Friday, June 26, 2009

Eye Exercises

I found a post on the Coconut Oil Forum from a gal who's begun doing Tibetan Eye exercises to strengthen her eyesight. I looked it up & found this eye chart plus instructions - How fun!! The suggestion is to do these exercises twice daily, & to begin & end the session with eye 'palming.'
The author (name not cited) makes an interesting comment on the role rancid oils play in eyesight deterioration: "This type of damage is from the vegetable oils in the polyunsaturated configuration of the oils treated with hydrogen, (Trans fatty acids), [which] causes the rancidity (free radical damage) of cellular fats." - another reason to use coconut oil, don't you think?

My dad used a similar pattern regularly, & my kids recall his 'eye exercises.'. He was part Cherokee - did this come from something he learned growing up, or something he read??
Byrle's Eye Calisthentics didn't use a chart, each pattern involved looking to the very edge of ones' field of vision. They included: circling the eyes clockwise & counterclockwise, looking up & down, back & forth, & in a figure 8 pattern (which includes the diagonals in steps 4 & 5 of the Tibetan pattern!)

There is also a sweet acupressure self massage that I found in a calligrapher's cook book - 'Pots & Pens Three' these lovely drawings & text are by Andrea Heid.
I found the same Chinese set online here. There are also u-tube videos, inc. this one showing a child doing the exercises!

I remember reading an article about an elderly Chinese woman who did these daily, & could still do fine embroidery with out glasses into her 80s or 90s!

I include eye palming, face & self-massage at the end of my Tai Chi/Qigong class. It will be fun to add my dad's eye calisthentics into this pattern.

Sunny Friday

Harry Potter camp came to a delightful finish yesterday. My daughter-in law Angie brot their kids back, & stayed to help us with the preschool group. Here they are with their big coz., climbing the tree in my daughter's front yard. Today they're back home, to the relief of their old dog, who wasn't sure what had 'happened' to his babes!

After HP Camp, my dau & I went for fabulous pedicures - ah :) I love the flowers on my big toenails! & today I receive a massage - so doubly blessed!

The camp ended with a BBQ & salads (many good n green!) yesterday, & a cake topped with 'crispy treat 'castle walls!' Friends who are in SCA brought an armload of capes, so I wore one as I 'signed' the songs.

My daughter sent of cell samples for gluten intollerance testing - & this week the results came back for her family, & all 4 of them have the gene - tho not necessarily active yet - good to know & begin making the shift! She said the test showed both her parents have the marker as well (oh-oh!)
So going gluten free! She already has to watch for egg yolks (no mayo or dressings w/ egg yoke, or pizza brushed with egg, or . . .) & peanuts. I've been trying to avoid soy.

As an adult, I've found I 'do better' & don't produce as much mucus (always had a stuffy nose as a kid) when I don't eat much wheat - rarely buy bread (usually choose sprouted), & don't prepare or eat much pasta. But I've still enjoyed the occcasional pizza, & always go for whole grains. Rice & quinoa are my grains of choice, & I've been enjoying the forays into using coconut & sorgham flour. So we'll be doing more of that! She's ordered some books, & another field trip to the 'red mill' will be fun.
I do better with yogurt than drinking milk - tho I love it raw, I think I'm better off not drinking it. Bring on the coconut :) I made coconut yogurt yesterday, using my 'Greek God' yogurt (delish!) as a starter, & it turned out well. I made some tapiocia to help it 'firm.'


Yesterday the Farmer's Market was in full swing, & I picked up some fruit & a few goodies my CSA share doesn't inc - artichokes from the coast, kohlrabi & fresh basil. I keep the basil at room temp., in a glass w/ a bit of water in the bottom. A couple of stems from last week's bunch grew roots, so I planted those with my tomatoes!

Our favorite edible pod pea is Grau Eaten or 'dwarf grey sugar'. With it's lovely lavender & purple blosssoms, it rivals sweet peas in the 'pretty' dept, plus produces the yummiest peas! Years ago, my friend Diana's 3 year old would casually walk around the house & start picking pea pods whenever they visited - usually joined by my two kids!

Well - time to do something with this lovely, sunshiny day! The sweet Mormon boys who came to my door this week asked if I needed help on anything - 'the garden?' Do all the weeds & overgrown grass - show?? Sigh. Love gardens, but fall down on upkeep . . .

Monday, June 22, 2009

Harry Potter Camp

My grandkids are all attending 'Harry Potter Camp' at our church this week (VBS). I'm helping out in the preschool room, & with the sign language for the songs.

Here are Kakay 'n Em eating breakfast (black beans for lots of protein!) on the stairs. Gregory was still getting dressed, with his big coz. helping.

For several years we had 'Suess Camp' - the gospel according to Doctor Suess, with examples for kind living coming from several of his stories.

I recently noticed someone calling her spiritual 'blend' the 'braided path' - Buddhist, nature focus pagan, & New Thought Christian; I like that, having often called myself 'buddhist/pagan/christian!' & I adore books about magic, elves, awakenings, & people struggling to make 'good choices' . . .

So I'm wrestling with some of the references to 'God is real, magic is make-believe!' well . . .

From the healer & "Mystic's" point of view, it would be nice to tone down the emphasis on 'what's real & what's not' The Harry Potter books are novels, for sure, with one author, but magic & magical thinking are part of chidhood's heritage, in my view.

A number of teachers I've studied healing with see auras, have seen or connected with fairies, 'know' when someone is ill etc, & were told by the dominant culture that wasn't real! I especially enjoy when I receive a 'dream teaching' that is later validated! It's often taken folks years to reclaim their gifts, & learn to express & utilize them.

When I was receiving Buddhist teachings & was given a name - Drugma Chodron Wong Mo, I had a hard time remembering what it meant - "dragon depository of the Dharma, powerful mother." Whew, what a mouthfull!
The week before, I'd had a reading from a mother & daughter, who called me a 'wisdom keeper.'
So I dreamed - dharma, wisdom teachings (wong); depository - keeper (or place something is kept)! OH!! In my dream, my buddhist teacher broke it down & explained it to me, word by word. Dragon was drugma, mother: mo. It's remained vivid ever since, tho I don't use it as my 'name,' it's part of my 'definition.'

Roselyn Bruyer (Wheels of LIght) re-learned to see energy fields (auras) when her sons (4 & 5) saw them. Her mother (who had been frightened by Ros's childhood abilities, & told her they weren't 'real') became a 'believer' the night her appendix burst, after the boys said "The fuzz around grandma's tummy is orange!" (she began asking 'how does my fuzz look?)

Eric Vormanns, brought up in Ghana, was a bit luckier, in that his gifts were recognized - he also sees auras, (he calls me 'the butterfly lady') & could see sickness & predict recovery or death - but his grandma would tell him not to tell folks what he saw! He calls his healing modality 'spiritual' or 'etheric' healing, it's done off the body, & especially effective in aiding recovery from burns or working with pets.
A teaching Eric offers parents - it's our job to help our children express & use their gifts for good, & to notice weaknesses & help children overcome them. A very gentle, good hearted man. I've taken 3 classes with him, & recall recieving a 'message' for one gal from her departed mother. Eric told the other students 'it's OK for her to recieve that message - she's working on sending energy with her harp - the rest of you, concentrate on physical information!'

Dora Van Gelder Kunz, who helped develop Therapeutic Touch grew up in a family that saw fairies & natures spirits, & many of us work with those energies to help rebalance our beautiful blue green planet. In her booklet on Christmas & angels: Dora wrote: "We must remember that the whole earth is thronged with hosts of superphysical beings, angels and archangels and all the Company of Heaven, who stand for the most part at a higher level of evolution than ourselves and who are responsible for the guidance and control of the maniforld processes of Nature. It is their thoughts and feelings and activities which play so important a part in the creation of that peculiar atmosphere of good will so noticeable at Christmas; and at this time of the year the whole earth thrills with the wonderful forces outpoured by the angels."
I've offered workshops in how to connect with & work with nature spirits in gardening, & certainly received messages from them. A friend who 'sees' once asked me if I 'saw' my entourage of 'little ones' -

A few years ago, a harpist friend I was visiting was concerned about her daughter's belief in Fairies - which had caused a ripple at school. Rosie was 5 or 6 at the time.
In the AM, the principal met with us (informally), & as they talked about the 'incident,' when she & another child argued about the 'reality' of fairies, he commented 'It's a belief, & no one can tell someone else what they do or should believe! Now, at school, it would be helpful not to try to convince each other one way is right & the other wrong!'
Rosie was particularly upset, as she had recently seen 'Peter Pan,' & felt each time her friend said 'fairies aren't real!' one died! Her child care provider called Reiki (hands on healing) 'fairy energy' & I'd once been asked to do 'fairy energy' on Rosie's knee, when she'd twisted it at a harp camp! She was running around in no time (as her mom said, 'she was really hurt & limping!')
I was so relieved by the principal's comment - what a lovely way to look at it! 'Belief' in magic, fairies, energy systems are just as valid as any other belief, & just as deserving of tolerance!

Since both the principal & my friend & her family happen to be Jewish (it was a Montessori school in a college town & multi cultural), they were well aware of the danger of dictating belief. & isn't God involved in everything - including these 'full sensory' abilities that most of us have supressed??

I tend to feel more than see, which is helpful in my work - sometimes feeling in my own body where the problem lies. Gifts can certainly be developed for good or ill - that's the message delivered by Rolling's books, & the message I think we want to get across :)

When Alyssa (now 9) was 5, I was working with Doreen Virtue's fairy cards, & asked Sis if she 'saw' fairies - she described little darting lights by the rosemary bush - much as Doreen described them! Later, when my daughter came to pick her up, Alyssa scolded: "Mom! You didn't let the fairies know you were going to walk on the grass!" (one of Doreen's sug) - to which my magical daughter responded: "They know I was going to - the fairies aren't stupid!"

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Mental Gymnastics

This week a friend invited me to join her in a class at one of the Sr. facilities on Brain Wellness, presented by Roger Anunsen - what fun! This week's topic was "Antioxidents vs. Free Radicals & Omega 3 Fats: Insulating your thoughts"

Each day, with 'normal' lifestyle, we are exposed to oxidative stress, & a daily intake of naturally available antioxidents helps counter that stress. The 'target figure' is ~ 3000 Units of antioxidents on the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity - or the capacity to absorb radical oxygen) scale.
The industrial revolution brought awareness of what happens when metal is exposed to oxygen, think of an old wagon, sitting in the rain - rust = oxidation!

Remember 'eat from the rainbow?' if we do, we are well on our way to meeting our ORAC 'quota!'
Think dark, think variety, think blueberries, raspberries (above photo), black berries, plums, carrots, broccoli, bright colours, dark beans, dark juices (3 glasses of red/purple juice a week was found in the 'Seattle Longitudinal study' to provide 34% reduction in risk of cognitive decline), think spices like curry (turmeric - & often coconut milk :), chocolate, carob & cinnamon. Various nuts, inc. walnuts, hazelnuts (filberts), brazil nuts & pecans are all high in antioxidents.
Green, rooibos, honeybush & herb teas are also good sources of antioxidents. Remember that you can use all of these 'iced' as well! Over on Peppy Lady's blog, there's a link to a site on chakra foods - fun way to tap the energy of those bright foods :)

This AM I made hummus - using some of the black beans (rather than garbanzo) that I cooked in my crockpot yesterday! I love hummus, & this is yummy! The black beans have the same phytochemicals as blueberries - so do purple potatoes!

Black Bean n Basil Hummus
1/2 C Black beans, cooked (I always soak several hours & drain before cooking)
1/4-1/2 C bean liquid, as needed
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 lemon, juice
4 fresh basil leaves, sliced
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 C tahini
Tbsp coconut oil
-- blend or pop into food processor - add bean liquid as needed for consistency. Use as a spread.

Roger mentioned that one gal asked the ORAC rating for prunes, as she eats one with each meal. He looked it up, 400 (each) so 3=1200, about 1/3 of her daily antioxident quota!
My mom faithfully put ~ 1/2 dozen prunes in a juice glass & covered them with water each evening, then ate them with her breakfast, & drank the juice. She was thinking of 'regularity' & perhaps potassium & vitamin A - but was getting ~ 2400 ORAC Units. She loved broccoli & carrots, & made sure we had a veggie or two with lunch & supper.
When Lois moved into Assisted Living, they struggled to find the 'right' laxative, so I suggested they bring her prune juice each AM (which was always one of the choices) - 'don't ask her which she wants, just bring it!' I knew she'd prefer the 'natural' approach, & wasn't thinking of antioxidents - but it might have helped her growing 'fuzziness' as well!!

This AM we picked berries for the granola, & Kayleen ate the black raspberries first! I planted a bush in memory of my Hospice client Roberta, who loved them, though they were rarely available from a shop. My mother-in law had a bush, so I'd pick her handfuls in season, which she relished! She also loved radishes, & I'm not sure where her housekeeper shopped, as she often 'couldn't find any.' Well, that's an easy 'fix,' if you have a garden! I'd bring her those, too!

The antioxidents are needed daily, & think of getting more if you live in the city, smoke (or live with a smoker), are a heavy drinker, or otherwise have a higher need. I think of coconut oil in this 'antioxident' category, as it's absorption doesn't produce free radicals, so it reduces oxidative stress. (it's high in Omega 6 fats, so doesn't 'help' there).
"It's never too late to build up reserves!" Alcoholics who have gone into recovery will often experience a 'neuro-outburst' of brain regeneration within a few weeks!

The Omega 3 fats are necessary several times a week - as we tend to get more Omega 6 oils, but a 1/1 balance is ideal. Walnuts provide both Omega 3 fats & antioxidents - great double purpose food! Also avacados, pecans & filberts.
Fish (salmon, trout, sardines . . . ) & flax seed are two of the best sources. Eggs & meat from free range animals are much higher in Omega 3s; as soon as you begin feeding animals grain, the ratio shifts to higher in Omega 6s.

My 'yummy sprinkles' are a great way to prepare your own flax seeds, combined (if you wish) with sesame for better antioxident absorption (Vit E) & milk thistle to help detox & build the liver. I sprinkle some on my granola most mornings, & have fresh or frozen fruit as well.

Myelin, the 'white matter' of the brain, is the insulation that surrounds the brain & nerv axions. Cognitive decline is linked to loss of myelin, or 'de-myelination. Omega 3 oils support the recovery & regrowth (re-myelination - a relatively new concept!) of the myelin! (& the MCT found in human milk & coconut are an important factor in myelination in infants.)

Think of your nerves as an electrical wire, covered in a rubber insulation - the wire is the axion, the insulation, the myelin, which wraps around the 'wire' in a spiral. Each time you recall a bit of information, you 'make' another wrap - so old memories (your first grade teacher's name: ___ your first (or early) address: ___ a grade school 'best friend':____) are easy to recall - they are more heavily 'insulated!'
-- I love this image of a spiral around the nerve - I always think of insulation, & have offered this image to clients with a nerve injury. In anatomy class, we learned that if a nerve is injured or severed, the myelin needs to be repaired first, & if that happens, the nerve can regenerate! It often takes weeks to months - to years!
One client whose toes were numb for 4 years after knee surgery had feeling return ~ 6 months after beginning to recieve bi-monthly massage! Another client (& professional musician/guitarist) asked for Reiki on his Left hand, which had been bitten by a dog the summer before. Working with the image of nerve repair from the outside in & the Reiki, he noticed significant improvement by the next week!

A memory that's recent - the name of that gal you met last week: ____ only has a thin myelin coat - so less protected. That's why a name game & repeating someone new's name several times helps you encode (& insulate) it, for easier recall - how cool!
Mental exercises increase the electrical flow, & spur myelination & growth. We played several group mind games - group activities are more potent than the same exercise done alone - socialization! (check out my 'movement is medicine post last Nov - ballroom dance offers a 76% Altzheimer's risk reduction - movement, memory, social activity!)
Go to Roger's website to order some of his memory games! When my kids were little, we'd play 'concentration' with a set of Ranger Rick cards - & one of the 4 year olds was the hands down camp at instant recall! My grandkids have several of these, one with faces of kids from around the world.

Play, enjoy, remember to eat your ANTIOXIDENTS DAILY, & OMEGA 3s 3x a week! Like Roger says, in a couple of years, I want you to remember why you're doing this!

I notice this is my 77th 'Vale' blog - one of our mind gym games was 'Think Again' We would count off, around the circle (front OR back row - ~ 12-15 people in each), & when we came to a 7 or multiple of 7, that person would say 'Think Again!' & the flow would reverse (clockwise/counterclockwise/clockwise, . . .)
Throughout the class, Roger would flash several bird pictures on the screen, & invite folks to 'name' its group (a 'shimmer' of hummingbirds was one of my favorites! Or a 'charm' of finches). At other times, he'd have us play a round of 'Think Again' (5 or 6 times in 1 1/2 hour!) He'd start with a different person each time. We got to 36 a couple of times, & 42. This was the 8th of 9 weekly classes, so the rest of the group had been playing for WEEKS, & were all 70 or older!

It's tricky - I don't readily remember my multiples of 7 above 28 - can easily calculate them - but that takes time. Roger pointed out ithat when someone doesn't come up with 'their' number within about 30 seconds, they'll lose the train! I'm dyslexic, & much prefer pattern & number games to word games if spelling is involved (love ones involving the meaning of words)

For the numbers 7, 14, 21; 28, 35, 42; 49, 56, 63; say 'Think Again! Remember to include 7, 17, 27, 37,47,57,67, & say Think Again' for them as well. (complete set: 7, 14, 17, 21, 27, 28, 35, 37. 42 47, 49, 56, 57, 63, 67; 70)
At 70, say: "I don't have to Think Again!' (or 77, since this is the 77th blog :)

27/28 & 56/57 are two 'doubles' where the flow reverses twice, (so the person who said 'T* A*' for 27 will say "29" . . . Our row got 'stuck' at 42 several times - if you say the number rather than 'Think Again,' or don't remember 'your' number when the flow reverses, that round's over.

I've been 'reviewing' my times tables, & will see if my women's book group will play this evening!! (I'll let you know :)

I think fondly of my daughter's gradeschool classmate who, when I was trying to remember the date, said 'don't you know - if you think of weeks as a base 7 - now it's not really base 7, but you can use that - so if you know that in June, the 7th falls on a Sunday, each of the Sundays in June will be a multiple of 7?!! In July, the 7th falls on Tue, . . . " (which is part of the reason 7, 14, 21 & 28 are so ingrained - er, myelinzed - in my brain!)
Well, duh - but I hadn't thought of it that way before - I sure have ever since - thank you, Justin!!

Cheers!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Coming Down

In the yard there was a tree - a very big & getting Bigger tree.

Now I love trees, & love to be in the woods.
I strongly dis-like the practice of cutting down lots of trees, . . . . but this lovely spruce was in a rather small yard - the lot is the 'standard 50' x 100,' with the spruce toward the rear. I think it was a living Christmas tree, that had been planted without much thought of how big it could eventually grow.

My dau & son-in law live next door, & recently they decided to stay in their small home & perhaps remodel, rather than moving into something bigger. Soooo - it seemed time to take the spruce down.
Here's the view from my back step 'before' - when planted, it was probably a bit taller than the Adironcack loveseat, now stretched high, & the branches (spruce bottle brushes!) were a challange to navigate around to pick the raspberries or pass between the yards. Do you see the red of my daughter's garage roof thru the willow branches??

On the weekend, their friend Gary came over with his chain saw & worked with Matt to take the tree down. Several days ago, I invited the tree's spirit to relocate to another spruce in town, & offered my apologies.

Here's the same view, with the pile of spruce limbs to the L of the bench - ah-ha! There's their garage! & see the raspberry patch behind the bench? Gary will bring his long trailer over later in the week to take the limbs away . . .

Behind the pile of limbs is an asian pear, & Matt recently built two large cedar boxes for bamboo on either side of the fence opening.

Here's the view from the raspberry patch, looking
toward my 'garage' or shed - the small white table on the Right is the one beside the bench in the other photos - there's a huge lavendar behind a magnolia bush on the Left. The lower branches extended to the blue garden bucket on the Left, & to the table.

My granddaughters & I counted the larger rings on the stump - 13 or 14, surrounding an 1 1/2" tighter ringed core - so I think my 'Christmas tree' guess is acurate. The last owner moved into my house in 1996, & I'm guessing she planted it that first year. At that time, there were renters in the house my daughter bought a few years ago, & she may have thought of it as providing some extra privacy.

I have a third asian pear to plant somewhere close to the other grouping, & will extend the raspberry patch a bit . . .

Blessed be, tree spirit!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Living in the Moment

It's always fun to peek around at other's blogs! I love the Tiny House blogs & sites - which can keep me occupied for hours!!

When I lived at the retreat center, one of my homes was 9'x19,' & another was an octagon, 17' across, so I've lived small. I had *stuff* in storage, but find small homes quite comfortable. & loved living in the octagon for a year, & later in a yurt for several months. The Yurt (a bit larger) had its own kitchen & even a bathtub! A little wood stove, as it was at the end of the geo-thermal line, but also radiators. Sigh - living off the grid as well, . . .

Found some neat bits on composting - this from a Brit site. She mentions a study showing ~ 1/3 of the items in the landfills there are biodegradable, & could have been composted! 'Compost Woman' writes: "Amazingly, by composting all their food, garden and cardboard waste, an average individual would prevent about 5kg of methane per year from landfill, which is equivalent to just over 100kg of carbon dioxide per year."

& goes on to say: "An average household that composts this waste would prevent emissions of 13kg of methane per year, equivalent to 280kg of carbon dioxide per year (just over one quarter of a tonne of carbon dioxide). By comparison, a small petrol car doing 40mpg will need to travel about 1000 miles to release one quarter of a tonne (250kg) of carbon dioxide, and a small diesel car doing 60mpg will need to travel about 1200 miles to release the same amount."

Here in town, we're lucky that our local Garbage service includes 2x monthly recyling pick-up, & that we can take yard trimmings etc. to be composted (& resold).

I did buy their compost one year, when beginning my raised beds, but found that the chemicals used on many lawns made for weird growth on my plants, so have avoided it since.
I'd love to get one of these composters! Also from Brittan, so the shipping would be exorbitant - but they look so fun - & practical!! What goes in must come out :) & my grandkids would LOVE it!

******* ***************************************** ******
My women's spirituality group has read a couple of books recently about 'presence' & living in the moment - this poem by Robert Frost puts it so beautifully - enjoy!

A Prayer in Spring

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.
Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.
And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.
For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfill.

~Robert Frost

Friday, June 5, 2009

Garden growing

Oh, June!
Suddenly, summer seems to be here - I spent a couple of days getting my front porch cleaned up - fun to see the floor again! The blue table was against the far railing (when it was still white)

There was an amazing rain & thunder storm yesterday - downpour! The garden loved it, everything looks shiny & fresh today.

One of my favorite roses is blooming - a David Austin 'Gertrude Jekel' - fragrant & blousy pink. I read a suggestion to loop & tie the long branches, so the bloom will happen all along a branch, rather than just the ends. This instead of clipping back in the fall/winter. Fun idea.

I planted another Austin Rose, 'Jude the Obscure,' in the bed just to the left of this - it's a pale yellow, also very fragrant.

I'm off to the coast with my dau & her family this weekend - always fun, whatever the weather! Better go pack . . .