Matter

I have been blessed with great teachers in my life.  Teachers that lead me into healing, awakening, awareness.  Teachers that help me develop my skill, my art form, my self.  

I met an amazing teacher a few weekends ago when I chose to embark on a new apprenticeship.  

After a full day of an inward journey, our teacher led us outside for an exercise in aligning with our Totem Animal.   We were to call in our animal ally, become and embody this animal, draw upon its medicine and wisdom, and then die to our Animal Totem.  

Jaime Sams explains in the book, Medicine Cards, that "When you call upon the power of an animal, you are asking to be drawn into complete harmony with the strength of that creature's essence...They are a part of the pathway to power.  The power lies in the wisdom and understanding of one's role in the Great Mystery, and in honoring every living thing as a teacher." 

I found myself tearing up with the explanation of the exercise.  Truly unsure why, I gave myself space to feel the source of the tears.  And in that space of allowance, I realized that I was not at peace with myself.  I was not at peace with my life story.  And, in humble truth, this life has been hard.  So incredibly hard at times.  Disease, death, divorce, depression ... It can leave a person broken.  

There are times when I tend to gravitate to the realm of Spirit to escape the harsh reality of life.  Definitely to find guidance and love and healing.  But, there is a part of me that does it to escape.  

And after the last few years of life, I wasn't too keen on coming back to this physical form.  I just wanted to be done.  And thus, the tears.     

But there is no escaping the Universe.  There is no escaping Spirit and energy and consciousness.  There is no escaping healing and, ultimately, becoming.  

And so, in reverence and surrender, I allowed myself to fully embody the medicine of my Spirit Guide.  I laid on the cold ground, uncomfortable in my form and in the elements.  And yet, I followed the beat of the drum and the song of the Shaman.  

And I became a Wolf.  

The wolf is the teacher of medicine and as I embodied this animal, I felt Mother Earth under my paws; I felt grounded in her.  I saw with a clearness of vision the elements and energy around me.  I felt my power as I encircled my tribe.  I understood the depth of my loyalty to and protective nature of those that I call my family.  I felt my connection to Grandmother Moon and the illumination that her intuitive nature brings. 

I felt complete alignment with the wisdom and knowledge that Wolf Medicine brings.  

And then, the moment came to die to the wolf.  To fully release attachment, embodiment, and form.  I shook.  Cried.  And fully allowed myself to break.  

And in this moment, there was no need to hold it together.  No need to hold my head up, wipe my tears, swallow it down, carry on.  No one needed me.  No one was counting on me.  No responsibility laid before me.  

And in that moment, there was permission to break.  To lose it.  To die.  

And I felt my form release.  
Break down.  
My flesh, 
my bones, 
my emotions, 
my hurt, 
my fears, 
my life story.  

I broke down.

Into pieces.  
Into fragments of matter.  
Trace minerals.  
Elements.  
Blood.  
Water.  

And Earth Mother accepted me.  Drew me in.  Enveloped me.  Buried me in her depth.  Held me.  She released my charge.  Transmuted my hurt. Allowed me to transform.  In my own time.  In my own way.  

Fragments of me poured into the pond and then evaporated into the sky.  I remained there and gathered essence, power.  And then I began to rain.  To cleanse.  To baptize the very ground that healed me.  To give back to the beautiful mother than held me.  

A distant voice called to me, beckoned me back into my physical form.  Called me home.  

And as I rained down, looking over my body - there was a sense of gratitude for this life story.  For the lessons and wisdom held within this form.  For the medicine of this animal ally that I embody.  

And for the first time in my life, I wanted to embody me.  To draw upon my own power.  My own medicine.  My own heart.  I wanted to retain my knowledge and wisdom and LOVE.

And as the rain fell over my form, I felt my essence come into more and more dense material form.  From energy into matter.

And then I realized,    

I Matter.    

And the medicine I hold is a vital part of Great Spirit.  



And so it is with you.  You Matter.  
And the Medicine you hold is a vital part of the Collective Great Spirit.



Aho.

The Dark Knight of the Church

There have been times in my life when the road was arduous to journey on.  When all I could do was put one foot in front of the other.  When taking a breath was the only form of survival I could muster.  Breathe.  Take a step.  Breathe.  Pray.  Breathe.  Surrender.  

And life goes on.   

Many people speak of The Dark Night of the Soul.  When life becomes bleak, dismal, and everything you have ever known is called into question.  When your entire life falls apart.  

This has happened to me, twice. 

You see, the world stops when you lose someone so intimate to you.  Completely stops.  
It alters you.  Challenges you.  Humbles you.  And forever changes you.
And like a domino effect, my entire life fell apart.  I broke.  Completely.  

And life goes on.  

But a part of you doesn’t.  A part of you dies.  And that death can be painful or purposeful.  Or both. 
     
While in the process of breaking down, I handed in my priesthood card to my pastor.  I didn’t feel like I was in a position to minister.   I was in pain; in grief.  I was lost. 
And all went silent.  The church that I gave my soul to.  The church that I gave countless hours and energy, dedication and love to.  My church, went silent.  
Not one home visit.  Not one phone call.  
Pastors, youth ministers, life long friends...  Silence. 
And there I was, in the Dark Night of my Soul.  Without my church.
__________
The silence reminded me of the Easter season.  I know, random, right?  But not so - 
You see, we gather for Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday... and then we go home.  We go about our daily lives.  We hide candy.  We find candy.  Life goes on.   Until Easter Morning, when the tomb is empty and Christ has risen.   
And what about the transformation that takes place in the tomb?  What of the darkness.  What of the anguish?  What of the dark night that led to awakening? Jesus surely went through a Dark night of the Soul.  Transformation into new life?  
Isn’t that the pinnacle moment?  Isn’t that the true essence of eternal life?     
So why does the Church go silent on those days?  In the darkest hours of Christ’s life?

______

So I handed in my priesthood card, and all went silent.   

And I mourned.  Not only for my mom.  Not only for the unraveling of my life.  But also for the unraveling of my perceived Church.  

But the beautiful thing.
The part that warms my soul, 
Is that the Spirit of God never goes silent. 
And the Spirit of God travels beyond the four walls of the Church.  
Travels beyond the beautiful campgrounds.  

It is a Spirit that lives and breathes in family members. In friends. 
My grandfather raised our family with the intention to be among the Church.  
What he instilled into our blood was the principles or servitude and true community.  
What he imprinted into our hearts was the beating of the Great Spirit.   
Both visionary and intuitive.  
It does not need four walls.  

For the Spirit transforms.  Breathes.  Abides.  

______

In recent years there has been much talk about the Church losing its members; of young adults not attending; of tithings dwindling.  While this concerns me, I have full faith that a church, once silent, is fully capable of transformation.  

All things come to an end.  That is a universal principle.  Creation and destruction.  But energy is never lost.  It is only transformed.  

The Dark Night of the Church will come.  And it will be an unraveling of the walls that have formed the illusion of community.  And as they crumble, I pray the Spirit that first breathed life into this Church will breathe life into us anew.  That the church wont be attached to walls; but rather, they will be attached to each other.  

For the true church that continues to transform and evolve and grow with its people needs to be capable of walking people through both creation and destruction.

Be capable of showing people:  
What it means to be a disciple and what it means to stumble.  
What it means to multiply the loaves and the fishes and what it means to go hungry. 
What it means to heal and what it means to pass on.  
What it means to hold people in the light and what it means to hold people in the darkness.  

This church needs to reach for its people.  Hold them.  Walk with them.  Wherever the journey may lead.  Even into the Dark Night of their Soul.  

Because the Divine is in all things.    
Because ministers are meant to be healers of the Soul. 
Because divorce, abuse, death and illness are real and do happen.
Because no one should walk any road alone.   

_____

This summer I spent precious time with a young minister in the Church.  She truly is an angel among us.  And it was the first time, in years, that I felt a renewed sense of Spirit calling me back to the Church that I loved. Calling me Home.  And while my connection to the Divine travels further than any one denomination, I would follow her.  Wherever she breathed life.  Wherever she planted a seed.  Wherever she planted a Church.   And I would trust my light and my darkness in her hands.   

Thank you, Katie.   

Aho.

The Fall

Fall.  
Definitely my favorite season.  
Burning red leaves.  Chai Tea.  Scarves.  Boots.  Flannel.  
Crisp morning air that leaves a chill on the back of your neck.  
Pumpkin patches and Apple orchards.
Football. 

And yet, the Fall isn't just about comfortable clothes and cozy evenings by the fire.  
It is also about a greater perspective.  Release.  The beginning of full surrender.

You see, every season shows an aspect of the cycles of creation and destruction.  
The cycles of Life.  

The spring is the quintessence of new life.  New beginnings.  
The summer is about living that life.  Basking in the sun and fully experiencing the joy of it all.  
The fall is about seeing the big picture and releasing all that doesn’t serve you.     
Winter is about going inward.  Surrendering to, and sometimes dying to, a part of you that no longer serves.  
  
Sometimes the cycles are easy and expected.  
Natural.  
We grow.  We get older, wiser.
And it is as easy as the passing of one moment to the next.  

Sometimes its not. 

Sometimes we get so focused on what is being created.  
What we are striving for.  What we are building.  
That we lose sight of the inner guidance that once sparked 
this vision, love, or passion within us in the first place.  

Spring flowers bloom, 
and yet
We get caught up.  
We get misdirected.   
We get preoccupied. 

Summer warms our skin, 
and yet
The temperature rises.  
The sun beats down.  
We get burned.

All of the sudden we find ourselves not where we thought we were.  
We are lost.  In unfamiliar territory. 
And we wonder what happened.

Fall leaves begin to drop.
And it can be beautiful
And it can be messy.

And sometimes, we resist.
We try to save it. 
To make it right.  
To cling to what we created.

To take back the summer. 
To constantly live in the spring.

And yet,   

It all Falls 

To the ground.

And it burns
and turns to ash. 

And the ash becomes dust.  

And the dust settles.

And the winter comes.  And we go within.  
And underneath the cold earth lies a seedling.  
New life.  
Renewed in life.  

And out of the dust arises a new form.  Ever created.  A being.  Becoming.  Again.

Point of Connection

There are certain pursuits that propel a person forward.  

A Passion.  A Purpose.  A Drive.  A Calling.  

For me, I love creating space for the divine to be manifest.  For healing to occur.  For hearts to open.  I love helping people heal.  Helping the physical form manifest the beautiful spirit within.  

I always wanted to be a chiropractor and acupuncturist; since the 8th grade.  I didn’t even know what it was, and I had never received any treatment, but I knew that was what I was suppose to be.  Granted, I took a round about way to get there: english teacher, youth leader, yoga instructor, and THEN chiropractor.  But, truth be told, I always enjoyed the scenic route.  Plus, doctor translated actually means teacher, so I wasn’t too far off.  

My brother always wanted to be a doctor too.  Since before I was even born. And, for those of you that know my family, you know that my brother and I are, lovingly, at the exact opposite sides of a spectrum.  Truly. 

Eastern meets Western.  

Non-conformist verse Perfectionistic.

Feminine and Masculine. 

But the beautiful aspect about a spectrum is that there is always middle ground.  There is always a point where too extremes come together.  A point of connection.   

And, the best thing about family, is that our hearts beat with the same blood. That we are grounded from the same Mother, Family, Tribe.  

A mother who taught us from the same Passion.  Purpose.  Drive.  Calling.  Spirit.  


A few weeks ago, my brother sent me this beautiful vision statement.  It moved me and so I felt compelled to share.   

Sometimes “good medicine,” doesn’t come in the form of a pill or test.  It comes in the form of a person.  A person who is willing to go beyond the limits of their technical expertise and professional requirements.  A person who, at their core, seeks to understand and accept all that come along their path.  A person who never misses a chance for improvement or healing.  

Life is a journey – one that contains difficult terrain, unreliable landmarks and, often, changing destinations.  It requires a special type of guidance to navigate through.  A guidance that relies on questions, not commands; inner strength, not authority

personal involvement, not control.  

We commit ourselves to becoming trusted guides for our patients.  We will help them draw their own maps, as we realize their life and their health it is their journey to take.  At all times and in every way, we will guide our patients, and their families, so that we can plot a course uniquely suited to their individual path.  

We will embrace the insights found in nature’s four directions, and therefore approach everything we do with a beginner’s mind, a passionate heart, a nurturing spirit, and a soulful wisdom.  

We know, understand, and have experienced that there is nothing more debilitating than a sense of powerlessness.  So we commit ourselves to nurture them, and make them strong in spirit – ever changing and exploring various options and paths.  We will nourish their sense of control in the midst of uncontrollable events and we will walk beside them – never in front and never behind.  

We seek to transform each patient and their family, and reconnect with the healing power of faith, love, and caring – of which medicine was intended to be.  

We will turn concern into comfort, pain into purpose – and will change medicine, our patients and ourselves during the journey.  We will be a source of light and life – an inspiration to all that we touch, with caring, compassion, nurturing and guidance.   

“The path will not always be easy, the choices will not always be clear, but the cause is sure and the Spirit will bear witness to the truth”, and we are excited about taking the journey with you.  


There are certain pursuits that propel a person forward.

I am a nonconformist and I would follow that vision statement anywhere.    

Basic Immunity

There is a lot of controversy around vaccinations.  There is a tendency to create separation and “camps.”  Those that vaccinate.  Those that don’t.  The “anti-vaxers,” the “non-vaxers,” the “pro-vaxers.”  Research, life experience, informed discussions, negative talk, judgements, ignorance, fear, guilt, shame...you name it.  It is all part of the  current conversation around vaccination.  

 

The conversation I would love to have, the one that I think should be the basic foundation of any vaccine discussion, is not necessarily about vaccinations at all.  The foundation, to me, starts with the immune system.  

 

How it works. 

Why it works.  

What it does.  

How to support it.  

How to nourish it. 

 

Then the discussion can lead to vaccinations: what they do, how they are introduced to the body, how that effects the immune system, long term immunity vs short term immunity, Th1 vs Th2 immunity, first/second/third lines of defense... etc.  Then we can have a true, informed discussion about physiology, pathology, immunity, and the role that vaccinations play.

 

The purpose of our immune system is to recognize invading pathogens, prevent their spread, and ultimately clear them from our body.  Our basic immunity has 3 lines of defense that our bodies use to fight off pathogens.   

 

THE FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE

 

The first line of defense involves natural barriers: our skin and the mucosal linings in our respiratory, gastrointestinal and urogenital tracts. The skin forms a tough, impenetrable barrier formed by layers of keratinized cells. The internal surfaces are specialized for interaction and communication with their environment and are more vulnerable to pathogens.  The cilia in the lungs, the acid in the stomach and the urogential tract, and the mucus in the gastrointestinal tract all help to create a barrier from invading pathogens.  One specific enzyme, lysozyme, that is secreted in tears, sweat, and saliva breaks down the cell wall of the invading pathogens.   

 

The cell wall is the brain AND the protective barrier of any pathogen.  Breaking down the cell wall of the pathogen allows the rest of the immune system to render the pathogen null and void.  Without this essential step, the pathogen can reek havoc on our immune system and our body. 

 

If there is a breech of any of the barriers of our first line of defense, the next line of our innate immune system steps in. 

 

 

THE SECOND LINE OF DEFENSE

 

If a pathogen breeches the epithelial lining, the immune system will mark, or “flag”, the pathogen as “non-self.”  Antigens will bind tightly to this pathogenic invader which will inhibit its growth, replication, or interaction with human cells.  This mechanism is called neutralization. 

 

Mast cells, neutrophils, macrophages, antibodies and immunoglobulins can all work together to render the pathogen inactive and trigger an inflammatory response (redness, swelling, heat, pain).  The presence of an antigen triggers the activation of complement. When complement is activated it attaches to the pathogen and acts as a flag for effector cells. Effector cells then bind to the antigen-complement complex, and engulfs and destroys the pathogen.

 

THE THIRD LINE OF DEFENSE

 

The third line of defense involves the adaptive immunity; an immune response that adapts and changes to what we’re exposed to in our environment. The third line of defense recruits mature lymphocytes and various other cells) to increase the power of the immune system.  

 

During lymphocyte maturation, each cell is programed to make a single species of cell surface antigen receptors. The population of circulating lymphocytes targets millions of receptor species, which enables all possible pathogens to be recognized. During an infection only those lymphocytes bearing receptors that recognize the specific pathogen are selected to participate in the response.  The immune system asks that their numbers be expanded and matured to produce more effector cells of the same type. The full benefit of the adaptive response occurs about a week after the infection began. After the infection is resolved, we are left with an abundance of lymphocytes and antibodies for that particular pathogen.   We hold memory of that infection so that if the same pathogen breeches the 1st and 2nd lines of defense again, the system remembers it and may destroy it before external symptoms arise. 

 

Our bodies also have to clean up the mess of the killed pathogen, the inflammation or histamine response, the battlefield if you will. This looks like sneezing, coughing, vomiting and diarrhea, etc. These are normal responses and should not be repressed. They should be closely monitored for signs of imbalance or emergency. 


In order for natural immunity to formulate the appropriate defense and produce a memory of the infection, the pathogen needs to pass through all three defensive layers of immunity.  

 

If the pathogen is not flagged.  If it is not denoted as “non-self,” there creates confusion and the immune system starts attacking the pathogen as “self.”  Let me repeat and restate that...  If the pathogen skips the first and second line of defense and is not flagged as “non-self,” then it is classified as “self.”  If the pathogen is classified as self, and the immune system becomes aware of it, then the immune system starts attacking “SELF.”  When self/non-self recognition is lost and the body starts attacking itself, it is called autoimmunity.

 

There is so much more to this discussion: 

 

How to support the immune system.  

How to nourish the immune system.  

How to rebuild the immune system.  

What throws the immune system off.  

What does an infant and child immune system look like?  

How does the immune system transfer from mother to child?  

How does the immune system mature?

 

And then, 

 

What is the purpose of a vaccine?

How does it effect the immune system?

What happens when reactions occur?  

 

... The discussion can go on forever.  

 

Chew on this for now.  More later.

Never Alone

Seven years.  

People say that time heals all wounds. 

Seven years is a lot of time.  

Some days it doesn’t matter.  

Some days I just miss her.

There is a song that I listen to that comforts my heart 
when the loss becomes unbearable. 

You’re Never Alone: when your hope has been broken and the fear is unspoken but true. 
You’re Never Alone: like a dream in a child or a childish dream in you.
I’d do anything that I can do to show you my love and comfort you...

You’re never alone: like a tear in the ocean or a star on a clear winter night

You’re never alone: when the courage you needed has been all but defeated in you
I’d do anything that I can do to show you my love and comfort you.

When you can’t seem to find your way Home.  

And when Life gets too hard to face on your own.  

I will stand as your Light through your darkest unknowns.  

I will walk with you.  

So your never alone.

Loss is hard.  The emptiness. The pain.  The devastation. The extreme sadness we feel can be heavy, overwhelming, even paralyzing.  We feel at a loss.  We feel alone.  

The loss can bring us to a stand still.  We watch as life continues on and we wonder how that is even possible.   We go through the motions, sometimes we don’t even move at all.  

I have watched as people remain in the paralyzing stand still of sadness.  When they allow the despair to stifle the light, the life, inside of them.  When they die along with the loss.  

I have also watched as people gloss over the loss.  Ignore it.  Consider emotions weakness and move on as if nothing happened.  They close the door as if those relationships, those memories, those moments never existed.  And the people never mattered.  

Both of those avenues lead to further pain.  

Neither of those avenues lead to healing. 

I have come to the understanding that sadness can be a transformative mechanism.  Feelings.  Emotions.  There is a reason, there is a purpose for each one.  Not an identification or a justification.  A purpose.  

Sadness is a protective mechanism for loss.  It urges us, if we allow it, to slow down.  To pause.  To reflect upon that which we feel like we lost.  To allow ourselves to sit in the feeling.   To find silence and stillness in the feeling.  To be present in the moment.  

To listen.  

To reflect.

To care.

To remember.

To release.

To surrender.

And in that moment, we allow ourselves an opportunity to find the meaning.  

The lesson.  The love.  The purpose.  

Out of that awareness, we allow ourselves the opportunity to heal.  

To create anew.  To fill the loss with a new beginning.  A new blessing.   

And we welcome the transformation.

We are then free to truly move forward.  To carry on with Life.  With New Life.

 

It has been seven years.  

 

Some days I listen to songs that she loved, 

that spoke to her, 

because I want her to speak to me.  

Some days I make her favorite meals, 

follow her recipes, 

just to taste her love. 

Some days my brothers will say something that sounds exactly like her.  

God knows my mom was never shy with her opinion.  

Some days I can see her in my aunts’ expressions; 

hear her in their laughter.  

And some days, when the wind blows just so, 

I can feel her hand graze my face 

and tuck a strand of hair behind my ear.

 

And in that moment, I can breathe her in.  Feel her.  Sense her.  Surround myself with her.  And I know, from a truth that wells up from the deepest part of my soul, that I am 

never alone. 

Weathering the Storms

storm-clouds-wallpaper-thunderstorms-nature_00431186.jpg

Transitions are not always easy. 

When the storms hit

When the winds blow

When the waves crash

And it’s intense    

And our homes are gone

And the babies cry

And our jobs are lost

And the family breaks

And the sickness comes

And the cancer spreads

And our faith is torn

And our courage fails

And our strength is weak

And all hope is lost.

So often during the storms of life we get scared, overwhelmed.  Doubt overpowers us.  Fear envelopes us. Chaos surrounds us and we are lost.  We feel alone.  We cannot see clearly.  And sometimes, when it gets really cloudy, we lose trust in our own inner guidance.   We don’t know the next step.  And so we resist.  

We resist the storm. 

We resist the change. 

We resist the transformation.  

We try to cling to what is comfortable.  We seek old patterns.  We search for what is stable.  

But, in truth, sometimes what is comfortable is not necessarily sustainable.  And sometimes the storm is present to break us free to expand, grow, change and transform for the better.  

Sometimes the storm is just what we need.  

A while ago I experienced my first sweat lodge.  Talk about all of your fears coming to the surface all at once.  

Claustrophobic.  Check.  

Feeling like you are not able to breathe.  Check.

Spiders.  Check. Check.  

And yet, there I sat.  In complete darkness.  No exit.  No escape.  No alternative.  

All I could do is sit.  In my fear.  In the heat.  In the darkness.  And (try to) breathe.  

But what happened in that lodge was beautiful.  

Within that lodge, I was eternally grateful for the people that were sitting next to me.  I could not see them, but they are present.  They were my Tribe.  The ones outside the lodge, praying for me, holding sacred space for me, supporting my growth and transformation, were my Tribe.  I was grateful I was not weathering this storm alone.  I was grateful for their presence.  Grateful that they were willing to transform as well.   

Within that lodge, I also had to surrender to the process.  Surrender my fear.  Surrender my expectations.  Surrender my agenda.  In all actuality, that lodge was hot, and enclosed, and uncomfortable, and hard - really, really, hard - until I surrendered. 

After the mind finally quieted down.  After the panic.  After the “what if’s” and intense fear.  

It finally released.  I finally let go. 

What was complete darkness before transitioned into silhouettes.  With each round I could see the glow of the rocks, the burning cedar.  Not only that,  my spacial awareness expanded.  The lodge that was so small you had to bow into and crawl and around in, did not seem so confined.  Space, even time, expanded.  It shifted.  And its altered state allowed more room to breathe.  

It seems transitions can flow a WHOLE lot smoother when we are willing to surrender.  

In his book, The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle describes surrender as “the simple but profound wisdom of yielding to rather than opposing the flow of life...to accept the present moment unconditionally.  It is to relinquish inner resistance to what is.”

He goes on to express the two choices we have when confronted with the storms of life.  

“You always have two choices: resistance or surrender.  Bondage or inner freedom from external conditions.  Suffering or inner peace.  Surrender does not transform what is, at least not directly.  Surrender transforms you.” 

Life can be hard.  It can be overwhelming at times. But if we unclench our fists from that which does not matter and if we silence the mind , then we are able to sit in our seat...  

  

And we trust the process

And we learn the lesson

And we find our tribe

And we release the pain

And we stand in integrity

And we follow Spirits’ lead

And we say yes to the universe

And we seek inner Healing

And we speak our truth

And we act with loving kindness

And we are reminded we are resilient

And we honor the process

And we weather the storms in life

And we dance in the rain

Together. 

It can be worth it.  The rain.  The storm.  It can bring nourishment to the soil of our soul and restore health, life, breath.  It can be worth it on the other side of the storm, no matter how long it takes.  

So whether it is -10 degrees, a heat wave, tsunami, or gentle rain - be in the elements.  

Get your feet dirty.  

Get wet.  Go all in. 

Be prepared to be suprised at who you are on the other side.  

Aho.

Searching for the Succulent

We dress her up.  We pin her up.  We touch her up.

We expect a poster, a magazine spread. 

We expect a woman not to age.  Not to change.

 

Where did we go wrong?  What happened? 

Where did we lose our perspective? 

When did we start teaching women that they were not good enough? 

That they had to change in order to be noticed. 

When did we start teaching women that they had to be noticed in order to have worth?

A resent study reported a significant increase in breast augmentation for 'women' age 13-19.  When I read this study my heart dropped.  What are we teaching our young? 

And when, as women, did we come to believe we had to change the female form in order to accept the female form?  In order to be beautiful.  Perfect.  Put together.  Confident? 

Why do we have to hold it all together in such a way that we are compared to the air brushed pictures we have come to emulate?  What happened to the succulent, wild woman that let her hair down?  That danced barefoot in the rain? 

We cover ourselves up with makeup.  We unground ourselves with heels.  We tummy tuck, get breast implants, botox, liposuction.  We wrap ourselves up in plastic.  We bake ourselves in tanning beds. 

We do all of this in order to present, and ultimately, to accept ourselves as beautiful. 

I understand we live in a culture where certain things are expected.  Taking care of ourselves out of self love is imperative.  Dressing up and presenting ourselves with confidence and beauty is an expression of self respect. 

Being a woman is about striking a balance between our soul-self and our expression of that self.  As a woman we have to pick and choose what represents who we really are.  What represents and reflects our Spirit and stay true to that. 

And the only way to do that is to know our Self. 

Not who culture tells us to be.  But who we really Are.  On the inside 

Sadly, our culture and, it seems, our belief systems about ourselves ask us to represent and reflect who we think we SHOULD be.  Expressed in our form.  Which, as culture would lead us to believe, defines our Essence, Spirit, Worth. 

Actually, we are created in such a way that our spirit and our body thrive on living honorably and being authentic.  I am sorry to say, our culture has long forgotten that. 

Our women need to ground.  We need to see more of the sacredness of women.  The real, raw, unapologetically authentic woman.  A beautiful mess of emotion and passion and heart.  A woman who grounds herself into Mother Earth.  A woman who considers and connects to her Spirit.  Her purpose.  The reason for her life on the planet.  A woman who is in touch with herself and gets a bigger picture of Life and Spirit and Sacredness.  A woman who is comfortable in her skin, in the temple that was created for her.  A woman that takes care of her form in a loving and honorable way. 

A woman who understands that it’s not about what heels you wear.  It’s about how you fill your shoes.  It’s about how you stand.  How you treat people.  How you treat yourself.


I want the wild.  I want the heart. 

I want her hair down and her heels off. 

 

I want the succulent, wild woman. Created in God’s perfect image. 

Just the way you are. 

Run Your Reason

When it comes to running or biking, my uncle is all-knowing.  At least, I think so.  He turned me on to The Chi of Running.  A method of running that helps prevent injury, allows a relaxed running stride, and utilizes a gravity-assisted forward lean.  That’s right.  Chi Running encourages you to lean in and let gravity propel you forward.    

In October I traveled to Springfield, Missouri to participate in the Bass Pro Half Marathon.  I love the energy of race day: thousands of people gathered together, huddled up, jumping around to stay warm, sharing Bio-freeze, sharing Cliff Blocks.  The hush and hum of thousands of voices listening to and singing along with the national anthem.  

It is inspiring to see so many people working toward the same goal.  Individually.  Collectively.  Running along side an 85 year old woman; along side a father pushing his special needs son.  Passing police officers directing traffic.  Passing others on the road, running the race.  Being passed.  Everyone encouraging each other along. Celebrating the success of each step forward.  

There is a lot of time that passes when running a half.  An hour and some change filled with stories, silence, and cheers.  There are volunteers that hand out water, others that hold signs and cheer.  Some of my favorite signs, 

“This seemed like a good idea 3 months ago.”

“Worst parade EVER!”

“May the Course be with you!”

“Kick some asphalt!”

“Chafing the Dream!”

The same uncle that turned me on to Chi Running was my running partner for this particular race, the Bass Pro Half.  During the run, he shared with me a story that made this run, this day, make so much more sense.  He volunteered for a race a while back and his position was to cheer on a portion of the course.  So he stood on the side of the street while runners he did not know ran by.  He shouted praise and encouragement.  Clapped his hands.  Made them laugh like he so naturally does.  

As a volunteer, my uncle was positioned at the later portion of the Half when the runners were a little more tired; as if they were taking a beating from the road they were running.   It seemed to him that their purpose or drive to run was wavering.    

After noticing this, my uncle started to change his cheer.  Instead of the typical, “You can do it” or “Nice Job” he began to shout: “Run your Reason!”  

“We are all here for a reason”

“You know your reason”

“Run your Reason!”  

He noticed people looked up from the pavement in front of them.  

They looked up.  In Pain.  

They began to tear up.  From Pain.  

Some started crying. Some gained a new sense of purpose for their run.  

All of them looked up to see the road before them in a new light.

His story made me more present to the race I was running at the time; to my reason for running.   

I run to strengthen myself physically and mental.  

I run to release pain, sorrow, suffering.  

I run to experience freedom.

I run to meditate and clear my mind. 

AND  

I run to remind myself that even if I feel like I can’t go on or I don’t have it in me, 

I can and I do.  And I will.  

I run to remind myself there is aways room for more...  

More hope.

More perseverance

More strength.  

I run to find that strength and space within myself.  

Because, if I can’t find that room within myself to believe, to hold on to hope, to heal and strengthen; then I cannot hold that space for my patients.  For my loved ones.  

I run for those who can’t.  I run for my nephew, Anderson.  For the campers at MITIOG.  

I run for those who can’t, yet.  Who need time and hope to strengthen and heal.  For Maddie, For Hannah.

I run for those that don’t have the energy; the metabolic function.  For Delaney.  .  

I run for those who run beside me.  

It is amazing to work along side (and stand beside) a woman who was told she would be in a wheelchair for the rest of her life.  It is amazing to work with and help heal individuals who have been told they will never conceive, never change, never heal...   

It is amazing to persevere.  

I realized, during this race, that we are all traveling the same road.  Together. 

We are all walking each other Home.  

So, 

Lean into it.  

Allow gravity to unfold and propel you forward.

Push through the pain.    

Look up from the road to a new vision.  

Celebrate each step.

Run your reason.  

Persevere.   

Then What?? Understanding My Birth Control Options

Unfortunately, not all health practitioners present birth control measures objectively.  

According to Dr Christine Northrup, MD, during her experience “in medical school and residency, there was a tendency to push oral contraceptives as the optimal method of birth control and to downplay the reliability of the diaphragm and condoms... The pill is easy to prescribe, easy to take, very reliable, and very convenient.  We can use it to manipulate our menstrual cycles, avoiding periods all together or on weekends.  In short, it fits our cultural ideal.”  

To simplify the discussion of various forms of birth control, let's divide methods in two camps: Hormonal and Non-Hormonal Contraceptive options.   

There are a number of Hormonal Contraceptives.  They can be injected (‘The Shot’), implanted (IUS and ‘The Ring’), applied to the skin (‘The Patch’), or taken orally (‘The Pill’).  These methods contain progesterone and or estrogen in order prevent ovulation and limit the fertility phase of the menstrual cycle, or eliminate the cycle all together.  

Menstrual suppression, via Birth Control, for an entire month, or year(s), seems extreme when the window of fertility is a matter of a few days.  However, birth control is easy to take and places 100% control of a woman’s fertility in her own hands - requiring nothing of her partner.  

If a woman chooses that Birth Control is the best option for her, an oral contraceptive is the best way to go (in my opinion).  Eliminating the cycle for a year or longer is devastating to the endocrine system and physiology of the body.   Monthly suppression is the better choice, in this case.  Though she is not truly cycling - her body does get a reprieve from the suppression every three weeks.  Be mindful not to place metal in the body.  Be mindful not to stay on birth control long term.   Be mindful to choose this option only if you are actually sexually active.  

The next logical question would be, if not The Pill (or any other hormonal method), then what?  How do I prevent pregnancy?  What are my other Non-Hormonal options?

There is one other common contraceptive method that is non-hormonal but is not natural.  The IUD is a copper intrauterine device that is inserted into the uterus.  It is a long acting (5 year) contraceptive that changes the environment of the uterine lining and prevents the sperms ability get through the cervical mucous and to fertilize the egg.  In my clinical practice, there seems to be a correlation between IUDs and an increased risk of acidity in the female as well as a significant need to detoxify the body in order to increase fertility.  Women with IUDs do have an increased risk of infection and are associated with an increased risk of tubal pregnancies.  Just as I mentioned above, be mindful not to place metal in the body.        

There are a number of options for natural pregnancy prevention that does not include traditional birth control.  These options require more education about the body and more active participation than the pill.  The level of responsibility and accountability increases depending on the method a person chooses.  

Current culture would assume that fertility and the responsibility for birth control measures lay solely in the hands of the female.  While it is imperative for a woman to come to know and take responsibility for her own body, birth control methods (in my opinion) should be a shared responsibility between partners.  

Charting a woman’s cycle in order to be informed about where a woman is in her fertility is always my first choice.  There are a number of charting methods for fertility awareness.  Natural Family Planning or the Creighton Model Ovulation Method are excellent choices.  Couples who use fertility awareness as their chosen form of birth control experience no side effects and often find increased intimacy in their relationships.  Three major studies regarding Fertility Awareness Methods showed effectiveness rates to avoid pregnancy between 95% and 97%.  

A woman who knows her body and her cycle reclaims her power and creative force.  Since there is a small period of time that a woman is fertile throughout a given month, barrier methods or abstinence can be utilized during this window. Condoms, Female Condoms, and Diaphragms would be the most effective if utilized properly during the fertility phase of a cycle.  

Condoms require the male partner to be cooperative and share responsibility of prevention.  They have a 98% effectiveness rate if used conscientiously.  Condoms can protect against STDs and help decrease the risk of cervical dysplasia.  

There are also female condoms that have a 95% effectiveness rate.  Much like condoms, they protect against STDs and require a one time use only.  Diaphragms with contraceptive cream or gel is another option during the fertility phase of a cycle.  Diaphragms will need to be fitted by a health professional and faithfully used at each intercourse.  They have a 96% effectiveness rate.  

Cervical caps are used as well.  The caps come in three sizes and are not fitted specifically for the individualized female.  Therefore, accurate fit is not always assured.  The effectiveness rate for a cap is 74% (compared to the 96% of a diaphragm). This effectiveness rate drops drastically in women who have already had children.  For these reasons, I recommend a diaphragm over a cap.  

These four methods of birth control (Fertility Awareness, condom, female condom, and diaphragm) help to maintain the normal, natural cycle of hormones without suppression or dis-regulation.  They require cooperation and mutual responsibility for a couples combined fertility.  

Below is a chart that diagrams the effectiveness of each choice.  It is important to distinguish between the failure of a birth control method itself and the failure of a woman or couple to use it properly. I prefer this chart because is shows both perfect use and typical use (accounting for user error). 

http://www.sexualityandu.ca/uploads/files/refContraceptiveComparativeChartFinalENG09.pdf

This post was intended to be a starting point for discussion regarding various birth control options outside of typical oral contraceptives for sexually active individuals.  

Women or teenagers who are not sexually active and are having hormone dis-regulation or severe periods should seek natural care to help balance their systems.  Birth Control is not the best option to reduce symptoms and balance their bodies.   

The Basics of Birth Control

Birth Control is widely used to help regulate a cycle, eliminate acne, reduce painful periods, help prevent against pregnancy or to eliminate a cycle all together.  A common misconception about birth control lies in thinking that it actually regulates hormones, which it does not.  Rather, birth control suppresses your hormones, eventually turing OFF your hormone production.  

The process of birth control is like asking the body to stop cycling (stop menses); which is the same as asking the body to pause menses; which is the same as asking the body to go into menopause.  

And women are on birth control for 5, 10, 15, sometimes 20+ years.  In menopause for YEARS.  And when women come off birth control, they wonder why they struggle to become pregnant.  They wonder why they struggle with fertility, after they have asked their bodies to be infertile for years.  Years.  

Rest your heart.  In most cases of fertility, hormone balance can be restored.  We will discuss this at length.  Today we need to understand what birth control does and how the body is effected by it.  

There are other misunderstandings we need to clarify when discussing birth control.  First and foremost, cycling is extremely important for a woman.  A period allows the female body to cleanse, shed, detoxify, purify, release, and balance.  It prepares the uterus to hold life.  To build a lining, to strengthen the muscle, to perfect the womb.  Not allowing ourselves to bleed undermines some of the most creative and healing cycles of the female form.  Birth control puts women in menstrual and fertile suppression.  

Second, a woman does not have a true period on birth control.  Bleeding on birth control is with-drawl bleeding, not  cyclical bleeding.  Hence, a woman will not cleanse, balance, detoxify, etc.  The following is an explanation of menstrual suppression from the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals.  

Understanding Menstrual Suppression:

Menstrual suppression, sometimes called “skipping your period,” is a way of using certain types of hormonal birth control to avoid having monthly bleeding. With many birth control pills, women take three weeks of pills containing active hormones, which prevent pregnancy by stopping ovulation (when an egg is released from a woman’s ovaries) and keeping the uterine lining thin. During the fourth week of their cycle, women take pills that do not contain active hormones; this is the time when they experience bleeding. This monthly bleeding is not a “true” period; instead, this is withdrawal bleeding – the body’s reaction to not having the hormones it gets the other three weeks of the cycle."

Consider a normal Cycle:

At the beginning of the cycle, the ratio and balance of estrogen and progesterone communicate with the pituitary to release FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone).  The ratio of estrogen and progesterone significantly alters and signals to the pituitary that the follicle is fully developed and it is time to ovulate.  Therefore, the pituitary releases LH (Leutinizing Hormone) in order to tell the ovary to release the follicle/egg and hence, ovulation occurs.  In the first phase of the cycle, the uterine lining sheds, we know this as a period.  The second phase of the cycle rebuilds and thickens that unterine lining.  This shedding and thickening does not fully occur on birth control. 

On Birth Control, there remains a static level of hormone throughout the cycle, preventing the signaling for the need and release of FSH or LH.   On Birth Control, the woman's body will make less of her own hormone, since the pill provides hormone for her.  Therefore, the pititary and the ovaries step down in a way.  Eventually, after years, they will shut down.   

Dr Lesley Miller, at the University of Washington in Seattle, describes that “when a woman is on the birth control pill, every day becomes the same hormonally.  The woman has a set dose of progesterone and a set dose of estrogen. (Therefore) every day becomes the same pattern.”

On the minipill (progesterone only) estrogen will flux, progesterone will remain ‘stable.’  

The important aspect to remember about the body is that it is a dynamic system that continuously moves toward homeostasis/balance.  Eventually, after a period of time when the hormones constantly remain the same (which they are not supposed to do) and the pituitary does not need to release FSH and LH, it will eventually STOP producing certain hormones that they body is asking for it not to produce.  Prolonged suppresson causes a cascade of hormone disruption that effects the pituitary, hypothalamus, adrenal glands, ovaries, thyroid, etc.  

Hormonal suppression is only one aspect of the side effects of birth control.  The endocrine system is intimately linked to the immune system and the nervous system.  Therefore, headaches, digestive issues, endometriosis, PCOS, infertility, autoimmunity, thyroid disorders, toxicity in the body, mood swings... the list is endless.  The body is not made up of separate parts that work in their own little cubical.  The body is a dynamic organism that constantly works in concert with itself, every aspect of itself.  

Third, birth control cannot only lead to hormone dis-regulation and suppression, it can also lead to reproductive disorders

Diagram Explained: 

Endometrial tissue is stimulated by estrogen to thicken the uterine wall, break down, and bleed EACH month.  

Endometrial tissue that is located outside the uterus thickens, breaks down, and bleeds.  HOWEVER this blood/tissue cannot exit the body as it is not in the uterus.  

The blood becomes trapped and forms cysts or irritates the surrounding tissue.  Leading to more endometrial tissue surrounding the uterus or other organs and cause pain (back pain, shoulder pain, etc).  Endometrial tissue has found and surgically removed from the abdominal cavity, shoulder joints, brain tissue, etc.  

Or

the blood forms cysts as it adheres to the ovarian wall or within the ovarian wall.  This leads to scar tissue and adhesions.  This leads to infertility. 

Lastly, as if the aforementioned was not enough, lets add a cherry on top!

The Association of Reproductive Health Professionals consider it common and acceptable that “hormonal contraceptives can be used by women to decide when, or if, they get their monthly withdrawal bleeding. Women may choose to have shorter or less frequent withdrawal bleeding, skip bleeding when it’s inconvenient, or eliminate bleeding completely for up to a year or more. Menstrual suppression also helps women cope with or get rid of uncomfortable side effects or conditions that are connected to their bleeding. For years, women have suppressed their periods for things like honeymoons or vacations, and new surveys show that many women are interested in bleeding less than once a month, or not at all.”

Clearly we are missing the mark.  Clearly we misunderstand the importance of a normal cycle.  Birth Control prevents pregnancy, it does not regulate hormones.  

My Truth.

I have had a number of people ask me what it is that I do.  Others have asked me why I chose Chiropractic as a profession. “Why not endocrinology? Pediatrics?  OBGYN?”  

I generally chuckle at these statements, answer with an enthusiastic “I LOVE what I do,”  and move on.  But, in all seriousness, my simple answer does not do justice to the amazing work I get to do day in and day out, and the amazing reason WHY I do it.  So, in an effort to shed some light on the subject, let me attempt to fully answer the question at hand.

Why Chiropractic?

I have never been one to separate my spiritual life with my daily life.  Everything, to me, is spiritual.  So, I sought out a profession that aligned with my basic beliefs while allowing me to serve others.

There are thirty -three principles that lay the foundation for chiropractic philosophy.  They can be found here:

http://pureandpowerful.com/welcome/the-33-chiropractic-principles/

.  

The Readers Digest version: 

There is a Universal Intellegence in all matter and maintains its existence as Life.  

The expression of this Intellegence or Energy is the meaning of Life.

Life is the union and manifestation of Intellegence/Energy and matter.

There can be interference with this Intellegence/Energy.

Universal Intellegece within the Body is called

Innate Intelligence. 

The function of Innate Intelligence is to adapt universal forces and matter for use in the body, so that all parts of the body will be in balance.

The power that made the body heals the body.

Sound familiar?

Call it Universal Intellegence, Innate Intellegence, Energy, Spirit, or God.  It is all the same.  

Chiropractic allows me to touch upon the Spirit, the Energy, the Intellegence within a human form and bring it back into balance.  To release any interference within the system and restore the body’s innate wisdom to heal.  

The body is created to be a self healing organism.  Natural healing comes from within.  Chiropractic helps make this so.  

I have seen women who have been told they are infertile bare children.  I have seen children who have missed every milestone begin to grow, walk, and develop.  I have seen depression lift, aches and pains cease, headaches ease.  I have seen teenagers head off to college and pursue their dreams, when months before they could not make it through a day of classes.  I have seen a teenager confined to a wheelchair and a deteriorating body stand, walk, and come back to life.  Come back to herself.  I have seen amazing healing.  Amazing miracles.  

So what do I do?

I am sure there is some creative AND analytical brilliant answer about the philosphy, science, and art of chiropractic BUT, truly, what I do for a living is 

Hold Space, See Love, and Allow Healing.  

I know.  Simple.  Vague.  And yet, that is what I do on a daily basis.  

I Hold Space.

I hold space for healing.  I hold space for people to break down.  I hold space for people to relax, restore, rejuvenate, balance, align, release, surrender, strengthen, and stand.  I hold loving space for people to heal.  

I Love.

One of my favorite speakers and teachers, Dr Sue Morter DC, spoke at a conference I attended while still a chiropractic student.  She was speaking of the various phases of healing and stated, “Love is the Universal Solvent.  In its presence, everything else dissolves.”  Simply stated, Love your patients.   Love brings Wholeness.  Love brings Healing.

I Allow for Healing.

Healing, while often seen as an individual task, is also very much a community endeavor.  We have to realize we are all in this together in order to understand the importance of sacred community.  Within sacred community, there is no separation.  There is soul recognition.  We discover that we are all One.  Literally, made of the same Energy, Intelligence, Spirit.  

So if someone is hurting, torn, broken, in pain - so am I.  So are you.  

Dr Brian Weiss states that, “Soul recognition often transcends verbal descriptions.  There is an intuitive knowing, a knowledge of the heart.  You look into the others eyes and glimpse a deeper personality, a familiarity.  You see your own soul looking back at you, and you will know that you have reached another level of consciousness. And in that moment, there is an inner knowing that arises from the heart when a connection is made.” 

A community that sees one another clearly, that accepts one another, is a community that heals.  

Growing up, 

My dad taught me to remember Who and Whose I am.

My mom taught me to find my voice and speak my Truth.

This is My Truth:

There is an energy, a divine presence inside of you.  

It is the same divine presence that breathes and resides within me.  

Eventually, we recognize one another.  

We will realize the energy that moves through you, moves through me.    

We will awaken and remember who we truly are both individually and as a community.

To do this we will take the journey inward and realize the divine presence within.  

We will shed light on the shadows of our past, of our life story, of our woundedness. 

We will realize that energy is transformative, ever becoming.

We will Love Ourselves.   

Then, and only then, we will awaken and see each other clearly.

And there will be a soul recognition. 

And I will see you there...

Aho.

The Birds. The Bees. And Their Sexuality.

There are Birds.  There are Bees.  And then there are discussions about the birds and the bees.  And some parents (and children) DREAD this discussion.  And some parents never have this discussion with their children.  And that is a tragedy...  

Pop Culture.  Magazines.  Advertisements.  Commercials.  TV shows.  Movies.  YouTube.  Children are being bombarded with sexual messages.  How to look.  How to please.  And how to do so with instant gratification.  

It is time we take back our right to parent.  Our right to embed values and meaningfulness into one aspect of our children that has been exploited by cultural media.  

Sex.  

It is important to talk about.  It is imperative to talk about.  Parents need to discuss this intimate and complex and seemingly awkward conversation with their children.  Because if you don't, pop culture will, and probably already has a thousand times over.

Sexuality is powerful and vulnerable all at the same time.  Sex is more than an act.  It is an exchange of energy; of physical and psychological and spiritual energy.  Sex is an opening of oneself in a deep and intimate way.      

Most parents who chose to talk with their children discuss the biology of sex.  The anatomy.  The physiology.  The explanation of reproduction.  Important information, indeed.    

The next conversation might tackle the image and power of sexuality.  What does it mean to be sexy?  How should one dress?  Why do some women bare it all?  What energy does that put out there.  What is she trying to say?  Why do some women show only a little?  Leave some to the imagination.  What energy does that put out there?  What is she trying to say?  

And then bring it back to your child.  Who are they?  What do they want to say about themselves?  How much do they want to give away?  How much do they want to keep intimate and meaningful?  

And what about sexual ethics?   What does it mean to be a good person and a sexual person?

Old dogma separates the two and forces a person to be classified as one or the other; considering it mutually exclusive to be both a good person and a sexual person.  This can be extremely damaging to the individual when they do become sexually active.  A person may react by hiding their sexuality.  Expressing it in suppressed and/or ashamed ways.  It is important to remember that a person can be a good and virtuous person AND be honorable and ethical in their sexuality.  

When is it okay to have sex?   

The most common answer to this question is when someone is in love.  So talk with your child.  What does it mean to be in love?  When do you know you are in love?  How do you know when someone loves you?  How do you treat, honor, and respect someone you love?  How should they treat, honor, and respect you?  Love is not lust.  Love is not hormones and desire.  Love is deep, steadfast, kind.   Discuss this with your child.  It may be the most important discussion you may ever have.  

When an individual goes through puberty, there are new hormones and endorphins flowing through his or her body.  The sexual energy that is created can be overwhelming at times.  If we can understand how to direct and control this energy, we can understand how to direct and control our desire and create conscious, ethical sexuality.  

We teach our children the proper tools to understand their own energy when we encourage them to pause, reflect, and assess who they are.  Sexuality does not have to be released as sexual tension or instant gratification.  Your children will indirectly (or more blatantly) learn this way of expression through pop culture and media.  There can be a way to control and harness this energy in a productive and powerful way.  

A (progressive) rabbi was speaking to a group of teenagers about the topic of sexuality.  He stated to them that sex has to be a meaningful act.  He said a person needs ‘ginokso’.  Ginosko is a greek word that means to know; to reveal oneself to another.  To have another reveal themselves to you.  To do this, the rabbi said, you have to know yourself enough to know what you are sharing.  What are you giving away?  If you lose one aspect of yourself you are not whole.  Therefore, you are not revealing or cherishing your whole self.  

Here is the bottom line, your children will be making these decisions whether you are aware of them or not.  So, please, help make your children conscious of their own power, of their own sexual energy.  Teach them how to recognize it.  Teach them what it means.  Teach them how to express it in a way that honors themselves.  That honors their most intimate creative power.  

The Courage to Stand

Red.  Red marks all over my Review of Systems.  

Headaches?  Check.

Migraines?  Check.  

Blurred vision?  Slurred Speech?  Seizures?  

Check. Check. Check.  

The poor girl couldn’t even lift her head on her own.  Her family positioned her wheel chair so that her head rested on the wall behind her.   Her hands would tremor randomly.  

“When did this all start?” I asked.  

“After the Gardasil Vaccine,” her mother responded.  

“How can I help you?”  I probed.    

“I don’t know,” came the mother’s reply.  

So we continued with the Review of Systems and the Assessment.  

There was pain all the way down her neck and back.  Any touch, even the whisper of a clothing tag, was excruciating.  Movement hurt.  Stillness hurt.  She was living in a prison of hurt.   

Lists of supplements and medications doctors want her on.  

Binders full of medical reports.  

Video footage documenting the progressive weakness, the body giving way as she collapsed into a wheel chair.  

She was an active honor roll student.  Enthusiastic.  Involved.  She wanted to go to college, wanted to be a journalist.  That was before the shot.  Before she fell.  Before she couldn't walk.  Before the tremors and seizures.  

Hannah’s body was deteriorating before our very eyes.  

No one could tell her why.  No one could stop it.  

There was little hope.  How could there be?  After countless doctors tell you it was permanent.

And yet, with all the documentation and diagnosing, we did not see any reason why her body would not make a full recovery.  No explanation as to why she couldn't or wouldn’t walk again.  

We know how the body works.  We know how to cleanse and purify it.  We know that the body is self healing and self regulating when given the opportunity.  

So we gave Hannah that opportunity.  

Detox.  

Chelation. 

Cleansing. 

Liver support.

Immune support.  

All the while she was getting foot baths and adjustments.  

Baby steps.

Not all at once.  

She cannot even hold her head up on her own, why do people think her body can detox, clear her liver, boost her immune system, balance her hormones, work on gait training and build strength and stability ALL AT THE SAME TIME?  

Three weeks into the program Hannah was building strength in her lower extremities.  

Three months into the program Hannah was more stable while standing.  

Three and a half months into the program, Hannah was walking.  

And she never stopped.  

There is still much more to do.  Much to strengthen.  

But I

 have never seen a more determined, courageous, and joyful woman seated or standing!

Blessings, Hannah.  

Aho.  

Take Heart

My favorite story of a moment between a father and a son comes from

The Reflective Life

by Ken Gire.  In his book Ken writes about a fond memory that would occur when his father would come home from work, sit on the couch, and read the newspaper.  Ken would crawl right up next to his father and lean his head against his father’s chest.  Sometimes he would stare at the newsprint.  Other times he would simply close his eyes and rest.  He remembers many times just sitting there, listening to the beat of his father’s heart.  And as he rested, Ken would try to breathe in sync with his father so that when he inhaled, Ken inhaled; and when he exhaled, Ken exhaled.  Eventually, when he would breathe in rhythm with his father, their heart beats would beat in sync as well.  It was then that Ken truly felt a sense of Oneness with his Father.  

There is a Heart Math Institute in California that has been studying the intelligence of the heart.  Scientists at Heart Math have described four different ways the heart communicates with the brain.  

  1. Neurological: synapses, nervous impulses
  2. Biochemical: acetylchoine, norepinephrine, (hormones and neurotransmitters)
  3. Biophysical: pulses and pressure waves
  4. Energetically: electromagnetic field reactions

Researchers and doctors note that the pattern and quality of the energy emitted by the heart is transmitted throughout the body via the heart’s electromagnetic field.  Just as cell phones and radio stations transmit information via electromagnetic fields, so does the heart. 

Heart Math research has found that the heart’s electromagnetic field is far more powerful than the brain’s.  Approximately 5,000 times greater.  No joke.  

Additionally, the heart’s field not only permeates every cell of the body, it also radiates outside of the human form.  This field can be measured up to eight feet outside of a person. 

One research project that I am particularly fond of documents a heart that was split in two.  One section stayed at the Heart Math Institute in California.  The other half was sent to New York City.  When the scientists would increase the heart beat of the half of a heart in California, the heart tissue in New York would follow suit and remain in synchronicity ALL 

ON ITS OWN.  They continued to watch, alternate, and chart the heart beat of these two halves.  No matter what happened, change in stimulation or change in circumstance, the heart would always beat as one.   

Scientists then applied this phenomena to the entire human form.  Further research suggests that when a person focus their attention on their heart, the synchronization between the heart and the brain increases.  This is known as entrainment.  When a person masters entrainment, his/her heart field expands exponentially.  

Likewise, when a community masters entrainment with one another, the collective heart field of the entire community expands exponentially.  

One of the most powerful examples of a group of people effecting change was a documented experiment during the war between Lebanon and Israel that began in 1982.  

A group of people were trained in Transcendental Meditation.  At appointed times on specific days of the month, these people were positioned throughout the worn-torn areas of the Middle East.  

During the window of time when they were feeling peace and love, 

*terrorist activities CEASED

*the rate of crimes against the people went down

*the number of emergency room visits declined

*incidence of traffic accidents dropped

When the participants’ focus changed and the meditations were over, the statistics reversed.  This study confirmed their hypothesis: 

When a small percentage of the population achieved peace and love within themselves, it was reflected in the world around them.  

The data was so consistent that the researchers were able to identify how many people are needed to share the experience of peace and love before it is mirrored in the world.  The number is the square root of one percent of the population.  Using 1,000 people, that is 3.16 people.  Smaller than you would expect.  In a small business, a group of friends, a household - it only takes one person.    

That calculation is the minimum number of people needed to effect change.  The more people involved in the feeling, the faster the effect.  This study became known as the International Peace Project in the Middle East.  Its results were published in The Journal of Conflict Resolution in 1988.   

Powerful.  A community that discovers what it believes in and then becomes that belief is powerful.  

Powerful.  And it all starts with an individual recognizing his or her own heart beat.

Research and facts can be found at:

http://www.heartmath.com/

I Would

I hold space for many women.  Space to learn and discover who they are. 

I sit with them, knee to knee, and I draw out the female cycle.  I explain how it works.  Why it works.  Why it is important.  I speak with them about what they will feel in their bodies with each ovulation, with each period.  I encourage them to get to know themselves, to get to know their bodies.  

Why every women is not taught this is beyond me.  In all of our education, with all of our knowledge, why is this left unsaid?  ...But that discussion is for another day, another post.  

I was blessed with a boy to nurture and raise.  I am fully aware that one of my purposes for being his mother is to raise a man that respects, honors, and cherishes the natural order of the feminine.  

I do not have a daughter but if I did, I would:

I would let her dance in her innocence.  Dance and laugh and dance some more.  And I would smile as I watched the wind blow through her hair and carry her laugher into forever.  

I would do nothing but love her.  Love her deeply and unconditionally, so she finds comfort in love.  So she allows herself to love and be loved.  

Everyday, I would walk the ground with her.  Barefoot.  Let her absorb the energy of Mother Earth.  Let her give and release energy back to Earth Mother. 

I would show her how to be comfortable in her skin.  That I love my body.  I would teach her how to love her own.  

I would show her how to take care of herself, not out of vanity, but out of love for her Self.  I would show her the true essence of beauty.        

I would remind her that her body is a Temple.  Sacred.  That is should be honored.  

Before the tides change, I would speak with her about how she will step into her cycle.  How her body will change, grow, and develop.  We will talk about what it means to carry oneself with honor.  Not to give it all away.  Not to hide it in shame.  But to walk with confidence in who she is and who she is becoming.  

I would prepare her to bleed.  To welcome the transition into womanhood.  I would gather women, my sisters, so that we could speak of the sacredness of womanhood.  Share our stories.  Bleed together.  Be grateful for Mother Earth. 

I would encourage her to both Sun Bathe and Moon Bathe.  Take in Masculine.  Take in Feminine.  Be content and open under the Full Moon.  For just as the Moon pulls the tides of the oceans, I would acknowledge that it pulls the tides in myself.  In my daughter.  I would encourage her to be grateful and protective of her time to balance, renew, and restore.  

I would teacher her about the sacredness of her sexuality.  That sex is more than an act.  That there is a spiritual connection, an intimacy and vulnerability, a giving and receiving of energy.  

I would teach her to honor her body.  To honor her cycle.  To chart her cycle.  

I would teach her to stand in her femininity.  Her fertility.  To know herself.  And to know her Creative Power.  

PMS

PMS.

We all know of it.  We have all seen or experienced it.  Medical terminology defines it as a variety of physical, emotional and behavioral symptoms that are linked to a woman's menstrual cycle.  Typically starting 2 weeks prior to the start of a cycle and lasting 5-7 days after.  Symptoms include: 

Anxiety

Depression 

Mood Swings

Irritability or Anger

Food Cravings 

Headaches

Fatigue

Weight Gain

Fluid Retention

Abdominal Bloating

Cramping

Breast Tenderness

Acne Flare-ups

Constipation or Diarrhea

It is estimated that three out of every four menstruating women will experience some form of PMS.   Lucky us.  For three weeks out of EVERY month.  Lucky us. 

This is not the way life should go.  Women should be made to feel blissful, honored, powerful, beautiful.  Something along the lines of this:

Instead of feeling bloated, irate, depressed, dismissed.  Pretty much, like this:

Unfortunately, the "norms" of the female cycle have been accepted and expected as common place for a menstruating female.   Why wouldn’t it?  3 out of every 4 women experience them.  Of course they are our new normal.  

So, what do we do?  

< Insert Birth Control >  How wonderful for us that we can shut down the female cycle.  Prevent ovulation and suppresses those God-awful symptoms that create monsters out of maidens. 

Birth Control, while effective to prevent conception, is not the answer to aberrant or painful periods.  It is not the answer to regulate natural cycles.  It is not the answer to balance female hormones.  

The TRUTH?  (at least, my truth)

 A natural female cycle should ebb and flow with the cycles of the moon.  Naturally come, naturally go.  

No bloating.  

No irrationality.  

No acne.  

No PMS.  

None.   

In fact, all of those signs and symptoms attached with the female cycle

really

signify hormonal imbalance, pH imbalance, food or environmental allergens, bacteria or fungal overgrowth, or/and a chronic underlying infection.  Not typical of a cycle.  Not something we should expect.  Definitely not something we should ignore and/or shut down.

It isn't overly simple to balance the female cycle, but it isn’t rocket science either.  

It takes knowledge, discipline, attention, and time.  

We, as a socitey, have gotten too far away from our roots and the natural order of life.  Our cycles should literally follow the moon cycle.  Full moon.  New moon.  Ovulation.  Period.  Not some chart by some app on some I Phone.   

There is much to say on this topic.  We will get there.  For now,  pay attention to your bodies, women.  Pay close and loving attention.  You will be surprised by what it tells you.  

Aho.