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The culture clash between winter solstice and Christmas is battling for my allegiance. On the one hand, the sun will set on the winter solstice today in Seattle at 4:20 p.m. This time of year, I am ready to pack up the day and begin my long winter’s nap by 7:00. On the other hand, that seems laughable. Who has time to go to bed at 7:00? This is the frenetic holiday season. Too much to do! Not enough time! Additionally, I find myself fighting the darkness. I sit in front of my light box as I work. In the evenings, I turn on all the lights and crank up the music to fend off a desire to hibernate while I push forward in accomplishing the items on my to-do list. Yet my body refuses to be ignored. It is allying against me and siding with circadian rhythms that dictate darkness...
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in Self Care 781
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In my last blog post, I shared that radical self-care is the only thing keeping me going through a difficult transition. Christine Valters Paintner, whose job title is “Online Abbess and Dancing Monk” of Abbey of the Arts, shared in a recent blog post her ideas for how to savor summer. Her suggestions and questions for reflection struck me as tangible applications of what I wrote about previously. Below is an excerpt from her article to spark your creative exploration of self-care. I will certainly add some of her recommendations to my regimen and look forward to savoring summer. To read the full piece, go to http://abbeyofthearts.com/blog/2016/07/17/savoring-summers-sweet-slowness-a-love-note-from-your-online-abbess/ Summer calls me to relish the gifts of slowness, attention, and wonder. The season immerses me in the sacramental imagination—the recognition that everything is holy, everything shimmers with the sacred presence if we only slow down enough to see. Let's celebrate summer's gifts with...
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in Healing Touch 1458
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For years I have been writing about the importance of self-care. I have also been practicing what I preach—most of the time. I have the basics covered such as eating healthfully, exercising regularly, meditating daily and allowing sufficient time for sleep—usually. Except when life gets busy and I take short cuts. The problem with short cuts in self-care is that you really do “get out what you put in.” Currently, I am going through a challenging life transition that will upend almost every aspect of my life. I have clung to my own self-care advice like never before and have practiced it fervently during this unsettling time. And guess what? Self-care really works! Exercising hard five to six times a week rids my body of the physiological impacts of stress. Meditating clears my mind so I can think straight. Avoiding sugar keeps my moods more even. That last one is not...
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By Guest Writer Holli Brown, BSEE, LMP-NCTMB, HTCP I recently returned from an advanced training class in energy medicine. I learned many new techniques and new aspects of the chakras and energy field that increased my awareness and understanding of how we hold and manifest dis-ease in our lives. Do you know that saying, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears”? My personal philosophy is: when the student is ready, the information, situation, client, opportunity, challenge appears to help that student consciously evolve. “Teachers” often come to me in different forms. “They” are not always a person, but as of late, a concept of self, a holding that needs release, a belief that needs healing.   The beauty of taking healing courses with other practitioners is that I get to learn new things from the teacher and other students as well as get to work on my own issues as...
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in Healing Touch 2256
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It is shocking that I am an energy medicine practitioner. At least, to me it is. Five years ago, I would never have imagined that I would open my own energy healing business. Even sitting in the Level 1 Healing Touch class I could not have imagined it. Within ten minutes of class starting, the instructor explained the energy system: the chakras and auras. I sat there thinking, “What the heck am I doing here?! I have no idea what to think about chakras and auras!” It sounded so woo-woo and I struggled not to roll my eyes and heave deep sighs. But sometimes we are led down unexpected paths, and this was all Universal Energy/Source/God’s doing. On the surface, nothing about my previous experience prepared me for this change of career. I started in theatre administration, then moved to human services and finally stayed home for a number of years...
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in Self Care 2706
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I have an amazing gift. I can find a parking place in front of wherever I am going probably 75% of the time. I live in a big city where parking is a major issue. I say out loud, “All right parking karma, I want a spot right in front!” It is truly amazing how often I get what I ask for. It has become a bit of a joke. People want to take me with them just so I can land them a good parking place. A prevailing belief in the Energy Medicine, quantum physics and self-help worlds is that we shape our realities with our thoughts. I wonder, what would happen if I asked with such confidence and clarity for other things? Jan Engels-Smith writes about prayer in the latest issue of Energy Magazine and defines it as simply being “focused energy with strong intent.” If you have ever...
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Summer has ended. Most of us are saying good-bye to the vacation season and easing (or some of us are being thrown) into the new fall rhythm—school, refreshed energy for work projects, activities that resume once everyone is back in town from far-flung adventures. But how many of us truly rejuvenated during this summer season? After my family’s epic road trip (see previous blog post: The Epic American Road Trip), I was exhausted, cranky and in need of space to myself. So I took it. It felt like a matter of survival—not just for me but for members of my family as well. As the saying goes, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” I squeezed in three days to myself. It’s a funny thing, going off on your own with idyllic dreams of recharging and rediscovering your best self again. Reality usually hits me in the face the minute I step...
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in Self Care 2963
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It’s a part of our American culture: loading the kids and all manner of gear into the car and then setting off down the winding road in search of adventure, family memories and hopefully really good ice cream. We succumbed to the madness this year, filling the car’s rooftop cargo carrier so full that our 11-year-old had to sit on it to close it. As if that weren’t enough stuff, we couldn’t see out the back window due to the piles of camping gear. The goal was a 2300-mile loop from Seattle through Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Tetons, Hells Canyon in Idaho and home again. We found adventure. We created family memories. We even ate good ice cream. What we didn’t do was have a vacation. By vacation, I mean a time to let go of stress and the chance to rest and rejuvenate. It was quite the opposite, in...
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in Self Care 3287
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I hate waiting. I also hate to admit it. Despite years of meditating and attempting to live in the moment, despite my best efforts to be countercultural in the face of a “hurry” society, I have become a product of our instant gratification culture. Right now, it feels like I am about to die from waiting. I’m waiting for the seeds in my back yard and on my window sill to sprout into the gorgeous array of colors, textures and fragrances I have planned for my first-ever flower garden. Forces outside my control seem to be plotting against me. I have replanted the seeds three times now, both inside and out. The neighborhood cat scratched up the bachelor button starts while leaving a gift I neither needed nor appreciated. Birds plucked up the Chianti sunflower seedlings. Rambunctious boys playing a game involving soccer balls and scooters decimated my calla lilies. I...
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I choked the other day. Not literally on food. I choked on my words. They were on the tip of my tongue, mostly formed. But they sounded so self-promoting that I couldn’t get them out. I had given a free Healing Touch session to the receptionist at the integrative health center where I have my practice. This receptionist doesn’t work for me, but she sits at the front desk three days a week, greeting everyone who comes through the door. My intention in giving the free session wasn’t altruistic. My intention was that she understand what I offer so that if ever the topic came up in conversation with clients of the center, she could point to my business cards and with authority tell the person how fabulous my work is. That’s great marketing, building up your referral base. However, I’m not sure the receptionist was even aware of the partner-in-crime...
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Mud squished cold between my toes in the shade, but iridescent green moss that had warmed in the sun eased the chill as I weaved my way barefoot through the labyrinth. I had retreated to a small island off the coast of Washington state to find my grounding again. The rush of life had depleted my energy to the point that I truly was not fit for anyone else’s company anymore. Time to take a break and recharge. The labyrinth is laid in beach stones in a small clearing surrounded by wild rose, Douglas fir and alder trees. It is as beautiful a sanctuary as any great cathedral. Mother Nature seemed to be thumbing her nose at my calendar which indicated it was the beginning of March. She was cavorting as if it were mid-spring, not still winter. She dared me to take off my shoes and socks and walk the...
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in Self Care 2938
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If you’re like most Americans, the words “Valentine’s Day” conjure up images of red and pink hearts decked out in lace. Or chocolate. Or flowers. While I love Valentine’s Day as much as the next romantic, the trappings of our modern Valentine’s Day hardly reflect the original story, except for love notes. Mists of legend surround St. Valentine, clouding who he was and what he did. We know he was a priest. We know he lived in Rome in the third century under the rule of the cruel emperor Claudius II. Beyond this, myth becomes stronger than fact. But it’s at this point that I become charmed by his story. One version claims he was a healer, using herbs and salves along with prayer. Because of his Christian beliefs, he healed in secret—the penalty for being a Christian in Rome at that time was death. A prison guard brought his young,...
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So. It’s February. We are one month into 2015. Do you remember your New Year’s resolutions? Frankly, I don’t. I think they had something to do with losing the weight I put on over the holidays (should have followed my own advice in the blog post below entitled “The Holiday Food Battle”). But really, does it matter? The point is that we reflect on what we want and need in life, and then work toward it. We can do that anytime. As an energy medicine practitioner, assessing what I need to stay healthy and well is a necessity on a daily basis, not just annually. Energy Magazine has created a Self-Care Kit to encourage us in caring for ourselves and keeping track of our progress. It’s free. Just click on the Downloads tab in the menu above. It contains a mandala-embellished weekly planner, suggestions for self-care, affirmations, and tools for self-assessment....
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in Self Care 3561
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On a rare sunny, winter day in Seattle, I was walking in my neighborhood, practicing a core belief of the Healing Touch Program. The core belief is that we are all one—individually unique, but made of the same divine energy of the universe that connects all living beings. My neighborhood is a great place to practice this belief because of its diversity. Our mixed-income community shelters public housing renters alongside home owners in an effort to diminish the ravages of urban poverty. At first glance, the differences seem vast. Income, education, language, race, religion, cultural norms, clothing, family structures and gender roles all differ tremendously. Community signs are posted in nine languages. We are a true melting pot. But as we Americans know, while there is exquisite beauty in melting pots, they are also full of tension as competing values, histories and perceptions collide in our everyday lives. As I walk,...
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in Healing Touch 3091
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T’is the season to count our blessings. While Thanksgiving encourages us to give thanks on the fourth Thursday of November, counting our blessings throughout the year is a practice that enlivens us and fills us with joy. Gratitude shifts our perspective from what we lack to the abundance we already have. Research demonstrates that gratitude makes us happier. Studies done by Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami found that “gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.” Our thoughts and emotions influence our energy systems. Therefore, focusing on the things we are grateful for encourages a healthy energy system… Read the entire article in the November/December issue of Energy Magazine. Not a subscriber? It’s FREE! Just...
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in Gratitude 2836
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I was standing in the grocery store aisle, surrounded by black and orange. All I needed was a gallon of milk. But in order to pick up a gallon of milk, I had to traverse through a maze of black and orange Halloween merchandise, including piles of candy. Despite my passionate embrace of healthy living and eating, I’m a sucker for chocolate Halloween candy. I sighed a deep, bone-shaking sigh, knowing the holiday food battle had begun. Every year at this time, I have a little pep talk with myself about holiday eating. It generally goes like this: “Remember to eat mindfully and enjoy your food.” “Make sure half your plate is full of vegetables.” “Treat yourself, but in moderation.” “Stop when you are full.” That’s great advice and when I follow it, I feel pretty good both physically and emotionally. Not choosing to follow my own advice and resist temptation is...
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This piece, submitted by Diana Wright, depicts her journey in the practice of Healing Touch.By Diana O. WrightOne morning in late April 2013, I was lying still, barely awake, asking God what I, a retired English teacher, should do with my life in a new city. The phrase Healing Touch (HT) popped into my mind and refused to leave. I tried all day to push away those words, but they clung to me for dear life. Finally, I looked up the class calendar for this spiritual energy-therapy modality and emailed my friend Jean to ask about prerequisites, expecting—and fearing—that I would not qualify. Jean’s reply surprised me: “You need a compassionate heart, a willing spirit, and two hands—and you have all those.” I registered for the first Level 1 class that fit my schedule, which meant a wait until August. It was worse than waiting for Christmas when I was a...
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