an early autumn medley

It’s been a busy Fall season here! Didn’t Fall just begin? How about for you? How are you holding up?

Before we get going, I want to tell you about The Shift Network – they offer amazing summits and courses online on a variety of topics that touch the soul. I’m honored to have been invited to host this year’s Dreamwork Summit. I can’t believe the event was free! Did you see it? The 20+ dream experts I interviewed shared valuable and profound information on dreaming, including lucid dreaming and dream yoga, various methods on ways to conduct dreamwork, and much more. I was grateful to have presented on how visitation dreams and shrine-making intersect. If you missed it, but are interested in that subject, I will be posting the video interview on my website soon.

Shifting gears now…Today, I want to share some of the things that have kept me occupied and inspired lately. These just might entertain you for a while too, especially during this pandemic and seasonal shift.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

First, Joe at SacWellness asked me to write an article for their blog and I jumped at the change to write about the importance of the breath. Believe me when I say that breathing with awareness is everyone’s best friend. Our breath has our back! Deep, conscious breathing supports the parasympathetic nervous system – aka ‘the brakes’  and our ‘rest and digest’ system. Furthermore, our breath can become our most trusted guide and most easily accessed inner resource. Here’s the link to the article with video: https://sacwellness.com/the-importance-of-breathing/ My YouTube channel has additional videos on breathing techniques – see my series titled, “Let’s Breathe” at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5uiyWhrG8N8gNsYbZbGK8w

Life Coach Path is a place for all those in the coaching industry. I had a good time when Brandon interviewed me on their Coach’s Circle Podcast. The Coach’s Circle Podcast is brought to you by Life Coach Path, an online resource for anyone who wants to learn more about becoming a life coach. During that very fun interview I shared how I came to practice the way I do, along with how I went from being an artist to a licensed psychotherapist and somatic psychologist. Since my practice is eclectic, I explained how I weave together traditional therapy with hypnosis, art-making, yoga nidra, and more. We also touched on imposter syndrome near then end of the interview. Listen here: https://www.lifecoachpath.com/coachs-circle-73-kimberly-mascaro/

Dr. Joshua Black has conducted some fascinating research on dreams of the bereaved. He invited me onto the Grief Dreams Podcast to discuss the power bereavement dreams can hold for so many people experiencing loss. This is a topic close to my heart. Our conversation was deep as well as touching. You can list to our conversation, if you like, here: https://griefdreamspodcast.podbean.com/e/e173-dr-kimberly-mascaro-announcing-dreams/

National Parent’s Union delivers a powerful webcast, regularly. I love how it begins with a moment dedicated to self-care, after all it is “a nightly restorative check-in!” Dr. Enjolie Lafaurie hosted me on October 9, 2020. We discussed so many dream-related topics such as our experiences with visitation dreams, my research on announcing dreams, a colleagues research on wellness and health dreams, how to work with dreams and more. These webcasts are live on Facebook and can be accessed here: https://fb.watch/1a0T-bgF4t/

Well there you go, enjoy those links to dream-related topics as well as self-care and conversations on life’s big moments and decisions.

Happy October to ya,

Dr. Kim

breathing for health

No one needs to convince us why we need to breathe. Sometimes, however, we need convincing as to why we should do it consciously, with awareness. Study after study shows us that intentional, abdominal breathing has direct affects on the body – this is good news. After all, it is free and can be done anywhere, at any time. Stress doesn’t have to get the best of us! By just a few minutes spent each day on the practices I’ll be describing below, one can invoke healing in the immune and nervous systems. This stuff calms the mind as well. Don’t we all need that, especially during this time?

When I demonstrate these techniques to my patients, I first begin by putting one hand on my chest and the other hand on my abdomen. This sort of check-in tells me whether I’mPhoto on 7-27-20 at 7.34 PM #2 breathing into my chest (shallow breathing) or whether I am taking a fuller breath in so that my belly expands (this is what we want). If my breathing is in my chest, I can consciously imagine my next inhalation moving deeper down into my body. I do this – as many breaths as it takes – until abdominal breathing is comfortable. Try it for yourself now. See what I mean?

From there, I love to move on to the 4:8 breathing technique. This is done by inhaling for 4 seconds, pausing for a second, then exhaling for 8 seconds. Simple, right? I like to do this for about 5 rounds or so. At that point I am really starting to notice the effects. The 4:8 breathing technique is so wonderfully calming.

Another way to encourage this kind of slow, rhythmic breathing is to use visualization. This was taught to me by one of my best yoga nidra teachers, Kamini Desai, PhD. With each exhalation, image that you are blowing the air out through a straw. So that’s inhaling through the nose, pausing for a second, then exhaling with softly pursed lips as if blowing through a straw. Really see that breath being pushed out through a skinny tube to slow everything down.

Another technique that involves counting, but in a much different way, is to count each inhalation and exhalation. Work downward, from 10 down to one. Some people recommend counting only the inhalations or the exhalations, while others recommend counting both. So, it would look like mentally/silently saying to yourself ‘10 I am inhaling…10 I am exhaling…9 I am inhaling…9 I am exhaling…8 I am inhaling,…’ and so on. When I was training in hypnotherapy, I was reminded that counting down (not up) was important to encourage greater levels of relaxation.

We all know that stress equals disease onset. In our overly-stressed society, conscious breathing has become a necessity. Not only do our bodies benefit, so do our minds. After all, the mind and body are linked – they make up a whole. You could even say that they are ONE. While these techniques are for anytime and anywhere, I find that they are perfect upon waking up each morning as well as at bedtime. That’s because an AM breathing practice sets the tone for the day, while the PM practice supports the melting away of stress and the day’s residue. It even adds to a solid sleep hygiene routine. With consistent practice, I expect that you will see a difference. I know I did.

If you’d like one-on-one coaching for stress management or support with your health goals, contact me. I can assist you in breathwork and in building a mediation practice. I offer guided imagery, hypnotherapy, and yoga nidra (a sleep-based meditation), in addition to counseling services.

 

Here’s to your health,

Kim

To order my book, Extraordinary Dreams, click here.

enhancing dreamtime

As the warmer months are wrapping up, and the cold weather approaches, we find ourselves spending more and more time indoors. During the fall and winter seasons, we may spend much of our leisure time reading by a cozy fire, or listening to music under a warm blanket. In such a comfortable environment, it’s easy to drift off to sleep, even if only for a few minutes. In this polyphasic space, dreams are sprinkled over the course of the day or evening. For many people, all it takes is one extraordinary dream to spark a life-long interest in dreaming. Whether that first extraordinary dream is a lucid one, a highly memorable, vivid dream, or one with lasting impact, there is a desire to understand and experience more. For a few, vivid dreams and even lucid dreams are the norm, although, this is not the case for the majority of the population who typically recall mundane, fragmented dreams. On average, I experience one or two extraordinary dreams a month since I had a disciplined practice in the past. Some dreamers, however, report an extraordinary dream each week, while others report only a few each year. No matter one’s experience, dreamtime can be enhanced in several ways. For this month (October), Conscious Chimera is dedicated to offering tips for enhancing dreamtime. For questions or comments regarding the list below, please post a comment here or send me an email. I hope to hear from you soon!

*Aroma

-Mugwart: According to Victoria H. Edwards, author of The Aromatherapy Companion, “smelling mugwart before retiring” may assist with dream recall. Edwards even suggests hanging some to dry near your bed.

-Lavendar: Well-known for its calming effect, smelling lavender essential oil right before naptime or bedtime can help us relax. A relaxed state is ideal because an anxious or racing mind can affect dreams.

-Neroli & Sandalwood: Using these essential oils in combination is said to stimulate extraordinary dreams. Rub a few drops on the forehead, or add the oils to a spray bottle with distilled water to use as a pillow mist.

*Meditation & Breathwork

-Track the breath, every inhalation and exhalation. To bring about a sense of peace and calm, follow each in-breath and out-breath with focused attention. After a few minutes of ding so, say out loud, “It’s easy to remember my dreams.” Setting an intention with mindful breathing works wonders.

*Deep relaxation/Hypnosis

-A way to relax the body entirely to prepare for dreamtime is to apply ‘progressive relaxation.’ This technique involves relaxing each muscle group, one by one. Move from the head down to the feet, or from the feet up to the head – either direction works just fine. Once the process is complete say out loud, “I recall my dreams with ease, and I notice how vivid they are,” or a similar statement five or more times. The idea here, is to move into a very relaxed, suggestive state so that you can ‘program’ your mind to recall dreams as you drift off.

*Crystals/Gems

-Amethyst: Tonight I’ll be sleeping with a quality piece of amethyst! Why? It’s known to support dream recall.

-Clear Quartz: Amplify dream imagery by keeping a clear quartz crystal under your pillow. Sometimes, I like to carry mine with me all day as well.

Last but not least, leave a pen and notepad nearby so every dream, regardless of length, can be recorded as soon as you awaken. It is important to log all details without judgment. This practice along can help with dream recall, and having a record of your dreams is also necessary for tracking precognitive elements (aka premonitions).

 

Wishing you a pleasant fall season,

Kim