About Hillary

Writer, healer, teacher, mother and grandmother. Brennan Healing Science practitioner with private practice in Niantic Connecticut. Faculty member of the Barbara Brennan School of Healing. In practice since 1993.

My Positive Thinking Conundrum

Last night my husband and I watched a video on Amazon about healing energy. A large part of the message stressed the importance of positive thinking for health and healing. Norman Vincent Peale made this a popular concept with his book The Power of Positive Thinking, first published in 1952. He said: “Change your thoughts and you change your world”. I can’t argue with that. Positive thoughts always feel better, make us happier and promote wellbeing. But what if we are not feeling particularly positive? What is our child is sick, the house burned down, our spouse wants a divorce or we lost our job? Should we run for the hills, screaming? Years ago when I was an excited New Ager, the practice of affirmations was very popular. I was told it didn’t matter if I believed what I was telling myself or not, affirmations would still work. I’m not so sure that’s true.

I got up early this morning and sat to meditate, with this still on my mind. A few years ago I led several rounds of E Squared play groups. E Squared is a book written by Pam Grout that was a sensation. She lists nine simple, fun experiments that are intended to “prove your thoughts create your reality”. We could definitely see how our thinking influenced our experience. What was most interesting was how much fear there was about negative thoughts. If we prove our thoughts create reality, then bad thoughts are going to make bad things happen, right? We can be mindful of our thoughts and yes, we can choose to have good ones, but should we fear thoughts? What do we do when they rise up unbidden? Freak out? The brain is actually designed to have a negativity bias because it supports survival. We are set up with a greater sensitivity to unpleasant news. It’s not our fault, it is biology. So are we doomed? Back in the seventies I took a course that was called Silva Mind Control, developed by Jose Silva. That method instructed us to say “cancel cancel” every time we had a negative thought. It was an interesting process not without some merit. It was also really annoying. Imagine being in a room full of Silvans repeating “cancel cancel” over and over every other minute. But that practice showed us just how common negative thoughts are and got us to pay attention, which was the whole point.

Here is my bottom line message: Thoughts have as much power as we are willing to give them. The more you think them, the stronger the belief, the stronger the belief the more influence it has on our experience. For example, while meditating I felt inspired to spring up out of my seat to begin writing. Another part of me was urging me to stay still, which I did. In that moment of stillness I had a new thought: There is no rush. That simple thought moved me beyond measure and counteracted a lifetime of responding to fear and the impatience of others. It challenged the messages I had gotten to hurry up, don’t be late, don’t keep others waiting, make up your mind and on and on. I relaxed, and smiled. I felt deliciously peaceful. We can all benefit from being mindful of our thoughts. Welcome and entertain them all like the unexpected guest in Rumi’s poem “The Guest House”.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

— Jellaludin Rumi,

Do not be afraid of thoughts. Pay attention to them. Jot them down in a journal.  Allow the authentic, deeply personal, emotion eliciting, positive thoughts to find you. Those thoughts are way more potent than meaningless phrases you don’t believe. Good luck. Remember there is no rush. Thanks for your time.

Namaste

MEDITATION: “Do. Or Do not. There is no try”, said Yoda

Meditation is one of the most useful things you can do for yourself no matter what ails you. I recommend it to every one of my clients. This morning in my meditation the thought came to me that there is no try. Thank you Yoda. I think there are a lot of expectations and misconceptions about meditation that keep us from “trying” and a consistent practice. A friend and lifetime meditator said there is only one rule for meditation: Put your tush on the cush. If you do that, you are doing it right. We don’t need to “try to” sit, we just sit. But isn’t that where the trouble starts? The thoughts can go something like this:

My mind is so busy how do I make it stop it won’t stop I must be doing it wrong I’m no good at this and I have so much to so today this is really a waste of time-time I wonder what time it is…and on and on and on.

Inevitably we give up and go see what friends are doing on Facebook, or something equally distracting. Our world offers no end to the possible distractions from being still. All of this is normal. You are not doing it wrong as long as you sit. Then one day, as you are sitting, a light descends from above, angels sing and you are enlightened. Ok, so maybe that won’t happen, but it could…and then the next day you will be right back to feeling uncomfortable and looking at the time. You’re not doing it wrong. That is the nature of the beast.

When we meditate, even those times when it is uncomfortable, annoying, frustrating and disappointing, we gain. It gives our minds and bodies a mini vacation from busyness, which is good for us. It teaches us patience and the ability to tolerate discomfort. It supports relaxation, dampens the stress response and promotes health. AND, this is the fun part, it enhances our spiritual connection, which means we are more connected to all things, inspired, creative, wise and peaceful. Seriously, who wouldn’t want to sit, do nothing, and have a better life? Make a commitment to sit for 15 minutes a day for a month and you decide if it’s worth it or not. Let me know if you need help or support. Meditation groups are a great way to start practicing. We have Wednesday meditations at Park Church in Norwich at 7 pm and 6:30 pm on Thursdays at my office in Niantic. We include silent meditation, singing bowls and chanting mantras. All are welcome to join us.

Have a peaceful day.

Thank You Too, Anonymous Friend from the Past…

thank-you-much-cute-greeting-card-vector-illustration-58998254Today I received a thank you card in the mail. It said “Thank you so much… for everything. I just wanted to say thank you. Fifty years is a long time  to wait to do so…but I am an invariant procrastinator. I hope your life has turned out well…I think that much of mine, that did turn out well, is because of you. Again my gratitude…”

It was unsigned, but even so, greatly appreciated. 50 years ago I was a teenager, and from my perspective, a mess. It is hard for me to imagine that I could have done anything that would have earned such enduring gratitude. But we never know which people will make a lasting impression. It could be the person who rescues us from a college far away that was a total mismatch in a time of crisis. It could be the person who chipped in to buy an old beat up sports car that only started when we rolled it down a hill. (My father admitted years later that he knew all about it!)

In answer to your question, yes my life has turned out well. Not exactly a smooth ride, but I have gotten to a place of peace and gratitude. So thank you my friend, for reminding me of how we touch people even in our dark times. May you be blessed.

 

Getting Unstuck

in·er·tia
iˈnərSHə/
noun
1. a tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged.
“the bureaucratic inertia of government
2. PHYSICS
a property of matter by which it continues in its existing state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line, unless that state is changed by an external force.
In other words, an object at rest, tends to stay at rest. While an object in motion tends to stay in motion.
I have been working with several clients that feel stuck. It is a dreary place, alternating between boring, frustrating, hopeless and depressing.  The feeling of being stuck generally translates to some sort of resistance. Resistance is often based in fear; fear of getting what we want, fear of success or failure, fear of breaking the rules we grew up with, or fear of humiliation. Often that feeling of fear is completely hidden from awareness except for the persistent sense of being stuck.
I noticed that if I sit with iPad in hand, cruising the internet, playing games and repeatedly checking for Facebook messages, I loose momentum. The longer I sit, the harder it is to get up and start moving. Inertia. Once I do mobilize myself to get up, it is as if life returns. Even if I just get up and walk into another room, I start to feel more enlivened and remember what I wanted to get done and start to feel invigorated and excited. This is not a tale about iPad’s, although that would be a good one to tell. This is a story of intertia.
When we feel stuck, it is essential that we get up and move. It is interesting how we focus on a problem, to the exclusion of everything else, before we feel free to to move, like it is some form of punishment. I am remembering my mother’s admonition to get my work done before play. Well, work is never done, and problems don’t get solved by sitting in them. Not the relationship, the job, or the finances. There needs to be movement. It doesn’t matter if you do something that you feel is related to your feeling of stuck-ness or not. Just move! Take a walk, visit a friend, or clean out a closet. Remember…an object in motion tends to stay in motion.

The Meaning of Our Story

In Spiritual Graffiti Jeff Brown says, “I understand that we get lost in our stories, but let’s not throw out the whole story with the bath water. In the heart of our story is the grist for our soul’s transformation. Our stories are no illusion. We are made of story. The illusion is illusion, itself. Deal with your story, or your story will deal with you.”

In my practice, I have seen people make important connections between their story and their current situation; what they believe, how they think and the deeper meaning of challenges they are facing. This is about bringing consciousness to the automatic, rote way we normally tell our stories. While I was attending the healing school, I remember sharing one of my family stories with the group, rather matter of factly, and with a laugh. The look of shock on their faces was a real wake up for me.  That funny little anecdote was actually a very painful experience that had affected me deeply.  Our stories, true or not, become an integral part of who we are and can have far reaching affects on our health and wellbeing. There was a time when healers would stop clients from telling their story, inviting them instead to get out of their heads and into their bodies and feelings. Now, we look more toward the meaningful telling of stories, while embodying. I love seeing that OMG look on a client’s face when random pieces of personal history suddenly come together within a deeper context. None of that would happen if they did not have space to tell their story to another person with a listening, open heart. We do not ditch our stories, until we understand them. Like little children, they will stalk us, begging for our attention. There is great personal learning that can be had in our story, if we are willing to tell it with consciousnesswhats_your_story_000.

Shoreline Satsang Circle at HCEM

Healing Connections (HCEM) is pleased and excited to host the Shoreline
Satsang Circle.  Like us on Facebook! Shoreline Satsang Circle
That will keep you informed of dates and events. OR sign up for email alerts in the box in the left sidebar.
 
Living in uncertain times as we do, being together in the sacred space of Satsang offers peace, inspiration and the awareness that we are more than physical beings. 

HCEM’s Satsang Circle will be hosted by Hillary Gauvreau, owner and practitioner at HCEM, and led by Dave Oat, Spiritual Director and healer. 

Dave and I had the pleasure of spending a week in Costa Rica with Devame and D Premal, Miten, and Manose. We chanted, sang and meditated. At the close of the week, Deva spoke to us about creating our own Satsang Circles. It was such a wonderfully nourishing and spiritual experience, and so easy to create, that we decided to bring it to HCEM.

 We will devote one hour to being together, singing, chanting, and silence. All our voices are welcome, and we will have recorded music to support our efforts. The chants will be easy to learn and there will be brief instruction for those who are not familiar with Satsang.
There will be floor sitting, so bring your zafu cushion. We will have chairs for those who need them, and some pillows are available. Wear comfortable clothes.
The Satsang Circle will gather the first Thursday of the month unless otherwise announced.
Since space is limited, please email us if you plan on attending. There is no charge for this group, but donations will be accepted and passed on to a designated charity.
What is Satsang?

Satsang, translated from Sanskrit means “meeting (Sangha) in truth (Sat)”.

Whenever something increases your experience of the Truth, it opens your Heart and quiets your mind. The true teacher, or satguru, is within you, and satsang, is being with that experience.
Chanting, or Kirtan, is part of the path of Devotional Yoga.
Satsang is where people gather together to remember, to turn within and find their own inner path to the One.
Kirtan is a simple & powerful way to meditate.
It’s effortless & joyful; the music does the work for you
as you flow with the melody & rhythm.
Many of the chants are sung in Sanskrit. The ancient
chants contain powerful renewing & transformative energy
that helps us reconnect with the Divinity that resides
within all of us.
Singing is the heart of kirtan, and no one cares what
you sound like.  All voices merge together to become
One Voice.
“Kirtan is a means of finding our way back to the core of
our Being, to our heart, and to our connection with each
other.” Ragani
“These chants come from the Hindu tradition, but they are not about being a Hindu, or believing anything. It’s just about doing it and experiencing. Nothing to join, you just sit down and sing.” Krishna Das

 

satsang

“Reminders of What We Need to Know”

techqua_wheelIf you are feeling overwhelmed by world events and looking for a way to help, then the “Reminders of What We Need to Know” could be helpful.  Assist in raising  conscious awareness with a focus on our changing world paradigm.  Offer a unique contribution to a smooth transition through change. Expand spirituality, explore metaphysics and quantum mechanics with the intention of being in the world but not of it. As the Hopi elders say “We are the ones we have been waiting for.

Beyond 2012: Reminders of What we Need To Know Blog

On Facebook  2012 and Beyond: The Reminders Group

 

Reminders of What We Need to Know: CYCLES

LD_HealMore and more evidence is surfacing that points toward the possibility of a highly technologically advanced ancient culture that predates all the cultures we typically consider to be the origins of culture and humanity.
 
The Ancient One, as I call her, who first said “Remind them of what they need to know”, has hinted at this. What if there are repeating cycles of world civilization/culture, peaking and dying over and over and so old that no memories survive? The only artifacts left are stone structures and the mystery they evoke.
 
What if all we are aware of is our personal cycle of recorded history? Like coming into a reincarnated body with no memory of past lives, do we enter new cycles of civilization like blank slates, with no memory of the past? That would allow us the freedom to explore, create, and develop without ties to the past in an exciting earthly “do over”. The Earth is estimated to be 4.54 billion years old. The age of dinosaurs was 250-65 million years ago. What if our awareness of the beginnings of life over 250 million years ago is the beginning of our cycle?  Perhaps we are in the Forth World as the Hopi call it, and three worlds have gone before, now almost completely obliterated from view.
If this is an exciting “do over”, as I suspect it is, what might we want to be reminded of? What is the message the ancient ones want us to know?
 
You are invited to join The “Reminders of What We Need to Know” Group as we explore our role in the changing world paradigm.  As the Hopi elders say, we are the ones we have been waiting for!

No event or being, divine or otherwise, will rescue us from our responsibility to ourselves and our world. Everything we do, positive or negative, has an effect. We are here by intention, not accident. The “Reminders” help us to be conscious of our role in the changing paradigm and the effect we are having in the world. This group relates to events of the day, and follows wherever guidance takes us. Each meeting includes discussion, information and meditation. 

 New members are always welcome to join us. You do not have to commit to attending every meeting, but I am hopeful you won’t want to miss any.

 Space is limited, so please email hillary@healingcem.com, text or call 860-884-7130 if you plan to attend. 

 

 

The “M” Word: MEDITATION

I have noticed lately that there are more meditation classes and groups coming together. I like that because meditation Is one of the most useful practices I think we can develop. It calms our physiology, it invites creativity and inspiration, and it connects us to our inner wisdom and guidance. Unfortunately, when I mention it to clients, usually as an encouraging invitation, I often get “the look”.

The LOOK is what I give the dental hygienist when she reminds me to floss every day.
The benefits of meditation are well known and can be found everywhere. When I Googled it, over 14 million links came up.  So if we know that meditation, like flossing, is good for us, why so much resistance to it?
I started to ask the question: Whazzup with the “look”?
The responses were similar:
1. No time, too busy.
2. Not good at it.
3. Frustrated. Can’t stop thinking.
Let’s pull this apart and see what is true.
1. Yes, you do have time. I guarantee it, trust me. All you need is 15 minutes a day and I spend more time than that on Candy Crush Saga. Do it when you want, where you want and how you want. A client reported she meditated in the bathroom at work during her lunch hour. It requires no special equipment (although I have found a lovely App I like called “Insight Timer”), and costs nothing but your time. I had a teacher who was an avid meditator for over 25 years. You could tell something was different about her. Even in the midst of a stress filled day she had an air of calm. She said there is really only one thing to remember about meditating: put your tush on the cush. Even after all that meditation she admitted there were times when she hated it and times when she was blissful. Overall, the rewards are great if we can get past the resistance and just do it. MorningMeditation
It doesn’t always feel good, but learning to be with ourselves, tolerating the itchy discomfort gives us strength, not just for meditation, but for all the things in life that cause us discomfort. When it does feel good, we are rewarded and inspired to keep going.
The honest truth is that we always have time to do what we want to do. So why don’t we want to do it?
2. and 3. Resistance. We live in an age of high speed action and reaction. Our days are filled to overflowing with information technology. When it all stops and we are left with simply our bodies and our thoughts, it can be strange and foreign territory. When people tell me they have tried and they just can’t do it, I ask why? It all seems so simple. From what I understand there are several problems. First is the expectation that the first time the tush hits the cush, and every time after that, thoughts will stop and bliss will descend upon us. When that doesn’t happen, we judge ourselves, feel frustrated and give up. Meditation, like fine wine, needs time to mellow into a rich, full-bodied experience. It is a discipline, or as Rick Pezzullo says, it is like training a puppy. There will be quite a few chewed up slippers before we are trained.  So try to let go of the belief you are not good at meditation, because none of us are. We just keep going until we begin to notice the we feel better, more peaceful, healthier, less frustrated. Meditation is not the goal…it is the vehicle for transformation. Healing is transformation and that is why I encourage my clients to meditate.
stress_pancreasThe myth that creates frustration when we sit to meditate, is that our minds will cease thinking as if by magic. NOT! Our minds think, our lungs breath and our hearts beat. That is the nature and purpose of the physiology. Thoughts will be there, but (this is important!) we are not our thoughts! “WE” are actually an overseeing operating system of conscious awareness. The mind works for us, not the other way around. When we practice meditation, we are learning to listen to the deeper wisdom of consciousness, over and above the mind chatter. Our thoughts can be very seductive and while meditating we will, from time to time, find we have gone for a ride with them. My grandfather in his later years, would sit looking out his window and watch the people and traffic on Main Street. He observed, he didn’t run out and get into the cars. As you sit, imagine that thoughts are cars on Main Street. If a shiny red Ferrari grabbed you for a ride, notice and GENTLY bring your awareness back to your chair, your breath, your mantra, your blanket, whatever will help you focus in this moment. Keep practicing, and as you do, you will begin to notice longer stretches of empty “mindless” space. The puppy is learning to sit! A wise person once said that prayer is talking to God, meditation is listening. You might be surprised what you hear.

Advice that you didn’t ask for:

1. Decide to give yourself a decent period of time to really commit to a meditation practice. 30 days is a good place to start.
2. Find a place to sit. There can be a lot of “voodoo” around creating a space for your practice. For now, I encourage you to keep it simple and comfortable. It can be a cushion on the floor anywhere, a chair in the corner of a room, or the john at work.
3. Eliminate distractions. No phones, iPads, computers, or interruptions T3-zen-catthat are within your power to prevent. Let your roommate, family members, cats and dogs, know not to disturb you. Shut the door. When it comes to meditation I am very Zen about it. I believe silence, unless you are chanting in your own voice, is optimal. You want to avoid anything that your mind can latch onto to amuse itself while you sit. That brings up the issue of guided meditations. I think they are wonderful tools, and imagery can be very healing. However, in my experience it is not the same as, or ever takes the place of silent meditation.
4. That’s it. You can embellish as you please. If you have time and inclination, start a journal of your practice so you can track your experience.
Books I recommend include:
How to Meditate by Lawrence LeShan
Buddha in Blue Jeans by Tai Sheridan
I am available for private sessions to support your personal growth and transformation, and to help smooth out the bumps in your practice. Email me at hillary@healingcem.com or call 860-884-7130 for an appointment.
 

E-Squared

 
Do you jump out of bed in the morning, thrilled to be alive knowing that you have the ability to bring great, huge, gobs of joy and satisfaction into every moment of your experience? If not, why not? If you are like most of us it is because we do not feel like we have much influence over our experience. WRONG! We are extraordinarily influential and creative, but we operate on a default mode of outdated old tapes, painful experiences and messages we got before we were six years old.  We can change that. 
E-Squared-Nine-600x864

What is E Squared? 

E-Squared is a brilliant book (I wish I had written it!)  written by Pam Grout with the subtitle: Nine Do It Yourself Energy Experiments That Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality. It has been all over my Facebook page and after ignoring it for awhile, I finally stopped to take a look. I am so happy I did. This book is brilliant!

“I absolutely love this book. Pam has combined the humor of Ellen DeGeneres with the wisdom of Deepak Chopra.”
–Jack Canfield

Don’t face reality. Create reality!
 
      E-Squared could best be described as a lab manual with simple experiments to prove that reality is malleable, that consciousness trumps matter, and that you shape your life with your mind. Rather than take it on faith, you are invited to conduct nine experiments to prove there really is a positive, loving, totally hip force in the universe. Yes, you read that right. It says prove.
      The experiments in E-Squared prove the following:
1.       There is an invisible energy force or field of infinite possibilities.
2.       You impact the field and draw from it according to your beliefs and expectations.
3.       You, too, are a field of energy.
4.       Whatever you focus on expands.
5.       Your connection to the field provides accurate and unlimited guidance.
6.       Your thoughts and consciousness impact matter.
7.       Your thoughts and consciousness provide the scaffolding for your physical body.
8.       You are connected to everything and everyone else in the universe.
9.       The universe is limitless, abundant, and strangely accommodating.
Pam suggests gathering together in groups to play with the experiments, create a few of our own and “square” the energy until it explodes  into a juicy new world and delicious new way of being.
Remember:
1. We are awesome! Powerful energetic beings running currents of possibilities!
2. The field of potentiality is unlimited. Anything is possible. Kicks the stuffing out of old beliefs of limitation.
3. We are all in this together. When we go the extra mile to appreciate and play together, we all gain.
Play Groups are on hiatus for the summer. Contact Hillary for dates and to get on our email list.
Hillary Gauvreau
hillary@healingcem.com
860-884-7130