Archive | Health RSS feed for this section

Getting My Self-Care On at The Crossings

30 Jun

infinitypool_banner

Note to self: Even the most beautiful, fluid, tranquil place in Texas can not protect you from the harsh rays of the sun if you forget to put on sunscreen.

A couple of weekends ago my friend and I decided to take a self-care day at The Crossings here in Austin, TX. For years I had been meaning to go there to take a class, relax, rejuvenate, meditate and sleep. Ironically I, well, never had the time. Even after my friends Renee and Carrie insisted it would do a world of good for me, I still couldn’t get it together. After a week of sleepless nights due in equal parts to a restless toddler and my own inability to unwind from the constant inner chatter, I couldn’t take it anymore. My life had become a whirlwind of reading, writing, cleaning, working, Mommying, wifing, organizing, planning and doing. Mostly it’s all just a blur of constant doing. I’m done.

I’ve been lucky to have always been surrounded by women who are all a bunch of smartypants overachiever types. And I’ve seen this group transform over the years from obsessively working to making time for the art of self-care. Yes, it’s an art because real self care (not just facials and truffles) is a series of choices planted in moments of clarity and true purpose. For me, maybe parenting finally pushed me to it, but mostly I think it’s a choice– an awakening that happens when fatigue, doubt and “being stuck” just won’t do anymore.

So I was grateful when I got the chance to take a day to get my relaxation on.  First, we meanderedspa_hallway200x200 along a trail dotted with beautiful small gardens bursting with native plants, seasonal herbs and wacky sculptures both whimsical and beautiful. We made our way to the pool area where a marvelous infinity pool would be our BFT (best friend today). Before we jumped in, we had an intense few minutes in the spa steamroom which made jumping into our BFT all the more satisfying. The spa building was a glistening mixture of eco-friendly materials, original artwork and maze-like hallways that added to the private and mysterious feel of the space. We were secluded.

I took a water aerobics class (well, it was a brave effort to get my circulation going) while my friend looked absolutely blissed out reading Vanity Fair and lounging by the pool. I quit the class (I liked it, but I wasn’t in the mood) and we sat in the hot tub talked about life, creativity (a little business) and relationships. It was nice to unwind at a pool without the threat of a two-year old hurling himself into the deep end screaming “Crash!!”

the_patio

In our spa robes and wet hair we went to the dining hall for an organic buffet and had an amazing, healthy lunch on the outside patio shaded by majestic oak trees and overlooking a stunning view of the Texas hill country. The veggie quesadillas, curried squash bisque, spinach salad, roasted potatoes, and other delights left both of us feeling very nourished and extremely happy.

sanctuary2After lunch we took a golf cart tour of the facilities. Honestly, it was way too hot to really enjoy being outside unless you were two feet from the pool or a cool shower. So the golf cart would have to do. Our guide Buddy was very friendly and knowledgable and he took us straight to the labyrinth and non-denominational chapel/meditation hall called Solidago Sanctuary. Though only a few years old, it was built with an eye toward the ancient, and it felt that way. I particularly loved the open garden embraced by stone high walls creating a spacious, yet cocoon-like outdoor retreat.

We then had a chance to peek at a room– unfortunately we couldn’t stay the night, but if you happen to attend a wellness retreat, a conference, a wedding or just want to get away, you’ll have simple and elegant accommodations most likely with that pristine, treetop view of the beautuful surrounding hills. The room we visited felt like a quiet treehouse escape. I happen to love that none of the rooms have televisions. “That’s part of the experience here,” Buddy confirmed. Nice.

He took us back to the pool and we spent a little more time there… probably a bit too much because we were both burnt red like free range lobsters saved by PETA. But before we left we checked out the charming spa store and book store filled with unique goodies including jewelry, audio books and every lotion and potion you’d ever need.

It was a good day, at first brought on by a need to aggressively relax but evolving into an active and pleasing foray for all of one’s neglected senses. The mind got a rest, and the senses went to town.

So, yes, I recommend The Crossings as your personal escape… just wait until the triple digits subside and you can enjoy the full range of outdoor offerings.

For this perfect mini-vacation:

Day passes for just $35 a day Monday through Thursday, $55 a day Friday through Sunday.

Your Crossings experience includes:

  • Access to the resort facilities including the infinity edge pool, steam room
  • Two miles of hiking trails
  • Daily activity classes
  • A healthy lunch
  • Breath taking patio views

Reservations required. For more details call 877.944.3003

Well-being Q&A: Carole Coombs, Green Valley Spa

24 Apr

 

fairy-dust

 

Green Valley Spa was established in 1986 by Alan & Carole Coombs. Carole, a Master Esthetician, has been called the “Grandmother of Spas” and has worked in the spa business for more than thirty years. Carole has played a vital role in the development of the Green Valley Spa and the Green Valley Laboratories where all of the products used at the spa are manufactured.

Green Valley Resort & Spa caters to guests from the U.S. and around the globe. It has been named 3rd best Spa in the world by Travel & Leisure magazine. I had the chance to ask Carole about Green Valley Spa, and some of products that are made from ingredients harvested directly from the nutrient-rich red rock country in Utah where the spa is located.

JHR: Last night I took a bath with your Sweet Dreams Fairy Dust and I was so relaxed I almost slipped into a coma. Do you think you should have a warning label on the package that says “may delight and relax you into oblivion?” What’s the secret?

CC: That’s a good question. Our bath salts contain ancient sea salts in powdered form that were fossilized a long time ago and now offer a full spectrum of mineralized elements that we need to operate at a top level. When used before and after physical activities, our bath salts can lighten and strengthen muscles and other tissues crucial to mobility, flexibility, and reflex response capabilities.

Our Fairy Dust Bath Salts come in seven colors and are a testament to our color therapy philosophy in which every color offers a different healing power with a special blend of pure essential oils. How do you choose a color? By your mood, of course.

Red — For a romantic evening, to enliven the senses and turn the heart toward magical moments of affection and delight.

Orange — To celebrate life’s special moments and to arouse warm feelings and bridge the space that holds us apart from others.

Yellow –- Clears troublesome thoughts and mental confusion, while pulling the past into the light of day where new possibilities appear.

Green –- Helps prepare for a busy day or lively evening while energizing tired muscles and reviving the spirit.

Blue –- A heart remedy that chases away the blues and discouragement for emotional stability.

Indigo –- A sleeping potion for peaceful dreams and visions.

Violet –- Reaches into the spiritual realm and appeals to artistic and creative endeavors.

utah

JHR: Your Good Medicine product line comes straight from the red rock country of Southwestern Utah . Can you tell me how you discovered the rejuvenative properties of the ingredients you use?

CC: In the beginning, our Green Valley research team began hunting for ingredients that would not only beautify the skin’s precious surface, but also allow the body’s natural systems to function fully to release toxic waste, absorb nutrients, activate the cell’s innate ability to rejuvenate, and enliven the sensory components.

Our team was composed of a plastic surgeon, an ethno-botanist, a consultant specializing in organic formulations, highly-trained therapists, and Native Americans, among others. Their discoveries eventually led us back to the wild plant life in our local, red rock desert. We call our skin care line “Good Medicine,” which is a term used by the Indian Nations to describe anything that uplifts the spirit and brings pleasure and wholesome nourishment. We thought it was fitting.

Our Good Medicine products include extracts of desert botanicals, such as Larrea, Sage, Juniper, and Yucca. These plants grow in the wild, are nurtured by sunlight and rain, remain free of many harsh chemical substances so prevalent in plant life today, and are neither crossbred, chemically fertilized or even irrigated. This is why we say our skin care products are “wildcrafted” straight from nature.

Because our products are made with organic ingredients, they not only neutralize toxic waste materials, but their nutritive properties are easily broken down and assimilated by our cells. We gather our desert ingredients locally, combine and prepare them in our on-site laboratory, and then bottle them with loving care to preserve their beneficial properties. Every Green Valley Spa product is fresh with no preservatives.

A variety of our products include aqueous extractions from native plants that grow in the nearby foothills and uplands of the Mojave and Great Basin Deserts . These plants include Utah Juniper (Juniperus utahensis), Banana Yucca (Yucca baccatta), Larrea (Larrea tridentada) and Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentada). Gathered from their native habitat, the raw botanical materials retain their natural qualities and are truly organic.

Some of our products, including the Breeze, Radiance, Sand and Clarity products from our Good Medicine line, consist of compounds extracted from Larrea –- often called Chapparal. These compounds, including Nordihydroguiaretic Acid (NDGA), are powerful antioxidants and have been found to have strong antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and even anti-protozoan properties. While the healing properties of these Larrea compounds have only recently come to light in modern medicine, its traditional Native American use is thousands of years old.

NDGA is actually one of the most highly antioxidant substances known to man –- a concentrated extract form of the plant may immensely help several types of tumors, and it can inhibit several enzyme reactions, including lipo oxyginase, which is responsible for some unhealthy inflammatory and immune-system responses. It has also been shown to reduce inflammatory histamine responses in the lung, which is good news for asthma sufferers.

image0011

JHR: What sort of experience can people can expect when they visit Green Valley Spa?

CC: Our vision for the Green Valley Spa Treatment Center was a place where the senses combine to create that magical state within ourselves. The process used here at Green Valley is really very simple: It is a total sensory experience, one that uses the senses as a guide to discover that special condition of lightness and clarity. It is simple because it just happens — the senses respond and carry us along without our having to figure out or understand the process. We simply feel.

Each day we refashion the Treatment Center with fresh flowers, aromatics, music and even subtly-flavored and scented water to tantalize and impress the senses. All the sounds, images, smells, and tastes correspond to a certain color that represents a quality or dimension of life around us — one we may not have noticed or experienced before.

As the senses respond with pleasure, they bring impulses of delight deep into the innermost part of ourselves, dissolving all that is tense and tight into a condition of repose, resolution, satisfaction and contentment. We hope a Green Valley Spa visit will leave you feeling fit and full — like a vase filled with special moments that continue to bloom long after you leave. When you see a craggy mountain top rising above the desert floor or a flower brushed with dew, I hope you will remember with affection and delight the walks, majestic moments, and the colors, smells and tastes you experienced here.

JHR: Have there been any surprise “big sellers” in your product line and what’s your current favorite?

CC: Along the way, we have had several best-sellers that surprised us all. Two such products that really took off are our Muscle Balm and Essential Oils. Our Muscle Balm is infused with intense, muscle-heating pure essential oils to rejuvenate sore joints and muscles. These carefully chosen oils target the nerve tissues and effectively heal and warm the affected area.

Our Essential Oils come in all colors of the rainbow and are created around the spa’s color therapy philosophy as explained above. Our studies indicated that essential oils differ in molecular structure and metabolic function, and when blended together, the activation of multiple response centers simultaneously is much greater than that of single oils.

Our essential oils fulfill a particular function, which include sedating the respiratory rate or stimulating the rapid response mechanism. Each special blend recharges receptor patterns where they are disengaged or blocked, and clarifies emotional upset and mental confusion to make way for new insight and understanding.

JHR: What is true beauty?

CC: When we see aliveness, we see true beauty.

JHR: What are a few books that have influenced you in your life that you would like to share with readers?

CC: Anything by John O’Donohue Anam Cara, Eternal Echoes and Beauty: The Invisible Embrace.

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Visit Green Valley Spa’s online beauty store, www.goodmedicineshop.com, to receive 25% off all green-colored essential oils, soaps, Fairy Dust bath salts and bath teas in celebration of Spring renewal. Discount is good through April 30, 2009.

Well-being Q&A: Michael Mitton, Findhorn Foundation

22 Apr
The original Findhorn caravan and a garden of 40 lb. cabbages

The original Findhorn caravan and a garden of 40 lb. cabbages

The Findhorn Community began in 1962 by Peter and Eileen Caddy and Dorothy Maclean. They first came to northeast Scotland in 1957 to manage the Cluny Hill Hotel in the town of Forres with great success due to their unorthodox management style driven by intuition and receiving “guidance” from spiritual sources.  Cluny became a four-star hotel, but after several years the three lost their jobs and were forced into unknown territories.

With their three young sons and Dorothy, the group’s caravan stopped in Findhorn where the ground was dry and sandy. With no money and no prospects, Peter decided to grow vegetables to feed his family, though the earth was barren. However, Dorothy discovered she was able to communicate with plant spirits- which she called angels, and then devas – who gave her instructions on how to make the most of their fledgling garden. Eventually, the land yielded incredible results including huge plants, dozens of varieties of herbs anf flowers and the now legendary 40 lb. cabbages. Obviously, news quickly spread and horticultural experts came to investigate. They were stunned and the garden at Findhorn became famous.

Michael Mitton was born and raised at Findorn which has evolved into a model Ecovillage offering year-round educational opportunities in holistic living, spirituality and community building. I had a chance to ask Michael about what Findhorn is like today, and how far it has come.

JHR: There is so much mythology and lore surrounding the story of Findhorn and how it was started. Can you talk a little bit about how the community began and how it has evolved over the years?

Michael Mitton
meandmedal1.jpg

MM: When I read this question, my first reaction was to think “Yes, lets put all the myths aside and look at what really happened.” But I found I couldn’t because in truth it was very mystical and mythic. Three people following their own inner wisdom despite hardships, deprivation and isolation discover a deep and abiding relationship with the subtle realms of nature. The miracles of 40 lb. cabbages spring forth from the sand. An inspirational community is born, deeply grounded in encouraging spiritual harmony between all beings. They build a world renowned ecovillage on an abandoned air force base where the answers to the problems of our age are developed and embodied. Could make a movie about it. In fact, I know a few people who have been talking about for a few years now.

The Findhorn now is different than the Findhorn I grew up in. It’s larger, more complex and sophisticated, more intergrated into the world around it, and it’s still the same. The simple magic that attracted so many people in the early days is still affecting people today, there has always been a feeling about the place, a sense of belonging and ‘rightness’ that many people feel as soon as they come in the entrance. That has never changed. I hope it never will.

JHR: I understand that you were born and raised in Findhorn and that must have been an extraordinary experience as a child. Now that you’re an adult, how do you perceive your upbringing and how has it informed your life?

MM: That’s a question I have been asked a lot since I returned from the States 6 years ago, so I have had a lot of chances to consider this. Ultimately, it was wonderful. No childhood is without pain or suffering, but I do believe that growing up in this community was a blessing. When asked if Findhorn is a good place to raise children I always say unequivocally yes, it’s one of the best. There is something about not having to do it alone. I think that kids are more likely to develop a balanced spirit if raised by a community rather than the nuclear family unit. They have a wider range of role models and thus are less likleyto merely copy the idiosyncrasies of their parents. So it was great to have a 150 parents growing up, but it was also awful. I couldn’t get away with anything!

Also, my creativity and imagination were encouraged to a great degree, and I was really allowed to find myself. There’s a wonderful quote from Eileen, that I can’t find for the life of me, but it’s something about children being like flowers and they should be encouraged and helped to grow but not constrained and be allowed to develop into whatever beautiful blossom they truly are, for God’s garden is great with variety and includes flowers of every colour and shape. Or something like that, she said it a lot better.

And I look to the results. Everyone I grew up with I have such a large amount of respect for, they have all excelled at whatever field they choose for themselves, be it arts, science or academia. They are chemists, doctors, archaeologists, dancers, singers, snowboarders, you name it! But they all seem empowered by an incredible self belief, this faith in themselves that they can do it, whatever it is that ‘it’ is in their lives. They are all amazing, i am often in awe of my friends achievements.

JHR: In your view, is the planet currently in a state of environmental emergency? If so, what can people outside the community do to stop and reverse the damage?

MM: Yes. The most important thing that we can do is to start working together on this. The fact that we must do something is irrefutable but I find that many people are at a loss because they can’t see how one person can make a difference to such a big issue. So get involved in your local community through eco-friendly groups like the transition town movement(http://transitiontowns.org/TransitionNetwork/TransitionCommunities). Or start one yourself if there is not one in your area. I like what they have to say on their site:

• if we wait for the governments, it’ll be too little, too late
• if we act as individuals, it’ll be too little
• but if we act as communities, it might just be enough, just in time.

Also check out http://www.350.org. It’s one of the most important movements of our time.

JHR: Findhorn is a model community for living intentionally and respectfully with nature. Do you see the innovations and ideas developed there to be a model for other similar places around the world?

MM: Absolutely. One of our most popular programmes, the Ecovillage Training, is in it’s 11thyear now. It takes many of the aspects of our community, the social, the spiritual, the ecological, the economic and presents them in a very accessible, grounded, hands on fashion, while still being very in depth. It’s a powerful course, 4 weeks of intense community education, and at the end of it you’ve left with a whole bunch of ideas that you can take back to any community, or even start your own. The Gaia Education Design for Sustainability takes this even further. Check them out at: http://www.findhorn.org/programmes/evt.php and http://www.findhorn.org/programmes/programme353.php

Also here’s an article I wrote about them:

http://www.findhorn.org/onlinecommunity/news/2008/01/the_spirituality_of_ecovillage.php

JHR: For over 45 years the Findhorn Foundation has offered a wide range of workshops and programs which encourage self-discovery. What can people expect to experience when they attend a workshop or spend seven days there during Experience Week?

MM: “Seven days that can change your world” was the tagline we came up for for Experience Week. I think that sums it up well. Even after having grown up here and done a whole bunch of experiencing the Findhorn community, I still found it to be a fantastic, life-affirming, and life-changing experience.

Experience Week is a wonderful opportunity to find out what it is like living in this community. It’s like it takes a whole month or two of activities and fits it all into one week– very intense and you get to see and be a lot in just one week. A comment I hear a lot from guests is that they were amazed to discover that work could be joyful. The whole ‘work is love in action’ thing that we try to live by seems to touch many souls. They say “I never knew work could be so fun!” Is it work then? Didn’t Confucius say “they who love their job, never work” or something. Seems apt.

JHR: What are some books that have influenced you in your work and in your life that would like to share with readers?

My two top authors are Richard Bach and Terry Pratchett, I often refer to them as two of the foundations of my life philosophy. I love how they can deal with very deep and profound subjects with humour and great insight. It’s important to not take things too seriously.

Eileen (Caddy), of course, has been a constant source of inspiration to me and I quote her all the time when I’m waxing philosophical.

I read Peter’s autobiography (In Perfect Timing: Memoirs of a Man for the New Millenium) when I was growing up and I found that to be very powerful. He had such a powerful faith which enabled him to do such incredible things. I would love to be that sure of myself!

On the eco front, I found George Monbiots Heat: How to Stop the Planet Burning and Richard Heinberg’s The Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies to be wake up calls for myself to really consider the scope of the problem we face and to really engage with finding a solution.

Sustainable barrel houses at Findhorn's Ecovillage

Sustainable barrel houses at Findhorn's Ecovillage

Good Vibes: Move Your Boogie Body 1982

19 Apr

OK, so in 1982 I was in junior high and my biggest concern was whether or not I was ever going to meet Paul McCartney. I didn’t even have the slightest conception that I should be striving for a Boogie Body. But in this Jazzercise clip, the near 40 year-old me is thinking a) what is this lady on that she feels so good and b) I need to get me some.

Well-being Q&A: Leslie Davenport

17 Apr

How much do you know about self-guided imagery? If you think it’s about visualizing beautiful landscapes to cope with stress, that’s not it. Well, maybe that’s a little of it. I guess Thomas Moore summed it up well when he wrote, “I see imagination as the most important power we have. As we imagine the world, so we live and understand. But a great deal of the imagination that shapes us lies under the surface. We need to tap that underlying storehouse of images in order to grasp who we are and where we are headed.”

So whether we understand the power of self-guided imagery or not, we’re doing it all the time. So says author Leslie Davenport, a pioneer in the role of guided imagery in psychotherapy and integrative medicine. She  is she a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with Master’s Degrees in both the arts and psychology, as well as an ordained minister in the interfaith Sufi tradition.

Leslie says that images are the natural language of our intuition and the wisdom of the heart. So understanding the images that flow constantly through consciousness as well as creating them deliberately can help heal and transform our lives. I asked Leslie to cover some of the basics on the hows and whys of self-guided imagery.

JHR: In your book Healing and Transformation Through Self-Guided Imagery (Celestial Arts/Ten Speed Press, Feb. 2009), you say that we are constantly being guided by imagery all the time, and that entering a different state of consciousness is not necessary. How does that work?

LD: If you have ever worried, daydreamed, or fantasized you have successfully done imagery. In essence, we move in and out of different states of consciousness all the time. Those common forms of imagery are a far cry from the range and depth of the healing possibilities with imagery, but it’s important to recognize that imagery, among other things, is the natural way that we store and expresses information. Try this simple 30 second exercise: Take a moment right now to answer the question, “How many doors, including closet doors, do you have in your home?” (pause) Unless you recently remodeled, you didn’t have a number pop into your head. You retrieved the information you were after by taking a quick imaginary tour of your home and looking around the rooms. The ability to enter imagery is easily available to everyone. And if we do take the time to relax and move into quieter realms within, we can also tour quite subtle and soulful aspects of our inner landscapes.

JHR: Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell talk about the idea that mythology is the result of the collective subconscious of humanity. Is there a link between this idea and the information individuals can glean from self-guided imagery?

healingselfguided1LD: Yes – very much so! The imagery journey is paradoxical in that it is both intensely personal and vastly universal. The images that arise have a characteristic of being exactly what is needed for the person at that very time in their lives, and yet the images themselves are often surprising, as though they originated from a realm beyond their knowledge.

By turning our awareness within through an imagery process, we can travel below our personal beliefs and psychological defenses, and tap into the layers of the subconscious and unconscious. Jung referred to the collective unconscious a “reservoir of the experience of our species,” and it is said to hold shared ancestral experiences. In imagery, people often tap into wisdom images that have meaning for them, but are unexpected and unfamiliar. As we dip into this shared layer of consciousness, universal images, or archetypes, arise that often appear in many different eras and cultures. Joseph Campbell describes universal imagery as the “mythic imagination,” and writes of the hero archetype in his book, Hero With a Thousand Faces.

JHR: Why do you think the practice of self-guided imagery is experiencing a renaissance now?

LD: While imagery is a very natural way of knowing ourselves and life, it has been severely underutilized in our contemporary culture where achievement, analysis and organization are prized. While those skills are valuable, when we fail to draw upon the full range of human perception, it creates imbalance. The cumulative lack of balance eventually becomes unsustainability which is now showing up on a global scale in health, environment, and economic crisis. This is a time when we are not only called to action, but to examine why we find ourselves here. As Einstein is attributed as saying, “Problems cannot be solved by the same consciousness that created them.” While I’m not suggesting that if we had all done imagery none of these problems would exist, I am saying that we have collectively lost sight of the mystery, beauty and soulful aspects of life as ways to inform our decisions. Imagery is one of the ways to remain connected with those depth aspects of life.

JHR: If someone is first getting started in the practice of self-guided imagery, what are some basic steps to be aware of? Is it a good to begin the process with a facilitator?

LD: I can’t emphasize enough how imagery is a natural process, and for that reason, it is very possible for someone to tap into meaningful images on their own. That being said, there are quite a few misconceptions about imagery that can initially get in the way. One example I often hear is, “I’ve tried before to picture a pretty place, but I just can’t.” While about 55% of the population does have a visual orientation when it comes to internal sense perceptions, there are also kinesthetic impressions, auditory responses, olfactory memories, all of which are valid portals for the full expressing on internal guidance. We often just sense something and it is accompanied by a feeling that rings true. All these internal impressions are the language of imagery. When we did the 30 second “door” exercise in question one, the images of your home may not have been Technicolor, but it was clear enough imagery to retrieve the information you were after. That’s all it takes! The goal is not to picture something: The goal is to tap into the amazing source of wisdom and healing within. When you are new to imagery, sometimes it is useful to have an experienced guide who can coach you through some of these kinds of temporary obstacles.

JHR: How does self-guided imagery support physical healing? How is the process different from emotional or spiritual healing?

LD: Recent research has confirmed that whether we are imagining a situation, or actually experiencing it, our physiology responds in almost exactly the same way. For example, if you are replaying a heated argument you had yesterday with a neighbor, a cascade of stress chemicals are released in your body in much the same way they were when you actually interacted with that person! The good news is that we can use this same mind-body connection to cultivate images that support wellbeing and trigger a healing response.

We are unitive beings: Your body, mind, emotions, and spirit are intimately connected. If we begin to relax our muscles, it quiets our thoughts and emotions. If we let go of a distressing thought, our muscles naturally relax. At the same time, we are complex beings. If we find ourselves with an illness, for example, it doesn’t mean that we created it because we had “bad thoughts” or weren’t spiritual enough. It does mean, however, that we can focus our minds to optimize healing and wellbeing because of the existing links with the various layers of who we are.

Because imagery is based on focused awareness, we can become more acquainted with and attend to the wounds and wholeness within all areas of our being, physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.

JHR: Can you share an exercise that readers can use today to begin utilizing the process of self-guided imagery?

LD: The imagery journey begins as soon as you close your eyes and bring your focus away from your thinking mind. Bring attention to your breathing. Each time you breathe in, silently say the word clarity. Every time you exhale, silently say the word peace and feel your body relaxing. Continue to deepen your relaxation with this breath practice for about three minutes. Then invite an image to arise of an environment where you could feel even more peaceful and supported, and when it takes shape, notice the colors, texture, sounds scents and feel. Step in and soak in the healing atmosphere of your inner sanctuary.

JHR: What are you reading? What are some books or authors who have influenced you in your life and in your work?

LD: My earliest teacher of imagery came from years of embodying living images as a professional modern dancer. Tapping into the creative well within as a choreographer opened the way for a growing understanding of the body-mind-spirit connections which took a healing focus later in life. I have great respect for imagery colleagues Martin Rossman, David Bressler, Jeanne Achterberg and Belleruth Naparstek. In the spiritual arenas, I have been influenced by Thich Nhat Hanh, Byron Katie, Eckhart Tolle, Meister Eckhart and Patanjali. Poetry nourishes me, and Mary Oliver and Rumi are top favorites. I am currently reading Open Mind, Open Heart by Thomas Keating.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.