Author Archives: heartshapedhealing

About heartshapedhealing

For a little over a year I have been on a journey from the loss of health back to the road of recovery. Having little luck with allopathic medicine I turned towards vibrational and energy medicines and healing modalties like homeopathy, TCM, reflexology, Reiki, other forms of body work, and emotional work and I haven’t looked back since. The more I dive into the Inner World the more I see how it manifests in the Outer World. The transformation has been beyond expectations and continues to astound me.

The Healing Power of Sound with Jonathan Goldman

Jonathan Goldman has spent a lifetime dedicated to creating sounds, vibrations, and frequencies that facilitate healing within the human body, mind, and spirit.  He is the director of the Sound Healers Association and can be found at www.healingsounds.com.  I have been enjoying the 7 Minute Chakra Tune Up which is available on his site.  It is a quick and enjoyable experience you can include in your wellness routine.

There are many world traditions that have long known the healing power of sound.  On Goldman’s site you can research these ancient belief systems as well as learn about how modern science is finally beginning to validate these ideas.  Feel free to take a look at this PDF where he explains how we can best receive the benefits of the 7 Minute Chakra Tune Up.  The health improvements one can expect include:

 Increased oxygen in the cells

 Lowered blood pressure and heart rate

 Increased levels of melatonin

 Reduced levels of stress-related hormones

 Release of endorphins—self-created opiates that work as “natural pain relievers”

 Increased levels of nitric oxide (NO), a molecule associated with the promotion of healing

 Release of oxytocin, the “trust” hormone


I have no affiliation with http://www.healingsounds.com or Jonathan Goldman.  I am a fan of his work, appreciate what he does, and it is my hope as many people as possible can benefit from it. Happy listening.

Advertisements

Eating for Health and Wisdom on Sharing our Dietary Beliefs with Others

 

Today I found inspiration in an interview with Ocean Robbins, co-founder of the Food Revolution Network. The discussion focused on eating for a healthy body and a healthy planet. One anecdote in particular stuck out as an amazing testament to the effect that diet can have on our health. It was especially touching because it told the story of a father and son who disagreed for decades, but eventually found mutual understanding. I hope you can keep all of the different Robbins straight.

Ocean’s father, John Robbins, is the son of Irvine Robbins, one of the founders of Baskin Robbins. When he was in his 20’s John’s uncle, Burt Baskin, died from heart disease while still under the age of 60. John made a decision to switch to healthy eating and eventually became the author of Diet for a New America.  John Robbin’s stepped away from the family business and was barred from the family fortune. He became jokingly known as the “rebel without a cone.” Later in life John’s father, who had been consuming the Standard American Diet plus a couple scoops of BR 31 flavors each day, was experiencing heart issues, high blood pressure and diabetes. Ironically, Irvine’s doctor recommended he read Diet for a New America. Irvine had the good sense to take his son’s advice after living a different lifestyle for so long. He had a lot of success with it, coming off of all his medications and living for many more years.

As has been made visible with many food documentaries recently, it is pretty astounding how some of the “disease of affluence” can often times be reversed just with our diet. I saw one Ocean Robbin’s quote on the internet today that said, “What we eat literally becomes us.” I was blown away by story above, as I didn’t really know much about the history of Baskin Robbin’s and all that had transpired. I was particularly interested because I had read one of John Robbin’s other books titled Healthy at 100 and didn’t make the connection until now. It is another fascinating read and helped spark my interest in longevity, traditional diets, and the connection between what we eat and how we feel.

The interview I heard today was another part of the Shift Network’s “Winter of Wellness,” that I had blogged about on Sunday. It is still available for another 44 hours or so. The version of the story told above is from what can be heard in the interview, but more details are available in this article from The Independent. Below I’ve paraphrased some other words of wisdom that Ocean Robbins shared in his talk.

The first part relates to how we share our beliefs with others in a non-judgmental way:

“If you want love in your life be around people who bring out your love…if you want more health choose to surround yourself with people who make you feel healthy……….same thing about food. That said we also live in a world where a lot of people are not going to be eating the way we do. And so, I think part of what’s called for in us as human beings who love other human beings is that we not judge, we not alienate, we not feel more…there’s a tendency to get kind of self-righteous and dogmatic and be more vegan than thou, more raw than thou, more paleo than thou, you know…..when we do that we create a gap and we actually make it harder for the other person to bridge that gap and connect with us. Dr. Martin Luther King said, ‘ You have no moral authority with those who can feel your underlying contempt.’ So I believe we need to stand in our moral authority by holding our love and our respect for other human beings with whom we walk this earth and bringing love and connection into those relationships, and always remembering that love is more important, relationships are more important than being right. In that sense then, we need to find some balance I think of living and letting live, while at the same time being true to our integrity, and frankly, sharing our truth with people that we care about that we think might benefit from it. You know, when my grandpa was near death and on all of those medications his doctor did him a great service by giving him my dad’s book and telling him what it could do for his life and I am so glad that my grandfather had the incredible courage to be willing to listen to that. So there are times when we need to level with people and we need to tell them the truth about what see and what we learn and give them the the resources that we may have gained benefit from. At the same time to do so in a way that is respectful, that is honoring of who they are….”

The second paraphrase is his response when the interviewer asked if he had any parting words for the listeners:

“I think there are more than 7 billion parts to play in the healing of our world, we’ve all got a niche, we’ve all got gifts we’ve all got suffering. Whatever you’ve been through, whatever support you’ve received, whatever struggles you’ve endured, they are part of you now and they are part of your unique, absolutely precious contribution that you get to make in this world. So my biggest advice is take the next step, and keep moving, because I think that procrastination and inertia are the thieves of destiny. And so most critical, is not that you get it right, not you nail it perfectly, but that you be on the learning journey. That you know wherever you are there is a next step towards greater congruency with who you are, with what you’re here for, with what you love, with what you are truly committed to in this life and I want to honor and thank you for all the ways that you step out with courage and tenacity and vision and boldness on behalf of what you love, and I want to let you know that we are here with you…the Food Revolution Network, the Winter of Wellness….all of the people who are struggling and living and loving and dreaming and standing up for a better way on this planet are here with you and we stand with you and we work with you and eat with you and we celebrate with you as you step into the calling that is your life. Thank you for being who you are, for giving your gift, for eating and living and loving in congruence with what you cherish.”

What a loving and supportive message.  I hope you’ve enjoyed Ocean’s message as much as I have.

‘Basic Elements of Meditation Practice,’ More Incredible AudioDharma Teachings from Tara Brach

                                                                                                                                                   Tara Brach

Yes, I am writing about Tara Brach again.  Her teachings have been having a huge impact on me.  I started this blog as a place to share things that I believe have the power to change the quality of peoples’ lives, specifically in the arena of health.  From a holistic perspective our mental and physical health are inseparable, both spheres affecting one another.  When something like Mindfulness Meditation begins to have a positive effect on one’s life they can’t help but want to share it with as many people as possible.

One of the biggest things stopping people from receiving the benefits of meditation is a misunderstanding of the goal.  The idea isn’t to clear your mind or completely stop thought, but to accept what is happening in your mind at the given moment, without judgement, attachment, or aversion.  The ups and downs of life are inevitable and this ability to accept can greatly improve the way we face these undulations.  Few can explain the subtleties of this to a Western audience better than Tara Brach.

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

In February she released a two-part series on her podcast called ‘Basic Elements of Meditation Practice.’  The teachings are nice for people who want to start meditating, but have had trouble getting started, while at the same time they are useful for those looking to go deeper into their own understanding.  The lectures show us that meditation doesn’t have to be complicated and should never be difficult.  Often times the quality of intention is what counts, viewing it as something you look forward too, rather than a chore or another thing we should be doing. She expounds on the importance of consistency over length of session, especially when getting started.  She beautifully relates this to the cycles of nature and how coming back each and every day creates a rhythm, even if it’s just sitting on the cushion for a few minutes when we wake up or before we go to bed.  I can’t recommend this series enough to anyone interested in simple, easy-to-follow guidance.  I will close with a poem Brach shares at the end of Part 2.  Namaste.

Peace is This Moment Without Judgment

“Do you think peace requires an end to war?
Or tigers eating only vegetables?
Does peace require an absence from
your boss, your spouse, yourself? …
Do you think peace will come some other place than here?
Some other time than Now?
In some other heart than yours?

Peace is this moment without judgment.
That is all. This moment in the Heart-space
where everything that is is welcome.
Peace is this moment without thinking
that it should be some other way,
that you should feel some other thing,
that your life should unfold according to your plans.

Peace is this moment without judgment,
this moment in the heart-space where
everything that is is welcome. ”
-Dorothy Hunt

The Shift Network’s FREE “Winter of Wellness” Event Continuing Through March 2015

Last night I heard a great and informative interview with Nadine Artemis, author of Holistic Dental Health.  The interview was offered freely as part of the Shift Network’s ‘Winter of Wellness”  event.  The talk was one of many interesting conversations I’ve listened to over the past month.   Each interview is freely offered and available for about 48 hours after it airs.  Check out the link to see the event schedule.  The March leg of the event starts with Ocean Robbins on March 2nd. Nadine’s talk will still be available for about 28 hours from the time this blog is posted.  If you miss it there is lots of great information on her website and I would go as far as to say that visiting her website, Living Libations, is even more valuable than hearing the talk itself.  She offers practical advice on how to care for our teeth (click on the tab that says Beauty Care Articles) and shares aspects of dental health and its relation to our overall health that few dentist will share with you.  Despite the fact that her site is a store, you don’t have to buy anything to take advantage of all the great advice, and there is even information on how to make your own toothcare products rather than buying hers. I first heard Nadine Artemis speak on Daniel Vitalis’s podcast, ReWild Yourself!, and appreciated her holistic approach to health.  I am excited for the March leg of ‘Winter of Wellness” because we will hear from Vitalis as well.  Aside from his fun podcast, he is the creator of www.findaspring.com.  Another highlight coming up is an interview with Holly Tse who offers a practical website informing us how we can apply some of the simpler aspects of Chinese Reflexology at home.  I have delighted in experimenting with some of her easy to use techniques to counteract oncoming colds and anxiety. These are a few people who have inspired me on my own journey towards health and wellness.  The rest of the March program looks listen worthy as well.  I hope these links prove useful to all of the curious minds out there and those interested can enjoy the rest of the event.

Mindfulness and Dharma Talks with Tara Brach

The past two months I’ve witnessed my head space and thoughts move to a better place due to Washington D.C. based meditation teacher, Tara Brach. I first heard about her thanks to Maria Popova over at brainpickings. Through listening to her dharma talks via podcast and using some of the guided meditations on her webpage I have found deeper compassion for myself and a healthier way of viewing the world. Her teachings offer a chance to move from victim-hood to being an agent of change in your own life and others.

If you have the opportunity to scroll through her past talks Parts 1 and 2 about the “Power of Self-Compassion,” will give you new insight into the human condition and how to deal with it.

One titled, “Earth’s Crisis,” created an arena for me to deal with my own fears regarding the worldwide ecological crisis.

A Generous Heart,” explores not only why generosity and giving make us feel so good, but how creating that space in our heart can actually help us heal ourselves and our relationships with others.

Perhaps my favorite part of the podcast, aside from the peaceful state of mind it puts me in and the space for reflection on current issues in my life it creates, is all of the great quotes, anecdotes, poems, and comics she shares with the audience. From Rumi to Emerson to comics about things like a mouse with a cat psychiatrist, and everything in between, Brach infuses each lecture with references that either make you laugh or truly do inspire. Here are just a few that I’ve enjoyed so far.

  1. From Paul Hawken’s 2009 commencement speech, “In each of you are one quadrillion cells, 90 percent of which are not human cells. Your body is a community, and without those other microorganisms you would perish in hours. Each human cell has 400 billion molecules conducting millions of processes between trillions of atoms. The total cellular activity in one human body is staggering: one septillion actions at any one moment, a one with twenty-four zeros after it. In a millisecond, our body has undergone ten times more processes than there are stars in the universe, which is exactly what Charles Darwin foretold when he said science would discover that each living creature was a “little universe, formed of a host of self-propagating organisms, inconceivably minute and as numerous as the stars of heaven.”
  1. Also from the same speech, “Ralph Waldo Emerson once asked what we would do if the stars only came out once every thousand years. No one would sleep that night, of course. The world would create new religions overnight. We would be ecstatic, delirious, made rapturous by the glory of God. Instead, the stars come out every night and we watch television.
  2. From Cami Walker, No matter how much we have materially, we are often in a place of scarcity. We never think we have enough or that we’re good enough. Instead of getting lost in a sense of lack, once we realize we are part of something bigger, it becomes clear we have many gifts to offer the world.”
  3. From George Eliot:

If you sit down at set of sun
And count the acts that you have done,
And, counting, find
One self-denying deed, one word
That eased the heart of him who heard, 
One glance most kind
That fell like sunshine where it went —
Then you may count that day well spent.

  1. Joanna Macy’s poem, “Bestiary.
  2. From Rumi,

    Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
    and rightdoing there is a field.
    I’ll meet you there.

    When the soul lies down in that grass
    the world is too full to talk about.”

Compassion, Forgiveness, and a Case for the Usefulness of Scripture When Viewed as Metaphor

photo

Although I don’t adhere to a particular religion, I deeply appreciate lessons gleaned from the study of religious texts and their application to modern life. Without this formation, I am not sure how I would have dealt with an unfortunate scene I witnessed one day last month. After seeing a mob-sized crowd belittle a small group of gypsy beggars I found myself feeling angry and helpless at the same time, full of disgust for what humans are capable of at times. It was the teachings of Jesus and the Buddha that helped bring me back to center, back to homeostasis and balance.

Joseph Campbell approached each religion as if he were studying mythology, rather than fact. It allowed him to view the teachings as metaphors he could apply to his own life and teach others how to use in their own, rather than a set of rules imposed upon us as an inescapable obligation. In The Power of Myth he states:

“In the study of comparative mythology, we compare the images in one system with the images in another, and both become illuminated because one will accent and give clear expression to one aspect of meaning, and another to another. They clarify each other.

When I started teaching comparative mythology, I was afraid I might destroy my students’ religious beliefs, but what I found was just the opposite. Religious traditions, which didn’t mean very much to them, but which were the ones their parents had given them, suddenly became illuminated in a new way when we compared them with other tradition, where similar images had been given a more inward or spiritual interpretation.

I had Christian students, Jewish students, Buddhist students, a couple of Zoroastrian students – they all had this experience. There’s no danger in interpreting the symbols of a religious system and calling them metaphors instead of facts. What that does is to turn them into messages for your own inward experience and life. The system suddenly becomes a personal experience.”

Liverpool football club was in town to play against Real Madrid. As I walked home through the historic center I heard groups singing football songs and smiled, as I always enjoy the camaraderie the fans share amongst themselves. My smile and feelings of good cheer faded as I made my way into Plaza Mayor. The scene reminded me of a medieval hanging, but rather than gathering around the gallows the jeering crowd had encircled a group of gypsy woman. They laughed and hollered as they threw coins at the woman and watched them scramble to collect them, sometimes falling over one another in an attempt to get the coin first. They threw empty beer cans at the women and sprayed beer and one fellow even circled around them swinging a towel over his head as if he were herding farm animals.

The British tourist were treating these women like subhumans, while in my eyes of the moment they were the ones who looked like pigs. I grew more upset once I noticed how many people were filming the “spectacle” as if it were something they could share and laugh about later, boosting their own egos. To make matters worse, there were fathers with their children joining in. When I could no longer contain my anger I entered the circle and turned towards the section of the crowd closest to me. I shouted, asking how they could be filming such a thing and that the whole thing was a disgrace. I was met with furious stares and told to “shut the fuck up.” Where does that kind of hate come from?

Seething with negative emotions, I walked home. I thought about everything I had ever learned about Jesus and his limitless capacity for forgiveness as I struggled to forgive this mob. I considered how even Buddhist teachers often turn to Jesus as an example for compassion, recalling S. Goenka’s lectures from a Vipassana course I had attended. As I began to calm down a little bit I looked for forgiveness in my heart and found some, but it certainly wasn’t limitless. How could Jesus forgive those who crucified him even as they committed the act? It was clear I had to dive deep into my heart and search for some morsel of understanding before I could forgive and move on with peace of mind.

Luckily, that very afternoon I came across an article from an old issue of Spirituality & Health magazine. The article was “The Four Aspects of Love,” by Thicht Nhat Hanh, but what stuck with me was a story about the author from Karen Bouris’s introduction:

Twenty years ago, the Rodney King riots had just exploded in Los Angeles, and the image of a fallen man being beaten by police replayed itself over and over on television sets everywhere. That same week, I went to a talk at the Berkeley Community Theatre featuring Thich Nhat Hanh.

The auditorium filled with thousands of people as this small man in robes, little known to me at the time, took the stage. He immediately started talking about the newsthe beating, the riots, the events in Los Angeles that were triggering anger around the world. He spoke about his sadness for the beaten man. And then he spoke about his even greater sadness for the men doing the beatingthe rage they must have had inside and the deep suffering that would cause them to act out in this way. You could hear a pin drop as the audience took in his words, his understanding, and his compassion for every person in this struggle.” See more at: http://spiritualityhealth.com/articles/four-aspects-love#sthash.2TAYAhaE.dpuf

Suddenly it clicked and I had a deeper understanding of where the hate I watched unfold that afternoon has come from. It was the same hate that stemmed from the “deep suffering” of the men dealing the beatings in the Rodney King riots, the same hate that always seems to grow from an inner wound only to express itself in some heartless way. In my own heart I felt some piece of the boundless forgiveness Jesus bestowed upon the world and the compassion that Buddha’s dharma teaches. The forgiveness archetype that runs through all of the world’s myths and religions in various shapes in forms. In appreciation for the peace it brought me I radiated that love to the young man who looked the angriest and shouted with the most rage, the voice and the image that had affected me the most.

The Hidden Power of the Heart Free Download…until Dec. 26th

This blog is a space for sharing teachings and knowledge that carry the potential to unlock our own innate healing abilities.  I am a huge fan of what is going on at the Institute of HeartMath and excited to have the opportunity to share this free gift they are offering until December 26th.  The gift is the ebook updated version of The Hidden Power of the Heart: Discovering and Unlimited Source of Intelligence.  If this resonates with you then take a look at what the Insitute of Heartmath has to say about their free gift and then follow the link to their facebook page to download a copy of your own.

Each of us has a magnificent power within that can fulfill us with hope and empower us to live our lives to our greatest potential. Tools and how-to for unlocking possibilities of love, compassion and peace. New mind-expanding topics include holographic awareness, the dimensional shift and DNA blueprints. You will discover a hidden power available to everyone! Click link for free download, http://www.heartmath.org/fb/giveaway/ihm