Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Before, After, Forevermore

Before, After, Forevermore

The three products inaugurating Elizabeth Hepburn’s Better & Better Series, are filling a unique and valuable niche. The first two volumes of this DVD/CD series, which feature inspiring music, gorgeous scenery and guided meditations, are designed to promote the optimal results from surgical procedures and the subsequent recuperation period. Volume 3, In the Lap of Luxury, was created for anyone desiring to sustain good health throughout life. ~ ~ ~
Volume 1) Pre-Surgery Healing Support Programs - DVDs & CDs (audio version) Two Better & Better Guidebooks* For Patient and Caregiver

Volume 2) Post-Surgery Healing Support Programs - DVDs & CDs Two Better & Better Guidebooks For Patient and Caregiver

Volume 3) In the Lap of Luxury - DVD and CD Program to sustain radiant health, In The Lap Of Luxury Better & Better Guidebook For Anyone and Everyone*The Better & Better Series Guidebooks contain information designed to support and enhance the experience of the programs.

One of the things that makes Volumes 1 & 2 truly special is that the caregivers have their very own product with the same visuals and music as the patients, but with guided meditations designed to address their specific needs. Clearly during this stressful time, caregivers need healing too. Also, due to the physical separation and the restrictions inherent in hospital protocol, loved ones often feel isolated from each other. The sharing of their individual responses to this inspiriing Better & Better Series material is intended to create a warm and loving bond between them whenever they’re together.

Because the beauty of Nature is such a natural healer, the Pre-Surgery program utilizes the healing, soothing magnificence of the ocean, beach and sky; Post-Surgery, the vibrant and powerful energy of a waterfall in Springtime; and, In the Lap of Luxury, the profound serenity of a beautiful lake.

Multiple Emmy Award-Winning Cinematographer, Bob Collins, is the Director of Photography and Elizabeth’s guided meditations are exquisitely enhanced by the original music of composer, Rick Baitz. Film/Video veteran, Ben Bryant has directed and edited the series, and Eric Brown of Creative Entertainment, Inc. has brought his business acumen, inspiring insights and wondrously enthusiastic spirit to the project.

The products will be distributed through hospitals, health organizations and doctors initially as well as to the end users through traditional retail distribution channels. If as Ralph Waldo Emerson said over a hundred years ago "The first wealth is health", it behooves us all to employ every tool available to restore, when it is challenged, and maintain and ever-expand, when it is present, our experience of vibrant aliveness and well-being. The Better & Better Series is such a resource.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Surgery as a Rite of Passage

Surgery as a Rite of Passage

Every moment in life is precious. Every single one. Even the difficult ones. Even the one when your doctor says: "We have to operate". Never good news yet an important moment in our lives. I've been there - several times. A bout with cancer necessitated my having six surgeries in four years and then three years of chemotherapy. Admittedly, this was a rough road. However, this journey through the labyrinth of critical illness and multiple surgeries truly transformed my life. It turns out that it was a great blessing to me. It was precious time. Therefore, I'm proffering a re- framing of this dreaded fate - surgery.

It's not a walk in the park, that's for sure. It's going to involve discomfort and probably pain, to say nothing of an abrupt interruption in life as usual. We're going to be weakened and not up to snuff. The anticipation of surgery is so daunting, that we almost always succumb to major resistance. There's fear - anger - sadness - "Why me?" - "Why now?" "What did I do to deserve this?"

We're aching for the answers to these questions. Nevertheless, once we've acknowledged all this upset, it behooves us to understand that resistance creates tension and a lot of suffering within the body/mind system. That's the last thing we need right now. There's a Zen teaching that says: "in this life pain is inevitable– suffering is optional". So if we choose to have this situation be as easeful as possible, we have to let go of the suffering -- to let go of the resistance and surrender to the process. As hard as it is to fathom it, this surgery experience is here for a reason. This is not an accident. And, believe me, it's not simply here to adjust something in our bodies. It's a very well disguised gift with the potential to take us on a journey to the very essence of ourselves -- a journey for which we will be eternally grateful.

It seems to me that by the time our immune systems are sufficiently compromised to require someone taking a knife to our bodies, the Universe has surely been shouting to get our attention for a long time. Our lives for many and varied reasons have gotten unbalanced and we need to regroup in a major way. I find it very interesting in these days of miracle drugs, that we can be extremely unwell but kept going by super pills or injections that mask our symptoms and allow us to continue our relentless pace. How ridiculous. Our magnificent body/mind system is giving us the message to lie down and rest deeply, and we keep truckin’. Sooner or later the condition becomes so acute we're brought to our knees. And here we are in the hospital in this silly little cotton dress anticipating surgery.

And this is where my new perspective comes into play. I'm suggesting that we consider surgery a rite of passage . Furthermore, I'm advocating that it (and all crises) be acknowledged as such. In this light, what is commonly considered an onerous situation can be acknowledged as a catalyst for wondrous transformation.

A definition of rite of passage is: a ritual or ceremony signifying an event in a person's life indicative of a transition from one stage to another. As in rituals of old, there's an interesting parallel to the surgical event in that it plucks us out of our daily routine; takes us to a foreign space where we have very little control of our comings and goings; introduces us to strange substances that alter the way our bodies feel and our minds perceive; and, compels us to surrender our fate to the prevailing leadership.

I contend that instead of grinding through all that the surgical process entails, kicking and screaming until the big drugs take over, that we relax and surrender to this arduous ritual, trusting its mysterious, sacred purpose in our lives and opening up to the magnificent transition that can provide us with entry into a whole new way of being. Even if we think our lives are just fine, I assure you, our capacity for feeling fabulous is boundless. It's all about love.

Our bodies are truly magnificent. They are marvels. They are healing machines. They are constantly renewing themselves, though admittedly not so effectively when we've gotten too far out of balance. And all they want is to be appropriately cared for. They want delicious and nutritious food and drink. They want fresh air and exercise. They want rewarding work and delightful play. They want deeply satisfying rest and relaxation. And they want to be loved. Not just by our parents, friends, colleagues and significant others - they want to be loved by us!

I understand that when our bodies are hurting and giving us a lot of grief, we're not feeling all that loving toward them. But this downtime is the perfect opportunity to begin a life-long loving relationship with our body. It's time! It's imperative!

Even if you're having problems with your physical heart right now – acknowledge it – the constant, vital service it provides to your body throughout your entire life. How fantastic! Say "thank you" to your miraculous beating heart. Say "thank you" to your breathing – even if it may be hampered at this time – say "thank you" for this totally natural function within your body/mind system – relax and let it be as easeful as the tides in the ocean. Every organ in our bodies is unceasingly performing its specific function to sustain our well-being. It's time to say, "thank you" – "I love you" – "I'm so grateful for all you do". Yes. Smile. Breathe. Your body is feeling better already.

Right this moment decide that this surgery is your personal, sacred "Rite of Passage". Decide that this challenging passage is here to totally enhance your life, ultimately providing you with a glorious sense of wholeness and connection and vibrant aliveness. Decide that this "Rite of Passage" is going to deliver you to a path of such great caring and love and gratitude for yourself and others and all of life that you and your life will bloom beyond your wildest dreams. Feel the gratitude. Life – it's all about Love. Every moment is precious.
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Whenever in doubt, Come Home to your Heart,
Elizabeth Hepburn
See this article published in The New Sun Newspaper -

Friday, November 17, 2006

Beautiful Bears

Beautiful Bears

I was riffling through a Wildlife Preservation Magazine. This particular issue had award-winning photographs of various creatures in their natural habitat. They were all spectacular, but there was one that was irresistible to me. I was totally captivated by the picture of
a polar bear and her pup in a snowy mountain landscape framed with feathery evergreen boughs. I found myself returning so often to gaze at it, that I decided to order a print. I called the magazine and they gave me the email address of the photographer and within a few days, I had my print. I was thrilled.

With a very long lens, Thomas Cooper has captured a mother polar bear sound asleep with her tiny pup, who looks like a small ball of super white fur. Its black eyes are wide open, and it's nestled between the mother's huge head and an enormous front paw. There seem to be no ears on the pup, and the nose and mouth are hidden in the mighty embrace. There's just this tiny white fur ball with big black eyes gazing out at the magnificent world with such an innocence and wonder. Completely adorable.

As the days go by, I continue to be grateful that I ordered this picture and keep asking myself why I did. I see terrific photographs in magazines all the time but I've never before felt compelled to call the magazine and email the photographer in quest of a print. What is it
here that touches me so?

The mother is obviously completely at home in her natural environment (-25̊ F). She's at peace. She's connected. And the pup seems blissfully happy in its safe, cozy haven. The picture seems to be whispering, "God's in his heaven and all's right with the world." And maybe that's it. Maybe my body/mind/spirit are so yearning to remember this all the
time -- to feel safe and cozy and at peace and connected in the midst of the churning upset energy that permeates our living space on planet earth at this time. And this picture came to live with me as a constant reminder, in a most endearing way, that despite the most challenging atmosphere, the "peace and safe and cozy and connected" are always here -- now, the instant I acknowledge my inner life.

And I find myself revisiting my favorite theme: going within -- coming home to the heart -- connecting with the kingdom of Heaven ever present there -- stopping the relentless mind chatter -- relaxing, embracing, delighting in the feelings of silence deep within the energy
of my body. There is the true vitality -- there is the peace that surpasses all understanding.

Do it right now as you read these words. Be conscious of the energy inside your body. Be conscious that you're reading. Be conscious that you're breathing.

Stop reading for a few moments and just be here now, totally in the present. Feel the stillness.

The authenticity and serenity of the bears, so at peace on their snowy mountain in Manitoba, Canada (may this scenario remain so), bless and inspire me every time I look at them. They invite me to hear the silence, to feel the exhilarating crisp, clear air -- to sense their
ease. They remind me of the lyrics of the Bernstein/Sondheim song Somewhere: "Peace and quiet and open air wait for us, somewhere." They remind me that that place is deep within me and they make me grateful that that Kingdom of Heaven is still reflected in certain parts of our world. They remind me of the sacredness of these pristine wildernesses and their many life forms. They remind me that we are to be the stewards of this earth and her creatures, and not despoil them with our shortsightedness and greed.

How can we even begin to imagine that we can rape and poison the very earth that feeds us, gives us air to breathe and water to drink, and continue to live? The bears remind me to pray without ceasing that our collective consciousness will wake up in time to save Mother Earth and all the life manifesting upon her. May we embrace and honor our role as nurturer to the Nurturer. Thank you, glorious bears. Thank you, Thomas. Thank you, Beloved Earth.

To contact Thomas Cooper:

Whenever in doubt, Come Home to your Heart
Elizabeth Hepburn