beauty

From the HuffPo: Review of HEAL Documentary
5 star review | beauty | excellence | gratitude | happiness | healing | Huffington Post | mind-body connection | movies | special

From the HuffPo: Review of HEAL Documentary

This is a recent piece on the HuffPo, a review of the HEAL Documentary by Kelly Noonan Gores

When I was 15 or 16, I developed asthma. My mother took me to a doctor who duly prescribed medication.

I took the medication for a few days. I hated it. The drug made my insides race. Perhaps I was breathing better, but it didn’t matter. The trembling and hyper-adrenalized feeling, the out-of-control, careening-downhill sensations eclipsed the benefits—for me. There was a moment, and I still remember it vividly, when I decided, I will not have asthma.

This was no ordinary frisson of will. It was a moment of translucent intention. I felt no emotions, just a laser line of unadulterated purpose, and I felt it in every angstrom of my being.

The asthma left my body. I stopped taking the medication. That illness has never returned.

This was a visceral, undeniable experience of the power of the mind-body connection. It stayed with me.

Years later, in graduate school, I took up meditating. I experienced esoteric phenomena that is written about in many ancient texts but isn’t part of the usual discourse of our culture. I perused every book I could find on the topic, from the Vedas and The Yoga Sutras to The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying and A Course in Miracles. Eventually I picked up books about spiritual healing.

After graduate school I started having babies. I also attended a four year hands-on-healing school and opened a practice as a spiritual or energy healer. The basic premise of this form of healing is that the human being is a psychosomatic unity—mind-body-spirit-psyche are indivisibly one—a concept well articulated in John Pierrakos’ ground-breaking work Core Energetics: Developing the Capacity to Love and Heal (Pierrakos, John C. Core Energetics: Developing the Capacity to Love and Heal. Core Evolution Pub., 2005.)

Affect one part of a human being and you affect the whole; that is, affect the body and you affect the mind, spirit, and psyche; affect the spirit, and you affect the body, mind, and psyche. This is a powerful iteration of the mind-body connection that I experienced so powerfully as a teenager.

During the decade that I practiced energy healing, I saw miracles. I had especially good results with women who wanted to conceive. Fertility in women has many roots in the mind-body connection. A number of women came to my healing table and then went home and got pregnant. But not all of them.

Healing isn’t curing. Not every woman who came into my healing room seeking a resolution to her infertility was able to conceive. There is a great mystery at the heart of everything, and the body isn’t solely a machine in the Newtonian model where if a biochemical lever is depressed, or if a current is introduced, a result is generated.

This is a lengthy introduction to the screening I attended last night of the film Heal. A new documentary from Kelly Noonan Gores, produced by Adam Schomer, this documentary explores the new-old field of the mind-body connection and the impact of that connection on illness. It also surveys a few modalities of healing that people can utilize during their journey of healing from a serious illness.

I spoke with Adam before the screening. He’s a serious, friendly, poised man with a background in meditation. Longtime meditators emit a palpable peacefulness and I felt that as I stood beside him. He said, “The intent of this film is to empower people, that’s the through line.”

Lovely Kelly Noonan Gores told me something similar. “There are options in the treatment of illness, I want people to know that. I want people to have the information.”

The film follows a few people as they engage, poignantly and bravely, with the spiritual and psychological dimensions of healing. One is Kelly herself, the healthy seeker whose fascination with this rich topic is the engine of the story. Eva, however, experiences harsh dermatologic outbreaks. There’s also Liz, struggling with cancer and chemotherapy.

Luminaries in the field speak on the topic of the mind-body connection. Marianne Williamson, Deepak Chopra, Joan Borysenko, and Michael Bernard Beckwith touch on the spiritual dimensions of healing and wellness. Dr. Kelly Brogan, a Cornell University trained psychiatrist, discusses her foray into integrative and wholistic medicine as a result of her own illness.

Of particular interest for me was Dr. Bruce Lipton, author of The Biology of Belief (Lipton, B. H. The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter & Miracles. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, Inc., 2016.). Dr. Lipton works with epigenetics, a science of understanding why some genes are turned on and others are turned off. This field has all the potential to empower people far beyond a simple biological destiny.

Author Anita Moorjani spoke of her miraculous remission from cancer. She was healed within hours of death.

The film is inspiring and informational. Quietly yet dramatically, it presents possibilities and alternatives. People who already know the field will enjoy the fresh presentation, and people new to these concepts will find themselves intrigued and uplifted. Heal approaches the great mystery that I encountered as a healer, and it doesn’t shrink. It blossoms like a rose opening.

Yoga Teacher Training
art | beauty | excellence | freedom | friends | gratitude | hard work | healing | vulnerability | wholeness | writing | yoga

Yoga Teacher Training

Yoga Teacher Training

A few months ago, a long time friend came for dinner. She’s an American living elsewhere. She’s brilliant and amazing and full of knowledge, an expert in her field.

But she has forgotten how to listen.

She talked over my husband and me and couldn’t hear any of our ideas or opinions. Now, this lovely lady is a wonderful person in a thousand ways. She’s a repository of information about the fascinating field of the esoteric, because she has studied metaphysics for decades. Her whole life, really. But there was this thing missing from the way she related to us and it was receptiveness. Her vast knowledge has become a bulwark through which no one else’s thoughts and experiences could penetrate.

That dinner made a big impression on me. I don’t want to be like that: ossified behind my own learning. I want to be open and flexible and receptive. I want to hear other modes of thought, other people, even when I have education and experience that contradicts what they think. Even when it’s hard to listen, which it can be, because I’m an opinionated person with a great deal of education.

I thought of this dinner when I signed up for Yoga Teacher Training at Three Sisters Yoga; as the body goes, so goes the mind. A flexible, open body will yield a flexible, open mind. I was also thinking of the next three decades of my life. I don’t want to teach yoga but I do want to invest in the training to nourish my body and to create flexibility, strength, and stamina for the next thirty years.

The program at Three Sisters Yoga is meticulously thought out and the teachers are terrific: warm, engaged, present. But already I have encountered opposition to my own internalized systems of thought. Because Yoga considers itself a Science, and I studied and used a different system that also considers itself a science. I studied Healing Science for 4 years at the Barbara Brennan School of Healing (BBSH). I had a practice as a healer and saw clients for a decade.

The BBSH was a pivotal, seminal experience for me. It is integral to who I am as a human being and to my writing. Most of my characters are healers in one way or another.

This thing about wholeness haunts me.

I seldom speak of the BBSH now. When I was at the school and for years after I graduated, I went around talking about it a lot. It was amazing: there existed other people like me who were attuned to the subtle worlds! Who perceived the subtle worlds! I was newly out of the closet as an energy sensitive and exulting in the liberation.

But I got tired of head-blind non-healers projecting weirdness onto me–as if it isn’t our birthright as souls taking on flesh to see, hear, feel those other, primary realms.

Also, there’s a lot of acting out at the school. The BBSH doesn’t always act in integrity. Graduates and teachers of the BBSH don’t always act in integrity. It was upsetting to me that when someone questioned the school, the school’s response was to squash that person and to decree, “You’re in resistance.” Translation: you’re bad.

There was a point at which almost all of the teachers with open hearts were either fired or chased out of the school. I did not respect that.

The founder of the school Barbara Brennan sued people over her healing techniques, an action which lacked integrity. In the field of science, scientists throughout history have built upon one another–that’s what leads to progress, to the slow and meticulous accumulation of scientific knowledge. Newton didn’t try to own gravity. But Barbara wanted to own her healing techniques, some of which had been developed by other people. She had a paranoid streak which she never owned but which was clearly visible to anyone not submerged in the cult of her personality.

Nor has the BBSH been open and honest about what’s going on now with Barbara: she’s institutionalized with Alzheimer’s. Students and graduates deserve to know this. Barbara Brennan isn’t just a private figure; she’s also a public figure. She put herself on the world stage with schools in Europe and Japan. She has forfeited some of her right to secrecy.

I had a lot of problems with the conduct of Barbara and the BBSH. Nonetheless, I remain grateful to both. Barbara’s vision was extraordinary, both her high sense perception and her larger sense of the possibilities for healing techniques in the world. The BBSH was a left brain mystery school. It was a gift and a blessing for someone like me, who has a good working intellect as well as access to the subtle realms.

Barbara herself was extraordinary as a human being. Before enrolling in the school, I attended a lecture she gave. I walked up to her to have her sign my program, and as I approached her, my energy bumped up. She had that affect on me. She smiled at me and her eyes got dreamy as she gazed at me. She wrote, “Traci, Keep letting out your love, beauty, and sweetness.”

In my sophomore year at her school, Barbara read my field in front of the class. She said, “One day everyone will know that you have a secret, private inner world full of butterflies.”

As someone who has spent a lifetime with a secret, private inner world full of butterflies, I was shaken, startled, and freed to have her see me and validate me.

I owe Barbara a debt of gratitude. Also, I used BBSH healing techniques effectively in my practice.

This circles back to Yoga Teacher Training and my desire to remain open and flexible because already some of the Yoga precepts that are taken as “true science” butt up against my training and experience as a healer.

Can I stay open and flexible and allow divergent schools of thought to live in me simultaneously? It will be a challenge. Of course, it’s only fun if it’s a challenge–and I love to have fun.

Yoga Teacher Training

 

Beautiful Santa Fe
5 star review | art | beauty | excellence | freedom | happiness | hope | love | Sabin Howard | wholeness

Beautiful Santa Fe

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There’s a friend to whom I used to send lengthy missives about my life. I fear I trespassed against my friend’s great kindness with these long notes. I have promised myself to stop.

But as George Orwell said, writing is thinking, and in the process of writing, I clarified things in my mind. My thoughts opened and organized themselves. It wasn’t so much self-expression as self-understanding. It was a useful process.

I caught myself contemplating how to explain to my friend about the enchantment of Santa Fe, as I drove out of Albuquerque toward this beautiful town.

As I left the airport city, the sky expanded. The blue deepened in intensity. My spirits rose of their own accord, responding to the unfettered freedom of that great expanse of the heavens.

It’s not just the sky—it’s the light of Santa Fe that’s so compelling. I love Cape Cod, too, for the light. In Truro, there’s a honeyed quality to the light, a lavender richness underlying the brilliance. In Santa Fe, the light is crystalline. The absolute clarity of luminosity is breath-taking.

Then there’s the landscape: the mountains, the rich red-brown of the earth, the piñon trees and the rocks and the desert and the forests.

Last time I was in Santa Fe, we saw a bear alongside the road. It was a medium-sized animal, maybe an adolescent, a grayish streak hurtling alongside the cars. I never knew bears could move so fast. I also saw a roadrunner streaking across the road: it looked like a tiny dinosaur.

Yesterday a friend took me hiking on Mt. Ataleya. She lent me open-toed Teva sandals because I hadn’t packed sneakers, and I went to lengths to avoid the cactus while scrambling up the trails.

Earlier in the day, I went to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, which I recommend. The gift shop is emblazoned with one of O’Keeffe’s wise sayings, which put me in mind of my own Sabin, who says the same thing: “Nothing is less real than realism.” It is magical here.

Georgia O'Keeffe

 

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Movie Review: Hieronymus Bosch: Touched By The Devil
5 star review | art | beauty | excellence | happiness | paranormal | spiritual teachings

Movie Review: Hieronymus Bosch: Touched By The Devil

Hieronymus Bosch: Touched By The Devil pleased me enormously. I love Bosch’s work, and there were several moments during this documentary when the camera lingered adoringly over his paintings.

The film tells the story of gathering Bosch’s paintings for a 500th anniversary show in Den Bosch. A group of museum guys—archivists, restorers, historians—track down the works, and then have to wheel-and-deal with assorted other museum types in order to borrow the paintings. The Venetian museum director said, “These paintings cannot leave the Galleria L’Academia unless they are restored.” That was a thinly veiled shake-down—the Dutch team had to pay for the restoration. Leave it to the Italians.

The Prado bureaucrats were hilarious. A lot of delicate negotiation happened off-screen, but was implied. I chortled a few times.

A painting and a drawing were newly attributed to Hieronymus, and one painting was de-attributed. There was a scene when the team was asking, “Who will call Ghent to tell them?” Meaning, what poor sap would have the misfortune of telling the museum in Ghent that their Hieronymus Bosch wasn’t painted by Hieronymus Bosch? The team leader, they decided.

Meantime, a painting in a Kansas City museum was newly confirmed as a Bosch. That was fun. It makes me imagine finding a dusty, cracked old painting in the attic…and having it attributed to a great master. I could write a novel about that. Maybe I will.

It is, ultimately, Bosch’s imagery that is the star of this film. I was delighted to realize that not all the fantastic figures hail from the astral plane. Many do, of course; you can see the same demons there, if you alter your consciousness so as to perceive the astral plane. However, several figures are actually from the Devic Kingdom. I exclaimed out loud, right there in the Film Forum theater, when I realized that. How cool! The Devic Kingdom represented in a painting from 500 years ago!

The Garden of Earthly Delights ranks among my top 10 favorite paintings, it’s just ravishingly beautiful, a feast for the senses. I get lost in it.

If you like Bosch or love art, then go see Hieronymus Bosch: Touched By The Devil. It won’t disappoint.

Hieronymus Bosch: Touched By The Devil

Enchantment Overlooking Magic Mountain
beauty | friends | gratitude | happiness | kindness | wholeness

Enchantment Overlooking Magic Mountain

Enchantment Overlooking Magic Mountain

Some lovely and generous-hearted friends invited us to stay in their beautiful Vermont home while they were elsewhere. So Sabin and I drove up and found ourselves in a sumptuous and homey palace. There’s a view over the rolling green hills and trees onto Magic Mountain, and a private pond with lights for night time swimming.

I find myself so relaxed that my adrenal glands are pulsing with let-down. My creative angst is nearly replaced with languor. Sabin has set himself up in the dining room to draw the relief panel for the WW1 Memorial.

Our labs Molly and Gabriel are ecstatic. I took them to the pond yesterday and Molly, our chocolate lab, ate some little green frogs before swimming around to look for ducks. Gabriel joined her. Then they ran out of the water to jump on me and I had to laugh even as their enthusiasm ensured that I was wet and smelly.

There are a zillion of these little green frogs, and when do you ever see frogs anymore?

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Beautiful Kisein Bag
5 star review | art | beauty | friends | gratitude | kindness

Beautiful Kisein Bag

Gorgeous Susan, a fellow mom at the bus stop, was carrying a purse that I particularly admired. Susan is always elegant and tasteful, and this sumptuous leather bag fit her style exactly.

To my mind, its best quality was its perfect marriage of beauty with utility: It’s big enough to hold the 11″ Macbook Air I take with me, as well as everything else I lug around, and at the same time it’s a graceful, handsome purse.

I commented enthusiastically. Susan told me that it was made by a client of hers whom she likes. We discussed the unusual good looks of the bag and she told me where to find it: kisein.com and etsy.

Back home, while my daughter ate an after-school snack, I browsed online. But there was a demand for my attention elsewhere, so I went on with my day. The bag stayed in the back of my mind, I just couldn’t forget it. You know how that is sometimes, when you see something you really love?

A few weeks later at the bus stop, Susan had amazing news: her friend had decided to gift me with a bag! She expected nothing in return but hoped I would love it.

Susan smiled, “You can be a kind of brand ambassador. If you feel like it, wear it and love it and tell people who made it if they ask.”

“I’ll do better than that,” I said, delighted. “I’ll blog about it!”

So I must state that I received this bag for free in hopes that I would love it and pass on the information about kisein if anyone inquired.

The bag arrived last night. It is even lovelier than I remembered. It’s a pleasure to hold in the hand, soft yet strong, sturdy yet supple, and practical yet absolutely breathtakingly pretty in design.

This stunning gift is the Annis City Satchel and it made me want to go right outside wearing it on my shoulder. It’s so convenient, too–made to hold everything I need on-the-go, from my iPhone to my laptop to my wallet.

I am pleased and proud to recommend kisein to everyone. I’ll be purchasing more kisein products. Buy one, you’ll love it! See the pictures below.

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