Updated: 6 days ago
This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably. [They] may be clearing you out for some new delight. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond. ☥ ☥ Rumi ॐ
The phoenix is a magnificent bird of Ra, a Sun God of Kamit/Kemet (Ancient Egypt). As the story is told, the phoenix is born out of the death of something from within itself. Many traditions have adopted the story of the phoenix rising as a symbol of death, resurrection and transformation.
I often mention in my work that tragedy is not the end but can be the catalyst of an auspicious beginning. When we plant a seed in the ground, it must die for the plant to be born. The sun offers nourishment that causes the plant to seek it by rising through the darkness of the dirt and up towards the sky.
We often glorify the rise but forget that first something must die. Though many of us seem determined to ignore it, nature is all around us constantly demonstrating this process of death, transformation and renewal. If we would slow down long enough to look within our bodies, we would notice our life force coursing through us and causing our abdomen to rise. The Summer Solstice offers us an opportunity to experience the pinnacle of the rising that occurs all around us.
The Summer Solstice occurs June 20th, 21st or 22nd in the Northern Hemisphere and December 20th, 21st or 22nd in the Southern Hemisphere. So, when the Northern Hemisphere is experiencing the Summer Solstice, the Southern Hemisphere is experiencing the Winter Solstice and vice versa. As the sun’s intensity is at its highest point, the Summer Solstice represents the hot and dry time of year, and the time of great illumination. During the Summer Solstice, we experience the most daylight because the earth’s poles are at its maximum tilt towards the sun. If you’ve read any of my articles on the Spring Equinox, Fall Equinox or Winter Solstice, you already know that nature teaches us self-care strategies for each season to elevate in consciousness.
During this time of year, our inner light expands at its widest, allowing us to engage in deep self-contemplation. We “see” what is really going on in our lives. It’s important to sustain correct energy and make diligent efforts to course correct where needed as any habits formed will take deep root.
One of the most challenging aspects of my work as a Radiant Health Advocate is helping people to see the greatness within themselves. When I first met Charlene Triche’, she was recovering from breast cancer treatment. Her journey to heal herself affected me so deeply that I interviewed her for a series that I created for a wellness app called “Dropping The 'c' Word.”
I saw the sun shining bright within Charlene, but she couldn’t see it within herself. Her voice was commanding of respect and powerful, but there was hesitancy within her. It took eight years for me to convince her to share her story. Working with Charlene was like the straw that broke the camel’s back for me because it forced me to accept some harsh realities about the health disparities that exist for Black ☥ Indigenous ☥ Immigrant People, including dehumanizing practices and lack of access to information, options and resources. It was the death of inexperience with these disparities and the rising of the Sekhmet from within me ☥ The Warrior Goddess ☥ Goddess Of Healing.
The Rise Of The Gua Sha
Charlene mentioned to me that she was experiencing bouts of depression and pain in her chest. I instantly knew what remedy would work best for her, but how on earth was I going to get her to let me do what needed to be done? In order for us to rise in consciousness, we must die to fear and ignorance. Fortunately, even though my remedy was going to sound strange to Charlene, she trusted me. The cultivation of trust is absolutely essential for any personal or professional relationship.
I began to explain to Charlene that a gua sha is a healing tool that originated in Africa but is an integral part of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It used to be called “spooning” because health practitioners would use a ceramic spoon (not unlike the ones we see in Asian restaurants) to do the healing work. A gua sha is generally made out of polished wood or crystals. It is used for a variety of ailments including:
☥ Pain relief
☥ Pulling toxins out of tissues
☥ Diminishing scar tissue
In Charlene’s case, I was going to use a gua sha made of green jade to diminish the scar tissue that had formed around her breast from her surgeries. So, let me set the scene for you. Charlene says that she is experiencing pain and depression, and my response to her was, “I have this Chinese tool that I’d like to use on your chest to diminish your scar tissue. This would involve working on your bare chest, directly on and around all of your scars.”
I did a lot of breathing and meditating to try and figure out the best way to deliver this information, but there seemed to be no way for me to sound sane to an American who is not used to holistic therapies. Furthermore, most people truly believe that there is just one pathway for healing, and anything that sounds too earthy or natural is likened to witchcraft.
Somehow, the Sekhmet within me persevered, and Charlene let me work on her chest. She explains her experiences with me during the video series, but I’d like to share my experiences from the perspective of a health practitioner. When I arrived, she was trusting and ready. As I opened her blouse, I prayed that her scars would look like the scars on the White women with whom I worked: neat and created with care. However, I was devastated to see that her scars were just like the scars that I worked on with other Black women: jagged and sloppy.
I called on Shu, the God of Air ☥ Sustenance of Life to connect me with deep Qigong breathing. As I suspected, her scar tissue was hard, but the gua sha worked beautifully. As I worked, she began to say that she felt more than just “stuff breaking up,” she felt like depression was leaving her. In the holistic world, the pain that we feel is caused by congestion, suppressed and repressed emotions that are stuck in the tissues. Once the congestion begins to clear, the trapped emotions can be released and healed. Imagine trying to explain this concept to a culture that is used to popping a pill for every potential ailment without ever taking the time to seek out and remove the root cause. Even books that are written on health disparities such as: Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present do not mention Indigenous healing strategies as primary, complementary or supplementary restoration and recovery options for Black ☥ Indigenous ☥ Immigrant People.
I’m so grateful that Charlene trusted me to do the work, even though the work was unconventional and probably sounded outrageous to her. I share this story, with her permission, because during our work together, she was able to rise above the pain and depression by allowing the illumination of new knowledge to come in and by allowing her fears to burn up in the ashes of ignorance. In order for us to rise, we need to see the truth and drop the dead weight that exists within and around us.
To date, Charlene has had 11 surgeries, so she is well-versed in the process of allopathic treatments. The illumination of new knowledge included resources to help her manage stress and pain naturally such as:
☥ Counseling and the development of her mental health self-care toolkit
Charlene was initially closed-minded to many of the holistic modalities mentioned above, but her innate wisdom beaconed her to explore and become open to other options. Fear comes from ignorance. If we obtain the knowledge, the fear will go away, and we can then decide from a place of understanding what information to keep and what to reject. However, if we remain scared and closed to new information, how will we make the best choices for ourselves?
Seeing The Truth In Order To Rise
Charlene had to see the truth in order to rise:
☥ No one knows her body better than her
☥ She needs to educate and advocate for herself
☥ She cannot drop her body off on a health practitioner and expect them to make
decisions that serve her highest good
☥ It is her responsibility to do the research, take in as much knowledge as possible
and check in with the truest part of herself in order to know the best course of action
☥ She has the right to speak up for herself and question any and everything told to her
by health practitioners
☥ Arrogance, poor bedside manner and unwillingness to listen to her is unacceptable
☥ Health practitioners work for her, not the other way around; she can fire any of them
at any time and keep searching until she finds the right fit
☥ She needs to master the ability to stay calm and grounded in the midst of trauma in
order to be clear-headed enough to make the best decisions for herself
Until Charlene realized and acted upon the truth, she was at the mercy of practitioners who were running on default and treating her like a number instead of a human. Once she accepted the reality of her situation, she was able to advocate for herself, connect with services that nurtured and supported her and choose the right team of health professionals.
Dropping The Dead Weight In Order To Rise
Charlene’s transformation took a few detours because the healing path is not linear. Healing is a process of discovery, acceptance, inspired actions and letting go. The letting go process can be challenging because it is often painful to accept people and circumstances as dead weight.
Colleagues, parents, friends, siblings, associates, business partners, neighbors, spouses, cousins and lovers are titles without meaning. When we accept reality, we can clearly see the difference between the people who actively engage in self-care to heal themselves in order to serve the highest good of all, and the people who run from their past and traumatize everyone around them to avoid the pain they feel inside.
Charlene realized that she could only rise so far before she had to drop some dead weight which showed up in a variety of ways including:
☥ Friends that she outgrew
☥ Habitual patterns that perpetuated trauma
☥ People in her inner circle that needed to be pushed to her outer circles, or completely
out of her life
☥ Fear, ignorance, anger and feelings of lack
She discovered that dropping the dead weight gave her the energy to focus on actions grounded in her core values that led her to achieving fulfillment.
If nature could speak during the Summer Solstice, it might say something like:
☥ Stay hydrated and cool
☥ Be more active and eat lots of delicious fruits in season
☥ Wake up and see the truth about ___ in your life, and then course correct ASAP
The Process Of Rising ... Sometimes Fast Is Slow And Slow Is Fast
Imagine that you are in pool of water. As you look off in the short distance, you see a beautiful flower. You begin to move quickly towards the flower and make ripples in the water which pushes the flower further away. The faster you move, the more ripples you make. If you continue to move quickly, you will never get to the flower. However, what if you were to stop, gather yourself and move in slow motion towards the flower? If you could move so slowly that you didn’t make a ripple in the water, you would be amazed at how quickly you would reach that flower. Sometimes, fast is slow and slow is fast.
I first came across this concept while studying to become a Qigong teacher. I learned that we often do not achieve what we want, but not because we don’t deserve it. We don’t achieve our goals because we too often move towards those goals with the wrong energy. In the example above, we were presented with two ways of approaching the flower. The fast way represents acting on impulse which causes a ripple effect that pushes our goals out of reach. The slow way represents what happens when we are led by our innate intelligence. It is the way that comes to us when we breathe, pause and then check in with the truest part of ourselves before acting. Sometimes the action that we are guided to take seems slow, but it gets us to our goal quicker than the action that appeared to be faster. Examples of when fast becomes slow include:
☥ Throwing trash across the room and then missing the trash can and having to get up
and put the trash in the can
☥ Saying “yes” to something without checking our calendar and then realizing that
we’ll have to figure out how to back out of the commitment or fit it into our schedule
☥ Having to redo a project because we rushed through it
Let’s look at some examples of how slow can become fast:
☥ Taking the time to learn a software program that simplifies and reduces our tasks
☥ Setting and enforcing healthy boundaries with family and friends and then reaping the
benefits of earning their respect ☥ having healthy relationships
☥ Reading the instructions and understanding the process before installing hardware
If we pay attention during the Summer Solstice, we can see how fast and slow plays out in our lives. We might slow down from work or school and go on vacation. As we move into the hot and dry period of the Summer Solstice, we’ll notice a desire to get out and play. We think about taking activities outside such as going to the beach, picnics, festivals and barbeques. Though the sun shines bright, we often fail to see what opportunities rise with the sun.
Rising With The Sun: A Summer Solstice Opportunity
Ra (a Sun God of Ancient Egypt) created the ashes from which the phoenix rose. The Summer Solstice offers us an encouraging opportunity to allow negative thought patterns, sabotaging behaviors and toxic relationships to burn up in the ashes so that we may become light enough to rise with the sun. Notice when and where you feel uneasy. Discomfort is your body’s way of talking to you. Does it happen when a particular person speaks to you? When you eat a certain food? Before or after you take a specific action? Take the time to listen and allow the energy of the sun to help you see the truth that is before you.
Notice your breathing patterns. Do you take deep breaths throughout the day? Do you exhale forcefully (sigh)? If so, when and why? Do you find yourself breathing shallowly? Do you breathe through your nose or mostly through your mouth? Are you congested during any part of the day?
Your innate wisdom raises an internal red flag to warn you about something that requires your attention. Every red flag is legitimate and needs to be investigated regardless of how subtle it may present itself. Sometimes it feels like a lingering question in your mind, butterflies in your stomach, something feeling “off” in some way or a knot in your throat. If you are willing to tap into the truest part of yourself, you’ll find that your innate wisdom will never betray you.
Physical Healing Practices To Help You Rise With The Sun
☥ Practice movement and breathing exercises such as Qigong.
☥ Eliminate breads (including gluten free), flours, pastas, alcohol, nuts, caffeine,
nightshades (eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, paprika), chocolate, dairy, baked goods
and saturated fats. This is to prep for doing a mild cleanse of the body by
beginning to take the pressure off the liver/gallbladder.
☥ Eat a small bowl of melons before breakfast with a pinch of cayenne. Prepare one
melon chopped, and add 1 tablespoon of cayenne, stir and store in the refrigerator
(omit the cayenne if pregnant). Eat one cup of this mixture first thing in the morning
and at least 20 minutes before eating any other fruit or food. Any melon is fine.
Melons contain superoxide dismutase, a powerful anti-inflammatory agent which
defends the body against free radicals.
☥ Eat a large bowl of fruit for breakfast. Choose your favorite fruits that are in season,
and include an assortment of berries.
☥ Create a nourishing kichadi stew with vegetables that are in season and eat it
throughout the day. Eat it for lunch and dinner as often as you'd like. Five small
servings throughout the day is preferable (with the last serving ending by 7pm). It
takes 3 days for your body to realize it is cleansing, so make and eat kichadi for at
least 5 days (preferably a few days before, during and after the Summer Solstice).
Make different variations to avoid boredom but keep in mind that boredom comes
from a lack of present awareness – boredom cannot exist when we are present.
☥ Add a healthy serving of Kamitic Kultured Kraut to your kichadi for added flavor and to
promote a healthy microbiome.
☥ Drink 1/2 cup of inner fillet aloe vera juice (organic, low/aloin free) each morning and
evening. Lily of the Desert in the glass bottle is the cleanest that I've found, but
always check ingredients as sometimes great products are sold to larger companies
with lower standards.
☥ Take a food-based probiotic each morning or evening (feel free to take more if you
are not making at least one large bowel movement per day).
☥ Take a warm bath with Epsom Salt + Baking Soda + Sea Salt (add at least 1 cup of
each) for at least 30 minutes. Use this time to learn how to use a gua sha. Wooden
gua has are softer to the touch. If you choose to use a gua sha made of healing
crystals, consider going to a gem store first and noticing which crystals resonate with
you or feel good to your touch/on your skin. Gua shas are intuitive tools that
are easy to use if you listen to the wisdom of your body. You can use it on most parts
of your body, including your scalp. Begin by gently rubbing your gua sha against an
area of your body. Gradually increase the pressure until you notice your skin turning
red. You may notice small red bumps that might look like a rash (called petechiae).
When your skin turns red, move on to another area. The redness may remain for a few
days which is in indication that toxins that have risen are being removed by the body.
In many cases, the redness goes away in an hour, but depending on what your body
is processing, it could last longer. If you use the gua sha on your face or neck, you may
want to do so when you know that you will not be in public for a few days. Do not be
alarmed if it takes more than a few days for the redness to disappear. At first, just pick
one small area to practice on such as your feet or hands (which can handle more
pressure). Then take a few deep breaths and check in with your body. You may
notice that you feel led to go to a certain area of your body. Be sure to use extremely
light pressure over bony areas. If the gua sha is uncomfortable to use directly on your
skin, begin by placing a towel over your skin or use the gua sha over your clothes to
build up tolerance. To keep your body healthy, consider using your gua sha a few times
per week. Begin with light strokes that move upwards from your feet to your head.
Except for your eyeballs, you can pretty much use the gua sha over most areas of your
body. If you have achy joints, daily gua sha is a great way to prevent arthritis.
Mental ☥ Emotional ☥ Spiritual Healing Practices That Rise With The Sun
☥ Make time to watch the sunrise and sunset each day. If you are unable to do this
throughout the summer, choose at least one week, preferably a few days before,
during and after the Summer Solstice, to watch the sunrise and sunset. Notice
thoughts and feelings that may arise without engaging in them. Practice alternate
nostril breathing at sunrise.
☥ Be still – practice silence (no speaking at all) for at least 2 days during the solstice.
☥ Practice deep breathing exercises and take long walks in nature.
☥ Practice healing movements, preferably in nature (nature path, beach, park, etc.), to
help you clear the mind and emotions.
☥ Journal often. Review what is working in your life and look at how you can expand
your perceptions. It might be helpful to take a few days to observe your thoughts,
actions and any habitual patterns. Consider what needs to burn up in the ashes and
what parts of you need a rebirth:
☥ What red flags have you ignored? Make a note of situations in your life that feel
“off” in some way and do not release the red flag until you achieve clarity.
☥ In order to rise above pain, trauma, fear, ignorance, anger, etc., what dead weight
do you need to drop?
Keep your cleansing process simple and intuitive as you learn new strategies. My instructions are comprehensive. An easy way to get started is to eat in-season fruits and veggies, order vegan soups from healthy restaurants, put curry powder on your foods and spend the majority of your time in silence, meditation, contemplation and journaling.
See The Truth ☥ Live The Truth ☥ Be Well ☥ Radiant
Thank you for taking the time to actively engage in your own self-care. If you have ever spent time at a hammam ☥ steam room ☥ sauna, you will notice that it is a comfortable space because you are wearing minimal or no clothing and you can just be yourself. However, after a short time, it starts to get hot, and you begin to sweat. This is a good thing because you are helping your body to eliminate toxins. If you want to detoxify your body correctly you will:
☥ Breathe slowly and deeply to help your body adjust to the intensity of the heat.
☥ Sip water every 15 minutes to stay hydrated.
☥ Have a piece of fruit ☥ pumpkin seeds ☥ favorite healthy snack available.
☥ Take a shower after excessive sweating.
☥ Go into a cold room/take a cold plunge/cold water rinse off to cool down before doing
another sweat and to stimulate your lymphatic system.
☥ Go for a walk in nature, spend time in meditation ☥ contemplation, have a healthy meal
and give your body some time to complete the healing process (which could include
sending you messages through your intuition about your next steps).
As you journey through ☥ interact with the blogs ☥ other content on phyllishubbard.com, you might have an insight that causes you to suddenly feel mentally ☥ emotionally “hot” -- which could show up as:
☥ “Ah-ha” moments
☥ A hop-in-the-bed-and-cry-yourself-to-sleep or fetal position crying time of intensive
☥ Intense feelings of anger/regret about something in your past
☥ Disorientation caused by the realization of truth
☥ Strong reactions such as heightened senses, vomiting; an urge to release emotions
such as yelling/screaming, going outside for fresh air/to take a walk, punching a
boxing bag/pillow; a feeling of tightness in the chest, etc.
If you find yourself having a strong reaction, I encourage you to flow with it while helping your body to release mental ☥ emotional toxins by using the same five self-care strategies listed above for releasing physical toxins. Your body talks to you all the time, but unconscious adherence to social conditioning can mute its messages.
Strong reactions are your body’s way of letting you know that there is a deeper issue requiring your attention.
Keep revisiting the content ☥ utilizing the five self-care strategies until you no longer experience the strong reaction, release fears and have identified ☥ transformed ☥ removed the root cause of the issue. You will find additional strategies throughout this website that you can add to your mental health self-care toolkit.
Self-Care Sustainability Suggestions
☥ A Cross-Cultural Healing Haven – read this blog to understand the purpose of
phyllishubbard.com and the meaning behind its organization ☥ symbols.
☥ Revisit the content periodically and make a note of if/how your perceptions have
☥ Check out the other pages on phyllishubbard.com:
☥ Home - watch the videos. Click on the images in the Spiritual Guidance
section. Each image has a story that might assist your self-care journey. Learn
about other spiritual practices.
☥ About - Learn about my background ☥ reasons for co-creating
with Spirit. Explore healing through the image carousel and videos.
☥ Reclaiming Our Humanity - Help us develop and disseminate video courses.
☥ Rise TV - Practice breathing and movement exercises and deepen your
understanding of healing through the experiences of community members.
Check back periodically to discover new/re-experience the content.
☥ Journey - This is your invitation to own the journey to radiance. Experience the
journey and download healing resources to share with your friends, family and
When you share healing, healing comes back to and flows through you.
About Sharing ...
During my first presentation to an all-Black audience, I introduced 20-year-old research on the hazards of sitting. I presented the research because I noticed that people sat for way too long at convenings and realized that the information was not disseminated to Black ☥ Indigenous ☥ Immigrant communities. I was determined to intentionally include this research, often surprising participants by getting people up to stretch. After more than 13 years of intentional work, Black ☥ Indigenous ☥ Immigrant People are just barely beginning to normalize conscious movement. We still have a long way to go, and it is important that we share what we know as much as we can to prevent the disenfranchisement of wellness information to Black ☥ Indigenous ☥ Immigrant communities.
Please do not keep phyllishubbard.com to yourself. We will not co-create a better world until we heal our current, past/childhood traumas. We will not love others until we learn to love ourselves.
Check out the show notes for "Dropping The 'c' Word." Please share this blog with your communities.