Council of All Beings

Sunday, February 11th, 2018

The full lunar eclipse of the super blue moon was quite a spectacle. Awakening in the wee hours of the morning at 4am, I remembered the eclipse which I thought was supposed to be starting at 5:30am. Just to see the full moon which was at perigee or closest to the earth during its orbit, I stepped outside just after arising and saw to my surprise, the shadow of the earth had already began its journey across the face of the moon and the eclipse wasn’t starting at 5:30 after all but would be complete by then!

The stars were bright in the still darkness even with the super moon and I didn’t recognize any of them as I do during the summer when we sleep outside underneath them. The magical quality of the still air, the super moon and the starry heavens convening at the beginning of the eclipse compelled me to take my seat on the picnic table, snuggled in robes and Ugg boots while nursing a cup of hot tea to witness the momentous event.

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After about 45 minutes outside I woke up John to tell him the eclipse was about half way across in case he wanted to see it. He snuggled deeper under the blankets so I returned to my post outdoors with a fresh cup of tea. A few minutes later he joined me outside and watched the Earth’s shadow slowly stealing away the moonlight. After about 20 minutes he returned to the warm bed but I was getting up anyway to go to work and stayed with the eclipse until it was nearly complete then jumped inside to finish preparing for work.

Hoping to watch the moon while driving to work in Bakersfield an hour west, I caught my last sight of it at 6am and saw the top left corner, where I had watched as the earth’s shadow began darkening the moon, that was the area that first started showing a rim of bright light as the murky “Blood Moon” began emerging from the shadow.

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At work that day I had the best day ever. Everything was going my way as Santana would say. I was so happy all day long. Upon returning home to my front yard, the picnic table where I had sat seemed different. It was shimmering in a numinous halo of blood-blue-super moon total eclipse energy. The thought occurred, “we shared a magical moment together,” as if the table was alive and had enjoyed it with me.

A few days later while processing the experience I remembered physicist cosmologist Brian Swimme’s notion that we humans are the culmination of a billion year process of the evolving universe. He says that when we look at the night sky with the feeling of awe and wonder at the majesty of life, its not just our own feelings, but the feelings of the universe reflecting upon its own grandeur. He describes the universe as this single energetic event, that is a whole, unified but multiform outpouring of being. We humans embody all the cosmological powers of the universe, such as gravity which we manifest as attraction and love. We are connected to everything.

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Writing about the phenomena for my “Bodywisdom” column in the local newspaper reminded me of biologist E.O. Wilson’s famous term, Biophilia, which means, our innate affinity with life and other species. Like John Muir before him, Wilson knows that the expansive freedom we humans seek can only be found in the green enclaves of the planet. These are the fabric within which our spirit and life are inextricably woven.

While discussing how the eclipse had affected me with a nurse friend, she reminded me that the moon was closest to the earth during this event. She remembered that when she worked at the hospital they had to staff extra people in the OB clinic during a super full moon since more babies were born during these times. The moon pulls the earth’s waters and we humans are composed of water too. A baby’s first environment is amniotic fluid, the watery ocean within the uterine placenta where a baby develops while in the womb.

If I didn’t think I was connected to the whole thing by then I was certainly more convinced now. While discussing this transformative phenomena with Dr. John my neurofeedback practitioner, he suggested that just like a single bad event can create a lasting change in someone, so too can a single good event, which seems to be what has happened to me.

Hindus use the term “darshan” when referring to what we might term “view”, which could be a particular philosophical perspective, but is also popularly referred to a s a blessing, such as the mountain looks upon the valley, bestowing darshan. Eyes painted on temple roofs are meant to convey the darshan of the temples resident deity. This must be why that when I meditate outside, I am really present in the now with no monkey mind. The darshan is working between us.

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We’re heading into Valentines Day next week which is all about love. RInpoche Anam Thubten reminds us to melt our heart and that sure feels good to me. May your heart be resonant with high vagal tone and filled with love and compassion.

biophilia

Twelfth Night Epiphanies in a New Year

Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

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Happy New Year Festive Spirits!

Yesterday the Indian summer we’ve been enjoying this winter finally broke as it rained sweetly upon us all day long. As this morning dawns the wind is blowing trees and wind chimes wildly outside presaging a wintery day ahead. Tis the season for such weathering antics.

Waxing eloquent about Shakespeare whose Twelfth Night play we are reading together round the fire after dinner this week starting on Epiphany which is the celebration associated with Twelfth Night. Epiphany refers to the visit from the three wise men to the manger in Bethlehem where they followed a star to find the baby Jesus. They arrived twelve days after the birth of Jesus to find the “newborn king.”

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Twelfth Night is also associated with things being upside down and Shakespeare’s play integrates themes from this era. One of my favorite Shakespearean quotes comes from this play and is uttered by Feste, the jester, who says, “I wear not motley in my brain.” It’s a trope that the fool is actually the only one who really knows the truth about everyone and can speak the truth in riddles without incurring the wrath of the mighty personages he is roasting.

This is our second Shakespeare reading with my mom and friend Dave as we read Merchant of Venice last summer and attended the actual play at Topanga’s Theatricum Botanicum after reading it together around our dinner table with my daughter Shannon also participating.

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After so much fun reading the last play we decided Twelfth Night would be our next one due to its also a comedy. WHen I realized it was almost the actual Twelfth NIght I reconvened the tribe and invited friends Hilly and George to join us and we gathered on the auspicious night itself and began our reading which we usually take three nights to finish.

While it is hard to follow the flowery language, we read a synopsis ahead of time so we realize what is going on through the context clues we pick up in the dialogue. It really helps to see the play performed because the actors actually do know what they are saying and use movement, emotion, inflection, gesture and body language to convey the intent and meaning.

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Taking Shakespeare in college introduced me to the “canon” of his work including Macbeth, Hamlet, Othello and King Lear which are tragedies where we experience emotional catharsis by living vicariously through the tortured soul of the protagonist. Shakespeare definitely weaves a tangled web and this is none more evident than in his comedies which I prefer while the tragedies do offer wonderful insight and analogy relevant to myriad life experiences.

Wavelengths of Consciousness

I’m going for my second neurofeedback session with Dr. John Galaska of BeCalmOjai. I went last week and am committed to doing ten sessions due to he offers us half price sessions if we commit to ten. But that is wise since we are learning a skill which is to keep our brain waves in alpha and theta more and less in beta and delta.

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He also offered hypnotic suggestions while I was in theta about not reacting so strongly to my boyfriend sometimes or ruminating on negative thoughts that might keep me awake. And I couldn’t follow these things he was saying because I was listening to a gong that kept telling me when I was in theta wave and the ocean sound played too and if I tried listening to Dr. JOhn’s voice to understand what he was saying the gong stopped and I liked the sound so I chose the theta wave.

I told Dr’ John I wasn’t listening to his suggestions so probably they wouldn’t work since I didin’t really listen but he said my ear drums were open and I heard everything that would play as an automatic “program” below my awareness. And would you believe I’ve been so mellow and not ruminating and sleeping great every night. I just can’t believe it. SO I am in.

EEG Glee.

Whirling Dervishes and Flying Reindeer

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

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Welcome to the season for love, peace, happiness, gratitude, generosity, family gathering and festal feasting.

Fires raged in the southland last week, burning hundreds of homes, barns and sadly, numerous uncounted sentient inhabitants not only of locked barns but of the burning forest as well.

It seems everytime I post there is some new disaster to acknowledge and assuage. We humans must be so resilient. LIfe is getting harder. Speeding up. Earth’s life systems are under strain by our polluting lifestyle. We are the Earth everyone. I feel like the Lorax sometimes.

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On a lighter note. Classes at CSUB are on winter break meaning two extra days a week for me to apply myself to working with pregnant moms through teaching prenatal yoga classes and also working with babies through craniosacral.

Last month, starting on my birthday, I attended a conference sponsored by the Association of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health (APPPAH). The title was: The Conscious Baby Emerges. Between the mix of obstetrician and gynecologists, there were doulas, midwives, craniosacral therapists, psychologists, chiropractors, lactation experts, meditators and yoga teachers in attendance.

The association sponsors this international congress biannually to educate people about this field. Our first speaker was Thomas Vierny, MD who talked about neuroscience and the baby developing in the mothers womb.

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He said that if the mother is always angry, fearful, anxious or upset then the baby’s brain doesn’t develop the dendrites that amplify neuronal connectivity in the brain, nor does the vagus nerve myelinate effectively which inhibits the “social nervous system” by returning the baby’s autonomic nervous system development to a more primitive fight or flight state. In Vierny’s words, the baby prepares its brain, in utero, for life in a difficult world.

Psychologist Darcia Narvaez, PhD, from the University of Notre Dame writes a blog for Psychology Today called “Moral Landscapes.”  The title of her presentation was called “The Evolved Developmental Niche,” aka “the nest.”

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Narvaez pointed out that humans are born with only 25% of their brain development. To be comparable to other infant mammals, humans need 18 months of outside the womb (postnatal) development to have a brain the same size as an infant primate. Narvaez calls this postnatal period the “evolved nest.”

PolyVagal Theory & Beyond

Somatic practitioners John and Ann Chitty talked about the Ployvagal theory which is a scientific explanation developed by neurophysiologist Stephen Porges on why being nice to each other is so helpful to life.

The vagus nerve is the 10th cranial nerve and originates in the brain stem then exits the cranium at the base of the skull where the two sides divide into ventral and dorsal (front and back) components.

The dorsal vagus originated first in our evolution and is unmyelinated meaning slower to conduct nerve impulses.The dorsal vagus controls the digestive organs of the stomach. This dorsal vagus activates our parasympathetic nervous system.

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We share this aspect of our nervous system with other animals including reptiles. This primitive nervous system responds to a threat by immobilizing or “freezing,” playing dead, fainting, or passing out. When life threat is not present the parasympathetic aspect of our autonomic nervous system inspires us to: rest and digest; relax and renew.

The front or ventral vagus is myelinated and it controls the heart and lungs (organs above the diaphragm). Myelin is the “white matter” in the brain, spinal cord, and cranial nerves like the vagus. It is a substance made from cholesterol, a fatty substance, and it coats the nerve axons with a lubricant so the nerve impulses making up our central nervous system can fire more effectively.

In the case of the vagus this myelination helps us respond to danger with our mobile mammalian limbs so the ventral vagus evolved us into the flight or fight response to danger which is a component of the autonomic nervous system: the sympathetic system. Running away or fighting a threat broadened our opportunity for survival.

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Mammals are social creatures who need other mammals to survive so the most recent evolution of our vagus is called “the social nervous system.” This means that the nucleus of teh vagus in the brain stem shares the same nucleus with the facial nerve which activates the muscles around the eye that show true joy and emotion.

Therefore, if we see a kind face, that reflects into our vagus fight or flight nervous system showing us we are safe. If instead we see a flat face or hear a low monotone then our nervous system registers danger and we prepare for action.

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This social vagus nerve works like this. If the person we are talking to looks kind and their voice registers prosody (sing song) then our ventral vagus feels safe and we can learn from others.

In this response, the vagus nerve that controls the heart, puts a “brake” on the heart. It inhibits speeding pulse, fast heartbeat, high blood pressure. It slows down and relaxes the heart. It inhibits other behavior like too much talking to encourage the pro-social behavior of listening.

Chitty summed up this important concept stating that the most critical thing for babies is SAFETY. And the most important thing for us to do around them is watch our “state” which refers to emotions you are feeling. Even if you try to hide a bad mood, baby feels it. So change your “state” before bringing baby into proximity.

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Merry Christmas Everyone, Happy SOlstice and New Year. May your holidays be filled with the warm love of all your relations and the nurturing comfort of your greater than human habitat

Happy Veterans Day

Friday, November 10th, 2017

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Well its officially tomorrow but we’re celebrating the holiday today to enjoy a long weekend extended us by the government. Schools, county buildings and businesses all shut down and everyone is free to play for the day.

Thanks for your service and sacrifice to all our veterans. Grateful to you for stepping up to face the unthinkable during the hardest trials you or our nation will ever face. No matter if there was a conflict or not but you knew when you entered your life was no longer yours and I salute your courage.

When will it end this nightmare of domestic terrorism. We don’t need to fear “Isis” or other Islamic terrorists. We have got to look at our own nation with an objective eye.  Our democratic nation elected an unqualified leader who does not uphold the dignity of his station

The atrocities in Texas with wholesale gunning down of children is just unthinkable. But it was the demented mind of the gunman not the gun, right. It was also noted that the shooter was a dishonorably discharged  veteran.

Training unstable people lethal skills then unleashing them with all their emotional problems – which led to dishonorable discharge – back into the society is unbelievable.

What about trying to rehabilitate the discredited serviceman who poses a threat to unarmed civilians when he is released? Especially when, as we have seen in this case, there are no restrictions preventing him from amassing his own armaments and artillery.

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All I can think of is to study trauma which lets us know that pregnant moms have got to be nurtured and comforted so their baby in utero feels loved and accepted and then brain dendrites grow and neural connections increase and brains get wired from the start.

We have got to get smarter. Not just in Science technology engineering math, either. SOmehow more integrated with the natural world. I think this may be the culprit. We are not doing anything outdoors anymore. Our civilization uses nature as a work mule, like the giving tree in Shel Silverstein’s children’s book.

We take whatever we want and are just so greedily consuming everything and leaving volumes of waste even though we are recycling better and I commend it but how about reducing consumption and material possessions.

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Our attitude toward animals is utilitarian as well and we share this planet with them. I think we need to become more community minded not just in our societies but in our habitat and bioregion.

I pray for all of us tortured souls who need love and comfort that we find succour in our families, our relationships, communities and in the greater than human world as well and not content ourselves with so much material possessions.

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Without the terra firma of mother earth our important civilization and human experience dissolves to nothing. May the sun shine sweetly upon you and the wind blow sweetly and the rain fall sweetly…

To Every Season

Sunday, October 8th, 2017

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Paraphrasing the Dalai Lama who said that loving people means we want them to be happy and compassion for them means we don’t want them to suffer. Invoking Metta on behalf of the fallen in Las Vegas.

I’ve been writing a monthly column for the local newspaper to build authority in my niche and promote my work. After the most recent article, one of my regular clients (whom I hadn’t worked on since last summer) called me up to schedule a session. This is the desired result.

I also just wrote my latest newsletter in case you’ve signed up on my email list. I write quarterly newsletters and email to students and clients across the four directions. This helps continue the conversation with interested visitors to my website and hopefully “convert” them over time into paying customers.

Permission Marketing

Welcome to the era of internet advertising where email is free so capturing email addresses is one of the most cost effective methods for educating people about our work. Plus they are a specific group of people who have asked to receive our promotional information. Since our subscribers are interested they become part of our tribe as we reach out to continue the conversation. And someday our gentle reader will turn up in our studio or at one of our events to feel the positive vibration in person.

We put our best material into the free newsletter such as recipes or practical advice to help make life easier. This invites a sense of reciprocity in the recipient who – appreciative of our sharing – decides to patronize us since they know us as we have been building familiarity about what we do and who we are. If our newsletter has helped or entertained them over the years our subscriber will think of us when they have a problem that our work addresses.

Biodiversity

Marketing experts say it is far better to keep the customers you do have and use your resources to encourage them to spend more time with you which is why I do so many different things. People visiting me for yoga classes will hear about my latest craniosacral training and be offered promotional freebies to experience it.

Or the art glass I make decorates the yoga studio adding color therapy to our classes and inspires students to peruse the display to purchase gifts during the holidays.

Learning to cook vegan amplifies my heartfelt passion to protect animals and love humans since the food is so good and helps life in so many ways.

Using drums and sound brings people together in rhythmic harmony and community dance.

Dome Roof Panels Rising

We are working on the dome again too now that it is cooling off. John is applying the final row of roof panels cutting in around the dormer windows on the second floor  and the extensions. He has to hoist the panel up to the right spot on the roof with a boom truck and crane, then hoist himself up on another boom truck to measure exactly where to cut then bring the panel down to cut it in the right spot.

He then applies fiberglass to seal the cuts before pre-drilling the panel to make screwing it in on the roof easier. Next, he hooks it up to a crane attachment he made for the big boom truck equipped with a remote control winch  with a cable that he attaches to the panel to hoist it to the roof while positioning it just so by operating the controls on the boom truck from down below.

He hoists himself up in another boom truck and situates the panel to lay just right between the neighboring panels and into the metal gutters he fabricated to hold the panels where they end on the wall. It is a masterpiece of architecture that is built on John’s ingenuity. I gotta hand it to him.

Craniosacral Mouthwork Restores Hearing

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Read the following article for a good introduction to how cranio alleviated my clients clogged left ear which had been stuck for two weeks. After several sessions of both ear candling and craniosacral therapy working on just the head bones we hadn’t succeeded in freeing the ears. In researching the cochlear nerve and craniosacral therapy to help it I discovered that mouthwork was suggested to free blockages in the eustachian tubes.

During the mouthwork the vomer tilted waaay back in the gesture of flexion into the sphenoid and the eustachian tube runs along the sphenoid where it opens from the middle ear into the throat. I realized the eustachian tube used the vomer to massage itself and free its obstruction which restored my clients hearing within an hour of her session and it has stayed open ever since.

Alleviating Ear Infections Through Craniosacral Therapy

Another Mother For Peace

Saturday, May 6th, 2017

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Happy Mother’s day tomorrow everyone. Time for us to endow our mother with caring gestures grateful for her gift of life. We cherish and nourish our own mother and salute all mother’s across the four directions. May rose petals fall sweetly upon you.

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Just had to cancel didge workshop with Mike Vills today due to his dog Jeeters getting sick after they arrived here from Long Beach yesterday. After a few hours it became apparent Jeeters was having bladder troubles. When her futile attempt to urinate become more frequent Mike decided to take his sick dog to the all-night vet in Bakersfield and from there drove her back home to Long Beach. We hope she feels better soon and,while we regret the inconvenience to our students, we support Mike’s decision to cancel his workshop.

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Meanwhile I made a bunch of food so invited those who were registered to still join me for dinner tonight and bring their didges for an impromptu didge circle and then drum a little too so a few may still gather and keep the good vibes flowing.

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After Mike got here yesterday we played a little bit together and it was really fun. His didge made it easier to play mine like maybe the sound sort of resonated into my didge and “primed” it to resonate a little better. It seemed easier to do circular breathing while continuing the drone which I can still do but its barely there.

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I am grateful to artist Joan Desmond for taking these photos of the didge workshop with Mike this past March. After that event Mike gave me a didgeridoo made by his Aboriginal teacher. This didge is made from eucalyptus which is the wood used traditionally. It has a nice drone and, armed with some beeswax and a heat gun, I built up a suitable mouthpiece. To practice circular breathing I took an online course and bought a book in anticipation of Mike’s next workshop which has been temporarily postponed.

 

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Hopefully we will see all those interested in learning didgeridoo soon. I’ll post on Jeeter’s condition as information comes in and will announce the date of the rescheduled workshop after Mike checks his calendar. ‘Til then…Didgeridoodidgeridoodidgeridooooooo

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Don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers!

 

 

Spinning into Spring

Saturday, April 1st, 2017

 

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Recently learned about a magical modality called tuning the biofield which is about using tuning forks to clear energetic obstructions from our energy field. AS a craniosacral therapist I’ve worked with very gentle touch on peoples central nervous system which is their head and spine. But this always involved systems like the meninges and cranial bones and the cerebral spinal fluid. These are palpable structures not energetic. But we also send energy through the body using our hands to help us break up blockages. Now I am learning about tuning forks and am very curious to have my own biofield worked on.

What is the biofield? It is this plasmic container surrounding our body and popularly referred to as our aura. Scientists for the National Institutes of Health studied this and called it the biofield as it seems to be measurable. Eileen McKusick is a researcher who has studied this phenomenon using tuning forks and she has found that our biofield contains the story of our existence almost like the rings of tree. I want to talk about that today since I have been having some issues around abandonment due to problems in my relationships and I think my biofield very much needs a tuneup.

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Using a tuning fork at 175 hertz, which is a sound frequency, Eileen starts around your feet and hits the tuning fork on a hockey puck to make it ring then she starts combing the energy field. As she gets closer to her client’s body, coming in from the side, her tuning fork will start to increase in sound or get static or turn sharp or flat from the pure tone and it is very audible to not just her but others listening.

This change in resonance on the fork means there is some kind of obstructing energy at this location which can either be physical or emotional. Usually it will be a physical malady such as a sore shoulder or neck but also can be something that happened years before that was painful and went unprocessed and so became a part of the person walled off from feeling. She can feel these areas in the biofield and compares it to the shamanic practice called soul retrieval.

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McKusick believes the biofield is a plasma since when she hits these frequency changes they feel like she has run into a wall and that is in the space surrounding the person which extends about five feet out on both sides and 3 feet top or bottom . She uses a technique she calls “click drag and drop” which involves her holding the tuning fork in the area where it’s tone has changed and says it feels like the energetic obstruction gathers around her tone like iron filings gathering around a magnet. Then she moves her fork toward the nearest chakra and holds her tuning fork over the chakra which acts like a vortex to take the energy off the sound and back into the body where it can be processed and cleared.

 

Another discovery she made about the biofield is it contains all of our experiences as it has been with us since inception. The farthest away is our earliest gestational life in utero and the closest is more immediate in the present. As she discovers these areas in the biofield she will get an intuitive hunch describing the emotion and the age it happened. She says if a person is 40 then half way out the biofield will correlate to when they were 20 and so forth. She will ask them what is a sadness around age 12? And the person will admit they lost a parent of some other trauma that happened.

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Eileen has worked with researchers into energetics such as Dr. Karl Maret of The Dove center in Palo Alto and Dr. Richard Shwarz of the university of Arizona who are also studying these fields. She is now an international lecturer teaching her discoveries around the world. She discovered it after using it on her massage clients and pretty soon all they wanted was her tuning forks which were making huge changes for people and her practice grew too busy so she started teaching others her technique and now she is doing distance healing and online classes like the one I am taking with her. She wrote her thesis on the subject and also wrote her book and has a manufacturer making tuning forks out of a special alloy to handle the healing practice she subjects them to.

I have ordered her favorite tuning fork and hockey puck which you hit to start the fork singing. I’ve also bought her book and am taking her class online after watching her youtube videos.

I have been resonating with sound recently after having a bought a gong a year ago. While working with the gong I discovered other sound modalities I like including koshi chimes, a friction mallet on the gong to make whale songs and a sansula which is a kalimba on a membrane. The geodesic dome we are building on my land has this high ceiling which collects and resonates sound so I’ve held Tibetan signing bowl sound baths and most recently a digeridoo workshop in there all because I am attracted to sound. Maybe it is an intuitive attraction to balancing my own biofield that causes me to pursue sound and amplify it in the resonant dome.

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There is always something new to study and another recent discovery is the metabolic theory of cancer and how we should be eating lots more fat such as flax, chia, hemp hearts, avocado, walnuts, olives, and coconut oil which are all vegan sources for me, but for others add grass fed butter and wild Alaskan salmon. This has to do with burning fuel more efficiently in the mitochondria of our cells to avoid disturbing these energy centers which have everything to do with the metabolic causes of cancer as detailed in a book I am reading called Tripping over the Truth which I will talk about in a future blog

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Another book I am nearly finished with is called The Other Brain which refers to the white matter or glia in our central nervous system. This white matter is made from myelin which are glial cells instead of neurons which are the greay matter. Myelin protects nerve axons with these sheaths helping our neurons synapse better. Myelin is made from cholesterol so I am really taking steps to ramp up eating seeds and recently just made a recipe from my Czech friend consisting of poppy seeds, sunflower seeds and flax seeds, mixed with applesauce and dates then dried as a healthy energy bar.

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I hope all this works as my brain is feeling a little fried these days due to relationship struggles abounding in my life. Praying for peace in my heart and mind and for all my relations.

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Didgeridoo Bliss Sat Chit Ananda

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

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Hello Didge fans,

We’re holding a workshop for the didgeridoo at the dome in a couple weeks. Incredibly, learning to circular breathe in order to play my didge was my New Year’s resolution this year! When I learned about Mike Vils, a Didge master from Long Beach, CA who wanted to teach a didge workshop at the dome I was up for it.

 

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The dome is still under construction so I suggested an alternative venue but acoustic resonance is important in sound healing so we will be holding the workshop in the dome where we are presently plumbing it for water and installing bathtubs. We will move all machines to the periphery and hold our workshop in the center where the acoustic chamber is most resonant.

 

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Mike will also play a concert with his Didgeridoos giving us a personal experience of the ancient soundscape discovered by Aboriginal people in Australia. Mike has studied the didge with both Aboriginal experts and American maestros. He makes his own didges and will be bringing several for people to play with an option to buy them after the workshop if interested.

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Unsurprisingly, Mike also facilitates drum circles and will lead a drum circle after the workshop. Bring your drums and percussion instruments or use one of ours. Sparkling water, herbal tea and hors d’oeuvres will be served during these events.

 

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Following all the sound activities in the dome we will walk back to the main house to share a savory vegetarian potluck. I’ll make soup which can feed everyone so people can bring something easy like juice if they don’t feel like cooking and still enjoy the evening camaraderie.

The workshop is limited to didge availability. Pre paid registration is required before the event. Call me at 760-379-1587 or email me at shaktideva@mchsi.com. Looking forward to mimicking the sound of the earth’s rotation into spring…

 

Valentines Day 2017

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

the heart chakra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where has my blogging passion gone? Since I missed posting in January I’m wishing you Happy New Year here on Valentines day and a Happy V day too.

There has been some upheaval and as usual also excitement. I’ve closed my two morning classes at my home studio while concentrating on teaching afternoon classes. I am considering adding a beginners course on Tuesday evenings at Yogaya in Bodfish.

Tribe

Writing articles for the local newspaper is a great way to market my business indirectly by positioning myself as an expert. Even though I still have to pay to advertise specific classes, writing an article will encourage people to think of me when they want to learn more.

My first article – on meditation – was published in the Kern Valley Sun last month and another article – on the vegan diet – has been submitted and approved and will be in an upcoming edition. Of course I will write about yoga and craniosacral too. It’s just that right now these topics piqued my interest in an article.

I’ve also opened a new website at Rambling Nan to promote my freelance travel writing business and earned access to a couple of conferences which I publish about on my blog as well as send the stories to online article databases called “ezines.”

Yoga Class

The new semester of classes is in full swing at CSUB with three back to back yoga classes on Monday and Wednesday mornings. The studio where I normally teach was flooded during the rains last month and the entire wood floor has been torn out.

Our classes have moved to a room called the Solario with huge windows opening into a walled patio. Even though its not on the grass, hopefully holding class outside will be allowed when it starts warming up.

Storm Brings Friend From Afar

My friend Ros from South Africa came to visit. We picked her up in Bakersfield in John’s Land Rover due to needing 4 wheel drive to get out of the valley which was under 6″ of snow that morning. As we drove Ros home through the Kern canyon, boulders rolling down the cliffs caused authorities to close the road just minutes behind us. When the road re-opened a week later, we drove Ros back to the Amtrak station.

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Testimonial

It was a great visit with a dear friend I hadn’t seen in a long time. We met 30 years ago when she and her kids stayed with us while they were rafting the Kern with the raft guide boyfriend Ros met on the Zambezi river in Africa. She wrote a review for my Facebook page:

The Enigma that is Nancy Ivey

I have had a mostly pen pal (that lovely old fashioned medium of letter writing to maintain a pen-friendship with someone) friends with Nancy. Having met her during my adventurous days of kayaking and river rafting on the Kern River and beyond, here in California, USA in 1988 through 1989. Then we briefly reacquainted again in 2003 when I visited and discovered her deep and profound academic abilities, studies, degrees and beginning of many further study diplomas in all things philanthropic towards her fellow humans. Along with all that that sentence conjures up in her academic fields, she also had qualified as a professional yoga teacher. I was delighted to do several yoga classes with her, at that time, and she started me on my present long love and almost daily yoga asanas, both in a studio situation of organised yoga as well as my own pranas and asanas for my daily health and wellbeing within my own home. We also shared a deep and profound compatibility in both organised religion (I am a Roman Catholic), Christianity as well as a respect for all other creeds, cultures, faiths and doctrines.

However, and this is where her life of academia and ability to express a simple truth for her fellow human being and our general health and well being became of more interest to me. I was hoping for a mere escape from stress, anxiety, city living and pretty poor health by coming up to a mountain retreat and a true friend who will provide me with a ‘soft place to fall’ for a few days. Of course, her yoga classes by now interested me immensely. During our constant albeit haphazard pen pal relationship over the years, I had followed her surmounting studies and knowledge of all things yogic, philosophy, food & diet, health, massage, deep tissue and Swedish, etc, for not just well being but actual healing, culminating in her latest endeavor and studies of Craniosacral Therapy for healing ailments. Nancy is the quintessential philanthropist. And so I arrived, a wreck of a friend, sadly in need of restorative regeneration, which I thought I would bravely keep from her. Thinking, in my simple non-academic way, that merely a few yoga classes would do the trick. One look at me, my limp from a very recent aching hip, my sallow pallor from ceaseless migraine headaches, stresses and familial strains, an age old shoulder ailment – she knew without my telling, that I was in sore need of her administrations.

Typical of the quiet, gentle, unassuming Nancy, she eased me into agreeing to a few yoga stretches a few hours later before the welcoming, warm and friendly wood-burner of her front parlour. Added to her ceaselessly consummate way of giving to others to assist them out of their pain and anguish, she even lowered me onto her very impressive, imported all-sheep, woolen yoga mat and we easily performed a few stretches there in sheer, blissful comfort. It felt so good.

After dinner, I then had to admit to her that although the stretches had done me a world of relaxation, I was going to retire to bed with an incessant headache bothering me all the way up from San Diego. No sooner said, than out came her massage table, and I was tranquilly lulled to sleep by my very first introduction to Craniosacral Therapy. I think it could be more described as – in a subliminal state of quietude, maybe even a meditative state (which I have to admit with all my years of yoga I have never been able to fully attain or achieve – I got a bad dose of what the yogis call “monkey mind”), because I heard her telling me incessantly exactly what she was performing on my body. Not that I could understand all of it naturally. Fully clothed one could still feel the gentle touch of the almost air or silk like quality of her hands over my body wherever she found a troubled or painful spot. Lingering on those that I had actually told her about, but finding others untold, I would say due to her immense tabloid of studies and understandings of the human body, its anatomy and form, and many of its ailments too. She appears to be a past task master of quietly and intuitively diagnosing whatever ails one.

Upon finally going to bed, I announced with glee that my hip, for the very first time in approximately six weeks, was pain free. As too my headache, a little longer to dissipate but which was completely gone by the time my head finally touched the pillow.

Oh it was marvelous. I slept like the proverbial angel. All thanks to my personal healing angel, Nancy Ivey. Bodfish Canyon. California.

Thanks for reading this post and for continuing through the review. With the added two mornings free I hope to post more regularly. In honor of the tone of the day I leave you with my dear Rinpoche’s call to Sojong:

Call to Sojong

Mantra recitation, prayers, ascetic displines,
Even if one practices them for a long time,
As long as one’s mind is distracted,
They become simply futile.        
 – Shantideva

Dear Dharma Friends,

Thoughts are powerful forces that drive our life. They’re conceptual patterns that give us a sense of self and personal life that has a continuum of many events through a whole stream of recollections.  Thoughts are so powerful that they can make us happy or miserable. When we take a look into them we find they are storylines about what is happing right now in our life as well as the past and future. They don’t have to be in alignment with reality as along as we believe them they have power over us and dictate to us what to believe.

Perhaps, many people in the world believe their own mind which goes unchecked from the time they arise to the moment when they fall asleep. This is some kind of mental and neurological habit that belongs to unawareness. Through believing our thoughts, like a storm, strong emotions can arise and their energy can dominate us. As a result, we can lose not just wisdom but even basic common sense, which is usually not regarded as profound, but necessary to function in everyday life. The very root of problems at a personal as well as societal level may be this unawareness.

Even the most beautiful spiritual practices may not transform us as long as we’re living in such a state of mind. As Shantideva pointed out in such a direct fashion, sometimes we could be doing Buddhist practices with zeal or some emotionally charged devotion, yet our whole practice can become comforting compulsions if awareness is absent. Awareness has many flavors and forms such as the mindfulness in Theravada and the Rigpa in Dzogchen. The magic of awareness is that we hold our thoughts while feeling that we’re much bigger than our mental events. Then, we can see the ephemeral and insubstantial nature of our thoughts. This sense of us being bigger than our thoughts arises naturally as we do sitting meditation. That might be what Buddha called sky like mind.

Let me invite you all to reflect on this subject during this upcoming Sojong. We might like to check-in with ourselves and find out how much awareness we practice in daily life. We can take this occasion as another important time to renew our commitment to the path and to the practice of awareness.

With palms joined,
Anam Thubten
 

Circle Game

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

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Merry Christmas everyone! Yesterday we put up Christmas lights after decorating the tree the day before. It’s cold enough to snow and we’re keeping the home fires burning. And the glass kilns too as art glass production ramps up to foster the festal season.

If you’re looking for the perfect gift for a cat lover I’ve made several fused glass cat ornaments in a variety of colors to hang on the tree. Or perhaps you’d like your own set of fused glass plates or bowls to grace your holiday table. Dichroic turtle buddies offer whimsical delight. Peruse the glass ware on display at Yogaya Studio in Bodfish which is open by appointment only until after New Years.

Centering Spiral

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Our northern hemisphere enjoys its farthest tilt away from the sun as we approach Solstice tomorrow, Dec. 21. The longest night of the year and shortest day.

I just learned that being out in the sun gives us excellent nitric oxide that pushes the blood through our veins and into the capillary beds. It’s an excellent article in one of Dr. Mercola’s newsletters that I’d like to share, especially since one of my questions is how to increase circulation to my skin where it can plump up the collagen since my skin feels so dry yet I drink alot of water that doesn’t stay in my cells.

I just found out via this article that the sunshine pulls the blood into the skin through the osmosis at the capillary beds which then propels the blood back through to the heart; so not just the heart pumping is cardiac health.

It is a breakthrough for me because as much as I know about vitamin D and its importance in helping us resist cancer, mental illness and bone problsunbatheems, now I also know it promotes skin anti-aging and heart health so here we go. I am committed to buying myself a teak lounge chair with comfortable outdoor cushion and laying out everyday for 20 minutes and I will meditate at the same time while gathering critical free medicine for mental and physical health. Merry Christmas to myself!

Here’s a synopsis from the article:

Interestingly, the work of Gerald Pollack, author of “The Fourth Phase of Water,” was instrumental in helping Cowan understand the function of the heart and how blood flows if it isn’t being pushed or pumped by the heart.

First off, if any pumping action were to be involved, it would actually have to occur at the capillaries because that’s where the blood stops and needs to get moving again. However, the solution nature came up with is far simpler. As the blood moves up the venous tree, the blood vessels narrow and eventually coalesce to come back to the heart.

This narrowing of the vessels makes the blood flow faster, in and of itself. Valves and muscular contractions also play a role. However, the primary way blood moves has to do with water. As Pollack has described, water can exist in four phases, not just three. The fourth phase of water is formed by the interaction of water and a hydrophilic surface.

“What happens with that is you form a gel layer, or protective layer, on that hydrophilic surface, which is negatively charged. Therefore, the opposite of positive charge is dissolved into the bulk water in the middle of the tube (capillary or blood vessel) … All you need is a hydrophilic tube, which forms a gel layer, which is negatively charged, and then the bulk water is positively charged. The positive charges repel each other and that starts the flow going up the hill,” Cowan explains.

Sun, Earth and the Human Touch — 3 Key Principles for Healthy Blood Flow

Pollack has also clearly demonstrated there are three natural energies that result in separation of charges that create flow:

1. Sunlight charges up your blood vessels, which increases the flow of blood. When the sun’s rays penetrate your skin, it causes a massive increase of nitric oxide that acts as a vasodilator. As much as 60 percent of your blood can be shunted to the surface of your skin through the action of nitric oxide. This helps absorb solar radiation, which then causes the water in your blood to capture the energy and become structured.

This is a key component for a healthy heart. The ideal is to be exposed to the sun while grounding, meaning walking barefoot. This forms a biological circuit that makes it work even better.

2. Negative ions from the Earth, also known as earthing or grounding. This also charges up your blood vessels, creates a separation of charges, creates more positive ions and allows the blood to flow upward, against gravity.

3. The field effect or touch from another living being, such as laying on of hands.

As noted by Cowan, “The best thing is to be, more or less, with shorts or naked on the beach, with the saltwater, which acts as an electrical conductor, holding hands with somebody you love. That’s how you structure the water.” Sun exposure, grounding and skin-to-skin contact are three prevention strategies that, ideally, everyone should be doing. It doesn’t get a whole lot easier or less expensive than that.

“The water is a battery. Those inputs separate the charges, charge the battery, the battery does work and it starts flow. That flow, just through Bernoulli’s principle, which is the wider it is, the slower it goes, [when it] narrows, it goes faster. That is the reason the blood moves, in a nutshell.”

Birthday Love

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The day after yoga classes ended at CSUB, I drove to Portland with my partner John to visit my cousin and learn new techniques in art glass at her glass studio.  She taught me to paint with frit on clear glass then apply a colored backing to get a wonderful Christmas plate. She also taught me how to wire wrap a pendant with silver wire to make a beautiful necklace. I learned how to slump a deep cone bowl (lower slower longer) and made a stringer baguette plate full of color. A colorful tack fused koi fish and some Christmas ornaments are headed to recipients on my Christmas list.

Just before leaving for Portland I spent my birthday money buying a church percussionist’s percussion instruments and table after enjoying an impromptu drum circle at my birthday party. The drum circle was only about five people but it was still easy to ride the groove and add percussion along with drums. I am still keeping fingers in the drum circle mojo even if it’s been awhile since we’ve officially gathered in the dome.

I cooked an entire vegan birthday dinner for my dear friends making my favorite polenta black rice casserole with mushroom gravy and olive tapenade on top. The most delicious sweet potato soup you ever tasted began our savory dinner while we enjoyed festive margaritas featuring fresh squeezed lime and grapefruit juice afterward.

The Tinker, the Tailor, the Candlestick Maker

Even though I haven’t written a newsletter in awhile or posted much on this blog I have been honing my skills for writing travel stories to help fund my adventures afield and even launched a new blog called Rambling Nan that you can subscribe to and comment on. It is helping open doors to satisfy my curiosity for new experience and training.

Yoga classes at my studio in Bodfish will undergo a shift to a term-based session instead of always ongoing. The new term begins in February for 8 weeks starting Tuesday February 14, from 9-10:30 am and ending on Tuesday April 4. An evening class will be offered on Wednesdays from 4-5:30 pm, starting Wednesday February 15 and ending Wednesday April 5. A beginners class will be featured on Thursday afternoon if students are interested and I encourage you to contact me via my contacts page to add your name to the roster for any of these dates.

The 8 week session will cost $80 and must be pre-paid before Friday, February 10. Prospective students missing out on the original start date will need to wait until the fourth week in the term when I will open the class to add students to the remaining four weeks of the session for $50. If you are interested in trying out our alignment based postural yoga classes in a congenial group setting at a well-stocked studio call for more information or email me at shaktideva@mchsi.com.

May your holidays be filled with good company, excellent food and warm shelter for you and all your relations. Namaste!hummingbirdnest