Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Healing Nest Newsletter is Here!

Hello springtime friends,

The Spring 2008 Issue of The Healing Nest Newsletter is hot off my computer (my keyboard and hands are still burning!)

To view/download the newsletter, click here:


Included in this newsletter are two announcements regarding upcoming offerings and workshops. I've also posted links on the top of the sidebar of this blog. Enjoy!

peace and blue skies,


Thursday, May 22, 2008

My Reiki Master is on TV!

Polly Klein, owner of Tonglen Healing Arts, trained me in Reiki years ago, and she continues to inspire me with her amazing work with animals. In addition to being a Reiki Practitioner and Craniosacral Therapist for animals, she is also an Animal Communicator. She is intuitive, wise, sensitive, and talented at what she does.

Some day I'll write about my experiences with Polly in detail, but for now I'll just say that she was instrumental in guiding me on my path to healing work and she made a profound impact on my relationship with an important companion animal in my life.

To see the video clip of her Evening Magazine debut, click here!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Living the Creative Life

A new book (well, it's handsomely used) just arrived on my doorstep today. It's called Living the Creative Life: Ideas and Inspiration from Working Artists by Rice Freeman-Zachery. I have barely begun delving into this beautiful book, but I just had to share what I've experienced so far. First of all, this book is an art piece in and of itself. It's a colorful montage of fifteen working artists, who share their work and their insights regarding creativity and living an artful life.

I've been absorbing the first chapter called "The Creative Childhood [It's Never Too Late!]." I realize how clearly I can trace my creative impulses to my childhood. I happened to grow up in a household of writer/artist types, so my artistic explorations were accepted and encouraged. I know that some (many?) people did not experience this kind of familial acceptance of their creative endeavors. Even if your artist self emerged later in life, it might be interesting to think about what things (colors, aesthetics, shapes, images) drew you in as a kid. Perhaps you saved these artistic "goodies" for your adult life. Whether you would describe yourself as having been a creatively abundant kid or not, I recommend your trying the "Try This" below.

So, my Try This comes directly from Living the Creative Life:

"In your journal or a piece of paper, make a list of the things that fascinated you as a child. Snakes? Big trucks? Flying? Going to the moon? List everything, no matter how silly it seems. Maybe you were entranced with a particular shade of blue you found in the lining of your father's suit, or maybe you couldn't resist running your hands over velvet or smushing mud into clay. What captured every bit of your attention? When you're done with your list, circle or highlight the ones that cause a little shiver of interest. Those are the things that still call you."

Do these images come easily? Or is it hard to remember the things you were drawn to as a child? What themes/images remain potent to you even still?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Soul of Compassion

Last night I attended a powerful "Muse Studio" with facilitator Alia Calendar. The theme of the evening was "Nature as a Force of Healing." Using soul collage techniques, we created art that spoke to the ways in which we felt nature can be healing. The above piece is one of the three cards I created last night. The woman in the piece is Kuan Yin, goddess of compassion and mercy.

After we created our pieces, we wrote in the voice of an aspect of one of our cards. It was a powerful exercise to enter the images in the card to understand the meanings. I had no idea that what I had created would have so much to teach me. Here is the voice of Kuan Yin as expressed through my freewriting:

I am the gentle soul who cares for all beings--
open heart, welcoming eyes, eternal.

I bring you inner peace, letting you know that,
like the earth, you are resilient.

I ask that you let go of the need to force change. The sun rises
each morning, doesn't it?

Hold the birds close to your chest, listen to the patterned
footsteps of the rabbit, watch the moon wax and wane.

Know that the first act of compassion
is compassion toward yourself.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Before I Go To Sleep Tonight...

...I will set an intention for waking up.

I sometimes wake up a bit altered. Does this ever happen to you? I tend to have vivid dreams during sleep, and particularly in the morning hours before waking up. It can take me a good hour of being "awake" to actually be truly Awake-with-a-capital-A to my non-dream reality. The disorientation can make me feel unsettled and confused. Sometimes, I'll admit, it makes me kind of grumpy (or a "cranky pants," which is the term of endearment my brother uses to describe his one-year-old son during fussy moments).

So tonight, I have set an intention for a peaceful night sleep and for a graceful and appreciative morning of waking up to my day.

What inspired this intention setting? A poem by Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh.

Hanh writes:

Waking Up

Waking up this morning, I smile.

Twenty-four brand new hours

are before me.

I vow to live fully

in each moment

and to look at all beings with

eyes of compassion.

Try this:
Set an intention before you fall asleep. This intention can be about the quality (or quantity) of your sleep, or what you wish to feel upon waking. It can be about the dreams you wish to have, or you can even ask for guidance or clarity about an issue.

In my experience, intention setting before bed can be quite effective. When you allow your positive thoughts about sleep to fill your mind as you are drifting off, your subconscious has a chance to take hold of these thoughts, just as it does for stressful thoughts (which we don't want). See if setting positive intentions gives you peace through the night and a morning filled with feelings of joy and possibility.

* * * * *

Hanh's poem comes from his 52-card deck called
Present Moment Wonderful Moment. (BTW, the beautiful art on the back of each card is by Nicholas Kirsten-Honshin, who has a gallery in my neighborhood called the Kirsten Gallery. I have yet to check it out, but hope to do so soon.)

Monday, May 05, 2008

Women, Body Image, and Bodywork

This afternoon, without quite knowing why, I picked up a book I haven't looked at in a long time: Minding the Body: Women Writers on Body and Soul (Ed. Patricia Foster). I randomly opened to an essay by Pam Houston called "Out of Habit, I Start Apologizing." I was drawn in for clear massage-related reasons; her first line is "I am lying, facedown, on a massage table at the Doral Hotel and Spa in Telluride, Colorado." But Houston's personal essay moves beyond this moment on the massage table; she delivers vignettes of past and present, weaving moments of reckoning with her body.

Houston expresses her dissatisfaction and fear of her own body in shocking moments of memory and realization: "When I was younger, I used to believe that if I were really thin I would be happy, and there is part of me that still believes it's true." She also confesses, "Sometimes I'm afraid the main reason I spend half of my life outdoors is simply because there aren't any mirrors."
Houston recalls a poignant moment from her youth when her mother told her, "'Let's see if we can make it all the way to dinner without eating anything at all.'"

As I read Houston's essay this afternoon I was struck by how honest she was with her struggle to love her body. I felt my heart drop a little (even though by the end of the essay Houston learns to love her body a bit more), for I began to feel the collective pain so many women feel in relation to their bodies. I have felt this pain, too, and I still can find myself in a body image trap in our culture.

I was particularly impacted by this essay today because I read the piece between bodywork sessions. I had just given a session to a client who was listening to her body's messages, being receptive to touch, and feeling acceptance and love for herself and her body. I now recall how Heida Brenneke once said that she believes that therapeutic touch and bodywork improves body image, for when we allow ourselves to receive touch and listen to the body, we are sending a message of love to our body. During a bodywork session we can chuck those media images out the window and focus on ourselves from the inside out. We can turn the question "what does my belly look like?" to "what does my belly feel like?"

So, in honor of our beautiful bodies, I offer a link to the
National Organization for Women (NOW)'s "Love Your Body" Quiz. As the NOW website states, "See how much you know about how advertising and media affect your perception of body image and self love. "

Oh, and this is a great resource, too: Our Bodies, Ourselves.

Try this:
When you notice that you are criticizing your own body, try taking a deep breath and turn inward. See if you can feel what it is like inside a certain area of your body. Does it have a texture, a sound, a color, a voice? Use all your senses to imagine what the life of this part of the body has had. Instead of merely focusing on how this area looks, try truly feeling this area of the body. Once you have gone deep inside, then gradually move your way out to the surface of your body and also appreciate the skin you're in.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Important Introductions

I've been waiting excitedly for the moment to introduce you to Laila Atallah's most elegant new website. The time has come!

But first things first: Laila is a career counselor and life coach and I have known her for about four years now. I feel so blessed to know her and to be her entrepreneurial creative buddy. We have the best time together scheming and planning and supporting each other in this road of entrepreneurial creative play. And I have learned so much from her: she offers a powerful combination of straight-forward practical steps and a soulful, visionary approach – two skills that entrepreneurs like me need in order to be successful at the daily logistics of my practice while holding a higher vision for my business. Laila also has a holistic approach: she attends to me as a small business owner AND as a human being (with all of the emotions that come with being human!).

Laila has just launched her elegant new website for her business Career Counseling with a Twist. While Laila has been a career counselor and life coach for over 15 years, this website is a new adventure. You must check it out. It's beautiful and filled with useful information regarding resumes, job search strategies, life transitions, and much, much more!

I also want to let you know that Laila is also launching a free series of clinics here in Seattle. Here is her lovely flyer (click for a bigger view):

One last note regarding Laila: For years, I had a dream to be a healer-artist-writer “one-woman show.” Now I am doing it; I am living my dream life. I credit so much of my success to Laila's compassionate wisdom and guidance. Thank you, Laila!