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I have some free time this morning. There are plenty of things I could be looking after at my house and at the studio. Plenty. But the sun is shining. The sky is blue. It’s about 55 degrees outside. My bicycle is just outside the back door…. I’m thinking about that sunshine on my face. The breeze on my skin. My beating heart. The scent of the river, the dirt road, freshly cut grass, the warm air mingling with the cool earth… That’s it. I’m skipping the other responsibilities. They’ll still be there when I get home tonight (sometime after 8pm…). I’m gonna go for a bicycle ride. Gonna seize the moment and the day. Now is the right time to do something good for myself. The time is now. How about you?
My little CRV. 250,000 miles. I retired it last summer.
I don’t know of a single day that passes that I don’t look at the clock at some point and realize I have to rush to get somewhere or get something done. There’s a reason (sometimes many reasons) each day to hurry and there’s usually something that I’m either late for, wish I’d arrived a little earlier for, or I wish I’d had more time to get to. I frequently drive too fast because I’ve left myself too little time to get where I’m going. I’m forever trying to squeeze a size 10 amount of things to do into a size 2 amount of time. And I’m frequently busting-out the seems of my day. This is a decades-old pattern.
Yesterday I tuned-in to my body as I was rushing to get to a commitment. I felt like a rioting crowd was fighting its way out of my cranium. My heart was pounding and my stomach was tight and clenched. Believe me, it didn’t feel good. Or healthy. And I know it isn’t. When I’m rushing I’m not taking very good care of myself. I want to change this pattern of daily rushing. I want to bring the calm and gentle assertiveness that I bring to my work and that I experience in my meditation practice to my daily personal schedule. I don’t yet have a plan, I just know that I want to make a change. It will be a learning process and, like all learning, it will also be a process of awakening. I’ll keep you posted.
Barefoot on the Beach. February (that’s right) 2012, Maine
So I’ve been clearing the energy at home, and practicing energetic bodywork with Marleigh at least once a day for the better part of a week. But an important part of healing is having some techniques that you can practice yourself, without the aid or necessity of someone else’s presence. I taught her a couple simple new tools to help rein herself in when her mind starts darting about in class or anywhere else.
1. The most simple thing to do is focus on your feet. It may sound odd to read that, but after a few energetic bodywork sessions, it made sense to Marleigh. Bring your attention to your feet, put the palms of your hands right on the soles of your feet if you can. But that’s certainly not always appropriate or possible in school. So:
2. Breathe. Breathe deeply. Focus on pulling the breath deeply into your stomach. Then push it all out as far as you can. Do that for a few cycles. Now pull the breath down in to your feet. All the way down to your toes. And then exhale as though you’re pushing the air out the soles of your feet into the ground. Repeat. Again. Again. This is a great technique for general calming, but it’s also good to rein in a chattering, scattered mind.
Over the weekend, I was driving Marleigh to a friend’s house. They were going to study for midterm exams which are later this month. It had been a busy morning and in the car I realized we hadn’t done any energy work. I was disappointed because I knew it would have been helpful prep for studying. We talked about that and I said maybe she could practice one of the new self-help techniques. “I know, Mom,” she said. “Breathe through my feet. I did it the other day in Social Studies and it really helped.” Enough said.
NYS Licensed Massage Therapist
Stairway Healing Arts Center
1 Washington Street
Cambridge, NY 12816
A simple chime.
So my darlin’ daughter Marleigh was unhappy, even depressed. Crying frequently. Having great difficulty focusing and concentrating. Her grades at school were suffering. I was scared, feeling helpless. I wanted to help and support her but didn’t know how. Until I finally started looking at the situation as a massage therapist and energy worker. How would I handle this if she were a client coming to me for these issues? Big a-ha moment for mom. More like a great big “DUH!” A line from some 1970s sitcom or movie kept running through my head, “We have the technology to heal her” (was it the Bionic Woman? Star Wars? no matter) I realized I actually did know how to help her and I developed a little treatment plan. And that felt really, really good.
Phase I: Shift the Energy
The first thing to do was shift the energy around her. The heavy energies of sadness, anger, strife, and unhappiness can get stuck in us, and in our living and work spaces. Sound waves can help to move these heavy, damp, stuck energies. I decided to start helping Marleigh (all three of us, actually) by clearing the energy in our home. I have a wonderful little brass chime with a clear, strong ring. Its sound waves resonate long after it’s been rung. It’s an awesome tool for clearing energies and I use it a lot in my work, as well as to signify the beginning and close of every Meditation Circle. So I brought the chime home and rang it in every room, every door way, every window, under each bed, and in every nook and cranny of our home. It was like opening a window on a breezy sunny day into a room that’s cold and damp. I did this each day this past week. My daughters roll their eyes when they hear the chime and say, “Mom’s going all Fig Leaf again”. And that’s okay. Because, honestly, there was a lightness, calmness, and genuine warmth between us this week that I hadn’t felt in several months. I’ll continue to clear the space at least twice a week from now on. But now the stage was set for the next phase of my treatment plan, which we began Thursday evening.
When the cartographers of olden times reached the end of known territory they’d simply write, “Beyond this place there be dragons.” Sometimes we still find ourselves in those uncharted places. When we do it’s time to ask for help. (This photo is Ann with her wonderful dragon puppet outside Stairway Healing Arts Center.)
When my daughters were small I took them with me to visit my counselor, Ed. Not because we were having any problems at the time, but because I wanted them all to get to know each other. I knew there would be times that we’d need his help and I didn’t want the foreign-ness of an appointment to add more stress to whatever we might already be experiencing. Last week, in the midst of a heated argument , my older daughter and I looked at each other and at the same time said, “Maybe we need to talk to Ed about this one.” It was such a relief. The issue was an important one to us both, and I did not know how to resolve it. We both recognized that we needed help. Fortunately, we both also knew where to find it.
Addressing our problems, whether they be physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, or interpersonal is part of good health. It’s part of taking good care of ourselves. Unresolved problems eventually impact our health. Finding good help is the next piece. If you’ve never done it before it can be overwhelming and intimidating, not to mention a bit of a game of roulette. Through my work and personal experience, I’ve gathered a wonderful network of professionals to help with any of these issues. Connecting people with the assistance they need to further help them along their path of abundant health is an important part of my work. I’m happy to help you find the help you need to take good care of yourself.
Mandy Meyer-Hill, BA, LMT
Stairway Healing Arts Center
1 Washington Street
Cambridge, NY 12816
To me, a huge piece of good health is having a positive body image. Appreciating our body. So many of us have so many self-deprecating remarks to say about our bodies. We tend to be terribly critical. We rarely recognize what is good and wonderful and amazing about our bodies. So here’s what I want for you today: I want you to feel good about your body. I want you to be able to look in the mirror and be grateful for the amazing body you live in. I want you to see all that this incredible vessel does for you every millisecond of every day of your life. I won’t get into the miracle of the heart and circulation, of breath and respiration, of nutrition and digestion and fuel and the myriad of other miracles our body is constantly performing just so we can walk across the room to the refrigerator, or solve a problem, or yell at a passing motorist. Our bodies are amazing. YOUR body is amazing. It’s strong. It’s healthy. It’s beautiful. Try this, right here and now. Say “I have a beautiful, strong, healthy body.” Now say it again, but smile while you say it this time! Repeat. Look in the mirror when you say it. Say it when you get up in the morning. Say it when you brush your teeth. Say it when you bend down to lace your shoes. Say it when you head to work. Say it in the bathroom. Say it when you’re eating. Say it when you’re standing in line at the grocery store. Say it 50 times today. And tomorrow do the same. And the next day. Please.
You have a strong, healthy, beautiful body. Know that.
Have a wonderful day, and take really good care of yourself!
“I just feel all jittery inside. Shaky,” she said. My client had just had a meeting with her soon-to-be ex-husband. While the meeting had gone fairly smoothly, she was shaken. She’d lost her moorings a bit. She was pale. Her eyes darted about. She couldn’t sit still. “Where in your body do you feel shaky?” I asked. She placed her hand on her abdomen. “Here, I guess. Almost like there are snakes slithering around.” She needed to be soothed. She needed to get grounded. She needed to remember who she was, who she is. She needed to step away from those old paths of insecurity she travelled in her failing marriage. I incorporated several Healing Touch Energetic techniques in her massage, with a focus on soothing and releasing the tension in her muscles and in her energies. When she stood up from the table, her voice had dropped a few octaves. She said she felt relieved. Did massage make her troubles go away? No, of course not. But massage did help her get back to her center. It helped washed away the stress. It helped her recover so that she could face and handle the difficult issues in a healthy way. She felt stronger and more at peace with herself.
I was racing around this morning, trying to gather all my recycling bins (with their overflowing contents) and garbage and getting it loaded into my little car so that I could take it to the Transfer Station before work. I really dislike this task. That’s why it was all overflowing. I was trying to find an up side to this unpleasant, but completely necessary chore. I tried to remember how pleasant it is to have a clear recycling area in my home. Yes, that’s always nice… I tried to remember that it doesn’t really take that much time out of my day. True. But then why don’t I do it more frequently? (What I really wanted was simply to have someone else do it for me!) Then I started thinking of the fact that the things I was getting rid of once served me. The packaging from the cereal boxes, the glass from the juice bottles, the plastic from the yogurt containers. All things that served me, but don’t any longer. Recycle them. And all the things that, sadly, cannot be recycled and are tossed into the garbage can. All these things once served a purpose in my life but don’t any longer. So I release and get rid of these things.
It’s not unlike the process of what happens in our bodies, minds, and spirits when we meditate or receive massage therapy or energetic body work. When we meditate, our mind is freed from the thoughts that plague us but perhaps don’t serve our highest good. When we receive massage therapy, we release from our muscles and bodies the tensions and discomforts that no longer serve us. In and energetic bodywork session our bodies and spirits are cleansed of patterns that no longer serve us. In a sense, we’re “taking out the trash”. Clearing the way for better health.
My recycling area is once again clear and organized. My trash can is empty. Phew! Now I’m going to go meditate, and clear my mind.