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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It’s all about that inner balance, baby

This week I’m writing about a journey I’ve been on for the last two years to get my groove back! I’m sharing my story because goodness knows I’m not the only woman who has faced down exhaustion/anxiety/ptsd/infertility or some other host of ailments and longed for something more. Because there is more!

[please know that despite this sounding a little bit like an infomercial I promise there are no herbal supplements being sold! (HA!) If only it were that simple, actually!]

I’m going to take you on a little journey this week to share what I’ve uncovered along the way back to finding ME. The first stop on the the journey is a discussion of ENERGY — specifically why at the root of so much of our imbalance is our yearning for the inner balance of our masculine and feminine energy.

Why start here? The reason is that everything in our outer world is a reflection of our inner world. For women this is even more crucial to grasp because we make our realizations from the inside out (where for men it is the opposite – they need to see the outside world to then go inward.)

Early on in this path of awakening I sensed that there was an imbalance within me but I didn’t have the language to explain it. I hope that sharing these concepts can hep you put your own puzzle pieces together.

One of the first pieces to my puzzle was meeting with an acupuncturist who specialized in infertility treatment. When I described what was going on and my symptoms I remember saying, “hey as weird as it sounds I just feel DRIED UP.” Tapped out, nothing more to give dried up. To my surprise she immediately understood, and said “I know exactly what is going on! And I know how to fix it!” It turns out that my yin channel was blocked and needed unblocking. The yin is the feminine…and wow was she right. My feminine was all sorts of blocked.

Looking back I can chuckle a little bit because it seems like captain obvious to say that my feminine was blocked. But at the time I didn’t know and she helped open the door to me seeing it in a new way.

So what are these energies inside us and why does it matter? First, it’s important to understand that masculine and feminine has nothing to do with gender. Every human (male or female, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identification) has a mix of two energies inside of them. If “male” and “female” trips you up, you might prefer the terms yin and yang, or anima and animus—they are all referring to the same concept. At its root it is energy, two parts within that crave balance, communication and ultimately unity.

In simplistic terms the feminine represents our inner world, that which is hidden, our creative ideas and dreams, our emotions, and the longings of our heart. The feminine is watery and passive. It’s the being, not the doing. The masculine is our outer world – it’s how we live in the world, how we bring life to our ideas, how we behave and interact. It’s our mind. It’s fiery and active. It’s focused on the doing, not the being.

In my own life the imbalance came about because I had way too much doing and not enough being. I was all mental energy at the expense of my creative, artistic longings. I was denying the parts of myself that needed inner tending, rest, quiet. And, I was ignoring the longings of my heart.

In the beginning when you start to understand this energy you may notice extremes. You may notice that there is one aspect of you that is way overpowering the other. Then you start to lessen the gap and bring more harmony and balance between the two; eventually it becomes a subtle dance, a moment-to-moment experience of feeling into what your body needs.

Can you think of a challenge in your life and think about how it might be playing out the imbalance of the masculine and feminine? Our culture has denied and devalued the feminine energy for a very long time, so it is likely that she needs tending in some shape or form. Feel into her…what does she need from you that she isn’t receiving?

There is so much more I can say about this topic but for now I’ll stop here. Feel free to comment if you have questions or thoughts to share. Tomorrow we explore the role of purification in helping to restore balance!

Blogging series on reclaiming vitality and joy!

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A journey to reclaim vitality and joy

Two years ago I was so tired that I barely made it through the work day. I had ZERO energy left over for playing with my daughter or keeping up with the tasks of life. I was cranky, drinking too much coffee (which only made me feel worse!) and despite all that coffee I was never pooping! (Constipation, it turns out, matters in this story. Bear with me.) My hair was starting to fall out – not a lot but enough that I was concerned because ew! That is not normal. I was sick all the time, which at the time I blamed on having a small child in daycare but in retrospect, nope. That wasn’t the full story.

The wake up call came when I found myself sitting across the desk from an infertility doctor being told that I was so infertile I didn’t even qualify for IVF. Well, that got my attention. Women are creators by nature, and if my womb couldn’t create a child then something in me was way, way off. I knew this deep in my bones.

That moment in the doctor’s office was a turning point and one I’m grateful for now. (Though at the time I was screaming with the universe about this, no doubt about that!)

I recently came across my journal from that time and I’d written down two goals moving forward: I wanted to restore vitality and joy within myself. When I reread this I think I gasped a little — because here I am, a year and a half later and I can tell you that yes, I’ve found my way to this place most certainly. I have tons of energy from the moment I wake to the time I go to bed. I rarely if ever get sick. But more importantly, I feel like the life force has returned in me! I am living life rather than being lived by it.

I’m called to share this journey because so much has been given and it’s time to pay it forward. What is happening to one woman is happening to us all in some way or another. It’s practically an ethos in the United States (where I live) that to be a modern woman is to be frazzled, overworked, over-tired and spent. WHAT GIVES. That is seriously messed up!

My path may differ from your own — you may never have faced infertility, and imbalance in your life may present so much differently than my own — but I also know that the wisdom, teachings, healing modalities are available for all of us and don’t only apply to me and my own little situation. I’m blogging daily this week to share some of this journey. Please feel free to comment and share your own experiences or to ask questions! Share a post if you feel called to do so.

What do you say? Ready to reclaim the vitality and joy that are your birthright?

Blogging series on reclaiming vitality and joy!

Just Follow the Joy on Facebook & Instagram!

The heart wants what it wants

The heart wants what it wants. If the heart wants something that triggers intense pain or strong reactions, resist the urge to shut it down. The goal is not to repress what the heart is stirred to express (hopes, losses, despairs, longings) but rather to hold it all in love….and then release. Staying in the flow of life means feeling what needs to be felt. This alone does not make you a victim of life–it’s the story you tell about the feelings that create liberation or victimization.art by Lori Portka.

I just don’t like your uterus

When I started writing this blog I had no idea the blog’s name — mourning dove motherhood–would take on so many varied meanings. I originally named the blog in honor of all the mourning doves that visited me shortly after my mom died.   I had no idea that I’d go on to grieve more motherhood related losses, namely the loss of a pregnancy, and now the infertility too. (Jeesh maybe I should have picked a different blog name!)

To quote my doctor:

“The patient presents with the following problems. Period. New paragraph. One period. Advanced maternal age period. Two period. Reduced egg supply period. Three period. Wilson’s Disease recessive carrier period.”

i-just-dont-5ae215
(doctor from “Baby Mama” movie and whom I picture every time I see the fertility specialist.)

Why thank you, infertility doctor awkwardly dictating your case notes while we are still sitting in the room. I’m glad to have a recap. And that does pretty much recap the situation. Hmm but does it? 

Actually, I think I maybe I should dictate this. . .

“The patient presents as a woman emerging from a difficult and transform-ative five year period that took a toll on her body period Patient experienced significant loss comma which combined with the stress of young motherhood comma left her feeling tapped out and dried up period. Patient believes her body is physically manifesting this inner state period. Patient would love to tell the fertility doctor that she believes her yin has been significantly reduced comma resulting in infertility comma and consequently her recovery requires nurturing and cultivating her yin forward slash feminine energy and bringing balance to her doshas opening parenthesis especially because her vata was incredibly aggravated which can lead to infertility closing parenthesis period. Patient would also like to describe the current look on the fertility doctor’s face as quote boggled comma confused comma horrified comma and unable to compute with clinician’s brain end quote period. LOL period.”

Just to be clear, my version was not uttered aloud because I’m pretty sure his brain would have exploded all over his desk and it would have made quite a mess on his 27″ monitor that he treasures for showing patients charts, statistical analyses and the occasional (and accidental) view of his Facebook feed.

I suppose both dictations represent the two polarized views of my situation. The very, very left brain masculine energy (which we all have) analyzing with logic and data, juxtaposed with the highly intuitive and creative right brain feminine energy (which we also all have–with the exception of this doctor. Just kidding. He has it in him somewhere I’m sure). Both are true and both are not the entire truth. The truth is both. Deep man.

(Maybe it is time to change my blog name and thereby my future. How about “Forty-Year-Old’s Return To Vitality and Health and AMAZING Advanced Maternal Age Pregnancy and Birth blog!” Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it does it. Might need to work on that. Any suggestions?)

I hereby surrender

I hereby surrender:

To the unknown (and to knowing I never had control to begin with);

To acknowledging that some things our heart desires cannot be forced or cajoled

that everything I’ve received and will receive is a gift.

I hereby turn over my worries, fears, anxieties, disappointments and “what ifs” to the divine mother to hold.

I hereby surrender and accept my current reality as it stands–in its messy glory, its ecstatic uncertainty.

Recognizing full well I may not get the outcome I desire–for I may get something wiser.