More than feet

What is reflexology? This is a question that I have been pondering for a while as I frequently get asked this question. As a reflexologist, I know the standard definition of what I do, applying pressure to reflex points in the hands, feet and ears for optimal health, but there is so much more that occurs within a treatment. Describing reflexology only as putting pressure on reflexes is a bit like saying a person is only a collection of organs, bone and muscle. That simplistic explanation skips over the essential definition of what it means to be human, to have a creative purposeful life, to love and laugh. Reflexology is more like the music that lifts from the violin than the mechanics of bow and strings.

There is a recognition of the individual in the treatment. The practitioner holds the intention, the image, of the person as whole and complete. The person breathes deeply, relaxes their nervous system. The physical foot is stretched and massaged and the fascia is released. Basically, it is holistic. Every aspect of the person’s mental, emotional, physical and spiritual life is acknowledged during the session.

Calm, peace, balance, these are natural states of health that are restored during a session. This interweaving of multiple benefits is why I studied reflexology and why I still consider it to be one of the most powerful body work modalities that I have experienced. Powerful and simple all at the same time.

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Fermentation

After spending the last few months falling in love (again) with fermented foods, I just adore the concept of fermentation. In Sandor Katz’s book ‘Wild Fermentation‘, he talks about fermentation being an agent of change in our society. I have to say that I swoon over words like these. I am a hopeless idealist (or is it hopeful?). Yes! I am a hopeful idealist! I like spending more time thinking about how brilliant we are as humans and how we have the collective ability to sort out most of the issues that face our world.

This is where the metaphor of fermentation really gets bubbling. For so many years, we have been packaged and processed, much like our food. There has been a great cultural homogenization that has happened and bringing fermentation back into our kitchens is a powerful first step. Why? Why does food matter? Why would retrieving and experimenting with old time methods of food preparation mater? Because food is basic to life. Unless you have become a sungazer, drawing your prana from the sun, you need food to eat. Food is more than calories and macronutrients, it is energy, vibration. The vibration you consume as food affects your whole body-mind. Everyone knows the curative properties of Grandma’s cookies. Food prepared with love and consumed with gratitude is completely different than food that is plopped down by uncaring hands waiting for a shift change. There is a huge array of biochemical changes that occur when we digest food, and our emotional state is directly tied to our bodies.

So making food that makes you feel good, that is nourishing and healthy, that uses local ingredients, that bubbles with life, this is a recipe for health. But there is more. The process of fermentation is slow. It relies on a few brave pioneering microbes to get the party started. Slowly, the change bubbles through the whole dish, and the food is transformed. I think change, lasting change is like this; a few brave pioneers, with a radical view of a harmonious world, begin to share their vision with anyone who is near, they just beam and bubble with their enthusiasm and dream. The dream catches the imagination and slowly, the whole world is bubbling. A complete transformational shift, to love, to harmony, occurs as if overnight.

Appreciate Feet

Feet flex and move, they bend and spring. Each step brings a contraction and a release. The foot is sturdy. there is a solidity in a foot, yet it is still resilient. Feet spring back after miles and miles of pounding, they arch back up into a blessed arc. Toes are the smartest part of your body, they always know which direction you are pointing. Our feet are the connecting principle to earth energy, our foundation. The footprint, is sacred. A connection with the primordial mother; we press our demanding feet against her belly and hope that she will not oust us from her temple. Put your feet up; the first step in relaxing. Honor these feet, your own feet, for they will walk far.

Showing up

Just Show Up. Many disciplines chant this phrase. I have heard it in yoga, meditation, writing, art, even in marathon training. Persistence, it seems, is the magic ingredient in transformation. Whether the work is transforming your body, your mind, your soul, or your work, the advice is often the same.

Showing up is powerful. There is humility in showing up. Showing up tames the wildness of the ego that says to stay in bed, forget, wimp out. The part that is afraid to change wants us to stay hidden, small. Ultimately, the challenge pulls us out of our hiding spaces. We show up because we crave transformation.

A Buddhist concept that has helped me is “make one decision”. Rather than making a decision everyday whether to write or run or create or sit, make one decision. Make the decision once and move forward. Then it is never a question if you will, the answer is always yes, you already chose, you can skip straight to the activity. This “one decision” process is further reinforced by asking the question “Do you want to achieve your goal?”. If yes, then you show up. If no, then you let your self off the hook, don’t look back, and find a new hobby/work. No need to punish, just make a new choice and be happy.

Showing up takes the pressure off. You don’t have to be brilliant, you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be there. I often set myself up to win. I make the showing up easy. I define showing up as doing the activity for 5 minutes. Five minutes is short enough that it seems doable, easy, not a huge investment. Five minutes is long enough that it breaks through the resistance and inertia. After 5 minutes if I really don’t want to be there, then I go on to something else with a feeling of satisfaction that I kept my promise to myself and a knowing that I will return the next day. Most of the time, 5 minutes quickly turns into 50 minutes, or sometimes 5 hours. The flexibility, that after my 5 minutes I can do something else, quiets my rebellious nature and allows my life and reactive work to flow organically through me.

Just show up.

YOP!! That one last yop put it over the top!!

Teaching the youngster to feed

Teaching the youngster to feed (Photo credit: foxypar4)

I am here! I am here! I am here!

In the past few weeks I have had the experience of invisibility. In traffic, in line ups, walking down the street, people seem to not notice me. I have not had any huge mishaps or accidents, but I find it more than a little strange, since I drive a bright yellow car and I am usually chasing after my (almost) four year old. It is all interesting timing as the date of my first mind-body health workshop fast approaches.

A shift happened when I put together the sneaky code the universe uses to tell us the content of our thoughts. This metaphorical universe is wise. “Feeling invisible? Here try being invisible!” Of course, I am very much made of matter, and what a funny joke it all is. I had to ask myself, am I ready to be seen? Am I really ready for all that I have been asking for?

Mmmostly. For a long time, a very tentative “mostly” was all I could muster. But, today, driving my bright yellow car, I thought “YOP!” Was every who in whoville shouting? No, they were not! So I cheered up my internal sherker and shouted YOP! I am ready to be seen. I am ready to live and experience all of my wishes. Ready to give and show up fully for the people who are asking for me.

I am a great teacher. I read a lot. Constantly. If you need a book, or an answer, or a place to get started, I will find it. Or at least try my best. Or at least send you home with more questions to ponder. I love figuring things out. I see connections most people don’t. I have a brain trained in science , but a heart full of poems, and hands that heal. I love people, plants, crystals, music, writing, bugs, birds, and the planet with equal passion and enthusiasm.

I learn. I heal. I teach. You learn. You heal. You teach. This is the cycle. Transformation always occurs by a magical process from within. Within each person are all the resources needed to manifest everything they have always wanted. I show people their own brilliance and stand back and let them change, heal, grow.

YOP!

πŸ™‚

This moment

Stillness n' Peace (View in full size)

Stillness n' Peace (Photo credit: . Dileepan .)

This moment.
Breathing in, breathe out.
Awareness.

When you recognize
Time is happening right, now
You love each moment.

With a breath
In and a long sigh
Out, you love.

First Workshop!!!

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Today I got the posters out for my first workshop I will be teaching in the area of mind-body connection. So terribly exciting I went home early with a giant migraine. All too funny.

First the workshop, then the migraine.

My workshop is called “Connecting the Dots on Your Health Journey”. It is an evening workshop being held on May 2, 2012 in Calgary at Self Connection Books in Montgomery (NW) at 6:30-9:30 pm. I will be helping people discover the wisdom to be found within their health history, particularly to understand how the emotional events of their lives affect their physical health. I will be teaching how to begin to tell an empowering story about past hurts to transform and heal. There will also be meditations, affirmations and a mini-Reiki treatment. An action packed evening! Sign up at LunaHolistic.eventbrite.ca

Now to tell the migraine story. πŸ˜€ I woke up this morning with no trace of a headache, but with a pounding, driving pressure to “get it all done”. Knowing I had to get my son to his dayhome, poster’s picked up across town, drop my husband off, get back across town all before noon, talk to a few local businesses about putting up said posters, and get home in time to put in a few hours of work at my day job. I was very quickly thinking of how I wanted it all to be done simultaneously. I felt nervous about distributing my poster, a first for me, and feeling exposed, but at the same time I felt scared that I would not connect with the person distributing my posters and miss a week or two of advertising for my exciting new venture. One foot on the gas, one foot on the brake.

Throw into the mix my blog post from yesterday about my lingering pattern of trying to be perfect for everyone else, and kablamo! A migraine!

It actually illustrates my point I will cover in my workshop so nicely, you would think it was planned. It was not, I assure you.

A migraine happens when blood vessels in the head contract painfully, squeezing suddenly on blood which has nowhere else to go. The feeling I get is one of intense pressure that gradually ramps up to a stabbing sensation either in my temple or behind one of my eyes. I often feel nauseous and sometimes vomit from the pain. Over the counter medication generally doesn’t do much for me so I tend to not bother. Usually I just wait it out, resting in a dark, quiet room with my hand over my eye, breathing, meditating and sending Reiki energy to my head until it passes, usually after 3-4 hours.

Emotionally the triggers for a migraine mirrors the physical process so well it is stunning. A sudden, intense pressure, squeezing thoughts of perfectionism that are impossible to achieve bear down on you. There is usually no relief with any activity, since the task is impossible in the first place (getting it all done NOW). There is often the feeling of having nowhere to go to get relief, being stuck with no or few options. Trying to be all things to all people, but resisting the pushing and rushing.

The emotional antidote is the same as what physically relieves the migraine too. Stopping. Being still. Slowing the thoughts down and letting yourself off the hook. Finding a creative solution to the problem helps, as does finding options where only ONE way had appeared before. Going with the flow, instead of pushing against the stream. But mostly, just stopping all thought is required, which is likely why masturbation is said to help. But also meditation which is of an unfocused, expansive nature is immensely helpful. Breathing. Slowly. Helps. So does sleep.

So how do you slow the freight train of thoughts once it has started, and possibly avoid a migraine? Well, it is tough, especially when you are in the middle of it. I find what helps me most is to not get on the train in the first place. I have gotten better, with much practice, at seeing the start of restrictive, pressurized thinking and deliberately turning my mind to the task of finding as many different options and outcomes as possible. This time the excitement of the day swept me away and unfortunately I had trouble finding emotional or physical relief until I just rested my mind after I eventually got the important things done and let myself off the hook for the rest of it.

My migraine is gone now and I can clearly see how silly I was to stress so much over something so trivial and easily managed (I really had no trouble at all, even traffic was good). But knowing how migraines go, I will take it easy on myself and let myself off the ‘perfect’ hook. Laughing about it, blogging about it, hoping that I can help one other person who knows the painful pressure cooker that is migraine; That is the best I can do. Tomorrow and tonight, I just go with the flow and I will be just fine. And so with the rest if the course, just go with the flow, be honest, be humble, show up and be helpful, that is it.

Gotta love how this stuff works! πŸ™‚

Being good

I’ve been dancing with my inner critic lately. I’ve recognized a pattern of needing approval from others. It is nothing new. Maybe it springs from my helping nature, I want to help people transform, to become their full selves. It is always so easy for me to see how amazing and lovable others are; I just want them to see it too.

But, of course, you can’t make anyone do anything, and that is definitely NOT what I am about. What I am weeding out is my tendency to be all things to all people. As a natural pleaser, I thrive on helping others and want positive feedback. But I often focus strongly on anything less than praise. My inner critic goes wild with trying to figure out how I could be better, trying to win over every single person on the planet. I absolutely am aware of how futile this inclination is, but there it is… A flaw.

I am not perfect. I cannot please everyone. But that is not the same as not pleasing anyone. I have many fantastic traits. Being myself is the most important one. Getting rid of the last traces of approval seeking is the task at hand, my self development Everest.

And yet I cannot deny how for I have come, sharing my creative and spiritual work in a public forum, writing daily, meditating, creating course material. These are all things my shy 20 year old self would never have dreamed I would voluntarily do. Progress made, progress still to be had.

I was told once that you know you are in the right place if you feel stretched out, uncomfortable, nervous. I must be in the right place! πŸ™‚

What grateful is

I am grateful. I am gratitude. A series of misfortunes, some big, some small, have gripped me lately. I feel more like a cork bouncing along the waves of life. But still, there is so much to be grateful for. Tiny kindnesses. They make all the difference. Like someone holding your place in line in the wait for the Emergency Room, and letting you know where your loved one is when you run for food and drink. And mostly the camaraderie of fellow corks, not where they want to be, but making the most of it.

I am also pretty damn grateful for kind, skilled medical staff, universal health care, my support system of family and friends, my husband and son, and my faith in something bigger that connects us all.

Grateful. I am that.

Reflexology – Neck

I was recently reminded where the reflex for the seventh cervical vertebrae is when I kicked my laundry basket in the middle of the night. πŸ˜›Β  Whenever seemingly random injuries happen, I always look a little deeper to discover what the meaning might be. I got a tiny cut on the side of my big toe, exactly where the reflex is for C7, the vertebrae at the base of the neck, just above the shoulders.

I find it all a little funny, since I injured myself the night after I wrote this blog post about the fear of moving forward with my writing. The neck rules communication and self-expression. C7 in particular is related to feeling safe to be yourself. The message for me was loud and clear: if I don’t move forward with writing and expanding my readership, I will kick myself. Too funny.

I just love how connected the body is to the deeper workings of the mind. I love being able to read it all in the feet. That is really a big part of what I do, I see the connections between the physical expressions of disease in the body and the events and dis-eases of the emotions and mind. It is a fascinating interconnected system, our body-minds.

 

 

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Have a question about reflexology? Wondering what your body is trying to tell you? Send me an email at geneva@lunaholistic.com and I will help you sort it out. πŸ™‚

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