Chronic Pain….and other considerations

The title of this post is the reason I’ve not written since December 2020, and I wanted to update my readers (if anyone is still there, lol), share my experience, and support those who suffer similar conditions. It’s a milestone to be returning to the writing world, and I plan to create a new website that will include this blog in the near future.

Since 2014, I have been enduring progressive spinal degeneration that caused disabling pain and heralded a journey into continuous and countless treatments and procedures, frightening states of depression and isolation, and suffering that led to a recent spinal surgery I am currently recovering from.

My story is of someone who enjoys her career as a spiritual counselor, is still working in her sixties, and lives alone as a single woman. As my back pain worsened through the years and sitting became intolerable, I watched my social life narrow to eventual non-existence as my core reality became the effort to survive pain and maintain hope, while continuing my practice.

Long-term chronic pain weakens you mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. It alienates, exasperates, confuses, and drains you. It can change your personality. At its worst, it eats away the very promise of life, and leaves you as an empty shell without hope for the future.

When you have chronic pain of any type, it becomes a journey of self awareness and education, and inevitably forces a change of structure and relationships. Given the current state of the world, it can be difficult to find people with the time, patience, and listening skills to be there for you, and reaching out can become debilitating exposure to disappointment. Personally, I learned to endure everything I possibly could on my own, becoming quite creative in the process, but there is no way around the times in life when we become so vulnerable we need help.

Here is some of what I’ve learned to hopefully support and inspire those suffering chronic pain and for their loved ones who care about them. First, for those experiencing the condition.

Expect more of yourself than others. Trust yourself and your Source to find your way on the journey. Accept breakdowns, failures, and bad days and nights. Expand and express your gratitude. Educate yourself on the condition, as you cultivate your intuition and listen to what your body needs. Talk to someone and don’t give up when people are not available. Be willing to forgive.

Depending on your resources, create a team of practitioners and healers that can be there for you. I finally hired a housekeeper, got massage, discovered a local acupuncturist who offered hypnosis during the session, and found a chiropractor with a decompression table.

Express yourself creatively, journal your feelings and experience, watch movies and read books that inspire and nurture, and listen to or play music. Cultivate your inner and spiritual connections, including the practice of meditation. Grieve what you no longer have or are able to do and be willing to let go. Invest in and feed your belief in your ability to heal beyond any diagnosis. Stay open and curious to what this experience can offer you and look at what it’s forcing you to change.

The greatest offering others can give, is the time to listen and show up. Pay attention to the needs of your loved one and anticipate how you can assist them, before they have to ask. In my case, having a neighbor take out my trash occasionally because lifting was a strain, was enough to brighten my day and outlook. When I couldn’t work, those who donated financially relieved a tremendous amount of stress that enabled me to focus on healing. Having people who don’t give up on you, despite the toll it can take on them to bear witness to your suffering, is priceless.

What I’ve learned through this particular struggle, and all disease, is that whole healing takes a whole lot. It involves not only physical healing, but emotional growth, spiritual awareness, and the ability to change the pain patterns of the brain and create new neuron patterns of wellness and possibility, which I learned from Dr. Joe Dispenza’s work in this field.

Eleven weeks out from spinal surgery, I am happy to be well enough to return to work at the Ojai Valley Inn two days a week and resume phone consultations, and I can feel the potential of greater relief from pain in my body, though I’m realistic of what still lies ahead.

It can be hard to remember we are not our bodies or the conditions in our lives, and to trust our inherent state of limitless possibility. Though it’s not easy to create beyond embedded patterns and damaging conditioning, we can. The conditions of our lives are the teachers for our growth, and every one of us can be a fantastic student who graduates to higher levels.

Never underestimate what you can do to change yourself or someone’s life every single day. Every one of us can choose to love so big and create so fearlessly we evolve into a new reality. I am with you as you strive to go forward, offering the deepest compassion and acknowledgment of who you are, and cheering every step you take!

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What is Happening?

Waking up on Christmas morning to the news of the bombing in Nashville, I wanted to add an update to my last blog, reflecting on 2020. As an empath and spiritual counselor, I sometimes slide into the overwhelm and weight of the times we are in and, just like you, have to find my way upward.

So I wanted to share this morning what I believe is truly happening, and send a reminder of what is needed to not just survive, but rise.

What is really happening is a global shift, a paradigm shift, to an elevated consciousness and a changed way of life. It is a supreme movement of transformation happening to us, and through us, displaying the simultaneous affect on the individual and the collective.

It is an enforcement of the long-denied truth of our oneness, and our inter-connectedness: that which affects one affects the whole and what I do to you, is done to me. It is a truth that can be displayed through us in glorious transcendence of limitation or all manner of devastation, such as what we are experiencing in the pandemic, dictator-like leadership, climate change, and violence toward one another.

At this stage of saturation, exhaustion, and uncertainty, it is a time to grip tightly and hold relentlessly to the truth of the power of our unity through love, compassion and forgiveness, and our infinite capacity to create through idea and inspiration.

Neurogenesis is occurring as well as phenomenal adaptation at cellular and DNA levels, and we are feeling it all. Our capacity is expanding, not only to endure, but to grow and thrive. So that’s the challenge as we evolve through this chaos, to direct and re-direct our focus to our inner capacity for change.

To knock down the doors of our resistance and jump into the flow of transformation. To trust the greater consciousness we are a part of and be willing to let go of our blocks. To boldly shatter the dictates of greed and separation and demonstrate a higher consciousness of unity.

Accepting the organic nature of change and relinquishing our addictive expectations of immediacy is another critical aspect of the cycle we are in. That includes reducing or eliminating the behaviors that stimulate our addictions and that which perpetuates the illusion of separation.

There is not one aspect of ourselves or our lives that isn’t subject to the need for change and it is a daily investment in the changes we want and need, that will cultivate our resiliency and shine the light through the darkness to keep going forward.

We can no longer rely on moments of love and kindness, we are facing a greater commitment now; a long-term commitment that builds new communities, heals the planet and her eco-systems, restores honorable and respectful relationship to one another, and reignites the passion of the value of life.

Most who know me, understand that I have long-ago dropped the traditions of the holidays, opting instead to aspire to live every day in the spirit of appreciation and generosity, but I do wish you this Christmas Day, a special prayer of the heart: that you receive all you need to feel your wholeness, power, abundance, and riches of being loved. We are together in becoming this great change on the planet, and I’m deeply honored by your presence and support.

Posted in 2020, Adjusting to Crisis, Consciousness, Enlightenment, Healing and Spirituality, Spiritual Counseling, Spirituality, Transformation | 2 Comments

2020, A Reflection

There are days when watching the power struggles amongst the leaders of our country, is utter heartbreak.

There are days when taking in the suffering of the dying, ill, poor, and helpless is too much to bear.

There are days when personal focus and self-care are mandatory for preservation.

There are days when enjoyment of the sun shining and trees swaying, is enough to survive.

There are days when I question everything, including myself.

And there are days of clarity, revelation, and illumination.

It’s a seeking time; the gift of the unknown a vast terrain for exploration and redesigning.

It’s a powerful time of change without structure.

I’ve no advice, other than to listen deeply, so deeply you hear the whispers of truth and the guidance in going forward each day.

Rather, I reach out to say I love you. I am grateful for you. I care for you. And you are not alone… never alone.

Your beating heart holds your way, your breath gives you life, and your mind will create infinite possibilities when nurtured to go beyond the conditioning of the past.

Be You. Be gloriously, unabashedly, lovingly, and courageously You.

It is enough.

After shedding our skins and relinquishing our history of degradation, we will reach unity. We will be given new vision and the abilities to exist higher than where we have been.

May Creation bless you in this very moment, and through every day ahead, that you reach the victory of change in consciousness and liberation in your soaring new expression of beauty and magnificence.

Love,

Nancy

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HOPE

Watching the first two nights of the Democratic convention, my heart swelled and opened as uncontainable tears streamed down my face. The deep emotion and stirrings of hope rose past impacted layers of survival walls, simply from the relief of viewing reflections of unity and messages of decency and truth.

How starved we are for our connection with one another, not just from the extremes of dealing with a pandemic, but from the persistent and aggressive tear-down of the essence of our true nature, over the past four years of divisive and destructive leadership.

To feel the engagement of our true potential to come together once again, the pride of overcoming gender, race and religious bias, and a reconnect to our power to change for the better, in respect of all life, is like finding an oasis in a desert after a life-threatening journey of desperation.

How thirsty we are. And what might the revival of our minds and souls look like from this small sip of water that refreshes and ignites such aspiration? What might transpire from drinking a full glass, becoming hydrated in our wholeness once again?

Is this the glimpse of the other side of our human journey? Is this the time to believe more in our future than our past? Are we to start envisioning ourselves beyond our struggles, our country and the world, as well, to then step fully into the demonstrations and choices that emerge from those visions?

This is beyond politics though, clearly, our political leadership matters in the charting of our course and, at this juncture, it’s critical.

Though it’s difficult to comprehend the full scope of the times we are in while we are living and surviving through it, what remains true through every historic crisis and all human challenge, is the common need for respect, the experience of love and compassion, and the demonstration of our inherent belonging and connection to one another.

Today, I dare to hope.

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The Devaluing of Life

On this heart-opening day, watching the memorial for John Lewis, I can think of only one word for the effects our country (the Ununited States of America), is experiencing from its historically progressive devaluing of life: horror.

Guns are used more quickly than words in altercations, dominance over another because of arrogance and prejudice continues to prevail, the value of money over human life is evident systemically, and patriarchal control is fighting for its life and taking other lives in the process.

Relationships have become transactional, Mother Earth has been defiled to the degree of unsustainability, and video games, cell phones and computers rule over the power of our minds to create the world our potential enables us to create. And at this point in the pandemic, watching our government in action is a horror show.

In the 1980’s and 1990’s, I had the privilege of experiencing Native American spirituality, ceremonies, and rituals. I listened to the elders, heard the stories and learned the ways, and the essence that predominated through it all, was the teaching of respect for all life.

The Lakota word for it is Mitakuye Oyasin, and in the Native American culture it isn’t just a concept, it is a way of life. It is a demonstration of respect for the two-leggeds (humans), the four-leggeds, the standing people (trees), the winged ones, the finned ones, the stone people and those that crawl upon the Earth.

It is an understanding that all forms of life come from the same source and we are all inter-connected. In our Oneness, what we do to another is done to ourselves and how we affect the world, affects us all.

I received a most precious gift through those years, and it changed my life. I learned to respect myself; to know my own value, and to practice extending that value and respect to all.

How tragic that the original peoples of this country were slaughtered in genocide, and those who remained were forced to relinquish their sacred practices and conform to religious and moral domination of misguided superiority. The motivation of greed for land ruled over the value of human life and, though some tried, the wave of greed and progress was too great for an integration to occur; for us to live together and learn from one another.

And then, slavery. We rob human beings from another continent and brutally enslave them as animals, demanding the sacrifice of their lives for ours, and it takes us decades upon decades to come to the level of decency to free them.

And in 2020 we have still not freed them. Our hatred still flares. Our systems still take their lives. Our prejudice still flies in the confederate flag our current president remains steadfastly devoted to.

It is horrific to witness ourselves in this state, and I say to those who reside in the consciousness of respect for all life: stand for it, demonstrate it, teach it, preach it, live it, sing it, write it, and spread the love as deeply and vastly as you can. It takes more than a village now. It takes a country.

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My Spirit Knows

My body may not be strong enough to join a protest on behalf of George Floyd, but my Spirit marches with everyone, in every city.

My heart may be heavy with the historic injustice of non-white peoples, but my Spirit soars in conviction of the truth that we are all One, and all people deserve equal rights.

My emotions may be raw, but my Spirit is calm, certain that we are in a global awakening that precedes our enlightenment.

My mind may be in the habit of fearfully questioning the unknown, but my Spirit moves me in the direction of its knowing, and trusts the orchestration of events to ultimately enable a higher consciousness to prevail.

I am Spirit. And my Spirit knows.

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So, What’s New?

In our new pandemic lifestyle, we are recreating our lives and redetermining our values. And in the midst of the suffering and challenge, we have an incredible opportunity to reflect and review life from the inside out. In time, I’m sure we will recognize the profound crossroads humanity faced and the dramatic turn we took, but while we are living through it, our power lies in recognizing what we can change or modify in our own lives and minds, and finding creative ways to express our unified strength and capability.

So, what’s new in your life? What skins are you shedding and what new habits are you forming? What have you learned about yourself and what is the future you want to create?

For me, consistently getting more sleep is part of a new physical reality. Without having to base my work routine on a travel schedule, I’m giving myself permission to honor my body’s needs and releasing all judgment of how long I sleep. My dreams are vivid and remembered more frequently, and I’m hearing similar reports from others.

Also new, is the confusion about what day it is, and the weekend no longer holding the meaning it once had. Feeling disoriented some days is something I accept, along with occasional days of despair and even grief. In the context of the pandemic, this is completely understandable. I’ve chosen to be more kind and compassionate with myself as I learn to navigate differently.

Having been on the Keto diet for several months, I’ve enjoyed exploring new recipes, cooking roasts, and even baking. The leisure time for these activities has reignited the joy of making meals and appreciating foods.

Facing the loneliness of living alone while sheltering-in-place, I was nudged to finally initiate the search for an animal companion. A divine synchronicity brought an eight year old cat named Bella to my home, and we have bonded to each other beautifully.

Donning masks and gloves to go out is obviously new for all of us, as is social distancing. With it, comes a heightened consciousness of ourselves, our environment, and one another. We realize how connected we are through the air we breathe and the space we share. We are becoming more mindful.

And speaking of mind, therein lies the greatest challenge of all: how to manage anxious, fearful thoughts, even thoughts of attack (judgment) as we agree or disagree with others and face uncertainty in every aspect of our lives.

I’d heard of Dr. Joe Dispenza for years, so now with the luxury of time to read, I’m currently enthralled in his books Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself, You Are the Placebo, and Becoming Supernatural. There is no better time for his wisdom in bridging science and spirituality and learning how to reprogram our brains, than now.

New tools, new rituals, new activities, new thoughts, and new forms of relationship are the guideposts for going forward. Determining what no longer works, globally and personally, and being willing to let it go as we forge ahead differently is the shapeshifting we are being asked to do.

But motivating ourselves to engage the new, or even go forward on some days can be a struggle. I have a beautiful new Keith Urban guitar and teaching program I’ve long intended to follow through with, and the farthest I’ve gone is to get it out of its case one day. I resist washing my hair, putting on makeup and even wearing a bra, so getting ready to go out is a greater chore. The inward pull of isolation can make phoning a friend, reaching out or getting out, an uncommon hurdle.

These are all our common experiences now. Given these boundless changes, I believe one thing that lies ahead is a rupture that will unleash creativity so vast, it will energize, catalyze, and inspire the ideas and creations that will engage our ability to overcome the ancient archetypes that now restrict us, and create new paradigms for unified life on Mother Earth.

How fascinating and exciting a time it is. I know there is loss, and that is a part of life, but let us hold to the higher vision and purpose of what is taking place and can be. Let us be the instruments of change that lead to the greater good for humanity, with the faith and courage to endure the struggle and realize the dream.

Bella
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What’s Your Narrative?

The other day I heard a question posed about the current pandemic we are experiencing: “What’s your narrative?”

I found the query intriguing, got my journal out, and began to channel my reply from a deeper place within. This is what I wrote:

“Humanity is being overcome by technology. There is a massive power struggle taking place beyond our perception. This is an attempt to recreate the framework of our existence on this planet. The attempt is to disempower humanity, retain control using fear, and maintain the wielding of power by the hidden persons/organizations imposing their agendas.

The most important thing we can do is not participate in the stories being relentlessly presented that are a programming of fear and helplessness. Though I may waiver occasionally, to honor and follow and invest in my inner resonance that continues to transmit an assurance of my well-being and a conviction that there is falseness in what is being presented. To maintain awareness of the outer experience but hold the light of higher truth and become it, embody it. To choose what resonates within and follow that guidance.”

I was a little surprised at what came out. This is not to say that the virus that is killing thousands is not real, but to understand that there is something so much bigger taking place on our planet relating to control and domination, and the forces we are battling are those that diminish our potential and render us helpless, becoming followers of the status quo.

It is clear what status quo offers, we’ve been living it for eons of time. There is no simple exit strategy, but rather a necessary purging of mind and behavioral patterning that is so great it would usher in a consciousness that eliminates greed and hierarchy, and utilizes technology responsibly, in benefit of all life.

How this will occur is what we are in the midst of, which is why our greatest contribution during this time of sheltering at home, is to reassign our minds, choices and actions to adhere to our inner values and soulful longing to create lives that enrich and fulfill us, while contributing to the lives of others.

What’s your narrative?

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The Stage We’re In

As we continue moving forward together in unprecedented times, it’s helpful to understand the stages we’re in, just as the medical community is attempting to discover the stages of the coronavirus that is altering life as we know it.

Make no mistake, we are still in shock, attempting to assimilate the radical changes of shelter-at-home, physical distancing and isolation, and the impending effect on our health and economy.  Amidst the instantaneous paradigm shift that has rocked us, we are adapting daily to new information and directives, while searching for personal sustenance physically, emotionally, spiritually, and materially.

The stage of shock requires patience and compassion.  It is not the stage of having all the answers or the energetic momentum for moving forward.  It is not the time to try hard or force things, in order to feel more secure.

As we continue with day-to-day demands based on our lives and families, we have to integrate moments of pause, time for getting rest, and cultivate our connection to the Earth, to Spirit/God, and to oneself.   Our best guidance will come from those connections, for we are far more capable of innovation and adaptation than our autopilot subconscious would lead us to believe.

We have to recognize that news is a virus if we don’t use it correctly, and can infect our minds just as easily, taking us into a downward spiral.   I recently heard Joe Dispenza say about our current challenge, “we have to keep one foot in the quantum world and the other in the physical world”.   Looking at that balance in your own life can reflect where and how to invest more.

In the stage of shock, the guidance and remedies are:  patience, trust, allowing, surrendering, listening within, grieving, taking baby steps or stopping when you are overwhelmed, expressing yourself, reaching out, and praying.  Pray for help needed, pray for others, pray for the Earth and all of humanity, and pray for the illumination of our path in this global transformation.

What can we trust?  We can trust that there is a greater purpose in what is happening that relates to our collective evolution and growth.  We can trust that within that greater purpose lies the support we need to see our way through, though we may not see how.  We can trust our inherent power, value, and capability as infinite beings given an infinite capacity to love.

Though our hearts are more closed now in this stage of shock and protection, they will slowly open, and just as a flower blooms, there will be new fragrance, color, design, life, and expression.   The full beauty of our individuality will merge with the greater beauty of the whole, and we will create new patterns together:  patterns and paradigms that support all life and reflect our true potential.

It’s a long haul, so let’s monitor the stages of transformation together, apply our wisdom and practices accordingly, and help each other get through.  This is opportunity.

Posted in Consciousness, Coronavirus, Enlightenment, Global health crisis, Healing, Inspiration, Spiritual Counseling, Spirituality, Transformation | 2 Comments

Adjusting to Crisis

It’s shocking to be in the midst of a global health crisis, but here we are.  The quicker we can accept the reality of this new terrain, the more capable we will be in it.  Rather than follow the model of the catastrophe-movies we’ve been fed far too long, or wait for a faltering government to illuminate our way, we can summon forth our inner resilience, higher consciousness, and compassionate hearts to respond in a spirit of generosity.

Every one of us has an inner guidance system that is perfectly equipped to guide us each day and to interpret the data we are fed.  This internal guidance is best heard and felt when we are in balance with our Spirit, body, mind and emotions.  When a crisis threatens that balance, we can recover it through a number of ways:

Alone time in stillness, like meditation                                                                                      Being in nature                                                                                                                                        Prayer                                                                                                                                                      Yoga, exercise, physical movement                                                                                                      Breath work                                                                                                                                        Journaling                                                                                                                                        Creativity                                                                                                                                                Singing, music, sound therapy                                                                                                              Relaxation through massage, acupuncture, energy treatments                                              Consulting with spiritual counselors and practitioners 

From our renewed sense of balance and centering, the clarity and inspiration for action comes through us more effortlessly:

Who can I call to check in on?   For those who live alone, hearing from someone who cares, can keep their spirits lifted.

What can I do to help someone today?  On Nextdoor.com a neighbor in my community offered to get groceries for anyone who wasn’t able to go out.

With the prosperity I have, how can I assist someone who lives day-to-day?  Whether it’s ordering out from your local restaurants, or surprising someone with a donation, your giving can be a bridge of connection and relief.  What goes around comes around.

What task can I accomplish that I haven’t had time for?  Cleaning out drawers and closets, getting taxes done, gardening, or just getting current on chores can bring satisfaction.

How can I take care of myself today?  Nurturing your body with rest and sleep, eating and cooking nutritious foods, taking luxurious baths, being outside, moving and dancing, and doing things that bring enjoyment decreases stress and keeps the immune system strong.

As we limit our social interaction to prevent the spread of the virus, we now have the space and time to connect more deeply with ourselves and those in our immediate environment.   It’s an incredible opportunity to return to the rituals that bring us together:  sharing meals, taking walks, creating something together, making music, listening to each other, writing about the experience, reading stories, playing games.

We will come through this – personally and globally – with greater awareness of our inter-connectedness, how to maintain our health, and how to manage our lives.  In the midst of that which doesn’t work (fear, panic, failure of systems, floundering leadership), we can recreate our response to global crisis on a daily basis, determining how to face and move through this temporary cycle in greater harmony, with distribution of love, health care, material goods, and help that reaches everyone.

Every small act of love and kindness joins the greater flow of good in motion, and inspires more people to act in kind.  This is our chance to demonstrate the power we have as human beings to defy the old constructs of separation and lack, and show up in unity and strength.  May you all be well!

 

 

 

 

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