Sunday, June 28, 2009

Hand + Struck = Manifest

Manifestation, encaustic, 6" x 6"

I'm on a manifestation kick these days. I'm not really sure what I mean by that, actually, but I think I mean I am manifesting quite a lot lately and I'd like to know what it is I am actually doing.

(BTW, I love starting posts by declaring that I don't really know what I am talking about. Seriously, it takes the pressure off right from the beginning. No performance anxiety or worry about trying to be an "expert." Try it yourself! I'll bet you'll find yourself feeling calmer. I give you permission to start off knowing little of what you are talking about. Really!)

So, with an open, slightly tired mind, I started my exploration with online definitions of the word manifestation to get my tricycle wheels rolling.

One definition of manifestation (my favorite definition by far) is the following:

"The embodiment of an intangible or variable thing." (Wiktionary)

I like the intangible part. Manifestation is taking something intangible and making it tangible. I suppose this blog post, then, is the embodiment of my thoughts about manifestation. So manifestation is about creating something visible from something invisible. Like my love could manifest as an embrace or my excitement could manifest as one-handed cartwheels. What happens when you embody glee and share it with someone? Or what about despair? The intangible is the emotion stirring inside and the tangible is the sharing of the feeling through some action or symbolic act or creation.

I looked up the etymology of the word manifest and discovered this little handy morsel:

manifest adj. — manifeste or L. manifestus, earlier manufestus, f. manus hand + festus struck (

Manifest = hand + struck, like fingers striking typewriter keys or hands molding clay or pen scratching paper. It's about making something real, tangible through some sort of creative action. And the "intangible thing" is often our imagination. It's where our dreams live -- our hopes and wishes and intentions.

Without these wishes and intentions, what are we to manifest? How is manifestation possible without imagination? How are we to transform a guitar riff in our head into music without our little imaginative muses working away inside us? Or what of the poem incubating in your heart or the love you wish to find in your life? Without imagination, dreams, and intentions, how are we to embody what we want in our lives?

And what of manifesting good health and well being? How do we do this? I think we do this in the same way we manifest an emotion as a painting. We imagine ourselves in good health, with calm hearts and minds, with lightness and joy, and we make these intentions visible. We paint them, draw them, state them, draw them on the bathroom mirror, walk them, stretch them, or share them with a friend. In all, we give them a chance to be real.

With your imagination, let your positive intentions be possible. Remember that manifest = hand + struck. This is creation. Act as if they are true. Say them as if they are true: I am healthy, strong, and vibrant. I am creative, open, and empathetic. Embody your dreams. Wear them like cloaks and walk around in them. Add sequins if you want. Just as the sequins attract the light, I believe you will attract what you wish to manifest.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Quietly Grandiose

During my Hawaii adventure, I had the opportunity to connect on a energetic (and emotional) level with some powerful animals. The picture below shows me giving Reiki to green sea turtles who loved to visit Maui's rocky edge at twilight. They lifted their heads, flipped their bodies over and flapped their limbs. On this particular evening, I stood as close as I could to the ocean and offered my hands of healing to them.

In all honesty, I was actually looking for some healing energy myself. My mom and I made it a ritual to watch the turtles at sunset each evening and I found it therapeutic to be in the presence of these creatures I could barely see in in the twilight's shadows. Each night my mother and I thanked these sea turtles for their presence, wisdom, and good spirit before saying goodnight.

These ancient beings gave me something -- some sense of groundedness, something that I still can't quite grasp. In some ways, I felt the strength and wisdom of my dad in these turtles. Or that's what I was searching for on those evenings sitting with my mother. I was searching for the missing piece: my dad. And further, my own sense of personal power and strength (characteristics my father embodied without his even knowing it).

On this particular night, with turtles active and attentive, I wanted to give something back.

While standing on my little jagged lava rock, waves splashing at my feet as the tide was coming in, several turtles seemed to move closer, curious about this being standing so still and so focused on them. They lifted their heads, dipped down, rolled over, and generally seemed to accept my energy. How do I know this? I don't really know, as in scientifically know, other than I felt it. I felt these turtles, these threatened species, take the energy I was offering through my hands. And I sensed this acceptance in my body like a wave splashing through my abdomen, filling my heart.

Even as this was a profound moment, I discovered I had a wish, a dream. I wanted 100 sea turtles to congregate at my feet, lifting their heads in unison, taking in the Reiki energy (like that scene in the film Whale Rider when Pia, the 11-year old girl, herds a pod of whales on her own) and then thanking me by doing a synchronized turtle dance.

This did not happen. And I'm not sure synchronized turtle dances happen, except maybe in Disney movies.

But my awareness of my fantasy made me realize how small moments can be so powerful. Sure, 100 turtles performing just for me would be astounding, but why do I need this huge gesture? The small gestures, the small movements and feelings of that evening were actually quite huge. I was opening myself up, raw and sometimes teary-eyed, to these turtles whose ancestors lived over 150 million years ago. (As my partner told me over the phone from Seattle, "Now that's some wisdom they got there.")

And then I began to think of how grandiose-centric we can become in our thinking and imagining, when maybe the amazing, the deep, the profound is right under our nose. Right now in the moment we are living.

Why do we want bigger and better and faster when in a 15-minute period in Hawaii in 2009 a human woman with a barely three million year-old lineage is making a connection with a creature whose tribe has reminded unchanged for 150 million years. Now that's astounding!

So this realization began to open me up to the quietly grandiose all around me. As twentieth century physician Thomas Lewis wrote, "Statistically, the probability of any one of us being here is so small that you'd think the mere fact of existing would keep us all in a contented dazzlement of surprise."

Imagine what would happen if you took this probability to heart and found amazement everywhere?

Try this:

What in your daily life, that you might normally see/feel as simple, mundane, or plain, is actually grandiose? How can you turn something "normal" to dazzling in your mind? Find something for which you'd like to feel differently. A relationship, a home, a workplace, a companion animal, an art piece. See if you can look at it and examine it deeply to see the hidden gem inside, the little surprise that makes you feel bodily contentment (like the frothy wave feeling in my stomach). See if you even find yourself delighted by the small things--the things in your life that usually flutter by. Catch those little flutterers. Take them into your arms and see who or what they really are.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Jostling with the Waves

One therapeutic aspect of being in the warm Pacific waters is what I call the "letting go and tumbling" effect. For some, tumbling in the surf may not seem like much fun, but for me, a longtime body surfer and wave navigator, allowing my body to tumble in the surf is a great pleasure.

For one thing, allowing the waves' unpredictable movements makes me let go. I cannot control how my body will move in the surf. So any bodily patterns I have so strongly established become jostled and tumbled and smoothed away by the deep, mysterious currents and salty rollers.

As an experiment one day as I was floating around in the ocean, I decided to see how much I could let go. I chose a spot that was shallow (a little "baby beach" spot on Napili Bay) and allowed the waves to move me however they pleased. I felt like a seal rolling about. My body moved in all directions and I tried to keep my muscles soft and available for whatever direction the ocean wished me to go.

(BTW, isn't there a practice of relaxing your muscles if you are going to fall so you don't hurt yourself? This is the same idea.) In a calm, safe part of the sea, allow yourself to be soft and surrender to the teachings of the ocean.

Softness can be difficult to achieve. Most of us don't do daily ocean tumbling practices. So much of our day consists of muscle positioning and guarding. We pose, protect, hold on tight, stay strong, and stay rigid. What a lesson in letting go to allow little warm waves to gently stir me up.

Allowing c
lients to feel this stirring up sensation is one reason why I often incorporate jostling in my massage sessions. I love to jostle clients' legs and arms in particular. By doing so, the muscles cannot stay in a rigid place of predictability. (They can try for a period of time and then they must let go.)

The muscles don't know where I will take them, how fast, and for how long. The body must surrender to the jostling, just as my body did in the ocean waves. My arms and legs lifted and opened and closed and twisted; my back arched; and my head dipped.

And I felt, in a way, reborn.

Try this:

It is not very effective to jostle yourself (although certain erratic movements can give you a similar effect), so find a partner with which to practice. Take turns gently moving each other's arms and legs up and down, in circles, etc. and see if you can feel your partner letting go, surrendering to your process.

And now that we are edging our way into summer, if you have a nice, soft beach to play in, feel free to do a little wavy jostling in the lake or ocean. Find a safe and comfortable place to let the water move you. Even if you just stand in the water up to your waist and allow the little waves to gently toss you about, you will be feeling the effects of letting go of control.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Alphabet Intentions, Part II

So the best part about setting the Alphabet Intentions is to finish your day with a little reflection on your words. At least this is my favorite part. And the key is that if you didn't resonate with one of your words during the day, you are allowed. There are no rules here. Intentions aren't about rules.

As a Reiki practitioner, I set an intention for each session I give. I set an intention for the highest healing good for the person I am working with. The intention I set in my session is more general and BIG ("highest healing good" is like having tea with the Buddha).

For your own intention setting, it can be meaningful to create specific intentions--ones that you can hold on to like a string of beads or a stone in your pocket.

And for my personal daily intentions, I find it affirming to see how I've interacted with my words of intentions. For example, I'll reflect on my words as they relate to today:

Safe: I went snorkeling on Napili Bay today with my mom and we encountered the most enormous turtle I have ever seen. I was three feet from him. He was well over 500 pounds and half the size of a hippo! The current kept pushing me closer to him (and the coral rocks nearby) making for a bit of an anxious encounter. Even with this sense of overwhelm and awe and strong current, I calmed myself by tuning into the strong, wise energy of the turtle and felt safe. I was able to move a distance away from the rocks to watch these huge creatures (there were actually two of them) eat seaweed and algae. The turtles were calm and felt safe with odd-looking creatures staring at them (people in snorkel gear do look like alien creatures, I think), so why shouldn't I?

See: Birds! This afternoon while I was on our lanai giving my mom a Hawaiian Oracle card reading, about 20 birds perched on the railings and roof edges to watch. They clearly weren't begging for food (we had already eaten lunch) and had no food out with us. It felt like a blessing to feel seen by them and for me to see them in a thankful way. We stopped our reading to take them all in -- in all their marvelous colors and shapes--before they flew off for other observations.

Soft: Today softness came in the form of feelings of forgiveness. There was a moment when I could have easily been hard on myself, but I instead breathed my way into being soft on myself, breathing in forgiveness.

Serene: I usually feel serene in increments. Today, I felt a steady stream of sereneness. I woke up with a slow Maui "go-with-the-flow" feeling and decided to ride with that. When one beach wasn't a fit, we moved to the next. No timeline. No fuss. Just us.

Sigh: Oh how helpful it is to sigh! Do you sigh often? Sometimes I think sighs are misinterpreted (I know that I sometimes confuse my partner's sigh with exasperation when he's really just tired or just breathing.) Sighing is good for the body. Notice how your shoulders drop when you sigh. So, today I sighed whenever I felt like it. I sighed a lot after the turtle encounter for sure!

That felt quite satisfying to reflect on my intentions. I feel like I now inhabit these intentions much more consciously having written about them. I wonder what new intentions will come tomorrow....

Let me know how it goes for you!

(Note: the picture above is a drawing in the sand of the sea turtle I saw--life size--with me face-planted in the sand for perspective)

Alphabet Intentions

Aloha from Maui, Healing Nesters!
I've been meaning to post here sooner (sorry for my blogging lapse!), and yet all of my blog ideas have remained in my sandy, warped-paged beach notebook. I guess I'm feeling like letting loose my ideas now. Snap on your seatbelts because I feel a flow of Healing Nest blog energy coming your way!
Here we go!

While here in Hawaii, I have been playing with some simple art supplies and producing a few art pieces in between swimming with the fishies and searching for sea turtles (I have yet to see one eye-to-eye, but I'm on the lookout).

This piece above was a meditation on my five "S's" for the day: safe, see, soft, serene, and sigh.

Have you ever done this?

This is what I do: in the morning, I chose a letter and decide to attribute five intentions for my day that begin with that letter. For instance, yesterday, I chose "C" and I wrote down (this time not in an art piece): clear, calm, celebratory, centered, and creative.

I find that creating a little structure around intentions can bring about little surprises. I discover words that I wouldn't have thought of, but they indeed fit my wishes for my day.

What are the five words for your day? Chose a letter at random and get them down on paper or include them in an art piece!