During my divorce in the late '80's, I took a bad fall off of my bike and injured my left hip. I likely cracked the femur, and developed a dinner plate-sized nasty bruise, and, over time, an equal-sized inertial point of scar tissue in that area. The fall also caused micro-tears and "permanent" misalignments systemically. It has been tended to over the decades on a regular basis, through various modalities, and for the most part has been quite functional.
Presently I am in the process of editing and revising a book I have written about how to heal and develop resilience, agency and empowerment after having an abortion. I am pro-choice.
My family knows my abortion story, including my youngest brother. Yet, it was inadvertently disclosed to me very recently, by another family member, that this brother has been spreading vitriolic hate about women who have had abortions. I could go into his state of being, but this story is not about him.
The abortion I had in my early twenties was with my high school sweetheart, whom, after the abortion, I would marry.
After learning of the insensitive actions and speech of my youngest brother, my old hip injury went spontaneously into excruciating spasm. It felt as if the injury had just happened. I hobbled around for nearly a week, as it slowly improved. During this time I received bodywork from Hakeem, a talented practitioner, and we naturally focused our attention on tending to this old wound.
As a bodyworker, I am aware that the left side is the feminine side, and the hip area is about support and movement. What arose in Hakeem as we were working, was the awareness that this injury was about shame. That felt right to me. We tracked and made connections with the internal imagery that arose within me during the session.
We both were aware of how the color that arose in my minds eye, as he was working with the ligaments in my hip, tracked medially into my solar plexus. The color that arose deep in the wounded area of my hip was yellow, and the color of the solar plexus chakra is yellow. The solar plexus chakra is about personal power.
I was being shamed, once again, because another wanted to destroy my personal power. This is the same thing that is happening culturally around abortion access, presently.
During my walk this morning, spontaneous memories arose of experiences I had with my father, my father and my wasband (ex-husband) together, and my wasband's behavior shortly after I left him.
When I was a girl, I nurtured a seedling maple tree and we planted it in the back yard. Also, when I was a girl, I babysat so that I could pay for my own clothes, and so that I could buy art supplies; sketchbooks, charcoal, colored pencils, watercolors, canvases, brushes and oil paints. I ended up being awarded art-related scholarships to college to pay for parts of my education.
When I came back from college one summer, my father borrowed my then boyfriend's chainsaw to cut down the tree I had nurtured from a seedling. No one asked me how I felt about it. Another summer, I returned from college and found that my father, without consulting with me, had thrown out all of my sketchbooks.
About five years later, I left my then husband, after he started beating me. I took what I could, and left the grandmother clock and cedar chest he had built, because they were his. Yet, when I returned to collect paintings I had created in graduate school, I found that he had thrown them all away without asking me.
Though we had been together for years prior to the abortion in 1979, he had left the decsion up to me completely, as he did with all big decsions. Looking back I wonder if I had had the child, which of us would have been discarded without consultation by my father and wasband; the child or me? Or both of us?
I'm walking without physical pain now.
Hope this finds you and yours well.
Here we are entering our third month of physical distancing. A benefit of this situation is that it has given us time to ponder and explore many things we normally don't have time for.
I promised a video to help you manage aches and anxieties at home; you'll find it below. During the first demonstration I am pressing my feet into the floor, and my hands together. I take my breath into my perinium, or root of my body.
Notice my demeanor as I begin. I'm stiff and preoccupied with having just set up the new mic and video to record. But as I demonstrate movements to you, my body and demeanor relax and become more engaging. This is what happens for all of us in our animal bodies.
Let me know if you need more explanation about anything I share here. I always use the foam roller on the floor. The two types of balls I mention, but didn't demonstrate, are called Melt Balls and Yamuna Balls.
Soon I'll be sending out a newsletter with information about when to expect re-opening of my practice. The newsletter will also include safety guidelines we will be required to observe. I have noticed these are different for Maryland and Virginia, curiously.
During our physical distancing time, I've also gotten a license to practice in Virginia. More about this at a later time.
I hope you've found this video helpful.
Take good care of yourself.
P.S. In process of creating my first online course on Body Wisdom! Stay tuned!
Damsel: Oh dear! I don’t know how to turn this room full of straw into gold!
What ever shall I do???
Rumplestiltskin: Never fear! I know how to help you!
But, I’ll need you to provide me something of value for my help.
Damsel: Of course! Here is my necklace in return for your help!
Damsel: Oh no! I have to turn a bigger room full of straw into gold! Will you help me????
Rumplestiltskin: Of course. But again, I will need you to provide me with something you value in exchange for my help.
Damsel: Yes, of course. Here is my ring.
Damsel: I’m so distraught! I have to turn an even bigger room full of straw into gold. Alas, I have nothing to give you in return for your help.
The little imp gets to work on the huge room of straw turning it into gold. When finished he notifies our heroine that he requires her first born child in payment. Horrors!
Our damsel is beside herself, learning of the horrible bargain. Rumplestiltskin offers: If you can guess my name, you will be released from the bargain. Our damsel employs the help of her community to learn the name of the strange little man. One of her allies hears Rumplestiltskin, as he dances around his fire, singing out his own name! Her ally returns with the news, and shares his name with the damsel.
When the little man returns for his due, after the birth of the damsel’s child, he is furious when she guesses his name. For in doing so, she breaks the horrible spell. At that moment Rumplestiltskin stomps his foot, and instantly splits in two.
Unfortunately, the process of restoring health can feel as impossible as turning straw into gold, and as harrowing as this story. And as in any house, all rooms need to be tended to.
The price to be paid here, to have assistance with transforming our relationships, again may be paying a professional for their guidance/talents. On a deeper level, it is the payment of relinquishing a way of being with others and ourselves that was uncomfortable at best, and dysfunctional to varying degrees. The former way of being is traded for new awareness and new behavior that can generate “golden” relationships and emotional health, which also contributes to improved physical health.
The “spell” of the bargain is broken. Rumplestiltskin, the mysterious little imp, stomps his foot in anger and is split in two. The illusion of power over our damsel is broken. The veil of illusion split in two. You have earned the right to keep your own new life: no one else ultimately has authority over you.
After you’ve taken a few deep breaths, close your eyes and gently revisit a time of moderate challenge for you. What feelings do you remember? Sadness? Fear? Loneliness? What ever those feelings were, notice what happens in your body, being with the memory.
What happens? Does your breath become more shallow? Do your chest and shoulders constrict? Whatever it is just notice what affects it has on your body...your breathing. Now gently let that memory go.
What do you notice in your body? Does your spine begin to straighten? Do you feel your heart in your chest expanding? Do you feel your energy rising? Does a smile come to your face? Enjoy the memory, then gently let this one fade too.
Example: Not too long ago, one of my clients was lying on the table telling me how afraid she was of injuring herself again. Yet, she didn’t want to give up on the activities she loves. Who could blame her? In that moment I was reminded of the teachers who encouraged me to listen to my intuition...”it’s going to rain, bring your umbrella” ......”slow down, you don’t know what’s around that corner”...You know, that still, small voice within that is constantly looking out for you?
I wondered if my client was consciously aware of the value of listening for that inner knowing? We explored this during her time on the table, and I could sense she hadn’t really tuned in this way previously, even though she is quite a conscious person. She later reported that the shift in her attention toward listening to that still, small voice is helping her honor her limits. It’s keeping her safe.
My client had come to resolve the effects of a previous injury to her body, which was being tended to, during our session. During the treatment, fear arose, which she gave voice to...there was a lack of trust in herself, physically and relationally, because of the accident she had experienced. Through my sharing of the importance in bringing more attention to the “still, small voice” as trusted inner guidance, she later saw that was able to trust that she knew how to keep herself safe. She became more empowered.
Healing is a multidimensional process. The process of restoring health naturally takes committed tending to body, emotions, relationships and spirit. Through the process you are likely to become adept at transforming any “straw” in your life into a golden opportunity!
Earlier in the week the temperature reached seventy degrees. Cycling along the C&O Canal, the shadows of trees and saplings fell east across the tow-path. My tires bumped over a camouflaged black snake lying parallel to the shadows. Adrenaline pumping as my bike halted and prayers began for the wellbeing of the snake. It's head held up, dusty tire marks left midway through its four-foot length. Toward the head, graceful curves of its body remained, while the length of the tail expressed shock. Prayers continued for the well-being of the snake.
Since it was a weekday, there weren't many folks on the trail. Still, my intention was to protect it from any other mishap, not knowing if it could move itself to safety. Gathering fallen branches and praying, barriers were built parallel to the snake on either side. It's head raised and aware of my movements the entire time. Just as awareness came to me that there was nothing more to do, the snake slithered off down the bank toward the river, with all parts moving smoothly, though probably sorely, to safely. Overjoyed, my prayers stayed with this symbol of transformation for much of the ride.
Praying for the snake, was praying for myself. The moment the incident happened, awareness that my action had perhaps adversely affected a manifest symbol of transformation put directly in my path. It came to awareness that my actions were adversely affecting my transformation: so prayers for the snake were prayers for me.
On Friday morning, a business coach emailed a consulting offer that was appealing. As the day went on my resolve to take her up on the offer wavered: the cost. Before bed that night my experience with the snake on the canal flashed into my mind. Certainty that taking her up on her offer would be of benefit became clear. Still; finances had me frozen. Checking the mailbox the following day, there appeared an envelope from Toyota. A class action law suit had been settled. Attached was a check that would cover the amount for the business consulting fee. Pay attention.
There was a girl born with many talents......
Solomon's Seal and I upon boulders
betwixt bubbling streams
absorbing rays through Spring green.
Luscious scent of Russian Olive
Locally, though receiving little press, Maryland midwives are fighting for their right to exist. Over the last few years there has been a nation-wide effort by the American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology (ACOG) to take away the rights of CPM’s to attend births resulting in more than a few local seasoned midwives to have charges brought against them for practicing medicine without a license. These wise women are being terrorized for practicing their livelihood, and are in fact threatened with loosing their ability to practice and provide this sacred work to mother’s to be.
Regardless of whether or not you would consider the services of a midwife to support you in your own life, increasing numbers of women, as they become educated about the effects of medicalized childbirth on their own health and that of their newborn, are seeking out the support of these women. The World Health Organization supports midwifery as the most sensible choice to insure best outcomes for mother’s and babies. In fact, 26 states already license CPM’s to attend home births. Our state government, spurred on by ACOG, is seeking to limit the choices women have to give birth.
As a woman who supports women in rebuilding their health and along with it, their sense of being empowered persons, I urge you to sign the petition on the site; Maryland Families for Safe Birth Petition. And if so inspired, please write your legislators as well, at Maryland Families for Safe Birth. This is an opportunity to shape the future by supporting empowered births, empowered women, and consequently their families. YOU!
With love, Angela
The following is something that is not well edited, nor complete in it's aim. I just had to get this out, as my heart and brain were screaming. I will begin with the caveat that I do appreciate western medicine in times of crises, so I am not bashing allopathic medicine....but critiquing inappropriate and corrupt application. Comments are welcome.
My mind these days keeps wandering back to the book "Woman as Healer", by Jeanne Achterberg. As well-researched, well-funded interests spin the mass-media they own to be champions of the very few, while less well financially resourced communities are forced to their knees, circumspect reflection raises questions. The fundamental question is what is driving this distortion of what is Real? Fear of being annihilated, of course. Annihilation of wealth and lifestyle, and of their very existence. Ironically, this very fear that is motivating the most unscrupulous, heartless behavior on massive scale, is the unhealed wound that will ultimately topple them. History has shown again and again and again, that actions by a privileged class motivated by fear of the populations their wealth is generated from ultimately destroys the privileged class. It is tragic, to say the least, that the vast amounts of soul healing resources and good will available to heal this fear, is, itself demonized.
This fear of lack, ironically, seeks to ensure a lavish lifestyle for the very few, devoid of a sense of collective responsibility, at ultimate cost to countless others and the very earth that supports humanities, and indeed, many other creatures' ability to exist. Well-researched and well-funded interests have created what is known in our times as Spin Doctors. Spin Doctors are paid to pit one segment of society against the other to benefit the interests of their Multinational Corporate Financiers. These individuals and corporate "personhoods", otherwise, and in other circles, known as hoodlums , without conscience, construct scenarios, manipulate language to create mistrust, fear of other, and foster strife for profit.
I've just returned from a meeting in Baltimore of Maryland for Midwives. Now, some of you might think at this point: oh, this doesn't concern me. Think again. Suppose you had an emergency at home and an EMT were called. They came, tended to you, and advised you that in their estimation, you should allow them to take you to the hospital. You feel the situation has been resolved, and refuse to go. If at this point they were to cart you off to the hospital anyway, against your wishes, that would be kidnapping.
Now, suppose you are a woman about to give birth. You chose to give birth at home. All the medical/insurance personnel insist you give birth at hospital or you won't be covered by your insurance, or they will refuse to treat you, against your free will. After all, women since the beginning of time, have always given birth at home, or in the field, or wherever. What's the difference?
Some of you may know of the home birth midwife who was charged with and convicted of a felony earlier this year? She was put in jail for a week, without being tried. She was brought into the courtroom in an orange jumpsuit and shackles on her wrists and ankles. Doctors have had many babies and mothers die. Does this ever happen to them? The numbers show that hospital mortality rates for infants and mothers are way above those for home birth midwives.
Last week I heard through a doula client of mine that another beloved veteran, home birth midwife has had her license revoked. Today I have heard of a third. All in practice for many, many years. All the student home birth midwives I know are terrified to practice now, as things stand. Make no mistake, there is a "witch hunt" going on, designed to take this option off the table for families who want it. It is the single most empowering right of passage a woman goes through. Back to my first sentence, where I mention the book "Woman as Healer". History shows that in desperate economic times women are persecuted, excluded and prosecuted for sharing what they know, for supporting those who value their knowledge and wisdom. We are in those times again. It is time to look at your choices people. Who and what are you supporting by where you choose to spend your dollars? Are you aware that you pay for "health insurance". It comes out of your pay. Where does it go? Does it support the people with whom you trust your health, your child's health?
Please click on the links in red, for more detailed information.
I look forward to seeing you soon!
Over the years, my experience as a massage therapist, herbalist and Maya abdominal practitioner, has shown me a great need among those who come to me: the majority are starving for a way to nurture feminine spirituality. The spirituality of Being; the balance to the spirituality of Doing. Feminine spirituality is not the sole domain of women. It is an aspect of human spirituality that has been devalued over millenia, creating imbalance in our relationships and consequently on the planet. You may be interested in arranging a mini retreat for yourself if the following narrative resonates with your experience: Plant Spirit Healing.
My own journey has led me from a traditional judeo/christian odessy to an embodied, responsive, direct relationship with the Earth, our Source. The journey has been long and arduous, and it continues. There are many tools I have come to know that have enabled me to walk many dark nights of the soul with a modicum of grace. As I continue to witness those who come to me in my practice, I am called to offer the fullness of what has sustained me through many a dark night, with those who are seeking the way back to them-Selves; back to inner peace, to their authentic gifts and life purpose. And so I offer these quiet, conveniently local, mini retreats in response to this calling. The structure of the retreats are the result of a co-creative process between your goals and my skills. The mini retreats may focus on fertility issues, sustainable wellness or deep soul work. They may be private, semi-private or small groups. And they are local, so there is no need to make elaborate travel plans, arrangements for pet sitting, nor pack and unpack. Just come with what you need for the day, and go home to sleep in your own bed, rested and refreshed.
I have found that my work primarily supports four types of seekers:
Why do I kiss Her everyday? Because she loves me! She is everywhere! Why do you feel better when you are out in Nature??? Because She is loving you most deliciously then. And when you are no longer afraid to be curious about Her, and touch Her, and listen to Her, She will give you EVERYTHING YOU NEED! (And I love men!)
What prompted this effusion of adoration?
In recent conversations with many of my clients, a deep ache was expressed by all of them: Where do I go to nurture feminine spirituality? This surprised me, since I have been honoring this aspect of my Self since the late 1980's. I just assumed somehow that She is known to my sisters. Yes, in some circles. But not all.
It occurred to me why this must be so: Many of them are at least 10 years younger than I am. Or, they haven't until now, felt the calling to search deeply for what is True for women. This means they started searching for help after insurance companies began disallowing coverage for psychotherapy: the place where I became aware that Divine Feminine exists at all. Perhaps this earnest search is a beneficial outcome, springing from challenges our collective dysfunctional excesses are forcing to sprout? As a dear teacher of mine often says: challenge/benefit?....same/same.
Recently, I have been searching for a way to share what I know from having learned how to listen to Her. In an exercise I undertook, the following topics arose as ones I could expand upon in my offerings to my clients. In the spirit of community, co-creation is what I most desire. I want to share with you what I know, resources to support you, and a place to chat about all of this. I ask you now: Which of the following subtopics would you most like to learn about? I invite you to leave your comments, thoughts, dreams, desires around all of this!
May the Goddess be with you. ♥