Coloured portrait

Coloured portrait

Monday, December 10, 2018

Attraction, Resonance, Connection

Attraction and connection are not the same thing.

When meeting a total stranger, in person or online, and you feel a pull towards this other person, that's attraction.

If there's a common ground shared between you and the other person, a resonance that you can both feel beyond words, there is potential for connection.

Connection is possible when you reveal yourselves to each other, and witness each other in that revealing. A me turns into a we when two people get to know each other deeply and intimately through mutual disclosure and witnessing, and when in person, through touch, coordinated breath, and harmonious movement together, such as dancing and lovemaking. 

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Feedback for Teachers, Speakers and Presenters

Negative feedback is more useful than positive feedback if pursuing betterment and growth. Here is both from the audience, having in mind my perspective as a teacher, speaker, leader and presenter.

Favourite presenters:
- Were generous with giving their tools and methods
- Taught useful practices that can be applied in life
- Their offering was stand-alone and useful regardless whether further buying their products and services or not.
- True service, other-oriented giving. Their presentation left me grateful, inspired, enriched, and wanting to learn more from them.
- Ratio between lecture and instruction favouring instruction
- Highly expressive and nuanced voice, face and body movements, which I found engaging even after 4 hours of night’s sleep
- Personal bias towards the presenters who talked about vital energy (I’m an energy healer and tired of cynicism). I felt less alone hearing presenters whose views are that we are the body, and not only the body
- Humour - always a winner for me
- Conversational tone of voice - easy to connect with the presenter on a personal, human level, easy to trust and to like
Least favourite presenters:
- Stingy and secretive with their method. Gave the “what” and none of the “how”, leaving any benefit depending on whether buying their services or not. Major turn-off for me.
- Fluff. Long, detailed lecture, making the same point over again, no movement, no engagement, in a self-induced trance with no awareness of the participants’ responses. Nothing you can’t find on YouTube.
- Too much persuading “why” and too little educating “what” and “how”. As with any time when I am being sold, that was a turnoff.
- Monotonous voice, poker face (no facial expression), no gestures, robot-like presentations. Took away from the content for me
- Pompous, self-pretentious tone. I don’t trust humourless presenters who perform rather than connect

Friday, December 7, 2018

Day 36 Self Love - Self Affirming, self-enhancing keys

Part of the Social Media One Year of Self Love project: Day 36 Self Love - Self Affirming, self-enhancing keys

Exploring what it takes to showcase one's own brilliance. Self respect, clean and flattering clothing, living and working environment, clean, self-respectful language, elegance in all of the above.

A few points in no particular order - and help me out sorting the categories or adding your own:

1 - Toning down flaws, showcasing strengths. This doesn't mean 'concealing' flaws (I never liked cosmetic concealers by the way, any more than I would like shoving dirt under the rug). But no more private and especially public self-flagellation, that's degrading. Turn the light of attention, language and action towards all that is right with you (which is also prerequisite IMO to appreciating what's right with your spouse, family, friends and the world)

2 - Dress like you are precious, wear clothing that enhance and affirm your value, dress like the person you aspire to be. Also dress like you respect and value those who see you, act as if your pleasant appearance is one of your valuable offerings to the world. Same goes for your home. You can create beauty and elegance even on a budget.

3 - Speak clean, with clarity, with beauty, and with elegance. Drop the language clutter - one mistake I have a tendency to make is give too much detail in narratives, which is boring and unnecessary, like zooming in too close on the map until you loose track of the bigger picture. Drop the language parasites: "like", "ya know", "ya know what I mean", "whatever" or the constant seeking of approval "Am I right?" I am ambivalent about swearing - too much of it is degrading, and not at all may show inauthentic speech. Just a little "fuck" here and there for emphasis and humour is okay - what do you think?

4 - Carry yourself elegantly: stand and move tall, strong, soft, open. I have been learning this from my embodiment teachers, primarily Paul Linden and Mark Walsh, and practicing daily. If you see me collapsing my posture, pull me up by the hair!

5 - Take pride in your trade, occupation and passions. Nothing spells self-loathing like someone who hates and complains about their job. And I've been there. Speak respectfully about your profession, job, career, vocation or business. If you face judgments and dismissals, like I do when presenting my work with Reiki and the healing arts, treat your critics with respect and use their harsh criticism as an opportunity for you to practice self respect, pride and self love. Paul Linden tells me that we all need an enemy, so we can practice love and power.

6 - Speak highly or at least kindly of your competitors. Critique behaviour, but stay kind and respectful towards people. Putting competitors down to appear in a better light is actually putting you in a bad light. When I hear a teacher badmouthing other teachers, I run away from them; when I hear a teacher valuing learning or exchanging notes with colleagues, I watch and learn.

7 - Ask for what you want. And here I go: I want these posts to be seen and read, to inspire and enrich many more people, while raising my profile as a teacher, coach and facilitator. So please like them, comment on them so they keep appearing in your newsfeed, and forward them to personal development lovers. Help me help more people, it's a win-win-win for all!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Inner Child Self Love

A month ago I started a year long project on the social media: One Year of Self Love. This is the latest entry, a poem for the love of the inner child. 

How does this resonate with you? How do you work with the Inner Child? Please tell us in comments.

Day 34, Self-Love

That which you dare not show to others
The cravings you keep hidden
Outrageous yearnings for play
and touch
reassuring words
and ice-cream
That which lies beneath your oldest unresolved emotions
is your Young One
Find her!
Talk to her
and let her talk to you
Give her the voice she never had
Let her articulate all that
which hasn't been yet said
She is the child who never grew to match your age
The Peter Pan inside your mind
Go ahead, love her,
Embrace her,
Offer her tenderness
Beyond the tenderness that she - that you - has ever known
See her much deeper than your own mother has seen you
Appreciate her more than anyone has
Whisper to her how loved she is
How glad you are to have her inside you, in your life
How playful, humorous and curious she helps you be!
Give her the harmony of discipline and care
The harmony you lacked when you were just her age
And tell her all that she has always hoped to hear
Tell her that she can count on you
That you'll be there for her
That you will never let her down
That she is precious as life itself to you
And every now and then, let her have ice-cream

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Why intuitive divinations into the future are problematic:

Intuitive readings or divinations into the future are rarely accurate, and in some cases they can actually pose problems. Here are three reasons I do not use them:

1- Projections. Just as we project our own shadows, biases and expectations upon other people, objects, events and God, we project them in our 'readings'. Predictions are always informed by the state of the person predicting.

2- The worldview of the reader and the one of the listener may not match. Even though visionary glimpses into future possibilities are available for those of us with clarity and sensitivity of perception, the vision may be lost in the translation as it is interpreted by the reader's own personal, developmental and cultural filters.

3 - Visions are retrieved on a mental plane where suggestions are also seeded. You can never tell if what you hear from an intuitive reader is a vision glimpsed upon, or a hypnotic suggestion. Hypnotic suggestions are useful when intentionally directed by a skilled and trustworthy facilitator. Negative suggestions are dangerous, as they can plant seeds of emotions, thoughts and behaviours which are not useful to the receiver.

I have personally thought intuitive readings in the past, sometimes out of despair, searching for hope, and sometimes as part of a healing session. The most useful readings have been confirmations of my expressed intent, as they offered support rather than suggestion.

When hearing that I am an energy healer, people sometimes ask me for readings into their future. I decline, and instead I offer my clients a guided meditation where they directly encounter a vision of what is possible for their area of life concern.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Chakras as Body Mapping

There are many ways to slice a pie. The body is holographic: every part of the whole holds the information of the hole, and various maps look at the whole through specific entry points: eyes, hands, feet, hair cells, blood cells, the DNA.

Throughout the times and cultures, sensitive people interested in the body and healing have noticed correlations between parts of the body, and human traits, tendencies and behaviours. As my QiGong teacher Ken Cohen was explaining in one of his trainings, someone must have pressed a point on their hand, and felt a response -say- in the stomach. They noticed a consistency of response, so they mapped that particular point on their hand as being correlated with the stomach, using methods such as applied pressure or inserting a needle to elicit a positive health response in the correlated organ. This is how acupressure and acupuncture were likely to be born.

Every moving object has an electromagnetic field around it, and so does the body, and so do the organs and the glands.The field around each gland appears to visually sensitive people as whirpools spinning like wheels, which explains the Sanskrit word for those fields “Chakra”, wheels. Highly sensitive and perceptive people have noticed a correlation between the energy field of each gland or organ, and certain psychological qualities and themes. The field around the heart or thymus has been associated with love, the field around the pituitary gland, and the area between the eyebrows has been associated with imagination and visionary wisdom, and the field around the pancreas has been associated with personal power, dominance and control.

Language has differentiated between the physical organ and its biological function, and the organ’s Chakra, or energy centre, and the physical and psychological correlated aspects. For example, when speaking of the heart, you refer to the muscle whose function is to pump blood through the body. When speaking of the heart chakra, you may make reference to a person’s receptiveness and generosity to love.

In the past years, Western medical science has shown an increased interest in the correlations between the dysfunction of a body part, and the associated psychological disturbances.

The main fallacy committed in published writings about the chakras is claiming causality where there is none but correlation, drawing criticism upon this paradigm of thought and body mapping as pseudo-science.

In fact, just as thoughts affect biology, and biology affects psychology, it is hard to say whether the health state of an organ affects its field, or the integrity of the organ’s energy field affects the organ’s function. I believe the influence goes both ways, and my experience of twenty years as a Reiki healer working with the body’s fields has shown me that affecting the field can affect the function. The Western Reiki practitioners learn how to sense the chakras by scanning with sensitized palms, and position their hands in a pattern which follows the chakra mapping of the body.

It is common practice during my Reiki training programs for students to experience the resonance between declarative statements and the felt sensations in their corresponding chakras, thus having a personal and direct experience of the correlations.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Why Diet May Not Be The Answer To Your Health

Health food stores are popping up like mushrooms after rain online and offline, thriving on people’s single-minded obsession with food. 

What began as useful awareness that what you put in your body affects the state of your body (and mind!) has turned into an almost religious fervour pursued by those of us seeking to heal ourselves, our families, our pets and our planet. 

I, too, have joined the conscious eating masses years ago, resorting to diet as medicine for my ills. I had a difficult, distressful marriage, and was an immigrant into a radically different culture, environment and climate than what I had been used to. I was fatigued, anxious, and had muscular pain shooting down my arms and legs. I became increasingly sensitive to sugar, wheat, dairy, especially cold, sweet dairy, and fungus enriched cheese like blue cheese, Camembert and Brie. My favourite treats were eliminated and replaced by a collection of vitamins and supplements, and yet, I was still ill, and suffering.

Then I noticed something unusual: whenever I traveled to Israel and Romania to visit my family and friends, I got away with eating all that I fancied, including dessert made with white flour (not organic!), white sugar, and real whipped cream, and even wash all down with a glass of wine. I looked for answers in the food: the wheat has not been GMO-ed or sprayed with Roundup - but the sugar? How come I can eat white sugar and be well, when at home sugar makes me so sick?

An integral view on health has changed my mind: factors that lead to health or disease range from individual subjective factors, such as one’s beliefs about health, one’s self image, self-confidence, and emotional makeup, to objective factors such as diet, exercise, air quality, geographical positioning, home orientation, light, sound, electro-magnetic fields, and even architectural shapes; to intersubjective factors such as the quality of one’s relationships, shared meaning about health, the kind of affection, encouragement and support one gives and receives; to collective objective factors, such as the availability of medical care, the types of health care in society, and the material and financial resources available for healthcare.

Among these factors, some weigh more than others, and in my subjective assessment, for example, the quality of relationships weighs more than diet. If you haven’t spoken with your mother for thirty years, giving up sugar won’t make a difference. As I found out, living with daily conflict and emotional disconnect harmed me to the point that everything got to me, while when I spent time among people with whom I connect deeply, harmoniously and with great affection, I was well, and could stomach any food. 

A single-minded view on health misses all that: the single-focused obsession with food, or the single-focused view that reduces health to biological chemistry, or the claim that if you only do this one thing (exercise, or zap parasites, or meditate) you will be healthy and well. Health is not the result of one single factor, but many, and it is useful to sort these factors in two categories: importance, and changeability.

What really matters

My work with clients looks at body pain and symptoms as signposts to pay attention to when navigating through life. Leading a person through an embodied inquiry into the physical pain reveals something that she must change, that may have been deemed by the person’s reason as secondary in importance, but held highly in importance by the body’s own wisdom. What transpires in a session is often surprising for my client, and has to do with either something from the past that hasn’t been fully processed or resolved, or a current situation that must be looked at and digested or changed. In twenty years of working as a healing facilitator, the root cause of physical pain and discomfort in my clients has been rooted in a relational event. I have not worked with people traumatized by earthquakes and tsunamis; everyone that I worked with has been affected by some kind of neglect, cruel behaviour, or some intentional or unintentional harm caused to them or by them in a relationship. I have not encountered yet a body pain that embodied inquiry revealed as being rooted in eating sugar, cheese or non-organic wheat. It doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist - I have not seen it.

Most often addressing relationships has resulted in a change in symptoms.

We are social animals. Our human species has no claws, powerful fangs, protective body scales, or the ability to spew or spray venom (other than verbal, that is). Our survival and thriving entirely depends on cooperation. We are deeply wired to connect and belong, and when we fail, or are threatened to loose the connection or belonging, we are risking our lives, and become ill. Social isolation is worse for us than many other harmful factors. Social connection, caring touch, moving and singing together harmoniously in community has been a favourite medicine used by all cultures, and present in all perennial wisdom traditions. That’s why I dance with a Tribe: many times I went to the weekly Biodanza - a conscious and relational dance movement started by Rolando Torro in Chile - and began my evening with a low mood and body tension, and ended up the two-three hour evening glowing with joy and pain free. 

Another factor that seems to me to weigh heavier than sugar and cheese is the narrative one generates as a dialogue or internal dialogue, or participates in. All narratives have a point, a bottom-line conclusion of the story, and the point is either a deficit “And thus, my dear friends (or dear Self), this is how I am wronged / others are wrong / something is wrong with me / you / them / the world)” or a resource: “And thus, my loves / my Self, I learned and grew / I am better off / this is how I shine / this is what’s good about me / you / them / the world”. I encourage you to try an exercise in embodied awareness: scroll through the social media posts in your newsfeed, and look for the bottom-line point in each narrative, while noticing any changes in your breathing, body temperature, pressure, weight, movement, spaciousness and luminosity. This will tell you how each narrative affects you. Then pay attention to your own stories. 

The Low-Hanging Fruit

I live in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Ottawa is situated in a valley, has high humidity and precipitation all year-round, and long, harshly cold winters. This affects everyone’s health, and I met more people with depression and arthritis in Ottawa than anywhere else. Humid, cold atmosphere reduces mobility, and I feel my own body moving differently here than in a warm, dry climate. And for many Ottawans, relocating is not an option. And for all of us, changing the climate is impossible.

What is wise and useful to do is to look at all contributing factors to health - and I like the QiGong philosophy for a comprehensive mapping of influencers - and to change those factors that are most readily available to you. Start with the low hanging fruit - but not one piece of fruit only, like a single-minded obsession with food: change all that is available for you to change, beginning with what is easy and available, and then working your way up to what really matters that is available for change. 

Some of the things that I do to recover from trauma and grief, to heal and to thrive, and you can do too: 

  • A daily practice of prayer, meditation, Metta (loving-kindness) practice, Reiki, and QiGong
  • Gratitude and appreciation
  • Dance, move, touch, hug and kiss people
  • Elimination of toxic relationships and conversations
  • Watching only movies and video clips that uplift, inspire and enrich. Ingesting information that nourishes, staying away from information that poisons, especially news that I can do nothing about
  • Feng-shui remedies in my home, including de-cluttering, and cleaning the house physically and energetically
  • Personal hygiene practices, body and energy - shower daily, smudge myself with sacred plants daily
  • Diet: eating what nourishes physically and emotionally, without obsessing about it
  • Therapy, including bodywork, energy work, talk therapy and homeopathy
  • Playing and cuddling with fur friends - dogs and cats
  • Humour and playfulness
  • Service: contributing to the well-being and happiness of others is powerful medicine
  • Creative endeavours, such as writing, drawing, singing, dancing, cooking out of imagination

An integral view on health frees you from obsessions, puts things in perspective according to their importance, and opens you to a wider range of options for your well-being and thriving. 

Remember that what matters is not only what you eat, but who you eat with, where you eat it, what are you looking at while you eat, and what you and the others are talking about while you eat.

And show this article to your doctor and your nutritionist!