It has been more than one and a half years since I posted my last entry in this blog. After that post, I found myself in resistance and deep silence.
But sometimes the universe sends you a little nudge to tell you, “It’s time…” My nudge from the universe came from a woman all the way on the other side of the world in Australia who read my post. Angela is a singer also, and she, too, was diagnosed with vocal cysts. To lose one’s voice can be a nuisance to anyone, but to a singer, it is deeply painful to lose the way we express ourselves creatively. One of my singing coaches used to say, “When you sing, your voice is the sound of your soul…” Needless to say, I felt her pain because of my own pain. I knew I had to reach out to her. Angela catalyzed me to share the rest of my story, what happened and where I am now on my own healing journey… And I could feel an “angel” gently nudging me to post the letter I wrote her. ( I actually just got that her name is Angela….angel….Angela…hmmmmm)
You may be thinking, “Well what does all this have to do with beauty??” Everything.
Angela was the first to hear my story and now I am posting it for anyone else who is interested and has continued to read on:
My response to your question is probably more than you anticipated.
I apologize for taking so long to respond to your email. I could not respond in a quick email because my experience with this condition has not been simple. As a singer, I personally know the frustration and fear you must be feeling around getting a diagnosis of vocal cysts. Our voice is such a big part of us and the meaning of “finding our voice” goes way beyond the sounds that we produce with our vocal cords. Only another singer can especially know how challenging this is and I would like to offer you my support in any way that I can. What I can offer you is my own experience and where I am on my own healing journey. Please take what you find useful and discard what doesn’t resonate with you. I believe our best guide is the intuitive voice deep inside. Listening to that true voice and speaking from the stillness of my heart is something I strive for in daily practice.
I owe an amends to anyone who read that post from February 2011 and was misled to believe that it was ONLY EFT that healed my vocal cysts. That post was the first chapter of the story of my healing and I never posted the subsequent chapters. I am going to share with you why I never posted the rest of the story because I am now ready to do so.
So, I want to be completely transparent about how I was working with what was going on in my throat. EFT was one of the energy methods I was using. As I wrote in my post, when the cyst reappeared in 2010, I was frustrated and angry that it came back a second time after having had surgery a few years previously. I felt like I was being punished. Again.
I was slated to have surgery again but needed to wait for my throat surgeon to recover from his own foot surgery. In the interim, I was using alternative healing modality techniques that started with EFT, and then TAT (Tapas Acupressure Technique), intuitive body work with a brilliant healer as well as acupuncture. The work of Dr. Zhing Sha, Soul Mind Medicine was particularly powerful in my healing. I was willing to use any and all energy methods to understand the coagulated energy in my vocal cords. I even went back into the studio and recorded improvised songs with the raspy voice I did have. There was a lot of beauty and texture and emotion in the sounds that came through me in the studio at that time. For me, it was a practice of acceptance and willingness to sing from a new place with a different voice. I was committed to really listening deeply to understand why the cysts had manifested again. I knew (believed) that energy (beliefs, emotions) created the cysts and that, as matter, they were nothing but energy. There were all kinds of significant emotional issues I discovered in the process. I discovered that I held grief, regret and fear in my throat and began to use all my energy tools as well as EFT to tap on the memories stored there.
What happened as a result of all this really did feel like a miracle. With all of the energy medicine tools that I was using, my vocal cords did, in fact, heal completely. The truth is one day I was singing and I realized that it didn’t feel like it required as much energy to push the air through my vocal cords to produce certain tones. I discovered that I felt freedom in my vocal range once again and could access my middle and top notes that had not been available for so long. I noticed that my speaking voice was clear and my singing voice felt restored back to the strong, clear voice that I remembered having. The timing of it felt like a miracle because that very same week I was asked to be part of a performance with a band. Synchronicities seemed to be lining up for me.
I emailed my surgeon with the news that I recovered my voice and felt no symptoms of the cyst. He wrote me back saying that it was highly unusual. These cysts don’t normally get reabsorbed back into the body.
So, Angela that is the good news that I have to share with you. As God as my witness, I had vocal cysts and then they were gone after using energy medicine techniques. For a whole year my voice was clear, strong and free. It had been my intention to blog my whole story and to divulge all the different energy modalities I was using along with EFT in my subsequent posts. That was my intention. But I never got to it….And there was a good reason for that.
Here comes the tricky part.
It was just before the 2011 Tapping World Summit and I wanted to spread the word to as many people as I could. So, I posted the first chapter of my story on my blog. After I wrote that initial post, one of the practioners whom I worked with had a very strong negative reaction to what I wrote. I think there were slighted feelings because that first post was about how EFT was a big part of my healing journey. I had intended to post the subsequent chapters of the story of my healing experience but I was feeling like I had to defend myself and justify what I wrote.
There were things, memories that I had discovered about the energy that was trapped in my throat that were deeply personal. I started to question telling my whole story for fear that I may be further criticized and attacked. There were some very tender feelings I had gotten in touch with in my healing process and suddenly more than one of my practitioners was feeling slighted for their work not being recognized as THE healing cure. The fear of being too visible and not feeling safe became very real for me.
Within the next few months after all this happened, I noticed a different sensation in my throat again. I noticed a shift in my voice and the familiar hoarseness started to return again. I felt like I had failed.
I resisted writing the subsequent chapters of my healing journey because I felt ashamed that the cyst returned. There were definitely parts of me that felt vulnerable and ashamed and I realized those feelings all manifested in my throat again. But that has changed and is continuing to change even as I write this email to you.
EFT is the modality that really resonates with me. The past year and a half or so has been an incredible ride. I have been studying and working with my own EFT practitioner to gently embrace all the parts of myself that needed to feel safe and held. I realized that my cyst came back because there was more for me to learn, embrace and accept about speaking my truth with compassion. But most importantly, I have learned about forgiveness and compassion for myself. I have really come to understand that love is indeed, the most powerful healing salve there is and it can create amazing transformations. I know deep in my heart that if I could completely heal my vocal cysts once, then I could do it again and this time deeply and completely. What I have learned (am still learning) about healing is that deep transformation happens when I am willing to love all the parts of me (emotions, my inner critic, conflicting feelings, fears etc.) into wholeness.
The traditional setup statement in the EFT work is, “ Even though ________________(fill in the blank with whatever negative feeling /situation feels true for us), I truly and deeply accept myself.” For me, it all starts there. And complete healing doesn’t always happen quickly especially when there are long held beliefs or patterns of behavior. Sometimes people have miraculous one minute miracles with EFT. Big shifts can occur and I have seen them for myself and for others for certain situations/conditions. But for other situations/conditions healing may be more complex and take a little longer. But in any case, practicing love and acceptance of ourselves is never a waste of time and truly does open the door to transformation in our lives. That’s what I am experiencing these days in my own work.
I don’t believe in accidents but rather synchronicities and good timing .Your email has been a catalyst for me and a definite sign that it is time to come forward and share my story. I have gotten to the point where I feel no more shame in it because now I am committed to loving all the parts of myself that I have judged and punished for far too long. I have realized that my own perfectionism has kept me from really living my life full out. I am not perfect, the healing I had was not perfect and my singing voice is not perfect . I can lovingly accept that now. The power of my voice now comes from a deeper place and I have no doubts that the cyst that reappeared is already being reabsorbed as it did once before. I am definitely looking forward to more studio time to do more recording with the rich voice that I have right now. I won’t wait for it to be “perfect” or to return to what it once was. I won’t waste my time because life is too short and life is a new adventure each day.
Lastly, we are total strangers to one another but we have both experienced something very challenging. I wish you peace and healing on your path. May the guidance deep within yourself bless you with every step you take.
Please let me know if there is anything else I can help you with.
Blessings and light,
PS: I highly recommend a book called Teach Only Love, written by Jerry Jampolsky which is about the power of love to heal.
My Miraculous Healing Journey – Part 1
“Surgery is the only solution for treating these vocal cysts,” he said. My ENT doctor gave me this disappointing news the first time I got diagnosed with vocal cysts in 2001. I was so freaked out about surgery on my vocal chords because I have been a singer my whole life. The prospect terrified me so much that I waited for five years before I had the courage to have surgery after that first diagnosis. And now the cyst was back again two years later…I felt such despair and frustration and had to keep reminding myself that the blessing was that I did not have cancer. The problem was not life threatening. It was “just” threatening my sanity because I was constantly and severely at times, very hoarse.
So here I was, once again poised to go under the knife to have it surgically removed. I was fed up with being hoarse, and my husband not hearing me (a deeper more complicated story) because my foggy, voice was a challenge for his own real hearing deficit. I was obliged to repeat myself over and over again with him and others. The telephone was the worst in that it was apparently hard for others to understand my voice without the visual cues. It was so frustrating that I felt like I was being punished – again. Above all, I was depressed because I lost the whole middle and upper register of my singing voice. My mezzo soprano range turned into something gravelly low way down in Tom Waits’ basement.
I was ready to take the plunge again and have the surgery. Unfortunately, (which turned out to be my good fortune) my surgeon was recovering from his own foot surgery for several months. I had no choice but to wait if I wanted the same surgeon and I most definitely did.
The question kept haunting me. Why is my body creating this in my vocal chords of all places?? Expressing myself with my voice in my singing has always been a precious thing for me where I connect with something greater than myself. Why had this come back? I had read that physical ailments often have underlying emotional issues. If I had underlying “issues” that were at the bottom of this, what the hell were they??!!! Enough! Not a lot of patience or compassion at this stage of the game…
I had heard about “energy medicine” from a friend. I learned that EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) has been a tool used by health practitioners, therapists and coaches for many years. Essentially, EFT is based on the research that negative beliefs/emotions and trauma create a disturbance in the energy field of the body and may cause physical problems. Supposedly, once the energy disturbance/blockage is cleared the physical problems often disappear.
I decided to consult a therapist who was a licensed MFT as well as an EFT master. Paula taught me the EFT protocol. She said, “It may be POSSIBLE to heal the cyst which is a ball of energy in your throat. The way it works is by tapping lightly with the fingers on specific acupuncture points of the energy meridians in the body while speaking true belief statements or feelings about your condition. This releases the energy stored there.”
The cyst was energy she reminded me. If we could clear the underlying emotional belief causing the disturbance, it would be possible for me to heal and absorb the cyst back into my body without surgery.
I was willing to try anything and since my surgeon wasn’t available for some weeks I figured what the hell.
Paula encouraged me to close my eyes, relax and drop down into my throat to sense the cyst in my vocal cord. What emotions came up when I focused on the cyst? She told me to ask the actual cyst itself what it was trying to tell me. A loud voice in my head was screaming, “Go away!! Leave me alone!! Stop punishing me!!” So much anger and frustration came up.
We began the tapping protocol with the set up statement, “Even though I have this cyst in my left vocal cord, I deeply and completely accept myself…” She told me to repeat that “set up statement” three times. Then we began by tapping about the feelings I had about my condition. She guided me through eight different meridian points tapping while simultaneously saying phrases like, “This cyst in my vocal cords makes me so angry…”
My rage surfaced. So we began a round of tapping on the rage, “ Even though I feel so much rage about having this cyst in my vocal cords, I deeply and completely love and accept myself…”
“WHY DID I HAVE TO SAY THAT!???” I blurted…. More anger and frustration. She explained that the set up statement was called a “reversal statement”.
Being willing to state that I love and accept myself no matter what was to be a key in my healing…
What was the cyst trying to tell me??….I tried again. I took a deep breath and let go. I became very still as I focused on the cyst. I heard from deep inside, “BE STILL AND LISTEN…”
***STAYED TUNED FOR PART 2
THE 2011 WORLD TAPPING SUMMIT STARTS PRE-LAUNCH STARTS TODAY February 1, 2011 . To see Jack Canfield interviewed about EFT in the pre-launch click here: http://www.thetappingsolution.com/cmd.php?Clk=4129193
Mindfulness: The art of paying attention with openness and curiosity to the present moment.
Last weekend I was on a personal and professional retreat practicing Mindfulness Meditation with a large group of teachers in a beautiful setting in West Marin, CA. First of all, it felt so good to completely unplug from the world and leave a message on cell and land line that I would be unreachable for 4 days… Also I put an auto-response on my email letting people know that I would not get back to them until after the weekend. Wow! Just that alone was an accomplishment for one who is usually glued to a “crackberry” 24/7.
Anyway, the professionals on the weekend retreat were teachers from pre-K through university level and beyond. The objective was to have partly a personal retreat as well as a training for bringing more mindfulness awareness techniques into the classroom setting. It was wonderful to learn fun ways to teach students about relaxation, presence and bringing a calmer focus to the learning experience. My objective was to expand my own practice of mindfulness techniques as a powerful tool in guiding clients to a deeper experience of their authentic inner beauty.
Stillness and the simple act of practicing being in the present moment is a powerful way to be more present in one’s life, to oneself and is for me, the foundation of true beauty>BEING PRESENT. People with great presence are fascinating people to be around. It is especially evident with great actors who may not be stunningly gorgeous on the outside but who command attention because of their incredible presence. The reason is that great actors are highly skilled at being present in the moment with whomever they are working with in a scene…
Diana Winston, one of four teachers for the retreat weekend is the director of Mindfulness Education at UCLA’s Mindfulness Awareness Research Center (MARC) http://www.marc.ucla.edu and has written a book with Susan Smalley, PhD entitled,”Fully Present”, http://www.fullypresentthebook.com . It is a wonderful book that explains why meditation is so effective and how it can be helpful in enhancing health and wellbeing. I highly recommend it as a useful guide with practical tips and exercises to help start and sustain a meditation practice. “The research exploring mindfulness, although still relatively new, is demonstrating that repeated practice can lead to changes in our lives, including:
- Reduce stress
- Boost the body’s immune system
- Ease chronic physical pain
- Cope with negative emotional
- Increase self-awareness
- Cultivate happiness”
*Embracing Deep Beauty Thought:
Are you WILLING to find 3 minutes each day 3 times a day to STOP and just BREATHE and OBSERVE what you are feeling in your body in the moment? Can you meet the present moment in that practice with openness and curiosity?
I feel beautiful when I am speaking French. I love the taste and feel of the vowels and consonants in my mouth. The sensation and the tone of my voice as it moves forward into the mask of my face. For whatever reason the words conjure memories of delicious treats in my beloved Paris munching madelines or macaroons , picnics with my pals in the Tuillerie Gardens, sharing with a lover a hazelnut Nutella crepe from a street vendor in Montmartre.
I swear to God, speaking French words actually tastes different for me than speaking English. and Italian is a whole different flavor as well. Even though my French is really a kind of “Franglais” where I speak a few sentences in perfect French and then throw in a word or two of English because my mental computer can’t access the proper French words. It’s really a mishmosh of two thirds French and one third English and sometimes the proportions vary depending if I am on a role or not. A glass of crisp, cold Sancerre wine helps but is not necessary at all. It actually doesn’t matter that what comes out of my mouth does not come out perfectly and that I am not completely fluent. I will be some day…It doesn’t matter that it’s not perfect because it is the feeling or experience that feels so good connecting and communicating in this beautiful, sexy language. I think what happens for me is that those sounds and the feeling of making them taps directly into my passion. And when I tap into my passion I feel the power of being the woman that I am. I also feel more of the artist who I am past, present and future. And when I tap into that part of me, I am ageless. I am potent. I feel feminine, strong and more alive all at the same time.
What makes you FEEL beautiful???????
Well, I am back in Paris and not a moment too soon. The best part about Toulon was being at Amma’s program there. But it was HUGE…Thousands of people. Amma made the front page of the newspaper there as there were more than 20,000 people who came to receive Her Divine hug (darshan).
“Amma, reunited with the love of Toulon…” & “ In the arms of a woman… a mental and a spiritual experience”
Anyway, my husband and I actually spent most of our time helping our our spiritual community at the ayurvedic table selling essential oils, flower essences and other wonderful products sold by Amma’s bookstore. I was actually considered a big help because I could speak some French. So I had a lot of practice which I really enjoyed!!
After the end of the 3 day program, Dan & I checked out of our hotel and were very happy to so because the manager was …let’s just say not the most hospitable host… wouldn’t let us leave our bags to spend the day touring in Toulon.
So there we were with all our baggage walking to the main square with 5 hours to kill before our train. We found this wonderful restaurant unbelievably called “The Oasis”…and it truly was. The gentleman owner, Michel, was so warm and delightful. He and his wife sent over two glasses of champagne with our lunch and I had an extensive conversation with him (in French, of course) about Toulon, politics in the US..etc. He offered to hold our bags in the restaurant so we could walk freely around Toulon, which we did. They were fabulously warm and hospitable. So we made some new friends there.
And I met a delightful painter, Monique Le Chapelain, who was dressed in a beautiful Spanish dancer’s dress in her gallery. I just had to speak to her and I really loved her colorful style of painting as well as her personal style. I did end up buying one of her drawings…Couldn’t help supporting a fellow artist.
Some photos of Toulon
More photos of Paris
Place de Concorde at night and the Seine
The Champs Elysee at dusk
The work of an artist who goes by JR who puts photos in public places of the eyes of oppressed women from third world.
My dear friend, Jean-Francois (standing outside of the Louvre)who is working with the Paris Opera Ballet on a production that opens tonight. He used to dance with POB, then became the ballet master at the Geneva Ballet where he lives in Switzerland. This was a special project he was hired to come and stage a piece by Paul McGregor, an American choreographer called “Millepied”- . SO I am getting to go to the opening tonight at the Paris Opera and to the post party afterwards. Ooo la la!!!
November 1, 2009
Well just after my last post I got a rip roaring a case of the flu….That’s right. Hell is being on vacation in Paris and coming down with the flu. I have no idea which flu and who cares… Fever, chills, body aches, soar throat….But not to worry…It hardly stopped me. I got some meds from the pharmacy and finally I let the medicine of Paris heal me. And it did, unbelievably! I was sick with a fever on Wednesday and by Saturday I was hoofing around Paris nonstop with less pain and effort.
I had this amazing experience when I took my husband to see the cathedral of Notre Dame. For the past 25 + years I have been going to this cathedral to pray and when I got in front of it, I just began to weep like a baby. All I could think of was, “It feels so good to be home…I am so relieved to be here again…I love being here…” Notre Dame Cathedral has always been such a special place for me. It is the cathedral of “Our Lady”, the Mother of God…
There is a theme on this trip of being in the presence of the Divine Feminine. Amma was in Paris (part of the reason we came here at this time) and we got a hug from Her, (darshan). 20,000 people showed up to the program…Actually, I had gone to the medical office at the program last Wednesday night to see about getting some Ibuprofen or Tylenol because I felt horrible. They sat my butt down, took my temperature, blood pressure, etc and called the doctor in to see me. I guess nobody is messing around with flu symptoms these days…Indeed, I had fever and the doctor arranged for us to get an early darshan so I could get back to the hotel and rest. Well, it was the most amazing thing…We went up for our hug and as soon as I was hugged by Amma, Divine Mother that She is, my fever broke. I felt so much better. But I still went back to the hotel to rest to be safe and careful.
Then for the next few days I showed my dear husband around Paris but I was sick as a dog. Still, we ate and walked and took photos, ate some more, had café au laits and ate some more crepes, pastry, croissants….Paris is definitely the place to practice meditation…food meditation, that is.
Today we took the fast train here to Toulon down on the Cote d’Azur in the south of France. We will spend a few more days with Amma here with people from all over the world to bask in Her Divine presence. Then Dan will head back to SF and I will stay on to see about some business in Paris…We’ll see… It’s in the hands of the Divine Mother.
Frankfurt en route Paris 10/23/09
I am on my way. I cannot tell you how happy I am to be heading to France for the next three weeks. Three weeks!!! I am giving myself this amazing gift. I always feel so nourished when I get to spend time in Europe. On a soul level and of course, the food! Maybe it is because of my Italian roots but it doesn’t explain this mad love affair I have had with Paris.
The intention I have set for this trip is to allow my heart and soul to be nourished as it always seems to be when I am here….. to have AS MUCH FUN AS POSSIBLE and also to take time for reflection. Europe is the place for me to come to replenish, re-dream and to reconnect with myself.
My husband, Dan will be joining me here in a few days and it will be his first time in Europe let alone Paris. So, there is much fun to be had together here. We are, also, planning to attend a program here given by our spiritual teacher, Ammachi. She is here in Europe for Her yearly Fall tour we’ll be attending Her programs here in Paris and down in the south of France in Toulon in a week. Amma is the embodiment of Compassion, a great humanitarian, http://www.amma.org/ and has had a profound effect on my life.
Also, another intention I have is to perhaps allow the possibility of professional collaboration here in Paris. My dream is to spend time in Paris part of the year and in San Francisco part of the year. I will be looking into the possibility of teaching an Embracing Deep Beauty workshop in Paris. More on that later…
As we touched down at the Frankfurt airport I thought we were landing in San Francisco because the fog was so thick. It was kind of grey and depressing outside along with the cold, impersonal uber industrial interior of the Frankfurt airport.
Paris 10/24/09 1st Night in Paris
What a welcome I received when I got to Paris! After traveling a long 18 hours ( I had a 7 hour layover in Frankfurt) took a shower at the airport; reapplied my makeup and was “dinner party ready” when I stepped off the plane in Paris. My dear friend, Didier, picked me up at the airport and we were off to a lovely dinner party in the chic neighborhood of Palais Royale at his friend’s home. "What an amazing welcome", I thought to myself as I sat there with a beautiful Murano crystal glass in my hand filled with champagne surrounded by very warm and interesting Parisians. Paris always seems to welcome me with a warm embrace. Then Didier threw a dinner party the following night at his apartment up in Montmarte near Sacre Coeur and the FOOD!! Eating well here is not a problem but having French friends cooking for you makes it even better.
My dear Didier & moi
Didier introduced me to his friend, Elyane, an anti-aging consultant and author on the topic. She is about to publish her second book and we both could see that we had a lot to talk about around the subject of beauty and health. Perhaps we may be able to collaborate on a project together. We will see….
Dan, my husband, & I have been in a small town on the outskirts of Paris these last two days attending Amma’s program then we will be back in Paris for a few days before heading to Toulon. For our stay in Paris, my friend Dominique lent us her apartment and we are quite spoiled with the view!
Today, I give myself PERMISSION to just be.
In particular, just be where I am…with this blog. It has seemed so hard to just start that which I’ve been thinking about for so long. I have a lot of thoughts and experiences about the topic of beauty. Yet resistance has kept me frozen more than how busy I have been. Perfectionism and procrastination are no friends to anyone seeking to live a full, exciting, passionate and truly beautiful life. They certainly haven’t been my friends…
But that’s not what I wanted to talk about. What I really wanted to talk about is PARIS… , France that is. I am planning to go there this October for two weeks. I have not been back to see my dear friends there since 2001. It’s too long for my soul because Paris is a place that makes me feel beautiful and passionately alive. I went to see the movie “Julie & Julia” and felt my heart aching to be in those amazing open air markets, eating crusty croissants, orgasmic pastry ; going to fabulous galleries and laughing in little cafes with good friends I have known for years . I loved the movie because it brought me home to one of my favorite places on earth and I got inspired by Julie’s blog idea. I reminded me that my own blog was waiting for me to break the ice and POST!
One of the things I like to do in Paris is to speak French. I do speak some French although mostly I speak a sort of “Franglaise”… I actually give myself permission to speak as much as I can in French and then when I can’t remember the correct word I say it in English, a patch work of the two languages. And I just let it be OK because I love the feeling of the language in my mouth and the sound of it around me. Franglaise does require a willingness to get your point across at the risk of sounding stupid. It is precisely because I love the language and the feeling I have speaking it that makes me so willing to be imperfect with it. and it’s FUN. But the key part is giving myself the permission to not speak French perfectly. Just get in there and make a mess and do it with great joy.
I think expressing beauty is the same thing. Just have fun with it. Give lots of permission to be ourselves. Fashion should be an inspiration to have more fun not a barometer to measure our insufficiencies.
I know that when I do what I love I feel more beautiful. What makes you feel passionate and beautiful? I would love to hear your thoughts…