Friday, November 20, 2009

The Hidden Revealed

From Dr. Gary Greenberg's website-
"The secrets of nature are visible everywhere. Yet, they remain secrets until they are revealed. Dr. Gary Greenberg’s art takes us on an astonishing microscopic journey through the hidden wonders of nature. Using his special three-dimensional microscopes, Dr. Greenberg combines his zeal for art and science by creating dramatic landscapes of unseen worlds."

The picture is of grains of sand, magnified.

Astonishing isn't it?

When you are able to look closely, really closely, the world around us reveals itself in ways that are breathtaking.

When I was a teacher I purchased a set of jeweler's loupes for my classroom. The days when we used them were the most amazing of my teaching experience. The wonder at looking at shells, rocks, the back of their hands, a leaf magnified five times, one eye closed to block out the rest of the world, took them to magical places. Seeing details that were normally unavailable to the eye allowed them to be explorers of previously uncharted territory and their discoveries were shared excitedly.

Cries of "Look at this!" filled the room.

The crevices in their teacher's hand, looking like cracked desert earth.

The rivers of veins running through a leaf of a tree.

The craters in a rock, like the surface of the moon.

We are surrounded by hidden miracles everywhere, revealed to us only when we pay very close attention. Magnification allows us to pay close attention. And what miracles it reveals! But I use the magnified images as an analogy. We can give our attention over to the taste of a drink of orange juice, the feel of the bark of a tree on our fingertips, the details found in a snowflake resting on your hand. When all the rest of the world falls away, there are miracles to be found in a single breath, an embrace, a sunset, a flower.

Take a single breath, for example. Follow the breath as it is drawn in, as it swirls and fills; follow the wave of movement that ripples through the body. When we give it our full attention and notice the details and complexity, a single breath is completely new experience, just as the grains of sand are when magnified.

When we pay attention, we experience beauty and wonder all around. When we pay attention, we experience beauty and wonder within.

Wishing you balance,


For more of Dr. Greenberg's photographs click here.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Unplugging and Recharging

Recently, I had the unique opportunity to be a part of a discussion with a group of body workers, nurses, chiropractors, doctors and other professionals in the field of holistic healing. The discussion focused on self care, setting boundaries and taking time for oneself. In today's world it can be difficult to disconnect from the stream of tweets and texts and calls and people demanding our attention. We are spending so much time plugged in that people become used to your being available immediately and that expectation can cause stress. We talked about the importance of turning off the cell phone, saving work e-mail for work hours, and taking vacations without taking your work with you. We discussed the importance of family time, time without technology, and time alone. Whether that time alone is spent in the bathroom or an entire weekend with the house to yourself, it is important for us to take the time we need to rejuvenate on a regular basis.

Take time to unplug, to power-down and breathe. Take time to disconnect from the chatter and demands. Let the world go about its hustle and bustle. Let the politicians politic. Let the tweeters tweet. Let the people call. Let the world do its thing. You can opt out for five minutes to light a candle and breathe, for an hour to take a warm scented bath, for a weekend to hike trails and breathe fresh air, for a week for a vacation that is truly a vacation. When we disconnect from the chatter; when we make ourselves unavailable to the demands of others, we can connect to ourselves and recharge. This is as important to do for ourselves as it is for the others who depend on us.

Here is one very simple and very quick way to unplug-

I had a friend once who kept votive candles all over her house. When she felt stressed she would light a candle, sit down and breathe. I always liked that because it was a very simple ritual for taking oneself out of the stress of the moment and calming the mind and the body quickly. Taking time to sit and breathe helped her get through her day.

I would love to hear your strategies for unplugging and recharging.

Wishing you balance,


The mark of a successful man is one that has spent an entire day on the bank of a river without feeling guilty about it.  ~Author Unknown

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

To Soften

I offer a reprint of a post sent to me by a friend that was published on the Boulder College of Massage Therapy Website. Follow the link to see it on its original site: To Soften. I thought that the writing and the message were elegant in their simplicity and I wanted to share it.


Soften: to make less harsh, strident or critical. To make calm and placid.

Soften is a word that I have heard so many times and in so many ways throughout my education in massage therapy. To soften my gaze, my shoulders, my heart, my hands and my presence. To soften in a way that increases acceptance and decreases judgment. To soften in a way that increases relaxation and decreases tension. To soften in a way that provides a safe and soothing environment. A softened approach that encourages healing and the emergence of health.

The way I see it, we all need to soften a bit. Our world could use much more softening and acceptance. If we all softened, even just a tiny bit, our world would be less troubled. If we all just softened, even just a tiny bit, our bodies and minds would feel less tense and more comfortable. Try it, just for a moment, soften, take a slow cleansing breath and then soften some more. Feel your ability to encourage healing, relaxation, acceptance and content.

-Jessica Gumkowski

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

On Change

"The only thing I fear more than change is no change. The business of being static makes me nuts." ~ Twyla Tharp

"The only constant in this life is change." ~ Francois de la Rochefoucauld

On their Facebook walls, a number of friends have been talking about change. Their comments talk of its potent nature and the excitment that change brings. Years ago when I was going through a divorce, I remember that I used to say, "I love change. I embrace change. I take change out for dinner." Yes. It was my best friend, change and I skipping through life together eager to see what was new 'round each corner. A tumultuous and challenging time, my life had been thrown up into the air and I was waiting to see where it would all land. I had to find work, a place to live and a new circle of friends. But I was courageous, tenacious and lucky and I landed on my feet. My life changed. It changed big. And I welcomed it. Not to say that I didn't mourn the loses, of which there were many. But at the same time, I embraced the change. Life was ripe with possibility.


It really is the only thing that you can count on. And Twyla has it right; a static life is to be feared. Life is meant to be dynamic.
One season makes way for another. Children grow up. We change jobs. Our bodies age. Wonderful people come into our lives. And wonderful people are lost. Beautiful things happen that change our lives in ways that we treasure. And traumatic events can forever change our lives in an instant.

I have experienced a lot of change of late. Change that I didn't chose. Change that I didn't want. Losses that hurt. I have been angry and sad about the changes. But I am beginning to accept them. After all, not accepting change is like arguing with reality and only yields suffering. Like it or not, things are different. I wasn't ready to accept all the things that were happening right way, that can be a tall order, especially when changes are sudden and traumatic. There is grieving to be done and that takes time. But now, as I begin to accept what is happening, I am feeling more at peace.

Sometimes the universe, our own personal universe, seems to re-order itself. The life you knew is thrown up in the air and you wait to see where it lands. And people will tell you, well intentioned people, that good will come out of it, you just wait. And you don't believe it. Believing it takes time, as it is a process to move from grief to acceptance. I have found that once I am able to accept the changes that are about me, changes that I have no control over, I am then able to feel not only a sense of peace but just the faintest glimmer of hope. Life is reordering itself. And I can see now that at some point life will feel ripe with possibility again.


One change that I didn't want and I didn't expect was a 3 month set back with a wrist injury that has interfered with my bodywork practice and dance teaching. I am happy to report that my wrist is finally starting to feel significantly better. So those of you who have been waiting to schedule a massage appointment, hesitate no longer. I hope to see you on the treatment table soon!

The picture, in case you were curious, is from the Twyla Tharp Foundation.

Wishing you balance,