Wednesday, November 30, 2011

" My Favourite Things ... "

"Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eye lashes
Silver white winters that melt into spring
These are a few of my favorite things!"

~ Julie Andrews ~ My Favourite Things ~

During my wild journey this year, I have had the opportunity to explore a variety of "things".  And since tis the season, I thought I would put together ... a few of my favourite things to share with you.  Hopefully you may appreciate them just as much as I do.

FRESH LOCAL PRODUCE at Co-op, Amaranth, Planet Organic, Community Natural Food Store and Kingsland Farmers Market 
~ we are so fortunate to have a variety of stores to select our produce from ... Go Organic!! 

~ These mala beads are sacred necklaces that have been worn for thousands of years in traditions of yoga, Buddhism and Hinduism.  They are gorgeous, and so hard to choose from, but my favourite ones are the Turquoise Ocean Mala, African Jade Mala, African Turquoise Mala, Transition Mala and the Mala of Fire.  Check it out ... you'll see why it is hard to pick just one 
~ I love these funky sandals and what JUIL represents ... 
Life is energy. Energy is life. It's that simple. But as technology has connected us to the world all around us, we're very often disconnected from the most powerful, most rejuvenating energy source on earth: the earth itself. Ordinary shoe soles block us from what our bodies need most" ..

~ everyone loves Lulu, yoga-inspired athletic apparel ... fits every body with no judgement and no competition ... just like my yoga practice.  Namaste 

~ an amazing workout with loving and supportive teachers, this is my favourite yoga studio where I take a journey through my heart and let my breath guide my path 
~ for over 10 years, my healing support and my beautiful friend, Jolene Tse, has gifted me with various healing modalities.  
Truly an angelic experience 

AMATSU Eastern Healing Arts Clinic
~ Dr. Christian Perez embraces an Eastern approach to healing that safeguards health and longevity with early intervention.  Providing an  environment that has allowed me to recuperate and heal on my wellness journey, words cannot describe my gratitude 

~ My everyday life line ... my MacBook Pro, the best investment I ever made ... and as we know gift cards are great for apps, add ons, upgrades .... iLOVE 

~ One of the recommended brands by the Gerson Institute, Alba uses pure plant proteins, natural botanicals, vitamins, advanced sea enzymes and tropical fruit, nut and plant essences from the Hawaiian islands ... SO good for you 

~ finest and purest natural products, essential oils are considered nature's effective tools for stimulating and storing positive energy, and supporting our quest for a balanced, healthy and harmonious life 

~ word and thoughts carry energy ... pick an phrase and express yourself ... just BE 

~ a funky hair salon with award winning stylist ... my girl Naomi made me feel so special at a time when I didn't feel that special ... Much Love 

~ fearless Jess Ainscough, my fellow Gersonator compiled this holiday recipe book ... the aim is not only to provide us with 30 amazing recipes to try out during the holidays, but also to show us that the process of healing does not have to be carried out with deprivation and guilt 

~ just check these out ... oooo shiny sparkles ... everyone deserves to sparkle 

~ one word ... Oprah.  enough said 

~ le sigh ... one day I WILL be able to complete the posture on the cover of YJ ... in the meantime, dare to dream 

~ a new design of an ancient tool, this mat uses effective acupressure points from pain and discomfort to a pleasant feeling of relaxation 

~ nothing beats a blissful cup of tea, Numi preserves our earth's resources and protects the health of the farmers ... ensuring that what is going into our bodies is 100% natural, made the way nature intended 

~ BsaB recognizes life is a fragile and beautiful balance ... providing 100% natural products, they are committed to positively affecting the environment and humans 

~ c-c-c-old Calgary winters, and I mean minus 30 degrees Celsius require some serious protection ... and these cuties caught my eye and promise to keep my digits nice and toasty 

Monday, November 28, 2011

" Rushing ... "

"This year, this Christmas forever,
And the weeks and the months go rushing by
This year we've learned to live
How to forget, and how to forgive without fear"
~ Moby ~ Rushing~ 
What's the rush?  I guess it is easy to ask that question when your days are filled with the schedule I have, but seriously ... what IS the rush?  Pretty much everyone seems to be in a hurry, have lots on their plate, feeling burnt out, run down, and have very little time to do much of anything.  Plus with the holiday season upon us, there are plenty of parties and festivities and expectations ... take that busy crazy life and double it!
Recently, I read that highly sensitive people don't like to work under stress and pressure.  It makes them nervous and lessens the quality of their performance.  Makes sense to me ... a highly sensitive person.  With a high level of consciousness, I have had conflict between wanting to do well and feeling unable to do so ... building an intense internal struggle.  Yes, no wonder burn out was familiar territory ... then a sense of pressure ... and then rushing.
So why do we rush?  You see, within our internal battlefield, we are driven to perform, excel and succeed ... do good work, earn more money .. or have fear that we don't have enough.  For some of us, we feel flawed for being overly sensitive and try to prove that we are not.  We feel behind in life accomplishments or over-scheduled because we don't want to miss anything ... but in the end we do things that are not important to us.  Sometimes, we postpone the things that bring us pleasure until we have completed our tasks ... but they are never ending it seems.
Sometimes we don’t use our time wisely ... we play games, answer lots of email, create complicated solutions to our small problems ... and then rush to compensate.  Rush because we feel we have limited energy for any one thing and cram it all into as much possible time available.  Maybe we rush because we are afraid to stop ... to see what is underneath, emotionally, when we slow down.
So how can we stop the busyness and feel less rushed?  We can start by making new choices.  Recognize that rushing is a choice.  We can choose to follow our intuition about what is the next important thing for us to focus on.  Honour deeper intuitive messages that guide our lives.  Become conscious and deliberate about the choices we make.  We can observe, not absorb, the energy of rushing around us.  We can build counter-rushing time into our schedule.  
So plan to slow down to the speed of your life and ask yourself if the choice you are making is in alignment with who you are here to be ... and remember, from a spiritual perspective: 
You are right on time. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

" Asking and Believing ... "

Compliments of Daily OM, I received this email early this morning ... thought it was timely.  Also, I felt the need to share ... blessings 

"Asking and Believing
You may find yourself feeling stuck as you try to find your way out of unpleasant circumstances today. Rather than accepting the perception that you are trapped by your circumstances, you can change your focus by affirming that a solution is already on its way to you. You might begin by first creating a sacred space to connect with your spiritual helpers, lighting scented candles or incense, and allowing yourself to get into a serene state of mind. Then simply ask for a solution to your dilemma and visualize it materializing effortlessly in your life, even if you don't know the details right now. Simply affirm that the solution is on the way today and allow a sense of gratitude to flow over you, knowing the problem is solved. 

As we ask the universe for help and affirm that a solution is on the way, we lend incredible power to our intentions and shift our circumstances in a more positive direction. We often resist asking for help because we believe that a situation is out of our control, but it may seem out of our control simply because we believe it to be so. By choosing to be proactive in asking for a solution from the universe, and affirming with gratitude that the problem is already solved, we put forth the precise frequency of energy needed to shift our circumstances and make our new intention a physical reality. Releasing your perception of being trapped can be as simple as asking for a solution and believing it's on the way today

Monday, November 21, 2011

" Creepin' In ... "

"There's a big ol' hole
goes right through the sole
Of this old shoe
And the water on the ground
Ain't got no place else its found
So it's only got one thing left to do

Just Creep on in
Creep on in
An' once it has begun
Won't stop until it's done
Sneaking in"

~ Norah Jones ~ Creepin' in ~

Just when you think you got it all figured out ... it creeps in ... FEAR.  Once again, I thought I had this bad boy under control ... and bingo bango, it hits you in the face.  So what triggered it this time?  Well it could have been the "personal" visit from the rehabilitation specialist representing the insurance company.  Yeah, you read that right, they wanted to "put a face to a name".  Read between the lines ... they wanted to make sure I am doing what I say I am doing.  Not checking in but checking up.  Am I paranoid, nah, am I a realist, you better believe it.  

In preparing for the visit, Russell suggested show them my enema "apparatus" ... don't worry that didn't happen!  But I offered to show her the 50 lbs of carrots, the Gerson approved juicer, the medications cupboard, shower filters, and the list goes on ... nope, not interested ... They just want to know when you can go back to work.  Cancer Scmancer.  Not that I am surprised ... but oddly that is not what triggered the fear.  

So what did then, what triggered my FEAR ... let's see ... well it could have been the vacant look when I started explaining the therapy, no wait maybe it was the pity in their eyes thinking that you are fooling yourself by "healing your body" wholistically, or was it the feeling of being scolded and told that "you know this is a serious dis-ease which require serious measures like mastectomies", hmmm or maybe it was the questioning on if I regret the treatment choice because it is SO labour intensive .... WOW, thanks for all that, now I REALLY know what I am up for. Forget that you don't really want to know that I am on week 38 working this 12/hour a day programme, 7 days a week, with no financial support, with Russell by my side every moment managing my feelings, emotions, physical pains, aches and just trying to keep an optimistic view on a dis-ease that has become the number one killer, surpassing heart dis-ease ... 

Le sigh ... just breath and this too shall pass.

... And it did, and I am better as I write this, releasing the fear, pain and sadness that comes on this journey. I was disappointed in myself, angry actually after all of this ... asking myself how could I let this get to me ... telling myself, you were doing so well ... but realizing that hey, guess what, you are human and it is OKAY because this is one more check stop, questioning my path ... but I know that no matter whatever comes our way, Russell and I will handle it, we always do ... and besides what's the worst thing that can happen?  Oh right, it already has ... cancer.  

Funny, as I was about to wrap up this blog there was a knock on the door ... UPS delivery, the book I had on order "The Biology of Belief ~ Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter & Miracles" by Bruce Lipton.  A sign perhaps, or just very good timing ... either way, I'll take it.

"Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyways" 
~ John Wayne

Saturday, November 19, 2011

" Born To Lead ... "

"With eyes closed tightly,
I march so blindly.
Pretending everything's fine,
'Cause you're there to keep me in line.
I don't want your guidance,
I'll break my silence.
So sick of asking and being denied and now I realize.
We're holding the key, to unlock our destiny,
We were Born To Lead"
~ Hoobastank ~ Born To Lead ~
We all have to earn a living, whether it be as an entrepreneur or working for someone else.  During these working hours, we are required to "serve the vision of our employer or business"  We take on a load of responsibilities, learn best in class strategies and practices, get trained while immersing in the "company culture".  Ultimately, meeting the objective of the company.  And for some, including my past life, they devote their whole life to working ... workaholics .. even after work and during weekends.  Their life is essentially tied to serving their company.
So, what if you started viewing your life as your company instead?  Yep, you read that right ... if you think of your life as your company, and you are the CEO of your life.  Once you get your head around this idea, start asking yourself some questions ... are you leading your life to its highest possible success? And if your company's overall status matches your life's overall status, are you a leader?  How is your personal growth department doing?  Do others want to invest in your life?  Or are you struggling to survive?  Gives you something to think about ...
And what about the purpose of your company ... have you discovered YOUR purpose?  Your company's vision, which is an articulation of your vision, such as your life goals ~ have you identified them?  Without a clear vision, our lives can appear randomly scattered and not optimized toward a common direction ... with no singular focus at all.
This all may seem a bit difficult to take on so what I do is look at aspects of my life, like a pie (hmmmm just for a moment I fantasize about a nice slice of homemade apple pie ...) ... whoops! okay back to the subject at hand please! ... I look at the departments in my life like slices of pie ... Health & Wellness, Relationships, Career, Wealth, Spirituality, etc ... 

Many people fall into the trap of overly focusing in the department of career and wealth, neglecting the rest.  They fill their life with "things" to overcompensate for missing aspects in their life.  They measure their "self-worth" by their bank account figure.  And, hey, no judgement, if that works for you, carry on my friend.  For me, I have realized that all departments need to be performing at the peak to lead my best life.  I can't neglect your Health and Relationships and expect my life to be soaring.  

So if you dare, take the time to do a personal performance review on your life ... ask yourself some of these questions and determine if there are certain departments in your life that need some attention.  Because each department in your life exists for a reason, serving a particular unique function, to make you whole, complete, and perfectly YOU.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

" Headache ... "

"Sometimes it's just so hard 
To put up with you
I've come to rely on a pill or two
'Cause you cause me such pain
Why does it act this way?
I'm so frustrated with everything
Won't you be nice?
Bring some ice for my head?
Headache, you give me such a headache ... "
~ Weezer ~ Headache ~ 

The last few days I have been nursing headaches off and on.  Dull aches, leaving me a bit agitated.  This happened more in the beginning of the therapy.  At that time, I figured that I was going through my venti, non-fat, extra hot, Tazo chai latte withdrawals.  And when I would do a "coffee treatment", I would feel better and the headaches would soon go away.  So to have them now, week 37 of the therapy ... it is not fun.  But no worries, it is part of the process, and can be expected ... it's just not that fun.

You see when our bodies detox, our brains do as well.  Makes sense right? ... after all, our brain is another organ.  And, what I am realizing is that detoxification comes in waves as my body continues to heal, and the therapy continues to work harder and harder.  I am noticing re-arising and brief passing of symptoms that I had while filling my body with daily toxins before my diagnosis.  Things like rashes coming up and then vanishing.  Muscle cramps briefly resurfacing and then vanishing.  Backaches remanifest and then go away.  Same goes for stomach aches, stuffy sinuses, sprains and yes, headaches ... when we retain toxins, headaches can develop.  

So the solution ... well the Gerson doctors have said that if you need to, add another coffee treatment ... and they are right.  Immediately I feel the effect of the headache subsiding, it is quite an experience to be honest.  The enema aids in the elimination of the liver's toxic wastes.  And if you think it is "uncomfortable" to think about, let alone talk about an enema, here is a great video from the Jess, the Wellness Warrior, you can view in the privacy of your own ... ahem! bathroom!

Don't worry either ... it is a PG-13 version so it will leave you informed and not blushed!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

" You're A Superstar ..."

"Reach for the sky, and hold your head up high
For tonight, and every night, you're a superstar
And don't you be afraid
Think of all the friends you've made
Like any other night you've got your name in lights
You're a superstar"
~ Love Inc ~ You're A Superstar ~

When my wellness journey started, I had a real choice to make.  Would I curl up and hope it would all go away ... or would I share.  Initially my blog, WalkStrong, was set up for my walking club and to support my keen interest in fitness.  Also, to display a compilation of articles, news and general information regarding health and fitness.  After my cancer diagnosis, I decided to really work my blog.  "To share a collection of thoughts, experiences and emotions regarding a natural therapeutic and wellness approach to beating cancer" ... that is what I came up with for a "description" when recently asked.

Starting from the beginning, treatment at the Gerson Clinic in March 2011, and now, a continuance of frequent updates about anything from natural supplements, emotional detox, spirituality and awareness ... to rants and discussions to give you food for thought.  

And during this journey, I have had loads of feedback ~ private messages, comments, emails, notes and calls, giving me the thumbs up.  I have been so humbled by the idea that I inspire others.  It is a real honour to write, share and help others.  I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, it truly motivates me to continue with the path of communication.

I continue to write outside of this blog too, compiling my "story", the one I will choose to share perhaps one day on a grander scale ... an interesting journey that has been painful, playful and liberating all rolled up in one ... and still a work in progress.

So this is to thank YOUs for your support and asking that you keep it coming ... you've made me feel like a "superstar", holding my head up high at the times I need to the most.  I am surrounded by an exceptional number of incredible people, I like to call Earth Angels ~ you know who you are!  Much Love 

Monday, November 14, 2011

" I'm the Cure ... "

"Tell all your friends I'm the cure
Tell them again and again
Watching the walls, spinning in doors
I can bring you peace of mind ...
Waiting around for something to happen
Bring you this instant relief"
~Midnight Oil ~ I'm the Cure ~

Whenever I discuss with a friend about how the Gerson Therapy works, there are loads and loads of questions about the restricted diet.  It is silly to think that a "diet" alone will cure cancer, but it is a huge factor shaping our health.  We are what we eat and food is our fuel.  And for some it may be a surprise as to why while following the Gerson programme, the only we are allowed is Flaxseed oil.  

So why flaxseed oil?  Well, it is a natural oil that is considered to be nature's richest source of omega-3 fatty acids that are required for the health of almost all body systems.  Some nutritionists believe that it could be the most important health-promoting supplement next to a multi-vitamin, supporting cardiovascular, immune, circulatory, reproductive and nervous systems, as well as joints.  Studies shown  that omega-3 fatty acids:
  • help lower cholesterol and prevent clots in arteries.  
  • protect the body against high blood pressure, inflammation and water retention
  • shorten recovery time for fatigued muscles after exertion
  • accelerate the healing of sprains and bruises
  • ease weight loss in people afflicted with obesity
  • stimulate brown fat cells and increase the metabolic rate, burning off fat

In regards to the Gerson Therapy, the following information is provided by the Gerson Institute:

"Dr. Gerson realized the need for the right type of essential fatty acids. He experimented with many types of oils and found that in all cases fats other than flax seed oil stimulated tumor growth and even the regrowth of tumors that had resolved. 

Flax seed oil is an omega 3 fatty acid containing linolenic and linoleic acids that inhibit the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and lipid mediators and thus reduces inflammatory responses in the body. It attracts oxygen at the cell membrane assisting in transport of oxygen into the cell. It also helps carry vitamin A through the blood stream. Lignans come from part of the fiber of the seed and are high in protein. Although they can provide health benefits for certain conditions, high lignan flax oil is not allowed on the Gerson Therapy as it introduces too much protein. 

Seeds, including flax seeds, have an important substance in them called an enzyme inhibitor that keeps them dormant until they are in the right environment to sprout. This enzyme inhibitor can also inhibit human digestive enzymes and interfere with good digestion."

As for me, currently, I am allowed one tablespoon at lunch and another at dinner.  After making sure my potatoes are a room temperature, I drizzle the the oil on and then add a great green sauce (Gerson approved) made up of garlic, onion, cilantro and apple cider vinegar.  Shakes up the monotonous taste of potatoes twice a day while allowing me to get the full benefit of the flax seed oil.

ALWAYS consult your health practitioner when considering any form of supplement, medication, synthetic or herbal.  I for one am not in favour of self-medicating, yet am in favour of understanding what you are feeding your body ... and know the benefits and side effects to determine if it is right for you.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” ~ Hippocrates

Saturday, November 12, 2011

" Ask ... "

" Shyness is nice, and
Shyness can stop you
From doing all the things in life
You'd like to
So, if there's something you'd like to try
If there's something you'd like to try
Ask Me, I won't say "No" - How Could I?"
~ The Smiths ~ Ask ~

I had another great week full of visits from some beautiful girlfriends ... time to connect and re-connect.  They took the time, made the effort and reached out.  Loved, supported and blessed ... Yet, if I am honest, during my Gerson journey, I haven't felt like that all the time.  It's not like it isn't around me, everyday, of course it is  ... but am I am open to receive it?  Ding, Ding, Ding ... yep a HUGE realization for me.  So, I shared this with one of my friends today and I was excited to find out that we had another thing in common ... we are both givers, and have a hard time asking.  Once we connected on this, we both agreed that we were sooooo ready to receive ~ emotionally and spiritually.  But how?

You see I have always been one to give, I love to give.  Just ask my lovelies how much I love birthdays, celebrations, gatherings and christmas.  Le sigh .... such fun gifting.  And with no expectations.  Yet I use to put so much effort into giving, leaving very little energy to asking.  So what I was receiving was not necessarily what I needed especially at that moment, when I needed it the most.  

What do I need, what do I want and how do I ask .... I know that some of you reading this can completely relate.  My head full of random thoughts, I started wondering why I had such a hard time "asking".  Specifically asking for help.  Recently someone said to me ... "oh you are so strong, you are going to get through this no problem ... I am not worried about you".  And instead of being elated by the vote of confidence, I cried.  Why?  Because at the moment, inside, I didn't feel that strong, and the inner child just wanted someone to say "I know this is hard, and I know that you can do this ... but I also know that sometimes you may think you can't ... those times, I am here for you".  

Now I have expressed to family and friends that I had an "emo" moment, and usually the response is, "why didn't you call me?" ... good question, why didn't I.  I guess because of programming.  Being brought up to not air your dirty laundry, because someone will use it against you one day .... or not to show your weakness, because someone will laugh at you ... and the truth is we all experience this.  But how damaged we are from this shapes our behaviour.  We have all been there when we have shared too much, felt a bit embarassed or humbled after the fact ... wondering, what that person will think of them.  But going back to being authentic, knowing your truth and lifting the disguise ... the key is choosing who you do this with.  

From experience, I realize that I use to ask for help in all the wrong places ... looking for assistance AND affirmation from persons that were so into themselves, that felt pity, not empathy, enjoyed the chaos instead of calming it down ... felt better when I felt worse.  And each time I got nothing, felt vulnerable and empty ... and hurt, I closed off ... deciding that "it's a cruel world" and I am not going to put myself out there .... but now I realize that I was asking from those that had nothing to give because they were only in the habit of taking, and taking more.  Energy suckers ... watch out!  there are loads of them ... and in the end, you miss out, depriving yourself.

So where do we go from here?  Well with awareness comes the opportunity to learn, change, to grow.  Wanting more out of my relationships, I am learning, once again ... to ask.  And realizing that asking is not the same as a burden.  Knowing that it is okay to ask from my treasured family and friends who are waiting in the wings to give.  Recognizing who is in it for the long haul, through this difficult time, who I can count on, and who wants nothing in return but for me to be around a wee bit longer.  

And, especially opening myself up to the blessings above ... asking above to give only what I can handle, and what I can gracefully deal with ... and helping me to create the space to be ready to receive.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

" Give Peace A Chance ... "

"Ev'rybody's talking about
Revolution, Evolution, Mastication, Flagelolation, Regulations.
Integrations, Meditations, United Nations, Congratulations
All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance"
~ John Lennon ~ Give Peace A Chance ~

In our city, on November 11, Rememberance Day, memorial ceremonies have been scheduled.  The community at large it requested to attend with their poppies vividly displayed on lapels.  Some ceremonies will be televised, others will be private.  And red poppies are a familiar sight in November on ordinary folk, veterans, businessman, school children and politicians.  Funds raised from these poppies are to support the veterans, those that survived and families of those that didn't.  The poppy is a symbol to aid the living and honour the dead.  The poppy promises an end to pain.  For many, this act of rememberance is a way of healing the trauma.  

What I didn't realize is that there is a White poppy as well.  White poppies use to offer an alternative way of remembering.  Remembering that the sufferings of war are not confined to soldiers but to thousands of children whom die of starvation and dis-ease as a direct results of war ~ worn to avoid the outbreak of another wear ~ worn for Peace ~ an end to war and giving peace a chance ... the pledge for Peace.  And really are we not looking for peace in our lives ... in our hearts and in our minds.  Peace in knowing that the choices we make or that are made for us are ultimately for a higher good.  Peace in any situation that we find ourselves facing ... and instead of criticizing the world that is, working towards making a world that could be more compassionate, more loving ... more peaceful.  

So this year, alongside your red poppy, consider a white one as well.  Knowing that the white poppy symbolizes Peace, Morality and Decency ~ ask for a stronger statement, an admission that lasting peace can not be achieved by human conflict .... Knowing that reconciliation and tolerance could unite rather than divide nations and religions of the world, a call for peace with justice.  

Giving Peace A Chance

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

" Feed Your Ego ... "

"Love's only here for a while
Make up your mind
This is the last time
Oh the last time
I feed your ego
I'm not feeding your ego "
~ Feed Your Ego ~ Angel Taylor

Feeding your ego in illness.  How do we do it?  If we complain, feel self-pity, or resent being ill, our ego becomes stronger.  And when we make the illness a part of our identity, then we feed our ego in illness ... "I am a sufferer of such and such a dis-ease".  Oh, well thank-you for clearing that up and letting us know who you really are.

We all know someone in our lives that has a big ego and lives a grand life ... and then suddenly they become gentle, kind and humble when they are ill.  They gain insight, they access their inner truth and speak words of wisdom ... until they get better and with the return of their energy, so does their ego.  Did they get the lesson or??

Regardless, our ego burns up considerable amounts of energy when we constantly feed it instead of managing it.  When we are ill, our energy level can be quite low.  We use most of our energy for the healing of the body, so there is considerable less for egoic thinking and emotions.  Yet in some cases, the ego retains the energy it needs for its own purposes ... and these people who experience a strengthening of the ego in illness take much longer to recover.  And unfortunately, some never do .. the illness becomes chronic and a permanent part of their false sense of self.

My experience with illness has been humbling.  Those moments I have in my journey when I don't feel like I have the energy to get back up, I mange to do so.  I have had to find the energy, courage and strength to get back up.  I look for empathy and not sympathy.  I reaffirm my intention to practice loving, kindness and compassion.  I remind myself each day to work at letting go of ego clinging, selfishness, controlling behaviour, negative thoughts, possessiveness, aggression, resentment and confusion.  I resolve each day to find one small way that I can change a frozen behaviour pattern and try to do so.  

By continuing to use my awareness to genuinely understand my ill patterns and behaviours, I have a fair chance to release them by assessing how fruitful they actually are.  I stop feeding them and as a result take the ego out of illness.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

" Dream On ... "

" Every time I look in the mirror 
All these lines on my face getting clearer
The past is gone
It went by, like dusk to dawn
Isn't that the way
Everybody's got their dues in life to pay ... 
Dream On, Dream On, Dream On ... "
~ Aerosmith ~ Dream On ~

I, for one, use to underestimate the power of Sleep.  I use to be one of those that once again took pride in working lots and sleep less.  Like I was looking for a badge of honour or something.  I imagine some of those around me thought I was insane.  Asking themselves, how can you function with minimal sleep?  And it was also the quality of sleep.  Once I would get to bed, I would lie awake allowing my thoughts to review all the going ons in my life, eventually falling asleep ... then, I would wake in the middle of the night only to be irritated that I couldn't fall back to sleep ... finally getting a few zzz's in prior to the darn alarm clock waking us.  Overall, not well rested and just played frustrated.  Sound familiar?

Yet the importance of sleep, rest and dreams is critical for optimum health.  Getting less than 6 or 7 hours of sleep can increase our risk for developing dis-ease.  "Rest = Restoration" ... Sleep provides us an opportunity to cleanse, repair and rejuvenate on a deep cellular level and we can nourish our body within this natural cycles of rest ... this is when the healing work takes place.  Without the need to attend to all of the functions of daily life, our immune system and organs of detoxification can focus attention on cleansing and restoration.  This is the time when our bodies does major housecleaning, taking care of wastes that have accumulated during the day and repairing cellular damage.  So overriding this desire for sleep interferes with the natural rhythm of cleansing.  Also, according to some in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, as well as Western naturopathic healing philosophy, the most important hours for detoxification and rejuvenation are before midnight.  The earlier you go to bed, the better.  

For the most restful and restorative sleep make sure that your sleeping environment is as healthful as possible.  We have cotton bedding to allow the body to breathe.  As well we keep our window open a few inches year round for fresh air.  A few other things we do to prepare for a good night sleep is to avoid stressful mental activity right before bed, and listen to soothing music or meditate.  Sometimes a brisk 30 minute walk or a soothing hot bath can help.  Anything to get you to relax, unwind and prepare for your healing sleep.

This is all so timely as tonight, here in Calgary, we get to wind our clocks and "fall back" with the time change.  Very excited as another hour of rest is always welcome.  And a recent survey in our city asked "what will you do with that extra hour tonight?" ... and it I was happy to see that the majority will use it to benefit their health and ... Sleep.

♥ Sleep is the best meditation  Dalai Lama

Thursday, November 3, 2011

" Heal The World ... "

"There Are Ways
To Get There
If You Care Enough
For The Living
Make A Little Space
Make A Better Place...

Heal The World
Make It A Better Place
For You And For Me"
~ Michael Jackson ~ Heal The World ~

Recently, I read about Dr. Bernie Siegel.  For some this name may sound familiar ... Dr. Siegel is a physician who has cared for and counseled countless terminally ill patients.  He embraces a philosophy that bridges medicine and spirituality.  And although he has a few best-selling books, I am intrigued by his book titled Accept, Retreat & Surrender: How to Heal Yourself.  Heal Yourself resonates quite nicely with me, but I was curious of the acceptance, retreat and surrender aspect.  

For me, now, I look at my illness as an opportunity.  What am I to learn from this dis-ease and where do I start.  Knowledge is power right? ... so I have been super keen to learn as much as I can.  According to 
Dr. Siegel he asks the question "What approach should you take to your illness?" and has three words of advice .. Accept ~ Retreat ~ Surrender.  He says those words might scare us if we were inexperienced, but according to him, those that have employed these tactics have won great battles.  

Acceptance ...  Dr. Siegel says we need to accept our situation if we want to be empowered to change it.  He doesn't mean we need to accept any particular outcome of a dis-ease, but need to accept that the dis-ease exists in our lives and that we are a participant.  Once we accept that the dis-ease or other misfortune has become a part of our lives, we can eliminate or alter it.  We cannot play a part in changing it and our lives if we avoid, deny or feel hopeless.  Accepting the situation does not mean accepting someone else's prediction about what will happen to you.  No one knows what your future will hold ... the best course is accepting that you have problems while denying anyone's predictions about how the situation will turn out.  My favourite saying .. "Individuals are not statics".
Retreat ... retreat does not mean withdraw.  According to the wise doctor "retreat means withdrawing to a quiet place where you can be aware of your thoughts and feelings. The quiet place may be anywhere; the source of true peace and quiet are inside you. In my retreat I withdraw from all the demands of life, but at the same time I am fully alive to myself and my loved ones. I do not always retreat alone. I can retreat with those who are close to me so that we can heal our forces and prepare to take on life when our retreat is over. When we return we are ready to fight for our lives".  We need this space, this withdrawal as a time to restore and heal ourselves.

Surrender ... not to the outcomes but to the events.  Dr. Siegel says we waste so much energy fighting the nature of life.  "Accept the nature of life and surrender to it".  When we do, we will have peace.  When our energy is restored, we stop fighting things we cannot control, and we start re-building our lives.  He says "Surrender is not about doing nothing; it is about doing the right things".  Surrendering allows us to continue to receive and repair, to let go of the pain, fear and worries and welcome joy, love and gratitude in our lives.  

We continue to learn and heal ourselves as our journey never ends ... above are a few thoughts to help us deal with adversity, misfortune and in extreme situations, illnesses.  I believe we can play an integral part by choosing to be a participant and not a spectator.

"Diseases can be our spiritual flat tires ... Disruptions in our lives that seem to be disasters at the time, but end by redirecting our lives in a meaningful way"
- Bernie S. Siegel