Deep Skin Healing

PorchSitting-Leslies

Deep Skin Flow on a porch swing

About two years ago, I had a basal cell carcinoma removed from my forehead, near my hairline. It was in the neighborhood of Safety Energy Lock 20 (about an inch above the eyebrow). The doctor said, “See you for the next one!” as I was leaving, which I did not appreciate.

Two years later, another one developed in a similar area on the other side of my forehead. What a disappointment! I thought I had been taking such good care of myself, including boosting my immunity through daily Jin Shin Jyutsu self-help.

However, what I realized is that I had not been practicing Deep Skin Flow, which is essential for someone with chronic skin projects like me. When I finally woke up to how important this flow is for me, I forced myself to create a discipline around it (which I resist until the last minute!) I started practicing Deep Skin Flow twice a day, as well as clearing Safety Energy Lock 20 through several different holds and flows.

Since I began these practices, the spot on my forehead seemed to grow, spread out, become thinner, and then disappear. I did have it biopsied so that I could be sure it was not dangerous, but it’s gone now, except for some dryness and flakiness.

I have not received the results of the biopsy yet. I hope they are negative, but because there is no spot there any more, I can’t imagine the doctor will want to intervene….We will just have to see. I will respect what he says, while also consulting my own body.

To practice Deep Skin Flow, hold your calves. Very simple. My favorite way to do it is to sit up, legs crossed, and slide my hands over my calves so that my palms are making full contact with the back of the calf. I first hold right calf with right hand and left with left, then cross my hands and hold right calf with left hand, left with right. I find this flow – especially with my hands crossed – very relaxing and soothing. Because I’m essentially also holding Safety Energy Lock 8 (at the backs of the knees) with this hold, it’s relaxing the muscles of the whole body (SEL 8 helps anything related to muscles). It helps me to feel fully present in my body. Deep Skin Flow helps the Second Depth, which is about Breath, and therefore, being in the moment.

You can also hold your calves while sitting in a chair, or have someone else hold them while you are lying down (which feels the best!) Experiment with hands crossed and uncrossed to see which is more relaxing, which is a sign that the body needs that side held more.

My family has a history of having “spots” removed from the skin – especially my dad. We have lovely white British skin that doesn’t take too well to a lot of skin exposure, of which I was extremely fond as a teenager. Wish I’d known better then. But now I have Jin Shin Jyutsu to support harmonization of deep skin projects.

ALWAYS have a recurring skin project checked by a doctor!!! And use Jin Shin Jyutsu to support your healing!!!

With tons of love,

Sarah

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The Beauty of Uncertainty

RedFlowersI haven’t written in a while, mostly because I’ve been feeling really scared lately. Scared of what? I don’t know, to be honest – I could name about a dozen reasons I could feel afraid right now, but what matters more to me is how I’m responding to it.

Fear causes the body to tense up and shut down, as though preparing for something large to fall upon it! But there are no pianos looming overhead, no lions chasing me right now….The true source of the fear is in my biopsychosocialspiritual memory bank. And I forgive myself for that as much as I can, since it wasn’t my fault that I ended up so scared all the time.

However, even if the cause isn’t my fault, it is still my choice how I want to respond to the attitude of fear as it arises and how I can use that powerful survival energy to spiral UP rather than DOWN. Down is ok, too, but I’d rather go up if and when I can.

I’m still waking up before dawn every day and practicing Jin Shin Jyutsu for 30 minutes to an hour. Lately, it seems as though my body has gotten more efficient in directing me toward what I need, and I often just use the first step of the flows (lung flow, 1-flow, large intestine flow, 5,6,7,8 flow).

I was born with clubfeet, meaning that my feet were turned inward and had to be corrected with foot-straightening casts and orthopedic shoes for the first three years of my life. Recently, I feel as though I am healing this extremely ancient-feeling wounding, which (although I cannot remember much other than taking baths with those casts on), seems related to extreme immobility. Feeling trapped, locked down, frozen, with no way to move or get out of the situation. Pretty terrifying for a baby, I imagine.

The flows that want to be done right now are about the “I AM” energy (lung), the “Prime Mover” energy (1-flow), the “I HAVE” energy (large intestine), and the most important “toe flow” (5,6,7,8). And of course, I end almost every session with Umbilicus flow, which relates to projects originating in infancy.

All sorts of other things are moving in my life to support this healing, from receiving love from safe people, to giving love to vulnerable people, to fighting for the rights of traumatized people at my job, to doing LOTS of dance, which is essential to my well-being and basic sense of joy in the world.

Healing does not happen overnight, and usually a conglomeration of factors create it, rather than one “magic bullet” (although I’m sure that does exist!) I feel lucky to have the privilege in this life to work hard on my own healing and on the healing of other people, so that we can all approach life from a more whole, healthy, and ecstatic place.

We all deserve ecstasy in this lifetime. As trauma therapist Kenneth Robinson puts it, “Freedom is not a luxury; ecstasy is not an indulgence.” I believe that whole-heartedly, and also believe that it is possible for anyone to open up to inner joy and bliss if they are willing to deal with the pain of letting go of the past, which is arduous work. It takes a long time and can be a very bumpy road at times, but it is so worth the journey. Freedom of body, mind, and spirit are so worth the bumpy – at times scary – journey.

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Jin Shin Jyutsu and other healing modalities

20431561_10155335962278787_1680121886410560962_nI am part of a women’s public speaking community called WomanSpeak. Founded by KC Baker, it provides women the opportunity to practice public speaking skills in a supportive, nurturing, and positive environment. Recently, during an “impromptu speech” session, a friend asked me to speak about the relationship between Jin Shin Jyutsu and ancestral trauma healing. What an amazing question! Because I’m deeply interested in both topics, the fact that she combined them into one query was powerful for me.

Her question started me thinking about my history of healing modalities. I’ve participated in so many amazing methods and practices over the years in the process of self-healing, and they have all worked together somehow.

I’ve been studying and practicing Jin Shin Jyutsu since 1997, when I took my first class with Lynne Pflueger. During that first class, I remember having multiple students working on me at one time, and starting to sob on the table. I didn’t know what was happening exactly, but I knew that something powerful had shifted inside of me. After that class, I knew I had to keep studying Jin Shin Jyutsu.

What I said in my impromptu WomanSpeak speech that day was that trauma fragments us, and Jin Shin Jyutsu puts us back together. I have this experience every single day with Jin Shin Jyutsu self-help. I daily experience the reintegration of split-off aspects of myself as I practice Umbilicus Flow (especially). This flow seems to pull all of the pieces of me back together. It’s a miracle flow for me.

However, so many other flows feed into my 6th Depth healing experiences….Bladder, 1-Flow, 13-Flow, Lung Flow, Breathing Flow, Diaphragm Flow, and 5,6,7,8 Flow seem to be the themes right now, but Stomach, Gall Bladder, Heart, Large Intestine, 20,21,22 Flow, Main Central, Mediator, 15-Flow, 10-Flow, and 2-Flow have all been important recently, as well.

Healing is Grace. As much as we show up for it through our practices, ultimately, we are guided toward what we need in each moment if we allow the guidance in. I’ve used body-oriented psychotherapy methods for many years to heal from trauma, and I use something called Shambhavi Kriya every day (a from of yoga practice) that I learned at the Isha Institute. I practice simple hatha yoga to stay limber and flexible in my spine. I walk in the park every day to receive nourishment from Nature. I drink tons of water and attempt to eat healthy foods, although that doesn’t always happen.

The point is this: Grace heals my trauma as I ask for help through these practices. If I did not show up asking for help, no help would come, because Grace is not pushy.

I feel grateful for all of the beautiful modalities and practices that I’ve been guided to learn and experience throughout my lifetime. They have all made me who I am today and inform the way I work with others in my own healing practice.

I believe that the unique combination of practices that is right for each person is a mystery that can only be known through trial and error and learning and growing and letting what is not ours fall away. It’s like Michelangelo’s description of sculpting: “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” We are the sculptor of our own lives, and we carve and carve away what is not ours until we set ourselves free.

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Trauma-informed Jin Shin Jyutsu

waterfall

Exploring the Opryland Hotel after class

Our 5-Day Seminar with Sara Harper July 7-11 was incredible. I had an amazing time experiencing Sara’s open-hearted teaching style and hands-on approach to the Art of Jin Shin Jyutsu. We had more hands-on time during this class than in previous 5-day classes, and I think it created a different feel and tone for the class. We were literally embodying the Art every day, and therefore, for me at least, there was a certain level of intensity to the experience.

I felt exhausted at the end of each day from the high levels of energy coursing through my body. It felt cleansing and deep, and sometimes felt almost too intense for me to manage.

I love Jin Shin Jyutsu because it is a physical art. It is Physiophilosophy – not about either the body or the mind separately, but both in a state of unity. As such, it can access deep emotions and old experiences that may have been traumatic. I am a trauma survivor, and as Kenneth Robinson, a Nashville-based psychotherapist and trauma expert explains, if you consider the full range of human experiences, we are all trauma survivors in one way or another. Poverty is trauma. Neglect is trauma. War is trauma. A society that neglects its people is traumatizing. Patriarchy is traumatizing. And of course, all forms of abuse and violence are traumatic. It’s impossible to escape trauma, and yet, we are also miraculously resilient. Jin Shin Jyutsu has been an absolutely essential healing art for me on my journey of trauma recovery.

Trauma fragments mind, body, and spirit. Jin Shin Jyutsu, along with other forms of body-centered healing, put us back together by reuniting body, mind, and spirit into Oneness. What a beautiful thing!

I would like to bring more trauma awareness to Jin Shin Jyutsu trainings. I would like students to have the opportunity to talk about their deeper experiences that reach beyond the safety energy locks and the flows. The SELs and flows are doorways. What they access is literally infinite. We need a safe container in which to experience and express what comes up during hands-on sessions, which can sometimes be quite uncomfortable in the process of clearing old memories, experiences, and wounds.

I am committed to learning, practicing, and sharing Jin Shin Jyutsu as widely as possible. However, this year I am realizing that my training in psychotherapy cannot be separated from my Jin Shin Jyutsu practice. They are one and the same: healing.

I would love to hear others’ comments below!

With tons of Love and Light,

Sarah

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Integrating Jin Shin Jyutsu

Sara Harper Photo

Sara Harper

In four days, Sara Harper will be here to teach our fifth 5-Day Basic Seminar in Nashville. I feel so much anticipation before these classes: What will it be like? How will our students gel together? What small or large miracles will occur over the five days?

Right now, there is something even bigger on my mind, though: How do we embrace holistic healing in a culture of mainstream medicine? Being born into a medical family, I’m constantly reviewing my relationship with medicine. What is healing? What is health? How do we allow for healing while not interrupting Nature’s brilliant processes that already happen, with or without us? What is our role?

Deep questions that have been asked for a long, long time. What I know is this: I love Jin Shin Jyutsu because it has brought me into an intimate relationship with myself. And I don’t think that mainstream medicine has caught up with that notion, as highly technologically advanced as it is.

When I practice JSJ self-help, I use my intuition to determine what I need. A laboratory wouldn’t be able to keep up with it, because it’s always changing at subtle levels. And when I work with others, I also use my intuition, along with pulses, body reading, etc. It’s so individual for each person in each situation. Patterns emerge, but they can have small differences from one day to the next.

Evidence-based medicine is important. I’ve used pharmaceuticals and surgery to great effect during my lifetime. I wouldn’t want to receive medical treatment that had never been tested or proven to be effective.

With Jin Shin Jyutsu, it’s different. It’s medicine in the form of soul healing, and in the form of cosmic energy. It’s healing in the form of channeling jumper-cable energy from one being to another, even though there is no energy exchange. What kind of a miracle is that? It’s otherworldly, it’s strange, it’s ultimately mysterious.

How do we integrate these modalities together? Morristown Hospital in New Jersey and the Markey Cancer Center in Kentucky both offer Jin Shin Jyutsu as a part of their oncology services, thanks to dedicated practitioners who have presented and conducted research on the benefits of Jin Shin Jyutsu for those undergoing cancer treatment. It is wonderful for the Art to be offered in these medical settings.

For me, Jin Shin Jyutsu’s benefits extend beyond the physical and into the emotional/mental and spiritual realms. It is important for me to acknowledge how helpful the Art has been for me in these areas, and to share my love of Jin Shin Jyutsu with people experiencing these kinds of stresses.

We live in a stressful world. We need a lot of help and support all the time. Really, we can’t get enough, in my opinion. Jin Shin Jyutsu is one of many modalities I use to stay balanced, and that I offer to other as a way to find and maintain balance in their lives.

I hope to continue to offer this modality to as many people as possible. The 5-Day classes form the foundation of Jin Shin Jyutsu. Having the opportunity to go back to the basics (which are far from basic!) every year and to host new and returning students in their experience of JSJ has been a great pleasure. And I hope that it takes root in Nashville in deep, sustaining ways that create a foundation of health, balance, and self-care in this city.

 

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Why can’t Jin Shin Jyutsu heal everything?

OpeningI have a good friend who often asks me why I still have problems if I practice Jin Shin Jyutsu all the time. Sometimes good friends keep you on your toes by asking the tough questions. 🙂

The truth for me is that Jin Shin Jyutsu has nothing to do with “healing,” per se. It is all about LOVING WHAT IS. Mary says, “BE IT IS, IS.” She likes to use acronyms and koans in her writing so that you will look more deeply each time you encounter the texts (that is my interpretation, at least)… BE Infinite Truth, Infinite Self, Impersonal Self. She doesn’t say, “Heal everything, and never have any problems.” The “goal,” as it were, is a spiritual one, not a physical or mental/emotional one.

What brings most people to Jin Shin Jyutsu is healing. We want to heal ourselves and one another, because we suffer and want to feel more whole. That makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?

However, once we start walking down the path of NOW KNOW MYSELF, we realize that we are already whole, and Jin Shin Jyutsu simply wakes us up to that fact, as all spiritual paths are designed to do. Jin Shin Jyutsu’s way in is through the body, but you can enter this path from any number of directions. I happen to love Jin Shin Jyutsu’s way, because it is grounded in the body. But I could have chosen chanting, skydiving, mandala painting, centering prayer, etc…..

The point is that Spirit is Spirit. We meet Spirit in infinitely creative and diverse ways as human beings. We don’t have to follow one or another path, because just as there are many languages on the face of the earth, there are many ways to heal our sense of separation from Source, which is the beginning of suffering.

Why doesn’t Jin Shin Jyutsu heal everything that ails me? Who knows, maybe it will one day. I don’t practice it for that purpose, though. I practice it to bring me closer to my core essence, which is Spirit. When I’m closer to that Essence, and I remember who I really am (Divine), then I feel happy, healthy, and whole, which has innumerable positive effects on body, mind, and spirit. Health and healing come from remembering I am not separate from my Origins in Spirit. The rest unfolds from there.

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Limitless Life Power

DragonflyIn my last post, I talked about having an illness that was difficult to overcome….I am still working with this project! It has been an interesting ride.

I can’t say that I know what’s going on, or why certain issues related to the original illness have not totally resolved. However, I can say that since I got sick in the middle of March, I have been working on my Lung/ 10/ 13 energy non-stop, every day. 1-Flow and Umbilicus have also been supportive and balancing.

It seems like I’m opening up Bustline flows (10, 13, Lung) in order to be able to receive Spirit and let Spirit move back out into the world after I metabolize it. 10-Flow has been described in many beautiful ways (SEL 10 is located at the inside of the middle of the shoulder blade):

~Limitless life power
~Abundant warehouse
~Brilliance
~Matter going back to Spirit
~Balancing masculine and feminine

As I’m working on my bustline area, grief comes up around ways I’ve abandoned myself and been unable to stand for myself over the years. It’s interesting that this strengthening happens through the spiritual area of the body (bustline is Spirit, waistline is the human nature, and hipline is the physical nature).

I’m continuing to struggle with some dizziness and head congestion, but I’m light-years beyond where I was when I first got this, because I was really scared when it first hit me!  Seemed like my body became dislocated from my mind somehow…That’s the only way I can describe it.

I keep hearing about people getting sick in unusual, long-lasting ways that don’t respond to antibiotics and other traditional medical interventions. I wonder if some of these projects are gifts to help up see more clearly in some way. I hope so! I will keep responding to my body in whatever way it’s requesting….Seems like I need the Big Breath of Life right now!!

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Saving Flows

It is amazing how I can post in this blog, practice Jin Shin Jyutsu self-help every day, organize classes, etc., but then when I get REALLY sick, I forget that I need to step up the JSJ treatments to get better!!

Two weeks ago, I caught some sort of bug that turned out to be bacterial (because antibiotics helped it immediately when I finally decided to go to the doctor). However, the antibiotics only helped partially, and after a few days, the symptoms (dizziness, major head congestion, sinusitis, and fatigue) returned. I felt very disappointed, because this bug was bumming me out BIG-time.

I realized that what I really needed was an energetic shift. Concurrent with this illness, I was going through some major emotional changes and shifts and doing a lot of grieving over past relationships. I needed support for mind, body, and spirit, not just body.

So I contacted Brant Keany, LMT, Jin Shin Jyutsu practitioner in Nashville and co-organizer for Nashville JSJ classes. He gave me sessions two nights in a row.

The morning after the second session, I woke up in huge throes of grief that I didn’t even know existed. It was amazing and surprising and very healing.

After I let go deeply in this way, I began to feel better in a substantial way, but it was bigger than just my body feeling better. My body, mind, and spirit also felt better, more balanced, and whole. I felt so grateful to Brant for being there for me during this time, because I had begun to feel hopeless about getting better.

I asked him to give me Third and First Methods of Correction on the first night (I’m really bossy about which flows I want to receive ;)). On the second night, he gave me a 20,21,22 flow followed by a 16,17,18,19 flow.

Something about the combination of these flows healed me – I suspect that the first night was about “emergency” energetic resetting, and the second night was about releasing all of that grief out of the thought realm and allowing it to descend into the body realm, where it could be felt and released.

I feel SO much better now, and I feel so incredibly grateful about the shift that took place during these sessions. FusciaLilies

A doctor might not believe me that Jin Shin Jyutsu made the difference, but it did. I was
beginning to get worse again on the antibiotics, and nothing substantial was really shifting.

Thank you, Brant, and thank you, Mary and Jiro for bringing this beautiful gift of healing into the world!!

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SEL 1 – The Prime Mover

Safety Energy Lock 1, loRowOfTurtlescated on the inside of the knee, is about “connecting the extreme
height with the extreme depth.” (Self-Help Text II). For me, 1 is often about bringing thoughts out of the mental sphere alone and allowing my body to integrate them. The 1-Flow is three steps (easiest when lying on your side): Hold the left low back, at the top of the left hip crest (SEL 2), with right hand, and it stays there throughout the flow. The left hand holds the left inner knee (SEL 1), then the left inner heel (SEL 5), then left tip of big toe (SEL 7). Hold each pair of SEL’s until a rhythmic pulsation is felt. Reverse for right side. 

As the “Prime Mover,” this flow helps to move us out of ruts and stuck places in body/mind/spirit. It clears the head, chest, and abdomen and is a good flow for babies. It helps us to focus when we feel scattered. I like to fall asleep with my arms crossed and holding my inner knees (lying on my side) – this hold is also a good “quickie” for SEL 1 any time.

SEL 1 connects the toes with the head and the head with the toes, creating a “Cosmic Egg” of energy surrounding us (just like Main Central energy does before the Supervisors are born at the knee). The 1-Flow, like Stomach Flow, is one of my main grounding flows, opening up the pathways to Earth connection and moving me out of anxiety and fear. In combination with other flows, such as 10-Flow, I find that it helps me to consolidate the information generated and restored by the other flows. It’s truly miraculous at times!

Mary often reminded students of the spiritual principle of “As above, so below; as below, as above.” We are whole, and we are a mirror of the Divine. 1-Flow can help to connect us with the Highest Heights so that we don’t forget our earthly nature is just a reflection of what Created it.

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Digesting thoughts, food, experiences

Held Stomach Flow (anterior descending energy in Self-Help Book I) helps me so much when I begin to feel ungrounded and uncertain of who I am.

Yesterday, there were some wild energies flying around Nashville (in my perception). I found it a bit overwhelming and got totally off balance.

This morning, I was still pretty wobbly and practicing JSJ as I usually do, and Stomach Flow came into my awareness. I practiced it on the left side, and it was like all the “craziness” traveled out of my body and down into the Earth. What a relief!  I still had more balancing to do later (through writing and processing what I experienced yesterday), but until I used Stomach Flow to feel the ground of my being, I was flying around very nervous and anxious.

Stomach Flow anchors on Safety Energy Lock 21, just below the cheekbone. This SEL helps us to “escape from mental bondage” and experience “profound security” (Self-Help Text II). The flow itself helps us to communicate, to be understood, and to understand. It is a 1st Depth/ Earth flow.

A shortcut for this flow is to hold the right cheekbone with the left fingers and just below the right collarbone with the right fingers. For left side, hold left cheekbone with the right fingers and just below the left collarbone with left fingers. This step can help with headaches and sinus congestion, as well as digesting food, thoughts, and experiences.

As we integrate what is happening in our lives rather than spinning off in panic and anxiety (which are related to the 1st Depth), we come back down to Earth and feel safe again – held, connected, loved.

The organ of the 1st Depth is our skin surface, the body’s largest organ, which is our first point of contact with the outside world.

Anxiety can be related to needing to feel held rather than threatened by the outside world and the people who take care of us as children (1st Depth is in charge of our development between birth and age 15). Feeling safe in our bodies and with those who love us is critical to healthy development.

Stomach Flow helps us to ground into life and experience the sweetness of our own existence (and it helps curb cravings for sweets!) The taste of the 1st Depth is sweetness…..

 

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