Morning download, 2.19.19

Sitting in my favorite writing spot, staring out the window as spring unfolds upon the land here in Austin, Texas. There’s a mature tree on my property, a volunteer planted by nature, that is fully laden with white blossoms. It may be in the apple family, malus. It doesn’t bear fruit and has thorns, and butterflies and bees love those blossoms.

Yesterday, an intense phone conversation. Attempts to set things right, correct misunderstandings, set boundaries, wrestle for domination, with no shouting, but needing to be fierce and interrupt. Two very different ways of using the English language were struggling to be understood.

This is the closest I’ve been to having a fight with someone in years. It was healthy, timely, and deepening, in my opinion.

“The meaning of your communication is the response you get.” That’s a presupposition in NLP. What does this mean to you? Do you check to see if your words are understood?

Meanwhile, I was watching butterflies alighting on blossoms, feeding, fluttering away.

How do you know when you’re out of your cocoon, when you’re done turning and are ready to emerge and spread your wings? My full emergence is yet to come. This wasn’t it. Or maybe it was. Sometimes metaphors only go so far.

I like my verbal communication to be personal, simple, and clear. When I’m working with another person professionally or just having a long conversation with a friend, I like to listen and use my touch in just the right place or use my words to say just the right thing. It’s like seeing where the cracks are and bringing the light that gets in. I like to be accurate and clear. Best case, it penetrates, heals, and adds to their wholeness. Click. Breathe. Yes.

Sometimes it takes a while to get there. Some bodies and psyches are confused, including mine, at times.

I do not yet know if there was anything healing for my counterpart in yesterday’s exchange. I mind a lack of healing, because that is the intent.

I met it as best I could and still felt prickly enough hours later to leave my house to dance because movement and rhythm help me come back into myself.

I don’t enjoy conflict and have often fled from it. Sometimes it’s important to say who I am in a world that underestimates me, to plant myself and stand my ground and let my hard-won worthiness be known.

photo courtesy Yoga Journal

I felt strong in my center line throughout, connected to heaven and earth. When I felt pushed off center, I recovered my balance.

That is healing enough for me.

An invitation: What a biodynamic craniosacral session is like

This post is about biodynamic craniosacral therapy (BCST): what a session might be like. I’ve been seriously immersed in studying, training, and practicing this since early 2013— and I’m still learning.

Practicing it brings me much joy. It was a sudden passion: I learned of it and three days later, I was in a four-day training.

I imagine growing old doing this. I love that it’s a form of bodywork I’ll be able to do into my 80s, if God is willing.

Here’s how a session goes: You set up an appointment with me and come to my downtown office (and outcalls may be possible – contact to inquire). We greet each other in the waiting room, and I show you to my studio.

I like to know a little about what’s going on in your life, and I may take a few notes. I explain that I will gently put my hands on your body while you lie on your back. You remain clothed for your session (minus shoes, belt, and anything constricting).  You can choose to lie under the covers and to have the table warmer on, as you wish. I offer bolsters or pillows to help you feel comfortable.

Unless silence is preferred, I play a recording of ocean waves softly in the background to help you relax and also to help mask distracting outside sounds. I may occasionally check in with what you’re experiencing, and you may want to relate things to me during the session, or wait until after.

Other than that, we’re mostly silent. Continue reading

Touch: Louder Than Words? | Psychology Today

Check out this article in Psychology Today about the power of touch. I just learned something new:

Field’s research has revealed that a person giving a massage experiences as great a reduction in stress hormones as the person on the receiving end.

It makes sense.

via Touch: Louder Than Words? | Psychology Today.

New study measures energy exchange between people!

From the summary:

This study represents one of the first successful attempts to directly measure an energy exchange between people, and provides a solid, testable theory to explain the observed effects of many healing modalities that are based upon the assumption that an energy exchange takes place.

Researchers found that the exchange is strongest through touch, but that there is still an energy exchange that occurs from proximity.

I’m not sure who is still doubtful about this, except that Western medicine seems to want scientific proof. Here it is.

This finding applies to the healing modalities that include touch and proximity (all forms of massage, Reiki, faith healing, and deeksha come to mind, and also psychotherapy and being in the presence of spiritual teachers).

Here’s the link to the whole study, The Electricity of Touch: Detection and Measurement of Cardiac Energy Exchange Between People. It’s from the Institute of Heartmath.

How do you soothe yourself? Here are some of my favorite ways.

Self-soothing is an activity that nearly anyone can learn and get better at. It encompasses techniques and behaviors that we can use to soothe our emotions when ruffled, disturbed, distressed, overwhelmed — when we encounter difficult situations in life.

Self-soothing means not going to others expecting them to make you feel better. Of course, if we’re lucky, we have healthy loving people in our lives who help us feel better, but what if they’re not around? And…how can you become one of those healthy, loving people?

Self-soothing is a skill that you can cultivate to take better care of yourself.

You start with recognizing when you need soothing. It starts with self-compassion. Maybe you experienced a bad day at the office, an argument with a loved one, an unpleasant bit of news, mistreatment by a clerk, a fender bender, or all of these things.

Can you treat yourself as well as you would treat a friend in these circumstances if you had the resources to treat your friend really well? If you’re not your own best friend, who else is going to be?

You probably already use some self-soothing techniques without thinking about it. What do you do that brings you pleasure? I’m not talking about special techniques like EFT or NLP. This post is about ordinary things that people can do to soothe themselves, by themselves.

Here are some of my favorites –and I believe it’s good to have many self-soothing techniques in your repertoire that you can draw on when you need to. It’s a way of adding richness to your life, and you can share these with others, enhancing their lives as well.

For visual refreshment, I love walking in botanical gardens, especially Japanese gardens. I love looking at landscapes, cityscapes, sunrises, sunsets, and the star-spangled night sky — the big picture.

I buy myself flowers on occasion, and depending on the flowers, the color and shape not only please my sense of sight, the fragrance pleases my sense of smell.

Walking on a scenic trail or kayaking or paddleboarding on water is very pleasant, and the sensations of movement, temperature, and more just add to my pleasure.

Traveling to a beautiful place is awesome! I love Maui and West Texas for the gorgeous — and very different — scenery. Those landscapes feel very friendly to me.

Reading a good story takes my mind off my problems and sweeps me up into some other story.

Music is one of the greatest soothing inventions ever. Hearing a beloved golden oldie, music that you associate with good times and good feelings, or listening to new music that engages and calms — those can shift your comfort level profoundly. A couple of my favorites are Wachuma’s Wave and Chakra Chants.

Listening to a waterfall, rain falling, the ocean — the sounds of water definitely soothe me.

I just love listening to Mango purr. Listening to someone read some good writing aloud is also quite pleasurable.

I adore smelling fragrant flowers, any essential oil, herbs and spices and fresh produce, and teas. I once grew a rose called Souvenir de la Malmaisson that smelled so much like a fine wine, just the fragrance was intoxicating. It was like catnip is to a cat. I wanted to roll in it!

Petrichor is the word for the smell of rain. I wish I could bottle it because it’s always so refreshing!

Soothing touch includes feeling soft, sensual textures in bedding and clothing. Curling up is relaxing. So is tuning into the sensations of just breathing. Of course, you can touch yourself pleasingly, and I need not say more!

To some people, exercise soothes. They love sweating. I love yoga and dance. The movements please me and wake my body up pleasingly.

Be careful about soothing yourself with taste. It is the self-soothing method that many people use to the exclusion of all others, and it can easily result in weight gain and/or an unbalanced diet and dis-ease. Be mindful — take tiny bites, eat slowly, let your taste buds savor — and have lots of other self-soothing techniques.

Another fine thing you can do is to take a happy memory and relive it as fully as you can, re-experiencing the sensations and emotions.

Finally, laughter soothes jangled nerves, aching hearts, hurt feelings, failures, and disappointments. At some point, you’re ready to laugh again.

In that case, watch a good, funny video, listen to a funny audiotape, or read a funny book. To each his or her own. Steve Martin, David Sedaris, George Carlin, Saturday Night Live, Christopher Guest, Ellen deGeneres, Monty Python — there are lots of funny, funny performers, films, and books available that you can bust a gut enjoying.

If you have any favorites not listed here, I welcome you sharing!