Building a Frame for Bliss

One could watch a spider build a web and dismiss her frenetic movements as chaotic. Or one could squat down and watch her for an hour to see that every movement is meticulous and provides the framework for the next layer of webbing.

Such is my life as a dreamer; as a builder; as a mother; as a growing being of light and love on this planet.

I recently had a phone call with my amazing mother. I was excited to tell her that I’m returning full time to college to complete my undergrad degree and pursue my Doctorate in Chinese Medicine.  She’s generally supportive of me and her response of a long sigh rattled me a bit…

“Sally,” she said in an exhausted tone,” aren’t you enrolled in Asheville to complete your 500 hour yoga training?”

“Of course I am,” was my reply. “I can do both.”

“What about that Ayurvedic thing you do on Sunday nights? Did you finish that?”she queried.

“It’s Spirtual Counseling Training, and yes I’m still doing that course, but I’m 17 weeks into the 20 week course so it’s nearly done. And I can still take traditional classes while I do that.” I was steadfast, but deflating a little.

My mom went on “Honey, it’s too much. You’ve completed all these trainings- Massage therapy and Ayurveda and Yoga and now this. Why not just focus on what you already know instead of spending more time and money??”

I assured her that she’d soon see how it will all come together and not seem like different paths, but rather, many pieces to the same puzzle of Blissful Health. It’s the path of the Healer. 

Of course there’s a voice in my head that doubts the path and asks exactly the questions my mom was giving voice to.  But in my HEART lives a voice that reassures me: All of the trainings, all of the education, all of the workshops, all of the experiementing and experiencing I do- it’s all building the framework for Bliss.

Much like the frame drums that my boyfriend and I built, I’m pulling together seemingly unconnected strings of leather; Im cutting holes in the fabric of my life in order to sew, tighten and tune this instrument which gives resonance to my life’s purpose. 

Like the spider, assuredly tasking her life’s work, I weave together all my trainings and readings and experiences to strengthen my ongoing masterpiece of the Healer’s medicine kit. And there is Bliss in every step of the framework. 

Iodine for breast health

Christiane Northrup has long been a favorite author on my bookshelf. Check out her latest wisdom nuggets for women’s health on her website

I was alarmed last year when I mentioned to my doctor during a routine physical that I take iodine as a daily supplement to maintain breast health, and her reaction was “iodine has nothing to do with hormonal health”. I stated that my midwife had recommended iodine when I was having painful cysts and that the pain went away within weeks of starting iodine. She was perplexed and in disbelief. Doctors are smart. But I’m certain that people know more about their bodies than doctors do, and it’s important to approach your health from many different angles. Trace mineral and vitamin supplements, herbs, essential oils, nutrients, exercise, proper sleep and daily meditation provide a map to blissful health. 

Here’s Dr Northrup’s take on Iodine for breast health:

Summertime Mindfulness Challenge

My daughter Violet and I just discovered a beautiful summer mindfulness practice! If you find yourself with a relaxing, laid back Saturday or Sunday- try this mindfulness challenge:

Spread a towel on a lawn in the sun in the late afternoon (after 4pm you won’t get sunburned, but it’s still hot enough to get really uncomfortable- the constant in this experiment.) Dress in shorts and a tank top or your bathing suit and lay on your back on the towel for 10-15 minutes. Leave your hands palms facing-up, spread slightly from the midline. I put a towel over my face to fight the glare.) Feel the heat without struggling against it. Feel the sweat beads rolling down your skin without drying them or scratching the ticklish sensation. Feel the sugar ants biting your skin without knee jerk reaction to smack them or at the very least brush them off. Can you do it? Can you stay with your breath and the sensations of what you feel WITHOUT needing the experience to be different? I invite you to try this mantra: “This is what this feels like,” when ants bite, heat builds and sweat rolls. Is the grass touching you anywhere and itching? Let it be what it is. 

If you can accept the heat, accept the itchy, tickley drops of sweat rolling on your skin, accept the biting sugar ants: it will give you a solid base for the next time you’re truly uncomfortable and want to run from what you feel. In this way we can use our everyday mindfulness to prepare us as warriors for any tumult, confrontation, accusation, sadness or frustration that comes our way. We are constantly evolving, and every moment is a moment that shapes us. 

Pema Chödrön says:

“Most of us do not take these situations as teachings. We automatically hate them. We run like crazy. We use all kinds of ways to escape — all addictions stem from this moment when we meet our edge and we just can’t stand it. We feel we have to soften it, pad it with something, and we become addicted to whatever it is that seems to ease the pain.” 

Find true happiness by awakening to the essence of life.

In recent years, pop culture has tuned in to Ayurveda as a way to create dietary guidelines for ourselves based on our unique bodytype, or “Dosha.” This is wonderful press for Ayurveda, which can absolutely provide specific guidelines for healthy eating– but this ancient Vedic science goes far beyond which foods to select or avoid. Ayurveda is consciousness-based medicine. It is about coming back to your True Nature and back to Nature itself. 

Viewing the body as a sacred temple, we understand that keeping the body properly nourished is of utmost importance to physical health- Ayurveda gives us tools not only to nourish our physical bodies, but to unlock deeper meaning in our lives through coming to know ourselves and the world around us. Understanding that meditation is clinically proven to be the best tool for coping with stress, we become aware that cultivating a daily meditation practice is essential to keeping the body free of disease and the mind full of ease. By acknowledging the value of keeping stress levels low and optimizing health for the body, we can simplify the goal of Ayurveda into two vital concepts: Improving Digestion and Meditating. 
What is “consciousness-based medicine”? Consciousness means, simply: The State of Being Awake. Medicine means: The science and practice of the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease. Given those definitions I say consciousness based medicine is diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease through the state of awareness. Cultivating this “awareness” or “state of being awake” through developing a meditation practice is absolutely essential in Ayurveda. Far more important than what to eat and what not to eat, Ayurveda teaches us how to heighten our consciousness to improve our physical and mental health and improve the health of the planet as well.
What does “Coming back to your True Nature” mean?

It means going deep within and discovering or re-discovering that essential being that is YOU. The person you used to be before becoming a parent, before paying bills, before sickness and death in the family, before you built up necessary walls around your heart to live and fully participate responsibly in this AMAZING, challenging, beautiful, difficult, Wondrous Life that you lead. Through a series of meditations, journaling, sound healing experiences and a walk in the labirynth, you’ll have an opportunity to fully explore that space of your True Nature and learn ways to nourish yourself while honoring and embracing the multi-faceted responsibilities you have accrued.

Join me the first weekend in Spring and we Will Create Bliss with Ayurveda.

Creating Bliss Retreat

Dec 13, 2016
Many of my massage clients are intrigued by my upcoming retreat at AOLRC in March. I’ve heard the same question, phrased in many different ways, “I’m curious about Ayurveda…I just don’t know exactly what it is or what to expect! I want to spend time with you, Sally, and absorb some of that playful, joyful energy, but if Ayurveda is for me.” 

When I hear that question, I hear an underlying question: “Is this retreat worth my time, money and energy? Will it be worth taking Friday off work and driving to Boone?” And for some folks I also hear this question underneath their initial question: “Will it be weird? Am I cool enough to be in a room with people I don’t know who are gathering together to learn and grow? Will people judge me for my current state of health or lack of knowledge about Ayurveda, yoga and meditation?”
For those of you who know me, you know you can trust me when I say that this workshop is all inclusive and will be absolutely wonderful and restorative, albeit transformational. You already know me, so that’s one person at the retreat who’s got your back! And all of my students know that I spend the first hour of any workshop setting a strong tone of community, trust and safety. For those of you who don’t yet know me, I encourage you to reach out and establish a connection before registration! Get a feel for me! I’m readily accessible through email, and if you’re in the raleigh/Cary NC area, In offering a FREE 60 minute massagebon my office for every participant who registers for he workshop! 
Allow me to address the questions posed about Ayurveda, in the most clear and concise fashion: Ayurveda is consciousness-based medicine. It is about coming back to your True Nature and back to Nature itself. Viewing the body as a sacred temple, we understand that keeping the body properly nourished is of utmost importance to physical health. Understanding that meditation is the best tool for coping with stress, we understand that cultivating a daily meditation practice is essential to keeping the body free of disease and the mind full of ease. By acknowledging the value of keeping stress levels low and optimizing health for the body, we can simplify the goal of Ayurveda into two vital concepts: Improving Digestion and Meditating. 

In this weekend together immersed in healing and returning to ourselves, we will play, get in touch with our inner wisdom, discover simple secrets of losing weight and having more energy, playing with drums, crystal bowls, rattles and didgeridoos, we will explore different ways of meditating. I personally ally guarantee that all participants will leave the workshop with their own custom-made meditation practice that is enjoyable, effortless and effective. Whether you’ve tried meditation before and just couldn’t “sit with it” or if you’ve never tried meditation, OR if you’re a seasoned meditator- these practices in movement, chanting and sound healing will renew and replenish you from a cellular level!
“The most creative act you will ever undertake is the act of creating yourself.” -Deepak Chopra
This Chopra quote thrills me! We are indeed creating ourselves as we go through life! We have choices. We have chances. Our thoughts become our reality. Creating a life of peace, joy, purpose and with deeply loving connections is accessible to us. My mentor, Carey Smith of Body Therapy Institute Center for Somatic Education says “when we create peace inside, we will have peace outside.”

These concepts are simple, but not easy. It does take practice to cultivate peace. During this workshop, in our short time together, you Will learn how to access the tools for peace and Create Bliss with Ayurveda.

Love and Light, 

Sally Raspberry