Monthly Archives: April 2017

This Surprising Prescription is Free

For ye shall go out with joy, And be led forth with peace; The mountains and the hills shall

forest bathing
forest bathing

break forth before you into singing, And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

Isaiah 55:12, JPS Tanakh 1917

 

Have you ever walked into a forest and felt bathed in peace?

It’s not your imagination. It’s real.

The Japanese have a phrase for taking in the healing properties of the woods: shinrin-yoku, or “forest bathing.”

Studies “show that forest environments could lower concentrations of cortisol, lower pulse rate, lower blood pressure, increase parasympathetic nerve activity, and lower sympathetic nerve activity compared with city settings.”

Dr. Johanna Budwig, a biochemist, wrote that walking through a forest can recharge our batteries.

Even simply looking out a window at green plants is healing. Post-surgical patients who could look out on trees and grass got out of the hospital sooner, had fewer complications, and took fewer pain medications than those without such views.

Other benefits include

  • Improved sleep and mood
  • Increased energy levels and ability to focus
  • Decreased anxiety, depression, anger, confusion, and fatigue.

In other words, it’s not just relaxing to be in a forest. It’s healing, and here’s why: you are literally being showered with essential oils that prevent the growth of attacking organisms.

Like cancer.

Plants are busy sending out chemical signals called phytoncides that ward off insects and help fight bacterial and fungal disease. When we breathe in these phytoncides, our bodies’ immune systems create more natural killer white blood cells that go after tumors and viruses.

So maybe take your next “bath” among trees and imagine they are clapping their hands, showering their joy and healing balm upon you.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

Find ways to get out into the woods, or at least get a view of plant life, as much as possible.

Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2793346/

http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/90720.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phytoncide

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forest_bathing

http://www.hphpcentral.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/5000-paper-by-Qing-Li2-2.pdf

Budwig, Johanna. Flax Oil as a True Aid Against Arthritis, Heart Infarction, Cancer and Other Diseases. Apple Publishing; 3rd edition (December 1, 1994), p. 50.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2793341/

Ulrich, R. S. (1984). View through a window may influence recovery from surgeryScience. 224:420-422.

Rending Another Veil on Resurrection Sunday

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom…

Matthew 27:50-51a, New American Standard Bible

 

At the moment Jesus died on the cross, the veil in the Jewish Temple (that separated people from the Holy of Holies) was rent in two, according to one of the Christian gospels. This symbolized the end of separation between humans and the Divine.

Sometimes we have mental veils that separate us from the Divine, or from unconscious tendencies within ourselves. These curtains need to be found and dropped if we want to see ourselves more clearly.

I had a new veil to rend. My discovery of this separation began with a horrifying, potent dream this past week. I knew I needed to go back into this nightmare, using my imagination, to understand its message more clearly and possibly heal something. Healing on this level can influence the health of our bodies.

Easter felt like a perfect day to focus on resurrecting my own hidden personality aspects.

To prepare, I set up my meditation space with my journal and Vince Lasorso’s “Focused Relaxation” CD set on repeat.

Settled in my chair, I prayed for guidance. Then I imagined myself back in my dream, which was set on the lawn in front of the administration building at my alma mater. I walked up to an unknown woman who was directing some unfortunate activities. Treating her as a real person, I began asking her questions.

She didn’t answer me. She had a job to do.

Then I felt a sudden, gratifying rush of energy as something clicked—the “administration” building represented someone from my childhood who played a large role in my mental development. This person possessed a powerful sense of right and wrong, good and bad, and I had carried those imperatives forward in my own brain’s administrative functioning. I realized the unknown woman was unconsciously carrying out those dictates. This meant a part of my personality had continued, at times, to act without my awareness, expressing masculine qualities without regard for the more feminine values of compassion, love, and kindness. Those unconscious aspects needed to be made more conscious and integrated so I could make healthier choices.

With this insight, I became aware of new fears I had not known were operating in my life. Because I adopted those values as a small child, I also adopted the childish perception that if I did not follow those rules, I would be abandoned and might die. That outdated way of perceiving could now be healed.

I wrote down several possible statements about my newly owned fears and how they affected some of my choices. I settled on one that felt right—it was convoluted and difficult to remember, but it fit exactly what had been happening in my psyche.

Statement in hand, I began doing the Emotional Freedom Technique (described on pg. 201 in Thriver Soup). I had to do five full rounds of tapping to get the feeling sense down from a high of ten to a three.

With the intensity greatly reduced, I decided I was ready to forgive the “administration” individual for pushing these one-sided ideas on me, and to forgive myself for sleepwalking through my entire adult life without questioning this aspect of my personality.

I pulled out my forgiveness process papers, based on the book Radical Forgiveness by Colin Tipping. I spent a couple hours feeling and writing my way through the 20+ steps.

Evening was descending. I re-entered my dream and this time imagined I was the woman directing the activities on the lawn. I looked out through her eyes. She appeared to have sheer curtains in front of her face. Everything beyond that white veil was indistinct. She was not really seeing what she was doing.

And then the cloth spontaneously dropped away from her face. She could suddenly see clearly, for the first time. And she was horrified by her activities. She stopped, offered assistance to the other people, and began making amends.

She had been granted sight, as I had been. The veil was rent and the separation ended. An aspect of my personality had been resurrected from the dead.

Thriver Soup Ingredient

We can’t really see the veils over our mental eyes unless we try to access them through dreams, active imagination, talking with others, writing with our non-dominant hands, or using other methods for excavating our inner lives. And we have to be ready to see these hidden aspects. Perhaps ask in prayer for the willingness to be open to seeing unconscious parts of ourselves. The simple sense of willingness might part a veil enough for us to better see.

 

How to Let Go of Fear, Sorrow, Powerlessness: MySevenChakras Podcast

He restores my soul. He leads me in the path of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for you are with me, your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

– Psalm 23, discussed on MySevenChakras Episode 198 with Aditya

Aditya asked Heidi Bright:

  • When did you first come to know that you had Cancer? 
  • What type of Cancer did you have?
  • How did your Cancer end up getting detected?
  • What was your initial reaction when you received your diagnoses?
  • How to go about reducing the impact of chemotherapy?

These were just some of the questions , so if you’re curious about how Heidi overcame cancer…. listen to the podcast till the end: 198: From an aggressive end stage Cancer to radical remission. It’s possible! with Heidi Bright

Alternative Practice – Holistic healing.

Action Step – Going out, doing everything I can to be healthy. I was not going silently into that dark night so I picked myself back up. I worked with that fear and sorrow and that absolute powerlessness. I continued all my healing processes.

Major Life Lesson – There is a genuine hope, and there are always options.

Life Purpose – To share my message about healing our attitudes, behaviors and being able to make major life choices that we need to.

Wisdom Round:

Best Advice – Get to a therapist. Manage my emotions in a healthy way.
Personal Habit – It’s the map of emotions, and that’s the practice of experiencing the sensations in my body without thinking about them until they leave.
Book Recommendation – Waking the Warrior Goddess by Dr. Christine Horner

Thriving Through a Dark Night of the Soul

… rendered reckless by despair, you let yourself fall backward into the arms of nothing. This—according to John of the Cross—is a blessing of the highest order.

Tell that to the mother of a dead child.

Mirabai Starr, Caravan of No Despair

 

Have you ever been rendered reckless by despair? Fallen backward into the arms of nothing? Or even lost a child?

Mirabai Starr writes about her dark night of the soul that began the day the police showed up at her doorstep. Her 14-year-old daughter had just been killed in a car accident. It happened on the very day the first copy of her published translation of St. John of the Cross’s Dark Night of the Soul had arrived.

“… all the ways you have been accustomed to tasting the sacred dry up and fall away,” she writes. “All concepts of the Holy One evaporate. You are plunged into a darkness so impenetrable that you are convinced it will never lift. You may flail about for something—anything—to prop you up, but you grasp only emptiness.”

Twice I have lived through such a dark night of the soul—each time for seven years. And both times I came out on the other side a transformed person.

This is not about depression, or depressing circumstances, though those can plunge one into a dark night of the soul. It is about losing one’s sense of connection with the Divine. It is about feeling spiritually incapacitated, unable to pray or meditate. For me it began in 2009 with an end-stage cancer diagnosis, and I hit bottom six years later when my son Tristan passed away.

During those years, Tara Robinson, editor of Whole Living Journal, recognized the transformations as they were occurring. She honored those shifts in 2014—while I was still in the thrall of my dark night—by creating the Voices of Women Award for outstanding achievement in personal growth and transformation. She recognized that these hidden soul excavations often go unrecognized, even though they totally change a person.

Many people live through dark nights of the soul. How does one live in the midst of despair? How does one pick up the pieces and create something new and more beautiful?

I want to tell you from my heart that whatever you are going through, you can find light and joy. It is living in you, even if it is layered over by pain, rage, terror, grief, and confusion. It takes determination to find it. And for many, finding the light again is a long, slow, agonizing process. We do have a choice. We can languish or we can move toward thriving.

There are strategies we can use to help us cope and eventually transform. I gained those tools during my cancer journey and continue to use them. I will be sharing some of those tools Saturday at Cincinnati’s Victory of Light in the Sharonville Convention Center. My talk is at 3 p.m. If you cannot make it, contact me to schedule a speaking engagement.