Mindfulness as a Way to Heal

I am having a hungry day. Do you have days like that too? Do you find yourself having days when you just can’t seem to get enough food in you to feel full? When days like this happen to me, I often wonder what it is that I am really feeling. There is obviously some sort of emptiness that cannot seem to be filled or some corner of my mind looking for distraction.

I have eat an ample amount  of healthy and nutritious food today. I have kept my promise to myself to maintain my intermittent fasting. I have even felt tempted to drink alcohol or diet soda over this weekend, but stayed true to my healthy initiates. I even manage to get in 10,000 plus steps today and yesterday. I have not been complaint free. As the sun dips below the horizon and the stars start to blink into being, I am sipping a hot tea to stave off my hunger pains. Why is there this persistent need to eat today? Maybe I am hungrier because I walked the 10,000 steps and burned more calories? Perhaps as I sit alone in silence, watching the lights across the marina, I am board. These are both very valid explanations as to why I might be feeling the need to nibble on this and that.

There is also another possible explanation. I am just not good at quiet. I am extremely good at busyness. When I am being productive my mind is distracted. When I am sitting, quietly, it allows my past emotions and experiences to creep into the corners of my mind. I want to eat, drink, do something so that I do not have to acknowledge these uncomfortable things tickling my consciousness; as they slip and slide though the cobwebby recesses of my mind. Just dealing with them would make them go away and not seem so frightening anymore, but still my protective coping mechanisms say not today! Their time is coming though. They cannot creep through the shadows of my mind forever. I will not allow them to derail all the progress I am and have been making. Adventure Sister, Emy and I are planning our own private ‘silent’ retreat.

In the silence of 48 hours, which we are gifted ourselves, there will be no place for them to hide. The ability to run (as a distraction), to have to do this or that, will not be possible. I imagine there will be some very troublesome moments in the midst of this period of silence. I can guess that I will have a couple of very hungry days. I foresee growth coming to me though this; yet I know it will not all be easy. I know that much of it will feel very uncomfortable. I will just chalk it up to growing pains as I can feel my Spirit craving this experience. It just feels so right. When I come out on the other side, will I be markedly different? Probably not but I will be healthier!

These cravings and distractions seem to wave from the depths of me. They want to be noticed yet the protective part of myself is trying to keep them hidden away, like skeletons in the closets of my mind. Through silence and mindfulness, I will allow them to come into the light, because skeletons do not seem so frightening there.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you find the time and space to let those past hurts come to the surface and move on, as if by magic.

*Photo taken in Sanford, FL at the marina.

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Twin Flame Relationships

Have you ever heard of the idea of a Twin Flame? Many people romanticize this concept but there really is more ‘pain’ than ‘romance’ in most Twin flame experiences. It is a very different experience from meeting your soulmate.

Twin Flames; is the concept that your soul is split in two to go into this earthly plane to have very different experiences. From my understanding; Twin Flames are typically opposites in almost every way. (Opposite sex, passions, personality, demeanor, spirituality, politics, etc.) Although many people may meet their Twin Flame, very few of these relationships are successful. The differences are just too great. It brings to mind the song from the Disney Movie, Little Mermaid; “Poor Unfortunate Souls.” When this relationship is successful, it is likely a very old soul that has worked through many experiences in countless lifetimes.

Recently, I have seen several articles about relationships between Empaths and Narcissists. It struck me that the Narcissist is the anti-empath. They cannot empathize with others. Perhaps these are actually Twin Flame relationships. Twin Flames feel like Karmic relationships. Have you ever had a friend who is drawn to someone so opposite and bad for them, that it just doesn’t make any sense, but you can’t talk them into staying away? This very well maybe a Twin Flame. Despite all the pain, they go back again and again. They can even verbalize how bad the other is for them, but like a moth to the flame, they can’t stay away.

Because Twin Flames are a split of one soul, there is a feeling of completeness and of home that comes when the two are together. It makes it that much harder for them to breakaway from each other to live a healthier more balanced life.

Relationships are one of the biggest teachers we experience in this life, especially romantic ones. Nothing will put your “stuff” in your face, like a romantic relationship. Having a romantic relationship with a Twin Flame can feel predestine and still be the most painful thing you experience. There can be lots to learn and much growth, but it will likely take just as much healing, personal work, and self discovery to recover after the relationship.

So what are your thoughts? Do you agree with me that the Narcissists and the Empaths are drawn together because they are Twin Flames? Have you had a relationship with your Twin Flame? What was your experience like?

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May your life be filled with happy and healthy relationships, as if by magic.

*The featured photo on this blog was taken on The Little Mermaid Ride in Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Orlando FL.

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Get a Massage! It’s Good for You – No Need to Feel Guilty

So, I need a massage! I really do. I can feel it in every cell in my being. Maybe you are thinking, “Stacy, a massage is a nice way to pamper yourself but saying you need it is a bit much, don’t you know.” But need is what I mean to say. Massages are part of my healthcare. I focus on holistic modalities whenever possible and massages are an important part of that tool chest. They have many health benefits, of course there are the usual benefits that everyone thinks of:

  1. It feels great!
  2. It is so Relaxing.
  3. Massage can relieve pain and tension. 
  4. It is a great way to practice good self-care and remind yourself that you are worthy.

But, did you know, there have been lots of studies that show there are many more health benefits then you might realize?

  1. As a hospice nurse, I have seen the benefits first hand, that massage has at end of life. It helps relieve the symptoms that patients face as a result of their illnesses, medications, and the process of dying.
  2. Massage has been found to be beneficial for certain diagnoses. The Mayo Clinic says that research shows massage as proven to help with conditions such as fibromyalgia and digestive problems. WebMD also reports that studies have shown its benefits against back pain, headaches, and even depression. 
  3. It increases circulation. This just makes sense that the process of massaging the body would help move the blood through the vessels and keep it flowing smoothly.  
  4. Massage boosts your immune system according to a study in the Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine. This is the precise reason why getting a massage during cold and flu season is even more important.
  5. Massages are great at decreasing tension both emotional and physical. So often emotional tension shows up physically in the body. For me it settles into my upper back, shoulders, and neck. The massage therapists who work with me, typically spend the majority of their time focusing on these locations. In a 90 minute full body massage, the rest of my body may only get a quick 15 minutes.
  6. Massages have been shown to promote calm and decrease clinical anxiety. According to the American Massage Therapy Association; decreased anxiety is one of the benefits of massage. Every massage therapist works a little differently. Some have a space with dim lighting and relaxing music but I have also had massages in the practitioners living room. For me, when you can get a massage outside, that is the best! I have had them on beaches and in forests. No matter what the location, massage has a way of letting my mind relax and the worries of tomorrow drop away. 
  7. They also, lowers Blood Pressure. According to Body and Mind Massage in Chelmsford, MA, it not only lowers blood pressure but also decreases cortisol,  the stress hormone. Reduction in cortisol can prevent weight gain. I do not know how often you would need to get massage to loose weight but it could be added to your health plan, along with other modalities, to help you on your journey.

Massages are not for everyone, but if you have never experienced one or if it has been a long time since you did, I highly encourage you to go get a massage. Go ahead, you deserve it and it is good for you!

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May your world be full of healthy habits that help you feel great, as if by magic.

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When You Love and Hate Someone at the Same Time

I recently saw a meme on Facebook that said; “I never knew how strong I was until I had to forgive someone who wasn’t sorry and accept an apology I never received.” I shared it to the BWCAdventureSisters Facebook Page. What a powerful statement! I imagine we all have had experiences like this that have caused us pain. Where we did not get the apology we hoped for from the person who hurt us. I imagine, that there have also been times in our own lives, that we have been the cause of pain for others and never apologized; for whatever reason. I know I can think of several times in my own life. These were times when I was not brave enough to say “I was wrong”.  Other times when I never had the chance to express what was in my heart before the other person was gone. I wrote about one such time in my blog When the Last Interaction Is Not Positive.

I like and shared this quote, because it shows that we do not have to stay stuck in anger, just because we didn’t receive what we thought we needed to move on. My first divorce was incredibly painful! I didn’t know how to love and hate someone at the same time. It was confusing. More so than confusing, it was also so lonely. No one could really help me through it. I was suddenly and utterly alone in this deep grief. I had friends and I had family. All who were supportive and willing to be there for me; but it felt like none of them could possibly understand what I was going through.

How do we reconcile love and hate while still respecting our need to protect ourselves from further abuse? How do we move on past anger and into acceptance and forgiveness? How do we allow the love that is there to take that pain and safely transform it? It is not easy nor does it happen overnight. They say time heals all things but I do not believe that time alone is enough to transform these very difficult situations. It takes work, processing, acknowledging, and ultimately forgiving; to move beyond these confusing times when we feel we were wronged.

I have forgiven my first husband for that long ago pain. Yet I have never apologized for keeping his children from him though. I was doing what I thought was right, but in the end, I understand that I hurt him and I hurt them through this action. Relationships are tricky things. We can have an impact on others, sometimes in ways we don’t even realize. I hope those I have hurt can find it in their hearts to forgive me, so that they can be freed from the burden of ‘that’ pain. Because really; forgiveness frees ‘us’ more than the person we are forgiving.

I love you! Thank you for reading my blog today! May you find peace and forgiveness, as if by magic!

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Acupuncture; Have You Tried It?

My low back, near my sacrum, has given me problems off and on for about 25 years now. It’s an old injury from back when I was a nursing assistant that flairs up from time to time. I have a number of holistic techniques I use to get it feeling better. Yoga, ice, walking, and turmeric are hits on this list.

When these and other holistic modalities do not work anymore, then it’s time for the big guns! For me the big gun is Acupuncture. I currently go to Aculove. Libby is a fabulous and intuitive acupuncturist. I have been to many others over the years and I find Acupuncture is the most relaxing modality I have ever had. I know that seems like it doesn’t make sense. Having a bunch of little pins stuck into your skin, doesn’t seem relaxing at all. I can’t explain why it is, only that there is some sort of magic that takes place when the acupuncturist puts the needles in the right places. I feel all tingly and soft.

I am and have always been someone who struggles to relax. When getting manicures, the person giving it has complained that their hands get sore because I didn’t relax my hands. I never fall asleep during massages. I struggle just to sit still and have a peaceful afternoon. When the magical acupuncture pins are in place though, I have fallen asleep.

I know many people are concerned that it will be uncomfortable, but it is a quick poke when the pins go in, not unlike a mosquito bite. If you have not tried it and have been curious about it, I would strongly encourage you to give it a shot. It makes me feel fabulous!

Thank you for reading my blog today. I wish you lifetime of finding the perfect modalities to help you feel better.

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Week 5 check ~ Daily Meditation Adventure

Here we go!

If you have not already joined our 90 day meditation adventure, I hope you will still do so. Here is how the last week went for me.

Experiences during the week: During one meditation this week I received a message about being true to who you are. I feel every day that I learn a little better who I am.

My weight: I have gained 2.2 lbs since the start of this challenge. Certainly not the outcome I was hoping to share with you. We are only about a 1/3 of the way into the challenge though. I refuse to give up! I will meditate on with new enthusiasm.

How I feel: I am having a lot of lower back pain. It is something I deal with from time to time but this episode is the worst I have had in sometime. I partially blame the weight gain for the back pain. More weight, pulling on an area of my body, that is already not at optimal functioning. I also feel frustrated that weight is not just falling off my frame. Perhaps I need to try and increase my meditation from once a day to twice a day.

What I have learned: I have learned that being in pain can affect my calm. I can, at times, get a little snappy with people. I see this episode of back pain as in invitation from the Universe to maintain my inner Zen, even when there are distractions and things that may be causing me to not feel my best.

How it is affecting my life: I am finding that the daily meditation is something I “have to do”. This is not the way I wanted to feel about it. I find that I am slipping it into other experiences like during a massage or an event, such as a shamanic drum journey, as counting. I want to be able to tell you I feel more calm and centered but that is certainly not true today. I refuse to give up! I know I will eventually get into my grove.

I would love to hear your experiences with this. I hope you are having a more profound lift with shifting experiences. If you are snuggling a bit, like I am, its ok. Don’t give up! We will get there!

Thank you for reading my blog today. I wish you a lifetime of learning to know your true self even better.

I love you.

Previous meditation blogs by the Adventure Sisters: Join Us on This AdventureMeditate the weight away?9 ways to improve meditation, Meditation contemplations, There’s an App for That: A review of meditation Apps7 Common Meditation Myths11 Types of Meditation 

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9 Way to Improve Back Pain

Many people suffer from back pain. For some it is a chronic condition; for others, it is an occasional occurrence after a strenuous day or twisting the wrong way. It can be debilitating and western medicine does not always have the answers. There are many holistic options to treat back pain that are surely worth a shot as an alternative to narcotics, living with pain, or considering surgery. Here are some of my favorites. 

  1. Frankincense essential oil – I love this essential oil for so many things. Rubbing it on the bottom of your feet can provide miraculous relief from chronic back pain. 
  2. Ice – When I first started having back pain I always went to heat. Ice seemed intolerable. Once I tried ice, I knew I would never go back to heat. The problem with heat is that it increases blood flow into and out of the area. This can cause the inflammation in the area to become worse. Ice decreases swelling. It has made such a difference for me. At the first indication of any back pain I am reaching for the ice pack. Just remember not longer than 20 minutes.
  3. Yoga – The stretching and various poses Yoga has to offer can be great for back pain. There are Yoga kriyas or sets that are specifically formulated for back health. They help get the spinal cord moving, can help compress excess fluid out of the disks, and stretch bunched up muscles. Plus the meditative aspects of Yoga can help to provide over all calming, which can relax those tight muscle in the back. 
  4. Massage – Knots and tight muscles can cause a lot of discomfort in the back and the skills of a massage therapist can really work them out and help provide relief from the pain. 
  5. Acupuncture– If you have never tried this, I highly suggest it! I find it so relaxing. I know that sounds crazy but it provides a sense of calm I do not get from other modalities. The needles help increase circulation and chi to the areas of pain. I am not an acupuncturist but I am sure someone with the qualification could explain this better than I can. I know it works for my back pain. 
  6. Chiropractic – There are many different times of chiropractors out there. If you chose to seek this treatment, do your homework and ask questions. One type of Chiropractor may not be right for you while another may be very beneficial. Some Chiropractors use a tool called an “activator” while others uses their bodies to adjust yours and still others have tables that help to make the adjustments. There are also Chiropractors who work more energetically and with your breath. 
  7. Mantras – Louis L Hay felt that our thoughts and beliefs about ourselves cause the illness in our body. In her book, Heal Your Body A-Z, she has mantras for upper, middle, or lower back pain. This is another thing I have done to find my bodies own ability to heal itself. It is something you can try that won’t break the bank and puts the trust in your own body to heal itself. “I trust in the process of life. All I need is taken care of. I am safe.” is her mantra for lower back pain. For other types of back pain, check out her book. 
  8. Strengthen your core – There are lots of ways to do this. Crunches is one that we hear about a lot but there are many resources or personnel trainers out there who could help you with this. A stronger core means there are more muscle to help your back hold you up. 
  9. Turmeric– It helps reduce inflammation.  When I was doing my Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training it was strenuous, with back to back days of full day yoga instruction. One blessed yogi would bring us golden milk to help our sore bodies. Golden milk is almond milk, Turmeric, and Honey. The anti-inflammatory properties of the turmeric helped us get through the growing we were doing physically, while our mind and spirits continued to be enhanced but the yoga. 

I hope you are able to give some of these a try. I hope that they are beneficial to you. If you have other tips for people suffering from back pain please share. 

Thank you for reading my blog today. I wish you a day filled with flexibility and ease.

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Beneficial Forgiveness

Who are you unable to forgive and why? What things do you consider to be unforgivable? What mistakes have you made in life that you are still holding tight to because the pain is too much to think about? Being able to forgive others and even more so, to forgive yourself, can be life changing.

Most people do not set out in life to be a pain the the you know what. As humans, I believe we do the best we can, in the time and space we are in. But because of what we are holding on to, sometime the decisions we make will cause pain for ourselves and or others. I think if we realize that people do the best they can in the time and space they are in, it’ll help you leg go of the anger, regret and disappointment in order to find it in your heart to offer forgiveness.

I was in a toxic marriage once. There was verbal and emotional things happening that have had a lasting impact. I stayed in the marriage because I really believed that my children needed a home with a father and a mother. I also did not believe I could be successful in providing my children with a home and the other things they needed without two incomes. I was wrong about both of these things. I stayed because I didn’t know I was wrong. I stayed because I didn’t understand the lasting impact that this environment was having on my children. I stayed because I did not have enough self worth to believe I could leave. Eventually, I found my self worth and did leave the marriage. I am only now starting to fully understand how my children were hurt and affected by this.

So who do I need to forgive as a result of this story. I need to forgive myself for staying way to long. I need to forgive my ex-husband for the way he treated me and the children. I need to forgive my daughter who still holds so much anger at me for staying too long and for not protecting her more. I need to forgive my catholic up bringing that made me think I couldn’t leave. I need to forgive myself for feeling like a failure, because I couldn’t fix it.

I will tell you I have worked through this and have been able to forgive. Much of this processing and healing took place in the BWCA, with Emy’s support and love. I was able to touch those very painful emotions that were pushed down deep inside. I was able to feel them and understand them and eventually let them go. I was able to understand that my ex-husband was doing the best he could in the time and space he was in. He had learned how to be a family from his own family. Perhaps what had been modeled for him, when he was a child, was also not healthy. I came to understand that he had his own inner demons and probably did not like himself very much. He did not know how to deal with or heal these things. So it came out in these ways that harmed our family. Once I had some understanding of why he acted the way he did, I was able to forgive him. This forgiveness was a gift to him but more importantly it was a gift to myself. Forgiving him freed me from wallowing in the hate and self loathing. Forgiving him allowed me to get to the place where I could forgive myself. Forgiving him allowed me to let go of that “failed” marriage and give it blessings for the experiences I had and the things I learned as a result of it. Forgiving him gave me a new found freedom and a new found peace. Forgiving him was far more beneficial to me than it will ever be to him. Forgiving my daughter is easy. I pray the someday she will forgive me. Not because I feel I need forgiveness but because it will free her and allow her to heal. Forgiving my catholic up bringing was easier once I realized that it was a result of good intentions on my parents part. They were doing what they thought was right. They were doing the best they could to raise their children. “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”. I think when we can see the good intentions behind the things that hurt us, it is easier to find forgiveness.

The hardest forgiveness that took place from the story I shared above was forgiving myself. We hold ourselves to a higher standard. We do not allow for our own mistakes. We take these perceived “failures” and hold on to them. We often feel they are unforgivable. None of us are perfect. Once I was able to realize that I too did the best I could in the time and place I was in, I began to see that I was able to forgive myself. I forgave myself for staying too long, for “failing” at marriage, for the mistakes I made in the midst of the marriage that made situations worse. The freedom of no longer holding on to these things allowed for a sense of freedom. The chains had been released. I was able to move on. I was able to work on myself and become a healthier version of me. I was able to find a relationship that is happy and healthy.

What in your life are you not able to forgive? Yourself? Others? Situations? Is there a way that you can see these situations from another perspective and find forgiveness? It will change your life. Forgive others, not for their benefit but for your own benefit. Free yourself from having to hold on to that disappointment any longer.

Do you have a story to share about how forgiveness improved your life? Do you have things you are currently working on forgiving yourself for? Do you have things you have learned along the way you would like to share with others?

Thank you for reading my blogs today. Feel free to share it with others you feel it may help. May your life be filled with healthy forgiveness. Blessings, Stacy

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Bringing Hidden Emotions to the Surface

Recently Emy and I started planning our next BWCA trip. We were debating how many days we should stay. Because there is usually no cell service and you have to arrange for an outfitter to drop you off and pick you up, once you are there, you are there for the duration. I have noticed that when I am “stuck” somewhere, without some distraction, my emotions move.

There was one year that it rained, a lot! Emy and I passed the time sitting under a tarp, drinking tea, journaling, and talking. There is no electricity so using your phone for entertainment is not an option. After hours of sitting under our shelter I felt this desire to leave. I didn’t want to be there anymore. It was like my “fight/flight” response was in full swing and I wanted to run! Of course there was no way and no where to run to. I had to just sit. Then a breakthrough happened. My emotions broke free. I had a revelation. I became aware of some old thoughts about myself that I was holding as true. I realized that I did not believe I was lovable. I broke into tears and cried (something I seldom do). Because of this solitude and sanctuary of the forest, I was able to process this emotion.

Another year, it was the day before we were scheduled to leave, a beautiful sunny day had us lounging in the sun. I could feel the anxiety building in me. Our scheduled pick up time on the next day seemed so late in the day to me. We had a long drive to Emy’s home and then I had an additional hour to my house. I needed to unpack from the BWCA trip. I was scheduled on an early morning flight the next day for work and needed to pack for that trip. Laying there, on a warm rock, next to a sparkling lake, I once again felt that “fight/flight” instinct kick in and I wanted to run. I needed to get home and get stuff done! With nowhere to go and nothing I could do, I asked myself why I was feeling this way. Digging into those emotions and explored their root cause, helped me realized it was about not speaking up for myself. When we were arranging our pickup time, I knew I needed to leave early. When Emy suggested a later pickup time to the outfitter, I didn’t explain to her my perceived need to leave early because of pressure to get ready for a work trip. I just passively let her pick the time. Here it was four or five days later and it was causing me discomfort. Being in a place where I could allow my emotions to surface without the distractions the modern world offers us, gave me the time and space to allow the emotions to surface. I had the ability to dig into them and see what was causing them. I then knew how to prevent feeling like this in the future and advocate for myself.

So often in life we use distractions so that we do not have to deal with our emotions. TV, alcohol, games on our phones, housework, and so many other things to “be busy” and not have to deal with or process our emotions. Give yourself time and space to just be. Even though, at times, it may be uncomfortable it will allow those old emotions to break free. Then you can deal with them and release them.

What types of things do you do to “be busy” and not feel? How do you find space to let these emotions surface?

The Pain We Carry With US

I was recently talking with someone and he was telling me about a part of his life he felt was a failure. It seemed to me that the perceived failure in this part of the person’s life caused him to view himself as a failure. Failure is a very harsh word. We all carry these pains and self judgments about ourselves with us. How can we learn from them and move forward and realize these perceived failures do not define us.
Let us start by examining the word failure. Are we ever really a failure or do we just make choices that are not in our best interests? Some of the things I have done in my life, that may have seemed like failures at the time, have led me down different paths that I would not have taken if the other path had been a success. For example, there was a time, when a job did not work out the way I had planned. My position was replaced by someone else and I was given a different role at the time. I felt horrible and like a failure. As it turned out it led me to another job that was even better. Life has a way of leading us to exactly where we are meant to be.
We all have had experiences in life where things we have said and done have caused us to feel like we failed in that situation. We carry this pain with us. For a time I even felt like I had failed as a mother because of the pains that my children carry with them. I now see that all three of my daughters have grown to be beautiful, smart, dynamic women. I wish I could have spared them the pain they experienced, but I also see how this pain has formed and helped them to become the women they are today. The pain they have experienced has shaped each of them in different ways. It has given them talents and the ambition to move their lives in amazing ways. One of my daughters always fights for the underdog. She speaks out and shares her views even when it is not popular. Another one of my daughters is all about family. She loves big family gatherings and wants everyone to feel welcome and accepted. The last of my daughters leads people. She has a drive to build and lead teams. I am extremely proud of them.
Just because something does not turn out the way I had hoped, it is not a failure. We all have these times in our life. It is important that we take them out and look at them with new eyes. By allowing our view to shift we can see how, what we once thought was a failure, is in fact a blessing in disguise.
What has happened in your life, that you once thought was a failure, but now can see how it benefitted you in the long run?