The blog was silent last week while I began to process the outcome of the election.
While I have a great deal to say on the matter, this is not a political blog, and I will keep my thoughts framed around healing.
As I have moved through this week, something I feel clear about is that the world needs each of us to show up with strength, standing in our own power. There is no time to waste with self-imposed limitations, obstacles and blocks. If there is something in your way to being the best, biggest version of yourself, bust through it NOW.
We need to be the change we wish to see in the world. It’s clear by the loud message of fear that has been delivered; the world needs us all to step up and take action from a place of love.
For deep and lasting peace I believe we must begin within, and then quickly move beyond the limits of ourselves.
When you fly, the flight attendants instruct that in case of an emergency the air masks will descend and you should put your own mask on before helping others. In this metaphor you must take care of yourself first, but you must do it with without wasting any time. I feel this sense of urgency today.
We have all been called to action. We can do the most good in the world when we get out of our own way and be our very best selves. If you’ve been resisting change in one or more areas of your life, if there is something you need to let go of, or something you need to embrace, now is the time.
The energy we waste in bad habits, circular thinking and general resistance can be freed up and re-directed. When we get out of our own way we can be much more effective at doing good in the world– it opens up our perspective and our capacity.
Now is not a time to be silent, it is a time to speak up and take action. We must muster all that we have and start making waves. Big waves.
Personal healing is a step toward global healing.
Did you know that the skin is our largest organ?
Skin is often totally overlooked as an organ at all, and yet, where would be be without it? Skin is all about integrity, literally holding us together. Through sensation, our skin helps us experience the world– it really endures a lot! Understanding the physiology of our skin definitely helps to take care of it.
Skin is a measure of overall health; it is impossible to have healthy skin on an unhealthy body.
It’s a healthy expression when the body puts something out through the skin. Every skin disease is the body’s best attempt to approximate health.
Our skin has a long list of jobs it does so we can do what we do. Our hard working skin is taking care of protection, regulation of temperature, production of vitamin D, sensation, absorption and excretion.
Let’s talk about how you can best support each of those functions.
- Protection: Your skin has a whole bunch of ways that it protects you from microorganisms, chemicals, physical agents such as trauma, and also, dehydration. Using something like harsh chemical hand sanitizer throws off your body’s natural abilities. The best thing you can do is gently support your skin without impinging upon it. (If you use hand sanitizer, try this natural recipe instead.)
- Regulation of temperature: Especially important during the colder months, you can make a little less work for your body by minimizing drastic swings in body temperature by dressing appropriately going outside and not keeping things too warm inside.
- Production of Vitamin D: 10 minutes a day of over head sunlight on your bare skin is all it takes for this amazing Vitamin-D-making process to happen. Living in the Northern Hemisphere it is much harder to make Vitamin D during the winter months, so it’s important to take a good high quality supplement. (Read about harnessing the power of the seasons for good health all year.)
- Sensation: It’s important to listen to sensations, if something doesn’t feel good on your skin, it probably isn’t what your body wants.
- Absorption: We are what we absorb. Think about everything you slather on your skin and clean up your body care products! Use the Environmental Working Group website to find products that are safe and non-toxic so you can feel good about what you absorb.
- Excretion: Everything your body puts out through your skin is an attempt to move something from the inside to the outside. This may look like anything from a fever or hot flashes to a rash, pimple or wort, sweat, hives, or eczema. The most important thing you can do is to let this natural mechanism work, and not suppress it. Avoid using topical steroid and zinc creams, don’t remove warts and moles when you can avoid it and let a fever run as much as is safe. To support the detox process drink plenty of water and work up a sweat on a regular basis, your body and skin will thank you!
Skin must be treated from within. A good diet of whole foods and minimal sugar goes a long way to happy, healthy skin.
The cherry on top of your self-care sundae is loving self-talk. When you look in the mirror, instead of focusing on the imperfections you see on your skin, marvel at the amazing job your skin is doing, admire it, love it, appreciate it!
Try as we might, our emotions cannot be avoided and neither can their impact. Even if we stuff down and ignore emotions our body will find something to do with them, and sooner or later we will feel the effects.
It’s easy to think that running away from unpleasant emotions will ease suffering, when in fact, our suffering will not go away with the denial and suppression of feelings.
Suppressing emotions is an act of resistance. The range of our emotional experience moves with the flow of our life. Feelings come and go– when we get into trouble is when we try to stop that flow. A habit of not letting feelings come up, or a habit of not letting feelings go will lead to dis-ease on some level, mental, emotional, spiritual or physical.
Our emotions are our guides, showing us what in our life needs to be healed, and what brings us joy. Instead of fearfully turning our back on unpleasant emotions we can shift the paradigm by gently starting to lean in to them.
Emotions are always our teachers, the magic is making them our friends.
How many people do you know who have dysfunction in one more more areas of their life because they are stuck repeating the same patterns? Part of being human is the fact that when we fail to honestly face our emotions we continue to repeat the same old patterns.
There is a very good reason so many people fall prey to this. For too many, feeling emotions was discouraged during childhood, forget being encouraged. And even for those whose parents didn’t discourage feeling emotions, life gives us plenty of reasons to turn away from negative emotions anyhow.
Like most healing, finding peace with our emotional reality does not happen overnight. If we’ve been avoiding our emotions for most of our lives, it will naturally take some time to start feeling them.
If you want to break through the blocks that have been limiting you, and the patterns that have not been serving you– If you want to be free of the fear and reactivity that emotions bring– All you have to do to start is gently lean in to the feelings. Lean in to what is uncomfortable, do it to whatever degree feels right for you.
One of the reasons I love living in Maine is the majesty of the four seasons. Moving with the rhythm of the seasons allows us to tap into a great power.
We are so inextricably linked to our environment that to move against the natural flow of the seasons creates resistance in our lives.
The summer, ruled by the sun, is a time of activity and growth. As we move into autumn we are invited to become more introspective and to embrace this time of change.
“The trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let go.” -Anonymous
Autumn is a time for letting go. A tree doesn’t try to cling desperately to its dead leaves, nor does it fear that if it lets go it will never have beautiful green leaves again. And yet, so easily this is what the prospect of letting go feels like to us.
If you journal, meditate, have a yoga practice, or take walks outside take a quiet moment and ask yourself any of these questions:
- What am I being invited to let go of?
- Where am I hanging onto something that doesn’t serve me?
- How would my life feel different if I let go of that ______ ? (belief, habit, person, expectation, goal, possession, etc.)
Hear the answers gently and without judgement. If there is resistance just witness it. Asking the question is the first step, beginning to make new choices based on the answer is the second step.
Through letting go we free ourselves and create the life we desire.
“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
The world around us tries to teach us that we get what we want by adding more, more, more. Imagine if the trees prescribed to this logic? Letting go uncovers who we are and what we desire.
To begin embracing the wisdom of the seasons, start where you are. All you have to do is make small loving choices, following Mother Nature’s lead. If you feel disconnected from her wisdom just spend more time outside, you’ll tap back in.
Have you ever experienced that?
The healing process is not often glamorous, shiny or particularly fun.
What I have encountered most often is healing that zig zags, speeds up, slows down, is sometimes crystal clear and sometimes so murky you feel you can’t see 6 inches in front of you.
In terms of our chronic complaints, the way we get sick isn’t usually straightforward. In many cases the way we get sick is sneaky, happening little by little until it’s all we can notice.
As above, so below. We don’t get a chronic disease overnight, and we can’t heal overnight. Just as getting sick takes many years the healing journey often does as well.
The important thing is the healing action; progress and movement in the right direction. We don’t expect to see quantum leaps here, we just want to see that we are moving in the right direction.
There are many important reasons to have allies on your healing path– One reason is that you cannot hold space for yourself, which you need in order to heal. Another is that you cannot hold the larger perspective of where you are coming from and where you are going as you heal. You need people in your life and on your team that will help you see how far you’ve come and reassure you that you are moving in the right direction when you feel lost.
Healing comes out of growth, growth comes out of destruction.
In our brain, neural connections that are not used are marked for destruction so new ones can be built. We see this dynamic everywhere throughout life, we must break down the old in order to build up the new.
During the healing process we are experiencing the destruction of the structures and processes that have been helping us cope, be it physically, mentally or spiritually. No wonder it can be a dark and despairing time. These are structures we’re used to hanging onto for safety, it makes sense that we can feel lost and uncertain.
There’s nothing wrong with feeling lost during periods of the healing process, but it’s helpful to have trusted people around us to remind us of this.
Here’s what I know for sure: if you are truly committed to your healing path, periods that may feel like floundering are not floundering. They are a part of the journey and they are right where they need to be. You are right where you need to be at all times.