The colors on the deciduous trees are changing in Southeastern Minnesota. Lots of rain has forced the leaves to the ground very quickly. It's not been the dry clear sky autumn of times past. But we're enjoying the days as we can.
The monarch butterflies love the New England Aster in my yard.
The Mississippi River a few blocks from my house. I walk to see it as often as I can.
A bald eagle outside my window from my Art classroom at Ridgeway Community School stops by on the day that my 4th and 5th grade students are creating eagles.
Today, I’m awakening with numbness is my right forearm and
an ache through my body.Lots of
mornings lately, I’ve been moving slowly with some sort of pain.At times the pain was so debilitating that I
just wanted to lie down and try to escape.At other times, I learned that when I got moving, the pain would reduce.
Some of the huge challenge with the pain is the mind fog that comes with
it.When the body is screaming about
pain, it is very challenging to focus on other topics.
Here are a few things that I’ve been working with to manage
pain this summer.I’ve used soothing
music to listen to in the night when I would awaken and could not sleep due to
pain.The music softly and gently
floated me back into sleep.I would plug
in my ear buds to keep the music helping me and let my sweetheart still have
his sweet repose.
Last night, I felt a deep numbness and pain in my upper arm
nerves.I would have reacted to this in
the past with anger and a feeling of “Why do I have so much pain all the time?”Last night instead, I was able to image being
wrapped up tight in a blanket—and the blanket was physical and had the energy
of love.Those thoughts soothed me back
I have used healing meditations from Kris Carr.Her positive voice and energy along with
being calm and reassuring that my body was healing and taking care of me was
I have used positive self-talk.When I would find myself saying disparaging words to myself, I would
say, “Cancel, clear,” and then say two positive things that were true such as “My
cats love me,” and “The sun is shining in my heart.” That one came a lot when
the sun was not shining.
I have a movement practice called Nia that I use to help
manage pain and anything that comes up in my body.This practice also uses music to move in ways
to pleasure changing the movement, if it causes pain. Another practice in Nia is
5 Stages of Healing.
The 1st Stage involves rolling and
moving lying on the ground or carpet softly moving your arms and legs like you
are a swimming embryo. Moving on your side, belly, back are all stage one.
Stage two is creeping—move to the belly
and the elbow bends to the knee on one side of the body as the other side is
long. Then the long side becomes short with elbow to knee and the other side
becomes lengthened.One alternates this
Stage three is crawling on hands
Stage four is turning the toes
under then lifting the torso to a squat.
Stage five is walking
At any point, one may go back to the previous
stage or earlier stage.The stages are done for as short or long a time as desired. One may do them with in silence or with quiet music.
is a somatic practice to use the mind to direct the movements for the greatest ease,
alignment, and pleasure.Injury is a
great teacher about how alignment works and how to use the mind to ease the
healing. Nia is a pleasure based practice. I teach Nia and Nia Moving to Heal at the Winona Friendship Center Wednesdays 4:00pm and Thursdays 5:00pm.
Mind and body are so connected.Let them share the love to help heal and feel
The Art of Hearing Heartbeats is a book review with sections of the book selected to give the reader a sense of the beauty of the book.
This book is poetry set to a
story.First, I listened to the book on
audio tape.There was such a richness that
I needed to read the text to catch each phase with my eyes and imagination.It is a story that begins in the USA with a
lawyer and his family and comes to conclusion in Burma.
Julia comes to Burma to find the
answer to her father’s disappearance.She hears the story of her father, Tin Win, (Teen Ween) from a Burmese
man named U Ba.When Tin Ween was young,
he became blind from cataracts and a friend, Mi Mi helps him view the world.
Page 145 Tin Win took no pains to
hide his jubilation.They were squatting
again by the side of the street, and he could hardly keep still.Mi Mi had opened the door a crack.She had let a shaft of light into his
darkness.He would have liked nothing
better than to run off with her then and there.To investigate every tone, every sound, every noise that he could
find.He had learned his first
word.Now he knew the heartbeat of a
chick in the egg, and eventually he would discover how to recognize the wing
beats of a butterfly, why there was gurgling all around him—even when there was
no water in the vicinity—and why even in a dead calm he still could hear a
rustling.With Mi Mi’s help he would
solve one riddle after another, and in the end, perhaps a world would emerge.
“Mi Mi,” asked Tin Win, “why didn’t
you want to look into that nest by yourself?”
She took his hands and laid them on
her calves.Tin Win had never felt skin
so soft.Softer even than the moss in
the woods that we had previously so loved to stroke his checks against.His fingers moved slowly down her legs to her
ankles, which were slender, but then oddly misshapen.Her feet were immovable.They were stiff and turned inward.
This passage lets me, the reviewer
hear the children singing in the mountainside.The voice in first person is Julia with U Ba responding.
Page 233 In the distance I heard
singing.Several voices, faint and
barely reaching my ear.A wave melting
into the sand before even washing over my feet.
listened hard into the silence, but heard nothing, picked up the song again,
then lost it, held my breath and sat stock still until I heard the notes again,
somewhat louder now.Loud enough that I
would not lose track of them again. It could only be a children’s choir
untiringly repeating a melodic mantra.
“Is it the children from the
monastery?” I asked
“Not the ones from the monastery in
the town, though. There’s another in the mountains, and when the wind is right,
their song drifts down to us in the morning.You are hearing what Tin Win and Mi Mi heard.It sounded no different fifty years ago.”
Page 234 Music, my father often
said, was the only reason he could sometimes believe in a god or in any
evening before going to bed he would sit in the living room, eyes closed, listening
to music on headphones.How else will my
soul find rest for the night, he had said quietly.
Page 240 It was oddly familiar to
me.I closed my eyes and tried to
imagine my father walking along the road.I was startled by the many and varied noises I suddenly heard.Birds. Grasshoppers. Cicadas. And
unpleasantly loud buzzing of flies, the distant barking of a dog.My feel got mired in the holes and ruts of
the earth.I stumbled but did not fall.It smelled of eucalyptus and jasmine.
Page 243 “Why? Love has so many
different faces that our imagination is not prepared to see them all.”
is it so difficult?”
we see only what we already know.We
project our own capacities—for good as well as evil—onto the other person.Then we acknowledge as love primarily those
things that correspond to our own image thereof. We wish to be loved as we ourselves would
love.Any other way makes us
uncomfortable.We respond with doubt and
suspicion.We misinterpret the
signs.We do not understand the language.We accuse.We assert that the other person does not love us.But perhaps he merely loves us in some
idiosyncratic way that we fail to recognize. I hope you will understand what I
mean once I have finished my story.”
Page 307 The sun would be coming up
soon, Tin Win knew from the song of the birds.He laid his head on her breast.He had not been mistaken.Her
heart sounded weak and weary.It was
ready to stop
had come in time. Just.
Page 325 “Death,” U Ba had said, “is
not the end of life, but a stage thereof.” He would not have had to explain
himself to a single person there.
hung back, motionless, in one corner.Darkness had settled over the yard.Through a crack in the wall I could see that the whole place was now
illuminated by candles.
This story sent me to another land
of honor, love, beauty.I hope that you
may have the divine delight to read or listen to The Art of Hearing Heartbeats
by Jan Phillip Sendker.