Tag Archives: becoming whole

The Holistic Approach to Breast Cancer Featured

BookCoverImageMy book The Holistic Approach to Breast Cancer is the topic of an article published last week in the Santa Cruz Weekly. Of course I have to tell you about it.

Written by local wellness reporter Maria Grusauskas after a personal interview, the article forced me into another level of acceptance that it’s okay for people to hear about some personal business. I’m not totally comfortable with my brush with the other side being laid bare, but I wrote about a personal subject with the intention of sharing information that will help others. And, humans are curious about some of the less-than-pleasant details.

If it helps people see the options and gain a fresh perspective, I’m for it. It’s just taken some getting used to, and it continues to be humbling, so kudos to Maria for pushing the envelope. I’ve had feedback this past week that indicates people are thinking more as a result of what Maria chose to include in the article.

As for the book itself, I do weave my personal experience through the pages, but it wasn’t my preference. My first choice was to offer the numerous ways you can build your immune system, detoxify, build your strength and courage, heal on all levels, and even reverse tumors. All this without saying a word about me or how I knew anything about it! But my editor said no. “People want a human story. You need to tell them what yours is.” Ugh!

So I returned to the book and began to add personal detail. It wasn’t comfortable to do, as I’m not one to easily reveal my medical history or even my ideas about how we relinquish our power (and minds) to a system that isn’t working all that well on behalf of breast cancer. But in the end, telling the story was a good thing.

I’ve had much positive feedback about how the book helps others see things from a fresh perspective because I shared my own experiences. In fact, just the other day someone exclaimed, “And you look so healthy!” Yes indeed. The Big C isn’t a death sentence, folks. I’m here to tell you that there is health and vitality, even after having that unwanted date with the dreaded C.

Back to the point. I hope you’ll check out this feature article and spread the news to your friends and loved ones that cancer doesn’t have to be such a scary word. There are many, many options and choices that can strengthen each of us beyond it to greater health and wellbeing. I’m not the only example. There are many of us!

Wifi, Electrical Devices, and Your Energy Field

Electric WorldIn October of 2012 I posted 5 Ways to Protect Yourself from EMFs. I’d like to come to this topic again, as it’s quite relevant to our modern time and important to know what can adversely affect your energy field.

You’ve heard of the electromagnetic fields (EMFs) in our environment, which have been linked to cancer. TVs, cell phones, wireless gadgets, computers, wifi, and the newly installed “smart meter” all emit EMFs. 

Your energy field is sensitive and reacts to other energy fields. There is enough data about the long-term health effects of power plants, power lines, and transmitters to warn us that our dependence on electricity, electronics, and wireless data can have health consequences. And, there are things you can do to counter some of these potentially negative health effects.

If you use a microwave, step away from it when it’s on. (Same for dishwashers, washing machines, and clothes dryers.) Three feet is the distance at which most scientists say the EMF from an appliance diminishes. Also, move electronics away from your bed, including electric clocks and especially your cell phone or tablet. Ideally, turn your cell phone and other wifi off at night.

It might be tempting to go to bed with your tablet, laptop, and/or cell phone nearby, but it’s not the healthiest choice. You will be under a steady bombardment of EMFs for many straight hours. Likewise with electric blankets and heating pads. What happens to your energy field when you sleep underneath a blanket that you have to plug into an electrical socket? Or when your unique energy field has a nearby wifi signal beaming through it all night?

You are an electrical being with your own “circuit” and that circuit has the key to your physical wellbeing, mental alertness, and emotional health. One way to help keep yourself more balanced in this wired and wireless era is to touch down to earth once in a while. Remember dirt and grass and trees? Go outside (leave your smartphone inside — maybe even turn it off!) put your feet on the ground, breathe the air, look up at the sky.

Reconnecting with the earth is nature’s way of balancing your energy field and one of the best ways to keep your body, mind, and spirit in harmony.

 

Kirkus Review for The Holistic Approach to Breast Cancer

BookCoverImageAlthough I have many wonderful reviews of my book on Amazon.com, I’m pleased to present my first book review by Kirkus Reviews, a tough critic and trusted voice in the world of book reviews.

I waited for many weeks for this review to arrive, sometimes wondering what I would do if it were negative, perhaps reviewed by someone who “didn’t get it.” I figured I’d spend the first few days in seclusion, the next few weeks moping, and then get on with life. But, alas, it has arrived and I’m quite pleased with it. Here it is:

“In this debut memoir, a holistic healer shares her story of breast cancer and explores an array of approaches to physical and spiritual health.

Grant, a California-based holistic healer, found herself under the surgeon’s knife, facing breast cancer surgery, nearly a decade ago. In this wide-reaching guide, Grant details her personal struggle with her diagnosis, then touches on the variety of ways that she believes one can help combat breast cancer and most other “dis-eases.” “I simply couldn’t proceed blindly onward hoping surgery, caustic drugs, and radiation were enough to ‘get me back to my old life,’ ” writes Grant. “I had to give equal consideration to the importance of food, body movement, stress-reduction, immunity, environmental toxins, lifestyle, emotions, mind, and spirit.”

While it may be no surprise that a holistic healer would favor alternative approaches, Grant admits that she also had to overcome her own bias against traditional doctors in order to get better, with an acupuncturist friend telling her to “see them as healers, because they are. They are part of the world of healing and some of what they say is valid.” Thus, Grant acknowledges, “There is no right or wrong way. But there is a path that is best for you and I’m here to help you honor that.”

This accepting spirit infuses the narrative, which presents a host of holistic options in workbook style. Each chapter ends with a “Take a Moment for Yourself” section, featuring questions for self-reflection.

Grant’s book contains a wealth of information, from recipes to lists of inspirational music selections and health and healing reference works. Although this guide is largely well-organized, there is some repetition, and Grant’s personal story sometimes disappears within the larger topics she discusses. As a whole, however, this overview may be a welcome aid to those with breast cancer and helpful to anyone seeking to achieve a healthier life.

A personal, expansive tour into the world of holistic healing.”

Kirkus Reviews

By the way, my book is best in the paperback version so it can be easily used as a reference, but it’s a great deal for the Kindle currently at $4.99. It will be a valuable addition to your library, if I do say so myself.

Estrogen Dominance and Xenoestrogens

estrogenEstrogen dominance and xenoestrogens are words smart women are learning about to keep their bodies healthy and strong in our plasticized world.

Signs of excess estrogen in your body include painful or unpredictable periods, PMS, cervical dysplasia, depression, anxiety, worry, decreased libido, fatigue, weight gain in the hips and stomach, possibly cold hands and feet, and fibrocystic breasts or cancer. Estrogen dominance is partly caused from foods, cosmetics, and other products that carry xenoestrogens (fake estrogens) into the body.

Some chemicals found in plants act like the female sex hormone estradiol, our primary estrogen. Synthetic forms of this chemical are found in plastic, pesticides, dioxins, PCBs, and in drugs given to livestock and poultry to prevent miscarriage and promote growth.

To lower the chances for these xenoestrogens to enter your body and behave like estrogen, reduce or eliminate foods that come in plastic wrap and plastic packaging. This includes water you buy in plastic bottles, since chemicals in the plastic leach into food and water.

In a study at Tufts University published in Environmental Health Perspectives in 1991, Drs. Ana Soto and Carlos Sonnenschein observed that breast cancer cells placed in plastic dishes would grow quickly. Knowing these cells need estrogen to reproduce, they were curious about what contributed to the rapid cell growth. They discovered that the chemical nonylphenol, which prevents plastic from cracking, caused the growth of the breast cancer cells. Apparently nonylphenol had leached out of the plastic dishes and behaved like estrogen with the cells. Researchers then experimented with other commonly used plastics, detergents, and pesticides. They witnessed rapid growth when the breast cancer cells were exposed to these products. (See my post Breast Health through Liver Health for numerous ways to help your body clear these toxins.)

Conventionally-raised beef and dairy cows are given growth hormones. Their feed is treated with pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. When you consume conventional milk, cheese, ice cream, cottage cheese, yogurt, chocolate, and processed foods with beef, milk, or milk products in them, you risk overloading your body with xenoestrogens. (Not to mention what the GMOs are doing.) Read more about this in Milk: Does it Do a Body Good?

Organic, grass-fed beef and dairy are the better choice. If you can’t find them or if they are too costly, look for hormone and pesticide-free products. Eat organic chicken and eggs when you can find them, organic grains, and produce that is free from toxic sprays. Note that chemicals used to kill bugs and fungi on the food supply penetrate the surface of whatever they land on, including the soil. Even washing these foods well before you eat them won’t take away the chemicals they have absorbed.

Sometimes you will be in situations where poor quality food and water is all there is. I find this happens most when I travel or attend public events. Until the “food consciousness” raises in this country and truly healthful choices are accessible, we can make the best of it based on what is available. Bless your food and water then return to your organic, food-from-nature, plastic-free diet when you return home.

What About Healing Stones and Crystals?

stonesTherapeutic stones and crystals form in the earth. Each carries its own vibration. They have been valued for their healing properties for as long as recorded history and have been used for every ailment and condition. In her book The Crystal Bible, Judy Hall says, “Crystals heal holistically. That is to say, they work on the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual levels. They realign subtle energies and dissolve dis-ease, getting to the root cause.”

In my nearly three decades of delving into the healing properties of crystals and gemstones, I’ve come across people who believe it just can’t be so. How can a little inanimate object be used for healing?! What hogwash and nonsense! How can you, an educated person, take yourself seriously? But… are they inanimate objects? Are their properties felt by people sensitive enough to detect energy?

Stones and crystals have their own life force and can help shift energies within and around you. I’ve been using them for nearly 30 years and have witnessed the shift they create in others. I’ve felt it in myself and in my surroundings over and over again.

With the wide variety of healing stones and crystals to choose from, any imbalance or situation can be assisted with their use. Two years ago when my beloved 16-year-old cat Calypso died, I buried him with a piece of rose quartz to strengthen the vibration of love around his body. When clients want to access their intuition, I surround them in amethyst. When I’m working with someone who needs to become grounded and centered, I use heavy black stones like hematite or dark smoky quartz.

In my book The Holistic Approach to Breast Cancer, I added a short paragraph about stones. It’s not very “medical” or officially sanctioned, but as a holistic healer, I can’t ignore their usefulness even for serious ailments. For example, in the case of breast cancer, I’d begin with clear quartz and black tourmaline to clear old energy, and use my intuitive guidance to proceed from there. I would also consider rose quartz to help heal heart chakra issues, which helps heal old pain that might be a factor in the body’s dis-ease.

If you want to experiment with healing stones and crystals, you can first hold the stone in your hands while visualizing the outcome you desire. Then place the stone on the skin over the area of illness or imbalance, or in an area of your home or office where you want to make a shift. As I write this, I have several stones in front of me. Black tourmaline to absorb the EMFs from this computer, quartz crystal to raise the vibration, Connemara marble from Ireland (to keep the faeries happy), and a botswana agate, known for its ability to help one keep focused, organized, and pay attention to detail.

Many stones need to be cleared after being used for illness or after sitting around awhile. (Use your intuition to decide when its time to clear them. Once you’ve used the stones for a while, they’ll tell you if they need clearing.) Most can be cleared under running water, but some, such as Hematite, can absorb water so they are best cleared in moonlight or by being buried in the earth for a day or so.

Also in my book The Holistic Approach to Breast Cancer (which is an excellent resource for holistic healing in general) there is a Resources section with “Books of Interest” for recommendations on how you can learn more about healing with stones and crystals, but if you’re a beginner, I’d start with The Crystal Bible by Judy Hall. Enjoy!

The First Step in Holistic Healing: Listening

body soulOur nation’s epidemic of anxiety, depression, overeating and obesity, addictions, and general discontent is a holistic issue. No amount of pill-taking, no newly formulated prescription drug, is going to solve the problem. Though we seem determined that it will. It won’t.

It will only push the true issue deeper and ultimately cause a rupture somewhere else within the body, or the mind, or in the emotional state. Just as repairing something with scotch tape won’t hold it if the appropriate nuts and bolts are missing.

Until we begin to realize a more holistic approach, one that encompasses the physical body, as well as the emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of being human, we’ll continue to see increasing dis-ease of the body, mind, and spirit in the form of mental illness and new physical conditions we’ve yet to hear of. This might be great for the medical community profiting from our collective dis-ease, but it’s not good for you and me.

So how do we begin to make this shift from treating only physical symptoms to repairing the deeper issue? How do we begin to repair the whole person when our entire orientation has been on fixing the obvious presenting problem?

It’s a simple beginning. We begin by listening. How many times have you been truly listened to when you’ve gone to get help for a medical condition? For a nagging physical complaint, for an issue where something doesn’t seem right but no one seems to know what to do about it, or even if you’ve gone to a therapist to help you through a life crisis but you still feel you’re not quite being seen clearly, or fully understood. In these situations, you’re not being truly heard. You’re not being listened to and viewed as a whole being, because we have not valued this.

Are you seen as someone with perhaps decades of life experience behind you? With pain and loss, joy and hope, courage and fear, failures and success, all of which could influence your overall wellbeing? Are you seen as someone with both human connectedness as well as loneliness, both inspiration and discouragement? What do you eat? How do you breathe? How do you move your body? What do you do for fun? Who are the main players in your life? What are you burdened by? Do you expect to feel well? What do you get from being ill or off-balance? (There’s often a payoff…)

The answers to these questions hold an abundance of information as to how we can best heal. When we’re willing to ask these questions of others and answer them for ourselves, we’ll be on our way toward true holistic healing.

What Does “Holistic” Mean Anyway?

holisticSo… what is meant by the term holistic? Derived from the word “whole” it emphasizes the importance of the whole rather than individual parts. In the case of holistic healing, it encompasses your physical body, emotions, mind, and spirit. And in the best of cases, your lifestyle.

In recent years we’ve been hearing more about the mind-body connection and in fact there are many mind-body programs in hospitals and clinics that are very successful. Although I love these mind-body programs, I believe they are avoiding one important element: that of the spirit. The spirit is the activating life force energy within and around each living being. To neglect or ignore this is like trying to put something broken back together without the parts. It’s like trying to repair something with scotch tape rather than with the nuts and bolts it came with.

Although we’re gaining comfort with the idea of a mind-body approach, we seem, as a western civilized society, to be resistant to healing from the level of spirit. We’re even resistant to addressing the emotions as to how they might relate to our ailments, whether physical pain and dis-ease, mental illness, or the varieties of discontent associated with our relationships or lack thereof, our jobs or financial state, and even that feeling of emptiness that comes when you’ve achieved everything you thought would make you happy and fulfilled yet you still feel something is missing.

The missing piece from a holistic approach is the spirit, often ignored in our society, in fact looked upon with suspicion in many cases. It’s not understood clearly and it’s certainly not given value. Perhaps it is too tied in with religious concepts? But it’s time to address the spirit and emotions along with the mind and body, to see each one of you as the whole being that you are.

In my next post, I’ll discuss one important way to begin focusing on the whole, rather than on seemingly separate parts.

The Human Energy Field: Creating Harmonious Flow for Your Body, Mind, & Spirit

energy field interactionScientists are learning more about the subtle energy bodies that move within and around all living things. These energetic bodies or “energy fields” contain information about disharmony in your body, mind, and spirit, also known as dis-ease.

Your unique energy field responds to everything around you including your emotions (and often the emotions of others), environmental pollution, people (and their energy fields), noise, thoughts, and food. If there are imbalances in your body, they can be detected in your energy field before a medical device is able to detect them. Even cancer has its beginning in the energy field before it can be seen on an MRI or X-ray.

A weakness in your energy field can cause your mind to be vulnerable to confusion, your emotions to be unsteady, and your body can be more vulnerable to disease. When I’m working with someone with unsteady emotions, for example, I look at the energy field to see what it’s saying, where energy looks dark or stuck. (And yes, your energy field says a lot. It’s full of messages.)

Ideally, energy flows easily through the body and energy field. When it doesn’t, it’s as if the energy is blocked or stagnant. Areas of stagnation can be thought of like a river whose flow is blocked by old twigs, logs, debris, and garbage. Where the river has less flowing water, slime and muck accumulate. If the river becomes quite stagnant, unhealthy organisms grow. If debris continues to pile up, the river’s natural path has to change. Similarly, the flowing energy pathways through your body can get altered when there is stagnation.

Many subtle energy therapies create a healthy flow again, supporting your body and mind and their ability to balance and heal. Did you know “energy work” can be done at a distance? You don’t have to be in the same room being touched or “operated on” by a healer. For more information about this, see my web page. I’ve worked with thousands of people, bringing body, mind, and spirit into harmonious flow through “energy work:” creating a harmonious flow through the human energy field. If you haven’t tried it, contact me. You’ll be glad you did!

Use the Earth to Energize Your Body, Mind, & Spirit

on the earthThe earth offers us food, clothing, and shelter, but also offers healing energy to energize and balance us. “Healing energy” from the earth might sound odd, but when we connect deeply with the earth and either imagine, sense, or hold the intention to fill ourselves up with its energy and light, a natural balancing occurs. Anxiety fades, depression lifts, worries and struggles soften, and it’s easier to approach others with more love and compassion. For these benefits and more, see how often you can get your feet on the earth and use its energy to harmonize you.

In Reiki, Qi Gong, and Tai Chi, energy is drawn from the earth, but you don’t have to learn those forms unless you want to. You can do simple processes. It’s important to begin by connecting with the earth. One of the biggest maladies of our modern era is that people are not connected to the earth. This is associated with addictions, fears, and mental and emotional distortions of all sorts. Especially now when we are inundated with technology to further disconnect us, it’s wise to be aware of the life and essence of the planet beneath your feet.

In my work with clients, the first thing I do is connect people to the earth. I do this visually, which is highly effective. You can do it yourself by standing tall on the earth (barefoot is best) and imagine roots extending from your feet, anchoring you deep into the earth. Be perceptive of the energy in the earth beneath you. We have a living, breathing, powerful life force beneath us, yet who takes note? This simple practice is powerful enough to drain away excess emotions, soothing chaos and frazzled nerves.

Another way to connect is to imagine dropping an anchor of light from the base of your spine into the center of the earth. Then, bring bright light up from the earth into your body. Alternatively, sit on the ground, “drop anchor,” and absorb positive earth energy upward into your body. How do you bring light into your body or absorb positive earth energy? Imagine it, intend it, sense it, feel it. In doing so, you’re making it happen.

You Hurt My Feelings! The Victim Blame Game

hurt feelingsOnce when I was around 12 years old, my Aunt Iris said something to me that “hurt my feelings.” I can’t remember what it was, but Iris was a smart, opinionated, outspoken woman and I’m sure it was nothing other than the bald truth.

Aunt Iris loved me and I knew it. She wouldn’t do or say anything of a negative nature toward me. Yet, I told her about what she said and how she hurt me. Instead of an apology, which I expected, my accusation was met with a surprise. “NO, I did not!” she exclaimed, looking me right in the eye. “I couldn’t possibly hurt your feelings.”

“But you did!” I replied.

“Impossible!” she said. “I don’t have one iota of control over your emotions and feelings. YOU are the only one with that power.”

What in the world? Why, this was simply stunning! Aunt Iris wasn’t taking responsibility for my feelings? She wasn’t even letting me make her wrong? Instead, she stood her ground. My little adolescent heart was hurt again. How dare her!!

But, Iris had just given me one of the greatest lessons for being emotionally balanced. She was teaching me on the spot that blaming others for the way I feel keeps me weak, powerless, and victimized. Since then, I’ve realized there is nothing anyone can say that can hurt my feelings. Which doesn’t mean I don’t feel hurt over things that are said sometimes. It just means I can’t blame the other for saying them. If I’m hurt, it’s about me.

And—holy liberation—others are responsible for their own emotions, too! Their emotions are under their control, not mine. They only wish I’d take responsibility and blame, so they wouldn’t have to. Sound familiar?

Now, I’m not a TV watcher except for one twisted secret pleasure: Orange County Housewives. There. I admitted it. Maybe I find it a fascinating case study in human relations. Yes, that’s it! And those women are absolutely committed to keeping themselves victims in the YOU-HURT-MY-FEELINGS realm. They can’t see it because humans are well-adapted to blaming others for how they feel. The ladies of the OC play the victim, don’t take responsibility for themselves, and perpetuate weakness among women. (After all, how many men do you come across who accuse their friends of hurting their feelings? It appears to be a very female crutch.)

So what to do? Keep the following in mind.

Other people are allowed to comment, express themselves, and speak their minds, even when you believe it’s hurtful. Because in truth, there isn’t anything anyone else can say that can hurt you. You choose to feel hurt because you’re not accepting that what another person says is about them, and not you. Yes, they are trying to make it about you, and you might be at fault. They might be right. Even so, it’s absolutely fine for you to let others make comments and not let them affect you. Something nasty from another person comes from their pain and ignorance. Plain and simple.

So give it a try. Stay centered. Keep breathing. It’s not actually about YOU.

While we’re on the subject, stay tuned for more in the next Holistic Woman post where I’ll talk about 6 Ways to Be in Charge of Your Own Emotional Life.

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