I carry my reflection books in a small plastic tub. It keeps them all tidily in one place, and makes for easy transportation when I go away. As I reached down to pick one out this morning, my fingers encountered a loose piece of paper. There, at the bottom of the tub, lay a small 3” x 5” piece of printing. I pulled it out and recognized it immediately as something that a dear friend had given me about a year ago. It was the copy of page 242 from a daily book of goddess reflections that she reads.
At the time, I was going through an immensely sad moment in my life. In hindsight, I realize I was probably verging on the edge of depression. I am very fortunate that I have many tools that I use on a daily basis that help me to never sink into the desperate depths of that particular disease. And then too, I have wonderful friends who walk a similar path to mine who care about me and give me exactly what I need when I need it.
And thus I received page 242 at just the right moment. The goddess who was addressed on that page was O-Ryu. She is referred to as Grandmother O-Ryu and is the Japanese goddess of the Willow tree. This is what was written about her.
She waits for you in her sacred tree temple beside the quiet night river. A golden Moon whispers above her long and hanging
branches, casting a twinkling outline around her wavy edges. “Come to me”, O-Ryu calls out as she reaches her long and
leafy branches toward you for a loving hug. An owl flaps a low, deep hoot from somewhere inside her soft green tendrils,
and you notice a spider’s web gleaming silver on the tips of her twiggy fingers.
”I am the Witch’s Tree, sacred to the Wise Ones”, she reminds you. “My branches are for making magic wands. My bark
supplies aspirin, the remedy for pain. Come. Sit beneath my weeping branches. Let me hold you close. It’s okay to feel
sad. Let yourself mourn and cry and weep. The relief you are seeking is in letting yourself feel. Do not hold back.
Perhaps you have postponed your mourning too long,” O-Ryu urges. “Mourn means ‘to remember’. Who wants to be
remembered today? Can you whisper their name out loud? Call their spirit to come and sit beside you here by the River.
Let us cry together and gather the wisdom they want to share with you. The spirit of someone deceased wants to talk
with you. Something you need to know will be revealed in a powerful feeling.”
At the top of this page was a statement: “Tears, too, are sacred and can wash away your grief. Honor your memories.” At the bottom of the page was another statement: “Mourning my losses and grieving are necessary processes on my spiritual path.”
When I was in High School there was a small section of the playground that was a grassed area where we could sit in those rare warm English summer days! In the corner of this place was a large weeping willow tree that I loved to sit under and feel protected and safe, cocooned if you will. As I read page 242 I was reminded of those days and, because I firmly believe that nothing happens “by chance”, I chose to work with the imagery of O-Ryu for the next few days, weeks, however long it should prove necessary.
In those days, I discovered that I was mourning the loss of my daughter. No, she had not died in the physical sense, but I had “lost” her all the same. The details of this loss are not important to this writing. What is important is that I discovered what had been destroying me inside during that moment in my life, and I was able to release it with O-Ryu’s help. I also discovered that I needed to mourn the loss of my mother at a deeper level, I came to understand some of her pain that I had helped to create.
Tears are cleansing. They are an important part of our journey to wholeness. They wash away the grief and allow for new seeds of happiness to bloom in once broken hearts. Welcome your tears as the refreshing waters for new growth. As the tears evaporate and dry on your cheeks, so an inner peace will enter your soul and bless you on your way.
Our brain does exactly what we tell it to do. This has been proved over and over again by psychologists, psychiatrists and scientists. Much of what we tell our brain to do goes on at a subconscious level.
There are programs in our brain that have been stored there ever since we were born. Some are positive, some are negative. They represent the collection of our experiences as a human being from birth.
Although we human beings are unique as a “thinking” species, we are also rather like robots when it comes to gathering information. Do you remember that strange robot character in the Star Wars movie – R2D2? He was in constant “input mode” devouring every thing he saw and heard and storing it into his system. Well our brains are constantly alert, even when we are babies, and we are constantly absorbing and filing information.
However, a very important thing to remember is that we can start putting powerful, positive programs in our brains right now! Starting this minute, we can build a store of self empowerment that can help us to improve our level of self esteem.
With a higher level of self esteem we will be able to face life with a more positive attitude. This new positive attitude can help us to deal with life’s problems rather than run from them. The quality of our life can improve tremendously. Remember ….
YOU ARE THE PERSON WITH THE POWER TO DO THIS.
One of the simplest yet most powerful tools discovered by man is the concept of “self talk”. What is self talk, you ask. It is quite simply all of the things that we say to ourselves inside our own head – our internal private conversations. And no, that is not a sign of insanity!
Whether we realize it or not, self talk is going on in our head all of the time that we are not actually speaking out loud. Self talk is all of our unspoken thoughts, opinions, judgments, questions, and ideas. However, our self talk can be a conscious level of conversation that we choose to create.
With practice we can build positive thoughts about ourselves which can help us get through tough situations. This leads us to feel good about ourselves – thus increasing our sense of self worth. It is a method that we can use to move out of negative thoughts into positive thoughts. When our thoughts are positive, our attitude becomes positive too.
There are many things we can say to build our self esteem. Here are just a few suggested ideas.
I am a unique person. There is no one else in the whole world exactly like me.
I am blessed with many talents and skills that allow me to live a full life.
I radiate joy and people like to be around me.
I am a beloved child of God.
I am a worthy, valuable person and I deserve to be treated with respect.
I am a sincere and honest person. People can trust me.
I am a caring and loving person.
My thoughts and ideas are intelligent and worth listening to.
Why don’t you take some time right now to write some affirmations about yourself. When you have written them, put your pen down and read them back to yourself. If you are in a private place read them out loud and see how good it feels to hear positive things about yourself.
Pick one or two of your affirmations (or choose from those written above), and commit to saying them to yourself every day for a week. Notice how different you feel about yourself. Write some more affirmations as they occur to you; continue to say them out loud to yourself. Learn to affirm yourself often. You are worth it. You deserve it.
As a Life Coach, I encourage people to use self affirmation as their number one tool. It is always available. You do not need any special materials or any special environment. It is a tool that can be picked up and used any time, any where.
It is of vital importance to all of us to give ourselves the time we need for ourselves. We are valuable and important beings. Just as we would dedicate time to a specific project, so we need to dedicate special time to ourselves. We are our number one project!!
Any professional, whether they are an artist, a brick-layer, a teacher, a carpenter, or a doctor, will confirm that they have to practice using their tools and skills constantly to benefit the most from them. Self talk is a tool. We need to practice using it – OFTEN. We need to set aside a few minutes each day to practice. Choosing the time that is best for us we should make it a regular commitment to ourselves.
So let’s all remember: We have the power to program ourselves positive. Let’s start doing it now!
Just a week ago I wrote a posting about massage (Self Nurturing- Massage). The following is an essay that I wrote as part of my massage therapy certification.
“Many studies in recent years have shown how important touch is to the human development on a mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual level. As Far back as 1971, Ashley Montagu wrote a book titled Touching: The Human Significance of Skin in which he states That touching is as basic to human need as breathing, eating, and resting, and without which our survival is in doubt.
I have recently finished reading anther book written by Madeleine L’Engle titled A Circle of Quiet, which she wrote in 1972. She too states that “….true charity is reflected in the words of a song …’See me, feel me, touch me, heal me’.” Our kids today are once again trying to find out what touching people means.
More recent studies show that babies who are not touched, held, or comforted in any way begin to withdraw and their physical, mental, and emotional development is damaged. Volunteer programs to help alleviate this problem have been established in many leading hospitals in both England and the United States of America.
The volunteers go into special pediatric units where babies, particularly HIV/AIDS infected infants or newborns with a drug dependency, are receiving long-term intensive care. Most of these babies have been abandoned by their parent(s) or the parent(s) has other children to take care of or a job to return to. The hospital staff does not have the effective time or man-power to give these children beyond the already time-consuming medical attention that they need. So the volunteers spend time simply holding, caressing, and rocking the babies talking and/or singing to them.
An example of the negative effect of lack of human touch was seen on a world level in 1989 when Romania was liberated from the dictatorship of Ceausescu. Countless numbers of babies and young children were discovered in desperate conditions in state-run orphanages and institutions. Under Ceausescu’s regime, married couples had been forced by law to conceive as many babies as possible ‘to ensure the country’s future’.
These ‘extra’ children had been literally ‘incarcerated’ with just a handful of non-medically trained staff to take care of them, and they were barely fed and given minimum sanitary assistance. As a consequence, the children were grossly neglected, left alone for hours on end, and were rarely touched or spoken to. At the time of their discovery, many of them had retreated into varying levels of autism and most of them will be emotionally and mentally scarred to different degrees for the rest of their Lives.
In December 1997, the Today Show presented a high profile segment on the benefits of therapeutic massage. During the course of this program a doctor stated that therapeutic massage was emerging as an important part of preventative health care as well as being integrated into a cure regime by doctors who are recognizing the link between stress and physical illness.
The same doctor indicated that more and more doctors in the American Medical Association were of the opinion that laws should be passed allowing them to prescribe massage in the same way they prescribe chemical medication. My personal opinion is that if more people used massage as a de-stressor, there would be less need for medical attention and less need for chemical medication.
In today’s hectic, fast-paced lifestyle, with many people working two jobs and running a home and a family, the negative effects of stress and tension on the human body are numerous. At hte very least they manifest in the form of headaches, stomachaches, tiredness, and general irritability. Going to the other extreme, we see people relying on drugs and alcohol to the point of addiction in order to relieve their stress.
On the continuum between these two points, we see child and spouse abuse, road rage, and many other incidents of violence due to unrelieved stress. Looking even further into this issue we find people suffering from severe body aches and pains, ulcers, and even cancer. The mind-body relationship is no longer a ‘fancy new age theory’ to be ignored. Caroline Myss in her book Anatomy of the Spirit, reminds us that everything we carry in our heads, including all the negative stuff, ‘becomes part of our human biology’.
One of the ways we can help reduce our stress is through the healing use of therapeutic massage. The main benefits of this healing are
- it improves blood circulation and helps relieve congestion
- it stimulates lymph circulation
- it stimulates The digestive system, hastening the elimination of waste and toxic debris
- it relaxes muscle spasms and relieves muscle tension
- it increases blood supply and nutrition to muscles
- it improves muscle tone, helps prevent/delay muscular atrophy resulting from forced inactivity
- it helps lessen inflammation and swelling in joints and therefore alleviates pain
- it brings increased awareness of the body
- massage makes you feel GOOD!
Different people come to massage therapy for a variety of reasons. Some come because they are suffering from stress and tension and it has been recommended by a doctor or a friend. Others come because of actual body pain either caused by stress but possibly due to injury or physical overexertion. Yet others come out of curiosity: ‘I’ve always wanted to try massage’, ‘my best friend swears by it’. And some come by ‘default’, that is they have received a gift certificate from their spouse or a friend.
In my work with massage therapy over the last twelve months, I have become very aware of the powerful healing that can take place through the caring touch of massage. Some of the healing is purely physical, some of it is emotional or mental, and even more of it is on the spiritual level. Most of my clients have come to me for one of the above-mentioned Reasons. However, I have one or two ‘connoisseurs’ who, through their own journeys of personal discovery, arrived at massage therapy several years ago and have since integrated its use into their regular health maintenance routine.