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


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


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




May 5, 2008

The popular sleeping pill Ambien is a sedative and a hypnotic, causing relaxation and sleep. It affects chemicals in the brain that have become unbalanced, which results in insomnia. So Ambien sounds like a good solution, but how many people actually read all the little print that contains the warnings?

Ambien is not a good choice of sleep aid for anyone who drinks alcohol or has a history of addiction problems, even to cigarettes, because it’s so seriously addictive. It can become addictive in a very short time, even less than 10 days, and withdrawal symptoms, including rebound insomnia, can occur—the very thing you were trying to address in the first place.

It is frequently found in cases of driving under the influence, indicating abuse. It is also abused recreationally by those who force themselves to stay awake to experience vivid visuals and a mild euphoria and light-based hallucinations. Once a tolerance to the drug is reached, the sedation effect decreases and the euphoric side effects remain, along with increasing anxiety.

If mixed with alcohol or marijuana, the effects of Ambien effects are intensified. Nor is it a good choice if you’re dealing with depression. I urge people to try safer alternatives for sleep, like St. John’s wort, kava kava, or valerian, but not if you’re using Ambien, which reacts adversely with these popular sleep preparations as well as with many antidepressants and even with caffeine.

If we’re having trouble sleeping, it’s often because we’ve lost our connection to Mother Earth – so easy to do today in our fast-paced world of computers, artificial lighting, and freeway living. Before asking for a prescription, try getting more fresh air and sunshine (20 minutes a day of sun is a natural sleep aid) and exercise every day for a week to reconnect your body the natural world. Also consider drinking no caffeine after early morning, turning off the TV an hour before bedtime, and having the same sleep time every night. Nine times out of ten, this will address insomnia; if not, see a sleep expert. Menopause can also cause insomnia; if that’s the situation, see someone who can deal with the symptoms of menopause.



Live Your Dream

Everyone wants to be happy and live a joyful and fulfilling life. So what’s stopping you? And what can you do to ensure that you live your dream?

The first step is actually defining your dream. Do you know what you really want? Are you happy with your job, your relationships, your health? Is it more important at this point in your life to find some personal security or to do good in the world no matter the cost? Be truthful with yourself as you clarify your desires.

Then see what’s standing in the way of realizing your dream. Did someone put it down, tell you no, stop you in some way from “following your bliss?” I remember being a junior in college and telling my guidance counselor I wanted to be a lawyer like my dad. He said,“You’re dreaming! With your grades, you don’t stand a chance.” Instead of letting him be an obstacle in my path, I took his words as a challenge and did what I had to do to become a successful lawyer.

It’s especially important to clear out old unconscious ways of thinking. For example, a man at one of my recent seminars said he’d always been stopped from doing what he wanted by a lack of money. In fact, what was really stopping him was the way he was living out a family trait he had inherited of Depression-era thinking. When I brought this up, he said,“You’re right! My whole family’s attitude that there’s never going to be enough is based on my parents having lived through the Depression.” I gave him visualizations and affirmations so he could work actively on reversing this old glass-half-empty stance.

Stand strong in your own truth. Have a real conviction about what is right for you. Even set-backs or seeming failures along the way shouldn’t stop you. See them simply as part of the learning curve, another step along the road to your ultimate success


The Truth As We See It

Author Robert Graves wrote, “Intuition is the supra-logic that cuts out all the routine processes of thought and leaps straight from the problem to the answer.” When we have the emotional health to trust our intuition, we can cut through a lot of the facades and nice speeches to get to the truth. Can we ever really know the truth about the people we elect to our public offices? We can glean “facts” from the media – but look closer. Look beyond the prepared words, the carefully crafted “candid” shots. What does your intuition tell you about the candidates? For my take on the events of this busy political time, check out my blog on the Huffington Post.

Posted 02.04.2008
In an election year, we are asked to sit in judgment of the candidates and then take our decision into the voting booth. How can we ever know who these people are and what they are capable of? Read Post


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.




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.


Truth In The Workplace

Truth in the Workplace

August 3, 2007

Be Truthful With Your Boss Without Getting Fired!

Your co-worker is driving you crazy! He spends most of his time playing poker online, then hints to the boss that it’s your fault when the work isn’t done. If you go to your boss to complain, you’ll look like a whiner. Or worse, maybe you’ll be fired for being a troublemaker!

You dropped the ball and lost an important client. Maybe you accidentally deleted some vital files, or did something that makes you fear you’ll be fired – should your boss ever find out. Or maybe it’s your boss who’s giving you problems. He’s talking over you when you make a presentation to a client and making you feel like two cents. Can you tell him how that makes you feel, or do you think you need to swallow your emotions in order to keep your job?

Telling the truth takes courage, whether it’s confessing to your own mistakes or trying to reach an understanding with your boss. Telling the truth in the workplace doesn’t mean being nasty or brutal, coming in with both guns blazing to clean up the wicked ways of the town. It does mean some serious preparation on your part and learning how to set up a “safe” situation in which the truth can be told.

Say you’re feeling disempowered by your boss. She’s making your life miserable, yet you’re scared of telling her how you really feel. Your entire time at work is being affected, and possibly your own health is at risk. You’ve got to do something, but what? How can we be true to ourselves and still keep our job?

First, sit quietly and contemplate the situation. Is it really your boss who is the problem? Or have you simply been too “polite,” withdrawn into a shell of acquiescence, so your boss doesn’t know what you’re actually capable of doing? Prepare what you want to say, and be ready to say it in the least offensive way possible. Write down every word and keep reading it out loud until you can say it very calmly. If you deliver your message in an emotionally-charged way, your boss is much more likely to get defensive… and we know where that can lead.

You don’t want to dump on your boss, client, co-worker, or yourself, but you do want to create a space for him to really hear where you are coming from. Help your boss understand how his actions and words, which may not have meant anything to him, have affected you. Most importantly, you want the boss to feel included in coming up with the answer to the problem rather than just being told what you think should happen. Creating a safe space means finding a way for open, authentic conversation to take place. If your boss feels attacked or ridiculed, you’re dead meat.

So, you can do it – you can tell the boss the truth if you create a safe space, feel well-prepared and emotionally calm and centered. And still collect your paycheck.


Truth & Beauty

Truth & Beauty

August 2, 2007

Can We Dye Our Hair, Get Breast Implants, Wear Acrylic Nails, and Still Live a Truthful Existence?

And why not? The outer appearance of beauty – perfect hair, perfect breasts, perfect nails, and of course the perfect figure (whatever that may look like to you) – have little to do with the inner beauty that shines forth when we are living our real truth. What matters most is how we feel about ourselves inside our skins. If a little liposuction would help, then by all means, go ahead

However, that’s not to say that the outer manifestation – how we present ourselves to the world – doesn’t indicate in some measure how we feel about ourselves inside. If a man feels powerless because he’s losing his hair, will a toupee or hair implants make him feel like more of a man? Would Donald Trump still be The Donald without his signature way of keeping hair on his head? Would the man whose name fronts some of the most expensive real estate in the world feel insecure if he faced the world bald?

What do your attempts at beauty indicate about yourself? Do you assume you’ll be rejected by men if you can’t fill a DD cup? Why do you think that? Do you hide under baggy clothes because you’re overweight and ashamed? Do you think you couldn’t possibly go on a job interview if a nail is chipped?

Beauty, as the saying goes, is in the eye of the beholder. Look at yourself in a mirror – a well-lit mirror! Stop moaning and groaning. What is the reflection telling you? Can you see love and compassion for yourself streaming from your eyes? Do you see your intelligence, your creativity, your shining soul? Or are you inundated with self-loathing? If all you can see in the mirror are your “faults” – the extra pounds, the grey hairs, wrinkles, too many freckles, drooping breasts, whatever – there’s an inner truth that you’re hiding from. And a plastic surgeon or anti-aging treatments or a new hair color won’t change whatever lie you’re telling yourself.

As a high-powered lawyer, I used to wear expensive clothes to cover the shame of drinking too much and winding up in strange beds, not realizing that what I was really trying to cover up – with my entire lifestyle – was the sexual abuse I had experienced as a child.

So look long and hard in the mirror. Wherever you find a part of yourself you don’t like, see if you can find out why. What fear, what insecurity, what shame is staring back at you? Dig deeper. Write about it in your journal. What memories arise? Go deeper. Strip away the lies and find your truth. You’ll may amazed at how that reflection in the mirror changes.

Can you still dye your hair? Of course! Find out if blondes do have more fun. Lose some weight and get to buy new clothes (while lowering your cholesterol and making your doctor happy). But know that your true beauty radiates from your truth!


Should Children Always Be Told the Truth?

Should Children Always Be Told the Truth?

August 2, 2007

It’s a tricky question, isn’t it? Of course you want to teach your child to tell the truth. You may have punished your child already for lying to you. But do you always tell the truth to your child? And is it always the best course of action?

We know that the lies we tell ourselves can harm our health or destroy our happiness. If your partner is cheating on you, some part of you will know the truth, no matter how much you deny it. Instead of confronting him or her (they might actually tell you what you don’t want to hear), you eat too much, drink too much, pop a few too many pills. Maybe you even take out your anger on your children. And chances are, the whole time you’re lying to them as well as to yourself – for their own good, of course. Well, Daddy had to stay late at work again. Mommy’s too busy. He’s…[fill in the blank].

Meanwhile, the kids feel the tension, feel the disconnect between their parents, maybe even hear you mouthing off about that @#%&* to your friends. And because you’re lying to them, your kids have to discount the truth they feel in their bodies. But how do you tell them the truth when you can’t even admit it to yourself? When the inevitable breakdown happens, what do you say now? Are they old enough to understand the complex dynamics and emotional roller coaster of an adult relationship?

There have been a number of studies related to when, and if, a child should be told the truth about certain situations. For example, a British study into the lives of 25,000 “donor-assisted” children showed that children as young as three should be told they were conceived with the help of a sperm donor, or they risked psychological damage later in life. If the child finds out accidentally or from someone else, there are angry questions: Why didn’t you tell me? What else haven’t you told me? Why did you lie to me?

What about telling children they are gifted? Will their egos get inflated, making them arrogant and intolerant of others? For these children, like those with disabilities, it can come as a great relief to hear the truth – to know there is a reason they feel different. What about parents and doctors telling children they have cancer? Or that they’re too fat? Can you tell a child the truth in an open, shame-free, supportive, and honest way?

Many parents think they can protect their children by lying. However, even children as young as 3 or 4 can be told the truth, or as much of it as they can handle. When a 5-year-old asks where babies come from, it’s enough to say from Mommy’s tummy rather than give a lecture on sex education, and sure better than bringing up that old tired stork.

Many believe that there are age-acceptable lies – lies that cause no harm to a young child. After all, how many children have been badly hurt by finding out who Santa really is? But take into consideration: Will the child be hurt more by the truth than by a lie? Not only now, but in the future? These are difficult questions, and I don’t pretend to have an answer. But I know how I was hurt by the lies I was surrounded by in my childhood, and have seen the repercussions of lies in the lives of my clients. My recommendation is always to go with even a simplified version of the truth. Because the simple truth I know is that lies hurt… and truth heals.



Slowing Down

Is it possible to slow our lives down without quitting the job, selling the house, and running away with the circus?

Actually, throwing your life out the window isn’t the answer. Because no matter where you run, you take yourself with you. Do you know what I mean? You can say you are frazzled because of traffic, or your coworkers, or you don’t love your job. But then you realize that some of the frazzle is coming from inside you. That isn’t easy, but it is freeing to say,“Wow. Some of this craziness is my own! There are things I can do to take that wasted energy out of the situation. I am not the victim here. I am an active participant!” It can be a shock, I know.

If you want to be free from that feeling of running on the hamster wheel, swimming upstream, riding in a canoe with no paddle, what can we do? Is it really something we can change?

Here are a couple of simple but effective things to put into your life if you are serious about wanting release.

A lot of it is about time. There is a fixed amount of time each day, and we just can’t cram more minutes into an hour. Time is not the enemy, it is a tool we can use to live life fully. Fully, not crammed and overflowing. Too many of us are beating ourselves up believing we fail each day, because we are trying to do the work of three people. Trying to please everyone or to be in two places at once is a very damaging cycle. So the first thing is to realize that we can’t do it all. We can do a lot, and we can feel successful, but we just can’t do it all.

Next, we have to value self-care. Use some kind of a plan book, something rather detailed, and schedule the top three self-care items you have been neglecting. Seriously! You know what they are, whether it is more sleep, a decent meal, or an overdue physical exam, schedule them like an appointment with someone important. We may have to sort of pretend that part at first, that the appointment is with someone important. Many of us have tossed our own personal needs in the back of a closet somewhere, and now we have to learn to meet those needs all over again. And it really is okay to start out that way, if that’s what it takes.

Sure, maybe you look okay on the outside; I’ve done that, believe me! But it doesn’t matter if your nails are painted, your hair is coiffed, and your suit is pressed. If your stomach is in a knot and your head is spinning, you are not fooling yourself. You just can’t lie to your body.

Once you get some self-care scheduled, it is time to get some quiet time into your day. Put the brakes on for a few minutes, sit still, and either look at a soothing view or image or close your eyes. Just breathe. Listen to your breath and notice if your chest is tight or relaxed, see where your shoulders are. Get to know what is going on with your body, where you are holding the stress in your life … because it is in there somewhere. Each time you do this, your day will benefit, your body will thank you, it will break that cycle for a moment and re-set your priorities.


How to be Optimistic with a Cancer Diagnosis

How to be Optimistic with a Cancer Diagnosis

June 19, 2007

When I was diagnosed with cancer, my first reaction was the normal one: fear. Oh my god, I’m going to die! The first reaction is always fear. Hey, it’s scary. And you’re in shock. Then comes denial. This can’t be happening; there must be a mistake. Then anger. Why me? What did I do to deserve this? Blame. The government should have banned DDT sooner. It’s all the pesticides and plastics… And self-blame. I knew I should have had more pap smears. Mostly, there’s confusion—a jumble of thoughts racing around your brain at a million miles an hour. How did I get it? Could I have prevented it? And biggest of all: What’s going to happen? Will I die? Be disfigured? On and on and on…

First, don’t assume the worst. Cancer is not a death sentence these days.

Second, get more than one professional opinion.

Third, do your research and make a list of all the options, including both traditional and alternative ones. Explore visualization, acupuncture, spiritual counseling, prayer, homeopathy, herbs and diet. Consider combining treatment modalities.

It’s important, right from the very beginning, to treat not only the physical problem, but also your emotional and psychological health. Realize you’re going to need a lot of support from family and friends, and possibly from professional therapists. Keep a journal as a way to express your feelings. Know which people in your life can listen to you with an open heart and no judgment. If you don’t know anyone, your doctor can usually recommend a support group.

Breathe! And ground. Reconnect to Mother Earth. We need Mother Earth to heal. Go outside. Walk barefoot on the lawn, the beach. Pet the dog. Listen to the cat purring. Eat lunch on the porch. Meditate under a tree. If for some reason you can’t get outside, take a bubble bath and release your emotions into the water (do that anyway).

The biggest mistake people often make is they believe that they are the diagnosis. Whenever someone comes to me having just received a cancer diagnosis, the first thing I say to her is: Cancer is nothing more than a part of you that has forgotten who it is. It’s a part of us that has gone astray, and all we have to do is reconnect and reintegrate that part.

The second biggest mistake is not getting enough rest. Your mind is in torment—blaming yourself, not seeing any way out, panicked. Without a good night’s sleep, your mind is even more prone to head into fearful territory. Find a way to get some rest, even taking sleeping aids if necessary. If you’re not already a practiced meditator, don’t try to learn now. Instead, try listening to relaxation tapes, like those of Louise Hay.

When we suppress our emotions, we block the free flow of our own healing energy in our body. If we also get mad at God—this isn’t fair! Why me?—we lose our connection to our higher Self. The seventh chakra closes down and we lose our access to the place that knows the answers, that already knows how to heal.

Instead of suppressing emotions like fear, anger, resentment, and rage, express them: cry, scream, beat a pillow, go to the beach and scream into the waves – let those emotions pass through you and into the ground.

Find a daily ritual that works to help you find your center—that place inside where you’re always okay, no matter what. Set up an altar with things that remind you of what’s important in your life—pictures of your kids, pets, spiritual teachers, religious icons, etc.—and sit there for ten minutes a day, appreciating what you do have. Gratitude is an important part of healing.

Read inspiring books, go online and find people who beat cancer, watch videos that make you laugh, get some exercise and fresh air every day, watch sunrises and sunsets. Don’t isolate yourself. Connect to Mother Earth, connect to your higher Self, connect to positive people, organizations, and communities.

Music, books, and audio CDs can help you get through this time. The Journey Through Cancer, by Jeremy Geffen, MD, is an excellent guide to integrating conventional and non-traditional physical, psychological, and spiritual approaches to cancer. Peace, Love and Healing: Bodymind Communication & the Path to Self-Healing,by Bernie S. Siegel is another.

Check out the CDs that are available at and such as Cancer as a Turning Point, Volume II; Cancer: Discovering Your Healing Power,Louise Hay; The Power of the Mind to Heal,Joan Borysenko, Ph.D.; Deep Rest,Tom Kenyon; Heal Yourself With Sound & Music,Don Campbell.

A cancer diagnosis is really a call to transform yourself. It’s an opportunity to change your lifestyle, to change the things you’ve probably needed to change for years. Thank your body for inspiring you to make the changes you’ve been putting off— process old hurts and angers, work through the old lies and let truth be your healer. At the same time, move toward a better diet, exercise, friendships, a healthier living situation, so that when the cancer is gone, you have a healthier, happier you!



More on John of God

May 17, 2007

Two weeks in Brazil at Casa de Dom Ignacio with John of God and I am deeply moved and changed. Upon first stepping into the long room where the Christian healer performs daily miracles, I felt the energy in the room like a gust of strong wind that almost knocked me off my feet. The room held over a hundred people, sitting in silent meditation and prayer to support the healing work.

I inched closer and closer to the front of the line. As I grew near, what I saw took my breath away. I could see and feel the Christ Light arching out from Joao. I observed him look at each person on multiple levels—physical, emotional, spiritual and genetic—and initiate whatever change would best support the desire of that person’s soul. I knew from my own work that healing aligned with the soul’s purpose does not always involve the cessation of symptoms or “cure” desired by the personality.

When I stepped forward to greet John of God, the state of unconditional love in which he resides while “in entity” enveloped me. I thought: I never want to leave this place. The energy was tangible and electric, full of radiant Light straight from the Source.

While he spoke to me in a foreign tongue, I could see recognition in his eyes – I felt like I knew him from long ago. I was told he had named me a “daughter of the Casa.” The interpreter said this was a great honor and whisked me off to another room where I was given a badge so that I could work in the healer’s room.

Later that day, I received a healing from Joao. Addressing a ski injury that had plagued me for years, he did invisible surgery on my shoulder. No scalpel, no anesthetic, no blood. The injury was healed. Watching him work was among the most exciting and yet deeply humbling experiences of my life.

John of God leaves his body and allows spiritual entities to enter and do the work of healing. These “entities”—the spirits of deceased saints and physicians—are many of the same entities that assist me in my work. However, I do not lose consciousness, and teach my students to remain conscious, as this more modern method is safer.

Joao’s method is a very traditional one that is supported by the culture in which he lives. It is important to understand that what suits one culture may not suit or be supported in another. The visible surgeries Joao performs are a good example of a practice that would not be appropriate here in the U.S.

In Brazil , where such things are consistent with the culture and worldview, the entity working through Joao literally cuts and sews on people while they stand at the front of the room! The anesthetic is a powerful, albeit spiritual, one. There is never a case of infection, although he uses his bare hands and reaches right into the body where he has opened it with a knife. I had the sense that this form of visible surgery is done for those whose faith will only allow them to believe what they can see.

I had occasion to speak with many, many people who had come to Casa do Dom Ignacio for treatment. Although some were suffering terribly from bodily injury or disease, and many were wheelchair bound, all felt happy to be there. Among the saddest cases were the many parents whose children had birth defects. Rarely treatable on the physical level, these children and their parents were nonetheless blessed with healing for the soul. Most everyone I spoke with reported being positively changed by the visit. Many emphasized spiritual changes over physical ones.

I can attest to the authenticity of John of God’s work with a sure and grateful heart and plan to return to the Casa to work with him again


John of God

John of God

May 10, 2007

I am here in South America working with John of God, the renowned Christian healer. I came to Brazil to experience his work and connect more deeply with Source.

Modern life presents us with quite a challenge to stay connected with our innermost self. If I’m not aware and attentive, a few months of long hours a day at work can leave me feeling out of sync and disconnected from Nature. The constant electronic and cyber interfaces pull me out of the natural realm, and I must be intentional about spending time outdoors to replenish and restore my vital energy.

Life in this small South American village reveals a whole different pace and way of life. Dirt roads, a sparse automobile here and there, a pay phone that I have to walk ten minutes to find. Children and dogs playing in the street. Roosters crowing at dawn. People riding their rickety old bikes into the village in the morning to get to work. Life here is slow and lazy. One woman sweeps out her shop and chats with a neighbor. Everything slows down as the sun crosses high overhead. Work horses pull carts full of bricks and boards or freely stroll the streets alongside their human friends, stopping to nibble the grass or wander into an nearby field. At 5 in the afternoon, everyone stops to sit on the front stoop and chat their way through the long soft evening. These people spend their evenings mesmerized by the sunset and the moonrise rather than the TV.

As I fall into this rhythm, every cell in my body seems to slow down. My meditations deepen, as does my breathing. I sleep as soundly as I have in a decade. I realize how little I really need: a few pieces of clothing, a small shard of soap, a pair of sandals, a prayer book.

With a little effort, we can achieve this same state of peace in the middle of a hectic city. Take a moment right now to take a deep breath and look out the window at the sky. Feel your feet on the floor and imagine that they are rooted in the warm, soft earth beneath you. Take a few moments later today and go out into your yard or a nearby park. Stand with your bare feet on the ground and simply admire the beauty of nature. Do a few stretches and feel how your own body fits into Nature with seamless perfection. Take a moment and chat with your neighbors or smile and greet a passerby.

We tend to lose touch with our natural rhythms when life requires a fast and furious pace. Something as simple as noticing the feel of the air or the sound of a bird’s call can help you get back in sync. Once in a while, we would all do well to give ourselves the gift of a weekend away. So go ahead–visit a small town or take a camping trip and slow your life down. You will be delighted with the benefits.