Clear the clouds and the cobwebs

Clearing the clouds and the cobwebs

Have you ever known somebody who spends a lot of time thinking about their decisions, yet they seem to be paralyzed when it comes to deciding? Even though they devote a lot of time and energy to thinking about their decisions, it doesn’t seem to help them make a decision, or make a good one. If you could see the energy field of this type of person it would look really cloudy. And that's exactly what is happening.

You may have heard the expression “thoughts are things”. Turns out, it’s true. Thoughts are “things” that exist on the energetic level and they cloud our energy fields, preventing us from seeing clearly. This cloudiness of our energy fields is called “miasma” in the East, and it’s largely composed of thought forms. Clearing up that miasma is an important part of our spiritual growth. It helps us get in touch with our Higher Selves and helps with decision-making.

The work of clearing thought forms is mostly a matter of intention. Becoming aware of the problem—coming to the realization that by over-thinking we are becoming less and less clear in our thinking—is an important first step. Once you decide to tackle the issue, there are some other techniques you can apply to “stop the madness”. Here are some exercises you can try. I learned many of them from my wonderful teacher Josiane D’Hoop.

  1. The “Whirlpool”: Imagine a whirlpool or vortex of energy surrounding you, 20 feet all around. As it swirls (no matter which direction) it is clearing away anything that is not in your highest good. You can deliberately throw specific problems (like “fear of failure” or “the fight with my partner”) into the vortex. You can also just intend that it is clearing negative things and let it do its work. Spending three to five minutes a day doing this exercise a few times a week, and especially after a challenging day, is really helpful.
  2. Chakra by chakra clearing: Imagine each of your chakras, one by one, opening up like a funnel and clearing out any negativity. There are patterns and problems associated with each chakra; you can learn about them here.
  3. Connect to your Higher Self and imagine a laser-like beam of light coming into your energy field to clear a problem. This is particularly effective to clear up a specific thought form or type of thought form (“my anger toward my partner” or “my anger”).
  4. Ask your Higher Self to release and dissolve any thoughts that are not here for your highest good. This only takes a few seconds yet it’s effective.
  5. When complex decisions arise, practice not focusing on them. Do a little brainstorming and then think about something else. While you are busy doing “something else”, in the back of your mind the decision is being made. It will be wiser than the one you over-think.

The more we work to clear our energy fields, the clearer our connection to Guidance becomes, and the better our decision-making will be. A win-win, so have fun with it!

Make room for the good stuff

Letting go of that which does not serve, making room for the good

Are there things that fill your day but don’t add to the purpose of your life? If you are like most of the people I know, the answer is probably yes. And it may be time to think about what you can let go.

Our modern lifestyle provides us with many opportunities to overcrowd our lives and keep us from functioning well. We over-schedule ourselves and leave very little time to do what is really important, or to do anything really well. In order to live more effective lives, we need to cut out the extraneous stuff. We need to let go of the things that do not serve us so that we can be of better service.

Over the past year I have let go of so many things that were not serving me anymore—things that I had held on to out of commitment, or because I had intended to gain something that I came to realize I wasn’t actually gaining. For example, I had participated in a business leads group in my area in order to build my practice. Initially, the group was a wonderful source of support and leads, and helped me a lot. But over time, I became tired of the morning meetings, found myself often running late and usually looking unhappy. And people shouldn’t recommend an unhappy-looking therapist to their friends and colleagues! I finally realized that I wasn’t doing myself or my business any good by sticking with the group. I let it go, and my practice grew.

By letting go of the group that didn’t serve me, I was able to serve my clients better and be more fulfilled. I love those mornings now! What can you let go of? I’d love to hear from you—post comments below!

The signs are there, but are you looking?

I had been thinking of going to graduate school but I was afraid. It would cost money and time that I was not sure I had to invest. It seemed like I already had a lot on my plate as a single mom of three young kids. And it had been a while since I’d done the school thing. I graduated from college thirteen years earlier, and had taken some more undergraduate classes since then, but it had been years since I was in a classroom. Formal graduate education was daunting.

However, I didn’t have another plan. I was teaching yoga and had been studying Reiki. I had considered learning massage and trying to earn a living as a massage therapist/Reiki practitioner/yoga teacher. But I had another thought—that maybe I should get a master’s degree in counseling and become a therapist.

I was on the mailing list of Immaculata University, which is a beautiful school close to where I live. Earlier in the summer I had attended a yoga teacher training, and one afternoon I decided to dedicate my practice to getting clarity on the grad-school issue. At the end of class, I had my answer: go to grad school. I stood in front of dozens of my fellow students and shared what I had received. But then I went home and chickened out. Instead of registering for classes, I continued spinning in fear and doubt.

At the end of the summer I went to the beach for a vacation. Early in the week I headed to the water’s edge to do a surf-side meditation to get clarity on this issue (again!). I sat down, closed my eyes, and asked for a sign. I heard one of those advertising airplanes overhead, and thought “No, I’m not going to look—I’m doing meditation.” But I couldn’t help it. My eyes opened up and I saw the banner: Immaculata University. No kidding, though I did laugh. I packed up my chair, went back to the house, went on line and signed up for a class right away.

My story was legend at school. I heard that they’d only flown the banner once or twice that summer, and we laughed that clearly it was for me and that with my tuition fees, it did indeed pay for itself! One of my teachers wondered how many people in the same situation would have not looked up, or not noticed, or not heeded the “coincidence”.

Ten years later I can say without a doubt: I’m glad I did. And I am certain that, even if they are not always literally signs, we DO receive signs that point us along our way. Once we accept that these signs exist, staying calm and centered to the best of our ability helps us begin to notice them. And they carry the constant reminder: We are never alone.

On being happy at work

Are you happy in your job? If you are, you are one of the lucky ones: according to a Gallup poll published in Forbes, unhappy workers outnumber happy ones by two-to-one. Sadly, 24% of workers worldwide are “actively disengaged”—they hate their jobs. And only 13% are engaged by their work, feeling fulfilled and making a contribution. If you are looking for a better job, or are seeking your calling, a heart-centered shift can help.

When you are stuck in a job that you really don’t enjoy, you have basically three choices:

  1. Suck it up, hate it, and wait for retirement. Which is what a lot of people clearly do in our society, but it seems to me to be a waste of some of our best years. Really when you consider the amount of time we spend at work versus doing other things while awake, work takes the lion’s share of our lives. So spending all that time hating what we’re doing is probably not a good ingredient for creating a meaningful, joy-filled life of purpose.
  2. Re-frame how you view your work. You can focus on the irritating things at work (obnoxious boss, weird colleagues, not enough pay for the time you put in). But you can turn all that around and look at the—I hate to say it, but really, look at the bright side. When I had my first job (which I hated with all my might) my supervisor had a sign in her cubicle that stated “attitude is everything.” I found it irritating. But she had a point. When I stop to consider the many blessings I had back then I’d like to reach back through time and shake that unhappy young me. My job gave me a chance to learn so many things: to type really fast, use computers really well, and how the stock market works (OK, I still don’t really get it); to work in downtown Baltimore, the world’s best city, and walk around the harbor during lunch breaks; friendship and mentorship with great colleagues; meaningful memories and life lessons that I still cherish; the opportunity to see Bill Gates up close and in person (even if he didn’t make eye contact). If I had focused on what I liked and what I wanted more of, instead of focusing on what I hated and what I wanted to get away from, I could have leveraged that first job into a satisfying career, and not have gone home every day and cried. But I did what I did. And I’m sharing this in the hope that you’ll do better.
  3. Find a new job. It can sound like mission impossible if you spend a lot of time focusing on the negative statistics of current employment trends. But there’s always a better way of looking at statistics, and it’s important to remember that you aren’t a statistic. You have some unique gift to bestow on the world. There is something that you are uniquely in a position to contribute, because of the talents you came with and the experiences you have had. Find it. The way to find it is through your heart. What are the things you do that make your heart sing? What kinds of things do you do that have you lost in time—you may not notice hours ticking by; you may even forget to eat. If you’ve had that kind of experience, take it as a hint: this is your calling. Find a way to do more of that. Consider how you might be able to make a living doing that thing that you love to do. The Universe has your back. Once you realize that, all you have to do is show up.

There is a quote circulating around on Facebook, attributed to the Dalai Lama. It says “Be happy. It feels better.” That sounds like great advice to me! A shift in attitude, or a shift in job—both can be the path to happiness when you are unhappy at work. Which shift will you choose?

Reflections on parenting

In my practice, I often work with parents who have some issues with their kids. These parents are loving, engaged, and dedicated, but sometimes the work of parenting gets in the way of the pleasure of having kids. As the summer winds down and my oldest starts his senior year of high school, I have been wanting to savor my time with my kids. Here are four reminders that I hope can help us stay grounded in the miracle and blessing of being parents.

  1. Detach: Our kids are a reflection of us… but then again, they are individuals. When our kids misbehave, parents so often get upset because we understand on some level that their behavior is a reflection of our parenting—so their misbehavior must be a reflection of our mis-parenting. Right? Umm, not so fast. Our kids are their own unique selves, coming into this lifetime with their own set of assets and liabilities, their own karmic path to overcome, benefit from, and work out. A parent's empathy and understanding will go a long way toward mitigating the occasional blow-up or tantrum; our over-identification with our children breeds tension, anxiety, and even undermines the child’s autonomy. Remember you are separate beings, and you are the mentor. Breathe.
  2. Boundaries, part 1: We need to set good boundaries and uphold them. It's important to know what our limits are. When we don’t know how we feel about something our kids are presenting to us (such is life!) and we're not sure what to do, it helps to take some time to reflect: What is the source of our hesitation? How does this fit into our overall belief system? Often we must make a quick decision, and at those times it’s best to stay confident that whatever we decide will ultimately be OK. “Right” or “wrong”, we and our kids will learn from everything that happens. Some of the best lessons are those that provide the chance to reflect on what we could have done better.
  3. Boundaries, part 2: Boundaries are not just about what we allow and don’t allow our kids to do. Boundaries also go back to the first point, which is that our kids are their own unique selves. They will have struggles and failures in their lives, just like we did, and just like everyone does. If we did not have struggles and failures, we would not be here, because we’d have already learned all those lessons! Part of effective parenting comes from allowing our kids to fall, and pick themselves back up. We can’t, and should not even try, to protect them from those lessons. That is not only futile; it denies our kids their humanity. But when we are strong, loving parents, we can help them to pick themselves up, reflect on what went wrong, and set a course correction.
  4. Open your heart: Being heart-centered gives us a greater sense empathy, compassion, and unconditional positive regard. In order to open our hearts, we need to know what it feels like to be heart-centered, and honor that feeling; look for it, seek it out, and cultivate it. Right now you can connect to your heart-centeredness by deliberately relaxing, taking a few deep breaths and feeling gratitude for all that you have, all that you are, and all that you are becoming; by flowing gratitude to your children, family, and community. To enhance your ability to be heart-centered, try cultivating a practice of mindfulness. Or meditation. Or yoga asana. Or prayer. Or all of the above. But make it a practice, a habit.

In our day—in this amazing time of transformation—we are called to do our spiritual practice right alongside of our work and family life. In this light, everything we do is a spiritual practice.  Parenting is a spiritual practice. Appreciating the time we spend with our kids, sharing our love, teaching them through (intended) right action, are part of this practice. And practice does not mean perfect. Yet as we practice, as we dedicate ourselves to this path, imagine how work and family life will flourish!

I had a ghost in my house

When I was younger, I was pretty attached to the idea that we are our physical reality, and nothing more. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust—we live and then die, and that’s that. We are a collection of cells, our consciousness is our brain. We are the body and nothing more.

I don’t think so anymore. Over the last decade and a half, I have had some really weird experiences, or amazing opportunities to rethink how I see the world. Here’s one of them.

In 2003 my kids and I moved into a new house. Pretty soon after moving in I began having nightmares, waking up in the middle of the night with the feeling that someone was watching me, that there was a man in my room. Sometimes it even felt like someone was sitting down on my bed. At that time my ex-husband would drop the kids off early in the morning before he went to work. I would often wake up during the night and go downstairs to the living room couch and sleep there till the kids got home, and the feeling of someone sitting down next to me happened on the couch as well.

I figured I was insecure about living alone. One day I was in the bookstore browsing the New Age section and I picked up a book by Rosemary Altea. She described exactly that feeling of someone sitting down on the bed, only in her story she didn’t think her mind was playing tricks. She knew that a “ghost” was there. I got chills! I was so freaked out I slept at a friend’s house, and when my boys were home I slept on the floor in their room. Fear is a terrible thing. I didn’t tell the kids what was happening, partly to save them from the fear and partly because it seems so crazy.

Jack and Sheila were long-timers in the neighborhood, as they had moved in when the homes were new. I asked them if anyone had ever died in my house. Being a good Irish-American pair they were interested to know why I asked, and they shared with me that the first homeowner had indeed died in the house. Back then, in the late ‘80s, their kids were teenagers and had babysat the couple’s infant while the mom and dad were dealing with his cancer. They remembered that everyone was surprised that the dad died so quickly, and the mom and baby moved away. Neither Jack nor Sheila could remember the guy’s name.

The Universe had my back and I got connected right away to a ghost-buster (I use that term lightly, but this woman really clears discarnate beings out of houses for a living). She came to my house and performed her ceremony: Reiki symbols, sage smudge, lavender mist, frankincense and myrrh filled the house and we waited for the ghost to show up. Soon enough, she told me that he had come to join us in the kitchen. She said he seemed confused, like he was doped up on morphine. He wondered why nobody could see him. He said his name was Jim.

We did a little ritual, guiding him up through the ceiling and toward the light. I just went with it. When the whole thing was over, and he was gone, and the ghost-buster was gone too, I thought “Well that was strange.”

The very next day, Jack and Sheila’s son was visiting them and we ran into each other outside. They asked me how things had gone, and the son asked, “Was it him?”

I answered with a question: “Was his name Jim?”

He nodded. “That was him. His name was Jim.”

You are so much more than what meets the eye.

Brainwaves and consciousness: more reason to meditate!

Your brain is composed of about 100 billion neurons. These cells communicate with each other by sending electro-chemical signals: Energy travels down the cell's long axon into the synapse or gap between neurons; there is takes a chemical ferry-ride on a neurotransmitter, crossing the gap to the next neuron's dendrite, where it resumes its travel as an electrical charge. The whole process, dendrite to cell body to axon to synapse, takes less than five-hundredths of a second. Imagine the activity of 100 billion neurons sending electrical pulses flowing through your brain! These synchronized pulses are measured by EEGs; they range from less than one pulse per second, or Hz, to more than 32 Hz. Brainwaves correspond to states of consciousness, moving from the slowest delta waves during deep sleep to fastest-paced gamma waves during peak spiritual experiences. Here’s a breakdown:

Delta waves, 0.3-4 Hz (or pulses per second), are the brainwaves of deep sleep. When we are running delta waves, we have lost conscious contact with the “real” world. Delta sleep is associated with hormonal activity that promotes growth and relaxation, and deep delta-wave sleep is essential for healing. Infants have a lot of delta wave activity, even when they are awake. In fact children up to age five still sometimes experience delta wave activity when they are awake. Delta wave sleep decreases as we age. Adolescents experience a decrease in delta sleep; another decline happens in the 40s and the tapering off continues after that.

Theta waves, at 5-8 Hz, are the brainwaves adults experience during deep meditation, hypnosis, and sleep (but not deep sleep). Young children up to age seven typically cannot access brainwaves faster than theta, even while they are fully awake. The magical thinking of young children is aligned with this brainwave pattern; even as adults, when we use theta wave frequencies we are not using critical thinking or deductive reasoning. This partly explains how post-hypnotic suggestions work. It also explains how negative messages we received as children continue to haunt us during our adult lives—they were accepted uncritically and became our reality. Fortunately, it is possible to use theta waves (via hypnosis or meditation) to reprogram those harmful messages!

Alpha waves, at 8-15 Hz, are the brainwaves of “chill”. Calm and relaxed, these brainwaves represent our brain at rest. They are associated with being “in the now” and are good for harnessing the mind-body connection. Alpha waves are used with memory recall; this is why people sometimes use hypnosis to find lost items. Accessing calm alpha waves during learning actually increases our ability to concentrate and learn.

Beta waves, at 16-31 Hz, represent the bulk of our waking consciousness. These are the frequencies associated with normal wakefulness, work, and conversation. Beta waves are subdivided into low-beta, beta, and high-beta. High-beta waves are associated with highly complex thought and also with anxiety. Beta waves generally are inefficient as they burn more energy than the lower-frequency waves. They are also less associated with creativity and creative problem solving.

Gamma waves are the highest-frequency brainwaves are, at 32-42 Hz. Researchers originally thought these fast-paced waves were anomalies. Analog EEG machines couldn’t even measure these fast-paced waves. Now we have come to understand that gamma waves are associated with peak spiritual experiences like universal love and altruism. While everyone experiences gamma waves, some do so more often than others. People who experience a high rate of gamma activity are found to be more intelligent, compassionate, and happy, with better memory recall and greater self control.

It is possible to train your brain to run healthier brainwave patterns. We can learn to get out of the taxing, normal, and stress-related beta wave patterns and into healthier alpha, theta, and even gamma frequencies through regular practice. The internet is full of great music that is designed to elicit specific brainwaves; binaural beats or isochronic tones use specific frequencies to help you access these beneficial brainwave patterns. I like the ones here for sleep and here for meditation.

Meditation is a technique that can help you train your brain to relax. When we meditate we use alpha and theta waves; experience may lead to increasing gamma wave activity. Meditation can be thought of as simply a way to deliberately harness slower brainwaves. The idea that meditation must be an arduous task of not-thinking is misleading and may keep beginners from giving it a try. If you are thinking of embarking on a meditation practice you may want to consider this: No rules, just RELAX and enjoy.

the chakras: foundations of health

Introduction to the chakras, or energy centers

You know you are more than your body, that you are an energy being, timeless and expansive. How does that energy become the "we" that we see? Part of the explanation comes from an understanding of the energy body. Our physical bodies are the concrete reservoir of energy pouring into us from the biofield, the energy body that surrounds and interpenetrates us. Within that biofield are seven major (and many minor) energy centers, or chakras. This blog provides an introduction to the chakras, or the seven major energy centers within a human body.

Chakra is the Sanskrit word for "wheel" and the name is apt, because each of these centers spins, allowing energy to flow in and out of our bodies. The energy centers also correspond to a layer of our biofield. And inside our bodies, they correspond to a gland. Moreover, each chakra is associated with some basic physical and emotional issues, both positive and negative. In this introduction to the chakras, we will use the terms "energy centers" and "charkas" interchangeably.

Introduction to the chakras

Energy flows into our system from the crown chakra and circulates through all of the other chakras, into the back and out the front. Energy is stepped down, layer by layer, as it circulates through the biofield or aura. It eventually makes its way into the etheric sheath, the layer of energy that envelops the physical body. From there, it enters the physical body itself.

Energy is everything, and therefore nothing exists in the physical that doesn’t first exist in the etheric or energy body. The health of our body is directly related to the flow of energy through our etheric body, and the health of the etheric body is directly related to the flow of energy through the six other chakras and their respective layers of the aura. Here's a framework to understand how it all works.

The root center

The first or root chakra corresponds to the etheric sheath. The root chakra is located just below the perineum. It is associated with the adrenal glands, which are the masters of the “fight or flight” response. Root chakra imbalances, then, often involve either chronic stress or "flightiness", which can be seen as a lack of grounding -- aka, a poor functioning of the root center.

The issues typically associated with the root chakra include survival issues and the will to live, inherited beliefs, some sleep problems, and being grounded. Physical issues can include autoimmune disorders, kidney problems, and issues like chronic fatigue. When the root chakra is fully functioning, our body receives a harmonious flow of energy and we are grounded, fully alive and present in our physical plane lives, and with a sense of belonging here on earth.

The sacral center

The second or sacral chakra is located at the top or the sacrum, about two inches below the navel. This energy center is related to the astral or emotional body, what we often think of as the inner child. The astral body forms the second layer of the aura. The glands associated with the sacral center are the reproductive glands.

Not surprisingly, then, issues associated with the sacral center include sexual issues, emotionalism, relationships, and even money issues. Physical issues related to the sacral center may include certain digestive complaints and issues related to the reproductive system. This center has a lot to do with relationships, as well as harmony or disharmony. When the sacral center is clear and fully functioning, we will experience emotional equilibrium, peaceful relationships, and an end to victim consciousness.

The solar plexus

The third chakra is the solar plexus center, and is located in the area of the diaphragm. This center is related to the ego or lower mental body which forms the third layer of the aura. In terms of the glands, the solar plexus corresponds to the pancreas.

The issues associated with the solar plexus center include judgments and criticisms, separativeness, and an “us vs. them” mentality. Health issues related to solar plexus dysfunction include diabetes and many digestive complaints. The solar plexus is also the seat of stress, and an overactive solar plexus can drain the heart center; thus, heart issues can also be associated with the solar plexus. When the solar plexus is fully functioning and clear, our little egos are under control and we are aligned with the Higher Self.

The heart center

The fourth chakra is the heart center and is located right at the middle of the chest. This energy center connects the energy of the fourth layer of the aura. It corresponds to the thymus gland, which is important in regulating immune function. When the heart chakra is open and fully functioning, we are connected to our Higher Self and open to group consciousness, understanding that what is good for one is good for all.

Low energy in the heart chakra is analogous to an overactive solar plexus: anger, criticism, and separativeness. Physical heart chakra issues can include immune deficiencies as well as heart and lung issues. Opening the heart chakra includes self-forgiveness, self-love, and releasing past hurts.  Again, the third and fourth chakras are directly related to one another; when the third is over-energized, it drains the fourth. Interestingly, it is said that the next step forward for humanity is in opening the heart center -- it is interesting to consider what that will mean for us, isn't it?

The throat center

The fifth chakra or throat center is located at the base of the throat. It is associated with the thyroid gland which runs our metabolism. This chakra is all about communication: speaking our truth, connecting to our Soul, and manifesting. The fifth and second chakras are directly related; when there is over-activity in the sacral center (emotional body) our throat center is drained (unable to communicate, know our path, or connect to the soul).

Issues associated with the throat center can be over-active (angry outbursts, for example) or under-active (unable to speak up for ourselves). Throat center imbalances also are implicated when we are not clear about what to do or how to move forward. Illnesses associated with the throat center include many thyroid issues and some voice problems. When the throat is fully functioning and open, we are able to effectively and harmlessly speak the truth, and we are connected to our Soul and able to create or manifest.

The ajna center, soon to be your third eye

The sixth chakra is called the ajna center. It is located at the middle of the forehead. It corresponds to the pituitary body, which runs the endocrine system. When this center is fully open, it functions as the Third Eye, opening our awareness to the Buddhic plane, the center of intuition and the sixth layer of the aura.

For now, the ajna center contains the recapitulation of all the energy from the lower centers. Problems with the glandular system may stem to the ajna center. Imbalances in the sixth chakra typically happen when we are too much “in our heads”.

The crown center

The seventh or crown chakra is located above the top of the head. Energy pours into our system via the crown chakra and circulates through the other chakras. This chakra is associated with the pineal gland and the seventh layer of the aura.

Problems in the head center may lead to migraines. It connects us with the Monad or Spirit and opens us to what is sometimes called "Christ" or "Krishna" consciousness, otherwise called universal consciousness. In the meantime, it sows energy into our entire system.

Now, what will you do with your introduction to the chakras?

Now that you have this basic understanding of the chakras, what will you do with your knowledge? If you are intrigued, it may be worth studying a little more! ACEP's upcoming Comprehensive Energy Psychology course will provide you with more information to help you deepen your understanding. To understand how to use the chakras for developing your intuition, read Lori Hops’s blog here. If you are still a little skeptical (or know someone who is), read this report on a study focusing on the evidence for the chakras.

Tap away your cares

EFT, or The Emotional Freedom Techniques, is getting a lot of press these days. What’s the fuss about? Can tapping really help us do… anything?

The research says it can. EFT has been found to decrease anxiety and depression, treat phobias, and increase feelings of wellbeing. Moreover, there is a significant body of research showing that EFT is an effective tool in treating posttraumatic stress disorder or PTSD.

How does this happen? Most experts agree that EFT is a three-ingredient recipe: thinking of the problem, affirmation, and tapping on acupressure treatment points. The basic setup goes something like this:

While tapping the fingers of one hand on the pinky-edge side of the other hand, say “Even though I have this problem”-- (and be specific, like, “I need to lose 10 pounds”, or “I’m distraught because my boyfriend and I broke up”), “I deeply and completely love and accept myself”. Then proceed to tap on the following series of points while re-stating the problem (without the affirmation; eg., “but my boyfriend and I broke up”): inside corners of the eyebrows, outsides of the eyes, under the eye, under the nose, under the mouth, under the collarbones, under the arms, and all around the top of the head. Then go back to tapping the side of the hand and take a deep breath. You should be feeling a little bit better already.

Whatever thought comes up next is fair game for tapping. So, if you are still upset about the breakup, tap on it again; if you think, “It’s OK that this guy and I broke up, I didn’t really like him that much anyway…. But I’ll be that old lady with 50 cats!”, then tap on it! “Even if I’m going to be that old lady with 50 cats, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.” Continue to go through the tapping sequence, tapping away whatever comes up, until you feel clear.

For more information and a tutorial on EFT, check out the website of its founder, Gary Craig, at

Five ways to keep calm in any situation

Most of us feel stressed from time to time, but for some of us, stress has become a part of life. Stress takes a heavy toll on our health, and it certainly doesn’t make us happy or let us feel good. But sometimes it's hard to avoid feeling stressed. Here are some tips on how to keep calm:

Practice being present

Unless you are literally under attack, the causes of stress are about the future, not the present. Even if you have a horrible boss, chances are that you are not under attack all the time. After a stressful situation, step back and take a breath. Remind yourself that your feet are on the floor, your seat is in the chair, the keyboard is under your fingers, and breathe.


Seriously, it gets rid of lots of those stress hormones that are circulating in your bloodstream because of your horrible bosses (or dramatic coworkers, or endless traffic, or noisy neighbors…). It gives those hormones something to work for, and then lets your adrenal glands (the stress glands) get to rest. There’s nothing like a good workout to relieve stress and get the body back to a healthy state.


The body is filled with acupressure meridians and each of them has a treatment point. The treatment point for stress is at your kidney meridian (your adrenals live on top of your kidneys), just under the collarbones. The treatment point for anger is at the liver meridian, on the middle of your bottom rib (straight down from the nipple). And you can open your heart by tapping the middle of your chest. A great stress-busting tapping sequence is the collar bones, heart, and bottoms of your ribs. Tap each point about seven times and breathe while you think about your stress and feel it melt away.

Talk it out (but be careful who you talk to).

There are those friends who can talk us off the ledge, and then there are those who make us want to jump. I remember calling a friend when I was upset and, God love her, she loved me and felt just as angry as I did. We just got more and more upset and angry and indignant and …things did not end well that day. Better to call the one who stays calm and helps you get calm, too. A good therapist can be an invaluable resource when you are going through a challenging time.

Commit to make a change

How long are you willing to let your work (or family) stress take a toll on you? There is wisdom in the serenity prayer: Get the patience to accept the things you can’t change, the courage to change the things you can, and the wisdom to know the difference. You can change yourself and the way you react. You can project heart-centered kindness into a chaotic situation and help others become more heart-centered. But some situations are just toxic. If you have learned all you can from the situation, it might be time to learn how to leave it.

With patience, resolve, and practice, you can beat stress --instead of letting it beat you. If you have other tips on how to keep calm, I'd love to hear from you!