I’ve been a yogi for a long time, and also at various times, I’ve danced, biked, swum, kayaked, walked, hiked, worked with a trainer in a fitness studio, done tai chi and/or qi gong, Pilates… I’m sure there are some activities I’ve forgotten at the moment.
I love it when my body moves well, when I have full range of motion in all my joints and can move with fluidity and enough energy and strength to do these activities and get through my days with a minimum of discomfort.
I practiced the MELT Method at home, subscribing to MELT On Demand, for a while a few years ago. It gave me online access to hundreds of videos focusing on rehydrating my body parts using soft foam rollers and balls and stretchy bands.
Hydration. Rehydration. We are squishy beings. Infants are about 70 percent water, but it declines with age, to maybe 55 percent in the senior years, which is where I am now.
In other words, we kinda dry up with age, and this shows up as stiffness.
You know what? It is not inevitable! And it takes more than just consuming enough fluid.
You want those fluids to get into your soft tissues, into your muscles and fascia, bones and joints, tendons and ligaments.
You know how good you feel after you’ve received a full body massage? Well, the secret to that good feeling is the massage therapist gliding their hands with light or firm pressure on your skin. It redistributes your fluids, which relieves stiffness, aches, and pains.
The MELT Method is hands-OFF bodywork you can do by yourself, at home, with MELT equipment and videos. Sue Hitzmann, bodyworker and self-described gym rat, developed the MELT Method and continues to add to it.
Don’t underestimate Sue because she is in great shape, attractive, perky, and wears fashionable workout wear. She’s also disciplined and brainy. She has a master’s degree in exercise science from NYU. She’s participated in dissections of cadavers to learn more about fascia and belongs to the international Fascia Research Society. She’s worked with some big names in the field of fascia research: Tom Myers, Gil Hedley, Robert Scheip, Jean-Claude Guimberteau.
She is a somatic educator, bringing information and practices you can use to enhance your experience of well-being.
I stopped doing MELT for a while but just re-upped my subscription to MELT On Demand because I was feeling too stiff.
If this interests you, @MELTmethod is a YouTube channel with free material on MELT, no subscription needed.
As someone who sits still for long periods in my work as a biodynamic craniosacral therapist, I can’t recommend this enough. My work is oriented to fluids and energy in the body. I help my clients experience more ease in their bodies. If I could receive a session every day, I would!
I started a training course in the fall of 2021 that involves making 10 trips to Washington, DC, from Austin, TX. The training was actually in Silver Spring, a suburb.
I was very enthused about working with this teacher! And…I didn’t think much about all the travel, not ever having had to do much business travel back in those olden days.
The first trip was adventurous! I took the Metro and visited museums on the Mall on an extra day. I stayed in a crappy AirBnB that was close to the training so I could walk.
The second trip I stayed in a nice rowhouse in Columbia Heights and took the Metro to class each day. I visited the Phillips Collection, a good art museum, on my extra day.
On the third trip, I stayed in an AirBnB in Silver Spring where the owner (who did not live there) had gone crazy with a label maker.
Oh, yes, you could find “BOWELS” on a shelf in a kitchen cabinet.
I took the Metro to the Mall and walked to the Lincoln Memorial when the cherry trees were first starting to bloom. It was cold and windy, and I wore myself out, but I’m glad I did it.
On my fourth trip, I burned out. I’d been in a high speed car accident a couple of months before, and I’m convinced that even though I wasn’t seriously injured, going from 65 mph to 0 quickly and getting “spine-lash” is not something the human body is designed to bounce back from. It’s taken PT for my body and many months off body/energy work and breathwork and meditation for my nervous system to recover. I’m still taking Cortisol Manager. It’s been almost a year.
And there’s more… I’d planned to arrive a day early, but my one-stop flight ended in Oklahoma City because of bad weather in DC, and I unexpectedly had to book a hotel room and then be at the airport at 4 am to get a three-stop flight to DC. I was in six airports in two days on next to no sleep. I was tired when I got to DC, and things didn’t improve much.
I had signed up for a 3-day training right before my regular 4-day class. I learned that 7 days in a row in a classroom doesn’t work well for me. I love learning, but I need time to rest, to move, to sleep well, and to integrate.
And more… The Supreme Court overturning of Roe v. Wade happened the first day of class. I read articles that night about the white supremacist, anti-LGBTQ intent of the new conservative majority, which felt threatening to my beautiful rainbow family’s integrity, and it was happening right there in DC.
And still more… The AirBnB I stayed in seemed haunted, in hindsight. The location was good, but day by day, I felt lonelier and more depleted, and I simply did not want to be there. I couldn’t tell if “there” was in that AirBnB, in the training, in DC, or on the planet. I felt empathy with Anthony Bourdain’s suicide. He probably just wanted out.
Being not suicidal, I later wondered whether in my depleted state, I was picking up energies from a previous occupant of that basement apartment who’d been depressed and suicidal.
I went home earlier than I’d planned, drained.
Business travel is not like going to Maui. I thought about dropping out. I stayed home and did the fifth class on video.
Given time, I recovered and went back to DC for the sixth training, staying in a hostel in Adams-Morgan, which I liked better than most of the AirBnBs, again taking the Metro to and from class. I got a couple of nice walks in every day getting to and from the DuPont Circle station.
I enjoyed the hostel. It has dorm rooms with privacy curtains around each bunk and a shared bathroom. Sometimes there’s a happy hour with games. The staff and guests are young, vibrant people who come from many places. The staff knows the neighborhood well and are very friendly and helpful.
There’s a free washer and dryer with detergent and dryer sheets, as well as a big, fully equipped kitchen to cook in.
I also treated myself to a floatation tank session one evening during this sixth trip. It was a great reset.
I was curious about other introverts traveling for business, and fortuitously, the wife of a member of my spiritual book group, Laura, sat next to me at our annual December potluck dinner. I knew Laura was an introvert who had to do a lot of business travel for her consulting job, and I asked her for tips for introverts doing business travel.
Here’s what she kindly shared with me:
The key is to reduce stress by making everything as close to your home routines as possible.
Think about when you are ready to face the world each day, and schedule your departure to the airport for after that time.
Book flights far enough in advance to get desirable nonstop mid-day flights (or at least less time in transit) and make the whole day a travel day. It’s way less stressful.
She advised packing everything into one carry-on and one personal item to avoid waiting at baggage claim. She re-wears or washes clothes.
I haven’t done this yet, but it’s appealing. My big bag that I’ve been checking is heavy for someone not quite five feet tall, and baggage claim can be very slow and crowded, not to mention managing the big bag on the Metro.
She recommended staying at the same place. For her, it’s always the same hotel chain, because the layout and rooms are similar no matter where they’re located.
I’m traveling and training on my own dime and can’t afford hotels. Don’t really like them anyway…so impersonal and corporate and don’t feel very fresh.
If I can’t find an affordable nice AirBnB near the training on my remaining trips, the hostel is my next best choice.
Laura advised ordering food delivered from Whole Foods and eating what I’d eat at home.
That works for me. Having a kitchen to cook in is a big plus. I cook for myself most of the time at home, knowing the ingredients are healthy and my food is made with love.
Not to mention, dining out has gotten expensive.
Laura advised setting toiletries out in the bathroom the same way you do at home, and putting clothes in drawers and the closet the same way you would at home.
If your meeting starts on Monday, and you fly in on Saturday, spend Sunday relaxing and reading a good book.
Laura also advised not joining extroverted colleagues in evening activities after workday meetings. Since we introverts recharge our batteries in solitude, make sure you get enough alone time to fully recharge after a day of being in meetings or training with others. It’s also good to reconnect with loved ones back home every evening on the phone.
I got lucky for my seventh class and found an AirBnB on the same block as my training. I could walk to Whole Foods to get groceries, cook for myself, and walk to class with ease. I brought matcha, frother, and add-ins from home.
It was a spare bedroom in a high-rise apartment complex. I saw some gorgeous sunsets from there and a cherry tree in full bloom on my block. My host was someone nice to chat with a few times, and I had privacy. I felt safe and comfortable, staying with her.
I only used Uber to get to and from the airport and never used the Metro this trip. That helped reduce wear and tear quite a bit.
I’m probably not as introverted as she is, because I joined a few of my classmates on Friday night at an ecstatic dance in DC. Since it’s nonverbal movement, it didn’t drain me. It gave me some satisfaction to move exuberantly after so much sitting all week. I blew off a lot of steam.
I slept well that night and returned to Austin the next day. This was the easiest trip so far.
Only three more to go.
What would you add, if you’re an introvert who travels for work or training?
Many of us, myself included, have a bias toward noticing what’s wrong, what hurts, is tense, stiff, sluggish, numb, dysfunctional.
We may even make up stories about what’s wrong, feeling ourselves deficient, flawed, less than, unworthy.
I’m motivated to get over that!
You know, if you’re not on life support in a hospital, there’s a lot that’s going right.
Your heart is beating.
You’re viewing this post and reading these words.
You very likely are hearing sounds, if you direct your attention there.
The many sensations of body awareness…
Your weight pressing down into whatever you’re sitting or standing or leaning on.
The sense of where you are in space, how your body is arranged, your posture.
Warmth or coolness.
Your many systems that keep you organized and alive: cardiovascular, pulmonary, nervous, lymphatic, digestive, immune, etc.
Also, your mind. Your memories and imaginations, beliefs, motivations, identity, skills, preferences and avoidances, etc.
Underlying all is your life force. Yogis call it prana. Daoists call it qi (chi, ki).
I feel it when I do Biodynamic Meditation, doing yoga or qi gong, walking in nature, having a great conversation with someone, hugging a friend, practicing Craniosacral Biodynamics, and just at random times.
I feel grateful for being alive.
That’s what this is all about. This comes even before sensing the Tide in the central energy channel.
Wow! Today’s Biodynamic Meditation was mostly swirliness!
I had again awakened early and listened to a Yoga Nidra recording on YouTube. I’ve been sampling them. Still like Liam Gillen and also now Kristyn Rose Yoga who has one with some focus on the heart chakra.
I also gave 5 mini-sessions at last night’s Community Healing Circle after being unable to work this past week. Power outage at my office due to ice storm. (It’s back on now.)
I was primed for a really good meditation.
I breathed a few physiological sighs until I yawned (parasympathetic sign).
Felt radiance at my face and then my entire head.
No stillpoint unless it was brief.
I wonder if the healing energy, after 3 months of daily meditations, doesn’t need stillpoints any more because it knows my system well by now.
When I work on others, a stillpoint seems like a pause when the healing energy is assessing their system and gathering resources before it starts swirling.
Swirliness happens when the healing energy of the Tide changes its action from regulation (ascending and descending the central energy channel) or stillpoints (gathering resources) to healing whatever is ready to be healed (swirling where it’s needed), as best I understand it experientially.
Swirliness is so mysterious and magical! It has its own agenda for healing that is extremely intelligent!
I believe it’s way more intelligent than any of us could possibly be. After all, it has known us deeply and intimately, from the inside out, since shortly after our conception.
Sometimes it moves really fast, zipping around. Sometimes it slows down and lingers in an area.
Today it touched on all my chakras and did some more realigning of my cranial bones.
Usually it feels really good! Sometimes, like today with my frontal bone, there was a brief, slight sense of discomfort until the bone was aligned with its neighbors.
Photo: wave receding from lava tube, with whispering stones, at Wai’anapanapa State Park, Hana, Maui.
Yesterday I wrote about finding a place in my abdomen that felt cool in my Biodynamic Meditation. It condensed into a round shape maybe 2 inches in diameter.
It felt like old, stagnant, stuck fear, an iciness from who-knows-which young experience, maybe several.
I wondered if this was a place in my system that the healing energy would return to, helping it heal.
In today’s meditation, I felt radiance at my face, Tide, and healing energy slowly moving in my abdomen.
I felt the condensed energy again. It wasn’t as cold as it was yesterday. The healing energy stayed there for a while, like it was settling in with its attention.
Healing always happens in the present, no matter when the energy became stuck.
Healing cannot be forced. It happens when it’s ready to happen.
We can help it be ready, with our awareness and by simply allowing it to be as it is, with kindness and patience.
Some of our stuck energies have been with us for a long, long time, protecting the rest of our systems from chaos. They serve us until they are no longer needed.
Photo: Copied from somewhere online, honoring our tree brothers and sisters so many of whom were reshaped by the recent ice storm in Austin. The branches that remain intact will fill in the empty spaces and grow.
Sometimes life can be overwhelming. Trauma is an obvious example. So is simply having too much to manage coming at you all at once.
Right now, in early November 2022, politics and prospects for the future of the U.S. are in our faces, as well as our individual prospects for the future. Personal finances for those depending on Social Security and Medicare, civil liberties for (it seems) everyone but the “Christian” far-right, changes in how we work, the polarization of information sources, the influence of commerce and materialism, disasters from global warming, and so many loud, angry voices, often with guns.
We are living in what currently looks like a post-pandemic world, and we are trying to reorganize amidst a lot of uncertainty. There’s too much unease if you’re sensitive…and if you’re not sensitive, bless your heart and wake up.
I’ve been practicing something new to me. I ask for help. Every day. Sometimes multiple times a day.
I added a line I learned from constellation work to precede my plea. It refers to the innocent, vulnerable child inside all of us — no matter how big or old we are — who is given too much to deal with.
”I’m just the little one.
Please help me.”
You could call it a form of prayer, although I’m not particularly religious. It’s a message and a plea and an acknowledgment that this world of some sorrow is troubling.
I send this message out to whatever unseen power it is that is bigger than me. A higher power. God-Universe-Spirit (GUS), as some friends say. The planets.
I don’t know if there will be an answer that I can understand.
I open my heart and my mind when I make this request. It does seem to help me to at least feel less alone with my struggles.
I don’t know how help will show up. I just trust that it will.
Help may come in the form of an inspiration to vote, if you’re registered but not in the habit, because this election could be the last election, in which case you will lose that right.
Democracy requires participation. No choice means someone else makes decisions that affect you, your family and friends and community, your finances, your future, your freedom.
You may be inspired to become a poll watcher (or watch the poll watchers to be sure they don’t interfere with those voting).
You may be inspired to give people rides to the polls if you can.
You may be inspired to avoid the news until at least a week after the election, since that’s how long it takes just to count all the votes. Or even longer, since the courts will probably decide in some cases.
I hope you vote for peaceful and reasonable solutions to our problems to help minimize the chaos.
Decades ago, I experienced something that stands out amongst all my human experiences.
I was alone at dusk, listening to beautiful singing and suddenly out of the corner of my eye, noticing a lightning storm in the distant mountains.
Everything in me wanted to pay complete attention to this experience, to be as present and attentive as possible.
And as soon as I set that intent and tuned in to the sounds and sights, something very unexpected and unusual happened.
I felt a strong energy enter my body, piercing me from the top of my head to the bottom of my torso. Crown to root.
The energy was forceful but not painful. I didn’t see it with my eyes but had a sense that it was white.
It was forceful like lightning, yet soft. It felt like it made a bigger, clearer channel. It had a huge amount of what I now know is potency, or life-force energy. It was a supercharging experience.
And as soon as it reached my root chakra, it left, leaving me in shock, wondering what the fuck just happened. I’d never experienced anything remotely like that before.
I didn’t know anyone at that time in my life to talk to about this experience who wouldn’t have thought I was crazy, so I kept it to myself. It seemed like a very freaky experience. I wondered if I was crazy. It was too real to have imagined it.
Is my focused attention really that powerful? Did I draw it to me somehow? Who needs an experience like that? Well, apparently I did.
I saved my ticket stub to the Santa Fe Opera where this experience had occurred, on a night with singers trying out for opera directors and hardly anyone in attendance.
I later came to consider it my energy awakening.
Years later, it occurred to me that it may have been related to me starting a practice of hatha yoga a year or so before the event.
I then began to think of it as being zapped by Source, and I was feeling a little self-satisfied that even though I started learning hatha yoga from a book, rather than from an in-person or even a TV teacher, I must have been doing something right for this to happen.
Even now, decades later, I am convinced that the purpose of doing asanas is to open the energy channels, one step on the way to samadhi.
Later, after learning a bit about kundalini yoga, I wondered if what I had experienced was a spontaneous kundalini descending. I believe it was. I’ve never practiced much kundalini yoga — been to a few classes in recent years but was never regular with it.
It seems that kundalini rising (from root to crown) is a goal in kundalini yoga.
No one mentions kundalini descending. Same energy channel, opposite direction. Why would one direction be favored and the other not? I don’t know.
My crown chakra is often open, and I wonder if that zapping left me with a more open sahasrara chakra.
Later I learned about shaktipat, which as far as I understand is an energy transfer a guru gives to initiate a student into his school of teachings — with the student’s agreement and consent.
As I understand it, shaktipat is a third-eye zapping. But I had no guru. What instigated that experience?
A little over a year ago, I experienced once again being pierced by energy, this time in my third-eye chakra. I actually saw the nearly-transparent energy coalescing in front of my face before it suddenly zapped my third eye/ajna chakra, going into the middle of my brain.
This time, I was with someone I’d just met that day. I don’t know if he gave me shaktipat without my consent or if it was spontaneous for both of us, or even if I somehow unintentionally gave myself or us both a shaktipat-like experience.
I was simply too stunned to say anything, and I have no idea what his experience was.
If I knew how to give someone shaktipat, I would never do it without actually being a guru (not very likely), asking if they wanted to receive it, and only giving it if they gave their explicit consent to receive it.
It is shocking and invasive, not something to mess around with, although the benefit seems to be a clearing out of stagnant energy and strengthening the energy channel it penetrates.
It feels really fucked up to give it to someone without their consent. What kind of person would do that to someone they barely knew? If he did it on purpose, had he spent too much time in the nondual world to know how to interact responsibly and mindfully in the world of duality? Or did he think he was my guru?
The experience was not sexual, but there was definitely an energetic penetration of personal boundaries.
Whatever amount of clearing out my ajna chakra may have occurred from that experience simply wasn’t worth it. My intuition was already pretty strong.
And then again, what if it was spontaneous for both of us? I’ve talked to a mentor who believes that free-range potency exists and that perhaps it was karmic.
In a way, it reminded me of the proverbial romantic spark between two people, certainly igniting an interest, except much more powerful than I ever imagined it to be. But it didn’t feel romantic. It was literally shocking. And yet, I felt curious about this other person and also would like to know what his experience was. He was not someone available for a romantic relationship, even if I felt comfortable with it.
He is actually a pretty cool guy, someone I want to like and trust…and I set a boundary I feel good about for now. Respect and mindfulness are important, as are focusing on our mutual roles and tasks at hand.
Trust can possibly be rebuilt, or actually, built in the first place, but only with accountability, respect, and honesty.
That’s going to be some worthwhile conversation, if it happens.
It’s not a full-length evaluation like you would get if you came to see me in my office. But it seems that a lot of people with jaw pain don’t know how common it is — and how much jaw symptoms can vary from person to person.
Understanding the factors that contribute to jaw pain is not well-researched, but stress, posture, and habits are commonly involved.
We address these factors in my Self-Help for Jaw Pain online course, which is one option after taking the quiz.
When I started doing distance sessions at the beginning of the COVID lockdown in March, I would feel energy pouring out of my hands just as I would when doing bodywork with someone in my office, even though the receivers were sometimes in other states.
I didn’t know what to do with it at first with no body in front of me, but I definitely understood it was an indication of me being in a resourced state for healing.
In the 27-hour intensive course I just completed in Long Distance Healing, the instructors called this phenomenon “energy hands”.
It’s fairly common for bodyworkers to experience this energy flowing out their hands, especially when the type of bodywork they practice includes deep listening with their hands, as do craniosacral therapy and Reiki, or if they are also trained in some types of yoga or meditation that cultivate this kind of awareness.
(By the way, distance healing is not craniosacral therapy, which always includes physical touch, and some craniosacral skills transfer over to distance healing.)
With my distance receivers, I started placing my energized hands on the area of the body the receiver had identified as wanting attention.
Paying attention is the most basic and profound expression of love.
Usually an identified area is experiencing some form of disconnect from the healthier parts of the body. It’s not necessary to recall the original reason for disconnecting, and in fact the mind may get in the way, but it may help to understand that your intelligent body-mind system was working to protect the rest of you when something happened (physical or emotional or both) in that area, and you may not need that protection any longer. The energy involved in keeping the identified area separate and contained can be freed and returned to the whole system.
Receivers said they would begin to feel changing sensations in the identified area: for example, the area would change shape or temperature, pain would lessen or disappear, tension would soften, and sensations would become more diffuse, possibly move to another area, or even bounce around (“Hey, you’re finally looking at me! Yippee!”).
Although our bodies are constantly healing themselves below our level of awareness, in these sessions, receivers often sense the healing as it occurs.
To be clear, I don’t heal you. Your own cellular intelligence is the healing power. I show up for you in a resourced state (built on years of yoga, meditation, and studies in how healing works), which your system can entrain to. I show up with presence, curiosity, and support, as an ally and a witness, with an intent (shared with you) for healing to take place, but no agenda about how that will happen, because it’s your body, your history, your awareness, and your healing. I just facilitate.
I have not yet worked with anyone who did not experience a change for the better. I’ve worked with people trying their first energy healing session after Western medicine was unable to explain or treat their issue without drugs, and I’ve worked with people who are deeply aware somatically.
We practiced with partners during the training, placing energy hands on our partner’s shoulders and having them say when they felt them and whether they wanted the touch to be more intense or diffuse, and then disconnecting and switching partners.
We also did this with the adrenals, which pump stress hormones into our systems, since most of us are feeling some stress and anxiety because of COVID, the economy, our culture, the future, etc.
When my partner held my adrenals, after about a minute, I felt my autonomic nervous system down-regulate into a deeper parasympathetic (rest and digest) state. That’s another benefit of working with energy hands. I can put my energy hands inside your body, not just on the skin.
I want to do more distance healing sessions. These sessions are collaborative, empowering, use a lot of dialogue, and are based on consent. I cannot do anything to you that you do not allow.
If you’re wondering what it’s about and would like to try it, I’m offering sessions on a donation basis for a limited time. Look at what it’s worth to you, what you can afford, and donate accordingly.
I know some readers are skeptical. After half an hour, if you don’t think it’s doing anything for you, we will end the session without your donation.
My friend, international NLP trainer Katie Raver, has put together a series of 15 one-hour programs, given by NLP-trained people who variously work as coaches, teachers, researchers, healers, entrepreneurs, therapists, and more.
These online programs will take place at noon CDT every weekday for three weeks, starting Monday, April 13. That’s 10 am Pacific, 11 am Mountain, 1 pm Eastern time, and 1800 British Summer and 1900 CEST if you’re across the big pond.
The programs are intended to share resources during these times. If you’re a parent, partner, friend, working from home, spending too much time online, feeling anxious, not feeling resilient, wondering if you’re drinking too much, etc., you can find something here to help.