GOD

Gina meditating

God be with me.

This week I brought the concept of God back into my life. I think that there can be a middle road. Even the Buddha teaches us to follow the Middle Way. The belief in God is a personal decision. In India, they say there are thousands of Gods (millions now). That’s because everyone has their own personal God.

I remember the quote, “We are living proof that God exists.” Human beings are amazing.  We are intelligent and creative. We are too good to be true, so there must be a God. We have a beautiful, mystical world, so there must be a God.

Every day I silently say to myself, “God be with me.” I seek support and guidance. I feel secure when I know that a master being exists. This week I tried to substitute different words instead of God. I said, “Universal energy be with me,” “May the force be with me,” and “May Reiki energy be with me.” Nothing could substitute for the word God. Like I said in my previous blog post, the concept of God is hard-wired in my brain.

I hear a lot of people say, “Whatever God wants” or “God will lead me.” We tend to put our lives in God’s hands. But then we are not taking responsibility for our own lives. We are always looking for someone to tell us what to do instead of following our own heart and mind. Going forward, I want to find the middle ground with my concept of God. I want to embrace the mystery of God and yet empower myself.

I have one hospice patient who is 88-years-old. She has bright blue eyes like the sky. When I was visiting with her, she kept looking out the window saying how beautiful the trees looked. I asked her about God. She said, “If we don’t trust God, then who can we trust?” Who can we trust? Who is in our corner? Who cares about us? Again, I want to take the middle road. We can trust ourselves, the people around us, the sun, the trees, and the animals. God is all around us.

Human beings have consciousness. We are creators of our own lives. Therefore, God lives within us. God can be the universal field, too, because God can be anything and can be anywhere.

I plan to keep an open mind and an open heart. I plant these seeds of thoughts in my mind. My thoughts will grow and evolve as my life travels down the path of wisdom.

Namaste, world.

 

 

 

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My Salvation

image of woman in a white dressFor the past week, I lived every day without the concept of God in my mind. I am a Buddhist, and most Buddhists do not believe there is a God somewhere in heaven or up in the sky. They believe we are truly on our own. Buddhist monk K. Sri Dhammananda says, “Salvation in Buddhism is an individual affair. You have to save yourself just as you eat, drink, and sleep by yourself.” You are responsible for your mind, body, actions, speech, and energy.

The concept of God is hard-wired in my brain. I was raised Catholic and taught that God created everything. So, what do you mean there is no God? It seems impossible. But for the past week, I took God out of my mind and out of my life. I wanted to see how I would feel when I was responsible for my salvation.

After contemplation, I know how I feel. When there is no God, I feel like there is no one watching me. I am free to be myself. I no longer look to God, I look to myself. My life belongs to me, not to God. My thoughts and actions are my responsibility, and I am the judge of my own life. There is a shift in my consciousness.

The concept of God is fuzzy. Who is God? I have held this concept in my mind, but nothing to show for it except for my imagination. Most Catholics believe God is our father and looks just like a human being. According to K. Sri Dhammananda, “For more than 2,500 years, all over the world, Buddhists have practiced and introduced Buddhism very peacefully without the necessity of sustaining the concept of a creator God.”

This past week I felt a lot of gratitude for my life. Since I am the only one who can save myself, it puts everything into perspective. I want to live my life! I want to be kind, loving, calm, and wise. I want to meditate every day to make my mind strong.

Going forward, I want to enjoy my life…with or without God.

Namaste, world.

 

 

 

 

Inner Drishti

DSC_0386 (2)About five days ago, I woke up with mild vertigo*. I get vertigo occasionally. Sixteen years ago while I was swimming in the ocean, a wave crashed down on my head, and I hit my head on something. Ever since then, I am vulnerable to getting vertigo. Bad head cold or stress can set it in motion.

If you have ever had vertigo, you know that the room can spin around. It can be scary. When I have dizziness, I use a drishti to anchor my gaze. A drishti is a focal point. I stare at one spot or object. I do not let my eyes off the object or spot. According to Wikipedia, a drishti, or focused gaze, is a means for developing concentrated intention. It relates to the fifth limb of yoga (pratyahara) concerning sense withdrawal, as well as the sixth limb dharana relating to concentration.

When I teach yoga, I instruct my students to use a drishti; especially for balance poses. I say to my students, “Steady eyes…steady pose.” And when I have vertigo, I must use a drishti. It is the only thing that keeps me from spinning around and around.

This past week when I had vertigo, I thought about what if I need to close my eyes. For example, if I am resting or sleeping or even during an emergency situation. So this week I practiced using an inner drishti. And when I did use the inner drishti, I found comfort and stability. I felt like I could manage my vertigo symptoms and it eased my fear of vertigo.

My inner drishti is a red rose. I picture in my mind the beautiful rose, like the photo above. I remember my time walking through the Wilson Rose Garden at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. I steady my eyes on the rose. I can see its delicate petals. I remember its fragrant smell.

I encourage everyone to pick an inner drishti. Practice using it. Maybe when you do the tree pose or some other balance pose, you can close your eyes and practice your inner drishti. Or practice using it before you go to sleep. Pick one image. It must be something beautiful, something you love. It should also be something you can see in nature or real life. Why? Because I think it will connect your brain with a positive memory, and this will trigger a pleasant sensation.

You have a powerful mind. You can use your inner drishti as a tool to calm your mind, increase concentration, and reduce fear.

Namaste, world.

*Suggestions if you have vertigo: get the over-the-counter medication called Bonine, receive physical therapy, wear Sea Bands (acupressure bands).

 

 

 

 

 

Tips for Aging Well & Living Longer

dr

Most of my patients are in their late eighties, nineties, and I have one patient who is 101 years old. Some of these patients lived full, healthy lives. How did they age so well? Here are some helpful tips on how to age well and live longer:

Psycho/Social:

  • Strong family support. I love it when my patients have tons of pictures on their walls. People who have strong family support live longer and healthier.
  • Positive attitude. I have one patient who is 94-years-old. She has severe restless leg syndrome. I told her that I’ve experienced restless leg syndrome and that it’s terrible. But she said, “There can be worse things. There’s nothing that I can’t handle.” Wow! What a positive attitude! She chose to reflect strength and perseverance instead of self-pity and negativity. I am so impressed by her!
  • Perseverance. People who search for their own answers persevere. They are strong advocates for themselves.
  • Help people. Some of my dying patients wished that they would have helped people more. Helping others fosters a sense of purpose in life, and this can help us live longer.

Physical:

  • Exercise (mainly walk, lift weights, and stretch).
  • Put lotion on your feet every night. As we age, our feet become dryer. I had one patient who was in his late eighties, but his feet looked like they were in their thirties. He was a professor and a pastor, and he put lotion on his feet every night. Also, our feet have very important reflexology points. So there’s a double benefit to putting lotion on your feet.
  • Drink a lot of water. As we age, we become less thirsty but our need for hydration increases.
  • Eat well and take vitamins. I have one patient who is 87-years-old, and he took vitamins and herbal medicines his whole life. He told me that he thinks they kept him going all these years.

Mental/Emotional:

  • Play an instrument. A lot of my patients who lived a long life played an instrument.
  • Do crossword puzzles or games to stimulate your brain.
  • Do art or crafts. Creativity creates new brain cells.
  • “Go with the flow.” My patient who is 101-years-old goes with the flow. She is patient with life.
  • Share your feelings with someone that you trust. Tension creates high blood pressure and stress. Stress is the leading cause of disease (“dis-ease”). Expressing your feelings relieves tension.
  • Have a sense of humor. Some of my patients laugh at life. They do not take life seriously. Having a sense of humor adds playfulness to life. Playing can help us age well.

Spiritual:

  • Most people who live longer have a religion and a faith-based community. I think it’s the community that sustains us. Most of my patients believe in God.
  • Pray or meditate. It is important to trust yourself and trust the divine.
  • See life as an adventure. Make sure that you do all that you want to do in your life. Then when your life comes to an end, you will be ready.

Namaste, world.

Gina M. Gafford is a Certified Massage Therapist (specializing in Hospice Massage), Registered Yoga Teacher, and Amateur Photographer. Gina has her master’s degree in Holistic Health Studies from St. Catherine University.

 

Transformation

gabriel

 

Death is the ultimate surrender to the unknown. People go inward for their final journey just like the caterpillar. The caterpillar prepares itself for transformation without knowing the outcome. We, too, prepare for the unknown, and yet, just like the caterpillar come out with wings…angel wings.                – Gina M. Gafford

 

 

3 + 3 = 8!

33-degreesThere are 33 vertebrae in the human spine.

3 +    3=   8

The symbolic “3” is seen in the trinity, mathematics, and the “33 degrees.” Thirty-three is also the numeric equivalent of the word AMEN. Jesus died at the age 33. Some people say that the “33” symbolizes the highest spiritual consciousness attainable by the human being. The United Nations flag has a world globe divided into 33 sections, encircled by olive branches. There are 33 vertebrae in the human spine (see the image above).

The number “8” is symbolic for eternity and infinity. The mathematical symbol for infinity is an “8” on its side. It also symbolizes harmony and balance. The word “rainbow” sums to the Number 800 which also is the value of the Greek words “Lord” and “Faith.”  The octave is the Eighth Note that begins the musical cycle anew on a higher level.

lord-shivaLord Shiva

Our master teachers around the world tell us that our human birth is rare and precious. It is vital that we do not waste our human existence. We have an opportunity to open our hearts and our eyes to the truth. It is an honor to be here. The photo above of Lord Shiva holds some of the keys to life. Study the image. Understand the symbolism. Use your intuition (3rd eye).

Namaste, world.

Third Eye OPEN!

third eyeMy recent exploration is working with my third eye. Every night I rub essential oils on my third eye point (the middle of my forehead). I want to open my third eye.

I am following my intuition. I even connect with material things on an intuitive level. As a hospice massage therapist, sometimes I have room in my schedule to see one more patient at the end of the day. When this happens, I say to myself, “I will use my intuition.” Sometimes the answer doesn’t come right away. So I put the decision into my car. The car will lead me intuitively to see a patient or not.

My vibration connects with material things. My car becomes an extension of me. Anything that I touch, I can connect with on an energetic level. As a massage therapist, I wash my hands a lot. When the water touches my hands, I ask the water to bless my hands. Water is alive.

I CONNECT WITH EVERYTHING!

I am connected to you – my dear reader. I am sending you loving energy to make you feel alive.

Ankh_My third eye is opening! Sometimes I envision a beam of white light coming out of my third eye. I can feel myself changing every day. The third eye is the key to life. The third eye lets you see what your physical eyes do not allow you to see.

When the third eye opens, a whole new reality presents itself. I understand so much more about life. Like steps on a ladder, I gain higher and higher consciousness.

OM SHANTI OM

Namaste, world.