Mr Manx

Mr. Manx, Cat Extraordinaire

Mr Manx

More than 10 years ago, we moved to yet another horse ranch, a sprawling 20-acre spread backing up to a nature preserve, a magnificent property covered with high grass and ancient oak trees just a few miles from the shores of the Pacific. We no sooner arrived, with our horses and dogs, than the displaced seller called, ashamedly telling us he had been forced off his property some months earlier by a restraining order sought by his ex-wife, an order that denied him access to his  children and property. He seemed resigned about all that but quite upset about a manx cat he loved that might still be somewhere on the property, starving to death.

We promptly began a hunt for the little tabby cat with no tail he described, and spotted him at dawn the next morning, running into a drainage ditch in which he had been living down by the barn. He was emaciated. The vet guessed he might be some 5 or 6 years old and recommended frequent feedings to bring him back to health.

We named him “Mr. Manx” and placed food out for him twice a day. He rapidly gained weight and, feeling more like himself, began hunting again, proudly presenting us every morning with a gopher or two twice his size – dragging them into the house through the dog door and dumping them at the base of the stairs, where I would stumble over them in the dark as I came down in the morning.

As summer moved into fall and the weather cooled, Mr. Manx let it be known that he could easily give up his raucous outdoor lifestyle and move indoors, explaining that his favorite activity wasn’t really hunting, but napping: that cat could nap anywhere at the drop of a hat. He ingratiated himself with the house cats and set a sleeping example no other acquaintance of mine has ever matched – he could sleep so well, he could almost sleep standing up. No matter where you turned that first winter, he’d be asleep nearby: always finding a patch of sun, at the base of the glass door or on a windowsill, or protected from the wind, sunbathing on the upper deck. I was going through a difficult menopause those first years Mr. Manx joined our family, unable to sleep much at all myself, and I used to imagine that the cat was sleeping for me.

One day I realized that Mr. Manx was no longer thin and starving; in fact, he was overweight. Seriously overweight. We realized that he had developed an eating disorder from his days of near starvation; that darn cat just couldn’t stop eating, fearing that food might one day again become scarce. He continued to gain weight until his belly touched the ground and I could no longer lift him.

About the same time, I admitted to myself that my dream horse ranch had a fatal flaw. During the exciting days of escrow and purchase, I had met with several horse trainers who all praised the beauty of the land but, once we were on it, we found that it was really too steep for horses and humans alike. As one fencer put it, “Lady, you’ve got yourself a pyramid here, not a horse ranch.” The house was at the top of a mountain and the horses and barn at the bottom of a draw, and in-between was a no man’s land of rolling oak forests, hiding wild turkeys and coyotes and bobcats and the occasional mountain lion that would stand and stare as I fed and mucked the horses alone at night, giving the twilight an eerie quality.

Never one to let the grass grow under my feet, I again took up the arduous search for yet another perfect ranch property and, many months later, stumbled on one just a few miles away. By that time, Mr. Manx had become a key member of our family and I obsessed about the difficulty of moving him, knowing that cats don’t move easily. But Mr. Manx had other ideas, and jumped in my car the day of the move, telling me that crating him wouldn’t be necessary, he was ready to go. At the new ranch, he took over the kitchen and it was impossible to sit for a meal without having that 30-pound cat at your back, sharing your chair with you. He was especially fond of reading with you late at night and loved Seinfeld reruns; they were his personal favorite.

That ranch was the last of our properties that Mr. Manx hunted: when we moved from there, he announced he had retired from hunting and sought a promotion to full-time housecat, one that he surely deserved.  When we moved on, first to Santa Barbara, where we briefly flirted with being citified, which worked not at all, he slept on the deck, totally disregarding the multi-million dollar view of the city, the mountains, and the ocean just below.

He much preferred our next place in the Santa Monica mountains of Malibu, another grand ranch at the end of a long single lane along a cliff, with incredible valley and ocean views and bevies of butterflies hovering nearby. This time, the bobcats and mountain lions brazenly came right up to the house, taking your breath away, and Mr. Manx elected to live totally inside, only venturing out into the special cat cage we constructed for him that had its own oak tree for his napping pleasure. It was at this house, an amazing two-story French country home set in a meadow with its own lake full of frogs that serenaded you at night, where the horses roamed free, that Mr. Manx began the practice of traipsing around, especially late at night, singing a plaintive song, sounding not happy but not unhappy either, just using his voice and keeping it tuned up. He wasn’t fond of that ranch because I insisted on sleeping the better part of the year in a tent, way out on the edge of the cliff with the horses, quite some distance from the house, and he wanted me close by. Once I moved back in for the winter, he was happy again, and slept at my feet as I wrote my first book. He always said writing was easy, like falling off a log, but I never found it so.

The years went by and I began to think Mr. Manx immortal, never aging, always ready to help me write a paragraph or two, eat lunch, or take a nap. But he died suddenly this evening, with no warning whatsoever. He was having trouble breathing as he was raced to the vet, who declared Mr. Manx quite old, geriatric really, and already in the throes of moving on. He seemed unperturbed by all the fuss and quietly expired, with as little fanfare as he had lived. The moment he left his body, I could feel his enormous spirit everywhere, filling me and then the space around me, no limits to him now as he expanded.

What is it about cats that makes them think they are ageless, that allows them to spring effortlessly from floor to kitchen counter if there’s tuna anywhere to be found? Don’t they know they’re elderly and should be on a walker or at least be carrying a cane? What is it about cats that allows them to enjoy every moment of every day, totally present, never worrying for one second that they’re getting old or fat, as Mr. Manx was for sure, or wrinkled or infirm?  Always enjoying every second of every day, the breeze, the sights and the sounds, and only wanting your company, to be with you watching the setting sun.


Clear Skies Ahead

In California, where I live on occasion, the earth shakes periodically, and fire scorches our “golden” hills. On the East Coast, wind and water have been the elements of destruction lately. We tend to forget about the power of Mother Nature until she grows fierce and threatens our usual way of life.

Irene brought us back to reality. The name Irene comes from Greek mythology, where she is the Goddess of Peace. Tell that to the folks who have had to abandon whole towns and communities near overflowing rivers and streams. This peaceful lady did something no one has ever been able to do before: totally shut down New York City mass transit and mandated the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people from low-lying areas. The “better safe than sorry” refrain is only heard, it seems, when disaster is imminent, not in the planning stages before we build our homes and businesses in flood or fire zones, or sitting on top of major earthquake faults.

Many of us were glued to the Weather station or to our favorite news programming for days as we watched Irene crawl up a thousand miles of coastline. There’s a part of us that loves to watch Mother on a rampage, as long as we’re not the ones directly in her path. It awakens the desire to break free of all restraints, to go wild, to throw dishes and break windows, to dance in the wind and wash away complacency in a roaring flood.

We forget that we, too, are governed by the same elements as nature: fire, air, space (ether), earth, and water. Millennia ago, the seers of ancient India recognized this fact when they created the first medical system, Ayurveda, which is based on balancing the elemental energies, called doshas: vata is air and space, pitta is fire and water, and kapha is water and earth. Ayurvedic practitioners understand what aggravates each dosha, and what food and lifestyle choices can bring it back into balance. Ayurveda also has a regime for purification, called panchkarma, that eliminates toxins from the system.

Natural “disasters” are purification on a big scale. The old gets swept away, bringing the opportunity to reevaluate the strength of infrastructure and the health of our governing bodies. They bring out bravery—like risking electrocution to save a child—and compassion for the victims. They unite us as we work together to save a city or rebuild what has been wrecked. There’s no one to blame—no terrorists, no evil megalomaniacs. Just an acceptance of what is beyond our control and an understanding of what must be done. Not a bad lesson to remember when the skies clear.


Catalogue of Regrets

There’s a wonderful line in the Paul Simon song, “Everything About It Is A Love Song,” that goes: “Open the book of my vanishing memory, with it’s catalogue of regrets. Stand up for the deeds I did, and those I didn’t do.”

Ah, regrets. We all have our own catalogue of them, divided into the things we’re sorry we did and the things we’re sorry we didn’t do. I imagine there’s a long list of politicians who are sorry they unzipped outside of marriage—not at the time, perhaps, but certainly when the media caught them and public indignation forced their resignation. What regrets heads of state must have about ordering troops into war, or is it only us civilians that regret “collateral damage” to innocents? Do Congressmen regret the bills for the public welfare that they didn’t vote for because of political posturing?

Do rock stars and entertainers regret their wanton use of drugs, prescription or otherwise? If only we could hear from Amy Winehouse, Michael Jackson, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and host of others. And we could tell them about our regrets: the way we were mean to someone, the way we hurt those we loved, the time we wrote that email we never meant to be seen but we pushed the Send button anyway. Or the things we didn’t do because we were afraid—of rejection, of pain, of our status.

Regrets can be so tricky. Imagine being harmed by something that didn’t happen! And the regrets we carry can manifest as physical ailments. Many of my clients made themselves ill over sorrows tied to chances not taken, roads not traveled, relationships not pursued.

For example, Dynasty, a 40-year-old mother of three, came to me with neck pain so severe that she had used up her sick leave and vacation time because she was unable to get off her couch. Doctors labeled her neck problems as stress related, but she couldn’t find relief. I asked her about regrets and silent sorrows. She took a deep breath, a few tears fell, and Dynasty told me how sad she still felt about not being at her mother’s deathbed six years earlier. BINGO! 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, was threefold:

  1. Voice the regret. No matter how illogical it is, no matter how much we understand that we can’t change the past, no matter how over it someone thinks we should be. Speaking the words out loud begins to release it from your body. Find a trusted person, an isolated mountaintop, even a loyal dog, but say the words out loud. In Dynasty’s case, she need to say: “I regret not coming home to be with my mother when she died.”
  1.  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 so you couldn’t lose them? Did you march along with a smile on your face to shut the door on the pain? Or did you recognize the gifts that came to you 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 to maintain your good health? Recognize the effects these regrets have had on shaping your life. Some will be unpleasant to look at, but chances are, you have also gained some positive lessons as well.
  1. Release the regret. 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. Release yourself from this regret. Go to a peaceful outdoor spot and choose a natural item, like twigs or pebbles, as a symbol of your main regret. Sit quietly with your item, and when you feel ready, whisper the regret out loud one more time. Then release the pebbles off the side of a hill, or toss the twigs into a running stream. Watch them disappear and accept that you are no longer held by that sorrow.

When your regrets are based on actions you did, such as the chaos and despair your heavy drinking inflicted on your family, have you forgiven yourself even if those you hurt have not? Share your honest regrets with those you have hurt. Try the Hawaiian forgiveness exercise in  my book, Be Your Own Shaman.

Regret is an acid that eats at you. It can be tricky to tease out, because we internalize it so subtly. But by getting it out in the open, into the fresh air and sunshine, and releasing the shame and sorrow from your body, you can find freedom from your own catelogue of regrets.


Intimate Relationships

An intimate, stable relationship is the crucible in which we learn how to stand strong in our own individuality. It’s not an easy task. We need to trust each other, to feel emotionally “safe,” in order to bring forth the full expression of who we are. Unfortunately, a lot of us think a relationship should look like the one the romance industry promotes, full of hearts and flowers and sexy lingerie. We picture ourselves walking hand-in-hand along the riverbanks of Paris, sharing Mai Tai’s on the beach, gazing soulfully into each other’s eyes across a candle-lit table.

The truth is that our bodies are programmed so that the early infatuation we experience will pass in roughly six to twelve months. At some point, either you or your partner may want to run away from the relationship. I need time alone. You’re smothering me. Or you don’t spend enough time with me, you’re always at work or with your friends. What statements like those really mean is I’m trying to figure out who I am and what I want.

As you reach the infamous seven year mark in a relationship, either partner may feel the strong need to run. And when women enter perimenopause, the compliant little wife may suddenly become a fierce tiger, and scare her partner. As men and women hit their mid-forties to mid-fifties, they may develop more of the heavier qualities of the earth, sleeping more or becoming inclined to depression. Or they may exhibit too much of the fire quality, become overly driven and ambitious and rushed.  Or they may develop too much air quality and become anxious and worried and have trouble sleeping. These are classic times for one of the partners to have an affair, or many affairs.

Most relationships crack because of lack of trust brought on by either financial or sexual factors. If your partner is not contributing to the monetary welfare of the relationship—can’t get or hold a job (especially in this economy), gets an inheritance and blows it on a Porsche instead of a college fund for the kids, or develops a gambling addiction, for example—money is the main factor in the loss of trust in the partnership.

One of the most common betrayals of trust happens when your partner (or you) has an affair, which is pretty difficult not to take personally. Ideally, it would be nice to be able to forgive and move on, but a lot depends on the circumstances. Was it a single one-night stand? A long-running affair? Many different partners? There are few relationships where one or the other partner doesn’t at least think about straying at some point. But looking outside the marriage is really just a diversion from the basic issue, which is finding ourselves. However, it is a compelling diversion that basically switches our attention from our present partner’s needs to the new partner’s needs. . . and often duplicates the problems we had with the last partner.

I work with so many people who blame themselves when their partner cheats or lands them in financial difficulty. The key point to remember is that your partner’s behavior says more about the problems your partner is trying to resolve from his or her past than about anything directly related to you.

Unfortunately, when we’re betrayed or our trust is broken, we tend to shut down our heart. When a dog is hit, it cowers close to the ground. Well, we do the same thing if our heart is hurt. If we don’t open our heart and let the pain move through, how can we be open to new experiences of love? This is why it’s so important to clear the energy from past relationships out of your personal energy field and out of your body (see the shamanic technique, the “Sweeping Breath,” on page 117 of my book, Be Your Own Shaman). That old relationship can slow you down and make you feel confused, unfocused, unhappy, lethargic or, worse, it can make you toxic and sick.

I’d like to pass on to you the two biggest tips that I have learned in over thirty years of marriage: First, if you meditate every day with your partner, you’ll find it’s pretty easy to get along. Secondly, when you are really upset with your significant other, begin every statement with how you feel. Start the sentence with “I feel horrible when you say such and such,” instead of saying, “You always say...” That gives the other person a chance to realize the impact they are having on you instead of going immediately on the defensive.

As you grow in your emotional health, your relationships will reflect a more mature intimacy, which in turn allows you to be fully who you are. If your relationship can survive the power struggles and betrayals, it means you have healed the wounds inflicted in the battle of the sexes for nurturance, power, and self. You realize you can separate from each other and come back together without losing yourself, and you can finally claim the prize of real intimacy.


Scared of Your Emotions?


When you see a mother with her baby, are you jealous? Or are you relieved it’s not you? Or maybe angry that she could have one, but you can’t? What about your feelings about your partner, or lack of? How do you feel walking in to work? When your kid flunks a test? When your computer crashes?

Are you afraid of what you feel? Scared that the emotion will cover you over like a tsunami and drag you out to sea? Take over your life?

If you’re trying to heal yourself, you will have to learn to release the toxic emotions you buried because you were afraid to feel them. You won’t want to dwell on the feelings as they come up or beat yourself up about them or try to change them. You’ll want to observe the emotions as if they are passing clouds—you feel the emotion arising, acknowledge it, and then watch as the storm clouds blow away.

Of course, it takes some time to be able to get comfortable with your emotions and not get caught up in them. I remember being in a courtroom as a young attorney during the time I was learning to name and acknowledge my emotions. I would write down what I was feeling in the margins of my brief, which was usually jealous, jealous, jealous. That’s how I felt about all those other lawyers who seemed so self-assured. It took a long time for me to feel comfortable with my jealousy and to stop trying to make it disappear. But when I did, I was able to uncover the fear that had created the jealousy, so I could then deal with it.

If I were to ask you, What are you feeling right now? would you be able to answer?

Here are words for some of the emotions, to get you started.

  • Fear is always the basis of the other emotions. It ranges from anxiety and nervousness (including worry, distress, dread, dismay) to fright, horror, or shock that can lead into panic, terror, or hysteria. Or maybe you’re just shaking in your shoes or have butterflies in your stomach!
  • Jealousy includes envy, wanting what other people have, or you can be filled with resentment, bitterness, or spite.
  • Anger goes from irritation to rage. You can be annoyed, mad, furious, disgusted, or spiteful. Do you see red? Maybe your anger is nothing more than displeasure or pique rather than being infuriated.
  • Sadness moves from feelings of self-pity to suffering hurt or anguish or grief. We can be wounded, upset, devastated, or simply unhappy, miserable, or gloomy. Maybe you’ve just got the blues.
  • Shame can come from disgrace or dishonor, humiliation, embarrassment, or indignity. It is closely related to guiltremorse or plain old regret.
  • On the other hand, you can be filled with love and affection, be cheerful, proud, full of optimism and joy. Are you content and happy? Hopeful? Maybe blissful, in good spirits, without a care in the world.

As you can see, there are a lot of choices when it comes to naming your emotions. Let your choice be guided by your “gut feelings.” When you feel a sense of connection with a particular word, write it down in your journal and try to elaborate on what is causing it.

Now can you answer the question: What do I feel right now?

Just pick a word. It would be nice once in a while to have words like peaceful, happy, and cheerful. But whatever the word is, be really honest about it. Don’t try to change it and don’t criticize yourself; instead, congratulate yourself for the awareness. Absolutely everything starts with awareness.


Shame on Him, Not on You

Powerful men in the public eye seem to think they can have their way and get away with it all. But eventually they get caught, and the litany of their lies and excuses is embarrassing. Just look at the apologies offered by Anthony Weiner, DSK (the Frenchman vs. the hotel maid), John Edwards, Eliot Spitzer, Arnold Schwarzenagger, Bill Clinton, and a host of others over the years.

Some broke the law, like Edwards using campaign money to fund his trysts, while others simply lost the public trust and broke their wives’ hearts. These woman had to deal with public humiliation as well as with their private suffering over their husbands’ betrayals.

Read my blog, “Weiner: Shame on Him, Not on Huma,” in the Huffington Post at for more on this topic and be sure to comment on it there; would love to bring this shameful behavior more into the open, where it can be healed.


When Caring Too Much Causes Illness

While much of the regret we harbor inside comes from our own actions (infidelities we’ve had, accidents we’ve caused, debt we’ve gotten ourselves into) as well as from those important things in life we failed to do (opportunities unexplored, love not shared, forgiveness unspoken, once-in-a-lifetime events not attended), sometimes regret stems from something that has nothing to do with us. Something we have absolutely no control over or say in. Sometimes regret—those feelings of grief, sorrow, and remorse—come from our exposure to the world’s innumerable tragedies and devastations.

We all feel how small the world has become through the advances in technology. With a mere click of the mouse or remote control, the whole world comes into our lives and living rooms. On a daily basis, many of us witness unimaginable violence and suffering. Kidnappings, murders, suicides. Genocide, terrorism. Natural disasters that leave millions in their wake. Public figures coming to tragic ends as they lose battles with drug addiction or disease. And, of course, a national and global economy on the brink of depression. The daily news provides no shortage of things to feel empathy for, and for those who continually tune in with an open heart, this constant negative input eventually takes its toll on their psyche and physical health.

The mind-body connection dictates that what enters our consciousness also enters the rest of our being. When we take in the energy from the outside world, and attach to it emotions such as sorrow and remorse, that energy has to go somewhere. Unless we release it, which few know how to do, it goes into our body, where it blocks our energy field, causing stagnation and, ultimately, a physical or mental disease condition. I hear this complaint all the time at my energy healing workshops. I see the havoc too much empathy is having on people’s lives.

At a recent seminar, for example, 20-year-old Mandy joined me on the stage, complaining of recurring bladder infections. Talking with her, I learned that she was a passionate, empathetic young woman who worked for an animal rescue while attending school part-time. Her frequent health problems kept her from work at times, and she regretted that she was not able to devote more of herself to saving the plethora of homeless animals.

Mandy is clearly a person who feels deeply. Not only does she advocate for the animals at the shelter, but she also went to Louisiana after the Gulf oil disaster to help with the devastation that happened to people and animals there. As we talked about her terrible regret over the devastation to the Gulf and the wildlife that make it their home, the picture of her health became clear.

In Mandy’s energy field I picked up a great deal of bitterness, the result of frustration about all the animals she felt powerless to help. This unprocessed bitterness was the cause of her bladder problems. While her heart was in the right place—she wanted to do her part to alleviate the suffering in the world—she wasn’t aware that she was allowing her need to help overpower her ability to help, leaving her feeling frustrated and bitter.

Many people, like Mandy, feel that selflessness is the only way to be a “good” person, that anything less is narcissistic or self-centered. I adamantly disagree. I see all the time the kind of toll this takes in people who come to me for help; it’s in their energy fields and in the various dysfunctions of their life, including emotional pain and, for some, like Mandy, illness of the body.

Please don’t get me wrong, empathy and compassion are high virtues. Of course they are. They are the reason I do the teaching, speaking, and energy healing work I myself do. They stir us to alleviate suffering and to uplift others where we can. But we all have to know the point at which it becomes too much to handle. Where the wise adage of “Moderation in all things” has gone out the window. When we give too much of ourselves, taking us off kilter, it doesn’t do anyone any good. As we’ve seen, getting bogged down in the tragedies of others, distorts our energy centers, or chakras, blocks our healthy energy flow, and lowers our own vibration to the point of disempowering us and making us susceptible to dysfunction and disease.

So, what can you do if you’ve already depleted yourself to the point of anger and resentment, disempowerment, and/or illness? The following simple steps can help pull you out of a regretful state and reverse any blockage accumulating in your energetic, emotional, and physical systems. They are powerful tools for self-healing that bring emotional pain relief as well as act as energy healing to the body:

  1. Take time for yourself. This was the first thing I recommended to Mandy, who wasn’t doing any of the things a girl her age would normally do. We all need time for ourselves, time to just be—to relax, unwind, socialize, play. We need time to enjoy being alive without an agenda of getting something done. Otherwise, life tramples our boundaries and some of our essential needs go unmet. Talk about the perfect recipe for anger and resentment! You’ll see this all the time in the healing professions, where people give, give, give and never get in return. They become overwhelmed with anger and resentment, which, of course, only adds to the toxic energy buildup in their energy fields and bodies that then manifests as disease. It also detracts from the quality of service they have to give. Bottom line: Before we can give to others, we need to first fill our own wells.
  2. Tune out some of the negative and tune in more to joy. Go on a “news diet,” cutting down on the amount of death and destruction you take in and adding in its place something lighter, like play. While it’s important to know what’s going on in the world (which you can do, by the way, by skimming Internet news sites for about two minutes), you don’t have to witness every replay of the World Trade Center crumbling or every dying bird in the Gulf. Instead, add to your day some laughter and joy. I watch one rerun of Seinfeld every night an hour before going to sleep to get my laughter quota and to take a few minutes to relax my mind. You’d be amazed at what a powerfully renewing “therapy” this is.
  3. Uplift the planet by raising your own consciousness. Instead of trying to rescue the world in person, which will eventually deplete you, try uplifting the world by raising your consciousness. The easiest ways to do this, which you know about already if you have read my spiritual self-help book Truth Heals, are through journaling, meditation, and prayer. Writing in a journal helps you clear out your emotions on a daily basis. It’s great emotional hygiene! When I first began journaling to heal myself of cancer, I took a notepad around with me and jotted down every emotion I had, as often as I had them. I wrote it all—the good, the bad, and the ugly—anger, jealousy, resentment, you name it. When journaling, nothing is off limits. In fact, the uglier the better, as you need to get those toxic emotions out, to keep them from building up and creating energy blocks that can ultimately cause disease.

Meditation and prayer expand our consciousness and allow us to connect to and communicate with a higher source. As we begin vibrating at a higher frequency, we lift others up—just by our presence. Think of meditation as simply connecting your consciousness to the unified field for a certain period of time, where your consciousness sends out ripples into the vast ocean of consciousness, ever expanding at a higher level. Prayer, especially when it takes the form of gratitude for the perfection that lies just outside our human view (for example, visualizing the Gulf in all of its former glory) can also create the very state we desire. Certainly more productive than wallowing in helplessness and overwhelm, this can also do more for healing the situation than traveling to the disaster site to lend physical support, which may be unrealistic for many. From my own remission from cancer, plus years of training and working with people around the world, I know for a fact that journaling, meditation, and prayer have a tremendous, tangible power to heal.

  1. Redefine what it means to be of service. Many of us think that being of service needs to be grand, and so we give more than we can afford. Usually, this giving is out of a need for approval and acceptance. Deep inside, we don’t feel we are enough, and so we compensate. We’re so desperate for approval that we lose all sense of our boundaries and self-care. But being of service is really just about love. It’s the “chop wood, carry water” instruction from the famous Zen proverb: Take what nature has given you, just be exactly where you are, and do what you do with an attitude of love. Elevate others; mean them well. Intend them happiness and health. When you align your actions with those intentions, you’ll be of service to everyone you meet. And, don’t forget to include yourself in those you care for!

These few changes can dramatically improve your emotional health as well as the state of your body. The love, care, and service you give needs to be from a balanced and filled place.

One final cautionary word about empathy for all the aspiring healers out there: We all do empathic healing naturally, mostly with our family members and pets—where we take their pain and illness into our own energy fields and bodies to “process.” One of the first things I teach someone who wants to become a healer is how not to do that! That’s because empathic healing requires you to take in another’s negative energy through your own body in order to move it out of them; fine on occasion, but not as a daily practice. For more information about becoming certified as a healer in my 21st Century Energy Medicine Program, visit


Personal Daily Writing #1 Truth Tool – Journaling

You’ve probably heard the saying, “the truth will set you free,” but did you ever wonder why? Or how? If you’ve read my first book, Truth Heals, you already have a pretty good idea.

Whenever life gets too tough, too threatening – when we experience an emotional or physical trauma of some kind – we may feel we “can’t handle the truth” and so we try to deny it. We send the truth – the facts about what is happening, as well as what we think and feel about it – underground, burying it deep inside us, where we think we don’t have to deal with it. Then we might distract ourselves with something less scary, or even overwrite the facts with lies that are easier to cope with.

Well, if you’ve read Truth Heals, you also know that this “out of sight, out of mind,” deny-and-dissociate strategy doesn’t work, at least not for long. That’s because the truth is a mighty force, a powerful energy that is and always will be. Like everything else in our universe, it exists in physical reality even if we can’t see it with our eyes. Therefore, it can’t just be wished away, any more than gravity can. Dealing with the truth in a healthy way requires processing it. The energy needs to be moved out of the body and released.

If this doesn’t happen – if the truth about what happened to us and what we think and feel about it is not acknowledged and spoken by the conscious mind – it will eventually pop back up, like a beach ball under water, grabbing our attention in some unpredictable ways. Emotional pain, abusive relationships, financial problems, accidents, health scares and conditions, stress symptoms of all kinds – under almost any disturbance is a truth waiting to be set free.

I discovered this reality when, at age 25, I wound up with cancer. I’d already had plenty of other warning signs and wake-up calls – drug and alcohol addictions, promiscuity, an eating disorder – but I didn’t pay heed. Cancer finally got my attention. When it did, I sincerely wanted to heal.

To my surprise, one of the simplest tools I found in my search for healing – writing in a personal journal – turned out to be one of the most powerful. Journal writing gave voice (expression and movement) to my truth of an extremely traumatic childhood wrought with sexual and emotional abuse. Journaling gave the benefit of processing out that old toxic energy that was stored inside me and had been wreaking such havoc on my life. Giving voice to it ultimately led me to becoming cancer free, addiction free, and to letting go of all the other lies I had been living.

We all have truths buried inside. Too often in childhood we are taught by our parents or society that feelings are bad and shouldn’t be felt, let alone expressed. Stuffing our emotions is the cultural norm. Yet in order to have a fulfilling life, complete with healthy relationships, we have to have our feelings. We have to experience them and then let them go. In essence, to be truly healthy and happy, we have to live in truth. Journal writing can help us do that.

There aren’t many rules to follow to gain the benefits of writing in a personal daily journal. Here are a few guidelines for getting the most out of it:

  • Do it daily. Like brushing your teeth, create a habit that helps to ensure good emotional hygiene.
  • Use pencil and paper OR keyboard and computer. They are both equally effective. The desired stream of consciousness can come about merely by using your hands to communicate.
  • Be honest. Practice rigorous honesty about your feelings, no matter how petty, jealous, hateful, or anything else they may sound. It’s time to honor your feelings and this is the place to do it. Don’t hold anything back.
  • Don’t edit, spell-check, or judge your writing. That’s not the exercise here. This isn’t school and you’re not being graded. We’re doing something far more important for your well-being and that requires letting the thoughts and feelings flow – uninterrupted.
  • Keep your journal safe. This means keeping it in a safe place where no one else will see it. To be uninhibited in your journal writing, you need to know that it won’t be subject to scrutiny by others.
  • Share only if you want to. If there is a trusted loved one with whom you want to share your writing, by all means do it. Having another person hear your truth and then give you unconditional acceptance will further your processing the energy out.
  • Be committed to the truth. Use your journal as a self-healing tool for your personal growth, self-improvement, emotional health, and physical well-being. Remember, the truth will set you free!

If you found this information helpful, then please spread the word! Use the links below to share this post with people you know, facebook or twitter.

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Recalling the Ancient World – “Avatar”

I love going to movies, and I recently saw one I think should be nominated for Best Picture! “Avatar” was written and directed by James Cameron, who spent a decade developing the technical wizardry that’s so evident in this film. But along with the amazing high tech (especially when you see it in 3-D) is the fantastic spiritual connection his characters portray in their world of Pandora. Here, the Na’vi clan of Pandora has a highly developed culture, with rituals that embrace unity consciousness.

In the Hindu world, the word “avatar” indicates the highest embodiment of spiritual consciousness. James Cameron has done a fine job of suffusing his movie with an awareness of the Unified Field. Read my review of the movie on the Huffington Post at


Domestic Violence: Breaking Free

I just finished writing a piece on Domestic Violence; you can read more about domestic violence abuse in the resources section. I get really triggered just writing about this topic. It seems like everywhere I turn, I find more cases of Domestic Violence, not less. Recently, we’ve been focused on MacKenzie Phillips and Roman Polanski – talk about violence. Last week, I worked with hundreds of individual women at ISpa, a high end conference for the spa industry, where one would NOT expect to find victims of violence. The first day, I worked with a lovely woman in an executive position who had been badly beaten by her boyfriend – he had broken her nose.  So don’t assume that you’re safe because your partner is college educated and has a job. Domestic Violence does not discriminate; it affects us all.

Please share your stories here. We can only be safe when we refuse to be silenced.


Nail Biting … Self Mutilation or Stress-Relieving Habit?

I bet you’ve never heard of chronic onychophagia, even though you may have indulged in it yourself. The name you do know for this common stress-relieving habit is nail biting. More than half of all toddlers, a third of young children, over 40% of adolescents, and 19-29% of young adults do it. By the time you’re an older adult, that number has gone down to 5%. It’s also more common, for some reason, in intellectuals.

Why are so many kids and teens busily chomping away at their fingernails when they are nervous, stressed, or bored? Well, they’re always at hand, so to speak. From the moment of our birth, we’re geared to put things in our mouth; it gives us a feeling of satisfaction, of being nurtured. If food isn’t available, then our own hands and nails become a substitute. Boys are more likely than girls to continue nail biting into their teens and beyond, especially since they are less likely to be concerned about manicures and nail polish.
Nail biting, if it’s severe enough to cause bleeding or painful finger traumas, can be described as an act of self-mutilation and may require outside help. But most of the time, it’s a basically harmless habit, although it can transfer germs buried under the surface of the nail into the mouth. Many nail biters get frustrated by the habit or ashamed of themselves for not stopping. If you want to stop, first try these two simple remedies:

  1. Buy a lot of cheap nail files and put them around wherever you work or play. Since people rarely bite or pick at nails that have smooth edges, grab a handy file and sand down any rough spots right away.
  2. Get the awful tasting nail polish available at most drugstores. The stuff leaves a horrible taste in your mouth whenever you bite a nail.

If your nail biting is related to anxiety, the best way to stop the habit is by learning some stress relief or relaxation techniques. For example, instead of chomping on a nail, occupy your hands in another way: do some yoga poses, play a musical instrument, take up knitting. You can also learn to release anxiety through meditation, visualization, or breathing techniques. There are some very good relaxation tapes available as well.


“Truth” with an Agenda

When public figures straight out lie to us, and then use lame excuses to justify it – throwing around the phrases “deeply regret” and “profoundly sorry” like candy from a parade float – do they really expect us to believe them, or in them? Ted Haggard messed up – not because of his sexual orientation – and we could have understood had we been told the truth. Instead, excuses, half truths, and more lies cover what could have been a stunning moment of clarity for him and a huge step on his path to self improvement and redemption. His most recent version of “truth” is a desperate attempt to regain power and status, not peace. See my blogs on the Huffington Post and Psychology Today

for more on this and other stories.

Posted January 30, 2009 | 01:01 PM (EST)
Just how honest has Ted Haggard been with himself and the media as he tries to repair his public image? He’s been on a number of TV shows to coincide with the debut of the HBO documentary called “The Trials of Ted Haggard.” I’d give him a C- for effort…. Read Post


What Are You Hiding?

Are we even surprised at lying anymore? It takes something extreme to raise our ire – we live in a culture that specializes in convenient truths, and only when something becomes blatant do we respond. What happens in the macrocosm of our society mirrors our mind body connection. We live our own convenient truths, many times burying that which we do not want to deal with. We deny, deny, deny – as adeptly as any politician. You can lie to your friends, family, coworkers, and even in front of a packed Congressional hearing; but you cannot lie to your body. For a dose of truth, check out my blog on Psychology Today.

By Deborah King on January 29, 2009 – 1:31pm in Psychology Today
When you’re sitting at home on your couch watching Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich look straight at an interviewer and swear he did nothing wrong, do you have the urge to stand up and shout: How can you lie like that on national TV!? Read More


But They’ll Ruin Marriage!

I could argue about gay marriage until my face turns blue -how sexual orientation is but one part of someone’s identity, how Jesus doesn’t care about whom we love, but that we love. I hope what I say sticks, but if someone were to argue with me till he was blue in the face that gays are evil, worthless, etc…it wouldn’t change my mind. Where does that leave us with gay marriage? It boils down to one thing: civil liberties. We pride ourselves on being the Land of the Free, so we must include everyone in that freedom. Marriage is a basic civil right. If you can’t see allowing gay marriage out of misguided “morals,” why not out of a belief that our country should treat everyone equally? More on this issue and the fear holding gay marriage legislation back on my blog on the Huffington Post.

Posted June 16, 2008 | 09:29 AM (EST)
The weddings start this week in California as gay marriage becomes legal. West Hollywood is thrilled; Bakersfield is not. While others cities and towns across California are preparing to boost their economies through wedding services for same-sex couples, Kern County Clerk Ann Barnett decided to stop performing all weddings after… Read Post