How self-healing works

My Biodynamic Meditation today came after spending time in a friend’s hot tub and going for a walk, including a heart-pounding hill climb.

Now, rest, meditate, write.

My session this morning included radiance at my face, the Tide, and swirliness in my head, heart, and pelvic centers.

Swirliness shows up in several ways: seeking, settling into an area or spot in the system, and reorganizing.

This is how self-healing works. Attention is love, so you bring it inside and really pay attention to your sensations, rhythms, patterns. You feel the Tide regulating your system, then you may have a stillpoint, a pause that acts as a reset button. When swirliness happens, your system frees stuck energy, increasing your vitality.

You always start with where you are today, in this moment.


I heard some great music Friday night at Sahara Lounge. This is Atash. They’ve played Carnegie Hall. Amazing musicianship, danceable music!

Jittery about the election? Here are some simple things you can do to reduce stress

I recently completed a 4-hour continuing education class in Ethics, Communication, and Boundaries through the Lens of the Nervous System. The instructor based this course around applying polyvagal theory in a massage therapy practice.

I want to share some simple things that anyone can use to reduce stress, because many of us may be feeling jumpy and tense, especially with an election approaching. 

Experiment with these and find your favorites — and use them as needed when your stress response is activated! 

  • Making your exhalations longer than your inhalations for a couple of minutes.
  • Singing and humming. 
  • Orienting to the space you’re in by slowly gazing all around you. 
  • Lifting your gaze and imagining the sun shining on your face, neck, and shoulders. 
  • Finding something that’s pleasing and telling yourself “I am safe and happy”. 
  • Making micro movements, dancing, doing yoga. 
  • Listening to calming music. 

Do you find yourself doing any of these without a thought? My mother often hummed when she was washing dishes.

Music and dancing are important parts of my life. I created a playlist of happy music with the help of numerous friends on Facebook who made recommendations. I’m capping it at 100 songs and will post a link to it on Apple Music when I’ve finished listening to everything…a lot of it was new to me.

I have noticed already that some of the happiest-making songs are about dancing!


Treating TMJ issues: a series of posts

I’ve been writing about TMJ pain and dysfunction on my Facebook business page and on my Austin, Texas, USA, private-practice website’s blog. Now I’m sharing an index of these posts here on my “big blog”.

If you have TMJ disorder and want to read any of those posts, here are the links.

I view TMJ issues as not just biomechanics, although it plays a role. This issue has social, emotional, historical, biological, cognitive, and spiritual aspects. I am very aware that some people, especially in the mainstream medical and dental fields, may believe it’s unnecessary or even laughable to provide information on so-called “woo-woo” or “fluffy” topics like essential oils, yoga, and the throat chakra for people who are suffering from jaw pain and dysfunction.

So let me share how I came to write this series of posts. Instead of just going to experts (and I have done that), I also asked women who suffer from this problem what helps, and they told me. And I believe them!

Since nine times more women than men experience severe, chronic TMJ issues, this is super valuable information to share.

I want the world to know that TMJ treatment is available beyond night guards, pain meds, and surgery, and there are so many options for self-care: massage, exercises, training yourself in new habits, reducing stress, improving posture, acupressure, nutrition, stretching, journaling, meditating, and more. I’m working on designing programs to evaluate and treat specific TMJ-related issues. More later!

If you bump into this limited and limiting attitude, please share this post, and please share in the comments your experiences and any other resources you have found helpful.

The Blind Cafe experience

Wednesday night I attended The Blind Cafe, which I posted about earlier. (This is its third year in Austin.) Arrived a few minutes before 7 pm. Entered Vuka Coop near Monroe and South First  from the back, as instructed. Checked in and was told I’d sit at Table 1. Right away saw my friends Jacqueline, Carol, and Linda — also seated at Table 1! We talked as more people arrived, filling the space. There was a feeling of anticipation and excitement about doing something new and unknown.

A cash bar served merlot. Someone brought out a cheese plate.

After about an hour, we were told to get in groups by table number. (There were 13 tables/groups; Table 1 had 9 people, and some seemed to have more.) We lined up with our right hand on the right shoulder of the person in front of us, so we could be led by a blind waitperson to our dining table. We went through a canvas maze into complete darkness. I mean…complete darkness.

Somehow I could tell it was a large room with a high ceiling, probably from hearing all the people who’d already been seated engaged in conversation.

The group came to a stop, and we were each positioned in front of a chair. I sat in what felt like a cast-iron cushioned lawn chair with arms.

The noise of over 100 people chattering was incredible, much more pronounced because of the darkness. I could hear a couple of conversations in detail, depending on where I focused my attention. To listen to it all at once was almost overwhelming. I thought that Jacqueline, sitting next to me, was probably listening too. (She does that well.) We sat quietly for most of the experience.

By feeling, I discovered that on the table in front of me were two Chinet plates — a large one and a small one. I felt crackers with toppings on the small plate. Since I eat a gluten-free diet, I managed to just lick the toppings off the crackers! A variety of toppings made it an interesting tasting experience, savory and sweet and with various textures.

Then I discovered a third small plate. It contained fruit and some candied pecans or walnuts. I couldn’t see any of the food I ate to verify exactly what it was. My identification was by taste and mouth-feel and hand-feel. I sniffed my food, but did not encounter anything particularly pungent.

The main plate had something large on it, the promised vegetarian entree. It turned out to also be something I could eat with my hands. I took it apart and ate it with my fingers. It seemed like there was parsley with stems, baby spinach, tomato chunks, avocado, and more. It was salad-like.

There was something I couldn’t identify. It was a long slice of something cool and crunchy, very mild in taste, but not hard like carrot. I wondered if it was jicama. I’ve been on a jicama kick lately. Later I decided it was probably cucumber.

Someone at my table was allergic to avocado, and a waiter brought her a substitute.

Someone said there was bread and dipping oil in the center of the table, which I didn’t try.

I found myself being worried about making a mess from eating with my hands in the dark. I was afraid of dropping food on my clothes, of having food on my face, of being shamed as a messy eater when the lights turned on. I am a messy eater sometimes, and I try to limit that to when I’m eating at home by myself! I was grateful that two paper napkins had been provided.

I realized these are concerns of the sighted. Who could tell, in the darkness? It made me think about how many rules and customs there are about eating that have to do with appearances — how we look to [judgmental] others. Wipe your mouth often. Eat soup like this. Eat green beans like this. Cut your meat one bite at a time. Make sure there’s no food in your teeth.Don’t eat with your mouth open. Don’t talk with food in your mouth. Don’t drink while you’re chewing. (Okay, I had a Southern belle grandmother who was very strict about table manners. A meal with her was a string of “dont’s”.)

All the wait staff were blind. There were four of them, and they were cool. If your world is always dark, you learn to navigate in darkness and in light really well. They talked and answered questions. One was a stay-at-home-father of four who enjoyed playing a lot of sports. Another was a technical writer, my old profession. They answered our questions about dating and education and getting around.

Austin, it turns out, is a good place for blind people to live because the public transportation system is good and the School for the Blind and Visually Impaired offers education and employment and other resources.

Also, blind people (or at least some blind people) have fun with it. If your sighted friend tells you some guy is looking at you in a bar, you go up to him and say, “I know you’ve been looking at me,” just to start a conversation and freak him out a little! Several of the wait staff said they had dated both blind and sighted people.

Then there was live music, first by Richie, the leader of the waitstaff and president of the National Federation of the Blind of Austin, and then by Rosh Rocheleau, the creator of The Blind Cafe, who played guitar and sang some songs he’d written (and also a beautiful cover of Hurt, by Trent Reznor). Rosh was accompanied by someone who played what I first thought was a cello, but Jacqueline (a cellist) said it was a bass.

By the end, we were all singing along, and it felt magical to be sitting in the dark with a lot of people, singing together. I think that’s the memory I most cherish, but it was also memorable was sitting in the dark with over 100 people in complete silence, and even more memorable was sharing this experience with Carol, Linda, and Jacqueline.

After the music ended, Rosh lit a tea light, and it created one small point of light in the center of the large room, banishing the darkness. Lights were then lit at each table, and we exited. People seemed different afterwards, with hearts more open.

It turned out that Table 1, which I had believed was a large round table, was actually square, with three seats on each side. I also found a bottle of water intended for me to my left. I guess it had been in a “blind spot” in feeling my dinner accoutrements.

Minor complaint: I wore my coat during the meal because cool air was blowing directly on me from an overhead vent. Advice: Bring a jacket or shawl.

My only major complaint was that there were a few people who were unable to be in darkness or silence, who turned their cellphones on briefly or who kept whispering as if no one could hear them. We were all given a handout when we checked in stating the rules: no lights (no lit watches, turn your cellphones off) and when the bell rings, be absolutely silent.

Every sighted person can see the light and everyone can hear the whispering, and it’s distracting. The offenders were quickly called out most of the time.

Fortunately, they seemed to get it. A couple of people near me had to get through the giggles to get it. I felt both compassion and annoyance at having my attention dragged away from the music. They finally became silent.

Advice if you’re thinking of attending The Blind Cafe: If you have no experience sitting in darkness with others and being silent, please take the rules seriously. You might want to practice at home beforehand. You may feel uncomfortable at first. Stick with it for a few minutes. It becomes powerful, and it will prepare you for the shock of being in a dark world that is The Blind Cafe.

Some people live their whole lives like this, and live well, and have things to teach the rest of us.

Thanks, Rosh and everyone who made this happen.

The Blind Cafe is a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Donations are tax deductible. They need donors, sponsors, and volunteers to make this happen. They also do small private intimate dinners for VIP sponsors.

Also, the National Federation of the Blind is participating in Read Across America Day on Dr. Seuss’ birthday, March 1. They would like to increase Braille literacy. Go to to donate.

Sonic pleasures from Austin, Texas, USA: Loping Buzzard and Libby Kirkpatrick

I’ve gotten comments and/or blog subscriptions from South Africa, Australia, England, and elsewhere overseas, and what overseas readers (and perhaps some in the U.S.) may not know is that my hometown of Austin, Texas, is well-known for music.

A national television show, Austin City Limits, is filmed here, and the city plays host to the Austin City Limits Music Festival each fall and the South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival in the spring. Austin’s official slogan is “Live Music Capital of the World.”

It’s a musicians’ town, and the music here is eclectic. I’m using this blog post to recommend a couple of CDs by local musicians. They are very different, but each one wakes you up in its own way and keeps on giving by offering enough variety and depth to keep it fresh on repeated listenings.


When I first heard The Buzzard Has Landed by Loping Buzzard, the Biblical quote “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord” came to mind, and I wanted to laugh with joy. Loping Buzzard’s business card has two descriptors: didjeridu and noisician.

 This is a collection of audio projects completed from 2005 to 2010 with a vast number of didjeridus along with gopichand, berimbau, danmo, cajon, cuica, bilma, a variety of flutes, drums, homemake noise makers, and electronics. The styles range form impromptu drum circles to pure musique concrete to Dada pop to horror to comedy to surreal.

I don’t even know what some of those instruments are, but they must be fun, judging by the sound. It’s not traditional music, but it is artful sound, interesting to the ear (to my ear, anyway).

I think of this as “wake up” music, not something you would listen to when you need soothing, but fantastic for times when you need some sonic inspiration. (Okay, I mostly listen to music in my car. It’s fantastic during traffic gridlock!)

When I listen to this CD, I imagine the joy Loping Buzzard must have experienced when he was creating this music, and I feel it too.

I notice more each time I listen.

You can get The Buzzard Has Landed as a digital download or a CD from CD Baby ($9.99, and they make it fun, too), and as mp3 files from ($8.99). It’s available on iTunes too.


My other recommendation, a different kind of wake-up music, is Heroine by singer-songwriter Libby Kirkpatrick, who’s lived in Austin for 10 years and has recently relocated to Boston.

Every song but one is an original, and that exception is her cover of Alice by Tom Waits. I certainly understood her homage to TW as recognition by one original, unique, lyrical songwriter of another, a master, and Libby is well on her way to mastery. She’s someone to follow.

I feel the joy here too. With lyrics connecting the Big Bang to the sound of a woman yelling (Heroine), warning her girlfriend away from some appealing but no-good Lothario (Devil Inside), singing about the black hole inside us all (Neverland), mentioning her personal star (you have one too, I know you do), and so much more, Libby has a way with words and tunes that is just plain heart and soul satisfying. Full of lyrical delight, Heroine goes into your ears, gets under your skin, enters your heart, and wakes you up.

The transition to motherhood is a journey of heroism for every woman ~ necessity being the mother of invention! These songs are the slow release of the ‘maiden self’ and the build up to the realization of ‘mother’ in layers; song by song there is a story told of the subsequent degrees of letting go.

Yes. It’s about self-realization and letting go. Repeatedly I detected a mature Buddhist philosophy about life underlying Libby’s lyrics — Big Mind, Big Heart, topped with loads of fun.

If you enjoy well-written, fresh lyrics, soulful depth, and artful arrangements (it’s rare to hear the level of creativity in the arrangements on a CD by a local/regional artist), you’ll enjoy this. I notice more each time I listen.

You can buy Heroine at CD Baby, iTunes, and, as well as from Heart Music.

In the Light of Love: A Tribute to Japan

If you read my earlier post containing the beautiful letter from Japan written by the American woman Anne who taught school in Sendai, please watch this video.

Deva Premal and Miten made it in loving tribute to the Japanese people affected by the earthquakes and tsunami. They write:

The earthquake happened while we were working on a remix on this song. Later we put images to the music in an attempt to portray the elevation of the human spirit in times of such overwhelming and inconceivable destruction. It is our tribute to the brave hearts of the Japanese people.
The letter at the end of the clip is a first hand account of a friend of a friend, living in Japan.

With love

Miten and Deva

…ps… we just received this message and thought you’d like to know: “And in case you don’t know — the baby in the pink snuggly being smiled at by the soldier was found in the wreckage 2-3 days after the tsumani and was reunited with her father….one of the biggest miracles to date…”