FAST WISDOM™ NEWSLETTER
BY Lonner Holden
Summertime: And the Livin’ is Easy...
Or is it? In August we enter the hottest part of Summer. The water is drying up, long sunny days are exhausting the landscape and the heat stress requires more mindfulness in regulating body temperature, like retreating to the shade with a cold drink. On one hand it is a deliciously lazy time of the year and on the other hand it is a time fire has over extended its stay. The positive benefits of the sun of growth and warmth begin to reverse towards wildfire destruction and hyperthermia.
Modern Mayan Ballcourt Showdown The heart of Summer is also more stressful to the nervous system. Ever lost your patience simply because you were too hot? While on vacation with my partner in the Yucatan a few weeks ago we were visiting the amazing ruins of Chichen Itza. I got completely distracted by the marvel and mystery of the place, losing the tour group. Looking around, all tour groups looked exactly alike, so I gave up quickly. My partner stayed with the group, hoping I would catch up. She wasn’t about to risk being without either them or me, getting lost in the tropical Summer sun of about 95 F and 90% RH. Finally she found me in the middle of the Ballcourt apparently oblivious to some commitment of staying with her and the group. I received an earful of unpleasantries. I responded in kind by sternly drawing a line in the dirt with my shoe declaring, “There is the line in the sand - you don’t cross it and I don’t cross it!” Curiously, this exchange happened exactly between the two stone goal hoops above us, mounted mid-court opposite one another. Thankfully, it was modern times and there was no “winner” to be sacrificed to the gods. The next day we were able to look back at the immense influence of the heat on the breakdown of our resiliency and on our tempers, sharing a good laugh at the situation (over a cold beer).
Vacate and Shun One of my clients just returned from a vacation. She expressed how much she “Needed it.” How much she needed to “Push everything aside,” and ”Say ‘no’ to it all.” The “Stress saturation” had become excessive. Life had gotten too overheated. She declared her own empty space of a private circle where she could do nothing and think about nothing other than the spontaneous connections with people she loved which arose daily, renewing her. She allowed herself to “zero out.” This is when I call a vacation a ‘vacate & shun’.
Cessation in the Cycle of Life Homeostasis is the physiological home of the zero - absolute rest. Which, when physiological functions actually achieve it completely, is death. And it is also true that in the cycle of breath and of the heartbeat, our breathing and our heart, too, actually stop for a moment. The body rests with every breath and heartbeat. In this 'zero' moment something mysterious occurs: Life is renewed, so continues. Life - activity - requires cessation as part of its cycle. We call the absence of enough ‘downtime,’ stress, which weakens immunity and is the cause of many diseases, heart attacks being among them.
Zero Brings Balance The concept of zero brings balance to living. The practice of abstention and fasting is universal as a way to cleanse the spirit and body preparing one for renewal. Humility is recognized as a virtue - as one’s will becomes less, one experiences being connected to something greater than oneself, paradoxically becoming more as one becomes less. To empty the mind has a long tradition of resulting in experiences of peace and enlightenment. The Vision Quest is structured as a time of deprivation of company, food and sleep. Pruning a flowering bush or fruit tree back towards less improves yield. All major religions recognize in some way that Creation came from the Void. Moving towards zero allows life to present its own manifesting force. When we are doing too much, are overstimulated in some way, life force is inhibited and some form of exhaustion presents.
Play Hooky A ‘vacate & shun’ can be a short siesta where you assert your private circle - your ‘zero’ space - or a month-long retreat denying entry to daily concerns and other stresses. So what would it be like for you to take a ‘snow day’, play hooky in some way with no commitments, plans, chores, work or perhaps even people? A day of wandering without structure, oriented to spontaneity. A day where emptiness awaits for you to become more free, more purposeful, a newer renewed you?
- Where in my life do I feel the most stress?
- What is my current experience of the weather on hot days? How do I take care of myself in the heat?
- When is the last time I 'played hooky'?
- How I may create obligations where they may not be necessary.
- What my sensations are when I say "yes" when I am actually wanting to say "no."
- How I feel when I am experiencing spontaneously 'free' time.
- Experiment with taking one hour where you are completely inaccessible to others by phone, computer, or physically.
- Saying "no" when you mean "no."
- Doing that "frivolous" thing you have wanted to do by yourself or with another you have been wanting to make time for.
JIN SHIN JYUTSU® HEALING HANDS SELF-CARE:
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- Place the palms of your hands together. This helps bring all physiological functions to a homeostatic re-set.
- Gently holding each index finger for a few minutes then each little finger for a few minutes helps to balance fire and water (heating and cooling respectively) in the body.
- Gently hold the middle upper arm (bicept/tricept area) with the opposite hand (left fingers around right upper arm, and right fingers around left upper arm - thumbs on inside/bicept, fingers on outside/tricept). This helps renew the beginning of a new cycle of breath and heart function from a 'zeroing' state.
RESTORATIVE NATURE PRACTICE™:
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- On an especially hot day face the sun directly with your eyes closed for a couple of minutes. Bring your attention to the intensity of the heat on your face and exposed limbs. Imagine the sustained intensity of every leaf and living thing exposed to the direct sun. (Don't get sunburned!)
- Find a shady place under a tree or around rocks. What animals seek shelter from the sun there? What is their behavior like? (Be cautious of snakes!)
- Pick up any shards of glass litter lingering in dry grass or dry duff. They can magnify the sun's rays and start a fire.
- Snack on raw, organic juicy fruits like grapes and peaches (wild blackberries are almost ripe! - leave a few for the birds.).
- Explore a new cold, nutritious drink like pomegranate juice with a splash of lime.
NEXT MONTH: Autumn Equinox: Tipping Towards the Shadow
PICK OF THE MONTH: Lonner's "Wild Soul Story" interview with author Mary Reynolds Thompson (24 minutes)
See events on calendar »
- Restorative Nature Practice™, Marin County: September 12, October 24
- Marin County Tracking Club, Point Reyes: September 27, October 25th
November, 2014 Thanksgiving
December, 2014 Winter Solstice
January, 2015 Life Letters
February, 2015 The Heart
March, 2015 Spring Equinox
April, 2015 Prevention
May, 2015 Recovery
June, 2015 Summer Solstice
July, 2015 Plateau Power
Fast Wisdom™ is the newsletter of my Holden Healing Studio practice. Each issue explores a theme of living approached in the context of healing. Included is a simple Jin Shin Juytsu® Healing Hands Self-Care exercise, as well as a Restorative Nature Practice™ activity to practice which relate to the newsletter theme of the month. Nutrition and health tips too, so you can live a happier and more vital life infused with well-being, improved health and more effective and empowered recovery.
© 2015 Lonner Holden