Taming Fear

I see fear as one of the greatest challenges facing humans in this embodied existence. Some say that the whole point of embodiment is to experience the dance of love and fear, and that the point of soul growth for a human is when they can bring themselves to choose love over fear. I know this to be true in my own life.

As humans we have the potential to bring reflective, heart centered mind functions to bear on situations. However, those functions come on-line as a result of conscious choice. Our default reactions to situations come from our mammalian brain, structured to promote survival by reacting quickly to situations of perceived or actual threat.

Bad enough that we are wired to look for threat which primes us to see it where it is not, but that there is enough real threat to keep us all justifiably nervous. Trying to push through fear may not be what we need. Checking our reality, respecting our limits, and knowing the difference between limits and avoidance is important.

What can we to keep fear from taking over? Here are some things that I have found to be helpful in my own life and with clients:

  • Just knowing that our mammalian minds are wired for fear, for recognition of danger cues and to trigger mental/ emotional/physical responses, can be enough to help us step back from fear and check our reality before plunging into a fear response.
  • Bringing in acceptance and humor, and keeping out judgment, can help us to deal with fear more quickly and in a healthy way.
  • Having a multitude of ways to help ones nervous systems reset when it has been activated into a fear response is very helpful, e.g. bringing ones focus of awareness to what’s going on here and now, breathing, making conscious connection to the earth, focusing on a physical activity, focusing attention on my senses: using vision, hearing, touch to stimulate here and now attention.
  • Holding a touchstone, something that anchors what one wants to remember about fear, and that focuses sensory attention here and now as one feels its smoothness, its contours, its weight, looks at its color, patterns, marks. I always have a pink rose quartz heart around. It acts as a touchstone and reminds me to connect with my heart.
  • Inviting in a protective power animal.
  • Doing a re-setting practice such as sitting quietly with one hand on your heart and the other hand on your belly below the belly button. Begin with breathing quietly and listening for your pulse, noticing where and how in your body you can feel it. When you have that, bring your attention to the other hand on your belly. This area is connected to your adrenals which shoot chemicals into your bloodstream when fear is activated. Many of us live with chronic adrenal activation. Talk to them. Let them know that there is no threat in this moment and that they can, like a scared cat up a tree, come down, relax, and rest..
  • Do relaxation breath (Herbert Benson). Breathe slowly and deeply and on the out breathe say something reassuring to yourself, e. g. “I am safe now,” or, “I can deal with this.”
  • Practice confronting manageable fear-provoking situations to build skill and the confidence that comes with that.

I think the point is that for many people fear is our default response. It is a well oiled response that comes by itself without thinking. What happens next for many of us is an automatic response to avoid fear by responding to unconscious, habitual impulses to distract or soothe ourselves. We all know our preferred ways of avoiding the discomfort of fear. Generalized anxiety is the experience of fear without awareness of where it started or what it is about. Phobias are ways we have learned to avoid anxiety. Panic is runaway fear. To reduce or deal with any of these fear responses requires conscious effort to do something different. That requires us step out of our mammalian brain and into the more recently evolved higher reasoning brain, to stop and orient, and engage in a practice that grounds, calms, reassures, re-sets our nervous system.

Finally, love and connection are truly the antidote to fear. The trouble is that the ability to connect and feel connection is activated differently than fear in our nervous system. One might say we have several nervous systems and when the nervous system that responds to perception of threat fuels fight and flight is on, the nervous system that supports connection is shut down. When in fear, connection is difficult. But if we can bring ourselves to reach out, to our own heart, to our love of another, to an other or others who share our concerns or who might understand, in that act we re-set the fear response. “When we are in the grips of fear we close down and can’t be compassionate or generous. To love others we first have to be loving and gentle with ourselves….to accept ourselves, including our suffering and happiness at the same time, and then be able to wish other well.” (Thich Nhat Hanh – Fear, essential wisdom for getting through the storm.)

May you be well, and happy, and free from fear.

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Wendy Ball LMHC has a counseling and shamanic energy healing practice in Albany NY. You can reach her at phone: 518-813-8524, email: wendy.ball@yahoo.com.

Publisher’s Corner June/July

“How do you value your life, Katrina?” This question was asked of me by Harrison Jim Sr., a Navajo Medicine Man coming to the Northeast as part of the Navajo Horse Healing Project. We were discussing his upcoming visit and other potential ways to bring their teachings to our community. I was stumped by the question, in part because of the use of the word “how.” All the quick answers that came would have answered, “what do I value?” The conversation at that moment was about charging a fee for their talks and healings, so I knew his question was not a matter of semantics. After some silence and then my answer “I’d have to give that some consideration.” Harrison added, “what value do you place on having peace and harmony restored in your life? That is what we ask for in exchange of our knowledge, gifts and healings.”

This question was bouncing around my head when an old note showed up on my desktop. It was recording a time while driving down the Northway and a Target delivery truck passed me. I noticed the tag line “Expect more. Pay Less.” I’d probably seen that line many times prior, however, this time the symbolic imbalance caught my attention. Expecting more and paying less seemed like an American Mantra. What does this say about our culture’s idea of reciprocity? While the Target tag is referencing money in exchange for goods, we cannot separate that belief out from other areas of life, such as interpersonal relationships and how we make a living. With the assumption that we should pay less and get more, there is no equal exchange, creating imbalanced transactions—including the one we have with life in general. On the surface this may not seem important, on an energetic level it leaves everything in disharmony.

I hadn’t yet found my answer to Harrison’s question, so I continued to ponder values in general. We all can come up with a list of them—perhaps peace, joy, friendship, equality, love, family and so on. However, our behavior speaks to what we actually value more than a list of words. Rarely would someone openly include their ego on such a list or big business, yet many people display these as their priorities by how they live their lives.

On a different note, it came up in a few conversations recently that I am seen differently by others than how I witness myself. The differences were not necessarily negative, as one said she thought I was girly. Who is right? The person on the outside doing the seeing; or me on the inside who is doing the feeling? Perhaps both. While I am more comfortable with being well-liked, having a nice reputation, and being perceived my way, I place greater value on being true to my inner world, and authentic to my own experience of life no matter how that appears on the outside. Acting from the inside out means giving up impressing a specific image outwardly. In reality, this is never truly possible anyway; how we are perceived has more to do with the perceiver than it does with us. Which is perhaps why we are both right. Even so, when we are not paying attention to our inner world, falseness can fool others more easily, usually because it fools ourselves first. Life seems to ask us at times “are you truthful about your priorities, or do you only mean it when receiving approval, recognition, and adulation in return? Knowing I still hold blind spots causes me to continually question my genuineness.

While there are times I’d rather feel certain about myself, I have realized that without questions, habitual responses and or addictive behavior replace real presence in each moment. So, I will continue to examine my truth. Just as there is no way to peace, peace is the way. There is no right way to authentic expression, living it is the way. In doing so, we sometimes get it wrong. Sounds contrary, but true all the same.

Going back to where we started, how do you value life? In what way do you want to experience it—through peace, health and harmony or stress, illness and worry? What are you willing to exchange in order for that valued experience? Our human world has created money as a symbol of exchange; it is the main way in which we support what is important to us. Where we spend our most dollars is where our values truly lie, regardless of whether those things are on our list of principals. The same holds true for where our time is spent, the activities as well as the motivation behind them—such as fostering an ego or satisfying our soul. Questioning ourselves regularly will bring about authentic alignment, much greater than rigid rule-following will.

Come out and hear Harrison and Gino talk about the Navajo culture on July 14th. We will be at Coesa Holistic Wellness Center in the Saratoga State Park starting at 7. It will be a powerful and valuable evening. While the suggested donation for this experience is $20, you may choose what to pay. In deciding the amount, consider what you’d pay for an night of entertainment. If you receive something more substantial, perhaps inspiring and or perception changing, offer an amount in accordance of value to that which you received to the best of your ability. The funds will be going to Gino and Harrison so they may continue to provide for their family while they are away from home. The following evening, on the 15th, they will be creating ceremony for the waters of Saratoga. Again you are welcome to join. The waters are not only important to those who choose to drink their healing properties, but because they run under the ground on which we walk they influence us all. In addition, please read about their Navajo Horse Healing Project on page 10. It is going to be a great summer. My choice is to experience it through peace, harmony and love. What’s your choice?

Ghee

Ghee 
by Kathryn Kos
Ghee is clarified butter-the butter is heated and milk solids (proteins) have been removed. The protein casein found in dairy is difficult for many people to digest. Casein is a large foreign protein that can pass through the human gut easily, contributing to what is known as “leaky” or permeable gut. When these proteins pass through the gut, they can contribute to inflammatory conditions in the body.

Many people think they cannot digest the lactose in dairy, but may in fact actually be reacting to the protein casein. Because the casein is removed from ghee, ghee is much easier for many to digest than butter. Ghee is a stable, healthy, saturated fat. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature. Contrary to what you’ve probably heard in the past, these are the very beneficial fats for our body! Saturated fats are fully saturated with hydrogen bonds (NOT to be confused with hydrogenated oils). Saturated fats are stable, and do not easily oxidize when heated (break down) or go rancid. These can be heated to higher temperatures, unlike liquid vegetable oils that have been highly processed.

Ghee is very beneficial to the body. The fatty acids insulate myelin in the brain (memory, mood stability, alertness), strengthen the immune system and help to regulate hormones for normal hormone function. Ghee contains short-chain fatty acids as well. Short-chained fatty acids are easily metabolized by the body. What this means is that the body can digest and utilize these fatty acids efficiently, reaping benefits to the body.

Ghee contains omega 3 and omega 9 fatty acids, along with Vitamins A, D, E, and K. Grass-fed or pastured ghee is a very high source of CLA, aka conjugated linoleic acids. CLA is a potent cancer fighter. The digestive systems of grass-fed ruminants produce CLA. CLA is associated with superior heart health, suppression of tumors, reduced belly fat and overall increased fat loss. Pasture raised (grass-fed) cows lead to dairy CLA levels 3-5 times that of grain-fed cattle! Always look for grass-fed butter if you are making your own ghee, or grass-fed ghee if you are buying it. Ghee is excellent for nerve conduction and insulation of the brain. Ghee is great for skin, eyes, and joints-it is rich with antioxidants and boosts the immune system. Ghee is high in butyric acid which has anti-viral properties and may inhibit tumor growth.

How do you use ghee? Ghee is great for all your cooking and baking needs. It adds amazing flavor to sauteed or roasted veggies! You can melt it and bake with it. You can serve it on top of potatoes just like butter. Grass-fed ghee is an all around healthy super food that adds superior flavor and healthy benefits to all your dishes!

Kathryn Kos is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP)  through The Nutritional Therapy Association, and a Certified Lactation Educator/Counselor through The University of San Diego. Her undergraduate degree is in Movement Science from Westfield State College. Her Master’s degree is in Rehabilitation Counseling from Springfield College. She specializes in healing digestion, balancing blood sugar, balancing hormones, and autoimmune conditions. Call 260-9749 for a free consultation.

Stress vs Anxiety

by Donna Bird, LCSW
Stress vs Anxiety – Stress develops when forces from the world affect us in negative ways. Like life changes, negative and positive events and daily challenges. Many of us can deal with those things without experiencing long-term negative effects.  People with Anxiety Disorders, like General Anxiety Disorder (GAD), experience constant physical and emotional affects on a regular daily basis.  They worry about every day problems like: their job; money; family; health; household chores; their car; appointments; daily details, etc. They live in perpetual fear.  GAD affects about 6.8 million Americans.  It also affects twice as many women as men. Some possible physical symptoms of Anxiety are: headaches; heart palpitations; colon spasms, diarrhea/constipation; dry mouth; shallow breathing; frequent urination; sexual problems; aches and pains; trembling of the body (inside or outside); feeling “on edge”, impatient or irritable; poor concentration; forgetfulness; sleep problems; hyper vigilance, etc. People with anxiety want to be “in charge” of their environments to reduce the fear they experience. Anxiety feels like a constant turbulent river running inside.

When I work with people with anxiety, I help them to understand anxiety is not their fault, and that it is caused by 4 factors:
• heredity
• brain chemistry
• personality
• life experiences

Heredity and anxiety disorders:
Research shows that anxiety disorders run in families.  If you think about your relatives, some may have behaviors that are annoying and unexplained, until you become aware that the causes of their overreactions may be due to the fact that they live in fear.  Many people who are:  perfectionist types; abuse drugs/alcohol; seem controlling or angry;   worry excessively; are shy or aggressive; restrict life; fear rejection; don’t feel safe; etc. may suffer from anxiety.

Brain chemistry and
anxiety disorders:
Because symptoms of anxiety disorders are often relieved by medications that alter levels of chemicals in the brain, scientists believe that brain chemistry appears to play a role in the onset of anxiety disorders. I believe that some types of anxiety can be managed by using life-style change and symptom coping skills.  It is my opinion that medication should be given as a last resort, because all medications have side-effects.

Personality and
anxiety disorders:
Researchers believe that personality may play a role in the development of an anxiety disorder, noting that people who have low self-esteem and poor coping skills may be more prone. If a person has an “easy going” temperament  instead of an intense one, they will be able to deal with life in a calmer, more manageable way.

Life experiences and
anxiety disorders:
Researchers believe that the relationship between anxiety disorders and long-term exposure to abuse (physical, emotional, sexual); violence; rape; or poverty as a child or adult may affect an person’s susceptibility to anxiety. Contributing factors could also be, if you had a childhood where your parent abused alcohol; were neglectful of you; abandoned you; or your parents had a relationship filled with conflict; etc.

Sub-personalities of
people with anxiety
The Worrier  (what if, what if)  anticipates the worst scenario; overestimates the chances of something bad or embarrassing happening; creates grandiose images of failure or catastrophe.
The Critic: (promotes low self esteem) constantly judges and evaluates your behavior; points out flaws and limitations about you; jumps on any mistake you make; compares you with others performances and sees them excelling; ignores the positive qualities you have.

The Victim (promotes depression) sometimes feels helpless or hopeless; tells you that you’re not progressing; believes there is something defective about you; perceives insurmountable obstacles to your success; believes nothing will ever change.

The Perfectionist: (promotes chronic stress & burnout) nags you to “do better” because your effort is not enough; hounds you to work harder, faster, longer, to be more productive; wants you to be the best; intolerant of mistakes/setbacks; pushes you into exhaustion and burnout over time.

Anxiety seldom disappears completely. Learning how to manage it can help you to feel empowered and “in charge” again.
How To Tame The Anxiety:
• Take multiple B vitamins
• Do yoga and/or bodywork
• Recite positive self-statements throughout the day
• Learn meditation and/or self-hypnosis
• Focus on your good qualities and accomplishments
• Exercise regularly by doing something you enjoy
• Eliminate as much “simple sugar” and starches from your diet as you can
• Expect to feel uncomfortable from stressful situations
• Talk with friends or someone you can trust about your worries/problems
• Recognize and accept your limits (remember we are all unique and different)
• When you choose specific tasks and goals, make sure your expectations are reasonable
• Become aware of how/when your body and mind are reacting to stressors, so you can manage them
• Practice Diaphragm Breathing Breaks, 3 times a day, and when you’re feeling anxious
• Eliminate or reduce stimulates such as caffeine from your diet (i.e. coffee, tea, chocolate, colas)
• Set your own priorities and ask your boss to set priorities for you at work, if necessary
• When studying for an exam, or working on a large project, work in short blocks of time and take frequent short breaks
• Allow yourself  2 hours to “unwind” before you actually lie down to sleep (guided imagery and/or nature sound CDs, with headphones help promote sleep) .

Still A Problem?
If you’ve previously tried the above suggestions and are still having problems, you may benefit from going to a Licensed Holistic Therapist for alternative help.  I use a combination of breathing methods, energy medicine techniques, self-hypnosis, guided imagery CDs and the most up-to-date Power Therapies.  Sometimes people with anxiety have experienced trauma and need additional/alternative treatment. Talk therapy mostly addresses only the right side of the brain, so healing can be a lengthy process, and sometimes doesn’t integrate the trauma. Whereas, therapies such as Hypnosis, interacts with the subconscious mind, and Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) address both hemispheres of the brain, so healing trauma is usually much quicker.

Sometimes it’s difficult to find the time for daily self-care to ease anxiety. However, you are responsible for your well-being and you deserve to be healthy. Because you have anxiety, you may have to devote more time and effort into Taming your anxiety than you thought, similar to a person with diabetes who has to take time daily to plan meals, take  blood sugar readings, etc. to maintain their health. Anxiety maintenance is similar.  Set your intention to make time for yourself each day. Try actually writing your breathing breaks, self-hypnosis, exercise times and nightly wind-down time into your daily planner/palm pilot, to make sure you don’t schedule over your time. You are just as important as those other appointments.  Remember people with anxiety have a way of burning themselves up and out because they “drive” themselves into burnout at an early age, unconsciously. You deserve more than that.  Be kind to yourself. Find time for the self-care and your anxiety will decrease.

Donna Bird, LCSW, CCH is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker specializing in Mind-Body Counseling and Coaching. She is nationally certified in Hypnosis, E.M.D.R., Interactive Imagery, Hypnobirthing, TFT and Wave Work. She has studied meditation since 1984. In 1990 she began teaching stress reduction and meditation in the government sector. Donna also produces Self-Help CDs that are available in her offices and on her website:www.donnabird.com. She has a private practice in Saratoga Springs, NY. You can contact her through her website, or at (518) 584-0698.

Invisible Grandparenting

by Pat Hanson, Ph.D.
I am an invisible grandparent. I have been kept from my granddaughter Annie, now 12, for eight years. There’s an empty spot on my counter every year for the Christmas cards I’ll never get, or thank-you notes for presents I can’t send. Eight years! Eight missed Valentines Days, eight Christmases, eight Halloweens and the hardest: eight Mother’s days!

I am not alone. On September 7th 70 million grandparents in America will get to celebrate Grandparents Day; but countless numbers of them will not.

Many of us, because of distance, personality conflicts, complicated custody issues, or choices made long ago, have no way to leave behind our values and memories for those who mean the most to us. And let’s face it; we all may all be long gone and invisible by the time our grandkids ask about us.

Grandparents play a vital role in children’s lives. They can do and say things overworked and overwrought parents cannot. Just as having a child opens the door to a deeper level of love, grandparenting takes that even further. For those of us who don’t get to do it: Yes, it hurts and Yes, we can heal the hole in our hearts and leave a legacy of love whether we can be there or not.

My memoir Invisible Grandparenting: Leave a Legacy of Love Whether You Can Be There or Not, is about a very difficult decade in my life. I share the many ways, some gracious and others not, that I undertook to heal separation.

I wrote letters and saved hundreds for the hypothetical day Annie might look me up. Some were about Oh the Places We Would Go  or Thank Yous are Important. I even wrote one on Love, Sex and Marriage for a teenage Annie in answer to a question: You were Married Three Times Grandma, Why?

But those weren’t the only letters I wrote. Some to Annie’s mother I spouted out specifically to be Said and Never Sent, to purposely dump and diffuse the negative energy I was feeling. Those I literally burned dancing in the moonlight to Janis Joplin’s Piece of My Heart. Those letters moved me closer to transforming some of that negative energy to forgiveness. I did many things to heal, including developing a website for other estranged grandparents to tell their story, and find resources that might help them.

On August 12th, from 1:00-4:00 at The Pine Hills Arboretum on 16 Maple Ave in Slingerlands, New York 12159.  I will be offering a workshop LEAVE A LEGACY OF LOVE NOW: INVISIBLE GRANDPARENTING for anyone, regardless of grandparent status, who wishes to discover how we can support the futures of all grandchildren. There are countless ways we can pass on “what we know in our bones” we want children to hear. Please join us for the “love offering” of $30, the proceeds of which will be tithed to the arboretum and the New York New Thought Center for Spiritual Living. Space is limited. RSVP to pat@invisiblegrandparent.com or by calling 831-601-9195.

Pat Hanson, Ph.D is author of ‘Invisible Grandparenting: Leave a Legacy of Love Whether You Can Be There or Not©’  2013 is available at The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza and Market Block Books in Troy, and amazon.com.

www.healingspringsjournal.com

Tarot for Love

by Angela Kaufman

In my practice, the most popular psychic readings pertain to affairs of the heart. No two Tarot readings are the same, and the lessons in love waiting in a Tarot reading can be surprising. The Tarot can be a tool for divine guidance, yet it does not relieve an individual from responsibility for their free will. A Tarot reading may suggest a promising start in a relationship, but it is the choice of the individuals to maintain and nurture this relationship, or not.

A Lesson from the Lovers
The Lovers card teaches us that true love is about maintaining the balance between individual and couple. This takes ongoing care and mindfulness even in the best scenarios. Modern women have been taught to compete in a man’s world by working harder just to keep up. We have broken through barriers in many ways, but when it comes to relationships and family, many women have traded traditional roles of caretaking and nurturing, for a liberated role of managing, leading, succeeding….and caretaking and nurturing. We haven’t walked out of the home for the workplace, we have taken on dual careers of nurturer and earner. Numerous Tarot readings I have done exploring relationships have elicited common patterns that undermine relationships as well as the attitudes, beliefs and fears that accompany them. A common habit of women, is the tendency to nurture others while not nurturing herself. Women take on their share of the relationship, and more, which can alter the energy of both the relationship, and the individuals comprising it. Therefore the lesson of the Lovers’ Card becomes distorted, and instead of honoring individuality and uniting in love, fear becomes the cement that holds the relationship together….for a while.

A Lesson on the Look of Love
So much has changed over the centuries, and we ladies inhabit a very different world from our grandmothers, mothers, or even our older sisters! Average life expectancy has doubled, the definition of romantic partnership has become more eclectic, and individuals have flexibility and opportunities for expression of their desires. Social Media has made it easier to meet people, but harder to connect. Still we have clung tightly to the concept of romantic partnerships as a limited opportunity, a going out of business sale that no one wants to miss. It is for this reason that I refer to myself as a “21st Century Relationship Psychic”. Long gone are the days when women consulting a psychic had limiting questions in mind such as “will I even get married?” Women today have  many choices to find love and romance is expressed in many different types of relationships from committed partnerships, marriages and blended families of all kinds. My services focus on bringing harmony and healing to women navigating the complex world of love and relationships without the self limiting stereotype of what a relationship “should” look like. Through years of Tarot reading and my career as a Social Worker, I have learned not to judge anyone else’s relationship. I have worked with women who have found true love after the loss of a spouse. If you are asking yourself if a certain relationship is “right” forever, or feeling as if you have failed because a relationship didn’t last, forgiveness and acceptance can be powerful healing tools that can lead you to recognize that forever is not the barometer on the quality of a relationship.

There Can Be Only One?
I do not conduct Tarot readings from the perspective of there being “the One”. If we focus on “the One”,  by default we have dismissed the value of any relationship that is not held to the quality or lifespan of that “One”. On the way to cultivating a deeply satisfying and committed relationship we often experience relationships that fall short, but are nevertheless important to our growth and development. To make a very un-romantic comparison, a successful career is as much about the internships and less-than-stellar jobs on the way to the “dream job”. If we leave high school and wait around for the dream job, chances are it will elude us, or we will be unprepared to excel when the time comes. So, when asked if Prince or Princess Charming is “the One” I will explain that the purpose of the Tarot reading can be to explore the potential of this connection, but that I will not use the Tarot to invoke limitations on free will and choice when so much depends on what happens within the relationship. An example of free will in action comes from a reading conducted for a woman who had only one concern. She wanted to know if her love interest would want to marry her. It seemed that this person would pursue a marriage with her, but it appeared that fear, control and codependency were pervasive in this relationship. I communicated these impressions to the client. I expected to see some reaction to this news that ran, in my opinion, contrary to what she had asked me. Yet as I met her gaze I was surprised to see a dreamy grin as if she had just been informed of winning the Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes! I affirmed her right to choice and free will, but cautioned her again that there felt like an oppressive and controlling quality to this relationship and that it seemed she would have the structure of marriage but disappointment in the level of emotional commitment she expected. This was of no consequence to her, as she wanted to marry this man. I had to remind myself that it is not my role to judge, and that the information was for her to act on.

Tarot for Clarity
A good place to start is to explore initial compatibility and how each partner complements each other. From there it can be helpful to delve into obstacles the individuals may be prone to. Finally the overall goal is to receive guidance from Spirit on how to work with individual strengths to foster the connection while navigating life’s challenges. This approach can be used individually or with both partners present. A Tarot reading can help women explore what their strengths are, what energetic blockages may exist from past experiences, and how to maximize the positive to radiate the energy of attraction and raise the vibration to that which is compatible with the type of person they are seeking. Free will is a factor here as well. I strive to use Tarot readings to help people get beyond the process of just “meeting someone”. After all, that is what dating websites are for. I have found that usually what prohibits success in romantic relationships are persistent negative energy patterns that manifest in repeating self sabotaging behavior. This can take the form of habitual attraction to partners who are unavailable emotionally, codependency, or relationships in which the individual consistently establishes themselves in a rescuing role, which repeatedly undermines the balance of give and take in a relationship.  An intuitive outside perspective can also help shed light on how personal boundaries may be effecting relationships. Knowledge is power, and Tarot readings can help access knowledge on a spirit level.

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Truth?
There are no “bad” readings, but a Tarot reading may relay information the client does not want to hear. This being stated, I often find that even difficult news in a Tarot reading is seldom a shock to the client. I was invited to provide readings for a gathering, and prior to the event the hostess asked me if there was any way to make sure her friend did not get a “bad” reading as she was recently going through some personal challenges. I explained that my approach is to help clients navigate toward solutions, and there would probably be little I would tell her in terms of painful news that was not already on the surface. Sure enough her reading validated the crisis she was already experiencing while giving her insight into the hopeful resolution that would await her soon. She found this experience healing and cleansing on a number of levels and was grateful for the experience.

As mentioned above in terms of free will, a reading will not dictate what you do, only you are the one to determine your choices and personal path. It can, however, highlight potential opportunities the client has not yet considered. I am sometimes asked what needs to happen to make a significant other change. More useful exploration consists of asking what the client can do to thrive rather than focusing on changing other people. Crisis can bring opportunities for change and transcendence and can be approached as such through a reading.

If you are open to guidance for your own growth and development, or curious about the best ways to nurture a relationship, if doubts from the past or continued patterns of sabotage follow you from relationship to relationship, visithttp://moonlighttarotllc.com/free-report/ and sign up for my free audio program, 3 Biggest Reasons Independent Professional Women are NOT Finding the Love They Want.

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Angela Kaufman of Moonlight Tarot LLC is also excited to announce a new one of a kind, Psychic Relationship Coaching Program designed specifically for independent single, professional women who are ready to let go of the past and awaken love in the future. Contact me at Trionfi78@gmail.com or visit my website www.moonlighttarotllc.com

Introduction to Qi Gong

MarkTolstrupPhoto
by Mark Tolstrup
Tai Chi and Qi Gong share a history that goes back well over 1800 years. The exact origin of many of these practices can be difficult to pinpoint but there is clear documentation of many specific qi gong practices from the earliest days of written history in China.

Qi Gong (pronounced chee gong) is a system of mind/body practices. Some practices involve movement, some use only focused meditation. The translation of the words gi and gong is a little difficult because we do not an exact equivalent in English. Qi, refers to the energy that animates our life. Gong, means practice or practice with the intent of mastery. So, Qi Gong is a system of practices that work to master the energy of our life.

This idea of Qi as our life’s energy is not something that shows up in western culture the way it is seen in oriental society.  However, the idea is quite natural and fairly simple. If you eat well, get some exercise and a good nights sleep, you wake up refreshed and full of energy – your Qi is strong. If, on the other hand you don’t eat well or exercise and don’t get enough sleep you wake up groggy and tired – your Qi is weak.

The Qi is also greatly affected by the mind. For example maybe you are tired after a long hard day. You feel like you can barely make it to your bed. Suddenly you get some great news. You won the lottery! All of a sudden you are jumping up and down and cannot sleep. You are full of energy. On the other hand sometimes things are going really well then some bad news comes unexpectedly and deflates all your energy. The concept of Qi takes into account both the physical and the non physical.

There are three main braches of Qi Gong: medical Qi Gong, Martial Arts Qi Gong and spiritual Qi gong. Medical Qi Gong can be for the benefit of general health or used for specific problems such as high blood pressure etc.. Martial Qi Gong has many practices to build strength, stamina and self defense ability. And spiritual Qi Gong comes from the traditions of Taoism, Buddhism or Confucianism.  Many Qi Gong practices have benefits for all three categories.

All Qi Gong practices are involve the focus of the mind, and awareness of breath and the physical body. Without a clear focused mind there can be no Qi Gong. You cannot just turn up the music and mindlessly go through the moves.  The mind must be focused on the practice and on maintaining correct postural alignments. Qi Gong practices can use big movements with great exertion or small gentle movements or no movement at all.  Some practices use specific breathing patterns. Some use relaxed natural breath. In any case the postural alignment and precise movements, focus of the mind and relaxed breath are all important in any Qi Gong practice.

Try this: 
Stand straight with feet shoulder width apart. Just relax and breath softly for a few minutes.  Try to relax a fully as possible.  Try to release all stress and tension. Try to relax your shoulders while keeping you spine straight as if you are suspended from above. Try to relax your feet so the toes are not griping the ground. Relax your abdomen. Try to just stay mentally present. Don’t let your mind wander. Focus on relaxing and breathing deeply.

After standing quietly for a few minutes raise your arms to the side and overhead slowly as you inhale. Exhale and lower your hands down you center line.  Repeat this several times. Try to be aware of your breath, your posture, your surroundings. As you inhale and raise your arms embrace the universe.  As you exhale lower you arm and relax in to the earth. What a joy it is to be alive. What great fortune to be right here. Right now.

Mark Tolstrup is a dedicated practitioner of the internal martial arts with over 20 years of teaching experience. Mr Tolstrup is a fourth degree black belt in Kempo Karate, has studied Tai Chi, meditation, Qi Gong and Chinese internal martial arts with many masters including T. K. Shih, William C.C. Chen, Jou Tsung Hwa, Mantak Chia, B. P. Chan, B. K. Frantzis, Frank Allen and many others. 

On Rolf Structural Integration

by Nick Pavoldi

Rolfing or Structural integration is a soft tissue approach to re-establishing natural alignment. Dr. Ida Rolf was the innovator of this process and held that when a body is aligned in gravity it works properly. Integration of the body in a gravity field reveals the fluid and natural movement and offers an ease of being.

Rolf Structural Integration boils down to a pretty simple premise, our bodies are organized around a central vertical axis or the line. Through my studies in human dissection I can tell you I’ve never seen a line but it is a very real thing. The line is a meditation and a reference point. A place that you can explore when standing or sitting, and offers a guide to alignment.

For every action there is a re-action. A body at rest in gravity feels weightless, supported by the very thing that pulls it down. It’s something of a paradox, but a puzzle worth solving. From a practitioner standpoint, I have a goal of making a less complicated body. A front and back, side to side and up and down all working together. This integrated body feels fluid, capable and in a way fearless.

We want to be known. Patterns, emotions, and injury can be held in tissue. Imprinted by trauma or repetition these things tell the story of our lives. 15 years ago if I had read that, I may have thought those words were overreaching, but my experiences are that Rolf Structural Integration brings together the physical body with this feeling body. Integration not just in space, but within ourselves.

The process is classically done in 10 sessions. The first 7 focusing on the structural phase and the final three being integrative sessions. The work itself is a hands on, soft tissue approach and clients can expect to participate in a way that is different from a massage. A practitioner may call for movement or conduct parts of the session seated or standing. Bodies are for living and often times a rolfing session will be moved off the table.

Sometimes clients seek this work when they have pain or discomfort in their body, and occasionally report about the process being painful. I think pain is a misnomer as it implies causing harm or injury. That is never the goal or purpose of this work, as I always want the experience to be a pleasurable one. However, the session can be dramatic. Uncomfortable places may lurk undetected in the body until I hold a mirror to them. I sometimes hear that clients had no idea an area would be so sore. It’s often because of the bodies compensating mechanism. Acute pain or discomfort in an area may not be the culprit, just the loudest victim.

My first experience with this work was that if felt like the “smartest massage” I ever had. I knew right then that that’s what I wanted to do and have spent the last 15 years practicing. Like any art, Rolf Structural Integration will take a lifetime of study and dedication to be a capable practitioner. There are many wonderful forms of bodywork out there, and I feel privileged to bring this special kind to our community.

Bodywork Professionals

Nick Pavoldi, LMT, A.SiP is an Advanced Rolf Structural Integration Practitioner with 18 years massage and bodywork experience. He is the principle practitioner and proprietor of Bodywork Professionals with offices in Latham and Saratoga Springs, NY. He can be reached at 518.389.2200, www.BodyworkProfessionals.com, orInfo@BodyworkProfessionals.com