Tag Archives: Holistic

Celebrating 20 Years of Zero Balancing!

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Hello Beautiful Beings!

I was sharing a post of a video with Dr. Fritz Smith a couple of weeks ago on my Facebook page when I realized that it’s been 20 years since I began studying and practicing Zero Balancing.  In the video, Fritz shares about how ZB can induce expanded states of consciousness similar to meditation that can lead to healing and a deep sense of well-being. Below, I’ve included this video as well as a post about my journey with Zero Balancing, which in addition to informing my work as a body/energyworker and holistic healer, has also helped me to experience a sense of safety and wholeness I never imagined was possible.

In honor of this anniversary, I am offering a Celebration Special Offer on Zero Balancing Sessions in Annapolis and Energy Balancing Sessions by Phone/Skype now through 8/31 and a free Guided Pyramid Meditation for you to explore.  See below for details on special offer, to access the audio and how my journey with Zero Balancing changed my life!  Plus, be sure to check out Fritz’s video…


My Journey Into Zero Balancing…

I had not even received a Zero Balancing session when I attended my first course but it was highly recommended by my acupuncturist in New York City, Dr. Li.   There was something in his enthusiasm about this that led me to sign up for an upcoming four day course.  We met is a dance studio in Tribeca and were a small class of only 6 people. We started each day with a pyramid meditation and in addition to learning hands on Zero Balancing protocol, we spent a lot of time exploring the concepts of ZB of balancing structure and energy. When I left that studio after the 4th day, I was a different person!

That was just the beginning of my journey with ZB and over the last 20 years Zero Balancing has supported my life in many beautiful ways!  It was a few months later at my 2nd ZB course that I met Dr. Fritz Smith, founder of Zero Balancing.  It was clear from the onset that this was an amazing man to know.  His breadth of knowledge and experience about body and energy work was incredible but even more so was his enthusiasm not just this work but life itself.

I came to see life in new way after that weekend.  This came from all that I learned and experienced but even more so from one short moment when I received a demonstration of a fulcrum from Fritz. We were working on the feet which is a foundational part of ourselves. Our discussion was on how far one needed to go to make a connection and what arose was the understanding that as long as the door is open there is an access point for connecting. The door can be wide open, but it can also be slightly ajar and yet – it is still open.  In the course we were speaking in terms of technique, however this idea is one we can carry into other areas of life!

As Fritz performed this foot fulcrum on me, I felt a tremendous sense of anxiety come over me, almost to the degree of a panic attack. My heart was racing, my palms sweaty.  I suddenly was a child in my room in the middle of the night with my mother, who suffered from schizophrenia, standing over my bed saying she would kill me.  This was a recurring theme that I had experienced as a child and teen.  I’ve shared about this more in my story, Lost & Found: The Birth of a Shaman.  After a few moments of this memory, I was back in my body on the table with Fritz.  I felt a sense of safety and calm that I had never experienced in my life and one that until that point, I had not imagined was possible.

In Shamanic Healing, we speak of a concept called soul loss. This occurs when a part of ourselves leaves our body because it does not feel safe.  Sometimes the part returns on it’s own.  Sometimes support such as a Soul Retrieval process or ongoing healing work is needed.  I know this moment with Fritz wasn’t the end of my healing but it was a moment that informed me on a deep level that safety and calm was possible in a way I had not experienced in my life up until that point. And, that profoundly changed me!

At the time, I was just coming to understand the impact of trauma on my life and my health – physical, mental and emotional. In addition to Fibromyalgia, I had struggled with chronic migraines, anxiety and depression since my teens. I depended on alcohol, substances and process addictions to cope with my pain.  Many of my memories had been repressed and this momentary experience woke me up in many ways.  It might seem that stirring up this traumatic experience would cause more pain, however having these feelings held so deeply within me had been paralyzing me in ways I didn’t understand until this release occurred.  In a flash of awareness, a very deep clearing occurred. I came to understand how much repressed emotion I was holding inside of me and how body-energy therapies such as Zero Balancing could help to transform my pain.

We all hold feelings, patterns and beliefs from our life experiences. Some are more traumatic or affect us more than others.  They inform us whether we are conscious of them or not.  In ZB, we hold that we are all energetic beings and that as such, bone is the densest form of energy. There is understanding of the relationship that occurs between energy and structure.  Working in this way helps to facilitate the movement of energy on all levels – body, mind, emotion and spirit.   As Fritz shares in the quote above it is these imbalances in our energetic field that can lead to disease if not addressed.  Most simply this is the mind-body connection that we hear so much about today!

Zero Balancing has supported and informed my life and work since 1997.  It’s one of the core modalities utilized in my Integrative Shamanic Healing Sessions as well as on it’s own to support overall balance and well-being.  It’s also been an essential part of Holistic Recovery Pathways, too.

I still today get ZB’s regularly to help me stay healthy, balanced and grounded so that I can support others and live my life to the fullest!

Did you know I currently offer Zero Balancing sessions in my Annapolis, MD?  These sessions are available on their own or as part of an Integrative Shamanic Healing Sessions. I also incorporate some aspects of Zero Balancing into my Energy Balancing Sessions, which can be available in person in Annapolis, MD or by Phone/Skype.

In honor of practicing Zero Balancing for 20 years, I am sharing a Celebration Special Offer now through 8/31/17…

60 Min. Sessions of Zero Balancing or Energy Balancing ~ Regularly $100, now $85.

Packages of 3 Sessions ~ Regularly $270, now $245.

Visit my Discover The Healer Within Website to access this special offer….

Also, if you would like to explore Zero Balancing, one of the most cutting edge body/energy therapies, I encourage to look for a practitioner in your area.  Visit http://www.zerobalancing.com/about/practitioners.

Also, I am excited to share this guided Pyramid Meditaion for your to explore!  I experienced this powerful practice in my first Zero Balancing class and it’s been one of my most beloved practices ever since!


Featured Benefits of Zero Balancing

Zero Balancing offers many powerful benefits to people of all ages. Here are some of the compelling reasons why you should seek Zero Balancing:

Increases feelings of health and well-being
Zero Balancing induces a state of deep rest that allows you to feel truly relaxed, renewed and well. Regular Zero Balancing sessions may help you to feel more vital and alive.

Releases stress and improves the flow of energy in our bodies
Did you know that bones and other connective tissue actually conduct energy? Zero Balancing helps to free the flow of energy in the musculoskeletal system to help relieve stress and boost your body’s natural energy.

Reduces pain and discomfort
Blocks in the body’s energy often lead to imbalance, discomfort and pain. Zero Balancing helps open stuck areas in the body’s natural shock absorbers: the tarsal bones in the arches of the feet, the joints where the ribs meet the spine, the neck, the hips and the sacrum. Once these areas are free, pain can release.

Enhances stability, balance and freedom
Zero Balancing helps to create a wonderful feeling of inner and outer balance, alignment and organization. When your body is clear and balanced and your posture is aligned, you can move with freedom.

Amplifies the sense of connection, peace and happiness
Zero Balancing is deeply satisfying. Often during a session, you experience a sense of expansiveness, peace and contentment.

Releases mental, emotional and physical tension
Zero Balancing works on multiple levels to release tissue-held memory and tension patterns that may be affecting your mental, emotional and physical states.

Supports us through transitions and transformations
A Zero Balancing session supports positive changes in behavior or attitude by giving you the chance to state your personal goals for change – which then become the focus of the session. With the ZB practitioner’s attention and touch, energy is realigned so that old patterns can drop away and resistance to change subsides.

Improves quality of life and increases capacity for enjoyment
Zero Balancing helps us to feel better equipped to handle daily pressures. Many people who receive Zero Balancing on a regular basis find themselves more joyful and satisfied in both personal and work relationships.

Now through 8/31/17…

ZB Celebration Special Offer…

60 Min. Sessions of Zero Balancing or Energy Balancing ~ Regularly $100, now $85.

Packages of 3 Sessions ~ Regularly $270, now $245.

Visit my Discover The Healer Within Website to access this special offer.

I hope you enjoy the guided meditation and will come explore as you feel guided to! 

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Compassion Practices For Challenging Times ~ New Program Starts 11/21! Come explore!

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“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” 
― Albert Einstein

In times of challenge and adversity, our natural human tendency is often to close our hearts and shut down. However, if we can stay present to these feelings of pain and suffering, we see that there is actually a call asking us to allow our hearts to “break” open more fully!

We are living now in very challenging times!  They have been and will continue to be.  And, right now there is an emergence of the collective shadow that wants us to continue to feel ourselves as separate – separate from others, from ourselves and from our Source.

When things are calm and going smoothly, we often don’t feel the call to look within. That’s just human nature. Now is a time when we are being called to not only look within but move beyond the illusion of separation that is emerging so strongly in our worldThis is not purely about politics or election results, it’s about our future as people and community – it’s about unity!  We are being called to embody this truth in our lives more fully at this time – that is clear!

Back in September, I was invited to participate on a panel for World Peace Day. We were asked if we believed peace on earth was possible and I found myself responding “Yes” and “probable, too”. That’s what my heart wanted to say at that time and at times I truly believe this. And then, there are others times when I wonder if it’s possible.

In many spiritual traditions, the Earth is seen as a school where we come to learn and grow. As we incarnate, we enter into a state of separation which we are then called to move beyond that so that we can grow and move on spiritually. If that’s so, perhaps the nature of Earth is to be in chaos and conflict; otherwise we would not grow.

And yet, I do believe, as others do, that it’s possible that as our critical mass changes and expands in compassion and unity that the energy of our world can change, too!

Right now that there is a lot of fear, anger, hurt, judgement and pain surfacing in the hearts and minds of humanity.  It’s particularly strong here in the US with the energy of opposition and divisiveness that is pervading our national stage.

One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is that, although we can take steps to try and change things outside ourselves, it is essential that we work to resolve these feelings and reactions inside of ourselves. As Gandhi so beautiful shares, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” That’s really how true change happens!

And, how do we do that? The most powerful way I have seen and experienced; and that is practiced cross-culturally is through cultivating compassion.  It is in opening and softening our hearts to ourselves, others and the world itself, that we can find peace amidst the challenges and chaos of our lives and our world.

How do you wish to proceed in life today?

I invite you to choose COMPASSION!

I invite you to join me and The Heart of Awakening Blog community for an 18 day journey into “Compassion Practices For Challenging Times”.  18 is a number that in some spiritual traditions, including my Jewish roots, represents life or is consider auspicious.

So we will journey together from November 21st through December 8th…

  • Each evening I will share a post which will include a reflection and suggested practice for the following day.
  • You will receive posts via email; and if you’d like can join a private Facebook group for sharing.
  • We will also come together for 3 teleseminar calls. Dates/times TBA – all will be recorded if you cannot attend live. I will be scheduling based on who joins us and their locations.
  • I will also be sharing some audios and videos with guided practices for you to explore.

Some of the practices we will explore include Loving-kindness, Gratitude, Meditation & Mindfulness, Shamanic Journeywork, Prayer, Emotional Awareness and Council.

When: November 21st – December 8th

Where: Virtually via Email, Teleseminar, Audio/Video and FB group (optional).

*Cost: Suggested Amount $27 or Heart Based Donation in any amount your heart guides you to. All Welcome!

*30% of all proceeds will be donated to a charity of the participants choice.

Register at https://compassionpracticesforchalleningtimes.eventbrite.com.

Come join us as we choose compassion today!

Inquiry As A Tool For Transformation

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ForestLightIt’s been a combination of different things that have come up over the last couple of weeks that have reminded me of how powerful Inquiry is a Transformational Tool

One was a call from my shaman to open up and deepen into my inquiry of “What I am called to do in the world?”.  There are times when I feel clear on the answer to this question and at others more uncertain.  I view Life not as a linear path but more of an upward spiral. I find that as I grow and change, the answer to this questions shifts. Perhaps I am still moving toward to the deeper truth of “Who I am?”.  

One thing I have learned is that it is in being open and willing to the practice of asking questions and deep listening that our inner wisdom and guidance emerges.

Knowing oneself is a key to transformation and healing.

Using a process of inquiry is seen in many spiritual traditions and cultures around the globe as a way access a deeper truth.  There are many ways we can work with this. Some questions may be ones that we have answers to – that can help us to know ourselves more deeply and inform our healing process.  Others may be quintessential questions that we may never have the answers to; and yet, by being willing to practice asking and listening, we allow ourselves to enter into the unknown, to perhaps expand into a bigger truth than our rational mind allows and to open to possibilities that we have not yet imagined.

Many shaman or indigenous healers begin with a process of questions when someone comes for healing.  In my practice, I often use a combination of questions. Some come from the Bach Flower Essence System of Healing and others are more traditional questions that I’ve learned from my shamanic teachers.

I first learned the following four questions from one of my favorite teachers – anthropologist and author, Angeles Arrien.  (Check out this wonderful TedxTalk featuring Angeles Arrien from August 2013… The questions she shared, which she found were universal questions used in indigenous cultures around the world as part of a journey of healing include the following:

  1. When did you stop singing?
  2. When did you stop dancing?
  3. When did you stop being enchanted by story?
  4. When did you stop being comforted by the sweet territory of silence?

Our responses to these questions can be indicators of when we lost our voices, disconnected from our ourselves and/or may have experienced soul loss in some way.

Exploring them can also be a way to come back to ourselves!  

Asking questions also helps to bring us more fully into the present moment and opens a doorway for expanding our conscious awareness of who we are and how we are experiencing life.

Be curious! Ask, explore and listen for your inner wisdom to emerge!


Discover The Healer Within

 

If you feel you’d like some personal support in exploring Inquiry as a Tool for Transformation or in your Journey of Healing, I am available for one-on-one Integrative Shamanic Healing sessions by Phone/Skype or at my office in Annapolis, MD.  

Schedule a complimentary phone or Skype consultation today to explore what’s possible. Schedule Now…

Day 28 ~ May For Metta 2016: Metta As Medicine For Heart & Soul

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“ONE GREAT QUESTION underlies our experience, whether we think about it consciously or not:  What is the purpose of life?  I have considered this question and would like to share my thoughts in the hope that they may be of direct, practical benefit to those who read them.
 
I believe that the purpose of life is to be happy.  From the moment of birth, every human being wants happiness and does not want suffering.  Neither social conditioning nor education nor ideology affect this.  From the very core of our being, we simply desire contentment.  I don’t know whether the universe, with its countless galaxies, stars and planets, has a deeper meaning or not, but at the very least, it is clear that we humans who live on this earth face the task of making a happy life for ourselves.  Therefore, it is important to discover what will bring about the greatest degree of happiness…

From my own limited experience I have found that the greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion.”

– H.H. Dalai Lama on Compassion and The Individual

We are getting near to the end of our daily journey together through May is for Metta 2016.  It has been an opportunity to explore ways to create happiness and peace in ourselves, others and the world.  As the Dalai Lama indicated above – at the core of being human is the desire to be happy.  This is a bond we share as human beings, regardless of our outer differences.

Our sense of separation, from ourselves, others and the world, is an obstacle, which most of us face as we try to create happiness in our lives.  By developing and deepening our connection with our own heart and generating a foundation of loving-kindness and compassion, we have begun the process of bringing more happiness to ourselves and to all beings.

In a sense, we can view our practice of Metta, of loving-kindness and compassion, as the “medicine” that brings happiness into being.  What better medicine can there be? In many cultures, the term medicine refers not only to drugs or substances, but to wisdom and the guidance of spirit.  Metta is medicine for the heart and soul;  it’s natural, it’s free and it’s beautiful to experience.  And, as we work with the “medicine” of Metta, it’s energy pours over into others and the world.  As we heal ourselves, we heal our world!

Daily Practice:  

As we move towards the end of May Is For Metta 2013, I hope you will take some time to honor the efforts you have been making to be more loving and compassionate.  Do you foundational practices.  As you begin your practice today, take a few moments to reflect on any changes you may have experienced since you began May is for Metta.  How has your ability to connect with and generate the qualities of loving-kindness and compassion evolved?  Spend some time in your circle of loving beings or imagining a time you were held in unconditional love.  Really allow yourself to feel those energies enveloping you.  When you feel ready, repeat the phrases for yourself:

  • May I be happy.
  • May I be peaceful.
  • May I be free of suffering.
  • May I have ease of well-being.

When you feel ready move onto the other categories as you feel to for today:  Benefactor, Beloved, Neutral Being, and Difficult Person.  Acknowledge that in practicing for this being, you have benefitted by becoming more open-hearted and loving.  As you begin each category, say, “Just as I wish to be peaceful and happy, so does this being wish to have inner peace and joy.”   Repeat the phrases for each category you are working with remembering to come back to your own heart center for a few moments between each category:

  • May you be happy.
  • May you be peaceful.
  • May you be free from suffering.
  • May you have ease of well-being.

If you become distracted or difficult feelings arise, use the Switchback, returning the practice to yourself until a sense of calm returns.  When you feel ready, return the practice to where you left off or move on to the next category.   When you are ready move on to the category of All Beings.

When you feel complete, move on to the broader category of All Beings.  As we extend out our practice today, let us remember the words of the Dalai Lama, that at the core, all beings wish to be happy.  Let us dedicate our practice for the benefit of all beings without exception:

  • May All Beings be happy.
  • May All Beings be peaceful.
  • May All Beings be free of suffering.
  • May All Beings have ease of well-being.

To complete your practice, return yourself to your circle of loving beings or envision yourself enveloped in the energy of loving-kindness and compassion.  Let every atom and cell of your being be filled with the energy of loving-kindness and compassion.  Feel these qualities filling you and surrounding you.  Know that you have created a strong foundation of loving-kindness and compassion within yourself and you can now carry that wherever you go.  You are a beacon of loving-kindness and compassion.  Take a few moments to dedicate the merit of your practice. 

Take some time today to reflect on your practice and to explore how you would like to continue as we prepare to move into our last day of practice together. 

Daily Journal Reflection: 

Take some time to reflect and journal about any experiences, feelings or awareness that arose during your practice or throughout the day today.  

  • Are you able to embrace the idea that all beings wish to be happy and free from suffering.  
  • What does Metta as medicine mean to you? 
  • What have you noticed about yourself and your practice since you began?
  • How will you work with Metta going forward?
  • What other practices would you like to explore?
  • Have you taken time to honor yourself for your efforts?

Have a happy, peaceful and loving day!

Namaste.

Beth


Day 18 ~ May Is For Metta 2016: Everyday Is A New Beginning

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“Rahula, practice loving-kindness to overcome anger.  Loving-kindness has the capacity to bring happiness to others without demanding anything in return. 

Practice compassion to overcome cruelty.  Compassion has the capacity to remove the suffering of others without expecting anything in return.

Practice sympathetic joy to overcome hatred.  Sympathetic joy arises when one rejoices over the happiness of others and wishes others well-being and success. 

Practice non-attachment to overcome prejudice.  Non-attachment is the way of looking at all things openly and equally. 

This is because that is.  Myself and others are not separate.  Do not reject one thing only to chase after another.  I call these the four immeasurables.  Practice them and you will become a refreshing source of vitality and happiness for others.”

– Buddha speaking to his son, Rahula

Everyday is a new beginning.  If for some reason you have lost momentum with your practice or even if you have dropped off, just remember that you can begin again.  You can continue right where you left off or move on; you can even start over again if that feels right to you.  This exploration is about cultivating loving-kindness and compassion.  It is also about developing a daily meditation practice in a way that supports you where you are today.

During meditation, we use an anchor such as the breath or the phrases to bring us back to the present moment; we do this whenever we realize our mind has wandered.  In the same way, when we realize we have gotten off track or missed a day or two or three of our practice, we simply return to it.  We do this with gentleness and with love.  We just notice we have gotten distracted and we return to the practice.  Although our natural habitual tendency might be to move into self-judgment or harshness, we can choose to embrace our practice of loving-kindness by just noticing where we are and then gently and lovingly returning to our center.

Meditation offers us the opportunity to return to our center and to begin anew in every moment.  Metta teaches us to be loving and compassionate with ourselves in our practice and in our daily life.  Extend this gift of loving-kindness to yourself in the moment and explore what’s possible.

Today, we will work with the full practice, choosing one person for each of the categories.  If for any reason this feels too much or is an obstacle to your practice, then just choose a few categories to work with.  Begin your practice by setting an intention in a way that feels right for you. Recognize that you are practicing, not just for yourself and that the cultivation of loving-kindness is beneficial for all beings and for the world.

Daily Practice: 

Do your foundational practices.  Find a quiet place and a comfortable position.  Imagine yourself in your circle of loving beings or enveloped in the feeling of loving-kindness.  Imagine a time when you felt held in that way.  Begin your practice by offering the Metta phrases for yourself.

  • May I be happy.
  • May I be peaceful.
  • May I be free of suffering.
  • May I have ease of well-being.

When you feel ready, move on to practicing for all of the categories or just choose a few to work with for today that you feel drawn to from Benefactor, Beloved, Neutral Being, Difficult Being and All Beings.  Remember to come back to your heart center for a few moments between each category.  Offer the phrases for each being you have chosen to work with today:

  • May you be happy.
  • May you be peaceful.
  • May you be free from suffering.
  • May you have ease of well-being.

As you become distracted or difficult feelings arise, use the Switchback, returning the practice to yourself until a sense of calm returns.  When you feel ready, return the practice to where you left off.  To complete your practice, return yourself to your circle of loving beings or envision yourself enveloped in the energy of loving-kindness and compassion that you have been cultivating. Really allow that feeling to sink in to you, let every atom and cell of your being be filled with loving-kindness and compassion.

Daily Journal Reflection:

Take some time to reflect and journal about any experiences, feelings or awareness that arose during your practice or throughout the day today.  

  • How are you feeling about your practice?
  • Can you approach your practice with gentleness and compassion rather than harshness or judgment?
  • How does it feel to be cultivating a daily practice or exploring expanding in loving-kindness?
  • Are you able to connect with your heart center more easily?
  • If so, how does that feel?  If not, what is getting in your way?
  • Are you being gentle and loving with yourself in regards to your practice? in your life?
  • May you have a peaceful and happy day.

Tashi Deleh! (I honor the greatness within you!).

Day 13 ~ May Is For Metta 2016: Lovingkindness for A Difficult Being

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“Hatred can never cease by hatred.

Hatred can only cease by love.

This is an eternal law.”

– Buddha

Today, we will continue our practice of Metta for the category of a Difficult being.  Consider someone who you have a deeper degree of difficulty with but not the most severe of challenges.  Perhaps, there is an ongoing situation, which you cannot change outwardly.  Maybe, yesterday or even today, you had an interaction that is causing you frustration, annoyance, or anger.  Perhaps you are holding a long-term resentment toward someone and your mind is not able to let go.

Metta offers an opportunity to work with what is arising both in the moment and what is an ongoing thread in our life experience.  We can utilize our practice to assist in transforming our attitude from the negative to the positive whenever we choose to.  If you find that you struggle sending loving-kindness to your Difficult person, you may wish to imagine them as vulnerable.  Perhaps as a helpless infant or someone who is on their death-bed.  Allow yourself to feel their fragility rather than their harshness, which is a trigger for you.  Allow yourself to feel this being’s humanness.

Depending on the person or situation, this may be hard to do, but remember that in some way they are suffering, too. There’s actually a very good chance that what makes this person “difficult” is coming from their own unresolved pain and suffering and somehow triggering those vulnerable places within you.

In many spiritual traditions and healing practices, it is understood that the world is a mirror.  Your outer world is seen as a reflection of your inner world.  So, in a sense, if you did not have something within you that is connected to this “difficult” person, there would be no reason for you to have a reaction – there would be no charge so to speak.  I invite you to simply consider this concept.

On a very deep level (one that embraces the interconnectedness of all things) know that as you are willing to offer Metta to this difficult person, you are also offering to what we might call the shadow, the part of ourselves that we suppress, reject and don’t want to accept or see.  This might no always be the case, but it is something else to explore as you practice.  And, remember if you are struggling in any way, you can always return  your practice back to yourself!

Daily Practice:  

Do your foundational practices.  Get comfortable and settle into your breath.  Spend a few moments centering on your heart.  Imagine yourself sitting in your circle of loving beings.  Allow yourself to absorb the energy of loving-kindness and compassion into your heart and into every atom and cell of your being.  Begin to send Metta to yourself by using the phrases you have been working with:

  • May I be happy.
  • May I be peaceful.
  • May I be free from suffering.
  • May I have ease of well-being.

When you feel immersed in loving-kindness, bring an image of the Difficult person you will work with into your awareness.  Begin by saying to yourself, “Just as I wish to be peaceful and free from suffering, may you also be peaceful and free from suffering.”  Then, repeat the phrases while holding the image of the Difficult person in your mind:

  • May you be happy.
  • May you be peaceful.
  • May you be free from suffering.
  • May you have ease of well-being.

Accept the feelings that arise for you and let them move through.  You may feel anger, frustration, sadness or grief ~  just let it flow.  If at any point, the feelings become overwhelming, switch back to practicing for your self.  You may wish to ask yourself, “Who is the one suffering from this anger or sadness?”  You are the one who is holding onto this feeling, the other person has most likely moved on.  Begin to let these emotions go to ease your own heart.  When you feel ready, return your practice to the difficult person until you feel complete.

Finish your practice by returning to your heart center or circle of loving beings.  Offer a few rounds of phrases for your self for your willingness to be present and work with difficult feelings and resistance.  When you are complete with your practice, take a few moments to dedicate the merit for the benefit of all who are suffering, yourself and your Difficult person included.  Use the words that feel right to you.

Daily Journal Reflection:

  • What are you noticing about practicing Metta for a Difficult person? 
  • Was it any different today? 
  • Are you able to let go of difficult feelings that you are holding onto? 
  • If so, how does that feel? 
  • If not, why are you still holding on?
  • How is practicing Metta affecting your daily life?

I thank all of you for participating with me in this journey of Metta.  Our virtual Sangha or community is worldwide; the loving-kindness and compassion we are generating is universal!

May you have a day filled with inner peace and calm.

Namaste.

Day 11 ~ May Is For Metta 2016: Lovingkindness For Neutral Beings

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“Loving-kindness meditation accords with zen’s Bodhisattva vow, in confirming that our awakening is mutually grounded in the interdependence of all beings, rather than being a self-centered endeavor.  Loving-kindness is sometimes misconstrued as an attempt to conjure up good feelings, or to see ourselves as loving or kind.  However, its function is to invite the awakening of compassion and empathy, aspects of our being.”

– Elizabeth Hamilton

Today, we will continue our practice of Metta for Neutral beings.   As the neutral person is not so “real’ to us, it is often harder to elicit feelings for this person.  For this reason, it can be helpful to work with the same neutral person for a few days.   Sometimes, people feel bored with this category, as there is not as much emotional charge as with a friend or enemy.  It may be harder to hold one’s attention on the neutral person.  Staying attentive can be a challenge in Metta as well as during meditation practice in general.  However, we are working to focus our awareness.  This practice offers a wonderful opportunity to stay present with our experience, bringing our attention and consciousness to a place where we may often be inattentive and unconscious.

Choose two or three Neutral beings to work with today.  You may do this as part of a sitting practice and/or explore using Metta when you are out and about in the world.  When you are on the street, in the store, or at the gym, try choosing a Neutral person you see and silently say the phrases for this person.  Last year, one of our participants shared about offering Metta to the other drivers she passed them on the road and noticed that she felt more peaceful and less frustrated during her commute.

This practice is an opportunity to offer loving-kindness and support to someone without needing to take outward action.  It is an inner offering and it is a way we can bring more loving-kindness and compassion into the world.  And, it is a way we can shift our own experience from negative to positive, from judgement to acceptance and from frustration to inner peace.

Daily Practice:  

Do your foundational practices. Begin to cultivate loving-kindness for yourself by connecting with your heart or imagining yourself in your circle of loving beings.  Offer Metta to yourself by using the phrases you have been working with:

  • May I be happy.
  • May I be peaceful.
  • May I be free of suffering.
  • May I have ease of well-being.

When you feel immersed in the energy of loving-kindness for yourself, bring the image of a Neutral person into your awareness.  Once you have called this person to mind, allow yourself to make a heart connection with this person.  Perhaps send some of the loving-kindness you have cultivated from your heart to their heart center.  Notice how it feels to offer loving-kindness to a Neutral being.  Say inwardly, “Just as I wish to be happy and free from suffering, may you be happy and free from suffering.”  Then, begin repeating the phrases for this Neutral person:

  • May you be happy.
  • May you be peaceful.
  • May you be free of suffering.
  • May you have ease of well-being.

Just notice what arises as you practice.  If your mind wanders or thoughts arise, bring your awareness back to the neutral person and continue repeating the phrases.  As always, if difficult emotions or distractions dominate your attention, return to your heart center, repeating the phrases for yourself until you feel clearer and calmer.  When  you feel to, return your practice to the neutral person.  Continue on to one or two other Neutral beings.  Remember you can also take your practice with you as you go about your day.

Practice as long as you feel to or have committed to for today.  When you feel complete, return to your heart center.  Spend a few moments reflecting on your practice.  Notice how it felt to connect with Neutral beings.  Part of our practice is experiencing the relationship that we have with all beings; this is part of being human, being alive and living on Earth at this time.  We share a common experience whether we know each other or not.  Metta offers an opportunity to acknowledge and honor our interconnectedness with all beings on a deeper and more conscious level.

Daily Journal Reflection:

Take some time to reflect and journal about any experiences, feelings or awareness that arose during your practice or throughout the day today.  

  • How has it been to practice Metta for Neutral beings?
  • Did you practice for someone as you went about your day?
  • Are you continuing to be gentle and loving with yourself?
  • Have you noticed any difference in your sense of connection to self, others and the world since you began your Metta practice?

May you have a joyful day.

Tashi Deleh! (I honor the greatness within you!)

Beth

Day 10 ~ May Is For Metta 2016: Offering Lovingkindness To A Neutral Being

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“My religion is very simple.  My religion is kindness.”

~ H.H. Dalai Lama

Today, we will move our practice of Metta to the category of a Neutral being.  This category is the beginning of expanding our practice from our circle of connection to the broader field of all beings.  Here, with the Neutral person, we begin to practice for those we don’t have a personal relationship with, knowing that they, too, deserve happiness as all beings do.

In this stage, we cultivate loving-kindness for a Neutral being; this is someone we have no strong feelings towards.  This person is not a friend, nor are we in conflict with them.  We simply feel neutral towards them.  Most likely, the majority of people we encounter in life fall into this category.  As we walk along the streets or go shopping, we encounter so many people that there is a tendency to put our emotions in neutral and in a sense ignore those who are around us.  It is not always possible to have a real emotional relationship or connection with everyone we meet, particularly when we live in high population areas.  In this part of the practice, we learn to focus our attention on those beings that we tend to have no specific feelings for and may not even notice.

Living a large portion of my life in New York City, I learned to tune out a lot of what was going on around me.  In many ways, it was a necessary life skill to function on a daily basis and not feel overwhelmed by so much energy and activity.  It was also a great place to cultivate a practice of Metta as it afforded me the opportunity to connect inwardly and offer loving-kindness when I could not connect outwardly.  Practicing Metta offers a powerful way to create connection with what is going around us in a more energetic way, within the container of our own experience.

Working with the category of a Neutral person opens a doorway to relating more to the world and the people who are around us on a daily basis.  It helps to bring us into greater awareness in those spaces where we may tend to check out or become less conscious. This is one of the great gifts of this part of the practice.  On one level we are practicing offering loving-kindness for the neutral person; on another, we are accessing a place where we often move into “neutrality” and instead are becoming more conscious and awake.

Daily Practice: 

Do your foundational practices. Once again, we begin by cultivating loving-kindness and compassion for our own self as the foundation for offering it to others.  Get comfortable and settle into your breath.  Spend a few moments centering on your heart.  Imagine yourself sitting in a circle surrounded by loving beings.  They may be ones you actually know or those who you imagine are loving.  Allow yourself to feel enveloped in this love.  Begin to send Metta to yourself by using the phrases you have been working with:

  • May I be happy.
  • May I be peaceful.
  • May I be free of suffering.
  • May I have ease of well-being.

When you feel immersed in the energy of loving-kindness and compassion, invite the image of a Neutral being into your mind.  Pick someone you just happened to notice as you went about your day today or yesterday, perhaps the cashier at the supermarket, someone you passed on the street, or the person sitting across from you on the subway or bus. The neutral person is not someone you like or dislike; you have no specific feelings for this person.  Once you have called this person to mind, begin by saying inwardly, “Just as I wish to be happy and free from suffering, may you be happy and free from suffering.”  Then, begin repeating the phrases for this Neutral person:

  • May you be happy.
  • May you be peaceful.
  • May you be free of suffering.
  • May you have ease of well-being.

Notice what arises as you practice.  If your mind wanders or thoughts arise, just bring your awareness back to the Neutral person and continue repeating the phrases. As always, if difficult emotions dominate your attention, re-center yourself in loving-kindness and repeat the phrases for yourself until you feel clearer and calmer. Then, return your practice to the Neutral person.

Practice as long as you feel to or have committed to for today.  When you feel complete, return to your heart center.  Spend a few moments reflecting on your practice.  Notice how it felt to connect with a Neutral person.  For some, this category is more difficult.  This category is one that can easily be applied to our daily life.  I hope you will explore working with it in your sitting practice and as you go about your day.

Take a few moments to dedicate the merit of your practice asking that it benefit your self, others and all beings without exception.

Daily Journal Reflection:  

Take some time to reflect and journal about any experiences, feelings or awareness that arose during your practice or throughout the day today.   

  • How did it feel to practice Metta for a Neutral person?
  • Was it different from practicing for your self, a benefactor or a Beloved?
  • How is your practice going?
  • Are you able to continue making some time everyday to sit or practice in some way?
  • If not, what is stopping you?
  • What is your commitment to yourself right now in terms of making time to bring more loving-kindness into your life?
  • Take some time to reflect on your experience so far.  Jot down anything you have noticed and any insight you have gained.

Wishing you a day filled with peace, happiness and ease of well-being.

Tashi Deleh! (I honor the greatness within you!)

Beth


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Day 2 ~ May Is For Metta 2016: Our Circle of Loving Beings

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“The nature of the sun can be called “Maitri” or “Metta”.  Maitri or Metta also means friendliness or loving-kindness.  Perhaps the reason why loving-kindness is called so is that it generates very warm feeling towards all beings.  

Like warmth that comes from the sun, one who has loving-kindness has a warm heart towards others.  Just as the sun shines indiscriminately on any object in the world, “Metta” or “Maitri” pervades all beings without any discrimination.  Just as the sun dispels darkness, loving-kindness destroys the darkness of hatred.”

– Bhante Henepola Gunaratana

The foundation of Metta begins with cultivating loving-kindness and compassion for ourselves.  It is here, with our own self that we can begin to experience the deep love and compassion that we will later extend out to others and the world.  Yesterday, we started to connect with essence or feeling of loving-kindness and compassion by reflecting on a person or time we felt held in unconditional love.  Today, we will continue to generate the quality of loving-kindness toward ourselves a by creating our own circle of loving beings.  For some this way is easier, for others the first way is preferred.  It’s good to keep in mind that May Is For Metta is a time for exploration – you may try one way, then another and finally find one that you settle into for your practice.

Developing a deep sense of connection with our own inner self allows us to feel connected to everything and to experience a sense of wholeness.  Offering loving-kindness and compassion to ourselves is the catalyst for offering it others and the world.  So, it is important to take time to generate this feeling.  Once we know the feeling and we can generate the energy of loving-kindness, then we can truly work with it as a vehicle for our practice.

As I mentioned yesterday, we will gradually be building our practice, day by day.  You may feel like we are going too slow but this is an intentional part of the practice.  The mind tends to be very busy and goes fast, but the energy of the heart is much slower and gentler.  Taking time to shift our energy and our awareness into the space of the heart requires slowing down.

Also, we are just beginning to connect with the feeling of loving-kindness in this new way.  So, in a sense we are beginning to build a new relationship with ourselves.  Anyone who has been in a relationship knows that it takes time to connect and grow in intimacy.  Part of our journey during May Is For Metta is to cultivate a deeper knowing of ourselves that can only arise when we begin to approach ourselves from the space of the heart, with openness, gentleness and loving-kindness.  It is important to include “going slow” as part of our practice!

Daily Practice:

Find a comfortable position either sitting on a chair or on the floor.  Allow your spine to be straight but not tense; shoulders or stomach relaxed with your hands on your knees or your lap.  Eyes can be closed or open with a soft gaze on the floor in front of you.  You may like to explore practicing with eyes open or closed; there is merit to both ways for various practices and it is good to find a way that is resonant for you at this time.

Begin with a few deep breaths.  It is important to allow the body and the mind to relax.  Take a moment to scan the body for any areas of tension or discomfort.  Allow the next few breaths to wash over those areas melting away any tensions.  Also, scan the mind for any thoughts, worries or business of the day, and send all that out with the next few breaths, just letting it all drift away like a cloud passing by in the sky ~ you simply notice it and then it just drifts away.

Bring your breath and awareness to the heart center in the center of your chest.  Notice how it feels to be present in the heart.  This is the center of love, compassion, gentleness and mercy for your self and for others.  As we begin, we connect with our own heart.  Sometimes we notice a sense of openness or spaciousness as we enter the heart space.  Sometimes we notice our resistance or a sense of constriction.  Just notice what arises as you connect with your heart center without judgment or the need to change anything in this moment.  Simply love and accept where you are and honor that you are taking time to make this connection with your self.

Now, imagine yourself sitting in the center of a circle of loving beings.  They may be people in your life – loved ones – family members, close friends, animals or universal beings whom you feel embody love such as Mother Theresa, Buddha, Jesus, Quan Yin, etc.  In my practice, I include my Grandma Clara, my childhood dog Babas Au Rhum, my cat Percy, my mentor Bill, my Sufi teacher Ayesha, the Dalai Lama, Mother Theresa, Hilda Charlton, Buddha and others whose image stirs the feeling of loving-kindness and compassion in me.  Sometimes it can be easier to work with people who are living but this is for you to explore.  Be sure that the feeling that arises from these beings is one of unconditional love.

Also, if there is someone whom you have mixed or uncomfortable feelings about, perhaps a family member or friend, you can work with this later on in our practice, but you may not want to include them in your circle just for now.  This is “your circle of unconditional love and compassion” and only those beings that generate those feelings should be included.  Are you willing to create this for yourself?  This is a powerful tool to work with in your practice and to bring into your daily life.  So take some time to consider who will be in your circle for now; this is something you can change as your practice develops.

Once you have your circle created, just imagine sitting in the center of it.  You are receiving love from all of those loving beings surrounding you.  Allow the love in your heart, mind, body and spirit to expand as you receive the unconditional love of all the beings in your circle.  Deeply breathe this into your heart center, letting it flow into every atom and cell of your being.  As you breathe out, allow love and compassion to fill your circle so that you are infused with it both inwardly and outwardly.  Feel all the love that is in you and all of the loving, supportive energy around you.  Spend as long as you wish to sitting in your circle receiving loving-kindness.  When you feel ready, let the imagery of your circle go for now, knowing you can always call on it when you feel to.

Daily Journal Reflections:

Take some time to reflect and journal about any experiences, feelings or awareness that arose during your practice or throughout the day today.

  • What did you notice?
  • Did you practice today?
  • If so, how did it feel?  If not, what happened?
  • How does it feel to be cultivating loving-kindness and compassion for your self?
  • Did you notice any ways you resist loving yourself?

Tomorrow, we will begin to incorporate the Metta phrases into our practice.  Today, really allow yourself to embody the feeling and energy of loving-kindness as you do your practice and perhaps, as you go about your day.  At least once, try to call your circle of loving beings into your active life, perhaps at work, or while running an errand, etc.  Allow yourself to carry loving-kindness and compassion with you wherever you go.

Everyone is invited to share thoughts, experiences and reflections as their practice unfolds.

May you have a beautiful and loving day!

Tashi Deleh! (I honor the greatness within you!)

Beth

P.S. If you’d like to connect with others doing the May Is For Metta Practice, Request to join our Facebook group

And, I am using the following hashtags on posts on Twitter if you’d like to connect there: #lovingworld #may4metta2016

 

Day 1 ~ May Is For Metta 2016: Our Journey of Lovingkindness Begins

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Welcome to May is for Metta 2016!  Today is the first day of our annual 31-Day Exploration Of Loving-kindness Meditation here on The Heart Of Awakening Blog.   Each day will offer an exploration, guided meditation practice and journaling reflection in Metta, Loving-kindness meditation.

The intention of May Is For Metta is to support:

  • Cultivating greater loving-kindness and compassion in ourselves, others and the world
  • Developing or deepening in a daily meditation practice
  • Reflecting and expanding our self-awareness through contemplative practice, sharing in community, and journaling exercises

If you are new to May Is For Metta and would like to learn a bit more about it, you can explore the following:

May Is For Metta Page

Introduction To May Is For Metta 2016! Daily Posts Start Tomorrow!

Exploring Metta Meditation

May Is For Metta ~ A Journey Of Loving-kindness On Heal My Voice Radio  (2014)

Over the course of the next 31 days, we will be exploring cultivating greater loving-kindness and compassion in our lives, our relationships and our world.  Our vehicle will be the Buddhist practice of Metta (Loving-kindness) Meditation.  We will begin gradually with the focus on cultivating loving-kindness for ourselves.  In the Buddhist tradition, it is understood that in order to have the ability to offer loving-kindness and compassion to others, we must have a foundation of loving-kindness towards ourselves.

For many Westerners, this is something that can go against our grain.  We may have been taught to love others first or even that loving ourselves is selfish.  This is something we will be exploring during our journey together.  For now, I encourage you to just be open and notice what arises as you enter into the container of May Is For Metta.  There will be lots of support to work with our resistance and to shift our patterns towards greater loving-kindness and compassion for ourselves.

There will also be lots of support around creating a daily meditation practice.  Take some time to decide where you will do your practice and when.  It can be helpful to have a set place to practice that is clear and quiet.  You may wish to designate a meditation area in your home or office for this exploration.  However, do not let this be an obstacle.  As Mindfulness Meditation Teacher & Author Jon Kabat-Zinn says in his popular book title, “Wherever you go, there you are.”  So, wherever you can find the time and space to practice can the perfect place to start. Also, this is something you can explore during the practice period.

Meditating first thing in the morning can be a great way to start the day if you can create room to do so.  If not, just find a time that works for you.  For instance, if lunchtime is the only time you have, perhaps going outside is a good way to practice this time of year.  Be open and creative in finding a time and space that feels good to you whether it is in your home or elsewhere.  Last year, one of our participants shared that after struggling for a while to find a place to practice at home where there were many obstacles, she started doing her May Is For Metta practice in her car right as she arrived at work.

Consistency can be helpful in terms of where you practice, when you practice and for how long; this is something we will explore in the coming month, but feel free to be creative in your process – this is your journey!  Consider May Is For Metta as an opportunity to explore different aspects of meditation practice and to develop a structure that supports you where you are and where you would like to be on your path of transformation.

Daily Practice:

As we begin, find a comfortable position for your body. This can be on a chair or on the floor.  If you are on a chair, it is good to sit with your spine straight and feet flat on the floor.  Sometimes, it helps to put a pillow behind your back for support or to sit at the leading edge of the chair rather than leaning back.  If you are on the floor, sit cross-legged or in lotus posture.  Make sure to have a cushion or blanket to sit on and adjust your leg position so that you feel comfortable.

Once you come into your sitting position, check that your spine is straight, but not tense; shoulders and stomach relaxed.  Your hands can rest on your knees or your lap.  Allow your chin to tuck slightly toward your chest.   Let the eyes close, or if you prefer, leave your eyes open, gazing softly at the floor in front of you.

Begin with a few deep breaths, breathing in for a count of five and out for a count of five. It is helpful to allow the body and the mind to relax.  Take a moment to scan the body for any areas of tension or discomfort.  Allow the next few breaths to wash over those areas melting away any tensions.  Also, scan the mind for any thoughts, worries or busyness of the day.

Bring your breath and awareness to the heart center in the center of your chest.  Notice how it feels to be present in the heart.  This is the center of love, compassion, gentleness and mercy for yourself and for others.  As we begin, we connect with the energy of our own heart.  When the Buddha spoke of Metta he used the example of a mother’s love for a child; he taught that we need to love all beings as a mother loves her child.  The essence of Metta practice is generating the feeling of loving-kindness and compassion to create that foundation for ourselves and then share it with others and the world. We will explore a few ways to cultivate this feeling.

To begin, take a few moments to recall a time when you felt loved totally held in unconditional love and compassion.  Sometimes calling on the memory of a moment with a grandparent, good friend or even a loving pet is a way to generate this feeling. There may be a certain place such as a childhood home or place in nature, which brings on this feeling for you.  Imagine yourself in that moment and let that feeling, that quality of loving-kindness and compassion fill your whole being, every atom and cell.

This is the quality of Metta, or Loving-kindness; this is where our practice begins.  Allow yourself to simply spend some time just being with this feeling.  If your mind wanders or distractions arise, just remember to come back to the quality, the feeling or the image of the moment you have called on to generate it.  Breathe that feeling right into the center of your chest, into your heart center.  Allow yourself to spend some time being present in the heart, with the quality of loving-kindness.

This is your practice for today.  We are beginning by keeping it simple and exploring the essence of Metta, the feeling of loving-kindness.  If the chance arises and you remember, try to connect with this feeling of loving-kindness as you go about your day.  Bring your breath and awareness to your heart center whenever you feel to.  Simply notice how it feels to connect in this new way.

Today is the day to invite loving-kindness and compassion into your life in a more conscious way.  Although not required, it can be helpful to create a journal for this practice period and to spend a few minutes in the evening to reflect on your daily practice and exploration.

Daily Journal Reflections…

Take some time to reflect and journal about any experiences, feelings or awareness that arose during your practice or throughout the day today. 

  • What did you notice? 
  • Did you find time to practice today?  
  • If yes, how did it feel?  If no, what stopped you? 
  • Did you decide on a place to practice?
  • What will help you to practice tomorrow? 
  • How did it feel to connect with your heart center and the feeling of loving-kindness?
  • Are there any obstacles to your practice that you are aware of?

Feel free to ask questions or share your experiences and reflections in the comments below or on The Heart Of Awakening Facebook page.  There is also a private Facebook group if you’d like to connect with others doing the practice ~ Request to join.

An important message from your host & facilitator, Beth Terrence:  

This practice is about loving-kindness and compassion.  For many of us, our tendency is to be harsh and critical with ourselves.  When we begin a new practice, we set high standards and when we don’t meet them, we tend to beat ourselves up emotionally.  This is an excellent opportunity to change that pattern, to approach change and growth from a place of gentleness and self-love rather than harshness and self-hate.

As Zen teacher, Cheri Huber, says, “If you had a person in your life treating you the way you treat yourself, you would have gotten rid of them a long time ago…”.   So, however your practice unfolds, remember to be gentle and loving with yourself.   This time is a gift you are giving to yourself to support your personal journey of transformation and healing. Let’s allow it to be a space to transform our harshness into gentleness and our self-hate into self-love.  This is truly the heart of our practice.

I am so happy you are joining us for this journey of loving-kindness and compassion.  I look forward to our time together!

Tashi Deleh! (I honor the greatness within you!)

Beth

Join Me Tomorrow for the “Raise Stress-Proof Kids” Telesummit!

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I am so thrilled to be one of the featured experts on Sree Meleth’s Raise Stress-Proof Kids Telesummit happening this month.  Sree and I had a wonderful chat last week and she will be sharing this teleseminar via email tomorrow along with a free gift from me – a special report on “Easing the Ups & Downs of Childhood with the Bach Flower Remedies”.   There are also lots of other great presentations on topics such as EFT, Mindfulness, Nutrition and more for you to explore.  The resources focus primarily on supporting children; however, it became clear that during many of the interviews that having adults who take care of themselves and work to have less stress are a key to raising stress-proof kids – so there are lots of tools for everyone on this Telesummit!

Many of you know by now that Bach Flower Remedies are one of my favorite topics to share on.  These gentle remedies are one of the safest, natural and effective holistic tools that I have worked with both personally and professionally over the last 20 years. Although the majority of my clients are adults, I have had the honor and privilege of supporting many children, teens, babies (even those “in utero” beings via their pregnant moms) throughout my many years of practicing holistic healing.  I am excited to share more about this through tomorrow’s teleseminar with Sree Meleth.

My friend and colleague, Dr. Sree Meleth, has put together this amazing interview series that is focused on raising stress-proof kids.  As a parent and grandparent, Sree has learned that the biggest gift we can give our children is confidence in their own inner resources. She has gathered a group of experts who have spent decades helping children and parents deal with the issues of stress and anxiety in natural wholesome ways. She is passionate about working to raise a generation of stress-proofed kids.

  • Do you worry about the level of stress and anxiety that current events expose our children to?
  • Are you concerned that they are not equipped to deal with the normal stresses and strains that are a part of regular life, let alone the excessive almost unavoidable stimulation that digital media provides?
  • Do you worry about the fact that they are constantly “on” and have no time to turn “off”?
  • Do you wish you had access to non-pharma tools and techniques to help your child learn to switch off and calm down?

“Raise Stress-Proof Kids” will share lots of resources and tools that are safe, natural and non-pharma!

  • Do you have a child who is an introvert and prone to stress and anxiety?
  • Would you like to learn how storytelling can help you help the young ones in your life acknowledge and move through big emotions?
  • Would you love to learn quick, easy, practical techniques to help you and your child de-escalate a stressful situation?
  • Would you like to learn more about neuro-linguistic programming, and how it can be a part of you helping your child to be stress free?

This telesummit will be available for a limited time and is already happening.  Be sure to check it out!  There are lots of great resources to explore!

Sign Up Now for “Raise Stress-Proof Kids” Telesummit

And, if you enjoy my interview or have questions about Bach Flower Remedies for Children feel free to post note in the comments below!


 

Beth is available for Bach Flower Remedy consultations in Annapolis, MD or by Phone/Skype.  To learn more about the Bach Flower Remedies and how they can support you and your children in achieving greater balance, joy and ease of well-being, visit Beth’s Bach Flower Remedy Page or contact her today for a complimentary 20 minute consultation

 

Spring Cleaning Inside & Out Virtual Writing Retreat Part II Starts on 4/18!

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Spring has appeared to begin with fits and starts this year here in Maryland.  We just had a bit of snow this past weekend! Now, it’s beautiful and sunny in the 50’s and we’re headed to 70 deg. on Sunday.  I’m not sure if that’s why the Virtual Writing Retreat also had some fits and starts; initially, it was my intention to go straight through but it turns out, we’ve have had a Part I and now it’s time to explore Part II.

I actually found that taking the time to tune in and reflect on Part I’s explorations, looking at body, mind, emotion and spirit, helped me to create a foundation for some of things I have a deep desire to plant seeds for in my life and begin to cultivate this Spring.  And, it took a few weeks of exploration in that way for me to feel the call for a full on “Spring Cleaning”.  I’m in the process of doing that now and it feels good to focus on my physical space as well as personal space.  There is such a powerful interrelationship with our inner and outer spaces.  We’ll take some time to explore this in Part II of this series, which will run from April 18th to 21st.  Stay tuned!

Here is a summary of the posts from Part I if you are just joining in or if you’d like to re-explore them:

Day 1 ~ Spring Cleaning Inside & Out – Body

Day 2 ~ Spring Cleaning Inside & Out – Mind

Day 3 ~ Spring Cleaning Inside & Out – Emotions

Day 4 ~ Spring Cleaning Inside & Out – Spiritual

If you have any reflections from Part I, feel free to share them in the comments below.

Looking forward to exploring more starting on Monday, April 18th!


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Spring Cleaning Inside & Out Virtual Writing Retreat Day 4 ~ Spiritual

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We’ve been looking at Spring Cleaning through a holistic framework – one that addresses body, mind, emotion and spirit.  Today, we’ll focus on the spiritual aspects of ourselves to see what we might like to shift or change as we harmonize with the energy of Spring.  Spring is a particularly good time to harmonize with the natural world.  With the warmer weather and longer days, it often seems like we are more easily drawn outdoors and with so many things beginning to bud and bloom, it is natural that our attention is on the natural world that we are a part of.

Let’s take a look at what an imbalance in the Wood element might look like on the spiritual level:

  • Lack of enthusiasm for life
  • Feeling disconnected from Nature
  • Lack of sense of spiritual connection
  • Feelings of isolation
  • Missing a sense of soul purpose

I feel like this really represents something I consider to be one of the greatest diseases of our time – DISCONNECTION.  From the shamanic viewpoint and other spiritual traditions, it is understood that everything is interconnected through what we call the “web of life”.  As humans, we often tend to see or feel ourselves as separate.  This often starts with the natural world, but continue with our sense of connection to spirit, to community and ultimately to our own selves.

Spring can be a wonderful time to tune in and reconnect.   I hope you’ll take some time to explore how you can create greater connection in all areas of your life.  Here are some questions to write and reflect on for today:

  • Do you feel connected to your own inner voice?
  • Do you spend quiet time just “being”?
  • Are you able to feel a sense of oneness?
  • Do you feel a connection to Spiritual Source? God? Spiritual Community? Nature?
  • Do you know what Spirituality means for you?  
  • Is there something that your need to resolve or let go of that affects your ability to connect on a spiritual level?
  • Do you have a sense of your soul purpose?  Make a list of things you love most and explore what that might be.

Make a list of 3 – 5 things you can do to support yourself spiritually.

Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Find a spiritual practice that suits you (be curious and explore!)  
  • Attend a spiritual service or community.  
  • Connect with nature.  
  • Create time and space to meditate.  
  • Find a creative activity that allows you to express yourself more freely.  
  • Awaken your inner self – explore what ignites your own inner spark.

Happy explorations!

See you tomorrow!

Spring Cleaning Inside & Out 7-Day Virtual Writing Retreat Day 3 ~ Emotions

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Day 3

So far in our Spring Cleaning Virtual Writing Retreat, we’ve explored body and mind. Today we’re going to take some time to explore our emotional body and how we can support it at this time of year and beyond.

We’ve been exploring the Wood Element, which according to Chinese Medicine is most active in Spring.  Let’s look at the some of the indicators of a Wood imbalance on the emotional level:

  • Anger
  • Shouting
  • Difficulty expressing emotions
  • “Stuffing” feelings
  • Control issues
  • Feelings of overwhelm
  • Sense of separateness

Take some time today to write and reflect on the following questions:

  • Are you in touch with your emotions?
  • Are you able to express your feelings appropriately?
  • Do you allow your self to experience a full range of feelings – anger and sorrow, love and happiness, etc?
  • Are you able to develop close and intimate relationships? 
  • Are there feelings your holding onto that it might be time to let go or work on releasing?

List 3 – 5 things that you can do to support emotional well-being.

Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Keep a daily journal list of your feelings
  • Share you feelings with a good friend or family member whom you feel safe with
  • Seek out a therapist, counselor, shaman or other guide if you need support in getting in touch with your feelings
  • Join a support group – there are many kinds available and sometimes it helps to connect with others dealing with similar challenges as you are
  • Move your body – dance, exercise, etc. are great ways to allow your emotions space to move through (talking in not the only way!)
  • Make a list in your journal of ways you can connect with and express your emotions and keep adding to it.

Have a  beautiful day!

See you tomorrow!

Spring Cleaning Inside & Out 7-Day Virtual Writing Retreat Day 1 ~ Body

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As each season arrives, we move through a period of change and transition.  This can be seen easily in  changes of the natural world all around us but it is also something that is going within us on many levels.  By taking some time to harmonize with the energy of each season, we gain an opportunity to look at the patterns in our own lives with a deeper perspective and insight.  And, we can be supported by the energies that are most active during the current time of year.

As Spring sets in, the days begin to get longer giving us more light.  We can begin to observe new growth in the natural world ~ shoots break through the previously frozen ground and buds pop up on plants and trees almost miraculously, all in preparation for the big Spring Bloom.  Spring is the truly a season of new growth and transformation. With all this happening, we may feel our own energy is expanding, flowing and blossoming with new ideas, too!

This makes Spring a wonderful time to reflect, refresh and renew.  It is a time for new beginnings and offers us a time to tune into our whole self – body, mind, emotion and spirit.  It’s also a great time to review and update our self-care plans as well as explore what might support our well-being during this transitional time and beyond.

I am excited to be sharing this Spring Cleaning Inside & Out 7-Day Virtual Writing Retreat with the HOA community.  I’ve started to offer a number of virtual writing retreats throughout the year as a way to tune in through writing and reflection; and to support transformation and healing in ourselves, our relationships and our world.  I invite you take some time to explore as you feel called to.  It’s not always easy to take time off for a retreat, however it is something we can always create for ourselves in our own way.

I just finished my early Spring Cleanse last, a nine day fast of juicing and master cleanser, which I find helps me to detoxify and recalibrate my system.  It may seem like a fast is focused on the physical, but it is actually a way to clear ourselves on many levels.  I was amazed out how much more spaciousness I found in my mind and how many emotions were moving through during that time.  We often tend to think of spring cleaning in terms of the physical – our bodies, our houses, etc.  However, this is a perfect time to really look as all aspects of ourselves inside and out.

Each day for the next seven days, I’ll be offering a reflection and a prompt for you to explore how you can work with the energy of Spring to support transformation and healing in all areas of your life.  We’ll be looking at body, mind, emotion, spirit and space – inner, outer and sacred.  Come Explore!


 

Day 1

Spring is a great time to look at your life and make a new self-care plan.  Take some time this Spring to look at how you care for yourself, consider where you may be out of balance and where you need to give greater attention to support your overall health and well-being.  Consider what you may need to let go of and what you might like to create in your life – this is what Spring Cleaning Inside and Out is all about!

According to Chinese Medicine, Spring is the season of the Wood Element.  The organs most active are Liver and Gall Bladder.  The color is Green.  So, this makes Spring an ideal time for cleansing and rejuvenation of our overall health and well-being.

A person with a balanced Wood Element would experience much of the following:

  • Sense of Connectedness to Nature
  • Clarity
  • Organization
  • Energized
  • Ability & Capacity for Control
  • Spiritual Connection
  • Enthusiasm
  • Healthy Expression of Emotions, especially Anger,
  • Mentally Relaxed
  • Creative

Wood element imbalances may be experienced in a variety of ways.  Let’s take a look at the physical today.  These many include:

  • Spinal Problems
  • Poor Flexibility
  • Headaches
  • Poor Resistance to Illness
  • Allergic Sensitivities
  • Skin Problems
  • Irritated, watery eyes
  • Muscle Fatigue and weakness

Whether or not you notice that you have some type of Wood imbalance or not, now is a good time to reflect on your physical well-being.  Take some time to reflect on the following questions:

  • Are you physically healthy and active?
  • Do you feel comfortable in you body?  
  • Do you have health issues that limit your life?
  • Are you eating a diet that supports you where you are and where you want to be?
  • Are there certain things it might be time to let go of from your diet that you are aware aren’t healthy for your body?

Take some time to write and to explore how you might change this area of your life.

Here are some suggestions to explore:

  • Begin to develop your own program to keep you body fit and healthy (this may involve trying different things to see what works – be creative!)
  • Take a walk for 15 to 20 minutes daily.  
  • Try a yoga or tai chi class.  
  • Eat a balanced diet (explore and discover what diet best supports you today!)
  • Listen to the messages that your body is sending to you.  
  • Go for a massage.  
  • Drink plenty of water.  
  • Fast or cleanse to detoxify and rejuvenate your body.  
  • See appropriate health care practitioners or get supports as needed.

Make a list of 3 – 5 things you can do to support your physical well-being.  And, keep adding to this list as you learn more about yourself.

I hope you’ll take some time today to write, reflect and explore a whole new you!

As always, you are welcome to share reflections and thoughts in the comments below.

See you tomorrow!

 

 

Mindfulness Mondays ~ Movement With Breath

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“In the midst of movement and chaos,

keep stillness inside of you.” 

~ Deepak Chopra

Butterfly BeautyThere are many ways to practice mindfulness meditation.  Beginning to include practices that incorporate movement can be a way to deepen your presence and support you in being more mindful as you move about through your daily life and the world around you.

Anytime that you practice mindful movements, with your attention fully in the activity and with a mindful attitude, you are practicing meditation.  Some activities to explore include walking, eating, cleaning, or doing the dishes. We’ll take time to work with each of the in future Mindfulness Mondays posts.

For this week, I was feeling to share a few simple ways to begin to explore working with mindful movement and the breath.  As I’ve shared before, sometimes due to the subtlety of the breath, it can be hard to focus on it, especially for beginning practitioners.  Also, for people who have experienced trauma or tend to be disconnected from their bodies in some way, bringing together movement and the breath, can be a way to really become more connected within themselves.

Movement With Breath Exploration

You can do these practices either sitting, on a chair or crosslegged/lotus position on the floor or in a standing position.  Sometimes it is good to explore practicing mindfulness in a standing position — if you have not done so, I encourage you to do so with this practice.  There may be times when practicing mindfulness is helpful in your daily life but taking time to sit and practice is not possible.  As you cultivate a standing practice, it will become easier practice mindfulness as you stand on line at the grocery store, walk down the street, etc.

Come to a comfortable position either sitting or standing.  If standing, stand up straight with your feet about hip-width apart. Allow your knees to be slightly bent, not tense. Relax your shoulders back, your chest and your stomach.  Tilt your chin a bit toward your chest so that your head is balanced on your neck and shoulders.

Whether sitting or standing, have a soft gaze on the floor in front of you, about 3 feet forward.  Begin to notice the sensation of your breath.  Become mindful of any areas in your body that feel tense or uncomfortable. Without trying to relax them, simply notice.

3 Ways To Practice Movement With Breath…

1) Floating Arms ~ After a few moments of tuning into to your breath and your body, begin to move your arms upwards in front of you with palms facing the floor.  As you breathe in, letting your arms simple float up to about shoulder height, continuing to rise for the length of the in-breath.  Once at shoulder height, slowly let then move back down as you breath out, returning to the side of your body on as the out-breath completes. Repeat this practice 10 or 15 rounds and notice any physical sensations as you do so.

2) Butterfly HandsHolding your hands in front of your body at a 90 degree angle. Place your palms together, fingers touching and then cross your thumbs one over the other.  As you breathe in, allow the pinky side of your hand to move outwards, spreading your finger and keeping thumbs intertwined so that your hands appear to be a like a butterfly opening it’s wings. As you breathe out, allow your bring your hands back together palms together, fingers touching and thumbs crossed.  Repeat this practice 10 or 15 rounds and notice any physical sensations as you do so.

3) Lotus FlowerHolding your hands in front of your body at a 90 degree angle. Place your palms together with all fingers touching and pointing straight out from your body.  On your in-breath, move the thumb side of your hands outward, allowing all of the fingers but the pink to become open, like a lotus blossoming.  On the out-breath, slowly bring your fingers together one by one from ring finger back to thumb until palms are together once again.  Repeat this practice 10 or 15 rounds and notice any physical sensations as you do so.

Take a few mindful moments to watch this video of a lotus blossom opening and closing.  There is a a rhythmic stillness in this movement which we can bring to our own mindfulness movements.  

After exploring these practices, you may also like to create your own mindful movements.  Be creative.

At the end of your practice, take some time to reflect, explore and journal about the following questions:

  • On a scale of 1 – 10, how mindful did you feel as you began?
  • On a scale of 1 – 10, how mindful did you feel as you finished your practice?
  • What did you notice about your bodily sensations?  Was one movement more beneficial for you than another?
  • What thoughts arose while you were practicing?
  • What emotions arose for you while your were practicing?
  • How did it feel to incorporate movement with the breath? How might you continue to work with this type of practice?

I hope you’ll take some time to explore mindful movements this week. 

Tashi Deleh (I honor the greatness with you!)

Beth

Mindfulness Mondays ~ Labeling Thoughts

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Whether one is new to meditation and mindfulness practice or a more experienced practitioner, there will be days that are more challenging than others, when we simply find the mind is busier.  Also, there many be times when we are really struggling with certain thoughts such as worries, concerns, judgements that can really take us out of the present moment.  

Practicing mindfulness is in a sense like any other exercise practice one might develop.  It takes time to build our muscles when we start lifting weights and it takes time to build our “mindfulness” muscles when we begin to practice.  Working with noticing and labeling our thoughts is a way to begin to grow in our ability to be more mindful. 

Oftentimes, there are so many thoughts circling round and round in our minds that we cannot even identify them.  Or, if we stop to notice a thought, we can’t imagine how we even got there.  Practicing mindfulness helps us to de-clutter our mind and allows us to be more awake and alive in the present moment.  As we can notice some of our habitual thoughts and patterns, we can begin to acknowledging and accepting them and let them go. 

The practice of Labeling thoughts helps can help to raise awareness about the specific types of thoughts you may have and it is also a way to engage your mind during practice.  In a sense noticing and acknowledging our thoughts can become and anchor in the same way the breath may be used as an anchor.  As we notice our thoughts, we don’t judge or analyze them, we simply notice and let them go as best we can.  The labeling is a way to begin to let go.

Labeling Thoughts Practice

This practice can be done formally as a part of a sitting practice and informally, as on the spot practice, throughout your day.  I do often suggest to begin to work with a practice as part of a sitting practice, even if it’s for 5 or 10 minutes, to begin to get familiar with the practice. Then, begin to bring it into your daily life.  

Find a comfortable position sitting on a chair with feet flat on the floor, spine straight but not tense, shoulders and stomach relaxed, hands on your knees or lap. Or, sit comfortably on the floor cross-legged with a cushion to support your body. 

Gently close your eyes or have a soft gaze on the floor in a few feet front of you if that’s more comfortable.

Take a few moments to connect with you breath without changing or depending it.  Just begin to notice the breath as it flows into and out of your body.  Notice how it feels to slow down and center yourself.  Continue to be present with your breath. 

Begin to notice any thoughts that may arise.  You may notice a flurry of thoughts right away.  You may be thinking about your To Do list, grocery shopping, worrying about a family member, etc.  You just begin to notice your thoughts.  If there are many, try to notice just one thought and as you do, begin to label it, “Thinking”.  Then, come back to your next breath – breathing in and breathing out.  When you notice another thought, label it “Thinking”.  And, once again simply come back to your next breath.

At times, you many be “Thinking, Thinking, Thinking, Thinking…” and at other times you may begin to notice some spaciousness as you are present with your breath.  Either way, you are simply noticing what is arising in your mind and in your practice. 

This is a simple way to practice Labeling Thoughts.  Sometimes it is helpful to label types of thoughts and we will explore that in future posts, however, by using “Thinking” as the label it is actually helping us to detach from our thoughts or the type of thoughts we may be having, e.g. worry, judgement, etc.  Building a habit of not identifying with a certain thought can begin a powerful process of letting go.  We are just being with whatever is arising in our minds, noticing it, labeling it “Thinking” and letting it go. 

I hope you’ll take some time to explore Labeling Thoughts this week.  As always, feel free to share your reflections in the comments below.

Namaste.

Beth