3 Spiritual Lessons that Healed My Pain

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“Your mind is the servant. Your body is the vehicle. Your soul is the residence.“(Yogi Bhajan)
Yet so many of us, allow our minds and bodies to control our souls. I learned this the painful way.

About 2 ½ years ago, I started to lose my voice and constantly had a sore throat. At first, I attributed it to a post nasal drip and allergies. After a year of no change, I then attributed the problem to late nights, wine, or having to talk louder at gatherings. I finally went to a specialist, who told me I had a growth on my vocal cord. The cause was overuse and not breathing properly when I talk. It was completely benign and that nothing needed to be done.

Nothing needed to be done? I needed my voice back!

Having worked with people in pain my entire life, I was avoiding what I already knew, the spiritual side of my pain. I wasn’t honoring my voice. I would shy away from confrontation even when I had something to stand for. I was saying “yes” when I clearly should’ve said “no.” I was fluffing up conversations, when I could’ve just used 3-5 words and told someone what I really thought. All because I lived in that comfortable place called Fear. Fear I would disappoint, fear I’d be judged, and my worst fear of all, I wouldn’t be liked.

Well how’d that work out for me? I had no voice to even answer that.

I had to start believing in myself and learned these 3 powerful lessons along the way. I haven’t had any pain or lost my voice since.

Lesson 1: Just Breathe.
Deep breathing is honestly the first place to start healing. Check out how to breathe Here.

Most of us, in this I’m-so-busy world, breathe using only our upper lungs, which doesn’t fill our lungs to capacity. When you allow proper breath into your body, you allow life to enter. Every cell, organ, and system, in our bodies run off a wonderful fuel called oxygen. Its like putting standard grade gasoline in your car, versus premium. Our bodies can’t afford standard. Sure it gets you by, but if you really want to live, feel, and heal, then you need to upgrade.

Deep breathing gives you control over your thoughts and actions. It brings you to a place where you find the real you; the calm, happy, loving you.

Lesson 2: Surrender to Your Truth.
Does holding onto the pain feel good? Absolutely! I loved my deep, raspy voice. It made me feel sexy. It also gave me an excuse to avoid situations rather than addressing them. The reality is, that holding onto the pain, enabled me to live in fear. Fear of speaking up. Fear that prevented me from following my purpose and living my dream.

Does this sound familiar? Come out. Let the world see you, hear you, honor you. It begins with honoring your truth.

My truth is that I am a caring and compassionate person with something to say! What I have to offer comes from a place of love. Outside of that if someone is going to judge me, get upset with me, or not like me, then I don’t need to be around that negativity. If by saying “no” or speaking up means that my opinion gets noticed, or I get to read that awesome book, or even go on that hike I’ve been yearning. Is that so bad?

You need to embrace you, not the pain.

Lesson 3: Honor Your Voice.
For me it was quite literal. I needed to really speak up, in order to get my voice back and heal my pain. This blog and Endless Healing are proof of that. Whatever voice represents to you, maybe its playing your guitar at the local pub, becoming a yoga instructor, or taking that CEO position. Its whatever makes your soul smile ☺

Honor your voice and make it your responsibility to the world, to share it.

4 Steps to Better Posture and Clearer Thinking

Have you ever noticed what your body is doing in the moment when your mind feels cloudy?

I’ve noticed that in those moments of murky thoughts, my body feels tense, stagnant, my shoulders are usually shrugged up towards my ears, and I’m slumped over (also known as the poor posture position). Most of us carry our stress in our shoulders and the muscles become tense to try to carry the burden. By trying to carry our burdens, our bodies inadvertently create a negative feedback loop to the brain causing even more cloudy thoughts. For example, when we are stressed or too focused on our chattering thoughts, we tense up and assume the poor posture position. This position blocks proper breathing and blood flow leading to unclear thinking and more anxiety.

In this tense, slouched position, we tend to breath using only the upper lungs, restricting the amount of oxygen our body receives. The slumped position closes off our heart center, which slows down the circulation of blood flowing through our bodies. We are depriving our bodies of its most important nutrient: oxygenated blood; without this nutrient our minds can’t focus clearly and our bodies feel deprived.

Within just 2-3 days of doing these 4 exercises and stretches, you are positioning your body to feel confident and open, allowing room for clearer thinking. This creates a positive feedback loop and a feeling of lightness; this lightness is because you are breathing to your lungs full capacity and allowing proper circulation to flow through you.

1. Chest Stretch

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  • Place hands with elbows bent, about shoulder height on either side of the doorway
  • Place one foot through the doorway and lean forward
  • Keep back straight
  • Hold for about 10-30 seconds and repeat 3-5 times

 

 

 
2. Activate Mid Back Muscles

  • Posture2Sit on the edge of a chair
  • Make 2 fists with hands, place them behind your bottom, palms facing each other
  • Push down through the fists as if to lift up from chair, bringing your shoulders back and down, squeeze muscles at your lower shoulder blade.
  • Repeat about 20 times

 

 
3. Maintain Good Posture while Breathing

  • Check your posture throughout the day.
  • Good Posture is: head up, shoulders back and down, arching your back. Then take the strain out of your position by reducing 10% of your arching.
  • Don’t forget to breathe.
  • Inhale: expand your chest and ribs, your abdomen (diaphragm) should come down and out, do not arch your back to get this expansion.
  • Exhale: your abdomen (diaphragm) comes up and in and your chest and ribs deflate, your shoulders should remain back and down

4. Check Your Posture and Reposition

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Over-Correct,     Slouched,    Good Posture

  • Your muscles may fatigue, causing slumping, so remember to reposition
  • Go back and forth from overcorrection and slouched
  • Overcorrect: Bring your head up, shoulders back and down, arching your back, while inhaling
  • Slouched: Round out your spine and shoulders, bring your chin down to your chest and push your hips back, while exhaling
  • Do this about 10 times and then sit back into good posture (see Step 3)

 

 
During times of stress and personal dilemmas is when our bodies need us the most, so pay attention and fix what’s necessary. In my practice, clients have reported just by bringing their shoulders down and back, and taking a full breath, they have less anxiety, almost instantaneously. I have found that just by adjusting someone’s posture, they feel less pain. They have more confidence and report having clarity in many areas of their lives that may have been blocked.

Photo Credit: Dhara Patel

See With Love

I see smiling and laughing.
I see innocent eyes filled with unconditional love.
Love I’ve been denying.
Love I’ve tried to convert to fear.
I see strength and healthy lives.
I see affection, independence, and courage.
I feel fear of wanting it, I see myself cutting it down.
I need to show love, give love and allow love to be present.

I see humor, kindness and compassion.
I see softness in his touch, love in his eyes.
I see his worth in his heart.
I see fun and happiness.
I see how much he tries to please me, to do right by me.
I feel the fear of losing it, I feel myself feeding into that.
I need to show love, give love and allow love to be present.

Beloved

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You entered my life like soft rain.
I was looking, searching, dreaming for you.

You showed me the sun & the mountains.
My dreams became my beliefs.

You took me to the moon & stars.
My beliefs became my world.

You opened my heart, and allowed light in.
My world became my religion.

You honored my spirit, and set it free.
My religion became my reality.

You sang to my soul, a song it was brought here to learn.
My reality became my love.

You stay within me, forever into infinity.
My love, felt fully, brings me to be-loved.

Meditation, Mindfulness…Just Breathe

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“I don’t have the time.” I’m in so much pain.” “I can’t focus.” “I can’t think.”
STOP!
And Just Breathe.

Meditation, Mindfulness, Being Present, Conscious, what does it mean?
Meditation by definition is to focus one’s thoughts on, or to engage in, contemplation.
Mindfulness is a mental state of focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while acknowledging one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.
Again, what does this mean?

Let me tell you about an elderly client I recently treated. She came in complaining of hip pain, stiffness, decreased mobility, all due to a severe change in her lifestyle. She lost her vision and could not read, watch tv, go to the casinos, or even socialize with her friends. Every position I tried to put her hip into caused her face to scrunch in pain. We took a break and I had her focus on breathing. Deep breaths in and out of the nose. Then I had her visualize her hip, focus on the stiffness, the restrictions and breathe into the hip and relax it, asking her to relax her entire body; Letting go of tension anywhere in her body and focus only on her breathing. Like magic, within minutes I was able to stretch her like Gumby.  All it took was 5 minutes. If she could do it, so can you. Don’t wait until your 80 to change the way you see and feel every moment. Do it today by reminding yourself to breathe.

Reminding yourself to breath becomes a form of meditation, for in this moment you stop any and all thoughts, and focus your attention on your breath. This leads you to a state of mindfulness, being present in that moment to what you are doing –breathing.

How to Breathe
I’m talking about deep, full, belly filling, chest expanding, collar bone lifting inhalations, and full stomach scrunching, chest deflating exhalations.

  • Do this a few times, you can close your eyes to allow increased focus on your breath and body.
  • Relax your entire body from your shoulders, bring them back and down to toes, making sure they are not curling.
  • Focus solely on the breathing.
  • Feel the cool air come into your nostrils and allow your diaphragm to lift up and your stomach area to push out, your lungs to fill completely, expanding your chest and feeling your collar bone rise.
  • Focus on the warm air as you exhale through your nose, your stomach pushes in, your diaphragm relaxing, your lungs compressing and your chest surrendering.

I feel calm and clear already. I’m asking you throughout your day, in moments of pain and tension or even happiness and excitement, remind yourself to breath. This not only puts you in a relaxed calm state, it allows you to respond rather than react, and it allows you to breathe in the beautiful details of the memorable moments.

Just by reminding yourself to breathe, you are setting the stage to allow yourself to maybe sit in one place for 3-5 minutes to focus on your breathing. And then maybe you build up to 10 minutes, or you stay at 5, that’s the beauty of this practice, you choose your goal. If you aren’t looking to meditate to the level of a monk, and you just want some peace and clarity throughout your day, then remind yourself to just breathe.

Photo Credit: Dhara Patel