Monday, August 30, 2010

The Practice of Parenting...

Before I begin to expound  upon the relevance of astrology and parenting I suppose I should give a bit of background regarding my parenting “philosophy” in general. Or at least I‘ll make the attempt because I find that the one constant about my parenting practice is that it is ever changing in response to the ever changing beings, aka children, in my life. Please know that I, like my children, am a work in progress and this journey of parenting is teaching me daily (maybe by the minute) more about myself and gifting me with ways I am challenged to grow.

I don’t see much of a difference between we adults and children, and from a soul perspective there is none. It doesn’t matter how you understand the nature of soul. Paint any picture of creation that resonates for you. What’s true is this, we all come into this life with a divine essence that makes us uniquely who we are.  Our spiritual personality emerges (if allowed) and asks quite simply for us to live in accordance with that nature. The soul  is our natural aptitude and orientation. It’s the part that can not be changed no matter if it fits in with society, or family, or friends. We can try to ignore it, fake it, demand it be different but it is part of us that always re-emerges pointing us like a beacon back to our divinity. There is a point when we must align with our spiritual nature no matter what. It is a sad day when a person ( no matter how many years on this planet) is not allowed to be who they are.

“Too many children live with the feeling that they are not accepted for who they are, that somehow, they are “disappointing” their parents or not meeting their expectations, that they don’t “measure” up. How many parents spend their time focusing on the ways in which their child is “too this” or “too that” or “not enough of that?” …When has parental disapproval, in the form of shaming, humiliating, or with holding, ever been a positive influence on a child’s behavior? It might result in obedience: but at what cost to the child, and to the adult the child becomes?”- Myla and Jon Kabat- Zinn, from the amazing book EveryDay Blessings

So as I parent I am ever mindful for ways I can support my children to become who they are and not who I think they should be and for that I need all the help I can get. When we marry astrology and parenting this is the terrain we are walking. This is where we parents can get guidance about the soul’s language emerging as gifts, passions, and intentions, in our children. We can observe their path as different than our path and honor it as such. We can be ever mindful of the emerging symbiotic relationship as we learn from one another. There is no randomness as to why you have the children you do- from their perspective or ours. This point is ever clearer as we look at the interplay between birth charts. We can gain understanding of strange (from our perspective) phobias, behaviors, and tendencies they may exhibit and understand why they trigger us in ways we never anticipated.

So how does this look in the real world? Let me give you an example of how I’ve used astrology as a tool for a deeper understanding of my children and to help in my parenting practice. One of my sons is incredibly driven to learn, to get all the answers right, to be super responsible. He came in that way.  He puts a lot of pressure on himself and he is hard on himself. He’s serious and more mature than some kids his own age. He often would rather converse with adults on play dates. His chart reveals so clearly his default comfort zone (SN 10th  wide Pluto conjunction Sag. Nn 5th ). Where he’s being called to go is a new direction on his path.  To learn about fun, being lighter, creative, having the freedom to change his mind, and exploring  more ways of being human. In few words to “lighten up”. His fear of  letting go of control is real however and he will react out of fear when his “control” is threatened. Good for me as a parent to know because I can hold the space for him to  challenging what he thinks is real but is really old news in a karmic sense. To help him realize nothing bad will happen if he lets it go. His comfort zone is being the responsible, productive, one but it’s also where he get’s stagnant. To challenge him to grow is to be aware where he needs to focus this expansion. And when he’s brooding and going into dark places (12 house cap. Sun, moon,  and stellium of planets) as he does,   I allow him to knowing that’s just his way (my sun and moon in Pisces helps).  He has had fears at night, been convinced he has seen spirits in his room, and “lights around people (with 7 bodies in his 12th no wonder right?). To deny him his “truth’ is to change who he is and was meant to be. By understanding him and his soul’s nature I can encourage him to “try using more color when he draws” and to take an art class (something he may not do on his own). I can help him understand his intuitive nature in a way that he can trust it, develop it if he’s interested (and he is). I can support him but also challenge him in ways that allow him to develop the courage to grow.

“In rising to this challenge (mindful parenting) , we may not only come to do what is best or our children; we may also uncover an come to know ,perhaps for the first time, what is deepest and best in ourselves.” -Myla and Jon Kabat- Zinn, from the amazing book EveryDay Blessings

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Don't Die-t... Live-it

A client of mine suggested I write about  my “philosophy” regarding healing weight/food/body image issues.  I thought this was a great idea since it is a large part of my practice and I have yet to address the subject specifically on my blog.  I had the pleasure (and challenge) of being the lead nutritional counselor at Ai Pono Out Patient Eating Disorder Clinic on Maui for about 5 years. I’ve witnessed the spectrum of eating issues and disorders. Life threatening addictions including anorexia, bulimia, and compulsive overeating are certainly the extreme side of the spectrum. No doubt about that. But there also exists a pervasive under current of food issues threaded throughout our body conscious culture. This more subtle manifestation is more like water torture. Not really noticeable or even painful at first but over time it etches away at our self esteem, our joy, our sense of freedom, and empowerment. My first challenge in writing on this topic was finding where to start as it’s vast and I find I have much to say.  I guess I’ll start where many of us do when we are contemplating our weight. Diets. (and by diets I mean eating a specific way with the goal to lower your weight)

Ok so here’s the big news about diets. They  don’t work. No shocker there right? Not only are diets totally ineffective but they , although disguised as the solution, are in reality part of the problem. I even hate the word diet. I don’t want voluntarily to do anything that has the word “die” in it. That said, I must ask, how many of you have been on a diet at some point in your life? How many are on a diet right now? Look around. Come on hands up.  Probably most of you. And did it work? If your like 95% of us you’ll gain back that weight you lost and probably more. You read right, diets have a success rate, meaning weight lost and kept off, of about 5%. You want more proof of the ineffectiveness of diets? The sheer number of them. There are hundreds, with new books coming out every year.  Eat protein, don’t eat protein, high carbs, low carbs, low fat, no fat, lemonade fasts, cabbage soup, vegan. I could go on. The fact is if diets actually worked there wouldn’t be the need for so many. In fact, looking at obesity trends the more diets there are the bigger we get. It’s not new news that the obesity rates in our nation is staggering, as is the increased incidence of type 2 diabetes and other related health issues.  Diets are certainly not the only factor in our increased weight trends, but my point is this, the only people having success with diets are the people making them up. Our gain is there gain. To the tune of $68.7 billion in 2010.

So, why don’t diets work? There are many reasons. Some are biological ( Our body wants to stay alive and resists any hint of starvation) and many psychological. We humans are rebellious animals. And often crave the very thing we deny ourselves. Try this. Don’t think of pink elephants. What are you thinking about now? How about, you can never have ice cream again. Never. What do you want at this moment? So dieting creates obsession.  I want that, but I can’t have that, now I want it more and more and more.
Restricting and fasting which will ultimately lead to binging (those pink elephants again -at some point we succumb). Then when we “fail“, and the vast majority of us will, we feel like failures. We put the blame squarely on ourselves.  If you took your car to a mechanic for a routine check up. Spent time and money and it didn’t work would you blame yourself? No but when we “fail” at a diet we are the ones with no willpower, even though by their very nature, diets are the things that are broken- not us.. We  feel worse about ourselves which just makes us want to eat cake which leads to more weight gain. So we try another diet because “we must get this thing under control once and for all”. Dieting is like a Chinese finger puzzle. The more you pull the more trapped you are.

Now what? What I do first when working with my clients is make clear that food has actually has very little to do with weight issues. I’m a nutritionist that resists diet plans like the plague- especially at the beginning. Food is just the caboose on the train. It’s along for the ride. What’s driving the train is what we need to discover, listen do, and pay attention to. It’s a language of sorts and together we break the code. To make the connection between food and feelings. Food is a great distraction from what we really need to confront but don’t want to. We get distracted with good foods. Bad foods. Eating at this time of day and at that. We think if we lost weight we’d feel better. Our lives would be better. It doesn’t work that way. Even if you lost weight you’d still have the same issues and feelings. You’d just be thinner feeling sad, shame, fear, bored, or angry.

So if food is the caboose what’s driving the train? What truths are trying to emerge but you are distracting with food- eating or restricting? Although, the focus is food there is a deep hunger for something else. What is it? Do you fall into that caretaker role and “feed” everyone before yourself and then “treat’ yourself later? Even the word “weight” is important. What are you “weighting for(waiting)” What/ who’s weight are you carrying? Even the foods you crave speak this language. There is a fascinating list that correlate food cravings with feelings. For example, crave salty foods? That’s anger. Crave carbs like breads? You’re actually craving nurturing. Crave chocolate? You guessed it -intimacy is what you really crave.

 The fact is we are eating (or not eating) for reasons other than hunger. And you’ll never solve an emotional problem with eating. Not once. Never. But if you are courageous enough to really listen to what your soul hungers for and not your ego. If you can really allow your self to be in your authentic expression of self. If you can connect to that part of you that is a soul having a physical experience. Then the journey of empowerment  can set you free and food can be just food again. 

Monday, August 23, 2010

Got worry?

Today I was blissing out in a yoga class and the teacher said “ worry is like saying tiny prayers for things you do not want?“ Wait. What was that? Thanks, now I’m worried about being worried. Which got me thinking about worry. I have to say that I am an expert of sorts on the subject. In the sense that I’ve certainly had a lot of practice. Decades actually. 

So I looked it up. The word worry. It means  “To feel uneasy or concerned about something; be troubled“. Yep that sums it up nicely. A bit too nicely perhaps. I think of worry as more slimy and insidious. It’s secretive. We often don’t even know it’s there, lurking. We are so accustomed to it’s presence. Playing the worry tapes over and over. Like that annoying background music at the mall we tune out after a few minutes.

Think about this though. Ever notice that no matter how much we worry about something nothing ever changes? I mean, all us worrying folk buy into the concept that we are actually doing something, when we worry. Right? Like we are “preparing” somehow for that worst case scenario we can only imagine.  But think back. Really think. To all those times you worried about something. All those times you woke up at 3:00 am  white knuckling the sheets. Did the time spent worrying help you? Did the worst actually happen? Did it happen some of the time? Did it ever? It’s amazing how much more vivid our imagination is than actual reality. What’s even more amazing is that we believe it.

So now think about those times when you were actually in a crisis. Did you have time to worry? No? You took care of what you needed to. Adrenaline raced and you just reacted. So what is essential to worry is Time. Long stretches of nothing to do. Taking this further, we could say that all the times we are worrying we are either in the past worrying what if “that" situation happens again or we are in the future worrying that something will happen that we imagine.  It is sure than when we worry we are totally absent from the present moment.

What’s also important about worry is that it not only effects our peace but our bodies. Our body believes us when we worry and reacts accordingly. We activate the part of our nervous system that is needed for crisis and our health is effected. It can effect us big time. Just ponder what chronic stress does to our physical bodies. Further, if we put credence into the law of attraction that what we contemplate we manifest, so in essence what we worry about we create. Fabulous. Right? As if we didn’t have enough to worry about.

So what to do? Because now we’re really worried about being worried as we worry about what worry is doing to our bodies and over all quality of life. Whew.  I think the first step is realize it’s there. Track your thoughts. What is the script that is running through your head all day. Notice the background music. It’s pretty surprising what we say to ourselves when we are not listening. Surprising and often downright painful. Then realize you have the power to change your thoughts at any moment and at any time. If worry appears.  Stop. Look down at your feet. Ask yourself if there is anything constructive you can do about said anxious situation. If there is do it and if there isn’t let it go. Give it up. Change the script in your head. When you worry it is an absolute waste of time. An absolute  waste of the present moment.

Byron Katie who is an amazing teacher and innovator of the “the work" which is an amazing tool for getting out of worry (or any painful thought) really says it so well…

“I can find only three kinds of business in the universe: mine, yours and God’s….Much of our stress comes from mentally living out of our own business. When I think, You need to get a job, I want you to be happy, you should be on time, you need to take better care of yourself, I am in your business. When I’m worried about earthquakes, floods, war, or when I will die, I am in God’s business…The next time you’re feeling stress or discomfort, ask yourself whose business you’re in mentally, and you may burst out laughing! That question can bring you back to yourself. And you may come to see that you’ve never really been present, that you’ve been mentally living in other people’s business all your life. Just to notice that you’re in someone else’s business can bring you back to your own wonderful self. And if you practice it for a while, you may come to see that you don’t have any business either and that your life runs perfectly well on its own.”

So next time you’re worrying ask yourself who’s business are you in? Right now. At this moment. Then get out of your own way.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Are you paying attention?

This is the second installment of my guest blog spot on Laura's amazing site. Her art work is amazing- honest, soulful, beautiful and from her heart. All the artwork in this piece is hers and is a perfect compliment to my words. Her own insights on health and healing inspire me to go deeper on my own journey. 
I love that story about Mother Theresa where she was asked if she would join in a rally against the war.  She declined quite simply, but said she would gladly attend a rally for peace.  I see pain, dis-ease, and suffering  in our bodies and lives similarly.  There is no healing where there is no love.  That’s why a “war on drugs, war on cancer, war on anything,” doesn’t work.  It comes from a place of fear, the opposite of love.
We enter into this life both with an inspired purpose and default expectations about how our lives should be.  Hope and fear.  Where we are on this spectrum is what we manifest in our lives.  If we are stuck in ancient themes of fear, if we are attached to safety, if we are believing in our history then we will manifest situations in our lives to reflect this. Are you living your authentic path or staying in the comfort zone of your karmic default? Are you living in love or fear?

And how do you know?

Ask yourself this.  If you are not living your authentic life who’s are you living?  Your parent’s?  Your partner’s?  Are you believing the story society tells you or what your own fear tells you?  Either way you’re going against the organic flow of the unfolding of your life.  It’s like running your hand against the grain of wood — it hurts, you get splinters. Something feels really wrong because it is.

If you find yourself with repeated health problems, attracting people or situations in your life that don’t serve you, feel uninspired, anxious, angry, or bored… if you find yourself echoing the same victim story… pay attention.  Notice it.  Understand that this is an opportunity to change your beliefs about yourself and thus change everything.

“Follow your bliss.” Find where it is, and don’t be afraid to follow it. If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track, which has been there all the while waiting for you, and the life you ought to be living is the one you are living”
-Joseph Campbell

How do we find our bliss?  How do we change those default beliefs about ourselves?  How do we find our authentic soul path?   How do we heal?  Great questions.

The answer?  Follow the trail of pain.  Follow the suffering.  Follow the discontent, because it is there for a reason.  Pain does have a purpose.  Illness has a purpose.  It is our way in.

But we often don’t see it that way.

In fact our collective thought is that discomfort is a “bad” thing. I mean who likes to suffer?  Who likes to be ill?  No one.  In fact most people come to me because something is wrong and they want it better.  Often, our first response to any upset is to intellectualize it, deny it, ignore it, and find something or someone to blame it on.  Then we try and get rid of it as soon as we can.  We make war on it.

It’s as if we believe suffering’s very existence is a mistake.


OK sure, the obvious, we don’t want to be physically hurt, we don’t want our hearts broken, we don’t want to see people we love hurting.  Bottom line dis-ease hurts.  It’s agony.  But I propose we fear suffering beyond any physical sensation.  I think it is more than that.

We don’t want to feel pain because we don’t want to face the truth lurking in the basements of our egos.  Because facing our pain, our shadow, our default beliefs require us to see the truth about ourselves, our life, and the choices we make.  We would often rather stay where it’s familiar (even if it hurts) than take a chance on what might be.  We might rather stay in illusion than risk it shattering our story into a million pieces.
We make war on our pain and thus ourselves, because it is easier that facing our deepest fears lurking in the shadows of our being. It is easier to deny than accept and easier to ignore that forgive. Or so we think….
If we could see that everything, even tragedy, is a gift in disguise, we would then find the best way to nourish the soul”
-Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, MD
So I ask you…

What if your lower back pain means you have to get real once and for all about your money?  What if your stomach problems mean you have to admit you no longer love your partner?  What if your headaches mean you have to face the truth about how you hate your job?  What if your throat issues mean you have to get real about setting boundaries? What if your chronic condition means you actually don’t want to take responsibility for yourself and want to be taken care of?   What if you keep eating because you feel so empty inside? Can you face that emptiness?  Can you face the very thing you are most afraid of?

Could you do it?

The truth shall set you free.
All healing is first a healing of the heart.
– Carl Townsend

So find where you hurt – have a physical illness or otherwise, and go deep.  Seek truth. Risk.  Defy your old story.  Shatter your default beliefs that never got you where you needed to go.  Plunge headlong into your possibilities.  Have the courage to let your misery speak to you and defy your history.   Change your story.  Be inspired.  Find your bliss. Become empowered.   Give up the need to be right or even of needing to be secured an outcome.  Allow.  Then live in awe of what will unfold.

This being human is a guest house
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A bit about me....

This was actually a quest blog spot I did for an amazing artist who is an inspiration to me with her ability to marry creativity, joy, health, and healing. She is an amazing spirit with so much to share. Please check out  Dr. Laura Koniver's beautiful site.

Sometimes you find your calling but most times I think it finds you.  Often it’s the very thing that frightens us, that one thing that we “could never do”, that we must.  My journey has been that I have always wanted things to make sense in a logical, linear way.   All the while, I felt pulled to what was abstract, strange, dare I say even magical?  Sure, as a kid I got the message I was a bit weird as I overheard the murmurs.  Things like “not sure if she knows fact from fiction”and she “just talks way to much”.  Well meaning teachers wrote “she has a very vivid imagination” and “has a hard time keeping her hands to herself” and left it at that.  I had a burning desire to touch others, to help others, to comfort, and support those I knew to be in pain in a way I couldn’t articulate or openly express but felt in my very core.  I figured out it was easier to agree than question and was more accepted to “figure out” than “feel”.  So I tried to ignore my intuitive side. I tried hard. I shelved the part that saw light dancing around  people or animals and tried to ignore what I knew all along to be truth.
Long path made shorter …and here I find myself pulled back onto this path I tried so hard to ignore.  If I were being honest  I would say even as I tried to push it away the whispers were always in the wind, but my fear, my lack of faith, my utter mistrust of myself distracted me.  So often we deny that little voice.  Those soft nudges of synchronicities.  We reason out, ignore, or medicate the painful lessons, dis’ eases, and maladies that are there to teach us, to motivate us, and to remind ourselves we are still very much alive.  We fear the truth about ourselves.  We fear what would happen if we were indeed whole.

Our Greatest Fear

it is our light not our darkness that most frightens us

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,

talented and fabulous?

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

—Marianne Williamson

So now people ask me what I do and I find myself at a loss for words.  I guess in broad terms I help people understand themselves in deeper way.  What that looks like in form is that  I am a nutritional counselor/ massage therapist/ evolutionary astrologer. A bit of a rationalist turned reluctant mystic to be honest.  I practice a new type of astrology.  One that seems to shadow a evolution in our collective conscious thought.  This new astrology has different names like evolutionary astrology, counseling astrology, and psychological astrology.  Basically, It is just one tool I use to define your journey of empowering your soul to manifest in ways that feed your creativity, your life force, your truest path. It can bring a vocabulary, an articulation, a coherence to what is difficult to define with our logical mind within ourselves.  It can help us to acknowledge our behaviors, choices, patterns, fears, illnesses in a way that we can take responsibility for being co-creators of our life circumstances.
So where creativity meets intuition meets inspiration I walk my path.
This is a bit about me and my journey and what I do.  It is my goal to bring some understanding  and urgency about how important it is to our very health, and our vitality to be in alignment on a path of  sacred creativity.  Why it is so critical to let our soul sing and what happens when we get off track.  How our soul speaks to us through our bodies or life circumstances to keep us on a journey of empowerment.  No matter how hard we may try to ignore it.