Search This Blog

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Letting Go vs. Giving Up: Lessons learned from a potato masher

Today's entry started out as something much different. I was going to write about the sense of apathy that a lot of people seem to be experiencing lately and how Wild Rose is a Bach Flower essence that can help with that. But then I started to consider that apathy can easily be confused with "letting go", and in fact is a desirable state to be in. Writing a blog, for me at least, is a very liberating exercise as it seems I can write about whatever I want whenever I want and although I am amazed by the number of people that seem to be reading it, I haven't heard much in the way of critique so... The following entry is more of a creative writing exercise but it is based on a true story and for me at least helps identify the difference between giving up (apathy) and letting go (the best way to change events to the positive).

"The Potato Masher Story"

Letting go and giving up are not the same actions and I have a scar on my forehead to prove that fact. Although I did not understand the fundamental difference between these two reactions until I was an adult (and a somewhat old one at that!), the lesson was shown to me as a baby.

Growing up in rural Nova Scotia meant Sundays were family days. My parents took my sister and I to church in the mornings and to our grandparents’ farm for the afternoon for the weekly gathering and family supper. They are fantastic memories for the most part. I remember playing in the hayloft in the barn, in the field with the cows, coaching newborn kittens from under the front porch, picking Lily of the Valley wild flowers, and being surrounded by adults that loved us. And of course, the food was delicious; real macaroni and cheese; homemade bread and pies and cakes, real cream and butter and jams made by my grandmother and of course- the mashed potatoes.

The family legend goes like this. When I was about 2 years of age, I had been confined to the high chair in my grandmother’s kitchen while the women were preparing supper. The men were out relaxing on the back porch smoking cigars and chewing tobacco while watching the world go by. My sister, who was not quite two years older than I, was allowed to roam freely around the kitchen area. Probably that is what got me “out of sorts” so that my grandmother gave me the potato masher to play with in the high chair. My sister took objection to that, and the fight was on. Much like two dogs will tug over a rope tug toy, we battled, both of us clinging to separate ends of the masher tugging for possession. Even at a young age I was stubborn and unable to give up and put up quite a physical fight. In the first and only fight my sister claims to have won between us, she decided suddenly and without warning, to “let go”. She did not give up the fight to win the potato masher. She didn’t say, okay you can have it. She just let go of the established pattern of tugging for possession because she could see it was not the method to get her what she wanted.

The result was surprising dramatic. With my own hands the only ones on the handle of the “weapon”, and no one counter pulling on the other end, the metal potato masher hit me squarely and forcefully, “right between the eyes”! While the tears flowed and blood spurted, all adult attentions (at least from the women!) were on my wound. My sister, although not unsympathetic to my injury, retreated to a corner of the kitchen with the potato masher! No one could fault her for my injury. I couldn’t even be mad at her. After all, she had only “let go”! I no longer wanted anything to do with the scary object that caused so much pain and was happy to let her have the dangerous thing!

My sister never planned such dramatics and neither of us grasped the significance, but today every time I crinkle my forehead just so, I can see the reminder that letting go of something is a much more effective option than giving up.

Sometimes we are so caught up in our tug of war struggles with others and the universe in general, we can’t see that letting go of the pattern of behavior is a much different reaction than giving up. Continuing to tug is exhausting at best. At worst, the events or the other person may be stronger or more determined than you and he or she will win, leaving you both exhausted and “broken”. Giving up on the other hand will leave you feeling exhausted, defeated, angry and perhaps even demoralized. Letting go of the pattern of behavior however in order to still achieve a goal can reap huge rewards while preserving your energy. You may get a pleasant surprise from the universe. You may even find you have gained a friend willing to help you get to your goal instead of tugging against you.

Those women in the kitchen were very smart. On the way to the hospital for stitches my father, summoned from the porch, drove. My mother sat calmly in the front seat. My sister and I sat in the back. With one hand my sister held a cloth to my head. With the other she mashed potatoes in the small bowl I held in my lap. While waiting at the emergency department, we giggled over the delicious mashed potatoes we both got to eat with our fingers!!

As I finish writing this, I go to the mirror to check that the scar is still there. It has become an old and dear friend and I’m proud to finally know the true significance of it.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Agrimony to Release what's behind the Mask

Everyone remembers the class clown. Many of them have gone on to be quite famous comedians. Sometimes that is because they have learned to be extremely good actors. The clowning around, always happy, center of attention person, often turns out to have a much different inner core. If that inner core is uncomfortable, you might consider Agrimony as a Bach flower essence that can could make a profound difference in your life.

People that benefit from Agrimony often appear quite carefree and humorous but their outward appearance is a mask for inner anxieties, worries and even real inner torment. For some the "class clown role" has become a coping mechanism. The person that can benefit from Agrimony is trying to conceal their inner discomfort from others and often, even themselves.

When the Agrimony person is in pain or anxious he or she will joke about it. They are unwilling to express their fears. They dislike being alone and instead will seek social activities using the company of others as a distraction from their inner thoughts. They become good at ignoring the darker side of life by covering it up with humor. They dislike confrontation and will often diffuse arguments (even ones they aren't really involved in) with humorous inflections or antics. You can often find Agrimony people in bars and loud restaurants. They often mask their discomforts with heavy drinking, drugs or comfort eating- usually done in groups.

To hide problems behind a cheerful face is often a learned response and may become so automatic and a part of the person it becomes difficult to admit to. The Agrimony person may recognize themselves due to their restlessness at night when they find their mind churning with thoughts, fears and concerns.

Taking Agrimony can help lift the facade. When balanced, those benefiting from Agrimony are genuinely cheerful and very good company. They can communicate their feelings openly and accept that life does have an unpleasant side sometimes. When balanced, their cheerfulness stems from a real sense of inner acceptance and inner joy. They can put problems in perspective and be diplomatic peacemakers.

No wonder children don't like clowns. They recognize that the mask is covering up for something very uncomfortable. And all of us want to experience our true selves and the true selves of others.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Food for the Solar Chakra

If you've been following along, back in November I talked about foods that are linked to the root or first chakra. Before Christmas I put up an entry about foods that are linked to the second or sacral chakra, and the vanilla cardamon pudding was incredible! Time to move on to the third chakra which is also known as the solar chakra.

The third chakra is linked to self esteem and self confidence. The life lesson involved with this chakra is that of discovering your true personality, developing a sense of self, and emotional awareness. The developmental age of this chakra is from 14 to 21 years of age, a time when you usually are faced with life obstacles and challenges that encourage you to take risks and act with personal integrity, making the choices that work for you rather than following the crowd or going with what is popular.

When the third chakra is too open or spins too fast, you may find yourself angry and controlling. Workaholics who are judgemental and superior may have a solar chakra that is spinning much too fast. On the opposite end of the scale, a blocked or sluggish solar chakra is often manifested in insecurity. The person with a blocked third chakra may be overly concerned with what others think, and can often become the type of person that constantly needs and seeks reassurance. When the third chakra is balanced, a person respects both self and others. The balanced chakra results in personal power, a spontaneous person that is uninhibited by what others may think or feel. Secure in personal self, the balanced third chakra does not judge others either and allows for individual expression. The color that resonates with the solar chakra is yellow. In "Melvin's Balloons", my children's book on colors, emotions, and balloons from the moon's perspective (if that hooks you- check it out at or a bookstore near you!)Melvin finds the energy to be himself through yellow balloons. The yellow color helps him shine brightly, secure in his abilities.

It comes as no surprise then, that one of the foods that is linked to this chakra is lemon.

The Ayurveda regards lemon as a valuable fruit for all doshas. It is considered sour, warm, promoter of gastric fire, light, pungent and astringent all in one! The Solar Chakra is very connected to digestion. It is found between the navel and the sternum- most of the digestive area. Problems with the Chakra often manifest themselves physically in digestive disorders such as ulcers, weight gain around the stomach, diabetes and allergies. Not surprisingly, lemon can be helpful for all these concerns. Lemon reduces excessive flow of bile. It aids digestion and removes constipation. It can help prevent vomiting, throat trouble, coughs, breathing problems such as asthma, and relieves rheumatism. Lemon is considered an antibacterial agent and may be anti-viral and anti-parasitic as well as it is said to help prevent or restrain influenza, malaria, hepatitis and cold symptoms as well as intestinal worms. Lemon is also said to act as a sedative for the nerves and heart.

On the vitamin and nutrient count, lemon contains high levels of natural vitamin C, and potassium as well as small amounts of niacin and thiamine.

So, if your Solar Chakra could use some speeding up or slowing down, the magic food balancer may be lemon. The healthy living experts recommend you mix lemon juice (half a lemon) with warm water and drink it every morning on an empty stomach. You can thankfully mix in honey as well!

Personally.. I'm thinking lemon squares might be good, or better yet that Pavlova recipe a friend of mine gave me....

Monday, December 27, 2010

Weather Impacts on Your Health

Severe weather doesn’t just impact travel plans, activities and utilities. It also affects our health. In fact, many people can somewhat predict coming weather as they experience headaches, dizziness, aching joints, muscle soreness, or swollen fingers and hands.

This makes sense from a physiological point of view. At the level of cells and ions, within all body systems, processes occur due to pressure gradients. And storms and weather changes are preceded by changes in barometric pressure. Weather predictions are typically made by measuring the pressure gradients. The greater and quicker the change in pressure, the more intense the storm will be.

It is because of pressure changes that divers have to return to the surface slowly, in order to allow their bodies time to adjust. It’s the differences in atmospheric pressure that forces climbers to stop at base camps allowing their bodies to adjust before they continue a mountain ascent or descent. And if you’ve ever flow from sea level to a high altitude you know that it takes a number of days, even weeks, before your body can adjust to the altitude change.

To a lesser degree, the same thing happens in our bodies prior to weather events. For the most part healthy bodies are able to make the adjustment without our experiencing symptoms. But when our bodies are already under stress, or the changes are dramatic and intense, we may experience uncomfortable sensations. Often these symptoms are experienced in air or fluid filled cavities, like sinuses, ears, and joints, but the circulatory system is also affected so migraine headaches and dizziness may occur due to blood flow and decreased oxygen levels. And because the entire body is influenced by the nervous system, which is dependent on pressure gradients for ion transfer- any area can be affected.

Homeopathic medicine acknowledges the affects weather changes have on the body. When determining what remedy might work best for a particular person and set of symptoms, the homeopathic physician will determine how the person responds to weather. Aconitum Napellus for instance might be indicated for someone who experiences the symptoms of a cold after exposure to a draught, or a cold dry wind. Rhus Toxicodendrom may be recommended if symptoms of joint pain worsen with a change of weather to cold or damp. It is a common remedy for joint pain that occurs in autumn type weather. People who experience colds or coughs in the change of temperature from cold to warm in the spring/summer, may be helped by Kali Sulphuricum. If mild wet weather actually makes your chest, joint, and aching symptoms better, and changes to dry clear and cold weather make them worse, Causticum might be indicated. The list can go on and on. The point is to figure out what works for you when, and in doing so consider the weather that is likely to bring on, and relieve, your particular symptoms.

Although Bach Flower essences are matched more to emotions than to physical symptoms, the combination remedy Rescue Remedy can be very helpful during sudden weather changes, particularly to relieve a headache. This may be at least in part, because of the essence Impatiens which is included in the combination and is indicated when we feel impatient or stressed. Winds and impending storms often make people perhaps unconsciously, feel stressed and when we tighten certain muscles in the stress reaction, such as shoulder and neck muscles, a headache can be the result. Rock Rose in the remedy may also help if there is an element of fear of a storm at some level.

Our bodies are usually able to “weather storms” pretty well and continuously make changes and adaptations to our environment without us experiencing any symptoms or discomfort. If however we are already under stress or harbouring infections such as a sinus infection or cold, even a slight pressure change may adversely affect you. Colloidal silver may be helpful if that’s the case.

In the world of natural medicine, there is no “one size fits all motto”. That means finding what works for you in the situations that you are likely to need it. It can take some research, investigation and trial and error, but the results can be well worth it.

Before the next storm rolls in and you can’t even think straight- consider what your body might be telling you and see if you can ease the pressure.

You can find more information on the possibilities on my website at

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve Anticipation

Christmas Eve feels to me like the height of anticipation and expectation. This emotion is one that spreads quickly in a very contagious sort of way. It's kind of a delicious feeling that something is about to happen but you're really not sure what. I think that's what kids feel and they pick up and help spread this feeling of "the unknown".

Sometimes this sense of anticipation becomes "crowd mania"- interesting to watch if you're not heavily invested in the outcome. Any time we see a group of people surrounding something or clustered around straining to get closer to the core, we're rather inspired to join in. We don't want to miss out on something even when we don't know what the "something" is. The more the crowd grows the more people want to be there. Sometimes it is disappointing. Like when everyone runs to one side of the boat during a whale watching expedition and you can't see what they are looking at and then someone says "oh- it's just a porpoise". You can feel the disappointment and everyone kind of moves away. If you've never seen a porpoise that's pretty amazing and yet you rather feel let down because it's not the whale the crowd had you anticipating.

Christmas can be a bit like that I think.

In the Christmas Story that I've been told, for days everyone is following this incredible star in the sky. It's a star unlike anything they have ever seen- much brighter, awesome and inspiring. As all these people are following it, I wonder what they are anticipating. I might be just cynical but I think the less spiritual in the crowd are thinking they are following something that will take them to a pot of gold, or for a hungry and tired Shepard, maybe just a soft grassy bed and a big pot of stew? I can imagine picking up all these people along the way that have just latched onto the excitement and anticipation. The longer the journey, the greater the dreaming and the expectations I figure. So then I wonder... when the crowd got to the end point and it was "just a baby" was there a bit of a collective sigh of disappointment? Did anyone say "is that it"? Did the crowd filter out a lot and shuffle off- disappointed that they had invested so much time and effort on a "wild goose chase" just because they had bought into the excitement of crowd mania?

And then, years later, did anyone say- geez I was there that night and I didn't have the sense to appreciate what I was seeing? I know I've done that at times in my life. I've even met people that had amazing things to offer that I didn't always appreciate until they were gone from my life.

I think the danger of anticipation and expectation occurs when we attach a goal to the emotion. In "The Secret", the now famous books and movies, you are encouraged to set a goal in order to "manifest your desires". I don't agree with that. I think you may be severely limited by your imagination then. I think you could manifest a pot of stew and miss the Messiah because he wasn't in your wildest dreams. Or you imagined he would be bigger, stronger, more talkative!

I think what is amazing is just feeling the emotion, feeling the anticipation of Christmas eve and the wonderment of a collective number of people all feeling good about something when they don't even know what the "something" really is. So I'm going to put my sights on the star, the light, and just appreciate the star without trying to figure out or create something at the end of it. Be in "the now" as Eckhert Tolle would suggest.

Merry Christmas!!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Return of Nanny McPhee & Lessons for Healing

I watched Emma Thompson in "The Return of Nanny McPhee". Great movie! I like kids movies that work out well from beginning to end without a whole lot of angst in between. I also see the "magic" from a new perspective and figure it's likely a lot closer to reality than we give credit for.

Nanny McPhee's theme is a little like that of Mary Poppins. Nanny arrives suddenly when there is an element of chaos involving misbehaving children. In a pretty gruff way and with a bit of magic, Nanny encourages the children to adopt new styles of behavior and order, fun, and love are all restored. Nanny McPhee has a motto: "As long as you don't want her, she has to stay. When you want her, she has to leave."

It seems to me that all the tough life lessons, including illness, follow that motto a bit. They often appear to come from nowhere when in reality if we had of been paying attention, all the signs of chaos were evident. Likely the people around us had been seeing that chaos for quite some time- perhaps even warning us. The more we fight against the situation or an illness, the more attached to us it seems to be. It follows us everywhere. Like Nanny McPhee, it invades our home, stirs up our lives, and every time we turn around we bump into it. Then somewhere along the line, without us realizing how, the attachment to the illness or the uncomfortable situation or event, gradually becomes rather comfortable. We get used to it and in that there seems to be a sense of comfort. It becomes a part of us. We start taking on titles like "sick", or "__________ "(insert the name of the illness), or "divorced", or "widowed", or "clumsy", "scatter-brained", "a bully" etc. etc. Then just when we feel comfortable in the role, no matter how dysfunctional it is, life throws us another curve and change occurs that requires a different set of skills or more adaptation. The initial illness or situation to which we have become accustomed- leaves.

There is a distinct difference between the "practically perfect in every way" Mary Poppins and Nanny McPhee. When Nanny McPhee first appears she has some rather alarming disfigurements. She has two moles on her face that any dermatologist would excise immediately and judging by the rate of growth, I would imagine they would turn out to be called cancerous. She has a rather bulbous nose that would be ideally suited for plastic surgery and likely gives her sinus problems. She has a protruding tooth that most definitely disrupts her bite, and perhaps causes TMJ issues. And she has a distinct middle-age, extra 20 pounds settled in the hips, appearance. Oh yes, and she is accompanied by a rather rude crow that has some addiction issues.

However, as Nanny McPhee helps others heal, she loses her disfigurements one by one and we see a remarkable transformation occur. It would seem that in helping others, she helps herself- not that Nanny McPhee seems to need any help- but honestly she must feel better in the end!

With all that change going on, I think Nanny McPhee's life could have been a little easier if she passed out some of the Bach Flower essence Walnut. It's helpful for those that are finding it difficult to adapt to change including changing atmospheres and conditions. And let's face it, all that magic must be affecting the atmosphere!

I definitely would recommend Perelandra ETS for Animals for the poor crow. 10 drops of that in his water bowl might have made a huge difference!

In fact, with all that was going on- I would have recommended Perelandra ETS( Emergency Trauma Solution) for all the kids and the adults as well. I think it could have helped them cope much easier through some pretty tough emotionally times. Lots of trauma going on there- good and bad!

If you want more information on the essences (either Bach or Perelandra) visit my website You can find links there to the Perelandra website as well.

If you want to just watch a good movie and enjoy swimming pigs, the cutest baby elephant and a heavy dose of magic- rent the movie!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Travel Woes, Broken Traditions & Chicory

I think no matter where you are in the world you are experiencing some kind of unusual, and perhaps unwanted, weather event this Christmas season. On the East and West Coasts of Canada it's high winds, storm surges and winds. In the middle of Canada is freezing cold and snow. In Europe, it's snow, snow and more snow. In other places of the world it's been flooding, landslides, earthquakes- you name it, it seems to be happening.

Of course all of this is causing travel delays, cancellations, and disruptions at a busy time of year as people try to maintain traditions and "get home for the holidays".

Even if you're not trying to get somewhere, there is a good chance your holiday traditions have really been thrown "out of whack". For some people throughout the Maritimes, road, bridge, and ferry closures are preventing supplies from getting into some areas. It seems the supplies that are quickly running short are baking supplies. Seems like a small issue when people have much greater worries throughout the world but we all work with the reality we live in. And if that means you can't make the favorite Christmas cookies that Santa usually looks forward to, or your favorite grandchild- that can be disruptive. For other people they are out of their homes this Christmas due to flooding or other devastation. Again, we all know we should be thankful to have a warm dry place to be with running water and food and all that- but it's really hard to tell yourself that when the Christmas presents are floating, and your traditions along with them.

It seemed like this year has been a year of breaking traditions anyway. A lot of people I talk to are "scaling back", and doing different things than they have before such as buying less, partying less, decorating less, or eating less. Seems like "less" is the theme in order to make more room for just "being". Hmm...

If you're the one that is making the decisions to change traditions- it's probably liberating, soothing, and relaxing. A really good feeling. If you are the one trying desperately to withhold traditions by getting somewhere; maybe anywhere but an airport, ferry, or train terminal!, or back to your damaged house or community, right now it is probably very frustrating and depressing. If where ever you are you can find the Bach flowers Impatiens, Gentian or Cherry Plum- take a few drops to ease the wait. Impatiens can help you relax and cope calmly and diplomatically. Gentian is helpful for discouragement and despondency. It can help you understand that you and everyone around you is likely doing the best that they can and difficulties will eventually come to an end. If you feel you may loose control over the next person that tells you "you can't get there from here", Cherry Plum can help you balance those thoughts of breakdown and help you remain calm and rational in a difficult situation.

If however, you are the one left with the results of broken traditions, Chicory may be the Bach Flower essence most helpful for you. In fact, Chicory types are most likely to be the ones that set the traditions in the first place. Chicory types are strong-willed people and although they are caregivers- they can be rather critical and interfering. The "typical" Chicory type is the over-protective, possessive parent that keeps adult children under his or her thumb and can even feign illness in order to gain attention or prevent an adult child from leaving home. When in a Chicory state, you don't like being alone and may demand constant attention and service. In fact, you think it is your child's "duty" to attend to your needs. Personally, I think a lot of the people that are most upset and distraught over the inability to travel are probably the children of Chicory parents and are fueled by that parent manipulation! Chicory is also indicated for children who make constant and unreasonable demands for attention. The positive potential of Chicory is seen when people are able to care for others unselfishly, offering genuine maternal love. They give without expecting anything in return. Chicory can help you let others live their own lives. It can help you allow for change in traditions while maintaining a sense of being fulfilled and loved. Chicory can help you allow and adapt rather than trying to manipulate others into your sense of traditional values.

Chicory can be a difficult Bach Flower Essence to "self-diagnosis". When we are in the Chicory cycle we are positive we know what's best and what should be done and we don't feel we need any help- it's the others around us that need Bach! If you found yourself nagging a bit, giving some orders, or demanding something or other, try a kinesiology test and see if you test positive for Chicory.

It is a time of change- of that I am sure. If we didn't already recognize that, it seems mother nature is helping us identify the changing cycles by throwing some rather dramatic weather events around. Rather than trying to uphold traditions, and insist that others do, maybe the lesson should be to discover new ways to express our love and appreciation for those around us. And I don't think that means necessary creating "new traditions" because that can give even a greater sense of pressure. I think it just means stopping doing and just being right in the moment wherever that finds you and allowing others to do the same.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter Solstice; Full Moon; Lunar Eclipse!

December 21, 2010 is pretty significant for at least three reasons. Tonight is the winter solstice, it's a full moon, and a lunar eclipse occurs. This combination has not occurred together in over 400 years.

Winter Solstice is a pretty big event in itself. This is the shortest day of the year in terms of sunlight for the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere it is the reverse (Summer solstice) and signifies the longest day in terms of sunlight. Scientifically, although the arrival of the solstice cannot be seen, the moment describes the instant when the Earth's axial tilt is farthest away from the sun, resulting in the shortest day of the year as well as the longest night of the year. Spiritually, winter solstice is a time of transformation from out of the darkness into the light. It is considered rebirth of the sun, a time of renewal and moving forward. A chance to begin putting our time of reflection into action.

Astrologically, this full moon marks the moon in Gemini. The moon in Gemini is said to wake us up. It is seen as a time to communicate through networking, investigation, translation, brainstorming, meditating, explaining and broadcasting- whichever way feels right to you. The key is to focus and add depth to your communication rather than simply broadening the conversations. Those born under a Gemini moon are said to be fast talkers that think fast and can multi-task, but may need to concentrate in order to add focus and depth to their communication.

On the same day, the Sun moves into Capricorn. This can mean that it's a good time to check our responsibilities to family, traditions, and our life's purpose. It is a time to resolve to more forward with integrity, considering our highest goals. We need to focus on self-control, rather than on controlling others.

Full lunar eclipses are rare. They occur when the earth's shadow blocks the moon. During the moment of "totality" (interesting scientific word choice), you should see a very red coppery glow from the particle reflections as the shadow crosses over the moon. There is an actual moment when this occurs- 3:18 am in Eastern Canada for instance.

Of course what you will actually see in the sky will depend a lot on the cloud cover or lack of, at the time as well as where you are in the world. For those of us anticipating a Nor'easter at the time- we may not see a lot of lunar activity. The good news is- it will still be happening! Tides will be high and we feel the pull of the full moon whether we see it or not!

Of the many amazing aspects of Dec. 21st, what occurs to me is that all these events seem to bring everyone together in a moment of awe and wonderment. Whether you are scientifically inclined,spiritually wired, nature inclined, astrologically tuned, or a weather and sky watching buff- there is something for everyone. And that seems very significant to me. It's as though nature is saying no matter who you are, where you live, or what you believe, you will be focused on the "wider world" out there on December 21st. 2010.

Let's make it positive for all!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Chakra Foods for the Sacral Chakra

I talked about how certain foods were linked to the chakra's way back in November. I spent a lot of time on ginger recipes for the root chakra. I'm ready to move on now to the second or sacral chakra!

The Sacral Chakra is linked to emotional balance, sexuality, and creativity. The life lesson from this chakra is to uncover the motivations that influence our choices. A Sacral Chakra that is too open or spins to fast can result in emotional imbalances that can lead to addictions and manipulative characteristics. When the chakra is blocked you can feel oversensitive, full of guilt, frigid, or impotent. A balanced second or sacral chakra is expressed in a trusting expressive person that is attuned to their own feelings and has a sense of creativity. The color that resonates with this Chakra is orange- a difficult color for a lot of people to wear interestingly. This chakra usually becomes developed around the age range of 8 to 14 and explains why a lot of kids in this age group are really drawn to the color. Since "Melvin's Balloons" came out I have heard from a LOT of parents that were dismayed and puzzled when their teenager wanted to paint their room orange. Now they (and I) understand!

Turns out some of the spices that resonate with the second chakra are vanilla, cardamom and pepper.

Vanilla certainly makes sense. The first people to cultivate vanilla, the Totonac, lived in what is now Mexico. They believed that Princess Xanat, forbidden by her father from marrying a mortal, fled to the forest with her lover. The lovers were captured and killed. Where their blood touched the ground, the vine grew. Vanilla flowers are hermaphroditic which means they carry both male and female organs. Apparently this made artificial pollination difficult so for years( 300 hundred!), Mexico was the only place where vanilla grew and it was the highest priced spice next to saffron. They have it figured out now and also make artificial vanilla both of which have brought the price down such that it is one of the more common spices.

Vanilla is mildly addictive because it increases adrenaline- hence the appeal perhaps to the second chakra that likes addictions! It was considered an aphrodisiac and used to cure impotence long before Viagra came on the scene. Vanilla is even used as a perfume- apparently it was what Scarlet O'Hara used to entice Rhett Butler!

So if your second chakra needs comfort- try vanilla. If you don't like vanilla, pepper is another choice. And if your dosha is predominately pitta you might prefer pepper. You can put Cayenne pepper in hot chocolate for instance and make a wonderful Mexican hot chocolate (seems the Mexicans may have a particular market for the second chaka!). Vanilla and black pepper can actually be added to oatmeal. I know this doesn't sound right but it's really good! If none of that works, try cardamom. It's a spice common to Indian dishes but is also used as an alternative to cinnamon- it's a sweet spice. I have found a vanilla bean cardamom pudding that just may make it into the book on chakras I'm working on.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Etch-a-Sketch Evolution & "This Too Shall Pass"

I passed by an Etch-A-Sketch the other day. A few (quite a few!) years ago the Magic Etch-a-Sketch was one of the most sought after Christmas toys. I know because it was in my letter to Santa Claus. And he delivered! I was so excited- for about 30 minutes. That's how long it took me to really comprehend that I could only make straight lines with it, with a million restrictions on direction. I have never been big on the "color within the lines" principle and that etch-a-sketch drove me crazy! One little mistake and you had to either "work it in" or erase the whole thing. There was some satisfaction in vigorously shaking the thing and destroying a mistake but there was also the angst of having to shake out a really good creation before you could make another one. There was also the opportunity for some major sibling riots. I wonder how many contusions and lacerations were "etch-a-sketch induced" when one siblings shook the other's prized creation. The harder you fought to keep possession of your machine in the sibling tug of war, the more erasing took place!

I guess you really can make circles with an etch-a-sketch and elaborate designs are possible. I've seen some of them. But for anyone with a personality like me, and the attention span and level of patience- that is just not possible! I think a dose of Cherry Plum Bach Flower might have been indicated for me at times with my etch-a-sketch. I'm pretty sure I threw it around the room a few times in frustration- definitely "out of control". Did I mention it drove me crazy!!

To the makers of Etch-A-Sketch, I would like to offer you a few drops of Rock Water Bach Flower. It is the essence indicated when you could use a bit more flexibility in your life. If perfectly straight and predictable lines, black and white, rigidity is important to you, rock water could be helpful.

But - hang on... the Etch-A-Sketch has evolved!! The new version of the same toy comes with a roller ball and a stylus. Now THAT'S what I'm talking about!! You can make free-flow shapes, swirls and curves, squiggles and out of control markings in whatever direction you want. Much more flexibility!

But there's still that "erasability" factor... When you don't like what you drew or you're tired of your picture you can just shake it up and it disappears. But if you really like your picture- it's the only one you can have- shake it up and it's gone.

Hmm... sounds a bit like life? I think the lesson to be learned is "this too shall pass". We use that phrase to comfort people when we "don't like the picture"- meaning that with a bit of time, things will look different, change will occur, the shake up will blur the picture and you can start all over again. But in it's pure form, that phase also means, treasure the good times, because those pictures fade in the shake up and new experiences happen. The point is to be present in "the now" and just "be"- good or bad, it's all an experience and all part of life. You can't hold the good times any more than the bad- life is meant to be experienced. It's the process of "being"; the journey, not the destination. Or in the case of the Etch-A-Sketch- the drawing not the picture.

If you want a perfect picture on an Etch-A-Sketch- find someone else- I'm not the person to help you with that! But if you want some help along the journey- check out my website and see how Bach Flower or Perelandra essences might help you through both the good and the bad times.

Maybe I'll try making something out of that Etch-A-Sketch again...

Digital Story of Nativity

A couple of people sent me a link to a youtube production that is interesting. It isn't hugely profound and I don't think it will change your life or anything but it's just kind of an interesting example of how technology has expanded in a very short period of time. It's an example of how the nativity story might have played out given the technology of today.

Like the comments from the people that sent this to me, what strikes me more than the video itself is how much I really applaud whoever it was that put it all together. I rather suspect it was a 14 year old somewhere and while it might have taken me years, he or she probably did it in minutes. I would have had to take multiple computer courses. I would have had to make millions of phone calls to support desks and friends and "techno experts"- all of whom would have been under the age of 21 for sure.

It shows how talented and capable many people are with the use of technolgoy. What also continues to strike me is that people put these kinds of things up for others to enjoy just for the fun of it. They don't get money for doing it. In most cases we aren't even aware of who "they" are that put it up. I think that's interesting. Seems to show how willing we are to connect in ways we never have been before. Rather than be afraid or wary of the technolgoy that is availabe to us- lets just embrace it.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Helping Heal Vs. Fighting Disease: A Mindset

Although conventional medicine isn't quite as "up front" about it as alternative healing, both agree that the way you think about health and disease can be critical to the outcome when disease is present. Most, if not all, of the proponents of health reform such as Dr. Andrew Weil who's written some very good books on the politics of medicine and the culture of health reform, agree that individuals need to take responsibility for their health.

I agree with the responsibility aspect and I absolutely believe that the way you think affects your health but I think it's time we "took the gloves off" and stopped "fighting disease", and "beating illness".

I know a lot of people who really "took on an illness" and saw it as enemy to be overcome. I think a lot of cancer patients are encouraged to take on this attitude. I guess it gives people energy and determination to think they are at war with something, but it seems like a very tough route to take.

On the other hand, I know a lot of people who quietly starting taking responsibility for their health. This seems to occur more often for people that don't feel great but don't have an overall diagnosis. In other words- they don't have anything to fight against, but they know they are not at their optimum health. These people adopted an attitude of helping their body feel better. They started eating better, eliminated some stress, and in some cases started an activity they enjoyed. Some of them cut out caffeine or excess sugar. In a couple of cases, they started looking at alternative therapies just to boost their bodies rather than "cure a disease". A die-hard scientific friend of mine started going for acupressure treatments and taking homeopathics just to "feel a bit better". In fact, he's feeling a LOT better.

If you read books like Echkert Tolle and Vadim Zeland this all makes sense. They suggest you "allow" your body to heal and avoid the pendulums of disease and negative thought processes. And thinking you are "fighting disease" is a negative spin that actually puts you at odds with your body- that seems like the very definition of "dis-ease" and a situation that it's going to be hard to get out of.

So instead of fighting and struggling and beating up on yourself or the "invasion"- what if you allowed your body to readjust and helped support the body's natural ability to heal through whatever treatment options feel right for you.

Try this out the next time you have a cold or the flu. Rather than saying you are "fighting a cold" in the initial phase, allow your body to receive the rest it is signaling to you that it needs. Don't think about "killing that germ before it spreads",instead put your feet up and relax allowing your body to adjust. Feed your body some foods that will help boost your internal immune system (like fruit rich in vitamin C that you actually enjoy- Christmas oranges perhaps!), go to bed early if your tired. Instead of "fighting" the key may be "allowing". You are not allowing the disease to take over, nor are you fighting it, you are allowing your body to maintain balance in the presence of a foreign substance.

Both Bach Flower Essences and Perelandra Essences work on this concept of "allowing". They work on helping your internal defense mechanisms restore balance. They don't fight the germs or bugs, or kill the diseases. They allow your body to adjust to another force. When you take Perelandra Immune Essence you take it to help boost your immune system. You take Cardiovascular Perelenadra to help your cardiovascular system function to the best of it's ability.

It's a subtle difference, but the results can be profound. Imagine yourself in the boxing ring. You take off the cape that boxers come out in, and you have your wonderful shinny shorts on, your gloves are the perfect color and fit but they are actually heavy in themselves and feel rather awkward. You face that opponent who also has shiny shorts on and tough looking gloves. You can dance around a bit and throw some punches but chances are some of your opponents punches are going to land on you as well. In the end one of the two of you will be lying on the ground "out for the count". But even the one standing will likely be bloody and bruised and let's face it- a lot of the best boxers have some pretty big head injuries that cause deficits as they age!!

Now imagine you enter the boxing ring the same way. But you get some help from a trainer and get those heavy gloves untied and shake them off. Your hands already feel better. Next the trainer or coach takes the tape off so you can actually feel your fingers and stetch out your hands. You cover up those cold shinny shorts with some fluffy comfortable pajamas and a nice soft sweater- you can keep the cape if you want to! Take off those tightly laced boots and put on a pair of slippers, or a pair of high heeled red shoes if that makes you feel good! Sit back down in the chair and relax or take your opponents arm and start dancing (especially if you have gone the high heels route!). Your opponent has no one to fight. He may dance around for awhile and try to engage you but you have already left the ring- you have something better to do today!!

Let me know how it works out!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Best Advice: Your Inner Knowing

I watched Charlie Brown's Christmas special the other night for the millionth time in my life but I think I saw the whole thing from a new perspective.

Then in a conversation with a friend I realized that Lucy is really on to something with her Psychiatric Help Booth. Although Lucy is very confident, opinionated and quite loud, she actually says very little to her "clients". Instead she gleefully charges 5 cents (and she collects the money up front) and then just listens. Charlie Brown talks and eventually comes around to solving the problem himself.

I don't think Lucy is ripping Charlie Brown off at all. I think she is providing the most valuable advice of all- to encourage someone to listen to their inner self. I'm not knocking the mental health practitioners out there - I think the really good ones actually do this as well, and in many cases are professionally trained to do this.

I also thing if you have a "Wise Woman friend", and I consider myself very fortunate to have a few of these!, you can probably get great advice for 5 cents (or maybe the cost of a cup of coffee!). In order to BE a Wise Woman friend, and collect your 5 cents, I think the task is to really listen to people. I mean really listen. Without trying to figure out a response, or an answer, or a way they could change. It seems if you just listen you are perhaps guided to ask the questions that allow the person with the problem to come around to the only answer that will work for them: the one they come up with! Because that's what it's all about- trusting our own inner knowing. We really are the only ones with the answers that will work for us. Hmm...

Lucy could however have expanded her practice and told Charlie Brown about the Bach Flower Essence Cerato. If Charlie Brown had of taken a couple of drops of Cerato on a regular basis when he was feeling so "lost" he would have been able to tap into that inner strength a bit better and have the faith that he knew what was ultimately right and best for him. If you can't find a "Wise Woman friend" a few drops of Cerato will go a long way to creating one in yourself!

Today Lucy could expand her practice even further and suggest Charlie Brown try Essence of Perelandra. It might have helped him restore his sense of balance, and give him strength in the knowing that he could continue on with life in a calm, connected and effective way. The specific Perelandra Essence "Eclipse" might have been helpful for Charlie Brown as well. Eclipse helps provide acceptance and insight and enhances the individuals appreciation of his own inner knowing. It supports the mechanism that allows the body to receive the soul's input and insight.

If you would like more information on the essences helpful to re-connect with your inner knowing, check out my website at It will cost you a bit more than 5 cents but you can connect to me through the website for personal essences or combinations. Or find a friend, buy them a coffee or a peppermint hot chocolate to celebrate the season, and listen to what happens!

Swedish Bitters; Cleansing Herbal Elixer

Despite the picture today including the bottle of vodka- this entry is not a continuation of yesterday's "lets party" theme!

Swedish Bitters are well known in alternative healing practice as a herbal remedy that can be used both internally and as an external compress.

In the 18th Century, Dr. Samst rediscovered the herbal formula from a traditional family recipe. His recorded recipe is what is still available today. The actual creation of the formula is traced to Dr. Phillipus Paracelsus, a Swiss Physician who lived in the mid 1500's.

The popularity of the remedy can best be attributed to Maria Treben, an Austrian herbalist who while fleeing with her family to Austria, contracted typhoid fever in a refugee camp and attributed her survival solely to the ingestion of Swedish bitters. Her accounts are written in various places including, "Health Through God's Pharmacy" and "The Long Life Elixir", both by Maria Treben.

The recipe is made from a long list of herbal ingredients. You may find slight variations depending on the manufacture but they include:
Senna leaves
Angelica roots
Zedvoary roots
Theriac venezian
Carline Thistle roots
Rhubarb roots

Investigation into the individual qualities of the ingredients will show that aloe, rhubarb root, and senna all have laxative properties. Aloe also helps stimulate gallbladder function. Rhubarb root can counteract digestive tract inflammation. Angelica, zedoary root, myrrh and anise help to stimulate appetite and the flow of digestive juices. Fennel relieves flatulence and bloating. Angelica root soothes, prevents cramps, and serves as a mild diuretic. Licorice promotes mucous secretion and protects the stomach from acid or irritants.

Given those effects, the main use of swedish bitters is for the relief of digestive complaints such as bloatedness, flatulence, and constipation. The anti-inflammatory properties suggest it may be helpful used externally as a compress to soothe skin inflammations including those caused by insect bites.

The typical oral dose of swedish bitters is to take one teaspoon of the elixir mixed with warm or hot water (made as a tea) every morning and evening. When using as a compress, you should apply oil or ointment such as calendula to the affected area before applying a piece of wood or cotton gauze that has been moistened with Swedish bitters. Some people recommend you cover this layer with a piece of plastic to seal the area and prevent staining of clothes as well.

You can buy ready to use Swedish Bitters in most health food stores as well as many pharmacies. You can also make your own from already prepared dry ingredients. You add the dry herbal ingredients to alcohol (vodka, fruit spirit, rye, brandy) in a wide mouth sealed glass bottle and let the picture sit - preferably in a sunny spot. The mixture should be skaken once a day. After 14 days, strain the mixture through cheese cloth or a fine mesh strainer, disregard the solid particles (my plants love them!), and store the strained mixture in a sealed glass(preferably dark) bottle in a cool place. People experienced in the harvesting and preparation of herbs can make there own recipes from scratch.

The recommended dose is unlikely to produce any undesirable effects, but the mixture is herbal and should be used with caution if you have sensitivities or special concerns. Unlike homeopathic or essence therapies, swedish bitters does contain plant particles and therefore side effects and reactions are possible.

I personally stock Swedish bitters as part of my first aid/ home medicine kit and always have some on hand.

And by the way- if you did "let's party" a bit too much, you might want to consider a swedish bitter tea as a nice antidote!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Isolation, Social Obligations & Water Violet

If today's picture has you recoiling in horror at the very thought of crowds, parties and yet another "merriment occasion" - this entry is for you!

A lot of people have been telling me they felt as though they wanted to be isolated lately. I know what they mean. People that were used to being very sociable and enjoy the company of others were describing a sense of turning inward and not feeling like being around other people. For people that tend to crave "private time" anyway, the feeling was/is very intense.

Perhaps we are more in tune to nature's cycles when we seem to have this sense of "hibernation". During these short days nature seems to be in a time of quiet preparation for rebirth and renewal and I don't think that's the kind of thing that is very often done as a group!

And yet- we have this thing called "Christmas", followed shorty thereafter by "New Year's". We humans seem to be pushing ourselves into social events around both of those occasions. There is increased pressure to "get together with friends and family", and "toast the season".

For people that don't enjoy crowds in the first place, a trip to the mall these days can be enough to push you "over the edge"- and rightly so! No one seems to be enjoying the crowds and yet - we are all in there.

Perhaps because Christmas itself falls on a weekend this year, Christmas parties and celebrations seem more concentrated within last weekend and next. For dual career families that often means two Christmas office parties in the same weekend. Office get-to-gathers can often be socially awkward situations even for the most outgoing in the group as people are never really sure how to "act".

Maybe that's the key. Maybe we are tired of "acting" in particular roles and fulfilling obligations because they ware expected of us. Perhaps that's the social struggle that a lot of people are dealing with this year.

For some people I know, this year has been a time to really change the rules. Many people have downsized in the size and number of parties, events, and obligations they attend. Others have become much more selective in who they choose to be around.

If none of that "scale-back" is an option for you, Water Violet is a Bach Flower essence that might be helpful. In a previous blog, I talked about Water Violet for loneliness. It is the essence that is helpful for people that tend to be solitary but need to rise to the social occasion. Water Violet types are often quite content to be alone, but occasionally they become lonely and because they haven't built up big support networks, the loneliness can be acute. For others, Water Violet is a passing phase. It might be brought on by the short days, the winter months, negative energy or social obligations among other things. If you find yourself really wanting to "hunker down in your pajamas" and go nowhere, there might not be anything wrong with that. But if you do have to get out, water violet might help you trade in the purple moose pajamas for something more socially acceptable.

Maybe we would all feel more comfortable going out to the social events if the dress code were pajamas only? Instead of "comfort food" we could have "comfort clothes". Hmm...

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Concerts & Bach Flowers

In 1972, Barbara Robinson published "The Best Christmas Concert" ever. Over 800,000 copies have been sold, it's been published in script format and made into a television movie due to overwhelming popularity. I guess I'm way behind the times because I never heard of it until the owner of my favorite little book store recommended it to me last weekend. It is a wonderful, and in this busy time of year- short!, read. It's actually aimed at teen readers but the message is universal.

If you have ever experienced the angst of Christmas concert performing either from the perspective of actor, director, or audience - or in my case, all three- you will appreciate this story.

I clearly recall the anxiety surrounding the church Christmas concert. Even as a pretty young child, I remember thinking I could finally relax and enjoy Christmas once the concert was over and the candy canes and tangerines had been handed out! Maybe because my mother and grandmother both taught Sunday School, it was expected that I would be able to memorize vast amounts of biblical phrases to reproduce for an audience. And I guess I could, but not without some personal stress let me tell you!

As I read the book, I considered how much all the characters could have benefited from a bit of Bach therapy.

I would have recommended both Holly and Vine for all the Herdman kids, Larch and Centuary for most of the other kids, and Elm for the director. I think the ladies auxiliary could have used a healthy dose of Beech! And the entire audience might have benefited from a couple of sprays of Rescue Remedy.

Finally, for anyone who has painful memories of concert stress, ironically perhaps, Star of Bethlehem is the Bach Flower Essence of choice!

Even better is the idea of cutting out the Christmas traditions that cause anxiety and stress, and enjoying the peacefulness of the season. I highly recommend sitting at home with your pajamas on, your feet up and Barbara Robinson's book "The Best Christmas Concert Ever", over fighting the crowds, memorizing lines, or straightening out costume disasters!!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ayurveda Healing: Kapha Dosha

If you've read my other blogs on ayurveda healing and are feeling left out because none of them seems to describe you- fear not! You may be predominately kapha, the third dosha.

If your prakriti is kapha though you probably weren't disturbed by the fact that nothing sounded like you. Unlike Pitta which would be angry and Vata that would respond in a different way every day, Kapha is really slow and steady in personality. Not too much bothers Kapha people.

The Kapha dosah is comprised of the two elements water and earth. This means, the dosha is very "down to earth" The basic theme to characterise Kapha is "relaxed". People who are predominantly kapha usually have endomorph body types. They have strong, well-built bodies that tend to be thickset with wide hips and shoulders. There is a tendency for kaphas to gain weight easily. Kaphas often have cool, smooth, thick, pale skin that is often oily. Large, soft eyes are common to this group.

Kaphas have steady energy. They move, eat, and speak slowly but their stamina exceeds that of other types. They are rarely drained by physical fatigue and will have paced themselves slowly. Kapha's like to store everything- money, energy, words, food, possessions, and fat.

When out of balance, Kapha's tend towards obesity. The fat is typically first stored in lower parts of the body- thighs and buttocks. They may suffer from sinus congestion, chest colds, allergies, asthma and painful joints when out of balance. An out of balance kapha can become lazy, stubborn, and depressed. Kapha's tend to not like cold damp weather and their natural reaction to this is to eat more comfort food and sleep longer- the hibernating bear syndrome. They rarely have trouble with insomnia but oversleep instead. It typically takes them a long time to get started in the morning but then they will feel energetic until late at night.

In order to balance Kapha, the key is stimulation. Out of balance kapha's need new sights, sounds, people, and events. It is important not to overeat if you are a kapha. Dry toast, crackers, apples, tumeric, raw vegetables and ginger tea are all foods that help balance Kapha. When out of balance, Kaphas should avoid sweets which includes ice-cream, milk, butter and wheat breads- all favorites of kaphas! Kaphas should exercise regularly. Kaphas tend to be natural athletes when they are young but may have turned into sedentary adults. A return to regular exercise can be very helpful to keep this dosha in balance. Kaphas are strong and often have a high threshold for pain so they often push themselves when they are sick. Kapha's in particularly need to be aware of the slow signs of illness and pay attention to their bodies.

If you're still not sure what your prakriti or dominant dosha is, go back a couple of blog entries and take the on-line test. Or pick up one of the thousands of books on the subjects- almost all of them include ways to determine your predominant type. One I recommend is "Perfect Health" by Deepak Chopra.

Perhaps the biggest keys to health are self-discovery and self-respect. Ayurveda principles stress the importance of honoring your inherent self and the elements that you are comprised of in order to achieve true health and well-being.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ayurveda Healing: The Pitta Dosha

According to ayurveda, everyone is composed of three doshas in varying combinations. The Pitta dosha is formed from the elements fire and water. This combination creates a "steam powered" personality for people with pitta as their prakriti or dominant constitution.

The Pitta personality is often considered the "type A" individual. They are often astute business types with keen intelligence and a sense of efficiency and order. They are intense.

The physical characteristics of the pitta dosha relate to the mesomorph body type- medium, muscular build. They may have fair, light brown or red hair if caucasian, with a reddish complexion. Their hair tends to be straight, may be prematurely grey, and may be thin or receding.

Pitta's are always hungry and never miss a meal. They are ruled by their watch and may stick to very rigid meal times. They usually have energetic metabolisms so they don't have a lot of problems keeping their weight down.

When pittas are unbalanced,they tend to fly into a rage. They can become intensely angry and impatient. The physical symptoms of imbalance are often related to fire and water and tend to be inflammations, infections, sore throats and fevers as well as ulcers and colitis. When unbalanced, pittas often crave the things that would throw them even more off balance, like hot spicy foods.

Because they are hot themselves, Pittas tend to dislike and avoid heat and the sun. They sweat profusely and often succumb to heat exhaustion. They may wake up at night over-heated and extremely thirsty.

Cool, soothing foods help balance an over-active Pitta. Sweet fruits, cottage cheese, mint teas, and green leafy salads help pacify pitta. Fried, oily hot foods are not usually good for pittas and red meats can cause pitta imbalances. Processed and fast foods are particularly disturbing to pittas as they respond much better to pure or natural foods.

The key to balancing pitta is moderation. Many workaholics are pittas out of balance and they have a tendency to burn out unless they slow down, wind down, and decrease stimulants like caffeine, alcohol, empty calories, and more work. To balance over active pitta you should avoid strenuous exertion and opt for more calming activities like meditation, walks in nature, or yoga.

For Pitta's, laughter may well be the best medicine. They are very good at taking themselves seriously, and sometimes a funny movie, laughter with friends and enjoying the lighter side of life can provide all the balance that is required.

If you're not sure what dosha you are - go back to the first blog on ayurveda healing ( 2 entries ago) where I suggest an online site that can help determine your type.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ayurvedic Healing: The Vata Dosha

If your body type looks the most like the ectomorph picture from yesterday's blog, you tend to have dry skin, experience cold hands and feet, and are introverted and creative with an active fantasy life- your dominant prakriti may be that of the vata dosha.

This dosha is comprised of air and space so there is a lightness and spaciousness to the prakriti. When balanced, this person often has a thin, light build (can be either very tall or quite short), performs activity quickly, is enthusiastic, vivacious, talkative and has an active imagination.

For a Vata person, mental and physical energy comes in bursts, without the steadiness some of the other doshas have. Vata's can be hungry at any time of day or night, love excitement and change, go to sleep at different times every night, skip meals and have irregular habits. They may be lanky and thin as adolescents (able to eat anything without gaining weight) and overweight in middle age with digestion difficulties. They can digest meals well one day and poorly the next, display bursts of emotion that are short-lived and quickly forgotten, and they love to multi-task. They even walk quickly.

When the vata person is not in balance, they tend towards worry, impatience and depression as well as loss of mental focus. They may experience insomnia or restlessness and an inability to relax. Physically, this imbalance may manifest as digestive problems (constipation or irritable bowel syndrome), high blood pressure, back and skeletal pain, intolerance to cold and wind, weight loss, and acute nerve pain.

In ayurvedic healing when a person is out of balance, it is usually because of "too much" of a dominant dosha such that it overrides the others. Because Vata is a cold dosha, cool weather, cold foods, and cool emotions can increase Vata. Dry seasons and environments can also increase the dry qualities of Vata so that skin becomes dry and chapped for instance.

A Vata individual does well with warm noruishing mushy foods like soups and stews althought "too heavy" foods or too much food at one sitting can disrupt their digestion. Salt, sour and sweet tastes all decrease Vata so should be predominant in the Vata person's diet. Vata types don't do as well with cold salads, iced drinks or raw vegetables as they do with slow-cooked casseroles, fresh-baked bread and fruit pies. Many Vata's have an energy slump in the late afternoon that can be balanced with a hot tea (non-caffeine- it can irritate) or some sweet food. Although sweet is good for Vata, refined sugar can create an energy and spike and crash that can be unsettling. Warm milk, grains and natural sweets are better for the dosha.

Although contrary to the Vata personality, a routine can be very beneficial to the person that is out of balance. Regular meals, regular low intensity exercise like walking or yoga, and rising and going to bed at the same time every day can help balance.

The key for a Vata person out of balance, is to take a look at their Vikriti- their current condition and see if it is grounding, moist, warming, smooth, oily and stabilizing. Those principles can be applied to emotions, food, exercise and the people around you! And to a good warm bowl of vegetable stew!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Ayurveda Healing: Which Dosha are you?

The concept of Ayurveda is another one of those things that keeps "presenting itself" to me in a variety of ways so I thought I'd write a bit about it.

Ayurveda is really a methodology and healing practice that originated over five thousand years ago in India from a set of spiritual texts called Vedas. In his book "Perfect Health", Deepak Chopra explains that the purpose of ayurveda is to explain how our bodies are influenced by our environments. Chopra believes if you bring your body into balance you can enjoy a higher level of health and prevent disease.

Ayurveda is based on different combinations of the elements of space, air, water, fire and earth. Out of these elements come three central "doshas": Vatta (space & air), Pitta (fire & water) and Kapha (water & earth).

According to the principles, the elements that make up your father and mother combined in different arrangements to form your own constitution or metabolic body type. This is called your "pakruti". Everyone's pakruti contains a bit of each of the doshas, but most people have two doshas that are primary, one of which is most dominant.

While your pakruti remains constant, your body is influenced by seasons, diet, exercise, and overall lifestyle. These outside elements form your day to day constitution , what ayurveda calls your vikriti. Your vikriti should mirror your pakruti in order for you to feel at your best; balanced and free of illness. When your vikriti is thrown off or unbalanced you can feel anywhere from "slightly out of sorts" to quite ill.

The three doshas of ayureveda roughly correspond to the body types we associate with ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph, but it goes much beyond that.

Confused? The first place to start is to figure our your dosha. This is most accurately done by a trained ayurveda physician but there are lots of simple tests you can take to get a good idea. You can find a quick on-line test at . It's painless- you just answer a few questions and the computer "spits" an answer back to you.

Once you understand your dosha or prakriti, you can start to understand how your body is influenced and shaped. The guiding principle of ayurveda is that the mind exerts the deepest influence on the body and freedom from sickness can be achieved by concentrating your awareness and bringing your body back to balance. Once you know your dosha you can identify what foods, exercise and lifestyle choices might help restore balance.

Ayurveda differs from conventional medicine in that it treats people as individuals that are influenced by different things and treatments. The right diet for one dosha may be completely wrong for another dosha. While everyone contains some of each of the three doshas, we all have different combinations that make us individuals. For this reason we all must find our own balance. It seems like everything is about balance. Ayurveda may be a good way to find tangible ways to achieve that balance and maintain personal health. And along the way- you just might begin to understand yourself a bit better!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Friend Therapy

I was writing about very serious healing stuff this morning when something else surfaced that felt much more real and important and worthwhile writing about- friends.

And I realized that maybe friends really are the only therapy you'll ever need- like the picture says(in case you can't read print that small even with multiple glasses!).

I am really blessed with a lot of very true friends, many of whom don't even know the other ones. And each and every friend means something special and different to me and gives something different to me.

Those first few friends from childhood feel like root chakra to me. They provided safety and security from the very beginning and I have lots of wonderful early childhood memories because of them. When I tested the waters and moved into some independent teenage years moving through second chakra there were other friends that helped me push the boundaries. And in some cases, came charging through the boundaries with me! Through the development of self as I grew into a secure confident career and goal orientated me, friends were with me through those pursuits and helped me find my way. All my friends have places in my heart chakra and I have some that pushed me in that regard and through them I realized what true love really is. Some of them I don't really speak to anymore! But I know how much they actually helped me develop and I am appreciative of that and honor them for that. There are friends that challenge me to speak the truth of my throat chakra. And certainly it is in conversations with friends in late night and early morning chats that I have often figured out my own truth- thanks for listening! In the past few years I have had friends that really brought me in tune with the 6th chakra or "third eye chakra". It's from the encouragement of friends that I could accept I wasn't crazy- I really did "know" that stuff, and I have been able to grow. I think I have friends both here on earth and other parts unknown that touch my crown chara and are very much a part of my inner knowing and help me trust that sense.

I guess it is through friendship that we feel that connectedness that is so important and helps us realize ourselves - who we are and want to be as we continue to grow and develop through time.

So to all of you that at one time or another I have shared or will share laughter, tears, ice-cream, chocolate, cheap draft beer, Wonder Wine & salty potatoe chips, Red Wine & lobster, fine champagne, and chocolate again (in that order perhaps!)- Cheers and Right back at you!

And if life finds you "out of sorts" consider what chakra needs work and find the friend that fits that spot! All the therapy you'll ever need!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Free Bach Flower Essence Education Session

It's not too often around this time of year that you see the word "free" around anything but I received the following information from the Bach Centre the other day and wanted to pass it on.

When: 14th December 2010, 5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. (GMT+1 Amsterdam Time)
Cost: FREE
Further information:
Open to: anybody

During this open lecture offered by the Centrum Terapii Bacha in Poland, Barbara Jones M.Ed. BFRP will discuss the fundamental concept of Dr Bach's system with special reference to events which might be potentially stressful, like Christmas. The lecture is open to everyone, regardless of age and educational background.

System requirements: To participate in this online seminar you will need a computer with a microphone and a headset (using video camera is also possible), as well as fast Internet connection.

I have never participated in any of their on-line sessions, but this is offered from the Bach Centre so I feel confident to pass it on.

I do know that Bach Flower essences can make a huge difference in your life and in the natural healing process. They are meant to be a self-help technique and this seminar is designed to encourage that. If you want more information on Bach Flowers in general visit my website

Enjoy the season!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Calendula Skin Cream Recipe: Homemade Healing

Calendula is a flower with particular healing properties. It looks and smells a lot like a marigold (see today's picture).

Calendula is best known for it's healing skin problems such as burns, insect bites, wounds, skin rashes and ulcerations of the skin. It is also used internally for stomach problems, and can inhibit certain strains of Staphylococus, E. coli and candida. The flower has high iodine, carotene and manganese properties which promote cell regeneration and explain it's effectiveness for wound-healing.

The best news is: "you can try this at home"! I grew calendula flowers from organic seed this summer- and if I can make them grow- anyone can!! Now my idea of planting is sprinkling seeds in horse manure basically and this did work! In fact they grew and blossomed and kept blossoming and I am overrun with calendula!

To make the skin cream, I picked the flower tops when they were in full blossom (some books say you should pick them at 12:00 noon for the greatest value)- I wasn't exact about the time, but pretty close. Put the flower tops in a glass jar and cover with oil(olive oil, apricot oil, almond oil) and let sit in the sun for 4-6 weeks. Shake periodically. I put about a teaspoon of colloidal silver in with the oil mixture but it's not necessary.

If you missed the growing season, you can buy dried calendula and do the same thing.

Here's the recipe for the skin cream:

6oz strained calendula oil mixture (it's okay of a bit of petals strain through: you can use cheesecloth or a strainer to do this)

1 oz beeswax (that's about the size of a tealight candle which you can use as long as it's pure beeswax)

25 drops of essential oil of your choice (lavender works well; I used a combo of eucalyptus, rosemary, palmarosa and lavender) This is an optional ingredient

Melt all the ingredients in the top of a double boiler until the wax is melted. Pour into glass jars to cool.

Keep a jar of this in your first aid kit, medicine cabinet and beside your stove (for burns!). Simply smooth the cream onto the affected area, put your feet up and allow the healing to begin!

You can also make tinctures for internal use by preserving the flowers in an alcohol base instead of oil. Or you can make tea by using the dried flowers in a cup of boiling water.

If you don't want to make your own, you can find calendula cream, teas and tinctures in most health food and grocery stores. These supplies probably aren't grown in horse manure though!!!