When I envisioned what my Newsletter would be about, what it would include, this article wasn't what I had in mind. I had thought I would include some funny, inspirational quotes, some health trips and perhaps an interesting or information article or two that I might come across. However, since the events surround Katrina, I feel that this Article I have written should be the main focus of this Newsletter.
"Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they're supposed to help you discover who you are."
-- Bernice Johnson Reagon
Last year I came to the realization that I had to visit New Orleans. I had never been there before nor had I ever particularly wanted to go. The moment I stepped off the plane last October, I felt at home and I fell in love. While there I had the overwhelming urge to visit Gulfport, Mississippi and walk in the Gulf, something I had also never done before. I still have no idea why I needed to do this, but have been so thankful that I did and that I had the opportunity to experience these wonderful places when I did. But I have, these last two weeks, felt so sad about the events surrounding the fury of Katrina.
In any dark time, there is a tendency to focus what is wrong in this world or with any situation. If you do this you will feel overwhelmed and you run the risk of undermining yourself and your strength by focusing on what is outside your reach and what you cannot help. It is far to easy to fall in this trap of looking into the face of something that you deem "bad" and letting your energy be zapped by it.
There is an alternative and it is an alternative that I finally started to use again. You can seek to be inspired about what is happening, by what is being revealed and by observing and focusing on how help is being given and received.
In the wake of the hurricane, many of us have felt precariously out-of-balance. In the face of so much pain, loss and devastation, what were we to do? What were we to think or feel? But, a more useful and positive question would have been, who are we to become?
To quote Elyse Hope Killoran: "In response to one of the worst natural disasters ever to befall the United States - who will you choose to be? What will you choose to focus upon? How will you choose to lend support?"
It becomes crucial to take your focus off news stories that heighten fear or place blame and to protect yourself from succumbing to fear, anxiety and vulnerability. Each and every one of us can make a commitment to do whatever it takes to keep yourself grounded and centered and then to take action from that "inspired" place.
Remember this, you can't and won't be of any use to anyone if you are so overwhelmed, so incapacitated that you collapse at the time when others need you most.
Wayne Dyer emphasizes this point when he reminds us: "You can't get sick enough to make one person on this planet well; you can't get poor enough to make one person on this planet rich."
It all centers around how we hold our energy. If you want to make a healing and meaningful contribution during this challenging time, you must stay connection to the positive, restorative energy inherent in your soul, no matter what comes your way.
"One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul.. Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do." Clarissa Pinkola Estes
When is the darkest hour? Just before dawn, of course. Remember, though, the dawn is a funny thing. It begins almost imperceptibly. At first you can't even be sure that it is happening or not, and then slowly very slowly the light starts to come. At first you see shadows in the dim light, sometimes causing you to notice or worry about things that you were blissfully ignorant of before. Don't be fearful. We were made for these times. And just to demonstrate how quickly we are able to rally, take a look at some of these statistics:
Americans have contributed at least $587-million to help victims of Hurricane Katrina... As of last week, more than $229-million had been donated by corporations, foundations, and wealthy individuals. In addition, there are among more than 90 countries, rich and poor, proposing assistance to victims of Hurricane Katrina, with Kuwait, Qatar and the
United Arab Emirates contributing "very large cash" donations. This is according to the State Department.
And so, while we may not always know the "why" when tragedy strikes, scientific studies have now proven beyond any reasonable doubt that the power of the mind to either harm or heal the body is undeniable. Newsweek, September 27, 2004. Relaxation, meditation and hypnosis that transcend any specific doctrine can go directly to the natural ability to heal that resides within each of us, and not only to heal ourselves, but the world.
I urge each of you to use the amazing tools that we have been given by the universe, thoughts, words, and deeds.
Think positive, good and wonderful thoughts. I know that, while there are those who think that this philosophy is all so much nonsense, with no substance and providing nothing of value, they are wrong and exactly the opposite is true.
And so, in addition to donating food and clothing, money to the various wonderful organizations that help the people and the animals that have been affected by this tragedy and other similar events, let's try a little experiment. It can't hurt anything, and it just might do a tremendous amount of good. Use the tools you have been given, use your thoughts, words and deeds. Focus on setting up a "Perimeter of Peace, Power, and Possibility around New Orleans" and every city and area affected by Hurricane Katrina. Think of these places, the people and animals in them, and see them surrounded in a positive, healing balloon of sparkling light; visualize or imagine them safe and secure in the knowledge of healing wounds, releasing anger, fear and anxiety and believing in and ready to accept miracles for what may at this moment appear to be insurmountable problems. Use whatever tools you are most comfortable with: guided imagery, visualizations, meditation, hypnosis or whatever and set up an energetic field that can create the possibility for miracles to occur.
I know it may sound silly, but by using the tools of releasing, forgiveness and love, we can transform situations energetically. It is possible to shift energy, vibrating at a higher level and bringing about unforeseen and miraculous changes. If focusing on this exercise enables one family to have a miracle, isn't it worth it? Wouldn't that be enough?
Find a bit of time everyday to reconnect with your center and raise your vibrations by meditating, writing positive affirmations, journaling, listening to a hypnosis session, thinking progressive affirmations, saying out loud healing and loving statements, and connecting any way you can with Positive Energy.
I know, as do we all, that there are things that are happening in the world each and every day, in specific places, to individuals, and to communities, that are horrifying. It is not possible to rid the world of these unwanted things, but it is possible for you to, in your mind, stand in a place, and visualize launching positive energy fields of desire and belief.
As do this, where do your thoughts take you? Are you seeing the world better? Are you imagining governments getting organized? Are you acknowledging that the food exists, that the technology exists to help? Do you know that there is enough food for everyone? Are you wanting those who need it to get it? Are you believing that it is possible? Or, do you find your thoughts leading you to the ineptness of the government and to things going wrong? In other words, which path of energy are you accessing? You cannot change things for the better by acknowledging on those things that need to be changed. Change occurs when you turn your attention and focus to what can be done if there were no barriers and no boundaries. Feel the strength and power of these affirmative thoughts and think "YES"!
Linda Simmon, C.Ht.
Now, in addition, I would like to share a few of my favorite quotes:
" We can only appreciate the miracle of a sunrise if we have waited in darkness."
"If you stop to be kind, you must swerve often from your path."
"Your subconscious mind never wanders; it always pays attention. It is always ready to make happen in your life those things - positive and negative - that you are imagining."
"Change starts when someone sees the next step."
"You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do."
- Eleanor Roosevelt
"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important
- Ambrose Redmoon
And during this time of stress, it is becomes even more necessary to guard your physical and emotional health, because for those of us who are able to help others, our ability to help and stay strong for them becomes even more important. Because of this, I am including a few tips here to help you keep and maintain your mental and physical well being.
A more carefree attitude may help keep your mind young.
Chronic worry was linked to an increased risk of cognitive decline in a recent study. Obsessive worriers had more than double the risk of decline compared to their more carefree peers. Kick worries to the curb by writing them down in a journal or talking them out with people you love. Also, work on decisive plans of action for worries that won't go away.
Are you a hot head? A less hostile outlook may help keep your heart rhythms steady.
Studies in men revealed that men who are generally hostile or often openly angry may have as much as a 30 percent greater risk of developing irregular heart rhythms, such as atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is a risk factor for stroke.
Gaining more control over hostile feelings may help reduce your risk of unhealthy behaviors over the years.
According to research, people who had higher than average levels of hostility in college tended to have more risk factors for poor health down the road, compared to their more even-tempered college peers. However, a dramatic drop in hostility over the years helped to level out the health risks for the hot-tempered people.
If you're feeling spiritual these days, you may start feeling better about your health, too.
Taking time to nurture your spirit may be a path to better health, according to some researchers. An assessment of the health perceptions of older adults revealed that the people who reported being the most spiritual also tended to rate their health more highly compared to people who did not consider themselves to be spiritual.
Staying positive may help protect your heart from needless aging.
In a study of men, those who had a tendency to experience negative emotions, such as anxiety, pessimism, and hostility, had a higher risk of heart disease compared to their peers who possessed more positive emotional outlooks. Catch yourself when your mood turns dark and try focusing on positive thoughts.
Are you feeling stressed? Finding your inner calm may help your body's healing process.
In a study of patients undergoing surgery, those who were the most stressed during the weeks before surgery tended to have the slowest recovery from the procedure. Help your wounds heal faster by making an effort to keep daily stress levels under control with deep breathing, meditation, or other calming activities.
Nipping even a mild case of the blues in the bud could help you avoid illness-promoting inflammation.
In a study, people reporting only a few symptoms of depression had higher blood levels of interleukin-6, an inflammatory protein that has been associated with increased risks of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. Be sure to schedule extra time for mood-boosting activities whenever your spirits start to sag.
Doing things for other people could help you live a healthier life.
In a study, people whose lifestyles included lending support to others tended to report better mental health compared to people who were not as giving. And mental well-being has been linked to better overall health, according to research.
I hope you have enjoyed this first Newsletter and all that follow and that you have found something to make you smile or think or perhaps something that can help you as you move forward in this life.
Linda Simmon, C.Ht.