Archive for November, 2010

TSA, Radiation, Miso and Seaweed

UPDATE: I wrote this article in November 2010, before Fukushima. The studies remain valid, but as a precaution, I personally would not eat seaweed from Japan or the West Coast at this time. Please use your own inner guidance, as I am just sharing others’ research and my own experience, not offering medical advice here. Blessings!

I’m taking a packing break and this thought keeps running through my head. Regardless of your opinion of the legality, appropriateness or effectiveness of the TSA high powered radiation (naked body image) scanners, I wanted to share some information about miso and seaweed as antidotes to cancer-causing radiation levels. I’ve known about this connection since I began studying Macrobiotics in 2006:

“At the time of the world’s first plutonium atomic bombing, on August 9, 1945, two hospitals were literally in the shadow of the blast, about one mile from the epicenter in Nagasaki. American scientists declared the area totally uninhabitable for 75 years. At University Hospital 3000 patients suffered greatly from leukemia and disfiguring radiation burns. This hospital served its patients a modern fare of sugar, white rice, and refined white flour products. Another hospital was St. Francis Hospital, under the direction of Shinichiro Akizuki, M.D. Although this hospital was located even closer to the blast’s epicenter than the first, none of the workers or patients suffered from radiation sickness. Dr. Akizuki had been feeding his patients and workers brown rice, miso soup, vegetables and seaweed every day. The Roman Catholic Church—and the residents of Nagasaki—called this a modern day miracle. Meanwhile, Dr. Akizuki and his co-workers disregarded the American warning and continued going around the city of Nagasaki in straw sandals visiting the sick in their homes.

“Since the 1950s, Soviet weapons factories had been dumping wastes into Karachar Lake in Chelyabinsk, an industrial city 900 miles east of Moscow. Many local residents began to suffer from radiation symptoms and cancer. In 1985, Lidia Yamchuk and Hanif Sharimardanov, medical doctors in Chelyabinsk, changed their approach with patients suffering from leukemia, lymphoma and other disorders associated with exposure to nuclear radiation. They began incorporating miso soup into their diet. They wrote: ‘Miso is helping some of our patients with terminal cancer to survive. Their blood improved as soon as they began to use miso daily.’

“Over a 25-year period, the Japanese Cancer Institute tested and tracked 260,000 subjects, dividing them into three groups. Group one ate miso soup daily, group two consumed miso two or three times a week, while group three ate no miso at all. The results were stark: those who had not eaten any miso showed a 50% higher incidence of cancer than those who had eaten miso.”

(The above is from an article called “Working Alchemy.”) You can read about the Seaweed Defense here. Those of you who, like me, love spirulina will be happy to know that during Chernobyl, Russian children were fed spirulina in order to combat the toxic effects of radiation. In addition to radiation, sea veggies and algae also chelate heavy metals and other toxins from the system. Just as they purify water, these algae and seaweeds can purify our blood.

I’m not suggesting people stop standing up for their rights; however, if you do find yourself going through TSA screenings, finding yourself some miso soup and/or sea vegetables (seaweed) can help your body deal with the effects of radiation.

Some common forms of seaweed include:

Nori (most often used as sushi wrappers)

Kombu (most often used to soften beans and make them more digestible; also a good skin softener when added to the bath)

Sea Palm (a crunchy, raw salad topper)

Wakame (a mild tasting seaweed, often used in miso soup, which helps balance female hormones)

Hijiki (also called Hiziki, a strong flavored seaweed that requires extensive soaking and/or cooking, Hijiki is loaded with calcium and will give you radiant skin)

Dulse (a reddish-brown colored seaweed, often found in flake form and used to create fish flavors in vegetarian/vegan dishes)

Kelp (often used as a salt replacement, kelp granules–and most seaweeds–are very high in iodine. Use cautiously if you are on thyroid medication)

With all the ocean pollution these days, you might wonder where to buy high quality, raw seaweeds. California’s Mendocino Coast has very little industry and thus cleaner water than most places. Ocean Harvest Sea Vegetables are recommended by my friend Cecilia of RawGlow. In addition to the many free recipes and videos on her blog and website, Cecilia has also created a Sea Vegetable Recipe EBooklet as a way to help people become braver about embracing the minerals and healing power of seaweed.

A few notes about seaweed:

1) If your skin tends to break out from fish or other high-iodine containing foods, you may want to lean more towards sea palm and wakame than dulse or kelp.

2) You can save the soak water of sea vegetables and then use it to flavor soups, savory smoothies, nut/seed spreads or as a base for cooking grains.

3) Sea vegetables and miso do contain lots of salt, and a little goes a long way. If you have high blood pressure or need to monitor sodium, make sure you factor in how much miso or sea weed you’re using.

4) Signs of having too much sodium can include swollen fingers, tension headaches and excessive thirst.

A few notes about miso:

1) For the Japanese, making miso is like making wine: there are many flavors ranging from light to rich and deep. Generally, the lighter the color the milder the taste. Before buying, get a sense of which flavors/colors your recipes call for. Although you can substitute miso colors, if a recipe specifies a particular type, a change in color will alter the end result.

2) Most miso is made from fermented soybeans mixed with a variety of grains, including barley and/or rice. You can also find chickpea miso if you wish to avoid soy.

3) Warm miso soup with chopped wakame makes a cozy start to the day, relaxing the stomach and easing digestion.

4) Never boil miso; doing so destroys the beneficial cultures. If a soup or cooked recipe calls for miso, you will generally want to mix it in at the very end, once the liquid has cooled enough to feel comfortable to the touch. Alternatively, you can mix the miso in a small glass of warm water and add right before serving.

I hope everyone has fun with these tips and flavors. Even without the TSA scanners, flying can expose you to higher than usual levels of radiation just by moving so much closer to the sun. Traveling with seaweed or enjoying a cup of miso soup at the airport or after a flight can keep your immune system and the rest of your body feeling nourished and supported.

If you’re flying for Thanksgiving, I wish you safe travels. And to everyone, a Happy Gratitude Day!

Chicago Raw Food

Better late than never, right? I stumbled upon a fabulous raw food restaurant in the Loop area of Chicago, just two weeks before moving away to Madison, Wisconsin. RAW (Raising Awareness Worldwide) is located at 131 N. Clinton, in the French Market at Ogilvie Train Station. I wish I had known about it during all of those trips to get my BlackBerries replaced! Still it was worth the wait and now I can get prepared raw yumminess just a quick Metra train ride from my apartment.

Laura Bruno at RAW in Chicago's French Market

As you can see, RAW offers a wide selection of superfoods, supplements and tricky to find staples. Carole, one of the owners who was there that day, really knows her stuff! I overheard her giving the exact same advice I often give to clients, and it was some pretty obscure advice. Kudos!

And the food … OMG … The food. Was really. Fabulous. It’s takeout, but you are welcome to sit at one of the many tables in the nearby back of the market. RAW is in the Northeast Corner, very close to the tables. If you show up around “regular” meal times, you will find a table of samples awaiting your curious and soon-to-be-delighted tastebuds:

I think I tried everything on the entree and dessert menu, mostly because I could. It all tasted amazing. Carole also handed out some samples earlier in the day, to whet appetites for the main event. A normal person might have felt full, but not me. All those samples just alerted my ravenous belly that good food was on the way. I visited with a friend, and we took advantage of the takeout nature, opting to order many items, some for there and many to go. Here’s what we tried:

Raw Lasagna at RAW

This might possibly be the best raw lasagna either of us had ever eaten. I don’t know what they do to get the texture just right, but it almost seemed cooked, and I mean that as a compliment. The sauce and spinach just sparkled with flavors, though, far outmatching any cooked counterpart. I liked that it felt so filling yet easy to digest, probably due to the relatively simple panel of ingredients: spinach, zucchini, basil, tomato, garlic, rosemary, cashews, lemon, nutritional yeast, Himalayan Sea Salt (HSS) and Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO). You could taste the individual components, and yet they blended perfectly, too. Big ups for the raw lasagna!

Raw Vegan Sushi

The Raw Sushi also surprised and excited. My favorite part? The nori rolls actually contain Blue Manna. For those of you familiar with Crystal Manna, the blue green algae from Klamath Lake, Oregon, Blue Manna is like a super potent healing extract from this superfood. To find it incorprated in an entree further made my day on a day in which so many things did just that. The spiced pumpkin seeds added a nice crunch as a topping. If I hadn’t had some bizarre craving for tomatoes all day, I might have ordered the sushi, too. Instead, I just nibbled on a couple pieces of this very generous portion.

We sampled a spirulina mint dessert, as well as some sort of apple pie, a chocolate something, and a lemon square. All delicious, but I have to say I loved their savory foods so much I almost didn’t want to change flavors by segueing into the sweet stuff. Knowing my predilection for spirulina and cacao, this speaks volumes about how much I enjoyed lunch!

We ordered a bunch of things to go and then divided them up, so that we could mix and match at home, thereby trying more items. I have not tolerated gluten for many years. I ate a bit in some friends’ tabouli back in February, but it totally made my skin break out, and I got a headache afterwards. For some reason, the sandwiches at RAW looked so tasty that I decided to throw caution to the wind. I at sprouted wheat and sprouted rye dehydrated “bread” from RAW with zero negative side effects. Another making of my day!

Falafel Patties Sandwich

(Raw Vegan) Salmon Patties Sandwich

The Salmon Patties tasted so good they got me hooked on Wakame seaweed again. I dug some out of my little Macrobiotic stash and experimented with it for a few meals this week. Both the sandwiches we ordered to go came with enough onion crunchies for that sandwich, plus extra for my next day’s homemade collard-burdock wraps using their raw, sprouted hummus:

Raw Sprouted Garbonzo Bean Hummus

The best parts of the Garden Burger, in my opinion were the condiments, expecially the ketchup! By this I don’t mean to imply that the burger tasted bad; the condiments just tasted extra good:

Garden Burgers at RAW Chicago

In addition to the amazingly fresh, flavorful, filling food, I love the vibe of this place. They sell handcrafted “Prosperity Trade” goods, going a step above “Fair Trade.” Instead of providing third world workers with just enough of a wage to live upon, which is still more than many places do, RAW selects goods from people who have been paid more than just the bare minimum. This feeling of abundance spreads through the whole experience at RAW. Again, their name stands for Raising Awareness Worldwide.

With all their free samples, they are certainly doing their part to raise awareness in Chicago, too! The French Market features lots of fresh produce booths as well as more standard American and fatty European fare. RAW holds it own there. In line, several people remarked to me that they had gotten hooked on the feel-good lunches after skeptically trying the samples. They could not believe healthy could taste so good. A lot of love goes into that food, too. You can taste it and feel it, even while standing in line. The staff greets everyone with respect, taking time to answer questions, yet also keeping things moving over a busy lunch hour. It’s rare to find such caring service that remains present to the needs of the next customer behind the current chatty one.

I also discovered that the Universe had answered my plea for a nearby prepared raw vegan Thanksgiving option, as I will need to spend most of that day packing. (Due to the Chicago classes on the 20th and 21st, I can’t really start until Monday of Thanksgiving week, and I move that Saturday.) RAW offers a three course Thanksgiving Day Dinner ‘ala’ RAW, which contains:

Butternut Squash Soup
“Turkey” (faux turkey with mashed ‘potatos,” gravy, cranberry sauce and stuffing
Caramelized Brussels Sprouts
Pumpkin Pie
Rosemary Crackers
and Not ‘Eggnog’

Orders must be placed by Monday, November 22 and picked up on Tuesday the 23rd or Wednesday the 24th: 312-831-2720 or

I’ve already place my order, and I’m happy to say, “I’ll be back!”

Happy Gratitude Day

The Secrets of Self-Hypnosis

I’ve been invited to participate in a special Eldon Taylor promotion. For those of you who don’t know, Eldon Taylor is a bestselling Hay House author and creator of over 300 books, audio and video programs. This is a one-day event, wherein you can receive a cornucopia of freebies from people like Louise Hay, Dr. Wayne W. Dyer and even little ole me. (I’m gifting a Global Reiki Healing Attunement on 12/21/10 at 12:21 a.m.) As you know, I rarely participate in these sorts of events, but I happened to hear Eldon Taylor interviewed a week prior to being asked to support this promotion. I was so impressed by his story, transformation, knowledge and dedication to helping people free themselves! That, coupled with the synchronicity, led me to say yes.

(Just to clarify, I’m not receiving any kind of commission for these links, but there are a lot of freebies, and with Thanksgiving rapidly approaching, I thought I’d send some gifts your way.)

Here’s what Eldon Taylor’s folks have to say:

Most people are fascinated with the intrigue and mystique behind
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and once you have learned how to do it, it becomes totally free!

New York Times best-selling author and Hay House Radio Show Host, Eldon Taylor, is one of the foremost researchers in the power of the mind. Eldon is a Fellow of the American Psychotherapy Association (APA), a certified hypnotherapist with the American Guild of Hypnotherapists, and has served as a court expert witness on hypnosis. He has a proven audio course that teaches you how to hypnotize yourself and he has agreed to make this package available to you at a special discount.

Learn More Here

With Eldon Taylor’s Self Hypnosis Training Collection, you are both the
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Learn More Here.

Here’s what one user said:

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The collection consists of 4 CDs and a training manual, and will
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This collection normally sells for $119.00, but for a limited time
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I know this collection will make a powerful difference in your life and that is why I have joined with many leading visionaries in offering special bonus incentives worth hundreds of dollars when you obtain your copy today.

This is a limited time offer. Get your copy and enjoy
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P.S. Sorry, this offer is only available in English and cannot be
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Singapore, Taiwan or U.K.

Prophetic Dreams

In another round of plagiarizing my earlier self, I decided to share some dreams I recorded in 2000. I have to admit, I have freakin’ awesome dreams. 🙂 I download door ideas, find places to live, receive information to help clients and friends, and sometimes just feel overwhelmed by the beautiful images, colors and music. Yes, music. I often awake to chants or songs that continue to play through my brain as it fully embraces each new day.

During the year 2000, I lived in Evanston, Illinois, on the north side of Chicago, also right by Lake Michigan: essentially, the inverse of Hyde Park, with Northwestern instead of University of Chicago as the “college” in that neighborhood. Still completely disabled from my 1998 brain injury, I spent most days lying on the couch and meditating, going to visual therapy, listening to books/lectures on tape and eating out with friends. Despite the massive headaches and brain fog, 2000 remains one of the richest writing years for me. I could not reread what I wrote, and it’s possible that right now is the first time I’m unearthing many of the gems I left behind. I’m so glad I did. A decade + later, I see that the following dreams and journal entries have proven uncannily prophetic in my life. I hope you find them inspirational and insightful in yours as well:


“Go, Your Faith has healed you.”

“Even youths grow tired and weary
Even young men stumble and fall
But those who hope in the Lord shall renew their strength.
They shall soar on wings like eagles
They shall run and not grow weary
The will walk and not faint.”



Last week:

I looked up and saw a brilliant white light which shot down into my mouth. I ate it like food and asparagus stalks sprouted from my head. They surrounded my face like rays of the sun, and people would pluck and eat the spears. The light fed me and the spears continued to regenerate as people ate them.

(asparagus=sign of prosperity
circle, sun, spiritual food)


Mandala. I stood in the center while four vortexes spun around me. I woke up knowing it was my calling. The shaman was the central point. The calling was four faceted:

spiritual leader



Focus point. Special place to focus through the hole that allowed you to see from an eternal perspective so that huge distances looked small. Depressed people were stuck because they couldn’t find the spot to look. But once you “got it” it was so easy to jump “impossible” distances. It was fun. I jumped like a somersaulting canonball across the ocean and it was like diving two feet off the end or a bed through a hoop. You had to look up at a special point and your perspective changed.

“What is impossible for man is possible with God.”

Another Dream:

I was hiding in a maze of hedges, looking at a man inspecting those hedges and hoping he wouldn’t see me, because I didn’t know where I was and I couldn’t move. To my horror, he turned and walked along my path.

He spoke to me and brought me to a trainer. I had to jump on a trampoline outside a small round window and attempt to jump inside it. This dream was the inverse dream of the one about jumping from the bed outside. Same principle applied. It was a LEARNED technique, kind of like visual therapy. There was an “aha!” moment that I just didn’t seem to get.

Lots of light blue and bouncing up and down. Then I accidentally ended up in the room. I didn’t yet know how I’d gotten there, but the teacher, who like my honors thesis advisor, was really excited and kept telling me to look at different points above me. There was one point that put the scene into the “proper” perspective that allowed a human to jump across the sea of over six feet of obstacles or into a light blue unknown.

It was like the circus. Fun! Once I figured out where to look. The “aha!” Once I knew where to look I could jump consistently. It brought joy and the sense of knowing not only that this world is just a matter of perspective, but the senes that with the right focus, one could easily move from time to the eternal and back again.

It looked like magic or impossible to an observor who didn’t know where to look, but “correct” vision showed how tiny and insignificant the gap can be. “My kingdom is not of this world.”

[Lots of fun in 2000! I was just starting some “serious” “funny strange” studies back then due to massive synchronicities that remain my primary life experience to this day. Wishing everyone clarity and love … Laura]

“Door” Number 14: Temperance

The fourteenth door in my Divine Doorways Series is actually a “porta-portal.” Someone commissioned me to paint a canvas board in the same style and with the same Runic coding as the larger doors. I wasn’t sure what would manifest, but in the end we both loved the way it turned out. The board allowed me to paint and code both sides, just like an actual door, and I designed the front to look like an archway, so the image maintains an “entrance” or “gateway” feeling.

Temperance by Laura Bruno

The fourteenth card in the Tarot, the Temperance Card, presented itself as the one for this project. This motif usually depicts a woman or angel with one foot in a pond and one foot on land, symbolizing both the subconsious and conscious realities, joined and working together. The woman commissioning this painting really loves Door Number 11, though, so she requested more of a faery feel to Temperance. She looks kind of like a psychedelic rock and roll flower child faery, with orange and black, Celtic butterfly monarch wings (edged in silver) and a yellow heart halo.

Water features heavily in this card, not just in the pond, but also because the woman/angel/faery traditionally pours water from one vessel into another. Ideas of balance, flow, harmony and fulfillment come to mind. The water is all coded with Runes for Flow. and the mountain has an extra UR Rune on it, suggesting the moving of mountains. To the upper right there is a downward pointing triangle and then a Rune, which is associated with Zion. That one just insisted on being there, so I put it in. It’s called Anis and also symbolizes: “Stand Still and Movement, Still Point in Heart, Zen, Zion, Pulsar Star, Falcon, Hummingbird, Parting the Waters, Walking on Water, Pulse, Transistor.”

In addition, I added quotes evoking overflowing cups, and an excerpt from Psalm 23 on the back amplifies this effect:

I got rid of any negative references to enemies or struggles and wrote out this:

“The Lord is my shepherd,
I have everything I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths…

You prepare a feast for me…
You welcome me as a guest,
anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love
will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord

(I also turned the 3 in 23 into an Om.)

Temperance by Laura Bruno

The coding down the sides of the “threshold” says in Runes: “Have you beauty that leads the heart [down the left side, and heart is an actual heart-shape] to the Holy Mountain” [down the right side] … This is extracted from a Kahlil Gibran question, but I’ve written it as a command, and ended it with a Wunjo Rune (which looks like a P), thus anchoring it as a spell. Wunjo is sort of like saying, “So be it.” So the threshold is “commanding” the subconscious to have beauty that leads the heart to the Holy Mountain. Wunjo also stands for fulfillment and joy. I was happy to hear back from the patron that the “door” is already having that effect in her life:

“I wanted to mention that I also have some great, unplanned, spur of the moment pics of the kids admiring your painting. It was so sweet; I was in the kitchen doing dishes and hear them chatting away and I come to peak into my office to see their two cute bottoms facing the picture and touching it gently and discussing what is happening with the woman, etc… SO ADORABLE! I just took some pics of them. Some got posed when they learned I was there but it was so beautiful with them checking it out and the fall leaves and fall scenery in the background. A vision I will always remember…so special!”

I coded the Sun in the card with Runes for passion, spark and heat. The grass has flowers that are Runes for “create a new universe” and “power to move forward.” The grass itself is textured with Runes for “prosperity” and “movable wealth.” I put in stars, which are a repeat of the “create a new universe” Rune, as well as a Cho Ku Rei symbol in the sky and a giant Rainbow. I clothed the faery angel because the patron has young children, and her dress is covered in Runes and hearts. You can’t really see the Runes in the dress, but the subconscious registers and responds to them.

The bottom quote is also by Kahlil Gibran: “And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.” Both quotes are from The Prophet.

Temperance Quote by Kahlil Gibran

I thoroughly enjoyed painting my first porta-portal and recognize this as a way of opening up more opportunities for people to receive customized “doors,” whether I come in person or just customize from afar. In either case, I love using my intuition to find just the right images, Runes, quotes, intentions and symbols to bring forth what the patron most wants and needs and also to offer these gifts as larger intentions for the world. Many thanks to this family for requesting such an unusual project. And Happy Birthday! 11/11 marks a very special birthday for the patron, so this portal arrived just in time for that portal birthday. Namaste!

Temperance by Laura Bruno: Rock On!

Gratitude for Relationships

When my parents visited me in Chicago this Summer, my dad unloaded a few boxes of my “things,” which had been lurking around my old bedroom. I was content to leave them there, but at 37, I guess I’ve officially grown up and moved out of the house! In any case, I’ve been sorting through those boxes as I prepare to pack for Madison. A couple months ago I found my 5th Grade Journals, and today I stumbled upon all my 9th Grade Creative Writing — poems, practice, short stories. I thought I’d share this exercise and what arose from it, as the whole process seems so fitting as we approach Thanksgiving.

The assignment (as best as I can remember it) was to write a poem with six stanzas exploring one important relationship in your life. Title the stanzas in this order:

The Meeting
The Attraction
The Memories
The Love
The Gain
And Now

I find the challenge of writing poetry a gentle and lovely way to explore relationships, but for the poetically-intimidated, some active journaling may prove just as fruitful. The important part is to focus wholeheartedly on a particular relationship in your life, paying attention to the way that intimacy evolved from Meeting until Now, letting Memories filter in between Attraction and Love, and making note of the Gain. This can be a potent exercise for releasing hurt and putting it into perspective, as well as feeling blessed for people making obvious positive impact on your life.

At age 14, I wrote my poem about my brother, Craig, who is 5 1/2 years younger than me and was one of my best buddies growing up.

The Meeting
It was the brink of childhood–
When reality was blowing bubbles
And watching them float across the sky
Wearing Easter bonnets and sucking on lollipops
But daydreams didn’t hide the tiny fingers
Or the toothless loving smile…
And Nursery Rhymes could not disguise
The wonder in my eyes.

The Attraction
Kindergarten drifted by
But imaginary friends still lingered
Tiptoeing in shadows
And begging to play house with the big kids
He stood up on Easter and his eyes sparkled
When he found a purple egg.
A pudgy grin lit up his face
And I was proud of him.

The Memories
Flying on the wings of time
We tumbled down snowy hilltops
Grasping at the powdery whiteness
And collapsed in laughter at the bottom.
And in the summer we melted in the sun
Chewing on pretzel sticks
And splashing in the baby pool.
After dinner our voices chattered in the twilight
As we chased lightning bugs in the darkness.

The Love
Filtered sunlight glistened on a rushing brook
As a slender fawn bent down to sip the water.
Its speckles, so simply etched in white
Moved in graceful innocence as it turned
Prancing into the green depths of the forest.
Over the years it returned
And the spots were replaced by an eloquently streamlined strength
That whispered gently to the rippling currents.

The Gain
As crisp fall breezes streamed through their hair
Two children held tightly to the reins of life
Swishing in unison above the scattered playground
Their eyes were shining
When they sliced through the clouds
And the air was filled with laughter
As they swooped to earth again.

And Now
We stand together watching the daylight slowly disappear
As images of lightning bugs and lazy summers
Twinkle in my mind
When I turn to him and smile
Memories drift across the sky
With the quiet sweeps of the setting sun
And I hold him close to me
Under the starry heavens above.

(Wishing you all a gratitude filled November and always. I’d like to acknowledge Leonard Perrett as the original inspiration for this exercise. I hope you find it fruitful, healing and empowering. Abundant blessings and Much Love! ~Laura)

A Man Saw a Ball of Gold in the Sky

A man saw a ball of gold in the sky;
He climbed for it,
And eventually he achieved it~
It was clay.

Now this is the strange part:
When the man went to the earth
And looked again,
Lo, there was the ball of gold.
Now this is the strange part:
It was a ball of gold.
Aye, by the heavens, it was a ball of gold.

~Stephen Crane

Death and Dying: Relinquishment on the Spiritual Path

I’ve spent most of today in awe of a 1998 journal I kept when I could not read what I was writing. During the early months of my brain injury, I somehow sensed the magnitude of this time period, and recorded it for later, even though migraines prevented me from re-reading what I wrote. I’ve found some real gems in there, jewels of synchronicity that memory had distorted from their original brilliant gleam. I’ve also discovered that despite my “loss of a rational side,” some strangely relevant insights continue to unearth themselves, even twelve years later.

So many people seem to be leaving parts of themselves behind these days that I decided to share this partial entry from 10/28/98. For the sake of privacy and brevity, I’m extracting parts that do not reference specific people or situations, but I hope you will find this sharing helpful during Fall 2010’s shifts and opportunities to let the old die so that we can allow the new to announce and birth itself. Happy Diwali — a celebration of Peace, Light and Love — and Namaste:


“Space” is a strange, but important concept for me, I have been miserable at times without it. I have occasionally found friends whose space enraptures me or comforts me, but until recently, I felt a continual longing for my own space. …I knew I had a major hang-up and that I would have to work through it on my own. The only way to get the fear out of my system was to prove to myself that I could support myself and create my own beautiful space in which to heal. (I speak here not of my concussion but of my various psychological wounds.)

As soon as I tasted the freedom of living alone, I became fiercely protective of my independence. I knew I had to go through this phase, and I did not want a disruption of the process. I believe that the apartment is the last thing I feel so fiercely for. Prior to this concussion I felt that way about school, about men, about money, time and autonomy. The concussion has been, I believe, a necessary lesson in relinquishment. Having attained some long, sometimes lifelong goals, I have been asked, forced, to relinquish everything I thought I needed to be happy.

In the cases in which I have given away control, accepted my own insignficance, and learned to take what life gives me, I have grown. It unnerves me and threatens me a little to think of relinquishing all I’ve worked so hard towards. It’s difficult to loosen the last reins you feel you’ll ever hold. I know that the illusion of control misguides me here. I must come to a point at which I truly feel that [if I lose this space] … another door will open for me somewhere else.

I’m on the verge of relinquishing this space spiritually. It does not really belong to me anyway. It was a gift, just like good friends, or an injury that lets me heal my hang-ups. Perhaps Chopin’s Marche Funèbre will help again. I mistakenly assumed I was done dying for awhile. I begin to understand, the glimpse the idea that maybe the only time we finish dying comes with Death itself. “All of life is but a laughter and a forgetting.” Something like that. Wordsworth, I believe.

Can I laugh and forget it all? The big lesson, a big lesson anyway, will say that since I have stripped away all my supposed necessities for happiness and fulfillment and given that I have remained relatively happy and carefree throughout this experience, it follows that I do not need those elements to be happy after all. I am free of my carerr, my bank account, and my apartment. I can move anywhere and do anything, as long as I continue truly to be myself.

I love my family and my friends. I may one day love a husband. I may have a career, or not. I may choose situations, and I may have them handed to me. In the end it’s all the same. In the end I will have lived and died and DIED.

“Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.
We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

We passed the school, where children strove
At recess, in the ring;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.

Or rather, he passed us;
The dews grew quivering and chill,
For only gossamer my gown,
My tippet only tulle.

We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.

Since then ’tis centuries, and yet each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses’ heads
Were toward eternity.”

(Emily Dickinson)

“The Brain, within its Groove
Runs evenly — and true —
But let a Splinter swerve —
‘Twere easier for You —

To put a Current back —
When Floods have slit the Hills —
And scooped a Turnpike for Themselves —
And trodden out the Mills –”

(Emily Dickinson)

… and later that week, from Isak Dinesen’s Out of Africa:

“We navigated differently. Perhaps he knew as I did not that the earth was made round so we do not see too far down the road.”

“It’s not what I thought would happen to me now.”

“I still have your compass.”
“Why don’t you keep it. You’ve earned it. Besides, I don’t always want to know where I’m going anyway.”

“When the gods want to punish you, they answer your prayers.”

“Let it go. Let it go. This water lives in Mombaza anyway.”

[Reading this twelve years, dozens of relocations, a full recovery, and many, many coaching and intuitive clients later, fills me with profound gratitude and a sense of Divinity moving through my life like water. It reminds me of the Taoist concept of “Wu Wei” or “effortless action.” Water is the gentlest force, and yet it digs riverbeds and carves stone. If you feel yourself struggling on the path, consider relinquishing the struggle and allowing Grace to carry you. I’m so glad I did!]

Deepest Blessings and Much Love,

Introduction to Past Lives

For those faraway folks wishing you could take the November 20, 2010 Introduction to Past Lives Class in Chicago, or those of you still considering the few spots left, here’s an older post with some tips to see if past lives may be influencing your current life, career, health and relationships.

The Healing Power of Chopin

This is a beautiful story, as well as a synchronous one for me today, since I spent this morning listening to Chopin’s Nocturne’s while writing a blog post on Synchronicity. I posted about Chopin on Facebook (“Put all your soul into it, play the way you feel!” ~Chopin), and someone later dedicated a Chopin piece to me on Facebook. As I went to close down my computer tonight, I found that my dear friend Shazzie had posted this inspirational video, which features the 106-year-old Oldest Holocaust Survivor in the World, for whom Chopin and classical music have made all the difference. “Every day life is beautiful. Every day!” This is twelve minutes worth of viewing and listening:

[I’m changing out the video just to one of her playing, since the original video no longer exists. Long story short, Alice spent her time in the concentration camps making beautiful music with other musicians and artists. She is a beacon of joy … only just passing at 110 years old in February 2014]:

Those of you who’ve read If I Only Had a Brain Injury, know how listening to Chopin eased my migraines and transported me to another world. I love his music and Alice’s story. Blessings and Peace!