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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Online Scheduling! Plus: snap the sugar habit with me

Greetings and salutations to all who come by this blog!

Today I write with a short note from a wonderfully rainy San Francisco bay area, and I could not be more thrilled to announce some recent changes in my business.

For starters, I now have on-line scheduling!  Check it out at my soon-to-be-released brand spanking new website:  www.jupitermassageandwellness.com

Massage news:

You will notice above that I have made a rate adjustment effective January 1.  These new rates are reflected above and I believe are competitive in my industry for someone with my experience.

I have added Saturday mornings to my schedule, as you will see, and that has been great for several folks already.

In addition!  I am now seeing clients at the Alameda Hospital, the second Tuesday of each month.  This has been a fun full-circle for me, as my very first job out of college was working in a hospital in Kansas City, MO.  I have always dreamed of working on the stressed-out staff in this environment!

If you know of any other organizations whether hospitals, companies, or corporations, that want to offer chair massage on-site, let me know.

Lastly, every few months I like to offer the "Snap the Habit" cleanse for anyone who is wanting to develop a sustained healthy relationship to carbs and sugars.  If you're anything like me, sugar is there when I feel down and blue, meaning: emotional eating tendencies!  

Join me and my colleague Mayah Hegre as we offer our third Snap the Habit cleanse.

With this cleanse we have supported many others to break their addictions to carbs and sugars, and bring loving attention to those automatic unconscious eating tendencies.  It's only 5-days and it really works.  The cost is under $200 (see details below).

To join simply send me an email at my new email address:  jennifer@jupitermassageandwellness.com!

Thank you so much for your time and attention, and your business, and I hope to see many of you in the near future.

Jenny JUP
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Here are the details for the Snap the Habit cleanse;

5-day cleanse begins Monday, Feb 1.
Each day you will enjoy 3 delicious protein shakes and bars (safe for diabetics), lots of water, and certain key vegetable snacks that we will discuss.  You can learn more about the cleanse by going to my website at www.jennyjup.usana.com and clicking on "Healthy Weight".

At the end of the 5 days you will feel an incredible surge of new energy and a sense of empowerment and fortitude to carry on with these new habits!  Plus:  recipes from Nikki Stephens, Holistic Health Coach.  YES!

On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday we'll have a 30-minute group coaching call with Mayah Hegre, who will walk us through our EFT practice.  (Learn more about EFT here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFKVVP8KXd4

Purchase your Reset kit by Jan 25
(contact me directly to place your order)
Cost:  $122.50 plus shipping and tax
EFT Coaching:  $50 to Mayah Hegre

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Ode to Harbin Hot Springs

I feel like I could write several entries in my Ode to Harbin Hot Springs, and if you've ever been there  I'm sure you can understand!  For any of you who have never been there, it is a large piece of property in Lake County, CA which has been for many decades an internationally loved clothing optional hot spring and teaching resort.  It recently was consumed by fire and yes, will absolutely be re-built.  But, it will never be what it was......and so here is a tribute to a place that gave me so much:
****

Oh Harbin!  For nearly 20 years you have been my place.  The place where it became ok to have the body I was given......

The first time the towel came off I'm thinking to myself, "whoa, I"m really going to do this just - hang out naked with a bunch of strangers - ???!!!"

But then I looked around, and I saw the glorious sagging shoulders, the tanned wrinkles of a tall man's hind side.....the rolls of fat....and I realized what the hell -- you mean, it's ok?  it's just fine??  to be imperfect??

And that was the whole point or rather, the perfection in each unique expression of human embodiment was "ok", no shame to have a body, no reason to hide it's just bodies with souls inside trying so hard to find some balance, to work it out, to be "normal", or to not stand out at least.

Like many people I grew up in an environment which seemed to place shame on the body, particularly as it relates to anything remotely sensual.   So it's interesting that I ended up doing massage therapy for nearly 20 years, learning how to be in my body, while assisting another in being in their body, providing therapeutic touch, learning about breath and holding patterns, subtle realms and --- all of these things having to do with the body.

Being nude at a hot springs is really no big deal, it's absolutely respectful and people are for the most part mindful, in my experience.  I found the experience to be wonderfully healing, every single time.  And so I returned to your shores my dear beloved Harbin, on countless occasions, to soak in the simple safety of "I'm ok just the way I am".  My way of being in my body is alright.  It's ok.  I'm ok.  My body is ok.  The world may not be ok, life might be tough at the moment, but, I'm here now, in this glorious place, so, it's cool, I'm good.........

And then there was also:  your water.

That water, the holy buoyant bounce of minerals carving aerated particles of love on my skin, the slightest slime of earth sliding on my shins, gently protected by the overhanging branches of a healthy happy fig tree, its leaves like giant, fleshy, chlorophyll hands waving in the dappled sun.

The water holds me like a pillow, all soft and smooth, there's no need to move it's just the perfect temperature.  There is no time or space, I am a fig dropped in water by the tree of life....hanging loose in the moment, breathing up and down, integrating, listening, hearing, the zen eye of third mind unfocus......

Then comes an impulse to heat up......I move like a cherub bounding in slow-motion towards the corner, flanked on one side by the fig tree and a giant bouquet of resplendent flowers splayed out against a cobalt blue wall, I float up the half-moon stair and duck into the doorway to the hot pool room, and hydrate.

That hot pool is no joke.   It is 4 and a half feet deep -- or more? -- and full of natural spring water that is very, very hot.  It is safe, but you must stay hydrated and you must know your limits.  For me, it took quite a while to descend.  I had to acclimate at every step, making sure no one needed in or out, giving myself plenty of time, allowing first my feet, waiting waiting waiting.....then my shins, oh wow, this is hot, then my hips, ok whoa, this is amazing, i can do it, and finally allowing myself to submerge up to my neck.

Then:  the basking glow of our agreed SILENCE.......

This was the sacred home to so many, the cascade of muscles just - releasing their hold on  my bones just -- letting go of the holding on -- my knees a prayer of now, my arms floating as if in space -- which is where my mind is, my jaw hanging slack like a weighted sack.  I am in my own experience with laser focus, all my cells are organizing for my survival, trusting myself to know when it's been long enough (which, for me is not too long usually).....

The moment I know, ok, it's time to get out....I just slowly begin to move into action toward the dragon-crafted metal rail.  I love the feeling of grabbing it and pulling myself through that hot water, completely limp and landing my gentle feet on the first step like i was set down by gravity, a weightless form with a name and then pop! up from the heat like a rubber ducky would if it got knocked over, steam coming off my back......

Hydrate.

With ease and an inner wonder I move past the kind anonymous being in the doorway and turn right into the cool wide stair leading up to the cold pool.   The gentle forest overhang is damp and forgiving, eager to hear my silent glee as the steam leaves my skin and I reach for the end of the heavy metal chime, its quiet clang an anthem to the divine.

Exposed to the sky I step onto the wooden platform surrounded by saints and angels hiding behind leaves and branches, guarded by Kwan Yin and the occasional deer with their big, brown, wondering eyes.  I find my way to the cold pool, its silent white stairway brisking me in, colding my breath away, the ancient freeze.....

The perfect bouquet of fresh flowers awaits me in its goddess vase, her ceramic smile so bright it stings, my breath sucked into my chest in shock, the flowers screaming "colors"!!! against a knowing white wall.

My legs are ok, can handle it, but my torso gets so scared!!!  of that cold so I make myself, with one big bounce and a breath, dunk under and immediately emerge up the stairs and out, now brought into the stillest point of all, the perfect contrasted cellular structure where my mind is a vast empty sky.....

I take comfort in the silent solace of soaking souls, blissing inside, dipped in the ancient inferno and the sacrament of cold.

All old souls transform repeatedly upon receipt of this place one is taken when you contrast back and forth, hot/cold, hot/cold, it brings a new kind of center, a now quite contented indeed, so relaxed I have really none whatsoever a need, just, eternal present on the bench....in front of the goddess statue.....ancient wisdom informs the rest, and sweet silence emerges within my sense of self.......
*********

Thank you oh Harbin, with your communal kitchen and your carpeted porches, your well-worn trails and gardens, your immaculate Temple, your restaurant, your wild turkeys, your store, your library and your creek, your camp-grounds and your showers, for your comfort and your yoga classes: until we meet again old friend!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

news from the table

One of the things I love about massage therapy is the immediate transformation that takes place within the system of my client.

There are few fields of work where the impact of your skills and training can be so immediately apparent!

On Wednesday I was given an opportunity to work with a woman who is having a lot of nerve pain in her lower leg.  She has been seeing a chiropractor, doing yoga, and generally paying attention (rather than ignoring it and hoping it will just "go away" like many choose to do).

She had a one-hour session, and wanted some "relaxation" work, but requested that we spend most of the session supporting her knee/leg area.

The area did not present as very inflamed, but my client said it was hyper sensitive to touch and could suddenly supercharge a pain sensation down into her foot.  So I was of course approaching the area with a lot of caution and communication.

My overall strategy was to just tune into the heat in the knee joint, see if I could feel any hot spots or tissue bulges, and also attempt very gentle bone manipulations, very slight traction, and as always, Reiki.

With my client face-down, I gently lifted her femur off the table, with the lower leg gently bent, so I could give the joint a weightless sensation as I began to do a very slow, subtle rotation of the knee.  As always I was checking in every step of the way with my client to ensure that she was comfortable with the maneuver.

She reported feeling comfortable with the movements, as well as relieved that she was comfortable with the movements!  So that was a good start.

Once we got her onto her back and I had more ready access to the front of the knee and the side of her leg, I began with some Reiki through the sheet.   Right away I noticed a bunch of tears wanting to push through my eyeballs onto my cheeks!

This didn't surprise me too much, as I am an empath and at times I do seem to get in touch with emotions held unknowingly within my clients.

But because I had good rapport with her and felt that she would want to know, I did tell her that I was feeling a lot of sadness in that moment, and she seemed to really appreciate that.  I could feel her body get a little bit heavier on the table, and I found a small area of "extra tissue" lateral to the patellar tendon.  It seemed to hold the key to her troubles, and I said to her, "this is the spot, isn't it".  She immediately acknowledged, YES!  That is where it seems to originate.

With that knowledge I just took a nice deep breath and held the joint gently on either side.  I felt that we could conceivably relieve the area by slowly grabbing hold of the tibia and the fibula and just gently offering the tiniest bit of traction.   Again, making sure my client was comfortable and following the cues of her breath and her energy I was able to feel her body get heavier yet again on the table, a sign that tension is relieving and healing can occur.

In addition I did work the muscles of the lower leg ever so gently, to just push circulation through and into the knee joint, as well as working her foot and doing some rotations of the ankle and point work through the sole of the foot.

I still don't really know what is wrong with her leg.  It may be a bursa, it may be arthritis, it may be a nerve impingement, or something else entirely.

But after the session I could see that she had made a large step towards a more relaxed, supported system, and she said she was feeling a lot of optimism that her leg could be normal again.  She said the session was "magical and superior" and wanted to book the second session in her 4-pack for just a couple of days later.

With the client's full knowledge I called the chiropractor who has been working with her, and just let him know what we had done in our session, how it made her feel, and asked him when he had a moment to check his records for her and let me know if he had any good ideas for further treatment.

This type of exchange is what keeps me in the business after 18 years and counting.  I love supporting people in their experience of being in a body.  It can be puzzling!




Friday, August 7, 2015

Summer Newsletter


Greetings clients, colleagues, and community members!

In this newsletter you will find information about a seasonal women's group I am offering, new massage therapy offerings, and an upcoming cleanse!!!    

Self-Care Sundays:  12-week women's group for increased vitality
If you know any women who may be interested in Self-care Sundays, please feel free to forward this message on! 

Are you a woman feeling like you need time to connect with yourself in new ways?  Are you struggling to understand the messages from your body?  Do you or anyone you know struggle with your monthly cycle?  Do you have endometriosis, uterine fibroids, heavy bleeding, intense cramping, or are dealing with a general loss of vitality and depletion?

Meeting for 6 alternating Sundays at a comfortable home in Richmond we will go through the Steps for Vibrant Health as put forth in Dr. Christiane Northrup's book, Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom.  We will share a nutritious, wholesome meal together in mindful silence, and each woman will be given the opportunity to retreat into solace for alone time, and to be seen and witnessed within the group in a conscientious sharing circle.  Uncover your personal health story to understand your body's wisdom more clearly, look into your personal beliefs around value, worth, and contribution.  Do it with other women who are committed to personal growth and taking charge of their health in an empowered way!  

In 12-weeks we will have a much better understanding of our bodies, a fuller connection to our inner guidance, and a plan of action in place to reclaim our natural vitality.

For anyone who is interested in this group I am offering the first meet up at no obligation so you can come, meet me, and feel into whether this is going to be a good fit for your needs.

Cost:  $250 up front.  Installment, sliding-scale available;

Where:  East Richmond Heights, 94805   When:  10am - 1pm every alternating Sunday beginning Sept. 13 - Nov. 22

To register:  contact me directly at jenniferbenorden@gmail.com for a consultation.  You may pay with a personal check, cash, or via Paypal.   

Massage Therapy:  El Cerrito, Oakland, corporate, and in-home offerings

I have been working at the Ojas Wellness Center at the El Cerrito Plaza for a year and a half!  THANK YOU so much to Nicole Becker from Ojas Yoga Studio who invited me into her studio.  It is an honor to work with such a wonderful teacher.   Check out the studio if you haven't been there yet!   www.ojasyogacenter.com   

FYI:  My office is down the hallway quite a ways from the yoga studio, towards the Joanne's Fabric's end of the building:   Ojas Wellness Center, Office # 729.  

Series Packages 
These are my top-sellers right now.  Get a discount by purchasing a 4-pack series of 30-min, 60-min or 90-min sessions.  It's a nice way to commit to your on-going self-care, while reaping a savings at the same time!  

Wednesday afternoons, Oakland
I have started seeing clients in Oakland on Wednesday afternoons over on Grand Avenue near the lake.  If you are interested to set up a session with me over there my normal rates apply.

Corporate Massage
Back in 1996 when I very first began working as a massage therapist, I started out in the corporate sector, working for Excite.com, Yahoo.com, and eventually Google!  

I am interested to get back into that setting.  Ideally an employer will see the value of bringing in a massage therapist regularly and will subsidize it for their employees.  After all, massage therapy helps to avoid repetitive stress injuries, helps with migraines and headaches, keeps people feeling energized and appreciated, and can go a long way towards increased productivity and the not-so-proverbial, "bottom line" of any company.

If you know of any companies who would like to bring in a seasoned massage therapist for regular employee appreciation, please do let me know!

My new passion:  Scar-tissue
Over the past couple of years I have really gotten interested in working with scar-tissue. If you know anyone who has had a recent or not-so-recent surgery and still has tightness around their scar, or even tenderness if it's a recent scar, I have begun to see wonderful results with this.  

For a very recent injury which is tender and fragile, this is my favorite time to work with clients because the subtle energy work helps the tissue to relax and breathe better!  A very, very delicate touch is applied which is almost like a feather, and I can almost watch as the area relaxes.  This allows for a speedier recovery and over time I've been privileged to work with a couple of clients to see their scars become more supple and soft.  

Maybe I can help you with yours!   Call me and we can talk about it.

In-home Massage
As always, I love bringing my table to a client's home to set up a spa day for them and/or their family members.    I offer one-hour, 90-minute, and two-hour in-home massages for up to 3 people at a time.  There is a travel fee attached to all out-call massage sessions.

Availability:

Ojas Wellness Center - Thursdays 2:30-9pm; Saturdays 2:30-7pm
In-home massage - Saturdays 11-2; Sundays 11-4; Wednesday 5-8
Oakland massage - Wednesdays 2-7pm

Rates

Please note I will be increasing my rates in the fall

30-min:  $40
60-min:  $85
90-min:  $125
2-hr:  $160

To schedule:  


Snap the Habit

In the fall my colleague Mayah Hegre and I are getting excited to offer a 21-day cleanse incorporating EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique).   We have offered this cleanse as a 5-day cleanse in the past, but are looking forward to providing more support to help people truly break their addictions to carbs and sugars!!!  Stay tuned for more information.

Jupiter Wellness

I am currently developing a new website!!!!  So excited.  It will have on-line scheduling and more information about my women's groups, my cleanse, my massage therapy work and more.  I am hoping to release this in the fall so stay tuned!

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In summary, thank you for allowing me to be a part of your self-care strategy.  It is my honor and privilege, and I look forward to serving you throughout the rest of 2015 and beyond.....

Warm regards,

Jennifer

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Massage Therapy: Making Contact

On Thursday I did a brief presentation about my work as a massage therapist for my colleagues in my networking group.  I was so nervous for some reason!  But folks seemed to like it so I thought I would share it with you all here:

We are spinning in space inside an atmosphere of gravitational force.

Our bodies, just like a tree, are perfectly designed to operate gracefully inside gravity.  But learned behaviors, unconscious habits, injury, family legacy -- all these things play into what you might call "holding patterns".

My job, as a Massage Therapist, is to make contact with these holding patterns, to raise awareness of these areas within the system of my client, to awaken circulation through stuck places within the body.

For me, discussing the many different layers of embodiment is a complex, multi-dimensional exploration.

There is the *cosmic* reality:  gravity.  Indeed, gravity and postural imbalance are I believe the two biggest factors leading to pain within the body.

Then there is the *energetic* reality:  The magnetic field around every living being, creating, if you will, an individual atmosphere.

Then there is the *physical* reality:  blood, bone, nerve, muscle, organ, connective tissue, and breath, among many other things.

Then, the *historical* reality:  did this person have an easy birth into this world?   Have they broken any limbs?  Have they torn any ligaments?  Have they been cut or bruised and have they had any stitches?

And finally there is the *spiritual* dimension:  what gives meaning to a person's life?  What fulfills them?  What makes them super sad?  Have they been loved?  Cared for?  Have they created what they came here to create?

All these stories live within our bodies.

In my work, I always start and end my sessions the same way:  I ask my client to take a nice, deep, cleansing breath, and I do so as well.  Then we take another.  During this time I am bringing my mind into alignment with unconditional regard -- the foundation of my work.  For me, unconditional regard is bringing myself into a neutral state of mind, a place of acceptance, compassion, and respectful witness.

I bring my hands a few inches above my client's back, and I bring my awareness to my breath, I align my posture, I feel the ground beneath my feet and I enter into my client's personal atmosphere, making contact with the surface, yes….but with an awareness of that gravitational field, the physical pressure which actually holds all of us on planet earth.

And then, all the connections start getting made, how the hips hold up the ribs with a spine running right through to the brain, a bowling ball on a flexible stick.  We're bi-pedal so everything criss-crosses, left knee, right nip, left shoulder, right neck, left jaw……

The mind kinda starts to dissolve, the right now makes a much longer pause, muscles letting go of all their holding, moments hold together by an organic human being, in a body, from a body, of a body, and breathing…..

Awaken to the now with massage therapy!

After nearly 20 years in this profession I can say that I am still endlessly fascinated, excited by, and inspired by the possibilities of healing in the human body.

Clinical deep tissue has taught me practical functional knowledge that I can apply to athletes and weekend warriors.

Reiki and energy work has taught me how the subtler planes often hold deep release within the tissue.

Injury and surgery have taught me how it feels when pain shoots through the body, bringing compassion and empathy, as well as a felt sense of how soft tissue manipulation can speed healing.

A great referral for me is someone looking to commit to their self-care and personal growth through massage therapy.

I now offer 50% all my treatments for anyone dealing with chemotherapy or cancer.

I am selling a lot of series packages these days, and through the month of March am offering one 25-min add-on to a 60- or 90-minute 4-pack.

My office is located at 729 El Cerrito Plaza, and my office hours are Thursdays and Saturdays, 2:30-9pm.  I am available for corporate gigs and out-call/in-home sessions on other days.

Do your body/mind a favor:  book a session today!


Monday, January 5, 2015

Snap the Habit: let's go!!

Are you one of the millions of people around the world who have resolved to "eat better" in 2015?

According to a Diabetes Statistic Report published in June of 2014, over 29 million people have diabetes, which is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States. 

If you're anything like me, you have pretty good habits, *most of the time*.  But then........something will happen in your life, and you may fall into a binging habit, or what is known as, "emotional eating".

It is a very common way to cope with the ups and downs of life, but the consequences can be fatal, as the above statistics demonstrate.

With "Snap the Habit" my colleague Mayah Hegre and I are offering a power-packed solution to this cycle, offering personal coaching, a 5-day supply of foods which are proven to break the craving for carbs and sugars, plus 3 group coaching calls with one of the world's leading teachers of EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique).

The Cleanse

The 5-day cleanse is safe for diabetics, and provides a sustained energy with a 'no-deprivation' model throughout the 5 days. This cleanse is meant to create a long-term platform for eating, to support folks in creating lasting lifestyle changes, and to reduce the chances of developing diabetes and other degenerative conditions to begin with. (see below for a link to a video for more information on the Reset cleanse)


The Emotional Freedom Technique

EFT (also known as "the tapping method"), works with the Traditional Chinese Medicine meridian points to help rewire and reset our minds around any particular human issue. For Snap the Habit, we are training its powerful attention on our relationship to food and eating. (see link below for more information on EFT)

Snap the Habit includes:

* The Reset Kit (5-day supply of shakes, bars, and vitamins)
* 3 group coaching calls with EFT
* 2 one-on-one coaching calls (before and after the cleanse)
* recipes and meal-planning ideas
* 50% off massage therapy and EFT sessions

Total cost: $175 (give or take for shipping/tax)

Registration deadline: January 9
Course dates: January 19 - 23

To learn more about Reset:
http://www.usana.com/webhosting/jennyjup?page=page4

Learn more about EFT here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFKVVP8KXd4

About the Snap the Habit course leaders:

Jennifer Benorden, B.A., has been working in the field of "wellness" for nearly 20 years. She is a licensed massage therapist, women's group facilitator, wellness coach, and Shamanic practitioner. She works with clients in her office at the Ojas Wellness Center in El Cerrito and in the surrounding area. She strongly believes in the power of witness and group support to speed healing. www.expandwellness.blogspot.com; www.jennyjup.usana.com

Mayah Hegre, B.A.,Licensed Massage Therapist 17 years, Certified Holistic Health Coach 12 years, and Certified Adv. Emotional Freedom Technique practitioner 8 years. She brings the wisdom from her own healing journey and experience from working with many people from all over the world. Mayah is a compassionate person here to support your transformation, empowerment, and growth. She provides individual and group coaching.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Breath, Justice, PTSD, and Wellness

Breath.

It is the most fundamental necessity to sustain life.

Without breath flowing in and out of our lungs continuously, we die.

As a massage therapist, breath is one of the most basic ways I begin to attune myself with my clients.  When I see that they are holding their breath, I may coach them to take a nice big gulp of fresh air.

By the same token, when I see that my client is taking a nice deep breath on his or her own, it lets me know that they are taking it in, that they are letting it out, and that they are there with me, experiencing the work.

As for myself, I notice that I am nearly constantly holding my breath, both in and outside of the massage room.

For me to take a full diaphragmatic breath without effort is very rare.

I have been deepening my meditation practice and asking for insights into what is causing this phenomenon, but I have a sneaking suspicion I know what it is:

PTSD.

As a sensitive person, an empath, and a "healer", I most definitely notice that certain events whether personal or more collective will have an impact on my energy field, my spirit, my psyche, as well as in my breath.

Having spent my formative years in a violent household, I know that my system may never recover a fully neutral neurological state.   And for that reason, events outside of my personal realm may have a more acute impact on my system than they do on others.

All this to say, I believe that we here in the United States of America, we citizens who populate this land, who share a common history, whose roots were uprooted and re-rooted here, we who call this land home, we who are known globally simply as, "Americans", I believe we are all suffering a form of PTSD.

As a nation, we are currently more known for the violence within our police departments and the recently released Torture Report than we are for any other actions done in the name of "Democracy". 

If you pay attention even just a little bit, you will have heard the names Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, you will have heard of Mike Brown, of Eric Garner.  You will have heard of Newtown, of Columbine, of Andy Lopez.

You will have heard of Monsanto, of Chevron, of Wounded Knee.  You will have heard of Martin Luther King, JR., and you will have heard of Exxon Mobile.

Our national story is riddled with bullet holes, environmental destruction, racism, violence, broken treaties, and genocide.

So back to the breath.    Mine, yours, ours.

When you hear of a school shooting, what is the first thing you do?  When anything remotely shocking happens, what is that we do?

We take a deep, sharp inhalation.  Typically we hold it in for a minute and our eyes might dart around a little bit while our brows are furrowed.

Now granted, this doesn't mean you have PTSD!  It just means you heard something shocking and took a deep breath.  But -- where does it go from there?  How do we process the shock?  How do you?  How do I? 

For myself, the day the courts allowed the cop who killed Eric Garner to walk free, I began to have a pretty hard time breathing.

It came right on the heels of the cop who killed Mike Brown being allowed to walk free as well, with Ferguson still burning, and I felt the walls closing in on my spirit.

How could this be happening?

Eric Garner wasn't doing anything criminal whatsoever.  A cop came up to him, put him in an illegal choke hold, strangled him to death in public, and walked away without even getting a trial.

My community has been out on the streets, blockading traffic, shutting down public transportation, protesting the Department of Justice, chanting and holding signs to let it be known that this was not ok. 

Eric Garner couldn't breathe.

He died telling the world he couldn't breathe and now we are left, breathing, yes, but -- how well?

Today, as the year comes to an end, and the reality of events in your personal life and/or those of our world would ask of you to hold your breath, do yourself, and all of us here in our bodies, a favor, and try to take a nice, deep breath.

The meme, "#icantbreathe" is sweeping social media globally, and it is an apt way to honor the tragedy of Garner's death and the state of our nation. 

How you respond to the racial tensions in our country is up to you.  I know for myself I am actively seeking ways I can be a better white ally.

But, maybe, when you allow the breath to come fully into your body and to release it fully out, just that one act, the most basic fundamental necessity for life, bringing yourself into harmony within your own body, will allow you to be more capable to respond to life's events with more grounding, with more oxygen and grace.  Do it for Eric.  Do it for Trayvon.  Do it for your own children.  Breathe fully so that you can be a fully embodied human being, awake, alive, paying attention, and responding appropriately to the events of your day.

Meditation practice is one of the best ways I know of to not only deepen the breath, but also to just calm the mind.  To bring stillness into a typically very busy freeway of thought is a radical action unto itself! 

I wish a Happy New Year to all and may we bring healing and higher vibrations both for ourselves and all our relations.........one breath at a time.....