Meditation for the World

Many of us who feel  overwhelmed and even helpless after the recent tragedies in Nice, Dallas and even in my hometown here in Minnesota turn to prayer for comfort. Studies have shown a direct impact on the object or people for whom meditation is being performed. The U.S has spent more than $2.2 million researching this very topic. But is it possible to create a meditation for the world at large?  Tonglen, a meditation practice, may well be the answer.

Why use tonglen as a meditation for the world?

The practice of Tonglen, also called Sending (or Giving) and Receiving is one of the fundamental Buddhist meditation practices. I first learned tonglen when I was at a very difficult personal crossroad. Later, when several personal tragedies occurred closely together I used tonglen to achieve significant release from my suffering. But these days I am doing tonglen as my own way of dealing with the shootings and terrorist killings. It’s my meditation for the world. My way of doing something and NOT feeling helpless.

What is tonglen?

Tonglen is very easy to do and you can take as long or as little time as you like, or have.  I cannot describe it any better than Pema Chodron, who writes about the practice this way:

One very powerful and effective way to work with tendency to push away pain  is the practice of tonglen. Tonglen is a Tibetan word that literally means “sending and taking.” The practice originated in India and came to Tibet in the eleventh century. In tonglen practice, when we see or feel suffering, we breathe in with the notion of completely feeling it, accepting it, and owning it. Then we breathe out, radiating compassion, lovingkindness, freshness; anything that encourages relaxation and openness.

Chodron recommends meditating normally for a few minutes before and after tonglen to make it more effective.

There are many opportunities to meditate together with others to focus on world peace and other topics.  Tonglen is a simple practice I can do every day. I really do believe it helps as a meditation for the world. I know it helps as a meditation for me.

The Healing Power of Soul Mates & Twin Flames

soul matesSociety has done a great job of portraying soul mates as a romantic, wonderful, dream-like relationship. The reality, however, is that soul mates and twin flame relationships are frequently challenging and frustrating. When you’re able to work through the aggravations and remain open to what your soul mate or twin flame has to offer, these relationships can be among the most healing you’ll ever experience.

Soul Mates and Ego Exposure

The reason soul mates and twin flames are often infuriating and aggravating is because they expose your fears, flaws and demons. When your innermost self is exposed, you feel vulnerable, which many people express as anger. Instead, if you can trust your soul mate is exposing your inner self to help you heal, wonderful things can begin.

Soul mates and twin flames rip open your ego and expose it because their roots are the same. When you allow them to expose your inner self you have an amazing opportunity to heal past hurts and move forward with love. Your souls recognize each other because you share similar pains, though they may have occurred in different circumstances. By opening up to each other at the deepest levels, you both can heal and become the people you were destined to be.

The True Magic

Twin flame and soul mate relationships are magical, but not in the way movies and books portray. The magic of twin flames and soul mates is the ability to heal each other – although the process can be quite painful and feel far from magical. The healing in a soul mate or twin flame relationship is not fast. It’s typically an ongoing process that requires intense introspection and self-analysis.

As the healing process proceeds, you will begin to find that you love yourself more; that you’re more willing and able to forgive yourself. These feelings will deepen and ultimately enable you to bring more love and positivity to all your relationships and experiences.

How You Help Them

While your twin flame or soul mate is driving you crazy by exposing your biggest secrets, don’t lose sight of the fact that you’re doing the same to them. This is why soul mate and twin flame relationships often go through periods of intense fighting – and sometimes end. It’s not easy for anyone to confront their fears and flaws. If you can both work to present things with love and understand that the partner is coming from a place a love, the healing process becomes easier.

Good knitting as a healing practice

good knittingCast On

Previous posts have looked at the health benefits of coloring. Other hobbies provide similar healing, stress-relieving benefits. In particular, good knitting is similar to coloring as the repetitive actions involved enable the knitter to enter a meditative state, as Jane Brody noted in the New York Times earlier this year. Knitters needing to work through problems will often “knit on it” to work things through. Knitters who find knitting healing often discover their brains are not actively thinking about the problem. They finish knitting with a new perspective on the situation.

Good Knitting: One Purl Two Love

Whether single, dating, or in a long-term, relationship emotions about partners, or lack of, can cause tremendous amounts of stress. When that happens, it’s natural to want to retreat. A healthy way to do that, without making any decisions you may later regret is to pick up the good knitting needles. Move the upsetting topic to the back of your brain and get lost in the pattern and the feel of the yarn. Working on a fun project like this  Knitwear Inspired by the Outlander Series can help keep you moving forward.

As you count stitches and watch your project take shape your brain unconsciously works to resolve your frustrations. When you return your conscious attention to it, you’ll find that your perspective has shifted. While it may not be resolved, it won’t feel as overwhelming as it once did. You’ll be able to approach your partner and have a healthy discussion about the situation and possibly resolve it.

 Yarn Over Self-Love

One of the most difficult relationships any human has is the relationship with self. Everyone struggles with stories in their head telling them they’re not good enough, smart enough, strong enough. Choose a positive mantra as they suggest here on Focus on it while you knit and purl, your brain will incorporate a new story.

Take your knitting meditation to a more advanced level by adding breathing. As you pull the yarn through, breathe in; as you push the needle through, breathe out. If you’re working a complex pattern you may want to set it aside for this and make a simple scarf or anything else that doesn’t require your complete focus on the pattern.

Bind Off

If you’re like most knitters, you feel a sense of joy and accomplishment with each project you finish. Continue to use knitting as a meditative practice. As you do,  you’ll feel the same sense of pride and confidence in your daily life and in your relationships with yourself and others.

The Healing Power of Bees

bbesBees have a tremendous power to heal. Honey, propolis, pollen, wax and royal jelly have all been touted for their healing, anti-biotic, anti-fungal and allergen reducing abilities. One healing property that’s been overlooked due to lack of research is how working with and observing bees heals all of humanity’s relationship with the earth.

Bees – Busy Yet Purposeful

Bees must gather tremendous amounts of nectar to create enough honey to survive the winter months. The general consensus is that each bee in her lifetime makes only 1/12 teaspoon of honey. To produce one pound of honey, the hive must visit around two-million flowers and fly 55,000 miles. To survive the winter in northern states, bees need at least 80 pounds of honey.

All this flying and honey production requires a lot of time and energy, but to the casual observer, bees look like they’re out for a nice relaxing flight. With purposeful observation and understanding it’s possible for humans to channel this same focus and drive combined with the bees’ lack of intensity and stress. Bees trust their instincts and their hive to gather all they need to survive. Conscious observation of bees can help humans to trust their instincts and trust each other more.

Bees as a  Collective

Bees function seamlessly as part of a greater whole. They have no concept of individuality and always work for the good of the hive’s survival. Unlike humans, bees are not capable of selfishness or destructive actions except in the case of self-defense.

If given time and opportunity to observe the inner workings of a hive humans can learn to function more cooperatively. While it’s not human nature to negate a sense of self, it is possible to learn to set aside self for the greater good when necessary. Humanity can learn to speak and act from a place of love rather than a place of self interest. The bees will show the way.

The Buzz

The sound of one bee flying around can be annoying or even upsetting, particularly to those with an anaphylactic allergy or a fear of bees. The sound of an entire hive working, however, can be quite soothing. It may serve to bring the listener to a Zen-like state akin to one arrived at during intense meditation.

Depending on location, it may not be possible to find a hive or bee yard to sit in. Or if you’re allergic it may not be a safe idea. However, thanks to technology, it’s possible to sit in the comfort of your own home, close your eyes and pretend you’re in a bee yard with a simple app called Bee Sounds for your smartphone. Give it a try and experience the healing sounds yourself.

4 Ways to use Reiki healing for animals

reiki healing for animalsReiki healing for animals can be an effective complement to help scared, lonely or hurt pets feel calmer and safer

How many times have you seen a scared or injured animal and wanted to help? Or walked into an animal shelter and felt the stress of the animals there waiting for adoption? Just as Reiki reduces stress in humans, Reiki healing for animals and energy work reduces the stress and panic of animals in these types of situations.

Shelter Animals

Many animals who find their way to a shelter have been abandoned or abused. As a result of their previous treatment, many shelter animals have a hard time trusting and connecting with humans. This makes it hard for them to be adopted into loving new homes, meaning they’re in the stressful shelter situation longer.

Reiki healing for animals helps calm them and helps them feel safe around humans again. As Reiki work continues, these scared and abused animals cross the gap and feel comfortable connecting with humans. This often happens more quickly than expected. Once-frightened animals blossom into out-going creatures who are easily adopted by loving families.

Animals in Transition

Whether transitioning into a new home or over the Rainbow Bridge, changes are hard for our finned, scaly and furry friends.. Reiki healing for animals often makes them calmer and more secure.  In the case of a pet passing on, Reiki healing also makes the transition easier for any pet friends left behind. Pets feel the loss of one as intensely (or more so) than owners do. Reiki treatments help everyone through this time.

Zoo Animals

Animals on display in zoos are under immense stress. They’re confined to incredibly small spaces and subjected to climates that don’t suit their biology.  It’s probably not possible to do hands-on healing for zoo animals.  Distance Reiki healing for animals can be used to help these animals feel more relaxed in the abnormal and cramped environments found in zoos.

Stray or Injured Animals

Lost or dumped animals are lonely and scared. Many are also suffering from injuries. Wild animals also suffer from a variety of injuries. They may show up in yards or in paths on nature walks. In both instances, it’s not wise to approach the animals. Scared and injured animals may bite or lash out those seeking to help them and spread diseases such as rabies. It is always safe to send Reiki healing with the animal in sight. Call animal control professionals to assist with the animal’s physical needs.

What other ways can you use Reiki to help heal animals?

Heal Yourself with Coloring Books

Coloring books to help YOU heal YOU

We’ve explored the stress-reducing and healing powers of adult coloring books and Mandalas before.  In addition to wonderful Mandala and nature coloring books, there is a wide variety of adult coloring books available that focus specifically on healing the relationship with yourself.  Studies show that coloring can be a successful complement to traditional therapy techniques for many things,  from altering moods to overcoming phobias.

Help Seeking & Speaking Your Truth

The designs in Suzanne Fincher’s Coloring Mandalas book are inspired by traditional Native American, Tibetan, Hindu and Turkish patterns as well as the modern work of M. C. Escher. The book is based on the Great Round of Mandala. When completed in order, the book guides you through a complete transformation. This leads to greater insig613gpmg5UhL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_ht, increased healing and more confident self-expression.

Help Through the Grieving Process

Grieving a loss of a pet, friend, family member or other life change is difficult for everyone. In Colors of Loss and Healing, Dr. Deborah S. Derman embeds words in beautiful illustrations. Each picture serves as a lovely guided meditation that leads the artist through a path of healing and recovery.

Overcoming Challenges of Faith

At various points in life faith in a higher being and faith in yourself is tested. The best way to overcome these challenges is to look within and Rebecca Stone’s Inspirational Adult Coloring Book helps you do just that. Each illustration captures a bible verse that is suitable for framing. When the entire book is done, you’ll be relaxed and feel restored in your faith.

Help with PostPartum Depression

The birth of a child is an emotional time. It’s a blessing, of course, but there are also many hormonal changes for mom. Many new moms deal with postpartum depression and struggle to connect with their new baby as a result. With Moods in Motion: A coloring and healing book for postpartum moms, Karen Klieman, an internationally known expert in postpartum depression, provides a unique healing path. Each page depicts a symptom and illustration  followed by recommendations. The coloring process enables you to internalize the messages needed for healing and speed the healing process.

Overcoming Arachnophobia

Spiders are a common source of fear for many adults. These creepy eight-legged creatures cause many adults to flee screaming from their homes. Traditional treatments for phobias like this involve exposure to the object of fear until the fear abates. Speedy Publishing has found a way for arachnophobic adults to get the benefits of exposure therapy without having to actually see a live spider. If this is a problem for you, check out the  I’m Not Afraid Of Spiders for Arachnophobes coloring book.

The benefits of coloring are vast and only beginning to be explored. What other ways has coloring helped you heal?

Leech therapy is making a comeback

leech therapyThe History of Leech Therapy

Leech therapy, also called hirudotherapy,  has existed since ancient times. Based on historical records, the Egyptians used this therapy more than 3500 years ago. and the treatments were also quite popular in the Middle Ages. The treatment was used for bloodletting and popular for everything from fevers to obesity.

In the U.S. physicians often practiced the therapy in the 1800’s to treat a variety of diseases.  In the 1980’s, this therapy became popular with plastic surgeons to relieve venous congestion and today, leech therapy is making a comeback as a popular treatment.

What is Leech Therapy?

During a leech therapy session, a practitioner places the leeches on the appropriate area and they proceed to use their ‘suckers’ or fangs to draw blood. The back end or the suction cup enables the leech to ambulate on dry surfaces and to attach to its host. Meanwhile, the front end of the bug contains three sharp jaws that leave a Y-shaped bite. During therapy leeches release proteins and peptides that thin blood and prevent clotting. In addition, those substances also can improve circulation and prevent tissue death. Leeches usually remain on the skin for 30-60 minutes.

Leeches are often used after surgery, when venous blood has trouble leaving the area which causes bruises. After being attached to the bruised area, leeches suck out the “used” blood and allow arterial, fresh blood to enter the area giving your veins time to heal.Their saliva contains several beneficial substances such as anticoagulants, vasodilators, and anesthetics. Hirudin from the leech saliva inhibits the conversion of fibrinogen to fibrin,  which is what prevents blood from clotting. In addition, leeches produce an anesthetic when they bite that will numb your skin.

Leeches are being used for other purposes as well. They can help with alopecia, dandruff and baldness by improving blood flow to the skin.  The increase of blood circulation makes hair follicles strong and promotes the hair growth. Leech saliva can also work against  fungal infection. In some cases, leeches are even being used to treat arthritis as components from their saliva can components reduce inflammation and pain in the joints.

Don’t be surprised if at some point in the future you see a “leech therapist” working in your local hospital, as the treatment is being used for all kinds of conditions. 


Energy Therapy and Mental Health

In previous posts, we’ve covered the science behind Reiki and energy therapies, and the way those modalities impact physical health. Energy therapy and mental health can go hand in hand if therapies like Reiki and healing touch are used to complement traditional treatments.

Studies on Energy Therapy and Mental Health

A study in the Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine confirms this assumption. They studied 25 people who had been in therapy for several years. Each person experienced some type of trauma that led to seeking counseling. Each participant was given either massage, acupuncture, Reiki or another healing touch technique for multiple sessions. After the sessions were completed, participants reported increased feelings of safety and less body shame. Their counselors also reported noticeable therapeutic outcomes.

An NIH study focused on the impact of Reiki and healing energy on mental health practitioners, a field with a high burn-out rate. The Study designers hoped to find a way to increase longevity for these dedicated professionals. The study used both true Reiki practitioners and “sham” practitioners to provide treatments. Post-treatment study participants used their own psychological assessment tools to report results. The majority indicated that Reiki decreased their own feelings of burnout and stress.

Energy Therapy and Mental Health Traditional Treatments

Using Reiki as an adjunct to other mental health treatments is becoming more mainstream. A conference at the Buffalo Psychiatric Center is including Reiki as one of their workshop topics. Energy therapy was introduced alongside with more traditional methods such as fitness and nutrition.

Energy Therapy and Mental Health for Young People

In another mainstream use of Reiki Tana MacPherson-Smith and her partner have started ClearMinds. This program uses Reiki and horses to prevent young adults, teens, and children from developing depression, anxiety and other mental health issues.  Reiki helped both children and horses feel more relaxed and confident.

Energy Therapy and Mental Health for the Military

Reiki and energy healing has become so popular even soldiers are asking for it. The Army has been promoting Reiki and other holistic practices for veterans since 2007. Dr. John Fortunato championed Reiki at Fort Bliss where it quickly became popular. Soldiers returning from war can benefit from reiki and  it can also be beneficial before or after surgery to promote healing and peace of mind.

Reiki may work so well with veterans and other suffering from PTSD or other trauma because the practitioner does not touch the person receiving treatment. Many people who haveexperienced psychological or emotional trauma are afraid of or repel touch. Reiki can be ideal if done “hands off” in these situations.

Have your Reiki clients improved in terms of mental health? Are you someone who received Reiki and experienced emotional or psychological healing as a result? Let us know!


How to Release the Past and Create the Future You Want

release the pastAs you walk through your path in life, hurts and perceived failures can cling like Velcro. If you don’t work through them and let them go these hurts can begin to weigh you down. As more weight is added you begin to stagnate.  Deciding to release the past can be a critical step toward manifesting the future you want.

To release the past, you may want to work with a Reiki practitioner or other energetic healer to cut any emotional cords and/or rebalance your energy centers. In addition to energy work you may want to pursue other rituals such as burning. A burn ritual many people find helpful is to write the things you need to let go of on a slip of paper and burn it under the light of the full moon, asking the moon or Mother Earth to take your troubles.

As you release your past, the binds holding you back loosen. Begin to take steps to move your life forward and create abundance. First, set your goals. Keep them small and attainable. Don’t try to change your entire life at once. Pick one aspect and create one or two manageable goals around it.

Each day, focus your intention on those goals in a positive way. Perhaps meditating on them, perhaps taking direct action towards them. Be patient with yourself and recognize that even “backwards” movement is okay. Sometimes, forwards feels like backwards, and sometimes backwards is a chance to learn a lesson or modify your goals.

The most successful people today have faced setbacks and overcome them. They learned to release the past and ultimately achieve greatness through persistence; by making working towards their goals a part of their normal daily routine. Whether it’s a job search, taking a class, practicing an instrument, or whatever you intend to achieve, daily mindful attention to your goal will ultimately bring about success.

How will you let go of the past and bring about success in your life? Let us know what’s worked for you and the things you plan to try to

top coloring booksSarah Woodard is a freelance writer based in Southern New Hampshire. She enjoys bringing stories, issues and topics to live with words and pictures. In addition to writing, Sarah is a beekeeper, Reiki Master Teacher and black belt in Muay Thai Kickboxing. In her free time, Sarah enjoys spending time with her boyfriend and playing with their four cats. 

Tips for the Summer Beekeeper

beekeeperAs we looked at in a previous article, connecting with bees brings humans closer to nature and raises global consciousness. Unlike other consciousness raising activities, beekeeping is a seasonal activity. As every beekeeper knows,  each season has certain necessary activities to  help keep the bees healthy and productive.

In the summer, even non-beekeepers can help the bees. The warm weather causes draughts and limits flower bloom. As a conscious person, you can help the bees by planting and cultivating wildflowers that bloom in the summer months. These vary based upon your location.

Draught also means there’s less water for the bees. Most people associate bees with landing on flowers and drinking nectar, but they need water too as this beekeeper knows. You can make an easy and inexpensive bee water source using marbles and a pie pan following the instructions here.

Summer is also a time when most people get outside and enjoy the wonders of nature. You can consciously help the bees on your outdoor excursions. Watch where you step, observe their flight patterns, and share the joy of discovery with your family while watching bees sip nectar and collect pollen. If one comes in your house, don’t panic and swat it. Instead catch it in a paper cup and release it back outside to continue with its work, just like any beekeeper would!

Shop wisely. This is important all year long. When purchasing honey, seek out local suppliers and be aware of labels. Honey purchased in the grocery store may be labelled organic, but that doesn’t mean the hive was managed using chemical free practices. Rather, it means the bees were able to access organic flowers for a small radius around the hive. In addition, honey that has been imported is likely to have had all of the pollen and nutrition filtered out. This is also known as “fake honey.”

Finally, one of the best ways you can help the bees, raise your consciousness and pass along a healthier future is to share the wonder of bees with children. Whether hiking in the woods, playing on the playground or having a backyard picnic, showing children that bees are magical creatures with super humanity-saving powers will help ensure their continued survival.

For the down to earth