Mind, Body, Spirit Connections

Monday, October 31, 2011

Intention of the Day~

To take a hot shower~

It's been two days now without a shower. I'm sorry I missed Sunday's blog, but we have been without power. A huge snow storm blew in and dumped 18 inches of snow in CT and up through New England. The devastation is hard to believe. A "war zone" has been the most apt description over the air waves. I had to negotiate around downed trees and electrical wires to get home from New Hampshire.  It was eerie driving into CT looking at the hundreds of snapped trees, fallen limbs on houses, draped over power lines, gas stations empty, and traffic lights dark.  Over 800,000 people in CT alone are without power and it will be a week before it is restored.

I am in the airport now waiting for my flight home, so grateful to be leaving. The last 48 hours have been an eye opener for me. First of all, I have become a whimp. This has been verified by my father. "What, no hot water? The toilets won't flush? Nothing works?" Are you kidding me. I truly did not appreciate what complete loss of electricity  meant. Nothing works, folks. Nothing. Thank God we had fireplaces, candles, flashlights, and bottled water. We lit the gas stove with matches to boil water and make a simple (and delicious) dinner last night. We ate by the fire and candle light.

This morning we boiled more water and dripped it over coffee grounds to make coffee. We lit the fire, and sipped our coffee by the fire listening to the transitor radio (yes, I actually had forgotten they existed). I washed my face with some of the boiled water and dad shaved. Simple things, but brought great delight. I began to appreciate the circumstances I found myself in as it reminded me of how spoiled and accustomed we have become to the amenities in life that we take for granted. I'm not so sure this is a good thing.

As I anxiously await my flight, I can't help but ponder the last 48 hours. It has given me a new perspective and deeper appreciation for electricity. It has also made me aware of how vulnerable we all are when it is lost. No gas, no fast food, no running water, no way to heat, or cool. And, how many millions live in these conditions (and far worse) every single day of their lives?

It gives me pause. How lucky we are! And may we not take this for granted; not even for one minute. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Saturday Blog Share

Are You a Giving Person?

Roya R. Rad, MA, PsyD

The nature of being giving is a delicate, and in some ways, misunderstood concept. I get asked questions about this on a regular base whether from my students or people in my seminars. Being giving may be rooted in a kind heart, but having the ability to keep this quality comes with a rational mind. A rational mind that makes the person adept as to when to give, what to give, and to whom to give; without damaging the self and others in the long run. Many times when a person gives without boundaries or an awareness of the motives; they usually feel drained or even worse, they feel a sense of resentment, anger and frustration at the end.

The purpose is to make sure one experiences joy and bliss by the act of giving so that she is encouraged to do more of it. To do this, there has to be an awareness to be able to give from a place where there is a balance between a kind heart and a rational mind. This place feels right and does not bring about any feelings of negativity. It is also authentic and feels real to the receiver. When the giver experiences negative feelings after giving, these may be signal that something is not working in harmony and is out of order.

To be a stable giver, it is important to have boundaries, emotional honesty and emotional responsibility. We have to look at the process of life more realistically in terms of what we need to accept and what we can change. For example, if you're giving too much where at the end you feel like you were taken advantage of, this can create negative feelings like anger and sadness. Or if you're giving to a self-centered person whatever she desires, you may be making her condition worse just like when you give an alcohol to an alcoholic. Another example is when you give to someone up to a point of them losing their motivation to learn to be appreciative of working for their goals. Or, when you spoil your child whereas she loses her ability to be thank full and empathic, in other words when you give her so much that you make her blemished. Or, when you make a reliant person more dependent by your act of giving.

It is important to ask these questions when you're giving: Am I giving from a strong place of peace, awareness, just, and love with boundaries or a place of neediness and weakness where I have no boundaries? The fist is probably your heart, the second may be your wounded inner child needing attention. Am I giving to be a people-pleaser or am I giving because it is my heart's desire? Looking back in my life, has the act of giving created a lot of positive emotions, healthy relationships, and good life experiences for me or has it been counterproductive? The nature of your giving becomes clearer to you by self reflecting on these simple questions and then you can adjust accordingly. You can also modify your giving nature by aiming it at places where they are always needed like doing volunteer activities.

But when it comes to having boundaries, it may be easier with strangers than family or romantic partners. The reason for this maybe that our wounded inner-child is more powerful with people whom we feel more comfortable with. But boundaries help us speak our truth and be more aware. The main purpose of having boundaries is to protect oneself and take care of one's inner self. In addition, we have to become more educated about what an acceptable interaction is and the dynamics of a healthy functioning relationship. We also need to learn to become more emotionally honest with ourselves and to communicate without blaming.

Some people are naturally more of a giver; you may categorize them as the ones with a bigger heart, higher energies or a sensitive soul. It does not matter how you name or label these individuals but the reality remains the same. If you are a natural giver, you have to make sure the experiences create positive results for your internal equilibrium in order for you to be able to sustain this trait. At the end, pay attention to your feelings and motives and self reflect on these when you're giving or receiving, don't have a fear of communicating your needs, be aware what signals you give off and what type of people you attract, and do behavioral and cognitive modification if needed.

Roya R. Rad, MA, PsyD
Self Knowledge Base & Foundation
A non-profit dedicated to public education

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday Celebration~

Snow on the sunlit trees~

I am right below Laconia, New Hampshire, staying at the Steele Hill Resorts attending a graduate conference. The snow began to fall late yesterday afternoon blanketing the roads and hillsides. I awoke with the sun streaming in the windows, crystal blue sky, and the whitest snow you can imagine covering everything. It is a sight to behold. My heart swells in happiness.

What are you celebrating today? 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Spiritual Guidance~ Do we or do we not have free will?

Do we or do we not have free will~

I've spent the last two days with my mother at one of the best nursing homes in CT. Heart-breaking is an apt description of my emotional turmoil. This visit has stirred and agitated me in new ways. I'll try and explain while raising the questions that have awakened me in the middle of the night.

It was piano hour when I arrived on Tuesday. An old, hunched over man, played the piano for all the residents on the Alzheimer's floor. Wheelchairs lined up around the piano and beyond. Chairs filled with frail bodies that still could walk.  My dad and I were with my mom, wheel chaired bound after her broken hip. Behind us a husband stood beside his wife, also wheel chair bound.

My emotional stream of consciousness...choking back tears knowing that my mom had no idea who I was, horrified at the slumped over bodies that filled the chairs, delighted when I saw some of the residents nodding, singing, and truly enjoying the music, angry at the frustrated husband behind me who was pushing his wife back into the wheel chair ever time she tried to stand, and valiantly squelching a wave of fear that threatened to overtake me; a sense of hopelessness.

What on earth are we doing with our elderly? 

We treat our animals better than we do our elderly who are infirm, and unable to care for themselves. Alone, unable to walk, incontinent, demented, and totally dependent on health care professionals; some good and many who could care less about the person in the chair. What happened? When my dog was unable to get up off the floor at 14 years of age (81 human years), I took her to the vet. Cancer. I put her to sleep. I would never have let her suffer, put a diaper on her, built a doggie wheel chair, and fed her with a spoon. She would have been horrified. 

And, yet this is what we are doing with our loved ones, and those forgotten and unloved. Why do they not have the choice to die before they are in this incapacitated state? In bygone years, and lost cultures, the elderly who were revered and respected, walked into the night when it was there time to return to spirit. They knew it was time. They chose. And, with dignity, they died. We have Hospice for those who have cancer and do not recover. The person is able to choose to some extent, and lessen their suffering.

Not so with our elderly, especially those whose minds have decided to take a detour. Bodies are able, minds are not. Slowly everything fails, until the last stages of incapacitation which I witnessed Tuesday and Wednesday. I am struggling with this unacceptable reality. Where is the line of demarcation that defines quality of life? Why do we not get to make that choice?

My mom is one of the few lucky ones. Doted upon by my father and sister who so lovingly care for her, feed her, massage her, and make her laugh, her days have some happiness.  I love watching how her eyes light up when my dad walks into the room. It makes me cry. But, I know my mother, too. And if she had the choice, she would not chose this for herself. And, when she looks me in the eyes, and says "I'm tired and I want to go home." I tell her with my eyes, "I know mom." And, my heart breaks.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Health Tip ~ Feel your Anger

Change the Way You Deal With Anger
Margaret Paul, Ph.D.
Bestselling author and relationship expert

Did you have a parent who was out of control when they got angry? Are you afraid if you express your anger, you will get out of control? Learn a healthy way of expressing and learning from your anger.

There is much to learn from anger, yet many people are afraid of this feeling because they don't know how to express anger in ways that are helpful rather than harmful. I teach a process at my weekend "Inner Bonding" workshops called "The Anger Process." This powerful process, which is described below, is not only for releasing pent-up anger in harmless ways, but for discovering what your responsibility is in a conflict with another person.

Often, when I describe this process in a workshop, some people get anxious and want to leave. They are afraid of anger and of expressing their anger. This is invariably because they come from a family where one or both of their parents or other caregivers were angry in a mean, violent way -- a way that caused harm to others. These people are so afraid of being like their mother or father that they repress their anger, taking it out on themselves instead of others.
Neither dumping anger on others nor repressing it and taking it out on yourself is healthy. Anger expressed in these ways is about controlling rather than learning. Venting anger on another is about controlling through intimidation and blame. Anger dumped on yourself is about controlling feelings that are harder to feel than anger, such as fear, anxiety, loneliness, heartbreak or helplessness over others.

Anger is an important emotion. It informs us that we are thinking or behaving in ways that are not in our highest good. You may have been taught that other people's behavior causes your anger, but this is generally not true. Others may behave in ways that you don't like, but your anger at them is frequently a projection of how you are not taking care of yourself -- a way to control them rather than take care of yourself.

It's important to differentiate between blaming anger and justified anger, which can be called outrage. Outrage is the feeling we have when there is injustice, such as seeing someone abuse a child. Outrage moves us to take appropriate, loving action in our own or others behalf.
Blaming anger comes from feeling like a victim and gets us off the hook from having to take personal responsibility for ourselves. This anger does not lead to learning or to healthy action.

The anger process is a way of expressing anger that leads to learning and growth. When people in my workshop want to leave rather than do the process, I explain that it is very important for them to reassure the frightened child within that this anger is not like their father's or mother's anger -- it is not being expressed with the intent to control. It is being expressed with the intent to learn.

The "Anger Process" is a 3-step process that is done when you are alone:

1. Fully express anger toward a person you are presently angry with (not in their presence!). You can yell, call names, kick something, and pound with fists on a pillow or with a bat or towel, but do not harm yourself.

2. Ask yourself who this person reminds you of in the past -- parent, teacher, sibling, friend -- and then let the angry part of you again fully express the anger.

3. Finally -- and this is the most important part -- allow the angry child within to express his or her anger at you, the adult, for all ways you are not taking care of yourself in this conflict, or ways you are treating yourself badly, or treating yourself like the other person is treating you.

Step three is the most important part, because it brings the issue home to personal responsibility. If you just do the first two parts, you are left feeling like an angry victim. The anger that comes from being a victim is a bottomless pit, and will never lead to learning and resolution.

Once you understand that you can express your anger with an intention to learn, your fear of your own anger will go away. You don't have to repress your anger in order not to be like your parents.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Quote of the Day~

"Real compassion kicks butt and takes names and is not pleasant on certain days. If you are not ready for this FIRE, then find a new-age, sweetness and light, perpetually smiling teacher and learn to relabel your ego with spiritual sounding terms. But, stay away from those who practice REAL COMPASSION, because they will fry your ass, my friend." - Ken Wilber

My daughter is a master at "real compassion". I have watched her over the years 'kick some ass' with her friends. She is always loving, but firm. "This behavior is unacceptable. I am your friend, I love you, but I will not participate in this (shop lifting) in any way. When you stop, we can hang out again."

I sure wish I had these boundaries at her age. And her ability to cut right to the chase and clearly delineate what is right for her, and her friends is remarkable. She holds compassion for all her friends while wisely counseling them on sex, drugs, smoking and drinking. Zoe is not coming from a religious perspective, but from a deep sense of caring. Rather than being offended, her friends seek her out like a soothing balm.

I have learned a lot watching my daughter. In many ways, she is my teacher.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Chapter in Jennifer's Life~

Going to the chapel ~ Going to get married~

Andy and I got married twice last year; once on October 9th and again on October 23rd. The first time we were surrounded by family, friends and married on the golf course. The day could not have been more beautiful, or the wedding more perfect. Unfortunately, we lacked one inconsequential piece of paper. Yep, the marriage license. We did not discover our little oversight until the night before during the height of our rehearsal party.

Geez...can't very well tell folks, now can we?

So, we were married under the crisp, blue October sky, before our loved ones and with God's blessing.

On October 23rd, we were married again at sunrise on the beach. It was glorious. Hundreds of birds swooped in to join us. And this time the State of Florida sanctioned our wedding.

Given our penchant for celebrating every little occasion, we are delighted that we will be celebrating our wedding anniversary twice each year!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Saturday Blog Share~

Not technically a blog, but I just love a good love story~

Long-Married Couple Gordon Yeager and Norma Yeager Die Holding Hands

For one Iowa couple, true love lasted until the very end.

Married 72 years, Norma, 90, and Gordon Yeager, 94, died in the hospital holding hands last week, one hour apart.

The couple was hospitalized after a car accident just outside of Marshalltown, Iowa. They were given a shared room in the ICU where they held hands in adjacent beds.

At 3:38 pm last Wednesday, Gordon's breathing stopped. Though he was no longer alive, his heart monitor continued to register a beat.

The nurse told Gordon and Norma's son, Dennis Yeager, that the monitor was beeping "because they're holding hands, and [Norma's heart beat] is going through them," Dennis recalled in an interview with Des Moines' KCCI news station. "Her heart was beating through him."

Norma died at 4:38 pm, exactly one hour later.

Gordon and Norma's children say they're glad the couple passed this way. "They just loved being together," says Dennis. "He always said, 'I can't go until she does because I gotta stay here for her.' And she would say the same thing."

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Celebrations~

Going on a college tour with Zoe~

We are up at the crack of dawn getting ready for a road trip. The air is chilly, stars still blazing in the sky, and I am celebrating being with Zoe all day. I'm more excited for the tour than she is (of course) and I will be making her study for her ACTs in the car (oh, mom)) and we will probably get lost (per usual), but nevertheless...I am celebrating this day!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Spiritual Gudiance~ Choosing Love~

This article resonated with me and my own journey. That core fear that we will lose the very people that we love and cherish with every fiber of our being. Every now and then, this fear of mine will nip at my heart. And, I find myself having to face it head on and say "Enough, I am choosing love."

Tiny Buddha Editor’s Note: This is a contribution by Renee Oglesbee

“I believe that every single event in life that happens is an opportunity to choose love over fear.” ~Oprah Winfrey

Facing fear came in the form of the death of my father in 1997. He was diagnosed HIV positive and at the time, the world saw this as a death sentence, and so it was.

His goal became to find a level of peace, a level of contentment about what was happening to his body, his mind, and in his soul in preparation for leaving this life. He enlisted my help to choose when and how to die.

I made the commitment to help him die with grace and dignity, in our home. That process took five years with many ups and downs. The final letting go happened while lying next to him in his own bed.

He drew his last breath and simply let go, peacefully. “We” were successful in creating a space for his passing to be perfect for him, exactly as he chose it to be.

That was the hardest thing that life had ever “asked” me to do. The aftermath of that single event had drastically changed my life. Initially, it was not for the better, as it created in me a need to protect myself against ever feeling the pain of letting go of someone I love that much.

It has been a double-edged sword. I found myself in tremendous fear—fear of having what I want and losing it. It has been a very long journey for me. I’ve struggled to let go of the belief that if I have someone in my life who I love so completely, they will “leave.” My commitment to not feel that pain ever again has been a huge hurdle for me.

It was this year, on my 49th birthday that I “met again” the woman I believe with my whole heart I am meant to share the rest of this journey with. I say met again because she showed up in my life as a woman I have “known” for approximately 20 years. She was completely and utterly unexpected!

I have let go of the protective armor around my heart with the help of a very talented life coach. I find myself trusting that should she “leave,” I have it in me to let go with grace. I trust myself to love completely, again. In return, I attracted into my life a woman that has completely opened her heart to me.

Because I took the risk of opening up, I will now get to live with her in Wimberley, Texas, where I’ve always wanted to live.

Even more miraculous, I can now work with a mental health organization there that supports one of my greatest missions in life: to cure mental illness, not just manage the symptoms. I feel it is part of my life’s purpose to share the Ho’oponopono practice of releasing limitations—and I may not have stumbled into this specific opportunity if I didn’t learn to open my heart.

I am giving up every last shred of “security” I have worked so very hard for, to face my fears. I will not die never having lived and experienced love because of my fears.

….and this is what I know:

You cannot love and fear at the same time. These two states of being cannot exist in the same space. You have to let go of one or the other.

What we fear always turns out to be a “boogieman” when faced. What we fear can also become a self-fulfilling prophecy should we choose not to face it.

Life abhors a vacuum—and when we choose to let go of fear, dreams rush in to fill that space.

Life never turns out the way we plan it. But it often turns out better when we simply let go of our fear of life.

Love is what we are, and when we refuse to love, we too are dying. Our loved ones would not want that for us. They’d want us to choose love. They’d want us to choose life.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Health Tip - Chia, Chia, Chia Pet?

Remember the Chia Pets?

Read about the top ten ways you benefit from eating chia seeds!

 1. Lose Weight Without Starving

The Chia Seed is a dieter’s dream come true. The tiny, healthy seeds can be made to taste like whatever you want, and their unique gelling action keeps you feeling full for hours. Hunger is a main enemy of real weight loss, and you don’t want to fight it with jittery expensive pills. When a chia seed  is exposed to water, it forms a coating of gel, increasing its size and weight. Since the gel made of water, it has no calories. It’s also difficult to remove from the seed, meaning that it helps your body think it is full, without adding calories!

2. Balance Blood Sugar

Keeping balanced levels of blood sugar is important for both health and energy. Blood sugar may spike after meals, especially if you eat high-starchy foods or sweets. This can lead to ‘slumps’ in your day where you feel tired and out of energy. By balancing your blood sugar, you not only lower your risk for type 2 diabetes, but you also ensure steady, constant energy throughout your day.

But how does the Chia Seed help with this? Both the gelling action of the seed, and it’s unique combination of soluble and insoluble fiber combine to slow down your body’s conversion of starches into sugars. If you eat chia with a meal, it will help you turn your food into constant, steady energy rather than a series of ups and downs that wear you out.

3. Help Prevent Diverticulitis / Diverticulosis

With the abundance of over-processed foods and white flour on the market today, rich sources of fiber are harder to come by. These foods of convenience have contributed to the rise of diverticulitis. Irregularity is a
big factor in this risky condition. To help ensure regularity, you need plenty of soluble and insoluble fiber in your diet. If you don’t want to eat celery, and whole-grain everything…or piles of bran flakes, the Chia Seed is here to help. Each seed is coated with soluble fibers which aid its gelling action. The exterior of the seed is protected by insoluble fiber. The insoluble fiber is unable to be digested (it does not contribute any calories, or break down) so instead, it helps keep food moving smoothly through the digestive process. Soluble fiber, and the gel coating of the seed keeps the colon hydrated and ensures the easy movement of food.

4. Add healthy omega-3 oil to your diet

Omega-3 oil is usually thought of as “that healthy stuff in fish”. But, what if you don’t want to eat fish every day? What if you’re a vegetarian, or simply worried about pollution adding harmful substances to your fish dinner?  Chia is the richest plant-source of this healthy oil. By weight, chia contains more omega 3 than salmon, and it still tastes like whatever you want! Omega 3 oil is important in heart and cholesterol health. It’s also recently been targeted as a weight-loss helper. USA Weekend magazine also reports on a study where overweight dieters who included omega 3s in their eating plan lost 2 more pounds monthly than the control group, who did not.

5. Feel more energized all day long

Don’t want to feel like taking an afternoon nap? Your energy levels have a lot to do with what you eat. Chia is one of nature’s highest plant-based sources of complete protein. Usually protein from items like peanut butter
and some beans are incomplete, meaning you have to combine them with other foods to get the full benefit. Not Chia though, it’s protein is complete to raise your energy levels. The combination of complete protein, vitamins, minerals and blood-sugar balancing gel all work together to make sure you have steady, never jittery energy.

6. Bake with less fat

Do you enjoy making baked goods at home, but hate all the butter and oil that has to go into them? Chia gel can substitute for half the butter in most recipes! The food will bake the same and taste the same (or better) from the addition of the chia gel. All you need to do is divide the amount of butter or oil in half, and then use the same amount of chia gel to fill in. The anti-oxidants in chia can even help keep the food tasting fresh longer. Everything from cookies to cakes to muffins, pancakes and waffles can be made with chia gel as your butter replacement. Which recipe will become your new favorite?

7. Add age-defying anti-oxidants

Anti-oxidants have been in the news lately due to their super healthy benefits. You know that blueberries and several exotic fruits (that aren’t always in season) have them, but did you know that chia is extremely high in anti-oxidants too? These helpful substances are what makes the Chia Seed stay fresh for so long. At room temperature, they’ll stay fresh and ready to eat for over two whole years! And that’s all without a single chemical or preservative. This amazing ability is not found in other seeds like flax or sesame, because those seeds don’t have the same rich anti-oxidant content.

Anti-oxidants help prevent free-radical damage in your body. Free radicals lead to problematic conditions such as premature aging of the skin and inflammation of various tissues. Fight free radical damage by staying fresh and healthy with nature’s anti-oxidant powerhouse

8. Cut cravings for food

Being deficient in minerals or vitamins can create a craving for food. For example, if you’re low on calcium, you may feel compelled to eat lots of cheese and ice cream. This happens because your body knows that cheese is a source of calcium, and it hasn’t been getting enough. But what if dairy and whole milk are a “Diet don’t”? You can always add calcium to your food by sprinkling on the chia. By weight, chia has more calcium than whole milk. It also has magnesium and boron, essential trace minerals used in the absorption of calcium and other vitamins. By balancing your vitamins and minerals with chia, you can curb cravings that might tempt you.

9. You can pack in more flavorful punch

How can a seed with NO flavor help the foods you already like to taste better? First, because they have no taste of their own, chia seeds will never cover up or add to the flavor of your food. Second, when the seeds hydrate, they magnify the taste of whatever they were added to. Put them in pudding! Chocolaty! Swirl them into a smoothie? Fruity! The same thing goes with dressings, dips, salsas, sauces and more. These two factors combine to let chia seeds take on the taste of whatever you add them to. They distribute and never dilute, the flavors you love.

10. Save your money

Why should eating less cost you more? You already know diet pills are expensive, and ‘box meal plans’ can run up to $500.00 a month. If you’re buying ‘calorie counting packs’ or other individual portions in the store, you can also end up paying more because more preparation and materials go into these foods. More than enough chia for 1 month costs less than a dollar a day. You can use as much or as little as you want to achieve your own desired results. There are no preparations required for these simple seeds, not even pesticides need to be used to grow them. They’re always safe and 100% chemical free. A measuring spoon is all you’ll need when you’re ready to take advantage of chia for yourself. It doesn’t get any easier or more inexpensive.

Get more in-depth facts with our Chia Articles * Save on MySeeds Chia Now * 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Quote of the day~

"Mom, let's just change the channel."
Max, my son, age 9

This now famous line was uttered in the heat of frustration when Max could no longer tolerate his sister's ranting and raving from the car's back seat.

I was reminded of this hilarious scene in my meditation this morning thinking about how easily we can slip into a negative frame of mind, mood, or  mental loop that does not serve us.

It takes an awareness that we are "there" and then a conscious action to "change the channel". It is just that simple too. Click. Click. Click. Pick a channel -- comedy, inspiring, educational, artistic -- any channel that allows you to slip into a new frame of mind; one that is positive, inquisitive, amused, or calm.  

Notice the difference?  

Monday, October 17, 2011

Intention of the Day~

In all of your relationships, honor the true essence of your connection, while holding space for difference of opinion and perspective.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Day in Jennfer's Life~

Musings and Rambling~

Whatever happened to shades of gray? When I was twelve, my mother took me to my first nude drawing class in Hartford. Charcoal studies - blacks lines to define and accentuate different parts of the body - no lines to create the illusion of space, and shaded areas to add form. I learned how to "see" differently trying to capture the human form with a stick of charcoal.

Perhaps this is why I am puzzled at the harsh black and white lines being drawn in the sand over the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Some of the remarks and comments I am hearing from both sides demonstrate how divided we are in a dualistic drama that bears no resemblance to our actual reality. This is not an either/or issue and the complexity of what 'IS' can not be captured by these seemingly ridiculous one-sided statements.

I must say, however, that some of the comments and remarks, as well as the actions and behaviors of both the police and demonstrators, depict a dark underbelly of our current times. What started as a peaceful demonstration is beginning to turn violent by those who are not well intentioned, but just angry at the world, and have no qualms about hurting others, damaging property, and unfortunately maligning a potentially promising outcry for change.

These actions only serve to incite further the media and political 'blow hards' who are bent on drawing  divisive dualistic black and white lines. Where are the shades of gray? Finally, people are speaking up and saying we have had enough. Something has to change. We are not sure what, or how, but something has to change. This is much better than the thick coat of apathy that has settled over our country for the last forty years.

Where are our leaders? Where are the people in power, who can affect change? Why are the greatest minds of our country not sitting down together, or forming a think tank, to address the deep seated, complex, problems that plague this country? Why are we not giving "form" to the lines that have been drawn -- factual, civil discussion to address the problems? Posturing, or being the loudest, crudest, or rudest spokesperson in the room, does nothing to create an environment of cooperation.

Where are we, as individuals, in this process? What are we doing to make a difference? To make our voices heard? What are we doing to change the present climate? No progress will be made with a deadlocked government and without fresh ideas that can gain non-partisan support. Whether we choose to 'occupy' or not, is it not time for us to reflect more deeply on the well-being of our country? How can we get the best and brightest people teaching our children? Why do we not take our imprisoned men and women and put them to work repairing and building roads, bridges and sewers instead of sitting in prison costing the taxpayers an average of $50,000 a year? Why are our health care dollars not being spent on prevention?

I'm asking questions. I have no answers. I know we are not on the right path~

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Saturday Blog Share

"When you withdraw your attention from those things that are not pleasing, and you put your attention upon those things that are pleasing, those pleasing things begin to become more abundant; and those not-pleasing things become more rare. Until, eventually, those not-pleasing things cannot be part of your experience because you will have eliminated your attraction factor from your vibration... What you think and what you get always matches."


This is a difficult concept, the spiritual law of attraction, for many to grasp. If we truly understand that we are "what we think" we can begin to take full responsibility for what we co-create in our life. If you are expending negative energy, you create and draw to you negative energies and circumstances. If your energy is flowing from a place of love, you will attract love, joy and positive circumstances.

Here is the essence of the Abraham-Hicks message, distilled from workshops with Abraham since 1986.

1. You Are a Physical Extension of That Which is Non-physical.

2. You Are Here in This Body Because You Chose to Be Here.

3. The Basis of Your Life is Freedom; the Purpose of Your Life is Joy.

4. You Are a Creator; You Create With Your Every Thought.

5. Anything That You Can Imagine is Yours to Be or Do or Have.

6. As You Are Choosing Your Thoughts, Your Emotions Are Guiding You.

7. The Universe Adores You for it Knows Your Broadest Intentions.

8. Relax into Your Natural Well-Being. All is Well. (Really It Is!)

9. You Are a Creator of Thoughtways on Your Unique Path of Joy.

10. Actions to Be Taken and Possessions to Be Exchanged Are By-products of your Focus on Joy.

11. You May Appropriately Depart Your Body Without Illness or Pain.

12. You Can Not Die; You Are Everlasting Life.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday celebration~

I am celebrating this gorgeous day. Bright blue skies, sun, and no humidity!

I am also celebrating Earnest finally finding an affordable car. He starts work on Monday, and transportation has been the looming issue. He is now tagged, titled, and insured.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Spiritual Guidance~

Making a Difference~

We all are capable and often inspired to make a difference in someone else's life. Many times during a day, we make a difference. Perhaps it is a smile, a gentle touch, a kind word or quality time spent with someone in need.

Several months ago, I was asked to join a non-profit agency in Volusia County that serves children who have been traumatized. One of the programs is centered on prevention and works in schools to teach non-violence. I created an anti-bullying program targeted at middle school children using the Intent Heals Journal and Lending Heart as tools to help these children buffer the negative effects of bullying.

Fifteen amazing families stepped up to donate to this program. I held the first workshop on Tuesday, October 11th, at a homeless shelter in Daytona. The following is a description of that poignant night.

Dear friends,

We held our first Give & Forgive program on Tuesday, October 11th at a homeless shelter in Daytona. The homeless children are one of the highest percentage of kids bullied in schools. I am going to give a brief re-counting of the evening.

Mayhem is probably the best word to describe what we walked into -- very high energy, and the kids were loud! The counselor on staff introduced me, Elisa, and the two volunteer interns. I showed the kids the journals and hearts and briefly talked about what we would be doing. The counselor said, "Whoever wants to attend, go into the activity room." It was like a herd of buffalo. I'm thinking, "Oh, my goodness..."

Twenty-two kids packed that room, from 4 years of age up to 17. Parents joined the little ones and participated too. "What is bullying?" Fifteen hands flew into the air, and little hands tugged on my shirt. These kids know what it means to be bullied - very descriptive. How many of you have been bullied? (Adults included). Every hand was raised. "How many of you have hurt someone?" Every hand went up into the air (except for the 4 year old). "We are hurt by others and we all hurt others". I shared the story about the two wolves who live inside us - the bad wolf and the good wolf. What are the feelings of the bad wolf? "Anger, meanness, guilt, sorrow, pain, jealousy...on and on each child shared. "The good wolf?" Happiness, joy, excitement, love, gratitude...they shared. The little four year old said "respect". "Which wolf wins?", I asked.

They weren't sure. "The one you choose to feed."

This was their springboard to understanding how to take responsibility for their feelings and actions. We worked with the Intent Heals Journal, and the oldest teen, read the prayer out loud. It was pretty amazing. Some of the kids shared their own stories. Next I had them read from their cards: Strategies for Dealing with a Bully and Strategies for Staying Positive. At the end, they were each given a Lending Heart and asked to give their heart to someone that they had hurt. Or, if they were hurt the most, to keep it in their pocket until they were ready to lend it to someone else.

The counselors said this was the most well behaved that they had been - ever! Next week, Elisa will review what was discussed and shared. And, in a month, I will go back for a follow-up. Each child took a pre-test, and in one month they will take the post-test to see if there has been any positive changes for them. It was a heartbreaking evening in so many ways, and yet incredibly uplifting too. I found out later that one teen, who had volunteered to read one of the strategies, was severely bullied for his stuttering. And, yet, there he was reading - and he spoke beautifully. How brave of this young man.

I hope that each and eveyone of you knows how deeply you are impacting the lives of these teens and children. I would not be able to do this work without your support and generosity.

With love,


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Health Tip - Don't lose it with your teenager

The Trials and Tribulations of Mama and Baby Bear~

Oh, please lord, save me from my teenager! Zoe and I have had an extraordinary relationship as most of you know. Lately, we seem to have veered off track. Zoe has her opinions of why. I have mine. For both of us, it has been quite painful.

I'm triggered by the "I'm 18" stage and some stress triggered disrespectful outbursts. Nothing outrageous or of too much concern. I think what I am really struggling about is losing my girl. College is less than a year away. Her schedule is packed as it is: volunteer hours, work, school and many friends. Little time for mom.

If I am sounding like a big, blubbering baby -- I AM! (And, I am not hormonal.)

In my anger today, I realized how much I am going to miss my baby bear. I love being around her,even if it is for brief minutes. I love her joy and outlook on life. I love how she looks after her friends. I love her feisty nature.

Letting go is hard~

More messy days ahead. Not looking forward to it, I might add. I am in the middle of one of those life transitions that wreaks havoc on the heart. This is where a parent manual would come in handy!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Quote of the Day~

How true this is for so many. But, I do think a shift in consciousness is happening. We are waking up, no longer stuck in the notion that our efforts should be centered around making a livelihood, and more focused on following our bliss. There is only the moment. So, embrace it, live it, enjoy it and welcome the next!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Moment in Jennifer's Life~

Happy Anniversary~

It's our first anniversary. We are celebrating on St. Simon's Island. We just played a roaring game of golf in the rain. My soggy toes are still drying out! We had a blast and the weather didn't matter one little bit.

It's hard to believe that we were married a year ago on the 7th hole of  "our" golf course. It was a perfect day. I am more in love with Andy today, than I was a year ago.

We treasure our routines and the special ways we appreciate each other. Each morning, while I am "in gratitude", Andy gets up and empties the dishwasher, feeds the animals, makes the coffee, and gets our vitamins (don't hate me). We now walk 3 miles in the early morning which gives us time to connect and discuss the upcoming day. I take over in the evenings. I pamper Andy and make him wonderful dinner concoctions that always include the 'anti-cancer' foods.

I must admit, I was nervous that I would experience a 'snap around'. The definition of a 'snap around'? "A sudden and abrupt change in character that leads to the demise of a relationship".  Believe me, my fear-based 'snap arounds' were based in reality and have caused much heartache. Andy's steady, loving and gentle presence, has dissolved my fear of a 'snap around'.

I am most grateful for this new freedom ~ thank you baby!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Saturday Blog Share~

If you don't think you can make a difference in this world~ think again!

How a Group of Teenagers Helped Reduce Suicide In Alaska

Posted: 10/4/11 08:22 AM ET - Huffington Post

A region long battered by some of the nation's highest suicide rates has some welcome good news -- a drop in deaths credited in part to teenage students.

When the Teck John Baker Youth Leaders Program began a few years ago, eight students in the Northwest Arctic Borough School District took their lives during a year-long period ending in August 2009, said Michelle Woods, the program coordinator.

That's about 15 percent of the 54 people who killed themselves in the entire region of 7,500 residents for the entire decade, according to numbers from the state Bureau of Vital Statistics. Those suicides made the Northwest Arctic the deadliest region for suicides in Alaska -- and possibly the entire nation -- during that time.

This year, not a single suicide has rocked the school district, Woods said. Officials there are praising the 100-plus students trained to root out depression among their friends and lift morale in their villages.

The key? Kids are more likely to tell friends about their problems than anyone else, said Brett Kirk, a former leader in the program until he graduated from high school this spring.

Now 18 and a freshman engineering student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Kirk joined the effort because he was tired of seeing people in his hometown of Noatak, a village of 500 about 60 miles north of Kotzebue, trashed by drugs and booze.

"I wanted to help my community," he said. "I've seen a bunch of things that most students my age shouldn't see. I've seen my personal, close family members wasted out of their minds or high on a substance. It disgusted me, really, and I wanted that to change."

Noatak hasn't seen many suicides, but a student killed himself a few years back. "I saw the kid the day before," Kirk said. "And the next day he was gone."

While he was involved in the program, Kirk and other leaders organized annual community meetings to talk about alcohol abuse and suicide. They hosted basketball tournaments and movie nights at the gym. They hung posters around town urging kids to stop partying and get to class on time.

Sometimes they sat and talked with students who were involved in a break-up or who had lost a family member. Sometimes they recommended a counselor get involved, but that doesn't always help, said Kirk. "Sometimes a peer-to-peer interaction has more effect," he said.

Youth interaction is critical to the program's success, because kids are more likely to speak with someone their own age than a family member or adult, organizers said.

In the past, elders visited schools to talk about suicide, but they often failed to make a connection, Kirk said. Sometimes the elders scolded students in Inupuiaq, but the message was often lost because many kids don't speak the language.

"It's sometimes hard to understand (elders)," Kirk said. "Sometimes they have a nasty voice, but truthfully, what they say, it's really important. If students could get the message behind their stories, it'd be a lot simpler."

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
Read the complete story only at Alaska Dispatch.
Follow AlaskaDispatch.com on Twitter: www.twitter.com/alaskadispatch

Friday, October 7, 2011

Friday Celebrations~

What are you celebrating today?

I am celebrating:

My spiritual journey -- living in the moment, in joy and gratitude, immersed in divine love~
My health --- that I can get up every morning and walk 3 miles~
My husband --- Sunday we will be marriend one year; even more in love now~
My children --- their health, delightful personalities, and love of life~
My friends --- new and longtime; my friendships are the blood that runs through my veins nourishing on every level~

Look within yourself and around you ~ Take a moment to celebrate the many blessings in your life~

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Spiritual Guidance~

  It is a sad day for all of us. May we remember Steve's extraordinary life and aspire to live our lives "hungry and foolish".

"Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.­....Stay hungry. Stay foolish" ~Steve Jobs

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Health Tip - Sick Soup

Wellness Health Soup

“Get Well Soup”, but we can’t stop calling it “Sick Soup”. Ginger and garlic and cayenne – oh my! You WILL feel better soon. At the first sign of any cold or flu, mama’s in the kitchen making sick soup. Having given this recipe out to dozens of people personally, we’ve gotten nothing but outstanding feedback about the results."

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Total Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes

Quick notes - Can be vegetarian by substituting your favorite beans in place of the chicken, and vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. Variations Optional: other veggies, chick peas, beans Diet (other): High protein, Gluten free


Olive Oil

1 Onion (finely chopped)

3 stalks celery (1 finely chopped, 2 coarsely chopped)

1-2 heads garlic (half head minced, remainder rough chopped)

2 Full Chicken Breasts (cut into 1inch pieces)

1/2 to 1 Bottle White wine

2 Cartons (or 2 quarts homemade) low-sodium, low-fat organic chicken or vegetable broth

2 Cups Water

Kosher Salt

Black Pepper

Crushed Red Pepper

Cayenne Pepper

Cumin, Basil, and other green herbs you like

Fresh ginger (at least 3-4in long) peeled and finely sliced

4 carrots (1inch pieces)

1 Medium Sweet Potato or Squash, (1inch pieces)

A bunch of long-stemmed broccoli (1inch pieces)

Juice of 1/2 lemon



1.In medium/large soup pan (enamel pan is the best, and do not use non-stick pan), over medium to medium high heat warm 3 tablespoons olive oil, then sautee diced onion, 1 stalk of celery (finely chopped) and a half of a head garlic (minced) until translucent. Remove from pan

2.Cut 2 chicken breasts into 1-2 inch squares and salt and pepper the chicken. Saute in olive oil over medium to medium-high heat until pieces are a nice brown (brown food is good food). Put onion/celery/garlic mixture back into pan with chicken.

3.Pour wine into uncovered pan and cook for 3 minutes over high heat, scraping the good brownness off the bottom as pan de-glazes. Add chicken or vegetable stock and 2 cups of water. Bring to boil, and then reduce heat to medium.

4.Add the green spices you like. Sprinkle in cayenne! Bring to boil and salt to taste.

5.Add sliced ginger to the soup. Smash and remove the skins of the remaining garlic and add to the soup.

6.Once it is at a rolling boil, reduce heat and simmer. It is best to simmer (covered) for about an hour minimum, and two hours is even better. If you want to finish the soup tomorrow, here is where you let it cool and put it in the fridge. The next day you can bring it to a boil, then continue.

7.Add carrots, remaining celery, sweet potatoes and broccoli stems. You may also add cooked beans, quinoa, and other vegetables as you wish. Add crushed red pepper.

8.Squeeze juice of 1/2 lemon into soup. Taste again and add salt, pepper, and crushed red peppers and/or cayenne to taste, if needed. Cook until the carrots are al dente (not too soft, you can feel just a little texture). Remember – you’ll be re-heating this soup, so it’s better to under cook than over cook these veggies.

9.TO SERVE: Dish into your favorite soup bowl and sprinkle fresh cilantro over it. Eat and repeat at least 2 more times in 72 hours.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Quote of the Day~

"Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself." -Hermann Hesse

Monday, October 3, 2011

Intention of the Day~

My daughter's intention today~

"I got a whole life ahead of me, I'm gonna stop worryin about it all. I'm going to make more mistakes and learn more things. I'm gonna lose some and gain some. I'm going to fail and I'm going to win, but in the end, I'm gonna look back and be proud of what I've become."♥

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Day in Jennifer's Life~

Herding Stray Cats~

What does a typical day in Jennifer's life look like?

First of all, I have recently discovered that "typical" ended some time ago. I'm not sure the exact date our quiet, harmonious, first year of marriage was forever altered, but suffice to say it was sometime after Zoe turned 18 and my son, Earnest, came to live with us.

These two events coalesced into some new amorphous energy that looked and sounded like "I'm 18 and can do whatever I want." And, "I need your car to look for work, go to work, go to school, and for everything else I need to do."  Coinciding with this new energy, or because of it, all three cars (my son Max's included) decided to break down at the same time, and repeatedly. I will not even discuss our gas consumption. Adding to the carnage are the "tribes" -- "tribes" are best described as two or more loved ones that circle the queen (Zoe) or king (Earnest) and land around the "home" campfire.

Yesterday is a perfect example of the tribes circling the campfire. Earnest's girfriend, Shenda, and her son, Beechie, came over and spent the day and night.  Zoe came home with Tati to share in the dinner celebration of Earnest getting a job - crab legs, salad, baguette, brownies and ice cream - and then promptly (and rudely I might add) left "to be with her girls." Adding, "I'll be back later with Tati and Courtney". Oh, they did come home, too late and multiplied by two, so we had 4 in addition to Zoe sleeping around the campfire.

I laid awake last night, 3am to be exact, wondering how to herd stray cats. In my perseverating, I concluded that Zoe needed to be reigned in. So, I grounded her this morning while her "tribe" lay sleeping. I think she was expecting it. Even though Earnest will be leaving this week to embark on his new life, he has warned us he'll be back often.

Truth be told, I love the "tribes" and the flow of bodies in and out of the house. Teaching Beechie how to make brownies, and butter the baguette was a joy, watching everyone tear into the crab legs was hilarious, and sharing the hot tub and a cup of coffee with Shenda and Earnest this morning delightful. This is our family -- an ever expanding and contracting "tribe" of loved ones that know they are always welcome.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Saturday Blog Share~

IONS - the Institute of NoeticSciences - is a wonderful organization. Please check them out using the link below. The article, Ancient Wisdom and Perfect Health explores what "health" really means. Insightful and thought provoking. Enjoy your Saturday read!

Noetic Now Journal Institute of Noetic Sciences