May 18th, 2013
A week ago I had never heard of Craniosacral Therapy. Today I’m lying on a massage table getting my first session. Serendipity: the gift that keeps on giving.
The therapist, Kate Mackinnon asks me a few questions. How am I feeling? Great, minus the stress of introducing your novel to the world. Any aches or pains? Would my daughter’s social studies grade count? Any surgeries or traumatic physical events. Well, I threw my upper ribs out doing P90X, I’ve delivered 2 kids and I had this freakishly embarrassing waterskiing accident in the early ‘90s that cleaned out my bowels, bladder and uterus. I eventually ended up in surgery to clear out the scar tissue.
To The Table
I’m face up, stretched across the massage table. Kate Mackinnon has her hands on my ankles. She gently holds them and I wonder if she’s noticed one of my legs is longer than the other. I usually get a hard hip crunch from my chiropractor. But there’s no bone cracking in this studio, only supportive touch and pressure.
Kate comes around to my left hip, setting her right hand under my lower back, she covers the left side of my lower belly with her left hand. I breathe deeply, try to relax (which is difficult when you’re waiting for someone to do “things” to your body) and focus on the physical sensations inside me.
The first thing I notice is my feet feel active. Not hot active, or motion active but energy active. If you’ve meditated before you will know what I am talking about. Kate pushes firmly but not uncomfortably on my belly and asks “Is the scar on your skin half an inch above my hand.” This is intuitively impressive since I’m dressed and she would have no way of seeing it or even feeling it since the scar is flat and almost gone. “Do you feel that?” She asks. I do. I feel my guts pushing back at her hand. There is resistance there. “That’s the stress your body has been holding since your accident and surgery.” It takes a minute for me to process this. “My body has been holding this stress for almost 20 years? Well that sorta sucks.” She gives me a “Welcome to craniosacral therapy” smile.
To The Book
This alternative medicine branched out of osteopathy. It was founded by Dr. John Upledger in the 1970’s. Although it is rather new to most Americans, craniosacral therapy (CST) is well known and practiced in Europe. In her book From My Hands and Heart; Achieving Health and Balance with Craniosacral Therapy, Kate explains, “Craniosacral breaks down into the cranio, which refers to the cranium, our skull, and sacral, which refers to the sacrum, a triangular-shaped bone at the end of our spine that connects the lumbar vertebrae and the tailbone.” This practice works with the body as a unit, and places significance on the cerebrospinal fluid which flows around the spine in a rhythm. In most adults it cycles 10 to 12 times a minute. When Kate held my ankles she was listening to my craniosacral rhythm for an indication of health in the same way a doctor listens to the heart beat. “I note the quality of the rhythm overall, as this gives an impression of the person’s sense of well-being and energy.”
Back To the Table
Some pretty wild sensations are taking place in my body. The energy that started in my feet is now flowing up my right leg into my pelvis. At the same time my right shoulder is becoming energetic, cutting through my right lung to Kate’s hand. It feels as if a triangular vortex of energy is crisscrossing my body; the points being my right foot, right shoulder and left gut. Kate’s hand on my lower back feels hot; as if a heating pad has been placed there. This heat is coming off me; 20-year-old energy being released. Suddenly the resistance in my belly dissipates. “We’re telling your body it can release the pain and emotional trauma of that event. It no longer needs to dedicate energy to maintain this tightness and can use the energy in more beneficial ways.” Wow. I wish I’d have told my body that in ’94.
A shift happens and suddenly my mind cannot comprehend what my body perceives. Kate’s hand on my belly feels separate of her body and ten times bigger than it should. The sensation is so strong I open my eyes to look at her. I can’t see this hand but it appears as if it is disconnected from her arm. I’m experiencing a total optical/sensory illusion. Kate tells me this is very common in craniosacral therapy.
Back To the Book
In From My Hands and Heart, released on May 1st, Kate discusses what brought her into this therapy, its founding, the physiology, and intuitive aspects of its practice. Here are a few highlights you will discover in the book:
- How CST compliments other medical treatments.
- Clients who have had extraordinary medical results after one therapy session.
- What to look for and how to find a good craniosacral therapist.
- How to prepare for a successful and effective CST session.
- How to find and feel your own craniosacral rhythm and raise your overall energy awareness.
- The multiple mental and health conditions CST can help heal.
- How to connect to your own inner wisdom.
What I enjoyed most about From My Hands and Heart were the case studies detailed in this book. Kate has worked for years with numerous patients (including Dr. Wayne W. Dryer, who wrote the forward) with varying health issues, both physical and mental, who have all benefited from this therapy.
If you’d like to learn more about craniosacral therapy, you can pick up a copy of From My Hands and Heart here.
Kate Mackinnon would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter.
May 8th, 2013
Photographers: Sofia Sanchez and Mauro Mongiello
Mother’s Day is on the calendric horizon. The Mother of The Year Awards have begun. These lucky women will have a celebrity chef deliver their breakfast in bed, take an exotic trip to Bora Bora, or win a year’s supply of Tide.
To The Video:
-Morning show – “Our Mom of The Year, Shelia, broke her back in a car accident five years ago and still managed to deliver her fourth child. She never stopped working her full time job, manages the household, maintains the finances, gets the kids to school and coaches her son’s soccer team. All of this while she endured years of excruciating physical therapy.”
Cut to Husband Dave – “There’s nothing Sheila won’t do for her family. She’s always putting everyone else ahead of herself.”
-Afternoon show – “The winner of our Best Mom in The Bay Award, Tory, is a single mom who hasn’t slowed down for the last nineteen years. She’s adopted nine children from abusive situations and works the night shift so she can homeschool them during the day. When the kids wanted a trip to Disney, Tory took a second job for a full year to save up the money for their trip.”
Cut to Grandmother – “I don’t know when she sleeps. And she’s showing the rest of us to stop thinking about ourselves. There’s always someone who’s got it worse than you.”
-Local news – “Our Best Mom Award goes to Kimberly. She’s dedicated her entire life to children. When the kids were in school, Kimberly became a deacon in her community church, started a foundation for children on the street and manages a nonprofit business providing babysitting for parents who are looking for work. Even after she was diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer, Kimberly never slowed down. She never missed a school function, sporting event, church meeting or a day of work with her foundation. The day after her last chemo treatment she was in the front row at her daughter’s wedding.”
Cut to Video of Kimberly cheering her son’s wrestling meet with a colorful scarf wrapped around her thin head.
Am I supposed to aspire to be like these mothers? Is this the modern role model of American motherhood: consuming, sacrificial, ultra-selfless, tireless? How high are we setting the mommy bar? At that height, I can safely project a generation of moms will end up energetically blown out. Read the rest of this entry »
April 28th, 2013
I had this funky, unexplainable medical issue with my face. It started with the massive cold sore that took over the corner of my mouth. This may not be a big deal for some but I only get them when I’m moving, flying to New Zealand or living in the sun. That averages out to one every 4 years. After a two week recuperation, another one came on. Two weeks later a third one hit me. Something was wrong. I was as frustrated and mystified as my naturopath physician. We even ran a test on my white blood cell count to make sure it was running properly.
Then I started getting tingly spiders all over my face and inside my mouth. You know, that strong tingling feeling you get when the blood returns back to a part of your body that has fallen asleep. My gut told me something was triggering the virus that creates fever blisters but I had no idea what it could be. Read the rest of this entry »
April 13th, 2013
I’ve been thinking about time a lot lately. Specifically:
- Where has it all gone?
- How can I get more of it?
- Why’s it moving so damn fast?
- I have none.
- Is it really possible to bend it? (Keep reading.)
Last week I had a short coaching session with one of Martha Beck’s Master Coaches – the slathered in Awesome Sauce, Jen Trulson. I won’t get into the boring details of the whining which led up to my takeaway, but essentially I have a deeply ingrained thinking error that says, “There’s not enough time.”
There’s. Not. Enough. Time:
… for me to take in sustenance.
… for me to pant on the treadmill for a measly 10 minutes.
… for me to shave my legs (and most definitely not for the subsequent braiding of the leg hair from lack of said shaving.)
… for me to take time off (ponder that one, folks.)
… blah, blah, blah.
But the thing is, I know, at the deepest level of my core, that time is a man-made construct. Who’s the asshat who came up with Leap Year, people? I have long believed somewhere inside of me that time is an illusion. Maybe part of a 42nd dimension that we just can’t comprehend yet. I started to get an inkling of the proof of this (from what my tiny brain could understand) when I first read Einstein’s Theory of Relativity – essentially that “the laws of physics are the same for all non-accelerating observers, and that the speed of light in a vacuum was independent of the motion of all observers.”
April 1st, 2013
I greatly admired Anony as a child. Back then my friends and I fantasized about living the “anonymous” life: brilliant, dark, modest, selfless, cutting edge. We knew Anonymous had a hidden, secretive, scary, and radical side too. Being “unknown” was sleek and sexy compared to our hum drum lives. It was beyond the FBI files; a life undefined. In the olden days, before the Net took hold of us and brought down the tech, Anonymous meant one of two things: modesty or rebellion. Deep Throat was anonymous. Homer, Washington Irving, C.S. Lewis, Sandy Beech and Professor X were all anonymous. So was Jack the Ripper, The Night Stalker and BFK. Good or bad, being anonymous equated to a high level of bravery. Anonymous was the marker of an outlandish soul living so far along the fringes they could not be seen, yet, were well heard.
Not So Much Today
Now Anony equates to a grey, androgynous human outline in a blue box that can be put on and off faster than a bowler hat… by anyone. Any one. It no longer requires an act of bravery and a forward thinking perspective, or radical opinions; just a passing thought, a third grade education and a keyboard. Anonymous may not be the majority but it has become common. Children no longer fantasize about an anonymous life. No one bothers to hunt down their identity. Conspiracy theorists have turned their strained eyes to more authentic mysteries. Read the rest of this entry »
March 26th, 2013
Forgive me, I’m not my usual today. I haven’t been my usual inspired, literary, jubilant self for some weeks now. Nope. I’ve been living more of a blah, so-so, ho-hum kind of existence. Like mono without the four month nap.
Who knew you could grow bored with an entire life overnight?
You know what I’m talking about, that “Standing naked in your closet because you have nothing to wear” start to the day. Are these my clothes? When was the neon orange jumpsuit a trend? Holy cotton blend, isn’t this sweater section the same one I had in eleventh grade. Are those shoulder pads? How did I ever imagine this dress looked adorable on me?
You know the “I’m starving to death but nothing sounds good” hunger. I’m standing in the middle of twelve thousand square feet of food options and can’t find a thing to eat. I could spend my entire life at the olive bar, there are mounds of vegetables I can’t pronounce, and they’ve got Chicken Waffle Lays on sale today! No growl of the stomach, no salivating, no interest. Maybe the pet food isle has a new raw hide flavor?
You know those “I’m bored but can’t be entertained” kind of nights. When 700 channels, 48 books, 8 new movies and 3 seasons of Downton Abby are not nearly enough. I’m not in the mood to obliterate The Avengers again, I’ve golfed Tiger into a hole, danced Beyoncé’ into a fierce case of thigh blisters, and fed every Madden quarterback grass for breakfast. I guess I’ll stare out the window and watch the dark ooze black.
Yeap, I’m in that “IDC” kind of mood. “Where do you want to go for date night?” I don’t care. “Do you want to pick up our son from baseball practice?” I don’t care. “Mom, can I have fourteen girls spend the night so we can Cool-Aid dye our hair?” I don’t care. My husband is seriously missing his opportunity to get that mistress he’s always wanted… Whatever. Read the rest of this entry »
March 9th, 2013
When the same obnoxious dream returns year after year after year, I ask myself “Who is this black raven tapping at my REM sleep door?” Every now and again I dream that I’ve been readmitted to high school. Since I distinctly remember rocking my twenty year class reunion, these dreams give me a direct shot of turmoil. Apparently there’s been a transcript error; I owe nine months of hard time to Precalculus. So I’m here, fumbling to remember my ‘86 locker combo, the tardy bell’s ringing, my classroom feels two miles away and a herd of giant, snotty nosed buffalo are charging down the hallway at me. I wake, burrowing down in my blanket, grateful that my nap has come to an end. However, it’s 3 pm on a Thursday, I’m 42, and I’ve got two backpacks strolling up the block for our regular appointment. I’ve slipped out of one dream into another.
Graduation, Diploma, Senior Party; these are but the illusions of completion. I did my elementary time; memorized my multiplication tables, studied my state history. I endured petty girl-fights, crude boy talk and hours of jump rope jingles. Yet… YET… even though I’m no longer legally bound to a school building, apparently I still have responsibilities to the Department of Education.
If only I were one of those parents doing their children’s homework. Instead, I’m the overseer: explaining, finishing, rechecking and memorizing. Thanks to a system running on hyperdrive, my first grader is hammering out math skills from a story problem he can’t fully read. “‘Chang assembled 29 power grids. He runs 13 down to Shauna, who damaged 6 of them before she swiped 4 more grids off Alyssa’s line. How many grids did Chang have left to send off to Petro in processing?’” My son wrinkles his eyebrows, “Who is ‘processing’?” “Just focus on the numbers, Buddy. Microeconomics happens in 5th grade.” Read the rest of this entry »
March 3rd, 2013
I haven’t had much to say. Maybe you’ve noticed. More likely you were busy fighting with family over the turkey neck , making popcorn garland interspersed with bright red cranberries and hiding your kid’s frightening Furby on the back shelf at the top of your closet. Perhaps you’ve been hanging out in said closet, below your fancy party dresses, eating your Valentine’s chocolates. Maybe you’re mapping out your spring garden.
For a writer, having nothing to say feels like mammoth emptiness. It feels like the Grand Canyon, only bigger. It feels like Russia. In the depths of winter. After a blizzard. At minus 40 degrees. Wearing only a white wife beater and a pair of tattered yoga pants.
I’ve been on a pretty intense spiritual journey over the past few months and my flip-flops are so worn out that the balls of my feet are pushing through the soles onto the pavement.
I haven’t slept since October 2002.
I’m too tired to sleep.
The overarching theme of my recent spiritual road trip has been rest.
Whispering to horses
I recently traveled to California with Lissa Rankin to meet up with Martha Beck and her team for a “Heal the Healer” curriculum planning meeting. Our plan is to train fifteen doctors in a new way to practice medicine and the purpose of our trip was to experience what the healers will experience on the opening week of this program. Martha brought in a brilliant team: an amazeballs energy body worker, an astounding horse whisperer, a gifted coach and empath, and a number of others. I’m not wholly ready to share the entire experience with the world, but I will share one part of the weekend. Read the rest of this entry »
February 24th, 2013
Do we come of age in a singular moment or is it a gathering progression? I’m not talking about the ceremonious physical coming of age that entitles one to a plastic coated card. I’m referring to the life rendering psychological event; that moment your candy coated, rainbow sparkled life gets blown up by a bazooka named Hard Reality. We climb to the glorious peak of our youth only to be pushed over the cliff; plummeting at shocking speed into the pits of adulthood.
I wonder if it’s gloriously tragic for each and every one of us or just an unfortunate few? All I know is one day you’re pushing your Barbie car through a carpet of Fruit Loops when your neighbor decides to shoot your dog for pooping on his petunias. Or your new step-dad takes a frying pan to your little brother. Or your Mom goes out for groceries and never comes home. Or the school bully makes you his new pet project.
One day the world was right. Remember? Remember how that felt?
And then it wasn’t.
You’d think a moment like that would be memorialized on our calendar; like our birthday, only it’s polar opposite. Death day, the day we buried our most cherished friend in a tub of marshmallow fluff and rainbow sprinkles. My memory of my Death Day is sketchy but it was early. This is a surprise when you consider I’ve been late to arrive to every other milestone: growing hips, monthly bleeding, choosing a degree, having kids, jumping on the life purpose wagon. I’d be freakin’ pissed about the late bloomer thing if I wasn’t busy showing up late for grey hair, crows feet, back pain, neck pain, joint pain and high blood pressure. Being a late bloomer has nice returns come midlife. Read the rest of this entry »