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Plane Wing by aka Kath. //

The modern airplane creates a new geographical dimension.  A navigable ocean of air blankets the whole surface of the globe.  There are no distant places any longer:  the world is small and the world is one.

Wendell Willkie

Well, maybe not my life but definitely the last month feels like it has been more in flight that on the ground.  I have been flying and flying and flying and between plane changes and 24 hour turnarounds between trips I find myself contemplating the excitement of what my next beverage will be on my next flight–seltzer or tomato juice or tea, oh my–or who my intimate plane seat companions will be.

Heading from NJ to Palm Beach in April after giving a training “Emotion In Motion: Yoga for Trauma Survivors” I sat next to a woman with a flying phobia who downed two Bloody Marys while asking me questions like, “How do you think this heavy metal can stay in the air without careening to the ground?” and “What does it mean when the plane shakes like this?”.  We discussed breathing and grounding methods, although she seemed to prefer the liquid courage to my techniques and I gave her my card, at her request, before we disembarked.

On the way back from my sister’s college graduation in NJ heading to Ft Lauderdale I found myself next to an elderly Messianic with loose teeth which, mid-nap, mid-flight, and mid-drool, accidentally lost their grip on the gums they were held to and his dentures flopped suddenly onto his shirt.  Later in the flight as we were landing he asked, “Young lady, what do you do for a living? I saw you scribbling the whole trip.”  I had been engrossed in my audio from the IAEDP (International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals) Conference and was writing down notes, apparently copious enough to rouse even my dormant elderly seat neighbor.  When I told him I was a therapist he proceeded to disclose, quite loudly, that his nephew sitting in the seat in front of us was dyslexic and had “a lot of problems”.  He also discussed the mission of the masons to give money towards good causes in anonymity to avoid accolades saying, “We do good but we don’t need or want people to know about it.”  My husband assured me later that, that is because free masons run the world; if running the world means anonymous donations to good causes then I will take more of that in the world–although perhaps with a little less of the denture mishaps.

Waiting for my delayed flight back again at the West Palm Beach airport, eagerly anticipating my Equine training in Arizona, I took a moment’s reprieve on the $1.00 massae chair tucked behind the newstand.  The 10-year-old boy gleefully “riding” the chair next to me like it was a carousel asked if I was a teenager.  I replied, “I am a little bit older than a teenager.”  The boy’s younger brother came running over and chimed in, “She’s not a teenager!  She’s a mommy! You are a mommy aren’t you?”  I tried to explain that I was not a teenager or a mommy but apparently the delineation of any role between teenager and mommy didn’t compute to the 10 and under crowd.  I left before I had to pick on category between the two.

The West Palm Beach flight finally took off and upon landing in Fort Worth/Dallas airport (the first leg of my journey to Arizona) a toddler sitting in the row in front of me lifted his hands in the air emphatically and shouted, “All done!”  Although I was not done with my flights for the day, I still had an hour wait and a flight to Tucson ahead of me I was definitely “all done” with the plane delays and the uncomfortable position of being in the person in the  middle seat which was code for “one-who-gets-no-arm-rest”.

Flying back from Arizona I met a melange of interesting characters between 3 airports and a 3 1/2 hour layover in Dallas/Ft Worth I met a woman traveling from Sierra Vista , AZ to go to her grandchild’s graduation and asked me (when I told her I was a therapist) if there is such thing as sex addiction.  I met woman flying to New York to visit her boyfriend and about to move across the country from Arizona with her children in a month to live with him on the east coast.  I met a trainer of airplane pilots who flies for free and asked me about real estate in South Florida as he is beginning to plan for retirement.  Oh, and a little British boy who had way too many “sweeties” in his system and could not stop making noises like a Halloween wind-up toy: “Wooo hooo hooo haaa haa haa!”

So I have been in a haze of rumbling engines, condensed air, tray tables, and iphone records for the past month.  Turbulence, turbulence.  Prayers, prayers.  Complimentary beverages and in-flight yoga stretches.  And passing the time with the vocal stylings of talents like Marsha Linehan (creator of DBT, zen& centering prayer enthusiast), Bessel van der Kolk (trauma guru), Andrew Weil (natural medicine titan), and the cast of the Integrative Mental Health Conference, Psychotherapy Networker Symposium, and IAEDP Conference (all great performances if you can get them on audio).  And, yes, I am a nerd.  While others are listening to jazz, country, pop, or musicals I am listening raptly to the rhythm of psychological exploration and the melody of theory and practice.  Hence the psycho-nerdish scribblings my Messianic neighbor astutely observed.

One training given, one training taken, and one sister’s college graduation attended–all respectively amazing and profound in their own wonderful ways.  I am finally just sitting back and absorbing the sum total and taking the time to breathe–between having seen a client in North Palm Beach, running to teach a yoga for trauma class in Lake Worth and then back to Delray to discuss potentially giving some educational programming on Centering Prayer (Christian contemplative practices) in my local spiritual community.

So, between trips, starting a new job, and 3 weeks of a monster of a bronchial sinus illness, the blog has been so sparse!  I apologize sincerely and promise that beyond a few new interviews on their way, some great activities I am so excited about on the horizon, I have a whole series I will be dedicating at least the next few weeks to but probably about a month in total around equine therapy, yoga, passion, and an amazing experience in Sonoita, Arizona with SHELLEY ROSENBERG, NANCY COYNE and my lovely group members for this training DEB, CATHY, and ANN.  I am excited about this new leg of both my cerebral and visceral journey and to explore the profoundness of this trot into the new with all of you!  I will begin with my first post tonight or tomorrow but in the meantime please feel free to look back at the preceeding equine posts to get in the zone :).

HORSE & YOGA POSTS ROUND-UP…

Equine Enamored: Adventures in Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy

http://myembodiment.com/2009/10/25/equine-enamored-adventures-in-equine-facilitated-psychotherapy/

Present Moment Living: Horses, Yoga, Therapy & How They All Come Together

http://myembodiment.com/2009/11/23/present-moment-living-horses-yoga-therapy-how-they-all-come-together/

Yogic Equus Part 1: Finding the Yogic in the Equine

http://myembodiment.com/2009/12/07/yogic-equus-part-1-finding-the-yogic-in-the-equine/

Yogic Equus Part 2: Horse as Metaphor for Relationship

http://myembodiment.com/2009/12/14/yogic-equus-part-2-horse-as-metaphor-for-relationship/

Horses & Finding Freedom

http://myembodiment.com/2010/01/28/horses-finding-freedom/

Q&A with Nancy Coyne, MD:  Trauma Therapist, Yogini, and EFP Practitioner

http://myembodiment.com/2010/02/28/q-a-with-nancy-coyne-md-trauma-therapist-yogini-efp-practitioner/

Q&A with Shelley Rosenberg: Horsewoman, Author, Trauma Survivor

http://myembodiment.com/2010/03/03/qa-with-shelley-rosenberg-horsewoman-author-trauma-survivor/

Breathe Deeply by creativedc.

“It is impossible to be in a state of panic and to breath deeply, slowly, quietly and regularly.  It cannot coexist.

The subjective experience of anxiety is often of being out of control.  If you deal with this by giving a patient a drug you are reinforcing the notion that the locus of control is outside.  If patients can discover that they have within them access to controls over emotional states it is a revelation.  And when you try to deal with this with an outside suppressive measure the effectiveness of the measure decreases with frequency of use. Whereas when you rely on an innate measure like this the power of technique increases with repetition.  This is the single most effective anti-anxiety measure I have come across (breathing exercise).

When I tell colleagues about it it is TOO simple.  How did we get to this state where we think the only effective medical treatment is drugs? ”

BY DR. ANDREW WEIL,  BREATHWORK Workshop, INTEGRATIVE MENTAL HEALTH CONFERENCE 2010.

BREATHWORK:

I am a huge proponent of breath as a potent healing activity and so I was excited when I got my 2 disc CD recording of the first ever INTEGRATIVE MENTAL HEALTH CONFERENCE in the mail and found an entire workshop with Dr. Andrew Weil on a biological, neurological, scientific and psychological affirmation of the power of breath for healing!  His quote above only touches on the mastery of the workshop, the hopefulness of breathwork integration in the field of psychotherapy, and plenty of rich data from the anthropological to the biological as to why breath can alleviate many of the ills we, as a society, might presently over-medicate before looking for alternate solutions.  He perfectly synthesizes above the crux of the reason why internal resources can be more potent and long lasting than chemical and external solutions for issues of anxiety.

In Dr. Weil’s workshop “Breathwork for Optimum Health” he discusses breath as the “Master Key” and I could not think of a more apt description of this tool that I have imparted to every client I see–and so, apparently, does Dr. Weil.  I feel in good company.  He stated that his simple breath exercise, similar in structure to my own, is the one thing he teaches everyone he sees.  I take clients through a breathing exercise and ask them how they feel, when they say how relaxed they feel I remind them that THEY not I got themselves to that state of relaxation.  I may have said the words but the only thing that got their body and mind relaxed was their own body and mind.  Another thing I was excited to hear resonate with Dr. Weil’s description above of the internal resources versus the external crutches that over-medicating can produce.  We have such powers for change inside ourselves which I explored in the NEUROBIOLOGY & NEUROPLASTICITY post a short while ago–we just don’t tap into that power for change for the positive nearly enough.

If I can teach one client breath and they can sleep better, calm down faster, diminish their anger in one situation they would not have had the internal resources to deal with prior then, to me, it is a valuable tool.  When I hear a COMBAT MARINE VETERAN tell me he is practicing alternate nostril breathing at home for anger and sleep or another telling me that he presses his palms together at his chest and practices nostril breathing for anxiety, both with amazing anecdotal results, then I can say that if it works for them it could work for any of us–given the chance!

If you have not tried a basic breathing practice then maybe just try listening to a quick soundbite, mp3, cd of a simple breathing technique or maybe I can outline a simple one on the site if there is interest.

INTEGRATIVE MENTAL HEALTH CONFERENCE:

Am I a nerd because I checked my mail anxiously every day awaiting it’s arrival?  Answer is: yes!  But I was waiting all last week to receive the INTEGRATIVE MENTAL HEALTH CONFERENCE recordings as I could not make it to the conference but I wanted to imbibe every moment of the rich material with speakers like Jon Kabat–Zinn, Dr. Weil, Amy Weintraub and many other academics, researchers, and practitioners in the field of integrative practices for mental health and wellness.  The CDs, which contain 40 hours of material, are a rich and hopeful array of work in this field and an inspiration of what is possible within the field.

The conference was made up of social workers, nurses, doctors, psychologists and psychiatrists and was sold out weeks before the event.  If this doesn’t show the hunger in the health and mental health field for treatments outside of the scope of what western medicine is capable of then I don’t know what is.  It shows that this field is burgeoning and that more professionals than ever before are integrating holistic approaches into the course of traditional treatments they already provide.  The point of INTEGRATIVE is not to get rid of anything just to find the perfect complement of what is being done and what else can be added to the equation for more effective results for a whole person: mind, body, and spirit.

The recordings are phenomenal and I recommend them to any professional in the healthcare field or any person interested in a variety of treatment approaches for their own health–body and mind.  The conference sessions can be purchased as a complete set or a-la-carte per workshop for $15.00 per session.  Each one has a dense collection of material and each presentation gives a variety of resources where you can learn more about the practices discussed in the lecture–a lovely bonus.

A few of the amazing lectures included:

  • The Psychoneuroimmunology of Resilience, Optimism, and Hope
  • Mind-Body Medicine: Clinical Hypnosis for Medical and Mental Health Conditions
  • Transforming Your Mind: Meditation and Neuroplasticity
  • Spirituality and Mental Health: Paradigms and Evidence
  • Deficiencies in Omega 3-EFAs & Substance Abuse Mechanisms
  • Creating the Chemistry of Joy
  • A Vision of the Future of Integrative Mental Health
  • Lifeforce Yoga: Empower Your CLients to Manage Their Moods

Can you see why I was in love with these CDS?

For more information on the Conference & The hosting facility ARIZONA CENTER FOR INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE: http://integrativemedicine.arizona.edu/integrative_mental_health_conference.html

For more information on the recordings go to: http://www.conferencerecording.com/aaaListTapes.asp?CID=IMH10


Maybe it is the New Year creeping in, tax season on the horizon, or the fact that my husband and I are having to forgo Christmas presents this year due to low finances, but I found my mind swirling around the fiscally pragmatic today. 

Another reason money and money woes are on my mind is that I found this amazing Integrative Mental Health Conference in Phoenix in March with the likes of Andrew Weil, Jon Kabat-Zinn, and Amy Weintraub on mind/body healing approaches in mental health–jackpot–and I cannot even conceivable afford to go. 

And it makes me wonder, in this shaky economic time, when jobs are not certain and the stock market even less so, how can anyone afford enlightenment?  I  look at wonderful educational centers like Kripalu and Omega, places where I find enriching workshops weekly that make me salivate cerebrally just thinking of them, but there is no way I could afford the accommodations, airfare, and then coursework costs to attend. 

The saddest part yet is that I am a graduate school educated person with a moderately well salaried job (for my field of social work, which is considerably underpaid as a whole).  So, if I can’t afford enlightenment, enrichment, and the coursework to a more centered self, more soulful life, deeper yoga practice and life path then what about everyone else?!  (Yes, I do believe that moment deserved an exclamation point, please don’t be offended by my virtual shouting).

I received a lovely email from a graduate school social work professor in the midwest last week and we had a rich discussion regarding complementary therapies, yoga as therapeutic, and the potentials for training the young soon-to-be-therapist minds of her students with a curriculum that included yogic practices. 

I was so hopeful being able to be a participant in such a discussion.  It gave me hope that one day affording enlightenment and having accessable mind/body healing practices will not be just for those few who have the cash for the expenditure of a flight and a long weekend away or even those who can plunk down upwards of $20.00 on a yoga class. 

In a world in which mind/body techniques are effectively integrated into therapeutic practice and graduate schools might, conceivably, be churning out eager minds well-versed in mind/body and yogic techniques then this kind of enlightenment, these tools of self-care and self-soothing might just be accessable to everyone.  And it could be billable by therapeutic businesses as a therapeutic activity. 

Now this day, on a mass scale, may not be tomorrow but I believe steps towards it are happening today.  Through motivated and passionate persons like the graduate professor who are willing to impart this learning to a generation of students, with curriculums wide enough to allow for these discussions to be had, in therapeutic workplaces open to trying the programming, and studies on these subjects continuing to bring more efficacy to the field this new journey of healing is beginning. 

My hope is for a future in which an affluent benefactor (kidding, well sort of) could fund my dream project: non-profit holistic therapeutic centers that would incorporate mind/body healing, animal-based therapies, and somatic psychotherapies all under one roof.  The more people I meet with like-minded passions the more I feel this hope may one day be attainable, whether for me or for someone else.  In the meantime I guess I have to hope for a temporary benefactor to pay for me to go to the Integrative Mental Health Conference, or just resign myself to the fact that for now I just can’t afford enlightenment. 

Stay tuned for the second part of YOGIC EQUUS at the end of the week. 

Also, much thanks to www.itsallyogababy.com for listing me among her favorite posts of 2009 and to http://www.cirkla.com/newsletters/112209.htm for listing my blog among the many wonderful yogic bloggers of the blogosphere! 

 

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