 20 years of sorting out the many problems with my muscles didn’t interfere with my life too badly except for the accompanying fatigue.  Then 10 years ago, when the muscles in my head started unwinding on their own, the journey started taking on a life of its own.

At first it was just small periods of time and pretty mild.  But the last several years it expanded in both (1) intensity of jerking and pulling as the muscles opened one tiny knot at a time and (2) in hours per day; sometimes as much as 12 or 14.  It has particularly liked to go off in the night so I’ve often had weeks at a time when I slept one or two hours a night six or seven nights in a row with one night of sleep in before the next round.  All that activity also caused lots of migraines.

I’ve lost count of the number of breaking points there’ve been over these few years.  I’ve been saying for ages that I’ve been beyond the end of my rope for so long I don’t know how I’m still hanging in here.  And then I laugh because this is a ride that has clearly been determined on some higher level.  Affirmations and visualizations and bargains with my inner child and shaking my fist at Archangel Michael while demanding that he heal these effing muscles NOW have all proved useless.  So I can be beyond the end of my rope and I still have to cope.  So I do.

I know there’s some reason for this that, so far, is beyond my earthly ability to comprehend.  I’ve “gotten” and written about the importance of understanding how complex our muscles are and how VERY interconnected and about patience and how the healing journey can be long and tedious.  I’ve processed early traumas and dramas and accidents that contributed.  I’ve sorted through related ancestral and past life issues.  And yet this just keeps on.  Some reason why I have to experience the opening of every single knot on every single fiber of every single muscle must be operating but I’m clueless.

There’s just one crazy tight intertwined set of a few muscles left.  It seems so close I think every time it starts opening again that this could be the moment it ends.  I suppose someday when this part of the journey is behind me it will all be clear. In the meantime, I reach the breaking point every now and then, smile at “what is”, and discover I’m strong enough to get past the breaking point…

Note:  You can check out the Healing Journey tab for more info — if you too have issues with muscles there’s a lot of info there.

Chant for peace

The Japanese Peace Bell and its pagoda at Unit...

The Japanese Peace Bell Photograph credit: Dragonbite. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been participating in Deepak’s latest 21 day meditation so part of my Sunday peace time will involve today’s meditation.

If you’ve been around Collective Prayer Sundays for a while, you know I recommend the lovingkindness chant:

  • The earth is filled with lovingkindness
  • She is well
  • She is peaceful and at ease
  • She is happy

But I also suggest that there are many ways you can hold a space for peace.  Sometimes it’s clearing out something within you that blocks peace.  Sometimes it’s saying a prayer.  Sometimes it’s creating a ceremony and carrying it out.  However you choose to celebrate peace today, thank you.

Sunday Peace Time and Dungeon Prompt on Being Fierce

be peace not war

 

It’s time again to put aside at least 10 minutes to chant or pray or sing or hold ceremony for peace.  Check out the Collective Prayer Sundays page for more info.

This week’s Dungeon Prompt challenges us to describe a time of being fierce.  He asks that we tell the story vividly and mine is from so long ago I don’t remember enough to do that; not in the mood for waxing poetic in fiction…  But I thought I’d see what I can do.

What would be considered fierce for some could be unthinkable for others.  Many of us are so trapped in our ways that a simple uncharacteristic act of spontaneity is considered fearless by these standards.  Whatever be your measuring stick, think back at some of the more fierce acts of your life.  It doesn’t have to be a major turning event, but rather a time when you stepped up and did something uncharacteristic.  Or maybe you already lead an intensely independent life.  It could be a moment when you let your guard down and allowed someone else to take the lead.

Decide on one particular event.  Now, don’t just tell us about it; let us live it.  Lead us through the event like an adventure story.  Make us feel your struggle, or your renewal, your pain or your exuberance.  Let us live, through your words, the moment when you were fierce of heart.

In general I would say that fierceness as it’s meant here– in the sense of courage– is not a state of being that’s really me.  In hindsight, I’d say this whole spiritual journey, though, has required courage.  It just hasn’t felt that way to me because I’ve felt led to do it, pulled along with it most of the time.  But there’s also been a “fierce” determination to do whatever I had to in order to heal on every level–perhaps driven by the physical problems more than anything.

Always shy and inward and a habitual emotion swallower, perhaps the toughest aspect of the journey initially was confronting issues.  The idea of yelling or pounding pillows intimidated me.  So I struggled a bit with the segment of Nine Gates led by the late Ellen Margron, wherein participants were vehemently encouraged to scream and yell and pound (no longer part of the curriculum).

The next year I moved out to the Bay area and as my life seemed to spiral downward, many body workers and people around me seemed to be in a conspiracy to get me to realize I needed to release a lot of locked up stuff.  Many of my Nine Gates friends had gone on to do a session of the Fischer-Hoffman process with Ellen and I finally gave in and signed on.

Dragging my feet and inwardly quaking, I plunged into the world of exploring issues minutely and having sessions of yelling and pillow pounding.  Tentative at first, I slowly grew to appreciate the great sense of release and freedom that followed.  At the culminating point I enlisted a friend to help me with a session trying to release the underlying source of a pinched nerve in my neck that was more painful than anything I’ve ever felt.

That night something snapped open.  It turned out there were many lifetimes of injuries in that spot and I went through at least half a dozen as if the release was doing me instead of me doing the releasing.  She said my face and voice changed every time I moved to a new time and place. We were in her converted office/garage and as I screamed and cried, people came to the window to ask if they should call the police!

Several hours later, we wound up the session and kundalini flooded in–that years-long ride is a whole other story.  So much changed that night.  By then I felt at ease with release work and started sometimes helping Ellen facilitate release sessions.  Now I teach release techniques sometimes and demonstrate yelling, chopping, pounding, etc. without inhibition.  After the Fischer-Hoffman work ended I kept doing the process every time I ran into old unresolved issues.  Then several varieties of body work tended to hit issues and I’d cry or yell on the table (it DOES take having a practitioner you really trust) without a thought.

It kind of amazes me how many people resist that kind of work; often to the point of refusing to do it at all.  My whole life changed when I let go of so much past drama and trauma and a big piece of it was moving from the timid, self-conscious person who felt too afraid to dig that deep or reveal that much to the one who once stood in front of a whole inhibited class who ALL refused to do the techniques while I chopped and yelled and pounded with wild abandon.

Some people race into fires or jump out of airplanes and that kind of courage I don’t have.  In fact never sky diving has a place on my non-existent bucket list.  But I think it takes a different kind of fierceness to face the deeply buried beliefs, issues and traumas that most of us spend our lives trying to avoid.  When it came to that, I was fierce!

Prayers for Peace

I hope some of you were able to participate in the lovely Global Meditation presented by Deepak Chopra.  It hasn’t become available yet on YouTube, but I’ll put it in a post when it is.  In the meantime, you can still find 10 more minutes to give to peace for Collective Prayer Sunday.

Meantime, the vision in my left eye has improved noticeably over the last couple of days.  It’s appearing that the deepest, most stuck pieces in my face involve the muscles wrapped around the optic nerve, the muscles squeezing my jaw and something that connects the two.  At some point I’ll ruminate in a post about the “don’t see”, “don’t speak” messages inherent in that…  Some day… when I’ve slept… and my head isn’t wonky…

Chant for peace, pray for peace, be peace

Yup, it’s time to figure out when you have a minimum of 10 minutes for Collective Prayer Sunday.  Whether you chant or pray or do a ceremony or meditate for peace, you’ll feel so great afterward.  And those waves of peacefulness move around the world, bringing a little more peace.

The more you are peace, the more the world is at peace.  So let go the anger and judgments and sorrow and unhappiness and just BE PEACE.

Dealing with patterns

The Power of Positive Thinking (EP)

The Power of Positive Thinking (EP) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Although my last post was specifically about whining and complaining, the suggestions I’m providing here can work for moving through any kind of ingrained pattern.  I also wanted to remind you that it’s time to set aside that 10 minutes to pray for peace — see Collective Prayer Sunday page for more info.

Over the years I’ve tried many things and used many practices to shift out of negative thinking and I really think the whole conglomeration has had an impact.  Ingrained patterns are tough to shift and the more deeply embedded they are, the greater the challenge. I’ve found that it often helps to keep coming at it from different directions.

That said, I am NOT suggesting that every person out there needs to try every single thing on this list; nor do you need to do every thing that’s listed under any given category.  See which two or three you’re drawn to and try those.  I also find that over time my intuition about the next step often changes, so I’ve regularly put down one practice and picked up another.  There are also things I’ve done faithfully for years.

Every person is going to find their own path to healing patterns and often one person’s won’t look much like another’s.  I always say whatever works for you is the right thing to do.  Often a friend of yours will achieve dramatic changes with a practice or a workshop that leaves you scratching your head and wondering why nothing is happening.  Something else will work for you that leaves your friend mystified.  Doesn’t matter.  You both found something that helped.

The following list is nowhere close to exhaustive, but represents things I’ve tried or that have helped friends.  It covers a lot of territory and lets you work on different levels of your thinking patterns.

1.  First, drop any idea that there’s a quick fix.  While there are people who have sudden dramatic epiphanies that change everything, most of us slog through overgrown paths, clearing out underbrush, circling back periodically to the same place and meandering down blind paths and twisting by-ways.  Sometimes for years.  Try to stay in the moment and enjoy the journey without worrying about when and how it will end.

2.  HEAL THE ANCESTORS.  Ingrained patterns often are learned from family or even inherited in the DNA.  Look carefully at all family members and all family history you know (by memory is fine) and see if you see the pattern operating there.  Sometimes it’s easier to see how it operates in others.  See whether you understand any more about how it arose in the family and how it affected you

  • Use the ho’oponopono prayer to heal in yourself the patterns/issues you see in your family members.  I’ve discussed the prayer and presented examples of it here, here and here.  Change the words of the prayer to suit the pattern you’re working on as needed.  If necessary, say individual prayers for individual people as well as separate prayers for each pattern.  Keep saying the prayers daily until you don’t see the pattern any more.
  • Create a ceremony to heal the pattern in your ancestors
  • See a shaman or healer who does work on ancestral issues
  • When you feel pretty complete with exploring and releasing these patterns, do something to forgive everyone involved, whether you create a ceremony, say a prayer or chant the lovingkindness chant for each person.

3.  CHANGE YOUR MIND.  When you have ingrained patterns you have created neural nets that let you automatically react the same way every time the same trigger is encountered.  You need to create new neural nets and a habit of responding from those in order to shift a pattern.

  • Pay attention to your thoughts and note what the basic thinking patterns are and how and when they are triggered.  Then write some affirmations that turn those thoughts around.  Don’t try too many at once.  Just pick a few and when you feel like you’re getting better add a few more.

Example:  I caught myself thinking regularly about not feeling well, with many variations on the theme.  I created an affirmation:  “I AM healthy and full of energy every day.”  I asked my higher self to pay attention and poke me every time I started the mental whining about my health.  Increasingly I began to replace the “I’m not well” thoughts with thoughts about wellness.

  • Use affirmation recordings, subliminal or otherwise.  I’ve mentioned before that I created a Spotify list that has a bunch of Dick Sutphen’s affirmation/subliminal recordings and I keep it running very softly on my computer pretty much all the time.  There are TONS of other recordings available on YouTube and elsewhere on the web so if you don’t like my list or don’t like Sutphen, create your own.  You don’t have to play affirmations loud enough to hear the words; your subconscious can get the message.  I like to have it so if I tune in I can hear it softly running, but otherwise I don’t even notice it.  I’ve been amazed at how much difference it has made.
  • Instead of watching only news or standard TV programs, spend an hour or two watching films like What the Bleep Down the Rabbit Hole, The Secret, Louise Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life, etc.  Anyone with more suggestions of equally uplifting, positive-thinking films, feel free to chime in in the comments.
  • The core holding places for many negative thinking patterns are repressed emotions/memories.  When you explore those hidden places and release the old wounds, many thinking patterns change on their own.  Explore the past and find ways of identifying, facing and releasing issues.  For me, it was a special version of the Fischer-Hoffman process; my teacher, the late Ellen Margron, used 25 years of experience to re-fashion the work into a months-long, more wide-ranging, deeply transformative experience than the one week intensives usually on offer.  The week-long sessions are powerful also (according to others I know) and still available (see here).  Louise at Dare Boldly talks about a program that sounds great called Choices.  I’ve known a number of people who had great success with H. Almaas’ Diamond Heart work.  Some people like The Work.  Others Lifespring.  There are so many more.  Just find a teacher/workshop to which you’re attracted that involves shifting out of old patterns, addressing issues, etc. and do the work.
  • Mindfulness.  Even if you don’t choose to “sit vipassana”, you can work on being mindful.  The more aware you are in every moment, the more you can stay on top of the process of changing your mind.  Most unhappy thoughts arise from things in the past. Keep your mind in the moment and it’s easier to stay away from those patterns.

4.  HEAL YOUR BODY.  If you have ingrained patterns in your mind, chances are you have patterns in your body as well.  Often those negative thought habits and the emotions that underlie them create tight muscles and rigid muscle holding patterns.  [Other types of ailments caused by issues/emotions are beyond the scope of this piece and my expertise]  As flexibility and flow are restored in your body, it’s amazing how much it can impact what goes on in your mind.

  • Acupuncture works very well with energy blocks.  Using tiny needles (really not painful and trust me, I never liked needles), acupuncture opens energy meridians so that energy and blood can flow in balance.  This can help with many health issues, but it can also help to heal tight muscles.
  • Bodywork comes in so many varieties, I can’t name them all.  But the several most effective modalities I’ve used are:  CranioSacral, Bodypatterning (a school is just starting so there will soon be more practitioners in more places), Postural Integration (an offspring of Rolfing), St. John’s Neuromuscular Therapy.
  • Some movement practices really help release holding patterns.  If you work in between bodywork appointments, you’ll find it goes much more quickly.  Plus, once you know how, you can keep patterns from settling back in and head off new patterns that might arise from accidents, etc. before they can take hold.  Traditional hatha yoga — not aerobic yoga, not hot yoga, just old-fashioned basic asanas — is quite helpful at loosening patterns.  I wound up working with Robert Masters Psychophysical Method and re-worked a lot of his stuff into sets combined with yoga and it has had AMAZING effects.  I plan to have some content about that available on a new site by early 2016.  In the meantime, Robert Masters was a student of Feldenkrais, as was Thomas Hanna, whose Somatics work is readily available on the west coast (not sure about farther east).  Feldenkrais classes are available in many places.

5.  MEDITATE.  Divine connection is so very healing.  And some forms of meditation can help you to let go of patterns and thoughts.

  • Focused meditations.  There are so many forms of meditation that train you to focus and empty your mind.  From techniques that focus on the breath, to staring at a candle or a wall, to counting, these types of meditations help train you to stay in the moment with a quiet mind.  The more you can hold that space, the less you will find your mind staying in negative grooves.
  • Guided meditations:  I think there may be dozens of recordings for every topic you can imagine, from releasing anger to attracting abundance or stimulating creativity or healing, etc. you have multiple choices.  Because these meditations put you in an altered state, the messages for releasing old thoughts or accepting new patterns can settle more deeply than just having those thoughts in ordinary consciousness.  On any given topic they often say to do it daily for 30 days.  If you really want it to sink in, I think you can plan on multiplying that — how many times depends on how deeply a given issue is ingrained.
  • Moving meditations, like Tai Chi and Chi Gung, can not only help with mindfulness but also tend to open energy flow and thus can help shift patterns.  If you do them in silence and focus on breathing with the movements, it’s also a great way to learn mindfulness.  For those who don’t like to “just sit”, these practices are a great alternative — and healthy too.

6. CREATE COMMUNITY.  In Buddhism they call it Sangha.  When you form a community of people with similar goals and beliefs, you create a system of support.  In a world where most of the thinking is negative and little supports your effort to change your thinking, it really helps to surround yourself as much as you can with people who are also seeking a positive view, the end of negative patterns.  If you don’t have people where you live, the internet provides so many opportunities to connect to like-minded people that you can form your own community from wherever  you live.

If you’re constantly surrounded by people who whine, complain or in other ways spout negativity, it’s very hard to hold a peaceful, positive center within yourself.  So not only is it a good idea to find supportive like-minded friends, but to spend less time with the naysayers.

Well, there you go.  Not the definitive end-all list, but  plenty of things to try. They’ve helped me.  I hope they help you too.

Peace time and Dungeon Prompts

Juilliard

Sleepiness is ongoing (see post) and you may have noticed I’ve been posting more erratically than usual :-).  Thought I’d combine my response to Dungeon Prompts this week with a reminder to set aside 10 minutes to pray or chant for peace on Collective Prayer Sunday.  Kind of a lazy two-fer-one post…

This week’s prompt:

How do you measure up to your eight-year-old-self’s plans for the future?  We all had childhood dreams, or fantasies.  How did you imagine the world as a kid?  When you were eight years old, what did you plan on being when you grew up?  What would that version of yourself think about who you are now?

This has been an interesting one to contemplate the last few days.  While I know I’m not living the life she dreamed of, I’m not sure how eight-year-old me would feel about sixty-two-year old me.

As a child, I dreamed of nothing but a career in music.  Originally the dream was Broadway or movie musicals.  As I got older I dreamed more of rock or jazz.  I’m not sure if I ever had the talent for the type of music I wanted to sing, but when I begged for voice lessons I was handed classical training starting at age 12.  By the time I was old enough to realize my musical preference, I had a voice that didn’t fit the music.

Still, I dreamed and when time came to look at colleges, I wrote away for nothing but catalogs from music schools.  Which led to the big discussion about music as an unrealistic career “even for people with talent” and the bottom line that my parents weren’t paying for music school.  Not being the rebellious, independent sort who had a clue how to just take off and make it happen, I went to Northwestern as an education major.

My collegiate career started the fall after Kent State and by sophomore year I was a jeans and work-shirt, marching, protesting hippie with a growing array of social concerns.  And that new viewpoint stayed.  In some ways that expression of political and social values not shared by my parents was the first time I spoke as me.

In my twenties, I did sing in a band for a while but I finally understood that the voice created by training was never going to work for the kind of music I wanted to sing.  And that I lacked the ability to create a style uniquely my own.  My interest in pursuing it pretty much ended there.

I also carried a lot of angst and sadness from childhood on, though I was in my thirties before it became clear how strait-jacketed I was by my own demons and issues.  When it became too bad, I finally started down the personal growth and spirituality seeking path that I’m still meandering along.

My life right now is far from any dream I ever had.  And my dreams have changed.  I’d like to think that anxious, repressed little girl — who I believe still lives inside — is happier now and pleased to be more free and peaceful even though at the time she never acknowledged her deep unhappiness.

Collective Prayer Sunday- time to focus on peace

Another Sunday is upon us (or has arrived depending on where you are in the world) and it’s time to find at least 10 minutes to focus on peace.  Every step you take toward finding peace helps all the world.

Whether you say the lovingkindness chant (see CPS page for more about the chant) or focus on your breath or do a guided visualization about peace or create a ceremony for peace, please find a way to stop the busy-ness for a while and let your heart find peace.

Peace and update

I hope you enjoyed time for praying or chanting for peace today!  (see this page for info about Collective Prayer Sundays).

The impact of my amazing healing session continues to unfold, with new insights and feelings.  I’m past the end of the 30 day period of “percolating” and feeling still so excited and pleased by how much changed with that day.  But also like it’s taking more than 30 days to complete the unfolding and processing of the healing.

Lots of unwinding in the muscles in my face–finally to a point where I can feel individual muscles instead of intertwined, glued-together lumps.  As of another lovely craniosacral appointment earlier this week, Robyn and I both felt one more appointment may be all it takes to finish!  Thirty years later, I have to tell ya I wondered often if I would ever reach a day when a practitioner said one more session should do it.

My idea about turning my Flowing Body, Flowing Life concept into a multi-faceted venture is still coming together.  I’ve been pretty pumped as the ideas flow and the plan comes together.  I’m taking my time and intend to write outlines and make lists, etc. before I start doing anything, but what I have so far feels like everything that I’ve been learning and doing for the last 25 years is being woven together to create a new project I love.

So much is changing/has changed about my energy and how I feel in the world, it’s still hard to express it.  I’m particularly enjoying doing long-time favorite practices and noting how much more I feel, how much more impact they have.

Life is good!

Sunday Peace Time

It’s that time again.  Collective Prayer Sunday.  Have you carved out a little space for chanting or praying for peace?

If you’re new to CPS:

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.