Category: Movement + Mindfulness

I Need To Thrive, Not Just Survive

The self-confidence of the warrior is not the self-confidence of the average man. The average man seeks certainty in the eyes of the onlooker and calls that self-confidence. The warrior seeks impeccability in his own eyes and calls that humbleness. The average man is hooked to his fellow men, while the warrior is hooked only to infinity.”  – Carlos Castaneda

Kinship
I was talking to one of my patients this week, just holding a place of listening, as it often is such a powerful healing tool. He was sharing his recurrent, daily anxieties as of late. He earnestly wanted to get rid of them, and he couldn’t pinpoint any singular reason why he felt that way. “It’s been a whole year now, you know” he said, in reference to the pandemic.

I am really fond of this patient; he has been coming for treatment for a number of years, driving a long distance each time to do so. He represents many of us, the ones of us who are seeking to transform, to contribute, to grow our consciousness and that of the planet as a whole. He, like us, has all the right reasons to feel connected, supported, and safe, with his many friends, and so many like-minded people all over the world. Yet, he shared, he felt anxious, separated, “discombobulated”. He was having hard days, and couldn’t get his mind off negative feelings. At night, he could fall asleep, exhausted from the day, but then woke up a couple of hours later and his mind would not turn off for three hours.

Our World today
Mental illness and dis-ease is projected to skyrocket over the next 12 months, due to the conditions that we have lived in over the past year. (Continues below)

ON SATURDAY, MARCH 20, we BEGIN a NEW COURSE OF 5 LIVE ONLINE WEBINARS 
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MARCH 20 though APRIL 17

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We human beings, are hard wired to connect, from our biochemistry to our very soul, and in that connection we find meaning and place. We thrive when we believe that we belong, when the feeling of belonging is a given, a carpet underneath holding us. With that feeling, the unknown is bearable, even exciting. Without it, we loose our anchor. Isolation breeds anxiety.

Roots
Isolation comes first as a belief, that fosters a thought which then triggers emotions, like anxiety and insecurity. These feelings and images that we generate in our consciousness, then express through our brain, pump millions of chemical messengers in the form of neuropeptides, that target our innate immune system, where they bind to receptors which internalize them as commands. Anxiety and uncertainty are pervasive influencers in our immune resilience. Inner confidence, a warriors conception of confidence, is a tremendous booster to immunity. Immune strength and immune intelligence are direct corollaries of a balanced nervous system.

Gazing practice
My teacher, Carlos Castaneda, taught me that the eyes act like hooks for our perception. The eyes can “hook” onto things, grab things, and get entangled with them. We rely heavily in our visual sense to create the reality that we see. We will believe something when “we see it with our own eyes”. It can be a powerful simple practice to sit outdoors in an open space at the end of the day, just before dusk. and gaze at a patch of pure sky, even holding the hand or a book to cover anything that might be in the corner of the eye, like the contour of a building, or branches of a tree. When we remove any possible contrast from the field of vision, the eyes can’t hook onto anything and so, they can’t fix a belief onto them either. After a few minutes of doing this practice, the mind deeply relaxes in the infinite depth of a patch of pure sky. Inner silence is the perfect counter state to anxiety, fear and uncertainty.

We are direct participants in our Cure
The idea of a warrior, and of a warrior’s way, implies a certain stance that one can uphold. It is the opposite stand of a victim, in the sense that the cause of unhappiness comes from outside forces, and so does the solution or the cure for those problems. A warrior stance reclaims the power that a victim stance gives away. As a warrior, things can be absolutely challenging and their impact on us undeniable but we add to the solution and intervene within ourselves to affect change. We show up to support ourselves, and participate in our own recovery.
An example of this attitude is to touch ourselves in a therapeutic way. Our body itself is a fountain of possibilities for healing. We can come into our bodies, instead of just thinking about our body from our head, and change things. If we are restless, anxious or out of center, we can do something right there, on the spot, to direct our energy and our mind away from those feelings. Here is a tip: the area of soft skin on the inner wrist, is filled with nerve endings that when stimulated gently can elicit soothing and calming states. With the pads of the index and middle fingers, gently slide them up and down along the area, along the canal made by the two tendons that go to the fingers. Just a few moments of lovingly rubbing that inner distal forearm, just above the wrist, is like caressing our heart directly. We reconnect with ourselves, we shift how we are breathing, we remember we are here.

Be Peace
Seeing my patient, was as if I was seeing myself, all of us in the world at this time. We are looking for a reassurance that we will be ok. We are looking for inner peace. If we are in peace we are not at war. Our nervous system is in neutral mode, not in fight or flight, with a healthy PNS (parasympathetic nervous system) tone. Off-on switch buttons are amazing practical images to have in our visualization tool kit. We can self-regulate our autonomic nervous system. Our immune system has one intrinsic identity: to do surveillance of non self and to defend, if needed, to the point of all out war. But it needs to be at targeted intervals not continuously, till there is no more vitality left, and our immune strength and speed go down. With no command of the off switch, there is no game.

Right there, in front of my patient, as we wrapped up our conversation and he got ready for the physical exam, I remembered an amazing image of a moment 20 years before, while in safari in Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania. The gazelle I could see roaming around, unpreoccupied, grazed with a pack of lions resting nearby. Everyone was at ease, the air was at ease. Ten, suddenly, two female lions get up from the pack and walk out in hunting mode. Everything shifts. Ears point up, frozen, listening. The gazelles now are ready to flight. They run wildly. The lions chase, a young calf pulls away and is taken. The war ends and soon after, everything returns to normal. The lions eat, the gazelle graze nearby, the air is at ease. On off switch. That is the lesson to behold.

We are our own placebo
Our brains are like a console of switches, turned up and down in response to what our Consciousness is experiencing. This experience, it is not a given. It is not random and it is not outside of our purview. We are players, we are co-creators. We count, and will persevere, through our unbending intent, in finding the way to affect the change in us that we are seeking.
I glimpse of hope sparkled in my heart at the end of the treatment, when my patient came out of the room his eyes lit up again and a smile in his face. “I feel good Doc, I think it will all work out. I’m ready to fight back, for my own happiness.” Now, that is the mood of the warrior. And I salute that.

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Our Organs Have Their Own Consciousness And We Can Talk to Them

organs have their own consciousness

My teacher Carlos Castaneda taught me this:

Our Organs Have Their Own Consciousness And We Can Talk to Them

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the departure of my dear teacher and guide Carlos Castaneda. I met him in the mid-nineties as a young doctor looking for a deeper meaning in my path as a healer to people.

My life brought me to him without looking for it.

Not long before, as a medical resident in Bariloche, Argentina, I had wanted to go in all the way into the medical knowledge. I come from a family of doctors and scientists, where hard work and dedication to the ethics of truth was a strong value.

our organs have their own consciousnessThanks to high grades, luck and daring, I managed to get into a unique and prestigious program where I was left as the front person in charge of the ER (Emergency Room) every four nights. It was an exciting and also daunting all-in immersion into hospital life that got me dealing with all kinds of medical issues and emergencies. I practically lived in the clinic, and assisted in trauma, strokes, heart attacks or child births.

I had the experience of dealing with life and death decisions, of seeing the mystery of the body healing miraculously and the humbling presence of death in my hands. Life was fast, and surprising. Yet, I missed the touch of a larger, more encompassing view.

In many occasions, the tools I had been given as a Western MD couldn’t help me; It could only take me so far and a more holistic view became a necessity.

One such day, during my night shift, a patient died on my watch.

He was staying overnight after a minor surgery and he developed an acute pulmonary edema that led to him to going into arrest. I moved him into the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and tried to resuscitate him, but I couldn’t. It later turned out that a key heart medication the patient needed had not been logged into his chart and was never given to him. He shouldn’t have died. The event caused me to deeply re-evaluate the meaning of my profession and life in general. Medical school did not give me the container for these situations. I even considered to quit medicine.

I left Argentina back to USA, my country of birth. Then, there, serendipity and fate made me meet Carlos Castaneda and everything changed in my life.

When I first met him, he invited me to lunch, at a local Cuban restaurant called The Versailles which he frequented. I remember that, when he invited me, he had said he wanted to know more about me, but I barely opened my mouth during lunch. He was very animated the whole time, and made me laugh so hard with his storytelling that my belly muscles ached badly. He had such a mesmerizing and charming presence and it absorbed me completely.

At the end, as we were walking towards the car in the parking lot, he came close and almost in a whisper said that the reason we were there that day was because I could be a bridge between the shamanism he had learnt from his teacher, don Juan Matus, and the world of health and medicine.

At the time, I had no idea what this meant, but his message of a higher intelligence and energy at play in everyday life came to fill exactly the void I had found in my regular medical life. I was hooked.

A direct apprenticeship that meant being open to new ideas.

Over time, Carlos Castaneda became a mentor and guide. He said I could not run away from my destiny and encouraged me to return to medicine. But he gave me the larger container, he opened up what was to me a new paradigm at the time, one which today, decades later, has emerged in science and in our collective understanding: that there is no such distinction between the mind and the body;

rather, that we are a network of energy and information crisscrossing in all directions between the mind and the body. Peptides and other biochemicals carry the messages of our thoughts and our emotions everywhere, perception affects behavior and behavior changes the very physicality of our brain and body, memories from our life experiences are stored in the organs and in our fascia and,

more than a defined, isolated individual, we are more like a cooperative of many voices including a majority of foreign DNA from a microbiome which gives us fundamental aspects of our identity such as our very personality traits, as a pioneering study from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) recently showed.

our organs have their own consciousnessEverything in us is changing and evolving, not isolated, but in deep resonance with our environment, such as the quality of the electro-magnetic field emitted by our hearts which can cause specific changes in the brains of the people around us.

We now know that it is a fact from research we can enter deep meditation states through practice and then these states can cause definitive changes in all our major regulatory mechanisms such as telomere length (a key biomarker for cell lifespan), inflammation cascades and cell repair. These and other behaviors can change the very expression of our genome through the epigenetic landscape that we now recognize as a highly fluid pluripotential environment in which our body lives.

What my teacher Carlos Castaneda introduced me to was this same viewpoint. It used different language but its syntax carried the same implications and conclusions. It enlarged the scope of possibilities of my human experience, and that of my patients. Modern science and ancient shamanistic principles and practices came together into a similar unit of life: Our internal body-mind world.

What it means ‘I can talk to my internal organs.’

One practice that Carlos Castaneda taught me was “talking to my organs.” The idea was simple: just as there is the overall me, there are also many smaller individual aspects of that me, represented in my tissues and organs themselves. In the dynamic world of information within my body, there is a distinct consciousness in each of my organs. Our organs store memories and also contain information. And they can talk to us. The big me can go in and establish a dialogue with the different organs and tissues.

In over twenty years of teaching workshops and clinical practice, I have found this to be very accurate and of highly practical value to understand ourselves and what our bodies are experiencing.

At times, I would see Castaneda ‘talking to his liver’, for example. He would talk to it in a very kind way, thanking it for all the work it took on. He would caress his ribs right where the liver is, and also pause and take a moment to ‘listen’ to it.

More than 500 vital functions have been identified in each liver cell, 24/7. It is the organ that organizes and distributes our internal nutrients and resources. In our busy modern lives, it tends to get overburdened. It stores ‘excess’ material, not only physiologically but also in our Consciousness.

our organs have their own consciousnessOur stressors are ‘stored’ in the liver.

When our liver gets overwhelmed, it also gets tight, and interferes with other neighbor organs, such as our stomach and intestines, or our sense of calm in our heart.

Our organs can tell us a lot of things. For instance, a patient who came to treatment for severe constipation, had received standard help from doctors such as increasing fiber and exercise, stool softeners and even antidepressants, with weak results. During the consult, using guided imagery, we established a conversation ‘between his higher self and his colon’, and his colon told him that the reason it was holding its movement was because he was feeling stuck at work. He had a long term dispute with his business partner that wasn’t being resolved.

The colon was storing that emotional and perceptual component of his inner life.

He realized then that he had been very rigid in his position about the dispute and needed to move on. The day after he signed the dissolution papers he had a bowel movement and within a month he had his regular rhythm restored.

Another fascinating example of how our organs store information and life experiences, even highly specific and detailed stuff, was reported by Paul Pearsall, Ph.D., in his book The Heart’s Code. I heard about this account by Ron Hulnik, Ph.D., one of the founders of the prestigious program in Spiritual Psychology at the University of Santa Monica, where I am so excited to be currently taking a Certification. Pearsall, a clinical neuropsychologist in the Transplant Donor Department at the University of Arizona, describes how organ recipients take in memories and personality traits from the donor. He tells the case of a girl who had received a heart transplant from another girl who had been murdered. She soon began to have dreams and flashbacks of being murdered herself that eventually became so vivid and detailed that her mother reported it and it led the police to identify the actual murderer and prove the case in court. The implication of such an unequivocal event makes it undeniable that the organs themselves, independently, are capable of storing a high level of specificity of information.

How do I talk to my organs?

There are two steps and one rule to do this. our organs have their own consciousness

The first step is doing something to quiet the mind chatter and be present. This can be one minute focusing on our breathing, or even just one breath!

The second step is to turn our attention to a particular organ with an attitude of inquiry and establish a dialogue.

The rule is that when we ask a question, we have to be direct, as if we were talking to someone right in front of us, and then pause and wait for the very first thing that comes to mind, without preconditions. It might be a thought, an image or a memory. It might be the feeling of something that could become clear at a later time.

The rule means that it is spontaneous information that formulates in our Consciousness in the pause immediately after we address the question to the organ.

Sometimes, there doesn’t need to even be a question; all that seems to be needed is to turn our attention to the organ with the intention to see it and listen to it.

The Practice.

For the next moment, close your eyes and let your attention shift from the outer world to the inner world. You can simply let your body release any tension that it doesn’t need, right now.

In one sweep from head down to toes, just scan across your whole body with your attention and let each muscle relax, let each joint soften, letting all the nerves just open, the circulation and the skin open. And let your body do this at its own pace.

Now, open your inner eyes and go with your attention to the organ you want to talk to, listen to, or just hold space for. Allow yourself to use your full imagination and live it inside of you.

Have you been having any issues with the health of this organ? Connect to these symptoms, and specifically to the emotions that these symptoms arise in you. Stay attuned to these emotions for a moment. Don’t judge them or try to change them, just be with them.

Now, begin to talk to the organ, as if it was a person you are talking to. A person that is also you, or an aspect of you. Hold an attitude of appreciation, companionship and support. This part of you has been suffering and you want to be there for it. Lovingly express to the organ your support at this time. Talk to the organ as if it was your own 5-year old kid.

Ask simple, direct questions such as:

“Why are you in pain?”

“How does this relate to my life right now?”

“How can I help for you to feel better?”

“Is there anything I can do for you to stop this symptom?”

our organs have their own consciousnessRemember, don’t prejudge or discard whatever arises when you ask. Spend a moment or as long as you feel is right in this dialogue, or simply sit in the presence of the organ, holding your Consciousness there. 

When you are ready, say thank you to your organ for being available to you. Ask permission to further dialogue in the future. Come out at your own pace and immediately take count of the experience and of any information that came from it.

I highly recommended to write down this information.

That’s it.

Simplicity itself!

Welcome 2018! How to Prepare for New Year’s Eve

“The world is unfathomable. And so are we. And so is every being that exists in this world” ~ Carlos Castaneda

What a powerful moment this is: we are crossing to a new year cycle filled with gratitude and awe for our lives. What lessons did you experience in 2017? What triumphs? What failures?

We have been recapitulating and reflecting upon our 2017 experiences and we just had a wonderful FREE ONLINE CELEBRATION last Saturday. Click here to watch the video if you missed it!  Read more here.

how to prepare for new yearsAlso, we are sending you below the NEW YEAR’s RITUAL our teacher Carlos Castaneda taught us many years ago. It is a ceremony that starts during the last days of December, and finishes when the clock strikes midnight on January 1st. Castaneda would tell us that, at midnight, the light of the Spirit or Universe comes and “watches us”—a force descends upon us, and this is a very powerful moment to be present and aware—to feel it and become acquainted with it.

Practicing this ritual without failure for the last 22 years has brought a sense of direction, purpose and inspiration to unfold our goals and intentions for the New Year, as well as a sense of connection with the planetarian phenomena. We hope that the benefits ripple out through your life, your relationships, your community and the world.

The steps are these:how to prepare for new years eve

1. Clear out the old before the New Year.  From December 27 onwards and even throughout the day on December 31, clear up some space in your home. Remove clutter, donate clothing that you aren’t using anymore, clean out and organize cabinets and drawers, and vacuum your floors; clean your windows and water your plants—all with a feeling of openness and readiness. The aim is to clean your home physically and energetically. There are four essential ways to do this:

Throw things away that are not needed or that are not bringing you joy

Give things away to charity, with the intention of benefit others while freeing you of any energetic bondings to the objects

Pay your bills, including utilities, credit cards, etc. Do you best to cross to the New Cycle without pending debts

Dust off, wipe and wash your home, or at least a selected part of it, such as your kitchen, your bedroom and desk area

Rearrange things; change the placement of furniture, artwork and/or other objects to revitalize the energy flow of your space(s)

2. On December 31, before midnight, attend to your desk or writing space. Organize books and papers, and clear space so that you can comfortably sit to write a list of Intentions, projects and dreams you want to manifest in 2018.

3. Next, take a pen or pencil and piece of paper, and get ready to make a list.

  • Mentally review what dreams and projects you were able to accomplish in 2017. What things stood out? What new relationships have you established? What came to a close? What new things have you learned, or insights have you gained with respect to your:
    1. Healthhow to prepare for new years eve
    2. Emotions
    3. Thoughts
    4. Your work or job
    5. Family and community
    6. Larger global community of planet Earth
  • Now list all of these on a piece of paper labeled 2017. The idea is to review and distill what 2017 brought to you, and write it down so that you can be consciously aware of these experiences going into the New Year. Notice as you write if new insights or ideas come to you.

4. Take a second piece of paper to start a new list. Name the list 2018, and write down what you want to accomplish or see unfold in this New Year. It might help to think of the categories of:

how to prepare for new years evePersonal development: What new things do I want to learn, what do I want to accept about myself, what do I want to heal in myself at the physical, mental, emotional and energetic levels?

Family and friends: What relationships do I want to commit to, what relationships do I need to let go of, what relationships do I need to heal?

Work: Am I loving what I do? What can I change in 2018 to thrive?

Health: How do I plan to take better care of myself in 2018, what specific actions will I take to restore my energy?

My legacy and contribution to the larger world: What ONE action can I do to help others in need.

5. Take a pause. You’ve cleared space, reviewed the year that’s passing and set forth dreams and goals for the year ahead. Now that you have your lists, take a little break to attend to any responsibilities or other commitments. You may want to add music to the atmosphere or dance for a while.how to prepare for new years eve

6. At around 11:30 p.m., return to your writing space (it’s almost midnight!) Sit in silence for a moment and put your attention on the things on your 2018 list—those things that you want to see unfold in the New Year. You may even want to write an outline of what you would like to do, or draw a picture of yourself getting the job of your dreams, etc. Sit with it as long as you like, making sure you feel connected with it all, with your personal life path, and with the Universe by the time the clock strikes midnight.

7. At midnight, on this first moment of the New Year, let the wave of your dreams wash over you.

how to prepare for new years eve

As we set our collective intentions, we hold best wishes for you all—for your joy and growth; for your freedom; for your daring, for your creation of new, inspiring projects; and for your kindness to all those around you. We celebrate together your becoming!

May our light and love radiate out to our friends, families, communities, and to the whole world.

Aerin and Miles

 

How I Learned To Reduce Stress By DREAMING a new TIME

“Warriors face the oncoming time. Normally we face time as it recedes from us. Only warriors can change that and face time as it advances on them.” – Carlos Castaneda

Dear Community,

Do you ever feel like time is accelerating? Like it is going super fast and running away from us? I know I do.

Last Tuesday, I was rushing through traffic to get back home. I had a full day that started early in the morning with my dance class. Throughout the day I worked at my office seeing my clients, then I picked up my son from school, and went grocery shopping. Even though I do what I love and enjoy my work very much, I found myself rushing from one activity to another without a pause.

My head was spinning with thoughts  like “Gosh, I don’t have time, I have so many things to get done!”

“I need to get back home to finish my emails and then I need to cook.”

I was caught in the groove of daily demands where “I have no time!”

As soon as I got back home, I decided to shift my state and lay down on the living room carpet and take deep breaths to release all my stress. Then, I remembered what my teacher Carlos Castaneda taught me about time. His voice came back to me clearly:

reduce stress

“You have been trained to perceive time as it recedes from you. So, you rush, puff and push things and events through according to this interpretation. You are running on imaginary time where you are a victim of daily demands…You have no voice and no decision over “time.” Time seems to be something that you cannot control. You become a victim of your own interpretation of time. I, instead, choose to perceive time as it advances on me.”

Castaneda’s interpretation of Time being something that advances on us brought a smile to my face. As I continued stretching on the floor, breathing and releasing the tightness in my joints, more memories of his talks on Time came to me:

“Time advances towards you like when you are in front of a train that is running at high speed and the landscape advances towards you. You can choose to welcome your time.”

He told me to welcome my time. To welcome myself in this time.

“Your job as a dreamer is to dream yourself in this new way. You wake up every morning and you welcome your joy, your power, your warriorship, your strength. You welcome this life that advances towards you filled with opportunities to grow, with challenges to overcome, filled with mystery to amaze us, filled with possibilities. You welcome it, instead of engaging in the nonsense of your pseudo-victimhood. Chola, don’t run away from who you really are.”

I spent the rest of the night welcoming time, taking time to make eye contact when my child needed help with his homework. When cooking and washing dishes, I embraced and welcomed time. I welcomed time when putting my child to sleep and then I welcomed sleep and dream time before closing my eyes.

What Castaneda taught me has revolutionized the way I go about my life. It allows me to be at peace even when I’m busy and it feels like my demands and responsibilities are piling up.

Lately, I have been specifically meditating and practicing this new concept of Time daily in preparation for our upcoming retreat in Schweibenalp, Switzerland, where we are going to enter into a different time to dream and manifest our purposes.

Take just 4 days off from your calendar and join us to dream a new understanding of time for you. It will allow you to accomplish your intentions and create new thought patterns.

My mantra is “I always have time for what is meaningful, joyful and uplifting.”

What’s your mantra?

Join Us in Schweibenalp, Switzerland for Our Retreat, Seven Gates to Dreaming

You too can experience the peace that comes from allowing time to advance on us! Get more information about our retreat in Schweibenalp here.

To Read another Blog about Time written by Aerin here

Four Mindfulness Exercises For Overcoming Fear

 

The first time I felt paralyzing fear was one evening after dinner, my mother and father left our apartment and went upstairs to take care of grandma. I was left with my brother, who was 7. I was five years-old.

We were in the kitchen area that was illuminated by a single light-bulb, sitting on a bench against the wall. The rest of the house was dark and it was very quiet. We looked at each other and crunched. It was the fear of the unknown, of what could happened, of feeling unprotected and unsafe. I held tightly onto my brothers’ arm, clenching my jaw and crunching my belly until my parents came back.

I felt fear many times growing up in a household with older brothers who thought waking me up in the middle of the night and holding a white sheet over their heads as they made ghost sounds was ‘funny.”

I used to lie awake until the sun came out. But, at just thirteen years old, I experienced another kind of fear. I was walking to school as I usually did one morning when I saw a solider with his gun in hand standing fearfully on the corner of the school.

Since 1974 the military army had taken over the government in Argentina and declared a “Dirty War” against terrorism. Every time I saw the soldiers I avoided them and took another street. I knew that I could get in trouble. I didn’t have an ID and I had heard that without an ID you could get detention. I also knew that many innocent students and teachers had been arrested and then “disappeared.”

I slowed down my steps and took another street, away from the school. I figured that I could go around the entire block and get to school from the opposite corner, where there were no soldiers.

The moment the soldier was out of his sight I started running as fast as I could. I didn’t want to be late for school. I did not want to go to the principal’s office.

I made it to school on time and sat down at my desk in the classroom. My classmates were looking at me silently. I didn’t notice that I was soaked from head to toe with sweat. Not only was my hair and my face wet, my entire body was drenched. I was pale, wet and fearful.

From my childhood experiences in Argentina, I learned that I can overcome the paralyzing effect of fear. That there is a strong force in me, a voice that guides me to find the best solutions and the way out when I am in danger or in distress. I learned that I can trust myself, in spite of the terror around me.

And this is what I am still doing. Cultivating and nurturing this inner force of confidence and alignment in me that guides me to make smart, healthy decisions.

As a mind-body movement educator, I share these tools and practices with my classes. I teach people how to be in tune with their bodies and use the movements I learned from Carlos Castaneda to channel their inner strength, connect with their heart, and move past whatever is holding them back in their lives.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with fear in your life, try these simple steps to ground yourself. The good news is, we can overcome fear in our lives and with practice, we can train ourselves to push past fear and into our freedom.

Breathe

When we feel scared, our heart sometimes feels like it’s pounding out of our chest. Suddenly we’re breathing heavier, faster or even holding our breath. When you feel your body reacting in this way, stop what you’re doing and breathe. Close your eyes. Take several deep breaths, filling your lungs with air and the slowly releasing it. Do this several times, counting your breaths until you feel your heart rate start to slow down and you begin to feel calm. Our breath is one of our most powerful tools. Learning to use breathing to check-in with your body and return to a calm state is a valuable tool you can use in many situations.

Look around and take in your surroundings

Once you’ve taken several deep breaths, open your eyes and notice your surroundings. Notice what’s in your external environment that’s contributing to your fear. Take note of anything in your external environment that’s soothing your fear. Paying attention to where you are can give you discernment about what to do next. Often times, we may be overcome with fear but when we take in our surroundings, we realize we are safe. Other times, our surroundings enhance our fear and we need to seek a safe physical place before we can move on to the next steps.

Questions your fears, questions your thoughts

Sometimes, when we’re scared, it feels like our thoughts are going a mile a minute. But, we must take control and question our thoughts. When we do this, we can figure out the root cause of our fear. Ask yourself, what am I thinking about and why does it make me feel fearful?

Be in the present moment

Mindfulness is about bringing your mind, body and consciousness into the present moment. When we bring ourselves back into the present moment, sometimes we realize that we have nothing to fear. We don’t have to be paralyzed. We can keep moving forward and trust ourselves to be able to overcome any obstacle that comes our way. The present is a beautiful place to be.

October 26th-29th we will be working on overcoming fear and unlocking the seven gates to dreaming together in Schweibenalp, Switzerland. We’ve all been paralyzed by fear at some point of our lives. Working through it and growing together with a community of people from around the world is an amazing and inspiring experience. Learn more about what to expect and how to join us here.

Welcome 2017! What to Do on New Year’s Eve

“For a warrior, the world is weird because it is stupendous, awesome, mysterious, unfathomable. A warrior must assume responsibility for being here, in this marvelous world, in this marvelous time.” ~ Carlos Castaneda

This is a marvelous time. You have the opportunity to act from intent and create your dreams.

The following ritual is one that Castaneda gave to us many years ago, and it is something that we do at the end of each year without fail. We share it with you now to help you unfold a magical year ahead. It is a ceremony that starts during the last days of December, and finishes when the clock strikes midnight on January 1st. Why not give it a try and see what happens?

We hope that the benefits ripple out through your life, your relationships, your community and the world.

The steps are these:

  1. Clear out the old before the New Year.  On December 29 and 30, and even throughout the day on December 31, clear up some space in your home. Remove clutter, donate clothing that you aren’t using anymore, clean out and organize cabinets and drawers, and vacuum your floors; clean your windows and water your plants—all with a feeling of openness and readiness. The aim is to clean your home physically and energetically. There are four essential ways to do this:
    • Throw things away that are not needed or that are not bringing you joy
    • Give things away, letting those things bring something to someone while freeing you of any associated history with the objects
    • Dust off, wipe and wash your home, or at least a selected part of it, such as your bedroom or desk area
    • Rearrange things; change the placement of furniture, artwork and/or other objects to revitalize the energy flow of your space(s)
  2. On December 31, before midnight, attend to your desk or writing space. Organize bills and papers, and clear space so that you can comfortably sit to write a list of dreams and projects for the New Year.
  3. Next, take a pen or pencil and piece of paper, and get ready to make a list.
    • Mentally review what dreams and projects you were able to accomplish in 2016. What things stood out? What new relationships have you established? What came to a close? What new things have you learned, or insights have you gained with respect to your:
      1. Health
      2. Emotions
      3. Thoughts
      4. Family and community
      5. Larger global community of planet Earth
    • Now list all of these on a piece of paper labeled 2016. The idea is to review and distill what 2016 brought to you, and write it down so that you can be consciously aware of these experiences going into the New Year. Notice as you write if new insights or ideas come to you.
  4. Take a second piece of paper to start a new list. Name the list 2017, and write down what you want to accomplish or see unfold in this New Year. It might help to think of the categories of:
    • Personal development: What new things do I want to learn, what do I want to accept about myself, what do I want to heal in myself?
    • Family and friends: What relationships do I want to commit to, what relationships do I need to let go of, what relationships do I need to heal?
    • Work: Am I loving what I do? What can I change in 2017 to thrive?
    • Health: How do I plann to take better care of myself in 2017, what specific actions will I take to restore my energy?
    • My legacy and contribution to the larger world: What ONE action can I do to help others in need?
  5. Take a pause. You’ve cleared space, reviewed the year that’s passing and set forth dreams and goals for the year ahead. Now that you have your lists, take a little break to attend to any responsibilities or other commitments.
  6. At around 11:30 p.m., return to your writing space (it’s almost midnight!) Sit in silence for a moment and put your attention on the things on your 2017 list—those things that you want to see unfold in the New Year. You may even want to write an outline of what you would like to do, or draw a picture of yourself getting the job of your dreams, etc. Sit with it as long as you like, making sure you feel connected with it all, with your personal life path, and with the Universe by the time the clock strikes midnight.
  7. At midnight, on this first moment of the New Year, let the wave of your dreams wash over you.

Carlos Castaneda would tell us that, at midnight, the light of the Spirit or Universe comes and “watches us”—a force descends upon us, and this is a very powerful moment to be present and aware—to feel it and become acquainted with it.

Mountain-Sunrise-Wallpaper-DesktopAs we set our collective intentions, we hold best wishes for you all—for your joy and growth; for your freedom; for your daring, for your creation of new, inspiring projects; and for your kindness to all those around you. We celebrate together your becoming!

May our light and love radiate out to our friends, families, communities, and to the whole world.

Aerin and Miles

Mother Mountain, Father Sun – Our Retreat in Schweibenalp

Dear friends,

Miles and I just came back from teaching a six-day retreat in Switzerland, and it was not until I arrived to the Los Angeles airport that I realized how quiet my mind had been. At the customs line, there were a couple of ladies behind us wearing a turban in their heads, and they were asked several times for their passports. Two men were removed from the immigration line, just because their skin was darker and looked “suspicious”. Interesting enough, police didn’t question the white ones like me.

I crunched and held my breath confirming once again the racial discrimination in the US. And this thought felt like a sharp knife cutting through a field of yellow flowers and a rain of blessings that I had groomed while teaching in Switzerland. Before my arrival, my mind was quiet, entertained by the poignancy of the present moment, admiring nature and catching up with trains, taxis and planes.

Experiencing inner calm and peace for a week became so “normal” that only after being removed from that state brought me the self-awareness of it. Isn’t that funny? I guess I needed darkness to see the light that I already had inside. It made me think of when my teacher said that one only becomes cognizant of having been in inner silence after the silence is over. There is no self-reflection in inner silence—we are simply IN the state.

Our retreat took place in the dreamlike mountains of the beautiful city of Brienz, on the Bernese Overland region of Switzerland. The village, on hour and half from Zurich airport, is surrounded by turquoise large lakes and the Brienzer Rothorn mountains.

Maurice, who had been dreaming this event with us the entire year, drove us from Zurich to Brienz and we couldn’t stop gazing at nature with our noses glued to the windows. The quality of the sunlight shining through the orange and reddish autumn leaves took our breath away. We saw a few boats as if pained in the background of turquoise and deep blue lakes. The outstanding beauty of the snow painting the peaks and the freshest wet and clean air made us feel as if in a dream.  Then, we arrived to another dream, that of Schweibenalp.

The Schweibenalp Center for Unity was founded in 1982 by Sundar Robert Dreyfus, Fredy Aly and Silvia Bollag, upon guidance from the Indian teacher Sri Haidakhan Baba. It is a place where traditional religions and cultures meet a new religion of the heart; founded as a place for multicultural community on the way to the realization of Truth, Simplicity, Love and the experience of Unity.

The center has a powerful venue built is an octagon, with large windows where we could watch deer coming while practicing energy passes. The wood floors and the natural sunlight accompanied us throughout the week in our quest to find our real selves.

We walked to the forest mountain stream in the early morning, among the fresh foggy air, and ate delicious meals between our sessions. Truly, organic, vegetarian and CLEAN! Swiss perfect and clean kitchen that made me feel at home.

I was moved by the sincere and honest welcome of Sundar, Schweibenalp’s founder and his staff. They walk their talk and practice daily the returning to the heart!. Sundar took us on a walk around the property and shared about a very auspicious finding just before our arrival. In their property they found three trees of different species living together, joined into a common base tree trunk. They saw it as an omen and a symbolic expression of their vision.

Highlights from the six-day retreat:

  • Sundar also invited us at 7:00 am on a rainy day to a full Fire Ceremony, to thank mother earth and to ask for the removal of obstacles in our dreaming
  • An amazing 3-hour hike in the mountains towards a green alpine lake, hiding between granite peaks and high forest terrain

And, the long recapitulation-witnessing exercises that gave us the time and depth to liberate our hearts and brought clarity and sobriety to our minds

Ah, wait, something important. For our entire days we explored, experienced and worked with the “four natural enemies” of man described by Carlos Castaneda: fear, clarity, power and old age! Below find some feedback form the participants. And if you want to know more about the four enemies, take our new path with Heart class Series starting on January 8th, 2017.

It was so good that we are coming back to Schweibenalp on October 26-29, 2017!

With gratitude and love,

Aerin Alexander


Here is what the retreat participants said:

“Everything about the Schweibenalp retreat was a joy–the energy movements, especially with music, the mountain setting, the delicious food and the energy of the place, a place dedicated to mindfulness and the unity of all seekers.  However, for me personally the very best part was the deep exploration into places where each of us has vital energy stuck in the memory of an event.  I cannot describe how powerful it was when my group of three, each willing to be honest and open, really listened to each other, without judgment or criticism, just being present and reinforcing the wisdom that each of us already carries within.  Thanks so much to Miles, Aerin and all the participants!” – Tom Reavley, USA.

“What a pleasure it was to see you guys, to spend such an amazing week together and to get to know Axel! I so enjoyed it all even though it was also a very deep and intense experience to go through the recapitulation sessions. I will be processing it for a while! Heartfelt thanks for your energy and excellence” – Ena Xena, England.

“Now that few days has passed, I can examine with more clarity what happened during our “energy boot camp” in Scheweibenalp retreat.

1) Schweibenalp is truly a place of power. I never felt such a harmonious, nourishing and gentle energy and if you’re looking for a boost for your transformation process, it’s the place for you. Seems like it’s almost impossible to act like an asshole there. Almost. 🙂 And the food was truly great and so was hiking in the Alps and that lake…my god…never seen such a beauty.

2) We did some serious energy work during those six days. We examined and recapitulated four enemies of man: fear, clarity, power and old age and did some other interesting stuff. All those exercises were truly powerful. At the end of day, you were just exhausted, but it was a good exhaustion, because you felt you did something very, very important to yourself.

3) But most of all, it was a BE family meeting. It was truly a pleasure to see you in flesh, chat with you, crack jokes with you, listen to your stories, have a lunch with you. I’m deeply grateful for that and I will keep it in my heart. We are a band of brothers and sisters because we share the same trenches, the same battles. The seed of freedom is firmly planted into ourselves and there’s no escape, so we move on, following Intent with open hearts. Thank you all who were there in flesh and in Spirit” .- Sami Penaman, Finland.

“Dear Aerin and Miles, you really hooked me with your program. I enjoyed these six days with you very much and I already set the intend to be there next year again. Thank you for the wonderful pictures.

I’ve done many retreats and workshops of various kinds and most of the times I couldn’t get the experience back in daily life. But I’m really confident that this time it will work. If it’s interesting for you, I will write some more in a couple of weeks. Really daily life will begin tomorrow for me again. I’ve also decided to join your upcoming Path with Heart Class in December. So, I’m looking forward to see you there again. Love” – Andreas, Germany.

“The six-days retreat in Schweibenalp was extremely interesting and very well organized, sharing body movements and witnessing exercises allowing us to, as you say, update old beliefs and misinterpretations…The group was extremely open minded and respectful and it was a great pleasure for me to have participated in this workshop. I thank Miles for his very attentive and kind listening during private consultation. In fact his suggestions how to see our lives in a positive manner were very much appreciated.

I would not forget to congratulate Maurice for the tremendous work he has done in order to make every thing perfect. His kind “omnipresence” was very much appreciated by all the group. And I will either not forget you Aerin for what you have done, showing perfectly exercises, giving explanations and being attentive to each of us. With my warm and kindest regards.” – Zina, Switzerland.

3 Reasons to Get More Sleep

So how’s that sleep thing going for you? Do you feel rested?

You’ve probably heard this, but sleep really, truly is important. Getting enough sleep is vital for optimal health and wellbeing. Yet most of us don’t manage to sleep enough, or sleep well. This can be complicated by hormonal shifts, especially for women.

For everyone, though, sleep deprivation can lead to trouble both instantaneously and over time. From accidents to chronic health problems, sleep deficiency can be dangerous. Let’s look at why good sleep is so important. Sleep affects:

  • Brain function
  • Physical health
  • Performance and Safety

Brain Function

Research reveals that the brain actually shrinks when you don’t get enough sleep. With less sleep, cognitive function declines and ventricle enlargement grows (a marker for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease).

Recent work by Oxford neuroscientist Russell Foster even links abnormal circadian rhythms to mental illness, including schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder.

Additional studies show that lack of sleep has a direct impact on memory, focus and the ability to make decisions and control your emotions. It has also been linked to depression and mood swings.

On the upside, studies also clearly indicate that proper sleep improves learning and problem-solving abilities. In fact, when you sleep well, your brain actually forms new learning and memory pathways.

Physical Health

When it comes to disease prevention, good sleep is key. Studies show that getting six to eight hours of sleep per night lowers your risk of developing:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Hypertension
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke

In fact, it’s estimated that 30 – 40 percent of all medical problems that a general practitioner sees are, directly or indirectly, related to lack of sleep.

Sleep affects healthy growth and development, immunity, hormones (including stress hormones), the body’s reaction to insulin and more.

It might surprise you to learn that getting good sleep is essential for weight control. It’s been shown that sleep directly influences the level of hormones that make you feel full (leptin) or hungry (ghrelin). When you don’t get enough sleep, your levels of ghrelin go up and leptin down, resulting in you feeling hungrier and more likely to overeat.

Performance and Safety

Lack of sleep not only affects us individually, but it also affects those around us—our families, coworkers and even our communities. Insufficient sleep can lead to everything from lack of concentration, moodiness and reduced physical performance to a public safety hazard.

A study led by Dr. Charles Czeisler of Harvard Medical School’s Division of Sleep, for example, found that hospital medical errors could be reduced by as much as 36 percent when limiting doctor’s work shifts to 16 hours and reducing their total work schedule to a maximum of 80 hours per week.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conservatively estimates that driver fatigue is responsible for 100,000 reported crashes each year (other data suggests that it the numbers are closer to 1 million crashes and 8,000 deaths per year). Sleep deprivation was also identified as a significant factor in the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear accident, and the 1986 nuclear disaster at Chernobyl.

Getting More Sleep

It’s clear that sleep deprivation is a serious matter. So what can we do to improve our quality and quantity of sleep? You can purchase our on-demand video Sleep, Body Repair and Dreaming to learn more.

Also, you can download Aerin’s guided mini-moves to practice on bed and fall sleep easily and wake up refresh.

For now, how much sleep is enough sleep? Studies show that for most adults, six to eight hours per night is optimal.

Wishing you good sleep,
Dr. Reid

Young, Vital and on the Move: The Vascular System

It would not be an exaggeration to say that young vessels equate to young age and that a healthy, vital flow in the blood vessels makes every other part of your body shine and function well. Open yourself up to discovering the universal flow and connections that are inherent in your arteries, veins and lymph glands.

Our Vascular System is one of the most amazing elements of our body. As a teacher’s assistant during medical school, I was able to see firsthand the incredible complexity of our network of vessels, the arteries, veins and lymphatics. A few years ago, the German medical artist Gunther von Hagens toured Europe and the United States with an exhibition called “Body Worlds,” where, through a medical education process called plastination that turned the liquid within vessels into an acrylic compound, he was able to show whole segments of just vessels, with no other structures. Smaller and smaller tubes that ultimately became thin as hairs, spreading in shapes that made out the exact body of each organ—a sight to behold! A true community where every single corner is linked to the 3 main attributes of the system:

  1.  Each cell receives oxygen and nutrients through an artery
  2. Each cell delivers CO2 and toxins through a vein
  3. Each space between cells drains leftover excretions and debris through a lymph vessel

In Eastern thought and martial arts practice, the term vessels was the original description to what later was translated in the West as meridians, or channels. It was the observation of circulation by the ancient physicians and healers which gave them an understanding of how to move information and resources—energy, throughout the human body.

In shamanistic principles, as I learnt them from my teacher, Carlos Castaneda, the body can revitalize by means of a process that he called energy reallocation. The circulation in this case occurs through a network of vessels carrying a vital force called tendon energy. During the practice of physical movements, which in Being Energy we call Energy Passes, we deliver jolts or strikes to a certain count, stimulating the flow of tendon energy along vessels from the feet to the head.

Learning how to feel our vascular system, and how to activate each of its three parts, can bring lots of benefits and it can also be fun to do. Join our last class of the year this coming Saturday, November 12 to learn more!

Register Here

Miles Reid, L.Ac. National Board Certified
in Acupuncture and Chinese Herbology
Medical Doctor (AR)
Founder Energy Life Sciences
Clinical Director
Dr.Reid@energylifesciences.com
info@energylifesciences.com
elsi.wpengine.com
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Turn off to Stay on Top of Your Game

As a doctor in a busy clinic, I often find myself in a similar predicament as my own patients, that is, how to stay focused and stay present, without feeling that there is not enough time to take care of all that is on my plate. From early morning professional meetings to a lively stream of patients throughout the day, to important time with family, it’s key for me to be vital in every moment—to be physically, mentally and emotionally present.

I need to engage in active listening, critical thinking, business planning and fine motor skills and deliver medical interventions at the same time. As I do all of this, I need my heart to be open and connected, and my spirit to be grateful and joyful. I need my memory to be clear, my muscles to be relaxed yet springy, my body functions to perform in balance, and in general to generate the necessary energy to sustain my day. This is just the basic demand, without any additional emotional or relationship experiences that might be playing out in my mind at any time. Welcome to modern life! And hold on to your seat because this ride is just going to get more intense over the next few years. Time is accelerating.

No matter what is happening in my life, I am sustained by the practices that I learned from my teacher Carlos Castaneda. In particular, he taught me various series of movements to revitalize the body and mind. One of his favorites was a very simple yet powerful one he called Turning on the Body. A practical, descriptive name (quintessentially Castaneda).

To “turn on the body” means to first completely relax the body and then, in a split second upon a sudden command, engage the totality of ones muscles, joints and even internal organs, followed by turning everything off again. The effect of this on the nervous system is to trigger a state of readiness and ease at the same time—much in the same way as taking a short cold shower and then drying the skin briskly to warm it up again creates a circulatory flush from the blood shunting, which is very invigorating. The idea of turning on is alluring, but the real gem lies in the corresponding opposite state: turning off. Our capacity to be on wears off unless there is an equal and opposite capacity to turn off.

Radiant Health2016“You have to turn off to turn on,” Carlos Castaneda told me. The longer the distance between the off muscle state and the on muscle state, the stronger the activation of the body awareness. When we apply this to the heart muscle, we call it Heart Rate Variability (HRV), and the longer the variability, i.e., the more distance between the heart beats, the healthier the long term outcome of not only the heart, but of health markers across the board in all bodily systems.

Biologically, turning off is a given. Though we may have forgotten how, we are naturally designed to be able to turn off with no effort of our part. That is our nature. That is what I saw with my very own eyes while on safari once in the Serengeti plains. A pack of female lions chased a group of Impala. The gazelles seemed to freak out and run everywhere. The lions finally caught one of them, rounded up to eat it, and then, right beside this, the rest of the Impala returned to grazing, as if nothing had happened. So why is it then that when, for example, we feel betrayed by what someone said to us, we stay contracted and anxious for days or months or even years?

Peak performers know that the ability to turn off is as important as that moment when they turn on. Elite tennis players are a great example of this. How does a player sustain energy throughout a match that lasts hours? They cycle through being on and being off from moment to moment. With some players, it can seem like they have all the time in the world to return a serve across the net.

We, too, can have all the time in the world and operate at our highest level.

In our September Radiant Energy + Radiant Health Los Angeles Retreat, we will show you how to retrain your body to turn off when it doesn’t need to be on so that you can get deep rest, tap into your well of energy and move with suppleness. You’ll learn how to identify holding patterns held in your fascia, the fascinating network of soft tissue that turns on to help us do all the things we need to do in life, and release these patterns so that they no longer interfere with the on-off cycle that is required for you to perform at your best.

Group-4b

Times have changed, and in our world today, learning how to better adapt to the growing demands that life places on us is vital. It’s also of great help to receive specialized treatments to help your body restore and investing time in seeking neurological balance. These things are not luxuries. They are now, more than ever, necessities.

In health, joy and energy,

Dr. Miles Reid