As a person obsessed with learning “How we Heal,” I have read books, taken courses and learned many practices to support the body and mind to live Happy, Healthy and Well. I love knowing that I have tools to deal with the emotional and physical challenges in my life. I know the value of keeping my energy, moods, and nervous system in balance, yet I often get busy and forget to keep this at the top of my priorities list.
I recently took a basic mindfulness class with Meg Blinson, a Sagewood practitioner who wanted to share with us her program for the classes she will begin teaching in September. The first step is to work with the breath. Watch it, pay attention when your breathing becomes shallow, or when you are holding your breath. I was reminded that working with the breath is the #1 thing we can do to support our mental and physical health. I had learned this many times, but I may have let its simplicity trick me into forgetting its power.
Committing to just 15 minutes a day can make a big difference. Over the 4 weeks I noticed a greater sense of peace, more joy, and less reactivity to stressful situations.
There are many forms of breathwork to choose from, but here are 3 of my favorites:
4-7-8 Breathing (Dr. Andrew Weil)
Many use this counting technique to manage stress and anxiety.
This technique activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for relaxation, and suppresses the opposite system (sympathetic nervous system) that is responsible for the stress response – “fight or flight” reaction.
This is a powerful, yet simple, relaxation technique that can help to return breathing to its normal rhythm. This breathing exercise may help to clear the mind, relax the body, and improve focus.
Practiced for 10 to 30 minutes a day can help soothe stress on all levels.
You are likely familiar with these and other practices but maybe you have been forgetting too. Setting a time every day helps, especially in the morning to start the day off with intention. These techniques offer physiological benefits, but equally as important they move the mind off of the stuff of life to the inner state, which can offer peace amidst any situation.
We came into this earthly experience unconsciously agreeing to beliefs, values, daily practices, and habits that have served us to fit in and “survive” our surroundings as best we can. We are often unaware of these agreements and the effects they have on our lives. Thankfully, it is possible to make more conscious agreements that can help us THRIVE!
The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, written by Don Miguel Ruiz, offers us the way. It is a tiny book with powerful abilities to transform your life by showing you just how readily available happiness is to you every day.
BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORD
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others, Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
DON’T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama.
ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST
Your best is going to change from moment to moment. It will be different when you're healthy as opposed to when you're sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgement, self-abuse, and regret.
The investment in studying and implementing these powerful practices can bring unimaginable benefits.
The Four Agreements Book Study - Starting July
Simply reading the book can be life-changing, but learning and discussing the principles with others can support deeper understanding and a greater ability to apply the knowledge consciously.
Join us to take a deep dive into the four agreements over the next four months, focusing on one agreement per month. Consciously incorporate even just one of these agreements into your life and you will experience drastic changes
Together we will learn not only from the pages of the book but the wisdom of the varied experiences and perspectives we all have. Creating a community where we are seen, loved, and supported to actively create our best most joyful lives!
Hosted by: Rebecca Striffler, Reiki Master, and Holistic Life Coach
Please sign up at: https://calendly.com/createjoyhlc
Fee: Donations welcome
• July 23rd 10am-12 pm — Intro / Be Impeccable with your word
• Aug 27th 10am-12pm — Don’t take anything personally
• Sept 24th 10am-12pm — Don’t make assumptions
• Oct 22nd 10am-12pm — Always do your best
Please consider purchasing the book from your local small bookstore or online at www.betterworldbooks.com.
I regularly get asked about the difference between therapy & coaching. I have a few different ways of describing this. Having been a therapist in the UK, and now a certified coach in the US, this is my playful perspective. I hope it resonates with some. Keep reading to hear how Chicken Licken helps us understand the difference.
My sensible answer, in a nutshell, is that therapy tends to focus on people’s experiences, whereas coaching focuses on the beliefs hanging around as a result of the experiences.
My husband and I were having a conversation about this and, for some very random reason, we got onto talking about the children’s fable Chicken Licken (AKA Henny Penny or Chicken Little – originating in the 1800s and attributable to various different authors). In case you are not familiar with the tale, the premise is that while Chicken Licken is out for a stroll, she promptly gets hit on the head by a falling acorn and goes spiraling into anxiety, thinking the sky is falling in.
She decides to go tell the King, and along the way meets some friends who, being unable to remain present, grounded and curious, engage in group anxiety and all believe the story that the sky is actually falling in – no judgment here.... They proceed, en masse, to visit the King. But before they can actually get to the King, they come across Foxy-Loxy and meet with a particularly gruesome ending. Foxes regularly receive bad press, unfairly in my opinion!
Getting back to the point of the differences between therapy and coaching, Chicken Licken is the client. At this juncture, I invite you to humor me and engage your imagination.
Chicken Licken comes to her session, distraught about the impending doom of the sky falling in...
C.L.: “What am I going to do, the sky is falling in?”
Therapist: “Tell me how it feels to have the sky falling in,” or “When have you felt the sky falling in before in your life?”
Chicken Licken then spirals into how she has led a life of anxiety, and recounts, in great detail, every moment she has felt the sky fall in (obviously a metaphor). She feels quite hopeless about the future.
Compare this to:
C.L. “What am I going to do, the sky is falling in?”
Coach “How true is it that the sky is falling in?” or “When have you successfully navigated your way through a time when you felt the sky was falling in?”
Chicken Licken realizes the story she was telling herself wasn’t true and recounts a time when she was able to deal with such a feeling.
As a therapist turned coach, I fully believe therapy is vital for us all at times, and I fully believe coaching can help clients get unstuck and re-frame the stories they tell themselves. Whilst this example may appear a tad whimsical, it highlights subtle differences in approaches. I love being a coach and will remain a coach.
Lastly, there are many learnings to be taken from this tale; from my perspective, Chicken Licken and friends would have benefitted from staying grounded, present and curious about the story she was creating AND listening to her intuition about what Foxy-Loxy was telling her (Google the fable if you want the riveting details!). As to the friends, colluding with stories that aren’t necessarily true is not a good thing and can lead to an early demise...
Laura is passionate about helping people get unstuck & out of their own way. She is a collaborative & heart-based life & leadership coach. As a previous therapist, and now coach-for-life, Laura brings deep insight, experience and appreciation for people with diverse challenges. If you are looking for a coach to help you shine in the world, then reach out for a free discovery call, to see how coaching with Laura could help you. You can contact Laura at 919-449-6491, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on her website at
When you hear the word 'Yoga', I'm sure you picture a class or a practice that people do on a Yoga mat. But truly, it's not just about putting your body into different shapes. Though, that's what we usually think of when we think about Yoga. Let's face it, these days with everything feeling so fast passed, it's easy to get overwhelmed. A lot of us are suffering from anxiety and burnout and we've been neglecting our own self care for so long that we forgot what it is and how to get started. Which is why I wanted to share with you that Yoga is really a practice we strive to take off the mat. Yoga is a tool we can use to sharpen the skill of creating a pause, creating some space or a gap between our thoughts and our habits so we make room to possibly make a different choice if we wish to. It's a tool we can use and that we can develop in a practice so we can take it off the mat and use it in our everyday life.
Let's try something simple and think of this as a little self-care to add to your day. I call these: breath salutations.
You can do this standing or sitting. Start by resting arms at your side. Begin to take air in through your nose slowly. As you inhale, reach arms out away from each other and then slowly bring both arms up and then over your head so palms are together. Now exhale slowly and while you release the breath, bring those prayer hands slowly down until you reach your heart's center. Now reverse that motion, push your hands back up on your inhale. Once your arms are straight up again, part your hands and slowly lower your arms until they are back at your side.
You can think about collecting yourself as you do this, grabbing energy from the air and pulling it into your center on your intakes of breath and releasing negativity or old thoughts that don't benefit you anymore as you breath out. Do this 2 or 3 times and see how you feel!
You can do this short practice first thing in the morning, in the evening or any time during the day you are feeling overwhelmed and need to slow down and clear your mind. This will help you create that pause, to take a moment to collect yourself and decide when to 'start again' to make the choice that is right for you.
Curious About Yoga?
Maybe you're just considering taking a yoga class or maybe your doctor is recommending Yoga for joint mobility. And maybe, like most people, the images that come to mind are healthy looking bodies in twisty shapes or picturing a class in which you stand and bend down to reach for the floor and float gracefully into a plank pose. And you think, “My body can't do THAT!"
Here are some facts to consider.
As mentioned above, not all Yoga has to be twisty or like an overly energetic calisthenics class. Yoga is less about exercise and more about your mind body connection. And even beyond that, the philosophy that I love dearly. You can even take a class just on the philosophy and learn about the many tools we can use to help us get through the trying days and find more joy in life. (Yoga philosophy classes coming in the 3rd quarter of 2022 at Sagewood.)
There are a variety of yoga styles, including the very popular Vinyasa Flow Yoga, Power Yoga, Gentle Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Slow Flow Yoga, Restorative Yoga and Yin Yoga. Pick something to try that is more in line with the pace and purpose of your goal for practice. (Coming soon, a breakdown of the different styles of yoga.)
The physical aspect of Yoga practice is just the tip of the iceberg. Beyond the Asana (postures) of Yoga, there is a more wholistic approach to a way of life and tools to help us deal with our relationships and with our own mental and emotional struggles.
The practice of Yoga is using tools to get back in touch with yourself; it's self-care, it's a road map to feeling better and how to find contentment in each moment. But if we take the time to pause and take care of our own inner self and personal needs, we end up with more energy to do what we need to do and in turn, we have energy to give others. AND most importantly, more energy to be creative and find joy in your life.
— Kimber Quinby
Bridge2Yoga (www.Bridge2Yoga.com) strives to have a positive impact on each individual interaction through the practice of Yoga, and also provide an inclusive environment to make postures attainable for any body type. Bridge2Yoga specializes in Restorative, Yin and Hatha Yoga. It's more about the quality of the personal experience than the minutes on the mat for exercise.
Please check our calendar for classes and times, or contact Kimber directly at email@example.com.
Over 15 years ago I took a class in energy healing at Unity Church of the Triangle. It was not specific to a type of practice and offered 1 main instruction: simply say the phrase “Divine Love flows through me for the purpose of healing me/you now.” Yes, that was it. I learned other important information about healing, setting an intention, and opening to the energy, and we practiced a lot. But I remember most that phrase, and I used it plenty over the years for myself and others.
Many years later I learned of the Divine Love Petition, offered through worldserviceinstitute.org, a non-profit company teaching the principles of Divine Love. I studied their protocol in detail, and learned about ways we can prepare ourselves for healing, and to line up with our intention, but again what I remembered most is that we can just ask for the energy to come in and bless us. I have asked it to heal fear, to fill my cells for my highest healing, and to bring inner peace, no matter the situation in my outer world. It has worked for me, and for others with whom I have shared it.
I will always say a big “Yes” to anyone who is curious about learning Reiki, as I believe that the training attunes students to these higher energies and opens the heart and mind on a deep level that can be life changing. But even without this advanced training, each of us can invite in and allow the blessings of Divine Love for healing on all levels.
If your email inbox is like mine, there are always new messages for summits, free videos, and ebooks that will teach you something about how to be more happy, healthy, and peaceful. I love learning, so I am an easy target. I give my email in exchange for the GIFT and I usually watch a few minutes before I realize that this is one more practice that I likely will not do because I am too busy.
After many years of these offerings, I realize that the most valuable practice is the one I will do. I believe that consistency and commitment are the foundation of any spiritual practice. It seems critical at this time that we are all doing something on a daily basis (2x a day is even better) that calms and stills the mind, brings attention and awareness to the inner world, and which grounds and supports the body in a sacred and loving way. There are videos for yoga, qi gong, tai chi, meditation, chanting, centering prayer, and endless specialized practices. Learning is not the challenge; it is the doing where we sometimes fall short.
If these practices are falling on the “what I should be doing” list, then a slight adjustment may be in order. A daily spiritual practice is not a should, but a gift you give yourself. A consistent DSP is guaranteed to increase peace and happiness, help with emotional balance, and can provide a reset to all systems at all levels. So, if you are not currently practicing regularly, give yourself the gift of a Daily Spiritual Practice every day for 21 days. After this short time, you may start feeling more like the best version of yourself, and it will likely become the part of the day you look forward to most.
by Nancy Huslage
When the snake shows up in dreams, it almost always evokes a strong response. I have lead dream circles for 30 years and it is a common symbol presented early in each dream group. Since encounters with snakes in waking life are often frightening, they are usually the subject of nightmares in the dream world. While nightmares are frightening, I have found that, once the dream is “unpacked”, the message of a nightmare is usually positive and helpful to the dreamer. Let’s explore what the snake may be trying to tell us.
In Man and His Symbols, Carl Jung writes, "perhaps the commonest dream symbol of transcendence is the snake, as represented by the therapeutic symbol of the Roman god of medicine Aesculapius, which has survived to modern times as a sign of the medical profession. This was originally a nonpoisonous tree snake; as we see it, coiled around the staff of the healing god, it seems to embody a kind of mediation between earth and heaven." Think about the caduceus as the symbol of the medical profession.
The coiled snake may be indicative of the Kundalini Shakti energy. Kundalini is the Sanskrit word for “coiled up” and is symbolic of the cosmic feminine energy that fuels spiritual awakening. In Kundalini Yoga, the snake is curled at the base of the spine and it moves up through all the chakras as one awakens spiritually. Play with the idea of the coiled snake being an indicator of moving into higher consciousness.
As you can see, the snake can be a sign of great healing, especially in the spiritual realm. In my own dreams, snakes come to let me know that I am opening to a new level of spiritual healing and awareness.
I remember one dream in which I was driving to a retreat center in the NC mountains. I had my son’s pet Burmese Python in her aquarium on the front seat next to me. As we made the journey, she began to grow and by the time we reached our destination, she filled the car.
As I processed this dream, there were several insights that the snake gave to me. First, was my connection to the Divine Feminine. I was being encouraged by the dream to embrace the Divine Feminine more completely in my spiritual life. This opened a many new avenues for healing the wounds I had felt from patriarchal religion.
The retreat center was the place where I attended dream leader training. I remember sharing this dream with one of my teachers. He saw the growing snake as my growth as a teacher of dreams and encouraged me to accept my role as a dream work professional. Up until this point, I had considered myself a facilitator of dream groups, but certainly not a teacher. This dream helped me to move forward in my career.
In this article, we have just scratched the surface of the image of snakes in dreams. The snake is ancient and archetypal. I encourage you to not fear the snake when she comes into your dreams. Explore the possibility that the snake may showing you that you are healing in some area of your life. She can be the symbol of your transformation!
Nancy is an interfaith minister with 30 years of experience helping people understand their dreams. She is a faculty member at the Haden Institute, mentoring students in the Dream Work Training.
If you are interested in dreams and symbolism, and understanding and utilizing the valuable insights that our dreams offer, please join us for
Within your Dreams - A 6-week Exploration of the Meaning of Dreams!
This is my lifelong question. I began my quest to find this answer in 2002 and I am still learning. I saw my young son heal from a serious issue through supplements and a diet change, so I first thought that was the answer. However, I quickly found out that it was not that simple. I saw his symptoms change based on what I was thinking and believing – basically if I was fearful, he got worse. If I was peaceful and joyful, he seemed to do better. This happened even when I was not physically with him.
This was my introduction to the idea that feeling and beliefs matter and the understanding that we are affecting ourselves and others through our energy.
Hundreds of books, courses, and workshops later, I realize that there is not a definitive answer that is the same for all people in all situations, but that we are all affecting our wellness in a multitude of ways.
What I know for sure is that the answers we seek are within. The first step is always to ask on the inner. Learning about illnesses through books and online can be very helpful, but it may also affect your beliefs and understanding of your body in ways that may limit your ability to heal. Asking on the inner gives your body and soul a chance to let you know what it needs.
If you are feeling a YES as you read this, listen to that. If not, then trust that as well. Always trust your gut, or that feeling from within that feels like a Yes or No. That will tell you what is right for you.
If you are interested, here are a few questions you may want to ask:
Start here and see what you find.
You can contribute to your healing and wellness in small and big ways. Healing is always happening when you commit to love and care for yourself. This does not guarantee the end of the issue but feeling empowered in your health and wellness can move you in the direction of greater peace and hope.
If you would like to learn more and join others on a similar journey, check out 8-Weeks to Wellness – Wednesdays from 12-1pm beginning February 23rd.
— Lisa Litzsinger
by Kris Krueger
The chakras are points or energy centers within our field; we picture them as spinning disks of energy that correspond to our physical and emotional bodies. When our chakras are out of balance, we may experience difficulty processing emotions or letting go. We may feel stuck or even have physical unease or distress. As we begin to balance and align our chakras, we may experience a general sense of well-being both emotionally and physically; we may feel present in our bodies and more aware of our emotional state.
While there are many energy points within the human field, we primarily work with the seven chakras set within the physical body. They are as follows:
One way to work with our chakras is by focusing our attention on each area while in meditation. An easy way to do this is to call upon the universal light to enter our bodies. Using our inner senses, we will follow the light as it moves from the top of our head through the soles of our feet, letting it ground us to the earth. We then use our breath to expand the light throughout the body and energetic field, allowing it to fill in any depleted areas within. Once we feel ready to continue, we bring our inner senses to each spinning chakra, one at a time, focusing on any pressing issue relating to that chakra. For example, as we focus on the root chakra, the feeling of being unsupported may arise. When we concentrate the universal light on the spinning chakra, it penetrates and infuses into this energetic center, addressing and releasing any connections or blockages related to that feeling. We can visualize healing through our inner senses as the red of the root chakra becomes clear and vibrant. Once we feel that the process is complete, we move our attention to the Sacral chakra, where we repeat the exercise until we have moved through each of the remaining chakras.
At the end of the meditation, we move our attention to our energetic body, visualizing all the chakras spinning together in unison as each color expands and blends with adjacent energy until they become one light, blended, white, and pure. We give thanks to the universal energy, our bodies, and our energetic field.
— Kris Krueger CMHt
Kris offers Chakra Balancing through hypnosis, using guided imagery as well as Transpersonal Hypnosis and QHHT (Quantum Healing Hypnosis Technique) and Intuitive Support for Spiritual Transformation. Learn more on her website, www.kriskruegerhypnosis.com, or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
These days it may be easy to forget about kindness. The media shows us all that is wrong with the world, and the news on social media can often separate and discourage us. But there is good news. Kindness is happening everywhere; we just need to remember to notice it.
Every day a teacher goes in to work with their students, that is a day filled with acts of kindness. The doctors and nurses that are caring for our friends and families in hospitals around the country are performing heroic acts of kindness for 12 hours at a time. Firefighters, police officers and EMTs are answering our calls and showing up for us. There are neighbors helping each other, families fostering and adopting kids, animal lovers rescuing dogs and cats, and strangers volunteering at shelters. There are people hosting displaced families, parents helping other parents with childcare, and kind people in stores ready to help us find what we are looking for. We are listening to each other and caring for each other with patience and understanding. Millions donate on funding sites to help strangers, and many commit their time and resources to finding new ways that support all. Kindness is all around us, and we can find it if we are looking.
Make it your goal to notice and spread kindness. Each kind word counts. Each kind act counts. Appreciate others for what they do, and lend a hand when you can. If we can practice, notice, talk about, and celebrate kindness, we will feel better and more hopeful, and we will be part of the change we wish to see.
Words from Sagewood Practitioners
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