Book News

Three pieces of news on books to report:  new updates on two of mine and a free e-book on compassion.

I decided a few weeks ago that a revision and update was overdue for my little relationship booklet, Relating Heart to Heart.  It has some new material, including a little suggested reading list, and a new price point of $.99!

Exciting news from Barbara Franken at Me, My Magnificent Self, where she has completed a compilation of guest posts on compassion from this year.  The free e-book is called What is Compassion.  Click on the book photo below to go to the download page.

freeebook-Compassion

 

Finally, for anyone who knows a Wizard101 player, I did a massive edit, revision and update to my guide book to Wizard101 earlier this year.   It’s the most comprehensive guide to the game for players at levels 1-50 available and at only $2.99 on Kindle, it’s a bargain.  Click on photo to be taken to the Amazon page.

 

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The Blessed Project 2017

Susie at Susie Lindau’s Wild Ride has invited us all to create a post about our blessings and link to her post by Dec. 19.  Since I’ve been practicing gratitude and noting blessings, seems like a perfect project.

 

Another view from my spot

The last couple of years I began making a concerted effort to spend more time on our sun porch.  I love lots of light and our tree-surrounded house tends to be on the dark side except for the sun porch which not only has lots of windows and skylights but is blessedly the only area not shadowed by a big tree.

This year I managed to be really faithful about setting up for an hour or three of computer and/or reading and/or writing time out there most days and the light and airiness have really been a blessing!  Lifts my spirits and keeps the positive mojo working.

Ever since last year’s (U.S.) election, I’ve been focused on living from a place of lovingkindness and compassion.  I’ve been blessed to have learned many great tools for such a journey over many years and from some great teachers.  A number of teachers made videos and books available for free this year and I purchased some books that have helped as well.

As a long-time fan of Sharon Salzberg’s Lovingkindness:  The Revolutionary Art of Happiness, I was pleased to add Real Love.  Louise Hay offered me a book on mirror work and I meditated with Deepak and Oprah too.  Blessings all.

Coffee Love

When the coffee revolution began in the 70’s, some of my college friends pulled me into the world of fine coffees. Honed over the years as I lived in the land of the original (and far better) Starbucks and was privileged to spend time hanging out in cafes in Europe, my taste is pretty picky and I LOVE a great cup of coffee.  I’m able to order really good coffee from La Coppa (founder originally worked for Peet’s and then founded San Francisco’s Spinelli’s –which I loved when I lived there) and my daily pot of espresso is one of my most treasured moments every day.

After seeing Paul Hawken on Charlie Rose (not a blessing, btw, to have lost the pleasure of watching his show…), I got his wonderful book, Drawdown, which outlines the path to ending the climate crisis and, most important, argues that the seeds have already been sown.  I found it so uplifting and encouraging, I recommend everyone to read it.  Truly a blessing.

For some years I’ve talked about heading to Henry’s Clay’s estate, Ashland, to take a walk once in a while.  This year I finally made it something like 4 times (hey, better than the 0-1 times previously 🙂 ).  Childhood memories link me to the place and my love of history finds satisfaction in walking the lovely grounds of this historic place.  Blessed that it’s so close to me and each walk was its own blessing.

L Perfume

One of last year’s Christmas presents was this little perfume with a prominent scent of tobacco.  I wrote a longer post about it,  but the short version is:  it reminds me of driving around Lexington in my childhood at certain times when tobacco dried in lots of barns and the sweet scent filled the air.

Blessed healing journey

Sunset2 Dec 3 2017

A couple of friends recently commented on my ability to tune into patterns opening in my body.  It’s always nice to hear, but initially I didn’t give it much thought.  Last night, however, I was reflecting on this long healing process in light of their thoughts and noticed how I’ve mostly considered it and written about it as torture.  Now, I often look for the up side and I’ve written posts indicating some positive thoughts, but over all I must admit the general misery and discomfort of unwinding muscles and sleepless nights for the most part fill my focus.

Suddenly I could see more blessing in it.  Not only that the process has forced me to pay more attention to my body than I ever would have given it.  Not only that I have been able to mark progress on many fronts even while many people don’t quite believe healing in this form is happening.  But also a blessing because I seem to be on a very unusual path in this whole unwinding/healing muscle thing and I’m seeing that I’m in the privileged position of being a path finder.

When I first began complaining of fatigue and issues with my muscles, western medicine was swearing up one side and down the other that neither chronic fatigue nor fibromyalgia existed so their diagnosis was that I should see a shrink.  Period.  Alternative practitioners began providing answers and naming the two major issues they found [fyi: when western medicine acknowledged fibromyalgia they also defined it so my symptoms didn’t seem to fit although alternative therapists have often felt my muscles and said I have it…].

According to my first serious therapeutic massage specialist every muscle in my body was wound up like a steel cord, all the muscles in every muscle group were glued together and the groups were also glued to my bones.  Eventually, after many of the larger and surface muscles were in much better shape and most unstuck from the bones, another practitioner saw and helped me realize the underlying intertwining and complex patterns remaining in the smaller and connective muscles.

I’ve been at it for three decades. Some practitioners have been dismissive of what has gone before because they felt it should have all been resolved quickly – and then they failed to resolve it.  I had to accept a long time ago that my muscles were in trouble at a level that was way beyond most practitioners and too complicated to resolve speedily.

It has taken many types of body work, inventing my own exercise program (combining the Psychophysical Method with yoga), emotional release work, past life work, ancestral healing work and more to reach a point where I can see the light at the end of the tunnel pretty brightly.  The process has taken me deep within, led to multiple transformative experiences, taught me a huge amount about how we hold onto the past – not only our own but our past life and ancestral pasts as well – and changed the trajectory of my life dramatically and overall I would say for the better.

After a few decades of being told by one practitioner after another  they’ve never seen this, that, or the other thing as bad as my… psoas, neck, hip, whatever, I know most people don’t have physical issues of the same magnitude.  I also know from learning to move and to observe how others move, that millions of people walk around with tight muscle patterns interfering with their movement, their ability to process emotions, their capacity to feel energy, etc.  And I feel as though talking about my journey and process might help some of those people to open some channels and pathways for their own lives to receive more healing.  In fact, I hear every now and then from someone who says it has helped them take better care; what a great feeling.

As I survey this history, I feel this glow of blessing.  For once, instead of viewing it only as a burden I have unfairly had to bear, I can see the Universe entrusted me with an unusual but important journey and what a gift it is that I have been able to explore all these nuances and share my experience.  Which is not to say I won’t be back whining about my uncomfortable muscles or being kept up all night 😊  But more than ever I also feel gratitude for being sent on this journey of healing.

The long haul

Screaming it out

I was hunting around today for a post I apparently never wrote, trolling through the first couple of years of blogging.  Looking back always seems to be a big reminder of how incredibly long the muscle problems and the crazy unwinding face/head muscles thing has been going on.  I feel a bit ridiculous because I see myself always expressing the hope that the healing is just about complete.   And incredulous I could have spent this many years, so much money, so many hours of my time on healing my muscles — and it still isn’t over.  So, spoiler alert, I’m whiny…

I’ve mainly only “talked” about the unwinding head portion here.  To those who’ve followed for years even that story probably seems long …  and the unwinding actually started about 7 years before the blog.  The head piece was just the final puzzle to solve in a much longer quest for healthy muscles that started in the mid-80s.  The tightness and pain, etc. that led to the quest had been present for years before I started realizing I had to do something.  By the time someone noticed the muscles in my face and head were blocking the final stage of healing the muscles in my body, most of the major muscles in my body were actually in pretty good shape; you know, except the ones being held in twisted patterns by my head.

For the last several years I have felt more debilitated by all this than at any point before — even when far less healthy I was better able to function.  Something about this head thing — and maybe the weariness of how very many years it has taken — has just been too much.

Today I postponed yet another outing I’d looked forward to because I was awake all night with my face being yanked.  [See here for a little video displaying what you can see of the process from the outside.]  Because I haven’t been able to contribute (compounded by stockmarket issues and bad management), my mother and I are facing some very tough decisions about our future.  I don’t get how I landed here…  And it just feels like too much.

Thanks for listening.  I’m sure I’ll meditate and do yoga and restore balance yet again…

 

The Sense-sational Challenge: sensing the physical

Linda over at litebeing chronicles issued a challenge for this month, to write about our senses and the joy they bring.  I actually put up a post a few days ago on scent and realized too late I could have saved it for this.  In the meantime, I’ve been thinking about the senses and segueing into thinking about my healing journey and how it has helped me to “sense” into my body more minutely than ever before.

And I started thinking about how numb most Americans are to their bodies and how interesting it is that it takes a kind of “sensing” to be aware of your body and what it needs and yet we don’t have a “sense” for that added to the usual list of five, nor a word for it.  It has me thinking we SHOULD figure out a name to call it and then promote using it.

In fact, in the long slog of healing my muscles, one of the blessings has been the growing great awareness of my physical being.  As I hung around thinking about the senses during a week when I’d thrown off my wrist, arm and shoulder by overdoing it with holding a mouse and scrolling on my phone, realized how important it is to be able to tune in to our bodies.  Long ago I’d have been in pain for days without realizing what caused it or doing anything about it.

I quickly realized what I was doing that had thrown the muscles and ligaments in my wrist so far out of whack, then started doing my triggers of release work to ease out the pattern in the muscles and started wearing a wrist brace when I’m dong a bunch of research on the laptop or phone.  But the sense of my body is so much more than just registering what’s wrong.

As my healing as progressed, I can feel a tingle in my body when I eat something good for it.  I’m hyper aware of how much all the sleep deprivation of recent years has impacted my ability to function and how much it helps to sleep when I can.  Years of practicing the triggers of release and yoga have loosened my spine and hips so when I walk I’m aware of an undulating, flowing movement when I’m relaxed.  If I walk more stiffly, without that flow, I’ll soon have pain in my lower back.

Awareness has brought such a heightened sense of my physical being and the importance of taking care of it.  I’m having trouble finding the words to describe how much difference it has made to keep growing my awareness of my body and how it feels and what helps it, etc.  Sensing into my body, noting anything that seems sore or out of balance, etc. has become a regular part of my life.

Healing my body has been so tied to healing my emotional issues and to opening my connection to my divine being, I wish I could convey to people how much it would change their lives to know their bodies, to “feel” their bodies and to keep them in good health.

So I think we should figure out a word for the “sense” of our own bodies.  Something conveying an ability to tune in and “know” what’s going on just as clearly as we “see”, “hear”, “feel”, “smell” or “taste” and identify  aspects of our world and our lives by using them.

Next challenge post will be here.

Scent and memory

A few years ago a new Soft Surroundings catalog introduced a new scent, “L”.  I love sampling scents and I’ve really liked some of theirs, so I rubbed the back of my hand and inhaled.  The main scent I caught seemed so odd, I grabbed the catalog to read the list of included scents.  Nope, I called it.  Tobacco.

I loved the whole scent, so I bought a “rollerball”.  At first when I wore it and caught whiffs of the tobacco, I’d remember back to my dad’s pipe-smoking days and how much I liked the scent of tobacco when he opened a pouch and got ready to fill his pipe.  Not the smell of smoke after he lit it, the scent of the tobacco.

Recently I realized, though, there’s a deeper memory associated with the perfume.  Lexington used to have lots of tobacco barns where they dried tobacco.  When you drove past certain parts of town, the sweet smell of drying leaves wafted through the air.  During my summer visits, we’d pass through areas where the aroma filled the air and I loved every breath.

If you’ve never been in tobacco country and the only smell you associate is the smell of cigarette or cigar smoke, you probably can’t imagine the lovely, sweet smell of drying tobacco.  For many reasons, it isn’t a scent I ever catch in the breeze here now.

Lexington has changed from a small, sweet, mostly-Southern city to a mid-size metropolis in which the charm and gentle nature it once held are largely lost.  Sometimes in the historic center, where my aunt and grandmother lived for many years, or in a ride out country roads where much remains the same, I catch the feeling I loved when I spent my childhood summers here.

I try to live in the now, but I have my moments of nostalgia or longing for lost places of childhood.  Mostly it’s gone, that Lexington I adored.  And I miss the sweet tobacco scent on the wind.  But some days, when I dot some “L” on my wrists, the tobacco barns are still there, the leaves drying sweetly.

The Universe is listening

Chapman Dr, Corte Madera

The final ruminations arising from the phone call with my friend last week are intertwined with another friend asking if I’d like to do yoga together once a week.  The yoga offer came first and I quickly realized it would be just the thing.  Then when the phone call wound up with a suggestion to start getting together to help one another hold space as we traverse “the liminal phase” my heart began to sing.

For a couple of years now I’ve been feeling enough better to be realizing I need to get a social life — or some sort of life outside the house — going again.  Sorting through options I realized I really don’t particularly enjoy group activities unless everyone is participating in some sort of spiritual ceremony or meditation, etc.  I prefer one on one or small groups of 3 or 4 and to carry on deep conversations or to engage in some sort of practice that helps us stay grounded, balanced, tuned in…

When I first moved to Lexington I spent the first couple of years in a concerted effort to try out churches, meditation groups, book groups, etc. in order to meet people and make friends.  I wound up involved in a group in another town near here and then, through a couple of people there, in another group here in Lexington.  After a few years a number of the folks I felt close to moved away and then the various groups dissipated, the church closed, and so forth.  By then my struggles with the muscles and not sleeping were severe so I didn’t have much interest in socializing and certainly not in starting over.

I still have no desire to go through the kind of trying and joining and sifting process I went through on arrival here and really not a lot of interest in the kinds of groups I sought.  So, I’ve been hanging around knowing I need to get out and do more things with people other than my 92-year-old mother and that I wanted one on one activities with some kind of deep connection, but not how to make it happen.

So having two people I adore get in touch about starting just exactly the kind of get-togethers I didn’t quite know I was dreaming of felt like a wave of blessings and rightness washing over me.  I feel like the Universe was listening to the whispers in my mind and put together the perfect answer to a prayer I hadn’t quite said.  I also feel it says something about the shifts and opening in me that these two perfect offers appeared within a week or two of each other.

Although a lot of the teachings out there on manifestation are firm about the need to be specific, visualize exactly, etc., I’ve often had experiences more like this one.  Some vague longings and thoughts move through me and sometime thereafter an amazing solution that takes all the ramblings and feelings into account shows up.  In this case I also feel like the direction of both activities toward staying balanced and holding a certain kind of space in these chaotic times is part of my path forward into becoming the emissary of peace I aspire to be even if I still don’t see precisely what the path is.

It just feels like a moment of amazing grace and I’m drinking it in and feeling so grateful and full of joy!