Archive for May, 2011

May 29 2011

Healing with the Cuddle Cure – Oxytocin – Issue #74

I’ve been getting high on the hug drug, the cuddle cure, the happy hormone called Oxytocin. This week I’ve had an upsurge of this potent love potion since I found a crying, starving, trembling, abandoned feral kitten about 6 weeks old living under the bushes near my house. Seeing her so tiny and helpless and all alone in the world made my heart melt and I was aflood with oxytocin. She wouldn’t let me near her, but fueled by this powerful ‘tend and befriend’ hormone, I was determined to help her.

Off and on over the course of three days I sat with her, absorbed in a meditative stillness, talking to her sweetly, patiently luring her nearer to me by moving the food I brought for her closer and closer. Eventually, she came up to me, brushed her head against my hand and started purring! I was beside myself with oxytocin momma love!

I took her home with me and we have been passionately engaged in cuddle storms of mutual love! What a feeling! It’s no wonder they call it the happy hormone. I feel this same feeling for my other cats as well – I am awash in warm fuzzy feelings for my warm fuzzy felines! That includes my Tom cat, my husband Tom, the warm fuzzy fella I cuddle with every day.

I love oxytocin! It is a natural high that creates feelings of peace, calm, wellbeing, compassion, trust, and altruism. Starting from infancy with the mother-child  connection, it is the glue that bonds us to loved ones and makes them appear more appealing to us. Just thinking about people we love evokes this love hormone (which is produced in our brain AND our hearts).

Studies have found that when we have increased levels of oxytocin in our system, we are like a tuning fork for those around us, and they start resonating with our peaceful vibe and their oxytocin levels increase as well. That’s why we like to be around loving people, because we feel more loving in their presence. Oxytocin is contagious!

It is often called the ‘cuddle cure’ because it has tremendous health benefits, which include lowering our blood pressure, raising our pain threshold, boosting our immune system and reducing stress (the precursor and aggravator of most illnesses).  Due to Oxytocin, people with pets often heal from illness more quickly, and people in cancer support groups have a tendency to live longer — tend and befriend equals mend.

For that reason, the cuddle cure is a big part of my healing regimen. Stress exacerbates cancer by turning off healing genes, while love and serenity turn on healing genes. Therefore, I’m motivated to steep myself like a tea bag in the healing elixir of oxytocin as often as I can!

There are many ways to stimulate oxytocin production. It is activated in response to touch, massage, sex, kisses, appreciation, gratitude, loving relationships, compassion and caring for others. Hugging for at least 20 seconds increases oxytocin. Even just visualizing hugging others activates it. You can give imaginary hugs to people all day, people you don’t even know, and you will reap the benefits. I’ve been practicing sending love from my heart to the heart of others, and I am flooded with the warm, peaceful love energy that I’m sending.

Self-compassion is another way to generate oxytocin. Lady Gaga, a champion of self-love, practices self-compassion 5 minutes each morning. Imagine the feel-good fun of having a verbal cuddle fest with yourself every day!

Meditation is a powerful stimulator of this healing hormone. Years ago, when I lived alone, I meditated each morning and was blissfully bathed in oxytocin. I got high on the feeling of being deeply connected and loved by the higher energy that held me in a warm spiritual hug. When I began living with Tom I didn’t meditate as much, but now, ever since my cancer diagnosis, I am back to deeply connecting and cuddling with spirit on a regular basis.

When I hold my new little bitty kitty and reassure her that she is loved and cared for and her hard-knock life is a thing of the past, I imagine that my higher power is reassuring me in the same way. I am comforted in the faith that my higher self is watching over me, flooding me with love, telling me, “You are safe, you are loved, all is well, you have found your way to a friendly place.” My higher self and I luxuriate in rapturous oxytocin love fests! What a feeling! Can you hear me purring?

Have you been getting high on the love drug, oxytocin? Are there ways that you can increase this powerful love potion in your life even more? I’m sending you a cyber hug and sharing some of my ‘stash’ with you!

In Love,

Jan Jacobsen

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May 14 2011

Transforming Sob Stories Into Wabi Sabi Stories – The Art of Being Perfectly Imperfect – #73

Wabi Sabi (wah-bee sah-bee) is a Japanese concept of life and art in which beauty is found in things that are weathered, asymmetrical, incomplete, imperfect and impermanent. As I age, my body is becoming all of the above and, therefore, Wabi Sabi has become my new kemo sahbee (faithful friend). I’m learning to see myself as a work of art, not in spite of my flaws, but BECAUSE of them. What a concept!

I’ve had a head start with this Wabi Sabi way of seeing myself — over the years I’ve been learning to face my emotional imperfections and accept myself as perfectly imperfect. I was motivated to do this by a painful sense of shame and a belief that I was fundamentally flawed and needed to be perfect in order to be loved. The quest for perfection put a cork in my aliveness that eventually caused me to crack under the pressure. I went to bed one night asking the higher powers that be, “What am I here to do in this life?” I awoke with these words resounding in my mind, “All you have to do is love yourself.” This set me on a new quest to learn to love myself AS IS, warts and all. I am still on that journey. I am learning to love my imperfect self.

One of my favorite quotes that has helped me in reframing my flawed self is Ashleigh Brilliant’s epigram, “I may not be perfect, but parts of me are excellent!” I’ve said this to myself many times throughout the years and it’s always made me feel better about myself. Now, in the spirit of Wabi Sabi, I tell myself, “I may not be perfect, but my imperfections make me unique and beautiful!” Krishnamurti has said that our souls are from the same paper but what makes us unique is the creases formed in the paper from all the folding and unfolding of our life experience.

This Wabi Sabi perspective is helping me face and embrace my body upheavals of the last several years. Despite my careful attempts to remain perfectly in tact, Bell’s palsy set my face permanently askew, gum disease ate away at my jawbone, cataracts clouded my eyes, an appendectomy removed my ruptured appendix, and cancer devoured my uterus, (not to mention the addition of wrinkles and gray hair, oy!). I have had to let go of my attachment to things being perfect. I’ve chosen instead to see and accept the beauty of this cracked, weathered vessel that I’ve become.  A little boy said to his grandmother, “Oh Gramma, you have such beautiful designs on your face.” I’m learning to see myself the way that little boy sees his grandmother.

There is great liberation in perceiving ourselves as beautiful, not in spite of our flaws, but because of them. It is heartening to see ourselves as not broken, but instead broken open — all the better to receive the abundant light and love that surrounds us. Leonard Cohen echoes this sentiment in his song, Anthem:

Ring the bells that still can ring

Forget your perfect offering

There is a crack in everything

That’s how the light gets in.

Finally I’d like to leave you with the quintessential Wabi Sabi story of the Cracked Pot:

Everyday a water-bearer carried two pots balanced on a yoke across his shoulders to his master’s house. One of the pots was cracked and leaked water all the way there. This made the pot very sad. “I’m so imperfect. Why do you keep me?” The water-bearer answered, “I planted flowers along your side of the path and the water you spill nourishes those flowers. Because of you, the beautiful flowers that grow there have brought great joy to my master. Your flaws bring joy and beauty.”

The story we tell ourselves about our lives is always our choice. It can be a sob story, or a Wabi Sabi story. We can choose to see ourselves as a crackpot or as a cracked pot watering flowers in our lives. I am choosing to see my life as a perfect work of art, cracks and all!

What’s your Wabi Sabi story? Can you see how your flaws, imperfections, and challenges have made your life a beautiful work of art?

In Love,

Jan Jacobsen

Copyright 2011 Janet Jacobsen

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May 01 2011

Amazing Surprises, Awesome Twists, and Spellbinding Coincidences Ahead! – Issue #72

Psss-s-s-s-t-t, S-h-h-h-h-h-h!

Around the bend, in the unseen, arising from the very uncertainties that may now seem to taunt you, there are some amazing surprises, awesome twists, and spellbinding coincidences about to emerge that you can’t even now imagine.


The Universe

This was the perfect Note from the Universe (from Mike Dooley at that I received last week. One year ago this month I had begun my 6-week radiation and chemo treatment for recurrent uterine cancer and was deeply immersed in the misery of nausea, weakness, and the dismal awareness that the chances of the grueling treatment working were slim. It was difficult to imagine back then that a year later I’d still be here…thriving!

With time possibly limited, I was motivated this year to immerse myself in the present moment, savoring it like delicious candy, and to my great delight, time has stretched like taffy into a sweet eternal Nooooow! The quality of time has literally changed for me. I don’t just know, I feel that right now is all there is. Whenever my mind races into a feared future, I say “Whoa Nelly!”, and take deep slow breaths, bringing my mind back to the bounty of this nourishing present moment. This is a great treasure I have found!

Another great treasure that this year has brought me is the priority of focusing on the healing, wholing, holy energy of love. For the rest of my life, love is what I want to create and where I want to dwell. How much I have loved in this life is something I believe I take with me when I go.

I have also lasered into living my life on purpose, getting on with what I came here to do — writing from my heart and soul and sharing it with others. It is a treasure beyond measure to think that I can be of help in this way.

This year I have learned to not sweat the small stuff, but instead to celebrate the big stuff, like the present moment, love, and living a purposeful life. What a bountiful banquet I have found myself at! I couldn’t have known a year ago when things seemed so dire, that a more vibrant, meaningful, luscious life was about to unfold.

“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.”

Last week I saw the documentary, I Am, created by Tom Shadyac, a highly successful director of comedy hits like Bruce Almighty, Liar Liar, and The Nutty Professor. In 2007 he was in a bike accident, which damaged his arm and his head, leaving him with Post Concussion Syndrome. He suffered intense pain, mood swings, and ringing in his head for many months. He didn’t think he was going to make it, and he began to welcome death.

Faced with death, he asked himself, “If this is it for me – if I really am going to die – what do I want to say before I go? What will be my last testament?” Miraculously, with this new sense of purpose, his symptoms began to subside, allowing him to focus on and create the heart-opening, soul-stirring, mind-expanding film, I Am. In it he explores what’s wrong with the world and how we can help make it right. What he ultimately discovered is that there is more right about the world than wrong.

Can you remember times when things looked bleak, but turned out even better than you could imagine? When we hang in there, twists and turns and coincidences present themselves, and our life miraculously goes from sucky to succulent, from yucky to YUM!  No matter how things may seem, be open for surprises and miracles!

In Love,

Jan Jacobsen

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