~ Winter 2014 ~

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Oxytocin is a chemical that's released in the brain that produces feelings of love, trust, ease, and contentment. Sometimes called the bonding hormone, oxytocin courses through the bloodstream, for example, when we give or receive love and when we experience safe and pleasurable connections with others. We experience well-being and a sense that everything is okay. Trust opens in us. We relax and feel comfortable. Oxytocin helps to reduce blood pressure and lowers cortisol (the stress hormone) levels. So the release of oxytocin can be an antidote to stress. 


I witnessed one of the benefits of oxytocin when my daughter, Heidi, was in labor in 2011. Her contractions had stopped. The nurse knew that Heidi's three other children were the great joys of her life and that she loved being a mother, so she had Heidi talk about the children and describe special moments with them. I watched Heidi's face relax as she recalled precious memories. She was smiling and looked radiant as she spoke. In five minutes or so, the contractions started up again. I asked the nurse if she was intentionally having Heidi bring these experiences into awareness to stimulate the release of oxytocin. "Yes," she said. "I have a few tricks up my sleeve." 


There are a number of ways to trigger the release of the "love hormone" in your body/mind. Here are some suggestions:  

  • When you are hugging or being hugged by someone you care about, let yourself deeply receive the positive sensations that are evoked in you. If you can, extend the hug for as long as it feels right to do so. This is a gift to yourself and to the person you are hugging.  
  • Spend time with people who are supportive, kind, caring, and empathetic. Notice how you feel when you're in the presence of such people. Write about some of these experiences in your journal if you keep one. As you write, recall the memories as vividly as possible and open to the feelings and sensations now that were present for you then. 
  • Bring to mind someone who cares about you. Imagine that he or she is looking into your eyes, feel them holding or hugging you, and hear the sound of their voice expressing their affection to you. Include all of your senses and let this register in your whole being for as long as you want.
  • If you like animals, spend time with them and hold or pet them whenever you feel "off" or would just like to boost your oxytocin levels. 
  • Since touch can trigger the release of oxytocin, massage and bodywork are wonderful ways to relax and increase a sense of well-being. 
  • Create a love box. Go through magazines and/or personal photos that represent love, trust, connection, and ease to you. Start a collection of these images. Whenever you feel like it, choose one and take some time to reflect on it. Let feelings of warmth or peacefulness permeate you. Then free write in response to the image and what you're experiencing. As you write, keep relaxing into the sensations. 

I wish you a very Happy New Year and many love-filled moments. 



Telecourse and Free Introductory Teleseminar

In this 5-session certification telecourse, you will learn innovative imagery techniques and guidelines for the successful use of imagery for your own healing and transformation and/or to expand the scope of your practice and your work with clients if you are a helping professional of any kind.

Nurses and hypnotherapists will receive CEUs.

You will learn:

Specific Imagery Techniques for Intuitive Decision-Making

How to Access the 'Inner Entrepreneur', 'Inner Artist' and Other Positive Selves Through Subpersonality Work

How to Apply the Healing and Symbols Process to Financial and Career Issues

How to Integrate Imagery Into Daily Life

How to Use All of the Senses to Increase the Effectiveness of Imagery

Marketing Tips and Tools
... and more

The telecourse begins Thursday, February 13 and continues on Thursdays for five weeks. Each class begins at 5:00 pm PT, 8:00 pm ET and lasts for 90 minutes.
All classes will be recorded, so if you miss any, you can listen via recording.
The fee is $257 before February 10 (single payment) and $287 after that, which can be paid in one, two or three payments.

"Imagine Creativity"

The creative force is the life force. It is the deep river of aliveness that can course through your being and awaken joy and life-giving energies in you if you welcome it into your life. Creative expression is not reserved for writers, musicians, and artists. You can express creativity in parenting, cooking, gardening, or building a business. You will smile and shine more in every area of your life if you open the doors to your imagination and innovative spirit.

In this FREE introductory teleseminar, you will learn how to use guided imagery to awaken and enhance creative expression in any area of your life. You don't have to be enrolled in the telecourse to sign up for the free teleseminar.

Thursday, February 6
5:00 pm PT, 8:00 pm ET
45 minutes

For information, or to register for the Free Introductory Teleseminar and/or Certification Telecourse, contact me at
susannewest888@yahoo.com or (415)721-0766


Individual Sessions and Sittings

Waking Down is an integrated, whole-being spirituality that includes body, mind, feelings, and spirit. In this work you embrace your humanity and your divinity. Spirit is not seen as separate from the body or our world. Our full humanness is experienced as sacred, as is all of life. 

I offer phone or in-person individual sessions, a 45 minute FREE Introductory Session, and sittings in San Rafael and El Cerrito, California.




*A 10 minute period of silent meditation


*Gazing Meditation - Being to Being meeting, in which the teacher briefly connects with each participant through eye contact

*Personal Sharing Time - Each person who wants to, takes time to share. This can include speaking about what is currently important to you in your spiritual life, sharing an "edge" or area of exploration, or asking questions.


Sittings in San Rafael (contact me for address)

Saturday, January 18

Saturday, February 22

Saturday, March 29

10:30 am - 1:30 pm


Sitting in El Cerrito - 1036 Leneve Place

Monday, January 13 (rescheduled from 1/6)

Monday, February 3

Monday, March 10

7:00 pm - 10:00 pm


Fee for Sittings: $20




FREE 45 minute Introductory Session

One hour phone or in-person sessions

Sliding scale of $55-$80/hour

Contact me to reserve spaces for sittings susannewest888@yahoo.com or

(415) 721-0766.

For more information about Waking Down, see




Writing for Creative Expression and Spiritual Growth

In this ongoing, drop-in group you will learn processes to free your imagination, develop ease and confidence in writing, cultivate your unique writing voice, and overcome blocks to writing.


San Rafael, CA (Call for address)
Alternate Thursdays
7:30 - 9:30 pm


All levels of experience and all types of writing are welcome

INDIVIDUAL COACHING SESSIONS (phone or in-person) to assist you in any or all stages of the writing process:

  • Start, develop, and/or complete writing projects
  • Learn how to ignite and sustain motivation
  • Overcome writer's block
  • Discover your natural writing voice
  • Develop confidence and ease in writing
  • Create attainable short and long term goals

A FREE CONSULTATION is available. You can contact me at susannewest888@yahoo.com or (415) 721-0766.








  • Achieve your personal and professional goals
  • Navigate through periods of transition
  • Develop strengths and seed potentials
  • Find your purpose and passion
  • Overcome blocks and limiting patterns
  • Quiet the voice of the Inner Critic
  • Access inner knowing for decision-making and clarity about your goals and life direction
  • Ignite and sustain your creativity
  • Create action steps that generate tangible results
  • Integrate your spirituality into daily life

I specialize in helping clients overcome blocks of all kinds and translate ideas and visions into concrete action. Fees for individual sessions are based on a sliding scale. A coaching package is available, as well. Sessions are available in person, via Skype, or phone.


Contact me if you'd like a FREE CONSULTATION

(415) 721-0766 or susannewest888@yahoo.com.




My book, Soul Care for Caregivers, is a guide and toolkit for family and professional caregivers that includes practical suggestions, creative processes, action steps, anecdotes from my own caregiving journey, and inspiration from other family and professional caregivers to help you care for your mind, body, and soul while caring for others.


Here's what Rick Hanson, Ph.D., author of Buddha's Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom and Hardwiring Happiness, says about the book:
"To keep caring for others, we must replenish ourselves; otherwise, we start running on empty.  In the warm and wise voice of someone who has been there herself, Susanne West offers many effective ways to take care of yourself from the inside out.  Her book - full of her own qualities of deep kindness and practical wisdom - is a gift from the heart both to caregivers and to those they help and love."

If you are interested in ordering the book, just click on the image of the book above to be taken to the Amazon order page. 



For information or to sign up for courses or free consultations, contact me at susannewest888@yahoo.com or (415)721-0766.

Click here
to visit my website if you'd like to learn more about my phone or in-person Insight to Action Coaching, Waking Down in Mutuality, Writing from the Soul Programs, or Soul Care for Caregivers.

A Free Consultation is available. You can also sign up for my free newsletter.

to sign up for a FREE CONSULTATION with Susanne West