Tuesday, July 31, 2012

" Bucket ... "

Sun's out! 
We got A beach day
Forget Yourself say
Why don't We people watch?
Kids all playing 
'Round in the sand ...
I don't know
How we're Gonna build
A castle now Do you want 
To start Again somehow?
I'll stay Until the sun 
Comes down
Down, down
Are you smiling?
Look over My shoulder
See Your laughter
Bubble over Lately 
You've Been working 
Too hard
~ Carly Rae Jepsen ~ Bucket ~
The other day Russell and I were talking about “bucket lists” and I asked him the question, why the reference to a bucket?  And since I am so curious, I decide to research and blog about it .... (of course!).
Starting with the saying to “kick the bucket”, the reference is to an English idiom that is defined as “to die” as in the Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, dated 1785.  It is considered a euphemistic, informal slang term with many theories surrounding its origin.
Well I will save you what I read in regards to the English theories, as it is depressing and quite gruesome!  Instead I prefer the pop culture Looney Tunes theory when Elmer Fudd “shoots” Bugs Bunny and Bugs says that he’s “gonna kick the bucket” before literally kicking a bucket next to him ... Elmer then replies “Hooway!  The wabbit kicked the bucket!" while doing a dance with Bugs until Elmer realizes that Bugs had tricked him.  
So what is where does a Bucket List come from?  It is a list of all the life experiences you desire to experience, dreams you want to fulfill and goals you want to achieve before you die.  Bucket lists are good for those that are caught up in the rush of life ... when you feel that your days are passing you by.  
You see, living your days by personal goals and plans reminds you what is really important so you can act on them.  So to develop a list you can ask yourself invaluable questions, without limiting yourself ... dare to dream and dream big. 
Questions like:
  • If tomorrow was your last day, what would be the last thing you would do?
  • What have you always wanted to do but have not done yet?
  • If you had unlimited time, resources and money, what would you do?
  • What countries, places or locations do you want to visit?
  • What experiences do you want to have/feel?
  • Are there any special moments you want to witness?
  • What would you like to say/do together with your loved ones?
Once you have made your list, the next step is to start acting on them.  Plan out a path toward meeting these goals by reminding yourself of them every day.  Hold yourself responsible by sharing the list with your family and friends ... this may inspire them as well.  Review your bucket list regularly and cross out the things you have accomplished, see if some of the items become irrelevant and if there is new things you want to add ... our lists never end because there is such an incredible wealth of things, events, and activities to experience in life.  
It is impossible that we will ever be done with living.
The intention of a bucket list is to maximize every moment of our existence ... a reminder of all the things you want to achieve in your time here.  Planning ahead all the highlights you want for your whole life instead of some kind of a race against time or to create aversion towards death is truly living.  So instead of spending time in on pointless activities, we have focus and direction toward what matters to us.

Monday, July 30, 2012

" Hero ... "

There's a hero
If you look inside your heart
You don't have to be afraid
Of what you are
There's an answer
If you reach into your soul
And the sorrow that you know
Will melt away
And then a hero comes along
With the strength to carry on
And you cast your fears aside
And you know you can survive
So when you feel like hope is gone
Look inside you and be strong
And you'll finally see the truth
That a hero lies in you
~ Mariah Carey ~ Hero ~
I have realized that you have to be your own hero ... always.  You can have tremendous love and support around you but the hero lies in you.  You have to decide what is right for you, you have to chose your path, and then you have to manage the consequences.  We spend a lot of time blaming others ... our parents, our bosses, our colleagues, our enemies and sometimes our friends ... but ultimate we are responsible for everything that happens to us.  So during times when we feel that things are out of our control, there are still somethings we can control ... one being how we feed our bodies.
Now I have blogged various natural supplements and foods, but I cannot stress enough the importance of eating good wholesome ORGANIC foods.  You may be thinking ... *sigh, here we go again ... well I ask you stay with me on this.  

You see recently I have been reading more and more information regarding what is called the Dirty Dozen ... still interested?
There is a saying ... it’s time to put the “farm” back into pharmacy.  Way back when, people used to make tinctures and potions and heal their aches and pains with nature.  Now we are given synthetic drugs to deal with the symptoms ... but what about the cause of the ailment, where does it come from, and how do we treat it so it never comes back?

We can start with what we eat.  Yup, pretty simple.  What we eat DIRECTLY affects our bodies ... how scars heal, how our organs function and even our moods.  Our bodies are always trying to bring balance and harmony back.  And yes nutrition can and does work, but it is not what you eat it is what you absorb.  

Nature has a bounty of remedies for our body’s needs ... as long as it is not contaminated.  
Which leads me to the Dirty Dozen (DD) ... what is it?  Well the DD are foods that tend to be heavily sprayed with synthetic pesticides.  Now this list gets updated and can be found at the Environmental Working Group 2012 Shoppers Guide ~ Pesticides to Produce.  The most polluted produce is:
  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Strawberries
  • Peaches
  • Spinach
  • Imported Nectarines
  • Imported Grapes
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Domestic Blueberries
  • Lettuce
  • Kale and Collard Greens
And believe it or not, there is a super dirty list which includes Green Beans!  Eating the above foods in ORGANIC form means you avoid the pesticide residue left on them.  Now organic food does cost more and that is a deterrent for many people, but ever think about how costly it would be if you got sick instead?  Trust me, I know.
Studies have shown that individuals can reduce their exposure by 80% if they switch to organic when buying these 12 foods.  How?  Well, for example when tested, 98% of conventional apples have pesticides, 57 different pesticides were found in celery and 15 different pesticides were found in bell peppers!
So what is the problem with pesticides?  
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:
“Laboratory studies show that pesticides can cause health problems, such as birth defects, nerve damage, cancer, and other effects that might occur over a long period of time ... Some pesticides also pose unique health risks to children.”
Sadly, there is an argument out there stating that all the scare of pesticides does us harm as people will avoid fruits and vegetables.  Yet I believe we are smart enough to know that health problems start with eating a bad diet.  Therefore it is up to you to risk what you allow your body to absorb.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

" Life ... "

How many time have your friends let you down?
Just open up your heart
Just open up your mind
How many times has your faith slipped away?
Well, is anybody safe?
Does anybody pray? ...
Oh, Life is waiting for you
So messed up, but we're alive
Oh, Life is waiting for you
So messed up, but we'll survive
~ Our Lady Peace ~ Life ~ 
We all know no breath = no life,  but are you familiar with Pranayama breathing?  The art of yoga breathing ...   
Pranayama is a Sanskirt word meaning “extension of prana or breath or life force” ...

  • Prana is life force ... vital energy ... breath 
  • ayama is to extend ... draw out
By practicing Pranayama or breathing exercise we promote proper breathing.  You see, many moons ago, the yogis realized the important of adequate oxygen supply.  That is why they developed and perfected breathing techniques to revitalize the mind and the body.
My keen interest in yoga has lead me to practice this breath control.  With these techniques it is believed one can prevent major diseases and possibly cure minor illnesses, thanks to bringing more oxygen to the blood and brain, we control the prana or vital life energy.
But don't most of us take breathing for granted?  It is something that occurs automatically, spontaneously, and naturally.  We are breathing even when we are not aware of it.  So it is nice to know that breathing is one of the ways to get rid of waste products and toxins from our body too.  Science even shows us the importance of oxygen ... essential for proper functioning of brain, nerves, glands and other internal organs.  We can survive without food for weeks, water for days but if we lack oxygen ... we would expire within a few minutes.  
And some of the basics of what oxygen does for us ...
  • purifies the blood stream
  • rejuvenates our skin
  • supports the production of ATP, a chemical required for energy production
  • reverses arterial dis-ease ...
Therefore, if we can practice healthy breathing by the use of Pranayama breathing or breathing exercises we can ensure we are not compromising our health.  Unhealthy habits can develop without even being aware of it ... slouching can diminish lung capacity and shorten your breath ... stress and anxiety can lead shallow and fast breathing ... Now how many of us can relate?
So how do we improve our life force?  
We learn to properly breath .... the first rule for correct breathing is to breath through the nose instead of the mouth.  The nose has various defense mechanism to prevent impurities and excessively cold air entering the body.  Pathogens can also enter the lungs through mouth breathing that makes it impossible to be healthy.  So to break the habit of breathing through the mouth, just keep your mouth closed and you will automatically breathe through your nose.
Out of interest,  the Yogis believe that the olfactory organ has another function ... to absorb the Prana from the air.  So if you breathe through the mouth all the time, you are cheating yourself of all this free energy.  Choosing to follow the path of ancient Yogis and relying on science, you can practice correct breathing to not only increase your health and life span, but also to attain super conscious states ... our ultimate goal.

...the Universe is filled with prana; all creation is a manifestation of force, a play of force... 
Everything that was, is, or shall be, is nothing but different modes of expression of the universal force.
Paramahansa Yogananda (1893 - 1952)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

" Sweet Emotion ... "

Sweet emotion
Sweet emotion
You talk about things that nobody cares
You're wearing out things that nobody wears
You're calling my name but I gotta make clear
I can't say baby where I'll be in a year
Yeah yeah yeah yeah
Said my get up and go must've got up and went ...
Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
Sweet emotion
Sweet emotion
~ Aerosmith ~ Sweet Emotion ~
I have to admit that lately, my emotions are all over the place.  Triggered by physical healing reactions, throw in random interactions with acquaintances and friends, and top it off with anxiety ... the result, a  mess.  And trying to get a handle on it is literally an hourly, not even a daily task.  Soooooo frustrating because I know that I am better than this, stronger than this and I got this ... I think?
To add some more stress to the mix, my week included a mandatory functional assessment by the insurance company who is funding my disability claim.  A two-day episode of irrelevant tasks ... I was told “just because you are busy and diagnosed doesn’t mean you are disabled” and “you are going to have to figure out your own therapy schedule, move it around or miss something because this is mandatory ... if you don’t attend, you are out of compliance”.  Yeah I know, can’t you feel the compassion and kindness (enter sarcasm here) ... on the upside, the physio therapist administering the task was very accommodating and understanding to my therapy schedule.  She did everything possible to do her job and let me do mine.  For this I am so grateful and know that there was a LOT of help from above.
Next came meeting up with old friends and acquaintances, whom I hadn't seen in years ... interesting for me as prior to my diagnosis, I use to have some anxiety around it and really not much has changed.  Before I didn’t know why but I had these feelings but this time, I was more aware of my emotions around it ... shame and guilt surfaced, as I was fearful that there would be some judgement ... “cancer? how could you let this happen to you?”  Yet something quite significant happened ... I practiced empathy instead of expecting it.  How difficult it must be for them to be around me.  Maybe they just don’t know what to say.  And this was quite obvious as one person kept their distance ... but that is “their” stuff, not mine.  Why should I carry around these feelings of awkwardness?  It doesn’t mean they don’t care ... and it’s not all about me.  I started to feel quite liberated with drop of wisdom.  I started to let go and let be ... 
question for you: Have you ever taken yourself out of a social gathering as an active participant and become an observer?  I did just that with the above meeting ... and waves different emotions took over.  Some sweet, some sour ... I started to feel sorry for myself ... sorry I couldn’t participate in the lovely meal, sorry I couldn’t participate in the conversation surrounding parenting, sorry I couldn’t be “just like everyone else”.  But what does that really look like?  I read somewhere that “If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.”  You see, the grass may seem greener on the other side but until you go to the other side and look for yourself, you will always believe the situation you are currently in is worse that the one you see from afar.   
As Russell says, this is part of the human experience ... at the moment, I feel vulnerable and uncomfortable.  A time for me to sit with this, to truly understand why I am struggling with the courage to live and cope with life ... yet there is some peace in knowing “just like everyone else", we are all trying to maintain the full potential of just being human.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

" Break The Cycle ... "

Thank you for your consideration
You don't know what I know
Me and my sense of direction
Is my own
Let's go tell the people
We've gotta break the cycle
I'll start, begin to do my part
To break the cycle
Lay down our guard
It's a revolution
Let's be a part
Of the solution
We've gotta break the cycle
We've gotta break the cycle
~ Cory Lamb ~ Break The Cycle ~
Dealing with anxiety, fear and worry can be exhausting and it is hard to break the cycle when it seems like peace eludes you.  But there is hope and we can ... break the cycle.
Anxiety has a way of grabbing hold of your mind and not letting go.  You know what I am talking about ... you are lying in bed about to go to sleep and then in an instant you are hit with a slurry of anxious thoughts.  All of sudden, your mind is spinning and your body starts to get jittery. The harder your fight those thoughts, the faster they come. You quickly spin into full blown panic.
So where do you start ... you address the trigger and the root.  Understanding the triggers of those anxious thoughts is important. For me, I pray through what’s causing fear to arise within me ... is it a physical stress, like something I ate, or a mental stress, like negative thinking patterns.  I have been practicing to take some time during or after my anxiety attack to write down my thoughts.  I ask myself ... what were you thinking before the rush of anxiety? what emotions were you feeling and experiencing? was there something that happened during the day that caused you stress, or got you thinking about about something?  This exercise is allowing me to see if I can start to recognize a pattern.
Also, I am realizing that getting to the root cause of anxiety, fear and worry is absolutely essential if I want to find true freedom.  Most people stop at the first step. Once they find out what’s triggering the anxiety, they simply avoid those triggers without ever dealing with the root cause of the anxiousness.  Yet, with the use of great books, prayers, teachings and blogs I begin to tear down the strongholds of fear and anxiety and learn how thoughts get lodged in my mind. 
So if you find yourself in a similar predicament, here are some resources I use:
Heal Your Life ~ http://www.healyourlife.com/
Crazy Sexy Life ~ http://crazysexylife.com/
Kind Over Matter ~ http://www.kindovermatter.com/
The Best Of This Life ~ http://www.bestofthislife.com/

♥ also THANK-YOU for all your recent emails, phone calls, texts and visits 
... it really is the friends we meet along life's road who help us appreciate the journey ♥