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We can carry tension in several areas of the body, some more prevalent than others, including the shoulders, the back and for many of us, the jaw. (I happen to be one of ‘those’.)

Having worked with the chakra system (energy centers in our body) for well over ten years now, I have recognized the correlation between emotional, physical and energetic imbalances.

The jaw region relates to Vissuddha, the throat chakra – our seat of self-expression authenticity and truth. Tightness in this area can have many underlying causes: frustration, grief, and fear to name a few. These emotions can be broken down yet again to address deeper issues. For example, if you are holding back from sharing information with someone because you either fear hurting their feelings or you yourself fear the backlash, we can hold this tightness in the jaw.

If you are going through a period of loss in your life (or anticipation of loss) – whether of a loved one, a home, or even a job, this is another key stimulus for aching jaws.

So what to do to relieve the pain? Of course addressing (or at least acknowledging) the emotional component is key in the process of release. There are also acupressure points that can help alleviate the pressure. (Most specifically, “Jaw Chariot” – Stomach 6 point.)ram-ham-yam1

What I would like to suggest to you today though is a very noteworthy practice to consider. As a sound therapist, I have long encouraged the use of toning, chanting and affirmations as a means to achieving healing and balance, particularly the Sanskrit Seed sounds relating to each of the chakras.

These sounds are ‘infused’ with thousands of years of energy meaning when we tone them we are immediately tapping into the healing potential associated with eons of previous chanting. The sounds are as follows:

ROOT CHAKRA – LAM (Stability)
SACRAL CHAKRA – VAM (Creativity/Flow/Release of Fear)
SOLAR PLEXUS CHAKRA – RAM (Courage/Confidence/Digestion of all things Incoming)
HEART CHAKRA – YAM (Compassion/Love/Forgiveness/Non-judgment)
THROAT CHAKRA – HAM (Authenticity/Self-Expression/Truth)
THIRD EYE CHAKRA – OM (Clarity/Focus/Intuition)
CROWN CHAKRA – SILENCE (One with All/ Consciousness)

(All ‘-AM’ sounds pronounced as “-UM” e.g. LAM sounds like LUM.)
Now whether you buy into the energetic component of chanting or not, when dealing with pain in the jaw the very practice of toning a sound that incorporates “MMM” sound will cause a vibrational repercussion in this area. This vibration stimulates a relaxation response that I have found capable of at least temporarily alleviating the pain and the tension.

So one could leave it at that. Chant OM or YAM or even just hum and be done with it. BUT I want to add one more piece to the process. I created (and wrote an entire book) on the theory of what I call “Chakra Play.” In Chakra Play we marry up more than one energy field to address emotional or physical imbalances.

Let’s return to the above-mentioned example. You are feeling frustrated because you need to share some information with a friend or loved one (or even an acquaintance) and are fearful of the response this may bring. You don’t want to hurt anyone but you also know that the status quo is no longer manageable.

I would suggest to you toning the following three Sanskrit Seed sounds in succession, for a total of nine rounds.
RAM (build your confidence)
YAM (do this with compassion for self and whoever else is involved)
HAM (open the lines of communication/ free up throat chakra)

(Each of these sounds also has particular hand motions that also go along with them. For a much more in-depth look at chakras and chakra play, please visit my webpage http://www.sagebutterfly.com/everythingchakras.html.)

I encourage you to give this chanting a try if you are suffering with pain in your jaw and the potential headaches that can also come about from holding the stress. Below also find a recording of the chakra play I have detailed above.

Let me know how it goes for you!! Here’s to an authentic, stress-free life and our part in bringing this about.

Namasté.

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Ahhhh… Stillness.

Each morning when we wake life offers us a blank canvas. Regardless of what’s happened in the past, we have a moment by moment opportunity to allow the colors of this day to emerge.

When we come from a place of loving-kindness both for ourselves and others, the unfolding will be a much more eloquent one. It doesn’t mean there won’t be twists and turns that may momentarily grip us but a heart-centered base will ensure that, regardless of the outer cacophony, the inner landscape will remain peaceful and profound.

From this place of inner peace, may we dip our brush into the wells of love, joy and equanimity, painting an evolving portrait of this miracle we call life.

Ahhh…. Stillness. This is what meditation teaches me. May this gift be a part of your life as well.

still

 

You know when something that you already ‘know’ sinks in at a deeper level and you get it from a core place within you? Well this is happening to me all around the words, “YOUR THOUGHTS ARE POWERFUL.”I was listening to a beautiful guided meditation that ended with these words when this happened.

I think we can all relate to times when we have entered a room and though no one was speaking a total feeling of dread or unease comes over us. Or in another situation, unbridled joy for no seeming reason at all.

As beings of energy, every thought we think, every word we utter does not remained contained in some bubble. This energy is communicated to the world around us. I was pondering the meaning of all this as I walked Bailey Nanda, my golden retriever, along the beach the other morning. And I asked myself, what am I sending out to the world… Daggers or flowers? It’s sometimes easy when experiencing some unrest in our lives to allow it to overtake our thought patterns often in an endless downward spiral. BUT when we become aware of the repercussions, it does indeed get easier to question if that is the direction we want to go – not only out of personal reasons, but to be shall we call it, environmentally correct? Littering goes far beyond ‘physical garbage.’

And so I find that I am now a much more dedicated steward of thought. If it doesn’t serve me or the world at large, let it go. Find, rather, one of the myriad reasons I have to be grateful and share that. Years ago when I was living in Nashville, I ran a song writer’s night at a local venue. One older gentleman named Joe who was a regular participant sat on stage one evening and played a song I will never forget. It was entitled, “The City of Contentment is in the State of Mind.”

Profound, dear Joe. Share Flowers. No daggers.

Nanda OMMMM

Nanda OMMMMM…

Recently I said goodbye to Bella. Bella is/was my 20 year old burgundy Toyota Rav4. Some may find it odd or even a little silly to be saddened at saying farewell to a car. But as I thought about the sadness, it occurred to me the many reasons why ‘letting go’ of her was an emotional event.

In 1996 I purchased her when I was living in Nashville, Tennessee and in 2001 she made the move with me to Birch Bay, Washington. During those two decades, she was privy to many a life event, often joyful, some scary and others heart-wrenching. She was there when I lowered the windows, playing favorite tunes singing at the top of my lungs. She was there when I closed all the windows and either screamed or swore in frustration. She was there when loss entered my life and I cried my eyes out. She was there during many journeys carrying several of my past canine companions (at one point three at once) as well as my most recent sidekick, Bailey Nanda. She was there during travels with some of my closest friends, offering us a haven to share our deepest dreams, concerns and triumphs.

So yes. I am sad. Her successor is a very good-looking 2015 Kia Soul who, being her brother, is christened with the name ‘Bello.’ (Male version of Bella. Not sure how I know he is a boy but it felt right.) When I was about to leave her at the dealership in Everett, tears in my eyes, I asked the salesman if any of his other clients had cried when they said goodbye to their cars. He had a twinkle in his eye as he replied, “Maybe one or two.” (Somehow I think there may be many others who will relate to this story.)

As I pondered what I wanted to say in this blog, a poem that I wrote way back at the tender age of 19 sprang to mind. I was considering leaving college to go travel and had some big decisions to make. It was a time of letting go at that early point in my life as well. The words to the poem seem now quite timeless to me. No matter our age, our situation or our evolving path, it seems we all celebrate, mourn and experience very similar life emotions.

Namasté.

Standing At Midstream

standing at midstream…
looking back, looking ahead-
wondering why, and then why not…

smiling at memories, aching at losses.

hoping for more time to live,
more strength to love,
more will to conquer
all that crosses my path.

needing someone near,
finding them.
needing to be needed,
being there.

breathing deep to clear my head…
phrases, conversations, bits and pieces
of long ago and yesterday
flitting through my mind.

hello’s, goodbye’s,
intermittent moments shared with friends.

goals accomplished,
others discarded…
new aims to be molded and strived for.

a whirlpool of endings,
a collage of beginnings…
flow on,
flow on.

– Maureen
© sage butterfly

On a recent shopping trip to Haggen Market in Ferndale, Washington, my partner Tim and I did our usual routine – he goes one way to do his shopping, I go my own way to do mine and we meet up beyond the registers to await one another when complete.

This particular day I had a number of things on my list, including several items from the bulk food section. As I headed for check out the lines were quite long and I was pondering which one to join when a store employee tapped me and guided me to use the ‘Express Lane’ (9 items or less) since it was open. I pointed to my cart and though it was obvious, mentioned that I had many more items than that. She just nodded and said, “I know. No problem. Head on over.”

So against my better judgment (I tend to be quite rule conscious at least in these type situations), I went to this aisle. A gentleman was just finishing paying and I was next. Just then another man walked up behind me carrying only his lunch. I asked if he would like to go in front of me and he said no. Feeling quite out of place now, I just did my best to breathe and remember, “SHE told me to get into this line. And she WORKS HERE.” I did explain this to the cashier when she eyed my cart, and she just smiled and shrugged her shoulders as if to say, “Well, whatever.” Now as she began ringing things up, including WEIGHING the bulk items, the line had now morphed into at least five folks waiting, all with just 2 or 3 things to buy. I SO wanted to run up and down the line and screaming, “THEY TOLD ME TO STAND HERE!!”

Now… it gets even better. In my attempt to overcome my discomfort, I began to chat. With the cashier, the man behind me, etc etc. Just about now, Tim was on his way to another check out line and noticed a woman in the express aisle who appeared to have way too many items for this line. (He only saw the top of my head and didn’t yet know it was me.) Thinking to himself, “Well how rude. Can’t she see this is for a quick check out? Guess the world revolves around HER.” THEN he noticed it was ME!! And was quite taken aback. “Wow,’ thought he, “I’m really surprised she would do that.”

OK. Now. Finally. All checked out and paid up and meeting up with Tim. He kind of looked at me funny and while I noticed that, I was MUCH too anxious to explain to him what JUST HAPPENED TO ME. Total discomfort and embarrassment.

After sharing my experience, we just looked at each other and burst out laughing!!! Relief on my part that I was finally out of there… Relief on his part that his partner wasn’t capable of such blatantly rude behavior.

SO. Next time you witness what you BELIEVE to be the truth of a situation, stop, take a breath, and remember, things aren’t ALWAYS as they appear to be.

(And next time someone offers me the ‘gift’ of standing in an express lane with my full cart, I will politely decline.)

Each morning my beautiful golden retriever companion, Bailey Nanda and I head out for our
daily ritual of drinking in the day.  Often still dark, we are blessed with a plethora of awe-inspiring unfoldings as dawn becomes daylight. From lingering starlight on some occasions, to a sunrise over Mt. Baker in brilliant hues of gold, apricot and turquoise, to a wild riot of a billion snowflakes kissing our eyes and cheeks, to gale force winds dancing in trees and in our hair, nature blesses our every step.

I have taken to adding in a walking meditation centered on gratitude that I practice first for myself and then –  it becomes ‘Metta’ – a form of loving kindness for all of life.  I would love to share this here with you in the hopes that it may resonate and become part of your own daily ritual as you honor YOU and all Sentient Beings.

Opening:
I Am Grateful for…
– my strong, healthy body
– my calm, clear mind
– my tranquil soul
– my open, peaceful heart.

(This I repeat several times in rhythm to the cadence of our walking.)

Then it becomes “Metta” as I repeat:

May All Beings know…
– a strong, healthy body
– a calm, clear mind
– a tranquil soul
– an open, peaceful heart.

(Once again, repeating for a deepening of the prayer and intention.)

In closing, my wish for you is all of the above.  As we share our inner light generously from the from the love within us, transformation is a certainty. So simple, yet so profound, the changes we can inspire when we live and commune from our beautiful hearts.

Namasté.
BaileyNanda1-feb17

Each morning I receive an email message from Abraham (Esther Hicks) and a recent article she shared really hit home.

When we are saddened by the plight of another, be it financial, health-related, or perhaps due to the loss of a loved one, most of us find ourselves being drawn to respond in some way to ease their pain.

BUT if we respond in the same energetic frequency that is CAUSING the pain, we not only do not assist, we add to the misery. Let me explain.

Say your friend is experiencing a period of low income and struggling to make ends meet.  You would like to gift them $100 to help cover some bills. IF you make this offer seeing them in a state of lack, thinking for instance, “‘Poor’ Roberta is having some real hard times and needs me,” you will only add to the state of lack.  Alternatively, when seeing Roberta as worthy of all the abundance of the Universe (as are we all) your gift will be a true blessing in assisting her in realizing this Truth.

This same theory applies to all of the other ‘imbalances’ as well.  If your friend is ill, do what you can to assist while seeing them in perfect, radiant health, the ‘natural’ state of our bodies.  If they are going through a grieving period, gently be there allowing the grief while offering glimpses of the joy that will begin to resurface when they are ready.

It’s but a slight shift in an energetic process to really ‘get this’ but the reverberation can be truly life changing.    To quote Abraham:

“Of course, it is a wonderful thing to help others, but you must do it from your position of strength and alignment, which means you must be in alignment with their success as you offer assistance, and not in alignment with their problem.”
Seeing you in all of your innate perfection… open to the limitless gifts of this abundant Universe.
Namasté.

daisy-ladybug

Two months ago today (as I write this), Oct. 18, 2016, this beautiful Being entered my life.  In many ways it feels much longer, perhaps because he looks so much like my dear Bo. But in reality, we are still learning to ‘dance’ with one another.  Joining a new, unfamiliar household at the age of 7 offers its share of hurdles for both of us.  I do believe his first several weeks were a bit of shock to his system as he underwent surgery (having never been neutered) and unfortunately experienced an infection at the incision site.  So his ‘welcome gift’ was a removal of his ‘manhood’ along with being forced to wear a silly lampshade around his head for over 3 weeks.  (OK, a cone. But as my dear friend Chris observes, it is indeed much like a lampshade.)

So what kind of WELCOME was this?  And I’m sure in his mind he was muttering,  “You’ve got to be kidding me… WHAT have I gotten myself into?!” as he bounced off walls and any objects in his path. Not exactly what he would have chosen, I’m sure.  I did share with him every chance I got that this was indeed NOT the norm, and he had much joy to look forward to. But given that animals live in the moment, this was not the most comforting news.

I do also believe his former guardian was a male and that he lived with other canine companions. So now, along with the surgery recovery and lampshade adornments, he was cohabitating with a WOMAN in charge, as well as a headstrong deaf cat. (Who loves Bailey Nanda dearly, by the way.)  Talk about change.

So now that the incision is all healed, the lampshade long gone, good healthy food and ample treats to partake of, several walks a day regardless of weather AND cozy sleeping quarters on the couch or the bed, I am pretty sure that life has taken on a ‘new glow.’   He did also share with me the other day that he isn’t particularly fond of ‘baby talk’ so I do my best to engage him in intelligent conversation as well. He is adorable in every sense of the word and I could not be more blessed.

*Also of note, especially for anyone who has a pet with seizure activity, Bailey Nanda’s medical reports – a bit scanty at best from the shelter – show that he has been on phenobarbital for several years after experiencing mild seizures some time ago.  Due to my quest to keep things as ‘natural’ as possible (along with the short and long-term side effects of the drug – lethargy, weight gain, liver damage) I am on the road to weaning him down and hopefully completely off this med.  CBD oil has been shown to be quite effective in preventing seizures  as well as various acupressure points and a ketogenic diet. (high fat, adequate protein and low carb).  If anyone would like more info on this, please just email me and I will share what I am learning.

WINTER HEALTH TIPS: So If you CAN’T Hibernate…

As we enter the season of winter, ‘Kidney’ season in Traditional Chinese Medicine, there are several things we can do to insure a healthy experience.  Just as the bears hibernate, the plants and trees go dormant, we are also being asked to slow things down.  This is, of course, not always easy as we find ourselves in the midst of holiday celebrations, shopping trips and generally more social outings and commitments than at other times of year.  So yes, indulge, but do so with some awareness on the rest your body is not only seeking but requires to maintain good health.

Foods to Support the Season:
Think yummy, warm hearty soups and foods that nourish inside and out including:
whole grains, quinoa, oats, squash, potatoes, root veggies, carrots, cabbage, black beans, dark green leafy veggies
& roasted nuts.

Lifestyle Tips:
* Stay hydrated (& avoid too much salt)  Also be aware also of not OVER-hydrating.  We hear so much about drinking enough water that we forget this can be overdone as well. You can decipher whether you are imbibing a healthy amount of H2O from the color of your urine. It should be pale straw through a transparent yellow.  NO color, you are drinking too much water.   Dark yellow, still normal but add more water.  Amber or honey, drink water now. Brown – severe dehydration and possible liver imbalance.

* Keep the feet, lower back (kidney region) and back of neck area warm. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Kidneys store what is known as ‘Jing’ – the essence of life. Keeping the feet and lower back warm will help maintain our vitality and life force by nearing the Kidney ‘qi’ (energy). Also we have acupoints located at the back of the head, neck and shoulders where our ‘Wei Qi’ (immune defense) can be easily compromised making us susceptible to wind, cold and dampness. Wearing a hat and scarf can help keep you protected.

* Practice yoga, qigong and meditation for movement and stress release – this of course, in any season.  But in the cold winter months, finding indoor activities becomes even more important.

* Get ample sleep – again – this is important all year round, but even more so in the season of darkness.  A natural sleep aid if you tend towards insomnia is valerian root.  I like the tincture and get mine at Vitacost.com.

Acupressure to Maintain Balance:
The Kidney & Bladder meridians are related to the season of winter and there are several acupressure points that can help contribute to balance, as well as massage of the kidneys themselves. These energy channels are associated with more than just the kidney and bladder/urinary health but also the spine/lower back, ears, reproductive organs, knees, feet and  joints. Working with the Kidney meridian can also help reduce the fear we carry, as this is the emotion linked to this organ when out of balance.

Two key points to consider:

Kidney 1(Bubbling Wells): located on bottom of foot, 1/3 way down between first and second toes. Very grounding as it drains excess from upper body thereby addressing headaches, ‘monkey mind’, insomnia and more

Kidney 27 (Elegant Mansion): located in small depressions underneath the knob of collarbone. Brings all energy fields into balance, addresses chest congestion, asthma, shallow breathing, throat pain and emotionally, restores balance and energy flow throughout body.

Kidney massage: above belt-line, both sides of spine- stimulates the kidneys, provides warmth and reduces levels of fear in body.

Blessing to all for a beautiful Solstice,  healthy, joyous Christmas and holiday season and AMAZING 2017.:)

I know one thing for certain… nothing is certain. – Maureen

Have you ever considered that for even the most minuscule parts of our day to unfold, everything must align? Maybe this is really most apparent when something unexpected occurs.

This message was brought home to me in a big way last week when I experienced an ‘unexpected’ collision. A gentleman at a stop sign proceeded to accelerate just as I was about to turn into the parking lot where he was situated. There was that momentary “OH SHOOT!” (Well maybe I said something a little more expressive), as I realized he was headed my way and I could do nothing to prevent it. And so, the driver side of my car was rammed – no injury – just the hassle of what follows an accident (police reports, insurance claims, etc.)

That night as I was pondering the incident, I had that ‘a-ha’ moment – how EVERYTHING indeed had to align for this to occur. I had taught yoga that morning, had coffee with friends, and was heading to shop. WHAT IF I hadn’t stopped to use the restroom? WHAT IF I had chatted just a minute longer (or even 15 seconds)? WHAT IF he had taken a different exit from the parking lot? ALL of this had to align in order for us to ‘meet’. Mere seconds might have prevented it. But it was – as cliché as this sounds – ‘meant to be.’ And what else occurred to me, and this could perhaps be a reason WHY it happened, just maybe it prevented one of us from experiencing something far more tragic or set us up for something far more wonderful. If we hadn’t been delayed, who knows what direction the rest of not only our day but perhaps our lives would have meandered? Sometimes looking at a bigger picture can bring those not-so-welcome transactions more into perspective.

So yes even minuscule events that can indeed change the course of our lives. And this, I believe, adds to the mystery of the whole adventure.

I write this on Thanksgiving day 2016. In homage to this, may we find gratitude in the most mundane, as well as the most glorious episodes of our lives.

Blessings All.

wumen

Be yourself. Everyone else is taken. – Oscar Wilde

We have been celebrating heart chakra this week in yoga along with a theme of authenticity. Truth resides in the heart and when we act and move from this precious chamber we are naturally authentic.

So perhaps this practice led to the mind-heart-soul revelation I find myself experiencing regarding my ‘independent streak’. Whether due to my Aquarian sun sign or just my overall nature, I have always been what I would call individualistic, choosing to do things a little differently (or perhaps a lot in some cases).

I remember being punished by the nun ‘teaching’ me in early grade school when I chose to have my own style of handwriting – (“That’s NOT how it’s done!” I was told… “BUT this is how I DO it”, thought I) – to adopting lifestyles that didn’t always ‘conform to the norm’. (I had ample opportunity to shock while married to a man in the military for 17 years. He was remarkably understanding of his ‘wayward wife’ and while perhaps a bit exasperated from time to time, I think he also admired that I chose to follow my own unique path.)

And perhaps I just find the conventional boring. That probably won’t ever change.

What has, though, become rather unpredictably apparent is that there is indeed a shadow side to being independent. It reveals itself when one holds back from completely letting go – whether in a relationship, a life decision or any situation where there’s a fear of losing one’s way or one’s theoretical stability. And in this shadow, the heart closes off.

Because my most cherished goal is to live 110% from my heart, this discovery is a bit alarming but at the same time very welcome. I am learning that independence can indeed cohabitate with allowing oneself to become vulnerable. One can walk to the beat of one’s own drum and still shed the armor. This may take a while to integrate, but it’s worth the effort and I am willing to give it a chance.

AFFIRMATION: My independent nature coexists blissfully with my vulnerable, open heart.Rolling With It

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