connective elements healing

honoring creativity - restoring balance - embracing wholeness

By observing nature, ancient traditions explained all of existence through five elements.  

Connective Elements Healing aims to restore you to your true nature through five healing offerings -

BodyTalk, Coaching, Meditation, Reiki and Yoga. 

Filtering by Category: Healing

Untethering

Early August 2015

It took me 36 years and 13 days to realize I've lived my life in full-on heart protection mode. The carnage has included countless missed opportunities in which to revel in the moment, cherish the relationship and simply be. The utterance of four words several months ago changed everything in my life as I knew it. Since then, intentional unbinding has been my modus operandi. My life has been comprised of intentional acts to cultivate freedom, untangle and release the ties that bound my heart. 

It's a process that by no means is over. However, today as I put it all together, I realize the nature of my bound heart and vow to take conscious action to continue the unbinding process. 

"I feel dead inside." As the words escaped my lips, intuitively, I knew they were a soul cry. Those four words unlocked a portal to change. As my heart and my soul cried out, yearning for something more, something better, they craved to be unbound, to taste freedom, to embody purpose. 

"Heart Aflame" - Vientiane, Laos

With each conscious untethering, I've tentatively tiptoed out of the bounds of each previous constriction, testing the waters, dipping a toe into each new, uncharted territory. What I've found is that with each new space, countless emotions arise. I honor each emotion by providing it breath and space to show up and full occupy that space. The emotion then dissipates and a new version of myself emerges. 

Since the day of my soul cry, I've chosen to forgo the security of job, home, relationships and nearly everything I own to give space for my heart. My heart desperately craves space in which to thrive. By recognizing my truest feelings and honoring my deepest desires, I hope that I may learn unconditional love.

Unconditional love starts with the self.

I must love myself first - unconditionally. I must recognize the cries of the soul and honor the desires of the heart. The next steps on my path are unclear. However, the spiritual practices that resonate with me most have led me here, to this moment, one step closer to an unbound heart. 

Connect: I invite you to honor your own heart through this meditation practice.

Find a quiet space and at least five minutes of uninterrupted time. Tune into your heart center. It may help you to rest one or both hands on your heart.

Breathe into this space.

Draw your breath into your heart.

Ask your heart what constrictions exist. In what ways is your heart bound?

In the safety of the silence, ask how you might untether any heart wishes that lie just on the surface of the heart. 

When you feel ready, ask what desires lie deep within the heart and if there are any messages that might be helpful in realizing those desires.

Throughout the meditation, as emotions arise, pause. Give them space and breath.

Allow the emotions to occupy the space until they start to fade, and they will. Simply trust the practice. Give each emotion breath as it arises. Give it more space and more breath. Let the emotion untether with each breath and gradually fade into the space.

Sit with your breath. 

As more emotions arise, rinse and repeat.

Take note of the heart wisdom that arises throughout your meditation. With regular practice, your ears will attune to the whispers of your heart so that you, too, may become untethered.

 

Untethering is part of a collection of writings that chronicles my inner journey through Southeast Asia.

My Three Teachers in Luang Prabang

Written August 12, 2015

I stepped to the side to let him pass me on the sidewalk. He approached me and pointed to what I thought was the ground. As the rain steadily fell, my feet stood in a bit of flowing water. I thought, at first, that was what he was pointing to. His eyes met mine. I studied what few teeth he had left in his mouth. His skin was dirty. His clothes were tattered. He had a cloth bag draped over his body, attached was a plastic sack containing some fruit.

As he pointed his crooked finger again, he crouched, lowering his body until his hands made contact with the top of my flip-flopped feet. He touched my big toe, then my little toe, then flattened his hand over the entire top of my foot. I thought at first that the couple of walking meditation rounds I literally just completed a block away at the oldest stupa in Luang Prabang, Laos, had earned a blessing in a very direct way.

"Inspired" - Luang Prabang, Laos

I stood agog, just observing. Then, he started trying to pick my feet up, trying to turn my right foot over while still in my sandal. I wasn't sure what to think at that point. I was simply in the moment, knowing full well that I didn't understand what was happening. 

Things started to shift. All of a sudden, he lowered himself to the soaking wet ground with his back to my lower right leg. At that point, panic set in. I repeated, "no, no, no, no, no" in Laotian, but he didn't budge. Finally, I had to physically remove his fingers, then his right arm from my body. Leaving him on the soaking wet ground wouldn't have been my first option, but as fear set in, I wasn't sure what to do. Had I been able to communicate with him, I would have wanted to help him up. 

As I walked away from him, I noticed 3 young Laotian women standing in the doorway of the nearby shops, taking in the exchange and laughing. In that moment, I experienced shame and was embarrassed about the last five minutes. I kept walking slowly in the rain, turning back time and again to ensure I wasn't being followed. 

My fear dissipated as soon as the saffron robes entered my peripheral vision. As the young monk quickly passed me, I centered back to the present moment, focused on the rain's steady pitter patter on my umbrella and the ground beneath my feet, the monk up ahead and the Nam Khan River to my right.

My soaking wet feet beckoned me to find refuge in one of the nearby temples to process all that just happened. The first temple I reached was closed. The second welcomed me with an empty meditation hall. As I sat down, the message was clear, I was to sit with shame, my own shame, but more so collective shame.

As I sat with the collective shame, images quickly flooded my mind. First, of the man recently at my feet. Then visions of another begging man and a young child at a local Buddhist temple entered my awareness. Three days before, while attending a temple ceremony, an older man sought our attention, squinted one eye, "aimed" his cane to the sky, aligned his face with the rounded handle of the cane and proceeded to "shoot" down what I can only imagine was my likeness. 

"Soles" - Luang Prabang, Laos

Seated next to me during the Buddhist celebration was a young child. As he sat next to me on the ground with his legs folded underneath him and his delicate hands clasping one another resting on his lap, I could feel the tears welling in my eyes. His little three year old body sat incredibly still as he patiently awaited the monks' procession through the temple grounds. He wiggled only his tiny fingers every couple minutes. Something about this little boy immediately etched itself into my mind and heart. 

These three males, their similarities, their differences flashed through my mind as this collective shame settled heavily upon me. Tears again welled in my eyes as I sat alone in the temple. Then, the flick of a light switch, literally snapped me out of my mediation. At two minutes after 12, a monk entered my empty mediation hall to turn off the lights as a gentle sign for me to move on, as it was time for the monks' lunch.

As I exited the temple, the downpour that had started the night before, ceased to a light drizzle and the sun started to emerge from the clouds. I stepped away from the last two hours' events realizing that direct experience is all there is. I experienced all the emotions I utter in my daily metta mediation - fear, anger, guilt, sorrow, shame, anxiety and regret. As I walked the sidewalks of Luang Prabang, careful not splash in puddles, I experienced each of these emotions in my heart, mind and body. With each step, I felt unburdened by each.

I bless each of my three teachers, the man at my feet, the man with the cane and the sweet little soul with the wiggly fingers. I am grateful for their teachings and wish them happiness, health, wellbeing and metta in this moment, and always.

My Three Teachers in Luang Prabang is part of a collection of writings that chronicle my "inner journey" through Southeast Asia.

Code Blue

Written July 31, 2015

 

"I feel dead inside." As the words escaped my lips a couple months ago, I knew immediately that they were the truest four words I'd spoken in a long time. Everything felt wrong. My life, itself, felt like it no longer fit me. My home, my workplace, my relationship, everything no longer fit my heart, my mind nor my soul. I wanted to escape.

Sacred Heart - Luang Prabang, Laos

Since I uttered those words, everything has changed. I intentionally gifted and sold nearly everything I owned, I quit my job, canceled my lease and shaved my head. Certainly being willfully unemployed and homeless at 36 may not have been my vision for my life, but as I sit here overlooking a lotus pond surrounded by the hum of motorbikes and the faint breeze whispering through the palm trees in Luang Prabang, Laos, I affirm the choices that brought me to this point. 

I have to be honest, as I stand amidst the rubble of an eight year relationship, I've chosen to continue this trip with him. It's not easy, this commitment thing - in or out of a relationship. it's hard. It's hard to look at him the same way or even a different way and not feel nostalgia, not feel how easy it would be to slip back into an ill-fitting relationship plagued by bickering and anger. It no longer fits me. Just as I wouldn't want to go back to the same home, the same job, the same situations that precipitated my code blue. 

Offered Heart - Luang Prabang, Laos

I have no idea where my choices will lead. I have no idea when or how or where I'll end up. I'm going by faith and trust in my self and my choices. I continue my daily spiritual practices and continue to take things one day at a time. It's all I've got to feel alive, one day at a time, to resuscitate my heart, my mind and my soul. 

Find a quiet space, bring your journal and invite yourself to connect with the following:

  • Do I feel my most vibrant self in each area of my life (emotional and physical health, abundance, education, career, spiritual life, relationships)?

As you sit and reflect on each area of your life, notice in your body if there is sensation that arises as you consider each topic (heaviness, lightness, absence of feeling, temperature sensations). Notice where in your body you feel the sensation. Tune into the sensation by focusing on it.

If you feel called, ask the sensation what message or meaning it has for you. Our bodies are magnificent barometers to transmit both meaning and messages about our experiences. With the conscious practice of tuning into our bodies, we can free our emotional and spiritual selves, realize our unbound nature and experience unconditional love for our truest selves. 

  • Are you feeling an imminent Code Blue in any area of your life?

If so, make the commitment to yourself for the next week to take at least 5 minutes each day to journal, meditate or otherwise check in with yourself. During this time, use the meditation above to tune into the area of challenge and provide your emotions with the space and breath to come to the surface. Again ask what messages or meanings the emotions and sensations have for you in each area of challenge, using them as a springboard for healing and resolution. 

Code Blue is part of a collection of writings that chronicles my current travels in Southeast Asia. 

Layers Healed, Layers Revealed

A year ago today, I firmly believed I was scheduled to die. Leading up to that day, I'd had visions of myself courageously dancing into the OR.

It didn't quite go down like that.

Instead, every cell in my body quivered. I was a bundle of nerves and a puddle of tears shortly after arriving at the hospital. I couldn't stop shaking. After my name was called and I was ushered to the room to be prepped for surgery, I thought I was not going to make it. Much of the rest of what happened that day is a blur. 

My cells remembered, though, as I parked the car this morning and walked to the building for my physical therapy appointment. Scheduled on the same day, just a year ago, one floor down, I must have needed something radical, like the removal of enormous benign tumors and the relinquishment of ever birthing children, so that I could awaken to the beauty of my life, so that I could awaken from surgery and live

Living is about breaking open.

  Connect  with the photo: Sun, Moon, Nautilus Passage handcrafted by artist,  Corinna Sephora , located in the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. The Nautilus enlarges its shell to prepare it for its next stage of life. 

Connect with the photo: Sun, Moon, Nautilus Passage handcrafted by artist, Corinna Sephora, located in the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. The Nautilus enlarges its shell to prepare it for its next stage of life. 

By being broken open, I'm more whole than I've ever been.

Yet, honestly, I'm in a place of overwhelm.

I'm meeting a lifetime of stories that have been hidden. I've held back so much. I've withheld so much pain and trauma that needs to be shared. 

I've gripped so tightly to the notion that telling my story might be begging for assurance that I am enough - as a healer, as an entrepreneur, as a writer, as a partner, as a friend - as a human being. I question my worth on a continual basis. 

I've come face to face with the shadow within me. I've come face to face with the darkness of fear, anxiety and trauma. 

It's ok.

The deep, dark in me meets the deep, dark in you. By that encounter, we create light. By that encounter, we create connection. I've healed more than just my body this past year. 

I'm ready.

Ready to continue the unburdening, ready to continue the un-wounding. I'm ready to speak my truth. I'm ready to chronicle my journey. My stories have worth. My stories have value. I have worth. I have value. I can be out in the Universe and not be scared. It is safe. Prolonged fear does that to you, causes you to sell yourself short. Living under traumatic conditions does that to you, causes you to hide your story, hide your self. They've done that to me for far too long. 

I'm ready to own my journey.  

I am so grateful for the practices that ground me. I'm incredibly grateful for my tribe, connected beyond time and space. You are here, with me, in my heart. I know I can and will have an open place to live and love. I have the capacity for wide, open space, as I chase wide, open places. I know, in my heart, that all is well. As I sift through the distant memories of a year ago, I let go and know that I'm still healing, daily, and that as I peel back the layers, I have so much to learn. And so much to give. 

As I peel back the layers, I reveal layers of dark and light. All are welcome here. 

Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul….Let each new temple, nobler than the last, Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast, Till thou at length art free, Leaving thine outgrown shell by life’s unresting sea!
— ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

The Wisdom Within: Reflections on Silence

Last year, I started down a path that has afforded me the deepest rewards my heart, mind and soul have ever realized. After an unexpected loss last June, guilt, shock and fear all fixed a stronghold on me. A month and a half later, awaking from the shock, I intuitively felt called to silence. I didn't know why or how or where I was going to create space for quiet, but I was heart-longingly drawn to deep, meditative silence. 

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