Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Healing Power of Touch Part 2- Edie The Scared Dog That Just Needed a Hug

All we often need is love and a hug.  Both humans and animals.  I wrote about the healing power of touch after reading about the preemie twins Kyrie and Brielle Jackson four years ago.  This video is about Edie, a fluffy white dog that was so scared and unapproachable she was about to be euthanized.  Enter Eldad Hagar, from Hope For Paws, an animal rescue organization who was asked to evaluate the scared-to-almost-death dog.  This is what happens when Eldad is finally able to give her what she so desperately needed. 

Grab your Kleenex.

Watch Christian Videos and Read the Online Bible at GodVine.com

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"Shit New Age Guys Say" YouTube Video

Levity and laughter are good for the soul. Here are two videos I hope make you chuckle as much as they did me. Both starring singer Jeffery Hyde Thompson, Lizz Cross-Thompson and Cameron Kincaid Richardson, and directed by Liz Cross-Thompson.

A take-off on the latest YouTube fad of "Shit" people say, the first video is  "Shit New Age Guys Say" and the 2nd one is a full version of the song at the end of the first video.  Funny stuff.

Namaste, and enjoy!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Happy Chinese New Year 2012- Year of the Dragon

GungHay Fat Choy!

January 23 marks the new Year of the Dragon.

This website has all sorts of fun information about the Chinese New Year or Spring Festival as it is also referred to.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Which Fruits and Veggies Have The Most and Least Amount of Pesticides?

Fruits and veggies should be the mainstay of any healthy diet, but the pesticides can be a turn-off to many, and with good reason since pesticides are toxic. Obviously organic is the best way to go to ensure a pesticide-free fruit or vegetable, but it can be expensive and isn't always an option. But at least now there's a list of the fruits and vegetables that contain the most and the least amounts of pesticide, so we can make better choices.

Do you know which is the worst offender, as far as pesticides go?

According to Environmental Working Group (EWG), ironically, it's that fruit we're supposed to eat once a day to keep the doctor away- yes, the almighty 'forbidden fruit' apple has the greatest amount of pesticide residue even after washing and peeling it. So if you have the choice, you should opt for organic apples, if at all possible.

After apples comes celery (which I'm not fond of), but some of my favorite fruits and veggies made EWG's dirty dozen list:

3. strawberries
4. peaches
5. spinach
6. nectarines-imported
7. grapes-imported
8. sweet bellpeppers (meh)
9. potatoes
10. blueberries-domestic
11. lettuce (what's salad without lettuce?)
12. kale/collard greens

Peaches, strawberries and blueberries? Say it isn't so! The three fruits that top my cereal, on my cereal mornings. Am not happy about this at all.

EWG also has a list of the 15 cleanest- or the ones with the least amount of pesticides. They suggest not eliminating fruits and veggies altogether, but encourage people to choose the recommended 5 servings from the Clean 15, if you can't go organic. Thankfully there are some good ones to choose from including onions, mangoes, watermelon and sweet potatoes. 

You can find the full list of 53 fruits and veggies here.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

How To Deal With Challenging People and Win Them Over

Inevitably, as we travel through life, we will encounter challenging people- be they family, friends, co-workers or strangers.  It's not easy dealing with someone with a difficult personality especially those who push our buttons, because they often turn us into people we don't like. But I love a challenge and have always looked at troublesome people and situations as a spiritual game of sorts: can I turn that person or situation from a negative to a positive. I don't think I've ever failed.

The first thing you have to do is set aside your pre-judgements and know that coming from a loving heart everything is possible. Most people will eventually react in a positive way if you are kind and loving, but it can take time to wear them down, and it does take effort on your part.  It's not easy to be unconditional when you are faced with hateful or disagreeable individuals, but the work will usually pay off in the end.

I remember working years ago as an actress for a murder mystery dinner theatre company at a restaurant where in addition to our acting duties we also served dinner.  We had to share the kitchen with the serving staff of the restaurant and they were not too happy to share the space.  At first, they were rude and unaccommodating, so I immediately made it my mission to win them over, and eventually did.  It was actually quite simple really, and cost me nothing more than a nightly, friendly 'hello, how are you'. They didn't really respond at first, and most people would have just given up, but this is where my love of a challenge came in:  I continued to engage them until they started to respond. I did this by going out of my way to say hello, commiserating with them about challenging customers, thanking them for sharing the space, and just being nice.  It worked, and made things a lot more pleasant. I did the same thing with some women in an office where I was temping.  After a while they were going out of their way to be nice to me.

There are other ways to diffuse negative people and situations without ever coming in contact with them. Affirmations and visualization are both great ways of changing things around.  You can do this by affirming harmony in all your relationships, or visualizing white light, or love, or whatever you find appropriate surrounding the person you are having trouble with. This has also worked for me on many occasions.

It really doesn't take much, just a little persistence and you can win over pretty much anyone. However, if for some reason they don't respond regardless of your efforts, then let go and detach, but refuse to stoop to their level of negativity.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Benefits Of Yoga

Originating in India some 5,000 or so years ago, yoga has become the thing to do amongst health and wellness enthusiasts. For some, it's an all-encompassing spiritual lifestyle including diet, meditation and exercise (postures). Others just incorporate some of the elements into their lives with great benefits.

One thing everyone acknowledges, including mainstream medicine, is that it is very beneficial in many ways. Stressed out? Yoga can help manage that anxiety, tension and stress. In pain?  It can help with that too.  But those aren't the only things yoga can remedy. It can also help you lose weight and keep fit, and is often recommended for people with depression, diabetes, cancer, insomnia, multiple sclerosis, and high blood pressure, among many other things.

Yoga is a series of  exercises which include deep breathing, specific poses and meditation, though some just do the postures and deep breathing. In fact, if you are feeling stressed, just taking a few deep breaths can be of enormous help.

Trying to figure out what type of yoga to do can be challenging, however, since there are so many different forms- from the more common Hatha yoga to the latest fad Bikram yoga, where you get to sweat it out in a hot room. This article helps you decide which would be best for your personality type.

And for all you female yoga lovers out there, here's another funny from the Whole Foods Parking Lot people dedicated to you.

Please remember before starting any kind of yoga or exercise programme check with your health professional, since there are people with certain conditions that should not do yoga.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Whole Foods Parking Lot- Video by Smog and Fog Films

Don't get me wrong, I love Whole Foods- so many goodies to find there- but this video pretty much nails the whole Whole Foods experience, from the sucky parking lots to the cost.

It's produced by Smog and Fog Films, a collective of artists, and stars David Wittman as DJ Dave.

Relate and enjoy.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

How To Choose Your Religion- Flowchart and Quiz

I found this rather funny since it pretty much pokes fun at every major religion. Sometimes we just need to not take ourselves so seriously. And I definitely believe that GOD has a sense of humour, I know I've experienced it.

On a more serious note, many of us on spiritual paths often incorporate different Truths from different faiths into our religious belief system. I have known Jewish Buddhists, and Christians and Jews who believe in karma and re-incarnation. I even knew a Jewish woman who was a Hare Krishna devotee.

And if you don't know where you stand, or you're not sure what path you should follow, take this fun Spiritual Belief System Selector Quiz at SelectSmart.com. Although I was very surprised at what I came up with, it was still interesting.

Read the instructions carefully and have fun. It's just 20 multiple choice questions, and you get the results right there without having to sign up. You might be inspired to try something new.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Shopping for a cause: Adoptashelter for abandoned and neglected pets

During bad economic times one the first things financially strapped people give up is their beloved pets. If they've lost homes or can barely feed their family, they certainly won't be able to feed their animals, so off they go to shelters. As a result, animal shelters across the country are feeling the strain and in desperate need of funding.  One wonderful way of donating to these shelters without actually having to donate any money yourself, is by using http://www.adoptashelter.com/ for all your on-line shopping needs.  It costs you and the shelters absolutely nothing, plus there's no registration, no creating an account and no fees.

The process is actually quite simple: go to their website, choose a shelter from one of two drop down menus, then you can shop away at the many different participating stores including Best Buy, Old Navy, Petsmart, Petco, Orbitz, Itunes, Walmart, Lowes and many other well known, and lesser known merchants. Those merchants then pay adoptashelter a commission for every purchase made through the adoptapshelter website, and the best part is that 100% of that amount goes directly to the shelter of your choice.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Is It Time To Let Go Of Negative Friendships?

Someone had this posted on their FaceBook wall, and I thought it was rather appropriate considering it's the time of year for making resolutions and letting go. 

The new year gives us a wonderful opportunity to take stock of our lives and determine what is or isn't working.  Unless we are hermits living in a hut on some isolated mountain top, we all must deal with people, whether they're family, friends or co-workers.  We don't have the option to choose our family or the strangers we might encounter during our daily trek, but we definitely do have a choice who we keep as friends, and many of us have one or two that aren't really friends at all. You know the type, the ones who suck you dry mentally and emotionally, call only when they need something, always complaining or gossiping,  never ask how you are, spending the whole conversation talking about themselves?  Surrounding ourselves with negative people will only make us more negative, and being negative just draws more negativity into our lives.  If there's no way of helping that person become more positive, it might be time to let go.  That might be harder to do with family or co-workers, but we never have to remain in abusive, negative relationships, nor should we.

To determine if a relationship or friendship is having an adverse effect upon our lives, all we have to ask ourselves is- is that friendship making us into someone we don't like, rather than helping us become the best that we can be? If the answer is yes, then we're doing ourselves a major disservice, and it's definitely time to move on.

As the above quote says: surrounding ourselves with positive people that make us happy and laugh, will do wonders for not only your life, but the world in general.

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's Resolutions How To- out with the old, in with the new

We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day.”  Edith Lovejoy Pierce

The start of a new year is the perfect time to transform our lives by discarding what is no longer useful or helpful to us, be that physical, mental, emotional or spiritual. It's also a great opportunity to embrace the things that will benefit us and make us better human beings. Making those annual 'New Year's resolutions' is a great way of implementing that change, as long as we are realistic and don't berate ourselves at the end of the year for failing to achieve all of our goals. But go ahead and make that list, and keep checking back to reaffirm what it is you want to accomplish during the year, remembering that things can change, and that's okay.

Here are some steps to help you along the way.

1. Determine what you want:  Think about what it is you really want your  life to be, who you want to be. What are your dreams and aspirations?  What would you like to accomplish?  The more passionate you are about it, the more likely it is you will bring about that change.

2. Write them down:  It's important to put it in writing, plus you will have it there for reference throughout the year. Being very specific often helps certain individuals, since it gives them something to work towards. On the other hand being too specific could set you up for failure, so if you are one of those types it's probably best to be a little more ambiguous about the things you want to accomplish. For example, if you'd like to lose some weight or exercise more, rather than giving yourself a specific objective, be more general:  "I want to lose weight" rather than "I want to lose 20 pounds".  Personally, I'd love to lose 10 pounds, but I'd be happy with 5. 

3. Write in the affirmative: When making resolutions or affirmations, it's very important to write in the affirmative rather than the negative. "I want to be more patient with people" is far more powerful than "I no longer wish to be impatient with people." 
4. Visualize achieving your goals: Picture yourself doing or being whatever it is you want to achieve. How does that feel? What does it look like in your mind's eye. Feel the actual emotions of being or doing whatever it is you want to be or do. Act as if.

5. Plan of Action:  You might also want to write down a step by step plan on how you intend to reach your goals. And some of your goals might be interconnected.  Say you want to lose weight and you also want to exercise more, exercising more will be part of the plan to help you lose those extra pounds. If you want to be more loving and generous, detail the ways in which you might do that, and whether that will entail money or actions: by donating to charitable organizations or donating your time to help someone in need. Detailing those plans gets you steps closer to achieving them.  It's like a contract between you and the universe.

Whether you have a few resolutions or a long list, keep in mind that as you travel through the year things could and will change. Be flexible. Some goals might not seem as important and will drop off your list, and you might wind up adding some along the way. 

Remember, you always have each day to regroup and start afresh and the effort is what is most important.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year 2012

I think for many, including myself, 2011 has been challenging at best.  Finances and health have been a major struggle this past year. Thankfully, the latter part of the year brought some stability to my health issues, the Ulcerative Colitis is completely in remission, with only some minor digestive issues unrelated to the UC. The pain is almost to the pre-procrit days, and I attribute that to the tart cherry juice and Wobenzyme tablets, which I take daily. I hardly notice it at all, and am very grateful for that.  However the finances continued, until the end, to be rather pitiful.

When I lived in Quito Ecuador (for two years as a teen), tradition was to burn the old year (Año Viejo) in effigy on New Year's Eve. We'd  head out to Amazonas Street (one of the main drags which was blocked off on December 31) and we'd walk up and down enjoying the street entertainment and the burning of the effigies.

This year I wouldn't have minded having a 2011 effigy to burn, but instead I cleaned my house, made myself some collard greens and black-eyed peas, ate some grapes, and am good to go. I'm really not a superstitious person, but thought it would be fun to try some new, New Year's traditions.

We start every year with a new slate, and I am looking forward to making it a good one. 

Make some New Year's resolutions, but make them do-able. Of course, the most important thing to do is to re-connect with your spiritual objectives, because everything else falls into place when you are aligned.

I wish you peace, joy, abundance and above all else good health.

Many blessings!