Monday, August 6, 2012

Om Namah Shivaya

Transformation.  A new beginning.  It didn't happen overnight, but it feels as if it did.  It is as if I have flipped the light switch and connected the circuit to myself.  Confidence, security, embracing my femininity, these were all foreign concepts to me just last week. 

I don't know exactly what happened to unlock this gift within me, all I know is that it feels amazing.  I am dancing freely (I never knew my hips could move like that),  I am speaking with confidence in my workshops, and when people tell me I am beautiful I accept the compliment with grace, rather then shying away from it in embarrassment because it feels untrue.

I woke up this morning singing Om Namah Shivaya, a meditation mantra I experienced for the first time this weekend.  I had no idea what it meant, but a charge of electricity ran through my body each time I said the words.  When I looked it up this morning I found this explanation -

"It means I bow to Shiva.  (Shiva) is the name given to consciousness that dwells in all.  Shiva is the name of your true identity - your self." - From

Our theme for the weekend at Summer Rhythm Renewal was connection, and we were encouraged to find our edge and push past it.  I did both.  I connected with many fascinating people, but the most interesting person I connected with was myself.  I've met this person in the past, and never felt comfortable around her.  Suddenly I see her for what she is -  and embrace the beauty, the grace, and the possibility she possesses.  I am blessed to have re-connected with her.

Friday, July 27, 2012


I turned 40 this year.  40 didn't upset me nearly as much as 30.  This year felt like a rebirth to me - a shift in consciousness, a spiritual awakening, a time to release old patterns and beliefs that no longer serve my highest good.  A tall order, and one that's starting to feel like a bit of a challenge.  Maybe I should have followed my husband's example.  He took the easy route and acquired a half sleeve tattoo (his first) as a gift to himself when he turned 40.  I am joking when I suggest that repeatedly sticking a needle in and out of half of his arm was easy, but sometimes I wish I would have gone that route instead.  Actually, I would have preferred to have skipped the tattoo and my mid life crisis altogether and just bought a convertible, but that doesn't provide much long term satisfaction.

I have been blessed to have had quite a bit of vacation time this summer.  In fact, I haven't flown since the beginning of June.  Instead of feeling refreshed and relaxed after all of that time off, I sat here the other day feeling overwhelmed for no reason.  Anxious and moody, tired and achy, unable to motivate myself to do much of anything, I began my normal cycle of being too hard on myself.  Never feeling good enough, always feeling like I need to be striving to do more and be more, I wondered how I could possibly feel so out of sorts when I hadn't been "working."

Although I haven't been working at my "job", I began adding up the spiritual work I have been doing over the summer and started to realize why I was feeling overwhelmed.  I am working with a life coach, going to individual and couple's kundalini yoga,  working with an NAET practitioner on my physical health,  Proprioceptive Writing every morning (well I was, until I began feeling overwhelmed and decided I'd rather sleep), I began A Course In Miracles, I took classes to learn Karuna Reiki and attended another emotional release workshop in which I shifted a lot of energy.  I also started my own Reiki business, Pathfinder Healing Arts, and have been setting up workshops in two different locations around Pittsburgh.  Reviewing the list, I am able to see that I have been doing a lot of work, I'm just not getting paid for it.  That's not really correct either, I'm not receiving a paycheck, but the rewards from this work outweigh any monetary compensation I could receive.  At least they will once I get through this period.

I intend to further expand on many of my endeavors in future blogs.  Since I haven't posted for a while, this is just a brief overview of what I have been experiencing recently and a way to get me back into blogging again.  I am really feeling the urge to write, but I am cautious not to make any promises (yet) about frequency.  I've made those promises before and then I was frustrated when I failed to keep them.  I hope to write again soon, as there have been too many shifts and interesting things happening to me not to share.  But the main message I am getting lately is that I need to take care of myself first, before I can help/encourage/motivate anyone else.  We'll just take it day by day and see what happens.

A good friend of mine gave me some advice the other day.  He told me to look back down the mountain every once in a while and see how far I've come.  Always focusing on the top and how far I have to go, I rarely take the time to consider how far I've already climbed.  No wonder I'm tired, the air is getting pretty thin up here.  I think it's time to take a seat, catch my breath, and enjoy the view.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Trip to the Dentist - Accompanied by Mercury and Thimerosal

Seven years ago, before I began my journey into "alternative" health and wellness, I had several mercury fillings removed.  The dentist just drilled the mercury out, refilled the teeth, and sent me on my merry way.  Now that I've become more educated about mercury, I'm a little disturbed by the memory of that experience.

There has been much debate about mercury fillings, and this video demonstrates the very real dangers associated with mercury.  The Smoking Tooth.  This video, accompanied by further research, assisted me in my decision to have my one remaining mercury filling removed.  This time I went to a holistic dentist, who utilized something called the Huggins Protocol.  This dentist appointment was unbelievably different from anything else I have ever experienced.

My first appointment was for a consultation, which included a prescription for bloodwork.  I know what you're thinking.  Bloodwork, for a dentist?  The bloodwork was to determine if I was allergic to any of the dental materials used in the process.  It turns out that I am allergic to many of the common materials used in dentistry, especially the sealant used underneath mercury fillings.  I am also allergic to aluminum (highly problematic, no more canned goods or foil), and thimerosal.  Thimerosal is used in some vaccines, and since I'm not planning to be vaccinated in the near future I didn't think this was a big cause for concern. According to the dentist, almost all mascaras and many contact lens solutions contain thimerosal.  And it is not required to be listed on the label.  She suggested going to the Environmental Working Group's Website and researching each product in my makeup bag.

This morning was my appointment to have my filling removed.  First I had to do a charcoal rinse, which I believe helps to catch any stray mercury.  I was put on oxygen, and a huge extractor tube was placed in front of my mouth, as well as a smaller one which fit over the individual tooth.  Then the dentist and her assistant donned what looked like a gas mask.  I started to wonder if I was at the dentist or preparing for war.  This was unlike any dental visit I have ever experienced, and it really made me realize that putting toxic substances in my mouth is something I would rather not do again.  I'm just glad I figured all of this out before my son has to have his first filling.  If you're in the Pittsburgh area, I can highly recommend Tammy Degregorio if you're interested in a holistic dentist.  If nothing else, I encourage you to look into what's in your mouth, your mascara, and your contact lens solution.  You might be surprised and alarmed at what you discover.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The One Command

"I don't know the first step I need to take to start my business, I only know I do so now, and I am fulfilled."

"I don't know how I learn to trust myself, I only know I do so now, and I am fulfilled."

"I don't know how I deflect the negativity of others, I only know I do so now, and I am fulfilled."

I have been saying the above phrases, and many others, to myself all week.  They are examples of The One Command, a process which allows the brain to access the theta or dream state, which assists in the manifestation of desires and wishes.

We spend most of our lives in the beta brain state.  This is the state that causes us to fear and worry.  It is the state that is concerned with the past and the future, and it tries to keep us from making the same mistakes which have previously caused us pain.  The theta state allows us to circumvent our fearful thoughts and beta state, and get in touch with our subconscious to make positive changes in our lives.

I must admit, when I first heard about The One Command it sounded a little too good to be true. I decided to research it some more and found Asara Lovejoy's website.  The website didn't resonate with me, and I decided not to pursue it any further.  Then I received an invitation to attend a local workshop in Pittsburgh, hosted by Judy Burke.  I attended the workshop and was immediately intrigued.  I have been using The One Command every day since the class.

Has my life changed dramatically with the use of The One Command?  No.  Have I won the lottery?  No.  Is this process appealing to everyone?  No.  What I have noticed with the use of the command is that I don't get upset as often as I used to about insignificant things, and if I do it is easier to snap myself out of it.  Like anything, I think the results will be more profound with practice.  I'm satisfied enough with the results that I'm going to start teaching my Reiki clients how to do this, as well as utilizing it for myself.  If it sounds interesting, I invite you to investigate it further, either in your local area or on Asara's website.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Giving Thanks to the Turkeys

I live in a neighborhood that is over one hundred years old and less than 4 miles from the city.  It is certainly not the type of neighborhood where you would expect to see wildlife.  For the past week, my companions on my morning walk have alternated between a herd of deer and a flock of turkey.   I never gave my encounters with animals a second thought until I discovered Ted Andrews book "Animal Speak".  The book suggests that when we see an animal, especially multiple times, that it is not just a coincidence but a symbol.  Each time I see an animal in an unusual situation I head for the book and check out the meaning.  Here is the explanation for deer -

"When deer show up in your life it is time to be gentle with yourself and others.  A new innocence and freshness is about to be awakened or born.  There is going to be a gentle, enticing lure of new adventures.... When deer show up there is an opportunity to express gentle love that will open new doors to adventure for you."

The turkey is sometimes known as the earth eagle and symbolizes a year of harvest.  The male turkeys have been putting on quite a show in the morning, tail feathers perfectly fanned out behind them, bright red wattles inflated.  The wattle is very symbolic in itself, "linked to the ancient idea of the third eye, the inner vision often associated with the pituitary gland in more traditional metaphysics.  The brow center or third eye is the center for higher vision, and is often considered the seat of the feminine energies within each of us.  This reflects its tie to the Mother Earth and all of its feminine energies and possibilities."

Some people would say that the flock of turkey live in my neighborhood, so therefore it is not unusual that I see them every morning.  I could agree with that line of thinking.  What I can't explain is why less than a mile from downtown a lone turkey walked across the road and stopped in front of my car.  And that was the second sighting I experienced outside of my neighborhood this week.

Are the deer and turkey trying to tell me something?  I can't say for sure, but I do know that the last week has been filled with opportunity and awakening and great possibility.  A year of harvest is upon me.  And for that I am thankful.

Friday, March 30, 2012

What Do YOU Want to Be When You Grow Up?

"What do you want to be when you grow up?" we're always asking our children.  The response is almost always a concrete answer: a fireman, hockey player, doctor etc.  The idea is ingrained in us from an early age - we must have a title, a one word description to define us.  The subtle nuances of our being are buried below this label, only to be uncovered by those who take the time to know us beyond the singular title we have chosen to tell the world who we are.

As we get older, the question shifts from "What do you want to be when you grow up?" to "What do you do?"  Again we are being asked to describe ourselves in a minimal amount of words, to lump our whole being into a sound bite.  Most of us already have more than one title - husband/wife, mother/father, friend, sports fanatic.  Normally one definition of ourselves stands out as the most prominent, and for me it has always been my professional title.  Being a mom is the title that brings me the most pride, but I don't use that title to present myself to the world.  For almost 23 years my title has been a pilot.  It's not only my job but my identity.  A source of pride, insecurity, sometimes ego, and lately a source of confusion.

As I find myself delving deeper into the world of Reiki and alternative healing, a one word title doesn't seem to fit me anymore.  I have two very different jobs now, and the second one is difficult to describe in one word.  When I meet someone and they ask what I do, it's much easier to say that I'm a pilot than to try and explain my healing work.

But what if we began to think of the questions "What do you want to be when you grow up" or "What do you do," in a different way?  Instead of using those questions to explain a literal definition of ourselves, what if we described the underlying essence of who we really are?  Imagine asking a child what they want to be when they grow up and they respond with, "Happy."  Or "Creative."  Or "Free." Or "An inspiration to others."  Or the mother of all answers to this question -  "Me."

The next time someone asks, "What do you do," imagine their reaction if the answer was "I encourage others to uncover their authentic selves," or "I create spontaneous bliss wherever I go," or even "I honor myself and those around me by being true to myself."

The responses above would definitely catch some people by surprise.  In the absence of a self imposed title, they might begin to come up with their own titles to describe us, some of them not very flattering.  That's ok too.  I'm reminded of my favorite quote from this week - "What other people think of you is none of your business."  We all walk a different path.

So the next time someone asks me at a party, "What do you do," will I respond with, "I help others uncover the grace, courage and beauty within?"  Probably not.  Twenty three years of identity is a hard habit to break.  But I guarantee I will hesitate before I answer, and maybe in time, I just might surprise a few people. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Taking Out My Trash

 Trash day in my neighborhood.  I loathe trash day.  As I walked two blocks with my son to school this morning, we passed a sofa, a dresser, an end table and a tv (all at different houses), all tossed onto the curb for the trash.  After I dropped my son at school I continued to walk.  Within 1/2 mile I passed two more sofas, another dresser and tv, a table, a chair and an antique bedroom set.  Apparently my neighbors haven't heard of Goodwill or the VVA (who by the way, pick up at the front door.)   I was disgusted because landfill space was being filled with perfectly usable furniture, and because there was probably a poor child in the neighborhood that could use the furniture instead.

My morning walk is normally a source of peace and clarity and a connection to nature, but I wasn't feeling any of that as I passed each trash pile.  Frustrated that I was becoming more upset with each step,  I made a conscious effort to change what I was feeling at that moment.

I have been reading Pema Chodron's book, "Taking the Leap."  In the book she discusses the Tibetan word shenpa, which means attachment, or our ability to get "hooked" or stuck. 

"The fundamental, most basic shenpa is to ego itself: attachment to our identity, the image of who we think we are.  When we experience our identity as being threatened, our self-absorption gets very strong, and shenpa automatically arises."

I began to examine my feelings about trash day and why it continues to hook me.  It's not the furniture itself, or the people putting it at the curb, but a judgment in my mind that it is wrong to throw away something useful.  On a normal day I would keep walking and continue to get more angry about the entire situation, feeding a story line that would lead into everything else that is "wrong" in the world.  Pema has taught me that instead of escalating my thought pattern, or worse yet wishing my uncomfortable feelings would just go away, it is much more beneficial to lean into them.  Take a few deep breaths, poke around the feeling a little bit, and then let it go.  Following this advice has helped me learn to let go of things much more quickly, and each time I practice it is easier to get "unhooked."

Pema also mentions that the average life span of a particular emotion is a minute and a half.
"After that, we have to revive the emotion to get it going again.  Our usual process is that we automatically do revive it by feeding it with an internal conversation about how another person is the source of our discomfort.  Maybe we strike out at them or at someone else - all because we don't want to go near the unpleasantness of what we're feeling."

I must admit I never expected curbside trash to be the catalyst for a personal growth experience.  This morning made me realize that I don't have to search out a teacher to further my evolution - the lessons are all around me every minute of every day.  I just have to be open enough to recognize the opportunity.