with Melinda Rodriguez

Posts tagged ‘Healing’

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

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

What’s In The Cards For You?

readingWhen I went within to ask what I should write about for this week’s Wisdom Wednesday, I was guided to do a collective card reading that taps into Universal energies and applies to everyone. Transitions abound for all of us right now, in one form or another.  A little direction from the loving spiritual forces that guide us is a powerfully wise tool that can help us stay centered and focused as we journey upon our individual pathways of wisdom.

I have a unique way of working with cards of guidance in that I shuffle them with intent and then let the ones to be used for the reading either stick out or fall out.  I chose to use Doreen Virtue’s Angel Cards for the bulk of the reading along with one helper card from the Medicine Card’s deck.  These are the cards that literally fell out for your reading:

The main card and the first to fall out was Surrender & Release.  With all that is going on in our world right now as well as in our personal lives, it is so important that we don’t get caught up in trying to control and change it all.  Things are unfolding as they should right now.  Trying to control outcomes, people and even ourselves can be exhausting!  When we surrender and release the issues and situations in our life over to Spirit we open ourselves to the highest outcome for all involved.  That may or may not be what we want, but we can completely trust that it is what we need.  More often than not however, surrendering allows things to unfold in a way that is even more favorable that we could have imagined with our controlling mind.  Think back for a moment about the high moments of your life.  Were they contrived or did they unfold organically and naturally?

The next card that fell out was Intention.  This segues beautifully from the first as what you are being asked is to set intention around your personal situation and then surrender and release to your Spirit.  Whatever you are dealing with in any given moment, set your intent for the highest, divinely orchestrated outcome for all involved.  Be aware of any negative thoughts that flow through you.  Without judgment of those thoughts, bring yourself back to intention.  This is where your power dwells – in your intention.  Negative thoughts are natural, so don’t get caught up in some sort of positive thinking 24/7 protocol.  Allow yourself the full gamut of thoughts and feelings as they arise, all the while keeping your intentions in sight and working your way back to your truth.

The last card that fell out was Healing.  The planet as a whole and each and every one of us who dwell here are embarking upon a massive opportunity to heal when we surrender, release, and set intent.  We are being asked to allow healing to occur in those old buried wounds so that we can move forward in harmony with our purpose and the very evolution of our soul.  We did not come here to lead a perfect life in perfect balance from beginning to end, every moment of every day we draw breath!  We came here to experience the polarity of the Earth realm and to learn to love deeply; love ourselves, others and the beauty that exists here.  We ALL have healing to do along the way.  It is unavoidable.  But so many have gotten stuck in their wounding.  Most of us don’t intend to be stuck there.  Life just happens around us so fast that we keep on trucking without realizing we are living fragmented instead of whole.  Or maybe we avoid tapping into the pain out of fear and avoid healing thereby just sticking our head in the sand and continuing on.  Spirit is asking you to allow the healing to occur.  Surrender and release, set your intent, then lovingly allow the healing to flow into your life in a way that is joyful and pleasing.

The helper card is one that signifies an ally to assist you on your journey at this time.  Their message and/or medicine is one that will accompany you as you follow Spirit’s guidance and help you to accomplish your divinely ideal outcome.  For this reading, Deer fell out of the deck.  Traditionally Deer represents gentleness and she would like to remind you to be extra gentle with yourself right now, as well as with others.  She will help you reach your Sacred Mountain by inspiring you towards love in all situations; love for yourself, and love for those around you who have their own wounds to heal.  Deer reminds us of the gentleness of the Spirit that heals all.  Call upon Deer to work with you.  Be open to her signs.  Anytime you see a deer, a picture of a deer, hear the word deer – these are validating sings of her presence.

So there ya go.  These are the messages Spirit would like to share with you at this time.  It doesn’t matter when you are reading this, the first time you do is when it is applicable to you and the coming days, weeks, possibly even months.  I welcome your questions.  If you are reading this on my website, send me an email.  If you are reading this on my blog, leave a comment.  I’m on this journey with you.

Blessings,

Melinda

The Dream

I have been on an incredible journey of learning and teaching in the fields of Spirituality, Healing and Personal Growth for well over a decade.  A few years into this journey I began drumming and fell passionately in love with rhythm and the transformational healing power that drumming played in my life personally.  Just at the point where I was beginning to connect the dots and formulating the awareness that somehow rhythm was an important component to what I was teaching others – I had an incredible, visceral, unforgettable dream one evening.  I was in the habit of recording my dreams first thing in the morning before they left my memory, and this is what I recorded: 

As I approached what appeared to be an ancient, adobe type structure, I could hear the deep, primal beat of drums coming from within.  As I entered, I felt a sensation of coming home, as if I was so familiar, and so comfortable with this space, yet I couldn’t recall being there before.  I embraced the adventure and wandered through this sacred place, listening to the sacred rhythms and feeling so connected to Spirit.  There were several rooms within this building, but the rooms were surrounded by only three walls instead of four.  Where the fourth wall would be was an open space into the outdoors.  The rooms contained a wealth of beautiful Indigenous artifacts.  There were colorful baskets, frame drums, pipes, shields, masks, blankets and feathered fans carefully placed on walls, shelves and the floor all throughout each room.  It was a visual feast that took time to take in and savor.  I slowly made my way from room to room in ceremony to the beat of the drum, honoring the beauty of each item I witnessed.  As I approached one room, I could hear chanting of some sort.  It was not a language I understood, yet it had that same familiar feeling.  I entered the room, and there was a group of Indigenous Elders of various ethnicities sitting in a circle.  They deliberately did not acknowledge my presence even though I knew that they knew I was there.  One of the Elders, an African man, looked up at me, and with his eyes only, invited me to sit in the empty space next to him.  I took a seat within this sacred circle and the next thing I knew, I was chanting with the Elders.  Although I did not cognitively understand what I was chanting, I seemed to know how to sing and pronounce the sounds.  I could still hear the drums in the distance, and the chanting integrated and synchronized with the rhythm.

After sitting and chanting with this council of sacred beings, the gentleman that invited me to be seated got up and left the circle.  I looked up at him as he was exiting the room and he looked back at me with those same inviting eyes, indicating that I should accompany him, so I did.  We walked down a hallway where there were more artifacts hanging on the wall.  We seemed to be getting closer to the drums.  As we neared the sounds of sacred rhythm, I could also hear a didgeridoo being played with the drums.  The African Elder and I walked in silence as we approached the music.  My entire being was filled with healing rhythm.  In an open, outdoor garden space, in the center of this ancient adobe building, there were dozens of people, from all different cultural backgrounds, all making music together.  Some where playing various types of drums, some were playing different instruments; others where dancing, some where chanting, one person was playing the didgeridoo, but everyone was participating.  The Elder looked over at me and finally spoke.  He said “You must make music.  Everyone must make music to heal.  You must bring the music to the people; be the bridge from the ancient cultures to contemporary societies and teach the people to make music.  Then, the people will heal their body and mind, and the body and mind of the Great Mother.”  He continued to speak to me about the power of rhythm and sacred ritual and the need for people to return to community.  I awakened from this dream, retaining every memory of every moment.  My journey towards my purpose was unveiled.   

I have never forgotten that dream.  It has fueled my continued connection to rhythm and the importance of rhythm and drumming in my work.  At the time of this dream, I was just learning about drumming in various forms and with several different types of drums such as the Native American frame drum, the West African Djembe, and the Middle Eastern Dumbek.  I was taking classes, going to drum circles and eventually went on to lead my own drum circles.  Soon thereafter I was invited to work with Drum Café which uses African drumming as a medium for corporate team building.  In addition to my spiritual teaching, healing and consulting, I’ve been working with Drum Cafe now for over eight years, with over 300 gigs under my belt, watching audience after audience, person after person have their own profound experience and awakening through the miracles of the drum.

My work in both the spiritual realm and the team building realm has evolved continuously and continues to grow and morph as the world shifts and changes.  Even though they are separate areas of work for me, they are extraordinarily connected and sewn together through the common thread of primal needs that every human has encoded within their DNA.  I incorporate rhythm and ritual into my spiritual teachings and I weave subtle, spiritual, universal truths into the corporate team building.  At the root of it all is the synchronization of body and soul, which is so vitally important to enlightened evolution on this planet.  I have heeded the task that was given to me by that Elder, and will continue to do so for as long as I breathe.  The beauty of it all is that I deeply enjoy all of the work I do.

Do you know what your purpose is?  Have there been defining moments in your life that have made your pathway of wisdom abundantly clear?  If you’re not sure, take some time to look deep within.  I know Spirit has positioned clues upon your journey; the question is, are you paying attention?

In Rhythm & Harmony,

Melinda

What is your medicine?

In the Native American tradition and some Shamanic traditions, the term Medicine does not necessarily refer to a pill or healing elixir.  Rather it encompasses anything that brings personal power, understanding and healing to the body, mind and Spirit.  This is often a specific trait associated with an animal, insect, plant or human.  Certain experiences can also be considered Medicine as they bring about healing and wisdom.

As we walk our human path upon Mother Earth, we each carry our own personal Medicine.  This is a gift that we are born with and part of our life’s mission is to discover this power and share it.  When we are utilizing our Medicine we are aligned with the harmony of the Universe and following the blueprint for our Divine life purpose.

In times like we are experiencing now, where uncertainty seems to surround us, knowing and living our personal Medicine can be a grounding, unwavering force that acts as a compass to guide us along our journey.  When we know who we are, why we are here and what we are supposed to be doing, we have an essential road map that always steers us in the right direction.  As issues arise and we are faced with decision, we can always ask ourselves “What will align me with my mission? Will the actions I take bring me closer to or further away from my life purpose?”

Whether I am in front of 500 sales executives, certification students, drum circle participants, or individuals who come to me for personal guidance, my Medicine, the very essence I bring remains the same – and that is to empower, inspire and transform.  If I ever feel nervous, or question my ability, I bring myself back to my personal Medicine and how I can serve those whom I am working with.  This formula ensures the most favorable outcome for all involved.

After more than a decade working with groups and individuals to help them tap into their personal power, their own Sacred Medicine, I know that it is always an evolutionary process and a regular practice.  We don’t just wake up one day and KNOW everything.  Learning how to listen and answer to that inner Wisdom is crucial.  Aligning ourselves with the rhythm and balance of nature will always restore harmony and guide us how to show up today, because the future is still being written.

It is the harmony of nature that can also help us to integrate the pain of the past into the power of our present.  In fact, our life’s trials and tribulations are the very stepping stones to our mission.  The lessons we came into this existence with laid the perfect foundation for learning.  The challenge then is how to utilize those lessons.  Knowing your Medicine and how to work with it will illuminate the answers you seek.  All you need to do is be willing to pursue the support and guidance to facilitate your pathway of discovery.

Once you are on that pathway, the world opens up to you and the laws of attraction work in your favor.  You are projecting the very energy you desire and the Universe responds in abundance.  The life you have created reflects your trust in your Medicine and the deep love you give and receive.  You are writing your own script for your future and it is a magnificent exhibition of joy, possibility, success, passion and purpose.  Go within, deep within and listen with your heart.  There you will hear the whisper of Spirit, illuminating your own personal Medicine.  The rest is up to you.  Trust in what makes your heart sing.

In Rhythm & Harmony…

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