Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Staying Warm

Having lived in subtropical Asia during the winter months for the past four years, I haven’t experienced the likes of holly or heralding angels, fudge or shopping frenzies, Claus or Christmas, in quite some time. And, I most definitely have not experienced cold snaps, preferring to soak my soul in the sun of India’s southwest coast. Life’s Mystery recently turned the tides, and this holiday season, I find myself back in the U.S.A.

Now, a number one focus of mine is embracing the colder temps while learning new ways of warming up. In addition to the physical realm of cold, it is also easier in the darker months to become emotionally cold, lonely and isolated. It’s a hard time to get moving – literally – and to take the initiative and reach out for fellowship. Candles, twinkling lights, and friends – these are the sources of warmth we can turn to.

Here are five fun ways I’ve found to raise my physical and emotional temperature. May they also warm the cockles of your heart!

1. Run, Run Rudolph

Get the heart beating and the blood pumping. Even 15-20 minutes jogging in the neighborhood, along the beach, or in the park will improve your warmth, raise your metabolism, and boost your mood. Tip: Lay out your running clothes and shoes the night before. Dress like a layered onion with hat, gloves, fleece, and leggings. Aim for 4-5 times a week. Enjoy noticing the difference between a cold and crisp day and a run between the raindrops. Breathe in prana, chlorophyll-rich air, and light. Photosynthesize yourself.

2. Light Up Your Life

Burn candles, even when it’s not a special occasion. Bring a candle into your cubicle or office space. Glance away from the computer screen and look at the bright flame every now and then to exercise the eyes and mix up the brain chemistry. A candle flame will also keep your immediate space a few degrees warmer AND suck moisture from the air if you’re in a damp room in a rainy area (as will incense). Tip: Trader Joe’s offers a lovely pack of six Danish-style, white and off-white taper candles for only $2.79. These are especially nice as they are self-extinguishing, and made of non-toxic soy.

3. Make Play Dates - and Keep Them

It’s hard to get moving and visit friends across town when it’s dark out so early, and cold and windy to boot. Bundle up and go see your buddies. Make a date to go to an art opening, an off-Broadway or off-Market theater piece, or tea house. Tip: Consider ringing a college pal or coworker you haven’t seen for years. Reminiscing is a great way to warm the heart and get the endorphins flowing; somehow, seeing them on Facebook doesn’t have the same face-to-face warming effect.

4. Shake It, Baby

Go dancing! Forget all the nonsense about it being too late to go out (I'm sure you can manage until ten or eleven), or not having the right outfit, or not feeling sexy enough to boogie. Any live band will do – buy a ticket and go with a girlfriend or gang. It’s not so important the circumstances: what’s important is that you get yourself on the dance floor and shake your thang. Move the body. There are plenty of bands who would love YOUR presence out there, even if you’re shimmying on your own in the corner. A night out dancing – it’s not just for clubbers or 20-somethings. Tip: The last three nights out, I’ve been gifted with free CD’s from the band or DJ. A fun souvenir, indeed.

5. Miso Happy

Buy a tub of miso and regularly make yourself a mug of soothing soup. Put a huge dollop (a heaping tablespoon) in a colorful mug and dissolve it up in boiling water – don’t boil the miso directly, though. Put a dab of ghee or butter in there, too. Add a pinch of sea salt, and a teeny pinch of paprika and/or cayenne. Sip it any time of day – it’s very nourishing and warming. Not only that, miso has been proven to detox the cells and keep your immune system up. Tip: Try Miso Master Mellow White, available at most health food stores. Experiment with adding dried seaweed strips or flakes.

Stay warm and bright, give and receive lots of hugs, and snuggle with animals, too!


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Erin Reese is a freelance writer, editor, and astro-intuitive healer. She works remotely with clients all over the world. Find out more on her magsite,

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Healing In the Non-Linear Now

Speaking with a friend last night, the subject of reliving past trauma came up. We marveled that even if events occurring in present time are hardly traumatic or dramatic, we are often triggered and plunged into a state of fear, anxiety, rage, and especially shock.

When we are in shock, there is often no traceable, ‘good’ reason for it showing up in present time. Here are a few scenarios, for example:

- Your girlfriend calls and asks when the two of you can go shopping for a Christmas tree together. She says she has the whole weekend free and wants to spend the entire time with you, baking cookies, wrapping presents, and snuggling. For no ‘reason’ at all, you freak out and seize up. Your old wounds of being smothered are tripped up.

- You live abroad in a totally foreign environment for several years, in a completely different cultural mindset. You return to your home nation, now immersed in a western, materialist world where the focus is on having and doing, rather than being. You find yourself incapable of functioning, wondering if something may be severely wrong with you. Why are you paralyzed in this infrastructure while everyone else seems to be getting along so ‘normal’?

- You’re sitting in a restaurant with old friends enjoying a great night out, laughing, talking, eating excellent food. The rambunctious party seated next to your table suddenly kicks it up to a particularly boisterous, drunken gear, and the smell of their liquor of choice – scotch whiskey – starts wafting over to your corner in gusts. Your olfactory center is triggered from a dark time in the long ago past. Like a fast-wilting flower, you are suddenly no longer having fun with your friends. While your buddies are still joking and carrying on with joy as before, you now feel depressed, lonely, and isolated – for no ‘reason.’

What do these three vastly different scenarios have in common? Shock.

How can you tell if you’re in shock? For starters, your internal GPS system completely blows out. You can’t think clearly, you may not be able to form a coherent sentence or come up with a clear answer. Someone might ask you a normal question and you won’t be able to get the words out. Your heart beat could go off the charts, or your palms might sweat. Extreme tension may arise in the body, especially in the gut or solar plexus. You could experience searing pain in the sciatic nerve.

Often, we turn freezing cold: when any animal goes into shock, the life force energy congeals itself in the deepest center of the body in order to preserve and protect, while the appendages are cut off from warmth.

Shock can be set off simply by the way a lover ends a phone call. The way a boss signs off an email. The way holiday shoppers prance around you at the mall with Christmas music blaring in your ears. The way a man looks you up and down as you board a bus. The way a seemingly normal discussion of finances with your mate sends you into an irrational, reactionary state.

None of these situations directly has anything to do with what is happening “now.” It’s what they are triggering in you from the past – or potentially even the future (intuition). Your animal instincts are up. It’s fight or flight, to which I now add – freeze. Fight, flight, or freeze.

The Blazing Flame of Awareness

How to come out of it? Interestingly, the solution is also an f-word: FEEL. The answer is to feel.

When we go to the place in the body where we most experience the seizing up, we automatically bring warmth via the light, the blazing flame of awareness. We go where the trauma, tension, lock-up or quiver is located, and observe what exactly is happening there.

That’s the first step. The second step, which is key (and easily avoided by those who prefer to stay in their intellect or spiritual superiority), is to FEEL the uncomfortable, nauseous, stuck, painful, fluttering, spinning, gut-wrenching, or even indescribable sensations that you’ve got going on in there. You might be surprised: there could even be pleasure, or a sense of soaring or floating. Usually, there are layers, and we keep going in, and in, and in to uncover until there is nothing left but spaciousness.

Feeling the sensations on a body level (see also bioenergetics and somatic therapies) brings healing awareness to a happening that made us lock up and freeze at some point in the non-linear now. Will we know or find out exactly what specific incident occurred? Maybe. It’s not important, however. The important thing is to stay with it – and breathe.

Whether we take five and excuse ourselves from our desk or the dinner table, head to the washroom and find out what’s going on in the body, or we have half an hour to lie in bed at home and feel the fear in the body – we must give it our attention. Otherwise, the shock rules us and we are zombies, the walking wounded, and cut off from our essential self. Traumatized and trapped, suffering animals.

But what about the external people, places, and things that are triggering you? What do we do about them, you ask?


You sit there and breathe into the stone in your solar plexus or that sciatic nerve spasm arising (and stretch, and drink water!). You feel that heart beat so ferociously it seems your chest might explode. And breathe. As the hologram of an individual that you are, you’re delivering awareness to the point in the past or future where the actual event, trauma, trigger happens.

You’ve just given yourself a huge helping of natural healing – in the present, in the Non-Linear Now.

Erin Reese is a freelance writer, editor, and astro-intuitive healer. She works remotely with clients all over the world. Find out more on her magsite,

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