Rebecca Elia's Blog

All about Feminine Health, Healing, and Greece

Monday, November 14, 2011


Ever feel like you're going around in circles, or repeating the same pattern or drama? How about the irritating thought, "I already did this, learned this, been there, done that. Why is this happening again?"

Every single one of my clients has experienced this. Somehow, we think that once we've mastered something in our lives, it will magically disappear, never reappear again. We know that life is cyclical and yet we're surprised that patterns repeat, systems stay the same, and the vast majority resist change.
Many of us are buying into a black and white perspective that goes something like, "Once I learn this lesson, it will disappear."  But this is simplistic; is it not?

When you find yourself in familiar territory, look beyond the conclusion that you are going backwards. Regression is not the only explanation.

Life isn't linear...and it's not just circular either. How about a multidimensional spiral? It may appear that we are going back over older territory, but this territory may have gained other dimensions since our last "return." I like to think of wisdom as just that--added dimensions. Many of us start with the linear, the straight line. Then we recognize the circle. Then we recognize the spiral. then we start to experience the double helix, the tertiary and quaternary structures. And, perhaps, eventually, the structure is so complex that even the most brilliant physicists cannot come up with the equation of life.

You are the only one who can define your experience. No one else. Are you regressing? Are you revisiting? Is this merely a passing thought? Is there a pearl of wisdom here--something, perhaps, you didn't see the last time? Are you creating drama? Are you feeling sorry for yourself? Are you avoiding the next step? Are you putting together your equation of life?

Only you know.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Life Cycle Wisdom: Spring

East Coasters understand the impact of the seasons. Summer brings relaxation and sunshine, outdoor activities and vacations. Fall brings beautiful colors, busyness and the harvest. Winter brings deep stillness and gestation, and spring brings rebirth.
West Coasters almost forget the seasonal changes. How often are their winter days halted by a snow-storm? When does the weather force them to slow down? Their climate doesn’t save them from adrenal burnout; it doesn’t allow for the gestation that brings new beginnings. West-coast weather is the stuff of which type-A personality dreams are made.

Our bodies follow natural cycles; they also follow unnatural ones. Lately, it’s not only West Coast bodies that are confused. What is happening with our seasons? In February, we had summer weather in California while the East Coast experienced record-breaking snowstorms. A few weeks later, the climates reversed. What is happening with our life cycles? How long ago did we stop following the natural rhythm of birth, growth, transition, transformation, death, and rebirth?

Remember back to the lunar eclipse on the winter solstice? This was supposed to be the longest and darkest night of the year. Paradoxically, the darkest night of the year wore a full moon. Normally, winter would be equivalent to slowing down, hibernation, stillness. But this winter has been anything but. The winter solstice propelled us fast-forward. We found ourselves bursting at the seams, exhausted by the end of January, the New Year barely begun. It sure felt like spring. Didn’t it? So it’s strange to be writing about spring, now. It feels like it’s already happened, that we should be heralding summer.

I find it fascinating that our weather is finally reflecting the disarray in our bodies. Our poor bodies have been confused for a long time, and now, so is our weather.

Where do we begin to right this wrong? Let’s start with normal, because we seem to have forgotten it. Then, let’s look at how our bodies can help us find normal again.


Remember that? If you are a woman, you have an advantage: your body. If you’re not menopausal, consider your monthly cycle. What are the stages? There is growth (building up) and death (letting go). There is activity and production, and there is stillness and being. There is extroversion; there is introversion. There is considering the needs of the outside world, and there is considering the needs of the inner world. If you are following me, congratulations! You haven’t forgotten. If my words are leaving you dazed and confused, you have some remembering to do.

Everything we need to know about birth, growth, transition, transformation, death, reintegration and rebirth can be found in the human body and, specifically, in the menstrual cycle. Any imbalance can be seen here as well. Look at your own life and your own body. What is in or out of balance? If you desire synchronicity with spring, with new creation, if you want to sprout your wings and fly, you must return to the cycle. Where are you stuck? What is your next step? Is it growth or is it rest? Is it transition or is it reintegration? Is it birth or is it death? Is there something you need to hold onto or something you need to let go of? It’s all part of the energy of life, energy that must flow to move forward. You cannot have birth without appropriate gestation and rest. We must allow our fetus to mature before she can be birthed. We must let go of what no longer serves us in order to free up energy for the next phase of our cycle, or the next phase of our life.

Take a few moments and assess where you are here, right now. Where are you in the life cycle? Are you in production overdrive, like a cancer? Are you lost in gestation? Are you stuck, not able to access your energy? Are you in labor, preparing to give birth? Are you letting go, mourning a loss?

For those of you who have reached menopause, what does your spring look like? What new creations are in your near future? What have you released in order to re-birth? What parts of yourself have you welcomed home?

If we superimpose the seasons onto our life cycle, spring becomes birth and rebirth.

So what are the consequences of a premature spring, a lack of winter? Let us consider physical birth. What can go wrong? What must go right? When an early miscarriage occurs, we commonly assume the cause is an abnormality with the sperm or egg. Successful creations require the presence of complete functioning whole parts. They also require a normal nurturing supportive environment, and, of course, time.

What happens when we don’t complete a full gestation (when we skip over rest, relaxation, winter)? Premature labor leading to premature birth. We all know how difficult it is to care for a preemie, especially one born before her lungs or brain has matured. It is the same for all of our creations. We must allow the appropriate time for our new creation to grow, to mature, to be fully formed.

Many of us find ourselves in the space of preterm birth. Spring is not supposed to come in the dead of winter. This year, all of us became winter crocuses.

What about rebirth? While the capacity for birth resides within our menstrual cycles, I consider rebirth to be the primary state of menopause. So, let us ask, what is necessary to be reborn? Here’s where it gets even more interesting.

Step 1: First, we must die. All that is old, unnecessary, unneeded, needs to fall away. We need to let go.

Step 2: We reintegrate, re-compose ourselves. We bring all the pieces back together, all that we’ve put on hold, all the new parts that we have not yet fully expressed.

Step 3: The Divine enters in. A portal opens, through our bodies.

Step 4: We are reborn.

Take away any of these steps and rebirth is not possible.

So stop. Take a look at yourself and at your life. Where are you in the process of birth and rebirth? Are you miscarrying? Are you in preterm labor? Has your gestation reached full-term? Are you post-due?

Are you in the process of letting go? Are you resisting death and disintegration? Are you struggling with reintegration? Are you allowing the divine to enter in? Is your portal open or closed? Are you reborn?

This post is a part of Awakening: The spring wisdom series. See more wonderful posts on Amy Oscar's blog.

The Transformational Power of Menopause

Hear my radio interview with Irina Wardas about
The Transformational Power of Menopause here.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Lost and Found in Linear Time, Revisited

I shared a conversation with two dear friends tonight about linear time, or, rather, the absence of. We hadn’t glanced at the time once, and in the blink of an eye, more than four hours had passed. I remembered a previous blog post I had written about stepping out of linear time; they requested that I repost it. I wrote the original within a few days of hearing Caroline Myss talk about stepping out of linear time and of watching the season finale of Lost. Here’s a slightly updated version:

I recently realized that midlife has much more in common with adolescence than just hormones. Sure, my face has been breaking out, and it’s the first time in thirty years that I’ve had to watch my weight. But, I also find my mind drifting back to my younger years. As a child I had (the illusion of) huge blocks of unscheduled time. I would read for days, often staying up all night to finish dime store romances. My family spent three months each summer at our mountain cabin. I played the piano for hours on end. I lost track of time; I seemed to have all the time in the world. My mother was careful not to fill our childhood days. My heart and breath constrict when my friends list the activity-packed lives of their children. “More is better--structure is better” has hit even our preschools. Little three and four-year old lives are filled with organized controlled stations forcing them to “play” in socially-specified ways.

Linear time monopolized my life from medical school onward. To be honest, for eight years, I didn’t have a life. After I completed my residency, I attempted to re-create what I had as a child--three months off annually. I worked part-time and traveled to Greece, but eventually ended up in a high-powered full-time position that almost ended me. As soon as I completed my board exams and paid back my student loans (which took only two highly-motivated years) I moved to Maine. There, I worked part-time and, with the help of the four seasons, slowed down. Once again I was reading, practically every night. I was meditating, shamanic journeying, learning from mystics, immersing myself in nature, and living the hermetic life. I loved it. I was reminded of something…me! Then I moved to Greece and became a hermit of a different sort, surrounded by community.

When I returned to California, four years later, linear time once again took over my life. It wasn’t until I hit forty-nine that I suddenly yearned to travel backwards. At midlife, my life once again stood still.

The Greeks have different words for different types of time. Leslie Keenan discusses these in her wonderful book, It’s About Time. Many Americans are aware of only one type of time, the linear kind. There are unaware of the space between time, that of deep stillness and silence.

I love stillness. I love quiet. It may make me a difficult neighbor, but it feeds my soul. If you are running non-stop, if you fall asleep before you can complete your prayers, if quiet and stillness make you uncomfortable, if you are one of the people who asked me what I did for eighteen months when I lived in Greece, or if I was bored or lonely when I lived in Maine, then you may be missing out on important gifts from non-linear time—regenerative capabilities, intuitive and archetypal wisdom, spiritual guidance, creative birthing, lightening-speed change--just to name a few.

Consider, for one non-linear moment, time as multidimensional, collapsing on itself. Think circles rather than straight lines; then think multi-dimensional. Think folds, like genetic structures. Think past lives, archetypal experiences, different times cycling back on each other. Think the TV show Lost during its last season—and if you did to see it, remember what happened to the characters that were passing through time too rapidly? That’s right--bloody noses and headaches followed by death! Packing more and more into linear time has the same devastating effects as jumping rapidly from point to point in time. Both result in our being lost in time. If all we get are bloody noses or headaches, then we’re getting off easy.

If you happen to be lost in linear time, the following are a few places where you may be found:

1. Become aware of your breath (never seems to work for me, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t work for you!).
2. Focus on your senses (Come to your senses!).
3. Focus on now—not past, not future.
4. Immerse yourself in something you love, something you’re passionate about, or in someone you love or are passionate about.
5. Connect with nature.
6. Receive body work—massage, acupuncture, or other forms of energy work.
7. Practice regression hypnotherapy.
8. Create a meditation or prayer practice.
9. Be still; be quiet.
10. Create rituals.

My favorite ways to step out of linear time (not in any particular order):

1.Taking a walk
2. Prayer, stillness, quiet
3. Regression meditation
4. Listening to music
5. Playing the piano
6. Reading a good book
7. Traveling to Greece
8. Writing
9. Creating jewelry
10. Spending time with special friends and family (especially children!)

What are your favorite ways? I invite you to step out of linear time and find yourself again!

Recommended Resources:

1. Caroline Myss’ book Defy Gravity and Hay House Radio talks
2. Leslie Keenan’s book It’s About Time
3. Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now
4. The last season of Lost
5. Brian Weiss’ books, such as Many Lives Many Masters, and his regression CDs, such as Spiritual Progress Through Regression

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love is Love is Love

I left my heart...
For me, it’s all the same. Mother. Sibling. Child. Lover. Friend. Partner. Love is love is love. The feeling is the same. The way I express my love may differ, but it feels the same. It’s centered in my heart. Second chakra is generative. It is the home of our creative desire.

But love connects through the fourth chakra. Spirit merges with the human body through love, through the heart.

My three-year-old nephew understood this better than any adult. He asked, “Auntie Becca, why do you have to go to Greece?” and I answered, “It doesn’t matter where I am, how far away, because I’ll always be right here.” I touched his heart.

I send to you the glorious smile that radiated out of his face, the love that came pouring out of his little body. He understood what we so easily forget.

Love is always here. A heartbeat away.

Happy Valentine's Day! Wishing you much love and joy in 2011.

**Read other Love Sparks Blogging Festival posts here!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Case for Aquamarine Blue...or, Stifling Creativity

Before I start, a disclaimer: I adore teachers, even the ones who are bad at their job. Both my parents were teachers. My mother went back to school in her fifties to obtain a PhD in Education and then used it to teach teachers how to teach! So, please don’t misunderstand my intention. As you know, certain experiences in our childhood have great influence over us, and a seemingly insignificant incident from the first grade haunts me still.

It involved a color and an art assignment. It also involved creativity, freedom of expression (or lack there-of), and the misuse of power.
The simple fact that I, at the ripe age of fifty-one, still remember it, vividly, tells me it was anything but insignificant. A second fact, that this event involved a (once) beloved teacher, is even more horrifying. Children are vulnerable. When the adults they adore mistreat or hurt them, well…you can see why so many of us end up with messed up relationships and low self-esteem.

It was a simple thing. We were given an art assignment.
Media: pastel chalks. Advised color: aquamarine blue.

I don’t know if I needed blue for the sea or for the sky, but my teacher told me to use aquamarine blue. (Why she found it necessary to dictate my blue color choice, I don’t know. But, suffice to say, there were probably underlying control issues going on. Certainly something she could get away with in a room full of six-year-olds.)

So, I carefully checked all of the different blues and used aquamarine blue. What happened next is embedded in my memory. When I proudly showed my teacher my art piece she raised her voice, “I told you to use aquamarine blue, Rebecca!” I, a perfectionist at the age of six, was horrified and ashamed.

Now, I’m sure many of you are wondering what on earth is wrong with me, talking about aquamarine blue and the hurt I experienced at six because I wasn’t allowed to create an art piece, while other children in our world are suffering horrendous abuse. This is exactly my point. If something so small and seemingly insignificant still holds a piece of my brain property, what other occupied real estate is close by?

Perhaps this wasn’t just one woman’s need to control her first-graders. Perhaps this was an early indoctrination of following the rules (in a society in which the rules are mixed up), and then getting into trouble for following them! Perhaps this was a reflection of the devaluation of the creative, of the arts. Perhaps this was a mandate against personal expression and dissenting opinions.

I wonder, do you have any early experiences, seemingly insignificant, that still haunt you?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Guest Appearance on Everyday Spirituality Radio Show

If you would like to hear more about trans-solutions, resolutions and transformation in 2011, you can hear part of my talk with Melanie DewBerry Jones on her radio show, Everyday Spirituality, from Monday January 3, 2011 here.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Year’s Trans-solutions

This time, I’ve tossed New Year’s Resolutions out the window. Instead, I’m going to make New Year's Trans-solutions. Why? Because the usual resolutions, the usual solutions, just aren’t going to work in 2011. Our present time is defined by a multitude of changes and high stakes.

What’s called for? Transformation on all levels. These last two years have brought extensive and prolonged deconstruction. All around us, previously established structures are falling, and the ones that haven’t yet are ready to topple.

This isn’t just about letting go and moving on; this is about carefully rummaging through the rubble and recycling what we can in new and innovative ways. What is called for is restructuring. This requires creative solutions. Personally, resolutions don’t feel appropriate. They sound too permanent, unyielding, conservative, and conventional to be useful. They don’t feel appropriate on a global level, either.

Qualities that do feel appropriate, both personally and globally, are transmutation and transformation—so how about trans-solutions?

Definition? Solutions that are relevant, flexible, creative, transitional, and transformative. Solutions that can grow with us. Solutions that are, by their very nature, unconventional.

Wow! Do you feel the difference? When I hear the word resolution my gut and chest tighten. This word constricts. Perhaps this is because most New Year’s resolutions fail. In contrast, the (albeit, made-up) word trans-solution, carries expansive energy. Trans-solutions, by definition, cannot fail, because, in times of great change, they are essential to our survival. What trans-solutions lay in your 2011 path?

Let us know. I’m off to contemplate mine.

*Would you like to hear more about trans-solutions, resolutions and transformation in 2011?
I was Melanie DewBerry Jones' guest on her radio show, Everyday Spirituality, "Resolute THIS!" on Monday January 3, 2010 4pm PST. You may listen to part of it here.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Without Cycles

I lucked out. I was headed to Chris Guillebeau’s Unconventional Book Tour for The Art of Non-Conformity, by myself, at night, in the traffic and the pouring rain. (Chris Guillebeau is an amazing soul. I’ve named him a Freedom Teacher of this generation. Check him out!) The usual twenty-minute trip took over an hour. And as I was madly wiping off the windshield steam (note to self: apply that anti-fog stuff that’s sitting in the back of the car) and had lost the ability to daydream (dangerous move, given the weather and traffic), I felt myself slipping into regret and, then, dragging myself out of it. Pep talk time. Chris will be amazing. He’s such an inspiration. It will be well-worth it. (…if you make it there alive…Go away, saboteur!).

I lucked out. Not because I made it there alive (although I am truly grateful), and not because Chris exceeded all expectations (he did), but because one of my dear friends, Marjory Mejia (@sacredflow), showed up. I saw a flash of her, in the darkly-lit room, and, then, as quickly as she appeared, she disappeared, and I thought I was hallucinating. You see, she had told me that she wouldn’t be able to make it, because she was attending a women’s conference. But there she was. When I expressed surprise, she answered, her hot Peruvian blood boiling, “I can’t believe what that doctor was telling us!” Say what? What doctor? She continued [paraphrased]: “At the conference. She was saying that it was okay for women to skip their periods, to not have any bleeding. Not just okay, but that it was preferable. She said there was a lower risk of ovarian cancer when women are on hormonal suppression. That’s ridiculous! Like we’re all supposed to not have periods!”

She was so upset I couldn’t get a word in. I nodded in agreement. Ah, yes, the predominant M.O. of our American society. Obtain study results that show a lower incidence of ovarian cancer (true, a deadly cancer, but, also true, an unlikely one), and healthcare professionals and individuals alike are more than willing to support the hormonal suppression of most women’s cycles. Evidently, this doctor’s talk about the benefits of contraception had morphed into a plug for hormonal-based contraceptives (such as birth control pills and the hormone-containing IUDs).

It was difficult for me to stay out of reactive mode. It wasn’t too long ago that I shared my friend’s heated reaction. In fact, in my talks, I often use our society’s willingness to override or suppress our menstrual cycles as an example of how out of balance the masculine and feminine have become. This strange position we hold seems even stranger after my frequent trips to Greece. Greek women are quite hesitant to place anything foreign in their bodies-- oral contraceptives, IUDs, tampons even! [To my healthcare colleagues: please do not conclude erroneously that I am against contraception. Quite the contrary. I wholly support contraceptive choice and feel they can be credited for empowering women and, equally important, conscious conception. I’ve seen far too many women with undesired pregnancies and motherhood.]

I find it fascinating how easily we, as a society, are willing to override the natural cycles of our bodies for the sake of convenience, that our everyday lives have become so out of balance (i.e., out of control) that this is our “best” alternative. I had this very same discussion with my acupuncturist many years ago, when he noticed, while taking my pulse, an imbalance in the energy related to my cycles. Then he remembered I was on the pill, and said “Oh, that’s right. You’re on the pill.” I was, understandably, alarmed that he could detect something out of balance because of the pill, and asked him if I should discontinue it. I will never forget his answer: “Because the situation you are in right now (residency) is so abnormal, your body on the pill is probably in a more natural state than off, so, no, I wouldn’t advise you discontinue them at this time.”

The cycles of our bodies and of our lives are so important that I am devoting an entire third of my book project to just this. Our current state is so out of whack that being on the pill can be more beneficial to our bodies than being off. This speaks to the conditions of our lives and the choices we make. True, being a health and wellness renegade isn’t easy. Everything conspires against us. Furthermore, using medications to treat an underlying imbalance is usually, at best, a secondary or tertiary cure. Often, it does not address the underlying cause. It’s like my childhood friend, an insulin-dependent diabetic, who used to increase her insulin dose to cover her triple dose of candy.

To make different choices from those dictated by the conventionally-structured world takes courage, or desperation, or both. This is where our conversation about overriding our cycles actually overlapped with the content of Chris Guillebeau’s talk.

Hmmm. Funny how that happens.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

2010: Year of the Moon –Year of Women

This is the time of year when we review 2010 and prepare for 2011.

Two thousand ten. There is so much that can be said.

It was a wild and crazy year. Massive change. Most of us were thrown out of our comfort zone, pushed to the edge.

Did you jump? Or did you get pushed off?

Those were the only two choices in 2010.

And we made it through to arrive at the total lunar eclipse on the winter solstice, an event last visible in North America in 1638! Monumental!

This eclipse sums up the year for me:

Magical. There is something awesome about a total lunar eclipse. It brings out the mystical in each of us. In times of great darkness magic appears.

Unexpected. Our weather forecast included clouds and rain. The irregular dance of the clouds revealed and concealed the progression of the shadowed moon. Minutes after the sky turned completely dark, the clouds suddenly parted, revealing a bright burnt-orange colored sphere. Our weather and our lives have become unpredictable. We are learning to expect the unexpected.

Earthly. Yes, earthly. The moon became the color of the red-orange earth, reminding us that this constantly changing orb is intricately connected to our earth and to us.

Feminine. We think of the moon as feminine, but, in fact, the ancients credited the moon with both feminine and masculine qualities. 2010 was a year in which women played more dominant roles, and the plight of women, world-wide, gained unprecedented attention. The seemingly opposite and cyclical properties of the moon remind us that bringing the feminine back into balance means bringing the masculine into balance as well.

Cyclical. This year, more than any year before it, we have become acutely aware of the cycles of life and death, how everything is connected. There is a time to expand and a time to contract. Unrestricted growth can no longer be supported at all cost. Dissolution and restructuring are a necessary part of growth.

Light. With great darkness comes great light. 2010 was a year of great darkness and of great light. Within the shadow, watch for the light.

Missed it? Watch it here:

Want more? You're not alone.
Here are some of my fav Lunar Eclipse/Winter Solstice posts:

Visionary  artist, writer, and feng shui consultant Marjory Mejia on her Sacred Flow site:  Winter Solstice and Rebirth 

Karen Sharp’s Sister Moon

Life and relationship coach, leader, writer and musician Kathy Loh: Winter Solstice Surrender - Into the Light