with Melinda Rodriguez

Archive for the ‘musings’ Category

What is really important – even when the journey sucks?

bald2a

May 5, 2015

What I’d give for a bad hair day!  Anyone who knows me or has spent any amount of time with me knows how obsessive I am with my hair.  In the 7th grade, when I began using tools and hairspray on my hair, I would spend hours trying to get it just right. Then I would pack on so much hairspray, Aqua Net to be precise, that my hair felt like a helmet.  I would turn my whole body with my head as to not undo the locks from their perfect place.  And now, it’s gone; all gone!

Chemo sucks indeed.  Yes, it is a necessary evil right now with stage IV ovarian metastatic cancer that has spread to my lungs, liver and lymph nodes, but it sucks ass.  Yet, in my 2 out of 6 rounds of having the deadly poison pumped into the port catheter conveniently implanted into my chest, I am finally free of the devastating pain I was in before my diagnosis. So in a way, I am grateful for the war being waged within my body for it seems to be having an effect despite the large tumor still protruding from my abdomen.  And of course there is the weight loss – another upside from this nasty disease.  Fortunately I am not gaunt, just back to my ideal weight and glad that I didn’t throw away all of my skinny clothes even though I haven’t fit into any of them for years.

Chemo makes me feel like crap, weak and tired, but the hardest part is being bald. Unfortunately my bathroom is comprised of three walls of mirrors.  Every time I walk in there I am painfully reminded of my circumstances.  Even after almost of month without hair, I still walk in there, catching a glimpse of my profile out of the corner of my eye and for a split second I think to myself “who is that?  She looks like someone with cancer.”  Oh yeah, it’s me.  I’m the one with cancer.  Fuck!

I face my own image full on in the mirror and feel momentary pity for the poor girl staring back at me.  However I quickly shift that pity to a sentiment of it-is-what-it-is and move on. I can only hope that I get used to my appearance soon, otherwise those mirrors are going to have to come down. I mean seriously, how’s a girl supposed to heal when she is constantly reminded of a suffering self-esteem thanks to chemo-induced baldness.

Then there are the looks I get when I go out into public.  There’s the fearful pity look that predominantly comes from women probably 10 years older than me.  Clearly they have their own inner struggle between their honest fear of reality and the pity they think is more appropriate.  And the second-take male look.  Not sure I have that one figured out, but men will look at me then do a double take.  Of course there is the curious child.  That one doesn’t bother me so much.  There’s also the look from someone I know that has no clue and is seeing me for the first time in months and I’m now bald and skinny.  They don’t know what to do or say…what do you say when you see someone who is all of the sudden bald?  I quickly put their curiosity to rest and fill them in on my recent diagnosis.  But the freak-out award goes to an unidentified gal who crossed a cross walk opposite me.  She was coming straight at me, paying no attention to me but rather to see if the coast was clear to cross.  By the time she felt assured it was she was a few feet in front of me and we almost collided. She took one look at me and gasped.  She then gave me a wide berth as she continued crossing.  I couldn’t help but giggle and the smart ass in me had to announce loud enough for her to hear that cancer was indeed not contagious and she didn’t have to worry about going bald from possibly being in my airs pace.

This is NOT the life I had planned for myself!  After all, I ate well 80% of the time.  I am a practicing herbalist, I am a healer, I am a spiritual teacher – this wasn’t supposed to happen to me.  Except that, it did!  I cleared a lot of toxins out of my life 4 years ago and continue to clean things up wherever I can.  I eat organic whenever I can.  Come on!  WTF!  Cancer?!  Stage IV?!  Damnit!

The truth is though, it can happen to anyone.  Cancer does not give a hoot who you are, how healthy you eat, or any other so-called defining marker that you mistakenly think keeps you safe from disease.  The question is not “why me?”  The question is, “WHY NOT ME?  Really, who do we think we are when we ask “why me?”  We can follow all the rules we think we are supposed to follow in life, in any situation, but NOTHING prevents bad things from happening to us; not positive thoughts, not clear chakras, not yoga, not green smoothies, not organic food, not even prayers, NOTHING!  Of course those things may lower our odds, but they do not offer all out prevention.

This does not however mean we live in fear or give up on spirituality or our healthy path.  What this does mean is that we truly strive to live in the present moment.  We absolutely let go of the bullshit from the past; leave it behind!  We must make love a priority as well as time spent with loved ones.  Quit worrying about security or safety because it doesn’t exist. Put joy in front of your career path. Better yet, include joy with your career path.  Because if you are not loving what you are doing every day then what is the point?  Please, take it from someone who has to face their own waning mortality, joy and love are everything.  I have no idea how long I have left on this planet.  Neither do you.  You may not have cancer, but you could die tomorrow from a number of causes. Right now my only focus is on healing and I do that by feeling as good as I can and surrounding myself with as much love as I can.  But if you are reading this and not actively healing or dying, then please commit to living joyfully in the present and focusing on the people that you love.  To be perfectly cliché, don’t sweat the small stuff…and it’s all small stuff!  And even if you are actively healing or dying, the advice is the same.

I guess my baldness is small stuff eh?  That’s why I posted a raw, bald picture of me here.  Because it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks.  It only matters that I focus on why I’m bald – because I am actively healing.  I am in treatment because I want more time to love. I want more time to feel joy.  I want to watch my daughter be a mother and see my grandson grow.  I want to spend as much time and share as much love with my aging parents as possible.  I want to feel the arms of my lover around me for as long I can.  These are my treasured gifts as I walk my human path.

So I leave you with this very important question – what are your treasured gifts on your human path and what is their priority in your life?

Your support for Melinda’s medical expenses is so very appreciated. Every little bit counts.  Click below to to show your support.

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A peek into 2015

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

Reawaking Herstory

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!

Unveiling the light within

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

 

 

 

 

Glorious Sleep & Hormonal Harmony

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 Boundaries

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

 

 

When Affirmations Feel Like Lies

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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