Dungeon Prompts: Mission Statement

I’m running behind on everything blog lately so I’m just getting to last week’s Dungeon Prompt and will try to do better with the one that went up today…

If the journey of your life could be boiled down to a particular mission, what would it be?  What has been the primary focus or purpose of your particular birth?  You may believe that all of life is on a big picture path, but I’m asking about your particular journey.  Is there any lesson or goal that has defined the majority of your life?  What is your life’s mission?

Lately this is a good question.  As my long healing journey has progressed I’ve felt less and less sure that any notion I’ve had about my life’s purpose reflects why I’m really here.  That’s a work in progress.

In my youth and early adulthood, I would have unequivocally told you “music”.  My elementary school dreams involved Broadway or being in the newest movie musicals.  Around the time my interest moved more into jazz and rock I realized my beloved Hollywood musicals were pretty much over, so maturing tastes dovetailed with facing reality.  Through those years I also wrote short stories and poetry and pondered a secondary career possibility as a writer.

In my twenties I tried to revive the music love and was lead singer for a band for a short time, but it didn’t work out and I was slowly realizing my many years of studying classical voice left me with a voice that didn’t really fit the style of music I wanted to do.  More important, I could see I didn’t have the kind of “push” it takes to make a big music career.  Scrap that mission.

Having become radicalized in college I put a lot of thought into having a career that would make some kind of difference.  I wound up in law school, which I hated, and then in a short-lived career as an attorney fighting against nuclear power plants.  My writing skills landed me the job of writing all the motions and briefs for my office.  I liked winning those cases and the feeling of having helped to do something good but loathed being a lawyer.  My zeal to be a public interest attorney of any sort died; end of that mission.

In the meantime I’d taken up yoga and meditation, earned a teaching certificate for yoga and regularly spent weekends taking classes on various spiritual topics.  I started putting together a whole toolkit of quick, easy-to-use techniques for reducing tension and using them every day to keep the angst in check.  When I decided I couldn’t take the law I decided to teach stress management.

Around the same time the health issues I’d been fighting for some time turned out to be chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia and I reached the point where continuing on a normal work path became impossible.  The next decade-and-a-half was spent juggling between trying to heal, continuing my spiritual and personal growth journey and trying to work as much as my ill health would allow.  I tried stress management, mediation, working as a proofreader and editor for a small publishing company, working part-time for the Institute of Noetic Sciences, wrote a novel, and more.

Throughout these years I kept seeking a career path that felt right for me but none of the hats I wore seemed to be a perfect fit and the health issues interfered increasingly with keeping any kind of regular work schedule. I wound up teaching yoga classes and for myself re-working Robert Masters’ Psychophysical Method into specific sets combining his certain of his triggers of release with yoga.  It made major inroads on the fibromyalgia issues. When I realized the power of this movement work I taught more classes using that than straight yoga classes but have never felt it’s my calling to teach movement.  So no mission statement for that except that I’d like to make it available through recordings so others can be helped by it without me having to be the cheerleader.

Eventually some years back I realized the healing had to come first.  That having the energy and the wherewithal to develop any career had to come first.  Eventually as I’ve worked through not only the physical side but also emotional, ancestral, and past life issues related to the tight muscles I realized that for now this healing journey IS my purpose.  And, since I know we are all one, each a part of the whole, I believe my healing helps others heal too.  So I’ve thought of healing as a mission.

I feel very drawn to work for peace and it has informed much of my blogging.  I designed workshops on the “Journey to Peace” but never managed to market them well enough to draw students in numbers  Put on the back burner while I’ve worked hard to complete the muscle issues, the draw is there but not a sense of “how”.

In these turbulent times my sense of wanting to be peace, to be a voice of peace, to impact world peace in some way has only grown.  I’m drawn toward creating a career path that brings the many things I’ve learned over the years together in service of peace.

But this path has meant letting go of so much of who I used to be and led to so many questions about who I really am, what I really love and what I’m really here for that I have no sense of the mission statement for the next phase beyond “serve peace”.  In many ways I see this desire as a maturing and transforming of my earlier desire to do public interest work and how that desire was born of the hippie protests, etc. of college.

So much is changing in me as my body changes, I’m content to see what feels right when the healing process winds down.

A Checklist for the Most Popular Spells People Are Under

I tried to find a way to embed this terrific article from Carolyn Myss but the best I could do was “press” it, which seems to only wind up with a link.  Her discussion of many common negative beliefs as spells we have allowed to be cast upon us is SO thought provoking:

Source: A Checklist for the Most Popular Spells People Are Under

A glimpse of unwinding

The main reason I’ve been absent so much from blogging has been the unwinding face muscles.  Not just the unwinding itself, but the huge transition it’s creating have been diverting me from the keyboard.

So many people have been puzzled about what I mean by unwinding, I decided one day while it was in full yanking and tugging mode to grab my phone and record.  What you can see on the surface is really just the tip of the iceberg and I wish I could figure out how to describe the multitudes of things going on in the muscles underneath.

All the contortions are driven by what’s going on in the muscles and for the most part out of my control (I can clench down hard and force it to stop but that’s not something I can or want to do routinely, especially since it re-creates some of the knots and tension already released).  When this decides to start happening it just takes over.

The good news is my face, head and neck are becoming slowly but surely free of tension, clenching, pressure, etc.  Periodically significant pieces open and I feel a new level of “wow, my face can feel like this?”  Those moments are the blessing in all this that keeps me able to tolerate it.  Not to mention my eternal optimism 🙂

Nonetheless I thought it might help make the process clearer if I showed you.  Imagine this going on for hours a day — sometimes as much as 18 or all 24 — and perhaps you can see why I say it stops so much of my life.  Why I can’t sleep.  Why I’m so tired.  Why I often can’t concentrate to write or meditate…  I’m not anxious for this to wind up all over the place so in about a week I plan to take down the video and probably this post.

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.

 

Being Positive, Discovering Issues and the Fine Line Between

Many times over the years I’ve circled around to a contemplation of whether I need to dig around in my past and discover old issues or it would be better to hold positive thoughts.  I’ve wound up after landing for periods of time on both sides, concluding that most of us need a combo.  And maybe there’s a time more for one and a time for the other.

I started off in the “You Create Your Own Reality”, positive-thinking and affirmations mode.  Initially, when I was in total excitement with discovering this whole new way of thinking and being, it worked magically well for me (which certainly fits the theory of the Law of Attraction).  But — at least as I see it — I eventually hit the wall of negative beliefs which permeated my being and it seemed like my spiritual progression ground to a halt.

Still clinging to a belief that this spiritual path offered a better way forward, I kept plugging and wound up being guided to Ellen Margron’s marvelous version of the Fisher-Hoffman Process (Ellen has since died and as far as I’m aware no one else had similarly developed or taken on the longer and more comprehensive process she created).  Massive amounts of digging around in my belief system and releasing (“processing”) beliefs that no longer served me transformed many aspects of my life and I became a firm believer in the need to do some excavating.

Over the years I’ve periodically run into teachers who feel it’s more important to hold positive thoughts and not necessary to examine the past.  Initially I couldn’t even compute what they were trying to say.  I now get it if I think of neural nets.  Creating new positive thoughts and beliefs can build new neural nets and your unconscious will often start taking down the old thinking patterns as it recognizes how much better the new pattern feels– or at least guide you to behave/respond from the newer nets.

But many neural patterns are so intertwined and complex and well-established, I decided somewhere along the way that just saying affirmations and “thinking positive” is kind of like aiming a drip of water at the top of Mt. Everest and waiting for the mountain to erode….  And I also noticed how often people’s determined positivity seemed more like denial than a true shift.

During “The Process” Ellen taught us about layers of being.  The divine essence or true heart is in the center, then the next circle is the negative thoughts and beliefs we develop as we’re taught that we’re not divine and perfect and then around that we circle the mask of the personality we choose to present.  The most fascinating piece for me was the news that meditating or affirming, etc. while determinedly avoiding the roiling circle of negativity in the middle CREATES ANOTHER LAYER AROUND THE OUTSIDE instead of taking you into the heart.

This really describes the sense of denial I sometimes feel from some peoples’ “positive outlooks” — like a big layer of plastic is covering something they’re avoiding.  In pursuit of spirituality or calm or peacefulness they’ve thickened the layers hiding the true heart instead of illuminating it.

That said, after years of digging and excavating I’ve come to see you can also get kind of caught up in the other direction and turn life into a constant process of finding what you need to fix.  For those of us who already suspect something is deeply “wrong” with us, it’s an easy trap in which to land.

Having cleared a great deal, I’ve come to a place where I feel a lot of benefit from holding to positive thoughts.  I keep watch for negative belief patterns but instead of feeling I need to pursue and “process” them, I work at staying mindful enough to turn around the thought to a statement that carries the belief I’d rather hold.  I’ve written before about some of the other ways I submerge myself in affirmative thinking so here I’ll just say I can feel the neural nets changing from all the steps toward thinking more positively.

In the end I’d have to say I feel it’s both.  If you hold a huge amount of negative thought patterns — especially if they’re ancestral patterns of thought that have been passed down for generations — I think some excavating out of the past is the only way you’re going to step beyond it.  And I really think if you feel absolutely determined never to examine your life there’s a big issue just in that to explore.  Why are you unwilling to look into whatever may be holding on and hindering you?

It’s kind of a juggling act I’d say between exploring issues as you become aware of them and creating a new structure of thinking.  And I’d guess in the early stages of the journey most of us need a bit more on the digging around side and as we clear issues it becomes more fruitful to work on building new neural nets with positive thoughts and beliefs.  I’d love to hear some chiming in from some of you deep thinkers out there!  What’s been your experience?

Note:  Zoe at HopeDreamWait has nominated me for a Cramm Blog award.  I quit participating in these blog awards some time ago, but I am so grateful to Zoe for nominating me — thanks!.  Her blog is fun, so check her out!

 

The view from both sides of some practices

Chapman Dr, Corte Madera

Chapman Dr, Corte Madera

 

As I mentioned in the last post, my practices have been a little hit and miss lately as I wade through another round of unwinding and not sleeping.  The on and off of it is giving me a chance to observe the doing and not doing and the way I feel about both.

Some years ago I realized I often sabotaged my progress by not doing my practices.  I’d start one up or get back to an old friend and do it faithfully for a few days or a week or two and then I’d start “forgetting” (helped along by often feeling too crappy to do anything).  More and more days would pass between practices until I’d finally realize I couldn’t remember the last time I meditated or performed a round of chi gung.

Once it sank in I asked myself some deep questions about why I sabotaged myself.  Then I set up a “watcher” to help me keep track of consistency and give me a nudge so I could put myself back on track.  Ever since I’ve been much better.  Not that I don’t miss days and even occasionally several in a row, but I’ve gotten pretty good at keeping track and at pushing myself to get back to it if I’ve let it go

It’s rare now for an entire week to go by without at least one session of whatever practice or set of practices I’m doing and most weeks I manage at least three or four days.  The great weeks I get in six (I always allow for a day off as I feel even the good stuff needs a break).  But I still have spells when it’s less rather than more.

There’s a kind of push pull at work here.  At the moment it’s the chanting and some movement practices that feel so good they constantly pull me back on track.  But both things raise energy, open stuck places, and thereby set the stage for more unwinding.  Any time I practice 6-7 days a week during a week or two when I’m sleeping well and feeling good, the practices inevitably help to set off another round of unwinding.

While I want the unwinding to finish so you’d think I’d welcome each round, I’m pretty miserable when it goes crazy, especially from the lack of sleep it creates.  I’m regularly confronting the up and the down side of regular practice.  It works.  And in this case that’s both great and not so great…  I haven’t quite decided how many skips at this point arise from an unconscious dread of the down side…

A deep spiritual journey often has these up and down moments.  Sometimes the same practice contains elements of both the up and the down.  Sometimes a practice leads you into painful places or opens something that hurts for a while before it gets better.  I harp on this one a bit, but I run into so many people who don’t know this spiritual road curves into shadows and down into valleys of dark nights as well as giving you peace and balance and higher consciousness, an occasional reminder seems good 🙂

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Levels of opening

Three monks chanting in Lhasa, 1993

Three monks chanting (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s been over a month now that I’ve been regularly chanting.  First time in quite a while I’ve had a regular chanting or meditation practice.  I’ve done a bunch of those 21 day meditations in recent years and I’ve done a couple of 40 day practices, but it’s been years since such a practice has stuck.

A lot has changed in my body since the days when meditation was a daily practice.  In fact, some of the change is due to the movement practices I’ve done to balance energy and open flow instead of meditating.

One of the blessings of the long-term sorting out of my muscles and their steely impersonation of body armor has been that as they open, I experience many things about practices differently and learn nuances I’m not sure I’d have noted without the change.

Since my appointment with Hanna, the muscles have been unwinding and the usual sleep deprivation and headaches have ensued, which has led to missing days of chanting here and there and occasionally two in a row.  I’ve changed the chants since I first started, beginning each time with the lovingkindness chant and then singing the Gayatri Mantra and Om Shanti Om.

The Gayatri, among other important impacts, opens the heart.  Om Shanti Om is chanted for peace and I find it opens my heart.  The lovingkindness chant also brings me into a big heart space.  Chanting these every day helped immeasurably to calm my distress in the wake of the election.  At first, if I missed a day I went right back to feeling panicky, then as soon as I chanted again, calm returned.

After a couple of weeks the peace settled in and I could miss a day without any big change.  When sleep deprivation, headaches and missing days of chanting hit all at once, I noted that I could hold the peace through one missed day but a second tipped me back into unease and anxiety.  I’ve also been learning anxiety is often a side effect of sleep deprivation for me, not as intense as the “oh no that thing can’t be president” panic, but noticeable.  And it too is soothed away by chanting.

While I chant I feel so much more energy moving through me than I’ve ever felt from the same practices before.  Channels and pathways opened as the muscles released and in so many areas I can now feel energy flowing through.  I feel the power of the chanting more than ever.  I feel it changing me.

Between the chanting and the releases Hanna helped to achieve it’s been a time of realizations and movement forward.  After a long time of receiving “wait” messages, I’ve heard the time to wait is ending.

In the meantime I love the slow awakening of feeling and the subtle ways in which my practices change as I grow.  I’m ever more aware of how much tight muscles stop the flow and reduce how much I feel when I do yoga or meditate or chant or …  All the hard work…  so worth it!

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Creating Reality in the World 4: Collective Consciousness

Today at Sarvodaya's Early Morning meditation

meditation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Back when I was reading lots of books in the Seth material, one of the areas I felt struck by covered collective consciousness.  The energy of thoughts, when people collectively hold the same ones, grows exponentially.

Many teachers since have told me the same thing and I have experienced the powerful energy of people gathered together in a common energy.  Perhaps the most amazing moment was when about 1500 of us participated in a meditation involving coming into heart, filling the room and each other with love and then sending love out around the world.

When a large group focuses its attention on a shared vision, the energy going toward that vision gets that exponential increase.  This is one of the reasons I believe so strongly in the power of people around the world meditating, chanting, praying, and/or holding a vision or energy space for the same goal or outcome.

This is also why I believe a campaign FOR what you want to see, participated in by tens of thousands or millions can create the reality you hope to see.  If you spread the word about a clean earth or a different electoral college outcome and help that idea go viral, the energy and attention being sent toward the outcome you seek will help to make it so.

Collective action like the people coming together at Standing Rock has a big impact.  And I particularly love the messages about nonviolence and understanding that have been made by the leaders of this movement/protest.  I passed this article, “Standing Rock: A Change of Heart” along on FB and hope to see it going everywhere. The call is for not dehumanizing anyone no matter which side they’re on and I believe that’s one of the most important messages of our time.

Gandhi is said to have made the Hindu gesture of forgiveness as he fell from an assassin’s bullets.  The Dalai Lama forgives the Chinese for what they’ve done to Tibet.  Martin Luther King preached nonviolence no matter what happened around him.  Taking in and living their message of maintaining love and compassion no matter what the circumstance seems to have been one of the hardest lessons ever for the world to learn.

At this moment in time the world needs us to stand together in love and compassion and refusal to be seduced into violence more than ever.  And in the next post in this series, I’ll explore the group that’s been building and sailing under the radar for years.  We could change the world.

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And the healing takes another leap

English: "Visualization of the Heart Chak...

Photo credit: Wikipedia

I haven’t had any body work since the appointment last spring with Hanna and Larry, who powerfully lifted a big piece of ancestral cement from the stuff in my head.*  So it was a great treat to have my mother offer to pay for an appointment and to get a treatment with Hanna yesterday.

Bye Bye Wooden

animated-trees_edited

As always, a lot moved and many interesting things happened.  She spent a lot of time working on my head and at one point as she worked I sensed “ancestral”, something released and I had a crazy image of an animated tree (just like an animated tree “character” in Wizard101) flying up and out of my head.

After the appointment she mentioned working on an area with a lot of tension in my face and feeling it relax.  It wasn’t until I was driving away that I remembered how often I’ve applied “wooden” to the muscles in my face I’ve felt are an ancestral legacy and thought “wooden” about their expressions in photos or how my face feels.  Suddenly I got the animated flying tree as representing the staunchly tense ancestors and I knew that piece was released.

As always, the release has not led to the instant opening of all remaining knotted muscles, but a fair bit came out in the appointment and in the massive unwinding which started up a few hours later, I could tell it was working on a whole new level from where it was the day before.

Loving Them Anyway

After the floating tree, as she continued to work on my head, I was suddenly taken to another ancestral piece I recently mentioned about having slave owners in the family.  While chewing on this issue I’d already realized there’s a much more current piece to it, which has been kind of the ignored elephant in the room for me:  the bigotry of my mother’s mother and sister.

I adored my grandmother (the only grandparent I ever knew as my parents lost the other three as children) and most of the time nothing in our interactions brought up her racist viewpoint.  But it was there and, while I tried periodically to talk her into changing her mind, mostly I tried not to think about it as the confusion between my love for her and my dislike of her opinion seemed too confusing to resolve.

I’ve written occasionally about my aunt with whom I had a conflicted relationship on many levels so being mad at her for her narrow-minded views (she and her rich, Republican friends were the types who dissed pretty much every group other than rich WASP Presbyterians and Episcopalians…) was easier.  But still complicated.

They’re both long dead but I’ve carried the unresolved conflict all these years.  As bits and pieces of the story floated to mind while Hanna worked, I thought about that conflict and the degree to which it left an uneasy place inside.  Which led to contemplating loving someone but seeing a flaw that big and figuring out what to do about the contradiction.

And suddenly as Hanna worked, I knew it’s a gift the Universe gives us to present us with family members whom we love but who are bigots or alcoholics or unreliable, etc.  We love them and despise them but most of us can’t quite let go because of the love and family ties.  Really, it’s what a spiritual life is always calling us to do — love everyone unconditionally.

What an opportunity we’re offered in these conflicted relationships of love and hate all mixed up.   I don’t see loving as requiring that you hang around.  If someone is too toxic for you, you can love the divine spirit from afar.  But seeing the flaws and loving anyway is a great spiritual endeavor.  Once I could see the gift in that, I realized I don’t have to resolve the conflict, I just have to let the love win.

They were who they were and I loved them with confusion but they’re gone and I’m still here, not sharing their views.  [Not sure how my mom sidestepped her family’s view but she and my dad taught me to treat all people of all races, religions, etc. with equal dignity and thanks to their guidance and examples, that’s what stuck].  I felt a big sense of release as I understood the lesson of love and the gift these conflicts offer.

The Jagged and the Strong

In this unwinding process I’ve been regularly aware of a pattern moving from the sphenoid in my head to my feet, particularly on the left side.  Frequently something opens in my head and a while later some muscles open in my pelvis, knee, ankle or foot.

Hanna wound up working down one of those patterns and commented later about how jagged it is.  She’s mentioned the jagged bit before.  This time she also mentioned that all around it are patterns that are strong and straight (I forgot to ask whether she meant energetic patterns or muscle patterns or both) and prepared to help as it works itself out.

Before we started she talked about my self care having been important in all this and when she talked about these strong patterns I realized all the years of yoga, all the work with creating and doing my movement work, receiving body work of many sorts and doing spiritual practices have built strong supports which are now integral to how I live and heal.  Picture me patting myself on the shoulder 🙂

Heart Chakra

One piece she mentioned at the end was a pattern at the base of heart chakra, pushing on my liver and moving up into the shoulder on the other side.  By that time I was a little dazed and I didn’t manage to ask questions.

Many practitioners over the years have referred to a stuck pattern at heart level, of “protecting heart” posture, etc.  There’s been a lot of work done and a lot of opening but I’ve been aware something is still left.  Not sure whether that’s part of what she was working on.

I also have a sense all the chants I’ve been doing which aim at heart chakra are moving stuff in there…

And it goes on

I dream of the day I report this is over — the post will be titled “UNWOUND!!!!”  But today is another one of those progress reports involving a nice leap forward but the process still unfolding…


*After pouring tens of thousands of dollars into the process of healing over the course of many years, I can’t afford it very often any more…

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Heart on my forehead

Linda over at litebeing chronicles issued a challenge this months to write a post “celebrating your unique essence and energy.”  I’m not sure whether this post expresses my uniqueness, but it certainly wanders down the bizarre trail my life has been following for some years and I kind of think this thing on my forehead may turn out to be more central to who I am than I can now imagine.

The last couple of months the unwinding process in my head has been both challenging and exciting.  The piece I’ve been particularly interested in involves the muscles in my forehead.

Over the last couple of months the muscles around my third eye have increasingly bulged out as a result of all the untwisting and movement in the muscles behind my eyes. Somewhere along the way I noticed the shape they are assuming looks more and more like a heart.  I’m not much on taking selfies and I had quite a time getting shots of my own forehead in the right light for it to show up.  Hope you can see what I’m seeing.

UPDATE 11/12/16:  I also have no talent for (or interest in) art programs like Paint, but I kept fiddling around and more or less managed to draw around the bulges to make it easier to see, so I’ve added the photo with drawing.

Over the course of lots of posts I’ve told the story of a shaman telling me there was a big wound in my maternal line and I needed to go back seven generations to find the source. Using meditation to reach back, I found an ancestor witch burned at the stake and a distressed daughter who shut down the “sight” that had been our lineage–for all succeeding generations.

I’ve been through several stages and types of healing, from using long distance Reiki to send healing back in time, to creating a ceremony for a group to heal ancestral issues, and then creating a private ceremony to heal this issue, to having major sessions with healers to address the many ways this issue tied up the muscles in my head.

Throughout, the notion that I’m from a line of Seers meandered vaguely through my consciousness.  The more the muscles unwound, the more I noticed a good portion of the twisted up stuff involved a stranglehold on my third eye and I could see how well that situation served the ancestral “curse” of shutting down the sight for all who came after.

I’m fascinated to see this heart around my third eye as the muscles which created a squeeze blocking the area are slowly unwinding.  Although I can make guesses as to what this means, no big insight has struck.  Fun to follow its progress though…

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Calling and Purpose

Chapman Dr, Corte Madera

Chapman Dr, Corte Madera

A little side note:  In a recent post I described a joyous day when I hit a particular stretch of my usual walk in Corte Madera but I didn’t think I had a good photo to include.  Going through some shots a few days ago I came across the above photo…  yup, that’s it, the spot where I jumped and danced around in circles…  And I kind of think the road is calling us 🙂

As you know, for many years I’ve been going through a collection of health issues that have kept me isolated and, often, not able to do too much.  One of the interesting aspects of sitting outside mainstream life has been watching how much people talk about life’s purpose and their calling.

Here in the U.S. living a purpose and/or following a calling is a big preoccupation.  And, as I’ve noted before, it always seems to be a calling to external activities/accomplishments.  So I periodically wind up trying to decide if I have a purpose or a calling.  And wondering if they’re the same thing?

I mean I feel called to do some things, like follow a certain route or make a donation or take a class, and I don’t feel it’s my life’s purpose to follow that call.  I know some people use “calling” in a bigger sense and they mean something like life purpose.

A while back my reflections on having a purpose led to seeing this long healing road has been my purpose.  Even though it’s not a purpose the mainstream would recognize as such…  When I started pondering my “calling”, it seemed far easier to get how “called” to this path of healing I’ve been.

Most of the way along I didn’t get how raveled and complex it was nor did I come close to comprehending how huge the impact of this journey would be, but I absolutely felt called to follow the path to healing, emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually.

And at many points along the way I’ve felt called to learn or return to a particular practice or to start a certain alternative therapy or to visit a healer.  Every branch of the path I’ve followed has been one that drew me, compelling me along.

For a long time I’ve felt a little lost as the end of this particular healing journey regarding my muscles has drawn near.  There’s been no sense of what comes after and my life has been so focused on healing it’s been hard to imagine what to do without that focus.

While I was reading Elizabeth Lesser’s wonderful new book, Marrow, I had an epiphany about one next step.  It’s just a beginning, but the great ideas that magically arise from the ethers are always the ones I know to follow.  They spark and sizzle and light me up inside.They often take their time unfolding, but once I’ve seen that glimpse,  it will come together in its own time.

Yes, I feel called toward this project and yes, it feels like part of my purpose.  Or one of my purposes… or callings.  It also feels like it comes after the physical healing.  I’ve worked long and hard to restore my body…  I can wait for the conclusion of this phase.  It’s nice to feel the next “call” beckoning me, but there’s other work to do first.

Do you know what your purpose is?  Do you feel purpose and calling are the same thing?  Do you think each of us has one or more than one purpose?  Does purpose change with time?  Do you feel there is any such thing as life’s purpose?

Breaking patterns, changing tapes…

A friend of mine recently asked me to suggest some practices or therapies that help to break patterns.  As soon as I gave it some serious thought I realized my answer is complex and I’ve been letting it percolate ever since.  Ultimately it seemed like some good info to organize into a post…

There have been a few distinct phases to my long spiritual and healing  journey.  The one most relevant to this question began in the early “aughts”.  I’d been “on the path” since 1985, when I began with some quite New Age material, including a lot of stuff about affirmations.  I soon thought of myself as having become a positive person.

I moved on to go through Nine Gates Mystery School, study Huna, add various practices to my regular yoga routine and complete the Fisher Hoffman Process.  Still thinking I’d become all positive …

Somewhere in the realm of 2006 a friend gently recommended The Secret after listening to me bitch for a couple of hours about substitute teaching.  For the first time I totally got how much negative thinking ran in my brain all the time.  It finally sank in that half an hour a day of affirming and visualizing can’t possibly overcome 23-1/2 hours of negative tapes running.

Later What the Bleep helped me understand how those tapes create neural nets and begin to deprive your peptide receptors of the ability to accept anything positive or good for you.   Once I began seeing these things I started working away at how to bust through it, change neural nets, heal peptide receptors, and, most importantly, CHANGE MY MIND.

Tending to throw multiple possible solutions at these kinds of issues, I pursued several paths.  In hindsight I can see I addressed it on several levels, physical, mental, and energetic.  Over the years I’ve found it helps to heal more than one level.  Some think healing one automatically spills over into healing them all but I have not found that to be true for me.  I find it works better to heal on various levels and they start working together.

PHYSICAL

The physical healing path for me has been ongoing now for thirty+ years and sometimes I have to look back to realize aspects of it tied in to more than just sorting out my muscles.  During this time I began getting Bodypatterning* treatments and also played around with Robert Masters’ Psychophysical Method combined with yoga until I created the work I’m now calling Flowing Body, Flowing Life.

The Bodypatterning and the Flowing Body work both help to bust up patterns held in muscles — which often means they both help you to release emotional issues held in those same patterns.  Some of the changes created by this intense period of releasing muscle patterns had a profound impact on changing what was happening with my thoughts.  Everyone I worked with who combined getting Bodypattening with doing my movement work created big releases and shifts.

CranioSacral work also created big pattern shifts and was responsible for setting off the unwinding process in my head.  I’ve gone back occasionally for more of that work.  Synchronistically, I met Kreig, the Bodypatterning fellow, through the school/massage center founded by the CranioSacral therapist–Judy– I saw so when Judy moved away I was able to move into the new modality which finally busted up many long-held patterns .

Yoga, if practiced mindfully and with attention to how it’s feeling, can also be a vehicle for release.  People tend to pull out of postures as soon as they start to tap into a pattern with attached emotions.  If you consciously note the desire to pull out but keep holding the posture, you will often come to a release.

These are just the techniques that worked best for me.  If you have a therapy or a movement practice that breaks up patterns for you, I’d say choose the one that already works for you.

MENTAL

For me, getting old tapes to stop playing has been a long process and one I wouldn’t call easy.  A variety of things can bring change.  Some big changes arrived during and upon completion of the Fisher Hoffman Process work, which involved a lengthy examination of parents’ beliefs and admonitions, seeing how you’ve incorporated all of them and a LOT of release work.  Really helped change some habits of thinking.

I’ve found affirmations quite helpful, but only when I changed the way I worked with them.  Once I saw the ongoing negative patterns in my thinking I set up a “watcher” to try to stay mindful of when I ran the tapes and which ones showed up most often.

I then developed affirmations which were basically positive turnarounds of the negative tapes.  Every time I caught myself re-running a negative tape, I would stop and repeat the turnaround statement several times.

It helped a lot in two major ways: (1) staying conscious of the patterns seemed to decrease their frequency and (2) the regular repetition of the turnarounds helped to create new, more positive, patterns.  And I think new neural nets…

I’ve long believed subliminal recordings can reach the unconscious and influence change.  I bought a selection of Dick Sutphen’s affirmation recordings and began playing them often; sometimes on a repeating loop all night long.  Then I put together a long list of them on Spotify and have been playing it very softly all day most days.  It’s slow and subtle but over time it has led to far more positive thought patterns.

ENERGETIC

Having learned a lot of practices like Flying Crane Chi Gung and the Eight Key Breaths, I knew how much can shift when energy is stronger and/or more balanced and/or flowing more freely.  Considering the benefits of various practices, I chose the Flying Crane, Key Breaths and the Five Tibetan Rites and began to practice 1-3 of them daily.  I wrote about it long ago here, with more explanations of the practices.

As noted in a recent post, I find changing energy lets you bypass the mind and create a shift without mental interference.  I just chose three practices I particularly love because they seemed to fit some specific goals I had at the time — many other practices that work with energy could give you similar benefits.

These practices, done while also receiving Bodypatterning, clearly enhanced the therapy as well as helping to move my energy into new and healthier patterns.

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If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know I’ve also done a lot of work on ancestral patterns and visited a couple of healers who also helped in that arena.  Some of those posts:

I do NOT consider any of the information in this post to be any kind of definitive list.  I don’t believe in definitive lists.  I believe that whatever you believe will work, will work.  The specifics here are just to give you an idea of the kinds of practices I used.  Can’t say I’ve finished the process but enormous transformation has taken place since I began this pattern breaking process.  Anyone can do it.

* Developed by a fellow here in Lexington, it’s the most amazing body work I’ve had — and I’ve experienced at least a dozen varieties.  He now has a school, called Full Circle Massage School, so I’m in hopes practitioners will be fanning across the country and the globe, making it possible to get treatments wherever you are.

Peeling more layers

Eyemuscles

Eyemuscles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The last couple of weeks have involved a lot of unwinding, not sleeping and headaches…  and a lot of reflection about this long long process.  [Pretty much every muscle you see up there has been wound up in knots and intertwined and/or glued to just about every other muscle in my face they could possibly touch]

Both body work practitioners and meditation “guides” have told me there were dangers (blindness or stroke) in opening the muscles too fast so I’ve tried to be grateful but really by and large I’ve been frustrated and impatient.  I’ve repeatedly asked the Universe and Ku to just finish the healing and let me be free.  I’ve said affirmations and done visualizations (and no, I’m not looking for suggestions for some other technique to try).  I’ve done practices and spent fortunes on body work and healers.  It all helps but the process is still maddeningly slow.

When I feel the degree of tugging on the left optic nerve and realize the depth to which it has been entwined in other muscles it IS nerve wracking and I can sense the danger if something pulled too hard or too suddenly.  It helps me understand the need for a slow unfolding but doesn’t stop me wishing it would hurry up.

I also keep feeling different stages of energy returning, with growing comprehension of how much energy tight muscles commandeer.  Long ago, when I finished the Fisher Hoffman process, most of the major muscles in my body (not head) finally started letting go.  The next year or two brought great progress in body work and I experienced a great boost of energy first from releasing the emotional material and then from opening muscles so energy could flow more freely.  It turned out the chronic fatigue arose from the muscle issues.

Now I’m experiencing an amazing process wherein the unfolding around my eyes is opening up energy pathways through my whole body.  It’s amazing to realize how much of my prana has been sidetracked into holding all these tight muscles in my face and how much tight muscles interfere with the flow of energy.

And the more I feel it the more I want to shout out to the many folks I see everywhere I go whose muscles are visibly tight:  heal your muscles and get your energy back!  Haven’t decided how to present this mission of healing but I can see it’s part of the reason for this long drawn-out process.

My impression, based both on my own experience and what I’ve observed, is that most people don’t realize how fatiguing it is to have tight muscles.  How detrimental to your health.  Until I finally got the right diagnosis, I had no idea tight muscles could squeeze organs and glands.  For me, it was every organ and every gland being squeezed until they could barely function.

For now all I can think of is to tell you to take care of your muscles.  If you have knots and painful places, do what you have to to heal them.  Your health and vitality depend on it.

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Switching things up and other miscellany

SF Skyline 2016

For some reason the process of organization involved in writing my pieces about practices  (first two here and here) is beyond my mental capacity lately.  So, those posts are still coming but I had a few more stream-of-consciousness thoughts I thought I’d try to convey…  We’ll see what my mind’s willing to do 🙂

SUN PORCH LIFE

Something like 11 months ago I had a revelation when I shifted gears on many entrenched daily habits and watched a movie on a laptop perched on a table on our sun porch.  When I first moved here I spent a lot of time on the sun porch but in my recent years of being a sedentary hermit I’d taken to hanging out all day in the far darker family room with my laptop in my lap.

By several months later I was writing a post about  making some small changes which seemed to be helping.  And then a few months after that I wrote of making a practice of doing little things, which was reinforced by watching a Matt Kahn video exhorting us all to do just that.

The sun porch habit has been growing and I suddenly realized as the summer has progressed I’ve moved into a pattern of hanging out on the sun porch most days for at least half an hour and often more like three or four.  I’ve been leaving an old laptop on the porch table and writing out there.

Still trying out playlists (another of the new things), though I sometimes get stuck on one.  In a burst of nostalgia when I thought Nashville was cancelled I put together a Spotify playlist of the albums from the show and have played it a lot and started buying my faves, creating a still-growing playlist of the ones I love best.  It also has me singing again.

After years of voice lessons, dreaming of a music career, singing briefly in a band, etc. these recent years of not playing music have also meant not singing even for my own pleasure.  It’s been great fun singing along again and especially fun to join some of the great duos and trios they’ve put together on the show and pick out one of the harmony lines to sing along with.

As I’ve mentioned, I’m still in kind of a waiting phase, so in terms of a big list of things accomplished my life looks pretty uneventful.  But I keep realizing there’s something about this draw to be back in the sunniest room in the house and spending time writing and reading instead of watching TV while on the computer that feels like a sea change.

Every day I feel it like a need, to head to the room full of windows and skylights and be in the light again.  More and more, once I’m out there, I keep doing one more thing and then another to avoid going back to my little nest in the family room with the laptop in my lap and the TV playing.

The exercise bike is out there and a yoga mat, so I’ve also been doing more exercise and movement practices while gazing at the green yard decorated with pink and red roses.

There’s something about this shift that feels so important to the process of coming alive again and getting my stamina back.

CHANGING EXERCISES AND PRACTICES

I’ve been getting a kick lately at the many pundits I’m seeing who now advise that in spiritual practices and also in exercises, it’s best to have a shifting roster instead of choosing one or two.  I’ll get into the multi-practice vs. one practice bit in the next piece in the practices series.

But given my small revelation last fall about doing a few small new things and feeling so much better for it, I love seeing this is now the big recommendation.  I even just read a piece that says switching among different types of exercise is better for your muscles.

I, of course, have mentioned I’ve been switching it up with both spiritual practices and physical exercises (some of which coincide with one another… both spiritual and physical).  I’m learning that it suits me much better and I’m much more likely to pick something to do each day if I can choose the one(s) I’m drawn to do instead of doing whatever I’ve decided I “must” do.

And now I find out instead of this being the path of a dilettante, it’s the best way to do it.  Who knew? 🙂  Well, I was clear it’s been good for me…

UNWINDING CONTINUES

In the meantime, the tight, tight stuff at the core continues to unwind.  I’ve been fascinated lately to realize there’s clearly an energy meridian going from my eyes to my feet* down both sides and some of the opening behind my eyes has sent floods of energy through those opening pathways.

Both the unwinding and the bursts of energy interfere with sleep and the process continues to leave me tired but it’s all kind of exciting!


*I know there are liver meridians that go from somewhere not too far in toward your nose from the inside point of each eyebrow down all or most of the way but I’d need to consult with an acupuncturist as to whether those are the two I’m currently opening.

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J2P Monday: A reorganizing body

English: yoga posture forward bend I took this...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The farther I move toward wellness, the more I am convinced that a healthy, open flowing body is just as important to becoming peace as having a mind that thinks peaceful thoughts or being a person who meditates, etc.  So I wanted to come back to J2P Monday with a post about opening the body.

Long ago I posted about muscles and their interconnections.  In that one I explored the way a muscle pulled out of alignment and/or tightened up in one area can wind up impacting muscles all over your body if it’s not healed.  Currently I’m experiencing the opposite impact of interconnectedness:  when muscles start unwinding in one place, muscles in other places start being released as well.

I began practicing yoga in 1985, several years before I began getting regular body work.  I knew my muscles needed some stretching but I didn’t yet know every single muscle was knotted up like steel, all the muscle groups were glued together, some muscle groups were glued to bones and knotted patterns were layered and crisscrossing one another.  By then so many years of twisted muscles added up to numbness.  I really had no idea how bad it was.

The first big surprise came after about two years of yoga.  I’d hit 5’5-3/4″ around age 15 and stayed there.  In 1987, at 34, I started dating a fellow who claimed to be 5’5-3/4″.  Since I was clearly taller I said that couldn’t be.  So we measured ourselves.  I’d stretched to 5’7-1/4″!  At that point I figured I’d just about finished healing my muscles.  HA!!  I’d mostly just stretched the glued-together muscles enough to be taller.

A couple years later I began regular deep tissue massage treatments from a woman who specialized in tough cases (doctors sent people to her when they gave up)–and eventually named me one of the top 3 toughest she’d ever encountered.  As she worked, I’d periodically realize I’d lost my sense of balance in the standing yoga postures (all of which require some degree of balancing to hold them steady and without falling over).

Twenty-six years later I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve had to recalibrate all those postures to suit changes caused by big releases in my muscles.  One area opens and many things start moving in the body.  Suddenly the combination of muscles I use to balance and how I hold them no longer keeps me steady.  Each time it happens I have to re-learn those postures and my sense of balance in them.  Kind of a nice metaphor for how spiritual growth requires regularly re-tuning your life.

English: This is a corrected version of an ima...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many practitioners over the years noted my tilted sphenoid.  The sphenoid is a bone more or less in the middle of your head, behind your eyes.  Most of the muscles you use to chew are attached to it, so if it’s tilted it’s pulling all of those muscles out of alignment.  Those muscles connect into your jaw and from there into muscles that go down into both sides of your neck and then through various interconnections all the way to your feet.  If it stays tilted (and craniosacral practitioners treat a LOT of people for tilted sphenoids) it eventually impacts down both sides of your body from head to toe.

For me that tilt was just one of a number of crisscrossing patterns in my head and a number of them connect(ed) to other places throughout my body.  My sphenoid is now more or less straightened and that system of muscles is sorting itself out.  A few knots in my head open and an hour or two later something snaps open in my shoulder or stomach, hips, groin, knees, ankles, feet…  Many bones have been held out of alignment.  So as these muscles open there are shifts occurring as every muscle and bone in my body adjusts to each new release.

One thing I see ever more clearly is how the healing of my physical issues has been central to my journey of spiritual and personal growth.  All my blocks and issues were written on my body and only by healing it can I open the energy flow and connect with my divine self.

Not only have I re-calibrated my balance as my muscles released but the way I experience energy and how it flows from practices like The Eight Key Breaths and The Five Tibetan Rites keeps changing as well.  When I began this journey I could sense an overall calm and a kind of general uplifting of energy from affirmation, meditation, practices, etc. but nothing more refined.  As my muscles open, I continually feel more nuances.  Sometimes it’s an awareness of energy flowing in many places where I’ve never felt it before and sometimes it’s an awareness that a particular chant or practice ignites one specific chakra or builds energy in one part of my body more than others — and sometimes that changes the next time a bunch of muscles open.

The more I feel these many nuances, blessings, and benefits of healed muscles and a body that’s open to allowing the flow of prana (vital force energy) to move freely through it, the more I feel this aspect of the journey is much more crucial than it’s often given credit for being.

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