Coloured portrait

Coloured portrait

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Advantages and disadvantages of a daily morning routine of meditative embodied practice (QiGong)

I depend on my morning routine of embodied meditative practice for a minimal state of well-being. One skipped morning, like yesterday, throws me in debilitating sickness. I use therapies for trauma recovery (therapy is needed while sick and ceases with healing) and practice for maintenance.

An embodied meditative practice routine has advantages and limitations if you are recovering from trauma or illness:


- No need for props. Unless you follow YouTube workouts, in which case have your phone around and, if practicing in the park like I do, have your dog's leash to hang the phone from a tree branch. Otherwise, you don't need equipment.

- You can practice anywhere, anytime. If you have a variety of workouts in your repertoire, you'll have enough to practice sitting, standing in line at the store, walking the dog, watching Netflix. 

- It's financially attainable. Trauma programs cost thousands of dollars, which, if you have PTSD and money, you're covered. But trauma hits hard the people who struggle with money, and happily there are many open or affordable sources for you to learn.


- Time consuming. Any idea how many pain killers a person can take while you're circling your arms around in the park, under the tree, for a whole hour or more?

- You miss one day of routine, it's like missing your antidepressant or your morning shower: you'll feel yuck. You'll need to schedule your day's activities around the self-care routine if you're to reliably function. 

- Outside of China QiGong practice looks weird. I'm in a conservative North American culture in the Canadian capital, and I've seen people taking snapshots of me, people shaking their head, people stopping to stare. You'll feel like the fool on the hill - I know I have.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Humanizing the other: how to neither idolize, nor demonize the other

How to not demonize another person:

- Imagine the person as someone's little son or daughter
- Picture the person having food cravings
- Try to envision them as a school boy or girl, learning to read and write
- Ask yourself or, if available, the person. what is this person's greatest passion? How about their greatest fear?

How to not idolize another person:

- Imagine the person peeing, pooping or picking their nose.
- Think of the person performing household chores, like you do: peeling potatoes, throwing the garbage, washing the floors
- Picture the person having food cravings
- Ask yourself or, if available, the person, what scares or startles them

Those you are bothered by, and those you admire, are human beings, with strengths and flaws. Just like you  #rehumanizetheother

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Two possible scenarios for addressing body pain

Here are two possible scenarios for addressing body pain:

1) Listen to the pain. Notice the emotion arising. Allow any mental images to surface with the source of the emotion. Complete any 'unfinished business' with body movement, voice, breath, and words that needed to be uttered. Examine any views contributing to emotional pain, and change them. Identify internalized voices that don't belong to you, and release them. Integrate and own your own internal voices.

2) Take a pain killer. Ignore the pain. Suppress the emotions. Repress the memory. Do not examine the views. Believe everything you think and everything you hear. When pain becomes chronic, take more pills.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Typical Mind-Body Intervention for Heart Health

Typical Tana Saler scenic road to (heart) health:

In a phone interaction I declined a solicitation of the caller, and while I spoke I felt my heart and chest shrinking to an ache. I was quite sick for a few days after, with literal heartache and shallow breathing, and a normal person would see the doctor and get an ECG done. 

Instead, I meditated, journaled and did Shadow work until I had my insight and took the solicitor's perspective. 

Then I wrote that person, apologized, made amends including a donation and well wishing, and heard back from them with their gratitude. 

As I wrote my apology and made amends, the heart and chest opened, the tension and aches released, and my breath softened and deepened. 

That's it.

Learning to say 'no' has been a big lesson for me. Now learning to say 'no' kindly is a skill refinement, and I'm still working on it. The heart and body don't lie, and there's no answer in pharmacology or surgery for unkind speech and action. 

The body-mind is not a concept, idea or philosophy - this is reality, if you know how to pay attention, access your body's wisdom, do your homework, and aim at addressing health problems from the root cause.

This doesn't imply that you shouldn't see the doctor, or follow a good diet, sleep, exercise etc. There are many factors to health, and the thought-speech-action determinant weighs more that a spoonful of sugar on the body health.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Balance and the Healthy Sense of Self

A major scope of personal development work is "Balance" - neither excess, nor deficit; neither total chaos, nor rigid order.

It's the same with the sense of self: the middle path is being neither fragmented, nor fused, meaning you don't want to be cut-off from your own traits, qualities, drives, impulses, emotions and feelings, nor do you want to be fused in your identity with either of those traits, qualities, drives, impulses, emotions and feelings.

A healthy sense of self is both integrated and fluid. That's easier said than done, but possible with both therapy and practice. Voice dialogue and elegant, embodied forms of Shadow work are useful and effective in developing a coherent sense of self. Any spiritual pursuits must follow this work, and not precede it: you have to have a sense of self before transcending the self.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

The Deepest Longing Holds the Greatest Brilliance

I'm a lonely outgoing extrovert and a natural people connector. I have introduced couples, helped save marriages, people who met through me became friends, and business collaborators, and I am the initiator of parties, groups (now virtual), and of lately, teacher of the art of human connection.

And my only live-in companion is a dog.

Sometimes I feel like Moses who led the people to the Promised Land, but he was banned from entering. Is this longing to belong that moves me to be of service towards connection? If I were fulfilled and secure in a couple and community of my own, would I still be as good as bringing people together? 

A Romanian saying says 'Hunger is the best Chef'. Maybe our deepest pain and longing holds our greatest brilliance.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Lessons learned in twenty years in Canada

This weekend twenty years ago I left Israel and moved to Canada.

It was the kind of journey that, like stormy waters, made me a skilled sailor. I left my extended family behind, and old, strong friendships with people who loved me dearly to follow an yearning for a loving marriage that took me to Yellowknife, in the Northwest Territories (where you hit the nail in the Canada map to hang it on the wall), and later to the coldest capital of the world.

I learned hard and valuable lessons in these twenty years. Among them:

- Making life changing decisions, like getting married and migrating to another country must be done with the agreement of the head, the heart, and the guts. 

- Love is unconditional; relationships are not. I designed my wedding invitations with an image of a camel and a polar bear kissing over the globe and the slogan: "Love has no boundaries". It turned out that the camel froze her butt and the polar bear can't handle heat. 

- Following a yearning is not enough. You must have a good map to navigate relationships that includes knowledge of developmental stages, personality types, cultural conditioning, trauma. If you asked me then why I would think we'd be a good match, I would say we shared a sense of humour and a love for dogs. That was true, and far from enough to play house together.

- Listen to your instincts. Embodied awareness of the gut feelings could be a life saving skill and now I know how to do it. I did not know to notice when my stomach was shrunk, my belly tight and cold, and my shoulders raised, and had no language to interpret the tension and contraction. Now I know. And I teach it 

- Follow the loving kindness. How your mate treats his body, his family members and other people, is how he will treat you. 

- Listen to your friends: they shed light on your blind spots, especially when in the spells of attraction. Mine did. 

- Heal your trauma, it leaks in relationships and will poison them. And enter in a relationship with someone who's been healing their trauma as well. That's a non-negotiable.

- Pay attention to your dreams and intuition. Before moving I dreamt that I was in a dark, arid place covered in ice, running after a bus to take me out of there. The place was vast, only ice and dark skies, I was alone and scared.

In the photo: the stuffed polar bear that greeted me in the Yellowknife airport twenty years ago yesterday.