Sustainable Halo

A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song. – Chinese Proverb

Been Hibernating February 9, 2011

Filed under: Mind, Body and Spirit — Simple Jess @ 1:58 pm

 

I must apologize to those who follow my blog.  This last year was one of pretty major transformation which required me to, well, hibernate a bit.  It is great to see that during this hiatus I have some new readers who were attracted by my posts of the past!  So I am back and thrilled.

You know, I started this blog with a desire and strong motivation to write and share through an urge I had to really change the modern lifestyle I was living, to make conscious choices and follow a shift that had come from my soul.  What a mind blowing journey it has been thus far!  I got more than I bargained for and have had to face, up close and personal, not just the harmonious side of doing right by myself and the universe but the ugly side as well…the reverse…the things that I, myself, was doing to hold back out of fear.  I have really been able to look at my shadow side and embrace it, to shed the false need to have only a beautiful representation of these changes taking place.  This last year I turned around and looked straight into the mirror with a willingness to see the ugly.  I realized that I was sometimes mistaking being positive with being fake.  Sometimes I have a difficult time in just admitting that, hey, something does not feel right here and its okay for me to be upset.  As long as I don’t act out on it in an unhealthy way I can accept my emotions, make friends with them and listen to what it is they are trying to tell me.  This is not easy in any way, believe me, I have found really “functional” ways to act out without being too obvious over the years.  I decided that I no longer want to take short cuts in order to appease my desires or my fears.  I no longer want to be hard on myself for things that are way out of my control.  So now, I am working this year to REALLY go inside and find the ways in which I pollute my inner riverbeds.  How do I cut corners for convenience and avoid reality when it comes to my emotions?  How do I put aside my spiritual needs to appease my dominant mind?  What is it that truly makes me feel good and at peace?  Instead of having brief encounters with my intuition and being mildly uncomfortable with the sensations it brings I choose to embrace it, get to know it and let it drive the bus.  Learning to trust myself, my higher self, the core of my being has proven to free my soul from the chains that were binding.  That shift that my soul was calling forth is in full swing now.  The only time I stumble or trip is if I or my ego gets in the way of that motion or an old pattern of belief or thought somehow escapes my now careful scrutiny of its existence within my behaviors.  I will expand on these topics later.

So, although I will continue writing about my usual subjects,  you will now see a lot more reflecting in these new areas…a little more honest, bare bones soul searching.  I hope anyway.  Certainly far from perfect, and thank God for that.

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Land of Oz Liquid Fast for Thanksgiving November 18, 2009

Filed under: Alternative Health,Food, Food, Food!,Mind, Body and Spirit — Simple Jess @ 5:34 pm

So, I created my own fast for Thanksgiving preparation and since so many of you have expressed interest in this topic I decided to share this fasting experience with my beloved readers.  Finding a relationship with food is so difficult for so many.  It can seem like we are Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz as we traverse the scores of recommendations and reports constantly surfacing, as we seek out the wizard.

I believe that with clean cells and a body set up to channel lots of energy we can handle anything.  Maybe if Dorothy had sipped a nice fresh pressed fruit drink that day in Kansas, she would have found herself much stronger and not so afraid of the wicked witch.  Bare with me and the hokey Land of Oz stuff  as I have been fasting and the creative juices are flowing…trust me, I am holding back.

Don’t be the Scare Crow and shy away from my corny approach here…keep reading!  Okay, I’ll stop.  Let’s get to the fasting.

I began with a 7 day juice fast, followed with 7 days of light eating and am now on a 10 day fast that is broken down into segments.  Here is my outline:

7 days of fresh pressed fruit and veggie juice, water, kombucha and peppermint tea fasting

7 days of light eating, mix of raw and cooked vegetables and lots of raw fruit…still juicing and tea drinking of course:)

10 days – First 7 days just like the previous 7 days and the final 3 days will be distilled water and hot peppermint tea

For the fruits and vegetables, I suggest playing around with these:

-kale, romaine, spinach, carrots, red bell peppers, cabbage, parsnips, sprouts, avocados, watermelon, apples, grapefruit, oranges, grapes (which are heavenly this time of year by the way…really sweet)

You can juice and cook all of the vegetables in unique ways.  Make sure you eat fruit by itself as it should never combined with other foods.  They slow down the digestion and it begins to rot in your tummy…giving you horrible digestion problems and eliminating the cleansing properties of the fruit all together.  My current understanding is that when you juice, you can combine fruits and veggies as it is assimilated so quickly in that form.  If you have any digestive or bowel problems it is best to separate you fruit juice from your veggie juice.  If you need your veggie juice sweet you can add a bit of stevia or even better beets or carrots…they sweeten quite well.  I am neglecting some minutia here but as far getting started goes this is good practice.  Then you can listen to your body and soul.  Pay good attention, they have a lot to say.

The juices give an abundance of energy and joy during the fast and are a really great introduction to fasting as they provide nutrients and minerals and protein and so on and so on.  I enjoy my juice so much now that it is often more appealing to me than cooked foods and salads.  However, I am at a point in my life where I still have cravings and seasonal preferences so I am not above baking an apple, roasting a big platter of root veggies and I really love blended salads…I’ll write more about those another day!  Let me share a sample day of juice fasting, today in fact:

I started my morning with nothing, just prayer and contemplation, followed by skin brushing and tooth/tongue brushing. (Fasting tends to bring out the toxins and they need to be brushed away.  I cannot stress how useful skin brushing is in my life.)  Then I showered and tinkered around the house.  Then the boys are up and we tickled for a bit. Around 9AM I juiced:

Around 15 large carrots – 3 gala apples – 2 inch chunk of ginger.  Now, this drink is highly addictive and has been known to cause an abundance of squealing from my little munchkins.  They love to help me stir before I serve it and there is never any left over.  Its always good to make enough for sharing:)  Even though it is best to drink it right away while it has the most enzymes, I am a mother and pragmatic so I understand that we all do not have time for juicing constantly.  So, you can juice in the morning and put it in stainless steel to go containers for the day…just drink it that day for sure.  I do this for my boys so I have quick sips for them on hand when they are in the mood.

After getting some exercise and doing some yoga stretching, which ended around lunch time, I juiced:

8 or 9 stalks of kale – 1 really large red bell pepper – 5 stalks of celery – 2 apples.  This juice is just heavenly.  It gives me so much energy and it would completely kick the pants off of coffee if it weren’t so peaceful and kind:)  It sweeps through your body, cleaning out your cells and letting them know that its time to dust out the cobwebs and caked up dirt that arise in our bodies due to over-indulging ourselves.  I like to think of it as “The Good Witch.”

Then I spent the day playing with and taking care of my children.  During nap and down time, I caught up on studying and reading and stuff.

Since I am taking night classes, I need a really good juice to keep my mind sharp and spirits up.  So around 4PM I juiced:

1 Whole Pineapple – 1 Grapefruit – 1 Pomegranate.  This is seriously yummy.  Its like a nice dessert treat to end my day. This is sure to take you somewhere over the rainbow!   Hopefully I will get some sleep tonight with all of these cells dancing with joy in my body.  Really though, I sleep just fine because my body is really receptive to the break it is getting from solid food and soaks up the energy of the juice but when the day is over it completely lets me knock off.  After class, I meditated and prayed, did some light stretching, took a bath and here I am about to hit the hay.

Please note that in a recent conversation with my yoga instructor he shared with me some Auyervedic wisdom.  He recommended not combining fruits and veggies during a fast because it causes “wind,” gas, and keeps us a bit too expanded.  If you feel too esoteric, as I do at times, it is good to separate the juices from the veggies.  I am not used to doing this and will experiment and share soon.  I can say that I have been feeling a little fairy like and do not prefer this so I intend to follow his advice and see what comes.  Until then, here is what my days have been looking like, minus one or two juices depending on my hunger level.

I would like to end this post with a bit of inspiration.  Whatever our approach to food is it can only bring good when we eat consciously with good intentions.  Being grateful for what we eat is so important.  Let yourself slow down and give thanks for the food on your plate.  Find the strength and kindness of your heart, even if you feel a bit like the Lion who knew he needed one but did not know how to get it.  It is there and a more compassionate and respectful approach to your food is a great place to start.  Take a little time to get to know your food and let it nourish you in ways that you might be ignoring due to the rush of life.  I am not suggesting that we make it all about food.  There are other ways we should be nurturing ourselves too.  Seek out nourishing relationships and activities.  Take care of your whole self.  Food is just a tangible thing that we can get our hands on and even though it is rich with complexity it is something we see, taste, smell, feel and hear (if we listen really closely.)  If we start with cleansing and healing our bodies, clean cells jump for joy and neurological pathways open up and the guidance we need in other areas of life unfolds.  The wisdom of our design begins to parade and lead us in directions that we never knew we were capable of.

Sure, life happens and we inevitably face hard times but it is so much easier to do when we are scrubbed clean.  Venture down the yellow brick road and see what you find.  Have some fun.  I look forward to a humble Thanksgiving and spirited experience.  Check back to see what I prepare for the feast!

Love and dancing light,

Jess

Please note that I am not a medical professional and am not dispensing medical advice. I am merely sharing lifestyle tips. If you find anything in my material that inspires you to change your daily habits I encourage you to discuss it with your doctor.  Fasting is not something to take lightly and one should be a very serious study done carefully or professionally guided if looking for success.  Make sure you know how to break your fast, which is about the most important part of the process.  Step back in to food carefully with easy watermelon, canteloupe, broths, soups, cooked vegetables, etc.

 

Liquid Fast Continued October 5, 2009

Filed under: Food, Food, Food!,Mind, Body and Spirit — Simple Jess @ 5:17 am

Fasting is a very powerful healing tool in your body’s medicine cabinet. It can be very intimidating and many find the idea of going without solid food a bit scary. There is good reason for this. A fast is not something to be taken lightly and deserves the utmost respect. It is important to be responsible and understand you reasons for the fast. Your intentions and frame of mind are also important tools and it is a necessity to have only good and pure intentions with your fast. If you just want to lose some extra weight, that’s fine. Just be aware that a fast is powerful and can bring up very uncomfortable thoughts and physical reactions if done in haste and without preparation.

Here are a few tips of mine:

1. Start by juice fasting, fresh pressed juice, one day a week. Pick a day that you think you can handle avoiding social food situations and be a bit flexible. If something really important comes up you can reschedule for another day. Just make sure you still doing it consistently each week. There really is not much that is more important than your fast, though. Your health and well being is of utmost importance.

2. Eat fruits and vegetables the day before and avoid animal products. For fats, if you need them, use olive oil or flaxseed oil. This will transition you body into the fast much easier.

3. Make sure you drink plenty of water between juices. Just wait at least 30 minutes after drinking your juice.

3. Spend as much of your fasting day on reflection and allowing any negativity to surface. Write down your thoughts, I highly recommend keeping a fasting journal. At night, as you wind down and settle in you can develop a practice of releasing your negativity.

4. Breaking your fast is perhaps the most important aspect! Keep your mind present and do not ravage the cupboards. Again, eat fruits and vegetables. Carrots with a green salad are a really good choice. This will ensure that any mind activity will be released through the chewing but will be a clean way of introducing food again.

5. For some interesting facts, click here!

This a great way to introduce fasting gently and consistently. When you are comfortable and ready you can think about longer fasts. I only recommend juice fasting on your own. If you are considering a water fast I strongly advise that you use the guidance of a professional.

Fasting is not something to get overly eager about. It is not about competition or perfectionism. It is about real progress that takes commitment and honoring your life force energy! There are many juice recipes but click here for a couple of mine that I love!

Love and light,
Jess

 

Got Swine Flu? August 27, 2009

Filed under: Mind, Body and Spirit — Simple Jess @ 4:42 pm

I cannot help myself.  I have to write about it:

Will we be facing a swine flu pandemic this fall?  WHO is classifying it at a level 5 right now, with the suggestion that we will be at a level 6 soon.  We Americans love our warning scales.  What is the reasoning for these leveled warnings?  What do they accomplish?  Let’s take a look.

What I consider to be the most important point is this:  As the level increases, it opens up the availability of vaccine production and administration.  Coincidence?  Do we really need to be vaccinated against this flu?  Is it truly the fearsome wave of destruction the alarm bells would have us believe?  Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says, “What the epidemiologists are seeing now with this particular strain of U.N. is that the severity of the disease, the severity of the flu — how sick you get — is not stronger than regular seasonal flu…” and continues later to say, “…we are cautiously optimistic that this particular strain will not be more severe than a normal seasonal flu outbreak.”

The vaccine is being developed as you read this which means that the implications or explanation of long term side effects cannot be discussed.  It is basically experimental, on us!  Wherever you stand on the issue of vaccinations, it is undeniable that we are injecting our bodies and those of our children with chemicals and synthetics.  It makes common sense to me and my home grown Midwestern roots to take a steady approach and not succumb to scare tactics of the media and pharmaceutical companies.  We all realize that these businesses desire high ratings and lots of money respectively.  So why do we let it strike such fear in us?  Probably because we are a nation that lives in fear, is guided by fear and has gotten pretty comfortable with that way of life.  We stick with what we know.  I would rather rely on my intuition and what I know to be true.

Joe Scarborough interviews Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. on the topic of vaccines in the following video and then I will share my tips for avoiding the scary swine flu:)

My suggestions of preparation for a possible swine flu outbreak and any other type illness this fall are as follows:

  • Adhere to the timeless rule of washing your hands with good old basic soap before and after meals, interactions with animals and nature, trips to public places and always upon returning to your home from anywhere.  Its pretty simple!  In a pinch, it helps to have a small bottle of sanitizer but do not rely on that stuff.  It should only be used in real pinches:)
  • Feed yourself, your family and friends with a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and their juices.  This is the most potent, safe, natural and effective form of antioxidant and immunity building available.  You can take vitamins but they are, in my opinion, not as effective because your body does not absorb and digest them as well as the real deal.
  • Exercise regularly.  Just move your body in whatever form feeds your energy and spirit.  But if your feelings of well being begin to degrade take a rest and drink gentle liquids like carrot or apple juice and low sodium vegetable broth (preferably homemade) to restore your immunity.
  • Don’t spread yourself too thin.  Give yourself time to reflect and restore your balance as a human.  Your body has amazing abilities to prevent illness and heal itself.  Listen to what it is telling you!  If that sounds foreign to you, then you need these methods more than ever.  Slow down and really LIVE!

Whatever you do:  do what you feel is right.  Do not make choices out of fear or a rushed sensation of anxiety.  Stop and examine the facts for yourself and let your intuition shed light them.

Love and light,

Jess

 

Exercise and Relationships August 19, 2009

Filed under: Mind, Body and Spirit,Summer Cancer Prevention Series — Simple Jess @ 1:48 pm

Now that I have touched on the vicious cycle of stress and food, I think it is necessary to address the cycle of our relationships, stress and exercise.  Just like it can be really difficult to alleviate stress when we are forcing our bodies to digest foods that are below par, it is a real challenge to make exercise a regular part of our lives if we do not have high quality relationships.  On the other end of the continuum, our relationships can suffer greatly if we are not moving our bodies in a way that cleans and heals it.  Food is the most important starting point when turning your life around but exercise is a very close second.  If one approaches exercise properly, begins by tackling the imbalances in their body and progressing toward expressing that beautiful chemistry into movement: the results can be truly amazing.  It is a balanced and grounded place from which our spirits are nurtured and the source of all being can move through us.

Inevitably, there will be interferences.  Life always seems to get in the way.  That is why it is so important to follow the process with seriousness.  No flashy or ego soothing diet plans.  No miracle cures.  It takes time and a serious desire to slow down.  Think a moment on all of the maladies with our current society.  Most of our problems stem from greed and short attention spans.  That is why the focus on breathing in yoga is such a direct path to focus.  One cannot focus on your breathing and be hurried at the same time.  Our breath is like our heartbeat but has a very subtle difference.  We cannot focus on our heart beats and do something about them.  We can focus on our breath.  It is tool we have been given for correcting our imbalances.  We should be focusing on our breathing as often as we can.  When exercising, our breathing picks up speed and volume capacity.  We breath more oxygen into our bodies and the flow of energy is nourished.   Lingering stresses are washed away and we are recharged with a whole host of oxygenated cells.  We can go about our days and nights with a sense of calm that encourages healthy relationships.  Remember, we begin with ourselves and work our way out.  If we are not taking good care of ourselves, we are not doing anyone else the justice we are designed to do.  Some interferences we can ignore and eliminate.  Others we cannot: like I cannot just stop being a parent because my children need me, right?  The point here is that the interferences are either worthwhile or not.  We can see which they are more clearly when we are in our own sphere of health.  We are more focused on what is worthy of our time and what is not when we are clear.  An example of a bad interference is  a television show.  If it is something that is a very small part of our life and we do not rely on it for winding down at night or use it to distract us from our thoughts, it can be a nice moment to enjoy whatever the show is expressing.  It is important to stay grounded and focused on yourself, though, especially with this type of interference, because it can easily support addiction, checking out, mindless munching or lack of interaction in our relationships.

When we are taking good care of ourselves we tend to be more receptive to reading people who are good for us and those who are toxic.  If this idea is new to you, promise to yourself today that you will not allow toxic people into your sphere anymore.  And if you have toxic people in your life currently, it is time to rethink how you interact.  Do not allow them to cloud your sphere.  The more you focus on yourself and the nourishment of your personal world the better you will be to those around you.

It can be extremely difficult to start focusing on ourselves and allow our full potential to blossom when the people in our lives expect something very different from us.  Their confusion and emotions will manifest themselves in many different types of actions, whether they be direct or subtle manipulative actions and words: they have nothing to do with you.  It is time to allow our spirits through and to let them shine.  With relationships comes fear.  We are so afraid to lose people and equally afraid of losing ourselves in the process.  Who are we?  We are infinitely more powerful and talented than we give ourselves credit for.  The world we live in does very little to nurture that in us because it is being driven by greed.

Another challenge with regards to relationships is that we can easily slip into a dependence on a person who we attach our emotional insecurities to during our journey.  This can be an instructor, trainer or workout partner.  We become comfortable with this person and do not want to stretch our boundaries and try something new.  This is a dangerous prospect.  While it is good to foster relationships with those who support our efforts, it is equally important to make sure the foundation is within ourselves and we have a genuine practice that is our own.  I find support in all kinds of people but I am the only one who can keep the waters calm and remain present in my practice.

One example of a person who is healthy in my life is one of my yoga instructors, Rama.  I barely know him but he inspires me and makes me comfortable in learning how to better express myself through yoga.  One thing that he does that I love so much is to say now and then, “Its okay to smile during yoga.  You do not have to be so serious.  In fact, it opens your passage a bit so more oxygen can flow.”  I just love that and I think of him sometimes during the day and just smile for no particular reason: I just do it on purpose.  As Phyllis Diller once said,  “A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.”  But I do not rely on Rama.  I do not become attached to him.  I still take classes with other instructors that do not inspire me in the special way that Rama does and I learn from them too.  It rounds out my learning.

It is time to eat well, move your body and find room to express yourself fully.  Find that room in the space and gaps of life that you find yourself thinking negatively or incessantly.  Instead of watching the television or reading a rag magazine, go for a walk or do some light stretching and let your body encourage your spirit rather than containing it miserably.  Love yourself.  Love the people in your life for they are a gift, whether it be obvious or hidden:  love them.  The best way to truly love them is to be the best expression of yourself as you can muster.  Now we can continue learning how to avoid cancer developing in our bodies!  Until the next post:

Love and light,

Jess

 

In motion August 11, 2009

Filed under: Mind, Body and Spirit,Summer Cancer Prevention Series — Simple Jess @ 11:37 am

This week I am writing about exercise.  This a simple introduction to the topic.  We covered cancer prevention issues with food last week because it is the most important and now I want to address the benefits of moving your body.  You can move your body, exercise, all you want but if you are putting junk in your mouth then most of the health benefits are null.  Assuming you have embraced or accepted the fact that food is what makes you, we can now move onto activity.

For something that is so difficult for people to commit to, it is really quite simple.  There are many ways to get your body moving but the most important thing is that you do something.  It is not necessary to train for a marathon or learn a new workout, although these things can be beneficial for some.  Simply get out and go for walks.  If you have children, get down and roll around with them.  Do some light stretching in the morning or at night.  Take pleasure in cleaning your house with non-toxic and/or homemade cleaners…there are surely a few things that need to be done around the home, right?

I do not want to get to involved with spouting all of the research that supports exercise and deals with all of the benefits.  I just want to give some gentle motivation to get you moving a little more.  Turn off the television tonight and do something you enjoy.  Tune out the news and all the chatter that is so destructive to our vibrant bodies.  Tune into the frequency of your body and take good care of it.  It is not only your vehicle in life, it is the material that nourishes your spirit if you nourish it!  After reading this, get up and walk away for your computer.  Choose to move!

One of my favorite activities is to garden.  It works my body, calms my mind and creates beautiful art and food for my family!  What is your favorite thing to do to move your body?  Submit here and I will follow up with readers’ suggestions later this week.  Do not forget to check out my Interview with Charlotte Gerson in another post to follow later this week as well!  I continue writing about exercising for cancer prevention in Exercise and Relationships.

Love and light,

Jess

 

Power Yoga August 4, 2009

Filed under: Mind, Body and Spirit — Simple Jess @ 6:09 pm

Yesterday evening was my first Power Yoga session with Rama at my new gym.  My initial impression was one of excitement.  He walks in with sunny blond, long but nicely manicured dreads.  My first thought was, “This is the guy I want to learn power yoga from!”  I have taken a beginner course before and have done the Brian Kest Power Yoga DVD at home which gave me the bug but I had not really taken a committed step into Power Yoga with a living and breathing before me instructor.  I knew that my journey to the West coast would lead me to a good instructor and Rama is just that.  He is very unassuming, easy to follow and steps in at just the right moment…asking, of course, if its alright.  He is just wonderful and I really look forward to future sessions with him!  I realized that I am drawn to yoga not only for the balance it gives my work outs but for the ability it give you to sit in the gap, the space where spirituality lies.  I still have a lot to learn about it but this little cricket is jazzed!

I left the gym, strolling the boys home as the sunset.  The sky was little more blue and I was standing taller it seemed.  I had to hurry because I was meeting friends to go see the Navy SEAL BUDS class going through Hell Week training.  It was amazing to see the precision and determination of their instructors.  They do not let up for a second!

Anyway, today my whole body is tingling from the yoga positions of yesterday so I will be doing a simple eliptical trainer exercise today!

Love and light,

Jess