When I was 20 years old, I was unstoppable. Nothing could stand in my way. Not even the minor car accident (in which a drunk driver rear-ended my car and I ended up with “just” a whiplash). Not even the excruciating pain in my neck which lasted years.
20 years later, “suddenly”, with no apparent reason, I could not move my arm. Only after visiting a chiropractor, who showed and explained me how big is the damage I have caused to my neck and spine, just from neglecting the injury, I realized what I have done. If I would only stop and do one of the things I know now (even just resting or applying a castor oil pack) the whole picture may have been different.
After few visits, I felt much better and pain was gone. Still unstoppable at that time, I then understood that this was just the beginning of my healing journey. Fixing a damage that has been accumulated in 20 years is not possible in a week. And this was my “Stop sign”. Up to that point, the easiest way for me to handle these “stop signs” was to ignore them. However, opening my eyes to view this sign, made me realize that this is my own responsibility to attend my own health. This is my own responsibility to find the time to give attention to my body or seek professional help to guide me how.
This has become a life journey, and as it keeps unfolding, I am fascinated by all the unstoppable souls who are crossing my way, seeking my friendly or my professional advice, and one thing keeps repeating over and over again:
Applying a castor oil pack has brought many of these souls to a very deep state of realization that a change needs to take place. Witnessing this phenomenon, either in my office or hearing from those who I suggested to apply the packs, brought me to the belief that deep state of relaxation has the amazing power to change lives – physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
Castor oil, a very thick oil derived from the castor bean (Ricinus communis) seed, has been praised for many benefits. Among them: Enhancing relaxation, Decreasing inflammation, Increasing circulation of blood and lymph thus enhancing the immune system, Improving elimination of toxic substances, Promoting tissue healing, Decreasing pain, Lubricating ligaments, Improving digestion, Easing many conditions including uterine fibroid, non-malignant ovarian cysts, endometriosis, headaches, migraines, constipation, intestinal disorders, gallbladder/liver conditions, and probably many more.
A castor oil pack can be done in many ways. The way that works best for me is simply applying the oil on the belly, covering with a hand-towel, topping with a hot water bottle and laying down for at least one hour.
When applying the castor oil pack on the belly, the oil lubricates and stimulates all the tissues, organs and systems in this region. Along with that, the heat draws the blood vessels up closer to the skin as they vasodilate, and oil is being absorbed into the blood circulation as well, thus distributed through the whole body.
Lubricating and stimulating organs as the small intestine, bladder, colon, liver, uterus, which are part of systems that are inhibited when body is under stress (when the autonomic nervous system functions at its sympathetic / fight-or-flight state), signals the nervous system to shift to the relaxed state (parasympathetic state). This may cause a confusion for the person experiencing it, since many of us may have not “visited” the parasympathetic system for a very long time. We are trapped in the fight-or-flight loop and do not know how to find the moment to breath and recover.
Shifting to the parasympathetic system creates a space, allowing to view life in a clear and focused perspective. It allows me to be more centered into my own body, realizing that so many things are happening inside, while I keep myself very busy outside. This deep relaxation opens my mind to ask the real questions, which I have been avoiding for a long time:
- Am I so busy working for others that I cannot find an hour for myself to walk outdoors or to engage in some movement?
- Am I so busy running after everyone’s needs (my spouse, my kids, my cat, my dog, my friends, my neighbors, my, my, my, my, my…. Oh my) that I don’t have an hour to seek a professional guidance resolving my own issues?
- Am I so busy being busy that I cannot find an hour to understand what relaxation really means?
In my eyes, a castor oil pack can be a major life changer. Such a simple action with such a powerful result. Even if at this moment, I am not able to answer all these questions, I have planted the seed, so when time is right – I will be ready to take the ownership over my life and start my journey.
And this is the real reason I love castor oil and I would keep telling everyone again and again and again that they should try a castor oil pack….
***Anat Shlagman is a Traditional Naturopath specializing in Relaxation, utilizing a unique tailored session, combined of Reflexology, Castor oil pack, Abdominal massage and Energy work, designed to bring the autonomic nervous system to its parasympathetic state.
The Edgar Cayce ARE – http://www.edgarcayce.org/are/holistic-health.aspx?id=9467&terms=castor
The oil that heals – A physician’s successes with castor oil treatments – William A. McGarey, MD
Herbs of grace – Farida Sharan
Love has been defined and understood in every possible way, many times referring towards others and not necessarily towards ourselves. M. Scott Peck, MD, in his wonderful book, “The Road Less Traveled”, defines love in a very unique way that also refers to one’s self:
“Definition of Love:
The will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing
one’s own or another’s spiritual growth”.
By this definition, it seems like we need a will and an extension in order to make a proper love statement. While we are so used to offer this statement to another, how is it happening that we are not rushing to offer it to our own selves?
Thinking a little deeper – is it even possible to offer a will to extend ourselves to nurture another’s spiritual growth while not being able to offer the same will to nurture our own growth? Could it be that nurturing of one’s own spiritual growth should come prior to nurturing another’s growth? And if so – How can it be done? How can we turn Self-Love, a noun that is scarcely used in our daily life, into an active noun?
When I was in the naturopathic school we learned to make medicine- tinctures, flower essences, salves etc.. our homework was to make them at home and test them for a week or two. At the beginning, when I was testing my tinctures, I was always getting very tired. I was taking the tinctures in the morning and in the evening- the evening one would shoot me straight to bed. The morning one was less obvious, however, exactly at 12 pm I was forced to lay down wherever I was and close my eyes for 20 minutes.
Later on, I realized that my tinctures didn’t make me tired but only showed me how tired I was. But back then, I was getting pretty mad because I needed to change my whole schedule to accommodate my tinctures. Juggling between my studies and my efforts to keep my family of one husband and three young kids alive, it was a great struggle to add these two breaks into my daily routine. I had no time for this nonsense! It seemed an impossible mission for me and it made me very angry – what kind of homework are these that create such a havoc in my life? Homework should be about reading some books and answering some questions and not about forcing me to change my life! I had such great life finding my status quo to balance my energy (or probably to hide what didn’t fit the paradigm I lived by back then), and now what should I do? Making a change requires enormous amounts of energies! Where do I bring them from? (for sure I didn’t count my forced breaks as energizers by any means…)
And as a Taurus, I would find my ground and stand it. Only God could help those who tried to move me off my ground. But maybe this was God’s act, because I kept making my tinctures and kept testing them on myself (a commitment is a commitment! and since I wanted the certificate, I couldn’t spare more of my precious tightened time to complain..).
Many months later, the wisdom of these herbs awaken some wisdom in my head. I started to notice that I was watching my life as a movie, while not really taking part in it. The more I was forced to rest, the more I was astounded to see that the main actress in this movie is Me! I was shocked to discover that the person who runs all over town like a headless chicken is Me!! Needless to say that I didn’t like what I was discovering….. Needless to say that it saddened me very much to watch myself heading no where…
And yet, what a blessing have I received making my homework! The blessing of stopping me in my tracks and opening a space for me to think. And there came some thinking……
Going over my priority list, I understood what it is missing, or more accurately, who is missing in it – aka, Me. I realized that my own needs never appeared on my own list! How could this be happening? How could I be transparent for so many years and the earth kept spinning as if everything is ok?
And then I understood why this has been happening – it was happening because I had no idea what my needs were. I never took a moment of break to think about me! I never stopped what I was doing to find out if something is missing!
And then I knew why the earth never stopped spinning – it never stopped spinning because I never did! Why would anyone make an effort to do anything for me if I do not stop and make that effort to do it for own myself?
Blessed by these forced breaks, I was given a chance to connect with the main character in my own movie and see what she needs. Apparently, first and for most, she needed some resting…… Now, I could start re-arranging my priority list. Not an easy task in a world (that in my perception) sees a person who cares for themselves as selfish. No matter how wide my eyes and brain opened!
Beginning to understand why everyone else’s needs came before mine, I became more willing to extend myself for the purpose of nurturing my own spiritual growth. I started to welcome any breaks and changes of plans into my life and saw them as opportunities for me to rest instead of trying to fit another event in my schedule. And all of this while appreciating the fact that I need to feel the meaning of extending myself for my own self before I extend myself for others.
Going back to M. Scott Peck MD’s definition of love – how can I offer love to anyone without understanding what it means?
That’s why, in my own little world, I created a rule – No act will be regarded as selfish when eventually it will be teaching me how to apply it on others.
This rule allows me to activate my love towards my own self, without the fear of depriving anyone around me. This rule allows me to grow into the understanding that without a will to extend myself to nurture my own growth, I will never be able to effortlessly extend myself to nurture another person.
Love, by any definition we choose, should come effortlessly, without draining our energies. And only when we allow ourselves to turn self-love into an active noun (creating as many personal rules as we need to maintain our sanity), we can make the best use of our energies, and offer true heartfelt love to those around us.
ואהבת לרעך כמוך" ויקרא י"ט י"ח" (“Love Your Neighbor as Yourself” Leviticus 19 18) The topic of loving every person exactly as you love yourself came up in the Friday Zoom Services throughout the quarantine era in 2020 (led by Rabbi Avrohom Susskind director of Novi Northville Center for Jewish Life), raising this big question: How can I love myself to a degree that I will be able to extend the same love to every person? With the intention to promote health and healing within our congregation, along with mutually contributing to our own community, I would like to offer my Trad-Em@ sessions once a month – PAY AS MUCH AS YOU CAN – all proceeds will be donated to Novi Northville Center for Jewish Life. Click here for available dates and details
“Nothing is perfect” has been a statement that we may have heard too often, maybe too many times to the extent it became an apologetic axiom. This statement has become so widely spread, that it has become a reasoning (or maybe an excuse?) for the times we feel that we may have not stood up to some perceived expectation or to some measured appreciated values. Then, as widely as it is used, this statement must be correct. Right?
But what if perfection is not an external comparison but an internal reflection of what we really want to do? What if perfection is not about our perceived expectations? What if perfection is a bridge between our deep heartfelt wishes and our actions? What if perfection is the true meaning of who we are? What if we can meet ourselves exactly at the place we are at this moment?
Soooo many “if”s… What if we find the courage to remove all the “if”s above and turn all these questions into powerful statements? It may not be an easy process, but it is likely to show us a different perspective on how we want to live our lives, perhaps even motivate us to make some changes….
Perfection is not an external comparison but an internal reflection of what we really want to do.
Thinking about perfection, comparison is always a companion. It is very hard to separate these two. When we are trying to be perfect, we are seeking to be better than some external idea which we perceive as worthy. It may seem as if we are chasing something that has no connection to ourselves, trying to measure up to it, while disregarding our basic material – our dreams, our hopes, our values. Then, we keep being disappointed for not achieving this perceived perfection, simply because these external ideas keep changing with no connection to our being.
Taking the time to touch and reconnect to our values, hopes and dreams can help us understand how we want our lives to be. Shifting internally, taking the time to learn and appreciate our unique thoughts, ambitions and aspirations require some investment, which, many times, includes what we try to avoid.
Doing Nothing was a major thing I tried to avoid, simply because I grew up with amazing parents who do not regard any work as hard, and I have been taught to be productive and proactive: there is always something to do or someone to help, and it is never too hard to do everything.
As I started to do NOTHING for a whole hour every morning, It was astonishing to notice how, by the end of the day, I managed to finish all my planned tasks much faster and much more efficient than I did before.
I became more focused. I started to understand priorities. I understood what really requires my attention and what is just noise. I also realized that only when I learned the art of doing NOTHING I discovered that I exist. Discovering that I exist allowed me to look inside and understand what I really want to do, and it had no connection to what others around me aspired to do with their own lives.
Finding the courage to be who we are and understanding that no one can be like us, or we cannot be like anyone else, is the first step to allow perfection into our lives.
Perfection is not about our perceived expectations.
Don’t we all have this perception about how our life should look like? and perhaps this perception creates expectations for how our day should be going?
On one of his beautiful zoom coffee meetings (THE best coffee in town! even for those like me, who usually like tea…), a dear friend and wise man, Rabbi Avrohom Susskind of Novi-Northville center for Jewish life, talked about what makes a day a good day. According to Rabbi Susskind, the definition of a good day is not necessary when everything works as we planned, because in reality, most days do not turn out exactly as we thought they would. A day becomes good when we successfully turn the events to be productive for us, especially when they didn’t follow our expectations.
Allowing ourselves to look beyond our perceived expectations, lifting ourselves up from anything that has not followed these expectations, and appreciating what comes our way while accepting it as part of our lives requires us to shift the way we view reality.
Our perceived expectations from our bodies are that our bodies should function properly all the time, regardless to any external or internal conditions. Our body has its own way to communicate with us, but many times we are too busy to listen. When these messages turn lauder, we then might experience a cold, a pain, an injury, or something worse, anything to make us listen and change what we do. However, probably too often that we should, we do not really listen, as we try to continue our same routine while overcoming a condition. These conditions serve as our teachers, coming to educate us with our individual needs. Perhaps teaching us that our perceived expectations may not always be according to our abilities, simply because we never took the time to discuss the matter with our own body.
Creating the space and the opportunity to listen to our body and respecting its abilities will help us adopt real expectations that match our needs, without feeling disappointed by not achieving the perceived ones. And yes, a castor pack would be an awesome helper in this process.
Perfection is a bridge between our deep heartfelt wishes and our actions.
How many times do we find ourselves miserable because we are doing something that we didn’t really want to do, but “kind of” were forced into doing it? A dear friend and brilliant Oncology Naturopath, Dr. Jen Green ND, FABNO, mentioned a powerful statement – “when I say NO to others, I say YES to me”.
The ability to say “NO” is an acquired art, which requires plenty of practice. With every action we do, we face a choice, even when we are not always aware of it. Unless we are in a position that someone is actually pointing a gun to our heads, we are the ones who decide if we want to do or not to do what’s ahead of us.
It may not always be clear to us, but our job and responsibilities do not include rescuing the whole world. No one needs to be saved by us, even when we absolutely believe that we are the only ones who can help.
Taking ourselves out of the loop of being needed and allowing ourselves to ease peacefully in the awareness of what we really want to do requires work. Starting with small choices – for example asking ourselves simple questions as “what do I want to eat for breakfast?” and following our deep wish to eat exactly what we want. Practicing further with other small choices and growing from there – “Do I want to wear red shirt or green one?”, “Do I want to return this phone call?”, “Do I want to offer my help?”, “Do I want to meet this person today (or ever)?” – while mindfully being honest with ourselves and following our deepest wishes, without fearing the responses of others.
When I learned to say “NO”, I felt very concerned that the other persons would not be able to find another help and obviously they will be angry with me. To my astonishment, nothing happened. The earth kept circling around the sun, and these people moved on and found solutions. Whoa!
Repeating situations like these brought me to a wider thinking about the people I want to surround myself with. It was a slow and painful process realizing that our hearts work in both ways, which have to be balanced all the time: Our hearts send out blood and then receive blood back, and it cannot function properly if it would manifest only one of these tasks. Yes, we give from our hearts, and yes, we have to allow ourselves to receive into our hearts. No matter what relationships we are involved with – each relationship has to be balanced with both giving and receiving aspects. Each giving/receiving depends on the ability of the persons involved, and no matter how big or small the gesture is (a deep gratitude or a deep willingness to be there for us when we need is perfectly awesome), but it needs to exist.
And as Dr. Green mentioned, learning to say “NO” to situations that are not balanced means that we are honoring our own deepest wishes and heartfully saying “YES” to turn them into actions.
Perfection is the true meaning of who we are.
We are all different from each other in so many ways – the way we look, the way we think, the way we move… There is no way for us to be exactly like someone else. No matter how hard we try.
I recently read a quote, attributed to Albert Einstein: “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”
Intuition is a very deep unique component within us, which offers us a direction in life, many times without a reasonable explanation. Following our intuition requires trust, that this irrational action, which we have no way to explain or reason with, is the best way for us to act upon.
Finding the courage to trust our intuition rises up from a commitment to an internal communication, since our intuition is not actually manifesting in words. Becoming aware of the sights our eyes choose to see, of the sounds our ears choose to hear, or of the direction our legs choose to move (or stand still) is the first sign of grasping our intuitive mind. Trust will follow as we allow ourselves to move further from the state of fight-or-flight which became a constant in our modern life, and relax into a calmer state. Castor packs? For sure! and any other way that can help us slow down to a peaceful state of mind.
Learning to trust our intuition and follow it, regardless to how our actions are perceived by others or how others decide to act, will help us connect internally with who we are and who we aspire to be.
We can meet ourselves exactly at the place we are at this moment.
As we tend to compare ourselves to others around us, we might try to match our pace and lifestyle to theirs, even if many times we are not fully capable of doing so at that moment. A dear friend and inspiring yoga teacher, Julie Stulberg, used to mention in her pre-Covid classes at the gym, that every yoga class is a practice. Each day, each hour, each moment is different than the ones prior to them, and we may not be able to do the same things as we did before – we might be able to do more or less, depending on our state at that particular moment. Forcing our bodies into something that is beyond their abilities at this moment might result in an injury.
Taking this statement out of the yoga room into our real life may help us meet ourselves exactly at the place we are at this moment.
Meeting ourselves at the place we are at the moment may even allow us to feel and express deep gratitude and appreciation to everything we are able to do at every moment of our lives.
Removing the final “if” out of the title question of this article and turning this question into a powerful statement reveals that perfection really exists. My definition would be completely different than the common one, yet, this definition is the perfect one for me. Our perfection has no dependency on anyone around us. Setting our minds to act from our own deepest intentions and not as a response to other’s actions will help us be as perfect as we can be. Statements like “Nothing is perfect” will become irrelevant since each and every one of us is perfect in their own way, and we cannot regard everyone under the same profile.
Taking the time to create an internal dialogue between us and our bodies, will allow us to appreciate our uniqueness and to understand that this is the only perfection we should be seeking. Only then, we can find the courage to take the “if”s out of our lives, and can clearly see that everyone around us is neither more nor less perfect than we are. And that vision by itself makes us the most perfect we can ever be.
Just before 2019 ended, I wrote my blog “What does it take to follow our dreams?“, where I mentioned that our family keeps a tradition of writing our intentions for the up coming year and revisiting them again by the end of the year, while setting new intentions further.
Then, 2020 began…
Reordering every familiar sense of security for so many of us.
I am pretty sure that none of us had the courage to dream the realities we have experienced through 2020…
By the end of 2019, we drafted our intentions for 2020, as we always do, but never got the chance to print them out to hang them on the wall. This process kept being delayed with different excuses until the drafted papers had mysteriously vanished, and we cannot find them anywhere now. 2020 turned out to be a missing year on our intentions wall, as no one of us remembers what we wrote back then on that paper.
Could this mean that none of our dreams would be possible to be achieved?
Or could this be a blank offering from universe which provides us with an open proposal containing endless opportunities, none of them limited to our personal thinking? And could dreaming be still regarded as an option within all the challenges we are encountering?
2020 has presented us with many challenges, rising from dealing with the unknown: uncertainties about basic security needs, health, money & human relationship concerns, fears, anxieties, limitations and many other issues as well.
During the summer of 2020 (and still continuing now), Rabbi Avrohom Susskind from Chabad Jewish Center of Novi, a very wise man who seems to say exactly what I need to hear every time he speaks, has been offering “Jewish Caffeine for the Week”, discussing weekly topics corelating to the Torah portion of the week. One of the topics, while we were still in quarantine was about the challenges we are encountering this year. Rabbi Susskind mentioned that the best way to overcome a challenge is by rising above it.
According to Rabbi Susskind, rising above the challenge is an acquired skill that requires a routinely practice of reflection. Practice of stopping our daily runs and tapping into our soul. By taking a pause from our busy schedule, we can reflect on our soul and understand what is really important to us. We can understand what has real value in our lives, and what is just a distraction. When we understand this differentiation between what’s important and what’s not, we will be less overwhelmed by any challenge that presents itself to us. When we regularly tap into our soul, we go slowly through a process of spiritual growth which activates our inner energy, giving us the permission and power not allow the challenge to define who we are.
With all the challenges that 2020 has presented us, this year also offered us this rare opportunity to stop everything and tap into our souls. Reflecting upon the differentiation between what we perceive as important and what really is. Reflecting upon what will serve us on our healing journey and what will just interfere. Reflecting upon our real selves – who genuinely we want to be.
This year we have been required to lower our social commitments, which threw many of us far away from our comfort zone. And yet, could this have been an opportunity to review our list of friends and make priorities according to our needs? Could this have been a window for us to discover nature, which many of us were too busy to benefit from the outdoors before? Could we have been granted a rare wonderful gift – the gift of reflection? The price of this gift might be on the higher scale, but would we really appreciate this gift if we would not have to invest so much effort receiving it?
2020 had provided me with a lot of time to do NOTHING (explained in my blog – What makes us care so well for others but much less well for ourselves). Few years ago, when I started to do NOTHING for a whole hour every morning, It was astonishing to notice how, by the end of the day, I managed to finish all my planned tasks much faster and much more efficient than I did before. I became more focused. I started to understand priorities. I understood what really requires my attention and what is just noise. I also realized that only when I learned the art of doing NOTHING I discovered that I exist.
Extending the time of doing NOTHING this year allowed me to deepen my understanding of my wishes and dreams. One of the most profound revelations for me was to realize that when I create a vision or a dream about the reality I wish to live in, I do not invent anything new. I simply open my eyes to see the opportunities universe has to offer me. And by allowing my eyes to open, I allow these opportunities to enter my life. These opportunities are waiting patiently for me, for the moment I will take the time and permit myself to seek for them. Understanding that every wish and every dream, that I dare visioning, is real, made me realize that the only thing that can stop those dreams from happening are my own closed eyes. My own closed eyes are the only thing which can stop my dreams of coming true!!! So why, on earth, would I want to keep walking with my eyes closed?
Opening my eyes to see a reality that I wish to live it, makes my life a great place to be in. This does not stop challenges from presenting themselves to me. This does not color every life event in bright light. But it does make my life authentic and real: allowing myself to experience the full range of human emotions without the need to hide my feelings, allowing myself to say YES to what feels right for me and to say NO when it does not resonate with my needs, and allowing myself to follow my intuition regardless of how it is perceived.
Embracing this phenomenal opportunity, which has been offered us this year, to start deepening our understanding of ourselves and start learning how to allow ourselves to accept who we are without judgement, may help us shift the energy and intentions we invest in any challenge.
Deepening the connection to our own selves can help us find the courage to open our eyes to the reality we wish to live in. The choice to open our eyes or to keep them closed is ours only. This choice has no dependency on anything around us. Ant yet, this choice is so influential that it has the power to establish our willingness to invest the energy to rise above and create an opportunity out of any challenge we encounter.
And yes, a castor oil pack would be imperial in this whole process……
May we allow 2021 to be as powerful as 2020 has been! May we allow our eyes to open and our hearts to receive all the opportunities universe has to offer, including those we ever dare to dream possible! And may we all enjoy everything we allow ourselves to see!!
Happy Holidays to us all!!!!
Happy, Healthy and Dreamy 2021!!
Few years ago, my youngest asked me what would I wish for if I could be granted only one thing? I answered that I would wish to have a peace of mind. Then he gave me a very astonished look and said: “Only one piece of your mind??? So you will be dumber than you already are??????” and could not stop laughing the whole day….
Yes, he definitely has 100% of my genes… to his may or his dismay…….;)
With everything happening in the world right now, peace of mind is becoming more and more an “endangered species”. Some of us may even find it hard to believe that peace of mind actually exists, as it may have been shredded into pieces for many. Would it be even possible to grant ourselves a peace of mind in times like these, while going through issues like Covid-19, elections, future uncertainties, environmental changes, income instability……?
Maybe we can start with the exploration of our expectations, in order to understand how will we know that we are experiencing a peace of mind. How or what do we expect to feel? How long do we expect it to last? What do we do then???
Or maybe starting with the exploration of our feelings. Checking in with our own feelings is never a simple mission, especially in times of world’s chaos. It is always a challenge to separate between the feelings that rise up due to our anxieties and the feelings that are genuine ours and represent our deep aspirations. Can we make this separation?
Or maybe starting with the understanding that our peace of mind cannot depend on the events around us. When we think that our peace of mind will come when something will end/begin, then we really turn our peace into pieces (which will prove that my son may have had a very valid point in his statement..). How can we create an independent sense of peace?
In April 2020, while we were quarantined in our homes, I accepted a very generous offer from Lou Weir, to participate in a free retreat of The Diamond Approach, which he organized together with Sue Moen. This retreat was a whole-weekend zoom event and had been a very new and refreshing experience for me.
Since my understanding of the theory behind The Diamond approach is less than minimal, I will share here only my experience with the practical side of this approach in the retreat and afterwards, as Lou Weir generously extended his offer to weekly meetings through the quarantine era. These classes have helped me stay on the ground and understand what are real matters and what are just noises in my life.
The retreat and weekly classes contained, among many other things, a repeating question (an inquiry), which means that someone is asking you the same question for 5-7 minutes, again and again and you need to come up with an answer. The question is never an easy one. It could be for example: “What is right about not feeling your feelings?”. In the beginning, your answers are more superficial. But as you are asked again and again, you start to dig inside, and many time touch issues that are not inviting. Or as Lou Weir put it in his beautiful words: “Starting from a place of not knowing and allowing ourselves to be touched by the question. When we start to feel the impact of the truth, we are taken to a much more fundamental place. This is a live realization, not only spiritual”
Experiencing this “live realization” brought on some deeper questions: How often do we allow ourselves to feel these uncomfortable feelings? How often do we attend feelings that we don’t like? Probably never for most of us…. We would likely go and check a physical discomfort, but many times we would just hope for an uncomfortable feeling to simply disappear. Unfortunately, these feelings do not just disappear. And ignoring them would not make the issue resolved. They will keep lingering and go somewhere deeper in our body, where it is easy for us to un-feel them. But they will always be there to “blackmail” us into spending our energy to hide them. Acknowledging these feelings, and allowing ourselves to sit within the sensations they surf, can make them harmless. Allowing ourselves to go through any emotion that arises, regardless to the way our emotions are perceived by society, will liberate us from this grand liability that we often carry without even paying attention.
Would that be a step towards achieving peace of mind? Of course!!
Would that be a fast and easy process? Probably not.
In our fast moving era, we got used to seeking fast superficial solutions, without exploring deeper causes. We may have forgotten that when something is easy or fast to achieve, we tend to appreciate it less. Peace of mind is an expensive asset. We have to appreciate and put some work in the process of achieving it, in order to realize its value. The question now is – Are we willing to invest in our own peace of mind? Moreover, would we be able to do so when the whole world is on fire?
I believe that we can do everything we set our intention to. In a fast pacing era, we might move through life so rapidly that we tend to miss the opportunity to set an intention. In order to be able to set any kind of intention, we have to shift our body and mind’s state to a different mode – allowing them to slow down and deeply relax. We have to remove our mind and body from the state of perceived war. We have to find a way to convince our body and mind that the war is over and peace has arrived.
There are so many ways to do so, but as you already know me, I remain loyal to the one that has shown and keeps showing amazing shifts in our nervous system state: Castor oil packs – Applied daily on abdomen, and now through the Covid-19 era, also applied on chest. I have written about the wonders of castor in my blog, the real reason I love castor oil packs, but would like to add here another benefit which may not be emphasized enough: Touch. When we apply the castor oil (or any other oil, salve or cream), we have to use touch. The Covid-19 pandemic has stripped us from touching, which is a very important component in maintaining our health. We have to bring touch back into our lives.
Thinking about touch, we tend to associate it with an action done by another person. However, we cannot forget the power that resides in touching our own tissue. The most beneficial touch would be a nourishing touch – a gentle unconditional loving touch, resembling a parental touch. Our tissue might have been compromised or even insulted by an injury, any type of condition/disease, or even a medical intervention. When we learn to create this contact between us and our tissue, we are starting to communicate with our body. Cells feel that they are being heard. Imagine how you feel when you are in distress and someone hugs you. Same is true for our cells, except the fact that they cannot express what they feel in words. The cells express it by loosening up and releasing anything that don’t serve them (or us) anymore. How awesome would this be to give ourselves the permission to let go with a “petting” support and no judging? In time, we might even realize that the kinder we are to ourselves, the kinder we become to others. We might even learn to listen to our inner world, and maybe stop for a moment to check why a certain feeling have arise. And it would be perfectly okay just to make the observation. We don’t need to have the answer. All we need is to allow the thought and the feeling to be out in the air. Spending our energy in hiding or disregarding them is preventing us from allocating these sources to being in peace. Peace of mind can come out of kindness to our own selves. Peace of mind can come when we allow our tissue to be open and relaxed regardless of any perceptions others may have.
Only when we are being kind and true to our own nature, to our own feelings, to our own wishes and hopes, we can grant ourselves the luxury of having a peace of mind.
Would it be easy? Of course not!!
Would it be fast? Of course not!!
But, Would it be worth it??????????????????????