Dancing in the Shadows: Healing my Relationship to Pain

The Guest House by Rumi


This being human is a guest house.

Every morning, a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness, 
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor. 

Welcome and entertain them all! 
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows, 
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture, 
still, treat each guest honorably. 
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight. 

The dark thought, the shame, the malice, 
meet them at the door laughing, 
and invite them in. 

Be grateful for whoever comes, 
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

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Living in Harmony with Nature

I have had an image of a way to work with plant medicine floating around my brain for the past few months. The image is of a plant and human side-by-side. The plant (say a flower) has roots, stems and leaves, and a flowering top. The human looks just like you would imagine. What if we worked with plant medicines in a way that reflected this image? Plant roots to nourish our arms and legs, our root chakra, to ground our energy. Plant leaves to support the internal organs, the fluids like blood and lymph, the bones. Flowers and tops of plants serve to balance the head, the mind, the emotions, the energetic system. 

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The Healing Process: simplicity

As I learn more about this process of healing, there are a few themes that I am beginning to see repeated back to me.  I talked a bit about cycles last week and it has been my experience that the healing process (or journey) really follows this same pattern of cycles.  One theme that I revisit over and over again is simplicity.  

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A Meditation on Fear

Just sit.

Notice where you feel hard and sit with that.

In the middle of the hardness, you’ll find anger, sit with that.

Go to the center of the anger and you’ll probably come to sadness.

Stay with the sadness until it turns to vulnerability.

Keep sitting with what comes up; the deeper you dig, the more tender you become.

Raw fear can open into a wide expanse of genuineness, compassion, gratitude and acceptance of the present moment.

A tender heart appears naturally when you are able to stay present.

From your heart, you are able to see the true pigment of the sky.

You can see the vibrant yellow of the sunflower and the deep blue of your daughter’s eyes.

A tender heart does not block out rain clouds, or tears, or dying sunflowers.

Allow both beauty and sadness to touch you.

This is LOVE, not fear.

Using Plant Allies: lavender

Lavender has been one of my favorite plants to use therapeutically for the past few years.  I love the smell and even the taste when mixed harmoniously with other plants and foods.  I recently moved into a house that has a handful of large lavender plants in the front yard and they are just starting to bloom.  Lavender has wonderful healing properties, some of which I will share here.  There are many ways to enjoy and prepare lavender.  

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Craniosacral Therapy Part II: The Process**-From Chaos to Wonderment

I had the opportunity to attend an intensive craniosacral therapy program last week in Truth or Consequences, NM.  This intensive is one of many week-long programs hosted by Integrative Intentions, a unique organization that offers therapy programs that combines craniosacral therapy with group dynamics, water therapy, and equine therapy.

One morning, in our daily group meeting, the concept of transitioning from chaos to wonderment came up.  This concept became a theme for the group over the course of the next few days.  As these things often happen, I began to come across this concept in books and conversations.

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Pain and Power: an unexpected relationship

Where there is pain, there is also power.

Sometimes it takes extreme pain for us to begin to pay attention to our bodies and their messages.  However, when the decision is made to engage with pain and the process that unfolds, power emerges.  And it is there, that place where the most pain lies, that the most power also resides.

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A Few Thoughts on Forgiveness (and... go take a VACATION!!)

“To begin to forgive, it is good to forego for a while.  That is, to take a break from thinking about the person or event for a while.  It is not leaving something undone, but rather more like taking a vacation from it.  This prevents us from being exhausted, allows us to strengthen in other ways, to have other happiness in our lives.”

~Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women who Run with the Wolves

I have found that forgiveness, whether of self or another, is often an integral part of a healing journey.  Forgiveness does not happen once and it is done – often we revisit forgiveness in many ways and from many angles over the course of life.  The interesting thing that I have learned recently about forgiveness is that it is not often for the other person (you know, the one who did you wrong).  More often, the act of forgiveness happens for YOU, the forgiver.  Forgiveness is about opening the heart and while living with an open heart can be scary, it also allows us to be courageous and compassionate.

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Where does your inner compass point? Creating orientation around health

This blog post is inspired by much of my own process into creating new beliefs and orientation around health and healing.  It has been further inspired by the stories of my clients and those of my teachers.  I have spent the past decade of my life studying and experiencing health and disease through a variety of lenses and circumstances.  This has been a process that has not been linear or bathed in clarity.  It really has been a process of sitting with many viewpoints that seem opposing and finding my own self within the sea of facts, opinions, and theories.  A few weeks ago, there was a pivotal moment in this process for me.  It all seems so simple when I look back at it now.  

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Craniosacral Therapy Part IV: Trauma, Resolution, and Resources

I briefly mentioned trauma in the last post about the Mind Body Continuum and I would like to expand on it in this post.  Craniosacral therapy is an excellent therapy for all types of trauma, whether emotional, spiritual, or physical.  Due to the inherent respect of craniosacral therapy, a safe space is intentionally created by the therapist which will allow the body to follow its inherent wisdom in finding resolution for unprocessed trauma.

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Craniosacral Therapy Part III: BodyMind Continuum

In this third part of the series on foundational aspects of Craniosacral Therapy, I am going to elaborate on the bodymind continuum.  While craniosacral therapy deeply affects the physical body (read more about the basic anatomy of CST here), it is also one of the best therapies that I have found to work with the bodymind continuum.  True healing is expressed when there is harmony between all aspects of oneself – Mind, Body, Soul.

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