In case you haven't noticed yet, I'm a HUGE fan of L.O.V.E. I love love and I'm not talking about romantic whimsical love, I'm talking the real deal! Love of all of life, love of self, love the Earth, love all beings. I truly believe that love makes the world go 'round and if we could come back to love, all would be well and right! If everyone made love everyday, the world would truly be a different place! Love is never about another person, its about where we are in our lives and how much we LOVE who we are and how we are showing up in the world. True love is this all encompassing connection to life where things flow and we feel intertwined with the Universe, or God/Goddess. All we need is love, for real!
I run up against the sense of love when I feel completely depleted and overwhelmed with all that is happening in the world. I recently moved back to a part of Florida where I grew up. It has always been a magical place for me to live next to turquoise oceans. I love walking on the beach at night under the full moon and just listening to the waves crashing along the shore. I love the Pelicans that surf the waves, reminding me of prehistoric creatures that once roamed the Earth. There is nothing I don't like about the beach and the ocean! When I first moved back, I couldn't get enough of the water and how it felt to watch the sunset while asking momma ocean to cleanse me of what I no longer needed and asking her what I could do to give back to her. I was exploding with love! I remember telling someone I felt like I was so in love and I wasn't even involved with anyone on any level. It felt amazing! My life felt extra-ordinary and it still does! I'm completely whelmed with love everyday when I think of all I have in my life, so many gifts and blessings to be grateful for in this very moment.
I recently felt myself coming off of this high by seeing images on social media that have completely broken my heart. The beach I grew up on is no longer safe to be on and the marine life is dying all around us. Wild fires, violence, etc. I started to really feel my heartbreaking. I am an extremely empathetic person and literally feel so much of what goes on around me and it has been overwhelming to say the least! I love life and all of its beings and to see it dying all around me has been a bit too much. I fell into a bit of a depression for a few weeks and nearly got to the point of wondering what is this all for? What are humans doing? Why are we hurting this beautiful planet? What can I do and how can I stop contributing to the problem? I honestly forgot about love because I was hurting so much! I love so deeply and sometimes I wonder if I feel hurt even deeper because of all of the love I feel. So, what do we do when all that is happening around us feels overwhelming and we fall into despair and lose love? Well, we come back to love....
Time and time again we come back to love. It takes courage to keep our hearts open and not contract, especially when we are in pain. I literally cried so hard one day last week after seeing the beach I love look like a war zone. I cried so hard because my heart was broken. I felt like it was being torn out of my chest and all I could think was..... this is how I felt when someone I loved a long, long time ago broke my heart. I couldn't breath and I just wanted it to stop, yet I kept feeling it all. I stayed with the pain and the images that were coming through. I didn't try to make it stop because honestly, this is a part of love. Love doesn't always feel good, in fact it fucking hurts sometimes! It is whether we stay in the moment with love as it ebbs and flows, as it tears us open and apart, and mends us back together with her sweetness OR whether we abandon love because it is too difficult to stay with the hurt and discomfort. Do we choose to shut down and grab the nearest thing to numb ourselves, or do we say "Bring it!" and feel it all! I used to shut down. The overwhelm of the world and feeling all of the pain of those around me was too much, not to mention my own pain. I used to shut it down and numb myself because it felt better to not stay open and felt better to contract and shut down. What I didn't realize at the time is by shutting my heart down, I was cutting myself off from my true essence. I was taking away my connection to others and to the divine. What I know now is that the bravest souls are those who have the courage to open their hearts time and time again because they know how difficult it can be. They have been there and they know the courage it takes and they still chose to open their hearts to love. There is a pose in yoga, most of us know called warrior pose. They named it warrior pose because your arms are extended out to the sides and your heart is wide open and lifted towards the sky. It takes a warrior to open the heart and have it exposed.
We always have to come back to the heart, to live from the heart. This is where the magic happens! As I have gotten wiser (aka older) I realize how much I have lived my life with a closed heart. It was just too unbearable for me to leave my heart wide open and what if people didn't really love and appreciate me? I was too scared to really allow people in because of all of my hurts AND I had to learn how to be more discerning about who I could allow into my heart. And now I realize what a gift it is to be so loving and so kind hearted. I love helping others come back home to who they are and to their 4 chambered hearts. When we live in love then we are able to forgive and have compassion for others. When we take time to connect with that love, we are able to get out of the mind and truly FEEL what is real and what is real is love.
We have created a disillusioned world out of fear. "If I give too much, then they won't be able to give it back" OR "If I tell them how I feel, then they will go away or not like me". All not true, but what we put out comes back. So when people put out fear, they will receive a fear response. All you can do is be responsible for who you are and what you are putting out there. If you are living from your heart, more than likely people will respond in the same way. And if they don't, then its none of your business. We cannot control how others show up and how we show up to others is our responsibility. Standing in love is standing in our power and when you are in your power, you don't give it away when others respond in a way that is less than love. You might be too much for someone, but never dim your light for another!
Keep on loving, keep your heart open with discernment, and always know you are love. When you feel overwhelmed, sit with your heart. She will tell you all is well and right, she will never mislead you. Much love, Heather
I absolutely love this picture of Quan Yin. She is the goddess of compassion and loving kindness and is said to hear the cries of all beings. What I love about this picture is that not only is she elegant and feminine, but she is in her power and focused. Standing strong on one leg and balancing the masculine and feminine energies creating a space for love to shine through her lotus. Such a powerful representation of what it is to be fully in one's power in a beautiful way. Which is exactly what this post is about. How do we stay empowered and make decisions from this space, from the heart space, instead of allowing ourselves to be pulled into fear and into our past? How do we contribute to all that is good in the world, when it seems there is so much chaos happening around us? Its very simple, by taking time to connect and by coming into our hearts and connecting to our higher power. Sandra Ingerman states in her book Medicine for the Earth, "We are so out of touch with our own beauty and essence that the illusions we believe in are clouding the truth and our reality has become murky."
It seems so simple, yet as humans we are so far removed on how to connect to the heart. There is so much fear happening at this very moment and the momentum behind the fear is overtaking what is true, which is love. We forget about our purpose and are seeing how it is affecting every single person on the planet. Rates of depression, addiction, and suicide have skyrocketed and we no longer make human connection a priority. We focus so much on what is NOT working and internalize all of the sadness and corruption we are seeing until we break. We forget about love for our Self and love for others. We are literally walking around with our hearts closed and our minds running the show. And when we are in this space, all of our injured and traumatized parts are driving our actions. So, where do we start? How do we re-member who we are, why we are here, and how do we actually hear what is needed for ourselves and for others. When we are stuck in fear, how do we actually no what the heck is going on?
I was listening to an interview with Oprah and Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy Of The Spirit & Sacred Contracts. Oprah asked her, "What about the people who say they don't know what their purpose is? I just don't understand how people don't know they have a purpose!" Caroline's response struck me so deeply as she answered very simply, "It is because people are defining their lives based on what they WANT instead of defining their lives by what they HAVE". In other words, we are focused on the doing, instead of the being. We forget that we have everything we need in this very moment. All of the knowledge, all of the strength, all of the answers. We actually know who we are and why we are here, we just don't take the time to connect to that part of ourselves and become confused and off track. Those tiny little confused parts creep in and take over. Imagine if you took 5-10 minutes each time you felt jumbled up, depressed, unsure about yourself. If you took those minutes to stop and see how your mind is running things you would notice how unrealistic all you are thinking can be. And this is where empowerment comes in!
When you are in your center, your heart, and you are out of your mind (literally) you are in your power. When you are able to feel your body, all of the sensations, your heartbeat, hear your breathing, and connect to the greater good... you are in your power! And yet, we are so addicted to worry, fear, anxiety, and drama that we choose to stay in this place of insanity. The "what-ifs" the "how's" the "I can't"..... all of these are victim thinking and very low vibration causing us to spiral into victim mode, causing depression and uncertainty of our lives and our purpose. It is as if we are losing our lives, depleting our power, and compromising the integrity of our soul. When we are able to connect to our heart and connect to love, we realize that we don't betray our Selves. There is no negotiating your sense of integrity and there is no compromising where you are and who you are.
When we move from a place of empowerment we are living from the four chambered heart. Angeles Arrien speaks of the four chambered heart in her book The Four Fold Way. The four chambered heart is a way to check in and see if you are connected to your highest Self and living from a place of integrity. It is the full, strong, clear, and open heart. In order to develop the four chambered heart we use the practice of meditation, or in shamanic healing we use the drum to connect us to spiritual guidance. The drum symbolizes the heart beat of the Earth, connecting us to the all that is true and real. Taking time to connect and receive healing, with or without a drum, opens us to the possibility of removing blocks and obstacles to receiving love and giving love and love is the strongest healing salve there is. But, we have to be open to receive love from our highest power and learn to love and appreciate our own beauty. We have to repair the damage on the spiritual level and in this way we are repairing the natural world at the same time.
Our natural world cannot heal if we are vibrating from lower thought forms and constantly focusing on what is not working. We have to heal ourselves before any healing can happen outside of us. Staying in our power and creating a daily practice of changing our thoughts and working through our pain is extremely important at this time. Making decisions when our heart, mind, and gut are all in alignment keeps us in our power because we engage the heart before taking action. The heart must be running the show. Love will always be the guide. I will leave you with this final piece written by Sandra Ingerman. May you find love, be love, teach love, and breath love so we can all heal and create fuller and more meaningful interactions with one another. I know for my Self, I am working on receiving and being more open hearted. I want to experience love as much as I can while I am on this planet. I am amazingly good at giving love, but realizing that to live a more vibrant life, I must learn to receive that love and be an open channel for it to flow in both directions.
"Disharmony causes disease. When we return to a life of balance, healing follows. Living this harmonious existence, we gain a true understanding of the beauty of life. When something is aligned with its own nature as well as the natural world, a state of harmony is created that is then perceived by others as an object of beauty." S. Ingerman
I believe that we have a choice in regards to the outcome of our health and really doing what we can to prevent illness and dis-ease. I don't believe that we inherit a disease. Yep, I said it! I don't believe that our genes matter as to whether we will develop a disease or not. In other words, just because my grandmother had breast cancer, I will in turn get breast cancer. I believe in epigenetics and preventative care. I believe that we can change our DNA and it has actually been proven by Dr. Bruce Lipton, author of The Biology of Belief. If you are interested in this topic, I highly recommend his books and research. This is not the focus of this blog, but I feel it is important to mention. We are what we believe we are and the work I do with people in my coaching sessions involves helping to shift how we identify with illness and diagnoses so that we can heal.
Sadly, we are not taught from our doctors, in this society anyways, how to prevent disease. We are told, through genetic testing or through our intake forms, that we are at risk for certain types of disease and illness. I remember when I first went to the gynecologist in my late teens, she noticed the history of breast cancer and immediately told me "You need to be careful because you are at high risk for having breast cancer". AND....... and now what? I wasn't taught preventative measures, I was told not to smoke and to exercise. Of course this was 25 years ago and things have hopefully evolved, sadly it doesn't really sound like things have changed. I can tell you what this did for me though. Ever since that day, I kid you not, I have carried this fear and belief with me that I will one day have breast cancer because it runs in my family. And you know what that does, the fear and expectation, it can eventually manifest. Wouldn't it be great if we were given a book, handout, heck! Maybe even a few extra minutes of how to care for our breasts? So, this is my intention for my post. To give you preventative suggestions that you can weave into your everyday life to help improve your breast health and actually PREVENT breast cancer! Woot woot! Here we go!
The picture above is called greyscale photography, which should be included in breast thermography. Greyscale is a high resolution image where vascularity and hormonal grade can best be studied. Thermography usually provides the earliest sign that a breast cancer may be forming, uses no radiation, and is FDA approved. While it is not a substitute for mammography, it will detect cancer 7-8 years before it starts. The picture above are of my breasts (talk about vulnerable). This was taken back in March because I turned 40 this year and I also had a feeling that I needed to get this done. Like I said, I always had a little bit of fear and I also felt some congestion in my left breast. So, lets look at the pic!
The dark, vascular activity at the top and sides of both breasts is an indication that there is the potential for there to be cancer, or cancer is a possibility in the future. Why? Because blood vessels feed into tumors and if there are ones that look like mine, that is an indication that something isn't right. A healthy photograph would have no dark vessels looking as if they were feeding into something. Yes, this was terrifying for me and at the same time it didn't surprise me. I had been dealing with Lyme, which increases cancer risk. I also had been basically detoxing for 3 years and was sure that, even though I ate good and took care of myself, I had just begun the deep emotional work of clearing dangerous thought forms and ridding my body of old gunk! My choices, and recommendations from the doctor who read the results, after receiving this news was to have a mammogram or ultrasound (one of these two I WOULD ABSOLUTELY NOT DO!) or to follow recommendations from the book Heal Breast Cancer Naturally by Veronique Desaulniers. Whichever I chose, I should have another thermography appointment 3-6 months from then. I chose the latter because I truly believe that with the proper diet and self care my body will clear whatever is happening. I honestly feel that there is lymph congestion and toxins. And, If Dr. Desaulniers cured her breast cancer and is helping, literally thousands (probably more like millions) of women cure their cancer holistically, I'm going that route. I do want to mention something here. They give you a number on a scale of severity when you get these results. 0 being no need to worry, nothing is detected, and 5 being there is definitely breast cancer. Mine was almost a 4. I am not saying do not get a mammogram but this was my choice and here are my reasons (just a couple) why....
"By the time Breast Cancer is detected on a mammogram, a woman will have already had the disease for an average of 6-8 years"
(American Cancer Society, 2001).
Dr. Samuel Epstein, renowned advocate for cancer prevention & Dr. Rosalie Vertell, founding member of the European Committee on Radiation Risk, stated, "Routine mammography delivers an unrecognized high dose of radiation. If a woman follows the current guidelines for premenopausal screening, over a 10 year period she would receive a total dosage of about 5 rads"
This approximates the level of exposure to radiation of a Japanese woman one mile from the epicenter of atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima- Dr. Desaulniers
And here we are! Most of the recommendations come from the book Heal Breast Cancer Naturally, which I highly recommend buying and incorporating some of the things Dr. Desaulniers suggests. I also want to mention, not all thermography is the same and it is EXTREMELY important when choosing a thermographer! Make sure they are approved by the IACT and offer grayscale photographer. You can go to http://www.iact-org.org to find a certified thermographer. REMEMBER TO ASK ABOUT GRAYSCALE PHOTOGRAPHY!! Very important.
As for me, I will have another thermogram in the fall and THANKFULLY, the thermographer I saw, who was female and extremely knowledgable, told me to just do everything the book said. Thermographers are not doctors and cannot diagnose anything, so when she said this to me I knew something was up! Here is what you should know and I would recommend doing as much as you can. I do about half, maybe a bit more of what Dr. Desaulniers recommends. Some of the recommendations are for women who actually have breast cancer and I don't believe I will ever need them. BUT, if I do, or someone I know does, I will dive deeper into the recommendations. The suggestions I make below are more for general maintenance.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR DAILY BREAST HEALTH:
The key to breast health, and really overall health, is to keep our immune system strong. Below are suggestions to do so and the main ingredient here is to keep your lymph clean and running smoothly throughout your body. The lymph system is our immune system and does not circulate on its own, so it needs help! Click here to read my blog on the lymphatic system! It is fascinating and I highly recommend reading!
This picture contains some of the supplements I have added to my daily regime and are listed below. I tend to be very diligent and research companies and ingredients. I choose the cleanest and highest grade supplements possible because it matters what you put in and on your body and your skin absorbs EVERYTHING, especially your delicate breast tissue!
Supplements: (Some are not shown)
*Hemp Oil- I truly believe in this oil! There are over 20K PubMed articles related to cannibidiols and phytocannibidiols and how it is helping many diseases and common ailments. This is a legit website based on scientific research and I highly recommend researching CBD here rather than google. This supplement nourishes our entire system and should be taken daily. The one I use and sell is from Prime My Body. It is the most bioavailable and the most potent on the market. Contact me directly to order.
*Mycillium- mainly Turkey Tail & a combination of different mushrooms called MyCommunity. Both made by Host Defense, who I trust and who have also done amazing research on cancer and the use of mushrooms.
*Perque Potent C Guard- This is a highly bioavailable, high quality vitamin C that helps to boost the immune system
*Amazing Greens Greenfood of any kind- Add green food to your smoothies, or water! Its a great way to alkalize, detox, and nourish your liver and organs and contains high levels of antioxidants and resveratrol. Young Living also has a multi-green supplement that is amazing as well!
*Young Living Essential Oils- those good for the breasts and women's health include Frankinscense, Clary Sage, Rose Geranium, Lavender, & Roman Chamomile. I add them to coconut oil to massage the breasts, or to the bath. I love Young Living oils. They are sustainably harvested and organic and very high quality. I use them in my practice and highly recommend!
*Vital Leaf CBD lotion (not shown)- I use this to massage my breasts. The CBD is anti-inflammatory and will target any cancer cells causing cell death. This particular brand is very clean and simple and smells delicious! It already contains Frankinscense and Lavender, along with other essential oils.
Dietary and body wellness recommendations:
If there is on thing I would recommend you do every day, EVERYDAY....
MASSAGE YOUR BREASTS! Yes, that's right! Every day massage your breasts. Lymph build up around the breasts is a major cause of breast cancer. If the lymph isn't moving, all of the toxins trying to leave the body have no where to go. Wearing bras and constrictive tops on and around our breasts decrease lymph flow. Another amazing lymph treatment to incorporate would be the electro-lymphatic treatment I offer. Click here for more details as to why this treatment is important for overall health and improved immune function! There are many Youtube videos that show proper ways of massage the breasts and opening up the lymph to allow for proper drainage.
Protect yourself, and your breasts from EMF (Electro magnetic frequencies) put off by pretty much all of our electronics and Wifi. Breast tissue is highly susceptible to emf's, so do not carry your phone in you breast pocket, or any pocket on your body for that matter. Check out Giawellness.com for phone protection and more.
Live a non-toxic life! Clean up your make up choices and what you are cleaning your home with. Parabens have been found in breast tissue of cancer patients. Parabens are basically small particles of plastic and make up contains high levels and you absorb what you are putting on your face and skin. Again, Young Living offers amazing household cleaners & mineral make up that are both super clean and contain their essential oils. Contact me directly if you are interested in Young Living products and receiving a discount.
GOOD FATS! Yea, yea, yea.... we all know about good fats by now. But really work to eat clean and eliminate processed foods. These are mostly packaged foods which contain hydrogenated fats and oils that cause inflammation. These oils are sunflower, safflower, cottonseed, and soybean oil, just to name a few. They are contained in crackers, cookies, and chips and honestly most packaged foods. Try to prepare as many meals as possible at home and include olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, flax oil, and nut oils. And of course, add a good fish oil supplement. If you are vegan, there are amazing sources of vegan DHA available out there!
Add 5 tsp. of ground flax to your diet in smoothies, on salads, or soups. You have to ground the flax seeds because your body does not digest them whole. Flax seeds reduce tumor markers by 30%-71%, can improve brain function, and bind to free floating estrogen in the liver and carry it out of the body. They are full of omega-3's and have a strong protective effect on breast cells. All info from Heal Breast Cancer Naturally
Add garlic into your diet, load up on green veggies, Matcha Green Tea, Broccoli Sprouts, Apricot Seeds by Apricot Power (they are not kernels... totally different and should taste bitter). Do a liver cleanse, but always check in with your doctor first! Drink filtered water only! And eliminate plastic bottles and packaging, which are hormone disruptors and add estrogen to your body.
Decrease your meat intake and eat high quality, grass fed and pasture raised meats and eggs. Incorporate more organic vegetables & fruits and eliminate dairy, gluten, SOY, and corn. Ask your doctor for a food allergy test to see what is causing inflammation in your body. The lower the inflammation in your body, the lower your risk of disease. Wholefoods are a must!
Remember hearing that a glass of wine a day is good for you? Alcohol, in all forms, actually increases the production of estrogen in the body, so switch to other ways of adding resveratrol to your diet. Eat some grapes, or take the above mentioned green powder. In other words, back off of drinking daily. Keep it for special ocassions or once or twice a week.
ELIMINATE SUGAR! Even back down on natural sugars like fruit and honey. Sugar is sugar and it feeds cancer cells. Stick with berries in your smoothies. Of course, you can have a banana every now and again, but just remember they spike your blood sugar. Just have one or two a week.
****Start body brushing, getting colonics once a month, incorporate coffee enemas, lay in an infrared saunas, and exercise every day! Do things that move the toxins through and out of your body. And sit in the sun, or exercise out side for at least 20 minutes a day.
Exercise boosts the immune system by keeping the lymphatic system flowing! It also decreases depression and increases our natural endorphins. Even just walking 20 minutes a day could improve your health. Incorporate yoga, Tai Chi, walking, or swimming everyday.
Get good sleep and work with a therapist to help process any trauma that may be stored in your body. This can be emotional, or physical trauma. Our body stores memories of all kinds and it extremely intelligent. It is important to get them out! Check out my blogs for more information. I love working in this way with my clients and do so in my healing sessions.
Magnesium oil is a must! There has been evidence of low magnesium contributing to breast cancer. Magnesium oil is pure magnesium sulfate, which can be rubbed onto any part of the body. The bottoms of the feet have the largest pores on our body, so rubbing magnesium oil on the bottom of the feet before bed is best. And it will help with leg cramps! You can find this in any health food store.
Have your doctor check your Vitamin D, Selenium, & Zinc levels as all effect your immune function.
I know this seems like a lot, and it is! Unfortunately because of our environment, it takes a lot more these days to really take care of our bodies. We need to take extra nutrients to make up for what is lost in our food and our toxic overload is pretty heavy due to our environment and the stress we are putting on the Earth. My hope is that by taking care of our bodies and really understanding the love we need to pour into our own bodies, in turn this will teach us how to do the same for our Earth and then we will have created a win-win.
Lastly, BUY THE BOOK! GET THE THERMOGRAPHY APPOINTMENT BOOKED! Both will save your life! This blog is meant to just get you started on the right path to prevent future illness. You can always book a health and healing coaching session with me, or a lymphatic session and we can go over more lifestyle changes that can benefit you.
And most of all, remember you are healthy, you are strong, and you can heal yourself and change your DNA!!!
ONE MORE THING!! You can purchase everything I mentioned through me. I am happy to order them for you and have them drop shipped to you! Just email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info or if you have any questions.
Happy healthy life to you!
I'm sitting at a coffee shop in Seattle on a beautiful and sunny February morning. A rare thing for Seattle... the sunshine and a coffee shop full of people chatting it up, listening to the roaring of voices talk about their lives and what they are doing. I've come here to write this blog and come to terms with the fact that I have decided to leave yet another place and begin the journey onward to somewhere the sun shines all of the time and I can swim in the warm ocean and listen to waves as I watch dolphins fishing for their breakfast and pelicans surf foamy waves. Its where my heart is leading me, for now anyways.
Ten and half years ago, I couldn't wait to leave the place I grew up. The ocean, the sun, my family, all that was comfortable yet EXTREMELY uncomfortable. Back then my heart was being called to the Northwest. I knew I needed to connect deeply to the trees and experience a new atmosphere. I needed to have space from the place I grew up and all of the memories that came along with it. I needed to grow and expand and heal. Before that, I couldn't wait to leave that place, where the sun shines, and live outside of the country and have less. I was 26 at the time and went through what I would call my "midlife crisis". Yes, it was a bit early in life, but I literally had to get out, sell everything, and take in the unknown. I hadn't even begun my deep inner work and had no idea who I was, or what I wanted. I just knew I had to go, so then I ran. I ran as far as I could and went to Costa Rica for a year.
And here I am AGAIN..... except this time I'm going back to that place. That place I said I would never go. That place where there was so much pain, so much beauty, so much confusion. It was also the place where the ocean meets the sky, where the land sings to me, and the moss hanging from oak trees absorbs all that doesn't work for me. Its a place that holds the memories of my childhood. The place my grandfather loved and where the best memories of him remain for me. The place that is calling me back. And everything leading up to this moment has been perfectly aligned. I think of all I have done in the past ten and a half years. I've traveled to Bali, Mexico, & Belize. Lived in Washington, Oregon, & Colorado. I received a degree in Buddhist psychology, studied somatic psychology, became a yoga teacher, been trained by the best healers in shamanic practices, learned traditional maya healing, was diagnosed with lyme disease, am in recovery from lyme, waded through the waters of deep depression and suicidal thoughts, and most importantly have learned who I am, what I want, and how to feel again. I've gone to the deepest places of healing to come out able to breathe when I didn't think I could survive it all. I've lost my grandmother, friends, been chewed up and spat back out, kicked around and brushed my self off. ALL BECAUSE I LISTENED.
We think that listening will be easy. We think that when we follow our calling and listen to our intuition that everything will fall into place. We think nothing could go wrong if we just follow our heart and trust. Well.... I'm here to tell you that is a LIE! Yes, it can happen that everything falls into place perfectly. But I can also tell you that following your heart can also lead to heartache and confusion. Listening means knowing that there will be bumps and bruises earned along the way, which in turn makes you so much more fucking stronger. You come out the other end saying "OK! I fucking did that and it was hard and it hurt and even though things weren't working for a bit, now they are and I'm so grateful! Everything actually was working for me and I LISTENED!". Some people don't listen. Some people stay comfortable and allow the "what if's" and the fears to run the show. They have a calling, they think they will go for it, but then they stay in their comfort zone. I tend to not do this. And this is why I'm sharing.
I used to get hard on myself, ok... I'm hard on myself and I'm working on it! I'm working on sending myself the same motivation that I send others. To build myself up as I build up others. So yes, up until recently (like last week!) I realized that I am a listener and a really fucking good one. I've carried this story in my head that I "should be" a certain way. You know, the should's that run the show most times. The should's that should all over our dreams. For me, its.... "I should be more grounded, more focused, have a house that I am creating and making my own, stay somewhere and build community, have a normal life (whatever normal is), and really stay somewhere that I can create a business and grow, grow, grow". Or how about, "I should be better, I should be the best at what I do and who I am, I should be focusing all of my attention on my business and success and be like others who are doing what I'm doing and show that I can do this!" But you know what? This is who I am, it just looks different because I listen. I listen to the calling when something isn't right, when something isn't working for me. I don't stay in a place that I outgrow, or in a relationship that isn't making me happy. I listen when that inner pull is making me so uncomfortable, so painful to stay in the same pattern, to stay in the comfortability that I have to go. I used to see this as my weakness and go into victim mode. I've learned that this is my super power! LISTENING.....
If I didn't listen, I never would have lived in a different country and met my soul mate. I never would have went to Germany to try and be with him and I never would have left him knowing that we both had to go our separate ways to grow and learn. If I didn't listen, I never would have left Germany to go back to the states (hardest thing I have done in my life btw! Leaving the man you love because of timing and your calling) and moved to the Northwest and then I never would have met my mentor and healed myself. If I didn't listen, I never would have gone to Boulder, CO to attend a university I had dreamt of going to since I was 18. I never would have contracted Lyme and gone through a healing crisis that truly broke me and inspired me to love myself and heal even deeper. And I never, ever would have faced my shadow the way I was made to face it when I lived in Boulder! Talk about some hard shit to go through! I had to face who I really was, how I was showing up to others, and how I needed to own my shit. If I didn't listen, I never would have payed attention to the pulling on my heart strings to come back to Seattle, work even deeper in community with my mentor, heal my body, and really grow into the work I love and never would have truly gotten to know myself. And now..... if I wouldn't be listening to this call to go back to Florida, which came by way of me going to a treatment center for Lyme last summer (which I DID NOT want to do, but knew I had to do) I would be stuck in my comfort zone and not growing into my fullest potential.
When I left Florida after 5 weeks of treatment for lyme disease, I cried the last day I was there. I had never felt more connected to that land, to the nature there, the spirits of that land, the sunsets on the beach, and the warmth of the ocean as I did when I was there. I knew then I had to go back and told myself I would give it another winter in Seattle and then decide. The moment I got off the plane in Seattle and my dear friend was driving me home from the airport, I felt like I had outgrown the northwest. I knew it was time to go, but I felt so attached. Attached to this land that has given me so much. So much beauty, so much hurt, so much confusion and uncertainty. I love the people that I know here and the communities I am a part of. The cedars, the beautiful spring that brings cherry blossoms and rhododendrons. I LOVE it here and yet I know its not my place, for many reasons. I know its time to go. I'm being called to go back home, a home I never thought I would want to go back to yet here I am. Listening....
I am now able to see the gifts in not having children and being in a relationship. I am able to follow my calling and my inner listening. I am free in so many ways and its such a gift. I have community all over the world and all over this country from living in different places and traveling. I've lived in mountains, been through floods, experienced dry desert climates, and some of the wettest 9 months of my life! I've surfed and been walking distance to the ocean, woken up to hearing coyotes howling and fox crying, been through crazy wind storms, and monsoon seasons. All of these amazing things because I listened.
So now I ask you. How do you listen, or do you listen? Do you stay in your comfort zone out of fear? Do you visualize what you would like your life to be and tell yourself you could never have those things? Do you limit yourself through your beliefs that you can't have that life, or it could never happen? Do you take time to listen each day and to tap into your heart and get out of your head?
And now I ask this.... How do you want to live this life? How do you want to live? Life is short. Do what makes you uncomfortable and scared. Do what takes you out of your comfort zone. JUST DO IT!
Its interesting the response I receive when I ask women if they have done a vaginal steam before. I either hear that they have heard of them, or receive a look of shear horror at the thought of steaming the most private, and most important, part of the female body! It is fascinating that in western culture, we will clean the womb by douching with vinegar and water and sometimes even other chemicals, rather than allowing beautiful herbs and flowers to nourish our bodies. Oprah has even talked about them in her magazine before! This blog is for you, the ladies, to understand why this ancient herbal remedy is so beneficial for you and can help benefit your reproductive organs tremendously!
This is such a traditional and beautiful way to honor your womb. It is believed in the mayan culture that women have 2 hearts. The actual beating heart in your chest and your womb. If one is off center, then a woman is not in her power and not connected to her inner wisdom. Nourishing your womb, along with receiving maya abdominal massage, is the traditional way of bringing a woman back to her center and back to her power. Preparing her for conception, or bringing her more in touch with her intuition.
So why steam? In the maya tradition, vaginal steam baths are called bajos. Steams consist of herbs specifically used to tone and nourish the womb. We pray when putting together the herbs and ask the plants to help the woman to heal her body and in any other way they may be used during steam time. Plants hold vital energy and are full of volatile oils, so it is important to honor them and thank them for the help they provide for us.
Bajos aid as an internal cleanser for the vaginal tissues, cervix, and uterus. This is very important for chronic fertility issues and incomplete menstrual cycles. Issues that can be a sign of the these conditions are: PCOS, severe cramping, PMS, blood clots during menses, dark brown/purple blood at beginning of period, lingering cycles that are more like spotting for several days after bleeding heavily, endometriosis, shorter cycles than normal (under 4 days), longer cycles than normal (over 4 days), or absence of menstruation. All of these are a sign of old residue buildup in the womb.
Women who have the following conditions could benefit from bajos: fertility issues, uterine fibroids, severe cramping and PMS, uterine weakness, uterine prolapse, irregular menstrual cycles, ovarian cysts, PCOS, endometriosis, reproductive adhesion/scar tissue, previous vaginal tear or episiotomy, and dark purple or brown blood at the onset or end of menses, & women who have miscarried.
There are traditional herbs and flowers used in bajos that are cleansing, tonifying, and nourishing. In my practice, I put together specific herbs for each woman depending on what her body needs. These herbs and flowers include: Rosemary, Roses, Lavender, Marigold, Basil, & Oregano. Other herbs that may be used are: Chamomile, Cedar, Raspberry, Motherwort, Yarrow, Damiana, & Red Clover.
It is important for us to do all we can and take preventive measures in regards to our reproductive health. Staying connected to our bodies can be beautifully done using herbal medicine and just taking the time to sit and allow these powerful allies to do their work. This is especially important for women who are trying to conceive. When there is old and stagnant blood in the uterus, a women's cycle can become irregular and the egg cannot fully mature in time for conception. Her ovulation time is off and in order for everything to be in balance, she should be ovulating every 14-15 days. This is one of the main reasons for infertility in women who have irregular cycles. Another reason being if there is old residue in the uterus the womb is not fully cleansing, making implantation more difficult due to the walls of the uterus being congested. Steaming helps to cleanse and nourish making the womb ideal for implantation. It can also take up to 3 months in order to fully cleanse the womb, making steaming each month an important practice for fertility. This may not be the case for all women who are trying to conceive. Irregular menstrual cycles are another reason for difficulty in trying to conceive and steaming helps with this as well.
Taking time for yourself, connecting to your womb and to your center should be a priority! It is an honor to work with the female body, to bring women back to where we came from, and to reunite women with our most precious gift.
To Purchase my custom made steams, click here. I do offer shipping!
In Beauty & Love,
I can tell you that every person that has a chronic illness, whether it be lyme disease, crohn's, chronic pain, autoimmune diseases, etc! The one thing I know is that we all heal differently. Our bodies are so uniquely designed and what works for one person may not work for another. And when someone has a "chronic illness" no two people are the same in the symptoms that present. There may be some text book signs, but how we each handle our pain and choose to heal from our pain is directly in the power of ones own hands. This is where I will start with my journey into healing because its not what you are probably thinking and it is definitely not what I expected!
I knew something really big was coming. I had shared with a few friends that I felt like parts of me were going to be coming back and some pretty big insights were going to happen for me while I was away. In the healing world, we call this an initiation. An initiation is possible when big, life changing events happen in ones life. Anything from a birth, a death, a health crisis, or stepping into a new decade can all be considered an initiation. It felt tremendous and had created anxiety for me. Often times when someone is about to enter a ceremony, or are about to experience a huge transition anxiety can occur. I also knew I had doubts about the treatment not working, being told once again that I would feel better and this was the answer, and especially doubts in regards to if my 8 years of insomnia would be resolved. On top of all of those anxious feelings, I didn't want to be in Florida. I grew up there, I hated it there, and I just wanted to be in the Northwest for the beautiful summer and long awaited sunshine! But I knew this was no coincidence and a God send that I even found this holistic clinic for treating lyme disease. I literally met someone while making a purchase on craigslist that told me of this place and I knew my life had to change. I contemplated every night whether I wanted to stay in this world living a life full of pain and having no energy to thrive. This was a sign and I went for it!
I don't know when it happened. All I know, is that all of these huge shifts started to taking place once I arrived in FL. I wish I could tell all of you who have Lyme that its a straight shot to healing, but its not for most of us. And most of you know this, but what I am saying is nothing is a cure all. If your expecting to go somewhere and get fast results, you might as well not go. My experience physically has been a bit challenging. I was told that no herxing happens, which it didn't. I was told we all heal differently, and we do. I was told not to compare my process to others, and I did (of course because this is what we do as humans!) which in turn caused a lot of turmoil. I was told that they would help me to heal and feel better and they did and still are in the process (but there was more to what they were doing that was helping me). The truth is, my journey at the clinic was difficult. I didn't sleep the entire 5 weeks I was there, which was the one thing I really wanted restored and was told this was the one thing they do for folks. I was also in extreme pain almost the entire time I was there. My neck was burning, I wasn't sleeping, I had a headache almost everyday. All I could make of what was happening was that I was detoxing. Not in a herxing kind of way and not from any type of drugs because I was on no pharmaceuticals. I was detoxing emotions. Very toxic emotions and I was also letting go of other peoples energies. It was intense and eye opening to say the least. And all during this time, things were shifting and changing on such an immense level that words cannot describe it. I don't know if these shifts happened because of who I am as a person and my spirituality and connection to spirit. I don't have the answer, but my path was so profound that it has changed my life forever and how I view health and healing. My connection to the land and place I grew up on was profound and I fell in love with Florida all over again. I had so much support, energetically, spiritually, and emotionally. Things showed up that I had no idea were still with me and I can tell you I cried the most I have allowed myself to cry in probably 25 years or more! I danced by myself so hard one night that I was sobbing, punching, laughing, and yelling. Just giving myself space to allow things to pour out of my body and express themselves like they never have before. I did mirror work, journaled, did EFT, woke up to murders of crows every morning, gave all my pain to the ocean, and prayed and prayed and prayed. And.... the water and the earth took it all and slowly the pain would leave. By the 5th week, I felt better. FINALLY! Of course, re-entry into Seattle was a bit rough but I slowly got back on track.
To give you a little bit of a background about what it is I do and why this is so profound, I need to back track a bit. I have been into the healing arts for 17 years. One of my first spiritual teachers was an energy healer who told me I would be doing what she did one day, so she taught me how to feel energy and how to work on people. I started reading books by Caroline Myss, Doreen Virtue, and Deepak Chopra in my early 20s. The energy healing world is no new thing to me, and yes, it is something that I offer! I have always believed in energy because of what I feel, hear, and see when I work on others. I have had some of the most profound spiritual experiences and truly believe in the work and our connection with spirit. But something shifted for me this trip, something changed me and has led me to believe that this is really the only way we can heal our physical body and this is why...
Every test I have gotten back in regards to my health has come back clear, besides my lyme tests of course. I have evidence of having the DNA markers for lyme, and other co-infections, but nothing is active in my system at this moment in time. At the clinic, they did a FRY test which smears a drop of your blood and can detect any pathogens in your blood. They look for biofilms, lyme, co-infections, candida, and mold. I have been told in the past, through muscle testing, that I have all of these things. What did the FRY tell me..... that I have none of these things! NONE...... nothing at all. And this confused me! Ok then, why do I feel so crappy and why can I not sleep? I have inflammation in my system for sure, probably due to my sleep issues. But the rest, why am I presenting like I have this disease and my blood is clean? Yes, I know, it can still be in there. To be honest, I no longer identify with having any illness. I no longer say I have Lyme, I don't even want to be told I have lyme because I don't want to give my energy to anything that is negative in my body. Our thoughts, words, and actions can feed energies, both good and bad. So the answer that became very clear to me was that I am making myself sick, or something was blocking me from healing.
Right before I left for my trip, my naturopath said to me, "Have you thought that there might be some blockage that is keeping you sick? Like a thought, or belief that you can't get better, or that you don't want to get better?" Yes, my answer was yes. While I was at the clinic, through the chiropractor I was seeing, I met a Columbian energy healer/shaman. He is amazing and right after the first session of him working on me, without me telling him what was going on, he said, "You are not going to get better and heal all of this pain in your body if you do not clear these emotions from your body. You can see all kinds of doctors, take all kinds of pills and supplements, but you will not heal if these things aren't cleared." And, right after that.... a sweet woman I befriended at the clinic told me about this book How To Heal Yourself When No One Else Can by Amy B. Scher. Amy teaches people, and she used to have debilitating lyme, how to clear energy from the body and heal yourself. She gives you empowerment tools basically! Third times a charm! It was all right in front of me! The message was that I clearly needed to do some deep healing on parts of my self that haven't been healed. Parts I thought were healed, parts I forgot about, parts that have caused emotional turmoil and pain. These are all very important contributors to disease. These types of things show up in our body because our spirit and soul are crying for help. And part of this is showing up as "chronic illness". We ask ourselves, why can't I get better? Why am I always tired? I'm trying everything and nothing is working! We get frustrated and angry and feel depleted and hopeless which really is fueling the fire towards not healing. I know, its hard to digest and its HUGE! Big time HUGE!
When I was first diagnosed with Lyme I remember thinking to myself, "This is completely about learning to love myself". I have always been hard on myself, felt bad about myself, felt not good enough and unlovable. These are generational and most likely ancestral beliefs for me, ones that have been passed down through my parents and probably their parents and relatives. How do I know this? I see it in my family and have felt from those who raised me. I have also had conversations with my parents and dug around a bit to get to know where they were coming from and why certain things were how they were when I was growing up. I've even asked about my birth story, which gave me some huge insights! My upbringing was full of being told we were not good enough and that we were in the way of another's life. Rarely were we hugged, held, soothed, appreciated, acknowledged, and given healthy attention and affection. Stresses and tension were very high in my household and children take these energies on and we hold them inside. We pick up on conversations and emotions in the womb. This has been scientifically proven! I know this is a pattern that has been passed down through the generations of my family. When we feel we are not good enough, why would we want to heal? If we felt love for ourselves, we would know that we deserve to be healthy. We deserve to feel good about who we are, we do feel good about who we are. But, when you grow up feeling that you are not good enough and not worthy, you turn into a victim. I have been a victim since I was about 3 and when I got a diagnosis for a disease I knew nothing about, there was some part of me that clung to that and ran with it. There was some part of me that knew I could get the attention I had always wanted, the love, and the affection, just like I did as a child. I would always say I didn't feel good to get attention from others, specifically my parents. I engrained this belief into my subconscious mind. Being sick=getting my needs met and feeling loved. We manifest dis-ease and illness through our belief systems. In other words, we create our illnesses and dis-ease.
I can tell you from experience, this is a hard one to swallow. I would do anything to get myself out of pain and discomfort. Relying on others to make my body feel better wasn't working anymore and it wasn't how I wanted to live my life. So, I dove into the most uncomfortable places of my being. I took the time and the space to really take care of myself and listen to my higher Self and higher power. While I've spent the majority of the past few years by myself, I never took the time to really listen to what I needed or what I wanted. I was so worried about making enough money to survive and helping others, because that is what I love to do! I love to give, but receiving and asking for what I need has been such a challenge! For 5 weeks, I really listened. And it was the most life changing and difficult, most uncomfortable (both physically and emotionally) I think I may have ever been. We have to go there! We have to find out what our core beliefs around ourselves are and start to shift them, or we will create dis-ease. I have no doubt in my mind. I can honestly say, I was a bit skeptical. Even after all I've known! After all of these years of studying different forms of energy work and healing modalities! I had to go through it myself in order to really get it! And it is for real! It works. There is no woo woo ness here, this is scientifically proven stuff people. The path of the wounded healer....
Did the IV's work that the clinic gave me? yes. There is no doubt that the holistic, all natural IV's built my immune system back up and have began the journey of my balancing my neurotransmitters. There are still some physical aspects that we are working with, but it is all coming along. What I do know is that if I get stressed and don't take care of my energy body, I feel like crap. My neck flares up and I feel awful. The difference is, I know what to do to help myself and I know it is emotionally related. So, where am I now, 2 months after I left for treatment?
Well, I recently found the best hemp cbd oil on the market, and it's been helping me so much. It literally takes away any neck pain I experience and has started to help me sleep! I honestly don't know why I never tried it before, even when people suggested it! I love this medicine! Its clean and potent and it can help so many of us. I believe in the medicine so much I became an independent affiliate and am offering it to my clients! The only pills I take are supplements that are helping to build up my serotonin levels up and thats it. No herbs, no meds, nothing to kill any pathogens. So far its working. I will tell you I still have bad days, which usually look like me feeling worn down from over doing it. You see, we still have to build up the strength in our body and our energy and this takes time and patience. My main issue is really just figuring out my neck pain, which is more structural than anything. Would I recommend the clinic? Yes, if you have the time and money, yes. The tests they run are wonderful, having the space to rest is crucial, and building up your body's immune system is vital to your ability to thrive. Would I buy the recommended books below and find an amazing energy worker to help? YES, YES, YES! Would I still take care of my physical body? Heck yes! We experience the soul and spirit through our bodies, so we need to care for them just as much as our energy body. Keep our lymphatic system clean is crucial, eating whole foods, bodywork, and exercise will all keep our energy high and our bodies healthy. We all have a different path to healing and I will say, the path that looks the easiest usually isn't the right one. You choose for yourself. I hope this was helpful and insightful! And I wish you all the best on your journey! Much love and many hugs!
How To Heal Yourself When No One Else Can by Amy B. Scher (she also has great Youtubes)
You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay
The Biology of Belief by Bruce Lipton
Energy Medicine by Donna Eden
For more information on the worlds most pure and potent hemp oil (Its been proven, I'm not just saying this!) and to place an order, or learn how to become an affiliate with a beautifully heart centered company, please visit:
A little over a year and a half ago I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease. I was having all sorts of symptoms that were unexplainable and my doctor was unable to figure out what was actually going on with my body. I had been battling insomnia for 8 years at that time and I actually thought the symptoms that kept popping up were manifesting from lack of sleep. I began to slur my speech, had swollen joints in my feet and hip pain, rashes, shortness of breath, the feeling of needing to urinate and then nothing happening, memory problems, dizziness, disorientation, and severe depression. The depression had worried me the most because I knew I was someone who has struggled with depression my entire life, but I had never been so depressed like I was 2 years ago. I remember calling my parents, scared that I was going to actually hurt myself. It was then, and hearing the words come out of my mouth, that I knew I really needed help. I distinctly remember asking a friend, who is a healthcare provider, if someone could die of insomnia. I felt old and run down, I literally thought I was dying. The confusing part for me is that I had always taken care of myself. I was active, had eaten organic foods for over 10 years, received acupuncture, massage, and chiropractic work regularly, and was a yoga practitioner. It just didn't add up to me.
It still took some time, and many tests later, to discover I had Lyme Disease. When I got the diagnosis it was relieving and scary at the same time. I can tell you that I looked at those test results every day for over a year. Sometimes I still pull them out to make sure I was diagnosed correctly. I was tested twice actually and both times it was positive. I also tested positive for Babesia and Bartonella, and had been exposed to other co-infections in the past that lie dormant in my system and are triggered when my immune system is low.
I wanted to share my story, so that you know I can relate. I can relate to the confusion of getting a diagnosis, of constantly googling (which I do NOT recommend due to a lot of mis-information out there), the loneliness and depression you experience from not having energy to be in the world and live a normal and active life, and the myriad of modalities and things you are told to do, or not to do, or told to try from everyone around you and the practitioners you see. I mean, I even had my dentist offer me the "best advice" because of an article he read. Boundaries are VERY important when you share you have a disease because everyone wants to help! The pain, people not sure of what to say or not even acknowledging you have a disease because you "look great, or you look normal", the tiredness and feelings of hopelessness. I can relate to it all. I cannot relate to those who have it worse than me and those I pray for and think of when I'm feeling pretty crappy. My heart goes out to those with this disease that are handicapped due to its affects and I urge you to chime in and post what has helped you if you feel called.
I will start off by saying, there are a TON of treatments and ways to go about treatment, so do your research. Especially if you live in the Seattle region. We are very fortunate to have so many lyme literate doctors in the area. This is a good and bad thing because some of the treatments are very experimental, expensive, and unnecessary. You have to do what feels right for you and know that this is a process. There is no quick fix. Whether its Lyme, Hashimoto's, or Fibromyalgia, it is a process to heal your body and take care of yourself. Give yourself time and please don't push things thinking you will hurry up the process because you will make yourself even more sick. Trust me, I've learned the hard way!
But, this isn't about what treatment is right or wrong or what works the best. This is about the extra care and attention we have to give our bodies. Most doctors are trying to pack all they can into an hour session with you and are focused most on your lyme treatment. They don't really have time to tell you how to care for yourself. This is what I am sharing. SELF CARE! Its pertinent to the healing process. And please reach out if you have any questions, not only to me but to others who have lyme. Ask those who have lyme to share what works for them and what doesn't.
First stop is to get a team of practitioners to help you. I will use myself as an example. My team consists of: My lyme literate naturopath, acupuncturist, massage therapist, craniosacral therapist, chiropractor, psychotherapist, nutritionist, and allergist. Yep, its a lot but we need a lot and like I said my doctor only has so much time to be with me. Self care is expensive, but you are worth it. And its worth it to nourish your body and feel good as much as you can during this time. Let's move onto whole body self care!
The emotional/psychological body. The first realization I had after my diagnosis was that this was really a lesson in self love. I had always been very hard on myself, talking down to myself, saying things to myself I would NEVER say to another person. And I realized, that had to stop. It was now time to really care for the body I was gifted with. To really love her and where she was IN THAT/THIS MOMENT. Every hurt, every ache, every feeling of depression and loneliness, all of the cloudy weird feelings, and the times of endless crying. I needed to love all of that and boy it was/is that hard. I finally came to a point, I would say after about a year of being in treatment and pain, that I had to stop complaining about my life and be extremely grateful for all of what I was/am experiencing. I mean, I was miserable! Even before my diagnosis. I had to accept where I was and honor it. Honor all of the misery and love it. So easier said than done, but the interesting thing is, I read in Louise Hay's book, Loving Yourself To Great Health, where she says all autoimmune disorders are about loving yourself. Think about it, if you are constantly telling yourself you suck, your life sucks because you are sick and I don't feel good, I don't feel like doing anything, nobody likes me because I'm boring or sick, I don't like me, etc. You are telling every cell in your body the same! You are feeding yourself these words, so of course your body is going to turn against its self. You are attacking yourself with your negative thoughts and so of course your body is going to start attack its self back! Let that sink in for a moment......
So, I'm going to ask you to do something so new-agy and ridiculous. I have always been one to question this stuff, even after years of studying mind body medicine and spirituality, but it seriously works and it took me getting sick to really believe it. Stop attacking yourself and start feeding yourself loving thoughts. The way you do this is by changing the story in your mind. Every time your hear yourself say "Man, my life sucks today. I hurt, I'm tired, I can't eat whatever I want", etc. stop yourself and change the story. Quickly turn it into "Today is awesome because I woke up! I am eating healthy food and I get to have a massage and take an epsom salt bath and I feel grateful for those things. I can walk and breathe" Practice, practice, practice changing your thoughts and your body will start to change. Fill every cell of your being with healthy thoughts and you will start to feel better. And if your mind keeps going in circles and feels confused, which happens a lot with Lyme, start a sitting practice. Meditation changes everything and get you into your heart instead of swirling around in your head!
Lastly, get out of victim mode and into your heart and be grateful. I believe in not always talking about your illness, or not feeding into it. I'm not saying repress your feelings and emotions and not tell anyone. I'm saying every time someone asks how you are, you don't have to say "I'm miserable. This lyme sucks, lyme this, lyme that. I have lyme I can't eat that. I have celiac I can't have that, etc." Instead say, "I'm grateful, or I'm managing, or today is hard and its ok. I'm healing...". Change your words because words become mantras and mantras create our reality. DON'T BE THE VICTIM, BE THE INSPIRATION FOR YOUR SELF.
OK, one more important thing. See a psychotherapist. Period. When you have lyme, it is harder to control your emotions and when you get upset, or something triggers you, your body has a harder time processing emotions. All of us express emotions through the body, but with lyme we are more sensitive and we are more vulnerable to confusion. Sometimes I wonder if I am thinking clearly, or making the right decisions. I also notice that when I get upset, it feels so overwhelming that I shut down and my neck starts throbbing. The emotions get stuck! It helps to talk to someone and process the things that come up. Actually, lyme or no lyme, it helps to process things. And things will come up!
The Body: Our body needs serious luvin' when we are detoxing from Lyme. When all of those little bacteria-parasitic like buggars start dying off we feel like complete ass. Because they are all dying off and floating around our lymph system and become exotoxins, meaning toxins that release into the surrounding environment after the bacteria die off. I also feel, although there is no proof of this from what I read, that lyme is a neurotoxin. I feel that what I experience when I am herxing is a lot of die off directly affecting my nervous system. Anyway, these exotoxins have to get out of our body. Most of us will develop skin issues like itchy skin and acne, or constipation because the system is overloaded. Its the toxins trying to exit the body. How do we get them out? Well, our digestive system is a good start! Healthy bowel movements are key and with dysfunctions in the immune system, our gut usually takes the hit. Ask your healthcare provider to check in with your digestion, make sure you take a good probiotic and start to up your fiber & fermented foods.
I have heard from several practitioners that if our digestive system is struggling, our bodies cannot heal. For myself, I found out I have candida on top of everything else. Probably due to the 7-8 months of antibiotics I took in the beginning. I have to kill off the candida before my gut can heal. Fermented foods, kefir, probiotics, no sugar have all helped me tremendously.
If you don't have a good bowel movement at least once a day, give yourself an enema. Coffee enemas are great for stimulating the liver, which in turn naturally produces glutathione, which helps with brain function and depression. They are detoxifying, kill parasites and candida, cleans and heals the colon, helps stimulate and detox the live allowing your body to handle die off reactions and herxheimer reactions. And, if your digestion is really struggling and if you are extremely constipated, colonics are amazing! I love colonics because they clear the entire large intestines, where enemas only clear the descending portion of the large intestines. It helps clear up skin issues, gets rid of all of the backed up toxins in your gut, clears your thinking, and just feels relieving.
The Lymphatic System: KEEP YOUR LYMPH CLEAN AND CLEAR! Why is this important? I would check out my previous blog the-importance-of-caring-for-our-lymphatic-system.html for a more in depth explanation, but for now..... our lymph system is our immune system. When we are fighting inflammation caused by lyme and detoxification, our lymph system gets overwhelmed and overburdened by how much work it is doing. We start to feel sluggish, brain fog increases, we ache all over (for me it feels like a traveling aches throughout my legs), its hard to manage emotions, and we just feel toxic. OUR BODY CANNOT HEAL IF OUR LYMPH SYSTEM IS NOT WORKING PROPERLY. How do we clear the lymph? Dry skin brushing is a good start. I was doing this once a day for a long time and it really helps when the skin on my face breaks out. Manual lymph drainage techniques are also a great way to get the lymph moving along. What I highly recommend is the electro-lymphatic therapy that I offer. It penetrates deeper, up to 8 inches, and is AMAZING for clearing out the lymph in the brain that leaves us feeling bogged down mentally and emotionally. For me, it has been a god send! Specifically with the pain I experience in my neck from backed up lymph and the tenderness I feel in my head. Its also worked miracles when I was detoxing too quickly from intense treatments and my entire system almost shut down. My abdomen was extremely congested during this time and it helped with moving things along in my digestive system and cleared the inflammation. Visit my web page on Electro-Lymphatic to learn about this amazing machine and if you can, find someone who has been trained on the machine. I couldn't recommend it enough!
Connection to a higher power and prayer: Do you pray? Are you grateful? A connection to something much larger than we are is important to all of our wellbeing. Trusting that we are being taken care of and that things always work out directly effects the state of our health. Having gratitude in times of darkness has saved me hundreds of times. I don't think I could have made it as far as I have without my spiritual practice and my beliefs. Just thanking great spirit that I am alive and for all I am learning through this gives me hope. And giving thanks that I am healing and whole helps a lot as well. Believing in some-thing gives us hope, restores our faith, and allows grace to fill our lives. Prayer helps to relieve the mental suffering that can bog us down and reminds us of all we have to be grateful for.
Eliminate sugar and eat whole foods! Yes, we all know, eating properly is key to feeling good. BUT, did you know that lyme and other bacteria, including parasites, feed off of sugar?? This one took me a long while to figure out. I would still enjoy a few drinks a week and on weeks where I felt pretty down, it was more than a few drinks. It took me until a month ago, after having 2 small glasses of wine at a friends birthday party and being hungover for 3 days, that I realized its actually causing me more harm than good to have even just one drink. The hangovers are brutal when you have lyme! Even after one drink, our tolerance is pretty low. Why? According to Dr. Murakami of Canada "Most alcoholic drinks have sugar and wheat and ingredients that spirochetes (lyme) eat. So they all come out and go into an eating frenzy. When they are active like this they put out toxins. Well these toxins make us feel “drunk” quickly. Then when the alcohol hits your blood stream, it kills the spirochetes. Thus giving off the toxins from the dying lyme. So we have a herx reaction. The reason it is so bad, our bodies are working double time trying to break down the alochol and detox the dead bacteria. This is extra bad because alcohol crosses the blood brain barrier and our bodies are not equipped to detox the toxins in our brain. So it pretty much explains why we get drunk so fast then have such a bad hangover the next day." In other words, stay away from alcohol!
And sugar.... even eating a lot of fruit can be a bad thing. My thing has been "healthy sugar" like dates, fruits, honey, etc. I've stayed away from processed sugar for many years, but not really payed attention to how much sugar I've been eating. If I eat a Larabar, some chocolate, honey in coffee, added sugars in the prepared food from the coop I frequent, and a kombucha (yes it contains processed sugar!) that is a ton of sugar in one day! And this is what I was doing all the while thinking it was ok because it is "natural" sugar. Sugar is sugar and while natural sugars are far better than processed, its still being fed on by all the bad things in your body. Once again, it took me that same night I had my 2 small glasses of wine, followed by some birthday cake and honey glazed almonds, to realize sugar is a no go! I've been sugar free for a month and I can tell you I don't feel as much brain fog and my neck pain has decreased and my stomach pain has subsided ( all signs of inflammation).
As far as what you eat, try the paleo route. Eliminate the common food allergens wheat, dairy, soy, & corn first then try to eliminate most grains. Even the gluten free ones! This takes time and patience. I know when we don't feel good we don't feel like making our own food. Trust me, I get it! I lived off of the prepared food from my coop for over a year and am just realizing that one: cooking makes me happy! And two: I love knowing that what is going into my body is making her feel good! Cook as much as you can and eat as pure as you can. It's exhausting to have to be diligent about food, but trust me, its sooooo worth it! I've gone to my friend Karen who is an amazing nutritionist for help in seeing what needed to shift in my diet. She uses functional medicine, which I highly recommend, to see where your body is needing help in regards to blood sugar and what foods are good and bad for you. Hire a nutritionist to help you!
Other self care practices to keep you sane and help with pain and inflammation.
*Chiropractic care helps tremendously! I cannot stress this enough, especially if you have intense neck pain like I do. Our nervous system is directly affected by lyme, causing stress to our entire system. For some reason, our spine does not stay in alignment and going to the chiropractor helps alleviate the pain. I also highly recommend CranioSacral to help calm the nervous system. I love this! Its so soothing and helps me sleep!
*Acupuncture- again for pain management and keeping our body in balance and the energy body grounded. I love acupuncture, it helps feel sane!
*Massage- Again, pain relief. Also good to find a practitioner, like myself, who specializes in Maya Abdominal Massage if you have any inflammation in the gut, or reproductive issues. This type of massage helps to increase the function of the organs, eases the pain caused by inflammation, and can help with pain and motility.
*Infrared Sauna~ This heats the body from the inside out, allowing for deeper detoxification to happen. It detoxes all of the organs, purifies, relaxes, and increases circulation. All important when detoxing from lyme and co-infections.
*Yoga and other gentle forms of exercise- I'm not talking about a crazy vinyasa class. I'm talking about Yin yoga, or other forms of gentle yoga. Sound baths, meditation, things that move slowly. I used to hike the mountains in Boulder or go for a jog and then do yoga. These days, I'm happy if I get out for a good walk for 30 minutes. Is it still hard for me to accept this? YOU BET! I still do what I always did and plan in my mind, the night before, that I'm going to get up at 5am and go for jog all before I hit yoga and then go to work. I'm lucky if I'm out of bed before 8 and get out for a walk, or make it to yoga! It's frustrating, but its more important to listen to your body. My favorite yoga in Seattle in The Hatha Yoga Center. They have been teaching for almost 40 years and are amazing!
*Sleep & Rest- If you have lyme you either get too much sleep, or you have insomnia. For me, its been 9 years of not sleeping. I've tried everything under the sun and what I can tell you is that I have one thing that has worked for me. Kavinace Ultra PM by Neuroscience. It's expensive, but it works amazingly well and has helped a lot of people I know who struggle with insomnia. Take naps if you need to and if you do sleep a lot, just keep sleeping and know that I, along with all of us other insomniacs, are envious :) REST!
*Epsom salt baths- these are detoxing and help with muscle cramps that happen with lyme due to a lack of minerals in the body. It also helps with the tight muscles and muscular discomfort. It more powerful than taking magnesium internally because the muscles soak it right up! I use either a full 1 pound bag, or 1/2 of the pound. Just be sure to shower off after your bath and drink plenty of water. It is salt after all and will keep soaking up the moisture in your body.
*Vitamins and minerals- This is where functional medicine really helps! Our bodies are lacking the proper nutrients it needs, so supplementing where we are lacking is very important. Talk to a healthcare provider to see where your body needs extra help. Most of us suffering from lyme are low in minerals, need extra vitamin C and B vitamins. Find a practitioner who does muscle testing to see what your body wants, don't just run out and buy a bunch of supplements!
*Dental health is a must- Before I was diagnosed, I noticed my breath started to smell bad and my gums began to look worse than usual. I couldn't figure it out. I found out that lyme is a bacteria that loves to feed off of decay. If there are any infections in the gums, or old root canals, the spirochetes will hunker down and live in these areas. Find a holistic dentist who is familiar with lyme disease. Himalayan Botanique makes a great toothpaste with Neem & Pomegranate (there are studies that show neem kills lyme). Also, floss regularly if you don't already.
*Time in Nature- its soothing for the nervous system and great to get fresh air and sunshine. The sun is also a wonderful healing agent, and its free! There have been times when all I can do is walk around the block, but I've made myself. You have to get fresh air, you have to see the sky and hear natural sounds. Intrinsically, there is something inside of us that knows this is where we came from and this will heal us.
The most important thing is to take care of your mind, body, and spirit during this time and it can be a full time job! I have spent thousands of dollars in self care over the past year and a half, even before when I wasn't feeling good. You only have one body, so invest in feeling better and you will get better. Feed your mind and body loving thoughts, REST (big time), and be patient. This is not about pushing through to feel better. Don't go out running anymore if you are a runner. Walk! Take gentle yoga classes instead of intense vinyasa classes. Lyme is a disease that causes you to slow down, so listen and be slow. Allow your body to heal! And love yourself because you deserve it....
I know, this is a large picture! But it covers all the bases and includes the important lymph nodes scientists have recently discovered inside the brain. I love this model because of its straight forward view of one of the most important systems in our body, which is rarely ever spoke about in our medical system.
Our lymphatic system is basically our immune system. Some interesting facts about our lymph system:
It is known that the lymphatic system does not circulate on its own, therefore it requires help, which involves some sort of movement. Things like exercise and dry brushing get the lymph moving properly, but when our systems are overwhelmed by environmental toxins, auto-immune diseases, stress, cancer, and the toxins in our air and food the body needs extra help. We need to be asked by our healthcare team what our lifestyle is like in order to better assess why we feel so run down and have chronic issues such as headaches, body aches, and lethargy. If we are sitting at a desk all day, not drinking water, and then go home and watch TV, we are bound to have poor lymphatic circulation and overall poor health. And, when we put poor environmental factors on top of all of the aforementioned factors, our bodies just don't have the energy it needs to get things going and fight off infections and viruses. It's no wonder we feel awful all of the time and there is absolutely no pill that can clear the lymph system! Over time, the build up can be a contributor to chronic illness and dis-ease. Which is where treatments like electro-lymphatic therapy, manual lymph drainage, and infrared sauna's come into play. There are also some wonderful herbs that help keep our lymph system clear.
I will give a bit of insight as to what the lymphatic system involves as far as function and anatomy. The lymph system consists of the spleen, thymus, lymph nodes and nodules; lymph capillaries, trunks, vessels, and dunks; lymph & lymphocytes. It's a one-way system that ends in the blood vessels. Lymph contains cell by-products, proteins, cell debris circulating through our system, and pathogens. It is very complex in how it works and more details on this can be found in this wonderful article through Massage & Bodywork magazine:
"When the lymphatic system is compromised, edema occurs. Major causes of edema are: congestive heart failure, kidney and liver disease, steroids, hormones, chemotherapy for cancer, and other medications. Inflammation and lymphatic obstruction cause localized edema and scar tissue can restrict lymph flow causing edema as well. Parasites, scar tissue, and trauma can worsen lymphedema and become life threatening." (Massage & Bodywork Magazine, January/February 2016). If our lymph system is compromised for any reason, it cannot rid our body efficiently and dis-ease may occur. This can show up as chronic sinus infections, body aches (fibromyalgia), re-occuring sickness such as chronic cold and flu, digestive issues, painful menses and reproductive issues, and chronic fatigue ( just to name a few).
So, what do we do to keep our bodies healthy and our lymphatic system moving in the right direction. EXERCISE!!! BREATHE! EAT WHOLE & ORGANIC FOODS! And receive BODYWORK! If you do these then you are on your way and already supporting your system. As someone with chronic illness, I can say I do all of these things and still need support. Those of us with chronic dis-ease such as Chron's, Lyme Disease, cancer, or other auto-immune disorders, our bodies are constantly fighting off some heavy viruses and inflammation. We are more than likely dealing with die off from the treatments we receive, which in turn cause us to feel even worse because the toxins are constantly circulating throughout the lymph. We need the extra support and are more prone to infections, inflammation, edema, and pain because our immune system is working over time. These toxins need a way out! My suggestion is to do all of the aforementioned PLUS: electro-lymphatic therapy, infrared sauna, dry brushing, manual lymph drainage, enemas, colonics, and regular massage. Remember, things need to GET OUT! How do things get out? Regular bowel movements! So, if you are not having regular bowel movements then give yourself a coffee enema, or make sure you get colonics regularly. This is imperative in the healing process as well.
Here is where I plug the electro lymphatic machine! While I highly believe in manual lymph drainage and know many practitioners who offer this highly effective treatment, the electro lymphatic machine is able to penetrate up to 8 inches into the body, therefore making it more efficient and using less therapy time. Yes, 8 inches! It uses a micro-electric current that stimulates 3 types of gases that help to move the lymph along. Overall, it is more effective in reaching the deeper parts of the lymphatic system throughout the body, especially in the brain! Manual lymph drainage is only able to work with the more superficial layers of the lymph system. This treatment is amazing in the detoxing process and I have experienced a decrease in symptoms during my treatments for Lyme Disease and heavy metals. The feedback I have gotten is that people feel more energized, they experience more clarity in thinking, and have an overall better sense of well being. There are healing reactions that can occur with any sort of lymph treatment such as fatigue, headaches, changes in mood, and increased urination. This is simply the body ridding itself of the debris that has built up over time. Electro lymphatic therapy is also useful in breaking up old scar tissue in that once healthy lymph flow is returned, remember it is compromised due to the scar tissue restricting lymph vessels, then healthy blood & lymph flow is restored and able to return to the area where there was trauma. The increase in circulation helps to restore healthy, normal functioning tissues in the body.
Please visit the Electro-Lymphatic page on this website for more information in regards to this amazing treatment. Here's to good health!!
As I lie here on my couch, feeling myself fighting some bug that has managed to make me feel like I'm lurking between wanting to sleep all day and feeling ripples of discomfort throughout my head, I've been asking myself what actually makes us ill? Is it really because "everybody is sick and there is a bug going around"? Is it because a virus or bug has been lying dormant in our bodies and something triggered its release? Or is it more? Is it because our stress level is high and we're run down, or that we are disconnected from our essence and happiness? I would say all of the above. And what I find even more interesting and a key component in our health that is often looked over and not even asked about in Western medicine, would be the state of our emotional health and our thoughts? Do we have emotional stress, reaccuring thoughts that drain us and run us down? Our thoughts create our world, at least according to most "New Age" views of medicine. This is also a Buddhist concept that I learned while studying Buddhist Psychology at Naropa. We create our reality, our mind creates illness and discomfort and we have the ability to change our lives with how we think and what we believe. For instance, pay attention to your state of mind when you are sick. Somehow everything is awful, nothing feels right, and we can't think straight. We can go into victim mode because we aren't well. It's probably the worst time to make any decision because we are caught up in not feeling good. Then, pay attention to how you feel when you feel loved and seen. You're on top of the world and everything is right! You make better choices and you feel content. It's all linked to the quality of the mind. You can shift how you feel at anytime, which is part of the practice of mindfulness. It takes an awful lot of practice to shift out of not feeling well, more so than when you are happy and content. This is why they call meditation a practice. Its takes work.
We are coming into the darkest time of the year, a time for us to go deep within and hibernate so we can truly learn about who we are. Especially here in the Pacific Northwest when daylight is limited and its damp and cold. We don't wish to be outside, so we hideout in our homes. Some of us would see this as depressing, and this can truly be a challange for some. Being a native Floridian, it was very difficult for me to embrace the winters here in Seattle at first, but now I see it as a time to contemplate, create, and come back to myself. It's a time to gather energy back from expending so much throughout the warmer months. This is a truly beneficial time for our immune systems to recalibrate and for our emotions to be nourished and accepted fully so when Spring and Summer do come back around, we are full and ready to take in the world around us. Why do I bring this up? Because we are very detached from ourselves, most of the time. We get caught up in our humanness and forget to take time for ourselves. We have created lives where we overextend and overthink. For those of us living in a big city, we're constantly processing the noises, activity, and traffic and some people are overworking to be able to manage rent in an overpriced economy. We're tired, emotionally drained, and feel lifeless by living in survival mode and seeing more pavement than soil.
According to Hank Wesselmen, Anthropologist and Shamanic Practioner, Teacher, & Student, calls this disharmoney and this is a form of spiritual illness. Disharmony breeds fear, which leads us to dissociate. When we generate fear we deplete our immune systems. When we are unhappy, or feel detached from life due to illness, death of a loved one, loss of a job, or general stress we cause disharmony within our system, which in turn creates dis-ease. It can be an endless cycle because then we get caught up in our minds, which love to go in circles and create stories, we detach from our true essence, our dreams, and we start to follow a less than desireable path. We follow a path of fear and do things, like take a job we hate for example, because we are afraid we won't have enough money to pay bills. We start to take things out on our partner, pointing out all that is wrong with them instead of looking at the person who is really not doing well, ourselves. Things start to spin out of control and anxiety sits in, depression creeps up, and you become endlessly ill. This is spiritual illness manifesting in physical form. This is the main cause of disease as seen from a spiritual perspective.
I can use myself as an example and as to why I am currently not feeling well. I'm fighting something, some virus or bug, and yes most people around me have been sick from clients to dear friends. So of course I want to pin why I don't feel good on everyone else and not taking responsibility for my part in creating the illness. I took some time to sit in meditation for a bit today, and realized the reason for my illness is due to my lack of self care during some big transitions happening right now in my life. I just signed a lease on a new office space and need to fill up my practice, quit my job, am contemplating signing another lease on an office in a different part of town, and found out I have to move because of my rent increasing. I'm also working extra because of transitioning out of being employed and also starting my own business. On top of this, its the holiday season and I've gone a bit overboard with eating sweets and embibing in too many tasty beverages. Add not enough sleep and there you, the perfect recipe for disaster! My immune system is down, way down! And the key ingredient here is the transitional phase I am in. I have days where I feel completely overwhelmed and detached from my center and my vision and life dreams. I start to go into fear mode and question everything I am doing. The shoulds.... I start "shoulding" all over myself! "Should I take on another office? Is this too much? Can I do this? Where am I going to live? Should I be doing any of this? Should I just stay at my job and not follow my heart?" I think you get the idea.
My emotional distress, the disharmony I'm creating, combined with the fear is causing anxiety is what has run me down. Instead of taking things as they come, I'm viewing all of the goodness, all of the opportunity to create the life I want, as one big pile of mess! Yes, a pile of shit. I start to pay attention to what isn't working, instead of what is. And when we are not able to see what is working in our lives, we are out of center and not in our true warrior. We step out of our power and into a life of fear.
So what helps this? How can we start to reclaim our soul when it begins to dissociate and become fragmented? What are some forms of soul retrieval that can bring us back to center and back to our true selves, our hearts and out of our minds? Healing ourselves should be THE most important aspect of our day to day lives.
I LOVE what my teacher Sandra Ingerman says in her book Medicine For The Earth, "We tend to lead our lives at a pretty frantic pace. It's important to acknowledge that the power of the mysteries comes through deep contemplation.... We gain wisdom from remembering, and remembering comes from sitting. Sitting within yourself and within nature will awaken your dormant intuitive knowing about what is important in life, as well as truths you may have forgotten." I absolutely love this, remembering who we are is key.
In Angeles Arrien's book The Four Fold Way, she speaks of the four universal healing salves as being dancing, singing, being enchanted by stories, and finding comfort in silence. She states:
In many indigenous cultures, when a person seeks out a medicine person for help with depression or feeling distressed, they would ask one of four questions:
When did you stop dancing?
When did you stop singing?
When did you stop being enchanted by stories?
When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence?
Where we have stopped dancing, singing, being enchanted by stories, or finding comfort in silence is where we have experienced the loss of soul.
Meditation, remembering, coming back to the heart. Take time to stop and slow down and allow your mind to come back to what is real. Because I can tell you, all of those swirling thoughts going through your mind are not reality. When you sit and sink into your center, you are able to discern what is intuition and what is not reality.
Singing bridges the veils between the worlds. Dancing allows us to touch the divine. Stories connect us to our ancestors and remind us of where we came from. Silence brings us back to what has heart and meaning. Connection with others reminds us we are not alone and we are all in this amazing world together. Enjoy your life and connect with the world around you. And most of all, spend time in nature. Even here in the Northwest when its cold and wet, bundle up and listen to the wind through the trees and the crows singing to each other. I love to watch the drops of water on the cedars and give thanks to what I see to be real. Nature. She is a part of our true essence because we are made of earth, water, air, fire, and ether. We are all one and when we feel this, we know this. We can only feel this when we slow down and gather our souls back to our bodies to live whole lives, to live holy lives. This is the absence of dis-ease and illness. This is what can be a healing salve for our entire planet. Positive, vibrant health starting with the mind. Think of this, if we are able to remain clear and think positively, staying out of focusing on what isn't working in our lives and in the world, it is then that we are able to take care of ourselves physically. And when we are well physically and mentally, the world is a better place. Our heart, mind, and gut are all in alignment to make healthier choices!
In Good Health and Wholeness,
The deeper I dive into this beautiful and powerful work of the belly, the more I realize how much people don't know about the part of our bodies that harbor so much emotion and energy! I personally feel that I learn something new about the core of our being, the abdomen, our 1st thru 3rd chakras, and the home of our digestive and reproductive systems, during each session I give and every time I have received the work myself. I am amazed how many women don't know where their uterus is located, or how many of us don't know whether our liver is on the left, or right side of our bodies. I know because I was one of those people many years ago before I learned anatomy! But, what I find more interesting is how, in our culture and in our massage schools, we have not been taught the importance of the healthy functioning of our gut. And in massage school, we are never taught how to massage the stomach thoroughly. I find this fascinating because almost every other culture in the world has some form of abdominal massage, which believes that dis-ease begins in the abdomen.
According to most other lineages of medicine outside of the West, such as Chinese Medicine & Ayurvedic Healing, the muscles and organs of digestion play an important role in our overall health and well-being. This has recently come to light with a whole slew of newly discovered digestive disorders. Also, in recent discoveries in neuroscience, the role of our gut health in relation to the health of our neurological function. If our digestive system is out of order, our overall health will suffer. It is imperative to have a properly functioning digestive system. And yes, our food supply and what is being done to it, along with the soil, has a huge role to play in all of this. BUT, we are going to focus on the role of massage in this blog.
Abdominal work helps to bring us back to our center and to reconnect with our parasympathetic nervous system, taking us out of fight or flight (the sympathetic nervous system) most of us experience on a day to day basis due to the stressful lives we are living at this time. We are sitting in traffic, working far too much, not making enough money, working more to make money, in debt, are stay at home mom's, are dad's supporting the family, etc. You name, we are living in stress most of our days. Not to mention what we are feeding our bodies as we are stressed. We are a society who lives on stimulants, I love my coffee personally, but it takes a toll on our adrenals which in turn drives our internal stress through the roof. When our bodies are constantly over stimulated and caught in stressful cycles, dis-ease is created and we develop physical issues that manifest in the form of digestive dysfunction, fertility issues, sexual dysfunction, and nervous system disorders. Over time, these symptoms can spiral us further into more severe forms of dis-ease such as cancer, anxiety, depression, etc. (just to name a few and not really go there!)
So where does abdominal massage fit in and how is this different than just a good old massage? Well, first off, we carry a good amount of our central nervous system in our stomach. We also carry a ton of neurotransmitters in our gut, which we are now learning is our first brain (yes, the neurotransmitters in the gut carry information to be processed up to the brain!) Just these two key points are good reasons why we should be rubbing bellies! Just think of a baby crying and how when we rub their bellies, they fall asleep or start to calm down. This is because we are soothing the nervous system and helping to get the little being out of survival mode and into a more relaxed state. This is the same for us adults. We need soothing touch and to know that all is well in our world. I can tell you every time I have worked on someone's stomach for the first time, they are amazed at how good the massage felt and how relaxed they feel after. A lot of people fall asleep actually! It works!
We also carry a lot of inflammation in our abdomen, especially if we have digestive disorders happening. Chron's Disease, SIBO (small bacterial overgrowth), IBS. All are chronic (mostly) inflammatory conditions that are eased with massage by improving blood flow to these areas & clearing the gut of toxins. Massage also increases natural endorphins which in turn helps decrease pain throughout the body. It can be soothing and relaxing and again, once you are out of the fight or flight (sympathetic system) your body can rest and heal itself. Your body can also have easier bowel movements when there is less tension in your belly.
Energetically, we may start to get things stirring up. We carry so much of our ancestral line, our connection to survival, our connection to the world and other beings, our sexuality, our safety, our sense of home and place in our 1st thru 3rd chakras. Emotional releases are a possibility during a session and are very much welcomed. It's greatly important to release emotions and we tend to hold onto them in our core. I can't tell you the number of times of heard clients, and myself, say "I think I carry my emotions in my stomach" followed by "My digestion is always off when I'm stressed, or when I'm upset". Not to mention how vulnerable this part of our bodies can be. Especially those that have experienced any sort of abuse, or trauma to this area, or in life period.
I bring this up not to scare you, but to make you aware of the importance of the work. This is part of the Maya way of healing as well, which I will talk about in my next blog. Just know, the room is a container, it's a safe and healing space where all is welcome. I've worked with many sexual abuse survivors, multi-miscarriages, and people with eating disorders. I honor all beings without blame, or judgement.
How does this help women get pregnant?
This is such a beautiful question I love getting asked! I will try to rephrase what one client, who was trying to conceive, told me after our third session together. She walked out of the room and said, "OMG! I totally get it! I get why this is going to work! You are helping to guide me to a space where I can reconnect to my body, where I can feel safe, where I can let her know that my body is safe, and where I can center myself enough to know that it's all going to happen. I'm able to relax and not worry about getting pregnant while I'm here and I can take the tools that you give me and use them at home!" She said it perfectly! AND, there is more. Yes, the majority of the work is reconnecting women to their bodies and guiding them back to their center. It's about soothing the parasympathetic system and creating a safe "home" for baby to start entry into the world.
It is also about re-aligning the uterus, the womb. According to the Mayan tradition, women have two hearts. The actual heart beating lively and beautifully in our bodies and our womb. If one, or the other is out of alignment, we are out of alignment with source... the divine, God, Goddess, Allah, etc. (whatever your belief might be). I like to think of it as being out of alignment with our center and our inner wisdom, as my teacher Naomi says. With the Maya work, we are able to feel if the womb is to one side more than the other, sitting low, tilted forward or back. The work we do helps to bring the womb back into proper alignment, making it easier to conceive and helping us to feel empowered. Not only do we work the front of the body, we also work the sacrum and back of the body. We do this because there are ligaments that connect the uterus to the inside of the sacrum. By working the sacrum, we also help relieve PMS symptoms and cramps. This is why it feels good when we have cramps for someone to press down on our sacrum and when a woman is in labor is feels good for her to receive pressure here as well.
We also use the breath, I have you place one hand on your heart and one on your womb and imagine connecting the two. At times, we use plants to brush the body, a way of clearing your energy and the plants do some (most) of the healing work that needs to take place (this is the Maya healing way). Maya healing is beautiful, ceremonial work that I encourage all women to receive regularly. Because our reproductive health is vital to our well-being. By tending to our wombs, we are tending to our hormones and our bodies creating a lifetime of healthy cycles and ease into each stage of life we come to: puberty, our fertile years, peri-menopause, and finally menopause. Sometimes vaginal steams (bajos) are incorporated as a means to cleanse the uterus. (More on vaginal steams later!)
For men, its a bit different but I also believe men have a cycle. As I have mentioned, we externally massage the pelvic bowl to increase circulation to the prostate which in turn can increase virility. This is in no way a sexual massage. I do not massage the sexual organs, but this is a modality that other practitioners are skilled and educated in. My work is geared more towards women's reproductive health and more toward men and women with chronic pelvic pain.
In working with both men and women, we often use the breath as a means of relaxation and reconnection to the body. The breath helps to reconnect us back to the present, clears our bodies of toxins, relaxes the muscles and brings fresh air and blood through the body. Breathing is also a way for the body to release what is no longer needed, a way to let go and "get things out" by clearing energy that we do not need. It's also a beautiful way for myself to connect with a client during the work, as we are able to breath together and let go together.
My work has been transforming into not only working with reproductive issues, but also with more intense complaints such as chronic pelvic pain both in men and women; working with softening severe scar tissue from past surgeries, such as c-section and multiple organ removals which cause disruption in digestive function and working directly with the nervous system after trauma from surgeries and intense life experiences. I tend to combine craniosacral into each session to further enhance the calming effect it has on the nervous system.
I encourage you to click on this link to my page on Maya Abdominal Massage to see who might benefit from this work. And as always and anytime, you are welcome to contact me directly with any questions!
May you walk in beauty always, Heather
A Note From Heather~
I'm a loving, caring, and intuitive healer, whom feels a deep connection with all beings. On this blog I will share all things Spiritual, Health, Love, Nature, Bodywork, and Healing that needs its voice to be empowered!