Sunday, January 22, 2012

Running on Empty?

Running on Empty?

“There is more to life
than increasing its speed.”
     As I sat down to write last week's newsletter, I discovered that my computer was running on battery power, the power supply was not working and the keyboard and track pad were going haywire. This computer issue made me aware, in a very tangible way, just how important it is that we have ways to recharge our batteries. We just can't run indefinitely on battery power!
     The fix for my computer was easy, I just had to buy a new battery and put it in. That fixed everything! I found myself thinking alot about recharging, refueling, and regenerating and wishing that it was this easy to recharge my personal battery. Our lives seem to demand that we be on the run all of the time, always on the move. And we end up running on empty. We can only run on fumes for so long. 
     How do you get back to your best self? What is it that recharges your battery? How do you restore and regenerate? It is important that we take the time to know what recharges/refuels us and that we find ways to enhance our well-being by supporting ourselves during times of stress. It will make everything you do so much easier.
     For me, it is all of the good things that I do for myself regularly that recharge my batteries-yoga, daily meditation, eating good healthy food, fresh air, mindful breathing, loving my family, reading uplifting and inspiring books, daily self-help, etc. And to really recharge my batteries, regular Jin Shin Jyutsu gives me a jump start back to harmony and balance. I love that I have so many ways at my fingertips to bring balance to my BE-ing.

   Jin Shin Jyutsu is likened to a pair of jumper cables applied to a dead battery. To restore the natural flow of energy and release the safety energy locks, our hands are used as jumper cables. The battery comes to life when the “jumper cables” are attached, and our engine can run once again.
   The following Self-Help Tip is a great way to Quietly Regenerate Body, Mind and Spirit. Give it a try. 

Self-Help Tip:
 The key to Quietly Regenerating is Safety Energy Lock #25. It is located at the sit bones. Anatomically part of your pelvis (the ischial tuberosity), the sit bones are quite literally the bones under the flesh of the butt that you sit on.
Holding the 25's will relieve bodily tensions, lower back tensions, knee and leg discomfort while helping you maintain alertness and memory. This flow filters out all toxins released during physical activities and removes tiredness from the body to enjoy the benefits of exercise. The 25's relieve mental tension, bring us an energetic mind and a sound body, and takes care of our overall sense of vitality.
It is said that holding the 25's for 20 minutes per day does the equivalent for maintaining the body and mind in good shape as an hour and a half hour jogging session! The 25's can be helpful in appetite balance, to support weight loss and will clear out the colon. 
Simply Sit on your hands (with the palms up or down, which ever is most comfortable for you). I do this simple flow myself most nights while watching TV with my family. If it is too hard on your hands to sit on them, I find that doing this while lying in bed is pretty easy too! The longer you can sit on your hands/hold your 25's, the more grounded you'll feel.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

To Peel is to Heal

To Peel is to Heal

 “Life is like an onion:
you peel it off one layer at a time,
and sometimes you weep”
~Carl Sandburg
I love to cook and garden. In fact, I grow lots of the food that I cook for my family. It is all part of my holistic and sustainable approach to life. One of the constants in my garden, my kitchen and my healing practice is the Onion. So today, I share some thoughts with you about Onions. 
Even now, in the dead of winter, there is green in my garden, the green tops of onions making ready for the coming Spring. I love when the garden is blanketed in snow and yet the green onions and garlic tops are peeking out of the snow... hope springs eternal and these bits of green are my reminder that that which appears to be sleeping is indeed working underground. 
My kitchen pantry is never without onions. Cooks know that for most dishes, the addition of onion harmonizes, improves and enhances the flavors. I have been known to say that if I have onions in the house, I can make something out of nothing... it is indeed a magic ingredient. “Banish the onion from the kitchen and the pleasure flies with it. Its presence lends color and enchantment to the most modest dish; its absence reduces the rarest delicacy to hopeless insipidity, and dinner to despair.” -Elizabeth Robbins Pennell

In the kitchen at this time of year, the onions from last summer's harvest, like their relatives out in the garden, are thinking about growth as well. Peel back the papery layers and slice the onion in half and you will find a bit of green deep in the center. Hope Springs Eternal, while these onions are destined to be eaten, they are ever ready to begin the growth process again.
Peeling the onion is a common metaphor for healing. Edgar Cayce taught that "we are like onions and each of our layers looks very much like the one before. But as we peel the onion, we get closer and closer to the center: to the heart of the matter, the core themes that are pervasive in our lives."
from the New World Encyclopedia: "The expression 'layers of the onion' is used to describe a situation in which it is possible to go deeper and deeper revealing seemingly similar layers until a central core is reached."
Lately, I've been thinking about this metaphor as I work with clients and as I work through my own healing process. Imagine the papery outer layers of the onion.. they peel off easily  to reveal more layers. Each time we get through the next layer, we learn more about ourselves and become stronger. And we think, Ahhhhh, I've done it, gotten though, smooth sailing now! But since this process is like an onion, you pull off one layer, and there is yet another layer! Our work is to get to the innermost core, the deepest layer. But we must work our way thorough the outer layers first. We peel back one layer only to find a juicier one underneath. In my kitchen, I am reminded that occasionally there is a nasty yucky layer between two perfectly edible layers of onion and once I wash that messy part off, the rest of the onion is good to use.  
We must remember that each layer brings us closer to the center. And in that center, is the promise of growth, the potential for a new life. We must remember that, from the onion's perspective, those layers and layers are simply compost and fertilizer for its next stage of growth. It is the same for our healing process, all of those layers of life experiences and healing work are nourishment for the BE-ing that we are BE-coming.
the onion peels
the tears spill
the pond fills
the lotus unfolds
~ Reisha

New Beginnings

New Beginnings 

"The most sacred place dwells within our heart,
where dreams are born and secrets sleep,
a mystical refuge of darkness and light,
fear and conquest, adventure and discovery,
challenge and transformation.
Our heart speaks for our soul
every moment while we are alive.
as the whispering beat repeats:
be...gin, be...gin, be...gin.
It's really that simple.
Just begin... again."
~Royce Addington 
     The turning of a New Year is always the perfect time to take stock in our lives, to reconsider the choices that we make and to step forward to be the change that we wish to see in the world. But I invite you to see each breath that you take as an opportunity for renewal and rebirth...all day and everyday. 
     Breathworker, Danae Shanti says,  "Consider this idea: The way we breathe is the way we live.  If our breath is open, deep and full then our lives have a more flowing, buoyant quality, full and rich with connection." And isn't THAT what we all want?! 
     70% of body toxins are eliminated through breathing, it is important for us to learn to breathe freely and fully. When we breathe in this manner,  we have the ability to eliminate stress, anxiety, irritation and anger. We experience a reduction in depression, insomnia and general fatigue. We see improvements in our blood circulation, lung capacity, digestion and elimination. And when you combine the use of your breath with holding your fingers and the results will astound you. 
    The practice of Jin Shin Jyutsu teaches us that with each breath we are made new, imbued with a new awareness of our limitless life energy and awakened to our ability to partake of  Effortless Reality.
"Begin today.
Declare outloud to the universe
that you are willing to let go of struggle
and eager to learn through joy."
~Sarah Ban Breathnach

All is Bright

All is Bright
"May you have
the gladness of Christmas which is hope;
The spirit of Christmas which is peace;
The heart of Christmas which is love."
~Ada V. Hendricks

We are just days away from the Winter Solstice, December 22nd, which is both the shortest day and longest night of the solar year. The 22nd may be the the longest night but it carries the promise of Spring. The Winter Solstice is the day that the Sun’s light begins to grow again. The diminishing of the Sun’s light ends and the days begin to grow brighter and longer again until warmth and fertility return to the Earth.

The word Solstice literally means the sun stands still. It is the extreme positions of the sun at midsummer and midwinter, that makes the rising and setting of the sun appear to take place in the same position on the horizon for three or four days in succession. The Sun's path north or south appears to come to a magical stop before reversing direction.

It’s also the day, if we are attuned to the rhythm of the seasons, that we know we are heading toward more daylight and this manages to lift our spirits and has been a cause for celebration way back into the most ancient of times.

In the Jin Shin Jyutsu philosophy, it is not surprising that the color associated with this Winter-time of darkness is blue/black. The attitude of imbalance is FEAR and the harmonizer for fear is LOVE. (Hold your index finger to balance.)

This moment of transit from the old light to the new provides an opportunity for each of us to reflect on our experiences through the year and to set our intentions for the incoming year. Take this opportunity to embody the light, the love, and the consciousness that is your birthright as a Spiritual Being having this Human Experience. I invite you to embrace the darkness, to welcome the returning light and to share this love with all around you. Merry Christmas
"With mounds of greenery,
the brightest ornaments,
we bring high summer to our rooms,
as if to spite the somberness
of winter come."
~Margaret Starkey

Self-Help Tip:
Finding ways to feel grounded can be a tall order, especially with the hustle and bustle that is such a part of most of our lives. For me, the simple grounding flow of holding my 1's is where I turn daily. Safety Energy Lock 1 is located at the inner knee. Hold one at a time or both at the same time and breathe. In no time at all you will begin to feel a connectedness and calm return to your being.  Use this hold often to feel grounded and balanced. 

Of course, you could also go out into the freshly fallen snow, lay on your back and feel connected to the ground, then have yourself some good winter fun and make a snow angel! 

“Sometimes our fate resembles a fruit tree in winter.
Who would think that those branches
would turn green again and blossom,
but we hope it, we know it.” 

~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Finding Calm

Finding Calm 

     On Saturday, our daughter performed with her Community Chorus at the Mall. In case you did not already know this, the Mall, two weeks before Christmas, is a place to be avoided! We live just two miles from the Mall, but it took us more than a half hour to get there in thick, nearly stand-still traffic. Everyone rushing about and stressed to the max. Even though we allowed plenty of time to get there, we were still late. During this busy time of year it is easy to forget how to find calm amidst the bustle of everyone's stress! But did you know that just the thought of calm, of tranquility and serenity, can begin the process of refreshing the body and soul? 
     A good first step is to become aware of the breath. Awareness of breathing is an excellent, first-aid technique that will help you to make your way through difficult situations and produce many healthful benefits. Lately, I have begun to use a meditative breath exercise when I find myself at Red Traffic Light. I observe my breath rather than observing the delay and allowing stress to get the better of me. 
     In the philosophy of Jin Shin Jyutsu, we are invited observe the exhalation. This is where the breath begins. The exhale is what relaxes us and lets go of stress and tension. It is the key to clearing the body.  Moving out the old stale air and making room for the next new breath. Clear your clutter. Too many of us are hoarders of one kind or another. Many of us hoard our breath by not exhaling fully. We keep the old stuff in and don't make room for the new purified air, the abundant out-pouring of limitless life-power, our birth-right.
     The breath is the simplest and most perfect of all the tools we have for health and balance. It can be used with awareness at any moment to balance the life energy and bring us into a place of harmony and healing flow.  This simple, meditative exercise will bring about calm breathing and inner tranquility. EXHALE long and deep, then you need not TAKE an inhalation but will RECEIVE one naturally, no effort necessary. Being aware of the breath assists us to dwell in the present moment, one breath at a time.
     The Jin Shin Jyutsu breath practice, 36 Conscious Exhalations, is a great way to access this Limitless Life-Power and to establish a practice of mindful breathing. Begin by counting each exhalation. Allow your breath to unfold naturally. If you lose count, just begin again. This exercise can be done all at once, or broken into 4 session of 9 breaths each. In time, your breathing will automatically become deeper and more rhythmic. As you EXHALE, unload all the dust dirt and greasy grime that is held in your body. Exhale from head to toes. Receive each breath with awareness and appreciation. Inhale from toes to head. RECEIVE the Cosmic Energy of Abundance. Connect to the Cosmic Energy Force.
     So, next time you are stuck in traffic, or find yourself caught up in the swirl of stress- think about calm and remember your breath.

Stop the Swirl of Holiday Stress

Stop the Swirl of Holiday Stress

"The time to relax is when you don't have time for it."
~Sydney J. Harris
     We forget sometimes that the time to take time for ourselves is when we seem to have no time at all! I love this quote and was reminded of it last week when I offered a session to a stressed-out friend. Her response was, "Oh, that sounds so nice. Maybe when things calm down, I will be able to take you up on your offer." I know that a session would have helped her to find some balance in her life, to calm things down for her.
     In my experience, when we come at things from a place of balance, everything calms down. 
We need to find ways to replenish our energy, so that we can continue to take care of our kids, spouse, job, family and friends. We know that we need to take time when we feel that we have nothing left to give to the things/people that we care about!
when you find yourself caught up in the swirl of holiday stress, just stop. Hit the Pause Button. Remember your Breath. Take a moment in the peaceful center of the storm. And then Go with the Flow. 
    I encourage you to remember that peace and calm are indeed possible in the midst of the holiday season.

"Every day brings a choice: to practice stress or to practice peace."
~Joan Borysenko

Be Kind

Be Kind 
"Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret,
how to acquire without meanness."
~George Sand

    Just for today, I will be kind to every living thing. This is the next Reiki Precept that we will examine. When I wrote the article, Principles to Live By, I tied each precept to the Jin Shin Jyutsu practice of holding fingers to harmonize limiting beliefs and bring balance to BE-ing. Read more about each of the previous Precepts,  "I will let go of Worry" , "I will let go of Anger" ,  "I will do my work honestly"  and "I will give Thanks for my many blessings".

   Just for today, I will 
be kind to every living thingKindness creates connections in a way that nothing else can. The Buddhist practice of Lovingkindness has been called the "healer of fear." According to Wikipedia, "Loving-kindness is a very specific feeling – a caring for the well-being of another living being, independent of approving or disapproving of them, or expecting anything in return.  A few recent psychological studies suggest that loving-kindness meditation may impact health and well-being. One study done at Stanford University suggests that a short 7 minute practice of loving-kindness meditation can increase social connectedness. Loving-kindness meditation has also been shown to reduce pain and anger in people with chronic lower back pain. Researcher Barbara Fredrickson at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that loving-kindness meditation can help boost positive emotions and well-being in life, fostering the personal resources that come from experiencing positive emotion."

In the initial article I said that holding your Index Finger would support this precept. To my way of thinking, this precept relates to the attitude of Fear.  Kindness builds community and ends loneliness and isolation. When we feel that connection to others, the negative aspects of fear have no place to hook in to our BE-ing.  It is easy to see that adopting kindness as a practice will counteract the effects of Fear and Isolation.  Fear is a paralizing force that hinders the body's natural-motion principles. Fear includes feelings of mental confusion, frustration, depression, timidity, perfectionism, and criticism. Fear is also associated with drug addiction. Fear brings disharmony to the muscular system and affects both bladder and kidney function energy which together are responsible for the regulation of the movement of water throughout the body. Fear is limits the body's ability to move freely and translates into back discomfort and stress, and affects the functions that revitalize bones and bone marrow.

The INDEX finger is the key to FLOW. When you are in the FLOW, you are in HARMONY. There are no obstacles, no limitations, no feelings of lack, no judgement. There is perfect circulation and balance. To balance Fear, HOLD your INDEX finger for 5 minutes or until you can feel a gentle rhythmic pulsing. Even and clear. Breath easily. Relax the shoulders and smile from the very heart of you. As you hold the index finger, you ease back tension/stress and facilitate the flow of life energy throughout the body. All fears begin to melt away. Assimilation and elimination functions begin to improve. Toothaches and teething issues are eased and healthy circulation is restored. Exhale. Smile. Relax.
"When you operate from the Higher Self, you feel centered and abundant—in fact, overflowing. When you experience this abundance, your fears automatically disappear."
~ Susan Jeffers