Black Elk Speaks

    I am thankful that a student of mine recommended the book, “Black Elk Speaks,” to me. Black Elk was an Oglala Lakota medicine man and holy man (1863-1950). He speaks with a poetic voice and gives us insights into the Native American life and perspective of the time. It was a sad, tragic, disgraceful, completely unjust, and deplorable time in American history, when the arriving European forefathers murdered, massacred, robbed, and cheated the Native Americans, though Black Elk speaks in a voice of observation without judgment. 

    I would like to make Ho’oponopono (Hawaiian for making things right) with our Native American brothers and sisters. How do we make sufficient amends? Is our country healing? Can we be forgiven?

    I have received only generosity and kindness from Native peoples. When I first moved out West in 1991, I heard Arnold Rice speak in the central park of Prescott Arizona. Arnold Rice, who is a Native American, blessed us with, “you are all Native Americans, as you were all born on American soil."

    When I moved to Boulder, Colorado I was invited into Lakota prayer lodge by Bobbi and Bob, who I met in Ken Cohen’s sacred earth circles. In these circles, Ken would teach on Native American healing and spirituality (Ken authored Honoring the Medicine: The Essential Guide to Native American Healing). 

    I found lodges to be exceptionally powerful and beautiful ceremonies for purification, connection, and healing. The experience of physically sweating felt linked to psychological sweating, with the stripping away and release of the ego and all that doesn't belong to us. I felt like I emerged from the womb of lodge a soft, tender, pure, and decent, soul.

    The drumming, praying and singing in lodge put you in a trance. In this altered state of consciousness, conscious mind is derailed, and unconscious is accessed. We are melted in surrender on the earth from the power of steam profusely sweating us. We find ourselves in immersion with elements, ancestors, and Spirit. The little “i” links with the big “I” and is fed needed strength to endure the physical hardship of the sweat, and whatever awaits in the outside world when the flap lifts.

    Endurance is a divine quality which the Native Americans seem to recognize and bring into ceremony. 

    When we are in the midst of enduring anything painful, we turn to something above and higher and more than ourselves in order to bear it. This greater source has many names in many languages. But it is in this surrender to and allowance of the Great Mystery where we ultimately find miracle, mercy, magic, comfort and relief. 

    The Crazy Horse Memorial in the Black Hills of South Dakota is another great place to visit. The mission of Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation is to protect and preserve the culture, tradition and living heritage of the North American Indians. 

   My grandfather used to say that his grandmother was a full blooded Cherokee. Although not proven by DNA, I had always imagined it is so. I grew up outside of any church, mosque, synagogue or temple but my spirituality has always been central to me. As Black Elk said, "my religion is the same as the birds." We are all children of this earth, we are all indigenous. 

Life Sentence

    I like to give my patients a life sentence. A life sentence reads something like, “you are a beautiful, whole, and complete human being," and “you will overcome this." and "you will be free from suffering.” This is in contrast to a death sentence, which says something like, “you are inadequate, deficit, deficient, or disordered. You will be diseased for the rest of your life, and likely deteriorate.” 

    Surprisingly, death sentences are still handed out by medical professionals. This is, in my opinion, an abuse of power. For the medical professional does have and is revered to be an authority and an expert. In the doctor’s office, the doctor holds tremendous power. I remember one of the first holistic physicians I met, Karl Maret MD, making the joke, “Doctors think M.D. stands for Minor Deity.” 

    So when I work with children whom have been diagnosed as ADHD, I reframe the condition to them as brain diversity rather than brain disorder. The human brain is beautifully diverse in its' brilliance and the native gifts that it bestows upon us. One of the major themes of my doctoral research was that children diagnosed as ADHD are remarkably gifted and talented. 

     The military has fortunately recognized that post-traumatic stress is not a disorder, and dropped the ‘D’ in the former diagnosis of ‘PTSD.’  What everyone needs to know is that the vast and innate intelligence of their body seeks homeostasis and strives to heal, including from trauma. We can assist the body in doing that. We know exactly how. 

    Caroline Myss points out that words either empower or disempower us in our health and healing. If the words that we use to diagnose a condition are essentially harmful in nature, then we, as a medical profession, are breaking the first cardinal rule of  “first, do no harm.” 

    What would happen if the words that we use in both diagnosis and treatment were essentially healing in nature?

    The language we use speaks to the connection between mind, body and soul. What a patient’s mind hears from a doctor is relayed to their body with chemical signaling. So if the doctor’s message is, “you will be well,” the patient’s mind immediately begins to drive the body process towards wellness.

    A life sentence is life affirming. Affirming in the belief of you and your inherent ability to heal. Affirming in unshakable trust and knowing that joy, happiness, health, love and peace belong to you. It is possible to grab the reins of this wild steed called life, steer her in the direction of your choosing, and enjoy the ride. 

    A life sentence reads that it is possible for you to know and to unquestionably love each and every part of yourself. It inspires you to continually link the little you with the big You, your soul with the world soul, your spirit with the Great Spirit, and in so doing be nourished and fed all the goodness, wonder, grace, mercy, joy, hope, inspiration, creativity, wisdom, and awe of this majestic, mysterious, magical Universe.     

Altered States of Consciousness

    Sometimes we must lose our mind in order to change our mind. Thus we naturally seek altered states because we naturally seek healing. It is in altered states of consciousness that healing and transformation may occur.

    Altered states of consciousness involve moving from logical, rational, cognitive thinking to a instinctual, creative, imaginative, and intuitive receiving. In an altered state of consciousness we may access and dwell in the unconscious or the collective realms. Altered states of consciousness are induced by things like chanting, drumming, dancing, running, psychedelic plants, the nighttime dreaming, giving birth and dying. 

    We initiate altered states when we activate the limbic brain by rhythmical activity. Rhythm, we can then see, is pretty essential to human well-being. In my doctorate research, I discovered that children who are diagnosed with ADHD are rhythm seekers. And it is rhythm that naturally makes their condition better. 

    Altered states of consciousness are conducive to both psychological and physical healing. When we go into an altered state, we are able to to effectively change a subconscious imprint or unconscious belief. For example, by repeating mantras, we permeate the barrier of the conscious mind, giving us access to what lay underneath or even what lay outside of. 

    Altered states are needed in healing because the conscious mind often does not have the kind of power needed to change things, as behavior is typically driven by the unconscious and by emotions. When we push the small, limited and fixed conscious mind out of the way, even briefly, we create room for the hidden or masked to take center stage. We make room for something grander, all-encompassing, expansive, mystical and inclusive.

    As a psychologist, I can tell you that it is the mind that can get in the way of healing. Changing our mind about something may not always be easy,  but is a healing step. Sometimes thoughts and beliefs are not serving us, however, they have become rigid, established, and well trodden, repeating themselves like a broken record. In therapy we aim to loosen and shaken them a little bit, unleashing their hold, and freeing the mind to romp and play in a space which is actually more beautiful and happier. 

    Altered states of consciousness play a major role in our original medicine, by shamans and traditional healers around the world. Fortunately one can still enter a Native American prayer lodge, visit a Peruvian shaman for peyote ceremony, or go out to an ecstatic kirtan on a Friday night. We also have contemporary methods in our day to day psychotherapy practices for entering altered states.

    These practices include some of our mind body therapies. The mind body therapies which we will use allow for the expression of the unconscious, and in essence, unraveling and unveiling of the unconscious into conscious awareness. We too can enter the altered state to give voice to the unconscious. When the unconscious enters into the territory of consciousness, then we encounter real metamorphosis and profound healing.

Love Story

    Every good story is a love story. And every love story is a story of freedom. It is love that frees us from captivity, oppression or brutality. 

    When we really love someone we set them free, sometimes even risking our our life to do so. When that someone really loves us, they take us with them, not wanting to let us go.

    The Sufi know 99 names for love. Each of these names hold properties of freedom, delivering the heart from bondage or restriction. In Arabic this is called remembrance. For it is not that we don’t know love and all of her qualities, it is only that we forget.

    The freedom granted by love may be from unconscious imprisonment or self-imposed limiting beliefs. Due to indecent indoctrination by parents, spouses, society, even clergy, we may forget that we are worthy, deserving, joyful, gifted and powerful human beings. 

    True love greets us with a complete acceptance for who we are.

    Love’s attention turns us from a particle into a wave. Seen like this, we are moved to share the essence of our being with the whole world. Love frees us into our own true nature and personal destiny. 

    There are many types of love: brotherly or sisterly love, motherly or fatherly love, the love of romantic lovers, self-love, and spiritual or Divine love. Love wants the best for us, it is not at all selfish. But in this selfless service a lover finds all her needs are met too. Love resonates with us because we are love. 

    Love lives and breathes everywhere around us and everywhere inside of us, all we need to do is allow and receive love. We can recall love as a steady stream in our thoughts, breath, and feelings,  continuously filling our own tank from the pump of our choosing. 

    Love is allowing not controlling. Love is gracious and spacious. Love cares for you and cares about you. You know when you are with love because you can breathe easy;  you feel enlivened and awakened. Love brings out your best or better self. 

    Once in a blue moon, we meet someone whom we recognize, even in the first glance. We feel an electricity in the spaces between our fingertips and palms of our hands. We feel deep stirrings in the sacred grove of our heart. 

    This is belonging. There is no ownership in this belonging. There is only freedom. The freedom to love and be loved. To live and create a love story. 

Will

    Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is released by rhythmical activity and that feeds the prefrontal cortex, attributed to thinking, goal-directed behavior, and perhaps even our will for life. Our will is some certain and powerful, yet invisible and intangible, quality of us. When we harness our will can do just about anything, and when we lose it, it seems to lead to some inevitable defeat. Our free will is perhaps known best by the soul, we treasure and protect free will, knowing it is an essence to our vitality. 

    My dad used to say, “When there’s a will, there’s a way,” continuing with, “and you’ll always have will because your name is Williams.” And so it is, as if by English Magic,  the quality built into the surname would always stick with you. It should not have surprised me that when my dad died, he used the word Williams to signal me and as a sign of his continual spiritual existence.  

    Will may be described as an intention, desire, request, or wish. The proverb, “When there’s a will there’s a way,” suggests that determination will overcome any obstacles. We are resolved when we engage our will. We are focused and deliberate. 

    For healing to occur, the will must be engaged. Do you have the will to heal, to live, to care for yourself, to try something? In therapy we ask, are you willing to try it? For the tool must first be acceptable. 

    We value free will when it comes to our own lives, although sometimes with others we lose this generosity or awareness. When the movie, “Free Willy,” came out, it raised our consciousness to the utter cruelty of capturing and containing our fellow sentient beings, the Orca whales. Indeed, we have ample scientific proof of the intelligence of animals, with examples including the large and complex limbic brains of whales and dolphins, and the photographic memory of chimpanzees.

    In truly holistic and integrative medicine, free will will not be overlooked. Practically speaking, aspects of our healthcare system require examination. Once admitted into the ER, hospital, assisted living, or psych ward, free will may take a back seat to the administration. There is most certainly good intentionality, but it is authoritarian approach, lacking in partnership.

    Is there a remedy? I think so. But it is a radically different choice to give patients choices, to ask for their voice, and allow their free will. If we do indeed include this soul quality, however, then we have struck closer to home in providing actual medical care.

    We harm others when we impose our will onto theirs. When three men in my neighborhood  cut down my tree against my will, using their positions of power on the HOA board to do so, I was deeply hurt. The tree provided beauty and privacy to my home, and was a home to birds and squirrels, whom I delighted in seeing. 

    Although our will may be imposed upon, our will can never really be taken from us. We can engage our will to heal from any atrocity, large or small. Self compassion and forgiveness may serve in this remembrance. 

    Some speak of “personal will,” and “divine will,” distinguishing the ego self from the spiritual self, collective, or Divine (with the language and name of your choice). This may lead to the practices of "not my will but yours,” or to "surrender your will."

    I want you to know that your personal will is a part of the Divine will, as you are a part of God and God is a part of you. What you desire is indeed what God desires for you. When you follow what you are attracted to, what you love, what you are interested in, you are indeed following Divine will.

   As Joseph Campbell put it, "follow your bliss."

In the Womb

    As she sang to me that first time, i began to understand the importance of being in the womb; of allowing ourselves and others to be in the womb.

    There is so much rushing in America to get out. As there is with anything else in America, rushing. But there is so much value in not rushing. There is so much value in being in the womb.

    The womb is a place where we are both nurtured and protected. There is solitude and silence. In this warm and quiet place we grow, heal, develop and transform. The womb may be considered as  the heart of feminine wisdom. It is a receptive place-in the womb all we do is receive. There is a retreat from giving, and a primary purpose of receiving nourishment for body and soul. We are being fed and protected by a mother. 

    The deep psyche of feminine wisdom knows that in times of  life transitions, illness, injury, giving birth, or dying. that womb time is needed. Just as the wild animals know to do, and our grandmother’s cattle. They hole up somewhere away from the herd in some grassy bank of earth.

    The isolation, break from everyday routine, internal focus and biochemically induced changes may all lead to altered states of consciousness. These altered states of consciousness are powerful, our bodies are able to do things in them that they wouldn't normally or otherwise do. Altered states of consciousness are inductive to healing. When we come out of the womb we are reborn, transformed. 

    Celestial cycles offer to us natural times for retreating into the womb. The winter season in the northern hemisphere is a time for rest in the cave of regeneration. The new moon each month invites us to turn inwards and to rest.

    The ideal womb is a safe container of unconditional love and complete acceptance. In the water of the womb you may dream, imagine, and feel.

    I saw my 22 year-old daughter in the womb. She quietly knew that this is where she needed to be after her accident. Initially I wanted to coax her out into the sunshine and fresh air. Encouraging movement and the light of day. I wanted to save her from the sadness that she was feeling, even though i know that it is in the depths of sadness that a holiness may be found. That this journey belonged to her. Who would i be to rob her of it?

    I noticed an urgency from the whole world it seemed, to rush my daughter back out into classes,  streets and buses. To be seen when she didn’t want to be seen. 

    Why would we all be using this as a marker of progress or success so early in the game? When clearly, womb time was needed. 

    I decided to be completely okay with my daughter’s womb time. To relax around it entirely without worry or fear. To fully embrace the absolute rightness, need, value and worth of it. Although I counsel other parents on respecting the dignity of their children's lives, there is no objectivity when you see your own child in pain. But your own child in pain needs you to have an absolute and unshakable trust in her and in life. 

    I consciously created some womb time for myself. I understood then, that my role, like a midwife, was to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and the birth of the new baby, steadfastly holding the vision of the the end goal, the desired result, when, in so much pain, the woman in labor cannot. 

    The womb is a sacred place. We can hear that still quiet voice within, or if you like, the Divine.

    It was my dear friend and Sufi sister, Cynthia R., who was like a mother to me while I was in the womb, singing me healing prayers in Arabic over the phone, a remembrance of all the Divine qualities of Allah that I needed. It was an experience which I will always remember, one of those you imagine will flash before your eyes when you pass.

Forgiveness

    Forgiveness is the pardoning of a wrong-doing by another or even mistake made by self. To forgive another does not justify the action nor make the harming right. We forgive in order to let go of the burden that we may otherwise carry in our heart. We forgive in order to heal. When we forgive, we are rising above the pain and the injustice. It is not about denying the pain. It is about seeing the path of pain and making a conscious choice to forage another trail. 

    When Nelson Mandela was  released after 27 years in prison, he said to his oppressors, “I forgive you.” He knew that he had to bring the whole country to light. This was the only way to defeat the darkness of apartheid. And he did it. When he became president, he chose reconciliation rather than retaliation.

    Bill Worth believed that forgiveness was essential to his healing from Multiple Sclerosis (MS). He observed, “holding a grudge is like swallowing poison and waiting for the other person to die.” In other words, ill will or resentment is self-destructive.

    When Quaker children were  shot in their school classroom one autumn day in rural Wisconsin, their parents went and forgave the killer immediately. This automatic response to such a personal tragedy is remarkable. But the Quakers believe in and practice forgiveness daily.

    It is up to you whether or not you want to forgive. Forgiveness generally results in a heart which feels more comfortable and at greater peace.. But it is your decision. I want you to know that forgiveness can be a process, even, a life-long journey. 

    If you want to embark on the road to forgiveness, but are unsure how, just begin with the first step of setting the intention that you want to forgive. If you are beating yourself up over a mistake that you made, try this silent meditation from Hawaiian Ho’opono’pono (making things right):  “I love you, I’m sorry, Please forgive me, Thank you.” For small children, see “The Forgiveness Elephant Book,” an ebook available on Amazon.com.

Chanting in the Heart

     I find that sounding meditation, or chanting, is useful and interesting. Chanting often leads to an altered state of consciousness. It is in altered states that deep healing happens. 

     I was first introduced to sound healing by my good friends, Cynthia and Fabian Maman, founders of the Tama Do Academy, in 1998. We met through our sons, who were best friends in grade school.

    In 2001, I learned sounding meditations from the Kundalini Yoga tradition from Shanti Shanti Kaur Khalsa PhD, of the Guru Ram Das Center in New Mexico, at the “Therapeutic Applications of Yoga,” conference in Estes Park CO. It was the day after 9/11, and we chanted the healing light mantra, “RA MA DA SA SA SAY SO HUNG,” into the world. 

    Vibrational sound therapy is found throughout many cultures and traditions. What I find fascinating are the commonalities in diverse traditions. For example, the sound “AH” seems to be common ground as a sounding for the heart- to awaken the heart, to open the heart, to return the heart to God or love, or fill the heart with love. 

     The Hawaiian word, “ALOHA,” translates to “open your heart,” or “love.” When we sound the word, ALOHA, we sound “AH,” twice. 

    The Arabic word, “ALLAH,” is chanted or sung in the Sufi Tradition (the mystical tradition of Islam) in order to return the heart to the Beloved. I learned this from my friend Cynthia, who is currently studying at Sufi University. When sounding ALLAH, the sound of “AH,” rings twice. 

    The Hebrew word, “AHAVAH,” which translates to “love,” is chanted in the Kabbalah (mystical tradition of Judaism), teaches Catherine Shainberg PhD in her book, “Kabbalah and the Power of Dreaming.” We may sing AHAVAH in order to return the heart to the positive vibration of love anytime that we feel darkness (ex. fear, anger) creeping in, similar to the usage of the word, ALLAH. Dr. Shainberg teaches us the simple practice of singing “AH HA VAH” to the tune of “MI DO RE” three times. When sounding AHAVAH, the sound “AH” rings three times. 

    The Sanskrit words in the MAHA (great or big) mantra are: “HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE, HARE RAMA HARE RAMA RAMA RAMA HARE HARE.” In the Vedic Spiritual Tradition of India this is a transcendental sound vibration of three of the holy names of God. My friend, Gopal Damerla MD, teaches that chanting this mantra brings you fresh life energy from God. You may recognize this mantra as George Harrison and the Beatles embraced it in their lifestyle and music. The “AH” sound is released in each one of these words: “HARE,” “KRISHNA” and “RAMA,” All together you sound “AH” twenty times in one round of the MAHA mantram. Dr. Damerla is currently doing a research study exploring the effects of the MAHA mantram on the heart. 

    I am thankful for all of these chants for the heart. I find that they are like a life preserver during difficult times, and ring true to course in returning me to the Light, softening and bringing my heart home to love. 

Integrative Cancer Care

    I was a pre-med student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, studying cancer and doing bench research at the McArdle Labs for Cancer Research. There, we explored oncoviruses, viruses which carry oncogenes, or genes that can be a causative factor in the development of cancer. I learned of the available cancer treatments, and was immediately dissatisfied with them. I thought that chemotherapy and radiation were barbaric, as they destroyed the immune system.

    Although the only legal cancer treatments in America today are surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, I have since learned of other safe and efficacious non-toxic and natural treatments for cancer. I would like to share some of this information and resources with you. It seems to me that in a free and democratic country such as ours, that there is both an ethical obligation, and a human right to choose the medicine that we want to, or don’t want to, put into our own body.

    Let’s begin with some basic information about cancer cells. Cancer cells differ from healthy cells in several distinct ways. What we know about cancer cells is that they are heat sensitive, obligate anaerobes (grow only without oxygen), and feed on sugar and glutamate (glutamate is found in MSG, and hydrolyzed soy protein). Most people with cancer have chronic inflammation. We also know that chemotherapy and radiation do not kill cancer stem cells, and that this is why cancer remains in the body even after chemotherapy or radiation.

    With this understanding and using these basic principles, other cancer treatments have been developed and are used around the world. These include: Hyperthermia and near infrared sauna (this treatment involves heating the body and selectively kills cancer cells as cancer cells are heat sensitive while healthy cells are not), Ozone Therapy and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (this treatment involves infusing oxygen into the body and selectively kills cancer cells as cancer cells cannot grow in oxygen while healthy cells do),  Pulsed Electro-Magnetic Field (PEMF) Therapy (this is FDA approved and selectively targets cancer cells based on cell voltage) , Fasting (cancer cells can’t survive without food, and they die, while healthy cells can survive without food), Diet/Nutrition, and Natural Supplements. The dietary/nutritional approach commonly involves detoxification (removing toxins), sensible dietary changes and flooding the body with readily absorbable nutrients. There are specific nutrients that turn on cancer suppressor genes and turn off cancer promoter genes. There are nutrients which decrease inflammation in the body and increase cellular ATP (energy) production. 

    Many of the natural supplements used in integrative cancer care act by boosting or optimizing the immune response, (available upon request), although some are evidenced to directly kill cancer cells. We know that the constituent, curcumin, in the plant medicine, Turmeric (Curcuma longa L.), kills cancer stem cells. Hemp Oil (THC and CBD) kills cancer cells. The topical cream, Curaderm (from the plant, Solanum linnaeanum) can be effective for non-melanoma skin cancer (90% of skin cancers).

    Clinics which utilize dietary and nutritional approaches in cancer treatment include: the Gerson Institute, the Northern Baja Gerson Center, the Jimenez Hope Clinic, and the Hoxsy Biomedical Center.

    Other resources to know about in the United States are: the MD Anderson Center with Integrative Cancer Care, Moshe Frenkel MD and Integrative Oncology Consultants, Veronique Desaulniers DC, the Center for Advanced Medicine, the Center for Medicine, Nalina Chilkov OMD, Kokolulu Farm and Cancer Retreats, and the Burzynski Clinic. The Burzynski clinic treats terminal brain cancers, including children’s brain tumors, with anti-neoplaston therapy.

     Resources in Europe include: Robert Gorter MD, PhD and the Medical Center in Cologne Germany, the Centro Medico in Hilu, Spain, and the Dr. Rath Research Institute.

    There is no scientific reason not to legalize these other cancer treatments in America, it is solely political. In America today, our pharmaceutical industry (BigPharma) determines our government’s rules and regulations in medicine and healthcare. Many see this as a vested interest and abuse of power. 

    I am thankful for all of what we now know, and for all of the choices that we have. Clearly chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery can be useful treatments in cancer care. Certainly hyperthermia, hyperbaric oxygen, pulsed electromagnetic field, nutrition, and natural supplements can be useful as well. For truly integrative cancer care, we can also address the emotional and spiritual needs of cancer patients. Many find relief from counseling, mind-body techniques (meditation, stress reduction, imagery) and spirituality (prayer) based on a personalized treatment program. I am thankful to live in a free country and exercise free will. May we, as people, community, and country, do no harm, and try to do some good. 

    

Truth

Regena Thomashauer, aka “Mama Gena,” taught me that the Latin root of the word, “nice,” is nescius, meaning ignorant. She wrote about how being nice can get in the way of women speaking their truth. It is true that women may not speak their truth, or speak up at all, in order to prevent someone else’s anger or detachment towards them , to keep the peace, or out of consideration of another’s feelings (not wanting to hurt feelings). 

    I see this with women in my counseling practice. To be fair, women have not always been raised to speak their truth or to speak up at all. Often times, women have been raised to be nice. 

    I raised my own daughter to be wild and unruly. This I did primarily by allowing herself to just be. I never imposed upon her the idea that she not speak her mind. That she conform to being nice. 

    I have noticed that the multitudes raising this next generation of women in the USA (dubbed Generation Z) have done the same. A large wave of consciousness seemed to flow over women bringing up girls across the country. Was this simply because so many more of these mothers went to college, gaining a higher education, so that it was no longer possible to remain “ignorant”? 

    Perhaps so. Perhaps the college education plays a part in the phenomena. We certainly know from experts that educating women is demonstrated to improve the health and wealth of the entire community.

    As Amal Clooney speaks in her UNICEF ad, “holding back women is holding back half of every country in the world.” So how do we let loose our women? How do we free, foster, nurture, and support, women in speaking their truth? 

    What I have learned is that speaking one’s truth is a skill like any other, to be practiced. A first step of course may be awareness. This may be followed by the question of how to do it, and “what language to use as I still want to be kind?” Of course you still want to be kind. And “kind,” does differ from “nice.” It is very possible for all of us to learn how to speak our truth in kind and loving ways. 

    You may start by pausing and tapping into, “what is my truth?” in the very moment or circumstance. This in itself is a huge accomplishment, particularly if you grew up in an environment where your needs or wants were not acknowledged, asked for, or dismissed if given. Your hard-wired unconscious response may be to suppress what it is you truly want or believe, as you were trained to be nice, to not make waves, to cater to the needs or desires of others first, to place yourself second, if at all. 

    Your truth is an honest and authentic expression of your feelings, thoughts, wants, needs,  dreams and desires. This differs from ‘The truth’  about things in the outer world-persons, places, and events-as these are formulated by our perceptions, as Catherine Shainberg PhD points out. We can become conscious of the filters and structures which are calculating our perceptions. We may relieve a lot of suffering and gain a lot of healing by changing or freeing our mind from biased or faulty perception. 

   We engage the voice to speak our truth. You may feel like your voice is rusty and squeaky, scratchy and uneven. I can tell you for sure that once you begin using it, it will become very fluid, fine-tuned, capable and smooth. Does it take courage? “Yes.” Does it take confidence and trust in yourself? “Yes.” Does it take love? “Yes.” You are being very loving to and trusting of yourself when you speak your truth. You are demonstrating self-compassion.

    Your voice may or may not have been allowed you by your parents, spouse, religion, or culture, but all you have to do to activate it is to accept, allow, and approve of it yourself. The only one you need to give you permission to tell your truth is you. 

 

Death, Enlightenment, and The Circle of Life

    Ever since I was a small child, I accepted death as a part of life. It is in the natural order of things. I held death in the palms of my hands, learning how it feels. The body grows very light, and then grows cold.

    I had a dream some time ago (April 9, 2013). In the dream i was making paper pictures of each season in the cycle of life. 

    I came to labeling them and found myself in dialogue with a voice who sounded much like God, or, an old Sage-Like Osho?

    I knew the answers, and God, or Divine Sage, whom i was hearing, seemed more or less to be confirming me. Although on the last stage-just prior to waking up-i wonder if the voice gave me the answer? Because i was so surprised. "Awakening"- wow! How curious. 

    In this extraordinary dream, I was gifted with a secret. Awakening is a stage in our lives between death and rebirth. I had never before seen or heard of a cycle of life depicted as this. (And where i wrote “life,” in the diagram- i feel like it may have been another word but can’t remember):

                Rebirth

   Awakening                 Life

                Death

    I think that we are all born enlightened, awakened before birth. Maybe some, like the spiritual masters, stay awakened or enlightened. Whilst most of us simply forget. As we live our daily lives, with whichever hardships, pains, sorrows, obstacles, hurdles, and disappointments come our way. We temporarily lose sight of or forget this. Things happen, life hurts, we all have something to contend with. Darkness can loom large. 

    This, it seems to me, is the purpose of spirituality or religion. Each time we walk our respective spiritual paths, we recall and remember our true nature. Our soul nature of love and joy. We are filled with light. We reawaken. 

    My dad just died (April 2, 2017).  He used to say that when he came back, he wanted to either come back as my pet dog or a rock. 

    Nothing prepared me for my father’s death. I sat with him and placed my hand on his heart. His eyes opened partway and a tear rolled down the corner of his eye. He blinked his eyes and twitched the corner of his mouth several times to communicate that he knew I was there, likely saying, "I love you," in morse code, the language he would resort to as a HAM radio operator (W9GXR).

    I felt my father and I had an unspoken agreement that I would be there when he died. I think that I reminded him of his mother, a nurse who sat with dying people, before there was such a thing called hospice. I never knew if it would turn out this way or not, but it did. I arrived Saturday afternoon and he died Sunday morning. 

    My brother told me the night before that dad was afraid of dying. And so that morning as I sat with him, I told him that there was nothing to fear. I told him of Ram Dass’s “Spiritual Disneyland,” that he would be in a place of pure and absolute love and joy.

     I let him know his parents would be meeting him, and that it was comforting to me to know he would be there for me when my time came. I told him that I would always hold him in my heart and in my consciousness. I let him know that he was free to go whenever he was ready. And then I heard that he needed to hear that he was a good person. And so I told him that he was a good person. 

    In turn, dad said he wanted everyone to know that he loved them. That was important. We were speaking in our original language, the language of telepathy. 

    Dad died about an hour later. 

    My father gave me many gifts in his dying and he taught me many things. I saw how our body is just a shell. How we inhabit these bodies while here on Earth as terrestrial beings. Hours after my dad died, his body became like the exoskeleton of an insect. He had clearly left it. 

    Grandmother Flordemayo, a Mayan healer, teaches that we are both terrestrial and celestial beings. I now witness my dad as a celestial being. He continues to be with me, to teach me, from the other side. Thank you, Dad. 

Patience

I heard a song in the morning air, one that was popular when I was a teenager. I remember playing the album, some songs I liked and some I didn’t. But in those days of listening to records, one just listened to them all as they played, patiently awaiting the favorites.

    I think of how today I can instantly purchase any song I want to on iTunes. There is no waiting and no patience required. I can choose which songs of an album I want even, no putting up with the unfavorable.

    My husband and I watched two men hunting a gazelle in the African grasslands on a BBC television show. The hunters patiently waited near a watering hole for several days. Then after shooting an animal with a poison arrow, they spent a day tracking her. In all, it was a seven day affair for meat on their table. 

    I went to the post office to mail a package. The computer was down and the mailman apologized to me for the wait. It was a rather long wait of 15 minutes, long because we are so accustomed to instant gratification. We are so accustomed to no wait. It has become everyone’s expectation. We now must apologize to each other if there is a wait.

    I responded that it was no trouble, for it really wasn't at all, and we spoke about our lives. With a computer down, suddenly we have time for humanness. We see each other. 

    I wonder if we Americans truly know what patience is anymore? Do we ever need to exercise patience, get to practice patience? Do we ever have to be patient?

    There is some noble quality to patience. I am sure of it. It may be something that we need to consciously nourish in our lives these days. Patience may no longer be a given, built in facet to our living and lifestyle.

    I was patient with my Hawaii license. From start to finish it took a year. All the paperwork was still actual paper, that had to be mailed back and forth. I was patient for my daughter. I remember 23 years ago I was ready for another child, but my husband wanted to wait a year, and so we did. I considered naming my daughter, “Patience,” since I needed to be patient for her.

    When we are recovering from illness, accident or surgery, we need to be patient. Certainly this is where our word, “patient,” comes from, the art and practice of being patient with our healing. The doctors expect us to be patient. What choice do we have? It takes time.

    The Webster dictionary defines patience as “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.” Perhaps in this definition we may understand the noble quality or spiritual value of patience.

    How to be patient?  “Live your life as moments,” Ram Dass advises. Place your focus on the now, enjoying and cherishing the moment.

Sexuality

    I was on Waikiki beach in Hawaii, and recalling a beach in South France where women are allowed to be topless. It seems that where it is culturally acceptable to show breasts and booties, women are pretty comfortable with their sexuality. Sexuality embraces sensuality, beauty, passion, surrender, bliss and joy. Sexuality is connected to birth, creativity, power, love, truth, and for some, spirituality and experience of God.

    A woman may embody her sexuality in many ways, she doesn’t necessarily have to expose her body nor does it imply her nakedness. I know Muslim women who, completely covered from head to toe, express her sexuality through her eyes. The heart of sexuality is about knowing, accepting, and appreciating yourself. In essence, you are connected to and comfortable in your own body, mind, and spirit. 

    There is diversity in what is culturally acceptable for women in expression of her body, mind and spirit. What does the tribe allow and what does it disapprove of? However, we are sexual beings- whether hidden or undisguised, conscious of or oblivious to, pampered and paraded or left unattended.

    There is a value to self-inquiry about your relationship with your sexuality. By answering we grow in awareness of an aspect of ourselves which influences our thoughts and behavior. In consciousness, we gain the ability to make choices. 

    I grew up with five brothers in a culture of modesty, an upbringing with little if any recognition or accentuation of sexuality. My father did not allow me to wear shorts to high school. I put on lipstick for the first time at age 30. 

    My daughter grew up in an open time and place, one that allowed for a greater expression and freedom of the female body. I am thankful that my daughter did not grow up with shame, fear, or guilt about her body, but rather a complete love and acceptance for her beautiful, lovely, feminine vessel.

    How you relate to your sexuality is personal preference and a choice that I completely respect. I support you in accepting and appreciating your sexuality, however you so like to demonstrate in your own individual and free way. 

    What happens when we deny or suppress sexuality as a part of the human condition? Look what happened in the Catholic Church. I think that if the Catholic Church acknowledged and integrated this authentic part of human nature, it would have helped to prevent the horrific sex abuses by Priests. It seems to me that it would be a good idea for the Catholic Church to allow Priests to have sex with consenting adult partners. 

    Sexual love is a sacrament in the Tantra tradition of esoteric Hinduism. In Tantra, spiritual connection or union may be experienced in sexual connection or union, the individual self becomes a part of the Indivisible All.

   Celibacy is simply not required for spiritual life in all cultures. Indeed, some believe sexual ecstasy leads to enlightenment. 

    Sex, when a chosen and loving activity, releases dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is associated with feeling well, and also with our very will to live.

Inspiration

I am inspired by the shapes of the clouds moving across the early morning sky, the arc of a white dove, and the sway of palm branches in tall old trees. 

    I am inspired each morning when I see the Sun rise, which I await in eager anticipation like at child at Christmas. It seems that Hope is the Sun rising each morning, warming and enlightening every being of Mother Earth.

    To inspire is to breathe in, to give rise to, to animate, to fill with urge and ability. We are inspired by beauty, by youthfulness, by newness, by wonder, by love. We are inspired when we breathe in something new, pure, beautiful and hopeful, such as a baby, a puppy, a gypsy jazz concert, or a good story in a movie or a book. 

    The maiden is an archetype of inspiration in stories. She is beautiful and fresh, with a pure heart and a seeing recognition of the knight who is inspired by her to do his good. Without her muse, his action in the world would not happen. 

    This knowingness, albeit perhaps in Jung’s collective unconscious, is embodied in women who are all naturally beautiful and hence, naturally inspirational. This beauty takes different forms dependent upon culture and generation, such as how sexually open or provocative she is in wardrobe and mannerism. 

    Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Waldorf schools, knew that beauty was important for children in school. He knew that beauty feeds the soul. So Steiner placed a significance on creating simple, natural, lovely, warm, and aesthetically pleasing classroom environments for children to learn in. 

    Inspiration feeds creativity and purpose. Inspiration is essential to health and healing. Without inspiration we may be stuck in depression, grief, loss, hopelessness, or despair. This may show up in you or your life in various ways. If you are feeling anything like this, then I recommend that you seek mental health counseling. You may also consider going on a trip, anything from an hour at a coffee shop to a week’s vacation in the Bahamas, and greeting your senses-what you are seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, and tasting, with something new. Gift yourself with new people and alternative ideas.

    I am inspired learning the ways of others, the words and songs and prayers of others. Sometimes when I am out walking in the fresh, open air, I breathe in inspiration like I am sipping in a long cool drink from a straw. Each inhalation truly does animate each of the cells in our body, bringing it to life-to do it’s job, it’s function, it’s part, for our total health and happiness. 

    Notice what inspires you and encourage your inspiration each day. May you create an alluring and arousing vessel (your body), and living space (home, office, and garden). The simple act of placing a vase of flowers in a clean room, gazing at the sunset, beholding your child doing summersaults in the park, or listening to your favorite Beethoven. In the culture of my ancestors, the Goddess Brigid is the bright light of inspiration, the muse who whispers poetry in our ears. She is here to whisper sweet nothings to us all. 

The Feminine Voice in Psychology

I recently took the National Counselor Examination (NCE). In my study, I noticed how the field of psychology has historically been so heavily male-dominated. Yet, I have learned from so many female doctors.

    To be sure, the contributions from men to the field of psychology are significant, valuable, and important. For examples, Freud proposed the unconscious mind and dreamwork, and the value of catharsis. Jung proposed archetypes and the collective unconscious, and the curious synchronicity. Carl Rogers brought us the concepts of unconditional positive regard, accurate empathy, and complete acceptance. Albert Ellis introduced the ideas of irrational thinking and Viktor Frankl, the existential philosophy of finding meaning in life, even in horrific conditions. 

    Many of these men are called fathers in psychology. We have the Father of Psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud; the Father of Analytic Psychology, Carl Jung; the Father of American Behaviorism, John B Watson; the Father of Vocational Guidance, Frank Parsons; and the Grandfather of Family Therapy, Nathan Ackerman. 

    I just wonder, where are our mothers? 

    I can assure you that we do have them. I have studied with some of the best contemporary feminine voices in psychology. So in sharing with you, I hope to awaken the moss on the stone, perhaps rolling it down the hill. 

    Clarissa Pinkola Estes PhD, has contributed immensely with theory and framework on the instinctual mind. I highly recommend her book, “Women Who Run With the Wolves,” first published in 1992, which speaks to instinct and intuition in the female psyche, often disregarded, dismissed, or bound up in chains. Perhaps Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes could be named the Mother of Instinct. 

    Christiane Northrup MD, has published prolifically on the interconnectedness of mental health and physical health, compellingly gifting the field of psychoneuroimmunology. I highly recommend her books: “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom,” “Mother-Daughter Wisdom,” and the “The Wisdom of Menopause.” Dr. Northrup’s work has examined growth and development of the female mind/body in unprecedented detail and cultural perspective. We could name Dr. Christiane Northrup, the Mother of Wisdom. 

    Caroline Myss brought soul and spirit into the conversation. I highly recommended her books: “Anatomy of the Spirit,” “Sacred Contracts,” and “Entering the Castle.”  Caroline Myss, perhaps, would be the Mother of Spirit

   Isabelle Myers and Catherine Briggs, a mother-daughter duo, who are well recognized in psychology for the development of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, introduced  intuition and feeling into personality testing. 

    Instinct, intuition, wisdom, soul, spirit, feeling....yes, these do all sound like contributions from the feminine mind. May the feminine voice in psychology be recognized and included in our textbooks, tests, and history. 

Nature is Therapy

   We raised our children in wilderness. And my son, who is 24 years old, recently thanked me for it. He backpacked in Alaskan wilderness this summer. He grew up taking backpacking trips with his father and uncles, a tradition they continue. 

    Research shows that children who get out into nature have less depression, anxiety, and conduct issues and greater attention and compassion. Simply put, nature supports our mental health. Studies find that nature reduces stress hormones and heart rate, calms us and sharpens our performance. People who simply see trees and grass show less violent behavior. When we look at urban scenes, we activate the amygdala in the brain (associated with fear and anxiety), whereas when we look at nature, we activate the anterior cingulate and the insula, associated with empathy and altruism. 

    People who walk in nature, but not city walkers, have been found to have reduced activity in the subgenual prefrontal cortex of the brain, associated with depressive rumination, and nature walkers have been found to have more self-compassion. A 50 minute walk in nature improves attentional skills and short-term memory, while walking along a city street does not.

    Clearly, nature is an evidence-based therapy, and one in which we could all be making more use of, as individuals and as a mental health care profession.

      I have been hiking the wide open spaces of Arizona and Colorado for the past 25 years. I grew up in another kind of wilderness though, galloping horses barefooted and bareheaded across corn fields, woods, and lakes. When I received a full scholarship to the Virology program at Harvard Medical School, it was difficult, not because of the academics but because Boston felt like a concrete jungle. I wished to be in green jungle. My husband and I honeymooned with a five-month backpacking trip across the mountains, jungles, and seas of South America.

    In 2008, I was graced with teaching yoga and meditation at a Nature Retreat Center in Costa Rica. I became aware of the benefits of receiving 24/7 fresh air and oxygen to the brain, and that of quiet, the quiet of nature, frogs and monkey hoots and rain. In this quiet,  I learned how much easier it is to hear the body. 

    Wilderness affords us a glimpse into our connection and belonging to a bigger picture, and our natural world. In this larger world we find our brother and sister two-legged and four-legged, winged and finned sentient beings. We are just visitors here, in the home of our fellow sentient beings. I am thankful for the visit, and tread lightly.

    Earlier this summer I found a grove of trees to lay in. I brought a book and although I was not quite through with my study, I suddenly heard/felt a message to go. As I stood, thanking the space, I looked up and saw a large red coyote looking down at me from the hill. It was slightly daunting, for I was alone out there and he was rather close. The coyote, in his usual trickster fashion, took his attention off me and acted like he was pouncing on some prey. I turned to go, but when I spun around, I saw that the coyote was fixated back on me and moving towards me. I began to sing. 

    I am thankful for my moments with wildlife. These are moments which take my breath away, and moments which give medicine and healing. Medicine is everywhere and in everyone. May we appreciate and steward this earth and her creatures. 

     “Now I see the secret of the making of the best persons. It is to grow in the open air, and to eat and sleep with the earth.” - Walt Whitman

 

Hope and Healing from WWII

    I felt hope and healing on the top of Grandmother Lady Le’Ahi (Diamond Head). It was at her summit that I met two young Japanese tourists. They were about my daughter’s age and they were having a great time laughing and playing and taking dozens of selfies with their iPhone cameras. 

    It felt fundamentally healing to discover so many Japanese visitors on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. Fundamentally healing because the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu in Hawaii in 1941, leading the United States of America into World War II. 

    So here it is 75 years later, and in this memorial place the Americans and the Japanese are now friends. Not only friends, but perhaps something deeper, with countless young Japanese couples choosing to wed on Oahu. Clearly ceremony after ceremony, and dollar after dollar, the love and soul the Japanese have given to Hawaii has been received. 

    I find it hopeful and healing that two tribes who once fought and killed each other are now playing with and loving one another. I laughed and played with the beautiful Japanese daughters atop Lady Diamond, and felt my namesake, my great uncle Carol, who was killed by Japanese Kamikaze in WWII, laughing and playing alongside us. Surely he, who was only 18 years old at the time, would be delighted to be in the company of these 20 year-old girls and their iPhone cameras. 

    It was a healing moment. Our WWII generation were taught that the Japanese were our enemy and for my grandmother, that lesson seemed to stick for almost the rest of her life. Like the character in Clint Eastwood’s move, Gran Torino.They killed my brother,” she would say if the subject came up.

    Smiling atop Grandmother Diamond with my new friends, I suddenly and unexpectedly found myself to be a part of something so much bigger than myself. The path we trod to the top was built by soldiers of my tribe to be a look-out for the enemy attack of their tribe. Together we now stood in solidarity beneath the vast blue, blue sky, and the endless blue, blue sea. Reconciliation and wholeness seemed to announce themselves out into the whole world. Holy cow. It felt like healing for the whole world. Two generations later, healing has arrived on her doorstep.

    As we approach Memorial Day (May 30), a federal holiday in the United States, and a day to remember the people who died while serving in the country's armed forces. I think of my uncle Carol, who it seems has somehow reached across the veil to save my skin once or twice.

    I joined the pilgrimage up Grandmother Le’ahi, like a string of ants we moved up and down her round and curvaceous body. I call her Grandmother because she is no longer an active volcano, that was 300,000 years ago, she has long since retired. She shows us a softer side to the wise woman, her banks have grown green, she is no longer a threat, but a safe haven. On her sacred ground I see how brief our lives are in the expanse of time. We are just a blink of an eye in time.  

    Here it is 75 years later, and our President Obama will be visiting Hiroshima, Japan this month, the first American president to do so since WWII. President Obama is not planning on apologizing for the American decision to drop an atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945, which killed 140,000 civilians and severely injured survivors. But apology, pardon, and forgiveness are often what people can do but not necessarily governments. It is a step in the right direction. There is indeed hope for humanity. Two generations later, may healing arrive on her doorstep.

Yoga Therapy

   It was my friend, Janie, who invited me to my first yoga class in Prescott, Arizona in 1991. The teacher was Sally Cheney. What I loved was that we got to shape our bodies into animals. 

    I discovered that during yoga, things stuck in my body were released. I hadn’t even been aware of them. Trauma does this, hiding away in obscure places, like some viruses.

     I remember wondering why on earth Harvard Medical School, whom I had just graduated from, had not taught us yoga. Why weren’t we doing it there? There, where we were learning about healing and medicine. 

    My personal yoga practice expanded when we moved to Boulder, Colorado in 1997, because at that time, I could not even afford $5.00 to go to a class. So, I practiced at home, easily hearing my teacher’s voice in my head. I became self-disciplined out of necessity. My young daughter would often join me and I was soon teaching to her kindergarten class (2000). After my husband was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, he asked me to teach him too, and so I began holding classes outdoors in our lovely, flat, grassy backyard in South Boulder in the early morning hours. I set out a coffee can for donations and invited a few neighbors and friends to join us.

    In 2001, I simultaneously began a PhD psychology program and began consulting for Natural Standard Research Collaboration. I was asked to do a research review of yoga therapy for Natural Standard. I was delighted to thoroughly examine the scientific evidence on yoga therapy for various conditions. I took careful notes on specific protocols. I came to learn that yoga could be helpful for many psychological conditions. (Yoga Journal also hosted a first “Therapeutic Applications of Yoga” conference in Estes Park, CO in 2001).

    During 2003-2004, I incorporated yoga therapy into my clinical practicum experience with children diagnosed with ADHD (Williams Orlando C. Client-Centered Yoga Therapy: A Case Report. Yoga Therapy in Practice 2008; 4(1):16-19). In 2008, I was invited to teach yoga at the Samasati Nature Retreat Center in Costa Rica.

    Yoga therapy is a broad topic, as it includes physical as well as psychological conditions, and it includes therapists from a range of backgrounds. I come from a humanistic psychology background and specifically use yoga therapy in the healing of trauma, anxiety or depression. Yoga therapy is not something that I necessarily do with everyone, but for some it is an appropriate match and an effective part of treatment- (Williams-Orlando C. Yoga Therapy for Anxiety: A Case Report. Advances in Mind-Body Medicine 2013; 27(4):18-21). 

    In particular, yoga therapy can be a good fit for teens with anxiety who want to learn lifelong skills in addition to or instead of pharmaceutical medication. Yoga therapy is excellent treatment for anxiety and trauma as it alleviates hyperarousal and hyper vigilance of the nervous system, lowers cortisol and blood pressure, and develops positive coping, resiliency, and self esteem, without harmful side effects. Another population which yoga therapy holds great potential for are veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress (PTS).

     Yoga is an ancient science from second century B.C. India. Yoga includes fundamental and holistic principles for good health. Some choose yoga as a way to know God, or experience the Divinity within. However, yoga is not a religion, requires no allegiance, and may be enjoyed by persons of all Faiths and belief systems.     

I Have a Dream: Free Universal Healthcare in America

    I have a dream that when a daughter wakes up with a swollen eye, her mother is able to take her to the doctor. She needn’t pause because she doesn’t have insurance, worry if the insurance will cover it, or if it will cover the doctor down the street. She may just go. 

    I have a dream that we integrate alternative healthcare with mainstream medicine. That our herbalists work alongside our medical doctors. That we are given options in treatment plans.  

    When we find that we have a cold or the flu, our evidence-based plant medicines and natural supplements are prescribed. We make full use of the medicine offered to us on this planet, knowing full well that the safety and efficacy of our antibiotics and symptom-relief medicines are limited. Plants may be the answer to viral infections.

    I have a dream that we marry preventative medicine into our healthcare system. All are welcome to monthly massages, six-week vacations, and yearly check-ups. Yoga, tai-chi, stress reduction and meditation classes are freely available. Our government pays a mother (or father) a salary to stay home and raise a child for the first two years. Organic farming becomes mandatory, because pesticide-free and herbicide-free food is good preventative medicine. 

    I have a dream that when I find a spot on my skin, I can go in to the doctor to check for cancer. That if I have a cavity in my tooth, that I can go to the doctor and have it removed. If I have a lump on my arm, a fallen foot, a headache that just doesn’t go away, or a trauma that keeps me awake at night, I can just walk into a clinic and be cared for. Regardless of my income, my job, or my bank account. Regardless of my gender, my ethnicity, or the side of the tracks which I live on. Simply because I am a human being, simply because I live in America.

    There was a time that I considered moving to France, Britain, or Canada because we would then have healthcare. I was musing my thoughts aloud as my son and I were driving home. My son, then 16 years-old, challenged me with, “Oh...are you just going to give up on America...”

    And how could any parent model such a thing. Of course the right way is, “or are you going to do something about it?” For that surely is what our humanity is about, and certainly what we build America with. Doing something about it. What we can do for our country. Our 240 year-old independent country, still in the process of becoming.

    I have a dream that we carry our medical records on a plastic card, like the carte vitale in France. Any clinic we walk into can swipe the card into their computer system and receive and add to our electronic medical record. What a sigh of relief this would be for everyone. 

    I have a dream that all Americans receive free Universal healthcare. No matter who you are, no matter what your circumstance. You are able to take care of your self and your children, because, we as a Nation, can afford to take care of you. In fact, we cannot afford not to. 

    May we join the rest of the rich democracies of the world. May our vote simply be for what type of healthcare we adopt- the Bismarck model of France, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany and Japan, the Beveridge model of Great Britain, Italy, Spain and Scandinavia, or the National Health Insurance Model of Canada.

    [To learn more about these healthcare models and how we can have better, cheaper, and fairer healthcare, please read, “The Healing of America,” by T.R. Reid].

How to Peacefully Win War with Terrorists

    i thought about dropping roses and lilies and marigolds. Chocolate. Maybe truffles from Belgium. These would float down from the air and soften the hearts of all those men with guns. Surely, this is what is needed to cure the radical mind. A show of tenderness and affection. A show of force doesn’t work- the planes dropping bombs. 

    Force creates counter-force. It is a basic law of physics. Bombing Islamic State causes Islamic state to bomb us. Unless...Unless...Unless, this cycle is broken. So, how do we do that? 

    Dr. David Hawkins deduced that power is greater than force. What is the difference between power and force? Power creates win-win. Love and compassion are two of the highest ranking powers. Is it possible to beat terrorists with that? It seems to me that it’s worth a try. 

    The question is, how can we harness power to overcome the evil of Islamic State and other extremist and terrorist groups? How do we, effectively, defeat the dark side in non-violent ways? Without going to the dark side ourselves? Where is Yoda now? 

    It seems to me that it is up to us to find the Yoda within ourselves.

    My friend and director of the Healing Touch program, Cynthia Hutchison, spoke to me about the “knowing glance.” When we look at someone who has committed a wrong or harmful action with the “knowing glance,” it is an act of recognition which banishes evil. It has nowhere to go, nowhere to hide. It must flee. 

    Hildegard von Bingen, a twelfth-century Benedictine abbess from Germany, wrote about casting a net around evil. Just catching it and containing it, i imagine, trapping it so it can not go free. 

    Buddha spoke about transforming our pain and suffering into love and compassion.

    These seem to me like useful stepping stones on this path of achievement. Peaceful strategy is new territory to charter. Do we have the consciousness to do it? 

    What i know for sure is that to strike with flowers and chocolates rather than bullets and bombs would be the greatest surprise attack ever. Imagine this raining down from the sky. How would it not soften the hardened heart? 

    The next round could be candles and pomegranates. Maybe we leave baskets of baguette and brie with bottles of wine outside the door. Suddenly we are no longer the enemy. How could we be? We are now a friend. 

    We have be-friended the dark with light. The dark can no longer exist. It has been illuminated. 

    I say shower the terrorists with hand knitted pillows and blankets made by our grandmothers. Teddy bears. Music and meditation CDs from John Lennon and Deepak Chopra. This is a way to Victory. This is a peaceful strategy to win war with Terrorism. 

    Love and kindness. Love and kindness. Like a beating drum....This may be the best way to infiltrate the radicalization process and the radicalized mind.