Rebecca Elia's Blog

All about Feminine Health, Healing, and Greece

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Sound of Silence

My little slice of Sierra heaven

I am looking out on a Sierra thunderstorm…grey skies, deep green pines, and cherry-sized wet splotches on the grey distressed wooden deck. A short while ago the sky was torn in two by blazing flashes of lightening, and moments later, the ground shook and my ears buzzed from the explosive thunder. The sound was especially harsh since my ears had adapted to the quiet surroundings. I can’t remember the last time that I was surrounded by deafening silence. One can actually hear the air. The sudden cacophony isn’t from honking horns or blaring car radios or incessant cell-phone babble, but from the chatter of chipmunks.

I had forgotten what this precious commodity, silence, sounded like.

Apartment living, though (in my case) cheap and convenient, comes with the hidden price-tag of constant din. Poor insulation holds this clamor inward. I, unwillingly, know more about my neighbors than my family members. There is no such thing as private conversations, or private anything else for that matter.

I looked forward to returning to the mountains to escape all obligations and to just write. I had forgotten about the silence. After a few short days I have become addicted to it. I remember this great gift of Maine life several years ago. Blankets of snow for five months a year kept away not only Boston weekenders, but noise as well. Silence fed my soul in ways that other sustenance could not.

Our world is so fast-paced, so busy, so over-crowded, so noisy, that we completely lose sight of not only what is normal but, also, what is essential.

We are finally being reminded of the necessity of enough sleep—to our physical, mental and emotional health—but this warning, in itself, is hypocritical. When we live in a society that expects us to do more and more, that, in fact, rewards us for doing more and more, it becomes near-impossible to get enough sleep. And then everyone suffers the consequences. In medical school I rotated through the team of renowned heart surgeon Michael DeBakey. They were quick to inform us of how little sleep he needed throughout his entire life. During my hospital residency program even though we all tried to cover for one another because we knew how vitally important sleep was, the person who could get by with the least amount of sleep was still the most respected. Additionally, we, as women, felt too guilty having our colleagues cover for us—so most of us wouldn’t allow ourselves to sleep longer even though our colleagues were ready and willing.

Before you conclude that this is just a medical training phenomenon, look at your own life. Most women are running faster and faster, doing more and more. Sleep is a luxury most cannot afford. If we are unable to get enough sleep, then how can we even entertain thoughts of experiencing silence? And yet, we must. There is nothing that pulls us farther out of ourselves than noise and the business of life.

So how are we to experience silence? Many of you are already doing this, perhaps through your meditative practice.

For those of you who need a bit of support, or who do not live in a naturally quiet place (I empathize!), here are a few simple tips that may help you out in your busy noisy lives:

1. The most essential step is the first one, which is to recognize the importance of silence and value it enough to consciously seek it out. This is also the most difficult step, the one on which most of us stumble. You will only recognize its importance when you experience its benefits—so it’s a chicken-and-egg dilemma.

2. If you do not live in a quiet space then, if possible, make time to transport yourself to one. I have found that nothing works better than the real thing. It might be a walk along the beach or in a quiet neighborhood or park. You may have to go a distance and then leave your transportation behind. You may make the journey there part of your exercise—such as walking or riding a bike.

3. If you can designate a quiet space inside your home, then do so. If you have small children then this may need to be something you do early in the morning or late at night. Or, if your children are small and take naps, during their naps.

4. If there is no quiet place in your home (join the crowd!) then take advantage of quiet times. For me that might mean 3:00am. Of course, this may interfere with your sleep, but for those of you who wake up in the middle of the night—this may be the perfect time (and solution) for you. Use this time! (This happens to be my most productive time to write.)

5. If none of the above is an option then reserve protected time and a protected space. You may use noise-cancelling headphones, or play a meditative tape or music quietly through headphones. This is not the same as experiencing complete silence, but it will get you to the same place.

6. Clear out the other “noises” in your life. If your space is dirty, clean it up! If it is cluttered, clear it out! If your physical body is sluggish, eat nutritiously and exercise! If you’re in a bad relationship, leave it. Get rid of all of the other things that are creating noise in your life. It is near-impossible to find silence within if we are surrounded by everything but! It’s never late for spring-cleaning.

Remember, every place or space has its own energy. If you have chosen to live in a place that is inherently noisy, cluttered or hectic, you will have to devote more time and energy to creating that quiet protected space for yourself.

Happy Sound of Silence!

Now, listen to Simon and Garfunkel:

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Okay. I’m going to ask a very trite question…drum roll…when was the last time that you counted your blessings?

I’m not a mom, but I had a small taste of the chauffeur service that those of you who are parents provide constantly for your kids. Only I was the kid driving my parents around. This rarely happens. They both must be incapacitated for me to be the designated driver. But with my dad one week post-op and my mom scheduled for a minor procedure, I drove them down to the medical center twice for three different appointments in six hours. A taste of what is to come? I doubt it. My parents, at 78 and 80, are both in remarkably good health.

Within a ten day period, between the two of them, they went through one surgical procedure, one medical procedure, one post-op complication, one trip to the emergency room and four medical appointments. That sounds like a lot, but in fact, all is well. I realized today that by getting caught up in the busy-ness of it all I had forgotten the most important point—they are both fine! In fact, they are two of the healthiest folks at their ages that I know.

Add to this countless smaller blessings, such as my unemployed status allowing me to be available for them. From there the list goes on and on.

As a matter of fact, my list is filled with nothing but blessings. In the midst of the worst financial crisis in my lifetime, a potential career change, complete uncertainty regarding my future, I’m as happy as a clam. I hear my inner critic retorting-- yeah, happy and stupid!

So, at the beginning and/or end of the day, why not take a few moments to count your blessings? Gratitude opens the heart and gets us all moving together in the right direction. If this seems like just one more task, then start small. Day 1: acknowledge just one blessing, Day 2: acknowledge two…and so on until however many you want. Or, alternatively, you could just acknowledge one each day, or each time you think of it—like when you’re stopped at a red light or stuck in traffic. Eventually this will become second nature and you will be focused on your blessings so frequently that you will begin to live in a state of gratitude.

It’s pretty amazing how just one thought of gratitude is enough to shift the whole day in the direction of support and healing. Before you know it, you will literally get high from expressing your appreciation to others, which will in turn ripple out to affect a wider and wider group of people. Remember, this isn’t about putting on a fake happy face. This is about the truth of how we choose to live our lives.

Happy Blessings!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Lost and Found in Linear Time

I listened to Caroline Myss today; she was discussing stepping out of linear time. I’m also reading Leslie Keenan’s book, It’s About Time. And I just saw the season finale of Lost…so ,I thought, this must be the right time to discuss time.

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 and seemed to have all the time in the world. My mother was careful not to fill our childhood days. My heart constricts and I become short of breath when my friends list the activity-packed lives of their children. More is better, structure is better has even hit 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 recreate 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 just about 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 different types of time in her wonderful book, It’s About Time. Many Americans are aware of only one type of time, linear time. Many not only live without silence, but may actually prefer constant noise. Just as stillness is more uncomfortable than movement, silence is more uncomfortable than noise.

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 those 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.

Just consider for one non-linear moment, time as multidimensional, collapsing on itself. Think circle rather than straight line; then think 3-4-5-dimensional. Think folds—like genetic structures. Think past lives, archetypal experiences, different times cycling back on each other. Think the TV show Lost this last season. And if you did happen to see Lost, 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 migraine 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 with 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

Recommended resources:

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

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. Yoga
10. Spending time with special friends and family (especially children!)

Step out of linear time and find yourself!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

What Are You Creating?

This post begins with a warning. My family already knows the drill…if you hang out with a writer, prepare to be a part of the content. Before you go running off or before you pick up your cell phone to dial your attorney, let me reassure you, none of you will be identified by name…but from where else do we writers get our material? And I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you for such great content!

Honestly though, if it is posted here then it’s a universal observation, and I’m hoping that by addressing it, others will find it useful. So, here I go…

Yesterday I was at a work reunion of sorts. In my opinion, it was the best possible form that a work reunion could take. It was a loving, joyful event that brought a busload of Ob/Gyns together…a baby shower!! And not just any baby shower. This blessed baby has two of the most wonderful parents in the world—and both are Ob/Gyns! Anyway, I was in heaven. It’s, sadly, quite rare to see such amazing families being created. So many people end up as parents before they’re ready or without consciously choosing to be parents. In our profession, this is a daily event. So it’s heaven when it all works out. (I don’t think they know yet, but I’m planning on hanging out at their house—that’s where all the action is gonna be…it looked like they still have a spare bedroom…but probably not for long—I better grab it quick…everyone is gonna want to be there!)

So, I’m at this heavenly event and the first question everyone asks me is, “Where are you now?” I’m the gypsy Doc; I never stay in one place very long—so I’m asked this question even when I’m not answering a cell phone, even when the person asking the question is standing right in front of me. I’ve always been tempted to respond, “I’m standing right in front of you. Do you need a new lens prescription?” But that would be rude, so I restrain myself and answer, I’m currently unemployed (don’t tell them too much…create some drama...) Their next question is, “What are you doing?” I love answering, “I’m writing three books,” and watching their reactions. It was so much fun! I could almost see their unlived dreams reflected in their eyes. Awesome!

I’ve never liked that question, “What are you doing?” It always implies that I should be doing something, or be doing something else. When I got back from living abroad in Greece without practicing medicine, I was asked, “What did you do for eighteen months?” Even when I reassured them that there was plenty to do, my life was full, the doubt didn’t leave their eyes. Although I know that this question is usually asked without judgment and with curiosity, I can’t help but feel the need in our society for everyone to be doing something, and that something had better be something acceptable. Welcome to the western world.

The question I prefer, instead, is, “What are you creating?” This is a great question, the pay dirt question. It’s the question I love to answer. It’s usually the same question that many have pat answers for, or, if they really understand the question, will uncomfortably wiggle out of answering.

But it seems like the appropriate question for a baby shower. After all, these two wonderful colleagues of ours are creating a child, a wonderful--most likely, given his parents--brilliant child, who will make all of our lives better. What a tremendous gift, their creation. I mean, who can compete with that? Do we all shy away from that question, because we understand what it entails? Or is it just too painful for so many of us to face? Fortunately, everyone who knows me has gotten used to this discomfort—some even look forward to asking me what I’m doing. It’s their five-minute opportunity to think about the parts of themselves that they’ve put on hold, where they are in their lives. Heck, maybe they might even have a dream that night about their next creation that is waiting in the wings.

This question also brings up all of the conflicts. Too many of us are unaware of what we are unconsciously creating, and this gets us into loads of trouble. If we live in our minds, which seems to be our only socially-acceptable home, then it isn’t too long before physical symptoms surface. Not making our creations conscious, leaving things up to chance, letting nature take its course…these are all recipes for disaster.

Creating is an essential part of our nature. It occurs regardless of whether or not it is conscious.

What are you creating? What do you want to create; what do you choose to create? This could be the most powerful, fulfilling journey of your life. And next time you’re invited to answer the question, “What are you doing?” consider instead answering the unspoken question, “What are you creating?”

Happy Creating on the day dedicated to our Earthly Creators!

Happy Mother's Day!
Follow this link for creating inspiration: Jennifer Lin on Oprah

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Creating Meditation

Whether we wish to create space in our lives for prayer, meditation or quiet time, all of us need a protected time and place to unwind, regroup, and reconnect with the Divine. With everything and everyone pulling us in every possible direction, we all long to return to our center. Here are a few simple suggestions to help you create meditation-balance in your lives.

1. Pick a protected place where you will be undisturbed.

2. Create a consistent dependable time, when you are neither too tired nor too wound up to relax without falling asleep.

3. Commit to a regular practice, slowly building up length of practice over time.

4. It may be best to avoid lying down, as you may drift off to sleep.

5. If you are on the go, or simply too hyped-up to relax, then consider a walking meditation outside, surrounded by nature. Ideally, find a place where your feet touch the natural (unpaved) ground.

6. Stick with it, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

7. If you are outside, engage all of your senses. Smell the air, feel the earth beneath your feet, listen to the wind and to the birds, notice the different colors and textures.

8. If the calmly sit by the edge of the river and serenely watch your thoughts flow by technique is not working, try a waterfall, instead. This works for some of you more dramatic types, or those of you who, literally, have a lot to let go of—people, attitudes, emotions, relationships, beliefs. Visualize whatever you’re letting go of at the top of Niagara Falls and then watch with excitement as it/they plunge dramatically into the raging waters below. If you do this long enough, eventually the sense of excitement and drama dissipates. (I have fun with this one!)

9. Remember to begin/end with a blessing and gratitude.

10. Enjoy this time! You’ll be amazed at how many problems get solved, how many solutions appear, and how many creations manifest when you step out of linear time into this space between space.

Monday, May 4, 2009

You Can Do It Too!

I was just treated to a Saturday at the Louise Hay “I Can Do It” conference in San Diego this last weekend. It was packed full of goodies…lots of information, fun and healing. I wanted to share with you just a couple of the many gems.

For those of you who would like to access your intuition to obtain useful information regarding your health and life decisions, and for those of you who are already able to gain access but don’t know how to use this information, I strongly recommend Dr. Mona Lisa Schulz’s latest book, The Intuitive Advisor. If you don’t know anything about Mona Lisa, you are in for a treat. She wears several different very colorful hats simultaneously. Not only is she one of the most brilliant people that I have ever met, both hemispheres of her brain are doing double duty. First, she is a double doctor. She has a medical degree and has trained as a Psychiatrist. She also has a Ph.D. in Psychoneuroimmunology. Oh, and did I mention that she is also a medical intuitive? This means that with your name and age only, she is able to “read” your emotional and physical health and link the two. Being a research scientist, she has been on a mission to understand intuition both scientifically and experientially. In The Intuitive Advisor, she takes an extremely complex subject and makes it straight-forward, easily understandable and extremely useful. Whether you want to learn the basics about intuition or wish to access this wonderful feminine gift, this book is a great place to start. Her website is: . Happy healing!

Whatever you may believe about past lives, Dr. Brian Weiss’ regression meditations are fantastic tools to access information about past experiences, beliefs and the archetypal world. Dr. Weiss also trained as a Psychiatrist and worked extensively as a research scientist. While using hypnotherapy techniques that he had learned during his training, one of his patients regressed all the way back into a previous life, thus changing the direction of his life. He has written several books and has several Regression Meditation CDs available. I would recommend starting with Spiritual Progress Through Regression. His website is: . Happy travels!