What is the Cause of Depression?

What is the cause of depression? The body is a feedback system that responds to our thoughts, emotions and environment. What is it that causes what medical doctors and psychotherapists would call a “chemical imbalance”?   

 

Abigail Taylor is a mind-body healer who specializes in mental and emotional health. You can read more about her work HERE.

Healing Sound for when you’re sad or heavy

Healing Sound for when you’re sad or heavy

Today I’m going to show you a powerful healing sound to release stuck emotion, energy, and congestion. But first I want to share with you how it has changed my life.

When I was 14 I started suffering from debilitating period pain. You know the kind where you feel hot, dizzy, throw up and keel over in agony? That’s what I had, every month. One time it hit while I was at school and I remember my (fortunately short) walk home; abandoning the weight of my backpack with the single focus of finding a safe refuge to get through the pain. Each month I dreaded revisiting this pain and I felt totally unable to control when or how it would happen.

When I was 16 I started using medication to manage it, and it worked. I blindly trusted and relied on my medication until I first experienced plant medicines in Peru 4 years ago; a time that profoundly transformed my life and my relationship with myself. The plants helped me rekindle a deep connection to my own spirit and body and I wanted to learn how to heal my pain without the medication, so I (nervously) went off it. For a time after the plant medicines there was no pain, until there was again. Hopping on a plane back to Peru wasn’t in the cards at the time, but I was dedicated to understanding why I was feeling this way and how I could heal myself naturally. So I started changing my relationship with the pain and my fear of it became overshadowed with fascination. I wanted to learn what this experience had to teach me; I wanted to understand it.

Fast forward to soon after I started my Medical Qigong training and had learned a healing sound for releasing sadness. When I was in pain I was open to trying anything that could help me through it, and I had a feeling that I should try this healing sound. I was lying in bed in intense pain with puke bucket nearby, and I began to say “shhhhoooooooong”. All I could mutter at the time was a whisper, but it felt right. I asked my husband if he would help me, and he made the sound through my back and into my lungs; resonating with me as we made the sound together. And when he made the sound with me, I soon purged and the pain subsided. It became a request I often made of him when my periods were painful, and each time I was able to purge and feel better soon after.

Over time, what I needed while I was in pain changed as my healing progressed, and I have since developed a (mostly) daily practice of self-care through Qigong exercises and meditation. I came to see my pain as stuck energy and emotion that was surfacing each month to be released. My self-care has become a form of personal maintenance and hygiene for my overall health in mind, body, and spirit and I now live medication-free and pain-free. It was a journey to get hear, and it wasn’t until I embraced the pain, and myself, that I was able to understand it and move through it.

Here is the healing sound that has been so helpful for me, may it give you whatever it is that you need from it. And know that wherever you are on your journey, I love you and I am cheering for you.

 

 

 

Thanks for being here! You can find more information about the mind-body healing work that I do HERE and if you have questions about this exercise or anything else you can contact me HERE.
Say Hello and Free Yourself from Suffering

Say Hello and Free Yourself from Suffering

Welcome! I’m excited to share with you a very simple yet powerful tool to free yourself from suffering, just by saying hello. As with all things here, I draw on my own experiences, sharing only that which I can personally attest to working and understand on an experiential level. Now, let’s dive in…

You know those times when everything seems so infuriating for no particular reason? Endless stories start streaming through your mind about how frustratingly wrong things are with a kind of ferocity that is almost debilitating. Well, I have. On some mornings, for no obvious reason, a wave of agitation grips me with such intensity that my first impulse is to cancel any plans I have and sit in fiery solitude. One such wave hit me the morning of writing this story. I was angry and my mind wanted to find all kinds of reasons for why it was everyone else’s fault, which funnily enough only made me feel worse. I’ve already gone down the road of blaming everyone else over and over again and I know where it leads me, to more frustration and more suffering. So I decided to try a new strategy. Feeling unable to really do much else, I closed my eyes and breathed deeply. My mind’s angry stories could play out all they liked, but for the time being, I was going to close my eyes and breath deeply.  The world may be entirely unmanageable but for right now I could inhale, and exhale. Inhale, exhale. After a bit of time breathing, I was ready to tackle another step. What does this agitation feel like in my body? Where does my body feel not like itself? My attention was drawn to a coursing, hot, intense energy in my chest. Actually, now that I was looking for the discomfort in my body it was impossible to miss. Now that I’ve found it, I might as well greet it. “Hello, agitation. I see you there.” As I said these words in my head, it was like space was created between me and the agitation. There was me, and then there was it. While I was watching it, it couldn’t manipulate me like a marionette attached to strings of thought. It was suddenly, entirely manageable to observe the sensation. It had been overwhelmingly unbearable to BE the sensation. Identifying it allowed me to realize that I wasn’t it. I HAD an agitation, but I wasn’t the agitation. And what a powerful thing it was to feel that shift as it happened.

I’ve become very familiar with the idea of observing rather than identifying with my thoughts and feelings, it’s something you’ll hear regularly from meditation and mindfulness teachers. It can be easy to do when you’ve planned your nice, calm meditation space and everything is rosy, but this practice really tests you when instead of roses it feels like you’re working with a steaming hot pile of poo. But while it may be hard, what good is it to have these tools if you don’t actually use them, especially when you need them most?

So next time you feel like punching a wall, you might want to try this instead:

  • Breath deeply, it can also help to close your eyes. All you have to think about is inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale. Only move on when you feel ready to try another step. And if that doesn’t happen, simply breathing deeply will allow the emotion to move through your body. Try it again next time this happens. Eventually, you’ll be ready for the next step.
  • Bring your awareness into your body. Where do you feel the agitation (or whatever your personal pile of poo happens to be)?
  • Say hello to it. Acknowledge it.
  • Realize you are not the agitation. You HAVE an agitation. 
  • Sit with it. Accept that it’s there without trying to argue with it or change it. See what it does. Keep breathing deeply.
  • Let it run its course. By allowing and observing it you may just find that it becomes much more manageable. The more you acknowledge it as separate from you, the more it will shift.
  • It may or may not have a message for you. If it does, observe any insights or inspiration that may come to you afterward. For me, it was gratitude for learning how to more deeply integrate tools I’ve learned, followed by inspiration to write this post.

It took me about 15 minutes to work through my process and feel like myself again. In times when I haven’t done this, I’ve let agitation ruin my whole day. In those times, I wasn’t ready to let go of my stories about why I felt the way I felt, I needed more time to work through my process. It was painful, but it was my reality at that time. Maybe you feel that way too, in which case, cool. I respect your process. But If you don’t want to do that anymore, here’s something else you can try. If you do try it, I’d love to hear how it goes for you! Write to me in the comment box below or message me through my contact form.

P.S.  If you’re interested in learning more about non-identification from thought you can read more about it here, here, and here.

Your Best Friend

Your Best Friend

Happy first day of the last month of 2017 everyone! We’ll go on a bit of a personal journey with this post, and if you’re feeling up for the adventure, I encourage you to give yourself a few minutes of undisturbed time to settle in and get the most out of it. That being said, let’s jump into it…

Imagine if you will, that you have a friend who has been through everything you’ve been through. Since day one, they’ve felt the same joys, sorrows, and everything else you’ve ever experienced. And those things that are sometimes too much to feel, they feel more strongly. Even the things you forget, they remember and hold onto more deeply. Not only do they remember every experience they’ve ever had, but they’re entirely incapable of hiding how they feel because they only speak the truth, which can be super annoying at times.

Sometimes you get along with this friend and sometimes you don’t, and it’s mostly when you two stop talking to each other that things begin to go south. Sometimes it feels like your friend is just sitting there being excruciatingly uncomfortable, and it takes all of your willpower to carry on with your day despite their palpable brooding.

Through all of this frustration, you take a deep breath. You begin to remember everything you two have been through, even those things you’d forgotten. You bring your awareness to the toughest memory that stands out in your mind. You let yourself feel how much that hurt. When that was happening you weren’t very good at showing up for work either, hell, just existing was hard enough then. If there was something someone could have said to you to help you through that time, what would they have said? What would you say to someone going through what you went through? Ask yourself this question now and wait for your mind to give you the answer. When you have the answer, write it down.

Read on only once you’ve done this exercise.

Now back to your friend. You ask them how is it that they’ve been through everything you’ve been through? Are they you? No. Yet they know everything about you. How? Because they’ve lived with you more intimately than anyone else in your life. The things you’ve forgotten or denied about yourself, they remember and hold onto. This is why it hurts so much when you don’t talk to them. So let’s talk to them. First, sit comfortably and bring your awareness inward. Take some deep breaths, expanding your abdomen as you inhale and sighing it out on your exhale. Feel your feet touching the floor. Feel yourself sitting.You’re going to tell your friend what you wrote down, and your going to begin by saying, “my dear body…” and then read your message.

Rest here and feel what your body feels. What does it feel like to talk to your body? What does it feel like to show your body compassion? You are made of consciousness, and you live within a conscious body. Otherwise, you’d have to remember to breathe, digest, pump blood, grow skin, and do an endless number of processes happening in every single moment. You are not your body, but like it or not, you will live together for the rest of your life. How do you want that relationship to look? Next time you think a thought about your body, make a note of it. Does that thought feel contractive or expansive? If the thought was food, would it be poison or nourishment?

So many of us, especially in the western world, are very good at living in our thoughts but not so good at living in our bodies. What is it like to feel your blood pumping? Does it feel alive? How does it feel to touch the earth with each foot when you walk? We’re not looking for the thought or idea of it, but how the actual physical sensations feel. Your body speaks through sensations and if it’s not a language you’re used to speaking, the good news is that anyone can learn it with practice.

Part of creating a healthy dialogue is feeling like our body is a nice to place live.

Your body has to process everything you consume from food and drink to thoughts and media. Is what you’re consuming poison or nourishment? Remember your body speaks through physical sensations. It could talk to you through a feeling of heaviness and agitation, or it could be a feeling of lightness and calm.

Your body needs both movement and rest to process and regenerate. Does it feel anxious or congested? It may need more movement. Does it feel depleted or sick?  It may need more rest.

Your body holds onto things that at some point in your life, you chose to not feel because it was too intense at the time. Your body may have been holding to these things for so long that you no longer know how to access them, and if you did, you may not yet you have the tools to shift them on your own. When this happens, it can help to work with someone trained in helping you navigate and release these blocked energies. If there is a healing modality calling to you, I encourage you to look into it. If you’d like more information on the work I do with Medical Qigong, you can read here or book a phone consult with me to learn more.

Do what helps your body become a place worth living in. Because it’s not only your home, it the best friend you’ll ever have.

Thank you for taking the time to read this story. If you know of anyone who you think could benefit from reading this, please share it!