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Awakening, Habit Change, Health & Fitness, Massage Therapy, Meditation, Mindset, Pain, Productivity

Getting more bang for your Thinking Buck

The human brain is a funny thing.  In Dr. Betsy Rippentrop’s Yoga for the Mind class, I learned something that massively shifted my perspective.  The human brain is like Teflon for the good stuff and Velcro for the bad stuff.  The good flows right on by, and the bad just sits there and festers.  This is a handy feature when the bad stuff can kill you, but in modern times, that “bad stuff” is often comprised of less deadly things such as your computer re-booting while you’re in the middle of crafting a nasty ol’ spreadsheet with lots of formulas and data that you have not yet saved, or getting (what you think) is a frustrated look from your boss in a meeting, or making a post on Instagram and getting only crickets in return. Yet, our mind fixates on those things, and we can quickly spin off into stories about how the world is crumbling and everyone and everything sucks, especially us.
 
So, what to do?
 
We must consciously focus on what is going well.  Recognize that our brains have this tendency to catastrophize, so intentionally pro-tastrophize or opportunitize or miracalize.  I cannot find an antonym to catastrophize, so I’m just making words up.  But you get the picture. 
 
Spend time thinking about what DID go right, what COULD go right, what IS going right in our day, in our body, in our life.  Our body is constantly releasing a slew of chemicals in response to our thoughts that changes the soup in which our cells live, and that soup determines what our cells do and what genes are activated within them.  We are not at the total mercy of the genes we carry.  The genes that get activated are determined by the signals they get from their environment.
 
Want some proof of the importance of mindset?  Check out this study: Mind-set Matters; Exercise and the Placebo Effect. Here’s a quote form the Abstract (underlining is mine):
 
In a study testing whether the relationship between exercise and health is moderated by one’s mindset, 84 female room attendants working in seven different hotels were measured on physiological health variables affected by exercise. Those in the informed condition were told that the work they do (cleaning hotel rooms) is good exercise and satisfies the Surgeon General’s recommendations for an active lifestyle. Examples of how their work was exercise were provided. Subjects in the control group were not given this information. Although actual behavior did not change, 4 weeks after the intervention, the informed group perceived themselves to be getting significantly more exercise than before. As a result, compared with the control group, they showed a decrease in weight, blood pressure, body fat, waist-to-hip ratio, and body mass index. These results support the hypothesis that exercise affects health in part or in whole via the placebo effect.
 
What the??  If we BELIEVE that what we are doing is good for us, our physiology changes to make it so!!!  This is mind-blowing. Let’s say you are a person who feels as if you never get enough exercise.  However, every morning, you walk down the stairs to brush your teeth, you bend over to get coffee out of the cupboard, you reach up to get a coffee cup, you let the dog out in the yard and toss the ball a few times and maybe chase the dog when it won’t give you the ball back.  You walk back inside and go upstairs to get dressed, reaching to the top shelf in your closet for your sweater and squatting down to get the socks out of the bottom drawer.
 
Well, look at that. You actually got in a lot of movement – shoulder stretches, squats, a little cardio, some incline and declines.  What if you started noticing all the ways you DO get enough exercise instead of telling yourself you are failing because you don’t go to the gym a few times a week.  How would your body change?
 
What other stories could you tell yourself differently to shift how your body reacts to them?  As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been working with a coach, Ariel Kiley. I email her my Wins whenever I think of them (e.g. I am winning at Sober October because I haven’t had a drink yet, or I am FULLY BOOKED this week, or my body told me to quit obsessing about WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH MY LIFE and just take a bath (which I did)).  This is helping me counteract that negativity bias, and it’s also providing an electronic, searchable record of my Wins, so that I can pull them up when I feel poorly about myself.  SO HELPFUL.
 
I hope you are having a great day!!  If you need a Miracalize or Opportunize Partner, feel free to shoot me an email when you get a Win. <3
 
Space to be Human Lab

  • Curious about Cranial Sacral Therapy?  Get $15 off for the month of October (use code CRANIAL) when you book your session.

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Awakening, Habit Change, Health & Fitness, Massage Therapy, Meditation, Mindset, Pain, Trauma

Post-Traumatic Growth

Do you ever feel as if you’re not good enough?
 
Do you feel as if you don’t have enough?
 
Do you often compare yourselves to others and judge yourself (or them) harshly as a result?
 
Do you berate yourself in your own head because you have these thoughts, but you feel as if you shouldn’t think or feel these things?
 
Do you want to know why these thoughts incessantly loop through your head?
 
BECAUSE YOU ARE HUMAN
 
In the 7th century AD, yogi’s identified 3 main thoughts (and related feelings) that are endemic to all humans:I am not enough, which leads to feelings of shame and unworthiness.  This is felt in the heart center and leads us to disconnect from Self and others.I am separate from others.  This is felt in the head space, and it leads us to compare ourselves to others, leading to feelings of anger and bitterness.I don’t have enough.  This is felt in the pelvis and leads us to shut down or work too much, leading to feelings of anxiety.When I learned this information (from Dr. Betsy Rippentrop’s ReMIND course), I felt such a sense of relief.  Oh my God.  There is nothing WRONG with me.  I’m just human.  I’m having human thoughts. I’m having a human experience. Just like everyone else.  I can stop feeling bad about feeling bad.  Ahhhhh.
 
There is another super impactful piece of knowledge that was a catalyst for developing self-compassion – learning about the ACE study. The ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Study is “one of the largest investigations ever conducted to assess associations between childhood maltreatment and later-life health and well-being.” (The Enlightened Marriage by Jed Diamond, PhD).  The study found a strong link between childhood trauma and disease:
 
The CDC’s Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACE Studyuncovered a stunning link between childhood trauma and the chronic diseases people develop as adults, as well as social and emotional problems. This includes heart disease, lung cancer, diabetes and many autoimmune diseases, as well as depression, violence, being a victim of violence, and suicide. (https://acestoohigh.com/got-your-ace-score/)
 
What is really interesting is the “traumas” that they researched are things that many of us have gone through – things that are just a part of life in this point and time in the world:  Getting slapped/spanked, parents getting divorced/separated, having an alcoholic parent, having a member of the family be depressed, etc..  You can see the full list of ACEs here: https://acestoohigh.com/got-your-ace-score/.
 
For me, learning this information and getting my ACEs score helped me develop more kindness towards myself.  I had never really considered myself as having undergone “Capital T Trauma” like severe abuse or a car accident or being orphaned, but when I learned this information I realized, “Oh Yeah.  Little Heather did have to deal with some heavy stuff that she wasn’t ready for.  She was just doing the best she could.” 
 
I think it’s important for people to realize how these seemingly minor/commonplace things that we just write off as “part of being a kid” can have a big impact on our bodies, our minds, and our overall wellbeing.  Once we have awareness of that, we can start to recognize the effects of trauma in our lives, give ourselves some grace, and then start figuring out what we need to do to heal the trauma.
 
Many experts, (Dr. Peter Levine and Scott Barry Kaufman PhD to name two) note that processing trauma can be a huge catalyst for growth and self-actualization – a concept called “Post-Traumatic Growth.”  In Kaufman’s new workbook, “Choose Growth – A Workbook for Transcending Trauma, Fear, and Self-Doubt” he shares this quote from C.S. Lewis:
 
“Hardship often prepares an ordinary person for an extraordinary destiny.”
 

I love the promise of that quote!
 
If any of this resonates with you, and you want to start to process trauma, I invite you to explore one or several avenues out there to help heal trauma – mental health therapy, trauma-informed bodywork, journaling, talking to a trust friend who will just LISTEN and give you space. I have tried ALL of these methods; I’ve worked with a few different therapists, I’m working with a Somatic Experiencing Transformational Coach (and I’m in training to become a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner), I’m working through the Choose Growth workbook, I’m practicing listening to my body. 

What I’ve found is that unwinding the effects of trauma takes time and patience, along with a big dose of self-acceptance, non-judgement, and curiosity.  But subtly and surely, you will start to notice less constriction and more space, less fear and more curiosity, less rushing and more lingering.  And more belief that you are on your way to an “extraordinary destiny”!
 
As I mentioned last week, I went to cranial sacral therapy (CST) training this week.  If you’re a client of mine, you’ve likely experienced my cranial work, but this CST work is different.  It involves a MUCH lighter touch. It’s a method of just sitting with the body, allowing two nervous systems to communicate, providing a listening presence and enabling the body to unwind what and when it wants.  It can be a gentle way to start to process some of the trauma recorded in the body.  If you are interested in doing a CST session, you can use the code “CRANIAL” for $15 off a session in October.  Just book a Bodywork Session here.
 
If you have any questions or comments on any of this, don’t hesitate to reach out.  I also offer free 15-minute consults if you want to chat about working together.
 
Space to be Human Lab
– Curious about Cranial?  Get $15 off for the month of October (use code CRANIAL) when you book your session for the month of October.
– Remember that Meditation Medley class I was offering?  Well, if you would like to check out a few different types of meditation (a tool that can also be helpful for processing trauma), as well as get some tips for developing your own practice, check out the recordings here

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Habit Change, Health & Fitness, Massage Therapy, Meditation, Mindset, Yoga

Tramps, Pee, & Happy Fun Times

What do you do, just for fun?  Do you DO anything for fun?  What do you think about fun?  Is it just a “nice-to-have” or something you can experience only when you’re a kid or retired? 

I just finished “Pieces and Bits” from “Codependent No More.” This is the chapter full of “miscellaneous tidbits about codependency and self-care.”  Guess what she recommends for self-care?

FUN

Evidently it’s rather hard to have fun when we’re full of unprocessed emotions, super tense from trying to control our selves or others, and super self-conscious because we care SO MUCH what other people are thinking about us.

But Having Fun is key component of self-care!  It can be the catalyst for getting us out of pain.  Having fun helps us stay healthy. Having fun provides balance in our lives, and in doing so can help us be more productive.  And we need to have fun because it’s FUN!

But what if we no longer know how to have fun?

  • What was fun for you when you were a kid?  
    • Racing your bike against your brothers?  Watching Pee Wee’s Big Adventure in your PJs with your cousins?  Staying up until 2AM finishing Lord of the Rings?
  • What gives you a little spark of excitement or nervousness when you think about doing it? 
    • Taking an art class?  Striking up a conversation with a person you see on your morning walk every day?  Joining a pickleball league?
  • What makes you jealous when you see someone else doing it? 
    • Hula hooping in front of a crowd?  Wearing something that’s just a bit risqué?  Hiking the Grand Canyon?

All those are clues as to what you might find fun.  Sometimes you just need to TRY some things out and see what you think.  See how you feel.  When I first rode my Surly Ogre (a sturdy bike with big, fat tires), I was immediately transported back to being a 12-year-old and the feeling I got riding my blue Schwinn Predator into town with my dad and my brothers, intent on getting to Kardee’s ASAP so I could slice the taste buds off my tongue with a Jolly Rancher stick.   Those trips into town on my bike were SO much fun, and every time I hop on my Ogre, I feel joy. I still love to ride my road bike too, but my Surly is FUN!!!!

Speaking of fun, jumping on a trampoline, laughing with friends, jogging in nature – these are all things that can be fun.  But if you experience stress incontinence, these are all things you may avoid.  Sorry for the awkward segue, but I know many of my clients and myself are in the perimenopausal/menopausal/post-menopausal stage where a little pee with sneezing or a lot of urgency with peeing becomes a real issue.  I just listened to this podcast about the topic today and learned about some therapies that can make a HUGE difference to women.  Of course they mention the benefits of pelvic floor physical therapy, but they also talk about things like mesh slings and Botox!  It was a helpful episode from two well-credentialed women (The host is a menopause doctor, and she is interviewing a urologist), and they frankly discuss things often pushed under the rug (like the harm that acidic urine can do to sensitive vaginal skin).  This episode AGAIN reminded me of the need to do weight training (grip strength is correlated to pelvic floor strength!).  It’s so good for what ails ya, especially in these transition years.

I hope you have a fabulous Sunday; respond to this email and let me know what you did or ARE doing that is fun. I am always looking for good ideas .

Space to be Human Lab

  • I’m heading out for Cranial Sacral training tomorrow!  I am super excited about bringing this nuanced work into my practice. 

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Awakening, Habit Change, Health & Fitness, Massage Therapy, Meditation, Mindset, Pain, Yoga

Letting People Be Who They Are (and letting You be Who You Are)

Have you ever heard of the book “Codependent No More:  How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself”?  I think anyone who has grown up around addiction (overdrinking, overeating, any compulsive disorder), anyone who is an empath or highly sensitive person, or anyone who grew up within an oppressive religion would find this book fascinating. I’m only about ½ the way through, and it’s already brought so much light to many of my unconscious behaviors.
 
What is codependency?  Essentially, to quote the book, it’s “losing oneself in the name of helping another.”  Does that sound familiar?  For all my “healer” friends out there – what do you make of that??
 
Here are a few of the quotes that had me (a woman who has done a LOT of self-examination, therapy, shadow work, and coaching) squirming:

  •  Note: In these quotes, the author, Melody Beattie, is describing the people she worked with in a support group for wives of addicts (interestingly, Ms. Beattie recognized many of these behaviors in herself too, and all of this was written without judgement):
  • “In my group, I saw people who felt responsible for the entire world, but they refused to take responsibility for leading and living their own lives.”
  • “I saw people who constantly gave to others but didn’t know how to receive.”
  • “Yet these codependents who had such great insight into others couldn’t see themselves.  They didn’t know what they were feeling.  They weren’t sure what they thought.”
  • “I saw people who manipulated because manipulation appeared to be the only way to get anything done.  I worked with people who were indirect because the systems they lived in seemed incapable of tolerating honesty.”
  • “The codependents felt responsible for so much because the people around them felt responsible for so little; they were just taking up the slack.”
  • And here’s a quote that might strike home to fellow empaths or highly sensitive persons, “If my husband is happy, and I feel responsible for that, then I’m happy.  If he’s upset, I feel responsible for that too.  I’m anxious, uncomfortable, and upset until he feels better.  I try to MAKE him feel better.”
  • “This book is about your most important and probably most neglected responsibility; taking care of yourself.  It’s about what you can do to start feeling better.”

And it’s that last sentence that holds so much promise – even people who have lost themselves in taking care of others can feel joy and pleasure, they can find meaning and purpose, and they can reconnect with Self again. We need to start taking care of ourselves to find ourselves again.  And how do we do that?
 
Here are a few concepts that struck me:

  • Let others to BE WHO THEY ARE (stop trying to control others – even if it’s with people-pleasing and niceness).
  • Let yourself be who YOU are.
  • I am responsible for myself.
  • I am responsible for identifying and meeting my needs.
  • Don’t say Yes when you mean No.
  • Trust your feelings.
  • Build awareness around codependent behaviors, accept them without judgement (they helped you survive!), then you can work on letting go of the ones that aren’t in your best interests anymore.
  • Have gratitude for that which is good.

I’m a massage therapist.  So why I am writing about codependency?  Because of this:
“We may have started reacting and responding urgently and compulsively in patterns that hurt us.  Just feeling urgent and compulsive is enough to hurt us.  We keep ourselves in a crisis state – adrenaline flowing and muscles tensed, ready to react to emergencies that usually aren’t emergencies.”

TENSION IN THE MUSCLES CAN BE A DIRECT RESULT OF HABITUAL PATTERNS OF THINKING, REACTING, BEHAVING.

Since, as a codependent-in-recovery, I found this info so helpful, I wanted to share it with others.  There IS hope for us!  We can give ourselves more space and grace and in the process start to enjoy life again!  We can start to disentangle ourselves and let others be who they are, and LET OURSELVES BE WHO WE ARE.  That latter concept is what really grabs my attention.  This is what so many of the wisdom traditions teach – the secret to a well-lived life is authenticity – saying what we mean, meaning what we say, doing what lights us up instead of what we think we “should” do.

Learning to get to know ourselves – our true Self – is one of the foundational goals of Somatic Experiencing.  To help myself practice what I preach, I recently started working with Ariel Kiley, who is a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner.  Embodying this work is SO different than intellectualizing it.  I’ve read so many books and listened to so many experts on trauma, but in two sessions with Ariel, I can FEEL what the books were trying SAY.

Last week we did a boundary exercise where Ariel had me tell her how close or how far away to get from the camera.  I assumed I would like her to be closer to me, so I had her walk towards the camera.  Then, just to experiment, I had her walk to one side, back to center, and then backwards.  As she backed away, I noticed a palpable shift.  I felt more calm, more at ease when she was a bit further away from the camera.  It surprised the hell out of me – 1) That I actually FELT a somatic response to her distance in my body and 2) That my body had a different story to tell than my mind.  She guided me to explore the sensations I was feeling – how did I KNOW that I was more comfortable with her at that distance?  As I slowed down and let myself settle into my somatic experience, I noted a subtle pulsing around my solar plexus – the seat of power in the body. 

Whoa.  I’ve never felt that before.  I felt power WITHIN MYSELF.  Instead of searching outward to see what the situation or the other person needs from me, I was able to settle in myself and see what I need.

It blew me away that such a simple exercise could be so powerful.

This story is just to show you that you CAN discover yourself. It takes work. It’s uncomfortable.  You won’t be good at it to start.  But it’s worth it!

And every time you get bodywork, or you meditate, or you stay with a feeling or a sensation and don’t numb it, you are doing that hard work.  You are embarking on the journey of rediscovering who you are, what you feel, what you think, what you desire, and what you need.  And when you get those little pings – “Hmm, I feel like I need to take a break and put my feet in the grass for 2 minutes,” honor that ping and see what happens.  When you feel yourself reaching for some distraction, ask yourself, “What do I really need right now?”  And just see what comes up, if anything.

I hope you have STUPENDOUS SUNDAY!  We have visitors next week, so I won’t be sending a newsletter.  If you miss me terribly though, you can always find messages from me here. 😛

Space to be Human Lab

  • I’ve updated the description of my services on my booking site.  What used to be called “Massage Therapy/NST” is now called “Bodywork Session.”  A bodywork session can include massage therapy/NST, but it can also include yoga, mindful movement, self-massage, breath work, meditation.  All of these tools can help reduce pain and tension.  If any of these tools strikes your fancy, let me know, and during your next session, we can explore them. 

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Habit Change, Health & Fitness, Massage Therapy, Meditation, Mindset, Pain, Yoga

Are you a Creator?

I listened to a really fascinating podcast yesterday with Bruce Lipton.  Bruce Lipton is a stem cell biologist, who around the age of 40, realized that we are not determined by our DNA.  In his research, he noted that stem cells would become muscles cells if placed in one culture medium, bone cells if placed in a different culture medium, or skin cells if placed in a different medium.  The cells themselves were all the same thing; they had all the exact same DNA, but they expressed themselves differently based on the solution they were put into.
 
From this observation, Dr. Lipton realized that we are not victims of the DNA we carry.  The soup that our cells sit in affects how our genes express themselves (a concept called epi-genetics).  And we do have quite a bit of control over the soup in which our cells swim.  Our brains are constantly thinking thoughts that release different chemicals into the petri dish within our skin.
 
Try this experiment:

  • Think about your first crush. Or your most recent crush. Think back to that time when your heart started to pound when your object of affection entered the room.  Remember how you couldn’t take your eyes off of him or her.  What happened when that person came close to you – maybe even just brushing lightly against or shoulder? Remember how it felt to catch their eye, and your heart just utterly stops.

What is going on inside your body right now?  Are you suddenly warmer?  A bit breathless maybe?  Feeling some tingles?
 
 Ok. 

  • Now think about a project you’ve been putting off – something you really, really don’t want to do, but you have to do it.  But UGH. You SO don’t want to. 

What are you feeling now?  What happened to the state of tension in your body?  What happened to your breath?
 
Can you see how your internal environment completely changed, but NOTHING CHANGED IN YOUR EXTERNAL ENVIRONMENT?!  With your mind you were changing the hormones cascading through your blood, you were altering the PH of your blood by changing your breath, you were modifying the forces on your cells by changing the level of tension in your muscles.  You created a completely altered inner world just by changing where you focused your attention.
 
Whoa.
 
How does this factor in to our pain experience? 
 
I recently started physical therapy to help with some chronic low back pain.  In the first session, the PT ran me through several assessments and noted that according to his testing, I don’t have any disc issues.  I IMMEDIATELY felt a sense of relief and a lessening of pain.  Absolutely nothing in my physical structure changed, yet my pain experience changed, because my thoughts changed. 
 
Not to say that thoughts are the only input into our experience of pain or sickness.  The external environment (what we breathe and eat) has an impact, as does the quality of our relationships.  Our belief in a higher power, doing work we find meaningful, being active and moving our bodies – all these things contribute to the experience of pain in our body.  But those pesky thoughts are pretty darn influential.
 
But what can we do about our thoughts?
 
First of all, you can just start to notice them.  Build awareness of your thoughts.  You can start to map out what’s going on in your head by breaking down your stories.  I recently took a class on Emotional Intelligence, and it reiterated that the first step in developing your emotional intelligence is self-awareness.  I thought I was pretty self-aware, but I utterly failed the pre-test.  Feelings/emotions/moods were all jumbled up in my awareness. 
 
So, if you’re like me and don’t really understand what you are thinking and feeling, you can experiment with breaking down what’s going on in your head into the following categories:
 
Event
Something that happens.
“It hurts when I try to bend over and put my socks on.”
Interpretation
Your thought about the thing that happened.
“Shit.  My back is a hot mess, and I might need surgery.”
Feeling
Physiological sensations in your body.
“My heart is racing.  I feel a bit shaky.  My shoulders are tense.” 
Emotion
Name the emotion you are feeling.
“I am doing Anxiety.”
 
Mapping out your thoughts like this can help you start to build awareness around them. And then eventually you can start working with that Interpretation section and start to explore possible other stories that might create a more positive “soup” for your cells to live in.  Like, when I bend over and my back hurts, I can think, “Thanks for the reminder to do my exercises to strengthen my back.” And then I feel a sense of openness and warmth, and the emotion of calmness.
 
What stories could you notice today? What happens when you start to slow them down, pick them apart, and name the sensations you are feeling and the emotion you are experiencing?  Here’s a sheet that will give you some language for describing sensations.
 
And with that, I’m signing off.  Happy Sunday from soggy and chilly Iowa.  AUTUMN IS COMING!!
 
Space to be Human Lab

  • Do you want to feel more relaxed, more present, more aware and appreciative of the beauty around you?  When we are in this state (called the parasympathetic state), our body can heal and renew itself, leading to decreased pain and improved performance.  You can book a therapy session with me here; we can work together (aka co-create!) to find what tools and techniques you need to feel better in your body. 

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Health & Fitness, Massage Therapy, Meditation, Mindset, Pain, Productivity, Yoga

What Do Meditation, Range, And Addiction Have In Common?


I’m aligning with my Gemini Rising self today and sharing a medley of things I’m reading, listening to, or pondering.
 
Meditation Medley
My Meditation Medley class has begun!  We spent the first week practicing Just One Breath.  Over the next several weeks we’ll explore several other types.  It’s not too late to sign up for the class!

  • The class will be held on the following dates from 12:45PM – 1PM CDT:
    • Aug 30, 2022 12:45 PM
    • Sep 6, 2022 12:45 PM
    • Sep 13, 2022 12:45 PM
    • Sep 20, 2022 12:45 PM
    • Sep 27, 2022 12:45 PM
  • You can register for the class here.
  • For payment, I am asking for donations to the QC Yoga Foundation.  We’d love to get a donation of $25 for the class, but any amount or no amount is also acceptable. 
    • You can make a donation to the QC Yoga Foundation here

Here is a link to the recording from Week 1, in case you want to check out what a class is like.   The class is held over Zoom, but you don’t need to share your camera.  You can see me, in case that helps you focus better (our faces help co-regulate each other, per Science and polyvagal theory).

Range
One of my favorite authors and mentors (Dr. Matthew Taylor) gave me this book to read: Range:  Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World.  As a Generalist who historically has felt bad about being a Generalist, I have to say I LOVE THIS BOOK.  It’s making me appreciate my natural inclinations instead of seeing them as a fault. 

This book provides many stories (about Vivaldi, Van Gogh, Sebastian Junger, Haruki Murakami, Patrick Rothfuss, etc.)  and much research to support the benefits of pursuing many different interests as a method for figuring out what you really want to do with this one wild and crazy life.

Trying many things and failing is a how you figure out what you really love to do.  Taking ACTION to figure out what you want to do with your life (“I know who I am when I see what I do”) is the secret sauce.

The advice from the book in a nutshell: Dabble!!  Flirt with your possible selves!  Work forward from promising situations instead of working backwards from a goal.

Being a Generalist also helps you synthesize ideas from a variety of domains, which can lead to really inspired insights that someone who goes super deep into one specific area may miss.

I’m about half-way through the book, so I may write more about it in a future letter.  Little known fact – in 5th grade I broke the school record for writing the most book reports, so I have some skillz in that domain.

Addiction
“You’re not alone, and I love you.”  If we approached our loved ones who suffer from addiction with that energy, what would shift?  According to this TedTalk, the antidote to addiction is CONNECTION!

Alcohol
And on a related note, Dr. Huberman (one of my favorite podcasters and scientists) did a podcast episode on alcohol and its effects on the body. If you enjoy a cocktail regularly (especially if you average 7-14 drinks/week (like I do)), this podcast will give you pause.  The effects on brain health, hormonal health, gut health, mental health, and immune system health are, not to be too dramatic, but devastating.  This podcast has given me some really meaty food for thought.  I’m not sure where I’ll go with this, but I’m considering at least another 30 day reset. 

Space to be Human Lab

  • I appreciate referrals SO MUCH.  If you know someone who needs to work with me, please send them my way.  If they book a session, I’ll apply a coupon for $10 off your next session.  Thank you!!
  • Here is a link to book an NST session, a Yoga Tune Up session, or purchase gift certificates.

I hope you are enjoying this late summer evening!  I had my windows open today, and I feel as if I was deafened by the cicadas!  

<3

Heather

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Uncategorized

Who Am I? What do I Want?

What do you think is the key to living a good life?
 
Is it spending time with family?  Spending time in nature? Doing work you love?  Working on improving your community?
 
I personally wonder if the key to living a really smashingly good life, is figuring out what it is you really, really want, what you really, really care about, and then DOING IT.
 
Maybe you read that and were like, duh.  Of course. 
 
And maybe you read that and were like, duh, of course, but how the f@ck do I know what I really really want and what I really really care about???
 
For some of us, it’s REALLY REALLY hard to know what we really really want and care about.  This is The Truth for all sorts of reasons. Our culture and school systems teach conformity. (It’s pretty convenient and lucrative).  Our families often prize obediency (It’s very convenient and less exhausting).    Our religions also tell us what is right and wrong and what we should think or not think and what we should feel or not feel.  That’s a lot of external input overriding our internal input, often from a very early age.
 
But at some point, likely around 45 years old or so, you begin to question whether all these things you’ve been taught to believe and think are really what you believe and think  You think perhaps they are not.  But after decades of not really HAVING to be original in our thoughts and desires, it can be rather difficult to answer those questions – Who am I?  What do I want?  What do I REALLY care about?
 
Recently I have been almost literally flooded with messages about INTUITION.  I am finishing up Dr. Betsy Rippentrop’s program, TendHer 2.0, and Week 3 was all about intuition.  I jumped on a webinar from Dr. Shamini Jain where she interviewed Wendie Coulter about Medical Intuition, and was fascinated by what I heard.  And what I heard was an echo of what I learned in TendHer, interestingly enough.  And then a friend of mine did an Angel card reading for me, and again Intuition was a central theme. The need to tune in to intuition and TRUST IT just keeps coming up over and over again.
 
Tuning in to our intuition – our inner knowing – is so essential to figuring out who we really are and what we really want.  I’ve heard the voice of intuition on occasion, and it feels like peace to me.  I constantly have this diatribe of nonsense assaulting my brain pan, and it’s exhausting when I don’t have the presence of mind to redirect my attention.  But that intuitive voice is different. It’s calm, quiet, confident, assured.  It doesn’t need to raise its voice.  It doesn’t need to chase its tail in my head. It can say its piece, do the ol’ mic drop, and then fade back into the ether until It chooses again to try to help me make better, more aligned decisions.
 
If you are like me (and chances you are, if you’re reading this), you want some of that tasty confident, chill, doesn’t-have-to-prove-itself Knowing as well.  But how does one get it??
 
I’m early on this journey, mind you, but here are some tools that have helped me and that might help you:

  1. Meditation.
  2. Free writing.  I actually write a question on paper and see what comes up and out.  See below for some journaling ideas from Andrea Wilson, from the Tendher 2.0 program.
  3. Slowing down. And by this I mean things like literally walking slower and moving slower.  If I notice myself  knocking stuff over or getting tunnel vision, I consciously m   o   v   e    s   l     o   w   e   r.
  4. Grounding myself when I feel super top heavy. I like the Energy Essentials meditation #1 here

If you try any of these tools out, I am curious to hear what you think! 

Journal Prompts from Andrea Wilson, as part of TendHer 2.0 (if you are interested in TendHer, you an email the organizers here). 

  1. Invite your intuition on a date in a magical place. You get to choose…mountains, ocean, a cafe in Paris. Whatever it is, let her know in an invitation to meet you there. 
  2. Begin a conversation on the page. You write, and then let her respond through your subconscious. The goal is to begin rebuilding your relationship. Begin with….”I know you’ve been here all along…” 
  3. Find out about her, and talk about the way she shows up. (clairvoyance, clairsentience, clairaudience, and claircognizance.) Also, what codes and signs does she like/do you often receive from her?
  4. What does she want to be called? What else does she want you to know? Let her know how life will be better with her showing up more. 
  5. Thank her for joining you and commit to keeping a intuitive record over the next weeks of where she is showing up and how you are connecting.  

Space to be Human Lab

  • I appreciate referrals SO MUCH.  If you know someone who needs to work with me, please send them my way.  If they book a session, I’ll send you a coupon for $10 off your next session.  Thank you!! 

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Massage Therapy, Mindset, Yoga

Tell me what you want, what you really really want


Me?  I want it all.  Well, to put a finer point on it, I want to LEARN it all.  I want to learn Buteyko breathing, I want to learn osteopathic manual therapy techniques, I want to watch dissection videos so I can understand better how our physical layer is put together, I want to learn more about the organs and how to keep them healthy with massage, I want to understand the trains of fascial connections in the body, I want to learn how to be IN my body and help my clients be in THEIR bodies, I want to learn about the world within and how to build the world I want.
 
And want to hear something a little alarming?  I have spent $1700 on several online trainings in the past year to help me learn these things
 
And you want to hear something REALLY alarming??  Out of these 7 online trainings, I have only completed…
 
ONE
 
And why is that, exactly?
 
Well.  I used to think this was due to some nasty character flaw.  I just chase the next shiny new training that promises to be The One Thing my clients and myself REALLY need – the ONE THING that will bring clarity and amazing results.
 
However…
 
I recently met with a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner, who is also a coach, who is also an astrologer.  VERY interesting combination.  I’ve never really gotten into astrology.  I was raised in a religion where astrology was considered “spiritistic” (and not in a good way), but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve tried to let go of black & white thinking.  So in my newfound open-mindedness and curiosity, I decided to see what my birth time and place had to say about Heather Anne.
 
And wow. 
 
According to my astrological chart, I like to learn lots of things without diving deeply into them.  I love to learn and share, learn and share, learn and share.  I want win-win solutions for everyone. I am more comfortable talking and thinking than feeling.  I have lots of ideas.  I am kinda shy.  I enjoy talking about philosophy and ideas.  My career is super important to me and part of my life’s purpose, but it’s going to take it’s time to come to fruition – probably around when I turn 50.
 
OH MY GOD.  THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH ME.  I AM JUST DOING EXACTLY WHAT I WAS BUILT TO DO.  Ahhhhhhhhh………
 
Understanding ourselves better is SUCH a gift.  We can see that we have areas of strengths and areas where we don’t naturally thrive, and that’s OKAY!  We can make choices that better align with our natural gifts.  We can slowly and subtly course-correct to move onto a path of better alignment with who we REALLY are (not who we are trying to be to please people or in order to fit in).
 
It can be really difficult to get to know ourselves, and here are some ways to get started.
1. Ask 10 friends/coworkers to describe you in 3 words (tip from my SE Astrologer/Coach, Angela Freebird).
2. Subscribe to my friend Angela’s yoga classes and newsletter here.  She sends out a few paragraphs with each class recording, and there are so many good self-discovery nuggets in there.  She sent out a list of strengths-finding questions last week, which I loved (I copied them at the bottom of this newsletter).
3. Identify your top 5 values.  You can download the worksheet to help here.There are probably a million more ways to start the journey of self-discovery, but those are a few that are top of mind right now.  I would really love to hear what strengths and/or values you crystalize as a result of these exercises.
 
Space to be Human Lab
– If pain or tightness is preventing you from doing what you love, book a manual therapy session with me here: Booking link.  We’ll co-create an experience tailored to your specific case.
– I am offering no-cost 30-minute embodiment sessions where we can explore how Somatic Experiencing principles can help you find more ease and peace in your body.  It’s a win-win; you get to spent some time building the vital skill of feeling your feelings, and I get some practice in holding space. You can book a Zoom or in-person session here.

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____________________________________________________
 
Alex Linley’s Top Ten Strength Spotting Tips (copied from Angela Stewart’s 7/13/22 newsletter)
1. Childhood memories: What do you remember doing as a child that you still do now – but most likely much better? Strengths often have deep roots from our earlier lives.
2. Energy: What activities give you an energetic buzz when you are doing them? These activities are very likely calling on your strengths.
3. Authenticity: When do you feel most like the “real you”? The chances are that you will be using your strengths in some way.
4. Ease: See what activities come naturally to you, and at which you excel – sometimes, it seems, without even trying. These will likely be your strengths.
5. Attention: See where you naturally pay attention. You’re more likely to focus on things that are playing to your strengths.
6. Rapid Learning: What are the things that you have picked up quickly, learning them almost effortlessly? Rapid learning often indicates and underlying strength.
7. Motivation:What motivates you? When you find activities that you do simply for the love of doing them, they are likely to be working from your strengths.
8. Voice: Monitor your tone of voice. When you notice a shift in passion, energy and engagement, you’re probably talking about a strength.
9. Words and phrases: Listen to the words you use. When you’re saying “I love to…” or “It’s just great when….,” the chances are that it’s a strength to which you are referring.
10. “To do” lists: Notice the things that never make it on to your “to do” list. These things that always seem to get done often reveal an underlying strength that means we never need to be asked twice.

Adapted from Average to A+: Realising Strengths in Yourself and Others, by Alex Linley, published by CAPP Press, 2008″
 

 
Meditation, Mindset, Pain, Yoga

Don’t Read Me if You’re a Muggle

How the Mysteries may save us

Well, it’s Sunday, and I have a bunch of stuff on my mind.  I’m hoping that as I write, it starts to morph into a coherent throughline, but I’m not making any promises!  I totally understand if you stop reading this right now and go play outside.  BUT, it might be worth it to stay with me.  We’ll see.
 
I’ve been picking up on a current in the ether lately that is capturing my interest.  I’m noticing a few different threads, actually, but I think they are all part of the same rope.  Or wave.  I think I started to mix metaphors there.
 
Thread #1: Slow down to save yourselves and the world
 
I recently finished the book Presence: Human Purpose and the Field of the Future.  It is written by 4 uber-distinguished individuals – Peter Senge (MIT lecturer), Otto Scharmer (another MIT lecturer), Joseph Jawarski (cofounder of the Global Leadership Initiative), and Betty Sue Flowers (Director of the Johnson Presidential library).  And – OMG – I just realized my copy is signed by Peter Senge.  Whoa.
 
ANYWAY
 
This book by fancy schmancy super smart people basically reiterates the yogic sentiment that we are all parts of whole, and we need to start thinking less about Me and more about We; otherwise, life as we know it will end (aka The Requiem Scenario).  HAPPY SUNDAY!  But to do this, we need to develop presence.  We need to observe the world as it is and as we are, we need to retreat and reflect and allow inner knowing to emerge and become a vehicle for something new to arise, and we need to take action on what arises. 
 
That first step is critical – we MUST develop self-awareness in order to break out of the matrix of our conditioning and see something new.  But guess what!  Just like we talked about last week in the post about Somatic Experiencing, in order to develop self-awareness you have to slow the f*ck down!!  (Don’t ask me why I am more comfortable using a euphemism for “f*ck” than the actual word.  I probably need to do some self-reflection on why I feel it necessary to use the word at all if I am not comfortable using the real word.  Brains be weird!!).  
 
Thread #2: There is still some magic left in the world.
 
We (and me) are made of Mystery.  We think that because we know why the sky is blue and where rainbows come from, there is no more magic in the world.  But oh boy.  We could not be more wrong! 
 
Two examples from Presence really struck me:

  1. On page 200, the authors discuss a study that showed that random number generators (RNGs) around the world behaved in HIGHLY NON-RANDOM WAYS on 9/11/01.  The RNGs are protected from forces that could affect their randomness, yet, on 9/11 the non-random behavior began at 5AM and peaked at 11AM, EDT, matching the timelines of events that day.  WTF?!  Me affects We.
  2. On page 247, the authors discuss a study done by a Japanese scientist, Masaru Emoto.  He used MRIs to take pictures of the crystals formed when water freezes.  As you read the following, please remember that we humans are about 70% water (and the earth is covered about 70% by water).  Mr. Emoto took photos of water from sacred sources, from polluted sources, and from distilled water.  The crystals formed by natural springs and sacred sources were GORGEOUS.  They looked like beautiful stained glass works of art.  The crystals from the polluted water looked like a slug, but uglier.  The distilled water had no structure to it – it looked just like a nebulous blob.  UNTIL.  When they played music around the distilled water, the water formed crystals that “seem to visually reflect the essence of the music – the geometric precision of Bach, the balance of order  and flow of Mozart, the beautiful simplicity of folk music.”  They also had a priest pray over some distilled water for an hour, and when they took new pictures, the water formed amazing 7-sided crystals.  The priest had prayed to the Seven Bezaiten, the Goddesses of Fortune.”  WHOA.  (I want to note that his work is controversial – some experts think it’s quackery and others think it’s legit.  And maybe, both things are true??).

What’s the point of me sharing this with you? 
1.  To give you hope.  The world is full of strife and pain and potential destruction, but it’s also full of joy and wonder and the infinite creative possibility. 
2.  To remind me and you that by taking care of our own body, mind, and spirit, we can literally positively impact the entire network of life (we’re all part of a connected field). 
3.  To reinforce how powerful our thoughts are.  If thoughts (aka prayer) can change the crystallization of water, and we are 70% water, what are we doing to our bodies (and our pain experience) with our thoughts?  You can find more science related to this concept in this article I wrote a few years ago.
4.  Changing our thoughts can be super difficult, especially patterns of thought that have been with us since we formed our impression of the world as toddlers.  But an accessible first step is to participate in a contemplative practice like meditation or journaling, so we can start to build awareness of our mind stream. 

There you go.  I found the book very inspiring and really enjoyed its message of hope, so I wanted to share it with you.

I’ll leave you with a quote from a recent interview with Dr. Roger Walsh on the Neurohacker podcast. This quote reminded me that it’s OK (and actually a good thing) to sit in confusion and paradox. 

“All is mystery, and here is our best guess.”

We don’t know what we don’t know, and what we know is probably going to end up being proven wrong some day.  It’s all just an educated guess.

Space to be Human Lab

  • If you are interested in developing more presence, either by developing a meditation habit or by exploring embodiment practices, I can help!  You can book a 60-minute embodiment session here: Booking link.  I also am currently offering free 30 minute sessions focused on the Somatic Experiencing work.
  • If you have a friend, coworker, or loved one who is in pain, and you would like to help them feel better, please let them know they can use this code for $10 off their first session: FEELBETTER.

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Uncategorized

What Awaits You in the Shadows?


What happens in the silence, in the quiet, in the moments of non-doing?
 
Well, it’s pretty freaking hard to tell.  Because WHEN do we experience moments of quiet and calm and stillness??  Even if you meditate, at least in my experience, it’s an experience of a constant hamster wheel of thoughts, from which I am continuously trying to redirect my attention.  Not a lot of peace and quiet there some days!
 
This is where Somatic Experiencing can help.
 
I spent 4 days last week learning how Somatic Experiencing (SE) can help me, and how it can help me help you.  Somatic Experiencing is a type of trauma resolution work.  To understand why trauma resolution work is so needed, it’s necessary to understand what trauma is. In SE it’s described as anything that overwhelms the nervous system’s ability to cope.  In today’s fast paced world, we are in a constant state of overwhelm.  Here’s a fun fact:
 
“We are bombarded by about 74 gigabytes of information per day. Yet, we can only consciously handle 6 bytes (40-50 bits) of information per second. Our daily info load is more than what the average person of five hundred years ago would have consumed in a lifetime.”  Rian Doris, Flow Research Collective.
 
When our nervous systems get overwhelmed, they can signal DANGER!!! even when there is no active threat to us.  The nervous system can get stuck in a self-protection response that the circumstance no longer dictates.  When this happens, it’s harder to be in the Here and Now, harder to have access to health and wellbeing.  We can feel stuck.
 
So what to do!?
 
In SE work, you slow the felt experience WAY down, to give the nervous system time to tell its story (which may differ from the story our minds tell us).  It looks like taking time to really notice: What am I feeling?  Where am I feeling it?  How would I describe the sensation?  What colors, textures, shape does it have?  Does it have edges?  What happens if I just watch the sensation?  And, as you experience the sensations, the practitioner is there to help you stay grounded and present by asking questions, by noticing if/when you start to get amped up, and by guiding you back to a safety.
 
I found that, if I am on my own, I just do not allow myself the time to stay present with what I am feeling and sensing.  I feel too busy, too rushed, and the old, “I’ll do it later” thought takes over.  But when I have a kind, compassionate witness sitting with me, really SEEING me, really encouraging me to take all the time I need, lending me their stable nervous system when I need it, it’s amazing the universe of sensations and experiences that I begin to notice. It’s a gift.
 
In this Beginning II training class, we worked with disrupted self-protection responses:  Arrest response/preparatory orienting, flight, fight, freeze.  If any of these self-protection responses are stopped before they can be completed (think about car accidents, falls, accidents, being hit by something, etc.), the energy mobilized by that response can cause disturbances in our bodies, such as:

  • Hypo vigilance – You don’t notice threats, especially coming from a certain direction.  This may mean you bump into stuff a lot, feel clumsy or accident prone.  You may be unaware of space and time and may get lost easily.
  • Hyper vigilance – You are hyper aware of threats, feel anxious, fatigued, can’t connect deeply with others.
  • Jaw tension, holding fists, narrowing eyes, aggressive posture.
  • Angry outbursts or lack of anger when the context warrants it, due to loss of relationship with the emotion of anger.
  • Not really sitting in chair (ready to run).
  • Constriction in legs, arms (bracing).
  • Loss of connection with legs and/or arms.
  • Nervous energy, sense of urgency.
  • Tension in body.
  • Feeling of not caring and that nobody cares.
  • Feeling of being floaty, sleepy, groggy

Interesting, eh??  So many common experiences in our body could possibly be tied back to a traumatic event and an incomplete self protection response.

If this has piqued your curiosity, you can book a free 30 minute coaching session with me here.  I am still learning (I have 2.5 years left of classes), and I really appreciate the opportunity to share this life-changing work with you and get some practice at the same time. You can also book a regular session here.

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