Newsletters and Articles

Recent newsletters by Mia

Volume 9
Living Lightly, Boosting our Immune Systems
Volume 8
Flow, Lower Back Pain, Nutritional Matters
Volume 7
Lung and Breathing Issues, "Healing Crisis"
Volume 6
Symptoms of Inner Peace
Volume 5
Cold and Flu
Volume 4
Yumi Words of Wisdom, Life-force Energy Flow
Volume 3
Headaches, Instant Stress Busters
Volume 2
Music to Relax To, and more
Volume 1
Lightening our Spirit, Helping Ourselves with Acupressure, Questions and Answers Corner

Articles by Mia

Triumphant Living

Published in Inner Realm Magazine, August 2008. Reprinted with permission.

Releasing “Responsibility”

Published in Inner Realm Magazine, May 2008. Reprinted with permission.

Releasing Judgment

Published in Inner Realm Magazine, November 2007. Reprinted with permission.

A Look at Acupressure

Published in The Villadom Times (Midland Park, New Jersey), Health, Fitness, and Beauty section, January 24, 2007. Reprinted with permission.

Triumphant Living

There’s a wonderful little book that is well worth your taking a look at: Greg Anderson’s The Triumphant Patient: Become an Exceptional Patient in the Face of Life-Threatening Illness. Isabell Gatto, creator and master practitioner/teacher of IGM® Therapeutic Acupressure, my modality, recommends it to all of her clients who are dealing with cancer and to all of her practitioners.

Anderson (no relation) was diagnosed with metastasized lung cancer in 1984 and given only thirty days to live. “Refusing to accept the hopelessness of this diagnosis, he went in search of people who had lived when they were ‘supposed’ to die.” Today, 23 years later, he is active as CEO of the international organization that he founded, Cancer Recovery, whose mission is “to help all people prevent and survive cancer and to enhance cancer patient support networks.”

The Triumphant Patient is for ALL of us, not just those who are dealing with cancer. It teaches us how to live our best life. Bernie Siegel writes in his introduction to the book that it “is required reading for anyone interested in health enhancement and life enrichment. It can help you triumph over the adversities and afflictions we are all subject to.” He goes on to note that “‘Triumphant’ doesn’t mean living forever, but it does mean living now.”

The core of The Triumphant Patient is Anderson’s “Covenant for Wellness.” The “Triumphant Patient” character says that he tries to live his life based on the Covenant and that he concentrates on fulfilling his part of the agreement. What follow are the Covenant and a few of my reflections:

“First, I asked God to do two things for me: 1. Eliminate illness on any level he felt I needed – body, mind, and spirit. 2. Make real in my life his highest potential for my wellness in body, mind, and spirit.

“Then I wrote out what I would do for God:

  1. “Choose hope over despair in all areas of my life.” … Choosing hope is exactly that, a choice. Choosing our attitude about everything that “happens” to us is often the one power that cannot be taken from us. When hope seems impossible, we can, as the saying goes, fake it ’til we make it. Research tells us that it takes 21 days to change a habit, and our thoughts are habits. For 21 days, we can stop ourselves when the despairing thought arrives and replace it with a hope-filled thought. The new habit of thinking will become the familiar, the comfortable, the automatic, and our energetic vibrational frequency will be raised.
  2. “Practice sincere gratitude for all the blessings I now have.” … “The best prayer is the prayer of gratitude.” “Practice the attitude of gratitude.” We hear this again and again, and it comes from many traditions. But just as we focus on the one negative comment when there are nine others that are positive, we tend to focus on what we don’t have rather than on what we do. This is yet another thought habit, an area where we have a choice.
  3. “Spend an hour each day in prayer, meditation, and study, preparing my mind and spirit to receive God’s direction.” … We can choose to spend an hour each day praying, meditating, and studying rather than shopping, watching television, playing computer games, or doing any of those other things that we fill our time with, even those of us who frequently complain of not having enough hours in the day. There are limitless resources for “doing” prayer and meditation, and limitless materials for study. We can start anywhere – Hay, Dyer, Chopra, Williamson, Myss….
  4. “Practice forgiveness in all my relationships.” … The key to forgiveness, I believe, is knowing that we’re doing it for ourselves, not for the offending persons. We’re not excusing their behavior, and we’re not forgetting it, but we ARE releasing its harmful energetic hold on us. We are acknowledging that, just like us, they were doing the very best they were capable of given the level of knowledge, awareness, and understanding that they possessed at the moment. “... hate is death; forgiveness is life,” the Triumphant Patient says. “It is a fact to be honored, not a warning to fear.”
  5. “Be a channel for God’s unconditional love.” … The Triumphant Patient says that “if you learn to accept without having to approve, you are practicing unconditional love.... [L]ove is who and what you truly are.” He goes on to say that “We each feel betrayed by a body gone awry, become trapped by emotions that are filled with fear, and pounded by a mind that can ‘awfulize’ and predict doom. What we need is an experience that will raise our level of awareness to our highest level – the spiritual. This certainly heals. In fact, true healing, complete healing, has at its roots the ability to give and receive unconditional love.” We can start by loving ourselves unconditionally.
  6. “Pursue God’s will for my life as I understand it.” … God says in Neale Donald Walsch’s Conversations with God, One that “There is only one purpose to all of life, and that is for you and all that lives to experience fullest glory.” He says, “I cannot tell you My Truth until you stop telling me yours,” and He provides guidelines for identifying His Truth, which includes His will for our lives: “The Highest Thought is always that thought which contains joy. The clearest Words are those words which contain truth. The Grandest Feeling is that feeling which you call love.”
  7. “Commit to sharing this message with others.” … I’m sharing it here.

Releasing “Responsibility”

 I burned out too early after only 25 years as a college teacher.  I took on way too much responsibility for the students’ success because I dearly wanted their lives to be changed for the better.  At night, I got little restorative sleep, my mind perpetually active trying to think of new and better classroom strategies to engage even those who, for whatever reasons, could not or would not be engaged. 

When I took early retirement, body energy work restored me on the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual levels.  I was so taken with this powerful healing that I studied to become a practitioner myself, and trained under and was certified by Isabell Gatto, creator and master practitioner/teacher of IGM® (Isabell Gatto Method of) Therapeutic Acupressure.  I opened my own practice, Heal from Within

It soon became apparent that I was repeating the pattern that would lead to burnout! Finally, I spoke with Isabell – and received the best guidance ever: “Mia, when they walk out the door, it’s their journey, not yours.” 

I wrote recently (Inner Realm Magazine, November 2007) about finding my clients so often having blocked energy in the IGM® points 6-7-8 and 36, and since then, it seems I’m finding the blocked 36s – the points on the tops of the shoulders about three fingers out from the base of the neck and just slightly toward the back – on just about every client.  ALL of us, myself included, need to think again about how we take on the weight of responsibility for our friends, our family members, our job, the world. 

Yes, all of us do have responsibilities, but to energetically take onto/into ourselves those responsibilities is contrary to wisdom, to our good health, to our soul’s purpose.  It is much more complicated when we speak of those who are truly dependent on us for their survival: children, the elderly, the sick, and so on.  But for the most part, what we must remember is that each of us can walk only our own journey. 

When we try to take care of someone – or everyone – instead of letting them do for themselves, one possibility is that it’s our controlling nature that’s causing us to do so.  The tendency to be controlling often gets carried over from earlier times when to control something/anything or someone/anyone was a valid self-defense mechanism in a situation where we felt powerless and/or out of control.  But those whom we try to control grow to resent it.  Children eventually rebel, or their spirits are broken.  Adults feel patronized because, on some level, they understand that we think they are not capable of doing for themselves, not capable of making the “right” choices in their lives.  They understand that we think we know what’s best for them, when, of course, we can’t know with any certainty. 

In this case, we need to work on accepting that control is an illusion and on becoming more comfortable with uncertainty (read Pema Chödron’s book by that title).  We can work on letting go of the need to “fix” everyone/everything.  If our spouse comes home from work wanting to vent the day’s frustrations, we don’t need to drop everything and “make it all better” for her or him.  They need to learn to do that for themselves.  If our adult child seems to be making unwise choices, we can merely ask, “How’s that working for you?”  We listen.  We say, “Good luck.”  We have to let them learn (hopefully) from their own mistakes.  If we work with autistic children all day, we can leave them to their journey when we go home at the day’s end, knowing that their souls have taken on this condition for a reason that we can’t possibly understand.  If a loved one is dying, we can hold his or her hand, at the bedside or at a distance; we can’t die for them because that is a journey each of us must take alone. 

Elizabeth Gilbert writes in her (wonderful) current best-seller, Eat, Pray, Love: “Letting go, of course, is a scary enterprise for those of us who believe that the world revolves only because it has a handle on the top of it which we personally turn, and that if we were to drop this handle for even a moment, well – that would be the end of the universe.  BUT TRY DROPPING IT….  This is the message I’m getting.  Sit quietly for now and cease your relentless participation.  Watch what happens.  The birds do not crash dead out of the sky in mid-flight, after all.  The trees do not wither and die; the rivers do not run red with blood.  Life continues to go on.  Even the Italian post office will keep limping along, doing its own thing without you – why are you so sure that your micromanagement of every moment in this whole world is so essential?  Why don’t you let it be?” 

Another possible cause for a controlling nature lies in lack of self-esteem, lack of self-respect.  Doing for another to the point where we feel needed or we feel approved of and admired boosts our tenuous self-worth and calms our insecurities.  But we know that fear-based giving and doing are spiritually empty, and we know that our self-worth can come only from within.  Gods says in Neale Donald Walsch’s Conversations with God, I that “…if you knew Who Your Are – that you are the most magnificent, the most remarkable, the most splendid being God has ever created – you would never have fear.”  Embracing this truth allows us to know God’s unconditional love; it allows us to rest in the certainty of our value regardless of what we do. 

We can’t fix the world.  What we can do is fix ourselves and radiate loving, peaceful, even joyful energy into the world.  Quantum physics tells us that high-frequency vibrational emotions – like love, peace, joy – can always raise low-frequency vibrational emotions – like hate, shame, anger.  Dark cannot stay dark when light is introduced.  That doesn’t mean that we stop working – sometimes very hard indeed – for causes that we believe in, but it does mean that we do the very best we can from a place of love and then let the world have its journey.  As Gilbert writes, citing the Upanishad tradition, “…so-called chaos may have an actual divine function even if you can’t personally recognize it right now….  The best we can do, then, in response to our incomprehensible and dangerous world, is to practice holding equilibrium INTERNALLY – no matter what insanity is transpiring out there.”  We can “Let go.  Let God.” 

Releasing Judgment

 At the grocery store on my way home from the office, a woman leaves her cart in the middle of the aisle while she browses the soups.  My reaction?  She’s oblivious!  She should be noticing how her action is inconveniencing everyone else!  A car cuts out in front of me from a side street and then drives well below the speed limit.  If he’s going to drive so slowly, he should at least wait until there’s no one coming!  At home, my cat requires chasing and pinning down so I can give her the evening dose of an antibiotic to treat her bladder infection.  She should realize she has to have this to get well and just let me give it to her! 

These are just a few of the tiny little here-and-now annoyances in a few hours’ time.  If I were to think on the state and national and global levels, in the past and the present and the future dimensions, I’d really have reasons to judge, to think that I know best how people should behave and how events should play out. 

Clearly, one of the major challenges that we all face in our human journey is releasing all judgment – about people, about things that “happen” to us, about the world.  Marianne Williamson, in her “A Year of Daily Wisdom,” which is based on the A Course in Miracles wisdom, writes, “If you’re judging a brother [or sister], you’re wrong even if you’re right.” 

As a practitioner of the Isabell Gatto Method (IGM®) of Therapeutic Acupressure, I can’t not notice that the majority of my clients have the same combination of blocked points in their energy system.  And, more often than not, when I receive IGM® sessions, I have blockages in the same points.  These are the points known in IGM® as the 6-7-8s, which are on the inside/spine-side edge of the scapula on the back, and the 36s, which are on the tops of the shoulders about three inches out from the base of the neck. 

IGM® acknowledges, honors, and, while absolutely respecting each individual’s place of openness and readiness, works with the interconnectedness of our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects.  The 6-7-8s are known to relate energetically to the “Hanging On and Letting Go” of experiences, beliefs, relationships, jobs, emotions, and so on – ones that no longer serve us, or no longer serve our higher purpose.  The 36s are known to relate energetically to “Taking on the Weight of Responsibility.”  We take on the weight of responsibility when we think, for example, that our vision for a person is the one that will “fix” them or the one that will make us happy.  We want to walk their journey for them, in other words; we want to carry them down our journey’s path.  At our best, we know this can’t be done, but our fearful ego mind, threatened by whatever does not fit with our vision of ourselves and our world, keeps us thinking that we can and must. 

In three of the most transformative books that I know, the authors explain why judgment is not in our Higher Self’s interest. 

Alan H. Cohen’s observation, in his Why Your Life Sucks – And What You Can Do about It, has been very, very helpful to me as I try to release all judgment.  He writes, “To think you know what is best for another person is an industrial-strength ego trip.  When you try to play God, you overlook that God is playing the person you are trying to change.  From your limited human perspective, you cannot understand all the factors why someone exhibits a certain behavior; why and on what level they have chosen it; its relation to their life purpose; what they are learning from it; where it is ultimately leading them; how it fits into the choices and lessons of others with whom they interact.  All you see is one little piece in a multi-billion-piece jigsaw, and it would be presumptuous and preposterous to imagine you see the whole puzzle.” 

In Neale Donale Walsch’s Conversations with God I, God says: “Judge not, then, the karmic path walked by another.  Envy not success, nor pity failure, for you know not what is success or failure in the soul’s reckoning.  Call not a thing calamity, nor joyous event, until you decide, or witness, how it is used.  For is a death a calamity if it saves the lives of thousands?  And is a life a joyous event if it has caused nothing but grief?  Yet even this you should not judge, but keep always your own counsel, and allow others theirs.” 

Gary Zukav, in his best-known work, The Seat of the Soul, explains the same concept in his own unique way: “ If we are to engage the viewpoint of the soul, we must cease from judging, even those events that appear to be unfathomable, such as the cruelty of an inquisition or a holocaust, the death of an infant, the prolonged agony of a death by cancer, or a life confined to a bed.  We do not know what is being healed in these sufferings, or the details of the energetic circumstance that is coming into balance.  It is appropriate that we allow ourselves to feel the compassion that such circumstances call forth in us and to act upon it, but if we allow ourselves to judge these events and those who participate in them, we create negative karma that must be balances, and we, ourselves, will be among those souls that choose to participate in circumstances that are necessary to that balancing.” 

A Course in Miracles teaches us to remember that we’re all here just doing the very best we can.  Louise Hay writes in her classic work, You Can Heal Your Life, that every one of us – wanting only to love and be loved and to be free of pain – is always doing the very best we can given our level of knowledge, awareness, and understanding at each moment.  Our striving, then, is to use each instance when we are inclined to judge the words or actions of another, or the events in our individual or collective lives, as an opportunity to remind ourselves of this abiding truth: at the center of each of us is a spark of the Divine, and we are all One.  We can express our gratitude for the chance to once again acknowledge and embrace our own human imperfection, to react always and only with love and compassion for others and for ourselves.

A Look at Acupressure

Surely the most important – but least understood or recognized – system or network in our bodies is the energy network, a network of pathways or routes called meridians.  Life-force energy flows along these meridians, nourishing and balancing and harmonizing all of the organs and other systems of the body. 

Surely the most important – but least understood or recognized – system or network in our bodies is the energy network, a network of pathways or routes called meridians.  Life-force energy flows along these meridians, nourishing and balancing and harmonizing all of the organs and other systems of the body. 

Stub your toe, and a few of the critical points along the meridians might block up.  Come down with a cold, and a few block up.  Suffer an emotional upset, and a few block up.  Lucky for all of us, most blocked points eventually re-open spontaneously.  But many don’t, and any where from days to years later, the result is a physical condition or illness, or a mental, emotional, or spiritual unease. 

Acupressure, an ancient art from China, Japan, and India, among others, uses finger and hand pressure (not needles, as acupuncture does) to release blockages in the flow of life-force energy in the body.  In addition, the acupressure practitioner’s channeling of fresh life-force energy through her or his fingers/hands and into the points on the client smooths, calms, and/or invigorates the client’s energy. 

When our body is working in “perfect symphony” because its energy system’s functioning has been restored by acupressure, its innate and truly miraculous self-healing mechanisms can best function. 

In IGM® Therapeutic Acupressure, clients lie fully clothed on a massage table or mat, and the practitioner works around the client’s body.  Fifty points – starting at the sternum, moving down each arm and side and leg, and ending at the head – are worked on in a very specific order.  The modality’s creator, Isabell Gatto, through her thirty years of experience, has found this to be the most powerful selection and sequence for opening all blocked points. 

Acupressure is an effective, non-invasive, cost-effective way to improve and often completely heal common physical conditions.  Conditions like stress, depression, anxiety, and others also respond extremely well.  Virtually all IGM® Therapeutic Acupressure clients report feeling more “together” and having an improved sense of overall well-being. 

In addition, regular IGM® Therapeutic Acupressure sessions lessen the side effects from chemotherapy and radiation for those with cancer and other illnesses, they can minimize the trauma of surgery and anesthesia (patients require less pain medication and leave the hospital sooner), and they can significantly hasten the healing of fractures and other injuries.  

Ongoing regular sessions, because they maximize the body’s own capacity to heal, are a valuable gifts a person can give to himself or herself. They are “preventative medicine” at its best.