17 November 2015

The "Healing Hour"

(Photos today from the Andes. This are the scenes we see from 14,000 feet 
when we make our 4 hour journey to the airport in Guayaquil, Ecuador.)

How are you all feeling? Are you feeling the weight of the world these days? This world of headlines. And shootings. And ISIS. And planes going down. And attacks right and left. And refugee families. And hate for humanity. And continued inequality for so, so many.  :(

In my lifetime, it feels there has never been a more pressing time for LOVE and ONENESS with each other globally. There has never been a time when passivity and silence are no longer passable options. This is a time for outreach to the vulnerable; for us to see others as our own; for our voices to be heard; for our light to shine; for us each individually to send our vibration of LOVE into this world. It feels as though our current and future generations depend on it. 

To vibrate with love, my friends, I've learned it takes INNER HEALING FIRST. It takes INNER PEACE. 

Because how can you have the energy to help another when your energy is already drained completely by facing your own life? How can you use your voice if you do not have self worth that can stand alone? How can you feel at one with bold, courageous Love if you are crippled by fear? How can you contribute to world peace if you, yourself, are consumed with hate or anger or aggravation towards any human being?

There was a time in my life when I couldn't do ANY of these things.

Today, may I suggest a ritual that can help us all to heal, deeply. And if it helps you, trust me that it will help to heal the world, too.

It's called A 'Healing Hour'. 

Danny and I have been doing this as often as we can for the last few months. We learned about it from our wonderful holistic practitioners. It's ideally one hour a day set aside for YOUR INNER HEALING. It's designed to help you to face this world with arms wide open. Selfish, one might think? A full hour? Really?

Yes. Because this world needs our peace. 

Yes. Because our ability to love courageously depends on our inner strength.

Yes. Because our emotional stress and fatigue will lead to disease of the mind and body. 

Yes. Because it can transform our marriages, our families, our work.

Yes. Because there's only so much news and screen time a person can take. 


Here's what I've done recently during my Healing Hour:

-Meditation. This is no joke. It seriously can change the state of your energy in 10-15 minutes. Research is proving this again and again. But I think it's helpful to find the type of meditation that speaks to you. (It's like finding the right therapist. :) Personally, I get the most fully engaged and moved by guided meditations with music. My favorites currently are meditations by Belleruth Naperstak. And I'm dabbling with the Oprah & Deepak Chopra 21 Day Meditations. I know others prefer silent meditation, like the teachings of Vipassana (which I also HIGHLY recommend.)

-Yoga. We're still doing the free Youtube classes with Lesley Fightmaster, who is completely lovely. Our bodies have never felt better and we always feel so centered and full of intention and love when we do it. Sidenote: Her classes should be called "Love Your Butt Yoga" because it won't be long before you will love your butt. Not a bad side effect of The Healing Hour. :)

-Quiet Time. This one is recommended for 30 minutes a day. It's a time to rest with no input or output. I mean - 30 minutes. This one is HARD for me. Which means I probably need it the most.

-Music. I'm so deeply moved and healed by music - especially when it has a powerful vibration. Sometimes I just sit and close my eyes and soak it in. My retreat guests know these are two of my favorite healing songs: Mother Divine (Devi Prayer) and a mantra song called Ong So Hung, which means: "That Creative and Divine Force...I Am That." Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

-Essential Oils. I'm trying to use oils more often for aromatherapy, as a way to ground myself. I've been using Frankincense and Palo Santo during meditation and yoga. Rose or Orange Blossom (Neroli) all day every day because they're my favorites. Lavender for moments of relaxation. Orange or Lemon, for rejuvenation.

-Deep Tissue Massage & Body Work. Touch is SO healing to me! And, well, massages are very affordable in Ecuador ($20 or $30). So I've added this into my routines as well as some trigger point body therapy that is supposed to help align the body and release any emotional blockages in energy flow. I literally feel like a cloud after one of these treatments.

-Sitting in the Sun for 20 minutes (for Vit. D). Gah! This is one of my favorite things to do now! I swear, I barely saw the sun for over a decade while sitting at my desk and scurrying around amidst skyscrapers. So now I'm trying to make up for it. And that 20 minutes of sun seems to go straight to the bone. I'd say it's done wonders for my wellness!

-Brain Hemisphere Synchronization. This one is brand new to me and it's actually one of my favorite things on this list! You listen to specific sound waves. And they help to synchronize the two brain hemispheres, helping you to be happier, more optimistic, clear minded and more energized. I've been listening to this one (by Robert Monroe) with headphones and I can't believe what an effect it has.

-Sauna/Steam Bath. There's a hot spring spa that we go to here with hot pools, saunas, etc. (Similar to the Korean or Turkish Baths in NYC.) I feel RELAXED FROM HEAD TO TOE when we go.

And all this from a girl who used to work an insane amount of hours in NYC with hardly a second dedicated to health or well being.

A few readers said this about their self care rituals:
  • Terrel: "Rocking chairs on the front porch can do a body good." Ah, yes! 
  • Rebecca: "I take Essential Oil Baths. Perfect to cleanse, meditate, and relax. I use the Serenity Oil from Doterra." My dream. By far one of my favorite things to do.
  • Quinne: "I don't think you'd like my ideas of binge watching Netflix and drinking Diet Coke. :)" Haha. Love it. That's a start.


OK, friends, are you in? Do you want to try this? Does it seem impossible or guilt inducing? What would you love to do for an hour? Write a comment below and let us know. Even if you pulled this off once or twice a week, it would be an amazing thing. Certainly our bodies and minds need this. And the world needs us. So how about this: let's support each other in doing this. When you do a #HealingHour, take a quick pic to email to me so I can share it with the community here. 

With Love,

Mara

P.S. Our new mentoring/coaching practice has been growing and we've been LOVING it. For all of November, we're offering 2 for 1 mentoring sessions (by Skype, GoogleTalk, phone, or email). And if you don't love the session, we offer your payment back in full. Sign up HERE.

26 comments:

  1. I love all of these suggestions. I feel like I'm STILL on a high after the retreat in October and feeling the positive effects of it so I haven't done as much meditation and healing as I should be. I need to start adding some of this into my daily routine though because all of it sounds amazing. I know that giving myself a healing hour would do wonders! Always love your posts Mara!

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    1. Tiffany dear - - - reading your note made my week! SO, SO delighted to hear the retreat vibes have been carrying forward. You're not the only one. :) I'm just so thankful that you and so many others have experienced it.

      And yes - see if you can get something new into the routine. It's such a triumph to do it! Another thing I didn't add was just doing "presencing work" to realign, to get yourself back to the present - where your true identity can flourish and where virtue can dwell - free from our ego and lesser identities. While the Healing Hour is just one hour - the idea is that it's training so that you can eventually be in the present moment throughout the day.

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  2. I'm in! I've been doing a 20 minute meditation daily from Oprah/Deepak and sometimes I have to listen to the daily message and "meditate" while on the elliptical or while running in order to squeeze it in but I'm on day 15 and that's the longest I've carried out a daily practice other than prayers. I'll take my hours however I can squeeze them in daily. You can pencil me in for a per-scheduled 1 hr massage tomorrow. Boom. Wednesday healing hour - check!

    This is great Mara. Such such heavy stuff happening and the holidays/cold weather can bring on gloom even without all the horrible news. Thanks for the post. I heart it ;)

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    1. YOU ROCK!!!! Hooray for meditations. It's so powerful and worthwhile - also so hard to make a habit. So high five for getting it in when you can. You are such a force of good in this world.

      And - oh my - if I could wave a magic wand, I'd get you here for a massage in two seconds. Sending all my love! And feeling grateful to be united with you on this path. XOXO

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  3. I love the suggestions here and would like to be able to spend an hour a day, but it feels impossible with young children. Oh gosh, and all the things I should/could be doing with that time! It seems I can only find time at the end of a busy day for quiet time or mediation and I fall asleep every.single.time. 😀

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    1. Ahhh.... Amy!!! You dear mama. I can only imagine that moms every where feel the same. If any moms see this and have good ideas, chime in!

      The only thought I've had is to perhaps do a healing hour (or 1/2 hour!) as a family - even with kids. ?? I know that is easier said than done. I do know of two families that meditate with kids, but they're probably in the 5-7 age range. I know you've got itty bitty kids, though Perhaps there are some kids meditations out there? I bet there are! I know Positive Psychologists have been making progress with getting meditation and mindfulness activities into schools. Anyway, GOOD LUCK! And so much love to you.

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  4. What a beautiful idea! I've put it on my calendar. I, too, am a big fan of guided meditation. And naps--do naps count as no input, no output, or do you need to just lie there with your eyes closed? Looking forward to trying the brain hemisphere balancing, a nice bath, and the yoga videos you recommended!

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    1. NAPS! Haha. For many, I'm sure that could be the most healing type of hour ever. Certainly sleep is so crucial to wellness - more than everything else I listed. I'd say if that's where you need to start, go for it. Though ideally, the idea of the "Quiet Time" is more about being awake and sitting or laying - with your mind at rest.

      And ENJOY a nice bath!!! I crave that so much.

      Also, I can't help but share that for years I used to crave a nap like nothing else - and would literally want to crawl under my desk and sleep. I thought that was just kinda normal because a lot of people are like that. Though later, I went off gluten and basically haven't needed a nap since. I now am much more investigative if I notice something is off.

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    2. Hmmm...maybe I should go gluten-free and see if it helps? Because I do feel like I need a nap on the daily. Worth a shot!

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    3. Raven - yes - it's worth a shot investigating what could be the issue. Other things these days are also super common - like thyroid issues or Vitamin D deficiency or sugar addiction. These could lead to fatigue, too. But gluten is certainly a massive reason people feel fatigue. I had the energy of an 8 year old when I went off it. Though you do have to go off it 100% cold turkey for it to make a difference. If someone is sensitive (or has Celiac), even the SMALLEST amount can have an affect, which can last in your system and cause symptoms for even months. Also! If you can, I would recommend getting tested for Celiac before you go off gluten. The test is only accurate if you have had gluten in your system for months. This way you'll at least know if you have Celiac. And then you can still explore going off gluten to see if it has an affect on your fatigue. GOOD LUCK!! And don't give up on getting to the bottom of it. It's life changing to feel like you have energy again. XO

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  5. Haha...so I love Leslie Fightmaster and have been doing her classes for over a year now...and funny you should mention it because my husband has definitely noticed a firmer rear on me. ;) And because of you I've also done some of Bellaruths' guided meditations and enjoy them as well.

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    1. HIGH FIVES!! You're amazing. So cool that you've been doing yoga. I think it's such a triumph to make stuff like that happen in this busy world. And so glad you're enjoying Bellaruth! XO

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  6. Ive been trying SO hard to be more mindful of how I'm feeling throughout the day and I love this idea. I pushed myself too hard for too long and the end result was anxiety that I'm still in the processor working through. Oy. I've also been doing the deepak meditations and another thing I've started doing is Coloring!! I got a beautiful book and a good set of colored pencils and it is so relaxing and therapeutic for me. And bonus! it's something I can do with my kids. I want to start having coloring time with them where they color in their books and I have mine and we chat and its low key and restful for everybody.

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    1. The coloring sounds BRILLIANT! Thanks for sharing that. I keep reading about adults getting into this - and I'm completely intrigued. It reminds me of when I used to crochet when I was young. My mom taught my sisters and I and it was the most relaxing / rewarding thing to sit there and crochet.

      I used to have anxiety as well - which I think cropped up due to 9/11 and also a very insecure marriage. I know the path is different for everyone, but when I started on a healing path with all this mindfulness stuff and a changed diet - the anxiety and fears literally went away.

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  7. Seriously, this list is AMAZING! Thank you so much! I love love stuff like this, and you put it all nice a concise in one place so I can look into the stuff I haven't tried. I have a question about Brain Hemisphere Synchronization. You say it's had a great effect on you - what effect have you seen? I'm wondering if this could help a child focus on schoolwork?

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    1. Ah, thanks, Erin! So nice to get your note. So - the Brain Hemisphere stuff is wild. I'm no expert on it - but for me it feels extremely engaging for my brain. Meaning, it's less likely that my mind will wander to other things. So it's truly a mental break, which makes it really effective for meditation. My naturopath said it helps you to go to deeper levels of consciousness. I feel extremely relaxed while listening to it (I think it's about 45 minutes). After, my body practically feels like I just got a massage because it's just so relaxed. And then it seems my mind is extra sharp right after and in the days following. I'm not sure how often one might need to re-sychronize. I need to ask about that. I'm still learning about it all. Though currently I've been doing it once or twice a week as a meditation. My practitioner says this is so effective for him he does it once a day.

      Also, I am guessing it could help with kids! I wish I knew more about it. I know there are TONS of brainwave audios out there for different things - and many are designed specifically for listening to while studying or reading as it sharpens the mind while you're doing it. They have some for sleep as well. Anyway, I'm fascinated by it all and hope to learn more.

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    2. Erin - today I asked our holistic practitioners and they said that absolutely YES - kids can benefit GREATLY from the brain wave sounds. In fact, they said kids are even more receptive to it and it can have an even greater affect on them. They did mention there are some extreme cases in which it wouldn't be recommended - like if someone had epilepsy. So if there's any severe illness, maybe check into that further. Otherwise, it would be an amazing tool worth trying.

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  8. Thank you for asking them, Mara! How is this done? Do you lie on your back and concentrate on them, or can you put them on as background music? The easiest way to do it for us would be to turn it on in the morning while the kids get dressed and make beds. But if it's not as effective as, say, putting on headphones, lying on backs, and closing eyes, then I'll see how else I can incorporate this. How do you use it?

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    1. Hi Erin - so YES - they are designed for headphone use - as there are different sounds and vibrations coming into each ear.

      A couple of other websites to check out: www.brainsync.com, www.brainwavepowermusic.com, www.brainworksneurotherapy.com.

      I saw this article about how and when to listen:
      http://www.brainsync.com/how-and-when-to-listen.html.html.html

      And this article about brainwaves and kids:
      http://brainwavepowermusic.com/blog/blog/are-binaural-beats-safe-for-children

      There is also a phone app called Brain Wave.

      As I learn more, I'll try to pass along any more info. I'm pretty new at this. Though I know they even have centers where you can go and reset your brainwaves - they have technology that will actually respond to your actual brainwaves and adjust accordingly. It's extremely expensive in the states (i.e. $5k) but there's a center in Cuenca run by an American who moved here and I think it's $1,200 or so.

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  9. I'm also really curious if you can use it while sleeping. My kids' weak point is waking up in the morning and getting going. I homeschool them, and I really need to find something to help them focus in the morning. Mornings are a pretty big drag right now. I'd love to be able to slip some headphones on them at the crack of dawn just before it's time to wake up and see if that helps them.

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    1. YES! They have many designed to play while sleeping. It would be fascinating to see if it would make a difference with your kids!

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  10. Love this list, I'm going to bookmark it to come back and absorb everything in here. I have been doing a I Love Myself mantra every day (from the book by Kamal Ravikant) and have to say that over the past week i have felt more calm and assured that everything in life is ok. I would love to have an hour to lay in the grass and absorb the earth's healing energies and feel the sun's rays.

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  11. love love love. my sweet yoga teacher told me when I finished my yoga teacher training in July that it would be a big life change for me, and it was: I quit my full-time job in October, and am teaching yoga now along with a few side jobs--both to keep the lights on, and because I love, love, love the work!
    Healing hours are HUGE. (seems like they should come with a "use with caution" label... transformations can be big!)

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  12. I loooove this post. I especially want to try the yoga. I went to her site and see that she has so many yoga videos. Which videos would you recommend for the "Love your butt yoga?" : ) : ) : )
    How long have you been doing her yoga videos?

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    1. Yay! I think you'll love it! So - we've been doing the 90 Day Yoga Fix (I think that is what it's called.) Even after 1 week, we could tell a difference in our bodies. I couldn't believe it. We started w/ her videos last fall I think. Of course we have missed a lot of days, but we're still coming back to it. The biggest threat to the routine is travel! After traveling for an extended time, it's harder to get back to our routine. Though luckily we do make it back eventually. It helps that we both want to do it... (so thankful for that part.)

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  13. Appreciate your response! Going to check it out now. Thanks so much! : )

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