Category Archives: Spiritual Care

Spirituality—What’s the big deal?



The term “spirituality” has gotten a bad rap, I think, over the past decade. I rather think the whole idea of making “spirituality” good or bad is rather funny, giving that human beings are naturally spiritual.

Indeed, in the broader sense, spirituality simply refers to the profound sense that one is connected to something much larger than self. You can feel this way at any given moment—while praying, basking under some glorious rays of sunshine, or hitting a perfect shot while playing golf.

From a brain-science perspective, when one feels this larger sense of connection, peptides and neurostransmitters like oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine are flying through the brain and body, creating a state of relaxation, a general sense of well-being, and a more open state of mind. In addition, stress hormones and stress systems that are normally over-activated when an individual feels threatened or disconnected are kept in check, therefore inhibiting the detrimental and harmful affects of stress and the associated bi-products.

spiritual feeling of a sunset

beautiful sunsets connect you with nature and the spiritual world

Since the beginning, humankind has used spirituality to cope—using imagination, their connection to nature and the spiritual world, to make meaning of a world that did not have science to explain anything yet. Physiologically, science is now discovering that this coping mechanism is indeed necessary for health and well-being.

One only has to gaze at a beautiful sunset, imagine a gazelle leaping through the air, or watch an eagle sore through the sky to feel the sense of being connected and part of something much larger and greater. When we get caught up in our every day lives, the computer screen or the smart phone, we lose this sense of largeness and connection. Rather, our minds close in on just us and the inanimate objects around us, which often do not always imply a deeper meaning or connection.

A great thing about nature is that it is non-denominational. You don’t have to believe in God, a higher power, divine influence or any other religious beliefs to get the benefit that more religiously minded individuals get. Nature, by its sheer vastness and beauty can elicit this feeling and mind/body physiology in anyone. Even better, once you feel connected to nature, you are also more likely to take care of it. Likewise, when you feel more connected to the larger world you exist in, you are more likely to have empathy for the people who surround you.

The Daoist believe that the human body mirrors the landscape of nature. There is an intricate balance between all parts of the body, all parts of nature and between humankind and nature. Each takes care of the other—or is supposed to. Destroying nature is akin to destroying the body. You don’t take care of nature, you don’t take care of yourself. You don’t take care of yourself, you don’t take care of nature. And then what do you have left? A smart phone is not going to keep the oxygen in the air for you to breathe.

Likewise, self care leads to environmental care. Loving the environment results in better care of oneself. Science confirms the Daoist belief when looking at the regulating systems in the body—via feedback loops and auto-regulatory processes that depend on hormones and neurotransmitters, every system of the body, molecules like oxygen and nitric oxyide and all of the senses—that pick up pleasantries vs. insults that turn on the stress response or turn it off. Like a pleasant aroma vs. a caustic smell. Nature has the same effect. When you see a flower bloom, your mind and body experience a similar reaction.

Think about it now—what do you feel?

Here are a few simple ways you can connect to your own spirituality muscle:
Gaze at something amazing—something that amazes you, that is, in nature. That state of awe will release oxytocin and other delicious neurotransmitters that give you the sense of a “high”.

You can also take a mindful walk in nature—this means not thinking about yesterday or worrying about tomorrow, but being present and appreciative while walking in nature….admiring the colors of the leaves, the blueness of the sky, the smell of the air or the touch of the breeze. Intentionally usining all your senses to appreciate heightens the sense of connection.

Enjoy!

By: Dr Eva Selhub

Kids Helping to Heal Their Loved Ones

In the first five years of life, children have to learn how to sit, crawl, walk and run. They also have to learn how to eat using utensils, talk, sing, joke, poop in the toilet, dress themselves, share with others, count and read. Little kids are tiny human sponges that absorb the world around them at an alarming rate. They have a natural curiosity and pure hearts, and they like to please the people they love. That is why teaching children Integrated Energy Therapy® (IET) can help them get in tune with their energy fields, so they can send positive, healing energy to a sick loved one in what is called a heartlink.

 IET was developed by former engineer, Stevan Thayer, a certified Reiki master, ordained interfaith minister, and author of several books. It uses special techniques to rebalance a person’s energy field, which in turn increases wellbeing, creativity, happiness and so on. The premise is that energy blockages will eventually result in physical blockages that can cause disease. IET uses healing energy to release the blockages and restore the flow of energy that includes physical, mental, emotional and spiritual energy.

For skeptics, this concept is probably a little difficult to wrap their arms around, but scientific research has proven that holistic and spiritual practices have positive impacts on the human body and mind. That is why the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation has partnered with Debbee Radcliff to teach Integrated Energy Therapy to the children of breast cancer patients.

“IET teaches kids about their emotions, their chakras and where emotions hang out in their bodies,” said Radcliff, a teacher for almost thirty years and a master IET instructor. “For example, when someone is sad, his shoulders will hunch forward.”

Radcliff states IET was the first energy technique she learned. She was raised Christian, so this modality was comfortable to her. Now, she teaches kids to connect with their guardian angels. Kids also learn to heartlink with their guardian angel to send positive, healing energy to someone they care about. Children want to be active participants in helping their parents feel better during a serious illness like cancer. “Kids are naturals at this stuff,” Radcliff said. “Teaching them IET is giving them a tool for life.”

In her three-hour class, sponsored by the Gloria Gemma Foundation, Radcliff teaches children how to identify negative feelings within themselves, how those feelings affect people, and how to safely release those feelings through activities and games, in a fun and loving environment. The children also learn how to clear basic energy blocks.

For the most part, children have yet to be tarnished by life situations and have not developed the cynicism that inhibits their capacity for learning something new and different. They are open to discovery and open to Healing with the Energy of Angels, the title of Radcliff’s program.

By: Carol Donnelly, Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation

Shhhhh! Can you hear what your body is saying?

Have you ever heard the phrase, “listen to your body”?

Just what does that mean?  And why should you do it?

“Cease trying to work everything out with your minds. It will get you nowhere. Live by intuition and inspiration and let your whole life be Revelation.” – Eileen Caddy, Spiritual leader, Scottsh Writer

The human body is a miraculous machine.  It knows how to function properly and thrive when given the proper nourishment.  Not only nourishment from food, but emotional and physical nourishment as well.

When the wrong foods are consumed (by wrong, I don’t just mean processed foods or fast foods, but wrong specifically for an individual), the body, beginning with the digestive system, will send a message to the brain or nervous system in general.  That message could be digestive distress, an ache, a rash or any number of symptoms.

When we suppress feelings or desires, symptoms can creep in as well.  For example, according to the book “You Can Heal Your Life” by Louise Hay, throat problems can often be related back to suppression of creativity/self-expression or the ability to speak up for one’s self.

We become programmed to resist the signs.  We seek out other things or actions to distract us.

When we continually ignore these symptoms, or cover them up with prescriptions or over-the-counter medications, our bodies attempt to “increase the volume” of the message.  Over time, inflammation increases, cells begin to mutate, chronic issues develop and even acute illness or disease may manifest.

Therefore, if we really learn to LISTEN to our bodies, we can attempt to correct or reverse many ailments and illnesses that plague daily life.

 Call it intuition, a hunch, awareness, gut-instinct, listening or the sixth sense.  Or even define it as “the ability to sense or know immediately without reasoning”.

So HOW do you get it?  Really, we all have the ability; however, we have filled our lives with so much excess, that it has become muted or nearly non-existent for some people!

Let’s get it back, or develop it more deeply.  Here’s how to begin:

Do not rush this process or “go too big too fast”.  Start small so you can experience how it works.  Determining the difference between what you know and feel in your heart or gut, and what you perceive is right, is key to developing your intuition.  Does the message seem harmonious?  Or do conflicts come up right away?

Trust and surrender are next.  This can be scary for some.  You may feel too vulnerable or exposed.  Know that only you are receiving the messages of your intuition.  Don’t try to talk yourself out of what you are “hearing”.

“Never ignore a gut feeling, but never believe that it’s enough.” – Robert Heller

And, finally, be open to receiving.  Once the initial message is discovered or exposed, a solution often follows.  The actual steps to reach the final solutions may not be clear, but that is where the mind will need to take part and help to create the path.  Developing your intuition also creates a deeper connection between the mind and the heart.  They learn to trust each other and work together.

TRY THIS:

Take a few minutes and find a quiet place.  Sit or lie down in a comfortable position and close your eyes.  Take a few deep breaths into your belly.

If you have a specific issue you need an answer for, think about it for a minute.  (Remember, start small.  There are some things you may not really want an answer for!)  Perhaps you have difficulty getting restful sleep on a regular basis.  If it’s not obvious that worry or noise or something similar is the problem, ask for the answer.

Then begin to scan your body.  Send your thoughts to your toes.  “Look” around in your mind’s eye.  See your toenails, calluses, and everything external.  Then go inside.  Imagine the muscles and veins and bones and cells.  Continue to scan your body like this until random thought pops up.  If it is your mind wandering, bring it back into focus.  If it is something out of the blue, think about what it could mean.

Your answers may appear via a feeling, symbol, emotion, thought, or inspiration.

As an example, I was having a lot of difficulty sleeping – falling asleep, staying asleep, feeling rested.  I had done my journaling and dumped my thoughts and worries onto paper.  That simply did not seem to be doing the trick!  As I asked for some intuitive guidance, I scanned my body.  The image that continually appeared in my mind was that of my cells shaking and vibrating and bouncing into each other.  Then the word “magnesium” popped into my head (how random is that?).  It turns out magnesium helps to calm the nervous system and mine definitely needed some help for some reason!   I went out to get a high quality magnesium supplement and it started to work its magic the very first night!  Since then, I have discovered the actual cause of the out of whack nervous system and am working on resolving that issue.

I have been doing intuition exercises for some time.  At the beginning, the answers were not as clear!  So don’t expect absolute solutions right away.

Make time for an intuitive check-in each day.  Consider it a form of meditation.

“Intuition is a spiritual faculty and does not explain, but simply points the way.” –  Florence Scovel Shinn

 I’d love to hear your insight after you’ve tried it!  Please leave me a note below.

By Cheryl Rojic