Cured by Flowers

Cured by Flowers

Last evening I went out to pick the last of the day’s ripe blueberries, and as I was lingering in the garden enjoying the cool dusky air, I noticed the sunflowers.  In the last week, there are four of them that have grown almost as tall as me and are starting to show signs of blossoming.  Their heads are still tight in a bud, but you can tell they are eagerly waiting the day when they can show their petals to the sun and offer themselves to the world.

I just read an excerpt from the last chapter of Anatomy of a Rose, a book by Sharman Apt Russell, and it is about being cured by flowers.  She points out that for a long time flowers have been used as medicine – from prescription drugs that contain some part of a flowering plant to folk medicine, flowers have healing properties.  There are hundreds of ways to let plants, and specifically flowers, help our bodies heal: from evening primrose to sage to cornflower to prickly poppy, flowers have the power to cure what ails us.   Continue reading “Cured by Flowers”

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Returning to our Roots: Healing Healthcare

Returning to our Roots: Healing Healthcare

Being a yoga teacher [or a wellness coach] is similar to being a physician [i.e. one that is invested in healing, not keeping business good]: my mission is to find the origination of my clients’ problems and help my clients heal themselves, so I can send them on their way, out in the world with the ability to maintain their health, on their own.

~Rebecca Lammersen

It’s not about business or client retention or making more money than we did last year.  Sure, on some level it is important to create business and have clients and keep them around long enough for everyone involved to benefit in the ways that matter.  But these days, it seems that the ever important dollar gets the final say more than anything else.  Pulling a profit that’s bigger than before takes priority, and we tell ourselves that if business is booming, well, we can help more people.  In some ways, it’s true.  We can try to keep clients coming back for as long as possible, plant the seeds of positive change, treat the disorder with a pill, and along the way help the bottom line.  Everybody wins, right?

In this world we live in, money is important.  You might know this already.  Depending on where we live and what sort of lifestyle we are aiming for or born into, we need a certain minimum of incoming cash flow to thrive.  Living on the planet comes with a price tag for most people in the modern world.  So, while money is obviously important, I might dare to say that authenticity is more so.  I don’t know about you, but I’m not super interested in working with someone who doesn’t really want to interact with me, or only does so out of fear or guilt or whatever other reasons people do things that they aren’t intrinsically motivated to do.  People can benefit from programs and classes and 1:1 appointments, absolutely.  That’s not my issue today.  My issue today is that yoga and wellness coaching and health care, at the core,  is about healing. It’s about honoring the process. It’s about authentic ways of being together and in the world that increase beauty and take energy away from destruction.  Too often our culture has lost sight of that.  Too often we hook people and try to convince them that they need us forever.  Too often we become part of the message of lack. Continue reading “Returning to our Roots: Healing Healthcare”

Subtle Acts of Healing

Subtle Acts of Healing

Buddhist teacher Cynthia Jurs spoke in my Space Between Stories class last weekend.  She spoke of acting from the subtle and how important it can be to stop and breathe in the midst of the chaos that seems to punctuate our world more than we want it to.  She spoke of focusing on the space that is between where we are and where we want to go.  She said it’s that space that allows new things to come into being and that it is important not to rush out of the unknown into a new story.  It’s important to rest in the space that’s in between.  From that space we can see and start to recognize our gifts, and we can offer those gifts out into our communities, our workplaces, our families and the earth itself.  She reminded us that it is from our gifts – those gifts that are unique to our own being — that we can affect the “powers that be” in the deepest way and contribute to the healing of the world.

Cynthia shared the story of how her life’s work came into being, and without telling the whole story, (You can read more about her work and its origins at Earth Treasure Vase: A Global Healing Project)  her vocation essentially took shape from living out of her deepest prayerful question: How can we bring healing and protection to the earth?  Of course, there have been no easy answers, and it took her awhile to embrace the mission put forth to her.  But by living in accordance with her deepest prayer, she has helped invite waves of healing and hope into the midsts of people all over the world. Continue reading “Subtle Acts of Healing”

Cultivating Gentleness

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It’s not just schools that often lack gentleness. Workplaces can rub us raw too, as can public transit, shopping malls, restaurants, and daycare. The levels of noise, advertising, and stressed-out people dealing with other stressed-out people can leave us feeling bombarded and drained.

Creating more spaces of refuge, like public parks, is one option. But another option is to integrate gentleness into all our spaces and daily interactions. It could be something as small as turning down the music in cafés. Or as radical as a mother making the commitment to care for herself with as much tenderness as she does her family.

[and at the end of the day]…

It is me saying to myself: “I’m so in awe of you, I must treat you as if I truly understood what noble means.” It is me saying to others: “I get it. We’re wounded and taking a thousand risks simply by showing up. And I see that. I honor you.”  ~Andréana E. Lefton

 

Ms. Lefton writes about gentleness and how essential it is to a healthy human life.  She acknowledges that sometimes creating the physical or circumstantial changes that will allow for a calm and gentle flow to our days just isn’t possible in the short term.  But she reminds us that we can invite that  gentle energy in by taking opportunities to look for ways to create space – space that gives gentleness room to seep into the fabric of our days and inform our choices.  And she reminds us that we can honor ourselves and our experiences by being vulnerable and accepting support – and that we can honor everyone we encounter by showing up, listening/seeing with compassion and offering encouragement over criticism. 

 

Gentleness forms the under-song of survival — the hidden face of evolution, wars, famine — and the partner of resilience. It is the loving touch that reminds us we are not alone, and there is hope. There is healing.  Gentleness exists between people. And it dwells within each of us.

 

How do you cultivate gentleness within yourself?  When encountering others?

 

The Other Side Of The Road

The Other Side Of The Road

A runner for years, I have logged a lot of miles. Currently I run a 2 mile loop around the tiny lake that our neighborhood is centered on almost every day. It’s not far, and I don’t usually go very fast, but this time outside, re-connecting to the energy of my immediate surroundings helps to keep me centered in reality. It keeps my physical body’s cardiovascular system functioning in an efficient way, it gives my leg muscles some exercise and it forces me to pay attention to where I’m placing my feet.

I’ve had issues in the last few months with some mild discomfort in my right ankle that has worked its way up into the shin/calf area of my leg. It hasn’t been enough to keep me from heading out each morning, but it HAS been enough for me to notice it and wish it didn’t feel that way. It has been enough to invite a sense of dread when heading on a run when I’d rather be looking forward to enjoying the movement.

I got some new shoes, hoping that would help. It didn’t. I wore my old shoes again. No change. I tried running with different posture and just got frustrated that I wasn’t enjoying my running anymore due to trying to place my feet in a way that didn’t seem natural. I started to feel like perhaps my body was just unbalanced and it was just something I was going to have to accommodate – or that I was simply going to have to stop running. And then a few days ago, as a last ditch effort, I ran on the other side of the road.

Most of my route is on gravel, on a road that slopes down just slightly on each side, presumably to allow proper drainage. Good for infrastructure and road maintenance, but not so good for human bodies when they always run on the same side. Due to always being just slightly tilted while in motion, my right ankle finally started to protest. And now, since I started running on the other side (yes, the “wrong” side, with traffic instead of against which is another matter entirely), the pain has minimized. I will, of course have to switch back and forth to avoid developing pain in the left side, stay mindful of my posture and pay attention to my foot placement in order to continue running successfully. But, at least for now, it’s nice to know that the answer was less complicated than I anticipated.

There are a lot of issues that are not so easily solved: Humans as a whole continue to use more resources than the planet can sustainably provide, multitudes are exploited every day by the choices made by a wealthy minority, and the corporate culture of more, better, faster continues to pervade everyday life for far too many souls. But despite the dire state of so much of the world, it is heartening to know that sometimes the solution is as simple as running on the other side of the road. Perhaps some of our answers lie in looking for ways to do the things we do every day just differently enough to have an impact that contributes to healing instead of destruction.

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What can you do differently today to invite healing into your life, and into the world?

 

 

Featured image: by Andrew Cooper http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Andrew_Cooper