If you want to know how our human origins can be used towards overall health and well being today, check out this video.
That's right. Play each day!
What is play exactly.
A Google search defined it as:
1. engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.
"The children were playing outside" synonyms: amuse oneself, entertain oneself, enjoy oneself, have fun;
2. take part in (a sport). "I play softball and tennis" synonyms: take part in, participate in, be involved in, compete in, do "I used to play hockey"
1. activity engaged in for enjoyment and recreation, especially by children. "a child at play may use a stick as an airplane" synonyms: amusement, entertainment, relaxation, recreation, diversion, distraction, leisure;
2. the conducting of an athletic match or contest.
Yet that's not the play I'm talking about.
We, as a culture, often think that play is going out for a few drinks with friends. Or attending a large party event. Going to a movie perhaps. Or shopping, that can be a form of play.
I'm talking about the kind of play that rejuvenates the soul and makes life less serious. I don't think we, as a culture, play in this way, enough. Why do we need to be children to play like a child?
To me, play is a spontaneous event, a playful nature in what you're doing. It involves a variety of physical movement and mental acuity that keeps our bodies strong and flexibly, and our minds working well. We stay young at heart.
For example, children can play at a park structure endlessly. I remember following my children around the park structures. They climb up and down the structures. They walk across make-believe bridges. They toss the autumn leaves into a small stream running through the park, then run to follow it along it's path until it hits the pond. They scoop it out of the pond, run to the top of the stream, and do it again and agin. They scoop sand and create magic castles. They hid behind things and pop out to scare you. They throw things, splash in water, laugh out loud, and often have friends, or imaginary friends with them. Children don't have to think about how to play, they just play. They have an attitude of play throughout their days.
Why don't we play like children?
The spontaneity of play gets us out of our heads, into our bodies and into the moment at hand. Play uses our whimsical and creative nature as we do whatever comes to mind. It's unstructured, free-flowing and relaxing. It provides functional movement - these are movements that use a variety of muscles and keep you fit throughout your life. They are movements you want to be able to do even when you reach the age of 104. Play helps with balance and stamina, and allows us to do all the tasks we want to do throughout our lives on this planet. Play feels joyful, and we want to laugh out loud! It's contemplative as well; as we create our moments, we are building pathways in our brains that nurture our souls.
Obviously, children don't have the financial worries and responsibilities that we do as we grow into adults. So they spent their entire days learning through play.
As adults, I believe we have a couple of ways that we can play.
I am dedicating this blog to our beloved Louise L. Hay, whom I "met" in the late 1980's. She planted a seed in me that changed the direction of my life.
Today is one year from her passing at the age of 90. She became a dear "bedside" friend when I started using her affirmations and meditations in the evening. I read her books and the books of other authors at Hay House Publishing, attended her "I Can Do It" events, and certified as a Heal Your Life Workshop Leader and Coach in San Diego in 2014. I met Louise Hay in person there; and I worked with the same health coach she used, Heather Dane, 21st Century Medicine Woman. This work has changed my life in more way than I can mention in this blog. I have met a fabulous tribe on the forefront of new thinking and ways of living. And as a sensitive and intuitive person, I have dedicated myself to an energy clearing practice through Jean Haner, which has been the icing on the cake in healing my life.
So back to that seed. As I created my life in the San Francisco Bay Area in the late 1980's, I experienced various symptoms. Just coming out of graduate school and moving to the Bay Area to start a job as a buyer for a major household products company, I had my emotional work cut out for me. To fortify myself in this journey, I explored spiritual centers and activities.
Searching for blog topics is never easy. Sometimes I have information spilling out of my mind that I can't wait to share. Other weeks, it's like the creative well dries up, and nothing is coming. This week is one of those weeks.
So I went to my Louise Hay affirmation calendar from last year. I save the calendars to use as note paper, and to send inside packages as love notes, so I always have plenty on hand.
I took a deep breath, pounded on the stack of affirmations in my hands to infuse my energy into them, and asked for the message I most needed to hear today. I closed my eyes and shuffled through the deck until I got to a page that felt right. I pulled it out of the glue binding.
This is what it said:
"I am wiling to hold my own hand and work through any fears I may have."
I have spent many times in my life having to work through my fear and anxiety. In fact, in Chinese medicine, I came to the planet with a major challenge of anxiety. I have had lots of it from as early as I can remember. I even went so far to have panic attacks in my early 20's. It's been difficult, as you might well imagine, and I have learned so much in learning to hold my own hand to work through this anxiety.
Early on, I tried mainstream medical and took Xanax for several years while I was in my early 20's and combined it with in therapy. Therapy became an excellent tool for me to process and let off stress. Xanax - although it helped me through a rough spell, the withdrawals from that addictive drug were incredible.
Here's how it went. As I house sat some pets in a beautiful Bethesda, Maryland home, I noticed I had swollen glands near my throat. Other than that, I felt fine. Yet after a week of these painfully swollen glands, I knew I was wrestling an infection. My doctor confirmed it - I had strep throat. No fever. No sore throat. Just swollen glands. So he recommended antibiotics.
Since I am a physically sensitive empath, I hated combining prescriptions because I didn't like the side effects of one much less a combination. So I asked him if I could stop the Xanax. He said that he thought that would be fine.
So I stopped. Suddenly. I thought nothing of it. Yet I went through several weeks of severe withdrawal symptoms like I had never experienced. The first night I felt so nauseous, I went to sleep before the sun went down. This was highly unusual for me. The next week, I couldn't feel my legs. They felt numb. Walking on numb legs was interesting. As that resolved, I couldn't feel my arms and hands. I could move them and grab things, but I couldn't feel my actions.
I trudged back to my doctor, who told me that I was experiencing the withdrawal from the drug. He said that I could start taking it again and taper. I had gone a few weeks off the drug, so he said I could also work through the symptoms without it. Up to me. So I decided to stay away from the drug.
This was a wise choice for me to learn to manage my anxiety in healthier ways.
My anxiety work has not been in isolation. I have worked with others - therapists, wellness coaches, biofeedback professionals, energy workers, personal trainers - to learn how to develop a protocol for myself to keep my anxiety at a healthy level.
Here is what I have learned to keep my anxiety in check. In essence, these are the ways I hold my own hand:
I pay attention when I feel anxious for my intuition has something to say. I am thankful that I have learned to listen to my anxiety and take care of it. It keeps me safe, centered, and balanced.
How do you hold your own hand?
I have done one thing in the last year that has had a tremendous impact on my health and wellness. This six-minute video will tell you what I did, and what you can do as well. Thank you for listening. Enjoy!
This word entered my life this year. What a funny word! When I hear that word, I don’t get any image in my head of something. It's more like "What the heck is that?"
To put it simply, our body's autoimmune response is a system of protection. When a virus enters our body, that system goes to work to get rid of it and bring us back to healthy balance. However, if our immune system gets confused through poor nutrition and lifestyle choices, hidden infections, or stressful events/habits, that autoimmune system goes haywire, and starts trying to protect us from ourselves. We wind up with symptoms of aches and pains, sometimes debilitating us. The symptoms may come and go, and it can be hard to know what's happening.
Sometimes we think the symptoms are actually not symptoms. We wake up sore day after day and it clears up as the day goes on. Or we go to sleep and feel better the next morning. It's not easy to know when our immune system is going haywire - yet our body knows.
I’m a part-time cashier at a U.S. nationwide natural grocery store. I had been working there six months before my mom passed away unexpectedly. Cashiering shifts are often 8 hours three times a week. They start at varying times, and can sometimes go for 5 to 6 hours.
The repetitive motion of scanning items down the belt and handing heavy items to customers started causing me pain. I would come home at the end of my shift, sit down to put my feet up and relax with my husband, and within an hour, my wrists would be painfully swollen, my hands and fingers would be hard to move, and my arms and shoulders would hurt to move them. I had never experienced debilitating symptoms like that before. It felt scary! The pain would often disturb a restful sleep, yet by the next day, I often felt better.
As this continued to happen and worsen over a period of a couple months, I became more alarmed. What was happening to me? I continued to do my workouts when I could, going to the gym to do my push-ups, pull-ups, squats, planks and leg weights. The next thing I knew, I couldn't raise my biceps for a few days because I had injured myself after working all day and doing push-ups. I had been doing these exercises regularly before I took the job; I felt shocked and dismayed that I injured myself. I identified that I had symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms; I knew I could turn them off.
I needed to find a way to heal. I had a very good idea of what was happening based on my symptoms, so I chose not to go to a doctor to have them run tests and give me solutions I didn't want to do. Instead I tried a holistic approach to see how to better support my body - physically and emotionally. I let my symptoms be my guide.
I've been addressing the symptoms from an emotional perspective; I know that the physical and emotional body are one. Our beliefs are enormous influencers in our health. According to Louise Hay's team, rheumatoid arthritis can manifest as a result of feeling victimized, a lack of love, chronic bitterness, resentment. Deep criticism of authority. Feeling very put upon. I began to look how these attitudes might be tucked away deep inside of me.
Physically, I know that mineral baths heal swelling and pain, so I started taking them. Unfortunately, the heat from the baths made my swelling worse. I used ice to quell the swelling as I didn't want to take anti-inflammatories; I didn't want to over-ride my natural anti-inflammatory system, and I didn't want to further stress my gut with these irritants. I also massaged my painful areas with Arnica cream and magnesium lotion. These solutions helped quite a bit.
I know as a sensitive person I feel and sense energies more deeply, so that foods - a type of energy - can affect me deeply too. Leaky gut is always seen with autoimmune issues, so I had to work on healing my tummy. I had gotten off-track with my healthy eating, consuming sugary treats and comfort foods with gluten. I had been consuming wine and coffee more often. I began to work on cleaning up my nutrition.
I modified my cashiering work to eliminate the repetitive stress by picking up other duties in the store.
As a Primal Health Coach; I had heard about The Autoimmune Protocol by Dr. Sarah Ballatyne. As I began exploring her research, I discovered the elimination diet. It's a very rigorous plan, eliminating all foods that are known to excite the immune system.
So far, I've worked my way up to 95% compliant. The big hold-out for me has been letting go of my beloved coffee. And even with not finding perfection yet, I have learned a lot.
There are 2 items I've given up completely that have reduced my symptoms significantly.
As I perused the AIP book one evening, I came across this statement:
Buried in Chapter 8 under a heading "A Case Against Mangoes," my intuitive brain honed in. I recalled how, as an east coast teenager, I missed a rare movie outing with friends because my eyes were swollen shut from poison ivy. For months now, I had been eating cashews with my organic grass-fed yogurt as a "healthy" snack on work breaks. I chose this snack, not only because it tastes good to me, but also because it's "fast." I realized it was time I slowed down with all eating, even snacks.
Next I turned my attention to unhealthy Poly-Unsaturated Fatty Acid (PUFA) oils as they are highly inflammatory for the body. Although I home-cook with healthy oils (unrefined olive, avocado and coconut oils), I hadn't been paying attention to hot bar and restaurant foods. As I eliminated the PUFA's, I discovered what I could eat became a lot more limited as so many places use these cheaper oils. My body reacts like kindling for a fire when I ingest these PUFAs.
Although I am still on my discovery journey, I have learned so much and experienced success. I am no longer having the debilitating pain and swelling, and I am back to doing my push-ups and pull-ups again. I can sit down with my husband after work and feel good.
Autoimmune issues are tough. They happen differently for each person, and it can be tricky to figure out what is over-exciting your body. Research also tells us that autoimmune spreads and gets worse if it's ignored.
Is the Autoimmune Protocol right for you? If yes, I can empower you to find that secret sauce to turn off those genes. We'll come up with a unique program to take you on your healing journey.
Get into your kitchen.
That's right! I'm not talking about running to the kitchen to binge-eat that bag of chips that you bought at a low point of energy on your way home from work. I'm talking about getting into the kitchen and whipping up whole food recipes loaded with nutrients and nutrition that don't have the fake foods from processing. Cutting fruits and vegetables to eat raw, or put into recipes.
Many of the poor food choices available today are responsible for the burgeoning growth of disease in our culture. Of course, some of this trend may be because highly skilled medical teams are better at testing and diagnosing symptoms and diseases. We have more information than we've ever had before.
Yet we have to wonder how we've gotten here in the first place. Why do we even need highly skilled medical teams so often, and why are we feeling so poorly most of our days? I'm not knocking the medical profession here. It's fabulous that the medical teams are there when we need them to jump in an help us with a symptom, or perhaps a medical emergency. I am challenging you to think about why you are allowing yourself to feel unwell.
Our ancestors, and I'm talking way back to the Hunter-Gatherer days, would never have let themselves feel as weak as many of us do today. They needed to survive the harsh elements of weather, food scarcity, and the predator population. They needed to build their homes and camps, search for water and food, raise their young and protect their elders. These activities required feel strong and having energy throughout each day.
They had a natural support system in nature. Soil was loaded in minerals and probiotics. Food came straight off the land in their area. Food varied by season, designed to give them the ingredients needed when they were needed.
Hunting meat and fish required physical skill and functional movement to make the catch, then they needed the strength and stamina to carry heavy animals back to share at camp. They ate the whole animal - brain, heart, organs, etc., in reverence, and used every part of it for tools, clothing, shelter and more.
Picking fruit required searching, climbing, reaching, stooping and carrying. Occasionally they had to run for their lives (literally) or chase an animal at high speeds for food. The Hunter-Gatherer days were loaded with a variety of movement. The activities kept them functionally fit and their brains healthy and thriving.
Fast forward to today, and we can farm food like never before. Many of us eat way too much food too often. We don't have to do burn a calorie to get it, just drive to the local eatery and pick up a bag of yummy tasting ingredients.
We work out at the gym for an hour, if we work out at all, and we consider ourselves to be in shape. We live with such convenience that it almost seems like we've lost our way. Yet, these changes have allowed humans to thrive and procreate in ways that would've amazed our ancestors.
I think we've gone too far off the grid - the natural grid.
And one way to take a step back towards our natural support system that is still there, and we once used, is to get into our kitchen.
First, go to your local farmer's market, food coop, or natural grocer. Pick out fresh, local ingredients (ask the produce partner if you need help knowing how to tell what's fresh.) Stay away from the boxed and frozen items (they aren't at the Farmer's Markets for a reason!) Become unprocessed. Start cooking from scratch.
Play. Try new vegetables and proteins. The better quality the ingredients, the better tasting the result. Invite members of your tribe over to prepare food with you. Put together recipes and see how you can create healthy, good tasting foods.
Eat slowly. Rest to digest. Listen to your body after you eat to see how you feel. Does this food work for you? Make it an adventure to learn how to cook in the kitchen.
We are lucky today that we only have to go to our kitchens with purchased foods to find our meals. So let's be smart about it. Let's choose foods that provide nutrition to our bodies as well as satisfy our taste buds. It's really fairly easy for us to do that compared to our ancestors.
If our Hunter-Gatherer ancestors looked in on us now, what would they think? They'd certainly want to be a part of our luxury living and play if they were still on the planet.
Let’s talk about something. Symptoms.
What are symptoms?
Merriam-Webster defines them as:
a : subjective evidence of disease or physical disturbance; broadly : something that indicates the presence of bodily disorder
b : an evident reaction by a plant to a pathogen
2 a : something that indicates the existence of something else symptoms of an inner turmoil
b : a slight indication
I think so many of us think that symptoms must be serious - like a major disturbance that says "Hello, this is really a problem. Look here..."
Yet, let's considering something. The quieter a symptom, the kind you can notice early on, way before something becomes a disorder, is where your true power lies. It's your body's feedback. Listening to early feedback gives us a greater opportunity to turn things around and heal before a major event occurs.
The daily aches, pains and discomforts may feel normal and you shrug them off, but you shouldn't. These constant, low level symptoms are not normal as most of us consider them to be. And that goes for people of any age. Even as we age, symptoms are providing feedback and it's important, the older we become, to respond to this feedback quicker and with vigor. We don't heal as quickly as we age.
Sure, from time to time we may wake up with an ache or pain that we don't know where it came from, but that shouldn’t be happening day after day. And when it does happen, what information are we not receiving?
Symptoms are aches and pains that come in a variety of ways which may creep up on us over time and sneak into our lifestyles. We:
When we are completely in line with what our bodies needs through our supportive lifestyles, then we:
We've got to start realizing that if we’re putting up with discomfort, THEY ARE SYMPTOMS. If we're not centered in our joy each day, something is off that we need to pay attention to. We need to be curious about the symptom, and ask ourselves what it means. Maybe it's simple, like we shouldn't have that morning coffee (that may not feel so simple to some - it doesn't to me!) so that we can keep that tummy-ache away. Perhaps we need to get out and move more so we don't feel stiff. Or we may need to address a living situation, a relationship, a work situation or something else. Maybe we're not eating healthy enough, or often enough, or drinking the wrong kinds of beverages. You may not be okay with yourself, who you are at your very core.
If we listen to our bodies and minds carefully, we will get the answers we need. We have to spend time listening to ourselves, and asking what we need, just like we would our partner, spouse, or child. Love is paying attention to someone. Loving yourself is paying attention to yourself.
We’ve also got to get over the idea that there is a “quick fix“ for everything. It often takes a commitment to really look at how we’re doing things, and to change the way were doing them. This is a muscle that we need to find, develop and strengthen, and over time, it will become second nature.
It’s often really hard to strengthen this muscle on our own if we have gotten out of shape by not listening to our bodies and thoughts. As a friend of mine says, we are all in our own fish bowl of water, and we can’t see our environment because we are in it. We need objectivity.
It’s really helpful to work with someone who could help you on a day-to-day basis, Like a wellness coach or therapist who can help you understand the cloudiness of your water.
If you answered YES! to this, then you are among millions of people that are experiencing unwell bodies. Aches and pains are not "getting old," as I hear so often. Sure, there may be some extra care needed - like an older automobile - as we age, but we shouldn't struggle to get around. We should not be waking up every day with soreness.
Take my Great, Great Grandfather Padarev in Predgrad, Slovenia. By some accounts, he lived to 105 and his wife to 103. I don't know specifically if they had aches and pains; surely they needed to attend to self-care as they aged. I do know that they stayed active throughout their lives, climbing trees to gather firewood for heat, filling the attics in their home with hay to feed their cattle, taking care of their property and farm, and picking fruit from their front yard trees. These are the kinds of activities that we are born to -- and meant to -- do. So if they did have aches, it wasn't enough to prevent them from doing what they needed to do.
So why are so many of us feeling limited in our abilities due to our aches and pains?
I have one word for you - PUFAs.
WHAT THE HECK ARE PUFA?
PUFAs are Poly-Unsaturated Fatty Acid Oils. These oils are refined, which oxidizes the oil, making it particularly destructive to our endocrine systems, promoting symptoms like poor fat metabolism, diminished energy, sluggish thyroid, insulin resistance, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, immune problems, arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. That is quite a list!
After training to be a Primal Health Coach, I finally honed in on these oils as the source of my aches and pains.
I'm an active person. I walk, sprint, hike, bike, do yoga, do push-ups and pull-ups, practice slack lining, jog, do weights and I am on my feet a lot. When I work, I average 20,000 steps a day - about 10 Miles.
I think of these activities as today's version of what my Great Great Grandparents did - although I wish I could get our fruit trees to be as plentiful. I eat close to the land, visiting my Farmer's Market every week. I've made friends with the farmer's and know how they grow and process their wares. I read labels. I shop organically. If you ask my young adult children, they will tell you that all they heard about was - nutrition - until they went crazy. It even prompted one of them to go to the restaurants and ask for a gluten menu!
So you'd think that I'd feel great, right? And I do feel very good for my age. I'm clued into my body. I originally thought, in my late 40's, that my aches and pains were from exercising. Until I went on a nutrition-oriented eating 12-step plan - Food Addicts Anonymous - and after 3 months, I no longer felt sore. This amazed me. I had been having chronic back pain, soaking in the jacuzzi, sauna, and stretching all the time. And cleaning up my food did the most. It totally surprised me that my aches and pains WERE A SYMPTOM when all along, I thought they were a by-product of working out.
We active people have more reason than ever to clean up our food plan. Our overall health is primarily dependent on the genes we turn on or off (the latest epigenetic research shows we can indeed turn them off). When we sprint or lift weights, the biochemical process from that activity turns on certain genes to repair and strengthen our exercised muscles. Good right? Of course.
However, if we do too much exercise, other genes go into excess production and we have prolonged inflammation and slowed recovery. An autoimmune disease is often a genetic over-reaction, much like after too much of a workout, that causes the same kind of inflammation. Our bodies cannot distinguish between too much of a workout and eating something that makes us sore.
We athletes can turn on too much inflammation simply by our healthy lifestyles. Since we are trying to live a healthy, active and balanced life, including eating healthy foods, why is this happening?
GET A GRIP - CHANGE YOUR THINKING
Besides getting a grip on that pull-up bar at the gym, we also need to have a grip on our own personalized body and what the offenses are. We are all an experiment of one. We eat different foods, have different genes, do different workouts, think different thoughts, experience different stresses and traumas. How could there possibly be one diet, or one lifestyle, that fits each of us. There isn't, so now you can breathe a sigh of relief.
Except, now what do we do?
First of all, we have to change our mindset.
CHANGE THE FISH WATER
I have found that I have autoimmune challenges in my genes. My Mom died of ulcerative colitis at the age of 88. My Dad died of heart disease and arthritis at the age of 61. They both did a lot right. Yet they had a lifestyle which ultimately did not nurture their bodies. Both of them experienced aches and pains for years before they died.
My dad regularly went to doctors, got tests, and religiously took his prescriptions. My Mom did the same. It turns out in my opinion that doctors are fabulous and brilliant at diagnosing disease, prescribing medicine to reduce symptoms, and providing surgery when needed. They save lives every day.
Eating has gotten complicated. That blueberry bagel my mom started eating in the 1940s for breakfast deteriorated in quality over the years. The grain became less whole, the wheat it was made from got homogenized (no weeds adding nutritional value), and the wheat got sprayed with chemicals to increase the drying process. All these events contribute to our body's stress through inflammation.
So what needs to be done? We need to find people to support us in our daily care. Since we are in our own fish water (as one of my dear teacher's calls it!) and can't be objective about ourselves, we need to have others help us to take a look at ourselves and let us know how to clean our fish water. They need to help us determine what is muddying the waters of our health.
DOWN WITH PUFA OILS
As much as I thought I was healthy and practicing good ways of life, I realized that I had these annoying little aches and pains. It's like they were saying to me - listen, look at what you're doing, something is not right here, hello! Are you listening?
Now I"m listening. I realized that the PUFA oils are significantly contributing to my aches and pains. I'm on an Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) - a food elimination diet to help me see what's causing my inflammation. And even though it feels very difficult, I am committed to the effort. I am committed to turning off my genes expression of an autoimmune disease.
I have found a huge success by eliminating the PUFA oils. That means canola oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, coconut oil and anything else that's refined.
It's not easy. I find them at the hot bar at work. They are in the olive bar. They are in canned foods. They are often tossed on packaged items. They are in salad dressings. And let's not get started on restaurants! Most restaurants use them to cook meat, fish, and sauté vegetables.
I have one challenge -- eliminate the PUFA oils. It could be life-saving.
If you need help, let me know.
When you open your eyes in the morning, do you want to get your day going with vigor and excitement? Are you joyful about what you’re going to do? Or are you cursing the fact that you have to get up? Maybe you didn’t get enough sleep last night, or you’re going to a job where you can’t stand that boss.
It’s important for us to feel excitement about our day. When we feel excitement and joy, we are aligned with our spirit and our purpose in life. When we don't, we are out of alignment with our higher good.
So what do you need to do, today, to bring excitement and joy into your life? The kind of joy that, when you wake up in the morning, you’re looking forward to what you’re about to do.
Today I am taking time out to be at the beach - Stinson Beach, California. I love the beach! I love the warmth of the sun, the sound of the ocean waves, and the feel of the warm sand on my feet. I even love the beach in the winter for it's magnificent nature.
Lately I've begun to realize the health benefits of being outside in nature. The sun provides us with vitamin D - something most of us are deficient because we don’t get outside enough! Just 10 minutes of sun on your skin a day, without sunscreen, can provide you with 10,000 international units of vitamin D. This is such an easy way to supplement our diets. I’m convinced that the sun has other nutritional benefits for our bodies that are absorbed through the skin, that we just aren’t aware of yet. There is talk in the alternative medical community that lack of Vitamin D can contribute to cancer. As always, it's about balance.
Another health benefit of being at the beach is that it is loaded with minerals! Our primal ancestors used to get their minerals from the soil. They ate off the land, didn’t have soap or antibacterial agents to wash their hands and kill the organisms in the soil. These organisms were pre- and probiotics, so their guts stayed healthy with beneficial bacteria that most of us do not have. They also didn't use antibiotics which kills bad AND GOOD bacteria.
So being at the ocean, walking in the sea salt water, and playing in the sand, gives us minerals from the environment that we're in so desperate need of.
When we are around an energy, we entrain to that energy. There’s plenty of research talking about how that happens. You can find YouTube videos about entrainment. In this one, several metronomes are started at varying speeds, and they eventually entrain to the same frequency.
Nature works for us in this way. We as humans are a part of nature. When we’re in nature, like at the ocean, our systems will slow down and and entrain to the energy around us. This energy more closely matches our circadian rhythms than the technology and machinery that most of us are around every day.
If you’re feeling drained, more than likely you are feeling stressed from the mismatching technology energy around you.
As a sensitive person, going to the beach by myself has been highly therapeutic! I get away from having to deal with the energy of other people, and can do what I want, when I want, without worrying about someone else. It feels like I'm feeding my soul.
When was the last time you went out in nature to rejuvenate yourself?
As Empaths, people who feel more, intuit more and see more naturally, we can take on energy around us without realizing it. Very few of us have had role models to help us with this, so when we're walking through the energy of everyday events, we often absorb it. On top of absorbing it, many of us may have genes that cause our bodies to process slowly, so it can build until we feel well.
Let's take a peak at biology. Methylation is a chemical process that occurs in our cells that is vital to keep our bodies working properly. It is one of our body’s most important chemical processes. When we have genetics that struggle with methylation and process more slowly, I believe we can be prone to hold onto energy longer, and we may experience it as anxiety, depression, or overwhelm. We don't know how to, or we're not taking the time to, detox and release the stresses of each day. When the next day rolls around, guess what? We are still dealing with what happened yesterday. We can see how this will add up to ill health over time.
So one very important thing we can do to stay balanced is to be mindful of the energy around us, and to release it everyday.
We can start by being mindful of our habits.
ENERGY INCREASERS OR RELEASERS
What we do can either be energy increasers or releasers. We already know as Empaths, increasing energy in our systems can inadvertently be a no-brainer. So how are we releasing energy - which isn't as automatic? Releasing energy means anything that slows life down, which in turn slows our nervous system, and allows our bodies to return to balance.
I had a beautiful experience the other evening that is a Releaser.
As I sat outside on a warm summer evening chatting with our kids and grandchild, the sun set. It took about 45 minutes between the sun disappearing over the horizon until total darkness with the sky lit up with twinkling stars.
It was amazing going barefoot in the backyard and playing with our grandchild. We did a little slack lining and checked on the garden. We told stories and laughed. It was fabulous having that sense of our tribe with us.
As the light waned, the final flights of the birds took place. Our neighborhood owl began his cooing. And the local mocking bird started his night time calling. Stars and planets, one-by-one, decorated the evening sky.
I notice that I felt increasingly relaxed and tired. Which felt remarkable to me because I am typically a night owl. Yet I know from my Primal health coaching that this event released and increased my melatonin, which naturally happens as the sun sets and prepares us for sleep. I wasn't bombarding my senses with screens from TVs, tablets, or phones - which, by the way, have f.lux installed on them to match the time of day. And it felt so peaceful and calming.
So here's an easy challenge for you to stay balanced. Sit outside and enjoy the sunset with your tribe. In the US, we are in summer, so this can be easy to do. If you're in Australia and enjoying winter, sit in front of a fire with friends and enjoy the warm, red relaxing hues as you prepare for sleep.
It's a good beginning to releasing that day's stress.
Empaths often describe feeling fragile and weak as they can get zinged around by the every day energies of people and places. They can react easily to foods and beverages even though they believe they eat healthily. They are often sought out by others as they are good listeners and know how to create a good experience for others. They can pick up on other's emotions and struggles, often thinking that the sensations they are feeling are theirs instead of realizing they are picking up information from the person across from them, in the next town or across the country.
Since Empaths feel more, see more and intuit more, they can feel exhausted by the end of each day.
Empaths need a superstructure to stay grounded, peaceful, and balanced. That's why a Primal Health lifestyle is so important for Empaths. It's a way of life based on our ancestors - that's why it's call Primal. It is grounded in selecting foods, activities, and movement that is perfect for our bodies, and is designed to keep our systems working optimally.
I believe our ancestors used intuition throughout each day without judgement or shame. In fact, their survival depended on it. They had to know where the danger lay. If they didn't sense that saber tooth tiger in the next field or valley and chose another path, they were in a sprint for their lives. If they chose the wrong plant to eat or consumed a sick animal, they could wind up dead. They didn't have doctors to run to or hospitals to save their lives. They had to rely on their gut instincts, their intuition, to keep them alive and strong.
Here are a few tips to get you started on the Primal journey, which will leave you feeling strong and nourished:
Have you amped up your self care until you're feeling strong? How?
It’s really important for Empaths to have a strong superstructure of self-care. It should be a system of many daily habits designed BY you just FOR you. The basic superstructure should be there, incorporated into your routine at an early age as possible, and updated as you go through life.
And when we take the time and commitment to feel strong and balanced, it pays off. We can walk through our lives, our families, our grocery stores and farmer's markets knowing we are strong. We stay balanced. We know how to be there for others, but, more importantly, we are there for ourselves first.
(say this 1,000 time while looking in the mirror):
"I completely embrace myself as an Empath.
I know what I need and I give it to myself first.
I take time by myself daily, without guilt, so I can replenish my energy.
I easily and effortlessly set firm boundaries.
I learn how to be with people, in many places, and stay rested, strong, and balanced.
I love me."
I often hear it said that Empaths “absorb” other people moods, energy, and feelings. That statement, in itself, may be true - for SOME Empaths. But you don’t have too. You have a choice.
Empaths sense extra information from the people and places around them. That’s how we are wired. We don't’ have to try to do it - it just happens.
As children, this may have caused quite a problem for us. With our inability to discern information with our cognitive brains, which doesn’t fully develop until the ages of about 24 to 25, we may have felt sick, overwhelmed, and scared throughout our childhood. To top it off, most of us didn’t have parents or caretakers that helped us manage this energy when we felt it. So we ended up ‘absorbing’ the information by thinking it was ours, and not realizing that we were only noticing things around us.
So now that we’re adults, it’s time for us to make sure we are no longer absorbing the energy of people and places. We need to learn to discern what is, in fact, our energy, and what belongs to others.
I have had a great opportunity as a part-time cashier in a natural grocery store. In my check-out lane, I have a constant flow of energy from the general public, as you can imagine.
I have learned that I am a physical Empath, so I feel the energy that I notice in my body, often as a symptom of some kind. So a person may enter my lane to pay for groceries, and I suddenly feel nauseous. I used to get immediate anxiety because I thought that it was my symptom. I would then create a story around it - it must be something I ate, am I going to have to go home sick, what is wrong with me?
I often notice that I feel the energy of others when they are unaware of how they are feeling. When my daughter was in high school, a generally stressful time for most teens, she would plop in the car after school, and I would immediately feel a fuzzy head and loads of stress in the form of anxiety and overwhelm. I began to realize that my body was just interpreting her energy that way.
As I’ve learned to discern energy, I now say to myself “oh, I am noticing that I feel nauseous suddenly. I must be picking up on the energy of this customer.” Typically the sensation dissipates when I say that, confirming to me that I am picking up on another person’s symptom. For me, this can come in the form a physical symptom, or an emotional symptom; I can feel a sudden sadness or anxiety I didn’t have before and I don’t have a situation that provoked it.
Does that happen to you? In what ways?
No matter how you intuit energy as an Empath, there are some basic strategies that you can learn for yourself to feel grounded and healthy as you go through your day.
(say this 1,000 time while looking in the mirror):
"I completely embrace myself as an Empath.
I easily know what energy is mine, and what I am sensing.
I easily and effortlessly set firm boundaries.
I have compassion for another's energy as I know it is that person's journey.
I learn how to be with people, in many places, and stay rested, strong, and balanced.
I love me."
B U S T E D ! When we absorb energy from people and places, it is not a healthy response to energy. We need to learn to discern what is ours and what is not, and that takes a superstructure along with practice, practice, practice.
So let's BUST Mammoth Myth #3. WE ATTRACT NARCISSISTS.
What the heck is a narcissist? And why are we so good at attracting them?
Here are some definitions of narcissists and narcissism.
Dictionary.com: ”a person who is overly self-involved, and often vain and selfish.”
UrbanDictionary.com: “A person with no soul. The only thing bigger than their inflated ego is the void that they demand others to fill.”
Merriam-Webster.com: "an individual showing symptoms of or suffering from narcissism:
a : an extremely self-centered person who has an exaggerated sense of self-importance
b : a person who is overly concerned with his or her physical appearance"
Wikipedia: "Narcissism is the pursuit of gratification from vanity or egotistic admiration of one's own attributes. The term originated from Greek mythology, where the young Narcissus fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool of water."
Just from reading these definitions, I get the impression of a really out-of-balance person. Like their cup must feel so empty that they have to fill it with self-centeredness and the pursuit of gratification. Like they are so concerned about how they look they can't function without doing something about it. I like the Green Narcissus - I can just see him falling in love with his own reflection.
I like to think of narcissists like they have a severe toothache - everyday, all day.
When I most recently had a failing molar, it hurt like hell. Since I like to work with my body to give it what it needs, I worked on seeing if I could heal it without prescription drugs and a root canal. This took some time. I went through a week of severe pain, my jawline swollen and sore. I would’ve addressed it sooner, but I was traveling out of town for business.
When I had that toothache, it was really hard for me to think of anything else. Even while I sat in my business meetings, which were informative, useful, and with fantastic colleagues, I felt that thing deeply! It kept me up at night, and my whole focus landed on healing that pain.
Take a narcissist. They are in pain. They are so much in pain that they can only think of themselves. And it’s not healthy or normal for a human to be so focused on themselves and the pursuit of themselves that they can’t empathize with others. Their pain is emotional, and it’s a huge toothache.
And get this, it’s not so easy to fix as my failing molar. That tooth took a morning appointment for a root canal, and some antibiotics, a clearing for adverse effects (that’s another blog!) and shots of kefir to keep my body balanced with taking antibiotics. And many supporting "I" messages.
We Empaths are wonderful, aren’t we? We listen carefully, feel the pain of others - often so deeply we can feel their symptoms in our bodies, and put our needs last. In fact, we have to work at our self care because it’s automatic for us to put ourselves last.
Then we’re walking down the street somewhere and we run into a narcissist. They’re hurting. They need to feel important, to have others listen and tell them how important they are. They thrive on being put first. And here we come along! It’s the perfect match.
So as they go through life doing the best that they can, they may attract Empaths.
As an Empath, I have great compassion for narcissists. Don’t we all? We Empaths naturally have empathy, a characteristic lacking in narcissists.
And to heal, and I believe anyone can heal, narcissists need to come to terms with that deep pain, that hole in their soul. And many of them chose not to do it.
So how do we avoid that person as they walk down the street?
Here are some tips:
By the way, Empaths are so selfless that we fear we may become too self-centered if we put ourselves first. In my experience, healthy, balanced Empaths know how to put themselves first, and care about themselves in loving ways! They don't become narcissistic. Instead, they have a personalized superstructure to make them enjoyable, loving people on the planet.
Mammoth Myth B U S T E D ! Empaths attract narcissists only when they have emotional work to do! So let’s get to it!
(say this 1,000 time while looking in the mirror):
"I completely embrace myself as an Empath.
I put my self-care first.
I easily and effortlessly set firm boundaries.
I know what my sensations and symptoms are, and I easily know when I’m picking up on some else’s.
I learn how to be with people, in many places, and stay rested, strong, and balanced.
I love me."
Stay tuned next week for the blog on Mammoth Myth #4: Empaths ABSORB OTHERS’ MOODS, ENERGY, FEELINGS ...
Energy Vampires Drain our Energy as Empaths. That’s the common belief in the Empath community. I’m noticing this phrase, Energy Vampire, increase in use in the news, in books, and on social media.
Let’s take a look at what the definition of an Energy Vampire is.
Dictionary.com refers to an Energy Vampire as a noun meaning. “the electric power consumed by electronic appliances while they are switched off or in a standby mode; also called standby power, [ phantom load ] A very common energy vampire is a power adapter which has no power-off switch.”
I didn’t expect to find that definition when I looked up an Energy Empath. That doesn’t even refer to a person, but an appliance. So I looked further.
The definition by Urban Dictionary states: “A person who boosts his/her own energy by taking energy from others by means of an argument, belittlement, criticism or other one-sided conversation.”
This definition is what I believe most people using the term Energy Empath refer to.
I can understand where the term Energy Vampire comes from. It’s catchy, strong, and sums up the process of one sensitive person feeling drained by someone else in only 2 succinct words.
I do agree that people with certain attributes can feel draining to others, especially we Empaths who feel more deeply, see more details, and intuit more as we go through each day. This ability to do so much more can be draining in and of itself, even when we’re not with an Energy Vampire.
I don’t like the term Energy Vampire for a few reasons. It’s very negative. It’s blaming of others - that somehow they suck or steal energy from us without our permission - like an attack. And most of the advice is to run in the other direction from them, especially if you’re an Empath. That often doesn’t work because we wouldn’t even be around them if we truly had a choice. Often it’s a family member, relative, co-worker or another person in a position of authority or importance in our lives.
I’d like to refer to another that feels draining to us as an Energy Sponge. I believe they are Sponges because they challenge us to set better boundaries, communicate more clearly, and stand up for our sensitive selves. Without the strong effects of an Energy Sponge, many of us would not develop systems that keep us strong and balanced.
There are several types of Energy Sponges that I have encountered. I’ll share what I’ve noticed, and then we’ll look at learning opportunities for dealing with them.
But here’s the thing. No one can change someone else. We may have to work with this person. We may chose to see her or him over the holidays because she or he is with others we want to spend time with. They may be a neighbor, colleague, or friend of our partner or spouse. We may want so badly to say this or show them that so that they will see what they’ll doing and want to change so that we’ll feel better. Yet most people won’t do that. People may change, but it’s because they want to when they see a need and a benefit.
Here’s the rub. We as Empaths are responsible for changing ourselves. If we are feeling drained by other people, no matter what label we attach to their personality, than we are out of balance. That is what we need to focus on energies on so that we don’t leave work, a party, or any outing feeling totally depleted and depressed. We need to get to a place where we can walk through the world and stay in tact and balanced no matter who we encounter.
I’ve always lived by the rule that if I want someone else to change, I need to change myself. Because when I change, the person I am relating too must somehow change - even if it’s just to leave because being around the new me doesn't feel comfortable anymore.
So how can you become more balanced as an Empath so that you don’t feel drained when you are around unbalanced people?
There are a couple of must-reads that I use for reference.
So let's BUST Mammoth Myth #2. ENERGY VAMPIRES ARE NOT OUT TO GET US. They need our compassion, and we can practice staying balanced and centered while we are with them.
B U S T E D !
(say this 1,000 time while looking in the mirror):
"I completely embrace myself as an Empath.
I easily and effortless set limits so I stay balanced.
I learn how to be with people and places and stay rested, strong and balanced.
I love me."
Stay tuned next week for the blog on Mammoth Myth #3: Empaths Attract Narcissists ...
We Empaths are a rare breed. We feel more, see more, and intuit more than the average bear. We've always known this, and the research by Dr. Elaine Aaron has begun to confirm this sensitivity through science. This ability comes naturally to us, and it is something that we are born with.
We receive information in many ways. Not only do we receive the "push" notifications of life through e-mails, TV ads, texts, billboards, news, etc., we also naturally notice a million little details through our senses - visually, physically, auditory, in dreams, intuition, and more.
With all this information available to us 24/7, and no guidelines on how to handle the barrage we sense each day, we can live life feeling overwhelmed, confused, alone, and full of anxiety. We feel like outcasts, misfits, and overly-sensitive people. Why do we have to notice so much more? It feels like a curse, not a gift.
Thinking this way about ourselves is not a way to live each day. STOP IT!
Every single Empath can and should feel secure in himself or herself, walking through life relaxed, happy, healthy, and powerful as we feel more, see more, and intuit more. We remain balanced. It is the way life is meant to be.
I believe there are 4 mammoth myths that we Empaths hold onto that are keeping us from feeling relaxed, happy, healthy, and powerful as we walk through life.
So let's look at what's getting in our way.
MAMMOTH MYTH #1:
SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH ME
Yes, we've all heard before that we are "too sensitive," and "need a thicker skin." Perhaps we've been called cry babies by well-meaning people that don't know how to handle our sensitivities. Sometimes we may have been called possessed, or evil, because our insights deeply scared those closest to us. Or our closest friends may think our ideas are insane.
Most of us heard references to negative attributes from childhood, as far back as we can remember. It may have been from a parent, a relative, or a teacher, or a combination of all of them. And as adults, we've most likely continued to hear it from friends, peers, colleagues and partners or spouses. But that's not the worst part.
The majority of we Empaths believe, at our core, that something IS WRONG with us. This is the worst part - that we've adapted this negative and limiting belief about ourselves. We ARE too sensitive. We DO NEED a thicker skin to be in the world. We SHOULDN'T CRY about this situation. We SHOULDN"T FEEL this way. How can we think SO NEGATIVELY that about this situation. The list goes on. We're affirming, on a daily basis, that something is wrong with us because we've heard it all our lives.
So this limiting belief keeps showing up. We come across it at work. At home. Everywhere we go. We believe it. And we don't believe our intuition, our knowingness, easily. Instead, we keep recreating the condescending voices in our heads from our childhoods. We don't feel accepted or loved for who we are - that sensitive, caring, deeply insightful person who knows so well how to take care of others.
When I was 25 years old, I loved to disco dance and I listened to a radio station on the east coast that had my favorite dance music. As part of a bumper sticker contest this station has on July 4th in DC, I heard them call out my license plate number and won a Nikon EM Camera. I was elated! And I also knew that the grand prize was a trip to Hawaii for 2.
I KNEW without a doubt that I was going to win that trip.
So I asked my best girlfriend if she would go with me. She assumed I was insane, yet she said she would.
So when the day came when I called her a few weeks later with the news that I had won the trip, she almost fainted!
I have learned to identify this knowingness as an "intuitive hit." The information came to me easily and effortlessly, and it's something I just knew to be true. I didn't doubt it, it just was. So I was not at all surprised that I won.
When I asked the radio station how they picked my name, the representative told me that he had 116 winners eligible for the grand prize trip to Hawaii. He walked into the radio booth and threw 116 pieces of paper with contestant winners written on them into the air. The DJ grabbed mine.
It's our job as Empaths to really know ourselves inside and out so that, as we gather information from the world and events around us, we can support ourselves and decide appropriately what to do with the information. This enables us to realize that something is NOT wrong with us. We are having an "intuitive hit" that may or may not be understood by those around us. We become mature enough, and solid enough in our own selves, that we don't expect to get approval and permission from those around us. We know what we know to be real for us. And we can decide if, when and with whom we want to share this information.
It's also our job as Empaths to fully embrace ourselves for our Superpowers. Accepting ourselves is an inside out job. If we're looking out to the masses to get approval and permission, we are looking in the wrong place. Intuition comes from inside.
Now I'm not saying that we shouldn't get help in embracing our unique abilities. I believe that having a counselor, therapist, coach, confidante, whatever we need to support us can be a vital part of living our lives. But if we are expecting those around us to accept us and they can't, that doesn't work for anyone - us or them. There are people out there that can accept us. The irony is - we need to accept ourselves FIRST.
So let's BUST Mammoth Myth #1. NOTHING is wrong with us. B U S T E D !
(say this 1,000 time while looking in the mirror):
"I completely embrace myself as an Empath.
I honor and cherish my intuition.
I effortlessly choose how, when and with whom to share my Superpower.
I love me."
Stay tuned next week for the blog on Mammoth Myth #2: Energy Vampires Drain our Energy ...
Do you think you're an Empath or Highly Sensitive? Or Both?
If you are a Highly Sensitive Empath, perhaps you:
It's exciting to see so many people becoming more aware of their sensitivities and beginning to love and embrace these qualities. In a world that is heavy in logic and brainy people, we have discounted our intuitive sides for way too long.
Back in the hunter-gatherer days, there is no way that our ancestors would've wanted to wander into a field to come upon a saber toothed tiger. That would have been a life-ending event. They used intuition and sensing to keep themselves safe and out of harms way. It wasn't judged as weird when they could sense something unseen; why is it weird now?
Yet with the event of industrialization, we have put our intuition and sensing on the back burner. Many of us have disowned it.
Until now. Now that we are enjoying the modern conveniences of electricity, machinery and equipment, medicine and surgeries, and more, and don't have to spend much of our day looking for and harvesting food, or building shelter, perhaps it's time we bring this important skill back into the forefront of our lives. And we will no longer be burned at the stake or stoned to death.
I am concerned about how most Highly Sensitive Empaths judge themselves, and how physically unwell they feel on a daily basis. As they come across the energy of others and daily life, it feels too overwhelming and uncomfortable. It's led to isolation and poor health.
I realize that we Highly Sensitive Empaths need time to recharge ourselves by being by ourselves. I think this is a healthy way to revitalize.
I'm talking about how many of us will feel like we can't go to a party or to a shopping mall without feeling drained and overwhelmed, exhausted from the experience. So we stop going because we don't know what else to do, and our self-esteem may begin to plummet. Or we struggle with intimate relationships, and come to the conclusion that we are too sensitive to live with anyone else. We choose isolation and loneliness instead of finding other strategies.
We are meant to be part of a tribe. To belong. To feel loved and nurtured and supported. To be comfortable and safe with who we are and what we have to offer the world, and our tribe.
So I'm inviting all of you to find your Warrior Empath. This is the Highly Sensitive Empath in you that knows how to stay strong physically, energetically, and emotionally as we venture out into the world, are with our tribes, and with our loved ones.
I can list many strategies that can help with this. After all, I coach Highly Sensitive Empaths in developing a superstructure for themselves so that they are strong and successful Warriors in their worlds.
But for this blog, I invite you to affirm that you CAN be a Warrior Empath. That you CHOOSE to be a Warrior Empath. That IT IS POSSIBLE and you will find out the path for yourself. The change starts within your mind.
I know it's possible to be a Warrior Empath, for I am doing it. I am a Highly Sensitive Physical and Emotional Empath, and I have figured out a superstructure for myself that keeps me grounded, healthy, and out in the world when I want to be. I am in a marriage with someone who has super strong energy, and I am able to live and love that person in my home. We have found strategies to make it work for both of us. I also stay physically strong and well nourished so that I feel good.
It all begins with the thought that it is possible. So the thought I'd like to leave you with today - step into your power and become that Warrior Empath you are meant to be. Start to change your thinking. Here are some affirmations for you to begin that process.
I love myself as a Highly Sensitive Empath.
I understand my special skills, and I love all of them.
I am willing to create new thoughts about myself and
about my life as a Highly Sensitive Empath.
I live in harmony and balance with everyone I know, especially myself.
I create a superstructure for myself and I recognize my body as a good friend.
I listen to what it needs, and I joyfully feed it nourishing foods and beverages.
I exercise it in ways that are fun. I get plenty of sleep.
I recognize my body as a wondrous and magnificent machine, and
I feel privileged to live in it.
I create new and wonderful relationships.
Instead of isolating myself, I choose to open up and let the love in.
I know how to handle any energy that I experience.
I am worthy of a healthy, intimate relationship with a like-minded person.
Other people respect me because I respect myself.
I am proud to be a Warrior Empath.
Developed using the Affirmations of Louise Hay
I had the honor of being the Health Care Director for my mom at the end of her life a few months ago. What an amazing and humbling experience for me.
She had called her eight children to visit as she prepared to transition. We came from all over the United States to spend time with her so that she could tell us stories of our childhood, and her life, and we could say our goodbyes. She lived to the age of 88, and lived actively, as it should be for everyone.
She walked everywhere, climbed stairs to the second story of her family home to get to bed each night, mowed her 1/2 acre lawn and raked the Autumn leaves at her rural home. She loved the beach and the outdoors, and played basketball at a park for her 80th birthday celebration. She rolled the trash and recycling cans up and down a hilly driveway each week, cleaned her own home, and provided all of her self-care up until the last few weeks of her life.
Yet when it was her time to go, she intuitively knew. In fact, the medical profession didn't quite understand it. Her numbers were "good," and she could do a lot more than other patients on the hospital ward. “Ms. Anne” often set the bed alarm off as she tried to stay active.
While Mom was in the hospital, they loaded her up with so many medications for every symptom that came her way. She at one point said the medications were going to kill her. Little did she know how right she was. The doctors were trying to stop her stomach from bleeding. So they administered ample amounts of prednisone, yet the bleeding never stopped.
At the same time, she was having a lot of skin irritations. I had brought coconut oil with me. I find it helpful, especially for older skin, as it nourishes quite well, feels good, and provides antioxidant and anti-aging properties. It also has antimicrobial and antifungal agents, as well as sun-shielding properties, and can help with peeling skin. My mom liked the feel of it and kept putting it on her skin.
When Mom requested that I get her home from the hospital to hospice care, I took her seriously. Although she had declined quite rapidly in a few weeks, hospice did not initially get approved. Having returned to California, I fought through the steps to get her home, and we had another hospice company visit her. It was then that we received hospice approval.
Mom stopped all medications except a couple for comfort. Her skin on her arms began to peel several layers, as if someone had poured buckets of hot water on her. It was raw and painful. When I asked the hospice nurse what could cause that reaction, she said long-term use of prednisone. My mom was on it for 2 weeks. I then realized why my mother seldom took pharmaceuticals. The side-effects far outweighed the benefits for her; she spent her life finding other ways to nourish herself to health.
So I asked the hospice nurse to apply coconut oil to her skin. The nurse informed me that using coconut oil went against the hospice doctor's orders. He prescribed vaseline and gauze on the wounds. I asked for the coconut oil to be applied first, then add the doctor recommended treatment. I was surprised that she continued to discuss this with me. Well meaning and doing her job, the nurse wanted me to know the seriousness of my request before she applied it.
Hospice is wonderful and did a fabulous job with my Mom’s end of life support! But have we gotten so off-track with pharmaceutical solutions that if we use a nutritive supplement - like coconut oil, we are violating doctor's orders? Seriously? How have we gone so wrong in our thinking and treatment of our health? Doesn't a patient have any say anymore into what she/he is called to do?
I am an advocate, a warrior, for listening to the body and doing what you are called to do, no matter what a doctor or anyone else recommends. The typical doctor may spent 10 minutes with you once a year, run tests and prescribe surgery/medication, but YOU are the best one to take the information presented, weigh all the pro's and con's, and listen to your body and your intuition to go with what you feel is best.
Especially as Highly Sensitive Empaths, we need to honor our bodies and create a superstructure of support for what they need, even if others don't agree with us. We are in charge of our health. That’s where being a Warrior Empath comes in. We need to follow our intuition no matter what, and go against doctor’s orders if we need to.
We all hear the benefits of meditation - how it calms the "monkey mind" and aids us in clearer and less reactive thinking. We hear how it calms the physical body as well, and gives us a fresh start to our day. It helps us sleep better, stay centered in ourselves and our truth.
Even agencies like the National Institute of Health are looking into meditation and it's benefits, and noting what science is discovering about the benefits of a practice.
If we consider Webster, it defines meditating as:
It doesn't really matter how others define meditation. As an Empath and Highly Sensitive, a regular practice of meditation can have even deeper benefits because we are so very sensitive. So it's important that we develop a practice. I think it's important that we don't put ourselves into a box in our thinking when it comes to how to meditate. We need to define a practice that truly supports us and works for us. It doesn't mean we have to sit in a corner and chant "ommmm" for a certain amount of time.
It does mean that we need to have regular practices that help us clear our mind, reduce our stress, and have an inward focus.
Here are some "out-of-the-box" ideas to help you:
I hope this gives you some useful and different ideas on how to meditate. As Empaths and Highly Sensitives, we really need to forge our own trail and find ways that work for us. An estimated 20% of the population according to Dr. Elaine Aaron's research, the mainstream ways of living don't often serve us well.
So how do you define meditation for you?
My dad, an avid reader and life-long learner, brought the book I'm OK--You're OK by Thomas Harris into our household in the 1970s, when I was in junior high. I remember it sitting next to his recliner and on his adjacent bookcase as he read it. I thought it was a funny name for a book, especially back then. I read it in my 20's.
According to Wikipedia, the book hit the New York Times Best Seller list in 1972 for about two years. The publisher estimates that it sold over 15 million copies so far and they translated it into more than a dozen languages. It's talks about Transactional Analysis, a form of conventional psychiatry.
What its popularity and longevity means to me, is that we humans have wrestled for years, maybe hundreds of years, with the concept of whether we are okay or not. And if others are okay.
I believe that this is particularly true of Empaths. We Empaths are a sensitive breed loaded with intuition. No two of us are alike. Some of us sense feelings to a very deep level. Some sense the earth energies and its distress and joy. Some sense physical sensations of others - they feel them so deeply, it's often confusing as to who owns the physical sensation. There are Empaths that see colors and auras around other living things. Many Empaths can connect with spirits that have crossed over. Then we have the animal Empaths that can talk to and "feel" inside animals. And the Empaths that can see into the future, sometimes through dreams. We have Empath energy healers. The list goes on and on.
I believe, way back when when humans were more primitive, that we needed these Superpowers of intuition to survive. Bible stories talk of humans receiving intuitive information in dreams and through conversations with saints. Hunter gatherers needed to know if a predator, like a saber toothed tiger, waited for a meal in the adjacent field or valley. They had to have a strong sense of where to hunt, and what plants to eat and not eat. They used these Superpowers without realizing they were an intuitive power.
As consciousness grew, there came a time when people with Superpowers, like healers and witches, were intensely feared. And it wasn't that long ago. Wikipedia compiled a list of people, men and women, executed for witchcraft. The list shows how witches were convicted and executed in cruel ways all over the world for their Superpowers, considered evil, from the 1400's to as late as the 1800's.
Take the story of Joan of Arc, a devout saint of God, who burned at the stake in May of 1431 for charges of heresy. After a long trial that lasted over a year, the courts convicted her of three major indictments. The first of these was that she used magic when she proclaimed to hear voices from St. Michael, St. Margaret, and St. Catherine. Today, she'd be considered a Medium.
I don't know if these people did evil deeds or not. I do believe, that to have these kinds of Superpowers, they were Empaths and/or highly sensitive. And their Superpowers, if displayed, got them tried and executed in cruel ways.
Fast forward to 2018, and it's understandable that Empaths and highly sensitives are having difficulty embracing their intuitive Superpowers.
It's time we take a courageous leap and truly be okay with ourselves. Stand up and say "I am an Empath and I am Okay."
Yet, I see Empaths looking outside of themselves to ask if they are okay. The answer is not outside of us. We need to change our thinking. Being an Empath is okay. Being an Empath is more than okay, it's an honor and a privilege to have this Superpower. Being highly sensitive is a Superpower; information is power, and we pick up more information. So being a Highly Sensitive Empath is a magnificent honor.
Ask yourself. AM I OKAY WITH ME? When your unique sensitivity arises, do you shame yourself? Do you tell yourself you're odd, that you don't fit in? Do you wish you were different? What are you telling yourself?
This is such an important question. For if you don't accept yourself fully, than nobody will. Yet when you do accept yourself, you find like-minded people that love you for who you are.
So dear Highly Sensitive Empaths, your time has come to shine.
Take a moment right now to breathe in and out a few breaths. Slow and long and deep. And then ask yourself, "Do I fully accept myself as an Empath?" or "Do I fully accept myself as a Highly Sensitive Person?" If you get a no, you've got work to do!
Go to a mirror, look yourself in the eyes and say "I am an Empath, and I am okay!" "I am Highly Sensitive and I love myself completely." Say it over and over until you believe it. Let the self-doubt, criticism, and negative thinking float away. And watch the magic unfold!
Our bodies are like our automobiles.
Let's say we have a Mercedes, just because it's a fun car to have! This Mercedes gets us from place to place. We drive it to the grocery store, work, out on our dates and family events, to the Crossfit gym or our yoga class, and to the farmer's market. We use it more than we walk. We've learned to count on it to get us around.
So if it's experiencing knocks and shakes, we investigate. Hopefully we'll do this sooner than later, so that we don't end up broken down on the side of the highway.
If we can't figure out what is causing the "symptoms," we take it to the mechanic to look over the whole car and give us a diagnosis and recommendation. They do a once over, typically, and let us know what parts in the system need upgrading, replacing, or fixing.
Suppose they say it's the fuel we're putting in our car that isn't working well enough. If you keep going to the gas station and putting in inappropriate fuel, or watering down the oil, and not giving your car the ingredients it needs, it’s going to keep running poorly even if the mechanic keeps diagnosing the symptoms, taking out and replacing parts, or prescribing additives in the gas and oil. It would be a lot more powerful for that Mercedes engine to have what it needs so it can do a good job and get us where we need to go.
Yet how many of us put inappropriate fuel into our bodies, which are our vehicles in life? We get the knocks and shakes, and have no idea how we created them.
Here's the rub. We expect our body to function well enough to get to our Mercedes, climb into and out of it, and to get us to the grocery store, work, out on our dates and family events, to the Crossfit gym or our yoga class, and to the farmer's market.
Yet how can that beautiful body of ours carry us from place to place if it's not working well?
If we look at our bodies the same way as that magnificent Mercedes, and we notice that they’re not running well, what do we do? Do we run to the doctors and get a pill to take away the symptom so that we can keep going from place to place, or do we think about what we’re putting into our bodies. What thoughts are we thinking to feed it each day? What kind of food are we are using for fuel? And liquids? What kind of stress are we expecting our bodies to handle? Are we constantly going uphill and stressing our engines without a rest and then wondering why our engine is struggling?
In general, our culture does not respect the human body. We don’t really listen to them. They’re considered to be something we have to deal with, but this very body we're in is the one we chose in this lifetime to transport us until we leave.
Why is there so much fear about our bodies and what they’re saying to us? We shake when we have a symptom. If we don’t know what to do and what causes it, we try to ignore it until it gets too big to ignore. Then we run to the doctor or the ER or the clinic, and ask them to fix it for us. Many times we get a pill, which can help us feel better. Or we have surgery to remove the "bad" part.
These are certainly alternatives to be explored. But is it really fixing the root cause of the problem we're experiencing?
I’m here voting for the body. If we want to feel well, look and do our best, and have a nice long ride without breaking down or shaking, we need to do a much bit better job at listening to our bodies and giving them what they need.
And if we happen to be highly sensitive and/or an empath, the listening and responding we're doing must be amplified so we're providing a superstructure of support. We sense and feel more, so we need to ramp up the support.
I’m writing this on a day when I feel pretty crappy. I’m usually pretty good about having whole foods, avoiding grains, taking my supplements, getting enough rest, getting my exercise, taking quiet time, taking a positive approach, and avoiding sugar and flour. This is a plan I've put in place with my health coach and other professionals over the years that works the best for me.
It's no surprise in the last week, as I’ve been feeling more stress and putting things into my body, that I am experiencing some knocks and shakes. I am bloated and feel like I put on 5 pounds, I feel more gaseous, my thyroid seems to be feeling a little tighter right now. I feel more anxious, my mood is lower, I’m not sleeping as well, I’m craving the bad stuff, and this is all because I chose fuel that is not optimal for my body.
I'd say it's time for a change in our culture. How can we begin to truly listen to our bodies, accept what they're saying, develop a personalized plan to amp up the fuel we're providing for ourselves? Then let's support each other, our differences, to keep choosing the good stuff, so that we keep our vehicle functioning the best it can until our ride is over?
A thought that keeps coming up for me is, why are we, as humans on the planet in this day and age - okay with feeling mediocre? Physically mediocre?
So many of us go through our days with aches and pains and just write if off as normal. We don’t have the energy we’d like to have, but we’ve been to the doctor and the test results came back within range. Or perhaps we received a diagnosis or two, and a prescription or two, to help whatever symptom we are experiencing. And maybe it’s helping, maybe it’s not.
But the bottom line is, we really don’t feel that well each day.
So, to make sense of it, we adopt attitudes like:
We are noticing our aches and pains and making excuses for them instead of taking control and feeling 100% strong. The bottom line is that we, as a culture, have normalized not feeling well.
I think the problem starts because we are so much into our heads. Our society admires being in our heads, pushing through, getting things done, staying focused on where we are going and what’s ahead.
So it’s no surprise that, when it comes to our bodies, we are focused on all the rules out there.
We hear that we need to eat this food to have a certain result. Kale. Broccoli. Eggs. Meat. No meat.
We hear that we need to exercise for so many minutes and with so much intensity to be healthy.
We need to meditate for so many minutes each day to be fully present in our lives. And we need to get a certain amount of sleep.
To top it off, there are lots of miracle fixes floating around out there in this age full of a lot of information everywhere we turn.
We have instant access to loads of information like never before - through our phones, the TV, our computers, and the magazine and newspaper stands. And information is power, right? Yes, it is. I think increased information has certainly been helpful, even necessary, but it has gotten too complicated, and something very important is missing.
The information we’re listening to is not the most powerful. The information on our phones is outside of ourselves. I believe the most powerful source of information is inside our own bodies.
We are all so different. What health looks like for me, doesn’t necessarily work for you. And what works for you, doesn't work for your husband. And what works for your husband, doesn’t work for your son. No two of us are alike. Health is not a cookie cutter solution with one size fits all.
What we feed ourselves - the foods, our thoughts, our environments, our beliefs, the stresses we encounter and the stories we attach to them, the very reasons we came onto this earth - all influence how our genes play out.
For instance, kale may be full of nutrients for a human body, but my human body has difficulty digesting it, so I better take that into consideration if I decide to have it. Eggs. Another one. I like the taste of eggs. Yet they are high in thiols (an organic sulfur compound), and my body can get backed up with thiols if I have too many.
So I believe the solution to health is simple. Get out of your head and into your body. Look inside of yourself for the answers you’re seeking. For your strength. Inside is where our real power lies, and where we have collectively lost our way.
Just how do we do this? The very first step is checking in with our physical bodies in a non-judgemental and non-fearful way. Noticing. Especially as empaths and highly sensitives, we most often disconnect from our bodies because the sensations are too intense or scary. Or we’ve had others judge us and we’ve shut off. We need to learn to feel safe in our bodies again.
Try this. Put your attention on our heart area right now. It may help to put your hand to this area. Take a few slow, deep breaths into your belly button. This moves our attention out of our mind and into our heart. If it takes you more than a few breaths to make this transition, it is worth the extra time. Do what intuitively feels right for you.
Next, put your attention to your physical body for a few minutes. You can do a body scan here, say from your toes to your head, to see what feels comfortable and good, and what feels out of whack. As you do this, just notice the information without getting too attached to it.
It may go something like this. My feet, they really don’t have any feeling. Wait, they feel cold and a little tired. Then move onto your legs. That left knee if feeling a little achy, other than that, my legs feel good. Oooh, my tummy feels like it didn’t like what I ate for lunch. Continue to travel up the body to your head, noting what feels good and what doesn’t. Gather the information, and let it be. Be curious about any discomfort. You can even ask your body what it needs.
If you don’t get immediate sensations or feedback, keep working at it. Practice non-judgement and listening. Gather information. This creates awareness of your body and where you are at this very moment. It’s a great place to start.
How can we use our intuition to stay strong and live long?
I like to look at our ancestors for some hints and tips.
I love all the work that Mark Sisson puts into his blogs. Let’s look at some research from the training I’ve had through his Primal Blueprint work.
“Fossil records show that primal humans who steered clear of fatal misfortune could routinely live six or seven decades in excellent health. These records also show a ‘maximum observed life span’ of an astonishing 94 years!”
Mark refers to his primal fictional characters as Grok and Grokette, well-rounded athletes living off the land with it’s seasonal variations in food and terrain. Grok and Grokette could call upon superhuman bursts of strength or speed to save their lives when they had to. They could track a tired animal for hours so that they could catch their protein to eat. They ate mostly greens and fruits from their local area. They could climb trees to harvest fruit, carry heavy things so they could have water at their camps, and generally exhibit a well-rounded level of fitness that provided preparedness for a variety of situations.
In fact, these abilities of nutrition, strength and longevity don’t go that far back. In the 1800’s, my maternal Great Great Grandfather lived to be 105, and his wife to 103, both dying within 1 week of each other. They lived off the land - picking fruit from the trees. They moved their bodies everyday - gathering sticks for kindling to create the warmth for their fires. They went to bed with the chickens - so they also had pasture-raised hens! They lived in their tribes, often children stayed in the same town as they had their families, so there was a strong sense of community.
My paternal Great Great Grandmother stayed active until the end. She had climbed a large beech tree, from which she was lopping branches. From these branches she would make a bundle which she then carried home on her head. She slipped from the tree and fell onto a large rock, which led to her death.
They went about their days, grabbing something to eat from the land when they got hungry. If they couldn’t find food, they didn’t eat. They gathered supplies for their homes (which they built by hand) which required strength and agility. They chilled at night by talking to each other and relaxing in the quiet. They went to bed early and got up with the sun. They learned to use their sensitivities and intuition to assist them in staying alive and sustaining themselves.
Their lifestyle, although more rugged and “stressful” in some ways than ours today, supported their bodies in better ways. They didn’t grab an apple from a tree and think “I probably shouldn’t be eating this.”
Today, we’ve created the ability to travel around the world very easily. We’ve learned how to harvest food for the masses and are getting closer to wiping out hunger and starvation. We’ve harnessed the power of electricity. Our ancestors would be in awe to see what we’ve created in a few hundred years.
So what can we learn from our ancestors?
Keep life simple.
In this day and age, unlike our ancestors, we must pay attention to what we eat, and make conscious choices about how we life. On the upside, we have a choice where our ancestors did not. On the downside, industrialized processing methods, the abundance of sugar and flour, and the addictiveness of grains have thwarted our food supply. Our sedentary lives have made us weak.
We can no longer just reach for what is in front of us, whether it’s the donut or the remote, and assume it will keep us strong and healthy. It won’t.
It’s time to wake up, get up, and get strong to live long. The key to making this change, is getting really close and intimate with our own physical body, so we know what works for us and what doesn’t. Are you listening?
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