Category Archives: Healing and Wellness

A New Beginning

It’s finally over.

That seven-year battle is done.

It started with a mutually agreed upon parenting plan, signed by us both. Then she dragged me through court for years.

She threw everything she could at me. She brought charges against me only for them to be thrown out. She never won anything substantial, but she cost me almost everything.

Thousands upon thousands of dollars in lawyers fees and for what? Just to make me miserable. And I let her.

It’s the reason I drank so much.

It’s the reason I’ve been so irritable, anxious, frustrated and caustic at times … for seven years.

It was always on my mind.

There was always another lawyer’s bill.

There was always another petition.

There was always another financial affidavit, more discovery, another hearing … and of course more lawyer’s fees.

So often, I felt hopeless and trapped in an endless Hell.

And so I drank.

I drank and I vented. I spewed radioactive anger all along my path and to anyone in the way.

I couldn’t see what I was doing. I was living in my pain and numbing it with alcohol. I didn’t see how trying to desensitize myself from the pain made me insensitive to everyone else around me. But I could see the next day wasn’t any better, so I drank some more.

Even though I killed that habit months ago and stepped into this current, healthier more authentic phase of life where yoga, meditation, and being lovingly vulnerable has replaced what I thought I was achieving with chemicals, anger, and expressive toxicity, TODAY marks the symbolic new beginning of my life.

I can finally do something other than feed lawyers. My money can be used creatively and productively. I won’t be anxiously awaiting the next bill or petition.

I feel freer than I have in nearly a decade.

I feel like my future really begins today and for the first time in years I’m excited to greet it.

It looks so bright.

The Three Principles of Sydney Banks, Addiction and Recovery

A very wise and lovely friend of mine introduced me to Sydney Banks and the Three Principles some time ago. She also recently shared this insightful podcast with me . It is entitled Ep 62-Healing in Addiction Sydney Banks & Mystical Teachings of Sydney Banks.

The Three Principles as taught by Sydney Banks are Mind, Consciousness and Thought and are considered to point to the Truth as found in the core philosophies of all the world’s great religions. Since Banks first uncovered the Three Principles they have been incorporated into psychology, addiction recovery and various esoteric and spiritual practices with the bold claim that All human behaviour and social structures on earth are formed via Mind, Consciousness and Thought.

In this podcast Harold Derbitsky, a former student of Sydney Banks and President of ACT (Advanced Coaches Training) Inc. who specializes in healing from addiction, and mental illness as well as Native American social issues discusses his understanding of the Three Principles with regard to addiction recovery and spirituality among Indigenous peoples.

Derbitsky claims that although the philosophy taught by Sydney Banks is akin to the world’s great religious revelations, Banks himself was “an ordinary guy” who tapped into the truth of universal oneness. This oneness must be discovered by searching inside oneself where the true spirit of God and love reside. Derbitsky explains that even though Banks was the vessel for this knowledge, he insisted each person must do their own work to discover the truth for themselves, and he would never take credit for the success of his students even though they were following his teachings. We each have to find our own way, not just become followers of the Three Principles, because “to follow words makes you a fool.” Each person must embrace the understanding and experience that goes beyond words, because it is inside each of us.

Although Banks’ Three Principles have been largely absorbed into psychology, Derbitsky says Banks was not originally talking about psychology, but was mostly focused on religion and esotericism. Derbitsky rejected modern psychology, choosing instead to embrace indigenous mysticism. He claims Indigenous peoples’ traditions tend to have an understanding of the three principles already. He says that in an Indigenous context we should not use the words “mind, thought and consciousness,” but instead “Spirit, thought and consciousness.” This is an important distinction since “mind” as it is used in the Three Principles refers to a universal mind to which we are all connected. “Mind,” he says is better left to the psychologists, while many Indigenous traditions focus on the nature of Spirit as the unifying factor in the universe. As a traditionalist practitioner myself, this makes sense.

The reason the Three Principles are so effective in curing addiction according to Derbitsky is that addiction has a spiritual nature caused by over thinking. In fact Derbitsky makes the bold assertion that “all problems are caused by over thinking.” People get stuck in cycles and thoughts of self dissatisfaction and criticism. They become addicted, attend rehabilitation to get off the substance only to return to the habit a few months later and end up back in a rehabilitation program once again. This is a pattern that can be seen occurring not just in Indigenous or impoverished communities, but in communities of all persuasions.

This pattern is cured, according to Derbitsky by capturing a feeling inside yourself that is better than alcohol, anger, depression or whatever the addiction may be. Once a person captures that feeling they will return to it instead of the addiction. He says if the best feeling someone knows is cocaine they will just return to cocaine when they need to feel something. It must however be continuously applied in order for it to be maintained. Derbitsky compares it to participating in the Sweat Lodge which purifies the body and spirit of the practitioner, but when people exit the lodge and return to talking the same old talk and participating in the same old activities, they lose that feeling and return to being troubled souls.

I can relate to this statement. Though I have never been truly addicted to any substance I certainly have been known to overindulge in alcohol, especially when the stresses and anxieties of life have worn me down. Similarly, knowing my consumption was unhealthy I would take long breaks from overindulgence only to eventually return to the habit as the craving returned in response to a new or continuing stressor in my daily life. It was when I found a certain stillness, and center in the practice of such esoteric arts as meditation and yoga that I realized I no longer much cared for the intoxicating effects of substances, because it only seem to diminish that peace of mind and spirit. This has affected me to the point that I have come to outgrow enjoying even the presence of drinkers and drinking facilities as they tend to disturb that sense of peace I acquire through my spiritual work.

Derbitsky explains that the “Three Principles” isn’t a new discover, it is just a language to explain the feeling of spiritual truth, and insight which raises your level of consciousness when you go inside and see that truth. He says when clients go into that feeling they don’t become a client, they become a “sharer of energy and minds.” This results in healing and bringing out a person’s unlimited potential.

Going inside, however is only the beginning of the journey, but too many think it’s the end. This causes some people to get “crazy ideas” about spirituality and enlightenment resulting in attitudes or opinions bordering on sectarianism. To curb this problem Derbitsky illustrated four steps to the process.

Hope for a better life
Experiencing the Positive Feeling
Understanding the Process
Conscious Actions to spread the joy the Three Principles bring

Derbitsky says you must start by capturing the feeling for yourself, then you must share it and you will grow more because we all affect everyone around us which affects the world. This last sentiment is another point with which I have especially come to identify. As I began to discover the benefits of the peace and stillness of spirit I have achieved, I found that by sharing it through authenticity and vulnerability with other people who are struggling I was able to help them lift themselves up, and then we both would walk away better for it.

This is a process of making the world better one person at a time starting with ourselves.


Cannabis as Medicine; A Brief History


Cannabis is a genus of flowering, aromatic medicinal plant related to hops and native to Central Asia. Cannabis Sativa, the most commercially viable species in the genus is often known by its various pseudonyms; hemp, marijuana, ganja, and most unceremoniously “weed.” It is one of the oldest botanicals used medicinally, and religiously. It has been used industrially, medicinally, ceremonially, and recreationally for over 100,000 years, so long, in fact that our bodies are evolutionarily designed to make use of the plants organic chemical compounds called cannabinoids. Today we are only just beginning to really understand all the benefits that can be derived from its various uses.

In Ancient History
When we talk about ancient medicines it is important to realize that throughout the majority of human existence the concepts of medicine and spirituality or religion were not always the separate subjects they are to modern Western civilization. In fact, it was not until approximately 460-370 BCE that Hippocrates separated medicine from religion and philosophy in the Western tradition. With a 200,000 year history of modern Homo sapiens, that’s not much time. So, when we observe ceremonial and ritual uses of plants this is often due to the substance having been recognized as a beneficial medicine as well.

The earliest evidence of cannabis use by humans is a collection of seeds, resin and ashes from indica, a subspecies of cannabis sativa found in a 120,000 year old archeological site in the Hindu Kush Mountains. This proves modern Homo sapiens have been using the medicinal plant for more than half our existence.

Ancient Egyptian texts such as the 4,000 year old Ramesseum medical papyri list cannabis as a medicine alongside basil, and hibiscus.

Chinese Medicine from the Shang Dynasty as early as 14th-11th century BCE, over 3,000 years ago list cannabis as a medicine alongside ephedra and ginseng and recommended its use for treating gout and rheumatism among other things.

The “Holy anointing oil” mentioned in the Biblical Book of Exodus (30:22-23), contained over 6 pounds of kaneh-bosem, identified by experts in various fields as cannabis, extracted into olive oil with other fragrant herbs. This is the very same oil used by Jesus to anoint his disciples. Cannabis is mentioned in many other parts of the Bible as well.

Bhang, an edible concoction made from cannabis has been consumed recreationally and ceremonially in India since at least 1,000 BCE.

Cannabis, called Bhanga was also recorded as the first among 10,000 medicinal plants in the Zend-Avesta book Venidad, a Persian Zoroastrian text from 700 BCE.

The Scythians used cannabis smoke ritually as well as during steam baths to cleanse the body and spirit.

The Scythians introduced cannabis to the Ancient Greeks who by the 5th century BCE had created their own medicines and intoxicants from the plant such as potamaugis, a mixture of cannabis and wine.

Germanic people from the time of 500 BCE used cannabis and gave us the origin of the word hemp from the proto-Germanic hanapiz. Evidence of hashish, a resin made from cannabis has been found in archaeological sites from Halstatt where the Celtic cultures originate.

Medieval Arab doctors used cannabis and hashish from for a thousand years between 800 and 1800 CE.

In 1538 CE, William Turner published New Herball in which he wrote a very high opinion of hemp as a healing herb.

Hemp was brought to America in 1600 by Jamestown settlers and became an important part of the colonial era, both industrially and medicinally.

Modern Medical Cannabis
The Irish surgeon William O’Shaughnessy is credited for the pioneering of medical cannabis use as we think of it in the modern era with clinical trials. His research found cannabis to be useful in treating symptoms related to rheumatism, hydrophobia, cholera, tetanus, convulsions, muscle spasms, epilepsy, and menstrual cramps. By 1850 the US Pharmacopeia created hemp standards and measure for treatment of all sorts of specific ills

By 1937, after prolonged progressive prohibitionist campaigning cannabis was outlawed and virtually all legal medical use was halted, pushing the herb into the black market. This move was opposed by the American Medical Association. In 1942 cannabis was removed from the US Pharmacopeia.

Cannabinoids and the Endocannabinoid System
Even after the criminalization of cannabis, research into the plant continued. In the 1940s cannabinoids, chemical compounds were discovered in the cannabis plant. There are at least 113 cannabinoids in cannabis, the most commonly known are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and Cannabidiol (CBD). THC is the compound which causes the euphoric feeling of “getting high,” but has also been found to have many therapeutic uses. CBD is a compound that has been recognized as having quite a lot of medicinal qualities from pain relief, anti-inflammation, anti-seizure and improved cognition just to name a few.

In the 1990s scientists discovered the human body, as well as all vertebrates have an endocannabinoid system. This is a system of cannabinoid receptors in the body which are involved in regulating numerous physiological and cognitive processes and the immune system. In short this means the human body is designed to work with and make use of cannabinoids in order to maintain proper physical and mental health.

Throughout all of known human history there is evidence of our use of cannabis for medical, spiritual and meditative purposes. Today we know that the human body is designed to make use of the chemical compounds found in cannabis to regulate of physical and mental well-being.

It seems that cannabis in not just beneficial to, but necessary for maintaining our proper health and wellbeing.


Florence Doisneau, Life Coach with Realize Unlimited

Florence Doisneau is a certified life coach, and the owner of Realize Unlimited, LLC.  She assists clients in successfully defining and achieving their goals by supplying them with the tools and techniques they need to overcome the obstacles in their daily lives.

 

Florence received her Life Coaching certification in 2014 from Coach U, and graduated from their Advanced Training Program in 2016.  She is also a certified practitioner of Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) through the Tad James Company, a certified Yoga teacher, and she has her Masters Degree in Management and Bodyworks from Ecole Peyrefitte.

She found her way to the vocation of Life Coaching through her own long and challenging journey during which she fought depression, anxiety, and social awkwardness in her own life.  The tools she acquired along the way provided her with a much clearer perspective and a stronger resolve to create the fulfilling and joyous life she has always desired.  This process inspired her to dedicate herself to helping other people overcome similar struggles.

Florence originally considered taking up the practice of psychology, but after some study found coaching to be the field which would better serve her clients.  Coaching, she explains, offers tools and opportunities to enhance communication, and create more authentic connections with people.  She agrees with the philosophy that psychology and Twelve-Step programs have their usefulness in understanding the prison of the mind, but Life Coaching provides the key which unlocks that prison cell so that her clients can truly live a free and successful life.  “Coaching,” she explains “is about understanding YOU.  It is a process of building your future.  Through Life Coaching you get to design and REALIZE the life you want.”

                    

Florence hails from Bordeaux, France. After living and interning in various other countries including Japan, England, and Spain, in 2013 she made the United States her permanent home. She currently serves her community through a local health and wellness center wherein she coaches clients on improving their lives through modifications in lifestyle, as well as by coaching through her own organization, Realize Unlimited.

For more information visit Realize Unlimited here!


Wildflowers

They say “April showers bring May flowers,” and what an assortment of flowers they bring.  I’ve always loved the springtime, and nothing impacts that love quite like wildflowers.

You belong among the wildflowers. #flowers #nature

A post shared by Jay Moody (@j.lojah) on




Flowers are beautiful, even domesticated varieties, but wild flowers have a spirit all their own.  They grow wherever they want without the need for the cultivated touch of human hands, beautifying often otherwise bland landscapes.  Even magnificent landscapes are improved by their presence.

I’ve always had an affinity toward wild things in general.  It’s just part of me.  Ever since I was a child I spent as much time as I could exploring the wilderness, trying to escape civilization any chance I had, and along these journeys wildflowers were always a fascination for me. They are a reminder of an epoch of history when the world and life was much more natural, and unprocessed by scientific engineering.

You belong somewhere you feel free. #flowers #nature

A post shared by Jay Moody (@j.lojah) on





They are more than just pretty little blossoms to me.  Wildflowers are sensual beings who fill the air with hypnotic fragrances, arousing and seducing the many species around them to come explore their allure in an erotic dance that perpetuates the abundance of life on this lonely rock drifting through empty space.

Passion Flower #nature #flowers

A post shared by Jay Moody (@j.lojah) on

Wildflowers are uncivilized, barbaric in their beauty, and defiant in their tenacity to thrive. They persist with unrelenting certainty that they shall … flourish … as they grow across the land whether in the deep woods, along busy streets, or even peeking out from a crack in the sidewalk.

They are everywhere, fully pervasive and free.

Stillness. #flowers #nature

A post shared by Jay Moody (@j.lojah) on

       

 

 

 

These Woods

On a quest to find my healing rock. #river

A post shared by Jay Moody (@j.lojah) on

These woods are like home to me.  Whenever I return it is as if I have come back to my spiritual center.  This is where it truly began for me.  I was a misguided youth full of angst and hostility, disillusioned by the world, and spiritually injured. But these woods are a place of healing and renewal, and they changed me. Over the years I’ve seen other people changed by these woods as well.

Ital craft and Ital vision, A righteous path and a righteous decision! #river #woods #nature

A post shared by Jay Moody (@j.lojah) on


The medicine is strong along this creek.  The waters are crisp, clear and purifying, and I swear I can hear the voices from generations of spirits echo through the clay-bank valleys, enticing me to release the stresses and pains of my mortal existence, bringing my spirit back to light.

I had my first powerful vision here, where I was healed and transformed into something that could be of better service to my people; something I’m ashamed to admit I had strayed too far from over recent years.

I have experienced giving, sharing, and loving in these woods that are too rarely found in the outside world.

Fairy Altar in the deep woods. #woods #spirit

A post shared by Jay Moody (@j.lojah) on

We’ve had gatherings of great souls, teaching circles, solstice and equinox festivities.  Barefoot hippies, country kids, urbanites rediscovering themselves and an assortment of other wanderers have met here as family to share in each other’s good graces.  Bonfires and drums, maypoles, and moonlight dancing bringing people together in love and laughter.  Here, we are free.

         

I remember a stew once made.  A dozen camps contributed to it.  The missing ingredient to tie it all together, an onion was nowhere to be found. Then down the trail came some new arrivals for the evening, and packed in their gear was just such an onion which they gladly contributed. “I don’t even know why I packed it.” He said. “I just grabbed it and threw it in my cooler because I thought it might come in handy.”  So into the stew pot it went, to simmer over the open flames.  A dozen camps were fed from this stew and there was an abundance that never seemed to end.  It was like a true “loaves and fishes” story.

Here we were free to be in our spirits, and the only law was love. Not a law to be rigidly enforced, but simply lived. This is where I learned to love openly.  I felt the darkness I carried with me lifted and I was made new.  It was beautiful.  It is beautiful. And it is where I learned to see beauty in this world that I had for so long been so cynical about.

Still is still moving to me. #river #woods #nature

A post shared by Jay Moody (@j.lojah) on

This is why these woods and this river are the place I return to when my spirit needs healing, or if I just need to get away from the noise and distractions that cloud my visions and confine my inner light.  Meditation is stronger here.  Prayers become reality and love can be embraced.

Though I have experienced many great lands and beautiful environments, I’ve never known another place quite like this.

 

We all need something like this in our lives.

 

This is sacred space.

Sunset through Blackwater Forest #nature #October #woods

A post shared by Jay Moody (@j.lojah) on

 

 

 

 

Treat Your Future Self Like a Real Person

financialfreedom

There are a few differences between being an anthropologist studying wealth and poverty and an economist doing the same. As an anthropologist I am more focused on the social, cultural and cognitive motivations that either bind a person to poverty or allow them to experience the freedom of wealth. In this effort we have to contrast the Culture of Poverty of which I was a product, and the Culture of Wealth to which I aspire.

I had a conversation with a young woman the other day about the importance of financial discipline. She told me that she had heard it all before. “I know,” she said. “Save all your money while you’re young so you can have it all when you’re old. She continued, “I don’t want to wait until I’m old to enjoy life. I want to enjoy life now.” The statement was a bit oversimplified and shortsighted, but I withheld my rebuttal. I was less interested in correcting her misunderstandings of a financial plan than I was in learning about the cognitive themes of financial self-sabotage.

It took me several days of reflecting on this exchange before I realized what’s going on here. I come from a family of meager resources. Although I’m still a young man, I’ve seen what it’s like to be poor and old. It’s fraught with far more peril than being poor and young. The physically impaired don’t have the ability to go out and make more money. Young people tend to be stupid. Most of us view ourselves as being so far removed from the golden generations ahead of us. It’s almost as if our future is not even real. Snap! That’s it.

It’s been said time and again that people who amass wealth have a long term perspective, whereas people who remain in poverty or return to poverty tend to have a short term perspective. But if it was as simple as this seeming platitude suggests, a person should simply be able to plug this formula in and make it work. There is something more going on here.

What the hell does it really mean to have a “long term perspective” anyway? Certainly there’s more to it than just reciting a few more trite descriptions and definitions of the term. If it was as simple as understanding the diction involved, then everyone would be on a path to financial liberty.

The people who blow all their money on trivialities, failing to save and plan for the future can just as easily consciously understand the meaning of “long term perspective” and why it’s better than a “short term perspective.” Yet, many of us have continued doing the same things, thinking the same ways, focusing on the same points and continuing to operate from a “short term perspective.”

The problem is that although having a strong financial knowledge is important to money management, that knowledge must be internalized for it to alter our perspective to any real degree.

The problem with those who fail to plan is that their future is not real to them. What is real to them is the here and now; this month, this week, today. Rarely is it even about “this year,” and for some of the real slackers out there it’s rarely even about anything more than this moment. This is not just an issue of time span perspective. It’s about perception of reality.

 

To the terminally impoverished, their future is as much a fiction to them as anything J.R.R. Tolkien ever wrote. They don’t even see their future selves as real people whose situation needs to be planned. Failing to execute a financial plan for the future is essentially the same as consigning your future self to poverty. That is you.

    

Think about this for a moment. If you had the power, would you create an old person with disabilities and without the resources to care for themselves and their liberty? That is what we do every day that we allow to pass us by without a sensible economic plan for the future, spending everything and saving nothing.

Most people don’t plan for the future or try to save even small amounts for future investments because it might take so many years before it’s really worth anything. Twenty years from now is twenty years away. That is until it gets here. And it’s coming one way or another regardless of what you do. At the end of that twenty years are you going to look back and say “I wished I had planned for this,” or are you going to say “I sure am glad my younger self was responsible enough to plan for me now.”?

This all starts with realizing, accepting and internalizing that fact that the future is very real. It might even be more real than the past because the future can still be affected. You’re future self is a real person; just as real as you are now.

Treat your future self like a real person. Treat all you future selves like real people, from decade to decade. Get to know them. Consider what their needs are. Realize that you are responsible for their wellbeing. Now realize that they are YOU, even now. Their wellbeing, their health, their wealth, or the lack of any of it is something only you can control.