Monday, January 23, 2017

Healing and Nurturing Post Head Trauma

December 1st: just before 2pm. I was coming from an Acupuncture appointment driving through a rural area in Central NJ. For days I had been chasing this beautiful Divine presence in the sky: Dark, stormy clouds that opened in just the right place where a beautiful ray of light beamed down in grace, kissing the earth with a warm and loving embrace. And there it was again! Only now I had the ability to stop and pull over and take a picture. In fact, I took two. The sunlight cast down upon the open fields and meadows on a quiet and calm day. I felt the presence of God, and since there was no other traffic in the area I took a few moments more to appreciate it before I got back in my car and proceeded on.



I was at true peace. My mind drifting to a serene place.

About a mile down the road, in broad daylight, a large deer darted in front of me. I saw it out of the corner of my eye coming from the field and farm on the right. So I locked up my breaks and skidded to a halt, hitting the deer firmly but not enough to injure it. My airbag did not deploy. My body surged forward and back, but I didn't get hurt (or so I thought).

The deer ran off into the field on the left but was far gone by the time I got out of the car to look. I walked to the front of my car to see the damage and was shocked really at how little had happened. I would find out later, it was still about 5K in damage, but to me, all I could think of was how lucky I was that it had not been worse. I drive a Prius, after all. It gets great gas mileage, but it's a tin can!

I called my husband, he called the insurance company. I called the police to come out and take pictures and make a report of the incident. For 5 minutes nobody came down this quiet country road. Again, I recalled how lucky I was to be alive. God was surely watching over me.

* * * * * * *

Flash forward to Monday, December 5th. After a weekend of teaching and taking yoga I find myself dizzy with a massive headache. I had headaches all weekend but figured they were from the severe tension in the muscles of my neck, skull and back. But this was bad. I had to lie down on the floor. I felt nauseous and sick. Something was wrong. But how could it be from the accident? That was days ago and I was 'fine,' right?

Urgent care sent me to ER for a CAT scan since the symptoms were getting worse instead of better. He wanted to rule out a "brain bleed." He said he didn't want to worry me unnecessarily. Thanks. Job well done...I won't give it another thought. Oh, but wait, I can't anyway.

ER doctor lectured me on not being able to rest properly post concussion.
#1. I didn't know I had a concussion
#2. Watching TV is not proper resting from a concussion
#3. Hmm...how does one properly rest?

So, post concussion syndrome. Yes, you can get a concussion from the force of your brain being thrown forward and back without even hitting your head. Delayed responses are apparently normal. Who knew!?

That week was a very busy one for me and the yoga studio. I was forced to cancel many events and get subs for classes. Thankfully I have some wonderful teachers and friends who came to my rescue. And this is when I realized that I do not really understand how to rest.

I'm a Gemini. I am a thinker, a planner, an organizer. I am wired to do. I like resting and nurturing, but apparently even if my body is resting, my mind is still working. That had to stop. Being a yoga teacher I enjoy stillness and meditation. But how does one do that all day? I created a crystal healing grid on my floor and gave myself permission to lie down there for as long as I could. I got in my Thai Steam Tent and stayed there for an hour relaxing. I soaked in a tub of salts. That killed about 3.5 hours. Now what?

I decided to pull out the Medicine Card deck that I have and look up the message of the Deer. And there it was again: GENTLENESS. The last paragraph sums it up:
If Deer has gently nudged its way into your cards today, you are being asked to find the gentleness of spirit that heals all wounds. Stop pushing so hard to get other stop change, and love them as they are. Apply gentleness to your present situation and become like a summer breeze; warm and caring. This is your tool for solving present dilemma you are facing. If you use it, you will connect with Sacred Mountain, your centering place of serenity, and Great Spirit will guide you.

I do push. I'm the one who gets things done, after all. I started to think about what would happen if I wasn't around anymore. Would those things get done? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe it doesn't even matter. Did I start to conjure up these things to make myself feel more important in the first place? Do they really need to be done at all? Why do I always feel such urgency to do?

Good questions.

My head hurts thinking about it...oh wait, that's the concussion.

I started finding myself walking back and forth between rooms trying to remember what I was doing. I would have two things going on and not know which one I needed to do. Normally I can multi-task. Now words are escaping me. I can look at a flower and want to say "flower," but it sometimes takes me 20 seconds to find the word. Some friends say I look stoned. Those that know me understands the hilarity in that - having never gotten stoned in my life. I asked my husband to take out the trash and a friend said, "wait a minute, she'll forget she asked you." And we laughed and laughed and laughed...

Be Gentle, Tracey. Who cares about the fucking trash?

On Dec. 9th I decided to do a reading of the Cards of AN for myself. These are based on the 11:11 energies of Oneness and Ascension. Without going through the entire reading, let me reveal that I received not one but TWO ALERT! cards. They mean to be "Ultra alert to all that is happening." Within one ALERT! card I received "Yellow Light" - proceed with caution and "Redouble Efforts" - requiring me to redouble my efforts of being alert. Wow. The other ALERT! card gifted me "The Compass" - reminding to follow my heart's knowingness. I received many other cards in that reading, but the main theme was to be Ultra Aware.

On another interesting note, my cell phone seemed to also get concussed the day of the accident. It would not hold a charge which meant I had to stay off of it. Yesterday my replacement phone came in. I did not set it up with the vigor and excitement that I usually do. I chose not to load many apps. I don't need to check email and FB messages every 20 minutes. The world will survive for a while as I rest and truly take care of myself.

December 14th:  11 days before Christmas. I took another day off and canceled some appointments. I am still in my pajamas. I plan on cooking stuffed cabbage today and doing more healing. Maybe I will wrap a couple of presents. There are dishes in the sink, an overflowing pile of dirty laundry, papers all over my desk, and two loving dogs who want attention. You know what needs to be done? Nothing. You know what I want to do? Not much. But I wanted to write this all down while I could still remember it, because the way things are going these days, that may fade away soon too.

* * * * * * * * * * *

For a couple of weeks it seemed as though all of the resting had worked. I had no symptoms and was thrust into a busy working schedule again. This went on for two weeks - with only one real day "off." And then it hit me again. Symptoms started raging back, and I felt as though I was back where I began.

Yes, apparently there is still time to heal. Apparently I did not learn my lesson. Apparently I am not being gentle enough with myself.

So, my schedule has changed. I am now seeking doctors to take a look at what is going on in my head and I certainly feel that this is all very important. But there is another side of me that understands the energy equation as well. It's everything I've already said and more. I am starting to notice how my energy gets zapped around certain people and how my symptoms worsen when I get pulled into heavy energy. I'm trying to sort that all out. For now, I understand that life goes on. I have to work and function. But I have to find balance with rest and nurturance. SO that is my personal theme for 2017: balance of energy/work/activation and rest/nurturance - even if I am still learning what the later means.

Om Shanti. Shanti. Shanti.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

January 2017 Theme: "CLEANSE"

It seems only fitting for January to be a month about cleansing. It's a New Year and we have the capacity to bring forth new energy. But in order to bring in anything new, we must first remove some of the old. This is a perfect time to consider all of the areas of your life and how you can cleanse them.

Home: Start by smudging your entire home with White Sage or Palo Santo. This removes negative and stagnated energy that can get caught up in the corners and clutter of your sacred space. After you smudge the home, clean your closets, drawers and anywhere else that you've been avoiding. Throw things out. Give things away. And when you have removed everything that you can, give it a good, full cleaning from top to bottom. Then, smudge again!

Work: Since smudging may not be allowed in the office-place (although it may really need it), start with cleaning off your desk and rearranging your work space. Clean up old work that you have been avoiding by knuckling down and just getting it done. File things, throw out old papers, and do a computer check-up too. You can buy Palo Santo or White Sage sprays to avoid the smoke so you can also cleanse your work area in a friendly way.

Computer: If you spend a lot of time on it, then you need to clear it up. Perform a system scan. Remove unecessary files or photos. Then tackle social media. Want to get rid of it? Why not!? Or go through your contact and "friends" list and remove anyone who you need to cleanse out of your space. And hey, get something to wipe down your screen and keyboard! 

Body: How about your body? Do you need to make some doctor's appointments? Is there a physical issue that needs attending to? What about considering a short cleanse or detox. You can start with something simple and hold off on bigger detoxes for the Spring. Get the skin brush out and brush off old skin and get the lymphatic system moving. Consider getting a facial.

Mind: Yogi Bhahan says to cleanse the mind so that your soul can shine through. The mind carries huge burdens and worries. You can let them go. Stay grounded and attend to everyday business, but let go of needless worry. Not sure

how? Start a meditation practice. 

Soul:  Try this Karma Cleanse:

If you look around, you can see ways to cleanse every aspect of your life. Take some time this month and reflect on what you can cleanse to clean up the energy - which then creates room for new and more profound energy to enter this year.

Blessings on a happy and healthy 2017 - full of love and peace.
OYC Founder, Tracey L. Ulshafer & your OYC Teaching Staff



* * * * * * * * * * *

Each month I cleanse my entire house and the studio. If you walk into the yoga studio and smell "White Sage," then you know I just smudged. I do this as a ritual because we have a lot of energy that we come in contact with, and sometimes unbeknownst to anyone negative energy can hitchhike in and hide out in the corners...and I don't want it. I make cleansing my energy and surroundings commonplace because I know too well what happens when I don't. 

I also go through my closet 2-3 times a year and get rid of things I am not wearing or that are out of style. I like to clear areas that have "stuff" sitting to cleanse the energy too. In fact, I am always cleansing many areas of my life because I like to keep energy flowing in a positive direction. This is why I remove garbage quickly, do not let "stuff" clutter up counters and corners, and am always rearranging things to unearth and cleanse energy that may be hiding. This past year and a half has even been a big one of cleansing past traumas, poor mindsets, and judgements. There is still one area that I am in dire need of cleansing: my body. Well, of course I shower daily and have good grooming rituals, but I need to put a little more energy into cleansing my internal body - detoxing the years of gluten, sugar, and sludge. So I am going to confess something: I don't know if I want to. I like gluten and sugar and sludge like Coca-Cola. And although I don't make a habit of eating it everyday...I could. Yes, I know I need to commit to cleansing these unhealthy things, and I have intentions on making it a priority this year. I don't know if I can commit to a full detox. But I can commit to looking into what I can do and maybe starting small - baby steps. 

With our upcoming yoga and meditation retreat, this gives me a great opportunity to start off a healthier internal diet. I'm excited to have Joe Scarola cook for us again at the retreat this year before he heads off to parts unknown on his quest for self-realization. There are still a few spots left for the retreat if anyone wants to join us in kicking off the New Year right by eating whole, organic foods, having daily yoga practices and meditations and rituals for cleansing and renewal.

For January, maybe start your own dialogue about cleansing...where do you have energy that needs to be cleared out? It's a perfect time of year to look into it.
In Love & Light.
Tracey L. Ulshafer,
Founder/Director, One Yoga Center