Saturday, July 31, 2010

Lughnasadh Blessings

A few days ago I was listening to tall grasses swaying in the wind. As they brushed together in harmony, they created what sounded like gentle music – like the subtlest harp strings or the quietest chimes. The sound brought serenity and a sense of surety. My mother used to collect such grasses, and placed them in tall handmade glass and ceramic vases, that she then arranged on the floor. Thinking of it now, it strikes me that her favorite plants were of this season… the stalks and reeds of a length that reflect the growing long of summer, Black-eyed Susans that dot fields and brighten back roads, meadow flowers in rich colors, gathered by the armful.
August 1st marks the beginning of the festival of Lughnasadh, an ancient Celtic harvest holiday. It was the time to gather ripe grains, especially wheat and oats, and time for berries and apples. Lughnasadh wasn’t all about working the fields and orchards though… celebrations included games and sports akin to the Olympics, fairs that boasted fine artisans and entertainers, the crafting of ritual items and making of magic. Deities were honored – the name of the festival comes from the Celtic sun god Lugh, known as “the shining one,” and patron of craftspeople. The fertile goddess of the earth might also be praised at Lughnasadh. The deities were honored for their life-giving energy, and the abundance they brought to the land.
As we acknowledge the beauty of the seasons today, we might not honor old gods such as Lugh, but we can certainly treat with reverence the gifts of nature. We can enjoy the music of tall grasses and collect the wildflowers of deep summer. We may not gather the grain but we can work grain, flour, and seed into bread. We can create beautiful altars that express our gratitude for what we have been given. And we can certainly embrace the heat of August, play games in the sunshine, and for all of us here at 1000 Markets, offer our handcrafted items with spirit and joy!

Sources and further reading: “The Sacred World of the Celts”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0892817011/1000markmindb-20, by Nigel Pennick “Witchcraft Medicine - Healing Arts, Shamanic Practices, and Forbidden Plants”: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/08928197..., by Claudia Muller-Ebeling, Christian Ratsch, and Wolf-Dieter Storl The Celtic Book of Days, by Caitlin Matthews Celtic Mythology, by Proinsias MacCana The Celtic Realms, by Myles Dillon and Nora Chadwick

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Part 2: From Jing to Qi to Shen, An Interview with Healer Darren Orr

Question 3:  What about people who won't let go of emotional pain?  I know you've come across may people like this in your private practice.                    

Answer:
I could write a book on this!!! lol. I like the progression of the questions from Jing to Qi to Shen.

Yes, I have come across many people in my private practice and throughout my life that struggle to let go of emotional pain. In our culture we are not taught how to deal with  stress and our subsequent emotions in a positive way... especially men...and we definitely are not shown how to release them and let them go. That is the main problem in my estimation. I feel people want to release stress and emotions they just don't know how. Our culture and society fails us miserably in this context because 70-90% of all disease is due to stress, so if we really want to change the health care system we need to learn preventative methods of stress management from childhood onwards. Sadly we don't yet have a system in place.

The inability to deal with stressful emotions stems from childhood where the root of our personality and emotional responses to stress are first learned, developed and practiced. When working with clients with anxiety, depression, rage, worry, fear etc.. you will hear them say it's just a part of their personality and the "way they are". That is so not true. All human behavior is learned. Scientific studies have shown that fear for instance is learned and ingrained into the brain through repeated exposure over a period of time, it is not innate.

At birth we are a blank slate and from the minute we exit the womb we are bombarded with external stimuli. In response to this stress and external stimuli emotions are created. As children we learn how to deal with stress, trauma, change and uncertainty from those around us (parents, teachers, culture, society). Usually though when a child is faced with trauma and stress they just want to survive it and thus develop coping mechanisms to get through that particular event. What happens is that oftentimes those coping mechanisms are not healthy ways to deal with emotions or stress and they become ingrained, go to the subconscious level and when as adults they face similar stress and trauma their habitual patterns, attitudes and behaviors are triggered and the brain goes on autopilot responding the same way you did as a child. So what often happens is either the person will stuff down and repress their emotions or they will lash out and displace them on other people. Neither of these ways are healthy, constructive or beneficial.

Emotions are there for one thing only so that we can move, change and get out of stasis. Again like physical pain they are a wake-up call, signal or beacon to pay attention, for introspection and as a way to understand your true nature. Often mental/emotional pain is worse and more insidious than physical pain and harder to release because the mind replays the past which continually illicits the same negative emotions over and over again and then projects them into the future. The energy of the emotions becomes stuck and traps itself within the cellular structure of the tissues leading to physical tension and pain, stress, tight sore muscles, restricted range of motion, and areas of the body that overtime become susceptible to disease or injury.

Our emotional template can be seen in peoples posture, the way they breathe, facial expressions and the eyes. Our emotions are the results of the beliefs we hold in our mind, how we interpret the changes that occur in our life, how we view ourselves internally and how we view the external world. So when treating and dealing with emotions what you are really treating is the person's mental habits, behaviors, patterns, attachments and aversions.  Alot of pathology can be traced back to imbalanced emotional states because they set up the beat and vibration that the body and mind responds to. Many times emotional pain is the root of physical pain, disease or illness.

Medical Qigong is unsurpassed in dealing with emotional problems because it is a complete and comprehensive system with over 5000 years of continuous empirical and practical use in keeping people healthy and free from disease. Most forms of energy healing are not complete systems. They take bits and pieces of medical qigong and the "creator" puts their own spin on it so they can market themselves and make money. The main emphasis in Medical Qigong therapy is placed on empowering the patient to take back control over their mind, body and emotions.

Medical Qigong is one of the only disciplines, I'm aware of, where self-cultivation and purgation of the excess emotional baggage we have carried around since birth is paramount and given prominence in the treatment modality. It is not enough for the healer to clear the patient when treating, it is just as if not more important that the patient understands and undertakes the responsibility for doing the self-cultivation necessary to clear the energetic charges of the emotions from the body. Specific exercises, meditations, visualizations and sound prescriptions are given as homework in between treatments to the patient to clear out, release and discharge the built up emotional current trapped inside the cellular structure of the tissues and neural connections of the brain.

According to the ancient theories of classical Chinese Medicine emotions are connected to the qi or energy level at the middle dantien in the area of the heart. Each organ has physical, mental/emotional and spiritual components to it. Everyone is born with 5 pre-natal virtues connected to the 5 yin organs. But due to stress and negative experiences from our environment those positive congenital virtues are transformed into negative or acquired mental/emotional states. For instance the Kidneys give us the virtue of wisdom, willpower and enlightenment but through repeated exposure to stress and trauma those virtues become the acquired states of fear, terror, loneliness and insecurity. The Liver gives us unconditional love, compassion and kindness while the acquired states are anger, rage, jealousy, depression, frustration and irritation. The spleen's congenital qualities are trust, faith and acceptance due to stress it flips into doubt, worry, over thinking. The heart is born with the virtues of balance, order, and peace, yet through life it switches due to shock, trauma, over excitement. The lungs give us integrity, honesty, dignity and righteousness while the acquired aspects are sadness, grief, loss, longing, anxiety, guilt, shame and blame. Once the congenital yang virtues flip into the acquired yin states the emotions begin to fill the energetic channels creating blockages, disharmony and illness until or unless this emotional baggage is cleansed and purged from the body and mind.

The point of Medical Qigong and all my treatments is to empower and teach my clients simple, easy and effective methods to drop these negative acquired mental/emotional states and the baggage that comes with them in order to re-awaken the positive congenital prenatal virtues of the Wu Jing Shen that always reside inside ourselves. The acquired aspects can be looked at like clouds blocking the sun. Just because we can't see the sun due to the clouds doesn't mean it isn't there. The clouds are the acquired states and are cleared via purgation techniques so that the prenatal virtues of the wu jing shen can radiate out in all directions like the sun thus illuminating all of life.



Question 4:  .  Can you discuss the connection between emotional pain and physical ailments and some of the treatment modalities that you use...like playing the crystal singing bowls (vibrational therapy).

Answer:
All of the modalities I use to treat people have as their foundation qi or life force energy. Qi is the communicative aspect between the material (jing) world and the spiritual (shen) world. It is intimately connected with the mind and emotions and is called the Great communicator because it is the invisible thread that weaves together the web of life. Whether it's massage, medical qigong, reiki, meditation, dao yoga or quartz crystal singing bowls qi is used to purge negative acquired mental states, tonify and cultivate the congenital virtues of the wu-jing shen and regulate the mind, body and spirit into one integrated and cohesive whole guided by the Taiji pole and eternal soul.

The quartz crystal singing bowls (vibrational therapy) are an amazingly profound and unique treatment modality that I use by themselves and in combination with my classes, treatments and meditations to help my clients and further enhance their healing. The bowls are made of 99% quartz crystal and when played resonate a pure tone on the musical scale (do, re, me, fa, so, la, ti,) that reverberates through and balances the DNA, nervous system, endocrine glands, brain, bones and marrow, myo-fascia, internal organs, 3 dantiens and the 7 chakras.

Like the quartz crystal singing bowls our bones, DNA, brain and myo-fascia also are made up of a quartz crystalline structure, so when the bowls are played they become like tuning forks that transmit the healing vibrations deep into the DNA, brain, body, bone marrow and cellular structure of the myo-fascia thereby opening up the meridians, releasing tension, stress and adhesions, quieting the constant chattering of the thinking mind which allows the body to enter a profoundly deep state of relaxation, regeneration, peace and healing.

In our technological age, quartz is used as a transmitter of energy and information in such things as clocks, watches, electronic equipment, micro-chips and computers. An interesting fact is that computer companies were the first to create the bowls because they use the bowls as a habitat to manufacture their microchips. This ability of quartz to act as an amplifier of energy and information is further enhanced when the practitioner and client place their intention on the sound and healing themselves. The bowls correlate to a specific musical note, particular color, nerve plexus, endocrine gland, internal organ, meridian, dantien and chakra. So when all 7 bowls are played you effectively balance and harmonize every aspect of your being and in doing so are given access to your true-nature/spirit/soul. I offer vibrational therapy using the singing bowls in private one-on-one treatments and group sessions.

continued in part 3

Part 1

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Friday, July 16, 2010

From Jing to Qi to Shen: An Interview with Healer Darren Orr, Part 1

I'm very pleased to have had the opportunity to conduct this insightful three part interview with my former teacher, Darren Orr.  I was fortunate enough to have studied with Darren for several years, both privately as well as in a group setting. Spending quality time and learning from this wonderfully intelligent, kind and loving soul is something I truly appreciate and will never forget.   
 ~ diane



Darren Orr is a Reiki master and teacher, a nationally certified massage therapist and a Medical Qigong therapist and teacher.  He specializations are in Oncology, chronic pain, stress management, life-altering illness and palliative care for the terminally ill. Darren is also currently enrolled in a 3 year Medical Qigong Program, a Graduate Degree of over 2,000 hours.  When he graduates in 2012 he will have become a Dr. of Medical Qigong. Darren also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology and maintains private practice in New Jersey.  In addition he lectures, writes and teaches Dao yoga and meditation classes in which sound therapy is utilized as part of his sessions.



Question:  How did you begin your journey in the Healing Arts?

Answer 

I think it was a combination of affinity, synchronicity and my destiny.   I grew up living with someone who was in constant chronic pain, seven days a week, 24 hours a day.  I lived and felt firsthand the strength and weaknesses of our Western allopathic model of medicine.  I never realized that there were any other alternatives to surgery and the management of symptoms other then with drugs and pharmaceuticals. 
Later, as I got older, I had a former girlfriend who had just been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.
I was holding her hand one day and I had an epiphany that changed my life and awoke my slumbering spirit. I felt my qi.  I had no idea what is was, I just knew I felt it. Over the next week we were doing research on the Internet about Fibromyalgia and kept coming across references to Qigong. We had never heard of Qigong before, but the articles kept saying that it was the root and foundation of Chinese medicine for over 5000 years and that its primary aim is to examine and get at the root cause of the disease thereby eliminating it.
The articles also referenced recent studies that showed that Qigong could treat and even “cure” so called “incurable” diseases that Western medicine could not.

This is where the synchronicity and affinity comes in. I happen to mention what we found to my mother, who is a labor and delivery nurse, and she said that the next day they happen to be having a nurse’s appreciation day at the Hospital where she worked.  They were giving a Qigong demonstration followed by Kirlian photography and a Reiki session.  Of course we attended, and the first thing we did was learn to feel our qi.  I immediately realized that this is the exact sensation I had felt a week prior, holding my girlfriend's hand.  It was almost like a light switch had been flipped on and I instantaneously knew that my life’s calling was to use this energy to help, assist and benefit not only people in their health..but the healing and well being of all of life and the earth as well.

Since that day I have been consistently and diligently studying and gathering, cultivating and regulating my qi... always eager to learn, grow and enhance my skill and mastery of the Great Communicator.

Question:
It's interesting that you bring up chronic pain.  I've had several people discuss pain with me lately.
Chronic pain and pain from injuries.  What insights can you give us about pain?  What are some things that you have found out in your practice and experience that can help people help themselves during rough periods?

Answer:
That's a big topic!   lol...
All beings suffer. No one escapes life without trials, tribulations and pain. Whether the pain is physical, mental/emotional or spiritual in nature, I feel it's a signal to slow down and become more aware, to pay attention and be present in this moment ...which is the only moment we are alive.
Pain is a wake up call.
For the most part, people tend to either focusing in the past or projecting into the future, very few actually are present with what's going on in their internal universe. Pain is a beacon or signal to begin introspection and to pay attention. Pain is also an excellent meditative tool that's been used for millenia by ancient indigenous cultures the world over to shift and uplift consciousness and spirit.

 Most people tend to grasp or cling to things that make them feel good and reject or instinctively push away that which is painful. That is the way of the ego. Yet pain is a wonderful teacher.  Pain teaches us acceptance and patience in the face of difficulty and if looked at properly, actually allows us to better appreciate the good in our life. I think the most important factor in dealing with pain is one's own mental attitude and how they choose to deal with it.

 Everything in life is a choice. We cannot control what happens to us in life because all life is in constant flux and change.  But, we do have control over the choices we make in response to those events particularly in dealing with pain. If we can embrace the pain and not push it away, it can be the seed from which a universal compassion can arise... because when looked at properly, you see that pain and suffering isn't just unique to yourself, but shared amongst all life.

The problem is that in our culture we don't have the tools to deal with pain. Everyone wants only good things to happen.  People fail to understand that pain and pleasure are two sides of the same coin, yin and yang. You can't have one without the other, they are inseparable. Our culture also lacks the necessary tools to allow people to learn from their pain in constructive and positive ways. When faced with pain most people look to a magic pill to lessen the discomfort instead of looking for the root cause as to why the pain is there in the first place.

That is why the ancient awareness and healing disciplines of Qigong, meditation and Dao yoga are so beneficial and useful in this modern era. These techniques provide you with the tools and techniques to delve deep within the depths of your being to uncover the root causes of pain, illness or disease.

Question 3:  What about people who won't let go of emotional pain?  I know you've come across may people like this in your private practice.

to be continued in Part 2


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Monday, July 12, 2010

Do Unto Others....

I ran across this while I was reading the other day.  Thought I would share it with you.  Seven different versions of what my mother use to tell me all the time...still does
                         ~ diane


The Golden Rule can be found in the seven basic religions on our planet... 

BRAHMANISM:  This is the sum of duty:  do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you.  (Mahabharata 5:1517)

BUDDHISM:  Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.  (Udana-Varga 5:18)

CONFUCIANISM: Surely it is the maxim of loving kindness:  Do not do unto others what you would not have them do unto you.  (Analects 15:23)

TAOISM:  Regard your neighbor's gain as your own gain and your neighbor's loss as your own loss.  (T'ai Shang Kan Ying P'ien)

ZOROASTRIANISM:  That nature alone is good which refrains from doing unto another whatsoever is not good for itself.  (Dadistan-l-dinik 94:5)

JUDAISM;  What is hateful to you, do not to your fellowman.  That is the entire law; all the rest is commentary.  (Talmud, Shabbat 31a)

CHRISTIANITY;  All things whatsoever ye would that man should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the Law and the prophets.  (Matthew 7:12)

ISLAM:  No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself
(Sunnah)


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Painting by Diane Fergurson.
Connecting Heaven and Earth: Cooperation ©




Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Namaste - An Explanation of a Very Old Greeting

The first time I read this beautiful explanation of the greeting "Namaste" in artist PattyMara Gourley's blog, I knew I was destined to re-post an excerpt of it on The Mind Body Spirit Odyssey.  Thank you for sharing Patty!  To read more wonderful words by PattyMara and experience all her fabulous creative work, you can visit her at her shop on Etsy!

                                                                                                      ~ diane fergurson


                                                                       

NAMASTE represents the belief that there is a Divine spark within each of us that is located in the heart chakra. The gesture acknowledges the soul in one by the soul in another. Pronounced nah-mah-stay', it is a traditional Sanskrit greeting translated loosely as "The divine within me greets the divine within you"
NAMA means bow
AS means I
TE means you.

Namaste literally means "bow me you" or "I bow to You." To perform Namaste, place the hands together at the heart chakra, close the eyes, and bow the head. It can also be done by placing the hands together in front of the third eye, bowing the head, and then bringing the hands down to the heart. This is an especially deep form of respect. Although in the West the word "Namaste" is usually spoken in conjunction with the gesture, in India, it is understood that the gesture itself signifies Namaste, and therefore, it is unnecessary to say the word while bowing.

We bring the hands together at the heart chakra to increase the flow of Divine love. Bowing the head and closing the eyes helps the mind surrender to the Divine in the heart. One can do Namaste to oneself as a meditation technique to go deeper inside the heart chakra; when done with someone else, it is also a beautiful, albeit quick, meditation.

Namaste allows two individuals to come together energetically to a place of connection and timelessness, free from the bonds of ego-connection. If it is done with deep feeling in the heart and with the mind surrendered, a deep union of spirits can blossom.



I've made painted clay Namaste tiles for the past ten years. They hang in homes, offices, meditation centers and yoga studios. I've created a new Namaste Painted Clay Collection
I make them now with white mica clay from New Mexico, and they shimmer with luminous sparkle and shine, a perfect reflection of two hearts connected.



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