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Monday, February 28, 2011

Book Review; Balance & Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo

Quite awhile ago now, in the "green, environmentally friendly" section of a local store I came across Barbara Kingsolver's, "The Prodigal Summer". I enjoyed the book as a wonderful novel with very real characters that made me think- but not too hard.

I passed the book on to a friend. She was very excited to discover, in the book, a section where one of the characters performs a "maneuver" on another character that cures dizziness. My friend explained that her naturopath had performed that same procedure on her to cure Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). While she was explaining her symptoms, another friend having coffee with us, reported she had the very same symptoms. She's next in line for the book!

So in another one of those; "the universe is trying to tell you something" moments, another friend, not connected to the first two (are you still with me?) tells me the other day that he has been told he should try something called the "Epley Maneuver" to treat his symptoms of dizziness that his doctor believes is caused by BPPV.

BPPV is apparently quite a common cause of dizziness, particularly as we age. For people who have it, an upward tilt of the head, usually to one side or the other is likely to cause extreme dizziness which may be accompanied by nausea. It is sometimes called "top shelf vertigo" because that type of titling your head up movement, may cause the dizziness. Other problem movements include rolling over in bed from one side to the other or sitting up to get out of bed. Any movement that changes the position of the head with respect to gravity can cause the symptoms. One of the ways to distinguish BPPV as the cause of dizziness is if your dizziness can be triggered when lying down. In most other causes of dizziness, the person feels worse on standing and better when lying. The opposite is true for those with BPPV.

If you think back to grade 8 biology class, you might remember that within your inner ear you have a system of canals called the saccule and utricle. These canals are filled with fluid that shifts according to your heads' position relative to gravity. The movement of this fluid stimulates hair cell nerve endings in the canals which send messages to your brain to tell you whether you are up, down, or sideways. One of the canals, the utricle, also contains deposits of calcium carbonate. This material can form crystals. These crystals are officially called otoconia- unofficially they are referred to as "ear rocks". Ear rocks normally go through a process of formation and reabsorption without causing a problem. But, if one of these rocks finds it's way into the canal, it can stimulate those hair cell nerve endings and send out the confusing message that you are moving. This doesn't quite match up with the rest of your body and the result is a very uncomfortable sense of acute dizziness and loss of balance- you are no longer sure of your body's position relative to gravity, and humans don't like that uncertainty!

Barbara Kingsolver's book is set in the Appalachian mountains. There are three central characters who are, all in different ways, trying to achieve balance with nature. One is studying coyotes and trying to save them from extinction, another is trying to find her way as a suddenly widowed farm wife with some new farming strategies that aren't "normal" to others, and the third, Garnet, is trying to restore an ancient chestnut tree species through human dominance which clashes severely with his organic farming neighbour.

Garnet, is the one with BPPV. Like many people with this condition, he is quite convinced he has a very severe pathological condition that is likely to be his ultimate demise. It is the organic farmer who ends up applying a maneuver that completely relieves him of the vertigo, restoring balance to much more than his inner ear.

The book is fiction, but the maneuver the organic farmer applies is a very accurate portrayal of the Epley Maneuver. You can find videos, descriptions, and diagrams of this procedure through a quick check on the Internet. It is something a physician might do for you, but also something you can do at home. The maneuver won't cure your dizzy spells if they are not due to ear rocks. Dizziness can be a sign of something more dangerous and shouldn't be ignored. But, if your vertigo is because of BPPV- this maneuver could radically improve,and possibly eliminate, your symptoms. It is achieved by positioning your head and body in a particular cycle of movements that takes less than 3 minutes each cycle. For many people, a one time treatment of the 3 cycles is enough to dislodge the rock back to it's appropriate spot. For others, the maneuver needs to be repeated once a night for a week.

I love a book that gives me painless, no preaching, entertainment, at the same time as I "accidentally" learn something. "The Prodigal Summer", does just that. I learned a lot about coyotes, farming, agriculture,and botany, as well as the Epley maneuver. But most of all I just enjoyed a great book. It's a book worth reading. Pass it on to anyone that's dizzy!!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Itchy Eyes; Pink Eye & Alternative Healing Treatments

If today's picture has you rubbing your eyes and blinking- you're not alone; but Stop It!! One of the most common routes for contacting virus' and bacteria is by touching your face and eyes with your hands. Most people do it unconsciously. You probably find you do it more often when you are tired, and feeling run down- when there is an even greater chance that your immune system is a bit compromised, and easier for a viral or bacterial infection to take hold.

If you're a parent of a school-age child, or ever have been, you most likely remember your child coming home with that dreaded note that said "Pink Eye is in Our School". For some reason, in my experience, this note often seemed to come on brightly colored paper. I always wondered about that. I guess it makes it seem more alarming, and you pay more attention to that than you do to the standard white notices.

Pink Eye is otherwise known as conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis is swelling, inflammation, or infection of the membrane that lines the eyelids. The membrane is called the conjunctiva. Conjunctivitis can occur for many reasons including exposure to irritants, wearing contact lenses, allergies, and bacterial invasion. Pink Eye refers specifically to infection caused by a virus. All viral infections are contagious and Pink Eye most certainly is.

Anyone with pink eye can tell you that one of the primary symptoms is itchiness- constant and uncontrollable irritation that makes you crazy. The more you rub the eyes the worse it is likely to get, but that information never stops anyone from rubbing! Because of the body's attempt to deal with the virus, an inflammation process is established and fluids and discharge increase in an effort to rid the area of the virus. This excess fluid meets with a young child's rubbing hands and then their pencil, crayon, the desk, their lunch, then the child beside them touches the same object. A few minute later, child number 2 rubs their eyes, perhaps in response to the rubbing or itchy look of the eyes of child number 1, and the virus is coming home to you.

Besides the itching, other signs and symptoms of Pink Eye include; crusting that forms on the eyelid overnight, eye pain, gritty feeling in the eyes,increased production of tears, redness in the eye, sensitivity to light, and, less commonly, blurred vision.

Pink Eye often resolves itself and doesn't always require treatment. Conventional treatment may include eye drops. These usually contain an antibiotic. Antibiotics won't help with the virus that is causing the pink eye in the first place, but the theory is that the antibiotic will prevent bacteria normally present, from taking over when you are compromised by the virus, setting up a bacterial conjunctivitis as well. No doubt the liquid of the drops provides some relief and the medical response provides parent relief, and assures the school that you are a concerned parent, active in their child's welfare. Hmmm...

There are alternative approaches to Pink Eye. You can greatly soothe the discomfort by applying warm compresses to the closed eyes. You can soak a washcloth or small towel in warm water with Epsom or sea salt for extra relief. This is particularly helpful before bed and first thing in the morning to soothe and release the crusted eyes.

A few drops of colloidal silver placed in the eyes can produce amazing results. You can purchase colloidal silver in most health food stores. If it comes in a large bottle, purchase an eye dropper as well. Hold the eyelid open and drop the silver directly into the eye. You can tilt the child's head to the side so that any excess fluid runs to the side of their face. The technique takes some practice and a lot of faith and trust on the child's part, so be patient and don't give up if you don't get much in the first time. The silver won't sting. It may immediately feel rather warm but this sensation is typically replaced with soothing relief and in my experience, the child will likely come back asking for more drops a few hours later. You can flush with silver as often as you choose. Four times a day at a minimum is most helpful.You don't need to count or measure drops- just flush the eye with as much as you can before the person has to blink. You can also put silver in the warm compress application.

There are homeopathic remedies that can help treat pink eye as well. Some of the more common ones include Pulstilla, Sulphur, Rhus Toxicodenron, and Argentum Niticum. They may not be necessary if you try colloidal silver first.

In order to prevent the spread of the virus that causes Pink Eye, you do have to follow some preventative measures. These include changing pillow cases frequently, don't share towels or washcloths, and never share eye cosmetics.

The most obvious preventative measure, but perhaps the hardest, is to keep your hands away from your eyes and wash your hands frequently. Not only will this prevent you from contracting Pink Eye, it will also help protect you from any virus, including those that cause common (and not so common) colds.

Pink Eye is not just something that occurs in children. It can occur in adults and pets as well. One of the nice things about most alternative treatments is the same things that work for children, also work for adults and pets. You don't need a separate medicine cabinet for everyone in your family. Doses and applications are typically the same as well. Colloidal silver can be used for one and all. Colloidal silver can also be taken internally for added protection against infection.

So, stop rubbing your eyes. Relief can be an eye dropper away. Stock up on some colloidal silver and don't' be afraid of colorful paper notes coming home anymore!They might just be announcing a field trip!

For more information on colloidal silver and homeopathic remedies, visit my website at . You can also contact me directly through my site.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Seventh Chakra

The seventh chakra, also known as the Crown chakra is considered the highest of the primary chakras. It is located at the top, or crown, of your head. This chakra is considered your connection to a greater consciousness or the divine self. The main issues of this chakra are spirituality and selflessness. Like the 6th chakra, the Crown Chakra doesn't really correspond to a developmental age in the same way as the lower chakra's do. There are some references to the age range of 43 to 49 for this chakra development, but that is more likely because, for some people, this is a time when they begin to really question the meaning of life. Development of the crown charka has been linked to "mid-life crisis" states. In reality, the degree of functionality of this chakra is linked to, and influenced by, a multitude of events that can occur at any age, or stage, of life.

When this chakra is balanced you are likely to have a magnetic personality. Other people are drawn to you, sometimes for inexplicable reasons. A balanced crown chakra ensures you are at peace with self, have a clear connection to spirit, and an awareness that all things are possible.

If this chakra spins too fast, you may feel apathetic or depressed. For many people, a fast spinning crown chakra creates a feeling of frustration. They often feel a sense of unrealized power; as though they aren't focused on the right thing. In an effort to combat these feelings, the person may appear egocentric as they try to find purpose through material success, willpower and control.

If the crown chakra is blocked, there may be a sense of constant exhaustion. It becomes difficult to make decisions, perhaps because there is no sense of belonging. People may feel there no longer is any "reason for being".

Emotional dsyfunctions related to issues with the crown chakra include depression, obsessional thinking, and confusion. Physical conditions such as immune system disorders, chronic exhuastion, environmental sensitivities, epilepsy, and Alzheimer's are all be linked to 7th chakra dysfunction.

The color that resonates with the crown chakra is most typically white. Violet and gold are also sometimes related to this chakra. White is considered the ultimate luminescence. White is the color of purity and spirit. Surrounding yourself with white can help you feel clean, pure, and renewed. The white lotus flower (today's picture) is the symbol that resonates with the crown chakra. Pure white flowers can provide a very peaceful connection.

I am sorry to say there are really no foods that resonate with the crown chakra. Quite the reverse, as fasting is considered a way to connect with, and restore this chakra. This chakra is all about "detachment" and apparently that means being detached from food as well

Rest assured, there will be a recipe in my book to link foods with the crown chakra though. I think the sense of peaceful connection should be celebrated with some type of food!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Crab Apple: The Cleansing Bach Flower Remedy

Most of the Bach Flower Remedies are taken internally and quite focused on emotional issues. Through emotional balance, physical balance and relief of symptoms is allowed to occur, but it is the emotional state that most Bach remedies exert their primary affect.

The Bach Flower Crab Apple works according to the same principles, but it also has some more physical components. It is considered the cleansing essence for both mind and body.

Crab Apple is indicated for anyone who feels unclean or suffers from poor self-image. It can be helpful for those that have a mental obsession with cleanliness or phobias around germs and disease.

People with skin problems may benefit from the external, as well as internal, application of this remedy. A few drops of Crab Apple in water can be applied directly to skin problems as a lotion or compress. Ten drops of the essence can also be added to a bath to help with skin conditions. Rescue Remedy cream contains Crab Apple as well as the 5 essences of Rescue Remedy and can be particularly helpful if applied topically to injuries or skin conditions. The cream formulations do contain other ingredients to make them into a cream, so if you are sensitive, check before you apply. If in doubt, mix the essences directly in water and use as a compress or lotion.

Crab Apple essence resonates with 6th Chakra or Third Eye imbalances as well. If you are blocking the intuitive/feeling component of your mind, and trying desperately to control, you may feel out of balance when you are unable to control your appearance to the degree you would like. The scientific, logical side doesn't always match with what you would like to see in the mirror, despite your efforts to mould and control. This can lead to a sense of dissatisfaction or disgust with yourself.

Taking Crab Apple can help you find acceptance of yourself, dispute your imperfections. Crab Apple can help people have a more relaxed attitude towards their body image and environment, allowing imperfections to be accepted as a part of you. When people are in a Crab Apple state they have a general feeling that something is not quite right but they are unable to truly pinpoint the source of their discomfort. Again, this can be linked to blockage of that feeling side of you. Because you can't pinpoint that source of discomfort, you focus on trivial things and become fixated on something you believe you should be able to control; like pimples, large thighs, rolling bellies, bad hair. With that fixation comes a loss of the sense of proportion so that minor blemishes become huge issues. Many woman go into a Crab Apple state at certain times of their cycle. For some, the dissatisfaction may be focused on the external environment rather than internal, and they suddenly become avid house cleaners.

The Crab Apple tree is often gnarled and crooked. The bark can be wrinkled and flaky, and it's common to find it covered with moss or lichens. The roots of the tree are shallow. Yet the blossoms, from which the essence is made, are pure and perfect as they combine the soft pink glow of vitality with the whiteness of light. The inner stem of the flower is a golden color. Julian Barnard in, "Bach Flower Remedies; Form and Function", describes the stamen of the Crab Apple flower as being the "golden heart" and "a soft purifying fire".

And that is the mirror image of the Crab Apple state. When you feel a bit gnarled, crooked, wrinkled, or flaky, as though parasites are growing on you, consider that the roots of those complaints don't really run very deep. Take the Crab Apple essence and allow yourself to purify from within.

Who knows, after a few Crab Apple drops, you may be able to see those imperfections as what allows you to be uniquely you!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Animal Signs: The Bald Eagle

Today's picture is of Cornelius. A friend sent me the information on him and I wanted to pass it on. Cornelius lives at the Mountsberg Raptor Centre within Mountsberg Conservation Area in Ontario. The centre is home to 14 different species of native birds of prey. Many of the Raptor Centre's resident birds of prey have permanent injuries that have left them incapable of surviving on their own in the wild. In many cases, these injuries were caused by human activity. With the help of these feathered ambassadors, the Mountsberg Raptor Centre teaches the community about the native birds of prey that share our environment and how to reduce the negative impact we can have on them. They have a great website at

This is the statistical information from the site about Cornelius:

Species: Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
Hatch Year: 1994
Arrival at Mountsberg: September 1994
Gender: Male
Injury: Permanently damaged left wing
Life History:
Cornelius was originally admitted to the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. He was found in Sioux Lookout and rescued by the MNR. As a young bird, Cornelius flew into a power line and damaged his wing. Before he could be rescued, his wing healed, causing his left wing to be deformed and shorter than his right wing. Due to the way his wing healed, he cannot extend it fully and can only fly short distances.
Cornelius was the second Bald Eagle that made his presence known to me this weekend so I thought I'd better pay attention to this animal sign.

In Shamanic medicine, the Eagle is considered one of the powerful energies of the sky. But we are encouraged to consider the eagles deeper meaning as well. The Eagle teaches us that life looks different from an aerial perspective and we should take a new view on the challenges in our lives. If we aren't finding solutions easily it may be because our vision is too limited and we are seeing only what is glaringly obvious. The Eagle encourages us to not depend exclusively on intellectual solutions, but also to connect to the spirit, and the knowing that goes beyond intellect. This echos the right and left brain connection of the Third Eye Chakra in earlier posts.

The Eagles' powers are considered to be independence, vision, and strength. The Eagles' home is in the sky, where he fearlessly flies above, bridging heaven and earth.

The Eagles' beak and jaw are the strongest part of his body. It is designed for breaking and crushing. We are reminded to pay attention to our speech and how it affects others. The lesson is to control what we say, how much, and when. Uncontrolled talk can hurt. You could break or crush people with your words.

The Eagle reminds us to take a step back and look at the big picture. View the past and present objectively, so that we can see past restrictions that might be holding us back. The Eagle is said to teach us to courageously face our fear of the unknown, so we can fly as high as our heart can take us.

The Eagle symbolises a state of being that is reached through inner work and reclaiming personal power. It is the ultimate balance between heavan and earth. The Eagle shows you to love the shadow as much as the light.

In order to soar like the Eagle, you need to see everything as a gift from the universe, confident and trusting in your abilities.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Full Moon in Leo; Solar Flares, and Perelandra ETS

It's another full moon cycle and this time the moon is in Leo. According to my We'Moon 2011 book, this signifies a time of exuberance. This full moon is all about drama and intensity. According to astrology, you may feel compelled to act suddenly, generously, and in ways that fill your heart's desire. You may start to feel full of love, creativity, and the joy of living. With all this exuberance and outgoing interactions however, it is also a time for outbursts and temper flare-ups. It seems this moon cycle of a Leo-Acquarian theme brings combustible, shocking energies.

It would seem the solar system is very much in synchronicity with astrological predictions. NASA reports an x-class solar flare on Feb. 14th occurred for the first time in more than 4 years. X-flares are the most powerful of all solar events. Although they didn't seem to have caused any damage this week, they have been known to trigger radio black-outs and long-lasting radiation storms. The flares on the 14th were preceded by several smaller M and C class flares as well.

As I look at the pictures of solar flares that are readily available by Internet search (or the one with today's entry), I can't help by imagine how that swirling energy must be affecting us. No wonder astrologists warn of being jarred out of balance physically, mentally and emotionally. The full moon is said to bring about breakthroughs as cosmic energies startle and awaken us. There is a warning however, that such high spirits, fire, and exuberance can be difficult to adjust to, especially if you are already feeling overwhelmed or somewhat "burnt out".

It is for these shifting energies at the physical, emotional and spiritual level that Perelandra ETS was created for. If you're feeling strange electrical type pains for no known reason, unsettled moods, and discomfort, a few drops of Emergency Trauma Solution (ETS) may have a calming, soothing effect on you. The folks at Perelandra apparently have taken advantage of the fire and energy and have updated their website to make it more user friendly. You can find information on all their products at You can also find them on FaceBook now.

Other suggestions for helping to ground yourself include the use of the crystal amethyst,chakra balancing, walking in nature, consciously breathing deeply, or just engaging in whatever makes you feel connected to the earth and those around you.

If you feel empowered and bursting with energy- go with the flow! Fire can be a purifying force. Adapt to the changes by blazing forward on new paths without turning back.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bach Remedy Vine for the Third Eye Chakra

In the previous post, I discussed the third eye or 6th chakra. One of the few foods that resonates with this chakra is grapes, as does wine. It comes as no surprise that one of the Bach flower remedies that is often indicated for problems with this chakra is Vine.

Vine is prepared from the flowers of the grapevine. The grapevine has been cultivated by mankind since the beginning of recorded history. It is said that Noah planted a vineyard. Julian Barnard, in "Bach Flower Remedies Form and Function", describes vine as a plant who's basic patterning has been modified by the demands of human cultivation. In order to make grapes grow on the vine you have to train the plant. Constant cutting and interfering is required to limit the natural growth process which is to grow quickly towards the light.

The same can be said for issues of the third eye chakra. People often block their natural tendency to rely on intuition and inner knowing and train their brains to listen only to a "cut back" version of reality.

The Bach flower Vine is one of the Seven Helpers. Not a soul type, these helper remedies are indicated for conditions that are the result of a way of living. Dr. Bach reported Vine as a condition that was often the result of childhood interactions. If children have had their impulses of self-expression limited by family, later in life they may take on the Vine state. If, as a child, "new shoots"; ideas , behaviors, and ways of seeing the world, were cut off, tied, or trained into a particular form, the vine state may be the result. The Vine state is a reflection of that need to control and dominate as the grapevine (or child) has been controlled and dominated. Children learn that the only way to gain control is to follow that example of bullying and dominating from forceful adults. It is a learned approach to life.

Grapevines climb by hanging on to others for support. The grapevine is selective in it's clinging. It chooses only those who can be seized. In the same way, bullies are selective of their "prey". It usually takes some intuition to select a victim. Bully's often have an uncanny ability to get people in their most vulnerable spot- for this they listen to their intuition. Since most bullies are victims as well, they understand vulnerabilities from first hand experience.

The Bach remedy Vine can help soften and gentle the heart, allowing a sense of the need to give. The positive potential of Vine is determination without domination. Once the Vine state can be released, the third eye can be balanced, allowing you to follow your intuition without the need to fiercely control. Vine has the potential to break a powerful legacy of dominance and control, that in many families, is handed down from generation to generation.

Like all Bach flower remedies, there are degrees of the Vine State. You don't have to be, or have been, the playground bully, the terror of your neighborhood, or a political dictator, to benefit from the essence. Vine can help if you feel you could use some help to find your own path in life, using all the gifts you have been given. The person with a balanced Third Eye Chakra is an inspiration to others as they move through life with confidence and certainty, in tune with their inner knowing.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Foods for the Third Eye Chakra

The sixth Chakra is also known as the Third Eye, or Brow Chakra, as it is located in the middle of the forehead. The main issues of this chakra are intuition and wisdom. Interestingly, it doesn't correspond to any particular age of development. For some people it may be well developed and balanced early on in life, for others it may come much later perhaps due to a particular, significant, event. I suspect for a lot of people it is well developed in childhood, socialized out or blocked, and returns again as an issue to be dealt with in later years.

When this chakra is balanced you are said to have "emotional intelligence". You have an ability to combine both sides of your brain in making decisions and taking actions. This intelligence transcends the physical world and incorporates higher abilities of inner knowing. Once tapped into, these abilities are brought into the physical world. The challenges of the 6th chakra are to open your mind and retrieve your power as you learn to act on internal direction rather than subjective perceptions and scientific proof. You become able to discriminate between thoughts motivated by strength, and those motivated by fear and illusion.

If this chakra spins too fast or is too open you may be highly logical, dogmatic, authoritarian or arrogant. This dysfunction occures when the left brain is dominant. Often, because of fear and insecurity in the dismantling of a material world, people become controlling and perfectionists, unaccepting of human failings, in others and themselves.

A blocked third eye chakra can result in a of fear of success, an undisciplined nature, or signs of mental illness such as schizophrenia. Having forced themselves to block their inner wisdom and not trust their insights and feelings, rationalists force themselves to abide by a set of rules that becomes limiting and frightening.

Physical dysfunctions related to issues of the third eye chakra can include headaches, sinusitis, poor vision, including glaucoma, and neurological disturbances.

The color that resonates with the 6th chakra is purple. Purple is said to have a powerful affect on the nervous system and can be either sedating or irritating depending on the amount and shade. Purple is a combination of blue and red. Adding too much red to the mix can produce irritation, while blue-purple is said to shrink things. The amethyst color of purple provides control over the material world using spiritual principles- the hallmarks of a balanced 6th chakra.

There are not a lot of foods that relate to the 6th chakra. As you move up the chakra system to higher realms, the material world including food, takes on a lesser importance. Foods that can be connected to this chakra include blueberries, grapes, blackberries, and my personal favorite- wine!

As you pour that glass of wine, consider how you might make decisions based upon the wisest assessment you can in the immediate moment without creating a specific outcome. Give up the need for proof, and listen to your inner self. Open your mind.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day; Chocolate gifts & Waterproof Mascara

So it's February 14th and Valentine's Day. According to Hallmark, flower stores, and candy shops, today is a celebration of lovers that is to be expressed by giving gifts. I'm all for love, and have nothing against gifts, but the pressure of this day can be a little over the top!

It's hard to find the real origins of St. Valentines, but the best I can figure is that around 270AD, the Roman Emperor Claudius banned all marriages of younger citizens because he wanted to build a strong army. He thought single soldiers made better fighters than married ones. A priest, named Valentinus betrayed Claudius and secretly married people as young as 12! in the name of love. Valentinus was jailed for his actions but managed to fall in love with the daughter of his jailer. On the evening of his execution he passed a note to this love interest which said "from your Valentine". How we evolved from that story, to viewing valentines as a symbol of love, is a little fuzzy to me, but that seems to be the thread of it all.

I do know that Valentine's day causes a lot of angst for many, particularly teenagers. Maybe this goes back to that marriage at 12 tradition! I have always been rather surprised by a lot of school themes on this event. They seem to really hype it up, even in elementary school, with valentine competitions, selling chocolate kisses, passing out valentine cards, and valentine dances. Lots of opportunity for drama and trauma. If you want a humorous kids take on Valentine's Day, check out the Junie B. Jones children's books by Barbara Park and Denis Brunkus. This early reader series is fantastic, especially for girls, and the Valentine's Day one titled "Junie B. Jones and the Mushy Gushy Valentines" will leave you with a new perspective.

Teenagers continue to amaze, entertain, and impress me. I believe teenagers are changing the perspective on may things- including Valentines Day. I recently talked to a teenager that had been involved in a very public and rather dramatic break-up during a "pre-valentine" event. The break-up wasn't her choice and she was upset but told me that she must have had some premonition because she had been careful to wear waterproof mascara to the event! After the break-up she called her friends over and together they shared the chocolate gift she had bought for her boyfriend, enjoying ever piece of it. At the time I was talking to her, a few days after the event, she was still wearing waterproof mascara "just in case", but seemed to be taking the whole thing in stride. I was impressed with her emergency management preparations. I never would have thought of the waterproof aspect.

I guess the thing about Valentine's Day that bothers me (and Junie B. Jones) is that it perpetuates that external perspective of love. The traditions suggest we are worthy of love if someone showers us with gifts, proclaims their love for us, or accepts our gifts. But the real gift is to accept and love ourselves regardless of what the rest of the world thinks.

Maybe we should look a little closer at that Claudius/Valentinus story. Secretly marrying 12 year old couples is just "wrong" by most cultures, morals, laws, and values today. And really; who would be impressed with a note from a convict the night before his execution? That smells a bit like a manipulation tactic to me! No way, that's going to do anything but either creep the jailer's daughter out, or give her a lifelong complex so that she thinks she can never love anyone else and remain "true" to him. Wouldn't it have been more loving to have just left her alone, knowing he wasn't going to be able to "follow through" anyway? Is this really the guy we want to be celebrating?

Maybe some new traditions around the meaning of Valentine's Day are in order. In the meantime, a bottle of waterproof mascara and some Rescue Remedy might help you get through the day in style! Tomorrow chocolate everywhere will be at least 50% off!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Book Review: Saving CeeCee Honeycutt

I have had a couple of late nights staying up with CeeCee Honeycutt. Now that I've come to the end of the book, I'm in withdrawal. I'll miss her.

Beth Hoffman's "Saving CeeCee Honeycutt" is another one of those books that just seemed to hold within it a certain type of energy that felt really powerful. Perhaps this book helped me explore the right side of my brain (if that makes no sense to you check out posts from the past few days and it might!)because I cried, laughed and just "felt" my way through it.

CeeCee is a very capable but burdened 12 year old, living in Ohio, when her whole life changes. When seemingly tragic events occur, she finds herself catapulted into the Southern hospitality of Savannah and the life of her affluent, influential, Aunt Tootie.

At it's essence, this is a story of the impacts of mental illness and the fine line between eccentricity and dysfunction. In fact, the lines seem pretty blurred and appear to be more a matter of perspective and environment.

"Saving CeeCee Honeycutt," is also a story of the strength and power of women. There are very few men that even appear on the pages. When they do they do show up, they are only used to enhance the plot line,and they are easily outsmarted and overshadowed by women. They are not trashed or put down, they just don't seem particularly necessary. It is a story of sisterhood, and a celebration of feminine values. The characters aren't trying hard or struggling to overcome anything- they just "are" and that's what makes it wonderful.

People often tell me titles of great stories they have read. I can never remember the titles or the authors names when I'm standing in a book store. But if I've seen the cover, I know what I'm looking for. So, in searching for a picture of the book to put on the blog this morning, I came across Beth Hoffman's website and blog. It's as good as her book in my opinion. I'll be following it at There are some thought provoking posts on there, some suggestions for other good reads, and lots of tips for writers.

I'm rather sorry to leave Savannah this morning. It's muggy heat has been replaced with a reality biting minus two digit cold, huge iciciles everywhere and frozen horse water buckets. Sigh... Then again, what would CeeCee Honeycutt do? Curl up with a good warm book for sure....

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Color Blue; Throat Chakra,Right Brain and Potatoes

So, I've had a delicious fix of peppermint and am working away on the Throat Chakra chapter. The color that resonates with the Throat Chakra (vibrates on the same energy level) is blue. In "Melvin's Balloons', my Children's book that links chakra colors with emotions, Melvin likes to get blue balloons because they make him sing. In fact they make him howl back at the coyotes. That's because the throat chakra is focused on self-expression.

According to Nina Ashby in "Simply Color Therapy", there are more variations of the color blue than any other color. Some of the variations include indigo blue, aquamarine, royal blue, sky blue, and turquoise. Seems there may be a blue for everyone. Luckily it seems to me, there are just as many ways to express yourself. Blue is also the highest vibrational frequency of the primary colors according to Ashby, which means there is a lot of space between the molecules. Perhaps it is that "space of variations" that allows for differences in interpretations of communication and sometimes- misunderstandings.

Nina Ashby goes on to explain the color blue is associated with the right side of the brain. That got me thinking!! The right side of the brain is considered to be in most cases, the origin of feelings and creativity. And yet, if it stopped there you wouldn't be able to express those feelings I don't think. Seems like you also need integration to the left side in order to select the paint colors you want, figure out how to handle the brush, or put your feelings into words. For most of us, having the feelings and the creative thoughts are not the complete picture. It seems like we have to "get it out" in some way. Even if we don't want to necessarily share it with anyone else, it seems we need to have evidence of our feelings. That's why painting, drawing and coloring is often used in therapy. It seems like the ability to express our inner creativity, that right side of our brain, may be an integral piece to making us human?

The shade of blue you choose can make a big difference. Sky blue is said to be soothing and can cool fevers, headaches, insomnia and overexcitment. Turquoise, on the other hand can stimulate the nervous system and release blockages. Ashby claims it can free your mind from rigid patterns and help balance emotions.

With all these blue shades you would think there would be "blue food", but there really isn't much to choose from there. Despite what a lot of people say, blueberries to me, really aren't blue. Maybe that's just me "expressing myself, but to me they are actually more a purple shade than blue. And neither blue jello or blue kool-aid, other arguments I've heard, resemble any kind of real food. I think the only exception is a certain type of blue potato. There is a potato that is truly blue on the inside as well as outside. I don't think it tastes much different from any other kind of potato but it really is remarkably blue. I know about this potato because my grandmother had a particular affection for them. And, my grandfather, every year of his married life, planted one row of these particular potatoes, especially and only, for my grandmother. Times were sometimes tough,crops didn't always grow as well as one hoped,and life wasn't very easy for them. But there was one thing my grandmother could count on.. at least one meal of blue potatoes.

So to me, blue potatoes will forever represent the ultimate expression of love.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Foods for the Throat Chakra

Did you just throw out the last of the Christmas candy canes in a fit of "self-renewal". If so, sorry... but keep reading.

I'm moving on through the chakras to the 5th or throat chakra. The 5th Chakra is located centrally at the base of the neck- the throat area. The main issue of this chakra is communication and self-expression. But this chakra is also focused on faith or trust. This chakra encorporates higher levels of spirituality and the trust becomes one of believing you can speak your truth and your inner knowing because it comes from a pure source. When this chakra is balanced you are content, find it easy to communicate, and may be artistically inspired.

This chakra typically develops between 28 and 35 years of age. By this time in life, most people have developed a clear sense of self. They have gained the wisdom of understanding their own strengths and what motivates them and have accepted themselves for who they are. Once that realization has been reached, you can move on towards speaking your truth even if it doesn't always correspond with those around you. Tempered by compassion of the heart chakra, a good communicator understands their right to express their hurt or anger, but does so in a way that does not diminish the other person. A person with faith in themselves, also knows that if others don't "hear" what is said, it isn't necessarily a reflection of the messenger. Instead, it indicates the listener isn't yet ready for that information.

Childhood traumas where children were made to believe their opinions were worthless, or they were told to "be quiet", "be seen and not heard" or otherwise rejected, can affect later development of this chakra. The person may put on a "mask" to hide the belief that no one values their opinion. This is the classic Agrimony Bach flower type. A blocked throat chakra may result in a person that does not communicate with others and holds back from any form of self-expression. They may seem to hold inconsistent views as they sway with the opinions of others. Blocked chakras can also be expressed in people that appear over-talkative as they put on a mask of comedy- always being the clown, making light of a situation, and cracking jokes. If this chakra spins too fast the person may be seen as self-righteous, arrogant and over-talkative without taking the time to listen.

The color that resonates with the throat chakra is blue. It is a clear, bright blue like a shade of turquoise. Lapis lazuli (typical Native American jewelery) and turquoise necklaces are great ways help focus on the throat chakra and clear blockages.

As far as foods are concerned, fruit really resonates with the throat chakra as you move upwards to a lighter, less grounded, realm. However, peppermint resonates with this chakra as well- and so we are back to the candy canes! Peppermint tea is very soothing to a sore throat. For the book, there will be something sweet made out of peppermint- of that you can be sure.

In the meantime, speak your truth and allow it to come from your heart. Speak up for yourself, secure in the knowledge that what you have to say is worthy of being listened to. Delight in your self-expression and creative pursuits.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor; Brain Integration; Scleranthus

Jill Bolte Taylor is a neuro-scientist that experienced (I don't think she would say "suffered") a left-sided brain hemorrhage, or stroke, and not only fully recovered but has written an incredible book that chronicles the journey. You can also see her presentation on The link is If you work with, have known someone that experienced a stroke, or intend on having one yourself, I highly recommend this book. Not only will it give you some peace and understanding on what they might be going through, it will help improve your quality of interactions.

But there is so much more to this book, and to her presentations, than the medical aspects of stroke. She provides insight into left and right brain hemisphere integration as only one who has experienced the separation could provide.

She describes how the right side of your brain sees the world in pictures and considers itself to be an energy being, connected to everything and not separated from, your surroundings. This side of your brain thinks only in "this moment, the now" and is not concerned or focused on the past or the future.

In direct contrast, the left side of your brain thinks of itself as "I am", and the "I" is a separation from your environment. She describes the left hemisphere as containing that little voice that thinks in very linear ways and reminds you what you should do. Rather than thinking in pictures like the right side of the brain, the left side thinks in language. The left side of the brain is very focused on both past and future. It takes incoming data and categorizes the details into projects and possibilities. In is your "intelligence".

Towards the end of her talk on, after Dr. Bolte-Taylor has described both perspectives she asks "which would you choose". Hmmm.. that is a point to consider.

Luckily most of us have both sides functioning. But the trick it seems to me, and maybe the trick is big enough to even be a life purpose, is to integrate those two "beings". I mean really integrate- not choose at this moment to think with the left brain and the next moment to think with the right, but honestly use both in some kind of way that is much greater than the sum of the two parts.

I believe there are a few "aids" to doing this. There are Vision Therapy techniques that work on visual aspects of this. The techniques are usually applied to children but in some cases to adults, if there are problems with visual tracking and depth perception. These problems occur when both eyes don't work together- sounds a bit like a brain integration issue! When the eyes don't work together, the child can see 20/20 when each eye is tested but can't remember where they left off reading if they look up from a page and can't judge distances and depths other than guessing that the bigger object is closer to them, which is usually, but not always, the case. Unfortunately, most ophthalmologists don't routinely test for tracking and dept perception so it can go undetected.Sometimes children with these issues are labeled as slow learners. They typically have reading problems and are likely to appear poorly coordinated and accident- prone. When the eyes start to work together the world changes from quite "flat" in appearance to an amazing three dimensional "pop-up-book". It's a very dramatic difference I can assure you!

There are Bowen therapy techniques that address the issues of integration and connect both sides of the body if there are energy blockages. This is very subtle but very powerful manipulation. (I have talked about Bowen therapy in some earlier posts).

There is also the Bach flower Scleranthus. In an earlier blog entry on November 2nd,I discussed the indecision that Scleranthus can help with. I believe the indecision that is experienced when in a "scleranthus state" is due to this separation between hemispheres.

People that benefit from scleranthus typically try to intellectualize decisions. They think linearly, listen to that little voice, and try to decide simply things based on logic. What they don't take into account is the right side of the brain and how they feel about things. For instance, if you aren't sure what you should wear to a business appointment, your left brain might consider things like how others will perceive your choice, whether a particular color matches your skin tone, if those colors go together according to the color wheel, or if that is professional enough according to office standards. It's hard to make a decision based on so many intellectual variables. Typically, the scleranthus person end up asking someone else what they think, or just going with the outfit they last had on when they ran out of time to decide! And yet, they often don't feel good about their choice. On the other hand, if you only use the right side of your brain and consider what would make you feel good, you might end up at a business meeting in beautifully colored pajamas!

So somewhere in the middle, good decisions can be made if you consider both left and right influences. By considering the intellectual reasons and your feelings you might choose an outfit that is appropriate for the meeting but makes you feel confident and attractive.

Jill Bolte-Taylor is talking about something much much greater than making clothing choices. And I'm not suggesting we can reverse pathologically blocked hemispheres with Bach flowers. But maybe if we consider small, every day examples of the disconnect, we might begin to arrive at ways to integrate the big things.

Mostly, what I am suggesting is that you read, "My Stroke of Insight"! And if you can't decide if the book is right for you- take some Scleranthus!!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Moon Lodge: Alternative options for menstrual issues

A few days ago I saw a headline in the news that woman were outraged that a popular brand of tampon had disappeared off the shelves. The article suggested that woman should be more open about sharing and talking about menstrual issues and concerns. The article went on to suggest if men experienced menstruation there would have been more advances in how to deal with the side effects. I'm not so sure about that...

In native tradition, woman's menstruation was called her "Moontime". During her cycle, she was honored as a creative force and was released from her duties of family. She was encouraged to retreat to the Moon Lodge to enjoy the company of other woman. Woman were provided with this sacred space during menstruation to release the old energy of their body and prepare for a reconnection to the Earth Mother's fertility. They were not banished from the tribe as some myth suggests, but allowed to celebrate their connections.

So maybe that's the sharing we should be doing as woman all share a very common connection. Unfortunately, our modern lives and pace, doesn't seem to allow for the "removal to the Moon Lodge". Perhaps we should. In particular, a lot of teenagers lately seem to be experiencing menstruation in dramatic fashion with pain, dizziness and excessive cramping. I wonder if this is a sign of our changing world forcing us to take a look at traditions that have been forgotten...

In the meantime if you find yourself having to cope with cramps,pain, dizziness and other symptoms that make it difficult to function in the world, there are some alternative suggestions that may be helpful.

There are a lot of homeopathic preparations that address different symptoms of menstruation. As with all homeopathics, you need to consider the individual when selecting the most helpful remedy. Some to consider include; Pulsatilla, Lachesis; Sepia, Conium Maculatum, and Magnesium Phosphate for period pains. Belladona may be helpful, particularly if there is heavy bleeding. Nux vomica may help with nausea and vomiting. More commonly used for certain pregnancy issues, Actaea Racemosa, also known as Cimicifuga can also be very helpful for some woman, particularly if the period is accompanied with bouts of gloominess or depression and specific dizziness.

From Perelandra, both ETS and Reproductive combinations may be helpful for period complaints. I have seen ETS be extremely and dramatically helpful for dizziness, light-headedness and fainting spells as part of the menstruation picture- particularly in young teenagers. The Reproductive balancing combination may help as a longer term solution to regulate and moderate cycles.

Bach Flower essences can also be helpful with the emotional component of menstruation and is useful at various times through the cycle. Beech can be useful for pre-menstrual irritation and agitation. Mustard can relieve the feeling of depression for no reason that some women experience, and Crab Apple is indicated if you are feeling unclean or disgusted with your body image. Crab Apple may also be helpful if pimples or bloating precede or accompany menstruation. Rescue Remedy is also indicated for acute pain and dizziness.

I still like the idea of the moon lodge, but if that's not practical and can't be arranged, there are alternatives. Above all I think it's important to listen to our bodies and be gentle with ourselves.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Foods for the Heart Chakra

Thankfully I got over my writer's block procrastination mode, finished up Chapter 3, and am moving on to the next chapter of the latest book which is focused on Heart Chakra stuff. The 4th or Heart Chakra is located in the center of the chest.

The main issues of the heart chakra involve love and relationships. But unlike lower chakras, where love is dependent on others, such as the tribal love of the root chakra, or the sexual love of the second chakra, heart chakra love is a state of being that is both enduring and constant regardless of external influences. When the heart chakra is fully developed and balanced, we have a sense of forgiveness and compassion. This is not just for others, but for ourselves as well. We have developed full self-acceptance. This chakra typically develops around the age range of 21-28. Once we understand our place in the world, have gained our sense of independence, and are clear on our own personal power, we can develop this sense of acceptance. It is a challenging chakra because we start to move away from the tangible, solid and earthly goals of the lower chakras into a more spiritual nature. And, along the way, "broken hearts and spirits" can set us back in this development.

When the heart chakra is spinning too fast, the person can be very conditional in their love. It is an overly dramatic, possessive type of love. If this chakra is blocked, the person may feel unworthy of receiving love, have a deep fear of rejection, and be quite self-pitying. Emotional dysfunctions experienced with an unbalanced heart chakra include co-dependency, fears concerning loneliness,commitment or betrayal, and melancholic moods.

When your heart chakra is balanced, you feel compassion and your love is unconditional and nurturing. Most of all you feel accepting of yourself. This balance is achieved through appropriate boundaries where you neither give yourself away to others, nor demand others give themselves to you. It is about finding the supportive love you need from within, so that you can accept others and yourself without external influences.

The color that resonates with this chakra is green. It is a bright grassy green- the color of broccoli, lettuce and leafy vegetables. So the foods most typically associated with this chakra are vegetables. Zucchini, artichokes, parsley, are all good for the heart chakra. Hmmm.....

On the other hand... as we get closer to Valentine's Day, there is a very strong link between chocolate and the heart, is there not? It certainly seems more appealing to me to reach for chocolate to soothe an aching heart than for a green leafy salad!

Chocolate has a long history. It started out as a drink. The Aztecs and Mayans supposedly drank chocolate mixed with honey, vanilla and chile. Later, soldiers and the elite both drank chocolate, and it was common at festivals and celebrations. The cacao tree is native to Central and South America and is rather "fussy" in nature- takes some work to produce. When the Spanish brought chocolate to Europe, the food became embedded in struggles. Stories of laws, slavery, horticultural attempts to change and cultivate, and even smuggling are all part of chocholate's history. Sounds like some typical love stories and boundary issues. In the 1800's, tea and coffee threatened to replace chocolate and it was losing it's popularity. But thanks to a few household names like Cadbury, Lindt, and Hershey, chocolate was transformed into a confection by extracting cacao oil or butter and adding sugar. It was marketed with flowers and became a token of romance. It was even implied that it had aphrodisiac powers. Chocolate seems to be heading back to it's early days lately as chocolate with less oil and sugar, and more than 65% cacao, have been reported to be good for your blood pressure and helpful in lowering cholesterol. In other words, good for your heart!

I guess a good balance would be a leafy green salad with lots of broccoli in it and a cup of mexican hot chocolate to "still thy aching heart", but I going to experiment with a molten chocolate cake recipe for the book!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Groundhog Day

It seems like February 2nd is actually a pretty significant day for a lot of cultures. I had no idea. Apparently, the Groundhog day tradition comes from the German tradition of Candlemas. I have always found the groundhog story to be kind of confusing. The tradition is that the groundhog comes out of his burrow on Feb.2nd. If he sees his shadow when he comes out, he goes back in his burrow and we are supposed to have 6 more weeks of winter weather. If it's cloudy and he doesn't see his shadow, then apparently he stays out and we have moderate weather or an early spring. But see, this makes no sense to me! If I was a groundhog and I struggled out of my nice warm safe burrow to check on the weather, and it was nice and sunny, I think I would be inspired to stay out and enjoy it. I would figure we were already enjoying moderate weather and an early spring. On the other hand, if I came out and it was cloudy and overcast- I would figure I should just crawl right back to my hole. And yet it's the reverse???

Maybe it's a question of internal versus external control. Maybe that groundhog is confident enough to figure he has the power to influence the weather. If it's sunny he figures it's too early to be spring and he better get back to sleep as he obviously woke up too early and changed the winter pattern by waking up too early. If he goes out and it's cloudy he figures he better stick around and change the weather pattern to be more in tune with spring. Confident guy that ground hog. I like that. He's probably a "Cerato" type in Bach flower terminology.

Or maybe he just comes out to take advantage of pancakes as for a lot of people Feb. 2nd is pancake day. Apparently this comes from an ancient myth dealing with the solar wheel and round pancakes or doughnuts are a symbol of the sun. To properly observe the tradition, Candlemas pancakes have to be made with wheat flour from the previous harvest. Stacks of them can be prepared without fear of famine, since soon the fields will regain their golden colour. There was even an old saying that held if you ate pancakes on Candlemas, you would be ensured a good harvest in the coming year. I wonder what would happen if there was a pancake ready and waiting for that groundhog?

In my part of the world today, there is no danger that the groundhog will see his shadow. If he does venture out of his burrow he's more likely to get buried in snow or blown away. Then again, maybe he can change this storm around???

A friend of mine sent me a poem today that comes from English and Scottish tradition:

As the light grows longer
The cold grows stronger
If Candlemas be fair and bright
Winter will have another flight
If Candlemas be cloud and rain
Winter will be gone and not come again
A farmer should on Candlemas day
Have half his corn and half his hay
On Candlemas day if thorns hang a drop
You can be sure of a good pea crop

So no matter what the groundhog discovers, I'm just going to wait for transformation in the near future. While I'm waiting, I'm going to enjoy the moment and a good ole snowy storm day!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Waiting for Transformation

The phrase "the only constant is change" seems particularly appropriate as a statement on the world as a whole right now. It seems everywhere throughout the world massive change is taking place, or on the verge of occurring.

Certainly the people of Egypt must feel this sense of change as they continue to protest in a massive attempt to change government structures. Those people in Australia that are being evacuated due to a huge approaching cyclone or have already been evacuated due to previous floods, must feel such change. The Chinese are about to move into the year of the rabbit this week as they celebrate a New Year and with it quite a change in philosophy.

Here in my part of the world we are moving into a New Moon in Aquarius cycle on Wednesday that according to my We'Moon 2011 book suggests we connect to our community. We may be connected to community as we brace for yet another winter snow storm. The new moon is also Lunar Imbolc. Apparently on Imbolc eve, tradition suggests you celebrate Brighid, the triple fire goddess of smithcraft, poetry and healing. According to Marna from Mother Tongue Ink 2010, this should signify an awakening of global healers and signify transformation on the "crucible of insight". Hmm... lots to think about there.

Whether you look forward to change or not, it isn't always easy to go through the process of transformation. To me, nature provides the ultimate symbol of transformation in the butterfly. The change from larvae to having wings to fly is an incredible process and worth the pain once achieved, but it must be difficult to continue to convince yourself of that when you are so trapped and squished in the confining cocoon.

Star of Bethlehem is a Bach flower essence that is supportive of the emotions you go through during any kind of transformation. Dr. Bach described it as "the comforter and soother of pains and sorrows." It can be helpful for the delayed effects of shock that may manifest years after the traumatic or changing event and for this reason may be helpful for post traumatic shock. Star of Bethlehem is recommended for both mother and child immediately after birth- again an incredible example of transformation.

In an effort to put the principles of Bach Flower essences into stories children could relate to, I created this story of Sabrina the Butterfly:

Sabrina the Butterfly- A Star of Bethlehem Story
Sabrina feels horrible. It’s like her whole body is changing and everything hurts and feels raw and tingling. It feels like her inside is open to the world.

Sabrina has been warned about this all through her life as a caterpillar. Although she looked forward to it and knows it’s what happens during the change, it hurts so much she can’t believe it.

Sabrina doesn’t know if she wants to change but now that it has started she can’t stop it.

It feels like an earthquake is happening inside her brain and she can feel her outer shell crumbling away and actually dropping to the earth below.

She feels a burst of fire and rush of air and she feels both bigger and lighter at the same time and she is falling through the air!

Sabrina lands on the balanced six petals of an opened Star of Bethlehem flower in full bloom, just in time for lunch!

The other animals in the forest all stop everything they are doing to watch.
Sabrina unfolds the most beautiful, delicate but strong butterfly wings ever imagined. As she perches on the white petals of the Star of Bethlehem flower the colors in her wings are contrasted against the white.

Her wings are red and orange, yellow, green, sky blue and deep purple. The spots of white on her wings blend into the white of the flower as she fits in perfectly with her surroundings.

Sabrina’s true self is released. Having gained comfort, strength and protection from the Star of Bethlehem flower on her journey of change, she finds the balance she needs to fly.

Sabrina’s butterfly adventures begin!