587-581-5081 Marikarhall@icloud.com
How to stay calm and centered in the face of stress, change and overwhelm

How to stay calm and centered in the face of stress, change and overwhelm

How are you doing?

It has been over six weeks since we started self-isolation here on the island and as with most things it feels like forever and just a few days ago at the same time. There are days when I love it, the ease and gentleness that a day can take puttering around the house, playing with ayana, getting my hands in the dirt and then there are others where I wake up with this intense agitation like a bird trapped in a cage and I want to rage at the powers that be for telling me I can’t be free and do what I want to do. If you know me you know I love my freedom and in a year with a collective need for freedom this feeling of being locked up can seem extra intense.

So I wanted to share with you some of the tools I use on a daily basis to help clear and release these energies, stay centered and grounded, protect my energy from the collective fear and grief and recharge myself when I am drained. I have actually started a youtube channel and will be posting these exercises in more detail so check it out for more info and let me know what you think.

As a mother of a tiny human and a solopreneur, on top of everything else I find it essential to go to bed early and rise at least an hour before my daughter. I do this for myself first of all and for my family, work and community secondly. Rising early allows me to start my day with intention and get in all the little things that make me a better, calmer, happier person. The first thing I do when I wake in the morning is set up my mat and after drinking some lemon water with chia seeds to get my liver moving and give a little flush to my intestines and kidneys, I do 20-30 mins of movement. I usually go with what I feel at the moment whether it is Yoga with Adrienne, some self lead or youtube inspired qi gong or some serious movement with The Class or Betty Rocker. This gets my qi and blood moving and brings my awareness into my body and clears my mind.

Next I Clear

No matter what movement I do I love to finish it off with shaking. Shaking helps to release pent up energy, loosen and lubricate the joints, relax the muscles and just feels awesome. I begin by bouncing on my heels and letting my bones rattle and vibrate from my feet up to the top of my head, then I bring my arms and head into the mix, shaking them as gently or vigorously as I need, then I lift each leg and shake it out. Lastly I jump around letting my whole body loose with deep exhales, howls and groans. There really is nothing like shaking to activate, stir and release. (Check out my video on more ways to clear your energy.)

Then I Center

After Shaking it is time to center, centering helps me to bring my energy into myself and set my mind to neutral in service to my heart. The third eye located in the middle of your head where your pineal gland is located is also known as the Seat of the Soul. It is a place where we can place our consciousness to witness and direct our lives. You can simply put your awareness on this spot and look out from this place. I like to visualize a room where I am seated on a cushion with candles and incense burning and a small looking pool in front of me. From this centered place I can go about my day and observe my thoughts and reactions more clearly. (For more ways to center check out my video)

After I Ground and Connect

Once I am centered I like to ground my energy down into the earth, this gives me stability and a sense of connection and wellbeing that my animal body loves. I bring my attention down to the base of my spine and visualize a root growing down into the center of Mother Earth where it divides growing out into the four directions to anchor me fully. From here I take some deep breaths feeling that connection and the calm, supportive energies of the earth wash over my body while I send my gratitude to the earth from her love. When I feel complete with Mother earth I draw that energy up through my body to the top of my head where a great trunk grows up into the heavens and branches sprout in each of the four directions and I begin to breath and connect with Father Sky, the sun, moon, stars, planets and spirit. I draw down the energy of spirit and the light of these celestial beings to fill my body. Also sending thanks to them all for what they give me. (For a full guided meditation on this and connecting to the Father Sky, sign up for my newsletter at the bottom of the page)

Finally I Protect

After grounding and connecting I bring my attention to my Dan tian (energy center in my abdomen) and visualize an electric blue octahedron ( two four sided pyramids with their bases together) around my body and energy field. The tips of the pyramids are above and below me and the four points are located in front, behind, and to the left and right of my body. It is electric blue as this is the colour of truth like Archangel Michael’s sword. I then invite in and thank my guides and instruct them to keep away all low vibrational, fear based, negative energies that are not in my highest good. I also place this octahedron around my home, car, bike and clinic.

These five steps that I do first thing in the morning help set me up for a good day ahead and only take a few mins. Throughout the day if I’m starting to feel agitated or heavy or in a situation that feels tense I will shake off what doesn’t serve me or send the energy down into mother earth to be composted and then quickly visualize my octahedron and I’m good to go again.

I hope you take the time to give these a try and keep your energy clean and clear. Living on purpose with intention and taking responsibility for our energies is once of the greatest things we can do. Please let me know what you think of these exercises and pass this on to anyone you know who might be served by it.

Blessings

Marika

Dreaming a New World into Being

Dreaming a New World into Being

Dear Ones,

These are extraordinary times we are living in and they call for us to gather up all our strength and tools to navigate them. In shamanic traditions it is believed we are constantly dreaming our world into being and advances in the world of quantum physics we are beginning to see how true it is. So I challenge you at this time to begin to allow yourself to dream. Think on all the things in your life that aren’t working for you and begin to paint a picture of how they can improve, think on all the things you love in your life and how you want them amplified, expand your thought to your family, friends, community, city, country and out across the whole world.

Here is mine:

I want to live in a world that is ridiculously accepting, generous and loving.

Where children can feel safe to play in their communities

Where everyone can feel safe to be who they are

Where people touch, hug, kiss and express their love, joy and gratitude for each other

Where everyone’s perspective is welcome

Where we know ourselves as the stewards of mother earth and care for all her children

Where we use only what we need and share what we have

Where people are connected to their dreams, their spirit guides, their ancestors and their higher selves

Where life is regarded as a true miracle and death is regarded as the next step in a well lived life

Where ritual marks each day and the initiations we pass through are honoured and celebrated, allowing for time and space to mourn and grieve

Where we care more about the quality of the food we eat and where it comes from than our latest new gadget

Where integrative and traditional medicines are valued just as highly as modern medicine

Where companies give back to the communities they work in, take from and are responsible for the full life cycle of the things they create

Where our elders are seen as the bearers of great wisdom and the passers down of memory

Where each choice we make takes into consideration the next seven generations

Where every person has enough food, water, clothing, a warm, cozy, safe home, access to the tools needed to practice their passions, hobbies, work and art

 

I’d love to hear your dream! Please share in the comments or email me at marikarhall@icloud.com

Covid-19: Opportunity in the Challenge

Covid-19: Opportunity in the Challenge

Wow, what a time we are living in!! I have to remind myself daily that this is the world we have dreamed and it is truly amazing to see how people are coming together, how the pollution of the world is down, how we are being asked to move more slowly in such a fast paced world. I really and truly see it as a gift we are being offered and not one to take lightly. Below you will find some information on covid-19 that perhaps you have not come across and some resources to help you through this and all the other challenges life has in store for us.
 
All life is connected, in fact our bodies are literally made up of bacteria and viruses. They help us break down our food and bolster our immune systems and challenge us to evolve physically, mentally and spiritually. Viruses are especially fascinating as they require a host cell to replicate and so parts of our DNA are actually virus DNA. 
 
We can not escape this truth nor can we escape interacting with these microorganisms. It is a part of being human. But many of us view these tiny beings we share the planet with as something to be eradicated. I think however it is more about harmony than war. Our bodies are innately clever and built to decide which organisms are friend and which are foe. Our greatest defence against organisms that threaten our lives is in our immune systems and part of the immune system is built up of good microorganisms. 
 
In traditional Chinese medicine pathogens are broken down into wind, cold, hot or toxins often with accompanying dampness. In order to expel the pathogens we need strong wei Qi and Zheng Qi (immunity) which are built out of kidney and and stomach fluids. If we are stressed, depleted, or weak than we won’t have enough Qi to defend our bodies and the sicker we will become. 
 
So how can you boost your immune system firstly through diet, eating warm wet foods- porridge, soup, broth, stew, avoiding cold, damp building foods like candy, ice cream, dairy, processed foods. We can also take supplements, herbs and at home practices that have been shown to improve our immune systems. 
Vitamin A,C&D
Zinc
Astragalus
Chaga and reishi mushrooms
Moxabustion
Acupressure
Qi gong 
 
Finally we need to release the fear, anxiety and stress as it is one of the primary things that weakens our immune system. Here are a few suggestions
deep breaths, 
time in nature. 
warm baths, 
exercise, 
talking with loved ones, 
rescue remedy,
Acupuncture, 
Meditation ( sign up for my newsletter to download my tree of life meditation) 
All of this goes far beyond just the virus, the incredible amounts of change that are being asked of us are unsettling to our instinctive centre. Residing just below our root chakra, our instinctive centre remembers all of our early childhood, ancestoral and past life traumas. Whenever anything is unsettling to it, whether it be childhood trauma, an ancestor who died of the spanish influenza or our own death many life times ago from another epidemic, our body remembers and the fear rises up, even if we rationally know the fear is not justified by the circumstances our bodies don’t know that and we are sent into a fight, flight or freeze response. The best ways to manage this are with breath, bringing awareness into your body and your environment to remember you aren’t in immediate threat, smudging yourself with tobacco, palo santo or sage and getting shamanic healing to clear the fear and realign the body, mind and spirit. 
 
Remember all challenges are opportunities, For the first time in years you can hear the birds singing in Wuhan, there is no smog in the skies of major cities like LA, people are coming together online to support those less fortunate in need. We are truly at a time of writing a new dream for humanity. I personally am incredibly excited about this opportunity! In Shamanism, there is a practice of dreaming our worlds into being, most shamanic cultures believe that everything we believe comes true and so each moment we have a chance to dream a new and better world into being. Through practices like mindfulness this is what we are doing, we are becoming aware of our surroundings, our actions and our reactions and learning to change them, creating a new reality for ourselves. What better time to try and do this then when we are asked to change our lives and are given the time and space to rest, reflect and dream. 
I hope you take this time to dive deep, walk in nature, move slowly, enjoy time with your loved ones and really imagine what a better world would be like.
 
To help you I have recorded a tree of life mediation which is part of my morning routine and is excellent at releasing fear, worry, anxiety and stress, grounding oneself and realigning body, mind and spirit with all that is. You can get your free copy when you sign up for my email newsletter.
 
I am also offering sliding scale distance shamanic healings. A powerful way to reset our systems, clear our fears and begin to dream again. $30-60/session
I will be available for a limited number of acupuncture and shamanic acupuncture sessions for those in need. 
I am also available by email if you have any questions or concerns.
 
Many Blessings
Marika Reid Hall RAc HDP BA
 

Walking with Death: A Reflection on death, dying and grief

“Sorrow is part of the earth’s great cycles, flowing into
the night like co0l air sinking down a river course.
To feel sorry is to float on the pulse of the heart, the
surge from living to dying, from coming to being
to ceasing to exist. Maybe this is why the earth has the
power over time to wash sorrow into a deeper pool,
cold and shadowed. And maybe this is why, even
though sorrow never disappears, it can make a deeper
connection to the currents of life and so connect
somehow, to sources of wonder and solace.”
-kathleen Dean Moore

The day my father died, I clearly remember wondering if I truly wanted to be at his bedside when he finally passed on. That evening I had sat on the phone with my partner during a break from the smells and sounds of the hospital and had expressed this confusion in my mind, was it the right thing to do, would it be better if I slept and took care of myself, would I regret it if I wan’t there? I decided to go. After showering and recentering myself with prayers I walked back to the hospital just as the sun was setting. As I entered into the outer room to dress in a gown and gloves my father’s girlfriend called out to me, I arrived just in time. I hurried in forgoing the protective gear and we sat holding each of his hands, wishing him a safe passage as his breathes became more and more spaced. With each one we thought it was his last but it took time and when he finally went I was ever so grateful that I was there. Death is something none of us will get out of, we will see those we love die and eventually it will be our turn. From this experience I have learned that to be fully present and engaged can be the greatest gift we give our loved ones, in their deaths, our deaths and each day of our lives. In this reflection I hope to offer a glimpse of the beauty, grief, love and loss that accompanies death and how vital it is for us as a society to want a good death for those we love and ourselves. A revolution in death is coming as we remember our place in the nature of things and we all need to be apart of it.

It was a Sunday when I received the call at work that my father’s situation had once again changed. He had been refused his transplant and within 24 hours of getting the news his body had begun to internally bleed. My father was always a strong man, full of energy and activity and as I got that call I knew he had made the choice that sitting and waiting to die was not something he desired to do. So I flew to Edmonton the next morning to find him an even weaker and paler version of himself than I had seen two weeks previous, in and out of sleep he knew who I was but no longer had the sparkle of life in his eyes. I knew that part of my purpose in going was to let this decision he had made be honoured and so, my brother, my dad’s girlfriend and I discussed the options with the doctor and after many tears were shed we all agreed it was time to take him off his transfusions and accept that this was his time. The next two days we sat at his bedside holding his hands, telling stories and singing him songs while friends and family came to say farewell. Sometimes it was calm and peaceful, all you could hear was the rattle in his breath as he slept conserving his energy to be able to smile and say hi to the next visitor, but as death came closer and the veil began to open there were moments of fear and confusion. Watching his once strong body and clear mind, fumble over words and thoughts, unable to rise by himself to go to the washroom, his skin sagging, pale and waxy with purple petechiae dappled over it, this was life and it was incredibly hard! There is one moment that remains seared in my mind, we had helped him to the washroom and were trying to see if he wanted to go outside, his favourite place his whole life, but he didn’t understand or just couldn’t express what he wanted and so he stood trembling with our support as he called out for help over and over again until the nurse came and gave him another dose of morphine. My once powerful father had turned into an old man and at that moment it struck me how these liminal spaces at the time of birth and death when the veil between worlds opens are not like any other experience. They are beautiful and raw, hard and scary and oh so magical, if we let them be.

When my father finally did pass the struggle that had followed him in that last day and in the many hard years he had experienced at the end of his life were erased and his body was at peace. After many tears were shed and the nurse and doctor confirmed his death we slowly began to say good bye to his body. I gathered up warm water and clothes and to the water I added aqua de florida, a powerful and beautiful flower mixture that I use in Shamanic healing. Slowly we undressed him, surprised by the shear weight of his uninhabited body and then we took turns washing each part of his body, thanking it for the work it had done throughout his life. For it’s keen intellect and sharp senses, for the strength to build houses and canoe mighty rivers, for the children it had helped to produce, for the smoothness and grace it had exhibited on the dance floor and the sports field. When we finished clearing, thanking and sealing up his body, we dressed him and said our final goodbyes and then we left the room shaken and exhausted, but knowing we had sent him off right.

On reflecting upon this experience there are so many emotions and thoughts that bubble up to the surface, gratitude for being there for all of it, fear when I sat alone with him as his breathing changed and I wondered if this was it, aggravation at my family and how they kept trying to talk to him or feed him despite the obvious shutting down of his systems, anger at how the system had dragged him around for so long and how is doctors were unable of being genuine or candid enough to speak about the realities of his situation, grief as the little girl inside who had lost her father many year before had only just recently finally found him again, beauty in the love all around and ease in the never-ending cycles of life and death. Despite all of this I was most amazed at how I just knew what to do, when I sat present to all of this it came naturally to me, sing this song, hold space, pray, call in the guides and angels. My training as a birth doula and a shamanic practitioner came to the fore and I was able to weave together my own presence with the skills and tools of these trades. There is nothing I regret in my experience or actions in those two days, but there are two things I wish I had done after he passed; the first to have spent more time with my family and the second to have taken more time off work and school to fully reflect and convalesce from this momentous experience. I recognize I lost my presence when fatigue, grief and daily life came back into the fold and the weight of responsibility began to be felt again. I understand I can not always be in complete presence and by doing my work and utilizing my tools I can achieve more and more presence in my own life, ready to face all the beauty, loss, grief and joy it sends my way. This is what my father’s death taught me.

As a practitioner I wish to bring these rich gifts forward to my clients. In reading about death, grief and dying, I have learned several things that help frame my experience and give tools to share with my clients, friends and family. The first tool comes from Joan Halifax (2011) who so beautifully shares ‘Any attachment to outcome destroys our ability to be fully present and compassionate.’ Everyone has a different concept of death and dying and to honour that as practitioners we must learn from our clients what their journey looks like to them and how they wish to proceed, not holding opinions, judgements or attachments to their outcomes. This was one of the hardest parts of watching my fathers journey through diagnosis and treatment. I did not want to see him die and I disagreed with his choices in medical care, especially his out right trust for his doctors. But I quickly learned it just caused conflict to hold these attachments.

The second teaching comes from Sarah Kerr, PhD (2017) from her talk on Death Midwifery, ‘Ritual is energy medicine for the collective body’ and when each of us come to death or witness death we must create, support and maintain the proper rituals in order to heal and set the collective body back into balance. These rituals can be simple and personal, we can help guide people to find these ways of honouring a passage and releasing their grief and love as they send their loved one off. Through listening to my intuition and my training in Shamanic ritual I put together the ritual we used to support my fathers passing, helping his spirit to let go, his body to be cleansed and sealed and our own love and grief to be released meeting the collective body of all those who love and grieve.

For my third lesson I find Frank Ostaseski’s (2017) third lesson on what the dying teach the living to aptly portray my experience, ‘Bring your whole self to the experience- When we bring our whole self we can work with compassion and not judgement.’ This bringing of one’s whole self, a calling to be completely present is what I learned most in my father’s death, the gifts and healing that this suffering brought to me have out weighed all others to date and I would not have so fully experienced them if I didn’t bring my whole self to his death. Choosing to walk this path with him after having reconnected with him in the last few years created a great mending in myself and my feelings of grief of losing my father as a young girl. Though I could not prevent his leaving this time I was able to be fully present during his passage.

The fourth Teaching comes from Stephen Jenkinson (2012) in his talk for The Compassion Choices Conference, He states that ‘Death is not the end of health, but an enhancement of health and your ability to be a deeply present human being.’ I feel this is key to shifting our perspectives on death and dying, framing it currently as a lost battle or not being healthy anymore makes us feel like we have lost, but death is part of the process and if we can embrace it as such we can return to the harmony that it brings to the planet and the enrichment it adds to our lives.

Finally as Francis Weller (2005) so poetically shares ‘In truth, without some familiarity with sorrow, we do not mature as men and women. It is the broken heart, the part that knows sorrow, that is capable of genuine love.’(p.9). One of the greatest gifts I have received from my father’s death is this maturing of a maiden into a woman. I will never be the same again and I am ever so thankful for that.

As far as deaths go I believe my father had a good one. It may have been earlier than expected and his illness may have caused him much pain and worry, but ultimately when he knew there was no more hope and decided it was time he was supported in that. Death played the central role, as Stephen Jenkinson (2012) suggests it should and we his family were at his side. We were given the space to support him as we saw fit and each one of the nurses and doctors kept their distance except to aid in cleaning up or giving him more morphine to ease his pain and confusion. In coming together we knew we could do this, as he knew he could and I can not imagine a better way to go. Many cultures speak of death as crossing a river from the village of the living to the village of the ancestors, the living’s grief and love met with the joy and welcome of the ancestors help get the dead safely across, Sarah Kerr (2017). In my father’s case I know he was held the whole way and when it is my time to go he will be there to welcome me. Until that day I will continue to cultivate presence in the hardest of situations life brings and work on bringing a good death to all I know. May the future hold a good death for us all.

References
Halifax, J. (2011) Joan Halifax: Compassion and the true meaning of Empathy. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQijrruP9c4&t=17s

Jenkinson, S. (2012) The Skill of Brokenheartedness: Euthanasia, Palliative Care and Power – Stephen Jenkinson. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dbmXWLCaRg&t=55s

Kerr, S. (2017) An introduction to Death Midwifery with Sarah Kerr, PhD. James Bay United Church. 13/07.

Ostaseski, F. (2017) Frank Ostaseski: What the Dying teach the living. Available from:
http://longnow.org/seminars/02017/apr/10/what-dying-teach-living/

Weller, F. (2015) The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief. Berkeley, California. North Atlantic Books. pp.9.

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