I am among a long list of people who wanted to be Jennifer Beals in Flashdance. There was nothing I wanted more at the tender age of 10 than to be a unionized welder in NYC while working as a dancer in a nightclub which helped me work my way to become a principal dancer in the NYC Ballet Company. I would have even forgone the hot boyfriend and eating lobster at fancy restaurants, if I could just figure out how to do a double pirouette and weld some copper. My mind would daydream about how I could possibly become 8 years older, move to New York, and get a welding job. Those were minor details to my bigger dream.
Looking back I notice two life lessons that Jennifer Beals has taught me. One of them is that our imagination is the foundation for which creativity and intentions come into alignment. Meaning, when we "imagine" we set forth a domino effect of creative energy in motion. Long and short, what we imagine has the potential to be actualized. We imagine all the time, we probably don't use the words "day dream or imagination" when describing what it is we are doing. We think about what to cook at home for dinner, where we want to set up our next business, if we want another child, how we earn more income, how our workout routine could be shifted and the list goes on. When we put intention behind this imagery the potential to work toward and create the life we want becomes clearer. Intention sets up the engaging of the energy around us to fulfill and actualize our imagery.
Now it doesn't mean that all of the sudden I look like Jennifer Beals, quit my day job and have become a principal dancer in the NYC ballet. But what it does mean is that something in Flashdance inspired me (or appealed to me) about living in NYC and working toward a dream (no matter how many people think you won’t achieve it) and going for it. And I can honestly say I am doing them both. What imagination does is it plants the seeds of possibility. Inside this possibility lies endless potential. I often use imagery and imagination with my patients for healing and helping to open up creative blocks and have found it profoundly helpful.
The other take away that I got from Flashdance is that although I may never become a welding New York City principal ballet dancer, as that job has already been handled perfectly by Jennifer Beals, I am becoming the best me I could have imagined. As there is only one me that's the best I can do. The more that I am able to accept myself for who I am, which includes all the areas that need some “working on” and all of my quirkiness, the more I am able to move through the world with much more gratitude, love and enjoyment. We should individually take pride, love and honor in ourselves for the unique person that we are. We can use normal human emotions like envy and jealousy as a radar to help us to ramp up the self love and self acceptance. And to help us focus on all the things in which we are grateful for in our lives.
So, Jennifer Beals, thank you for being one of the many individuals who inspired me to work hard, believe in myself, and dare to dream.
My road to this point in my life has been “unconventional” to say the least. At the tender age of almost 40, I am figuring out life lessons that most 20 and 30 year old have gotten. And that’s okay. It is okay for one reason and one reason only, and I think that Andrew Solomon said it perfectly in his Ted Talk, “People Are Supposed To Engage In The Life That They Were Meant To Live.” Which means, a person’s road to their career, relationships, finances, faith, health issues, is personally and uniquely theirs. When I heard that line, it had a profound affect on me. Yes, that is it! We are meant to engage in the life that is meant for US which means in order to be fully engaged and connected in our life we must cultivate the power, energy, and intuition that is unique to us.
Seems simple when hearing it in a TED talk but how do we put it in practice when the expectation, opinions, and concerns of others are in our space? When our history has shown us pain and suffering from taking a risk trusting our intuition? How do we follow our intuition when we feel so far removed from it? What we do is- we hold space for ourselves. Connecting to our intuition, feeling solid in our power, using our power not to harm others but in a way that benefits you and those around you takes a commitment to developing a balance of the mind-body-spirit. I often say that staying balanced within your faith while having emotional/physical balance is like training a muscle, it takes daily work. The good news the work is accessible to you at every moment.
- Five minutes of daily meditation and deep breathing will create a stronger connection to your intuition.
- Doing a round of forgiveness daily? (What I do is set an intention of forgiveness for those I am holding resentment and anger toward)
- Boundaries: For those who create shame, criticism and judgement in your life bless them and have a safe boundary with them.
- Gratitude: Having a gratitude practice helps affirms that you are exactly where you needed to be in your life’s journey.
- Lean in to Vulnerability: Brene Brown’s book “Daring Greatly” beautifully talks about engaging in your life while feeling vulnerable. Fantastic Read!
Let your light shine!!!
John Lennon's song "The Jealous Guy" is one of my favorite songs for many reasons, primarily because it sums up how our mind can take us on a ride. If you haven’t listened to Donny Hathaway's version of it, I would highly recommend taking a few minutes to listen to it here.
I was dreaming of the past and my heart was beating fast. I began to lose control, I began to lose control. I didn't mean to hurt you. I am sorry I made you cry. I didn't mean to hurt you, I am just a jealous guy.
I was feeling insecure, you might not love me anymore, I was shivering inside, I was shivering inside...."
This song beautifully illustrates universal human emotions and how these human feelings, be it jealousy, envy, unworthiness, or insecurity can color the ability with how we communicate and connect. We are all in constant dialogue and conversation with our inner Jealous Guy. We have all thought about the past and have noticed a physiological response when thinking about an event, person, or place that was hurtful. We have all projected hurtful behavior toward another which has come from a place of feeling unloved, fearful, shame or criticized. Symptoms similar to muscle tension, heart racing, stomach aching, excessive ruminating are things we've all experienced when our Jealous Guy pops in. However, these physiological cues are actually a gift to us in that they are telling us to become more mindful. Our mind-body-spirit is usually asking us to breathe, take a moment, and check in to figure out how to move forward.
The figuring out how to move forward can be the tricky part. Personally, the challenging part can be that for many situations or relationships things can not be changed, for whatever reason. Accepting things for the way they are and forgiving myself is a key ingredient for managing my Jealous Guy when this comes up. I also chew on this phrase that I heard years ago on Oprah, "forgiveness is willing to let go of the hope that the past could be any different." That line forever changed the way I viewed forgiveness and it really helps me “be” in the present moment.
I also say this little phrase in my meditations, "I am willing to be open to new ideas, thoughts and beliefs about this _____ (fill in the blank).” It is amazing how this simple daily intention can open up a different consciousness or perspective about a person or situation.
I have come to make friends with my inner Jealous Guy and continue to realize that its tune and notes are louder on some days compared to others. I have an enormous appreciation that my Jealous Guy is just highlighting all the areas in which I can be more compassionate, kinder and a gentler being to myself and others. My Jealous Guy reminds me that life is this dance of love, loss, hope and despair and that there can be beauty in these defining moments. May we all make a little more peace with our Jealous Guy.
I remember clearly one of the major “ruts” I was in. For years I felt this need to write more and do more public speaking. I didn’t know how to do this or where to begin. I felt paralyzed as to what would be the outcome. Oh yea, and lets just add another factor, at the time I had an intense/paralyzing fear of public speaking. My fear was somewhat crippling and a mixed bag of quasi panic attack, sheer paralysis, hyperventilation and on the verge of crying. But there was this voice in my head, which at times felt like a nagging presence, that was giving me clear signs to start writing and to reach out to certain people for public speaking events. The more I resisted and was fearful, the more the voice in my head became louder and louder. Until one day I just started to write without any expectations as to what was going to unfold. From that day onward, a world opened up in which I write and publically speak regularly. And I can honestly say that I am out of that major rut and the fear of public speaking (sweet Jesus!). For me, my rut was the friction of my soul wanting to express itself in this way and my mind/body shutting down that opportunity to do so. Ruts are great breeding grounds for our ego to tell us, ‘don’t even think of doing that,’ ‘nothing will come out of this if you do that,’ ‘who do you think you are, dreaming of doing this,’ ‘you’re not good enough,’ yada, yada, yada.
Feelings of boredom, being unsure, paralysis, feeling uninspired, or feeling far removed from our vitality are all signs we are in a rut. Ruts can be tricky as they can take us down a rabbit hole of deep despair and hopelessness. When I am in a rut, I can feel an overwhelming friction of needing to do something and not knowing what to do or how to move forward.
What I have found is that moving through the “rutness” requires us to listen and trust our intuition like never before (and to block the voice of our inner and outer “naysayers”). Our intuition is our “higher self”; the side of us that is connected to our hope, trust, faith and unconditional love. Our intuition is always asking us to connect to all of the creativity and talent that we came into the world with and to be open to new possibilities of how to express our gifts.
The older I get, the more I appreciate just how wise our mind-body-spirit are. All of the answers are truly within us. If you are in a rut, you most likely already know what are some things that you would like to be doing or are being “called” to do, so to speak. If you are wanting to create something new or start a new project, I think that it is important to tell those who believe in you and who you trust. What I have found is that many people can be stuck in their own “rut” and can discourage you from moving out of yours. This is usually not intentional, but it is hard to be truly inspired by and supportive of somebody else if you are not feeling that way in your own life. Here are some things that I do to help me move through my ruts.
- Meditate, Pray, Forgiveness work (these are all things that connect us to the higher parts of ourselves)
- Free writing. Put the pen on the paper and just start writing for 5 minutes without lifting up the pen, see what comes up.
- Exercise/movement (I get some of my best ideas when I am on a walk or run)
- Being in Nature (I get some of the best ideas being in nature too)
- Energy work (Acupuncture, Reiki, Breath work, Yoga, Chinese Herbs are all great ways to help move the energy and get out of the rut)
Billy Joel' s song, "New York State of Mind", wonderfully describes the vitality and energy that is constantly supporting this city. Some could say that there is a unique energy source that is a conductor of creation. This is not a surprise to most New Yorker's. In fact, many New Yorker's are in a constant state of creation. What seems like the norm here is having a job and then two side projects. This type of constant movement can zap you. There are many moments living in NY where I have said, "this is not the path of least resistance, what the He@$# am I doing here." Then it seems like those moments soon pass and I, like Billy, have fallen in love with everything that makes this city great once again.
Chinese Medicine, hands down, is one of the best ways of recharging the weary NY body and soul. Since it views your body as being an energetic system; when our energies become depleted we have certain restorative acupuncture points and Chinese Herbs to help bring our energy back to balance. There are also great Chinese Herbs and Acupuncture points used to help balance our courage and willpower which are vital to living in this city
More importantly, Chinese Medicine views every individual as having gifts and skills that are only unique to each person to put forth their own creativity in this world. When we aren't tapping into these gifts and doing what inspires us, low energy and depression occur. Chinese Medicine can help in moving through creative blocks because of its entrenched understanding of how humans need to express their creativity.
So when you are feeling like you can't create any energy to sustain this concrete jungle or you are feeling creatively blocked, book an appointment, most likely you will walk out of your session with a renewed energy.
Like many of us, I struggle with the idea of “surrender”. My struggle is how does it feel to really surrender? How does it feel to let go of control, rigidness, expectation, and the idea of some fixed outcome. Am I really “surrendering” when I think I am, or am I just behaving in another way which is controlling (under the disguise of surrender). I have yearned to figure out what surrender really feels like for years and answer the question when I do “surrender” and what happens after that? At times I feel like I am Woody Allen with this neurotic approach on a quest to find surrender.
Through the years I found different tools and avenues which could help me surrender. Some of them felt right, others didn’t, but what I have found is that truly “surrendering” requires from us that we attempt to look at EVERYTHING through the lense of LOVE. Surrendering is not this big act where you pick a time and tell the world, “On April 26th at 2pm I will be surrendering,” but it lies in all the little things that we do moment to moment that change us and the world around us. And just like working out a physical muscle, all of these little moments of choosing to see through the eyes of love increase our capacity to forgive and love even more which in turn helps us to surrender. Again, this seems easy as I write this, but feeling it and doing it are such a different experience. Especially when there has been betrayal, suffering, and heartache around an issue or a person.
Personally, surrendering takes my vulnerability and courageousness up to the surface to be spotlighted. It asks me if I have the courage to love and completely accept myself for exactly who I am in this moment. And if so, do I have that courage to do the same for others; even those experiences which have hurt me the most. When I am able to do this, this is the real gift that I receive from surrendering.
Just like everything, I am a work in progress with surrender. In some parts of my life, surrendering, is easier than others. There are days in which it is too freakin exhausting to make the effort to let go of whatever anger/resentment/criticism that I am holding on to. But in the end, life has this way of giving me another opportunity to surrender and reminds me that it is in those precious moments, when I take the time to breathe and move forward with some sort of grace that peace of mind can truly be had.
One of the most fascinating aspects of Chinese Medicine is how it views the seasons in relationto our mind-body-spirit. Each season energetically lays an important foundation so that we canheal, create, clear and receive. Spring time is aligned with the energy of forward movement andcreation. This is the time in which the energy of spring is supporting us to start the new projectswe have always wanted to, make connections, take risks and birth new ideas. This is muchdifferent from the winter months in which the energy was supporting us to nestle in, beintrospective, and rest. Spring time is all about energetic growth and expansion.
On a physical level, spring time is connected to our liver and digestion. What this means is if ourliver is not humming like it could be, there may be more symptoms of constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating, and fatigue during this time. In Chinese Medicine the liver is also connected to theeyes. During this time I’ve seen more eye issues like pink eye, dry eye and allergies.
Our liver is also connected to the emotion of anger and irritability. This is a great time to letblocked or unexpressed anger up and out (in a safe way). Anger can be a scary emotion toconnect to, but what I have found is it is very much connected to our intuition. When we getangry about something, typically it is our intuition telling us to express something or to be moreassertive about an issue. The tricky part that every human has to negotiate is how do weexpress our anger, learn from it and let it go. This is a learning process until the day we die. However, acupuncture can help with this as it works directly on the liver. When the liver is inbalance then self expression, letting go and forgiveness become much easier.
Here are some tips to help bring balance into this spring season:
- Daily Milk Thistle: This is a great herb to help support and detox the liver
- Start doing little things toward a new project you want to create or one that has been puton the shelf.
- Beat a Pillow: It may feel a little funny but I can’t say enough about working the anger upand out of your body. Basically you use your fists and pound on a pillow. Let it go andsee what comes up and out. It is amazing how much better you will feel.
- Set an intention to let it go and forgive for whatever the issue is that is creating emotionsof anger in your life. This simple intention can open up space for great healing.
“I am willing to release the need to be angry at_______ and I choose to let it go now. I amwilling to forgive myself and all who are involved.”
What I have found is when I do this affirmation in times when my anger kicks up for a person orsituation, it helps to shift my consciousness to the bigger picture of it all.
- Meditation and Exercise
- Deep belling breathing and deep belly laughing.
Happy spring to you!
I am often reminded both personally and professionally that when things fall apart, creation and growth is around the corner. I see this often in healing. There are moments when the physical body becomes worse before it heals itself. It can be very frustrating when you are doing the forward movement of working toward a goal while experiencing your very foundation fall away. When this happens, we are being called to surrender. Life is a balancing act of forward movement and surrendering. When we are fully surrendered we are not engaging in the world around us to create; when we are fully forward moving we are not allowing the process of creation to occur.
This idea of process can be difficult to connect to. We are a society that is fixed on timelines and guarantees. Through email, twitter, and social media we’ve spread our process of communication faster than in any time in human history subsequently setting up expectations of instant knowing and gratification. However, there are many processes which are occurring at the perfect rate for each of our growth and development that can not be sped up. Just like a baby needs 9 months of gestation, there are certain key life events in which process must be honored.
Honoring process takes courageous act of having trust and faith while feeling vulnerable to the issues outside of your control. I once had a patient who financially lost everything through bankruptcy, her marriage fell apart, and she lost her job all in a year. I remember her saying the most impressive thing, “Well I guess this is an opportunity to recreate myself.”
When things are falling apart re-creation is occurring. It is a process of birth, death, and creation. It is an opportunity for self reflection and how you want to move forward. Do you want to move forward with the same thoughts, beliefs, or feelings that you have had before or are you willing to look at things differently?
One of the most frequently asked questions that I get is, ‘How does acupuncture work’? My cliff note answer of it is that our bodies are this energetic system and when this energy becomes imbalanced that is when we have health issues. Acupuncture, which is the insertion of fine needles along the body, strives to restore balance within this energy. However, the root of all of my variations in answering this question is that acupuncture taps into our body’s wisdom. If you think about how our body functions, heals and creates life it is utterly mind blowing. There is a wisdom to it all.
There is no doubt that acupuncture can tap into this wisdom. I have treated many individuals who have had years suffering from headaches, migraines, pain, digestive issues, anxiety etc. who no longer suffer from those issues after doing a round of acupuncture treatments. I am not going to pretend that I fully understand why this is exactly happens but I do think that when we allow our body to fully relax (one of the major effects of acupuncture), then our body can tap into this inner wisdom much easier.
There is also the balancing of the emotions and a strengthening of an individual’s “peace of mind” that is entrenched in every acupuncture treatment. We are not just treating a person’s knee pain. We are treating knee pain and how it is connected to a person’s emotional balance which is related to how they are connecting to their hope, faith and peace of mind. There is something extremely powerful when we are connecting to challenging issues in life from a more peaceful, present and powerful place. All of which Chinese Medicine can help us do. Other modalities which help tap into our body’s wisdom from a subtle and powerful place include reiki, craniosacral therapy, meditation, breath work and herbs.
When I get caught up in feeling overwhelmed with how things are going to “work out” with healing, I remind myself to do the things that support the body and to surrender to the wisdom that is already within. And maybe, if I am just quiet enough, I may just learn something.