Mind, Body, Spirit Connections

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Health Tip - Surviving the Holidays in Good Health

Jennifer's 5 Tips

The holidays can be a time of added stress as we prepare for Christmas and the New Year. Along with the excitement and anticipation of the season, there are added chores, shopping for gifts, decorating and food preparation. A heavy workload, chronic illness, caring for others, emotional distress or a hormone imbalance can add to our feelings of stress causing further fatigue and exhaustion. Our adrenal glands are in over-drive and, if we are not careful, our immune system can weaken leaving us in a vulnerable state for colds, flu and illness.

Here are 5 tips to stay in good health during the holidays:

1) Choose healthy foods~

Eat fresh fruits and vegetables and stay away from processed foods and refined sugars, including fast food. It will be tempting to eat out, indulge in Christmas goodies that lurking around every corner, and skip meals. Try to balance your nibbling with healthy meals of fresh fish, chicken, lean meats, eggs, nuts and whole grains.

Protein-rich foods produce more energy and stabilize blood sugar. Each meal should consist of one third protein and the remaining two thirds should be fresh vegetables and fruits high in fiber. Try to limit coffee and caffeine consumption and reach for a cup of de-caffeinated tea instead.

2) Take your Supplements~

There are a variety of supplements that can boost your energy levels, strengthen your resistance to colds and disease and promote a sense of well-being.

The B’s rule -- B1, B2, B3 and pantothenic acid- are indispensible in breaking food down for energy. B1 is especially important if you are eating a diet high in carbohydrates as it plays a critical role in making the enzymes necessary to break down the carbs.

CoQ10 is necessary for the creation of energy in the mitochondria. Every cell contains mitochondria and CoQ10 improves muscle energy levels. Consider taking L-carnitine which burns the fat in the mitochondria and Vitamin C which aids in the synthesis of carnitine and keeps the brain energized.

3) Get Plenty of Sleep~

A good night's sleep is a must. Drink a cup of tea before bed, turn off the TV, computer and cellphone and let yourself unwind. Soak in a warm bath. If you have trouble sleeping, try the following supplements to aid in a good night’s rest: melatonin, 5-HTP and magnesium (also helps with leg cramps).

4) Exercise~

It’s easy to skip exercise when we are so busy with the Holiday season. Actually, the best thing you can do is to get some fresh air and exercise. Physical activity will promote the burning of fat and making of muscle. You will find that rather than feeling more tired, exercise will energize you and increase your stamina. Even thirty minutes a day will pay off and increase your energy level by up to 20%.

5) Take a moment to breathe and relax~

When you find yourself tense and overwhelmed, take a moment and pause. Take a deep, cleansing breath, and exhale slowly feeling the tension and stress leave your body. Imagine your stress draining from the bottoms of your feet into the earth. Allow yourself to completely relax in the moment. Do a couple of simple stretches -- rolling your head, bending from the waist side to side, stretching your hands up over your head.

In this state of relaxation, access the rest of your day. Is there something that you can let go of? Does it really need to get done today? Can you delegate to others? What can you do for yourself that will ease the stress and tension—prepare a cup of tea, take a walk outside, or simply read something inspirational for 10 or 15 minutes?

The holidays are meant to be joyous and a time spent with loved ones and friends. Cherish this time together, have fun and enjoy the holidays.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Quote of the Day~

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."
Ralph Waldo Emerson~

Monday, November 28, 2011

Intention of the Day~

To learn the uses for all 3,000 supplements, herbs, and other products at our health food store~

My brain hurts!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunday Reflection~

My sister forwarded this to me in an email. I have thought about what Ben Stein has written and I think he deserves a response. I do not agree with everything he says, but he is passionate and his comments are thought provoking. I have commented in italics/bold after certain paragraphs.

Apparently the White House referred to Christmas Trees as Holiday Trees for the first time this year which prompted CBS presenter, Ben Stein, to present this piece which I would like to share with you. I think it applies just as much to many countries as it does to America ...

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are, Christmas trees.

It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, 'Merry Christmas' to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu . If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I agree. We have become afraid of speaking our truth in fear of "offending" someone/anyone.

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.

I do not think we are an atheist country. On the contrary, we are a country rich in religious and spiritual diversity, but there is a pervasive sense of "don't talk about it" like the military's "Don't ask, don't tell."

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God ? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.

I don't and will never worship celebrities. But, his question begs another question: Why has TV, computer games, IPad and the Iphone become more important than our spiritual journey?"

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her 'How could God let something like this happen?' (regarding Hurricane Katrina).. Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, 'I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?'

In light of recent events... terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

I part ways with Ben here. Our children are not responsible for the terrorist attacks, or the wars, or the famine, poverty and suffering that we experience globally. Our children, nor God in my opinion, is responsible for Katrina, the earthquakes, the tsunamis, or any other weather tragedy that befalls us. 

If our children have no conscience, we must look to how they have been raised. We, the parents, are responsible for teaching our children right from wrong, instilling strong values, and cultivating a deep spiritual life. Our schools, government, clergy, TV, twitter and facebook are not responsible. God's presence must burn brightly in the home. 

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.'

Now, I completely agree with that statement - "We reap what we sow."  Are we sowing seeds of love? Are we a living embodiment of love? Personally, I do not think God gives a hoot about a lot of stuff, nor do I think he controls the weather. I think God -- All That Is -- a divine, intelligent, vibration of pure love, is only interested in our journey of learning how to love. I believe that this divine intelligence is always present, always accessible, always available to us. We must ask and be open to receive. The darkness we witness in our world is the absence of love.

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing yet?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

I could care less what other people think. But, I do not forward chain emails that have an explicit or implicit threat, nor religious, political, or lewd emails. Just not what I do. Animal emails I tend to share, as well as inspirational. I have passed this on Ben as I do think you have us thinking...not necessarily agreeing. And, that is what healthy discussion is all about. We need not be bullied into sending or not sending. What we need is to think and reflect more deeply on the issues that we care deeply about.

Pass it on if you think it has merit.

If not, then just discard it.... no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.

My Best Regards, Honestly and Respectfully,

Ben Stein

Jennifer Johnston

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Saturday Blog Share~

Learn To Forgive Yourself
Ian Lawton~

Carol Luebering, an author who wrote a lot about death and dying, said,

Forgiveness is not something you do for someone else. It is something you do for yourself. An unforgiven injury binds you to a time and place someone else has chosen; it holds you trapped in a past moment and in old feelings.

It seems like one of life’s greatest challenges to forgive yourself, and often forgiving others falls into place when you forgive yourself because hostility towards others is often just unresolved self loathing in disguise. The incredible liberation you experience when you begin to forgive yourself is like a fog of bitterness that lifts. You see yourself, others and life more clearly and with greater compassion.

Forgiveness is an issue we all deal with in different ways. In light of the Penn State sex abuse scandal, many people (myself included) have been reminded of situations where we didn’t listen to our intuition and take action. This brings with it a heavy load of guilt. Others may need to forgive themselves for staying in abusive relationships for too long, or making choices that diminished your humanity. Most of us are haunted by something we wish we had done, or knew we should have done, and healing begins with forgiving yourself.

When I was in kindergarten I left the classroom one day to go to the bathroom. When I got there, I found my best friend, David, sitting on a stranger’s lap in the cubicle. I ran in terror back to the classroom and didn’t tell anyone what I’d seen. I was frozen in fear. Eventually word filtered around the room that David was missing, and I finally told the teacher what I had seen. Nothing else was ever said about it, and I never knew what happened to my friend. But my inability to immediately tell the teacher plagued me for years.

What was wrong with me? Why didn’t I speak up? It was my fault if David was hurt. I had made myself the perpetrator and bound myself for years to that time and old feeling. My self loathing wasn’t helping anyone, least of all myself. But I couldn’t move beyond it for years.

My healing followed 5 steps to liberate myself and move on. (read on for 5 steps to self forgiveness)

Step One: Accept What Was

I couldn’t control the actions of the man, nor my friend. Whatever happened, happened, however devastating. I certainly can’t change what happened, and I can’t change what I did and didn’t do. Wishing it were otherwise now is a futile battle with reality and memory. The starting point is ACCEPTANCE.

Step Two: Reframe the Memory

I am left with a frame in my mind, a snapshot of something that happened a long time ago. My frame on the experience was laced with guilt for many years. Once I accepted the reality of whatever happened, I started to reframe it. My new frame was full of compassion (for myself). I was 5 years old, confused and terrified. I was also an innocent victim of the situation. My new frame is compassion; for myself, I did all I could do at that time, for my friend, he has lived with what happened to him, and even for the perpetrator. You can’t abuse kids without being very damaged yourself. It doesn’t excuse bad behavior or lack of self control, but it is a frame that enables me to move on.

Step Three: Visualize Forgiveness

This is a brief summary of a visualization I have spent many hours working on. In meditation, I focus on myself as a five year old. I surround myself with protective energy. I create safe space to heal within. I imagine myself embracing myself as a shocked five year old. I give the same love and care to the boy that I give to my own children when they are scared. Forgiveness grows when you visualize compassion.

Step Four: Letting go of guilt.

With my new frame on the experience, and my visualization of compassion, I learnt to let go of guilt. I don’t have to live my friend’s karma, and I don’t have to suffer the abuser’s karma. I release myself from responsibility for what happened to either of them. I also release myself from responsibility for choices I made as a very young child in shock. I don’t need to punish myself any longer.

Step Five: Choose to Respond Differently

Freed from guilt, I can choose to respond differently now. I have had several opportunities to speak up for victims of abuse in my adult life. I have taken each one of them with determination. I chose to learn from the experience, and pledged to be a voice for those who lost their voices as victims of abuse. It’s now a major part of my life to support people in healing and transformation, through writing, speaking and coaching.

The steps to self forgiveness are not always neat and tidy. We move back and forth between guilt and forgiveness, hopefully adding a little more gentleness to our frame each time we do the hard work of self forgiveness.

In the end, it all comes down to what sort of world you choose to dwell in. I imagine a world where children are fiercely protected and people are mindful of the effect of their actions.

I love the ritual among the Masai tribes of African. Even though they were considered the most fearsome of all warriors, they use a greeting that is amazingly gentle. They greet each other with the words, “Kasserian ingera?’ which means “How are the children?” Even warriors with no children of their own would give the answer, ‘All the children are well.”

If the children are well, it is well with all. If the least visible and least powerful are well cared for, society as a whole is in a healthy state. Start by caring for the vulnerable child within who needs to be empowered with courage to heal from past choices and move on making powerful choices. Ask yourself often, “How is the child within?” May your answer be, “The child within is well.”

Forgiveness can’t change the past, but it changes the present in a mighty way. Forgiveness is the way of the peaceful warrior. It fills your present with peace, and enlarges the future for you and others.

Ian Lawton - Spiritual teacher of inner wisdom, divine love, deeper consciousness, oneness, peace, and abundance. Contact Ian: ian@soulseeds.com

Friday, November 25, 2011

Friday celebration~

I am celebrating leftovers!

The Thanksgiving meal tastes better the next day. I've already had a piece of chocolate pecan pie for breakfast with homemade whip cream. Hmmmmmmmmmmm.

I'll skip lunch so I can really dig in tonight.

What are you celebrating today?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Spiritual Guidance~

The Day of Giving Thanks~

On this day of Thanksgiving, I reflect on my own family and our tradition surrounding this holiday. Growing up, it was a much anticipated day. We knew the food was going to be delicious and the smells emanating from the kitchen made my mouth water in anticipation. There were at least two fires lit, and we would have our appetizers and drinks in the formal living room. Dinner was in the dining room, before the fire, and we would always do "hands prayers".  I loved Thanksgiving.

I tried to carry on my mother's tradition as best as I could with my own family. In the early years, we would go back to my parent's house, or my husband's parents. We rotated years to be fair. As I reflect on this year and many in the recent past, I realize how much Thanksgiving has changed for us.  It will never be the same as we do not gather at the house anymore. Mom's alzheimer's changed our tradition. My divorce changed our tradition.

I'm not sad per se, but aware of how changes in one's life course impacts so many things. Max and Zoe are with their dad in Colorado skiing. They are excited as they do not see him often. They will not miss the turkey. Andy and I will be with friends and we are grateful. My dad will be at the nursing home, feeding mom, both sad and happy to be with her. My sisters will be with their families.

This is how it is. Not good or bad. It just is and I am, nevertheless, filled with gratitude. Grateful for all of the years that we did celebrate together as a family and appreciative of life's transitions. I know, one day, in the near future our home will be filled with our children, their spouses, and grandchildren on Thanksgiving Day.

I will be in my glory, feeding them all, and carrying on the tradition.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Health Tip ~ Natural remedy for cold and flu

Cold-Busting Teas~

During this busy holiday season, many of us over-do, wear our bodies down, and become more susceptible to colds and flu. It is important to pay attention to our bodies and restore balance as soon as we feel any imbalance. Eat well, rest, and take deep cleansing breaths when you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed.

One of the best cold-busting teas around is a combination of elder flower, peppermint and yarrow. These three herbs, available in most natural foods store, are combined in equal parts (e.g., ½ tsp of elder flower, ½ tsp of peppermint, ½ tsp of yarrow). Mix the herbs thoroughly before steeping the mixture in 6 to 8oz of water for up to 10 minutes. Sweeten with honey, xylitol, or stevia. Drink one cup of tea at least three times daily until symptoms disappear.

Why does this mixture of herbs work?

Elder flower has naturally occurring compounds that break up mucus and strengthen mucus membranes, which helps you filter out further illness-causing germs. Peppermint acts as a decongestant and yarrow works as a diaphoretic to promote sweating and a diuretic that helps to thin mucus.

A powerful threesome that will get you back on your feet quickly. Some also suggest taking a hot bath immediately after ingesting the tea and then getting under heavy blankets to promote perspiration.

Best advice, though, is to get plenty of rest, drink lots of water, and don't slip into the frenzy of the holidays. It will all get done. And what doesn't, let it go.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Quote of the Day~

"How am I going to live today in order to create the tomorrow I'm committed to?"
Tony Robbins~

Monday, November 21, 2011

Intention of the Day~

Make an apple pie, pecan-chocolate pie, pumpkin pie, and rum cake by 10:00am~

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday Glimpse into Jennifer's Brain~

Brain dead~

My brain is not firing on all lobes this lovely Sunday; cerebellum, medulla oblongata, temporal and frontal lobes all seem to be on a siesta. I think this is so because I'd rather be sunbathing on the beach with my sister and daughter.

You ever have one of those days when you just don't want to fire up that brain? Let it sleep, I say. No chatter to remind me that I would rather be somewhere else.

This mushy glob of supportive tissue and nerve cells that we call the brain is connected to the spinal cord; together they form the central nervous system. In case you were wondering, the central nervous system controls EVERYTHING.

Our personality, thoughts, memories, intelligence, speech, emotions, our senses, bodily finctions, heart beat...I could go on and on. Thank God the two operate hand in hand. My spinal cord is operating just fine, with my brain cells limping along for the ride.

I'm going to have days like this -- part of the transition.

Wait, my heart is starting to pump a bit harder. And I think I sense new flickerings in my soft mushy brain tissue....yes, only 10 minutes to closing!

Andy and I will be walking on the beach in half an hour. Hand in hand, feeling the sun on our bodies, smelling the ocean, drinking in the splendor of it all.

I'm awake with anticipation~

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Reiki Really Works – A Groundbreaking Scientific Study 91
By Green Lotus
After decades of often disputed validity, the effectiveness of Reiki, a holistic energy treatment is gaining new respect within the medical community. Not only are highly reputable medical facilities throughout the U.S. offering patients alternative healing programs such as Reiki, those facilities are analyzing the benefits of their programs and are submitting them for review and compilation. The results are nothing short of remarkable.

Reiki is an energy healing treatment that works holistically; on the whole body, mind and spirit. Not a system of religious beliefs, Reiki is simply a relaxing treatment whereas natural healing vibrations are transmitted through the hands of a Reiki practitioner (acting as a conduit) to the body of the recipient. The purpose of a Reiki treatment is to relieve stress and pain, induce relaxation, release emotional blockages, accelerate natural healing, balance subtle bodies energies and support other medical modalities including traditional therapies.

The International Center for Reiki Training has estimated that there are 4,000,000 people throughout the word who have taken at least one level of Reiki training. There are three traditional levels of expertise.

Today, Reiki is offered free of charge in more than 800 American Hospitals as a means to accelerate the healing process and to alleviate pain.

For years Reiki, along with other methods of holistic therapies were looked upon with disdain, even contempt from medical associations, practitioners, mainstream scientists and clerics. The idea that the human body was permeated or surrounded by an invisible, etheric body of “life force energy” was considered to be no less than nonsense.

These negative conclusions were formulated on the premise that “life energy” fields such as those accepted in China as Chi or qi, in Japan as ki and in India as prana , were “unseen” and “immeasurable” by traditional research or scientific instrumentation.

But now all that is changing.

There's never been a comprehensive list of controlled, evidence-based research that was accessible to the holistic, medical, and scientific communities. It wasn’t until 2005 when William Lee Rand, founder and president of the International Center for Reiki Training and a pioneer in worldwide Reiki awareness formed the Center For Reiki Research and developed what is now known as The Touchstone Process.

What is The Touchstone Process?

The Touchstone Process is actually a peer review method for analyzing the current state of scientific studies done on Reiki programs in hospitals, clinics and hospice facilities throughout the United States. The process of critique is rigorous, impartial, and consistent and incorporates the best practices for scientific review.

William Lee Rand began formulating The Touchstone Process after developing the Reiki In Hospitals website, considered to be the most comprehensive compilation of hospitals offering Reiki treatments throughout the world. The Touchstone Process is unique. Never before have there been so many worthy studies of Reiki gathered, analyzed and evaluated within a single source.

The most recent data analyzed (during 2008-9) shows strong evidence that Reiki is indeed responsible for a positive biological response in both humans and animals.

The strongest evidence (rated “excellent” in the Process) was reported in the most carefully controlled of all experiments; non other than laboratory rats. In both 2006 and 2008 stressed-out lab rats received Reiki treatments and they all showed significantly reduced stress, anxiety and depression responses. “Sham” or bogus Reiki treatments were given to the placebo group and they showed no reduction in stress, anxiety or depression.

Testing in humans performed between 1993 and 2006 showed ratings from Satisfactory to Excellent, all suggesting that the benefit of Reiki treatments were positive in controlling pain levels in humans. There were some “confounding variables”, which is typical in hospital (as opposed to laboratory) studies; however, the placebo Reiki treatments in this experiment were by contrast ineffective in controlling pain.

Reiki practitioners treat faculty and staff from Columbia University Health Sciences and New York-Presbyterian Hospital at Employee Health and Wellness Day Vital Signs.

At New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Campus, one particular study was performed to determine the effectiveness of Reiki treatments on the autonomic nervous system. This “blind, random study” included a Reiki treatment group, a “sham” treatment group and a “control” group. The testing began with all participants at “baseline” autonomic nervous systems levels. The results within the Reiki treatment group showed a lowering of these levels including heart rate, respiration and blood pressure.

It’s interesting to note that Columbia/Presbyterian was one of the first hospitals to offer Reiki as part of their Integrative Medicine Program (CIMP). The now famous cardiovascular surgeon, Dr. Mehmet Oz brought tremendous attention to Reiki when he invited Reiki practitioners to treat patients during open heart surgeries and heart transplant operations. Dr. Oz is often quoted as saying, "Reiki has become a sought-after healing art among patients and mainstream medical professionals."

Reiki Passes Tests with Flying Colors

There have been many other controlled studies submitted to peer-journals and to The Touchstone Process for review. Ailments and disorders that tested favorably to Reiki treatment include:

1. Post operative pain after tooth extraction

2. Cognition in elderly, related to dementia/Alzheimers

3. Pre-operative relaxation and post-op pain

4. Pain in chronically ill patients

5. Depression and stress

6. Well-being in Reiki practitioners

As of 2009, The Touchstone Process has evaluated 25 test studies that appeared in peer-review journals evaluating the merits of Reiki Treatments. Taking into consideration only the most rigorously controlled studies, the team reported that 83% showed moderate to strong evidence in support of Reiki as a viable, therapeutic healing modality.

Only one study proved solidly negative and that was for the treatment of fibromyalgia-associated pain levels. As is the case with conventional drug treatments, not all therapies prove to be effective.

Despite these findings and the impressive number of highly reputable hospitals offering Reiki Treatments to patients, there will be those who continue to deem Reiki and other forms of energy-medicine as being “nonsensical”.

As recently as 2009, reviews of “randomized studies” of Reiki research conducted by Edzard Ernst, M.D., Ph.D. and his colleagues at the University of Exeter, concluded that most were poorly designed and presented insufficient evidence to suggest that Reiki was an effective method for healing any condition.

That same year, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops came out with a statement urging Catholic health-care facilities and clergy not to promote or support Reiki therapy. They issued a statement emphatically concluding that Reiki cannot be an effective method of healing “within the findings of natural science or in Christian belief".

One can only look to the future of science and the evolution of scientific testing, evaluation and responsible reporting such as The Touchstone Process to alter these perceptions.

The good news is that in a press release dated Sept. 15th, 2008, The American Hospital Association President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock stated, “"Complementary and alternative medicine has shown great promise in supporting and stimulating healing. It's one of the many tools hospitals look to as they continue to create optimal healing environments for the patients they serve."

According to a 2008 AHA the survey, 84 percent of hospitals indicated patient demand as the primary rationale in offering complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) services including Reiki and 67 percent of those surveyed stated “clinical effectiveness” as their top reason.

65 of those hospitals are listed on the Center for Reiki Research’s website including-

•Duke Integrative Medicine, Durham, North Carolina

•New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center Campus, New York, New York

•Yale–New Haven Hospital, New Haven, Connecticut

•Sharp Memorial Hospital Inpatient Cancer Support Services, San Diego, California

•Children’s Hospital Boston, Boston, Massachusetts

•Citrus Valley Medical Center Cancer Resource Center, Covina, California

In addition, the American Medical Association (AMA) has added Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) treatments to their directory of billable procedures.


A spokesperson from Columbia Integrative Medicine Program at the New York Presbyterian Hospital (CIMP) perhaps expresses it best, saying,

“I find the practice of Reiki very rewarding, as a practitioner. Patients have reported deep relaxation and a sense of profound healing, after one session. I feel that Reiki is a huge asset for any hospital setting, because patients sense that they are in a truly caring environment."

As Reiki continues to become "a huge asset" for the hospital setting, analytical reporting such as The Touchstone Process continues to add to the much needed pool of evidence that Reiki is indeed a worthy, effective method for facilitating the healing process; one that can contribute to the betterment of patients everywhere and to the betterment of our health care systems.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Celebrations~


Today I am celebrating the opportunities that present themselves in my life.

This morning I will be presenting two Give & Forgive workshops to teenage girls at an alternative school. I am thrilled with the opportunity to impact their lives in some small way and introduce them to the Intent Heals Journal and Lending Heart in the hopes that these simple tools will bring healing in their lives.

I know these girls. I know the path they walk after running an intensive residential treatment center for five years. Their heartache and pain is unquestionable. I hope that today I can instill some hope, and reinforce a way of thinking and behaving that will lead them on the road to success and fulfillment.

What are you celebrating today?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Spiritual Guidance~

Radish pointing the way~

Does how we search for and receive guidance change throughout our lives? The simple answer is of course it does-it must.

Isn't guidance like love: always present, patient, understanding, waiting for us in so many unique forms, so that when ready, we can recognize that we a have a choice and act (or not)? 

I gained guidance from a seemingly straightforward haiku that I read the other day written by Issa:

The man pulling radishes
pointed the way
with a radish.

Where do you find your guidance?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Health Tip - Why the Buzz over Red Yeast Rice?

Natural Alternative to Statins~

Allopathic doctors are beginning to catch onto the benefits of red yeast rice (monascus purpureus) as an effect and safe all natural alternative to statins for lowering cholesterol levels. Commonly used in Chinese medicine to treat cardiovascular and other health issues, red yeast rice is gaining in popularity here in the US.


Red yeast rice does not have the side effects commonly associated with statins -- elevated liver enzymers, which could lead to liver damage, and muscle pain and weakness.  Many who can not tolerate statins are turning to red yeast rice with positive results. Their LDL cholesterol is lowered while the good cholesterol, HDL is not adversely impacted.

If you have high cholesterol levels and cannot tolerate statins, or choose not to take them, check out this all natural alternative.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Quote of the Day~

"Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck." -Dalai Lama

Monday, November 14, 2011

Intention of the Day~

Embrace your life with gratitude, acceptance and a deep knowing that all is in perfect alignment~

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Day in Jennifer's Life~

"I'm on Holiday"~

My blessed regular blog followers know that Andy and I purchased a health food store. We were official owners on November 1st and this was also the first day of our training by the brothers, Andre and Bernard. This auspicious first day started on the heels of both of us returning from travels where we were visiting family (knowing that it would be a long time before we had another chance) and in my case, the last days freezing in a state without electricity.

Needless to say, it has been an eventful two weeks.

Going from zero to 60 like the Corvette in 6 seconds is not all its cracked up to be. I admit, I have struggled with this new schedule and pace. Add social engagements, a surprise birthday party, and an unexpected death, and you can well imagine that I was teetering on insanity, not to mention exhaustion. Just to add even more spice, we only have one working car, which died the second morning we had to be at work, our son's car died, Zoe had homecoming weekend (nothing more needs to be said) and the garbage disposal has decided to quit and spew disgusting foul water all over the floor.

So, you might be asking, why is this a holiday?

I didn't have to go to work today! Andy told me to take the day off. His guilt had mounted to a point of no return as he had played in a two day tournament last week.

"Really? Are you sure honey?"

Oh, heavens, I was elated. My sister is flying in tomorrow. The house is a mess. The refrigerator is bare. And Zoe and I had a college application to fill out. Now, I know this might seem like "work" to you, but it was a gift from God for me.

Never underestimate the gift of time. In my four precious hours, I cleaned out the refrigerator, pantry, picked up the house, helped Zoe complete her application, went food shopping, two loads of laundry, answered email, and with these last few strokes, have written my Sunday blog!!

I am indeed on Holiday~

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Saturday Blog Share~

Turning Forgiveness Inside Out: Moving on from Anger

Editor’s Note: This is a contribution by Mike Bundrant

“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us.” ~Joseph Campbell

I stood in front of my father, man to man, and demanded an apology. His long absence and lack of interest during my formative years had burned within me a resentment that wouldn’t quit. My therapist suggested that I confront him as one adult to another, so there I was.

It didn’t go well. The more I pointed out his failures, the more defensive he got. The more I demanded an apology, the more he justified his actions. In his mind, he wasn’t to blame for the fact that I spent much of my childhood longing for the particular kind of bonding that only a loving father can provide.

“It’s a simple apology!” I finally screamed. “That’s it. That is all I want. You weren’t around and you damn well should have been. I needed you. It’s not rocket science. Children need their parents. But you didn’t care about me, did you?”

“Well, you are only alienating me further by the way you’re acting now,” he replied, offended.

Maddening. I left that encounter with a splitting headache that lasted three days. What gives? How could he be so narcissistic? I returned to my therapist, Jake, to discuss the incident.

“You confronted your father and really pushed him. I guess you needed to do that,” Jake said with a tone of respect. “Now, perhaps you can approach him in a different way, coming from a different place.”


I agreed that Jake must be right, although it would be three years before I understood what that new approach might be. I knew I needed to forgive him, so I just kept trying. All of the prayers, affirmations, visualizations, and other work must have been helping, but I never experienced the true letting go of resentment that comes with actual forgiveness. It didn’t feel like a choice.

The answer came from a client. She had come to me for help in dealing with her son and happened to tell me about an encounter she once had with a Buddhist monk. After angrily relating the sad tale of her childhood and the awful parenting she experienced, the monk simply stated the following:

You are the wrongdoer now.

It hit me like a ton of bricks.

I had never considered my father from the perspective that I might be in the wrong somehow. I was working like mad trying to forgive him, hoping to alleviate my anger, but I didn’t realize that the anger itself, at this point in my life, was a wrong that I was perpetrating. It dawned on me a little more each day.

My father was a person who was living in the shadow of my resentment, day in and day out. What is it like to have an unforgiving son? How well can anyone get along with people whose sole purpose is to take them down? A mental floodgate had opened and energy was flowing in a totally new direction.

The next visit with my father was different.

My sincere plea was, “I came to apologize to you, Dad, for resenting you. I know it’s affected our relationship. I’ve been hateful to you for not being available when I was young. I really needed you then, but showing up screaming at you and demanding apologies isn’t exactly helpful. I understand that now and hope you can forgive me for mistreating you for so many years.”


I’d like to tell you here that my dad broke down in tears, took responsibility for everything, begged my forgiveness, and became my best friend from that moment on, but that would be a lie. He merely asked, “Why don’t we just drop the whole thing and move on?”

“Agreed,” I replied. Then, we watched whatever ballgame was on the television. My dad was indeed emotionally unavailable. He didn’t connect well with other people, including all of his children, and he was unhappy for his lack of caring. His favorite pastime was to be left alone and without obligation.

I, on the other hand, was finally free. No more resentment burning up my days and nights. No more feeling like a victim of child neglect. No more anger for being born. I could see my father now, not from the perspective of a child with unmet needs, but as an adult capable of understanding that people aren’t always what you need them to be.

With all of the ups and downs, emotional setbacks and struggles in my relating to my dad, this perspective has been the most valuable of all.

New Perspective

There are those who have suggested that I could have never asked his forgiveness or let go of the anger if I had not first confronted him and “gotten it off my chest.” This may be true. I’ll never know because that is what I did and I can’t return to do it over any other way.

I’m not so concerned about it. I’m not trying to write a forgiveness protocol. Everyone is faced with unique circumstances that deserve to be considered as such.

What does all this say about forgiveness? To me it is simple. When you can’t forgive another person, stop and consider what you’ve done that needs forgiving. Turn forgiveness inside out

Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday celebration~


I celebrate this auspicious day welcoming the new energy of cooperation, awakening, and collective consciousness.

I celebrate the men and women who sacrifice their lives so that we may live in freedom.

I celebrate the day when peace will reign throughout the world and war will be a haunting memory.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Spiritual Guidance~

"Happiness is not what makes us grateful. It's gratefulness that makes us happy.."

~David Steindl-Rast
It has been a difficult week since learning of the sudden, and unexpected death, of a Sugar Mill friend. The sorrow and heartache I feel  lies heavy in my heart.  And, I've had trouble sleeping. I keep thinking about Ralph and his wife Jill, who I play golf with on Tuesdays. I want to hold her and absorb some of her pain like a mother naturally does with her child. 
On another level, Ralph's death has triggered the "snap around" I've written about. Rather than squealching, I am letting these emotions flow through me. My dreams are vivid indicators of how my psyche is processing the soup of grief, fear, anger, sadness, and shock.
In the early morning, before rising, I let the dreams fade and move into my prayers of gratitude. For life will always present us with our challenges, and death (expected or unexpected) is an inevitable part of life. We have only this moment to live fully, deeply from the heart and with gratitude.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Health tip - Eat Beets~

Health Benefits of BeetsRed beets (Beta vulgaris) definitely do not take a serious place in our daily diet, and this is actually not right! These blood red veggies can not be frequently found on our dinner plates, and thinking about adding beets to our daily diet will hardly be associated with positive expectations from the taste of these veggies. However, those who are health-conscious are aware that red beets are among the healthiest natural foods which can improve our physical well being to a great extent! A wide variety of health benefits associated with these red and juicy edible roots, the veggies with no content of saturated and trans fats, very low in calories and with highly effective anti-cancerous properties, should not be ignored and neglected! Especially taking into account the fact that red beets are being cultivated throughout the world and are available in our markets year round.

100 g of this veggie has only 42 kcal. The same amount has 9.7 g of carbohydrates, 1.5 g of proteins, 43 mg of phosphorus, 27 mg of calcium, 10 mg of Vitamin C, 4 mg of niacin, 1 mg of iron, 0.5 mg of riboflavin and thiamine. In addition to that, red beets are considered to be perfect sources of fiber which is essential for good digestion and stronger immunity against cancer. Green leafy tops of the beets should not be thrown away as they are rich in a number of important natural nutrients, including carotene, chlorophyll, potassium, folic acid, and some vitamins. Red beet leafs can be used in cooking (as the ingredients of vegetable soups, salads or other dishes).

Beets and health benefits of beets are mentioned in scripts from the neo-Babylonian epoch. It was one of the most valuable foods in ancient Greece, and red beets were given along with sacrifice gifts to the Greek God Apollo. The Greeks and Romans discovered a lot of beets health benefits, including eating giving great energy and serving as a natural aphrodisiac, as well as relieving constipation and improving blood quality by enriching it with natural minerals and sugars. In the 16th century red beets were introduced in Northern Europe, and in the Napoleon epoch the first species of sugar beet as a source of sugar started being cultivated.

An outstanding natural food for excellent heart health and blood quality, red beet is also known for its properties to protect liver from possible problems (due to a high content of beatines), and its abilities to prevent respiratory diseases (due to a high content of carotene and vitamin C). According to the specialists from the American Heart Association, beets and beetroot juice consumption is linked to lower blood pressure and stronger capillaries. But, undoubtedly, one of the most important health benefits of beets is anti-cancerous properties of this veggie. Researches showed that regular treatment with red beets or beetroot juice is linked to blocking cell mutations caused by nitrosamines compounds. Beet therapy can be especially effective for lowering the risks of having colon cancer.

When talking about beets health benefits, it is impossible not to mention positive effects of this veggie on vision and reducing risks of having cataract (due to a high content of beta-carotene). Betanine has great anti-inflammatory properties and can successfully lower the effects of oxidative stress. Beetroot juice can also assist in combating such problems as headaches, menstrual pains, lumbago, toothaches, skin problems and many more. Finally, beets are highly recommended to be added to a healthy diet of all pregnant women as this veggie is rich in folate and other vitamins from B group, which play a role in preventing birth defects: in particular, lowering the risk of spina bifida. Beets can be really great complements of various dishes and salads, so give this miraculous gift of nature a chance one day! Do not get fooled by its disputable fame as a tasteless piece of flesh: have you ever tried a real Russian Borscht?

Author Info: Hi! My name is Carla and I am a 5th year medical student at HYMS. I am interested in alternative medicine and I have done months researching the topic of herbal medicine. Besides, I like interviewing people and learning more about their experiences with one or another type of herbal treatments.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Quote of the Day~

"Wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving."
~Kahlil Gibran

Monday, November 7, 2011

Intention of the Day~

Surviving the party~

It's a funny thing about parties; especially surprise parties. You spend a lot of time planning, sneaking around, and, in my case, being really sneaky about the sneaking around because I am with Andy 24/7 now working at the store. And then, in a flash -- it's over!

Where did everyone go? I didn't get to spend time with anyone (even my birthday boy)...too busy running around tending to the details. Where are the limes? Egads, we're out of Scotch! Can someone cut open the dinner rolls?

Well, you get the idea. Needless to say, I missed my Sunday blog, and very late with my intention for the day.

My excuse? I threw one damn good party, thanks to my "sneaky" angels who helped me pull off Andy's 65th birthday party.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Saturday Blog Share~

Time to Winterize Our Bodies~
Karen Effenberger, Indianapolis

It’s Autumn and a time to winterize our bodies. We winterize our houses by putting up storm windows and doors and servicing the furnace so we stay warm in the winter. We winterize our cars by checking tires, brakes, batteries and belts to prevent getting stuck in cold weather. What do we do to winterize our bodies?

Most people hope and pray they don’t get the flu. I know some people just assume getting sick is just what comes with winter. I think we can be proactive and winterize our bodies to minimize the potential of getting a cold or the flu. According to body biorhythms and Chinese medicine, each organ in your body is associated with a season. Autumn is associated with the lungs and large intestine. So Autumn is the time to clean out and support the lungs and large intestine.

When your lungs aren’t functioning properly, your body accumulates heat, creating other health issues resulting in poor circulation, night sweats, excessive perspiration and fatigue and listlessness. Approximately, 1 out of 3 people struggle with at least one of the common chronic respiratory diseases, sinusitis, allergies, bronchitis and asthma. Both Chinese and western medicine have linked skin problems to the lungs, particularly, rashes, dry, blotchy skin, chapped lips, cracked nails, acne and psoriasis.

When do most people have these problems? Yes, in the winter!!

Equally important to your health and detoxification process are your large intestines, which also need special attention during Autumn. The main function of your large intestine is to gather your body’s putrefied toxins and eliminate them so the entire body can work without undue stress.

So how do you support the lungs and large intestine?

Fenugreek tea is the Autumn herbal tea of choice because it is effective as a lubricant; it softens and dissolves mucus in the lungs and moistens the large intestinal tract to prevent constipation. Mullein and lobelia have long been associated with pulmonary problems. Mullein is an expectorant and lobelia is a bronchial dilator and antispasmodic useful for lung congestion and asthma.

Autumn spices need to be included in your diet. Cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg are aromatic and help prevent indigestion and gas. Now is the time to exchange your fresh squeezed lemon juice for organic unfiltered raw apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is warming to the body, where as lemon juice is cooling. Use apple cider vinegar on vegetables and salads and in salad dressings. The Autumn tea, herbs and spices support intestinal and respiratory function and alleviate dampness.

Autumn is a great time to add more fiber to your diet in the form of vegetables and fruits, psyllium or flaxseed meal. Fiber helps clean the intestinal walls.

There are also many herbal cleanse products on the market today. Drinking 8 glasses of water a day and consuming essential fatty acids in the form of olive oil and fish oils will also support intestinal health. Stress and sugar can cause problems for the large intestines, in the form of constipation or diarrhea. Eliminating processed sugars and substituting with fruit and high fiber alternatives (whole grains) supports intestinal health. De-stressing with regular exercise and meditation will support respiratory and intestinal health.

Letting go of toxins is not only a physical process. In order to let go of the physical, it may also be necessary to let go of the emotional, mental or spiritual issues associated with the accumulating toxins. Emotions and issues associated with the lungs are grief, sadness, yearning, cloudy thinking and anguish. Emotions and issues associated with the large intestine are dogmatically positioned (stubborn), crying, compelled to neatness, and defensiveness. Now is the time to take a personal inventory of emotions and issues that are bothering you.

To let go:

~ Develop a ritual to help let go of stuck emotions and issues.

~ Make sure you are getting regular exercise to move emotions

~ Meditate to create a peaceful state of mind

~ Counseling or therapy may be needed

~ Therapeutic message and energy work can help release issues in the tissues.

Know that loving yourself and forgiving yourself and others are the keys to letting go and healing.

I hope you all enjoy the cooler temperatures, the colorful trees and all the sites and smells of Autumn. Just as nature is getting ready for winter, so must we. Make a commitment to take an active and proactive approach to readying your mind and body for winter.

If I can be of any help, please call or email. I do phone consultations as well as office visits.

Karen Effenberger



Friday, November 4, 2011

Friday celebration~

Being a store owner~

Today we are celebrating our good fortune for having discovered and purchasing a "gem" of a business in Edgewater, FL. How blessed Andy and I are to be the new owners of such a wonderful health food store. The brothers, Bernard and Andre, have built an excellent reputation in the community. Our delight this week has been meeting the customers and watching their reaction as the brothers tell them that they have sold the business.

Most are truly horrified, but quickly recover as they realize we are watching, and then graciously extended a welcome to us. We are impressed with the customers depth of knowledge, humor, and genuine appreciation for Brothers Nutrition.

So, today, Andy and I celebrate our good fortune~

What are you celebrating today?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Spiritual Guidance~

Six Steps on How to Love Yourself Better~

I spent an amazing weekend at a Stillpoint graduate conference. Mother Nature's unexpected snowfall only enhanced the magic of the weekend.

Meredith imparted her wisdom, love and created sacred space for us to do our work. Here is one of her gems

Six Steps on How I Can Love Myself Better 

1) Ask for support and guidance from God/Spirit.

2) Use every glimmer of insight as an opening to new possibilities.

3) Experience what you treasure rather than what dissapoints you.

4) Heal your early life wounded-ness.

5) When you feel down, help someone.

6) Trust that you are being guided from within.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Health Tip - Hazards of Owning a Health Food Store

Hazards of Owning a Health Food Store~

Andy and I are proud owners of a health food store in Edgewater, Fl. We are on our second day of training and my brain is on overload trying to absorb all of the information Bernard is patiently teaching me. What really is transpiring, however, is the gnawing awareness that I am not as healthy as I could be.

Now, I feel healthy!  I exercise, eat well, and I am never sick (knock on some wood).

But, I am realizing that I'm not totally committed. I did not use all natural toothpaste, deodorant, or take a multi-vitamin...until yesterday! Just like our spiritual journey, you can't be straddling the proverbial fence.

Both feet in!

As I learn, I'll share with all of you. It's a new chapter -- thrilling, exhausting, and fully embraced~


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Quote of the Day~

"Our lives improve only when we take chances and the first and most difficult risk we take is to be honest with ourselves." ~Walter Anderson