A Personal Profession

“Your profession is not what brings home your paycheck. Your profession is what you were put on earth to do with such passion and such intensity it becomes spiritual in calling.” – Vincent Van Gogh

I’ve spent some time meditating around this quote by the World renowned French Impressionism painter. It really speaks to me. I’ve also found that it provides me with a greater understanding of self. I turned 30 this past year. One of the best aspects about being older than twenty-something is that we no longer has to really answer to anyone other than ourselves. Self-Accountability. Of course we have a boss, a teacher, a parent, friends and other important people that hold us accountable but to ourselves is where we really are able to check-in with our own path in life.

We get to be who we are. That is the gift that age gives us.

I graduated from college in 2007 and have been on a journey of non-profit, corporate and small business job positions. Learning important lessons from each – both personally and professionally. But in a sense, those two concepts were always required to be separate..something that in most cases brought me to a wayward path. Finding pieces of myself in each but not truly being able to have myself present in each setting. I’m an entrepreneur. A dreamer. And someone who also very much like rules…my rules just had not been created or moreover refined yet.

Age 30 is a turning point. A time to tune into self. A time to work through the mud of the past to pull a clearing for the lotus.

One lotus revealed natural gifts of healing, gifts needing to be attuned. I decided to go back to school – spa school for the healing arts of massage therapy and bodywork. A career that requires me to attune my personal skills to provide healing and support as a professional.

When at orientation for this part of my education, I was confronted with the ideas of what was acceptable as personal and/or professional. For me, the two are not mutually exclusive. I learned that I may be an all or nothing kind of gal…and the great deal of positivity that can come from letting yourself combine your passion with profession.

We can be anything we want to be as a professional. And we will always be who we are if we listen to ourselves.

 

Photo by Howard Hu – Hong Kong

Love, Loss & Resurgence

Over the years of dating and relationships, I’ve wrestled with the ideas around two concepts that seem to conflict and interact at the same time in reference to the topic of love and loss. The question of which one makes more sense after parting from your partner has crossed my mind many times. Often feeling like an exercise in quantum mechanics thought processing – two things can be true.

– Distance Makes The Heart Grow Fonder

– Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Sometimes truth and relative facts fall into place long after conversations have ceased and fires have long since cooled. The ashes remind me of what once was but also what could have been…and with hope of what will be. To ignore them, helps no one move forward. They must be processed and cleared away before the next fire can be built. With time and quiet contemplation, I’ve found that in fact both ideas are true. Or can be. Depending on what we choose.

Out of sight isn’t exactly out of mind unless a choice is made to ignore or suppress. Denying oneself true feelings is often a faulty fix. Potentially unsustainable.

Distance may make the heart grow fonder but hopefully full with appreciation for self and lessons from loss of love rather than a longing leading to suffering.

After more time spent on this work, I like to think that distance makes the heart and mind grow clearer. The idea of a next step will need a fresh foundation on which to build the next sustainable fire. Whether it be a reconciliation or a new flower to bloom.

About the image: the image for this post was taken of a frozen lake in Norway via National Geographic. A symbolic representation of love for me. Something that may seem to have split but in the thaw of Spring, the water will flow without any evidence of the once rigid surface. Love is like water. Necessary, fluid and forgiving.

Thank you for reading my philosophically inclined noodlings. A true romantic heart can guide interesting ramblings of the cerebral mind. And like the photo, this is just the surface. There are so many interpretations and ideas possible.

 

Art of the Left & Right Brain

When I first began to explore the concepts of right brain and left brain thinking, each hemisphere seemed so confusing. I had been attempting to separate their functions and features…hearing reference to being a left brain or right brain thinker – creative minds and analytical minds – it seemed so black and white like you had to to pick one or the other.

What I hadn’t discovered was the balance of the brain is anything but separate. This mirrored my own path for growth. We each draw from both hemispheres no matter our areas of personal interest or perceived strengths – be it strategy you find in a game of chess or painting an interpretive landscape. Our concentration and focus grows one set of skills or another from natural given areas of strength that each and every one of us have. Sometimes these natural gifts take time to be discovered.

Our free-flowing ideas for a painting from the right brain needs the structural parameters of the canvas from the left. Our game strategy from the left greatly benefits from awareness of the opponents emotional state from the right. They are absolutely interwoven to create a beautiful tapestry of life.

Each hemisphere provides an amazing service to us as human beings. We have the ability to retrain our brains causing wires to fire together and develop new or different thought patterns and skills through our conscious choices of what we choose to focus our thoughts and energy on. Neurons that fire together, wire together. Thus a pattern is carved, like rain water rushing through the dirt and earth on a slope.

Art is a broad word. Anything can be an art form if it has our attention and patience. Creativity is an outlet of self-expression as well as a seat of self-education. When we look at an artist’s painting or play a game of chess, we feel something, those neurons firing together are the lasting impressions from the experience – how we choose to process that experience shapes our future encounters of similar situations or visual stimulations. Giving us grounding and context as a starting point to navigate the world and assist in finding our natural inclinations. From those preferences, we can choose what we want to expose ourselves to, what parts of ourselves to nurture and what to let go that doesn’t feed our higher good – curating our inner and outer worlds.

Art is a teacher. Art guides us to understand different perspectives and how others experience the world. Looking at our own lives and everything that surrounds us through an open but grounded mind allows us to become gentler and kinder – to ourselves and all others.

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Popular culture utilizes art to shape our thought patterns. Below is a beautifully illustrated advertisement series – educational psychology of why this ad is so powerful aside, it shows the beauty and highlights the strengths within ourselves. Enjoy. MB Ad MB Ad 2 MB Ad 3Neurological Reference: Buddha’s Brain by Rick Hanson.

Total Eclipse of the Heart Chakra

We’re in the midst of a powerful spiritual week. Passover began at sundown Friday evening, we experienced a total lunar eclipse following a blood moon in our solar system early today and Easter is this Sunday. Whether you follow the traditions and rituals of  any of these observances or of another faith, commonalities can be found. Each pull strongly on your heart, guiding together along our earthly and spiritual path. Where spirit meets body.

It’s a time to be gentle, kind and to move slow and with intention.

Instead of focusing on the differences between us this time of year, I tried to look to this universal truth and see us as one. Faith, spirituality and the heart are intertwined. The heart is the root of compassion. Compassion is the doorway to understanding – ourselves and others.

One Love. May all beings everywhere be happy and be free.

Anxiety? There’s an App for That.

When it comes to technology, I’m a strong believer that less is more. It is so easy with the current highly evolved technologies widely available as well as living in a Western society to become engulfed in screen-time. Once in a lunar eclipsed moon, I find an app or a piece of technology that helps to connect back with the self versus focusing energy outside of the body.

Pacifica is a free app designed to assist with lessening the physical causes of stress and anxiety through mindfulness. It utilizes five categories rooted in cognitive behavioral therapy, relaxation and key wellness factors.

1. Mood – A thermometer for your feelings and general mood throughout the day. You can track improvements and take note of triggers over time like water intake or number of hours of sleep.

2. Relax – When you feel stressed, Pacifica offers three relaxation exercises: deep belly breathing, progressive muscle relaxation and positive visualization. You can even pick your soundscape like summer nights or rooftop rain.

3. Thoughts – When you feel overwhelmed and your mind is racing, this app can assist with bringing negative thought patterns into the forefront to develop more positive perspectives over time.

4. Experiments – If you’re feeling up for a challenge, this section provides ways to explore your health and get some forward-motion traction.

5. Health – A section to track your daily wellness factors like hours of sleep, time spent outdoors, minutes exercising and caffeine intake.

Why the awesome folks at Pacifica created the App:
“While there will always be a place for traditional therapy, barriers such as stigma, cost, and logistical considerations often get in the way of individuals getting the treatment they need”. Get the whole story from their about page.

True That.

Awareness and support for folks who wrestle with anxiety and stress is important work. Together, we move forward.

In a fast-paced world of conflicting values, I really like how Pacifica highlights that change happens over time. Depending on how much consciousness we have towards our health factors, we can expedite real change and balance in a lasting way. It allows you to be a detective for your own emotional and physical wellbeing on a non-judging and gentle path. As we stay strongly rooted in the present, we can look to the future.

>>Get the App

>>Visit thinkpacifica.com/blog for more on startups & anxiety

Travel: Does it Have a Pool?

As a child, my father and I would take road-trips from Minneapolis to Montana, where he grew up on a country ranch to visit friends and family. In preparation for these travels, he would announce the hotels with availability and I would in turn ask “does it have a pool?”. Every time.

The motel pool at the Best Western in Miles City was where my sensitive-self found sanctuary. Floating, fully supported by water and gravity, I would stare at the wood planked ceiling taking in the amber-rich stained pine for as long as the parental-powers that be would allow. Letting sound, movement and thoughts lighten and become faint. Sometimes counting the wooden planks on the ceiling, which brought added relaxation. Finally emerging onto the Springtime-green-grass colored astroturf renewed and balanced. Soothed and ready to hit the hay…or a day full of activities.

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Sometimes travels have a pool and sometimes not. Over time, I’ve found ways of finding that nurturance at home or on the road through aromas and hydrotherapy. Wherever the path may lead, these are great things to have:

– BYOB…bring your own bath salt. A simple and easy way to make any tub into a mini-spa. Pre-mix dead sea salts or epsom salts with a paired aroma to a desired experience. Lavender for calming, balsam fir for warming and grounding, etc. There are many fantastic store-bought options as well, a little goes a long way with high quality. For sensitive folks, sometimes the salt with a little almond oil is perfectly soothing.

– Coconut Oil. Bring a small jar with you for versatility – on the body post-bath for sealing in hydration, as a facial cleanser and make-up remover, internal supplement to give your brain and cells a boost or for oral pulling in place of mouthwash. Coconut oil brings a tropical feel anywhere.

– Eye pillow. Give your eyes a break while you soak for sensory system relief. If you have one, grab an eye pillow for the toiletry bag or use a small folded washcloth. Just breathe – equal and steady inhales and exhales.

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Sleep Better – Winter Remedies.

Sleep can be hard in winter. So many factors – lack of vitamin D and sunlight, harsh temperatures with wind, stress from cabin fever and prepping for taxes to name a few. Depending on where you live, access to outdoor farmer’s markets and many trails or outdoor destinations to nourish our minds and bodies may be limited.

The math here looks to have a pattern…more discomfort means less quality sleep. Less quality sleep leads to more discomfort.

A few holistic home remedies have truly helped with calming the nervous system to get better rest have become a nightly ritual for me.

  • Soak – find a restorative bath salt mix with balsam fir or ho wood. These earthy aromatics will ground you from a busy day. Nell’s remedies Champion Soak is a gem.
  • Self Massage – gently rub the bottoms of the feet before bedtime. There are so many nerve ending in the feet, this activates the parasympathetic nervous system to provide a calming feeling all over the body.
  • Soothing Tea – brew a chamomile or lemon balm mix to sip while you read or unwind.
  • Lavender Oil – rub a few drops in the palms then fluff your pillows for soothing aromatherapy.

There is nothing like a nurturing evening and good night’s rest to break out of the winter blues. The common theme seems to be ground, ground, ground before turning in for the night. Bringing airy Vata energy back to earth to recycle after thinking and planning and performing tasks all day. Get ready to  take on a new day in the morning with a perspective that feels solid in your shoes.

Transformation…

It can be hard not to focus on the outcome. The destination. Hard to find the balance between where I am in the multi-faceted external world and where I am within the layers of myself. There is a wave of relief in the surrender to self, the true self that is a guide, brings moments of stillness and peace.

T.S. Eliot