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Archive for the ‘Pre- & Perinatal Psychology’ Category

This material is copyrighted by M. Kirby Moore. Reproduction without permission is prohibited. Thank you for visiting this site and enjoy your time here!

So on the way back from retreat, I was very fortunate to stop over in Portsmouth. Not only did I not have to drive as far (it was a nice little cushioned landing after a deep retreat-mind-that-was-not-quite-ready-to-drive), but I also got to visit a beautiful Yoga center – actually calling it an Ayurvedic center is more accurate. Here is a link:

A Link to the Sattvic Space

My friend, an experienced and wizened yogi who lives in that area, helped to start and found this center. I am very glad I got to visit it and get a tour!

It was built entirely by volunteers and small donations (which is really rather miraculous considering how large it is)!

Also, I asked my friend if I could share a little meditation I learned on retreat. Knowing that I was all charged up with potency after retreat, and that my heart was probably more open than it would be for a few months, I knew that this was a good time for me to be sharing something.

He said “Sure.” After chatting about it, he said he could give me 15 minutes, which I said was fine.

It was a 6 am class that he leads 3x / week. That would normally be pretty early for me, but on retreat I was waking up between 3 and 5 am most days. I was quite surprised to see 9 students there so early.

The teacher introduced me (and considering I was sitting next to him in the front in a position of teacher, it would make sense to acknowledge me!) and he had very high praise for what I do – working with the Vagus system, working with trauma resolution, craniosacral therapy, etc.

He actually gave me 35 minutes to work with which was a pleasant surprise! But it worked out fine.

We did a meditation which involves our very slowly, gradually and mindfully moving our hand from about 18 inches away from the heart, toward the heart. It takes at least 5 minutes for hand to reach heart because first we feel into the heart, to feel our longing, our yearning.

What does the heart yearn for?

When is it that we feel the yearning to touch and be touched?

Then we bring our presence back and forth from hand to heart and back. At times, we even explore moving the hand away from the heart. What is that like?

We really got into some subtleties. It was fantastic.

Because this was a mixed group – some seasoned yogis and some beginners and I believe some people who have never encountered this level of slowing down and being kind to ourselves…

Once we touched our hearts and experienced what that was like, I tasted a metallic taste in my mouth. This is a sign that someone (or more than one!) in the group has done enough. I sensed it was time for a nap.

So we got to explore what it was like to rest the heart back. What is it like to rest the heart down?

I did a little bit of teaching and direction from a prone position, and then I sat back up and waited until I sensed that the energetic field of the group was ready for me. I think they took a 10 minute nap. It was so great.

We wrapped up and then at the end, people came up to me with questions and they loved it. Several said how they felt this magnetic pull from heart to hand – like it was difficult to resist touching their heart. I said, “That is very good!!” ❤

And guess what? It turns out that I will be leading a workshop down there in May. If you are in the Tidewater area – you should come and join us! (I will keep everyone posted)

It will be an Introduction to Working with the Vagus system – during which we will also have some time for more loving-kindness type meditations like I just went through above.

Thank you for reading!

~km

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This material is copyrighted by M. Kirby Moore. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited. Thank you for visiting my site!

As I mentioned in a previous post, the beginning of retreat was tough for me. Slowing down, getting used to a new routine, etc was challenging. However, once I got settled, some amazing things began to unfold.

It was almost a tale of two retreats – two halves as it were. Several people left on day 5, to go back to family, for Christmas, etc. So it was a little disruptive to the flow for those of us staying on, not to mention missing the people who were leaving!

I want to share one or two experiences in particular, okay, maybe three, that were above and beyond normal (for me).

I came down to retreat with my own (idealized, ego-driven?, I-know-what-I-need) agenda for what to work on during retreat. I got permission to skip several sessions / day to be in my room doing my own practices.

So during the first 4 days or so, I did this. I was working to accumulate a particular Dharmapala – that is Dharma Protector or Dharma Guardian practice – to accumulate mantras. I believe that this practice helps / will help to prevent Lyme’s disease for taking advantage of a stressed out immune / nervous system. So I was going for it – doing at least 1,000 mantras a day of this particular practice. For the purpose of humility, I will not mention what I was working on. If you know me really well, then I would have told you perhaps.

Long story short, one evening I was pushing even harder. I think this was day 4. At night, we had two silent sitting sessions after the Dream Play work time to integrate and prepare our minds for dream yoga. So I somehow did 1,000 mantras during one of those hours. As I was doing this, I began to have a lightening feeling – like a light bulb was turning on around my third eye – or pituitary gland in my forehead. It is very difficult to describe, but it was not a typical meditation session. Plus I felt a warmth and potency-increasing feeling which sometimes happens in my Dan Tien or Hara (below the navel) in my belly.

That evening and into the next day, I had some juicy dreams – about helping to keep a secret (in the womb) and other insightful dreams about prenatal or childhood times / issues. And then, when I went to do this mantra some more the following day, after only doing 30 or 40 mantras, I felt nauseous, sick. So I paused, sat quietly and an hour later, tried to do more mantras. Again, I felt sick trying to push through these inner obstacles.

Sometime during that day, I realized that here I was in a potent retreat where it was very easy to do inner child work – it was happening all around me, especially during the Zapchen Somatics hour and then again during the Dream Play hour. So why was I trying to push when I could be doing my own inner child work?

I realized that the nausea was probably due to my needing to do umbilicus work on myself – on my little one. (Sorry Mom – before I mention anything else here, I need to mention that my mother is a saint, she is helpful and generous and patient and skillful. As a nurse I am certain that she was, retired now, very good at what she did and at connecting people. Seriously, she is an incredible mother, going above and beyond for all of her children!) Now, with that out of the way, there are still ancestral double binds and other toxic beliefs that new babies come into when then descend down into the womb around day 6 or 7 or 8 and begin the process of implanting in the uterus to connect to mother’s nutrient. So this is what I had to work on.

In fact, just thinking about early (think blastocyst – just a collection of 200 cells at this point) Kirby, before being a fetus or a prenate, needing appropriate boundaries, needing to be welcomed into the womb and into the world, needing to have unconditional loving kindness… I feel activated (because all these needs were not met).

So I remember that that was then, and this is now. I differentiate past from present, healthy adult self now from wounded little one then. I compassionately hold little blastocyst part of me in my hands, calling on my wisdom beings support to also assist and add an extra layer of support. And I remind little one that he was so loved, so wanted, and that he can have the breathing room AND connection that he deserves (this is known as an appropriate boundary).

Ahhh… I sigh and I feel better. The sigh is probably a breath change indicating my nervous system is regulating easily again after being reminded of a traumatic early / primal period.

So this is what I started to work on. I spent almost 2 hours every day resourcing, repairing misunderstandings in my little one, inviting these little wounded parts to come forward toward health and robustness and resilience. I stopped accumulating mantras – stopped worrying about formal Dharma practice, and began a radical level of loving-kindness and compassion practice toward myself – radical Metta.

As an aside, I have had three moles removed over the past 10 years from near my navel, and so far we have caught them early enough that they are just abnormal cells (not anything serious). But it is strange that the only part of my body having abnormal skin cell (nevus / mole) growth in near my navel – my umbilicus, the part of me that was connected with the world early on (through Mom).

I fully believe that this is indicative of my having to do some major inner child work around being wanted (I was an unplanned pregnancy), being welcomed, being loved by both parents, having both parents do their own emotional growth work (not many people do this nowadays, let alone 38 years ago!), etc. I am certain I have some suppressed rage and resentment and confusion around ancestral double binds, and this festering of deep emotions is what causes the moles to grow.

Because when we have deep shock or freeze in our tissues, there is the tendency to wall off that part of ourselves, to allow the functional (or relatively healthy) parts to continue growing and living. But if we don’t ever get back around to working on the shitty material behind those walls, then those cells start to do their own thing. And this can lead to cancer and autoimmune diseases, etc. We must work on our shadow material or it will start to go rogue on us.

So this is what I did for the last 5 days of retreat. True Dharma practice – inner work. It was almost as if the Dharma Protector practice I was doing led me to see what I needed to work on. No more spiritual bypass – no more glossing over these vital Good Mother Messages. No more leaving my little blastocyst parts of me in the dark or the cold of frozen / shock-laden tissues. Time to practice true kindness to self in order to truly be kind to others!

Thank you for reading! If you would like to support my blogging efforts, or donate to my training costs, please do so below: (or purchase an astrology or coaching session)

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A few months ago, I was speaking with a loving relative, when I told her about being a rare male in the field of Pre- and Perinatal therapy (PPN), plus offering biodynamic craniosacral therapy, Polyvagal bodywork, spiritual astrology and Tibetan Buddhist practices. I doubt there are many people on the planet who can offer what I am able to.

And coming up in January, I am entering a massage school which is more of an Eastern school of medicine, a Heaven and Earth school, than a bare bones (no pun intended) kinesthetic anatomically oriented school. There we will focus heavily on acupressure, Shiatsu, Qigong, Tai Chi among other beneficial modalities.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining about my wealth of modalities and skills. But sometimes it is tough to clarify what it is that I offer. Why would someone want to pay me $75 or $85 / hour? Especially if I don’t take health insurance. Therefore I don’t have enough clients, some months I struggle financially.

With that said, I am a pioneer. Whether it is in the PPN field (because this field is so cutting edge), or the helping-people-embody area (this is fairly new as well when we bring compassionate trauma resolution work into the picture), or looking at PPN topics in the astrology chart (not many people doing this either). The work I do with babies and mothers, of supporting the family in a biodynamic manner – assisting mother (and hopefully) father to slow down enough to come into the same awareness of organic pace that their baby is in, this work is also quite rare – it is birth process work (PPN again) with biodynamic craniosacral and Polyvagal (working with the nervous system) work informing it.

And I need to clarify, concisely and precisely, exactly what it is that I do. This is what my intention is over these next 6 to 12 months. How am I going to thrive on this planet? How am I going to attract what I want and need?

Energy follows intention. So I need to be clear at all times what my momentary and deeper intentions are. 🙂

I’m not sure what this blend of topics will look like. I suspect I will choose one or two and focus on them. And this massage school is a positive step in that direction.

Wish me luck! (and donate to my blogging efforts if you like)

Thanks for reading,

km

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There seems to be a Ray Castellino theme on here…

This most recent video discusses many things – including the functional range (how do we stay in the healthy range of our nervous system?), what it takes to be a Pre- and Perinatal (PPN) Practitioner, he differentiates PPN Practitioner from Educator from Trainer, and finally he discusses the differences between healing trauma, just receiving bodywork and actually going as far down the rabbit hole as possible to work through preverbal trauma (actual PPN work).

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Hi dear Readers, Help me buy tea so I can continue blogging. So if you enjoy what you are reading, please make a little donation. Thank you very much!

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I appreciated how he emphasizes that doing preverbal work, the deepest PPN work, whether it is preconception, conception or gestation phases, is like opening a barn door – the horses and cows will just come and go as they please. That is unless we are really diligent, we work with a very skillful professional team and we have ample professional, clear, presence-cultivating support around us. Otherwise doing the PPN work is messy. I like this description.

That’s because one or two of my clients and peers have remarked, “I have been doing this work for months [or years if they do it sort of part-time], why does it feel like there is so much further to go?!” That is why I feel it is appropriate to let our clients know what they are getting themselves into. This PPN work is the best container for healing our deepest traumas and unmet needs, AND it will take a minimum of 3 years to heal it if we have ample resources and are willing to lean into a qualified and skillful team of support practitioners. Because most of us (we are talking preverbal material here) resist getting support, I think it is more appropriate to say it will take at least 5 years for most people. There is unfortunately an imprint in most of us that says, “I should do this alone.” That is what we learned, it is what was modeled for us, it is what we built a body around. :-O

So if someone is only able to do a session a month say, and does not attend many birth process workshops or womb surrounds (a small group that meets for 3 or 4 days straight and provides the best container for bringing up deep material AND allowing us to integrate it at the same time), then I think this healing process is more like 10 years.

That sounds like a lot, but moving toward being a whole person, a complete being is so so worth it! In a previous video by Ray Castellino, he mentions that pushing aside our shadow material (repressing or suppressing it), for a short amount of time is fine. The problem is if we push it aside for years, then cells of our body start to also feel pushed aside. These cells start doing their own thing – they go out of control. Yet these cells feed on our bodies. And this process is called cancer.

Not trying to scare you at all, rather just pointing out the reality nature of our soma / psyches. Body mind healing.

Enjoy!

Meeting Ray Castellino

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I just have to post (promote) this video of Claudia McClean interviewing Ray Castellino. It is about Sequencing and more importantly (perhaps) about the Creative Collective Process – how can we work more efficiently in groups or as individuals. It references a number of Pre- and Perinatal Therapy (PPN) concepts but most of what they are discussing is understandable to a lay person.

Amazing how he describes how energy that is locked up in our shadow can come forward with ease (with a solid practitioner’s guidance) and we can honor that experience, integrate and gain from bringing light to that part of our shadow selves.

Just. Wow. I am going to look for more of his videos as he explains things very succinctly yet thoroughly.

Link to Ray Castellino youtube video

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The current semi-retreat I am on is going well. Although some days I get in close to an hour of practice and other days it is longer. I also want to add to my list of practices from a previous post (yoga, qigong, meditation, Dharma practices): add body scan meditations and good mother messages.

Good mother messages are what we learn about as an antidote to babies either misunderstanding birth trauma and feeling neglected, unloveable and / or less-than-safe or rarely, babies actually are less-than-safe (which breaks my heart, no seriously, this hurts to contemplate). Anyway..

Here some typical good mother messages, although I have seen lists of at least 50 different messages: “I love you,” or “I want you,” or “You don’t have to be afraid any more,” or “I love you for who you are, not for what you do.” These messages are all geared toward repairing early trauma and restoring health to our little ones (inside). Of course, if we are parents of babies, then it is really really good to be saying these messages to our kids!

It is recommended to say these good mother messages to pictures of ourselves as babies everyday for at least a year. I still haven’t gotten to that lofty threshold. The longest I said them was six weeks I do believe. But I just wanted to mention that this practice would be good to do at any point – a form of metta practice as it were (loving-kindness meditation).  Who knows what we might discover doing these?

The list that I work from has 15 Good Mother Messages on it, which is pretty comprehensive, but some people re-work it and make the message much more personal.

At present, I am noticing some resistance to doing these messages (which might be just the reason TO DO them!), so I might not get to it tonight. But at some point this month, I will add it in.

Thanks for reading,

km

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Hi dear Readers, Help me buy tea so I can continue blogging. So if you enjoy what you are reading, please make a little donation. Thank you very much!

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I want to write a post about how lucky I am to be one of my bodywork teacher’s senior students. Her name is Janet Evergreen. She is in her 60’s now, and she just, in a recent class, made a comment about starting to slow down how often she teaches her classes. This and her husband has been retired for a few years now, and they are ready to have some fun and travel. So I am yearning to take as many of her classes as possible to keep learning little tricks of the body-intelligent-mandala-oriented-heart-extension bodywork that she practices (those are my descriptions).

Just one example might be enough to explain how lucky I am to have met her and to be able to work with her for the past 12 years:

Some somatic experiences cannot be written about properly (but I will certainly try, ironic eh?). At least you will get a sense of how many layers we are tracking in her advanced classes.

I am on the massage table, about to get a treatment from one of Janet’s students, who has taken at least 3 classes with her (and I assisting).

She uses leg-arcing, a technique where you lift the legs and see where they want to go, follow the legs as they float. Then using the legs as a dowsing rod (basically), you look to see where in the torso they are pointing. We have tested this technique against acupuncturists measuring people’s organ pulses and gotten the same results.

So she wasn’t sure if the legs were indicating left lung or heart. I thought that sounded right.

I am going to fast forward (else this will be a ten thousand word diatribe about a 30 minute bodywork session). Suffice it to say that by this point, she had moved to sit at the head of the table with her arms over my chest, “listening” as it were to my lungs, mediastinum and heart and doing some movement to track both the motility and mobility of those organs. When she realized there was at least one sluggish point on my left lung where the tissue was kind of stuck, she got Janet’s attention to ask about it.

Janet came over and of course seemed to know what was needed before coming close to laying on of hands. She said, “Kirby, can you bring some micro movements into your body to bring some movement into your chest?” I was happy to oblige!

I started moving my arms and just making tiny movements of my belly and ribs. I wanted to double check – I asked, “the thumbs have the lung meridian on them right?” And yes, sure enough, they did.

Janet suggested, “Let your thumbs lead the movements.” By now my arms were gracefully weaving a pattern above my body, and then I started focusing on my thumbs. They started leading the little graceful dance above and off the sides of my torso, sometimes doing the same thing, and other times being dissonant.

Then Janet mentioned, “Let me hold those meridian points.” I should pause for a second and note that for at least ten years, Janet wove baskets when she and her family lived in West Virginia. And not just any baskets – she used oak, which means that her grip, even years after her basketweaving days, her grip is like having a clamp applied, or like vice grips. I noted this saying, “Wow. That is quite a hold you’ve got of my thumbs! What, did you used to weave baskets or something?” It was funny. And it kind of hurt – in a it hurts so good kind of manner.

I slowed down my movement, but the whole body movement from my thumbs continued. Sometimes my torso would lift off the table a bit, other times it was just my hands and arms moving. With Janet’s fingers attached to my thumbs, two little vice grips squeezing my lung meridians for dear life (or so it felt).

But something started to shift in my chest. As I moved from my thumbs, with the meridians being so stimulated, I could suddenly track the course of the meridian down my thumbs, running up the inside of my forearm, and then up the inside of my upper arms and close to my pectoral muscles into my chest. It was wild – warm lines were being drawn on me from the inside. Janet commented, “the right has settled down, but the left still has warmth coming off of it.” (Referring to my thumbs.) And she was right. My right lung was feeling open and calm and happy, while my left lung was still be bit tight or sluggish or sticky.

It just took a few more minutes of gracefully feeling through those meridians and dancing over my body with my arms. And I felt my left lung release, and so did Janet (through my lung meridians on my thumbs). And we both commented on it, she saying, “There it goes,” first.

She had been squeezing pretty good. So when she let go, I was left feeling the meridian lines for several minutes. She went on to squeeze my pinkies – the heart meridian in this case. And it was similar results. The practitioner still had her hands on my chest and was feeling and listening to my inner organs (through the ribs, through the fascia, etc).

Long story short. I had never felt my meridians come alive quite like that. It was another level of deepening of my learning.

I have experienced things in those bodywork classes (or retreats or meditation sessions) at her Sanctuary space that most people can’t even dream of, let alone talk about. I am so very fortunate. Maybe I have been Janet’s teacher in a past life, but I know she has been mine before.

Whatever the case may be, I thank my lucky stars that I have teachers and mentors in my life like her. Heart teachers who go above and beyond, who charge less than they could, who give back to their communities in so many different ways.

I intend to repay her kindness by teaching worthy students. They say that is the greatest way to repay a spiritual teacher (and by practicing what they have taught you). So I must practice self care. I must know that my heart has received valuable and precious transmissions which most people only wish for but never experience. And I must kindly hold my heart in the highest regard, not only because I (we all) have buddhanature coursing through me, but because I have been shown how to work with babies, children and adults in ways that most scientific health practitioners would scoff at (saying, “those results aren’t possible”). And then I intend to teach this material as well.

Advanced somatic therapies. That is a possible title, or like Khenchen Konchog Gyaltsen, one of our heart teachers says, “Call it Process Buddhism” when asked how to describe what Janet does. That pretty much sums it up. 🙂

Yet again, thank you for reading,

km

 

 

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