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Our Bodies Speak The Pain of Trauma – A National and Personal Crisis

….so many people were in pain that their numbers were greater than the capacity of a world class medical facility like Mayo Clinic

I called yesterday to get some information and make an appointment at Mayo Clinic for Terry. The temporary measures we had chosen to abate  chronic pain issues were working but not addressing the source of the problem. It was clear that we could not continue in this interim existence without some causal resolutions to recovery.  To my absolute astonishment and shock, I was told that Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota was not accepting any new patients in their Pain Management/Rheumatology department because they were overwhelmed and could barely keep up with the patients they already were serving!  Really? Mayo Clinic was no longer accepting anyone who presented with arthritic symptoms and pain?     Stunning!

As I hung up the phone with the apology of the receptionist still ringing in my ears, I pondered the import of this revelation…so many people were in pain/arthritic conditions that their numbers were greater than a world class medical facility could handle….it was cold comfort to realize at least we weren’t the only ones in need of healing. The seeming epidemic proportions of this dis-ease started a cascade of awareness and questions.  A quick Google search of statistics on pain confirmed my personal experience at Mayo Clinic:

It is estimated by National Health Statistics that 76.2 million Americans suffer from pain maladies.

This  exceeds the incidences of heart disease, diabetes and cancer combined!

What was going on in America that might be manifesting  this flood of pain and arthritis? From a metaphysical perspective, it would suggest some  inability to move freely or being frozen with ? fear? such that motion is inhibited or halted….not beyond the realm of possibility given the national condition these days… but, is there more to this? what could be at the core of the stats that show such a nation-wide malaise? ……

Pain is the Body’s Message about Stored Trauma Continue reading

Our Wedding Day – At play in Quantum Reality

Our Wedding Celebration

Despite my daily protests, Terry was adamant that we follow through on our planned wedding celebration. The day dawned with me ambivalently poised between excitement about our wedding and trepidation about Terry’s ability to navigate the schedule of events and remain upright.   A few previous days of experiment with Aleve had provided him relief from the debilitating pain that had been his constant reality for the past three weeks. This offered some confidence that the same regimen the day of our wedding would provide a similar effect. With that bit of ‘ammo’, we both fully entered into the spirit of the day.


Preparations for the afternoon ceremony began with picking up flower arrangements, decorating the chapel, keeping a make-up application appointment,  and, finally, donning our official ‘wedding clothes’. With each step,  we drew closer to the joy that sat patiently waiting to be released….a joy that had been the foundation of our love and connection from the first day we met. It was the innocent mirth that children possess – happiness that just bubbles up from nowhere and delights in all that life has to offer.

The Ceremony and Celebration – Alternate Universe Experience

As we looked at each other in our transformed selves….it was as if we were transported into an alternate  universe….carried  in a flow of  powerful energy  and  a most unshakeable gift of pure peace.  The  message of universal intention and certainty that we were meant to be together was clear.   As the wedding ceremony  began…the friends who gathered with us readily participated  in the indescribable magic of presence, joy, gratitude and the excitement of bearing witness to a long journey having reached a glorious conclusion. As I stood there engaged in the ceremony, I was conscious that I was standing between layers of reality – aware of the journey to this moment, reliving past events in minute snippets, aware of the destiny and complex soul guidance that lead us to each other and this moment, aware of us all as a wavy presence of energy flashing every color of the spectrum, aware of the actual physical celebration masterfully guided by our friend and mentor, J. Tamar Stone -the words, the symbolism, the meaning in the actions. There was not a sense of time passing. There was a pervasive, palpable knowing of an unconditionally loving presence. It was as if a door opened and we were flooded with love that we could neither describe or quantify but we all felt  and simply immersed ourselves in its delicious enfoldment.  We were heart centered and held in that space, suspended in time and fully awake to the world we had entered…we were fully in the moment and magically embedded in the timeless truth of who we truly are… children of God at play as creators of love and perfection and superlative joy.

Our photographer and friend, Piper Ferguson , masterfully captured the essence of the blessed event with a collection of memorable photos that we visit often which reignites the palpable  joy into which we were immersed. In those photos, the moments of peak joy are evident.

Continue reading

Expectation, Disappointment, Aikido Mind and A Voice Dialogue Moment

Enlightenment must come little by little – otherwise it would overwhelm

Enlightenment is not imagining figures of light but making the darkness conscious –
Carl Jung

Just when it seemed like everything had finally found its upright position and life was with wheels again, one of them fell off and things appeared to come to a screeching halt.  If you have been following our posts,  you might recall that life had thrown a wellness challenge at us last year (see When Change Comes Calling post – https://thirdspacechronicles.com/2009/10/13/when-change-comes-calling/) . Up until a few weeks ago, it seemed that we had emerged from the experience and were proceeding with a sense of hope-filled vigor together into new adventures.  One of those adventures was a joyous decision to get married. It was a natural and exciting prospect for us as our journey together has been both  miraculously magical and supremely challenging these past 11 years!

Our wedding which is next Saturday, August 21 is by design, small and intimate. Only our closest friends will join us in the celebration. Even so,  the architectural design of the whole celebration required some thought and collaboration – both of which we joyously dove into. There developed this euphoric awareness that we were actually to be married! – that we were to declare before our friends and in the essence of Rumi’s ethereal Divine love perspectives our forever comittment to each other.  The plans followed the traditional focus that became somewhat overwhelming at times – invitations, venue, dinner, rings, clothing, crafting of the ceremony.  It seemed that our most cherished dreams were coming true – and the joy and playfulness of the archetype of Marriage had completely enfolded us in its perfection and fulfillment.

Then Terry,  who was immersed in personal growth and healing work, somehow managed to unleash the hounds of hell into the mix….the healing processes in which he was engaged came together in the perfect storm of intense release and detox….leaving him horizontal with pain and fatigue and casting doubt on the fulfillment of our long-held dream to be wed. In an attempt to avert disaster, we retraced the protocols of our previous years’ healing and added a few new ones for good measure but the debilitating condition held fast. We were plunged into a morass of disappointment,  bewilderment about the significance of  the timing and its deja vu feel  as well as confusion about the deeper message of this unwelcome guest in our midst. Continue reading

The Gulf Oil Spill – A Prayer for Healing

The Gulf of Mexico under siege

As images of oil-soaked wildlife and dead dolphins and birds  from the Gulf oil spill monopolize the media, it is hard to articulate the cascade of emotions that flow into consciousness –  first it is shock and horror, then incredulity that such a disaster could happen in America in the 21st century, then shame at being part of the species who visited this apocalypse on the innocent; then it seems to settle into a deep inexpressible heart sadness that the unimaginable and unspeakably ugly unfolding of this nightmare managed to survive into the light of day and become reality.  There is just no way to get around its presence….and its long-term life-altering effects…for the people who depend on the bounty of the Gulf, for the wildlife who are threatened and for a planet once again under siege.

As a young child, I remember the terrifying experience of my father dying suddenly. I would often go to sleep at night with the distinct impression that I had somehow slipped into some parallel universe and that when I next opened my eyes I would have returned to an upright world where my father was still alive and the other experience was simply a bad dream.  As I found out time and again, that was not the case – reality was reality and no matter how much I wanted it to be different, it never was….eventually I learned to deal with it and although my life was irretrievably altered, the new norm simply became my life.  That is how it seems the death of a pristine ecosystem will affect this nation and we cannot deny it.

My Florida Playground

I found myself in tears this morning as witness to the devastation that was about to slink its slimy way into the backyard of my Florida playground. I no longer live there -at least not in my physical and present incarnation- but I discovered that in my memory I always believed it to be a place that  would never change and would always be there. Even if I never physically returned to the serenity of a walk along Venice Beach, the antics of the manatees at Homosassa Springs, the splendor of the setting sun over St. Pete Beach as I sat with a close friend watching for the ‘green flash’. Even if I never again flew from the west coast  ‘armpit’ to Key West and witnessed with awe the beauty of this part of the world from the air. Even if I never again flew to the Gulf out-islands with the group of women pilots met for our monthly lunches …..I always believed it would all still be there – alive and well to antiquity – never needing my presence to continue….but a place to which I could return at will.

It felt like a cherished connection to my past was being destroyed simultaneously with the demise of the fragile ecosystem – change had visited a part of my past and altered it forever – it wasn’t just a bad dream, it was real and there was nothing I could do about it but be heart-broken. As I sat with the sadness, unable to truly grasp the depth of the emotion that had gripped my soul, I began to see that this was one of the ‘letting go’ moments whose time had come. As hard as it was to fathom, the devastation in its finality seemed to represent a cutting with the past – it was as if the silent images of death and destruction were showing me on a personal level the death of my connection to that life for me.

The responsibility of stewardship

Like the bubble of denial within which we seem to have been living as a nation -ie- believing that such a disaster as just happened never would, that our regulators were taking their responsibilities seriously – I too had mistaken the serene and comforting memories to be an immutable, eternal truth.  As I worked through that realization, it became clear how necessary  it is to fully attend t0 present time, out of the fantasy bubble of what was and become available to live fully and choicefully NOW.  A piece of my soul was left behind in that idyllic world and it has now been retrieved.  Perhaps the possibility exists for us as a nation to do the same.  We have left part of our soul in the mistaken belief bubble of our delusional ‘perfect’ world and this disaster is perhaps the wake-up call  in all areas of our existence.  We can no longer pretend that we are simply experiencing a nightmarish ‘rough patch’ in our history and soon will wake up from this bad dream to find all is restored. That is not and never will be a possibility. We cannot allow ourselves to escape into a phantasmagorical world where all is always well.   The only course of action is to begin anew, altered and with new resolve to live differently – renewable energy, sustainable awareness – into ecological maturity as responsible stewards of this earth upon which we live…time to change.

A prayer for healing in the Gulf

I never realized how much I had available to me in those days of play and enjoyment in Florida…never really appreciated how many times I had the opportunity to imbibe the fruits of the natural world – it was all so easily available that I took it for granted believing it would always be there in the same pristine way I had experienced it —– how wrong I was!  As time is bendable, I choose to overlay my gratitude today on the torn ecology of the Gulf as a solemn prayer for its healing….as with any change – return to stasis is not possible. Perhaps in this case it is a good thing – perhaps this is the first pained step onto a new path toward appreciation for our lives in partnership with nature rather in dominance of it…perhaps in the horrific images and shattered lives to which we are witness today, we will retrieve our truth and heal our souls as we heal this devastation.

A quote from Mohandas K. Gandhi:  “To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves.”

When CHANGE comes calling…..


“The only thing certain in life is death and taxes…and….”

…. after the experiences of this summer, I would emphatically add “CHANGE” to that list of inevitable events. Over the past few months in addition to our own adventures, we were witness to a myriad of changes in the lives of those we love – death of loved ones,  health emergencies, lost employment, children leaving home for the first time, expanding families as babies arrive in the world, and relocation to facilitate new beginnings . Personally, we were brought up short by health challenges that shifted  attention from our exuberant lifestyle of activity and exploration to a complete focus on wellness. The past five months totally immersed us in discovery of the source of an illness that hit seemingly overnight and has lasted much longer. In a cascade of medical appointments, testings and opinions, we spent the entire time searching for a return path to wellness from the trail of illness we had somehow wandered down. Every dimension of being – physical, emotional, spiritual and quantum – conspired to create a frightening, mysterious chaos into which we entered. The upshot of it all? The chaos created CHANGE – changed capability, changed flexibility,  changed focus, changed attitudes, changed activity and ultimately changed life direction. None of these changes have been easily or linearly navigated nor are they complete. But during this transition, we have glimpsed meaning and perspective and intuitively set up inquiry to excavate answers. It has been the only thing that has kept us going in an otherwise stormy sea of unknowns. It is what has kept us patiently taking one step at a time and letting go of superfluous activities and involvements. The challenges that had plopped themselves on our plate made it impossible to maintain our old way of life.  ….forced CHANGE was upon us and all we could do was respond and continue to navigate the terrain as we encountered it.

The struggle against Change – Our sometimes inelegant journey

It would be ideal to say that our responses were always grace-filled and aware – however, it often took the form of railing against the whole process – anger, frustration, lashing out at ‘so-called’ experts, arguments about next steps,  rebellion against restrictions and the loss of the comfort of a way of life we had created and embraced.  We never let go of our personal responsibility – always searching, inquiring, trying yet another protocol. After many months, at the edge of exhaustion, it became clear that we were called to let go, trust and surrender – an actualized experience of our spiritual journey. My personal recollection of such a moment  happened as I watched a breast cancer victim on TV – it felt like a moment of clarity we were meant to discover. It wasn’t so much what she said, as it was the sense of profound humility she exuded in having been forced to give up to her process of recovery.  I felt so guilty about my whining ways as I witnessed the grace of acceptance before me. In every fibre of my being, I ceased to struggle ‘against’ and began to look more deeply  ‘at’ what was being asked of me and us in this crazy experience. It seemed for Terry also, the quest ended in a moment of profound -giving up…out of ideas, out of steam to continue and out of fight to think his way through the dilemna.  From that point on, things have improved and expanded…new, effective helpers have appeared, plausible solutions  and a meaningful body of new work has been embraced, new strengths and capabilities have emerged. CHANGE has arrived and even though we still sail the treacherous waters of the unknown, we have allowed ourselves to open to trust in  wisdom at work.

Outside the individual experience also lies forced CHANGE  – in the nation

The national crisis in health care reform and the associated ‘public exorcism’ (credit to a friend – Kelly Walker – for that crystaline metaphor)  of fear and loathing that erupted with it provided a mirror that reflected the effects of CHANGE  on a grander scale.   As I observed the extreme behavior, I discovered some of my own reactionary resistance to change – the righteous indignation and anger that someone upset my reality was clearly plastered on the screen before me every night on evening news – screaming, ranting folk who underneath their bravado were simply scared about the forced CHANGE that national circumstances had delivered to their door. The challenge became intensely personal and they did not like it one bit nor did they have any tools with which to develop perspective.  With every ounce of their being, they struggled and railed against the government, their President, and any perceived suggestion of change to their known way of life.  As we discovered in our summer of transformation, the ‘return to normal’ they sought is impossible.

Forced CHANGE is the harbinger of new pathways

Forced CHANGE is the harbinger of new pathways – pathways that can only be traversed when we cease to struggle and begin to inquire, explore and open to the deepest faith that it is time for the emergence of something beyond a return to the old ways of living  – ways that have given us a planet that is exhausted and incapable of responding to our petulant, consuming demands – Just as we personally were invited to hear something different and respond to a seemingly uninvited experience throughout this summer, perhaps the entire population of this planet is being offered a golden opportunity to find deeper respect for each other and expanded consciousness in the challenge of CHANGE – perhaps it isn’t ‘forced’ at all – at the quantum level, we never cease to evolve and co-create our growth. Whether we are conscious of it or not,  CHANGE is an inevitable and necessary side-effect of being human. Without change, chaos and disruption – a place where we often feel disconnected from the divine and our own soul- we would not be inspired to seek unity with our divinity. It is our Hero’s Journey  that allows us to traverse an ever-expanding field of consciousness and capability.

Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death….Anais Nin

When CHANGE comes knocking on your door – know that you are built to survive and to thrive on it -with each profound challenge, we contribute to yet another discovery and emerge confidence – a confidence that invites trust, surrender, listening and understanding that we are part of a tapestry that is in constant re-construction – each time becoming more aware, beautiful and powerful -more connected to your soul.

A powerful underscore – watch this :



In the midst of Noise — Silence

I have been hyper-aware of noise lately, especially the noise of my own chatter.  What escapes into verbal conversation is often an overflow of what goes on inside my head.  There, interior to the walls of the physical, resides the ever-present background white noise of my thoughts….constantly directing, editing, worrying, criticizing, judging, inquiring and generally filling any available nook and cranny with some form of molecular activity. It is exhausting. It infringes on my ability to meditate, to be clear and to find the open, free space of silence.


Not unrelated to the internal cacophony, the external world of just plain living is clearly as loud and distracting. In our physical lives, we are bombarded with the constant sensory overload – from the demand to hold conversation with family, friends, students, co-workers, society in general,  to the invasive clamor of televisions, telephones, music, aircraft overhead, the laboring rumble of truck and bus engines, the familiar sounds of construction as we build, fix, maintain our cities and roads, the cries and questions of our children.  This external stimulus of every waking moment rarely stops.  Within this ubiquitous din resides all the enfolded messages that shape our behavior so that we can conform to a societal model of perfection. It creates the frenzied internal and external babble in which we are immersed and it causes unnecessary struggle and stress. It  becomes internalized as the low-level hum of inner chatter we unconsciously adapt to and  saps our energy and focus.

Terry and I have recently begun using a series of  guided meditations designed to support the taking back of the power of our minds from this frenzy. The CD’s series entitled Inner Talk use both subliminal (they list all the messages) messages and binaural beat technology. It was shortly after beginning to use these CDs that I noticed a deep, empty, delicious peace and quiet in my head that was very unfamiliar yet very welcome. That it was noticeable in the midst of a normal night of TV and other activity was even more remarkable and it has stayed with me. I am clearly aware of the quiet that has replaced the sensory overload of my thinking. So what does one do with silence?  Besides listening and actually getting in touch with intuitive messages, the most miraculous part of this rests in the loss of struggle I notice as I progress through a day. The someone looking  over my shoulder grading and measuring the perfection of everything I do no longer exists.  In the silence of this new space,  a sense of trust and confidence has emerged. This new pattern of transformed doubt has landed me solidly in the flow of all things and normalized the exhaustive struggle that had plagued my every move.

It is a definitive feeling of coming home to silence – a place I left behind long ago – a place that evokes  the ‘aaahhhh’ fall-into-grandma’s featherbed’ experience and a place that is consciously present in the midst of all the noise.  As I balance it with the activities of living and prosperity, I find the most profound gratitude for this discovery. Thank you, Terry for being the consummate explorer and adventurer, for being a living truth compass that I trust. As much as it is part of our mutual and individual progression of expansion, it is also a deep expression of universal love and regard….that is a gift I treasure and fully accept.


Dance with the Denver Nuggets -in the Present Moment


I admit it – I am a fierce Denver Nuggets fan. I love watching them play especially this season. They, collectively and individually have matured and become a cohesive team whose persistence and passion are inspiring to watch.  Yesterday they played the first game of the second tier of NBA playoffs. And they won a decisive victory over Dallas. One particular scoring caper stands out – JR Smith receives a pass near the basket and back passes to Carmelo Anthony who dunks it — so fast, so precise such a pretty sight to see. It was one of those important ‘in the moment’ opportunities. In order for it to have happened, everyone needed to be right there right now…not off in the ozone of unconsciousness. The potential in that moment was fully realized because presence -that moment- was all there was.

In the latest issue of Spirituality and Health there is an interview with Jill Bolte Talyor, Ph.D., a neuroanatomist and author of MyStroke of Insight. This book was written to recount her incredible eight-year recovery from a stroke that literally shut down the cognitive functions of her left brain. The book is worth the read as it shares some of the most profound insights into the function of our innate connection to Divine Joy. In response to the question ” What sort of techniques would you recommend for turning off the endless loops sometimes found in the left cognitive mind?” she shared this:

“…consciously choose to bring your mind to the present moment. How do you do that? You decide that you’re going to see what your eyes are looking at; you bring your consciousness to the present moment. When you are going up the stairs, you look at the steps, you look at the handrail. Most of us unconsciously climb the steps, can’t even say what the color of the carpet is, if there is a carpet, because we’re somewhere else. Pay attention to the present moment. Bring your mind, bring your ears to the present moment, start savoring the awareness of the information you perceive in the present moment, and let that grow. And it’s like with any circuitry: the more you concentrate on it and experience it, the more it will develop itself.”

How many times have I missed noticing someone as I passed them on the street, or driven by the mountain goats grazing on the mountainside and not seen them, or rummaged through a tool box not finding what wrench was right there before my eyes….this simple concept of looking, paying attention and “seeing what your eyes are looking at” brought into consciousness the deliberate actions needed to embody that ethereal and well utilized directive to be in the present moment. Interesting how you never really get it until it is time!! So from now on I will see what I look at…I will appreciate even more the brilliance of that choreography in the Nuggets game….I will engage all my senses and awareness with every step I take….

When you turn off the internal noise maker by  focusing, really focusing  on one thing in this present moment,  everything opens wide and you get to play in the field of possibility. You also get to experience the unbridled joy that waits to be invited in to your life…I want some of that!!!!