Tag Archives: healing

Bestseller List Book Review & Giveaway

Diana Ross's "Breast Cancer Authority" site features my book The Holistic Approach to Breast Cancer.

Diana Ross’s “Breast Cancer Authority” site features my book The Holistic Approach to Breast Cancer.

A while back I met a wonderfully innovative woman named Diana Ross who is the cofounder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Diana also founded a community-based forum called “Breast Cancer Authority” and I’m an occasional contributor to the Breast Cancer Authority Blog.

Currently, the Breast Cancer Authority site is featuring my book, The Holistic Approach to Breast Cancer in a bestseller list book review and giveaway. This is a fun way to share the book with people, it’s a way for you to win a free copy of the book, and I get to listen in on what a few more people have to say about a topic of great importance to me: addressing breast dis-ease from a holistic, nurturing, conscious perspective. (Here you can read a Kirkus Review of my book for an unbiased view.)

Go ahead and take a look at Diana Ross’s Breast Cancer Authority blog and comment on the current article about my book to be entered in the drawing for a free copy of The Holistic Approach to Breast Cancer. Then peruse the whole site because its one of the best I’ve seen. It’s full of information for anyone wanting support and encouragement to prevent and heal from breast cancer. And, if you get to it immediately, you’ll see that my book is featured on the Home page!

 

How to Use a Castor Oil Pack

castor oil plantInformation about castor oil packs came from the intuitive readings of Edgar Cayce in the early part of the 20th century. In these readings, he recommended the application of castor oil for various ailments. For example, the packs are used on the liver to help with detoxification, the abdomen for digestive complaints, the uterus for fibroids, and on the breasts to help dissolve growths.

Castor oil is made up of a triglyceride of fatty acids, 90% of which is ricinoleic acid, an unsaturated fatty acid. Ricinoleic acid has been shown to be effective in preventing the growth of various types of bacteria, yeast, molds, and viruses.

When I first learned of castor oil packs, I was told that the oil seeps into the skin and surrounding tissue creating a downward, outward movement. For example, a castor oil pack over the uterus can cause a delayed period to start because of its ability to start the downward flow.

In his book The Oil That Heals: A Physician’s Success with Castor Oil Treatments, William McGarey, M.D. says castor oil stimulates and removes adhesions and lesions. It helps dissolve lumps in the breasts and heal scar tissue. Using castor oil packs can enhance eliminations of all kinds, increase lymph flow, and relieve pain and inflammation.

How to Use a Castor Oil Pack

Cotton flannel is often recommended, but I prefer to use an unbleached pre-washed white t-shirt cut into wide strips and folded so there are at least three layers.

Place the folded cotton on plastic wrap, with the plastic just larger than the fabric piece.
Pour castor oil over the cotton to saturate it (but not dripping).
Place the pack on the location, oily side down, plastic on top.
Put a thin towel over the plastic and cover it with a hot water bottle or other heated pack. Avoid using electric heating pads if possible, as the electrical current can cause disturbances in your energy field. You can use a microwaveable heating pad.
Rest with the pack on for about 30 minutes.

Castor oil will stain fabric, so when you are finished with the pack, wipe the oil away completely. You might want to wear an old t-shirt or designate a couple of shirts specifically to wear right after you use the packs.

Be sure to drink plenty of water to help flush out toxins. You can reuse your pack at least 20 times by keeping it in the refrigerator between uses. Bring it to room temperature before using it. Some people use the packs for three days and take a break for three days, but you can use the packs for many consecutive days, occasionally taking a break for a week at a time and, for women, during your monthly cycle.

It’s Earth Day! What Can We Do?

earth dayIt’s been 44 years since the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970 and millions of people have been taught to protect our environment. Despite this, pollution and disregard of the planet has reached a truly disturbing level.

During an interesting but challenging moment in my life about 15 years ago, I temporarily moved from San Diego to Boston. The culture shock was stunning, but the biggest impact the cultural differences made on me was Boston’s lack of recycling. In a town full to the brim with educated people there was a complete disinterest in the concept of separating trash. This meant that I, too, was tossing paper, bottles, or anything recyclable right into the waste bin where it would head to an already crowded landfill. It hurt to do it.

Recently I met someone from Boston who told me they still don’t do curbside recycling! Is it true? Unbelievable! I did a little research and found that, yep, it’s still true. However, environmental advocates are on it and you can read about it in The Boston Globe.

We’re all aware by now that our waterways are filthy. Marine and other wildlife life suffocate on our trash. There remains little respect for the earth, a disregard for the sanctity of nature, and a lack of concern for the health and wellness of living creatures. Yet, the most conscientious find it nearly impossible to have no negative impact on the environment. There is the ubiquitous use of plastics we can’t seem to avoid. Even the gentlest of souls among us are hard-pressed to live without contributing to our collective plight. 

I believe one solution is for each of us to take personal interest in cleaning up our sphere. In my region we load up our recycle bins with any and all paper, glass, metal, and plastic. All of nature’s scraps go in the yard waste bin. Home composting is encouraged. This leaves very little trash in the actual trash bins.

Aside from stepping gently on the earth and raising our own awareness, here are some practical ways we can do more:

  • When traveling, visiting a park, getting on a boat or an airplane, we can manage our trash. Pack it out for later recycling or don’t create any. If you live in an area that doesn’t recycle, complain loudly to your town officials.
  • Rethink grocery shopping. Purchase food that isn’t prepackaged. For the omnivores, you can get meat, fish, and chicken wrapped in paper. If you’re at the meat counter, tell them to skip plastic bags. Paper is fine for wrapping meats. And if you’re in a regular grocery store, avoid purchasing items that come on polystyrene (Styrofoam) trays. Polystyrene leaches toxic chemicals into your food and beverages.

As an aside, the manufacturing of polystyrene creates hazardous waste and affects the health of those exposed. It is made with non-sustainable petroleum, harms the ozone layer, and is dumped or blown into our streets and waterways as litter where living creatures ingest it and die. Polystyrene is not accepted by most recycling agencies. It doesn’t break down. It’s not necessary to ever use it.

Fortunately, through the help of organizations like Save Our Shores, my coastal California county has banned the use of Styrofoam as well as plastic bags. We carry our own reusable bags into stores. Recyclable paper products are used in place of that old nasty Styrofoam.

I was recently in Palm Desert and bought freshly made take-out food that, to my surprise, was handed to me in Styrofoam. I’m so used to not seeing it anymore I didn’t want to touch it! Palm Desert is still using plastic bags also. I look forward to the time when all of California bans this toxic habit.

  • If you buy six-packs of cans or bottles held together by plastic, please cut or tear apart the plastic. Never take one of these onto a boat or leave one lying around. They end up in the streets and the earth’s waters where they suffocate birds and sea animals, including dolphins.
  • Plastic containers are polluters. Yogurt, for example, can be bought in a large container and put into smaller reusable containers for transport to work or school. You can replace all types of cleaning products (and reduce the use of plastic bottles) by refilling the same bottle with simple vinegar and water. With a little research you’ll discover many ways to use vinegar (and baking soda) for most of your household cleaning, including clogged drains.
  • Recycle plastic bottles and tubes that hold your personal care products. Bring your own cup for take-out coffee or tea. Take water from home in a sustainable, non-plastic water bottle. Bring your lunch from home or eat where take-out packaging is compostable or recyclable. Use only compostable doggy clean-up bags. Be mindful of plastic toy purchases for both humans and animals.

Meanwhile, on this new Earth Day for 2014, I’m planning a new compost pile in the yard with an enclosure. My last pile flourished and I spread its rich dark soil around all the plants and trees near my house, but my dog wouldn’t stop using it as his personal round-the-clock snack bar. I’ll continue to cut back on plastic in every way possible and reduce my trash, now and throughout the year. What will you do?

11 Ways to Navigate through Stressful Times

tumblr_ll3l0cUWgz1qb6t6wo1_500Life has stressful times as a norm, but right now some of us are feeling a more intense squeeze. Feelings of discomfort, unease, and vague anxiety can be constant. Some are feeling great intensity while others are simply riding the waves of expansion and growth, excited to see where they’re going but longing for guidance to navigate the new terrain.

The underlying theme of the day is we’re being forced to change from within by letting go of old, outdated, now-useless ways of being and allowing something new to emerge. Allowing a more creative, self-responsible, and I’d like to believe wiser part of us to come forth.

There are many things we can do to manage stressful times (without numbing out). If you are in a state of self-excavation where extreme personal inner evolution is happening, if you’re in a let go or be dragged phase or your life, welcome fellow traveler!

Always treat yourself like you’re a whole human being with a body that is interrelated, interconnected, and not at all separate from your thoughts, emotions, and soul. Today people are quite disconnected from their emotions and thoughts, not to mention nature, the natural rhythm of the earth and sky, and their own soul energy. If this sounds like you, navigate more powerfully and successfully through unknown territory by paying attention to the needs of your physical body, your mind, your emotions, and your true soul essence.

How?

It’s not that complicated, really. I’ve tried all kinds of convoluted ways and experience has shown me to simply return to the basics. Any links with the following will direct you to my previous posts on that topic.

  1. Eat well. Quality protein with vegetables is my staple of choice. Fresh fruit. Plenty of water.
  2. Get plenty of sleep. Preferably at night, all night.
  3. Move your body and exercise.
  4. Go out in nature for a little bit and spend time on the earth.
  5. Seek out people who are trained to help you heal what’s nagging you. We need others to help us who have already seen this part of the journey.
  6. Have some body work (a massage is ideal) which helps settle tension and calm your mind.
  7. Have energy healing (or see a respected counselor) if you are emotionally or mentally stuck. Don’t feel as if something can’t get better. It can and it will if you want it to.
  8. Take time away from electronics and tech devices. Turn everything off and then feel what you feel. Get in touch with the discomfort and be okay with it.
  9. Breathe in and breathe out fully. Breathe in again. Release the breath completely as you breathe out and let go of all that is ready to go.
  10. Sit through the storms without having to self-medicate, get distracted, or otherwise foil the attempts of your soul to have this incredible life experience. Because the number of medicated, distracted, soul-detached people is so high that we’ve become a zombie civilization. Numbing out might feel like the way to get through, but the noise inside will only get louder.
  11. Finally, tell yourself this: All is well with the world. All is well in my world. There is nothing I need to make happen. I easily flow with life. I’m here to create and find joy in my creations.

 

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!

Lost? Go to your base.

yoga womanLast year when I was on a weeklong women’s retreat at Spirit Rock I had the good fortune to take yoga classes from Mary Pafford. I went to the retreat in a grumbly mood, blaming perimenopause or whatever, and once there in my own private silent space I decided to indulge it. But I simply couldn’t maintain it after the first day, after Mary’s yoga class.

Her class got me back into my glorious body. Among other things, Mary teaches how to get into contact with your perineum. Brilliant! She teaches that women’s wisdom can come from deep within, deep down, way down, and so my dark attitude began to fade as I reconnected to this depth in myself through Mary’s playful example.

So, with her permission, here is what yoga teacher Mary Pafford says about going to your base, an excerpt from a longer piece titled “Periwinkle Ahoy! Tales of drought, overwhelm, and perineums.” I think you’ll benefit from her words of wisdom, especially in times of uncertainty and unease.

GATEWAY AND BANDHA

GATEWAY TO THE EARTH by Mary Pafford

This is where the perineum can be helpful. “When you don’t know where to go, go to the base.” A refrain in many of my classes. This is your internal GPS. When trauma arises we often close this area down, rather like an animal fearfully drawing its tail under and in. A temporary protection but many of us are walking around the universe with our tails drawn in as a permanent state of being. Or we have absolutely no connection to this area at all. There’s the taboo associated with sexuality and excretion and we just don’t want to go there. Beyond our own physical body, we have lost our way of being in touch with the world.

Consider the perineum not as a floor as its often called, but a sacred membrane and the way that we communicate on a deeper level with the earth, with our true nature. By simply being in contact, breathing here, one finds a sense of ground. Notice this when you are in transition or in some way threatened or overwhelmed. How helpful it is to just exist in the perineum, not contracting or tucking, just trusting the earth beneath and within you. “When you don’t know where to go, go to the base.” 
 
MULABANDHA

In the yoga world, some teachers encourage a strong engagement of the perineal muscles to draw the energy up and away from the earth to the heavens to cultivate Mulabandha. In this way, abandoning our human beingness ~ earthiness in the pursuit of “higher selves” ~ a new age type of refrain. If you listen to this little clip from Richard Freeman, you will see that this isn’t necessarily the most illuminating way to approach the pelvic floor… or life!

Richard suggests that the Goddess needs to be invited and cannot be forced, thus cultivating relationship rather than a practice of control, attainment, and separation from the mud of being. Can one root through the bones of the base of the pelvis and invite the rebound? The earth deities rise up and support life in the same way that we tend to the earth and this merges and supports our spiritual aspirations as many indigenous traditions encourage. In many of these traditions the earth is spirit – there is no separate word for spirituality.

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!

Detoxify Simply with Dry Skin Brushing

drySince it’s Fall, the season of letting go and releasing, it’s the ideal time to think about a little cleanse before heading into the winter months. Likewise if you’re in Spring in the Southern Hemisphere, you’re also in a perfect situation for some clearing.

We’re always hearing about juice fasting or using certain products to help the body cleanse, but with a simple dry skin brush, you can help your body do what it’s designed to do in the first place: clear out toxins. And even if you do opt for a more complicated cleanse, dry skin brushing will help eliminate the waste and prevent you from feeling poorly as an initial cleansing side effect.

As the largest organ of your body, your skin helps release toxins. Healthy skin eliminates pounds of waste each day (which is another good reason to change your sheets regularly!) however, ingredients in products applied to skin — even chemicals from synthetic fabrics — get absorbed and can block your skin’s ability to keep you healthy.

Skin brushing removes the top layer of dead skin while stimulating your lymphatic system to clear toxins that collect in lymph glands. This is an easy, cost-free way to help your body remove toxins you’re exposed to in daily living. Also, your digestion will improve, the circulation near your skin will improve, and your immune system will be strengthened. As a side bonus, it can help remove cellulite.

Skin brushing requires a natural bristle brush (not synthetic, which can irritate your skin). Find brushes specifically for dry skin brushing at a natural foods store or online. Some brushes are handheld while others have long handles — use whichever you prefer. Begin gently on dry skin at least once per day just before bathing. (Wet skin brushing can pull on your skin and will not remove the dry outer layer of your skin effectively.)

dry brushing womanStarting at the soles of your feet where there are nerve endings, brush in upward strokes toward your heart. Brush your feet, all sides of your calves, thighs, backs of knees, and inner thigh areas. Brush your buttocks, stomach, and outer hip area, always toward your heart. Brush from the palms of your hands over your arms in the direction of your heart. Brush under your arms and gently over your upper chest to the center of your midsection. Brush your shoulders and back. You can gently brush the breasts outward from the nipple on both sides, upward on top, downward below.

Your skin might take some time to get used to being brushed, so be gentle at first. After a couple weeks, wash your skin brush and allow it to dry.

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.

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!

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