Monday, November 30, 2009
On the one hand, in the spring of 2008, Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska "issued a proclamation that stated the importance of end-of-life planning." (See editorial by Earl Blumenauer, "The Sorry Saga of those 'Death Panels'".) On the other hand, this summer, on August 7th, after the Obama Administration had decided to include a strong piece on end-of-life conversations in the Health Care Reform Bill, Palin joined the bandwagon opposing the Administration's Bill by using the term "death panels" on her Facebook where she stated: "The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil."
Palin's statement was in no way based on the truth, or the actual bill. And yet, others joined this chorus referring to so-called "death panels". It seems that their purpose was simply to put the "fear of God" in people by drumming up some mis-truths around an issue that is already very sensitive and tender in our culture, thereby polarizing the issue and discrediting the authors of a very important and necessary bill.
Rabbi Schachter-Shalomi, a wise teacher in the conscious aging arena, has stated that one of the reasons Americans are so awkward around the subject of death and dying is because we have "pathologized" death by taking it to the hospital. This is a statement that rings very true for me, as once a person is in the hospital here in the United States, we make it very difficult for them to die. American doctors and hospital staff are trained to keep people alive, often at all costs. And now, Palin and other politicians are making it even more difficult to maneuver this very important arena of end-of-life care by spreading false truths and rumors, based on fear and discomfort around a sensitive issue.
I do not have any simple answers. I do offer a book called THE LAST ADVENTURE OF LIFE: Sacred Resources for Living and Dying from a Hospice Counselor in which I share some of the lessons I've gleaned from the many hospice patients and families I've had the honor to work with. And I do believe that this work offers an antidote to the fear and misrepresentation that Palin and others have attempted to create in the death and dying arena.
My hope and prayer is that Americans will not let the fear that anyone is spreading out there in our society get into them such that we run away from a necessary and important conversation. I am grateful to hear that so far, the end-of-life issue is still in the proposed 1,000-page health care reform bill. And I am hopeful that we as a nation will continue an important dialogue around end-of-life care such that we can begin to unravel what we've done to death in our hospitals and bring it back into the natural cycle of life!
Blessings of Deep Hope and Joy, Dancing heart~~~
Here is a thoughtful article that Deepak Chopra has posted just a week ago: Sarah Palin: Fooling None of the People All of the Time.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Speaking of which, I had amazing thing happen at the U.S.-Canadian border on my way home from dropping my daughter off: As I was leaving Vancouver, I asked Spirit that I would have a positive experience at the border. When I got in line to cross the border, I got a "hit" that I was in the right lane. I also did not have to wait very long. They were saying 25 minutes, but I believe I was only waiting for no more than 20 minutes. When I got to the gate, it was a younger woman inspector. There was a male guard standing with her, for some reason. She asked me where my residence was. Then she asked me about the purpose of my visit to Canada. When I told her that I had come up to "release my daughter to U.B.C.," she said that she had just let her daughter go to attend kindergarten for the first time.
Then I started to get really emotional and told her that I was just recently thinking nostalgically about the first day I put Heather on a school but to let her go to kindergarten! We had a lovely moment of recognition, and she quickly sent me on my way. Such a sweet experience, one woman to another, making friends at the borderline.
Hoping and praying that we are all finding friends and supporters along this journey of transitions, changes, and transformations, Dancing heart~~~
p.s. If you are interested in my articles at Examiner.com, please see this link.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
"Walking across the sticky surface of aging the other day, I stopped in my tracks and remembered some rather traditional advice about growing older and dying. Its argument is that since we have been given life, we should consciously offer it back little by little. This is straightforward, and all it requires is an attitude of gratitude while giving back what has been given us so abundantly. It echoes the words of the Bible that say, 'Freely you have received, freely give.' Furthermore, it is only fair to move over and make room so the next generation can experience life as pure gift. It is all about conscious aging and dying. To "offer back" and to "make room" are things I can do consciously in the heat and chills of this mostly slow dissolution. Mary Morrison's wonderful little book Let Evening Come is as clear and warm as one can read about the generosity of spirit that can follow us from all our days and henceforward."
In this time when our whole nation is a-buzz with a discourse around end-of-life care issues, it seems important to remember that our lives, in the end, are a mysterious gift. Last Sunday I helped facilitate a memorial service. During the service I used a prayer that shares the following: "We enter into life in a mystery and leave it in a mystery. Through all our days we are upheld by a power we do not fully understand. Joy comes to us beyond our expectation, and difficulty beyond our imagining. Teach us the faith that, if we persist, we shall know the truth and be glad of life through all our days. ... Turn our eyes and hearts again to the world of the living, ... to a life of sympathy and generosity for ALL who live and grow and die, ..."
Here's to a "generosity of spirit" to each one of us, as we live, grow (change!), and die. May we deeply give love, receive love, and share love -- while we are in the Land of the Living.
Deep Joy and Generous Love to each of you, Dancing heart~~~
p.s. If you are interested in the end-of-life discussion that's going on in our country, I invite you to have a look at some of my recent articles on Examiner.com as the Transitions & Grief Examiner.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
On another note, today is the last of a series of three eclipses, tomorrow is a full moon, and today through the 7th (Friday) are supposed to be some very important powerful days on the planet: Days to meditatae on the unity, cooperation, and the oneness that is possible on the Earth. For more details on this, I invite you to see another article (material from Judy Moore) from Examiner.com.
No matter what's going on in your life right now, the most important thing you can do is to stay in joy and remember to share the love. We are so blessed to be experiencing the miracle of life on this precious Earth! Enjoy the ride... or "ride the wave," as my great aunt Gladys used to say! Dancing heart~~~
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Dying does belong at home, and in community. (As Rabbi Zalman Shachter-Shalomi reminds us, we've pathologized death by taking it to the hospital in the last 100 years.) And it means so much when older people can have the spiritual and moral support they need directly in their homes and residences when they need it. Aging people who live in community with loved ones and people they can trust, remember that they are loved and cared for. Therefore, they can relax better, and even have less pain and suffering. What a beautiful way to model for our society what is possible!
Thank you, Sisters of Joseph, for opening up your home and life for us so that we can have a glimpse of your beauty, wisdom, and gentleness. May your compassion and hope be seen by and touch many.
Infinite Peace and Healing, Dancing heart~~~
p.s. If you are in the Seattle area, I'll be presenting my book at Barnes & Noble (Crossroads, Bellevue) this Sat., 2-3PM, and at EastWest Bookshop (Bothell Branch) on July 31, 7:30 PM. See details here.
Also, for more articles on the body-mind-spirit healing modalities, see my articles on Examiner.com.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Meanwhile, I'm so impressed by the compassion that my teammates share with their hospice people and families. I recently made a joint visit with one of my nurse colleagues. Her behavior with a gentleman who was struggling with some dementia and congestive heart failure (and who knows what else) was so touching that I was moved to tears. She gave such wonderful care to this man that it was as if she was a member of his family herself! Even though he was not able to respond that actively to her, she kindly talked to him during the whole visit. She also touched him in gentle and very appropriate ways, as she diapered him and wrapped his weeping legs with the gauze and bandages. I truly was amazed and impressed by her love and care.
We humans are so unique and so special. And no matter what is going on in our lives, we deserve to be treated with dignity, love, and gentleness. I'm convinced more than ever before that hospice is a vitally needed and quietly powerful and transforming organization in our world today.
If you have not considered it, I would invite you to consider becoming a volunteer for hospice. This experience will powerfully transform and grow your life through love -- guaranteed!
Blessings of Love and deLight, Dancing heart~~~
p.s. By the way, I read some interesting material on Karen Bishop's WINGS update re Michael Jackson's death and his "higher level energy". Check out the last seven paragraphs of this link, if you'd like to read more.
If you're interested in Body-Mind-Spirit Tools for Healing, see Dancing Heart's website's Link Page.And if you enjoyed this article, you may be interested in taking a look at my Examiner.com site for more articles on related topics.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Our hearts go out to the extremely talented and eccentric, genius of a singer, dancer, and performer, Michael Jackson, who among other things, brought deep hope and glory to his hometown, Gary Indiana. He also was adored and appreciated by many, along with his brothers, to help collapse and ease old racial barriers and Heal the World (We Are the World).
We also mourn the loss of the beautiful, sexy Farah, well known for her role as "the pretty one" in Charlie's Angels, leaving a legacy of determination to prove that she could play against her image and defy expectations ("The Burning Bed" and "Extremities"). She became a role model for actors who have been typecast and every star whose talent has been questioned.
And we mourn the loss of Billy Mays. Discovery Channel spokeswoman Elizabeth Hillman commented about Billy saying, "Everyone that knows him was aware of his larger-than-life personality, generosity and warmth. Billy was a pioneer in his field and helped many people fulfill their dreams. He will be greatly missed as a loyal and compassionate friend."
Michael's and Farah's lives were cut short, in part because they became caught in the pressure cooker of being in the limelight of notoriety. They had to live their lives in fishbowls, often without the privacy or freedom that they may have desired. Their lives were in many ways paradoxal, and their shadow sides and demons that they struggled with remind us of our own. At this time, it would seem that Billy's life was cut short by a coincidental accident.
Most of all, however, their loss reminds us of the fragility of life. We never know when life will end for us on this fragile earth. We often think we're invincible, we tend to take our bodies for granted and work them very hard; and we imagine that we're "in control." However, in the end, we are not in control. Probably we are never in control. Life happens to us; and life does not always go the way we think that it will, or imagine that it could. We need to be prepared for the last adventure of life at all times, for we know not when it will come.
This is an opportunity for us all to take a deep breath, while we give thanks for the life that we have be given. Life is good! Life is sacred and very special. May we honor and hold close to our hearts all those who have gone before us. And as we grieve and mourn the loss of these gifted, yet fragile human lives, may we resolve to make the most of our lives, shining the Light and Love -- who we really are! Thank you, Michael, Farah, and Billy, for the Love & Light that you shone and now shine on... Thank you for your magical, healing ways. May you live on in bright and beautiful ways, giving hope, joy, and determination, especially for those who must pick up the pieces and move on in their lives without you.
In deep gratitude for the gift of life itself, and for the unique, precious gift of each unique and special one on the planet, Dancing heart~~~
For another look at the "synchronicity" or coincidence of Michael's and Farah's deaths, see Toni Elizabeth Sar'h's youtube.
If you're interested in Body-Mind-Spirit Tools for Healing, see Dancing Heart's website's Link Page.
And if you enjoyed this article, you may be interested in taking a look at my Examiner.com site for more articles on related topics.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
What are your views on consumerism and how are you creating ways to materially lighten up your life? I'd love to hear from you. Happy forgiving, releasing, letting go, and moving on! Dancing heart~~~
Raphael Cushnir is a leading voice in the world of emotional connection and Present Moment Awareness. He has shared his unique approach to personal and professional development with millions of readers in O, The Oprah Magazine, Beliefnet, Spirituality and Health, Psychology Today and the Huffington Post. He has also authored three previous books, lectures worldwide, and is a faculty member of the Esalen Institute, and the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. In addition, he coaches individuals and teams at Fortune 100 companies, governments, religious organizations, and leading non-profits. For more info: cushnir.com.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Perhaps if we could all commit to forgiving one another (giving each other the benefit of the doubt), and releasing and letting go of what no longer serves us every day, as much as we can, this would be a great start. I'm working on going through my papers these days, file by file, pile by pile, and box by box. It's time to release and recycle what I can and make room for the new pieces and ideas that are desiring to come in. Same with my closets and the garage -- my storage space. Time to clear out the old and make room for the new!
Who and what are you forgiving, relasing, letting go of, and moving on from? I'd be interested to hear...
Blessings of an open, healed heart! Dancing heart~~~
p.s. By the way, speaking of forgiving, releasing, letting go, and moving on, if you're interested in a heart wall healing, please be in touch. I'm doing them on a regular basis now, both in person and long distance. This healing is bound to help make your life more happy, healthy, and wealthy, too.
Also, please check out my Examiner.com site where I'm writing a series of articles on the integrative therapies and healing, relaxing, and balancing our bodies, using the last chapter of my book as my foundation.
Monday, May 11, 2009
When May first came, she was still not feeling well, so she decided to go to a local hospital. At the hospital, she was first told she had a the Swine Flu and placed in confinement for six hours. She was told she should take Tamiflu and was not even allowed her cell phone to be in touch with her family or friends. Then, to top it all off, after six hours, someone came to tell her that she did not have Swine Flu after all and that she did not need to take the Tamiflu. Then, she was sent home to heal up.
Wow, what kind of fear wall have we built up around all this dis-ease that hasn't even caused much actual trouble in our country?!? It's most disheartening to hear stories like this. However, it's a reminder, I believe, to all of us, that we do not need or want to take on this fear. The key in our times is to stay in LOVE and away from the fear. Even though it's very easy to get caught up in the fear, we are called as divine human beings, to stay Body, Mind, and Spirit in the Light of Love and Joy! And two very simple ways of doing this are by being Creative and being Grateful. How is it that you can be your most creative and grateful self? These are the ways that will help you stay out of fear... I'd like to close here with a story from my book (The Last Adventure of Life) called "Two Wolves":
"A fight is going on inside me," the elder said to the boy. "It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil -- he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, and ego. The other is good -- he is joy, peace, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every person."
The grandson thought about this for a moment, then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"
The elder simply replied, "The one you feed."
-- Cherokee children's story (found on the Internet)
Blessings of a Grateful, Creative Heart, Dancing heart~~~
p.s. Speaking of staying out of fear, I am now delighted to be offering heart wall healings, a simple and easy way to release old, negative feelings that are trapped behind our heart walls energetically. This is part of my soul work! Please see this link and contact me directly if you are interested in receiving a healing. (I can do them long distance for you or your animal/pet, too.)
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
I received this poem from a friend through email today and wanted to share it. Trees are so wonderful, always reminding me of the Tree of Life itself. May you find grace and comfort in the deep beauty, and shade, that trees and Mother Earth offer.
In the place that is my own place, whose earth
I am shaped in and must bear, there is an old tree growing,
a great sycamore that is a wondrous healer of itself.
Fences have been tied to it, nails driven into it,
hacks and whittles cut in it, the lightning has burned it.
There is no year it has flourished in
that has not harmed it. There is a hollow in it
that is its death, though its living brims whitely
at the lip of the darkness and flows outward.
Over all its scars has come the seamless white
of the bark. It bears the gnarls of its history
healed over. It has risen to a strange perfection
in the warp and bending of its long growth.
It has gathered all accidents into its purpose.
It has become the intention and radiance of its dark fate.
It is a fact, sublime, mystical and unassailable
In all the country there is no other like it.
I recognize in it a principle, an indwelling
the same as itself, and greater, that I would be ruled by.
I see that it stands in its place, and feeds upon it,
and is fed upon, and is native, and maker.
Infinite Joy, Hope, and Healing to us all, Dancing heart~~~
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
I. Hold each of the five fingers, using your dominant hand, one at a time, for about 3 to 5 minutes each. This method of relaxation comes out of the acupressure system called Jinshin Jyutsu in Japanese, and helps to relax a person immediately. The following are the emotions you can help release by holding each finger: Insecurity with the thumb, fear with the index finger, anger with the middle finger, grief & sorrow with the ring finger, and denial and confusion with the pinky. You will likely notice that after holding each finger for a few minutes you will start yawning and become drowsy -- so be careful when and where you do this exercise!
II. Using essential oils, especially ones like lavender, cedarwood, sandalwood, ylang ylang, myrrh, frankincense, bergamot, Peace & Calming (a Young Living blend), etc. can help you relax and feel rejuvenated. Inhaling deeply and directly is a good way, using a cool diffuser with them in your room, placing a few drops of one or more of the oils on the hand and fingers can be good, or simply rubbing these high frequency oils on the bottoms of the feet or on the forehead when you're ready to relax or just before you go to sleep. A friend of mine who loves the YL oils said her little boy got so he wouldn't go to sleep without putting a few drops of Peace & Calming on the bottoms of his feet!
III. There are breathing techniques and simple guided meditations that can be used to destress and get centered, too. Here's a simple meditation for busy people that can be done in only five minutes:
a. Use a mind-sweeper to clear your thoughts. Sweep away all negative, fearful, or unforgiving thoughts. (one minute)
b. Relax your body through and through. Start at the top of your head and let relaxation flow down over your body in a stream of white light or sunshine. (one min.)
c. Let yourself feel the Love of God that is within you until Love fills your whole being. Envision yourself embraced by Divine Love. (with practice, takes only an instant)
d. Be still and KNOW that you are in the presence of God. See every cell of your body glow with pure Love and Light. (two minutes)
Now take the thoughts and feelings of this experience with you as you go about your daily activities. When you practice clearing your mind, relaxing your body, feeling God's Love and Light, and listening in the quiet several times each day, you are building a heightened awareness of Who You Really Are. You will look around and see how beautiful and full of Love the world truly is. You will hold the true nature of your fellow sojourners along life's way!
Blessings of Peace and Wellness, Dancing heart~~~
p.s. If you wish to order any of the Young Living oils, you can do so on the Young Living website by using my membership #: 705841.
Monday, March 16, 2009
I had a big synchronicity around opening my heart with one of the Nikken products. After attending a training for the products and business last Sat., I came home and looked them up on the Internet. I happened upon a Youtube by Dr. Bradley Nelson, a chiropractor who's authored a book called The Emotion Code. It turns out that Dr. Nelson has discovered a very simple way to help people take down their Heart Walls (approximately 80% of us have developed Heart Walls over the years of life) using the Mag Creator. I taught myself how to do this simple healing and opened up my heart -- took down my heart wall! This experience has led me to want to pursue this area of Heart Healing in my life at this time.
If any of you in the Puget Sound Area would like to experience this, please contact me. I'm happy to offer you a Heart Healing in exchange for a Love Offering. You would need to come to the Lynnwood area where my office is, unless we come up with another arrangement together. Also, if you are interested in learning more about the Mag Creator or other Nikken products -- they have an awesome supplement for Osteoperosis and bone density called OsteoDenx, among other things -- please be in touch. I can put you in touch with one of my mentors and we can learn more together...
I hope that life is opening up in beautiful ways for you in these special times! As we remain flexible and open, there's so much that's available to us. Happy Transformation, Dancing heart~~~
Sunday, February 22, 2009
I would go one step further and say that baby-boomers are desiring to go deeper into the inner spiritual life than our parents; and we are seeking new and creative ways to approach death and the afterlife. We want to be more real and learn from death before it encroaches upon us. We also want to be attentive to our environment and create rituals and ceremonies that are in tune with the Earth. Indeed, death can be a great teacher; and we are blessed in our lives when we allow it to touch us sooner rather than later. When we can be proactive about our death, we can let it touch us and move us, rather than be controlled by it. As the Celtic culture teaches, may we be able to die before we die so that when we die we don't have to die!
Thank you for your interest in my work. Please remember that I offer beautiful Soul Baskets for people who are in the midst of transitions of all kinds: bereaved persons, caregivers, people who have lost a love, a job, or a relationship, people who are facing death -- at whatever stage or age of their lives. These Baskets will help you relax and face whatever you need to face to get through the transition you are moving through. Life is an exciting adventure, wherever you are and whatever you are up to! Please let me hear from you and if the time is right, let me create a special Soul Basket for you or your loved one.
Many Blessings of Peace and Abundance, Dancing heart~~~
Monday, February 2, 2009
One of the most amazing things about this book is the beautiful way in which Maria is able to portray her daughter's spirit and their powerful connection/relationship. From the very start of the book, you get the picture of a charming, deeply loved child who shines her light brightly wherever she goes -- like the bright red patent leather Mary Jane's she wears. Her warm light and character and humor draw people into her life in a way that is captivating. Her entire family is clearly a very special and unique gift to one another as they move through a heart-wrenching period of their lives. Their honesty and bravery in the face of cancer and death is totally inspiring. Maria's determination, too, to help Hannah and her entire family live life to its fullest is evident throughout the book. For those who want to be healed by the gift of life and death, I can't recommend this little gem of a book highly enough.
And by the way, I'm hearing through author Maria that the book will become a movie very soon! I can hardly wait...
February Blessings to you all, Dancing heart~~~
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
As I look back on my years of work with hospice as a spiritual and bereavement counselor, I see that the entire experience was rather like a very gradual near death experience: I did not actually experience my own physical death, but I came so close to so many who were experiencing the dying process and the depths of the grieving process that much of it rubbed off on me. It was as if a part of me was having a taste part of the experience, too, and over time I received some of the gifts that a person who has a NDE typically receives.
The following are some of the gifts that I have received as I see it:
1. There is so much more than meets the eye.
2. Death is nothing to fear; it is only another doorway to another form of life, because life never ends. It simply transforms.
3. Everyone has a purpose in coming to Earth. Therefore, everyone and everything is special -- sacred.
4. We are all interconnected. Therefore, we are all one. God/dess, or the Infinite Intelligence is the glue that holds us altogether.
5. The more we tune into the magic and mystery of life, the more it is apparent in our lives. (Whatever we focus on expands.)
6. Our intuition can grow significantly when we honor it and use it to expand our purpose in life.
If you are desiring to grow spiritually, I highly recommend that you consider hospice work. You could start as a volunteer, as hospices are always looking for people who can volunteer with their patients and families. Just look up a local hospice in your neighborhood and contact the Volunteer Coordinator. She (or he) will be more than happy to explain how the process works. As you sign up for this, if you haven't done so already, you might want to look into getting a hold of a copy of my book, THE LAST ADVENTURE OF LIFE!
Deep Blessings of Peace and Light to you -- as we move closer to more light (and spring!) each day, Dancing heart~~~
Monday, January 19, 2009
Then, last night I shed tears of joy as I watched pieces from the inaugural concert that took place in Washington D.C. at the Lincoln Memorial. What a powerful, auspicious, synchronistic time we are living through: Martin Luther King Jr. Day is being celebrated today, on the eve of the inauguration of our new and first black American President of the United States, Barack Obama! This is a time for celebration, joy, and hope throughout the world, a time when some long awaited dreams are becoming a reality in the new history that is being recorded. One could say that the world helped awaken our country to the powerful, spiritual leader we had in our midst, and now we can together -- the world over -- celebrate a new beginning.
I want to share with you a simple, beautiful poem has been spoken by Bryan Lynch since the election. I heard part of it quoted last evening on television, too:
Rosa sat so Martin could walk.
Martin walked so Barack could run.
Barack ran so our children can fly!
Enjoy the new and wonderful flight, Dancing heart~~~
p.s. Relatedly, here's a link to a New Song that my friend Sandi Kimmel has been singing. Please listen and pass along to your friends.
Friday, January 9, 2009
Some of the worst things a person can say after a friend/acquaintance loses a loved one are phrases that assume things, such as "I know what you're going through," "You'll get over it," or "God never gives a person more than they can handle." Often, unintentionally of course, the friend wants to say what makes them feel better. So they try to fix the situation, whereas the person in grief needs comfort, consolation, and a listening ear. The grieving person usually appreciates simple "presence," a feeling that they can be held, cared for, and allowed to be exactly where they are.
Some of the best things a person might say are "I'm so sorry," "I love you (and your loved one who passed)," or "I'm very sorry that you're having to go through this situation. Is there any way that I can help?" Then make sure that you follow through when you get a response on how the person wants your help.
Sometimes silence is the best. The friend might simply give the grieving person a big bear hug and let them cry as much as they need. Then, they could let them know how much they're loved and that they will stand with them through this challenging time in whatever way they need. Intuition helps a lot here... gently let the grieving person guide the way, as everyone grieves differently, too.
A grieving person also needs to process what happened. Open-ended questions about what and how things happened are good, once they seem ready to talk. Questions like "What happened?" "How did (your loved one) die?" “How are you taking this all in?" "Tell me about how you're managing to cope with your loss?" can be helpful at this time.
Hope these reflections are helpful. Perhaps you have some comments or stories around this issue. I would be delighted to hear your reflections. Please be in touch. Have a blessed day, and year, Dancing heart~~~