Category Archives: Health Tips

Anger – What is It?

There is certainly a lot of anger being experienced in our world today. There is no doubt about that. We feel it, we see it’s effect playing out before us. Anger is hot, dry, forceful — sometimes it feels righteous, sometimes not. I ran across the best definition of the feeling of anger in a little book entitled What’s on My Mind by Swami Anantananda. He says, “Anger is the intense desire to change that which is.”

ANGER IS FUEL FOR ACTION

The ‘that which is’ or the ‘what is’ is whatever we perceive is going on in us and around us. Anger itself fuels our actions when we sense the ‘what is’ must be changed but the feeling itself is not a logical thought process – it is quick and hot – it takes over and impels us to action. Anger is what pushes us into the street to save a child who is running into traffic, and it is also what causes us to shout ‘boo’ at a ball game when the referee makes a call against our team – even a good call. So, anger does have degrees, and it is often tied to our self-interests.

FEAR UNDERPINS ANGER

Inherent in our awareness of ‘what is’ is another emotion – fear. It is our fear that if the ‘what is’ remains as it is there will be dire consequences: our child will be hit by a car; our team will lose the game. All of this happens in an instant, the flash of fear, the fuel of anger to change the situation or to express our dismay. I would hazard a guess that all anger is rooted in fear.

EFFECT ON BODY AND MIND

All of this is nothing but energy, powerful energy running through our bodies and our minds. And that energy has its effects on both body and mind. One of my teachers said, “Anger destroys your memory.” This struck me as odd when I first heard it, but as I contemplated my own experience I saw that it was true. When my mind is bathed in the feeling of anger I forget all that is beautiful in my life and in the world, I lose touch even with my own body, I forget to eat, I don’t sleep well, I forget important appointments.

There is a known physiological basis for this forgetting. In the body anger creates a cascade of chemistry, the chemistry of stress, in order to bias us toward an action. This is the classic Flight or Fight response, now also expanded to include Freeze. The nervous system is activated on what we call the ‘sympathetic’ side, and the following things happen: the higher executive functions of the brain literally shut down as this is not a time to think with the rational mind, the immune and reproductive systems go offline, blood flows from the core to the extremities to fuel our muscles, our blood pressure goes up, digestion stops.

Taken together this is a survival mechanism that allows us to save ourselves and others in times of real or perceived danger. The downside of this response happens when fear and anger are chronic. We lose our rational minds, our clarity, we can’t think, we have digestive problems, sleep escapes us. It takes 3 days of work by the body to metabolize the stress hormones that are created by one single such event, so constant activation leads to a backlog of work for the body and a continuation of all the downside effects. We become exhausted, depleted, and depressed.

REMEDIES THAT HELP

I am not suggesting that we all give up anger and fear. Certainly, I have not evolved enough to have done so. (Maybe next year.) But I have seen that moderation is helpful, and for me that means not watching Rachel Maddow every single night of the week, only every other night!

It means finding non-violent action I can take in the face of what I see that needs to change in my life, my country, and the world. In the weird mix of my life that includes tap dancing, marching in the streets, attending vigils, donating money to people who are otherwise defenseless and unrepresented, and praying for children and parents who have been separated from each other. It includes speaking up for the other, the stranger, the poor, in keeping with my core values. In short moderation means finding ways to use the anger to create change without harming anyone or myself.

Another remedy is simple but not easy – Apprehension. Yes, a funny word, in this case it does not mean fear, but rather capture. It means I apprehend my anger and fear when possible – I catch it. When I am able to stop and simply feel the feelings without any story about why I am feeling them there is a moment when the energy can be felt only as energy. I feel where in resides in the body, I feel its power, its rawness, and even the pain it causes. In that moment I am ‘at choice’ with respect to the feeling. I can choose how to respond, I can channel the energy into right action, or I can choose to watch it until it dissolves back into the place from which it arose.

Meditation is key for me in making a space to reconnect with inner wisdom and strength, guidance, and peace. It has shown me that everything on the outside is reflective of the inside. It allows me to take up the battle with my own inner enemies, the false notions that keep me feeling separate and alone, that haunt and traumatize me. Meditation binds up the disparate pieces of self and connects me back to source, to love, to the holy, if you will.

Breath can also be used to reactivate the other side of the nervous system – the parasympathetic. It is the simplest and quickest way to rebalance the body and mind. Breathe in to the count of 4, hold for 5, breath out to the count of 8. In just a few rounds of this type of breathing you will notice that your body and mind are more relaxed and at ease. You can change the counts if it feels that the out-breath is too long, just keep the relationship to an out-breath that is twice as long as the in-breath.

These are my remedies for managing fear and anger. You are welcome to try them. I would love to know what others you have found.

Quick – Heal My Pancreas!

What does it take for the body to heal? Sometimes we find out that a particular organ or system in the body needs help. A disease has been diagnosed, or testing shows there is an imbalance happening, or perhaps a tumor has been found. What to do?

Certainly we consult with our team members: our doctors, nutritionists,  naturopaths, energy practitioners, and even our friends. What can I do the heal my pancreas? Can you help?

As energy practitioners we have observed that healing needs to go deep in order for good results to follow. For instance, the pancreas is a large gland behind the stomach that secretes digestive enzymes into the duodenum. Also in the pancreas are the islets of Langerhans, which secrete the hormones insulin and glucagon into the blood. So in each case it is important to determine which cellular action is being impaired.  Knowing that helps to determine the target for energy work.

Some knowledge of cell types, inner cellular structures, and function is useful in guiding the process. Our bodies and the cells that make up those bodies have vast capabilities and intelligence. Cells perform countless actions every second to keep us alive and kicking, and sometimes they need extra assistance. Paying attention to what the body is saying, and taking appropriate action is vital to living a healthy, happy life. Having a team approach in service of that goal is a good idea too.

We will be teaching in The Bahamas (someone has to do it) in March. If that draws you please join us. It will be a delight to meet you and your pancreas on Paradise Island.

More info on the Events page: Joyce and Helen in The Bahamas 

P.S. The venue is a Yoga Retreat Ashram, with delicious food, yoga classes, Meditation and Chanting, Nassau Bay on one side, and the aqua blue Caribbean on the other – Take a Look

The Power of Wow and Other Amazing Stuff

Rabbi Marc Gellman teaches kids about prayer by saying there are many prayers that are said every day, but there are only four types of prayer: thanks, gimme, oops, and wow. I have observed that my ‘Wow’ moments change my state instantly, my heart feels like a soft explosion is happening, and I am not the same. Words cannot even remotely express what I am experiencing within, my mind literally stops as wonder fills me. Some ‘wows’ are small, and some are big, all of them are unique and personal.
One day out walking in my neighborhood I was feeling lonely and isolated, disconnected from everyone and everything. I rounded a corner and saw a leaf suspended in mid air, as if arrested in its fall to earth. The ‘wow’ hit me right then. It took me a moment to see that the leaf seemingly isolated and alone was being held by one strand of spider web. It was connected above and below. My world expanded in that moment and I felt myself equally connected and held, my inner state expanded, and my feelings of aloneness and sadness dissolved into nothing.
Some ‘wow’ moments are big, some are little. Each day I do my best to look for any kind of wow. Recently a string of mind-blowing wows came to me as I read the book The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot. This book has been around for several years, but it was new to me. Now I have 2 copies and have recommended it to a score of clients and friends. For those of us who revel in new models of reality this is a landmark addition to the bookshelf. What is reality? Who are we? How connected are we? This book is a wake-up call to wow.
When I work with a client and a change in health happens or a trauma resolves and dissolves there is never a sense of ‘doing’ on my part, and I can never take credit for what happens. The wow kicks in and I am as happy as my client for what they are experiencing. The wonder in me expands as to what can be possible when we work together for health and wholeness.
Just today I was touched by an interview done by of one of our students, a person who is by far the best yoga teacher I have ever met. She speaks freely and openly about her life and work, about the wows, the joy, the wonder of even the most overlooked things, like the space between your toes. Yes, even that is worthy of wonder. I invite you to contemplate your own relationship to the WOW as you listen to Rachael Nickel: https://allpossibilitiesshow.com/ (Look for show number 044)
Here’s Rachael in a typical wow moment.

Now go out and find a copy of The Holographic Universe and expand your notion of what is and what could be. Go get your WOW on!

An Ounce of Ground . . .

An ounce of ground (that is bare feet on the ground) is worth a pound of Ibuprofen.  As you can see it was a foggy day, and cold.

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But because I know that having my bare feet on the earth is remarkably good for reducing inflammation in the body, this is what I did.

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Yes, my feet got cold. But wet sand, especially wet with salt water puts me in direct contact with the earth and that means negative ions. Negative in this case is a good thing. Negative ions are beneficial to the body. Even 20 minutes, even on a cold day is far more effective than taking pills. I feel better, my immune system is boosted, my joints are much less creaky. Try it and see.