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Posts Tagged ‘self care’

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

At some point in our spiritual journey (through life) there is a progression toward mental (intangible, intuitive, inner) power, strength and confidence.  What do I mean by this?

I would say that most mainstream Americans – maybe 50 % of the population – believe that once they cross a certain threshold of sickness, then they MUST go to the doctor.  And they are smart to believe this.  However, I will elucidate this matter.

At some point in our inner evolution, we will notice that certain food and drink makes us feel a certain way – and hopefully at some point we notice that drinking a lot of cheap alcohol makes us feel very crummy the next morning.  If you have not done this yet, then you should stop reading right now.  🙂

So we start to believe that we can affect our health by what we put in our body – generally speaking, eating less processed food (due to add GMO ingredients) and cutting out all non-organic dairy products (the growth hormones and antibiotics they add are disturbing) – will lead to our feeling better and probably being healthier overall.  There is a great TED talk about this and you can view it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rixyrCNVVGA

At some point, maybe you are here, maybe it will happen in a few years, maybe another lifetime, you will notice that meditation (and certain types of efficacious spiritual practice) makes you feel better – in your heart, in your gut, improving your health and intuition overall.  It might be yoga, it might be guru yoga, it might be sun salutations, it might be native practices, it could even be receiving process-oriented bodywork twice a month.  Whatever it is, you feel more connected to the Earth and all of our brothers and sisters who live here.  Once you get here, you are well on your way to creating the life you desire and deserve.

Recently, I happened to come across an article that talked about how certain doctors experimented with using visualization techniques with their cancer patients and the results of these experiments were pretty astounding.  For instance, having one group of patients visualize white knights charging into battle with the cancer cells and visualizing them vanquishing the cancer led to an additional 27% positive recovery.  That is pretty significant!  And yes, I am too lazy to go find this article.  But trust me I read it.

So having read that piece, I decided to start using my own form of visualization.  I already have a slight edge on the general population I think, owing to the fact that in Tibetan Buddhism, we do certain visualizations for certain practices.  (I’m not saying I do them well!!  I am just an ordinary human being who is in possession of many poor habits…)  But I have some experience with visualization.  So I decided to mix the two – if and when I feel sick – whether it is a tiny scratch in my throat, or if I just want to get rid of a pimple, or if I feel a cold sore forming on my lip – then I visualize Vajrasattva (a Buddhism deity of purification) and white knights going to work on that part of my body.

And sure enough, so far it seems to work.  I will wake up the following morning feeling better – the sore throat will be gone, or the cold sore will be all but gone and / or the pimple will be smaller.  So maybe it is just a coincidence, maybe these things were going to improve on their own, or maybe I am actually affecting my body for the better.  I believe that.

So go ahead.  If you feel down or sick or fatigued, experiment with visualization.  It can’t hurt!

And may you and all beings be well and happy.

Thanks for reading.

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This material is copyrighted by M. Kirby Moore.  Reproduction without permission is prohibited.  To support Kirby in his business and blogging efforts, please visit Kirby’s website.  Thank you for visiting!

I am continuing on my previous theme of describing my move to Tampa Florida.

A lot has happened since I moved down here two weeks ago, and at the same time, very little has occurred.  First I will talk a little about this and then describe my reactions and inner tumultuousness.  Finally I will end with what my guidance is saying (even though I still don’t completely trust my guides or this radical process).

So.  What has happened since moving down here?  Internally, I have done some good practice and I have had some days where I actually napped.  I have been so worked up over the past couple months that napping was usually out of the question unless I was sick.  Considering I feel this move is / was equivalent to a major rebirth in my life (moving away from my family, moving away from the place I called home for 27 years, moving away from friends and support in Virginia), I know I need A LOT of time to integrate and renegotiate the terms of my life.  My heart is fearful and anxious most days, unless I am doing my utmost to practice self-care and that means doing spiritual practice (inner yoga) and somatic exercises for wellbeing (outer yoga).

I have met with some neat new people but this only happens once or twice per week considering how much down time I am preferring to take.  Therefore much has happened and very little has happened, simultaneously 🙂

Now – what is happening in my reactions internally?  There is a reason I put the word “Tangle” in the title.  When I start trying to do the conventional route of using employment agencies or calling around about job openings, etc, I start getting very worked up inside.  Tension becomes the norm as my torso braces for oppression which may not actually show up.  What is happening inside me?  I suspect several things – in the past the I Ching spoke about (and it still does actually) my beliefs and in particular, my conditioning not keeping up with my present reality.  What does this mean?

This is very complicated.  But let me try to sum this up briefly – I was born with birth trauma AND like all children, I took on some if not most of my parents’ beliefs about the world and about myself (about reality really) AND I was born into a culture that rarely ever slows down enough to take a deep breath, let alone deal with an internal emotional conflict.  So this means I have spent the past 10 years plying apart these layers of conditioning and misunderstandings about reality which tend to bombard us on all levels – whether watching TV, talking with family members, going to church, etc.  There are misunderstandings about reality running rampant in this world and without a qualified guide or mentor or teacher, it is impossible to start to figure it out  🙂

Deep breath…  where was I?  Yes, concluding the part about my conditioning needing to catch up with my perception of reality.  I have been very fortunate to meet with qualified heart teachers, spiritual gurus and exceptional bodywork and psychology teachers.  Therefore, my personal growth work has been on an accelerated pace as I move toward constant easy presence in my body, as a body and as awareness and as I come into alignment with what is.  And this last sentence is no light task that can be accomplished over night.  I firmly believe that my fortunate karma from past lives allows me to undertake this swift radical inner tectonic shift with relative “ease.”  (You will see how easy this is for me below. )  So don’t try to copy my path without first getting a solid understanding of your own capacity!  For me, I am starting to realize that I am a spiritual being having a human experience (not sure who this quotes goes to but it ain’t mine originally).

With all this mentioned as context, let me now describe the ingredients of this inner tangle which can spring up with such swiftness as to be remarkable and frightening: when I start worrying (fretting) about how I have not made much money in the past month and how money has gone out faster than ever before, I immediately go into a form of fight or flight and I am afraid this tangle can sometimes get to be so big that I might even start to fade toward freezing (in psycho-physiological terms, when we have exhausted our resources and we can no longer fight or run away, then the body will freeze in an attempt to play dead.  Freezing is a pre-cursor to trauma and if it is not resourced, this is what leads to PTSD symptoms – among other things.  Keep in mind this is a gross oversimplification of the trauma cycle.)

Why might I start to move toward frozen tissue (freeze)?  Because I don’t know what direction to take.  And because I know from previous experience – I had the shingles relatively recently from too much stress from over working – that I can only take so much stress.  It is like an endless cycle – I’m stressed out about money and income and what to do with my life now; and simultaneously I am even more stressed because I know the damage stress can inflict on my body.  SO, how do I put an end to this horrible cycle?

Deep breath…  first I am blessed to have clear guidance – not from outer sources (yet) but rather I explicitly trust the I Ching (book of changes – a form of divination originally from China) to describe the subtleties of what I am experiencing.  Occasionally I might rely on its advice too much – but it generally tells me if I am doing so.  I believe the wisdom beings or Angels can speak to me through the I Ching; however, more importantly I feel it is my heart’s true communication rather than my distorted mind’s ideas about what it wants life to look like.

Luckily I have been trained in many modalities for self-care.  This includes spiritual practices from Tibetan Buddhism, and Sufism to Energy Medicine techniques like Reiki and Pranic Healing and it also includes physiological techniques from Craniosacral Therapy, Somatic Experiencing (Trauma Resolution), Visceral Manipulation and others.  So my repertoire of ways to be kind to myself is pretty vast.  But I just need to remember to use them!  This is how I break free from the tangle described above.

In Part Two I will describe what my guidance is saying.

Thanks for reading!

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This material is copyrighted by M. Kirby Moore.  Reproduction without permission is prohibited.  To support Kirby in his business and blogging efforts, please visit Kirby’s website.  Thank you for visiting!

I write this post as I am presently in Florida, checking out the Tampa area to see how I feel about living here.  I want to be exploring the area more but I also feel pulled to go to retreat as well.

I am writing this post because I grew up in America – Hawaii for a seven plus years and then Virginia for more than 25 years.  In being raised in the West (and actually, many “Eastern” cultures are now using a Western paradigm, so this post may apply to a varied demographic), I developed a tendency to feel like I always need to be doing something.  I always need to be working toward some goal.  A day spent not accomplishing anything is a wasted day, a day to feel guilty about…  I could go on, but you know how this ends.  The rat race continues, but I am consciously stepping out of it.  This is not an easy process.  It is messy and there are not many examples to follow to see if I am “doing it right.”  In previous posts, you may have noticed how I have studied with a Western teacher named Julie Henderson (PhD) who coaches that kindness to self is more than just taking an hour or two a day for self care needs.  She mentions that we need to be extra vigilant about the ways in which we are hard on ourselves, especially if we are the anxious, pleaser, hyper vigilant, or depressed sort of individual.  It is time to slow down and truly track what our bodies are trying desperately to communicate.  Do not wait for the nasty crisis to indicate that it is time to change jobs and create an easier lifestyle!  If you are wondering, she created or gathered a set of playful, creative, mischievous exercises (breath, sound & movement) which she calls Zapchen Somatics which helps to come down out of our heads and land comfortably in our bodies.

With this context in place, I am a Buddhist practitioner.  Or at least, I do my best.  However, my rat-race-conditioned-mind makes it difficult to claim a Buddhist lineage when I “do so little practice” in a day.  In other words, all I have to do is think the words, “I am a Buddhist practitioner” and guilt instantly arises.  Why is this?

One reason is that when the Buddhist texts were written, it was in a different culture and a different age.  In ancient India, or Nepal, or Tibet, there were no radios, TV’s, videos, face books, twitters, cell phones, etc.  So their pace of life was much different from our Puritan-work-ethic-influenced lifestyles.  I am confident that there were some days or even weeks when there was no grain to plant or harvest, there were no wars to fight, and people either could not read or grew tired of it.  So that left nothing to do except sit around and drink tea or smoke pipes, etc.  The key words here are sitting around doing very little.

This point was brought home to me as I listened to a Dharma talk by Dr. Hun Lye, the president of Urban Dharma center in Asheville, N.C.  He reiterated that applying the Western work ethic and self-deprecation to the ancient Dharma texts will only lead to trouble.  Here is why – realizing that there were days or weeks in ancient India where people just sat around literally accomplishing nothing, the Dharma texts (sutras and commentaries) state explicitly that one should not be lazy, that one should apply oneself day and night to right action.  Not a single second should be wasted!  Those words are meant for “lazy” ancient cultures.  They are not meant for our frenetic, buzzing, high-speed brains.

Fast forward to today when we have every technological convenience imaginable (and every type of technological distraction available!), then we suddenly have busy busy minds and lifestyles where we desperately need to slow down.  But we don’t know how to slow down.  We don’t think it is okay to slow down.  We feel guilty when someone suggests that we take a vacation because we are working too hard.  Generally it takes some sort of crisis to jolt us out of this horrifyingly brutal pattern of self-flaggilation.  To answer my question above – how is it that I am being kind to myself and slowing down, and yet I have this deep-seated need to be finishing as much accumulation of Buddhist practice as possible – RIGHT NOW.  This dynamic leads to a very complex (and time and energy wasting) inner dialogue.  Some days I set off with the sky as my goal and of course I am disappointed when I fall short.  Luckily, these days I notice faster and faster the ways in which I am biting off way more than I can chew.  But I still have guilt around this topic.

I am presently “attending” a Buddhist retreat where we are accumulating Amitayus mantras.  Amitayus is a manifestation of Buddha Amitabha and Amitayus is one of the long life granting manifestations of enlightened mind.  We “should” do Amitayus practice before starting a major practice to ensure we have the vitality and strength to complete said major practice.  In this practice, we are aiming for 100,000 mantras each.

What if this is unrealistic for me?  Then I would be going against my root lama’s wishes, right?  What if I am truly listening to my heart?  I have spent years doing psychological-astrology analysis of my chart, years receiving process-oriented bodywork and further years of embodying forms of bodywork and yoga.  I am about as grounded and embodied right now as I have ever been.  I am aware of most of my gross psychological fallacies (misunderstandings, conditioned habits, etc).  If there is an inner lama, perhaps I am just starting to hear “his” words of wisdom.  I don’t know.  I definitely do not make this arrogance-inducing claim.  I just wonder if I am starting to hear “his” faint whispers which are urging me to listen to my body, to listen to my heart and to let the old tapes of guilt and ensuing confusion drop away.

Anyway, on the first day of the retreat, I noticed many layers of resistance and frustration arising.  I tried to lie down and then return to the practice.  This simply led to a pause and then further frustration.  So I left early.  And do you know how guilty I felt for departing prematurely?  I actually wondered if I would make it home safely because perhaps the wisdom beings might be upset with me (although in reality it is my own karma which determines this).  So when I returned yesterday, I felt humiliation, guilt and sadness among other less than savory emotions.  But I kept most of this to myself.  When I worked up the courage to approach my teacher, he was joyful and equanimous as usual – as if nothing had happened!  I’m not even sure he was aware of my having left early.  Ooph!  Good grief – all that self-deprecation for nothing 🙂

So I pushed myself yesterday.  There were some occasional pangs of pain as my post-shingles neuralgia pain came and went.  There were one or two contractions in my belly.  But overall I pushed through these on purpose.  I had a dream which indicated I would benefit profoundly from returning to retreat.  That is why I pushed forward.  I did a lot of mantras in six hours.  I am very proud of myself.  I rejoice at my accomplishment.  But who knows what I stirred up in the process.

I say that because today I woke up and my sinuses have decided that a dam has crumbled – they are draining like I have a winter-time cold.  So I threw the I Ching to be clearer about my situation.  Do I go to retreat ASAP?  No – that would be unkind.  Ah ha!  Do I do one session today only and rest before and after?  Yes, that is good.  Ahhhh….  Having that reassurance, I can relax deeper and feel good about missing the morning retreat sessions.  Things change, impermanence is guaranteed.  What can I control?  My reactions to that change.  Just do my best, let go just a little bit more.  And check in every day – am I being as kind to myself as possible?  And perhaps kindness will take many different forms – one day I will do 10,000 mantras and another day I will purposely accomplish very little, allowing my mind and body to rest down and relax deeper.  I don’t promise to feel good about accomplishing very little, but I am coming around!

Thank you for reading!

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This material is copyrighted by M. Kirby Moore.  Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.  Thanks for visiting.

Honestly, I’m not sure any longer if I can treat my own rare bouts of “insomnia.”  At least, I believe that term is what our Western culture would call lying awake in bed for an hour or two before being able to unwind and go to bed.  I have noticed though that the more media I watch / listen to during the day, the longer it takes me to rest down into sleep.  Plus being emotionally charged tends to keep me up longer as well.

With that said however, if I were to recommend something, and you wanted to hear about it…  but first a little disclaimer: And you, as reader, must keep in mind that I am neither a doctor, nor a registered dietician, so take all of these suggestions with a grain of salt.  They are purely for educational or entertainment purposes only.  Do not change your lifestyle without consulting a licensed medical practitioner.

Homeopathic medicine can work, in fact, if I were needing to be dependent on anything for a long period of time, it would have to be homeopathic remedies, essential oils or flower essences.  No use damaging our liver or kidneys with heavy over the counter / prescription sleep meds when there is little need to do so.

Honestly though, I wonder if changing our lifestyle or late evening habits would be best overall.  Adding exercise seems to be the prescription to many of life’s ailments.  Some cycling, walking, hiking or swimming would at least help to process our “stuff” through the body and not to mention cause the body to become more tired.

For me, what has worked off and on in the past, is one of several things.  Valerian or kava kava or other herbal sleep remedies (the Tazo tea “Calm” does it for me too) are good.  Although if you are really sensitive, Valerian might make you wake up feeling a little woozy, especially if you need to wake up in less than 8 hours.  Taking some rescue remedy (flower essence) is a good way to cut any edge you might be feeling.  And definitely take rescue remedy for emotional shocks as well as physical ones, as it helps the body relax a little bit more.  Not sure though about rescue remedy for sleeping.

Taking a small amount of magnesium powder, which claims to also balance calcium intake helps me if I am feeling both depleted and a-buzz with nervous energy.  I would say that at this time, this is the most helpful of all.  I warm up water and then pour in some Mag. powder, which fizzes and spits for a second, letting me know that the magnesium citrate is being created.  Then I slowly drink it down.  It is nice now, as my body lets me know when it has had enough.  I get a strong distaste for it once I have had enough, so I occasionally need to dump out what is left.

Coffea cruda (homeopathic) supposedly helps to eliminate caffeine from the system and also can help us to unwind.  I’m not so sure anymore.  If I am alert and awake, the slight softening it provides no longer does what it used to.

So I guess what I am trying to get across is be gentle and try natural remedies first before going for who-knows-exactly-how-they-will-affect-your-body prescription drugs for sleep.  Yes they do many studies before the FDA gives it the green light, but we are all unique individuals.  If you have not gone through the study, do you think the scientists and doctors will know exactly how their drugs will affect you?  I’m just asking, I’m not saying anything one way or another.

Maybe it is a good idea first to try unwinding earlier in the evening – having some calming tea, turning off the TV, staying away from media late in the evening, etc.  And adding exercise or sport would probably help us fall asleep faster.  And if none of the above work, then perhaps it would be good to try one of two things: an authentic spiritual path (I find doing the Refuge practice from Tibetan Buddhist Ngondro to both help me sleep and it improves my dream-awareness) and / or receive massage or other forms of bodywork, where your body will actually be able to process some of things on your mind.

And remember, trust your intuition, trust your sensations.  Do not take my word for anything.  Consult your doctor or other licensed health care provider and get on with it.

Thanks for reading.

Cofea Cruda, other homeopathics, Magnesium, herbal teas, pace of life? consciously slowing down, diet, caffeine reduction, eating late?, slowing down after 8 pm, benefits of lying down for kidneys after 10 pm,

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This material is copyrighted by M. Kirby Moore. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited. Thanks for reading!  You can visit Kirby’s website at www.mkirbymoore.com to see what he offers in terms of Spiritual Astrology or Resource bodywork.

This is a continuation of a series of posts on a recent visit to some senior apartments in Nelson County, where I taught some simple exercises for well-being. By the way, I am simply describing what occurred in the most objective way possible. I do not intend to be demeaning or to make fun of anyone’s suffering. Because good Lord, we all know that there is too much of that to go around without adding to it! With that in mind, please enjoy.

So Beth was sitting opposite me in the circle of chairs. I decided to go with a circle. I believe that is Montessori style (is that right?), in that there is no way for any individual to hide. Even if they want to (or need to). Also, that way, we are all equals in a sense. There is no position known as “teacher” which has everyone else’s attention focused on it. By sitting in a “round table” form, we all can have an equal say, hopefully.

Beth was chatting with her neighbor and I was barely following her conversation, considering I was checking in with my body, attempting to relax and trying to rest in equanimity as best as I could. I should mention for the record that I learned, quite rapidly, that Beth’s condition of hearing loss was advanced.

So Beth’s neighbor, a cute little, older black woman says, holding a can of unopened Mountain Dew, “I need to hide my soda so Barbara doesn’t take it away from me.”

And of course Beth chimes in with, “Oh you hurt your shoulder? I’m sorry…”

Beth’s neighbor corrected her and Beth noticed me watching this and she blurts out, looking at me, “Just wait til you get old Cody!” It was really the tone of voice she used. So confident and direct and lacking any care about what others might think about it. I had rarely encountered it before, not in other hearing-impaired friends or really anywhere else. What was that mysterious trait about that tone? Anger? Indifference? Bitterness? It made me chuckle though as I appreciated the directness.

I zoned out for a while, at least from their conversation, as I was meeting newcomers. Soon though, Beth looks at me and makes my brain start sizzling as she produces, “Older women are so much more fun than younger women Cody! You should spend more time with older women.” Uhhhh… What did I miss?

“My name is Kirby.”

“What?” Her neighbor explained what my name was. Writing it down helped.

I was told to start, despite the fact that there would be several people arriving late. So I get started, using the skillful beginning of, “Before we get started…” to delay any tension arising. I told them all to take a deep breath and to let go of any physical tension, any emotional stress.

Then I decided to do a little warm up exercise where we would each say our name and one thing we were grateful for. This was to be one of the first of many lessons for me. I said my name and said that I was grateful for all the spring flowers blooming, in particular the forsythia. Then, nearly everyone else around the circle proceeded to thank god for having one more day to live… or for having given them breath that morning. Wow! It was like I was the ignorant leader of a powerful church.

I learned that one woman had an extremely green thumb – she said she could heal any plant. She was actually full of healing wisdom as I would find out throughout the afternoon.

Then I mentioned my guidelines. I said that it was my intention for us all to be just a little more kind to ourselves and that way, we could be a little more kind to others as a result. This would actually be a theme throughout the day.

Several people arrived late. One person, who tried to sit outside the circle but I directed her to the only chair available, right next to me, said, “I’m late.” Okay… I introduced myself and told her my only guidelines for the class – that you only do exercises that are comfortable / easy for you and that you try to have fun doing them. I said if something is uncomfortable, don’t do it, and at least object or raise your hand before forcing yourself to do something that you don’t want to. I suspected that this was a new paradigm as these seniors were kind of at the whim of their apartment manager.

Oh, Barbara introduced me, saying that I did Craniosacral Therapy and that I recently got my BA from UVa. Good… Someone asked me about Craniosacral work and for some reason, I went in the direction of the this-is-actually-a-church-meeting and answered her with, “Craniosacral work is unique in that it believes the individual has the power and the ability to heal themselves.” (So I was actually talking about Craniosacral Biodynamics here.) I continued with, “As a Craniosacral practitioner, I try to get in touch with that natural, innate healing ability of individuals, which we call the Christ-Light or the Breath of Life (which are both terms from Christianity). I try to balance that energy and make sure that it is flowing smoothly and as fully as possible. Sometimes if we get injured, or hit our heads, or due to conditioning from when we were young, or other traumatic events, we can lose touch with the Breath of Life. So I simply try to get my client back in touch with their potential to heal themselves.” Wow! Pat yourself on the back Kirby – these God-fearing seniors drank it up, although I think they did not expect it.

When someone in the audience tried to reflect back what I had just said, he did a good job. But that is when I realized I had not mentioned any of the actual scientific research and information about CST. So after he reflected about the energy coming from his heart and his spirit getting involved, which was great, I continued, “Also, in addition to everything I just mentioned about Craniosacral Therapy, if I were to take out any religious terms from my description, I could also say that Craniosacral works with the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and that science has actually shown that practitioners can palpate this subtle fluid and feel where it is stuck or where it is flowing smoothly. The CSF nourishes and lubricates the central nervous system and brain and if it is not flowing well, then issues can arise. So as a practitioner, I also work with balancing the CSF.” That may have been a bit long winded but it was good to explain it in those terms…

See my next post (Part III) for the next installment of this fantastic afternoon. Thanks for reading!

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This material is copyrighted by M. Kirby Moore. Reproduction without permission is prohibited. Please enjoy your visit and be sure to check out other posts in this category.

Disclaimer: The author of this post is not a licensed medical practitioner. If anything is suggested about changing one’s lifestyle, please do not make any changes yourself until you speak with your doctor, nurse practitioner or registered dietician, etc. This info is presented primarily for entertainment / educational purposes only.

I was speaking with a friend recently, a practitioner of Polarity Therapy (among other modalities) and he articulated what I have been thinking for quite some time now, but I was not sure I had ever said it like that. So, just in case this is a review for some people, I think it might be worth reading again.

In my previous post on Preventing Cold Sores, I mentioned that it would take many words to elaborate on quality self-care, and all its multifaceted levels. So to begin, one little chunk at a time:

My friend said, to paraphrase, “When we offer bodywork to people, we offer them the chance to see what balance [and alignment] looks like. We bring them toward a space of healing and ease. Now, the question however is, what do they do when they get off the table?… People have so many toxic habits – whether their diet, their choice of friends, stress at work, etc. So when they get off the massage table, what are they going back to? And how can they hope to maintain the balance they have just discovered with us if they are going back to toxic habits [and environments]? The answer is that they have got to do the work themselves – the real work begins when they get off the table.”

I appreciate these sentiments and I agree for the most part. Personally I try to be careful about calling myself a healer or saying that I do anything to the client (without them participating completely in their own healing process) – I’d rather have the client empowered from the moment they step through my door – but otherwise, I love this information! And I believe this fits in well with my thoughts on Practicing Quality Self-Care.

So when he mentioned the part about the toxic habits, that is a strong way of putting it – another way of saying it, with less negative connotation, would be to call them “temporary compensations” (from Julie Henderson). Yes, we all have various habits and we make choices each moment. And not all of these choices serve our highest good – which is fine! That’s why they are called choices! If we need to rest somewhere for a while, that is okay. When we are ready to get to work and move on, we will. No use badgering the little guys in the process!

With that said, if you want to improve yourself, to gain a deeper awareness of your health and your body / mind system, then continue reading. If you are happy where you are, and if you will be provoked by my words and react in defensiveness and disapprobation, then you may want to stop reading now. 🙂

I want to emphasize that physical, emotional, mental (psychological) and spiritual well-being are interconnected. I doubt we can say, “this month I’m going to work on my physical health only! I don’t want anything to do with emotions right now.” Sure, we can SAY that… but do we really have that choice? In other words, when we truly start to slow down in order to refine our patterns, at that point, we might begin to confront whatever underlying (subconscious) issues were keeping us moving at that hectic, break-neck pace to begin with. We will then be face-to-face with emotional, psychological and other issues. So when we are ready to take the step toward greater self-awareness and therefore increased self-care, then we should go for it. Get support, get our help and get on with our lives, if we want to, when we are ready.

With that said, just to reiterate, when we start to slow down just to analyze our life, just by asking the question, “what, if anything, needs to change in my life?” we have already begun moving toward quality self-care. Pat yourself on the back baby!

And now we should be aware that this process will go so much smoother if we have good support. We have many many blind-spots. Our egos are so deeply entrenched that they don’t want to change. Therefore, the mind will conceive of many ways to keep us distracted in the long run. That is why it is good to have quality and appropriate support. If we try to fix ourselves without a mirror to look in from time to time, how will we know we are making any actual progress at all? Sometimes, our self-care may simply be inflating our ego! (Ever been in a yoga class where egos are running rampant? I’m just saying…)

So be aware that just consciously slowing down a little is to practice self-care. Sure, there are times when the body / mind does not give us a choice. When we injure ourselves, sprain an ankle or throw out our back, what do we think that means? I guarantee that we will be slowing down no matter what else happens! But let’s prevent such gross pleas for slowing down and get started now.

To wrap up what I am saying in this post is that we cannot divorce physical needs from emotional, mental, psychological or spiritual needs. Ever eat a sugary, caffeinated treat and feel the blood sugar spike? Does that elicit any changes in our mental functioning? Does it elicit any additional emotions? Pay attention next time. I say “yes,” to both. Therefore, as the cliché goes, START WHERE YOU ARE.

I am going to begin the next post with physical self-care, but if you are ready to tackle emotional or psychological issues, then start there. I will get to them soon, wisdom beings willing and the creek don’t rise.

Thanks for reading.

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Disclaimer: The author of this post is not a licensed health care provider, so he does not profess to be able to cure, treat, diagnose or prevent any health issues. If you have a medical question or concern, you should speak with a licensed practitioner. Now enjoy this post! 🙂

Okay, again, good to get that out of the way. So in this post: preventing cold sores and fever blisters before they ever get started. Which of course, prevents any need to treat them if they ain’t ever coming up.

Like I mentioned in the previous post, there are some supplements that help the immune system (Vitamin C, Zinc, Lysine, etc). [Speak to your doctor or a licensed dietician before changing your diet and / or supplement intake.] But again, those are just supplements, it would be ideal if we can practice self-care on a regular basis such that we don’t need many supplements. So how can we prevent cold sores from forming? By practicing self-care. So what is self-care?

There are several layers of self-care in my opinion: physical, energetic, emotional / psychological / mental, spiritual.

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Depending on where we are on our individual (spiritual) paths, each of these levels may be slightly more or slightly less important than the others. And sorry to do this so abruptly, but I just realized that it might take many words to elaborate on these various self-care subjects, so look forward to further posts. In the rest of this post, I will continue on the topic at hand (fever blister prevention).

What is the fastest way to get a cold sore? To allow the immune system to get run down and then have a trigger occur. What does trigger mean in this case? Different triggers are: getting a lot of extra sun (sun burns can do it), having a cold or flu, being shocked by a new situation or circumstance, in other words, stress can do it too. For example, one trigger can be eating extra sugar (cheesecake / cookies / ice cream) – because sugar wears down the immune system, so if we are already taxed or stressed, and we go to a get-together and indulge in the many lovely desserts… well don’t be surprised if, the next morning, there is a little visitor on your lip. Then you want to see my previous post 🙂

How are other ways that we get run down? And this will tie in to my next posts on self-care by the way. One of the fastest ways to run down our immune system is to not listen to messages from our body. In other words, by doing an activity which is depleting, and then continuing in that activity long after it was healthy to do so, will sap the immune system. If we are tired, we should try to rest as soon as possible. Even just a five to ten minute power “nap” can help to restore tissue tonicity and optimal function.

What are some ways that we deplete ourselves? Being on the computer for too many hours – I’m pretty sure (don’t quote me or take my word for it) that being on the computer for many hours on end causes the body to become more acidic (Ph issues). Being more alkaline is healthier, where as being more acidic allows viruses and other “baddies” to grow and thrive. [See my next post on physical self-care techniques] What if we can’t help it? Well break up the computer time – go for a walk once or twice a day in the healthy sunshine, take a short yoga or stretching break, take a five minute pause to sit and just rest the eyes and the body.

Are there other ways that we deplete our selves? Drinking alcohol on occasion can be good for us (apparently). However, drinking on a regular basis depletes the system – the liver (and kidneys) never has time to rest and restore itself if it is constantly stressed by needing to clear toxins from the blood. Another way that we deplete ourselves, if we are in a male body, is by too frequent ejaculation. The definition of “too frequent” here is very subjective and it has to do with age, diet, constitution, etc, but there are definitely times when the body says, “Hey man, we need to rest these gonads!” Ejaculation lowers the kidney jing (that would be the subtle energy of the kidneys from a Chinese medicine perspective). [Again see my next post on physical self-care techniques] So it would be good to determine a healthy balance here, or figure out how to enjoy sex without ejaculating. See books by David Deida or books on Taoist sex secrets, etc for more on this complex and it-will-take-some-effort-and-diligence subject.

We can also deplete ourselves by sticking with a toxic relationship. Yes, there are some people we must be around occasionally – whether at work, in our family, housemates, etc. But take time to establish appropriate boundaries and speak your truth and your needs (psychological self-care). We don’t want to allow ourselves to be sapped. And don’t try to blame the other person either as this just continues the chains of suffering – rather, figure out how we are judging them, or how are we letting them get to us, or how we can relax just a little bit more in their presence, such that they no longer tax us. This can take years, so do be gentle (spiritual / psychological self-care).

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And of course, there are many many ways in which we allow ourselves to become depleted. And yes, there are circumstances where cannot help it. That is okay! If we are stuck in a toxic job or a long-term situation that is very stressful, then we are stuck! No use spending lots of time wishing things were different when they can’t be. But how can we work to find equanimity even in the midst of stress? Where can we lighten up just a little bit more? How can we introduce more playfulness and humor into our lives?

So, back to the title of this post, how do we prevent cold sores? By attempting to take good care of ourselves. How do we start this process? By determining where in our lives we need to relieve some pressure – where in our life are we allowing ourselves to become depleted? First work to “fix” the grossest levels of self-care violation, and then slowly slowly work to ease in new techniques for all-round self-care.

If I have time, I will elaborate on further levels of self-care. Stay tuned. Thank you for reading.

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