Sleep

Voting by the Moon

Photo from the New York Times, Oct. 29, 2020

It is an important week. Human emotions are running high as election day approaches. Anxiety is mounting and we are contemplating the implications of either outcome, neither of which will solve our country’s systemic maladies. That we know will take more time. 

On top of that, we continue to face ongoing pandemic challenges and increasing seasonal cold and darkness. It has been hard to relax and move forward in an optimistic fashion.

We are also in the Full Moon phase (Oct. 31-Nov. 3) when our feelings have been known to heighten.

Last night (along with many other Americans I am sure), I awoke with a lot on my mind. I ruminated a while before deciding to get up and turn off the outdoor lighting. The brightness was peaking through the shades and preventing me from falling back to sleep.  On the third try at the switch, I realized the light was actually coming from the moon, and this got me thinking.

How interesting that there should be a full moon right now, coinciding with election day.

According to  Chani Nicholas (an LA astrologer) in a New York Times article (Oct. 29, 2020), “ It is a very significant full moon, and it is happening four days before the election and is sitting next to a planet with upheaval, change, surprise, excitement: Uranus.” 

Link to full article: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/29/style/blue-moon-wet.html

The full blue moon occurred on October 31 and we are still in its wake until the end of the day tomorrow, according to a system outlined by Yasmin Boland in her book, Moonology.  Much like the ancient (and many modern day) farmers, Boland believes that each moon phase offers a unique opportunity to perform certain activities. 

The full moon is the ideal time to release and let go, especially of people, things, and situations that are no longer working. Boland emphasizes that it is important in this phase to forgive, because “when you forgive, you release the karma and when you do that, you exit the situation.” It is one of the healthiest things we can do for ourselves. It’s detoxifying and helps us move on.

Once we let go and forgive, it is crucial to fill the void with gratitude. Focusing on the blessings in life and the things that are going right will help set the intention and direction as we move forward towards our dreams (the new moon phase is best for designing and focusing on goals).

Whether or not you believe in the moon’s ability to influence human behavior, it does seem like a good time to embrace its energy, to get rid of things we don’t need, to forgive, to extend gratitude, and to get out there and vote. 

websites:

https://www.mysoulpurposeproject.com/

https://www.inbalancetherapeutics.net/

https://www.wendydarlingandthelostboy.org/

Meditating in a Bath of Sound

Websites: Mysoulpurposeproject.com. Inbalancetherapeutics.net

Photo from The Den @ https://denmeditation.com/events/crystal-sound-bowl-healing/

I try to practice meditating everyday. I know all about its positive effects on my mind, body and spirit. Done correctly, it helps to clear my head of ruminating and unhealthy words and visions leaving space for the seeds of inspiration, creative ideas, inner knowledge, and positive manifestations. 

I want to affect more of these qualities in my life, but I have found it easier said than done.

For years I have attempted to follow the traditional methods of meditation; sit in an upright position, clear my mind of thoughts, follow my breath, relax, and open up to nothingness. It has been consistently difficult to reach inner stillness as my mind and ego are pretty powerful. By the time I sit down to practice, which is usually later in the day, the incessant inner dialogue has taken full control of the direction and momentum of my thinking.

Recently, however, I have discovered sound healing or more specifically, sound bathing. 

When I first heard the term, I was immediately enticed. I love musical tones (I am a musician) and sinking into a warm comforting bath has always resulted in a relaxed, therapeutic, and sensual experience. 

I knew I had to give it a try, and now I’m hooked.

According to a blog on alomoves.com, sound healing dates back thousands of years and “guides listeners into a deep state of relaxation using the sounds and vibrations from instruments,” such as crystal or brass singing bowls, tingsha cymbals, chimes, gongs, and tuning forks to name a few. 

“These specially tuned frequencies of sound help to bring you into a very deep state of rest and self-healing,” says LA-based sound healer Susy Markoe Schieffelin. “Each bowl is tuned to a different chakra, or energy center. When these bowls resonate with your chakras, they cleanse, they clear, they open you up, and they move energy through your body and bring you into a state of vibrational harmony. This is a time when you can return to a place of centeredness so you can let go of blockages and experience healing.”

https://blog.alomoves.com/mindfulness/the-healing-benefits-of-sound-baths

All of these outcomes can be achieved through a variety of meditation methods. However, with sound bathing, I find myself able to focus on something specific and physically feel the energy vibrate within my body. I can concentrate on what I need “to do” rather than what “not to do.” This style compliments my personality and feels more like a spa experience than a skill I need to develop.

I started tuning into the sound healing sessions online at alomoves.com a few months ago and found it easy to choose from a variety of session lengths (ranging from under 10 minutes to an hour or more), instructors (personality plays a role in the overall experience),  and formats (some are guided with words while others offer just sound). Several come in a series focusing on a specific theme and carried out over several weeks.  

Youtube offers a variety of free options as well. I like this 7-day series because it’s short, covers all seven chakras or body energy centers (one a day) and ends with a journal prompt.

This video provides an hour session without talk:

Ever since I discovered sound bathing, I’ve been more consistent in my meditation practice. I look forward to it each time as it welcomes me into a deep state of relaxation almost immediately. I come away refreshed and recharged, mentally, physically, and spiritually.

Although I’ve only been at this for a few months, I am considering purchasing a set of crystal bowls and learning to use them in my healing practice as well as part of my musical composing. My creative and healing potential is beginning to open up, and I feel like I am on the right track. All I have to do is consistently jump into an intoxicating bath of warm and healing sounds, and I’ll be on my way.

The Power of Flower Essence

Flower Essence Pic

I first got involved with flower essences about 15 years ago when I was studying energy healing for personal growth. My soul had been nagging me for years to take a deeper look, to make some changes, so that it could bloom in full. 

I tried a variety of modalities including yoga, Reiki, massage, craniosacral therapy, and nutrition and although they all helped to center my mind and calm my energy, they weren’t able to specifically address my deeper feelings. I realized there was an emotional component to whatever was holding me back and until I could temper it, I would never be able to fully heal and move forward.

The mentor with whom I was studying at the time recommended I try Essence Therapy.

I was quick to fall in love. I ordered a few bottles of the concentrated remedies from Alaskan Flower Essences (https://alaskanessences.com/) and began to experiment.  Their gentle healing energy flooded my senses in the most subtle ways and suddenly I would notice my perspective had changed or I was no longer feeling angry or sad about a particular situation. It was that easy. No talk therapy. No painful memories. No medication. No discomfort.

Many years have passed and I am once again revisiting the power of the flower essence. 

As I began to work on the Life Purpose Project (a business I started recently), I noticed that a lot of the obstacles that keep people from moving towards their fullest potential have an emotional component. I realized that even though I had developed tools for gaining insights and designing action steps, without the ability to remove the emotional roadblocks, we can only get so far. 

 

In my program of identifying and moving towards one’s life purpose, I encompass dream interpretation, tarot, collaborative discussion and planning, and lots of additional resources. I also encourage everyone to choose one or two flower essences to help them move along more quickly and easily. 

There are many excellent sources for essences including Alaskan Essences (https://alaskanessences.com/), Hawaiin Essences (https://www.janebellessences.com/), and the most widely known, Bach Flower Essences (https://www.bachremedies.com/). 

According to the Flower Essence Society, “flower essences are liquid extracts used to address profound issues of emotional well-being, soul development, and mind-body health. They are part of an emerging field of subtle energy medicine, which also includes homeopathy, acupuncture, color therapy, therapeutic touch and similar modalities.”

Essences are made by harvesting pristine wild flowers and garden blossoms and then capturing their unique energy imprint in distilled water as it is infused by the sun. The potentized herbal infusions or decoctions are then preserved in an alcohol base and further diluted before being distributed. They are administered by putting a few drops under the tongue a couple of times a day or by dropping the essence in a glass of water and sipping as needed.

Many people confuse Flower Essences and Essential Oils and although each complement the other, they are in fact very different.

According to the Flower Essence Society, “The most significant difference is that essential oils have definite aromas; flower essences do not. Essential oils work primarily through the sense of smell and its effect upon the old brain. They are highly concentrated chemical substances, many of which are quite poisonous taken internally.  Essential oils are produced from large quantities of plant material, the flowers, roots, seeds, or bark, depending on the location of the volatile oils in the plant. Steam-distillation is the most common extraction method. With flower essences, only the flowers are used and in a very small quantity. The vibrational imprint of the flower is extracted in water, which is then further diluted. Thus essential oils are a physical extract and flower essences are a subtle energy extract.”

For more information, visit  http://www.fesflowers.com/learn-about-flower-essences/what-are-flower-essences/

During the pandemic, I have experienced more anxiety than usual. I have found Bach’s Rescue Remedy to help curb the stressful feelings and keep me calm. I am also working with Bach’s Star of Bethlehem and Walnut.

I am an advocate of flower essences for many reasons, but perhaps the most powerful is their ability to balance our emotions and help us adjust to a healthier perspective through the gentle and subtle genius of nature. Sometimes life’s greatest healing gifts are right outside our door.

A Night Without TV

No TV Blog

I have never been a big TV watcher. For as far back as I can remember, I could only take so much. I would have periods of binging or try out the most popular show, but the distraction never lasted long because ultimately, it didn’t make me feel good. 

Since the pandemic quarantine, however, things have changed. 

We have been watching TV nearly every night. With the scope, variety, and quality of shows offered by Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and HBO at our fingertips, there is never a shortage of options. That, coupled with the need to escape from the world right now, makes the temptation hard to resist. The increase of stress, uncertainty, change, and loss in our current lives leaves us seeking relief, and with those distractions involving socialization unavailable, what’s left?

For most of us, the ritual of evening TV watching does the trick. It pulls us away from our thoughts about work, family, finances, the future, and sucks us into a world of make believe. It entertains us. It numbs us. 

In the long run, however, it may be making things worse. 

According to the National Sleep Foundation, watching TV before bed can have a negative effect on the quality of your sleep. Not only do you tend to stay up later to find out what happens next but the increase in programming with high levels of violence, gore, or suspense “may leave you feeling anxious and contribute to tossing and turning.” On top of that, an even bigger problem is the light emitted from the screen which disrupts your body’s natural clock and inhibits its production of melatonin, throwing off your REM sleep and resulting in morning drowsiness.

Full Article: https://www.sleep.org/articles/is-it-bad-to-watch-tv-right-before-bed/

Binge watching (even during the day) can cause problems as well. According to Jenna Birch in an article in the Washington Post, How Binge Watching is Hazardous to Your Health  (June 3, 2019), “binge-watching can affect your cardiovascular system, your vision, your socialization and your sleep patterns which can lead to other problems.”

Full Article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/how-binge-watching-is-hazardous-to-your-health/2019/05/31/03b0d70a-8220-11e9-bce7-40b4105f7ca0_story.html

Last night, we decided to take a break. 

Instead of planning our night around a new Netflix show, we spent some time chatting while cooking a special dinner. We played our guitars, went for a walk, and got into bed early with a good book. My eyes were closed before 10 and I had the best sleep I’ve had in days. 

We are not planning to cut out TV altogether, but we do see the benefits of cutting back. With the high levels of gore, violence, and suspense in the real world right now, we don’t see a need to add more. Our vow is to look for activities that are calming, healing, and relationship building. 

It’s an idea worth considering.

Photo from NBC News https://www.nbcnews.com/better/lifestyle/back-basics-how-instituting-nightly-reading-ritual-has-become-my-ncna1071391