Hello Coyote

That ol’ trickster coyote showed up within a couple of days of my Determined Again post.  In the last 10 days or so muscle yanking left me with about 3 hours of sleep 5 times and another night a sudden 2 a.m. allergy attack deprived me of some more hours.

For the most part I’ve been pleased that, in spite of the disruption and sleeping later than the plan in order to sleep at all, I’ve still managed to drag up earlier than I had been.  It’s left the whole plan about early rising and re-doing the whole schedule of meals and drinking various things still constantly shifting instead of settling into the routine for which I long.

And today after 3 hours again and a number of things that went sideways, I finally threw up my hands on trying to force the new schedule.  It’s past 11:30 p.m. and I just finished by daily cup of turmeric ginger tea and am still sipping water, the final touch on a day of watching my new schedule go down the drain.

I knew when I started this shift it would be challenging given the muscle unwinding process has still not finished, but the muscles gave me a break in the first couple of weeks of the venture and I felt cautiously optimistic about succeeding sooner than I’d assumed.

Through much of the week I managed to remind myself I was still being earlier and managing a number of items on the shift to earlier list — if not as early as desired or even at consistent times, at least everything was in fact earlier.

I know with some sleep I’ll be in a better frame and one day of sideways won’t change the general trend,, but right now feeling a little down and very tired of coping with all this…

Sage Advice 1: balance first

A big part of my journey has involved physical issues.  I’ve mentioned my journey through alternative medicine occasionally and people have expressed interest in hearing about what I’ve learned.  So I decided to start occasionally posting “Sage Advice”.

When I first started having issues in the 80’s, western medicine held quite firm on insisting neither chronic fatigue nor fibromyalgia existed.  I knew something was wrong and when I grew tired of hearing them suggest I see a shrink, I turned to alternative medicine.

My first foray into the alternative medicine world was acupuncture, a modality I love and stayed with regularly for 15 or so years.  One of the things I’ve loved most about alternative practitioners is they always try to make sure I understand what’s happening and what I can do to help and my first practitioner, Chicago’s Jody Speckman (still in practice, for any of you in the area) taught me SO much.

One arena of advice has been on my mind a lot lately.  When it came to many things to do with what I ate or drank regularly, she told me not to try to stop cold turkey.  It’s mostly a path of frustration.  And the most unusual corollary:  as you move more into a state of balance your craving for the things that are harmful will naturally fall away.  She suggested I cut back as best I could but to let the desire fade as healing proceeded.

I’d always thought cold turkey seemed like a goofy plan and I was so struck by the idea that it’s more important to work toward a place of greater balance/healthiness.  In this case the acupuncture and a lot of horrible Chinese herbs made into “teas” were doing the work.

As you know, a whole lot of stuff was way off kilter for me, so it’ taken a long time to reach the place where I absolutely see the truth of her advice.  I’ve been slowly changing various dietary habits ever since I started seeing her, especially since she found I have mild allergies to wheat and dairy.  But it took years before shifting those habits combined with therapies to get toward that balance.

Lately, though, I’ve been noticing that I’m more naturally attracted to healthier food.  Not that I don’t still love some fried chicken or a chocolate sundae, but far more often I want something healthier.  And for the first time ever I’ve been drawn to eat kale-broccoli slaw or half a grapefruit for a snack instead of some dark chocolate or a handful of potato chips.

This change arrives at the moment when all the years of alternative therapies and medicines and my own spiritual and physical activities have paid off in feeling better than I have in years. Not sure Jody foresaw it would be 30 years down the road before I hit the place of balance to which she referred 🙂 , but it’s so true that when your health is in better shape you tend to crave more of the things that keep it healthy.

It seems such a kinder way to treat yourself.  I’ve watched so many people struggle with going cold turkey off of things and then feeling depressed by failure, a slower gentler approach makes so much more sense to me.  And then it’s so easy when you have improved enough to have healthier cravings.

So first advice:  work toward balance and then watch your habits change to hold the new, better feeling.

And the message is???

In this time of transition both for earth and in my life, I’ve been pretty silent on this blog.  Kind of hard to describe the fogginess that overtakes me every time I try to write up some thoughts…  A lot has been going on so I thought I’d do one of my catch-up pieces about this and that.

Pondering

I’m still pondering the “what am I here for?”, “what’s next?” questions that have been looming for quite some time.  I’ve been seeing how lots of seemingly unconnected steps along my journey are adding up to a greater whole for some time.  But lately I’m realizing it probably stretches on back to my politico college days and the studies I did on government and power (I’ll catch you up on that in a future post).  I still keep seeing a guide book on peaceful activism but I keep feeling there are more pieces to put together first and I’m prepared for change to march me in a different direction…

Body healing

The last few months have seen some significant, if slow, progress on the unwinding front.  The deep, deep places in my face that are opening now are connected to patterns throughout my body and the opening is leading to huge energy flows.  The huge runs of energy have a lot to do with my inability to pull together coherent thoughts and also interfere with sleeping.

I’m hearing that big energy shifts and downloads and weird physical things are happening for lots of folks as this is a big time of transition so I’m guessing it’s pushing my healing process along as well as impacting other levels of transformation.

This last weekend seemed to mark a moment of big shift.  On Friday I whacked my left elbow into the edge of a towel bar which has had it black and blue and, initially, swollen.  The next day, some spilled suntan oil in a store left me splatted on the ground, smashing my left knee and wrist as well as banging my left hip.  By Saturday night I had puffy, black and blue elbow, wrist and knee.

Having learned that it really helps to do the triggers of release work after an accident, I did a number of those exercises Saturday night.  I started experiencing pops and opening at way deeper levels than the accident could possibly have reached that quickly.  It reminded me of another fall, after which Body Patterning practitioner Hanna commented on picking up the feeling that I needed the fall to crack some things open. That’s exactly how this has felt.

Not only did things begin to open more deeply that night, but it has activated a lot of opening in those last, intertwined pieces in my face — the root stuff that has been slow and resistant to opening.  Now, I could do a lot of exploring about some message from particular places I injured (or look it up in Louise Hay 🙂 ) and I do find it interesting all the injuries were on the left (feminine) side, but I’m satisfied that cracking open was the point.

How long? how long?

Over the years I’ve often circled back to wondering why this healing process is taking SO long.  I first realized there were massive problems with my muscles and my health over 30 years ago.  I’ve practiced yoga, spent tens of thousands of dollars on body work, created a new exercise series for it and done countless of hours of energy practices not to mention the affirmations, prayers and visions…

While I’m aware there have been many lessons and I’ve learned a lot about my body I’d never have known without this long slow process, I’m again at a point of saying to the Universe, “Enough.  I’ve had enough.”  Way past the point of getting what benefit there could possibly be to 30+ total years and something like 12 years of just getting the muscles in my face and head sorted out.  Enough.  Not that saying “enough” seems to affect the Universe… 🙂

Love and Compassion

Meanwhile, still working at love and compassion and ever more convinced the answer for these times is to be love, be peace, be compassion.  I posted a Patricia Cota-Robles video a while back in which she leads a meditation basically for healing all humanity and bringing love to the world.  I’m posting it again below, just to make it easy if you’re interested.  I play it on my tablet as I go to sleep most every night and I love it.

Got to see Patricia in person at one of her free events last Sunday, which was SO lovely!  And I’ve been making my way slowly through a Ram Dass on line retreat involving videos from a real world workshop on transforming negative emotions.  Good stuff.

Still chanting as well as seeking out videos and workshops focused on the issues so dear to my heart.

 

Illustration unwinding head and update

Not even half way through the month and I already missed posting.  Started to do one last night and hit a fatigue wall — literally could not keep my eyes open, which lately can translate to falling asleep sitting on the floor with the laptop in my lap…  Decided to save the laptop and go to bed.

I woke up a couple of hours later with muscles yanking around and decided to change my post idea.  It’s been very hard for people to understand this “unwinding head” journey and why it would interfere with sleep.  I’d left my camera sitting nearby, so tried to get a shot while my face was in full-on unwind mode.  I’m not a taker of selfies, so please forgive the poor quality:

Unwinding head 2

 

Nothing you see there is voluntary.  The weird angles of mouth, the uneven nostrils, the yanked up eyebrows — all of that is one example of what happens when the muscles in my face decide it’s time to release a little more.  When it happens the process moves and shifts around, pulling my face into contortions much like the one you see here.  Sometimes this goes on for hours and hours; worst case has been 24 hours.  Does that help the sleep deprivation and difficulty meditating make more sense?

It’s reached a point where every small piece that opens leaves me feeling a degree of ease and comfort around my eyes and/or in my jaw that’s beyond anything I can remember.  It’s pretty exciting, following it step by step into freedom and relaxation.  Also kind of exhausting, restructuring my face.  And, when the muscles behind my eyes are really pulling, a little scary — they’re wrapped around the optic nerve, after all.

More and more I feel how deeply the holding patterns have impacted by emotional state.  For some years I’ve been trying to explain how I often have a sense of holding an emotional state that doesn’t relate to anything that’s going on in my mental state or my current feelings about life.  For all of you with TMJ or near-sightedness (see here for explanation of how that relates to muscles behind the eyes) or super stiff necks, those muscles need to open.

All that tightness blocks the flow of energy.  It affects how you feel on many levels.  Cranio-sacral work is a great way to open those issues; it was how the unwinding started for me.  Whatever modality works for you, I hope you find the way to open those blocks.

More on trauma release

Since there seems to be a lot of interest in the Trauma Release Process about which I wrote my last post, I thought I’d look into a little more.  One of the commenters on the first post mentioned finding a demonstration of the exercises on YouTube so I hunted a bit there (thanks to AThursdaysChild for the heads up).

There’s a nice video of Dr. Berceli explaining how/why the exercises work:

And I found this one that has demonstrations of some of  the exercises:

I’m still working with them so it will probably be a week or so before I’m ready to write up my version of  instructions.

The Eight Key Breaths. And pray for peace

English: Photograph of Edwin J. Dingle, Fellow...

Edward Dingle was a journalist and cartographer who lived for many years in China.  He studied with “The Sage of Singapore”, who sent him to study in Tibet.  It was there that he learned the Eight Key Breaths and the Five Tibetan Rites.  He changed his name to Ding Le Mei and when he returned to the States he founded the Institute of Mentalphysics, where he taught the Breaths and the Rites and his philosophy.  Eventually the Institute allowed a variety of spiritual groups to hold events there and required that each group teach the Breaths and the Rites to participants.  When I went through Nine Gates Mystery School in 1990 we held our second session at the Institute and learned those two practices.

I loved them from the beginning but at that stage the chronic fatigue and muscle issues were so severe that it limited how much I could feel their impact.  I was quite dedicated to my yoga practice–and really needed the regular routine just to keep some of my muscles in a tolerable place– and though I took up the Breaths and the Rites periodically I didn’t stick with them.  As noted in the last post, in about 2008 I decided it was time to practice them again.  By that time my body had opened up enough that I could feel their power much more.

I like to start my practice with the Breaths.  There isn’t a lot written about them and the information from Ding Le Mei is mainly a treatise on prana and pranayama practice with little info about the specifics of the way the Breaths work.  His instructions have been posted here so you can read what he had to say and see the pictures and instructions if you’re interested in trying the breaths.

As I’ve practiced, I’ve paid attention to the construction of the practice and I would add that I feel the pattern of the breaths buids energy/prana in particular areas as you hold and move and the movements help the energy to flow more forcefully.  The overall impact is increased energy but I think it opens some major pathways so that the energy you build moves through more of your body.

My touchstone in the last few years, as the muscles in my face and head have been s-l-o-w-l-y unwinding, has been increased activity in those muscles when I do practices that push more prana through the nadis.  The Eight Key Breaths have really built up energy in those locked up places and helped to push through those knots.

I like them as a beginning practice because they lift my energy so nicely that it gives me more energy for doing the rest of my practices.  I also feel that the enhanced energy then leads nicely into the chi gung practice.  Flying Crane opens major joints and helps chi/prana to flow throughout the body.  When I do the breaths first, I feel the chi gung takes off from the enhanced energy they create.  As the movements open my body even more, the already-increased flow grows more powerful.

After I started faithfully doing these three practices I experienced the most significant forward movement in my long journey to health that I have ever had.

LOVE those Key Breaths!

Collective Prayer Sundays:  In case you’re new, we’re finding 10 minutes at a minimum to pray or chant or meditate (or???) for peace every Sunday.  Details are on the CPS page.  For comments:  you can comment here or on that page or you can go to the Facebook page.

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Unwinding Head Update

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Facial_muscles.jpg

Superficial muscles & structures of human face, Patrick J. Lynch

Recently my mother looked over at me, watching my face contort as unwinding muscles yanked my jaw around and dragged at my eyes, and said, “I don’t know how you’ve stood that for so long.  I think a couple of weeks of that and I’d shoot myself.”  I didn’t know how much I’d needed someone to say that until she did.  This has been quite a ride.  If you’ve followed me a long time you know I’ve posted about this unwinding head off and on, sometimes providing info and sometimes whining

The unwinding has become a touchstone for me.  When I do a practice that builds energy I can feel the energy press through the nadis and assist a little more unwinding. When I do something like the ceremonies I’ve done to break the ancestor’s spell I pay a lot of attention to what happens in those muscles.  Both times I’ve done the ceremony the unwinding has been wild — and has gone to a deeper level in the muscles.  Still not done but I’m certain that the ancestor’s spell and the unyielding muscles in my face and head are related and that I’ve either ended the spell or seriously loosened its grip.

When I started the muscles were wound up so tightly, so tangled with each other, so glued together that as this has gone along I’ve periodically stared at various photos of the muscles of the face, trying to relate what I can feel to a sense of the muscles and until recently I couldn’t sort out one from another because they were too entangled.  I’d already spent many years of bodywork and yoga getting the muscles from the neck down sorted out from the same state: every muscle wound up like steel, all muscles groups entangled and glued together and glued to bones.  My first main massage therapist took over a year to get the muscles in my back unglued from my ribs.

I know it’s not always interesting to read somebody’s health issues but somehow this ordeal has felt like something I need to keep sharing.  Though most people don’t have issues as severe as this, I’ve taught yoga and movement and watched people’s bodies for long enough that I know the majority of people have issues with tight muscles.  I also know that nearsightedness, TMJ, and under-developed jaws are rampant (and many have more than one of those), doctors do little with muscles, and most body workers work from the neck down.  Only a few modalities address the head; the two I use are cranio-sacral and bodypatterning.

All those tight muscles sap energy and block the flow of prana.  Don’t let it go until it’s so bad it takes 20+ years to get it all sorted out as it has for me.