Britney’s Mental State

Like so many bipolars, Britney has attempted to “self-medicate” her mood swings with drugs and alcohol, which can both initiate and exacerbate the problem. It’s hard to know what is chicken and what is egg here. Our brain chemistry is fragile: if we don’t take care to maintain decent nutrition, get adequate rest, monitor our stress levels and avoid substance abuse, we risk developing a problem like bipolar disorder. We are predisposed by our genetics and our mental and physical health habits. It’s been my experience working with thousands of people that most people who abuse drugs and alcohol are often unknowingly dealing with low level depression and try to “fix” their mood with substances. Next thing they know, they have a whole new problem on top of the depression: an addiction.

Britney appears to be suffering from a sub-category of bipolar disorder called “mixed state.” It’s just what it sounds like: you experience symptoms of both mania and depression simultaneously, such as being agitated while depressed or crying while manic. I suspect she’s also a “rapid cycler,” which means she can be very up and then very down, all in the same day. It’s really difficult to deal with and is a major cause of attempted suicide.

My heart really goes out to Britney and her family in this difficult time; I know how difficult it is when you feel ebullient one moment and despairing the next. I encourage her to put herself in the hands of her medical team. I want her to know that she doesn’t need to feel this way and that, with proper treatment, she can quickly recover and come back to herself.


Healing Goes Mainstream

Healing Goes Mainstream

Los Angeles, CA (August 2005)

Once upon a time, the word “healing” was met with suspicion, skepticism, or outright scorn. People associated healers with ads in sensationalistic tabloids, or perhaps with exploitative tent revivals designed to part the faithful with their money. If one did consult a healer, the encounter was shrouded in secrecy. To openly discuss such matters was to risk being labeled a “flake.” But for a growing number of ordinary Americans, that attitude is changing. Healing is going, well,mainstream .

My clients are sophisticated and successful, not gullible or ‘flaky’ by any stretch of the imagination. They are simply people who have come to realize that their body and spirit are crying out for help, and they’ve decided to answer that call.”

“Energy Medicine” is a healing art that involves unblocking certain areas of the energy field that surrounds the body. It treats a variety of chronic and acute conditions, from depression to heart disease to cancer to reproductive disorders. While robust perfect health cannot always be restored,“healing” and “curing” are not necessarily synonymous. Almost everyone reports some improvement. And some clients experience dramatic results, such as cancer going into remission.

What accounts for the surge of interest—open, unabashed interest—in the hard-to-quantify subject of healing? Why is the “H-word” coming out of the closet and into the light?

Conventional medicine isn’t working. Most of us acknowledge that America’s healthcare system is broken. And most of us are well aware that pills and surgeries aren’t meeting our healing needs. Conventional treatments may relieve symptoms, but they seldom get to the root of an illness. By addressing blockages in the energy field, energy healing treats problems at their source. I consider traditional doctors to be partners in healing. But when we are empowered at a soul level, we can learn to join forces with allopathic medicine in helping to heal ourselves.

We’re desperately seeking relief from our stressful, fast-paced lives. Although technology has made our lives “easier” in some ways, it is a double-edged sword. Cell phones and email mean that we are constantly connected to work and to other people. We live in crowded, noisy cities. We sit in traffic jams every day. The demands that our work places on us, not to mention the lack of quiet and solitude, take a toll. It’s hard to pay attention to your inner spirit when you’re thinking about work and responsibilities and bills, 24/7. We know, intuitively, that we’re neglecting something very important.

We’re out of sync with the healing rhythms of nature. We don’t work on farms anymore, so we’ve lost the benefits of physical labor, fresh air and sunshine, exposure to the changing seasons. We don’t have the rejuvenating “down time” that comes from going to bed at sunset. We miss out on the pleasure of eating tomatoes and strawberries grown in soil worked with our own hands. We’re disconnected from the natural cycles of life that our ancestors took for granted. All of this is at odds with what our bodies and spirits crave. Healing speaks to these needs that are going unmet.

Women are disconnected from their femininity. Women have “made it” in the business and professional worlds, and that’s a good thing. The problem is that we’ve become clones of men. Women work hard all day and barely have time for our children in the evenings. We no longer prepare big nourishing meals, or relax with delicate needlework, or enjoy long, rambling conversations with our friends while we shell peas on the front porch. Our deep feminine needs to nurture, to create, to connect emotionally with our sisters are being neglected. Healing helps restore the balance we need to be powerful, secure, happy women.

Globalization makes us open to ideas from other cultures. The advent of the Internet and the forces of globalization have resulted in some significant cultural crossover. It’s not surprising that our Western attitudes are becoming more “Eastern-ized.”“While Energy Medicine is quite Western in its origins, Americans are embracing many holistic practices that spring from ancient Asian and Indian cultures. It’s not uncommon for residents of small rural towns to schedule regular Thai massage sessions or for stressed-out New Yorkers to pursue Ayurvedic harmony. All these healing techniques are right at our fingertips. I did a Web search on the word ‘Qi’—the word for energy in Chinese medicine—and got almost four million results in less than a second.

Science is beginning to recognize the connection between spirituality and health. Studies have proven the effectiveness of prayer. Medical schools are beginning to offer courses on religious and spiritual issues. Physicians are finally acknowledging the powerful connections between body, mind, and spirit. Small wonder that “alternative” practices like meditation, yoga, acupuncture, and, of course, Energy Medicine have gained new credibility. The irony is that these practices are far from new. In fact, they are ancient. We’ve come full circle.

So, will the day come that people book appointments with a healer as matter-of-factly as they now see their hairstylist or their chiropractor? Undoubtedly.

I believe America is at a turning point. Our current attitudes toward physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being are unsustainable. I mean, there is clearly something wrong when so many of us pop antidepressants like they’re breath mints and consider that normal. I really believe that, in the very near future, the word ‘alternative’ will be a misnomer. It will be the new ‘normal.’ And we, as individuals and as a society, will be all the better for it.



Nicole Ritchie gave birth to a beautiful baby girl over the weekend. As a parenting expert, I’m asked if her “bad girl” persona could be gone forever. The answer is an emphatic “yes.”

Did being pregnant help Nicole clean up her act in any way? Absolutely! Before discovering she was pregnant, Nicole battled a host of addictions, including heroin, and a debilitating eating disorder. A woman’s body develops a different hormonal mix when it prepares her for motherhood. It often also makes her feel happier and more stable than before. That, coupled with getting in touch with millions of years of cellular memories of wanting to insure the health and safety of her unborn child, gave Nicole the absolute best platform for getting clean and sober.

This same combination of pregnancy hormones and awakened cellular memories also would support recovery from an eating disorder. It’s one thing to be told you’re wrecking your health and quite another to be told you’re wrecking the health of your unborn child. Here, Nicole had nine months of pregnancy and at least six months of breast-feeding coming up to build new eating habits. She can put both her addictions and her eating disorder behind her if she wants to. It’s probably the best chance she will ever have.

Does the baby’s birth also impact Joel, the father? Yes, and in beautiful and mysterious ways. Once a man learns he has fathered a child, those millions of years of cellular memory kick in for him too, and he suddenly feels like taking better care of himself and becoming more self-responsible so he can take care of his child. Plus, when he is in close proximity with his pregnant partner, and later with her and the baby, the three of them share in a unified field of energy that protects and supports them and helps them behave in caring and responsible ways to one another.

So is Nicole, the “bad girl,” gone forever? No, our addictions and eating disorders don’t every disappear, they just “lay low.” When our stress level increases, they can return. The key to a permanent recovery is to always remember: once addicted, always addicted. Keep going to 12-step meetings, stay in touch with others who are on the same program, stay in therapy – stay on top of it. Nicole’s “bad girl” can be history and we hope it is!




Regrets can be so tricky. Imagine being harmed by something that didn’t happen! Over and over again, people carry a regret around with them and it works to destroy them. Very often, the physical ailments of those I work with in seminars are manifestations of these inactionable regrets—sorrow tied to chances NOT taken, roads NOT traveled, relationships NOT pursued. If people hold their secrets tightly, imagine how hard it can be to realize they are haunted by things that didn’t even happen! The roots can grow so deep and twisted into our bodies that we hardly remember them not always being there. Dynasty, a forty-something mother of three, came to me with neck pain so severe and unpredictable she had used up her sick leave and her vacation time simply lying on her couch, unable to function. Doctors were able to label her neck problems as stress related, but she simply couldn’t find relief. In our time together, she reached deep when I asked questions about regrets and silent sorrows. She took a deep breath, a few tears fell, and Dynasty told me how raw and sad she still feels that she was not at her mother’s deathbed six years earlier. This would have been an inappropriate time to yell BINGO!, but I felt certain we had just found the answer to her neck trouble. My advice to Dynasty, who hasn’t had a recurrence of the phantom neck trouble in over eighteen months, was threefold.

First, we need to voice this kind of regret—no matter how illogical it is, no matter how much we mentally understand that we can’t change the past, no matter how over it someone else thinks we should be. Speaking the words does not mean we are ungrateful for what we have today, nor does it mean we will reactivate the regret and become bogged down in it. The opposite is true! We are speaking it out loud to begin releasing it from our bodies. Find a trusted person, an isolated mountaintop, even a friendly and loyal dog! But say the words out loud: I regret not going home to be with my mother when she died.

Next, take a look at how that regret has shaped your life. Did you grab onto other relationships with a stranglehold? Did you avoid getting close to people to avoid losing them? Did you march along with a smile on your face to shut the door on the pain? Oh, but wait… There are gifts that can arise from this kind of pain. Did you learn to cherish your family and treat them kindly? Did you learn to never miss an occasion to tell someone you love them? Did you begin following your doctor’s orders so you could maintain your own health? Recognize the effects this regret has had on shaping your life. Some will be unpleasant to look at, but chances are, you have also gained some positive lessons as well.

Third,release the regret. Yes, it is real. Yes, it shaped me and taught me things–good and bad. Yes, it took root in my body and showed up as a sore neck, or a bad back, or ulcers, or knee trouble…The second part of this step is to release yourself from this regret. Go to a peaceful outdoor spot. A mountaintop is fantastic, but a park or beach will work just as well. Choose a natural item that will serve as a symbol of this specific regret. A handful of small twigs works well, as do pebbles and sand. Find a spot and sit quietly with your item, and reflect on the process thus far. When you feel ready, whisper the words out loud, name the regret one more time. Then release the pebbles off the side of a hill, or toss the twigs or sand into water. Watch them disappear and accept that you are no longer held by that sorrow. Occasionally revisit that outdoor spot to nurture your spirit and remind yourself of the journey.

Many of the people who come to me for help are carrying regrets for things they have done. Real or imagined, these regrets can really wreak havoc with our bodies, especially when we have made it a habit, perhaps grown a collection of regrets! All that negative energy just invades our bodies and creates problems down the road.
Clayton, a middle aged executive, was having recurring problems with his lower back when he came to one of my seminars. Physically fit and at a healthy weight, he hoped to find a way out of this chronic painful condition. I noted he had energy trapped in his low back. He mentioned, almost in passing, that he had not always been a good husband and father. It turned out that Clayton was still holding on to regrets for some of the things he had put his family through when he was drinking heavily. Although he no longer drank at all, Clayton had not forgiven himself for his misdeeds. Simply realizing this was incredibly powerful for him.

Because he had reaped the benefits of therapy in the past, he eagerly followed my advice to face his regrets head on. Clayton took his wife to a nature preserve and shared his deep regret for the past problems he had caused for his family. He told her he was grateful for her forgiveness, but that he needed her help to forgive himself. Together, they explored the things their family had suffered and gained through those difficult times. They gathered a basket of leaves together and tossed them off a bridge, forever releasing the pain, shame, and sorrow Clayton’s body had been struggling with all these years. The two of them are enjoying their retirement, and Clayton’s back trouble is also a thing of the past. 

There are many events in the world each day that we have no control over. We can’t affect them, no one asks our opinion. While we are powerless over them, the opposite is not true. Frequently the people who attend my seminars are wrapped in deep sadness and regret that comes of our exposure to tragedy.

The violence that we are exposed to on a daily basis is simply astonishing. One hundred years ago, our circles of concern were so much smaller. Now, along with our breakfast cereal, we can read about the suffering and destruction happening all around the globe. And with one click of the remote control, we can see live coverage as well. So many of us seem desensitized to it, but that energy is going somewhere.

Mandy was a passionate, empathetic young woman who suffered from recurring kidney infections. She worked with homeless animals between her classes at a nearby college, and regretted missing work due to these illnesses. It was easy to see that Mandy was a person who feels deeply. She told me how she advocates for the animals at the shelter, and how she went to New Orleans to help the Katrina victims. It made perfect sense when she shared her deep regret for the storms that ravaged that city and hurt so many people. In Mandy’s case, we took a slightly different angle. For Mandy, simply changing some of her input made a huge difference. Her focus had been on the tragedies and the problems for a very long time. Instead of finding more and more ways to assist, she needed to take a break from helping everyone else. She needed to lighten her load and release her burden so she could practice self-care and maintain her balance. Only by taking these measures would she be able to get healthy and continue her good works.

Regret is an acid that eats away at us. It can be tricky to tease out, because we internalize it so subtly. But getting it out in the open, into the fresh air and sunshine, is the first step in finding freedom from regret.


Britney Hospitalized – What Does It All Mean?

Britney Spears was taken to a Los Angeles hospital “for evaluation” last evening. According to the LAPD, police were called to her home at about 8:00 p.m. “about a custodial dispute regarding her children.” After three hours of high drama, it was determined that the children were supposed to be with her ex, Kevin Federline, and Kevin took them away. Officers noticed that Britney “was under the influence of an unknown substance” and she was taken to a hospital.

It’s no coincidence that Britney finally showed up for a deposition at the law offices of Kevin’s attorney earlier that same day. Arriving an hour and a half late, she only stayed 14 minutes. That’s undoubtedly the shortest deposition on record! Asked by a photographer if Kevin’s attorney was nice, she replied with an emphatic “No!”

It’s also no coincidence that Britney’s lawyers had asked to be allowed to withdraw from representing her the day previously.

What does this all mean?

Britney is acting as if she is about seven years old. She likely never had a real childhood, so she’s forced to have it now. When we skip a step in our development, inevitably we find ourselves trying to cope with adult situations with poorly developed skills. When Britney doesn’t get her way or is required to do something she doesn’t want to do (e.g., be deposed, which is very stressful and embarrassing), she “gets back” by refusing to turn over her kids at the appropriate time to her ex. Or indulging in drugs/alcohol. Or both. When her attorneys don’t conform to her demands, she fires them. Same goes for her mother, agent, hairdressers, bodyguards – anyone who doesn’t do what she wants. What age group does that sound like – under seven for sure!

What can we learn from this?

Sadly, Britney gives us a great example of how NOT to run our lives. We’ve all had problems like these: who among us hasn’t had a relationship problem or an addiction problem or a lawsuit problem or problems with our kids. What we can learn from watching Britney is what behavior doesn’t work. Don’t turn everything into high drama; don’t assume your demands should be met; don’t assume you’re right. Accept the fact that adults often don’t get their way. Take a deep breath and remember that this too shall pass. And instead of turning to drugs/alcohol to make the pain and anger go away, try walking or talking. Both are readily available. While we’re fascinated with the descent of Britney, we can learn much from it.