Archive for September, 2009

Healing and the Heart Chakra

When most people start studying the mind-body-spirit connection, they realize that the heart helps healing. Unconditional compassion, pure love: intuitively, we know that these vibrations can transform dis-ease into wholeness and bliss.

We also sense that a “broken heart” can contribute to illness, and that extreme anger can cause a heart attack. During my eight years as a practicing Medical Intuitive, I’ve found even more activity and potential  in the heart chakra! As humans, we could study the heart chakra forever because it continues to expand and evolve, but here are some of the most common things I’ve seen:

Major Systems of the Heart Chakra:

Circulatory System

This one’s pretty self-evident to most people. When speaking of the heart chakra, we expect to see the heart as part of it. High cholesterol, heart murmurs, heart attacks: all of these make sense. But the circulatory system also includes the blood itself, which means things like anemia and leukemia. Additionally, the movement of that blood comes into play with varicose veins, cold hands and feet, Reynaud’s Syndrome, and high or low blood pressure.

Some of these conditions straddle other chakras, and they all carry their own unique vibration and set of symbols, related to the individual soul and body in question. To give you an idea of how deeply and beautifully your body can talk, let’s look at something obviously related to the heart chakra: a heart murmur. If someone were to call me regarding a heart murmur, I would take a few moments to listen — really listen — to what that heart was murmuring! Intuitively, I would commune with the heart and ask what secret hopes, loves or desires it wants to express. Why does it feel compelled to murmur instead of thumping joyfully to the universe? A heart murmur usually sounds like an extra beat or “turbulence” in the blood flow. How do this heart’s natural desires not fit into the normal beat of life? In the case of a weak valve, where might the person be backtracking in life — expressing dreams and then pulling those back, not honoring the heart’s deepest desires?

Science recognizes connections among emotions and stress, and among stress and heart attacks. But these connections exist on all levels and in all disorders. With compassionate attention, the body’s secrets can be unlocked, revealing insights and opportunities for healing on all levels.

Respiratory System

Housed in the chest, the lungs make up a huge part of the heart chakra. I cannot tell you how many times someone calls me with pneumonia, bronchitis, the flu or lung cancer after experiencing a major period of grief. Grief resides in the lungs, and when we don’t fully release our grief, our lungs start shedding tears for us. Excess phlegm and mucus are the tears of the lungs.

Emphysema and asthma often occur when people cannot articulate their grief or when the cause for grief seems too little to justify its full expression. Coupled with this fear of being understood, grief literally suffocates until someone or something intervenes.

Lung cancer tends to come from extreme grief combined with anger/frustration and a sense of utter depletion from imbalanced giving. When Dana Reeve died of lung cancer, many people felt surprised because she hadn’t ever smoked. As a Medical Intuitive, I have seen lung cancer in a number of long-term caregivers, even (especially) if they felt very close to the one who needed care. Rather than directing the anger at the spouse or child, the anger starts to bubble up at the universe at large: how can a loving God allow such suffering? Why, after all this caregiving, all this love, is their loved one still dying? In the presence of grief, anger and what I call soul-weariness, that love begins to mutate, sometimes into cancer cells.

Immune System

This one surprises many people, but the thymus gland, located under the top of the breast bone, is part of the heart chakra. In children, the thymus gland plays an important role in developing the immune system. In adults, tapping on the thymus gland can “remind” the body to stand strong in the face of infection. All lymph nodes begin with seeding from the thymus gland, which means the emtire lymphatic system begins in the heart chakra. Unlike the circulatory system, the lymph system does not have a pump. It needs regular exercise and/or massage in order to move things around and clean house. By extension, issues with the lymphatic system require self-care, self-love and attention.

Common immune system/heart chakra issues? Allergies, auto-immune disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer (especially breast and lung cancer), influenza, AIDS/HIV, Lyme Disease, Lupus, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Epstein-Barr … Swine Flu … As humans, we are being asked to evolve in a major way through the heart chakra. It should come as no surprise that so many of our biggest killers  or most commonly “communicated” illnesses reside in the heart chakra.

Many people have heard me speak of Lyme Disease and Chronic Fatigue as “seventh chakra issues.” Indeed, they do affect both the heart and crown, one reason that survivors of these types of illnesses tend to become healers themselves. In general (and this is very general) I find that people with extremely wide open hearts often have immune issues, like their system is too friendly to bacteria. A solution is allowing the self to feel completely at one, and balancing the ebb and flow of love. Too much love out without receiving the equivalent from self or others can weaken the immune system. The solution is not to send out less but to allow the self to receive more.

On the flip side — also a generalization — I find that people who struggle with an overactive immune system benefit from backing down judgments of self or others. Allergies occur when the body recognizes an otherwise harmless substance as an invader. This mistaken attack by the immune system causes the symptoms we associate with allergies. I’ve found that people with intense allergies tend to have unresolved past life issues driving the reaction. Bringing those events to light can allow the immune system to stop attacking itself or innocent bystanders like food or pollen.

The Breasts

For the purposes of this article, I’ll just note that breast are also an important part of the heart chakra, especially for women. Breasts represent mothering, nurturing and the feminine principle. Breast cancer happens when sluggish lymph and toxins stagnate in the breasts. I’ve written much more extensively on breast health here.

Emotional Disorders and Imbalances

Depression, Phobias, Grief, Fear, Sorrow, Anxiety: all have at least one foot in the heart chakra. As the bridge between our three lower chakras and our three upper chakras, the heart picks up on a lot of imbalances from both the gut and the brain. For this reason, cleaning up the diet can affect both physical health and mood; practicing meditation to reduce stress offers the side benefit of opening the heart and radiating joy.

What You Can Do

Spend some time each day connecting with your heart. If you feel strong emotions there, you can try this meditation, which I’ve affectionately termed, “The Grief Eater.” Reiki also offers a way to balance your heart chakra. You can find a certified practitioner or learn how to give Reiki to yourself.

In general, if you have any health issue, you would be wise to ask your heart what it wants to share with you and with the world. As a culture, we have nearly lost touch with the language of the heart, but our hearts continue to cry out in layered songs and symbols.

Listen.

Love.

And do not be afraid.

As Helen Keller once said, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart.”

Laura Bruno is a Medical Intuitive, Soul Reader, Reiki Master Teacher and Life Coach. Click here to set up a session if you’d like more support.

Healing Lyme Disease

Several people have contacted me since I announced that my [now ex-] husband had managed to heal from severely debilitating Lyme Disease. I have written on this topic before in my book, If I Only Had a Brain Injury: A TBI Survivor and Life Coach’s Guide to Chronic Fatigue, Concussion, Lyme Disease, Migraine or Other Medical Mystery, available as an ebook and on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I also have a decent sized stash here, so feel free to contact me for a signed copy. The book went to print before Stephen recovered, but it does include our protocol from late 2004 until early 2008, when he had mostly recovered. Since early 2009, he has appeared to be completely Lyme-symptom-free, and people have asked if we discovered anything between 2008 and 2009.

I will share some of those things in this article. As I explain in the book and in other articles, Lyme Disease tends to affect people who have big things to offer the world. These people may already seem to be “on their path” and often excel in multiple areas at once, including the healing arts.  What I’ve noticed as a Medical Intuitive, spouse and friend to many people with Lyme Disease, is that the illness tends to appear in people who could go even deeper with their healing and creative gifts but for one reason or another feel locked into their current lifestyle. Perhaps they have unexpressed creative gifts like photography, painting or writing. Maybe they’ve been waiting for life to “let up” before they indulge such longings. I’ve noticed without fail, though, that the creative pursuits themselves offer healing — not just for the Lyme folks, but for the world in a bigger way.

Lyme seems to show up like a roto-rooter, forcing people to dig deep and remove ALL blocks to creativity and healing. To the outside world, these people usually look like they have no blocks because they’re moving so effectively through life, but Life has other plans. It’s as though these people came in with a bigger mission than their current lifestyle or world view allows. They may get nudged a few times, but if they don’t respond fully, then along come some little spirochetes to terrorize the immune and neurological systems into action. Like a guerilla army, the bacteria sneak inside without detection and then launch a massive attack that captures attention through shock and awe.

I have seen many patterns with Lyme patients: brighter than average in both intelligence and spirit, healing gifts that need even more expression than currently allowed, highly creative, and usually highly energetic prior to the Lyme fatigue. Things that do NOT seem related: diet, exercise level, and spiritual awareness. I have seen people catch Lyme while they eat all types of diets: South Beach, SAD, vegan, 100% raw vegan, vegetarian … it just doesn’t seem to matter in terms of who catches the disease. I’ve seen major athletes catch Lyme as well as total couch potatoes who just happened to cross paths with a rogue tick. I’ve seen people who’ve followed yoga for 20 years catch Lyme, as well as people for whom Lyme marked their very first foray into alternative spirituality.

The biggest common denominator seems to be that Lyme arrives when some anger has gone unexpressed and when self-love does not match the degree of love and blessings these folks spread into the world. The anger may stem from an anger at the way society treats the disenfranchised, or it may stem from early child abuse; it may relate to seething resentment from a relationship or series of relationships; it may come from a feeling that life has unfairly passed the person by even though they’ve sacrificed a lot to serve others. I don’t notice a pattern to the cause of anger, but the anger seems consistent among the many, many Lyme folks who’ve contacted me for Medical Intuitive readings. The second common denominator comes from the disparity between all the love going out from these folks and the degree to which they allow themselves truly to receive nurturing and love without a sense of earning it or paying it back. Lyme folks tend to be major givers with high vibes before they catch the spirochetes. Lyme arrives as a chance — albeit a difficult one — to become one with all that love flowing through their words and deeds. It becomes a chance to experience their own love the way others experience it … to realize that the universe supports and loves them and wants them to shine even brighter than they allowed themselves to imagine before.

As such, Lyme remains a very difficult disease to treat. Most of those affected are, in this lifetime or certainly in previous ones, highly advanced healers. This awareness (whether conscious or completely subconscious) makes them adept at sidestepping treatments that would bring about healing before the lessons take root. Intuitively, Lyme sufferers have a sense that something must need to shift, even though they may not realize what or to what degree things need changing.  I find this true of most diseases. Lyme just seems to operate at a faster and more aggressive level, outsmarting anyone who might offer relief before the soul receives its full blessing. I find it incredibly important to examine and treat the soul as well as the body. I wrote If I Only Had a Brain Injury because I know that most people with Lyme, brain injuries, or other medical mysteries cannot afford ongoing sessions. The book allows them to take steps to coach themselves.

That said, I have found a number of supplements that work very well on the physical level — providing the relief needed in order to focus on the mental, emotional and spiritual factors. Please remember, I am NOT a doctor. I am not offering medical advice here. I’m just sharing some things that have worked well for Stephen and/or for other Lyme survivors. I would never want anyone to suffer unnecessarily, so I’m offering some ideas here, which you can research on your own to see if they resonate with you. I am in no way affiliated with any of these supplements.

Prima Una de Gato: TOA-Free Cat’s Claw, also known as Samento. We started Stephen on this in 2006 and found major improvement with his speech impairment (he stopped talking in opposites), memory and some improvement in joint pain. A little goes a long way, and it must be added in gradually in order to avoid a major Herxheimer reaction.

Oil of Oregano This is just a great supplement to have on hand anyway, given all the concern about Swine Flu. Oil of Oregano is anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic. Its structure is complex and therefore less likely for the spirochetes to develop an immunity to. The pills tend to make people burp, but the liquid burns going down. Mixed in water with Liquid Chlorophyll seemed the easiest way for Stephen to swallow this consistently. It also offered extra alkalizing effects due to the chlorophyll. Those with respiratory illnesses can also inhale the steam from a few drops in a pot of boiling water.

Teasel Root Tincture This one’s hard to come by, but if you can find it, you may find it very helpful for joint aches. Taking teasel root completely removed years of arthritic symptoms in Stephen’s knees — almost overnight. I’ve heard similar stories from other Lyme folks who’ve managed to grow their own or find tinctures or teas online. You’ll have to Google this one for more info.

Reishi Mushrooms I tried putting Stephen on this early on and the die-off was too intense for him. Once he had improved significantly, though, I put him back on Reishi and his memory completely returned. He now seems sharper mentally than he did prior to his Lyme ordeal, which continues to amaze me.

Host Defense This is a specific blend of medicinal mushrooms. I don’t have Stephen on this now, but he and a number of others noticed major benefits while taking it. Stephen in particular had less joint pain and almost a normal amount of energy while taking this, as opposed to overwhelming fatigue when ill and not taking it.

Maitake Mushrooms Another medicinal mushroom, which seems to work well for Lyme and supporting the immune system. I switched from Host Defense to Maitake and Stephen made a leap forward in terms of energy and vitality. I’ve worked this in as a regular supplement even though he no longer shows any Lyme symptoms.

Resveratrol Found in skins of dark grapes, red wine, and Japanese Knotwood, this extract supposedly offers strong support for the immune system. I have Stephen on this as a regular supplement, and in addition to keeping the Lyme completely at bay, he’s noticed improved vision to the point of not needing glasses with his laptop computer. His periodontist also commented that his gums look better than ever and seem to be regenerating way faster than anticipated.

Nitrous Oxide This one sounds controversial, but we stumbled upon it “accidentally.” I had read that nitrous gets rid of Lyme Disease and Stephen needed some gum work. Late 2008, he was in severe pain and we ended up getting him some long overdue gum surgery. This involved some big rounds of antibiotics (helpful for Lyme, but they hadn’t killed it off over the years) as well as the option of nitrous oxide. He chose to use the nitrous and his symptoms improved exponentially each time he had a dose/gum surgery/periodontal cleaning. It is impossible to calculate how much of his improvement stems from ridding himself of the simultaneous infection in his gums that diverted his immune system from treating the Lyme … and how much direct improvement he received from the nitrous oxide itself. Again, this is controversial, but if you or someone you know suffers gum disease or dental issues AND has Lyme, you might at least want to get rid of the secondary infection.

Heat Some people have been known to inject themselves with malaria in order to overcome Lyme Disease — a fact that gives the unknowing some idea of just how devastating and desperate life with Lyme can seem. I spoke with a naturopath about this phenomenon and he told me that it’s the fever associated with malaria that does the trick. “If it doesn’t kill you, it kills the Lyme.” Some people use far-infrared saunas for similar results. Stephen and I just “lucked” into an odd situation in our new home. His office is on the upper level in what would normally be the master bedroom. While the downstairs stays cool during the day, the upstairs feels like a slow-cook oven. H-O-T, also known as miserably, unbelievably hot, even while the rest of the house stays quite cool in the Northern CA summer. Whatever lingering spirochetes he may have had when we moved in seem to have disappeared the more time he’s spent in the steamy upstairs. For this reason, we opted not to get a window A/C unit. I do keep an eye on him to make sure he doesn’t get heat exhaustion, and I give him coconut water to balance his electrolytes, but oddly enough, the heat seems to have done him a world of good.

Raw Foods As many of you know, I am the author of The Lazy Raw Foodist’s Guide, and in there I share that Stephen is not a raw foodist. He does, however, eat plenty of salads and drink the occasional juice. He also spent years drinking a “witch’s brew” of oil of oregano, prima una de gato, teasel root and liquid cholorophyll. Raw foods and chlorophyll alkalize the system, and Lyme Disease likes an acidic system. As mentioned above, I’ve known raw foodies who got Lyme anyway, but anything that alkalizes does create a less welcoming environment for spirochetes.

Colostrum Stephen sometimes takes this and at one point relied on it heavily. This is not a vegan product, but some vegans have opted to include it in their Lyme arsenal because it does seem to boost the immune system in a major way. Combined with Bach Flower Rescue Remedy, at one time Colostrum would instantly resolve any Lyme rage or Lyme anxiety, both common side effects of neurological Lyme.

Goji Juice High quality, pure goji juice seemed to boost Stephen’s immune system, but we stopped using it because the sugars coated his teeth and aggravated his gums. Some Lyme folks swear by goji juice or goji tea, though.

Probiotics Since most Lyme sufferers get hit with multiple rounds of intense antibiotics, some strong probiotics — from the refrigerated section — help to rebuild the gut. Keeping the intestinal flora balanced helps the body to fight any and all illnesses.

Chaga I have heard good things about chaga — another medicinal mushroom — but I haven’t given it to Stephen since I have him on so many other supplements right now and he’s asymptomatic. From an energetic perspective, chaga does seem to have a polar opposite vibe of Lyme Disease, so finding a sugar-free version may really help. I know David Wolfe has recommended chaga as a rebuilder of the immune system, and I’ve tried it myself. I don’t know any Lyme folks who’ve used it, though, so my comments here are based primarily on my energetic read of the plant.

I hope this post gives some people a place to start. I do not sell any of these products, and I am not wed to any particular brand. If you decide to research the products themselves, please take time to research brand quality on your own. I’ve just listed these items as a service since I know how difficult it can be to find diagnosis and treatment for Lyme Disease. Stephen’s doctors told us that if I hadn’t used alternative treatments on him he might have died before they recognized what was really going on. (He had Lyme meningitis.) His illness initally did not show up in blood tests — very common with Lyme — and no one would prescribe any antibiotics. In the case of Lyme, the antibiotics do seem to help, but the immune building herbs and mushrooms offer extra potent ways of rejuvenating the body and raising it from the realm of spirochetes to the realm of wholeness and bliss. Combined with life-path assessments, anger release and self-love, physical treatment offers real hope in the face of a growing epidemic.

Blessings!

Laura Bruno

I Ching, Sacred Geometry and Mercury Retrograde

Ever since my trip to Mendocino, I’ve felt less inclined to blog or tweet. Those days away from the computer (mine died on the trip) have turned into weeks as I’ve been borrowing my husband’s laptop and trying not to tax it much. We’re deciding whether to get mine fixed or just upgrade him to a newer model and let me keep the one I’m using, which runs rings around my poor, little fried friend. Even when we do decide, I suspect my computer habits will continue in their newly balanced ways. I’ve discovered that I can be much more conscious about my online time, and I’ve enjoyed the fruits of this newfound awareness. I decided to share some of those fruits here.

Swapping the I Ching for Twitter

Yep, you read that right. As much as I’ve enjoyed meeting people on Twitter (I even found the web designer for my Schizandra website via Twitter), I’ve also felt less centered since I started tweeting. Sometimes it feels like mandatory reporting or extra pressure to come up with something clever when my soul just wants to devote all creative writing time to book 2.

Last weekend, I went to the bookstore with my friend, Shana, and stumbled upon a slim copy of the I Ching. How synchronous! I was just researching correspondences between the 64 hexagrams of the I Ching and RNA/DNA sequencing. Apparently, the commonalities have been studied by scientists since the 1970’s, and some people believe these links extend to the 64 squares of a chessboard and certain combinations of ancient Runes. Cool stuff.

But back to the I Ching. I had never used this oldest form of divination before, and I have to say I’m loving it. Yesterday and most of today, whenever I got the urge to tweet, I instead threw three coins, drew a hexagram and consulted the I Ching. It’s just my way of learning it, but I’ve experienced tremendous calm and connectivity with this practice. Swapping the I Ching for Twitter makes me giggle; it also makes me feel even more in the flow than usual. I like shaking up my routine, and while I’m researching so many different things for book 2, it helps to read this gentle wisdom.

Sacred Geometry on YouTube

I haven’t completely ditched the internet, either. I found a link to a sacred geometry video on http://rainbowspace.blogspot.com/ and that led me to this fantastic YouTube channel.

Here’s one of my favorite videos:

I began studying Sacred Geometry in high school during a Classical Literature course that featured the works of Plato. We learned about the Five Platonic Solids and the Music of the Spheres. I picked up the study again in college due to my Art History Minor. So many of the great cathedrals in Europe employed Master Builders for their construction. An entire code of numbers and shapes exists within the framework of each dome, flying buttress and gargoyle. When I discovered Francene Hart’s Sacred Geometry Cards at a store in Monterey, CA, I realized that these numbers and shapes originally came from nature. That opened another layer of understanding for me. The more I study Sacred Geometry, the more fascinated I become.

Mercury Retrograde: Surviving and Thriving

Mercury went Retrograde on September 7, 2009 and goes direct on September 29, 2009. Mercury Retrograde is an astrological term describing something that occurs three or four times per year (four in 2009 and 2010). For approximately three weeks at a time, the planet Mercury appears to move backwards relative to Earth. Mercury Retrograde is perhaps the best known astrological phenomenon –even by people who don’t normally “follow” astrology.

Why? Because Mercury rules communication, and when communication moves backwards all sorts of things become chaotic. I didn’t really believe in this phenomenon until I started coaching people. I noticed that during certain three week periods, all or most of my clients experienced major misunderstandings with spouses, friends, family and/or co-workers, and that emails had a tendency to bounce back for no known reason. Checks would get lost in the mail, and oftentimes intensities would arise that no one truly cared about, but somehow everyone felt s/he needed to do battle over them anyway. In my own life, I found that PayPal transfers often went haywire, and my husband’s computer would crash like clockwork three times per year.

I finally started paying attention to Mercury Retrograde and found that I could prepare myself and my clients for these time periods. We do create our own realities, but the more in tune we are, oftentimes the more we feel the effects of various planets. Astrologers suggest some general guidelines:

1) If at all possible avoid signing contracts or negotiating details during a Mercury Retrograde.

2) Back up your computer before Mercury goes Retrograde, and avoid downloading new software until Mercury goes Direct.

3) Allow extra time for financial transactions as they may get delayed. The check that always arrives “just in time,” might arrive late during a Mercury Retrograde. Have a Plan B or C, just in case.

4) Try to avoid discussions about heated issues, unless you don’t mind risking a full-on fight. Mercury rules communication, and oftentimes Mercury Retrograde results in people hearing false accusations even though none were intended.

5) Have patience with your electronics. They’re trying their best. If your phones, computer, email, cell phone or internet act up, take a deep breath and ask yourself if you really need to push things right now. Pushing usually makes things worse, especially during a Mercury Retrograde. Having a sense of humor about how much we’ve come to rely on our communication tools can help shift your energy from total frustration bordering on insanity to an appreciation of the natural ebb and flow of life.

6) Don’t get upset if someone doesn’t respond to your emails or phone calls during this time. It may not be personal at all. Cyberspace has a way of gobbling up undelivered messages during Mercury Retrograde. See if you can wait until it goes Direct.

7) Try to avoid travel or anything related to travel during these times. Flights have a tendency to get delayed, reservations lost, and baggage misplaced. If you must fly, pack an extra set of clothes in your carryon and make sure you have what you’d need if you spent more time in the airport than initially planned. If you must drive somewhere, bring a good book on tape in case you spend extra hours in traffic. Preparation does not mean you will cause yourself delays; it just means you’ll enjoy your time should an unavoidable delay occur.

Ways to thrive in Mercury Retrograde. The last list focused on survival, but Mercury Retrograde does support some special actions:

1) Finish up any old, lingering projects. You might not want to submit, release, or publish them during this time, but old projects can benefit from a fresh look. Mercury also helps with creativity, making Mercury Retrograde an ideal time to edit or revise.

2) Clean out your closet, file drawer or office. Again, that Retrograde energy amplifies your ability to process through old things.

3) Evaluate how well you’ve achieved your goals and what things you’d still love to bring into your life. Mercury is also the messenger to the gods, similar to an angel. Mercury Retrograde marks a period of Mercury “slowing down,” which means our requests and longings can find more potent expression into the universe. This is a terrific time to ponder intentions.

4) Enjoy some solitude or time away. Read a book, take a walk in nature, or practice mindfulness with a sense of humor.

5) I’ll say it again: have a sense of humor. Mercury, or quicksilver, in alchemy is also known as a trickster god. Mercury changes forms fast and especially influences those born under the sign of Gemini. In fact, people with lots of Mercury in their astrological charts tend to feel Mercury Retrograde more strongly than others. If you can get in touch with that laughing trickster side, you’ll find that Mercury Retrograde stirs the pot in mischievous yet potentially healing ways. A little giggle goes a long way.

6) If you’d like to try something but want to make sure you have some kind of loophole, Mercury Retrograde offers the perfect chance for that. Things almost always go awry with commitments made during this time, so if you feel commitment-shy, you can ensure yourself some wiggle-room during these times. It doesn’t mean a contract or agreement will end; it just means things may happen that would render it null and void if one or both parties decided they wanted out.

7) Realize that you do have influence. You are not a slave to astrology, and you can maximize any events that come your way. Attitude makes a huge difference. If you can practice acceptance with curiosity, you will find Mercury Retrogrades can offer potent transformations in your life. As a Gemini who feels these shifts both in my own life and in the lives of those I coach, I have come to love Mercury Retrogrades! They feel like cosmically sanctioned vacations and I take them as such. I ease up on communication and turn inside, enjoying the still point within swirling chaos. It provides excellent practice for the rest of life, too, because life has a funny way of surprising us sometimes. With Mercury Retrograde as training ground, we can learn to meet anything and everything with Grace.

http://www.internationalrenaissancecoaching.com

Mendocino/Fort Bragg Vacation

Yes, it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything! Last week, my friend Tania Marie and I traveled to the Mendocino Coast for some much needed rest and relaxation. She had just finished the fourth in a series of five major paintings, and I still hadn’t officially celebrated the release of Schizandra and the Gates of Mu. I only had a few days for this getaway, so we picked somewhere close and dear to my heart. (Some of you may remember how much fun I had in Fort Bragg/Mendocino on my birthday last year.)

We truly experienced a magical, mind-blowing trip this time, much of which I am still processing. I’ll give you a bit of a recap here, though:

The Food

OK, first and foremost, Tania and I wanted to eat. We had originally planned to go to Santa Cruz, CA, but when we learned that their raw food restaurant had closed, we opted for Fort Bragg, home of the Living Light Culinary Institute. For those of you who’ve never heard of Cherie Soria, the founder, she has trained most of today’s top raw food chefs. You can find an interview of Cherie and her husband Dan here. I’m a bit spoiled in Sonoma County with both Cafe Gratitude and Seed Restaurant in close proximity, and Tania frequently visits L.A. with its enormous raw variety. We wanted to enjoy ourselves this trip and not worry about the food.

We began with a gas stop in Healdsburg. Yes, Tania has a hybrid, so maybe we didn’t really need gas, but we did fill up — both the Highlander and our bellies. Cafe Gratitude in Healdsburg called. We each got a large juice (I Am Worthy and I Am Healthy) and then noshed on our favorite: I Am, I Am — chocolate ice cream inside chocolate cookies. Sufficiently fueled, we hit the road for the two hour drive to our ocean getaway.

We arrived forgetting where we planned to stay, so we stopped at Harvest Market to “use the facilities,” buy some lusciously fresh figs and figure out our next stop. I must note here that Harvest Market is perhaps the friendliest, loveliest place I have ever grocery shopped. The staff literally escorted me to the restrooms, held open the door, and later directed me knowledgeably through the aisles to find water and MSM. Everyone smiled, and the store offered a nice combo of both natural products and reasonably healthy “normal” items, so a family could conceivably do all their shopping in one place. The staff also gave accurate directions to our hotel (we found our reservations but still didn’t know how to get there). Yes, Fort Bragg’s fairly small, but I always appreciate good directions!

Once settled, we headed over to Living Light for a pre-beach-meal. We ended up eating at Living Light’s Cafe at least once per day, guzzling Green Giant Juice and their “tuna” sandwiches. Holy wow, do those taste real. Better than real. I never liked tuna sandwiches until I went raw, but these really hit the spot. Their Taco Salad was yummy, too, but we kept returning to the tuna. And the cacao. Oh, dear me, do they ever have a delicious cacao pecan bar!

On the first night, we ate at a place in Mendocino called Raven’s, because we had heard they offered one raw entree, appetizer and dessert per evening. The food was OK, but the atmosphere exquisite. We felt grateful to have any raw options at such a classy place with a view. From our window seat, we watched hundreds of ravens fly in front of the sun as it set above giant redwoods and the pristine coast. As we continued our dinner (flax crackers with a carrot spread, a delectable gazpacho, sprouted quinoa “enchilladas” and a very satisfying peach cobbler), the staff lit a cozy fire, and tiny white lights outside illuminated the archway leading into Raven’s and the Stanford Inn. It felt like Christmas! We went to our hotel and slept like babies.

The Lodging
We stayed at Shoreline Cottages, on the outskirts of Fort Bragg, closer to Mendocino. Truth is, we got a screamin’ good deal and our little trip only cost us $111 each for two nights’ lodging in a 2-Queen room. A little wink from the universe. We would stay there again. I loved all the eco-toiletries, and natural fabrics. I have never slept in a more comfortable bed!

My only complaint is that the “beach within walking distance” involved some substantial hiking down slippery, semi-flooded out steps near someone’s house. We had perfect weather — seventy degrees and sunny our whole trip — but large pools of water still made the steps a bit difficult to navigate. When we did arrive at the “beach” we found we could see the ocean, but a giant pool of water separated us from the actual coast. It looked like we could possibly walk the long way around, but the area felt isolated for two 100-pound-ish women walking alone. In the distance we noticed two large men drinking and eyeing us, so we promptly flitted up the steps and drove to Mendocino’s headland trails along the coasts.

I had never seen the headlands on a sunny day, and I would just go straight here next time. Absolutely stunning! We walked for hours each day, and often marveled at our “luck” in choosing Shoreline Cottages for their low cost proximity to Mendocino’s amazing views.

The Experience
For all our fun and relaxation, Tania and I both felt some sort of calling to the Mendocino Coast specifically at this time. We had planned to go earlier, and events intervened to make that impossible. We had planned to go later, and intuitions intervened to make that really not seem wise. We planned to go other places, and information came through via email about various restaurant closings. It sounds mundane here, but the number of nudges we received had become so diverse and so frequent that by the time we arrived, we felt an air of expectation. Just what might happen to us on this strangely orchestrated getaway? Tania wanted information for her next painting, and I had reached a point of “stuckness” for Schizandra and the Peruvian Jaguar (book 2 in the series). I felt like I had too many plots and too many characters and how in the world would all of this integrate into a single novel?

The first night, when we returned from Ravens, my laptop died. I have an odd relationship with my laptop. It’s almost like a “familiar,” responding to my moods, insights and energy. It died when I released my first ebook, first book and second ebook, only to be resurrected by a new Motherboard, a $111 computer repair, and a new power cord. I’ve found that whenever I start to “download” a bunch of potentially overwhelming information into my brain, my laptop goes funky. Well, my laptop died. I suspect I caught a trojan due to the hotel internet system’s lack of a firewall, because I just landed on a website and the laptop froze, then shut off, then on, then off, then on, until I could manually turn it off. Annoying, yes, but I also experienced it as a blessing. Having the laptop offline made me feel more cocooned in the magic of the Mendocino Coast.

After a juice and lunch at Living Light, we made our way to the headlands and walked for hours along the cliffs at water’s edge. We sat down and took off our shoes, rooting ourselves into the rocks and earth. Tania did her own meditation/intending, while I sat on the cliff breathing the sea, feeling the wind and engaging in a version of the sa-ta-na-ma meditation. This is an ancient kundalini meditation that works with the roots “Sat” and “Nam,” meaning “I am truth” or “Truth is my true identity.” Divided into the syllables, it roughly translates: “Infinity, Life, Death, Rebirth” — essentially, the creative process itself. I asked that whatever creative block I had reveal itself and disintegrate, so that I could integrate everything coming at me for book 2. I learned later that Tania had asked that she and I receive some sort of sign about our paths and confirmation of the next creative projects coming through us.

When finished, we stood up and hiked back to town among the golden grass, turquois waters and rocky ledges. We began talking about the movie, “The Neverending Story” and the main character, Atreyu. I don’t remember the context of the conversation because I really had to pee! LOL, that was a theme for me this trip. We got back to town and I felt we must, absolutely must get to this one street where I was sure I would find the right spot to go. Since I had to go so bad, Tania pointed out a variety of places along the way, but something made me keep heading in the direction of the street I felt sure we’d find. Sure enough, a public bathroom stood on that corner. Relieved on multiple levels, we turned up the street, wondering what to do with ourselves. For as much as we’d craved a vacation, we felt a bit adrift with nothing at all on the agenda, no creative project to manifest, and no sessions for me to offer. Just us. Just Mendocino. What, we wondered, lay in store for us, since it seemed so very insistent we spend these three days here.

In another “must do” moment, I got the sense we should stop for a Mate Latte. Tania had never had one of these concoctions of Yerba Mate, and Moody’s Coffee Shop on our “special” street just happened to offer Mate Lattes with steamed Oat Milk. We asked the barissta what she thought we should do and discovered that aside from kayaking or driving or eating somewhere else, we had pretty much “done” the highlights. So … we sat down and enjoyed the stunning weather. We again voiced the magical words, “I wonder …” and Tania started staring off into space while I blissed out on my slightly stevia sweetened Mate Latte.

At that moment, a long-white-haired, long-white-bearded man with a cane crossed our path. He walked past us and then spun around, trying to see whatever Tania seemed so intent upon. Finding nothing of startling interest, he asked her and she said, “Oh, I’m just looking at nothing, but now that I see it, I really love your necklace.”

“It’s Atreyu’s necklace,” he said. “Do you know Atreyu? He walks the Middle Way.”

Tania and I glanced at each other and replied together, “We were just talking about The Neverending Story. Where did you get your necklace?”

“I ahsked for it,” he said. “Not ask, but A-S-S-K. Ahsked.”

“We were just doing some asking ourselves,” we giggled.

I happened to be wearing a jeweled bindi sticker over my third eye and an Om necklace, which the man noticed. “Om is older than Sanskrit,” he said.

“I know,” I said and smiled.

He stared at my bindi and said, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God and the Word was–”

“Om,” I said. Tania and I looked at each other, having heard me pontificate on such things before. 🙂

Back to the necklace. Tania asked again where he got it, and then noticed some other jewelery on his wrists, for which he had also “ahsked.”

He asked us, “So what are you doing in Mendocino?”

“A-S-S-King,” we said. “We’re on vacation but we wanted to know the next step in our projects.”

“She’s a writer,” explained Tania.

“A writer,” said the man, “do you know about the 22 male runes?”

“I do,” I said.

“And do you know about the female runes and all the corresponding words and numbers?”

“I do not,” I said.

He asked if he could sit down, which we eagerly encouraged him to do. He then proceeded to whip out a hundred-or-so page notebook filled with double columns of runes. Each page looked the same, but with different sets of correspondences. “The Code,” he said, then talked to us for about 2 hours. It was fascinating. Then he had to pee — yes, the theme! — and so he left us. We tossed our drinks and went on another walk at the headlands. On the way back to the car, we ran into him again, “Down the road …” as he liked to say.

Then we headed back to Fort Bragg with the idea of renting a movie. We stopped at Harvest Market Shopping Center wanting to find the nearest Blockbuster. A store called “Music Merchant” caught my eye, but I went into the hardware store instead. I learned that the nearest Blockbuster was in Santa Rosa, two and a half hours away! OK, any other rental spots? Everyone directed me to a place downtown until someone literally ran up to me, interjected himself into the conversation and said, “No, you have to go to Music Merchant. They rent videos now, too.”

I told Tania, and we parked the Highlander and entered the Music Merchant. I bought Led Zeppelin’s “Mothership” and we rented “The Matrix” (thoughts on those some other time). As I put them into my bag, we heard a jolly laugh behind us, followed by, “Third time’s the charm!” Our white-bearded, Atreyu-necklace-wearing friend. Tania and I had just commented how we wished we could have spent more time with him, and (poof!) he appeared. We wound up spending another five hours with him in the atrium of Living Light’s Cafe. Holy download.

Suffice to say, the writer’s block has left. You haven’t seen a blog post in over a week because I’ve been typing and/or reading practically non-stop between sessions since I returned. Tania experienced the same phenonmenon with regard to her next painting. Layers upon layers of encoded meanings and associations. We’re loving it. I have not done justice to the otherworldy feeling of this encounter. I suppose I could have begun, “Two fair maidens met a werewolf on Full Moon’s Eve” or “the shaman and the faeries walked together and down the road” or “a person’s word is bond.”

But I think I’ll just say, “we tiptoed into the Pomegranate Garden, tasted the fruit and smiled.”

Blessed Be.