Tag Archives: personal practices

Why HeartMath®?

“Inner stillness is a place where our heart can speak
without the mind running it off the road.”
~Doc Childre

I’ve come to realize that my path to practicing HeartMath® came about quite by accident and yet was clearly meant to be part of my healing journey.

I’d heard of HeartMath® but never gave it much thought, assuming that it was only about healing physical heart problems, something I fortunately don’t have. But then, heart related “things” started popping up in different areas of my life.

Several hypnotism sessions turned into heart-healing experiences that I didn’t even know I needed. And an eye-opening weekend workshop with the brilliant, Dr. Joe Dispenza, shed light on the connection between our heart and our head and how the battle of the brain to control the heart causes stress in our bodies and struggle in our lives.

And then, when I met Anne Taylor through Kundalini yoga and learned that she is a HeartMath® coach, I knew as a student, I was ready and my teacher had appeared.

Now, six months later, I’ve completed the coursework and implemented daily HeartMath® practice sessions via my HR adapter and the Inner Balance app. I’ve graduated from Read the rest


What is HeartMath?

what is heartmath

“The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe,
to match your nature with Nature.”
~Joseph Campbell

A Dynamic Window into the Autonomic Nervous System

You may have heard of HeartMath®, but did you ever wonder what is or try to explain it someone else? Or perhaps HeartMath® and the concept of heart coherence is new to you altogether. This short article will explore what HeartMath® is (more broadly Heart Rate Variability biofeedback) and how a HeartMath® centered practice can support healing, personal growth, and inner transformation.

HeartMath® is a research and technology institute that focuses on mastering the harmful effects of stress through the power of the human heart, and what it calls “heart coherence”. Physiological coherence, in general, is the synchronization of all the oscillating fields within and outside the body—simply think of it as Joseph Campbell explains in the above quote: we are syncing our heartbeats with the heartbeat of the universe.

The weaker fields within the body (i.e. brain waves, respiration) will align with the stronger field of the heart. Electro-magnetic fields nesting within resonating elects-magnetic fields. It is a moment of tao, all is aligned with the great oneness … Read the rest


How to Reinvent Yourself: Step 1-Reflect

“Each phase of the transformation process has distinct milestones,
is progressive, and is not revisited.”

~ Suzy Ross

You may have noticed that I refer to myself as a “reinventionist”. There’s a lot behind my choice to use that tag for myself and my practice.

Mostly it’s because I’m drawn to working with people engaged in reinventing themselves because this has played such a large role in my life. I have re-invented myself, from the boots up, at least three times. And I’ve learned some valuable lessons I want to share with you here and in my coaching practice.

And clearly this is a universally experienced life passage— more so in today’s multi-tasking life than ever. People at 30, 40, 50, 60 even 70 are finding themselves needing or wanting to take their lives and careers in a new direction.

person at the edge of a lakeYou may be looking at making some big changes because you just got a divorce, lost your job, survived a serious illness—or retired. Or maybe an inner voice is telling you that your life could be better, bigger, more satisfying.

Time for a reinvention!

But, before I get down to the 3- stage approach I most often use with clients, … Read the rest


Energy Healing 101

 “The whole universe appears as a dynamic web of inseparable energy patterns…

Thus we are not separated parts of a whole. We are a Whole.”

~Barbara Ann Brennan

Along with your vascular, nervous, and skeletal systems, you also have an energetic system that is, like all energy, invisible to the naked eye. Your energetic system, or subtle body is like a holographic overlay on your physical body and is made up of power centers (chakras), energetic fields (auras), and conduits (nadis). Information about your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual states live within your subtle body.

Energy healing works in this realm. It is a general term for many modalities that remove blocks and energetic cords attached to others, grounds your energetic system to Earth energy, connects to light energy, repairs any energy leaks within the auric field or chakra system, and disconnects from any energy that is not your own.

If you are wondering why any of this matters, it is blocks within the energetic system that manifest as illness in the physical body.

Evidence of energy healing practices dating back 1000s of years is found in cultures throughout the world. The ancient Egyptians practiced Sekhem. a form of energy … Read the rest


Struggling in Sapa

caribou in rice paddy

rice paddy terraces from above“Madam … Um, are you afraid of snakes, madam?” asked Cuong, my young, Adidas jacket-clad, skinny-yet-very-able-bodied Sapa trekking guide. “Ah, well … er… I don’t particularly like snakes,” I responded, looking trepidatiously around the heavy bushes clogging the steep, narrow path we were following. The two tiny Red Dzao ladies who had been trailing us for about a mile giggled gleefully behind me. “I hate snakes,” continued Cuong – breaking off a sturdy stick from a nearby tree and starting to whack his way through the thick bush. The two ladies grabbed my arms and we carried on as I emitted a shallow sigh.

two women in moutainsThe four of us had been “hard trekking” for over an hour – the two women, clad in traditional, vivid red scarves and head pieces and various colorful skirts and wraps, had glommed onto us as soon as our jeep dropped Cuong and I off at the top of the mountain. As is their custom, these local tribal women follow tourists like me around asking ad nauseum, with huge toothy grins, “where you from!?”, “what your name!?” and the most oft repeated word, “shopping?!!?” I had become used to them during the previous day’s seven-hour trek … Read the rest


What is EFT and How Does it Work?

finger touching hand

“EFT offers great healing benefits.”
~Deepak Chopra

Along time ago, after a severe traumatic event, I began suffering from panic attacks and developed severe, chronic anxiety. The side effects included averaging 2-3 hours of sleep a night, becoming destructively low functioning in my work life and having rapid heartbeats and stomach pains become the replacement for my morning alarm clock.

Thus began my journey to find a way to calm my nervous system down and get back into the driver’s seat of my life. This journey took me over 10 years. Against the wishes of therapists and physicians, I refused to start taking anti-anxiety meds, sleeping pills or anti-depressants. Instead, I tried almost every alternative therapy that I knew of. I wanted to walk through the fire to get to the other side instead of pretending the fire inside me wasn’t there.

One day, during an annual lunch with some girlfriends, one of them starting talking about Tapping. I asked some questions and then went home to do some research. Two weeks later I had an appointment with a local EFT Practitioner and went without any expectation or preconceived assumptions about how it might help me. I had learned years … Read the rest


Timeless Medicine From The Owl

“The owl offers the inspiration and guidance necessary to
deeply explore the unknown and the magic of life.”
~Native American Teaching

What are you are seeking in your life? Health – Direction – Inspiration?

Every aspect of nature has a unique gift that goes beyond the obvious food or materials each provides. In many cultures, visitations from animals or other creatures are considered “medicine.”

For example, an eagle, who is the national bird in United States represents freedom, power and keen big-picture sight. The mouse has the gift of sensitivity of vision and smell to find details in front of its path. Ants are revered for their great strength and remarkable unity with their colony. Plants, trees and stones also play a large part of “medicine” for us.

As humans, we also have special gifts to offer with our communication, creativity and healing. Each of us has the power and aptitude to connect to the natural world for problem solving, art, music and healing.

annie thoe w monkeysThroughout my life and practice in the healing arts, I’ve been blessed with medicine from countless teachers in nature: from domestic dogs and cats to a wide range of wild animals, including monkeys, gorillas, dolphins, coyotes … Read the rest


Tarot: Mirror of the Soul

“A Tarot reading looks at your current life situations through
the symbolic language of image and color.”
~Susan Scofield

A Tarot reading looks at your current life situation through the symbolic language of image and color. Tarot cards are a unique tool available to anyone who can look at a picture and describe what they see. In the case of the cards, this symbolic language triggers an unconscious response within the individual, signaling intuition, which in turn, sends a message to the conscious mind.

The Tarot functions as a guide. It is an anchor and an advisor. It can direct, suggest and open one’s eyes to new possibilities along with revealing roadblocks, challenges and fears.

tarot card spreadTarot cards can be used for self-understanding, and are often called the “mirror of the soul.” They are useful in looking at the current flow of energy in one’s life, or in the examination of a particular issue.

A Tarot reading can foster an understanding of the different perspectives and needs within a relationship, whether with a partner, a child, or a parent. Tarot spreads can indicate the energies in any given situation and suggest how best to deal with that situation.

Traditional Tarot decks … Read the rest


Can You Change Without Changing?

“The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance”.
~Nathaniel Branden

I get asked this question daily in my holistic nutrition practice. It is not that overt. It is asked or stated in myriad ways. Can I heal without giving up this certain food? Can I get rid of my respiratory issues without giving up smoking? Can I lose weight without moving my body? Can I eat the same foods I’ve been eating and still lose weight or feel better? When you break these questions down to their essence, they are all the same. Can I change without changing?  It is a far easier question to answer.

Through years of personal research I can state unequivocally that you can NOT change without changing. Believe me, I have tried every way around this over time. I have tried bargaining with myself, going halfway, roughing up my self-esteem and topnotch avoidance. The only thing that works is changing up what is not aligned with your highest self.

We’re going on a bear hunt

One of my children’s favorite books is ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ by Michael Rosen. The family meets many obstacles along the way, and the … Read the rest


Learning to Love Yourself: A Simple 5 Step Prescription

“We need to love ourselves first, in all our glory and imperfections.
If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot open to our ability to love others.”
~John Lennon

Love, Ah yes, that most elusive and most desired experience that all of us humans seem to want in this world. So why is it so difficult to attain it? Why is it such a misunderstood subject?

After working with people in private practice for the last 26 years in NYC, Boulder CO and Seattle I have come to see that love is the most misunderstood human experience. For most of us, we look for love in all the wrong places, mainly in other people: praying to find our beloved and live happily ever after.

The truth is, we will never be satisfied with another and their love offering until we are willing to love ourselves. When I explain this to my patients, I am almost always met with great resistance. I can see the pain in their hearts as they look at me and say, “Are you suggesting, Ellen, that I give up looking for my soul mate? Or worse, are you suggesting that I will never meet my soul mate?” … Read the rest


Accessing the Power of Gratitude

“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.”
~Willie Nelson

The practice of gratitude as a tool for happiness has been in the mainstream for years. Long-term studies support gratitude’s effectiveness, suggesting that a positive, appreciative attitude contributes to greater success in work, greater health, peak performance in sports and business, a higher sense of well-being, and a faster rate of recovery from surgery.

But while we may acknowledge gratitude’s many benefits, it still can be difficult to sustain. So many of us are trained to notice what is broken, undone or lacking in our lives. And for gratitude to meet its full healing potential in our lives, it needs to become more than just a Thanksgiving word. We have to learn a new way of looking at things, a new habit. And that can take some time.

grateful handsThat’s why practicing gratitude makes so much sense. When we practice giving thanks for all we have, instead of complaining about what we lack, we give ourselves the chance to see all of life as an opportunity and a blessing.

Remember that gratitude isn’t a blindly optimistic approach in which the bad things in life are whitewashed or ignored. … Read the rest


Stretching Myself: Body, Mind and Soul

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you
as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you,
and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”

~John Muir

It’s the beginning of August and even though summer took a while to get here in the Northwest, I’m loving that it is finally here.

I am a summer lover and refer to its essence as “summertime mode,” which plays an important role in connecting into our innate playful nature; definitely a stress reliever!

This summer I decided to stretch myself out of my physical comfort zone and now am almost ready to leave for my long prepared John Muir Trail hike in the Sierras in California.

john muir trailI’ll be hiking about 60-70 miles or so of it. My amazing husband is planning on doing the entire 221 miles and more given some of the side trails he needs to take for re-supplies and rest stops!

I’m looking forward to it, but also am quite aware that I may have times of struggles.
I may wonder “what the heck was I thinking?”

That’s when I’ll need to STOPRead the rest


The Next Chapter Unfolds

 “We are all stories in the end.
~Doctor Who

This is the story of the Blue Kong, and how it changed my life.

Half a dozen years ago, I was found by an American Pit Bull Terrier. As I arrived back at my truck after walking one of my Siberian Huskies along a local rail trail, I found what appeared to be an old, ravaged and wounded, pit bull, laying up against my wheel. The invisible sign was on, “Come here, and you will be helped.”

This dog, who came to be known as Gar, took close to a year to fix through the dedicated and combined efforts of my veterinarian and myself. He was only a year old but had the worst mange she had ever seen, was covered with scabs and scars and had multiple infections. Although subjected to constant foot soaks, injections, pills, Gar never resisted, never growled, and remained gentle, loving and kind.

dog w toyInitially, we gave him a rubber toy shaped like a bowling pin, which he carried non-stop in his massive jaws for close to a year. The second pin never left his mouth and only lasted a few weeks due to the … Read the rest


Duality: Can Authenticity and Career Co-exist?

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues but the parent of all the others.”
~Brian Buffini

Some people are lucky, they know their life’s calling early on–or so it appears on this side of the not so green grass. From an early age, I’ve had multiple callings, loud sirens usually leading me in opposite directions. After decades of practice, I learned to keep my vocations (or voices) separate, neat, and tidy in their respective “boxes”. Or so I thought.

two headed coinThe current duo at odds has been the real estate broker and the Kundalini yoga teacher. The Realtor and yoga teacher have strong opinions about one another, some not so pleasant. Kundalini is not a gym class kind of yoga experience. It is a spiritually based practice (of course all yoga is, just not always taught that way). The Realtor fears her clients won’t take her seriously if they see her Kundalini side, especially decked out in white clothing, chanting, sitting on a sheep skin, and sporting a white turban. Fine (I think), keep this pair in their separate boxes. 

Recently starting at a new real estate office, the owner suggested that I attend the company’s annual convention in … Read the rest


Planning Your Summer? How About Your LIFE?

“Live Your Life on Purpose.”

Summertime is here!

Believe it or not, the beginning of summer is the time of year, bar none, when we do most of our long-term planning, even though that detailed planning is for only a month or two in advance.

We start by identifying the emotion-driven goals we want to experience, strategize how to accomplish them, and then get into action so our summer objectives become our reality.

It’s a great formula that has us as the powerful catalyst for what we want.

Now how about your life and all the different aspects of it?

woman on road w suitcaseAre you planning with all the fervor that you plan your summertime activities; looking at possibilities, contemplating details, covering bases, and designing your plan of action? When you do, life opens up and you really do get more of what you want. Give it a try.

Where are you going?

Acknowledge your heart’s desire, that dream you’ve tucked away or something you would do if you really gave yourself permission. You will be better able to understand what is calling you forward and what happiness and success look like to you.

How will you get there?

What are your … Read the rest


20 Ways to Create More Happiness

“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.”
~ Omar Khayyam

If you have days where happiness eludes you, here’s a few tips from your comrades on the planet that may help shift your mindset for the day. It’s the simple things in life that tend to bring the most pleasure. Try one or more today!

  1. Assume positive intent of others
  2. First thing in the morning, be grateful for all the blessings in your life
  3. Get more sleep
  4. Share the best thing that happened during the day with your partner/family first thing when you get home at the end of the day
  5. Random acts of kindness — randomly pay for someone’s drive-thru order behind you
  6. Think of something you use everyday, make sure it is the best quality you can afford, and take the time to really and care for it
  7. Walk at least 30 minutes a day
  8. Stop comparing yourself to others
  9. Remove advertising from your life
  10. Get a pet
  11. Smile at yourself in the mirror, smile at others – especially strangers
  12. Give more and expect less
  13. Help the people around you
  14. Spend time outside and breath fresh air deeply
  15. Give yourself and others permission to change
Read the rest

UGH! Stuck. Again?

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
~ Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

REALLY? How can I be here? I am so tired of it all, of this storyline, of the equal measures of my impatience and resistance, the self-judgement and harsh thoughts, the lack of measurable results.

I have been here before. More often than I care to recount. I could hear my inner taskmaster hammering me for it all, “Where are the completed checkmarks on your to-do list, where is the weight loss, the decluttered house, the improved, deepened relationship, the finished coursework for the online program you’re taking, the updated business plan and refreshed website, and your latest article – well past its deadline. You can’t get anything done. You inept loser.”

I drew myself up, inhaled deeply and fully, threw back my shoulders and roared at my inner taskmaster. ENOUGH. Enough. This old familiar storyline is done. I’m scrapping it. It no longer serves me. At some point, I am sure it did, by protecting an ancient hurt or fear buried deeply in my psyche. I thanked it for its years of service and released it.… Read the rest


It’s Time for Summertime Mode!

“Summer, summer, summertime time to sit back and unwind.”
~Will Smith

As a hypnotherapist specializing in stress relief, I recently did market research interviews with busy professional women to delve deeper into their pressing problems and what stresses them out. I wanted to learn more about what keeps them up at night, what their most pressing worries and concerns are and what would they like to disappear in their lives.

A lot of what I heard, I already knew were stress issues for women, but I also learned so much more.

Some of the questions I posed revealed how pressured most busy professional women feel today. They are scheduled from dawn until the lights go out and find they have no room for any free time to just relax, to just “be,” to play!

When asked to create their perfect day, most women described a very unstructured relaxed “let the day unfold” type of day. They imagined walks outside either alone or with loved ones, family time playing together; time to read a “fun” book, all without any of the so called “normal” pressures they currently experience.

In response to the results they would celebrate if their lives were better … Read the rest


How to Reinvent Yourself Step 2: Re-Imagine

(Editor’s Note: See Step 1 – Reflect from Nicole Aloni)

“Whether your transformation happens through trauma, surprise, or intention,
the process begins because of a growing need for change.”

~
Suzy Ross

Next we’ll look at where your values coincide with your dreams for the future. Who you really are overlaid with what you long to do will form the template for your reinvention. Here lies the wisdom and the inspiration that will carry you through to the finish.

DREAM BIG

To begin this important step of re-imagination, journal, or write a short story about the life you’d lead if there were no limitations; If everything were possible. Or create a vision board (thank you, Oprah) with images of all the activities and dreams that make you feel alive. At this point, it’s also useful to ask yourself the question, “What have I been tolerating?”

To make this really expansive, it’s helpful to approach these creations with what Buddhists call Beginner’s Mind (an attitude of openness, eagerness and a lack of preconceptions as a beginner might approach any project). Give yourself a day or a week to really flesh this out. This process should be deeply enjoyable. If it’s not, … Read the rest


What is the Feldenkrais Method®? How it Works

“Feldenkrais work is the most sophisticated and effective method I have ever seen
for the prevention and reversal of deterioration of function.”

~Margaret Mead, PhD, Anthropologist

I began studying the Feldenkrais Method® in 1984, after seeking every possible treatment (Osteopathic, Physical Therapy, Chiropractic, various Massage therapies, Rolfing, Cranial Sacral, Acupunctureannie thoe w patient, etc.) for chronic, debilitating knee pain. I couldn’t walk, hike, bike or swim without pain. In one lesson, I experienced a profound shift in the alignment and coordination of my legs with my entire body. While it took me a while to shift the pattern causing this pain, over the three decades in studying this Method, I continue to refine the ease in my movement and life. This was the beginning of my career in bodywork and awareness study. I use this method (along with Nature Awareness) to help expand awareness to move past obstacles in learning, healing, performance and problem-solving.

dr feldenkraisThe Feldenkrais Method® named after its founder, Moshe Feldenkrais, is a sensory method of learning to refine one’s movement, improve function and expand awareness. Feldenkrais developed his method in the mid-1940s after suffering a crippling knee injury. He found he could teach himself (and others) to align, … Read the rest