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Thursday
Sep112014

What if I DO Mind What Happens?

Thank you for all of the feedback on last week’s article about Krishnamurti’s “not minding what happens. Today, I'd like to share a great question that I received from a patient about the article, along with my response:

How do you un-mind what you DO mind happening? For 37 years, I have NEVER minded any of my 36 moves from home to home. But this past year, after I turned 38 & was expecting a second child, and had to move my 37th time in my life, from LA to San Fran, I minded what had to happen for the first time. I DID NOT want to move. I'm slowly getting used to not minding again but in the thick of things for the last 6 months, I'm wondering, "How was I suppose to 'not mind' when I so very much minded the the changes happening at the time?"

It’s not so much that you are “supposed to" not mind what happens. A question that perhaps circuitously leads to an answer to your question is "How do the consequences of minding vs. not minding impact my life?" The truth is that “minding what happens”, which appears in the form of resistance, indignation and denial, does nothing to change the reality of the situation. Minding or not minding, the truth is that reality is as it is. When we argue with reality, we always lose. No exceptions.

The truth is also that we all experience ups and downs in life. When life presents us with a difficult situation, uncomfortable emotions tend to arise within us.  We have the opportunity to either resist or accept the emotions. However, no matter what our reaction, things are as they are.  But, to accept the emotions that arise when we have difficulty accepting a situation is in itself a form of “not minding what happens.”  Then, after moving through these feelings we can respond from a place of greater clarity. When you were forced to move for the 37th time, it is understandable that you felt resistance to the situation. I know I would have.  Can you give yourself the space to FULLY feel the emotions the move brought up for you? In my experience, when I recognize non-acceptance of some situation in my life, the cause is usually the presence of difficult emotions that I fear facing and moving through in order to arrive at a place of acceptance. Once I face these emotions, there is relief. It is hard enough to face the difficulty of being uprooted and everything that goes along with it. But when you add resistance to this, you magnify your pain. Father Anthony Demello, a Jesuit priest and another one of my favorite spiritual dudes, defined enlightenment as “cooperation with the inevitable.”

There is, however, another component to all of this. “Not minding what happens” does not suggest apathy and resignation. Those of you who know about Krishnamurti's life know that he was a radical who challenged the status quo of our society and held revolutionary ideas about how to live life. Krishnamurti was quite outspoken about his dissatisfaction with society, and led extensive humanitarian efforts to alleviate suffering and to initiate change. He did not mind what happened AND he spoke his truth AND he took action.

I don’t know the particulars of why you have had to move so many times in your life, but the pain that you experienced as a result of your last move may be a message from within urging you to find a new way of being that will influence “what happens” in a direction that requires less moving.  I invite you to set your intention for what you would like to manifest in your life. Would you like to live in one place for a long period of time and establish roots there? If so, what changes in your life situation would you need to make for this to be a possibility? Where would that be? With whom? Get as specific as you can.

By going through this exercise, you set the wheels in motion to make your intention a reality. You also identify the obstacles that currently exist in your life that prevent this intention from manifesting. The obstacles may be very concrete, such as your or your spouses occupation, or they may be more subtle and appear in the form of limiting beliefs about yourself, your loved ones and the world.

We have immense power to shape our lives in so many ways, and yet live with the paradox that we have no control over most of what happens. I find the Serenity Prayer to be of immeasurable value in helping me to cope with this reality:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.

I will close by reiterating what I said last week; It is a lot to expect of yourself to “not mind what happens” in every area of your life, but even a little more neutrality and a little less minding what happens may result in a lot more peace and happiness.

I urge you to be gentle with yourself.  If you are resisting, don't beat yourself up for it.  We all have tough situations we face, and sometimes it's impossible to be immediately neutral about them.  Sometimes we just need to scream about them.  Sometimes we just need to laugh about them.  In any case, you are beautiful and whole, and you deserve peace.  Be kind to yourself.

Yours in wellness,

Joe Curcio, L. Ac.

Thursday
Sep112014

September Hypnofertility Series

Are those of you trying to conceive tired of being told to stop trying so hard and let it happen? Does the word "relax" just make you cringe? How do you get to that special place that makes conception a natural, likely occurrence? 

Some of you may have heard about or experienced first-hand the power of acupuncture and Chinese medicine in resolving women’s reproductive concerns, including boosting fertility, inducing labor, turning breech babies, and regulating hormones.  However, another powerful adjunct therapy that directly addresses the mind-body component of these concerns about which you may not be aware is hypnosis.

I am pleased to announce that Johanna Nagel-Kim, certified HypnoFertility Educator and HypnoFertility Therapist, will be offering a 5 week course on Hypnofertility at Stillpoint Acupuncture beginning Tuesday, September 23 at 7:00 PM.  Johanna is a fertility and childbirth educator, with a focus on teaching using deep relaxation hypnosis to put fear aside, so that couples can conceive, birth, and parent with calm confidence.  

What is HypnoFertility?
Hypnosis is becoming one of the most sought after therapies for couples experiencing fertility issues. Hypnotherapy has been found effective compared to other types of therapies in general settings.
 
Statistics show:
  • Psychoanalysis: 38% of clients reported recovery from their conditions after 600 sessions.
  • Behavioral Therapy: 72% of clients reported recovery from their conditions after 22 sessions.
  • Hypnotherapy: 93% of clients reported success after just 6 sessions!
 
When going through a difficult experience such as trying unsuccessfully to conceive, negative thoughts, doubt, and fear can run rampant in your mind. Harnessing your energy in a positive way with HypnoFertility can change your inner soundtrack from bleak and fearful thoughts to positive affirming feelings. This change in energy has the ability to positively impact your body chemistry, making you more likely to conceive both naturally and through assisted reproductive technologies.

HypnoFertility is safe and drug free. It is a perfect accompaniment to those undergoing medical fertility treatments. Despite the great strides in medical advances related to treating infertility, statistics shows that the success rate of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and other treatments is approximately 20%. HypnoFertility has the ability to significantly boost the success rate of IVF, as is illustrated by the following study.
 
A 2004 Israeli study on IVF with hypnotherapy was conducted by Professor Eliahu Levitas, and was subsequently published in the July 2004 issue of the European Society of Human Reproduction. The research found that hypnosis can double the success rate of IVF. The study, which tracked 185 women, found that the success rate of IVF in the test group rose from 14% to 28%, when the women underwent hypnosis during IVF implantation.
 
Additional studies have been conducted which show the correlation of mind/body activities improving the likelihood of conceiving naturally. In 1999, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Women’s Association found that 42% of 132 infertile women who completed a mind/body program became pregnant within six months after the program finished. A study in 2000, which was published in Fertility and Sterility, found that 55% of infertile women who participated in a mind/body program conceived, as compared to 20% of the infertile women in the control group who did not participate in the program.
 
HypnoFertility Group Series
This powerful series consists of five sessions of approximately 2.5 hours each.

As a bonus, each couple who enrolls in this series will receive one complimentary acupuncture session at Stillpoint!
 
Did you know that stress can reduce your chances of conception?
When we experience stress, our bodies produce the stress hormone, Cortisol, which can inhibit the implantation of a fertilized ovum, delay ovulation and reduce the number and motility of sperm. Your daily stress levels may be hurting your ability to conceive the child you desire.
 
HypnoFertility teaches you to release fears and stress and improves your chance of conceiving.
 
Research shows that using a mind-body program, like HypnoFertility, when undergoing IVF can double the success rate of conceiving!* HypnoFertility is also very successful when a couple is naturally trying to conceive without medical procedures.
 
According to research, 42% of women became pregnant within six months after learning mind-body techniques, such as HypnoFertility.**
 
This class can be used as a standalone program for those wishing to conceive naturally or it can be used in conjunction with medical fertility treatments.
 
This class consists of detailed information related to boosting fertility, deep relaxation hypnosis to release stress and reprogram the mind and body to prepare for a successful pregnancy.
 
Pre-conception hypnosis can be used as a standalone program for those wishing to conceive naturally or it can be used in conjunction with medical fertility treatments.

Our unprecedented hypnotherapy program does more than just relax you while in session. You’ll learn to easily find that relaxed state that opens the door to conception whether natural or medically assisted.

  • Register before September 1st September 15th and receive a $50 discount on your class!
  • Register at the same time with another couple and receive an additional $50 discount!
 
Yours in radiant health,
Joe Curcio, L. Ac.
 
* American Society of Reproductive Medicine
** Journal of American Women's Medical Association
Friday
Sep052014

"I don't mind what happens"

I have a few words of wisdom to share with you today from Krishnamurti, one of my favorite spiritual teachers. As if by divine intervention, his words popped into my mind yesterday during amoment of overwhelm related to juggling all of the tasks related to rebranding Stillpoint to LA. Wellness, including preparing for our grand opening, happening October 10th and 11th.  (Please come help us celebrate!!!)

Like everybody else I know, I tend to spend much of my time operating within the known and familiar, and I often fear and resist the prospect of change. I think I operate this way because of an unconscious notion that the familiar is the safest and most comfortable place to be.  However, an inexorable truth is that of the impermanence of all things. Everything changes. What starts out as comfortable becomes uncomfortable. What begins as desirable changes into undesirable. The expansion of my business toward the new L.A. Wellness vision is a big step for me out of my “comfort zone."

In truth, to use the term “comfort" zone is inaccurate.  What I'm really doing is stepping out of what has become my “discomfort” zone into an unknown zone…from the familiar to the unfamiliar.  To venture into the unknown creates the potential for greater discomfort.  In fact, based on my history, experiencing greater discomfort for some time upon initiating a change is more common than not. So, oftentimes we “rather bear those ills we have, than fly to others that we know not of."

Here is what Krishnamurti had to say about change. While addressing a large crowd, he suddenly paused, leaned forward and said, "Do you want to know what my secret is?”  The audience was shocked, as this was unlike him to speak in such informal terms.  He had his audience on the edge of their seats. Then Krishnamurti, in a soft voice, said:

"You see, I don't mind what happens.”

Embracing change is how we grow. That change may in some instances be thrust upon us, and we may consciously choose it at other times. In either case, the ability to experience “what happens” with neutrality and acceptance is the path to peace.  In truth, if we don’t mind what happens, then we never experience problems, only situations.  

I invite you to identify something in your life that was once comfortable that is now growing uncomfortable.  It may be with your work, or with your daily routine or habits, your living space, or in your relationships. Then, tune in to your intuition and see what guidance is there for you. What is the truth of your heart?  How can you consciously choose to boldly take a step to bring your situation into greater alignment with the truth of your heart?  And how can you do it with neutrality?  Without minding what happens?

It is a lot to expect of yourself to experience this level of acceptance in every area of your life, but even a little more neutrality and a little less minding what happens may result in a lot more peace and happiness. 

Yours in wellness and not-minding-what-happens-ness :),
Joe

Thursday
Aug282014

Stillpoint is becoming L.A. Wellness

We have a new name! We are now L.A. Wellness! This rebranding is a part of our expansion that began in March when we relocated from our Richmond Street location to the larger and newly renovated space here at 116 West Grand Avenue.  To celebrate this huge leap, we are having a Grand Opening party on:

Friday, October 10th, from 6-10p
and Saturday, October 11th, from 10a-4p.   

Mark your calendars now, because you won’t want to miss it!

To me, our new name along with our new logo, which is based upon a Celtic healing knot, is a perfect representation of the center we are creating.  The interweaving lines symbolize the interconnected nature of mind, body, spirit, and community. These four elements are woven throughout the L.A. Wellness mission, vision and values statement, which I invite you to read at our new domain: LAwellness.com/mission.  The expansion into our new space, along with the expansion of our service offerings and product lines, and rebranding of the company are all designed to do one thing:  to empower you to realize your beauty and wholeness and claim the birthright of  living a happy, healthy and fulfilling life.
 
So what will all of this look like?  Everything that Stillpoint already offers will remain in the new L.A. Wellness. In addition, we will add new acupuncture services like facial rejuvenation, and also be offering therapeutic massage, infrared sauna, aesthetician services and nutritional and other counseling.  I am currently in the process of assembling the team to bring these services to you, and you can expect to see them introduced over the next several months.  And please, give me any suggestions you may have about what you would like to see at your new and improved wellness center!
 
Next, L.A. Wellness is hosting several very cool programs that are taking place in our 2nd story community center, that we call “The Sanctuary.”  Two weeks ago, I told you about the 5-week hypnofertility series we will be starting in late September.  Also, we are already hosting two men's groups affiliated with the Mankind Project, and there is a women's group that is in the process of forming right now.  In the coming months, we plan to roll out a number of other programs, such as meditation, nutrition, and specialty movement workshops. 
 
I invite you to come in and see the changes for yourself.  The perfect opportunity to do that will be at our Grand Opening.  Attendance is mandatory :).  But, seriously, this event marks a culmination of 12 years of work and intention, and we want you to be there for it.  It is going to be a lot of fun, and we are really excited about all of you amazing people having a chance to meet each other and begin building the community that L.A. Wellness is seeking to create. So come and join us to eat some great food, hear live music, demo our services, samples and giveaways, have a chance to win a  “Wellness Membership”, hear speakers and experience some other great stuff that I think you will really dig.  And please bring your friends and family.  Mark your calendars now, but don’t think you have to wait until the Grand Opening to come and see us! You have an open invitation to come in and say hello.
 
If our intention for L.A. Wellness resonates with you, please spread the word about us!  In order to more fully realize our mission of providing deep healing to the community, we need your help.  I again invite you to give me your input on what would best support YOU and your journey towards greater health and wellbeing.  Because nobody knows you better than yourself!
 
Thanks for reading, and I can’t wait to experience all of these exciting changes alongside you over the coming months.
 
Yours in wellness and co-creation,
Joe Curcio, L. Ac. 
Thursday
Jul102014

What is Meditation?: Part 2

Let’s examine the quote from last week’s What is Meditation – Part 1 about how “All I can say truly is ‘I am’, all else is inference,” and how a deeper experience of this truth can lead you to a place of peace.

First, take a deep breath and check in with how your body is feeling.  Now, call to mind some situation in your life that is generating fear, anger, sadness or shame.  You may be afraid that something you hold dear will disappear from your life, or may fear that something unpleasant will never go away.  You may be angry about the way someone has treated you, or angry with yourself for allowing yourself to be treated that way.  Possibly you are experiencing sadness at a loss, or shame for how you have conducted yourself.  Invariably, you will have some judgments around any of these experiences…judgments about yourself, judgments about others (I use the term “judgment” in its broadest sense: a subjective label).  For the time being, just look at the various judgments you may have about yourself… I am angry.  I am sad.  I am petty for having done that… and so on. 

Now, recognize that inherent in none of these judgments is any absolute truth.  Why?  For the simple reason that these judgments come and go.  You have not always felt angry.  You have not perpetually judged yourself as petty.  These are thought forms that move through the mind.  Perhaps the thoughts occur with such great regularity and intensity that they create the illusion of permanence, but upon closer examination, they reveal themselves to have no substance.

Just as the flickering lights on a movie screen create the appearance of an objects existence, the object disappears from the screen when a shadow is cast in front of it or changes when a different reel is placed on the projector.   Imagine that the emotion you are experiencing is the image on the screen, but that you are the light that creates the image. Experience yourself as the timeless and formless awareness that experiences the play of forms dancing on the movie screen.  

The images on a movie screen have no inherent reality and are simply reflections of light.  Likewise the thoughts that move through consciousness are not YOU, but rather projections, which are oftentimes highly distorted.  The images will continue to be projected onto the screen.  You do not need to fight them, change them or understand them. 

What is more primary than these thoughts about ourselves?  What is the substrata within which these thoughts arise and pass away?  In this moment, there is no problem. You are the light of awareness that illuminates these thoughts.  Let everything fall away other than the experience of ‘I am’.   Be the light of awareness and abide in the colorless and formless experience of being prior to thought.

“All I can say truly is “I am”, all else is inference.  But the inference has become a habit…Learn to look without imagination, to listen without distortion.  That is all.  Stop attributing names and shapes to the essentially nameless and formless, realize that every mode of perception is subjective, that what is seen or heard, touched or smelt, felt or thought, expected or imagined, is in the mind and not in reality, and you will experience peace and freedom from fear.”  -- Nisargadatta

I hope the above exploration offers a glimpse into another way of looking at meditation.  I invite you to open a dialog with me about this topic during our next meeting with one another.

Yours in radiant health and curiosity,

Joe Curcio, L. Ac.