Look, here's the deal. YOU CANNOT CREATE CHANGE in your life with concepts and words alone. Affirmations can only take us so far. Let me break it down for you.
By Julie Kouyate
I was struggling. I mean, here I was, a totally spiritual woman, a successful massage therapist, West afrcian dance instructor, home birthing mamma, and a WIFE! I had all the ingredients that would have many believe I was fulfilled, completely. I can't agree more that I was doing well and grateful for all that I had come to know about healing, living a natural and spiritual life, taking risks, and coming out okay. But, under all of that amazing goodness, I was still somewhat unsatisfied. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but there was something more, something missing.
What was it? Well, for starters. I never went anywhere on my days off without my five babies I spent years lugging them around, fighting, crying, and all. I really thought they would miss me too much, and then the GUILT would set in. I am a woman, after all. I’m here to serve and nurture without fail. But in every single moment?
My husband and I never spent a night away from them. They breastfed and slept in our bed till the next one arrived and even then we would do double duty. My work was also a place that required me to serve, my dance classes needed to be managed—I needed to support dancers to be able to feel comfortable and safe enough to try something new.
I was burned out on life.
Then I followed the call in my heart. I took action and landed in a program that I thought was going to give me a new way to work with clients. What I found was the total opposite. I FOUND MY WAY BACK HOME, a way back to my truest and highest passions.
Bodymind coaching is what I found and it's a journey into a deeper healing, a deeper conversation that gets really REAL with reality and how a person is living their life versus how they dream it to be. It's not about “things” that you want (but the bodymind process can be about that), it's more about the way you desire to feel each day and how to go about amplifying the energy you want to live in.
Bodymind coaching is totally unique as its developed for lightworkers and healers who already have a deep wisdom with working with people’s bodies and their mindset in relation to emotions and dis-ease. But I got served!
Touch, along with a brand new awareness, is how it all began. I was being coached around some of my blocks and some of my deeper passions left forgotten and laying dormant within me. I felt a renewed sense of purpose, and a direct route to achieve it. Best part is that this all came from ME! A great coach only guides and facilitates as you come into your own AH-Ha moments that are totally pivotal for growth. If we aren't growing and evolving then we are stuck, truly.
I am fully alive after bodymind coaching and it has brought many new things into my life. I task without pushing, tuning into my body to ask, “What is the one most important thing that must be done today?” Not 15 things done mindlessly, but one or two most important tasks. Then I ask, “What do I want to do today?” and “Which task feels best to do right now?” This is pure feminine flow, and it’s the intuitive approach to life. Since having a coach of my own, I now have done countless things that I would never have begun on my own before. These things were a distant reality. A dream.
I finally took weekends off for the first time in 16 years. I always said I wanted to and “should,” but never did.
I left my children many times for fun and pleasurable things, and they were all okay.
I choose daily self love (care). I take naps, I leave those dishes, skip some of those soccer games, buy those massages, create as a regular part of my day, regularly make time with my sister friends. I prioritize myself for the first time ever, and I’m nicer, and I am encouraged to continue.
I take singing lessons. All my kiddos had lessons for over ten years. I said I'd love to do that someday for myself. I’m doing it now!
I’ve learned that spiritual work is key, and I continue to learn, grow, journal, and receive coaching for myself.
I RUN GODDESS RETREATS! I'm finally utilizing all my healing gifts. I feel the fear of all the things that go along with following your passion even when I can't “make sense” of it. (more feminine flow)
My coaching clients lives are being transformed in huge ways with my programs that take them through a unique healing process that is designed to transform.
I am scheduling breaks on my workdays. It used to be self-imposed (unconsciously) to work straight through (if I’m not working hard I’m not worthy mindset) and now poof! DONE with that!
My life is at the highest, healthiest place I have ever known and it could never have been done without the help of a coach to bring some of the programming of the “day on repeat” cycles we subscribe to unconsciously.
We are actually addicted to the chemical release that we create as we assign “a meaning” to an emotion that results from a specific event (the negative thought loop that makes a body respond (i.e stress response) and the release of depressive drugs in the spinal column like dopamine). The body has to come back into the conversation. When we connect to our truest source, our body's wisdom, then we can feel our way forward. I was asked a very important question that was so simple and yet so profound. Julie, what do you want to feel each day and how can you amplify this? The power lies within us to go from what we think we should be doing and being totally disconnected from that, to what we know in our bodies as the guidance to live a life on purpose. Coaching has given me the freedom to live in the now more than ever before and this is the only reason we are here, to connect and to be in the now. Enjoyment of life and not living with just the end result in mind is the key. Now, I know that this is not only a great idea, it is attainable!
Julie Kouyate is a Bodymind coach and LMT. She has been in the alternative healing and wellness industry for over 20 years, but coaching is now her preferred way to work with clients because of the way we can change our patterns to have a lasting change that leads to a more connected life that is less restricted in a holistic way…. Body, mind, and spirit! . Learn more about her offerings, including the BodyMind coaching program, at www.kouyatehealingarts.com, or call (734) 330-7903.
Along my personal journey to find natural healing for anxiety, I made two exciting discoveries that changed my life and gave me the relief I needed to heal from a lifetime of unease. These two discoveries have become the foundation of my work as a holistic health practitioner, and as I work to help others reclaim a more vibrant level of wellbeing, joy, and health in their lives.
I took my first steps on a spiritual path with the Universal Great Brotherhood. I remember my revered teacher, the Elder Brother, giving a talk during one of his visits to Ann Arbor. He looked around the room at all of our shining faces and said “Everything vibrates. I’m vibrating, you’re vibrating and, pointing to the table where his water glass was perched, even this table is vibrating. Can you see it? Can you sense it?”
The last sentence of my last blog almost a year ago was: “Oh, the discoveries that await!,” referring to the permanent walking labyrinth I was hoping to create the coming spring. Boy, did that turn out to be prophetic! I did create the labyrinth, last spring, and have been walking it, if not daily, regularly. It is one of my proudest creations because I was so convinced initially that I couldn’t do it.
It's the middle of winter. It's dark. It's cold. It's gray. The holiday festivities are over for another year. No need to fear! Fire Cider is here!
methyst is a stone of major healing. It is one of the most effective crystals for healing people, plants, and animals. From naturally healing plants that will not grow to soothing animals that refuse to calm themselves, it counteracts negative energies in any location that feels hostile or chaotic. (For this reason, amethyst is an excellent stone for highly trafficked spaces, like an office or family room.)
By Keith Copeland
Do you ever feel overwhelmed? Ever feel stressed out? Do you ever feel like you're uneasy with what you have or who you are? There is a remedy for all these situations. It's simple. In fact, it's so simple, most people overlook this powerful principle.
By Darren Schmidt
When your immune system attacks your own tissues, that is called autoimmunity, or an autoimmune condition. It could be that just one type of tissue is attacked. For example, when the immune system attacks skin, you get a rash. When it attacks joints, you get arthritis. When it attacks the brain, you get Alzheimer's, etc.
By Nirmala Hanke
We all have a spiritual path. “Meditation is for everyone, eventually,” one of my spiritual teachers, Chetana Catherine Florida, used to say. Meditation is a practice of listening that helps us to move forward along our own particular spiritual path. You listen to the highest intelligence within, whether you call it God, your Higher Power, God/Goddess Consciousness, the Christ Light, the Buddha Nature, the Tao, whatever you wish to call it.
I had ended my last blog with the question: What are your hands going towards these days? So, I will start there today myself. I have been continuing to create little mosaic pieces on my son’s broken Taekwondo boards. What stands out to me this time around, rather than the materials, are the forms that have been emerging . . .
Forgiveness is sometimes thought of as a nice thing to do for others, sort of like giving a birthday present or a Valentine’s Day card. Of course, it is a wonderful expression to offer to another human being, but the fact is that it will always be a largely superficial gesture unless based on self-forgiveness. In my life, I find that it is not something just nice to do; instead, it is as essential as breathing.
Energy Psychology is a family of healing methods that balance subtle energy pathways to rapidly diminish disturbances in thought and emotion. Unlike conventional therapies, the person doesn't have to relive the pain of the problem over and over again.
by Julie Jeffery Peale
Hellerwork Structural Integration is a form of deep tissue bodywork and movement education designed to realign the body and release stress and chronic muscle tension. Whether from an injury, repetitive strain, or traumatic event in life, it is the belief of Hellerwork that pain is usually the result of an overall pattern of imbalance in the body. Rather than treating the pain or symptom of this imbalance, Hellerwork focuses on bringing the entire body into a state of balance and alignment, thereby addressing the source of the pain. This is achieved through three main components: deep tissue bodywork, movement re-education, and self awareness dialogue.
We are complex beings with layers of injury, emotional stress, and repetitive patterns, so it only makes sense that a complex and integrated approach is needed to sift through those layers of stress and strain. This is a process of awareness that touches both the physical and emotional patterns of our body.
Being a young woman in her early twenties with chronic pain and depression, I had only been offered solutions that compartmentalized me and disassociated the mental and physical aspects of my being. It is during this time that I sought out different forms of treatment. Hellerwork, for me, has been a convergence of my mind and my body; the integration of the mental and physical well-being. As these two came together the vitality and joy of moving through life had more meaning and continued to develop. Now, over a decade into my own professional private practice of Hellerwork, it is rewarding to facilitate that movement toward the integration of the mental and physical aspects being for my clients. It is a rewarding experience to be a part of and it also helps deepen my own movement towards integration.
Julie Peale owns Body Balance of Ann Arbor, L.L.C., where she practices a combination of Hellerworkand structural medicine in one-on-one sessions with clients. Body Balance is located at 708 W. Huron Street, Suite 3, Ann Arbor 48103. Contact Julie at email@example.com or at (734) 395-6776. We interviewed Julie in our January- April 2014 issue. You can read that interview here.
By Monica Turenne, D.V.M.
Imagine if your pet was diagnosed with a terminal illness, and a specialist or your family veterinarian told you that your pet now has a very limited life span. This is a scenario that every pet parent fears.
In the art therapy stories I've shared thus far, I have explored various themes of change. The need/want for it, on the one hand, and the mechanism/process toward it, on the other
By Lenny Bass
In the two articles I wrote for the Crazy Wisdom Community Journal entitled “Swaying In The Sangha Of Trees” (the second one being “The Tree-quel”), one of the basic ideas I was hoping to convey through my conversation with the tree was the possibility, through meditation practice, of cultivating the ability to persevere through difficult situations, whatever they might be.
“When the storms come,” the tree told me, “we trees sway. In this swaying, the soil beneath us is loosened and our roots are allowed to grow.”
Human beings, of course, are very different than trees. When the storms come, trees have very little choice other than swaying. They cannot “get into their mobility carts,” as the tree liked to call it, and flee. Human beings, however, can do just that. They can get into their mobility carts and flee whatever storms come their way.
If you stop to think of it, the premise of this very country itself was built upon this simple formula. It is based upon a group of people — in this case Europeans — fleeing in their “mobility carts,” otherwise called boats. They fled the hardships imposed upon them by an uncompromising monarchy and sought to create a better situation for themselves elsewhere. Somehow, somewhere in this country’s DNA since the time of its inception, is the notion that the way to make things better is to get into a mobility cart and flee. There are umpteen bazillion versions of this, if we really look with any amount of depth and honesty.
It begins with a perception: what “is” is not good enough. What ‘“is” could be made better. What “is” makes us suffer. What “is” is unsatisfactory. And suddenly, we are off. In our mind’s eye, we have a strategy for improvement; a better education, a better job, a better marriage, a better house, a better climate, more sun, less snow, and on and on.
We create a plan — a life plan, if you will — and we are on a path to get there, wherever it is our mobility carts are taking us.
The true gift of a meditation practice in which we become adept at learning how to sway is that it shows us in no uncertain terms the fallacy of the formula. If we track the process from beginning to end, we see the very same progression of events manifesting time and again. At first, we are happy to have found a path through which life may be made better. We follow this path with all due diligence until we have achieved our goal. Suddenly, we have it...whatever “it” is. We have the better job, the better house, the better husband or wife, the better climate. And then...it is “honeymoon” time. We happily relish whatever it is we have accomplished to make our lives better. Everything is wonderful and new and exciting. Then, continuing to track it, it grows, over time, to become “common place.” The sparks wear off, the cracks start to show. The new boss is a jerk, the new wife has wrinkles. We’re sick of the sun and wish it would snow. The new house has that much more maintenance we hadn't counted on. And so...we’re back to square one. How can we make it “better”? What is our new strategy? Move back to the old climate? Get a another new job? Find a new country to call home?
On and on it goes....until finally, somehow, sometime, we catch on. Getting into our mobility carts just isn't working. The process is always the same. The outcome never lasts. We’re always, time after time after time, back where we started. Dissatisfaction.
It is from this place that I believe ALL true meditation practice is born. And, it starts with a kind of commitment NOT to flee. To hang in. To persevere with whatever it is that is dissatisfying. In sitting meditation for long hours, the mind does everything it can think of to try to get us to flee. It’s boring. Our knees are hurting. It is a waste of time just sitting here doing nothing. It is “unproductive.” It won’t make things better. On and on, the mind keeps sending us these thoughts hoping to get us into another round of the formula we know just doesn't work. Sometimes we acquiesce; it is a habit, after all, this perpetual fleeing we have learned to do. Learning to “sway” with our circumstance just isn't in our vernacular. It’s never been taught to us. It is counter intuitive to “do nothing” about a bad situation.
And yet, as we continue to sit with whatever our circumstance happens to be, a transformation begins to unfold and a whole new way of life starts revealing itself to us. The longer we hang in there, the more we see it. No circumstance in life will EVER make us happy, for it is in the very nature of a circumstance to always be the victim of impermanence. Everything is forever changing. Nothing lasts forever. We are simply on a wild goose chase if we think our lives can be made better through a ride on a mobility cart.
We awaken to the moment, whatever that moment may hold. We embrace the moment, with everything it has to offer, the goodness, the badness, whatever it happens to be. Our circumstance is just a circumstance. Whatever it is, whether we like it or dislike it, it will change. Suddenly, we are free of the impulse to flee whatever it is. We gain the capacity to simply work with it, deal with it, negotiate with it, dance with it. By doing so, the circumstance itself becomes more pliable, more receptive, more amiable and amendable. What we thought was so very awful transforms before our eyes. Likewise, that hefty pot of gold becomes “eh, so what?” That too will change.
This is the gift of learning how to sway that I think would make the world a “better” place to live in (there he goes again....I hear you say!) Okay, maybe better isn't the right word. There is a temporary happiness that comes from changing a circumstance in our lives. There is a permanent happiness that comes from going beyond circumstances and embracing the moment. There are a thousand strategies to be temporarily happy....but just one to find a way that lasts. May we all learn to sway....just a little bit longer!
Lenny Bass is a long time meditation practitioner with deep ties to the Zen Buddhist Temple of Ann Arbor. His essay "Swaying in the Sangha of Trees: The 'Tree'-Quel" appeared in the January through April issue. You can read the first installment here. Leave a comment for Lenny below or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Julie Jeffery Peale
As we head into our third straight month of record-low temperatures and snowfall, I find myself torn between my love of the stillness and beauty of winter, and my yearning for the warmth and new growth of spring. I gravitate to soups, herbal teas, cozy blankets, and slippers to take the chill out of my body, and bundle up in warm coats, scarves, and hats to brave the elements.
By Sibel Ozer
The arctic cold has taken a toll on many of us. The psyche desires to retreat with a cup of hot chocolate in one hand and a book in the other, preferably in front of a fireplace, all the while reality demands that we continue attending to our responsibilities and enter the cold over and over.
By David Lawson
Now that I have your attention, let me tell you what a wonderful practice it can be to acknowledge to yourself that you and everybody else in this world are going to die! You may say, “Well, of course, I already know that. Why is it necessary to dwell on such a morose topic?” But as it turns out, we don’t really act as if we know it, do we?