Heart As The Healer
A few years back when I was dealing with Epstein Barr and Lyme Disease(for the 2nd time) I “knew” that I had to make changes in my life. None of what I was doing in my life was bad, in fact everything was “right”, I had a healthy lifestyle, ate the “right” food, exercised daily, did yoga almost daily, and lived in the country. Yet when I was hit with this this “double whammy” I began asking myself “why is my immune system struggling despite my lifestyle?”
Somehow I was “guided” by my intuition to begin listening to Pema Chodron, an American Buddhist teacher. I had heard that stress affects the immune system and I wanted to learn more about mindfulness. I wanted to be able to see deeper into my habits and patterns and have tools to release them. At first, I could not understand much about what she had to say, yet I felt the energy that she had as she was speaking (I love listening to audiobooks, especially when read by the author because of the energy that voice carries). I would get very calm inside and become a witness to my own thoughts and feelings. I began to recognize and calm down my judgments. To this day I have kept the habit of listening to her. Especially on my sleepless nights, which I have had a lot of the past few years.
Since then, I have expanded my knowledge of Buddhism by attending multiple healing “Chods” with Lama Migmar the Harvard University Tibetan chaplain. Chod means “cutting through”. This very intense practice involves laying down for the duration of the Chod (sometimes 2 days, sometimes 5 days) and receiving healing. The principles behind a “Chod” is that we carry our “karma” not only from this life but also from past lives in our body, emotions and mind. The person who performs this healing ritual has been embedded by his spiritual lineage to perform the healing practice. Incredibly enough, Lama Migmar started performing this Chod with other Tibetan Lamas and has continued forever since (more than 8 years now) to come to Kripalu Center two or three times per year and perform healing by himself.
I intuitively knew that I carried stress deep in my cellular memory like every human being who has ever been through an Adverse Childhood Experience (read more by taking the ACE test @ https://acestoohigh.com/got-your-ace-score) .
In my case my ACE test score is 8 out of 10. The ACE study done by Keiser was the longest study ever done to establish a correlation between childhood trauma and future ailments on all levels. I was relieved four years ago to actually find a study that confirmed what I already knew, that trauma leaves an imprint on the nervous system that eventually will deplete the immune system. In short, what this means is that you will be more prone to autoimmune disease, heart attacks, cancer and the likes if you have a history of trauma than if you haven’t been exposed to trauma.
Overcoming challenges of health, self-doubt,and ” going at it alone” as an entrepreneur aren’t easy.
Join me at my upcoming workshop August 9th, and “Take the Leap” From fear to faith”~ Learn how to live a life and grow a business that reflects your soul’s purpose.
Healing Your Heart With The “Tonglen” Practice
Through the practices I learned from Lama Migmar, I drawn to what is called the practice of “Tonglen” which is a healing practice from the heart.
The goal of the “Tonglen” practice is to imagine taking someone’s pain into your heart (including your own) as you inhale and send light from your heart as you exhale.
I have made this practice part of my daily practice (almost daily ☺) now for the past 6 years.
Within the “Tonglen” there are four rounds, the first one directed towards someone you love (which could be you), someone who is neutral to you (someone you work with or live near), someone you have a conflict with and eventually the world at large to all the people who suffer.
Last Fall I was shocked when my neighbor came over after crossing the line in between our properties. This neighbor and I had had a feud about my two dogs going on her lawn for years. Many times she had called the dog officer complaining about me and the dogs which would really irritate me like nobody else’s business.
Once I learned the Tonglen practice, I decided to make her the person that I had a conflict with and the person I would send healing light to. Mind you, at times it was very challenging! Even if the dogs crossed and went on the street, not in her yard, I would get a phone call from the dog officer, very stressful to say the least!
When I saw her approaching me last Fall, I “knew” that the healing had happened. We spoke for about fifteen minutes, I apologized and we made peace.
Why is it important to find peace? Because when your heart is at peace, your heart waves are “congruent”. The Heartmath Institute (www.heartmath.org) has studied the healing power of a congruent heart. Our heart has its own intelligence, intelligence that develops in utero before the brain actually develops. When we feel love, appreciation, and gratitude the heart waves become harmonious. They show a regular pattern which in returns affect the brain and our ability to think clearly and focus. Our heart waves affect our immune system by regulating the hormonal system (think adrenaline in response to fight-or-flight which directly affects the entire hormonal system.) There is a direct correlation between cortisol, inflammation and autoimmune diseases and other diseases.
Manifest A “Congruent Heart“
Shift your fight-or-flight mode to the pause-and-plan mode.
Make the decision that you will become aware of your stress response and shift that response as soon as you are aware of it. Fight, flight or freeze are all “ancient” survival responses”. They are designed to prepare your body and mind to save your life. Very few of us in this day and age are truly in a life or death situation yet the brain interprets certain situations as life threatening situations. For instance my neighbor calling the dog officer threatened my dogs’ ability to roam freely and my peace of mind.2) Breathe
yes that simple.. deep breaths, inhale counting 4-6 counts and exhale counting 4-6 counts for at least 6 rounds. It will slow down your heart rate.
Once the hormones are generated, they were created to either have us physically fight or run away, they live in your body and if you don’t move they get stuck in your organs. Go for a walk, walk away from your computer, go up and down the stairs, go to the water cooler.. do something that makes you feel your body.
once your mind is calm reflect on the triggers, what caused you to react.
5) Be compassionate
This is where the “Tonglen” practice comes into play. Bring compassion to yourself for your response. My guess is that you came at it honestly. Many times the root cause of your reaction is from your past. At some point in time, I am certain that you had good reasons for reacting this way.
Send yourself and other loves, if this is too much, because sometimes it is, begin with yourself.
This practice is one of the practices that I will be teaching in my upcoming workshop August 9th, “Take the Leap” From fear to faith”~ how to live a life and grow a business that reflects your soul’s purpose.
“Take The Leap” From Fear To Faith Workshop!
Do you want to know what your heart has to say about what you love and even go deeper and make money doing what you love?If your answer is YES, join me in my next in-person workshop at Healing Rhythms in Lenox on Tuesday, August 9, at 7 p.m.
Or by phone, Thursday August 11, at 7 p.m.
Book Of The Week
In the audiobook version, you will be guided to learn the practice by Pema herself. I highly recommend it. I personally find her voice very soothing.
Let me know what you think if you happen to listen this upcoming week!
Free Journal Of Gratitude Guide!
The “Health Practice” of the week is to keep a “Journal of Accomplishments” and Gratitude. When I start working with someone I often give them a journal. Not only to keep track of their thoughts, feelings and realizations but also to keep track of their progress.
It is very challenging at times, especially when you work for yourself, by yourself to notice what is getting better. The “survival brain” is geared to remember the bad more than to remember the good. It is designed to keep track of what is not working as an attempt to avoid future problems.
The problem with this part of your brain is that nothing is ever “good enough” which can easily make you feel like you are “never” going to reach your goals.
The antidote to that is the Journal of Accomplishments/Gratitude.
At the end of each day, rewire your brain to a more relaxed, heart-centered place, by reporting what you have accomplished. This includes even smaller steps; like getting unstuck in writing an article, clearing the “air” with a co-worker or someone else, getting things done on your list- even if it is only one thing, especially if you are having a hard day.
Review your day, beginning in the morning and acknowledge everything that worked, that you are grateful for, the things that got done.
Then look at what got left undone, make the list for the following day and close the day with a pat on the back… Yes You did it again!!