Push or Pull

Steve Jobs Quote

I totally get this quote …

I’ve been a national speaker multiple times, currently have 7 books on Amazon and my research has been published internationally …

Public speaking and writing for publication should have been impossible for me. Why? I’m extremely shy and introverted, my heart races and I get tongue tied in front of people, english class was my worst subject in school and research is something people with Master’s and Doctorate degrees do – not someone who has a Bachelor’s degree …

BUT, I was pulled by the love of what I do. I saw a gap that needed to be filled, waited years for other’s to fill it, became frustrated when no one did, and then I stepped up and was pulled by my vision to accomplish the seemingly impossible.

And I thank God that I was able to leave this positive contribution to the world … or at least to the world of those who are involved with horses, therapy and hippotherapy.  What about you? What “should” be impossible for you but your heart’s vision is pulling at you? Are you willing to move forward to bridge the gap too?!

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Earth Day or April Fools on Global Warming?

Flowers

Today is Earth Day, the picture above was taken a couple of days ago when it was in the 60’s and sunny but today it’s blustery and snowing …

Flowers in Snow

The horses enjoying the sun earlier in the week …

Nicci Horse drinking horses eating

And today, on Earth Day they are braving a snow storm …

Horses in Snow

I live in an area of Michigan that was once covered with glaciers. I’m grateful for the global warming trends of the past, it’s why I can live where I am today.

Nature has it’s cycles, it’s natural cycles of warming and cooling. Climate change has been happening for eons. Those of us who live in rural areas have seen natures cyclic changes in animal populations and weather forecasts and we adapt to them.

Believe me, I’m against industrial pollution and the toxic bombs used in war. Those things kill our beautiful and awesome natural areas that we are suppose to protect. But it’s gone to far when some politicians claim our breathing is damaging the environment or that a wood burning stove is outlawed.  Volcano’s will erupt, forest fires will happen after a lightening strike, and animals will fart.  It’s just nature and nature can handle that.

Pond Monster

It’s Earth Day and I bet you never stopped to contemplate how the acts and actors in nature can seem “cruel” … the monster snapping turtle sunning itself on the log in the swamp will eat any adorable ducklings that happen to be born nearby. I kind of like adorable ducklings and nature’s survival of the fittest thing doesn’t seem fair at times.

Sky

As complex and changeable as nature is, it’s still awesome and beautiful.  The sun shines through the storm.  Global warming and snow on Earth Day … nature’s April Fools?

A Secret

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I have a secret. I am radically different. I am powerful and free. But not because of anything I’ve done on my own … it’s because I’m Catholic.

I am powerful and I am free because I have a place inside of me where God lives.  The God who created everything out of nothing.  The God who is All-Powerful and All-Knowing and All-Loving. The minute I claim any power is from me or I am free on my own, then I fall and lose freedom and am vulnerable. I have sinned by pushing God out of me and when God leaves, so does His power and true freedom.

I can feel it when I no longer have that anchor of stability, that protective presence of God. And that is when I humble myself and go to confession … why confession? Because I have sinned by claiming something for myself independent of God, thus pushing God out of the relationship …. confession is the way God chose to be welcomed back into our hearts, back into my heart (John 20:23).

Many people see the Catholic Church and Christianity as a prison with rules that create fences keeping people from fun.  But just the opposite is true.  Let me share the secret background … God created everything and everything He created was good!  As a quick aside, I say “He” because the masculine is self-giving and the feminine is “receiving” … God is the giver and we are called to be receptive to His gifts – all creation is feminine in relation to God – let’s get this straight – there is no goddess god.

Anyway, back to God creating everything good – when God created the angels, they were given the choice to be receptive to Him in service or not … some angels claimed power and freedom for themselves outside of God and because they were given so much knowledge and intelligence of God, they fell immediately and became demons.  There was no confession and second chances for the demons.  Their choice was a perfect rebellion against God.  God did not create demons, rather their choice against God made them evil and brought evil into the world.

Actually, that is still happening, our choices that push God out of our hearts still bring evil into the world.  Some small choices that happened eons ago now have catastrophic effects that we wouldn’t have even dreamed of – we are understanding more of how that works through the science of physics in the theory of Chaos.

The Catholic Church does have a sort of fence around it with it’s rules but that fence is like the fence around a playground. It is intended to keep those inside the fence safe from the evils that are outside the fence.  There is freedom and a protective power when you play inside the playground fence!

For those who would bring up the clerical sex-abuse scandal, that is actually a good example – the priests and religious are suppose to maintain, guard and patrol the fence and it’s a scandal when they actually opened the fence and crossed the boundary ushering in evil to those who were supposed to be protected in the playground … that’s precisely why it’s a scandal – the perpetrator’s have sinned, disobeying the very rules of God they were supposed to maintain.

Another thought some people entertain is that all religions are a path to God … that is only partially true … God does work through many different means, but there is only one womb from which you are born into heaven and that womb is the church Jesus founded (Mt 16:13-20) and only one church can trace her lineage back to Peter, the Catholic Church.  Does that mean only those who join the Catholic church are in Heaven? Nope, but the church is where God acts to bring you the graces for your journey to Heaven. You can’t choose who your mother is, but you can deny her or embrace her. Did you know that Muslims are very disturbed when we Christian’s call God “Father” … for them, God is Master … but when Jesus came, He taught us to pray “Our Father, who art in Heaven …” (Mt 6:9) and when Jesus died, we actually became more than created beings, we were adopted into God’s family (Jn 19:25-29).

I have a secret. I am radically different. I am powerful and free. But not because of anything I’ve done on my own … it’s because I’m Catholic.

Power and freedom, outside of God’s Will becomes the 666 … that old sign of evil. Where does THAT come from?! Well, here’s one clue – humanity was created on the sixth day but there are seven days of creation. Seven is the number of perfection, when God rested (the sabbath), and six is a number that is incomplete, not quite there (if we live as though there are 6 days, we don’t celebrate the sabbath and rest with God, giving Him the praise for creation and enjoying His creation). And another clue  comes from Rev 13:18 which starts with “This calls for wisdom” … who in the bible is associated with wisdom? King Solomon. In a super quick summary, God’s rules for Solomon were to avoid multiple marriage, to avoid accruing a large army and to avoid accumulating wealth.  Solomon broke all of those commands, even though he had wisdom, he was allured by pleasure, power, and possessions … those three ppp’s became the 666. You see those three are actually all good within God’s rules, we are allowed to have pleasure, power, and possessions within the limits of our Catholic playground, but when we dismiss God’s rules, we push God out and allow the evil of sin into the world, and the consequence ends up being that pleasure, power and possessions gets turned around and those things control us rather than us controlling them.

Isn’t it interesting to piece together God’s messages in the bible and see the amazing truth in it all?!

I have a secret. I am radically different. I am powerful and free. But not because of anything I’ve done on my own … it’s because I’m Catholic.  What about you? Are you willing to dive in and learn more about our mysterious and awesome God?

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Visualization

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If I ask you to think of a dog, do you imagine a type or breed or a beloved favorite pet?  Can you see a dog in your mind’s eye?  If so, that is what visualization is!  Do we really have a “mind’s eye” somewhere in our brain?

I’ve read about the pineal gland in the head, I believe it’s often referred to as the “third eye.” And there may be something to that. The pineal gland is located in the center of the brain and like other glands, it produces hormones. One of it’s interesting functions is that associated with light and dark and the release of melatonin. The pineal gland has some type of rod and cone-like structures that play a sensory role.

What areas of the brain are activated when we think of a dog or pizza or an orange? Research suggests it’s actually some of the same neural pathways that our eyes use. For real perception and for imagination, some of the same cognitive control processes are used.  I think this is why the use of visualization of performance has been used as a sports enhancer for decades.

There’s some more clues to be found about visualization if we piece together some bits in the relationship of the pineal gland and depression. Just think of depression … put yourself into the shoes of someone who is depressed … they feel dull, their thinking is fuzzy.  There’s something about the function of melatonin (released from the pineal gland) and depression. The research shows that psychoactive drugs (antidepressants) and light therapy all affect the pineal gland and mental health.  Now think of the opposite of what depression is … vibrant thinking, active imagination, planning for the future.

Back to visualization:

  • it’s a mental picture that activates brain structures similar to if we were looking at an object
  • unlike dreaming, hypnosis or hallucinations, the mental pictures of visualization occur while we are awake and are under our control (we remain aware of the reality of the here and now and can move in and out of this inner vision to our outer sensations with ease)
  • sports athletes use visualization to imagine and improve their performance
  • therapists use visualization for stress management, pain relief and relaxation exercises (imagine your toes in the sand of a warm beach … )
  • we all have the ability to visualize an image in our head to a greater or lessor degree, whether it’s a phone number or the face of a loved one

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You can learn to tune into the mental pictures of visualization. It can be similar to the focus of a camera lens.  The 2 pictures taken above were of the same object yet because of the focus they look totally different. In the top picture, the camera focused on the emerging leaves on the slender branch of a wild rose, but a split second later the camera focus lost the fine branch (although you can barely make it out if you look) and instead, the focus went to the leaves on the ground.

Visualization can be like that, it’s there for you but it takes the right focus in your mind to notice it.  It’s worth pursuing the ability to visualize; one day you may enjoy vivid reminiscing, visiting an imaginary beach for stress management, or even enhancing your golf swing by mental practice!

I find visualization easy, it’s natural, but what about you? It’s not easy for everyone, how easy is it for you?

Mind in the Sky

Clouds and Sun

I like to understand what happens when I receive and give bodywork sessions. Why are there “hard spots” in the body that seem key to relieving pain? Why does the release of those spots trigger thoughts or emotions to come forward in some people who are aware enough to pay attention and notice them? My mind has been thinking lofty thoughts, so heck, even though they are only theories why not share them with you!

I have a theory about what I feel in bodywork sessions (I don’t do Reiki though) – but it has to do with the electromagnetic field of the body … here’s the backdrop … any where electricity flows – thru a lamp cord or through our spinal cord or through chemical processes in our cells, then an electromagnetic field is produced. An electromagnetic field is measurable. If an area of the body is traumatized and if there is inflammation (increased activity in nerves and cells), then it would make sense there would be an increased electromagnetic field around that area. If an area of the body is traumatized and there is a tightening restricted area that compresses nerves or decreases cellular activity, then it makes sense there would be a decreased electromagnetic field in that area of the body. I think we have the ability to tune in our sensory perception and feel that with practice … at least that’s the background of my theory!

This is what we know: Electromagnetic waves have different wavelengths; different tissues of the body (muscle, fascia, bone) are at different densities/ frequencies and produce different electromagnetic energy such as bone producing light; engrams produce electromagnetic energy by their very definition as a neuromuscular loop. What I’m curious about – emotions – where do they lay on the electromagnetic spectrum – they produce electromagnetic fields that, with training, we can actually feel during treatment – does the fascial tightening (fascia is piezoelectric and produces electricity under pressure), neuromuscular innervations and chemical hormonal reactions of rage for example, that are each producers of electromagnetic energy always present as a certain “rage” wavelength. Another thing I’m curious about is how far our human body sends electromagnetic waves out into space … inches, feet, miles, thousands of miles? We know we can turn on TV or a radio and get a signal from those electromagnetic waves … but what about our body … and if we send out our wavelength energy miles, how much does that drain us – can that be a source of chronic fatigue and pain?

Hard spots in the body – what are we feeling? And when they release why does it seem like there is also the information of a memory or emotion with it? Modern physics may hold a clue! It boils down to integrating dualities – in particular particles (matter) and waves (energy) – until the double slit experiment, those were thought of as dualities – one OR the other but waves can act like particles – energy can act like matter! This is what I’m referring to as us feeling the hard spot – it feels like matter but is it actually trapped energy? Can energy be “trapped” and act “matter like?” Check this out! Scientists have frozen light – yes, I know, you’d think only matter can be frozen but they have actually done it – they have frozen electromagnetic energy … “And they proved the accomplishment by storing — and then successfully retrieving — information in the form of a 100-micrometer-long picture with three horizontal stripes on it.”  … So do you think that hard spots are frozen energy in the body with stored information that is retrievable when it is unfrozen?!!!

Well, there you go, my mind is in the sky trying to figure out all the complexities of God’s great creation. Do you have any thoughts about these musings? I’d love to hear more!

Fragments Coming Together

April is Occupational Therapy Month

Fragment 1

April is Occupational Therapy month and I love being an OT, but I am often asked “what is occupational therapy?”  On my Facebook page I wrote:

“Occupational Therapy is one of the first mind-body professions that understands the intrinsic value of activities in human life for health and rehabilitation. We look at the science of participation and doing, whether that occurs with personal health skills, or play, or even work. Most of the time people use their hands for “doing,” so you often see occupational therapists working with the upper extremity in rehabilitation. But my occupational therapy coursework focused 50% on physical issues and 50% on psychology. My Occupational Therapy private practice offers a therapeutic bridge between physical therapy and psychology and my training makes me ideally suited for teaching wellness skills so you can enjoy life to it’s fullest throughout your lifespan.”

Fragment 2

Yesterday I went to a conference titled ‘Integrative Modalities for Treating the Neck and Shoulder.’  It was a manual therapy/myofascial release/bodywork type conference. Beside learning great new techniques, the bonus is you get to practice those techniques on a partner and you get to be “practiced” on.  My chronic pain is in my left shoulder and neck. I had a broken left clavicle 30 years ago that still aches and I got some great releases yesterday.

Fragment 3

When I was almost three years old, my little brother was one and just learning to walk. It was summer and there was a family party at our newly built house. We were on the deck but it didn’t have rails and my little brother was toddling towards the edge. I noticed and instead of pulling him back from the edge, I pushed him over it. I didn’t want a baby brother taking my parents attention but the minute he started crying I felt a horrible sense of betrayal and guilt. He fractured his clavicle and had to go to the hospital. The party broke up, the hospital questioned whether there was child abuse going on, and it was all because of me and my jealous action.  Even at that tender young age, I knew that I had done something terribly wrong with potential repercussions that would have been devastating – what if my mom went to jail for an action I did but they believed she had done it, what if my brother had died how could I live with myself for that …

All these fragments were floating in my mind while I was in the hot tub this morning and then it dawned on … was I punishing myself by holding on to the pain from my own old clavicle break because of what happened when I was 3? Did all those bodywork releases I received yesterday help to bring this back up into my consciousness so I can begin to forgive myself and let go of the old shame and pain?

There is an amazing mind-body connection and I’m so proud that my profession honors and embraces that.  All these fragments are coming together so I can integrate them and enjoy life to it’s fullest throughout my lifespan. Do you want to let go of past pain too? Consider a bodywork session and happy Occupational Therapy month!