Find your balance in the dark

As the Sun rose in the constellation of Libra at the autumnal equinox in late September, we came to the point where light and dark were, briefly, in balance. Day was equal to night, illustrating the meaning of the scales, symbol of the zodiac sign of Libra.

We are just past the halfway point of the solar year. The expansive, creative, extroverted time of spring and summer is over. Now it is time to go inward, slow down, prepare for the long nights ahead by paring down our activities and commitments.

Many of us feel this transition acutely. A nameless, sourceless sense of loss haunts us for a few weeks every fall. While we can point to external events as explanation, the truth is that the feeling is deeper, more diffuse. We often point to the changing of the light as the culprit, yet the growing darkness may be more scapegoat than cause.

Before our modern conveniences such as electricity, the longer nights were a time to rest more, spend more time with each other around the fire, or in the bedroom. Yet today we’ve lost much of this honoring of the change of seasons; we simply turn on the lights earlier, set alarm clocks instead of getting up with the sun, and continue the manic pace of summer.

Our bodies know we are out of harmony with the seasons and may ask for more quiet time, alone or with friends. Fall can be a welcome transition if, instead of artificially extending our summer energies, we surrender and slow down, and perhaps even take the time to get to know one another.

Libra, sign of relationship

This seventh sign of the zodiac year points specifically to finding harmony through relationship. Libra marks the point in the zodiac wheel where we transition from self-oriented to relationship-oriented. The first six signs represent themes such as creation of identity, building of material resources, self-expression, and self-development in general. The last six signs, beginning with Libra, take us into the realm of relating with the ‘other’, whether through marriage or another form of partnership.

The constructive expression of Libra teaches us to listen intently to another’s needs, and balance them with our own, even if the balance swings back and forth at first. On the destructive side of this sign is indecision, inability to see our own needs, and projection of what is ours onto someone else. Perhaps we are too focused on keeping the peace with someone else, and then blame the other when our needs are not accounted for.

Libra shows us that balance and harmony start within, and only then can come into being in relationship.

The great awakener weighs in

Directly opposite this Libra New Moon is the outer planet Uranus in the fire sign of Aries. Known as the great awakener and trickster, Uranus adds a rebellious, explosive flavor to the Aries/Libra polarity of self and other. While Uranus signifies higher perspective and spiritual liberation, it often feels like a rude awakening out of left field. It is helpful to remind ourselves that Uranian shocks have the purpose of freeing us from illusions and limited viewpoints, even and especially with regard to ourselves.

And all relationship starts from within.

This season, this year, we may be awakened to where our relationships have gone out of balance. If so, we can begin evening out the scales through our own practice of equanimity.

Seek first to understand, before being understood.

Listen with the ear of your heart.

Practice equanimity.

Consecrate your life at the Virgo New Moon

When I look outside my window at this time of year in the Northern hemisphere, I see preparation everywhere. Leaves are turning hues of gold and red in preparation for falling to the ground; the deer are putting on their winter coats. Robins and other migratory birds are gathering in flocks and gleaning the last berries from the hawthorn and chokecherry bushes, taking turns with the bears. IMG_3365

As we near the time of the equinox, the Virgo New Moon signals the time of harvest and preparation for the coming winter.

The sun crosses into Virgo about the time of year in which grain was traditionally harvested. Virgo stands in for the many ancient goddesses of the grain, such as Ceres, who oversaw the process  of separating and organizing grain to provide nourishment throughout the coming winter. Classifying, discerning and preparing are the hallmarks of her association with Mercury, planet of perception.

Virgin = Sovereign Woman

Possibly the most misunderstood sign of the zodiac in our modern times, Virgo, 6th sign of the zodiac, is symbolized as the virgin. Far from our common understanding of a maiden who has never had sex, however, the original definition of virgin was a sovereign woman, unmarried and therefore not under the protection (or control) of a man. In ancient times, the virgin was both the harvest Goddess and the temple priestess. Each in her own way served the collective good.

 

Earth_Western_Hemisphere

As priestess, Virgo’s job is to serve the divine by bringing spirit into matter. She does this by creating intentions and rituals for the daily tasks of life, from work to sex to food. Virgo is the sign of everyday life and taking one step at a time. When she wakes up in the morning, she might say a prayer of gratitude. As she steps into her bath, she honors the water and the earth who provides it. A meal becomes a celebration of the multitude of beings who had a hand in providing it – the plants and animals themselves; the sun, moon, earth; farmers and ranchers; delivery truck drivers; grocers.

In the body, Virgo’s discernment between the ‘grain and the chaff’ is accomplished by the intestines and liver, which she is said to rule. Offering our digestive systems a rest at this time of year can give our livers the opportunity to clear out some of the fire of summer. We do this by having lighter, earlier dinners, coupled with a little more rest as the days grow markedly shorter.

At this Virgo New Moon, we are bouncing back from the intensity of two new moons in fiery Leo, one of them the total solar eclipse over the United States. And while there is still some heat from the ongoing fire trine between Uranus in Aries, Saturn in Sagittarius, and the North Node in Leo, all of the personal planets have moved into cool, earthy Virgo.

Now that cooler heads can prevail, we have the opportunity to take some quiet time to reflect on what the eclipse meant for us, and what intentions we set for this next period of our lives, whether this month, the coming year, or the nineteen years associated with an eclipse cycle.

Spiritual healer Chiron in Pisces

The modern co-ruler of Virgo is Chiron, directly opposite the Virgo moon at 26 degrees Pisces. Chiron, archetype of the shaman and wounded healer, is the bridge between the inner planets (world of matter) and outer planets (world of spirit). In Pisces, Chiron offers us the opportunity to heal our perception of separation from the divine. One way to begin is to treat our selves and our lives as sacred, to blur the artificial lines between sacred and profane.

Also on this new moon, all of the inner planets are moving forward, while all three outer planets and Chiron are retrograde, reinforcing the theme of paying attention to material reality and daily life on the personal level, even as the process of unearthing shadows continues in the collective.

Spend a little extra time through the end of this month honoring the body and simple daily routines. 

Honor the harvest and all beings who contribute to your meals as you sit down to eat this month. 

Honor the contentment of small moments and small things by paying attention. 

Look for divinity in a tree or rock or chair. 

Be of service in whatever way you are called.

In these small ways, we connect heaven and matter and make our daily human lives sacred.

Remember Einstein’s words: We can choose to live as if everything is a miracle or nothing is a miracle. Choose everything, especially yourself.

Reading the map of the soul

I have been a map freak for as long as I can remember. My addiction began on family road trips, as I pored over routes and destinations with Dad. I became good at reading the symbols and lines, calculating distances, finding the shortest route or most scenic, or the one with the longest stretches of Interstate in the days before everything was freeway.

Earth map
Map of possibilities

More than just a practical tool, a map could be a source of endless speculation and imagination, especially as my collection eventually extended beyond highway maps into topographical maps of the mountains and wilderness areas I wanted to explore. In his book “Grizzly Years”, Vietnam vet and grizzly expert Doug Peacock credits a map with getting him home alive from the war. Staring at the big green spaces on a tattered piece of paper spread before him on a table, he was able to temporarily escape the madness around him. In an echo of his process, I have spent many hours seeing not colors and symbols on paper, but meadows and streams and potential campsites, and the routes on which to reach them. Maps are a window to a world that one can enter in daydreams until it is time to go there in form.

So it is small wonder that, when I realized an astrological birth chart is nothing more or less than a life map, I fell in love with astrology. In a flash, the discipline went from the mysterious and impenetrable realm of magicians to a practical tool for seeing where I am in the timeline and cycles of life. A chart is a window into the world inside myself, past, present and future. The skies and heavens as well as future and past opened their cloaks to me.

The night before a reading with the astrologer who taught me to read the birth map, I dreamed I had a star-shaped cell phone. In the dream, I am frustrated: the touchscreen on the face of the phone is missing, and I cannot figure out how to make a call without it. When I woke from the dream, I knew astrology was not new to me; I simply needed to replace the lost touchscreen to regain my ability to communicate with the planets and stars.

The knowledge came quickly. Within weeks, I learned what each of the symbols depicted and how to orient myself to the axes of the chart. Next came the outlines of the mythological characters and stories behind the zodiac and planets. I garnered a growing library of books, gathered birth data from friends and family members willing to share it, and began interpreting. I was reading charts for anyone willing to experiment with me within months. Moreover, my readings were helpful, if still rudimentary.

Then came a surprising turn of events: I began to feel the planets as they moved through the sky and activated points in my chart. Sometimes, the ways in which they showed up were entertaining, as when I found myself spilling everything from a cup of water to my oatmeal as Neptune, God/Goddess of the sea was active. There were more serious moments when I felt stern Saturn sitting on me, testing my dedication to my new business. This spring, when the sun moved into Gemini, the sign related to communication, I began to write as I had not been able in a year or more, beginning with publishing a blog post for the first time in six months. A saying in the field of statistics is that “correlation does not equal causation”. I don’t know how the events in the cosmos are connected to events on this planet; I simply know they are.

Soul map
Map of the soul’s journey

Astrology has become a daily touchstone for me. I check the moon’s travels every morning, as well as some of the faster moving planets. I often see trends and opportunities in time to make some preparations, either mentally or physically. When I knew Venus was getting ready to stand still in the sky in preparation for moving forward again, I planned a quiet day at home to stand still with her, knowing my energy would be low. The moon cycles, more real to me now than when my body was cycling with them, let me know when it is most supported to begin something new or work toward completion of a project. Each new moon has its own themes based on its sign, and, more personally, based upon its house position in my chart.

Sometimes, astrology simply saves my sanity. Knowing that our country and world are in a revolutionary period, in which our shadows are being unearthed for healing, has helped me trust the current political upheavals will result, eventually, in necessary change.

“The greatest gift of astrology is not about prediction but about CONTEXT. Not “What’s going to happen?” but “What does it mean?” And, “How can I respond in a useful way?””

Emily Trinkaus

The study and practice of astrology and nature healing in general is a lifelong endeavor. The sky is vast, as is life. But this apprenticeship to the forces of nature is as child’s play to me. Every book I read, chart I interpret, and observation of a pattern in the sky reflected in my life fascinates me. This, of course, is evident in my chart, now that my star phone is working.

Clear out summer’s heat for winter health

Clear out summer’s heat for winter health

Ancient healing traditions such as Ayurveda see the transitions between the seasons as an opportunity to pause, take a break, and clear out imbalances accumulated in the previous few months. Much as we love our summers here in Montana, the long days, high temperatures and intense activity can result in excess heat lodging in our bodies.

In Ayurvedic teaching, any substance we take into our bodies that is not completely digested and either assimilated or eliminated can become a toxin, called “ama”. Ama tends to collect first in the digestive system, then spill over into the parts of the body in which we are uniquely vulnerable. In the case of an over-abundance of fire, we may notice it in a number of ways, such as inflammation, digestive upset, or joint pain. Over time, short-term accumulations become long-term imbalances, contributing to chronic conditions such as arthritis, headaches and even fall flu episodes and spring-time allergies as the body tries to clear out what it perceives as toxins.

In my case, my enthusiasm to cram in as much sun-time and hill-climbing as I can in a short summer can find its way into my knees as soreness and swelling, or result in insomnia. Couple the activity with a little alcohol, sugar and a late meal of fish and chips, and my digestion can begin to feel overloaded and over-reactive.

A simple, gentle way to help the body re-balance itself and clear out ama is through a seasonal cleanse based in Ayurvedic practices. The protocol I offer my clients describes a few days of lighter activity (including work if possible); “fasting” from most outside stimulation such as news and social media; and an easy-to-digest mono-diet of kitchari, a simple stew of split mung beans and basmati rice. Unlike some other cleanse procedures, the approach I recommend does not involve adding the stress of going without food, taking lots of supplements and herbs, or aggressive means of clearing out the digestive tract.

Because we digest everything we take in through all of our senses during the course of a day – sights, sounds, emotions, sensations – detoxification works best when we reduce all the inputs and allow ourselves to truly rest. This is why an effective detox program includes lots of rest, gentle movement, and reduced screen time. When we give them the space to do so, our bodies know how to detoxify and heal.

It’s easy to try a gentle Ayurvedic detox at home by simply clearing your calendar for a day or two and eating a simple light diet. You can try a simple home cleanse, or sign up for a consultation if you’d like some personal support.

At the least, taking the time to incorporate a little more rest into each day will support the body’s natural health.

Harmonizing with the rhythms of the cosmos

We humans are not designed to be random. Our bodies are in tune with the sun and moon, the seasons and stars, and the weather. We can learn to feel these connections and harmonize with them, supporting our innate capacity for health.

Built in to the traditional healing science from India, called Ayurveda, are prescriptions for regular practices to align the body’s cycles with nature’s. The sun, for example, is closely tied with digestion. Ayurveda tells us when we eat is as important as what we eat to synchronize with the sun. For example, by having the main meal in the middle of the day when the sun is highest in the sky, our digestion is strongest and our bodies can receive the most nutrition from what we eat. Eating the lightest meal at the end of the day, at least a couple of hours before bed, supports both a restful night’s sleep as well as the body’s nightly detoxification cycle.

I have studied and practiced Ayurveda and yoga, its sister science, since the early 2000s. Yet it was during my second trip to India, in 2011, that I felt the full power of the daily routines and practices. I had signed up for a month long cleansing and rejuvenation process in an Ayurvedic ashram in a small village in south India. During my stay, daily routines were strictly set. Every morning, my first Ayurvedic treatment would begin around sunrise with a prayer. When the treatment was finished, I walked down the hill to the main house, where water was heated by the perpetually tended fire, to receive a bucket of hot water for my bath. I went back for breakfast after my bath; we did not bathe for several hours after eating. Meals were at least four or five hours apart with no snacking in between, except in rare cases. And in the evenings, electricity was intermittent so bedtime came shortly after dusk. During my stay, my doctor assured me that my long-time adherence to these daily routines, along with my yoga practice, had helped offset the effects of many of my less-than-wise and harmonious diet and lifestyle choices through the years. I was healthier than my Western lifestyle and corporate career might otherwise have indicated.

Another way to connect with nature is through astrology, an integral part of traditional wisdom teachings.  Most of us have heard of using astrology for agriculture, yet it can be very useful for helping us to know “what time it is” for beginning new projects or taking advantage of opportunities in certain areas of our lives. A simple way to get started with astrology is by setting intentions each month at the time of the new moon for what we want to grow and manifest in our lives. Each new moon carries the energy of the season and supports intentions of the specific time of year. For example, if we want support to begin a new writing project, the Gemini new moon of late May can be a great period of mental creativity. My own writing practice took off this year as soon as the sun moved into Gemini, beginning with this column. In my astrology practice, I focus on the birth chart as a map of the soul’s purpose and intentions in this lifetime. The placements of elements in the chart indicate the strengths and skills we are born with, as well as some of the areas of our lives in which we have both the chance and the means to grow.

Once we begin to pay attention to the natural cycles of our bodies and creative energy, and their connection with nature, many daily decisions on how to support our health and well-being become more intuitive.

If you find yourself intrigued and ready to explore how living in harmony with nature could support your creative energy and health, contact me at kristine@kristinebackes.com or 406-222-5271. 

This article appears in the July/August 2017 issue of Natural Life News and Directory: NaturalLifeNews.com

Soul Fire

Mountain healer
Lichen heart on mountain rock

I met my soul during the summer of 2014. The words seem ridiculous, but they are true. I suppose I knew I ‘had’ a soul, but soul was a concept, not an experience, and I was certainly not in a conscious relationship with mine.

That July, I participated in a SoulFire retreat, offered by spiritual activist and author Sera Beak. This retreat for women was intended to support us in deepening our relationships with our souls. I had read Sera’s spiritual memoir, Red Hot and Holy, the previous December, my first Christmas on my own, in a rented cottage on the Oregon coast. In between walks on the beach, cooking and eating my holiday dinner, and wandering through the coastal village, I read and wept and laughed out loud as I recognized parts of myself I didn’t even know I had. In contrast to my serious and idealized spiritual strivings, her story was filled with passion, humor and real humanity. I took her advice to dance a little more, meditate a little less, and have a glass of wine before reading a couple of particularly offbeat passages in the book. I began to realize something was missing in my earnest spiritual pursuit.

When I returned home from the ocean, I dove into Sera’s website for a little more of her refreshingly irreverent story. There, on her offerings page, was an invitation to her retreat. It was to be held in a location that had intrigued me for years and was all the more attractive because it was a short drive from the family cabin in Montana where I spent part of every summer. Moreover, the dates of her retreat overlapped with my planned Montana time. Without thinking about it too much, I signed up. The quote from my journal the following morning says, “Sometimes I am still amazed how loudly and clearly Life speaks to me”.

Months later, a couple of weeks before the event, I panicked. I had never been to a ‘women’s’ retreat, dismissing them as too frivolous. Now, anticipating my first, my mind filled with visions of a room full of perky 20- or 30-somethings dancing naked, and my 50+ self trying to be something I am not. I went so far as to check the possibilities of refunds and try to think of someone to take my place, but it was too late. I finally determined it was about time for me to stretch out a bit, and trust the initial urge to attend.

My fears were unfounded. The women ranged in age from 20-something to at least 60-something. Many of us had the same apprehension about being out of place, yet none of us were. There was dancing, but fully clothed, and besides being fun the movement helped us process and release the intense emotions that came up in our work. And the experience of sharing the parts of our journeys that are uniquely feminine had a healing power I had not imagined. The combination of retreat structure, Sera’s guidance, and the willingness of women to be open, vulnerable and supportive, encouraged real transformation.

During one exercise to clear a ‘soul block’, a story or memory that holds us back from fully expressing ourselves, I couldn’t shake a childhood memory. At some point in my miserable junior high school years, we were each asked to write a will for the class yearbook, filling in blanks to describe our states of mind and body, then bequeathing possessions. Being my literal-minded and serious self, I wrote on the form that I was of “pretty good” mind and body, or words to that effect. Nothing special but perfectly functional was my assessment of myself. When the yearbooks came out, my answers stood out to me as arrogant and unimaginative in the sea of sarcasm and self-effacement from my classmates. In the end result of this process, as I saw 40-plus years later, some hidden sense that it was not OK to be OK was reinforced. I had internalized that it was safer to downplay and minimize myself in order to fit in and not draw attention.

In my journal entry a couple of days later, I make the commitment to just be myself, to stop apologizing for being quiet, shy, liking solitude, loving nature. I also reclaim pleasure, telling myself it doesn’t have to be hard to count. My self-reclamation project was in evidence a few nights later when I overcame the critics in my head for my soul expression to the group, our last retreat assignment. Rather than forcing myself to dance or sing because others were planning to do so and I thought I should, I followed my inner guidance to choose silence. When my turn came, I asked the women to stand in a circle. I settled myself firmly into my body, and feeling 100 percent me, walked slowly around the circle holding each woman’s gaze for a moment as I passed. I stood in my own authority and sovereignty and silently invited each of my sister souls to do the same.

A few days after the soul retreat, I sat on the porch of our family cabin in the mountains repeating the simple soul retrieval meditation we had learned. As I sat quietly, I asked to be shown any part of me I may have lost in the past, either in this life or before. At the cabin, sitting quietly in the sunshine, surrounded by birds and breeze and creek, it registered how much of my voice I had restricted over the years. I was dismayed to remember how many times I had shut up (or down), deferring and holding back rather than sharing what I felt or knew. As someone whose public life had long involved speaking and writing, I saw how much I had shaped my words around how they would be received, rather than what was true. As I sat quietly with my eyes closed, I saw a soft, shimmering gold sphere floating in front of me. I knew it was my voice and welcomed it back. Only days later as I drove along the Yellowstone River, returning from a day in the park, it flashed on me I wanted to write. I began the process of putting my stories onto paper the next day.

Three years after SoulFire, life is irrevocably different. There is no going back to looking outside of myself for guidance and authority. Now I listen to my soul, whether through meditation or quiet walks in the wilderness. I live in the place where my soul has felt at home since I was a little girl. I have reinvented my work and career, leaving behind corporate communicator to become a natural healer, astrologer, writer, yoga teacher. The process has been scary and uncomfortable and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

In a post-retreat dream, a bottle of red wine in the back seat of my vehicle has leaked its red color all over the car: the red passion of soul I have kept bottled for so long is seeping into my body.

Rainbow Warrior: reclaiming the sacred

In the summer of 2014, I had returned to my family’s mountain cabin after a retreat focused on connecting me with my soul. A few days after arriving, I woke in the middle of the night with the words “rainbow warrior” repeating themselves over and over in my head. I didn’t remember anything of a dream that would give me a clue what the words were about, but I couldn’t get the phrase out of my head. It seemed important somehow. A few days later I got to Internet service and did a search. The first few references, to the Greenpeace ship by that name, were unhelpful. Going a little further down the page, though, turned up several links to various versions of a Native American prophecy:

“When the earth is ravaged and the animals are dying, a new tribe of people shall come unto the earth from many colors, classes, creeds and who by their actions and deeds shall make the earth green again. They will be known as the warriors of the rainbow.” 

 

The prophecy goes on to specify that these “warriors of the rainbow” will be the keepers and teachers of the traditional legends, stories, and customs that recognize and honor the sacred in all of creation. By remembering these truths, we will heal the Earth and our relationship with her.

At the time of my dream and subsequently reading what little I could then find about the prophecy, I had studiously avoided borrowing from the Native American culture, about which I knew little. My path had taken me instead to India and its traditional wisdom through yoga and then Ayurveda. Why I would all of a sudden dream about Native American prophecies was a mystery. Yet as I read a little more, and tracked down a couple of other people who had the same experience – waking with the words “rainbow warrior” ringing in their minds – I began to see how I fit in.

Through practicing yoga and feeling it help me to unite body and mind, and discover my own sacred nature, I was drawn to teach, as well as to begin learning how to live according to traditional wisdom of both yoga and Ayurveda, the sister science to yoga. As an ancient medical system, Ayurveda teaches that we humans are made of the same stuff and operate according to the same principles as nature herself. The teachings describe how to live in health, harmoniously with the earth, according to the rhythms of nature. My own teaching has expanded to include cosmology as well as how to put our natural wisdom into action.

Over the past decade of learning and practicing, I have realized that my calling is bringing people back home to their bodies, their connectedness with nature, and the wisdom inherent in each of us that directly reflects the intelligence of the universe. And I know this is one way we heal our individual bodies, our collective human body, as well as the body of our planet.

So, apparently I am a rainbow warrior.

Now, as we approach the turning of the season and the sun’s winter standstill in 2016, light bulbs are popping in my head. Until now, I have been an interested bystander to the unfolding of what is an epic event at Standing Rock, North Dakota, over the clash between a relationship of harmony and reverence for our home planet, and our current mass culture colored by dominion over and exploitation of Her resources. But I finally saw clearly what is going on:

A new tribe of people from many colors, classes, creeds and corners of the Earth are converging to take a stand for a new way of life based in traditional wisdom. These ‘rainbow warriors’ are bringing the light of the world’s attention to this juncture between an unsustainable old world view and the new assumptions and commitments that will allow humans to thrive in tandem with nature. The declaration at Standing Rock is that we must draw a line over which we will no longer step in pursuit of financial gain or what we call ‘security’ at the expense of risk to what gives us life and true security, in this case water.

The prophecy of many native peoples is at hand, unfolding before our very eyes.

In many ways, too, there is no better symbol for which to stand than water. In traditional cosmology, water represents that which connects, which nourishes, which combines with earth to form the foundation of life. It is the feminine force, the fluidity and juice in our make-up. In Vedic cosmology, water is connected with sexuality and creative energy. Water is said to be the element that represents the soul in traditional western cosmology.

In a culture that adheres to a no-longer-complete or useful set of scientific assumptions that the material world is devoid of soul and meaning and purpose, it is small wonder that the clash of world views comes over water.

I know that I am not alone in hearing this rainbow warrior call, whether it comes in the form of  voices in the night or a quiet urge to do something, anything, to reclaim our knowing of ourselves and our world as sacred and connected. And I know there must be many, many more who, like me, were tempted to dismiss the call as too far out to know what to do with. I still don’t know the full extent of what being a rainbow warrior entails. I do know my work is aligned with what is needed for our, and our planet’s health and well-being.

I also know that what is happening at Standing Rock will not go away, will not die down, whether or not a pipeline is built. What has begun there will only grow and I, for one, am excited and awed to see this coming together of nations and people in support of life, soul, beauty and the re-integration of humans and nature.

Stability

Since I was a little girl, the mountains have been my source of stability. Growing up as a child of the military, the ground beneath my feet was constantly shifting as we moved from one place to the other every couple of years. The one constant was our annual visits to the mountains of Montana, where we eventually ended up with a small piece of land and a cabin.

Offering this mountain energy to others is one of my gifts according to clients, friends and acquaintances. But each of us has the ability to access it ourselves. In healing traditions such as Ayurveda, we each contain all five elements, including that of earth. The earth element shows up as structure, stability, a sense of being grounded. We nourish this element through walks in nature, meditation, and the way we care for our bodies.The simplest way to build this sense of stability in ourselves is to be still and feel our physical connection with the ground.

Helping you find this sense of stability is a key focus of my work. Schedule a free 20 minute introductory session to get acquainted, and you will learn at least one practice to build the strength of the mountains in yourself.

Vision for a post-burnout world

Burnout. It is common in the business world today. There are new articles and books published every day, it seems, on the epidemic of stress disorders such as adrenal fatigue. Women are more susceptible, but it affects men, too. Most of us have at least a couple of friends who have experienced stress-related health problems, if we haven’t seen the symptoms in ourselves: anxiety, crippling fatigue, assorted health problems, over-reaction and edginess.

Anyone notice the parallels in our own bodies with the body of the earth herself? Over-heating, over-reacting through extreme weather patterns, tired soil, tired oceans. The patterns in each of us are reflected in our environment and vice versa. We are burning out the earth as we burn out ourselves.

It doesn’t have to be this way, and it is my greatest desire to show you how it can be otherwise. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that each one of us, individually as well as collectively has the power to ease this epidemic of burnout. And it starts in our own bodies. When I take care of myself by getting enough rest and joy, ease my own overheated striving, align with Nature herself in my daily rhythms, I am caring for the earth.

I do not mean this metaphorically, but literally. If we are learning nothing else from the new sciences, not to mention ancient wisdom, we are learning about interconnectedness. What we do to ourselves, we do to each other, and we do to our own planet.

I am made up of the same five elements as taught in traditional healing systems as is the planet and every created thing. There is no difference between the water in my body and the water in the oceans. When I nourish the water within, I nourish the water without. When I burn up the resources within, I burn up the resources all over.

It is simple, but not easy, to bring ourselves back into balance. It takes courage to step outside the accepted cultural norms, to begin saying no to being used up and depleted. To make simple lifestyle changes with profound effects on our lives. But the alternative is to continue a losing struggle. I quit my corporate career at age 50, and am still recovering my energy. I didn’t even know I was burned out until after I had worked with many others who were, and finally saw their exhaustion in myself.

I have a number of wonderful practices, such as dinacharya (Sanskrit for ‘following the day’, meaning natural daily routine), self-massage, meditation, deep rest (my term for yoga nidra) that nourish and rejuvenate the body. But the first step is the hardest, I’ve found, for most people: knowing that you, and every other person, are critically important for the health of the planet and therefore, all of us. Caring for yourself is the first step in caring for the world.

 

Transformation

I know what it is like to get the wake-up calls; to dive deep into the underworld of the heart and soul. I know what it feels like not to know, well, much of anything about where I am heading. To have to take one small step at a time in the dark.

I have had lots of help from lots of wonderful guides, pulled together the practices that work – including journaling, meditation, various forms of yoga. Most of all, I have turned to nature and her rhythms to connect me to my self and my own wisdom.

Now it is my turn to help.

Interested in working with me? Schedule a free 20 minute session to get acquainted and decide.