Allie Middleton, JD LCSW E-RYT C-IAYT on Moving From Me to We

In an old and favorite verse from thousands of years ago, the author of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad IV.4.5, considers this:

You are what your deep, driving desire is.
As your desire is, so is your will.
As your will is, so is your deed.
As your deed is, so is your destiny.

And yet, as we all wonder about the future now, shall we ask each other this next question, “What is OUR collective desire and what shall OUR collective deeds create now?

In my experience over decades as a systems change catalyst and leadership coach, I’ve had the privilege of helping many individuals and teams develop new strategies for high level impact. Whether in business, healthcare or communities, one of my initial questions is, “Who are we really, and what is our work?

Today, this creative inquiry is alive in many contexts as we need to spark healthy ways to co-initiate collective sustainable changes for the sake of global health and wellbeing. How do we compassionately harmonize our minds, hearts and wills for the sake of the planet and others? Or “What is this moving from ME to WE dance all about, and how does sharing our stories help us now?

As the lives of the global yoga innovators reveal in my new book, Yoga Radicals: A Curated Set of Inspiring Stories from Pioneers in the Field, this awareness for the need for change is happening for people around the world on many levels simultaneously: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Their perspectives reflect an opening toward something new, a creative offer that has social impact and provides community healing.

How might we inspire others with creative heart-felt ways to experience and understand this epochal move from ME consciousness, (focus on myself), to WE consciousness, (focus on my community, country and planet)?

Telling our stories is the starting place, as we learn to listen more deeply into the universal (and eternal) creative life force that emerges and encourages well-being for all. Accessing our collective awareness and moving together consciously to create sustainable changes at all levels of organization is essential now.

Like other practitioners in these changing times, I am learning to adapt to the complex personal and planetary issues with curiosity, compassion and courage. At the 2018 International Association of Yoga Therapists Conference I was privileged to co-initiate the inaugural community interest session on Social Activism & Community Healing. At the invitation of Matthew J. Taylor, we convened our session using a Presencing Approach, an interview process combining Joseph Campbell’s hero(ines) journey and an awareness-based prototyping model from the Presencing Institute at MIT. This birthed the interest for a deeper and more expansive exploration.

And now, as I type this, I remember myself in the winter of 2020, commissioned by Singing Dragon Press, to write a book to bring this idea forth! The intention of the book, Yoga Radicals, is to offer a portal of potential for the emerging embodiment community by highlighting some stories and projects that emerged from yoga innovators who have traveled the path of moving from ME to WE. Alas, there are so many more stories to hear we have yet to hear. So little time……

What I learned from each of their stories is that after deep commitment to years of personal practice, something else demanded a listening into the emerging future, a finding of new ways to invoke shifts in their (and now our) deepest hearts’ desires.

We were all in full lockdown mode as I conducted the 36 interviews with these special yoga innovators. The stories of these amazing individuals vibrate at the heart of the Yoga Radicals book. I am so grateful to have had such a deep engagement with each person at such an important time; each working in unique ways to establish the yoga therapy professional space, each offering more embodiment in their personal lives and professional communities. I hope you and many others will enjoy and be inspired by their stories too.

Ancient wisdom traditions from all over the planet remind us that we are all connected, that these practices and an Embodied Presence, or being grounded and at home in our bodies, might enlighten us. Embodiment practices are particularly urgent now as our mother planet earth demands that we learn the dance steps of Reciprocity and Love. The stories from the Yoga Radicals in the book do just that, sharing how each yoga innovator moved from a ‘me’ consciousness to a ‘we’ consciousness. These amazing brave souls share how they created a community healing or social impact project as a result of their long-term yoga and other embodied practices as leaders. I hope the interview process and journey we took together will support others to access to their deepest heart’s intelligence, a true connection between awareness, creativity and action.

An example of this Presencing Approach is to ask now, “It seems we have been initiated into a new future and a new life in these last 18 months, I wonder how you feel a deeper sense of being related to others across time and space? Without physical travel, we’ve had to rely on our other human capacities to stay tuned to our hearts’ desires; even as we navigate this new time together. We have landed in communities of kindreds, in places and spaces where our best dreams of a shared future can emerge. We’re being called forward into a new story. How can we make it a creative one, supporting as many others as we are able in our endeavors to stay healthy and well and safe? How do we embody emergence?

I sometimes simply call this making peace time”, especially when I’m embodying a practice while working with a client, teaching or facilitating a group. I’m finding myself immersed in love now for decades, blessed with a serious leadership coaching practice and capacity to heal in relationship with others. My next book will tell the tale of how my listening at deeper levels has always been the main inspiration for these practices.  For now, I invite you to enjoy these diverse and creative tales that emerged in the hour-long interviews and are now condensed into essential narratives that express how each Yoga Radical followed their own path from ME to WE. May it inspire you to do the same.

In Yoga Radicals, the questions that I’ve asked these amazing pioneers are questions that I live throughout my life, constantly speaking into the future and asking for guidance. When did you learn to trust your creativity and imagination enough to help you through a tough spot? When did you find a special friend who gave you solace in the middle of a storm, as you were on your path of life?

The stories in the book surprise me still and more importantly, now the memory of the deep embodied connections felt in each interview make my heart sing. I hope that readers find their amazing songs inspiring and a way to listen and play with the unending force of creativity and love, which we desperately need on the planet now. Embodying creativity and initiating positive emergence is what we all need now.

Allie Middletons latest book Yoga Radicals: A Curated Set of Inspirational Stories of Transformational Yoga by Pioneers in the Field, was published by Singing Dragon on August 19th featuring inspirational pioneers of yoga, from those with ancient lineage in traditional yoga to innovators in western yoga practice. Click here to purchase a copy.

Denise Tiran on Using Natural Remedies in Pregnancy and Childbirth

Denise Tiran HonDUniv FRCM MSc is an internationally renowned authority on maternity complementary medicine, having pioneered the subject as a midwifery specialism since the early 1980s. She is Chief Executive Officer and Education Director for Expectancy, an independent education company providing complementary therapies courses for midwives, doulas and other maternity workers. Denise was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Greenwich in October 2020 and a Fellowship of the Royal College of Midwives in 2018 in recognition of her work in this field.

Here, she introduces her new book, Using Natural Remedies Safely in Pregnancy and Childbirth: A Reference Guide for Maternity and Healthcare Professionals.

I’ve been publishing on maternity complementary therapies for many years but the huge increase in popularity of natural remedies, including aromatherapy oils, herbs and homeopathic remedies led me to write this latest book. Expectant parents frequently ask midwives, doctors, doulas and antenatal teachers about the use of remedies such as raspberry leaf tea, and for remedies such as castor oil and evening primrose to start labour. The massive rise in popularity of aromatherapy in pregnancy and birth also means that parents often ask about essential oils, or want to bring them into the birth centre for use in labour. This can sometimes put the midwife or doctor in a difficult position because they may know very little about the oils and which are safe or not. Continue reading

Touch is Really Strange: An Interview with Steve Haines

Why can’t we tickle ourselves? How can slow touch convey more powerful emotions than fast touch? How does touch shape our perception of the world? In this short interview, Steve Haines – author of Singing Dragon’s best-selling Really Strange series – discusses the inspiration behind his new book, Touch is Really Strange

When did you start working on the book?

The idea for a book on touch has been around since 2019, but this was definitely a lockdown project. The Really Strange series has been huge fun and continues to get heart-warming feedback. There have been suggestions for books on Depression, Adverse Childhood Experiences, Grief or Breath.

Whilst I have some experience with clients with all those topics, I realised I have far more to say about touch. I use touch everyday in normal work life and teach 2-year courses on being skilful with touch.

What inspired the topic?

In my career I have undergone a paradigm shift in how I understand touch. Continue reading

Announcing our Acupuncture Webinar Series: Join us on our Facebook page every week

We are delighted to announce that Singing Dragon is launching a new Acupuncture Webinar Series.

Starting on the 15th of September, join us every Tuesday and Thursday at 8pm BST/3pm EST on our Facebook page for a new webinar by renowned acupuncture professionals.

You can join in the discussions, and our authors will be on hand to answer any questions or comments you may have on the day.

You can also submit your questions for our authors ahead of time by emailing hello@intl.singingdragon.com.

Click here to visit and follow our Facebook page!

 

Our Acupuncture Webinar Series schedule so far features:

  • CT Holman – 15th September – Applying Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches to Chinese Medicine Treatments
  • Rebecca Avern – 17th September – Why do children become ill?
  • Mary Elizabeth Wakefield & MichelAngelo – 22nd and 24th September – Vibrational Acupuncture: Integrating Tuning Forks with Needles
  • John Hamwee – 29th September – Amplifying the Power of Treatment
  • Hamid Montakab – 6th October – TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) versus CCM (Classical Chinese Medicine)

We are in the process of confirming many more events with our authors. Follow our Facebook page to stay up to date with upcoming events!

Please note: webinars will be available for 24 hours, after which they will be available for purchase through the Singing Dragon Library for a small fee.

 

Continue reading

Meet the Singing Dragon Author: David Hartmann

As part of our Meet The Singing Dragon Author series, we speak to authors to discuss their motivation for entering their respective industries, inspiration for writing their books, what challenges they faced, and whom they would recommend their books. Is there a specific Singing Dragon author you would like to hear from? Let us know in the comments or join the conversation using #MeetTheSDAuthor.

David Hartmann, author of The Principles and Practical Application of Acupuncture Point Combinations

How did you become interested in acupuncture?

I was originally going to be a physiotherapist or nurse, but life has a funny way of making sure you go in the direction you are supposed to. Three events ensured I became an acupuncturist instead. 1) In year 11 at school I had acupuncture for migraines and have not had a migraine since. 2) In year 12 I got great relief from stress with acupuncture. 3) In 1993 Mum was driving her car near Coffs Harbour (New South Wales, Australia) and her windscreen smashed. During the repairs she stumbled upon a brochure at a coffee shop for the Australian College of Natural Medicine (now Endeavour). We went for an interview and fell in love with the college. During my first semester as a student I went to the out-patient clinic for weekly treatment for severe depression. Acupuncture brought me out of the black pit and the rest is history. Continue reading

Supporting Survivors Of Sexual Abuse – The Story Behind the Book

Kicki Hansard is a certified birth and postnatal doula with experience in all aspects of pregnancy, childbirth and early parenting. Since 2002, she has been preparing couples for the arrival of their baby and supported many of them through the birth and postnatal period. Kicki is also a doula course facilitator and has trained over 850 aspiring doulas. Her new book, Supporting Survivors of Sexual Abuse Through Pregnancy and Childbirth: A Guide for Midwives, Doulas and Other Healthcare Professionals is published by Singing Dragon, and is out now.

How was the book born?

I guess the reason why I wanted to write this book was because I wanted to make a difference to survivors and to give them a way of putting into words what the maternity experience can be like for them.  It all happened quite by chance when Claire Wilson called me from Singing Dragon, asking if I knew anyone who would write a book about supporting survivors. She’d come across my name though a social media post following a talk I had given at a recent study day. I tried to think of a few midwives that I knew were focusing on this very topic and then Claire asked me if I would be interested in writing the book myself.  I came off the phone, having promised Claire I’d send her a proposal and that is how this book was born. Continue reading

Meet the Singing Dragon Author: Z’ev Rosenberg

As part of our Meet The Singing Dragon Author series, we speak to authors to discuss their motivation for entering their respective industries, inspiration for writing their books, what challenges they faced, and who they would recommend their books to. Is there a specific Singing Dragon author you would like to hear from? Let us know in the comments or join the conversation using #MeetTheSDAuthor.

Z’ev Rosenberg, author of Ripples in the Flow: Reflections on Vessel Dynamics in the Nàn Jing

How did you become interested in Chinese medicine and acupuncture?

My interest in Chinese medicine began in my teen years, when I started practicing yoga and macrobiotics at seventeen years old in New York, to which I continue to practice both disciplines today. This was in part to the “sixties revolution” where consciousness and ecology came in on the boot heels of the Beatle’s personal explorations. I took classes in shiatsu with Shizuko Yamamoto in New York and Boston, and opened macrobiotic centers in Boulder, Colorado and Santa Fe, New Mexico after a stint in the natural food business in the early 1970’s. Continue reading

Meet The Singing Dragon Author: Pam Conrad

As part of our Meet The Singing Dragon Author series, we speak to authors to discuss their motivation for entering their respective industries, inspiration for writing their books, what challenges they faced, and who they would recommend their books to. Is there a specific Singing Dragon author you would like to hear from? Let us know in the comments or join the conversation using #MeetTheSDAuthor.

Pam Conrad, author of Women’s Health Aromatherapy

How did you become interested in aromatherapy?
As a nurse, I’ve always been interested in complementary therapies that enhance health and wellbeing and offer support for the side effects of medical conditions and treatments. Prior to aromatherapy, I studied herbal medicine and nutritional therapies so it was a natural addition for holistic care.

I’ve also always loved pleasant scents and flowers so the idea of a clinical therapeutic modality with beautiful scents was very appealing to me. Continue reading

Meet The Singing Dragon Author: Karla Helbert

As part of our Meet The Singing Dragon Author series, we speak to authors to discuss their motivation for entering their respective industries, inspiration for writing their books, what challenges they faced and who they would recommend their books to. Is there a specific Singing Dragon author you would like to hear from? Let us know in the comments or join the conversation using #MeetTheSDAuthor.

Karla Helbert, author of The Chakras in Grief and Trauma: A Tantric Guide to Energetic Wholeness

How did you become interested in yoga therapy and aromatherapy?
I became interested in aromatherapy in the early 90’s and have studied it ever since. I have long been drawn to essential oils for therapeutic, emotional and spiritual uses. I began taking yoga classes around 1999 and after a year, decided to take a teacher training and it was life changing. It brought together all the aspects of spiritual life that I had been seeking for years, one that addresses humans as whole beings—physically, emotionally, energetically, spiritually. As a psychotherapist, I was able to bring the principles and teachings of yoga into my practice with clients and can see the effectiveness not only of asana (poses), meditation and breathwork, but also how the philosophy and ethical underpinnings of yoga support and create change. The essential teaching of yoga is wholeness and that our true nature is and has always been whole, that we can be no other way. Life, pain, grief, heartbreak, challenges, cause us to forget our essential wholeness, but all the teachings and branches of yoga remind us of this truth. Continue reading

Meet the Singing Dragon Author: Rebecca Avern

As part of our Meet The Singing Dragon Author series, we speak to authors to discuss their motivation for entering their respective industries, inspiration for writing their books, what challenges they faced and to whom they would recommend their books. Is there a specific Singing Dragon author you would like to hear from? Let us know in the comments or join the conversation using #MeetTheSDAuthor.

Rebecca Avern, author of Acupuncture for Babies, Children and Teenagers

How did you become interested in paediatric acupuncture?
I began treating children twenty years ago and was immediately struck by how quickly they responded to treatment. When I had my own children, I became more and more aware of how many young people are struggling either with their physical or psychological health, or are simply not thriving. I realised that many of the issues they were struggling with were well suited to being treated with acupuncture. I love working with children and it has become my mission in life to enable more of them to receive acupuncture treatment, by writing and teaching about it. Continue reading