December 8, 2005, Vol. III Issue 25
Happy Birthday to me and this newsletter! As of this week, we’ve been publishing this e-news for two years, every other Thursday. Thank you for your readership. I always enjoy hearing your comments so please feel free to hit reply anytime anything strikes a chord with you or you have ideas to share.
It actually is my real birthday week, as well as my new husband’s. We celebrated this past weekend by going on a weekend away at an awesomely beautiful and peaceful place in the Columbia River Gorge, the Skamania Lodge. One of our favorite mind-body speakers, Joan Borysenko was presenting a seminar there through The Conference Works. It was enlightening and enlivening and I’ll share a little of it in this issue.
I’m also pleased to share some interesting and affirming information from Laura Derocher about sound healing. I’ve long been known in my Nia classes as the noisy one. Sound just gurgles up out of me when I’m moving my body. It feels good, and I find it therapeutic. If I made that kind of noise while walking down the street, I might be arrested. Laura Derocher, by contrast, teaches people how to harness the power of sound for healing. Sounds good to me!
Sound Healing = Good Vibrations
Women health providers, who give so much to their patients, received a wonderful healing surprise for themselves at the 2005 Conference of Oregon Nurses and Nurse Practitioners in Seaside, Oregon this fall. Speaker, singer and sound healer Laura Derocher treated them to 2-1/2 hours of sound healing instruction and experience to complement their already vast array of health care tools and techniques. The women toned together, performed vocal “sirens” to refresh themselves, and learned how to use their voices to alleviate pain and encourage healing.
“Usually, by the end of these conference days, I’m ready to hit my pillow. But after Laura’s late-afternoon session, I was refreshed and feeling great!” said a nurse practitioner.
Sound healing uses vibration to restore well-being to the body’s systems. It is an ancient healing art, used in cultures around the world. Modern, allopathic medicine has also employed similar techniques (using ultrasound to pulverize kidney stones, for example). In his book, The Healing Power of Sound, Dr. Mitchell Gaynor, a board certified medical oncologist, internist and hematologist cited a study in which women eliminated their breast tumors by toning with their own voices. Other outcomes attributed to sound healing are reduced chronic pain, increase in energy, healed illnesses and realigned vertebrae.
Laura has studied with Jonathan Goldman, founder and president of the Sound Healers Association, as well as other pioneers in the sound healing field. She has taught sound healing classes in Chicago and in her hometown, Ashland, Oregon. She has given private sessions for over three years.
“I’ve been a singer for decades,” says Laura, “but I believe that all my vocal training has equipped me to direct my voice in a powerful, healing way, and to teach others how to use their own voice. Some people believe that our own voice is our own best healer, containing just the right vibrations that our individual system needs for healing. The beautiful thing about using your voice as medicine is that it’s free, non-toxic, non-addictive and non-invasive. It can’t hurt; it can only help.”
Laura also speaks and sings her original songs, encouraging people to do their “Great Work” in the world: to shine, to reach their highest expression in service to their spirit and to humanity. Finally, drawing on 15 years as a teacher of communication skills, Laura speaks about the power of listening and sending your messages effectively, to build relationships and improve results.
“At the September conference this year, the nurses and nurse practitioners of Oregon were privileged to have Laura teach communication skills and using our voices to heal,” said Bunny Lewis, RN, NP, 2005 Conference Committee. Both workshops taught us invaluable tools to care for our patients. Laura is a wonderful teacher with a style that is entertaining and professional. The evaluations were excellent with a resounding demand to bring her back. Laura Derocher is a must at any conference.”
To find out how to bring Laura to your event, call me at 503-699-5031 or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Joan Borysenko: A Rich Experience
Dr. Joan Borysenko, author of the classic New York Times’ best-selling book, Minding the Body, Mending the Mind, has been a favorite author and speaker of mine for many years. Her eleven books are a complete library of healing, combining scholarly wisdom with the language of the heart, and bringing body and soul together with unprecedented clarity and sophistication.
Trained as both a medical scientist and a psychologist, Dr. Borysenko has gone beyond her traditional academic training and developed depth and breadth in a number of fields including behavioral medicine, stress and well- being, psychoneuroimmunology, women’s health, creativity and the great spiritual traditions of the world. She completed her doctorate in medical sciences at the Harvard Medical School where she also completed three post-doctoral fellowships in experimental pathology, behavioral medicine and psychoneuroimmunology and where she was an instructor in medicine until 1988.
Also a licensed psychologist, Dr. Borysenko was co-founder and former Director of the Mind-Body clinical programs at two Harvard Medical School teaching hospitals, now merged as the Beth Israel/Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. These programs were the foundation for Minding the Body, Mending the Mind.
Beyond those impressive credentials, she is a warm and sensitive human being. Because we attended a one and a half day seminar with her, we enjoyed a rich experience. In fact, it was called, “Enrich Your Life! Practical Spirituality for Healing and Wholeness.” I wasn’t really sure what that meant when we signed up, but I was when it was over and I was very satisfied with the results. It was a pleasing (and enriching) blend of lecture, anecdotes, poetry, spiritual practice and self-discovery.
What I brought home for myself are ideas for bringing more spiritual practice into my daily life. What I brought home for you is my firsthand experience of her as a presenter. Joan Borysenko is the real deal. Her presentation was organized and professional, yet relaxed and filled with loving compassion. We laughed and felt a few teardrops as our emotional bodies responded to her generous sharing. She was unabashedly frank about her own shortcomings along the path and very accessible to the participants. I enjoyed her immensely, as did my husband who is not easily impressed.
Three of the things she talked about that resonated with me were meditation, gratefulness and forgiveness. And it was more than talking about them. All were accompanied by practical ideas and experiences.
On a participatory level, I appreciated her one-size-does-not-fit-all approach to meditation. “We are all wired differently from a physiological perspective and each of us has different beliefs and experiences,” she said about meditation practices. “Therefore, an excellent centering practice for one person may not suit another at all. Some people prefer a moving form of meditation such as mindful walking, qi gong, hatha yoga or stretching exercises. Others prefer closed eyed sitting exercises such as concentration, mindfulness meditation, centering prayer or other forms of centering.” In fact we experienced three types of meditation in the seminar.
In talking about all of the many ways for bringing spirituality into daily life, one of the things she emphasized is that any practice we choose be easy, efficient and natural. Otherwise, we simply won’t doit and that would hardly be called a practice.
Dr. Borysenko has a powerfully clear personal vision of bringing science, medicine, psychology and spirituality together in the service of healing. Her brilliance as a
scientist, clinician and teacher have placed her on the leading edge of the mind-body revolution, and she has become a world-renowned spokesperson for this new approach to health, sharing her pioneering work with a gentle graciousness, enthusiasm and humility.
She told me she would be delighted to work with more hospitals as that is where her roots are and she is right at home. To learn more about bringing her powerful insights to your event, call me at 503-699-5031 or email me at email@example.com
Grass Roots Community Opportunity
One of our readers alerted me to this grass roots opportunity to help women take action to improve the health of their communities.
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) recently published the, “Healthy Women Build Healthy Communities Toolkit for Physical Activity and Healthy Eating,” a workbook with building blocks to help women plan, organize, and evaluate community events that focus on physical activity and healthy eating.
The toolkit emphasizes that you DO NOT need special training to start a community activity. What you DO need is enthusiasm and the drive to make a difference in your
The toolkit is meant to be fun and useful. It’s designed to help women plan, carry out, and evaluate a physical activity or a healthy eating event. The toolkit provides
ten building blocks. Each starts with a question to stimulate thinking about the who, what, when, where, why, and how of planning a community activity. It can be read from front to back or one section at a time, whatever best suits the user’s needs. It also includes actual stories from women who took action in their communities to get people moving and eating healthier.
The toolkit is part of the HRSA-supported “Bright Futures for Women’s Health and Wellness Initiative.” The initiative develops and evaluates a variety of culturally competent consumer, provider, and community-based products that help women of all ages increase their awareness and use of preventive health services, participate in health care decision-making, and take active steps toward a healthy lifestyle.
A limited number of toolkits are available by calling the HRSA Information Center, 1-888-ASK-HRSA or go to http://www.hrsa.gov/womenshealth/toolkit/menu.html
Being Grateful: Awake, Aware, Alert
One of the ideas I brought home from Joan’s seminar, was the idea of being more present and curious. In fact, it was in her discussion about gratefulness that I was awakened to a new way to practice gratitude.
Ever since Oprah talked about the power of gratefulness many years ago, I’ve filled notebooks with daily gratitude lists, and I think that’s a powerful thing to do. If you’re
doing it and it works, keep doing it. And here is another idea, something to do at the grocery store or any moment of the day.
Joan introduced us to a wonderful book, Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer, by David Steindl-Rast, whom she called her Great Fullness teacher. She passed along three critical questions he asks under the headings Awake, Aware, and Alert. His recommendation is to pause at the end of each day and ask oneself these
Step ONE is to be AWAKE to surprise. Did I stop and allow myself to be surprised or did I trudge along in a daze?
I admit my stops for groceries at Trader Joe’s are often pretty dazed as I’m preoccupied with my list and simply getting home. Yet their employees are fun and friendly. How many times have I ignored the surprise and missed the
gift of connection?
Step TWO is to be AWARE of opportunities. What was my opportunity to enjoy, to recognize gifts in painful experiences?
Hmmm. Seems like there are plenty of uninvited opportunities for this. Here’s one that came into my life the other day. Much to my horror, I watched a huge cat (not mine) trap a bluejay on my deck as it went after scraps under the suet feeder. I immediately felt guilty for unwittingly setting a trap for that bird, while of course my good intention was to feed the birds. As the scene stayed with me, I allowed myself to look for the gift, to reflect on nature’s lessons. Ultimately, my reverie gave me some peace about a dilemma that had been troubling me. (I still felt bad about the bird).
Step THREE is to respond ALERTLY. When the opportunity for enjoyment or learning presented itself, did I take it or rush on by?
Joan predicted, that practicing the other two would increase one’s alertness as one tried to remember incidents that would feed the previous two.
I am very open to anything that will help me be more present in my life. The result she promised from this practice is an increase in gratitude, which leads physiologically, to an increase in health and happiness. Looking back over the day as a series of opportunities, she asserted, would lead one over years of practice to seek constantly for surprises, miracles, and opportunities that expand one’s well-being. Approaching life through this kind of reflection can help us turn even our worst enemies into teachers and our daily lives into adventures. We can focus on the present when we keep these questions in mind.
Next question, can I forgive the cat? That’s another topic.
Until next time, be good to yourself for your good health and those you love.
ABOUT OUR SERVICES
The Speak Well Being Group specializes in providing exceptional speakers for health, wellness and women’s events. Because we’ve worked with so many hospitals and healthcare groups around the country, we speak your language. Our hand-picked speakers are attuned to your needs and adept at addressing the issues while delivering information in an entertaining way, or simply providing a good time with a light message when that’s the ticket. When you work with us, you’ll come back for more “How are we going to top that?” speakers.
You’ll find many of our speakers on our website.
Or please call anytime and let us assist you: 503-699-5031
The Speak Well Being Group, 4261 Collins Way, Lake Oswego, Oregon 97035