Another healing highpoint

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You may recall last spring I had a series of CranioSacral appointments that led Robyn to refer me to an amazing, transformative healing session with Osunnike.  So much shifted, I’ve felt like the healing has been unfolding ever since.  Those appointments drained a small fund I’d put aside for some body work and it’s taken a while to collect some more.

After concentrating solely on getting work for my head and the issues in those muscles last time, I felt that this time I could use a more overall approach.  I got back in touch with Hanna, the excellent massage/body patterning therapist I used to trade with (my movement classes for her body work) and had my first appointment in ages on Monday.

The Session

Several things I love about Hanna’s work:  (1) she’s incredibly intuitive and always has the Akashic Records open while she’s working so she picks up on amazing information; (2) she’s highly trained in more than one modality and and uses that great intuition to feel which ones you need on a given day; (3) her technique is excellent so when she carries out the intuitively-divined plan, the results are great.

She started just working on some of the stuff that’s stiffened up in my body in the absence of body work and given my reduced yoga/exercise habit in the last couple of years.  As she got ready to work on my head, I suddenly got a whiff of something like an essential oil.  As the muscles around my third eye have been loosening, I’ve been experiencing moments of smelling things that aren’t there so I checked in about whether she’d just gotten out some oils.  No.

She tuned in and found a guide present who was someone close to me in a life in Roman times and with whom there’d been some connection about healing and using oils and herbs, etc.  The guide was sending a scent to help remind me of something from that time that is still holding on in my head and preventing the final opening.  I’ve run into glimpses of a life as a healer at that time in past life regressions, so it felt spot on.

At the end she got the information that I should mix frankincense and rose essential oils and use the mixture while meditating on the Roman lifetime in order to release it.  Also that I should start wearing a selenite pendant to help keep clear of some ancestral stuff that keeps cropping up because of living with my mother; it also clears energy blocks, so it seems like a powerful resource at this time.

I’ve ordered the pendant and oils and am excited.  Years ago another CranioSacral therapist put an aromatherapy mixture on me that had rose in it and I felt my entire energy flow change direction in an instant so I’m looking forward to seeing what happens!

The Aftermath… so far…

Initially I was exhausted.  Then on Tuesday, those few remaining, intertwined muscles in my eyes and jaw began unwinding, pulling against one another, jerking my face around, etc.  I could tell it was opening some spots that have been stubbornly resistant.  After a lovely week of sleeping regularly, the yanking muscles kept going most of the night, so back to sleep deprivation.

I can feel something big shifting in my energy.  Without the oils and pendant to use, I’ve been using my favorite, slightly longer, version of ho’oponopono*–one that’s good for breaking aka (energy) cords) — to detach from the Roman life.  I feel like it’s having an impact and am hopeful and excited about using the oils and the pendant.  Sometimes I find a new practice or exercise opens a door my tried and true practices aren’t breaching.

Synchronistically, as I’m back working a bit on ancestral stuff, Finding Your Roots this week focused on people from Ireland, one of whom had a Scottish connection.  I long thought my mother’s family came from Ireland but recently discovered that though they emigrated here from Ireland, they were actually Scottish; my ancestors were among the Scots who accepted land in Ireland from England in an attempt to squelch the Irish Catholics.  As far as I can tell my clan were staunch fundamentalist Presbyterians.  The type who break off and form a new church every time they don’t like the way some rule is being followed… (Funny how one of my greatest intolerances is for people like that 🙂 ).  Unlikely they were hanging out much with the Irish…

Anyway, that left my mind meandering on those Scots and then on their odd method of passing land:  the youngest son stayed home and took care of the parents while the land was parceled off to each of the other sons as they married.  Then the youngest got the parents’ place.  This, of course, eventually divides the land into pieces so small they’re not much value, which leads to offspring heading off in search of more land.  I’ve seen on an extended family tree how various members of the family moved in waves across the country after they’d divided all the land in eastern Tennessee and there was no more to acquire.

Since I’ve been dealing so much the last couple of years with the ancestral element to all my health issues, I’ve tended to be a little mad at them.  So my first thought about the waves of distant cousins fanning across the country was: they’re the ones who ruined the land and destroyed Native culture, etc.  Grrr….

But then I thought about what a huge deal it was to cross the ocean and come here in the mid-eighteenth century.  How they  went from poor peasants to land owners.  How they fearlessly  kept heading off into the unknown and starting new lives.  How strong and courageous they must have been.  Then I realized tearfully that I can thank them for the tenacity that’s kept me going through this long process of healing.  Because their legacy to me is not only the poverty consciousness and tension and negativity, but also courage and  strength and fierceness.  Something felt healed and I can imagine being able to feel honor for my ancestors for the first time.

During the appointment I mentioned how tough this journey has been and how 10 years (the unwinding muscle portion) seems like a long time.  She laughed and said it wasn’t very long when you consider I’m healing a couple thousand years worth of issues.  Good thing I have that tenacious gene!

Way back last spring Osunnike thought we’d cleared all but a few pieces of the ancestral and past life stuff affecting my head.  I’ve felt like some more cleared in the intervening time.  So I’m holding the thought that this Roman connection is the final piece to clear. And yes, I know it won’t be a final piece that means no more clearing.  But the final piece in this particular healing journey, restoring the muscles in my face and head to healthy balance.

* “Divine creator, father, mother, son as one, I, (your name), wish to do ho’oponopono between myself and ______ (name of person, issue or thing you wish to disconnect from). Cleanse, sever, cut, release and transmute to the path of pure light. [Say this next part loudly and forcefully] HA MAHIKI. We are set free and it is done.”

A second view of chilling in Marin

They have a lovely temple/meditation space in the back yard…

Note: Part of the lazy… I really posted this on my Sassy blog… You just get a different picture.

I’m beginning my second week in beautiful Marin. Time here always seems to fly by far too quickly. This place where I house sit is on a spectacular property that’s almost two acres, some of it wooded and adjoined to a county park on one side. Hills, greenery, flowers, the sweet scent of jasmine floating through the gentle air… What’s not to love?

My soul, besides feeding on the landscape, is being nourished by visits with loving friends and two new acquaintances I hope to see every time I return. For those of you who also read Amrita Blaine’s Heart of the Matter blog, I had a lovely lunch with her and so deeply appreciate that the blogging world has proved to be such an amazing network of great people.

My laptop is here and I’m trying to keep up with all the blogging—both reading and writing—but the friends and the walks and the lying in the grass to drink in the energy keep calling to me. I’ve already missed AlphabeThursday and Saturday Centus and my reading is sporadic. I hope you’ll forgive my lapses… my soul is busy being renewed. I know, I know, lesson to be learned: nourish soul wherever I am…

The eclectic path

If you’ve been reading my posts for a while you’ve probably caught on to the fact that my spiritual path has been a varied one.  About the time I started exploring metaphysics (1985) — mainly from a New Age perspective — I also began taking yoga.  I studied with a few New Age teachers and also at the Temple of Kriya Yoga and then made my way to Nine Gates Mystery School where I encountered master teachers from a variety of traditions.  The Huna teacher’s path called to me and I studied Huna for quite a while.  Unwilling to move to Hawaii, though, I never had a teacher.  Eventually I became interested in Buddhism and for several years read extensively and sat with a Shambala group and then with a vipassana group.  At the same time I was also in a Wisdom Circle with a Hopi elder.

My personal path and practice have contained elements from all those paths; I’ve particularly used lots of practices that I learned at Nine Gates which came from many traditions.  In the debate between those who say you can only progress if you “sit in the one chair” and those who argue that an eclectic path is fine, I come down mainly in favor of the latter.  However, I have two basic caveats.

First, an eclectic path often means you don’t have a lot of guidance or you don’t have access to a true master and that means you are the arbiter of your own progress.  You can follow any path, whether sitting in the chair of one tradition or creating your own journey, and do it in a way that keeps you on the surface and you will not truly progress.  Whatever path you choose you have to be willing to dance with the shadow, to explore the dark corners of your soul.  The best teachers know how to guide their students to take those inward journeys.  You can do it and do it well on your own but you really have to keep yourself moving and motivated to always be looking deeper.

Second, all paths are really not the same and some philosophies contradict each other.  If you’re going to put together a spiritual path that draws from several traditions, I think you need to be aware of the various philosophies and find a way to reconcile them for yourself or you can find yourself holding contradictory beliefs that keep you from progressing.  On your own you have to be able to sort through the beliefs and create your own system of spirituality in a way that makes sense for you.

If, like me, you like to go your own way, here’s to ya!  And your way might say I’m wrong.  Just be clear for you.

Remembering the One

I’ve been reading blogs lately, checking out what other people are writing on spiritual topics. Landed on a Buddhist blog the other day wherein the writer was ruminating on a quote from a rinpoche that said if you’d been greedy or desiring wealth you’d come back in your next life in a worse position than this one — pretty much the Buddhist version of Hell. I was stunned as I’d never seen a Buddhist condemning those who didn’t think “right” to hell. I don’t really get the thinking in any case where one religious group points fingers and consigns everyone not following their rules to hell but somehow it shocked me more from a Buddhist.

I sat around being bothered for a while and then realized I’d fallen into the trap of believing the illusion that there is a “them” who condemns people and that they are somehow separate from or different than me.   Seems one of my toughest lessons to constantly remind myself that every time I react against a group or person I am contributing to divisiveness.  Have to remember we’re all one, have to remember we’re all one, have to remember we’re all one.

Shifting the hooks

On my return journey, I was cruising along in Indiana, grooving to Alllman Bros. on the radio and chanting the lovingkindness chant. Had to giggle since I know most teachers would tell me playing the Allmans while chanting is a bad idea.  And then I smiled from the inside out; for me something about that combo did everything I needed to keep me shifted into a good space instead of drifting into travel trauma mode.

Slowed down a bit by hours of rain, I slipped to the outer edges of Indianapolis minutes before rush hour (not the plan) and found myself shifting the chant to “Om Gum Ganapatayei Namaha” (chant to Ganesha, destroyer of obstacles).  I’m not much of a scholar of these things but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t intended to remove traffic obstacles (!?!);  regardless, I flew through with relative ease, still listening to oldies, smiling to myself again at my new rocking and chanting spiritual practice.

Even though the trips in both directions took longer than they should have I arrived with less fatigue and pain than usual.  Amazing how much energy we pour into angst and how much our bodies react to tension.  For much of my journey I’ve been too ill to catch those kinds of nuances so it was powerful to feel what a difference it made to keep holding my center.

In this case as I’ve deconstructed the issues/reasons behind all those hooks for travel trauma, they’ve all been traceable to me just picking up the habits of my parents (assuming that I’m not still missing some deep seated drama).  I wove their phobias and furies together into my own version, but it added up to a whole chain of beliefs about travel and how I should react to every circumstance, including a vague dread from the get go.  Because they were just habits, it was fairly easy to shift myself into a different place just by noticing my thinking and what triggered it and deciding that I didn’t want to choose that any more.

A lot of teachings make it sound like it should always be that easy.  I’ve found that when you’re dealing with issues that are deeply embedded in your childhood and/or being, it often takes quite a bit more than just noticing to both  find them and to shift them.  I encourage you if you are looking at your beliefs and examining the origins to be kind to yourself if it takes time or seems difficult because not every step of the journey is as easy as some would say.  Every step is worth the effort though.  When you reach the point where the places with hooks jump into your notice because you’re otherwise serene, life is good.

Remembering old me

They told me I was too loud so I turned the volume down until you could hardly hear me.  They told me I cried too much so I buried all my tears and then everything. They told me I was too boisterous and unruly so I became pale and small to suit them.  I built a wall of armor with my muscles and hid myself inside.  By college I was a pretty shut down, angst ridden, introverted and shy being.  Last night I attended part of a celebration of a collective that ran a coffeehouse when I was at school; in this case a concert by a band I adored for years.*  Found myself remembering the old me.

It was an interesting opportunity to watch the new, calmer, saner more serene me meet that older version.  Many years after college I made the switch I’d long desired from using my first name to using my middle name so I had some people calling me the name I wore then, adding to the sense of two worlds meeting.  All through the evening I felt flutters go through of the shy girl who would have loved to be more a part of the coffeehouse group but couldn’t step up to say so and a bit of the old angst would peek in.  Then I chanted the lovingkindness chant to myself and became the current me again.

I like those moments that shine a light on the past and let me see how far I’ve come.  I may not have the outward signs of success that Americans usually expect but I can see a trajectory of growth and transformation that makes me proud of the path I’ve taken, the things I’ve tried, the beautiful friends I’ve made wherever I’ve gone and I’m glad to be me now.  Plus I got to see a great concert.

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* The Amazingrace Coffeehouse began at Northwestern in 1971 and grew to be a venue for national acts that eventually moved off campus.  Redwood Landing played many of their earliest gigs there before becoming a Chicago favorite and playing clubs all over town.

Grumbling gratitude

I’ve been trying for quite a while now to stay in a place of gratitude but I come from long lines of curmudgeons whose chief occupation in life is criticizing and complaining, so it’s a tough transformation for me.  I’ve managed to be less critical and to drop most of the whining and complaining but not to really move into maintaining a mindfulness of gratitude.  Lately I’ve been reflecting on it a lot in terms of some of the tougher things going on.

In the years that the vise grip around my head has been coming unwound (vise grip being composed of every muscle in my face and head being wound in knots) I’ve had muscles twitching and moving, sometimes for hours on end and often in the night, robbing me of sleep. Also has given me regular migraines.  Now I know that all of these unpleasant experiences are part of becoming well so I can find a place of gratitude for all of it, usually when I’ve had a good night’s sleep and my head doesn’t ache.

Several friends and I have been talking about the challenge of holding that centered, calm place (where I think gratitude lives) and nobody has an answer for how to hold the space when your head is splitting.  It’s the best argument I’ve found for some of the Zen and Tibetan meditation practices that involve twisting your body into a horrible position and holding it for hours.  I still don’t want to do it but I get the theory…

In a different vein, I drove to Chicago yesterday and had one of the kinds of trips I think of as nightmarish — got lost early on on a detour that got me caught in rush hour traffic, bad weather, etc.  I kept finding myself drifting into high anxiety and thoughts of how awful this was and then I kept reminding myself that actually I was fine and why did I think this was so terrible; it was an assumption I’d made about the response certain conditions required and I could change my mind about it.  By the time I arrived in the Chicago area — where there was less traffic than I’d been in in Indiana or Kentucky (that’s a first) — I was smiling to myself and thinking, “I’m grateful I didn’t have an accident or a breakdown,” and to gaze with love on the skyline as I flew past.  By the time I was hugging my friends I wasn’t thinking about nightmares.

I’m getting it down how to see and accept my reactions and move away in many circumstances but I have to say when my head is pounding or my muscles are jerking around all night I still haven’t figured out how to get myself to move away from it in the moment.  The best I’ve gotten to is grumbling gratitude afterwards.

The best laid plans

Back in those early days of following a more New Age path, my focus was primarily on creating the reality I wanted for my life.  I received a vision about me returning to writing and producing a book and the rest I added based on my desire.  Some details changed, but by and large for quite a few years the vision remained the same:  me writing a book and selling it, a soulmate husband and then children, RESTORED HEALTH, a successful and abundant and happy life….  I kept up the vision for years, determined to control exactly how my life was going to look.

The inner me had some other ideas and I’ve spent years trying to follow the complex array of beliefs that contradicted my vision and to release the stranglehold of the past.  For starters, I couldn’t even have imagined back then that the problems with my health were so complicated and immense that more than 20 years later I’m still completing the process of getting healthy.  As you might imagine, in that 20 years a  lot of twists and turns have taken me along unexpected paths.

I did complete a novel and get it published but it didn’t go anywhere and after a while I realized that I was way too ill to go off on a book promotion tour anyway.  Not long after that I began to question whether the vision I’d been clinging to was even appropriate any more. Forays into Buddhism also left me questioning whether I should even be creating a vision — it certainly led to awareness that  I was trying to control my destiny with the nails of both hands dug in and my fingers rigid with holding on.

I’ve been slowing conceding more control to the universe and trying to remain open to see what comes.  When I check in I still get the message that writing is part of my path so there’s now a second book, this time on the spiritual journey, and I’m shopping it around to agents.  But I’m also watching the unfolding of previously unforeseen paths and now I’m looking at the future as an open question.  I still have some general visions about what I want to see but I’m also aware that the many threads now unfurling have infinite possibile patterns and I’m content to let them form their own design as I move along.

There are lots of parts to this current reflection on visions and plans so more posts to follow…

The weight of words

We put a lot of importance on words and their power in our society.  I’m a writer, so up to a point I agree.  But lately when somebody goes on and on about the power of some word I think, “Hey, it’s just a word.”  A great phrase can move millions to act, a great idea expressed with the right words can lead to great change; so yes, I know that words can have power.  But sometimes I think people (including me) can get too hung up on particular words.

I think the import we give to words reflects our overly mental culture.  We place a premium on reasoning and evidence and it’s usually through language that we deduce or present proof.  We’ve largely lost touch with our intuitive selves, the aspect of us that understands without words.  All that mental activity keeps us in our heads, making it much more difficult to act from our hearts or to allow our spiritual selves to guide us.

The more I move into a more expanded space, the more I get the feeling “Too many words,”  which is a strange feeling for a writer.  I worry sometimes that my writing just adds too many more words.  I finally understand the notion many native traditions have, that words are heavy, weighing us down.  It’s in the silence that we soar.

The world view of illness

A friend mentioned the other day that she knew someone who’s been in pain so long she doesn’t think he’d know what to do with himself if the pain went away.  I imagined I knew exactly how he felt.  The last few years as I’ve been feeling better and seeing good health on the horizon, I’ve realized that I’ve fallen into a world view of illness.

Several years ago I noticed that my progress to wellness had hit a big plateau and that I wasn’t working nearly as hard as I might to move forward.  When I examined why that might be I found that — among a number of other reasons — I’d been living a life defined by chronic fatigue for so long that some part of me feared being required to go out into the world again.  I started concertedly putting together a set of practices to help me progress and worked on staying mindful about sticking to it.

Now that healthy horizon has moved much closer and again I’m aware that I’ve become so used to lying around lethargically and avoiding having much on my schedule that I’ve lost track of how to be really out in the world.  I don’t have an answer for this situation yet, but as I’ve talked to more and more people who’ve suffered long term health issues, I’ve realized that the world view of illness you take on because of it can take over so that it’s hard to imagine how life looks from a healthy place.  For now I’m not worrying about it too much as my attention is still on finishing the journey to wellness but I’m aware that I want to start watching out more for opportunities to say yes instead of n to life and to think about how I want to be in the world again.

Matching vibration

There’s a lot of talk about attracting what you want and the need to have your vibration match your desire.  Basically they’re talking about the degree to which the pattern and vibratory level of your energy (which is what you are, energy) determines your experience or what appears in your life.  If you want to change what you’re drawing into your world, you have to change your energy.

In New Age and New Thought this conversation centers around changing your thoughts because thought creates reality.  But I think actually your energy creates reality.  Thoughts have energy, so changing your thinking is one way to effect change but your whole being is energy, which means anything you do that changes your energy changes what you attract.

In this arena I think the ancients who created so many powerful practices — from chants to chi gung to yoga to pranayama, etc. — that balance and build and raise energy surpass a lot of modern thought and practice.  When you talk about changing neurological patterns, you’re talking about changing energy.  When you talk about achieving greater health you’re talking about changing energy.  When you talk about releasing old emotions you’re talking about changing energy.

Sometimes you have a block in the way of whatever new thoughts you’re trying to instill in your mind and just repeating affirmations doesn’t change it.  Energy practices can help shift your energy so that the block is reduced or removed.  I’ve been working a lot the last few years on the notion that I can change my life by changing my energy and so far it has been working really well for me.

The Key Breaths are so powerful — like the proverbial clogged hose cleared by water pressure, I can feel the energy pushing against the remaining knots in my muscles.  The knots squeeze the nadis and prevent energy from flowing and the pressure from the energy has been slowly opening many nooks and crannies.  Flying Crane Chi Gung always feels like it smooths my energy at the same time it is subtly building chi (on seeing a long time friend in California last spring she said, “You have more chi than I have ever known you to have”).  The Five Tibetan Rites create a great sense of balance.  A yoga practice that addresses all the chakras leaves me both balanced and quietly energized.   When I do the lovingkindness chant my heart feels filled with vibrant light.   All of them enhance a sense of flow.

I know they’ve all been working along with the bodywork and the triggers of release series I created (based on Robert Masters’ Psychophysical Method) to create the constant opening of all the deep level muscles.  As the muscles open my attitude changes and my thinking patterns change.  Change the energy, change your vibration.