Saturday, August 22, 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
As I am deepening and widening my studies in trauma and somatic healing, I am studying nature with a fresh and keen eye. I am observing how animal and plant structures are designed to protect vital internal information and life force.
Nature is resilient.
I am also observing how pods protect seeds, shells protect animals, ribs protect internal organs, and cocoons protect the transformational process of growth and the elegance of an emerging butterfly.
This past week, a swallow tail butterfly came to my screen window at night. It stayed throughout the evening and during the early morning hours it flew away as gently as it had arrived. The wings of the butterfly were nearly transparent and the right lower wing tattered. The resilience of the butterfly is astounding. How could such thin and frayed wings move through the air effortlessly?
For two days now I have been thinking about resilience and capacity. In my professional work I support people in the building of capacity through their nervous systems. As my clients grown in capacity they also embody their structures so that they may live more fluidly.
The ancients believed the medicine to be like water, and the ultimate goal is that we be able to move with the natural flow of life, from the depths of our soul to the heights of the heavens. Perhaps what they were really suggesting is that we live more embodied, much like the butterflies, dolphins, and whales.
I recently came across this quote in Dr. Peter Levine's book In An Unspoken Voice,
by D.H. Lawrence that is a beautiful description of touching into the eternal wisdom of the body.
"My belief is in the blood and flesh as being wiser that the intellect. The body-uncoscious is where life bubbles up in us. It is how we know that we are alive to the depths of our souls and in touch somewhere with the vivid reaches of the cosmos."
Thursday, August 13, 2015
I have recently returned from the Great South Channel where I had the great blessing of photographing whales, dolphins and pelagic birds. After a long trip in the belly of a magnificent large creaky fishing boat from Montauk, we traveled out into the feeding grounds of the Atlantic Humpback whales. Along the way, we met high swirly waves, Sei, Minke and Fin whales.
Common dolphins meeting the boat.
Beautiful sunrises greeted us on the edge of the channel where our sleepy eyes met sorbet skies, beautiful birds and sapphire waters.
So many beautiful Humpback feeding behaviors were observed, bubble walls were made by the whales as throngs of pelagic birds flew in to share the bounty.
Elegant swaying tales, leaping dolphins, breaching whales and aqua bubbles, kept us captivated for hours and hours.
The highlight of the trip was the arrival of a pod of common dolphins that swam across the path of several traveling whales. This was a first for me and took my breath away. It almost felt like a fairy tale come true.
Breaching for joy.
All the while, my favorite poem came back to me as I was taking pictures…
Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale
Measure the walls. Count the ribs. Notch
the long days.
Look up for blue sky through the spout.
Make small fires
with the broken hulls of fishing boats.
Practice smoke signals.
Call old friends, and listen for echoes of
Organize your calendar. Dream of the
beach. Look each way
for the dim glow of light. Work on your
each of your life's ten million choices.
of self-loathing. Find the evidence of
those before you.
Destroy it. Try to be very quiet, and listen
for the sound
of gears and moving water. Listen for the
sound of your heart.
Be thankful that you are here, swallowed
with all hope,
where you can rest and wait. Be nostalgic.
Think of all
the things you did and could have done,
treading water in the center of the still
night sea, your toes
pointing again and again down, down into
the black depths.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Saturday, July 18, 2015
I recently had the great fortune of studying with Raja Selvam Phd. in an advanced program for healing trauma. It was a great opportunity to learn with a very accomplished practitioner and elegant teacher.
I was deeply moved by his humor, sensitivity and intellect. Teachers like Raja are rare. They seamlessly weave decades of study, experience and compassion into a tapestry of great beauty and complexity. Being in the presence of such a teacher is a gift. It is a great and generous teacher who can sum up an entire course in one sentence. The most radiant pearl that I came home with was this beautiful heartfelt notion:
"When the heart is vulnerable, it can see great beauty."
After Dr. Selvman spoke these words my entire being took a deep sigh. I felt a sense of coming home into my own humanness and vulnerability.
I have returned to my private practice with a renewed reverence for the wisdom that our bodies carry and the layers grace that resides in each and every one of us. As the integration of the new material is taking hold and anchoring in my system, I am in awe of the many facets of beauty that we own. We are truly multidimensional beings.
In writing this post, and sharing my training, I wanted to create an image that reflects the many layers of magic that I experienced this past Spring. I took thousands of pictures of orioles, flowers, yellow finches, a flying turkey and gem filled floral collages. It is my hope that this image conveys the joy inside of my heart that I feel when I am in nature and in my practice treating patients. I feel that it is an honor and a privilege to be a part of a deeply transformational and precious process. I thank Dr. Selvam and all of the exquisite teachers and pioneers who are paving the way for many of us who are working in the field of healing trauma.
Thursday, July 16, 2015
One of my absolute favorite studies is of the classics of Chinese Medicine. Coming into this medicine takes time, it is a long and slow unfolding.
Sometimes it feels like molasses.
Dark and sweet.
After years of study and practice, small luminescent pearls emerge and one is awe struck by the simplicity and beauty of the medicine.
This past week, one such pearl emerged, the pearl of wisdom that spoke to the translucent nature of simplicity.
This beautiful orchid gift came to me last week and it prompted me to return to Nei jing Su wen Chapter 8. The Secret Treatise of the Spritual Orchid. I have the translation by Claude Larre and Elisabeth Rochat de la Vallee.
As I was reading the translation, this small piece jumped off the page and begged to be shared.
And so here it is:
"The heart is not just a pump to move blood, it is the highest entity in human life. And it is very interesting to understand that morality, virtue and so on are understood by the Chinese not just as being in the field of religion for example, but as essential to keep the quality of life. This is the reason why we have to go and see wonderful scenery, be well rested, have good food and drink and all that, in order that life will be more refined. From this digesting of essences you are then in a position to distribute them."
Monday, June 15, 2015
Before the rain came in last night, I gathered the last peonies from the garden. Their fragrance kept me company all of last night and today. If only I could replicate the sweetness of these beauties in a peony perfume!
I have been working on many custom scents for clients the past few months and making many new discoveries as I blend. I began using Palo Santo in my perfumery, a sacred oil from the rain forest, that in the past I reserved for special occasions in healing sessions. It has such a powerful and grounding scent that opens the heart as it blends with Damask rose, Jasmine or Cistus.
The more mature my perfume making becomes, the more courageous I have become in making new combinations of scents. I am currently working on a perfume that is built around Apricot and Lemon myrtle. This is a brave experiment as lemon myrtle is very strong and has a very heady and strong lemony scent that reminds me of lemon drops. Every perfume is truly a new adventure.
A package arrived today including White rose absolute, Citron, Osmanthus and Cacao, to name a few. It is hard not to spend every waking moment with these new beauties.
Every time a new shipment arrives, I know that my grandmother Isabelle May would have loved the experience of carefully opening every new scent and studying the properties of each bottle. I named my perfume line after her as she was such a beautiful and kind mentor to me. She introduced me to the mysterious world of plants in her gardens. While I grew up around many beautiful plants at home, it was through the eyes of my grandmother, a botanist and cultivator, that I truly felt the magic.
In time, hopefully I will make a perfume that smells like fresh peonies and I will name it Isabelle.
Wishing everyone a beautiful Summer!