Archive for the ‘Vision’ Category

Renewal

I am so grateful to be spending this weekend in beautiful Jemez Springs, New Mexico, at a spiritual renewal retreat. My very good and enlightened friend Debi is hosting the event which combines yoga, Native American Medicine Wheel, sound vibration, healing breath, accupressure, Aryuvedic massage, meridian massage, movement, stillness, plus BrainGym in an incredible setting. While I am familiar with many of these, I have yet to experience most of them. I am very excited about having the opportunity to get them in my body.

Debi’s flyer lists a ton of benefits to be gained by practicing these Multi-Sensory art forms. They include:

  • enhance body functions
  • increase energy
  • alleviate mental fatigue
  • create efficient electrical and chemical action between the brain and nervous system
  • reduce emotional flare ups
  • diffuse stress
  • improve self-control and sense of boundaries
  • lessen depression, fatigue, pain, and hypersensitivity

I’m dragging my wonderful hunky baby on this adventure. I don’t know that he is overly excited about being in the sessions, but he has such an incredible meditative mind. Besides,  from my past experiences after returning home to him from BrainGym workshops,  he will find it is WELL WORTH not having to wait for me to get back home to reap the benefits—if you know what I mean. Honestly, I’m just excited about being totally alone with him for a few hours. It’s been too long since we’ve had that privilege.

As for my friend Debi, I love being around her and her hunky baby. He doesn’t have the guts to endure a spiritual retreat, but that’s okay. He also probably isn’t into candles, fish, plants, and cats like my man is, yet we love him anyway. He gives some of the biggest and best hugs I’ve ever had. I fully intend to pick Debi’s brain right down to the very last neuron. She has knowledge that I want and skills that I would like to acquire. She has led or hosted several of the BrainGym workshops I have attended and one will never find a more gracious hostess. It will be an awesome weekend filled with incredible energy.

You can be assured of two things that will happen over the weekend. First, I won’t be checking my email. Second, upon my return to blogging, I will have details (well, G-rated details anyway) about the incredible things I am expecting to happen while in Jemez Springs.

Here’s trusting you will have a weekend just as amazing as mine.

Butterflies

Yesterday I sent a very spiritually-minded friend an email asking her thoughts on my desire for change. As expected, she had some really cool words of wisdom. She told me to “…just let go.” I had to ask her what exactly it was that I needed to let go. She suggested that letting God know (and myself) that if in fact I need to remain in the current situation for a while longer, I am okay with doing so. In other words, let go of pushing for the change to happen by a deadline.
 
Here are her words:
“I have learned that I have to be willing to let it ALL go before I know for sure what God really wants for me. In other words, tell Him that you are willing to keep doing what you are doing if that is His Will for you. Sometimes that is when the windows and doors come open for other avenues. You have to choose to want His Will for your life – no matter what that might mean. That is when the peace will come for you. It isn’t easy. And it isn’t just saying ok whatever you want. It is a complete letting go of what your desires may be so that you can SEE what He has for you. He is showing you lots of stuff and I really think that He is giving you the desires of your heart – as promised. But it is His timing that we don’t know.”
 
By making all possibilities acceptable, even the one from which I am attempting to escape, I open the door for shift to begin to occur. I don’t even begin to understand how it all works, but I do know that being against something is a sure fire way to attract into my life plenty of what I am against. Mother Teresa was supposedly noted for stating that she would NOT attend an anti-war demonstration, but that she would welcome the opportunity to be present for a peace rally. Wow! That’s pretty powerful.
 
I also asked my friend to think of a creature…anything that came to mind. She said, Always a butterfly – ever changing from one thing to the next more pretty one.”
So I looked up butterfly in my handy dandy Animal Spirit Guides book. It says, “Lighten up and stop taking everything so seriously. Get ready for a big change, one where an old habit, way of thinking, or lifestyle is going out, and a new way of being is emerging. It’s time to make the changes you’ve been considering. In spite of  the challenges, you’ll get through this transition, and as always, know that ‘this too shall pass.’ Express yourself by wearing more colorful clothing.” 
 
Then it says, “Call on the butterfly when:
  • You know it’s time for a change, and you need the courage to break out of your self-imposed cocoon;
  • You’re going through a major life transition such as divorce or career change;
  • You want encouragement to more freely express the love you feel to those around you;
  • You want to put more romance into the relationship with your spouse or intimate partner;
  • You want help to relax more and go with the flow of the cycles in your work or your relationship.”
 
I think the butterfly represents an aspect of God’s nature–the part that embraces change and shows us how to cope with it. That cocoon is a pretty tight and vulnerable place in the lifecycle of this beautiful creature. Yet he cares for and nourishes the caterpillar in this tightest and most vulnerable phase of life, and then allows the creature to emerge beautiful and free.
 
Okay God. I agree to allow the best and highest good for me to  be my reality, even if it doesn’t appear to be what I want. This cocoon is getting a bit aggravating, though, so as soon as you see fit, I’d like to start the squeezing out process. Fresh air, sunshine, and wind beneath my wings are pretty high up there on my list of desires, and you DID say, “Ask and you shall receive.”  Thanks for taking care of me through the tight and vulnerable times.
 
 
Here’s to an abundance of sweet nectar and a really gorgeous set of wings.

Listening Through Nature

For those of us who have deep roots in Judeo-Christian theology, sometimes listening for answers from Divine Power has significantly limited options. We grew up knowing that God answers prayers, but I’m not sure many of us have ever known exactly how he does that. I mean, yeah….it’s easy if you ask God for a car as a teenager, and one is in the driveway on Christmas morning, or if  you ask for healing and voila! the doctor’s report comes back with the desired results. But what about those questions that may not have such black and white answers? What about the day to day stuff where we seek guidance from a higher power? How do you know where and when to find those answers?

Anyone with some basic Bible knowledge will be familiar with some stories in the Bible where God revealed his will to those who asked of him, and even some who did not. There is Moses and the burning bush, the children of Israel and their clouds and fire, Balaam and his stubborn donkey, Gideon and his wet/dry fleece, Samuel and his dreams, Joseph and HIS BIZARRE dreams, Ezekiel and some really creepy dry bones, Jonah and a big fish, Saul/Paul and a blinding light, Jesus and the Doves, and on and on.

In almost all of these, God spoke to his people through nature. In many of these situations, the Divine initiated the conversation. In some, the mortals with whom conversation had been initiated then requested tests or proof of the authenticity of the message. If you are Gideon headed into battle with only 300 men, it is probably prudent to test the source of the message.

Did all of that cool communication go away on a magically assigned date somewhere around 100 AD? Nope. Religious oppression over the centuries just squashed a lot of it so that most people were too busy surviving day to day to seek divine guidance and answers. Those who did and actually told of their encounters were often times put to death as heretics. A very powerful communication tool was almost lost in the name of keeping people subordinate to the church leadership. After all, the dominant religion for centuries has been one that says only church leaders should interpret messages from God.

Since I have a habit of stepping outside of the bounds of conventionally accepted norms just for the sake of annoying leadership, it probably won’t come as a surprise to those who know me that I have some strong opinions on the subject of communicating with Divine sources. It also probably won’t come as a surprise that I believe many of the communication resources recognized by non-Christian religions are in fact very valid and reliable ways to receive messages from God.

So how does one receive communication from Spirit beyond just reading the Bible? If you believe in an unchanging divinity, it might be suggested that you should look to nature for your answers as did the heroes of the Bible. I have found this to be a very effective source of guidance.

I have a really cool book called Animal Spirit Guides
by Steven D. Farmer. It is a book based on Native American Shamanic beliefs. It is NOT my Bible, and Shamanism is NOT my religion, however, it is a very nice resource for helping me understand what Divine Wisdom (God for those of you who are freaking out about now) is trying to get across to me. Essentially, it gives Spirit a way to get through to my sometimes dense self.

The concept is simple. Anytime a creature from nature crosses my path, especially in a repeated or unusual way, and especially when I am seeking guidance, I can look it up in this book. As an example, a dear friend of mine made an off-handed comment this week asking if I was a camel in reference to my not needing to be relieved of testing duties long enough to go to the bathroom. I really didn’t think much about it for a couple of days. This morning I was glancing through the book looking up some critters who tend to throw themselves in front of my car as I drive down the road, to see if anything rang true with my soul. I came across camels, recalled the comment, reflected on my knowledge of the source of the comment, and realized that this was a message meant for me.

Some may think this is silly since our part of the country has lots of suicidal animals, however, some creatures tend to be repeat messengers as if they are trying to get my attention in some way. There was the week when white breasted hawks were stalking me along the road. There is the recent nose-burning pungency of fresh roadkill skunk that has become quite annoying of late. There was the weekend when two separate individuals both mentioned quail. They were connected through a common love interest, yet unaware of each other’s interest in quail. It was an unplanned accident that I even crossed paths with the second source of quail-age.  

Other creature messengers that have grabbed my attention in recent months include the bumblebees that seemed obsessed with me last fall. It was as if they were seeking me out because some of our encounters were in very “un-bumblebee” places. Squirrels, horses, hippos, and others have crossed my paths in unusual and unexpected ways, and each have messages that encourage me and support me at a time when I really need it.

Back to my camel message, there is a pretty lengthy explanation of the message a camel might bring, however, what got my attention were these:

The road ahead may be difficult and you won’t have a lot of support, yet you must take it with complete trust that you have everything you need within you and that you will succeed.

Although you’ll never want for anything, it’s still a good idea and a practical move to store away some supplies and money for future use.

Call on the camel when—You’re about to embark on a new adventure, a literal or metaphorical journey that will take you into unknown territory where you’re not sure how your basic needs will be met.

No, I am not putting my faith in a camel. Yes, I realize this could apply to anything and almost any circumstance. However, I have asked God specifically for guidance in this area, and I am open to receiving his comfort, wisdom, and reassurance in whatever way he is able to get through to me. This is no different than listening to a donkey talk or heeding the words of a burning bush. It only requires a willingness to listen, receive, and be grateful. When combined with frequent visits into the recorded wisdom of apostles and Jesus, it is a comforting compliment.

How do you listen to the Spirit?

Making a Difference

My Number Three child has made a significant contribution to my source of writing material. That is because she is such a gift to me in so many ways. She is wired much differently than her sisters. It’s not wrong or bad. It is just different, and it will most likely prove to serve her in ways that will make her highly successful.

Her uniqueness has allowed me to grow both personally and professionally. I am a better teacher because of her. I am a more flexible parent because of her. I recognize personality traits in others and am less quick to judge that person because of her. She is a gift not only to me, but to the entire world because of the lessons I have learned from her.

Her life is pretty blessed. She had a  normal baby-hood. No traumas during pregnancy or birth. Everything was pretty much routine. Yet even as a toddler,  her personality was much different than the previous two. She smacked her forehead on the coffee table at 2 1/2, which meant a trip to the emergency room and stitches, but she healed.

At four, we began to notice what the older girls called “the cross-eyed thing”. Every so often her right eye would do its own thing. I took her to an optometrist who diagnosed severe far-sightedness (like +5.0) and amblyopia. That was a difficult experience for my daughter because she was so painfully shy at that time she would not (and I now know she could not) respond to his questions as to which image was better. As a result, he used his magic lenses and a flashlight to focus the image on her retina to his satisfaction.

For the next few years, we did the coke-bottle lenses, then contacts at age six, and later back to glasses. All of these had traumatic effects on her. The prescription reduced some over the years, but was still pretty intense. All this time, as she fought having to wear anything, I would check her vision by having her read road signs. The kid could see close up, far off, and everywhere in between just fine. As a nearsighted person who needs correction to see two feet in front of my face, I had a real problem with this. Why would someone even need correction if they could see as well as she could?

That began my search for another answer. By that time, I had accumulated some BrainGym friends who I knew had contacts in the alternative medicine world. (No, BrainGym doesn’t necessarily equal alternative. It just happened to be my source for information.) They referred me to an optometrist in Denver who was doing some different types of therapies. His name is Dr. Stuart Tessler.

I contacted Dr. Tessler with my concerns. He wanted my daughter to see a behavioral optometrist before he saw her, so as to make sure we had all the basic vision issues assessed and addressed before moving forward. He gave me three possible locations, all of which are an eight hour drive from our house. I asked him who would be best able to work with my Number 3 child. Her differentness had by that time taken the form of frozen terror when faced with a stranger pumping her for the answer to the “which is better, one or two….one, two” question. I wasn’t interested in creating more trauma for her. He didn’t hesitate for even a second. He told us Dr. Marisa Kruger would be the one.  

By this time, Number 3 was approaching eight years old, the third grade, and a beast of a state mandated reading test loomed on her horizon. I wasted no time getting her in to see Dr. Kruger. We even went one step further and took the whole family (minus one). That was probably the best experience Number 3 has ever had. Dr. Kruger was extremely patient with her and managed to draw out the necessary information without throwing her into a total frozen meltdown.

Dr. Kruger did a lot of educating that day. I learned so much about what this child was dealing with. She spoke to me from the voice of having lived a big part of what my child was living. Far sighted children have the ability to force focus their eyes, so it appears they can see clearly. The problem is this creates a tremendous amount of of stress that shows up in other areas of their lives, including behavior and academic success. She identified the activity that caused the most stress for Number 3, and prescribed minimum correction to reduce her stress for that activity. It was a pretty radical reduction in correction.

We rocked along through that school year. My daughter passed her test on the first attempt, but it was kind of close. She scored a 75 on reading and an 85 on math. We went back to Dr. Kruger during the summer after third grade and had a checkup. Adjustments were made as needed and then back to the school routine we went.

Fourth grade proved to be downright scary. It is a major leap in expectations for the students. It sees the addition of the state mandated writing test, and the reading requirements jump quite a bit. After a nerve-racking first six weeks, I requested all sorts of intervention possibilities as a means of opening the door to get my daughter some help if things continued like they had begun.

During the process, I also made contact with Dr. Tessler again. I decided to move forward with seeing what he could offer us. We scheduled, and of all things, he sent us a stress evaluation. One night before the trip to Denver, my daughter and I filled out the assessment. I knew she was experiencing lots of stress. I didn’t realize how much EVERYTHING was stressing her out.

He looked over her questionaire, asked me what my concerns were, and then proceeded to discover what was going on with her visual field. I watched the whole process from the sidelines. What he discovered was a child whose eyes worked, but whose brain wasn’t making sense of most of what was in her visual field. My daughter’s blind spot (everyone has them where the optic nerve attaches to the eye) was twice the normal size on the left eye and almost four times normal on the right side. She was only able to clearly identify what she saw in an area slightly larger than the size of a quarter with each eye. She was essentially functioning with tunnel vision. No wonder she was in a constant state of stress. She literally didn’t know what was about to blind-side her every second of every day of her young life.

He then proceded to identify a series of colors that were supportive for her body. He did this using muscle checking similar to what a chiropractor might use. We had experienced muscle checking in some of my early BrainGym classes, so I was very comfortable and confident with the process.

We left Denver with a very simple setup that included a light and some colored overlays. My daughter had been instructed to spend 20 minutes a day in total darkness with only the colored light on. She was to practice relaxed breathing techniques during that time.

The first session at home was extremely painful and traumatic. She was adamant that she didn’t want to do it. I have learned with her that punishment won’t necessarily get the desired outcome, so I have to offer some pretty significant bribes, which I did in the form of riding horses at her uncle’s house after a certain number of sessions had been completed without fuss. It worked.

The process was never an easy one, because it took away from other things she would rather be doing, however, it got easier, and the results were incredible.

After approximately six months and three different color combinations, her final visual assessment showed that her visual field had returned to something close to normal. Her stress self-assessment revealed a child who had mellowed substantially. She went from mostly 4’s and 5’s on the assessment to 0’s, 1’s, and 2’s. Her quarter-sized visual field opened up to the full limits of the testing apparatus. Her blind spots returned to normal size. Her fourth grade TAKS tests were 85 in reading and 95 in math, and she received “commended” status in math and writing. Her shyness decreased radically, and her response to discipline improved noticeably.

A year later, we are facing the fifth grade tests. Math, science, grammar, and spelling continue to be her strong subjects. Reading is still more challenging. However, she is making choices about her success in reading. When she chooses to be successful, she is. She did not have that ability before.

There are a number of things we continue to do to support my daughter’s vision and reduce her stress. We have a fabulous chiropractic neurologist who does some pretty incredible things for her. We own two horses that she rides frequently. We do our best to find sports activities that allow her to run and jump and experience success.

However, I cannot say enough about the work of Dr. Stuart Tessler and Dr. Marisa Kruger. These two people changed my daughter’s destiny in so many ways. I will continue to stay in contact with them and revisit this healing process as needed.

I highly recommend that educators and parents consider what “else” might be going on with a child who has reading challenges. Think outside the box like we did. Do what you have to do to get your child the help he or she needs. Don’t expect the school to fix things for you. They are limited in what they can do. Too many of the traditional and accepted offerings do not produce adequate results. Push your own envelope and go against the grain if you have to. It is worth spending every last penny you have to see your child turn the page on success.

What successful alternative therapies and providers have you found in your search for health and wellness? Let’s build a resource center within this blog.

Resources:

Dr. Stuart Tessler http://www.fightorflighttherapy.com/

Dr. Marisa Atria Kruger http://www.visiontransformation.net/

Soul Soothers

Here are a few things (in no particular order) that soothe my soul when life gets crazy:

  1. Cuddling up with a love-y dove-y cat.
  2. Rubbing our dog’s ears as if doing Thinking Caps (that’s a BrainGym activity).
  3. Taking a walk in a pasture on a warm wind-less day with the sun blazing down on my forehead.
  4. Scratching our horse’s belly.  He has this one spot that makes him go nuts. It is so much fun to make him feel good.
  5. Listening to the song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy!” It’s a hoot.
  6. Imagining life in a 600 sq foot house powered by solar and wind, totally independent of everything and everybody.
  7. Imagining how our 300 sq foot barn could be converted into the house I just mentioned.
  8. Looking at a picture of a tropical jungle with an incredible waterfall tumbling down the side of a cliff. I can almost get there in my mind.
  9. Getting wrapped up in the arms of my hunky monkey man.
  10. Talking with my oldest about her dreams and aspirations.
  11. Holding my youngest in my lap while she drifts off to sleep.
  12. Watching my chickens. They are better than any Seinfeld rerun.
  13. Planting my garden. It’s a killer of a job, but such an amazing feeling. This time of year really rocks for me.
  14. Visiting my growing garden BWTO(before weeds take over).
  15. Dragging the chicken pen to a new spot of pasture without any man help.
  16. Watching the water sprinklers dance in a circle and smelling the damp sod.
  17. Roaming the aisles of a greenhouse.
  18. Imagine having my own greenhouse.
  19. Writing blog posts.
  20. Reading blog posts.
  21. Kidnapping my husband and …ahem…”hiding out” with him in the 300 sq foot barn.
  22. Lying flat on my back in the middle of the pasture with the sun on my face.

What works for you?

Authentic Angie

Mid-Life is such a fun time….and a confusing time….and a brave time….and…and…It really just rocks. Mid-life for me is the point at which I have realized it’s okay to be authentically me. What does that mean? Well, for me it means being who I really am. It means that being a nice person is okay, but I don’t have to squash who I am to please other people. It means that I don’t have to apologize for having an opinion just because someone else thinks I am wrong. Being authentically me means being free to be me, and freedom is so important at this stage of my life.
 
I learned very early on that to be accepted by the “pretty people” meant I had to conform to their view of what was acceptable no matter how stupid or rediculous their views seemed to be. Not doing so created unbearable social pain for me, and I didn’t handle social pain very well. I guess most kids don’t. As a twenty-something, I conformed because I wanted to get a job and then please my superiors. Sadly, it wasn’t because I WANTED to please everyone as much as it was because I was AFRAID of the consequences if I did not please everyone. On those rare occasions when an Authentic Angie showed up, I was quickly admonished and put back in my place.

Over the years, Authentic Angie has reared her head from time to time. She never intends to cause pain for someone else, but often attempts to help bear someone else’s pain or help someone get relief. In return, there it is…some sort of social discomfort as payback for being authentically me. Now at life’s mid-point, I find that I truly want to be authentically me and not care what anyone else thinks. I think it is time. I find that those who try to squash authenticism are themselves feeling threatened, so why would I hand over my emotional confidence to another insecure individual?

 
Authentic Angie is emerging. She is coming forth with confidence, dignity, and purpose. Those who would seek to squash that drive should consider themselves warned….better step out of the way. Authentic Angie is shining through and there is nothing going to stop her from being her authentic self.
 
How does your authentic self shine through?

Intuition vs. Rational Thought

Have you ever experienced a pull to do something radically different in your life? Maybe it was something that didn’t make sense on the rational side of things, but for which you had an incredibly strong intuitive feeling to take a leap of faith.

How did you make your decision? What types of gut instincts or intuition experiences did you have? What did friends and family say? Any regrets?

Lighthouses

I stumbled on a blog post that had tons of responses. Within one of the responses was this thought: “A Lighthouse will never be found in a safe place. Believe that you are able to share and know that what you have, somebody needs.” The post was left by Craig Fourie craig@allmay.co.za of Cape Town, South Africa, at themastersgathering.com.
 
I LOVE this thought. I really needed to have this whispered (or maybe shouted) to my spirit this morning. Many of us are lighthouses. We have knowledge and energy and passion for and about things that the world desperately needs to know. Deep inside of us we believe our knowledge is of value, however we also believe the lies that no one will listen or that someone else is much smarter about it than we are. And so, we keep our lighthouse locked up and the light turned off.
Who knows? There is likely a “ship” coming into your harbor who needs your light’s guidance to dock safely. Yes, it is true that there may be a brighter lighthouse in another harbor, but the ship is approaching your harbor.
Will you shine or will you watch the ship hit the rocks?
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