Today’s meditation was all about my central energy channel

Today’s Biodynamic Meditation went like this:

Physiological sighs to shift my autonomic nervous system more parasympathetic

Settling into my cross-legged upright posture, left hand cradling right hand, palms up, in lap

Bringing awareness inside my body

Noticing sensations in my central energy channel

Noticing radiance at my face and my third eye and crown chakras open

Notice heart and throat chakras open

Noticing the Tide ascending and descending in a cycle of about 18 seconds in each direction

Noticing the radiance at my face become stronger, pressing inward

Being curious about my lower chakras, checking in with them, sensing solar plexus, sacral, and root chakras open

Staying with the Tide, chakras open, radiance at my face the rest of the 30 minutes

Photo: San Solomon Springs, Balmorhea State Park

Re-Sourcing for change and challenges ahead

“Life and death are of supreme importance. Time swiftly passes by and opportunity is lost. Each of us should strive to awaken. Awaken. Take heed, do not squander your life.” ~ Dogen Zenji

This quote from Dogen has stayed with me from my early Zen days, and I’m finding it handy when life presents challenges.

Yesterday I learned that I may need to find a new place to live in the coming months.

This morning, my adored one messaged he’d started having symptoms of COVID. I’ve been exposed. I’ve escaped it so far, one of the few.

Here I sit with change, hoping for the best outcomes on all counts, holding confidence in that.

My Biodynamic Meditation was deep. Breaths, posture, radiance at my face, Tide in central energy channel. Healing energy in pelvis, heart center, ajna chakra, balancing my instinctive, emotional, and mental centers.

The healing energy knows I need to be resourceful. It knows!

Sometimes in Craniosacral Biodynamics sessions, the practitioner’s head involuntarily nods, from brainwaves heading into delta territory.

That happened, too. Delta, change.

To witness healing, be present and get out of the way

Feeling grateful this morning, for creation. For you, me, life.

My Biodynamic Meditation today: physiological sighs, settling into sitting posture, noticing tidal motion in central energy channel, monkey mind thinking, healing energy focusing for a bit in abdomen, then longer at cranium.

The sensations today in my cranium were not of bones subtly becoming more aligned, but of the dura mater at my temples and behind my forehead shifting, optimizing.

It’s still happening as I write, this incremental nature of healing.

We are made of energy patterns that shift in response to experience. Healing is about both being present and also getting out of the way to allow our patterns to optimize.

We get to witness this in Biodynamic Meditation.

Sensing swirliness is sensing your body healing itself

What is this swirliness that I sometimes sense in my Biodynamic Meditation sessions?

Another name for it is the inherent healing process.

Synonyms for inherent include intrinsic, integral, essential, natural, innate, inborn, inner.

I believe this inherent healing process is available in all of us humans…and Biodynamic Meditation is a path to discovering it in yourself.

To sense our own self-healing, our minds need to be calm, gently focused within on our sensations to the point of familiarity, and receptive to what we notice.

This is the heart of why anyone would want to learn Biodynamic Meditation.

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Effervescence and soothing kindness nurture my vitality

My Biodynamic Meditation session this morning was about breath, awareness of my central energy channel, awareness of the Tide moving up and down and then settling at my sacrum as healing energy for a bit, moving up to my solar plexus region, and then to my crown chakra.

The energetic sensation was that of effervescence at my sacrum and my crown, and like soothing kindness at my solar plexus.

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Let what wants to happen, happen

When I wake up too early, I listen to a Yoga Nidra guided meditation on YouTube, led by Liam Gillen.

That happened this morning.

I’d stopped it from playing about halfway through the last time I listened so I could sleep.

This morning it started where I’d left off, and I realized I’d never heard the second half of it!!

It’s that good at getting me to sleep.

What I heard was a guided tour of the chakras, moving energy up the central channel, chakra by chakra, from root to crown.

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Try this breathwork technique: Sniff. Sniff. Ahhhhh.

I’m switching to another type of breathwork when I start my daily Biodynamic Meditation.

Brand new research published in the prestigious journal Cell shows that 5 minutes of cyclic sighing is more effective at improving mood and reducing anxiety than 20 minutes of mindfulness meditation.

Cyclic sighing, also called the physiological sigh, was first brought to public attention by the Huberman Lab podcast from the Stanford University neurobiology lab.

To do cyclic sighing, you inhale quickly and then inhale quickly again to fill your lungs, and then exhale slowly. Repeat.

It’s like this: Sniff. Sniff. Ahhhhhhhh.

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Every human has a central energy channel

“We are exploring what we’re exploring with.” ~ Gabrielle Roth

I’ve been looking for an image showing the central energy channel through which the Tide flows in Biodynamic Meditation (and Craniosacral Biodynamics).

This one is closer to what I experience than most of the images.

There are maps…and then there’s the territory. Conceptual information and felt experience.

IMO, we need maps to show us where we’re going. The territory is what we’re exploring.

In yoga anatomy, the sushumna nadi is the channel that connects the crown of the head to the pelvic floor.

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10 years later, looking back at a psychic reading

I’ve been reviewing some old posts on this blog and came across one I published in March 2012, over 10 years ago, that really got my attention.

I posted about a psychic reading I got from Joe Nicols, whom many consider the best psychic in Austin.

Reposting a shortened version below:

Today Joe Nicols, a long-time, well-known Austin palmist/psychic, read my hands in a 10-minute reading. I found what he had to say interesting and am considering going back to him for a full reading. [Note: I haven’t done that yet.]

He told me I’d been blind in a previous life, and that I’m very careful who I listen to. He said he was flattered that I was listening to him.

Joe told me that I’d been a healer for many, many lifetimes, doing healing of various types — as a doctor, midwife, and more.

He said I came into this lifetime ready to make a mark but that factors in my early life dampened that.

True.

He said I have the mark of an athlete in my hands. That was surprising, but yep, if you consider yoga and dance athletic.

He also said that I could have done many things in this lifetime. He said I could have been an engineer, for instance. [I don’t see it. At all. It doesn’t interest me — and I’m glad others find it worthwhile. But humanitarian, anthropologist, researcher, editor, teacher, trainer, coach, medical and alternative medical, scientist, artist, counselor, advisor, yes.]

Joe also said I’d been a writer in many, many lifetimes, and that I was once a man who wrote with a quill pen! [I wonder what his name was and if I could read something “I” wrote. Whoa!]

You could say that by blogging about wellness and practicing massage, I’m continuing two karmic traditions. Joe did not know until later that that’s what I do.

Joe told me that I’m not materialistic and can’t be bought. Yep, I know that’s true. Money matters, but ethics matter more.

Joe also spoke to me about having an aversion to being trapped, because I wear no jewelry on my hands. (I said, “But I’m a massage therapist. I don’t wear rings or bracelets when I’m working, so it’s easier not to wear them at all.” He replied that my conscious mind may understand it that way, but it’s deeper than that.)

Go figure.

Yes, of course I have an aversion to being trapped! Who the heck wants to be trapped?

I asked him what was wrong with that, and he made it sound like it was necessary to allow oneself to be trapped to be in a relationship.

Hmm. I still don’t like it. Surely there’s got to be a happy place of being in a relationship and not feeling trapped. I just don’t want to give up my autonomy. I believe I can have both autonomy and intimacy in a committed relationship. It will just take the right person with a similar outlook.


What’s crazy about this reading, from over 10 years ago, is this: I really don’t know about past lives and reincarnation. It’s a concept that’s huge in Hinduism and Buddhism, but not in Western culture.

And although I am drawn to the spirituality in Hinduism and Buddhism, I am a Westerner. I have no clear memories of any of my past lives and haven’t spent much time thinking about it.

That’s not to say it’s impossible.

I once had a spontaneous visualization that my young husband, Roger, who died a few years ago many years after we divorced, and I had danced together at a formal ball, and he was in a military uniform.

Since no one has formal balls with dancing in modern times, it must have been from a time when they were popular.

Was that my imagination, romanticizing our relationship?

I don’t know.

What seems more realistic to me is that talk about past lives is more related to traits in the current life.

Genetically, I have a slightly increased risk of macular degeneration. So does my daughter.

My mother’s father’s mother, Emily Ann Moore Frazier, became blind in her old age, and my mother read Shakespeare and the Bible aloud to her grandmother when she was a child — and later majored in English at UT/Austin.

Emily Ann probably had macular degeneration.

I am very careful who I listen to. Insight and integrity count for a lot.

I am very drawn to healing. Maybe I really was a healer for many, many lifetimes. I just don’t remember.

The interesting thing is that when I was in massage school the year before I got this reading, I was starting to study anatomy for the first time and feeling a bit intimidated.

I told myself that I’d been a doctor in previous lives and that I knew anatomy so well that this new learning was really just review.

That mindset worked! I had no issue with learning anatomy and indeed reveled in the Latin names, such as trapezius, levator scapula, and vomer. I’d taken Latin in high school. It helped.

I am now an anatomy geek.

Healing is what I do now and plan to do for the rest of my life, as long as circumstances permit. It feels like one of the highest purposes a human can aspire to, and I feel humble, privileged, and always open to learning more so I can continue to do it and be of service to relieve suffering in this world.

So what about coming into this lifetime to make a mark but factors in my early life dampened that?

When I was 11, my 6-year-old sister was suddenly raped and murdered by a teenage neighbor boy. That is the kind of traumatic tragedy that a person doesn’t just get over. I had PTSD before PTSD was even recognized. I didn’t feel safe in this world where people went around raping and murdering little girls — fact, as far as I knew!

I’m little. I wanted to hide. I didn’t feel safe.

It really thwarted my development. I did go to therapy, but the therapists weren’t skilled enough to help me. And in fairness, I could not have told anyone “what was wrong”. I didn’t know either. I was a child and had no perspective. My parents were grief-stricken and not available enough to notice my suffering through their own, and even if they had, the right kind of help simply hadn’t been developed yet.

I am so grateful for Peter Levine.

I finally found a good therapist in 2002 and spent two years focused on processing my trauma and really, recalibrating my identity. I didn’t know who I was. I have a lot of good clues now.

I don’t know that the trauma processing is complete, but I’m doing a whole lot better now. It’s sort of a background issue that only occasionally comes into consciousness.

And yes, I still want to make a mark in this lifetime, as a writer, teacher, and healer. I have a lot of resources to manifest that now.

About being an athlete: I’m not competitive, but I have worked long and hard on my alignment issues and recovery from injuries to have flexibility, strength, and full range of motion and to be able to express myself through dance.

Music and dance are happy places for me. I am embodied.

Another hand reader, Bonnie at the Taos Farmers Market, saw something in my hand that indicated a great sense of rhythm: sports, riding horses, music, or drumming? Nope, it’s dance.

About being a writer…writing comes easily to me. I was an avid reader when young and absorbed much about the written word.

My mother was a teacher with an English degree who made me look words up in the dictionary. My father was a minister who later got a doctorate in linguistics. So…very language- and literacy-oriented family.

I didn’t have any problems writing essays and book reports in school. It came naturally. I worked at a daily newspaper in my 20s and wrote an article that won a statewide award — and I wasn’t even on the editorial staff — I was a graphic artist.

I’ve been journaling for decades.

Writing was something that came so easily to me that I didn’t realize a lot of people couldn’t do it very well.

Not materialistic? Yep. I live in a vintage trailer with limited space, which forces me to pare down on my belongings. I like having just what I need, just essentials. I am happy to not have to keep up with a lot of stuff. I have better things to do with my time.

Everything he said about relationship and fear of being trapped… I’m a high-autonomy person. I do understand that there are issues to work out in close relationships, and that’s worthwhile if the relationship is good enough!

I stick it out unless there are issues make the relationship unsustainable.

I just don’t want to feel stuck or trapped.

I still believe it’s possible to have a relationship that’s both intimate and high in autonomy for both people. Having a purpose and respecting and supporting each other’s purpose can make it work.

Biodynamic Meditation posts on Instagram

I started studying craniosacral therapy in 2011 while still a massage student, after receiving it monthly for 3 years and understanding its sometimes-subtle but cumulative benefits to my health and well-being.

I started studying craniosacral biodynamics in 2013. Three days after learning it existed and hearing it described, I was in a class.

It’s a passion of mine. I’ve taken dozens of classes since, in both biodynamic and directive, Upledger-style CST. I’ve taken several classes multiple times and been a teaching assistant.

Craniosacral biodynamics works quite a bit with interoception, the “felt sense” in oneself.

A lot of the language in my classes was highly conceptual even though referring to felt states. There’s a big gap between concept and experience, between the map and the territory. It was frustrating!

What does the Breath of Life feel like? How do you distinguish the different tides? What does a still point feel like? How do you track potency? What about the different stages? What the heck is Dynamic Stillness and how do you get there?

I started experimenting with trying to sense these concepts in my meditation practice and had some pretty profound experiences, such as feeling like I was in the ocean and currents were flowing through and around me, experiencing a me-shaped hole of emptiness surrounded by dense energies holding me in place, the sense of being breathed, and the like.

But they were random experiences and I still didn’t know the names for them or how to get there. Hence pursuing more training.

Sequencing is important in a yoga class. You prepare carefully with easier poses and work up to the harder poses you didn’t think you could do — and then, wow, you’re doing them! It’s important in teaching and learning Craniosacral Biodynamics, too, guided by carefully considered preparation.

All of these states and experiences have helped me become more whole and healthy, wise and compassionate about our common human experience. They help me heal, and I do have experiences to heal from, still.

Samsara can be so rough.

I am an investigator, an Enneagram 5. I am driven by curiosity and learning and compassion. I came into this world to make a difference, and although side-lined by early difficulties, I’m doing it now.

Where I am now is this: I have a private practice in West Lake Hills, an old Austin suburb, where I offer two specialties: Craniosacral Biodynamics and TMJ Relief.

I also offer the same specialties in downtown Austin, at West Holistic Medicine.

And, I’m doing an experiment on Instagram. Every day I do a #biodynamicmeditation and post about it on Instagram. I choose images and music to accompany my words. It’s fun and growing, gaining followers, including teachers of Craniosacral Biodynamics.

If you want to follow me there, I’m @mareynolds. These posts also appear on my Facebook business page and on Tumblr and LinkedIn.

What’s behind this new endeavor? Well, if I could receive a Biodynamic session every day, I would! But I can’t afford it and don’t always have time.

However, I do have time to meditate every day. So do you, most likely, on most days.

So I practice Biodynamic Meditation and post about it, with an eye to eventually teaching it as a recognized form of meditation where the focus is on self-healing and restoring vitality. You can follow my progress.

Whatever we couldn’t process at the time gets contained energetically. Sometimes we experience releases and may or may not be aware of it. We feel more ourselves, more centered, grounded, vibrant, confident, resourceful.

Craniosacral Biodynamics greatly augments the body-mind’s ability to heal itself of dysregulation, stuckness, inertia.

When that energy is released, it returns to our overall vitality and well-being.

It accelerates wellness.

I’ve been practicing Biodynamics in meditation, in classes, and with clients for almost a decade. I am far from enlightened, though I have moments of deep presence and clarity about who I am, why I’m here, and what I want.

I am much healther, grounded, centered, aware, bigger minded, and bigger hearted than I used to be. And people who have known me for that long or longer have noticed.

This is where I am now, and I appreciate you reading about my process. There will be more to come, I’m sure. If you have questions, please ask!