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The Heat Is On!

 

Yes, it’s summer. Yes, it’s hot. And hotter than usual, whether you blame global warming or not. Although I’m always telling people to get outside to spend time in nature, which is a wonderful way both to get grounded and to expand your consciousness, there are certain precautions to take at this time of year.

Extreme heat is dangerous, like any “extreme” is. When the temperature rises to the high nineties and low hundreds, your body goes into overdrive, trying to cool off through perspiration and evaporation. Obviously, if you stay indoors and the electricity is working so your air conditioner works, you’re okay. This is about when you are outside.

The very young and the very old are at risk in the heat, as are people with mental illness or chronic diseases or those who are obese. But even those who are young and healthy can be in trouble if they are doing anything physically strenuous outside. And for those who live in cities, the stagnant air traps pollutants that can trigger respiratory problems.

When the heat is up and humidity is low, the most common problem is dehydration. If you’re in direct sun on days when the temperature is higher than 90 degrees, you can lose as much as half a gallon of water every ten minutes, which seriously mucks up your internal thermostat and can lead to heat exhaustion, which can lead to heat stroke, which can be deadly. Drink lots and lots of water!

That warmth you longed for all winter is now the hot air you’re trying to escape. Clearly, an excess of anything creates problems. When the elements go to extremes, we get hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, flooding, forest fires, and earthquakes. When alcohol or drug use or gambling or sex becomes excessive, you have addiction. When emotions go to extremes, they can lead to mental disturbances, illnesses, panic attacks, and negative behaviors, even murder.

It’s important to avoid excesses in life, or try to get back into balance as soon as possible. Excess makes the senses weak and inhibits will power. It’s hard to get anything done, either on the outside or within your own mind. To avoid excess, think about simplifying your life. The less “stuff” you have to deal with, the easier it is to stay in balance. Think of the yogis, the true renunciates, who can control their inner heat; they can create enough heat in their bodies to melt snow and ice, or they can stay cool in the parching heat on the plains of India.

So kick back in these dog days of summer. Stay out of the midday sun. Wear sun screen and protective clothing when you have to go out. Consume lots of water and non-alcoholic beverages (alcohol adds to dehydration). Get to the pool or the beach early in the day or in the late afternoon/early evening. Visualize cooling images: sitting in an igloo, plunging into icy waters, floating on an ice floe, whatever works for you . . . Make sure to clean/change the filter in your air conditioning unit.

And while you’re sitting outside in the shade of a swaying tree, looking at the stretch of sky and sand and water before you, feeling the cool breeze as you sip another iced tea, take some time to review the excesses you are prone to. What would bring you into better balance? Less chocolate? Less worry? Less money spent on clothes? Less time on Facebook? Less workaholism? What do you have to add? More exercise? More veggies? More time for friends and family?

There is a simple exercise called the see-saw that can help you find your balance point. Visualize a see-saw. At one end, put your favorite excess. Put its opposite on the other end. Now focus on the fulcrum, the center point. What would that look like for you? What would bring the see-saw into perfect balance?

The heat may be on, but you don’t have to burn. Stay cool!

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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.

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Get Grounded for Earth Day: 7 Steps to Connect to Earth

Connect to Earth

Millions will gather together around the globe to share love and concern for our home, this beautiful planet Earth. Most of the time, we walk unconsciously over the Earth, our heads in the clouds. We are in our minds, thinking thinking thinking about all we have to do, about all the hurts we are experiencing, about how we don’t have enough, or how we aren’t enough. On this one day, we need to stop long enough to shift our awareness from who we are and what we need, to thank Earth for all she provides and to offer ourselves as helpers in the great task of repairing the world.

But first we have to repair our consciousness. After all, how can we help repair the world if we are not standing firmly upon the earth?

Often in meditation we focus upward to commune with Spirit, raising our energy up to and out the crown of the head. But to get grounded, we need to travel downward to tap into Earth’s energy.

Here are seven steps for connecting to the Earth and grounding your energy:

  1. Turn your focus to your feet. What do the soles of your feet feel like? Have they been squashed into uncomfortable shoes? Do they ache or itch? Have you massaged them, treated them with the respect they deserve? Your feet carry you everywhere. How have you thanked them?
  2. Imagine there’s a large wheel of energy, or a sphere, about 12-18 inches below your feet in the Earth. This is the doorway that allows you to receive energy from the Earth and to be supported by it. Visualize a cord of energy, like the roots of a tree, going down from the bottom of your feet and connecting to this sphere below your feet.
  3. Feel your connection to the earth. Ask Mother Earth to help you stay grounded and stable. Honor her. Promise to help her by remembering to water your plants, pet the cat, admire the sunset, listening to the messages she sends to you through the natural world. Remember the feeling of this space, and tune into it whenever you get ungrounded, anxious, too much in your head.
  4. Breathe in gently and feel your feet becoming more and more connected to the earth. You are a tree, a tree of life. You are grounded through your roots into the earth, which send sends strengthening, grounding energy up through the roots to nourish you. Feel the flow of energy going upward into your legs, thighs, hips.
  5. Release any heaviness or pain from your fingers, arms, shoulders and neck. Let a beautiful green energy fill you as it flows from the earth below your feet and into the planet’s ecosystem, out beyond the planet into the solar system, and throughout the multitude of universes.
  6. Gently pull your attention inward and come into your heart. You are home. Home in your body. Home on the earth. Feel great gratitude for being allowed to live upon the earth. For the shelter, warmth, and security you feel as you are held in the womb of the earth, strong and safe.
  7. Thank the earth for the land you live upon, for being allowed to steward life upon the earth. Thank the earth for its wisdom and the joy it brings humanity. For the daisy’s sparkling smile, the orchid’s elegance, the thorn’s fierce defense of its environment.

We go into the darkness of the earth, its rich depths, to reconnect with the parts of ourselves we have tried to hide. Now that we have our roots planted in this nourishing earth, now that we are stable in our grounding, we can acknowledge what we have tried to hide, to ignore, to pretend wasn’t who we are.

We are light and dark, yin and yang, earth and sky, male and female. We are one with it all. The polarities merge. There is only One. There is no more fear. We are whole, and holy. From this place of Oneness, we are now ready to repair the world.

May every day be Earth Day.

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Weighing in on Journaling

Journaling

Either for health reasons or for sheer vanity, or a little of both, losing weight is always an issue for millions of women and men. In the U.S. today, a shocking 63.1 percent of adults are either overweight or obese, with a third being overweight and a quarter being obese. That’s an awful lot of people who have to lose weight.

You can win the battle of the bulge without declaring total war on all the foods you love. What you’re looking for is a way to eat a basically healthy diet without feeling deprived. And right there is the clue to success—your feelings.

Do you crunch a bag of chips rather than acknowledging how angry you are at your boss? Do you need the melt-in-your-mouth smoothness of ice cream to soothe a broken heart? Do you graze mindlessly all day because you’re bored or anxious?

In order to become aware of your emotional connection to food, you need to become aware of your emotions. There’s no better way to do that than by journaling.

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Negative Energy, be gone!

It’s happened to everyone. You’re talking with somebody who’s in a bad mood and suddenly you’re feeling miserable, too. Yup, you’ve been “slimed.”

I’m not talking about the really heavy negative energy of a major psychic attack, like when someone’s stalking you, or you’re a victim of abuse, or your mother-in-law hates your guts because you stole away her precious son. Here, I’m talking about low level negative energy—just enough to put you off your game. You feel off-balance somehow, disjointed.

You might not even realize what’s happened to you. There you were feeling great, and now, out of the blue, you can’t shake the blues. Or you feel really tired, or cranky, like a three-year-old who’s just missed nap time.

Fortunately, it’s fairly easy to get rid of slime. I give the basic recipe for clearing away low level negative energy in an article called “Cleaning off negative energy” that is featured in Deepak Chopra’s new website—Negative Energy, be gone!.

This brand new site is inspired by Chopra’s visionary work. Time magazine called him “the poet-prophet of alternative medicine!” He’s someone I admire, and hope you’ll support his efforts.

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Are you getting enough zzzz’s?

Were you cranky when your alarm went off this morning? Your body is probably still adjusting to the shift to Daylight Savings Time. Many of you are not getting enough sleep to begin with, and you just lost an hour of sleep when you sprang ahead on Sunday morning.

Like every other creature in nature, our physiology was designed to go to sleep when the sun sets and to get up when the sun rises. Of course, we haven’t done that since Edison invented the light bulb, but that is not very long ago in terms of human history. There are peaks and valleys in sleep patterns, so our bodies still perform best if we go to sleep before ten in the evening and get up before eight in the morning. You may find that if you stay up until midnight, you can’t go to sleep because your hormone curve is reaching its peak and your body has the juice to stay awake. Children and teens who stay up playing video games past midnight, and need to get up early for school, will be nodding off in class.

The amount of sleep you need is very individual and changes throughout your life. Maybe you needed 10 hours when you were in your teens, but in your forties you only need nine (although with kids and work, you probably only get six or seven). People who have a lot of the “air” quality in Ayurveda medicine will need less sleep in middle age, while those who have a lot of the “earth” quality will likely need more.

We start our sleep deprivation when we are pre-teens or teenagers, and by the time we are in our twenties or thirties, we may have built up quite a bit of sleep deprivation. There’s an easy way to test how close you are to sleep bankruptcy:

Let’s assume you have to get up at six or seven to go to school or work and you set an alarm because you don’t wake up naturally at that hour. Go to bed 10 minutes earlier. If you normally go to bed around 11, go to bed at 10:50—just ten minutes earlier—and leave your alarm set for your normal wake-up time. Do that for 3 or 4 nights. If the alarm is still necessary to wake you up, go to bed 10 minutes earlier, so now your bedtime is 10:40. After a few more days, try hitting the pillow at 10:30. It may take a month or two for you to find what time you need to go to bed so your body wakes up naturally at the right time without setting an alarm. Then you know that you are getting enough sleep.

Here’s a major tip: turn off the TV an hour before bedtime or you will have a lot of trouble dropping off to sleep. The moving images on television stimulate a part of our brain that takes a minimum of an hour to settle down. If you are going to program yourself to go to sleep at ten, you have to turn the TV off at nine. With Hulu.com, you never have to miss a single show!

And sorry, but computer images affect our brain the same way as the TV does. We need an hour of no electronic activity before bed. Spend that hour reading or taking a warm bath.

You will feel so much more joyous about your life if you get enough sleep. If you have to stay up late, go out or work late, it is best to maintain your normal wake up time rather than sleeping in, and then take a nap later that day. A nap, by definition, is always less than an hour and can be as short as 10 minutes. If you want to nap for more than 20 minutes, it is best to do that as early in the day as possible, preferably before noon.

I really want to encourage power naps, one of the best ways to refill your sleep bank. President Kennedy used to take three or four 10-20 minute power naps a day. Train yourself to go to sleep easily in a chair, maybe at your desk at home or at work. If you’re exhausted on the way home from work, pull off the road, turn off the car, shut your eyes, and nod off for ten minutes. This will give you the equivalent of an hour of deep sleep in the middle of the night.

In the meantime, enjoy that extra hour of sunlight in the evening. Now there’s no excuse for not taking a brisk walk after dinner!

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Stressed out? 10 Simple Suggestions for Relief

You’re sitting at your desk, looking at your fingernails. When did you start biting them? They look awful. And why are there three half-empty cups of coffee on your desk? If you don’t bring your car in for an oil change pretty soon, who knows what will happen? Wasn’t today the day you were going to make an appointment to get that mammogram you’ve put off for three years. Or has it been four? Did you send a note to your kid’s teacher explaining why her science project is going to be late? It’s been hard keeping up with her schedule and your own since the divorce. Why won’t that knot in your stomach go away?

Then the phone rings and you’re back in real time. Wow, you’re really behind in your work . . .

Got a lot on your mind? Are you ignoring signals from your body that are telling you to do something about all the stress in your life? See how many of the following statements resonate with you:

  1. I’m aware of my heart beating too fast sometimes.
  2. My muscles are painful or tight.
  3. I go to the bathroom too frequently.
  4. I seem to have a lot of headaches these days.
  5. I feel sick to my stomach or get “butterflies.”
  6. I find myself making bad decisions.
  7. It’s hard to concentrate.
  8. I get angry or frustrated a lot.
  9. I’ve started biting my nails or grinding my teeth.
  10. I seem to get colds way too often.
  11. I’m eating much more (or much less) than usual.
  12. My skin is breaking out or getting rashes.
  13. My blood pressure has been creeping up.
  14. Sex? Are you kidding?
  15. I have trouble keeping track of things.
  16. I’m worried all the time and feel overwhelmed.
  17. I’m using prescription drugs or alcohol to get through the day.
  18. Sleep has become a problem.
  19. Indigestion has become a normal part of my life.
  20. My mind is racing, and I’m focused on negative thoughts.

If too many of these are familiar to you, you need to start doing something to relieve the stress before your health and emotional well-being go drastically downhill. Stress can make you sick.

So what can you do about it?

 

 

Here are ten simple suggestions:

  1. Limit the amount of disturbing or violent images you watch. Read the paper or keep informed online instead of watching the news on TV.
  2. Reconnect to the natural world. The snow and ice will melt, and you can sit in the park and eat your lunch with your back against a tree. In the meantime, take a walk outside. At least spend a few minutes looking out the window at the sky.
  3. Play with and pet your dog or cat. Animals are wonderful stress relievers.
  4. Reduce caffeine and try to eat small meals throughout the day with enough protein and fiber. Cut way back on processed food.
  5. Turn off the TV an hour before bed. Take a bath, read a book, stay off the computer and the phone.
  6. Get help with drug or alcohol abuse. Find a 12-step program near you. You’ll be amazed at how much support you’ll receive.
  7. Move your body. Walk, swim, do whatever feels good. Exercise releases endorphins and relaxes you.
  8. Write in a journal, one of the healthiest ways to deal with and release negative emotions.
  9. BREATHE! Whenever you find yourself tensing up, stop for a moment and concentrate on breathing into your abdomen. Breathe positive energy in through your nose, breathe negativity out through your mouth. It’s an instant way to release fear, anger, and anxiety.
  10. Meditate. The number one stress reliever is a regular meditation practice. Find 10-20 minutes a day to sit quietly with your eyes closed (with your cell phone turned off). You can learn more about meditation from my video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4YSsY6ltvM.
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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 https://deborahking.b.smartzsites.com/21stcenturyenergymedicineprogram/.

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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!

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Diane Schuler: One Too Many, One Last Time

Newsday Web site, minivan of Diane Schuler, July 26, 2009
Image Source: Newsday Web site, minivan of Diane Schuler, July 26, 2009

Diane Schuler had the equivalent of ten shots of vodka and a high level of THC from marijuana in her body-all before noon on the fateful day she drove her minivan filled with kids headfirst into an SUV, killing seven people, including herself. She was driving the wrong way on a state highway, and the broken bottle of Absolut vodka found in the wreckage gives testimony to the reason so many died that day. Yet her husband (who also had a past DUI conviction) swears he never saw her drunk. She couldn’t possibly have been an alcoholic.

But who else can consume that much alcohol and pot and still believe they are capable of driving, especially with five young children in the vehicle? Only someone who denies the extent of her own addiction, even to herself. Someone who just wants to “take the edge off” a little before dealing with the stress of the day.

And more and more women are doing just that. More women are being arrested for DUI than ever before, even as the numbers for men drunk drivers is getting lower.

Read my exploration of this topic at the Huffington Post.

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Yoga, News Fasts, and Other Ways to Survive the Economy

There is a yoga pose called tadasana, or mountain pose. You stand with your weight balanced on both feet, align your ankles, knees, and hips, and your head and shoulders. You become very aware of yourself and the feeling of being connected to the earth. It is this feeling that we lack as we hear about the Dow’s precipitous drops, banks failing, and Fortune 500 companies tanking. We find that the solid base we have been standing on is nothing but air. The emotional pain of this economy is also an awakening for us – a chance for us to build a more solid foundation for our lives. How can we remain grounded when our world changes by the hour? See my blog on the Huffington Post for more on keeping sane as the economy goes crazy.

Posted October 23, 2008 | 10:00 AM (EST)
It’s everywhere we turn these days–the bad news about the economy. It’s one more fear piled on top of all the other fears festering in our guts. Here comes another breaking news alert: the stock market is down, no, now it’s up, no, down. The foreign markets are… Read Post

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The Lost Art of Living

Stop and smell the roses. I bet some of you got impatient just reading that! But wait! Stop and answer these questions: what are you racing to? What are you going to “win” at the end of the day? Are you going to be satisfied? When you maintain this I-want-everything-now pace, what do you have in five years? You’ve aged five years. That’s it. If you haven’t stopped to enjoy the smell of freshly mown grass, feel sunshine on your face, cuddle with someone you love, or spend an hour doing nothing but being, you’re just marking time. We have lost the art of being, which I urge you to relearn for better physical and emotional health. Visit my blog at Psychology Today for some help.

September 30, 2008 – 10:43am in Psychology Today
Remember that old Simon & Garfunkel tune-the “59th Street Bridge Song?” It starts off with “Slow down, you move too fast.” It kicks down the cobble stones, says hi to lampposts, and watches the flowers growing. And ends with “Life, I love you, All is groovy.” When was the last time you were in love with life, moving slow enough to enjoy the flowers growing? Read More

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Hair Loss and Emotional Healing

“I’m a freak.” A striking woman with beautiful blue eyes, flawless fair skin, and a muscular body said this to me during a session, and it has always stayed with me, breaking my heart over and over again. Alopecia had taken her hair. She lived in shame, always hiding, hoping no one noticed she was different. And she succeeded very well; most people would not be able to tell she wore a wig. But she knew. The secrecy was tearing her apart. When women lose their hair, they also lose confidence and self-esteem because they think they are alone. You are not alone; you are assuredly not a freak. My blog on Psychology Today goes into more depth on this topic for the millions of women who struggle with the emotional pain of hair loss.

July 18, 2008 – 10:48am in Psychology Today
Often, women with hair loss issues come to L.A. to work with some of the hair pros here. After all, if you can’t get good-looking hair in Hollywood, where can you go! Read More