Emotions are for movement!

If a strong, intense emotional landmark arises, see it as a launching pad to take you higher.

Welcome the movement after years, decades, lifetimes of stagnation.

This can be hard when it relates to trauma. Our instinct is to shy away from the overwhelming sensations associated with pain. Our mind wants to convince us that we must stop feeling it at all costs or we will never stop feeling it. Not true.

Instead think of it as a balloon that is popped. The initial sound might startle or frighten but the release is immediate and swift. Poof, gone! Drive the intensity in your favor. Instead of letting it take you in loops round and round (the same old story) let it be a momentum to take you up and out of the old stale story. “That was what my body held, but it is no more, especially after this very intense release!”

Time doesn’t heal—love does! Meet yourself with love and a willingness to see it from a higher perspective. That makes so much difference!

Using hard times as fuel to take you up

Think about a time in your life where you had a leap of consciousness. What were the circumstances that brought you to a new understanding of yourself? When I think about my own life, the times of greatest and most significant leaping occurred during times of enormous friction.

There was the dark night of my soul in my early twenties when all the trauma that had been suppressed made its way into my consciousness — painful but a huge leap into new awareness that led to healing and newfound growth.

There was that moment of choice I made where in a place of deep pain I realized I no longer needed to suffer, and in deep surrender to the divine, I experienced a profound spiritual awakening.

Emotion can provide a fuel, and circumstances can give great friction, but it is up to use to determine what we do with it. Do we attach to emotion and the story we tell ourselves about it (that we deserve nice things, we aren’t worthy of love, insert-crappy-ideas here), remaining stuck? Or do we choose to learn the lesson and say “no more of this nonsense!” and go UP?!

I share this as someone who at points in my life was…how shall I say this…very much the long suffering sun-in-Pisces, moon-in-cancer-martyr who dramatically chose to carry the pain and suffering of all humanity on her back. I can laugh about it now but there was absolutely nothing funny about to me at that time, thank you very much! I was wearing my serious face doing my serious spiritual work rooted in painful melancholy! And much agonized poetry writing!

That being said…let me be clear : I don’t think the only way to grow as a soul is through pain and suffering. Rather, I believe that difficult situations can be a great AWAKENER to show us to true nature of our reality and existence: that we are love, that the universe is one of love, and that really our soul is hoping we get the lessons once and for all so we don’t have to repeat them.

Which reminds me of this quote my sister sent me when I was wallowing years ago in the pain and suffering of grief…bless her for poking at me and urging me to shake out of it!!

21 Paramahansa Yogananda Quotes to Unveil Your Inner Light
Wise words and beautiful locks to boot

Yep, ain’t that the truth. Well, the good news is that 2020 is bringing us all sorts of delightful ways to awaken!! HA. You ready to use the friction as fuel to take you higher? Roll up those sleeves folks, you can do it!

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Things are feeling a little…intense

How are you doing? If you feel anything like I do today then you might be feeling the pressure that 2020 keeps laying on thick! We get it, 2020, you are shaking us awake and won’t go away until we FULLY embody the lessons that this year has to offer. PHEW. Breathe in, breathe out!

I was listening to a video the other day and the person shared the story of an initiate who said to her teacher: “Ok teacher, I’m ready to be done suffering.” That’s how I personally feel! Are you ready to be done suffering? Joy is our birthright! But it won’t be given to us. Neither will freedom. It must be claimed!

I used to view freedom as almost like a bubble of nothing bad every happening but my view has shifted. I’m working on freedom being that I can hold that space in myself that is pure love no matter WHAT surfaces or appears around me! I’ve been working a lot with a teaching that my teacher Magdala Ramirez brought forth (she talks about it on her website and talks about it a little bit in her podcast this week, too.). It’s the idea that we have two hearts — once connected to source, an endless cup pouring love!!–and another smaller heart that is connected to all the pain and suffering we’ve experienced in this lifetime and others. When we hook into that little heart we get stuck. It cuts us off from our own divine nature. However when we tap into that large heart, well, everything changes. The wisdom of the multiverse becomes available to us and we can heal ourselves.

Yesterday I was reading something about the astrology of this coming year (ahem, pretty intense) and all of suddenly felt a whoosh of panic. A tightness in my chest. I was able to observe it and not become it or become swept up in it. I spoke to this part of myself that reared its head: I love you, you are ok, I got this. That was the big heart pouring love into the little heart.

Right now we are being challenged to step into the big heart that we all have. It’s hard. The more potent the emotional trigger the harder it can be to “unlock” from whatever pops up. But we also have so much assistance available to help us through it. For me, I’m taking it moment by moment, tapping into the love I AM, and finding freedom even in the midst of all this commotion.

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Reclaiming vitality and joy – magical discovery of Arvigo Therapy/Mayan abdominal massage

I’m wrapping up my series on my journey to reclaim vitality and joy and what better way to end this than with a discussion of Arvigo Therapy!

If you stumbled upon this page, it’s possible that the secrets of the divine feminine are ready to be whispered from my ear to yours. That is how I first found out about this therapy that opened so many doors to healing for me. I was in an online women’s spirituality group on Facebook and “stumbled” (in quotes because I think I was meant to discover it…) a random thread of women discussing Arvigo® Therapy, also called Mayan Abdominal massage therapy, and I knew deep in my bones I was meant to discover this resource.

I was at a place in my life of desperately trying to heal my womb, a center in my body I knew was wounded and wildly out of balance following the birth of my first daughter and later a miscarriage. In asking the question, how do I heal, the divine mother show me the path to healing that led on a grand adventure within myself and in discovering a range of healing modalities–including Arvigo® therapy.

The women in the random facebook thread were raving about the impact this treatment had on their reproductive health – improved fertility, reduced menopause symptoms, reduced pain due to all sorts of ailments in that area of the body. I googled the term and I discovered that this beautiful, elegant technique has been practiced for many generations in the land of the Maya. The story of how a self-proclaimed “gringa” from Chicago came to be an apprentice of a traditional Mayan healer in Belize is itself a beautiful story! But in a nutshell:

The Arvigo® techniques were developed by Dr. Rosita Arvigo, DN. based on her apprenticeship with the Maya healer Don Elijio Panti and her own education, training, and research as a naprapathic physician. Rosita’s lifework, THE ARVIGO® TECHNIQUES OF MAYA ABDOMINAL THERAPY help to restore the body to its natural balance by correcting the position of organs that have shifted and restrict the flow of blood, lymph, nerve and chi energy. Today the Arvigo® techniques are employed by Arvigo® Practitioners across the globe bringing the benefits of natural healing to their clients.

From https://arvigotherapy.com/

I knew in my heart I needed to receive this therapy–was definitely being led directly to it– and I was relieved to discover a trained practitioner was 1 1/2 away from where I live. For several months I visited the beautiful Five Petal Holistic Healing Center and received a range of care including Arvigo massage.

The massage itself is simple and designed so that the individual can perform their own massage (though it is first taught to you by a trained practitioner.) It involves gently pressing on your stomach/abdomen according to a particular technique and can be done in about 5-10 minutes. This simple practice helps restore vitality to organs, increasing blood flow so that toxins are released and bringing balance/alignment to reproductive organs. For a full list of benefits check out the organization’s website.

I can’t sing the praises of this therapy enough. Within only a few months of practicing the daily massage myself, and receiving a handful of supportive treatments including massage and acupuncture, I saw a dramatic return to balance and health. I went from showing signs of pretty significant imbalance to showing signs of high fertility in a very short window of time. (In fact, my healer told me to use protection lest I get pregnant while undergoing the therapy because she urged me to complete the treatments first! )

What’s so wonderful about this gentle technique is that it helps you to very gently release toxins and trauma that might be held in your womb and helps you connect and nurture a part of your body that it’s so easy to get disconnected from. (Speaking personally here, yes that was the case for sure.) It’s hard to imagine a woman who hasn’t faced some kind of sexual or reproductive trauma in her lifetime. This technique provides such an empowering way to take ownership of your health and heal. Win-win right?!

Are you familiar with Arvigo therapy or are you a practitioner? Or did you get called to read this article for your own healing journey? Share your experience! I’d love to hear.

For more information or to find a practitioner, check out the directory here.

For other posts in my series, check out the full list of posts here.

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Reclaiming vitality and joy – let’s discuss bodywork shall we?

Hello! A few weeks ago…wait, no a month ago I blogged about my journey to reclaim vitality and joy. If you missed those posts, here’s some of the topics I covered:

Blogging series on reclaiming vitality and joy!

I realized I have so much more I want to write on this topic so I’m going to continue by sharing a series of posts this week too!

Today I wanted to talk about the role that bodywork, such as acupuncture and massage, can play in restoring balance.

When I originally started this blog four years ago it was because I was dealing with a lot of intense grief, some of it experienced in this lifetime with the loss of my mom and a miscarriage, but some of it so intense that it pointed to something deeper. I realized that my body held the memory of so much grief, likely much of it ancestral, and I realized many of my woes were connected to a major shutting down of the yin, or feminine energy, in my body. I started looking into ways to get that flowing again and restore balance, and one of the first places I looked into was acupuncture. This was a natural fit, as it’s an art and science designed to manage the flow of yin and yang (feminine and masculine energy) in the body and to remove blocks and/or slow down places of overactive energy.

I’ll never forget one of the earliest sessions I had where the practitioner explained that one of the biggest blocks in my body was held in the place that stores grief. Ah, ha! Yes indeed! This was wonderful confirmation to me that I was on the right track to righting the ship. But first I needed many treatments!

As I did more and more acupuncture sessions — and do note that if you want to explore acupuncture as a treatment it is best to understand that the greatest impact will likely come with many treatments, not just one or two–I started to somewhat dread the appointments. Why? Because for several days afterward I would feel the release of so much ick….grief, sadness, anger, you name it. I knew I had to let this out of my body but the process wasn’t always fun. However over time as these reactions lessened I also took heart that I was making huge progress!

The one is in the all and the all is in the one….everything is connected and once I realized that the grief I held was connected to the deep shutting down of yin energy which was connected to the infertility, which was all connected to the lack of energy and vitality and joy, I started to understand the urgent need to restore this balance in myself before I saw other outward signs of imbalance in the form of other medical challenges. This process may not have always been fun or easy but in taking responsibility for my health I also restored my power! Yeah baby!

If you’ve never explored acupuncture, just know that those little needles don’t hurt (half the time I don’t feel them!) and are nothing like getting a shot or something like that! They are a very teeny tiny pin put into a pressure point and I’ve been known to walk around with one stuck in me because I didn’t feel it and the practitioner missed it!

If you are looking into acupuncture as a treatment, definitely look to see if your insurance covers it— sometimes it will as part of standard care and other times as part of alternative healing benefit packages. I’m a big fan of community acupuncture clinics for cases where you need many frequent treatments, especially if they are pretty standard-issue. These are clinics that provide treatment in a large open space for a lower cost as compared to clinics that privately treat patients one at a time in private rooms. The vibe in these community clinics is awesome and the cost makes it accessible to so many more people! However I would urge that if you are dealing with complex issues it may be worth your time and money to see a private practitioner to get specialized care and treatment and perhaps switch to community once you have worked through major issues. A practitioner can guide you through the pros and cons of each approach.

Acupuncture can be an especially vital resource for women who are experiencing fatigue, pain, trauma or ptsd, reproductive challenges, or emotional pain (whether grief, anger, depression, anxiety)–challenges that are so common for so many women and yet are ailments that can be difficult to treat with western medicine alone. A skilled healer can assist not only with bodywork but herbs and other treatments that can bring ease and grace to the challenges you are experiencing. They can also educate you about where your body is holding onto physical pain or emotional pain, help you to see the larger picture about the imbalances in your body, and guide you through the process of releasing and clearing it. I’m deeply grateful for the healing I’ve personally received and looking back it allowed me to make many big shifts with more ease and grace and less pain.

Have you had success restoring balance and health through acupuncture? Share your experience! I’d love to hear.

Tomorrow I’ll be writing about Arvigo Therapy as a way to help restore pelvic health. Oh this is a great topic!! Can’t wait to share about this one.

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What I know for sure

What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.  – Oprah Winfrey

My soul was stirred by Oprah Winfrey’s words

When we speak our truth we claim our power. We rewrite the ending to the our own stories.

Each and every time we acknowledge our truth— in a diary, over a cup of tea, with a therapist, with a healer, with a hashtag, to a boss, to a boardroom, or to a ballroom full of Hollywood elites— each and every utterance matters.

With each word we transform the entire fabric of the universe and take our world one step closer to alignment of its highest good.

Every word creates a crack until suddenly. . .the world is split open and from it a new world is born.

Your time is now.  A new day is on the horizon.

“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.” Muriel Rukeyser

What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have. - Oprah Winfrey

A thousand me toos tossed into the light

The man who gives you a back rub without your permission. The guy who stands a little too close to you on the bus, so close you can smell the alcohol on his breath. The boys who joked and the men who joked and so many jokes but you were never laughing. The jokes you didn’t understand because you were too young to understand. The gut punch when you were old enough to finally get what they meant.

The prayers not to be raped by the guy who was angry you wouldn’t have sex with him. The relief when you weren’t. Rage over feeling relief.

All the winks. The condescending sighs. The “hey baby”s. The talking, always the talking, louder and over and in between and beneath. The drive-bys and the phone call after phone call after phone call. Will he stay or will he go now? If he stays it will be trouble. Another damn fork in the road. So many forks in the road decided by someone other than you.

All of it a catch in the throat, a drop in the gut. Fight or flight. Fight or flight. An entire lifetime dictated by fight or flight. Learned at an age when you couldn’t spell rape but lived it followed by an entire lifetime of repressing, running, hiding, cajoling, negotiating with it and then finally healing it. The slow release of a fist when you heard the first me, too. Healing when you utter your first me, too, into a microphone into the dark to mostly strangers because they all have me toos or have loved ones with me toos and they don’t know you so that makes it even better. Healing healing healing healing so much healing you are so tired of the healing please can I stop the healing? And the relief when you suddenly wake up one day and it’s three-and-half decades later and you discover that your life is no longer a series of fight or flight. Fight or flight. Fight or flight. You didn’t know it was possible.

So much healing mixed with a little bit of telling. The telling is mostly over and above around and beneath. Yes you spoke into the microphone and in circles of women in social workers’ offices and in therapists’ offices. But part of you is afraid and you are not sure why because you have already lost the support of so many and how could you lose more by speaking? How is that even possible? Anything is possible. The walking rape-trigger might become president and this, this is what finally does it. The walking-trigger at a microphone about to become president and this feels like another fork in the road. You decide you want to have a say for once in these forks in the road so you tell it like it is, not above or beneath but through the middle, a straight arrow of truth. And the world doesn’t crumble. And you realize this whole time you were afraid it wasn’t about them. It was about you seeing yourself,  standing in the light the in truth of it all, the full unadulterated whole entire truth. All its horror and strength and despair and rising above.  A thousand me toos tossed into the light. An arrow of truth pointing toward a future no longer full of too many me toos.

Thank you for reading. If you are a survivor and need someone to talk to, the most up-to-date information on services in your community can be found here (on the right hand side of the page). 

America’s Latest Mass Shooting was Local—and I Refuse to Stay Numb

My heart breaks at the news out of Las Vegas. I am sharing the post I wrote about the aftermath of Orlando and a shooting at a dance club in my home of Fort Myers. The words I wrote then remain true today: I refuse to remain silent. I refuse to stay numb. And I am tired of this madness.

Just Follow the Joy

This morning I found myself standing in a strip mall less than a mile away from where I used to live, a dozen roses in my hand and more than two dozen reporters in my face.

I was standing on the site of the latest mass shooting in America.

A reporter asked me was why I was there.

I’d thought about this as I purchased a bouquet of small yellow roses at my local Winn-Dixie this morning. (What types of flowers are suitable to leave at memorials for mass shootings? I wondered. This is now a question we have to ask ourselves in America.)

I thought about gun violence as I made the twenty-three minute drive north from my home, driving past my church that only five short weeks ago hosted a vigil for the Orlando mass shooting victims. I thought about it as I exited the…

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Let’s use this fire-breath to bring down the patriarchy! (Or something…)

Something in me cracked open.

It seemed to come out of nowhere. But let’s be real, it had been building for weeks. (Precisely three weeks and five days…if you get my drift.)

Like all fine Americans, I got angry reading something on Facebook. But it wasn’t the orange one who set me off, or the skinny-tied-one or the gum-chewing-one or any of the other underlings. 

Yes, it wasn’t Trump per se that had me fired up. It was the response to the crazy. People I knew to otherwise be kind, loving individuals–it was their defending of Trump that seemed to be the final straw. mountainsmove

Something in me snapped. Actually, no. Snapped to seems to imply a reckless breaking. This was a crack. A crack like an egg hatching. A crack of shifting tectonic plates.

I’ve been fuming so much that I’ve written three draft posts in three days because there was SO MUCH FIRE in me that, well, I needed to let it simmer down a tad before I could hit publish.

We have this man (orange) who is the archetype of a predatory male. The embodiment of patriarchy. The creepy dude from the office who forwards racist, sexist conspiracy theories and is the guy whom we generally can all agree is unhinged.

But wait, maybe we can’t all agree on that fact. And there is the rub.

I’ m not different than so many other women whose body and psyche have been deeply harmed by someone who resembles Trump. To be a female in this world is to at some point feel unsafe in our bodies because of a predatory man.

Yes–this anger goes deep and is a fire breath I want to use to bring down the patriarchy! (Or something.)*

I understand that part of this anger is about my own deep wounds. My own story of harm by a mad man–and the perceived betrayal of the otherwise sane people who knew better than to believe a madman and ultimately align with a mad man.

This is also what I know about being wounded: there is no greater pain that not being seen. We don’t expect a mad man to see or understand our pain. He’s not capable of it. But the ones who we know are capable of empathy and love? We except better.

Yes, something cracked open in me the other day.

This anger feels deep.

Like the women of all the ages were standing as mountains within the earth, holding me up.

Who knows, maybe they are.

The question is, what to do with the fire-breath? We can’t keep it in–to do so will burn us from the inside out. No, this fire must be expelled. Unleashed. Art. Story. Dancing. Resisting with joy and humor and yes, righteous indignation too. Who knows? Maybe in the process we will burn down the patriarchy

*(Huh, maybe my daughter does get some of her flair for the dramatic from me after all…)

Are you ready to roar? Breathe your fire-breath with me!

Stitching it back together with love

I am sitting here in my favorite oversized sweater that smells a little bit like beagles, but maybe that makes me love it more. I wore this sweater while studying for exams in law school. I wore this sweater in the drafty farm house in Iowa as my belly grew larger and larger when pregnant with my daughter.

I don’t get to wear this sweater as often anymore in Florida, but I woke up chilly and even the dogs are snuggled together in a puppy pile. It is a brisk 58 degrees (seriously I am not trying to rub this in–I know that everyone else in the US is dealing with arctic temps) and my first thought was, at long last I can put on my favorite sweater. And more importantly, at long last I can write.

I don’t even know where to begin with what has unraveled these last few weeks. Unraveled has a negative connotation but I mean it as a neutral term. Merriam Webster defines unravel as to disengage or separate the threads of :  disentangle b :  to cause to come apart by or as if by separating the threads of; to resolve the intricacy, complexity, or obscurity of :  clear up <unravel a mystery>.

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That has been my last few weeks. Resolving the intricacy and complexity of challenges and clearing up mysteries. It involved a coming apart in the sense that it is no longer longer knotted up.  It has been untangled and laid bare so I can see it for what it is and begin to slowly and lovingly stitch it back together. It turns out that my healing and my daughter’s growing pains seem as intertwined as the DNA that we share.

The way I write makes it sound so dramatic. It isn’t. Nothing large or scary happened. It all felt large in the way that things often do when we are triggered or afraid. And the stitching back together felt large, but it too was not. It involved daily acts of love (which makes it sound easy but it was anything but easy), done in minutes and hours and days.

Those small things done with love are the hardest parts of parenting. It is a slow slog that surrenders to trust in the process. Trust that many small steps will add up and make a difference. They do and it is beautiful.

I will write more about the untangling and the stitching back together. But for now I will wear my oversized sweater and drink hot coffee on the lanai. I will prepare to go Christmas shopping with my husband, and then later I will listen to my daughter sing Christmas songs at preschool. My heart is full.