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Archive for April, 2013

Although there is much sadness in the world, and horrible things happen to good people, the world is still a beautiful place and people are still generally kind. Please do not forget this. When we become cynical, or engrossed in the destruction in the world, we do violence to ourselves on a daily basis. Look around and take comfort in nature, in the cycles of the moon, and the flow of the ocean. All is well.

On my way home today I saw something that helped me renew my faith in humanity. I was driving along a narrow, curvy road and saw brake lights ahead. I quickly came to a stop, worried about why there seemed to be a traffic jam. As I came to a halt I saw a beautiful Canadian goose flapping its wings as it crossed the road. I had to chuckle to myself when I considered that at least 5 cars came to a screeching halt, almost hitting one another, so that a goose could safely cross the road.

Yes, bad things happen. Yes, we live in a world where trauma occurs somewhere to someone every second of the day. Yes, it is a beautiful place. If you can hold this paradox in your head, and accept both sides of the coin, peace is yours.

 

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Over the last four days I have been immersed in the world of poetry and healing. When most people think of poetry, they remember being forced to memorize metaphor, simile, alliteration, and on and on. Not fun! The National Association of Poetry Therapy’s annual conference, held at the Cenacle Retreat Center in Chicago, would be enough to change anyone’s mind. Poetry can lead you down the path of healing by opening your heart to beautiful, expressive language. Poetry takes our human experience and condenses it into concise and powerful words.

Although there were many fantastic workshops, I fell in love with the combination of poetry and dance in a workshop held Saturday morning. Tired from the day before, I entered the workshop not quite sure what to expect. The facilitator immediately had us on our feet, in a circle, holding hands. I felt the familiar demons rising up in me: oh no, am I going to look foolish? Will I get the moves right? I took all of these thoughts in and accepted them (welcome to the party)! and began to move and flow with the rest of the group. It was an amazing, healing experience that broke down many barriers, resulted in a lot of laughs, and a huge outpour of words on paper. How true that our bodies hold our stories, and they just wait for a chance to release them. Here is the poem I wrote after the sacred dance:

Twilight closes my eyes

And the stars glimmer from the purple smooth

I honor the four directions

The divine directions of my life

I feel love filtering through the circle

A ring of flowers, each in a different state of bloom

The music plays and my soul rises to follow the beat

Trembling in joy

I came to poetry therapy as an English teacher, wanting to forge a deeper connection between my students and the written word. I left the conference with a truer vision of what I am: a healer, both of myself and others. In this vein I have decided to extend my poetry therapy training to actually studying counseling at a local college.  I have decided not to leap into this path as soon as possible, however, and instead wait until the fall of 2014 to begin this training. 2013 will be a time of great rest and reflection. I must say, it does feel good to have some clarity! And I take with me on this journey the words of wisdom from the great poets, and the great healers, I met this weekend.

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Many of you have probably read about, or have tried, many different types of cleanses. A couple of years ago I attempted a cleanse eating only raw foods. Even though it was summer time, my body went into shock. Abruptly switching from a carb-loaded diet to one with only cold fruits and vegetables was unhealthy. I was on the right track, but after day 1 I had a terrible allergic reaction to a mango (which I am not usually allergic to), and could not continue. Now I am working on a gentler cleanse that will actually last three months: the candida cleanse.

There is a lot of information on the internet about the symptoms and treatments of candida. I was on an antibiotic regimen for acne in my early teenage years, and I believe that this was the beginning of the overgrowth. The basic process is to starve the candida of the sugars that feed them, let them die, and then begin again with a healthier diet. I am extremely attached to sweet treats and white flour. Today is day 1 of my cleanse and I can feel myself itching for some cake. This morning was hectic and harried, and I found myself longing for a piece of cake left over from Easter. I would never have been so aware of my emotional attachment to sweets had I not begun this cleanse.

Here are some dos and don’ts for cleansing:

1. DO stick with a diet you are comfortable with

2. DON’T schock your body by getting rid of all carbs, or even fasting, if you are not prepared for it.

3. DO create a very specific shopping list and have fun picking out new ingredients to try!

4. DON’T beat yourself up if you slip here and there.

5. DO take great care of yourself. Take a bath, sip lots of herbal tea, take yoga classes, go for long, gentle walks. A cleanse is one of the best excuses to take excellent care of yourself, so go for it.

I am personally cutting out sugar, gluten, and dairy, while taking an herbal anti-fungal remedy. For more information on the candida diet read

The Candida Cure: Yeast, Fungus & Your Health: The 90-Day Program to Beat Candida & Restore Vibrant Health by Ann Boroch.

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