There are times in your life when you simply must listen to your gut. When your instinct leads to an impulse to take a certain action that will change the course of your planned out trajectory for the better. For some people it leads them to find their soulmate. For others it leads to finding a lifelong hobby. For my business partner Sheila and I, talking about rejuvenating the “down down” lead to VoiceAmerica Internet Radio and we couldn’t be more excited! We will be launching our show Life: Flat to FABulous Wednesday March 6 at 3 pm Eastern time and thought we would share the fun video that got us here. We hope you enjoy our clip and be sure to grab a tasty beverage and #gabwithfab Wednesday afternoons!
This week, Lauren will be sharing self-care and maintenance of the Heart Chakra, or the 4th Chakra. It exists in the center of your chest. It is the central place that Love flows through. It is all that is Love and compassion, connection, and integration. The Heart Chakra resonates with a beautiful, bright emerald green. Balancing this chakra will help you find more joy and inspiration with interactions in daily life than you have been able to before.
Common thoughts & phrases I hear from clients about Meditation:
âI canât sit stillâ âMy mind doesnât settleâ âItâs too hardâ
âI donât know where to beginâ
âAre there other ways to Meditate?â âAm I doing it Right?â âHow long?â âWhat tools help?â
âI fall asleep?â âI have issues sleepingâ
If you’ve ever said any of these things and wanted to receive all the benefits of meditation, then this workshop is for you.
I will teach Meditation 101 on November 30th. You learn how to achieve the great benefits in a style that meets you where you are. Join me in this workshop hosted by Sip and Skill (see Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/sipandskill/?fref=ts ). Go to the Sip and Skill Facebook for details and the website to sign up and tell them I referred you. Space is limited so sign up today. https://www.sipandskill.com/
Cultivating Your Meditation Practice
This workshop is for YOU IF..
*you want to discover what meditation is like and its benefits
*you want to try meditating to see if it is for you
* you want to BEGIN meditating and don’t know how.
* you’ve started a practice and want help boosting your benefits
* you enjoy meditation and want to expand your know-how and tools.
What you Learnâ¦
* Learn about meditation and how it can benefit you physically, mentally, emotionally. It can help rewire your brain.
* Learn Powerful tools making it easier for you to meditate and create a style all your own.
* Learn my personal Invaluable secrets to increase your meditation benefits
*Learn what you need to begin meditating
* As my private clients have told me, you will feel âempowered and have funâ
*Experience guided meditation
I teach interactivelyâ¦so there will be multiple exercises throughout the1 1/2 hour event and q/a throughout.
Meditation changed my life and I love helping other people access the benefits-mind, body & spirit. Please join me on the evening of November 30th for a fun and interactive experience. Head to www.sipandskill.com and sign up today as space is limited and tell them I referred you. https://www.sipandskill.com/ See you there.
This blog is a companion to an interview with Dr. Deborah Zucker on Voice America Innovative Leaders Driving Thriving Organizations on September 27 focusing on the importance of building and sustaining vitality for leaders.
âSelf-Careâ is a big buzzword today in the health community. There are many books and professionals offering quick and easy tips for better âself-careâ. But, Iâm going to suggest something here that may seem kind of radical.
Self-care isnât about the list of things you are supposed to do to be healthy, or about keeping up with the new health fads or latest scientific theories. Self-care isnât about battling yourself into submission to satisfy the agendas of your inner critic.
Self-care is about a fundamental orientation toward the self that is rooted in kindness and compassion.
It is about nourishing all of who you are. And at its foundation, it is about your capacity to truly love and honor yourself and your life.
As wonderful as all this sounds, true self-care is far from easy. The spiritual teacher Adyashanti in his book, Falling into Grace, tells his students,
âThe person youâll have the hardest time opening to and truly loving without reserve is yourself. Once you can do that, you can love the whole universe unconditionally.â
So don’t be surprised if self-care doesnât come naturally, or if you have unexpected and irrational resistance to doing it. We all have baggage, wounds, traumas, and beliefs that keep us from being able to turn toward ourselves with the level of kindness, compassion, and loving care that we may easily be able to extend toward others.
Iâve found that learning how to face and embrace those resistant parts of ourselves is foundational to having an empowered relationship with our own self-care. Issues like shame, self-judgment, and self-sabotage are rarely talked about in most conversations about health. And yet they are critical. We canât ignore them if we wish to discover and live in our innate vitality and thriving health.
If we are unable to turn toward ourselves with loving care, how can we expect to be able to sustain life-giving habit changes?
Itâs also hard to follow through with something that weâre not fully invested in. For example, I was recently talking with a new client who had the intention to integrate more movement into her life. She excitedly told me that she thought she had a great strategy. Since she had to be up early to take her daughter to school, she would just go straight to work and use the gym there before starting her work day. When I asked her what kinds of movement she loved to do, she listed going for long bike rides, hiking, walking with friends, and going to yoga or Pilates classes. When I pointed out that the gym wasnât on her list, she admitted that she actually hates going to the gym. We laughed about how her strategy probably wouldnât last so long! We were then able to come up with a better way to follow through on her intention for more movement by doing things she actually loves to do.
I invite you now, as you begin or re-establish your self-care journey, to explore what all of this means for you. Grab your journal, find a cozy place to sit, and take some time to ask yourself the following questions:
â¢ How might you embrace an orientation to your self-care that is truly rooted in deep careâfull of self-kindness, self-compassion, and self-love?
â¢ What are some of the areas of resistance, self-judgment, and self-sabotage that have been enmeshed with your âself-careâ journey that you can focus on uncovering, discovering, and embracing more fully?
â¢ What is one thing that you can do differently, starting today to bring more ease to your self-care journey?
By shifting how we approach our self-care we can slowly and gently learn how to honor and love ourselves into our most vibrant, alive potential. Itâs an orientation of mindful self-responsibility in your health journeyâone that is not harsh, mean, or judgmental, but instead is rooted in love and kindness, as well as gentle, nurturing care.
About the Author
Dr. Deborah Zucker is a naturopathic physician, transformational health coach, and author of The Vitality Map: A Guide to Deep Health, Joyful Self-Care, and Resilient Well Being. Her holistic approach to healthcare focuses on helping mindful, compassionate people to love, nourish, and heal themselves on every level so that they can unleash their gifts and service to the world. As the founder of Vital Medicine, she offers many virtual and retreat-based programs. She holds a doctorate in naturopathic medicine from Bastyr University where she has also served as adjunct faculty, and is a graduate and past mentor of the Generating Transformative Change program in Integral Leadership at Pacific Integral.
Physical Therapist and Craniosacral Therapy (CST) practitioner Tracy Lin joined me on âTurn the PageâÂ to talk about how CST goes beyond treating the physical symptoms of pain, disability and dysfunction, to address causes that are rooted in the psyche and emotions. If youâre still exploring ways you can regain your health and mobility post-injuries, illness, surgeries, or other issues, CST might be one of your âmissing links.â
Craniosacral Therapy complements most healthcare modalities, both mainstream and alternative, such as acupuncture, psychology, chiropractic care, and dentistry. It can be integrated as one of a host of other interventions used to address complex medical problems and needs.
After the show, Tracy shared the following three scenarios to further illustrate the benefits of CST. Perhaps you can find yourself, or someone you know in the presenting issues.
48-YEAR OLD FEMALE WITH DIAGNOSIS OF LEFT HIP LABRAL TEAR
The patient slipped on the floor while her foot was caught in the ground. She experienced pain when getting in and out of a cab, and when she was on her feet for more than two to three hours or with quick changes in direction. She also had pain while lying on her back, when bringing her left knee toward the opposite shoulder (with her foot positioned outward, which is an internal rotation of the hip).
TREATMENT WITH PT AND CST
Tracy says, âIn a typical PT session, I would have focused on strengthening and stretching both of her legs, emphasizing her left hip, along with some manual therapy. However, after guiding her through basic stretches and functional strengthening exercises that she could do at home, I primarily treated her with Craniosacral Therapy with intermittent therapeutic dialoguing. She opened up about a lot of stressful situations, both work-related and personal. Her left hip pain diminished over the course of weekly or bi-monthly sessions over a span of twelve to fourteen weeks. The pain subsided altogether when we discussed her relationship with her mother, which we discovered was a primary source of stress in her body. Although she was a stoic woman, she released some emotions (e.g. teary eyes) while speaking about her mother. Her craniosacral rhythm stopped during this outward expression of emotion, indicating that a source of health-related issues was surfacing from her unconscious to her conscious mind.
Although she was pain-free for the last few weeks I saw her, she requested to continue CST âjust in case the pain was to came back.â Recently, I spoke with her and she stated that she has had only a âslight twinge,â but is pain-free as far as sheâs concerned.â
70-YEAR OLD FEMALE WITH NECK PAIN/STIFFNESS
âThe patient did not tolerate stretching or soft tissue massage of her neck by another physical therapist using âconventional PT treatment,â since it was âtoo painful,â and caused her to be even more âtense.â Given that the patient was consistently teary-eyed and reported that stress was causing stiffness in her neck, she was referred to me by my colleague, who thought she required a âgentler and sensitiveâ approach.â
TREATMENT WITH CST
âThe patient enjoyed a combination of light touch and therapeutic dialoguing. She felt more ârelaxed,â with less pain after the sessions, and her range of motion, along with the soft tissue tightness in her neck, improved. I was consistently drawn to the tissues around her upper left thorax region, just below her collar bone. Over time she revealed that her husband was sick and now in a wheelchair. While her husband had a home health aide five days a week, for four to six hours, the patient was very attentive to his needs. Steering his wheel chair created a lot of strain on the weak muscles in her arms and neck. The patient talked about feeling insignificant in her marriage. Her husband frequently yelled at her and had numerous affairs early in their marriage. Given his lack of respect, she felt guilty and sad in anticipating the relief and freedom she might feel when he died. She realized that she had neglected herself, sacrificing her own needs to accommodate those of her children and husband. Ultimately, she failed to recognize her own self-worth.
In one session, she pictured her chest as a black, heavy object that was âpushing her down,â preventing her from moving. Through therapeutic dialoguing and imagery that elicited feelings of contentment, she felt lighter and freer in her chest, and began to feel the spark of a yearning to âlive her life.â She envisioned attending church on a regular basis and joining the choir, which had not been possible given her care-giving responsibilities and guilt. As she spoke about her âhappy place,â my hands were drawn to her heart, and the patient expressed that the âheavinessâ was releasing. She eventually established a positive and confident view of herself, committing to doing something that made her happy at least once a day without guilt, while her husband was in the care of the home health aide. As her self-assurance strengthened, the patientâs neck muscles became softer, with less to no report of stiffness.â
65-YEAR OLD FEMALE WITH A DIAGNOSIS OF MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS
The patient was referred to PT due to increasing leg spasms that disturbed her balance and gait. She had chronic, intermittent back pain, constant bilateral knee pain from arthritis, and headaches. She walked with a cane, with a slow gait and small uneven steps due to the pain in her knees, and expressed a strong fear of falling.
TREATMENT WITH PT AND CST
I initially treated her with âconventionalâ PT, focusing on balance and gait activities, gentle stretching of her legs, functional strengthening with energy conservation techniques, and instruction on home exercises. In one session, the patient shared that she didnât do most of the home exercises so that she could conserve her energy for doctorâs appointments. She reported an increase in leg spasms that âthrew her balance offâ and an even greater fear of falling. As she described that her left leg, from her hip down to her knee, was in spasm, I noticed that she was walking much more slowly and carefully than usual. Inviting her to lay down on the mat and relax, I tuned into her craniosacral rhythm, noticing that it was âsluggish,â especially on her left side, below her rib cage.
After performing gentle hands-on techniques at her left hip and thigh, pelvic region, the full length of her spine (the dura mater, which is the membrane that surrounds the brain and spinal cord), her craniosacral rhythm improved in its rate and was more symmetrical with the left and right side. The patient noted that my hands felt very warm, and her tissues and some parts of her body were more ârelaxed.â After the session, she stated that her left leg spasms had decreased considerably. When she stood up to walk, she reported being much âsteadier.â As she departed, I observed that she was walking a little faster with more confidence, and a smile.
Depending on her fatigue level, the degree of pain in her knees, and left leg spasms, I continued to treat this patient with CST (versus conventional PT) for about 80% of our sessions for another seven to eight weeks, twice a week. After each CST session, the patient left with diminished pain and spasms, improved vitality in her craniosacral rhythm, and consequently, more energy. As a result of decreased pain and leg spasms, her balance and gait felt more âgrounded.â During her last session she reported having âmore good days than bad daysâ as a result of more developed mind/body awareness.â
Tracy shared that while patients with particularly complex health issues such as MS and chronic pain would benefit from further treatment, many are unable to continue their sessions for financial reasons. She notes however, that patients generally emerge from the course of treatment with tools and insights that result in much improved self-care.
HOW YOU CAN FIND A CRANIOSACRAL THERAPIST
Tracy suggests the Upledger Institute website (www.upledger.com) as a referral source for CST practitioners, in addition to âword-of-mouthâ recommendations from trusted healthcare providers.
In assessing whether or not a particular Craniosacral Therapist is a good fit for you, she advises: âFind out if a practitioner is certified, or how many courses he/she has taken, in addition to the number of years the therapist has been in practice. Ask if the practitioner is comfortable with treating your condition, and if he/she has treated similar issues. Many highly skilled Craniosacral Therapists are not certified but have substantial experience and training in CST. Without seeking perfection, trust whether or not you feel comfortable with the CST practitioner during the initial visit or treatment. A good CST therapist will assess whether or not he/she is best suited to treat you and may refer you colleagues who might better assist you.â
Learn more about the benefits of CST by listening to my conversation with Tracy
Tracy invites you to contact her at www.iahp.com/Tracy-Lin to discuss your questions about CST, and explore your interest in experiencing this âlight touchâ therapeutic technique firsthand.