New Year's Day, 2014

Happy New Year!

time travel themostawesomepageintheuniverse com

Educational Adventures 2014

I love to teach because I both witness and experience profound insights from these teachings.  I teach a variety of classes available to people who want to know more about their bodies as well as to body workers.  All classes are limited to 9; call or email to reserve your spot.

1.  Body Parts: 4th Friday of the Month   January 24, 2014  Our Respiratory System: The Source of our Inspiration  $15   Future 4th Friday classes will be on digestion, assimilation, and elimination. We will discuss the anatomy and the physiology, but will also strongly consider the cultural communication of these challenges: what is going on in our personal selves and our culture that we don't want to digest? That we don't want to assimilate? That we don't want to eliminate? 

                                                            10 AM - 12 Noon; 7PM-9PM

2.  Hands on Health The Maya Way       January 25, 2014  10-5 PM  $100  7 National Ceu's

3.  The Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy Self-CareTM

                        February 21-23, 2014 3-7 Friday, 10-5 Saturday and Sunday                                                          $350  17 National Ceu's


No dates set yet for these upcoming classes, but call or email if you are interested and we can discuss dates.

4.  Woman: Her Cycle and Connection to Gaia: Looking at the Visibles and the Invisibles 

                                                           TBA: call or email me if you are interested

5.  Welcome to the Tribe: A Mother/Daughter Workshop on the female body and her cycle

                                                           TBA: call or email me if you are interested

6.  Shinrin-Yoku: The Japanese  Art of Forest Bathing  ($5.00 donation to Northlake Nature Center; free to                                                   members

                                                           TBA: call or email me if you are interested

7.  Body Parts: Visceral Anatomy for Body Workers          12 Louisiana and National CEU's Available

                                                           TBA: call or email me if you are interested

8.  Abdominal Massage for Body Workers            12 Louisiana and National CEU's applied for

These classes all explore new ways of looking at and relating to our bodies so we can become inspired as we enter into our sacred communication with the world in which we live.  To find out more about these classes, click here!  If you would like to participate, call or email. 

Fee Schedule 2014

Initial Visit                                  2 hours                                      $125.00

            An  initial session is 2 hours and includes an intake from the form you choose to fill out (short or long form) as well as from the massage treatment. The long form can help you to focus on your challenges, and although we will not have enough time to go over the whole form, it will serve as a reference to both of us in future visits. 

Follow ups                                2 hours                                      $125.00

            Follow up sessions with specific concerns and continued consultations.

Tune ups                                   1 1/2 hours                                 $100.00

              Tune-ups begin with a checking in that takes anywhere from 5-10 minutes and a few minutes after to address any specific questions that arose during your treatment.

Consultations (no body work)     1 hour                                       $  75.00

I have recently expanded my massage therapy to include nerve work.  Sessions could truly go on for hours, but the body appreciates work in small increments. It is good to schedule time after your session for integration in the following hours, days and weeks as your body continues to responds.  This is an opportunity for you to listen, and not return so quickly back to old habits. 

Connecting with the nerves is an amazing touch modality that soothes the nerves of the body. It involves a very light touch that reaches deep within the body, "tunes" the nerves like one would the strings on an instrument, opening up the flow of energy that is blocked or lacks tension.  After a session, clients get profoundly tired, but by the next day, experience renewed energy, and walk once again more lightly on earth, knowing it is there to support them, not weigh them down.  My study last year focused on the nerves of the lower body, which is how we receive the energy the earth generates and creates a strong foundation for how we move in the world. In February I will learn how to tune the nerves of the abdominal and thoracic organs and in April, the upper arm and neck nerves.

I will also participate in a most fantastic adventure as a student of natural history as it is experienced in Louisiana through an amazing series offered by The Louisiana Master Naturalist Program twice yearly (spring and fall) (  I will be immersed in the plants, wetlands, mammals, birds, trees, geographical habitats, estuaries, marshes, insects, and how we all coexist on the marvelous planet we inhabit.

There will be opportunities for further herbal education locally this year for all of you interested in learning more about the plants and their ability to help call us back to wholeness. 

            On January 11, 2014, Thomas Easley will be in New Orleans for a 3 hour workshop is entitled Understanding Stress Response and the Nervous System: Tools to Support a Healthy Balance held at 900 Louisa Street in New Orleans and you can register with Maypop Community Herb Shop 1-504-304-5067 (cost $35-50 sliding scale).

            Also scheduled is an herbal intensive with Matthew Wood and Darrell Martin at Blue Boy Herbs in Carrierre, Mississippi, on the weekend of March 21st.  Stay tuned for more details.

My hands and heart are very excited to be deepening their education.....:), and I give thanks to all who choose to let me share this fascinating knowledge, and for all of you who share your own journeys and insights.

Wishing you a healthy, happy, and wondrous new year....Donna



Winter Solstice, 2013



The winter solstice marks the time of our longest night within the rhythm of our year.  The short days filled with bright clear light and the long dark nights invite us to reflect on where we have been and where we are going.  Within in this quiet, winter asks us to accept what we have generated, let go of the fear of "what might have been" and "what may come", and be grateful in the present moment for what we have received: not only for opportunities we have been able to nourish and harvest but for those we let pass on. 

I am grateful to have had the opportunity to travel and learn from many teachers who have taught me about the wisdom of the body and its participation in mirroring our life journeys.  These teachings have been grounded in my own experience, but my hands have been especially educated by you ~ my clients and students.  I am grateful for each and every one of you for your teachings.  Some I have only worked with once, others more, but I hold each one of your journeys in my heart and wish you all the love and support you need to blossom and come into your own being.   I truly believe that abdominal work connects us to the web of life, and I would love to hear your reflections on how your journey has been shaped and guided since you established connection with your "guts" and learned how to communicate with the vital life forces within you.

I believe that it makes a big difference in whether you consider your body an allay or an adversary.  I have deep faith and conviction that learning to touch and then listen to your body is an important step toward whole-ness, and helps you to understand that your body is not your enemy.  I invite you to consider your symptoms as windows, a chance to see a different perspective, and an opportunity to create the life you wish to lead. 

The seasons establish a significant rhythm for life.  Winter is the time for kidneys and nourishing our water.  As water is a most critical element for life, so are our kidneys.  The kidney energy governs the deepest forms of water in our body, filtering the blood that provides nourishment and hormonal communication to every cell in our bodies.  The adrenal glands  rest on top, and they govern our deep internal fire.  Together, the kidneys and the adrenals provide the foundation of our body's energy and govern metabolism and procreation.

The ear is the sense organ associated with the kidney, so as winter calls us to become more internally focused and quieter, connect to your kidney by listening more: listen to the difference in the way the leaves rustle, the trees sway, the birds sing, your family talks, water flows, your footsteps sound, your organs talk....

One of the ways we communicate with nature's rhythm is through food.  When we eat foods in season, we communicate with the web of nature.  You can nurture your kidneys by keeping your body warm with warming spices (cloves, fenugreek, fennel, anise, black pepper, ginger, cinnamon, rosemary, dill, caraway and cumin), but do not overdo.  Eat soups and stews that have simmered for a long time. This is also a time when we can indulge in small amounts of deep fried foods in fresh oil with a high saturated fat content, like lard or coconut oil(:!

Long simmering soups like bone broth soups from bones that come from sustainably raised animals who have been pastured and lived out in the sun, or potassium broth soups from root vegetables and winter greens with added spices  (recipe: help to slow down food preparation, bringing mindfulness as well as nourishment.

All beans, including string beans, nourish the kidneys, as well as grains, seeds and nuts.  Be mindful in preparing them by soaking in apple cider vinegar or whey to break down the enzyme inhibiters before cooking and eating. 

In other words, eat all local, fresh and seasonal WHOLE foods! Our local winter foods, which include yams, mustard greens, parsnips, winter squash, cabbage, onions, etc., all provide the nourishment needed for our kidneys.  Visit your local farmers market to see, smell and taste what is in season.

Create a relationship with water throughout the day. Our heaters can dry us out more than we realize.  And contrary to what you have learned, eat salt!  Our internal environment requires salt for all of its electrical mechanisms, from the contraction of muscle cells (including the beating of our hearts) to our the ability for our nerves to communicate!  If you feel like you are still dehydrated after drinking water, add a lemon or pinch of salt to your water so the water can be assimilated by the cell.

But not table salt or the sodium found in packaged foods!  These salts are produced by either chemically extracting or evaporating minerals (which are then sold to vitamin companies) and are not found naturally in our environment.  About 94% of all salt made is used industrially to make chlorine, plastics and paper pulp, and the other 6% is used for human consumption.  Table salt contains food additives that do not have to be labeled, such as talc (a known carcinogen), ferrocyanide and silica aluminate which can accumulate in the body and lead to neurological disorders. 

Sea salts naturally contain trace amounts of minerals that are beneficial to our bodies:  it provides selenium which helps chelate toxic heavy metals from the body, provides boron for bones and chromium to regulate blood sugar levels, and is one of the few sources for safe copper ingestion (copper helps the body form new arteries!).  Good sources of salt and minerals are sea salt, miso, kimchee, sea weeds, seafood, oatstraw and nettles.

Three Treasures Stir Fry

Adapted from Nam Singh, L.Ac. Shitake mushrooms support the immune system, walnuts are nourishing to the kidneys and lungs and are high in omega 3 fatty acids, and blueberries* are high in vitamin A and antioxidants, and nourish the liver, kidneys and eyes. Serves 4 as a main dish.

10 Shitake (black mushrooms, soaked if dried)
1 cup walnuts (or pecans), soaked overnight in plain water or with a touch of apple cider vinegar or whey added to water
1 cup blueberries*
5 slices fresh ginger root
1 lb. string beans, or locally grown long beans 
1 tablespoon coconut oil, pastured lard, sesame or olive oil
¼ cup sake, mirin or white wine
2 tablespoons tamari or shoyu
1 teaspoon kuzu or arrowroot
Toasted or black sesame oil for finishing

If mushrooms are dried, soak them in a dish of hot water for 20 minutes,  drain, remove the stems and slice the mushrooms. Wash and cut the string beans into bite size, and blanch in boiling water for 1-2 minutes.  Toast the walnuts lightly in a toaster oven or dry pan until crispy. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan or wok, then sauté the ginger slices for 1 minute.  Sauté the beans for 2-3 minutes depending on toughness. Add the mushrooms, mirin or wine, and allow the vegetables to cook by steaming. Soak the blueberries in hot water for a minute, and then drain. When the beans and mushrooms are tender, add the blueberries and shoyu. Dissolve the kuzu or arrowroot in hot water and add to the pan to thicken the sauce. Stir in the walnuts, and finish to taste with sesame oil. Serve hot over rice.

*original recipe had Gogi berries, but our local blueberries, similar in taste and health benefits, were substituted. I know they aren't seasonal, but I had some in my freezer. Blue and black are the colors of the kidney.

I taste tested this dish tonight, and the blueberry, arrowroot and shoyu made an excellent sauce! Wishing you all a wondrous winter......Donna