The Journey Continues

As part of my holistic journey I have found sound therapy to be beneficial to the management of my chronic pain caused by Fibromyalgia, this sound has taken the form of gong, tuning forks, crystal bowls and drumming whilst also practicing yoga, Reiki and more recently joining a Zumba class. I would not have believed that I would have been able to participate in a dance fitness activity following my diagnosis in 2014, when I was walking with the aid of a stick. I have always maintained that I will keep on fighting this, exploring activities that I feel will benefit in assisting my body to heal itself. I believe that a lot of my healing has been a reaction to the sound and rhythm allowing the very cells of my body to absorb and be agitated, bringing them to life; it makes me smile, I feel happy and with that, energy seems to flow and the pain melts into the background.

I have always been interested in how our ancestors dealt with health conditions using herbs and natural therapies to alleviate pain and health conditions often administered by the wise elders of the indigenous groups around the world. Something that I feel, we have lost in our modern society of technology, stress and burn out.
This has led me on to the path of Shamanism, learning to feel the connection between nature, mother earth and my whole being. Rhythmic drum healing is a very ancient therapy that has been practiced for thousands of years by many cultures to promote wellbeing and healing using the natural law of resonance to restore the vibrational integration between mind, body and spirit.

I could not believe my luck when I was offered the opportunity to birth (make) my own Shamanic Drum in a one day bespoke workshop which was held locally.
Prior to the day we were asked to source a piece of wood to use as a beater, so during the storms and following the blizzards a couple of months ago, I wandered along the seashore and found a beautiful piece of drift wood, which I felt was perfect for my drum.
I attended the workshop with a mix of excitement and apprehension, after being so poorly at the start of this year with a chest infection and chronic fatigue, I knew that birthing a drum was going to be very special. I would be creating this wonderful tool for healing and it would be taking place on the full moon.

There were five of us attending the workshop, our first task was to select our 16 inch rounds of wood than had been handcrafted to form the frame for the drum.
It’s really strange when you sit and think about making a shamanic drum for yourself, I really wanted to feel that I was in touch with my ancient ancestors, the night prior I had not had the best of nights sleep and had been very restless so arrive feeling a bit jaded.
We were invited to select our deer skins that were outside in five buckets, Phil had had spent a lot of time in the days prior, preparing them for our use. He explained they were all different sizes. I selected the last reamaing bucket, this turned out to be the smallest skin.
At first I felt I little bit of disappointment, but then realisation that envy is something that I need to work with, I was starting to discover that my little deer was going to teach me some very valuable lessons in life. We started to connect with our drum, by some shamanic journeying which is similar to a deep mediation whilst a drum beat is played, we did this at various stages throughout the workshop.
After cutting out the circle to make the drum from the skin, we were asked to make the umbilical cord to lace it all together, from the same piece of skin. There was a concern that I would need to use an additional skin as my hide was quite small. However I ended up with about so much cord, I had a lot left over after I had laced it, my second lesson from my little deer, just because something is small, it does not mean that it cannot generate a bountiful supply.

Later we following the Shamanic tradition walking in single file, stepping in each other’s footsteps, while Alex drummed for us, making our way into the woods. We came to a large tree and then took it in turns to test the strength of our umbilical cord, which we had taken with us. We were asked to lean back and take the strain of the cord to see where it breaks, having completed that ritual, we returned to lace our drums.
This was the most challenging part of the process, I discovered you need a lot of strength to lace the back, to ensure the face is kept taught. I think this was the time when I felt most connected to the process and started referring to the drum as her, I don’t know how or why, I just knew. After a fair bit of effort and some help from Phil I finally birthed my drum.

I have been taught that great patience is required both during the making process and the need to be allowed to completely dry before being played, each day I kept going to look at the change in the colour on her face and eager to hear her first sound. Her markings are similar to looking at the moon, I see pure beauty; the significance of birthing my drum on a full moon is being able to use the strong energy as a very positive opportunity and illumination to the world.

Two weeks later, on the new moon when an energy portal is opened up to bring in your good intention and manifest healing energy, I knew it was time to hear her play. The sound that she gives out is so very special, I feel a very deep connection to nature, to my ancient ancestors and also to the spirit of the deer coming through the drum.

Earlier this week, after a particular challenging day, I picked up my drum, sat out in the garden in the evening sunlight and quietly played, letting the gentle rhythmic beats flow through my body, quieting my mind and bringing loving healing energy to my soul. I feel truly blessed, and so the journey continues……..

 

If you would like to know more ~

About birthing your own drum please contact  Phil Rowe Drums

About Sound Healing Sally Free ~ Sound Therapist

 

 

 

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Dance to your own rhythm

This is me………………………………I am starting to emerge from wherever it is, that I have been lying dormant, waiting for this moment.

Life has been a bit of a struggle the last couple of months and I been battling with my health, not necessarily Fibromyalgia, but a lot of chronic fatigue and issues with coughing and the infection in my lung. Having had all the tests and the medical profession finding nothing to report, I had a bit of a déjà vu moment, in 2014 the day that I got my Fibro diagnosis, the life changing label. Only this time it was different. Nothing to report, no diagnosis, no further treatment. I was going to have to find my own way out through this again… I still had the cough, I still had the exhaustion and I still wanted to feel well again.

Having not been to a yoga class for 5 weeks, I decided now was the time to try to find a different sort of yoga, having been practicing a similar type of yoga since my fibro diagnosis, I wanted a more dynamic class, but one where I could still do my own thing, if all became too much.

Well I found it and the venue has a heated floor as well, luxury. It looks out onto the lush green valley side and whilst practicing you have the sound of nature; the screech of a buzzard, the chatter of nesting birds and a small brook babbling away. The class is so different from any other yoga I have taken part in, it is more active with options given for each pose. The session starts with mediation and breathing, which flows on into and through the practice. At the end of the class I feel more energetic, grounded and at peace with my body, mind and soul.

With my new found energy, I also decided I wanted to try out a new fitness class, I’m not a gym bunny and the ideal opportunity arose with a Zumba class. I went to the first session before I had my chest infection, and then unable to attend due to lack of breath for some weeks, I have now returned and I love it.

The fantastic movement that Zumba allows, even for those suffering from chronic pain is that you do what you can and what you want, within your own range of mobility. Even my lack of coordination doesn’t matter, my feet are often going the wrong way, but who cares there is no one watching; well at least I hope not! Apologies to those lovely ladies who end up behind me.
I think I shocked a few people at first, when they heard I had been to a Zumba class, “that’s fast going isn’t it?”, “you be careful” and “wow that’s amazing”. Yes it is amazing, and no matter how young or old you are, or feel, you are given a warm welcome and there are no judgements, your body joins into the rhythm of the music and it becomes contagious. After the class a few of us may even head to a local hostelry to replace our lost fluids!

I gradually started to feel better, the more I stretched and exercised my lungs, through walking, yoga, Zumba and a bit of light digging in the garden, the more the coughing ceased, my lungs felt more open and the tiredness began to evaporate. I even noticed that I danced across the lawn when the sun was out last week! I have started to feel more alive, energised and ready to absorb the new wonders that are awaiting me whilst I continue on this magical journey of self-healing, soul expansion and enlightenment.

I believe, if you really want to do something and improve your quality of your life, you just need to give it ago, do it your way. Listen to your own body, let your breath be your guide in dancing to your own rhythm, do what is right for you.

‘Dance like nobody’s watching.
If you sense they are, let them make eye contact and smile, show them that your soul is free.’

 

Want to find out more, please click on the links below

Yoga Loveliness                    Zumba – Shake it Fitness Devon

 

My recent blogs

Behind the Mask

The Crystal Healing Bed

 

 

The Power of saying NO

I had just returned from a whistle-stop trip to Italy, which I knew would be a challenge as traveling and in particular flying can be tiring, at the best of times, but with a fibro body, you need to be able to pace yourself and avoid stress.
In the past I have been a very nervous flier often gripping the seat or arm of the adjacent passenger. Lucky for them, I have been managing my stress and fear, I managed to remain calm even when we hit some turbulence on the way home, it was all good, I practiced my yoga breath and used it as a form of mediation, at one point I thought we had already landed when the undercarriage went down. TRE (trauma release exercises) have definitely contributed to my body’s ability to reduce the stress meaning, no pain.

On my return home, I did not feel well enough to go out for a walk with my husband and the dog. I knew I needed to sleep. I was not feeling any pain, just extreme tiredness and I knew going for a walk would make me feel worse. So Dog and husband went for a walk without me, I slept. I felt better. Result, all I had to do was say ‘No’ there was not an explanation required.

‘No’ is a complete sentence, it does not require a justification. It is the most empowering sentence that you can ever use. At first you feel guilty for saying it and try to explain your rationale. It’s even harder with friends and family, they give you a look, you then end up backing down, and agreeing to something that you don’t want to do, that can often impact your mind, body and spirit.

The result that this can have on your health can be catastrophic. I have learnt from experience, it is not easy to say ‘No’, but once you start it does get easier.

I have always been quite easy going and happy to go along with things, and even though I might not want to do something, rather than say so, I have gone along with it for fear of upsetting anyone, and in the process made myself feel ill and then complained that I wish I hadn’t done it.

Living with a chronic pain condition requires you to pace yourself……….easier said than done, particularly when you are having a good time and feel better. In the early days of my diagnoses, I did not think it possible that I would ever have good days and feel well. If I wanted to something special, like going for a night out, I knew that I would have to weigh up the fact that I would feel really poorly for 3 or 4 days after the night out. It was always worth it, but then sometimes you have a really good day and do more as you feel well and then the next day you have a relapse.
I thought I was invincible and everyone kept telling me to pace myself, I thought I knew best, then burn out!

A couple of years ago, I was walking with a stick, sometimes I didn’t need it, on the days when I had paced myself. They were good days. Then I would do a bit more than I should have done, the pacing went out of the window and the stick started to became an indication of a good or bad day. As Fibro is a hidden illness, on stick days friends, family and colleagues could tell it was a bad day. However on good days, because I didn’t have my stick, some people got the impression I was well. They did not realise the effort that I had gone to, to walk without a stick.

It still takes a lot of determination and I still have to make sacrifices and battle with my body to ensure that I use effective pacing, to stay pain and medication free. Learning to stay ‘NO’ has been the biggest tool in my Holistic healing journey, sometimes it has been really hard and difficult, not to justify why I am saying No.

I like Bruce Campbell’s description of The Energy Envelope

To use the idea of the energy envelope, think of your situation as having three elements. The first is your available energy. This is the energy you have to accomplish things. It is limited and is replenished by rest and food. The second is your expended energy, the energy you lose through physical, mental and emotional exertion.

The third is your symptoms, fatigue, brain fog, pain, and so on. In this view, if you expend more energy than you have available, you will intensify your symptoms. This is called living outside the energy envelope. An alternative is living inside the energy envelope.

If you keep your expended energy within the limits of your available energy, you have a chance to reduce symptoms, and over time may be able to expand your limits.

Life is not a rehearsal, this is it! Why waste your time doing something you really don’t want to do. Take control of your life. Learn to say NO and start living inside Your Energy Envelope.

Recently everyone has been telling me I look so well; I feel amazing but it takes a lot of effort and I continue to attend my weekly yoga practice, my monthly gong baths, I fill my life with people who make me laugh and smile and avoid the energy vampires (those people who leave me feeling worn out, as they feed off my energy to make themselves feel better). Sometimes you need to be selfish if you want to get your life back.

Try saying NO, it could really be the starting point to your own empowerment.

 

I am going to enjoy this!

 

I recently met an inspirational lady who has really changed the way I see and do things. Earlier this month I had a text from a yogi friend who gave me the heads up, that we would be doing laughing yoga on our usual Friday yoga practice. As a lady who had come into her shop to buy an ice-cream, had ended up leaving her, agreeing to show us the practice of laughing yoga!

 

I had heard of laughing yoga, but had not ever had the opportunity to try it out. So it was with great anticipation and excitement that I rocked up to yoga that Friday, ready and willing to laugh my socks off. I should point out at this stage, that my long-suffering yoga teacher Virginia often has to become a bit stern with the Friday group, as we are a bit raucous and exuberant with our energy on Friday mornings,  that she has to try to contain the naughty ones that can be very disruptive. (naturally that’s not me, as you all know I am very quiet and unassuming!!!!!).   

 

I met Kirti the lovely laughing yoga lady on route to the studio and immediately warmed to her wonderful aura. Once we were all settled she explained about the benefits of laughing yoga, and when she told us of her age and some medical conditions she had; I was blown away by this passionate and extremely well looking lady. There is definitely something in it. Her positive attitude shone through.

 

We started off the session by clapping and saying ho, ho, ha, ha, ha and then went through some various exercises that had me in hysterics, including greeting each other and talking gibberish, it was hilarious. My face hurt so much from smiling and laughing.

 

Kirti explained that we often go through life with a copy and paste attitude. Each day we have a habit of copying and do the same things from yesterday and end up filling our lives with stuff, without any time to Just Be and Notice……. That really struck a chord with me. I now make sure that I take time out to just be and notice the little things, even if it is just to change the way I do things.

 

By nature we tend to always clean our teeth with the same hand. TRY THIS…….clean your teeth with the opposite hand, not only does it clean your teeth differently due to the change in angle, but it is retraining your brain away from default and then try standing on the opposite leg from the one that is cleaning your teeth. I nearly choked on the toothpaste as it started to make me laugh.

 

Oh what Joy………the blissful sound of laughter, the smile, the feeling, the great energy it creates.

 

You want to keep your brain active? Get a note pad and on the right hand side jot down the numbers 1-10 with that hand then on the left hand jot down the numbers 1-10 with your left hand and then write the number one next to the number and two and so on with right and left hands then progress onto sentences….in time your non dominant handwriting will look the same. I still have a long way to go, my brain is getting a full work out. It is a great form of meditation.

 

At the end of the session we sat back to back with each other and started to slow our breathing down and back into a calm state. This was so hard, I carried on laughing so much it made me cry! I left that morning with a spring in my step and a smile on my face. I had a few weird looks whilst walking around the supermarket, if only they knew what I know! Oh how they may be able to enhance their lives.

 

Later that evening, I started to giggle, my husband asked what I was laughing at, which make me laugh even more, so much so that I became hysterical and couldn’t speak, as I was laughing at the fact I was laughing about nothing, that made me laugh even more. I felt great, I even laughed away the pain that I got in my side from laughing so much. It must be good for you. When you breathe out and laugh you empty all the stale air from your lungs, it’s a proven thing, try it! It’s really difficult to breath in when your laughing…..  

 

 Kirti has this amazing Mantra that I have started to use:

When faced with challenges in life, as we all are; instead of facing it head-on with fear and dread. Take a deep breath in and say to yourself, I AM and as you breath out slowly say to yourself GOING TO ENJOY THIS.

 

Go on, try to live your life differently, change the way you think, stop copying and pasting, tell the people who matter that you love them, let the little things make you smile and most of all, laugh and enjoy life! 

 

 

Want to know more about laughing yoga, please contact ~ Kirti Sharma   www.bodymindlaughter.co.uk
Come to the amazing yoga studio, please contact~ Virginia Compton www.holisticyogasangha.com

 

 

My Holistic Fibro Fighter Blog