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Friday, April 29, 2011

Homeopathic Remedies: Dose and Frequency

If you are following along, got through yesterday's somewhat confusing explanation of homeopathic remedies, and are still wanting to try the self approach, here's the next part you need to know.

Once you have figured out which potency may be appropriate for the symptoms or condition you want to work on, the next question is: "How much should you take and how often should you take them". When using over-the-counter medications of the conventional variety, the label typically provides quite detailed instructions for use. In some cases, the differences between adult and child administration is also described, as well as a number of warnings on when, why and how, not to use the medication. The combination homeopathic remedies such as Oscillococcinu for flu symptoms, or Sabalia for seasonal allergies often do include some instructions of dosage. If you are using single remedies however, you are unlikely to find such directions.

The combination remedies are often prepared as a vial containing a number of globules or as single tablets. For these remedies a "dose" is one vial or one tablet. When buying the single remedy preparations, 4 to 8 globules in typically considered one dose. Some practitioners consider a cap full or lid full as one dose. If you are buying tablets, one tablet is considered a dose. For liquid preparations one dose is considered 10 drops unless otherwise indicated.

One you have figured out what is considered to be a "dose", the next step is to figure out how often to take this dose.

For serious pain or suddenly occurring symptoms such as injury due to traumatic events or the sudden occurrence of a high fever, it is recommended that you take one dose of your remedy every 5 to 30 minutes until the pain is gone. The typical potency for these types of conditions would be 6C, 12C or 30C, with 30C, the most popular. 200C can also be used for these situations. If the pain symptoms begin to improve but linger, continue taking the dose until they are resolved. If after 6 doses, you have experienced no improvement what-so-ever, you probably don't have the right remedy for your condition and should consider something else instead.

For less painful conditions such as bad coughs, or stomach upsets where you need help from the symptoms within a 24 hour period but not on such an immediate level, you might try one dose of your remedy every 1 to 2 hours. These symptoms often respond well to potencies of either 6C or 12C. If you don't get improvement within the first few doses, consider another remedy.

Longer term conditions such as sore throats, influenza (without high fever or pain), colds, or teething, will often respond well to potencies of 6C or 12C with one dose taken every 4 to 8 hours. This is often the recommendation of the combination remedies for influenza or cold symptoms.

Symptoms that are considered chronic, or long-term, but not as serious, such as mild exhaustion, sinus conditions, or joint stiffness will respond to lower potencies in the 6X or 6C range. For these conditions, consider taking one dose 3 or 4 times per day for up to 10 days to see improvement in the symptoms.

Although the principles of homeopathics don't suggest "preventative" use of remedies in the same concept that conventional medicine does, there are some applications for prevention of symptoms. For these situations you might consider 1 dose 3 or 4 times per day in the same fashion as for chronic conditions. The seasonal allergy combinations suggest this type of regime during allergy season before the symptoms appear. Nosodes, such as Influenzinum, the homeopathic alternative to vaccination are recommended as one dose per day over a month or more.

And that's the basics to get you started. The keys to homeopathic use or for that matter, any alternative healing use, in my opinion, are to remain flexible and listen to your body. Perhaps the reason why much of this type of medicine appeals to me is because there are far less rules than in conventional medicine. Taking too little or too much of a remedy won't adversely affect you. If you take 10 globules instead of 8- don't panic. If you forget to take a dose you can double up the next time. You don't have to count the minutes between doses or anything restrictive like that. The doses don't change for children from what they are for adults. You don't adjust the amount for body weight or age. You don't have to reconsider the administration if you have underlying conditions or are taking other medications. You don't need to watch for side effects or drowsiness or feel afraid to go about your activities. You can take homeopathics at the same time as conventional medicines. The homeopathics won't interfere with the conventional medicines, but you might not see as much improvement from the homeopathic that you otherwise would. I don't suggest you eliminate prescribed medications in favor of homeopathics without consulting a homeopathic physician!

Bottom line is: If your symptoms have improved, stop taking the remedy. If they reappear, repeat as needed. If nothing happens, try a different remedy.

Relax and enjoy the freedom and relief that homeopathic medicine can bring.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Homeopathic Remedies: Potency preparations

Homeopathic medicine was not designed to be the self-help approach that Bach flower remedies or Perelandra essences is. It was medicine in it's own right well before the introduction of pharmaceuticals that we have today. Homeopathic medicine is still taught as a profession and practitioners are licensed in it's use. Naturopathic physicians sometimes incorporate homeopathics in their treatment approaches, but not all naturopaths use homeopathics. It can be well worth your while to consult with a licensed practitioner to get you on the right track with the remedy that makes the most sense for your condition.

Having said that, I am a big believer is self-help of any kind, and I appreciate the ability to be able to experiment on my own to identify alternatives that might be helpful. Individual and combination homeopathic remedies are fairly readily available in most countries. The world of the Internet and on-line ordering also means you can use homeopathics in a self-help style.

A factor that discourages this self-experimentation is that although the remedies are often found in health food stores, pharmacies and even food stores, it can be difficult to find directions for use as they were designed to be distributed by a physician who instructs you in their application. The remedies rarely come with any kind of labeling or instructions that is typical of other conventional over-the- counter solutions. A basic understanding of potency and typical dosage regimes is required if you are going to try this own your own.

In conventional medicine, you find different strengths of medicines. They are usually labeled to tell you how much "active ingredient" is contained within the pill, tablet, or in a certain measured amount of liquid. In homeopathic remedies, there is nothing in the tablet or pellet other than the active ingredient so the label is much less obvious. The "strength" in homeopathy is referred to as potency.

Regardless of the type of remedy, homeopathic preparations are created the same way. The starting substance, often a plant or mineral base, such the Belladonna plant, is collected, often ground, and then steeped in alcohol for a period of time. This alcohol mixture is then strained so only the liquid remains. The strained liquid is referred to as a mother tincture.

Depending on the potency desired, an amount of this mother tincture is diluted. For low potency preparations the tincture is diluted in ratios of 1: 10- 1 part mother tincture with 10 parts alcohol. The first dilution of this 1:10 ratio is called 1X. After each dilution, the mixture is shaken or "successed". A low dose potency of 6X has been diluted in a 1:10 ratio a total of six times and has been successed after each dilution. A 9X remedy (common in some of the flu combination preparations) has been diluted in 1:10 ratios 9 times and successed 9 times.

Stronger potencies are diluted more and successed more. Yup, you read that right, and no, I didn't get that backwards. The greater the dilution (less amount of initial substance) the stronger the dose. This is opposite to conventional medicine where more is stronger. In homeopathy- less is more, or less initial substance means a stronger potency.

Common preparations for self-help use are diluted in a 1:100 ratio. When the mother tincture is diluted as 1 part mother tincture in 100 parts alcohol- the strength is assigned as a C or sometimes labeled as Ch. A 6C remedy has been diluted 6 times but in a 1 to 100 ratio, not the 1:10 ratio of a 6X remedy. Therefore, any remedy with a C after the number is stronger in potency that any remedy with an X after the number. A common potency used in self- help, particularly first aid preparations is 30C. This remedy has been diluted 30 times in a 1:100 ratio and successed after each dilution. A 30C is stronger in potency that 6C.

The strongest potency that can typically be purchased for "home use" is the 200C series. These remedies are commonly used for serious conditions that need sudden and immediate attention. Belladona 200C might be used for a high fever for instance and could be recommended rather than a less serious condition such as a sore throat where Belladonna 30C or even 6X might be more appropriate.

Preparations are made in even greater dilutions. A 1 in 1000 dilution is labeled as IM. Dilutions of 1 in 10:000 are labeled M, and 1 in 100:000 is labeled CM. The IM,M and CM preparations are reserved for licensed homeopaths. These preparations are very potent and would be considered "by prescription only" by conventional medicine standards and not available over-the-counter.

Once the liquid has been prepared to the desired strength, it is commonly applied to a sugar pill form. The type of sugar used is either cow's milk sugar, or more commonly saccharum lactose (sac lac). The sac lac sugar can be formed into soft tablets, hard tablets, or globules. The type of format used, tablet, hard tablet or globule depends on the manufacturing company for the most part. Tissue salts are often found in the soft tablet formulation and they easily dissolve under the tongue. The hard tablets don't dissolve as easily and may need to be chewed or held in the mouth for a few seconds before swallowing. The globules are tiny round pills as opposed to a flat tablet. They are easily dissolved under the tongue.

For people with sensitivities, other preparations may be available as liquid tincture preserved in alcohol or in powered or rice paper wafer formats. These usually need to be specially ordered.

We are a society that is conditioned to think more is better. So right about now, if you have been able to follow my explanation above, you probably want to buy all your remedies in the 200C potency because, although it is the most diluted, it is the strongest you can buy without a license. Or you're already searching the Internet for those potencies reserved for licensed practitioners only. However, if you are treating a long term condition where symptoms are mild and less serious, you may actually get better results if you go with less potency.

Stay tuned for the next blog entry where I'll try to explain how much and how often to take the remedies...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Glass Castle: Book Review & Breaking Family Patterns

Over the weekend I read "The Glass Castle", by Jeannette Walls. This is truly an amazing book. I picked this book up, or rather, it found me, at the Biscuit Eater (my favorite cafe and second hand book store), where it was screaming to come home with me. I recognized the author, having already read "Half Broke Horses" by Jeannette Walls. In fact, I talked about that book on this blog as well because it had a big impact on me. You can read it at

"The Glass Castle" is a memoir. Which means,Jeannette Walls had a pretty wild childhood. And "wild" might be the best way to describe it. It is a story of survival through poverty, alcoholism and events that most of us will ever only read about it books. But why is that? When I first started reading the book, I kept checking to figure out what year the characters were living in. I saw the author's picture on the back and figured her to be somewhere in my age bracket and yet, I kept trying to find a way to "separate" her childhood from mine. It didn't seem like we could possibly have grown up in the same era and have such different experiences. Not only were we born very close to the same time, I was graduating from University the same year Jeannette did. Our mothers were both educated as teachers in a time when that wasn't so common, and our fathers were both very prominent figures in our lives.

So, I figured it must be the difference between United States and Canada. Jeannette moves around from the American Southwest to a mining town in West Virginia. We never moved around. We always lived about a mile from the outskirts of the coal mining town my father went to school in until he dropped out. Hmm...

Surely in Canada, social services, or teachers, or neighbours would have stepped in? But, when I took a real hard look back I have to look at my world differently. I think about kids on my school bus and the houses they got picked up from. I remember stories I heard from my mother about children she taught. I remember her trying to sneak in extra things that might help them- including the occasional apple or sandwich. I remember the kids we didn't like to sit beside, just because they were so smelly and dirty. I think about the kids that always wanted to come to my house after school but I never went to theirs.

Jeannette with her brother and two sisters, often ended up fending for themselves, despite their parents destructive behavior. But it isn't that typical "rises to the top despite it all" story, nor is it a psychoanalysis of anyone. I found all the characters likable. There was no villain in this story and I think that's what makes it such an interesting read. It's almost "matter of fact" and I found myself understanding, or at least accepting, what her parents did because of who they were.

Her parents were breaking a family pattern. This is a story of healing. It's not just healing for Jeannette and her siblings. In my opinion, it's a story of a family healing through generations. When you read "Half Broke Horses", you get an idea of the family Jeannette's mother comes from. Jeanette's ancestors think "outside the box" and perhaps aren't appreciated as much in their own lifetimes as they are later, for the legacy they leave behind. Because it takes a few generations to get to really see the change. Each generation gets to, and in some cases is forced to, extend the boundaries, and in that way the box becomes so much bigger. In "The Glass Castle" you also get a glimpse of the background Jeannette's father came from and you appreciate how he is trying to break away from something as well and encouraging his children to take it to the next step.

In some weird kind of way, I found myself almost envying Jeannette and her siblings, or at least admiring them for their incredible abilities to thrive. By the age of six, Jeannette had more practical skills and abilities to survive in the world than most of us acquire in a lifetime. The Walls most definitely live by the motto "what doesn't break you makes you stronger". And there is no question in my mind that Jeannette Walls is one of the strongest people you would ever meet.

Part of her strength is evidenced in the fact that she wrote her story for all the world to read. Although there were times when she went to great lengths to hide her background and the reality of her situation, all those walls have come down now and she tells her story in the ultimate "exposure".

This book made me rethink my own childhood from some different perspectives and consider the family pattern I have. I believe it's through those family patterns that we all evolve. Some of us are luckier than others for sure. But it might be more difficult than we think to determine which ones are the luckier. I think this book has enabled me to think about people and their journeys in a different way. For that I acknowledge, thank, and applaud Jeannette Walls for her courage to explain in such an entertaining way.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Gardener's Homeopathic Remedy: Rhus Tox.

It's spring in my part of the world this weekend and that, for a lot of people seems to mean some type of gardening activity. I think this might be an adult version of "spring fever". If you suddenly feel the urge to be outside doing something, just about anything, you've caught the fever. People are out raking leaves, building gardens, cleaning out flower beds, and planting everywhere you look. I think this connection to nature and reacquainting with the sun is good for the soul. However, come Monday it might be bad for the back, the knees, the shoulders, the wrists, the hips...

That's when the homeopathic remedy Rhus toxicodendron (Rhus Tox) is helpful. I guess this sudden urge to go crazy gardening has some pretty deep roots for us. In the 1800's when Dr. Hahnemann was discovering (called proving in homeopathic speak)many of the remedies we use today, he described Rhus Tox as being the "gardener's remedy". Seems he too was coming across people that got a little exuberant in their gardening efforts and found the repetitive use of muscles that might not have been used that way for awhile, gave them lots of aches and pains the next day.

Rhus tox is a homeopathic preparation derived from the poison ivy plant. Like all homeopathic preparations, it is diluted and prepared in a method that renders it no longer poisonous, but medicinal. In the case of Rhus tox, the leaves of the poison ivy plant are collected before the plant flowers, during the night, and in damp weather. The leaves are pounded, then left to stand in alcohol before being strained and successed (shaken) for various potencies in tablet, pellet, or tincture forms.

Rhus tox is helpful to soothe joint pain such as the sprains and strains caused by over-exertion. The pain that Rhus tox soothes, is often described as aching, sore or bruised feeling in nature. It is usually accompanied with the sensation of stiffness. The pain is usually worse when you get up from sitting or lieing, or when you first try to move. It usually gets a bit better once you move around or walk a bit but then returns once again. If you are the kind of person that during a long meeting, gets up to move around, supporting your back a bit, lean against the wall, then maybe lean a bit over the back of a chair, and go back to move around a bit, Rhus Tox might be for you. If you are stiff and sore almost creaking when you change positions, you most likely would benefit from Rhus tox. I see these people in airports all the time. They are stiff and sore from sitting in the lounge or on the plane and spend the in "in between flight time", slowly pacing, leaning against the wall, or shifting around in a standing position.

Homeopathic remedies are matched to a personality type as well as to the type of pain or condition you experience. The personality type of Rhus tox is marked by restlessness. The Rhus Tox "type" can't get comfortable and is constantly on the move. It's not necessarily a fast paced move, usually quite the contrary, but it is a nervous restlessness. When Rhus tox types are really ill, they will toss and turn in bed, and need to get up even when they have a fever. The nervous anxiety is often worse at night, especially after midnight and may cause the person to get out of bed. They may be more irritable and depressed at night as well. Rhus tox people sometimes suffer from depression, which might not be deep, but is constant. Rhus tox types may suddenly and involuntarily burst into tears without knowing why.

As well as coming on due to over-exertion, the type of pain that can benefit from Rhus tox, often appears during damp weather, after being in a draught or getting chilled. The pain is often better after lying on a hard surface, and improves with walking and heat applications. It is the first remedy to turn to for rheumatic and arthritic conditions.

You can find Rhus Toxicodendron is most health food stores or any pharmacy or grocery store that carries homeopathic preparations. It's a common remedy and typically is available in the 30ch potency. It's a good remedy to have on hand and to stock in your first aid and flu kit. As well as being helpful for strains and sprains, it is the major remedy for mumps or swollen glands.

So enjoy the sun. Enjoy the connection to nature. Enjoy the gardening. But take a moment to think about how your body feels. Listen to your back when it suggests you might have taken a few too many wheelbarrows of leaves to the dumping spot. Don't ignore your knees when they complain you have been leaning on them too long. Take a moment to just enjoy the world around you. But if you forget to listen- try Rhus Tox and enjoy the sweet relief.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Easter Colors

Easter weekend is coming up. This always seems like kind of a confusing, conflicting holiday for me. It never comes at exactly the same time every year which makes it confusing right off the bat. It doesn't seem clear as to when the "feast" is supposed to be with two days in there, Friday and Monday, and either one of them could be "feast day". Or is it supposed to be on the Easter Sunday itself? Nor is the menu very obvious to me- not like the clear guidelines of turkey at Christmas. But aside from all that, it seems unclear what the holiday is really all about.

For some people it's a religious celebration and I grew up in that atmosphere with traditional beliefs. Within the religious context, there was no room for the "Easter Bunny". Just didn't fit in with the overall story theme! There was however "Spring Bunny" at our place and while he didn't do as much shopping as the Easter Bunny did for some of my friends, we had something chocolate to consume. I fondly remember the Spring Bunny even finding me at University, at at time when chocolate was very much appreciated!

The whole "Bunny delivering eggs" concept is rather hard to get your head around if you come from a farming background enough to know those two things are really not connected in any way. And does that mean the bunny is stealing them from the hens who are now desperately looking for their "would-be" children? Ahh, I feel a children's story coming on with that one....

Apparently both the eggs and the bunny are meant to symbolize fertility and Easter can be wrapped up in the idea of rebirth, from whatever angle you choose to approach the holiday. The two colors associated with Easter are yellow and purple. Now that makes sense.

Yellow is the color of the third chakra, the center from which we develop personal power, self-esteem and a knowledge of how our own emotions shape our decisions and thoughts. So spring, and Easter are time for us to consider our personal strength as we renew our commitment to ourselves and how we feel about ourselves, our decisions, and our journeys.

Purple is the color of the sixth chakra, sometimes referred to as the third eye chakra. This chakra is considered the center of our intuition. When this chakra is developed and balanced we are in tune with others and with our higher selves. Again this makes sense for Easter. It is a time for tuning in to nature and the rebirth and renewal all around us.

So if you mix the colors together, you might consider sitting down in a quiet place during the celebration and tapping in to your higher consciousness and nature. Take a few moments to really feel what is around you and important to you. Then consider how these feelings connect with your overall sense of personal power. Bring the energy from nature into your being and enjoy the sense of renewal. You might come away from this experience with a real sense of strength and purpose.

If all else fails- eat a hunk of chocolate bunny and just enjoy every bite!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Having a Genius vs Being a Genius

A friend of mine gave me a copy of Elizabeth Gilbert's book "Committed". Gilbert is the famous author of "Eat, Pray, Love", first a book then a movie, starring Julia Roberts. I had seen the movie, but never read the book. "Committed" takes off where the earlier book and the movie left off. Like "Eat, Pray, Love", "Committed" is also a memoir of Elizabeth Gilbert's life. At the end of "Eat, Pray, Love", Gilbert has gotten over an uncomfortable divorce, found her true self, and fallen in love with another man. The book is so much more than that, but that's roughly the plot line. In "Committed" ,Gilbert has to marry this lover in order to allow him to re-enter the United States. The very idea of marriage goes counter-intuitive to what both Gilbert and her boyfriend believe. The book is a struggle to find peace with the concept of marriage. In the telling of this story, the couple is traveling all over the world and Gilbert examines marriage from historical and cultural perspectives- in fact from almost every perspective imaginable. The book is not really an "easy read", perhaps because it is so full of anthology and non-fiction, but it is an interesting read. And it will make you think. It might make you examine your own beliefs and the relationships of your ancestors and friends. When my friend lent me the book, she was quick to tell me that this book is no where near as good as "Eat, Pray, Love", but never-the-less, an interesting read.

I read "Committed", found it very interesting, passed it on to another friend and started out this blog going to recommend it. In doing that I was searching for a picture of the cover and came across Elizabeth Gilbert's website. In doing that, I found a clip of her on Wow!! Changed my whole thought process.

In the clip Gilbert talks about how there is so much angst connected with creativity and so many creative geniuses die early, often self-inflicted, deaths. As I spread my wings in the writing world, I find that to be so true. A lot of really good authors seem to be very close to "the edge". Many have stories of depression, anxiety, abuse- you name it, from a "troubled background" perspective. Gilbert talks about how she went through anxiety wondering how she could ever top "Eat, Pray, Love" and struggled to "get over the success" and allow herself to continue to write.

Just like my friend warned, Gilbert worried about how she could ever match her early success in writing. Elizabeth Gilbert seems to have found a way around it. What she suggests is that we consider "having a genius" rather than "being a genius". She explains that by thinking of having help from an outside, higher being, alternative source, we can allow ourselves some flexibility. If we consider that we have help in our creativity, then we aren't solely responsible for our great works, but neither are we responsible for our "less than great" works. To hear this short clip go to

Personally, I think this should be our approach to life. And I don't think it applies only to the creative process unless you consider living to be a creative process. I think a lot of people are talking about this "outside source concept" and perhaps always have. It's the idea of some external direction that becomes a part of you and helps guide you through your journey. For some, this is an aspect of religion, for others like Machaelle Small Wright from Perelandra, it's nature. Maybe it doesn't matter what you call it or consider it to be. Maybe we just need to recognize and accept "it". In doing so, maybe we can allow ourselves some ability to expand and accept what comes. Maybe we are meant to engage with this genius rather than just "wait for it to come". Perhaps we should ask "it" questions, work with "it" and consider it a friend we can have a conversation with. I think a lot of people, particularly creative ones, worry about, and have been persecuted for, listening to voices. I think we should ask those voices to speak up!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Dandelions for the Third Chakra

A sure sign of spring is the appearance of the first dandelions. I love these flowers and I really don't think it's fair to call them weeds. The scientific name for dandelions is Taraxacum officinale. If you see "officinale" as part of a flower name, you can be pretty sure it's known for having some medicinal powers. The dandelion can hold itself pretty proud as a a healing plant.

It turns out the dandelion is one of the richest sources of beta carotene in the vegetable kingdom. It has four times the amount as broccoli for instance. It is also loaded with Vitamins K,and C as well as calcium and iron, according to Rebecca Wood's article on Dandelion Greens at

Rebecca Wood is the author of several cookbooks including "New Whole Foods Encyclopedia", "The Splendid Grain" and "Detox and Cleanse" to name a few. In her article, Woods tells you how to go about picking the best dandelions as well as how they can be used in recipes. I've just discovered Wood's also has a very entertaining blog with a taffy recipe I'll have to try at ... but back to the dandelion...

It seems the dandelion has a number of medicinal uses. It helps support digestion and can be both a mild laxative and gentle diuretic. The dandelion has been used traditionally to treat gout, eczema, edema (the diuretic factor), and even acne. It is said to help reduce inflammation and may be beneficial for jaundice and to treat viruses.

The dandelion in full bloom is pure yellow- the color that resonates with the third chakra, our center of self-esteem, power, will power and self-control. The third chakra is located above the navel and the corresponding organs for this chakra include the pancreas, small intestine, and liver as well as the autonomic nervous system. The pancreas functions in insulin production and the digestive enzymes as does the autonomic nervous system, so it all makes sense that the yellow dandelion would have such restorative powers for digestion. The third chakra corresponds to sunlight, fire, and yellow flowers - all of which point to one of the first flowers of spring- the dandelion.

Most sources, including Rebecca Woods, suggests you pick the dandelion as early as possible, before the flower is even in full bloom if you want to avoid the bitter taste of the plant. Although the green stem is the most popular part of the plant, the whole plant is safe to eat. You do have to be selective on where you pick your dandelions. Be sure you aren't picking them near areas that have been chemically treated or sprayed.

The third chakra is very connected to emotions. It is at this level in chakra development that we realize how our emotions affect our decisions. When this chakra is balanced, we can make decisions that match with our emotions, not just according to our logical side or intellect. And to me at least, dandelions evoke lots of emotions. I can still remember proudly picking a bouquet to present to my mother. I think most kitchen tables at one time or another have sported a bowl of dandelions as a spring centerpiece. As a mother who's also been presented with such a bouquet, I know how good it can feel to receive such a gift. I'd take a bunch of dandelions over store roses any day!

So whether you eat the dandelion, place a bouquet on your table, or just admire them growing, acknowledge their healing powers and consider bringing them into your life instead of eliminating them as a nasty weed!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Full Moon and Global Coherence Initiative

On Sunday, April 17th the full moon moves into Aries. The moon in Aries is said to light a fire in people. It is a time to make a fresh start, move fast, speak up, take initiative and honor independence.

A group that seems focused in taking initiative and bringing change to the world from the center of the heart is The Global Coherence Initiative.

"The Global Coherence Initiative is a science-based, co-creative project to unite people in heart-focused care and intention, to facilitate the shift in global consciousness from instability and discord to balance, cooperation and enduring peace."

You can check out this organization at

In particular, on the full moon, this group is focusing efforts on Japan, Libya and the Ivory Coast. By sending love and intention in a focused group way, this organization works to bring light to the darkness and help enact positive change. A direct link to this project is

It seems lately as though the troubles in Japan and Libya have become "old news" and are no longer the focus for those of us that aren't experiencing the event first hand. For the average person, it can be hard find the balance between feeling compassion and providing some kind of support without becoming immersed, depressed and unable to lend anything tangible in the process. As the media coverage backs off, it becomes easy to ignore and forget. And yet, for many, that leaves a nagging sense of guilt and despair. If we know we are all connected, how do we help in meaningful ways?

The Global Coherence Initiative, in my opinion, provides a wonderful outlet for helping others across the world while still maintaining your own center and balance. This group is not about sending aid workers, or supplies. They don't ask for donations or money. Neither do they ask you to feel bad for those who are suffering. This group, in an amazing mix of science and spirituality, provides methods to connect and send love and compassion.

So if the full moon has you wanting to do something, make a change, and inspire others, check out the global coherence initiative and see if this feels right for you. In the process, you might find ways to make a positive difference in your own life.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Acknowledging Teenagers

I had quite an enlightening conversation with a group of teenagers the other day and thought I'd share some pieces of it. In school that day, the class had been shown a documentary film. I don't have the full details on the film, but rather imagine it was something to discourage drug addiction. It maybe linked drug use with poverty and child neglect and a whole lot of angst. I'm not judging the film, just explaining the context of the conversation. So somehow the lesson, or the interpretation of the lesson by this group of teenagers, was that people (insert teenagers in particular I guess) should be doing more to help others. This group of teenagers was upset by that and perhaps a little overwhelmed by the enormity of that task. As we talked, one of them said, "Why don't they realize that we're already doing good things, instead of telling us what we aren't doing or should be doing." We explored this a bit more- which means; I listened, and they talked, having forgot I was an "adult". As a group, they really feel they are criticized by adults, and perhaps the school system, instead of being acknowledged for the good they do.

One of my best friends in the world, is a high school teacher. She has an incredible way with teenagers. She doesn't just teach them academics. They come to her with all manners of problems. She has been known to sit with them through cancer treatments, to hug them through funerals and to counsel them through suicidal thoughts. Not because she's trying to "save them" or "fix them", because they want her there. They show up at her house years after they have left the school system, just to thank her, tell her what they have achieved, or share a laugh with her about life in general.

Once this friend and I were heading into a store in the early evening. Clustered around the front of the store, was a group of teenagers, just kind of "hanging out". I had already, in the few seconds of our approach, judged them as a bit of a threat. My friend walked right up to them, completely unintimidated and had a friendly conversation with them. It was nothing heavy or preachy, just a casual conversation like you might have if you saw some women your own age waiting under a bus stop. Later, over a glass or two of wine, I asked her about the encounter. She told me that teenagers know adults are afraid of them and they don't understand why. Adults expect that teenagers are "up to no good" no matter where they are or what they are doing. This fear, or criticism for no reason, sometimes becomes a self- fulfilling prophecy. Teenagers figure if we're going to think the worst of them anyway, what's the point trying to act otherwise. If nothing else, it puts up a barrier that discourages conversation and interaction on a meaningful level. My friends' approach is very simple. She just treats them like people! Imagine that. It's also very successful. I've tried to follow her lead.

So when I was talking to the teenagers about the documentary and why they were upset, I remembered my friend's advice. I realized what these teenagers were saying was a lot along the same lines. They sense, even if it's not actually said, that adults don't think they care or are concerned enough, about drug addictions and poverty and teenage pregnancies. I think we are wrong. They do care. They are aware. And the majority of them are doing wonderful, incredible things, that we don't even begin to understand.

Anyone who has, or has been exposed to teenagers in the past few years, knows how out of date today's picture is. For one thing, no self-respecting teenager is talking on a phone with a cord! And not many would be texting on a cell phone without also being plugged into a music device of some sort that is probably also connected to the Internet and some type of social media at the same time. If that sentence gets your "hackles up" a bit- you're an adult. If you think "technology is evil", they should be outside playing something or another instead of inside stuck to the computer devices- you've started to judge. I know because I've been there. We are afraid of "teenage weapons"- technology. We don't understand their world so we decide they are "up to no good". They sense that judgement call and insert the earplugs to tune us out and retreat.

I told the teenagers about an event that has stuck in my head. I was traveling for work and in an effort to get outside for a bit of a walk, found myself a little lost, in not a great part of the city, not really sure exactly where my hotel was. It was getting dark and my "fight or flight" reflexes were up. I turned a corner and met up with a homeless person pushing a shopping cart of possessions. Our eyes met. It was a second in time, yet years later, I can close my eyes and still see him. We didn't say anything to each other- that's the part I regret. Because I saw something in that man that was very powerful. He was "doing good" and I know that with every cell of my being. I don't think we had much in common, we probably wouldn't understand or be comfortable in each other's lifestyle, but we are both in this world to "be". And that alone, is a purpose and is "something good".

So the other day, I told "my" group of teenagers, that to me, they are a bit like that homeless man. We don't always have a lot in common. We don't understand, nor would we be comfortable with each other's lifestyle. But we are all doing "something good". Rather than be afraid of them, or assume the worst from them, when our eyes meet, or we are having an opportunity to share, I'm going to listen to them. I'll ask questions, and I'll share my thoughts and opinions as well. I know they are "doing something good", and that should be acknowledged.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Spring Weight Loss with Bach Flowers

It is spring in my part of the world without question. Early this morning I could see the colors of crocus' peaking out but not yet blooming. A couple of hours of sunshine later, the world is awash with their colors. I think most people see the appearance of crocuses as a sign of spring. Barbara Olive in, "The Flower Healer", reports the purple crocus can be used as a flower essence. She claims the crocus essence helps you overcome grief, loss and despair, creating a more joyful outlook on life. Apparently it can help stress disappear. That in itself, sounds a bit like a description of spring.Spring is meant as a time of "lightness" I think. It's a chance to shed winter coats and for many people, winter pounds. Hmm... now that thought can also bring some grief, despair and stress!

If you have joined the millions that are considering "lightening their load" a bit now that spring is here, there are some Bach Flower essences that might be helpful in your weight loss efforts. Bach Flowers are not meant as magic weight loss drops. They won't cause you to loose 25 pounds of belly fat,or reduce inches from your waist without exercise as some of the sudden weight loss programs claim. Sorry to burst the bubble. They can however, help with some of the emotions behind eating that may be contributing to your weight gain or inability to loose.

For that reason, any of the Bach Flower essences might be helpful for your personal weight loss, depending on the emotions you experience. There are however, three essences in particular that you might want to consider. The essences include Chestnut Bud, Cherry Plum and Crab Apple.

If you have been on the dieting cycle more times that you care to recall, each time loosing some but then returning to old habits and gaining it back, Chestnut Bud might be the Bach Flower for you. Chestnut Bud is helpful when you aren't learning from your past mistakes. If you really know that the only thing that stands between you and last year's outfit is a trip to the gym or a walk in the woods, but there you sit on the couch staring at T.V. re-runs- consider Chestnut Bud. It's not about beating yourself up about your mistakes. Chestnut Bud can help you learn from the past and incorporate that knowledge into your present being so you don't have to keep repeating the same lesson over and over again. Chestnut Bud can help you see your mistakes the same way others do. We are all good at seeing what others do wrong, but the mirror is often foggy when we look at ourselves. Chestnut Bud can also help you be a bit more mentally active and aware so you can learn from observing the errors of those around you as well.

If it's the bag of potato chips, the gallon of ice-cream and the box of cookies, all at the same time, that is causing your weight gain, Cherry Plum might be a good essence for you. If a bad day at work, a fight with your spouse, or the fact that your clothes don't fit, actually drives you to eat consider Cherry Plum. That out of control behavior, is the emotion that Cherry Plum helps balance. People that can benefit from this essence often stick to a very strict diet and count calories religiously, all the while fearing the loss of control of the very eating habits they attempt to maintain. Cherry Plum helps address that fear of loosing control. Cherry Plum can help you act rationally and calmly. It's the "count to ten before you act" essence and therefore can be very helpful for binge eaters.

Finally, there is the essence Crab Apple to consider when embarking on a weight loss effort. Crab Apple is considered the cleansing remedy. It is recommended when you really don't feel good about yourself and may be stuck on a particular imperfection that you have become obsessive (and often depressed) about. If you feel unhappy about your body image, Crab Apple can help you regain your self-esteem. Personally, I think most teen-age girls could use a pretty constant dose of Crab Apple. Crab Apple can help support you in the "now". It can help you relax about how you look and maintain a positive self-image.

The positive nature of Crab Apple feels a bit like spring to me. It's about accepting what is in front of you while you plant the seeds and prepare for new life at the same time. If you look at today's picture a little closer, you'll notice that my crocuses are blooming in horse manure. That's one of the aspects of them that I most appreciate. They don't need a perfectly groomed, sensory pleasing, environment to shine. They bloom in the middle of it all and bring that light to an otherwise dull area. They are the first flowers to stand up and say "You know what- it's pretty darn nice here, lets open up and embrace it". Maybe we could take the lesson from that and embrace ourselves just the way we are and in the environment we find ourselves to be.

If despite that though, you'd like to try some Bach Flowers for weight loss, you can mix all three of those essences together and see if it helps. You can order this remedy, or any others directly from my website at or contact me through the site. In the meantime, enjoy the lightness of spring!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Allergy and Hayfever Season: Alternatives for healing

The crocus' are up, shoots of green grass are appearing, and the robins are back. It's spring! But if all this new growth and revitalization is making your eyes itchy, your nose run, and your head feel like a bowling ball minus the holes, you might be suffering from allergies. Judging by the media advertisements for over the counter allergy medications, apparently this is a very common condition. I find a lot of people are pretty devoted to their allergy medications. Once they find something that works for them, they stick to it. I also find a lot of people looking for alternatives to soothe their symptoms.

For seasonal allergy symptoms, the folks at Perelandra recommend you take three MBP Balancing Solutions: Immune, Lymphatic and Respiratory for strengthening the body systems most affected. They recommend you take them as soon as it's pollen season if you have seasonal allergies, before the symptoms kick in. It is recommended you take each of these remedies TWICE daily (first thing in the morning and last thing at night before going to bed) throughout the entire allergy season. This is different than the usual recommendation of once per day for any of the combo remedies you're taking. For each of the combinations, the number of drops is clearly marked on the bottle.

For those with chronic allergies, Perelandra recommends these three MBP Solutions be taken year-round. When the Solutions are taken consistently over time, you will have more resistance in future allergy seasons. Immune, Lymphatic and Respiratory Solutions are also recommended for anyone with a compromised respiratory system such as,smokers, living with a smoker, or asthmatics.

The Bach Flower essence Beech, may be helpful for those that suffer from allergies. Beech is recommended for intolerance or irritation- a description of the allergic condition. Beech may be particularly helpful if your allergies are related to the behaviors of others around you, such as smoking, or sensitivities to scents and perfumes worn by others. Beech may help you balance the emotional component of your allergy symptoms.

There are a number of homeopathic remedies that match the allergic condition as well. Homeopathics are rarely "one size fits all". The same remedy won't work for everyone that experiences allergies. You have to find the one that best suits you. Allium Cepa is a homeopathic preparation derived from the red onion. It can be particularly helpful for the signs and symptoms of hayfever that may appear in the spring. If your symptoms match with the way most people feel when peeling and cutting an onion (eyes running, and nose streaming), and your nose is burning but the eye discharge doesn't hurt, Allium is likely the remedy for you.

If your symptoms are similar to those of allium and onion peeling, except that the eye discharge is burning and the running nose doesn't hurt, than Euphrasia may be a remedy for you.

Aconitum Napellus, commonly known as Aconite is another remedy to consider. This plant, particularly the root, is highly poisonous. The homeopathic preparation is made by grinding the whole plant (without the root) to a pulp and mixing it with alcohol. This solution is then successed (a shaking motion) and diluted to a safe and effective remedy. Aconite generally works if taken as soon as the symptoms appear. People that respond to aconite are often worse at night, have a barking dry cough and croup like symptoms. The person that responds to aconite often feels better in fresh air.

If your symptoms are typically accompanied by the appearance of a cold sore, Natrum muriaticum would be a great remedy for you to try. Most people that respond to Natrum muriaticum describe their eyes as feeling gritting and being sensitive to light as well as watering.

As bee, wasp and bug season draws nearer, stock your first aid kit with Apis Mellifica. It can be extremely helpful for the severe allergic reaction that can occur from stings or certain foods. It can be a very good idea to give Apis while waiting for emergency help for the classic emergency symptoms. For more information on this one, and stocking a first aid kit, visit my website at You can download a free homeopathic first aid guide from the site.

If you've been suffering from hayfever and allergies every year and want to try something different, it's worth researching the homeopathic alternatives. A good book to get you started is "The Complete Homeopathy Handbook", by Miranda Castro. Now is a good time to do some research, before you head becomes stuffed and your eyes start running!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Standard Issue: Pink Hair Curlers

I was going to write this morning about allergy season and alternative therapies. I'll still post that article- maybe tomorrow. But I'm recycling some old writing and came across this article I had first published in Canadian Emergency News, a medical responder trade magazine, about 15 years ago. No big message, no bach flowers, nothing heavy. I was feeling nostalgic and thought I'd try it out here...

Standard Issue: Pink Hair Curlers

My father has probably always been my hero. Standing well over 6 feet tall, he can be an imposing figure if you don’t know his easy going nature. He provided my first exposure to EMS work, and I owe him a lot. For as long as I can remember he has been a fire fighter. As the fire chief of the small village we grew up in, he responded to both fire and medical calls.

My father has many sides to his personality. He is a great father and put up with a lot from his two daughters. We used his chest as stomping grounds, used his shoulders and back as modes of transportation, and experimented on him. I doubt the “boys at the fire hall” knew that many a Sunday evening was spent watching Walt Disney while we groomed our Dad. He patiently let us pretend to “do” his nails and hair. My mother, perhaps sadistically, often lent us her array of hair curlers to lend some realism to our imagining. His thick hair curled willingly around the pink Velcro and we created some very becoming styles. Did I mention he is a very patient man? Once his hair had been properly coiffed, we undid the styling, he read us a story or two, and we trundled off to bed feeling loved and secure.

On this particular night I must confess I was the hair stylist, my sister the manicurist. It is pertinent to note I am not a perfectionist by any means and do not pay a lot of attention to details. I had tired of the styling and was safely asleep in my bed when the phone rang.

In those days fire calls came in through private citizens dialling our home phone number to report an incident. They gave the details and directions while my father flew about the house in a mad rage to don his turn out gear and get out of the house. My mother, no matter what the time of day or night began the call out. She phoned a certain number of firefighters who then called a few more etc. etc. Let’s just say response times weren’t great but it worked. My father then was left to his preparation as my mother made the calls. My sister and I flattened ourselves against the nearest wall and waited until Dad was out of the house to avoid being run over. All our friends were briefed on the procedure before entering our house for the first time.

That Sunday night, the call seemed particularly urgent as it was a bad car accident. It had been drizzling a freezing rain earlier in the night and had turned to snow making the roads treacherous. My Dad raced to the four car pile-up still buttoning his coat and adjusting his boots.

The call had been serious and people were mangled in an ugly wreckage. The fire department had had to direct water streams to the cars while ambulance personnel worked to extricate the patients. Dad came home cold with the mist frozen in icicles around his face and hair. Mom always waited up for him and patiently listened to his recall of the events. That night she poured a hot bath for him in an attempt to unthaw him. He told her how he thought the call had really affected a couple of the guys. When he arrived back at the hall to clean up he had found them laughing. He said the laughing had abruptly stopped when he walked in but he suspected they were stressed and trying to relieve it in inappropriate ways. He had made a note of it and planned to check the next day to make sure they were psychologically okay.

Exhausted, he climbed into the bath and dunked his head, letting the warm water unthaw the icicles and clean off the sweat and soot. When he raised his head again he looked down at the water. Floating on the surface was a very pink, rather large hair curler. I’m sure his face flushed in the tub as he suddenly realized the cause of the fire hall laughter. I had missed one of the curlers when I undid his “do”. He had attended the entire call sporting a pink hair curler at the back of his fire helmet. Not sure of his reaction and only too aware of his size and potential temper, no one had pointed out this fact to him.

To this day my father is one of my best supporters. When others told me girls don’t do that kind of work, or I couldn’t move West, or I would never get a job, my Dad said “go for it”. He willingly let me “practice” defibrillation on his chest while watching Johnny and Roy on “Emergency. He has supported almost every crazy idea I ever suggested. There has been only one exception. He has never encouraged hair stylist school and the hair curlers were banned from practice except on dolls.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Chakras, Colors and Lost Balloons

If you've been following along on this blog, you'll notice that a lot of the entries deal with chakras and colors. You'll also see a fair number of entries that talk about the moon. All these subjects are linked together in my children's picture book, "Melvin's Balloons".

When my daughter was about three years old she had a very special helium balloon. She was hanging on pretty tight but somehow (to this day we blame slippery mittens), it got loose and floated up to the sky. She was trying to be brave, but her lip was starting to tremble and the tears were pretty close. In a flash of insight, we sat down on a bench and made up a story. The balloon was going on a grand adventure up to the moon, who we for some reason, affectionately called "Melvin". We both got so caught up in creating the story that we no longer were upset over the loss. In fact it was a gain. We had gained a very special moment together and we had a story that became a part of our family. For years, my daughter retold that story to her friends. She has never been upset over a lost balloon again and we have never looked at Melvin in the same way.

Often it seems to me that the most tragic, difficult, uncomfortable parts of our lives, later make the best stories. They become a big part of us, something we carry with us as a badge of honor. They represent our growth.

Melvin's story grew over the years. In another flash of insight, I realized I could link the story of loss with the colors of the chakras and provide some explanation as to why certain colors are linked to emotions through the chakra system. This second part of the story came to me when I was waiting for, and worried about, another family member. I was feeling very uncomfortable to be in the hospital environment and was experiencing a separation from my previous profession and where I wanted to be on my own journey. In that hospital waiting room, on a piece of napkin, the rest of Melvin was born. I can't explain it other than to say it just "came to me when I wasn't looking".

I believe children have a lot more "knowing" than most adults give them credit for. They know why they are drawn to certain colors. They understand why they want that green blanket with them all the time. They know why that big, red ,stuffed dog is not just Clifford, but something that makes them feel safe when the world around them doesn't provide that security. To them, this book is just fun. It helps them feel good about helium balloons and reconnected to the moon. I go into the schools every chance I get and read Melvin's Balloons. We talk about colors, emotions and the moon. Sometimes we get into the chakra chart in the back of the book and talk about the chakra centers. Sometimes we just talk about all kinds of crazy things! Every once in awhile, some child will come up to me, give me a very special hug and say "thanks for writing this". It's a powerful connection. I believe they completely "get" the link between colors and their emotions. I think that is something adults may have lost or forgotten. So maybe this book is as much for adults as it is for children. Maybe it will help adults realize what children intuitively know. Maybe it will help them reconnect with childhood emotions or their own child's emotions.

Check "Melvin's Balloons" out for yourself. It's available in Chapters stores and on-line. You can also order it directly from the publisher at

Let me know what you think. And next time your present moment seems to be playing out a tough lesson, consider it may become one of your most treasured stories.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Allowing Flexability: Rock Water Bach Flower

Time management has probably been around for as long as we've kept track of time. It's been a part of science since at least the 1920's when Ghant charts were first introduced, followed by PERT charts and Critical Paths. These are all methods for managing projects, observing outcomes and measuring productivity. Around the late 1980's, the principles of time management started to become mainstream, when Anthony Robbins, Stephen Covey, and a host of others, introduced the concepts as ways to organize our lives, and become more effective and successful.

In the mid 1990's, I was teaching Time Management as core curriculum for paramedic students. A big part of the strategy was to create "to do lists". These adult learners were often juggling stressful jobs and intensive studies. A lot of them were also new parents or newly married. Most of them were trying to balance active social lives as well! So the lists were extensive, but the theory was to give each chunk of your life a selected box, and write it all down, so it could be "managed" in an organized way. It was a method to avoid being surprised by a big project's due date, and prevent last minute studing for exams by giving yourself time each day to set and focus on priorities.

In the past few years, people have been encouraged to add more things to the "to do list". Counsellors, motivational speakers, and often corporations, encourage creating time slots for exercising, eating healthy meals, spending "quality" family time, and even meditating. I'm not sure that meditating is meant to be "scheduled in", but for many people, hobbies and habbits have become tasks to be accomplished.

I was a big fan of time management. I used to love those lists and had them way before they were popular. I think it was a natural way for me to organize a quite scattered mind! I also have a lousy memory, so there was a good chance if it wasn't written down on one or another of my lists, it wouldn't get done. I have even been known to add an item to my list after the task was completed, just so I could make a check mark beside it and admire my accomplishments.

I still make lists on occasion, but now I call them "to consider lists". I've cut myself a lot of slack. I don't think I get less done. I might actually get more done because I don't spend the time making the lists in the first place, or checking things off! I try not to juggle. I'm just not that coordinated and I realize that now. I try to be present in the momemnt instead of refering to a list to see what I'm supposed to be accomplishing. I try to "go with the flow" more than "follow the list".

If you find yourself driven, stressed, or overwhelmed by the "to do list", you might be a candidate for the Bach Flower essence Rock Water. It's interesting to note that Rock Water is the only Bach Flower essence in the series that is not derived from a plant source. It is taken from water in a particular spring that is considered to have healing properties. Perhaps it is because of the connection with flowing water, rather than a rooted plant, that enables it to encourage "going with the flow". Rock Water is indicated for people who have set very high standards and may be self-denying. If you find yourself rigidly sticking to your list, your diet, your exercise program, your routine, even your spiritual discipline, to the point that you are never satisfied with your achievements, Rock Water may be helpful. The positive nature of Rock Water is a return to flexibility. When balanced, Rock Water types still hold high ideals but they allow for change, and a sense of spontaneity- a chance to "smell the roses".

If your "To Do list" has become overpowering and something a bit bigger than life inself, I encourage you to make a "To Consider List". Physically change that heading from "Do" to "Consider" so that you are reminded of your flexible side. On the first line of your "To Consider List", write: take 4 drops of Rock Water 4 times a day. After a week of making your "To Consider List", try going a day without making a list at all. Don't cheat and revert to your weekly list- let go of the lists. See how you feel. I dare you!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Washing Machine Evolution: Embracing Ease

For some reason, today I remembered a song we used to sing in grade school that declared Monday was "wash day". I think it was a song cleverly disguised to teach us French, but what I remember is that certain days of the week had assigned tasks- Monday being laundry day. I don't remember the French word for laundry, or for Monday, but I do remember that apparently, I should be doing the wash today!

The thing is- I don't have a specific day to do the wash. I don't know anyone that does. That's not to say there aren't people out there that do, just not in my circle of friends. For most of us, everyday and any day is laundry day thanks to the wonderful evolution of the washing machine.

I don't know the historical path of the machine, but I have a clear picture in my mind. I see the invention as very "male driven". I can imagine a guy coming up to a group of women washing clothes in a river. I figure he decided he could invent something that would elevate him in their eyes. Perhaps it was the washboard and he thought they could save their hands a bit. Then another man came along years later and decided it would be a fun challenge to make a container to do it in etc. etc. I envision men hiding out in huts, basements and garages with all kinds of tools and devices in a wonderful puzzle of trial and error to create something for the "women folk". I'm sure women ignored them for quite awhile, happy that they were entertained with their project. The man who decided to combine both electricity and water was probably very adventuresome indeed. I can see a few men making this their life goal- to create a machine that would wash clothes and make women's lives easier. I imagine they got a lot of satisfaction, perhaps even fame and fortune from the success of their projects.

I remember a ringer washing machine in our house. I also remember a later model that involved a hose that had to be hooked up to the kitchen faucet. Washing was still an event, because you had to pull out the machine, hook it up to the sink- stop all other "water activity" and move the clothes through the process. It made washing easier I suppose but there was quite a bit of work involved in set up and take down and if you didn't balance the clothes just right you had a bit of a kitchen floor flood. I seem to remember that the clothes were still hung on the line so all this had to take place on a fine sunny day. Then men got a hold of that flaw! They probably got disgusted dragging out the machine or thought it was totally ridiculous to only do wash on a sunny day. The machines continued to evolve. Now, we hardly think about doing the wash. It is no longer an event. You throw in clothes and do something else, go back at some time- doesn't matter when, throw them in another machine and carry on with your life.

But I think back to those women in the river. In my mind at least, they are there as a group. If it's a nice sunny day, you gather up your friends and make a day of it- going down to the river with the wash. You talk and laugh and share stories while absently scrubbing those clothes. You got some Wise Woman knowledge and shared some personal insights. Probably you talked a bit about the men in your life. Not is a "dissing" sort of way- but a cathartic way. Maybe you smiled at how they were in the shed trying to build some crazy machine. My point is, while you were working, you were also in the bright sunshine, with a group of friends, sharing the experience and feeling good about those wonderfully fresh smelling, clean clothes and the accomplishment of having spent the day "doing the wash".

For years, I worked at home as a private consultant. I often worked on the phone and on-line with a friend in a different part of the country. For some reason it seemed whenever we were talking on the phone, working on a project, one or both of us, was also doing the laundry. We often heard the other person's clothes going round and round, or the dryer buzzer go off, the door open and close. We laughed at how often that happened and prided ourselves on our ability to multi-task. We both agreed that one of the benefits of working from home was that we could get so many things done at once. We even congratulated ourselves for seeing the other side of life, as I was working on "male-orientated" risk management projects with him, and he was doing his family's laundry, considered by some as a "traditional female task".

Today I see such multi-tasking through a different lens. I'm no longer so proud of my ability to accomplish multiple things at the same time. I can remember how tired I was, how stressed and distracted I felt. I was so disconnected.

I'm still happy with the people (I'm sure women are now involved in the process!) who invented and continue to improve the washing machine and dryer. This use of technology has afforded me a lot of freedom. But now, I'm going to exercise that freedom. Instead of throwing in a load of wash and doing something else, I think I should put in a load of wash, sit down and relax in the knowledge that I don't have to scrub those clothes. Rather than create more work for myself, I should appreciate the time that has been created for me to do something I enjoy. We need to embrace the ease that technology brings to our lives, not fill our lives with more tasks to do.

So here's my request for the next advancement to the washing machine. When I put a load of clothes in the machine and shut the lid, I want a compartment to open up automatically that hands me the car keys, my shoes, and a ten dollar bill. The machine will turn off all other devices in the house, and an arm will gently guide me out of the house so that I can't break down and do something else. Once out the door, the door will lock and I won't be able to go back in until the clothes are done. My machine will be synced with all my friends machines so they are propelled to do the same thing at the same time. We will all meet in our favorite cafe and use the ten dollar bill to buy a really good cup of coffee. If it's sunny, we will sit outside in the sun,or go for a walk with our coffees. Maybe we'll walk down to the river! If it's raining, cold, or snowing we will sit inside the cafe, by the fireplace, in comfortable chairs. We will recreate the storytelling, the cathartic conversation, the laughter and camaraderie of the river bank without having to wash the clothes at the same time. We will be safe and secure in the knowledge that our lives have been made easier so we can enjoy the company of our friends more.

We will toast that first man that ever intruded on the women washing clothes and the ease that has been brought into our lives.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Bach Flower Consultations: Getting Started

I focus a lot of this blog on Bach Flowers and healing essences, but realized the other day through a client, that people really want to understand what is involved in a Bach Flower consultation. So, here goes.

In the 1930s, Dr. Bach intended the 38 flower essences to be used as a self-help method for healing. He thought people could match their emotions to the appropriate essence and be able to identify the ones they needed without requiring any "middle man" in there to recommend, suggest, prescribe or dispense.

That self-help theory still makes sense today, but it can be a little overwhelming to put into practice. It can also be rather pricey to order all 38 of the mother tinctures essences and start figuring out which one is best for you, especially when there are many you may never use personally. In some countries, you can read about Bach Flowers, select a few that match and walk into a pharmacy or health food store and have the remedy made up for you. This is not the case in Canada or the U.S. So here, the practice gets a bit more complicated. So a consultation makes sense as a place to start.

Bach Flower consultations can be done in-person, or over the phone. You discuss the issues you would like to work on with the practitioner. You don't need to have researched the individual Bach flowers. The practitioner determines which ones seem to be the best match for your concerns based on research, education, and knowledge of the system, as well as hands on experience. A good practitioner discusses their choices with you and together you come up with a remedy that makes the most sense for you to try. Bach Flowers are not something that is done "to you", they are identified with your active participation. This is the method of consultation recommended and taught by the Bach Foundation, the registering body for Bach Flower practitioners. At Pixie Dust Healing, we follow those guidelines and do in-person or, more commonly,phone consultations.

At Pixie Dust Healing we also believe in the powers of intuition and methods of kinesiology to identify what is best for you. For more information on kinesiology you can read my Oct 1 blog entry "Kinesology/Muscle Testing". This is the recommended method for identifying which Perelandra essences might work best for you. Again, the difficulty comes in not having all the essences available to you to be able to test.

If you have been following my blogs of late, you'll know that while I embrace technology and believe that it works, I don't understand how it works. I don't figure I need to understand how it works. It does or it doesn't and if it doesn't, sometimes I need to call in an expert that can show me the basics to make it work. I think intuition and distance healing work on these same principles. I don't know how it works but I know that it does, and like Wireless Internet connections, we can be connected without physical ties.

So at Pixie Dust Healing, we also do consultations using intuition and kinesiology. We make the connection by using a jpeg picture of the person that wants the remedies. This isn't based on psychic abilities or weird rituals, it is just a modern type of intuition and kinesiology that we have discovered to be effective. We don't "read your mind". We don't find out that you kicked the cat this morning, or stole the stapler from your office. We don't discover deep dark secrets or horrible things that have happened to you. We only identify what essences seem to be a match for you by using the picture you send us (not fancy or perfect, just a head shot will do) and we test all the essences. You are still an active participant. Once we've identified what essences we think would be helpful, we provide a write up for you (email it to you), that suggests why the essences are recommended. You read the write-up, and if it sounds appropriate to you, we make up the remedy and ship it to you. If something doesn't sound right, we can readjust with your input and come up with a remedy that feels good to you. A lot of people find the write-up is as important to their healing as the essence is. For many it provides insight. It might cause you to reflect on your "deep dark secrets", but rest assured, we still don't know them!

You choose the method of consultation that you're comfortable with. It's still about "self-help" here. We just recognize that sometimes "self-help" requires a jump start. A lot of people start out with consultations and once they get comfortable with the remedies they realize by reading up on the essences and doing some research, they are ready to choose their own essences. Maybe a previous post on this blog gave you and idea for some essences you'd like to try. If you know what remedies you want , but don't want to invest in a case of mother tinctures, we can make up the remedy for you and ship a 30ml bottle to you.

I have lots of information on my website . If you click on the menu item "healing essences" you will find all kinds of information on Bach Flowers and what they are intended for. If you go to the column on the right hand side of that page that explains what is involved in a consultation you'll also find a "Frequently Asked Question" download. Click there and you can download five pages of material that includes answers to the most commonly asked questions concerning Bach Flowers. This includes information about how the essences are made, how they usually work, the difference between an essence and a remedy and how to take them

If you go to the "store" section under the menu options at the top of the site, you will find a list of the services we offer, including price information and how to arrange services. Cyberspace is wonderful, but I look forward to meeting you in more tangible ways to encourage healing as well.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Moving Forward with Ease & Bach Flower Honeysuckle

I am still struggling a bit with computer issues but I am making progress. Like everyone, when I'm not paying attention to the subtle clues, the universe sends me pretty "in your face" messages. It would appear my computer crash is one of these.

As I try to look at this experience as a lesson to be gained, I realize a lot of my struggle is in re-creating the past. When my computer isn't set up exactly like it was prior to the crash, I'm frustrated. I want it to look like it did before so I can use it quickly without thinking. Mostly I worry that loosing the past information will somehow affect me in the future. Hmm....

With a couple of small exceptions, my computer does everything I need a computer to do in the present. If I pay attention to Eckhart Tolle, that means I have nothing to be concerned about. I seem to have lost some of my old address contacts, but maybe if I don't need them now, I don't need them. And if I do need them in the future, I guess they will "come to me". It is a living lesson of what Eckhart Tolle talks about when he suggests we dwell in the past and worry about the future rather than living in the moment.

Our basement flooding once. At the time it was a lot of work, a lot of mess, lots of stress. In hindsight, it was a forced opportunity to get rid of so much junk and to really consider what we were keeping, what we really needed, and what we should let go of. I'm pretty sure, this computer crash may be the same opportunity. Time to purge out the stuff I don't need and move forward.

Honeysuckle is the Bach Flower that can help with such purging of the past. It is for people that tend to live in the past, unable to change present circumstances because they are constantly looking back at the past. Honeysuckle gives us the ability to live in the present, no longer seeing the past as overpowering, but as a valuable experience, providing lessons for today. Honeysuckle can help you move forward in life. Maybe, if Dr. Bach were alive today, he would suggest Honeysuckle for people who's computers are functioning in the present but have lost some old data!

I am still having some printing issues. This means that in order to print a document I have to save it to a stick, get up, walk past the coffee pot and several windows to another computer to print. Multiple lessons to be learned in that one! I am much more conscious of whether or not I really need to print that document. I get off my chair a whole lot more and I have enjoyed a cup of coffee, rather than let it sit on my desk until it is cold. This morning as I "made the walk", I noticed two deer on the lawn. I wouldn't have seen them if I had of printed from my desk. While the computer printed, I watched them. Daniel Mapel, in "Into the Heart of the Wild", describes deer as symbolizing the need to move deliberately with great awareness and calm. If they are appearing in your life, you might consider becoming more aware of the world around you. Deer teach us to be aware of the present moment. Hmmm...

Time to let go of the past and move forward, secure in the "now". With less weight from the past, it's a whole lot easier to clear those fences.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Mercury Retrograde & Computer Issues

I haven't abandoned my blog although, for a couple of days, it has felt like that to me. I have been having "computer issues". It seems I am not alone as the computer shop is backed up with customers, all in different stages and levels of angst.

According to astrology sources, from March 30th to April 23rd, Mercury is retrograde. Mercury is the planet that rules communication, so it is believed that during this time one could expect to have communication devices of all sorts go a little out of whack. Apparently it isn't uncommon for emails to be deleted or bounce back, snail mail may be returned or lost, phone calls get mixed up with wrong numbers, phone messages get erased, and computers go on the fritz.

Three or four times per year, the planet Mercury slows down in it's orbit and appears to stop or move backward. It is an optical illusion, it doesn't really move backward or retrograde, but it appears to. I guess if we aligned ourselves with this planetary force, we too would slow ourselves down a bit so that we could catch up with our fast moving world and ourselves. Such slowing down could allow people, ideas and insights, that have been buried in the blur of our speed, to resurface. Mercury retrograde is said to be a good time to contemplate life and redirect, if necessary, your forward movement.

Without my computer I have slowed down a bit. I have been reacquainted with a wonderful gel pen and did some writing. I rediscovered the phone and made some phone connections with people instead of emailing or texting. I caught up on some reading and went for a walk. I even discovered, as I enter this blog on a friend's computer, that my eyesight isn't even as bad as I thought when I use a desktop versus a laptop computer. And a "real" keyboard is quite a luxury I had forgotten.

I have discovered some essences that may be quite helpful during Mercury Retrograde. Impatiens was the first one I reached for, to help balance the sense that no one and nothing was moving fast enough- in particular the computer technicians! Another one of those optical illusions- in fact they were moving quite fast and I needed to slow down. In an earlier phase in my life I might have needed Agrimony because I might have hid my computer problems behind a cheerful mask and told the technicians; "it's fine, whenever you can get to it". I didn't need that this time, having moving through that Bach layer already! A dose of Cherry Plum might have been helpful the day I got the laptop back thinking it was fixed, spent hours trying to reconfigure without much luck and had to take it back to the shop once again. Cherry Plum is for the fear of losing control and when you are on the verge of breakdown. Personally, I was too close to the edge to stop and consider Cherry Plum- hence the reason to share Bach Flower knowledge with others! Gentian might be considered for the discouragement when things go wrong. This might even be a stronger sense of hopelessness and despair indicating the need for Gorse. If I have to buy a new computer- I'll be taking Gorse! I might recommend Holly for some other people I saw in the computer store. It's indicated for aggression that stems from suffering on the inside and insecurity. Mimulus might help get over the fear of loosing my computer- or the fear of the price tag that comes with the fix. Willow might help with that resentment and self-pity: "why does it have to be MY computer that crashes" mentality. And finally, I will save a few drops of Elm for when my computer is back functioning and I become overwhelmed with the workload I will have to catch up.

Astrology is said to be a tool for recognizing patterns. That points to the use of Chestnut Bud which is helpful when you haven't learned from past mistakes. I have had computer crashes before. I have built in some better back up systems so that it isn't quite the tragedy it might have been. Maybe by the time this retrograde is over and the next ones come around- August 2nd to 26th and November 23rd to December 13th, I'll really be calm and in control.

If you're still wondering what the heck today's picture has to do with Mercury Retrograde and computer problems- nothing really. It just happened to be on the computer I'm using to create this entry and I rather like it. It reminds me that sometimes it's worth taking a second look at what you see. It's also an example of how computers (and photo shop programs) can distort reality!

If you haven't had a computer crash, but are feeling somewhat unsettled, you might be feeling the effects of solar flares, Mercury Retrograde and the emotions of those around you. If that's the case, Walnut might be a helpful Bach flower essence to take. It helps balance the effects of atmospheric changes and allows you to consider your own needs. I highly recommend Perelandra ETS Plus to help cope with all the changes on all levels, as well.

With high winds, rain, and perhaps freezing rain predicted for my part of the world today, there is a good chance of power outages. I wonder if I'll even notice!!