Mother’s Day is always a challenging one for me - I lost my mother 14 years ago, and have very little family around. As a result, I think of my clients and students as my family, and it’s always my joy to pass on my gifts of healing to my new extended family. I would like to invite you to join that family, too.
I want to be sure I expressed my appreciation for all the things I learned in last weeks class. It was awesome.
I had a problem with not being grounded for many years, I felt as if I was 10 or 15 feet ahead of my car when I would drive.
Guest Blog by Michelle Peterson
How Music Therapy Can Help During Addiction Recovery
Music and art can do so many wonderful things; they bring people together, they expand horizons, and they can help heal after a loss, during a hard time, or during a period of recovery from drugs and alcohol. That’s why they’ve been utilized in various therapies over the years by doctors and counselors, and it’s why so many individuals turn to creativity when they need to heal.
Music, in particular, can help bring about positive growth physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and socially. It can cross boundaries and help you find the best ways to be comfortable with yourself, as well as help you feel better. Research has shown in recent years that music therapy can help increase motivation during treatment as well as act as an emotional outlet. It can help you learn to express yourself even if that has traditionally been difficult, which may mean a quicker move toward recovery.
Read on for the best ways music therapy can help you get through addiction recovery.
One of the best things about incorporating music into your recovery is that it can help you get social, which isn’t always easy when you’re moving toward a sober lifestyle. Learning to play an instrument, for instance, can help you find like-minded friends and form bonds with people who will support you. Do some research online to find a nearby class, or head to a local coffee shop and strike up a conversation with the musicians who perform there. Making new friends is a big part of recovery and can help you make the transition more smoothly.
Staying active during recovery is essential, not just for your body, but for your mind. Exercise can help boost your self-confidence and release stress and anxiety as well as keep you fit, and all of those things are great ways to help stay on course with recovery. Playing music during your workout will help keep you motivated and will give you something to look forward to even when you’re tired after a long day.
Try something new
It can be easy to get stuck into old habits, but it’s important to break out of those when you’re in recovery. It’s essential for your wellbeing to try new things that make you feel good in a healthy way; having more outlets for your stress and anxiety is always a good thing. Taking up an instrument can help you get creative and focused; try a woodwind--such as a clarinet or saxophone--since they have such a variety of sound.
Boost your memory
Some of the issues that often accompany addiction recovery--depression, stress, anxiety, and even memory and concentration problems--can be alleviated by music therapy. Listening to classical music, for instance, has been shown in studies to relieve stress and improve concentration and focus, while putting on a song you love can help boost your mood.
Find something new to love
Having a hobby and being passionate about something can help boost your self-esteem and give you something to look forward to. It can keep you motivated even on the bad days, and it can help you express yourself in new creative ways. Choose an instrument that you really enjoy playing, or take a class that will help you explore your talents. You never know what you’ll find.
Music therapy can be hugely beneficial during addiction recovery in many ways, but you have to make sure to choose the right path for you. Whether it’s singing, playing an instrument, or just enjoying a good song, you can put it to work for you in the best way.
I am truly amazed at how many people I know or have spoken to that have either already gotten a puppy for Christmas or are getting one. Puppies are not gifts like toys. They are a lifelong responsibility. Just because they are cute and bring so much joy, the decision should be made with great care and research into what is involved.
I have two older shelter dogs, Bambi and Toby. They are absolutely amazing, calm, loving dogs who have never chewed up anything or caused any problems because when I got them they were already older, housetrained and calm. (Although in the shelter they did not seem that way) I walk them every day and am blessed to have the Nazareth dog park down the street from me.
In recent weeks, I have run into so many people who have gotten puppies. Each and every one of them complains to me about how much work they are, how high energy they are, and that they are destroying things in their house. They ask me why my dogs are so calm and well behaved. Well, first of all, I rescue older dogs who are past these young issues.
Over 60% of the dogs in the shelters get there because people get puppies without researching the breeds and the responsibilities. When they are turned in, owners claim the dog is no good, or untrainable...when really a dog is a reflection of its owner's energy.
Anyone familiar with the dog whisperer Cesar Milan knows that. He always says he "trains people and rehabilitates dogs."
In the therapy world, we know that dogs and other animals, like horses, reflect their owners' personalities and energies. So my dogs are calm because I am calm. My dogs are fit and healthy because I am fit and healthy, thanks to walking them every day.
So why are people still getting puppies for Christmas when our shelters are full of good dogs looking for good homes? Believe me, I talk to people at the dog park. Many people tell me they never had any luck with a dog from the shelter. It's not about luck, it's about patience and love. Give a dog those two things, and be those things yourself, and you'll have a good dog. Add a good diet and exercise and it will be even better.
Some people are afraid and don't understand the shelter conditions. So they say they walk a dog at a shelter and all it does is pull them...well if you were locked up in a small cage all day, every day...I'd say you too would want to run off some energy first chance you get. When I first found Bambi in the shelter she was just like that. I couldn't even control her that first day. Once she was home with us, no longer in a cage, had a backyard to run in and a regular daily walk, she was fine.
Puppies can take years to get to the point of calmness. They are like kids. From childhood to adolescence to adulthood. Stages they have to go through that take about 3 years in a dog's life. Adult shelter dogs take a few weeks to a few months of getting acclimated to their new homes, surroundings, and family.
I also often hear from people the idea that older dogs are sick and cost money. Well, let me tell you, I hear many stories at the dog park of people who get pure breed puppies, often overbred, and they start having issues and health problems far earlier than any healthy shelter mutt.
My Bambi is, a Husky/Golden mix and is about 12 years old now and has never had a health problem. My latest dog, Toby did suffer from seizures. His paperwork at the Allentown shelter said he was about 9 years old (vet said more like 6) and suffered from grand mal seizures once a month. We knew this going in. He was so sweet and gentle I knew that if we didn't take him, no one else would, and he'd be put down because of his age and condition.
It didn't happen overnight, but after a few months of trial and error with medications, we finally got him on a simple and very inexpensive phenobarbital...and he has been seizure free ever since. He just needed someone to try! Isn't that something we all need? Someone, to give us a chance?
So next time you are thinking of that cute puppy in the window, remember they are only that for a few short months...then the real work begins. Are you really up for it? Have you researched your breed to see how much exercise they need? Or are you just trying to please your children, who play with their Christmas toys for a few months and then move on to other things?
Rescue. It's worth it. It's like the dogs and cats know they are being rescued and are forever grateful. If you find your dog being a bit neurotic, check in with yourself. Dogs do reflect our energy and that of the household...meditate, it will help you both. You can download a free meditation on my website or purchase some here.
If you do decide on a puppy, do your research first. A life may depend on. Give freely to your local shelter. Check their website and see what they need. I dropped off food at my local food bank the other day, I was pleasantly surprised that I had to wait in line to do so. Let's not forget about our 4 legged beings who also need food and shelter. Donate there too.
From time to time throughout my life, I would experience contact from the spirit world. As a young child, this sometimes frightened me and my response was always a very loud and clear scream… “I’m not ready yet!” I never understood why those exact words came out of me, but they did. These touches of spirit are too numerous to write about here. They really deserve a book. I am trying to write one. Fortunately, from the day I did answer the call with “I am ready,” I’ve been too busy in my healing practice to finish writing the book. I promise it will be done by year’s end.
The incident that brought me to my current healing work is what I’d like to share today. Over the course of several years, my life was really falling apart. The sudden loss of my father when I was only 33, followed by the loss of a baby girl, my mother, several beloved pets, my two best friends, my closest cousin, my career, my farm, my retirement account and more, brought me to my knees and I told God, whatever it is you want from me… “I’m finally ready.”
Within two weeks of that declaration, my teachers came. That was 2011. I was turning 48, and in Chinese runes that is the year of transformation. I received a letter in the mail from my naturopath in Honesdale, PA. She was an elderly woman in her 70s, an herbalist, who sent an old-fashioned flyer in the mail that said she was exploring something new – to come check it out. She had a guest speaker for the weekend who was speaking twice on a Saturday and once again on Sunday.
I went to hear him on Saturday afternoon. He was a quantum metaphysician. Everything he said was resonating with me. It was universal knowledge - quantum physics. It resonated with me from a scientific standpoint, as well as the connection to spirituality. I came home and checked with my husband if I could go back and see him again on Sunday morning. He said sure, as long as I took care of a few of our Sunday errands along the way to save time. These stops caused me to arrive a little late.
When I did get there, everyone had their seats, and like most people, everybody kept an empty seat in between them to keep their personal space. This meant I had to invade someone’s area. I noticed a new woman who hadn’t been there on Saturday. She was an attractive, mid-40s, petite brunette who looked friendly. I decided to invade her space and sat down right next to her. As this man was speaking about various events going on in the world, she blurted out, “I keep hearing ‘Deconstruction Before Reconstruction.’” I turned to her and said, “Oh my God – you just described my life!” She turned to me and said, “Oh, you’re the reason I’m here.”
She continued, “I don’t need to be here – I already know everything he is taking about. I was trained by him. I live in New Jersey. Spirit rousted me out of bed this morning and told me I had to drive to Honesdale to put a woman on her spiritual path. It must be you. This is the reason I am here.”
She said we were going to have coffee after the presentation. When it was over, we went down to the coffee shop. Being hungry, I ordered a bagel and coffee. She only had coffee. Since I ordered more, I offered to pay. She grabbed my hand and stopped me. She said, “No - I know you have no money.” And she paid. How did she know that, I wondered? We sat and talked.
She really opened my eyes to the reasons the difficult events were occurring in my life. She told me it was my spiritual awakening and explained that we all sign contracts before we come here. We agree that if we don’t get on our spiritual path by a certain time, the universe must step in and start taking things away from us until we finally wake up to our calling. That’s where I was. She ‘somehow’ knew I had another house, my family home in Nazareth (which I shared with my brothers at the time while we were figuring out what to do with it.) It was closer to where she lived. She asked if we could meet there in two weeks.
I drove down the night before and slept in my old pink room and in my little old bed, even though my mother’s room with her queen size bed was open. When I woke that morning, I got up out of bed, and with my physical eyes I saw hundreds of tunnels of light coming from the ceiling as though they were tiny little cans of spotlights. All these columns of light came with a sense of calmness and peace. I wasn’t afraid at all. I simply said, “WOW, this must be really important if you’re all here to talk to me.” I actually pulled aside the columns of light and spread them so I could walk through them, leave the room, and walk down the hallway.
As I got to the kitchen, the lights were still there. Then the phone rang, and the lights sort of dissipated. It was her. She asked me, “Did your father wear glasses?” I was just waking up and I honestly couldn’t remember. He had been dead well over a decade. I explained I thought he had them later in life, but he didn’t like to wear them. She said, “Well, he just popped up next to me in the car and told me I better call you because I’m early and you’re not ready yet.” She had miscalculated how long it would take and she was 45 minutes early. I was still in my robe. I said, “Don’t worry, come on over. I’ll put coffee on.”
When she arrived and started the reading and channeling of my parents, I was amazed at her accuracy. Even down to describing my current dog, how and why I found her, and the dog she saw standing with my father which looked similar to my current dog. He was my college dog. A simple mutt. There were no pictures of him anywhere in the house since he died a year before my father did. We both loved him so much. I had always said if I found another dog in a shelter that looked similar I would adopt it. Sure enough, I did.
She also told me I was an incarnated earth angel and I was here on a serious mission. She told me that I was guided by arch angels and ascended masters. Mind you, at that time, I have never heard of some of the things she was mentioning. She told me to read books by Doreen Virtue to learn more about it.
This woman also made some predictions. She told me I would discover something new that would help many people. Now I thought she was off a bit. Me? Discover something? I’m not a scientist or a doctor.
She introduced me to very specific sound frequencies and tuning forks. I took to these immediately. There was something about them that just drew me in…like I had known them before.
I started doing research and studying the forks and frequencies and the various effects and benefits of sound therapy. I reached out to some of the big names in the field. I took several research trips to NYC to study under a Columbia University professor in Acoustical Science. Eventually, I started to develop an advanced sound therapy method, now called the Alexander Method of Vibrational Sound Therapy™.
The benefits of this therapy have been helping people in a myriad of ways ever since. From relieving and easing injury, pain, depression, anxiety, hormones, Alzheimer's, autism, addictions and more, this modality is truly miraculous. One of my favorite effects of it, though, is the increase in clairvoyant abilities and dreams.
When I was still experimenting with this modality, one evening I was wide awake lying in bed when I suddenly saw with my physical eyes a piercing white light drawing the outline of a little angel. It was like a cookie cutter made out of neon light in the air above me in my room. I felt the divine presence of an angel. With much gratitude and joy, I wept and gave thanks for this vision and confirmation.
After the outline of the little angel was finished being drawn, right next to it another picture starting forming. This time the bright white neon light was drawing a much more detailed and intricate large angel wing overseeing the little angel next to it. It was Arch Angel Michael telling me he was with me and helping me.
Since that time, many of my steady clients have experienced similar events. Two years ago, several of them asked me to start teaching this modality. It took time to put together my research, clinicals and results into a teachable format and manual. Once I did, I started teaching small groups in my home. I’m happy to say those students have gone on to be successful themselves in helping others through the Alexander Method of Vibrational Sound Therapy™.
I’m now teaching my method at larger institutions and developing a home study program. Earlier this year, I was approved for national certification and continuing education credits by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB). I look forward to advancing others on this path whether as practitioners or clients.
This article was originally published on the Awaken Center for Human Evolution website. We wish to extend our gratitude to them and suggest you visit their site.
In our first few articles on beginning a meditation practice we focused on the posture and the breath. There are many more breathing techniques besides the ones I previously mentioned. These were the most simple and effective for an early practice. (prior meditations articles)
The next important part of beginning meditation is attempting to control what the Buddhists call the ‘monkey mind’, our wandering mind of to-do lists and other random thoughts. Know that you won't always completely achieve this, and know that's OK. When you find your mind starting to wander, forget it, don’t get angry, instead forgive it, just tell it next, never mind, etc… and return to focusing on your ‘in’ breath and ‘out’ breath.
A great way to do that is with the ‘mantra’. A mantra is a one or two word phrase that you use to focus on your Breath. For example, at the Himalayan Institute where I studied, they often used the phrase “SOOO….HUMMM” . In Sanskrit, (ancient Indian text/language), that means “I am that I am”. So on the ‘in’ breath you would say out loud or to yourself…”SOOOO” and on the ‘out’ breath “HUUMMM”. You can choose any two words you want, but your mind calms itself best if it focuses on something it doesn't know what it means.
The word mantra can be broken down into two parts: “man,” which means mind, and “tra,” which means transport or vehicle. So the mantra is a powerful sound or vibration that you can use to enter a deep state of relaxed meditation.
Ohm or Aum is the most basic, well-known and powerful mantra you can chant. By repeating this universal mantra, you will create powerful, positive vibrations in your body. Chanting this, or another single syllable mantra, will help keep your meditation on track and on focus. By repeating a mantra you will also help transform the mind by creating positive mental patterns.
Some of the other known benefits of mantra meditation are:
- Reduced anxiety and stress
- Deep relaxation
- Strengthens the immune system
- Creates compassion & empathy
- Boosts awareness and promotes higher consciousness
- Heightens intuition
- Lowers blood pressure
Developing a daily meditation practice helps you to cultivate a more present, peaceful, and balanced lifestyle, which ripples out into every other aspect of your life and to those around you. Mantra meditation can help bring you back to a centered and present state of mind and being.
One of the great tools that I, my clients and students, have found particularly helpful in bringing on the relaxation and focus of the Ohm, is the use of theOhm tuner . This simple weighted tuning fork is calibrated to the sound of the Ohm, 136Hz, and is simple to use. I use this in my practice to help bring on an instant state of relaxation to my clients before we start an Alexander Method of Vibrational Sound Therapy session. I also use this at the end of a session for deep grounding.
For Meditation, you can sound this tuning fork several times in your ears to start getting yourself vibrating and chanting to this frequency. Before you know it, you will be relaxed and meditating like a Zen Monk.
I hope these techniques help you in cultivating a simple meditation practice that you can stick with and grow with. The most important thing is to show up regularly to do this. Even 5 minutes a day, everyday, will have a great and profound effect on you over all well being.
Meditation for Beginners Part III
The last few weeks I have been hosting live FaceBook events to give people a chance to learn, or re-learn some basics of meditation to start 2017 off in a calm, and more relaxed state of mind. With all the energy of the more recent currents events, we all need to find some calm, centering peace of mind amidst the chaos going on around us.
Every week we have added a different breathing exercise, gone over postures, and did a very short guided meditation with some singing bowls. Last week we added one of my favorite and useful breathing exercises…The 4-7-8 breath.
The 4-7-8 Breath is a simple, short breathing exercise that can be done anywhere and in any position. I actually use and find this practice most beneficial when I’m stuck in traffic. It brings instant calm to me in an other-wise stressful situation. It acts as a natural tranquilizer for your nervous system. Tranquilizing drugs work in the begging to calm you, but often lose their effectiveness over time, which is why you will feel the need to take more. The 4-7-8 breathing exercise may seem subdued when you first try it, but strengthens in it’s effectiveness with repetition and practice.
To start, place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the process. Exhale completely through your mouth, feel free to make a sound when doing so.
• Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
• Hold your breath for a count of seven.
• Exhale completely through your mouth, again making a sound as you exhale completely to a count of eight.
• This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
In performing this breathing technique, you will always inhale quietly through your nose and exhale audibly through your mouth. Keep the tip of your tongue against the ridge of mouth just behind your upper front teeth during the whole process. The time you spend on each phase is not important. What is important is the ratio of 4:7:8. Keep each exhalation twice as long as the inhalation. If you have trouble holding your breath, speed the exercise up, but keep to the ratio consistent. In this case you may want to adopt a 3:5:6 ratio breath.
Use this whenever anything upsets you. It will instantly relax you and allow you to react more calmly in any situation. In the beginning you may feel a little light headed when you try this. Just shorten you breathing time and soon this will adjust. You can use this breathing technique to help you fall asleep. Try it twice a day to fully reap it’s benefits.
Please join us on our live meditation training Monday evenings from January 9th through February 13th on https://www.facebook.com/LisaAlexanderSpeaker/ at 7:00pm. These are short, live meditations with instructions.
If you live in the Lehigh Valley, you can join our live group meditation workshops. Go here to learn more. We start with some simple instruction and use tuning forks, singing bowls and other instruments to put you into a deep theta state. Then I guide you through a beautiful, channeled meditation for an hour of pure bliss. You won’t even believe that you have meditated that long. When you come out of it you will go home relaxed and ready for the best night sleep ever. You can read some of my clients comments here.
Certified Meditation Trainer
Certified Master Vibrational Sound & Energy Practitioner
In our continuing series to start a simple meditation practice, we will add another breathing technique to give you more choices to work with and go a bit deeper with you focus and concentration. Before we do that, I also like to add just a little bit about stretching or exercising before you sit in your chosen meditation position.
Meditating after after a walk, workout or yoga class is a great time. You have exhausted some of the physical energy in your body which will help prepare it to sit still longer in your chosen meditation pose. Even if you haven’t had a chance to do that first, try at least to do some light stretches that feel comfortable for you before you begin your meditation practice.
In this class we will introduce another basic breathing technique called ‘Conscious Breathing’. As the name suggests, this is any form of breathing where you are aware and conscious of the breath coming in and going out of your body. This is a standard practice in Zen meditation. As the Zen Buddhist monk Thích Nhất Hạnh puts it, "Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”
The most basic form of conscious breathing is something called breath counting. The idea behind “breath counting”, is to pull the mind away from distractions and toward simple, centering presence by simply counting slow, rhythmic inhalations and exhalations. It seems simple and is very effective to keep you focused.
Start by sitting in an erect, but comfortable position with the spine straight and head inclined slightly forward. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Now let the breath come naturally without trying to influence it. Allow it to be quiet and slow, with a steady rhythm.
- Inhale deeply. On the exhale start by counting "one" to yourself.
- Inhale again and this next time when you exhale, count "two," continue this and with each exhale continue up to the count of “five."
- Then begin a new cycle, counting "one" on the next exhalation.
Never count higher than "five," and count only when you exhale. If you find yourself up to "eight," 10,12, 15… You will know your mind has wandered off. If this happens, start over at “one”. 2,3,4,5…1,2,3,4,5…it’s not always as easy as you may think.
Try to do for a few minutes before beginning your meditation.
Please join me and a like minded-community every Monday evening at 7:00pm on my FaceBook Fan page for FREE meditations from January through February 2017. We will add a new breathing technique, mantra and guided meditation each week. These are short 10-15 minutes practices that will end with some beautiful sounds of my singing bowls to lull you further into your meditation.
If you live in the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, then you are also welcome to join us for a live, vibrational sound, deeply relaxing guided and silent group meditation every first Tuesday of the month at 7pm. See my calendar of events on my webpage at www.LisaAlexander.com
Please help spread and share the word so everyone can learn and relax and de-stress.
Certified Meditation Trainer
Certified Master Vibrational Sound & Energy Therapist
By now most of you have heard or read about the benefits of meditation. Over the last few decades the medical and scientific communities have studied the practice and have obtained quantified analysis and results that prove there are several benefits to a regular meditation practice.
Meditation, it’s known benefits:
- Calms & Relaxes the Mind & Nervous System
- Reduces Fears, Anxiety & Depression
- Reduces Blood Pressure
- Improves Sleep, Mood & Emotions
- Regulates Heart Rate
- Relieves Muscle Tension
- Diminishes Intensity of Headaches/Migraines
- Balances Hormones
- Improves Cognitive Function
- Improves Immune System
- Generates optimism, self-esteem, confidence and motivation
- Enhances our sixth sense & connection to expanded awareness or consciousness.
- Produces deep states of relaxation… and the list goes on…
Meditation is a practice where an individual calms the mind and body to a still, or quiet point. This will help the mind to simply acknowledge its content without becoming identified with that content. Our minds are scattered, jumping from one thing to the next. Buddhists called this the “monkey mind”.
Meditation has been practiced since antiquity as a component of numerous religious traditions and beliefs.
The term meditation refers to a broad variety of practices that include techniques designed to promote relaxation, build internal energy or life force, and develop compassion, love, patience, generosity and forgiveness. Meditation is often used to clear the mind, as well as focus the mind. Probably the most famous, or at least “trending”, meditation practice right now is Mindfulness or Mindful Meditation.
Mindfulness was brought into the mainstream by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Kabat was Professor at MIT who was a student of Buddhist teachings and integrated them with medical science. This integration led to him developing the Stress Reduction and Relaxation Program which is currently taught and offered by medical centers, hospitals, and other health organizations.
Mindfulness, in a nut shell, is being aware of the the present moment you are in. You focus your thoughts on your immediate environment rather than on other more random thoughts. I practice mindful meditations when I walk in the woods with my dogs. I leave behind my to-do list and focus on the breeze in the air, how it feels on my face, the sounds of the birds, the smells of the forrest, etc. That is a mindful meditation. Being mindful while performing a task is another form of this, such as knitting or painting. Focusing your attention on the task at hand in that given moment brings you into a mindful state.
So if you are already doing this, congratulations! You have taken the first step in an easy meditation practice. However, I have found both personally and with my clients and students, that learning to actually quiet the mind and get as close to “NO” thought as you can, is truly the most therapeutic. I always tell my clients, “praying is talking to God, meditation is listening”.
In order to listen you have to quiet the mind of all thought.
I know this sounds difficult and almost scary…but believe me, like anything, with practice you can get there. I was a type “A” over-achiever, always on the go personality, most of my life. During the 90’s I lived in and around New York City, working as a Model, Commercial Spokesperson and eventually TV Host and Producer. I traveled the country and the world. I stayed up late and got up early, Sleep and rest eluded me. My mind always going with what I had to do next.
As we turned the new millennium, just a few days in to 2000, my father suddenly died. I was only in my early 30’s. Originally thinking I had many more years to come with him after I made my mark so to speak, this event rocked my world and brought me to me knees. I pulled my syndicated TV show from the air and moved into my vacation house on Lake Wallenpapuck to be closer to my mother to help her through the transition period.
After a year of getting her settled, I started getting restless. I went back to NYC for less than a year when 9/11 hit. At this point I made the decision to move back to my house on Lake Wallenpaupack permanently to settle down into a new life.
Besides enjoying the outer peace and quiet of nature and the wildlife, I also found the American headquarters for the Himalayan Institute about 45 minutes from the lake. There, I found my inner peace and quiet. It didn’t happen over night, but after years of studying on and off, in between working and traveling every other week down to my home town to take care of mom, I finally found it…my own meditation practice that worked for me. And you can to.
To start, let’s first discuss posture. Forget the image of a guru or rishi sitting in the cross legged Lotus position. That is just not practical or comfortable when you are starting out. Medical studies have proven that the best and easiest way to meditate is to sit in a supportive comfortable chair, feet uncrossed and flat on floor and arms comfortably at your side with you hands on your lap.
To me, the idea here is to keep yourself open to allow energy to flow through you and into you. Sitting in cross legged position, Lotus, is about circling and keeping energy within you. As an intuitive, I can tell you thatwhen you keep the energy free and flowing into you, you keep yourself open to receive information from the universe. To help this, keep your palms facing up and open to receive.
Now just breathe. Take two or three intentionally slow, deep breaths, and close your eyes.
The breath is very important in meditation. The ‘in’ breath and the ‘out’ breath helps relax the body, mind and soul, bringing with it, stillness to help lead you into transcendental states of consciousness. When you focus your attention on the in-breath and out-breath, you will find it easier to train the mind to forget the ‘to-do-lists’ of life as well as any emotional issues of the past or projected future. The in-breath assists in bringing in information from the universe as the out breath releases all that no longer serves us.
The most simple and basic breathing technique to begin with a simple ‘Bellow’ breathing or belly breathing. Much like that of a puppy or baby, you need to take a deep inhale expanding your belly, your abdominal region. Bringing the air deep down into your belly first, expanding the diaphragm, releases the Vegas nerve sending a calming sensation to your whole body. Then exhaling deeply, pushing that air up from your belly through your lungs and back out.
A good way to ensure you are doing this correctly, or to practice this, is by laying down. First, put your hands on your belly and practice inhaling deeply into your belly, feeling it push your hands up so that you know you're expanding your belly up and out, and making it wide to the sides as well. Then contract the abdominal muscles to really exhale all of that old air back out.
If you are finding this hard to do, then try to just focus on the inside of your nostrils at the tip of your nose. As you take in a deep breath just feel the sensation of the air coming in your nose and then going out. Choose whichever of these two basic breathing techniques is easiest for you to do. Pick one focus, either the rising and falling of the muscle in your abdomen or the air going by the tip of your nose, and stay with it for as long as you can.
As long as you are focusing on your breath you really shouldn’t be able to think about anything else. This is meditation. However, if some of those thoughts, to-do-lists etc, should start popping up, don’t get upset, don’t judge them or yourself. Simply release them and return to focusing on you breath. Believe me even after years of meditating every day, this still happens to me. See the thought like a balloon you are holding and just let it go. let it fly up and away and return to your breath. You could also slide it to the left to delete it, see it as a passing cloud, or have a bird fly by and take it. What ever works. Just remember that as soon as you catch your attention wandering of, forgive it, let it go and return to focusing on your breath.
This simple practice of posture and breath is the quickest,easiest way to start a meditation practice. And remember it is exactly that, “a Practice”. Don’t beat yourself up for not doing something “right”. There is no right or wrong here. Just relax, breath and begin. Start with just a few breaths each day before you start your day, or anytime during the day you feel you need a break. You can do this at your desk at work, at the dinner table before or after you eat….or anytime.
As you start to do a few deep, focused cleansing breaths everyday you will soon start to
feel the natural relaxing benefits. Before you know it your practice time will slowly start to grow.
Congratulations! You took the first step…now keep it going.
Please join me and a like minded-community every Monday evening at 7:00pm on my FaceBook Fan page for FREE meditations. We will add a new breathing technique and guidance each week. These are short 10-15 practices that end with some beautiful sounds of my sing bowls to lull you further into your meditation.
If you live in the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania then you are also welcome to join us for a live, vibrational sound, deeply relaxing guided and silent group meditation every first Tuesday of the month at 7pm. See my calendar of events on my webpage at www.LisaAlexander.com
Please help spread and share the word so everyone can learn and relax.
Certified Meditation Trainer
Certified Master Vibrational Sound & Energy Therapist
2016 may have been a year of turbulence and changes for many of you. The good news is... it is over now and it helped you release what no longer serves you so you could move forward into this new year of 2017 unencumbered and ready to create a new future full of growth and opportunity.
To quote one of our heroes, Transcendentalist scribe and exquisite thinker, Ralph Waldo Emerson, "You have done what you could—some blunders and absurdities have crept in. Forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense."
I personally stopped making New Years Resolutions years ago when I finally made one I was able to keep. It was simply that I would no longer make New Years Resolutions. Doing so often sets us up for unrealistic exceptions and disappointment when we don't meet them.
One thing I did do, which has continued to help me greatly, was learning various forms of meditation until I came up with an easy, no-nonsense meditation practice that I could realistically keep.
According to the AMA and other top medical associations, the number one underlying cause of disease is STRESS! More prescriptions are written out for stress related issues such as anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, than any other RX! These same doctors agree that number one thing to reduce stress and other diseases is to meditate daily.
Meditation has been scientifically & medically proven to:
- Calm the Mind and Nervous system
- Reduce Blood Pressure
- Improve Sleep, Mood and Emotions
- Regulate Heart Rate
- Balance Hormones
- Improve Cognitive Function
- Lowers Anxiety
- Improves Immune System
- Produces deep states of relaxation
- and the list goes on and on....
For these reasons, I feel a great way to start the new year and set new intentions is to share these simple techniques to help you better align with your true divine self this year. Come start the new year off right and join us for a relaxing evening of simple instructions to create your own unique meditation practice to carry you through the new year in peace and harmony.
You will learn how to easily quiet your mind and body and glide into effortless transient states of consciousness. Learn how various forms of meditation can help heal illnesses, create more joy, love and abundance in your life, increase your natural intuitive abilities, and connect to higher realms of consciousness.
In these workshops we combine the sound of antique singing bows and tuning forks, silence, yoga, breath, & guided imagery into both eastern and western styles of meditation, producing the greatest and easiest attainable effects.
I look forward to assisting you meet your meditation goals in 2017!
When: Tues. Jan. 3rd 7-9:00 pm ( every first Tuesday of the Month )
Where: 632 Hill Ave. Nazareth, Pa.
Cost: $30 payable at door
Contact Lisa to register: 610-759-2617 or email us email@example.com or at register at www.LisaAlexander.com FaceBook at Lisa Alexander Speaker
Can't make a live class ? Then download or buy a meditation CD Here
No matter how you choose to celebrate the holidays remember to do it with love. Love for family, friends and community. Love for your Country and the World. Include all living beings, everywhere! Whether they have two legs or four, wings or fins and no matter where they live....love them all.
We are all God's children, or children of this universe, or what ever energy source you choose to call it...bottom line is we are all one with the source of our creation. We are all born out of a love energy so powerful and unconditional that no human words or language can possible describe it. Those of you who have experienced this divine love energy as I have been fortunate to, know what I mean. It truly has no words that can properly describe the feeling you get when you experience this energy first hand.
This is a difficult time for many people and for a variety of reasons. Remember to show love and compassion to all you meet. You never know what hurt is hiding deep in thier hearts. I know for me personally this is always a hard time of year. I lost my Dad 17 years ago around this time, my mother not long after. I've lost a few other family members this time of year, including my beloved pets. So as joyous as this occasion can be for some, I know from both sides that it can bring back pleasant childhood memories, as well as unpleasant memories of loss.
In honoring the loss of my beloved dog Max last Christmas, I will be spending Christmas day volunteering at the Lehigh County Humane Society.
Last year after Max's passing I visited this shelter to make a donation of cash and gifts in the way of food and supplies, some left over from Max. Taking a walk around while I was there, I found Toby, an older Beagle Shepard mix with special needs in search of a forever loving caring home.
It took many months of trial and error to help manage the grand maul seizures he suffered from, along with his car sickness. Now that we are coming to our one year anniversary, we successfully have his condition under control and he is a normal active dog. He and my other older shelter rescue, Bambi, enjoy our hikes and playing together. We also had to teach Toby about cats, as he was never exposed to them. With some patience he now knows to leave our older cat alone, but discovered he can play as much as he wants with the new kitten that was left under our old chicken coop this summer.
Watching all of them play, grow and thrive is such a blessing. I look forward to helping all the animals in this wonderful shelter. It will be nice to relieve some of the people who volunteer there year round and allow them to be home on Christmas with their immediate families while I extend mine into the hearts of all the animals there.
Remember that the sign of Christmas is a star, a light shining in the darkness. This holiday season, be that shinning light for others. Show them the way out of darkness and into the light by being an example of love, compassion and kindness. I wish you all the very best for the season and the new year!
Thank You with Blessings of Love & Light this Holiday Season.
Lisa Alexander, LEED AP is a Quantum Metaphysician who practices Integrated Vibrational Energy Medicine™, a Certified Master Sound & Energy Therapy Practitioner, Certified Intuitive/Medium, Spiritual Teacher and Life Coach who helps people heal on on levels. She is a sought after spiritual thought leader whose has direct communication to the metaphysical realms of spirit guides, angles and ascended masters. Not aligned with any religion or spiritual tradition, she helps empower people to free themselves of physical and emotional pain, suffering, sadness, and self-limiting beliefs.
Besides being known as a spiritual guru, I spent over a decade as an environmental guru as well. This time of year the question I use to get asked the most, and still often do, is “What is the greenest choice for a Christmas tree?”
The answer is; A real organic potted evergreen tree that can be replanted in the spring. If you can, try to find an organic version because most tree farms use chemical pesticides and herbicides to protect and maintain a perfect commercial crop. These chemicals leach into our ground and water supply and pollute rivers, streams and our drinking water. The same goes for a cut Christmas tree. If you can’t afford the extra money for a potted live tree, then still try to find a responsible organic tree farm. Do you really want to bring all those extra chemicals like chlorpyriforus, a suspected neurotoxin, into your house?
Some people worry about losing another tree in the natural world if they buy a cut Christmas tree. Most tree farms replant one or more trees for every tree that gets cut down. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be able to stay in business. So don’t worry about that. Just remember that when you cut down any tree, all the CO2 it has store up in its lifetime is then released back into the atmosphere contributing to global warming. So buy a live potted tree if you can.
With a live potted tree, you need to remember that once you bring it into the warm indoors it has to stay there until the warm spring returns. If you put it outside too soon it will most likely die in the cold weather. If you just can’t stand to have a tree indoors until April, then place it in a moderately warm garage, sunroom, or basement that does not get below 40°F. For those of you who are lucky enough to live in a warmer climate, you can put the tree outside near the house and keep it potted to reuse next year. If you have no room in your yard for another tree, or live in an apartment, you can donate the tree to a park, school, church or neighbor come spring.
As far as plastic trees go, if you already have one than great, use it forever, because that’s how long it will last if you dump it into a land fill…FOREVER! Please don’t by a new one that will consume tons of fresh water and energy to make from plastic chemicals like Polyvinyl Chloride, (PVC), and then shipped from far away foreign lands. If you’d rather use a plastic tree and need a new one, look in your local thrift stores, or at freecycle.org, craigslist or ebay for a used one. If you have an old one to get rid of, donate it or sell it at any of the above places or go to Earth911.org to see where you can recycle it in your area.
Lisa Alexander, LEED AP, “Copyright (c) 2008 Green Life, Inc., All Rights Reserved.”
First published in “Connections” Magazine December, 2008
As Thanksgiving is upon us, we often start to think of all the things in our life we are thankful for:
Family, friends, our homes, pets, food, careers, etc. If everyone really understood how important it is to be grateful every day for everything in our lives, we would all find more peace and grace in the world. When we take just a few moments every day to be thankful for simple things, little things, and even seemingly bad things that teach us new lessons, we would find more joy in our lives.
When the spirit of gratitude takes its place in our consciousness, we radiate life from the very center of our being to the world around us. This is part of The Law of Attraction, but it is also about choosing love over fear. As ‘A Course in Miracles’ tells us, there are really only two emotions and all others stem from them: love and fear. Love, being of our divine spirit, breeds gratitude, joy, peace and all other wonderful feelings. Fear breeds anger, impatience, hate, and other not so good feelings.
Keeping ourselves in a place of gratitude keeps us vibrating at the higher level of love consciousness. When we do that, we attract more good things in our lives to be thankful for.
It is important to be thankful for everything! I mean everything, even what we perceive as ‘bad’. Although we might not always see the bigger picture at first, things happens for reasons. If we take the time to find something to be grateful for, even in what may seem as a difficult situation at the time, we will find peace rather than suffering.
Being mindful and thankful every day for the seemingly small and simple things in life is a great way to start to keep yourself on the path of love, peace and joy in your heart and for those around you.
On this Thanksgiving, I’d like to share one of my favorite poems from Ralph Waldo Emerson. This is a poem you can use as your holiday prayer before your meal.
For flowers that bloom about our feet,
Farther, we thank Thee.
For tender grass so fresh, so sweet,
Father we thank Thee
For the song of bird and hum of bee,
For all things fair we hear or see,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee.
For blue of stream and blue of sky,
Father, we thank Thee.
For pleasant shade of branches high,
Father, we thank Thee.
For fragrant air and cooling breeze,
For beauty of the blooming trees,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee.
For this new morning with its light,
Father, we thank Thee.
For rest and shelter of the night,
Father, we thank Thee.
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee.
I hope this Thanksgiving you find love, peace, joy in all the simple things. I hope you take time to be mindful of all the everyday beauty around you: the laughter of children, the barking of dogs, the leaves falling, the cool autumn breezes, the touch of a loved one, the smell of home cooking and so much more.
I know I am thankful for having you all in my life!
All my love,
Last week, I had the privilege of speaking in front of a large group of lovely high-level executive women from a well-known and prestigious banking institution. The topic was “Diversity of Success”.
Let’s start with the definition of Success: Webster defines Success as "the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame.” Historically, success by this definition has often been associated with very ambitious people, long hours and hard work.
This is the definition that has driven the western world for quite a few centuries. During this time, this particular version of success has been an important force. It was a driver of progress during times such as the industrial revolution. People living by this code of success, like the Vanderbilts, Carnegie, and Rockefellers, helped usher in the modern world with the railroads, steel, and the oil industries. Even Edison, who had an insane work ethic and held over 1,000 patents, said: "Success is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.”
This is not the only definition of success. Depending on where one lives, the local culture, and even the Zeitgeist (the spirit of the times when one lived), success may mean something different. Take for example the “Blue Zones.” Blue Zones are 5 designated areas of the world that have the most centurions; people who live over 100 years of age and live healthy, happy and well.
The people in these regions live simply and close to the land. Success to them is happily getting up each day to a modest life of growing their own food and visiting with other people in the community. They are not concerned with a wealth of things, but the wealth of a life.
The late Zig Ziglar was one of the most respected modern day experts on success, motivation, and leading a balanced life. In his book Born to Win!, he said that success cannot be defined in one sentence, but instead it is comprised of many things. One could argue that the definition depends on the individual and one size does not fit all”.
Steven Covey wrote in his very successful 1989 book "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” said that success is categorically individual,"If you carefully consider what you want to be said of you in the funeral experience, you will find your definition of success.”
What does success mean to me?
Success means many things to me on many different levels, but at the end of the each, success means “did I serve all sentient beings well, with care, compassion, understanding, and love?” If the answer is Yes, then I was successful that day. It is said that a truly evolved being is one that values others more than itself, and that values love more than it values the physical world and what is in it.
Many people from all walks of life are living from what can be termed as survival energy, a place of which one is only looking to get, to have, and to be served. Yet many ancient texts, including the Old and New testaments, the Qur’an, the Hindu Vedas, the Tao and Buddhist texts, tell us that one should live each day in Service to Humanity and the world. These thoughts have been further echoed across the centuries and cultures from great spiritual leaders like Jesus, Buddha, Rumi, Muhammad, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, all the way to the current contemporary spiritual leaders like the Dali Lama, Ram Dass and Dr. Wayne Dyer (who we just lost last year). They proposed we wake up each day asking, “How can I serve?” rather than the more typical “What can I get?” or “How can I be served?”
It has been often said in various ways, and from many sources over the course of history, “It is better to give than receive.” When you give without expecting anything in return, it comes back to you tenfold. I can say from experience that once you put your focus there, everything changes for the better. When you put you focus on service first, the universe will open doors for you to assist you at every level.
In the workplace, in the community and even at home, always remember to treat people with kindness and compassion. You never know what they are going through and someday it may be you that needs someone to show you some kindness and respect when you are going through a difficult time. We’ve all been there.
Being a Libra I strive for balance in all I do. If we look at our first definition of success, the one from Webster's that has been more traditionally followed by the innovators of the last few centuries, we need to also take in the success of people from the recent past who followed a more spiritual approach. Take for instance the peaceful and successful influence of Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa.
Gandhi managed to change and free a nation with nothing but love and peaceful intentions. No war, no guns, but he did have an army of sorts. He managed to have millions of peaceful followers long before there were the internet and social media.
Gandhi's most famous quote, “Be the change you want in the world.”
Mother Teresa managed to raise millions and millions of dollars for her cause to help the poor in India. She walked the slums of Calcutta and never got sick. She had a powerful belief that because she was doing God’s work she would be provided for, protected and very successful. That she was…and again…all before there was the internet.
She had this to say about money and service, “I think a person who is attached to riches, who lives with the worry of riches, is actually very poor. If this person puts his money at the service of others, then he is very rich.”
I want to leave you with these last few quotes from some of my personal ‘rock stars’ to think about.
“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things”.
“Try not to become a person of success, try to become a person of value”.
And from the Holiness, the Dalia Lama:
“The Planet does not need more successful people. The planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of all kinds”.
“Judge your success on what you had to give up in order to get it”.
I’d love to hear what your views on success are, please feel free comment.
I hoped this blog served you well,
Blessings of Love & Light
Ahh..finally after a very hot and humid summer here in the NorthEast, we are finally feeling some of the first cooler nights and morning with the dawning of Autumn. Most people don’t think of this time of year as a new beginning. Most people associate that concept with springtime when the first flowers break through the frost of late winter.