Dream Message

“Give it up. Stop!” This is the message I received in a dream last week. Yes, lyrics from Tom Petty’s song “Don’t Come Around Here No More”. What can I say- I went to high school in the 80’s and pop music was my primary language. A most effective message from dreamland as it stuck with me when most dreams fade upon waking.

As I’ve been asking for guidance through my dreams, it seemed really important to listen. I teach my Reiki students that intuition is like a friend. If you don’t answer the phone, she’ll eventually stop calling. While I’m courting dream guidance, it would be prudent to actually heed it!

Give what up? was the obvious question. Caffeine was the answer that came loud and clear. @#$%

Naturally, I negotiated.

Really! So silly, I know. I decided to cut back from 2 or 3 cups of green tea down to one. That seemed a reasonable decision.

Then a few days later the headache began. My response? I forgot all about the dream and increased my caffeine intake as that often helps resolve the problem for me. But this headache lasted for three days. That’s unheard of for me. This morning, Day Four, it lingered on. As I sat quietly contemplating on the patio (with a cup of black tea no less! Hey I’ve been miserable for the past three days, don’t I at least deserve a few sips of comfort?), I remembered.

It became quite clear that my body was telling me, YELLING at me, demanding that I give it up- stop! I had failed to heed the gentle warning and now I was receiving the message the hard way- through pain.

So I took one last sip, and poured out that delicious tea. Now I’m drinking a rooibos latte and enjoying it greatly. I’m confident this blasted headache will fade as the caffeine exits my system. I will allow myself a moment to grieve over an old friend who won’t come around here no more, and then I will celebrate a new level of reduced inflammation, deeper sleep, and greater clarity and creativity.

And that’s totally worth it.

Instant Inflammation

A few weeks ago, when I was visiting family in Michigan, my brother invited me to the county fair with him. He was going to purchase a steer and a hog at the 4H youth livestock auction. I decided to go for the experience of witnessing something so very outside of my urban reality. And for the funnel cake.

Funnel cake has always been my favorite fair food. It’s a very rare, nostalgic treat that I know has negative consequences. If you’re unfamiliar with such delicacies, it’s basically fried dough with powdered sugar on top. The batter drops through a funnel, creating a haphazard pattern in the hot oil, no doubt vegetable oil from the 1990’s. (Vegetable oil might sound healthy; I assure you, it is not! It’s likely a blend of GMO corn, GMO soy, and GMO canola oils, high in omega 6 fatty acids, and a precursor to joint inflammation.) It comes with 18 napkins to help soak up the greasy residue.

The full scoop is that after surveying the food arena, there was no funnel cake to be found! I was all revved up for something decadent and ended up choosing a caramel apple. Then on the way out, by some miracle or devilry, I spotted the jackpot. I got my precious funnel cake even though I wasn’t hungry anymore.

After approximately 3 bites, my knee began to ache. It continued to stiffen and swell and even throb a little. This is the knee that I had injured (likely a meniscus tear) about 18 months ago. It doesn’t bend completely, but hasn’t bothered me in over a year. A few bites of a triple inflammatory (vegetable oil, wheat, sugar) and poof! It regressed fantastically. And stayed that way for nearly a week!

I’m here to implore you to consider what systemic inflammation you may be experiencing due to dietary choices. Wouldn’t you like to know what it feels like to have greater mobility and less pain? Do you really get so much enjoyment out of doughnuts that it makes the subsequent suffering worthwhile?

I never felt better than when following the elimination diet recommended by Dr. Alejandro Junger in his book “Clean: The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body’s Natural Ability to Heal Itself”. If that sounds too daunting, perhaps begin by taking just a small step and replacing one sugary fried dough product with something more wholesome. Every step towards reducing inflammation is a step in the direction of optimal health, freedom, and greater quality of life.

I promise, once you begin to experience life with less pain, you won’t even miss that funnel cake. After this epiphany, I certainly won’t ever eat one bite ever again.

Reiki and Synchronicity

A continuation of the collaborative Reiki Q&A with Karen, a student whose enthusiasm and curiosity is downright contagious.

 

Karen: Does a regular Reiki practice increase the “synchronicities” that occur to further one along their path? If so, why and how?

 

Pamela: In my experience, using Reiki regularly does seem to align me with an increased number of synchronicities that guide me to greater peace, joy, freedom, and connection. As for the “why” and “how”, well, I’m not really sure! I suspect that the synchronicities are always there, a piece of the intricate web of life, and that when I’m all Reiki’ed up, I’m more likely to notice them. Perhaps because my intuition is activated and I see more clearly or because I’m more aware of my life purpose or because I’m simply intending to experience more ease and grace every day.

 

Karen: So my back was in spasm last week in what I am convinced was a healing crisis, and I woke up thinking about whether or not I should go to a barre class I’d signed up for. I was on the fence because sometimes it helps, but sometimes it makes things worse. I checked my email as I was making (and Reiki-ing) my coffee and there was an email saying the barre class had been canceled! I did an hour of Reiki instead, and my back has felt amazing since that day.

 

Pamela: This is a perfect example! Now, I don’t necessarily think the class was cancelled on your behalf; rather the synchronicity was the impulse to check your email and choosing to use that time which had been “reserved” for barre class to do Reiki. Which, btw never makes back pain worse! When we’re not connected to the flow of life, sometimes these impulses are easy to overlook and we try to force ourselves to do the things we think are right. I don’t know about you, but often my thoughts are ego-driven and the opposite of helpful! Intuition is always spot on.

 

Karen:  I have been feeling really down about my work, even though I love my co-workers.. the work itself is not inspiring. Now things outside of my control have shifted and I have the opportunity to either rewrite my job description or POSSIBLY (this is still not clear) move into another position entirely that is truly exciting. All completely coincidental. And I do think a large part of my issues with depression – which have contributed to my chronic back pain – have had something to do with being uninspired at work, which is something I’ve discovered I really need to be.

 

Pamela: Wow! Here’s my interpretation. Reiki is helping you recognize your need for inspiration and when and where it is being met or not. This new clarity will absolutely help you tune into situations that will be more beneficial to you, and more apt to notice opportunities that might have been otherwise overlooked. The more empowered we become by taking action to fulfill our needs and follow our passions, the more it seems we are met with assistance as the power of intention is activated. Research is just beginning to reveal the potency of the human mind to affect the physical universe. Knowing that you’d like more creativity can set off a chain reaction that delivers the chance to enjoy doing just that. I credit Reiki for the clarity that creates the momentum.

 

Karen:  My relationships have become more connected and people have been reaching out to ME lately… again, coincidentally.

 

Pamela: Coincidentally? I think not! As your vibration changes and you become more loving towards yourself and more radiant, people will naturally be drawn to you. Just as we might have a tendency to avoid a habitually grumpy person, we will be attracted to the kind and vibrant ones.

 

Karen: I understand that Reiki is healing within the body and even the energy field around the body. But how can this energy influence the larger world, especially when it’s impacting other people too? Because this job stuff is not just about ME – a co-worker just received an incredible opportunity that will make her immensely happy (her DREAM job) and is now creating a way for me to grow in my own job before she leaves.

 

Pamela: Well, our energy fields don’t exist in isolation. This energy can and does ripple outwards to the rest of the world, especially to those we spend the most time with. Chameli Ardagh, a spiritual teacher whom I greatly admire, says we’re all in this soup together. Just like adding salt to a soup pot makes all the soup saltier, our vibrations (healthy or otherwise) are not contained within our own aura. I believe that every step we take closer to reclaiming our wholeness and worthiness benefits all beings.

 

(To further illustrate this fascinating topic, a mere two hours after typing the above paragraph, I found two separate messages in my inbox regarding this interconnectivity.  Synchronicity! Here’s the message from the teacher I just mentioned:

 

 “From the Nordic triad of weaving Goddesses, the Norns, we are given the vision of Wyrd, the whole world as one interconnected web. Wyrd is a luminous field of energy that vibrates in constant communication among all beings here.

                                   

We each have our unique thread in this vast tapestry that we call our world. Becoming conscious of ourselves as a thread in the Wyrd we are initiated into a grand collaboration, it revives a bone deep sense of meaning in our lives, right here, right now.”                                                                ~ Chameli Ardagh

 

Karen: So, this is a much bigger puzzle.

 

Pamela: So true! The more I learn, the more I realize how little I know. I’m much more excited to see what a discussion on synchronicity draws to me than I was about my experience with “healing crises”! And very much looking forward to Karen’s next question. 🙂

 

Reiki for a Root Canal

Well this is certainly a topic I never imagined writing about! I’m no expert on teeth or dentistry, but I am committed to living a life based in body-mind-spirit integration, and that includes my oral cavity. When a filling fell out 6 months ago, and I chose to ignore it, perhaps that was a mistake? OK, it was absolutely a mistake! I recognize now that it was a message that something was out of balance. Sheesh, this is the foundation of my belief system! Moving forward…  So when part of a tooth (that was attached to the former filling) fell out, I chose more wisely.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

So what to do when you believe in holistic healing and there is no holistic dentist in your area, when you have no dental insurance or excess cash, when you’re not in pain but are aware that it’s a distinct possibility in the near future? You do the best you can to stay aligned with your values and take immediate action.

So I did. I’ll share the journey here with the hopes that it might be of assistance to someone else on a similar path.

For starters, I turn to my primary tool: Reiki. I used Reiki for clarity and intuition when choosing a dentist. I wanted someone who would be compassionate and understanding of my alternative views about healthcare, and open to working with me in this regard. I sent Reiki ahead to the appointment for the best possible outcome, to calm my nerves, and to attract the means with which to pay. (For now, that’s my credit card, but I’m confident the means to pay that bill will follow!)

Being devoted to holistic healing does not prevent me from getting help when I’m out of my league. A decaying tooth with a nerve that is apparently quite nearly exposed is way out of my league. And preventing pain is a top priority in my book. So, off I go for a root canal tomorrow. I’m already sending Reiki to the appointment for a smooth, painless procedure and speedy healing.

I’m also going to pick up some propolis, which I’ve been told by a bee-loving friend, is an excellent choice for healing gums. I’m preparing soft foods for aftercare and creating as much space as possible in my schedule for a restful recovery. I have herbs and essential oils on hand for managing inflammation through stimulating the body’s innate healing ability, rather than using OTC meds to suppress it. Meds are on hand, just in case, as I don’t believe in suffering needlessly.

As for the other issues that the dentist found… well I’ll be working on them in the meantime. She can have this urgent intervention. But this does not mean that I’m giving away my power as the primary medical expert of myself; I will be doing my magic as well. The very same tools I use as preventative and alternative medicine on a daily basis can also be used as complementary medicine.

It seems that teeth have simply not been on my radar beyond the basics. I don’t recall ever having sent Reiki to my teeth. That’s weird because I Reiki everything! Outside of minimizing sugar, I haven’t thought at all about what foods support healthy teeth. I have avoided fluoride, but not considered what the most helpful toothpaste ingredients are.

Those days are over. Dental health in now on my radar. I’m getting involved and applying every trick I’ve ever learned from nutrition to stress management to sound healing, plant medicine, and ancient Ayurvedic techniques. And dental reflexology. What?! It’s a thing! New to me, but I’m going to check it out. All holistic remedies will be explored.

Game on.

 

Healer, Heal Thyself: Listen!

My meniscus is healing quite nicely despite the absence of medical intervention. I’m not a doctor and do not wish to imply that I know what’s best for your own healing. Figuring out what is best for my own healing is quite the endeavor and I have no desire to project! I am, however, suggesting that whatever route you take, holistic techniques can be beneficial. I’m using them exclusively as alternative medicine, but they also work brilliantly as complementary medicine.

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I’ve reached a stage in which I rarely have knee pain, but my range of motion remains limited. In the past, I might have been tempted to power up and get aggressive. In my current level of wisdom, I’ve chosen to do otherwise. Healing does not come about through force.

It seems the most supportive course of action is to tune in and listen to what my body needs. This is a skill which, like every other skill, requires patience and practice. We live in a world that promotes overruling the body, giving it orders without regard for our overall well-being. We’ve been taught to ignore and suppress messages (AKA pain) that we receive and push on through. Well, I’m here to advocate for the alternative path.

Pain is a message that I am out of balance. Numbing the pain (or as I like to quip, shooting the messenger) might allow for a temporary reprieve, but the imbalance remains and will continue to send messengers until it is resolved. I’m taking a good, hard look at what I can do to create more balance. Just as importantly, I’m taking the action steps necessary to move my life in the direction of greater equilibrium.

For me, that means taking Sundays off so I now enjoy a 5 day workweek. Woohoo! It means resting and playing more. It means acknowledging the muscular imbalance in my legs and hips that puts strain on the knee joint, making it vulnerable; and it means learning how to revise my yoga practice to facilitate this rebalancing. It definitely mean receiving lots of Reiki and massage and choosing which thoughts I want to energize.

For the first several weeks, it meant using all the holistic potions that came across my radar. Plant medicine stimulates the body’s innate healing abilities, not at all like pharmaceuticals which tend to suppress symptoms. I had been happily applying essential oil and Ayurvedic oils topically, ingesting homeopathic remedies, smearing on gels and cremes, and taking a Chinese remedy made from deer antler (said to help stimulate cartilage repair without harming any animals). It’s impossible to say which of the these strategies worked, but the overall effect was one of increased rate of healing.

Now I’m no longer feeling the need for these tools. I believe they did their job and encouraged meniscus repair from the inside out. I will revisit them if there is a need. Right now it seems that time is the main ingredient, and I just to continue my quest for balance, listening to my body’s messages, and giving her what she needs.

Healer, Heal Thyself: Balance

Creating balance seems to be the key to healing. I aim for an 80% clean diet rather than restricting all foods that are less than ideal for me. I allow myself to enjoy some mindless, recreational screen viewing every week and make space each day for downtime. It’s important to make compromises and remain flexible.

So when given the opportunity to attend a Yoga Dance class with live drumming while visiting Kripalu, I couldn’t resist! Dancing is an expression of the joy in my heart. Certain music tends to move through me, using my body as a vehicle. I feel especially alive when my body is dancing; like a spring flower bursting through the snow.

Given the torn meniscus in my knee and my self-prescription for holistic therapy which includes lots of rest, I struggled with this decision. In the end, my heart won out. I realized that the joy to be gained was greater than the risk of set back. So I took it nice and easy and rested when I felt the first twinge of discomfort.

The next three days I was again presented with this opportunity to dance. Each afternoon I checked in with my body to see what was in my best interest. Each day I heard a “no”, loud and clear. While this was indeed disappointing, I chose to honor my inner voice.

If I had listened to my rational voice, I wouldn’t have danced at all. If I had listened to the ego, the voice demanding more More MORE! I would have taken all the classes. (And likely have re-injured myself.) Instead I tapped into my higher knowing, the voice of Spirit sometimes called the still, small voice within. It guided me to the path of balance and harmony. It always does.

All I need do is listen.

Healer, Heal Thyself Part 6: Slow Down

I suspect that the torn meniscus in my knee is a message from Spirit urging me to Slow Down. There were previously other, gentler messages that I chose to ignore. If we don’t answer the knock at the door, sometimes the result is a brick through the window. I am choosing to answer the door. While I snoozed through the first knock and the more instant knock, I’m jumping up (figuratively anyway!) for the loud banging. No bricks needed here, thank you very much!

Part of my slow down plan involves traveling differently. I’m off to Kripalu (!!!) for a continuing education workshop. I’ve expanded my itinerary to allow for one and a half days of travel in each direction. Very different than the original agenda of a 5 am bus with three transfers depositing me disheveled and exhausted moments before the first class.

So I’m on the commuter train on the way to the Amtrak train. It’s altogether a 7 hour journey to Boston where I’ll spend the night and a leisurely morning before boarding another train to the retreat center. For those who view time as money, it’s a horrifically inefficient plan. For someone who’s primary goal is wellness, it couldn’t be more optimal!

For starters, train travel doesn’t charge for luggage. Or make you jump through hoops regarding carry on bags which eventually get separated from you because when an entire plane full of people tries to avoid baggage fees, there’s never enough room in the overhead bins. Grrr! So I’ve been able to pack my big suitcase with a few decadent luxuries like supplements, my yoga mat, and all the aromatherapy oils I desire. Not just the ones the can fit in the quart sized ziplock bag.

I’m traveling in style with my reusable water bottle full of filtered water and travel mug full of my favorite tea. I have a few grounding crystals in my pockets and lace up shoes; neither of which will need to be removed. I have a packed lunch including proper utensils. I’m also wearing a knee brace with magnets without fear of setting off any alarms or being subjected to a body cavity search.

I have several books to read and a presentation to prepare. I’m grateful that I’ll have more than one cubic foot to do my work while riding comfortably with no worry of getting stuck in the middle seat. Once I get there, I have the added bonus of a mini adventure exploring a city I’ve never visited. I have no plan other than a hotel room booked. I have no contacts other than a online dating match that turned out disastrously and clearly I hope to avoid.

So finding an extra three days to journey to your next destination might not be in the cards for you. Yet I encourage you to think how you can create more space in your daily life for comfort, ease, and wellness. Can you allow yourself five extra minutes to get ready in the morning without rushing? Can you carve out a half hour to chew your food and receive pleasure and nourishment from your meals? Can you get to bed any earlier so the next morning arrives more peacefully? On the morning of your Slow Down journey when you obsessively decided to do one more load of laundry, can you leave it unfolded in the basket so you don’t have to hurry out the door? (I assure you that this is indeed possible!)

What choices can you make to set yourself up for success when it comes to living a balanced, harmonious, joyful life?