Your Dream Team

January 10, 2014 at 12:06 am

Over winter break, we headed north to the land of cold where most of my family lives to hang out for a week. While I was there, I did some trauma release work with a a beloved neuropsychologist family member. In her practice, she does almost exclusively EMDR work. EMDR stands for “Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.” EMDR is a therapeutic technique, sometimes utilizing alternating left and right tapping, eye-movement, or auditory beeps, in which the client is able to desensitize past traumatic experiences and be released from their present ill effects. You can read more about EMDR and how it works HERE.

The ACE (adverse childhood experiences) study published in 2002 found that there is a “powerful relation between our emotional experiences as children and our adult emotional health, physical health, and major causes of mortality. . . . One doesn’t ‘just get over’ some things” (ACE study). If you are experiencing poor mental, emotional, physical, or spiritual health, it’s likely that a traumatic event from your past (or an ancestor’s past) could be a major contributing factor. If you suspect you’re suffering from past traumas, traditional “talk therapy” is unlikely to bring the full healing you seek. I invite you to explore more effective trauma release methods, like EMDR, Emotional Freedom Technique, energy healing, meditation, etc.

My Dream Team

I’ve done quite a lot of trauma release work via EMDR, energy healing, EFT, and meditation over the past year+. But during this past EMDR session, I was guided to do something I’ve never done before, and I think everyone should do it. I designated a “Resource Team,” which I quickly mentally renamed as my “Dream Team.” A Dream Team consists of three groups: Protectors, Nurturers, and Inner Wisdom Guides. You pick who to put in each of your groups. You can pick as few or as many people as you want. They can be alive or dead, real or imagined, whoever you want. You can even pick one person to fill all three roles if you want.

My Prescription for Happiness

October 9, 2013 at 12:32 am

About six months ago I wrote a post called “Becoming Whole Again” where I gave an update about my recovery from anxiety and depression. Yesterday I received a comment from Nicole on that post:

I am really interested in the new “prescription” to replace the drugs. What are the variety of spiritual and physical things you were encouraged to make habits in order to protect yourself from darkness and fear?

I’ve been thinking about sharing that prescription for awhile. So Nicole’s comment was the nudge I needed. I wrote this list in my journal on March 16, 2013. I feel it was a joint-effort between God and me, that we made the list together. At the time I wasn’t doing any of the things consistently and some not at all.

My daughter pretending to meditate

1) Go to bed by 10:00 p.m. and wake up early.
2) Meditate.
3) Read my scriptures.
4) Exercise.
5) Sing and play the piano.
6) Hold each child in my arms.
7) Have sex at least once a week.

Back in July I started meditating (kundalini yoga meditation) and singing every day. I haven’t missed a day since. I’m approaching 80 days. After I started this daily meditation practice, I felt so amazing that I cut my medication dose in half again. So now I’m down to 1/4 of my prescribed dose every other day. There were a few discouraging days while my body adjusted, but now that I’ve stabilized, the bad days are few and far between.

Healthy Curves

October 4, 2013 at 7:20 pm

A year ago, I had lost so much weight that all of my clothes were baggy and falling off of me. My breasts were virtually non-existent. People asked me, “Are you eating?” I had lost my appetite completely. Nothing tasted good to me. Even foods I had always loved. But I ate anyway. I forced myself to eat because I knew I had to. I felt like I ate all day every day. But it didn’t do any good. I just kept dropping pounds. I’ve always been “skinny,” but this was a new extreme low.

Now people are asking, “Are you pregnant?” I’ve gone from one extreme to the other. I don’t blame them. I have gained weight. A considerable amount since my lowest point last year. I have curves. My pant size has moved into the double-digits. My belly is popping out in a suspicious way.

But I’m not pregnant.

I have immediate family members who have experienced similar weight-gain while taking meds like mine. One of them believes the meds permanently altered his body chemistry. Not that long ago he was very overweight, and it has taken extreme measures for him to slim down to where he is today. As I watched the number on the scale getting higher and higher and the clothes in my closet getting tighter and tighter, I got nervous. I knew the pattern my family members had experienced. Was I headed in that direction too?

Sound Body, Sound Birth

August 4, 2013 at 12:31 am

Before my most recent birth, I made a list of “Hopes for next time.” I outlined the ways I hoped to make my fourth birth even better than the previous three. (Most of the items on my list didn’t happen. Oh well.) My first pregnancy was the beginning of my childbirth obsession, but I had no idea back then just how deep the things-to-learn-about-birthing “rabbit hole” was going to go. Now ten years down the road, it goes deeper still.

If I were to write another “Hopes for next time” post, I have another item I’d now be putting at the top of my list: singing.

Retreat

July 9, 2013 at 2:18 pm

My youngest woke me up at around 4:00 a.m. this morning. As I lay there after getting her back to sleep, unable to drift back to sleep myself, there was a near-constant nudging telling me to get out of bed and write. I kept asking, “What should I write about?” I got out of bed, still not really sure what it was I was going to write.

A couple of weekends ago, I attended a yoga/meditation retreat taught by my soul sister, Felice Austin. It was a life-changing weekend. It’s hard for me to even describe or comprehend everything that happened inside of me over the course of those three days. But I feel nudged to share a bit about three of the powerful experiences I had that weekend.

The Re-birth

On Saturday, Felice guided us in a rebirthing meditation. Knowing that I was conceived as the sixth child in an unhappy, stressful marriage and baked for nine months in that negative environment, I went into this meditation with some trepidation. I wasn’t sure what to expect from it, but I knew I didn’t want to relive my original gestation experience or find out just how painful it might have been. As it turns out, this rebirthing meditation had very little to do with how we were actually born and everything to do with transformation.

This experience really was transformational for me. I was reborn. I was healed. It was perhaps the closest I’ve ever come to pure ecstasy.  It’s hard for me to describe what happened in a way that truly conveys its power. What happened was within the realm of my subconscious, but it was also more real than many of the physical experiences I’ve participated in. I experienced a new gestation. I was birthed and attended by women who love me, embraced in tenderness, re-took my first breath in euphoria.

Afterward, Felice told us that part of the meditation was to get up and talk to each other. I turned to Wendy who was the closest person to where I was and said, “Can I hug you?” We didn’t talk. We just held each other, and I sobbed. Then Sheridan came over to us and wrapped her arms around us. She doula-ed me in her gentle, perfect way… coaxing the wailing out of me in a massive release. And I sobbed and sobbed with these two beautiful women holding space for me and filling me with their love and light. I will never forget it.

Meditation as Medicine

May 9, 2013 at 6:22 pm

Last October, my friend Felice started teaching meditation webinars. I had been battling anxiety/depression for months. Felice had been trying to get me meditating for years. I figured, “Hey, it couldn’t hurt to try.” The week I started meditating with her was the week I started to feel like myself again. Coincidence? Perhaps. A lot of things had shifted in my life at that time. But the more I learn about meditation, the more I want to meditate.

Last week a reader recommended the book Meditation as Medicineby Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D., when I wrote about my panic attack. I checked it out from my local library and started reading it yesterday. I wish I could just sit and read this book all day. I love the author’s writing/teaching style.

I’ve been learning a lot lately about the healing power of sound (see here and here).  So I’ve been seeing the world through that lens, frequently asking myself, “What sounds am I hearing? Do they feel good to me?” Interestingly enough, yesterday in the car, my daughter said (completely out of the blue), “This song sounds evil.” I changed the station!

I particularly like this quote from the preface of Healing at the Speed of Sound:

“When we speak of being of ‘sound mind and body,’ we seldom realize that sound itself is the root of being. That sound itself is the route to acquire those things we want so much, a sound mind and body.”

Restoring Balance and Fertility

April 18, 2013 at 6:05 am

For a couple of decades, my menstrual cycle was like clockwork. Every 28 days without fail (except during pregnancy/breastfeeding). It didn’t really matter what I ate, how much I slept or exercised, or how much sunshine I frolicked in. My body just did its thing no matter how much I failed to take good care of it. But, alas, this body of mine ain’t what it used to be. Now that I’m in my thirties, my menstrual cycle is a lot more sensitive to environmental factors.

During last year’s drama, my cycle was cut short by a few days nearly every month. I thought it was just the stress. As I healed and gained weight, my cycle slowly returned to its 28-day norm.

When my period arrived two days early this week, I was a little confused. Wait a second, I thought… Didn’t my body heal from all of that craziness? Then I remembered that I had spent many nights last week staying up past 1:00 a.m. working on my new website and doing research. I’ve been extremely sleep-deprived. That reminded me how I spent months last summer experiencing medicine-induced insomnia. This was fortunately the only side effect I really noticed from my medication, but it was horrible. Maybe the sleep-deprivation had been a big contributing factor to my wacky menstrual cycles last year?

All of this got me wondering… is there a link between sleep and fertility? I started digging and found a whole lot of information I wanted to share. If you’re trying to get pregnant and you’re finding your cycles less than regular, here are some things that may bring your body back in balance.

AZ Holistic Living Conference

March 25, 2013 at 7:57 pm

Several weeks ago I entered a contest to win three free tickets to the AZ Holistic Living Conference by writing about a profound holistic healing experience. I had a feeling I was going to win. Not sure why, but I just knew I needed to be at the conference and assumed those free tickets were going to get me there. And they did… along with some other friends who also felt like they needed to be there. The theme for the conference was “What’s in my bag?” It was, for me, an extremely powerful and wonderful day. Thank you, organizers and volunteers and presenters, for giving me that great gift.

I thought I’d share some of the things I learned.

1) Keynote Speaker: K.C. Miller

I think the part of K.C.’s presentation that made the deepest impact on me was when she taught the concept of being a “seer.” She talked about how suicide takes more lives than war, and so many people walk around feeling like they’re unimportant and invisible to the rest of the world. She had us find a partner, face each other, and do an exercise. We were supposed to “see” each other and then finish saying, “__(Name)__, I see you.”

Relief

October 10, 2012 at 2:23 am

It has now been over a week since I have felt anxious or depressed. I think I finally feel confident that the worst is over. Crossing my fingers anyway.

It’s hard to know what made the difference, but I think all of the following are contributing factors…

1) My husband asked many of my family and friends to fast and pray for me the first Sunday in October. I’m deeply honored and grateful that so many participated and feel certain that their united faith pushed me into one of the best weeks I’ve had since June. Thank you so much.

2) I started meditating a week ago (too bad I keep missing days) thanks to my friend Felice’s prodding and meditation webinar.

3) I started re-taking a multi-vitamin that has helped me in the past (New Chapter Perfect Prenatal). I had run out of them a few months ago and had been trying several other brands in the meantime without finding one that “worked” (Rainbow Light, Mercola, etc.) Once I started taking this one again a little over a week ago, I felt almost normal within a few days. May I never run out again!

My friend, Robyn

May 17, 2012 at 2:12 pm

This interview is a stop on the Virtual Book Tour for The Gift of Giving Life.

I’m happy to introduce you to my dear friend and collaborator, Robyn Allgood. Robyn is magnificent. Though we have now written a book together, I’ve never actually met her in person (Skype doesn’t count). Next month I’ll have the privilege of, finally, wrapping my arms around her and hugging her with all the love I have in my heart for her (when we meet at the LDS Holistic Living Conference). Having been influenced by Robyn’s beautiful soul has inspired me in so many ways.

The following is an interview that will, hopefully, give you a small taste of why I love Robyn Allgood so much.

Tell me about your background?

I am a mother to five children, a doula, childbirth educator, and ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) Chapter Leader. I am not a domestic goddess, but I can sew somewhat straight lines if called upon while not under duress. I consider myself a book nerd of sorts. I love natural living, but I have been known to make mac & cheese from the box for lunch and slap on a disposable diaper because I don’t feel like folding the cloth ones. I am married to a tall, dark version of McGyver. At least I call him McGyver because he can fix anything and I love him to pieces for it.

God takes the pain away?

January 3, 2012 at 11:27 pm

My teenage brother is a free-spirited artist with a particular affinity for buddhist thought. He likes to create collages with magazine clippings, so I decided to give him a book full of empty cardstock pages to unleash his creativity upon. I gave the gift a personalized touch by decorating the front cover with a collage of my own. I love how it turned out!

While flipping through my old magazines looking for materials for my collage, I found a little snip-it of an article with this headline: “God takes the pain away.” It shared a bit of research (by Amy Wachholtz, PhD) about how spiritual meditation can impact our perception of pain. Study participants were instructed to either 1) Do relaxation exercises, 2) Mediate on phrases such as “I am happy,” or 3) Meditate on phrases such as “God is love” for several weeks. Afterward, participants’ abilities to withstand pain were tested. Those who had practiced spiritual meditation demonstrated the highest pain thresholds (Click here to learn more).

Amy Wachholtz has also studied how spiritual meditation can impact migraine sufferers. She found that “over the course of the intervention in comparison to the other three groups, those who practiced spiritual meditation had greater decreases in the frequency of migraine headaches, anxiety, and depression, as well as greater increases in pain tolerance, headache-related self-efficacy, daily spiritual experiences, and existential well being” (Source).

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