Your Questions About Physical and Emotional Health
Ask Dr. Gayle
Table of Contents
Power of Thought 5
Get Balanced 15
Achieve Goals 16
Anxiety and Stress 23
Worry and Guilt 45
Spirituality and the Unconscious 61
Specific Health Issues 97
Alcohol and Other Drugs 109
Other Addictions 112
Books by the Author
21st Century Families
How to Create Your Ideal Workplace
The Teen Trip: The Complete Resource Guide
Editor, Everything You Need to Succeed After College
How to Survive Your Parents’ Divorce
The Religious Ideas of Harriet Beecher Stowe
Essential Energy Tools (also videos and CDs)
Editor, Women’s Culture
Editor, Women’s Culture in a New Era
Editor, Quick Healthy Recipes Fundraiser Cookbook
Your Questions About Love and Family: Ask Dr. Gayle
A Brighter Future: How Global Youth Are Transforming The World (in process)
Email your comments and questions to:
Photo of a flower in Bali by the author
Images from Bing.com/images
© Gayle Kimball, 2011
About the Author
Gayle Kimball, Ph. D, (University of California, Santa Barbara, Religious Studies), is the author of 12 books, mother, and Professor Emerita who teaches energy tools workshops in Japan, England, Canada, and the US. She directs Earth Haven: Center for Spiritual Enrichment. To empower her students, she teaches how to use visualization and meditation techniques, kinesiology exercises such as the cross crawl, and acupressure points for achieving goals. She created an “energy tools” package: a book, three videos and two CDs.
Many years ago, after the publication of my books 50/50 Marriage and 50/50 Parenting, Rodale Press asked me to write a question and answer column. That gave me the idea and I proposed it to a Northern California magazine, the Lotus Guide.[i] I organized the columns into three book topics: love and family, physical and mental health, and work and money. My answers are drawn from years of teaching Sociology and Women’s Studies college classes, researching for my books, and experience as a mother, grandmother, workshop leader, and life coach
Many alternative therapies are available to us now, so we don’t have to depend on receiving knowledge and information approved by pharmaceutical companies for health care. Reputable scientists like Candace Pert, Ph.D., discovered how emotions physiologically impact our health and the importance of acknowledging them. Although mainstream associations like the American Psychological Association don’t acknowledge acupressure tapping, it draws on ancient practices from China and India and research shows it works. The medical director of the American Psychiatric Association, Dr. James Scully, acknowledges that the answer to mental health problems is not always pharmacology: “Talking therapy changes the brain too, and that’s one of the great discoveries of recent years.”[ii] Plus, natural remedies don’t have the negative side effects of drugs, all of which change the cell receptors. We’re empowered by the wealth of information available to us, if we search and apply it. The following information is a start. None of this information is medical advice. I’d like to hear what’s on your mind, including your questions about current issues you’re experiencing. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Power of Thought
Q: Everyone can be hindered or pressed forward by love, determination, shyness, fear, or anger. For example, in a tennis match, you can get excited and completely blow a perfect opportunity to win the point. You can get frustrated and completely lose the match. However, you can also get determined and play ten times as good as was expected of you. How can you throw out the emotions that hinder you and stick with the positive ones?
A: It takes practice to deal with negative emotions. Try distancing the negative ones out in front of you, observing and releasing them, and taking the positive ones into your heart. Think about how you handled emotions in a tennis match you won and rehearse this process. There are no bad emotions as long as they are acknowledged and allowed to flow on—without dumping on anyone else. Try acknowledging and naming the feelings as they come up and do physical exercise like walking or cycling to help them move on. You can do “cognitive restructuring,” thinking about the positive lessons you’ve learned and what you can apply in your daily life now and in the future. Instead of beating yourself up for a mistake, focus on the lesson, the challenge, what you learned and how to apply it.
Emotions ebb and flow as part of body communication; they’re neither good nor bad if they’re acted upon wisely, released and not repressed. The main action is to be aware of the feeling, focus on it, listen to it, and not try to stuff it or ignore it. Then let it go–into an imaginary container that you blow up, or down into the earth to recycle, or through physical exercise. Plan for enjoyable activities as part of your daily routine. Fun and laughter is good for us. It also lowers the stress hormone cortisol by 39%, according to a Loma Linda University study; it lowers blood sugar in diabetics, boosts immunity, and protects heart health.[iii]
Depressed people often don’t breathe deeply. Deep breathing where the diaphragm moves the belly up and down is a simple tool we can use throughout the day. In a Sounds True CD, Gay Hendricks recommends doing “lifestream breathing” and the “reset button.” It’s useful to use lifestream breathing while doing a body scan, paying attention to feelings and allowing them to clear. Life stream breathing involves being on all four limbs and arching the small of the back [like cat and cow yoga poses] and inhaling with your chin up, then flattening the back, chin down, exhaling, not pausing between the breaths. Research verifies that yoga helps with depression.[iv]
Hendricks found that anger is stored as tension in the back and neck and sadness as constriction in the throat and chest—a lump in the throat. Fear is stored in the belly–butterflies in the stomach. Release with your exhalations. To reset, you breathe out, and then don’t breathe oxygen back in until you really need to. He says this balances the oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body. It’s an effective way to interrupt a negative reaction.
Our thoughts are powerful and can be shaped to help us rather than defeat us. Scientist Howard Hall (Case Western Reserve University) was the first to show that the immune system could be affected by conscious intervention.[v] For example, using guided imagery, self-hypnosis, and biofeedback about results, his subjects increased the stickiness of their white blood cells, measured by saliva and blood tests. And it’s not only living organisms that are affected by thought. Machines respond as well. Focused attention makes machines become more ordered. When many people focus their attention, the results are even more ordered.
The RNG (Random Number Generator, also called REG for Random Event Generator) machines developed at Princeton University’s engineering lab randomly generates 0 and 1. The more coherent the consciousness, the more order in the numbers generated. The machines show more ordered deviations when at performances and sacred sites, but not at business or academic meetings (www.princeton.edu/~pear/). As a former academic, I chuckled at this finding. In the Global Consciousness Project, 65 RNGs around the globe reports data on an Internet site. (http://teilhard.global-mind.org) The most impact on the charts so far was the 9-11 terrorist attacks in New York. Interestingly, the effect on the bell curve began two hours before the first jet hit the World Trade Center. The Tucson shootings of Congresswoman Gifford and 18 others caused a big reaction in 2011.
Paralyzed people with a “BrainGate” implant in their brains (made by Cybernetics) can use just their thoughts to control a wheel chair, use email, and turn on appliances. The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is working on sensors that can read brain waves from a distance so the handicapped person doesn’t have to wear a device. Other examples of the power of thought are mind-over-matter toys to levitate ping-pong balls from Mattel and Uncle Milton Industries.
What allows focused thought as in prayer to have an impact from a distance? Quantum physics, the study of sub-atomic fields, gives us the answer. An unexplained universal information field allows instantaneous communication of information from a distance. Quantum non-locality is the term for the amazing phenomena. When two particles are entwined, such as two electrons spinning around the same nucleus, if one is separated from the other—even to the other side of the universe, and its spin changed, the other instantaneously reacts.[vi] Scientists know that the entangled particles communicate but they don’t know how.
In Brian Greene’s Nova series on physics he explains that the sub-atomic world of Quantum Mechanics, discovered in the 1920s, has different laws than the larger world defined by Isaac Newton and later by Einstein in his theory of General Relativity.[vii] Einstein spent the last part of his life trying to figure out how to unify the two sets of laws, as when black holes operate according to both tiny and huge processes. The quantum world is unpredictable except for being weird and crazy, with potentialities perhaps manifesting in 11 parallel universes. Einstein was uncomfortable with Quantum Mechanics, saying “God doesn’t throw darts,” so he looked for predicable laws. Greene suggests that String Theory could provide the unifying theory with tiny vibrating strings, like violin strings, as the basic building block of the universe. Quantum Mechanics defies common sense: Our bodies seem solid but are 99 percent empty space, for example. Processes that seem to defy logic, like the efficacy of vibrational medicine like homeopathy, distant prayers, remote viewing, or telepathy may be explained by the weird physics of Quantum Mechanics.
Research on Mind Over Matter
☛ One-third to 40% of patients who take sugar pill placebos, but think they may be ingesting medication, get better because of their belief.
☛ People with multiple personalities (Dissociative Identity Disorder) with changing “alters” have different illnesses, allergies, eyeglasses and blood tests within seconds after an alter changes, depending on which personality is dominant. To me, this is the most striking proof of the impact of personality and belief on the physical body.
☛ Under hypnosis, the person in trance feels sensations suggested by the hypnotist, such as developing a burn blister from a pencil touch that the person thought was a cigarette. Psychiatrist Milton Erickson hypnotized several young women who, despite hormone injections, were completely flat-chested. They all grew breasts within two months, although they had no memories of his suggestion.
☛ Successful athletes visualize and enhance their performance without moving a muscle. A university study found that people who just imagined doing exercises increased the strength in their little fingers by 35%. [viii]
To learn more about the science of the power of thought, read Extraordinary Knowing: Science, Skepticism, and the Inexplicable Powers of the Human Mind by Elizabeth Lloyd Mayer, Ph.D. Other informative books by Ph.D.s include: Dean Radin, Entangled Minds, Claude Swanson, The Synchronized Universe, and my Essential Energy Tools for readable science explanations about the power of thought and intention.
I teach workshops in Energy Tools, described in my book of the same name, to harness the power of the mind through simple visualizations, like athletes who imagine a perfect performance create better outcomes. The goal is to be the driver of your own car, rather than being directed by back seat drivers. Most people go through life tuned into other people’s favorite radio stations, rather than their own preferences. We need to clear out more space to access our own information and to gain confidence about using our intuition. The goal is to decide when you want to engage, rather than being reactive and sucked in by games people play–bounced around like a ping-pong ball.
Scientists found the secret of manifesting goals is setting clear intentions, when you really decide to do something. Thoughts are so powerful the body responds to them, even to something that’s not real. Have you seen a scary movie and jumped or your heart started beating faster? A movie is just colored light on a flat screen but your feelings about it make your body change. Imagine eating your favorite food or a lemon and your mouth will water in response to your thought.
Even little kids can use mind power (see my CD Kids’ Mind Power). A stern nurse about to give immunization shots frightened Brandon, a five-year-old. While she went to get her supplies, his mom asked Brandon to think of a happy time; so he picked doing the limbo dance at his birthday party. Tearless, when the nurse said the third shot would be the worst, he laughed during the shot because he was thinking about giving his friend a green slime cake at the party. The nurse said that his laughter was a first. Hopefully she’ll learn something from Brandon about the power of thought.
In an Institute of Heart Math experiment showing the power of intention, DNA relaxed and elongated as it does before replication, when focused on with coherent emotion such as gratitude, appreciation, love and compassion. The DNA shortened and wound up when exposed to anger, hate, rage and jealousy. Thus, to achieve your goals, ask and you shall receive with the emotion of “already done,” gratitude and love.
Q: You’ve mentioned acupressure point tapping as a way to clear emotional and physical problems. How can this possibly work?
A: I use Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) and other energy psychologies in my life coaching sessions with clients because just talking has limited effects on removing blocks in the body and unconscious mind. Energy psychology began with a psychologist named Roger Callahan who talked for over a year with a client with a water phobia, with no changes. Then he tapped on her stomach meridian acupressure points under her eyes and she quickly got over her fear. He developed Thought Field Therapy (TFT) using various acupressure algorithms for various problems, like phobias.[ix] Brain scans show that touching the acupressure points light up parts of the brain, unlike random sham points. A theory is tapping plus talking, which activates another part of the brain, helps clear out irrational beliefs caused by unresolved traumas. It may be that doing all this keeps the mind busy so positive suggestions can be made to the unconscious like self-hypnosis. Gary Craig simplified Callahan’s Thought Field Therapy into EFT, one pattern of acupressure points that can be applied to any issue–physical or emotional. More energy psychology techniques are described in the Glossary.
Q: I have some old habits and beliefs that are slowing me down. How do I clean them out? They persist even though I’m aware of the causes.
A: To clear out painful memories or unhealthy habits, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) cofounder Richard Bandler starts with (1) a “resource anchor,” a time when the healee felt safe and secure. If he starts to get pulled into association with a painful memory, have him get up and walk and breathe. (2) The healee imagines sitting down in a movie theatre, looking at a photograph of himself at a time before the traumatic event when he felt good. (3) Then he disassociates further by imagining moving into a projection booth and looking at the back of his head in the audience, looking at the photo on the screen. (4) He runs a black-and-white movie of the trauma or phobia and ends with the safe place anchor. If he still experiences negative emotion, he moves the screen farther away. (5) Then the healee freeze-frames the movie and blanks it out. He returns from the projection booth, and enters his body in the seat to associate with the safe place anchor at the end of the movie. (6) He quickly runs the movie backwards in color. Steps 5 and 6 are repeated three to five times until the negative feelings disappear. This can also be used on a physical problem like pain.
Another NLP technique is to imagine a time when you felt powerful and confident and increase the brightness with which you recall the memory. Tune in to the feelings, and what you see, hear, and smell. To deactivate a negative memory or pain, change the auditory memories, adding upbeat music, and otherwise change your sensory memories.
Influenced by Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung, Hal and Sidra Stone developed Voice Dialogue to identify subpersonalities, complexes, or energy patterns in the unconscious.[x] The manual is Embracing Ourselves (Nataraj), and their audiotapes demonstrate the dialogue. They identified our primary and disowned selves, how they impact our relationships, and how to balance them. Their article “The Basic Elements of Voice Dialogue” is a useful introduction.[xi] The vulnerable child develops “primary selves” to protect it, such as the protector, controller, pusher, pleaser, perfectionist, parent, and inner critic. This child self is what creates real intimacy in relationships and is the “doorway to the soul,” so we need to get back in touch with it, past the protective primary selves.
Each primary self has its opposite energy, called “the disowned self.” The disowned self can be identified by thinking about people you judge, who irrigate you a lot or whom you revere in order to reveal your disowned self. If it is not integrated, it attracts people and events to manifest itself. A child, lover, or a pet, for example, can act out your disowned selves. Notice who pushes your buttons in strong negative judgments or who strongly attracts you. Instinctual energies, including sex and aggression, can become demonic if suppressed over time. Hal and Sidra Stone believe the energy drain of suppressing disowned selves can cause illness, so it’s very important to be aware of their influences and empower the “aware ego.” This part of the psyche is capable of realizing that the critic needs to be held in check and is not the Self.
The goal is for the aware ego to understand which voice is speaking and how to use that energy. The aware ego process develops as separation from the primary self and its opposite disowned self. The Aware Ego is like an orchestra conductor, aware of the different parts and not allowing one section to dominate or fade out. The aware ego/conductor sees the forest, not just the trees.
For example, Julie’s anxiety level was high, stemming from feeling overwhelmed by family responsibilities. We discussed the idea of sub-personalities and realized she had a strong pusher and perfectionist. When these voices get too extreme, their opposite “disowned self” comes out, and Julie feels immobilized and wants to retreat to a cave. The aim is to have the “aware ego” decide when the pusher and perfectionist have gone too far and allow herself time for renewal. We used visualizations spoken in my meditation CD to ground out the anxiety, filled in a gold sun with serenity and certainty, with the affirmation “I’m at ease.” She decided to approach her day in five-minute increments and to stay focused on the present.
Identify one of your primary selves, as by asking what qualities you are proud of having. Common ones are the pusher (it’s workaholic and tends to be impatient to get things done and is my dominant primary self), the critic, the judge, the protector/controller, the rational mind, the “entitled” or “not-entitled” voice, the rebel, child, responsible mother or father, the pleaser, perfectionist, teacher, spiritual self, and earthy self, etc.
The subpersonality is interviewed to make its influences conscious and to diagram a “psychic map.” The client changes chairs with each new voice and speaks in first person for it. The facilitator matches the energy and personality of the self he or she interviews, such as the vulnerable child or the judgmental inner critic. The facilitator connects with and matches the primary self, getting to know it and its energy field. The selves are honored as they are, not corrected or changed. This is the hardest part for me, not trying to reason with a self that seems destructive. The selves don’t interact with each other. Here are some possible questions to try with a trusted friend or Voice Dialogue therapist.
Move your chair where you meet your center, the aware ego, energetically. The facilitator says, “I’d like to meet your primary self, the ___. Please have this self move your chair to another place in the room. You’ll return to the center after the interview.
What do you like?
What do you do for ____?
When did you first come in?
Where did you learn how to be what you are?
How much of the room is filled by this self?
What do you worry about?
How would things be different if you were in charge?
Anything you’d like to tell ____)?
Go back to center. What are 3 things you see or hear? (to detach from that primary self)
How do you feel differently? What do you notice?
Is there any issue in your life you’d like to work on? Or, is there a common theme in your dreams? They reveal the disowned selves that need separation from the primaries. Or let’s talk with a disowned self that you feel is there. Note that primary selves don’t care about their opposites, were developed to protect them, just focus on doing their jobs as they see them.
You may want to interview your inner critic, and see a gauge from 1 to 100, indicating how powerfully critical that sub-personality is in your psyche. In a workshop I led in Japan, almost half reported they were in the 75 percent to 100 percent quadrant. We got some good crying releases doing this work. We then asked to talk with the nurturing, accepting personality and asked it to assume a more vocal role in the pantheon of sub-personalities. Call forth a cheerleader to offer honest praise to balance the critic or other subpersonality influential in our personality. Make it up. (This is my addition, not a Voice Dialogue practice that I know of.)
Various subpersonalities can bond or link a couple in familiar childhood patterns, such as the good father and the rebellious daughter or approving mother and proud son or negative bonding like abandoned daughter and cold father. The goal is to move to flexibility. Also, we can emotionally link with things like a computer and TV, or pets, as well as people. The selves that enable linkage or connection to people include the vulnerable child, the sensual self, the soul self, and the heart-based spiritual self. The aim is to “access greater choice by moving beyond dualistic thinking and embracing opposites.”
In addition to the dialogue process, the Stones suggest writing with the non-dominant hand, thinking about your dreams, and analyzing fantasies and art to reveal more about the voices. We can use energy tools to release the negative charges on stored memories that play repetitively. Otherwise, they collect more traumas like flies sticking to fly paper, as an abused child gravitates to abusive partners as an adult. We want to free up the trauma, while keeping the knowledge we gained from the experiences, such as how to recognize an abusive person’s tactics and disarm them.
Visualization Exercises to Clear
☛ Light up stuck habits by saying emotionally charged words out- loud, such as anger, love, sex, hate, jealousy, blame, grief, fear, guilt, family or work. Where do you feel a reaction in your body? If the word brings up an emotion, acknowledge it, let your hands move it out (using EmoTrance[xii]) and imagine watching it release as a color into a magnetic rose outside your energy field. Be aware of where you are releasing from your body and fill in with gold.
☛ Call in some imaginary dolphins to swim up and feed on the garbage you release. Keep releasing until you don’t see any more hungry dolphins.
☛ Ask a humming bird to gently put its beak into the block and drain it like nectar, or think of it evaporating like water steaming off a hot pan, or turning heavy and gravity pulling it out of your body.
☛ Explode or unplug a block with internal combustion.
☛ Imagine you’re swimming in a pure blue lake, diving under to wash old blocks out of your body. Instruct your unconscious mind to participate in letting go of old obstacles. Program it to do this when you remind it with a code word, such as “clear.”
☛ Take an actual bath to clear the aura and stay in it when you drain the water, setting the intention to drain out the old blocks with the water. To detox in your bathtub, Nadine Goodman suggests in her Detox booklet: using two cups sea salt (for clearing electro-magnetic fields), Epsom salt (for muscles and parasites), hydrogen peroxide (to increase oxygen), half a cup of baking soda (good for the skin), a cup of apple cider vinegar (to balance Ph), or add germanium, lavender, and ylang-ylang essential oils.[xiii]
☛ An NLP clearing tool is for the healee to imagine a timeline above a photo album. Turn the photos back until you’re above the first memory of what you want to change. Ask what is the root cause of the problem that will erase the problem. This could stem from infancy or from a previous generation of your family (I especially see a strong generational pressure on people from India, China, or other ancient cultures where extended family is valued.) Float above the time line to that root cause and drain the negative emotions, changing or “reframing” your sensory memories of the event. Move 15 minutes back on the timeline before the root cause. Replace it with an anchor of positive memories and experiences. As you change your senses, you clear the negativity.
Ask if any part of you objects to making the change, and if so dialogue with the sub-personality, and get its permission to let go of the old. If any negative emotion remains, it could restore the original feelings. Ask what part of the unconscious mind is holding on to the negative emotions and if it will give permission to let go. When clearing is 100 percent complete, move forward along the timeline with the intention to clear any events with similar emotions. Come up to the present.
Trace your meridians every day; go against the natural direction to flush, and then trace the proper direction several times.[xiv] Or touch acupressure points on the meridian, inching down and rubbing sore spots. You can use your fist or a dry skin brush to tap the meridians from the shoulders down the inside of the arm, turn it over and tap up to the shoulder, then down the side and back of the leg and up the inside and front of each leg.[xv] Include this exercise with a towel when you dry off after a shower.
Originally trained by chiropractor John Thie, Donna Eden’s book Energy Medicine is a gold mine of balancing and clearing techniques building on Chinese medicine and Thie’s Touch for Health work. She suggests doing the Three Thumps daily: thump with eight fingers under the collarbones with wrists crossed (clears kidney meridian points and reminds the meridians to flow in the correct direction), over the thymus near the heart (important for the immune system, John Diamond, MD, developed the thymus thump to correct meridian polarity reversal) and on the spleen points at the lower edge of the rib cage. If the points are sore, they’re indicators they need to be cleared. Take deliberate deep breaths while doing all the following balancing exercises, breathing in with the tongue on the roof of the mouth and exhaling with the tongue on the floor of the mouth.
Cross-Crawl: This corrects for polarity imbalance between right and left. Either standing or sitting, touch elbow to opposite knee in an exaggerated march. Or, you can march with your arms swinging. Another option is the Wayne Cook posture. Put one ankle over the other knee, one hand on the ankle and cross the other hand to touch the ball of the foot. Breathe and pull the leg toward you, and switch. Close with your hands with fingertips touching the other hand in front of your face in prayer position.
Crown Pull: To stimulate flow of the cranio-sacral fluid, line up your fingertips on your forehead and your thumbs at the temples. Push in as firmly as is comfortable and pull apart to the hairline and repeat moving up to the crown of the head. A similar cranio-sacral technique, called “clear the brain,” is to place your thumbs next to your tear ducts and pull the thumbs up, point by point, to the apex of the head.
Spinal Flush: To work on the lymphatic system and the cerebral-spinal fluid, push with your thumbs down along both sides of the spine, using your body weight. This works better on a partner who leans on a wall supported by hands on the wall at shoulder height. You can also gently rub the skin up and down in the notches between the vertebrae.
Zip up the central meridian by imagining a zipper from the top of your pubic bone to your lower lip, putting a lock on it to keep other people’s energy out of your bio-field. Use your hand to direct the flow three times. You can weaken someone just by looking down from his lip to pubic bone: Muscle test before and after to check this out. Try “looking down” a dominating person trying to overpower you, and then zip the meridian back up when finished.
Others: Additional suggestions from Eden’s book and videos follow.
Pull up on your navel with your fingers circling it and press up with the other hand on the 6th chakra above your eyebrows. When fearful, tap the triple warmer meridian point in the indentation on the top of your hand above the fourth and little finger web.
To deal with stress, hold the neurovascular points on the forehead, the little bumps where you would have horns if you were a goat, with the other hand on the back of the head along the occipital ridge. Another technique is to flush the triple warmer meridian by brushing it backward, then forward. This can be done by rubbing the temples, pulling down over the ears, down the neck, then hang your hands from the shoulders, fingers pointing down the back. This feels especially good.
Clear and reset the ileocecal valve in the intestines to help correct digestive problems, lower backache, bronchitis, and eczema. With hands on the inside of your right pelvic bone, drag your fingers three times up along the bone for six or seven inches to the lower ribs. Then pull back down with your thumbs.
Strengthen your auric field with the Celtic Weave, making figure eights with your arms, moving from above your head down to your feet (as done in Tibetan medicine). The spiral is a fundamental shape, like the galaxies, DNA helix or our bilateral energy system.
Acupuncturist Lee Beymer suggests the following exercises to balance the body and to think more clearly. Run your fingers tips nine times from the heel of the opposite palm along the fingers to stimulate the meridians through reflexology. Rest one hand in the other and tap the hands 10 times, then switch hands. Grasp the web between the thumb and first finger with the same fingers of the other hand. Find the sore point, squeeze, and shake both hands together 10 times; switch hands to think more clearly. Cup your palms over your ears, and tap the back of the head 100 times, following the rhythm of the pulse. Beymer believes this activates the cerebral cortex.
How to Achieve Goals
Q: I have trouble making decisions, including I spend too much time being jealous of my boyfriend’s contact with his ex-girlfriend and debating what I should do about it.
A: To make the decision-making process clearer, write down the pros and cons of each option. You can give numerical weight to values that are especially important to you. You’ll end up with a score for each option. Make a commitment to follow through with the highest-ranking option for a month, and wait until then to re-evaluate. But during the month, don’t allow yourself to second guess, doubt, regret, or worry about your decision. Save that for the end of the month.
About your boyfriend, focus on enjoying him while you’re with him and don’t talk about his ex or tell him not to see her. That just makes her more tantalizing. If I tell you, “Don’t think about cookies,” of course that’s what you will want. It will be easier for him to release her if you think of her as part of his past, not his present.
Q: I want to do the grad school thing, but am so wishy-washy about what direction to follow. Teaching or something in the environmental field?
I also have been toying with the idea of a Holistic Health Practitioner program,
just afraid to commit to a change when I’m not sure where I’m headed. Aarghh…
A: Make a list of what’s important to you in career, attaching descending points to indicate priorities. The opportunity to grow? Do good? Make money, have benefits and security? Location? A compatible workplace culture? Be compatible with child-raising? Then list pros and cons of each of your three career options, attaching points. After you have a logical understanding of the positives and negatives, ask yourself how you feel in your heart. It’s important to take some action, such as taking a course in a field you’re considering, job shadowing, and seeing a career counselor. Life is short.
Q: I have trouble moving forward in my life and I get stuck in lethargy.
A: You might have a strong inner critic imprinted by a critical parent. It makes you afraid to take action for fear of being wrong. Imagine creating a cheerleader or fairy godmother who praises you when you do something good. Every day add to your list of positive traits in your journal. Think about your strengths and what service you can provide to others. Start with small goals and do one daily in your high-energy time of day.
Q: Every year I make New Years’ Resolutions and they fade away in the hustle-bustle of life.
A: Pick one or two important goals at the most. Find a buddy to remind you, praise you, reinforce good behavior and you do the same for your partner. Post reminder notes with positive present time statement like “I exercise every day.” Schedule your plan of action on your calendar such as regular time at the gym or for meditation/prayer.
Q: People talk about the importance of being happy. How can I make myself be happy if I’m not?
A: Research discussed previously proves our minds are an untapped gold mine. The Greater Good Center at UC Berkley provides self-tests and many resources to increase happiness and understand “the science of a meaningful life.”[xvi] Christine Carter, a sociologist at the center, states, “I think of happiness as a skill. It’s all about what you practice and think about.” A study of 420,000 people from 63 countries found that people who had the freedom to make their own choices claimed the highest levels of well-being.[xvii] Using simple techniques, we can create more joy and vitality in our daily lives, as by laughing more. Norman Cousins used humor to cure his illness; we need to apply this principle daily as he explained in his book Anatomy of an Illness. Post cartoons, photographs, and jokes in your home and work space to remind you life is a stage and we’re all actors playing out our dramas. Other ways to increase happiness follow:
☛ Take time to smell the roses. Our senses provide enormous joy, appreciating the stars, the sunrise, a flower, food, a fragrance, hugging and kissing. Instead of rushing through your day, stop and look at a cute baby or the play of light on a wall.
☛ Learn new information and skills and do service for others. This provides the joy of achievement and feeling we make a difference.
☛ Lose track of time. Transcend ego by engaging in a creative project.
☛ Express love, including doing service for others. Tell people what you appreciate about them, including clerks and other people you interact with during your day.
☛ Write down your values and priorities; keep a time diary for a week. Time is precious and limited. Are you using it in harmony with your values? Ask yourself, at the end of my life, how do I want to have spent my time? Then stick to your priorities and learn to say no, to delegate, to ask for help, and to schedule in time on your calendar for self-nurturance and doing good.
Q: I’ve got everything I’ve wanted, but I’m not that happy. Any hope for me?
A: Our emotional states can be measured by which parts of the brain light up in brain scans. Emotions such as fear or happiness are associated with brain activity that can be seen in brain-imaging technology (called PET, positron emission tomography). Emotions originate in a ring-shaped limbic system surrounding the brain stem inside the brain. This system is linked to the immune system and, thus, to our health.
Scientist Candace Pert explains the biology of happiness: “I believe that happiness is what we feel when our biochemicals of emotion, the neuropeptides and their receptors, are open and flowing freely throughout the psychosomatic network, integrating and coordinating our systems, organs and cells in a smooth and rhythmic movement.” She adds, “I believe that happiness is our natural state, that bliss is hardwired. Only when our systems get blocked, shut down, and disarrayed do we experience the mood disorders that add up to unhappiness in the extreme.”
We have a genetic predisposition to be happy or not so happy, affecting as much as 50 percent of the way we respond, according to the Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart. About half of our predisposition to be happy and optimistic is genetic, about 10 percent is shaped by our situation, and 40 percent is our thinking patterns.[xviii] Recent lottery winners and paraplegics usually return to their level of happiness before the big change, but we can use various ways to become happier. Remember there are at least 50 percent we can influence with our “self-talk,” looking at the glass as half full rather than half empty. These include getting enough sleep, exercise, spending time with people we love, smiling, forgiving people, doing service for others, learning, creating, and meditation or prayer.
Epigenetics is an interesting new discovery that genes are not set in stone at birth.[xix] Rather genes are activated or turned off by chemicals stimulated by stress, diet, smoking, and other influences: “If the genome is the hardware, then the epigenome is the software.” Changes in the markers can be passed on to offspring even though the DNA doesn’t change. This may be part of the reason why identical twins can have different health problems.
Martin Seligman is the author of more than a dozen books and father of the Positive Psychology movement, which studies the processes that contribute to optimal function of individuals, groups and institutions. He defines three parts of happiness: pleasure (the least important), involvement with what you love, and meaning—serving a bigger purpose. Just being happy helps others because happiness spreads. Seligman says that “happiness-building exercises” can increase contentment because they can change a person’s memory and perception of the past. His website includes free tests you can take to identify your strengths and your happiness and depression levels.[xx]
Affirmations can help train our thinking to be positive. Barbara Kimball’s favorite affirmations are:
☛ Life is only as good as you make it.
☛ Look on the bright side: Every cloud has a silver lining.
☛ Honest praise is pure gold: It works magic.
☛ Dance to the music of the spheres.
☛ Look for the little joys of life; savor the sunshine smile of a baby.
☛ Look for the good in all things, even adversity. It can be your teacher.
☛ Forgive and you go free. Forgiveness opens the door to love.
☛ You don’t have to be perfect to start loving yourself.
☛ Tomorrow is a new day.
A British professor found that we’re happier when people around us are happy, since attitudes move through social networks “like ripples from pebbles thrown into a pond.”[xxi] Happiness grows from connecting to others you like, with love, and respect. Also, the pride and satisfaction of achieving your goals, helping someone else, and developing your talents and abilities leads to happiness. Another cause of happiness is healthy stimulation of your senses, such as eating a fresh natural meal, or seeing new sights and experiencing new smells while traveling to new places. Looking at beauty created by nature or human artists also makes us happy. The Children and Nature Network has invaluable resources to get families to play outside.[xxii]
To be happy with yourself don’t expect perfection; know that we learn by making mistakes. Hopefully we learn and stop repeating the same errors. Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness, suggests: keep a gratitude journal, learn to be optimistic, be kind, have friends, forgive, enjoy the pleasures of life, commit to your goals and break them down into baby steps, practice spirituality, and take care of your body. Another list of how to be happy was researched by Nigerian-American Edwin Edebiri.[xxiii] Make a list of what makes you happy, share it with significant others, and set aside time to do what you love. You can see me doing what makes me happy on YouTube under “Gayle and Piper” and “Ben and Gayle.”[xxiv] To help balance negative emotions, I use flower essences with my coaching clients (happily making them from my garden flowers), as well as acupressure tapping, and other clearing tools. It helps to have a neutral person assist in clearing negative thought patterns so you have the freedom to enjoy happiness, as a counselor can help us to understand unconscious patterns that can lead to self-sabotage.
More than 100 questions about happiness were asked of 1,280 young Americans ages 13-24 in 2007 (by the Associated Press and MTV).[xxv] Like people of all ages, relationships with family and friends are the greatest source of happiness. Money was not high on the list, nor was sex. Studies of U.S. adults also found that money does not buy happiness. The average person’s income more than doubled between 1957 and 2002, but the percent of people who described themselves as “very happy” remained the same. Poor people are less likely to be happy than people who have their basic needs met, but wealthy people aren’t happier. People who have social networks live longer than lonely people. Married people tend to be happier than those without a partner.
Create opportunities to laugh by watching funny videos, reading amusing books and telling jokes. Check joke books out of the library and add to your humor scrapbook. Post illustrated positive reminders, such as the ones above collected by my mother, Barbara. When I ask my college students about their happy childhood memories, family trips are often mentioned, along with other shared activities. If travel is on your happiness list, the National Geographic suggests fascinating places to visit and babelfish.com web site provides instant language translation.[xxvi] Act like a playful kid. An anonymous Internet source suggested the activities listed below. Your inner child will think of more activities.
☛ Give yourself a gold star for everything you accomplish today.
☛ Make a milk mustache.
☛ Have a staring contest with a cat.
☛ Believe in fairy tales.
☛ Have someone read you a story.
☛ Wear your favorite shirt with your favorite pants even if they don’t match.
☛ Find some pretty stones and save them.
☛ Make a sculpture with found objects.
☛ Walk barefoot in wet grass.
☛ Fuss a little, then take a nap.
☛ Have someone wash your hair and give you a back rub.
☛ Take a running jump over a big puddle.
☛ Giggle a lot for no real reason.
☛ Throw something and when it lands make an exploding bomb noise.
☛ Squish mud between your toes.
☛ Put an orange slice in your mouth, peel side out, and smile at people.
Use what therapists call “cognitive restructuring” or positive internal dialogue. Appreciate the lessons of strength, patience, compassion, or whatever you learned from the challenge. Remember, “The disasters of life are often the genius of the unconscious, forcing our egos into a new experience of the self.” (Robert Johnson, We.) For example, I still feel ashamed about staying in a two- year relationship with a man who didn’t appreciate me at all. I got just enough positive reinforcement to stay hooked. Instead of blaming myself, I can look at him as an actor sent to replay some of my parents’ dynamics so I could move from unconsciousness to consciousness. He did me a wonderful service and I haven’t repeated that kind of relationship.
Q: I realize most people in the world would be happy to have my life, with clean water, free schools, utilities and other basics I take for granted, but I feel I’m missing something. What can I do?
A: Start by appreciating your blessings. Chauncey, a 15-year-old girl from Portland, Oregon, has these suggestions for adults:
They need to look at the little things more, the flowers growing in sidewalk cracks, dew on spider webs in the morning, saying good morning to strangers, and walking barefoot in the grass. To stop worrying about money, materials, jobs, and themselves. I wish adults weren’t so afraid to be children. People always say teenagers are bad, or create trouble; this is what people have created. We are told we have no wisdom and that we have nothing to say. If people would just let us speak, they would find the optimism and love we all carry. We want to be heard. Let us.
Q: [China] Difficulty in life and pressure in study constantly impede me. I feel so much confusion and loss that there are large amounts of questions. I cannot be understood although possessing the ability to understand others. Why? I hope that your answers can dispel my sadness, and thanks for the opportunity of self-examination.
A: If you feel unsure of yourself and confused, people react to that more than your words. The key is to change how you feel about yourself and then other people will respond to your confidence. We start our lives assertively, the center of attention. Babies come into the world freely making their needs known. Something happens to shut this down–teasing, being compared with others, criticism, and put-downs. As a youth, did you hear: “Who do you think you are? You’re stuck up. Know it all. Teacher’s pet. Cocky. Conceited?” Girls may shut down their assertiveness at puberty to concentrate on how to match the current beauty ideal, as women are valued as sex objects for their appearance. Men are valued as success objects for their strength and material achievements. Boys get pressured to shut down their “sissy” feelings and get caught in dominance struggles and anger at being disrespected. This erupts in disasters like school shootings by boys and gang fights. To counter the internalized critical voice, frequently list what you like about yourself and see if you feel resistance to admiring your sterling qualities. Imagine releasing the negatives into a rose and exploding it to clear them out.
Self-esteem includes self-respect and pride in yourself. People with low self-esteem feel insecure, don’t feel in control, feel powerless, have negative thoughts, and irrational thinking. Psychologists call this an external locus of control, versus an internal locus of control. People with high self-esteem take responsibility for their actions, express their feelings, feel secure, think positively and rationally, deal with conflict, feel as if they have choices, and feel good about themselves. Not all the time of course, as we all have ups and downs.
Rub a sore spot on your chest near your shoulders while saying, “I deeply and completely accept myself and any imperfections.” This helps with self-sabotage, associated with meridian polarity reversal where the meridian energy is backwards, as does tapping on the “karate chop” points on the fleshy side of the hand under the little finger.
Ways to increase your self-esteem are to create a plan to achieve a goal and do a little bit to achieve it every day, create something, make a list of your strong points and post it, list actions that made you proud of yourself, do something kind for someone else, and forgive someone who made a thoughtless mistake. Read Learning to Love Yourself by Gay Hendricks.
Anxiety and Stress
Q: The new DSA (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5 has a lot of influence on diagnosis and mental health treatment. What’s its approach?
A: About 20% of American adults suffer from a mental illness each year, with about 5% experiencing a serious disorder that disrupts their life. [xxvii] It’s more common in women, young adults, the unemployed and people with low incomes. Only about 60% with disabling illnesses get treatment each year. Prescription medicine is the most common treatment, used by 12% of adults. Holistic psychologists criticize it for relying too much on drug treatment for possible biological causes of disorders like anxiety and depression.[xxviii] Thousands of holistic psychologists posted a petition against broadening of definitions of mental health disorders, which they fear could lead to overtreatment with drugs. In 2010, 1 in 5 American adults were using a mental health medication, up 22% over the past decade.[xxix] The rate for women was 1 in 4, with antidepressants the most widely used drug. “There’s this propensity to push pills instead of looking at what’s really going on with the person. When we saw in the DSM-5 that there was going to be a push in the direction of a more medical, less holistic ways of doing things, we felt we should take a stand,” said Mark Schulman, President of Saybrook University. Dale Milfay, VP of the National Alliance on Mental Illness added, “We’re in a bind in this country with the drug companies pushing pills because they make a lot of money on people who don’t need them, and the people who really do need them can’t get them.” Many alternative remedies exist, some of which are mentioned in this book as described by Dr. Weil and Dr. Blasch.
Q: I have waves of anxiety and sadness where I cry and cry. Anti-anxiety meds take the edge off but don’t solve it.
A: What I’m seeing is that you’ve stuffed pain and trauma for years. Now it’s like an overflowing septic tank. The pain and fear needs to be released in a way that you can keep some distance from it. Remind yourself it’s about the past and not an accurate emotional response to the present. Use Emotional Freedom Technique tapping, thinking about the fear as a wild dog you tame with kind tapping. Or, use a Neuro-Linguistic Programming technique where you put your fears as a film on a movie screen, move back to the projection booth, change the colors, run the film backwards, then send the screen away from you fading into the distance, as described on page 9.[xxx] This is similar to the NLP visualization to reduce pain by changing the senses along the pain pathway, explained in the first answer under the Pain section.
Q: All my life I’ve been anxious and worried, as about my family members, even though I had a peaceful childhood in a loving family. I often worry and feel anxious and it spills out on what ever is happening currently. I feel guilty even though I’ve had a squeaky clean life so far. What’s up with this constant worry and guilt? Exercise doesn’t help because my mind goes in so many places I can’t get into the zone.
A: I’m seeing a past life where you were on a handmade raft in a flood, trying to protect your three little children from being swept into the raging waters. You couldn’t save them, although you survived. The legacy of guilt and fear bled over into this life. Forgive yourself and think of what the Buddha taught, nothing is permanent, all is transitory. We are born and die many times on the wheel of rebirth, hopefully earning and evolving. Develop a routine that you automatically engage in when you’re aware of feeling anxious.
1. Take a deep breath with your tongue on the roof of the mouth. Exhale with your tongue on the floor of your mouth. This connects the Governing and Central meridians and is really calming. Repeat while deep breathing, “I am relaxed, calm and centered.”
Visualize releasing some of the anxiety into your grounding pipe every day as described on page 37. (http://gaylekimball.wordpress.com/2011/11/22/visualization-to-ground).
3. Take charge with the centering visualization (http://gaylekimball.wordpress.com/2011/11/22/visualization-…tered-and-calm) When you start to worry about something or someone you care about, imagine being in the throne in the middle of your head, the centering visualization. This aligns you with the neutral sixth chakra, rather than reacting emotionally from the second chakra where we feel it in our gut.
4. Set positive energy by imaging filling in a gold sun with what you want to feel and imagine it pouring its contents down into your head all the way to your feet.
You can also try these other tools:
*The Freeze Frame exercise (www.pbs.org/bodyandsoul/203/heartmath.htm).
*Visualize a peaceful place like snorkeling in a warm clear ocean bay.
*Be aware of where you feel the anxiety in your body as on a thermostat, turn it down, and send warm green light to that area.
*Talk to the subpersonality who believes being anxious is the way to achieve a task.
*Search out an archetype that feels protective, like downloading a picture of Angel Michael. Post it in your vehicle and bathroom mirror.
*When you start to obsess over what could go wrong, try taking it to its extreme, like “I could end up a bag lady on the street,” and you may even be amused. When you face the realistic worse that could happen, it may not be so bad, as when one door closes, another opens. The point is not to worry about worrying.
Q: I’m feeling anxious over a recent breakup with my girlfriend even though I don’t want to get back together with her. What can I do?
A: A recent traumatic event kicks up unresolved traumas to be processed, which can feel overwhelming but can be healing if you work through it. That means seeing a counselor, journaling, talking to a supportive friend who is a good listener, and using energy psychologies like EFT to clear the blocks.
Q: I married my husband because I was pregnant. I’m not in love with him, he’s disrespectful to me in front of our daughter, and he’s domineering and controlling. I don’t know what to do about my anxiety and depression living with him.
A: Q: I married my husband because I was pregnant. I’m not in love with him, he’s disrespectful to me in front of our son, and he’s domineering and controlling. I don’t know what to do about my anxiety and depression living with him.
A: Read Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay by Mira Kirshenbaum to think about specific questions. Learn about the cycle of abuse where tension builds, the abuser explodes verbally and/or physically, and then is apologetic and loving, the tension builds again and the cycle continues.[xxxi] Abusers try to undermine the strength of the victim with putdowns and isolation from a social network so as to have more control.
Look at it as a challenge and opportunity to empower yourself, to not allow yourself to be intimidated. Read Jean Shinoda Bolen’s Goddesses in Everywoman: A New Psychology of Women. Match the power of the goddess you want to emulate. Imagine you’re surrounded by roses that absorb other people’s energy before it enters your field. Bullies feed on getting a fear reaction so don’t give him this reinforcement when he puts you down: Keep your goddess image of strength in mind. Walk away, don’t engage. Do let him know calmly and rationally that you’re not happy with the status quo and specific changes you’d like, so you give him the clear opportunity to change–without expecting that he will. If he has moments of kindness, as with your son, reinforce this behavior with praise. Prepare yourself to be able to support yourself if you decide to leave and spend time with supportive friends and family. Life is too short to live with a bully.
Q: I get irrationally anxious over predictions of the end of the world, like the talk about 2012.
A: Realize that you’re working from a generalized pool of anxiety that pops out in the fear du jour. The event changes, the consistency is providing something your fear can grasp. Realize that the current fears are the symptom, not the cause of your discomfort. Fearing the end of the world is irrational, or if the world ends, we won’t be alive to worry about it. Your job is to take action every day to deflate the anxiety, like letting air out of a too-full tire. Exercise is a sure bet, stimulating feel good endorphins and reducing stress hormones.[xxxii] Taking anxiety-reducing herbs or homeopathy formulas can help.[xxxiii] Since you’re a visually creative person, create an ongoing story about a tricky fear monster and a superhero who outsmarts and vanquishes the bad guy. Don’t let yourself read about the end of the world predictions. Read about something funny instead.[xxxiv]
Q: I’m always tense and anxious, hyper vigilant. What can I do to relax?
A: I’d get treated for possible PTSD associated with that kind of response. Look at funny videos and books because laughing is an antidote for tension. Listen to music that balances left and right brain hemisphere like Hemisync (www.hemi-sync.com/). Simplify your life so you have less to juggle and worry about.
Kathi Kemper, MD, suggests remedies for anxiety in Mental Health, Naturally: exercise, sleep well,[xxxv] meditate, keep a journal, listen to calm music, avoid TV, and get acupuncture. Eat breakfast and whole foods, avoid caffeine, take vitamins B, C, D3, and minerals including calcium (not citrate) and magnesium, fish oils for omega-3 fatty acids, GABA, and Theanine found in green tea. Dr. Kemper also recommends Tryptophan and 5-http, calming herbs like chamomile and valerian, ginkgo, gotu kola, rhodiola, St. John’s Wort, and lavender. Also read Julia Ross, The Mood Cure.
Q: I get anxiety attacks when I get in the car to leave the house.
A: Although uncomfortable and scary, anxiety doesn’t cause a physical problem like a heart attack. Analyze the triggers like getting in the car and figure out what they means to you. Why does leaving home feel unsafe? For some people a pool of anxiety surfaces in fear of flying or a car wreck even when they have no negative experiences with these things; this deeper pool needs to be explored and vented with the help of a therapist.
One solution is to gradually desensitize your fear by associating it with something safe, such as just sitting in the car with a good book, fun music, and a comforting cup of herb tea for five minutes, then ten minutes the next time, until you feel comfortable turning on the engine. You also can try distracting yourself by listening to music or an audio book while in the car. Create a mental picture of a safe beautiful place and call it to mind when you start to get anxious. For example, I call forth a joyous experience when I was snorkeling in Hawaii surrounded by a large school of small silvery fish and felt peaceful in their midst.
Instead of trying to repress the obsessive anxious thoughts that create more anxiety, allow yourself to be obsessive about counting and recording them. Record how many come up during the day, acknowledging them and then imagining them flying off like birds. To deal with the underlying fear about safety or lack of confidence, simple visualizations to feel grounded and centered are explained in Essential Energy Tools.
Imagine you’re a turtle, carrying your safe shell with you when you leave home. Visualize a bubble around your body made of space launch strong plastic shielding. You can see out but other people’s energy can’t permeate. Shift your focus from your internal anxiety to looking at people you encounter externally as works of art, with various colors and sizes and shapes.
Q: I feel social anxiety when I’m around new people other than my old friends.
A: When you’re in a group, look for one person who looks interesting and get to know her or him. If you go with an extroverted friend, take different transportation so you can leave if you’ve had enough. Read about the traits and coping skills for introverts.[xxxvi] Use the energy tools visualization of roses around you absorbing other people’s energy. When they feel full, blow them up with imaginary fireworks, and visualize new ones.
Q: As the last child in a large family, I never felt accepted by my alcoholic mother. I still am anxious about not being appreciated by friends and extended family. It’s hard for me to relax and enjoy my life. What can I do after all these years?
A: Being over-eager to get attention and approval does the opposite, setting a downward spiral into play, where the harder you try, the more a friend pulls back. Relax into being a good listener, asking some questions to let people know you’re interested in them, then letting them know you’re attentive and caring, as by saying, “Sounds like you’re feeling ___ because ___.” This is a lesson in looking for internal validation of your worth, rather than external dependency on others to feel OK. They can’t ever fill up the empty spot; only you can. Consider joining a performance group—dance, music, drama—where you’ll get applause.
Q: I chew my fingers all the time to the point that they bleed. I know I should stop but I can’t. Any hope for me?
A: It feels like a tension release similar to a volcano that has to release built-up pressure from magma. To deal with the cause rather than the symptom, work with a therapist about unresolved emotions and obsessive-compulsive behaviors. To avoid feeling more guilt and shame, tell yourself it could be worse–you’re not a drug addict. Keep a journal of the triggers, like boredom or anxiety. When you’re in a trigger situation where you want to chew, rub your hand reflexology points to keep your fingers busy: You’ll find charts on the Internet.[xxxvii]
Q: I get anxious when I’m driving too far from home.
A: Try the Neuro-Linguistic Programming “Swish Pattern” to change the senses around the problem to desensitize it. 1) Think of the problem and an image to represent it. What do you see or hear in your mind’s eye? 2) Distract yourself by saying your phone number backwards. 3) Create a resourceful positive image. 4) Put the positive image in a tiny sparkling dot of light and enlarge it. Go back and forth from the positive image in an enlarging dot to a neutral blank screen until you don’t feel unpleasant feelings. Let the positive light enlarge and multiply and encircle you. Test by trying to get the original image back. Try an affirmation such as “My safe place is not physical: It’s inside me.” Take breaks while you’re driving to get out and stretch and get grounded to the earth. Distract your mind while driving with music, books on tape, or language tapes.
Q: I feel confused and anxious about my future and don’t know what to do about it.
A: You need to ground: you’re floating and not really anchored in your body, so to speak, so it’s hard to manifest. We say “spaced out” or “out of it” and it’s true energetically. A visualization to ground is to visualize a big tree from the base of your spine deep in the earth. Set your intention to release any confusion down your grounding pipe (page 37). Imagine a gold sun over your head and fill it with clarity, certainty, gratitude, and enjoyment of each day. Then talk yourself through bringing down through your head, neck, shoulders and so on down to your feet.
The visualization to get centered is to imagine a room in the center of your head with a command chair. Sit in it as if you were the king of your body and life. There’s nothing magical about these images, just a way to get energy into your body.
Q: I’m feeling overwhelmed. I moved to a new city, moved in with my boyfriend after living alone for years, am looking for a job, and am going back to college. How can I feel grounded?
A: That many changes are stressful. See my suggestions for how to stay calm and centered and ground on my blog.[xxxviii] Make sure you take time to recharge your batteries and explain to your boyfriend that when you need time by yourself it’s not a rejection of him, but a necessity for staying centered as an introvert. The endnote references a useful list of stress reduction techniques.[xxxix]
On a scale of 1 to 100 how anxious are you? Just rank it without being anxious about feeling anxious. You don’t have to create a perfect life. Do your best and if you need help, ask for it. Imagine putting on adjustable glasses where you can focus on the detail or the big picture so you can deal with one task at a time, rather than being overwhelmed by your to do list. Think about six months from now, when you’ll be enjoying the rhythm you’ve created with ease and flow.
Do what I call “4-8 breathing” throughout the day to relax: In four parts, breath in for the count of 8 from your belly, hold 8, exhale through the mouth like blowing a feather up for 8, and then don’t inhale for as long as comfortable. The main point is not to breathe shallow quick breaths, which signal stress to the body, but deep slow breaths from the diaphragm which sits under the lungs. It’s also fun to do a buddy feet massage and talk while you each rub a foot.
Also remember gratitude and love are the strongest emotions, so when you wake up say something like, “I’m in loving gratitude that I have a job in my field, that I’m earning money, and that I’m learning so much.” Join a group, i.e., political, hobby, sports, or service, to meet new friends.
Q: I’m facing one difficulty after another, like being caught in a shore break and not being able to get out from under the waves.
A: Look at hard times as your best teachers and a catalyst for change. For example, when I was student teaching my first junior high class, I wanted to give them freedom. What resulted was paper airplanes and chaos. In my first teaching assignment as a regular teacher, I was strict and they respected me though I was only 22. I’m glad I messed up in the student teaching situation and not on the job. In another position, I had a vindictive punitive boss, who hassled me with petty actions like trying to move me to an office that was designed as a large closet, going through my files when I wasn’t there, etc. I quit and it opened up wonderful opportunities like writing this book.
Being lucky means you flow with the Tao and stay centered so you can listen to your higher guidance. Think about being in a sturdy boat and staying focused on letting the current carry you forward. Can you find a support group to give you more strength in adversity?
Q: You wouldn’t believe the number of car accidents and physical problems I’ve suffered. I can’t work and now my boyfriend of decades is kicking me out of his house, although I’ve taken care of him during his long illness. I feel like I’m losing it.
A: The image I got when I looked at your pattern was of a medieval monk who believed that suffering, self-flagellation, and pain were the way to Christ’s love, although of course Jesus never recommended such practices. He advised to be like little children. What ever the origin of the belief that life is about suffering, it’s time to change it. Tell yourself, “As part of the divine creation, I deserve to heal and enjoy my life.” Listen carefully for any “Yes, but______” thoughts that pop up in your mind. Sometimes the universe gives us what feels like a kick in the rear to get us to change, but actually is a blessing in disguise. Your boyfriend is doing you a favor by releasing you from your nursing duties so you can focus on self-care. You’ll probably feel liberated once you’re out of his house.
Q: I realized I carry non-stop tension in my body, due to habit, ongoing worry about money, and so on. What can I do to relax?
A: If you wear a watch or carry another device with an alarm, set it to beep every hour to remind you to take a deep belly breath and exhale tension through the mouth and stretch. You can’t be tense if you’re laughing, so have a humor scrapbook where you work and take an occasional minute to look at your collection of cartoons and wonderful photographs printed from the Internet or your own photos. Schedule a massage as often as you can afford it or trade with a friend. Set aside time every day to exercise and to meditate. If it’s hard for you to sit still, do a walking meditation. I made a CD with a meditation you can listen to on headphones sitting or walking.
Praise yourself for noticing tension in a body part and imagine breathing green or blue light into it. Before you go to sleep, try progressive relaxation, moving your attention from feet to head. Think, “My feet are warm and heavy, fluid like melting butter. I thank my feet for their service as they receive relaxing healing energy,” and so on. I use flower essences in my coaching practice to balance emotional issues; you might want to give them a try.
Q: I’ve had a series of women friends who’ve betrayed me and I can’t forgive them. Should I?
A: Your judgment of them keeps you enmeshed with them on the same level. Instead of condemnation, think about what you’re learning from a series of repeated events. When a pattern occurs, it’s a lesson. Also, see if you can find out what led them to their dishonorable behavior so you have more compassion. An abusive person was usually abused. Forgiving them doesn’t mean you trust them or spend time with them, just separate emotionally so you’re neutral when you think about them.
Q: For some people, it seems like they cruise through life. For me, it feels like I’m always slogging against the current. Any way to make living easier?
A: Imagine floating or tubing from point A to point B on a crystal clear stream. Do this every day and journal about what you see on your imaginary journey. If obstacles occur, visualize solving them without effort or struggle. For example, if there’s a sea of frogs in your way, throw them flies to eat on the ground to distract them, away from the stream. The goal is to reprogram your expectation of struggle. Also, it feels like you react from your gut, as to defend your male honor, rather than from your brain. Think of moving your locus of control from gut to brain. It may be the smartest thing to do to walk away from a fight, even if it feels like you’re being disrespected. So what? Think about healthy ways to relax and schedule them on your calendar. For me, it’s hiking, gardening, or talking to a friend.
Q: I get perfectionist and it gets in the way of enjoyment of my activities. This includes being critical of myself and others close to me.
A: Imagine a speedometer with the numbers 1 to 100. Ask it to show or tell you how perfectly a task needs to be done. Many chores don’t have to done perfectly; save perfectionism for when it’s necessary. Focus on the present process rather than the end result. You might want to take the Myers Briggs personality inventory online or in their book Please Understand Me. The four categories are introvert or extrovert, intuitive or sensing, thinking or feeling, judging (Js) or perceiving (Ps). Js tend to focus on the goal, Ps on the process. If you’re aware of this, you can shift your habitual behaviors to become more relaxed. Also, be aware of your subconscious personalities, especially the inner critic and judge. When their judgment is too much, conjure up a supportive grandparent to praise what you’ve done right and what you’ve learned. You can also think of a radio dial. Tune it to the positive helpful voice that represents your higher self.
Q: A week ago I was snorkeling by myself on Maui. Before I go in the water I give thanks for the beauty and ask permission of the four directions. Although entranced by the underwater coral beauty, I was drawn to look over my shoulder. I saw a large gray fin with a large body pointed in my direction: Shark–my worst fear. I did what you’re not supposed to do and splashed and kicked, swimming for shore as fast as I could. When I asked a fisherman on the beach if he’d noticed anything, he said, “Yes, a big gray thing was following you.” I’m OK during the day, and feel more assertive than before the encounter, but at night I have scary flashbacks to that fin.
A: Think of this as an initiation into a higher state. You faced the embodiment of your fears, didn’t freeze, and got away. Since a shark can out swim humans, it seems your prayers connecting you to the ocean protected you. When you see the shark image in your mind’s eye, thank it for not hurting you and ask it to be your protector. Let the fear surface, don’t repress it, and send the fear down your imaginary grounding pipe into the earth. Some Hawaiians regard the shark as a protective spirit (aumakua) and view seeing a shark as a good sign. Appreciate your new lease on life! You’ll probably want to snorkel with a partner from now on.
Q: I’m about to have a nervous breakdown caring for and trying to heal two autistic sons. What can I do differently?
A: Do what you can without the expectation and pressure to change them, which is driving you nuts. The caregiver must take care of herself or she will eventually break. Get respite care. It’s your duty to do what nourishes you and to get out of the house, rather than feeling guilty. It looks like you had a past life where you were an obsessive scientist, something like an alchemist compelled to make gold out of lesser metals. The lesson is to stop obsessing about your boys, pull some of your energy out of them so they can breathe on their own and not have to rebel, and let go and let God. You may not be able to perform a miraculous transformation. Do your best and let that be good enough.
Q: When I close my eyes I see scary demons and fire. It scares me.
Q: I fear razor blades in my mouth.
Q: There’s negative entity in my house; I even felt it rape me.
A: If I say, “Don’t think of donuts,” you will focus on them for sure. Thinking “Don’t see demons,” just gives more power to the images. If you imagine one, say “Hello, you’re boring, so repetitive, can’t you do better?” They’re not physical so there is nothing to be afraid of. Imagine the demons in hair bows and pigtails or something silly. Try a Neuro-Linguistic Programming technique to disassociate from negative experiences by imagining sitting in a movie theater, watching your fears on the screen from a neutral point of view (see page 9). Ask to see what created them, and then change the film as by running it backwards or going from color to black and white.
Another way to distance yourself from the fear was used by Russell Crowe’s character in the film The Beautiful Mind. He dealt with his demons by saying to himself, “Well, that’s just my schizophrenia, so I’m going to ignore it.” Print out photos of guardian angels like Raphael and look at them instead of mental images. A therapist can help figure out the real origin of your anxiety that gets projected on scary images.
Read Michael Newton’s series of books Journey of Souls, by a therapist who does hypnotic regressions and focuses on between lives. He found strong beliefs generate their own shared reality; for example, someone who believes in God on a throne in heaven will gravitate to that vision after death. Robert Monroe found the same thing in his astral travels. Let your reason and intelligence be your guide rather than your imaginary fears, and visualize what you’d like to attract.
Q: We’re all so stressed, how can we reduce stress?
A: As background, chronic stress impairs the immune system, leading to disease, which costs employers money. Around 25% of the workforce suffers from excessive stress or anxiety (www.stress.org). Long-term stress contributes to heart disease, high blood pressure, increased cholesterol, depression, divorce, arthritis, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers, according to a study of caregivers of relatives with dementia, and workplace accidents and injuries.[xl] Research shows that tumors transplanted into rats living in stressful situations grow more rapidly.[xli] Even wounds take longer to heal when we’re stressed, about 40% longer in an Ohio State university study of dental students.[xlii]
Stress alters the body’s chemistry: Stress hormones encourage formation of fat cells and craving for sugar and fat. A study at Georgetown University, led by Zofia Zukowska, found that mice that were stressed and fed a diet high in sugar and salt gained about twice as much fat in their bellies as non-stressed mice with the same diet. The fat is filled with chemical signals that promote illness and “metabolic syndrome:” high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.
Adrenal glands sit on top of the kidneys and secrete hormones that get the body ready for fight or flight. Chronic secretion of these adrenal hormones (such as cortisol) is taxing. Signs of distress include: irritability, fuzziness, fatigue, anxiety, stuttering, difficulty sleeping and concentrating, grinding teeth, upset stomach, headache, sighing, heart palpitations, skin rashes, loss of sexual interest, back pain, nervous tics, crying, forgetfulness, allergies; feeling tense, hurried, and pressured; loss of humor, withdrawal, hopelessness, frustration, eating too much or too little, digestive problems, high blood pressure (over 120/80), and smoking and drinking to calm down. Thomas, who read a draft of this book, reports, “Except for the drinking and smoking, I painted myself into a corner with all of those and it all seemed normal! I thought I was doing good by working so much, but in the process I wasn’t there enough for those I truly and deeply cared for.”
Dr. Andrew Weil tells us that chronic sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activity causes increase in heartbeat and blood pressure, increased blood sugar, cold extremities, and slowed digestion. It also raises cortisol levels. Chronic overstimulation of the SNS can cause many diseases, including cardiac arrhythmia and high blood pressure. The parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) reverses the effects of the SNS and creates a sense of well-being. Here are 10 approaches to stress reduction.
- Breath work to get oxygen to the brain and activate the parasympathetic system to relax.
☛ Do conscious breathing throughout the day to relax: Breathe in for the count of 8 from your belly, hold 8, exhale through the mouth like blowing a feather up for 8, and then don’t inhale for as long as comfortable. Also, try alternate nostril breathing. Put your thumb on one nostril to close it. Breathe in the other nostril, shut it with your middle finger, and exhale out of the first side. The main point is not to breathe shallow quick breaths, which signal stress to the body, but deep slow breaths from the diaphragm which sits under the lungs.
☛ To relax, breath should begin in the diaphragm laterally, expanding the ribs. Imagine breathing in an appealing color. Press in an inch or two in an acupressure point three finger widths below the navel and hold for one to three minutes.
☛ Crunch up your shoulders and face tightly and count to six. Hold your breath, then release your breath and tension while counting to six again. Stress equates with tension. Relax to reduce stress, as by remembering your favorite place in nature or stretching. Release your jaw as well as your shoulders.
☛ Inhale and rock up on your toes, bringing your palms up over the head, and then come down with both arms, exhaling vigorously. Release any anger or frustration on the exhalation.
☛ Relax with mini-breaks during the day. Do deep breathing, let your shoulders drop, say, “With every exhalation I release tension and with every inhalation I breathe in relaxation.”
- Bilateral movement to balance the body. When we get stressed our energy gets scrambled, we can’t think clearly, we are clumsy and bump into things and break things. PMS does this to some women. We get “homolateral,” meaning instead of a right side of the brain connected to the left side of the body, and left side to right side, right is connected to right and left to left. The way to correct is any movement that crosses the midline of the body. See midline exercises on YouTube.[xliii]
- Make “lazy eights” with your eyes, circling your eyes in an 8 on its side, alternating starting up to the left or right.
- Cross Crawl: Stand or sit. Put the right hand across the body to the left knee as you raise it, and then do the same thing for the left hand on the right knee just as if you were marching for about two minutes. Look at your hands at they cross the midline. Breathe in with your tongue on the roof of the mouth. Exhale with the tongue on the floor of the mouth.
- Hook Ups:
☛ Stand or sit. Cross the right leg over the left at the ankles.
☛ Take your right wrist and cross it over the left wrist and link up the fingers so that the right wrist is on top.
☛ Bend the elbows out and gently turn the fingers in towards the body until they rest on the sternum in the center of the chest. Stay in this position.
☛ Keep the ankles crossed and the wrists crossed and then breathe evenly in this position for a few minutes. You will be calmer after that time. Brain Gym teaches other ways to get balanced.[xliv]
- Other Movement
☛ Make a fist, then open it and allow any tension to flick out from your fingers.
☛ Shake out leftover tension by shaking out your hands and feet, stomping, or doing the twist with your hips. Have a funny temper tantrum by sitting, stomping your feet, slapping your thighs, and growling. If you have time, tighten and relax each muscle starting from your feet up to your face, telling the muscle to be warm and heavy in “progressive relaxation.”
☛ Roll your head with ear to one shoulder, down and around to the other.
☛ Do yoga poses such as the child’s pose (like Islamic prayer position) and happy baby (on your back holding your feet up and rocking side to side). See photos on the web.[xlv]
☛ Rub your hands over your ears, front to back, down the neck, and hang on your shoulders with your hands, palms touching the body. This calms the triple warmer meridian associated with the flight or fight stress response. When it’s on too much, it weakens the immune system via the spleen meridian.
☛ Rub your feet, hands, and ears which all contain many reflexology points connected to various organs. The theory is that reflex areas in the feet and hands correspond to all of the glands, organs and parts of the body. If you find a tender spot, repeat pressing and breathing into it. When rubbing the feet, think of them side by side as representing the body, with the arches representing the spine. The toes are linked to the head, the organs descending down the feet, with the insteps reflective of the spine. With over 7,000 nerve endings in each foot, it’s useful to give them attention.
☛ Massage your face, scalp and shoulders, tap (use a hair brush for your back), rub, stretch the skin, or gently pull the hair at the roots. Rub your gums through your cheeks. Circle your jaw.
☛ Rub your palms together and rest them over your eyes, visualizing black velvet for two or three minutes to relax your eyes. Periodically look away from your computer or book, far away, medium, right and left. Do Tibetan eye chart exercises for eye strength.[xlvi]
- Self-Talk, Cognitive Restructuring
Gratitude and love are the strongest emotions, so when you wake up say something like, “I’m in loving gratitude that I am alive and healthy with people I love, learning something new every day.” Write in your gratitude journal daily. Professor Robert Emmons, author of a book called Thanks, studies the impact of gratitude–so far with over 2,000 subjects ages 8 to 80. In his studies, one group writes a gratitude journal every day including five things they’re grateful for. The second group writes about the hassles of the day. The third does neither. All three groups are monitored for their emotional, personal, and interpersonal well-being. You guessed it; the gratitude journal group had higher well being, physical and emotional. College students who wrote the journals made 20% more progress than the other two groups on six goals they set for themselves by the end of two months.
Dr. Emmons suggests actions we can take to become more positive and grateful: keep a daily gratitude journal, think back on difficult experiences to realize how far you’ve come, identify ungrateful thoughts, enjoy your senses, use visual reminders such as a “I am grateful” wrist band, watch your language to make sure it’s constructive, make a vow to practice gratitude, send a thank you letter to an important person in your life, and think outside the box. He recommends watching a short online video.[xlvii] Observe what you manifest by keeping a gratitude journal.
Changing your attitude and self-talk is a major tool to reduce stress. See http://www.positivepsychology.org for evidence that positive attitude leads to greater health and success. Your reaction to a stressor is what counts. As Mark Twain said, “I have had a great many troubles in my life, and most never happened.” Much earlier, Epictetus (born AD 55 in Greece) observed, “People are disturbed, not by events, but by their view of those events.” Be amused at the challenges you’ve selected. People with ”hardiness” and “internal locus of control” handle stress better; they view problems as challenges and the opportunity to growth rather than as a threat and believe they have control over their lives.
Use positive self-talk. Richard Bach said, “There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hand.” Change your attitude to the glass is half full and to amusement. Give yourself and others more praise than criticism.
☛ Look for the positive lessons in a challenging problem. If you didn’t do well, think about what you learned from the experience rather than beating yourself up. No one is perfect and we all make mistakes.
☛ Decide how perfectly a task needs to be done, rather than trying to do everything perfectly.
☛ Avoid negative people and situations.
☛ Avoid “awfulizing,” “magnifying,” “catastrophizing,” “overgeneralizing,” “polarized thinking,” and avoid habitual urgency and “hurry sickness.”
- Visualizations to Reduce Stress
☛ Imagine a secret garden of your own where you can plant flowers and trees, create ponds and waterfalls, and watch wild animals move around your garden. See it change with the seasons as you visit month after month. When you want an answer to a question, go to your garden, sit on your favorite bench under your special tree, and ask the wisest creature in your garden to sit by you on the bench with an answer to your question. See a scroll with the answer in the animal’s beak, paw, or mouth. Thomas adds, “Believe it or not, a friend and I created a world; we’ve written several book-length stories. The world has these elements and more; I wonder if there is a universal longing for simpler times?”
☛ Think about your day as a song, and set the tempo and mood you want as you get ready in the morning.
The Institute of Heart Math (www.webcom.com/hrtmath) developed stress-reduction techniques. The institute does scientific studies about the heart, showing it’s much more than a pump, as its powerful electromagnetic field influences the brain and people around us. HeartMath studies prove the effectiveness of their technique called “Freeze Frame” in making the heartbeat more coherent and peaceful.
Freeze Frame to Reduce Stress
- Freeze frame the stressful feeling, as you would put a video on pause.
- Shift your focus to your heart by imagining you’re breathing deeply through it, for at least 10 seconds. Keep your awareness here rather than on the problem.
- Remember a positive time, as when you felt deep love, caring, forgiveness or appreciation, and experience that feeling. Don’t visualize, as this takes you to your head, just sense and feel. This memory causes the heart rate to move to a coherent rhythm.
- Using your intuition and common sense, ask your heart what would be a more effective response to the situation that would reduce stress? Listen to the answer.
- Visualizations to Ground, Center, Energize and Be Safe
A grounding pipe or cord is a line of energy from you into the earth that makes you feel secure and strong, and allows for release and for cleansing your space. The more widely used term is grounding cord, but it’s actually more like a pipe, in that it’s hollow to release excesses and toxins from the body. It also creates an anchor to make you feel safe and connected to mother earth as you use your energy tools to achieve your goal.
Imagine you have a powerful flashlight to shine down from the bottom of your spine all the way to the center of the planet. We’re playing with symbols or pictures as a way to move energy, in this case a technique to create a line of connection from you to the earth. If you have difficulty creating a line all the way down, imagine a ship anchoring in a harbor. Throw a big chain anchor down from the base of your spine; let gravity take it all the way down to the center of the planet. Tug on the anchor to make sure it’s securely attached.
Create a grounding cord along the line of connection you’ve created, perhaps a flowing waterfall or a massive tree. Fun ways to create a grounding cord/pipe are to visualize a chain of elephants holding on to each other’s trunks and tails in a long line, monkeys holding on to each other’s tails, pink flamingoes with necks intertwined, clowns standing on each others’ heads, bright colored balloons, a clear plastic tube filled with healthy candy, a laundry chute, or a waterslide. It’s important to stay amused when using your energy tools as it smoothes the way. Think about making any blocks or discomfort in your body heavy, letting gravity flush them down the grounding cord. You can also see negative emotions as colors, like green for jealousy, and drain them down the cord.
Q: I have trouble grounding. My orientation is up, not down. Anything I can do?
A: Imagine sending your grounding cord down to the center of the earth through a field of lovely crystals to protect it. Also use Barbara Brennan’s tool of a hara line: Simply imagine a line coming from above the head through the midline of the body and down the grounding pipe. Make sure it’s straight and connected. That way you can keep your connection with the upper world as well as the lower world. (See more on http://gaylekimball.wordpress.com/2011/11/22/visualization-to-ground)
Whenever you release old habits down your grounding cord, you need to fill up with fresh golden energy visualizing a sun, or else the same kind of gunk could flow back in. Imagine a big gold sun about five feet above your head. Fill it with clear gold energy and your goals, like feeling energetic. Then unzip the gold sun, or pour the healing energy out like rain. You might imagine a superhero filling the sun with a galactic power source to help achieve your goal.
Have the gold light drain onto the top of your head and into your brain, down your neck and shoulders and arms, down your spine into your torso and your pelvis, down your thighs, into your knees and out your feet. Fill all the trillions of cells. Draw a picture of your sun flowing through your body, as we learn by involving various senses and having fun.
Imagine filling your sun with different colors and textures, such as honey, sparkles, or bubbles. See if you notice subtle changes. Do you notice any places where the light can’t flow? How does the light feel in different parts of your body? Use it as a diagnostic tool to scan your body, asking the energy to light up any organ, gland, or body part that needs your attention. If something lights up, conduct what feels like an imaginary conversation with it, but can be informative.
- Time Management
☛ Make a pie chart, a circle in which you draw what percentage of the circle you spend on various activities. Is this the wisest way to allocate your time?
☛ Get or make a stack of different colored index cards. One color could signal personal tasks and another work tasks, for example. Write one task per card, and then spread the cards out in front of you. List on the back the actions needed to achieve the goal. They’re already grouped by theme by their color. Then take each stack of cards and shuffle to reflect your top priority; which task is most important and time-sensitive for a deadline? Focus on the top card for the moment and forget about the ones on the bottom.
- Food and Other Aids to Health
☛ Get 30 minutes of sunlight or full spectrum light bulbs.
☛ Try massage, acupuncture, acupressure, reflexology, and yoga in a class or following a DVD.
☛ Apply essential oils to alleviate stress: chamomile, fir, grapefruit, lavender, rose, verbena, sandalwood, geranium, etc. To boost mental energy, use peppermint, eucalyptus or rosemary. To relax, try lavender, ylang ylang or chamomile. They’re available along with flower essences and homeopathy at natural foods stores or on the Internet.
☛ Listen to relaxing music. It reduces stress-hormone levels and can boost the immune system, according to research by Cheryl Dileo at Temple University.[xlviii]
Listen to calming music or a book on tape during your commute to work, rather than the news. Neutralize sound pollution at work, as with a white-noise generator.
☛ Drink eight glasses of water, between meals so as not to dilute digestive juices.
☛ Eat organic unprocessed foods, preferably grown locally. Avoid white sugar, flour, rice, fried potatoes, etc. Suggest healthy alternatives for snacks at work meetings—no donuts. Professor Michael Pollan says to only eat food your great-grandmother would recognize as food. He suggests that we pay more and eat less to get quality food. Eat real food rather than processed food high in added sugar and salt.[li]
☛ Supplements: To support the adrenals, vitamins B, C, pantothenic acid, magnesium, calcium and zinc. Selenium helps with anxiety (found in Brazil nuts). B vitamins are found in leafy green vegetables, oatmeal, and whole grains (avoid wheat).
☛ To relax with calming herbs try chamomile, cinnamon, fennel, gotu kola, lemon balm, licorice root, and passionflower. Other useful herbs are valerian, hops, oatstraw, motherwort, marshmallow, and skullcap. Animal research indicates that rhodiola rosea reduces levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.
☛ Tonics include ginseng, gynostemma, chaga, and rhodiola rosea. The amino acid L-theanine is said to stimulate alpha waves for relaxation. To energize, American ginseng, dong quai, licorice and ginger.
☛ Support the immune system with astragalus, eleuthero, garlic, mushrooms (cordyceps, maitake, reishi, shitake), and probiotics such as yogurt.
☛ Stress (adrenaline) causes blood sugar levels to fluctuate, triggering cravings and anxiety. Don’t eat sugar; eat complex carbohydrates with a low glycemic index.[lii]
☛ To aid digestion, consume bromelain and pancreatin and other enzymes. Also, peppermint tea is good for the stomach.
Q: I haven’t liked vegetables and fruits since I was a baby. I know I should eat them. Any suggestions?
A: This smacks of a past-life shadow. Several intuitive readers looked at this with me and saw mounds of spoiled brussel sprouts that were the only food available in the previous life influencing this one. I’d see what comes up around this affirmation: “I acknowledge my ancient vow to not eat spoiled vegetables and fruit. However, now I enjoy the benefits of fresh vegetables and fruit.” You can disguise them in soup, pizza, with sauces, etc.
Q: I’m reading about additives, hormones, chemicals, and toxins in our food. How can I know what is healthy for my family?
A: Dr. Francesca Grifo (the Union of Concerned Scientists) recommends buying from small, local, organic food producers and doing research; for example, I found http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org. I asked Jeanette McNelis to report on her research on food safety:
Consumers need to start reading the ingredients on their purchases. Genetically engineered seeds (corn, soy, canola, cotton, etc.) owned by large pesticide companies have made their way, unlabeled (except for Europe), into the majority of our food supply. Check out the following sources:
☛ The author of Seeds of Deception, Jeffrey Smith is the world’s leading consumer advocate. He gives four suggestions: Buy organic/local. Look for Non-GMO verified seals (see http://www.responsibletechnology.org). Avoid risky ingredients like invisible GM ingredients such as fructose, dextrose, glucose, Nutra-sweet, and Equal. Check out the GMO shopping guide on www.nongmoshoppingguide.com.
☛ John Robbins, award-winning author (Diet For a New America and Food Revolution), wrote an article worth reading: “Is Your Favorite Ice Cream Made With Artificial Hormones?” (http://www.johnrobbins.info)
☛ Check Dr. Mercola’s web site for interesting articles on GMO food products and healthy living. (http://www.mercola.com/)
☛ www.organicconsumers.org also aims to educate the food consumer with many articles. Do your family a favor by knowing what you are eating and by making healthy choices.
Q: I feel drained when I’m around a group of people or friends who tell me their troubles.
A: Sensitive empaths feel this way unless they use energy tools to define and protect the energy field, as described in my Essential Energy Tools section on “How to Feel Safe.” You can learn many coping tools from those two books.
Visualize an anchor from the base of your spine keeping you grounded. Simply notice when your anchor swings over to someone else and bring it back to support you.
Q: I’m really sensitive to other people’s feelings and it feels uncomfortable. How can I protect myself?
A: Empaths are highly sensitive, have a different makeup than extroverted less sensitive personalities. Therapist Elaine Aron reports in her book The Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) that introverts, around 20 percent of the population, are bothered by high levels of stimulation, such as noise or crowds. They are more likely than other people to respond to subtleties, be intuitive, and overwhelmed. They may not set boundaries between themselves and others. Aron explains HSPs often are prescribed drugs to cope with anxiety and depression because the serotonin levels in the brain get eroded by cortisol levels, caused by the ongoing stress of over-arousal. Aron also provides a workbook and writes a newsletter, titled Comfort Zone.
Just knowing you’re an HSP can reframe your judgments of yourself, give yourself permission to set aside time alone to recharge your batteries or to take time to use ear plugs in case of loud noise, eat protein snacks to restore blood sugar levels, meditate, do deep breathing, listen to peaceful music, drink calming herb teas such as chamomile and lavender, and get plenty of sleep.
Visualization tools can help HSPs to be less reactive to the environment. Imagine tucking an energy bubble in under your feet so that you feel a complete egg-shaped shield around you. Put a violet flame around your energy field if it feels protective. To define your boundaries, imagine big, bold “No Trespassing” signs outside your aura and visualize filling your energy field with soothing colors.
Visualize an iridescent bubble around you, surrounded by satellite dishes that track incoming energy. Program them to stop other people’s energies before it enters your field. You can imagine erasing them when they get full and creating new shiny bright shields. You’ll be able to communicate more clearly without other people’s energy swimming around you. Take a deep cleansing breath and exhale through your mouth after an interaction or being around crowds. You can also carry a little spray bottle of essential oils like lavender to breathe and purify the air around you.
Q: I’m a people pleaser and sometimes I get caught up in other people’s dramas; it’s draining. Can I do something to feel better?
A: Think of being in a tennis game. You stay on your side of the net. You can give suggestions, if asked to, but otherwise respect boundaries between the players. Taken too far, this desire to help can be co-dependency. Your center is internal, not external. Stay in your own center and focus on your own development.
Q: I am trying to stop a pattern of taking in people’s illnesses and stuff that floats around them, trying to not go into the victim part of me anymore. How can I be less sensitive?
A: We’ve seen that thought/belief/personality is extremely powerful. To establish your boundaries, visualize being surrounded by an iridescent bubble filled with the vibrating colors of the aura borealis, energizing your field. Surround the bubble with roses, catcher’s mitts, or satellite dishes to capture outside energy before it permeates your bubble. After you’re around people, imagine blowing up the protective image with firecrackers and then imagine creating new ones.
Q: People tell me their troubles and it’s draining me. How can I help them and me? How can I be compassionate without getting bogged down?
A: Motor neurons in the brain help us feel what someone else around us is experiencing, so we need to be aware of what is our own emotion and what comes from matching other people’s emotions. Set limits. If a friend wants to do troubles talk, tell him or her you have 10 minutes. If you’re not up to it, set up another time when you’ll be able to listen without getting bogged down. Use the bubble visualization described above and remember you’re not responsible for solving their problems and their problems are not yours.
Think about ways you’re different from the troubled person to separate from them. Don’t personalize their problems. A few more visualizations to try are to imagine other people’s junk in your field turning heavy so gravity pulls it down to the earth to recycle. Picture yourself going down a sunlit path in nature; if a boogeyman threatens you see the fearful creature shrinking and turning into a timid squeaky mouse as you keep on exploring your path. You can be more helpful if you stay grounded and centered.
Q: [Japan] I’m uncomfortable in crowds.
A: Imagine a protective bubble around you sparkling with light-emitting sequins that repel other people’s energy. Focus on the crowd as an anthropologist studying a new culture (as when you’re on the train), looking at colors of clothes, hair styles, different ways of walking, and so on. Make it an enjoyable experience like going to an anthropology museum rather than an ordeal.
Q: [Nepal] I would give priority to character because it is a precious ornament of a person, so I would change my habit of being angry because anger makes a person backward in life.
A: Emotions ebb and flow as part of communication from body to mind and back; they’re neither good nor bad if they’re acted upon wisely, released and not repressed. Be aware of the feeling, focus on it, listen to it, don’t try to stuff it or ignore it, then let it go–into an imaginary container which you blow up, or down your grounding pipe into the earth to recycle, or through physical exercise. See Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now for the importance of being aware of the present moment. No one can get rid of emotions for you. All a helper does is name patterns for your conscious mind to think about and to partner with you in creating more energy to manifest your goals.
Anger is natural, neither good nor bad, but it can be expressed in a positive or negative way. It usually arises in response to feeling attacked or an injustice. It needs to be expressed, because it takes too much energy to keep it bottled up. Anger turned inward leads to depression and low energy. It will pop out anyway, in something you say or withholding affection or in an illness.
It helps to take a deep breath when getting upset, count to ten, and take time to think about how you want to react. Become conscious of triggers for your anger by noting in your journal about what led to an angry explosion and finding patterns over time. Are you more likely to get angry if you’re tired or hungry? Do you explode over a little thing when you’re feeling tense and frustrated? Think of a rain gage that measures the amount of rain, and then think of your frustration level on a gage of your emotions.
Notice as pressure builds like a rocket and relieve it before it has to explode–by exercising, writing in a journal, talking to supportive people, or taking action about injustice. If you’re angry because of unfairness, speak up, do something, and ask for help. If you’re frustrated with daily life, take some time every day to take a walk in nature where you can listen to your inner guidance and let off some physical steam.
You can speed up the release process by imagining a balloon in front of you, blowing your red-hot anger into the balloon until it’s very full, then popping it. Or imagine yourself as a volcano. How high has the red-hot lava reached? Let it explode out of the top of the tube, making volcano sounds and gestures. This works well to clear stored anger and rage and also makes you laugh in the process. You might want to yell and growl. When I had a difficult boss, I’d growl while riding my bike to work and it helped me get centered.
To explain your anger to the person involved, use the good communication formula: “I’m feeling ___ because ___. A possible solution is ___.” Avoid blaming words like, “You always ___” or “I’m feeling you always ___.” Stick to how you feel and what you would like to change. Listen to the other person and check the accuracy of your understanding by asking, “I’m hearing you say _____. Is that right?” Marshall Rosenberg’s Non Violent Communication emphasizes getting to an understanding of the underlying need of the person with whom you’re trying to resolve an issue.[liii]
Q: What advice would you give for dealing with anger after a long drawn out family issue that was mental health related? The person became delusional while off medication and has taken months to start getting back to normal. It has been hard to get back on track as a family.
A: Mental illness is a disease, so I’d think of your family member as if he or she had a stroke or heart attack, with compassion. Also, have a discussion about what stressors are especially difficult and might set off delusions, so as to protect against them. Plan enjoyable family activities to bond again as a family and get family counseling. It takes time to build trust, be patient and consider lowering your expectations.
Q: I put myself last in order to be nice to be others. How can I change?
A: If you suppress your irritations and resentments, they don’t go away; they simmer under the surface and erupt in irrational ways. For example, I know a woman who resented her husband and “accidentally” burned his favorite foods. They eventually divorced. It’s actually nicer not to “gunnysack” your little resentments until they build up and prevent you from being loving. Use effective communication skills, saying “I feel___ because___ and I suggest ___ as a possible solution for us to negotiate.” Do active listening where you both let the other person know it seems to me “you’re feeling ___ because___ you need____” until you get it right. Remember, this does not mean you agree, just that you understand, which goes a long way in relationships. Be honest and let people you care about know what’s important to you.
Worry and Guilt
Q: I’ve done some things in my past that make me feel guilty and ashamed. Any hope for me?
A: No one is perfect, including our most revered heroes. Princess Diana said on videotape that as a girl she tormented her nannies–putting pins in the seat cushion, throwing an engagement ring down the drain–and she pushed her stepmother down stairs. Baptist minister Martin Luther King, Jr. had extramarital affairs, sometimes multiple, and drank and smoked. Mahatma Gandhi imposed his will on his wife and four sons, not letting his sons get higher education and delaying their marriages. Mother Teresa lost her faith, writing to her confessor, “I am told God loves me—and yet the reality of darkness and coldness and emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul. Did I make a mistake in surrendering blindly to the Call of the Sacred Heart?” Follow the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-steps and see if you can correct or apologize for mistakes, ask higher power for help, and live one day at a time listening to your conscience. It takes too much energy to carry around the burden of guilt, shame, and blame. Focus on the present.
Q: I regret not being a better husband and regret my past decisions. Once a worrier, always a worrier?
A: The past is water under the bridge. You can’t change it but you can learn lessons from your experiences. Remind yourself that we’re all imperfect and that we grow by learning from our mistakes. Focus your attention on what you want to manifest now and in the future. When you start your worry habit, think of taking out that tape from a recorder and putting in a new tape that says, “I direct my attention to what I want to create now.” Make a list of decisions and qualities that you’re proud of and add at least one a day to balance the inner critic’s carping voice.
Q: I’m a worrier and it kind of takes the edge off enjoying life. How can I enjoy life more?
A: Write down your worries in a booklet you carry with you. When you have time, write down a solution or positive affirmation across from each worry. Realize that you are not your worries. Hold them up to the light of reason and let them go. Don’t worry about worrying. Give yourself a set time to worry, say for 10 minutes a day.
Q: I worry about my loved ones when they travel—especially by plane, and are far away from me.
A: Some of my friends had the same issue when I traveled to Tanzania and Egypt. I asked that they transmute their worry, as the focus on negative possibilities harms everyone involved. When you become aware of the worry habit surfacing, replace it with the visual of a protective bubble of gold light around the person you’re concerned about. I do this every day for my son. My travels went smoothly, including a fun experience with manifesting unexpected money, an exercise we’d worked on in an energy tools workshop before I left. I was walking on a beach on a small island where we went to snorkel near Dar-es-Salaam. Looking for shells, I noticed 10,000 shilling bills washed up on the beach. Like an Easter egg hunt, we picked up over a $100 worth of money, laughing the whole time. For photos and my travel stories from Tanzania, Zanzibar, and Switzerland see my blog and Facebook page.[liv]
Q: I worry about my kids, even though they’re adults. What can I do?
A: My meditation class developed this visualization to assist those who need a boost. Try it on yourself first. Imagine you are in a celestial healing room. As you enter, you smell the fragrance of tropical flowers, hear the music of the spheres, be bathed in radiant light, and see loving angelic figures. They lead you to a relaxing pure pool of clear emerald water where you are nourished with ambrosia and receive the healing and guidance you need, being recharged by the beauty and serenity around you. Imagine your offspring protected by their guides. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, MD, reports that many people only become aware of their guides as they approach death or have a near-death-experience, but they’re with us always. Visualize your offspring nurtured in this room as a way to send them protective thoughts.
Here are a series of questions about depression. Notice the common thread of not feeling supported or cared for. Some background information: Depressed people feel sad, lose interest in daily activities, feel tired and tearful, have difficulty concentrating, have changes in sleeping and eating patterns, may feel helpless about the future, and may think frequently of death. All of us get the “blues” after the breakup of a relationship, a failure at work or school, or other times when we’re disappointed. Other depressive influences include hypothyroid, food sensitivies such as celiac disease, a poor diet, adrenal exhaustion, and hormone imbalances.[lv] Some people have chronic ongoing depression due to problems in their brain chemistry. It sometimes runs in families. Depression must be treated so it doesn’t lead to suicide.
Depression has to do with neurotransmitters in the brain. Depression can be genetic, conditioned (often begins with unresolved extended conflict), environmental, or events—situational like the death of a family member. Stress produces glucosteroids, including cortisol, which can disrupt the production of either serotonin or norepinephrine. Serotonin boosts feeling of optimism, well-being, self-esteem, relaxation, security, and enhances sleep. When it’s low, depression is common, along with poor sleep and inability to concentrate. Brain chemistry can be changed with diet, exercise, and the thinking process. The book The Mood Cure provides a questionnaire to identify missing neurotransmitters and the questions are online.[lvi] Julia Ross spells out amino acids to take to build the serotonin or what ever is missing, including 5-http,
Tryptophan, St. John’s Wort, SAM-e and Melatonin. Relaxing exercise, peaceful thoughts and music raise serotonin. Yoga increases feel good GABA, as explained in William Broad’s book The Science of Yoga.[lvii] Serotonin also is boosted with complex carbohydrates (whole grains, squash, root vegetables) that enhance absorption of the amino acid tryptophan that converts into serotonin. (Dairy foods don’t boost serotonin.) Positive thoughts boost serotonin, as does gentle exercise like walking and ballroom dancing.
Dopamine and its derivative norephinephrine increase alertness, assertiveness, and wakefulness, heightens energy, and speeds up thoughts. Low levels are associated with depression, more lethargic than with low serotonin. Higher than normal levels cause aggression, anxiety, fear, nervous tension, and paranoia, especially when serotonin is low. Dopamine can be boosted with tyrosine from foods rich in protein (fish, poultry, beans). Tyrosine is converted into dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. Vigorous exercise boosts it. To lower dopamine, eat less protein, caffeine, and refined sugars.
Depression can be anger turned inward because of feeling helpless. It takes a lot of energy to stuff negative emotions, so acknowledge them and imagine them turning heavy so that gravity can pull them down into the earth to recycle. Get help from therapists with experience in treating depression. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that about 121 million people around the world suffer from depression and it is being diagnosed more frequently. They predict that within 20 years more people will be affected by depression than any other health problem.
Depression impacts physical health. A study of 5,000 people with depression showed they had twice the risk of developing cancer compared with people without the mental disorder, reported David Spiegel, a professor of psychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine. And Philip Gold, chief of the clinical neuroendocrinology branch at the National Institute of Mental Health, found that pre-menopausal women who were depressed had a higher rate of bone loss and a two- to three-fold higher risk of osteoporosis compared with other women.
About half of depressed patients don’t receive treatment. However, antidepressants don’t help people with moderate depression, according to a review of more than 700 patients.[lviii] When compared with placebo pills, the drugs did help patients with the most severe depression. Half of the people who take them don’t get relief, according to another study. Manufacturers of antidepressants like Prozac and Paxil haven’t published the results of about a third of drug research trials that didn’t show results.[lix] They reported most of the successful studies and only 14% of failed studies. In a study of 86 mentally retarded adults who had aggressive outbursts, those who took antipsychotic drugs had a 65% or less decrease in outbursts, compared to 79% who took a placebo sugar pills.
When you feel sad and low-energy, what can you do? Start with the physical factors: Have you had enough sleep and healthy food? Avoid sugar, caffeine, sodas and other junk food that jolt your blood sugar for a short time, and then crash to a low. Snack on fruits, vegetables, nuts, and other healthy real foods. Be aware of negative thinking, self-criticism, comparing yourself with others, and procrastination. When you feel depressed, exercise, spend some time outdoors or use full spectrum light bulbs inside, plan some fun activities, put on your favorite clothes, watch a funny movie, listen to upbeat music, break down tasks into smaller ones and do a little every day, give yourself a reward for action, and reach out to ask for emotional support from family and friends or a counselor or religious advisor.
Fish oil capsules kept psychosis at bay for most in a small Austrian study of young people. Dr. Andrew Weil reported on a study finding that omega 3 helps alleviate depression; “I recommend two to three grams of fish oil a day, providing both EPA and DHA in a ratio of about three or four to one for mild to moderate depression, including regular exercise, at least 30 minutes five days a week. Exercise is the most effective treatment I know for mild to moderate depression.”[lx] A five-year British study of nearly 3,500 found that people who eat a whole-food diet like a Mediterranean diet with fruits, vegetables and fish were less likely to be depressed, while those who ate refined, high fat and sugary foods were more likely to be depressed. The researchers wondered if the antioxidants, folic acid, and omega 3 fatty acids in the whole foods were protective of cells.
Q: I live alone and my family is so caught up in their stuff that they haven’t a second thought for me, let alone any help. I feel really devoid of help in my home life. I have this autoimmune disease that I probably gave myself, which is literally devastating my little life and I haven’t the support that I give others in need. What happened to “what goes around comes around”? I have literally given the last 25 years helping others. I am having a hard time helping myself or even wanting to; where is the “comes around” for me? I have just pissed and moaned my way through this letter and I am sending it anyway as I need some help. I am really lost to me.
I’m trying to use Reiki and Emotional Freedom Technique. The tapping spots, are they between eyebrow, side eye, below eye, upper lip, chin, k-27 tap under the collarbone, and hand chopping–also liver and underarm taps? [Yes.] I used tapping when I took tests in Anatomy and Physiology classes. It worked wonders on my tests. My statement was “Even though I doubt my abilities, I deeply and completely accept myself for who I am.” I know the statements need to be specific. My statement this morning was, “Even though I don’t feel like living, I deeply and completely accept myself for who I am.” Yesterday’s was “even though my immune system is confused, I deeply and completely accept myself for who I am.”
A: Depression can be anger turned inward because of feeling helpless. It takes a lot of energy to stuff negative emotions, so acknowledge them and imagine them turning heavy so that gravity can pull them down into the earth to recycle. It’s good that you are taking action to relieve it. Look at your circle of friends as an intentional family that you’ve created through bonds of affection and shared values rather than biology. Let go of expecting your family of origin to be there for you: You have a new family, divorce the old one in your mind because they’ve been abusive. Get help from practitioners with experience in treating depression.
The following is her comment after I reminded her of the note above a year later.
Wow, I can remember that. That was such a dark, low place. It brings tears to my eyes that someone can feel that low and more so that it is me. I love the change, though it feels so scary at times relying on Higher Power and guidance, allowing the energy to transfer and to love me in the process. The moments are mine to do with what is right and necessary. My heart must lead. I heard that forgiveness begins when we can give up the hope of a better yesterday.
Q: [China] I know there are many difficulties in life, why can some people face it optimistically, while others cannot? I belong to the latter, when every time I meet with troublesome matters, I will feel depressed for several days. I want to know how can I face it with a good attitude when meet with this situation.
A: Part of our inclination to be optimistic or pessimistic is genetic, but the brain is “plastic,” habits can be changed. Professor Richard Davidson, of the University of Wisconsin, does research about the brain. He found that people who meditate, like Buddhist monks he wires up while they meditate on compassion, have increased brain activity in the prefrontal cortex that leads to feeling of well-being. You can develop a positive attitude by training your brain with daily meditation or prayer.
A psychologist, David Schkade suggests that we start by changing one hour a day when we do things we dislike, to doing things we like.[lxi] Taking action is the key, he says. Many studies show that happy people feel supported by emotional ties with close friends and family and express gratitude for their blessings
Q: [China] I feel like I didn’t know who I am, like I am dead. I am just like a shell without soul, not even interested in movies or music anymore.
A: You’re depressed, perhaps dealing with grief, repressed anger, or overwork. See a mental health professional. Register for an exercise class; make yourself go on a regular basis to increase serotonin in your brain. Swimming is a good way to get clearer. Get enough sleep, walk in nature, and eat healthy food. Try flower essences, homeopathy, and supplements like SAMe. What do you need to change that’s depressing in your work or home?
Q: I’m stuck in being down, sad, and feeling not good enough. I’ve worked on this but can’t dig my way out of the hole I’m in. Any way out?
A: Sometimes it’s easy to stick with the familiar, even if it’s unpleasant. The unconscious mind doesn’t know fact from fiction, so imagine a childhood where you were an adored child. To create new images and “memories,” watch movies about healthy families. Let us know if you find any! All I can think of is the TV series The Cosby Show. Read about heroes, historic and fiction, and create a visual collage representing the new you. To help generate energy to change, exercise, eat fresh food, and get counseling.
Q: I feel antsy, scattered, don’t know what to do with myself, even though there is plenty that needs to be done. I have to force myself even though I always feel so much better when I go out.
A: The scattered, frazzled feeling can be caused by low blood sugar (eat breakfast and small frequent snacks of unrefined foods, put a cinnamon stick in your hot drink to help regulate blood sugar), depression, and being homolateral. Correct the latter by drinking water and doing cross crawls touching an elbow to the opposite knee, and breathe in with your tongue on roof of the mouth and then exhale with the tongue down. Taking walks in nature helps us stay bilateral and helps alleviate depression. Take your fish oil and supplements daily and also commit to achieving a goal every day.
Q: I had eye surgery to remove cataracts and I’ve been flooded with emotion every since. How can I control these floods of tears?
A: Traumatic experiences trigger unresolved similar traumas from the past, like you feeling out of control in previous medical procedures. It’s a blessing in disguise to release the old fears; otherwise they soak up energy to keep them repressed and negatively impact the immune system. Imagine a dam system controlling water release. When you feel the emotional gates start to open uncontrollably, imagine closing the floodgates a little. Get help in clearing out these unresolved emotions so you gain the freedom to enjoy life.
Peter Levine, Ph.D., trauma expert, defines trauma for both humans and animals (in a tape series for Sounds True) as being overwhelmed, such as not being able to escape from a predator. The response can be to disassociate, to disconnect from the unsafe incident. But the frozen energy will create pain, other physical symptoms, anxiety and depression, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, acting out, etc. To provide first aid to a traumatized person, Levine suggests encouraging her not to try to resume normal activities, to hold her hand and ask her to focus on the body sensations, support discharge such as shaking and trembling, be aware of her emotions, of body heat changes, and observe as her breathing changes. When discharge occurs, let the process complete itself.
The goal is to complete the arousal cycle to prevent future occurrences. In the search for closure to help reconnect to the present, he suggests a simple exercise of tapping or directing showerhead pulse on body parts, saying, “This hand is part of my body” and so on. He realized from observing animals recover from shock that there’s a physiological process to complete the movement of the undercharged, compressed or frozen energy. For example, he saw a video of a polar bear darted by scientists to study it, then waking up, moving its legs on its side as if running away, shaking, and then getting up. Talking about the abuse must be accompanied by awareness of body sensations, shaking, trembling, moving the muscles, breathing, or other physical discharge of incomplete response to trauma. If the energy is not released, we often repeat the dangerous situation over and over in an attempt to heal.
Levine pendulates back and forth from reenacting the trauma to a positive resource or polarity, discharging and charging. For example, two-year-old Sam fell and cut his chin, requiring a hospital visit. The doctor restrained him in a papoose-like container that traumatized the little boy. Afterwards, his behavior was angry and controlling. Levine covered Sam’s stuffed animal with a blanket to simulate the restraint, then expressed joy at freeing Pooh Bear, until Sam was able to repeat this with Pooh and finally with himself, running to his mother as his resource to be comforted until he discharged the fear and anger. Levine also suggests grounding like an electric wire. The goal is resiliency, restoring access to natural aggression and empowerment, with confidence in the ability to run from a dangerous situation, rather than being overly afraid.
An odd technique, but one I’ve found useful is pen poking on the hand, similar to Levine’s tapping on body parts to reintegrate them. Olga Kharitidi, MD, a psychiatrist from Siberia who moved to California, uses this tool to deal with trauma by poking with pen on the palm of the hand, moving in concentric circles to the center of the palm. When a point hurts, draw a pen point there. When finished, connect the dots, drawing a kind of mandala. Ask the healee what it might symbolize. Repeat on the other hand while thinking about a positive experience. For example, my feelings were hurt by a man who criticized my two-step dancing, a little incident, but one that stuck with me. On the positive hand, I thought about a swing dance show my partner and I did for an appreciative large audience and felt more removed from rejection.
Q: I feel really ungrounded and like I’m not sure I belong on this planet.
A: Research proves that intention is the key to harness the power of the mind. Visualization serves to focus the mind. Imagine that you have a beautiful energy bubble around you and see it as clearly defined all around. Fill it with an earthy color like green. Then visualize a tree or waterfall from the base of your spine, descending deep into the earth, like your taproot. Make it as wide around as your hips and clearly defined; try putting gemstones around the pipe to make it easier to see. A shaman might say you’ve suffered disassociation caused by trauma and that soul retrieval is called for to bring back lost parts. When I look at your purpose, it looks like your spirit vibrates at a really high frequency. You’re here to help lift us up from a low density to a more spiritual level. We all chose to be here because so much can be learned and given, like lifting weights to build strength.
Q: I have been very depressed with strong desire to get off the earth plane. I just don’t know what is with this severe depression and disjointedness. I have so much pain, sadness and depression. I just sob and think about taking pills but my pets are darling and seeing them tells me not to do anything. I have a responsibility to them, etc. and as I write this I think I have a responsibility to myself. Why does that not come up first or at all? But I do have a responsibility to myself; it helps just saying that. I wake tired of having to do the day. I don’t want to do this anymore and Great Spirit will not let me go to the other side, so I must learn something to get by. I am finding it really hard to care about me. I am losing interest. Funny thing is when I go within to find out if I can die or not, I get the message “There are folks you love that will need your help and folks you don’t even know that need you.”
A: What I’ve read about suicides is that their spirits go to a kind of limbo space where they live out their intended life span, very boring. The human body is such an incredible gift because we can learn a lot quickly on this dense dimension. I’d try to do something enjoyable everyday, look at the stars, plant a new flower, see a funny video, bake something yummy, exercise to get endorphins activated, do some good for someone. You need a support system, someone you can call when you feel hopeless. When brain chemistry has gotten chronically off balanced, we may need medication to get balanced enough to cope. Your depth of despair requires a psychologist. Don’t try to slog through by yourself.
Q: I‘m depressed. My family isn’t supportive of me. Help!
A: It seems like a weight pushes down on you, keeping you from experiencing the little joys of daily living. If we look at our purpose here as to unfold our potential, as creatures with free will, we select the important people in our lives to provide us the opportunity to grow. Sometimes this means being nurtured and encouraged and sometimes this means the opposite in order to learn self-sufficiency and to find inner strength. If you look at your family as teachers you chose, learn the lesson, and then you won’t have to attract people like them again. We repeat our particular core issue over and over until we get it. Look within for your strength and acceptance. Try a daily affirmation like, “I can’t change the past but I can learn from it to create a good future.” The Course on Miracles emphasizes forgiveness of yourself and others. You might want to read the book, which the author believed was channeled from Jesus.
Also, build fun activities into your weekly calendar. Make a list of what you love to do, including daily exercise (triggers endorphins) and a morning walk in the sunlight (regulates melatonin). Everyday look for something simple that tickles your fancy, such as a flower on the roadside, or someone wearing a nutty hat. Keep a journal that includes how you’re progressing and what you’re proud of about your uniqueness. Affirmations seem simplistic, but they help reprogram the unconscious mind to be more positive. Minerals and herbs like SAMe, St. Johns’ Wort, and ashwagandha help some people, as do omega 3 fish and flax oil, and homeopathic remedies such arsenicum album or flower essences like agrimonia or gorse. Experiment with alternative remedies and chart what works, ideally working with a naturopathic physician.
Q: I cry a lot, am getting tired of being in emotional pain. Any hope for me?
A: It feels like since your childhood you’ve taken on other people’s pain to try to heal them, as untrained healers often do. State positive affirmations, such as “I deserve to be happy,” and be aware of what thoughts come up, such as “Ha, that’s impossible.” Analyze where those negative beliefs came from, usually from childhood. Note how long your crying session is, and then plan an equivalent amount of time for fun, for play. Remind yourself you’re not responsible for other adults and taking on their pain doesn’t help them or you. Get help.
Q: My girlfriend cries when she’s sad or happy. I think she might be bipolar and don’t know how to handle it.
A: If she feels better after crying, then it’s a healthy way to release tension and stress. If she’s crying a lot and can’t get out of bed, that’s another story. I think it’s the former. It bothers you because you feel it’s your job as a man to stop her pain. It’s just like healthy kids burst into tears, discharge the negative emotion, and then they’re fine. Your job is simply to support her process by doing concerned active listening. Do not try to problem solve when she’s in the emotional release phase.
Q: [Japan] I was hospitalized for three years with depression and now I’m having trouble with my adult daughter who still resents my absence in her adolescence.
A: Depression often follows after unresolved trauma and part of the psyche splits off or disassociates. A soul retrieval ritual that comes from the shamanic tradition may be useful as well as western medicine techniques. Recognize your daughter is an adult now, don’t offer her advice unless she asks for it, and think of fun outings to do together. People bond when they share positive experiences together. Remind her that mental illness is a sickness like having diabetes. It’s not your fault or hers. It’s not like you left for a fun holiday. Encourage her to talk about her feelings without defending yourself. Focus on healing yourself and doing meaningful activities.
Q: After breaking up with my boyfriend, I’m finding I have real ups and downs in my moods. Any way to lessen the downs?
A: Keep a daily record of your moods and what triggers them in your journal so you can eliminate them or at least be prepared. After a month or so you’ll be able to identify what depresses you, such as eating junk food, not exercising, or not having time for yourself. Also, visualize the wave smoothing out. Omega 3 oils are useful for every facet of brain health, so add them to your supplements if you don’t eat enough fish (mercury free) or flax.
Q: My parents were alcoholics who neglected and abused me. I still feel depressed and dislike my inner child.
A: Try replacing that childhood girl. Thank her for getting you through in one piece, then replace her with a happy girl. The unconscious is programmable, as by a hypnotist who tells a subject that a pencil tap is a cigarette burn and the subject gets a blister. We can recreate inner parts with our imagination, creating a kind of inner movie about how we would like to recreate our childhoods. Dialogue with the inner girl by writing notes to her, letting her write to you using your non-dominant hand, scripting an imaginary dialogue with her, and paying attention to your dreams. Ask what she would like to feel nurtured and try to deliver.
In John Bradshaw’s “Homecoming” audiotape he suggests a Neuro-Linguistic Programming technique to heal your childhood. He reminds us that the unconscious doesn’t know the difference between thought and reality, as when the body is aroused by a sexual fantasy. Redo the girlhood memory, giving yourself a new childhood with internal remapping. You may need to revisit the same memory many times. Bradshaw suggest relax, get comfortable, breathe deeply, and let go in a way that balances you, keeping yourself safe. Visualize a long winding hallway with a door at the end, and open the door to your room. Make it any way you want it to be, beautiful, simple, with colors you like.
Put a chair out for you and a smaller chair for your inner child. Ask the child to be there with you, having a sense of her. Tell her, “I’m your champion; I’m willing to go back with you to times that were hard for you. I have some strength we can use.” Ask the child to tell you about a time when it was shamed, got in trouble, got a spanking etc. See that scene on a screen. Be there in your own body being the adult champion, feel the resource and strength that you have.
Make a fist with your left hand and feel your strength, your resources. Breathe, be back in your room and relax. Tell your child, “I’m willing to go back in that memory and protect you.” The child needs to be willing and cooperative to do it. If it is OK, take the child by the right hand, and walk into the scene, making your left hand a fist. Keep doing it till the child feels better, more powerful. Take a deep breath, relax both hands, and see both of you in the room. Tell the child what it needed to hear, “You’re a wonderful little boy/girl, that was awful those people were bullying you,” or whatever. Relax your hands. Tell the child again, “I’m your champion now, and I have strengths you didn’t have then.” Give it a hug, walk back to the hallway to the present, breathe, and open your eyes.
Q: My boyfriend can be sweet and loving or flips and says mean putdowns and is unfaithful. He’s also wealthy and the father of my son. Should I try to keep him around?
A: Some people have sub-personalities that conflict with each other, a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde kind of split. Don’t pretend the abusive side will go away without a lot of work on his part and don’t hold your breath that he’ll want to change. For the sake of your son, I’d encourage him to be an involved and responsible father, but don’t be intimate with such an untrustworthy man. Walk away whenever Dr. Jekyll asserts himself, which means it’s not wise to live with him. Consider this as a lesson in assertively setting your boundaries. Also, make sure you hire a good family law lawyer.
Q: [China] I always want to find my answer by myself and now I don’t know what is right. What if I am wrong again? What if I try another job and it’s again not right for me and I waste my time again? My inner child’s nerves never have a rest, always devoured by the fear. I am ashamed to say but inside I am actually still a child who doesn’t know how to take the next step.
A: Think about life as learning lessons, so we can evolve–like all of nature. You’ve learned something from each of your jobs and struggles, so they’re not a waste of time. You’re getting clearer on what you want in a career. Throughout life we continue to be imperfect, to make mistakes. The point is to learn from them, not to get it right the first time or be perfect—impossibility.
You’re learning how to determine which is your highest inner guidance, and which is a lower sub-personality in the unconscious lacking in wisdom. Ask for clarity on your next career move before you sleep and take quiet time to be able to hear your inner guidance. If you listen, you’ll know when a job is right for you.
It’s good that you realize the power of your inner child. With our core issues it takes a lifetime of peeling the onion skins, so don’t expect that just because you see the pattern it’s resolved. We all keep our inner child sub-personality all our life. Read John Bradshaw about how to work with the child to make it feel nurtured.[lxii] The child can be a source of fun and creativity. To take the next step, call forth your inner archetype of the wise father and ask for his guidance.
Q: I can’t let go of past disappointments and sadness.
A: Think about the image of peeling onion skins layer by layer. Let a little sadness go each day. Visualize it turning to dust and blowing it out. Set your intention to find something enjoyable about each day so your attention is in the present rather than the past.
Q: I have high standards of integrity and get disappointed when other people don’t. Should I resign myself to disappointment?
A: Think of this as a kindergarten planet where many people aren’t very evolved. Change your expectations. Someone who is 40 may emotionally be stuck at 15 so relate to him as you would to a teenager. That way you can have compassion and not have dashed expectations. Remember what Jesus said about let he who is without sin throw the first stone.
Q: My close friend’s father died. How do I help her through her grief?
A: Your main job as a helper is to listen. It’s healthy for people to discharge difficult emotions by crying, talking, trembling, pounding pillows, etc. The therapist just holds the energy for a safe place. It’s very important that the therapist doesn’t sink down to match the grief, depression, etc. of the client because that distracts the client from discharge and doesn’t give her or him a positive state to match. Do active listening, “Sounds like you’re feeling abandoned and scared about your father’s passing on.” Being heard provides a sounding board for emotional clarity and resolution of grief. Death is a natural part of life, sad for the people left behind but not for the person moving on. Of course we feel pain but it heals. Your job is not to stop the pain but to allow it to be expressed in a caring environment over time.
Q: I was in foster care and group homes since the age of five because my parents were abusive to each other and me. At 18, I was on my own with no support from anyone. I still have no idea where my parents or brothers live. I stole and was in prison, and did it again. I was out for two years and loved earning my own living, and learning a trade, but I was caught taking some scrap metal to sell. In my California county, with the third strike law, I’m looking at 25 or more years in prison. How can I cope with this?
A: Some men chose to spend their lives in contemplation and prayer in a monastery. You didn’t choose this path consciously, but instead of descending into anger and despair, I’d look at yourself as a monk. See what good you can do for other inmates, visualize blessing the planet. See what you can learn, like Spanish from other inmates, and take correspondence courses. I’d also write letters to newspaper editors about the injustice of the third strike law.
Other Mental Health Issues
Q: [Switzerland] Why are there people who don’t want to show their feelings?
A: As children, boys are told not to cry or act like a sissy, like a girl. Girls are told it’s not lady-like to get angry or be too assertive about what they think, that they should be nice. Powerful adults don’t reveal their feelings, like bosses don’t tell too much about their feelings to their secretaries, because telling people your secrets makes you vulnerable. Some people are confused about their feelings and aren’t aware of them, so of course they can’t talk about them. It takes training and practice to identify and communicate feelings constructively. Handling emotions can be taught: how to control impulses, how to identify your feelings, how to have empathy for others, how to say no, etc. For example, an international organization called Six Seconds provides training materials for schools and other groups.[lxiii]
Emotions are generated by our cells—here’s how, according to neuroscientist Candace Pert, Ph.D. Every cell has hundreds of thousands of receptor molecules, each programmed to attract and bind with a certain kind of peptide. Millions of cell receptors dance and move in different states on the surface of our cells, as they bond with their type of ligands, some of which are chemical messengers–the neuropeptides. They’re associated with different emotions like bliss, anxiety, or excitement.
Dr. Pert discovered that opiate receptors are all over the body, not just in the emotional/limbic center of the mid-brain. For example, when an endorphin neuropeptide ligand bonds to its receptor, the cell experiences the emotion of pleasure. The molecules of emotion are found even in single cell animals. The implication is that emotion is generated by the cells and also stored there as memories in the “unconscious mind.” The limbic mid-brain receives the information and sends it to the frontal cortex where we become conscious of the feeling. The old view that the brain controls the body is not accurate. Pert recommends meditation, bodywork, and other ways to allow the memories to percolate up to consciousness so they can be released. (A summary of her book is available on my blog.[lxiv])
Q: I’m bored with my job, with my life. What can I do?
A: Life is too short to waste any time. Write a list of what you’d like to do before you die, including travel, new skills, good deeds and service to others, and fun. Plan something new and interesting at least once a week to look forward to enjoying. Find buddies who share interests to join you and make sure you get out and about. Inertia acts like a downward spiral, so start reversing it by enrolling in a class or workshop or something new. What would you like to do that you haven’t done yet?
Q: I don’t know what to say to console someone who is suffering from the loss of a loved one, so I avoid contact with that person. Advice?
A: Although it’s not the same as a human family member, my 15-year-old dog recently passed on. I really miss her unconditional love. What helped me was when people told me stories about June and hugged me. If you knew the person who passed on, tell a favorite story about him or her. If you didn’t, you can acknowledge the difficulty of the loss, ask if you can do anything to help, and encourage your friend to express grief in order to be able to heal. Don’t say, “You’ll get over it with time.” Do say something to let the person know you acknowledge their pain, or write a note. Here’s a good example from a neighbor, “Gayle, I feel sorry to hear of June’s death, especially because of what her absence means for you.” Here’s the suggestion from a woman whose husband died suddenly and unexpectedly:
Getting to hear stories about my husband is so wonderful, along with hugs from dear friends. A note from someone, anything that represents a reaching out and willingness to extend friendship, along with an understanding that you may not be ready to respond immediately, helps remind me that my community is ready and patiently waiting for me to re-engage in my own timing. Some of us need time alone, which does make some friends nervous. Some of us need to jump back into the world quickly. Each of us has different needs, and they change!
Q: I’ve had two deaths of close family members in the last two years. My heart is breaking. How can I go on?
A: You take it one day at a time. Just think about today and remind yourself that death comes to all of us sooner or later. Take care of yourself. You don’t have to talk to well-meaning people who, although trying to be kind, burden you with their worries about you. Tell them something like, “Thank you for your concern but I don’t have the energy to talk right now.” Do ask for help for people who assist you in feeling better. When you feel your heart is crumbling, think “I fall apart now and put myself back better and stronger than before.” Try this affirmation: “I create my universe with a strong heart.”
Q: I’m a people pleaser, but I realize I partly do nice things to get validation. How can I become more genuine?
A: Where did you learn this pattern? From your mother? Think of ways you’re different from her and unique. Consciously decide on principles to govern your actions and decisions. Move from an external locus of control–I need you to make me feel OK, to an internal locus of control–I’m giving to express love; I feel OK when I act on my principles. Before you act or speak, ask yourself is this a sincere and right action?
Q: [Japan] I’ve had a stalker. I look at him as a teacher for where our frequencies match and I surround myself with my own protective energy bubble.
A: You’re very wise to look at each experience as an opportunity to grow in understanding and strength, a mirror to unresolved unconscious issues. If he continues, let the police know. It’s smart to ask for help when we need it.
Q: My mother always tells me I’m wrong and it makes me doubt myself although I’m in my 30s.
A: Criticism can be a form of control. If she keeps you off balance, then she feels she can make sure you will take care of her when she’s old. Sometimes people criticize what bothers them about themselves, projecting it on someone close to release the tension of conflict. You’re an adult, so you can tell her you would like to hear about what you’re doing right, and you’re not going to listen to frequent criticism. You can be polite about it, simple, say something like, “Mom, let’s stay positive.” If she doesn’t, get off the phone or walk away.
Q: Although I’m a young adult, my mother still tries to control me.
A: Do some visualizations to clear her energy out of your field. Anyone else’s vibration is like putting leaded gas in a non-lead gas tank, even people you love. Picture other people’s energy turning heavy and gravity pulling it down into the earth to recycle. Think of ways you’re different. Use your logical thinking to decide what is fair and right and to become conscious of her manipulation techniques, such as guilt. Let her know what your boundaries are and stick to them.
Q: I feel guilt over past errors and mistakes with my children. Any way I can forgive myself?
A: Accept that you don’t forgive yourself for the past, don’t fight with your guilt. Instead resolve to do well today and tomorrow to start feeling good about yourself. Also, join a support group to give you encouragement to break old patterns. Use a technique used by a Hawaiian psychiatrist who had wonderful success with mental illness patients, just by holding a patient’s file by himself in his office and saying to it, “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. Thank you.”[lxv]
Use hand gestures as an affirmation. For example, for the problem of feeling overwhelmed by unresolved past events, put the palm of one hand over the fist of the other to symbolize being constrained. Then, flick your fingers or rub your palms together like cleaning them off and open palms up to receive guidance in the present.
Spirituality and the Unconscious Mind
Q: Where/what is the unconscious mind? I have weird dreams that don’t make any sense to me.
A: Candace Pert, Ph.D., believes the body is the unconscious mind. More specifically, it took me a long time to realize the unconscious beliefs and attitudes are stored in the chakras and the layers of the aura, the subtle energy bodies. They provide the template for the physical body and its well-being. It’s important to balance your energy field to keep the densest level healthy—your physical body.
In terms of dreams, their language is figurative rather than literal, like reading a novel rather than a history book. The most common are anxiety dreams, feeling out of control of daily life, as in dreams of being chased or arriving at the final exam only to realize you missed it. The second most common dreams are wish fulfillment dreams, such as dreaming about food when you’re hungry. Other dreams process personal growth issues, as when I had a series of dreams about being asked to teach math, a traumatic thought for me. It took months before I was able to assertively say no. The dreams weren’t about math but about learning assertiveness. If you keep a dream journal, after a few months you’ll see patterns and identify your personal symbols and issues.
Carl Jung taught that the purpose of life is to become whole or individuated, to become conscious of the unconscious material and sub-personalities. His Memories, Dreams and Reflections is a fascinating revelation of his unconscious mind. Dreams are one of the best ways to gain this consciousness. Relationships with both children and adults also bring this storehouse of beliefs and emotions to the surface to be processed.
Q: I have a hard time believing in a God who has a long white beard and sits in Heaven. What do you think?
A: Research scientist Gary Schwartz, Ph.D., would agree with you. In his book The G.O.D. Experiments, he concluded that the universe is incredibly ordered, the microcosm reflecting the macrocosm as in the design of the atom and the solar system. We see so many repeating patterns like the spiral in the seashell and the galaxy that follows the phi ratio, that nothing is really random. God is the “invisible, intelligent Guiding-Organizing-Designing field process in the universe.” Quantum mechanics tells us a universal field exists that conveys information. You could call that field God, plus Schwartz says love is built into the field and we’re hardwired for love, so we can define God as loving intelligence. The Force is much greater than a man with a beard.
Q: Clairvoyance, ESP, distant prayer healing, and remote viewing—all that kind of phenomena violates the laws of physics. My wife believes in that kind of thing, but I don’t. Do you?
A: You’re right, it violates the laws of Newtonian physics, but not of Quantum Mechanics, the study of sub-atomic energy. Physicists discovered an information field connecting all that is in a sea of energy. This facilitates distant effects, including the mere act of observation as well as our thoughts. Scientists only understand about 4% of what’s around us, as around 96% of the universe is mysterious invisible dark matter and dark energy. The math of Super String Theory indicates there are multiple dimensions and universes. The world of Quantum Physics doesn’t jive with common sense, is called weird and crazy by physicists, but it’s been proven mathematically and experimentally.
An excellent book of proof is Claude Swanson, Ph.D., The Synchronized Universe: New Science of the Paranormal. This is a fascinating collection of evidence about psi research, the most readable I’ve come across. Swanson, who has a Ph.D. in physics from Princeton, observes we’re moving beyond Newtonian physics, and the Einstein and Quantum Revolution, to the “Third Scientific Revolution.” It deals with consciousness and subtle forms of energy neglected by western science. He goes on to give the evidence for remote viewing, ESP, cell-to-cell communication, group collective effects, etc. He offers a theory of these phenomena based on how electrons synchronize and couple in different systems unknown to each other in parallel universes.
Q: I’ve lost some of my intuitive connections. How do I regain what I had?
A: Take quiet time to listen to your inner guidance, take a walk by yourself, meditate, pray, or participate in spiritual groups. Read the clairvoyant section of my Essential Energy Tools book for specific techniques.
Q: I had a strong intuitive feeling that a guy I met was my soul mate and future husband. What resulted was years of pain. Ever since then I haven’t trusted my intuition or other people.
A: A fascinating orchestra of voices exist in our psyche, some wiser and higher and some stuck in childhood defenses. As we experience life and mature, we gradually learn about which voices to trust. The higher self feels calm and at peace. Some part of you may remember a past life where he was your husband leaving unresolved issues to work out. A feeling of soul mate connectedness can be simply triggering an old pattern, as when a codependent and addict unite. Approach this task like a scientist and observe the feelings associated with different parts and the outcomes of their desires—the shadow, the inner child, the adult, the judge, the critic, the pleaser, the anima or animus, to mix Jungian and Voice Dialogue terms. You’ll find out what inner voices are trustworthy.
Q: What happens after we die? Is there really heaven and hell–or nothing?
A: Therapist Michael Newton and businessman Robert Monroe spent years studying this; the former by doing hypnotic regressions with his clients, and the latter by astral traveling to many dimensions using “hemi-synch” sound technologies that stimulate both sides of the brain. They agree that there are many dimensions on the other side. We tend to manifest strongly held beliefs and gravitate to an astral plane that fits our picture of the afterlife. Newton says it’s like a school on the other side and we tend to stay with our classmates over time. They agree with Dr. Kubler-Ross that each of us has guides to help us on both dimensions. See their books and websites.[lxvi]
Q: I’m studying different religious philosophies. In the East they say life is suffering and the goal is to break the cycle of rebirth. The Bible says be in the world but not of it [1 John 2:15]. Is this place really so bad?
A: Experiencing a human body is a joy and a blessing, although sometimes challenging and difficult. We can learn and give much on this dense dimension, like exercising on a machine where you set the resistance depending on how much challenge you want. The danger is getting addicted to gratification, be it romance, drugs, or acquisitions. My aim is to appreciate my precious sojourn on this beautiful creation, to give back, and to evolve like all of nature evolves.
Q: I love your CD for kids, “Kids’ Mind Power.” I needed your CD. So did my young daughter. When we did the sunlight coming in through our head down our body she said it couldn’t get past her head because it feels like a tornado in her brain. She is going through a difficult transition with my divorce. Any thoughts on how to get past the tornado?
A: Tell her she’s doing a good job of being aware of what’s going on in her body. Imagine the tornado going down with the sun into the earth to recycle. It doesn’t work to resist a feeling, but acknowledge it, and visualize a way for it to move. Visualizations are a way to focus the power of thought. Remind her that adult problems aren’t caused by or the responsibility of kids. You might find my divorce book for kids useful.
Q: I dreamed I was at my house on a hill surrounded by mountains. In the front yard there was a rock climbing wall and a tight rope course. You climbed up the wall in a flash and were fearless. Once you reached the top you were smiling as always and encouraged me to climb, but I took my time making sure my shoes were on tight and made it up the wall with your encouragement. Once I climbed the wall, I moved on to the tight rope course. It was a weird contraption. The object of the course was to push a brain to the other side and once I did, a rusty nail popped out.
My interpretation of the dream is that you helped me overcome my addiction. I was in denial and realize that I used smoking as a way to numb my emotions. Thankfully, now that I have been home with my family I have not smoked and feel good. I did not realize my potential until I met you and am thankful that I have been able to make so much progress. With the new knowledge that I’ve gained, I’ve been searching for ways to continue to improve my life.
A: Thanks for sharing your dream about getting your thinking in alignment, clearing out blocks from your brain in the form of the nail. Interesting that you moved to a bilateral orientation by moving the brain to the other side so you can think clearly. Even though you’re making break throughs, it’s important to have an ongoing support group like Narcotics Anonymous, so you stay steady on the climb up.
Q: I keep dreaming about a medieval castle where I’m struggling to get past guards to a well, but I’m always afraid what I’ll see if I look down.
A: Think of the dream as a movie and continue writing the script. What happens when you look down? It could be a part of your shadow self you haven’t been willing to examine. Face it head on and see it for what it is. You might want to role-play (Gestalt technique) with a friend as audience and support, acting out moving past the guards to see what’s in the well. Act out each part of the dream, including the guards. End with imagining something wonderful in the well, like a treasure chest or lovely water nymph. When you’re finished, imagine writing today’s date on your script to bring your emotions up to present time.
Q: As a man, I‘m curious why I often dream about a woman dressed all in silver and gold who leads me to a throne. In the latest dream, as I stood in front of a queen, I was transformed into a woman dressed in short silver-chain mail holding a large silver sword. Why do I dream about being a woman? Is spirit male and female or just the physical body? Is female energy higher?
A: Our spirits come from the Source that is not polarized into gender. However, souls get flavored over incarnations with maleness or femaleness, depending on the percentage of lives as a woman or man. When I’m aware of angelic presences or spirit guides, they often come across as male or female. One is not better than the other, just like yin is not superior to yang; we need a balance.
Psychoanalyst Carl Jung deeply explored the psyche and its dreams. He discovered that each of us has a contra-sexual subpersonality in the unconscious mind. Women have an animus and men have an anima; these parts often influence whom we’re romantically attracted to until we become more conscious of them. You may dream so often of mystical women because they represent your anima; you have a lot of charge on your anima because you’ve spent your adult life in such male environments. The woman in your dream is a warrior, like Joan of Arc. Maybe your psyche wants to empower your feminine side to be more receptive and intuitive.
Q: I’m in the process of remembering painful childhood events, but I’m not sure they actually happened. How can I know what’s true?
A: It’s all true for your unconscious mind, so acknowledge each memory with respect and mindfulness, then bring it up into the present. Try visualizing a ring of fire around you where you dump and burn up the pain. Sometimes we pick up on repeated thoughts and feelings directed at us; they have an impact even though there was no physical follow through. For example, if a creepy adult has sick fantasies about a child but doesn’t act on them, she still feels the thought pattern on an unconscious level and it needs to be cleared out.
Q: I moved into a haunted apartment. I found out a young woman who lived there had been abducted, tortured and killed. How can I remove her presence?
A: People who die in quick traumatic deaths, like your “roommate” or in an accident, often don’t understand that they’re dead, so the sprit hangs around. Think of sending pictures to her that her body is dead and it’s time to reach out to her guides and loved ones on the other dimension. Kindly but firmly tell her to move on. Tell her this is your place and your time and she needs to go on to the next step in her place and time. If you don’t get any movement, you can think of releasing her trauma by performing a ritual baptism or purification on a surrogate like a doll. You can use sage, lavender or salt water, candles, and drums to help focus your energy on clearing your apartment. Any strong feeling can keep the spirit earth bound, including the guilt and shame a victim of sexual abuse often feels. Tell her spirit it wasn’t her fault, and to forgive herself for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Imagine angelic hands reaching out to guide to her proper destination and instruct her to move to next step.
Q: How do you know if I should trust my intuition and/or instinct and work with it and how do I know for a fact that what it’s showing me is right?
A: We’re complex with many different parts and voices in the unconscious mind (such as the inner child, parent, critic, perfectionist), cravings from unbalanced or traumatized parts of the body that want sugar or drugs, the higher self that tunes into information on the universe’s holographic hard drive (Akashic Records), and left-brain ability to think analytically. It’s important to clearly state the question to get the answer, like tuning a radio station to hear NPR.
If I’m not clear what to do, I wait until I’m certain and calm. It helps to sleep on your question so you can gather information from various levels of the mind. Our senses only pick up on a limited range of sounds, colors, and frequencies–we’re not aware of radio waves, for example, but we access more while we sleep and in meditation. It’s important to listen from a centered place (the sixth chakra or third eye) rather than an emotional place (the second chakra), by doing the centering visualization.[lxvii]
Q: What is the astral dimension?
A: The astral plane exists on less dense frequencies on another dimension where thought and emotion manifest energy. Everything starts first on the subtle dimension, then manifests in the physical. A Virginia businessman, Robert Monroe, found himself astral traveling and remembering his experiences on the other dimension. He wrote three books about his journeys and the entities he encountered. He founded the Monroe Institute to teach others how to consciously astral travel by listening to binaural Hemisync sounds which stimulate the left side then right side of the brain, available on CDs. Psychologist Michael Newton describes life out of the physical body in his books, based on hypnotic regression of his clients who described what they experienced on the astral plane before they were born here. String or M-theory postulates that there are 10 or 11 dimensions, based on mathematical proofs, so the idea of multiple dimensions is in the realm of scientific possibility.[lxviii]
Q: All my life I’ve felt guilty but didn’t have a clue what this came from, as I haven’t done anything that wrong. I’ve also strongly distrusted organized religion since I was a little boy.
A: Einstein talked about the relativity of time; it’s not linear, as we’ve been taught to think about it, just like our bodies appear to be solid but are mostly empty space between atoms. Atoms themselves are mostly space. Sometimes I see past life experiences bleed into this life. In your case it looks like you had a life during the Inquisition where you tortured innocent people out of devotion and obedience to your religion. If this resonates with you, forgive yourself; you’re a different person now and you’ve been kind to people in this life, which is what counts.
Q: I needed to get a tenant in my rental house that has sat vacant for too long. I made a deposit slip out and taped it to my computer at home signifying the rent money I would receive on August 15th. Nothing happened until August 15th and I got a call from the property manager that he had a family wanting to rent it. Is this just chance? The Secret?
A: The Secret DVD and book about the law of attraction isn’t a new concept. “As within, so without,” says the Emerald Tablet, written around 3,000 BC. Psychologist William James (d. 1910) wrote, “The greatest revolution of our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.” How to change our inner attitudes? Neuro-Linguistic Programming is one useful technique. See Steve Andreas and Charles Faulkner, NLP: the New Technology of Achievement.
Q: I feel my ex-wife thinking about me in a negative way, especially during the night when I’m trying to sleep.
A: Visualize a protective bubble of light before you sleep and surround it with mirrors or satellite dishes to reflect back other people’s thoughts. Find the humor in the way we learn lessons, the people we pick as our teachers. What we resist persists. Some ways to separate from her are by thinking of ways you’re different and affirm to yourself, “I have clear strong boundaries.” The essential oil White Angelica is protective against negative influences, as are candles and smudging with sage and spraying sea salt water to cleanse your room.
Q: I’m a man interested in spiritual growth and wellness but when I go to a workshop, there are usually mostly women. Where are my buddies?
A: Our culture, our role socialization, shapes our beliefs and behaviors. Boys and men are surrounded by the tough guy image: the Marlboro Man or Bush proudly saying in his second acceptance speech to the Republican convention that he walks with a swagger and doesn’t speak proper English. Former California’s Terminator Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger made fun of “Girlie Men.” You add to the media images. Men are less likely to seek any kind of help, ranging from asking for directions, to getting health care, to going to a personal growth workshop. Consider yourself a pioneer in changing sex roles so men can be help seekers and live longer.
Q: I’ve finally admitted to myself that the last few years I’ve tried to stop my spiritual growth because I’ve had this fear that if I go down that path it will separate me from so many others. But what I realize is that resistance completely imbalanced me and that actually separated me from others. I now realize that developing my spiritual side doesn’t have to separate me from anyone, or does it?
A: Yes, being on the path separates you from people who are into numbing themselves: drugs, TV, work, sex, what ever is obsessive and addictive. But who wants to be one of a crowd of average people? Boring. To me the point is to have a few high quality deep friendships and enjoy meeting and greeting more superficial acquaintances with whom you don’t need to share your spirituality.
Q: A lot of us read Three Cups of Tea, about Greg Mortonson’s heroic struggle to set up schools for girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan. I went to hear him speak and he seemed so sincere and dedicated. Now I hear parts of his book were fabricated and many of his schools aren’t in operation. I don’t understand human nature.
A: Many religious leaders, ranging from gurus to priests, also got seduced by praise to be sexually irresponsible or egotistical. Remember that saying about absolute power corrupts absolutely. If you want to contribute to a similar but small-scale project with absolutely no administrative costs, consider purchasing the quick healthy fundraiser cookbook for the Open Doors Literacy Project in NW Pakistan.[lxix] The money all goes to our 19-year-old teacher to pay for workbooks, transportation, and his salary helps pay his university tuition.
The Web has over 25,000 health sites described in Tom Ferguson’s M.D. Health Online. He is chair of the Telemedicine Department at Harvard. Sites are rated at http://www.healthscout.com. Check out http://www.globalmedic for health quizzes, news, and a medical encyclopedia and the Alternative Medicine Homepage at http://www.pitt.edu/~cbw/altm.html for lists of online information. The National Library of Medicine website is http://www.nlm.nih.gov.
Useful books: James and Phyllis Balch. Prescription for Nutritional Healing. Includes vitamins, herbs, and other remedies.
Michael Murray and Joseph Pizzorno. Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine.
Q: I’m always loosing stuff, being clumsy, and I sometimes can’t talk straight. My family acts like I’m stupid because of it.
A: Stress can get us unbalanced, so we become clumsy and can’t think clearly. It’s called being homolateral, when the body is connected up and down rather than crossing. A healthy body is bilateral, where the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body and the left side of the brain the right side of the body. Author Donna Eden (author of Energy Medicine) writes, “To change homolateral patterning, a simple and pleasurable technique is to turn on music you like and move your hips rhythmically. You will find that they sway quite naturally in a figure 8, which helps the crossover pattern.” Just moving your eyes in figure 8s can help you get balanced. You can muscle test (MT) to see if you are homolateral.[lxx]
A kinesiology technique,[lxxi] muscle test by holding your arm out from your shoulder and resisting while your friend uses two fingers or her palm to smoothly and lightly push on your wrist (don’t jerk). Put various foods and vitamins in your mouth one by one, or hold it to your stomach, while testing to see if they make you strong or weak. You can also test to see what issue is most pressing emotionally. When muscle testing a strong person, John Thie recommended asking the person to notice a small difference in the specific muscle being tested, reminding him that it is not a test of strength, but a look at imbalances in the meridians. Use the O-ring or middle finger pressing on index finger to muscle test yourself.[lxxii] Or hold the substance to your solar plexus and see if you rock forward which equals strength, or back to signify weakness.
Draw a big X on a piece of paper–MT should be strong. Then look at a picture of two parallel lines–MT should be weak. If the results are opposite, this indicates being homolateral. To correct, Donna Eden suggests doing 12 repetitions of lateral crawl, where you touch right elbow to right knee and left elbow to left knee, then switch to about 24 cross-crawls where your right elbow touches your left knee, and your left elbow touches your right knee. Her website or Energy Medicine book and Brain Gym show how to do other balancing exercises.[lxxiii]
Q: I’m a teacher who has wiggly hyper kids. Any way to calm them?
A: Do Brain Gym exercises with them to get them unscrambled, as shown in the endnote above. Encourage them to drink water rather than sugar drinks. Do deep breathing with them, so the belly rises: In through the nose, hold, out though the mouth like keeping a feather in the air. Ground yourself and imagine the room bathed in a calm color like blue so they can match your centeredness. Praise them when they settle down and focus, saying something like “Good job, people.”
Q: What can I do to maintain wellness?
Check List for Easy Health Action
- Start the day with acupressure tapping to balance the body. When toweling off after a shower, balance the meridians by rubbing down the backside of limbs and back and outer sides of arms and legs, then up the inside and front of limbs.
- Use reflexology on your hands and feet: Rub your hand points under the table in meetings.[lxxiv] The web in between the fingers and toes corresponds to the lymphatic system and the spine is located along the side of the thumb down to around mid-point of the wrist. The other organs follow from top of fingers down. Feet are similar.
- You can do reflexology while sitting on the toilet—we should eliminate about three times a day. Use psyllium seed once in a while to really clear intestines which some believe are the seat of health. Chinese Traditional Medicine suggests rubbing the belly every day, up your right to left in concentric circles, pushing in on inhalations, then pushing straight down from the navel to the pubic bone.
- Apply essential oils instead of cologne. Some useful blends by Young Living include Longevity, Brainpower, Peace and Calming, Grounding, Joy and Valor. Essential Oils Pocket Reference Guide is organized by health problem, very useful (it can be purchased by calling 800 336-6308). Also try flower essences and homeopathy; since they’re vibrational, they have no adverse side effects.
- Wear gemstones and crystals, for example a pink quartz crystal or emerald necklace to enhance love. Try a magnet bracelet on your computer mouse wrist to perhaps increase circulation.
- Avoid radiation from electric blankets, clocks, cordless phones, TV, microwaves, etc—especially by your bed. Avoid toxins in mercury fillings, aluminum cookware, lead, and water.
- Wear natural fiber clothes and wear uplifting colors.
- Drink lots of pure water. Drink eight glasses of unpolluted water day, even when not thirsty. It’s necessary to flush out toxins and wastes. A water filter is usually required to drink pure water. Some plastic water bottles bleed chemicals into the water. Dr. Batmanghelidj, You’re Not Sick, You’re Thirsty, maintains that dehydration causes many illnesses. Write the goal you want to manifest and tape on your water container and glass. The Japanese researcher Masaru Emoto’s photographs of water crystals show differences when imprinted by words, sound, or intention. For photos see his website.[lxxv] Some people put a crystal bowl on their five-gallon water container and sound it.
- For skin care, dry brush your body before bathing, get oil massages and facials, sweat, drink lots of water, and avoid toxic chemicals and mineral oil in skin care products. Bathe in Epsom salts, baking soda, herbs, and essential oils such as lavender and geranium, depending on what your skin needs. Eat avocado, blueberries, olive oil, and other fruits and vegetables.
- Exercise daily outside. Use your lunch break to walk so you’ll get some sunshine for vitamin D and get endorphins activated. Use full-spectrum light bulbs in the dark winter months.
- Breathe slow deep breaths from your diaphragm. Add color, imagining breathing in the color you respond to now. Blow out stress through the mouth. Breathe 1-6, hold 1-6, exhale 1-6, hold 1-6—or hold these steps longer.
- Think about what you love and are grateful for during the day. Studies show these emotions are helpful for healthy DNA replication and attracting healthy ligands to cell receptors to keep us well. Know that challenges and difficulties are teachers that we attract into our lives to grow.
- Set your intention; visualize how you want your day to progress.
- Take time to appreciate beauty around you: the clouds, the stars, flowers, and a great smile. Really look at nature as you move about your day; if you live in a city look up at the clouds or stars or go to a park.
- Have fun and laugh. Collect cartoons, jokes, and funny videos and view them frequently. If you start to worry, ask will matter a month from now? Remind yourself the past is over, all you can do is learn from it and remind yourself we learn by making mistakes. Be amused.
- Studies show healthy long-lived people have a support group of caring friends and/or family.
- Set aside regular quiet time to listen to your inner guidance. Use your commute time to relax to soothing music to unwind your busy thoughts and slow down. Allow time for regular sleep according to the hours your body needs to rebuild.
- Eat healing foods, slowly and relaxed, chewing thoroughly. In a nutshell, avoid white, processed, and deep-fried foods. It’s easy to start the day with a smoothie with raw ingredients. Use olive oil and avoid other fats (especially deep fried and margarine), sugars, excessive salt, white flour and white rice and other processed foods. Season foods with garlic, onions, ginger, and turmeric.
Q: Food is obviously an important factor in our health. What should I know about what to eat?
- Aging is linked with harmful free radical byproducts of oxidation, glycation that alters proteins (sugars kind of caramelize in the body), and chronic inflammation linked to many diseases. Whole foods can help modify free radicals, glycation, and inflammation.
- ☛ Consume antioxidants which fight aging damage caused by free radical oxygen in the body: olive oil, fruits and vegetables including broccoli (cruciferous vegetables fight cancer), tomatoes, carrots, purple grapes, apples, prunes, blueberries, garlic, spinach, green tea (also strengthens insulin’s ability to control blood sugar), nuts, and whole grains help stabilize blood sugar. Antioxidant foods to fight free radicals include: blueberries, cranberries (also prevent cavities) sesame seeds, green tea, red grapes, uma plums, olive oil, tomatoes, broccoli (fights cancer tumors along with shitake and rishi mushrooms, chlorophyll, turmeric and sea vegetables, berries, broccoli, green tea, mushrooms, soy, barley, black beans). Powerful antioxidants include cranberries, nuts and seeds, salmon, eggs, carrots, broccoli, berries, and red grapes, according to cookbook writer Lisa Turner. Sugar, alcohol, and factory-farmed red meat should be avoided.
- ☛ Blood sugar regulation: fiber foods, cinnamon, fenugreek seeds, green tea, and chromium. Heal glycation with carnosine.
- ☛ Lessen inflammation.[lxxvi] Fish: wild salmon, sablefish, mackerel, herring, sardines. Vegetables: onions, garlic, chives, leeks, greens (spinach, chard, collards, and kale), tomatoes, bell peppers, green beans, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, beans, nuts, and seeds. Fruit: berries–especially blueberries, raspberries and hawthorne. Spices: ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, and clove. Herbs: rosemary, thyme, oregano, parsley, cilantro, fennel, mint, dill, tarragon, and turmeric.
- ☛ Andrew Weil, MD, emphasizes taking fish oils and flax seed for the omega 3 and avoiding omega 6 in hydrogenated oils such as margarine. (See drweil.com and his book Healthy Aging). Dr. Weil suggests these tonics for the immune and cardiovascular system in his book Spontaneous Healing: garlic, ginger, green tea, milk thistle (herb for liver), astragalus, ginseng, Don Quai (for women), Ho Shou Wu (blood purifier), and maitake and cordyeops mushrooms.
John Upledger, DO, recommends one supplement in his book Cell(f) Talk and that is COQ10. (His book is a mind-boggling explanation of intelligent cell physiology.) Norman Shealy, MD, Ph.D., emphasized the importance of magnesium applied on the skin, as explained in his book Life Beyond 100 and on normshealy.net.
Brigitte Mars suggests these foods: Uma is made from plums, is an antiseptic, an alkaline food which neutralizes sugar, breaks down lactic acid generated by exercise, and is an anti-oxidant. It aids digestion and counteracts motion sickness, gas, headaches, and food poisoning. Fermented food like miso and unpasteurized sauerkraut assists with healthy flora. Miso assists with increasing the energy level. Sea vegetables (sea weed) have valuable trace minerals, but wash them well to remove pollutants. Eat green leafy vegetables and dark-colored orange fruit and vegetables such as carrots and squash. Almonds, garbanzo beans and oatmeal contain laetrile, which may help fight cancer, as may red clover, licorice root, burdock, chaparral, pau d’arco, and echinacea. Garlic fights bacteria and fungus and it’s good for the lungs (drink peppermint tea or eat parsley to prevent garlic breath). Shiitake mushrooms fight tumor growth and viruses, and produce more T and B cells to fight attacks on the immune system.
More super foods from a book of that title by Health Magazine: Cancer prevention: beets, blueberries, broccoli and cabbage, garlic and onions, green tea, hot peppers, citrus fruit, soybeans, spinach, tomatoes, and winter squashes. Heart health: apples and pears, avocados, beans, blackberries and raspberries, cantaloupe, carrots and sweet potatoes, celery, fish, grapes, olive oil, and shrimp. Diabetes: artichokes, beans, whole grains, wheat bran. Stomach: bananas, ginger, prunes, rice, yogurt. Eyes: spinach, corn, bell peppers. Infection: cranberries, mushrooms, oysters. Oatmeal’s fiber lowers cholesterol and soy may help prevent breast cancer. Season food with ginger, garlic, turmeric, and onions.
☛ Read food labels carefully, knowing ingredients are listed in order of quantity. If corn syrup is high on the list, don’t buy.
☛ Use olive oil or butter instead of margarine.
☛ Aim for mostly alkaline foods, as an acidic body is more likely to get ill.
Alkaline foods are all vegetables and many fruits. Acids are meat, dairy products, and sugars.
☛ Anti-tumor foods include seaweed vegetables, turmeric, shitake and reishi mushrooms, and cruciferous vegetables.
☛ As many men get prostrate cancer as women get breast cancer. Preventative foods and herbs are: avocados, salmon, tuna, tomato sauce, and soluble fiber as in beans, saw palmetto, and soy.
☛ Learn about uses of herbs, such as echinacea to work with the immune system, hawthorn as a heart tonic, and garlic as a natural antibiotic. Learn about vitamins and minerals.
☛ Have two to three bowel movements a day to eliminate your three meals. If not, consider a colon cleanser containing psylilum and other natural ingredients. Eat fresh raw fruits and vegetables that contain enzymes needed for digestion.
Q: My boyfriend has cancer. He’s not open to my suggestions for alternative treatments, which makes me very sad. How can I reach him?
A: Model the behaviors you’d like him to emulate, like eating healthy foods and taking supplements to strengthen the immune system, and provide him with short written health information instead of talking, which can sound like mother nagging. Any health problem involves the immune system, which is strengthened by love and happiness and weakened by stress and depression. You’re making a major contribution to his health by loving him. The physiology of the molecules of emotion is explained by scientist Candace Pert, as summarized on my blog, as are alternative remedies. Is his doctor knowledgeable about complementary treatments? Good places to find information about CAM are in the endnote.[lxxvii]
Q: I have a health problem but don’t trust western medicine that relies on synthetic drugs to treat symptoms, often creating side effects, which in turn get treated with more drugs. It seems like pharmaceutical companies have kidnapped good health care, just like oil captured transportation. What do you suggest?
A: MDs and Ph.D.s have collected evidence to prove your assertion: See Gary Null, Ph.D., et. al. “Death by Medicine.”[lxxviii] The researchers report the number of deaths caused by conventional medicine is 783,936 per year. They conclude the American medical system is the leading cause of death and injury in the US! The US spends more on health as a percentage of gross domestic product than every other country, but in 37th place, ranks near the bottom of industrial nations in healthcare effectiveness. A recent study found that 85% of new prescription drugs are of little or no benefit to mental health patients.[lxxix] The National Institutes of Health finds alternative and complementary medical (CAM) treatments worthy of study because they treat the underlying imbalance rather than just the symptom of dis-ease. Respected university hospitals such as Harvard, Duke, Tufts, Scripts, Stanford and UCSF’s Osher Center for Integrative Medicine treat the whole person in their holistic health centers.[lxxx] Select a doctor who is informed about CAM and study it yourself, as the health insurance system doesn’t leave MDs much time for research (nccam.nih.gov).
Q: I’ve seen CAM mentioned in magazine articles. What exactly is Complementary and Alternative Medicine?
A: Western medicine often relies on drugs and surgery and focuses on a specific problem rather than the whole person, often neglecting the patient’s emotions and beliefs. The placebo effect in drug trials is taken for granted although it should be carefully studied to learn how belief affects our health. The science of psychoneuroimmunology explains how emotions impact the body through the cell receptors. Negative stress emotions (cortisol) are implicated in many diseases as chronic arousal diminishes the immune system: CAM provides ways to diminish stress not usually included in conventional medicine. My favorite CAM book is Prescription for Natural Cures by James Balch, MD and Mark Stengler, ND. It includes vitamins, herbs, homeopathy, acupressure, bodywork, flower remedies, and food. For the latest research see http://nccam.nih.gov/health.
CAM categories, as defined by the National Institutes of Health NCCAM (National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine), include:
(1) Whole Medical Systems like Homeopathy, Ayurveda, and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
(2) Mind-Body Medicine such as patient support groups and cognitive-behavioral therapy.
(3) Biologically-Based Remedies including herbs, foods, and vitamins.
(4) Manipulative and Body-Based Practices including chiropractic and massage.
(5) Energy Field Medicine like Qi Gong, Reiki and Therapeutic Touch.
Q: My yoga teacher said we should aim to go through life from a heart center rather than just the brain. Agree?
A: Carl Jung said the West has gotten too far away from the feminine Eros principle, too much in the masculine Logos, leaving our culture barren. The Heart Math Institute does research along the line of your question (http://www.heartmath.org.) In my clairvoyant training, the clairvoyant sixth chakra on the forehead was emphasized as the place to center, rather than the heart, because it’s both clear seeing and neutral. We need to flexibly draw from our various centers of perception as appropriate to a situation. Sometimes we need to be purely rational, other times deeply emotional: That’s the beauty of our multiple human intelligences.
Q: I’ve read about so many unhealthy additives in skin oil like mineral oil, but my skin is dry and I need to oil it. Ideas?
A: I make my own with olive oil (that I infuse with comfrey, lemon verbena, borage, lavender, calendula, and sage from my garden, but these herbs can be purchased in dry form), sesame oil, coconut oil, lanolin, vitamin e oil, jojoba, aloe vera, and essential oils geranium and lavender.
Q: The Chinese have studied how to stay well for over 6,000 years. Which of their techniques can I use to stay healthy here and now?
A: Traditional Chinese Medicine identified four body types: excessive yang who tend to be tall, beefy, muscular, overweight, and red faced. They should avoid yang foods like alcohol, fatty red meats, coffee and tea. Moderate yang is the ideal, often seen in young people. Yin deficients are thin, active, cerebral, and vivacious. Their yang is very active, floats up without base. They need seafood, meat, and eggs, as well as grains and veggies. Excessive yin types are overweight but without the muscle of excessive yang, sweat easily, and have poor skin tone. They should avoid raw uncooked foods, shouldn’t drink much liquid with meals, should avoid mucus foods like dairy and fatty foods, and use warming spices like cardamom and ginger.
Traditional Chinese Medicine Tongue diagnosis, as used by acupuncturists, offers a useful tool because it reveals clues about basic health. A healthy tongue is pinkish red (too pale is a deficiency, purple is stagnation, too red is excess heat from a yin deficiency), and has a thin white even coating with no patches. It has “spirit” rather than being flabby, is not too moist and not too dry. Cracks also provide information, such as a crack down the center to the tip represents a heart deficiency. Notice the location of patches in the coating. The front of the tongue indicates the heart, behind it the lung, the middle the stomach and spleen and beside it the liver, in back the kidney, bladder, colon, and uterus. Look at http://www.gancao.net for the link to Al Stone’s site for do-it-yourself tongue analysis with a mirror. Giovanni Maciocia’s book Tongue Diagnosis in Chinese Medicine has color photos and case studies. Your local acupuncturist can do tongue diagnosis along with checking deep and shallow pulses.
Bob Flaws, a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner, gives these suggestions in his tape series for Sounds True, “Chinese Secrets of Health and Longevity.” To relax, progressively think of each muscle as long, soft, heavy, elongated. To bring in chi, imagine breathing it up the spine (governing meridian) and breathe it down the front, along the central meridian. Visualize sending the chi to the bone marrow, kidneys, gonads and brain where essence chi is stored. To tune up meridians, every morning tap with your fist down the inside of the arm, turn the arm over, and tap up the outside of the arm over the shoulder. Do this three times, and then move to the other arm. Tap down the outside of the legs, turn the hip and go up the inside of the leg. With a lightly closed fist, tap the shoulder and the neck, then over the head and down the face with your fingers, including the jaws.
For digestion, exhale and press under the sternum. Start in the center and move over to the right, then from center to the left, four times. Push in on the exhalation and move on the inhalation. Think of a vertical line down the center of the abdomen, with three lines on the right and four lines on the left. Press in along the lines, three times going up and four times going down. Then repeat the pressing in under the ribs. After meals, take a short walk and massage the abdomen with the palm of one hand making circles up from the right over to the left and around, 100 to 300 times. For teeth, click them together 100 times and percuss/pound the gums through the cheeks. For ears, pull in each one, down, then out, then up.
For the brain, flick the base of the brain, pushing the middle finger off the index finger, while the hands are cupped over the ears. For kidneys, gently pound the lower back. Kidneys are considered the root of inherited chi and involved in the aging process. Also massage the first point of the kidney meridian, between the arch of the foot and the ball of the foot. This is the most yin point on the body. You can put a foot on the knee and also massage the knee with the other hand.
For eyes, pinch around the eyes and smooth out from by the tear ducts along the eyebrows. Look up, down, side to side, in circles, without moving the head. Close your eyes and cup your palms over them. To heal a cold, rice porridge is considered a helpful tonic, slowly cooking rice in six times the water in a crock-pot. Add peppermint and chrysanthemum flowers. For a cough with white phlegm, add mustard greens. For a dry cough with no phlegm, add butter and honey for moistening. Also use herbal teas, such as mint to add digestion and corn silk to lower blood pressure.
Q: Traditional Chinese Medicine uses acupressure points to stay well. How can I work with them by myself?
A: A useful website provides information about physiology, reflexology, iridology, and minerals and vitamins. The endnote lists useful books.[lxxxi]
Brain: It’s composed of the cerebrum, cerebellum and the medulla oblongata. The latter is the oldest in terms of evolution and closest to the spinal cord. It controls automatic functions including heartbeat and breathing. The cerebellum coordinates muscle movement and balance. The hypothalamus governs basic drives such as hunger, sex, pleasure and anger and regulates homeostasis. The thalamus replays incoming messages from the nerves. The cerebrum’s two hemispheres control intellect, speech, and sensation. The right side controls the left side of the body, and the left controls the right side. (See Susan Greenfield’s Brain Power.) Reflexology point: tip of the thumbs and big toes. Press the point and breathe into it and repeat, especially if it’s sore. This indicates the organ needs some clearing.
Gall Bladder: Shaped like a four-inch-long pear, it’s behind the right side of the liver. It stores bile from the liver and releases it into the small intestine to aid in digestion.
Reflexology point: On the right palm, about one-third of the way between the base of the fingers and the wrist, down from the crease between the little finger and ring finger.
Heart: Our strongest muscle, about the size of a fist, it pumps oxygen-rich blood from the lungs to the arteries and blood from the veins to the lungs. Each day it processes over 1,800 gallons of blood through 60,000 miles of blood vessels. About two-thirds of the heart is on the left, and one-third on the right, between the lungs. The right atrium receives oxygen-depleted blood from the veins, sends it to the right ventricle, which pumps it to the lungs, back in the left atrium, below to the left ventricle, and into the arteries.
Reflexology point: on the left palm, just below the palm pads of the ring finger and little finger.
Intestine: The digestive tube is about 28 feet long. The small intestine is 23 feet, bordered on the sides and top by the five-foot large intestine. Food moves out of the stomach into the small intestine with digestive juices from the pancreas and bile from the gallbladder. Undigested material moves through the ileocaecal valve into the large intestine (colon), up the right side of the abdomen, where it turns left at the liver, across to the left side and down into the rectum. Reflexology point: the lower third of the palms.
Kidneys: About the size of a fist, shaped like beans, behind the stomach and liver behind the lower ribs. They regulate fluids and purify the blood by filtering it through more than one million enthrones. They regulate blood pressure by controlling the water/salt balances in the cells. Reflexology point: On the palms of both hands, down from the index finger, inside the tendon to the thumb. Lungs: Air comes in through the trachea into the two bronchial tubes, which divide into thousands of branches, which divide into millions of bronchioles with tiny air sacs at their ends. They exchange carbon dioxide for oxygen about 18 times a minute when resting. The lungs weigh about one pound each; the right lung is a little larger and has three lobes, while the left lung has two lobes. Reflexology point: On the pads of the middle finger and ring finger.
Spleen: A purplish organ about five inches long, it weighs about seven ounces. It’s located on the left side, between the back of the stomach and diaphragm. With two parts, it cleans red blood cells and filters and stores blood. Reflexology point: on the left palm, about halfway between the base of the fingers and the wrists, under the little finger.
Stomach: A bean-shaped sack, it’s mostly on the left side, under the diaphragm. It breaks down food to get it ready for the intestines. It can hold about two quarts. Reflexology point: Just below the pads under the ring, middle, and index fingers.
Lymphatic System: Lymph is a clear or yellowish liquid, made from blood plasma, which feeds the body tissues oxygen and other nutrients while removing carbon dioxide and toxins. The 600 to 700 lymph nodes filter waste products and are found in the armpits, neck and groin. Reflexology point: the back of the hands where they meet the wrists.
Adrenals: Small yellow triangles (with a brown interior) over the tops of the kidneys. Their hormones regulate water and mineral balances, including sodium and potassium, which influence blood pressure, and assist in the metabolism of foods. In a stressful situation, they release epinephrine, which triggers the release of glucose. Reflexology points: above the tendon of the thumb, about one-third of the way up from the wrist, under the index finger.
Liver: The largest gland, reddish brown, it weighs about three and one-half pounds and is found under the right side of the rib cage. It’s in charge of over 500 biochemical actions. It filters toxic waste, stores vitamins and minerals, manufactures several antibodies, disposes of bacteria, and produces one pint of bile a day. Reflexology point: Just below the pads of ring finger and the little finger, about one-third of the distance between the base of the fingers and the wrist.
Ovaries, Testicles: develop the female/male hormones, and eggs/sperm. Reflexology point: on the wrist, below the thumb and the little finger.
Pancreas: Considered both a gland and an organ, it’s about six inches long and yellow. It sits horizontally behind the stomach, about three inches above the navel. It controls the balance of blood sugar and aids in the conversion of food. Its juices break down foods in the small intestines. It releases the hormones insulin and glucagon into the blood to control blood sugar. Reflexology point: about two-thirds of the way between the base of the fingers and the wrist, below the crease between the middle and index fingers to the edge of the hand below the index finger.
Pineal: The size of a pea, reddish gray, in the center of the head, it’s attached to the upper part of the thalamus. In fish it receives light rays directly, while it receives light through the eyes in humans. It may also receive information about electromagnetic fields, like migrating birds. It produces melatonin, mainly at night, to regulate sleep patterns. This hormone also stimulates the immune system and protects against damage to the genes. It’s believed to be a “magneto receptor,” capable of monitoring magnetic fields.
Pituitary: Located in a small bony cavity in the center of the skull beneath the hypothalamus, it has two lobes. It weighs one-fortieth of an ounce, about the size of a large garbanzo bean. The master gland, it releases over eight hormones, including the growth hormone, thyroid-stimulating hormone, and corticotropin, which stimulates the adrenal glands. It also stimulates production of male and female hormones. Reflexology point: The center of the thumb pads. Hypothalamus: In the middle of the base of the brain, it’s the power behind the throne. It maintains homeostasis by regulating heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, water balance, and the anterior part of the pituitary. It controls body weight and appetite.
Thyroid: A yellowish red butterfly-shaped gland with two lobes, one on each side of the windpipe, it weights about one ounce. It secretes hormones such as thyroxin. It regulates the metabolic rate, monitors pulse rates, and controls the amounts of oxygen in the body. The four parathyroids are brownish red, about one fourth of an inch in diameter, two near the top of lobes and two near the bottom. They produce hormones that control calcium and phosphorus levels in the body. Reflexology point: On the inner edge of the base of the thumbs.
Q: India has also studied the energy field of the human body for over 6,000 years. What can I apply from their discoveries?
A: In a Sounds True audio tapes series, “Ayurveda: The Science of Life,” Dr. Vasant Lad explains that three basic body types exist. Health stems from a balance of the three types. An imbalance causes disorder that leads to illness. For example, you can be a vatta type who has lung congestion, with a kapha imbalance, due to eating too much ice cream and other dairy foods and sweets.
Vatta qualities: dry; light (can be fearful and worry); active and restless, walk and talk fast, in a rush, addicted to doing and multiple tasking; rough skin, nails, tongue, joints crack; cold (doesn’t like winter), subtle, clear with quick understanding, and expansive (can be ungrounded, spacey, likes to buy junk at flea markets). In relationships, can be insecure and fearful.
Pitta qualities: hot (temper, irritable, perspire, go bald, doesn’t like summer); sharp and penetrating (eyes, mind, memory, speech, concentrates on one task, good investigators and leaders), fear failure, seek success; oily (don’t like oily food), soft skin, sweats, loves sweets, creeping–move without being noticed, spend money on luxuries, perfectionist, orderly, neat. In relationships pittas can be competitive and intellectual.
Kapha qualities: heavy bones and muscles, slow; oily (with soft, cold skin, oily wavy hair); compassionate and loving; calm, quiet, grounded, forgiving; cloudy. They take time to understand complex problems and don’t forget, may be lazy unless asked to do a task; strong sex drive, and long lived. Doesn’t like windy days. Kaphas are loving, compassionate, and forgiving in relationships.
Youth is kapha, adulthood is pitta, and old age is vatta. Summer is pitta, fall is vatta, winter is kapha, and spring is kapha pitta. Dr. Lad recommends that a partnership between the same types should be avoided.
Disease occurs in four stages. Every disease is caused by too much of one the doshas, or of two of them, or of all three. In the first stage, an imbalance occurs: Vatta in the colon, Pitta in the intestines, and Kapha in the stomach and lungs. Vittagenic foods are beans, nightshade vegetables like tomatoes and eggplant, and beans. Kapha is increased by sugar, cold, ice, watermelon, cucumber, wheat, meat, and dairy. Pitta foods are hot foods like chilies.
The second stage of disease is leakage, causing gas, stomach acid and burping, and mucus respectively. The third stage is like a leaky tap overflowing into a bucket. A Vatta imbalance causes sensation of tingling, Pitta causes heat, and Kapha causes congestion as in the lymphatics and muscles. In the fourth stage, the deposits sprout like seeds creating symptoms. The overflow deposits in weak spots, like a puddle of water, caused by addictions such as smoking, poor diet (such as combining milk and bananas, milk and meat, melon and grain), karma, genes, trauma, or suppressed emotions. Suppressed anger affects the liver, fear the kidneys, grief the lungs, hate is associated with the gallbladder, and anxiety and worry affect the heart. The moral of the story is to deal with Vatta, Pitta, and Kapha imbalances before they cause disease.
Q: [China] Sometime I feel so tired, maybe it just because there are so many works to complete.
A: Fatigue can be a symptom of a physical problem. Low blood sugar can decrease energy. Check for low thyroid hormone levels, as hypothyroidism causes fatigue, as well as intolerance to the cold. Anemia and eye strain can also contribute to tiredness. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) may have multiple causes including viruses, herpes, candida albicans yeast, and parasites. Its symptoms include severe fatigue for six months or longer, tender lymph nodes, muscle pain, joint pain without swelling, sore throat, and headaches. Fibromyalgia has similar symptoms of fatigue and pain, plus stomach discomfort.
The main energy robbers include trauma, grievances, physical pain, living with a low-energy person, critical self-talk, negative beliefs, repressed feelings, and criticism, according to Tucson therapists Masci, Barker, and Beck. Draw what’s depleting your energy to contact your unconscious mind; don’t think, just ask what’s making you tired and then draw the colors and patterns. Draw arrows pointing to a particular body part, person or situation, then draw in a healing color.
People often turn to caffeine and sugar to get going, but these drugs drain energy over the long run. Exercise daily to keep your endorphins flowing and oxygenate your body. We know daily exercise, adequate sleep, healthy natural foods, meditation or prayer or other quiet time, positive thinking and social support maintain health and vitality.
The main causes of fatigue I see are procrastination, self-criticism, hurry sickness, trying to do too much, eating junk food, and not enough fun and exercise. When we put something off, we feel overwhelmed and powerless. If we do a little bit each day, we feel empowered, which strengthens the immune system, while fear drains it. Make a commitment to praise yourself and others, at least as much as you criticize or judge. If you didn’t do something well, make a point to learn from that effort rather than blaming.
Prioritize, thinking about what’s really important. Keep your values to the forefront, such as the belief that people are more important than things or a neat desk. A bubble bath, reading for pleasure, exercise, and other activities that make you happy need to be scheduled on the calendar so they don’t fall by the wayside. Look at yourself as a well and fill with what renews your vitality. If the well runs dry, it can’t offer water to thirsty people. Ask yourself what you’ll remember at the end of your life, what you value and focus on those priorities.
Q: I have chronic trouble sleeping, feeling like a blender is spinning around in my mind.
A: Don’t struggle with a negative preoccupation. Rather, gradually change it, in this example by gradually slowing the blender, pushing the buttons from high to medium to low to off. Imagine a drink is being created that is a sleep potion that relaxes you and sends you off to sweet dreamland. Try my boredom technique, a variation of counting sheep. Count down from 10 to 1 with a repeated phrase or mantra such as, 10–om mani padme hum, 9—om mani padme hum, and so on. When your mind realizes you won’t let it jump around, it will let you go to sleep.
Q: I’m feeling stiff and achy and tired. What can I do?
A: Try a vegetable juice fast to detox. Drink lots of water. Take a bath in Epsom salt. Exercise daily; take a yoga class or follow a video. For fun, try a sound clearing. Lie on the floor. Have a friend start with percussion instruments like a drum, beating it over your body from head to toe with the intention of shaking up anything that needs to be swept out. Smudge with sage and spray essential oils.
Physical Ways To Increase Your Energy
☛ Get enough sleep and try to rise and shine at about the same hours (www.circadian.com). Many Americans are sleep deprived and 40% get less than seven hours of sleep, according to the National Center of Sleep Disorders.
☛ Spend sometime in the sun and use full-spectrum light bulbs, especially in the winter.
☛ Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.
☛ Eat protein such as spirulina algae, fish, or poultry. When digested, protein releases tyrosine, an amino acid that increased alertness, while complex carbohydrates (whole grains, root vegetable, squash, etc.) are calming and stimulate serotonin. Eat protein earlier in the day rather than before bedtime for restful sleep.
☛ Get a physical checkup including your thyroid hormones.
☛ Be positive, as optimists have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
☛ Relax and avoid chronic stress, which damages the adrenal glands. Ask if a current upset will matter in three months.
☛ Rest when you’re tired instead of being a martyr and pushing yourself to do too much for the sake of others.
☛ Regularly do deep breathing exercises; breathe in on the count of six, hold six, and blow out six. Tai chi, chi gong and yoga exercises help generate and move qi/energy and work with the breath. Blow out any fatigue, as if blowing out a candle, and breathe in an energizing color.
☛ Traditional Chinese medicine suggests ginseng and angelica (also called dong quai) strengthen adrenal glands.
☛ Avoid stimulants such as coffee, soft drinks, and sugar.
☛ Eat healthy food such as the Mediterranean or Japanese diets. Use foods as tonics. Start out each day with a quick and nutrient-packed blender drink using a multi-grain drink as a base, adding power foods such as chlorophyll, acidoplilus, aloe vera, lecithin, nutritional yeast, Hawthorne herb, bee pollen, kelp, cayenne pepper, cardamom, turmeric, olive oil, blue berries, banana, apple, green vegetable powder (barley grass is the most complete, according to James Balch, MD), ground flaxseed, and sometimes psylllum for intestinal cleansing.
☛ Supplement with the antioxidant Coenzyme Q10. It acts as a natural energy “spark,” explains Dr. Susan Lark, who adds that pregnant and lactating mothers should not use it. She also recommends the herb rhodiola rosea to support energy level, mood, and concentration. Dr. Lark supplements with calcium, magnesium, potassium and zinc, and vitamins B, E and C.
☛ Avoid toxins–mercury, aluminum and lead in drinking and shower water. Remove dental fillings with mercury and make sure vaccinations don’t contain mercury called Thimerosal.
☛ Exercise daily, during your lunch hour if no other time presents itself.
Q: I’m dragging myself around; I wish I had more energy and motivation to get everything done.
A: Exercise daily to keep your endorphins happy and oxygenate your body. Avoid wheat, sugar, and other refined foods you crave, as we often want what we’re allergic to. Use spelt flour instead of wheat and stevia or rice syrup instead of white sugar in baking and you’ll have more sustained energy (see endnotes 42 and 43 for articles on sweeteners). Eat apples, bananas, cabbage, citrus, and okra as they contain pectin to remove toxins and metals.
Procrastination robs us of lots of energy, so make a list of your responsibilities and prioritize them. Do a little each day on a big task, say a half hour of work, then reward yourself with a break, such as a walk or stretching. What’s low on your list, give up expectation that you should do it, delegate it to someone else, or pay or trade someone to do it for you. Schedule in time for fun and nurturance on your calendar so it doesn’t get pushed aside by more pressing demands. You must recharge your batteries or you won’t have zest to do your work and nurture others.
Q: I wake up at 3:00 AM and can’t go back to sleep.
A: When you start to worry, write down your to-do list. Think about the most relaxing place you can imagine, perhaps a warm tropical paradise. It may help to listen to soothing classical music before bedtime and the herb Valerian helps some people sleep. A sesame oil foot rub also helps to relax. In bed, keep your awareness behind your eyes and count your inhalations and exhalations from your belly to do deep slow breathing. Or use the old trick of counting sheep, repeating a word like peace or serenity to bore yourself to sleep.
I run the rainbow colors through each chakra: the first is red at the base of the spine up to amethyst at the crown. This signals my intention to sleep. Then I count down from 10 to 1 until I go to sleep. I think between numbers so I add the actual word “thought,” as in 10-thought, 9-thought, or a commonly used mantra like om mani padme hum and it puts me to sleep when my mind realizes I’m not going to let it spin thoughts.
Also check to make sure your bed is in the proper position in terms of Feng Shui–not in line with the door. It also helps to have a regular sleep schedule, get enough omega-3 fatty acids, and avoid bright lights, alcohol, stimulating TV, or eating before bedtime. Chronic stress elevates stress hormones so it reverses the normal pattern of being higher in the morning than the evening. Some antidepressants interrupt sleep with their extra release of serotonin and chronic inflammation can also interfere with sleep by slightly raising temperature. Relaxing, then, is the key to satisfying sleep.
Some view sleep as dead time, but in fact it’s very productive time when the body and mind are renewed, although about 70 million Americans generally don’t get enough sleep. Many scientists, like Thomas Edison and other creative people, tell stories of waking up with the solution to a puzzling problem. A German study at the University of Luebeck discovered that problem solving and new ideas occur during deep sleep, which usually takes place in the first four hours of sleep.[lxxxii] The unconscious mind works out solutions to emotional issues as well.
It’s wise to clean out any irritations of the day before bedtime in order to be able to use sleep time to generate new ideas. Before you go to sleep, imagine a chalkboard. Write down what’s on your mind (you may want to actually write down items you don’t want to forget to do later) and erase them until the board stays clear of worries. You can also use this tool with a negative belief, like “I can’t pass this test.” If you’re buzzing with anxiety or thoughts, arch them off to the corners of the room like releasing electricity down lightning rods. When Scott has trouble sleeping, he reports, “I enter my control room and instead of the captain’s chair, I have a huge, soft bed. The windows that make up most of the walls in my room display a slow sunset as night approaches.”
Tanya had been to various counselors who prescribed drugs for her anxiety and insomnia. When we worked on it, it became obvious that she associated going to bed with terror. Her father was an alcoholic who came home ragging, went into the boys’ room and crashed furniture around. Then he would come into the girls’ room and try to kiss and fondle them. We did EFT tapping on “I used to associate bedtime with trauma but now I associate it with enjoyment.” She now imagines dolphins swimming ahead guiding her to a peaceful place. When I checked with her a few months later, she said her insomnia got better, then worse when her partner lost his job, then better when she focused on working with her guides in her sleep.
Sleep time is when we can fulfill Carl Jung’s teaching to become whole by becoming conscious of the unconscious mind. Keep a dream journal by your bed and write down your dreams when you first wake up. The first seconds are critical or else we forget. Look on your imaginary video screen and ask to remember them, like turning on a DVD After a month or so, you’ll see patterns and learn what your unconscious mind is working on so the conscious mind can join in. Books help interpret dream symbols, but a record of your dreams over time is most accurate. For example, I had trouble communicating with a close friend and felt like ending the relationship. I dreamed I should stay in my current house and fix it up, rather than searching for another house/relationship. In another scene, two adults were teaching a baby gymnastic somersaults by showing it how, since the baby couldn’t talk. The message was clear that I should stick with the friendship and model the behavior I desired rather than just trying to talk about it.
My students often refer to their dreams as weird, but dreams merely use a symbolic and metaphorical language. Kathy never remembered her dreams until we talked about them in class. When she started remembering, she didn’t like her dreams, struggling hard to save family members from a murderer. I suggested instead of trying to stuff the dreams in a closet, she communicate with them before the closet got too crammed full. She tends to be a rescuer, feeling responsible for younger sisters, mediating between family members. Rather than repress the dream, she can reexamine her rescuer role.
Angie dreamed about meeting a man on the astral and was surprised to meet him the next day at a meeting. She said he was 30 pounds lighter and more luminous on the astral. Both of them are married so there was no obvious reason they met. “Dream people” who bring visionary dreams often guide her, different from her ordinary unguided dreams about people she knows.
Q: I end up thinking about work when I’m at home, and generally don’t get enough sleep.
A: Visualize a tape recorder. When you’re home and start to think about work, imagine taking the work tape out and substitute a wonderful fantasy tape, like being in lovely, green Ireland. To go to sleep, use the old trick of counting sheep on your in and out breaths, repeating a phrase like “deep sleep.” It may help to listen to soothing classical music before going to bed.
Q: [Canada] Why do people always get hurt? And why are there abusers? Why don’t they stop?
A: Abusers often learned to abuse from experiencing the pain of childhood abuse. They get twisted and need a lot of counseling to change. Most don’t. They get so angry and guilty they can’t think straight. The World Health Organization reports 20% of women and 5% to 10% of men have suffered sexual abuse as children. About 1 in 50 infants in the U.S. are neglected or abused (13%), according to the Centers for Disease Control. One-third of U.S. children suffer from sexual abuse before age 18. Break the Cycle provides information for youth ages 12 to 24 about abuse and where to get help.[lxxxiii]
In the cycle of domestic violence in the family, there’s usually a pattern where tension builds (due to feeling bad about oneself), it’s released by hitting or yelling, the abuser apologizes and says he or she won’t do it again, the tension builds again and the cycle repeats. The police may need to be called in to intervene.
Q: My friend is in an abusive relationship and it’s really hard to talk to her about it. It worries me that he is really going to hurt her.
A: What about organizing a group intervention with people she’s close to? She might pay more attention to a group than just one person. Talk to the local shelter for battered women about how to communicate with your friend.
Q: I have some bad habits I’d like to change, such as overeating when I’m anxious.
A: To change any habit, be aware of your craving, just observe when it surfaces. Praise yourself for noticing, thinking about it, and taking time for deep breaths before acting in your habitual way. Keep a journal where you document the triggers that evoke the old habit, so that you’ll be especially mindful when a trigger occurs. If I tell you, “Don’t eat donuts,” you’ll want to do it, so avoid “Don’t.”
Also avoid judging yourself. Stick to positive programming such as “I honor my body by eating healthy food when I’m hungry.” Think about ways you can positively fulfill the need which generated the habit; for example, cope with stress by taking a walk, using positive self-talk. Ask, “Will this be important two months from now?” and “Does this need to be done perfectly?” instead of ingesting something unhealthy. My Energy Tools book has many techniques for achieving goals and getting centered.
Q: I moved in with my boyfriend and have gained weight I worked hard to loose. How can I get back on track?
A: Take charge of the food on your plate rather than letting him serve you. Only eat what you decide is a healthy amount. Don’t buy junk food like potato chips and high glycemic foods like potatoes that are associated with weight gain. To join him when he drinks alcohol, drink herb tea or mix sparking mineral water and fruit juice. Decide on a daily exercise routine and stick to it, rain or shine. Put a piece of paper with your healthy weight written on it, and put it under your mattress.
Q: I gobble up food when I feel lonely and bored. What can I do?
A: It looks like your mother was too busy to give you the nurturance you deserved as a child. Since children often personalize their parents’ problems, you felt there was something wrong with you that she wasn’t more loving. We usually repeat the familiar, so you probably have attracted non-nurturing partners. Imagine that you have a hungry hole in your heart that can’t be filled with food, no matter how much you eat.
You can do visualization like wearing a beautiful heart necklace that radiates beams of love into your heart because the unconscious mind doesn’t distinguish between reality and belief, as evidenced in the very different health issues for multiple personalities in Disassociate Identity Disorder. Have plenty of healthy crunchy food in your kitchen, like celery and carrots, popcorn with nutritional yeast rather than butter, and salads. It’s filling to drink herb tea with a few drops of stevia for sweetener, coconut or almond milk, a cinnamon stick, ginger slices, and peppermint tea. Munch away and drink spiced herb tea to your heart’s content. Get involved with volunteer work or making crafts that nurtures your spirit.
Q: [From a Japanese client via his translator] He was using EFT to quit chocolate addiction and it was very successful so he doesn’t want to eat chocolate anymore. However, addiction turned to be candy. He did EFT again for candy addiction and he quit candy. Then, he went to cookie addiction. Now, he gain weight by 3kg. He thought he want to go back to chocolate because he was not fat at all but EFT worked so well so that he hates chocolate. His question was how he cut the root cause for the sweet addiction. How could we find the root cause?
A: EFT tap on “even though I’m looking for sweetness in my life through eating sweets instead of having fun.” Eat frequent small meals including healthy carbs with low glycemic index.[lxxxiv] Inositol, a B vitamin, is supposed to help with sugar cravings, as is magnesium. He shouldn’t eat any sweets, just like alcoholics shouldn’t drink any alcohol or else the addiction gets activated. He should also get his blood sugar level checked.
Q: I’ve gained 20 pounds, mostly around my belly, and just can’t loose it.
A: Think about what happened when you started to gain weight. For many women, extra pounds feel protective from male attention. Say to yourself, “I’m safe and protected at ____pounds” (your healthy weight). Regular exercise helps maintain a healthy metabolism.
Around 52% of Americans are 20 pounds or more over the ideal (up from 33% in 1990). Over 90% of diets don’t result in permanent weight loss, although we spend over $40 billion a year on the diet industry. To lose weight, exercise regularly, including weight lifting to raise your resting metabolic rate. Snack from a serving on a plate rather than a container, eat your big meal at noon, eat whole unrefined foods, stop eating when full, and nurture yourself in other ways (e.g., get a massage, walk, read a novel, meditate).
Q: I’m always struggling with my weight. Anything new I can do?
A: Ann reports to us how she was able to loose weight and deal with unhealthy food cravings: “Desperation and joining FAA (www.foodaddictsanonymous.org), one meeting a week. They give support for eliminating cravings for junk food through using a super healthy food plan with plenty of food to eat. This is different from the scary restrictive punishing group I was attending.”
Q: [Japan] I want to lose weight but can’t stop eating. [Obesity is unusual in Japan; they’re amazed when I report that two-thirds of American adults are overweight.]
A: Ask yourself what need overeating satisfies–feeling protected, feeling gratified, coping with anxiety, etc. Think about a healthy way to satisfy the need and reassure the unconscious it’s safe to change. The hypothalamus in the brain regulates weight, so you might want to imagine instructing it about your healthy weight and clothes size. Set a goal such as loosing a few pounds a month and reward yourself when you achieve your goal. Don’t have fattening unhealthy foods in your house. Fill your stomach with green tea, carrots and celery, popcorn with nutritional yeast or other seasoning (not butter), and appetite-suppressant herbs like chickweed. Stick to the traditional Japanese diet with lots of vegetables, brown rice, and fish. Put small portions on your plate and stop eating when you’re full or it doesn’t taste good anymore. Eat your big meal early, not close to bedtime. Most addictive behaviors need a support group with a buddy to strengthen your resolve to be healthy so you may want to join a weight-loss program.
Q: I feel defeated about the daily need for sugar. Given everything I know and believe about how detrimental sugar is for me to consume, either a) I’m willingly sabotaging myself for whatever reason, or b) I’m addicted and have no volition left. Anything I can do to conquer my craving?
A: Whatever the reason, I’d join a support group like Weight Watchers so you can call someone when you feel like giving in to the urge. Use the AA 12-steps, one of which is admitting powerlessness. Keep your blood sugar level even with small frequent snacks. Don’t deprive yourself: Give yourself healthy sweets like fresh fruit. I have a sweet tooth too and satisfy it with a little fresh orange juice and mineral water, nuts, and cookies I sweeten with stevia and rice syrup. Sugar is addicting, so we can’t have it in the home.
Q: If I could, I would be as skinny as could be.
A: With “globesity” the world is getting fatter. Fat is one of the causes of metabolic syndrome associate with a large waist, high blood pressure, high levels of blood fats called triglycerides, and low levels of good cholesterol and insulin resistance, which leads to many diseases. It’s as big a threat as global warming says Australian professor Paul Zimmet, who reports there are more overweight people in the world than undernourished.[lxxxv] He believes obesity will overwhelm every medical system in the world. The obesity epidemic in developed countries happened fast, in one generation. Now China, too, worries about its chubby kids.
In the U.S.:
☛ One in five four-year-olds are overweight.
☛ More than 9 million US children over five are overweight, leading to an increase in diabetes and low self-esteem. Their health problems will cost an estimated $11 billion in the future.
☛ Over 17% or nine million children over age six in the US are obese, as are around one-third of American adults, which leads to heart disease, cancers, and joint diseases.[lxxxvi] This rate has increased four times since the 1960s.
☛ At least one in five US teens has abnormal cholesterol levels—much more true of obese kids, increasing the risk of heart disease.
☛ About 30% of school children are overweight (a broader category than obesity), as kids get less exercise and restaurants are serving bigger sizes. Shehroz, a Pakistani exchange student, tells us, “One of my shocks in the USA were the serving sizes and free refills as well as free French fries at many places.”
Healthy people exercise and eat moderate amounts of whole foods. Most young children get exercise, but by age 15 fewer than 3% get over two hours of exercise most days. Boys are more active than girls at every age, according to a 2008 study headed by Dr. Philip Nader.[lxxxvii] Kids are spending more time watching TV, playing video games, and using the Internet. About one-third of high school students watch more than three hours a day, including about 63% of black students, 43% of Latino students, and 27% of whites. A lot of TV viewing is associated with more aggressive behavior and weight gain. The average child sees up to 40,000 hits of advertising every year, and the ads are not selling health. Every one-hour TV program you sit through increases the chances of premature death caused by Disuse Syndrome, raising your odds for dying from heart attack or stroke, from cancer, and from other health problems.[lxxxviii]
Many US schools have cut physical education programs: Illinois is the only state that requires PE for grades K-12. As many as 40% of elementary schools don’t set aside time for play and exercise. A study of California teens reported that 25% don’t get enough exercise. A junior at Berkeley High explained, “Teenagers don’t have time to exercise. It’s like the last thing on your mind.” “I like to play indoors better ‘cause that’s where all the electric outlets are,” said a fifth-grader. Exercise and healthy natural foods keep us at a healthy weight, but many city kids don’t exercise. We need more programs like the Sierra Club’s Inner City Outings program that brings inner-city youth to the wilderness and see endnote 19. Some schools have large exercise balls to sit on instead of chairs and substitute healthy food for junk food.
Diets don’t work, as most people regain their weight. I asked a Dietetics Professor how to lose weight.
In a nut-shell, people need to learn how to take the focus off of weight and put the focus on improving fitness and start eating a variety of enjoyable foods and accept their body however it turns out. An individual can be healthy regardless of their size. The media tells us how we’re supposed to look. We have to tell the media that beauty can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Dieters, obsessed with their weight, often label food as ‘good’ and ‘bad’, which sends them into a vicious guilt-repent cycle. This leads to yo-yo dieting which causes both physiologic and psychological damage. Food is meant to be enjoyed, not the bad guy! I encourage people to read Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program that Works, by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. See the 10 principles on their website.
If you’re overweight, avoid judging yourself. Stick to positive programming such as “I honor my body by eating healthy food when I’m hungry.” Ask yourself what need overeating satisfies: feeling protected, feeling gratified, avoiding dating, coping with anxiety? Think about ways you can positively fulfill the need which generated the habit; for example, coping with stress by taking a walk, using positive self-talk, and asking “Will this be important two months from now?”
Reassure your unconscious mind it’s safe to change. Set a goal such as loosing a few pounds a month and reward yourself when you achieve your goal.
Q: My little sister looks very very thin and her bones are revealing more than ever. My friends have been telling me this for a while and I sometimes thought she was doing drugs but now I have seen her eat and I think she has an eating disorder. She is obsessed with portion control and won’t eat anything she used to. How can I help her without worrying about her? I have noticed I worry when I’m around her so I take deep breaths and try to kindly offer healthy food and role modeling. My Mom has brought up the eating disorder issue with her but I don’t know if it was enough. Anyway, it’s one of my new guilt issues and fears.
A: She does sound anorexic. Your mom should insist on getting her to a counselor who specializes in eating disorders. She may have to go to a treatment center. Eating disorders have long-term health consequences, including death. Your sister must get professional help now. You can’t solve her problem except to encourage your mother to get help. Guilt doesn’t do anyone any good; focus on the intention of a healthy outcome.
Q: I’m bulimic. What can I do?
A: As for any addictive bad habit, identify the trigger that sends you to the bathroom to purge. Change all the behaviors around the trigger and the associated habits when you feel the desire to vomit; go for a walk outside the house or put on music and dance. Put a calming picture on your bathroom door that reminds you to take care of your body and walk away. Reward yourself with something fun every day you treat your body well. Acupressure tapping can help to relieve the underlying tension and frustration. Brain chemistry may need to be balanced with medication. Counseling will help get at the underlying reasons for the desire to purge and figure out healthier ways to alleviate your frustration.
Q: I’d like to recover from the pain of shoulder surgery more quickly. Suggestions?
A: Use a Neuro-Linguistic Programming technique to change your senses. Ask your shoulder, what color is the pain? Shape? Color? Smell? Imagine carrying–say a red square screeching with a sulpher smell–to a tunnel. As you walk through it, everything changes, for example, to a green circle with the sound of Mozart and gardenia fragrance. As you get to the end of the tunnel, the green circle moves out away from you, getting fainter and fainter then disappears in a shimmer on the horizon. The idea is to change the senses along the pain pathway.
A British study found that meditation reduces the perception of pain, in addition to helping lower blood pressure, decreasing heart and respiratory rates, and increasing blood flow. Experienced meditators have unusual activity in the prefrontal cortex section of the brain. Researchers concluded that meditation “trains the brain to be more present-focused and therefore to spend less time anticipating future negative events.” A study of Tibetan monks meditating on compassion at the University of Wisconsin found parts of their brains were more developed than beginning meditators, (the insula near the frontal portion of the brain and the temporal parietal juncture, both process empathy). [lxxxix]
John Thie, DC, suggested to trace a figure eight over a sore area of the body in the direction that feels right. This immediately alleviates pain for me, as when I got stung by a wasp. Also, try crossing your hands under the collarbone points and holding or tapping them. You can experiment with wearing magnets for pain.
Q: I was in an accident that caused disabilities. Now I can’t stand on my feet to work, have to take pain pills, and to top it off was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Since I can’t work, I have no income and it’s been a nightmare trying to get disability and health insurance from the state. I’m on the phone to different bureaucrats for hours every day with no action. Suggestions?
A: It feels like a logjam that you can work on energetically by imagining a dam on a river opening up so the water can flow. A friend, Eli, suggested playing with space-time continuum by taking a piece of paper and marking lines to stand for weeks. Then fold the paper like a fan to shorten time. Einstein taught that space and time are relative. Studies by Dean Radin, Ph.D., and others show that the future bleeds into the present, as when people have precognition of future events. [Note: the questioner did the fan exercise and reported an hour later one of her county workers called to take action on various issues, and a cascade of other resolved issues occurred in the next few days.]
Q: I have chronic pain in my lower back/wrist/knee. How much of illness has to do with your attitude?
A: When a patient believes a placebo sugar pill will relieve pain, the body releases endorphins that do reduce pain. Parkinson’s patients given fake surgery or fake drug treatments produce dopamine similar to what they would have received in a real intervention. Other possibilities for pain reduction are acupuncture, acupressure tapping like EFT, deep tissue massage, and understanding the psychological influences. Acupuncturist Michael Turk’s book Pain’s Healing Secret shows useful acupressure points. Stress, such as is generated by an argument, taxes the immune system and slows wound healing.
A study tracking nearly 100,000 women over eight years found optimists had a 16% lower risk of having heart attacks.[xc] A Mayo Clinic study that looked at more than 800 patients over 30 years found that pessimists had a 19% higher risk of early death than optimists.[xci] An optimist will take action to correct a health problem while a pessimist might helplessly view it as unchangeable. To use the power of your brain, try positive visualizations. Imagine a grounding pipe in the middle of the pain and see it sucking pain out and down into the earth to recycle.
Every illness has a physical and emotional component. When you feel afraid, angry, or tense, act on it by exercising, taking a walk, speaking up about injustice, or some other corrective action. Don’t stuff your feelings or tense your muscles. Osteopath and author Dr. John Upledger dialogues with problematic body parts and also instructs them on healthy processes with visualization. It’s helpful to touch your thymus below the collar bones and praise the immune system, telling it to attack foreign invaders and not healthy organs and joints. Studies show love and gratitude are especially powerful emotions, so evoke them when you talk to your immune system.
Imagine a small gold sun or bubble in your hand. Keep your own energy out of the bubble and send it to the person you’d like to give a blessing to, including yourself. You can put your hand over the sore place, and pat it and talk to it like you would a puppy or baby, “Good shoulder, relaxed shoulder.” Imagine a time-release Band-Aid over a sore place, with the instruction to release healing energy for a day.
Andrew Weil, MD, in a Sounds True CD, suggests that sound is an under-utilized healing aid since everything vibrates and is singing in its own way. The earth has its own pulse frequency, called the Shulman resonance. He reports that sound therapy has helped autistic kids to be more connected and stroke patients to have better recovery, and it can reduce chronic pain. The body is 70% water, receptive to sound waves. He mentioned Dr. Emoto’s photographs of frozen water crystals comparing the effect of classical and heavy metal music, and positive and negative emotions transforming the crystal formations. Ancient peoples have used Tibetan copper bowls, flutes, and didgeridoos in their rituals, which has an effect on slowing brain waves to produce more relaxation. Dr. Weil likes to combine music, relaxing sounds of nature, and chanting with deep breathing for healing.
Thomas adds, “Our bodies are energy manifesting as electrons, protons, and neutrons which in turn form the atoms which form the molecules, etc. All matter vibrates, color is vibrations of light, sound is vibrations of the magnetic fields, heat/cold are faster/slower vibrations of matter. It’s all energy in motion” which can be influenced by thought forms to alleviate pain.
Q: I have lupus and am tired of the pain. What can I do?
A: Every person I’ve worked with who has an autoimmune disorder has confused the immune system by repressing anger and grief at being mistreated since childhood. The child was powerless to express her real feelings. The signals are so contradictory the body doesn’t know the correct enemy to attack, such as invading bacteria or virus, and attacks itself instead. When you feel afraid, angry, or tense, act on it by exercising, speaking up about injustice, or some other corrective action. Don’t stuff your feelings. I’d use EFT on specific symptoms.
Draw figure eights over a pain site because spirals are energetically very integrative. Studies show love and gratitude are especially powerful emotions, so evoke them when you talk to your immune system.
To ease tight neck and shoulder muscles, rub your ears as if you were pressing out wrinkles, including the inner part of the ear. First test your range of motion by turning your head to each side and noting a marker on the wall to determine how far you can turn your head. Re-test after rubbing your ears and you’ll probably notice more freedom of movement. Since there are hundreds of acupressure points in the ears, you can give yourself a quick treatment by rubbing your ears all over. You can also rub your feet and hand reflexology points.
For a headache, massage the indentations where the neck meets the skull and drag your fingers up the neck along the vertebrae. To clear the lungs, as when in the bathtub, cross your arms, push the elbows into the middle of the inside of the thighs, and push the thumbs into the biceps for several minutes. Also tap on lung points under the clavicle bones where the shoulder meets the chest and pull with your fingers from the midline under the collarbones between the ribs to the shoulders.
Q: I get debilitating headaches that feel like cold compression of my brain. Help?
A: Often in healing work we visualize the opposite, in your case warm expansion in your head. Note in your journal the context of the onset of a headache, including what you eat, your hormonal cycle, and stressful events to identify triggers and discuss them with your doctor.
Q: I have fibromyalgia, am tired of being in pain and not being able to sleep.
A: It feels like you’ve experienced a number of shocks, resulting in disillusionment and disappointment with life, so you disassociate and go out of your body. This confuses the immune system. What’s good for the body is fun, love, enjoying each day, and thinking about how difficulties are challenging opportunities to become stronger and grow. Changing expectations really helps, realizing that life isn’t about things being easy, as it’s about evolving, just like to maintain bone strength, we need to stress the bones with impact exercise. If we don’t have some pounding on the legs, we don’t build strong ones. Research remedies on the Internet, talk with a naturopath, try deep tissue massage, acupuncture, and other natural ways to balance your body.
Q: Other guys want to fight me. I don’t know if it’s because I’m tall and a challenge, but I’m tired of it. How can I stop being a target?
A: People respond to our invisible instructions, as if we carried signs, “I’m a victim,” “Adore me,” or “Fight me.” I think you operate with a warrior archetype and that one of your life lessons is to become a Peaceful Warrior (see Dan Millman’s book). Consciously change your sign to “Peacemaker” and see what happens. I’d have a stock response like, “I’m into making love not war, aren’t you?”
Specific Health Issues
Q: I’m a hard worker but I don’t have savings or health insurance. I need an operation to be able to work, but don’t have thousands of dollars to pay for a hospital stay. What can I do?
A: Federal Medicare covers the elderly and disabled. In California, Medi-Cal is for kids and pregnant women, but there’s a three-month temporary insurance program called CMSP (County Medical Services Program) for people ages 21 to 64 who don’t qualify for Medi-Cal. I asked nurse Chris Nelson about this:
“CMSP contracts with Anthem Blue Cross so any surgeon who takes that will take CMSP. They count what you are currently earning. Property is less of a problem then it was previously. There is also now something called path2healthwhich is federal and will really help if he qualifies.” Also, some hospitals will set up a payment plan.
Q: I’m 11 and have ADHD. Ideas to help me concentrate in school?
A: Dr. Andrew Weil (drweil.com) says to take lots of omega 3 fish oil, don’t eat sugar and avoid pesticides and other toxins. I see your energy as spiky, like sunspots popping out from the sun. When you need to concentrate, take your hands and imagine gathering up the energy in one ball. Put that in your hands to write or eyes to read. Wiggle your legs and hands under your desk, maybe with a soft ball you can squeeze, being careful not to make noise tapping your feet on the floor. Your parents might want to read books by a doctor who has ADD: Superparenting for ADD: An Innovative Approach to Raising Your Distracted Child by Edward Hallowell M.D. and Peter Jensen. Also see Sandy Newmark, M.D., ADHD Without Drugs. He reports that studies have linked exposure to environmental toxins with rising rates of ADHD and learning disabilities.
Q: My ex-wife wants to medicate our son for ADD and I’d rather find natural remedies.
A: If you have joint legal custody, you have equal say in those kinds of medical decisions. To prevent turning it into a power struggle, I’d rely on presenting her with research data and do “active listening” where you let her know your understand her point of view, even if you don’t agree.
Q: My son has ADD so elementary school is difficult for him. How can I help?
A: He probably doesn’t retain what he hears, so have him write down assignments and ask the teacher to write important points on the board. He should take frequent notes if he can write, or he can doddle and draw when appropriate. Talk with the teacher about how challenging it is for him to have his hands still. See if the teacher will let him sit on an exercise ball rather than a chair so he can wiggle. Have him do Brain Gym exercises noted in endnotes throughout the day, crossing the midline of his body with his eyes and hands. Dr. Andrew Weil suggests fish oil omega 3s for any brain imbalance and he offers other remedies at drweil.com.
For someone who gets tired while reading or has a learning disability, put your fingers around your navel and jiggle; with the other hand, jiggle below the collarbones, and then reverse hands. Also do this with one hand on the navel and one on the coccyx. As you jiggle, move your eyes back and forth, up and down, and around. The former movement helps integrate the brain hemispheres and restore polarity, as does the next posture. Cross one ankle over the other. Hold your arms in front of you, cross your wrists as if you were going to join with another person to carry someone else on your hands. Put your palms together, interweave your fingers, and tuck them back up to your chin. Breathe in with the tongue on the roof of the mouth, and exhale with the tongue on the floor of the mouth.
Q: I injured my ankle, can’t really exercise, but don’t want to turn into a blob. Suggestions?
A: Pilates is done on a mat on the floor so there is no weight on the ankle, but if you can’t get up from the ground, do the exercises on your bed. See the endnote to begin.[xcii] Also, think of your hands receiving healing light from the sun and put them on your ankle. Imagine extending healing power from your fingers to comb out the area energetically. Injury usually involves disorganization so simply imagine straightening out green (good for healing) vertical lines around the ankle. Some people use electronic devices like the TENS machine or others.[xciii]
Q: I was just diagnosed with breast cancer. My oncologist wants to do a mastectomy but I would like to heal myself. Can I?
A: Any disease indicates a compromised immune system. Identify what interferes with its healthy functioning–both physical and emotional stressors. The former includes a sugary, processed-food diet; environmental toxins in food, air, and water; obesity and lack of exercise. The latter includes repressed resentment and hurt. I’d strengthen your body from every possible angle. Try Emotional Freedom Technique useful in clearing energetic glitches in the system that prevent healing. You might want to consult a naturopath as well as your doctors for strengthening remedies in addition to drugs and surgery.
Doctors report cases of spontaneous remission of serious illnesses, so it’s definitely possible. But you can also regard the surgeon removing the encapsulated emotions stuffed in the tumors as an opportunity for a clean start. Get a second opinion to see how much removal of tissue is necessary. Doctors now recognize that in the past some unnecessary radical mastectomies were performed. Consciously clean out old hurts and resentments and put them in the tumor for the doctor to remove from your body. Be vigilant about listening to the signals from your body telling your mind that changes are necessary. Otherwise symptoms escalate to get you to make changes to take better care of yourself.
For breast health, massage the lymphatic points under the breasts and along the side near the arm pits, while at the same time massaging the large intestine points along the outside of the thighs to clear the toxins you release. Avoid wear underwire bras, which interfere with circulation.
Q: [Ukraine] When will the medicine for cancer be found?
A: I look at any illness as a metaphoric message from the body telling you something is out of balance, including physical and emotional factors. We all have cancer cells in our body, so it’s best to focus on prevention, starting now. Cancer is caused by changes in cell DNA. As we age, the cell replication can make mistakes or a genetic problem can cause the mutation—but genetics is not the cause of most cancers. Chronic inflammation and free radicals are associated with cancer as they interfere with cancer-protective genes. A free radical is a stray electron; as it bounces around seeking an orbit, it causes cellular damage. They can also disrupt the process of cellular division, resulting in a damaged “off” switch. The cell keeps dividing, resulting in a tumor. Dr. Weil defines a free radical:
As the body uses oxygen, these by-products cause oxidative damage to the cells of the body. Free radicals come from smoking, pollution, poisons, fried foods, and as a by-product of normal metabolism. Free radical damage is associated with an increased risk of many chronic diseases. “Antioxidants” such as vitamin C, carotenes and vitamin E reduce the damage caused by free radicals.[xciv]
The cellular malfunction can be caused by toxins in our environment including electromagnetic and radioactive contamination like cell phones and computers, food (high sugar and fat, omega-6s, processed, irradiated, MSG, pesticides, antibiotics), smoking, household products, and plastic bottles and other phthalates. Toxins deplete respiratory enzymes so cells can’t utilize oxygen, says Dr. Stephen Sinatra. Toxins silence protective genes. Viruses are also problems, as in Hepatitis B and C and their association with liver cancer and HPV and cervical cancer. To prevent cancer we need to reduce pollutants and strengthen the immune system. Also, cancer cells feed on simple sugars so it makes sense we shouldn’t eat sweets—read labels to see how many products contain corn syrup. Some foods, herbs, and enzymes kill cancer cells.
The National Institutes of Health created an Office of Alternative Medicine in 1992, later called National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Dr. Andrew Weil researches alternative remedies and reports, “Research suggests that about one-third of cancer deaths in the U.S. are related to poor diet–another third are due to cigarette smoking.” He recommends eating a lot of fresh vegetables and fruits. Don’t cook veggies in a microwave. Eat them soon after purchase or grow them yourself—they can be grown in pots if you don’t have a garden or community garden.[xcv]
Doctors mainly use radiation and chemotherapy to attack the out-of-control cancer cells. Researchers are working on ways to target the cancer without attacking the whole immune system and on ways to cut off the blood supply to a tumor. Suzanne Somers interviewed doctors who are having success in beating cancer in various stages and gives specifics in her book Knockout. The book includes ways to keep the immune system strong and fight cancer. See http://www.lef.org, her favorite information source. The doctors quoted in her book think pharmaceutical companies control research, the US Federal Drug Administration, and medical school curriculum. They’re interested in medicine that can be patented and sold at a high price. Chemo and radiation make the medical establishment rich so there’s organized opposition to treating with vitamins, herbs, and other natural remedies that can’t be patented for large profits.[xcvi]
Tanya Harter Pierce discusses alternative remedies in How to Outsmart Your Cancer. To avoid cancer she recommends don’t eat white sugar and flour as they fuel cancer growth and inflammation, and avoid alcohol. Do eat omega-3 as found in fish and walnuts, berries, green tea, and pomegranate juice. The goal is to strengthen the immune system, reduce inflammation, and reduce the growth of cancer blood vessels. Herbs and spices that fight free radicals include clove, oregano, cinnamon, sage, peppermint, thyme, rosemary, coriander, basil, ginger, garlic, and pepper.
Q: I recently got diagnosed with Hepatitis C. I’m low energy, but need to finish this semester of college. What can I do?
A: My go-to sources for holistic MDs are www.drweil.com and Dr. James Balch and Mark Stengler, ND. authors of Prescription for Natural Cures. I look at every health issue as having a physical imbalance and an emotional one, a metaphorical message from the body about an area that needs change. Chinese Traditional Medicine associates the liver meridian with anger and resentment, so I’d clean up any of these feelings you might be carrying with you. John Upledger, DO, started cranio-sacral therapy. Sometimes he works with the body simply by visualizing the desired result. For example, his patient was releasing bone cells too soon from the bone marrow. They visualized releasing the cells when they were mature and the body got it. There’s an urban legend about a boy with an inoperable brain tumor who got rid of it visualizing Pac Man eating it up. Visualize Pac Man gobbling up the Hep C virus.
Q: My dad has cancer; I’m young and way scared I’ll lose him. What can I do to help him?
A: When you feel yourself sinking into a dark pit of despair and worry, it doesn’t help either of you. Imagine constructing a sturdy bridge over the pit, like those lovely Japanese bridges over koi ponds. See yourself supported by the wooden bridge soaking up the peacefulness of the garden around you. Thoughts have a lot of power, as measured in waves and in much research on the power of intention to create physical effects, like changing the pH of water just with the thought. Visualize his immune system recognizing and dismantling cancer cells.
To build a strong immune system, author John Diamond, MD, recommends tapping the thymus gland below the collarbones in a circular motion, sending love and gratitude to the immune system. Imagine sending healing emerald green light to every cell in your dad’s body. My meditation group has had good success visualizing an ill person in a healing room attended by healing guides, filled with celestial music, the fragrant scent of flowers, and a feeling of serenity. You can imagine yourself there, too, so you can support your father with your love, rather than projecting your fear.
Q: My thyroid is under-active.
A: Think of dis-ease as metaphor. The symbolism is usually fairly literal. Learn about the function of the chakra closest to the problem. The thyroid is near the fifth chakra, which governs communication with others and your own inner voice. People I’ve worked with who have thyroid imbalance have difficulty speaking their truth, stating their needs, and trying to be too nice. I’d examine that possibility and also do Internet research on alternative treatments such as Armour thyroid for hypothyroid. Supplements are available to strengthen the thyroid with helpful nutrients like kelp’s iodine.
Q: My prostate is enlarged and my PSA too high, like a lot of middle-aged men. Suggestions?
A: To get at the emotional underpinning of any health issue, John Upledger, DO, suggests dialoguing with the body part or the Inner Physician (see his book Cell(f) Talk). Dis-ease often is a symbolic communication from the body telling us we’re out of balance physically and emotionally, so you might want to look at how your maleness gets squelched. Email me for an exercise to run male energy through your body. Tomato sauce, saw palmetto, fish oils and zinc are some natural remedies, so the healing is approached from physical and emotional levels, as well as what your health professional suggests. Do get regular checkups to make sure PSA isn’t rising.
Q: I have a chronic lung issue that doctors can’t figure out. Ideas?
A: Check with a naturopath or homeopathy expert to figure out your constitutional homeopathy type. An easy way to muscle test is to write out the remedy, hold it to your chest, and see if you want to fall forward (strong) or backward (weak). Test it first with sugar and then vitamin C, etc. Try doing a blind study where you put the substances in plastic bags and test with your eyes closed. It feels like you felt suffocated by your ex and there must be emotional roots in your childhood, maybe not getting enough attention? An affirmation could be, “I’m free and in charge of my life. I have plenty of space to do as I like. My lungs are filling with iridescent white (a Taoist meditation) light of love and I’m breathing out toxins (through the mouth).” Chinese medicine says lung issues are about grief. Get started on the path of discovery of alternatives to Big Pharma’s monopoly of western medicine. Take this as a challenge to actively take charge of your wellness and research alternative remedies.
Q: How can I enhance my appearance without using toxic chemicals?
A: Beauty Secrets of India by Monisha Bharadwaj has these suggestions:
Face: sandalwood, turmeric and water
Eyes: rosewater on eyelids or tea bags
Eye exercises: rapid blinking, palming, and roll eyes in circles, square, and diagonals. Do head stands.
Lashes: castor oil thickens them
Dark circles: grated potatoes in a cloth pouch for 15-20 minutes, apples, and don’t apply rich skin cream in this area. Or mint leaves, 1 teaspoon (tsp.) almond oil, and 1/2 tsp. honey.
Liver spots: lemon juice
Wrinkles: olive or almond oil
Skin: scrub with oatmeal or chickpea flour. Mix egg yolk, 1 tsp. honey, and yogurt, leave on for 20 minutes. Also rub with strawberry, mango or grape.
Night cream: 2 tablespoons (T) almond oil, 2 T. lanolin, 1 tsp. coco powder, heated in a bowl in a pan of water, then add 2 T. rosewater
Skin in shower: scrub with salt and olive oil, bath with powdered milk, turmeric powder, chickpea flour, oatmeal. In winter, mustard powder. Mint, orange peel, basil leaves, lemon or vinegar.
Hair: coconut oil, dried hibiscus, basil, marigold, balsam leaves.
Hair loss: castor oil and iodine
Grey: cloves in tea, henna with tea or coffee and an egg
Breath: clove, cardamom, fennel
Teeth white: 1 tsp. soda, 1/2 tsp. salt, and lemon juice
Q: I like my life. How can I live longer?
A: A 2008 University of Cambridge study found four keys to living longer (14 years on average than people who didn’t follow these rules): don’t smoke, don’t drink too much alcohol, eat lots of fruit and vegetables, and exercise regularly (researcher Kay-Tee Khaw, etc.).[xcvii] Half the deaths in the US are caused by behaviors such as smoking, alcohol abuse, and lack of exercise, according to the Centers for Disease Control. “How To Be 16 Years Healthier” cited in Dr. Weil’s free newsletter (drweil.com) reports the “secret” is vigorous exercise. A study of Americans age 100 plus found that our genes are influential, as well as avoiding smoking, obesity, inactivity, diabetes and high blood pressure. The 2008 study by Boston University researchers was based on 500 women and 200 men who reached age 100.[xcviii]
The main causes of death for both men and women are cardiovascular breakdown and cancer. The main preventable causes of death are obesity, smoking, and lack of regular exercise (however, only 1 in 10 American has a consistent exercise program). Twice as many women will die of lung cancer as of breast cancer. Women who exercise 30 minutes a day cut their risk of having a stroke by up to 30%. A brisk walk is as effective as jogging. Of course even if you meditate and exercise daily, if you eat Twinkies, white bread, colas, margarine, and blackened fatty meat, that physical assault on the body will take its toll. Poor diet is linked to 20% of heart disease and stroke deaths and 30% of cancer and diabetes deaths. We need to eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, although about two-thirds of us don’t include this much in our diet.
Some scientists believe that our human genetic system is designed to let us live to be about 120 years old. Dr. Mark Liponis advises to eat a Mediterranean diet which is low in meat and processed foods, keep learning, drink tea, stay slim, be happily married, and have a spiritual belief. Dr. Joseph Mercola believes the key to longevity is to keep insulin levels and blood sugar low by avoiding sugars. Excess insulin stores calories from the carbohydrates in the form of fat (which is why so many are overweight), and the excess insulin also suppresses essential hormones and the immune system, leading to premature aging.
Doctors give advice about how to use food as a medicine, as in Dr. Andrew Weil’s books. He suggests regularly eating garlic, ginger, soy bean products, flax seed and salmon (for omega-3 fatty acids), green tea, broccoli and many other fruits and vegetables, as well as taking antioxidant vitamin supplements. Weil’s recommendation for basic supplements is to take vitamins C, E, beta-carotene, B-complex, and selenium. Only 1 in 8 Americans get enough nutrients and vitamins. In his book Healthy Aging, Weil explains the aging process and how to slow it down, as summarized below. Aging is linked with bad free radical byproducts of oxidation, glycation that alters proteins (sugars kind of caramelize in the body), and chronic inflammation that is linked to many diseases. Dr. Weil gives guidelines for an anti-inflammatory diet.[xcix]
Dr. Weil Explains Why We Age
Glycation: a chemical reaction between glucose and proteins like carmelization of sugar, a brown and sticky gunk (similar to the Ayurvedic idea of ama, toxic sludge). It occurs when blood sugar is high, as caused by eating white flour, potatoes and corn syrup. The byproduct is called AGEs (advanced glycation end products) which can damage other proteins as well as DNA and RNA by fostering abnormal bonds between protein strands. This can result in cataract formation, arteriosclerosis and wrinkling of the skin, and perhaps neurogenerative diseases like ALS, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. AGEs and cross-linked proteins can initiate inflammatory and autoimmune responses and stimulate cells to proliferate, as well as contributing to age spots (deposits of waste materials), hypertension, diabetes complications, osteoarthritis, and kidney disease. Drugs are being developed as cross-link breakers; aspirin may be such a compound and therefore reduce risk of cataracts and certain cancers. [Check out white willow bark, from which aspirin was originally derived.]
High levels of blood sugar favor AGEs. Sugar in the body is mostly a product of carbohydrate metabolism; insulin clears sugar from the blood, so it’s important to keep insulin sensitivity high. Type 2 diabetes is the loss of insulin sensitivity and development of insulin resistance, via loss of receptors for insulin on cell surfaces. Our processed foods consist of too much sugar and pulverized starch, as in bread, chips, and cookies which is digested very rapidly, causing spikes in blood sugar and surges in insulin secretion, that lead to loss of sensitivity to insulin in those with “thrifty genes.” Chronic stress response by the sympathetic nervous system elevates blood sugar to deal with a perceived threat. Chromium and alpha-lipoid acid (an anti-oxidant) help restore insulin sensitivity, as does exercise.
Free radicals: Oxidation is the process of removing electrons from an atom or molecule. Oxygen is very effective at doing this, as is chlorine. Oxygen itself is destructive as you can see in rusting of iron. Free radicals are formed when radiation interacts with water; it splits it, producing oxygen and the unstable intermediates called free radicals. They have an unpaired electron, so they strip electrons from molecules, damaging cells in the same mechanism as radiation poisoning (X rays, nuclear explosions) which breaks down water in our bodies. Oxidative stress stems from the production of free radicals in the normal course of metabolism, plus environmental radiation, toxins, and tobacco smoke–one of the most concentrated delivery systems of free radicals.
Health is dependent on the efficiency of antioxidant defenses. Defenses against free radicals include vitamins C and E that donate electrons to them, eating a lot of plants, green tea, turmeric, and Pycnogenol. Weil cautions, however, not to take excessive amounts of vitamins as when too much beta-carotene proved unhealthy. We need the whole context of the fruit and vegetables. He recommend supplements only if they contain a balanced mix of arytenoids (including lutein, leucopenia, photogene, zeaxanthin, and alpha-carotene). Anthocyanin-rich fruit and vegetables protect against free radical damage, are anti-inflammatory, suppress cancer cells, and lower blood pressure. They include dark leafy greens, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, cherries, red grapes, pomegranates, red cabbage and beets.
Chronic inflammation: Oxidative stress causes activation of the immune system to deal with germs, marked by localized redness, heat, swelling, and pain at the site of the infection, which are necessary to fight infection. However, chronic inflammation can cause diseases such as autoimmunity (lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, rheumatic fever), coronary heart disease, arteriosclerosis, and Alzheimer’s. Infection, toxic injury, and chronic stress can initiate autoimmune reactions in susceptible people. Asthma is an inflammatory disorder, as may be irritable bowel syndrome. Anything that promotes inflammation through a hormonal mechanism also has the potential to promote cancer.
Q: I’m addicted to sweets/smoking/pot/gambling. [I’ve had many questions around these addictions.]
A: To change an unhealthy habit, it doesn’t work to just say no. If someone tells you not to do something, you’re going to think about doing it. Instead of saying to yourself, “don’t smoke,” give yourself a substitute, such as sucking on a piece of a straw to gratify the oral need to suck and feel air going down your throat. Be aware of triggers and write them in a journal, so instead of turning to your addiction as a pacifier when you’re anxious, replace it with a new coping technique. Instead of smoking after dinner, for example, take a walk. While changing to a new healthy habit, avoid tempting situations such as friends who smoke or going into a bakery or casino.
When you feel the addictive craving, take a deep breath from the diaphragm. Try the HeartMath Institute stress management technique: freeze frame the stressful situation like putting a video on pause, focus on your heart by imagining breathing through it, focus on peaceful memories when you felt appreciated and happy (have some listed in your journal), then ask your heart how to best react to the stressful situation. Acupressure tapping works, but you may need to do it 20 times a day when you’re making the transition out of addiction. Support groups usually pair you up with a partner you can call when you feel yourself slipping back into the addiction and are worth checking out to learn their tools for getting healthy.
Ask yourself if there is any “secondary gain” from the bad habit that needs to be changed, such as using smoking to take a break outside or be with friends. Also use behavior modification, rewarding good behavior (doing something enjoyable and healthy) and discouraging bad habits (as by wearing a rubber band around your wrist and snapping it when you feel the urge to smoke). To quit your addiction, write about why you want to be free of it, set a quit day, identify your triggers and reward yourself.
Q: I just spent my whole paycheck at the gambling casino and am finally admitting I’m a compulsive gambler because it makes me feel alive and I get treated like I’m important.
A: I see the child sub-personality as the addict who is running the show. When the child demands unhealthy action, call on your adult self to treat it as you would any child. Distract it with a fun activity or exercise. Gratify it with something enjoyable and healthy to keep it busy. Tell it firmly and simply, “No, that’s bad for me and I’m not going to do it anymore. What would you like to do instead?” I’d dialogue with the inner child and ask her what she really wants when she thinks she wants to gamble. It may provide attention, being waited on, excitement, feeling like a winner enough of the time to get reinforcement to keep on throwing money away. If she wins for a while, really focus on your addiction, not doing or thinking about anything else. Notice when it stops being gratifying and stop there. Use positive reinforcement and praise your inner child when she sticks to good behaviors. Most addicts need a support group to stay on task, such as Gamblers’ Anonymous.
Q: I would like to do healing and ceremonial work but I’m in recovery from drug addiction and feel I’m too flawed.
A: Native American healers say to be like a hollow bone, channeling the universal power. Your humility as a “wounded healer” stands in good stead, more useful perhaps than an ego-driven healer who projects their energy in someone else’s field to try to rescue him or her.
Q: Although my parents are divorced, I’m very upset and angry that my dad has a new girlfriend and I really don’t want to meet her. Should I force myself? When I get stressed like this, I smoke.
A: Usually when there’s an intense upset, it’s triggers unresolved pain from your past. Trauma may be forgotten by the forebrain, but it circuits around in the limbic brain emotional centers, like an electrical storm–to use John Bradshaw’s imagery. My feeling is the girlfriend is bringing up the core issue with your dad, a repeat of a sibling getting more attention. You’ll repeat this pattern of being second fiddle in your romantic relationships until you work it through your conscious mind. Tell yourself “Cigarettes aren’t love. They’re hateful for my lungs. I’ll find the right man when I’m ready.”
At an Energy Psychology conference I learned this Advanced Integrative Therapy technique (it used to be called SeeMorg) for clearing trauma, best done with a support person.[c] Here’s a simplified version: Give a 0 to 10 rating for the intensity of the negative emotions thinking about the girlfriend. Think of a short phrase that summarizes the memory, i.e., “jealous of dad’s girlfriend.” Ask your intuition which of the seven chakras is most involved; most often it’s heart or solar plexus. (The chakras are energy centers from top of the head to bottom of the spine.[ci]) Think of the phrase while you hold one hand on the primary chakra—keeping it here while the other palm moves down from the top of the head to each chakra to the base of the spine. Don’t move your descending hand until it feels ready. Discuss what feeling came up. Check the 0 to 10 rating. If above 1, repeat the process. Or you can add EFT (emofree.com) or TAT (www.tatlife.net) to work with acupressure points.
Q: I’ve been smoking since I was a teenager. Any hope for me in my 30s?
A: Here are some action items to prepare for “quit day.”
☛ Figure out your triggers and stay away from them for several weeks, such as being around certain social situations. If you want to smoke when you’re tense or after a meal, call a friend or do breathing exercises instead of reaching for a tobacco pacifier.
☛ Identify needs that smoking seems to fulfill, i.e., to breath deeply, take time out from work, join in a social activity with smokers, cope with tension and anxiety, or rebel against authority. Brainstorm other ways to meet these needs.
☛ Get balanced so your body can heal: use bilateral exercises like cross-crawling, yoga, exercise, walks in nature, acupressure tapping, and fresh organic food.
☛ Substitute other coping techniques, such as deep breathing, chewing on cinnamon sticks, and energy tools (see my Essential Energy Tools book).
☛ Flower essences are effective for balancing emotions.
☛ Make a vow to be smoke-free for a week. Put the money you would have spent on tobacco in a piggy bank. Reward yourself at the end of a successful week to reinforce good behavior.
☛ Quit with a buddy so you can call each other when you feel like caving in to the addiction. Join an American Lung Association class. They’ll encourage you to keep a journal of triggers for smoking and prepare you for “quit day” weeks in advance.
☛ Be an example to others; think about helping others quit by doing so yourself. Do you really want to be deal with emphysema or lung cancer later in your life?[cii]
☛ Call on your inner adult to keep the inner child from going for a tobacco pacifier and give it something else, like chewing on a cinnamon stick.
Q: I like smoking and don’t want to quit.
A: Ignoring consequences destroys our bodies as well as the planet. We may like driving SUVs but is it OK to pollute the atmosphere for everyone? (See the DVD “An Inconvenient Truth” and http://www.climatecrisis.net.) Do your lungs and cardiovascular system like being poisoned? Is it fair to shorten your body’s life span when it enjoys living? What part of you likes smoking? The Addict? The Rebellious Kid? The Baby who wants a pacifier? Part of life’s purpose is to listen to higher wisdom and not be ruled by irrational cravings.
As you know, more than 4,000 chemicals exist in cigarette smoke, including 43 known cancer-causing compounds and 400 other toxins. The overall rates of death from cancer are twice as high among smokers than nonsmokers. See “Facts About Smoking” to remind yourself why your body wants you to quit smoking.[ciii] Look for others way to feel gratified, take a break, be a rebel, or socialize with friends. Since nicotine is such a powerful addiction, join a support group to get help.
Q: I realize I smoke cigarettes when I’m feeling lonely. Anything I can do to control my craving?
A: Try herbal tea with a slice of ginger and a cinnamon stick as a comforting pacifier. [She did try and reported, “The tea is working. I’m one day without the cigs and I don’t even miss them. I’m going to start yoga tonight and work on that as a tool for my attention instead of cigs.] Also, don’t buy them; don’t go near them in stores. If you must smoke, don’t do anything else and stop when it’s not satisfying. Find a partner you can call when you want to smoke.
Alcohol and Other Drugs
Q: How do I know if I’m an alcoholic?
A: The medical definition is if drinking has caused a problem in any significant area of your life and you continue to drink, you are likely an alcoholic. See the endnote for a self-test.[civ] Go to AA meetings and get AA books Alcoholics Anonymous and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.
Q: How can I maintain my sobriety? I’ve only been sober a few months.
A: What I’m seeing is that you need to clear out your parents’ energy; it looks like a lot of your drinking repeats their bad habits. A simple way to do this is to think of ways you’re different, including simple ones like you’re younger than your parents. There’s a lot of shame and defeatism that goes along with being controlled by a substance. Repeat an affirmation such as, “I am opening doors to success.” The important part is paying attention to your physical reaction to the statement, such as your jaw clenching in resistance, and your thoughts, like “No, I’m not. I’m a mess.” Write your reactions in a journal and dialogue with them over time in the light of consciousness and intellect. It also helps feel better about yourself to help others. As you progress through the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 steps, when it’s appropriate become a sponsor for a less experienced person. Exercise daily to feel good physically and emotionally.
Q: How can I encourage my mother to stop enabling my brother in his alcohol and drug addiction issues?
A: Go to Al-Anon and get support from people who are dealing with the same problem. Point out that supporting his habit hurts him and she needs to expect his anger when she withdraws support. Suggest she get support from Al-Anon to stay strong.
Q: I’m a high school guy whose friends are into drugs, which isn’t good for me, but I don’t like hanging out with the preppy kids.
A: Pick a few people you find interesting who aren’t in the drug circle, and focus on getting to know them. Be friendly but non-involved with all the others. For an experiment, go for a month drug-free and see if you feel clearer. If you’re around drinkers, put water in your bar cup, and say something like you can’t smoke weed because you have a drug test coming up.
Q: What is the best way to confront an alcoholic family member?
A: Some families do a group intervention led by a therapist. The addict shouldn’t feel attacked, so start each person’s testimonial with a positive statement about what he or she appreciates about the addict.
Q: I can’t get my alcoholic and unemployed spouse off the couch. What in the world can I do?
A: You can’t change someone else, but you can change any enabling behaviors on your part. Some families use group encounters to let the sick person know how painful his or her illness is for loved ones. Definitely go to Al-Anon so you learn from others with the same problem and get the emotional support you need. As in any relationship, it may be useful to ask yourself why you picked your partner, in terms of your childhood family pattern. What’s the lesson for you?
Q: When I get really upset, I can’t handle the pain, so I drink to numb out. I should be able to find an alternative, but can’t when I’m hurting. Any hope for me?
A: What works for me when I’m upset is to walk in nature until I’m calmer, doing a healthy flight response rather than fight response or drugs to cope with stress. While you’re walking, move your eyes right to left, back and forth, thinking about the problem for around 30 seconds, until you experience a release, such as a sigh. Then think about solutions, still looking right and left. Later, when you’re ready, get help to take steps to clean out layers of old unresolved trauma that gets triggered by a stressor, just like a sore thumb gets banged up. Part of the intensity of the pain is probably old stuff that’s festering in your unconscious. Don’t have alcohol in your house or drive near a liquor store so it’s not easy to reach for a bottle. Have a water bottle handy and reach for that.
Q: I’m just out of rehab for drug and alcohol addiction. I’m clean and sober, but I don’t have any energy to get my life in order as my liver is trashed. I just watch TV and sleep.
A: Follow your doctor’s suggestions for how to support your physical recovery and research alternative remedies like herbs and vitamins with a naturopath. Although I feel you’re resistant to AA or NA, I’d check out various groups to see where you feel most supported. A sponsor is a big help in recovery. Even though you don’t feel like it, take a half hour walk every day to get some sunlight and drink lots of pure water. The liver is amazingly regenerative.
Q: My boyfriend smokes pot all day and does very little. What can I do to encourage him to get more active?
A: Talking probably goes in one ear and out the other, so let actions do your speaking. Only spend time with him when he’s himself. That means not living with him.
Q: I’ve gotten in the habit of smoking pot throughout the day. How can I stop?
A: Why are you surrounding yourself in a fog? Ask yourself what you don’t want to face. Are you self-medicating for a problem like ADD or anxiety? Research healthy remedies. Find a support group like Narcotics Anonymous that feels compatible with you, as it’s difficult to kick an addiction by yourself.
Q: My wife has quit smoking pot after daily use since she was a teen. Of course I’m glad but she is acting out in difficult ways I haven’t seen before.
A: Keep giving her praise for giving up her addiction. Be understanding that she probably has to go through stages of development that didn’t happen when she was stoned. Help her re-parent herself by giving her love, encouragement, patience and understanding. Don’t personalize it when she’s grumpy like an adolescent, as she needs to travel through the maturation process.
Q: I have two dogs, but would like another puppy, even though my boyfriend and friends think these two are a handful of “doxie-mania.” But different things make different people happy, so why shouldn’t I get another dog?
A: Our addictions fool us into thinking getting what we crave makes us happy, but it doesn’t last, we want more. The question is, “What is the highest good for you and those close to you?” I’d be happy eating sweets all day but it’s not in the highest good for my body to do so. Ask what unconscious need you’re trying to fill with more and more puppies. We can find more fulfilling ways to feel gratified, such as creating, helping, learning, playing, and exercising. Also, the Golden Rule requires that we factor in the needs of our loved ones, as we wish them to do for us.
Q: I’m a compulsive thief, I think because I was raised in foster care and group homes, and then was on my own when I turned 18. Any hope for breaking this habit that gets me into trouble? I’m writing from a prison cell and don’t want to come back to this cage.
A: Robert Sarmiento, Ph.D. says it’s what you do with an urge that counts. He has these suggestions. Separate yourself from the compulsion by thinking of it as “it” or give it a name, analyze its strength on a 1-10 scale, or think of the urge as a thought going in one ear and out the other. Focus on something else by engaging in an activity or imaging a relaxing beautiful place in nature. Visualize feeling good about not giving in to “it,” and think about how you’ve resisted other urges like when you wanted to yell at someone and didn’t.[cv] Take advantage of any training programs available in prison.
Q: I’ve made very poor choices recently that involve substances and sex, that I regret, and I’m so overwhelmed with all the emotions that are coming up that I feel disabled. I feel like a terrible person for the things I done. I feel like I’m so much better and smarter and wiser than this. I’m so ashamed. Then I have moments of thoughts that this all happens for whatever reason and the lessons may not come right at the moment but they will. I thought you could give me a few words of advice or look at my crazy energy and see what’s going on with me on some other karmic level that I can’t see. I want to work through this one quickly and gently, and become stronger, rather than what I have done in the past with painful experiences–I’ve shoved them deep down from being so afraid of them.
A: The image that came up for me is a cloud of lovely light stuff lifting up, separating from a pile of junky stuff sinking down. This is a time when you’re becoming more aware of the unconscious attitudes and beliefs that lead to self-sabotage. Please really pay attention to and write about the feelings that led you to make unwise decisions. Think of the most shameful one, and write about the circumstances, the feelings and thoughts. What do the sub-personalities say; such as, “I deserve to be humiliated because_______?” Write down your first thoughts and feelings, without censoring. Counter confusion with simplicity with two firm rules of conduct: no drugs and no sex without the foundation of mutual love and respect.
Q: Every man I’ve been involved with has ended up being abusive.
A: Clear out the habit of associating romance with violence with an energy psychology—see the Glossary. Vow to put on x-ray vision glasses to recognize a familiar pattern and walk away from it in the future. Focus on empowering yourself and stay out of romances until you’re stronger.
Q: [Canada] Sometimes I’ll pull out my eyelashes when I’m bored, but not in large quantities. It’s weird, so I’d like to stop.
A: Obsessive-compulsive disorders include self-harming, as by cutting or burning one’s skin, or pulling hair.[cvi] Crissy, 17, California, explained, “I cut myself because I feel so much pain inside that I need a way to release it all. So by cutting myself, it acts as an outlet for that pain, I guess, somehow. It feels like it’s all running out of me when I see myself bleeding. That probably sounds gross to people who don’t do this. Yes, I am in group therapy for people who self injure.”
A study of British students ages 15 and 16 found that 10% hurt themselves, two-thirds by cutting. Princess Diana admitted she cut her arms and legs and so did actress Angelina Jolie as a teenager. About 2 to 3 million Americans engage in self-injury, mostly females between the ages of 13 and 30. They usually are not suicidal. Girls are four times more likely than boys to self-harm, sometimes to cope with emotional pain, anxiety, and tension—sometimes caused by sexual abuse.
Cutting and hair pulling can be a search for emotional pain relief, releasing it into the physical pain, as Crissy explained above. When we feel pain, morphine-like substances are released in the body, which takes away feelings of distress. Anorexia can numb pain in similar ways, because when you are starving, the body releases substances that make us feel high. But, it doesn’t solve the cause of the pain. To do that, we need to get help from a counselor, a parent, or Child Protective Services in the case of abuse by a family member.
Self-injury usually begins between ages 10 and 16, often with a difficult event such as divorce, or feeling not good enough, rejected or blamed, or otherwise being made to feel wrong. Kids need to learn other ways to cope with pain such as exercising, doing something creative, and seeing a counselor and joining a therapy group. Shehroz, age 18, comments from Pakistan, “There is definitely some cultural or lifestyle involvement why teenagers in USA behave this way because I have never heard of Pakistani teenagers hurting themselves or going to therapies for such problems.” An interesting book postulates that US problems like eating disorders spread around the world, along with its popular culture–Ethan Watters’s Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche.
The traditional medical model for physical and mental health values a compliant patient who follows doctor’s orders without questioning. Although medical professionals are familiar with the power of the placebo effect and its clear and repeated demonstration of the impact of thoughts and beliefs on the body, they’ve tended to ignore its implications for healing. Instead they follow the lead of the pharmaceutical companies who make profits selling drugs and ignore or discredit less expensive remedies without side effects that can’t be patented for a profit. Of course, there are times when we need drugs and are appreciative of them.
In this information era, we can access a wide variety of sources about complementary and alternative remedies such as herbs, whole foods, homeopathy, vitamins and minerals, flower essences, bodywork, kinesiology, and acupuncture. We’re accessing ancient knowledge gathered for thousands of years in China and India to understand how to balance the mind and body with techniques like meditation or working with acupressure points on the meridians. Simple ways to harness the power of thought are at our disposal 24/7 including visualization, reframing our understanding of a challenge, setting clear intention and clearing out self-sabotage. I’d like your feedback on what ideas were useful to you and additional solutions you’ve discovered. Please email email@example.com.
Note: [Japan] signals that the question is from a country other than the US, usually Japan or China. These people were students in my energy tools workshop or an individual coaching session, or young people who responded to a survey for my book on global issues through the eyes of youth.
Chakras: energy centers, based on ancient Hindu analysis of the human energy field. They contain unconscious memories and beliefs. The seven major chakras are found along the spine, the first at the base of the spine, the seventh at the top of the head (www.balanced-energy.com/a_bit_about_chakras.htm).
Energy Tools: Visualizations to harness the power of the mind through intention are explained in my book Essential Energy Tools and illustrated in three videotapes listed in the bookstore http://www.gaylekimball.info. The book describes how to ground, center, energize, achieve goals, and develop intuitive and healing abilities. My CD Kids’ Mind Power is available for children and Meditate with Dr. Gayle Kimball for adults. Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD, commented that the greatest medical advances of the next decade will involved manipulating the body’s energy flow, as acupuncturists seem to do. “I’ve always been frustrated that we’ve not been able to measure energy, but I’m not willing to write off what a billion people think is possible, just because we can’t measure it in the West.”
Emotional Freedom Technique: In some of the responses there is a reference to EFT. Psychologist Roger Callahan realized that self-sabotage must be removed in a way that includes the unconscious mind and energetic blocks. Gary Craig simplified Callahan’s acupressure tapping and called it Emotional Freedom Technique, as explained in his free manual (available at www.EFTUniverse.com) or in my Essential Energy Tools book. With a coach or by yourself, you tap on a set of meridian points while addressing the problem and the solution.
Tapping on acupressure points sends signals to the brain, as does thinking about a problem (for example to the amygdala and other parts of the emotional limbic center of the brain). Brain scans show these signals interact to clear the problem, similar to systematic desensitization used to treat anxiety since the 1950s.
For research on the effectiveness of tapping, see “Research” at the Energy Psychology Association and the EFTUniverse website which reports on studies. Brain mapping showed that stimulation of acupuncture points caused brain wave normalization that became more pronounced in the year following treatment. For example, patients with anxiety disorder experienced an increase in the neurotransmitter serotonin, unlike the traditional treatment group. Tapping on the gallbladder acupressure point 37 on the leg put subjects in deep alpha, which ended immediately after tapping ceased, according to research by psychologists Lambrou and Pratt. When they tested non-acupressure points, they found no such move to a deep alpha brain state, as measured in a Functional Magnetic Resonance Imagery machine at the University of California at Irvine.
Another clearing technique holds acupressure points while thinking about an issue and a solution, called TAT–Tapas Acupressure Technique. A free TAT instruction bulletin is available, developed by acupuncturist Tapas Fleming. A third technique, EMDR, balances and clears by moving the eyes right and left to balance brain hemispheres. Developed by psychologist Francine Shapiro, it’s often used for Post Traumatic Stress
Energy Therapies: Energy psychology therapies use techniques to involve both brain hemispheres and tapping on acupressure meridian points to clear old trauma that was too potent at the time to be processed and released. These therapies include Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, Thought Field Therapy, Emotional Freedom Technique, Energy Diagnostic and Treatment Methods, and Tapas Acupressure Technique. All are referred to by their initials. They work on phobias, fears, Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD), and irrational beliefs.
Gary Craig developed Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), tapping on a set of meridian points to clear out blocks, adapted from psychologist Roger Callahan’s Thought Field Therapy. EFT works with the power of thought and with the life force energy in the body. If we get stressed and tired, we don’t have energy to give out, the same as if you tried to get juice from an orange you’d already squeezed. EFT can help get the juices going again. It works with energy channels in the body, 12 regular meridians identified in the second century C.E. in China. There’s a lot of research showing the existence of meridians. EFT balances the energy field partly by tapping on points along the highways of energy—acupuncturists using tiny needles use these acupressure points. His manual and DVDS are available at no cost on the web.[cvii] It will give you new tools to work with on yourself and with others.
Here’s a seven-year old boy’s report on using EFT: “It makes the bad stuff not hurt as much. They look at me funny [at school when he’s tapping]. But now they know why I do it. My friend got over his dog dying by tapping. I showed him how to help his heart.“ He uses EFT to deal with his anger issues and stopped having tantrums at school.
Another technique, Dr. Wayne Topping suggests programming the subconscious with a “temporal tap” on the skull, about one-half inch from the ear, starting at the front orifice, up behind the ear on the skull, to the bottom of the ear lobe. On the left side, include a “no,” as in “I no longer need to smoke.” Repeat about five times. Tap in a positive statement on the right side, such as “I put only healthy substances in my body.” Do this simple but effect tapping daily as it may take a while to change unconscious patterns. When Robin recently got involved with a new boyfriend, she experienced flashbacks of an ex-husband who battered her for years. PTSD kicked in with nightmares and insomnia. After a session of acupressure tapping, Robin reported: “Last night I slept for six hours straight without one nightmare. This is the first time I’ve slept that long in years. Also the flashbacks when I’m with my new boyfriend are virtually gone already and I feel good. I’ll continue to tap and I’ve added more affirmations to my morning and evening meditation.” A useful book that combines some of these techniques is by psychologists Lambrou and Pratt, Instant Emotional Healing: Acupressure for the Emotions.
Silvia Hartmann developed another energy psychology technique, called EmoTrance. Like many healers, she believes all energy needs to flow in and out and not be held. To clear a problem, a block, the client is asked “Where do you feel it in your body? Describe the sensations.” The client should move from thought, to emotion, to sensation of the energy flow and stay with it rather than analyzing. Remind him, “Think of energy as a fluid substance and place your hands on the sensation. We’re going to move out the energy behind the feeling.” The client moves her hands releasing the stuck energy through paths or channels out of the body; for example, through the arms, through yawning, crying, shaking, or speaking. Tell her to breathe into the area, repeat directions to allow it to soften, relax, and move it out. The helper does not touch or do the work, just creates a safe environment and keeps the emphasis on sensing.
Some people who are armored or heavily shielded may not feel much. Hartmann suggests they try making a small hole in the shielding to see how it feels to allow energy in and out. Keep asking for feedback and repeat until the client feels happy; laughter often accompanies the final release (see http://www.emotrance.com). This simple technique can light up some intense issues and help release them.
A kinesiology technique to release an emotional trauma is to put your fingers lightly on the two slight bumps on your forehead beneath the hair line, feeling for pulses in your forehead in your finger pads. These pulses are subtler than the blood pulsing, so touch very lightly. Think about the trauma, and also think about a smell, sound, taste, color, and physical sensation to engage different parts of the brain in the clearing process. Wait for an energy shift such as a sigh. Then re-think the experience, as you would have liked it to happen, with eyes moving right to left and the fingers still on the neurolymphatic bumps.
[iv] Daily aerobic exercise is a reliable and effective treatment for mild to moderate depression, but new research suggests that yoga may work even better. A study from Boston University School of Medicine showed that practicing yoga increased levels of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric) in the brain. Low levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter, are associated with depression and anxiety disorders. Investigators followed two randomized groups of healthy volunteers for 12 weeks. One group performed an hour of yoga three times a week, while the other group walked for an hour three times a week. Before and after the last session, the researchers compared the GABA levels of each of the volunteers using magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging. They found increased GABA levels and decreased anxiety among the participants in the yoga group, who also reported a significantly greater decrease in anxiety and more improved mood over the course of the study than did the volunteers in the walking group. The study was published online by the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. www.drweil.com/drw/u/WBL02209/Cool-Images-Can-Ease-Hot-Flashes.html
1 Brian Greene’s book The Fabric of the Cosmos is the basis for the 2011 series. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/elegant
[viii] See the section on “imagine Increased Muscle Strength-Experiment,” http://www.fi.edu/learn/brain/exercise.html
[xii] Described in the Glossary and http://silviahartmann.com/EmoTrance- Energy.php
[xiii] Nadine Goodman. Detox: Five Dozen Ways To Detoxify Your Body.
[xv] The chart below comes from this website http://theamt.com/meridian_chart_and_map_of_meridians_meridian_points_acupoints.htm
[xvii] Robert Preidt, “Study: Freedom More Important to Happiness than Wealth,” USA Today, June 24, 2011.
[xviii] “Happiness Can Be Inherited,” Reuters, March 6, 2008www.enn.com/top_stories/article/32384
[xix] John Cloud, “Why Your DNA Isn’t Your Destiny,” Time Magazine, January 6, 2010.
[xxi] James Fowler and Nicholas Christakis, “The Dynamic Spread of Happiness in a Large Social Network,” NIH Public Access, December 2008
[xxvii] National Survey on Drug Use and Health. http://www.samhsa.gov/data/NSDUH/2k10MH_Findings/2k10MHResults.htm
[xxxvi] www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2003/03/caring-for-your-introvert/2696, Elaine Aron’s The Highly Sensitive Person, and Keirsey and Bates’ Understand Me Please.
[xliv] Paul E. Dennison, Ph.D., and Gail E. Dennison developed Brain Gym as explained in Smart Moves by Carla Hannaford, Ph.D. .http://esl.about.com/od/englishlessonplans/a/braingym.htm
[xlix] Vin Miller, “How Sugar Can Ruin Your Life,” Natural Bias, May 18, 2009
DVD “The World According to Monsanto,”
[liv] Photos of global youth and their homes: www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Global-Youth-SpeakOut/160382763986923.
[lv] Lauren Piscopo, “Out of the Blues,” Natural Health Magazine, September 2011.
Julia Ross. The Mood Cure. Penguin Books, 2002.
[lvii] William Broad. The Science of Yoga. Simon & Schuster, 2012.
[lviii] Researchers led by Jay Fournier at the University of Pennsylvania found the drugs helped only those patients with the most severe forms of depression.
[lxxvii] drweil.com, Dr Balch at http://www.nutritionadvisor.com/immunocal_balch.php and www.peoplespharmacy.com
In regards to alternative remedies, I consult Prescription for Nutritional Healing by Dr. and Ms. Balsch and the Essential Oils Pocket Reference, research the Internet, consult a naturopath trained in homeopathy, herbs, etc. and other alternative practitioners. A PBS documentary on CAM can be obtained by calling 800-229-8575.
[lxxix] David Freedman, “The Triumph of New-Age Medicine,” The Atlantic, July 2011, pp. 96-97.
CURRICULUM IN INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE: <http://www.ahc.umn.edu/img/assets/20825/CURRICULUM_final.pdf>
Michael Reed Gach. Acupressure’s Potent Points. Bantam, 1990. Denise Brown. Hand Reflexology. Eagle Editions, UK, 2000. Iona Teeguarden. Acupressure Way of Health: Jin Shin Do. Japan Publications, 1978
Abuse, 26, 54-55, 65, 88, 113
Acupressure points, 9, 78-81
Anger, 43-45, 48,
Alternative medicine, 76, 100
Balance the energy field, 14-16, 34-35, 69-70, 98
Beauty aids, 76, 102-103
Brain chemistry, 47-48, 50
Breathing, 6, 29, 34, 72, 85
Cancer, 73-74, 99, 101, 103
Cell physiology, 57
Chinese Traditional Medicine, 77-81, 101
Clearing old habits, 9-13, 89, 106, 108, 112
Cognitive restructuring, 21, 36
Communication skills, 44-45
Death, 63, 65
Depression, 47-56, 118
Dreams, 61-62, 64-65, 87
Emotions, 6, 18, 51, 57, 74-75
Emotional Freedom Technique, 9, 115-116
Energy psychologies, 114-116
Essential oils, 71
Fatigue, 48, 83-87
Food for health, 39-41, 72-74, 85-86, 103-104; Overeating, 89-93,
Goal achievement, 16-17
Grief, 56, 58
Grounding, 38, 52
Guilt, 45, 59, 66,
Health information, 69
Herbs, 39-40, 73-74, 85
Hyperactivity, 70, 98
Immune system, 40, 74
Intuition, 62-63, 65
Introversion and sensitivity, 41-43
Longevity, 72-73, 103-105
Massage, 35, 96
Meditation, 50, 94
Men’s roles, 67
Mental illness, 23-24, 44, 47-48
Meridians, 14, 77-78
Muscle test, 70
Neuro-Linguistic Programming, 9, 13, 28, 67, 94
Obsessive-compulsive behaviors, 28, 113
Positive psychology, 19
Sleep, insomnia; 84, 86
Stress reduction, 33-41, 69-70
Supplements, vitamins, 40, 71, 73, 85
Quantum physics, 7, 62
Time management, 39
Thought power, 5-9, 61, 63, 67, 95-96
Trauma, 51-52, 116
Unconscious subpersonalities, 10, 54-55, 63; mind, 61, 65
Visualizations, 37-38, 42, 99
Voice Dialogue, 10-12
Water, 71, 96