Nov 30, 2015

Prayers for Mother Earth

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"To me, every hour of the light and the dark is a miracle.  Every cubic inch of space is a miracle." Walt Whitman

This week with the Paris Climate Change Conference occurring, I pray for the leaders to make wise decisions about our behavior and its effects on Mother Earth, I pray for peace in every heart, and the well-being of Earth and all of us as the basis for every decision.  

Nov 29, 2015

Brain Food

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"The research is clear:  what you eat has a big impact on your brain."  Amy Paturel AARP Bulletin

To improve memory, research says to eat olive oil, drink green tea, and eat leafy greens like broccoli, spinach and kale.  Eating darkly hued foods like beets, tomatoes and avocado is helpful. To avoid amyloid plaque formation, eat nuts (especially walnuts), curcumin and pomegranates.  Fish, blueberries, grapes, coffee and dark chocolate round off the good-for-your-brain foods.

Nov 28, 2015

Brain Injury and Effects

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"People over 50 who suffered what doctors call a "single uncomplicated" concussion earlier in life usually don't have to worry about cognitive impairment later."
Amy Jak, associate professor U of California

With all the news about sports concussions and brain damage, it might be something we all think about.  I know my loved one and I tried to think of a reason for his Lewy Bodies Dementia at such a young age.  He had suffered some head injuries and he had also worked with gasoline with lead in it, but other people probably had those factors too and did not get dementia.  Perhaps we will never know the cause of his dementia, but this research is hopeful.  Single, uncomplicated concussions usually do not cause cognitive impairment.  But, just to be safe:  Let's keep our beautiful brains safe from harm, from either ingested drugs or alcohol or from an external fall or blow to the head.

Nov 27, 2015

Let's Meditate

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"Meditation reduces stress hormones in your body."

People may think that meditation should be easy, should be without thought.  It is very rare for our brains to be without thought, and it might be better if we approached meditation without that expectation.  Research has shown that 20 minutes of meditation a day improves health and decreases stress.  It might be unrealistic to try for 20 minutes at first.  Maybe it would be good to try for even 5 minutes, and then build up the time.  The point is to gently guide the mind back when it wanders into thoughts.  

Nov 26, 2015


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"Gratitude is the sign of noble souls." Aesop

The only thing in life over which we really have control is our attitude.  We can look for the positive events in our lives, or we can be oriented toward what is going wrong.  We will always have both of these in our lives:  the seeming blessings and the seeming challenges.  I have learned in life that the seeming challenges also end up to have been blessings, for the learnings they allow.  So, perhaps all of life is a blessing.  On this day which is recognized by many to be a day for thanksgiving, let us consider:  what if all life events are really blessings?

Nov 25, 2015

Getting Enough Sleep

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"A happy bedtime starts at dawn.  Sunlight sets your body clock, which determines when sleep hormones like melatonin trigger a nighttime drift toward dreamland."

So, get up at the same time every day regardless of what day it is or how much you have slept.  Then head outdoors to get some sun within 1 hour of waking up.  Also, avoid light-emitting devices like computers and phone for an hour before bed.  Most of us sleep best in temperatures between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit.  I installed a number of nightlights for my loved one to prevent falls, but I have now removed some of them, so that I have a more darkened area in which to sleep.

Nov 24, 2015

Ways to Curb Stress Eating

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"Try these four mindful tips to break the cycle of eating without thinking about it."

1.  Eat a clementine instead of a cookie.  The smell of citrus is healing, so peeling and eating a clementine can support health.  
2.  Wrap yourself in a robe warm from the dryer.  Research shows we eat less when our body temperature is a bit warmer.
3.  Eat your lunch with a nondominant hand, to prevent gulping it down, and avoid checking email or texts while eating.  Being mindful while eating can help us eat 30% less food.
4.  Take off your shoes at the door when you get home, along with telling yourself:  I leave my troubles/work at the door.  Changing immediately into comfortable clothes also helps.

Nov 23, 2015

Love Defined

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"Perhaps love is the process of my leading you gently back to yourself." Antoine de Saint-Exupery

I love that definition of love.  Have you ever been loved in the way of being led gently back to yourself?  I have realized that life's bumps have caused me to lose parts of myself along the way.  I think we all do that.  True love is when someone loves us enough to lead us back to who we are authentically.  It is what I think is the goal of therapy, at least in the type I do, to gently lead a person back to the essence of who they are -- because at the essence we are each beautiful.  Anything not beautiful is a result of building defenses against the world.  

Nov 22, 2015

Observing One's Life

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"The moment you start watching the thinker, a higher level of consciousness becomes activated.  You then begin to realize that there is a vast realm of intelligence beyond thought -- that thought is only a tiny aspect of that intelligence." Eckart Tolle

Life is different when I can participate as an observer of myself.  I am more at peace, more detached.  I notice more things.  I think it is true that we can then access more wisdom.  We can all do it.  Just observe oneself, observe the bigger picture.  I read that before technology, generals used to sit high on hilltops to see the whole battlefield in order to strategize.  It is rather like that -- sitting back in one's awareness and observing the whole, so that we can better strategize how to live, what our impact is on other people, the interactions of other people and how they might affect us.

Nov 21, 2015

Reality of Caregiving

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"We live in an intensity that most people don't." caregiver speaking of experience

Yes, caregiving puts us in a situation of intensity.  Depending on the type of disability and whether difficult behavior is involved, the intensity can increase.  Even when my loved one was in a care facility, I noticed I was anxious every time I went to see him.  I never knew what would be the condition he was in, whether he would be lucid, whether he would be belligerent; and, of course, that sense of anxiety was much worse when I was the 24/7 caregiver.  I speak of this so that each of us caregivers knows the extent of the intensity of the situations we are trying to manage.  There are some good tips in the Oct/Nov AARP magazine.

Nov 20, 2015

Living a Life of Truth

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"When a person 'cracks' during a lie detector test and tells the truth, their physiology becomes peaceful." Joan Borysenko

A good reminder for us all of how important it is for us to live from our truth.  Lying and/or denying who we are is stressful on our body systems.  That does not mean, as some people might think, that we can tell our truth to the point of hurting other people.  That is just using freedom of expression as a weapon.  But, it does mean that, to the extent we can remain true to our essence, we are more at peace throughout our bodies.