What is Healing?

Spring Snow
Spring Snow

What is Healing?

The word healing comes from the Anglo-Saxon word “haelen”, which means to be or become whole. Balance, resonate and heal are all words for the same concept.

To heal and to cure are not the same thing. You can cure or “fix” the physical body, but total healing involves the entire person – not just their physical body. Healing involves balancing and integrating a person’s thoughts, emotions, beliefs and spirit. In practice, the only difference between cure and heal may be about intent; does your doctor, healer, sage, or therapist intend to heal body, mind, heart and spirit? Or just fix your body’s symptoms?

I believe that healing involves reconnecting with what is amazing about ourselves. So I don’t focus on just stopping some symptom or pain in my Elemental Flow sessions.  Flow healing is about transformation; it’s about digging in, and bringing joy and passion up to the surface . And it’s about learning how to live authentically from a space of joy. My goal is to blaze a new trail that cuts through the craziness of the world, and helps each of us find our way home.


“Healthy tissue flows with juice. A healthy person flows with joy.
And a healthy life flows from one adventure to the next.
Flow is at the heart of all healing and transformation.”
~Nancy Lankston

When you picture health, think wet, juicy and mobile. Imagine clean flowing fluids. Immobile, stiff body parts are signs of distress; To stay healthy, living cells require oxygen and nourishment flowing in and waste flowing out. Tissues with poor flow will eventually manifest disease in one form or another. 
Any part of your life where you are stuck in mental, emotional or spiritual discomfort or dis-ease – any place where you choose to ignore, stuff  or disconnect from your discomfort will eventually create tense, stuck places in the body as well. Each unresolved issue is a potential illness in your future. 

The Poetry of Pain

Many times, pain is the only way that your body has been able to get your attention. Believe it or not, those physical and emotional pains that you are experiencing are actually your body’s way of trying to help you find your way home.

I find that at the heart of most chronic struggles, pains and illness, lies an emotional or spiritual issue that you have been ignoring or avoiding. Those issues that are too painful to face have a direct link to the chronic pains you experience in your body.  As Wilhelm Reich, psychoanalyst turned bodyworker, described it, “our issues are in our tissues.”  When you uncover the underlying issue or emotion and deal with it, then your symptoms will resolve. 

After 25+ years in the “healing” profession, I continued to be stunned and awed by the miraculous workings of the human body. It is as though our bodies hold all the knowledge of the world’s most gifted sages and healers.  The wisdom of the ages is held there within our cells.  The trick is to figure out how to access all that knowledge; to decipher our body’s language.

Bodies never lie and they always know what the real problem is. The trick is to learn how to reconnect with your body’s natural language. Bodies speak in metaphor and poetry. And your body poem will be uniquely your own.  Learning to read your signs is key. Chronic migraines, back pain, that trick knee; learn to listen to your body closely and you will uncover what your body is really upset about. 

The Power of Belief

What you personally believe about yourself and your world dramatically influences the way you feel and how you heal. If you believe that you need surgery to repair the herniated disc in your back, then you will need surgery before your back will get better.  If you believe your colds always turn into sinus infections unless you take an antibiotic, then guess what? Your next cold is quite likely to turn into a sinus infection! And if you believe that you can’t get a more fulfilling job, then you probably never will. Cling to the belief that your life can never improve and it won’t.

Rigid rules and strongly held beliefs have a huge impact on your physical health; those thoughts of “I have to do it this way”,  “things won’t ever change” and “I’m not allowed to do that”  actually create tense, tight places in your body where healing flow is not allowed to go. Learning to change your mind and drop rigid rules and judgmental thinking will help you heal and transform your life.

Soul Food

Your physical body needs food to survive. And your soul needs quiet contemplation or prayer. Feed your soul regularly. Your heart requires regular loving connection with other beings; human, spiritual and animal beings. Never underestimate the healing power of a friend just sitting and listening to you – or an animal cuddling with you. And don’t discount the value of playing in the grass or communing with an old tree. Healing comes in all shapes and sizes; use them all!  

Follow your heart and feed your Soul regularly. And remember to feed your mind with hopeful, uplifting ideas and images. If you want to be truly happy and healthy, present your mind with joyful words and images. Perhaps watching the Kardashian sisters fight again isn’t always the best entertainment choice. 🙂  

Today’s choices create tomorrow’s reality.

It’s an Inside Job

No one can change your life or your health except you. There may be a drug, a doctor, a shaman, a sound, an herb, or a specific therapy that helps you heal or shift in some way. But all healing and transformation ultimately comes from within you.  Don’t expect any drug or any person to “fix” you. Find therapists and teachers who help you uncover your own sense of knowing, your own sense of yourself. And in the process, you will uncover how to heal yourself.  Your path of healing and transformation will be as unique as your fingerprints. Honor yourself and follow the path that feels right to you.


Nancy Lankston   –   Flow    Heal    Bloom

Use What You’re Given

Soup’s On

“Every situation, no matter how challenging, is conspiring
to bring you home to you.” ~Panache Desai

A nasty February blizzard is cooking outside – the wind is blowing so hard that the snow is not falling to the ground so much as blowing south horizontally.  I watch it blow like stink and Thank God for indoor plumbing… Can you imagine having to wade out to an outhouse in this??!

So, what goes best with a blizzard? It’s definitely den time with the family.  And I find myself craving soup. Yes, soup sounds yummy. But I hadn’t really planned on making soup this weekend. I didn’t buy soup fixin’s… what to do? what to do?  Hmmm, maybe I can use what I’ve been given and rustle up some soup anyway. I love a challenge.   🙂

After rummaging through the refrigerator, here’s what went into the soup this morning:

1/2 onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 cup fresh spinach leaves     I live on greens – my nickname around here is Popeye, so I always have spinach or kale or something green in the fridge

1/2 roast chicken, bones removed, skin tossed in to make broth     This is leftover roast chicken from 5 nights ago. I bought it when I didn’t feel like cooking
1/2 lime, juiced     I’ve never put this in soup before, so it’s purely experimental
1 Clove garlic     Required – my hubby LOVES pretty much anything with garlic in it
Salt and Pepper

In an hour I’ll pull out the chicken skin, add water and toss in 1 cup rice, 1 tsp. dried lemongrass and let it simmer a few minutes longer. The smell is already filling the house and making my mouth water!

 Use what you’re given is an idea from a little book, Instructions to the Cook, written by Glassman & Fields. These two Zen practitioners ran charities that provided food and housing for the homeless on a shoestring budget for years. So they know all about creating something special from whatever you’re given. And their little book has inspired me on many occasions to stop, take a deep breath and figure out how to happily use whatever life is giving me in this moment.

“Life always gives us 
exactly the teacher we need 
at every moment. 
This includes every mosquito, 
every misfortune, 
every red light, 
every traffic jam, 
every obnoxious supervisor (or employee), 
every illness, every loss, 
every moment of joy or depression, 
every addiction, 
every piece of garbage, 
every breath. 

Every moment is the guru.”

 ~Charlotte Joko Beck
Use what you’re given.
Every moment can be bliss or shit – you choose.

Tiny Trim Tab Ripples

Tiny Tree in Vast Sky

When I look around me, the world appears to be quite a mess; news of fiscal cliffs, disasters and every kind of human and planetary suffering abound.  I see a world teeming with negativity and fear. And many people seem to wallow in fear day after day with no way out.

If I allow myself to spiral into fear and worry, I can end up wallowing in pain and pessimism all day long. And when I get stuck in worry and fear, I can’t help myself  or anyone else; my personal angst only adds more pain to the world.

I am reminded of Buckminster Fuller’s story.  In his 30’s, Buckminster became quite depressed about how his life was going. He felt guilty about how much he drank and how he had neglected his family. He felt like a complete failure and thought about killing himself. But one day, he asked himself if he had truly tried.  And he decided to turn the rest of his life into an experiment.

“Something hit me very hard once, thinking about what one little man could do. Think of the Queen Mary — the whole ship goes by and then comes the rudder. And there’s a tiny thing at the edge of the rudder called a trim tab. It’s a miniature rudder. Just moving the little trim tab builds a low pressure that pulls the rudder around. Takes almost no effort at all. 

So I said that the little individual can be a trim tab. Society thinks it’s going right by you, that it’s left you altogether. But if you’re doing dynamic things mentally, the fact is that you can just put your foot out like that and the whole big ship of state is going to go. So I said, call me Trim Tab.”
~Buckminster Fuller 

 Buckminster went on to become an internationally renowned designer. He decided that he could be a little trim tab and change the course of the world. And he made a huge difference. Little ripples matter.

Yes, much of this world is a complete and utter mess. How do we stay calm and  keep our equilibrium when faced with such horrible news day after day? And how can one person possibly make a difference in a world that is so messed up?  What is the point in even trying?

But in every moment that we wriggle free of all that energy of worry and fear – every moment free of that tangled web, is a moment to celebrate. Every moment that  we can be peaceful is a little ripple of yummy energy  sent out into the world. And every little ripple of love and joy and peace that we create matters.

Remember the power of the trim tab and the little ripples it makes that turn the Queen Mary around. Little ripples of peace and joy and love and calmness matter whether we consciously realize it or not. Every little yummy ripple we create matters.

Advice to myself today: Breathe. And breathe again. Relax.  And whenever possible, send a few ripples of peace or love or joy out into the world.  Be a trim tab!

Fear of Bigness

“Our imagination flies; we are its shadow on the earth.”

Am I actually sharing just a shadow of my true self with the world?  And isn’t the part of me that I dare to share limited, pale and colorless compared to what I am capable of?!  Why do I fear my true potency?

Marianne Williamson wrote about this so eloquently;  our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. We fear being too big and bright in the world. We fear our BIG-ness, our potency.

What if I finally take the restraints off and show up in my entirety?

What if the ONLY thing that will save this beautiful planet is choosing to be my Big, Gi-normous self, no matter what? no matter what others think, no matter what others say, no matter what others do, no matter how many “rules” I break in the process?

What will it take for all of us to STOP hiding out and playing small?
What will it take for us to acknowledge and own ALL of our juicy BIG-ness?!

And… what can happen to our world when we embrace our BIG-ness?

What else is possible?


“Your divine impulse is yearning to emerge through the human you… In that shift, the more you embrace the Self, the Light, the more you surrender to your own light, the easier it is for you.”
–Sai Maa


Our Deepest Fear by Marianne Williamson

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness That most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?  Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Moon Musings

Mother Moon

I bought a lunar calendar this year. It has the year divided into 13 moons instead of 12 months.  After years of looking at the year as the month of January followed by  February followed by March… it takes a bit of adjustment to track the year by moon cycles.  After all, I have been trained since Kindergarten to track what month it is!  But keeping track of which moon cycle we are in this year has opened my eyes to nature’s rhythms and cycles in a deeper way.  And it’s shown me yet another way of looking at my world that is filled with wisdom and truth.  And I have discovered that I can use and learn from both ways of looking at the world; I can follow the cycles of the moon and stars  AND I can honor 4th of July and celebrate Christmas on December 25th again this year. I do NOT have to choose and lock into only one way of looking at my world. Truth and wisdom can be found in many forms.

Tracking moon cycles has deepened my awareness of my own cycles.  I am female, which means my emotions ebb and flow and cycle like the moon. It is the way nature wired women to operate. Don’t believe me?  Well if you’re female, find a lunar calendar and start taking note of how your mood ebbs and flows during any given lunar cycle.  And if you’re male, track your wife or girlfriend’s moods.  Try it and you’ll see how lunar women truly are.  It is not just our menses that are tied to Mother Moon. And how cool is it to be intimately tied to Mother Moon.  I find it somehow comforting.

Every year on planet Earth contains 13 lunar cycles. That’s actually not just Native American folklore – it’s astronomy.  The length of our year is determined by how long it takes the Earth to go all the way around the Sun.  And Mother Moon cycles around the Earth 13 times in the time it takes the Earth to cycle around Father Sun, whether we believe in and honor pagan rituals or not.

For those of you who haven’t ever paid attention to the moon before, a new moon is the time every month when the moon is dark and cannot be seen in our night sky. A new moon lasts 2-3 nights and then a tiny sliver of the waxing (growing) moon shows herself again in the night sky. In many earth based traditions, each new moon marks the beginning of a cycle. Many ancient cultures who were more intimately tied to the natural cycles on Earth, believed that new moon energy marks the perfect time for renewal and / or beginning new projects.

We entered the 10th moon cycle last weekend.

Several years ago, I discovered a wonderful book that shares Native American wisdom and legends about each moon cycle on our Earth; it’s called  The 13 Original Clan Mothers  by Jamie Sams.  One Clan Mother or Grandmother is said to watch over us in each lunar cycle. I don’t know about you, but I LOVE the idea of Grandmothers guiding and watching over me (some would label me a female chauvinist). And I also adore the magical names that Sams uses to describe the energy of what each Grandmother focuses on.

1st Moon:   Talks with Relations
2nd Moon:  Wisdom Keeper
3rd Moon:  Weighs the Truth
4th Moon:  Looks for Woman
5th Moon:  Listening Woman
6th Moon:  Storyteller
7th Moon:  Loves All Things
8th Moon:  She Who Heals
9th Moon:  Setting Sun Woman
10th Moon:  Weaves the Web    <== Our current lunar cycle
11th Moon:  Walks Tall Woman
12th Moon:  Gives Praise
13th Moon:  Becomes Her Vision

This past weekend, we entered the domain of Weaves the Web Grandmother. Weaves the Web is a favorite of mine, probably because I spend HOURS  exploring creativity and writing.  Here is a snippet of what Jamie writes about Clan Mother Weaves the Web:

“Weaves the Web represents the creative principle within all things…Working with the truth is her Cycle of Truth.  She teaches us how to use our hands to create beauty and truths in tangible forms… Weaves the Web is the Guardian of the Creative Force in all things. She helps us express our creativity in a positive manner and use the energy available to us. This Clan Mother is also the Keeper of Life Force and instructs us to create health, to manifest our dreams, to develop and use our talents, and to access our spiritual potentials…”

Several things light up and become more obvious to me when I read about and meditate on the energy of Weaves the Web; First, as a writer I’d like to remember that Creative juice flows through all of creation on Earth. And what I write and create with that juice is not really mine to “own” – it’s just my interpretation of the the magical creative juice that fuels our world. And that juice carries fundamental Truths that permeate every corner of our Universe.

Truth can take many forms. Every spiritual tradition contains gems and nuggets of truth and wisdom that are available to help me in this crazy, confusing cycle of days known as a lifetime.  If I decide that one teacher or one school of thought is the only source of truth for me, then I lock up and limit my world and my possibilities.

Finding and holding onto truth can be as elusive as trying to catch a fish as it flashes in the sun at the surface of a lake for just a brief instant. Wrapping words around the truth to explain it is a very tricky business;  no words ever completely catch the essence of a truth because truth is an energy, a sensation of lightness and expansion. My truth creates space and opens up a new view of the world to me.  Words never quite do justice to the energy that is truth.

When I search for truth, I can choose to put blinders on and follow only one teacher as though he or she holds all the keys that will unlock me and lead me to wisdom.  Many people prefer that way – it simplifies their search for truth and wisdom. But I can  refuse to wear blinders. I can choose to search out those flashes of truth from every teacher, every tradition, every corner of the Universe that catches my awareness and speaks to me. The second way takes more patience and goes against the norm, but I find it to be infinitely more rewarding.

In every moment of my search for that elusive flash of truth in my world, I have a choice. And I choose truth in whatever form it shows itself to me.


Joy Patrol – the Full Scoop

4am – I wake up to a strange sound… can it be? Yes, it’s raining here!  Finally.  After a brief stint at the window with Dog Goddess Brigit – the smell of wet pine trees is AMAZING (!) – I return to bed and the land of nod.

7am – I prepare to go on Dawn Joy Patrol. My mission? To Hunt down Joy wherever it may be hiding…  But first –  what do I wear for this special mission??!

7:30am – After a brief descent into angst and indecision, I have chosen an outfit for Joy Patrol! It consists of groovy, yet functional Safari pants (may be rough out there) and a Bedazzled T-shirt. Oh yes, and a silly grin must be part of every Joy uniform 🙂

8am – My ADD gerbil brain flashes on a photo I found weeks ago of my brother and I reporting for Joy Patrol duty. Today’s Joy Patrol mission is happily sidetracked for 10 minutes while I locate the photo in question. LOL – We were such happy young whippersnappers! Apparently John and I already knew the value of wearing silly glasses and grinning like fiends when you are hunting for joy…

Joy Patrol
the early years

8:15am  – Hubby David and I rendezvous at Amante Coffee in north Boulder for provisions.  My Soy Bhakti and Brego are exquisite. Hooray for joyful tastebuds!

However, I find the hip Amante crowd to be  super serious and unsmiling.  When David dares me to whistle, and I comply with a short rendition of “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”  – people are not amused. The Amante crowd actually appears to be questioning my sanity.  Such is the price one pays as a bona fide member of the Joy Patrol.  It is a sacrifice I am willing to make…

8:45am – I leave Amante and head out to hunt for joy on a walk with Dog Goddess Brigit.  Our search for Dog Joy is stalled by several streets to nowhere and roadblocks (a common occurrence when on the road to Joy):

The Road to Joy is not always Clear

9am – Brigit and I finally arrive at Wonderland Lake in north Boulder.  Despite the rain, Dog Goddess Brigit is quite happy to report for Joy Patrol this morning.

10am Brigit’s full Joy Patrol report is illegible – it must be hard to type with wet paws.  Luckily I am here, ready and willing to translate for the Dog Goddess!

The gist of Brigit’s report is as follows:  Yucky part of Dog Joy Patrol in the rain? Drippy nose and ears. Favorite part?  Stinky MUD everywhere!!!

Muddy Dog Goddess Brigit

My report on the dog joy portion of  Dawn Joy Patrol?  A picture is worth a thousand words…

Wonderland Lake

(No joke… that is really the name of the lake)

Next stop on my personal Joy Patrol?  Who can say? I happily go wherever Joy has been rumored to be hiding.  Stay tuned…