All posts by heidi

Binding up Broken Bones

Oh, come, Divine Physician, and bind up every broken bone.
Charles H. Spurgeon, C. H. Spurgeon’s Pulpit Prayers

Several of my friends invoked the Divine physician to bind up my broken bones recently through laying-on-of-hands healing techniques. I sustained three fractures in my left hand after falling off a galloping horse in mid-November. I am grateful to energy workers Brecka Burton, Mim Grace, Patricia Garry, Julie Loewenstine, and Laura Dailey.
On Monday the doctor seemed quite impressed with how well my hand was healing. With the type and location of the fractures, he often sees fingers balloon to enormous sizes. Mine never did. Also, the bruising had hardly been noticeable.
Along with the energy healing, I attribute this excellent progression to the following:
– An anti-inflammatory diet so I did not already have a lot of chronic inflammation to make it worse.
– Icing my hand faithfully the first three days after the injury, before I knew I had broken bones.
– Using arnica homeopathic ointment on my hand until I found out the bones were broken. Then I switched to comfrey cream.
– Taking arnica homeopathic pellets.
– Doing exercises several times a day once I was allowed to bend my fingers again.
Part of what inspired me was when my dad, Dr. Charles D. Bright, broke his wrist falling on ice decades earlier. He faithfully followed his recovery routine. He regained more use of his wrist than anyone else the doctor had seen in his practice.
As a writer, I depend on my fingers a great deal. I am grateful for his example and for the healing balm and guidance I received.
This week, a friend told me about a woman we both know who has cancer yet who is not taking care of herself. Her cancer is getting worse. This doesn’t mean if she took better care of herself, the cancer progression would be different. However, I believe self-care is important when our bodies need extra support. Asking for assistance from friends also is a good idea. They usually want to help anyway.
Getting help and doing all we can doesn’t necessarily mean we will get better, yet why not give our bodies every chance we can? It can only assist the Divine physician with binding us up in healing ways.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:
Before taking comfrey for broken bones, read about its uses and precautions here: http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/comfrey

Source:
Charles H. Spurgeon (1834–1892) was an English Particular Baptist preacher. C. H. Spurgeon’s Pulpit Prayers, http://www.spurgeongems.org/chs_prayers.htm

Wrestling a 24-pound Turkey

“Ask and it will be given to you…”

Matthew 7:7, Christian Bible

I have come to believe when we put forth effort in certain directions (though not always), and ask for assistance, the Divine tends to step in and support us. It’s sort of a “God (sometimes) helps those who help themselves” perception.

I’m in my mid-50s and had never, before this year, cooked a whole turkey on my own. Recently my friend Cynthia Wells sold me her freezer so I knew I would have space this Thanksgiving to store leftovers.

I drove to Red Sun Farm in Loveland, Ohio. There, I could see white heirloom turkeys roaming a field of sunshine, and I signed up for a whole gobbler.

Shortly after making my deposit, I got a postcard from La-Z-Boy offering me a free carving set because I had purchased a replacement chair from them. I wasn’t expecting much, but my beautiful new large knife and fork have ceramic handles. I was all set to slice meat with my new poker and sabre.

Or so I thought.

Right before Thanksgiving I drove to the farm to pick up my poultry.
Kind of.
The bird weighed more than 24 pounds. 
Mind you, I had two broken fingers from falling off a galloping horse a few weeks earlier. (With two fingers taped together, I am in training to “Live long and prosper.”) And I’m also not supposed to carry heavy loads because of all my abdominal surgeries, including for uterine sarcoma.

I barely managed to pick up the box anyway and lug it to my Prius trunk.

Thanksgiving morning, I got out the roasting bag and read that it was only for meat up to 24 pounds. My turkey was bigger than that. Still, I managed to clean up and wrestle that weighty gobbler into its bag. And close the tie.

Once in the bag, I had a new problem. My pan was not big enough for a 24+-pound fowl. What to do?

I asked in prayer: Any ideas? You got me this far, please keep it coming.

Ten minutes later the answer popped into my brain. Use aluminum foil to form a basin.

I made the foil fowl bowl and managed to plop my big-bird-in-a-bag onto it. Into the oven it went. Whew.

After it finished baking, my son and I agreed it was too heavy to pull out, so we cut open the bag and left it in the oven. My nice new carving set made slicing so easy.

I felt so supported making this turkey. My freezer now contains bags of organic, free-range meat and multiple jars of deeply nourishing turkey bone broth.

The broth is perfect for making my hearty “thriver soup” with local organic Napa cabbage and onions from Earth-shares CSA in Loveland, fresh local potatoes from Harvest Market in Milford, and Shiloh Farms organic lentils I am sprouting (available through Jungle Jim’s in Eastgate), all in the Cincinnati, Ohio, area.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

It would have been easy for me to assume the idea to put the turkey in an aluminum foil bowl was my idea. I think, however, because so many details had lined up before this request, I was being supported by an idea from the Divine. I gave thanks.

If you ask for information, pay attention to your thoughts. An idea might suddenly arise. It probably will be easy to miss, or dismiss, but if you are paying attention, you might recognize it as a gift and give thanks.

“Thriver Soup” at Joseph-Beth Saturday

#Thriver Soup will be at the Crestview Hills #Joseph-Beth Booksellers Saturday from 1-4 p.m.
The local author showcase on Small Business Saturday also features Rick Robinson, Dennis Hetzel, Mike Due, Carla Carlton, Carol Peachee.
Support local authors! Hope to see you there.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Presentation: Power Up Your Spiritual Vibration with Energized Food

Meet me Saturday, noon, at Victory of Light to discover simple ways to super-charge your spiritual life with high-vibrational foods. Learn how to select more enlightening edibles to thrive on every level. Take home easy pointers for preparing power-packed provisions to raise your consciousness.

Discover what foods impart these qualities:

? = joy

? = Divine love

? = self-assurance

? = enthusiasm and fresh energy

? = self-control

? = mental vitality

Hope to see you there!

Sharonville Convention Center
11355 Chester Rd., Cincinnati, OH 45246
10:00 am to 7:00 pm, Saturday & Sunday
Admission:  $15/single day – $25/weekend
http://www.victoryoflight.com/pages/index.cgi/201711_festival?disp=Workshops

Irises: Rainbow Bridges between Earth, Heaven

As soon as the goddess entered and brushed away the dreams that hovered around her, her brightness lit up all the cave.

“The Halcyon Birds,” Bulfinch’s Mythology

In the Greek myth “The Halcyon Birds,” the king of Thessaly dies at sea while his beloved wife Halcyone prays ceaselessly for his return. Halcyone’s prayers are heard by the goddess Hera. Hera can’t bear Halcyone’s pleading for the impossible return of the dead king, so she sends her attendant, the goddess Iris, on a mission. Iris dons her robe of many colors, then paints the sky with a rainbow on her way to deliver Hera’s message to the god of sleep. Hera wants the god of sleep to give Halcyon a dream about the king of Thessaly’s shipwreck so Halcyone will stop her incessant prayers. Iris’ radiance fills the sleeping god’s cave. She delivers her message to the god, then returns by her rainbow to the heavens.

The iridescent rainbow goddess Iris represents a connection between earth and heaven through the bows she creates with her robe—the female version of an Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat—when she traverses the air.

The iris flower bears her name. Symbolically, this bloom bridges earth with heaven because of its great beauty. It represents the ability to communicate messages with those who reside with (the) God(s). If you have lost a loved one to cancer, the iris might take on some extra significance for you.

Irises have been growing for decades at Grailville in Loveland, Ohio, which has served as a spiritual bridge between the human and the Divine. It is sacred ground upon which my 19-year-old son Tristan inspired one final time.

Buckets of extra irises from the property recently found their way into my little car, thanks to Mary Lu. They now are planted in Tristan’s garden behind my home. From sacred ground to hallowed ground, the irises connect the spiritual with the profane, the light with the dark, the living with the deceased. They help bring the Spirit to my son who sought the Spirit in the false highs of heroin. The flowers now provide a symbolic way to communicate with him.

The iris has another symbolic connection for me. Early usage of the French royal symbol, the fleur-de-lis/fleur-de-lys, probably referred to the iris, which grew abundantly along the river Lys, rather than to the lily. The fleur-de-lis is a symbol for the Boy Scouts, in which Tristan earned the Arrow of Light honor.

I look forward to the flowers beaming their iridescent radiance in the spring. There is no more meaningful addition to his garden.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

To invoke the energy of the rainbow, or of communication with your loved ones on the Other Side, perhaps meditate with a drop of iris essence or essential oil on your forehead between your eyebrows, or with an iris blossom next to you.

Sources:

Richard Martin, ed., “The Halcyon Birds,” Bulfinch’s Mythology (New York: HarperCollinsPublishers, 1991), p. 65

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fleur-de-lis, November 1, 2017

How to Manage Your Emotions

Enlightenment, peace, and joy will not be granted by someone else. The well is within us, and if we dig deeply in the present moment, the water will spring forth.

Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace is Every Step

 

Digging deeply into the present moment can be enraging, terrifying, or sorrow-filled. That’s why many of us are experts at avoiding our feelings, at living in our heads, at focusing on thinking and doing rather than being.

When we are stimulated into raw emotions such as rage, terror, or grief, we experience uncomfortable physical sensations in our bodies—a red face, butterflies in the stomach, an ache in the heart. This happens because our brains are programmed to respond to threatening stimuli by dumping chemicals into our bloodstreams, according to Jill Bolte Taylor, PhD, author of My Stroke of Insight.

“It takes less than 90 seconds for one of these programs to be triggered, surge through our body, and then be completely flushed out of our blood stream,” she said.

Hearing this on her CD, I got my own jolt. She was giving a physiological explanation for what my psychotherapist had taught me, a practice called the map the emotions. Practicing the map provided me with enormous assistance for successfully navigating the traumas I’ve endured since 2009—end-stage sarcoma, then divorce, then the loss of my 19-year-old.

And suddenly the experience of grief rising, cresting, and crashing like ocean waves made sense.

During those 90-second surges, I had practiced staying with the physical sensations in my body without thinking about them, analyzing them, judging them, or making stories about them. I did not have a choice about what happened those first 90 seconds inside my body. I did have a choice how I would respond. I could observe and accept the sensations, staying in my body and in the physiological experience; or I could ignore the sensations and get stuck in emotional pain.

After the 90 seconds were over, I had another choice. Was I going to turn my attention to the source of that stimulation, allow my negative story-teller to re-weave a web of drama, get emotionally triggered again, and continue the pain?

Or was I going to live in the present moment, turn my attention away from the trigger, and choose to let the experience go?

Sometimes I allowed myself to be triggered repeatedly for more than an hour. Yet I stayed with the practice of experiencing the physical sensations with each surge of emotion. Finally I would want some peace and I chose to stop setting off my brain’s limbic system with my thoughts.

It takes practice, like any other skill. Allow time to develop these new thinking and behavior patterns. If you choose this practice, be gentle with yourself as you learn this new way of engaging your thoughts and emotions.

By practicing the map of emotions, I made a conscious choice. I became response-able. Taylor said, “If you re-channel those energies into being aware of what is going on in the present moment, you will be able to make a breakthrough and discover joy and peace right in the present moment, inside of yourself and all around you.”

You will be digging deeply in the present moment, and the water of life will spring forth.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

If you feel a sudden surge of emotion, focus on the physical sensations it creates. Notice how it moves around or possibly gets intense. Notice it lift after 90 seconds. Do all of this without engaging your mind. See if it brings you a sense of peace or relief, and watch your thoughts to see if they want to re-engage with the initial trigger.

Sources:

Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life (New York: Bantam, March 1, 1992), pp. 41, 42.

Jill Bolte Taylor, My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey (Viking, New York: 2008), pp. 146, 148, 152.

Photo: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=5127&picture=breaking-wave

Heidi Bright awarded Champion in Cancer Care

Amy Ostigny nominated Heidi Bright for the Champion in Cancer Care award.

Heidi Bright, MDiv, Milford, Ohio, has been named 2017 Champion in Cancer Care by Cancer Support Community in Cincinnati.

The CSC gala on Saturday, Oct. 14, honored inspirational individuals working in cancer care.

Bright, in radical remission from highly aggressive end-stage sarcoma for six years, embodies the words Champion in Cancer Care—she champions genuine hope and hundreds of healing solutions for cancer patients, according to her nominator, Amy Ostigny, Executive Managing Director of eWomenNetwork Cincinnati.

As a national speaker and traditionally published author of Thriver Soup: A Feast for Living Consciously During the Cancer Journey, Bright emphasizes healing one’s life to open space for the body’s natural healing abilities to arise, said Ostigny.

“Her compassion shines through when speaking and writing because she knows the devastation of being told there are no more medical options and to get one’s affairs in order,” said Ostigny.

All proceeds from CSC’s signature fundraising event are channeled into free programs and services for anyone impacted by cancer. http://www.cancersupportcincinnati.org/Default.aspx

How to Quiet the Peanut Gallery

Be not thoughtless, watch your thoughts! Draw yourself out of the evil way, like an elephant sunk in mud.

The Dhammapada, v.327

Watch your thoughts! warns the Buddha. Negative self-talk and storytelling arise from an area in the left hemisphere of our brains that takes up about as much space as a peanut. Jill Bolte Taylor, author of My Stroke of Insight, calls it the “peanut gallery.”

Do you have a peanut gallery in your mind that runs negative thinking loops over and over again, like a broken record? Do you obsess over an event in the past or an upcoming situation, like a cancer treatment you have to endure? Do you whine and complain about the same things, like cancer treatment side-effects?

Perhaps you can steer your brain cells in a more pleasant direction.

Taylor says, “I have learned that I can own my power and stop thinking about events that have occurred in the past by consciously realigning myself with the present.”

Nothing is more empowering than realizing you don’t have to think thoughts that bring pain, she adds. “It is freeing to know that I have the conscious power to stop thinking those thoughts when I am satiated.”

How do you stop the negative thinking? Use that peanut in your brain to entice the elephant of negative thinking up out of the mud so you can wash the dirt of negativity away.

First notice that it’s going on. Try to simply observe, not judge, any looping thoughts. Watch your mind as an external witness so you can notice your habitual patterns.

Next, when you notice the negativity, try switching your attention to your body. Feel the four corners of your feet. Focus on your in-and-out breathing. This will slow down the self-talk and help you reconnect your mind with your body, returning yourself to wholeness and the present moment.

Then initiate some conscious self-talk. Some of my friends encourage me to say, “Cancel, cancel, cancel” when I express negative thinking. I also find it helpful to recite a ritual prayer or affirmation. Another method is to talk directly to the negative thinker inside our brains, saying, “Stop. I don’t need that anymore.” Or maybe imagine that clean elephant wagging its trunk in front of the peanut gallery, threatening it to shut up—or else.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

Watching your thoughts takes vigilance, because the peanut gallery is persistent. It can chatter incessantly, especially when you are tired. You have to be more persistent with redirecting your attention. Have your own plan in place to first notice, then deal with the negativity so you can return to the present moment where there is more peace.

Sources:

Sacred Books of the East, Vol. 10: The Dhammapada and Sutta Nipata, by Max Müller and Max Fausböll, [1881], at http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/sbe10/sbe1025.htm 10/8/2017

Jill Bolte Taylor, My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey (Viking, New York: 2008), 147, 148, 152.

“Life is but a Dream”

“Row, row, row your boat / gently down the stream; / merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, / life is but a dream.”

On one level, this nursery rhyme is just a fun song to sing, especially in multi-part harmony. Yet it contains what might be a profound truth: life as we know it could be but a dream.

In the 2010 movie Inception, the main character and his wife spent fifty years within a dream constructing a world of their own choosing. What if this human life we are living also is a dream that has been constructed? What if, when we pass away, we wake up from this human dream and realize this drama does not encompass our true nature, who we really are?

This idea has been around for millennia. The Hindu scripture, The Bhagavad Gita, explains that our ability to dream demonstrates that all of creation itself is a dream, an illusion.

How can this be? British philosopher Alan Watts explained it beautifully in a lecture. He posed the idea that if we could stuff 75 years of life into one night of dreaming, and we could control what happened, and we could do this every night, we would spend the first few months fulfilling all our wishes while in the dream state.

After a few months we’d get bored and start adding adventures to our dreams. Then we’d get tired of that and we’d add a new dimension—forgetting that we actually are dreaming while in the dream. We would enter into the dream state and believe the experiences were real, which would give rise to fear. Yet it would be safe to try this, because when we woke up we would know it was all “only a dream.”

And with all the possibilities the universe could offer, we would eventually end up dreaming the kind of life we humans live now, playing with infinite possibilities and forgetting, while in the dream, that we are only dreaming. Watts says, “the whole nature of the Godhead, according to this idea, is to play that He’s not…. What you are, basically, deep deep down, far far in, is simply the fabric and structure of existence itself. And when you find that out, you laugh yourself silly. You yourself are the eternal energy which appears as this universe.”

Indian yogi and guru Paramahansa Yogananda said much the same thing in “Awake from this Dream into Your Oneness with God.” “If in a dream you feel your leg crushed under a car, your suffering seems just as real as if your limb were actually injured. But when you wake up, you laugh and say, ‘Oh, how silly. It was only a nightmare.’ This is exactly what will happen when you wake up in God.

“God’s dream creation was not meant to frighten you, but to prod you to realize finally that it has no reality. So why be afraid of anything?”

The implication is that this life is only a dream, and it is only real while we are living it out as humans in three dimensions.

Great spiritual masters tell us that eventually we will wake up and truly know this life is but a dream. They teach that one way to wake up from this nightmare is to meditate. Yogananda, however, warned, “To state that the world is a dream, without trying to attain in meditation actual realization of this truth, may lead one to fanaticism. The wise man understands that even though mortal life is a dream, it contains dream pains. He adopts scientific methods to awaken from the dream….”

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

While we are in pain, meditation is pretty much impossible, even for those who practice regularly. Pain consumes the mind.

If you are struggling, perhaps you can find a small amount of comfort from maybe playing a little bit with the idea that while we are living a nightmare now, at some point we might wake up from this agony and feel far better.

Sources:

Alan Watts lecture at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G79EHVjLgwU

Excerpts from a talk by Paramahansa Yogananda titled “A New Look at the Origin and Nature of Cosmic Creation” printed in “Awake from this Dream into Your Oneness with God”

Bhagavad Gita V:18, “The Universe—God’s Magic Drama,” Volume I, No.22