WholeYou #12: crown chakra / seventh chakra / sahasrara

This episode closes out our chakra series with a discussion about the crown chakra — we hope you've enjoyed this series as much as we have! See below for the show notes, listen to the show (stream or download) on the embedded SoundCloud box below, or find it on iTunes of your favorite podcast app. Thanks for listening! 

Seventh Chakra At a Glance:

  • Sanskrit Name: Sahasrara
  • Location: Crown of the head
  • Element: Thought
  • Color: Violet
  • Issues: Belief systems, meaning, higher power, union, consciousness
  • Basic Rights: To know and to learn

What we Discuss in Episode #11:

  • How to know if your crown chakra is out of balance
  • Signs of a deficient and excessive crown chakra
  • Thoughts on consciousness
  • Yoga and healing practices to  balance your crown chakra
  • How to move way from self-help obsessions and TOO much learning
  • Crown chakra affirmations

My co-host Lauren and I are really appreciate you taking the time to listen and share your comments. If you like the show, subscribe on iTunes or your favorite podcast app, and please take 1 minute to leave us a review on iTunes  — it helps us to reach more people, and we'd be so grateful! 

Mentioned in this Episode:

“The act of individual consciousness reflecting upon its own immensity is the mystery of the crown chakra. To realize that consciousness flows through every quantum of life around us, and to behold the same presence within our consciousness, this is enlightenment… to become aware of our own consciousness is to witness a miracle."
"The separation of spirituality from the rest of life leaves us spiritually homeless. In reflection of the archetypal divorce between Earth Mother and Sky Father, we are taught to seek enlightenment by denying the basic nature of our biological existence. Denying our basic nature in order to achieve unity is a contradiction steeped in dualistic thinking, which will never lead to unity or wholeness. The seventh chakra is about merging with divine consciousness and realizing our true nature."

  

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Valerie Martin

Valerie Martin, LMSW, is a Primary Therapist at The Ranch residential treatment center, where she works with eating disorders, addiction, trauma, and co-occurring mental health issues. Valerie focuses on a holistic treatment approach of mind + body integration, using Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT), somatic and bioenergetic therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), psychodrama, 12-step, and shame resilience. She is also a Certified Sexual Addiction Therapist (CSAT) Candidate. Valerie received her Bachelor of Science degree in Communications and Master of Science degree in Clinical Social Work at the University of Texas in Austin. She is an active member of the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Nashville, and emphasizes spiritual exploration in her work with clients.

WholeYou #11: third eye chakra / sixth chakra / ajna

WholeYou #11: third eye chakra / sixth chakra / ajna

My lovely co-host Lauren and I finally sat down to record Episode #11 of the WholeYou podcast, and we're excited to share this one with you! The show notes are below, and you can listen to the episode (stream or download) on the embedded SoundCloud box below, or find it on iTunes of your favorite podcast app. 

Sixth Chakra At a Glance:

  • Sanskrit Name: Ajna
  • Location: In between eyebrows (third eye)
  • Element: Light
  • Color: Indigo
  • Issues: Image, intuition, imagination, visualization, insight, dreams, vision
  • Basic Rights: To see

What We Discuss in Episode #11:

  • How to know if your third eye chakra is out of balance
  • Signs of a deficient and excessive sixth chakra
  • How to switch your perspective and experience miracles daily!
  • Yoga poses, visualizations, and using drishti (gaze) to balance your sixth chakra
  • Other healing practices, including dreamwork, stories, art, 
  • How light can help support the third eye
  • Why beauty can be an overlooked spiritual value
  • Sixth chakra affirmations

We so appreciate you listening. If you like the show, subscribe on iTunes or your favorite podcast app, and please take 1 minute to leave us a review on iTunes  — it helps us to reach more people — we <3 you! 

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the lasting impact of childhood emotional neglect

the lasting impact of childhood emotional neglect

At this point, hopefully most of us are on the same page that physical or sexual abuse of a child is wrong (read: as morally repugnant as it gets) and incredibly harmful to them long-term. If you're not yet familiar with the term "Adverse Childhood Experiences" (ACEs) or the landmark ACEs study done by CDC and Kaiser, taking a few minutes to explore these will help you understand the link between early childhood trauma and the majority of our societal and public health issues — like substance abuse, depression, and the cycles of poverty and violent crime, to name just a few.

While some people who enter into therapy know they have endured traumatic experiences (and might also know that these experiences are at the root of the other things they struggle with, like anxiety, an eating disorder, or relationship issues), many others have minimized their childhood experiences to an extent that they are not "connecting the dots" with how they are still being impacted by the things that happened (or should have happened and didn't) in their early years of life. 

The Risk of Overlooking Covert Trauma

Emotional abuse tends to be a particularly slippery issue. For instance, if someone is physically or sexually abused during childhood and doesn't know at the time that this was wrong and not "normal," often they learn this fairly early in adulthood. (Though due to the internalized shame of abuse, sometimes it takes increasing pain from dysfunctional coping behaviors before a person is ready to enter therapy for help.) Hopefully with this recognition, and the support of a skilled trauma therapist, the wounds they need to heal are fairly evident, and the path for healing, though not easy, is clear.

With emotional abuse and neglect, however, the experience is often more covert, and thus harder to identify as the root cause of whatever present-day issues someone is struggling with. Sure, some types of emotional abuse are more overt; but again, hopefully in these cases the person is aware that what was happening was not okay, and then has the opportunity to heal. But many times, the impact of more subtle forms of emotional abuse or neglect are like a rust that erodes a person's sense of self (healthy ego development) over time, until she takes on a world view that she is inadequate, does not matter, cannot trust others, will not be loved if others find out who she really is, and basically, better be able to figure things out on her own. She may not make the connection that the impact of a highly critical grandfather and workaholic mother is still impacting her beliefs about herself 25 years later. (And if no one ever helps her to make that connection and do the healing work, she will likely struggle with feeling like no amount of affirmations, anti-depressants, and cognitive behavioral therapy ever seems to help, so she must be right about herself that she's just fundamentally flawed.) 

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step-by-step guide for when you're feeling overwhelmed

step-by-step guide for when you're feeling overwhelmed

There are a lot of things that can and need to be done to prevent the dreaded state of #overwhelmed. To name just a few —

  • Setting boundaries (and saying "no" in general),
  • Sticking with a routine,
  • Staying organized,
  • Having good systems for task management,
  • Getting enough sleep

Some of those necessities are pretty lame (I love getting lots of sleep, but I don't love early bedtime), and others are kind of fun and interesting if you're a productivity and personal development dork like me.

But even when we have good practices in place, the truth is that there is no magic bullet of "if you do this, you'll never feel overwhelmed again!" 

Whether it's a new baby, a nasty virus, a family emergency, a nightmare co-worker, second trimester morning sickness, a big work deadline, or any other kind of unexpected curveball — shit happens that makes even the best laid Overwhelm Prevention Plans go to hell in a hand basket.

So if you're already in the thick of it, what do you do?

Of course, again there is no magic bullet or one-size-fits-all advice, but below are a few important tips and reminders when you find yourself feeling like you're in the weeds on a Saturday night in your first waitressing gig.

1. Take 5...

...breaths, that is. Before anything else, you need to get the oxygen flowing with 5 deep, slow breaths. Make sure to breathe into your belly, not just high up ion your chest, and try to match the length of your inhale with the length of the exhale, pausing briefly before each exhale. This will start to immediately regulate your nervous system so you can think more clearly about the next steps to take.

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how to deal with negative body image & anxiety

how to deal with negative body image & anxiety

Below is the beginning of a post I contributed to Recovery Warriors, a badass online magazine for eating disorder recovery.To read the full post, click here.

Here’s a glimpse into a pretty common dialogue that shows up in various ways in my work with clients who are navigating eating disorder recovery (usually alongside depression and anxiety). I’ll call this fictional client “Brit”. 

Brit: “I was feeling really crappy yesterday.”
Me: “Yeah? What kind of stuff you were thinking or feeling?”
Brit: “I don’t know, really, it was just inner critic stuff and anxiety I guess.”
Me: “So if I could have plugged headphones into your brain at that moment, what are some of the thoughts I would have heard?”
Brit: “Hmm… maybe like that I have a lot of demands on me at work that I’m worried about, and that I was bad for not making it to the gym that day and eating a bigger lunch."
Me: “Gotcha. And what about the feelings, like emotions or stuff in your body? 
Brit: “Just anxiety like kind of a pressure in my chest, I can feel it some now just talking about it.”
Me: “Can you describe it more, what it feels like right now?”
Brit: “It’s kind of hot in my chest, and a little queasy in my stomach, and my shoulders are tense.”
Me: “Right now, does it feel okay for that feeling to be there?”
Brit: “I don’t really like it, but yeah, I guess so.”
Me: “Just see if you can breathe into those places, your stomach, your chest, and your shoulders, without needing to change or fix them. And are any of those thoughts showing up right now?”
Brit: “A little bit, but not as much. I think it helped just saying them a minute ago.”
Me: “Nice! Sometimes all it takes is just breaking it down a little bit to understand more about what’s going on with you instead of just having that vague sense of ‘yuck.’” 

(I’d go further with her on this, but this part is enough to illustrate my point for now.)

I see those heads nodding in recognition! (Says my clairvoyant alter-ego) —and believe me, this is very much still an ongoing practice for me, too. Whether it’s a specific event that triggers it, or a thought or feeling that shows up first, often I have to intentionally step back and break down piece-by-piece to get clear on what’s going on with me, as I walked through above. 

(To continue reading, head on over to Recovery Warriors!)

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