>Butterfly Healing

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I got a nice image for self-healing this week and thought I’d share it.
Find somewhere comfortable, get yourself settled in whatever way suits you, close your eyes, take some deep breaths and relax.  Let the outside world fade away and just tune into your body.
When you feel nice and relaxed and at ease, take your attention to your heart centre in the middle of your chest.  Feel it soften and open up and a butterfly emerge which perches in your heart centre.  Check out the colours of your butterfly and how it feels.  If you can’t get an image, tune in to how your heart centre feels and whether you can sense the energy of the butterfly. Perhaps it talks to you. Find out what works best for you and let go of any expectations of what is right or not.
Now feel that the butterfly is smiling to your heart centre and feel this part of your body absorbing love, happiness and healing energy.  When you feel ready, invite your butterfly to move to any part of your body it so chooses.  Don’t try to take control of this process but let it unfold as you tune into the self-awarenss which your body will display if you allow it to.  As your butterfly alights on another part of your body – perhaps your liver, or your brain, or your bladder, or in your hands, or whatever, allow yourself t again feel this part of your body absorbing love, happiness and healing energy.
You can stay with this process as long as you like.  When you get an instinctive or intuitive feel that the process is coming to an end, invite your butterfly to return to your heart centre.  See it settle there and then feel it sinking into your heart centre, knowing that when you want to work with the butterfly’s healing energy again, it will be waiting for you to re-activate it.
If you like, you can visualise or feel your butterfly taking off to send its healing energies to the world or to particular areas or countries of need or conflict.  There are no limitations on your intuition, creativity and healing response.  Just make sure if you decide to do any global healing of any sort, that you return your butterfly to your heart when you feel the healing process has drawn to an end.
Once you’ve seen your butterfly disappear into your heart centre, take a bit of time to breathe deeply, get back in touch with your body, feel really back in your body and back in the here and now, and then open your eyes.  

It’s really important you do this final step.  I did some meditation once and got up, only to find the room whirling around me and looking very misty.  I wasn’t quite back in my body and I actually collapsed on the floor, coming around when my husband came in and picked me up. I did come around finally but it’s a warning not to take lightly the process of meditation and the necessity to make sure you’re well and truly grounded an in the present before you try to stand up again.

The length of this process – whether it’s self-healing or global healing – is entirely dependent on yourself. It can be short of long, depending on how much time you have, but the important thing is to trust your inner wisdom and listen to your heart and soul.  By the way, have fun!

T

>Community life

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I saw in The Independent newspaper in the UK this week that many local councils in England are planning to close their libraries, due to funding cuts imposed by the current government.  Books have been a huge part of my life. I can remember going to Ramsgate library as a kid and marvelling at stack upon stack of books.  I can still remember the hushed atmosphere and the smell of books.  I devoured books like there was no tomorrow.  I might point out that I have 9 air signs so reading is manna from heaven to me.
Of course, libraries have changed with the times and now offer a huge range of services.  I still believe that denying access to the printed word is the work of barbarians.  It denies access to reading and education for all those in the community who need access to this wonderful, free service. And it does seem ironic that money can’t be found for libraries while billions are poured into weapons and armaments for wars the great majority of the population don’t want anyway. Nor do I believe that the future lies solely with electronic books, no matter the popularity of Kindle and other e-readers and so on. I can remember when I got repetitive strain injury so badly in my mid-thirties I was invalided out of the workforce.  We had just taken a mortgate and it was devastating, not just the loss of money but also the loss of a sense of identity as I’d always wanted to work.
But I can remember, when I told an older friend of my situation, how she commented that young people always think the road through life is going to be a straight one when, in fact, all sorts of road blocks and diversions can turn up to throw the best-laid plans into absolute chaos and confusion.  
So when I think of people saying we now have the internet and e-books and we don’t need libraries, I also imagine that we can’t always rely on the contining existence of the internet or life as we know it.  If there were some sort of global environmental meltdown, or – god forbid – global conflict, or some sort of disruption from space, our current way of living and reliance on current communications could well collapse. 
So we still need libraries and books. But more than that, we need community. If we get rid of libraries, we consign people to individual lives in individual homes, isolated from each other, and living lives which are increasingly  bereft of human company and contact. It’s bad enough already.  We all know of elderly people who have died and no-one has known for months that they are no longer alive.  Or we don’t know our neighbours any more. That sort of thing.
This whole thing of community has been underlined for me by the events following the floods in Queensland, particularly in Brisbane where so many homes were devastated as the raging waters swept through their homes, destroyed structure and contents, and left a stinking sea of mud.  People who hadn’t been affected turned up in their many, many hundreds, equipped with buckets, gumboots, shovels and brooms, all volunteering to help complete strangers affected by the floods.  The roads were lined with the cars of these kind, caring people who had heeded the call of community and turned up to help their fellow human beings.
You see this wherever disasters strike. It’s not unique to Australia.  It happens in India, China, the Middle East, the United States, South America – people open their hearts to help those in need.  This is community – the opening of hearts to all people regardless of their colour, creed, sexuality or social status.  I have great faith in people, and I believe that the scenes in Brisbane are ones which we can build for the future.  In fact, it’s happening.  People are taking it upon themselves to build small communities in their local areas – whether it be to swap work, to exchange clothes or food, whatever.  It’s the face of the future – loving hearts open to all.

But the other important fact about libraries is that they are a hub for the community.  Here people can meet, children can attend book readings or other activities, groups can organise get-togethers, and so on. 

>Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers

>Earlier this week, Bryan and I watched a film about Daniel Ellsberg release of the Pentagon Papers and the subsequent furore about top secret documents being made public.

To be very honest, I think I wandered through the early part of my life in a bit of a coma as I really didn’t take much notice of world events at all.  I can remember talk of the Vietnam War and also the shootings of the students at Kent University by the National Guard, because the latter was so shocking, but other than that, I rather drifted along untouched much by the world around me.

So it was rather interesting and informative to see how Mr Ellsberg changed, from being part of the government set-up and supporting the Vietnam  War, to opposing it after actually being in Vietnam and after he’d read the Pentagon Papers prepared by the Rand Corporation where he worked. 

A few Senators who received copies of the papers refused to take action. But a young US Senator, Mike Gravel of Alaska, entered 4,100 pages of the Papers into the record of his Subcommittee on Public Buildings and Grounds – he was the only one present!

In the meantime, the Nixon administration tried to stop newspapers publishing the papers, but failed as more and more newspapers got old of copies and starting publishing the contents – an unstoppable tidal wave.  Ellsberg and a fellow workers at the Rand Institute, Anthony Russo, were eventually prosecuted but the case was thrown out when the Watergate burglaries were exposed and the fact that there had been illegal wire-tapping of Ellsberg and his contacts.

I’ve really reduced this to the bare essentials. But one fact I found fascinating was that when the trial started and jurors were being picked, a psychiatrist advised the legal team for Ellsberg and Russo to exclude middle-aged men where possible.  The psychiatrist said that these men were often in a position of having nixed their dreams, perhaps taken actions which were against their beliefs and integrity, had possible regrets they had about the lives they’d lived, and would likely not be sympathetic to people who had taken action in line with their conscience.

Ellsberg seems to have had some sort of epiphany in his actions around the Pentagon Papers because he’s been an activist for peace and social justice ever since.  I think this is remarkable as he has never waivered in his commitment to his conscience, his ethics and his own integrity.  It’s something which, I feel, should give us all food for thought about how we live our own lives – is it in line with our own ethics, conscience and integrity?  If we have regrets, have we taken action to ensure we don’t do whatever caused us regrets in the past?  Of course, I realise that the world is not black and white and there are shades of grey in everyone’s life.  But it’s my firm belief that it is soul-destroying to live an inauthentic life and not to set sail from the shallows into the deep from fear or a wish for some sort of ephemeral  security.

Further on this theme, I was also struck by the gutsy actions of the newspapers involved, who fought for freedom of the press.  When did this gutsiness in the US press start to evaporate and disappear?  The lack of investigative reporting and journalism in the lead-up to the second Iraq War, the gutlessness in not questioning the actions of the dysfunctional, lying, warmongering Bush administration were appalling. The conventional press laid down and allowed Dick Cheney & Co to walk all over them. The fact is that the conventional media was supine, intimidated by an administration totally in thrall to the military-industrial complex, and things aren’t any better today.

Interestingly, the lies and subterfuge surrounding the second Iraq War – and now emerging in the war in Afghanistan – have led to a surge in on-line, independent media which is far more reliable for the truth of world events than the conventional media who continue to parrot the same old, same old pro-plutocracy garbage. And now we’re seeing the release of the Wikileaks documents, which is a product of the capitulation of the conventional media to government spin.  Sort of karma-like, isn’t it?

Just to wind up with some astrological mutterings – Pluto (hidden stuff, secrets, dark material, etc) is currently swanning around in Capricorn (governments, regulations, plutocracies) which is indicative of the dirty little (or big, depending on your view) government, banking and plutocratic secrets being dragged into the light of day.  Moreover, Neptune has moved into Pisces, with which it has affiinity as it’s all about water, and here are hidden things flowing into public view, arousing – I imagine – some rather savage emotions in those who would like to keep their lies, crimes and secret actions well bolted down in the cellars.

Yes, definitely karmic, I think!

>Country life

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One of the pleasures of living in a rural area is that you can stay so much in touch with nature and see how there are planetary changes each year.
We moved into Bowraville just over one year ago.  The weather was hot prior to our arrival and for a couple of weeks afterwards.  The crepe myrtle trees were in full flower and the jacaranda on the front verge was coming to an end of its flowering.  Just after Christmas the big tree next door, which has long trumpet-like, white flowers which come out with a heavenly scent only at night, was full of hundreds of super-noisy rainbow lorikeets.
This year, the weather has been quite different.  We didn’t get the prolonged rain and floods of northern NSW or Queensland, but it has been a lot cooler and a whole heap wetter. The big tree has flowered much later and has had far more blossoms.  They only last the night and then they let go, floating gracefully to the floor like a parachute with the pointed end down and the blossom edges fluttering gently in the downward fall.   There have been few lorikeets, just the occasional two or three which don’t stay long.  The crepe myrtle trees are only just starting to blossom, and the jacaranda came into flower really late, well into December. 
We have a medium-sized tree in the back garden which last year appeared to have had no blossoms by the time we arrived as there were no seed pods.  This year the tree was covered in blossoms and the lorikeets had a wonderful feeding frenzy while the tree was in full bloom.  It’s now back for a second flowering and this time it’s the fruit bats which are having a good feed.  Mostly you don’t see the bats, only if you go out in the early morning when they take off in their dozens from the tree, but you do hear the flap of their wings during the night if you wake up, as the bats have big, leathery wings.  And yes, it’s so warm at night – 20C most nights – that we sleep with the windows and doors open.  It’s a quiet village and we’d certainly hear any intending burglars trying to get through the screen door, while the three dogs belonging to our neighbours either side are quick off the mark to bark if there are any strangers around.
You also get to see all sorts of butterflies, and watch all sorts of birds – green catbirds which sound exactly like cats screeching; galahs; butcher birds; magpies; a glimpse of bright black and yellow Regent bowerbirds, glossy black mature satin bowerbirds and podgy green and pink young and female bowerbirds; bright blue fairy-wrens; red-browed finches; doves; koels; woodswallows; treecreepers; all sorts of honeyeaters; crows; sitellas; kookaburras; grey shrike-thrushes (which look plain but have an absolutely beautiful song); rufous whistlers; willy wagtails; grey fantails; spangled drongos (wonderful name, also Australian slang – what a drongo – for someone who’s a real idiot); and of course we often get eagles flying over our home or overhead as we’re driving up to Coffs Harbour.
Yesterday, we had a nice little visitor, a praying mantis which kindly posed for a photo:
It is incredibly well-camouflaged and, when it’s still, is easy to mistake for a stick. In fact, I took a third photo but deleted it because it was so hard to sort out the praying mantis from the plant!
We also got some cuttings and odd plants from a friend and these have gone berserk in the heavy rains we’ve had this summer.  We’ve had to dig out the main area of high grass as it’s swamping everything else, but we’ve broke it up into clumps to grow along the fence and camouflage its rather dingy colour.  
On the left is a pic of a flower from the Tibouchina bush we put in halfway through the year. I’ve been fiddling with Photoshop recently and discovered quite by accident how to colour in the background on photos, great fun, back in my second childhood.
And on the right is a pic of the flower which has appeared on the arrowhead plant we put in.  This has gone berserk in the rain – grown very high and sends out runners in all directions which then send out roots and start off another plant.  If the runner doesn’t send out roots within a certain amount of time, the arrowhead just withdraws life energy and the runner withers and dies.
Below are pics of the floods here in Bowraville.  We had prolonged rain but then torrential rain overnight and awoke to find the sound of a river running down beside the pavement opposite where, the night before, there had been the neighbours’ gardens.  Their houses are much lower than ours and closer to the creek which runs along the back of the town to join the Nambucca River at the bottom of our road, which produced the flooded road, bridge (yes, there is a bridge under the water somewhere) and children’s playground:
The floods were gone within a day and nowhere near as bad as those further north in Queensland or inland in New South Wales or further south in Victoria, I’m relieved to say.  Our home is on the high side of the street and up a hill, while the house itself is on a sloping block and is on stumps, so water runs underneath.  
There is, of course a lot of debate about the cause of the huge floods.  It still amazes me that so many political leaders have their head in the sand in relation to climate change, particularly in the wake of the unprecedented high temperatures in Victoria in February 2009 which led to the Black Saturday bushfires in which almost 200 people lost their lives.  Perhaps political leaders are wary about standing on the heavy feet of the big polluters like coal producers.  But the time is surely coming when these catastropic events – long predicted by climate change experts – will need to be taken seriously as part of global warming and real steps and action taken to start putting in place measures to counter global warming.

>Going batty!

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I woke up around 5am this morning, feeling a bit stiff and achey, so decided to get up and have a cup of tea.  It was just getting towards dawn so I decided to sit outside on the balcony, very comfortable since our overnight temperature was around 19C. The sky was just faintly light with a few very pale pink streaks across the eastern horizon, lovely stuff. First off I heard a cheery “Good morning” from an unseen woman, so hollered “G’Morning” back. Nice start to the day. But our early-morning exchange sparked off the fruit bats which had been lurking in the tree in our backyard. It’s just started flowering again so the bats must have been having a good feed.  Suddenly the quiet early morning air was broken by loads of fruit bats erupting out of the tree and taking off towards the east where somewhere they have their colony.  It was really weird seeing unseen bats erupting out of the shadowy outline of the tree, bats in all directions, and these are not small bats, they’re about 2-3 feet across.  Wings flapping loudly.  Bat shapes zooming around.  
I found it fascinating because these are nightly goings-on you miss normally when you’re tucked up in bed.  So I thought about the bats and the fact that when they’re at rest during the day, they hang upside down.  There was actually a big bat colony about 10 minutes from here beside the Nambucca River just outside of Macksville, the town 10 mins from here. You’d here the squeaking of the bats as you drove past – with your windows closed so you didn’t get a whiff of eau-de-bat-poo which has a truly unique and appalling stench.
I was actually thinking that these bats offer the idea of viewing the world from a different perspective, of letting go of long-held views and opening oneself to innovation and new ideas.  Then I drew a  Tarot card, as is my custom first thing every day (it gives me a perspective to consider during the day), and it was The Tower.  If you don’t know The Tower in the Tarot, it usually has an image of a person upside down in one way or another (depending on the deck) but looking very peaceful and usually with a halo of light around their head.  Here’s an image from the Thoth Tarot deck which I use:
Sometimes we get to a point where we feel held up or stuck, and often the solution is to adopt a completely new perspective on the situation.  In the above image, for example, the green colours represent new beginnings, and the two snakes – one below the halo and one at the foot – represent transformation.  So for me, it’s transformation in thinking and also in practical work.  But someone else might see it differently in relation to their own individual circumstances.
Today, for example, instead of putting off going for a walk on the beach, I got myself into gear quite early (for me, I’m not a morning person) and went down to Scottshead Beach with my husband for a walk by the sea. It’s a lovely bay, the sea was quite choppy and the beach was full of holiday makers. But it was a lovely, refreshing time and we both enjoyed ourselves enormously.

And as part of this I’ve transferred material from the blog I started on getting fit and losing weight to this particular blog, because I don’t see my ups and downs with health and weight and fitness as any separate from other parts of my life. Once again – watch this space, folks!!!

>Good support for sorting out an exercise programme

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Yesterday I saw the exercise hotshot to discuss what sort of exercise I can do to work towards getting healthy, fit and strong.  To my eternal relief and great pleasure, this was someone who understands the challenges of fibromyalgia and the need to work gradually towards good health.
He gave me terrific advice about how to pace myself, how to gradually increase exercise so as not to overload myself, and how to maintain a health diary so that I can keep track of the small increments in activity, and monitor what works and what doesn’t.
I have seen lots of advice ot those of us with fibromyalgia about getting up to one hour a day of aerobic exercise and I must say that I – and fellow fibro sufferers – fall around laughing.  That sort of exercise would leave me flat out in bed for quite a few weeks and maybe months.  For some reason, the muscles of fibro sufferers don’t recover well from exercise which is why you need to proceed very slowly and in small increments.
The exercise guy also showed me simple exercises to increase my balance and strength so that I feel more confident about being able to move without my ankle or knee or hip giving way on me.

All in all, so far, I’m really glad I signed up for this “getting healthy” programme because the support has been non-judgmental, sympathetic and entirely constructive.

>Starting to move

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As I said at the end of the previous post, I’ve been doing the visualisation I described and thoroughly enjoying it.  Visualisation is a skill of mine, so if you find it difficult, you can either persist and see if your visualisation muscles improve, or work out how to do this exercise in ways which work for you – you might hear the instructions, or feel them in your body without actually seeing the road and action.  Play around a bit and find what works for you.
For me, I’ve really enjoyed doing this and it seems to have turned up at the right time as I’ve found it very easy, as if it’s something my body has been waiting for and is enjoying.
I woke at 5 the others morning, got up and had a cup of tea, then returned to bed. At 7am I gave up, got up, had a cup of coffee (just for that caffeine bounce, you understand!) and then donned my walking shoes which I’d left out and set off for a morning walk – first time ever.  I walked down the hill to the bottom of our road, then the short distance to the bridge over the creek. The river’s running very fast due to all the rains around at present. Then I returned home.  It only took about 10 mins but I figured I didn’t want to overdo it and then find myself incapacitated.  This is often my habit: to rush at exercise, overdo it, pull a muscle or get an inflamed Achilles tendon, then find myself less active than when I started.
When I came back I did some weights exercises for my arms. Then I felt very smug and self-satisfied . Tomorrow I’m off to see the nurse and doctor at the medical clinic I attend, and we’ll see how my programme progesses.  I have decided that this year my keyword is “passion” and I’m going to be passionate about getting fit, healthy and strong.

Just to wind up, and this is probably going to sound a bit weird, I’ve put my scales away.  Looking back over my weight experiences, I realised that the times I’ve lost weight is when I’ve stopped focusing on the scales and just eaten without worrying about whether the scales are going up or down.  And interestingly, when I’ve finally weighed myself, I’ve lost weight.  So obviously, my body doesn’t like the focus on pounds and ounces, so now I’m happy to simply move my body to get fit and healthy and strong, and support my body with good food and some diet changes which I’m going to introduce slowly so I’m successful in changes rather than trying to do everything at once.