Tag Archives: body-mind-spirit

6 Ways to Be in Charge of Your Own Emotional Life

puppet womanLast week I wrote about how we can victimize and weaken ourselves by blaming others for hurting our feelings. In fact, taking greater responsibility for our own responses and reactions to what others might say or do is a path to emotional balance and maturity.

Despite what well-meaning people have told you, other people don’t exist to make you happy and they’re not responsible for how you feel. Likewise, you’re not in this life to jump through hoops in order to make others happy. You’re here to keep yourself on your own life path in the healthiest way possible, while harming none. This is not to say you accept abuse or remain in a relationship that isn’t supportive and loving. It just means you don’t allow yourself to be tossed about in stormy seas without a sail.

Here are my basic 6 ways to get in the driver’s seat of your emotional life. If you practice them, you’ll find you won’t be as susceptible to being hurt by off-hand or unfiltered remarks from others.

1. Develop good boundaries. If you’re not sure of what you think, believe, or want, you’ll be prone to being tossed around in someone else’s stormy sea. Be mindful of what emotional “stuff” belongs to you and what belongs to someone else.

2. Be yourself. This is mandatory! You’re here on the planet to be you, not a copy of anyone else.

3. Let go of the expectations of others. This means you get to live your own life and dismiss what others think you should or should not be.

4. Allow yourself to be imperfect. Give yourself some space to be real. Offer the same to everyone in your sphere.

5. Nurture the relationships with people you can trust who accept you as you are and who forgive (or ignore) your human foibles.

6. Free your mind from the judgment that things aren’t the way they’re supposed to be. Have no doubt that all is well and in perfect alignment.

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.

Mastectomy to Prevent Breast Cancer?

WomanI’ve been asked more than a few times what I think about Angelina Jolie’s choice to have her breasts removed as a method of preventing breast cancer. Although I’ve written a book about the many ways one can prevent and heal from breast cancer, I wasn’t sure how to be diplomatic about the news that a highly influential beautiful woman, that many women look up to, had made this decision. But here it goes. Is it after the fact? Yes. But it’s still timely because many women will find themselves faced with this same choice in their future.

First, I’m not in her head, so I hesitated to judge. I’m not someone who’s lost female relatives to breast cancer, although my father, grandma, and just two months ago, an aunt, died from cancer. I’m also not someone who gives my power away to men (or women) in white coats who have medical degrees. I think for myself, despite what others might believe. This isn’t always popular and it’s not always right, but there you have it. As a woman who lived through breast cancer, as a healer, and as a writer, I have an opinion.

That said, I believe the method of removing breasts to prevent something that might never happen is misguided. It brings to mind words like self-mutilation, self-hatred, ignorance, and misogyny. Yes, it does. Glorifying the mutilation of the female body gets me riled, and I’m afraid we’ve stepped closely to glorification in the case of Angelina Jolie. “Brave decision?” The braver decision would have been to take the path of the feminine and keep the breasts.

Let’s think about it for a moment. There are dozens, maybe hundreds, possibly thousands of things a woman can do to be pro-active and prevent breast dis-ease. I’ve written about many of them. I’ve used many of them. If the body is going to produce cancerous cells that proliferate, is it logical to remove the part of the body that this activity might show up in? Shall I now remove my brain, liver, lungs, and bones because breast cancer can recur in those places? Absurd! Cancer has a root cause, and this cause is not due to the fact that a woman has breast tissue. The causes are many, from viruses to stress to pollutants and toxins. And did I just read that Angelina has spent years of her life smoking cigarettes? Not much prevention going on there.

Breasts are hugely, might I say wildly, symbolic. They represent nurturance, nourishment, sustainment, sensuality, sexuality, and woman power. Female wisdom and power has been cut down through the ages. Cut off, removed, mutilated. So when I heard that one of our influential Hollywood beauties sold out to a culture that doesn’t want feminine power to become too much, or get too big, I was disappointed. I was dismayed. And at the same time, I understand that her decision was a human one born out of fear.

Before making a major life choice, it’s relevant to focus on creating balance in your mind and emotions first, then make your decisions based on your own inner truth and on higher wisdom that stems from a balanced perspective. I know from personal experience this isn’t easy to do when you have authority figures giving you advice. It isn’t easy to do when you are consumed with fear. But we must do it to save ourselves and halt the madness that is the degradation of the feminine.

The Holistic Approach to Breast Cancer is Here!

BookCoverImage

Oh my, can it be true? After years of toil and many moons going back and forth with a publishing team, my book The Holistic Approach to Breast Cancer: Every Woman’s Guide to Health, Vitality, & Wellbeing is available! It is a relief ~ a huge relief ~ to have it out of my hands and into the world.

I was compelled to write the book. Though many times I intended to abandon it, it’s a book and story that wanted to be written. I simply couldn’t slither away from it.

One reason I found myself sitting at this computer time and again to keep going on it is because I have a load of information about how to heal from breast dis-ease. I’d done research for a dozen years. I began to realize the selfishness in keeping this information to myself. “Hasn’t all this information been readily available?” you might ask. The answer is simply, “No.” Until now…

The business of cancer is extraordinarily profitable, therefore most of us will not hear about ways to truly prevent or heal from breast dis-ease and cancer unless we seek it out ourselves. The mainstream medical establishment will give you three options: surgery, radiation, and pharmaceutical drugs with harsh side effects. These are based on a patriarchal system that devalues the feminine. I’m not talking about devaluing women, nor am I male-bashing. I’m talking about underestimating the worth of or simply ignoring the simple yet powerfully healing and deeply nourishing ways of nature that bring the body, mind, emotions, and spirit back to balance and harmony.

The Holistic Approach to Breast Cancer covers a wide range of healing methods old and new that support and encourage you to heal from within. For me, every imbalance in the body, mind, or spirit is a messenger asking us to look within, to find what needs to awaken, to give attention to those parts of ourselves that have been neglected. This is the way to heal, even from a serious medical condition or diagnosis.

This is a book worth having and giving to your friends and loved ones. Not one of us has been or will be left untouched by breast cancer through someone we know or through our own precious self. Therefore, do yourself and those you know a favor and offer them this healing information. Order here.

The Holistic Approach to Breast Cancer: Every Woman’s Guide to Health, Vitality, & Wellbeing is available now through B&N, Amazon, and other retailers. It’s also Kindle-ready. Click here to order it now. Thank you in advance for helping create more balance and harmony for all!

Chakra Health: Your Personal Wheels of Light

chaIn Sanskrit, chakra translates to “wheel of light.” The body has many chakras, but seven of these wheels of light are traditionally used for healing. The first chakra is located at the base of your spine while the seventh chakra is at the crown of your head. Each chakra has a role and point of view. In her book Wheels of Light, Rosalyn Bruyere says, “Each of the seven traditional chakras has a physical, an emotional, a creative, and a celestial component. Besides these, each chakra has its own purpose or particular viewpoint based upon the area of consciousness it influences.”

The chakras are swirling vortices, “energy centers” that connect with your internal organs and endocrine system. They affect your physical, mental, and emotional state, reacting to every thought, word, feeling, choice, and action. These energy centers respond to exercise, the food you eat, sunlight, the way you allow yourself to be treated by others, your thoughts and feelings about your relationship with the outer world, and they respond to chaos and confusion or peace and calm.

Dr. Valerie Hunt and Rosalyn Bruyere conducted studies at UCLA and found that the human electromagnetic energy field is generated by the chakras. Bruyere says, “Our research at UCLA was significant on more than one level. It was perhaps the first attempt made in our country to examine an electrical manifestation, a magnetic field phenomenon, as connected to the healing process.” She also says, “Health is generally defined as absence of disease, but this is really an unsatisfactory definition. The word ‘health’ means ‘wholeness.’ Health implies much more than freedom from disease. A complete definition of health must include vitality, appropriate feelings, clear thinking and reasoning, and a willingness to embrace change.”

In addressing “wholeness,” in striving for health and embracing change, the energy field and chakras are important. There is a flow of energy through the chakras in your body that has a natural balance. But when the body isn’t well, or when the emotions, mental state, or spiritual state are compromised, the complementary role of each chakra is also compromised. To try to heal yourself without addressing your chakras would be like trying to swim in oil. You might be able to look as if you’re doing it, but you’re actually bogged down and covered in muck.

The healthy flow of the chakras can be enhanced through what is commonly known as “chakra balancing.” Many healers specialize in the chakra system. When I see people in person, I always balance the chakras and energy field. One way you can help keep your chakras balanced is to leave your tech devices behind and go outside to sit on the earth. Connect with nature and allow yourself to be brought into balance. Breathe into your heart center. Soften your lower belly. Take a deep breath and sound out “AAAHHHHH…..” until you have no more breath. Listen to your higher guidance. Trust your intuition. You’ll be amazed at how much more centered and balanced you’ll feel.

Communing with Your Higher Self

green goddessYour Higher Self is the wise, all-knowing part of you that is connected directly to All That Is—the Divine Source. It knows why you’re here, where you’re headed, and carries much knowledge and awareness accumulated through eons of time. I believe it’s the part of us that helps us hold our integrity in life. It keeps us moving forward toward positive expansion.

In this age of constant distractions—shiny, sparkly objects catching the attention at every turn—it’s easy to become detached from the Higher Self. At worst, this detachment leads to self-abuse such as drug-use, violence, physical neglect, and negative mental states. At best, it’s a nagging feeling that you’re not living the way you were meant to.

Accessing your Higher Self connects you to your wisest self which has answers for you and knows what step to take next. Communing with your Higher Self requires that your mind be quiet enough to hear its wisdom. Being in silence, settling inward, and getting in touch with the body and breath is one path to linking more strongly with your Higher Self. Experiencing joy is another way. Real inner joy, coming from experiences that raise your vibration high enough that you transcend the ordinary mundane world, can link with your true higher nature.

We not only can touch our soul essence in meditation by tuning into the body and breath, or when we allow ourselves to be truly joyful, but we can gain guidance from our Higher Self and begin to allow it to be the guiding force in our lives. Once you’re in touch—ask, wait, listen, and trust. It’s always been talking to you, but hasn’t always been heard. So give it some practice because there is no guidance better for you than your own wise counsel.

Insomnia? Sleep Well to Nourish Your Body, Mind, & Spirit

sleepYour body heals during sleep. It rejuvenates, renews, and recharges, mending what needs mending. 10:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. is a peak time to deeply nourish yourself after a busy day. If you’ve suffered from insomnia, you can sleep well to nourish your body, mind, & spirit.

If you’re not asleep by 10 o’clock, allow yourself to deeply rest from then on–stop work, turn off all electronic devices, no food or TV. Instead, deliberately calm your mind. Read an enjoyable novel, meditate, write down your thoughts, listen to a mind-balancing audio designed for sleep–begin a ritual to send signals to your mind that it’s time to prepare for deep, restful sleep.

Getting to the root cause of insomnia and returning to balance and wholeness is the holistic approach that sustains your body, mind, and spirit. (Using street or prescription drugs is like applying a bandage that remains on the surface and doesn’t truly heal. You know it.)

Here are 16 ways to sleep well, beginning with natural nutritional supplementation.

  1. Get adequate magnesium and calcium. I take a food-based magnesium supplement before bed and within 20 minutes I can hardly keep my eyes open.
  2. L-theanine is an amino acid that calms the mind and can be taken in the morning and again before bed. It’s especially good if you have a racing mind.
  3. Cortisol Manager by Integrative Therapeutics (available online) reduces cortisol levels to lessen stress and help you sleep–important for anyone living a high-stress lifestyle.
  4. Hyland’s Calms Forte is a homeopathic remedy that can help calm nerves and promote restful sleep. Find it online or in any natural foods store.
  5. MyoCalm PM by Metagenics is a combination of herbs and minerals for overall relaxation and sleep with no side effects.
  6. Drink relaxing tea, such as chamomile, in the early evening. There are several relaxing herbal teas specifically for bedtime at www.mountainroseherbs.com.
  7. Exercise daily, even if it’s just a 20-minute walk.
  8. Avoid caffeine during the day, or have green tea only in the mornings. Even chocolate in the early evening is enough to keep some people buzzing late into the night.
  9. Clear your bedroom of clutter, including computers, electronics, and television. Some people say they have to have the TV on to sleep. Really? That is a health problem waiting to happen!
  10. Stop answering the phone in the evenings if conversation activates your mind. Turn off your phone and all wifi at night. I know, it will cause anxiety initially, but you’ll get over it in a few days!
  11. Move electronics away from your bed and if possible, don’t have any in the bedroom. I have one electronic device in my room–an air filter–and I keep it many feet away from the bed.
  12. Calm your mind and spirit in the evenings by turning off the computer and television at least an hour before bedtime. Yes! Just do it.
  13. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Your body will thank you.
  14. Write down your thoughts and feelings to get them out of your head and onto paper. This way, they don’t swirl manically through your brain at 2:00 a.m.
  15. Meditate for a few minutes before bed to clear your mind.
  16. Put some sleep inducing music on your iPod and get your headphones ready. My favorite site for the best sleep-promoting CDs is www.monroeinstitute.org. You’ll find numerous amazing CDs for every sleep issue.

Finally, turn your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary. Get the unfolded laundry out of there, pick up the papers on the floor and put them in a different room, remove anything from under the bed, get comfy sheets and change them often.

If you still don’t sleep well through the night after you’ve tried these suggestions, see an acupuncturist, herbalist, naturopath, homeopath, or holistic practitioner. Each can help you with sleep disturbances. There is great hope and a solution waiting for you!

The Power of the Mind to Heal

power of mindThe mind is so powerful that it alone can help you heal. You have the ability to focus your thoughts on what you want and how you want to feel. In each moment you can notice where your mind has gone, whether to worries, fears, judgments, and other negativity, or to thoughts that are aligned with what you want for yourself.

The first step is to have an ongoing practice of noticing and managing your thoughts. This isn’t easy to do if you’re addicted to the television culture, where mass media offers a never ending stream of negative concepts into your brain. Or, if you like to get online and read the daily headlines followed by stories of horrific occurrences around the world. Or, if you like to “trauma share” with friends and colleagues about the annoying things that happen to you.

In the case of serious physical illness, we might find ourselves in a doctor’s office listening to negative possibilities and statistics that don’t sound promising. Because we are susceptible to these predictions, we often believe the bad news and accept it as fact when it isn’t. This can hinder the ability to heal because the mind is powerful enough to create what it believes.

We hear stories about people on their “deathbeds” whose families don’t tell them what the doctors have said about their dire situation. The person gradually gets well and goes on to live a full life. The mind didn’t have the opportunity to grasp onto the negative concept of doom, and instead believed in wellness. Our unwillingness to integrate the power of the mind into mainstream medicine is a hindrance in modern healthcare. If we were masters over our own minds we could enhance and improve the entire medical system.

There are few more important things you can do than to shift your mind to the positive. Any negative thought can be transformed by focusing on its opposite. Writing down the opposite thought, even drawing it out, helps change the negative thought pattern. Notice what you think about. Are you hooked in to the latest gory or fear-based story on the nightly news? Do you have people around you who enjoy talking in negative terms, going over and over the same dark topics? Do you do this yourself? If so, noticing these times and making an effort to change them is your path to making a positive mind a habit.

The best conversation I had over the past holidays was with a friend at a dinner party who said, “I’m focusing all of my attention on seeing the best in people. I’m simply not talking negative about things. My challenge is to practice this even when others around me are being negative.” Isn’t that a challenge we all could be willing to take on?

That was a conversation I could have carried into the wee hours of the morning. When you find another person who’s behaving as if their positive thoughts make a difference, it’s inspiring, uplifting, and life-affirming. This is where true healing begins.

 

Transforming Depression into Wisdom

Sunny flowers can help brighten your mood. Yes, for men, too.

Sunny flowers can help brighten your mood. Yes, for men, too.

The way you think about the world, others, yourself, and the conditions of your life will correlate to your mood. Your perceptions of your relationships, your health, job or career, housework and chores, your money and bills will become your habitual state of mind. Often, these mental states creep in quietly and before you know it, they’ve become normal. Though it’s not fun to hear this when you’re in the midst of depression, you have the choice as to whether your mind states are pleasant or not.

Thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, and emotions alter brain chemistry. So does pollution from air, water, and electricity, processed foods, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and even a lack of protein absorption. Dark moods can be triggered by loss, chronic illness, relationship problems, work stress, family crises, financial worries, and even unexpected change. Is there any wonder depression is so common?

But common as it might be, depression is a wake-up call to pay attention. What is the deeper meaning depression brings? What have we not been addressing within ourselves? Depression asks us to listen to its subtle messages so we can gain understanding and wisdom. We, as a culture, have been satisfied with avoiding deeper meaning. We seem determined to skim the surface, taking a pill whenever we don’t feel quite right. But when we act with courage to look within and alter habitual beliefs and thoughts, life expands and takes on new meaning.

There are many ways to be vital, strong, positive, hopeful, and joyous. Journaling and exercise, meditation, visualization, energy healing, acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments, going out in nature, proper nutrition, the use of mood-lifting essential oils, becoming more fully your authentic self, shifting your thoughts toward the positive, releasing the energies and expectations of others (often done through methods that access your unconscious mind such as energy work, hypnosis, biofeedback, or even simple visualization) ~ each of these can help you manage dark places.

Never allow yourself to despair for long. It’s okay to allow some blue moods, but if they stretch out for weeks, commit to getting assistance to help you through. There is hope and the journey is not that long.

Life Survival Skill #1: Adapting to Change

all shall be wellSurvivors throughout history are those who have best adapted to change. Charles Darwin, famous for his theory of evolution said, “It’s not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” But change often brings up fear. Clinging. Panic. People don’t want to venture into the unknown and leave what they know behind. Willingness to go forward into the unknown requires faith in the future, or at least, an adventuresome spirit.

Change means letting go of the past and that which was familiar. Clinging to the past causes undue suffering and prevents new, often better, circumstances from entering our lives. Resistance to change is resistance to the forward flow of life. When you are more conscious of allowing change to happen, even when it is scary, you create fluidity. You become more in sync with the natural flow.

To help hone your life survival skills involving change, let’s answer a few questions to gain clarity.

When in the past have you responded well to change?

When have you not responded to change as well as you would have liked?

How do you feel when you know there is a big change coming? In what way does your resistance reveal itself? For example, eating more, worry, insomnia, anger, etc.

What is your usual reaction to sudden change?

What is the worst that can happen if everything in your life were to change?

You can use affirmations to help settle your mind around change, such as:

  • I easily adapt to change
  • I will adapt to this new way of life
  • I can flow with what life brings
  • If it’s happening, it must be ok, and I will also be ok.

Focus on how you want to feel when change comes: happy, confident, secure. And finally, when I’m resisting change, I keep in mind a quote by 14th century mystic Julian of Norwich ~

“All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing(s) shall be well.”

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