Summer, a wonderful time of the year with many warm memories. My family photograph on the front cover reminds me what it is like to be a child enjoying nature. In the inner tube are my brothers David and Phillip, three and four years old, and myself, one and a half years old. This summer, I took time off and visited family. I also travelled to Alberta to see what is happening there, did a nutritional workshop with Paul Pitchford in Kaslo and enjoyed a wild water raft trip down the Thompson River near Lytton with my three sons. The weather cooperated, and laughter was shared by all. The best part was screaming as the rafts lurched over the rapids or whenever a water fight happened. Screaming is an excellent way to release frustration and fear so that it doesn’t get stuck in the muscles and connective tissue.
With all the work I am doing on myself it feels like I am re-learning to breath, walk, play and eat all over again.That seems fitting since my resolution for the year was to practice being five years old. I am also having fun screaming, for that is what kids do so well. When I feel fear rising in my belly, I notice that my breathing becomes shallow as the panic sets in. So now when someone cuts me off in traffic or almost hits me, I breathe deep and let out a yell. If I get into a situation that I would rather not deal with and feel the fear shutting down my energy circuits, I have a little talk with myself, so that it understands the fear, and then I breathe deeply and deal with the situation. The fear usually fades and is replaced with a deep sense of satisfaction as a truer sense of power emerges. Each time it gets a little easier, as I get a little more confident at expressing my true feelings and intentions.
A good way to deal with frozen fear from long ago is doing active meditation with Urmi Sheldon, the shaking and chaotic breathing followed by screaming for fifteen minutes helps to get little bits of the old stuck energy moving on a regular basis. After years of practicing silent meditations I am enjoying this new way to clear the mind of its endless chatter. The dance portion of the meditation is physically challenging and the aerobic exercise is a good way to start the day.
When Gary Schneider, the Rolfer from Kamloops, worked deep in my sacrum this month, the muscles and joints moved much easier; it felt like he was kneading taffy instead of peanut brittle. My screams seemed to come from an emotional level of frustration and not so much from physical pain. As he finished, my body jerked involuntarily for a minute or so and then a deep sense of peace came over me that stayed for several days.
With all this shifting of body parts, I hear a lot of popping in all of my joints, mostly up and down my spine, in my shoulders, ribs, ankles and wrists. As the sacrum moves into place, I remind myself to flatten my back and breathe. I notice my shoulders widen as they roll backwards expanding my chest and allowing me to breathe deeper than I have ever been able to.
I believe the yogis when they say, “The amount of breath you have is in direct proportion to the amount of life essence the soul has.” Years ago I thought I was breathing in fully, for I swam, danced and hiked regularly. I didn’t realize that I was only breathing into part of my lungs. The rest of the space was taken up by unexpressed emotions of sadness, grief or anger.
The changes that are happening to my body structure are my incentive to keep making time to have bodywork done. Most days I have the energy of a five-year-old and the flexibility to go with it. Stretching deep into the yoga poses is a guide to how much I have already let go of, for I can almost put my nose to my knees. My strength has increased as I can now do a handstand for at least a minute, and I love sitting in the lotus or any other pose that is on the floor.
My having the intention to heal myself gives the universe permission to manifest events and people so that it can happen. Watching children and practising thinking like one encourages me to be spontaneous and to trust that what needs to happen will, including forgetting my swim suit this summer, which gave me the excuse to buy a glow-in-the-water two-piece with a little ruffled skirt. As my hair grows longer it allows me to wear it in a pony tail, and going barefoot all summer keeps me acting young. But still I am an adult, so intellectually I do my homework and then I check in with my Inner Child to see what her needs are. I have always felt connected to my Inner Voice and pay close attention to the guidance it offers. With time, I have learned to tell the subtle difference between my mind, my inner child and my higher self when they speak. Lately I have been getting used to the even quieter voices of the garden devas as they guide me in stewarding the property that Jan and I purchased to create the Holistic Healing Centre.
Reparenting myself as a five-year-old is a full time job. Some days it feels like I take three steps forward and move backwards two, but slowly I am understanding why I am the way I am, so I am pleased. It also helps me appreciate the values, time and love it took for my parents to raise my brothers and me.
I have learnt that my body never lies and that it is a true reflection of my inner state of awareness. If I have pain, stiffness or weakness, it means there is a blockage of energy in that area of the body. My posture is very intertwined with the digestion and absorption of food and nurturing myself. When my shoulders round and my chest caves in, the flow of energy short-circuits and the organs start the slow process towards shut-down. Reading books about digestion and how the body gets and uses energy is helping me to understand how complicated it is to rebuild a weakened system. It is taking time, patience and determination to change my lifestyle, diet and posture. Each day I give thanks that my energy is increasing as I let go of my old ways of doing things and figure out new ways of being.
A recent tape I listened to reminded me that “If you love something, you spend time with it.” Since I know that I love myself, I am going to do just that. I repeat that quote to myself when I feel an old emotional pattern is repeating itself which is not in my best interests… like eating too fast. Slowing down when I eat is a reflection of nurturing myself in the present moment. Taking time off is getting easier as I go beyond my belief systems and watch as things still get done.
As my body changes, fears around not having enough food have been surfacing … especially the sugar foods. From reading books I have come to understand that part of it is due to all the bitters I have been ingesting as I cleanse my colon, part of it is due to lack of protein and partly because… as the colon cleanses it releases memories associated with the old patterns of eating. The other day I saw cookies in a cookie jar and immediately I wanted to steal one or two. I did, and they tasted so much better than the ones that my friend gave me when I told her my story. I have started to linger in front of the glass show cases that show off the desserts in bake shops. Resisting the temptation to buy store-bought cookies, I bought a pint of Hagan Daaz ice cream and ate it all in one sitting. It tasted so good, but I paid dearly for going against my common sense. I slept very poorly for the next two nights, which is what happens to me when I weaken my stomach energy with too much cold and/or sweet foods. I also love fresh tree-ripened fruits and berries and eating a whole basketful gives me a sense of satisfaction that summer is really here. But they also give me diarrhea if I over-eat, so I am learning to feel satisfied with eating less. Figuring out my cravings intellectually is pretty basic, but getting into the feeling portion of it and understanding the core issue is taking time, patience and a more creative effort.
Reparenting myself is taking on a whole new dimension when it comes to issues around food. Many people comment to me about my courage to share my experiences of healing myself each month. I explain to them that, it doesn’t take guts, it just takes time… getting clear what the lesson was for me and putting it into words.
Twenty years ago after spending several hundred hours making a quilt, I realized that I had miscalculated and had four huge gaping holes. With no fabric left over to fix my mistake so that it wasn’t noticeable, I decided to get creative and appliqué big red hearts over the holes. When I showed off my quilt to people, they commented on the beautiful hearts and not the rest of the quilt. That incident taught me that it was okay to make a mistake. In fact, most people didn’t even notice the mistake unless I told them.
Sometimes when I make a mistake it brings up feelings in my stomach but I remember to breathe deeply and then I get creative at fixing things up. Lesson number two in Rules for being a Human Being is “There are no mistakes, only lessons.” I intend to learn mine well and have fun at the same time, so thanks for encouraging me to share my experiences.