How Can We Help?

How Can We Help?
In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, the world has been protesting the inequities that Black People now experience and have experienced for centuries. It’s time to change. Black Lives Matter!

You can help:

Support Protesters – march, feed, house, provide medical supplies

Donate – to bail funds for protestersACLUBlack Lives Matter BostonMovement for Black LivesNational Police Accountability Project

Purchase from Black Owned Businesses – North Central Massachusetts Minority CoalitionBoston area based businessesLowell area based businesses

Speak out – with family, friends, your communities, whenever you see injustices

VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!

Peace and normalcy is not about the ending of protests and rallies.
It’s about the ending of systemic racism.

Sheila Peters is a certified Eden Energy Medicine Clinical Practitioner, Reiki Practitioner, and shamanic practitioner. She also teaches classes and workshops in Stretch/Body Awareness, Energy Body Tune-up, and Jazz Dance. For more information, email Sheila at: sheilapetersdance@gmail.com, call 781-354-0725, or visit Sheila’s website at: www.energymedicineanddance.com.

© 2020 by Sheila Peters. All rights reserved.

What is distance energy healing?

Many people are both curious and skeptical about distance energy medicine sessions. Some are wary about trying a different way of experiencing energy medicine. They wonder if it works. I answer the most frequent questions below.

What does the phrase “distance energy healing” mean?

Distance energy healing refers to an energy medicine session in which the practitioner and the client are not in physical proximity. Sometimes called a remote session, the distance between the two parties can be many miles apart or they can simply be in separate rooms. The actual physical distance doesn’t matter.

What is distance healing?

Distance healing is based on the belief that time and space are not concrete and fixed constructs. The modern science of quantum physics theorizes that time is fluid and objects far apart can influence each other simultaneously. Since everything we know in the universe has an energetic signature, it follows that thoughts, emotions, intentions, and words have an energetic vibration just as physical actions do. 

Quantum entanglement, proven in 1997 by a University of Geneva in Switzerland scientific study, suggests that the universe is holographic. One piece contains the whole and vice versa. Thus, if an energetic vibration is sent out by a practitioner towards a receiver, the receiver experiences a response regardless of the space between them. 

We have heard of this kind of interaction between all parts of the whole in the much-vaunted Butterfly Effect (Edward Lorenz, chaos theory), i.e., that a small change can make much bigger changes happen. For example, a tiny butterfly can flap its wings in Tokyo and affect the weather, continents away. In distance energy medicine work, the practitioner’s healing energy can be felt simultaneously by the recipient, and it can have a long-term effect.

How is a session set up?

Usually, a practitioner will have a preliminary conversation with a client to learn what issues, whether physical or emotional, are troubling the client. The actual “working” part of the session will then follow and last as long as the practitioner determines is necessary to give the client some relief. The session often ends with a second feedback conversation. 

There are many ways to set up a distance healing session. Some practitioners like to use technology to interact with their clients; for example, a Skype or Zoom meeting may be used for the entire session. Other healers will speak to the client in real time before and after the “working” section of the session. Some practitioners interact with their clients only through emails, and give and get feedback days after the session.

What is my preference when facilitating distance sessions?

My personal preference is to chat via phone initially with a client to get an idea of what the client wishes to address, whether it is a physical malady or an emotional situation that is causing problems. Often the two areas – physical and emotional – will be intertwined and can be addressed at the same time since an emotional issue can be reflected in the body. After the phone call, I ask the client to lie down in a comfortable and safe place and just relax while I go to “work.” During this time, the client may fall asleep or sink into a drowsy state. If the client has a hard time relaxing, I usually suggest that they remain quiet and read or meditate or listen to soothing music. Usually the “working” part of the session lasts about an hour. I then call the client back and we talk about what the client experienced and what I observed as I did the healing. Typically, I then give the client exercises or tasks to do as a follow up to enhance and augment the healing that was performed.

What is it that I am doing during the “working” part of the session?

Just as I would in an in-person session, I check various energy systems in the client’s body and auric field. In a physical session, I use muscle testing on the client to get a reading of whether a particular system needs balancing or support. In a distance session, I utilize surrogate testing to determine if some areas needed attention. Once I have cleared the basic organization of the energy systems, I work more deeply on whatever comes up that needs deeper attention. 

I am still using my intuition and honed investigative skills to sense a client’s needs in a distance session just as I would in a face-to-face session.

How is a distance session different for me as a practitioner than an in-person session?

Frankly, a distance session can be surprisingly effective and can even allow me to go deeper than an in-person session. Because there is no talking involved during the treatment, there is less distraction for me as I am “listening” to what the client’s energies are saying about their well-being. Since the client is relaxing at home, he or she is sometimes even more open to letting me in psychically. Further, some deeper core issues may be more apparent without the physical body being present. Beliefs and patterns of thinking can also become clearer without clients feeling they need to put up a façade or mask, as they might if they were right in front of me. So sometimes a distance session can feel more efficient than a physical session.

That being said, I do miss the physical interaction as do many of my clients that usually see me in person. Although I have some clients that I only do distance work with because they live so far away from my studio.

How do I know it’s time to end the session? 

Just as I can sense that a client has had enough in a physical session, I can sense the same in a distance session. Often clients say they were “fully cooked” or waking up, just before I call back for feedback. 

How is a distance session different for a client?

Well, the obvious difference is that the client doesn’t drive to my studio. As one client said to me the other day: “You have to trust and surrender, and what comes, comes; what happens, happens.” LB

Here are other clients’ responses: 

“I have been a client of Sheila’s for several years, and I had always experienced positive, sometimes transformational, results from her energy medicine sessions. The benefits of these sessions have occurred for me in mind, body, emotions, and spirit. I consider our sessions to be a valuable tool in my kit as I continue to grow into my Self. Of course, our sessions have always been in-person.

We scheduled a session for early March when the COVID-19 pandemic descended upon the world. Sheila suggested that we have a session remotely, by phone, something she has done with clients in the past. Knowing and trusting her as I do, I agreed. As the session progressed, following her guidance, I began to experience myself settling into a deep state of relaxation in my body, with my awareness quiet yet alert. Immediately following the session, I rested and the inner quietness and feeling of being grounded and centered continued. 

My sessions with Sheila have always produced profound results. I feel a sense of peace and contentment in the moments immediately following our sessions, and then in the days that follow, I notice subtle changes begin to take place.” JP

“When I have a distance healing session with Sheila, I can feel the energy moving in my body as if I were in person with her. I can feel the energy begin to move right away and it feels like light sensation moving through my body as she does her work from afar. Connecting on the phone before and after the session is very helpful to ground me in the session and lift my spirits in this wild and crazy time. So grateful to be able to still do sessions with Sheila even though we are all quarantining.” CS

“I have been working with Sheila for many years now. She is amazing and has healed old traumas and wounds energetically. I can arrive feeling low energy and depleted, and leave feeling on top of the world ready to conquer whatever crosses my path.  She uses many modalities and always seems to know what I need before I even arrive. She has been doing remote work on me and the effects are amazing and I always feel better, either calmer or more energized, depending on what I needed. I highly recommend her.”  CF

To schedule a distance energy medicine session, call me  at 781-354-0725, or email me at sheilapetersdance@gmail.com so we can find a date and time that works for you. 

Sheila Peters is a certified Eden Energy Medicine Clinical Practitioner, Reiki Practitioner, and shamanic practitioner. She also teaches classes and workshops in Stretch/Body Awareness, Energy Body Tune-up, and Jazz Dance. For more information, email Sheila at: sheilapetersdance@gmail.com, call 781-354-0725, or visit Sheila’s website at: www.energymedicineanddance.com.

© 2020 by Sheila Peters. All rights reserved.

Who, me? A Snowbird?

Who, me? A Snowbird?

It began as a daydream. The idea of escaping to Florida got encouragement from my son and daughter-in-law. Then the New England winter strongly reinforced it. And suddenly it began to feel like it could become a reality. Despite all of the urging, there was a lot of resistance on my part. Could I afford it? Would my classes suffer? Would my clients feel as though I’d abandoned them? Would I be lonely or bored?

The main issue, though, was that I’d never thought of myself as a Snowbird. I had envisioned them as grey-haired, decrepit, old people escaping the harsh winter months because they couldn’t hack it. They were burned out and frail; they didn’t have the gumption or energy to make it through the colder months. That wasn’t me!

In retrospect, I have to admit that I was finding the ice, frigid temperatures, and shoveling of snow more onerous than in the past. In order to counteract the winters, I had been taking one-week vacations to beautiful scenic spots for several years – the Dominican Republic, Brazil, Belize. These vacations seemed to restore both my body and soul, and I returned to New England each time feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. 

Last February, I returned from a snorkeling trip where my hair, long-dyed, lost much of its color. Although I had contemplated letting my hair go gray for a couple of years, I always seemed to pull back from actually committing to the process. I knew it would take years for my natural gray to fully return, as my hair is long, and I balked at chopping it all off. After this particular trip, it just seemed to be the right time, and I am now a multi colored woman! Grey/silver hair for about 6 inches, then a mixture of browns with a couple of brightly colored green and blue streaks underneath.

So, I had now achieved 2 out of the 3 items in my list of what made up a snowbird: I had grey hair and admittedly I was getting older. But decrepit – never! This is when I realized that aging itself is a choice. If I didn’t limit myself in terms of physical activity and health, why did I need to limit myself in terms of how I thought about being a snowbird? In fact, there were many advantages to spending time in Florida in February!

Miami Beach – warm, humid, flowers and leafy trees, ocean, and family! My son and daughter-in-law had moved here over a year ago and my grandson was just 7 months old! One of my best friends and energy medicine colleagues lived in Miami. No snow, no cold outside temperatures or dry roasting hot rooms inside the house. No need to put on excessive layers of clothing. I could enjoy the beauty of a new place, discover new neighborhoods, meet new people, and push myself to explore what was unfamiliar. Being a snowbird no longer seemed to be about shortcomings but more about breaking limiting habits, thoughts, and boundaries.

In this first short week, I have moved into a small but perfect, for me, cottage in a neighborhood that I most likely would never have seen had I stayed in a South Beach hotel. The area is filled with extravagant new mansions that face the bay but also more modest homes that were built years ago. Walking around, I have discovered fantastic gardens, elaborate wrought-iron gates, and wildly varied styles of architecture. There are no high-rises here, and the trees are filled with birds and squirrels while little lizards scurry to get out of the way of my feet on the sidewalk.

I am walking everywhere here and sometimes think I know better than the maps I consult on my phone. That leads me to investigate places that I would never have been seen otherwise. The free trolley is a boon, though sometimes they don’t stop because they are full. This means I have to be patient and temper my expectations while I wait for the next trolley. Each day, I am reminded of how much I am driven by my schedule and routine at home.

Learning how to live in a new environment compels me to create new mental maps. How do I get the things I need when I don’t know where to get them? How do I get to those places without a car? What are the basics that I really need to survive and thrive? What can I live without that I never imagined? It begins to narrow down what is essential away from what is superfluous.

Perhaps what this experience is teaching me is to see more clearly without the filter of external expectations, imagined limitations, and unrealizable ambitions. To acknowledge all my attainable desires and wants and needs. To release what is not attainable or even realistic. As Joseph Campbell so succinctly noted, “We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”

After all, going on this journey to a new place and learning how to create a life here in Miami Beach isn’t the most difficult of challenges. I’m not completely alone and English is spoken here. But in a sense, it’s like going to a strange and unfamiliar country. I have to relearn myself and figure out where I fit into the new environment. I am evaluating who I am becoming at this stage in my life and looking at future possibilities.

My maternal grandparents visited San Miguel de Allende in Mexico when they were in their middle seventies for five months. Part of their motivation was my grandmother’s lifelong interest in painting. For me, they serve as an example of what is possible at an older age. We don’t have to stay home and wither away. We are fully capable of continuing to grow until our physical death, capable of rejuvenating who we are through new experiences and exposure to the unfamiliar, capable of finding new passions that fuel ongoing dreams.

It is important for each of us to try out new circumstances, to venture outside of our comfort zones, to reach for the unknown but often dreamt of. The novel experience doesn’t have to be extreme, and we don’t even have to travel away from home to encounter a fresh adventure. However, for me, this time my adventure was becoming a Snowbird.

Sheila Peters is a certified Eden Energy Medicine Clinical Practitioner, Reiki Practitioner, and shamanic practitioner. She also teaches classes and workshops in Stretch/Body Awareness, Energy Body Tune-up, and Jazz Dance. For more information, email Sheila at: sheilapetersdance@gmail.com, call 781-354-0725, or visit Sheila’s website at: www.energymedicineanddance.com.

© 2020 by Sheila Peters. All rights reserved.

Posture as an Energy Indicator

The other day in my Stretch/Body Awareness class, we did a very interesting exercise. I had my students follow each other around while walking in pairs with one person behind the other. As the followers observed from behind, I asked them to look at the posture and alignment of the person in front of them. I mentioned the strike of the foot – whether the heel touched down first or the ball of the foot; whether there was more weight on the outside or inside of the foot; did the feet wing out, move forward, or wing in; did one foot swing differently than the other? We moved up the body observing how much the knees bent, the hips and shoulders moved, how deep the breath was, how the arms swung, and the angle of the head.

As the follower noticed how the person in front moved, I asked the them to imitate the postural habits that were being observed. As they became more adept at walking like their partner, I then asked them to attempt to experience what it felt like to walk that way. What kind of emotions came up? How might this posture translate into how they felt about themselves and what it felt like interacting with the world this way? How much energy did they feel? As I mentioned in a previous blog from 2010, habitual posture translates into our attitude about life. I called that blog Posture as Philosophy.

When I wrote the previous blog, I was noticing the physical, emotional, and mental patterns that developed according to the habitual alignment that individuals maintained. Since then I have refined some of my observations about a person’s posture and what it indicates about their outlook on life.

For example, if a person regularly holds their weight primarily on their heels, it could indicate that they are reluctant to move forward. We can think of our legs and feet as a metaphor for moving forward emotionally and mentally, as they certainly are in a physical sense. If so, by maintaining a backward physical balance point perhaps we are indicating that we are not ready or maybe afraid to move forward emotionally or mentally when presented with a new opportunity. If this becomes our habitual stance might this mean we are constantly unsure about the future? Afraid to try new things? Have a mistrust about whatever might come our way? We may be in a real sense dragging our heels!

Conversely if we stand with our weight balanced on both the balls and heels of our feet, we may find that we can move forward more easily. In fact, it is easier to move in any direction when we are coming from a point of balance, so there is a greater sense of flexibility. Physically flexibility parallels emotional and mental flexibility.

Furthermore, when we stand by supporting ourselves on our heels we can quickly be overpowered by a good shove from any direction. However, like a tree whose roots are spread out all around the trunk, when our weight is evenly distributed on our feet, we can withstand a sharp push from any direction much more easily. We are already unbalanced when we rest on our heels so any small blow can topple us over.

All of these observations helped me to assist clients and students in changing their postural alignment. They immediately grasped the significance of what their posture was saying about their attitude about their lives. Many worked to change any imbalances and found that as their physical posture changed, their attitudes changed as well.

What I hadn’t understood at that point was that posture also creates energetic patterns.

A couple of years ago, in my energy medicine practice, I had the urge to check how energy was moving through a client’s body as she stood in her usual hyperextended knee stance. When the knees are locked back then the rest of the body will counteract the imbalance in alignment that is created, usually by tilting the pelvis, making the lower back arch, the stomach pooch out, the shoulders to push back, and the head to move forward. For every zig in body alignment there will always be counteracting zags.

While my client was in this zig-zag alignment, she tested weak for connecting up with yin energies. This meant she was not receiving about 50% of her available resources of energy. Just by standing in a misaligned physical posture! As soon as I asked her to bend her knees softly and bring her weight more over the balls of her feet, her pelvis came back into line, her lower back lengthened out, her stomach stopped pooching out and her shoulders and head came to rest in more anatomically correct positions. I retested her connection to yin energies and she suddenly tested strong, indicating that she now had use of all of the resources of energy available to her.

This was, for me, a striking insight! Although, as a former dancer, I had certainly understood the need for correct postural alignment in order to execute dance movements, I hadn’t fully understood that misaligned joints would affect how energetic forces (yin and yang) could be absorbed and utilized. Now it became even more apparent to me how important correct posture was for everyone, even beyond the more obvious physical, emotional, and mental benefits.

I began to check this out with my other clients and found that across the board how a person was routinely standing had a huge effect on how they were able to absorb and utilize yin and yang energies. Nowadays, I am always alert to how a new client stands and holds their body and am quick to demonstrate that posture is one sure way that they can very effectively begin to have more vitality on a physical level which translates into more vitality on an emotional, mental, and energetic level.

What does your current posture say about how you feel, think, and move forward, not only on a physical, emotional, and mental plane, but also on an energetic level?

Sheila Peters is a certified Eden Energy Medicine Clinical Practitioner, Reiki Practitioner, and wingWave©Coach. She also teaches classes and workshops in Stretch/Body Awareness, Energy Body Tune-up, and Jazz Dance. For more information, email Sheila at: sheilapetersdance@gmail.com, call 781-354-0725, or visit Sheila’s website at: www.energymedicineanddance.com.

© 2019 by Sheila Peters. All rights reserved.

Leaps of Faith

In 2005 I bought a Subaru outback. It took me 5 months to find the right one! Strangely enough, various friends came out of the woodwork and spontaneously loaned me their vehicles while I searched and searched and searched for the perfect car. When I saw the navy blue station wagon, I finally knew it was the right one! I had been tempted to settle many times in the 5 months preceding my final decision but I continued to search because I knew the perfect car was still out there. What made me wait so long?

After 14 years of trusted and valued service, I recently replaced that car and bought another one. This time it took me only one day to make the decision. How was I able to make such a quick decision this go-round?

When I decided to train as an Energy Medicine Practitioner, there were those that let me know that I was doing something crazy. Even some family members shook their heads at my “hare-brained” scheme. I was risking “financial stability at an age when I should be retiring” and shrinking into older age. No way! Somehow I knew that this was the path I needed to follow even if it led to failure. I would deeply regret it if I didn’t go for it. As it turns out, it has led to great personal fulfillment and growth and become a new career. Rather than shrinking, I have expanded. The naysayers have become some of my biggest fans. What made me take that leap of faith?

A good friend of mine, A, was a single mother raising 2 boys in her late 40’s while she worked full time. One of her boys had life threatening health issues. She had already been to graduate school. Nevertheless, A had a dream of doing something that would improve the quality of life for those living in poverty in her urban area. When a small newspaper notice caught her eye, she decided to investigate. Despite having no idea how she would manage the additional financial burden and the resultant work/life balance, my friend went for it. It took a total of 9 years, but A completed her Doctorate of Public Health. She told me the “minute I learned something new, I put it to use”. Her gamble paid off in a big way not only for her but for the many people who benefited from her newfound knowledge and expertise. With all that had been on her plate, how did A make the decision to undertake an almost impossible task?

Our leaps of faith are not only about beginning something new but can also take the form of leaving behind what is working extremely well in our lives. B had a hugely successful business that attracted many clients, employed skilled teachers and service providers, and garnered much praise in social media. Yet B felt like it was time to do something else; create a new model for her offerings. Jumping into a new proposition had no guarantees it would match her previous success. Moving to a new location with a different model while exploring unproven methods was a big risk. She could lose it all. Still B felt she wanted, in fact, needed to try a new path. Despite all of the potential setbacks, B chose to move forward and let go of her past.

These urges to do something are not found only in mature individuals. All ages experience a sudden and often urgent impulse to act. Consider C. He was out riding his bicycle with his childhood friends, none of whom were older than 10. Each was daring the others to more and more daring tricks on their bikes. Finally one of C’s chums suggested riding down a long unused road that ended in a bridge spanning a small river. The quest was to jump from the bridge into the water from the still moving bike and swim to the other side of the river and retrieve the bike before anyone else completed the task. The venture was enthusiastically received. But C suddenly had a wave of cold fear move through his body and he knew that he had to convince his friends to not accept this challenge. He had no idea why but it was of paramount importance that he stop his chums in their tracks. 

The others called him a wimp and began laughing at him. C stuck to his guns and finally managed to convince his friends to turn around and go for ice cream instead. Later the boys learned that the bridge had collapsed into the river creating a mound of rumble. Had the boys continued on their mad venture, one or more would have had serious injuries as they went headlong towards the bridge and crashed into the river into the fragments of the bridge. Where did C’s premonition come from? 

Intuition; the ability to sense something ahead of time; the sense of knowing what the next step is; a strong hunch – what are these signals that suddenly appear that we know we can totally trust? It is as if we understand something clearly and immediately without the need for conscious reasoning. We can call this knowing an instinct, a gut feeling, a sixth sense, or a message. Whatever we call it, we have all had instances of it. The phone rings and we know who it at the other end. We meet a friend and his new date and somehow we know they will end up married. We make plans and, at the last moment, decide we shouldn’t go, to later find out we just missed being in an accident. We turn right instead of our routine left and suddenly find ourselves passing the perfect house we’ve been looking for.

Many experts posit that our leaps of faith are really the ability to know something directly without analytic reasoning, instantaneously bridging the gap between the conscious and nonconscious parts of our mind. We absorb clues to what might happen by processing tiny but telling facts through observation of non-verbal communication such as body language, facial expressions and tone of voice. But this doesn’t completely explain all of what our “inner voice” tells us. There are those that believe we are receiving information from a source outside of our physical bodies and brains, perhaps from a higher self or the collective unconscious. 

Regardless of our belief about where such messages come from, we may have discomfort with the idea of relying on our instincts. In our society, we have learned to believe that rationality prevails when making decisions. Yet most of us have, at some time or other, trusted an intuition and realized the benefit of having done so. Perhaps we need to revisit our belief around intuition. When that niggling in the back of your brain, funny feeling in the pit of your stomach, or sudden urge to change your plan next comes up, pay some attention to it and possibly act on it. It may be one of the best decisions of your life!

Sheila Peters is a certified Eden Energy Medicine Clinical Practitioner, Reiki Practitioner, and wingWave©Coach. She also teaches classes and workshops in Stretch/Body Awareness, Energy Body Tune-up, and Jazz Dance. For more information, email Sheila at: sheilapetersdance@gmail.com, call 781-354-0725, or visit Sheila’s website at: www.energymedicineanddance.com

© 2019 by Sheila Peters. All rights reserved.

Triggering Reactivity

We get triggered by people, situations, and events and find ourselves reacting in ways that, in the aftermath, we are ashamed of, know consciously to be ineffective or destructive, or that we thought we had outgrown. It can be disheartening, depressing, and cause us to feel hopeless, unmotivated, and angry at ourselves as well as others. At a very basic level, this is the basis of addiction. We want to ease the pain or stress that we are feeling! We revert, often without conscious thought, to old coping mechanisms. We just want to stop feeling the uncomfortable vibes or jitters that we experience when we come up against behavior, thoughts, or actions that trigger unconscious or subconscious reactions.

For example, why do some people overeat? Even when they know consciously that they are not hungry? Beyond the taste buds that give the message that whatever is being eaten is delicious, the unnecessary food is providing a balm to an uncomfortable feeling. Perhaps eating has become a way to stop feeling alone, worthless, and unloved for many of us. And it works, at least temporarily! For those few minutes while we are eating the comfort food, we feel soothed and less uncomfortable. The loneliness, the self-disparagement, and the feelings of being unlovable diminish in volume. 

This sets up a patterned way of dealing with uncomfortable emotions. Does the food have anything really to do with the feelings? No, it’s just a method of coping that seems to alleviate the pain of the emotions just long enough time for us to begin to feel some relief from the uncomfortable emotions. And that is one of the hallmarks of these coping mechanisms, they are temporary, and thus must be constantly repeated to regain a sense of emotional equilibrium.

Eating is not the only way to deal with uncomfortable feelings. Humans are inventive in their coping mechanisms! Alcohol, drugs, sex, abusive relationships, thrill seeking, self-abusive behaviors, angry outbursts, and inflicting physical, emotional, and verbal pain on others are other ways that people have found that relieve the stress of their emotional pain. But not all addictive behaviors are seen from the outside as negative!

Another example can be seen in people who seem to thrive and truly come alive only in times of crisis. They are there to help family, friends, and the greater community survive a threat or difficult time. These people become the saviors that others constantly call on for help. This rescue pattern can become so embedded in the rescuer’s psyche that they look for crisis situations to manage and, sometimes when it can’t be found, will create situations where their invaluable help is called on. This is not necessarily consciously recognized but when their assistance is not desperately needed, these individuals do not feel happy, fulfilled, or even alive. Again this is an addiction, albeit often seen in a positive way by the receivers of such assistance.

Being able to come to the rescue allows these people a way to feel valuable and worthy. Taken to a bizarre extreme, we witness the phenomena of Munchausen syndrome by proxy. Although this syndrome is fairly rare, less extreme examples are all around us. If an individual was praised as a child only for their ability to maintain calm and offer assistance in an emergency, this becomes a way for the child to continue to find value with others and self. This is the way the child feels fully loved.

What do habitual unconscious reactions, built-in automatic responses, and addictive patterns have in common? Often they are the learned consequences to events that happened in the past. When we find ourselves challenged in the present, our past memories can cause us to react without even knowing we are being triggered. We bypass the conscious thought process of what might be the best way to respond to the challenge in the present by triggering an automatic resolution that has worked for us in the past. Reactively responding to a present situation always means we are functioning from our memories and past experiences. By clouding the present with filters from the past, we lose objectivity and may not clearly see the present situation. New ways of approaching any situation, whether challenging or trouble-free, can be missed because we are entrenched in the old pattern of thinking and cannot see the new solutions or opportunities.

There are currently a number of methodologies to help us rid ourselves of no longer useful emotional and mental patterns. But before we can avail ourselves of any method, we must be able to bring these unconscious and subconscious patterns to the surface. It has been posited that conscious thought is only about 10% of all the thinking and remembering we do. The vast majority of memories and thoughts are below the conscious level. This can be a major stumbling block. How can we become aware of what is not recognizable?

Generally, how we feel about ourselves and others will reflect any biases we may have embedded in our memories that cause a habitual emotional response. If we are unhappy with ourselves, attention needs to be paid to ferret out what circumstances seem to trigger negative self-talk. If we seem to have a “go-to” emotion such as anger towards others, what is the true source of the anger? What are our thought habits? Do we tend to catastrophize events and outcomes or do we anticipate positive results? Do we seem to repeat actions that do not give us our desired conclusions? What do we really believe about ourselves in terms of our potential, capability, worthiness, and loveability? All of the answers will be reflected in our lives on a physical, emotional, mental and energetic level.

If our existences are in harmony with what we want out of our lives, then chances are that we are not going to act from past experiences and will not respond reactively. On the other hand, if we are not happy with how we interact with family and friends; where we are in our careers; our health; our romantic partnerships then chances are that we are holding onto and acting from outmoded or false preconceptions.

Some scientists posit that we hold memories and, therefore, behavioral patterns in all of our cells not just in the brain. This is one reason why there is such interest in energy medicine healing methods such as EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), Acupuncture, Energy Medicine, and The Healing Codes. By working with the body in ways that combine physical touch and activation, these methodologies can help to remove old ways of thinking and behaving by embedding new and more effective ways of functioning in the physical body as well as in the thinking mind.

Many individuals have found that unearthing old patterns through talk therapies alone have not done the job of removing the old habitual patterns. It certainly can help to bring awareness of old emotional templates but by going over old patterns repeatedly, sometimes individuals feel worse and can become even more stuck in the old ways of behaving and responding. Continually reliving past trauma can cause us to make the mental pathways in our brain that contain the trauma to become more entrenched.

We want to discontinue to think in those ways – to abandon the dendrite pathways that cause us to function in the old way. By taking the acquired awareness of what is below the surface (unconscious and subconscious thinking) and applying energy medicine techniques to clear the body of the old patterns, people can make remarkable changes in how they experience formerly troubling challenges. How and when they respond to a situation can become more considered and thoughtful and not a knee jerk reaction. By functioning without the filters of the past, an individual can operate from a more authentic place; from the standpoint of who they are in the present instead of who they were in the past. We stop limiting who we think we can be and begin to expand who we are capable of being. We begin to live in the present without the holdovers from the past.

Sheila Peters is a certified Eden Energy Medicine Clinical Practitioner, Reiki Practitioner, and wingWave©Coach. She also teaches classes and workshops in Stretch/Body Awareness, Energy Body Tune-up, and Jazz Dance. For more information, email Sheila at: sheilapetersdance@gmail.com, call 781-354-0725, or visit Sheila’s website at: www.energymedicineanddance.com.

Body Image

As a young dance student, the ideal body image for dancers was to be rail thin with very few curves. Yet Marilyn Monroe was the existing sex symbol of the day and was a curvaceous blond bombshell. That didn’t quite jibe with what I envisioned for my young developing body if I was to ever reach my goal of being a professional dancer. It was hard to rectify the two different images – round, soft, and blond with thin, muscled, and athletic. One image reflected the current society’s ideal of womanhood and the other reflected my personal dream of being a dancer.

Are we tall or short, thin or stocky, curvy or lean, long-legged or big-busted, blue or brown eyed, blond with straight hair or black with curled hair? As an adult, we sometimes can see the beauty in all the many splendiferous variations in female appearance. But how many of us, deep inside, still harbor the sense that whatever we look like is not the right image? Did we grow up in an era when a beautiful woman was seen as tall, long-legged, thin, with straight brown hair? Or did our society see curvaceous, short, buxom, curly-haired red heads as the most desirable? Furthermore, what skin tone was the most admired? How could we not measure our own bodies against the picture of perfection that was held up to us in movies, magazines, by celebrities, fashion, and artwork?

If we weren’t in the small percentage of females that looked like whatever was the passing image of beauty at the age when we began to notice society’s standards of attractiveness, what did that mean to our sense of self-worth? Nowadays, girls as young as 3 years old are highly conscious of how they look in relation to others. And if they are subjected to criticism, no matter how oblique, it will begin to erode their sense of self-worth. One of my granddaughters began to feel very unhappy with her naturally spiral-curled dark hair when some of her pre-school mates talked about how different their hair was from hers in a somewhat derogatory way.

When we are subjected to comments like these, along with persistently seeing the current admired models of feminine beauty (which may not match what we look like), we begin to objectify ourselves. We start to see ourselves from the outside, the surface, rather than view ourselves from the inside. We begin to separate who we are internally from who we are externally. This disconnection of inner and outer can cause us to feel inauthentic. If we strive for an external appearance that is not in alignment with who we really are, then we can begin to believe we are not good enough.

If we can separate or disconnect from ourselves, then it becomes easier to disconnect from others. We may begin to believe that some people are better than others which is the beginning of prejudice, us vs. them thinking, which can eventually result in bullying, exclusion, and marginalization.

Another result of this disconnection can be that we see ourselves in pieces. My legs are good but my arms are saggy. I like the color of my eyes but my nose is all wrong. Each of us can spout, ad infinitum, a list of the “undesirable” parts of ourselves. When we deeply dislike a part of ourselves, our negative thoughts, words, and actions can affect those areas of our bodies. While we berate ourselves, the cells in that area hear the judgement. Just as cells are capable of holding emotions surrounding events in our lives, they will also internalize our feelings of dislike. That area may become stiffer, less pliable, less willing to function with the rest of the body. We may find ourselves injuring that area more often and we may gradually feel a numbness there.

Try this experiment: lie down on your back, close your eyes, and create an outline of your body in your mind’s eye as if you were drawing with a pencil. Are there places that seem more difficult to trace around than others? Could that be an area that you have disconnected from?

Our disdain for ourselves seems to grow as we get older. We notice wrinkles, extra flesh, and, horrors, grey hair!

Let’s ask ourselves what our preconceived notions are? Do we honestly think that as we grow more mature that we will remain as we were when we were 20 years old? How could that be possible? Is older automatically uglier? Only younger prettier? Could the lines and changes in our faces actually be visual reminders of the wisdom we have gained through the years instead blotches and blemishes that we want to disown? Could we instead be proud of the history that shows up on our faces?       

Why aren’t we enough as we are? Others love us as we are, why can’t we?

Augmentation to and decoration of the body has been found in all cultures throughout time. It is not the same thing as thinking we aren’t enough as we are, unless we are making modifications to distort ourselves or trying make ourselves look like someone else. Enhancement by jewelry, hair color, tattoos, and scarification can symbolize something deeply spiritual or emotional about ourselves, bringing to the surface what is inside of us. However if we feel compelled to do any of these things just to fit a preconceived notion of what is acceptable by society then we are not reflecting our own truth or our own authenticity. However, there can be a fine line in making modifications. Changing ourselves because we feel healthier, like losing weight, is vastly different than undergoing multiple plastic surgeries so we can resemble a Barbie doll.

Let’s embrace the areas of our body that we have criticized and learn to be grateful for the bodies that we have. Enjoy what they do for us. Appreciate how they carry us through our days and nights, gifting us with the unique perspective they give us. Whether we are able to look over the heads of everyone else, bask in the sunshine without worry of sunburn, or have strong thighs and calves that enable us to bicycle long distances.

We are uniquely ourselves and there is no one else exactly like us. We have our individual issues and challenges but we gain so much from our own way of being, physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. The way that we view ourselves is how we present ourselves to others. If we believe we are beautiful both inside and out, that is how we will display ourselves to others. Let’s celebrate ourselves!

If we could embrace diversity in appearances and therefore embrace our own individual differences, perhaps we could begin to become more tolerant as a society. Perhaps our daughters would not feel so stigmatized if they didn’t feel compelled to conform to a current and passing ideal of beauty. Perhaps we would all become more comfortable in our skin.

Sheila Peters is a certified Eden Energy Medicine Clinical Practitioner, Reiki Practitioner, and wingWave©Coach. She also teaches classes and workshops in Stretch/Body Awareness, Energy Body Tune-up, and Jazz Dance. For more information, email Sheila at: sheilapetersdance@gmail.com, call 781-354-0725, or visit Sheila’s website at: www.energymedicineanddance.com.

© 2019 by Sheila Peters. All rights reserved.

Stretching Into Spring

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine practice, moving from the winter season (yin energy) to spring (yang energy), means we move from contraction to expansion. We can apply this methodology as a metaphor for our physical bodies.

All winter we have been on an inward journey, staying inside our homes to conserve heat and perhaps becoming reflective about what lies in our future during the New Year celebrations. As spring arrives we ask ourselves to change that behavior and begin to reach out and open up to enact any plans or intentions for the new growing season. Somewhat like a seed that has remained in hibernation during the cold months and then begins to sprout as the air temperatures begin to warm. The contrast between contraction and expansion is quite extreme and we often feel quite exhausted with the effort.

Think about when you were a child during periods of fast growth. We called the aches and pains in our limbs “growing pains”. Our bones were lengthening and expanding and our muscles, ligaments, tendons, and connective tissues had to grow and accommodate this growth. This all took energy! Like the childhood complaint of growing pains, when we move from the contraction of winter into the expansion of spring, we are also using energy. Hence our fatigue.

One of the ways that we can regain vitality and strength is to stretch. There are many ways to stretch our bodies but what they all have in common is the ability to unblock held pockets of energies. By releasing blocks and opening up tight areas we allow the flow of the primo vascular circulatory system to move more smoothly. The primo vascular circulatory system has more commonly been known for centuries as the Meridian system. When the body has more flow it can more easily heal itself and help body parts to rejuvenate.

The rejuvenation of the body is particularly enhanced when we keep our spines lubricated and loose. After all, our skeletal structure is what the rest of our physical body rests upon. If there are compromised sections of the spine then the nerves that attach to those sections will echo their distress into various related areas of the body. That results in pain. When those nerves are allowed to function freely the pain is alleviated.

Bella Lewitzky

As a young professional dancer, I was constantly taking dance classes, rehearsing, choreographing, and performing. I certainly had sore muscles but my spine was continually being activated with curving, arching, twisting, contracting, and lengthening movements. I never imagined the day I might feel restriction in my spinal motions. Nevertheless, in my 6th decade there are days that I wake up with back pain. Usually it is because I haven’t done enough flexibility exercises the day before. On those days, I am reminded of one of my early mentors – Bella Lewitzky – who performed well into her 60’s. I thought it a bit of an overkill back in my 20’s after I first met Bella when I heard that she spent an hour each morning manipulating her spine before she began her day in the dance studio. I no longer think it was overkill!

Most of us aren’t prepared to spend an hour just working on spinal flexibility but it certainly would behoove us to spend at least 15 minutes a day. We could accomplish that by taking a dance, stretch, Pilates, or yoga class or by simply bending our bodies forward in our chairs from time to time throughout the day rolling down and back up through each of the vertebrae to improve articulation and then twisting in our chairs from side to side. If we walk, jog, play sports, we want to make sure that we stretch our spines as well as our arms and legs before and after we have exerted ourselves. This helps us as we mature and move through the various stages in life.

Our lower back is probably the most vulnerable spot in our spines. It is the area that gets the most complaints, particularly in pregnant women. As the baby grows, a pregnant woman’s center of gravity moves forward and her posture changes, causing the spine to support the additional weight exactly at this vulnerable low back area. Then after giving birth, the new mother carries the baby and often doesn’t shift her posture back to her pre-pregnancy alignment. Her muscles get used to this placement and she carries this postural habit throughout the rest of her life.

The same result occurs when we allow ourselves to gain too much belly weight. The abdominal muscles release and don’t act as the natural “girdle” that they are meant to. As the abdominals stretch out, the low back contracts into a perpetual arch and never gets a chance to lengthen out and release the arched position. When we activate the spine we can reenergize the abdominal muscles by contracting them which allows the spine to open up and stretch.

When I was a young child I never imagined the day would come when I was taller than my 6 foot father. Being 5’ 4”, that seemed like an impossible event. Yet, when he was in his 80s, that’s just what happened. It was shocking to me although I’m not sure that my father recognized the change as much as I did. So what had happened?

Some experts claim that height related shrinkage in older age is partly due to genetics. However it is widely recognized that exercising can help prevent exaggerated height loss as we get older. Weight bearing exercises help to increase bone density; learning to sit, stand, and walk with your spine in correct alignment reduces stress on the vertebral discs; and regularly stretching in all directions – up, down, sideways, diagonally, and gentle twisting actions helps to maintain flexibility.

Since the bony structures of our body are connected via muscles, ligaments, and tendons, if one part of the spine gets compressed and loses mobility, it causes other parts of the skeleton to have to bear the load or compensate for lost agility. Hence we constantly hear of the danger of hip fractures in those that have compromised spines. Rheumatologist Abby G. Abelson, MD, FACR says “People are more likely to die in the year after a hip fracture; people are more likely to die after a spine fracture as well.”

We have the power to counteract age related height shrinkage just as we have the power to release blocked areas of energy in our bodies. We can help ourselves move from a condition of contraction into expansion just as nature moves from the yin energies of winter into the yang energies of spring. By starting a bit at a time we can regain mobility and flexibility in our spines, increasing our chances to live full and healthy lives!

Sheila Peters is a certified Eden Energy Medicine Clinical Practitioner, Reiki Practitioner, and wingWave©Coach. She also teaches classes and workshops in Stretch/Body Awareness, Energy Body Tune-up, and Jazz Dance. For more information, email Sheila at: sheilapetersdance@gmail.com, call 781-354-0725, or visit Sheila’s website at: www.energymedicineanddance.com.

© 2019 by Sheila Peters. All rights reserved.

Yin and Yang – Non-Identical Twins

Yin and Yang energies are very different in aspect, outlook, and appearance. Yet they come from the same parentage, namely, Source. Although we often think they are separate and function in completely different ways, the truth is that there is some Yang in Yin and some Yin in Yang. Each of these opposing yet complementary energies needs the other to operate at their highest potential. Balancing the two energies is one of our important life quests in order to function at our highest and best health.

Balancing yin and yang isn’t the act of maintaining an equal and static position like measuring gold with weights to determine the exact value of the valuable metal. Yin/Yang balance is a constantly fluctuating equilibrium as we are faced with the challenges and joys of human life. In some life situations, we might wish to use more Yin energies to manage what is before us. Likewise, another situation might best be served by utilizing more Yang energies.

Yin and Yang have often been described through observations of polarities, e.g., night and day; cold and warm; wet and dry; inward and outward; soft and hard. In the traditional Chinese symbol, Yin is represented by the black side with the white dot in it, and Yang is represented by the white side with the black dot in it. The small dots of opposing color illustrate the concept that some Yang can be found in yin and vice versa.

The relationship between Yin and Yang has been described in terms of sunlight playing over a mountain and a valley. Yin, or the shady space, is the dark area obscured by the mountain’s bulk, while Yang, or the sunny place, is the bright, easily seen portion. Interestingly, as the sun moves across the sky, Yin and Yang gradually trade places with each other, revealing what had been obscured and masking what had previously been revealed. Thus Yin and Yang represent opposite, equal, and complementary qualities. Further, whenever one quality reaches its peak, it will naturally begin to transform into the opposite quality. Like an undertow in the ocean, Yin and Yang transform into each other like waves coming into the shore and then retreating, only to rise and fall over and over again.

What are the individual features of Yin and Yang? Below is a chart that illustrates some of the opposite/complementary characteristics of each of these energies.

YIN YANG
Water Fire
Moon Sun
Cold Heat
Dark Day
Night Light
Autumn and Winter Spring and Summer
Receptive, introspective Active, Assertive
Inward directed Outward directed
Deep Superficial
Solid Hollow
Internal Surface
Creative Logical
Flow up from the Earth Flow down from the Heavens
Associated with “feminine” qualities Associated with “masculine” qualities

Beware of thinking of the above features as absolutes. Nothing in the universe or in life is simply black or white. Each exists in the other and each needs the other in order to exist. Remember that both energies are transforming into each other as well, so while they appear to be polar opposites they cycle from one aspect of the duality to the other aspect constantly.

Historically there has been some use of the “feminine” and “masculine” aspects of Yin and Yang to justify a pecking order, namely that Yang energies trump Yin energies. Thus we have seen women considered inferior to men and barred from taking positions of leadership. Nothing could be farther than the truth. This is why the chart lists the associated gender qualities last. Although there is some relationship to gender, it is very subtle and not meant to be pejorative or restrictive.  Jared Osborne, a Men’s Coach, QiGong Teacher, and Transformational Psychotherapist, has this to say:

… “Quite often men are described as Yang and women as Yin. This can be true when compared to each other. But it depends on what you’re comparing – and even when. For example, physical characteristics: height, strength, hardness, and an outwards focus are all things we can ascribe as Yang and (generally) ascribe to a man as compared to a woman. However, emotionally, who is more Yin and Yang? I’d contend a woman is more Yang emotionally than a man: stronger, seen, outwards. Man tends to be a more inwards, hidden, passive emotionally.”

It is interesting to look at the various facets of our lives in the context of Yin and Yang. When might a more Yin approach be more productive and where might a Yang approach be more useful? If we have a colleague, friend, or family member who is undergoing a difficult life transition, would it be most helpful to offer reflective, introspective comments or superficial, assertive declarations in our conversations? When a meeting is scheduled for a yearly performance review, would it be better to actively state our accomplishments or to quietly wait for the reviewer to notice what we have achieved? In our current political climate, we can see how Yin and Yang energies play out and can imagine how a different tack might change the dynamics.

The natural world around us also reflects the concepts of Yin and Yang. It makes sense that spring is a Yang season. It is a time of growth – seeds are beginning to burst from their opened husks, sending shoots from under the earth and up towards the sun. Leaves unfurl; birds lay eggs; animals wake from hibernation and breed and give birth; and the planet grows green with vibrancy and expansion – all qualities of Yang energy. The summer then celebrates the expansion of Yang energies into the most sumptuous and extravagant design! We humans feel alive and enlarged and we are motivated to move our bodies actively at the beach, in the mountains, at parties, in joyful groups mingling and socializing. We feel expansive and want to make the most of this very Yang period!

Suddenly summer ends and we find ourselves moving into the Yin season of autumn. This abrupt change into the energies of contracting and harvesting of what has grown during the spring and summer can feel harsh and restrictive by contrast. Although we are reaping the benefits of summer’s bounty, there is a melancholy that may overcome us when we realize that we are entering a colder, more introspective period of the year. And yet, there is now a chance for us to rest and review what we have learned through the riotous boom time of the past season. What worked and what needs to be changed? What no longer serves us and how can we shed inoperable ways of functioning?

Winter deepens our desire to go within and delve into the depths of ourselves. Because we have acclimated to the Yin forces throughout the autumn, we are able to turn ourselves to the creative side of Yin introspection. Thoughts swirl in our minds as the winds outside do likewise. Ideas begin to surface, new ways to approach old issues arise, and hope begins to sprout. We may begin planning our literal physical gardens for the coming Yang spring season as well as the metaphoric gardens of new careers, new adventures, or new relationships.

Knowing that the seasons blend from one to the other can help us to understand the partnership that Yin and Yang play in our lives. In a very real way it is hard to separate the two energies from one another because they are different sides of one whole. Each would not function well without the other, precisely because they are constantly transforming into the other. We need both to be fully functioning and healthy in the daily balancing of our bodies, emotions, thoughts, vitality, and relationships. Yin and Yang.

© 2018 by Sheila Peters. All rights reserved.

Sheila Peters is a certified Eden Energy Medicine Practitioner, Reiki Practitioner, and wingWave©Coach. She also teaches classes and workshops: Stretch/Body Awareness, Energy Body Tune-up, Crystals and Healing Stones, Chakras, Jazz Dance and more. For more information, email Sheila at: sheilapetersdance@gmail.com, call 781-354-0725, or visit Sheila’s website at: www.energymedicineanddance.com.

Summer Reflections

At some point each summer I start to feel a sense of melancholy. The summer scent of musty cut grass in the air makes me feel sad because I know that the long, warm, lazy days of ease will come to an end. Oh the summer is not over by a long shot! But I can hear and smell the passing of the season even as we are at the height of it.

Perhaps the melancholy is more acute as I grow older. I’ve had many cycles of seasons under my belt so perhaps I am more intensely aware of the passage of time. My beautiful and boisterous granddaughters bounce and jump around in the grass, ferreting out tiny pine cones in the trees, laughing at the bunnies who zigzag so as not to get caught, and plucking wild and domesticated flowers off willing branches to be presented as bouquets to their mom. They don’t notice the passage of time. They are in the thick of the moment. I watch their strong tanned limbs move with abandon and I remember how I felt when I was their age. I join my granddaughters in running across the field with arms out spread as if they are the soaring wings of angels.

I think of the plans I had for this season earlier in the year – what have I achieved and what still remains to be done? A sense of urgency emerges but it feels almost absurd. Why hurry, why worry, why fret? Summer is still here with its boundless possibilities and hopes! The sun is shining and there is still time, still opportunity, still serendipitous chance. And so I drink in the intoxicating nectar of the light, the animals and the birds, the smells, and the sounds. I feel the love emanating from people I care about and from the very earth itself.

The melancholy begins to lift.

It’s a bit like the ancient fable about the grasshopper and the ant. If we spend all our time worrying about the future, do we enjoy the present? If we spend all our time being in the moment, do we quickly become part of the past? Past, Present, Future. In a more modern context, if you are so busy taking that perfect snapshot with your cell phone, are you a participant or merely a record keeper? If you don’t take the photo, can you be sure that you will remember the moment?

Of course the key is balance – balance between work and play, enjoying the moment and planning for the future, between action and relaxation. But that balance can sometimes be elusive. If we get stuck believing that where we are is not where we are supposed to be, then we can’t be fully present. We may begin to feel frustrated or impatient or that we are losing out. We may even feel melancholy.

How do we balance it all while being fully present to each side of the equation?

I’ve learned that trusting in myself is a large part of the answer. Having faith that my inner voice will give me a sign or nudge when it’s time to transfer to the other side of the equation. I haven’t always believed that I would have that inner understanding available when I needed it. However, as I get older, I see that my intuition is usually reliable.

I’ve also learned that the more I listen and follow my inner voice, the more the rest of the world seems to echo that understanding. Opportunities arise that resonate with what my intuition is saying to me, making it easy to choose the path ahead. So while I can sense the passing of the summer even as I enjoy the delights of the season, I understand that this is the balance that occurs in all aspects of life.

 

Sheila Peters is a certified Eden Energy Medicine Clinical Practitioner, Reiki Practitioner, and wingWave©Coach. She also teaches classes and workshops in Stretch/Body Awareness, Energy Body Tune-up, and Jazz Dance. For more information, email Sheila at: sheilapetersdance@gmail.com, call 781-354-0725, or visit Sheila’s website at: www.energymedicineanddance.com.

 

© 2018 by Sheila Peters. All rights reserved.