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I am excited to add a great product line to my business! Floracopeia oils, flower essences, skin care and other great therapeutic and beauty products are sustainably crafted and made by a company that holds integrity close to its heart. I have been using their Essential Oils for close to two years now and I have not yet been disappointed!

Floracopeia Starter Pack Essential Oils

In fact, these 15 mL bottles have lasted for more than a year now – including using them weekly to add to massage oil! It is pretty amazing – the original 6 essential oils we were given at massage school, in spite of my using them weekly, are still over halfway full! And that was over a year ago.

And because Floracopeia is not a multi-level marketing company, that means the oils are much more affordable than Do Terra or Young Living Oils. And in my humble opinion, these oils are even higher quality than those two companies.

Don’t get me wrong – I use the Do Terra Aroma Touch kit oils to do their Aroma Touch treatment on clients, and I use some Young Living blends as well – especially Release, Gentle Baby and Valor (love them!). But these oils, despite being the same 15 mL, always seem to run out after a two or three months of weekly use.

I like the saying, “Less is More.” I think this proverb applies to many areas of life – including the use of potent Essential Oils. Rather than slather someone’s back with potent plant spirits, it is possible that 3-5 drops would do the trick!

Let me know if you want to purchase some oils! I am happy to send you further info!

Ask me about possible discounts when you purchase three or more oils. 😉

Thank you for reading!

KM

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Hello dear readers!

I am looking for people who know a lot about their births and / or ancestral patterns to discuss their astrology charts with me. 🙂

Ideally, I’d like to have 100 people’s charts and birth information to go into research I have slowly started on joining birth psychology and Western astrology. At this point, I already have 10 or 12 charts with solid birth dynamics to go with them.

This is a passion I’ve been nurturing for a while. I have been studying Western astrology (psychological / karmic / spiritual astrology) since 2003 and then in 2013 I began studying pre- and perinatal psychology and birth process work.

As far as I can tell, there are not many people in the world doing PPN Astrology. I have had a couple people inquire as to when will I put out more info about it. Soon, soon I’m thinking.

I normally charge $140 for a full 90-minute astrological interpretation. But if you know your chart and know about your birth and / or ancestral patterns / dynamics, then I’d like to chat with you more! Because I need to be compensated a little for my time, I figure charging $60 for a 90-minute session is appropriate.

If this sounds good, let me know!

Thank you for reading!

KM

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I should start out by saying I am not a doctor. I do not treat, diagnose, cure or even prevent any diseases outside of my scope of practice (I’m a licensed massage therapist).

With that said, I have been working with the Polyvagal System – treating nervous system dysfunction and lack of regulation since 2012. And I’m currently taking Somatic Experiencing training – getting more specific knowledge and skills about how to work with the CNS and ANS.

Recently I have treated a few clients who have the symptoms of hiatal hernias – discomfort, acid reflux, pressure up into diaphragm, etc. Their doctors have diagnosed them as having these hernias.

And I should note (immediately and with some insistence) that having a hiatal hernia is complicated. It most likely took some years or even decades (of stress and challenge) to develop. Therefore there is no easy fix. Especially if there is a tear in the tissue around the hiatus – the opening in the diaphragm which is allowing some abdominal tissue to sneak up into the upper thoracic cavity. Ouch.

People with these hernias are often prescribed medicine for the acid reflux and then are given exercises to pull the tissue down from around their stomachs. And their doctors will watch them to make sure they don’t develop serious GERD (potentially damaging acid reflux) or other complications.

I wonder what else can be done for these life-altering types of diseases?

It looks like there is a significant Vagus (ventral vagus) nerve component to the esophagus. The ventral vagus branch innervates the upper third of it, and when working properly, it allows for some appropriate slack in the tissue when taking deep breaths so the diaphragm can descend. When the esophagus is stuck in a tight, shocked, frightened, or feeling less-than-safe pattern, there can be problems with the proper tension in the esophageal tissue. If we are taking deep breaths with a really tight esophagus, then eventually some lower abdominal tissue might start to slip through the hiatus – the opening in the diaphragm which the esophagus passes through. This is where the hiatal hernia begins to develop.

Ideally we want the dorsal vagus and the ventral vagus branch to be on the same page and sending the same messages to the brain. Often times though, in times of stress, the ventral vagus branch gets disrupted. This has many side effects, but one of which is to disrupt communication between the ventral and dorsal branches of the vagus system and to possibly have the sympathetic chain stay “stuck” on – being activated, tense, or anxious for days on end.

It also turns out that if hiatal hernias get bad enough, they will start to affect the breathing capacity – as the diaphragm can’t descend properly. There seems to be evidence that some COPD cases may involve hiatal hernias as well. 

I appreciate all the learning and study and wisdom of Western medical practitioners. They know how to treat the biological body and most of the bio-chemical systems in it, to patch it up, to tweak neurotransmitters, to balance pH, to replace organs, to set broken bones, etc. And yet I wonder if the healing actually happens in the biological body – or does it happen in the psycho-spiritual body? And if it is the latter, why don’t they teach more about this in contemporary medical schools?

So speaking of psycho-spiritual concepts.. working with the autonomic nervous system – building resiliency, tracking where the client is in their nervous system (sympathetic, parasympathetic charge, fight or flight, freeze or collapse, etc), assessing the client’s capacity – how refined is their window of tolerance? – are all necessary competencies to know and understand before putting hands on and saying, “I can resource the nervous system skillfully.”

There is a very easy technique to resource and settle the ventral branch of the vagus nerve. It is called the Basic Exercise. This plus Visceral Manipulation techniques (balancing the sphincters, working with the visceral organs) and other forms of nervous system resiliency building can be really good for potentially managing hiatal hernias (and I suspect in preventing them). What I’m trying to say is: “Go see your doctor if you have unexplained symptoms or pain (especially around the upper left quadrant of your abdomen and which might include acid reflux).” You may also want to work with a complimentary medicine practitioner as well. Continue working with a doctor you trust for sure – you do not want this condition to get worse.

Ideally, you want to calm and soothe your nervous system before the stresses on the tissues, openings and sphincters becomes so great that a little tear develops. If you have pain, try to figure out what is going on, same for acid reflux. The old adage – “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” – can get people in trouble.

So go see your doctor or nurse practitioner first. And then do something healthy and positive (and hopefully efficacious) to reduce your stress. Somatic Experiencing, counseling, meditation (find a good teacher), yoga, qigong are all techniques and modalities which can do this. Having a competent teacher is important however – if they aren’t walking their talk, walk away 🙂

Even if you have a hiatal hernia, you can still manage and soothe your nervous system. You can reduce the stresses and strains on your body. And I wonder – they say that a hernia NEVER improves or gets better (unless you have surgery) and not that I am disputing that (!).. but I wonder what would happen if you did a 30-day yoga-type retreat where you eat extremely easy to digest foods (think zero stress on the digestive tract), you receive shirodhara sessions daily (very relaxing oil treatments coming out of the Ayurvedia tradition), and you have daily access to Ayurvedia doctors and yoga teachers. “Miracles” can happen..

I offer bodywork treatments – Working with the Polyvagal System, Craniosacral Therapy, Somatic Experiencing, Integrated Massage and Asian Bodywork in the Charlottesville, Virginia area. Visit my website www.mkirbymoore.com to schedule an appointment.

Thanks for reading!

KM

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Why I sit

I had an interesting conversation today with a friend and follower of this blog. She asked, “What is bothering you?” This was in regard to my doing so much work on myself over the past 12 – 14 years.

I responded, “What if nothing is bothering me?” As in, I’m doing pretty darned well – I don’t feel there is anything really bothering me.

Edited a day later: Okay, let’s be honest… I do feel an existential malaise from time to time. Nothing overt. Nothing noticeable by a non-spiritual-master. But there is this ache in my heart, a yearning to open fully, completely to love. Which I have not done yet. I have difficulty crying – in the past 3-5 years, I mainly cry when I read inspiring tales of Buddhist masters. That will bring me to tears – like if I tell the story about how I think I knew Patrul Rinpoche (I was a very poor beggar boy at the time). My girlfriend just wrote me a beautiful love song and serenaded me on my 40th birthday – wanted to cry, couldn’t.

So to attempt to formulate words regarding “What is bothering you?” that is a little glimpse into my playground as it were. Also, I would love to be able to practice Dream Yoga on a regular basis – definitely haven’t gotten there yet! Therefore I have lots of “spiritual goals”, some loftier than others. Slowly slowly. End edit.

With that said however, when we start splitting hairs on our spiritual journey, and start walking the razor’s edge as it were regarding our mindfulness and awareness – if the mind is too tight (maybe with extra aversion), we fall off one side. If the mind is too loose (maybe with too much desire), we fall off the other side.

Not to ring my own bell, but that is simply where I am at. Once we take certain initiations in Tibetan Buddhism – the Vajrayana or Diamond path (which is accelerated for a reason) – we commit to doing a certain number of mantras each day. We commit to maintaining mindfulness and Bodhicitta – the wish that all sentient beings attain unsurpassed perfect complete precious enlightenment soon – including ourselves!

I know I have some experience in a past life (lives) where I was a monastic and I made progress on the Bodhisattva path. I would like to at least get back to that level of realization again in this lifetime. I’m not there yet.

I have been so extremely fortunate with my heart teachers, emotional-process-oriented-bodywork teachers, mentors and coaches. And most of all, I am committed to doing my personal growth work. In the past, for a few months during 2007, I was doing so much Dharma practice on a daily basis, that I attained a state of non-conceptuality. I literally was present with my body, as my body, in a state of meta-awareness where I simply did what was required of me. I made breakfast without thinking about what I was doing; I was even downloading (from the ethers) abilities that I had never had before – like I was somehow renovating houses on my own without ever having had that training. I was in school and that is why my practice initially started dwindling – UVa is a difficult and challenging school.

Then in 2009, I really set myself back by being in a lustful, highly erotic relationship for a few months. I’ll leave it at that. Needless to say, I am only now returning to a place where I mostly have daily dedication to maintain a disciplined and efficacious spiritual practice. I don’t know if I can ever get back to that state I describe above – maybe not. I’m not attached to that. But I know that having crystal clear awareness is possible. When I do a daily 10-day retreat each winter, I come close to that. Then about seven days later, it fades back into a busy rat-race, discursive life.

It is interesting. About 10 years ago, I asked one of my teachers the same question – she is a householder, a practitioner who has done numerous 90-day retreats and she teaches meditation and bodywork and trauma resolution. I asked, “Do you ever take a day off?” She pushes herself very hard. But she enjoys life, she eats well, she lets off steam by hiking and (quite rarely) going on vacation, and she plays mental-stimulating games like scrabble.

I remember she responded with one of the 37 Bodhisattva Practices from a small booklet by Ngulchu Thogme Zangpo. I forget which one she rattled off, but they are all pretty strict and poignant. I will quote the opening paragraph here:

“At all times I prostrate with respectful three doors of body, speech and mind to the supreme guru and the protector Chenrezig, who though realizing that all phenomena neither come nor go, make single-minded effort for the sake of all sentient beings.”

It is fitting that I am starting to move into this frame of mind. And honestly, once we realize that life is relatively short (or literally for some), then we will begin to organize our life around spiritual practice and personal growth work. The rewards are so great. Finding effortless, spontaneous, liberated, no-strings-attached bliss is very very rare in this degenerate world we find ourselves in.

It is possible to experience all pervasive loving-kindness, compassion, rejoicing and equanimity simultaneously. Why not work tirelessly to get there? (Within reason, knowing your capacity, finding an authentic spiritual teacher, and taking baby steps from there.)

Thanks for reading!

KM


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Being loved, being appreciated

the antidote is discovered

take it in, bask in the warm glow

wisps of sorrow, pain, anguish

released in deep breaths, eye contact

gaze into my humanity, my vulnerability

I’ll share mine, will you share yours

I am counting the ways I love thee

And it is oh so long a list

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This is a continuation of a post from yesterday. You should definitely go back and read Part One so you know how we wound up here – how Maureen set up resources (the counter vortex to use SE parlance) and made sure I had enough resilience in my system before going to these deep places. Enjoy!

M: Maureen Gallagher – SE faculty

K: Kirby Moore – me, SE student

If you recall from the previous post, Maureen had just explained to me what guppy breath is and we did it several times together… (it loosens tension in the jaw, without discharging too much energy)

K: I’m curious about my chest.

M: What do you notice there?

K: I’m on the edge of it. It is shaped like a ball, a sphere… It feels ancient… Might be a layer of freeze but not cold yet… it is new for me to see this… Yes, it’s ancient…. It feels dusty and musty inside.

M: Good. So it is shaped like a ball, it feels old. You haven’t seen this before. So you are just feeling into it from the edges, right?… what does it feel like in your body to notice it a little bit?

K: There is a lot of health here.

M: How do you know that?

K: There is warmth and light on the periphery of the sphere. Collapse in the center.

M: Notice that relationship. You can hold both the health and the collapse at the same time. This is all here….

K: When I was 22, I had my appendix operated on. I had a reaction and developed an arrhythmia. They saw it coming, hyper-oxygenated my body and then proceeded to stop and restart my heart. I found myself out of my body and among light beings, angels on the periphery of the room….

M: Can I ask you to notice what this like – being among the light beings?

K: It’s warm. Very comforting. Easy…. but then the light beings start urging me back toward the table. They are not using words, yet they are like screaming at me to go back…. [pause for a couple deep breaths] But I did not want to go back.

M: I want you to feel the warmth of the light beings.

K: I want to latch onto them (and not go back here). I am a spiritual being having a human experience. It’s hard. But I had to come back, my work isn’t finished yet.

M: So let’s slow this down. Feel the warmth of the light beings… Good. And a part of you did not want to come back. But a part of you did. Is that right?

K: Yes.

M: So something was holding you back. You liked it there with the light beings… And you came back…. I want you to stay with the “And I’m going back” for a bit…

K: It is like begrudging resolve. I’m going to grit my teeth and come back.

M: It’s okay to be with the resolve and wanting to remain with the light beings. Now can I ask you to set aside the wanting to stay back, put that to the side. And now be with the resolve, “and I’m going back.”

K: As I get to the table, I am shocked, startled to see that it is my face on the body on the operating table.

M: It just took a moment to see that. What else do you notice?

K: Bewilderment… confusion…

M: Yeah of course. This makes sense!

K: I want to shake and shiver this energy out. [starts to shake out his arms and hands]

M: Okay slow it down… that’s it… go slow… move your arms slowly. Whatever excess needs discharge, let it move down your arms. But not too much discharge.

K: It feels like there is pressure changing in my cranial bones.

M: Allow yourself to rest. That’s it. Let the remaining energy stay. Notice what is happening in your body as you allow some of the energy to remain.

K: There is a buzzing around my torso. My hands feel tingly. There is some numbness in front of my tibia.

M: So you are discharging a bit of activation, and then some freeze comes back to the surface. And vice versa. One more chance now to see and be with both – feel the wanting to come back and not wanting to.

K: It feels a bit more integrated… Like I can hold more pieces… or levels of discharge… only discharging 30-40% feels more manageable… I am more settled on the right compared to the left… in my legs too. [takes a deep breath]

M: Your breath comes in but your eyes look tired.

K: I am grateful for that. It is only recently that I have gotten in touch with how tiring it is to be hyper-vigilant. I want to be in touch with what is.

M: Allow the nervous system to find a new balance point. You are discovering a new normal.

K: I am going to seek out more support when I get home. But this feels more manageable.

M: So you see someone at home right now?

K: For craniosacral yes. But I want to work on this more.

M: Good. I’m glad you are leaning into support! So we only have a few minutes left in this session.

K: This dichotomy is really big. [staying on the other side vs coming back]

M: Notice your body. Notice what it means to be you around this. Be with this just as it is right now.

K: There is tiny bit of tingling around my lips.

M: You are noticing the physical, spiritual, psychological right now. Good. Take a little snapshot of this moment.

K: I want to squeeze my legs again. But the cold [freeze] is less.

M: Part of you is moving from freeze to vitality. I like this. Is there anything else you want to say?

K: I want to stay with this. And discharge some and rest. This was big.

M: Yes do a little bit. Keep it slow. Maybe do a little bit faster, but then pause and notice. Not too much at a time and notice. This helps the nervous system to find a new rhythm. Now I’m seeing if this is an okay place to stop?

K: Yes.

M: Good. Discharge just a little but stay with it a lot. Build your awareness. You want to stop before you discharge vital life-force energy.

That was the end of the session. Quite powerful for me! And I had to pause several times in re-writing it here to feel my feet, notice my breath and give my arms little squeezes. Go slow, be gentle!

Thank you for reading!

KM

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Maureen Gallagher was my facilitator, I volunteered as the demo (session) and was very fortunate to be picked. We went deep. This was getting long so it will be split into two parts. The last part is the juiciest – I assure you! (Surprise surprise) Oh – so I did this demo in front of about 40 ppl, some of whom I knew, most I had just met two days earlier. Let’s just say this is a great group (for me to feel safe enough to work through these big chunks).

M = Maureen, K = Kirby

So take some deep breaths. Seriously, some of this transcript might be triggering. If you notice yourself checking out, then stop reading and give yourself some comforting little squeezes to your arms and or legs.

M: What’s it like to be the demo?

K: Challenging. M: Say more about that.

K: I’m experiencing an elevated heart rate. There is charge on the front of my legs.

M: What do you notice in your entire body as you hold that feeling of charge?

K: Several things: charge in my legs, oh – I want to get up and run out of here!

M: Can you take a few breaths?… [then] Are you okay if we stick with the impulse to run for a bit?

K: Yes. M: Can you describe in your body the feeling of wanting to run? [How do you know you want to run out of here?]

K: There are micro twitches in my calves. The charge in my thighs. All over.

M: Be with the energy as it moves through your body…. Notice your breath… Do you like to run?

K: Not anymore. But I used to run a lot.

M: Was there a place you enjoyed running? [favorite place]

K: Actually, I’m remembering a magical time where I half ran, half skied down Afton Mountain.

M: Can we stick with that? K: Yes

M: I want you to tell me about this running / skiing experience while staying really connected to your body. K: Okay.

M: Start by telling me about going up the mountain.

K: Well my parents’ dog came with me but left halfway up the mountain. But my neighbor’s dog came with me all the way up to the top. There was about a foot of snow on the ground, but the top inch had iced over – freeze / thaw cycles.

M: I’m noticing your legs are moving a little bit. K: Oh, right, they are.

M: Do you want to make some movements with your feet? Like this? [She lifted her heel off the ground, then her other foot.] … Can you press your feet down into the ground, alternating?

M: So where were we? K: I’m about to go running / skiing down the mountain.

M: Have you gotten to the top of the mountain yet?

K: Oh no, not yet.

M: Okay, so you made it to the top. What is that like?

K: I accomplished my goal. I made it to the Blue Ridge Parkway.

M: Great! What do you notice in your body as you say, ‘You accomplished a goal?'”

K: It feels good. Like I triumphed.

M: Good noticing! You triumphed. Can you sit with that for a moment?

K: [takes some deep breaths] Yes…

M: Is something else here besides the triumph? What else are you feeling?

K: Oh. There is sadness. Aside from the dog, I’m alone.

M: Right. Stick with “I’m about to go down the mountain.” Can you do that?

K: Yes. M: As I say this statement, check in with your body. See if it resonates: “Going down the mountain will be fun.”

K: Yes that resonates.

M: So it is going to be fun. How is it to look at the “fun” right now?

K: There is still some sadness.

M: How would it be with your body to set the sadness aside for a bit?

K: That sounds good…. [stifles a yawn] Oh I just stifled a yawn.

M: You don’t have to stifle anything. Let it move. Okay, so you are about to start down the mountain. What do you notice in your body?

K: I didn’t realize I could go so fast. M: So that was surprising? K: Yes.

M: With the surprise, what do you notice in your body?

K: There’s something here but it’s hard to get at.

M: Take you time…

K: The outcome is enjoyable… Oh – and trepidation.

M: Can you say more about the trepidation?

K: Yes, the part of me that would run down the mountain regardless of risks. Reckless? What if I sprain my ankle? I’m all alone.

M: So there are two parts: You are aware of a need to be careful. And a desire to just start down the mountain regardless of risks. Is that right?

K: Yes. M: Okay, is there anything about that [the careful part] which wants to be felt or known?

K: I am grateful that want to abandon caution. I’m normally quite cautious.

M: Good noticing. Can you feel that gratitude now?

K: Yes. M: So there is a cautious part of you and a reckless part of you.

K: Right. M: Can you see and feel both within you now?

K: Yes. M: Good. So you are abandoning caution. What happens next? [Kirby takes a large deep breath.] Oh that is a nice breath.

K: I’m starting to take longer steps. I crunched through the ice. Would this now be able to hold me?

M: Is there a better name that you would give the reckless part of you?

K: Uhhmm… adventurer?… No, pioneer!

M: Great! Experiment with that. So you are starting to run down the mountain?

K: Yes. The snow can only hold me at a certain speed. It can only hold me if I am going fast. [Anyone else see the attachment statement inherent in this line? Wow!] It sounds like a paradox.

M: And you noticed that… Feel your arms and your legs.

K: I feel more free. I was leaping and bounding down the mountain. It was like a once in a decade type of moment.

M: More like once in a lifetime moment! [Kirby exhales audibly with a sigh] Notice that breath and allow whatever else is present to arise… What else wants to come in?

K: It’s non-verbal. I can’t get at it.

M: It’s not verbal. Notice what’s happening in your body… See if you can just meet it… I hear you… I’m here with you… Now what do you notice?

K: I feel like holding a baby part of me.

M: How does the baby part respond to you holding it?

K: It appreciates it. Gradually. Like it was numb but it is slowly coming to… I’m feeling a headache around my frontal bone. [cranial bone]

M: I want you to slowly sense into your legs. What do you notice?

K: [Nods yes] M: Maybe there is something distressing?

K: Yes maybe in my chest.

M: Keep feeling your legs. Say, “this gets to be here and you can feel your legs.”

K: I’m feeling coolness… cold around my calves. It’s moving a little.

M: Can you see what you feel as it moves?

K: I want to do some squeezing. M: Good, do it. [Kirby takes some time to squeeze his calves on both legs, twice.]

M: How does it feel to squeeze your calves?

K: Grounding. Warming. Containing.

M: The coldness in your legs is some freeze energy coming out. Can you push your toes into the ground? Alternating feet. [Kirby does it for a bit.]

M: Now check in with your chest. What do you notice?

K: It feels… numb… no not numb. It feels a little collapsey?

M: Sense into that area with just a few tendrils of awareness.

K: In chest? M: Yes.

K: You want me to stay on the edges of it?

M: Yes… Oh can we do a couple guppy breaths? K: Yes. M: Let’s do them together. You open your mouth just a little… slowly… [They do guppy breath together.]

M: Now what do you notice?

K: I’m curious about my chest.

M: What do you notice there?

To be continued! And it is about to get juicy… 🙂 (stay tuned!)

Thank you for visiting!

KM

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