I Suck At Meditation

“You must be great at meditation!” I hear this all the time.

Just because I am a relaxed and relatively peaceful person does NOT mean I am great at meditation. In fact, I give myself a D-. As my dear departed Grandma used to say, I’ve got ants in my pants. I have so much to do, and taking time out to do…well, nothing…is painful. I find myself vacillating between boredom, irritation, and rage when I’m forced into relaxation.

I do, however, spend much of my day in a state of meditation. I’m a hypnotherapist. I can literally feel my brainwaves shifting into a completely different pattern as I hypnotize my clients. When I’m in this state, I’m present and mindful…but not about myself. It’s as if I forge a connection directly into the brains of my clients. We are truly on the same wavelength.

Maybe that’s why I’m such a calm person? My brain is primed for being this way. I get so much practice being in this half-awake, half-asleep state that it’s where I’ve started to naturally reside.

But sitting there, cross-legged, chanting and breathing? Hell no. I just can’t.

Lots of my clients feel the same way. They love that I’m with them on this, and not forcing them into doing something that is acutely uncomfortable for them.

Lately I’ve started to think about this. Is meditation truly what we think it is? As long as we get into a place of being present and relaxed, does it really matter HOW we get there? Some people get into this place when they run. Others read. Some people need to feel a physical connection to their body, others want to be totally in their heads. Some people need a repetitive mental activity to get there, and others want to drift off and not think at all.

Today I was watching my cats, and thinking that they are ultimate meditators. They are ALWAYS present, always in the moment, aren’t they? I wish we humans could be half as content, or that we at least had the ability to unplug and reach that level of disengagement with the world around us.

In the spirit of challenging myself, I have brought on a meditation expert to come to my space on Wednesday, May 29th at 7pm. She gets it. She knows that we are all different, and that unlike what we have been taught to believe, meditation is not a one-size-fits-all. This will be an experiential evening of learning new ways to meditate, and then getting the change to test it out and see how it feels. Come on over and finally learn what style works with YOUR brain.

Raising the Bar

“Wow, you’re so confident.”

I hear this all the time. The way it is said speaks volumes about the person saying it.

Some people say it with a big smile, and a tone of kinship. I know that they are operating from a place of security, positivity, feeling good about themselves.

Sometimes I hear it said with a trace of longing. “If only I could feel that way…”

VERY often, I sense a profound eye-roll beneath the surface. “Ugh, who do you think you are? Your ability to feel good about yourself is highlighting my lack of ability to do the same.”

You don’t have to be the most stunning, brilliant, together person in the room to radiate confidence. It’s something separate from all that. I have no qualms about letting my confidence shine through, because it’s not just about me-I consider it a gift to my clients. Whether I am seeing them for acupuncture, hypnotherapy, or hypnoacupuncture, it doesn’t matter-every patient is on a path to becoming a better version of who they were the day before. And I KNOW that this is going to happen for them. Because my confidence in my own worth doesn’t stop at the way I feel about myself…I feel it in reference to EVERYONE. I see the potential that not everyone can see-hell, MOST people can’t see it. I KNOW that you have the ability to get better, even if this is so far outside of your truth right now, it’s completely ridiculous. I have absolute faith that you will rise up, understand your value, and let go of what is no longer serving you.

I see you at your highest, and let you rise to meet my standards of what I know you are capable of.

Years ago, when I was a high school teacher, I was guided by curriculum, and would often get fired up about the low expectations around it. The system believed that the kids were capable of only so much, never more than that. And what we ended up with were kids who would never reach those low expectations, because why bother? If the bar was set that low, why strive for it at all?

On the rare days that I was allowed to have a bit more freedom with the coursework, I would consistently be amazed at how much smarter these kids were than anyone was allowed to see. I’d raise that bar so high, and give them concepts to think about that were confusing even for college students. You could see them light right up, even when they were lost, not because the material was so inspiring…but because someone actually believed that they had potential to understand this. They would rise to the level of my expectations of their potential, and they would feed off my confidence in their abilities, hungry for it.

Perhaps my unshakable faith in those who sit before me is sometimes unwarranted, but I don’t care. I’d rather be occasionally disappointed than know I’m failing to enlighten patients to their full potential to thrive. Sometimes when you can’t believe in yourself, you need someone to hold that belief for you until you become more sure of your path.

The Vague and All-Encompassing Use of Healing

What is “healing”?

We hear the term all the time. As an acupuncturist in Sudbury, I work in a world of healers, am surrounded by them, and they range from massage therapists to psychics to psychotherapists. They are all so different, yet still fall under the same category.

Yes, we all heal. But what does this even mean?

I believe that language is important. I believe that specificity in words leads to specificity in action. Thoughts become words, words become action, action leads to creation. If we aren’t clear with our words, our creations will be messy, as well.

It’s interesting how resistant “healers” can be to refine their terminology. I worked with one last year.

“What do you do?”

“I’m a healer.”

“Can you explain exactly what you do?”

“I use energy to help the body heal.”

“How do you use the energy? Like, are you touching people? Are you using tools? What exactly are you healing within your client? Are you creating physical changes? Will they feel calm or energized after? How long do the results last?”

She didn’t like my line of questioning. I wasn’t being rude, I was honestly curious.

“I can’t explain what I’m doing, it just happens,” she huffed. “And everyone is different, so everyone responds differently.”

I understand that energy work can be subtle and enigmatic, but I think we can do better. We need to be clear, with our thoughts and intentions.

After treating thousands of patients for almost 10 years, I now have enough experience to accurately set up expectations with my clients. I know how many sessions it typically takes to reach a certain outcome. Of course, there will always be outliers, but for the most part I can meet those expectations I set. I understand that when you are suffering, you come here with a single question in mind: “Can this help me feel less pain/be less anxious/sleep/whatever?” You want a clear answer. You don’t want me to suck you into a dissertation about the mechanics of this medicine, in vague language that really says nothing at all.

The best “healers” that I have worked with and incorporated into my practice have been those who have been specific and clear about what they do and what you can expect to experience throughout the process. These are the people I gravitate toward, and these are the people who are making my space and practice reach a higher level.

Giver's Gain

I host a Facebook group full of holistic entrepreneurs, and it’s a happy, positive place. In fact, considering the cesspool of negativity that Facebook can be, it’s hard to believe how smoothly this group runs, considering that it has almost 3,500 people in it.

This weekend I conducted an experiment. I decided to pick one person from the group and ask everyone to tune into that person at the same time, to send waves of positive energy their way.

This morning at 9:00 sharp, I wrote a post to the group, asking them to focus all of their positive intentions on the person I had chosen at random. For five minutes, I sat in front of my computer, imagining wonderful things happening for this stranger today. Although we’ve never met, I had her Facebook picture, so I envisioned her face beaming with joy as she received great news, as a perfect opportunity came her way, as she finally got something that she has been really wanting.

I’m planning on checking in tomorrow to see how her day went after the reception of these positive vibes from hundreds of people, all at once. But what was most interesting about this little experiment was how it affected ME.

I woke up on the wrong side of the bed today. I have a million things to do and I’m a little overwhelmed. My cat knocked over my lamp, jolting me out of a deep sleep. There seemed to be 500 tiny irritations nagging at me like emotional papercuts before I even made it to my first cup of coffee.

Nevertheless, I persisted with the experiment because I always try to do what I say I’m going to do.

As I sat in front of my computer, I attempted to clear my mind of all the clutter that had settled in. I forced myself to be happy, even though I definitely wasn’t feeling it at first.

After about a minute of making my brain visualize joyful images, I started to actually feel the emotion behind the thoughts. I began to feel the internal lift and elevated heartbeat you experience when someone gives you good news. I felt my chest open up and my brain buzz with energy. After five minutes had passed, I opened my eyes and realized that my own energy, motivation, and creativity had been sparked. I felt great!

It was a wonderful reminder that sending positive energy always replenishes the giver as much as the recipient.

More About The Soul...

My “official” title is an acupuncturist. I am an acupuncturist and hypnotherapist, in Sudbury, MA.

I’m still trying to figure out my unofficial title. But this is what I do: I find amazing, magical people with incredible gifts, and I introduce them to the general public. I’m sort of a mystical matchmaker, I suppose.

A few months ago, I met Laurie McSwiggin. I knew NOTHING about her, or what she did.

I wasn’t seeking her out. She found me.

She came to my office, and I instantly connected with her motherly, nurturing vibe. “I can do a reflective resonance session for you, to give you an idea of what I do?” she suggested.

“Sure,” I said, although I had no idea what that entailed. All I knew was that she could tune in to my “messages” remotely, so I didn’t have to take time out of my crazy schedule to fit it in.

A few days later, I received an email with a recording attached. I listened to it on the way home from my office.

It hurt.

I often tell my clients that pain is where the transformation lives. If you can’t connect to something that physically HURTS, it’s probably not resonating with you on that deep, primal level. Anyone can say anything, right? But when you feel that emotional pull, THAT is when you know that you’re on target. When you feel that deep emotional wound getting trod upon.

THAT is when you know that this information is legit. And that there is something there that is imperative that you know.

This information wasn’t all sunshine and roses, but it WAS transformative. It explained so many of my weaknesses, my fears, the places where I was stuck and couldn’t move forward. If I had to describe it, I’d explain it like this:

Imagine that upon your birth, a force of unconditional love was assigned to be with you at every moment of your life. It had the power of perfect clarity, and could bear witness to all of the decisions and incidents in your life that led you to becoming the person you are, as a whole.

And then one day, someone was able to talk to this force and to get the dirt on all of the things in your life that had set you back: false beliefs that were formed as a result of these incidents of your past, fears that stemmed from the energies you were surrounded by at various points in your life, issues that you weren’t even aware of, that were keeping you stuck in repetitive patterns. The goal of the session is to give you the appropriate information you need to get yourself unstuck, love yourself unconditionally, and push yourself forward into becoming the most pure and authentic version of yourself.

Yes, it’s as powerful as it sounds.

If you are seeking out something like this, I suggest that you start exploring around their site, to see what they can do for you.