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How Illness Can be an Opportunity for Soul Work.

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Hi Friends

I want to share a powerful healing journey with you I’ve been going through.  I recognize we won’t have exact experiences but I hope somehow it resonates for you in your own life, with your own particulars.

I have been struggling with my chronic illness lately, having to do a lot of blood infusions  and dealing with a lot of inflammation, particularly in my large intestine this time around.  I am a believer and student of mind/body medicine and ways of the Sacred Feminine, meaning I know my body has something to tell me.  Illness and inflammation are always messengers from my deepest Self and health challenges are an opportunity for healing if we choose to explore it as such.

So after five days of struggle, I finally sit down and listen.  After some podcasts and reflections these questions have emerged.

  1.    How am I showing up for myself in my life?
  2.    What are ways I can show up for myself in my life more often and what does                 that look like?
  3.    How do I need to show up for myself and my soul more regularly?

 

Here we go…

I have not been showing up for myself in my life at all lately.  I hear my grumbling, tired soul and body and instead of tending to it, I’ve been zoning out, watching tv, going to sleep, keep busy busy busy.  My mind has been swirling with ideas, and new goals but I’m spinning in stuckness not putting pen to paper, just living in the land of busy mom and not showing up for myself.  That is step one, recognizing the problem.

I can show up for myself more often perhaps in little segments or tidbits.  I need to schedule it in during kid naps and block off at least one evening a week to do some deep soul pouring and get my course written/created.  In the meantime I can light candles, listen to podcasts as I clean or hang with baby, and keep moving my body in loving ways.

How do I need to  show up for my soul more often?  I think and feel I really need to commit to taking 10-20 minutes each evening, writing, journaling, reflecting, pondering, whatever that may be and check-on.  I just need to create me soul space in my life.  Writing is part of that for me and helps me move out my stuck thoughts.  And I need to commit like my health depended on it, cause my body is telling me it is!

 

In mind-body medicine and energy healing irritations with the LARGE INTESTINE have to do with, “crying spells, confusion, irritation, frustration, stagnation, and anger.  Thinking that you can’t do any thing right.  Wanting to run away and hide form the world.  Feeling that you are too different and that no one understand you.  Difficulty seeing other people’s point of view. Dogmatically defending your position in arguments. Extremely sensitive, thin-skinned.”  (The Secret Language of Your Body by Inna Segal pg.64)

I resonate with all of this.  I’ve been spinning, stuck, overwhelmed, lost, scattered and thus frustrated.  I have had crying meltdowns in my overwhelm, feeling like I keep trying to swim to shore but can’t find the shore.  I realize now I just needed to stop swimming, take a look and make a plan.  Take one step at a time and cut some things out that I’m not quite ready for.  Visualize where I’m going and focus on each pearl on the thread one by one.  I’ve been trying to hold three or four chains of pearls and I’m spinning in stickiness not knowing which one to focus on.

 

So on this lovely October day, I invite you go through the questions listed above and just free flow your pen to page.  Set a timer for 5 minutes and don’t lift that pen up til the timer goes off.  Invite yourself back into your life.  Please share your findings in comments.

 

If you’d like to receive free self and soul connecting activities and rituals, please FOLLOW MY BLOG (hit the button) and I’d love for you to join the Women’s Tribe Facebook Page as well.

With warmth

Crystal

 

 

 

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How my Old Marriage Showed up as Plantar Fasciitis in my Feet.

bodyhealingFunny things happen to your body post baby.  I was seven years younger last time and this time it’s definitely harder to rebound back.   I hurt more, I’m slower paced, crickedy in the ole’ bones.

In mind/body therapy, the body is seen as a sacred messenger, a literal expression of internal emotions, memories, un-recognized feelings, soul needs or patterns of old ways of doing life that have resulted in injury.

My problem has been in my feet, mostly my left foot. I can barely walk some mornings. Such as strange thing for me. I know pregnancy ignited the ligament issues but my Lordess, do they hurt like never before.

The podiatrist says it’s tendinitis and Plantar Fasciitis. Oye.  For me my pain radiates from the bottom of the outside of my foot up to my ankle, almost as though the tendon is just so tight, it literally can’t stretch as far as it needs to.

So what are my wise old feet trying to tell me? As I close my eyes and sit with them, they tell me I’m still getting my footing and bearings with our new family circle and the shifts required in that.  The memories of my old life that got pulled out from under my feet the last time I had a baby, lingers in the cells of my precious feet.  They feel cautious, uncertain if they can securely lay roots and ground.  They wonder if it will be safe based on the memories of my ex-husband’s infidelity and the loss of everything I had last time my other baby was born.   This translates into me over-doing everything, trying to be a good wife and mom so that my husband won’t leave (even though I know he won’t cause he’s a good man this hubby).  I take little time for myself to try and ensure he’s coping okay and won’t bail on me like my first husband but this old outdated, wounded belief is showing up in the ligaments of my feet.  I’m exhausted, depleted, over-stretched, tired of serving everyone else but myself.  I need to balance the scales…and my feet!

 In her book The Secret Language of Your Body, Inna Segal lists some contributing factors with foot issues as…

  • feeling stuck, bogged down, obligated to others, missing the big picture.

In particular she gives special attention to each foot.  The left foot in as in my case reads (pg.42)

“Disconnected from your needs.  Too much focus on the outside world and what you need to do for others….Dragging pain from the past or from difficult relationships.  An imbalance between giving and receiving.  “

The ankle (left) (pg.13)

“Difficulty tuning in to yourself and listening to your own counsel. Belief that you have to be a slave to others, especially your children, your partner or your work.  Not spending enough time nurturing yourself and discovering what is important to you.”

Holy bananas…right?!

So if anything, my feet…my wise crickedy body – is saying that in order for me to find my footing again I must create more space for me in my own life.  I must tend to my own needs alongside the needs of others.  I need to carve out me time, fun time, creative time.  I also need to let go of the old memories from the last marriage that have lingered into my new life.

In shamanism, illness occurs when we have somehow lost our sense of power and connection to the Universe and I must admit this is true for me.  The trauma of the dissolution of my last marriage that resulted in me losing my house, my dogs, my marriage, and my security, all with a new baby in tote…has put me in a role of servant out of fear.  I fear I will be abandoned again (only a small part of me, but I guess deep down the fear is seeping in my tissues). So here I go listing my most radical fears to get it out of my body…

-I fear if I am not everything perfect, perfect mom, wife, perfect body, he will leave and find someone else.

-If I don’t hold most of the load he will feel overwhelmed and leave because he won’t be able to handle it,

-I can sacrifice more, I’m stronger that way, I can suffer more and bear it than him, this way he won’t leave.

Those are the fears that live at the root of my actions to put myself last.  They come from my first marriage, from a partner that was never enough and that was our relationship contract.  I gave and gave and he took.  I need to surrender these memories, these old ways of balance in parenting and plant them in the soil to decompose and turn into something new.  I will literally do this, list them and plant them in the soil to rest.  Maybe on rocks, maybe on paper.

To be in my power is to know that I can connect to my needs, express them, tend to them, do what I need in balance of the needs of others. I need not sacrifice myself to receive and maintain love and if so, it is not really love, nor a healthy relationship.  New cellular beliefs…

Both parents and spouses have the responsibility to equally hold their share.

-I can ask for what I need and allow myself to go out and get it or to receive it.

-I don’t have to be perfect, I can have failures and still be loveable and loved.

-I can express and meet my own needs which means letting my husband hold the fort and me taking a break from it.

I ask my guide for some further direction and she says, “There’s a letting go here that must occur, a softening,  a release, a surrendering of the fearful memories and paralyzing fear. Soften into your power and stand tall no matter what.  Meet your needs first no matter what and all else, including your foot and alignment will fall into place.  You will be loved, you are love.”

Isn’t the body amazing?  What a journey that was.

So if you want to understand your own body’s magic wisdom here are a few steps.

  1. Close your eyes and take a few breaths, allow yourself to move into relaxation and calmness.
  2. Move your attention to the place in your body that is giving you some pain or struggle.  List words, feelings, sensations that come to find as you move your attention there.  Literally write them down or doodle images that come to mind.
  3. Imagine that part of your body became an alive person, and ask it some questions…what are you feeling? What are you trying to tell me through the pain? What are you needing? How can I offer you some relief and healing?
  4. Imagine a loving, healing, supportive guide come and place their healing energy onto the place of discomfort in your body.  Ask this guide to tell you what would help for further and deeper healing.

 

And so it is my friends.

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astrology, ceremony, Full Moon, healing, meditation, Spirituality, Uncategorized, womens health

A Healing Full Moon/Eclipse Ritual & Your Inner Queen

full moon march

Happy FULL Moon and Lunar Eclipse. The energies are brewing, the cauldron is stirring, the chaos,emotions, turmoil, struggles, and calls to grow and expand are bubbling.  Our unhealed shadowy selves are called to the surface so we can free them from the cages, free them from the rapture of old wounded ways and alas heal the cuts of the past.

Just the other day while walking my dogs, I heard this strange loud chirping in the trees. I’d never heard such a strange and loud gawk from birds before and wondered what the heck was calling in such in an unusual howl.  Then I seen my dogs jumping onto the bottom of a tree while an innocent ole’ ground hound gripped on for life to a branch near the top shrieking those unusual howls.

The Ground hog tells us…(from http://www.spirit-animals.com/groundhog/)

“You are being asked to explore altered states of consciousness deeper. The answers are within you – however you just have not dug deep enough to find the root of it. Groundhog can also be letting you know that you need to pay attention to your metabolism. Be aware of how your diet influences your natural bodies cycles and to make dietary adjustments to balance the workings of your body.

Alternatively Groundhog can be giving you fair warning that you have overstepped someone boundaries or someone is overstepping yours. Best is to resolve the situation with respect and from the heart.”

This full moon is in Libra, the sign about relationships.  Throw in a lunar eclipse and the intensity quadruples.  Lunar eclipses bring endings, shifts, and sudden change.

This fits well with Ground Hog’s message about boundaries, especially concerning relationships.  For me, I have someone in my life that I must deal with who constantly pushes and tries and over step my boundaries.  But I must look at the root, at my own causal piece in this.  I get thrown off, annoyed, frustrated, even irritated.  My mind sometimes loops into his trail of chaos and un-groundedness and  I literally start spinning with him until I remember to ground, stay firm, follow the agreements.

He rages, gets annoyed, calls me down, makes me the problem. But that’s okay.  My job is to figure out my stance.  As I enter the dream world to get some guidance and Higher vision on this circumstance, I see a large yard with a short white picket fence.  This is symbolic to my boundaries…nice, small, easy to step over.  So I ask my guides, how can I prevent him from stepping over my fence.

“Build a taller, stronger fence!” they say.

Of course! Keep things firm.  Don’t compromise, don’t adjust.  Focus on my peace, my emotional well-being, not his responses.  Easier said then done.  My inner cauldron of wounds, bubble over with feelings of fear and uncertainly.  I’m uncomfortable asserting my line knowing I will be met with resistance, with push back.  I get ready, get defensive, get myself preparing for the next set of attacks.  I want this response, this pattern to end.  It’s bullshit.  So I look inward to explore where the wound is so I can make the change.

I have this lingering patterned response, a neuro-conscious response (in mind-body therapy terms) where fear pumps into my chest when I must assert myself or express that my boundary has been crossed.  I feel childlike, timid, afraid of asserting my voice, my stance.  It stems from my childhood.  I’m afraid of getting into trouble.  But this belief, is old, tiresome, out dated.

So I follow the trail to the root.  Why am I afraid to assert myself? I know it stems from my dad, as much as I love him, when I was younger he yelled a lot when I’d try and find my voice.  It made me shrink in the face of conflict, authority, or anger.  I get afraid.  But what am I afraid of?  Being rejected? Being reprimanded?  Being wrong?

I get all twisted up in another’s point of view instead of remaining grounded in my own.  I start to question my accuracy, if I’m being selfish or the purity of my intent.  I doubt myself, and my knees start to wobble, I begin to feel weak and less confident in myself and my ability to assert my boundary begins to crumble.  I give in, stay silent and cower in the face of conflict only to beat myself up for stumbling.

There’a a connection to my voice, like somehow I won’t be believed or heard or honored. inner queenThere’s an old belief that my voice won’t be listened to so I go to the extreme defense protecting myself, trying to get validated, understood, and heard from the other person. This feels like to the root of my over-active immune system (auto-immune), always on the defense, hyper-aware, hyper-vigilant for attack and I must protect myself.  But there’s a difference between being overly cautions “on the defense” with being firm, assertive, and a Queen.  Rather than protecting my fence with a metal-suited soldier, I can call upon my inner Queen to simply stand there and energetically hold her presence.  There’s no defense, there’s confidence, certainty, trust in Herself, her power, her decision.  TRUST IN HERSELF! It’s just an energy of upholding the line, not defending it.

My inner Queen says to my inner child, “Who cares!  Who cares if he rejects you, you’ve already rejected him.  He can’t reprimand you and no, your feelings are not wrong.  Do not be afraid to expect your boundaries to be respected!  That is your right.”  

Expect to be respected. There is such power in that.  That is where my wound lies.  I have expected to be disrespected and prepare for this instead of standing firm in my right to be respected.  I will expect to be respected.  That just completely changes the energy of everything, don’t you think?! 🙂

“How can I feel as strong and confident as you?” my scared, child part asks my Queen.

“Put on your crown and cape little girl and believe in your own authority.”

I imagine my little girl with the crown and cape the Queen has gifted her and she feels naturally more confident and sure of herself.  She knows, she remembers, she owns that she is indeed a Queen. A Queen with power, assertion, and authority.  She commands the stage with her presence.

And so it is.

FULL MOON/ LUNAR ECLIPSE HEALING RITUAL:

Grab your journal, light a candle, put on some music and spark up an incense.  Drift inward, imagine seeing your inner child.  It’s time to dive inward to where we need balance and restoration.  It’s time to end old, wounded ways of being.

 

It’s time to dream, go inward and write and reflect with your magical inner world.  Get out your journals, turn on the switch to your imagination and travel into the healing gates of wonder…

1)Explore your inner parts, particularly your inner child, the wounded child.  What patterns, beliefs, wounds keep you stuck in old wounded patterns in your relationship? What does your inner child look like?  What are they wearing, what is their stance, what is their energy and presence?  What words or feelings come to mind with this part of you?

3) Think of a relationship with a certain person or people that you have been struggling with. Imagine the relationship dynamic or your presence in the relationships in the form of a landscape that reflects your boundaries and interactions within it.  What do you see and notice? What is there? What colors and images? What does this say about your patterns or wounded beliefs?

4)  Imagine seeing your inner Queen walking from her castle to this landscape. How does she move, feel and change the feeling with her presence?  What does she look like?

5) Ask her how you can heal this old pattern in your relationship or relationships and see if she will give you something, an object or objects to help you in shifting this old way of relating.

Share your experiences 🙂

And so it is!!!

 

This moon’s mantra.  “I assert my boundaries with ease by owning and stepping into my Inner Queen.”

 

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Your Body is a Sacred She Not an It.

sacred body 2Loving your body is an inside job.  It actually has nothing to do with your weight or size.  It is recognizing that your body is a Sacred She, not an “it”.  That’s a She with a capital “S”.  She is your soul in form, an extension of the deepest part of you.  This can be a bit of a foreign concept for some of us who were taught that Spirit is outside of our bodies and the body is just a place of sin and weakness. I challenge this assumption.

Hogwash, I say!

Your body is a sacred keeper and the physical form of the deepest part of you. This is called Embodied Spirituality, where connecting to your body is really connecting to the Divine.  Imagine living a life centered around your relationship to your body, knowing that the integrity of this relationship was central to every other aspect of your life.  How you felt about yourself , your relationships and your life was mirrored by your relationship to your Sacred body.  She is guiding you and signalling your emotions, needs, wants and beliefs, directing you like the lead of a marching band.  And, rather than fighting against, ignoring or denying the trumpets and drums, you can listen and follow them because you are being led by the Divine.

What if you trusted your body to lead you to your dreams- your soul path, simply by honoring your body’s innate wisdom and amazing abilities of bodily sensations, emotions and gut feelings?  You have no need to shut these wondrous messengers off because they are from your soul, transmuting messages to you by the form and emotional/physical functions of your body.  Your body is the computer of your soul.  You are being led towards what feels right for you, if it lights you up like a fire cracker, then it is for you.  The body will not guide you to what you think you should be doing or to be perceived as successful, that’s your mind.  The body will guide you to fire and passion, it is not worried about becoming a role or title, it wants soul expression and release into your world.

Can you open up a space to begin the process of uniting your mind and body in a sacred union, a true and loving kinship? Can you allow your body and mind to bond into a sacred marriage and away from sacred battle?

This means approaching your body as an equal, even as captain of the team. This is a much different way than treating your body like a “thing” to dominate and a “thing” to push past its limits.  It is letting go of mind- over- body mantra and instead following the body’s lead.  It is opposite of everything we have learned and it will take some unlearning, unwinding and at times collapsing of every construct you once operated upon.

I too lived with the debilitating mantra of mind over body.  I played competitive sports and we trained until we puked.  This led to a life addicted to superwoman powers. I learned to push myself to the limits and beyond and called that success. My body had no choice but to rebel as I continued to live a life of overdoing and over-extending. She said, “No more, that’s too much.  No, no NO!  You will not overdo, over-extend, over push, over carry, over burden us anymore!”

She has put Her foot down with the manifestation of an autoimmune disorder that I believe has evolved out of refusal to hear Her and slow down.  Now, I have no choice but to pay attention.  I’ve had to find another pace, another gear and slow down, way down, in order to do life.  If I don’t an autoimmune attack shows up and I typically end up in hospital.

Marion Woodman, a Jungian Analyst who specialized in the Lost Goddess and the Sacred Feminine said in a speech for Conscious Femininity,

“You know, you must wander in a culture where autoimmune break down is the most prevalent of diseases — lupus, AIDS, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome — these are all illnesses in which the body refuses to play host to the soul.”

Boo-yah! That kind of hits you in the gut don’t it?!

In mind-body therapy, we look for the metaphorical message in the illness. Underneath an illness is often unresolved emotional trauma, wounds or belief patterns that continue to perpetuate the dis-ease.  In the book The Secret Language of Your Body by Inna Segal, autoimmune illness is associated with “…an inability to stand up for yourself…feeling weighed down by responsibility. Always putting others first.  Anger, resentment, blame and guilt…”

I regularly pushed past my limits, over committed, over did things, held everything on my shoulders and did not ask for help. I didn’t know how to draw a line in the sand.  In fact in didn’t know where I’d place the line because my head thought it should be way over here when my body was barely making it way back there.  I felt like a failure, weak and lacking for not being able to do more.  I didn’t recognize it as wisdom at the time.  My ego wanted more!  My body knew that the superwoman pace was a bullshit facade.  It was an empty crusty shell trying to get validation of being enough by doing too much.  I was addicted to the drug of over-doing.

I didn’t stand up for my body’s needs or my souls’ wants.  I put other’s needs ahead of my own, and I sacrificed me time, down time or rest time in the name of getting more things done or to squeeze in an extra workout so my perfection addicted mind would shut up.

Autoimmune illness is literally the manifestation of the mind attacking the body or for argument’s sake, the mind over body mantra in a physical form.  For me, it is the manifestation of my mind pushing my body past Her limits continually, never checking into see how things feel or where the body’s energy levels are at.  It’s not even knowing the body’s limits or refusing to believe the body is entitled to having limits.  It is keeping it up too late, feeding it too little, forcing it to exercise extraneously, stressing it with life, having a thousand and one commitments to tend to and pretending that everything is under control and I’m doing great.  It’s a high to be busy all the time, accomplishing, getting things done at lightning speed.  It’s a high until you crash and burn and the exhaustion, the tears, all the emotional messages and physical needs the body was saying comes crashing into you all at one time.

I was living with an “I am fine” illusion when I wanted to cry at every stop sign I sat at.  I wanted the false pride that came with the super-strong-independent-I-don’t-need-anyone woman disguise because I thought it meant I was succeeding, coping, keeping afloat.  I didn’t want to give up my shiny cape.

I rarely rested or fed my soul through creativity or stillness.  I only collapsed in exhaustion or used alcohol to disconnect from the exploding reality trying to burst out of my insides screaming of depletion.  I was empty and hollow and I didn’t want to own it.  I thought that it would mean I was failing.  Then one fine day my body did it for me. I collapsed at work and life was never the same because an autoimmune disorder was born out of my denial to accept the Truth.

So here’s what I learned in my break-down.  We must balance DOING with BEING!  Being is experiencing life with a pure intention of peace, joy, fun and play. Being is the gear that the body likes.  It is not checking off the “to-do” list or creating things for the purpose of getting accolades. It is refilling the energy tank, the love tank, the self-esteem tank, and the feel good-to-be alive tank just because we need to, not for the shiny cape and applause.

It is experienced through stillness…conscious stillness, reflection, journaling, even when you really don’t want to or would rather watch TV and zone out.  It’s doing restorative yoga rather than Vinyasa yoga.  It is creative expression or any kind, knitting, kite flying, even button collecting.  It’s furniture re-purposing, writing, painting or puzzle making.

It is a dumping out of the emotional tub filling up inside because you know the body is guiding you through the messengers of emotions.  They are the compass on your soul journey.

It is walking outside and feeling the wind caress your face or it is sticking your tongue out and tasting a snow flake.  It is life lived at a slower pace, in the moment, focused on the beauty and wonder around us.

It is connecting to the Universe, the Divine, to God & the Goddess, the Creator, the stars, the moon, the wind, the water, and fire just because  our soul calls for it. We need magic and wonder in our lives.  We need meaning, spiritual connection, and emotional release.  We need to do less more often. Did you hear me?

Do LESS more often!abundance 4

We need to have way more fun and play in life and accomplish less. Yeah, I said it, accomplish less and connect to each other a lot more.  At the end of your days you won’t be counting the things you accomplished, you’ll be remembering the special moments with your people.

When we are so busy, over doing, over extended, over exhausted, there is no room for the soul.  And when there’s no room for the soul, we don’t take presence in our own body.  We don’t step foot in our own two feet, we just float around in our minds going through our life tasks spiritually vacant.   Maybe we find ourselves wanting to cry out of nowhere and we aren’t sure why, this my friends is the soul’s tears.  They will leak out in the moments of stillness right before bed or when things just keep getting compounded and challenging that we can’t keep it together, we burst at the seams.  That moment is a gift, a call home to your Essence!

So take five minutes and write 5 things you are grateful for about your wise, soul speaking body. Thank your legs for carrying you from place to place and the ability to move. Thank your hands for doing such amazing work tending to the children or cooking meals.  Thank your gut for digesting food and helping you have life force energy to go about your day.  Thank your ears for the ability to hear a beautiful song or your child’s laugh.  Even thank your swirling stomach for the anxiety signalling to you that your soul is not content.

Let’s appreciate our life giving, soul holding bodies today and everyday!  Let’s take things a little slower, a little gentler, and a lot more focused on fun and less on outcome.

And so it is!

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