5 Healing Aromatherapy Recipes For The Exhausted Empath

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We all know who an empath is! Their life is surely tiring and so full of emotions. And if you are empath who is involved in magic, energy healing, Reiki, massage, and aromatherapy; you are obviously someone who is working on a deeper level.

Being an empath will obviously affect you deeply. It will affect you so much that sometimes even you won’t be able to know the impact that it has on you.

So, here are five recipes for the overloaded empath that they can use and benefit from:

You can choose the oil that you want. It can be anything; coconut oil, jojoba, sesame, or any other gentle oil you prefer.

Research and check for your own skin sensitivities and allergies.

Mix oil with 1oz of carrier oil.

You can multiply recipe as needed.

1. Stress relief aromatherapy recipe

4-5 drops lavender essential oil

4-5 drops clary sage essential oil

4-5 drops petit grain sur fleurs essential oil

1 fluid oz of carrier oil

2. Protection aromatherapy recipe

4-5 drops patchouli essential oil

4-5 drops angelica essential oil

4-5 drops dragon’s blood essential oil

1 fluid oz of carrier oil

3. Grounding aromatherapy recipe

4-5 drops vetiver essential oil

4-5 drops frankincense essential oil

4-5 drops myrrh essential oil

1 fluid oz of carrier oil

4. Energy Vampires Be Gone recipe

3-4 drops lemongrass essential oil

3-4 drops cedarwood essential oil

3-4 drops lemon essential oil

3-4 drops peppermint essential oil

1 fluid oz of carrier oil

5. Energetic clearing blend 

4-5 drops Palo Santo essential oil

4-5 drops white sage essential oil

4-5 drops geranium essential oil

1 fluid oz of carrier oil

These recipes will make you feel so much better. You will surely come back to thank us. Share your experiences with these recipes in the comments section below.  

The Hippies Were Right: It's All about Vibrations, Man!

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Why are some things conscious and others apparently not? Is a rat conscious? A bat? A cockroach? A bacterium? An electron?

These questions are all aspects of the ancient “mind-body problem,” which has resisted a generally satisfying conclusion for thousands of years.           

The mind-body problem enjoyed a major rebranding over the last two decades and is generally known now as the “hard problem” of consciousness (usually capitalized nowadays), after the New York University philosopher David Chalmers coined this term in a now classic 1995 paper and his 1996 book The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory.

Fast forward to the present era and we can ask ourselves now: Did the hippies actually solve this problem? My colleague Jonathan Schooler of the University of California, Santa Barbara, and I think they effectively did, with the radical intuition that it’s all about vibrations … man. Over the past decade, we have developed a “resonance theory of consciousness” that suggests that resonance—another word for synchronized vibrations—is at the heart of not only human consciousness but of physical reality more generally.

So how were the hippies right? Well, we agree that vibrations, resonance, are the key mechanism behind human consciousness, as well as animal consciousness more generally. And, as I’ll discuss below, that they are the basic mechanism for all physical interactions to occur.

All things in our universe are constantly in motion, vibrating. Even objects that appear to be stationary are in fact vibrating, oscillating, resonating, at various frequencies. Resonance is a type of motion, characterized by oscillation between two states. And ultimately all matter is just vibrations of various underlying fields.

An interesting phenomenon occurs when different vibrating things/processes come into proximity: they will often start, after a little time, to vibrate together at the same frequency. They “sync up,” sometimes in ways that can seem mysterious. This is described today as the phenomenon of spontaneous self-organization.

Examining this phenomenon leads to potentially deep insights about the nature of consciousness and about the universe more generally.

ALL THINGS RESONATE AT CERTAIN FREQUENCIES

Stephen Strogatz provides various examples from physics, biology, chemistry and neuroscience to illustrate what he calls “sync” (synchrony) in his 2003 book also called Sync, including: 

  • Fireflies of certain species start flashing their little fires in sync in large gatherings of fireflies, in ways that can be difficult to explain under traditional approaches.

  • Large-scale neuron firing can occur in human brains at specific frequencies, with mammalian consciousness thought to be commonly associated with various kinds of neuronal synchrony.

  • Lasers are produced when photons of the same power and frequency are emitted together.

  • The moon’s rotation is exactly synced with its orbit around the Earth such that we always see the same face.

Resonance is a truly universal phenomenon and at the heart of what can sometimes seem like mysterious tendencies toward self-organization.

Pascal Fries, a German neurophysiologist with the Ernst Strüngmann Institute, has explored in his highly cited work over the last two decades the ways in which various electrical patterns, specifically, gamma, theta and beta waves, work together in the brain to produce the various types of human consciousness.

These names refer to the speed of electrical oscillations in the various brain regions, as measured by electrodes placed on the outside of the skull. Gamma waves are typically defined as about 30 to 90 cycles per second (hertz), theta as a 4- to 7-hz rhythm, and beta as 12.5 to 30 hz. These aren’t hard cutoffs—they’re rules of thumb—and they vary somewhat in different species.

So, theta and beta are significantly slower than gamma waves. But the three work together to produce, or at least facilitate (the exact relationship between electrical brain patterns and consciousness is still very much up for debate), various types of human consciousness.

Fries calls his concept “communication through coherence” or CTC. For Fries it’s all about neuronal synchronization. Synchronization, in terms of shared electrical oscillation rates, allows for smooth communication between neurons and groups of neurons. Without coherence (synchronization), inputs arrive at random phases of the neuron excitability cycle and are ineffective, or at least much less effective, in communication.

Our resonance theory of consciousness builds upon the work of Fries and many others, in a broader approach that can help to explain not only human and mammalian consciousness, but also consciousness more broadly. We also speculate metaphysically about the nature of consciousness as a more general phenomenon of all matter.

ARE ALL THINGS AT LEAST A LITTLE BIT CONSCIOUS?

Based on the observed behavior of the entities that surround us, from electrons to atoms to molecules to bacteria to paramecia to mice, bats, rats, etc., all things may be viewed as at least a little conscious. This sounds strange at first blush, but “panpsychism”—the view that all matter has some associated consciousness—is an increasingly accepted position with respect to the nature of consciousness.

The panpsychist argues that consciousness (subjectivity) did not emerge; rather, it’s always associated with matter, and vice versa (they are two sides of the same coin), but mind as associated with most of the matter in our universe is generally very simple. An electron or an atom, for example, enjoy just a tiny amount of consciousness. But as matter “complexifies,” so mind complexifies, and vice versa.

Biological organisms have leveraged faster information exchange through various biophysical pathways, including electrical and electrochemical pathways. These faster information flows allow for more macro-scale levels of consciousness than would occur in similar-scale structures like boulders or a pile of sand, simply because there is significantly greater connectivity and thus more “going on” in biological structures than in a boulder or a pile of sand. Boulders and piles of sand only have thermal pathways with very limited bandwidth.

Boulders and piles of sand are “mere aggregates” or just collections of more rudimentary conscious entities (probably at the atomic or molecular level only), rather than combinations of micro-conscious entities that combine into a higher level macro-conscious entity, which is the hallmark of biological life.

Accordingly, the type of communication between resonating structures is key for consciousness to expand beyond the rudimentary type of consciousness that we expect to occur in more basic physical structures.

The central thesis of our approach is this: the particular linkages that allow for macro-consciousness to occur result from a shared resonance among many micro-conscious constituents. The speed of the resonant waves that are present is the limiting factor that determines the size of each conscious entity.  

As a shared resonance expands to more and more constituents, the particular conscious entity grows larger and more complex. So, the shared resonance in a human brain that achieves gamma synchrony, for example, includes a far larger number of neurons and neuronal connections than is the case for beta or theta rhythms alone.

It’s resonating structures all the way down—and up.

Our resonance theory of consciousness attempts to provide a unified framework that includes neuroscience and the study of human consciousness, but also more fundamental questions of neurobiology and biophysics. It gets to the heart of the differences that matter when it comes to consciousness and the evolution of physical systems.

It is all about vibrations, but it’s also about the type of vibrations and, most importantly, about shared vibrations.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it … man.

Turns out “sound healing” can be actually, well, healing

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Los Angeles

“I heard a gong for the first time 15 or 16 years ago,” says Jamie Ford.

She’d heard a gong strike before, obviously—“I’d seen the Gong Show”—but this gong, in a 2000 kundalini yoga class, was the first one she’d ever heard.

“I heard it and I was just—I went to another place,” Ford tells Quartz. “I was calm. I could travel. Everything just expanded.”

At the time, Ford was a biologist studying the desert tortoise. The gong marked the start of a new career path, one that led to a room in LA’s Glassell Park neighborhood filled with crystals, tuning forks, and 12 brass-hued gongs the size of big-rig tires.

Ford, 39, is a sound healer and owner of the Sound Space. In 30 minutes her year-old studio, will fill with 10 strangers who will lie on the floor while the vibrations of her improvised gong concert wash over them. Ford also does private sessions. About 75% of the people who come to her are dealing with anxiety, stress, and depression.

Sound healing adherents say that listening to percussive instruments like gongs, Tibetan singing bowls, and tuning forks reduces stress and can place the listener in a meditative state. Practitioners offer their services as an alternative treatment for problems like anxiety, chronic pain, sleep disorders, and PTSD.

Sound healing is having a moment. There are sound healing Meetups in LA, London, and Chicago. More than 5,000 people are listed in the member directory of the Boulder, Colorado-based Sound Healers Association. The LA Times listed one of Ford’s sound baths in its annual holiday gift guide.

But are the benefits of sound therapy real? Or is this a particularly noisy form of quackery?

Planets versus peer review

Evidence of using sound, music, and chants to heal the sick dates back thousands of years to ancient Egyptians and Australia’s Aborigines.

Today, a Google search for “sound healing” yields websites with auto-play music and a lot of celestial-themed clip art. It’s not a regulated industry, though several associations offer correspondence certification courses with modules like ”The Sound of Love” and “How to Achieve Dominant Outward Radiation.”

The sound scene has a quintessentially LA, New Age-y vibe to it, a feeling bolstered by the fuzzy explanations practitioners offer for why, exactly, the clang of a gong has therapeutic effects on a human body.

Ford plays gongs whose makers claim to have specifically tuned them to the orbital properties of the planets. Some practitioners say the right sound unblocks or redirects energy in the body, similar to the claims of acupuncture. Others say the sound works in tandem with humans’ own vibrational frequencies, or that it rearranges the ions on cell membranes.

These claims don’t stand up to scientific scrutiny.

I spoke to Chris Kyriakakis, a professor of audio signal processing at the University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering. Among Kyriakakis’s areas of study is how the human brain translates sound waves into perceptible sounds.

“There’s no scientific published peer reviewed paper that supports any of these claims,” he said.

“These are all cool claims. It would be nice if some of them were true. But there’s no science whatsoever that supports any of these claims.”

OK, so sound healers’ theories about why their practices make people feel better don’t stack up. But science has looked at the question of whether people do in fact feel better after hearing certain sounds, and on this, there is some evidence.

Music is a known de-stressor. Scientists from the National Institutes of Health found that subjects who listened to classical music before a stressful event recovered from the stress faster than those who listened to rippling water or simply relaxed in quiet.

But producing sound, particularly the deep, resonant kind sound therapy works with, may be even more beneficial than passively listening to it. A 2012 study split 39 people caring for family members with dementia into two groups. One was tasked with listening to relaxing music for 12 minutes each day for eight weeks. The other used the same amount of time to practice kirtan kriya, a meditative form of yoga that involves chanting.

At the end of the study the group that listened to relaxing music felt good, with 31.2% reporting substantial improvement in depressive symptoms and 19% scoring higher on a mental health survey. But the chanting group felt better, with 65.2% reporting fewer depressive symptoms and 52% reporting better mental health scores.

The study sample is small. But lead author Helen Lavretsky, a professor of psychiatry at UCLA, told Quartz that sound has interesting implications for treating chronic stress and memory problems. Lavretsky is also a fan of sound healing, having experimented with gongs, Tibetan singing bowls, and chanting. (Ford sometimes has clients in private sessions chant as part of their therapy.)

One of sound healing’s biggest mainstream advocates was the late Mitchell Gaynor, an oncologist and clinical assistant professor at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York and director of medical oncology at the school’s Center for Integrative Medicine. (Gaynor died in September.)

Gaynor encouraged sound therapy alongside conventional medicine, arguing that relaxed patients have lower stress hormones, stronger immune systems, and better tools to cope with the psychological and physical effects of their disease and treatment.

Gaynor was turned on to sound healing in the early 1990s, when a Tibetan patient gifted him a traditional singing bowl.

“If somebody had told me when I was a medical student in Dallas, Texas, that one day I would be teaching my patients to use singing bowls to heal themselves, I would have thought he or she was crazy,” Gaynor wrote in the 1999 book The Healing Power of Sound.

“Is it normal to have orgasms?”

There is no standard response to a sound bath, Ford explains as bathers arrive. Some people report expansive, consciousness-altering experiences. Some cry. Some fall asleep.

“One woman came up to me [after a session] and said, is it normal to have orgasms?” Ford says. “I was like, whoa. I should put that in my marketing materials.”

With this in mind, I find myself sizing up my fellow bathers as they come through the studio door. Fortunately, none of them look like the public-orgasm type, except maybe for the couple two pillows down giggling and kissing softly on a shared mat.

The poncho-clad gentleman next to me is busy arranging a set of crystals he brought from home into a very specific configuration on his mat. I try to start a conversation. He doesn’t want to talk about his crystals.

The friendly-looking blond woman on my other side is more talkative, explaining that she’s come to the session to drop off some emotional baggage. “I just want to get rid of stuff that doesn’t belong to me anymore,” she explains. “And if not, just to have a good time.”

Ford encourages us all to lie down and relax as the sound bath begins. Played together, the gongs create a surprisingly rich and complex sound that evokes the soundtrack of a 1970s sci-fi movie set in space. There’s incense burning. It’s a little trippy.

I close my eyes. My mind wanders. I replay a thing my kid did the other day, and suddenly there’s a childhood memory that hasn’t lit up my amygdala in decades—where did that come from?

I think about space. Then I have what feels like a very deep revelation about a small personal conundrum. Then I think about how my back hurts. After a while I curl up on my side and settle into a pleasant absence of any real thoughts at all, until the music stops and Ford gently instructs us to stretch and wake up.

I don’t feel as if I’ve traveled to a different astral plain, but I feel calm, a feeling that lasts as we bid goodbye and head out into LA traffic, fading slowly like the trailing echo of a gong.

Thyme Destroys Strep Throat, Flu Virus And Fights Respiratory Infections

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Thyme is a member of the mint family and originates from the Mediterranean basin.

According to Christine Ruggeri, CHHC:

“The oldest Egyptian medical text, called Ebers Papyrus, dates back to 1550 B.C., and it records the healing values of thyme. The ancient Egyptians used thyme for embalming, and the ancient Greeks used it in their baths and temples; they believed that it brought on feelings of courageousness.

In the European Middle Ages, thyme was placed beneath pillows to aid sleep and ward off nightmares; the herb was also laid on coffins during funerals because it was believed that it provided a safe passage to the next life.”

It has a rich, strong, herbaceous aroma, and the name is derived from the Greek word ‘thymos’ which means ‘to perfume.’

Mrs. Ruggeri adds:

“Because the thyme plant is grown in many environments, climates, and soils, there are over 300 varieties with different chemotypes. Although they all look the same, the chemical composition is different along with the corresponding health benefits. The chief constituents of thyme essential oil typically include alpha-thujone, alpha-pinene, camphene, beta-pinene, para-cymene, alpha-terpinene, linalool, borneol, beta-caryophyllene, thymol, and carvacrol. “

Depending on the location the plant grows in, these chemical components of the oil distilled from the plant vary. For beginners, Linalool ct. Thymus vulgaris is the best oil, since it is not harsh for the skin, and can be freely used by the elderly and children. Other popular oils are thymus vulgaris ct. thujanol, thymus vulgaris c.t carvacrol, and thymus vulgaris ct. thymol.

Here are some of the properties of the most common thyme chemotypes, explained in an article published in The Truth About Cancer website:

Thymus vulgaris ct thymol – Between 60-70 percent thymol, this chemotype has strong antiseptic properties. It has a high level of antioxidants, with strong anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving benefits.

Thymus vulgaris ct linalool – One of the gentlest of thyme chemotypes, it commonly grows at high altitudes and has potent antifungal and anti-parasitic properties.

Thymus vulgaris ct carvacrol – Between 30-80 percent carvacrol (depending on when it is harvested), it also has potent anti-inflammatory, analgesic (pain relieving) and antioxidant properties.

Thymus vulgaris ct 1,8 cineole – Is 80-90 percent cineole, with an interesting array of benefits. It is a good expectorant (phlegm releaser), diuretic (increases the expulsion of urine), and analgesic properties.

Thymus vulgaris ct thujanol – About 50 percent thujanol, this chemotype is known to support the immune system. It is found mainly in the wild, known commonly as Sweet Thyme.

Thyme oil has powerful antibacterial antifungal, antiviral, diuretic, antiseptic, and antispasmodic properties, so it detoxifies the body, strengthens the immune system, destroys microbes, and supports the formation of white blood cells.

Thyme has a myriad of health benefits, as follows:

-- It boosts blood circulation to accelerate healing, improves memory and concentration, and raises blood pressure.

-- Its powerful antibacterial properties kill various bacteria, including staphylococcus, and purifies the air from Proteus, streptococcus, staphylococcus, and cryptococcal.

-- It fights respiratory infections, coughs, colds, and the flu, bronchitis, sore throats, catarrh, asthma, and laryngitis.

-- It is a powerful natural remedy in the case of psychological and physical weakness, as it revives the body and mind, so use it to treat chronic fatigue, depression, insomnia, and accelerate the recuperating after an illness.

-- Thyme essential oil boosts the secretion of mucus and relieves dry coughs

Furthermore, this amazing essential oil offers countless other medicinal properties, such as:

  • You can use it as a natural hand sanitizer, and in the form of a hot compress to soothe rheumatic pain, sciatica, sprains, muscular pains, sports injuries, and gout

  • Dilute it and apply it on the affected area to relieve Athlete’s foot, insect bites, and stings

  • To improve the health and appearance of the hair, use it on the hair as a hair tonic

  • Mix it with some other essential oil such as pine, lemon, lavender, rosemary, and grapefruit, and prevent skin irritations

  • It destroys nail fungus, candida, and vaginitis

  • It fights infections on the bladder and urinary tract

  • The regular consumption boosts the DHA amount (docosahexaenoic acid, which is an omega-3 fatty acid) in the brain, kidney, and cell membranes in heart

  • To treat alopecia, combine it with lavender, rosemary, and cedar wood in a jojoba and grape seed oils mixture, and massage the scalp daily

  • To treats acne and warts, you can use it as a face wash

  • Enjoy a bath with several drops of this oil to treat irregular or weak menstruation

  • Use 1% solution as an antibacterial spray for fresh produce

Source: www.organichomeremedies.com

Fasting for 72 Hours Can Regenerate The Entire Immune System

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Anybody can cook, even if it’s only a fried egg – but not just anyone has the discipline to fast. This ancient practice of abstaining from eating for a day, or sometimes even a week or more has a history of curing a whole host of health problems, but even a brief fast can completely re-boot your immune system.

This practice isn’t without criticism by modern nutritionists and unbelievers, but research implies that when the body is hungry in short spurts, it can kick-start stem cells into producing new white blood cells.

White blood cells, also known as leukocytes, are the cells which the immune system uses to fight against foreign invaders like viruses and bad bacteria.

Scientists at the University of Southern California found that fasting could be particularly beneficial for people suffering from damaged immune systems, such as cancer patients on chemotherapy, or people with auto-immune disorders.

Intermittent fasting even triggers stem cells to regenerate!

Valter Longo has conducted a body of scientific research about fasting which is absolutely astounding, as well.

He published a fascinating paper in the Journal of Cell Biology based on work he did on yeast cells.  The results were considered so unlikely he almost didn’t get his paper published.  What Longo discovered was that when he starved a colony of yeast cells, about 95% of the cells would commit suicide, using the controlled death mechanism of apoptosis. They would disassemble their proteins, dissolve the cell membranes, and turn themselves into food for the remaining 5%.

Longo’s work suggests that if the fasting body is able to rejuvenate and multiply the bone marrow cells that are responsible for blood and immunity (hematopoietic stem cells), then it is obvious that the body could do this as well or better when it has plenty to eat.

Ancient Fasting Techniques

Moreover, in Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is understood that our body’s metabolism and digestion are often under strain form the foods we put into our bodies on a daily basis.

For Buddhist monks in the Theravada tradition, all eating is confined to the morning hours, implying a daily fast of 16 hours, since they don’t consume food just before bed or while sleeping. The idea is that the body has plenty of time to process the food we put into it.

Sikhs often abstain from eating to heal the body and as a spiritual practice of rejuvenation.

We eat when we are stressed. We eat on the run, and we eat things that we know the body doesn’t really want. Other times we skip meals, causing a drop in our blood-glucose levels, or we eat bad food combinations. Our poor digestive system has barely had a chance to fully digest the last meal we’ve eaten before we put the next one in!

What Fast is Right for You?

There are few choices if you want to reboot your whole immune system with a brief fast.

Selective Fasting

Selective fasting means that you abstain from only certain foods or for certain hours of the day.

Water Fasting

In this fasting diet, you consume only water for a specified duration. It not only helps you to feel full, but also helps to cleanse toxins form the entire digestive tract as you abstain from food.

This might be one of the more difficult fasts to complete, because you are consuming zero calories, but it has hailed as a cure-all for chronic pain, arthritis, migraines, and more.

Intermittent Fasting 

Intermittent fasting is often confused with dieting, but it more closely resembles making a conscious decision to skip certain meals. You fast and then feast on purpose, (consuming only healthy foods). Intermittent fasting means that you eat your calories during a specific window of the day, and choosing not to eat food during the rest. This is similar to what the Theravada Monks practice.

Working Out on an Empty Stomach

You can also do a half-day fast and add a moderate workout. This combination of fasting and exercise maximizes the impact of cellular functions which break down fat and free up glycogen for energy-use. It forces your body to burn fat without eating up muscle. A word of caution, though. You might not have as much energy to do a hard-core workout as when you have eaten.

Caveat: fasting can be harmful. If you have any serious health conditions, and you’re seriously thinking of trying this, you should consult your doctor first.

This article (The Entire Immune System Can be Rebooted in Three Days by Doing This) is a free and open source and can be re-published anywhere with proper attribution to the author and Themindunleashed.com.

Healing Grief After a Breakup

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Ten years ago, I sat isolated at home, stuck in depression after a breakup. I had experienced so many setbacks in life, and this one stopped me in my tracks. The relationship ended because they told me I wasn’t enough. Their words were really a reflection of a belief I had suppressed all my life. 

It was hard for me to express my vulnerability. I wasn’t showing anyone how sad I was, because I was never really taught how to deal with loss. I tried to avoid the sadness and isolated myself. I tried to drown out my feelings, but I just kept falling deeper into the hole. I felt broken, physically and emotionally.  

When I first arrived in yoga class, my heart was broken. I was overwhelmed with my critical thinking. I was comparing myself to others. I was judging my body. My mind was being cruel. I had taken those thoughts from past relationships, and they had become a running commentary that I was living with every day. 

In the compassionate space of my yoga mat space, I recognized my wounds and my patterns. But I also saw my resilience. I felt the hope to heal. I wanted to get better. I wanted to be kinder to myself. The emotions that I had been avoiding all moved through me, and I felt a powerful release that moved me to my core. I began to stretch my wounded areas, both physically and emotionally. And I chose to sit with my heart and love myself in that moment. 

I became a yoga teacher because I was deeply moved by this practice. I knew all those unresolved feelings that I had been running away from for decades were stuck in my body. I was holding so many issues in my tissues, and yoga was teaching me to heal. I immersed myself in learning from experts in grief and loss. I studied with David Kessler, William Worden, Elisabeth Kubler Ross, and Marianne Williamson. 

I wasn’t taught how to heal heartbreak in my life. I was taught how to avoid it and run away from it. But I saw, in my yoga classes, that if I surrendered to it and let it wash over me, I felt cleansed. I saw that the grief was there to help heal the pain.

This understanding inspired me to create Grief Yoga, using movement, yoga, breath work, and vocalization to transform grief into fuel for healing. By moving into the dark spaces that we avoid, that keep us in suffering, we can express and release the struggle.

One of the areas I witnessed where it’s easy to get stuck is anger. The body remembers all the resentments and hurt. When anger is not discharged, it can become a boiling teapot that eventually explodes, hurting others and ourselves. As a teacher, I want to hold a wounded heart with compassion, but also to help people learn how to consciously channel their anger as another avenue for healing. 

When I teach Grief Yoga workshops addressing breakups, divorce, or betrayal, I see that, when a relationship is over, we want to run away from the pain. But, if we go a little deeper and learn from it, the end of a relationship can offer amazing wisdom and lessons that can open us to developing deeper relationships in the future. We can become aware of relationship patterns that no longer serve us, or find healthy ways to release unresolved anger and resentments. But the only way out of the pain is to move through it, and to recognize that it’s okay to show vulnerability in the process.

Grief Yoga isn’t about physical flexibility; it’s about emotional liberation. It offers a compassionate space in which to express and release the struggles that hold us down, and to plant the seeds of a new belief, bringing us back to love. 

Find out about Paul Denniston's programs on healing grief.

Paul Denniston is a certified teacher in Hatha Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Laughter Yoga, and Let Your Yoga Dance®. He teaches has taught Grief Yoga for bereavement groups, cancer support centers, and addiction groups, and trained more than six thousand therapists, counselors and healthcare professionals around the world. griefyoga.com

The Science Behind Healing with Sound

In the realm of healing techniques, sound work inhabits a curious space: It has been used for thousands of years—think of overtone chanting from Central Asia, for example—yet, it’s also on the frontiers of modern neuroscience.

Sound work is “creating a frequency and vibration for someone that’s conducive for him or her to heal,” says Joshua Leeds, the author of The Power of Sound and an expert in the field of psychoacoustics, the study of the effects of sound on the human nervous system. “Sound healing is trending up. It’s like where yoga was 15 years ago. People are realizing that sound is a viable medium to address distress, enhance learning, even work with an autistic child.”

Much of the current work is based on the early ’70s research of biophysicist Gerald Oster. Oster showed that when a tone is played in one ear and a slightly different tone is played in the other ear, the difference causes the brain to create a third, internal tone, called a binaural beat. The theory is that this syncs the brain waves in both hemispheres, a process dubbed “brain-wave entrainment.”

“When the brain is in synchronicity, there’s more focus,” says Carol Moore, marketing director of Monroe Products, which makes Hemi-Sync verbal meditations and music that contain embedded binaural beats. For example, “Our sleep titles help drop you into the deep delta waves. Electrical activity in the brain gets slowed down.” Some of the products are designed to help people recover from a stroke or surgery, deal with chronic pain, or become more relaxed while undergoing chemotherapy. “You might envision the drugs as a love potion, rather than poison. It’s creating a state where you can say, ‘This is coming into my body to heal me, not to do damage to me,’ ” says Moore.

Brain-wave entrainment isn’t without its skeptics, but some research supports it. In 2008, the journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine published a review of 20 studies of brain-wave entrainment and patient outcomes. The conclusion was that brain-wave entrainment is an effective tool to use on cognitive functioning deficits, stress, pain, headaches, and premenstrual syndrome.

The studies also suggest that sound work can help with behavioral problems. “Different brain-wave patterns affect emotions,” says Bill Harris, who created Holosync products. His system uses sounds like rain and crystal bowls—there’s no beat or melody—with a pulsing tone underneath. He also uses custom affirmations, which people record in their own voices. “You’re practicing going into a brain-wave pattern. It causes the brain to organize at a more complex level. It takes what you can handle emotionally and intellectually and pushes it higher,” says Harris. “I’m not claiming this cures cancer. But it does have a profound effect on people’s physical health. A lot of people come to us for chronic pain, irritable bowel syndrome, psoriasis, things that are exacerbated by stress.”

Sound can increase immunity and treat insomnia, according to Jamie Bechtold, a Los Angeles-based sound healer. “Most people come to me for stress and anxiety,” she says. For woes like pulled muscles, colds, and headaches, Bechtold uses tuning forks on acupuncture points. “I’ve seen back muscles that are spasming completely relax using this vibration.” Bechtold also combines gong performances with yoga classes. “Recorded music is fine, but with live music you can feel it. The floor is vibrating. The sound waves are bouncing all over the place.”

Jeffrey Thompson, founder of the Center for Neuroacoustic Research, says different frequencies target the various densities in the body. He uses a vibroacoustic sound therapy table. “As the frequencies slow down, from 500 to 400 hertz (a hertz is one cycle per second), you feel it more in your muscles, then your joints, then in your bones. We can give a vibrational massage, down all the way to your cells. I can do cranial work with sound, work on organs. You’re finding frequencies to elevate the body’s cells to a super-healing state, rebuilding more tissue,” Thompson says.

“There’s more on sound science than ever before,” says Leeds. “We know what is happening molecularly.” In the future, he says, “What we think of as sound healing will be called frequency medicine.”

These Are the Metaphysical Meanings of Specific Physical Pains.

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Our body is a mystic source and perfect exemplar of the divine connection between the spiritual, the physical and the source of the universe and all beings. However, most of us know nothing about the secrets of our body and how the universe sends us a message throughout this medium.

In this article, we will make an interesting summary about the different types of pain on different locations in our body and what they truly mean.

LEGS PAIN METAPHYSICAL MEANINGS

1. HIPS

Hips represent decisions in Life, especially decisions about moving forward. Pain in the hips is a sign of being ‘stuck’, unable to make a decision or see clearly what is needed to be done next.

2. UPPER THIGHS

Thighs are the link between the Hips & decisions, and the Knees & pride. You need to learn how to be more decisive and self-confident.

3. KNEES

Knees represent Pride. In spiritual practice, it is suggested that one must go down before one can rise up, as Jesus did before John the Baptist, before taking up his own ministry. Ego is considered to be the first sin and a heavy burden for all who decide to play that ‘card’.

4. SHINS

The Shins represent another weak link. Although the Shins are mostly bone, the hardest substance in the body, the Shins are actually quite sensitive and brittle. A slight whack on the Shins is not only painful, it weakens the entire body and stops it cold.

5. ANKLES

Ankles represent flexibility, which is important as one navigates the twists and turns of Life. Stiff, painful ankles mean that change is difficult for you.

6. FEET

Our feet represent our connection with Mother Earth. Sore, swollen, numb or painful feet represent the state of our relationship with our Mother. Mother Earth, and our base energies.

THROAT PAIN METAPHYSICAL MEANINGS

Pains in the throat are closely connected with the throat chakra. This kind of pain indicates that you may have some issues in establishing normal bonding with other people. Also, it is a sign that you need to improve the way you communicate with others.

HEST/BREASTS PAIN METAPHYSICAL MEANINGS

The chest area represents the Feminine principal of nurturing and nourishing the connection with the ‘breath of Life’ as it flows through the Lungs. In men, pain or discomfort, not associated with any organ or vessel represents a disconnection from the Feminine Principle. In Chinese Medicine, the front is considered Yin. The chest is the confluence of the three most important kinds of Qi, that nourish the body; Zhong Qi, from the Lungs, Jing Qi, from the Spleen, and Yuan Qi from the Kidneys.

SOLAR PLEXUS PAIN METAPHYSICAL MEANINGS

We are back to the ego! Actually, the solar plexus is the ‘keeper’ of the essence of our pride and negative ego. Pain or discomfort in the Diaphragm area represents unresolved conflicts. In Chinese Medicine, pain in this area indicates Liver Qi Stagnation, usually associated with Anger.

STOMACH PAIN METAPHYSICAL MEANINGS

Of course, if you have issues with your stomach you are having some kind of digestive problem, but in the metaphysical meanings, it means that you are afraid to accept and adapt to changes, especially those who are radical and truly meaningful to you. Try to grow as a person and accept the changes- try to become the best version of yourself.

HEAD PAINS METAPHYSICAL MEANINGS

1. VERTEX

The top of the head is associated with our connection to the Universe or God. Pain here is associated with separation from that higher power.

2. FOREHEAD

The forehead is associated with the 3rd eye, both in Chakra Theory and Traditional Chinese Medical theory. The 3rd eye is associated with introspection and illumination of your own Inner Being. Pain here is associated with separation from your own Inner Being. Try to connect better with your inner-self, try to listen to your subconsciousness and try to truly acknowledge your own being and existence in this world.

BACK PAIN METAPHYSICAL MEANINGS

1. SPINE

The Spine Represents the support you think you have in Life and your alignment with those supportive forces. Curved spine or Scoliosis represents a misalignment with Life. Spasms represent an unwillingness to accept the support that is there.

2. SHOULDERS

Shoulders represent burdens and responsibilities. Frozen Shoulder, for example, represents a complete unwillingness to shoulder your responsibilities in Life, especially your own Life.

3. MID BACK

The mid back is the link between the shoulder and the lower back. It can be a weak link. As we firm up our shoulders and become willing to take on the responsibilities of Life, and we have gathered around us the financial and emotional support we need (lower back), something sneaks up and stabs us in the back.

4. LOWER BACK

The Lower Back represents support; financial support, emotional support of family and friends, and support of God or the Universe. The Kidneys are located in this area and Kidney dysfunction results in Fear/Fright/Phobias.

Source: The Limitless Minds

Featured Image Credit: Pinterest

Japan Constructed the World’s Most Incredible Sound Garden

Nature itself has beautiful sounds. When the wind blows the trees make beautiful sound. When heavy rain drips through the leaves they make an amazing sound. Just like a wild orchestra.

Now, when a tree falls in a Forrest does it make a sound? What if you use those trees to make a giant, 50-yard long xylophone. Do you think it makes a sound? It certainly does, and that sound is astounding!

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In 2012, when a Japanese company put the latest touch phone on the market, Morihiro Harano and his teammates decided to abstain from the technological addiction associated with such spots and take an organic approach, instead emphasizing the phone’s wooden backplate. A strange design may seem like an odd thing to emphasize, but it was necessary for the project.

Working together with carpenter Mitsuo Tsuda, sound engineer Kenjiro Matsuo, and on-site carpenter, the team created a huge xylophone elevated from the forest floor.

This reticular xylophone was not tangled and complicated, but rather a simple, straight line.

Then, they placed a small rubber ball at the top of the xylophone and let it free fall down, slowly plunking across the shady groves.

Note by note, the ball plunked out Bach’s famous Cantana 147, instrumental subtleties and tempos intact.

In the middle of the silence in the forest, the wooden symphony was composed by this beautiful creation.

There was little room for mistake – one misplaced sound could distort the entire Cantana’s tempo off – making the construction of the instrument extra difficult.

The exact day the commercial was filmed, a massive earthquake hit Japan. When the commercial was on thereafter, the xylophone’s peaceful melody provided a calming experience for the nationally-felt trauma – and more importantly, a message everyone needed to hear. A message of hope and rebuilding, of nature’s indestructible ability to survive, carry on and stay beautiful. The advertisement went viral, and eventually aired on television (check it out below).

Today, the forest xylophone has found its new home at the Daisetsu Mori-no Garden, the primary venue of Japan’s famous Hokkaido Garden Show.

Visitors to the forest can buy a rubber ball from a vending machine and become conductors, proceeding one after the other to continue the vernal symphony.

Because wet boards can rot and deteriorate, the xylophone “rests” on rainy days, but at any other time, the forests of Japan are alive with the sound of music – and while the tune may be Bach’s, the music ultimately owes its magic to the spirit of nature.

Science Behind Smudging

Understanding All of the Benefits of this Ancient Tradition

Using the smoke from sacred fires, or burning herbs or incense as a purification ceremony or ritual has been a common practice amongst many traditions throughout the ages. The smoke of medicinal plants and natural substances has been used extensively in many cultures for cleansing and healing. The most common smoke-purification ritual used in Native American tradition is a technique called smudging. It is seen as a bridge to the higher realms; a way to clear spiritual and emotional negativity that has built up in a space or a person. Smudging is often done before a ceremony or special gathering, or even after an argument to clear the air. Although the spiritual benefits of these practices might be viewed with scepticism, the health benefits are proven. As it turns out, this ancient practice literally does clear the air, as burning sage and other herbs neutralises positive charge and releases negative ions, and has antiseptic, bacteria-killing properties.

Exploring the Science

In 2006, a scientific paper titled Medicinal Smokes was published. The research reviewed information from 50 countries over 5 continents and found that, dating back to ancient times, smoke administered medicinally is typically used to aid lung, brain and skin function. In addition, it was found that the passive fumes doubled as an air purifier. A follow-up paper examining the air purifying potentials of smoke-based remedies was published in 2007, in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology. It concluded that, in addition to health benefits, smudging was a powerful antiseptic.

The researchers observed that a one-hour treatment of medicinal smoke (Havana Sámagri) in a closed room reduced airborne bacterial counts by over ninety-four percent. In India, most rituals include a sacred fire to which medicinal herbs and other materials are added as an offering. Havana sámagri is a mixture of wood and odoriferous and medicinal herbs burnt in the fire, accompanied by the chanting of Vedic mantras. For thousands of years, the rishis (saints) performed ceremonies or yagnas to purify the environment. The medicinal smoke, together with the vibrations that the mantras produce, creates positive effects in the surrounding atmosphere.

Smudging is traditionally used as a way to clear spiritual and emotional negativity.

Smudging is traditionally used as a way to clear spiritual and emotional negativity.

This research has shown that the smoke from a variety of herbs is highly effective in reducing airborne bacteriaThe smoke’s ability to purify and disinfect the air was maintained up to twenty-four hours. Many of the pathogenic bacteria had not returned to the same room, even after 30 days.

Absence of pathogenic bacteria Corynebacterium urealyticum, Curtobacterium flaccumfaciens, Enterobacter aerogenes (Klebsiella mobilis), Kocuria rosea, Pseudomonas syringae pv. persicae, Staphylococcus lentus, and Xanthomonas campestris pv. tardicrescens in the open room even after 30 days is indicative of the bactericidal potential of the medicinal smoke treatment. We have demonstrated that using medicinal smoke it is possible to completely eliminate diverse plant and human pathogenic bacteria of the air within confined space.

Furthermore, these studies showed that:

the advantages of smoke-based remedies are rapid delivery to the brain, more efficient absorption by the body and lower costs of production. This review highlights the fact that not enough is known about medicinal smoke and that a lot of natural products have potential for use as medicine in the smoke form. This review argues in favour of extended use of medicinal smoke in modern medicine as a form of drug delivery and as a promising source of new active natural ingredients.

Smudging Traditions across Different Cultures

In traditional Indigenous Australian society, healers used leaves or bark from various plants in smoking ceremonies.

The leaves of the emu bush in particular were placed on hot embers for traditional therapeutic use. The resultant wet steamy smoke possibly inhibited bacterial or fungal pathogens, as well as providing a stimulus for milk let-down in women after childbirth.

The smoke of Imphepo, or African Sage, is used in southern Africa in indigenous traditional medicine. It has many uses; to invoke trance states, cleanse energy and as an offering when praying. The plant is also used as an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory, as a headache remedy and a natural insect repellent.

The Egyptians, Greeks, and numerous other cultures used frankincense and myrrh as a part of their religious ceremonies. The Catholic Church burns frankincense to purify and sanctify, and the smoke symbolises prayers rising to heaven. Today frankincense grows almost exclusively in Oman. The smoke is a powerful air purifier and insect deterrent and serves as a prophylactic to prevent the bites of malaria-carrying mosquitoes, common in the coastal regions. The granules of frankincense, the smoke, and frankincense dissolved in water, are all used to treat a variety of ailments such as indigestion, bronchitis, hypertension, depression, insomnia and post-childbirth recovery.

The Neural and Physiological Effects

In 2008, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology published a study that describes how burning frankincense (resin from the Boswellia plant) activates poorly understood ion channels in the brain to alleviate anxiety or depression.[1] Raphael Mechoulam, one of the research study’s co-authors, states:

We found that incensole acetate, a Boswellia resin constituent, 

The Catholic Church has burned frankincense, to purify and sanctify, for centuries.

The Catholic Church has burned frankincense, to purify and sanctify, for centuries.

They also found that incensole acetate activated a protein called TRPV3, which is present in mammalian brains and also known to play a role in the perception of warmth of the skin. When mice bred without this protein were exposed to incensole acetate, the compound had no effect on their brains. Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal says:

Studies of how those psychoactive drugs work have helped us understand modern neurobiology. The discovery of how incensole acetate, purified from frankincense, works on specific targets in the brain should also help us understand diseases of the nervous system. This study also provides a biological explanation for millennia-old spiritual practices that have persisted across time, distance, culture, language, and religion – burning incense really does make you feel warm and tingly all over!

Moxibustion is yet another traditional therapy in which dried plant materials are burned, and has been used throughout Asia for thousands of years. Moxa is usually made from the dried Chinese mugwort (artemesia vulgaris). Research has shown that it acts as an agent that increases blood circulation to the pelvic area and uterus, and moxibustion has successfully been used to turn breech babies into a normal head-down position prior to childbirth. It is used on or very near the surface of the skin. The intention is to warm and invigorate the flow of Qi in the body and dispel certain pathogenic influences.

It definitely seems that the ancient practice of burning powerful herbal material is much more than just a primitive belief, and our ancestors must have intuitively understood the many benefits.

You Can Heal Yourself Using The Chi Energy of Trees According to Taoist Masters

Trees are very powerful according to Taoist masters. Aside from    absorbing carbon dioxide    and turning it into oxygen, trees also can absorb negative energy and transform it into positive.

Trees are very powerful according to Taoist masters. Aside from absorbing carbon dioxide and turning it into oxygen, trees also can absorb negative energy and transform it into positive.

The roots of trees dig deep into Earth, the deeper their roots, the higher they rise to the skies. They absorb the energy of the Earth as well as the universal force of the sky.
Trees are considered the most spiritually advanced plant on Earth because of their constant meditation with subtle energy.
You can establish a relationship with trees so long as you understand their language. And they can help you open up your energy channels to cultivate calm, presence and vitality.

They also can benefit from you when you help them eliminate their blocks and devitalized parts. Like any other relationships, you benefit from each other by the constant cultivation of your connection.

How to Use The Chi Energy of Trees to Heal Yourself?

Follow these steps to choose the right tree, to establish an energy relationship with that tree and eventually heal yourself:

1. How to Choose The Right Tree?

Humans have been using parts of trees for medications and healing almost as long as humanity exists. But, along the way, they discovered what type of tree should be used for what kind of remedy.

The big ones are the best, like pines. They radiate Chi, nourish the blood, strengthen the nervous system, and even help in longevity while feeding the soul and spirit. Pines, which are often the subjects of ancient Chinese poetry and paintings, are considered to be “immortal trees.”

There are, however, other trees which you can choose from. The big ones have maximum energy while those that sit up near the streams are also the best.

Trees have different characteristics. Some are hotter or warmer, and others are cooler or colder. With constant practice, you can distinguish each species from the others.

The different characteristics of trees

  • Cypresses and cedars can lower the temperature and can feed Yin energy.

  • Willows fight the dry winds and eliminate excess moisture from the body, reduce blood pressure, strengthen the urinary tract and bladder.

  • Elms can calm the mind and strengthen the stomach.

  • Maples fight the dry winds and help reduce any pain.

  • Carobs help eliminates internal heat and balance conditions of the heart.

  • Banyan trees or Bengali figs purify your heart and help eliminate moisture in the body.

  • Cinnamons can remove the cold from the heart and the stomach.

  • Fir trees help absorb bruises to reduce sweating and heal bone fractures.

  • Hawthorns help in digestion, strengthen the intestine and fight low blood pressure.

  • Birches help lower body temperature, eliminate body moisture and detoxify the body.

  • Prunes feed the spleen, the stomach, the pancreas as well as calm the mind.

  • Figs help eliminate excess heat in the body by increasing salivation, it also nourishes the spleen, and helps cure diarrhea.

  • Knees help strengthen the bladder and relieve urinary problems in women.

Keep in mind that small trees don’t have enough energy to accommodate you while gigantic trees may drown you with their energy. It’s best to select one that is medium sized and robust.

2. How to Establish an Energy Relationship With The Tree?

You can create a silent communion rite with the tree that is understood by both of you and the tree.
But first, you must see the personality of the tree and its life. Some trees are very generous and quickly give you the energy you need.
Other trees are weak or ill and need your healing energy first.
Some are friendly while some are plain indifferent depending on their energy.
You can work with all of them to find which tree works best for you.
Be open and give them your respect without pushing them too hard to bend to your purpose.
The most important thing when establishing a connection is to be near the tree so you can touch it, to open yourself up shamelessly and to be clear in your intent while showing love.

By activating these four elements you will establish an energy relationship with the tree:

  • Touch;

  • Openness;

  • Sincerity;

  • Love;

Just make sure that you spend at least 30 minutes around the tree. However, some trees might respond quicker depending on their energy.

Related: Japanese Master Demonstrates the Power of Chi by Controlling Animals

Here are some techniques you can practice:

1. Tree Hugging:

2. Sitting facing the tree:

3. Meditation near the tree:

4. Standing facing the tree:

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Must-read: “Earthing” Could be the Most Important Health Discovery Ever

  1. How The Healing Process Begins?

Visit the tree regularly. Building a relationship with trees takes a longer time than building one with humans.

But if you keep returning to the same tree, you are likely to begin your lasting friendship with it.

Once you visit it regularly, it will soon expect you. Some say that it might even miss your presence.

Creating a spiritual communion with trees is like making love that requires sensuality and tenderness.

When you finally establish that communion, you don’t need to control the situation. Just allow yourself to relax and melt in that communion.

Allow the tree to guide you in your healing. It might remedy your issue, or it might give you intuitive guidance as to how to find additional help.

If nothing else, it will heal the spiritual aspect of your problem.

“In Japan, people practice ‘forest bathing,’ where they spend quiet time absorbing the wisdom of ancient forests, taking long walks among the trees to stimulate their immune system.

In Taoism, students are encouraged to meditate among trees, and it is believed that the trees will absorb negative energies, replacing them with healthy ones. Trees are seen as a source of emotional and physical healing, and themselves as meditators, absorbing universal energies.”

NOTE: Our advice is first to consult your doctor and use everything else as additional help.

Sources: LifeCoachCode.comGostica.com

Science and spirituality: Jeff Lieberman at TEDxCambridge

Jeff Lieberman, an MIT-trained artist, scientist and engineer, makes a scientific argument for mystical experience. He asks us to challenge our perception of what we are, our relationship to the universe, and our relationship to one another. Our minds are "thought-generating machines." What we would happen if we could turn off the machine? If we could transcend our individual experience of the world?

This talk was transcribed by Brad Miele. Transcript here: http://bea.st/inevolution/?p=264

A Simple Practice to Strengthen Your Self-Love

Feeling Overwhelmed? Remember 'R.A.I.N'

When I was in college, I went off to the mountains for a weekend of hiking with an older, wiser friend of twenty-two. After setting up our tent, we sat by a stream, watching the water swirl around rocks, talking about our lives. At one point, she described how she was learning to be ‘her own best friend.’ A wave of sadness came over me, and I broke down sobbing. I was the furthest thing from my own best friend. I was continually harassed by an inner judge who was merciless, nit-picking, demanding and always on the job. My guiding assumption was, ‘Something is fundamentally wrong with me,’ as I struggled to control and fix what felt like a basically flawed self.

Over the last several decades, through my work with tens of thousands of clients and meditation students, I’ve come to see the sense of personal deficiency as an epidemic. When we feel unworthy we are in a trance that causes tremendous suffering. Yet, I have found–in my own life and with countless others–that we can awaken from this trance through mindful self-compassion. We can come to trust the goodness and purity of our hearts.

In order to unfold, self-compassion depends on honest, direct contact with our own vulnerability. This compassion fully blossoms when we actively offer care to ourselves. Yet when we’ve gotten stuck in the trance of unworthiness, it often feels impossible to arouse self-compassion. To help people address feelings of insecurity and unworthiness, I like to share a meditation I call the RAIN of Self-Compassion.

When we feel unworthy, we are in a trance that causes tremendous suffering.

When we feel unworthy, we are in a trance that causes tremendous suffering.

The RAIN of Self-Compassion

The acronym RAIN is an easy-to-remember tool for practicing mindfulness and compassion, using the following four steps:

Recognize what is going on;

Allow the experience to be there, just as it is;

Investigate with interest and care;

Nourish with self-compassion.

You can take your time and explore RAIN as a stand-alone meditation or move through the steps whenever challenging feelings arise.

R—Recognize What’s Going On

Recognizing means consciously acknowledging, in any given moment, the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that are affecting us. Like awakening from a dream, the first step out of the trance of unworthiness is simply to recognize that we are stuck and subject to painfully constricting beliefs, emotions, and physical sensations. Common signs of the trance include a critical inner voice, feelings of shame or fear, the squeeze of anxiety or the weight of depression in the body. Recognizing can be a simple mental whisper, noting what has come up.

A—Allow the Experience to be There, Just as It Is

Allowing means letting the thoughts, emotions, feelings, or sensations we have recognized simply be there; without trying to fix or avoid anything. When we’re caught in self-judgment, letting it be there doesn’t mean we agree with our conviction that we’re unworthy. Rather, we honestly acknowledge the arising of our judgment, as well as the painful feelings underneath.

Many students I work with support their resolve to pause and let be by silently offering an encouraging word or phrase to themselves. For instance, you might feel the grip of fear and mentally whisper, Yes, or It’s ok, in order to acknowledge and accept the reality of your experience in this moment.

I—Investigate with Interest and Care

Once we have recognized and allowed what is arising, we can deepen our attention through investigation. To investigate, call on your natural curiosity–the desire to know the truth–and direct a more focused attention to your present experience. You might ask yourself: What most wants attention? How am I experiencing this in my body? What am I believing? What does this vulnerable place want from me? What does it most need? Whatever the inquiry, your investigation will be most transformational if you step away from conceptualizing and bring your primary attention to the felt-sense in the body.

When investigating, it is essential to approach your experience in a non-judgmental and kind way. This attitude of care helps create a sufficient sense of safety, making it possible to honestly connect with our hurts, fears, and shame.

N—Nourish with Self-Compassion

Self-compassion begins to naturally arise in the moments that we recognize we are suffering. It comes into fullness as we intentionally nourish our inner life with self-care. To do this, try to sense what the wounded, frightened or hurting place inside you most needs, and then offer some gesture of active care that might address this need. Does it need a message of reassurance? Of forgiveness? Of companionship? Of love? Experiment and see which intentional gesture of kindness most helps to comfort, soften or open your heart. It might be the mental whisper, I’m here with you. I’m sorry, and I love you. I love you, and I’m listening. It’s not your fault. Trust in your goodness.

RAIN stands for Recognize, Allow, Investigate and Nourish.

RAIN stands for Recognize, Allow, Investigate and Nourish.

In addition to a whispered message of care, many people find healing by gently placing a hand on the heart or cheek; or by envisioning being bathed in or embraced by warm, radiant light. If it feels difficult to offer yourself love, bring to mind a loving being–spiritual figure, family member, friend or pet–and imagine that being’s love and wisdom flowing into you.

When the intention to awaken self-compassion is sincere, the smallest gesture of turning towards love, of offering love–even if initially it feels awkward–will nourish your heart.

When you’ve completed the active steps of RAIN, it’s important to just notice your own presence and rest in that wakeful, tender space of awareness. The fruit of RAIN is realizing that you are no longer imprisoned in the trance of unworthiness, or in any limiting sense of self. In other versions of RAIN, this is the N–not-identified. Give yourself the gift of becoming familiar with the truth and natural freedom of your being; it is mysterious and precious!

The Power of Self-Love

I found RAIN particularly helpful about twelve years ago when I entered a period of chronic illness. During one extended and challenging stretch of pain and fatigue, I became discouraged and unhappy. In my view, I was terrible to be around—impatient, self-absorbed, irritable, gloomy. During one morning meditation, I started RAIN by recognizing and allowing the discomforts of my body, and the sense of feeling depressed. Then I began to investigate my experience more fully. I heard an embittered voice: “I hate living like this.” And then a moment later, “I hate myself!” The full toxicity of self-aversion filled me.

An intentional gesture of kindness helps to comfort, soften and open your heart.

An intentional gesture of kindness helps to comfort, soften and open your heart.

Not only was I struggling with illness, I was at war with the self-centered, irritable person I believed I had become. Unknowingly, I had turned on myself and was held captive by the trance of unworthiness. As I continued to investigate with a more kindly attention, I directly contacted the ache and weight of living with self-hatred. I was experiencing what I sometimes call an ‘ouch’ moment, the conscious recognition of how my life is being squeezed by suffering.

In clearly seeing my own suffering, my heart softened with care. I was now able to offer inwardly the nourishment of self-compassion. I gently put my hand over my heart—a gesture of kindness—and invited whatever other feelings were there to surface. A swell of fear (uncertainty for my future) spread through my chest, followed by an upwelling of grief at losing my health. The sense of self-compassion unfurled fully as I mentally whispered, “It’s all right, sweetheart,” and offered care to the depths of my vulnerability, just as I would to a dear friend.

Over the next few minutes, the self-compassion widened into a vast sense of tender presence. I was no longer caught in a sense of self-aversion or in being a victim of illness. This was the aftermath of a healing RAIN and I rested in the freedom of natural loving awareness. I was at peace with the changing waves of physical and emotional experience moving through me.

The Truth of Who You Are

The RAIN of Self-Compassion is not a one-shot meditation. Rather, as you practice you may experience a partial shift, perhaps a more subtle sense of warmth and openness, a widening in perspective, a quieting of mental stories, a softening of your heart. You can trust this! RAIN is a practice for life—a way of transforming doubts and fears with a healing presence. Each time you are willing to slow down and recognize, “Oh, this is the trance of unworthiness… this is fear… this is hurt… this is judgment…,” you are poised to de-condition the old habits and limiting self-beliefs that confine your heart. Gradually, more than any story you’ve ever told yourself about being ‘not good enough’ or ‘basically flawed,’ you’ll experience natural loving awareness as the truth of who you are.

Article adapted from True Refuge by Tara Brach.

"My brain feels like it’s been punched": the intolerable rise of perfectionism

Tom Nicol thought he had a problem with sleep. He could never get enough. He took “a very disciplined, stripped approach” to his routine. He drank water only at premeditated times, ate according to schedule, avoided caffeine, exercised (but not close to bedtime) and shut down all screens at 9pm. Nicol, a PhD student, was recounting this long list of sleep settings to his student counsellor after yet another bad night, when she told him: “You have perfectionism.”

“I’m not good enough to have perfectionism,” Nicol replied.

It was “one of the most perfectionist things you can say”, he says now. At the time, though, the discovery took Nicol by surprise. He shared his surprise with his partner. “She was like: ‘Well, duh!’” But he needed to be convinced.

On the phone, Nicol, 25, has a persuasive and clear-eyed sense of his own averageness. He is “not particularly” industrious, “quite” messy and has “never been the kind of person who was seen as one of the top achievers”, he says. He recounts these perceived shortcomings with an amiable ease that sounds a lot like contentment. But maybe this, too, is a perfectionist sleight of hand, to present persistent self-criticism as casual self-deprecation. I arrange to visit Nicol at the University of York, where he is in the second year of his doctorate in theoretical chemistry.

Perfectionism can affect people of all ages and lifestyles, but it is increasingly prevalent among students. Earlier this year, research involving 40,000 students at universities in the UK, the US and Canada found a 33% increase since 1989 in those who feel they must display perfection to secure approval. The report’s lead author, Thomas Curran of the University of Bath, fears a “hidden epidemic of perfectionism”.

Perfectionism is a personality trait rather than a mental health condition. There is no World Health Organization diagnosis code for perfectionism and it is not listed in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It can fly under the radar and masquerade as the pursuit of high standards, yet it overlaps with a plethora of disorders from eating to obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, body dysmorphiadepression and suicide.

Nicol’s corner of the library is a corridor with a table pushed against the wall. There is a fire extinguisher at his elbow and a mystifying electrical hum emanating from the book racks. But there is none of the mess that Nicol promised. The desk is tidy. The notebook is neat. The to-do list has subsections. “There’s a difference between orderliness and industry,” Nicol says.

He defines perfectionism as “a fear of failure”. His fear is all the greater not only because he believes in perfection, but also because he thinks he has experienced it. In 2014/15, Nicol had what he calls “my quote unquote perfect year” in which he lived perfection so thoroughly that he could tell it by the minute. Each day, he hit the gym at 8am, worked from 9am to 6pm, fixed his food for the next day and went to bed. He did this five or six days a week. On the seventh, he graded his consistency and productivity by calculating the completion rate of his to-do list. The reward for all this endeavour was a score of 86% in his master’s dissertation (although his sister has just got a 95).

However, since starting his PhD, Nicol has been unable to replicate the conditions that underpinned his success. He is sleeping poorly; he cannot hit the same stride.

“Every day feels suboptimal,” he says. Nicol knows that one of the reasons he excels – not a word he would choose – in chemistry is his ability “to pick things apart conceptually”. Applied to his own behaviour, though, his talent turns against him. A merciless “mental punishment” ensues.

On one hand, Nicol is philosophical about the elusiveness of perfection. “The chaotic nature of our world means that it’s going to be extremely transient and even if you attain it for a moment, if you’re a striving kind of person, you’ll want the next thing,” he says. On the other, he castigates himself for falling short.

“There is no excuse. If I slept for two hours the night before, I still berate myself for not being able to work, even if my brain feels like treacle.” Nicol battles “the mental difficulties” of perfectionism, “the cyclical nature of ‘You’re terrible!’”. Sometimes he will be “thinking about things” while cleaning his kitchen “and they’ll boil up and out loud I’ll say: ‘I’m so fucking useless!’” The thought impedes productivity, which in turn incites the thought. Even exercise, which Nicol enjoys as “an escape from my brain”, doesn’t sound like a total escape: he is training to beat his dad’s personal best mile time of four and a half minutes – a habit, perhaps, learned growing up in “an air of competitiveness”.

All this sounds familiar to Roz Shafran, the co-author of Overcoming Perfectionism and the chair in translational psychology at University College London’s Institute of Child Health. She sees self-beration as a defining feature of perfectionism and often detects a “flipping point” among students: starting university, for instance. “The domain changes, or reaction to failure changes. For many people, it starts off healthy,” she says.

But there is no consensus on this. Paul Hewitt has worked in the field for 30 years. In a groundbreaking article in 1991, he laid out, with fellow psychologist Gordon Flett, three types of perfectionism: socially prescribed (in which a person believes that others require them to be perfect); other-oriented (in which a person requires others to be perfect); and self-oriented (requiring oneself to be perfect). Hewitt sees perfectionism as a “personality style”.

The pursuit of perfection, taken to extremes, can lead to OCD and depression – and the number of students reporting the problem has jumped by 33% since 1989

He disagrees that conscientious striving can turn into perfectionism. “That’s not perfectionism,” he says. “They are two very different things ... Perfectionism is about attempting to correct or deal with a defective, flawed, not-good-enough sense of self.”

Kirsty Schafer, 23, is two years into a degree in social work at Bournemouth University, having switched from Bath. We meet in a cafe near Bournemouth train station. Over a coffee, she explains how she is “on the cusp of leaving perfectionism behind”.

For long periods of her degree, Schafer has exited the library at about midnight, with barely 100 words to show for hours of work. “My brain feels like it’s been punched and punched and nothing comes out,” she says. The problem is that the words are not perfect. Each could be better. Hours pass as she retypes a single one. The words she takes home “are blue in the face from where I’ve forced things”.

On the worst nights, “I’ll wake up and my head is whirring”, she says. In the most intense weeks of work, she forgoes sleeping, eating and washing. It may be out of self-preservation that she switches to the second person to talk about this.

“You neglect absolutely everything. You become absorbed by your own brain. Physical things – eating, showering, not going to sleep at the normal time, not looking after yourself …” She trails off. “When I’m in that state of mind, I just can’t see anything on the outside. I’m in my head constantly.”

And yet – eventually – Schafer produces essays that meet her idea of “a perfect 10”. While many students with perfectionism don’t meet or are derailed by their targets, Schafer often scores a first. At some point in her writing, she senses that the job is done. She cannot say how. There is no line to demarcate an imperfect work from a perfect one. All she knows is “something inside releases its clasp”.

Looking back, Schafer can see that she was prone to perfectionism from a young age, although she is unsure why. “My parents were the most supportive parents ever. I’ve never been subjected to criticism. If anything, it’s always been really high praise.” When her primary school teachers called her a perfectionist, she took it as a compliment. But somewhere between the ages of 15 and 16 her experience intensified. University loomed. Friendships were changing. Schafer clicks her fingers. “I became very focused.” She began to build an increasingly punishing academic schedule. “I focused it all on myself, so the only person who could be disappointed was me. I was the only person I could let down, the only person I could punish.”

For Schafer, and many others, “perfectionism serves some kind of function”, Shafran says. “Whether it’s control, getting good results at school, whether you don’t have to socialise because you’re shy … It serves a purpose.”

This usefulness can make perfectionism all the harder to leave behind. “I really, really thank my perfectionism,” Schafer says. “I can see the value of it. But I don’t need it now. It’s just this thing I’m dragging along that is holding me back, because there’s nothing I need to control any more.”

Schafer speaks eloquently of her perfectionism as an attached but distinct entity. At times, it is a heavy appendage; at others, a persistent and insinuating parasite. “There is something in my head, like a little worm, that just talks to me constantly and is very critical. ‘You need to do better at this, you need to do more, you haven’t pushed yourself enough.’” The challenge is “to get control of that little worm”, she says. But how?

Linda Blair, a psychologist, recommends that her clients try “the best friend test”: offer yourself the advice you would offer to a friend with the problem. For Schafer, this is easy: a close friend also has perfectionist tendencies and Schafer knows exactly what to say. “‘Your best is your best.’ That is the only advice I would ever give.” Her friend says the same to her. “And it doesn’t work! We laugh about that. We think: ‘I could really do with listening to that advice.’ But … it just doesn’t go in.” Schafer thinks perfectionism is “a disease of the self. Although ideals and the media feed into it, it is ultimately controlled by me. And that silly little voice in my head. The worm.”

So, why is perfectionism thriving? Curran, Bath’s lead researcher into perfectionism, has experienced it himself (“more imposter syndrome, because I come from quite a poor background”) and largely holds neoliberalism responsible. “A marketised form of competition has pushed young people to focus on their achievements,” he says. In the UK, tuition fees have exacerbated the marketisation of education, along with a focus on results – even for seven-year-olds sitting Sats. And, of course, social media has made everything seem performative – and perfectable.

While Nicol emphasises his middling qualities and berates himself for his averageness, Liam O’Dell, who has just completed a degree in journalism at the University of Lincoln, strives for exactly that. For a long time, O’Dell, who is mildly deaf and has dyspraxia – which affects co-ordination, spatial awareness and sensory perception – felt uneasy in group situations. He spent school lunchtimes in the library. His heartfelt attempts to “be socially perfect” centred on not standing out.

“I was striving to put on my best impression of what was deemed normal,” he says. Just as Schafer knows there is no perfect, O’Dell knows “there is no normal”. But socialising was arduous. He was “always thinking: ‘What’s the tone in this conversation? Is this appropriate to say?’” A barrage of questions seems to be the perfectionist’s rhetoric.

O’Dell, 21, and I meet while he is waiting to learn his degree result. He has high hopes, having tracked every mark of his final two years on a spreadsheet. Like Nicol, O’Dell is “a person of routine”.

Perfectionism is about attempting to correct or deal with a defective, flawed, not-good-enough sense of self. —Paul Hewitt

On the occasions when his work has been given a 2:1 or 2:2, he has appealed. “I’ll be like: ‘It could be better, it could be better. What did I do wrong? What mistake did I make that I missed?’”

We are drinking coke by a canal in north London. In the middle of recounting all this, O’Dell looks up and says: “I’ve come to accept that perfection can’t ever be achieved. I’ve done my best. It may still not be perfect, but I know that, in trying my best, I’m as close to perfect as I can be.”

But that is the holy grail of perfectionism, I say. When did he get there, I ask?

“I think I’ve yet to reach it, to be honest,” he says.

The path ahead is unclear. Schafer has found cognitive behavioural therapy(CBT) helpful. Perfectionism “is me, my problem”, she says. “I’m the one who needs to seize it and say: ‘Right! Enough!’”

But I wonder if this determination to self-cure – the belief that, with the right information and application, one might master one’s own shortcomings – is not, in fact, perfectionist. Schafer and Nicol, for instance, are well read in – and perhaps a bit perfectionist about – perfectionism. They are not so much people with a problem as expert witnesses. The quest for a solution plays to their conscientiousness.

“That’s an approach that many perfectionist individuals have,” Hewitt says. While Shafran has seen clients benefit from CBT and Hewitt believes it can reduce cognitive elements of perfectionism, he think it is less useful for tackling “the more ingrained personality questions”. There is, he says, “a bit of a hint that there might be some genetic component to it”. He advocates a form of “psychodynamic psychotherapy” in which perfectionism “evolves as a result of relational experiences”.

“If I had to get right to the crux of the issue, it would be working with people to have self-acceptance,” Hewitt says. “This is who I am. I am on this earth once. If I can accept myself, with my strengths, my abilities, my liabilities and just get on with living my life rather than trying to evaluate myself and coming up short all the time ... That’s really what we focus on.”

Nicol has benefited from counselling. “I suggest facing it, in any way you can, and trying to understand it. Running away doesn’t help,” he says. Schafer, aided by a tutor, is trying an alternative composition method she calls “word vomit” – out they all come on to the page – and is producing “more authentic” work. O’Dell has been awarded a first for his degree. “I do feel my hard work and perfectionism have paid off,” he says. He learned his result only two days ago and already his happiness has been intercepted by a familiar thought. “There soon comes that feeling: ‘OK, now I need to focus on the next task,’” he says. “It’s a short-lived relief.”

8 Mantras Every Single Woman Should Be Living In 2018

All of the drive we feel in the first week of the New Year dissipates quickly as we  allow ourselves the tiny indulgence of hitting the snooze button on our 7am gym sessions because it’s too cold to get out of bed. 

So instead of setting unrealistic expectations, here’s to embracing some simple mantras that can be applied to all parts of our life - love life included. 

1. Do more of the things you love

The more you spend your time doing things that lift your spirits and alight your soul, the happier you’ll feel about yourself and your life. It’s also a great way to meet people who share your interests, which can open up your social circles and your dating life.

And there’s nothing more attractive than a woman who is passionate, independent, and in love with her life. 

2. Quit explaining your singleness to people

Half of the battle with being single is that your family likes to remind you how single you are and why that’s a terrible thing.

This is the year when you tell your mother, your sister, or your granny to stop asking you about your dating life because it does nothing apart from make you feel sad and unworthy.

The ultimate goal here is not simply marriage. Anyone can get married. The goal here is love. And the persistent nudging from your family will never make it easier to find love. Yes, you can seek love out, but love happens on its own terms. But try telling that to your mother...

3. Give online dating a real chance

Every single person is on some kind of dating app - this is the reality of dating in the 21st century. If you’ve held out ‘til now, it may be time to try it out. And if you’ve been on a dating site with little luck, it might be time to switch it up and invest the time required to make it work. 

Avoid the swipe-heavy sites which can feel overwhelming and try a dating site like Zoosk, which places a higher emphasis on genuine connections. 

The site’s Behavioral Matchmaking gets to know your habits - likes and dislikes - and offers matches accordingly. It’s designed to gauge your own personality, and what you’re looking for, and then match you with someone you’d get along with.   

Another great option - Elite Singles - is aimed at career-driven daters who are too busy to spend hours swiping through profiles. The site employs personality pairing to match singles - based on a questionnaire that’s completed upon signup.

Wherever you choose to date, make sure the spirit of the site fits what you’re looking for. It can spell all the difference in regards to who you meet online. 

4. Practice self love

You can’t rely on anyone else to make you happy - you need to be happy alone first. 

Don’t ever base your worth on what men think of you or if you’ve got a man or not. You determine your worth, and you are a woman who is worthy and deserving of an amazing relationship. When the time is right, it will find you. 

5. Embrace your single sisters

Stalking your married friends on Facebook, or hanging out with your coupled up friends and their kids, is only going to remind you more of what you don’t have. 

Commit to spending more time with your single friends, or making new friends with people who are single. You won’t feel in such a rush to settle down, and you’ll have way more opportunities to get out there and mingle.

6. Stop caring about the ones who don’t deserve your attention

If you have a guy you sometimes text late at night when you’re feeling lonely - get rid of him pronto. Yes, casual hookups might be liberating, but that guy is only preventing you from meeting your guy. Get comfortable being completely single, and you’ll signal to others that you’re actually ready to meet someone. 

7. Be open and fearless when it comes to love

If you’re looking for a real kind of love, you have to be willing to put your heart on the line and be open and honest with your feelings. Sometimes you might get hurt, but if you don’t allow yourself to be vulnerable, you might miss out on something incredible. 

If there’s a guy who you’re still thinking about years later after you went your separate ways (and he’s not an a-hole), just reach out to him already. Who knows what might happen? 

8. ENJOY being single!

If you focus too much on finding a romantic relationship, you’re only going to miss out on the joys of being single. Remember, once you find your person, that’s it. So embrace the total freedom you have right now! 

The Brutally Honest Difference Between Loving Someone And Being In Love With Someone

Love is a beautiful and wonderful feeling. It can be the most indescribable and deep emotion that anyone can feel. Despite everyone being able to feel this emotion, there are many that cannot tell the difference between ‘loving someone’ and ‘being in love with someone.’

It’s very common to believe that they are both the same, the passion may feel the same, but what is different is the intentions. So if you are searching for that warm, bubbly feeling, you need to recognize the difference between the two.

With that said, below are the top 8 examples that illustrate the difference between loving someone and being in love with them.

You Choose to Love Someone, Being In Love Isn’t A Choice: You have all the power when it comes to loving someone. You make a decision based on their personality and you choose to trust their abilities and morals. If things do not work out, then you also have the power to stop loving them and release them from your life. The same cannot be said if you fall in love with someone. It can happen at any time, there will be no warning, and it’s something you cannot walk away from. Even if you manage to walk away, that feeling will stick with you forever, that is how you know that you’re in love with the person.

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Love Means Wanting the Best, Being In Love Means Putting Them First: When you love someone, you will always want the best for them. But does this mean that you are willing to make sacrifices to help them reach their goals? If you are in love with someone, that question doesn’t even cross your mind because you would never have any doubts about it. You would put the person first and do everything in your power to make sure they succeed. But it can also relate to making the person’s life easier. You will do things that would take some stress off the person, like taking more shifts walking the dog or cooking dinner more often.

Love Can End, Being In Love Cannot: Love does not last forever and can end at any moment. According to statistics, almost 50 percent of married couples in the United States end up divorcing each other at some point. That just proves my point that love on its own can end. Once the honeymoon phase in a relationship is over, that is when things get tough. Arguments ensue, differences begin to rise, but if the couple is in love with each other, they will get past these differences. The reason is that you cannot picture a life without each other.

Loving A Person Means Always Needing Them, Being In Love Means Having A Balance:Always wanting someone around isn’t a bad thing, it just means you love them and enjoy their company. But when you are in love with someone, you would like to have them around as much as possible, but you do realize that there needs to be a happy balance between you and their personal time. You want them to be happy, so you understand that the balance is necessary. Whether it is giving them time to enjoy their hobbies, or even go out with friends, you know at the end of the day they are coming home to you.

Loving Is a Rush, Being In Love Has Many Emotions: There are many highs and lows with being in love. The problem is they do not balance each other in a way that makes you feel good. The love can last for a while, but the second there is a problem, it could all go away. It’s like a rollercoaster, but the problem is that the ride eventually ends. But if you are in love with someone, no matter what happens in the relationship, you never feel like things are crashing and burning. The reason is you know that you and your partner will find a way to figure things out because you both are in love with each other.

Loving Means How The Person Makes You Feel, Being In Love Means How You Make Them Feel: This is one common mistake people often make when it comes to love. When someone is asked, “Why do you love this person?” They often respond with “I like how they make me feel.” That answer is fine, but it doesn’t mean you are in love with the person, it just means you love them. If you are more concerned about how you make your partner feel, then it is true love. You could say that true love means being unselfish and putting your partner before you.

Loving Means Ownership, Being In Love Is A Partnership: When you love someone, you want the whole world to know that they are yours, so you label them and make them your property. You constantly need them to tell you that they are your girlfriend/boyfriend, and you also need them to constantly tell you that they are yours. When you are in love, labels such as boyfriend and girlfriend do not matter. Both of you do acknowledge that you are an item, but you both do agree that you are your own person.

Loving Is An Uphill Battle, Being In Love Is Simply Effortless: Often, you will hear someone complain about their relationship. They will say things like “it shouldn’t be this hard,” and there is some truth to that. Naturally, if you really are in love with someone, things shouldn’t be difficult. You shouldn’t have to work overtime to get the spark back or try to stop fighting, these things should never be a problem. I’m not saying that being in love with someone will all be roses and rainbows, but I am saying that the love aspect should never take work. Also, after a rocky month or two, you will still be in love with the person if it is real. Your feelings will have changed, but for the better, because you will feel even closer to your partner.

Are you Moon Sensitive?

Do you want to know if you're moon sensitive? Moon sensitive is a common phrase in astrological communities, and it's often associated with sun signs like cancer and pisces because of their traits, characteristics and relationship with the moon. But you may have these signs in other places in your natal chart, consequently making you more sensitive to the moon's changing illumination than you may realize.

My chart is 98% fire and air signs, with barely any water signs in sight. Cancer? Pisces? Nope. And yet, I too, am moon sensitive, and I'm fairly certain you are, too - especially if you felt drawn to this post. Most of us just aren't as aware of the changing phases of the moon and how it can affect us. We may chock up our moods and changing emotions to other practical things, and not even consider that that giant hovering illuminated orb in the sky could be influencing us. A lot.

Have you seen our Crystal Moon Vibes Calender in the supply shop? It tracks the moon phases and lets you in on the moon name and moodlet of each month. It also offers what you can expect to feel inside. It's really great, and really insightful. This can give you some insight into what's coming down the pipe energetically.

I also offer in depth moon analysis each month on my instagram account, like this and this, for an even deeper look at how the moon's energy is affecting us.

You don't need to know your entire natal chart to discover whether you're moon sensitive or not. We are all sensitive to the moon's illumination; some just more than others. The moon even influences the ocean's tides! Here are a few questions to ask yourself to discover how sensitive you are. The more you pay attention to the moon's changing phases, the more you'll begin to dial in and connect with the changing emotions you feel inside.

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So, are you moon sensitive, too? Let's find out:

1. Are you a "good" sleeper?

For the most part, do you fall asleep easily and stay asleep? Are there ever any nights where you just can not shut off your brain, and you find yourself making lists, getting new ideas and feeling extra sexual? This is all common energy among a full moon, or the days leading up to one and shortly after.

The next time you feel yourself feeling excitable or antsy around bedtime, go over your day to identify any stresses you may have lingering (rule out practicality first), but then take a quick peek at the moon's phase. Anywhere from 90-100% illumination can have you feeling heightenedThis is a big sign of moon sensitivity.

I like this app to accurately track the moon's illumination.


2. When do you feel exhausted?

The opposite is true when the moon isn't visible in the sky. There may be times during the month where you feel exhausted and lethargic. Maybe all you want to do is lay on the couch and watch Netflix - or the work day feels particularly gruelling. The biggest thing to pay attention to, is suddenly feeling wiped and not knowing why.

This happens to many people around a new moon, when the moon is only illuminated 0-10%. It's either completely hidden or just a tiny sliver in the sky. This can make moon sensitive people feel tired, unmotivated or even bored with the status quo.

The next time you feel this way, check in with yourself: are you on your period? Have you been getting shitty rest? Has there been a lot of emotional heaviness in your life? If you feel as though you're in the clear, check the moon's phase to find out if it is waning, young, or new.
 

3. When do you feel scatterbrained?

For some of us, the new moon and waning moon can make us feel scatterbrained. Disorganized. Or maybe like we have too much on our plate to manage. And yet, nothing has changed, we haven't taken on more tasks than usual, and there is no reason we should suddenly be feeling overwhelmed inside. Personally, the young moon (when the moon just begins to grow) is when I feel my most scattered. Why on earth do I have so many lists?!

I find this feeling is more common with Type A personalities, or people with a lot of air and fire in their natal charts, as well. If that sounds like you, notice if you feel a little less "in control" around a new or waning moon, rather than "tired" per se. 


4. Do you ever bubble over with emotion?

Everyone's default emotion is different. Sometimes its sadness, feeling overwhelmed, frustration or anger - whatever yours is, it probably rears its head around an eclipse.

An eclipse isn't just when the moon blocks out the sun; a lunar eclipse happens quite frequently and they can bring out some of our more dramatic feelings. Eclipses shift some very big energy - they're intense on our systems, but also great catalysts for change. Sometimes they can affect our body so much that our emotions erupt, just to find balance once again.

Let yourself cry a little. Or yell. Both are good for you. Energy needs to go somewhere! Pay attention to the feeling in your belly around an eclipse. Eclipses can often give clues as to where your best direction for growth could be.
 

5. Do you notice your desires changing from month-to-month?

Every time the moon changes, for example, the Red Moon of August or the Strawberry Moon of June, the areas where you feel desire also change. Maybe ideas of love consume you one month, but the next month you're set on arranging your finances and feeling settled. These strong influences really do affect us all, some of us more than others depending on our entire natal chart and personality traits. Following along with my moon readings on instagram can shed some light on these influences and how they may be affecting you individually

Some of us feel certain moon moodlets more strongly than others - that depends on our charts, our age, and the decisions we made leading up to it. My moon readings can help you analyze which area in your life is being affected and how you can learn and grow from it. 
 

6. When do you feel your most inspired with new ideas?

This is probably happening around a new moon, where new beginnings and infinite horizons seem to spread out in front of you. This is such a good time to set intentions and make decisions for yourself - but there may be lethargy or a sense of scatterbrain that accompanies these feelings. That's OK. It's the time for thinking and feeling: not action. The waxing moon and full moon are when you can put these new inspirational ideas into place.


The Moon and Pearl

The Moon governs the mind, and it's position in one's horoscope determines a person's habitual patterns of thought, feeling and volition. it rules all professions associated with water, such as sailing and fishing, and it influences the tidal patterns of oceans and seas as well as bodily fluids. Lunar energy is associated with the water element, the color white, motherhood and femininity, romance and love. The Moon is a soft, sensitive planet with fluid, feminine qualities.

If the Moon is exalted one will be wealthy, industrious and respected. But if the position of the Moon is weak or afflicted then contrary results may be expected. Diabetes, alcohol and drug abuse, and all types of emotional distress are also associated with debilitated Lunar energy. ORANGE is the cosmic color transmitted by pearls and other Lunar gems. Orange color waves are cold and are therefore useful in treating diseases of the bodily secretions and blood caused by excessive heat in the body. Fine Moon jewels are known to be helpful in cases of mental derangements caused by an excess of heat in the heart and brain. Moon astral talismans will also enhance all mental faculties, pacify emotions, induce tranquility, and improve artistic creativity.

Gemstones ruled by the Moon are natural pearl, white coral & moonstone. Flawless (eye-clean) stones are required in order for Moon astral talismans to properly transmit beneficial Lunar energy.

Influence of (natural) Pearl / moonstone

---If Moon is well placed in your horoscope the influence will be toward: Good sensitivity, good habits, stability, health, one will be wealthy, industrious and respected.

---If Moon is ill placed in your horoscope the influence will be toward: Over reacting, depressed, overly sensitive, stressed, contrary results may be expected.

7 Signs You’re In Danger Of Low Vitamin D

Vitamin deficiencies are becoming more and more common for people of all ages. Young children and young adults might be the ones to suffer the most as their growing bodies demand a lot of vitamins and nutrients to properly grow and develop. Instead of changing habits or diet choices, many people are quick to take vitamin supplements with the hope that it will solve the issues associated with their vitamin deficiency.

Your body needs a good dose of Vitamin D for your system to absorb the calcium needed to help your bones be strong and healthy. The way you get this vitamin naturally is by allowing the ultraviolet rays of the sun to hit your skin. While spending time in the sunshine is important for a lot of reasons, you can also get this crucial vitamin by eating specific foods such as eggs or mushrooms.

Many times, people suffer from a number of symptoms before knowing that the root cause is a Vitamin D deficiency. Here are 7 signs and the danger of having low vitamin D.

SIGNS AND DANGER OF LOW VITAMIN D

1. Gum Disease
When was the last time you went to the dentist? If it was over a year ago, then it is time for you to call and schedule a basic cleaning so your dentist can examine the health of your gums. If you experience redness or bleeding after brushing and flossing on a regular basis, then you might be at risk of having a Vitamin D deficiency. Your dentist and doctors can help you resolve this issue, but it is luckily an easy adjustment to add more of this vitamin to your diet or spending more time soaking up the sunshine.

2. Feeling Tired All Day Long
Do you wake up from your night’s sleep not feeling rested? Perhaps after taking an afternoon nap, you feel as though you haven’t slept in days? Feeling tired throughout the day is a good indication of a deficiency and one that needs to be addressed by your doctor quickly. If you fail to handle this, a danger of low vitamin D that your body could experience is sleeping disorders or problems sleeping through the night.

3. Feeling Depressed Or Moody
Everyone has those days where we just feel down on our luck and would rather stay in bed than face the daily responsibilities we have. While this might be normal to happen from time to time, if you are experiencing this on a daily basis, then it is time to be checked out by a health professional. When you spend an adequate amount of time in the sun, your brain releases a hormone known as serotonin which helps you to feel good. Without sunshine or vitamin D, this hormone is not present and the result is a feeling of depression or mood swings.

4. Pain In Your Muscles Or Joints
If you are experiencing chronic pain in your muscles and joints, it could be a direct reflection of your body’s lack of vitamin D. A danger of low vitamin D that people have experienced is a very high sensitivity to pain, making the common aches and pains of life can be magnified greatly if you don’t have the proper amount in your system.

5. Constantly Feeling Fatigued
Feeling fatigued is when your body has no energy to carry on as it normally should and can. When you feel fatigued, it is very normal for anxiety and an overall feeling of lethargy to take over your body. The more time you spend in the sun soaking up the Vitamin D you need, the better off you will be emotionally and physically.

6. Getting Sick Often
People who suffer from a vitamin deficiency will often break out with the flu or other respiratory problems. Vitamin D has a crucial role in keeping inflammation of the cells in the immune system at bay, so a lack of this vitamin will only lead to increased issues.

7. Sweat In Strange Places
This is one of the symptoms that you might not have considered to be a sign of Vitamin D deficiency, but if you are experiencing a sweaty head, you might need to talk with your healthcare provider as you are potentially in danger of low vitamin D. This can happen in adults, but it is an obvious symptom in infants.

Vitamin D deficiencies can be very serious if not handled or treated immediately. The Vitamin D deficiency treatment can be determined by your doctor. The danger of low Vitamin D includes, but is not limited to:

  • Kidney issues – Your kidneys might not be properly absorbing the nutrients.

  • Obesity – If you are overweight, your body cannot absorb the vitamin because the fat absorbs it as it is a fat-soluble vitamin.

  • Celiac disease – People who suffer from diseases such as Celiac or Chrone’s have a hard time with their intestines functioning properly and absorbing the needed vitamins.

The sooner you are able to diagnose and get vitamin D deficiency treatment, the better off you will feel emotionally and physically. The danger of low Vitamin D is not a matter of life or death, but being aware and on top of your health will help you to live the best life you can without any unnecessary aches, pains, or a sweaty head to deal with!

What's the deal with weighted blankets?

by Banu Ibrahim, CNN

May 2, 2018

Restless sleepers know that the bedtime struggle is real. They've tried everything from meditation apps to white noise machines in their efforts to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. But could the trick to better sleep lie with your blanket choice?

Those who swear by weighted blankets think so. True to the name, these are heavy blankets (usually from 10-25 pounds total) that are filled with pellets that help distribute weight evenly across your body while you sleep. The thought is that this weight mimics the pressure of being held, which helps release anxiety to let you fall asleep faster. Some studies, including a 2015 one from the Journal of Sleep Medicine and Disorders, back this up. The research found that weighted blankets did in fact provide a "beneficial calming effect" for those suffering from insomnia.

While they've been gaining popularity recently, weighted blankets have been around for a few decades now in the occupational therapy field, where they've been used as aids for children on the autism spectrum. They're even the basis for products such as Thundershirts, which help your pup stay calm during thunderstorms, fireworks shows or other anxiety-inducing events.

There are a few things you'll want to consider if you're shopping for a weighted blanket of your own. It's recommended that you buy a weighted blanket that's about 10% of your body weight, if you're an adult. Another major factor is cost, as these blankets usually don't come cheap. A solid place to look for an affordable weighted blanket is Amazon, where many are under $200.

Some top-rated picks there include Restorology's Weighted Blanket (starting at $178.99; amazon.com)which has garnered an almost-perfect rating from more than 120 customers, as well as Good Knight Weighted Blanket (starting at $117.98; amazon.com)YnM's Weighted Blanket (starting at $139.90; amazon.com) and Kpblis Premium Weighted Blanket (starting at $69.80; amazon.com), which is one of the more affordable options out there. While the price may seem steep at first, it does seem like a bargain if it gives you an easy, more restful night's sleep.

Insomniacs, get ready for some serious R&R.

Note: The prices above reflect the retailer's listed price at the time of publication.

Why Sound Heals

By UPLIFT on Saturday October 10th, 2015

What Produces the Healing Power of Sound?

We can feel it when we turn on the radio and our favorite song happens to be playing, or when we sit quietly and listen to the rain. There is a palpable peace when we are absorbed in quiet and a different kind of rejuvenation when we hear the wind in the trees. There is no doubt that sound has subtle, but profound effects on our body, minds and spirits. How exactly does sound work, though, to heal us?

Just Like an Orchestra, You Can Tune Your Body

Have you ever listened to an orchestra prepare to play an invigorating symphony? There is a cacophony first with the woodwinds and strings, horns, and timpani making quite a ruckus, but when they tune their instruments precisely, the sound that washes over you like a wave, can bring peace and excitement that surpasses some of the most invigorating practices on earth – like sky diving, or dropping 45 feet into a hidden cave.

Sound is not unorganized chaos. It is a dynamic but ordered pattern. – Dr. Hans Jenny

Sound is not unorganized chaos. It is a dynamic but ordered pattern. – Dr. Hans Jenny

The body works in much the same way. If a single instrument (organ, or organ system) is playing its own tune, and not in harmony with the rest of the body, disease is more likely to happen. As sound therapist, Dr. John Beaulieu, ND, PhD explains:

The fundamental principle of Energy Medicine is that an underlying energy field generates physical, emotional, and mental behaviors or symptoms. If we change the energy field, the physical, emotional, and mental behaviors will also change.

Cymatics

One of the most effective ways to change the energy field is through a science named cymatics. Though he was not the first to discover that sound could heal, Dr. Hans Jenny, M.D. of Basel Switzerland put together some fascinating experiments where we could literally ‘see’ how sound works.

Jenny created ‘cymatics’ when he put sand, fluid or some other powder on a metal plate that was attached to an oscillator. An oscillator is essentially a vibrator, but his oscillator was controlled by a generator that was able to produce many thousands of types of frequencies. Some of these can be found in nature, and others are created by man.

By changing the frequencies on the oscillator, Jenny found that sand, or water or whatever substance he was using to create a visible medium for his sound, would morph into some very interesting shapes. These shapes mimicked the properties of divine geometry, and the higher the frequency, the more complex the shapes would appear to be. He wrote:

Since the various aspects of these phenomena are due to vibration, we are confronted with a spectrum which reveals a patterned, figurative formation at one pole and kinetic-dynamic processes at the other, the whole being generated and sustained by its essential periodicity.

What Jenny was observing was really a simple way of observing matter come to life. Since we now understand, through the emerging field of quantum physics, that patterns emerge via waves of energy, the plates were showing the scientist a similar phenomenon. In ancient Sumerian society, this was a known fact. This is why practices like mantra were held in high esteem. The seed syllable, OM, for example, causes a certain frequency to imprint upon the ‘matter’ around it, and thus changes the energetic field.

“The kind of singing that we do calms the spirit and helps us live in peace with our world and with one another,” says Abbot Philip Lawrence, a scholar of chant who also leads the Monastery of Christ In The Desert – home to an American order of Benedictine monks from Abiquiu, New Mexico. “Chanting has some strange effect on the brain waves according to various studies,” continues Abbot Philip, but this effect is certainly not the Monks of the Desert’s objective; rather their goal, and that of Gregorian chant, notes Abbot Philip, is “to focus on the words rather than the challenge of voice production or sight reading. It is always our hope that our singing will bring others to peace, inner tranquility and an appreciation of beauty. These values can help create a world in which peace and tranquility prevail.”

Since all matter is just different frequencies of the collapsed wave, or quantum field, then we have the ability to create a different reality with sound.

Sound and the Golden Number

The possibility for great healing can be seen in the science of sound. The picture of the Sri Yantra, a mandala created by sound, and said to be imagined by a yogi in deep meditation, is a representation of one of the oldest sounds in the world. Some call it a manifestation of divine sound. The triangles that appear in the Sri Yantra are perfectly integrated based on the divine number, Pi, which is also the basis for the golden mean, Phi. The Greek philosopher, Pythagorus understood sound and divein geometry, and it was written about by Euclid in “Elements” around 300 B.C., by Luca Pacioli, a contemporary of Leonardo Da Vinci, in “De Divina Proportione” in 1509, by Johannes Kepler around 1600. Many others knew of this ‘cosmic’ mathematics, and its power to heal throughout the ages.

The harmonics of sound work to create order out of chaos

The harmonics of sound work to create order out of chaos

The harmonics of sound work to create order out of chaos. Disease, you might say, is a form of chaos in the body. According to Dr. Robert Friedman, the connection between the Golden Ratio and ideal health was a no-brainer. During his medial residency in the 1980s, Dr. Friedman began observing the Golden Ratio throughout the human body—on the anatomical, physiological, and molecular levels. “The deeper I looked,” said Friedman, “the more deeply I discovered this incredible and ubiquitous Code to be embedded throughout the structure and function of the body…it only followed that the more one could harmonize with this grand principle, the more efficient and effortless life could be.”

Healing Frequencies

What is illness?

Emotional issues that are unresolved block the healing vibrations or cause the disease state to return. – R Gordon

Over millennia, those who have studied the science of sound, have come to understand that certain frequencies are very healing for the human body. Overall, however, you are trying to create resonance – “When two systems are oscillating at different frequencies, there is an impelling force called resonance that causes the two to transfer energy from one to another. When two similarly tuned systems vibrate at different frequencies, there is another aspect of this energy transfer called entrainment, which causes them to line up and to vibrate at the same frequency.” (Richard Gordon)

 

Certain frequencies are very healing for the human body

Certain frequencies are very healing for the human body

When we ‘entrain’ with healing frequencies, our bodies and minds vibrate in harmony. These include:

285 Hz – Signals cells and tissues to heal. Leaves the body feeling rejuvenated.
396 Hz – Liberates guilt and fear to make way for higher vibrating emotions.
417 Hz – Allows the ‘undoing’ of challenging situations.
528 Hz – Said to heal DNA, repair cells, and awaken consciousness
639 Hz – This is the vibration associated to the heart. It allows feelings of love for self and ‘other’ until there is no longer a distinction. To balance relationships, listen to this frequency.
741 Hz – Said to clean the cells and heal them from exposure to electromagnetic radiation. Helps shift someone into empowerment so they can create the reality they wish to see.
852 Hz – Awakens intuition.
963 Hz – Activates the pineal gland, and aligns the body to its perfect, original state. Of course, there are further frequencies, many of which that are not even within the human range of hearing, but they are healing nonetheless. George Lakhovsky, a Russian engineer understood the power of sound as well. He understood that certain frequencies would make a living being grow stronger. I hope you are able to find healing in the frequencies I’ve described, and that this introduction to why sound heals will spur you to learn more.

At the root of all power and motion, there is music and rhythm, the play of patterned frequencies against the matrix of time. We know that every particle in the physical universe takes its characteristics from the pitch and pattern and overtones of its particular frequencies, its singing. Before we make music, music makes us.
– Joachim-Ernst Berendt, The World is Sound