Saturday, February 20, 2016

Notes on Healing: Christiane Northrup on EFT

these are direct quotes (i added highlighting for emphasis) from
i will add that as i post these notes and quotes, i don't always feel comfortable or agree 100% with everything in these talks. for instance, i find northrup overly heteronormative in her references, and also ageist in her rejection of what i would call healthy, constructive, productive aging. however i post these notes because i find enough material in them to make them very useful to me, and hopefully others.
  • And my dad would say, ‘You can tell the state of someone’s health by looking in their mouth.’ And he was right. Any dentist will tell you that. Osteoporosis shows up in the first place in the mandible. You can see heart disease showing up as gingivitis, and all kinds of stuff like that. So I knew – I grew up knowing that health was more than waiting for a disease to happen.
  •  Yeah, what we call healthcare has nothing to do with health. It is disease management and it is disease screening. We think that disease screening is healthcare. I don’t want to know when you get high blood pressure or diabetes, I want to know why. Because we know, for instance, from the Bogalusa Heart Study of 8-year-olds, heart disease starts when you’re 8. Diabetes – what we used to call adult onset diabetes, is now in 8- and 9-year-olds. These are all things that are emotional, environmental, and societal-wide.
  • But everything we believe about our health is a cultural construct. You have got to understand that science in the way it is practiced, reductionistic science, you have disease because this is what runs in your family, is wrong. Beliefs and your culture are far more powerful than your genes and your emotions are the key, buried emotions – anger, grief, sadness, that you don’t want to feel. We even know that healthy emotions are stressful for people. Why? Because in families we are taught that there is a limit on how much joy and happiness you can have. So the exalted emotions terrify people. They are used to a bandwidth of ordinary misery. This is comfortable misery. We don’t want to get too high here and we don’t want to get too low down here, but disease is the result of imbalances that have been present for years before you actually get a diagnosis. And that is why things like tapping is so powerful, because you can get at these things when they are ticking time bombs in the body and diffuse them long before you have got something that you can see under a slide, under a microscope.
  • Yeah, and what happens is the body is self-healing. So it does everything in its power to keep you well until it finally says, ‘I give up.’ But believe me, that little knot in your stomach, the tension headache, the overeating, the insomnia, those things are all the result of imbalances. Depression, anxiety, you know? So why wait? Although heaven knows there are plenty of people who have diagnoses and the mind-body connection helps them enormously.
  • I always say to people – you know, for my whole career, people have said, ‘I didn’t cause my disease. I am not responsible for my disease.’ No, you’re not. You didn’t cause it with your intellect. You caused it with your life. But it isn’t cause and effect, you are responsible to your body. You are responsible to your life, not for your life. And therein lies your power. To me it is so powerless to feel like, ‘Well, I am just a victim of my genes. There is nothing I can do about it. My mother had it, I will get it, my daughter will get it.’ That is the essence of powerlessness because the new science of epigenetics shows that the environment is what determines how a gene will be expressed and the environment has everything to do with your emotions and then the behavior that stems from those emotions.
  •  First of all, everyone is usually going to have to go through guilt and shame because every culture studied all over the world uses three things to keep their members in line – betrayal, shame, and abandonment. And so when you begin to get healthier or to feel healthy, invariably the childhood wounds from your parents and maybe from your church or from your school, the childhood wounds of shame, betrayal, and abandonment will come up and you will feel bad about yourself. And this exists to keep people in line. That is the work of Dr. Mario Martinez at the Bio-Cognitive Institute.
  • And one of the things that many people always feel like is, ‘Oh God, if I let myself go there, if I feel how sad I feel or if I feel how angry I feel, it will never end. I will go into an abyss.’ That is the powerlessness of a child. It will never end and what you find instead is it’s the pain that ends the pain. It is the feelings that end the awful feelings.
  • I was very impressed with the research, the fact that cortisol levels fall very significantly with the tapping. I know that cellular inflammation, the root cause of all chronic degenerative diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, is all caused by inflammation. So the fact that the tapping decreases cortisol, the stress hormones that are running the whole show, that got my attention. Then we started to do it and I, through the process of tapping, uncovered emotions about food, my weight, and eating that had been buried for a lifetime.
  •  Tapping gets to the key emotion. It gets to the – I would say the inner child, as it were, who is sort of stuck in there and feels powerless and doesn’t know what to do. And the tapping takes you out of your left hemisphere, which always thinks that it is driving the bus and is never really driving the bus, it is just trying to solve a problem. It takes you out of that, into the physical body and the connections to the right hemisphere. There are far more connections to the bodily organs from the right hemisphere than there are the left. But the left, which is mostly what education educates, is the left hemisphere. So it takes you out of the that for a moment so that you get to the true body wisdom living in the organs, living in the fascia, living in the connective tissue, that has been trying to get your attention for years.
  • Well first of all, because emotions are stored, as it were, in the fascia – which is a crystalline structure that runs throughout the entire body. It is like a very tight sweater over all the muscles and all of the organs. And we now know that is where all of the acupuncture meridians go. And it is like an electrical grid that connects us to our emotions. Any yoga teacher, any massage therapist, will tell you that many times when you are massaging a certain area all of these emotions will come pouring forth. So you know, yes, we have the chakra system. And I have written about where first chakra illness is the bone, the blood, all of that, and it is stored in the body – the second chakra – they all relate to certain emotions. There is no question. Your thing has been weight loss. That is third chakra – self- esteem, personal power governs the digestive system. The heart is passion, compassion, giving, receiving, that is what the breaths are all about. So there are certain things; however, they are all stored in the fascia. And it doesn’t matter where you start, it is like unraveling a thing. And all roads lead to Rome, sooner or later.
  • You need to be imperfect. You know, when a plane goes from New York to San Diego do you know that it is never on course? It is just course correcting, then it goes here, bring it back. So we are always off course but in the general vicinity of where we are going. That is how life is.
  • Do you know that the entire term ‘teenager’ and the whole marketing of teenage really didn’t come in until they invented the car? Then kids had a way to escape, in the car, and then we did the teenager thing. Before that they were working.
  • Yes, in fact we co-author each other’s biology. This is why you want to have a tribe of people you hang around with who believe in health. We know that your income is the average of the income of your five closest friends. Guess what? Your weight, your health habits, they match your five closest friends. That’s called the new science of sociogenomics. So our genes are so impacted with who we hang out with – we are biologic systems.
  • This is Gay Hendricks’ work from way back, a book called Learn to Love Yourself. He said, ‘Here is how you love yourself.’ He was having a sore throat at the time. ‘I love myself for having a sore throat. Even though I have a sore throat, I love and accept myself right now.’ It literally creates space, creates vasodilatation in the cardiovascular system, it increases nitric oxide, the molecule of chi and wellness, and everything becomes better because it is like, ‘Wow, it is okay for me to be right where I am.’ It is interesting, when you study people who have gone through cancer and chemotherapy. They normally don’t have that much trouble with the actual chemo times. Let me tell you when they hit bottom - the year after the diagnosis, when they are already in remission. Because we can mount a response to an emergency. We are good at that, but how do we live in between? What if there is no emergency? Well, you are beginning to teach that – I love and accept myself right now. You are beginning to teach the body how to just be with what is right now and that it is okay.
  • We know from studies of the brain that the hippocampus memory area can increase throughout your entire life. Two periods of twenty minute aerobic exercise increases the number of cells in the hippocampus. That is nothing – two twenty minute periods? That is nothing. We know from London cab drivers, who have to actually learn the streets – what a concept, that they have to learn them. Their hippocampus grows exponentially during the time that they are learning all the streets of London.
  • By the time someone is in their 40s, 50s, and 60s, they have lost 40% of their muscle mass. Why? Because they weren’t using it. That is the only reason. It has nothing to do with age, nothing to do with age.
  • Until your last breath you need to be living in the present and in the future. So one thing that I would say to people right away, stop listening to the oldies station 24/7. Listen to what is current. Stay in the here and now. That is, by the way, macrobiotics eating. To be in the here and now, eat what’s grown in the here and now.
  • ‘Okay, listen, female desire –‘ which I learned from Mama Gena, here in New York, Regena Thomashauer, ‘is the strongest force on the planet.
  • As one of my teachers, says, I dance to be felt not to be seen.

Notes on Healing: Frances Weller on Grief

i am continuing to take notes on talks and interviews on healing. please follow the links to listen and watch yourself. meanwhile, i have encapsulated the main ideas here.

frances weller grief

the lost art of grief
we have little knowledge in grief so this massive darkness makes our lives are small
grief is a threshold emotion—when we enter the room of grief, it opens up the rest of our lives, we enter the hall of community and joy
wm blake—the deeper the sorrow the greater the joy
compressed terrain of grief is compressed joy—creates flatline culture, where we are now
rely on stimulation and stimulants to feel alive bc we are not expressing genuine joy or grief
soul hygiene—like taking care of body etc, need to do same for soul
to clear out soul through grief
levertov—to speak of sorrow moves it to and from soul’s hall
own soulful life to soul of the world, otherwise become isolated and disconnected

communal practice of grieving
heroic culture is DIY, not need anyone or anything—muscle thru sorrow
take sadness back out into community—always been communal thru human history
part of our grief is waiting for the village to show up—can be small
I wanna tell you about my sorrow and hear about yours
nothing is broken or need fixing—just to listen deeply and say it matters

5 gates of grief
diff tributaries coming into soul
only 1st gate of loss is usu acknowledged
other 4 gates not recognized

1.     someone or thing dies—only gate acknowledged in our culture
2.     some part of us never known love—possession of anger, joy, sensuality, exuberance etc—loss to the integrity of our psyche/soul
·       we should grieve, but usually judge w contempt, then cannot grieve it
3.     sorrow for the world—daily litany of loss
4.     loss of not receiving what we expected when we arrived here—village life, connection w nature, connection w ancestors, cannot name
5.     ancestral grief—our ancestors came from intact community which was severed with arrival here, loss of traditions and language etc, advent of slavery etc are still in our bodies

compressed grief
denied grief generates rage—explosive quality
malidoma somé—cannot trust a person who cannot grieve, they become a walking powder keg in the community
military industrial complex comes from unresolved grief
all war is unmetabolized grief—martin prachtel (?)
anger is a rightful emotion stemming from violation, boundaries, injustice, protection—a necessary energy
jung—the 1st individuation comes thru mars—who I am, this is where I stand
we usu don’t develop it into a martial art—we are unskilled and need to mature anger
anger is a relational process, revelatory—I am telling you about me, what is causing me to feel deeply—leads to intimacy
intimidation is an attempt to silence a relationship, to push one away and to feel scared—rupturing relationship instead of building
healthy power and anger serves the greater good
intimidation serves the narrow interest of individ or nation—lose soulful connection

the myth of satisfaction in modern culture
we suffer from 2 sins: amnesia and anesthesia—we forget and we go numb
the brighter world goes unnoticed—then we lean into secondary satisfactions—entertainment, shopping, addictions, or even worse power, wealth, status, privilege
our culture carries secondary satisfactions around empire
we are designed to be chronically dissatisfied—hungry for next thing
like eating dust, instead of protein—that which sustains us at soul level

primary satisfactions
soul needs to feel alive—necessary touch, laughter, shared meals, condolences, stories, rituals
otherwise we are trying to fill the hole and never achieve it—secondary satisfactions increase its own symptoms over time—addiction--more use leads to more craving

one hand is grief, the other gratitude—one in each hand, creates the prayer of life

Another Prayer for Grace

body only knows truth
body seeks its level
body speaks

I am plant self
animal self
and human self

I am leaves and stems
hunter and gatherer
creator and healer

making space
for all that arises
I lean in and feel the weight of living
the earth presses on me
I have no choice but to succumb
to soften and widen and release my grip

other times I let myself
be lifted
following the path agitation carves
like the current of a strong river
I become a raft
surging and traveling

I listen to the wisdom of gravity
trust the laws of levity
everything in the realm of the body
ushers me to the experience of truth

I make space for dis-ease
as the language of my body
accept the threshold of fire
the hurricane of transformation
let knowledge bubble through me

may my words emerge from this knowing
may my hands shape reality
may my feet carry me where I must go
may my arms embrace what needs holding
may my heart grow more courageous
may I withstand the storm
may I be held in grace

3AM Prayer

most loving creator
mother and father
ultimate consciousness
utmost reality
divine mystery
I beg you

guide me
your child
in service to lovingkindness
make me a doer of righteous truth
an actor of spirit into flesh
walking in the world
embodying your vast unknown

I am on my knees
desperate for your grace
all about me is suffering
poisoned water
air from incinerators
our bloodstreams soaked in lead

all about me the cronies
stealing the earth’s bounty
hoarding and selling
only the highest bidders
protected from the ravage

where do we go, dear god
with those seeking shelter?
with those who need safe haven
a way out of intergenerational trauma

my light is dim
my candle is small
no fuel for a torch
I am barely hanging on
I cannot save anyone

and yet
I am only steps from resources
layers and layers of privilege
I cannot shed if I wanted to

protect my children
from damaged souls seeking redemption
at risk of dependence on their kindness and beauty
merciful protector
shield them from all harm
from the forces of desperation
from those who would suck them dry
and deceive them

money seeks its level
it flows toward the hungry
while the wealthy build dams
to shore it up

everyone wants the same thing
but on the wealthy it’s grotesque
and on the poor it’s desperation

help me find the place for reconciliation
for correcting imbalance
for intergenerational reparations

teach me how to be the crux
and everyone like me
living at the crossroads
instead of escaping into the protective folds
of the middle class

grace flows like water
money needs to move
love seeks healing

where am I in this?
how can I be a channel for repairing harm
restoring justice
transforming abuse into fierce lovingkindness

how do I stand up to exploiters
and intruders?
how do I guard and protect
with an open heart and open arms?

where is divine transformative justice
in my broken body?
help me to heal
unbound and free
no obligations but only truth

may reality ring
may reality itself heal
may I be a presence of truth
vibrating at the level of ultimate reality

may we be miracles for each other
revealing the wounds that need to be healed
providing the perfect medicine
for each of us in our imperfections
striving and opening to grace

may it be so

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, "Through the Fire to Liberated Tenderness: Awakening Through Race, Sexuality, and Gender"

[friends, i found this interview so deeply moving, i decided to sit down and take notes. i apologize for any misquotes or misunderstandings that may have slipped in. please refer to the audio and transcript for details. "i" in the notes refers to direct statements from zenju. thank you, zenju, for sharing these powerful insights. they are helping tremendously as i process my experience in the past 2 months in korea and india.]

race sexuality gender are gateways to enlightenment, peace, harmony

dry wisdom alone is not enough to heal wounds of those who’ve been marginalized
an effective practice must include tenderness where conventional reality and emptiness intersect

oneness is not sameness
recognize both differences and unity

diff degrees of tenderness—complete/liberated tenderness

must understand one’s own embodiment
our embodiment is the fire we need

we come to the gateway looking for water but instead find fire
they are gifts but not always embraced as such
eg race brings up injury, anger, fear, worry
internalized avoidance/treason—turning away from self and the feelings

dream of being burnt, but not dying—became a fire that sustains, not destroys
race is troubling, and that is exactly where the work is in easing suffering in world and in self
some say “these things aren’t spiritual, I don’t want to go there” but opp is true

“we are all one”—that is true ultimately, and that is not where we suffer
we don’t have to make oneness happen or work on it, it already exists
the fire of race etc is part of oneness—what we must go through
the fire is the hurting, troubling, blinding place

eg sangha of white male hetero place
discomfort, exclusion
“now that you’re here, let’s talk about race”
rage is something always carried, from trauma, can be reactivated
anger is over an incident

fire is to stay put in that hot place
why stay? called to the teachings
who is holding the teachings is not as important as the lessons needed
what can I learn about myself within the container of dharma?

interpret dharma through one’s own lived experience—not the teacher’s
eg how do the 4 noble truths relate to my life and the recent murder in my neighborhood? what does that mean to me?

path of dharma is most fiery
how do I respond to the chaos and racism? how do I apply the teachings to my life?
stripping down of values and beliefs
expand in ways that I’m initially unwilling
become exposed to myself
-       meanwhile maybe exposed to others, but that’s not where the learning is going to come—only through exposure to myself

racial stratification within poc places created by our society
there’s still a fire there
afric amer came through slavery—a potent path that continues to permeate society
if we ignore it, not use it as fire to transform our lives, it will continue to be that thing we fear—the fire at the door that keeps us trapped
I get burned but I can still live through it
must truly desire to be liberated and whole

I didn’t expect to be welcomed—I knew what I was looking for—not sangha but dharma
assume from silence that I’m just fine
many racist incidents—most times I sit w the teachings and ask how they relate to what I’m feeling now
not ready to address the collective bc I need to do my own healing and own liberation work
a distraction from what I need to learn
someone else’s perspective/institutional perspective
where do I want to be? vs where someone else/sangha wants me to be—a dance
instead of answering from a place of hurt and confusion, now I have some answers

taking on work you are not ready for is like being in bed with someone you hate—I would rather leave and do something else
it’s not my work to turn the titanic of institional racism around by myself
I knew I had something to offer but did not know what yet—for all who are yearning for spiritual path while embodied in ways that are marginalized
there’s something going on that makes us suffer and afraid of each other

being connected to the earth, so that when hurt happens, I have earth beneath my feet, or when groundless, can fall on my knees onto earth

zenju = complete tenderness
an essence to work on
at first, raw and wounded space that could be paralyzing, depression
long sitting is cooking process, wearing down process—softness and gentleness emerge, vulnerable, not able to do anything about anything, no action
-       a soft place, wordless, silent, just there, but no longer paralyzed
3rd phase—liberated tenderness, can hold the hurts, also soft, but able to act and speak—a freedom in how you live and speak
know how to use them as gateways to next step
not to go from tenderness to armor—toughness, stiff spine
as we get pushed to the mat (judo)—we still get up—that is liberated judo
these cycles repeat, not linear, spiritual is circular

water and fire come together in liberated tenderness to create earth
walking w ancestors
fire is where we start, then 2nd phase of tenderness is water
at water we are motionless, looking at waves—water opens us to feelings
come together to create earth, where we plant our feet

free of projections of superiority and inferiority—causes fear of each other
need to change csns—eg affirmatv action did not change csns
how do we change csns betw us so we can achieve oneness without keeping someone silent about race/sexuality/gender

not to write the “same thing” re r/s/g, bc it’s already done
is the dharma applicable to this life I am experiencing?
otherwise, must go outside the path to find teachings on r/s/g
teachings within the path are all about oneness and emptiness

we have the magnificent gift of being born with a body as part of nature
we will miss the whole existence in this moment if we don’t address issues of this embodiment

there’s no diploma on this path
we are all apprenticing in this life
we can stop being holy
there is perfection in all the imperfection

take it in—our own projections of infer and superiority—notice
buddha nature/true nature/magnificence of life/being as expansive as the ocean and as high as the tree—still present in someone I cannot have a direct experience with
pure emotion is at the ctr of the encounter—can feel it but not make it center stage, but not off stage either
we need to ignite each other in fire to get to the water together—like turning a car on
we keep running away from the fire
buddha nature—you are the apple tree, but the tree doesn’t have emotions and doesn’t withold
-       this doesn’t mean you don’t have any apples to give
but I don’t get rid of my feelings—I hold it as I explore buddha nature
each encounter is a chance to ignite
sometimes the car ignition gets turned on, then turned off bc I don’t need to go on that journey
eventually that fire doesn’t get ignited—go into remission, then maybe come back later
mark nepo—the rejuvenating fire, destructive fire, and a hand that reaches out to help us through the fire
-       we don’t always take the hand or we burn it, bc we don’t trust it
-       the hand is our buddha nature, our Self

perfect and imperfect—“nothing to do about it” is inaccurate
-       we are afraid of this teaching
difficult to say I’m going to be activist and follow path of dharma—we speak about fixing things and working in opposition, then go meditate about it
-       but not integral, bc haven’t brought the teaching in the opposition
-       can we trust that what we are doing impacts how we exist

must sew personal robe—can focus on bad stitches, or accept imperfections
collective representation of liberation

what are we going to do in the crucial moments that we cannot fix? eventually death is ultimate crucial moment
-       it’s perfect and imperfect in one moment
I trust my spiritual response to the human condition bc I have seen it work in my life and others—I trust this energy
-       many others do not trust this—instead they trust their agendas and methods
-       activist work needs to be done—but if we are getting dogmatic and enraged, we are going too far into god-like position—exhausting ourselves
-       go out and do, then come back and rejuvenate, then go out again

we have power as living beings—as much as the caterpillar than transforms into butterfly
inside of us is 98.6 °--lots of heat—use it to awaken us
we also have a lot of water and earth—acknowledge all of that even in our protesting
-       then we will have a whole protest and a whole spiritual path—it comes together
-       we don’t necessarily not do nor do
I did not take action as expected but I spoke as I needed to, not as expected to
when people don’t feel well they want others to join—I didn’t feel well but this was not what it would take to get well

by not acknowledging unacceptable differences we unwittingly exaggerate difference until it screams out
-       eg rap emerging out of spoken word, murder emerging out of injustice
-       in our sanghas there is screaming but we’re not supposed to acknowledge—it’s all repressed, then comes out another way
as a society we are in a raw, tender palce
can we call it out in a way that it goes directly into the heart, soul, not a mind/word/syntax game

living w chronic pain—body is screaming
I am teaching through my body instead of through just mind and experiences
when struggling in one facet, struggling all around—interconnection
fear of fully taking on gifts I’ve come into the world with—bringing medicine
there is something in my body I am rejecting
journey of aging, spiritual path of embodiment is next challenge
this leg of journey purely embodied self without the titles and names
there is no name for what I’m becoming
what I’m becoming is not really anything—it is a dying away
it’s frightening—the horizon is short
grieving and joy

want to say less and model more