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 Christmas Old Fashioned

Does your chest tighten and heart race, just thinking about the next few weeks? Do you wonder how you’re going to get everything done? Are you already dreading having to spend time with certain people? Are you worried about your finances?

No matter what our religious beliefs, December in America can run us through the gamut of emotions-love, joy and happiness, if we’re lucky, but also loneliness, anxiety, guilt, resentment and frustration. Just when we need it the most, we may also find ourselves not taking the time for our health and peace of mind.

Here are a few suggestions to make sure that you and your loved ones are able to enjoy the love and fun that the season promises and that you have time for spontaneity and to experience truly meaningful traditions.

1.  Take a few minutes to go back in time to 3 of your most beloved holiday experiences. What elements made it so special? Have you had any similar times in the last few years?
2.  Make a list of your top values and desires for this time of year.  To spend time with friends and  family, to show  generosity, to connect with your spiritual community, to have time for reflection  and for renewal?
3.  Now look at your to-do list and your calendar.  Are your desires reflected in your plans? Have you actually booked downtime?
4.  Now cross out everything that isn’t going to help you experience your truest desires.  Add back in time to get outdoors, listen to music, have a massage and visit some friends you haven’t seen for a while.
5.  OK, back to the list. . . of course there are some things that just have to be accomplished, but slow down and instead of viewing the holiday period as one long season, Wayne Dyer, in Holidays: How to Enjoy the Christmas & Hanukkah Season to the Fullest, suggests making every little facet a special experience. Be present and appreciate the acts of gift wrapping, decorating, and baking. Take in the aromas, sounds, textures and colors. Try to see it all again with the wonder and awe of a child.
6.  Don’t expect or even attempt perfection! Enter into the festivities with a light heart. Have you laughed out loud lately?
7.  Show by your example that it is not necessary to do anything for love and acceptance, starting with yourself!


My Gift to You-a Holiday Time Out Stress Relief Session

$25 off a one hour session (usually $85).  Available in my Corona, CA office or for those of you further away, Skype and phone sessions are equally effective.

Call  951-268-4280 or email (Use by 12/23.)





Is Anyone Touching You? ( I mean physically.)

My strongest visual memory from my first class in psychology many years ago is a photo of some very sad, pathetic looking baby monkeys who were fading away, with “failure to thrive” because their “mother” was a wire mesh feeder,  instead of a warm, soft one. Researcher Harlow found that they valued being touched even more than a full stomach.Harlow cloth

We humans need touch to thrive, too. Touch is our first sense to develop, as early as the first 3 weeks in the womb. It is also the only one of our senses that is reciprocal. As a human mother cradles, nurses and strokes, her newborn her baby is affecting her, too, stimulating lactation, releasing pleasure and bonding hormones and even aiding her body to recover from the delivery by contracting the uterus.

With the number of single people increasing in America through divorce, postponement of marriage and widowhood many of us go long stretches without even a hug. We hear much about the need for sexual fulfillment nowadays, but the physical need for tactile stimulation is even more basic and primal. Fortunately, there are increasing offerings for somato-sensory experiences in most communities, at least if one has a budget to pay for a professional touch, like massage therapy and other modalities. In urban areas, one can even find groups created to provide safe environments for mutual cuddling, “Cuddle Parties.”

According to Hal and Sidra Stone, the developers of Voice Dialogue, our vulnerability is one of our first parts that we suppress, usually by the age of 5. We learn at a very young age that we get made fun of when we act “needy.”  We learn quickly to project an independent image to the world to not show how much we still would love to be held and nurtured.

Physicians rarely touch patients anymore, except to check pulse rate, certainly never for comfort or reassurance, and therapists are well-trained to restrain from physical contact with clients. With such an ingrained touch-taboo are many of us not thriving, just due to something as simple as needing a hug? Americans are spending millions on prescriptions and natural supplements. Maybe we just need more touch.

I have been rereading Where Healing Waters Meet: Touching Mind & Emotion through the Body, by Clyde W. Ford.

Touch is our first language. Touch is our one reciprocal sense. We cannot touch another without being  touched ourself.

Ford provides academic backing for the reminder on bumper stickers to “Give someone a hug today.”








Wild Animals have Gained Weight, Too!

fast-food-eating-animal-1-640x360A fascinating article by David Berreby in Aeon, takes a fresh and scary look at a lot of evidence that obesity may not simply be “the result of a lack of willpower and an inability to discipline eating habits.”

Many scientists who study the biochemistry of fat and the epidemiologists who track weight trends  ”believe that personal gluttony and laziness cannot be the entire explanation for humanity’s global weight gain.”

As the American people got fatter, so did marmosets, vervet monkeys and mice. The problem may be bigger than any of us.

Berreby questions-In placing the blame for the obesity epidemic on individuals has our society continued in the same vein as Bruno Bettelheim’s blaming  autism on mothers with cold personalities and blaming natural disasters like tornadoes and earthquakes on sinfulness?

“History is not kind to authorities whose mistaken dogmas cause unnecessary suffering and pointless effort, while ignoring the real causes of trouble. And the history of the obesity era has yet to be written.”


Feel refreshed and relaxed in 20 minutes!

–and you don’t need to be a practiced yogi or meditator to enjoy the benefits.

You don’t even need to go to a class or pay a teacher with today’s audio downloads and smartphone apps.  All you need is a place where you won’t be interrupted for a short time and it can be done in any physical orientation (sitting, lying down, or even standing. Through guided imagery, breathing and body scanning, you submerge yourself into a restful, healing state that is a unique combination of alert awareness and deep relaxation-yoga nidra. Your brain waves slow to the alpha state or even theta, where you are able to tap into your subconscious mind and source of intuition, creativity and healing while remaining aware and conscious.

As you scan your body and explore sensations, emotions, and thought patterns you will be guided to move back and forth between feeling and witnessing, observing without responding, as your nervous system unwinds and comes into balance.

Through the integrative process that that balances the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, it quickly relieves anxiety and slows the fight or flight response. Stress hormones are reduced, blood pressure and heart rates decline and the metabolic system slows down.

Since Yoga Nidra has been shown to reduce levels of stress, hostility and anxiety in chronically-ill patients, veterans and school counselors it has been integrated into a program to treat vets with PTSD.

The benefits credited to Yoga Nidra practice include both psychological and physical-

  • Relief from insomnia
  • Reduction of depression and anxiety
  • Elimination of phobias
  • General improved well-being
  • Lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Improvement in immune system function
  • Pain relief
  • Asthma relief
  • Reduction in insulin dependence in diabetics

Celebrating Life after Cancer

Are you or a loved one a cancer survivor? If so, then you are getting ready to celebrate National Cancer Survivors Day, the worldwide Celebration of Life, held the first Sunday of June.

Many people have found that life after a cancer diagnosis can be meaningful and even more satisfying and enjoyable. Survivors often experience the crisis as a major turning point in life’s journey.

Research shows that survivors of serious illnesses usually demonstrate these 3 characteristics-

1. They have a sense of Purpose.

2. They are connected with People.

3. They feel that they have Power in their lives.

Do you have this “tripod of self-healing” supporting you right now?

Treatment schedules, side effects, financial issues, pain, and statistics can be very stressful and disorienting.  Your hobbies probably are the last thing on your mind. Instead of reaching out you may feel like withdrawing from friends and loved ones, and that you are at the mercy of the medical profession and your prognosis.

Scan through your life history. What has energized you the most? Is there something you have always wanted to do? Maybe you have almost forgotten.

Cancer as a Turning Point, by Lawrence LeShan, PhD, tells the stories of many individuals that started living life in new rewarding ways and actually experienced greater freedom and awareness after a diagnosis of cancer. Not only is the book inspiring, but it offers a wealth of practical, easy to do tips to create a rich and meaningful life.

He and his patients explored these questions-“What are your special and unique ways of being, relating, creating that are your own and natural ways to live? What is your special music to beat out in life, your unique song to sing? What style of life would give you zest, enthusiasm, and involvement? What has blocked your perception and/or expression in the past?-with amazing results!

I am facilitating a new group at the Nourished Health Center on  Thursday evenings, starting June 6, 6:30 pm, to create on-going supportive PEOPLE connections and to learn new tools for EMPOWERMENT. We will explore our lives to rediscover and rekindle PASSION and PURPOSE and find relief from the burnout from illness, stress and treatments. I hope you’ll join us!

Life with & beyond Cancer
-Cutting edge mind/body tools, resources and support


To register go to or call or email Victoria at951-268-4280,, $5

If you won’t be able to join us, I highly recommend the following books-

Anatomy of an Illness: as Perceived by the Patient, by Norman Cousins

Anti-Cancer: a New Way of Life, David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD

Cancer as a Turning Point, by Lawrence LeShan, PhD

Guided Imagery for Self-Healing, Martin Rossman, MD

Individualized private sessions are also available in person or Skype.

Life beyond/with Cancer Meetup Starting

Life Beyond Cancer

Cutting edge mind/body tools, resources and support

Thursdays at 6:30, Starting June 7

Nourished Health Center, 1740 Marion St.    Denver CO   80218

Research shows that survivors of serious illnesses usually demonstrate these three elements-

1. They have a sense of Purpose.

2. They are connected with People.

3. They feel that they have Power in their lives.

Our group will create connections, while we learn new tools to empower ourselves. We will look at our lives to discover and rekindle passion and purpose and find relief from the burnout from illness, stress and treatments.

When you fully regain your sense of purpose, people, and power, you will look at your diagnosis of cancer as a turning point. It can actually be an enlivening experience with greater freedom and awareness.

We will draw upon cutting edge resources and the following books-

Anatomy of an Illness: as Perceived by the Patient, by Norman Cousins

Anti-Cancer: a New Way of Life, David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD

Cancer as a Turning Point, by Lawrence LeShan, PhD

Guided Imagery for Self-Healing, Martin Rossman, MD

For directions and to RSVP go to-

Kicking the Habit by Rewarding Yourself

Years ago I heard a parable of a guru who told his student that while he meditated he should never think about the RED MONKEY. Of course, although he had never thought of a red monkey before, that became the image that kept coming into his mind. Research has now shown that signs that prohibit smoking actually activate a craving to light up. Just think of all the negative messages that are everywhere intended to promote public health. In The Power of Habit: Why we do what we do in life and business, Charles Duhig states that habits can never be eradicated, they must be replaced by something that is equally rewarding.

Do you have a habit you want to kick? When you first feel the craving begin, pause a few minutes and get in touch with what you are really feeling. Are you just bored? annoyed? stressed? lonely? Whatever you are reaching for is what you use to mask what you truly want. Once you have identified what you are used to masking, the next step is to make a list of other ways to satisfy or remedy the uncomfortable emotion. Will power is rarely strong enough to create a new pattern. Once you have figured out other ways to relieve stress, or boredom, or loneliness and made them readily available in your schedule and surroundings, you just might find that you are naturally smoking less, exercising more, and enjoying life more fully.



Shame is at the Core!

This powerful TED presentation by Brené Brown on the effects of shame in our lives is well worth watching. The experience of shame is at the foundation of most of the negative reactions and behavior we see in others and wish we didn’t see in ourselves.

Brene Brown: Listening to Shame

Having Trouble Sleeping? Don’t Take Pills!

In a recent study, which “compared 10,529 people who received prescriptions for sleep aids with nearly twice as many people with similar health histories who did not take sleeping pills, researchers found that those who had prescriptions were more than four times as likely to have died during the study’s 2.5-year follow-up as those who didn’t take the drugs.” Not only that, but they group had a 35% increased risk of cancer.

I always offer my clients sessions to help them have restorative night-long sleep, but for myself, I have a CD ready. Once in a while I find myself awake at 2 or 3 in the morning, sometimes with worries or a to-do list, but most often with lots of ideas. I like to have a notebook and pen to jot them down while they are fresh on my mind, but after they are down and safe (you know how all those ideas fade when you wake up and start your day!), I love being able to just push a button for a voice that gently guides me back down to a very restful state.

It’s so fun to awaken rested and with some notations to follow up on. Many significant inventions have come to people during the dreamstate, but it’s also when our bodies and minds rejuvenate and experience deep healing.

Find something that soothes you and supports your sleep. There are many non-pill resources on the internet for insomnia and relaxation.

Not only will you enjoy your night more, but your mental clarity and health will benefit!

Sleeping Pills Linked with Early Death | Healthland |

Americans are in More Pain

The Associated Press reports that Americans are in more pain than ever, probably due to the aging of the population, so pain killers are selling like crazy.  The use of oxycodone, found in OxyContin and Percocet has increased 16 times in some areas.

According to Gregory Bunt, medical director at the Daytop Village treatment clinics in New York, as we are getting older, more of us are really experiencing  pain. “Pain affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined.”

Some new formulations that are ready for release will have 10 times more  hydrocodone as that found in Vicodin. Some of the increase use is due to many addicts switching to prescription meds for the great sense of well-being, but physicians are much more willing to alleviate pain for their patients than in the past. They definitely increase a suffer’s quality of life, so it’s very easy to develop a dependency quite innocently.

Fortunately, many individuals learn to use their own minds to block the pathway carrying pain messages from the site of injury to the brain, and even affect their brain chemistry, releasing endorphins and serotonin. This is one aspect of my hypnotherapy practice that is especially rewarding.

See also  Pain Relief in Your Own Mind.

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