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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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I recently read an article that has had such an amazing impact on my overall approach to life that I had to share the message. It was all about letting go of complaining, starting each day with a firm persuasion to remain calm and neutral even in the face of great adversity.

Now I don’t normally consider myself a huge grumbler. Yes, there are times when the energy can run a little amok and I find myself a bit more verbose than others. Take for instance my recent reaction when folks asked me about my 4th of July ‘adventure’. My response: “AHHHHHH!!!!” I would ramble on about being horror-stricken by the incessant war-zone atmosphere that pervaded the entire Birch Bay beach area (where I now live) – so loud that the walls shook and windows rattled. I would mention being grateful that my cat is deaf and my golden retriever, Nanda, was drugged. I, on the other hand, suffered through…

Before I continue with the sharing of how this wonderful practice can usher in great inner peace, let me preface it with how I would NOW respond since implementing this ‘tool’:

How was your 4th of July? “Well, it was pretty loud. And If I find myself still living in Birch Bay next year, I will opt to go somewhere else for the night.” Done. Period.

So this is what I have learned. No matter the circumstance, complaining or carrying on about it in no way makes the situation easier to handle. On the contrary. It exacerbates it. Life is full of ups and downs. I now make a pact with myself each morning to NOT COMPLAIN. Even the very act of doing this brings me the most amazing sense of peace. It ushers in a slower breath pattern. It calms the heart. It empowers me to fully understand that it is ALWAYS up to me how I react in any given situation.

I am on day five of this ‘experiment’ and it is working beautifully. Red light? Just breathe. Twenty minute long train? Chance to meditate. Someone attempts to engage me in a pity party or anger session? I choose not to participate.

I invite you to give this a go. Be aware of what’s going on inside of you and around you. If you catch snatches of conversations in your environment (without being an eavesdropper) just get a sense of the quality of the exchange. So much of our ‘communication’ is caught up in negativity, blame and divisiveness. It really is totally up to us whether we walk a path of peace regarding both our internal self-talk as well as the banter going on around us. We can choose to remove ourselves from either scenario.

Making the effort to embrace the positive and relinquish the negative will escalate the experience of joy in your life in ways you may not even expect. So my invitation to you is just that… Go from grumbling to gratitude whenever possible and invite joy into your life by letting go of complaining.

Peace is an inside job.peaceisaninsidejob

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

 

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.:)

Ahhhh-choo!!

GRRRRR…

Owwww….

These are a few of the sounds you may be making as we move into Spring.  In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) this is the season of the Liver.  If you are experiencing any of the issues below, though they can occur at any time of year, they may be more pronounced as we move into this time frame.

Headaches/ body aches and pains:  In TCM language, we would call this STAGNATION SYMPTOMS – pain that feels like pressure, tightness or restriction.

Muscle Stiffness: The Liver and its associated system, the Gallbladder (the Yin and the Yang) bring nourishment to the body’s connective tissue including tendons, muscles and ligaments. If you are feeling more tension and tightness this is often believed to be arthritic symtoms when it could well be a sign of Liver imbalance. These feelings may feel exaggerated as we move into spring.

Feelings of anger: This is the emotion associated with the Liver – and while occasional bouts of anger are to be expected – kind of like a release valve- more frequent outbursts can suggest that the Liver is overtaxed.

Irritation/Frustration: These two emotions are associated Gallbladder imbalances and go hand-in-hand with the physical stagnation that can take place causing a feeling of ‘stuck-ness.’ You may feel yourself clenching your jaws more than normal, stiffness in the shoulder muscles, etc.

Feelings of anger: This is the emotion associated with the Liver – and while occasional bouts of anger are to be expected – kind of like a release valve-  more frequent outbursts can suggest that the Liver is overtaxed.  The Gallbladder kicks in with the feelings of frustration.

Digestive upsets: For our digestive system to run smoothly, the Liver needs to maintain a balanced flow and consistent movement throughout the body. Add to this the brain-gut connection and if you are more more stressed out than usual, the digestive function takes a hit as well.  KEY HERE:  Don’t eat when you are angry or upset – turn OFF the TV (especially if you are watching the news).

Vision/Eye imbalances:  The sense organ relating to the Liver is the eyes.  Any issue here is typically attributed at least in part to a Liver imbalance. This includes poor vision as well as eye pain and fatigue and dry eyes.

Acupressure can come to the rescue in many of these imbalances. There are two key points that can be used to address  many of the issues listed above. They are LV (Liver) 3 and LI (Large Intestine) 4 and are referred to as the ‘Four Gates’.

LV (LIVER) 3:  located on foot between first and second toes in front of bone convergence. This is the source point of the Liver meridian – like a ‘hub’ – where primordial qi (source of life) from particular organs gathers to be distributed throughout the rest of the body.  This is a ‘go-to’ point any time of year to release stagnation throughout the body and because of it’s connection with spring, even more so now. Press often and firmly.:)

LI (LARGE INTESTINE ) 4: located in the webbing between the thumb and index finger, with pressure slightly up underneath bone of index finger. (Do not use when pregnant – can induce labor.)This point is helpful for allergies, headaches, hay fever, and general pain in upper body.

daisy-ladybug

Some other tips for a healthy Liver:

* Consider a cleanse (check with your doctor) or at least add sipping lemon water to your schedule every morning and even throughout the day.  Lemon helps to not only cleanse our system and remove toxins, it also alkalizes the body, a key component of good health.

* Limit intake of unhealthy fats as this puts a lot of stress on both the liver and the gallbladder.

* Increase consumption of fresh leafy greens, fruits and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage) – and organic whenever possible.  Also fruits that are high in fiber such as apples and pears.

* Dandelion tea would also be a nice addition as it helps to detox the body and promote bile production.

* STRETCH & BREATHE!! Consider practicing yoga & meditation to release pent up anger and frustration. (Click here for class schedule or to learn more about sage butterfly yoga.) Also, get out in the fresh air and nature daily even for a few minutes to ground and refresh your spirit.

* Do your best to not SIT too much. This not only affects our digestive system, but also our lymph system.  If you are in a desk job and/or have a long commute or many hours in your car, schedule some time every hour to stand up and move around. This is absolutely essential for the health of our whole being – not just the liver.

****  And lastly, and perhaps most importantly (in any season), stop long enough several times a day to notice the miracles within and around you – everything from the blossoming of the trees (and your ability to see them), to the sound of the birds singing (and your ability to hear them) and your heart beating and connecting you to this amazing gift of Life.  Now. And now. And now…

Chakra Balancing Meditation to Release Feelings of Anger

We can hold anger in any of our energy fields for various reasons, for instance, in our throat chakra if we feel unheard or stuck as far as self-expression. Or in our heart chakra if we are having a difficult time either giving or receiving love. Each of the fields can become blocked due to these emotional states. This meditation will help to alleviate the stagnation and invite in a free flow of energy from root to crown.

Chakra Balancing to Release Anger

guru-allchakras

Recently in yoga we were focusing on ‘Ajna’ – the third eye chakra, our seat of perception and command located back behind our physical eyes.

When there is a disconnect between our heart and our third eye, it is like driving around with a broken GPS. You may be moving, but without direction. As we celebrate the day/month that has come to represent love, my wish for you is radiant communion between your heart and your inner ‘GPS.’

And for those times that you feel you are floating around in a void or fog of confusion, here is a poem that may jumpstart the focus of the journey.

Spirit,

Take me beyond – wildly beyond –

my out-dated, antiquated patterns

of thinking and being…

even beyond concepts genuinely believed

to be original and expansive.

Take me to new, untrodden paths

and ways of envisioning.

Allow my journey

to be one of moment by moment

serendipitous unfoldings,

eloquently propelling me out

of my comfort zone

and hamster-wheel paradigm

Into the unexplored.

– Maureen

beach

power of spirit

I believe that freedom is a right that belongs to all Beings on this planet (and beyond for that matter).  If you live in a geographical location where you are able to voice your opinions, come and go as you choose and for the most part, follow the path that speaks to you, it is indeed a blessing.

But even these gifts can be negated if the freedom we are choosing does not stem from within.  We often find ourselves in prisons of our own making, most often due to fear:

What will people think? What if I run out of money? What if I am too old/too young/too fat/too thin, etc?  You get the picture.

I liken it to being on a journey with a backpack.  Your pack is filled to brimming with all the tools and nicknacks necessary for your trip.  Sometimes you remove something and lighten it up. But mostly you either add to it or at least replace what has been left behind.  The weight, while exhausting, is appearing to ground you, though not in stability, more in ‘stuckness.’

My advice (which I don’t take lightly and am very much interested in adhering to myself) is TAKE OFF THE PACK.  Much of what we ‘carry’ in this bag are those emotions that are holding us back (the fear, the frustration, the grief) – emotions that have not been acknowledged or fully processed and therefore have made a home in the nooks and crannies of our baggage (and heart.)

So you may need to start small.  Take a few things out and don’t replace them. Breathe deeply into the space you have created.  Allow yourself to gently begin releasing what is stale, stagnant, and done. Eventually, you won’t need the pack at all.  Ahhh… the ‘incredible lightness of Being.”

Here is an acronym to inspire you on this journey of release:

F – Fully

R – Realize

E- the Ecstasy

E – of Emptiness

Fully Realize the Ecstasy of Emptiness.

And, not to introduce a paradox here, but this ’emptiness’ is of course, not really ’empty.’  When approached from a heart-centered, grateful place,  It is a ‘magical void’ that through it’s very nature invites a constant flow of synchronicity, serendipity and courage to live your life to the fullest.

One of the mantras that I frequently use and also share in my meditation and yoga classes is “MOKSHA”.   This translates into ’emotional freedom’   I will share here a short meditation where we will add in the word “AHAM” –  I AM:   Aham Moksha – I am emotionally free.

This state of liberation awaits you.

Aham Moksha

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