It’s now June and for many of us, the lockdown is still in place although some restrictions are lifting gradually. Some of us have gone through rough times these past few months but rest assured that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully, it’s not a train. You can never tell with BIG BROTHER running the show. No matter how low you may feel at times, the secret is to never allow yourself to stay down for too long. Tomorrow is another day to stand tall and keep your heart and mind open to new possibilities. It is important more now than ever to be flexible and patient with others.
As April of 2020 comes to an end, what is springing in you? To be slow enough to savour, to bear witness to the blossoming, budding, branching, leafing profusion, and to the allurements and urges of Nature in spring is to be part of the rhythmic celebration of aliveness. “Yes, Life!” May we take the time . . .
For me, anger has sprung up. The smallest things seem to tic me off. Anger is one of the negative emotions that plagues the liver, an action organ. The paired organ to the liver is the gallbladder and it is the decision maker. Don’t be indecisive, take action now. Spring is the season of the liver and it’s a good time to do some cleaning on your emotional locker. Any healing work done on the liver during this time of the year is multiplied by its season. The liver is more receptive to cleansing than any of the other Zang- Fu organs. Is it time to be more proactive in your self-healing? Can you see all the activity in nature now that Spring is here? Spring is calling us to be more active so come join us every Thursday from 11-noon (PT) in Zoom Meeting (Meeting ID 636-690-079) for some deep organs detox. We have a special qi-gong set designed for the liver. Let your Qigong practice wash away all your pain, sickness and worries.
Here in the Northern Hemisphere, we’ve passed the shortest day, but the slow darkness always seems to drag on through these coldest of winter months. January is when a lot of people suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder) otherwise known as seasonal depression.
It’s no joke.
More than just the “winter blues”, for some people, fewer hours of sunlight can cause serious mental health issues. As melatonin (that’s the sleep hormone) and serotonin (that’s the happy one) levels go awry, life can very easily slip down a slippery slope and depressive moods take over. If a bout of seasonal affective disorder is serious, doctors and therapists will provide antidepressants or light therapy. But before it gets to that stage, there are many, many forms of natural healing we can each do to care for ourselves and keep our own mental and physical health tip top.
1. RISE WITH THE SUN
Not a very hard thing to do when it gets light so late, but actually making the effort to get outside and watch the sunrise is life-changing when it comes to wellness. As well as offering uplifting, life-affirming views first thing in the morning and helping to keep your circadian rhythm finely tuned (it’s hard to oversleep when there’s a sunrise to see!) rising with the Sun creates the opportunity for sungazing. This is an ancient practice of literally gazing into the Sun, just as it rises over the horizon, for just a couple of seconds. Believed to offer huge health benefits, ranging from more energy and reduced weight gain (seriously!) to opening the pineal gland and increasing psychic awareness, sungazing is making a comeback. Just be sure to do your research first (side-effects, if done incorrectly, can be significant) and only ever sungaze for a second or two when the Sun is low over the horizon.
2. GO FOREST BATHING
Big in Japan when it comes to treating depression, forest bathing can be done at any time of the year, but winter’s when it really comes into its own. The premise is simple – locate an area of forest, go there and soak up the experience with every one of your senses. If you feel called, connect to one tree in particular: sit with it, touch it and let your energy fields merge.
Japanese doctors have found that as a form of therapy, forest bathing lowers heart rates, cortisol, and stress levels considerably, improves focus and concentration, as well as dramatically boosting the immune system. In fact, forest bathing has become a vital part of their national health program and is one of the go-to treatment options when it comes to treating depressive disorders.
It’s true that spending time out in nature, in any green space, has healing benefits but forests – especially ancient ones – have particular (and proven) healing qualities.
3. CREATE A WINTER ALTAR
Why not reverse-engineer the potential for seasonal affective disorder and spend a little time embracing the winter instead?
One way to do this is to create an altar, bringing natural objects inside your home to honor this time of death and renewal. Go out into nature to find symbols of winter’s depth and darkness and then bring them indoors so you can place them on your altar, examining them and spending time with them. These could be bones, hag stones (stones with a hole which has been worn away), shells, leaf skeletons or seed casings, for example. (Click here for some examples of winter altars to swoon over!)
Perhaps by elevating winter, giving it a sacred status, and finding the beauty held in the darkness of this season, you’ll be more able to find the beauty in your own darkness?
4. TAKE IN BIRD MEDICINE
Birds are cheerfully abundant whatever the time of year, and watching them soar, fly and feed during this seasonal downtime can give a real boost to your well-being. Bring them closer still by hanging a bird-feeder outside of your kitchen window so you can see them more closely.
Closely connected to the element of air, birds can bring us many lessons relating to it – to do with hope, potential, inspiration, and freedom. These are all severely dampened by seasonal depression, yet so embodied by the feathered friends you have living right outside! So watch them, spend time with them, commune with them, and they’ll teach you what they know!
5. GROW AN INDOOR HERB GARDEN
Beneficial on SO many levels, growing an indoor herb garden in the winter months is a great treatment (both prevention and cure) for seasonal affective disorder.
As well as providing the fresh ingredients for many dishes (and containing heaps of micro-nutrition), tending your own herb garden is a form of therapy all of its own. Nurturing something, from planting a seed in the earth to its germination, growth, and fruition is incredibly life-affirming and can take your mind away from the worries and anxieties that tend to loom large at this time.
Anneli Twan, Don’s wife, is of Swedish and Canadian / Native Indian descent. Her mother immigrated to Canada from Sweden in the 1950’s. Her father was born and raised in the Caribou region of British Columbia and his aboriginal heritage is from the Chilcotin Nation. Anneli is a trained Counselor and has worked for a variety of Aboriginal organizations over the years. She is also a Pipe Carrier, having earned the right by fasting. When Anneli was ten years old she took the First Degree workshop, Reiki 1 with Hawayo Takata. Anneli’s mother Wanja is one of the 22 Reiki Masters made by Mrs Takata and Anneli has been a Reiki Master since 1984. She finds that the Native teachings compliment the healing work of Reiki and is happy to share her knowledge and stories with others.
Elder Don Beacham is a Cree Indian from the Norway House Reserve in Northern Manitoba. He has followed Native Spirituality for the last 30 years, walking the Red Road. Twice a month Don leads a Sacred Sweat Lodge Ceremony on the Saanich Peninsula with traditional aboriginal songs and drumming meditation.
Don and Anneli invited me to give a Qigong class at their retreat centre. There’s a labyrinth on this property and I was told that the labyrinth was designed to answer questions. While surveying the retreat centre for the first time I entered the labyrinth and before I could formulate my question the answer came to me. My question was “When will my Human Rights Case be finalized?” and the answer I received was ” This year 2018“. As of August 2018, my case was finalized by the Labour Relation Board in favour of the Union.
After the walk through the labyrinth, Don and I entered the teepee. While meditating inside the teepee, I wanted to ask Don about his teachers. Before I could ask the question, the answer came to me “that Don’s knowledge was coming from his DNA“. Once inside Don’s home, I prepared to receive my first Reiki treatment. I was treated by 3 Reiki masters, forming a trinity with Don working on my feet, Anneli working on my abdomen and Michelle working on my head. I felt a lot of energy in my liver. Interestingly, spring had started two weeks ago in the northern hemisphere and spring is the season of the liver. Another confirmation for me of the power of their Reiki practice is having felt all that gurgling in my liver during the session. During the treatment, Don went into this long dialogue about Ancestry.com and 23 and Me; after hearing Don spill on his genealogy, I took this as confirmation to the answer I received from spirit about his teachers are his DNA. I get the sense that the psychic energy at the retreat centre location is very intense.
Victoria has a reputation as a haunted or significant spiritual place and many believe it is because two ley lines intersect in the city: one running East-West, and the other running North-South.
If you want to take a deeper dive into understanding ley lines (especially in the setting of our story) you can find more information here:
- Ancient Wisdom: Ley Lines
- Ley Line, Wikipedia
- The Lore & Lure of Ley Lines
- The Old Straight Track by Alfred Watkins – walking through the past
- Society of Ley Hunters
- Why Ghosts Haunt Victoria, BC
Once the Reiki Master lays his healing hands on his subject, the ki ( life force energy) goes where it’s needed. Their hands were very hot and being a Qigong practitioner, I know that heat is one of six energies. Qi translates into energy. Once the Reiki session was finished, I took my time getting off the massage table and it took a while for my vision to return. I felt great lying on the massage table and receiving treatment but trying to get up and return to normal was a different story. This is not my first time losing my eyesight after an intense spiritual encounter. After my most profound vision in July 1989, I could not see or hear properly for 3 days.