In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.
For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.
It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.
Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.
Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life's desire.
Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.
- By John O'Donohue
Ecology: We Are Family
Location: Base of spine & pelvis to feet
Physical governance: Bones, joints, blood, immune system, skin
Human right: To be here & the right to have
"Safety"..."I am safety"..."I take safety wherever I go."
Eastern Body, Western Mind: Psychology and the Chakra System as a Path to the Self by Anodea Judith, Ph.D.
All Is Well: Heal Your Body with Medicine, Affirmations, and Intuition by Louise Hay & Mona Lisa Schulz, M.D., Ph.D.
Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home by Toko-Pa Turner
If Women Rose Rooted: The Journey to Authenticity & Belonging by Sharon Blackie
When The Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress by Gabor Mate, M.D.
The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind & Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D.
The 8 Human Talents: Restore the Balance & Serenity Within You With Kundalini Yoga by Gurmukh
Yoga Skills for Therapists: Effective Practices for Mood Management by Amy Weintraub
Second Chakra (Belly)
Ecology: Sweet Fluid Power
Human right: To feel & the right to want
Location: Belly & sacrum
Physical governance: Reproductive organs, bladder, hips and low back
"I move easily & effortlessly"..."Life is pleasurable"..."I deserve pleasure in my life"..."I absorb information from my feelings"..."I embrace & celebrate my sexuality"..."My sexuality is sacred."
DVD & Books:
Shiva Rae: Fluid Power - Vinyasa Flow Yoga (DVD)
Healing Back Pain: the Mind-Body Connection by John E. Sarno, M.D.
Goddesses Never Age by Christiane Northrup, M.D.
The Secret Pleasures of Menopause by Christine Northrup, M.D.
Pussy: A Reclamation by Regena Thomashauer
Food, Health & Mental Wellness with Psychologist & Chef Dr. Theresa Nicassio
Wed, May 22nd 7 - 8:30 pm
Lynn Valley Public Library
Free, but registration required (www.nvdpl.com)
LGBTQ+ Awareness for Parents with Michele Fogal & Caroline Wedderspoon, RCC
Thur May 30th 7 - 8:30 pm
Lynn Valley Public Library
Free, but registration required (www.nvdpl.com)
Third Chakra (Solar Plexus)
Ecology: Lustrous Gem - inner authority; mastery
Human right: To act & the right to be free
Location: Solar Plexus
Physical Governance: the digestive system, adrenal glands, pancreas, kidneys; weight problems & addictions
"I love & approve of myself"...."I am doing the best that I can"..."I am good enough"..."I don't have to overwork to prove my worth"..."I choose to see my self-worth"..."I nature & support others as much as I nature and support myself"..."Life agrees with me...I assimilate the new every moment of every day"...
"I am at peace. I am calm. All is well."
The Second Brain: Your Gut Has A Mind of Its Own by Michael D. Gershon, M.D.
Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body's Most Underrated Organ by Giulia Enders & Jill Enders
In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction by Gabor Mate, M.D.
Open Heart, Open Mind by Canadian Olympian & Bell Let's Talk Mental Health Spokesperson Clara Hughes
Politics of Love: A Handbook for a New American Revolution by Marianne Williamson
Revolution from Within: A Book of Self-Esteem by Gloria Steinem
Outrageous Acts & Everyday Rebellions by Gloria Steinem
Fourth Chakra (Heart Centre)
Ecology: Sweet Emotion
Human right: To love & to be loved
Location: Chest, upper back, arms, shoulder girdles, hands
Physical Governance: the heart, the lungs, the breasts
Counterforce: Repression / suppression of emotions, particularly anxiety, depression, anger and grief.
Blessings / quotes:
"May I be grateful for what I have,
May I bravely acknowledge what I need, and
May I wisely know that the path to a peaceful heart requires both." - thank you Lesley Arnould
"Be still beloved heart and know that you are safely held" - Swami Kripalu
"My beloved child, break your heart no longer.
Each time you judge yourself, you break your own heart." - Swami Kripalu
Let The Past Be The Past Meditation Mantra (scoop water over shoulders):
"I release all things
That no longer work for me.
I release all things
That no longer serve me."
More Beautiful Than Before: How Suffering Transforms Us by Steve Leder
The Smell of Rain On Dust: Grief & Praise by Martin Prechtel
A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson
A Thousand Names for Joy: Living in Harmony with the Way Things Are by Byron Katie
A New Earth: Awakening To Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
Love, Medicine and Miracles by Bernie S. Siegel, MD
Fifth Chakra (Throat)
Ecology: Truth & Reconciliation
Human right: To speak & hear the truth
Physical Governance: The mouth (teeth, gums, jaw), throat (thyroid), and neck
Counterforce: Communication struggles; lies
* Problems in the mouth are often found in people who have a hard time expressing and dealing with
* People with thyroid problems are frequently very intuitive but are unable to voice what they see
because they too often struggle to keep the peace or win people's approval.
* Problems of the neck are often found in people who - even if they have flawless communication skills
on a regular basis - become inflexible and frustrated when they are unable to control the outcome of
The Serenity Prayer
"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference."
Books & Movies:
All Is Well by Louise Hay & Mona Lisa Schulz M.D., Ph.D.
Eastern Body, Western Mind by Anodea Judity, Ph.D.
The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America by Thomas King
They Called Me Number One by Bev Sellars
Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese (also available as a movie)
Occupy Women: A Manifesto for Positive Change In A World Run By Men by Maureen Fitzgerald, Ph.D.
I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up For Education & Got Shot By The Taliban by Malala Yousafzai
Canadian Indigenous music featured in class:
Tanya Tagaq (Inuk throat singer from Nunavut)
Jeremy Dutcher (classically-trained tenor & composer)
A Tribe Called Red
Britain's Got Talent Auditions (youtube):
Susan Boyle singing "I Dreamed A Dream"
Paul Potts singing "Nessun Dorma"
Kyle Tomlinson singing "Hallelujah"
Sixth Chakra (3rd eye)
Ecology: "I once was blind but now I see" - line from the song Amazing Grace
Human right: To see
Location: Space between eye brows; pineal gland
Physical Governance: Eyes, ears, brain
Practices: Intuition, insight, visioning, imagination, dreaming, meditation, visual arts
The health of the sixth centre depends on how well you take in information from all realms - both earthly and mystical - and use this information in your life.
Awakening Intuition: Using Your Mind-Body Network for Insight and Healing by Mona Lisa Schulz, M.D., Ph.D.
The New Feminine Brain: Developing Your Intuitive Genius by Mona Lisa Schulz, M.D., Ph.D.
Outrageous Openness: Letting the Divine Take the Lead by Tosha Silver
Life Visioning by Michael Bernard Beckwith
The Inner Life of Asanas by Swami Lalitananda
Fierce Medicine: Breakthrough Practices to Heal the Body and Ignite the Spirit by Ana Forest (The Braid of Three Truths visualization)
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell
Horse Sense For People: The Man Who Listens to Horses Talks To People by Monty Roberts
The Divine Light Invocation
While standing in Mountain Pose, mentally repeat the Invocation:
I am created by Divine Light.
I am sustained by Divine Light.
I am protected by Divine Light.
I am surrounded by Divine Light.
I am ever growing into Divine Light.
- The Inner Life of Asanas by Swami Lalitananda
Ecology: Spiritual healing
Human right: To know
Location: Crown; cerebral cortex
Physical Governance: Chronic and degenerative disorders and life-challenging illnesses
Radical Remission: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds by Kelly A. Turner, PhD
Dr. Turner is a researcher, lecturer, and consultant in the field of integrative oncology. Her specialized research focus is the radical remission of cancer, which is a remission that occurs either in the absence of conventional medicine or after conventional medicine has failed. In her book, Dr. Turner gives the reader the results of her research on over a thousand cases of Radical Remission - people who have defied a serious or even terminal cancer. Here are the nine key factors that Dr. Turner found among nearly every Radical Remission survivor she studied:
1. Radically Changing Your Diet
2. Taking Control of Your Health
3. Following Your Intuition
4. Using Herbs and Supplements
5. Releasing Suppressed Emotions
6. Increasing Positive Emotions
7. Embracing Social Support
8. Deepening Your Spiritual Connection
9. Having Strong Reasons for Living
The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the Longest by Dan Buettner
Over the course of five years, explorer, educator and author dan Buettner took teams of scientists to places in the world where people have lived the longest and healthiest lives. Buettner food five 'Blue Zones' with relatively high percentages of centenarians: "where people live 10 years longer, experience a sixth the rate of cardiovascular disease and a fifth the rate of major cancers."
The five populations:
1. In the highlands of the Italian island Sardinia
2. On the archipelago of Okinawa in Japan
3. At Loma Lina with the Seventh-day Adventists in California
4. On the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica
5. On the island Icaria, Greece
Nine best practices:
1. Move naturally
2. Eat a plant-based diet
3. Stop eating whenever the stomach is 80% full
4. Drink moderate amounts of red wine
5. Release stress & downshift every day (meditation, pray, afternoon nap, happy hour)
6. Have a sense of purpose / a strong reason for living
7. Daily spiritual connection
8. Engaged in the care of loved ones and experience more social respect as they age
9. Have a circle of healthy friends
Other book recommendations:
Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body & Mind to Face Stress, Pain & Illness by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D.
Heal Your Body: The Mental Causes for Physical Illness and the Metaphysical Way To Overcome Them by Louise Hay
Man's Search for Meaning: The Classic Tribute to Hope From The Holocaust by Viktor E. Frankl
Conversations With God: An Uncommon Dialogue by Neale Donald Walsch
The Top Five Regrets of the Dying by Bronnie Ware
The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael A. Singer
Dying to be Me: My Journey From Cancer, To Near Death, To True Healing by Anita Moorjani
Climbing The Blue Mountain: A Guide For the Spiritual Journey by Eknath Easwaran
Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories That Heal by Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D.
A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
To Bless The Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings by John O'Donohue
Walking In Wonder: Eternal Wisdom for A Modern World by John O'Donohue
Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home by Toko-Pa Turner
Eastern Body Western Mind: Psychology and the Chakra System as a Path to the Self by Anodea Judith
All Is Well: Heal Your Body with Medicine, Affirmations, and Intuition by Louise Hay & Mona Lisa Schulz
Feminist Fortune Cookies
“A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality & full humanity of women and men.”
- Gloria Steinem
“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” - Gloria Steinem
“Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.” - Gloria Steinem
“Women may be the one group that grows more radical with age.” - Gloria Steinem
“ I have yet to hear a man ask for advice on how to combine marriage and a career.” - Gloria Steinem
“We've begun to raise daughters more like sons...but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.” - Gloria Steinem
“When humans are ranked instead of linked, everyone loses.” - Gloria Steinem
“In the world of the feminine, everything you feel is right.” - Mama Gena
“ Reinvention is our birthright and our obligation.” - Mama Gena
“Women are the greatest untapped resource on the planet.” - Mama Gena
“When she designs, and then lives, her own destiny, a woman naturally sets right everything wrong in our world.” - Mama Gena
“The feminine is the feeling part of us, our deepest intuition, our sense of community & connection. Additionally, it is a sense of spiritual morality and consciousness. The feminine is life. It may shock you to hear that she does not care about production, accomplishment, domination, assertiveness, or winning. Those are masculine values. On the contrary, she favours enjoyment, inclusion, surrender and sustainability.” - Mama Gena
“The world is designed to take the wind out of a woman's sails. To fill her with fear about all the ways she is inadequate. We each need the focus and determination of warrior women to fight the tide of self-hatred that comes from living in a culture that devalues us.” - Mama Gena
“I had never considered myself beautiful, but I decided that I could change my mind.” - Mama Gena
“Extremists have shown what frightens them most: a girl with a book.”
- Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Prize, age 17
“Well behaved women rarely make history.” - Eleanor Roosevelt
“Anger is one of those emotions that's been long-stricken from the social palette of acceptability. Especially for women, who are taught that being angry makes you unlikeable, and being unliked is a kind of rejection from femininity itself. But a terrible thing is lost in the suppression of anger – your relationship with one of your greatest allies: Instinct.
- Toko-Pa Turner, Author of Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home
"Your grief for what you've lost lifts a mirror
up to where you are bravely working.
Expecting the worst, you look and instead,
here's the joyful face you've been wanting to see.
Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes.
If it were always a fist or always stretched open,
you would be paralyzed.
Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding,
the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birdwings."
- from The Essential Rumi Coleman Barks with John Mayne
"Breathe it all in, love it all out" - Mary Oliver
"So take a breath and find out what is unsolved in your heart.
Breathe in patience, breathe in love.
Love yourself bountiful & send that love out.
When you send love out from the bountifulness of your own love,
it reaches other people. This love is the deepest power of prayer." - John O'Donohue
"One conscious breath in and out is a meditation" - Eckhart Tolle
"My place is placeless, a trace of the traceless.
Neither body or soul. I belong to the beloved,
have seen the two worlds as one and that one call to and know,
first, last, outer, inner, only that breath breathing human being." from Only Breath by Rumi
Here are some of my favourite quotes from Charlotte's Web by E.B. White, a classic children's novel written in 1952 about belonging, friendship, and the natural world.
"Wilbur didn't want food, he wanted love. He wanted a friend - someone who would play with him." E.B. White
"I don't want to be perfect. I only aim to be fearless & resilient & myself" - Charlotte the Spider
"Why did you do all this for me? I don't deserve it. I've never done anything for you." said Wilbur the Pig....
"You have been my friend.
That in itself is a tremendous thing."
- Charlotte the Spider
And from the Tao Te Ching (the classic Chinese text written some 2500 years ago) on friendship, belonging and transformation:
"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength,
while loving someone deeply gives you courage."
"Knowing others is intelligence;
knowing yourself is true wisdom.
Mastering others is strength;
mastering yourself is true power."
"When I let go of who I am,
I become what I might be."
"Your soul knows the geography of your destiny.
Your soul alone has the map of your future,
therefore you can trust this indirect, oblique side of yourself.
If you do, it will take you where you need to go,
but more important,
it will teach you a kindness of rhythm in your journey."
- John O'Donohue
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
- Mary Oliver
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles by Marianne Williamson
What is my life's greatest longing at this moment?
In class, we have been asking ourselves this question and outside of the classroom, we have been encouraged to tuck this question into our heart-minds as a living inquiry. Our aim is not so much about working the answer, but rather, to cultivate curiosity and openness to living the unfolding question.
To facilitate a courtship with our innate, inner life impulse, Toko-Pa Turner (author of Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home) suggests that we create a Longing or Dream Altar. Dedicate a space in your home for objects (found or created) that symbolize aspects of your life's longing. Even if you haven't found anything that symbolizes your longing, Toko-Pa recommends that you place a piece of cloth in a spot in your home to create space for the longing / dream to reveal itself.
Toko-Pa also believes that dreamwork offers a restorative path of true belonging to our lives and to the world. In class, we have been cultivating a "courting relationship" with our dreams, freeing ourselves from figuring out what the dreams mean, and instead, practicing being open to the mysterious and symbolic nature of dreams.
Dream recall & courtship tips:
- Remain still in bed upon waking and mentally rehearse the dream fragments before getting up.
- Journal the content and core feeling states of the dream.
- Take an integrative walk in the woods with your dream to practice remaining open to the wisdom and medicine offered in our symbolic sleeping life.