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Posted by on in President's Update
b2ap3_thumbnail_mandala-1699166_1920.jpgImage from Pixabay under a Creative Commons License
 
January 2021 President Monthly Ezine
"But Lightwork is not always Light Work"
 
"Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines..."
~Maya Angelou
 
This isn't the ezine I planned to write this month.
 
It is possible and imperative that we learn
 
What I was going to write about were the ways in which we as a global community of healers have connected with each other during the pandemic. About how the promise of vaccines brings hope for this new year. However, the events of the past week in the U.S. give me cause to write something different and revise what I wrote last summer.
 
And when we come to it
To the day of peacemaking
When we release our fingers
From fists of hostility
And allow the pure air to cool our palms
 
In June, I wrote about the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, of how my country was inflamed and in flames in response to the everyday legacy of systemic racism. Protests in cities across the U.S. and throughout the world led to additional police brutality, violence, and riots. I found myself frequently checking in with friends and colleagues in the cities affected, as well as my African American and Black friends, students, and colleagues who continue to reel from the collective trauma of systemic racism and the disproportionate impact of the pandemic because of it. Sadly, those phone calls and text messages haven't stopped.
 
One of those colleagues wrote the following on Twitter after the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol: "The anger you feel right now - the rage bubbling up your throat, the thing you cannot quench or alter or give voice to - this is part of the existence for Black and Brown people. Internalize this sentiment - memorize its physical properties. This is what lives under the skin." Another wrote, "White allies, please use this opportunity to talk to your family, to your friends, to your colleagues. Remember this helpless feeling and realize it's all some of us ever get to know." 
 
And as Lisa Anselme and I worked together to clear space and support healing and peace on Wednesday, my inner knowing stated clearly "activate your network."
 
So, I'm revising my previous ezine.
 
When we come to it
When the curtain falls on the minstrel show of hate
And faces sooted with scorn are scrubbed clean
 
I take these ezines seriously knowing that our full email list has tens of thousands of subscribers worldwide. I try to be judicious with my words and work to strike a global tone and not be too U.S.-centric. But right now, what's happening in my country is the best example of why the Attributes of the Heart and why our global healing presence is so desperately needed.
 
Our global community of students, practitioners, and instructors is one of the things that gives me hope. When I turn to the news and encounter the darkness of the world, the knowledge that I'm part of a community of people who truly care about others gives me hope. I know that I am working toward a collective purpose. For example, I take comfort in the knowledge that book clubs and discussion groups focused on healing, equity, and social justice arose from our virtual conference this year. Knowing my Healing Touch colleagues are invested in doing the work to become anti-racist while promoting healing and holding the light fills me with hope.
 
When we come to it
We, this people, on this minuscule and kithless globe
Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade and the dagger
Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of peace
We, this people on this mote of matter
In whose mouths abide cankerous words
Which challenge our very existence
Yet out of those same mouths
Come songs of such exquisite sweetness
That the heart falters in its labor
And the body is quieted into awe
 
But lightwork is not always light work.
 
I have no idea what it means to be a person of color. No concept of all that comes with that given the history of the U.S. and colonialism writ large. But I cannot turn my eye away from it. To do so, to remain silent and ignore it is to, in effect, condone it. To view it as too political, too harsh, too much...well, that would be the easy way out that my privilege as a white male affords me. And racism and bigotry go to the very heart of the violence in the U.S. that the world witnessed this past week.
 
But I choose to leverage my privilege in any way I can for equity and social justice. Too political? I would argue that in today's world, the Attributes of the Heart - compassion, unconditional love, healing presence, innate harmony, and joyful service - are political acts. In a world that often seems bent on capitalism and survival of the fitness, even in the face of a global pandemic and at the expense of the lives of others, those qualities of the heart are a gracious act of defiance, compassion, and hope.
 
When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear
 
So, as we continue to ride out the storm of the pandemic, of racism and bigotry, and of all the other things that make us all too human, please join me in intention and meditation. Focus with me on the Attributes of the Heart. Sit with me in discernment so that when the pandemic passes, we do not merely return to normal, or even a "new normal." Let us set intention to return to something better. 
 
When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it.
 
 
Stanzas from Maya Angelou's poem A Brave and Startling Truth have been woven through this ezine. Dr. Angelou wrote this poem to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the United Nations. To read the full poem and to listen to a recording of her reading the poem, click here.
  
In light,
Joel G. Anderson, PhD, CHTP, FGSA
President, Healing Beyond Borders

Posted by on in President's Update
 
Image from Pixabay under a Creative Commons License

 
 
 
 

 December 2020 President Monthly Ezine

"Holding the Light"
 
"You live through the darkness from what you learned in the light." ~Hope MacDonald
 
One of the beauties of Healing Touch, and the thing that attracted me to it compared with other biofield therapies, was our course of study and the fact that certification as a practitioner or instructor is not a one-and-done event. I loved the fact that students, practitioners, and instructors of Healing Touch are always learning new things, rediscovering ancient wisdom, reflecting on experiences, and working toward becoming the best iteration of themselves. In my mind, students, practitioners, and instructors of Healing Touch are scholars of healing in all its many facets. I don't think we often think of ourselves as scholars. Sometimes we have difficulty with the label of healer. But what are scholars if not life-long learners?
 
I have been learning about our healing work from the moment I stepped into my first Healing Touch class in 2006. Fourteen years later, this work continues to unfold in new and exciting ways. And in 2020, that continuous learning and re-learning has been one of the things that has sustained me. I find myself going back to many of the texts on our book list daily, rereading and rediscovering the information contained within in an effort to help me understand the world and events around me. Healing Touch mentors and colleagues offer insight and wisdom to aid in my understanding. And, hopefully, I have done the same from time to time.
 
And I've discovered new treasures of wisdom and knowledge. A recent discovery that has truly been a gift is Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. An Indigenous woman and plant ecologist, Kimmerer expertly weaves ancient wisdom and scientific knowledge together into a book that is just as much about healing and personal growth as anything else. I've been reading it in small snippets just to make it last that much longer.
 
One thing that this book has reminded me of is the Indigenous notion of who owns and can access wisdom. Indeed, it is there for all of us and not dispensed by gurus alone. Again, I think about our healing community of scholars who so eagerly share what they know in a heart-centered effort to spread healing light and enrich us all. Whether through mentorship, book clubs, discussion and practice groups, or our virtual conference this year, the knowledge exchange among our healing scholars is alive and well. And I think it is one of the things that has helped each of us endure the pandemic and will continue to illuminate a path of healing in 2021.
 
As the solstice nears, the seasons change, and the year comes to a close, I have been thinking about all that has occurred in 2020. Being scholars of this heart-centered work of ours, we are aware of energetic patterns and flows. Our theme this year of patterns of possibility and bringing wholeness on Earth reflects not only the unwavering ability of our community to hold an energetically high vibration, but to do so with tenderness, strength, and finesse.
 
Since the founding of our organization, our mission and vision of spreading healing light and restoring wholeness on Earth has been a beacon to those seeking wisdom, healing, and holism. May it ever be so.
 
During the holy days ahead, on behalf of the Board of Directors and staff of Healing Beyond Borders, I wish you peace, hope, and prosperity.
 
Blessings,
Joel G. Anderson, PhD, CHTP, FGSA
President, Healing Beyond Borders

Posted by on in President's Update
         
 Holding Hands Around the World - Image by Prawny from Pixabay 
 
November 2020 President Monthly Ezine
 
We're entering a time of the year when we're looking to newness and thanksgiving, gratitude and remembrance. October through December see our calendars dotted with holidays from various traditions across many cultures.
 
Today as I write, I'm thinking about three things: the election that has just passed in my country; Diwali, the Festival of Lights, marking the Hindu, Sikh, and Jain New Year; and the year ahead. I'm always contemplative, but especially so this time of year. And it seems like each of these things are wrapped up in the overarching idea that we're all in this together. Despite all that is going on in the world, festivals of light remind us of the reaffirmation of hope, friendship, and goodwill. In the midst of all that this year has brought to the world, hope is the thing that continues to rise to the surface for me.
 
I saw someone online state that "hope is a discipline." That resonated with me because beyond being mindful, since March I've had to be purposeful in seeking out and acknowledging hope. Of making space for it when the world feels like it is disintegrating.
 
I often say to folks outside of the Healing Touch and energy medicine world that my training as a Certified Healing Touch Practitioner is my superpower. I draw on what I've learned and practiced every single day and in every single facet of my life. I'm sure many of you do, too. It's one of the ways in which I practice the discipline of hope. Whether it's holding space for a friend or colleague who's tearful and needs compassionate gentleness or making time to breathe and practice meditation for myself, Healing Touch gives me hope. It helps to fuel my hope and my desire to practice the discipline of hope.
 
It seems to me that in our current space and time, the Attributes of the Heart-compassion, healing presence, unconditional love, innate harmony, and joyful service-are needed more than ever. My skill set as a practitioner of Healing Touch gives me hope. My Healing Touch colleagues and mentors give me hope. You, our Healing Touch community, give me hope because even if I don't know you personally or even know your name, I do know that you are holding the light in the world. And knowing there are like-minded people on this planet at this moment holding light and compassion for all living things gives me hope because I know that you care, you truly care.
 
In my day-to-day life, I'm a professor at the University of Tennessee and my research focuses on supporting families caring for someone with dementia. In one of my studies about how caregivers support each other online, one of the caregivers said, "These are the folks who hold the light for me so that I can see my way to a bit of peace; sometimes I hold the light for them."
 
That's what our community does for each other. We hold the light. It's hard and simple and inspiring and amazing and all the things. And I am so, so grateful for it. The office staff is holding the light for you. The Board of Directors is holding the light for you. Our committee chairs and members are holding the light for you. I am holding the light for you. And I know that you're all holding the light for me.
 
In the prologue to his memoir Walking with the Wind, the late Congressman John Lewis tells a story from his childhood to describe his vision of how we can face profound challenges and make a better world.
 
"About fifteen of us children were outside my aunt Seneva's house, playing in her dirt yard. The sky began clouding over, the wind started picking up, lightning flashed far off in the distance, and suddenly I wasn't thinking about playing anymore; I was terrified...
 
Aunt Seneva was the only adult around, and as the sky blackened and the wind grew stronger, she herded us all inside.
 
Her house was not the biggest place around, and it seemed even smaller with so many children squeezed inside. Small and surprisingly quiet. All of the shouting and laughter that had been going on earlier, outside, had stopped. The wind was howling now, and the house was starting to shake. We were scared. Even Aunt Seneva was scared.
 
And then it got worse. Now the house was beginning to sway. The wood plank flooring beneath us began to bend. And then, a corner of the room started lifting up.
 
I couldn't believe what I was seeing. None of us could. This storm was actually pulling the house toward the sky. With us inside it.
 
That was when Aunt Seneva told us to clasp hands. Line up and hold hands, she said, and we did as we were told. Then she had us walk as a group toward the corner of the room that was rising. From the kitchen to the front of the house we walked, the wind screaming outside, sheets of rain beating on the tin roof. Then we walked back in the other direction, as another end of the house began to lift.
 
And so it went, back and forth, fifteen children walking with the wind, holding that trembling house down with the weight of our small bodies.
 
More than half a century has passed since that day, and it has struck me more than once over those many years that our society is not unlike the children in that house, rocked again and again by the winds of one storm or another, the walls around us seeming at times as if they might fly apart.
 
It seemed that way in the 1960s, at the height of the civil rights movement, when America itself felt as if it might burst at the seams-so much tension, so many storms. But the people of conscience never left the house. They never ran away. They stayed, they came together and they did the best they could, clasping hands and moving toward the corner of the house that was the weakest.
 
And then another corner would lift, and we would go there.
 
And eventually, inevitably, the storm would settle, and the house would still stand.
 
But we knew another storm would come, and we would have to do it all over again.
 
And we did.
 
And we still do, all of us. You and I.
 
Children holding hands, walking with the wind..."
 
Harmony, A Colorado Chorale from Denver, Colorado, provided a virtual performance for both our opening and closing ceremonies for this year's virtual conference. I share with you this video from their closing performance.   

Surrounding You 
Surrounding You
As you move through the last two months of this year-marking and celebrating days of remembrance, thanksgiving, and light-may the lyrics of that song and the words of Congressman Lewis remind you of the global community of healers holding your hand, walking with the wind, and surrounding you with love.
 
Blessings,
Joel G. Anderson, PhD, CHTP, FGSA
President, Healing Beyond Borders

Posted by on in President's Update

b2ap3_thumbnail_a-better-world.pngCalled for a Better World - Photo by Lisa Anselme

October 2020 President Monthly Ezine
 
"Leaders are called to stand in that lonely place between the no longer and the not yet and intentionally make decisions that will bind, forge, move, and create history. We are not called to be popular; we are not called to be safe; we are not called to follow - we are the ones to take risks. We are the ones called to change attitudes, to risk displeasures. We are the ones called to gamble our lives for a better world." Mary Lou Anderson
 
This week, I am taking part in the National Hartford Center for Gerontological Nursing Excellence Leadership Conference. It's something I do every year, though this year it is a virtual experience, kind of like our own conference. What's similar is the mechanics of it in terms of navigating the conference platform, viewing pre-recorded presentations, and connecting to live sessions with some of the speakers. It's also similar in that attendees represent a group of compassionate individuals who truly care and are leading with their hearts.
 
Our own conference exceeded expectations. It was thrilling to have over 500 people from around the world engaged in the offerings this year. Hearing from folks each morning during my live coffee break and meditation was a highlight of each day for me. I heard about what you were doing as part of the conference as well as what you were doing in your daily lives. Our conference created new ways of connecting and gave us great ideas for how we might do things going forward.
 
And, I think, it inspired leadership. It showed many of us what is possible in ways we had not envisioned just months ago. It fed our soul and gave us courage and creativity to meet the days ahead, both for ourselves and for our Healing Touch community. I'm grateful for the leadership of our community in charting a path to holism and wholeness for ourselves and others. We lead just by being ourselves.
 
For example, practitioners and instructors are creating online discussion and practice groups as ways of checking in, gathering in meditation, discussion of techniques and clinical practice, and book groups on topics related to healing and equity, to name a few. You can find listings of these groups in the directory on our website. If you're a practitioner or instructor who's hosting such a group or would like to do so, please list the information on our website so that others may join you.
 
As with any organization, we have formal leadership roles and transitions of those roles. This year, we had two members of the Board of Directors whose terms ended: Maureen Kowba and Deb Goldberg. Both provided heart-centered, steadfast service to the organization during their time on the Board of Directors. I am grateful to have worked with them during their tenure on the board.
 
To fill these positions, we solicited nominations as in years past. Unfortunately, the number of nominations received was minimal. We understand that the call came at the beginning of the pandemic during a time of uncertainty, much of which still continues. That uncertainty may have made it challenging for some to put forward their nomination.
 
However, the Nominating Committee reviewed all of the nominations submitted and two candidates rose to the top. Given that we arrived at only two candidates and had two vacancies to fill, an election was not feasible. Therefore, the Board of Directors voted to appoint both of these candidates to initial terms on the Board as per our organizational bylaws.
 
I am pleased to announce the appointment of Wilma Bijl, CHTP, CHTI, and Christa Voorn, CHTP, both in the Netherlands, to the Healing Beyond Borders Board of Directors. Both have experience working on teams using consensus models of leadership. They are both excited to assist in international expansion with closer involvement, outreach, and connection with the international community. Wilma has a keen interest in expanding Healing Touch throughout Europe, while Christa is focused on biofield research opportunities for Healing Touch to increase awareness of our evidence-based results among the healing professions. Their presence will expand the international representation on our Board, bringing European representation to our board for the first time. Their terms began with our virtual conference on October 1, 2020.
 
This year also was meant to mark the end of my time in the role of president. However, given current events and to maintain continuity during a time of accelerated change, I have agreed to remain in my current role for an additional year. This decision was approved by the Board. I look forward to passing the light to our next president at our 25th anniversary conference in 2021.
 
Sincerely,
Joel G. Anderson, PhD, CHTP, FGSA
President, Healing Beyond Borders

Posted by on in President's Update

b2ap3_thumbnail_Seeds.pngSeeds of Possibility - Photo by Cat Miller

July 2020 President Monthly Ezine 
 
My heart is moved by all I cannot save: so much has been destroyed that I have to cast my lot with those who age after age, perversely, with no extraordinary power, reconstitute the world."     ~Adrienne Rich
 
This summer is not going according to plan.
 
Five months ago, I was making preparations for a spring and summer full of research-related travel, outings with friends and family, and working diligently in my office at the university on a full plate of research and teaching. But in the past five months, that travel and those outings have been put on hold, and I've worked as diligently as I can from my home office.
 
When the pandemic was declared in March and the world began locking down, I reached out to family and friends far and wide to check in with them, to let them know I was thinking about them and that I was here for them. Among those Healing Touch folks was Annis Parker, who responded to my message with the following: "You are so able to deal with this. That is why you are placed in the place at the University." That message back in March helped me to remember what I can do during a time in which it felt (and sometimes still feels) like there is nothing I can do to make the situation better.
 
As the spring and summer have unfolded, we've watched the tides of the pandemic ebb, flow, and surge. There remains an uncomfortable level of uncertainty. And that uncertainty means decisions are hard to make. But I'm finding that the ability to make decisions provides some measure of certainty that I'm appreciating.
 
Making the decision to move our conference into a virtual format was not taken lightly. But once the decision was made, space opened up. Movement and forward motion were possible. The Patterns of Possibility emerged. It's funny. When we developed the conference theme for this year, we had no idea how salient it would be.
 
The office staff and Conference Planning Committee are working tirelessly to make our virtual conference a success. This new way of delivering our conference offers a great deal of possibility. I hope you will register and join us!
 
The main thing keeping me going during the pandemic is community. Though interactions have been limited to Skype calls and Zoom sessions, we've fostered community using technology, strengthening ties and expressing gratitude. Being part of our Healing Touch community has given me hope for the past fourteen years, but never more so than in the last four months. 
 
We are those who have cast our lot as a healing, compassionate presence in this world. May our collective work support transformative healing for the highest good of all.
 
Sincerely,
Joel G. Anderson, PhD, CHTP, FGSA
President, Healing Beyond Borders