stress

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/

Yin Energy and the Changing Tide

Life Coaching: MySoulPurposeProject.com 
Bodywork: InBalanceTherapeutics.net 
Music: WendyDarlingandtheLostBoy.org
Cape Elizabeth, Maine

A couple of week’s ago, my daughter asked me to do a tarot card reading for her. She had been on a few dates with someone new and was feeling uncertain about where the relationship was headed. She wanted to know what he was thinking and feeling and if her intuition was correct. She believed they were no longer clicking, that he was pulling away, and she wasn’t sure what to do.

After drawing the cards, the message came forward. The man, who had seemed so promising at first, was dealing with a number of personal issues. The cards suggested that my daughter give him the needed space and although she didn’t have to push him away, she also didn’t need to get involved. If and when he was ready, he would come to her. 

Her job was to focus on nourishing and growing herself, separately. That way, no matter what happened with the current situation, she would be evolving into a more beautiful and self actualized person who would inevitably attract the ideal partner when the time was right. 

I thought it was wise advice and realized that I had been nurturing my own growth in much the same way recently. 

Ever since Covid arrived and we have been forced to social distance, a lot has changed. I am no longer able to get together with family and friends in the way I used to. My band cannot perform live. Restaurants are limited or closed. I can’t work out at the gym. There haven’t been any concerts or fairs and a limited number of sporting events. In essence, there isn’t much to do.

This has become increasingly frustrating. However, there have been a number of silver linings. I have been offered the time and space to slow down and reflect, to sleep more, to read, to take daily walks, spend more time outdoors, cook healthier meals, and rest. In essence, the pandemic restrictions have allowed me to embrace the Yin energy which is often overshadowed in our modern lives.

“Yin energy is considered feminine,” says an article on peacefulmind.com. “Yin is very contracting, passive, languid, inward, and heavier. Unlike Yang, Yin is slow moving and contracts inward.” Some common properties of Yin include: earth, moon, darkness, water, female, space, matter, rest, growth, and contraction. Yang energy, in contrast, contains the elements of sun, light, fire, activity, male, and expansion.  https://www.peacefulmind.com/project/yin-energy/

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine World Foundation, “Everything contains Yin and Yang. They are two opposite yet complementary energies.” and “ Although they are totally different—opposite—in their individual qualities and nature, they are interdependent. Yin and Yang cannot exist without the other; they are never separate.”  https://www.tcmworld.org/what-is-tcm/yin-yang-theory/

The more thought I have given to this concept of Yin and Yang, the more I can see its relationship to what is happening in the world right now.

The Covid crisis is perhaps Mother Nature’s way of rebalancing her energy. Our planet and its inhabitants have been heading down an unhealthy road for quite some time. As a culture, the pace of our lives has continued to increase to an almost break neck speed. We can’t sleep. The rates of anxiety and depression are at staggering levels, and we constantly feel rushed. We take more medication than ever and we spend less free time with our friends and loved ones. 

The earth is also suffering as our outwardly aggressive energy and lifestyles demand too much and give too little. It’s as if we’ve been stuck in Yang energy for much too long and can’t reverse the inertia on our own. No matter how devastating this pandemic has been, it seems to be a necessary step in the healing and rebalancing process. 

The tide is turning, as it always does, and we are being forced towards a more passive and reflective approach in order to survive.

As fall quickly descends into winter, I have had feelings of dread.  The virus is not yet under control. People are fed up with restrictions just as the weather is forcing us indoors. Covid cases are rising. The darkness and cold are lurking, and yet, I have felt an increasing sense of peace and joy coming from a deeper level. 

Perhaps it is my inner wisdom assuring me that all is as it should be, or maybe, like my daughter, I am getting the message that now is the time to focus on myself, to slow down, to grow, to create, and to heal. I do believe that within this contracted state, I will have the opportunity to envision, plant and nourish the seeds of a brighter future.

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

 

Meditation for Beginners

Meditation Blog Pic

As the pandemic continues, a lot of talk has turned to mental health. How are we faring at home, void of social contact, stripped of our normal routines, off balance and isolated? How is our anxiety level as we contemplate our financial future, our careers, the safety of our re-entry into the world? Although we are resting, spending quality time with our families, eating well and spending less, many of us are struggling to stay positive and keep our minds on a healthy trajectory. The length and uncertainty of the situation is wearing and there are days that it is hard to hold up the positive.

I have been doing well for the most part. However, there are times when the anxiety creeps in and there are nights that I do not sleep soundly. There is also the added pressure I am putting on myself to be productive, to use this time wisely and find ways of bettering myself. I have been working towards strengthening my ability to put positive thinking to work, to attract what I really want from my life. My belief in the “law of attraction”  is unwavering. However, it is only as good as the vision itself and I have also been seeking ways to get more in touch with my life’s purpose.

All of this searching has led me to consider the benefits of meditation.

According to a report published by the Mayo Clinic on April 22, 2020, meditation has numerous benefits, ranging from the reduction of anxiety, depression, insomnia, and chronic pain to the increase of imagination, creativity, patience and self-awareness. 

Full article: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/meditation/in-depth/meditation/art-20045858)

I have known about these claims for years and have wanted to integrate meditation practices into my life. However, creating a consistent routine has not happened and it is only through the current crisis that I have realized now is as good a time as any to give it a try.

Through my research I am finding that there are many forms of meditation and it can be easy, simple, and fun. It can be done anywhere for any length of time and can be tailored to your individual taste and lifestyle. For example, some may find a form of meditation while participating in a challenging physical activity, learning a difficult piece of music, walking in nature, or staring into the flame of a favorite candle. Once we become more practiced, we can bring meditation into the daily workings of our life and use it to achieve more mindfulness and peace.

In her book, Meditation: Easy Techniques to Help You Relax and Focus, Jan Purser outlines different types of meditation such as breath-watching, visualization, mantra, music, walking, and object focus. She gives the reader different options for posture and breathing and exercises to get your practice started. She describes how some may want to use music as a way to still the mind while others may be attracted to the use of color, crystals, or essential oils. 

Whatever method you chose, the results are sure to prove valuable. Like most things, if you set the intention and then show up, you’ll experience the desired outcome. It can be that simple.

I plan to practice meditation for at least one month starting today. I’m excited to try the various suggestions presented by Purser as well as to create a few of my own. I also plan to keep track of any changes I notice through journaling (which is a daily practice I already have underway) to note how my anxiety levels, sleep, and connection to my inner self may be affected. I encourage you to do the same. After all, if even a few of the benefits shown in the studies prove true, it may be just the panacea we’ve needed all along.