Archive for February, 2009

Inspirational Quotes for Healing

Researchers have begun to discover what mystics and spiritual guides already knew: our thoughts can greatly influence our healing. Whether you’re trying to heal your brain, your body or your finances, filling your mind with inspirational words can help.  Here are five of my favorite quotes:

1 ) “The time has always been ‘not yet,’ but that does not mean that the time is never. It is not — is it? — inconceivable that a day might arrive when the time is now.”  (Daniel Pinchbeck, 2012)

2 ) “Even youths shall faint and be weary; even young men shall fall exhausted, but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up on wings like eagles. They shall run and not grow weary. They shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:30-31)

3 ) “Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.” (James Baldwin)

4 ) “You yourself as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.” (Buddha)

5 ) ” Go Forward With Courage

When you are in doubt, be still, and wait;

when doubt no longer exists for you, then go forward with courage.

So long as mists envelop you, be still;

be still until the sunlight pours through and dispels the mists

–as it surely will.

Then act with courage.”  (Ponca Chief White Eagle — 1800’s to 1914)


I wish you peace and blessings on your journey.


Rejection, Projection and Reflection

Ah, rejection! No one likes it, but everyone has felt it at one time or another. Rejection comes in many forms: romantic relationships, contests, writer’s group critiques, friendships, job interviews or credit applications. Some people feel depressed about it, while others grow angry or challenge themselve to rise above the snub. Besides sadness, by far the most common companion of rejection is projection. Although the “p” word can initially offset your hurt, it doesn’t help you move forward.

This article explores projection and helps you to recognize it in your life. For the projectee (anyone unlucky enough to stand in line of the projector’s fire), I also discuss the concept of reflection. Many projectors mistakenly assume they are, in fact, reflectors. The distinction becomes especially confusing for people who do reflect most of the time, yet still have a tendency to project when they feel challenged or rejected. This article gives tips to help you tell the difference.

You might be projecting if:

1)  You assume someone must have massive issues, complete ignorance, a guru complex, psychosis, arrogance or hubris, control issues, or a secret evil agenda if s/he has gently or firmly declined your advances. If you feel these things about people in your field who have experienced greater attention or success than you have, it’s also time to look at your own tendency to project.

2)  You consistently encounter people who (you think) get a sick pleasure out of devaluing your gifts. These people initially seem like helpers, supporters and encouragers. S/he may be a counselor, coach, minister, or yoga teacher, perhaps just an acquaintance whom you very much admire. All seems well when you ask them for advice, which they give freely. But then they inexplicably “turn on you and devalue you” by not buying your book, linking to you on their website, or otherwise returning the favor of asking you for advice and guidance. How dare they think they’re better than you! They must not want you to succeed because they couldn’t handle your competition! They’re not evolved, and they don’t want anyone else to evolve either.  In fact, they want to suppress and enslave, feeding off the energy of their unwilling and deluded fans. OMG! You have just narrowly escaped from one of the most controlling and insidious creatures on the planet!  …

If this scenario has happened to you to some degree even once, then you may have a tendency to project in two ways. First, you’re likely giving someone higher status as a guru than s/he wants. You give away your power to your own idea, rather than to the person. This is your responsibility, not theirs. No one can take your power.

When things shift and s/he rejects you, you may suddenly”recognize what’s happening.” This recognition often involves controlling you or using power to manipulate you and hold you down. Although cults and narcissists do exist, if the initial description sounds valid, then it’s more likely that you’re superimposing a plot on a simple yet hard to swallow fact: as the movie says, “He’s Just Not that Into You.” Or s/he’s busy. Or s/he has other things going on. Or s/he feels compassion rather than passion.

Ego will go to great lengths to find any other explanation. If the reasons for negative things occurring in your life routinely involve a conspiracy theory or the hubris or complete ignorance and depravity of those from whom you have received help or sought favor, then it’s time to explore your own patterns and projections. 

3 )  Someone else is always responsible for your failed intentions.

4 )  You believe busy people spend their free time exploring ways to sabotage your business, personal growth or reputation.

5 )  When giving “constructive criticism” or “enlightenment,” you feel the need to hide behind your degree, your diet, your religion, your bank balance, or “Anonymous.”

6 )  When you try to reveal this “insider information” to the public, no one you admire has any interest in spreading your gossip, but they do offer you “lots of love and healing.” If compassionate people sense you are projecting, they may not always come right out and say so. They may instead try to offer you support for what they see as the root cause of your behavior: grief, frustration, insecurity, envy.

Of course, they then run the risk of revealing their own “evil, controlling guru complexes” by devaluing your insider information. Some people are willing to run that risk, though, if they sense you’re really struggling or have temporarily lost touch with reality.

7 )  If you have ever had or suspected you currently have B-12 deficiency, you really might want to get that checked or start taking a sublingual or spray B-12. “B-12 madness” has been linked to cases of acute psychosis and paranoid delusions. Slightly low levels can also cause general, unwarranted suspicion.

8 ) You view the world as a constant battle between good and evil.

9 ) You feel the need to launch personal attacks in areas that have nothing to do with the situation at hand. Examples include: suggesting someone’s a bad spouse in order to bolster your argument  that they’re unqualified to teach seventh grade or drive a truck; calling someone arrogant for buying organic food; extracting tidbits from people’s blogs or websites and assuming you know their entire life and motivations; refusing to consider context as a factor when assessing character or causation; citing gossip magazines as a way to judge acting ability.

10 ) If your primary emotions are anger, rage, disgust, fear, judgment or hatred, you are not “reflecting so brightly that no one can handle your radiance and truth.” You are almost certainly projecting, at least in some areas.

You might be reflecting if:

1 ) Despite someone accusing you of horrible character and actions, you primarily feel love, compassion and understanding for them. If you can recognize the hurt beneath their anger and send love to it, then you are likely reflecting.

2 ) You do not feel afraid to look at the criticism and use it as a means to explore your own character, skills, talent and motivations.   Are there areas where the comments ring true? Can you learn something even from mean-spirited feedback? Might there be a tiny bit of truth to the accusations and if so, how can you improve your technique, delivery or presentation in the future? What blind spots does this encounter reveal? Bright, shiny people are not afraid to look inside themselves or to ask for honest feedback from people they respect and admire.

3 ) Before anyone asked you this, have you already explored ways in which you might be projecting? Hint: reflectors ponder the possibility. Projectors rarely go there first, if at all.

4 ) Have you recently received recognition for long, hard effort on your part? Has your visibility ramped up? When reflectors suddenly become brighter reflectors on a bigger stage, they often experience a backlash from those who feel left behind.

5 ) Do the accusations seem 180 degrees away from truth? Examples may include: someone calling you “fame hungry” when you’ve always tried to stay in the background; people saying you took away their power after you showed them their own responsibility in their lives; friends assuming you’re “too good for them” or “too high and mighty” now that you’ve “made it big,” when you just want to share your joy and tell them you believe in them.

6 ) You’ve worked through a lifetime (or many lifetimes) of issues and finally accept your calling/mission/dream/bliss, only to have people attack your character for doing so. They tell you, “you’re not so special,” and you agree. You tell them they could live their dreams, too, but this inexplicably fans the fire of their rage.

7 ) None of your other clients/friends/lovers/colleagues can fathom the accusations.

8 ) You had a funny feeling about getting involved with someone, but compassion led you to help them anyway. When you created and maintained boundaries, the person freaked out.

9 ) You harbor no ill will to the person(s), but you do hope they get the help, support and love they need.

10 ) You choose to defend yourself without attacking the other person.

11 ) You can recognize this experience in a larger context, perhaps as an indirect answer to your own prayers and intentions to leave a relationship, move, change careers, or make some other shift. Reflectors understand that the universe always responds to their own energy and intentions. They accept appropriate responsibility and know when to stand firm and when to go with the flow. They choose to embrace, while projectors react. Reflectors rejoice in a chance to polish themselves and shine even brighter. 

Many Blessings on your Journey!

ABNA Contest: Personal Anecdotes

As part of Amazon’s 2009 Breakthrough Novel Award Contest, contestants can share the story-behind-the-story of their novel’s creation … in 300 words or less. The public will only get to see the top 500 excerpts after March 16, during which time they may or may not view the novel’s background. People keep popping onto this site while searching for ABNA, so I thought I’d post my personal anecdotes here:


         Four months before starting a doctoral program in English Literature, a 1998 brain injury left me severely disabled. I lost the ability to read, along with my rational side. I needed to sleep and meditate most of the day just to keep my migraines in check. Although devastating to my intended career as an English professor, this experience awakened other parts of my brain. Synchronicity, uncanny intuition, and mythology replaced plans, logic, and a highly analytic side. Unable to read print, I learned to “read” in other ways; the world became my text. Years of art history, literary criticism, philosophy, and Biblical exegesis suddenly seemed key to navigating the “real world.” My quest for recovery also introduced me to alternative medicine and spiritual healing.

            I won a small insurance settlement — on my birthday — in 2001, but I still needed to find some way to support myself. My Seattle doctor offered me a part time job working as an Office Assistant/Medical Intuitive Consultant. I honed my Medical Intuitive skills on his clients in exchange for him teaching me his fifty-year’s worth of herbal knowledge. One herb stuck in my brain: schizandra. I researched its adaptogenic power to heal anything from asthma to impotence to hypo- and hyperthyroid. Unbidden, two characters named Schizandra and Ginger appeared, and I envisioned a family of women healers named for herbs.

SCHIZANDRA AND THE GATES OF MU revealed itself sporadically over seven years. A move to Sedona gave me the setting, and my meditation practice and Medical Intuitive/Life Coaching business provided rich fodder. Synchronicity plays such a huge role in my life that I found the fantasy elements easiest to pen. I finished writing on a key date in the novel, and ABNA’s prize date — May 22 — is my birthday!  

Related posts here and here.

“If I Only Had a Brain Injury” Wins Award


Back in 2008, I entered the 16th Annual Writer’s Digest  International Self-Published Book Award Contest.  According to Writer’s Digest,  “competition was particularly fierce this year.”  My first book, “If I Only Had a Brain Injury,” won Honorable Mention in the Inspirational Category.

Wow, thanks! I’ve had contests on the brain with the ABNA 2009 Contest, but I had honestly forgotten I entered the Writer’s Digest one. They gave me a nice certificate, a $50 voucher for any of their books, and will announce the winners online and in their April 2009 magazine issue.

I’m touched and honored and so pleased that a book on brain injuries, Lyme Disease, migraines, post-concussive syndrome, Fibromyalgia and other “medical mysteries” has received such recognition. It’s high time more people became aware of these conditions.  Many thanks and lots of healing to everyone!

You can purchase “If I Only Had a Brain Injury” online or directly through me if you’d like an autographed copy.  If you’d like to see a video related to the brain and consciousness, please click here. I’m also speaking at the Healdsburg Cafe Gratitude on Monday, March 9.

ABNA Update: My Novel “Pitch”

A normal Sedona school day in 2001 unravels fast when thirteen-year-old Schizandra faints. Nothing wakes her, and mysterious symbols and messages appear when anyone tries to help. lunar eclipse has activated her astrological chart, marking Schizandra to fulfill an ancient prophecy regarding 2012 and the Mayan Calendar. If she revives, Schizandra will spark human evolution into a new age.

SCHIZANDRA AND THE GATES OF MU follows her mythic journey and the awakening that confirms her destiny. While she remains in a coma, the veil separating conscious and unconscious worlds is translucent. The lives of a superstitious helicopter pilot, a midwife grandmother, cheerleader friends, talking crystals, twin spinster reflexologists, a lovesick nerd, an erudite frog king and a raw-cacao-loving Lemurian queen all converge within Sedona’s legendary beauty and mystique. This fantasy explores the tensions between rational and spiritual, shame and freedom, death and rebirth, as all heal through their interactions with Schizandra and each other. 

Written by a professional intuitive, Reiki Master Teacher and former Sedona resident, SCHIZANDRA AND THE GATES OF MU presents a natural healing extravaganza. Most fantasies go far beyond what people can imagine in their own lives, but supernatural twists in this book spring from solid research. People want to believe in the unexplained. Each year, four million tourists visit Sedona seeking spiritual renewal; alternative medicine has become the new mainstream; even Oprah advocates higher consciousness. With series potential, this 60,000-word novel offers crossover appeal for young adults and older readers. It’s THE CELESTINE PROPHECY meets ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND. The plot surprises. The dialogue flies. Its characters will especially delight teens, caregivers, mystics, misfits, literary nerds and chocoholics. To a troubled world, SCHIZANDRA AND THE GATES OF MU brings hope. 


For those of you who don’t already know about the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest, it’s Amazon’s second annual writing contest for full length novels. The competition runs from February 8, 2009 when entries closed, until May 22, 2009, when the winner receives a $25,000 book contract from Penguin Books. Along the way, the field of 10,000 or so contestants gets whittled down to 2,000, then 500, then 100 and finally to 3, at which point Amazon account holders (anyone who’s ever purchased something from can vote on their choice for the winner.  For the first two levels, something known as “the pitch” plays an all-important role.  Judges will read the pitches and decide who gets to advance to a level of having an actual excerpt of the book read. Advance again, and you get your whole manuscript read and reviewed by Publisher’s Weekly. 

Because real readers get to vote on the final 3 excerpts, ABNA does run a bit like a literary American Idol. I decided to enter after a series of bizarre synchronicities, which you can read here. In any case, I’ve agreed to post occasional updates as the contest progresses.  I thought I’d share my pitch, just for fun. I’d welcome feedback from anyone who cares to comment.

(For those of you who are fans of Nestor the rabbit, she also makes a cameo appearance!) 

Coaching Yourself through Food Issues

Eating disorders, obsession with food, and perfectionism do not always end with a nutrition degree or a 100% raw vegan diet. Yes, removing toxins and processed foods helps—sometimes tremendously—but the pressure to look healthy, thin and beautiful can continue beyond education or dietary shifts. Often, it actually increases.

As a Medical Intuitive and Life Coach, I’ve encountered many nutritionists, spiritual healers and raw fooders who feel ashamed and embarrassed of their ongoing issues with food. As health advocates, they’re “not supposed to have these problems anymore!” “Why can’t they practice what they preach?” “Why the self-sabotage?” Secret cooked food binges, bulimia (overeating followed by regurgitation or excessive exercise), dangerously long fasts and detoxification attempts, uncontrollable cravings: this dark side of radiant health can plunge people into a sea of shame and depression—which, of course, they’re also not supposed to feel. “What if my clients or readers find out?” they worry. “You’re human,” I say. “And it’s more common than you think.” So common and under-reported, in fact, that I decided to write an article.

Fortunately, our bodies never betray us. They work on behalf of our souls—trying to grab our attention when nothing else has. As with any health concern, once we decode and accept the message, we can let the symptoms go. Most psychologists recognize these patients’ tendency toward perfectionism. Therapy attempts to negate self-judgment. This helps to some degree, but most “recovered” anorexics, overeaters or bulimics privately confess that the disorder returns whenever they feel out of control. Best case scenario, they can manage the stress and not return to old behavior patterns—but the thoughts remain. Telling someone to “drop the perfectionism” doesn’t provide a cure. In fact, it prevents the cure! Because, truth be told, these people know they can do better. They know they can live bigger, brighter, more influential lives—perhaps more than anyone around them imagines. The quest for perfect body or perfect health reflects a deeper urge to perfect the Self.

 Successful treatment of eating disorders needs to honor this inner drive—and create a safe space to explore unusual gifts and talents. In a society that feels more comfortable with mediocrity, it often seems easier to transfer the soul’s mission to the body. Thus, the anorexic who holds within her a fully compassionate, radiant, healing presence feels less conspicuous as a walking skeleton. The bulimic whose potentially bestselling words of wisdom could transform millions of lives finds it easier to throw up food than to write her book. The personal trainer who intuitively knows how to heal his clients’ self-esteem puts all his energy into pumping iron—so that people notice his body rather than his soul. The overweight psychic piles on pounds in order to subdue her too-bright inner glow. I’ve noticed a complex yet consistent dynamic in people with eating disorders. Yes, they exhibit perfectionist tendencies, but not in the way most people assume. The shame of imperfection stems less from impaired body image than from living below their natural capabilities.

On some level, these people recognize that they have gifts to share, but they get scared. Maybe the world won’t accept their unusual talents. Maybe family tells them they need to live a certain way. Perhaps some people find their message offensive. What if everyone thinks they’ve lost their minds? Whatever the rational for avoiding their gifts, these perfectionists intuitively know they’re not sharing what they could. The shame they express with regard to their bodies or eating habits really mirrors a deeper shame at not living as authentically and compassionately as they could. It doesn’t matter if people tell them they look good or consider them experts in their field. It doesn’t even matter if they are experts in their field! These people know they could do more, and they feel ashamed for slacking.

Ultimately, it’s not really about perfection, though. It’s about the “r” word. Responsibility. Having the kind of influence that changes lives can feel scary. Self-sabotage provides both distraction and “proof of unworthiness” to wield such influence. But physical/psychological symptoms can only distract for so long. Eventually, they demand attention, forcing people to deal with those latent gifts. The good news is that people do recover from eating disorders, and you can, too, by augmenting your traditional treatments with targeted personal growth exercises:

1 ) Practice mindful eating. Pay attention to your food. Notice the flavors, colors, textures and how these make you feel. Ponder all the people and processes involved in the growth and production of your food and express gratitude for the gift on your plate.

2 ) Start a meditation practice. You can buy a CD like Yogiraj Alan Finger’s Life Enhancing Meditations or Deepak Chopra’s SoulofHealing Meditation CD. Both offer excellent guidance in forgiving yourself and others, allowing you to open a bigger, more influential you. You can also try a kundalini yoga meditation called Sa Ta Na Ma. The words “sa ta na ma” translate roughly to birth, life, death, rebirth, and are thus a powerful transformative mantra. When chanting Sa Ta Na Ma, sit on the floor with your legs crossed and press your elbows to your ribs, so that your arms each form 90 degree angles at your sides. Press the fingertips to the pads on your palms and stick your thumb s up like a hitchhiker. Inhale deeply and then exhale all your air, sucking your navel towards your back. Holding the belly empty, chant silently within yourself four rounds of “Sa Ta Na Ma.” Inhale deeply and repeat this process at least six times, up to eleven minutes. The combination of completely emptying and then filling the lungs and belly, combined with the meaning, make this a super technique for people with eating disorders.

3 ) Whenever you feel “too big” physically, explore your spiritual gifts. If you don’t consciously know what these are, ask for guidance. They will reveal themselves! You can also take a 60 question inventory here: (If you are not Christian, modify the questions for your personal belief system.) People often feel “huge” not because of actual girth but because they have so much unused “stuff” inside of them.

4 ) When you feel the urge to purge, release in other ways. Honor pent-up energy, words and talents that seek expression. Write, paint, draw, volunteer. Share something beautiful!

5 ) When you want to starve yourself, “feed” the world. Look at people around you starving for emotional or spiritual nourishment. Offer random acts of kindness as support. Clean house and donate old clothes. Give until you feel balanced to receive again.

6 ) If you feel ashamed for your “issues,” remember where you’re headed. Shame will dissolve as you embrace your deeper purpose and share that beauty with the world. We change the world and our lives one small step at a time. Each day, concentrate on one small step—a journal entry, conversation, or application essay. An outfit of older clothes put together in unexpected ways. A walk in nature. A letter to the editor.

7 ) If your stomach bothers you, focus on your heart center. If you have trouble getting into your heart, imagine green, gold, or pink light moving in and out of you with your breath. Follow your breath and feel a pulsating warmth in the center of your chest. Let that warmth envelop you and radiate from you like warm, honey, emanating sweetness. Your heart’s just one step above your tummy, but that one step lifts you out of ego and into communion.

Related Post: A Three Day Gratitude Extravaganza

If you live in Northern California, you can hear Laura’s free talk, “The Strangest and Most Common Things Seen by a Medical Intuitive,” at Cafe Gratitude in Healdsburg on Monday, March 9.  707-658-2787 for details.

Accelerated Reiki 1 & 2 Classes (Sonoma County)

Reiki (pronounced “RAY-key”) is an ancient method of healing from Tibet. “Rei” means “universal” and “ki” corresponds to the “life force energy” known as Chi or prana in other Eastern systems like acupuncture or yoga.Thus, Reiki refers to the healing qualities of “universal life force energy.” Reiki works on physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels, restoring balance to body, mind and spirit. 

In this accelerated workshop, students will learn Reiki 1 & 2 in one day. This class is ideal for people already on a spiritual path, those who would like a fast-track to certification, massage therapists, or anyone who wants to send Reiki to people who live far away. Advanced techniques include ways to heal karmic wounds and early trauma. After completing this workshop, students will be certified Reiki Level 2 practitioners. Instruction includes:


History, nature, and science of Reiki. • Reiki Level 1 & 2 Attunements.

• Experiencing Reiki energy.       
• Using Reiki with other healing arts.
• Discussion of 21-day cleanse.     

• Treating animals and plants.

• Essence scanning process.

• Establishing a Reiki practice.

• Practice self-treatment hand positions.               

• Different qualities of Reiki energy

• Hayashi Healing Guide discussion.                        

• Clearing rooms & cleaning crystals

• Reiki Circles.                                                        

• What a Reiki lineage represents.

• Chakras and healing.                                            

• Mental/Emotional Balance technique

• Giving a Reiki treatment with hand positions.       

• How to send Reiki thru time & space

• Legal Responsibilities as a Reiki Practitioner.       

• How to amplify Reiki energy.


WHERE: Azure Clubhouse, 1 Indigo Dr., Petaluma, CA 94954

WHEN: Friday, May 29, 2009, 10 a.m. – 6 pm.

COST:  $350 if prepaid two weeks in advance, $400 if paid less than two weeks in advance.

TEACHER: Reiki Master Teacher, Medical Intuitive, Life Coach and author Laura Bruno, who has taught Reiki Certification classes since 2002. A popular speaker, Laura has taught all over the United States and also coaches Reiki Master Teachers on how to build a teaching and healing practice.