We Need Both Science & Spirit

We don’t have to choose between science or spirit. To be balanced, we and our world need both.

Science and spirit work together to help individuals to connect with their self and with their families and communities, and to grow in unison with their world as part of a larger unit. Both science and spirit help us to survive, to thrive and to stay healthy in all layers of our being.

Disclaimer: I do not belong to any religion or to any science. However, I am spiritual and I have an avid interest in science. From my perspective, boundaries imposed by either religion or science are incomprehensible because our knowledge and understanding about the universe and about our self continue to evolve. Evidence is definitely important but let’s not automatically discount possibility.

Definition of Spirit

The definition of spirit will differ depending on who is providing it. My definition for spirit is very general: spirit is the non-physical aspect of all matter, including our body.

spirit_is_informationSpirit contains everything about its matter. Our spirit encompasses everything about our person: our experiences, our thoughts, our feelings, our actions, our responses, our creations, our dreams, our fears, our strengths.

The same can be said about animals, insects, plants, rocks, water and all other matter around us. Even though they may not all have thoughts, feelings, dreams, etc., all organic and inorganic matter interacts with its environment in some way; all matter has experiences and interactions of some kind.

All of matter’s information is recorded in its spirit. Science has yet to discover the constitution of spirit and how it might record and store its information, but I offer some hypotheses in previous posts: 

All matter in the universe and spirit are made from information stored as 0’s and 1’s (Do 0’s and 1’s in the universe give rise to our person?)

Information might be stored in our person and in the world around us by the spin of particles (Can spintronics explain physiological information storage?)

Healing using Science & Spirit

At Continual Threshold, our self-directed healing approach blends both science and spirit using ancient knowledge and the latest research. The more research I do into comparative mythology, religion, physics, astrophysics and particle theory, the more evidence accumulates that demonstrates the similarities between scientific and spiritual knowledge.

Axis Mundi: Death - Transformation - Life
The axis mundi is a vertical line that connects what’s above with what’s below. Movement up and down the line is mediated in the middle by a place of transformation and creation.

At the root of all knowledge, I keep finding the axis mundi. The axis mundi, the foundation of my self-directed healing approach, hails from both science and spirit.

The Axis Mundi & Spirit

The axis mundi, Latin for world axis, is an ancient spiritual concept found in many cultures around the world throughout thousands of years. The world axis is a vertical line that connects everything above with everything below, for instance in a person, a part of a person (like an organ or a chakra), a tree or a mountain. 

The middle of the axis mundi symbolizes a place of creation and transformation. It is the bridge that links everything above with everything below.

Major chakras

 

In a person as a whole, the middle or place of creation is the heart because it is in the middle of the major chakras. The core or reproductive centre  can also be viewed as a place of creation because it is found in the middle of the body.

 

 

man side view with chakra axis mundiIn addition, each chakra in our body, each organ, each bodily system, each cell, each particle, and every other part of us also has an axis mundi and its middle is a place of creation.

Our body and being contain layers upon layers of axis mundi with places of creation. We continually create our person with movement up and down the billions of axis mundi in our body and being. This up and down movement results in billions of micro and macro moments of death and life (or negative and positive, or up and down, or yin and yang, or release and growth) that are necessary to more movement, more transformation and more creation. 

AxisMundi Simplest

 

The axis mundi with its centre of creation is at the heart of all matter.

 

The Axis Mundi & Science

The axis mundi is also found all around us in the physical world. It is at the heart of all matter.

spintronics electron spin

 

Particle

 

An electric current, particles, the Earth, our sun, black holes, all have an axis mundi with a centre of creation in their middle. With movement up and down their axis mundi—through a current or spin—they create, release and create anew.

Science & Spirit in Small Scale, Daily Healing

When an electrical current flows unobstructed through a wire, it produces a stronger magnetic field than when it meets with resistance. Similarly, when you have unobstructed, flowing movement throughout your vertical axis mundi, you exude strong creative energies: you are able to create the person you want to be and the world in which you want to live.

To obtain free-flowing movement up and down your axis mundi, strengthen your connection with your body and being and with the world around you.

Axis Mundi PersonThe three self-directed, healing strategies in Small Scale, Daily Healing are designed to do just that: they strengthen your connection with your self and with the world around you in all time and in all space, and in no time and in no space.

When you become strongly connected and you experience less resistance to movement, you become more grounded, more resilient and more confident. You become more balanced at all levels and it becomes easier to maintain an open heart.

And when you have an open heart, boundaries are non-existent.

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Visualizations to Fight Flus & Colds

Over the past few years, I’ve been trying different techniques from my self healing approach to fight colds and flus and I think I’ve finally figured it out. These techniques do not necessarily get rid of a cold or flu altogether but they can greatly reduce the severity of the symptoms and the length of the illness.flu

My husband caught his first flu of flu season and, being the generous soul that he is, promptly shared it with me. As soon as that sore throat hit me, I started right away with my visualizations. I’ve had success in past years with minimizing the impact of a cold/flu and I wanted to refine my approach even more to see if I could eliminate the bug altogether.

I realized that the key was to reduce or eliminate all stress and blockages, so the night everything started and the sore throat hit, I repeated each of the following many times:

  • Balanced each major chakra with focus on heart and throat
  • Balanced each of the light frequencies all around my being
  • Infused each major chakra with unconditional love with focus on heart and throat
  • Line of Calm through each major chakra with focus on heart and throat
  • Repeatedly Opened My Heart to keep heart open, especially when negative thoughts or stress crept in
  • Allowed everything that wasn’t serving my highest good to fall into the earth
  • Ran golden energy up and down through my being until the energy felt fluid and flowing cleanly

This might sound like a lot of work but each visualization only took a few seconds with the exception of running the energy and balancing the light frequencies which required one to two minutes each, respectively. I did most of the techniques while lying in bed at night. It was all quite manageable considering the alternative…body blue line throat

Since then, I have been doing the techniques above just once a day, usually in the morning or evening when I am lying in bed. In addition, I repeat the Open Your Heart technique during the day if I feel any stress or negativity to keep the stress from impacting my immune system. I also do the Line of Calm in my throat if it feels tight and I open that chakra.

Has it worked??

The cold/flu is still there but it is more of a slightly annoying, underlying condition instead of a full blown illness. It really is not affecting my activities or sleep. 

After four days, the cold/flu seems to be racing through my system much more quickly than my poor husband who, two weeks later, is still feeling the effects.

However, time will tell and I will continue to do my visualizations and to monitor the illness. I’ll post an update here in a week or so. 

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Terrorists: Support Facts not Fear

I do not support terrorists.

I support a person’s right not to be accused of being a terrorist because of their religion, race or country.

I support facts. This is not about political correctness or lefties or softies. It’s about facts:

  • Terrorists cannot be profiled solely by religion, race or country.
  • Terrorists wield religion or ideology as a marketing tool, as propaganda, to recruit people to their cause. They are selling a dream… always at the expense of others.
  • Terrorists’ goal is to propagate fear and hatred to alter the status quo towards their own ends.
  • History has shown over and over that any religion and any ideology can be used to create and to feed fear and hatred.
  • Even if terrorists’ goal is a religious government, not all people who follow that religion are automatically terrorists. (Reconstruction Theology in the U.S. calls for the creation of a Christian theocratic government, it has links to paramilitary training camps, and Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh had ties to both. That does not make all Christians terrorists.)

Fear won't lead my heartI do not support people who propagate hatred and fear – on whichever side they may be.

Hatred and fear beget more hatred and fear and division. Hatred and fear serve no one… except the terrorists.

I do not support terrorists.

It’s okay to be afraid… but I won’t let fear lead my heart. #fearwontleadmyheart

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Terrorists: Dispelling Fear & Myth through Knowledge

The latest terrorist attacks in Paris have generated many comments and discussions about the closing of borders to Syrian refugees, the bombing of ISIS strongholds and the impact of Islam on society. Perhaps the questions we should be asking are: “Who are terrorists and how do they become terrorists?” and “How do we nip terrorism in the bud?”

Brenda’s note about this article: Normally, the Touchy Subjects blog covers topics that deal with health and self healing. The Paris attacks and the terrorism threats around the world have created a lot of fear and uncertainty in many of us. While these are quite normal reactions, fear can cause unhealthy stress and emotional distress. The purpose of this article is to shed some light on why terrorists do what they do so that this knowledge can help to dispel the fear and the myths around them.

The Problem with Defining Terrorists by Country, Religion or Ideology

In past decades, terrorists (both non-state and state-sponsored) have come from many countries and ideologies from Nazi Germany, the Rwanda genocide, the massacres in Bosnia and, most recently, ISIS and other Islamic extremists. In addition, many terrorists originated from places other than the source country: during the Second World War, Nazis had followers from Poland who brutally assaulted their own people and, today, ISIS attracts members from many Middle Eastern countries but also developed nations such as the U.S., France, Belgium and Canada.

KeepCalmImMuslimNotTerroristTo a certain degree, we can define terrorists by their country of origin and/or by their religious beliefs or ideologies but, before long, that definition falls apart. It’s a matter of simple logic, for example: Even if all Islamic terrorists were Syrians and Muslims, not all Syrians and not all Muslims would be terrorists.

John Horgan, an Irish psychologist and expert on terrorism, explains how religion is less important to the recruitment of new members than to the continued engagement of existing members:

I certainly think the role of Islam, and religious ideology more generally, is vastly overstated as a mobilizing agent for involvement in political violence. I believe it is far more relevant in terms of sustaining commitment and continued engagement with a group.[1]

So, if religion or ideology are not the main attractors for those recruited to become terrorists, what is? And once individuals are members of a terrorist group, how does religion or ideology then become a tool to keep them engaged?

According to Horgan, many people who hold radical views will never become terrorists and many terrorists did not have radical views before they became terrorists. Based on existing research, social psychologist Stephen Reicher from the University of St Andrews, UK suggests that any person is capable of committing evil acts given the right (or wrong) context.[2]

Evidence suggests that many terrorists develop their radical views only after they have become involved with a group or with a recruiter for the group. To understand how this happens, we can look at the science behind our very human need to be a part of a group.

Our Need to be Part of a Tribe

Humans evolved in groups or tribes because being part of a group meant surviving. Our intense need to find and to identify with the values and beliefs of our tribe is built into our biology. Horgan says that people are initially attracted to terrorism because of big issues like alienation, shared anger, frustration, disillusionment and a sense of victimization by the action or inaction of others. Consciously or unconsciously, they seek out people who share their feelings and beliefs.

Recruiters for terrorist organizations prey on this need to share feelings and beliefs with someone. They often befriend alienated individuals and feed their anger, frustration or disillusionment. Then, they further lure people with stories of belonging, adventure, camaraderie, honour and becoming a part of something much bigger than themselves. The recruiters will say whatever they need to convince that person to join their group and their “crusade.”

young moroccan boy-isis

“ISIS isn’t shying away from using images of underaged fighters to market jihad abroad.” CBC online. Aug. 15, 2014.

It’s at this point that religion or ideology fills in the gaps. Like good marketers, recruiters and organizations will twist religious statements and beliefs to fit their goals. Young recruits and religious converts are particularly susceptible because they do not have the knowledge to rebut clichéd arguments.

We feel less empathy for people who are outside of our group. In extreme cases, such as joining a terrorist organization, identifying with a group can transform normal people into killers if they feel a duty to protect their group from outsiders. “What is truly toxic,” says Reicher, “is a construction of in-group and out-group which makes genocide an act of virtue and construes the killers as the most noble among us.”[3] Terrorism is the “you’re either with us or against us” mentality on drugs, really bad drugs.

Can bombs help us to fight terrorism?

In regards to ISIS, many people believe that bombing strategic, ISIS-held regions is a good way—maybe even the only way—to deal with them. However, in his blog for Scientific American, John Horgan (the science writer, not the terrorism expert) wrote:

I am not an absolute pacifist. Sometimes violence is required to stop greater violence (…) Will increased U.S. military intervention in Iraq and Syria make a bad situation worse? Recent history suggests that the answer is yes.

(…) Escalating U.S. force in the Mideast—far from taking us closer to world peace—would perpetuate militarism. Whenever the U.S. resorts to bombs and bullets to advance its agenda, it legitimizes the use of lethal force by others, including groups like ISIS.

One of the great ironies in debates about war and peace is that hawks view themselves as hard-headed “realists” and denigrate doves as soft-headed and delusional. The real delusion is thinking that U.S. military force—which over the last decade has exacerbated the terrible violence wracking the Mideast—can now dispel it.

An ”Off-Ramp” for Disillusioned Terrorists

Horgan (the terrorism expert) stated that disillusionment is common within terrorist groups. When the new recruits arrive and the promised adventure and dreams never materialize, disillusionment sets in—but, at that point, what can they do about it?

leaving terrorismIf they try to leave, they will probably not get far before being caught, either by someone from their group or by authorities—neither of which is a palatable option.

They live in fear that their disillusionment will be detected by the others in their group. It’s possible that some individuals become so scared and desperate that they are even more eager to “prove” their loyalty to their group or that they make radical choices such as volunteering for suicide missions.

According to Horgan, we “need to do a better job of providing ‘off-ramps’ not just for people who are on the road to terrorism in the first place, but also to those who have gotten themselves in a jam and want to get out before it’s too late. (…) We certainly need to do a far better job of showcasing accounts of repentant former terrorists who are in an ideal position to credibly undermine the allure of involvement in the first place.”

Using Group Mentality for Good

Reicher argues that we should use group mentality to our advantage by encouraging a group belief that we are not more virtuous than people outside our group. We can educate people in our group to be wary of black-and-white moral distinctions that create the Us versus Them mentality.

It is possible to resist and to overcome violent groups as a collective. When asked if the world will ever be free of terrorism, Horgan (the terrorism expert) replied that it “depends in part on States holding the moral high ground, formulating responses based on evidence, and not falling into the traps that terrorist groups are so clever at setting for States.”

In other words, let’s not give terrorists what they want: chronic fear, panic, retaliation, in-fighting, the perpetuation of ignorance, hatred of Muslims, revenge. These reactions will only create more fear, more fighting, more war, more terrorism.Fear won't lead my heart

As a collective, let’s show our governments that we are prepared to take the higher moral ground. Let’s show the
terrorists that, although we may be afraid (because that is a pretty normal response), we will not allow our fear to thwart our humanity and to guide our decision-making.

I may be afraid but I won’t let fear lead my heart.

#fearwontleadmyheart

References

[1] Scientific American blog online. Can Science Solve Terrorism? Q&A with Psychologist John Horgan. By John Horgan, the American science writer (no relation). March 2, 2015. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/can-science-solve-terrorism-q-amp-a-with-psychologist-john-horgan/

[2] New Scientist online. Is evil a disease? ISIS and the neuroscience of brutality. By Laura Spinney, a writer based in Paris, France. Originally published in print magazine issue 3047, 14 November 2015 as “Roots of Brutality.” https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22830471-000-syndrome-e-can-neuroscience-explain-the-executioners-of-isis/?utm_source=NSNS&utm_medium=SOC&utm_campaign=hoot&cmpid=SOC%7CNSNS%7C2015-GLOBAL-hoot

[3] Ibid. New Scientist online. Is evil a disease? ISIS and the neuroscience of brutality.

 

Sources

New Scientist online. Is evil a disease? ISIS and the neuroscience of brutality. By Laura Spinney, a writer based in Paris, France. Originally published in print magazine issue 3047, 14 November 2015 as “Roots of Brutality.” Accessed online November 16, 2015. https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22830471-000-syndrome-e-can-neuroscience-explain-the-executioners-of-isis/?utm_source=NSNS&utm_medium=SOC&utm_campaign=hoot&cmpid=SOC%7CNSNS%7C2015-GLOBAL-hoot

Scientific American blog online. Can Science Solve Terrorism? Q&A with Psychologist John Horgan. By John Horgan, the American science writer (no relation). Originally published online on March 2, 2015. Republished on November 16, 2015. Accessed November 16, 2015. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/can-science-solve-terrorism-q-amp-a-with-psychologist-john-horgan/

Scientific American blog online. How Should the U.S. Respond to Terror? By John Horgan. Published November 16, 2015. Accessed November 16, 2015. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/how-should-the-u-s-respond-to-terror/

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Fear Won’t Lead My Heart

Fear won't lead my heart

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Stomping on OCPD

OCPD: Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder

OCPD Traits

OCPD is indicated by four or more of the following:

  • Focus on details, rules, lists and schedules
  • Paralyzing perfectionism
  • Workaholism
  • Moralizing
  • Inability to delegate
  • Rigidity and stubbornness
  • Pack-rat living
  • Extreme saving for a rainy day

I’ve often demanded too much of the people with whom I lived and worked and criticized them about every little detail. Everything had to be done my way or it was not good enough. I often never finished creative projects because they were never good enough or I worried that they would not be perfect and that they would be viewed as failures.

It took me a long time to finish certain tasks because my mind interjected every second with rules about ways things should be done – rules that only I seemed to know about. Whereas any other worker would throw a one-page document together in a few minutes (which was just as usable), I would spend a few hours triple checking and questioning all the information, the margins, the styles, the space between the lines. If I had to contact someone, could I just pick up the phone? No. Is it okay to call that person? When should I call them? What if they are in the middle of something and don’t want to be bothered? I need to prepare what I’m going to say; it has to be done properly, I need to mentally practice… I’ve always hated making phone calls.

Before I had a family, I usually spent a lot more time at work than most. And, of course, no one else could do these tasks the way I wanted them done so I just did them myself.

OCPD My standards were so high even I could never possibly achieve them. I attempted not to stray morally or ethically and frowned upon those who did. If I did stray from my lofty moral expectations, forgiveness was not an option and I had to work even harder to redeem myself. Let’s just say I was often working hard.

Schedules or tasks that changed at the last minute caused confusion and anxiety. I had lost control. Activities had to happen when they were supposed to happen and tasks had to be done a certain way, well, because, they just did otherwise I was at a loss.

When I had children and cats, it just got too difficult, too time consuming and too stressful to keep up the orderliness and the rules in our home, at work and in our lives. I was having issues with being a perfect mother, wife and worker. Everything that was required of me – by me or by others – swirled around in my head until I was dizzy. The “I’m not good enough” moments increased every day. The guilt piled up until it was insurmountable, the negative voice inside intensified and, knowing I was failing life miserably, depression ensued.

Thankfully, in an ironic twist, OCPD drove me to want to become a better person. I worked on it diligently. I started to become aware of the moments when rigidity, perfectionism, rules, moralizing and inability to delegate were hindering my interactions and my ability to move tasks and projects forward. stomping on ocpd

By practicing Small Scale, Daily Healing‘s 4-Step Process for Personal Growth, visualizations and techniques to build a strong relationship with my body, I started talking back to that negative and constantly questioning voice. Over time, I changed my thoughts and my reactions, and I became more compassionate and forgiving with myself and others.

Today, I don’t guilt myself about not having a clean house and making amazing, healthy meals every night (I hand them spinach and sprouts, good enough). I stop myself when I’m about to fix or criticize someone’s work and ask myself, “What are reasonable expectations?” and “Can I let this go?” Praising the good instead of criticizing makes everyone feel good, including me.

Surprises in my schedule are to be expected, and I don’t feel anxious if I’m not prepared. I am calm and can roll with the flow. Everything in my life has become easier, to the point where I’m almost the opposite now and probably should pay more attention to some things (but who cares about dirt; we’re developing our microbiomes).

I’m not perfect (and that’s actually okay) but I’ve come a long way. I’m even completing large, creative projects; I finished my Small Scale, Daily Healing ebook (which I already want to improve, but at least it’s done!) and I am almost finished my sci-fi book, two huge accomplishments I probably never would have completed in the past.

Life is what it is, I love who I am and I love my family as they are. I admire and trust the people with whom I work. It’s possible to change.

I stomp on you, OCPD — and I don’t care if I make a big mess that I won’t clean. So there.

Learn more about Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder: http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/health-fitness/mental-health/what-is-obsessive-compulsive-personality-disorder-ocpd

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The Meaning of Spider’s Presence in Your Life

Spider Mama in my Halloween display playing hockey with her babies.

Spider Mama in my Halloween display playing hockey with her babies.

People have been fascinated with—or repelled by—spiders for thousands of years. These deft weavers and deadly predators animate our stories, our dreams and our imaginations. Just this week, PhD candidate, Catherine Scott, in Toronto garnered many new followers by tweeting her observations of  three male black widow spiders attempting to mate with three females.

Spiders, Spiders Everywhere

Last month, I had more encounters than usual with spiders. My nights were filled with dreams of spiders. In one dream, I had to help a very frightened friend through a doorway with many daddy long-legs in the top left corner. In other dreams, I entered rooms enveloped in webs with spiders everywhere. In none of my dreams was I afraid of the spiders but I was certainly hoping they wouldn’t fall on me!

I also found more spiders than usual in the house and promptly placed them outside before my daughter or husband saw them and panicked. One day as I was working on my computer in the kitchen, I just happened to look up and noticed a large cluster of teeny-weeny, black thingies on the end of one of the blades on the ceiling fan above my head. On closer inspection, I realized they were probably newly hatched spiderlings. They were so very tiny though that I couldn’t put them outside without squishing them; I couldn’t save them so I had to wipe them with a towel.

A couple of days later, as I was once again working at my computer, a tiny baby spider peeked at me from behind my laptop’s monitor. It was so adorable I decided to let it be. (Yes, as you can tell, I love spiders…)

Why all of these spiders in my life all of a sudden? And in these unusual ways? (A cluster of hatchlings above my head, seriously??) I didn’t believe it was just a coincidence so I decided to look into it. (If you do believe these things are just coincidences, that’s okay too; you can view them as opportunities to review what’s happening in your life.)

Spiders in World Lore

Spiders are featured in lore around the world. In many Native American tribes, Spider Woman or Spider Grandmother is a creator of the world or a helper with the emergence of life. She teaches people to make pottery, to plant trees and to weave. She creates the stars by lacing a web with dew and throwing it into the sky.

Great Goddess of Teotihuacan with spiders and butterflies

Great Goddess of Teotihuacan. Photo by Thomas Aleto from Riverside, PA – Tepantitla Mural. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via WikiCommons.

In many pre-Colombian Teotihuacan murals discovered in what is now Mexico, the Great Goddess has a world tree covered with spiders and butterflies growing from her head. Other murals of the Great Goddess include arachnids scurrying in the background, on her clothing, or hanging from her arms. 

In ancient Egypt, Babylon and Greece, the spider is the weaver of destiny and is symbolized as Princess Arachne or the goddess Athena.

In the Vedic philosophy of India, the spider veils ultimate reality with an illusion. In West Africa, Anansi the spider was originally a creator of the world and a messenger between humans and the sky god, Nyame. But in the majority of stories, Anansi is a cunning trickster who loves to fool people and animals, and even gods.

Spiders as Spirit Guides

As a spirit animal or animal guide, Spider often represents creativity because of her skill in building delicate yet intricate webs. She is also a symbol of Mother and strong feminine energy, again related to creation. Spider is patient; she must wait patiently for her prey to come by her web.

spider weaves web

Spider weaves net by kadavoor © 2009 Jeevan Jose, Kerala, India. Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

As a creator of intricate webs, Spider brings together all parts of life to create a strong whole. She helps you to see a part of your life and to integrate it into a coherent whole. As a skillful weaver, she encourages us to show mental flexibility in viewing a situation from many different angles.

Fear of Spiders

If spiders inspired fear in me (which they don’t), I would be encouraged to explore and to face the shadow side of my personality. Her presence brings fear and unease so that we can examine their causes in our daily life.

Spiders in Dreams

When spider appears in your dreams, she asks that you consider the feminine energy in your life: creativity, patience, receptivity. Also consider how you felt and reacted in the dream: scared, stressed, curious, powerful, adventurous, etc.

In life, you weave your own web, you create your own reality. Spider says if you’re not happy with your web, change it.

Spider Totem

Spider in Halloween display

Spider Mama’s baby in my Halloween display

A spider totem shows you balance between your past and your future, the physical and the spiritual, the male and female aspects. Strength and gentleness, like a web that is both strong and delicate.

The past is always interwoven with the future. Spider’s body is shaped like the number eight and she has eight legs; the number eight is the symbol for infinity or infinite potential, infinite creative potential.

Lots to consider as I ponder Spider’s presence in my life.

When you encounter an animal, an insect, a plant or a person many times in a short period, consider it an opportunity to reflect on an aspect of your life.

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Certain Physical Ailments Aided by Therapy & Healing Habits

Headache, insomnia, fibromyalgia, women with stomach painirritable bowel syndrome, female sexual dysfunction and infertility. According to recent studies, these physical syndromes can all be treated just as successfully—and sometimes better—with psychotherapy than with medication. These physical ailments, like many others, are often partly or wholly caused by stress, anxiety, low self esteem, and other emotional and mental triggers, especially those that are chronic.

Psychotherapy such as cognitive-behaviour therapy (CBT) can help people to discover and to manage the root triggers and behaviours that can generate the repetitive, caustic physical processes that end up causing bodily pain and suffering.

In addition to psychotherapy, integrating self-directed healing strategies such as those practiced in Small Scale, Daily Healing (SSDH) can go a long way to identifying, managing and correcting behaviours that contribute to physical ailments.

SSDH’s strategy number one, Small Scale, Daily Healing logo4-Step Process for Personal Growth helps people to identify uncomfortable situations and interactions, to reflect on them, and to practice potential solutions until one helps with the issue. Strategy number two, Build a Strong Relationship with Your BFF-Body Friend Forever, helps you to connect and to bond with your physical body and to recognize how emotional and mental triggers affect you physically. Strategy number three, Practice Visualizations, assists in managing and in eliminating the new and deep set physical, emotional, mental and spiritual triggers and pain.

However, the most important factors with any healing approach, whether it be psychotherapy, Small Scale, Daily Healing, or another, are:

1) the belief that you can heal, and

2) a persistent, long-term practice.

Although exceptions always exist, most emotional and mental triggers take time to be identified, managed and erased, and you have to have the will to keep going even during—especially during—the tough times.

Sources

Recent studies on the success of psychotherapy: Scientific American MIND online. “6 Syndromes with Surprising Psychotherapy Solutions.” By the Editors, Tori Rodriguez and Victoria Stern. Published April 9, 2015. Accessed September 25, 2015. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/6-syndromes-with-surprising-psychotherapy-solutions/

Small Scale, Daily Healing: Integrating Quick and Easy, Self-Directed Healing Tools into Your Busy, Daily Routine by Brenda Piquette, 2015. http://continualthreshold.com/Store/

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Subliminal Messages Influence Our Pain

Researchers have discovered that subliminal messages can influence how we perceive pain. If that’s the case, we can also work to change our perceptions to reduce our pain.

A new study conducted by a team at Harvard Medical School and the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm demonstrated that subliminal messages, along with normal cues, can modify the level of pain we experience.

For the study, one group of people was conditioned to associate normal images of faces with either more or less pain from heat applied to their arm. A second group was exposed to these images subliminally; they were flashed so briefly the participants were not aware of seeing them.Subliminal Pain Messages Cartoon

Both groups—those conditioned normally to images and those exposed to the subliminal images—later experienced more or less pain by the applied heat when exposed to the images. The team’s results show that our pain responses are shaped by expectations, some of which we may not even be aware.

This study can help us to reflect on and to better understand our levels of pain. Even though this study focused on physical pain, I would wager that the results also apply to emotional pain.

For instance, you broke a leg while skiing in a forest and, in great pain waiting for help to arrive, you are surrounded by the sound of birds making a racket in the trees. For months afterwards, whenever you hear lots of birds, you feel more pain in your leg—but you never realized that you only felt that pain when you heard birds chattering.

Does your pain seem to get better or worse in certain places, with certain people or animals, around certain sounds, objects or images?

What makes you feel good? Do you have a photo that always makes you feel good to help reduce your pain? What makes you feel bad? Can you avoid what makes you feel bad to reduce your pain? If you can’t avoid what makes you feel bad, can you change your response to it?

If we can become conditioned to react with more pain around certain images, places, people or objects then, conversely, we can change our reactions to them so that they don’t have that effect on us anymore. And, we can train ourselves to feel less pain around specific images, places, people or objects that make us feel good.

Train yourself to change your reaction to stimuli that cause more pain.

Start by paying more attention to your pain. Notice when it gets better, when it gets worse. Don’t jump to conclusions right away. Keep track of your pain in a journal if it helps.

Once you’ve got enough information to recognize patterns, then start to change your reactions to stimuli that seem to cause more pain. Look at an image that makes you feel good or think of a place or person that makes you feel good. Open Your Heart. Do your Line of Calm.

Don’t give up after a few tries; it can take time to decondition our automatic responses to stimuli, whether they are subliminal or in our face.

Source

Scientific American online. “Subliminal Messages Influence Our Experience of Pain.” By Simon Makin. Posted Aug 13, 2015. Accessed Sept. 23, 2015. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/subliminal-messages-influence-our-experience-of-pain/

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What To Do About Stressful World Issues

Every day, we are hearing and reading about stressful issues happening all around us: climate change, icebergs melting, hurricanes, Syrian refugeesdesperate refugees, starving polar bears, decimated forests, homes inundated and people swept away, elephants poached. In the past, I’ve offered techniques on how to deal with stressful world issues and I think they are worth repeating to remind ourselves that we are not powerless to help.

We have power. We can help. We can help everyone and everything, including ourselves.

The following techniques are not about woowoo or religion. They are about being human and using the very real power of compassion and unconditional love, the power of your thoughts, and the power of your intentions.

refugees are human beingsThis morning, I was reading about the plight of the Syrian refugees in Europe and pondered the millions of refugees all over the world. What if my husband and I had no choice but to drag our children away from their home and leave our lives behind, knowing we would never return? Leave what had been our daily comfort and security for daily unknown, probably dangerous situations? It would be devastating.

My focus for the following techniques is the plight of all refugees across the globe but you can choose whatever issue is on your mind.

  1. Open Your Heart.
  2. Say silently: “I am filled with compassion and unconditional love.” Alternately, you can ask the universe, God or whoever else to fill you with compassion and unconditional love.
  3. Visualize gentle, watermelon red/pink light (compassion) all around you. Then, while retaining the watermelon light, also visualize very bright green light (unconditional love) within you and around you. Don’t worry if you can’t visualize both colours at the same time; your intention is more important than your ability to visualize.
  4. Say silently: “All of the world’s refugees are filled and surrounded by compassion and unconditional love.” Alternately, you can ask the universe, God or whoever else to fill and surround them with compassion and unconditional love.
  5. Expand your watermelon light and green light to surround all of the world’s refugees (by visualizing and/or with your intention).
  6. Say silently: “All of the world’s refugees receive whatever they need for their highest good.” Alternately, you can ask the universe, God or whoever else to give the refugees whatever they need for their highest good.
  7. Hold that light around them for as long as you wish. Then, bring the light back around yourself.
  8. Say silently: “I am grateful to be in my home. I am grateful for the help they will receive.

You can adapt this technique for any world issue that is on your mind. Visualize compassion and unconditional love filling and surrounding the people, animals, insects, environments, or regions in need. Ask that they receive whatever they need for their highest good.

It’s good practice to begin by opening your heart and to end with gratitude.

Remember that, when you offer your assistance in whatever way you can, you help others and you help yourself because you are transforming your fear, frustration, stress, or anger—which are not healthy for your mind, heart, and body—into compassion and love which are much more beneficial to your body and being.

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