Death and Rebirth

Death and Rebirth

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The Life/Death/Life nature is a cycle of animation, development, decline and death that is always followed by re-animation. This cycle affects all life and all facets of psychological life. Everything – the sun, novas and the moon as well as the affairs of humans and those of the tiniest creatures, cells and atoms alike – have this fluttering, then faltering, then fluttering again.

– Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run With The Wolves

I look at an empty page, a blank canvas of possibility. I bring my fingers to the keyboard and they tap tap tap nervously as my mind grasps for a sliver of inspiration. All at once it occurs to me – I haven’t written a single word in over 18 months.

Much of the time I’ve spent away from writing has been spent swimming in a deep sea of pain. It’s the most profound pain I’ve felt, the deepest sense of loss I’ve known. Some feel pain like this and they shrivel up; they stop relating to others; they hide away and try to make sense of it. What the fuck does it all mean? How can I give of myself when I feel so destroyed and lost inside my own heart, my own mind? Others use that pain as fuel for a bottomless well of creativity. I’ve always found myself to be a part of the former category. Even now I find it difficult to express wounds into words. What I think I’ve come away with in this dark hour of my being is this: death begets life. All that pain – all that suffering – it was simply deeply ingrained parts of me falling away. It was mind numbingly painful. At times I didn’t think I could withstand it. I nearly lost one of my most important relationships in the midst of the anguish. I see now – it was a great blessing. Today I feel new -reborn. From that desolation I’ve learned an incalculable lesson that will guide me in my journey until my very last breath.

I am becoming keenly aware of life’s intrinsic need for death. I have a gorgeous banana plant in my home – browning leaves need to be removed in order for new growth to sprout. The plant as a whole is much healthier for the pruning. Mature flowers on a rose bush need to be picked to make way for new budding life, berries need to be plucked, and so on and so forth. To hold on to the dying parts of our selves is a useless practice in vanity. I fought that truth for along time. No more. Shedding that old, dry skin has left me lighter and more able to see my own divinity – my own bright light.

A few of the most important things I have recently released:

  1. My need to be perfect – I am exactly where I am supposed to be right now. All of my flaws, all of my short comings are perfect opportunities for reflection and a deep dive toward inner knowing – a step on the path of realizing myself as a fully embodied human. If I can get cozy in my quirks and learn to love ALL of me then I can really begin to release that which does not serve me. Fighting against something is the surest way to make it bigger and stronger. Until that sweet moment when you’ve really learned and moved through a life lesson and integrated it into your life – you are presented with the same challenge over and over and over again. This will always be the reality. Bottom line? Stop fighting myself and embrace it all. The utter shit, the pure bliss and the monotony.
  2. My need to be right – My ego sure loves to win. She fears losing (being wrong) so much that she will go as low as to hurt others, just to save herself from the agony. I am getting to know my ego on a more intimate level and realize that I have endless compassion for her. How sad to be constantly measuring yourself against others, to feel so insecure that you are always trying to prove your worth. In the past I have fought against my ego. I’ve even tried to disengage from it entirely. I told myself that If I could just let go of my ego I could achieve enlightenment. I know now that is impossible. If I am to be a human being on this earth then my ego will always be a part of my journey. Without it I am not an individual, I become a part of the whole again or in essence, I die. So to be alive and to be human means to dance with the light and shadow sides of the ego. So, today I welcome her AND yet – I do not let her control me. Because when does stubbornness and being right help the spirit to shine and grow? I choose to be open to the possibility of the moment and to the truth that I still, and always will, have A LOT to learn.
  3. My need for everyone to like me – I need to like me. That’s it. If I truly accept myself then others will accept me too – and if they don’t? They will move along down the road and so will I. Life in this vessel is too short to waste precious moments trying to prove my worth to anyone. I can’t even begin to express how good the integration of this truth feels. It has taken over a decade of work to get here. Not sure what clicked exactly – but I’m grateful it did. LIBERATION!!
  4. That I have nothing of value to share – I am unique. There is no other person on the planet that is my exact equal. No one else has lived my life. Everything I have to say is special simply because it comes from my unique vantage point. I do not need years of schooling and accolades from others to measure my worth. I have been so scared to speak my mind and share my truth in fear of it not being interesting enough or backed by enough degrees. FUCK THAT. I have much to share and I am done waiting.

So here I am world! Get ready to hear more from me. I hope to hear from all of you too because our ability to connect, understand and empathize with one another is one of the most valuable aspects of being in this human body. I LOVE YOU!

 

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Lymphatic Massage Techniques for Health and Beauty

Lymphatic Massage Techniques for Health and Beauty

Lymphatic drainage is an extremely gentle massage technique that garners some incredible health benefits. When I began my practice as a massage therapist, I’d say it was by far the least requested modality. I came to realize that was simply because it was the least understood. The benefits of Lymphatic massage are many. It can boost your immune system, reduce swelling, enhance the look of your skin, reduce under eye bags and increase your energy; after you come out of your relaxing massage haze of course. 😉

The body’s lymphatic system is one of the most important systems in the body. It is responsible for waste removal. It carries a fluid called lymph through lymph nodes which filter and purify it and send it back on it’s merry way towards the heart. This system absorbs microorganisms, toxins and waste products from the interstitial tissue. When lymph is not allowed to flow freely and becomes obstructed, swelling can occur. Unlike our cardiovascular system, the lymphatic system does not have a pump to move the fluid. Physical movement is the best way to get lymph moving, go for a run, do some jumping jacks, etc… Another way to get your lymph moving is with gentle massage. Self massage and gentle guiding of your lymph to corresponding lymph nodes will help the lymphatic system to work more efficiently and will in turn ensure a healthier immune system. Take that cold virus!

In this post, I’ll highlight a few easy to perform techniques that you can do on yourself or your loved ones to promote a healthier lymphatic system. In particular, I will be talking about draining the fluid from the head. This will help to relieve pressure from allergies and sinus congestion. This can also help to slim the jawline and entire face by draining any excess fluid. The most important thing to remember when draining lymph is to apply incredibly gentle pressure to the skin. Your lymph flows just under the surface of your skin so when you apply firm pressure to the skin you are in fact obstructing the flow of lymph instead of encouraging it.

There are some contraindications for lymphatic massage, meaning, if you have any of the below conditions you should not be performing lymphatic massage on yourself or should be speaking to your doctor for clearance first.

Acute inflammation caused by bacteria, viruses, poisons or allergens is contraindicated. You can tell if this is the case because the tissues will be hot, red and painful, with congestion accompanied by fever. Lymphatic drainage massage will push these substances into the lymph channels before the body has a chance to eliminate them through phagocytosis in the interstitial spaces. If you perform lymphatic drainage you can spread the toxic substances throughout the body. Wait a few days until the condition is not acute, and the body has had a chance to clean up the area.

Malignant tumors are a contraindication for lymphatic drainage massage because of the fear of spreading the cancer. Wait until after the malignancy is treated to perform lymphatic drainage massage.

Thrombosis and phlebitis are two conditions that can lead to free floating blood clots. Usually people with these conditions will be in a hospital on blood thinners. If you are working in a hospital setting, do not work on these patients. In your practice, one indication of a possible femoral thrombosis is when the client has pain in one leg and a sudden swelling and bluish discoloration of the skin. People who are bedridden have a greater likelihood of developing thrombosis in the legs.

Major heart problems. If the heart is not fully functioning the edema can be lymphodynamic, due to lack of venous return. Putting more fluid into the heart would only stress it more, worsening the condition.

 

If you are in generally good health, then self lymphatic massage will be beneficial to you. Use good judgement, if you are unsure then err on the side of caution and just don’t do it.

Below is a visual representation of your lymphatic system:

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The lymph nodes located in your neck, called cervical lymph nodes are what we will be focusing on today.

1. Place your middle fingers of both hands just above your clavicle bone. Press down with very light pressure towards the center point of your neck. Repeat this about 50 times.

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2. After the lymph nodes have been sufficiently pumped you will be draining the lymph from your jaw/neck.

3. Place the pads of your fingers on either side of your neck at the top just below your ears at the base of your skull and using extremely light pressure, glide your fingers down your neck towards the nodes you were just pumping.

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4. Repeat this process 50 + times. You should be able to feel the fluid start to move. You may feel a tingly sensation just under your skin or you may feel like you have to clear your throat; you many feel nothing at all, no worries if you don’t.

5. Place the palms of your hands on the back of your neck and using the pads of your fingers,  repeat the gentle gliding of the fingers downwards.

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You can repeat this process as many times as you would like. You should notice a clearing in your head and reduced puffiness in your face right away. Eureka! If you would like to see a visual representation of this technique, I would suggest this video.

If you enjoyed this and are interested in more self massage techniques, please let me know in the comments!

Have a beautiful rest of your weekend darling readers!