with Melinda Rodriguez

Winter Blessings!

I hope that you are in the middle of enjoying the peace of the holiday season.  The seeming stressors of Christmas should be well behind now and the anticipation of a new year and a new cycle are gratefully on the horizon.  As we approach 2015, I am noticing a great deal of preparation for transition and transformation.  Preparation can happen in a medley of ways – anything that causes us to slow way down and be still is our illuminated self implementing a process that prepares us for big change.

I know change can be scary.  As humans we naturally fear the unknown.  In modern times that fear can manifest as deep anxiety when mystery is involved.  Our ancestors used earth-based spiritual beliefs and ceremonies to ward off the anxiety associated with the unknown and instead glorified mystery as a sacred, unavoidable aspect of life.  Indigenous Americans term this as “The Great Mystery.”  Over time this term has become synonymous with The Great Spirit, but there is a subtle difference.  Mystery is a part of life.  The more we accept this gracefully, the more peace we invite into our existence.

476494ed5be9ea68b8963a9e5cf15323I personally have been forced into slow mode with an odd flu-like illness that has lasted over two weeks.  This extended period of doing basically nothing has provided me with a great deal of introspection time and communing with Spirit.  I’ll be honest, some of the time when I was really feeling tired of being sick my inquiries to Spirit were something along the lines of “enough is enough….I’m done with this!  What the F@$% is going on?”  But as the illness winds down and I am slowly reemerging back into daily life, there is a synthesis that is occurring and the bigger picture is becoming clear.

As a New Year’s gift to you, I have decided to do a general 2015 card spread and take a peak at what is ahead in the New Year.  The synthesis I have been feeling became even clearer as the cards were laid and my intuition pointed me to the meaning of the spread as a whole and how it impacts all of us.

I think I can sum 2015 up with the words “cleaning out our closets.”  Closets would be metaphor for our psyches.  The angels are showing me that collectively it is vitally important to our wellbeing, personal progress and human evolution to take a deep look at our beliefs.  We all have imbedded beliefs deep within our subconscious that are ready to come out of hiding and be displayed on the bookshelf.  Shadows formed from our past do not disappear, and when they are hidden, they can cause trouble.  When they are illuminated, they loose their power and can be transformed into useful fuel to propel us forward.  Shadow and light are both normal aspects of human life.  Hiding or ignoring our shadow self is not only futile, but ultimately, harmful.

Some of us have gotten a head start on this process.  This has been necessary so that we can assist those who might have a harder time cleaning out the closet.  There is no wrong or right on who’s had a head start and who might struggle with this.  There must be no judgment involved in this process.  In fact, that is one aspect of our beliefs that would benefit from a deep cleaning.  Where are we judging ourselves or others?

What other beliefs might we be buying into that are not true?  Is there a story we are telling ourselves that is not real?  Whomever you were in your past is not who you are today.  We are constantly and consistently changing.  New aspects of ourselves are requesting to emerge, but they need those old beliefs that are no longer true to move aside.  This is always true, not just for 2015.  There are always new aspects of ourselves that are emerging.  However, I am being shown that this is a year in which unveiling our beliefs will be happening on many different levels; personally and globally.  It will also be happening at an accelerated rate, which at times might seem shocking.

Spirit is reminding us also that we must not get caught up in getting too serious with the task.  We must remember to play and invoke joy.  We must be as equal in our diligence to play and be playful as we are in exploring our beliefs.  This lightness will help us embrace the changes that will be occurring.  For some of us, these may be big changes.  For others, they may be on a smaller scale, but still quite poignant.  Play and playfulness however is the prescription for us all.

There are two animal allies that appeared to assist us in our endeavors.  The first was Dragonfly.  But of course – the one who helps us see through illusions!  If you find Dragonfly appearing in your life, in any form (in person, in pictures, in dreams, etc.) be open to seeing through the illusions of old beliefs.  If you are looking for assistance in this process, call upon Dragonfly for help.

The other animal ally was Black Panther.  She helps us to embrace mystery, so it makes perfect sense for her to appear as a guide upon our journey.  Should you find yourself needing to know how it all is going to work out, allow yourself to surrender to mystery.  Call upon Black Panther to help you through the unknown and trust in Spirit to know what you are not meant to know.  You don’t always need to understand where an old belief might have come from to be willing to let it go.  If you discover a belief that is no longer serving you, don’t waste a great deal of time trying to figure out the “whys” and just be willing to surrender it. And again, be watching for her to appear in dreams or pictures or any creative way.  Unless you live in the jungle, it is doubtful she will show up in person unless it is in her miniature form of a black cat.

So 2015 is about change, letting go of the old beliefs that block this necessary change, and embracing new beliefs that put us on our pathway of wisdom.  Remember that you don’t have to go at it all alone.  Engage with your tribe, your community, your friends and loved ones.  Seek out mentors and healers that can assist you on your journey.  If you are a healer or mentor, remember that you need support as well.  Surgeons don’t operate on themselves.  Healers and mentors work optimally when they have a source of support to turn to and are aware and evolved enough to know this truth.

Should you desire to dive a little deeper and examine your own beliefs, be prepared for the changes on the horizon, or explore any issues currently occurring in your life, contact me and make an appointment!

Wishing you a joyful and harmonious 2015!

Melinda

Holy crap it is dark in my house right now! It is about 3:00PM and adding to the fact that in the little canyon where I live it gets dark a bit earlier than an elevated or flat area, it is also a rare cloudy day here in So Cal. And still no rain – ugh! But even if it were not cloudy, it would be fairly dark already due to the time of year. It always seems to sneak up on us doesn’t it? I am a morning person, so I am definitely enjoying more morning light now that the clock changed, but some alterations are required for my afternoon/evening if I am going to survive the dark months without slipping into depression and falling into bed by 6:00PM every night. How do you fare in the darker months? If you are like a large portion of the population, you might suffer a bit (or a lot) from SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder. It happens. There is a fancy name for it now, but our ancestors were well aware of what happens in the dark…and they adapted. So can we, but it takes awareness, acceptance and surrender if we are going to thrive through the fall/winter. And what we learn from nourishing ourselves through the darkness can also help us create nourishing habits for any time that depression sets in, or what I refer to as “the demons getting too loud.”

43e2881e3851702d415f76c6f8faf7daI noticed at a very young age that in the dark, everything seems worse. And if I let those demons get too loud, things can snowball out of control and the next thing I know I’m feeling like my world will end and sometimes I even end up in tears. Once the sun rises, I realize that I conjured up things in my mind that weren’t true – well, the demons did anyhow. That is what I call the negative “monkey mind,” because those monkeys lie. They are not voices, but thoughts; untrue thoughts. As a deep thinker, I can get caught up in over thinking which is when those damn demons pipe in. Of course I can get caught up in over thinking anytime; usually when I am out of harmony like being over tired or having too much chaos around me. But when it is dark, well, the demons like the dark. On occasion I take them out for dinner and feed them, which quiets them a bit. But I must employ an alternative voice that counters their efforts, daily; particularly when the little buggers wake me up in the middle of the night and start their lies.

Being a 45 year old woman in a world that over-values youth, I’ve noticed in the last few years those wretched demons have gotten louder. Some days they tell me I’m fat, or I’m too old, or undereducated, or not making enough money, or ugly, or not a good enough mom – the list goes on and on. And not one of those things is true. They are all outright abominable lies! So I created a deeply loving, nurturing and nourishing inner voice that shuts them right up. She has always been there of course, but she was too quiet for too long. So I gave her some voice lessons and got her to speak loud and clear. She is especially effective at 3:00AM when the demons think they can come out and play. She refocuses my thoughts on gratitude, which is like kryptonite to negativity. She also calls me endearing names like lovey, baby girl, sweet thing, precious, etc. She tells the truth, always. Even when the truth might be a little tough to hear, she speaks it in a loving and uplifting tone.

I haven’t given her a name per se. I simply call her nourishment. If I’m feeling down, I ask myself what is the most nourishing thing I can do for myself right now. Sometimes it is to just let go and have a down, depressed moment (or more than a moment). There are times when that is nourishing. But most of the time, she offers empowering suggestions that lift me up. So I thought I would share some of her encouraging advice with you in case you have similar demons to mine, or know someone who does. It is especially helpful during the dark months, when our shadow selves ask for some attention. They certainly need attention, which is why I take the demons to dinner. That is just my metaphor for honoring the shadow self. Our shadow self gets loud sometimes because it is trying to lead us to wisdom. Our shadow is asking us to go deep into ourselves and look for places that need nourishment – hence feeding the demons. By feeding them every now and then, we can see where we are lacking true nourishment.

Here are some ways we can nourish ourselves through the dark months:

• Go ahead and go to bed a little earlier! How about honoring the rhythms of the earth instead of fighting them. We all would benefit greatly from getting 8+ hours of sleep each night. Know your personal rhythms. If you are naturally a night owl, rejoice in this time of year! You just got more dark and can still get to bed early. If you are a morning person like me, go ahead and go to bed early, then wake up with the sun. Make good use of the daylight you have. When it gets dark, go ahead and wind down without feeling guilty. Yeah, guilt is one of those demons.

• Get your movement in! Movement is the creator of endorphins – the feel-good hormones. Explore when is the best time for you to get your movement in and make a commitment to yourself to do it. I like the mornings. I hike 3 miles almost every day with my dogs. I like to get out into nature and get those endorphins flowing early on and use them throughout the day. But I also like a little light movement in the evening, like yoga or a gentle walk. Want to hear something funny…sometimes I run around the first floor of my home for 10 minutes in the evening. The cats think I’m nuts. But if I’m already in my comfies, and I don’t want to put on walking shoes, I just run barefoot or in socks around the house. It helps me sleep better too. I’m not suggesting you do the same, just do what is nourishing for you. But I thought at least the visual might give you a chuckle. Movement every day is nourishing to everyone, but it is especially important in the dark months.

• Get in your vitamin N – vitamin Nature! Don’t let cooler weather, or for those outside of California, sometimes freezing weather deter you. Bundle up, grab the pups if you have them, maybe a friend, or even go at it alone and get outside. The light, even when cloudy, still gets in through the eyes and feeds the body and soul by increasing your serotonin and dopamine, the other happy hormones. Try to do it without sunglasses, for a few minutes at least.

• Get good nutrition! Nourishing your body nourishes your brain, and your soul. These days I realize good nutrition has a different definition for everyone. It is like parenting styles. Whatever type of diet you prefer, make sure to get in plenty of good fats. If you are not vegan, plenty of animal fats like grass fed butter, organic full-fat dairy, organic meats, etc. They will also help keep healthy levels of feel-good hormones pumping strong. Consider some nourishing bone broths. They’re warm and deeply nutritive. I don’t do the smoothie thing for a variety of reasons, but I do drink nourishing herbal infusions (different from teas). My favorites for the blues are Nettle and Oatstraw. I rotate through more than that, but I drink extra when I need upliftment. Also consider sources of vitamin D if you live in areas that don’t get a lot of sun. Salmon is an excellent source. That is why it is so abundant in the Northwest by the way. Nature takes care of her peeps! Cheese and egg yolks are good too.

• Get in plenty of time with community! It is easy to hunker down and read, or write, or watch TV this time of year. Nothing wrong with that. But make sure you have harmony between down time and community time. If you have kids and/or a partner, play games, have daily family dinners, and do projects together. If you don’t have kids, or are empty nesting it like me with a partner who works A LOT, take a class, offer a class, get together with friends, go to a drum circle – just don’t hermit too much. I’m definitely guilty of hermiting too much, but my nourishing voice nudges me to get out at least one night a week for some community nourishment. Pets are great, and they help, but we also need human connection. I’m known to teach evening classes during the dark months and the main reason is to ensure I get a community fix. For those of you local, what class would you like to see me teach this season?

• Get in plenty of gratitude! I don’t know about you, but I can physically feel when depression begins to seep in. For example, in the middle of the night when the demons get loud. This is when I use gratitude like a tuning fork. I begin to focus on all of the people I am grateful for and why, all of the experiences I’ve had, and even those yet to come. I might reflect on that day, or that week, or even that year. It’s ok if you are grateful for the same thing over and over. It is not a creativity contest. But sincerity is crucial. Draw attention to how your body feels when you are in gratitude. There is a kinesthetic shift in the body when we start focusing on things that make us feel good, like what we are grateful for. I used to have a terrible time refocusing my mind when the demons get too loud in the middle of the night. I’d attempt to visualize something joyful and before I knew it, those sneaky little turds worked their way back into my thoughts. But counting my blessings is far better than trying to count sheep. As my mind reaches for what I am grateful for, there is a magical effect that occurs that puts both me and my demons back to sleep.

Lastly, if you have not already, please create your own nourishing inner voice. It takes conscious awareness and practice, but it won’t be long until new neural pathways are made and she/he becomes louder and louder. When you catch yourself unconsciously allowing the demons to run amuck, invoke that voice of nourishment! Let it tell you that you are adorable, beautiful, have an amazing heart, are of such incredible value just for being you and that you are so very needed in this world. Because that is truth! Yes, we will all age, we might gain or loose weight, maybe we let opportunities go or think we pursued the wrong ones, we are not perfect parents, partners, friends or relatives, nor could we ever be, but we are always doing the best we can. When we are nourished, we make nourished choices and have nourishing thoughts. When we are depleted, we make depleted choices and the demons rule our thoughts. Choosing to listen to the nourishing voice is the true pathway to self love. Self love is not a final destination that you will master, so let go of that notion of nonsense. We will always have moments, days, and weeks even of self loathing. That is how we know what self love really is. The contrast between self loathing and self love is exactly what we came here for. Conscious awareness is our practice that leads us to loving all of our self; the demons and the shadow as well as the glorious light that is our ultimate truth.

Enjoy the fall/winter season.  It will pass as all things do.

Many Native American tribes were matrilineal before the Europeans came along.  Women held great power and respect in these communities cntv_110221_hc_joshua_hinson_09and when a child was born, she/he was a descendant of the mother’s clan, not the father’s as is typical today.  The sweat lodge was actually a counterpart to the women’s moon lodge, originating out of a desire for men to release and restore similarly to women. The ancient ones knew of women’s great power and revered it.  The newcomer’s feared it.  And sadly, what humans typically do when we fear something is demonize it.  And so the devolution of women’s power began.  And when truth re-surfaces, the evolution can start a healing spiral of veneration for all.

I recently heard a woman ask if it was ok to prepare herbal remedies if she was in her moon time (menstruation.)  Huh?!  She was of Native decent, and being that women are often forbidden from certain ceremonies during their moon time, she figured it might also apply to herbal preparations as well.  The common reason that gets reiterated as to why women are forced to refrain from ceremonies during menstruation is that they are too powerful and will somehow affect the ceremony negatively.  Really?!  Please excuse the expletive, but I call bullshit!

I believe the underlying truth is that historically men have feared women’s power, and once again, what one fears, one must make “bad.”  I’m not blaming or bashing, nor am I lumping all men into this belief.  In fact, I think evolved men would agree.  It’s much easier to say we are dirty when we menstruate, or give birth, or bitchy as we move through our natural hormonal dance.  And so, as the celebration of women’s power evolved into the demonization of it with the arrival of a new culture, we were banished from the ceremonies if we bled.  With the evolution of women’s rights of course, it became much safer and politically correct to say that we were too powerful to join in ceremony.  As if that would somehow sooth, keep us from resisting and just go with the flow (no pun intended).

Unfortunately, much of the pre-European history of Indigenous American people has been lost. They often followed an oral tradition, and soon enough the truth was educated right out.  However, thankfully, tidbits of wisdom are still in-tact, even if not well known. Here are a few videos that might surprise you and make you think twice about the “herstory” of women’s power.

http://www.powwows.com/2014/09/10/matrilineal-societies-women-with-power-and-respect/

And let me be clear, I am not referring to women’s power as something that is somehow greater than men.  Neither is greater than the other.  Both genders have an equally shared responsibility with their power.  Claiming it and owning it never equates to an abuse of power.  One of the important first steps we must take as humankind, as we continue our evolution on this planet, is to honor one another.  The only way we can truly create peace is for both genders to equally respect and revere one another.  To me, gender equality is not about any woman being able to do what any man does, or vice versa.  Gender equality is about an equal distribution of power and truly finding admiration with each other.  Sadly however, the pendulum still leans deeply in the patriarchal field and women’s power is still not honored or even acknowledged in some areas of the planet.

The Dali Lama is quoted as saying “The world will be saved by the Western Woman.”  How ironic that Western women were once the leaders of this country…before it was a country.  My hope is that we the Western women wake up.  I mean really wake up.  No groggy sleep-walking, claiming we are awake and then feeling shame about our female essence.  I’m including myself in this desire, for I can admit that at times I can sleep-walk as well as anyone.  We need men’s support as we do this.  As Western women, we can waive our feminist flag all we want, but what good is it if we just become so harsh that we disown our nature?  Aren’t we then trying to fight fire with fire?  From what I’ve seen, more fire might make a good band-aide, but water is really the best remedy.

I’m proposing that our feminine nature, our juicy power, our lusciousness – in whatever way we desire to express it – is how we can nudge that pendulum out of patriarchy and into a natural swing of harmony; back and forth, sharing power, reciprocally.  As we honor and reconnect with the ancient ones, we reawaken women’s natural power, which is harmonious with all of life.  This is how the world will be saved by the Western woman.

Aho!

I heard a song recently titled “I Am light.”  Lovely title isn’t it?  The lyrics are just as charming, speaking about not being our pain, not being our past, not being the things people have done to us, but being light at the core of who we are.  I believe this to be true.  But how do we experience this truth?  After all, day in and day out we live in a physical body and in a physical world that projects suffering from so many angles.  With the complexity of our human mind, believing and actually experiencing the truth that we are light can be a challenging quest that often seems to lead only to fleeting moments of any real awareness of our light – our Spirit – our God-self.  Anyone on a spiritual path pursuing spiritual growth knows of the many practices and journeys involved in seeking such awareness.

There is one practice that I discovered 15 years ago that truly opened my awareness of my light.  Whenever I engage in this practice, I sink deep into my body, feeling every cell of my being while simultaneously feeling connected to my spirit and my oneness with the Great Spirit.  This sensation lasts for hours, sometimes days.  The more I do it, the happier I am.  The amazing aspect of this practice is that it engages body, mind and spirit.  It is not a passive practice like meditation or listening to music; it is an active practice that requires gentle physical involvement.  It is an activity that has been practiced since the first humans walked this planet, in every corner of the world.  Every culture has roots to this practice, and in many parts of the planet it is still utilized today.  It truly is etched deep in our DNA, for no matter our cultural background, this practice was present at one point or another.  It is also something that anyone can do, at any age.

020 (2)Drumming!  And to a similar extent, dancing and singing or chanting.  These are all activities that our ancestors engaged in.  These activities were a part of everyday life.  They were healthcare for the community.  No one needed training.  No one was told they had no rhythm or a voice not good enough to sing.  Where community is strong in cultures around the world today, you will still find people engaging in making music, dancing or singing.  No one is a spectator; everyone participates, young and old.  And although they may not articulate as much, when they drum or dance or sing – they experience their light.  They experience joy and happiness.  They feel connected to their community as a valued member with something precious to contribute.  These innate elements of creating rhythm with others is sweet medicine to the body, mind and soul; medicine so many are missing out on today.  This missing medicine I believe to be a big part of why so many people feel disconnected, disenfranchised, depressed, ill, and overall unhealthy in today’s world.

Because we have evolved so far away from such activities in western culture, drumming is often a safe beginning activity to get our feet wet and reconnect to our light as we drink in the delicious awareness of our spirit.  Anyone can pick up a drum like a djembe or frame drum and play it.  And when a group of people come together and play drums – magic happens; literally!  I’ve witnessed it hundreds of times with people from all walks of life, all ages, and all backgrounds.  I’ve seen reticence morph into ecstasy in less than 30 minutes.  It just never gets old.  I get a double whammy of light every time I lead a drumming event because not only am I experiencing my spirit, but I’m watching everyone around me experience theirs.

Honestly, you don’t need a drum though to unleash this divine connection to your light.  Something a simple as a tiny egg shaker can connect you to your rhythm, which is the real essence that exposes the light.  Even objects around your home can be used to make some sacred noise.  A basic rhythm such as a heartbeat rhythm played repeatedly for at last 10 minutes or longer will actually shift your energy.  This isn’t something I’ve hypothesized, this is scientific fact.  Dr. Barry Bittman has done extensive research into the effects of group drumming.  To summarize one of his most notable findings, cancer fighting antibodies were found in the blood of a group of people drumming together that were not there prior.  I would hypothesize however that it was not so much the drumming that manifested these antibodies, but the group of people connecting with their rhythm and making music together that made the magic.  It is rhythm that is the direct link to our light, regardless of the medium.

Our ancestors may not have had the knowledge we do today about rhythm, but they certainly had the wisdom.  They knew the power of rhythm and how it affects the community as a whole, which in a healthy society is the health of the people; body, mind and spirit.

So the next time you are feeling down, disconnected, unsure of your light – drum, dance or sing.  Better yet, find a group of people to do it with.  Let go of any inhibitions about rhythm; those would be just part of an untrue story.  No one is truly without rhythm; it is a biological impossibility.  We might find ourselves disconnected from our awareness of it, but just like our light, our inner spirit, it is there…always.  The more you explore rhythm, the more connected to it you will feel.

Be forewarned though – connecting with your rhythm has been proven to ignite states of joy, harmony, ecstasy, peace and a lasting awareness of the light within.  So don’t blame me if you find yourself in a space of exhilarated happiness from drumming or dancing or singing – thank me.

In Rhythm & Harmony

Melinda

 

 

 

 

How well do you sleep?  I hear so many people complain that they aren’t sleeping well, particularly women, especially women between 30 and 60.  What I come across commonly is that they can fall asleep, but have trouble staying asleep.  There are also those that have trouble getting the mind to shut down so they can nod off.  Does any of this sound familiar?

Unfortunately, I am no stranger to difficulties in sleeping.  However it has improved significantly in the last few years with only a few days out of a month that I might have trouble.  I have contemplated regularly what the right recipe is for good sleep.  Sometimes I think I have it, only to encounter one of those rare nights where I either can’t fall asleep or can’t stay asleep.  Then I heard an interview recently with my favorite herbal mentor, spilling the beans on what she believes to be the secret sauce for good sleep…Stinging Nettle!

Doh!  Are you slamming your palm against your forehead right now thinking “here we go again with the Stinging Nettle?”  Yes, I have written on this topic before.  And if you know me personally, you know I praise this weed like it is gold and have probably encouraged you to make some.  It is gold!  But I have new information that may not only lead you to better sleep, but what if I told you that Nettle, along with other nourishing herbs, are the simple, affordable pathway to hormonal harmony.  Friends, when I hear something that I know can empower and assist people, and they probably don’t even know about it, I want to sing it from the mountaintops!

I’m not going to repeat myself on the surplus of nourishing components to Stinging Nettle infusion.  You can read about that here https://pathwaysofwisdom.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/stinging-nettle-how-i-love-theeand-so-should-you/.  Instead, I want to share how this weed can lead you to the sleep you lust for along with its ability to support your body in proper hormone production, and throw in a few other golden nuggets of wisdom.

infusions2First let me say that I LOVE my nourishing infusions!  What is an infusion you ask?  It is NOT a tea!  I repeat, NOT A TEA!  Nettle tea, or any other herbal tea might be delightful to drink, but there is no nutritional, nourishing, or healing value (besides the enjoyment factor).  There is simply just not enough herb in a tea and it is not steeped long enough to extract all of the goodies that any particular herb contains.  An infusion is a large amount of nourishing herb “steeped” for an extended period of time, 4 to 10 hours, allowing the hot water to extract the gems our body requires.

It is also important to note that a not all herbs can be made into an infusion.  The term “nourishing” indicates the type of herb that is used.  There are four main categories for herbs – nourishing, tonifying, stimulating/sedating and potentially poisonous.  For further information, you can check out my blog post https://pathwaysofwisdom.wordpress.com/2013/05/29/the-wisdom-of-healing-allies/.  One must be mindful and respectful when working with the Earth’s healing jewels.  All but nourishing herbs should not necessarily be taken excessively or indefinitely.  Nourishing herbs however are essentially food and there is no known risk of overdose, nor unwanted side effects.  The above referenced blog post also explores herbs in food form such as infusions or tinctures vs. capsules or pills as well as the importance of working with them one at a time.

So how does Stinging Nettle help us sleep?  Well, it is an extraordinarily powerful adrenal ally.  When we wake up in the middle of the night and cannot go back to sleep, it is often due to adrenal burn out, or what is commonly called adrenal fatigue.  Your adrenals are supremely important to the overall health of your entire body.  Yes, all organs are important and they are all connected, but the adrenals are not holding up well with modern, western societal demands.  Simply put, the adrenals manufacture certain vital hormones, such as cortisol, the stress hormone.  Too much stress over long periods of time leads to too much cortisol, which leads to sleep impediment (along with a slew of other symptoms).  Taxing the adrenals in that way with an over production of cortisol and other stress hormones exhausts the adrenal glands rendering them dysfunctional and therefore altering the appropriate balance of hormones in the body, including those that keep sex hormones stabilized.  The adrenals were just not designed for an overly stressed life style.

Now Nettle won’t dissolve your stress.  Only you can do that.  But you can certainly support your adrenals along your journey of lowering stress in your life and continue to nourish them for the unavoidable stressors that will always be present from time-to-time.  I love my Nettle infusion and have been drinking it for several years now, along with other nourishing infusions.  But I too encounter busyness or forgetfulness and miss it some days.  I have finally connected the dots and now notice that when I do miss it for more than a few days, my sleep is not as sound, even downright sucky if I’m gong through periods of high stress.  Putting this puzzle together has motivated me even more to keep on top of my nourishing infusions, which includes Nettle.  In fact, I rotate through the various nourishing herbs, but I drink Nettle daily; sometimes several glasses a day during extended activity demands or periods of high stress.

So by now I’m guessing you are also starting to recognize the connection between Nettle and hormonal harmony.  Over production or under production of sex hormones, as affected by the adrenals, also impede sleep along with causing a landslide of other unpleasant experiences.  Again, stress is an important factor in harmonized hormones, but we can also nourish and support our body, providing optimum nutrition that goes beyond food.  Food is important of course, but most of us don’t eat perfectly each and every day.  Nourishing infusions provide all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals our body needs without any need for further supplementation.  It is also affordable, doesn’t require fancy machinery, or gobs and gobs of organic produce.

But Nettle certainly isn’t the only nourishing herb that is helpful to hormonal harmony.  Here is an excerpt from Susun Weed (my favorite herbal mentor) in an article she wrote on how minerals make the difference:

“By 2015 half of the female population of the United States will be post-menopausal. But this group of post-menopausal women won’t be old fuddy-duddies with broken hips, heart attacks, and failing memories. Women of today expect to emerge from menopause energetic, zesty, and passionate! Are hormones necessary? No! Wise women nourish their hearts, bones, and spirits with simple, safe mineral-rich herbs.

Herbs, especially the weedy ones, are minerals powerhouses. Getting those minerals isn’t as easy as taking a tincture (alcohol extracts little to no minerals) or swallowing a pill (minerals are poorly utilized from encapsulated herbs) but it isn’t difficult either. At the Wise Woman Center we include mineral-rich herbs in our daily diet; it’s easy, tasty, and very rewarding. How do we do it?  Drink 1-2 cups nourishing herbal infusion each day.

Herbal infusions differ from herbal teas: They are darker in color and richer tasting because their long brewing extracts many more nutrients — especially minerals. My favorite nourishing herbal infusions for menopausal women are oatstraw, red clover blossoms, stinging nettle leaves, and comfrey leaves.

To prepare your infusion: Put a quart of cold water up to boil. Weigh one ounce of dried (not fresh!) herb into a quart canning jar. Go brush your teeth and count your grey hairs until the teapot whistles. Pour the boiling water into the jar with your herb (only one herb at a time, please!), screw on a tight lid, turn off the light, and go to bed. Next morning strain out the herb and drink the liquid: cold, hot, or at room temperature. Add honey, tamari, or milk if desired.

Oatstraw (Avena sativa) has a mellow taste. It eases frazzled nerves, lowers cholesterol, improves circulation, strengthens bones, eases headaches, relieves depression and encourages us to be sexy old ladies!

Red clover (Trifolium pratense) infusion not only builds bones, and prevents cancer, it reduces serum cholesterol (protecting heart health) and helps maintain strong pelvic tissues –thus preventing incontinence, lowered libido, atrophic vaginitis, and uterine prolapse. Red clover contains ten times more phytoestrogens than soy, without soy’s bone-damaging, thyroid-impairing side-effects.

Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) infusion contains more than 500 milligrams of calcium per cup. (Nettle tea has none, neither does the tincture.) Nettle strengthens adrenal functioning, promotes sound sleep, increases overall energy, prevents allergic reactions, strengthens the blood vessels, and prevents hair loss.

Comfrey (Symphytum uplandicum x) is controversial. Ingestion of its roots can cause severe liver congestion. The leaves are safe, though labeled otherwise. Comfrey leaf infusion helps maintain good vaginal lubrication, strengthens the bones, protects against cancer, soothes painful joints, and improves mental functioning.”

I have not tried comfrey or oatstraw yet, but have an order on the way.  I’ll let you know.  I love the taste of red clover.  Red raspberry, which is not mentioned above is also a great nourishing herb for infusion, and I drink that regularly.  It has a strong taste, but a little peppermint mixed in helps, which does not interfere with the medicinal qualities of the herb.  I use ample peppermint with my Nettle, and I will admit it was an acquired taste.  It has such high chlorophyll content that it tastes a little like a fish tank at first.  But within a day or two of first trying it, you’ll notice level energy throughout the day and excellent sleep at night, which is what we all want isn’t it?

So cheers <clink> to you!  May you be blessed with hormonal harmony and a beautiful night’s sleep.  And please do leave a comment and let me know your experiences with nourishing herbs.

Harmonious Blessings,

Melinda

A Hard Lesson In Keeping BoundariesI broke my own cardinal rule recently.  I didn’t even realize I was breaking it until I endured the aftermath.  My rule is that the day after air travel, which I undergo three or more times a month, I do nothing.  No clients, no writing, no cleaning, no shopping, no lunch dates – nothing.  I stay home and do nothing but relax, preferably sans makeup, hair in a ponytail and wearing comfies.

I am a Jill of many trades.  One of which is presenting corporate team building events with African drums.  As an introverted, highly sensitive person that paradoxically loves to speak and present on stage in front of hundreds of people, I know myself well enough to understand that although I enjoy my work, I dislike the ups and downs of flying back and forth to my destinations.  Airports, delays, long flights sitting way to close to strangers, lonely hotel rooms, crappy food, and often limited sleep wreaks havoc on my finely tuned nervous system.  I am refueled with time alone, unlike an extrovert that refuels with time in community.  So when I return home from travel, I know I need to refuel in order to be grounded, whole and productive in the days that follow.

I used to feel so weak and even guilty for needing my down time.  Most of my friends and loved ones are not introverts or highly sensitive like me.  I see them flourishing by constantly being surrounded by people.  But when I finally realized there is nothing wrong with me, it is just the way my brain and body is wired, I felt a huge relief and vowed to protect that sensitivity and nurture myself with what is right for me, not them.  It took me 40+ years to understand this, so keeping that vow takes diligence and commitment.  And I broke that commitment.

Last week I spent five out of seven days traveling that included two trips; one from California to Phoenix and back and then California to Oklahoma and back.  And for some strange reason the day after my return from Oklahoma I was out and about, spending time with my love.  I suppose that’s not so strange being that we missed each other during my travel and had two days off together.  And I reckon that is why I threw my cardinal rule right out the window.  But it was bad reasoning.  I was fine the first day.  Then the second day I noticed I was feeling cranky for no apparent reason.  By the third day, when I actually set out to ease back into my routine of work, home management, etc., I found myself to be a complete wreck.  Thrown into the mix was the fact that my 12 year old Siberian Husky had apparently damaged some ligaments and is walking around on three legs which followed my 4 year old car needing a new alternator.  Suffice it to say that I was acting and reacting in a way that pretty much made premenstrual syndrome look like a day at Disneyland.

Then it hit me, and I thought to myself “Oooohhhhh yeaaahhhhh, I didn’t stay home and lay low the day after travel.”  The truth is, if I just would have honored my cardinal rule and taken just that one day to myself when I returned home from Oklahoma, I would have handled the stress of my dog totally differently.  I could have seen my options clearly, but instead I cried bawled for two days worrying about it all.  My love would have been so very happy to give me space and spend the day out playing poker, which is how he refuels.  We still would have had his second day off together, and with both of us refueled, it could have been glorious rather than both of us dealing with my crabby ass.

For introverts, extroverts, sensitives and non-sensitives, it is so vitally important that we set boundaries for ourselves and know how to flow with our rhythm and the changing rhythms around us.  Oh the irony – I preach this in every gig I present!  Every aspect of our life revolves around rhythm.  We eat, we sleep, we work, we play – all to a rhythm.  There is a rhythm to our day, to our work…and when we are aligned with that rhythm, we feel awesome.  Yet, it is human nature to fall out of that rhythm from time to time, just like I did.  If we are not conscious in our life and not in-tune with our rhythm and the rhythms around us, what we typically do when we loose the pulse is run around like chickens with their head cut off (like I did) and create chaos.  The key to avoiding that chaos, or at least leaving it behind and easing back into a rhythm is to just stop everything.  Stop doing, and just sit and be for a time; maybe a few minutes, maybe a few hours, maybe a few days.  Whatever it takes to connect without ourselves and then the world around us; feel the rhythm and find our groove – which I eventually did.

It is important to remember also that the rhythm is always changing.  This is why conscious awareness is so important to our peace and happiness.  When we are awake, aware and tuned-in, we feel the rhythm and synchronize.  Each of us has our own way of tuning in.  Knowing ourselves and honoring who we are is imperative – not who we think we should be, not who someone else wants us to be, and not who culture or society dictates.  Rhythm gets all screwed up when we try to be someone we are not.

And for the record, strength is overrated.  It is ok to have moments of weakness, and to surrender to it.  There is a time and a place for strength, but the same goes for weakness.  Actually, one cannot truly exist without the other.  And damn it, what we resist persists.  If I would have honored myself and settled into weakness for just one day after travel, I would have had the strength to endure.  Instead, weakness and I have been hanging out for almost a week now and I’m kind of done with it.

It was an honest mistake.  It was made out of love and wanting to spend time with my man.  I won’t beat myself up over it (anymore).  Lesson learned!  You all know what I’ll be doing the day after my next stint of travel…not a damn thing!

How do you set boundaries for yourself?  Have you had to learn the hard way how important boundaries are?  Leave a comment and let’s learn from each other.

In Rhythm & Harmony,

Melinda

 

 

6e7ba18c86c1a1d4aafe66bcee93f1bcHave you ever felt inauthentic with an affirmation, like it is a lie?  For example if you have 50 cents in your banking account and you are working with an affirmation such as “I am wealthy, now!”  This can actually put body and mind in opposition, which is contradictory to the energy necessary to conjure our requests.  This scenario is especially true for empaths.

Empaths are acutely sensitive to energy.  Often labeled “highly sensitive,” an empath has a strong radar for lies and inauthenticity, which make certain affirmations challenging when they are the polar opposite of the current situation.  Empathic or not however, our subconscious mind (where negative programming dwells) has a sharp intelligence making affirmations ineffective when we are smack dab in the middle of “feeling” bad.

I am a huge fan of affirmations and have been working with them since the mid 90’s when I first discovered Louise Hay – the heralding queen of affirmations.  I’ve witnessed miracles in my life hundreds of times as a result of working with such positive commandments.  And, I’ve also worked with certain affirmative statements that never really seemed to come to fruition.  So what makes some affirmations work some of the time, and others don’t?

I have found that there are two key components to conjuring life’s coveted delights through affirmations – state of mind and wording.  If we are at a low point emotionally, using positive statements that included “I AM,” followed by whatever opposite element we would like to experience, puts our body and mind into opposition.  Yes, indeed, “I AM” is a powerful statement.  However, there is immense wisdom in using it correctly in order to obtain the outcome we desire.

If we are feeling negative emotions (which should never be denied or stuffed) we first want to let the emotion run its course.  This does not mean dwelling in it for an extended period of time but rather giving the emotion the expression it requires.  As we are expressing, we can still tap into the power of affirmations by stating to the universe our willingness to feel differently.  For example, if you are experience the pain of a broken heart, a productive affirmation would be something like “I am willing to experience a miracle of love.”  In that moment of feeling hurt, a ray of hope has just been introduced into the psyche.  It is important to let go of any attachment to how it all shows up and be open to even the smallest miracle.  Once we observe even the tiniest of miracles, and we always will if we watch for them, we have the opportunity to work with the healing essence of gratitude, which doubles as a wonderful magnet that attracts more of what we are grateful for.

Once we are in an empowered state of mind, we can truly dive in to the mighty force of “I AM.”  An empowered state of mind can happen organically or it can be induced through intention and healthfully seeking out what makes you feel good.  Meditation, dancing, drumming, laughter with friends, love shared, a long walk – whatever makes you feel good, do it and do it shamelessly and guiltlessly.  In your state of conscious joy, use the “I AM” affirmations.  Anytime you find yourself in a state of feeling grateful to be alive, use those commanding, in-the-now affirmations.

When you feel less than empowered, in a state of sadness, anger or frustration, use the “I am willing” affirmations.  Anytime an affirmation feels like a lie, use willingness as a bridge to the experience you desire.  That willingness opens you to receive.  It is allowing the Divine to take over and bypass the programs of the subconscious or the sensitivity of any inauthenticity.  Once you’ve worked consistently and continuously with the willingness, you will discover that transformation has occurred.

When an affirmation feels particularly out of reach, I like to combine the “willingness” factor with the word – miracle.  I do firmly believe in miracles, so when I use an affirmation beginning with “I am willing to experience the miracle of _______,” it feels remarkably uplifting and empowering.

Turning your affirmations into a rhyme is another great way to bypass the programming of the subconscious by transforming it into a chant.  It also makes saying your affirmations out loud down right fun as well as adding an essence of conviction.  As an example, many years ago when my kids where young teens, we were planning a family winter weekend trip to a mountain cabin for snow play.  It was planned months in advance.  The cabin was carefully selected specifically for the large private hillside that it backed up to, making sledding as easy as walking out the back door.  Soon after I made the reservations, we began experiencing an extended heat wave.  So, I crafted a chant that I recited daily, several times.  I also wrote it down regularly and got the kids involved as well.  The chant went like this:  “Warm weather be gone til the middle of May!  Cold wind, rain and snow is here now to stay!”  When I spoke this chant out loud, I did so with such intense passion and zest it was as if I were delivering an incantation that would move heaven and earth.

Well, suffice it to say that not only did the warm weather turn and dump ample snow for snow play just prior to our trip, but it snowed the whole time we were there, in fact it was a absolute blizzard by the time we left.  For born and bred Southern Californian’s this was a gloriously enchanting experience and our family had a wonderful time with memories that we carry with us always.

So give these tips a try and let me know how they work for you.  Or, if you have your own method for utilizing affirmations, please do share.

In Sacred Harmony,

Melinda

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