Thursday, July 5, 2018
Before she retired, my all time favorite acupuncturist used to sometimes say to me, "Josephine, House too hot!" What she meant by this is that inflammation was running high in my body. And I've heard it said that inflammation is at the root cause of all of our diseases. When a house is too hot for too long, it can be in danger of catching fire.
Inflammation is a natural body response and generally it is a good thing. It is our way of protecting ourselves against injury or infection. Our immune system kicks into high gear and floods the area of concern with white blood cells to help heal whatever has gone wrong. But when inflammation gets out of control, as it can when our blood sugar levels are consistently higher than normal, it can become a real problem.
As we round the bend into older age, it is especially important to keep inflammation down in the body. This is because recent journals of medicine have cited continual high blood glucose levels as being a primary cause behind Alzheimer's disease, gradually causing our brains to loose their good function. Having our C-reactive protein levels tested in our blood is a good way for us to keep track of our inflammation levels, so that we know whether they are getting too high or not.
Many health care professionals feel that cardio vascular disease, swollen or painful joints, skin rashes, increased fatigue and even cancer can be the result of chronically high levels of inflammation. My mother used to say that cancer was the result of any constant irritation in the body. And we know that constant irritations can cause hot spots.
So, what to do about it? Cooling herbs and well placed acupuncture needles can certainly help. But I, along with many others, find that watching our diet is the surest way to quickly cool our systems down. This is because a diet high in carbohydrates contributes mightily to rising levels of inflammation.
In general, I find that fruits are wonderfully wholesome and good foods to eat. The same is true for whole grains and carbohydrate-rich vegetables like potatoes, yams, beets, beans, winter squash, turnips and rutabagas. We need carbohydrates in our diets. They give our endocrine system the energy needed for quick bursts of movement and exertion when hormones like adrenaline come into play. Diets rich in healthy carbohydrates can be wonderful if inflammation is not a problem. But if there are rising levels of C-reactive proteins causing conditions like itchy skin or cranky joints, a carbohydrate-rich diet will contribute to higher blood sugar levels and can be like tossing kindling onto to those flames.
So, when I really need to cool my internal chemistry down fast, I go on a green juice feast. In such a scenario, I'll often drink two pints or more of fresh raw organic green juice a day. The fuice from cucumbers, celery, zucchini, kale and collards along with a few herbs like parsley or cilantro will not only cleanse and cool my body, but they also pump my tissues full of good nutrition, rich in vitamins and minerals.
Bieler Broth is another beautiful way to cool down inflammation. This is a soup that was recommended by Henry G. Bieler, M.D. back in the 1950's, in his book, Food Is Your Best Medicine. He used it for helping diabetics to stabilize their blood sugars. It is made from equal parts of fresh organic zucchini, parsley leaves, celery and green beans. To make it, you cover the vegetables with water, cook them until they are soft, cool it all down and blend it. It can be stored in glass jars in the refrigerator for up to four days. It is nice taken either warm or cold. Having just Bieler Broth and good clean water for a few days, while mostly resting, can cool down many a house that has become too hot.
Another strategy that helps to lower inflammation is exercise. Burning lots of calories helps us to use up all those carbohydrate fuels before they start to smolder. A healthy lifestyle of consciously chosen foods and lots of exercise can be the golden road to keeping inflammation levels low in our bodies while giving us plenty of steady energy to burn all day long.
Friday, May 25, 2018
Wednesday, May 2, 2018
We sleep and then we rise. We take naps or have quiet times amidst the flow of our busy days. The tides run high and then they run low. We always have this pattern of increased energy and then a time of rest or less and it is natural and normal and good.
Here it is, now spring again, coming up out of the cold and slowed growth of winter. The grasses and plants are reaching for the sun once more. The warming days are resulting in an abundance of photosynthesis and growth is abounding everywhere. Later in the fall, the annual plants will shrivel, fade and die; along with the leaves from the trees, they will fall, returning to the ground from whence they came.
Similar patterns can be seen in the movements of the moon through the various constellations in the heavens above, or the larger patterns of the sun and other planets dancing more slowly across the sky full of stars. They arise, pass on by and then later they return again.
Like the sine and cosine waves, curving up and then rounding down, we have the natural cycles of our daily body clocks. These underlie the larger intervals of our bio-rhythms rising and then fading every few days or so In the grander scheme, birth and childhood give rise to puberty which rises up further into adulthood rounding into maturity and followed by old age and death.
Similarly, the monthly cycles of women begin with the quiet clearing of the womb progressing into an interest in a more social time as the egg matures. This can be followed by conception and a rising up into the cycle of new life or it can move once more into quieter times as the body prepares for and then begins it's cleansing time again.
Patterns like these don't usually stop. After menopause, if we pay attention to our body's subtle cues, we can notice our own etheric period. This is not a twenty-eight day cycle like a woman experiences for forty years or so after her menarche. The etheric period is more like a three month cycle, slowly coming up out of a more quiet time for a few weeks, then moving into a companionable way of being, followed by a further rising up into a gregarious way of being for several weeks and then rounding the curve into a month or so spent going deeper and deeper within. And though it is not commonly acknowledged in our culture, men have these same sorts of cycles as well. Male menopause is increasingly being accepted as a real phenomenon. And it is all good.
So, let's stop resisting and start giving ourselves over to these natural rhythms and cycles. We are not meant to continuously crank out productive hours like machines, day after day, year after year, in some sort of corporate ideal. We are naturally much less efficient then that. Isn't it time we let ourselves be who we truly are and stop riding ourselves so hard, cranking up the caffeine, trying so desperately to stay afloat? How about if we let ourselves admit that we'd really rather go out and play, or take a nap, depending on the time of day or month or year? Doesn't that sound like a refreshing change? We are the ones who are creating these sorts of work-a-day patterns after all. So, perhaps the time has come for us to try on the idea of joining the rest of nature and freeing ourselves to stand up for who were designed to be.
Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Monday, February 26, 2018
Aside from the seven main chakras of the body, there are numerous chakras in our hands and feet. There is a tiny little chakra at every knuckle, one at either end of every bone in our skeleton. And since our hands have so many bones, nearly thirty in the hand and wrist, this results in lots of potent energy centers all giving to and receiving from the world.
Some of you may have seen the graphic depicting the sensory receptivity of our bodies. This shows a little person with big eyes, lips and tongue, extending out from his body are gigantic hands. It helps us to understand just how much of our perception of the world around us is generated through our hands.
The Chinese meridian system of the body shows how energy travels through our bodies. Meridians are shown as pathways of energy running from top to toe and passing through an organ like the liver, the lungs or the kidneys. Each of these meridian lines has a number of points along the way. For example, K-27 is the 27th point on the kidney meridian. Several of these meridians begin or end at our fingertips. When we place our finger tips together, either in thought, or in prayer, it feels good. It connects some of the circuits of our meridians.
Something that I have enjoyed doing since childhood is to hold my finger tips up to the full force of the water coming from the shower head while bathing. I also do this with my toes and with my lips and gums and the teeth in my mouth. This stimulates the nerve endings there, activating the meridians that travel up and down, revitalizing my whole body and many of my organ systems. And quite often the other end of a meridian, either coming up from or going to the mouth and toes, is located in the fingertips.
We 'drum' our fingers when we are thinking. We sit at our desks and fold our hands to quiet and center ourselves. We snap our fingers to keep time with a beat in the music. We put our hand on a freshly skinned knee. It brings the intention and the healing power of our whole body quickly there. We shake hands in greeting and to show the other that we mean no harm.
We touch our loved ones lightly to make contact with our finger tips. Hoofed animals use their noses for this, but we use our fingers to convey our love. With a hand on someone's shoulder, or holding hands with another, we put the love in. Our hands and arms extend out from the area of our hearts and express our love. We give hugs, pulling our loved ones in close, so our hearts can touch. Our fingers and hands are beautiful tactile extensions of our love.
And then in solitude, while in meditation or in personal ceremony or prayer, we connect our fingertips together or cup our hands, one resting inside the other, or press our palms lightly together, connecting the circuits of our own heart's energy, feeling the love.
So, let's put our hands together for just a moment now and feel the flow of this love within.
As we enter into the last month of the first quarter of this new year, I give my love to you all with best wishes for a joyous, love-filled and blessed rest of this year.
Monday, January 29, 2018
Intuition is the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning. This is a natural human trait, but for some of us, it is not so easy to access. Outside influences can be mistaken for our own inner perceptions. Memories and old patterns can masquerade as guidance. Please enjoy this hour long talk on how to learn how to listen to, cultivate and trust your own intuition.
Sunday, January 7, 2018
I think the answer to this question lies in several areas:
First, we have been acculturated to dwell predominately in the left hemisphere of our brains with our thought processes. Here we are analytical and separate, we base our assumptions on information from the past and speculations about the future. This is the area of our thinking that is constantly trying to evaluate who we are, what we have done and what we should do next. It is a place of separation and individuation.
Second, we have been conditioned to be less aware of the thought processes that are common to the right hemisphere of our brains. This is the seat of our oneness, our commonality, our unity consciousness. And though we are less aware on the surface of this aspect of ourselves, it is clearly at the core of who we are. When someone calls for help, we don't run away, we run toward them and try to help. At the deepest level of our beings, we understand that to let the other suffer or die would be to let a part of ourselves suffer or die.
Third, when we all saw that image of earth, taken from space in the 1960's, we opened our eyes as if for the first time and began to see that there were no dividing lines for nations or governments. Instead we began to see ourselves as very lucky to be alive, all of us, thriving together, on this little blue green marble, floating in the vastness of outer space. From this perspective, we began to see the earth as one organism, miraculously supporting us all.
And while it is true that we are each unique and different, we now see that we are a part of the whole. Just like our nose is different from our eyes, we understand that both are a part of our face. As my mentor Peace Pilgrim puts it, "We are all cells in the body of humanity." We may each be different, but we are not separate. And it is our oneness that is at the core of who we are.
But why stop there? If our individual selves are a part of humanity, and if humanity is a part of life on earth, why not go even further and try on the thought of all of life, either on earth or beyond, as being a part of the vast consciousness that pervades the Universe.
So now, with this thought in mind. How do you think each aspect of life, or awareness, would like to be treated? How would your nose like to be cared for? Certainly not as separate. That would leave it hanging out there all on it's lonesome. The same can be said for one another. How would each of us like to be treated?
Ah, in steps The Golden Rule. 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.' There is some version of this teaching found in every major religion on the planet.
But what about beyond? As we move our attention on out into the galaxy, it doesn't take too much more looking for us to begin to see the Universe as a whole? Awareness arises, dances in one form or another, passes back into compost or spinning galaxies and arises again. As we start to appreciate the depth of the beauty that we find there, we begin to learn how to embrace the one thing there is. We find that we can celebrate not only our individuality, but also our unity consciousness, living, loving, caring for and embracing each and every aspect of the whole.
A very Happy New Year to you all.