Celebrating Beltane and Your Bubble of Joy

by May 1, 2019

Happy Beltane, everyone!

Beltane is an ancient Celtic celebration. “Bel” means “the bright one” and “teine, the Gaelic spelling,  means fire”.

So, it’s a fire celebration at the height of spring as we transition towards summer.

May Day, we like to call it here in the States.

Beltane is about passion and Joy and sexuality/sensuality.

It’s time to birth the ideas and dreams that were dreamt during the winter months.

Can you feel the surge of creativity that Spring brings? I sure can!

Many flowers are in full bloom around Beltane. These Pink Kwanzan Cherry blossoms are favorites of mine. I used to be able to look out of my kitchen window at a beautiful blossoming tree every May.

This is a natural time for Joy.

But, is it possible to be in a state of Joy while swimming in the waters of sadness, grief, confusion, and all of life’s challenges?

I believe it is.

2019 is turning out to be a doozy of a year for many of us. If you follow astrology at all, you know that collectively we are going through major shifts.

Whole systems are breaking down. Relationships are crumbling.

Deep soul urgings to be who we are meant to be.

The past four months have been particularly challenging for me personally as I try to navigate a situation in my life.

I’m old and wise enough to know the inevitability of these challenges as well as the hard lessons they bring and the growth that can come out of them.

If we are able to see them through with Grace.

One day, in the midst of grieving over this situation, I realized that, in spite of the sadness, I felt an overriding protective bubble of Joy.

How was this possible?

During the eight years I spent dealing with chronic pain I became aware of a deep optimism within me and a fierce intent to heal.

I began to self-love like nobody’s business.

I started paying attention to the things I really loved.

Making art, music, movies, books, being in solitude, Nature.

All things I loved as a child.

That’s a really big clue.

If you’re unsure of what self-love you need, make a list of things you loved as a child.

I guarantee your energy will shift something inside of you and a Joy Bubble will start to form.

Now, go do those things. Maybe you need to skip rope. Or hula hoop.

Build your Joy Bubble.

One of the things that expands my bubble like nobody’s business – something that happened later in life – is…

dancing!!!

Oh, my goodness. I was always too shy to dance. High school dances were painful. Weddings were spent hiding, as far away from the dance floor as possible.

Then the most miraculous thing happened.

I was spending a week at the Omega Institute in Upstate NY in a creativity workshop.

It’s like camp for adults.

One afternoon on my lunch break, sauntering down the tree-lined path of the campus, I heard music and laughter wafting from one of the cabins up the hill.

A man was standing outside on the porch and motioned to me to “Come on in!”

It was not like me to fall for this but some force pulled me up the hill and into the cabin.

People were dancing, smiling, laughing.

So much Joy.

Strangers. No one cared what they looked like.

I leapt in there and never looked back.

Everything changed that day.

For the rest of the week, I spent my lunch hours in that cabin. Dancing like a maniac.

A whirling dervish.

I was building my (Pink!) Joy Bubble.

Fast forward a few months and I’m at a wedding when my partner (a fellow shy non-dancer) returns to the table to find me on the dance floor. Stunned.

I had found my instant Joy Bubble builder.

Dancing.

Lately, it’s been a combo of dancing/listening to oldies that has made my Joy meter soar.

Splurging on wireless noise-cancelling headphones was the best investment I’ve ever made.

And a commercial-free Spotify subscription.

Mostly, I’m dancing solo. Seriously, it can be the best kind.

Just this morning, “Love Train” started to play and dancing to it was the seed for this post.

“People all over the world (everybody)
Join hands (join)
Start a love train, love train” — The O’Jays

So, for me, not only does music/dancing build my Joy Bubble, it is the best creativity spark there is.

It clears away the cobwebs, the sadness, grief, confusion, and for the moment, life’s challenges take a backseat.

Now, I know I might just be sounding a little too Pollyanna-ish for you. 

And I’m not denying the validity of sometimes needing to stay in the pain, grief, anger, or whatever it is you’re feeling.

It’s just as important not to candy coat our emotions.

But, we need to investigate what’s behind them, suss it all out, work on it.

Maybe you need to forgive someone. Maybe that someone is yourself.

Whatever it is, don’t deny it. But, at the same time, just consider that you can also be working on your Joy Bubble.

Trust me, it feels a whole lot better to spend time in it than being in a constant state of pain and suffering.

Take baby steps if you need to. 

Beltane is the perfect time to breathe in that creative energy. 

The Joy, the passion and sensuality.

We are Nature. And Nature is blooming and bursting with Joy right now.

Find your Joy and live life like this beautiful Kwanzan Cherry tree.

She looks so happy, opening to the sun. Feeling her Joy.

Go now. Build your bubble and don’t let anyone or anything burst it.

https://youtu.be/QyT9jTW7MHc

She Who Sits With Trees

by April 22, 2019

Today, no one will steal my Joy. Today, it’s all about Mother Earth. With moon and rising signs in Taurus, my heart yearns for, and is filled by, Nature. I will paint about her, write about her, dream about her.

Happy Earth Day, beautiful Mother, and all of us who inhabit you!

I love rocks
and the moss that grows on them
The otherworldly green of
Lichen
I love both
the pretty crystals
and the humble-looking stones
I sleep with them
slip them in my pockets
I’m a rock hounder
I love mountains
the biggest, most majestic of rocks
The tall, jaw-dropping ones
and the undulating feminine ones
I’m thinking of Appalachia
where you feel like you’re
being held in a womb
of mountains
I love rivers and lakes
and waterfalls
and the sounds they make
gurgling, roaring,
always flowing
I love clouds
and storms
when I’m safe indoors 🙂
Rain on the roof
gentle or pounding
Snowstorms
that bring out my inner child
I love Paths
that weave through the woods
the sounds in a forest
a raven calling
the snapping branch
that makes my heart pound
thinking there’s a bear
equal terror and wild excitement
Now’s a good time to say
that most of all
if I have to pick a favorite
in Nature
I don’t like to pick favorites,
but, if I must
it would be
Trees
I love trees
most of all
I was once given the name
She Who Sits With Trees
or, Sits With Trees
for short
Somehow, it suits me more
then my birth name
I Love
Willow trees
Especially the kind that weep
Birch trees
Hawthorn trees
American Elm trees
Pine trees
Maple trees
Beech trees
Cherry trees
All Trees
When they’re barren
or budding
Oh, that spring green!
It’s the color of the heart chakra,
you know
And when they’re in
their full glory,
bursting with spring flowers
or making canopies of shade
for their human friends
Autumn leaves blazing
makes my eyes
crazy with delight
All of their cycles
What’s not to love?
But most of all
the tree who stole my heart
is Jack
the Spruce tree
in Ireland
in a forest called
the Devil’s Glen
An Gleann Mor
in Gaelic
He drew me to him
telepathically
and spoke to me
thanking me for
picking up trash
that day
in the forest
He made me weep
for the devastation
we’ve done to this planet
I went back to visit Jack
in October last year
He was still standing
where I left him
crooked smile and all
His picture is right next to me
as I type these words
I visit him in daytime journeys
and in my dreams
Hello, Jack!
Happy Earth Day!
I love the animals
who inhabit this earth
Dogs
and Bears and Wolves
Turtles and Pigeons
the mighty Lioness
all of them have
visited me in my dreams
bringing messages
or just a little excitement
into my nightlife
My power animals
They’re Nature, too
I love Ranunculus
the beautiful tissue-paper-like flowers
perfect shades of Pink and yellow
and orange
I love my family of
houseplants
who feed my love of Nature
while living in a concrete jungle
I love the smell of Nature
especially when it’s damp
I love dew on the grass
when I’m lucky enough
to be somewhere where
I can kick off my shoes
I love the sounds of Nature
Birds chirping
trees creaking
Psithurism
(n) The sound of
wind in the trees
and the rustling of leaves
Water rushing
This list could go
on and on
I know I’m forgetting
something important
What is it that you love
and want to honor on
this day we call
Earth Day?
Wait!
Yarrow!!
She spoke to me, too
I love you, Yarrow
with your delicate little
fern-like leaves and white flowers
You might look fragile
but you are one mighty
survivor and healing plant
I love Lemon Balm
and Dandelion
Peppermint
Elderberry
and Linden honey
Oh! The bees!
I love the bees!
The list just goes
on and on
Today, I’m going to
walk to the Willows
down by the
mighty Mahicahituk
AKA Hudson River
and say a prayer
of thanks
for the healing
she’s been giving me
And later, I’ll visit
Jack, in An Gleann Mor
in my imagination, of course
I’ll take a walk through
the majestic Spruce forest
up the hill from the carpark
sunlight streaming through
from above,
a Raven circling
Maybe a storm
will be brewing
It’s Ireland, after all
But, I’ll sit under Jack
kick off my shoes and
let my bare feet feel the earth
Close my eyes
Even from 3,000 miles away
it feels like home.

Earth Day, 4-22-19

Are You Ready for Kapha Season?

by February 26, 2019

This time of year can be a real challenge for many people and so I wanted to drop in and write a bit about why we might be feeling so sluggish.

Cold, wet and heavy are a few qualities associated with Kapha dosha and therefore, with Kapha Season (late winter-spring).

Ayurveda doesn’t put exact dates on the seasons because changeability is one of its principles.

To truly live an Ayurvedic lifestyle you must try to stay in tune with Nature on a day-to-day basis.

Here in the Northeastern US where I live, the transition from Vata Season to Kapha Season generally begins around mid-February, but all you need to do is step outside and feel the sudden change from dry (Vata) to damp (Kapha). This is a much better indicator than a set date.

Think bone-chilling damp, rain, snow, and slush.

Even when the sun is shining brightly (like today!) you can still feel the damp.

Are You Ready for Kapha Season?

Ayurveda teaches us that the transition between seasons is perilous in terms of our health, and we need to be particularly vigilant as our body adjusts to the changing climate.

If you start to pay attention, you will notice that more people get sick (and even die) during seasonal transitions.

For those of us with a lot of Vata dosha in our constitution, this time of year comes as a welcome relief as Vata Season comes to an end.

Anxiety might start to wain just a bit (Vata dosha rules the nervous system), as the air/space elements give way to the Kapha elements of earth/water.

But for those who are Kapha-types, or someone experiencing a Kapha imbalance, they may find themselves feeling lethargic, congested and oftentimes depressed.

Water is Kapha’s primary element. Earth is secondary.

It’s no surprise that someone with a lot of Kapha in their constitution will often complain of feeling “stuck in the mud”, especially during this time of year.

The more we begin to pay attention to the influence of the particular dosha which dominates the day, season, or time of life, the more successful we become at achieving balance.

In the eastern system of the chakras, Kapha is associated with the first chakra (muladhara/root–element of earth) located at the base of the spine/genital region, and the second chakra (swadhisthana/sacral–element of water) located below the navel where the reproductive organs are located.

Kapha is Mother Earth personified – sturdy, grounded, solid and reliable. And Kapha’s association with the 2nd chakra/water element accounts for the strong sexuality and sensuality which Kapha types embody.

Qualities of Kapha dosha are cool, smooth, oily, soft, slow, steady, dense, heavy.

Its tastes are sweet, salty, and sour, so the tastes that help to balance Kapha are bitter, astringent, and pungent.

Kapha is our body mass, structure, and fluids, and makes up our muscles, fat, and bone. It is seated mainly in the chest, but also in the throat, sinuses, nose, head, mouth, stomach, joints, cytoplasm, plasma, and especially in secretions of the body-like mucus.

The mucus of Kapha protects precious tissue in the body but as it accumulates it needs to be expelled or it will lead to disease.

Roughly 10% of diseases are caused by Kapha imbalances (60% by Vata, 30% by Pitta), but stagnation and/or accumulation of mucus in the body is often the culprit.

This is the reason so many of us have colds and stomach bugs at this time of year.

Eating a heavy, fat, Vata-pacifying diet throughout the fall and early winter can lead to sluggish digestion and result in mucus buildup in the stomach, especially for Kapha types.

Often when Kapha season arrives, Kapha people will find themselves feeling the need to vomit. In fact, a treatment in Ayurveda’s panchakarma for Kapha imbalances is known as vamana–therapeutic vomiting.

Lungs and sinuses also become congested and the lymphatic system can become sluggish. Kapha season is a time for cleansing and eating more detoxifying foods.

Beets, bitter greens, apples, pomegranates, millet, buckwheat, aduki beans, ghee, and most spices are all good choices for eliminating excess Kapha.

Tips for a Kapha-pacifying diet can be found here.  Just don’t be too rigid in trying to follow them. Instead, look for foods on the list that you like, and eat lots of them.

Common sense should tell you that forcing yourself to eat anything that doesn’t appeal to you will not have a positive effect.

Bear in mind that even those of us without a lot of Kapha in our constitution can benefit from an Ayurvedic cleanse in the spring and by eating seasonal foods.

Mother Nature, in all of her wisdom, provides exactly the right foods we need each season. Just by eating local foods grown by our farmers we will be living Ayurvedically.

Because childhood is the Kapha time of life (birth to age 18), it’s the reason children have so many upper respiratory illnesses and seem to be forever producing mucus!

When reading the lists below, keep in mind that we all have the three doshas in us but most of us are dual doshas. Therefore, some of us will relate to these traits a lot, some a bit, and some, almost none at all.

Physical traits of Kapha-types:

  • Large in stature, with sturdy bones
  • Cool, moist skin
  • Large strong teeth
  • Strong sense of taste and smell
  • Eyes are usually large, warm and almost liquid in appearance
  • Thick, shiny hair
  • Strong clear nails
  • Steady appetite
  • Deep sleeper
  • Strong stamina

Traits of a balanced Kapha-type:

  • Warm and compassionate
  • Nurturing (Gives the best hugs!)
  • Loving, loyal and kind
  • Excellent partners and parents
  • Strong, sturdy and steady
  • Grounded
  • Even-tempered
  • Hard-working
  • Patient

Traits of an out-of-balance Kapha-type:

  • Depressed
  • Attached to the material world (potential for hoarding) and to others
  • Possessive and greedy
  • Lethargic (too much of the earth element)
  • Weight gain
/water retention (too much of the water element)
  • 
Laziness
  • Unforgiving and stuck in the past. Kaphas have memories like elephants!
  • Passivity
  • Unable or unwilling to change
  • 
Health problems such as diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure
  • A buildup of mucus (spring colds and allergies are common)

What Kapha-types need to do to stay balanced and healthy: (Note – don’t be overwhelmed! Just pick one of two of the following to focus on)

  • Exercise daily (especially in the early morning)
  • Get up and get moving before 6:00 a.m. (two hours before sunrise is optimal) and don’t take afternoon naps. Sleeping during Kapha times of day (6-10) results in sluggishness and a Kapha-type will lack motivation for the rest of the day. Because the water element is so strong in Kapha types, they need to keep moving or they will stagnate like an obstructed river.
  • De-clutter to lighten their load, physically, mentally and emotionally
  • Sip hot herbal/spiced teas instead of drinking too much water. Avoid cold beverages altogether.
  • Reduce foods that are cold, heavy and oily. Stay away from sweet, sour and salty and instead, add foods that are light, dry, warm, pungent, bitter and astringent.
  • Reduce mucus-producing foods such as dairy, wheat, and oats.
  • Avoid heavy meats and fried foods
  • Keep warm and dry, especially during cold, damp Kapha season.
  • Follow this Kapha-pacifying daily routine: Up before 6:00 a.m. (or, ideally, up to two hours before sunrise), meditation and morning workout, light breakfast at 8:00 a.m. Healthy lunch (biggest meal of the day) 12:30-1:00 p.m. and a light supper at 5:00-6:00 p.m. Bedtime between 10-11 p.m. Kaphas don’t need as much sleep as the other doshas (they tend to sleep too much), but a regular bedtime and restorative sleep are beneficial.
  • Kaphas can fast easier than the other doshas and it will help jumpstart their sluggish metabolism. They should definitely avoid eating past 6:00 p.m., 7:00 at the latest. This will give them a mini fast each evening. The word breakfast means just that–break fast.
  • Add spices to food to spark digestion. Be careful with salt intake and avoid table salt altogether.
  • Raw honey is a good sweetener to reduce Kapha. Buy local raw honey during Kapha season as it can help with springtime allergies. Just don’t overindulge, which is also a Kapha trait.

Kapha types make excellent teachers, healers, chefs, or any profession where nurturing is involved. They are physically hard workers because of their incredible stamina. I doubt that there’s a person reading this article who doesn’t know and love a Kapha-type.

If you have a Kapha in your life and want to support them during this difficult season, encourage them to move (Vatas are good at this!), and motivate, fire them up, and help them organize and clear the clutter from their mental, emotional, and physical world (Pittas are good at this!). Share this article with them because it’s likely they won’t choose to read it on their own!

These are all perfect ways to show your love for a Kapha and they will return that love with the best warm hug you’ve ever had!

Love,
Barbara

P.S. Are you unsure of your Ayurvedic constitution? Click HERE to take a simple quiz. Need a little help getting back in balance? Sign up for a consultation via phone or Skype (or come see me in person in Jersey City!).

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on February 1, 2015, and has been given a fresh update!

Our Tears Are Just Rain

by January 11, 2019

Wow. Is it really true? I haven’t written a word here on this site for one whole year.

1-11-2018. One year ago today. Well, I cannot, will not let 1-11-19 pass without writing. The magic of this day revealed itself to me four years ago. You can read about it here if you’d like.

And so I honor it by putting my fingers back on the keys. Because a message from beyond is a treasure not to be ignored.

When The Voice talks, I listen and do my best to honor it.

I wish I could report that my book “Pink is Everything!” is humming along but it came to a screeching halt months ago.

I think I need more Pink balloons floating on my ceiling.

2018 was rough. It forced me to dig deep, uncovering old uncomfortable truths and wounds. I cycled through joy and sorrow and even anger, an emotion that doesn’t visit me often but maybe is buried so deeply I don’t even know it’s there.

After a few months of riding this wave, I checked in with my astrology-minded friend who took a look at my chart and remarked: “Barbara, if I didn’t know you better, I’d worry you were going to jump off a bridge.”

Chiron, the Wounded Healer, messing with me again.

(Note: If you’ve never had your chart done, I highly recommend it.)

Life can be messy and filled with highs and lows. Western medicine is quick to place labels like depression/bipolar, and yes, sometimes that’s the case, but often it’s not. It’s just life.

And so, Grace is the word I like to keep in my pocket, along with a magic stone or two to remind me how to swim in the waters of grief and uncertainty, sadness and anger.

I am in love with the word.

Grace.

It has saved me so many times.

I even named my Pink bike Grace.

It was also a year filled with gifts beyond measure. Utter moments of sheer Joy.

Friendships that fed my soul.

Healing myself while helping others to heal.

Painting again. Something that was my lifeblood for decades.

I had months with bouts of creativity that reminded me of who I am.

And then I crawled back into my Cave.

I began spending more time journeying in the Lower World. making friends with my power animals. Bear and Wolf. Pigeon, Turtle, Lioness, and Raven (who joined the gang while I was in Ireland and Scotland).

“Have I lost my mind?”, I wondered, while in the Middle World (Earth as we know it).

But in these journeys, I found solace and answers to some of the questions that haunted me. Shamanic practices became part of my everyday life.

The veil between our world and the Spirit world is so thin right now. Even as I type I sense someone/something guiding me, moving my fingers, opening my heart.

I’m pretty hard on myself. My Sagittarius sun fills me with fire and the desire to learn and explore. Always curious. Seeking the Truth. The eternal optimist.

But my Taurus moon and rising signs love it when I stay home in my Cave.

Lately, Taurus has been winning out.

I had so many visitations last year from Bear in my dreams, my waking state, and while journeying in the Lower World, that I think I’ve started to embody her. I am loving hibernating way too much for a human.

My sensitive soul craves silence and solitude.

I’ve even been sleeping more than ever.

Like a Bear.

It feels good to write again. My friend put a positive spin on it when I bemoaned the fact that I was dragging my feet writing the book.

“You’re just percolating”, she said.

There is nothing more precious than friends who see you.

Meanwhile, my dear Colombian friend keeps feeding me Spanish-speaking shows to teach me Spanish. Maybe Netflix is to blame for my book not being written!

Dios Mio

I cannot end this little stream of consciousness writing without a mention of my beloved Mother Nature.

Although I’m still a city dweller, Nature fed my soul last year in the most magical ways. So many of my treasured moments were tied to Nature.

Even if it was just resting under the Willows.

The green of Ireland and Scotland filled my senses once again last October.

I visited my beloved tree friend, Jack, and spent time with waterfalls and lochs, fairy hills and burns (Gaelic for freshwater).

Pure magic.

And rain. Lots and lots of rain.

Rain is cleansing. Something we forget when we’re annoyed because it ruins our plans.

But, we are Nature, and our tears are just rain.

If nothing else, I hope that this new year brings more Nature into your life in a wondrous way.

The color Green is the color of the Heart chakra, after all.

What could be better than that?

With love,
Barbara

P.S. I wrote this article and then headed to my Pink cave for an afternoon meditation/journey. Before I knew it, I was “hearing” the message “Being in your cave is for resting and being, not for thinking and doing.” Hmm…

What I Heard Three Years Ago Today

by January 11, 2018

It was the afternoon of 1-11-15
Cozy in my worn leather chair
I settled into my afternoon meditation
Noise-cancelling headphones, check
Eyemask, check
Stone in hand, check
Frankincense burning, check
I must have been blissfully gone
somewhere
wherever it is we go
while breathing
saying the mantra
world’s away
or maybe not
Suddenly I heard
and saw the words
“Pink is Everything!”
exclamation point and all
I’ve told this story before
How months later
The Voice
said I was to
write the book
Pink is Everything!
And how I argued that
I don’t really even like
the color pink
And I don’t want to
write a book
But The Voice
persisted
Write the book
So, I started gathering
evidence of Pink
in my life
Pink stories
Pink serendipities
Still not my favorite color
But undeniably important
for some reason
I’m still exploring
those reasons
At first
the thought of
writing a book
terrified me
bored me
annoyed me
I tried to ignore
The Voice
but every time I
hopped on my
Pink bike
it would whisper to me
Buy the domain
pinkiseverything.com
Check
Start writing stories
Procrastination
The thought of a chapter book
was so uninspiring to me
More procrastination
On my birthday that year
my friend brought me
a dozen pink balloons
to inspire me to
write the damn book
When the balloons
started floating down
from the ceiling
they drifted
around my apartment
for weeks
until finally
I gathered them up
and hung them from the ceiling
in my workspace
to remind me to
write the damn book
They became wizened,
deflated
sad-looking
but I refused
to throw them away until I
wrote the damn book
Still, I procrastinated
because a chapter book
was so uninspiring to me
On 1-11-2017
Exactly two years later
(I’m not making this up!)
I was again, deep in my
afternoon meditation when
The Voice
spoke to me
and said
Forget a chapter book!
Make it an art book
Fill it with your drawings
and photographs
and poetry
and yes,
your stories
Finally,
excitement about writing
the damn book!
The wall in my workspace
is now covered with
images
stories
tidbits
of Pink
and so much more
Because in the process
I realized that this book
is not going to be
just about Pink
It’s just one of
my stories
The ones that
I’m finally ready
to share
After my birthday last month
I went into the city
with a friend
We went to an
all-pink restaurant
in Nolita
and afterward stopped
at the Balloon Saloon
in my old neighborhood
for a fresh dozen of
pink balloons
Wow, they must have
put extra helium in them
because they are still
for the most part
clinging to my ceiling
But a few of them have
started traveling down
exploring my apartment
like little Pink visitors
Yesterday, I woke up to find
a Pink balloon hanging out
with my plants
in the living room
She was hovering
just hovering
like they were all
talking about me
I decided I will have
Pink balloons loose
in my apartment
until I’ve
written the damn book
Well, today is
1-11-2018
Three years exactly
since The Voice whispered
Pink is Everything!
exclamation point and all
I’ve been waking every morning
so filled with inspiration
that I don’t know what
to start with
Let me just interject
right here
right now
that I have
so much gratitude
for The Voice
And if you’re wondering
what’s up
with all these 11’s
Well, my life path number
is 11
In numerology
the date of the first message
on 1-11-2015 is
1+1+1+2+0+1+5 = 11
You can’t make this stuff up
even if you tried
So, imagine my anticipation
and excitement
to settle down this afternoon
on 1-11-2018
in my worn leather chair
Headphones, check
Eyemask, check
Stones from Grand Canyon in hands,
check
to meditate
and wait for
further instructions
inspiration
from The Voice

Let Us Not Forget the Healing Power of Touch

by January 10, 2018

With the recent #metoo and #timesup movements, I’ve been thinking a lot about touch.

The focus lately, of course, has been on the wrong kind of touch.

The kind that makes us feel shame and fear and anger.

Used, violated, helpless, traumatized.

Powerless.

The uninvited kind.

The kind that crossed a line.

The kind that has put women on guard, time and time again, and made them leery of being touched.

The kind that destroys a healthy relationship with touch.

A world full of women are walking around with PTSD of one level or another from being touched inappropriately.

And yes, many men, as well.

Say what you will about social media, but it has helped birth a movement which is determined to change this story of power and disrespect.

But today I want to say good things about touch.

How it heals.

How it’s a basic human need.

How living without it can make us emotionally and physically sick.

I learned a great deal about touch when I studied Ayurveda.

Abhyanga is an oil massage that is a key component of Ayurvedic healing. It can be a form of self-massage or given by another.

In the last year of my struggle with fibromyalgia, I discovered abhyanga and began going for weekly treatments. I can say with certainty that it played a big role in my healing. My pain level kept decreasing as the weeks and months went by.

People with a lot of vata dosha in their constitution especially benefit from the slow gentle nature of abhyanga because oil lubricates their tendency towards dryness, it calms their over-active nervous system (vata rules the nervous system) and it can help tremendously with pain (something that is also a side effect of unbalanced vata).

Vata people generally like to touch and be touched. The air element is responsible for touch and is associated with vata dosha.

But, here’s the thing. Many of us live a very vata-frenzied life, and no matter what our constitution is, we can all benefit from touch therapies that soothe our nerves and help to bring calm into our daily lives.

I learned even more about touch when I studied energy healing.

Time and time again I would witness emotional and physical blockages cleared (or at least lessened) from hands-on healing.

Yet, I’m also aware of how vulnerable people can feel in the hands of someone doing healing work, especially if they’ve been traumatized in the past.

I know firsthand that an inappropriate moment with someone you’ve trusted can be devastating and leave you touch-shy for years, if not decades.

Thankfully, it is possible to move beyond and let touch back into your life.

Always let your intuition guide you, ask questions, or speak up if something makes you uncomfortable.

And, I like to remind people not to forget their own healing touch. Laying your own hands on parts of your body where you’re experiencing pain or discomfort can have amazing results.

We have powerful chakras (energy centers) in our hands (especially the palms) and this is where anyone doing healing work, hands-on or not, usually focuses.

A healer can feel that strong flow of energy that has the capacity to clear and recharge a person’s energy and help to remove blockages that could be affecting physical and emotional health.

Anyone can feel this, and if you pay attention, you’ll notice how often we use our hands with healing in mind without thinking.

We put our hands on our sick child, to ease their pain.

Or on someone’s back who needs steadying.

Our hands go to our heart center when something touches us deeply, or to our gut when we get that “gut feeling”.

Holding hands with a loved one can be deeply intimate and healing.

It’s really no mystery, our need for touch. It’s part of our nature, and of Nature, in general.

This morning as I was writing this article, I peeked at Instagram and the first post I saw was of a mother bear hugging her cub. It was about the healing power of hugs!

I love synchronicity so much! I’ll bet you already know that. 🙂

I’ve lived alone for several years now and I’m pretty good at it. I need a lot of alone time and I have to say, it suits me.

But, I try to make sure I get a hug or two in every day, even if I have to knock on my neighbor’s door to get one. She gives great hugs.

After all, the bear is one of my totem animals.

Virtual hugs, (Not the same, I know!)
Barbara

   

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