Thursday, February 7, 2019

Why I Almost Let Myself Die

There is a monster with no symptoms. It’s called Cold Depression. During my recent health crash I asked myself why I let me get into such a situation. Me! I’m intuitive, hyper mind-body connected, and aware, I thought. So how did I get there—not just the blood issue, but the severe nutritional deficiencies which were probably behind it all? The answer, I knew as soon as I asked, was cold depression.

Cold depression is not depression. Depression, or Major Depressive Disorder is simply defined as: low mood some, part, or all of the day, every day, for more than two weeks in a row. Depression is fairly easy to recognize by that definition, and one in four people have MDD at any given time.

Cold Depression is not well understood and not even known about by most of the behavioral health world, but it is even more rampant than depression.

Cold depression has no outward symptoms. Often, people with cold depression are happy, successful people, sometimes very high achievers and service oriented givers.
Out and about on my trip to Ireland

Here is how Shanti Shanti Kaur Khalsa PhD explains it based on the teachings of Yogi Bhajan.
Cold Depression is when the external demand is greater than the internal capacity to deliver and we have spent our reserves. We are depressed but we are so numb and insensitive to our own self, we do not feel it. The depression is therefore “cold.” This leads us to inner anger and isolation from our soul.
Cold Depression is when we are cut off from our spirit, source, strength, and inner guidance. At its core is a deep sense of loneliness, a prevailing sense of anxiety, and a loss of meaning. Yogi Bhajan called this, “The Silence of the Soul.”
We instinctively counter the numbness of Cold Depression with behavior that fulfills the need for stimulation. A person experiencing Cold Depression does not seem depressed to herself or others. This is because she is busy, active, and appears energized. She may overwork, create “emergencies,” or drink 6 energy drinks a day. He may engage in extreme sports, risk taking, or substance abuse. The insensitivity of Cold Depression leads to reactivity, impatience, and drama. Do you know anyone like this?
After reading that description you argue that you are connected to your soul. You are a yogi. You and God are one. Well I have news for you. Even deeply spiritual people often have cold depression, and in fact, I would say it is even more rampant among us folks because of the subconscious sadness about being separated from God. Being on this planet is tough. It creates a pain that is humungous and the subconscious wants to cover that gap. So we do, in all the ways above, and by meditating to bliss out and by overachiever/perfection addiction to feel like everything is ok. And at the same time, some of us even secretly sabotage our lives or health so we can exit the planet sooner. I’ll talk more about that in a minute.
Here’s more on cold depression:

What Causes Cold Depression?
Information overload, unrelenting stress, and rapid change contribute to Cold Depression. Bigger. Faster. More. These are all elements of modern life. The glandular and nervous systems of most people on the planet are not sufficiently developed to meet this challenge. When we don’t have the energy within, we seek it outside ourselves. We go for the rush.
Cold Depression is not just a personal challenge; it occurs across an entire population during global transition such as the one we are in now. When there is a major frequency change, Cold Depression can increase to profound levels, like a sudden tide. Yogi Bhajan said this “gray period” of the planet has occurred in the past, whenever there was an epochal transition.

I knew I had cold depression because I had secretly—I say secretly because it was secret from my conscious mind—neglected my health by resisting vitamins and supplements or not taking them consistently till I was dangling by an eyelash over the canyon of death. This is a secret strategy of many people with cold depression. They subconsciously try to exit. For example, a person might have a small pain that they don’t check out until it has grown to a stage 4 tumor and then die very quickly once it’s known. Another person might have back pain but instead of taking time off from helping and serving and heavy lifting they just take Tylenol or Ibuprofen—for years and years—and then one day they die of liver failure or kidney failure from taking so much pain medicine.

I have been talking about cold depression for a couple of years. I had a feeing I was the poster child for it a while back, and I took steps two years ago to take a lot of the stress off my plate. My life has been very sweet for the last 7 ish years. And it was hard to think that there was a disconnect from my soul. But after my health wake-up call I realized that there was more to this cold depression thing than I understood. So I started doing the Meditation for Removing Cold Depression, which I had never done as a consistent practice. I knew I needed to make it mine for a while. So I did. I stopped my other meditation and picked up this one.

Before you run out and try it, I need to tell you that it is a very powerful meditation. Even though it says you can work up to 31 minutes, it says to start with 3 and build up to that. I recommend heeding that caution. I did start with 3 but quickly increased to 11. I never went past 11 and probably won't for a while.
At first it was sweet. I felt the sweetness of life even more, and then I crashed and burned and felt like I was losing my mind. What was asymptomatic and looked nothing like depression started to look very much like depression and even a bit of anxiety. My body was almost completely better but my mental and emotional state was in turmoil. The mind just wanted to swing, and all I wanted to do was get away from the pain. Ultimately I just had to hold my grace and sit through it. I was super sensitive to everything. It felt a little bit like coming off of an anti-depressant, which I did many years ago.  A friend of mine is weaning off her anti-depressant now, and she is feeling similar things--sensitive and raw and realizing how much it numbed her to feeling things as much.

After lots of debate about dropping the meditation (because I was almost not functional) I decided to stick with it, but add in the one I had been doing before, because it has a very stabilizing effect. This worked. I felt lots better. I still struggled but I could function. So if anyone wants to learn from my experience, I would recommend not dropping your regular practice to do this meditation, just add 3 minutes of the Meditation for Cold Depression and let it work on you slowly.

In January I had the amazing opportunity to go to Ireland for a poetry residency and it was a dream. While I was there I felt so free of all the pain, and I felt so grateful and humbled and had a tectonic shifting of my priorities—more to my personal writing, my family, and simple living. This has been coming, but in Ireland I had the strength to finalize some decisions.

At the Joyce Tower in Ireland

I feel pretty sure that not being in my full creative expression for the last few (ok many) years has been at heart of my secret desire to leave the planet. A blocked creative, if blocked long enough, will eventually die inside and then outside… For me, creativity is a part of my soul. And that is where the disconnect—or not enough connection—was happening.

Panoramic from the cliff walk in Howth
So that’s why I’m not doing any more retreats. I’m facilitating a 200 hour kundalini intensive training this year in SE Idaho and then I’m passing the torch. I’ll still teach, I am just not going to travel any more for work after this year--at least that I know of--for the next seven years. 

Kundalini yoga is not the purpose of my life. It is a tool to support me in my life purpose. Right now the purpose of my life is living and writing poetry and my relationships with family, friends, clients and students. I feel radical acceptance for everyone’s journey. God is in charge, not me. Thank goodness.

Me and a writer friend in Howth thinking about doing a cold dip.

The Seamus Heaney Exhibit at the National Bank was lovely.

I’m going to keep up 3 minutes of the meditation for cold depression for a while. I don’t know how long, but knowing my tendencies and the world I live in, I think it will probably be with me for a while. I have some other changes coming but I am keeping them close to my chest for now. I’ll share them soon if you stay tuned. I also plan to do a webinar soon about all I have learned about health and healing.

Thank you for being led here and reading to the end. I hope something in here can help you. 

Blessings and Sat nam. Feel free to reach out at any time through the comments.  

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Getting In Tune With My Moon (Cycle)

In my last post, I shared my recent health journey--the slow decline and blood loss and fast rebound to rebuilding my red blood cells and vitamin levels-- but many people have asked about how I healed the heavy uterine bleeding. So here is a quick post about it.

As I have said before, we are educated to believe that the female cycle has a lot of variety and it is normal for some women to bleed a lot or have cramps or spotting or starting and stopping or PMS. It's not true. For almost all women, a healthy cycle is not more than 80ml of blood (16 reg tampons), lasts maybe 4-5 days, has no cramps or clots or pain, and no PMS symptoms. It also tends to start on the full or new moon.

So many women are so far from that "norm" that it's hard to believe. Where there is a lot of variation is in what is making the cycle off. That's why I can't share a one stop fix for everyone. I had to educate myself on a lot of things and test and try some things and eliminate possibilities. Don't assume because your friend had a fibroid that this is the cause of everyone's heavy bleeding. Luckily for me, the ER visit eliminated the possibility of cysts or fibroids or tumors.

Of course, I thought at first it was all emotional and could be fixed by fixing the emotional, and I went that route for healing. There were a lot of emotional layers, for sure. But even if the cause is emotional, the physical body needs a lot of healing with physical healing methods (touch, food and herbal medicine, exercise, western medicine, homeopathy, etc) to support the emotional healing.

I'll share with you some of the resources I found most helpful.

VitaLivesFree is a youtube channel from a woman named Vita who went on a journey to take charge of her health and she has a lot of information.

Here is her Hormones Balancing Series which has great info on heavy periods, and decreasing fibroids naturally.

She also has a playlist on Adrenal Health.

There is a lot of beautiful info out there if you use the right search phrases. Just be intuitive and discerning and you have to do your own research and try things and consult with your health provider.

I have been lucky and it was easy for me to figure out what I needed. But I also know I have to keep in tune with my cycle and my temple body for life. Needs may change. But I know how to find what I need now.

The nutritional support I am getting from the supplements I am taking has been half the healing of my cycle. Firstly, because it is reducing stress on my body. After all the medical help getting my blood numbers back up, I still felt marginal. But after consistent superfoody supplements I am having all kinds of unexpected benefits. My fatigue is gone and I feel 27. Seriously.
This was me and a bestie at the last Hawaii retreat. Still a little tired, but relaxed.
I also added some herbs a couple months ago to help my body make more of the hormone I was low in. And they are working!

But I have found for me that the most important thing is reducing stress. I am taking herbs to destress and am on a regimen of yoga to transform stress.

I can't say enough about how we all have to reduce our stress. If you are having an abnormal cycle, it is a symptom of some kind of stress or constriction. Stress steals progesterone, if you already have low progesterone or have estrogen dominance, stress will just make it worse. And if your liver is stressed, it can't get rid of excess estrogen (one of its jobs). And then the stress and feeling crumby makes it hard to want to eat right or exercise or do any of the things you might do if you felt better.

Life is full of stress. Even good things are stressful: getting married, moving, getting a new job, having a baby, sending a child off to school. These are all on the top stressors, but most people would consider them good things. Then there is a the chronic stress of living in a toxic world, dealing with people who are having an overload of stress themselves, financial stress, deadlines, being interrupted repeatedly by small children, the physical world (cold, hot, prickly, dry, and other physical sensations that stress our bodies, etc.)

I can't write much more today (more will come soon though!), but if you need help with stress, I'm launching an 8-week stress workshop in January 2019. It includes all the yoga for transforming stress and supporting and healing the adrenals, liver, kidneys and other organs that don't get enough love. It will also include hypnotherapy MP3s for repatterning our stress footprint and recipes and nutritional info. By the end, we should all have a new way of being, even if our world hasn't changed, we'll be able to enjoy the preciousness of life.

 Here is the link if you want to register in advance or get the recordings if you find this at some future point.