Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Doing What I Must

in my yard a vibrant ecosystem   

Work in progress

I have been home for just a little over four months. I am writing this blog to demonstrate how adapting your ways can influence your health. You have to have an open mind and be willing to put aside any preconceived notions about health and look at the science behind various methods.   

Each day, I am getting stronger and more focused.  I credit my use of meditation for my positive mindset.  It also helps  that I am surrounded by people who are positive and encouraging.  While I was in rehab hospital I recall doing simple tasks “Did you have a B.M? asked my nurse. “yup”I  responded with a smile. and, the nurses  cheered.  They cheered when  took a step by myself. good job"! It was like having a private cheering squad. It still makes me smile. And to tell the truth it felt good. I think, it is because behind their cheers was an authentic intention to help. Their enthusiasm for my accomplishing the simple stuff encouraged me to do the more difficult things.    

I admit that the past four months has had its challenges; however, it is nothing that I couldn't handle. I made sure to  continue some of the strategies I learned in rehab. For example, I made sure when I was talking to people they were on my left side, where I have a vision deficit.  I would consciously place items on my left side so that I would be forced to look for them there, and I also bought and installed an app that challenged me to use my brain.  And, over the summer I regularly walked in the evenings. 

Each day, I start my day with meditation. The insights that come up while meditating create an opportunity for introspection and problem-solving.  I have been reading and listening to inspiring podcasts that provide an understanding of how our bodies work, and in particular, how our digestion and gut work. It turns out that this is pretty important to maintaining a healthy system. There is a group of doctors who investigate and follow studies under the heading of Functional Medicine, which is basically looking for the causes of our diseases and not just treating the symptoms, which is much of what conventional medicine does. One of my favorite podcasts is Dr. Hyman’s Doctor’s farmacy. And broken brain.

 It is really exciting, because the research is showing that simply  eating the right foods, exercising, taking time for ourselves in meditation, and creating a positive mindset can improve ones overall health. This is to some extent the same type of advice we are used to hearing from our general practitioner. However, how many of us pay attention to it, and there is a scientific basis for it.

I am of the belief that each of us is responsible for maintaining our health. It is our responsibility to be mindful and protect our health while we still can.

It is really an exciting time for me. I am curious and willing to investigate all avenues to ensure I have the right information to improve my health. When I first embarked on this journey I decided that I would be open to receiving information and to follow a regimen that will enhance and support my healing. 

Interestingly, I even surprised myself. I have been a long time vegetarian, over 20 years in fact.  However my research revealed I have been depriving myself of a key food item to build healthy muscles and protein, which is red meat, and in particular organs, like liver, and kidneys. Adding bone broth is an easy way to introduce meat back into your diet. As I studied the science behind it, I realized that my days of being a vegetarian would be over if I wanted to get healthier. The way I look at it, if eating meat, is the simplest change I could make to improve my overall health, then why wouldn't I? I am able to get around most of the time without any aids. I have energy and I am upbeat and positive.

However The thought of eating meat, specifically red meat, was not a pleasant one for me, however, Once I made the decision to go back to eating meat it was easy because I had a reason for doing that. And my aversion to eating meat took a backseat to my need to get healthier.  I wanted to support my brain function .  It goes without saying that I would I be eating only wild meats and fish, and whole foods, stuff that is grown in the ground.   Thankfully, I planted a garden in the spring.  and I stayed away from all processed foods already.  A large part of the protocol is to consume at least 6 to 9 cups of greens and fruit daily. Wow. that is a lot.  

Indeed At first, it seemed impossible to consume that much greens and fruits until I decided to blend
green smoothie Kale, dates, banana, Water 
them and then it became more manageable I could sip on a smoothie throughout the day that was filled with the nutrients that my mitochondria required to operate optimally.  I have eliminated from my diet wheat, grains and artificial foods.  There is tons of information out there and many varying diets, but we must be attentive and research extensively before embarking down a particular path. Also, it is important to advise your doctor of any changes you are thinking of. I have been following Dr. Wahl’s protocol. It really resonated with me and is backed by scientific data. What impressed me about her approach was. She has Tenacity and determination to overcome and to maintain a quality lifestyle to address the issues she was experiencing after her MS diagnosis. Her story is nothing short of inspiring. If you are experiencing any autoimmune disease or inflammation, pain, etc. I highly recommend you start reading her book and begin eating your way to a healthier you.

In a million years, I never thought that I would ever eat meat again.  Thankfully,  being open minded.  I didn't dismiss the idea off hand before even giving it an honest try.     

Since I've been home, and eating a healthier diet, I sleep better, and my thought processing is getting sharper.  Overall, I am pleased with my progress.   Another side benefit from adopting this protocol, and I didn't even think about it until I began writing this blog piece is that the chronic pain I experienced in my lower back before is gone. If you're interested in reading about functional medicine drop me a line and I will send you a recommended reading list, Or follow the links in this blog post. Be Well. 

Monday, July 9, 2018

Time Stood Still

Time stood still  - after my morning meditation, I posted on Instagram (toblogtoday) this …. “The power of intention, tapping into creativity, love, kindness, beauty, and expansion.”

I was looking forward to a visit from a friend I had not seen in years, . My intention was to reconnect with her, by being present and in the moment.  You know you have been in the present moment when a visit that is over four hours long seems like it was only five minutes!

It is one of those visits that, although we haven't talked to each other in a number of years, we picked up exactly where up we left off. There were no awkward moments or silent pauses; only a beautiful flow of energy that actually energized me. We covered a variety of  differed subjects some really sad, and others really funny, and I laughed to a point that tears flowed down my face.  And some of what we talked about was pretty incredible stuff, if anyone were to  eavesdrop on us they would wonder if we were not indeed  transplanted aliens or some kind of awesome witches. It was so amazing be able to talk freely, in a stream of thought fashion and know that the person you are speaking with really gets you.

This morning, when I did my meditation, I had no idea how my day was going to unfold. My intention was to be open and available. It began with the arrival of my beautiful massage therapist Maria, who gave me a very relaxing 90 minute message, and then the lovely Ana arrived. It was as though the time continuum collapsed and the last few Year's dissolved and all that really mattered was that she was here at my door smiling at me. She looked marvelous bright big smile and bearing a gift.  I am grateful to have such a beautiful friend  and  I feel privilege that she decided to spend an afternoon with me.

The power of intention is phenomenal because I did not consciously know how creativity, beauty and love would show up today. And it showed up in the manifestation of Ana! The universe must've known exactly what my spirit needed. Our conversation could be described  as “expansive.”

Carving a moment in time to be fully present with a friend has to be acknowledged as a loving and caring act. Being open to the possibilities this morning without putting any limits on my expectation made a fantastic visit even better than I could have imagined. My attitude of openness made it possible to have a complicated and deep conversation on some very serious topics.

Love can show up at any time in our lives but we have to be ready to receive it when it does and, more importantly, we also have to be able to recognize it. It's these moments in time when you are totally present with the person you are speaking with that love exists.

My favorite quote is one by Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh: “Darling I am here for you.”  If you have the intention to really listen to a person and be in the moment 100% your conversation will be amazing. It gives honor to both  the person listening and the person speaking.  Thank you Ana for being available to me today. Moment by moment, a collection of moments is what makes connections real. Being in the moment is the best and only way to be your authentic self and it is the best gift you can give one another. I forgot how insightful you are.    

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Are we disenchanted with one another?

Are we disenchanted with one another?

Recently, I attempted to create a document of family phone numbers.  I have a huge family and we live across Canada in different  provinces and even different countries. Although Facebook is a platform that is great to connect with one another it still is somewhat impersonal. Sometimes a family member will tell me that “no one calls me.” I agree that we are not in touch as often as we should be because we are all pretty busy. So, I thought it would be a good idea to create a document with all the family contacts that I have and share it with the family in the event that they may also want to be in touch with each other. I proposed to post it in our family Facebook page that is only accessible by family members.  I thought that it would be welcomed.

Almost immediately, it became evident that there were some trust issues. On sending out my plan a number of family members said they did not want me to share their number with others. Maybe they didn’t trust me to keep their number from being circulated. It is interesting to me at least that this happened.  I am okay with what transpired but I am puzzled why family are reluctant to share their phone number. 

There was even a comment that my idea was “weird” and another commented “why do you want to post it”?  I simply thought that creating a document with all the numbers – a little family phone book if you will - was actually doing something good. If somebody else had created such a document I would’ve been happy to receive it, because it is actually a lot of effort to collect these numbers.

Mama (my late mother) always carried a small phone book with numbers of all the family members on it.  It was pretty worn out with many numbers crossed out and new numbers  written in. When I would visit my her she would always ask me to phone my one of my many brothers or sisters and I would access the number in her tattered book. She always enjoyed being in touch with her children.  It was in that spirit that I wanted to create this document so that my brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews and cousins could easily be in touch with one another.  However, I also understand that in the age of technology we are careful with the information we put online. I understand that, and also that there is something to be said for old-fashioned pen and paper. If numbers are in a physical book here is less of a fear that the information will be transferred to someone who could not be trusted. 

I find it ironic that we live in an age of technology where all sorts of personal – even intimate - information is routinely and publicly shared, while at the same time we are afraid of breaches of our privacy if information is shared with the wrong person.  We rightly want to control what information is shared and what information we keep private.  It is a balance we deal with each day as we interact on various social media platforms. However, the truth is that everything we put online can be viewed by others and in reality only limited privacy is preserved.

At the end of the day, I decided against sharing a document with family contact information on Facebook and instead I will keep that information private and to myself.  It is noteworthy to say that the family page is actually restricted to just family, so any fears that it would be shared throughout the web is actually unfounded. Because only those family who are on this page would see the information.  

If somebody had just said they would like the document email to them I would  have gladly provided it to them. But nobody asked for it. In fact, out of 55 family members who have access to our family page, I actually only received less than 10 current phone numbers, and of those, four indicated they did not want their information shared.  It is a bit of a sad realization for me.

Inasmuch as we like to think of our family as being close, this brief exercise illustrates to me that we actually don’t have any interest in keeping in touch with one another, sadly.  Or else, our fear of losing control of our personal privacy overrides our desire to access basic family information.

Nevertheless, I am glad that I initiated this exercise because it confirms to me that my family prefers to keep to themselves.  There is nothing wrong with that – I am by nature a private person  myself.  Or does it mean that within the family there is mistrust of each other.  If so I have a bit of a problem with that.  When did we become disillusioned with one another?  It must have happened gradually and maybe I am na├»ve for not noticing. Is it unrealistic for me to think that we could have a cohesive and tight family dynamic?  Is it because our family is too big  and diverse to find common ground of mutual respect and love?  How can I support our family to create more  interest in one another?   What kind of action can we jointly do that will enhance our relationship?  

I am thinking something like a “community” where we can rely on one another, and create stronger relationships with one another.  Is this something that the family is interested in, or is it just me?  Years ago, I created the family page initially to support research on our genealogy.  I created a massive family tree and everyone seemed to be energized by the product when they saw it printed out on the wall.

For a time it worked, and then over time some
conflict ensued, and family members started removing themselves from the page. The original spirit of the page seem to be lost. What I was trying to achieve was a page where we as a family could have a dialogue, remain in touch and express our interest in each other. However when conflict arose, instead of working through the conflict, some family opted to remove themselves.  We seem to have lost the ability or desire to listen to each other.  I get calls from family members who are hurt and crying because they don’t feel they are loved by other family members.   I feel their pain and their suffering, but I know it is not true.  I know that WE do LOVE each other but sometimes we find it hard to show it to one another.

I think although we love each other, but sometimes we don’t always like each other. My promise to my family is that I will always be here for you.  If you just need someone to be a sounding board, I am here.  Know that as long as we are family you are never alone. You can trust me to not abandon you.  And if you confide private information to me, I will not betray your trust.
younger generation 

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