Finding the Sacred When I’m Struggling to Survive

Early this year, I reworked my entire website, changing the look and adding pages with headings I felt were more authentically me. I also recreated my mailing list links and added them to all pages, with the intent of sharing information and resources on a very regular basis. Then came the COVID pandemic, lockdown, and the complete upheaval of all the illusions of stability. And so here I find myself, firmly in November, feeling this need to write a blog post that is highly inspirational and insightful, when my life is still dominated by my struggle to survive.

It is hard to find that calm within, so hard to center and find that sacred within and  in my life, when I’m worrying about whether I can pay my rent. I was speaking to a friend last night about this and she said, “do you think you’re the only person who is feeling this way?” And that question made me realize that I was working so hard to maintain this “professional” image on my website, my blog, and all of my social media, that I was doing an incredible disservice to you and myself.  Hiding helps no one, and by not sharing the realities of these months and how they have, and still, are affecting me, I perpetuate the illusion that I am alone in this…and that you are too. 

The reality is…this year has been hard. I live alone, and these months of solitude have taken a toll. Now I’m a person who loves their alone time, but this has been extreme. My businesses came to a standstill in March and have yet to recover. My grad school went to completely remote classes, requiring internet and a good computer. In these months I have had multiple times when I was on the edge of eviction. I have been so incredibly thankful for food pantries, because without them I would’ve had no food to eat. And I don’t even want to talk about how overdue so many of my bills are. Or how close I am to losing my car. I know that so many people have been dealing with these same issues, or worse. And I haven’t even mentioned the exhaustion that comes with months of fear of this novel coronavirus, political drama, and multi-faceted civil unrest…let alone decades of white supremacy, racism, ableism, colonialism, and exclusion. 

So, as I struggle to survive, it takes so much more effort to find my center, to find the sacred within and in the world around me. But desperate times call for desperate measures, eh? These are some of the practices I’ve added to my life this year to help me: 

  • Gratitude — it can be so challenging to be grateful when the struggle is so overwhelming. Taking a pause to be authentically grateful for what I do have brings me to the present, to what IS, right now, in this moment. 
  • Breath — I know, this might seem silly. We breathe all the time without even thinking about it. But, I have respiratory issues, and with stress they get so much worse. I started a yoga teacher training in July and learning multiple pranayama practices has helped me immensely. My favorites are nadi shodhana (alternate nostril breathing) and kumbhaka (retention of breath). And a slow, deep inhale with a slow, noisy exhale tells your brain that it is not in an emergency situation, allowing it to tell your body to calm. I’ve taught myself to do this almost automatically when my anxiety and stress level gets high, and it helps more than you might imagine. 
  • Community — early on in the lockdown, I realized how lonely I was and that I needed to do something about that. On really bad days, I often forgot that I actually had friends or any type of community whatsoever. So, I made an extra effort to reach out to far away friends and family through phone calls and text messages. My seminary at One Spirit Learning Alliance started adding weekly Gatherings and I made an effort to attend. I attended monthly Ecstatic Dance gatherings via Zoom through my seminary. I reached out to my Sister Goddess community and rejoined a women’s Avalonian Goddess tradition. When I write it, it looks like overkill, but I needed and still need them all. 
  • Meditation — this is a constant struggle for me, but something I work at because I know how much more centered and calm I feel afterwards. Because I have a very busy mind, guided meditation works better for me. I can focus on the words to still my mind. Silent meditation isn’t as easy, though I now find that I crave that silence, a break from the worries and fears around survival.  
  • Nature and Animals — I currently live in an apartment community, and with the pandemic I now rarely leave my apartment. So I can now tell how big a change in my mood, my stress level, my overall energy, just opening my windows or walking outside makes. I am such an animal person and sadly do not have any living in my home right now, so just walking to the dumpsters and taking the time to stop and watch squirrels or listen to the various birds talking in the trees brings such incredible joy deep inside of me. 
  • Music and Dancing — I’ll tell you a secret. I think I was born dancing. But for so many years, I lived in environments where I could not play music or dance freely. So when I moved into my current apartment, I still had this fear around playing music. It took until a few months ago, when my aloneness piled heavily on top of my survival fears, that I finally decided to play music aloud in my home. When the music plays, and my body moves, I am in such a place of  joy. I don’t understand why I deny myself that, and have for so long. 

None of these are magic answers to my survival struggle, but they have helped me to stay somewhat sane, and to find that calm and centered place inside where I know the Sacred can then and there be Seen, Felt, and Known. In these activities, I can suddenly Know the Sacred outside of me as well as inside.  Sometimes I only see it for a brief second, but that second is like a healing balm on my most painful, wounded places. And with that healing, I am able to stay centered longer, more present, more grounded and rooted…and I passionately believe that the more I heal and grow, the closer I am to releasing this state of suffering, this seemingly unending struggle to survive. 

How are you feeling today? Are you struggling to survive as well? Where has this years struggles taken you on a deeper level? Do you have any powerful tools to help you find the Sacred? 

Unexpected Life Changes

Unexpected Life Changes

Life has been pushing me hard in the past few months and the last few weeks have stepped up the pressure, with both personal crisis and the health of a family member across the country from me.  This convergence of personal and family issues is forcing me to make the decision I did not want to make–leaving NY.

For me, the Universe started by sending these little hints that things were shifting.  Dreams…comments by strangers…. emotions…and memories coming like a breeze blowing by with a hint of a far off place riding along.  Then things I’d set in motion slowly began to come to a stop. I’m a bit stubborn sometimes and did not want to see what I was being told, but as a spiritual person working my own journey of Reawakening, now is the perfect time to listen and act with Love and Purpose.

I have enjoyed my time here in NY, and most especially here in Brooklyn. Thank you for all that I have learned and experienced during this piece of my Journey and my work with each of you.

I will still be available for Massage Sessions until August 16th. Email me at ReAwakenThroughTouch@gmail.com ASAP to book a session.

I wish you all the very best on your own Journey towards Reawakening!

In Service ✴DAWNNYC

New Services!

pregnancy-clipart-img_b2301912aa1Pregnancy Massage + Birth Doula

I am so very excited to announce New Services by Dawn Welburn LMT here at ReAwaken Through Touch. I have spent the past few months in intense study and workshops for both Pregnancy Massage and Birth Doula and am in the last stages of the certification processes. I am so pleased to now be able to offer these Services to the women in the NYC Metro  community.

Both Pregnancy Massage and Birth Doula are Services that have you, the Mother, at the center. Knowledge of the physiological changes within the body from the time of conception through 3 months Postpartum are at the core of this work and the safety of Mom and Baby at its forefront.  Services are Integrative and Individualized for each client, as with all of my other services which I provide. My vision is to assist you in having a safe, comfortable, joyful and pleasurable organic birth experience.

For more information, please take a look at the specific pages on the website for each of the services or contact Dawn at ReAwakenThroughTouch@gmail.com.

Allergies anyone?!

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Today was a particularly rough day for me and my constant companions, ALLERGIES.   I often joke that I have sensitive skin EVERYWHERE, but it is far from a joke. The surface of my outer skin has proved itself to be incredibly sensitive  to chemicals, making everything from lotions, shampoos, deodorants and soaps to laundry detergents, clothing, and sunscreens, a treacherous experience. The surfaces on the insides of my body, today most particularly my entire respiratory systems surfaces, are just as sensitive with often more frightening reactions.  It amazes me, every single time, how swiftly my body can move from detecting a smell or sensation, to swelling, itching, wheezing and struggling to breathe.

The Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America (www.aafa.org) gives information and statistics on allergies in the US:

  • Allergy is characterized by an overreaction of the human immune system to a foreign protein substance (“allergen”) that is eaten, breathed into the lungs, injected or touched. This immune overreaction can results in symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose and scratchy throat. In severe cases it can also result in rashes, hives, lower blood pressure, difficulty breathing, asthma attacks, and even death.
  • Allergy is the 5th leading chronic disease in the U.S. among all ages, and the 3rd most common chronic disease among children under 18 years old
  •  An estimated 50 million Americans suffer from all types of allergies (1 in 5 Americans) including indoor/outdoor, food & drug, latex, insect, skin and eye allergies. Allergy prevalence overall has been increasing since the early 1980s across all age, sex and racial groups.

AAFA_AsthmaAndAllergies_BarGraph_final-Smallfrom http://www.aafa.org

Wow, that is a lot of people struggling with these same allergy issues!  In many life situations, I find that I feel alone, surrounded by people that have no understanding of what I am going through in my body. I want you to know that I understand. Let me repeat myself. I UNDERSTAND.

That is why in my Massage practice, I strive to be as ALLERGEN FREE as I can and will make whatever additional changes that need to be made to provide you with a safe and relaxing space for your bodywork. I personally use almost entirely scent free body products on myself, so I will NOT be carrying fragrance allergens. The lotion that I use for massage is unscented, hypoallergenic and USDA Certified Organic. I also do what I can to keep the space I work in as clean and scent free as possible. If you have specific allergy issues and needs please contact me prior to your session so that we can work together to create a trigger free massage experience for you.

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New Moon. New Year. Its Your Time to ReAwaken.

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I can feel it. Can you?  That sparkle of a new beginning, a new day, a new opportunity to know and grow.  I believe PASSIONATELY in the power of Touch to reawaken you to the wonders of YOU, giving you the knowledge of self through both reconnecting to YOU and rediscovering all of those fabulous bits and pieces that are YOU.  It may not be as easy or pain free as it reads, but trust me-YOU are worth the investment!

I want to assist you in this great journey.  There is no better time than NOW to get started! From TODAY through February 2, 2015,  purchase a  package of 5  Massage Sessions and I will include 2 hours of Private Massage Instruction OR  2 hours of Private Meditation Instruction.

To purchase a 5 Massage Session Package of 60 Minutes Each, Click Here                               To purchase a 5 Massage Session Package of 90 Minutes Each, Click Here

Lets make this year YOUR time to ReAwaken!

These Two Hands…

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My hands are my primary means of self expression within my world. If you are here at ReAwaken Through Touch, you know that one avenue of that expression is my massage work. Did you know that I also create genuine stone and sterling silver beaded jewelry? 
I have many pieces now on my Etsy site Dawn Welburn Jewelry. I believe passionately in the power of genuine stones to aid in healing and strive to facilitate your healing through the multi-faceted touch of my jewelry creations. In addition to the jewelry on my site, I also create custom order pieces.  Contact me at DawnWelburnJewelry@gmail.com for more information or through Etsy at Dawn Welburn Jewelry.                                          

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Weight Loss and Bodywork

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There are many benefits one can gain from adding massage therapy into their weight loss plans. One of the effects briefly mentioned in the article I have linked below, is the mental or emotional benefits of having someone, your massage therapist, as a safe and trusted supporter who accepts your body without judgment.

I have found massage to be more than just a vehicle for acceptance from another, but THE road to self acceptance. For me, my extreme weight gain was a way to hide from the world and most importantly from my self. Fat was an excellent place to hide. The more years and the more weight, the more I detached from my body. For longer than I can now remember, I only looked at myself in a mirror from a point just above my breasts to the top of my head. I had absolutely no idea of the condition or size of my body.  I am sure this sounds unbelievable, especially if you’ve never been in that place of disliking yourself and your life choices to the extent that I did.

When I began my studies in Massage Therapy, I had absolutely no idea of how life changing the process would be. Giving and receiving massage every week for two years, was some of the hardest and most amazing experiences of my life. I was determined to do the work, even though the level of body awareness required of me seemed impossible at times. I was forced to get to know my own body, to better know the bodies of others. In the reconnecting with my body, I reconnected to my self.

In the 6 years since I began my studies in clinical massage therapy, I have lost around 75 lbs. I did not use any diet or weight loss program, nor did I begin any new exercise regimen. For me personally, massage brought me back into my self and made me aware of my body on a level I have possibly never known. Through massage, I learned to accept my body and before I knew it, that acceptance turned to love.  My exercise and eating changes came about slowly, through this rediscovered love for my body and my desire to live and love life.

Take a look at this article from the 2010 issue of Body Sense from MassageTherapy.com : Weight Loss and Bodywork || Massage Therapy Articles.

How Can I Help You?

Investing in Massage is an investment in your health. All sessions are individually designed around the needs, goals and concerns of YOU.

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My energy and massage bodywork are extremely Calming, Soothing and Nurturing. Because of this energy, my Services are especially suited to individuals in need of a slower pace, giving time to adjust and trust.

I specialize in services for everyone including those living with stress, anxiety, chronic pain, terminal illnesses, domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, trauma, and chemical dependencies.

All of my massage sessions are Individualized and Integrative. Here are some of the types of massage that may be included in your sessions:

Deep Tissue Massage
Swedish Massage
Sports Massage
Medical Massage
Integrative Massage
Therapeutic Massage
Relaxation Massage
Post-Natal Massage
Acupressure

Your sessions with me may also include services such as:  Focused Breathing, Chakra Clearing, Stretching, Reflexology, Aromatherapy, Energy Work, and more.

Please discuss with me your needs and goals for each session. Massage works best when we work as a team united in our vision.

 Massage Rates:

30 Minutes   $60

60 Minutes   $100

90 Minutes   $140

Massage Packages:
Buy 4 and get 1 free!

30 Minutes   $240

60 Minutes   $400

90 Minutes   $560

* If your financial situation is keeping you from the bodywork you need, do not hesitate to contact me. Lets see if we can come up with a solution!

*Payment may be made by CASH or Credit Card at the time of your session OR in advance through PayPal.   Please contact me to schedule PRIOR to making a payment through Paypal. 

In Her Service

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As some of you may have realized upon discovering and exploring my website, massage therapy itself is not the main purpose of my Work. Although it has dominated both the site and my life for years, the primary focus or vision behind my work and my site has been to facilitate ones journey into the interconnected and cyclic work of ReAwaken, ReDiscover and ReConnect.

During my personal work on this journey in the past month, my meditations and ruminations have brought forth an important message or theme for my work going forward. An integral piece of my life and my journey is my ever evolving relationship and service to Goddess. She is the inspiration and driving force of my massage work, volunteer endeavors, activism, and ReAwaken vision. I have realized that it is now time to once again share both my personal relationship with Goddess and to facilitate a relationship with Her for those who desire and need Her in their life.

I will soon be adding new Pages to my website and new Services and Workshops. Some of these will be: Goddess Exploration Workshop and Group; ReAwaken Group for Women (and those who self identify as women); New Power of Touch Workshop and Group; Meditation; and Private instruction on all subjects.  If you are interested in participating in these offerings or have any questions on these or any of my other Services or Offerings, please feel free to contact me at ReAwakenThroughTouch@gmail.com.

Many years ago, I was asked to participate in a Service about Goddess at the UUCD in Danbury, Connecticut. Here is a piece I wrote for that Service:

Many people talk about Goddess, Goddess Energy and awakening their inner Goddess.

They call themselves a Goddess or talk about finding their Cooking Goddess, Sex Goddess or Shopping Goddess.

Goddess is often intellectualized and talked about in scholarly or fictional and mythological terms.

BUT, to truly awaken your inner Goddess-to really fully embrace and empower this Divine Feminine within-you have to first really Know who and what Goddess is.

She is inside of you, and outside.
Both the One and the 10,001
She is the Sun and the Moon
The Dark and the Light
Your Daughter, Your Mother
Your Sister, Your Lover

I Hear Her song from the birds in the trees, I Smell Her in the early morning air, I Feel Her in the raging winds and I See Her EVERYWHERE-in Everything and Everyone. She is the interconnectedness of ALL.

In Her Service,
Dawn Welburn