Healing a Damaged Heart That Yearns to Be Restored

I worked with a client named Pricilla, a pseudonym, on the loss of her sister. Her sister had died of cancer. When I met Pricilla, she was interested in meeting someone and having a relationship. Her romantic relationships were short-lived. They were difficult, and there were several setbacks. Each time they ended, she felt she did something wrong. She felt she was unworthy. She was in great pain. Her unfinished business with her sister’s death was not allowing her to move on.

We sat together in nature calling to the landscape and listening to spirit. I would ask what she wanted to work on for our next session. Pricilla would talk about wanting a soul mate. Then she would switch to, “How could my sister leave me?” I could feel her anger and pain. Spirit would show me what to share with Pricilla to help see her through this loss. Eventually, after a few sessions, she began to speak about forgiving her sister for leaving her alone and letting her anger go.

We took spiritual journeys, and our sessions were filled with energy shifts as Priscilla visited feelings associated with the death of her sister from a spiritually safe distance. Pricilla also clarified her personal vision for the future. Today, Pricilla reports that she feels much better about her future. She returns to our sessions to take on other challenges at her pace. She also found her soul mate and began a relationship that has lasted two years.

Living fully invested means finding a place of balance between grief and comfort. If you’re spending your emotional, mental, and spiritual energies on a lost relationship, the same way you had done before the relationship changed, then you’re living in pain. A relationship with someone that is no longer available is unfinished business. Finding a way to shift from loss to a place of acceptance, reclaims your personal power. What unfinished business is holding you back from living a joyful life?

 

Contact me for your personal healing. Use our contact form to schedule a consultation.

 

Meditation’s Greatest Gift is Personal Freedom

The Meditation’s Greatest Gift is Personal Freedom1 (1)The Buddha was asked, “What have you gained from meditation?” He replied, “Nothing! However,let me tell you what I lost: anger, anxiety, depression, insecurity, fear of old age and death.”

Meditation Opens the Door to Awareness

In the 80s, I began meditating on my living room couch for about 10 minutes each day. Some days, I’d make it for the full 10 minutes. On other days, I’d come out of my meditation early. Several meditation teachers recommend at least 20 minutes of meditation a day, to allow the benefits of meditation to take hold. So, I made myself a promise that I’d work up to meditating for 20 minutes each and every day.

Finding a place and time to sit is part of the challenge we all face when we begin meditation. It helps if you have others in your life who meditate. They can give you ideas and options about when and where to sit. I began on my couch but eventually moved to a cushion. Then much later to a walking meditation that I use every day.

Meditation helps us focus and relax. It also opens the door to awareness. I learned to listen to my inner voice, the Divine, and a peace I feel inside. I became deeply aware of my connection to the creatures and the people around me. Nature became my teacher, the river showed me how to move around and over obstacles, and my bird feeder became a focal point of my day. There I observed the birds and squirrels visiting every day. I noticed their beaks and heard their calls. I cared for them. I witnessed how they treated each other.

Awareness Opens the Door to Choice

It helps to hear the stories of triumph and struggle from fellow mediators. In my case, my teacher talked about one of his student’s. He healed himself of a drinking problem he would never admit to, How he discovered it was unique.

One day, while driving, his student didn’t hear beer bottles clinking in the backseat of the car. It told him he was no longer dependent on beer to get through the day. He had stopped drinking! Meditation can be like that. You practice and practice, and one day you notice you feel better. It’s not always a straight line, it’s individual and personal.

On occasion, I’d miss a day here and there, but for the most part, I was meditating every day. They say meditation is cumulative. They’re right. Here’s where awareness opens the door to choice. After hearing that story, I paid attention to how I felt before and after I meditated. I noticed my own changes. This meant that I had a choice, to keep the new behavior or go back to my old anxious ways.

Choice Opens the Door to Freedom

Once you discover you have a choice you’re no longer trapped in anxiety and despair. You can find your way out of most difficulties. The world opens to you in a helpful way and there are fewer things deemed impossible. Meditation helps shift perspective. When that occurs, things you no longer need fall away. I’m not saying meditation will make everything perfect. I’m saying meditation is one way of finding freedom.

Meditation’s Greatest Gift is Personal Freedom

Meditation opens the door to Awareness
Awareness opens the door to Choice
Choice opens the door to Freedom
~Magda Santos

Part 3 It All Began on Dykman Street-The Nature Walk

Inwood Hill ParkSuspicious Bob

I told a friend, Bob, about these walks and his first remark was, “How did you find this walk?” When a brochure arrived at my home describing a teacher giving a walk in the park I realized he’s a traveler like me. I also deduced that he read the same book I did, titled “The Tracker,” A book I found on the blanket of a street seller.

Bob wasn’t a traveler yet so he didn’t see that this teacher had access to a certain kind of knowledge. Who knew that I’d take this walk each week for the next three years and find a generous teacher, willing to take me to places I’d only glimpsed in my dreams.

My friend Bob never took the walk with me. He did, however, question everything about the walk. He couldn’t understand why I kept going back. He first started to ask me out for coffee just before the walk, sometimes tempting me with street festivals and bookstores. By the second year, he wanted to meet after the walk to hear about the travelers and see my face. He said it had changed.

I once told him that each group of walkers gave me the impression I’d made a prearranged commitment to meet them in this life for those two hours in the park. The ease with which we all moved and talked was very unlike city dwellers, subway riders, and New Yorkers.

During the walks, Vin would lead and I’d take the rear. My legs became strong after a while and my breathing easy as we moved through the landscape week after week. The first few times I huffed and puffed, but soon my stride opened and my comfort increased. Breathing so much oxygen was invigorating. The trees and I began to know each other.

Walking as One
As we continued our walk, the travelers began to exhibit signs of becoming a clan or tribe. They were remembering how to walk quietly on the earth. Perhaps it’s because we were all cement and asphalt walkers walking on soft soil. The harsh pounding created by hitting pavement was gone. Without the noise we could hear each other.

Each person’s experience seemed to relate to what they were asking for and what they wanted out of the walk. Some wanted a brisk walk, others to learn about survival. Still others were open to the spiritual experience before them. Everyone slowly began to feel “something” was different about this walk.

We were all enchanted, taken to a park and put under a spell until the walk was over. Some travelers felt this and recognized it but others felt “something” they couldn’t describe. The universal response was, “I feel relaxed.” It doesn’t matter who was on the walk or whether they felt like I did about the day. What mattered was that we all rendezvoused for one beautiful New York afternoon to share the woods. Many times we hugged, said good bye, and walked back into our lives never to meet again.

Part 2 of It All Started on Dykman Street-The Nature Walk

InwoodHillPark 2

Along the walk, plants are identified as useful edibles, medicinal, cordage, and more. There are reeds good for making arrows and young saplings that would never survive the competition for light. They were touched and talked about because they would be the first to harvest in a survival situation. They make excellent shelters and sweat lodges.

However, there is a code that we live by and it includes never taking anything from city parks. They are already under stress from their surroundings and need to thrive in a very limited area with limited resources. No materials were taken from such places. This is the role of the traveler. Of course this doesn’t apply to garbage. We always cleaned up after ourselves and others.

Compare and Contrast
Traipsing around a New York City park, learning about awareness and survival is like choosing the most difficult setting on a new video game you haven’t even tried to play yet. Getting beat up, robbed, raped or any number of other things come to mind. But, and there’s always a “but” with me, I want what I want. I want a closer relationship to the earth. And the only way to get it is to step out of my comfort zone and dare to take a different road. In this case, it’s a nature walk with a magus in one of the biggest cities of the world.

I’ve always enjoyed sauntering. I’m not much of a fast walker. I love looking at things along the way. When I’m walking along a busy road I notice all the nuts, bolts and other metals strewn about the shoulder. An inventory would shock you, not to mention that it dawns on you that they flew out of cars traveling at high speeds. I find money, and car parts that make me think there are lots of vehicles falling apart out there. But I digress. Our walk worked wonders on the nerves unlike the walk along the highway, I described above. Walking deeper into the park the ding of modern life dulled and our nervous systems began to recognize the removal of those manmade stimuli.

The joy of walking in the woods is intoxicating. All of God is before you. Even discomfort is welcome because the prize is so great. There is nothing that I can’t do in the woods. There is nothing that I need when strolling through the park. And I’ve had magnificent city parks to walk in, Prospect Park being my favorite, then Central Park. And, of course, Inwood Park, thick and dark with trees. These are small islands that enrich the lives of us city slickers. It’s true that the ability to expand out and reach the mountains or prairie without concrete or skyscrapers in the way is a needed exercise for the soul. It’s a way to dream with the endless, the oneness, the sameness that we all share, urbanites or not. But when in Rome do as the Romans do and Inwood was what we had to dream in. The walk had no destination, so when we finished we had to find our way out of the park and onto the street. This is part of the code. Never have a destination.

Stay tuned for part 3 of The Nature Walk and meet suspicious Bob.

It All Started on Dykman Street

Welcome to the first of a three part series The Nature Walk.
It was the 80’s and my spiritual journey began in earnest with this walk in Inwood Park, New York City.
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The group gathers at Dyckman street subway station, the northwest corner of the intersection. We all approach one or two at a time and greet each other with a nod. Everyone bundled against the cold, travelers on an adventure into the park. At the right moment, Vin tells us to follow him. The walk begins. As we walk, I notice I’m relaxing.

It’s hard to describe calming down on a busy New York City sidewalk as you view the entrance to what feels like a Garden of Eden. Each step closer to the trees, I think, ”How beautiful.” We all stop before entering the park. This walk is taking on a whole new feel.

The Veil
With a few words, Vin asks us to contemplate the entrance to the park and to see perhaps for the first time that creation is before us, that once we enter, we’ll immerse ourselves in another realm. I walk into the park, trying not to make a big deal about it, I feel the veil that separates the park from the noisy sidewalk. The next two hours are a blur of information, feelings, and spiritual awareness. Who knew so much lived in the city parks?
The trees are barriers to city sounds, the kind you accept every day because you must to survive, the kind of sounds that overwhelm. These two hours are an opportunity to open up to the spirit of the forest, the spirit of beings who share our planet and give us breath. The chemical exchange we share reminds us we need each other.

This is how the landscape begins to heal the travelers. It grounds them. It holds them up. It bestows on them the ancient connection to the land. Each step became sacred. Each beat of their heart begins to synchronize with the rhythm of the earth. It’s the call of your mother, your Creator. Each time your foot touches the ground a connection is made and rings of intention spread across the land. The message sent is simple. Our hearts are opening to creation.
Geography

Inwood Park has huge boulders and stones made of granite from the last ice age. When the ice recessed it dragged and pulled stones over the earth and left giants on the landscape. Their grey color and sharp edges created nooks and crannies everywhere. The fall leaves wedge themselves in the crevices.
Vin is the leader of the walk and on the streets of New York Vin is my height. He’s slight and possesses a hearty laugh that often trails off into a giggle. In the woods, he is magic, sometimes towering over me and other times a dark dwarf with mischief in his eyes. He stands fiercely focused on the task at hand, a nature walk in Inwood Park in upper Manhattan.

Stay tuned for part 2 of The Nature Walk, with details about the code and the importance of wondering.

Nature Heals T- Shirt

 

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Nature Heals, in every way this t-shirt honors the healing properties of nature. In my energy work the landscape is one of the best partners in helping reach a place of balance for my clients. The mountains in this image reach up toward the heavens and the forest with its regenerative powers both symbolize the union between heaven and earth. The deer in the drawing is the one creature that moves between the flesh and spirit worlds at will.

Forest Bathing

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“Forest bathing” is one of the new buzzwords in the health and wellness industry. The trend originated in Japan. This is coming on the heels of “Earthing,” which has a lot to do with lying on the ground, walking around barefoot, allowing you to connect with the earth. And, of course, we have had “nature therapy” bantered about now and then to emphasize the therapeutic value of spending time on the landscape.

The Japanese have always been close to nature. In fact, it’s so embedded into the culture that it may be found in calligraphy, sword making, and the martial arts, to name a few. There’s even a special poetic structure devoted to nature called haiku. So it’s no surprise that they have something called Shinrin-yoku.

The term Shinrin-yoku or forest bathing, was coined by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in 1982. In 2010 they conducted a study of Japan’s 24 forests and scientifically compared “forest bathers” with urban walkers. The physical differences were significant. The forest bathers had lower blood pressure, heart rates and stress hormones.

The fact that enjoying the outdoors is associated with lower blood pressure, improved work memory, and feeling more alive is not lost on countries like Finland and the United States. There are nature walks given all over the United States but these are more informational, while hikes are about getting to a specific destination. Forest bathing, however, is about taking in what nature has to offer by way of slowing down, noticing things that take time to appreciate, and letting go of the daily stress that can over take us.

The Japanese Ministry of Agriculture has taken their study a step further and now certify trails as the best for Shinrin-yoku. They gathered blood samples and other metrics, before and after participants walk a trail. Then scientists analyzed the results. What they found was an increase in white blood cells, called killer cells, a kind of cell that fights infection and other immune system indicators that point to better health. In several studies, the killer cells increased by 50%. If the results are within a specified range the trail is certified as a Shinrin-yoku trail.

Scientists in several countries, including the United States and Finland, think the health benefits come from phytoncides, or antimicrobial organic compounds given off by plants. The idea is that breathing in the substance gives people the feeling of relaxation. The other explanation is that there is an “awe” factor similar to that of astronauts who view earth from space, the admiration of the Grand Canyon, or Monument Valley in Utah.

Perhaps it’s living inside with so much technology that prompts us to visit the trees and seek out the smells and sounds of nature. We crave a feeling of well being and enjoy the beauty of nature and the benefits of drinking in the sunshine, oxygen, and colors of the landscape. Whatever it is, it’s good for us.

King Aurthur of Monument Valley part 3

The Conclusion of Monument Valley by Magda Santos

Monument Valley

Monument Valley

As we continued our journey, I’d dream of King Arthur. He’d come to me, but I rebuffed him. I’ve lived in New York all my life and I know not everything is what it seems. It didn’t seem a good idea to go along with someone I had just met for a few hours in a valley. I’d come across lots of people claiming to be spiritual. They didn’t always have the experience they claimed. They weren’t as skilled as they said they were, and neither did they have my best interest in mind.

We finally got home to Florida and I didn’t see King Arthur in my dreams again but I was still drawn to the Valley as I slept at night. After some prayers and preparations, I finally relented and decided to go to the archaeological site, the place that called me. I walked over to the huge smooth stone and laid down, looking up at the night sky through the immense opening at the top.

A few seconds later two large men dressed in native clothing appeared. Each of them grabbed one of my arms. The funny thing is I didn’t feel like struggling. They were walking with great determination to some destination unknown to me. Within a few more seconds, I was standing in front of a pedestal with a large bowl on top. My two guides were still with me but I didn’t know what to do next. Then one of them put his hand on the back of my head and pushed it into the water in the bowl. I didn’t feel like I was drowning, and I had no fear at all. When I lifted my head up, I was relaxed and felt very strong and sure of myself.

Then everything shifted and I found myself on top of a mesa. I was walked a few more steps then turned to the left. I’m asked to kneel. Someone points and whispers in my ear, “the storyteller.” I feel a heavy blanket placed on my shoulders. It keeps me focused for a few more seconds. I find myself searching my thoughts for meaning and then I’m home, in my body. The sound of birds chirping at my window wakes me. I look over to the night stand and it’s time to start getting ready for work.

As I brush my teeth, I begin to think of Percival, the Arthurian knight. He walked into the Fisher King’s castle, without knowing what to expect, just as I walked into the valley. But because of decorum, it’s not polite to ask questions of your host. Percival didn’t learn that the Grail was right in front of him and that he could heal the Fisher King. King Arthur of Monument Valley had a vision to give me but it took some work for me to find it. There were layers of disguise to protect the sacred from disrespectful eyes. I showed who I was and that I could be trusted with such a spiritual gift.

 

King Arthur of Monument Valley part 2

When it was time to go, we climbed into a vehicle without sides and a metal cover overhead. It was a truck jeep thing that was rugged and could take all the bumps and grinds of the terrain, as we were soon to find out. It was a cold day in March. Racing down the roads increased the wind chill, but we were so happy to be on this land. We just pulled our scarves tight around our necks and held on tight.

We stopped at several places with monuments in the distance. King Arthur began describing the monuments as cartoon characters from popular television shows and movies. There was one that had an ear that looked like Mickey Mouse, he said. Andrea and I were stunned and confused by his descriptions but we decided after glancing at each other that we would give it some time before asking about his unusual narrative.

Monument Valley

Monument Valley

There must be a reason for the commercial tone to all his comments so I smiled and only asked a few times about the importance of this valley.

We bumped along and got thrashed from side to side, but even with the strange narrative the splendor of the Valley was impossible to ignore. The valley has iron oxide mixed in with the sandstone and that’s what gives the valley its’ reddish tinge. The buttes, shale deposits, and erosion formed the monuments. What’s left is an ocean of sand and towers of stone in this corner of Utah.

Then suddenly a young man mounted a brown horse and raced down a road next to us and turned left. He had on a red shirt. I wondered why he was wearing a red shirt and why he had gone out on the ridge. Then I heard the jeeps. It was like a swarm and out jumped Japanese tourists taking pictures and pointing everywhere. They all took a picture of the young man on the horse. I do have to say he did look like a picture postcard.

At the archaeological site, we stopped and walked to a huge smooth stone; I laid on it and looked up. I could see the sky. An elliptical opening at the top of the rock formation let in the bluest sky. I was on my back looking up at the heavens.

We didn’t stay long. We had already been on the road for almost two hours. We drove back toward the visitors’ center but made one last stop on a plateau. I asked King Arthur if there were any monuments with sacred names. I had gently asked this question in many ways for two hours. That’s when he pointed to one of the rock formations and said, “That’s the storyteller.” I don’t know if I thanked him but I did feel I had been given something special, his trust.

In the next and last part of the story, dreams, visions, and a clue about the deeper meaning of Monument Valley.