Saturday, February 23, 2019

On Doreen Virtue and the Bashing of New Age Practices

Last year or a year and a half ago, I was traversing a dark period of time. I felt quite lost and found myself questioning many things. I have written all about this before. During this time, I found an angel meditation on YouTube by Doreen Virtue that helped ease my mind and my mood. Through this daily meditation I came to seek out more of Doreen's work. This led me to her YouTube channel and her daily angel card readings. I came to really look forward to them every day. I found comfort in the positive messages and those little things helped me navigate some of the challenges that I was facing.

And then, it all went dark.

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I am not sure if it was one or two weeks later, or more, but eventually Doreen came out on her channel to explain that she had found Jesus Christ, and in this personal account of hers, she could no longer continue her previous practices.

At first I was just upset that I would no longer be receiving my daily guidance. It had become quite a daily comfort to me and I was kind of pissed at her. I had been contemplating taking her online angel courses and had just been looking through the materials when her website changed and they were no longer available. I was about to go all in when she yanked the rug out from under me. I suppose I was grateful that it had happened then, before I had dumped a ton of money into taking her courses. But still...

Doreen continued to try and explain herself and her new course to her "fans." I tried to listen to her speak her truth, but I just could not listen any more and I unsubscribed from her channel. I felt her messages were going down another road - one of judgement and persecution, and I didn't want to be listening while she less than eased on down that road.

Flash forward to January 21st. Doreen Virtue publishes on her website "An A-Z List of New Age Practices to Avoid and Why." I discovered this list because of the rash of retaliations on social media that I was stumbling across while checking in on things from my retreat in Thailand. I won't list everything, but suffice it to say, she listed many items, ideas, philosophies, and activities that were all, at the base, "Satanic" - according to Doreen. This list, by the way, pretty much explains my everyday existence.

She begins with "Aliens," goes through Angels, Astrology, Chakras, Crystals, Drumming Circles, Dream Catchers, Mandalas, Peace Signs, Power Animals, Reiki, Sage, Tapping, Yoga...and more. As I listened to various different people try to deal with this list, I began to feel so many different emotions. I did not want to react right away because I wanted to sit with what she was saying and feel it out. And I did. But I keep coming back to some basic principles, like, she says, emphatically that she is not judging she then harshly judges anyone who does any of these practices. She says that it may be too late, and some people will not realize the error of their ways until they are in hell.

Astonished. Simply astonished.

So, according to Doreen, Satan exists in pretty much anything and everything spiritual or religious or positive in nature - except Christianity. That is apparently the only thing that is safe. The rest of us are doomed.

And just as our country is torn in half by politics these days, we also have this wave of people either rushing to her side in praise or stepping up to uphold the new age intentions. And all that I can think is that this is another layer of duality being brought to the surface during our ascension times. As the energies expand and increase, we know that untruths will arise, and duality will rage, until eventually we work through this and come to a new reality of Oneness. Oh, good. I just checked and she didn't list "Oneness." Universe is on the list, but Oneness is still okay, I suppose.

I am a girl who was brought up to respect all people - irregardless of race, sexual orientation or anything else. I am the girl who wants to spread peace and love. I am not the girl who wants to fight over petty differences - or even big ones. It's simply not in me to fight. I am the girl who craves for times when we all live together in harmony, appreciating our differences and all the colors that we can now see once we are fully turned on.

Jesus Christ shared many profound lessons about how to treat each other. He cautioned against casting stones at each other. He spoke of love and even that God would make his sun rise on evil and on good alike. To taught a way that is the only way and scorn others and damn them to hell for not following that path, simply does not sound very Christ-like to me.

I wish Doreen and her many followers peace and happiness in their commitment to their faith. And I will continue to hold space for anyone else's as well...just praying that they hold space for me and mine too.

Amen. OM. Sat Nam. Aho mitakuye oyasin. Hallelujah. Namaste. Peace. Shanti. Fa-Shizzle.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

On the "healing" of injuries and old wounds

It was April 1985. I distinctly remember scooting over into the bucket seat of the 1972 Mach I Mustang that my then boyfriend was driving. I had just come home from working at my new job in Great Adventure...and although I was only 16, my boss had kept me late because we had limited coverage, and thus I was "late" to meet my boyfriend and go to a party that he wanted to attend. You get it - he was in, "a mood." My attempts to console him that it was okay to only attend the party briefly and still return me in time for my curfew, fell on deft ears. He hit the gas and we went sailing down the road. I slid back into my bucket seat, and remember tucking the lap belt back into position due to the slack that I had on it after trying to move closer to him. I remember looking out the window into the dark night when suddenly my evening - and my life - changed forever.

The incident happened quickly. Perhaps too quick to remember in detail. There was a slam, a harsh bang, and lots of metal and glass breaking around me. The next thing that I remember was being upside down, hanging from the lap belt. My boyfriend was pulling my passenger side door open and trying to move me out. I was in shock. I hadn't registered what had happened yet. I was unable to talk or move...until I felt the pain...and then I found my voice.

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The compression fracture to my spine at Thoracic 12 led to a hospital stay. The plastic brace that I was issued needed to be worn for several months to establish enough integrity in my body to keep my spine upright without pain. I was turning seventeen, I was young, and I "healed" quickly according to the doctors. Because I knew everything there was to know about the world at that time in my life, I thought that I had moved on from this incident, and I wanted to forget the past, forgive, and forget. That was my seventeen year-old-self's master plan.

By my mid-twenties I had developed severe and chronic back pain due to the fracture. Doctors threw around the word "surgery," and I ran like hell away. I tried physical therapy - multiple times. From suggestions of others I tried working-out at the gym, chiropractors and acupuncture. Eventually, I even went to yoga (and you know how that turned out). I am now 50 years old. And the 50-year old with the physical limitations and arthritic back from the compression fracture that still remains does not want to accept that this is it. The yoga teacher in me still seeks alternative methods of rebuilding this injury. And the little girl inside still wants to forget it all ever happened.

I am fully convinced that had I not found yoga, I might be in a wheelchair. Don't ask me why or how I know...I just do. And while yoga has kept me going, it hasn't "fixed" the problem. I am still broken, quite literally. Some days I feel some pain - some days I feel great. The weather plays a great role in that, and I am sure that a life in NJ will one day no longer exist for me as I search for a dryer, warmer climate. I cannot avoid my physical and verbal response when driving in the car with a man who wants to go fast - its in my cells no matter who the man is. And, the emotional attachment at the fracture site is something that I tip-toe through from time to time, but never fully dive into. It is just too much sometimes to bear.

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Three years ago when I was in India, I spoke to the highly recommended Ayurvedic doctor in the Sivananda Ashram. He asked me what was wrong and I explained my T-12 compression fracture. He looked at me quite confused. He said, "usually we do not see compression fractures in the thoracic region. There is really nothing I can do for you."

I appreciated his honesty.

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Thailand: 2019 yoga retreat. I LOVE Thailand. You know this if you read anything that I write or follow anything on social media. The land is in my blood somewhere and on my mind a lot. I love everything about Thailand, and I love even more that I get to share it with others. So, there I am on a yoga retreat with eight lovely woman, sharing the Thai culture. We had just returned from service work at a school for 650 orphaned and hill-tribe kids. The mood was somber and we had the evening off. I decided to head to a local place that I frequent where (at least before) they taught Thai Massage.  My friend went with me.

The lovely woman who began to work on me gently and sweetly asked if she could walk on my back - a technique used in the villages called yam kaeng, but one that I had never had before. Something in me said, "ok." She seemed like such a sweet, gentle lady.

HOLY SHIT! The pressure on my back near my fracture was mind-blowing. I asked her to stop repeatedly. She said it was tight and needed to be worked out. I said, yes, because it is broken! She giggled. Thai people giggle a lot when we Americans say funny things. I tried to breathe through it, but eventually I told her that she had to stop. Well, maybe it was over anyway. I don't remember. It was a 2-hour massage...and the part around my back was intense.

This is Sara - she is an amazing Thai Bodyworker and Teacher.
She is NOT the woman I am referring to. 
Just as soon as I sat up, I ran into the bathroom and vomited.


Now, there are two schools of thought here - one says, it was too much, too hard, and thus the warranted response. The other says, "wow, Tracey, some toxins in there, huh!?"

I'm not saying which methodology I subscribe to. But, for the next 24 hours I was extremely sick. I felt a purging in my body like one I hadn't felt in some time. The pain along my fracture felt like it had 33 years ago that night in April - excruciating. I may have been in the bathroom sick every few minutes, but the intense pain in my back was tied to the whole thing. Luckily that day I had secured a tour and I sent my group on it while I stayed back at the hotel - reliving the pain, the emotions, and the energy that I spent, well, 33 years perhaps, avoiding. I had advil on me, but I couldn't take it because I couldn't keep food down. And I just knew that I had to go through this...alone...feel, and just be with it. It just was what it was.

Th next day I felt a little nauseous. The Thai people even got me antibiotics (by the way, antibiotics, anti-nausea medicine and electrolyte packets cost about $3 USD there...just saying...). However, the pain was gone. That immense, intense, "just make it F-ING STOP!" pain, was just suddenly...gone. And, in fact, my back felt amazingly strong and open.

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Two weeks later, while on the relatively undeveloped island of Koh Yao Yai, I met a man named Dr. Saad. He is a blind medical massage therapist. A third-generation medical healer, Dr. Saad has been practicing his brand of Thai Massage for 38 years now in this small straw cottage with no windows, overlooking a field with water buffalos and various other animals and birds.

Sign inside Dr. Saad's place.
I figured, "Why Not?"

Dr. Saad soon focused right in on my same fractured spinal area. He said the muscles there were very tight. He told me that sitting in the yogic seated position (Padmasana) was part of the problem - that the energy channels in the back get blocked by doing this. I got it right away. I had already deduced that this position was no longer serving me and my practice and had begun using Hero pose much more of the time.

After two weeks of feeling really good in my back, Dr. Saad went about moving some more energy out. It was painful, but not horribly so. Apparently, there is still some work to do there.

Oh, and Dr. Saad is also a bone-setter. I didn't realize this before booking the appointment. This is a form of chiropractic work that the old villages use in remote areas. Dr. Saad has it down. And I survived. But before leaving he told me that I needed at least two more sessions to "heal" the issue. And, of course, I was leaving in a day. I could have gone back one more time, but I decided not to. I decided to take my last full day on the island and enjoy it rather than the potential of more purging of toxins in my room.

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I am not sure what the long-term affects of the yam kaeng massage will be - nor my short visit to Dr. Saad. Perhaps the Indian doctor was right. Or maybe the Western doctors will host some visits for me in the future. I know not where the road to healing my back will take me - or if that is even possible. 

Perhaps some things just need to be accepted. Perhaps anything can "heal."

My journey in this life has included this injury for a reason. It has made me a very compassionate teacher, for sure. And it has certainly proven to me the connection between the mind-body-emotions. What else lies ahead, remains a mystery. One that I am sure I will write about again. 

Friday, February 1, 2019

February's Theme: I FEEL - 2nd Chakra

Diving into the waters of the 2nd Chakra sounds fun, and certainly can be, but is also sometimes quite difficult. Some people will find their energy flowing here, while others feel stuck. Because our emotional realm is connected to this chakra, we are always working on something here. And if your hips are tight, then that energy has manifested into physical form - and perhaps its time to let it go!

2nd Chakra Basics:
Name: Swadisthana = meaning "Sweetness"
Location: Sacral Area/Low Back
Color: Orange
Element: Water
Issues: Joy, Pleasure, Movement, Connection, Flow, Sensuality, Creativity
Mantra: VAM
Physical Issues: Hips, Pelvis, Reproductive Organs

Questions to Ask to see if your 2nd Chakra is in balance:
  1. Do I feel like my life is not flowing in a certain area?
  2. Are my movements graceful?
  3. Do I enjoy dancing?
  4. Do I enjoy my life? Do I have a sense of joy in it?
  5. Am I able to enjoy pleasurable things in my life without guilty feelings?
  6. Do I have any issues with my reproductive organs?
  7. Are my hips and low back continually tight?

Some things to do this month to work with the 2nd Chakra:
  1. Start Moving! Dance, Flow, Connect to your Body!
  2. Take long baths or hot soaks
  3. Swim if you have access to an indoor pool or are going on vacation to a place where the water is warm
  4. Improve your overall circulation with joint movements
  5. Drink plenty of water
  6. Attend to any medical issues in this area of the body
  7. If not happy in your life, seek ways to find more joy - what brings you joy?
  8. Birth new creative ideas
  9. Play with essential oils
  10. Uh, YOGA PRACTICE!!! 

And speaking of your yoga practice, what type of things should you practice for your 2nd Chakra?

Asanas - Lots of hip openers, of course. Also, movements that are more flowing like your cat rolls, circular body rolls, and vinyasas where you connect movement and breath.

Sequence - while still slow and steady, we want to create more flowing movements in the body with many circular movements in to the joints and the body as a whole. Play also! Explore new territories in your body and notice how it FEELS there.

Breathing - Surrender or Letting Go Breaths

Mantra - VAM (seed sound of the chakra)

Meditation - Pranic flow moving meditation where you let go and flow to your favorite music. 

Any of the yoga classes at One Yoga Center will help you to connect or reconnect with your 1st Chakra. Many of our classes this month will focus on this Chakra and just being present. Dive on in!

Love & Light, Tracey & the Teachers at One Yoga & Wellness Center!
Stone of the Month: Carnelian
Carnelian restores vitality and motivation, gives you confidence and courage and promotes positive life choices. Known as a 2nd Chakra stone, Carnelian will help you find the flow you are looking for in your life!
Purchase a chakra stone at One Yoga Center's Natural Healer Metaphysical Shop for your alter space this month or to carry with you in your mojo bag!

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Special Message from Tracey for February...
I have a love/hate relationship with my 2nd chakra, which makes sense since it is the chakra where we store our emotions. Each time I go through an emotional time in my life, I have this spot on my right hip that likes to lock up on me. I think it was locked up for most of 2018! Its my go-to spot for holding onto energy and the one area that I just keep working through my stuff - over and over. Maybe I'm getting closer to working it all out...maybe not. That's the thing with this charka - you have to let go of control and go with the flow.

Going with the flow is what the 2nd chakra teaches us. But I am a planner, so this has sometimes been quite challenging for me to work with. Many years ago when I first moved from a Hatha based practice of holding postures to a Vinyasa practice of flowing movements, it kicked my butt. The biggest transformations in my physical practice have always come through the vinyasa style for me. That works for me because of the type of person that I am. Those who have other issues may find it the other way around. Nowadays my vinyasa practice is quite different than it used to be. I no longer look to challenge myself as much as I look to flow and move into my joints. Because I have some troublesome arthritis, I also find this joint mobility quite good for me and that is also probably why I am so drawn to the Thai Yoga Bodywork too. 

This year one of my intentions is to bring more joy into my life and enjoy each day to its fullest. The 2nd chakra asks us to always enjoy ourselves, of course, with moderation. I also took a look at the few places in my life where energy is not flowing, and I've decided to drive a little more energy into those area this year as well. In fact, right now as you are probably reading this email, I am in southern Thailand in the beach area working on enjoying myself! And I look forward to sharing those experiences with you soon.

So, where in your life do you need to find more flow? More joy? More pleasure? Seek it out - there's no time like the present. And, as always, if you have any questions about this chakra, ask your teacher. We are here to help you!

In Love & Light,