Sunday, May 7, 2017

Some People Never Learn

In spite of (or perhaps even for some because of) the pain, cost and harm their actions cause, they continue on in willful ignorance of the principles of honor, integrity and self-respect. They seem to feel they're the exception to every rule. The laws of karma, you reap what you sow, do unto others.... It will show up in their lives at some point though in some form. As their actions have been cancerous to others, something will eventually corrode in their own lives. And when they then choose to don the victim mask most will still persist in their willful ignorance. Some people never learn. All the rest of us can do is forgive them... like Jesus said, "Forgive them. They do not know what they're doing."  And so it is.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Caregiver Thoughts

If you're not a caregiver personally overseeing an aged loved one's needs, you won't understand this completely. And I'm not referring to those of you who have already needed to place your loved one in a facility. But let me offer some insight in case you find yourself needing to be the main caregiver who must monitor and manage your loved one's life in order to honor their wishes to stay in their own homes and as independent as they can practically and SAFELY manage. And yes, this is lengthy...
All situations are as unique as the people involved. My mother does amazingly well for a 94 year old woman. Note: my mother has always done pretty well on her own, a strong independent woman, basically since helping with her family income when she was 12-13 years old during the Depression. This put into place within her a great determination, perseverance, sense of duty and responsibility resulting in a fortress of inner strength. My mother has said to me that I perhaps know her better than anyone else ever has. I've been the one who has chosen to be most involved in her life, pushing past her strong independence over the years, at times requiring my insistence that she be more involved in my life. We've had our battles, those mother/daughter clashes and times of withdrawing and letting some time and space occur between us as needed. We grow. We change. We learn. As I came to know my mother as a her own separate person, as a unique human being apart from being my mother, I was astounded at her strengths and wisdom and the life experiences she survived that gave her that strength rather than defeat her. I don't know that I would have done as well. I do know I'm thankful for her as my mother and the incredible gifts I've received from her through our relationship. She was not the favorite daughter and she knew it. I have clear memories of this myself as not one of the favorite grandchildren. She was deemed the black sheep because of her career as a jazz musician, a beautiful, greatly talented blonde woman wearing sequined dresses playing out in nightclubs at night and working different jobs during the day to hold her family together and on top of that having been through several divorces. This all forced her to be organized and a bit of a perfectionist in her housekeeping because time was short, so therefore she impressed upon us a place for everything and everything in its place. Her deep love, immersion and knowledge in music combined with her passion to teach gave her great satisfaction in seeing many of her students go on to successful music careers. Her training and experience at Harrisburg Hospital School of Nursing served her well not only in her years at Pa. Blue Shield but also in good healthcare for her children. I have often stated that I give credit to my mother for my great love and passionate interest in health and music, not to mention the inherent gifts and predispositions to such in my own gifts, abilities and interests. Soooo, all these things that were so strongly part of my mother's life now come through to serve her well when her short term memory does not. Her realism, truthfulness, perseverance, organization and pride all help me determine how to make decisions on her behalf and how to respond to her in our daily interactions that are truthful yet preserve her dignity. I have thoroughly researched all avenues, both allopathically and holistically, to help her do her best physically, mentally and spiritually. I Have learned in caregiver support groups that it all too often falls on one sibling or one person to bear the majority if not all of it in dealing with an elderly parent or grandparent, for one reason or another, some very good reasons and others simply excuses for selfishness. I will never post or discuss anything publicly that could be detrimental or disrepectful in any way of my mother. I wouldn't do that with anyone. When your parent or grandparent or aunt or uncle or whomever is dependent on you in those final years, should you be so blessed to accept that sacred challenge, remember to do all you can to not only preserve their dignity but to cherish those moments. They still have a voice. They still have their own feelings, concerns and fears. Consider that. Ask them! And then make informed, appropriate decisions for them that are based in reality for their safety and well-being in every sense. Be informed. Be practical. Be kind and patient. Accept your role as Guardian Angel. Ask for and accept input and help from those who want to help and from those who have the knowledge, training and experience. If you're new at this, you don't know it all. Take care of yourself. Give thanks for the opportunity to give back to those who gave you your very life. Mom's words of wisdom when I was with her on Tuesday: "It's so hard for me to be dependent on anyone because I've been so damn independent my whole life. But if I have to be dependent, at least it's with people who really know me and love me, you and Jim. I hope when you get to my age you have that, too. Everybody needs those kind of people in their lives. Don't waste your time on the rest." 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Path of Revolving Doors

Yes, when one door closes often another one opens.  And when that door closes we waste our time and energy if we insist on trying to force it back open. Some time goes by, you've continued on your path. Just ahead you sense something old and familiar yet you know you have moved on. As you approach this new door, you realize it is not so new afterall. It is quite familiar. The Light and Love and the Sound of the Calling compel your steps toward it.  You question and ponder, "What? I recognize this! This door was closed. I tried keeping it open, and it wasn't meant to be!" You move closer looking for a sign, a clue. You remind yourself yet again that you have moved forward, moved on.  If you go through that door wouldn't it be moving backwards.... yet, no, you clearly see you're still moving forward. You haven't gone back at all. The mysteries of life. How can decisions made to close a door move you forward to enter it yet again?  You look closer and see that it is indeed that same door, the same frame of energies, the same hinges of knowledge holding it in place. Approaching the threshold you hear the voice of your soul welcoming you to cross over, to enter.  The light, the colors, the warmth engulf you as you take your first steps not backwards but forward into familiar and yet new territory.  The paradox of life and love and learning. Time is timeless. Sometimes we think we have things figured out only to be reminded that in any given moment everything can change. We can dwell in the Land of Not Knowing and learn to be content with it, or we can fight it and bring undue stress and problems, or we can stay too long paralyzed by fear of decision and consequences. But know this: If you want to arrive at the end of this life with no regrets or as few as possible, make decisions not from a mind of fear but from a heart of love.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Let's Go or Let Go?

There is a lot being written and said in the media about letting go, in a plethora of self-help books, and of course on Facebook.  Like many of the popular memes and quotes, everyone seems to feel the need to parrot them, share them, mention them, repeat them.  They are popular because they resonate with the majority of us.  I get that.  The "share" feature on facebook serves many purposes.  I won't bother to list what you already know.  I think sometimes this modern phenomena of sharing on facebook is something many of us grew up with.  We called it being a copycat.  I am "guilty" of that. When it resonates with us, with our path, with our beliefs, with how we would like the world to be, we repeat it. What we learn we often want to share with the world.  If we are teachers, we cannot help but share with our students. But back to this "Let Go" mantra.  If we are going to truly let go of something or someone that just is not positive or healthy or inspiring for us, then to do so in anger or unforgiveness would just mean we haven't let go at all.  Merely ignoring someone or something is not letting go. Any negative emotion attached to the letting go actually binds it to us further.  It's a paradox.  Letting go is a good thing.  Or maybe sometimes not.  You decide how you are going to let go.  May it be from a place of love, forgiveness, with the best intentions, knowing that the letting go is the best for all concerned because you realize we are all connected in some way.  Otherwise, you are not really letting go and moving on. That brings me to the "Let's Go."

Let's go implies a collaborative and cooperative effort, an agreement. C'mon, Let's Go! Let us move forward together.  Let us acknowledge that the relationship or situation is not the best for all concerned, not out of judgmental attitudes or bitter resentment or the inability to bless what was and what will be.  Let us resolve to  mutually let go from a place of peace and kindness and compassion and healing! Let's go to the next level, which may mean separately and apart, yet acknowledging that all things, all people are connected no matter how much we Let Go.  To publicly proclaim that you embrace the concept of letting go while still holding on to the negativity is not letting go at all.  So, when it's time to let go, how about offering your hand and saying Let's Go! And be truly done with it. Moving together is freeing. And if your hand is refused, you can then truly still Let Go. The situation or relationship or person will eventually catch up. Or not. But then it isn't about you anymore.  It's about them and their choice to stay attached and not let go.  Let's go!  Like someone once said, "No one ever choked to death on swallowing their pride!"

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Land of Not Knowing

Last month was challenging in many ways for me.  How was your merry month of May?  It is within my favorite time of year, for one thing. So many good May memories and beautiful life-changing events have occurred throughout my life in this gloriously blooming month.  To name a few, the birth of my daughter, the birth of my first grandchild and the birth of the first true love of my life who became the father of my children. Often Memorial Day marked our first trip to the beach to stay at my mother's little summer home there in the Cape May, NJ area. There's that May word again!

I knew a big decision had to be made since several unexpected events knocked me off my feet in May.  I happened to be on beautiful Hilton Head Island when I realized I could not delay or try to finagle things to work out in the direction I already had planned.  It meant letting go of what I had been holding onto for the past several years, vacillating from total commitment on the familiar path to retiring from everything I loved doing.  It all coincided with the energy shifts many of us were experiencing during 2012-2013.  I was not used to not knowing where I was going.  I was standing atop one of the mountains in Alaska, looking out over the Magnificence just being silent and thankful, breathing it all in when the phrase came to me, "The Land of Not Knowing." Surrounded by the majesty of creation, I was humbled and peaceful as most of us are in such awareness.  It's okay to not know, and to let go of the need to know.

So last month there I was again not knowing. I put one foot over the boundary and realized I did know what I had to do.  I knew quite clearly and without any doubt.  I cried.  I smiled.  I prayed.  I meditated.  There was very clearly a way to take the next step.  So on the very last day of  May I knew I had to write a letter of resignation to a number of people and events.  As I pondered what to say and prayed for divine guidance about it, I began by writing this as a facebook post:

"Heavy rain painting us some very wet and shiny vistas just outside the house this last day of May. Goodbye May. You were a roller coaster of emotions ranging from the joy of long awaited answered prayer and happy, memorable times with family and friends to shock, sorrow, letting go and heartbreak. We received unsettling news, good news and encouraging news. We came face to face with life changing decisions and which fork in the road to take. But really, I ask myself, was this May so vastly different than any recent months? Yes. Yes, it was. And I am letting the driven rain cleanse the path of May's debris so I can keep moving forward. I think of one of my favorite Beatles' songs, "I'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in and stops my mind from wandering where it will go... And it really doesn't matter if I'm wrong I'm right where I belong... I'm taking the time for a number of things that weren't important yesterday..." Yes. It's a beautiful, rainy Saturday morning, filled with some laughter, a silly dog and easy breakfast conversation. May you, too, be surrounded by such things that mean the most to you this day."

So I wrote that email letter. I hesitated twice before hitting the send button. All but three people responded.  And every one of those responses were understanding, gracious, kind and encouraging, moving me to tears of gratitude for their wisdom and love.  It affirmed what I had been teaching and preaching for years: When you listen to that still small voice within, when you heed the call of the Divine, when you truly desire the very best outcome for everyone involved in a situation, self included, it really does all work out.  If you are in that Land of Not Knowing it can seem like forever.  It can be very unsettling.  It can be scary. But so can Knowing. Wherever you're dwelling these days, I wish you peace. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Sound Works

I met several people over the past week and had a couple phone calls from people asking pretty much the same question about sound therapy.  They wanted to know how sound works for health or healing and why does it make us feel better.  One woman asked if she could use it separately or along with her current healing practice. I have been asked many questions from so many beautiful seekers over the years when sharing how sound might work for them as part of overall health regimen or to add to their existing healing practice.  At an event this past weekend, I was reminded that there are still many who have not heard of sound therapy, and have no understanding of the fact that everything is energy. If everything is energy(and it is), then everything has its own frequency or vibration.  If it has its own frequency, it has sound.  Everything is sound. Sound can be a powerful healing energy in the hands of a trained, experienced practitioner. In this lifetime, I was blessed with experiencing beautiful music as sound therapy being carried into this life in my musician mother's womb.

When I first started teaching others about using sound, voice and music for health, there was not a lot of formal research and documentation about it. I am thankful for those "pioneers" of modern sound healing for their work, what I learned from them, and certainly my own clients who were willing to let me use sound along with their massage and energy sessions(Reiki, Healing Touch, Chakra Balancing, Craniosacral Therapy, Polarity, Foot reflexology and numerous hands-on massage modalities).  I am still learning! The more I learn the more I see there is so much more to learn.  I frequently say that sound is a vast subject, and there are so many subjects and aspects of it!  Fortunately, in recent years due to the advances in technology and the increased interest in sound healing and sound therapy, hundreds of studies have documented not only that sound and specific frequencies may bring about healing and help us maintain health, but it also contains necessary nutrient frequencies.  Our bodies absorb sound.  We don't have to be able to literally hear something for there to be sound or for us to be effected by it.  We basically only hear between 20-20,000 Hz.  There are a few people who have increased hearing ranges, and there are many of us who hear less, especially as we age. We know that many animals have much greater hearing capacity than humans.

By entrainment and resonant frequencies or sympathetic vibrations, might even the cells of our bodies be restored to balance or harmony, i.e. their healthy frequency?  While shamans and tribal healers throughout the ages have used quite a variety of means in healing with sound, so have ancient cultures, churches and societies used it for such purposes as controlling populations, healing and warfare.  Sound is still used in this way through frequencies, types of music, specific vibrations. If you have a room full of grandfather clocks and start the pendulums at different times, within hours they will all be swinging in sync.  There is a popular YouTube video showing this happening with a movable/floating tray filled with 32 metronomes.  They start out all swinging at different degrees of the same rhythm.  Within minutes they all are swinging back and forth at the exact same time in the exact same beats per minute.  Synchronized oscillation.  While this is a mechanical example, our bodies are in constant rhythmic patterns always working for homeostasis or balance. Physics majors know this video is an over-simplification but it works as an example of entrainment. :)

And yes there are frequencies that are harmful to our well being.  Think EMF's.  Electromagnetic fields, ultraviolet rays, radiation, power lines, cell phones, microwaves, televisions, computers, other appliances. We are walking around in a sea of invisible frequencies.

Sound therapy is a collaborative effort between the practitioner and the client/patient as is any type of health relationship.  When the sound therapist uses an instrument or their own voice, your being absorbs those frequencies.  Every cell, every organ, every system, every layer of your energy field have their own individual healthy frequencies.  If any of these areas are literally out of tune, the sound therapist's use of sound may help entrain the out-of-tune area back to harmony. Sound is the energy of creation. "And God said, let there be..."  The spoken word is powerful! Our sound on our breath, whether speaking, singing, chanting, praying manifests!  May we be conscious of and choose thoughts and words that heal and unite rather than those which wound and divide.  Love is the purest and highest frequency.  God Is Love.  Ah, but I've digressed....back to the practical explanation... :)

As for using sound therapy along with any other practice, I personally wish all healthcare practitioners would be trained to do so. I am not saying that any other therapy, modality or treatment is not enough on its own, but I am saying that using sound may reinforce, enhance and strengthen what other healing efforts accomplish.  I have seen this repeatedly over the years in my own practice using multiple modalities. Licensed Music Therapists(4-5 years college plus internship and proficiency in musical instrument) have seen how effective music is as an adjunct treatment with patients in a variety of allopathic medical facilities. Unfortunately anyone with little or no training can call themselves a sound therapist at this point in time. There are people working to set standards and requirements for sound therapy practitioners.  "Let the buyer beware," is good to keep in mind if you are considering a session with someone who offers sound therapy.

Perhaps, next time I will discuss how to choose a qualified sound therapist.  For now, just know there is so much more than just whacking a bowl or beating the heck out of a gong or merely mimicking something you saw someone else do. One of my "revered highly knowledgeable and experienced" teachers explained that you can actually do more harm than good when you don't really know what you're doing, as harmless as it may seem.  There is a balance to be struck. (pun intended)

All of Life Is Music....
~ Peace Through Music ~

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Saturday Sermon

I have been reading and hearing a fair amount of talk about illusion lately.  More specifically, how all that is and all that we are and all that we think this world is, is really an illusion.  This is not a new concept to me.  As soon as we start delving into trying to understand the mystery of life we are going to come across the teachings of the Masters who speak of the grand illusion, and all the lesser ones as well.  

I participated in a group meditation recently where we were guided to let go of third dimensional thinking, behaviors, perceptions, patterns, habits.   It was not the first such group journey for me.  I give them myself with the use of sound frequencies through a variety of instruments including my voice.  I enjoy and appreciate being able to simply partake and grow without being the leader of one. We were encouraged to move into being more love, more of who we as individuals are, to not "give away our power," and help bring the fifth dimension into reality in our own lives.  This would also serve to bring that reality more fully into the world.  To bring more love, grace, forgiveness, peace and health into this world surely is the highest calling we have. God Is Love. We must bring it to ourselves consistently or we can't bring it to anyone else.  I think this is exactly what Christ meant when he said to Love Others as You Love Yourself.  We cannot love others until we understand healthy self love.  The New Heaven and the New Earth are being birthed.  It is an exciting time to be here on Earth. (Illusion or not :) )

Many years ago I went to churches that preached Jesus first, Others second, and You(self) last.  That is actually kind of backwards when you understand the full meaning of the words of Christ.  When invited, The Christ Consciousness (or Buddha or Krishna or Jehovah or Allah or G-d or....) permeates our soul with sacred (healthy) self-love.  It is not a self-serving, fearful, insecure, insensitive, self-impressed love with a doctrine of me-itis and hatred. Two blatant symptoms of me-itis are the over-riding need to be right about your particular viewpoint or interpretation, and making mini-gods of certain theologians and gurus throughout history who have convinced you their interpretation is the "correct" one.  Never the less, could we not all at least respect one another's views? Especially views that encourage us to love one another, to forgive, to heal ourselves and one another, to make the world a better place.  I learn from them all.  I love that quote, "promote what you love instead of bashing what you don't(love or like or agree with...)." Besides, if we were motivated to win people over, kindness, love, mercy, compassion would attract me. Fear, cruelty, sarcasm, self-righteousness and anger would drive me away.  In fact, it did.

As I have studied a few other "religions" and dogma, I cannot subscribe to any of them 100% either as they continue to insist their way is the Only Way or the Best Way. I recently read an article relating that as long as you think you are better than someone else because of your "enlightenment" in any one area(spirituality, environmental, dietary, etc.), you are guilty of spiritual egoism.  As soon as we say we are "more evolved" or "more enlightened," than any other one belief or state of being, we are guilty of the ego dominating the soul, are we not?  Please know that I realize there is a difference between healthy functioning ego and narcisstic, selfish ego.  And I know there is a fine line between observation and judgment.  And the longer I live, the more I realize I don't know very much at all.  I knew so much more when I was younger. (please laugh at that tongue in cheek illusion!!) When you have found what works for you, it is beautiful that it works for you...or you work for it.  We each find our own way (or not). We each have free will and choice. We learn from the darkness and the suffering as much as we learn from the light and bliss (or not).  But what do I know? I know that I Am. 

For most of us there is the ongoing battle of varying degrees within that we must balance to become the peace we want for the world, to become the love and joy and healing we wish for others. If we don't have it internally, it cannot manifest externally.  Most of us presently still live and are very much entrenched in this third dimension.  However, the earth and her inhabitants are moving into the fifth dimension. Some of us now accept this only because science and modern technology have been able to "prove" this.  Blessed are those who have believed and yet not seen. :)   When we choose to let go of the old ways of thinking and behaving, and choose to practice and live with more love, forgiveness and respect, we are doing the most powerful thing we can, not only for ourselves but for everyone.  We have heard so many times, "you cannot fix anyone but yourself."  Yet many of us still try.  To fix others. I like what Christ said when he reminded his disciples to take the log out of their own eye first. I remember thinking that perhaps the log is so huge it has blinded some of us. Or maybe the log is an illusion, too. :) Isaiah wrote that God will make a way when there seems to be no way.  He is making a way, folks, right before our eyes! Separating the wheat from the chaff. 

Now I have come back to the illusion.  I like what Thich Nhat Hanh said, too, when he reminded us that we are here to realize the illusion that we are not separate, we are One.  Like Jesus prayed in the Garden at Gethsemane....that we would all be One.  Like Ram Dass said so beautifully, "We are all just walking each other home."  Being one doesn't mean being all the same. We are all wonderfully diverse.  We are created in God's image...all the richness, love, wisdom, peace and diversity. All the unique and specific frequencies of energy that make us individuals.  All on as many paths as there are souls. And that many illusions, if you will.  Most importantly, All on our journey home.