I recently began reading Arianna Huffington’s Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder. The book was a Christmas gift from my future daughter-in-law, Colleen Leddy, who had attended a Thrive workshop earlier in the year. She had texted me about her wonderful experience, and I made a mental note to buy a copy of Huffington’s book. One thing led to another, and I never placed that order. Consequently, I was really pleased when I opened the gift box and found Thrive. Since I was right in the middle of reading London by Edward Rutherfurd, a book I highly recommend to both seasoned and aspiring writers for a study of Rutherfurd’s approach to historical fiction, I couldn’t start Huffington’s book when it arrived.
Over the past three days, however, I’ve read about 150 pages of Thrive, but I’ve already found so much to recommend that I thought I’d take this moment to reach out to all of you who are celebrating the beginning of the new year. For many of us the end of one year and the beginning of another is a time for reflection on what has gone before as well as what is to come in our lives. Not exactly resolution making, reflection is a way to take stock and to dream or plan. I was thinking as I read those first 150 pages that part of Huffington’s message speaks to reflection in our daily lives through the mindfulness practice she recommends.
The training I received at A Healing Place in Richardson, Texas, led me to incorporate mindfulness in my daily life through the practice of meditation. Living on a mountain, isolated at 8,000 feet, for nearly nine years after my introduction to mindfulness, or awareness, made that incorporation easy. Those of you who have read my book, Intentional Healing…or have been following my blog for a while know that I attribute my full recovery from multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) not only to treatment at Dr. William J. Rea’s clinic in Dallas but also to the spiritual healing I received from energy medicine practitioners, Navajo medicine men, and the self-care awareness and energy balancing exercises I was taught at A Healing Place.
Obviously, my own experience with the health-enhancing benefits of mindfulness made me receptive to Huffington’s message that a successful life needs to be redefined from the current metric of working to career achievement through sleep deprivation and exhaustion to, instead, in the words of her subtitle, “creating a life of well-being, wisdom, and wonder.” And to make this point, Huffington backs up her recommendations with a great deal of research supporting the benefits of mindfulness, not just to us but to the organizations, businesses, and institutions for which we work. The data are convincing. I highly recommend you read Thrive.
What is mindfulness? If you’re new to the concept of mindfulness, you can think of it as paying attention to who you are and how you feel in the moment. It is as simple as paying attention to what you are eating and how you are eating it. A friend of mine attended a Natalie Goldberg writing workshop in France this past summer, where mindfulness was incorporated into every activity and task during the program. Eating in silence with mindfulness, paying attention to the scents of the foods, noticing how they felt on several levels as they chewed, allowed the writer participants to open their focus and their ability to write about the experience. Did I mention that they also had to be unplugged from social media—no smart phones, tablets, or computers except for a brief window each day? Something Huffington would have applauded.
Deborah Singleton, founder of A Healing Place, taught me that breath and thought are the two most important tools to enhance wellness in the bodymindspirit. Huffington has incorporated both of these tools in her approach to a successful life, one that is balanced between the planning and execution of tasks in the workplace and at home with living in the moment, which is what mindfulness is all about.
You can take the first step toward cultivating mindfulness by focusing on your breath. As I was taught at A Healing Place, breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth slowly. Think of letting go of all that does not serve you. And relax. Feel into every part of you—head, mouth, nose, throat, shoulders, arms, hands, torso, legs, and feet— as you sit in a chair with your feet on the floor. Focus on your feet. Think: I let it all go. This is something you can do in the middle of your work day right at your desk. Even one minute in this focus will enhance health and improve concentration.
If you’re fortunate to be working at one of the companies mentioned in Thrive that provides meditation classes or quiet rooms for mindfulness, then spend a few minutes bringing yourself into balance by de-stressing through breathing. Enter the quiet room. Sit in a comfortable chair with your feet on the floor. Close your eyes and imagine yourself in one of your favorite places. Is it in a garden? At the seashore? By a lake? On a mountain top? Notice your surroundings in your sacred space. Feel a soft breeze on your face. Experience the warmth of the sun.
Take a deep breath in through your nose and gently blow it out through your mouth. Feel your breath move from the top of your head through your body and into your feet. Send your breath from your feet into the floor below and down into the earth. Don’t worry about what floor you are on. Just see and feel your breath moving through those floors and into the earth. Feel your connection with the earth.
Notice areas of tension in your body. Breathe through those parts of you and think: I let all tension go. Feel it move into your feet and down into the earth. When you feel relaxed, gently bring your focus back to your breath as you leave your visit to your favorite place. Within yourself, express gratitude for your moment in your sacred space. Remember that you can return there whenever you want.
When you are ready, open your eyes. Nurture your body with a cool glass of water and a healthful snack such as fruit or nuts. You will return to your tasks refreshed.
Every day take a few minutes to be in the moment, noticing how you feel and relaxing the tension in your body through breathing. Over time, this refreshing break will develop into an automatic reflex that kicks in when you are feeling stressed. As you continue to practice mindfulness, your awareness of who you are in any moment will enhance your health and allow you to see other people in a more compassionate light. The benefits for you, your employer, and the world at large will grow and grow.
Blessings to all!
My thanks to Google Free Images for the wonderful visuals in this post.
In a New York Times article on September 12, 2014, Michael Wines reported the results of a study by the U.S. Geological Survey that collected data on pesticides from 1992 to 2011 at over 200 monitoring locations. The bad news is that the study found pesticides and herbicides in nearly every waterway in our country.
The good news, however, and decidedly the good news is for only two types of waterways, is that levels declined from the first decade of the study to the second in agricultural streams and other streams other than urban streams. As Wines writes: “From 1992 to 2001 17 percent of agricultural streams and 5 percent of other streams had at least one pesticide whose average annual concentration was above the maximum contaminant level for drinking water. But in the second decade, from 2002 to 2011, the survey found dangerous pesticide concentrations in only one stream nationwide.” And the reason for this decline? Regulations to control the monitored pesticides forced manufacturers to focus elsewhere.
Before you start celebrating, however, you should know that, as Wines points out, this decline was a decline in name only. In fact, as the use of pesticides became more heavily regulated, manufacturers turned to substitute chemicals. In urban streams, pesticide levels above the threshold for aquatic life jumped from 53 percent in the first decade to 90 percent in the second. Part of this jump was attributed to two pesticides—fipronil and dichlorvus, both heavily used in household products, such as flea collars, roach killers (fipronil) and no-pest strips, and dog de-wormers (dichlorvus). As the use of other pesticides became more heavily regulated, manufacturers turned to fipronil and dichlorvus as substitutes. Thus the sudden increase in those pesticides during the second decade. Furthermore, the U.S.G.S. study did not monitor pyrethroids or glyphosate (brand name Roundup).
Although I have no experience with Roundup, I can speak to pyrethroids from firsthand experience. In Intentional Healing: One Woman’s Path to Higher Consciousness and Freedom from Environmental and Other Chronic Illnesses, I described my acute exposure to deltamethrin and delta dust during a visit from exterminators. Let’s start with some background: Type II pyrethroids, such as deltamethrin and permethrin, are sold to the public as safe for domestic use. Safe for children, pets, the elderly, for humans in general. How do they work? They attack the nervous systems of insects through sodium-ion channels. The principal effects of pyrethroids as a class are various signs of excitatory neurotoxicity.
Humans, as mammals, have many more sodium ion channels than insects. And the symptoms I experienced when the exterminators started working—tachycardia, inability to organize my thoughts, breathing difficulties, burning that began in my scalp and spread throughout my body— seemed to indicate that my nervous system was being affected. I later found out at the Environmental Health Center-Dallas that my nervous system had, in fact, been affected. Despite the assurances I had received that pyrethroids are safe for humans, I was harmed by them. Just as the nervous systems of insects are attacked by pyrethroids so, too, was mine.
What does the EPA have to say about pyrethroids? The EPA has found no harm to human beings, situational harm to pets (that is, if products are not used correctly), and a great deal of harm to aquatic organisms. The following was copied directly from the EPA website:
Pyrethroids are highly toxic to aquatic organisms. Because the pyrethroids can accumulate in sediments, risk to sediment-dwelling organisms is an area of particular concern. Recent water quality monitoring efforts in California have identified pyrethroids in sediments of water bodies adjacent to residential/urban areas. These monitoring data, coupled with additional pyrethroid-specific data submitted to the Agency, highlight existing concerns regarding residential uses of pyrethroid pesticide products and movement into non-target areas through runoff or spray drift that may occur during applications.
To reduce exposure to water bodies from non-agricultural and agricultural uses of pyrethroids, the Agency deployed the following labeling initiatives.
Environmental Hazard and General Labeling for Pyrethroid and Synergized Pyrethrins Non-agricultural Outdoor Products – Revised February 2013 – To reduce exposure from residential uses of pyrethroids and pyrethrins products, EPA implemented a 2009 labeling initiative, with minor revisions in 2013, requiring revised Environmental Hazard Statements and general Directions for Use for pyrethroid and pyrethrins pesticide products used in non-agricultural outdoor settings. The label statements spell out good stewardship and best-management practices and clarify how these types of products are intended to be used.
These label statements serve to reduce the potential for runoff and drift to water bodies that can result from applications of pyrethroid end-use products in residential, commercial, institutional, and industrial areas, applied by both professional pesticide control operators and residential consumers.
Pyrethroid Spray Drift Initiative – In the reregistration process for permethrin and cypermethrin, the Agency determined that the existing spray drift language for pyrethroid agricultural products needed to be updated to comply with FIFRA. Because of similarities in use patterns, and concern for exposure to aquatic resources, the Agency believes that this updated label language is necessary for all pyrethroid products used on agricultural crops. In a letter from the Agency (PDF) (6 pp, 75k, About PDF) dated February 21, 2008, registrants were instructed to incorporate the revised spray drift language onto their agricultural labels, and submit the amended labels to the Agency.
Do you now feel protected from toxic runoff? I don’t.
It may be the height of folly, or just another example of the hubris we exhibit toward our place among living organisms, to think that a substance that is deadly to any living creature will not pose dangers to ourselves. I know I am not a lone case. Since the incident in our home in 2002, I’ve met many others who were harmed by pesticides thought to be safe for humans. At the Environmental Health Center-Dallas, thousands of patients have been treated for exposure to toxic chemicals. And the EHC-D is only one of hundreds of clinics and medical practices around the world devoted to treating people who have been exposed to toxins.
If we want to safeguard the environment for ourselves, our families, and the generations that follow us, we need to adopt a new way of thinking about unregulated and regulated pesticides, herbicides, and chemicals. If we think that everyone who uses chemicals will do so in a responsible way, then we are closing our eyes to human nature. If we accept that the substances used to kill insects won’t harm us or our children, if we believe that the pesticides and herbicides we spray on agricultural fields that eventually work their way into our water systems won’t harm aquatic life or the animals (ourselves included) that eat fish, then we will continue to degrade ourselves, the earth, our oceans, and every living creature.
If, like me, you want to regulate strongly the manufacture and use of chemicals by supporting the watchdogs who work to protect us, then get involved by following the work of organizations that inform us and petition for legislation to protect us. Here are just a few of those groups:
The Environmental Working Group—www.ewg.org
The Sierra Club—http://sierraclub.org/
Environmental Health News—http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/
Through these organizations, you’ll have access to the latest environmental developments and political news related to the environment as well as to online petitions so that your voice can be heard. I urge you to take a stand. Speak up for the earth and all of her children.
My thanks to Google free images for all but the last of the visuals in this article. I photographed this nature scene in Sherwood Gardens in Baltimore during one of my meditation walks.
Someone asked me the other day how I was able to follow energy flows in my body. My answer was that I could feel energy and sense if it was flowing in a certain direction. Although that seemed to satisfy my questioner, it made me think about my journey toward becoming energy sensitive.
As with others before me, I came to energy sensitivity through what seemed like an endless spiral of illnesses that appeared to culminate in sensitivity to electromagnetic fields, causing me indescribable pain. For those of my readers who are scratching their heads and wondering what sensitivity to electromagnetic fields is, here is a very brief primer. So-called EMF sensitivity is a change in perception. Whereas most people can use iPhones, computers, tablets, televisions, telephones, and be near running appliances and high-voltage wires without perceiving the EMFs that radiate from these devices, people with EMF sensitivity cannot be within seven to ten feet of one of theses devices or, in some cases of higher EMF emissions such as from a cell phone tower, within a quarter mile or more of the emissions without experiencing acute pain. An EMF-sensitive person feels or perceives the energy from EMF-radiant devices as pain in the body, and many times the emissions precipitate brain fog and confusion, shaking, tremors, tachycardia, immune system effects, and more. I have known some EMF-sensitive people who experienced these sensations at even greater distances than what is described above.
Luckily, when my perception to electromagnetic fields changed, I was referred to Deborah Singleton, founder of A Healing Place, and her team of energy medicine practitioners. Through their guidance, I learned to work with my energy flows so that I could release from my energy fields the EMF emissions that had become perceptible to me and, thus, stop the pain of the exposure. I outlined this coaching and my recovery in Intentional Healing: One Woman’s Path to Higher Consciousness and Freedom from Environmental and Other Chronic Illnesses. In the end, what began as a disability turned into a tool for sensing energy. Check the end of this post for a grounding and releasing exercise for an EMF exposure. Please share it with someone who has EMF sensitivity and cannot use a computer.
Not all people who sense energy flows, however, develop this new perception through illness. Sensitivity to energy can be learned in a gentle way through meditation and coaching. Energy medicine practitioners are sensitive to energy, but anyone who wants to enhance the body’s natural healing processes can learn to be aware of and follow energy flows in the bodymindspirit. As Deborah Singleton taught me, energy responds to breath and thought. Enhancing your body’s natural healing processes by keeping your energy open and flowing is as easy as breathing and thinking (visualizing or using your imagination to see your breath moving through your body).
Let’s try this easy exercise. Use your imagination to “see” a cone of white light radiating from several feet above your head and into your crown. While inhaling through your nose, “see” the light move into your body–through your head, into your trunk, and down into your legs, pooling in your feet. When you exhale gently through your mouth, “see” the white light move into the earth and down to the earth’s core, or center. Let your light connect with the light you “see” in the core; color doesn’t matter. It could be Kelly green, fire engine red, lemon yellow, sky blue, lavender, purple, gold, silver, indigo, and various shades of the primary colors. Then inhale deeply through your nose, “seeing” the light come up into your feet. While exhaling through your mouth, “see” the light move up your legs, through your trunk, into your head , and out your crown. That light will join the light that circulates naturally around your body.
To see the cone of light above your head, watching it as it enters your body and goes to your feet, is to see the first or primary flow. The primary flow feeds all of the flows in the bodymindspirit. The second flow runs in opposite directions for women and men. In women the second flow begins in the bottom of the right foot, travels up the right leg, trunk, arm, neck and into and around the right side of the head, flows over the crown, and descends down the left side of the head, neck, arm, trunk, and leg into the left foot, joining the flow that begins in the right foot. Its trajectory is oval, and it is also thought of as the “oval flow.” In men the second or oval flow starts in the bottom of the left foot, travels up the left leg, trunk, arm, neck and into and around the left side of the head, flows over the crown, and descends down the right side of the head, neck, arm, trunk, and leg into the right foot, joining the flow that begins in the left foot.
Let’s try a breathing and “seeing” exercise for the second flow. See the light that begins in the bottom of your foot (right for women and left for men). As you inhale deeply through your nose, see the light move up your leg, into your trunk, arm, neck and the side of your head to the top of your head. As you exhale through your mouth, see the light descend down the side of your head, through your arm, trunk, leg, and into your foot and “watch” as it joins the flow in your opposite foot. “Watch” the flow circulate for three cycles as you breathe in through your nose and exhale, blowing out through your mouth.
The third flow is the circular flow. Visualize a hula hoop of white light moving clockwise around your body. A healthy third flow can be seen or sensed as a fast-moving cylindrical column of light around your body. When you breathe light up from the earth, it travels up the body and out the head, joining the circular flow.
The fourth flow is the spinal flow that begins at the base of the spine, travels up the back of the spine, over the head, and down the front of the spine, mingling with and feeding each chakra. As you advance in understanding the flows, the fourth flow will be understood in a different way. For now, however, thinking of it in this way is a good start.
Let’s use some of this new understanding of flows to release an EMF exposure.
Grounding and Releasing Exercise for an EMF Exposure
If you know anyone with EMF sensitivity, please share the following grounding and releasing exercise for an EMF exposure:
- Stand on the earth wearing leather(not rubber)-soled shoes (protection for beginners, this requirement can change later with proficiency) or remove shoes and stand on the floor in your home. Whether you are outside or inside, position yourself where you can see a clock.
- See a cone of light above your head. While inhaling through your nose, “see” (visualize or imagine you see) the light move into your head and through your body to your feet creating pools of light. While exhaling through your mouth, “see” the light move into the earth, and with a thought send the light to the core of the earth.
- Join your light to light you “see” in the core. For beginners, it is easiest to use Kelly green, a deep rich green the color of grass, the color of an emerald. Inhale, bringing that green light up from the core to your feet. As you exhale through your nose gently, “see” the green light move through your body and out the top of your head. Imagine yourself as a fountain spouting green water or think of yourself as the Jolly Green Giant. These were images Deborah suggested. For me, they were effective. You may feel tingling in your feet, a good sign that you are grounding. Don’t worry if you feel nothing. That sensitivity may come later.
- Now focus on your circular flow. See it moving around your body in clockwise motion. With a thought stop the flow (Just think: Stop! Reverse!) and send it counter-clockwise. Look at your clock. Let the circular flow move in reverse for no more than two minutes the first time you try this exercise. Later, you can let the reverse flow continue for up to three minutes. Never longer! As this flow reverses, you may feel a pins and needles sensation. That is to be expected if you are sensitive. You are releasing EMF emissions that have pierced your perception. Think: I let the EMF go.
- At the end of two minutes, or three if this is not the first time, with a thought stop the flow (Just think: Stop! Return to clockwise movement.) and send it back to clockwise rotation. Watch this flow, now clockwise, for one minute. You want to make sure that the flow is steady.
- Ground yourself, that is, connect your energies to the earth as described above. Then think: I am grounded. I close myself to all but my highest truth.
All of the energy-balancing exercises I learned at A Healing Place helped me when I was recovering from multiple chemical sensitivity, but the above EMF-clearing exercise saved my sanity while I was at the height of EMF sensitivity.
If you had EMF sensitivity and you have recovered, what helped you? Please share your story by leaving a comment. If you still have EMF sensitivity, what do you do to help yourself? I invite you as well to leave a comment.
In conjunction with “My Writing Process” blog tour, I will be giving away a $10 Amazon gift card to one of the readers of this post who leaves a comment. Here is how it will work. At the end of this week, I will write the name of each person who has left a comment on this blog on a slip of paper. All slips will go into a hat, and I’ll have my husband draw a slip from the hat. An Amazon gift card worth $10 will go to the person whose slip he draws, so be sure to leave your email address for possible delivery. The giveaway will close at midnight on Friday, April 4, 2014.
My Writing Process Blog Tour.
I was fortunate to be asked by my friend Kathryn C. Treat, author of Allergic to Life: My Battle for Survival, Courage, and Hope, to join “My Writing Process” blog tour. Kathy and I met in 2003 at the Environmental Health Center-Dallas. Our friendship began as we supported each other through the rigors of testing and treatment at the Center and developed long-distance by telephone and email. Little did we know, all those years ago, that one day we’d support each other as authors. I have admired Kathy’s strength and determination to recover from environmental illness. She applies those same qualities to her new tasks as an author, and she has taught me a great deal about social media and promotion. I have her to thank for my WordPress site, which she helped me construct after my book website was hacked. To find out more about Kathy and her journey through environmental illness, you can check out her website or her blog. Here, thanks to Kathy, are my thoughts on my writing process.
What am I working on?
From 2004 through 2012 while we were living in Santa Fe, New Mexico, I visited Navajo country, the Jicarilla Apache reservation, and Northern New Mexican pueblos, attending sacred dances and visiting sacred sites in a three-state area. On many trips, I was fortunate to have the company of my friend Christine Gregg, a sacred pipe carrier and sweat lodge keeper, who is a member of the Katala Okolakiciye, a traditional Lakota women’s society. Sometimes, Christine’s apprentice, Esther Maria Lindner, accompanied us. On one of our trips we traced the journey of the Jemez maidens, who were sent by their elders under cover of night into Navajo country. This is only one of the historical events I researched for a book I envisioned that would tell the story of a remarkable Navajo headman who lived in the first half of the nineteenth century and played the dual role of encouraging his people to go into captivity and then, through negotiations with one of the U.S. Army’s ablest generals, of leading his people out of captivity, not to a U.S. Indian reservation but to their homes within the sacred boundaries of Navajo country. I am developing this story line now. At the same time I’ve been developing the theme of the Authentic Self–Higher Self or Soul–through my blog posts, sharing what I’ve learned about getting in touch with that side of ourselves through breathing and visualizations and developing awareness of the human energy system.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I wear many hats as a writer. While some of my blog posts fit neatly into the bodymindspirit genre, many of the topics I choose to pursue identify me as a writer in the field of public health, a calling I’ve followed since 1989. Whereas in earlier years I wrote and worked with experts primarily in the fields of substance abuse and cardiovascular disease about topics assigned to me through the consulting companies for which I worked, now I write about the environment and its effects on health, not surprising since my health was affected by exposure to environmental toxins. I still accept commissions for public health and medical science editing with my husband, Roger, who is a retired physician and epidemiologist. We’ve had the privilege of supporting the Initiative for Vulnerable Populations, based at the University of California Berkeley, editing journal articles, a book chapter, presentations, and press releases.
Why do I write what I do?
I write to make a difference–a difference in the lives of the people I reach, a difference in the fields of public health and medicine through facilitating the communication of ideas and findings from research. I write about things that matter to me greatly. Isn’t that a part of man’s need? To make a difference somewhere? Or at least to think we are making a difference, part ego and part Authentic Self, reaching out to fellow travelers.
How does my writing process work?
My process varies with what I am doing, but usually the basics include (1) an idea or concept, (2) research, (3) consultation with an expert, if appropriate, (4) a rough draft, (5) review by others, and (6) final draft. For my next book I am venturing into historical fiction, with lots of room for imagination, but even for that work, a retelling of the life of Barboncito and his ancestors, I spent years researching and visiting the areas to be included in the settings.
My name is Meglena Ivanova. I’m Bulgarian author, blogger and essayist. I live in NYC with my husband, bearded dragon /lizard/ and abnormally strange cat. When I’m not writing, reading or blogging, I enjoy gaining insights into the psychologies of other cultures and times. I’m also into dancing, movies, and Apple products. Occasionally I like to write short (usually about mystical, mythological creatures and old but sacred objects that are described in ancient legends) fiction stories.
• Website – http://meglenaivanova.com
• Blog – http://meglenaivanova.wordpress.com
• Twitter – https://twitter.com/
• Linkedin – www.linkedin.com/pub/meglena-ivanova/44/110/630/
• Pinterest –http://www.pinterest.com/megidivam/
• Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/MegiIvanova
Wow! My wordpress blog debuted on January 19, 2014, and I’ve just been nominated for a Liebster Award by Meglena Ivanova. Many thanks to Meglena for this honor!
You must link back to the person who nominated you.
Answer 11 questions from the person who nominated you.
Nominate 11 new bloggers and ask them 11 questions.
You cannot nominate the person who nominated you.
You must let the people you nominate know they have been nominated.
Here are my questions from Meglena:
1. What is your biggest goal in life? My goals have changed as I moved from childhood into young adulthood, then adulthood, and now my senior years. I suppose they were all achievement oriented in the beginning. With maturity and a spiritual awakening, they’ve become more process oriented. So if I were to choose one process-oriented goal, it would be this: to interact with everyone I meet through my heart.
3. Would you rather follow your heart or your head? No contest: my heart every time.
4. If you are allowed to do just one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Write, write, write!
5. What do you think of this expression: Where there was fire, ashes remain? If one thinks of fire as purification, what remains is the purest essence of what was. It reminds me, of course, of the phoenix that rises from its ashes, the process of birth and rebirth—much like reincarnation of the soul that returns to complete lessons not fully learned in previous lifetimes or the spring summer fall winter cycle of nature.
6. What’s the best gift you’ve ever given and what’s the best gift you’ve ever received? The best gift I’ve ever given was to an organization for research in women’s health. I set up a template for writing a grant proposal. Not only did that approach win the research money that first year, but every year thereafter. The best gift I’ve ever received was when my son was born. I had been trying to have a baby for several years. After miscarriages and several interventions, a healthy child was born, for which I shall be forever grateful.
7. What ability or skill do you most wish you had (that you don’t have already)? I do not have a quantitative bone in my body. I would love to understand mathematical and statistical concepts.
8. If you could vacation anywhere in the world, where would you go? Straight to Italy, touring north to south and west to east, tasting all of the regional specialties.
9. What would you do without electricity for 3 days? Isn’t that what some residents of NYC had to cope with after Hurricane Sandy? A younger person might answer this question in a different way. As seniors, my husband and I would have to consider a number of safety issues related to leaving and returning home, since we live in a fourth-floor condominium. Since we exercise regularly, access would be manageable. Food during the three-day period would take resourcefulness, but I’m sure we’d work things out. Work would be difficult, especially if I were working on something with a deadline. For entertainment, I’d do what I love to do when I’m not writing, that is, read. I’m never bored with good reading material around.
10. What is your favorite book/author? Hands down, it is Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. I’ve re-read it every year since it was first recommended to me.
11. What’s the biggest problem facing the world right now and if you alone could solve it, how would you do it? Lack of regulation of the manufacture of chemicals is one of the biggest environmental issues the planet faces. Solving this problem would take the combined forces of researchers and governments in every nation. If, therefore, I ruled the world, I would mandate that every chemical be tested for environmental safety, that is, safe for the air we breathe, the water we drink, the animals and fish we depend on for sustenance, the fields we plant, the food we grow.
I nominate the following bloggers for a Liebster Award:
3. Joe Abbate
6. Nonnie Jules
7. Stella Wynne
8. JV Carr
Congratulations to all my honorees. I selected you because your blogs inspire me in many ways. Don’t stop writing about what matters to you most. You have an avid follower in me.
To claim your award, please follow the rules above. Here are your 11 questions:
1. Who are your role models in your professional life?
2. Who are the people who have inspired you in your personal life?
3. Choose one thing in your life for which you are immensely grateful.
4. Give one example each of how you make the chemical, emotional, mental, and physical environments in your home safer for you and those you love.
5. Choose one person in your life to whom you can tell almost anything without fear of judgment.
6. If you could choose another profession, other than the one you are in, which would you choose?
7. How would you like to be remembered?
8. What do you do for recreation?
9. What is your favorite family game, i.e., something you play or played with your children?
10. Who is your favorite poet?
11. Is there a song you like to sing?
That’s it, everyone. Have fun claiming your award.
Thank you, again, Meglena for nominating me for the Liebster Award.
One of the questions I am asked most often is this: What did you do to help yourself recover from environmental illness? Although I benefited from several therapies, the two I credit with putting me on the path to recovery are treatment at the Environmental Health Center-Dallas, founded by Dr. William J Rea, and energy balancing at A Healing Place, founded by Deborah Singleton. For me, this combination of traditional Western medicine and energy medicine was most effective. As I reiterate in author talks, healing paths are individual. What worked for me might not work for someone else. I share my story to let people with environmental illness/multiple chemical sensitivity know that recovery is possible.
In my blogs I share some of the meditations and visualizations I learned to keep myself energetically balanced in order to support the natural healing processes of my bodymindspirit. Anyone can enhance health and vitality by taking a few minutes each day to strengthen his or her energy system by supporting the chakras, or main vortices of energy that are located along the spine. Consider the following.
Chakra Color System
Are you a green person or a blue person? Do you wear red, or does the color yellow predominate in your wardrobe? The last time you bought a tie, were you surprised the tie that caught your attention was purple and you owned nothing purple? Do you have days when the only color that appeals to you is sky blue and you absolutely must wear it?
The bodymindspirit has a subtle way of telling us what we need to bring ourselves into balance. Often, when we have a compulsion to wear a certain color, we are receiving a message that the chakra in which that color predominates needs a little support. If, for instance, one morning you are drawn to wear red, your root chakra might be asking for attention. If, however, you are drawn to wear yellow, your solar plexus might be speaking to you. Let’s review the colors of the chakras and issues typically associated with them.
We need to be aware, however, before beginning this review, that although we think of certain issues as being associated with individual chakras, issues, events, and emotional states have system-wide effects. Every component of the energy system is connected to every other component. If a practitioner tells you, for example, that you are holding sorrow in your heart, he or she might be sensing an energy block affecting the flow of energies into and out of the heart chakra or receiving information about the loss of someone dear to you that is manifesting in the heart. Nevertheless, the flow into and around your other chakras and through the major and minor flows in your body will also be affected, as will the quality of your energy bodies. Anything that leads to imbalance affects all of you. Armed with this information, we can now look at the individual chakras.
In the first, or root, chakra the color red predominates. Issues associated with this chakra include personal safety, personality stability, and groundedness. I’m sure you’ve heard someone you know referred to as “flighty” or “not grounded.” An energy practitioner might see or sense this ungroundedness in the flows into and out of the root chakra, or detect damage to the root chakra from past events. For instance, if your parents did not provide a safe environment for you when you were a child, there might be structural issues that need addressing. Again, these issues, arising from life events, have widespread effects on the bodymindspirit and will have played a part in shaping how you see the world and how you relate to everything on it and in it, including people, places, energies, and every manner of creature within your environment.
The second chakra, or sacrum, is thought of as the governing chakra of sexuality and creativity—from the creation of new life in the womb to the creation of characters on a page, a work of art, or a movement in a symphony. The predominant color of the sacrum is orange, but as with all the chakras, many colors, representing different energies and states, can appear in the sacrum. It is here that information comes forward quite often about your relationship with your mother or father, your partner, or your child. Structural anomalies or blockages in the sacrum typically affect your attitudes toward sexuality and govern how you relate to your sexual partners. They can also block creative flow. Often, so called writer’s block can be traced to changes in flow into the sacrum.
In the third, or solar plexus, chakra the color yellow predominates. Will and determination are governed by the third chakra. It is here that we often receive messages that alert us to danger or fraudulence. We say that we had a “gut feeling” about this or that, and that feeling guided our decisions. The following story illustrates the power of this chakra. Someone I love dearly was walking to a subway entrance on his way to work early one morning. He was listening to music on his IPod, so he couldn’t hear street sounds. He passed what he took to be a street person, wearing a hoodie and rummaging through a dumpster. He had no sooner passed the dumpster when a gut feeling stopped him suddenly and he whirled around to find the street person, who had run toward him with his hands raised as if to hit him, not two feet away. The street person stopped, realizing he would have to face and fight his alerted potential victim, and quickly ran away. When I asked what my loved one had felt, he described feeling as if he had been punched in the gut. “The feeling was so strong. My first instinct was to turn around, and I’m glad I did.”
The fourth, or heart, chakra is the center of the chakra system and the repository of love. Kelly green is the color of the heart chakra, but rose pink can predominate when we experience love. Feelings toward others, as well as feelings toward ourselves, move through this chakra and are modulated by this chakra. The heart chakra is the brain of the spiritual self. Thinking with one’s heart and not one’s head is often thought to originate in the authentic self or soul. The heart chakra serves as a transmitting station between the lower chakras (one, two, and three) and the upper chakras (five, six, and seven). Let’s pause for a minute at the terms “lower” and “upper.” Some people mistakenly believe that the upper chakras are somehow superior to the lower and that the goal of spiritual growth is to process through the lower chakras in order to focus and remain in the upper chakras. Nothing could be further from the truth. Each chakra serves an important function within the chakra system, and spiritual growth is facilitated through each chakra. If you attempt to live only through the upper chakras, you create an imbalance that can impede growth and health.
Through the fifth, or throat, chakra we speak our truth. Sky blue predominates. Issues related to shyness, ability to present ourselves and our needs, in fact, most presentation skills, are associated with the fifth chakra. If you have difficulties speaking before an audience or you’ve been told many times that you need to speak up for yourself, then you may be dealing with what Anodea Judith in Eastern Body, Western Mind: Psychology and the Chakra System as a Path to the Self terms a deficit in the fifth chakra. If people find it hard to be in your company because you are a non-stop talker and carry on incessantly about things that irritate you or just tend to dominate the setting you occupy, then you might be dealing with what she deems an excess in this chakra. Of course, these issues relate to every chakra, in particular the solar plexus, and are tied to questions of will and dominance.
The sixth chakra, or third eye, has traditionally been thought of as the portal to inner vision and communication with other dimensions, the spirit realm, and the soul. This traditional view has been expanded to include the understanding that head and heart communicate, and as they become conjoined more closely, communication centers in the heart. The predominant color is indigo that is infused, as are all the chakras, with great light. The third eye is the conduit that taps into Source for the great ideas that have moved mankind forward in every field. It is through this chakra, therefore, that we can fall prey to hubris unless our head and heart are in balance.
The seventh, or crown, chakra is our connection to God and Spirit. The predominant color is white moving toward lavender, and the light of this chakra reaches up into the heavens. It is the conduit of the energy source that constitutes the primal flow through the body and into the earth, illustrating the dictum “as above, so below.” Balance in this chakra is essential for groundedness and, of course, for balance in all of the chakras. We are said to have our meetings with our guides through the crown chakra, and those who experience NDEs (near-death experiences) tell of hovering above their bodies and observing the efforts of rescue workers and physicians to bring them back to life.
Color meditations support the chakras in several ways. First, by focusing on a particular chakra we increase its power through the universal law that we give energy to the object of our focus. Second, when we work with the dominant color of a chakra we reinforce the vibration of that chakra since each color has a unique vibration that corresponds to the vibratory pattern of the chakra.
All meditation sessions begin with grounding. Sit in a comfortable chair with your feet on the floor. Remove your shoes and wiggle your toes. Picture a cone of white light above your head. Take a deep breath in through your nose. As you inhale, visualize the light moving through your head and body to your feet. See your feet become pools of light. Watch these pools expand around your feet. As you exhale slowly through your mouth as if blowing out a candle, send the light deep into Mother Earth. Breathe normally.
Choose a destination. You can see yourself in a garden, by the seashore, in the mountains or woods. If you choose woods, for instance, allow the woods to unfold in your imagination. Do you see a path of light? Follow that path to an opening. What do you see? A waterfall? A pool of water? What color predominates? Red? Green? Yellow? Whatever color you see, let the color speak to you. If it is green, for example, your heart chakra may need support. Walk into the gentle waterfall or pool of green light. Allow your bodymindspirit to soak in this color. Place your right hand over your heart chakra. Breathe the color into your heart chakra and out again. Can you feel tingling or pulsing from your heart chakra? If you don’t feel tingling or pulsing, let it go and move on. If you feel something, remember that feeling. You are sensing the flow through your authentic self. You can continue to explore the woods for other colors or choose to end your session and return.
When it is time to return, see yourself walk back down the path to where you started. Breathe in through your nose and slowly out through your mouth as if blowing out a candle. Wiggle your toes and fingers. Slowly return to yourself.
As you continue your meditation practice, awareness grows and opens you to your bodymindspirit, an essential part of expanding your consciousness. The benefits of color meditations, therefore, are several: increase in the power of the chakras through focus, reinforcement of the vibration of each chakra through connection with the vibration of its color, support of the natural healing processes in the body through deep relaxation and balance of flow within the energy system, as well as growing awareness of the authentic self.
Disclaimer: All healing paths, while they share certain things in common, are unique to the individual. Nothing I write in my blogs should be construed as medical advice. All decisions about physical and mental health should be made in consultation with your physician or other licensed or certified health care practitioner.