Monthly Archives: August 2015

Riding the Phoenix

PhoenixThe Phoenix symbol has been on my mind for the past couple of weeks. Several years ago, I had a vision, while working with a wonderful healer, of a great guardian angel who appeared like the Phoenix – a fierce and beautiful bird-woman, who stretched her bright wings out over my prone body. Her majestic presence in my imagination on that day helped me rise above a smallness I was wrestling with, and I have never forgotten her. She spoke not a word, but her being exuded a regal strength and a tender recognition of the fires we humans go through…of the fire I was in that particular day. Together, we burned something up, an old and decrepit wound.

The Phoenix is appearing in my inner world again these days, and I feel her fire. Perhaps you feel her, too…the sweeping energy of cleansing, the pockets of hardwood, charred but still resisting, or maybe you are standing knee deep in wasteland, uncertain, even hopeless that rebirth will come. My own experience in the last couple of weeks has been one of malaise, a thick, mental fog, which I now imagine was the smoke from months of burning.

But I am getting glimpses of a gangly little bird, half-hatched, and I’m catching an occasional breath of fresh air. My Phoenix is on the rise, thank God.

In the myth, Phoenix lives for 500 years or more before descending. My own experience of her life and death cycle is much more often, like great waves, and yet I forget again and again that whichever phase I’m in – the burning, the rising, the soaring – is only a phase; that it will not last, and I’ve not failed somehow by experiencing the flux.

So if you can relate to this metaphor and your Phoenix is on fire, do your best, my friend, to surrender. Let the burning in. If you’re lying prostrate in ash but can see a wobbly hatchling, reach out and nourish, cherish this precious thing. And if your Phoenix is full and flying, if you are strong and supple and soaring above the clouds… enjoy, dear one, enjoy, enjoy, enjoy the ride!


Thymus Thumping…What?

Your ThymusOkay, in the spirit of sharing a new find, I have one for you today. I just discovered a sort of bizarre-sounding but quite effective energy-and-mood boosting technique called Thymus Thumping. I know it sounds a little cuckoo, but stay with me.

Several days ago, when I woke feeling tired and irritable from not having slept well, I checked my phone (yes, I do that sometimes before I even get out of bed, I guiltily admit), and there was an email from an energy healer whose website I follow. (Her name is Deborah King. You can check out her website here.

In her email, she talked about the thymus gland and how tapping it can open up the body’s energy. I had just prayed for a little help in that regard, so the information sort of leaped out at me. And being the researcher that I am, I googled and discovered a plethora of “thymus thumping” information from healers around the world!

The thymus, part of the endocrine system, is a small gland in the center of the chest between the heart and the throat.  If you touch your chest about an inch or so below the hollow of your throat you might be able to feel it.  I can feel mine. It’s a thin, raised pad about an inch wide. When we are babies it is much bigger, providing immune protection, but as we get older it shrinks away.  According to this information, by tapping or thumping it, we can stimulate it and even grow it back!

Thymus TapBehaviorial Kinesiologist Dr. John Diamond introduced the Thymus Thump way back in 1978 with his classic book, The Body Doesn’t Lie.  The original technique was to close your fist and thump on your chest, (think Tarzan) while exhaling “ha-ha-ha.” Deborah King and various kinesiologists suggest using your fingertips to firmly tap the chest. This is how I have been doing it. By stimulating the thymus, the immune system is strengthened, and energy is released. (The word thymus comes from the Greek thymos, which means “life force.”)

I’ve been doing this first thing each morning, and throughout the day when I need a little boost, and I have to say, I feel it! After three or four minutes of tapping my chest, I do feel better! Give it a try and let me know your experience.

And just for a laugh, here is that very funny scene from The Wolf of Wall Street, in which Matthew McConaughy does a little thymus thumping himself. (Apparently this was added to the movie when Leonardo DiCaprio saw McConaughy doing it as a warm-up for the scene. DiCaprio asked him what that was about, and McConaughy replied that he just always thumped his chest as a relaxing and focusing technique. (I guess he didn’t know there was a name for it!)

Blessings, y’all.



Longing, Belonging and Freedom

ListenIntuitives have been talking lately about the cleansing energy that has been blasting through our inner lives over the past weeks and months. Old stuff, ancient stuff is rising up and being blown about. The corners are being swept. That has certainly been true for me. I don’t have a handle on this newest revelation yet, so my writing about it may feel jumbled, unclear, but I am coming to you live from inner space, and here is what it looks like at the moment.

Crestview2I just returned home from a week-long trip down south, my birthplace. While there visiting with my family, I also looked at a piece of property that literally wept with nostalgia – thirteen acres of pasture, forest, private lake, barn (complete with a tractor and two horses), and a ramshackle house that was begging for love, my love…the kind of treasure completely out of reach here in California. This place got under my skin, as well as my husband’s and daughter’s…so much so that if the house hadn’t needed quite so much attention, we would be ranch owners right now.

So my visit was thrown into a tailspin of pondering. Could we relocate back to my Mississippi roots, after almost forty years in the liberal, urban sprawl of Los Angeles? Could we embrace the idyllic geography, spend the next and final years looking at the stars, listening to the crickets, catching fish and growing vegetables, feeling the deep belonging of brothers and cousins, nieces and nephews, and old high school friends who knew me when? Could our wide-world mindset find its place in the old-world leanings of the south? Could we survive the heat and humidity? 😉

Oh, how I struggle when I go back there! My mom is in her latter years, and it hurts to witness her decline, experience the tenderness between us, then say goodbye each visit. It hurts to connect with my brothers and their children, feel that potent pull of belonging, then depart. But then I arrive back at LAX…and there is something in the air that feels good. Really good. It smells like jet fuel, it looks like concrete and cars and palm trees, but it feels like freedom. I can breathe deeply here in the City of Angels.

I’ve been reading another John O’Donohue book. This one is called Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections on our Yearning to Belong. The timing could not be more perfect. And the corners that are getting swept, the ancient stuff that is coming up for me to heal, is another piece of self-acceptance: accepting this throb in the center of my chest that pulses so intensely it hurts. This yearning heart, which often embarrasses me, is my life-force, my very best feature!

I’m also being asked to look at the continuum of belonging and freedom, and embrace the fluctuating position I find myself in along that continuum.  Pure belonging is impossible without the sacrifice of individuality, the gift of freedom. Pure freedom is a lonely, lonely place.  I had never thought about this before, about the dynamism of these twin calls in our lives, and our negotiation of those energies. Somehow, naming them helps me dance instead of wrestle between, even as the as-yet-unknown future unfurls.

Here is a lovely blessing by O’Donohue that I offer as prayer for myself and for you, as you, too, are blown about in your own winds of change:

May you listen to your longing to be free.
May the frames of your belonging be large enough for the dreams of your soul.
May you arise each day with a voice of blessing whispering in your heart that something good is going to happen to you.
May you find a harmony between your soul and your life.
May the mansion of your soul never become a haunted place.
May you know the eternal longing which lives at the heart of time.
May there be kindness in your gaze when you look within.
May you never place walls between the light and yourself.
May your angel free you from the prisons of guilt, fear, disappointment, and despair.
May you allow the wild beauty of the invisible world to gather you, mind you, and embrace you in belonging.

–John O’Donohue